Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sh*t We Don't Understand: The Beach

Memorial Day is approaching, and with it the unofficial start of summer. Cue the flocking of people to shore towns all over the country for some good old-fashioned fun in the sun. Come Thursday we'll be inundated with "MDW...going to the BEACHHHHH!!!!" Facebook statuses. I'm sure all things Memorial Day and beach-related will trend on Twitter as well. While I'd be either out of my mind or downright inhuman to not welcome the beginning of summer with open arms, I'm going to have to get on the soapbox for a few minutes. If someone wants to sit me down and explain it all to me, then they can surely go ahead. But I just don't get why the beach is apparently so awesome.

You know that feeling you get when you're at some place and everyone else seems to be having a lot more fun than you? I hate that feeling. It's like you're at a party that you weren't invited to, a feeling rivaled in suckiness only by that of being sober in Philly's Olde City on a Saturday night. That's the feeling I get at the beach. Every time I've been there in my adult life, I've wished I were somewhere else. Someone had to finally take this stand. Kevin, John, and I originally planned to publish a roundtable-type discussion on this topic a year or so ago, but circumstances prevented it last summer. Now that the matter is relevant again, I can no longer wait. Having lived in New Jersey my entire life and spent the summers of 1989 through 1993 exclusively at the shore when my parents owned a motel in North Wildwood, I consider myself as qualified a judge as any.

Let's first get it out of the way that I don't hate the beach. I just don't love it the way so many people seem programmed to. I've had my share of fun on the beach in my life, but here's the thing: all of the actual "fun" things that there are to do on the beach can basically be done anywhere. What do I want to do if I find myself on the beach (besides the requisite ogling like any man is wont to do)? I want to throw a baseball or football around, get a game of wiffle ball going, read a book or newspaper, maybe listen to the iPod, take a quick dip, etc. Take any of these activities away from the setting of the beach, and guess what? They're no less fun or enjoyable. You can swim in a pool, you can play ball at any open field nearby, and you can read or listen to music basically anywhere. Is there anything inherently fun about the beach itself? To get to the beach, you've got to sit in traffic, find parking, overpay for the parking you find, deal with all the Ronnie and Sammi clones running around (although I'd find the real thing thoroughly enjoyable), and, most of all, immerse yourself in sand and the stench of seaweed all day. There are other ways to enjoy the outdoors and get a tan, people. Unless you aspire to be a fragrance millionaire, there are very few activities for which the beach is actually an immediate prerequisite.

But some people may say to this, "Wait a second, going to the beach is about enjoying putting your toes in the sand and being able to lay there and do nothing all day and listen to the crash of the waves! It's so great!" No, it's not great. I'm sorry, but sand f*ing sucks. It gets everywhere and makes your skin bone-dry. And doing nothing all day? Well, that also f*ing sucks. I'm not burning my free time just laying in the sun when I can be actually doing things in the sun. That eloquent crash-of-the-waves soundtrack? It's likely going to be drowned out by a mixture of seagulls and little whiny kids begging their parents to buy them an ice cream sandwich. Maybe I just lack the ability to turn my mind off like that, but I'm irked by people who are able to just lay there on a beach doing nothing without ever feeling supremely bored.

Some people may also say "Well, of course you don't like the beach that much. The Jersey Shore is a dump anyway." I can't disagree with that, but I would offer the rebuttal that I've set foot on some exquisite beaches in North Carolina and Cancun (which had blue water, I shit you not) without ever getting that overwhelming feeling of awesome that I'm apparently supposed to. When I was in Cancun on spring break in college, the novelty of it being 85 degrees out while it was 40 degrees back home wore off in about half an hour. Yet somehow the group of 16 girls we were on the trip with religiously laid out there, hour after hour, day after day, like they were auditioning for a Corona commercial. Meanwhile the rest of us guys hung out at the poolside bar getting to know people from all over the country, one tequila slammer at a time. I'd like to think the latter is a much better way to spend a trip than basically sitting in an outdoor tanning bed for 5 days.

One of this blog's values is that we'll give you our straightforward, (relatively) uncensored opinions and in the next breath acknowledge that those opinions aren't necessarily gospel. The reader can take in whatever we have to say and make what they want out of it after that. I'll freely admit I have more than my share of anti-beach biases. Like I said before, I spent five full summers at the shore as a kid and hated the fact that I was away from all my school friends. Even worse than my well-documented disdain for sand is my inability to avoid getting horribly sunburned. For a while I dated a girl who, despite an apparent love for laying on the beach and being a complete waste of humanity for hours on end, shifted her bitchiness into 6th gear whenever we were actually there. And finally, if I'm at the beach then there's a fair likelihood that I'm missing a Yankee game, which is a huge, huge strike from the get-go.

I leave you this evening with the reminder that no, I do not "hate" the beach (at least, not as much as this guy does). I just don't love it. For the record, I very much enjoy living in a coastal state and couldn't imagine living in an area of the country that would require a plane trip just to see the ocean. But this whole idea of "ohh I really need to go to the beach, I hate the winter because I can't go to the beach, I can't exist without the beach, blah blah blah" that you see so many people conveying? It just strikes me as utter nonsense. You know that Jimmy Buffett quote "if there is a heaven for me, I'm sure it has a beach attached to it" that you saw displayed on every single girl's bedroom wall or AIM profile back in college? Well, with due respect to the mayor of Margaritaville and his devoted Parrotheads, I ain't buying that. You know what, hold that thought for a minute. Maybe my heaven will have a beach after all - as long as there is a golf course and a casino attached to it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Their Loss = Your Win?

As everyone with half an eye or an ear on the sports world right now knows, the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers were swept out of the second round of the NBA Playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks. As I listened to WFAN midday co-host Evan Roberts gloat triumphantly about the Lakers' loss this past Monday (you can listen to the segment here if you wish), some sort of chord was struck inside of me. And before you simply say that it's just a reaction to the Andrew Bynum's deplorably dirty elbow late in Game 4, let the record show that Roberts had been equally cheerful on his show the day after the Mavs went up 3-0. Now, let's get it out of the way that Roberts is regarded by many to be a cliché-spewing clown who (and this a fact) happens to score baseball games while watching them on TV. But his inordinate level of joy taken out of the Lakers' demise is what really got me thinking. As sports fans, we naturally tend to revel in the defeat of teams that we hate. But when are we really entitled to do so, and, more importantly, when are we not entitled to do so?

Of course, I get why any given NBA fan (or sports fan in general) may be happy to see the Lakers go - they're a high profile team with tremendous history and currently sport a collection of some of the biggest, as well as the most polarizing, personalities in the game. But to be up in arms with happiness that they've been eliminated? That's a bit much, unless of course you're a Dallas Mavericks fan, or even a fan of one of the Lakers' chief rivals (i.e. Boston, San Antonio, Houston). I'd even understand it if you happen to be a fan of one of the other remaining playoff teams and you believe your team's road to the championship got easier with the Lakers gone. The problem with a guy like Evan Roberts basking in the Lakers' defeat? He's a New Jersey Nets fan. The Nets are not only from a different conference and the extreme opposite side of the country as the Lakers, but the two teams are on completely different levels. The Nets haven't been in the playoffs since 2007, while the Lakers had been in three straight NBA Finals until this year. I just can't see any logical way for a Nets fan to be able to legitimately take joy in a Lakers elimination.

Here's the deal. You're allowed to bask in a rival's loss if they're exactly that - a rival. If it's a division rival or often-clashing conference rival (i.e. the '90s Cowboys and 49ers, as well as the Colts and Patriots of the past decade), it's fair game. Even then, your level of enjoyment from said rival's loss shall depend largely on how successful your own team is. For instance, you can bet your bottom dollar that I was happy to see the Eagles get bounced by the Packers in the playoffs last year, but since the Cowboys were 6-10 themselves, I wasn't about to head for the rooftops to talk smack either.

The same goes for rivalries that are geographic and little more, i.e. Yankees/Mets - does anyone really think a fan of the fourth-place Mets would have had a leg to stand on if he tried talking trash about the Yankees losing the ALCS last year? And while we're on the topic, I understand the cross-pollination of geographic rivalries (i.e. I'm a Yankee fan who despises the Red Sox and therefore feels inclined to root against all Boston teams), but that line needs to be tread carefully. For example (and forgive my overuse of East Coast cities), if you're a Mets fan, you're allowed to hate the Phillies, but if you're a Jets fan on top of it, then you're not really entitled to hate the Eagles wholeheartedly just because of the New York/Philly dynamic. Since the Eagles and Jets only meet once every four years, there's really very little basis for anything there. You can quietly root against an entire city if you want, but you are not entitled to apply nearly the same intensity as if you were rooting against your own teams' actual rivals. The same goes for a team that has ripped your heart out in the past. Root against them, but if they're not an actual rival, keep it mellow.

My issue in general is with the blanket hatred of the teams that everyone is apparently "supposed to hate" - i.e. the Yankees, Cowboys, Lakers, Celtics, Notre Dame, USC, etc. The successful teams grow to be hated; that's just the way it goes. But one of my favorite truisms of life is that the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference. I root for possibly the two most hated teams in all of sports, so I have a bit of experience from which to speak. From elementary school up through college, I'd take crap from marginal-quality fans of marginal-quality teams whenever the Cowboys or Yankees would lose or be eliminated (especially in 2004, if you catch my drift). My response would usually be some form of "thank you." Thanks for caring about what happens to my team despite me not giving much of a rat's ass what happens to yours. It's good to know they're on your mind. If the teams you hate truly "sucked," then you'd pay them no mind. So, oddly enough, saying a team sucks or taking undue glory in their defeat at the hands a team that isn't yours is really payment of an indirect compliment. It's a matter of having your priorities and perspective in line more than anything else. For the sake of a more intelligent sports-watching America, remember that objective #1 is seeing your own team win - something for which there is no substitute.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


If you are not a devoted fan of the movie Rainman, stop reading now and go on living your life. If you have seen Rainman 10+ times, this post applies to you. I consider myself a huge Rainman fan. However, I was somehow totally unaware of a remake of the film that was released a mere 6 years after Rainman. For some reason they called the remake "Cobb" and tried to apply Rainman's plot to Ty Cobb's biopic. I will eventually post some scripts to certain Rainman scenes as if Ty Cobb were portraying Rainman. For now, here's a rundown of the similarities between the movie Rainman and Cobb:

1. Both films have extensive scenes in Nevada
2. Both straightmen (Cruise and Wuhl) use their counterpart for financial gain.
3. Both titular characters enjoy baseball.
4. Both titular characters possess savant baseball abilities. Cobb hit .367 liftime, Rainman knows everything about baseball. Literally.
5. Cobb's middle name is Raymond.
6. Cobb and Rainman are successful gamblers. Rainman had blackjack, Cobb had GE and coca-cola stock.
7. The characters portrayed by Wuhl and Cruise both experience relationship problems.
8. Both films entail an extensive roadtrip.
9. Cobb and Rainman both have medical problems. Cobb has diabetes, cancer, and hypertension. Rainman has autism.
10. Both Cobb and Rainman have encounters with prostitutes in Nevada.
11. Rainman and Cobb both end up in an institution of some sort.
12. Cobb and rainman suck at driving. Both movies have a scene in which the straightman chastises his counterpart for vehicular indiscretions.
13. Both straightmen eventually come around to their counterpart. Al Stump not as much as Charlie Babbitt.
14. Both movies have a scene in a Nevada casino, and the main characters are asked to leave.
15. Both movies have highly dramatic scenes in which it becomes evident the counterpart character cannot function on their own. In Cobb this scene is towards the end when Cobb is coughing up blood. In Rainman it's when Raymond nearly starts a fire.
16. Both counterpart characters are significantly older than the straightman.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Facebook Status Soundtracks

We're all familiar with the different variations of irritating Facebook statuses. What they're missing is a suitable soundtrack that heightens their drama. It isn't enough to just read the status and soak in the occasional emoticon, the plight of the whiner should be colorized with a dramatic score. To sarcastically embrace these incessant updates of whining, ranting, and general nonsense, I suggest posting a musical clip in the status comment area so that all mutual friends can play the clip while reading the update. I believe this will definitely enhance the Facebook experience. Below are some suggested pairings of status genre and what I believe would be an effective corresponding score.

1. The woe-is-me sort of status that usually has some sort of bitching about the weather, how tired someone is, traffic, work, or some other bullshit nobody cares about. This sad violin music really conveys the plight of the pathetic whiny sod.

2. The trivial accomplishment status update. This is the sort of status people put up when they proclaim they're going to the gym, eating a salad, doing laundry, or completing the dreaded adult chores.

3. Statuses involving inside jokes amongst buttbuddy friends, boyfriend or girlfriend, etc. Look, inside jokes are cool, but please keep them inside, because people on the outside don't get it and they will often become confused. This musical score could also accompany statuses that convey excessive lovey-dovey details of a couple.

That is all I have at the moment on this topic, I encourage everyone to come up with their own ideas, and to start posting these clips to any status updates that warrant musical scores.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Loaded Tickets: What Am I Missing?

Regular Ticket Price: $25             Loaded Ticket with $10 to Spend:  $35

I'm sure most people are familiar with loaded tickets by now but if not allow me to explain.  Many professional teams are offering regular tickets with money to buy concessions or souvenirs added on.  Except they are not offering a discount on concessions on these loaded tickets.  The customer is essentially prepaying for food and drink and games. 

If someone has actually purchased loaded tickets I would love to hear the advantages of it.  Why would you buy a gift card for yourself before entering the store.  You are committing to spending a set amount before heading into the store.  The only reason I can possibly see for ordering these loaded tickets is for kids.  If you want to give them a set amount to spend and when they are done you tell them that's it but even that is a stretch.

I'm sure I am overreacting as usual but I find the loaded tickets to be insulting to the intelligence of fans.  How dumb do the people who run these promotions think we are.  Maybe they suppose it can't hurt and perhaps they are right but perhaps they could offer loaded tickets at discounted rates and generate more revenue while supplying their fans with some value.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Over Used Terms/Phrases/Cliches in Sports Media

So over at today a thread was started on the most annoying modern day media cliches.  I borrowed some of the better ones and created my own. Here is a brief list.
  • Using "Gate" to Describe Scandals
  • SEC Speed- You cannot be more ignorant if you say or believe this.
  • This is a bad time for an error/interception/fumble- When is a good time?
  • Giving 110%- This is most prominent in youth sports and pissed me off in my childhood.  100% will do fine
  • The kid has great motor, can tackle in space, can make all the throws, factor back, game changer, potential upside- Mel Kiper, FUUUUU
  • Describing white players as gritty, smart and tough. Black players as athletic and fast, and Hispanics as fiery
  • Comparing all White Receivers to Wes Welker
  • Calling Black Coaches in football class acts
  • ____ Nation.  It was bad enough with the Red Sox can we stop the epidemic from spreading
  • Finally _____team is back.  Last I checked Michigan Football is not back but I have heard it several times in the last couple seasons
  • Pluralizing Bostons Miamis, Dukes.  Sportscasters love to say team X is good but they won't be elite until they can beat the Alabamas of the world.  Last I checked you can't pluralize singular entities.
  • Remember there has to be indisputable video evidence to overturn the call.
  • The game is war- No it ain't
  • Manchester United is 18-0-1 when Wayne Rooney scores the first goal of the match.  Really I didn't think goals were so important in Soccer.
  • The other team didn't want it bad enough- Sometimes this is true but sometimes one team is better.  Really you don't think Butler wanted to win a National Title?  They probably just decided to mail it in.
  • Football:  This team needs to figure out how to make plays.
  • Baseball: He has a closer's mentality- He's crazy?
  • Any ESPN Catch phrase after 1996
  • Calling a Running Back a Home Run Threat, A baseball draft pick a slam dunk pick
  • Nicknaming anyone with Rodriguez as a last name as ____Rod
  • Using the term literally when you really mean figuratively.
  • He catches the ball at its highest point.- Actually far from it man.
  • College Sports: The kid gets in done in the classroom

Players say the same canned answers in interviews
  • One game at a time
  • I'm just happy to be here
  • I just want to help the team
When you don't have anything intelligent to say you regurgitate snippets of information and do not bother to research something intelligent to say.  The downsides of a 24 hour newscycle is you have to deal with more idiots in the media.

Just Say No to Facebook

My roommate freshman year created a Facebook profile for me without clearing it with me.  Not knowing how Facebook worked, I named 4 hot girls from high school and said if they accept my friendship I will keep the profile, otherwise delete it.  Within 24 hours I had four new "friends" because few people deny friend requests on Facebook.  So I gave it a try for a few months and I didn't care for it.

Why do you not have facebook?  People also ask me this question as soon as they find out I don't have Facebook.  I assume it's because they think I'm hiding something, possibly a girlfriend and I am just trying to get some on the side.  Mostly they just think its weird.  How could someone not have Facebook?  Everybody is doing it.  Well you see I'm stubborn.  I didn't get/like Facebook when I found out about it Freshman Year in college and I had a girlfriend at the time so what was the point.  If you are in a relationship what is the point of Facebook?

Acceptable Uses for Facebook:
This concludes the acceptable uses for Facebook.

Facebook is a cess pool.  Too many people feel a need to tell you all the cool things they are doing.  "Hitting up South St with the girls" "Getting my hair done for my date tonight"  Often times it reads as reasons I am better than you.  Look at all the cool stuff I'm doing.  Your life is not more interesting than the average person so stop.

Profile Pictures.  People judge you right or wrongly on your pictures and your profile.
Fat girls take pictures from the face up.  Ugly girls take pictures with a kissy face in every picture.  Vain dudes post tons of pictures with their shirts off trying to show off.  Cool kids take pictures with a red cup, because they party and want you to know about it.  Boyfriends and Girlfriends take soul crushing photos together because in a relationship with _____ isn't enough information.

I don't have Facebook because for me the negatives outweigh the positives.  I enjoy some level of privacy, and frankly there are alot of people I'd rather not talk to.  When Facebook expanded outside of colleges, how many people had their parents, relatives, employees submitting a friend request.  I would rather not allow some people access to what I do on the weekends or who I talk to.

Facebook is more impersonal than texting.  If its a girl I would rather talk to you in person or on the phone than exchange Facebook messages.  If its my friends I would rather get invited to an event not through a mass messages sent through Facebook.  How many of those people do you really want to show up to your 22nd bday?  Of course occasionally I miss out on some things for not being connected to Facebook but so be it.  One or two fun events or random hook ups missed are worth it to not deal with all the crap that comes with Facebook.  If someone is asking me to do something outside of Facebook, they actually want me to come.

Facebook is time consuming.  How much time do you waste on there?  It's crazy to think about.  You could actually be doing something productive like playing a sport or going to the bar to actually meet these Facebook friends.

I know I will regret writing this post because I do occasionally stalk people on Facebook and I do have a Twitter feed that I use to follow breaking recruiting news, but I will continue my silent protest against the masses on Facebook.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The 2011 NHL Postseason starring the Flyers as themselves

I have a radical coaching idea: forfeit the first 20 games of the season, don't start camp until October. Huh??? How will we make the playoffs? It doesn't matter! 82 games is simply too many games. These guys are dead by March. The common fan does not have the stomach to watch regular season hockey before Easter, much less Christmas. As for the players, the physical toll is blatantly obvious, but look at the mental toll. The players are undeniably disinterested at multiple points throughout the regular season. I don't blame them. So much of the regular season is meaningless, the length of the regular season depletes the gravity of the individual games. If you watch all 82 regular season games for a given team, you can easily identify 20 games in which they should've stayed home and played with themselves. The NHL regular season should determine the teams worthy to compete in the postseason. It should not determine the team that best handles the grueling physical toll of an ironman season. So, why not forfeit the first 20 games? Your team will be fresh and ready to go. I can imagine no better way to create urgency than to begin buried in last place with 62 games left to play. Hungry is the best way to play hockey, it's the only way to play hockey. The NHL postseason shouldn't be vastly more interesting than the regular season, but it is. Bagging games 1-20 will create a playoff atmosphere immediately. If your team can't put together enough points to get into the easy-entry NHL playoffs in 62 games, they probably wouldn't with 82 games either. The Philadelphia Flyers most recent early departure from the Playoffs is the motivation for this post.

We've seen this movie before. The Flyers play like champions through Christmas despite spotty goaltending, play strong through the winter, and they simply faulter in the playoffs. That 7-0 loss to the Rangers in February was the beginning of the end. I started writing this post late last night, got about halfway through and went to sleep. I had a vivid dream that I met face to face with chairman Ed Snider to beg him to get the Flyers a real goalie. The Flyers are the perpetual Atlanta Braves of hockey. The fact is they haven't had a goalie since Pelle Lindberg, and that essentially means they haven't had a goalie since Bernie Parent. That's a long time for a franchise that's considered one of the best in the league. They aren't a team built on futility, they've come tantalizingly close at times. But in the end, excuses are like know the rest.

I realize my forfeit 20 games theory is completely unrealistic and out of the question, but look at the Flyers in 2010. They couldn't skate in a straight line early on, then turned it on and found themselves in the Cup final. All the while they had spotty goaltending. I want so badly for hockey to return to it's glory from the 90's. But fantasy football, NFL draft coverage, lacrosse, ultimate fighting, and trash TV seem to have distracted the American public. Dear Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, stop getting hurt. Dear Washington Capitols, stop not reaching the conference finals, the NHL needs Ovi in the spotlight. Dear Flyers, get a goalie. At least consider throwing the first 20 games, there's no award for being in first place at Christmas.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Source: Jim Tressel Knew Osama's Location

Senator Jim Tressel knew where Osama Bin Laden was hiding but failed to report the information to the CIA.  Tressel denied having previous knowledge of the whereabouts of Bin Laden. 

"I have never met nor contacted Osama Bin Laden.  I had no previous knowledge of where he was hiding."

Previously Jim Tressel was caught lying to the NCAA about emailing and phoning the wrong people.  He had since upgraded to a courier service and was communitcating with Bin Laden.  At this time, the details of Tressel's relationship with Bin Laden are unknown.

An employee of the CIA spoke on the condition of anonimity.  "Coach Tressel has painted himself as a patriot but we now know this is not the case.  We have survalliance footage of Tressel with Osama Bin Laden's courier.  We have also uncovered a letter's at Osama's secret location from Jim Tressel.  It was a thank you note for all the money supplied to the program.  Tressel also incuded a photo of himself.  The photo showed a map tattoed to his back of Osama's location."

The Best Monday Ever

I was wearing my Clint Dempsey USA World Cup Jersey while watching the Phillies game with my roomates when Symon said Osama Bin Laden was dead and it took reading several reports to believe such wonderful news.  The United States Governement took the high road and gave Bin Laden a proper burial. I'm guessing there are some other things they wish they could have done to him.

Things we wished we could have done to Osama
  • Mount Head on spike and put in National Mall
  • Put Corpse at Ground Zero, allow families affected by 9/11 do as they please
  • Keep him alive, tour him around the country to be beaten
  • Force him to be on the set of Jersey Shore Season Four and have sex with Snooki
  • Hang him from The Empire State Building
  • Lock him in a room with Tim McCarver and force him to listen to old baseball stories
  • Lock him in the Octagon with Brock Lesnar for 5 minutes

Carmen Sandiego and Waldo will meet for the belt.

If you want some more laughs head over to
They were heavily influential for this thread and material was borrowed from there.