Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dumb question, dumber answer

So I’m sitting in my office browsing through my Entertainment Weekly when I get to the section where people write in and ask EW where they can find items they’ve recently seen in movies, TV shows, etc.

So what did I see in this issue? The first question is, “Any chance you could find the undershirt worn by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine?”

A tank top? Seriously, this guy wants to know where he can find a wifebeater? Aren’t they all the same? Is there really a difference? Here you go buddy, I found it!

What’s worse than the stupid question is the answer that EW gives him. They found the customized Wolverine tanktop! It’s only $77! For a f-ing wifebeater? I’m speechless.


This just in...again...Blockbuster sucks

I want to start out by saying this is my own fault. I knew better than to go to Blockbuster. As a matter of fact, I wrote about all the reasons why Netflix and pay-per-view are both more reasonable options than the dreaded yellow and blue chain.

So what did I do yesterday afternoon? My fiancée and I popped in our Netflix movie, Synecdoche, New York and suffered through 45 minutes of boredom and a Philip Seymour Hoffman sex scene before deciding, “Let’s go rent Quantum of Solace.” Of course, this would have to be rented from Blockbuster.

So we head to the closest Blockbuster only to discover it’s been closed. This isn’t shocking as we rent from there once every five months. So we drive to the second closest Blockbuster, 3 miles away. As I walk in, I notice that some old Xbox games are on sale and decide I’ll buy one. Then we begin perusing the movies as we’ve decided we’ll rent two movies today, Quantum of Solace and one other. As we’re looking at the movies, the back of my sandal accidentally hits a video game shelf behind me, knocking three video game covers from vertical to horizontal. I look down, make sure my sandal is on right and continuing looking at movies, not thinking much of it.

As my fiancée and I continue to browse the new releases, a Blockbuster employee yells out to me, sarcastically, “Do you want me to get these for you?” I look back and he’s putting the three video game covers from the horizontal to vertical position on the shelf that I hit. Stunned, I simply say yes. I look at my fiancée and say, “Let’s get out of here.”

I put the video game that I’m going to buy down and we walk out. As we walk out I walk past the employee that got mad at me. I look at his nametag and say, “Does that say Bob?” He replies yes and starts to walk away. As he walks away I say to him, “That’s why your stores are closing, because you’re a bunch of jackasses.” He replies, “Have a nice day,” and we walk out.

Seriously? I accidentally hit a shelf. I didn’t even think to put them back up. I apologize for this egregious error on my part. I’m so sorry to put you out Bob. I’m sorry that you had to lift a finger on a Saturday afternoon. It took you, what, 25 seconds? If you don’t want to put up with customers, then don’t work in CUSTOMER SERVICE. Service! Do you know what that means? I’m sorry that you’re 35 and working at Blockbuster for $6/hour because you spent your twenties playing Dungeons and Dragons in your parents’ basement instead of going to college. That really is my fault and I deserve for you to get pissed off at me.

Thanks alot Bob, and thanks Blockbuster.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Fond Farewell

What is the right way to lose? If you could script a loss, what would you choose? Do you prefer to lose to a superior team, to be outclassed? Would you rather have a close loss that ends in heartbreak? Do you prefer a subpar season end in oblivion? Would you prefer to see your team quit, so you can quit too?

The harsh reality of sports is that championship seasons are few and far between, if at all. Most every season inevitably ends in a loss. How do you script a loss?

The losses you remember, that you carry with you, are a combination of expectation and investment. Going into the season, this was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the University of Memphis. A Sweet 16 appearance was the hope, the expectation. Because of this team’s resolve, the expectation rose to an Elite 8 appearance. It ended a round too early, which isn’t that hard to get over.

The investment is the part that stings tonight. You could say that I’ve invested more in this team than any before them. I’ve watched Robert Dozier and Antonio Anderson for four years, from young bench players to integral cogs, from freshmen to seniors, from (cliché alert) boys to men. And with the Tigers down 24 early in the 2nd half, I texted my friend, “Will this team show some pride and lose by 10 or pack it in and lose by 30.”

What happened next (exaggeration alert) is one of the finest moments in Tigers basketball, at least that this 28-year-old has seen. I saw a team scrap and claw and play for pride. They put hope in Tigers fans one last time, when some had given up, like my brother who stopped watching. They showed us one last time why we watch sports in the first place. We watch because we can learn from it, because it can inspire, because it can instill hope. It sounds like hyperbole, but sometimes all sports fans are looking for is something greater than ourselves, seeing someone do it better than we ever could. (I know that I’m a poor sport who would’ve probably been kicked out of a game like this from frustration because well, I’m a sore loser).

It’s easy to glorify college sports because we value youth. We know these guys aren’t going to shrug the loss off their shoulders while driving away in their $75,000 cars. You don’t see NBA players cry after losses, because there is always next year. For Antonio Anderson and Robert Dozier, there isn’t a next year. This was it, and their last 15 minutes or so of play on the court was goodbye. I saw Dozier will his team with the heart we’ve always wanted him to show, with the effort we’ve only seen glimpses of. I saw the limited Anderson making the extra pass and keeping the younger players from unraveling, like he’s done all season. I saw a team who had every reason to give up and walk away stick around and fight, because, there is no next season for them here.

How do you script a loss?


Today's Rant: Unions

I was in a union once, it was me and my fellow working man in The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. But I wasn't an electrician. In fact, most people who know me don't really trust me around anything electrical. No, I was a reporter at a small community newspaper (but my articles were electric!). I was as much an electrician as I am Jewish.

But no matter. I was in the union. My first week on the job, a friendly union rep came to my office, gave me an informational packet and an IBEW keychain.

I never heard from her again.

In exchange for this wonderful service, I had union dues garnished from all of my paychecks. Joke's on them though. I kept the keychain even after I left.

I'm hardly the only person who dislikes unions. I have a friend who worked in sales, and was in a union. My friend had the best sales numbers of anyone in the company. When it came time to promote someone, he was the most logical person to get the nod. His boss even told him so. But the ever helpful union wouldn't allow it, because he didn't have seniority. So he watched as someone who wasn't as good at the job get the position. Suffice it to say, his morale went down a little.

It was also a union that led to the loathsome television writers strike last year, which robbed us of 7 critical episodes of Friday Night Lights. (Of course, it also robbed us of further episodes of Knight Rider, so it wasn't all bad).

Which brings me to the point of this entry: the NHL players union. Earlier this week, a player on the Canucks re-upped at less than market value because he liked being there, thought they were building a solid team, and wanted to be part of the future.

Another impending free agent on the team was asked if he would do the same, and this is what he said: "If we're going to win the Cup, we need guys to take pay cuts. The way the salary cap is now, you really can't get what you're worth now if you want to win. Everybody in this lockerroom knows that."

Finally! Athletes who were putting winning over paychecks! Putting the team's needs ahead of their own! This should have been a cause for celebration.

But of course, the union had to come in and throw cold water all over that notion.

There's a lot to hate about sports right now, and players' unions are at the top of the list. They encourage their members to be mercenaries. The baseball union refused drug testing for years, even as many of their own constituents were asking for it. The NBA union constantly appeals player suspensions, even when they're well-deserved.

So this summer I hope Ryan Kesler takes less than market value to stay with the Canucks. Sure, it's because he's a key player for my favorite team. But anytime someone gives the middle finger to their union, they're good by me.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Just when I thought you couldn't get any dumber

Every once in awhile you come across something on the Internet and ask yourself, “Is that real?” Usually, it involves Asian street signs. Last week I stumbled upon this masterpiece.

First off, I love the line, “The UroClub comes with a towel and it appears you are just checking out your club.”

Now, I don’t play golf but I don’t think a guy with a towel over his crotch and a club sticking out is normal.

“It appears you’re just checking out your club.”

Do golfers sit around on the course and check out their club? And when they do, are they required to put it underneath a towel by their crotch? If that’s the case, I’ve been checking the oil in my car the wrong way for years. (Who am I kidding, I can’t check my oil.)

Second, they are running a promotion where if you buy one now you get a 2nd one half price? How many pee sticks does one golfer need? Is this so you can hand an extra one to your buddy on the greens so he’ll be impressed?

“Don’t worry Dave, I bought an extra UroClub for you so we could pee together and no one would be able to tell because we have our handy green towels covering us up.”

If your friend hands you a pee stick, what do you say?

“Uh, thanks, I always hating having to hold it. Do you mind if I keep this in the car for the 20 minute drive home just in case?”

What’s next, are golfers going to be carrying around fake-cooler crap containers?


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tournament Predictions- RTS Style

Part I - Graham
The best thing about the blogosphere? Predictions. Where else can someone like me, who has watched about 12 minutes of college basketball this season, publish his predictions on the NCAA Tournament?

Right here, that’s where. And it’s one more place than where a Seattle P-I columnist can do it (zing!).

I’ll break it down region-by-region shortly, but here are a few general statistics and predictions going into the tournament:

-Number of teams I’ve watched play for more than 5 minutes this season: 0

-Amount of research I did before filling out my first bracket, in minutes: 7

-Odds of winning my fantasy pool: 1000-1

-Number of people who should take my predictions with anything more than a grain of salt: 0

-Number of times I’ll storm out of a room in disgust when one of my teams loses: 19

-Number of times I’ll watch a point guard for a team down by two with less than 10 seconds to go dribble the ball upcourt by himself, run around the perimeter and launch an off-balance three-pointer: It’s college, so too many to count.

-Number of times I’ll wonder if there’s even a limit to the number of timeouts in the college game: 218.

Anyway, here’s my region by region breakdown:

Seth Davis likes Wake Forest a lot. I’m too lazy to do any more research than that, so I like Wake Forest too. But not enough to beat Louisville. On the other side, Michigan State is supposed to be good. And the Final 4 is in Detroit. That city is dying, and a run by the Spartans will make people happy. I think the sports gods come into play here, and the Spartans make the Final 4.

Don’t ask my why, but I don’t love UConn. I think it’s because Jim Calhoun is a major douche. But no one’s allowed to really say that, because he fought cancer. Can a cancer victim be a douche? Well, I’m saying yes. So screw it, I’m taking the Huskies over UConn. Speaking of douches, ladies and gentlemen, John Calipari! I don’t think I want to live in a world where Calipari makes two straight Final 4s. I especially can’t live in a world where Tiger fans, maybe the most loathsome people this side of Red Sox fans, are allowed to enjoy success. I refuse to pick the Tigers on principle. Washington it is.

I know nothing about any of the team in this bracket. And I don’t like Duke. So let’s go with Pittsburgh.

Let’s get this out of the way: One man teams don’t make the Final 4, so Oklahoma isn’t making the Final 4. And you know what? Blake Griffin is a great college player, but he’s going to suck as a pro. You heard it here first. Or maybe not, I really can’t verify that. I like North Carolina, Syracuse and Gonzaga a lot. But Gonzaga is never good enough to make the Final 4, and Syracuse won’t have enough magic left. So Tar Heels it is.

Final 4:
Michigan State vs. Washington:
Even I’m not dumb enough to think Washington makes the Final. Christ, how the hell did they even end up in my Final 4? Ugh. It’s Michigan State.

North Carolina vs. Pittsburgh:
I can’t name one player on Pittsburgh. I do know Carolina has Tyler Hansbrough. And someone named Lawson maybe? So in the interest of sound reasoning, because I can name one, and possibly two players, I’m going with North Carolina.

Michigan State vs. North Carolina
Tar Heels.

Part II - Chris
Well, we got Graham’s uninformed opinion on the NCAA tournament, so it’s time to get the actual college basketball fan perspective. (Which means, obviously, that Graham will destroy me in the bracket challenge.)

There are two types of people: those that fill out one bracket, hope it wins for about 10 minutes and then get pissed and tear it to shreds halfway through round 1. Then there’s the other type that fills out multiple brackets, hedges bets, has no idea who they want to win until the sweet 16 when they view the carnage of their brackets and decide which one is their best bet. I’m in the latter. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t have 1 bracket that I view as the pure one. Below is the bracket that I filled out on Sunday night that I truly feel are my “picks,” although I’ll have no shame if I have another bracket win a pool.

Midwest Region
I’d love to pick against Louisville for obvious reasons, but I learned a long time ago to not trust a Big 10 team in a major college event. I got West Virginia, USC and Wake in my Sweet 16 with the Cardinals, but I don’t have the onions to pick one of those teams. Louisville goes to the Final 4, how depressing.

West Region
Why should I even have a preview here? I got the Tigers.

East Region
I’m a big fan of Pittsburgh. They were my favorite bandwagon pick to beat the Tigers last year. Of course, they didn’t even make the Sweet 16. I’ve watched too much Duke to pick them as a Final 4 team. I really think it’ll be Villanova and Pitt for the right to go to Detroit. I got Pitt. How boring.

South Region
I don’t trust UNC. I learned my lesson last year watching them get outclassed in the Final 4. I think Oklahoma is a little more than a 1 man team, considering they have the top player and one of the best two freshman in the country. The Sooners in the Final 4.

Final 4
I’m not enough of a homer to think this Memphis team is really a title contender. A Final 4 appearance is a stretch but they’re in a weak region. I got Louisville in the title game. As for Pitt or Oklahoma, I could really see Pitt losing to Villanova, so I’m not going to pick them much farther. I’ll take Oklahoma. As for my champs, why not Oklahoma? They got the best player in the country, don’t they? Isn’t that usually an advantage?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Who knows where thoughts come from

I was sitting at my cubicle today and for some odd reason this song popped into my head. Go figure.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

YouTube Classic

I went into the Chris Avis vault for this classic.

I love how the reporter goes, "I don't know what to say." Maybe you could say "sorry" you moron. Do we know what the guy did after he walks off camera in complete disgust? Did he maul the reporter outside? Did he drink himself into oblivion and now lives in a van down by the river? Did he try to recreate his masterpiece? Did he ever watch the clip, or does he avoid it like Joe Theismann avoids his pre-YouTube classic. These are the things I need to know.


Monday, March 9, 2009

RTS to Flying Saucer - You're Lame

I went to the University of Memphis basketball game on Saturday and saw this sitting in my seat.

So is this the lamest promotion ever? Seriously, I get a free giant pretzel if a Tigers' player makes "20 free throw points." I'm going to watch each free throw with dire anticipation!

First off, who the hell calls them "free throw points." Couldn't you just say, "If a Tigers' player makes 20 free throws."

Second, is the economy so bad that The Flying Saucer couldn't actually afford to give away a free pretzel? The entire Memphis team took 15 free throws and only made 7. How the hell is one player going to make 20 in a game? I haven't seen a wager this safe since Chevy Chase bet against Rocky. (Are Dirty Work references acceptable?)

Lastly, even if a Tigers' player miraclously hit 20 free throws in the game, the promotion would only be good for 10 hours or so? I love that even more. "Hey, we know this will never happen, but on the .001% chance that it does, you have 10 hours to rush over here and get your pretzel." Thanks Flying Saucer, you big bag of douches.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A picture is worth 1,000 words

Last week I discussed the awesomeness of This weekend I stumbled across this picture at I had to get Graham's take, naturally.

Graham: Looks like my prom night.

Chris: Who do you think is taking the picture?

Graham: Whoever he is deserves a medal.

Chris: Do you think he threw up immediately after taking the picture?

Graham: I hope not. I hope he paused to appreciate the greatness of he just accomplished.

Chris: Sometimes that greatness causes nausea, sorta like when I walk into a room.

Graham: I think your wardrobe causes that.

Chris: Tomato – tomatoe. What is the person behind the camera is naked, thus causing the lady to vomit?

Graham: I don't want to consider what kind of party exists where a presumably horrendously ugly guy is walking around naked taking pictures.

By the way, I was flipping around the channels the other night before bed and stumbled across Eyes Wide Shut, right at the orgy scene. Is that the weirdest movie scene you can watch right before going to bed? It has to be up there, right?

Chris: If you don't want to think about that type of party, I'll go ahead and remove you from my next birthday party invite list.

A weirder pre-bed scene than the Eyes Wide Shut orgy scene? Hmm, that is tough to top. The gimp/rape scene from Pulp Fiction might top it, but that's about the only thing that can, something that involves homosexual rape, and I don't know of many movies that have that (not walking into that joke).

This was our Monday.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Germans love David Hasselhoff

They love him so much, they dedicate buildings to him. No word on if they can get the lights to form a caricature of his character in Baywatch.