Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Favorite Part of the Holidays

These days celebrity voice-overs are all over commercials. From Gene Hackman and Jeff Bridges lending their trustworthy tones to Lowe’s and Duracell ads to Queen Latifah’s sassy Pizza Hut spots, you can’t turn on the TV without hearing a familiar voice. While some of these celebrity voice-overs can never save a bad commercial, others simply make the ad. With that being said, I present to you my favorite part of the holidays: Steve Buscemi and Norm MacDonald as gingerbread men.

Anti-Bears: 4.2. This ad is pure marketing genius! I still laugh every time I see it.

Bears: 2.3. What happened the these guys’ careers? The most common comment on Youtube is, “HEY isnt that the voice of Death from Family GUy!? LOL.” O-M-G. fo realz.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Surely this disproves the impending apocalypse

For years I've occasionally taken a minute out of my extremely mundane trips to Target for shampoo and shaving cream to take a trip back into childhood, or to at least consider how much more fun I'd be having if the purpose of my trip were to buy toys and not toiletries. After the very first of these trips I even became a bit jaded on these fantasies, because, let's face it, toys these days suck. All of the airplanes are made of cheap plastic, the action figures are too gimmicky, and there are many media reference points I just don't get.

When I was a kid, the only toys I really really actually cared about were Legos. There's no need to explain why they were so great because it's become something of a common ground for my generation. My brother, Danny, Danny's brother, and I would spend entire days and sometimes weeks doing nothing but constructing and deconstructing modern towns, pirate towns, and space towns, and sometimes combining for hybrid modern pirate space towns with airplanes battling the Caribbean Clipper and some crazy Blacktron soldiers using laser beams to restore order. I don't actually think we deviated from the themes that much, but hey, anything's possible.

If you go into the Lego aisle at Target today, there's still some town stuff but for the most part all the sets have stupid movie tie-ins. I don't give a shit about Star Wars or Indiana Jones or Harry Potter; just give me the classics. Unfortunately, it was beginning to look like the classics were done for. In the spirit of Christmas and holiday cheer and all that I fought off something like forty two shoppers and their nine million kids just to get into the aisle and I almost broke down and cried because of how terrible the sets were. Indiana Jones and Star Wars.

As I fought my way back out of the crowd to price-scan one of these abominations ($39.99 for a Spongebob house thing) I saw something on and endcap that made me weep for almost the exact opposite reason. I present to you, the Charz2k readership (and more importantly, directly to the contributors herein), the triumphant return of Lego Pirates:

Anti-bears: 5. 5 fucking anti-bears.

Bears: 2.6. Lego, what took you so fucking long?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

SNL's Andy Samberg (kind of) endorses the Charz2k rating system

Copied from Pitchfork:

Samberg: It's funny, I was having this discussion the other day about how, on Pitchfork and Stereogum and likeminded places, the best and the worst of the year are always pretty much the same bands, which is so indicative of sort of the tone of it all.

Schaffer: It was "Most Overrated slash Best."

Samberg: Oh right, on Stereogum, all the overrated bands were also the top bands of the year.

Pitchfork: People confuse the overrated bands for the most underrated as well.

Schaffer: They were literally saying, "This was the best!" and giving it its overrated quality and then going, "Unh, it's so overrated" like on the very next page.

Pitchfork: But then the next day, since everyone said it was overrated, it's now underrated.


Schaffer: As if someone is keeping it on a scale, the "rated" scale, ready to knock shit down when it gets too big and ready to build it up when it gets too small.

Ed.- I'm not exactly sure our rating system combats this phenomenon. It definitely clarifies things though. See we are totally objective -or at least we rate art without considering anything else but the art itself- in rating things (The Anti-Bear scale) but we still leave room to paradoxically subjectively rate it in an unrelated,objective scale(Anti-Bear Scale). Nah, see I think Stereogum and Pitchfork and shit kind of have to be self-referential...they're the source of overratedness. honestly they need to stop shitting on things they helped build up. I mean we don't have to be all meta and whatnot. We rate the content and then we rate the bullshit surrounding the content, the content's effect on the community, etc. We can call something good and then hate on the people who like it and then just leave it alone. We can quantify the unquantifiable. On one hand it seems like we're perpetuating Andy's complaint. But on the other hand, we're doing it more objectively. Does any of this make sense? My mind is fried; this is an infinite regress. I'm so confused.

And Andy Samberg and the Lonely Island's new SNL Digital Short "Jizz In My Pants" is funny enough to earn it 3.2 Anti-Bears.

But my girlfriend has a crush on Andy Samberg and, let me tell you, that's kind of a bear! 2.4 Bears to be exact.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The single funniest moment in the history of The Simpsons

Am I right?

To be clear I'm talking about the very moment we see the pogs, not the dialogue preceding it.
Could Alf be doing more perfect poses?
Could the expressions be any better?
"Look at me I'm shaving!"
It's Alf.

The only thing wrong is being left with the insatiable desire to see the pogs below.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Boomer Sooner.

First of all, what is with all of the 2k postings lately? It's like a Thanksgiving feast of articles to chomp on!!! Yes, man! I hope we don't have to go to the dentist!

I'm the bear here bringing this around to sports, which have no bearing on the cool indie music scene. Unless you count when stadiums play "Welcome to the Jungle" when someone comes up to bat. Congrats to Axl by the way on the new album. I have to quickly give credit where credit is due, and it is due to Major League Baseball. MLB is a true friend through the long haul -- 162 games, day in, day out, over the entire spring and summer. It's there every weekend, as well as on uneventful weekdays. Nothing like a big Cards-Reds game to look forward to through a whole Monday of work. If I could have only one sport, it would be baseball. I like the urban setting and the feel of the stadiums each unique to its city. But, that said, college football is a close, close second. The Oklahoma-Texas Tech game was the best sporting event I have ever been to. In a way, college football is the complete opposite of baseball. Instead of taking buses and subways and trains to the stadium, you drive two hours across the rolling plains of Oklahoma to get to a little town where football is the center of everything. Instead of 162 games where your team can take a 5 game nosedive and still bounce back the next week, a single fumble, dropped pass, or tackle can mean the difference in all the marbles for the whole season. There is a desparate sense of urgency on everyone around you for your team to win, which isn't present in baseball. You've got the band! The Sooner Schooner! Both sports though, I think, are unparalleled slices of American culture.

The biggest game in the country on national television under the lights in late November is a 5 anti-bear stage. The crowd was awesome. My dad and I weren't anywhere near the student section on Saturday but everyone stood up the whole game, and it was the fastest 4+ hours of my life. I haven't been to the baseball playoffs or anything, but this was tops for me. 85,646 fans is a bit more than Busch Stadium holds. My hands are still sore from clapping so much. I've got it TiVo'ed at my parent's house and I'll probably rewatch the game at least twice. In terms of magnitude, the analogous concert to something like this game would probably be the Fruit Bats show I went to with Charz down in the Blueberry Hill Duck Room. Plus Tech got smashed.

What I like about this video that you can't see is an Oklahoma player at the 50 yard line with his hands up signaling for the touchdown before the ball is even halfway there.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yes man, I'm ranting

I've been seeing a lot of commercials lately for the new Jim Carrey movie, Yes Man. Whenever I see these ads, I just get so angry. It just looks to me like Liar Liar reincarnated, but now instead of always telling the truth, Jim Carrey just always says "yes" to things. And furthermore, this guy is almost 50 years old now. Seeing old Jim Carrey in all of his zaniness just isn't the same anymore.
End of rant. I will not see this movie. I give it a preemptive 5-bear rating.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dentists Appreciation

This is the part of the article where I make the stupidly obvious pun about the people who clean teeth and then segue into some bit about how cool the band are. Right now, however, the sheer simple understated elegance and jangly indie pop perfection of the band in question is superseding any desire I had to dig my grave just a little bit deeper in Clichéville's cemetery. I remember when J and I would DJ on KWUR we'd generally have a few things picked out to play and then comb the station's stacks for anything that looked like it could be interesting, absurd, or in the case of the Dentists' "Powdered Lobster Fiasco" album, just a little bit funny and ridiculous (I guess that falls under absurd, eh? I also guess I have a backspace key and could just erase it and come up with some other arbritrary criteria for selecting arbitrary albums, but now that I've gone this far there's not much point).

Occasionally we'd marvel in the quality of our choices, but for the most part they were duds (Bobgoblin, anyone?). I remember thinking the song we chose off of the Dentists album, which I don't recall the name of...probably a track 3 or 4,was pretty decent. Seeing as this was either jr or sr year of college I was a fiend for neo-psychedelia of the mainstream indie rock variety (E6 collective, BJM, Dandy Warhols, Rainbow Quartz, etc) and chances are I probably just shrugged this song off as too "standard" and not swirly or experimental enough, though if it was late enough into the first semester of sr year I could have just gotten into my indie pop/twee phase after Kathy turned me on to Tiger Trap and Heavenly, in which case the Dentists were not cutesy enough. Long story short, I was an idiot, incapable of recognizing a band that perfectly bridges the gap between my two polar obsessions of the time.

A year later I downloaded "You and Your Bloody Oranges," the Dentists' 1985 EP. Between having first played that one unrememberable song and being linked to this other album by some website, I had completely forgotten about having heard them before (and later remembered while browsing allmusic for other albums of theirs), but had found a new instant obsession. The Dentists' brand of pop is so jangly, effortless, urgent, somber, British, and esoteric that they're the kind of band you can only imagine ever existed in black-and-white. You know, like you watch old documentaries and realize that the footage is lacking in color vibrancy because of technological limitation, but the image is burned in your mind with the color notably, and importantly, absent. Only Danny will understand this, but I think the Dentists, despite their non-use of electronics and synthesizers, kind of convey "that feeling".

I'd listen to this EP over and over again thinking about how great it would be to see this band live in their heyday, but the scene in my mind was always desaturated (in the Photoshop sense of the word). Thinking of bands in this way adds to their mystique, which is also magnified by the pops and hisses of the 12" that was used to transfer the songs to mp3. Not to mention the entire EP exudes perfection from start to finish, from the songs themselves to the song titles to the title and artwork of the EP. For a sample, listen to the bassline on "Where's My Chicken, You Bastard" and look at the cover:

The songs are so perfectly amateurish and the guitar tones so reluctant and reserved that this could only have been created exactly when the Dentists created it. I don't mean that as some philosophical brainteaser, I mean that chronologically the Dentists have their dedicated slot in musical history. Their sound is too modern to have been produced in the 60s or 70s and the themes and tones are too resigned to exist on an album of the late 80s or 90s. By no means an insult, the Dentists could not have created this record without post-punk or early 80s indie rock having preceded them. Equally Magazine and R.E.M., Dream Syndicate and Smiths, but sounding like no one else, the Dentists are what every band tries to be but so few manage not to royally fuck up.

Thanks to Danny I now have a digital copy of their first full-length, "Some People Are On the Pitch, They Think It's Over Now". When Danny told me he had found this I pretended to be an asshole about it and snidely remarked that I had the LP like it was no big deal, but seriously I had been looking for this in a digital format for the past two years. Thanks, dude! I'm listening to it now and it's got a lot of the same qualities that made their EP so great which is fitting since this album came out before the other one did. It's so bizarre to think that so many bands peak with their early material and our friends the Dentists are no exception. I may like "Oranges" a bit more but seriously both releases are pretty phenomenal. One look at the album cover for "Pitch" completely squashes my theory about only shitty bands putting themselves on jacket covers:

How could this band not be cool?

Check it out here:

Free Credit Reports and Expensive Guitars

Everyone knows those commercials with the guy singing about working in a seafood restaurant, buying a shitty car because he doesn't have enough credit for a gas-guzzler, trading it in for a shitty bike (because when they saw his credit the bike store said that's all they had), and most recently playing at a renaissance fair. In the latest incarnation the singing guy is playing a pretty sweet looking Fender Jazzmaster, and those guitars ain't cheap. Things are looking up for the dude, eh? Here's a tip: turn up the fuzz, man.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sweet T-Shirts

This girl in my section at school is selling section t-shirts. I don't want to buy one. The fact is, I realized, that I just don't wear t-shirts anymore. I haven't bought one since college really, and those don't fit too well now. Unless you count a Yadier Molina jersey as a t-shirt, I have absolutely none in my closet here in Norman.

But, this t-shirt offer started the gears working in my mind. You see, there was a time when t-shirts weren't only what you wore, but they defined you. This was in sixth grade. We wore uniforms to school (the habit stuck with me apparently---I've currently been wearing the pants I'm in now all week) but the first Friday of every month was "free dress day," and all the boys were frenzied about wearing their new t-shirts to school. Maybe this was just me growing up against a backdrop of lameness, but I feel like these brands were pretty nationwide.

No Fear was what started it all for me. I would scurry with excitement on the day I knew my mom was taking me to the mall to get a new No Fear shirt. My first and favorite one said "Bottom of the Ninth...Two Outs...Full Count...Down By Three...Bases Loaded...No Fear." I can't quite remember the others at this point, but I think another said "You Miss 100% of the Shots You Don't Take." They were quite the words of wisdom to pass along, on the level of Socrates or Confucius, really abstract axioms to ponder while sitting on the bench in the dugout, chomping on David's Salsa flavored sunflower seeds. (Flavor Ranking of Goodness: 1:BBQ, 2:Ranch, 3:Regular, 4:Salsa).

Then there was Mossimo. Mossimo was my second go-to shirt--overall they seemed a bit more exotic, more artistic statements than No Fear. No Fear was the no-bones, American, Rocky inspiring type of motivational shirt. Mossimo had a finer European coolness to it. First, you had to figure out what it was. Like this shirt, for example. OK, got it, it's a gasoline container in the shape of an "M". Second, you had to assume that such a picture was cool even though intuition told you it made no sense. If someone told you it was a stupid logo, they just obviously didn't get it.

Ah, the "Big Johnson" shirts. You didn't mess with a person wearing something like this. They always had cartoon depictions of hot girls not wearing any clothes. The kid who played first base on my little league team always came to practice in these. I don't think I ever fully "understood" the slogans on the back of the shirts, I just had an inner sense that whoever wore these had some better and more developed knowledge about girls than I did, and also that my mom probably wouldn't let me wear one. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times---a junior high kid wearing a Big Johnson shirt was the 6th grade equivalent of Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction who's wallet said "Bad Mother Fucker" on it. These guys were simply in another league.

Stussy. Always seemed a bit too "surfer-ey." I can proudly say I never went down this path.

Starter jackets---recess at school was a blur of flashy colors when everyone wore these things. Basically it boils down to this: a 6th grade kid picks his starter jacket based on the best logos (always some guy who just had to get the Notre Dame jacket because of the leprechaun, or some cat who suddenly became a Florida State fan because he thought the jacket was cool). OR, you could pick your jacket based on the color-scheme (I always thought the kid with the Auburn jacket had a cool one) OR people would just get whoever the best teams were (Dallas Cowboys, Michigan Wolverines (come on!!!! Michigan Wolverines?!?! lame...)) I had an Orlando Magic jacket because I thought Shaquille O'Neal was the greatest back in the day. That was when he was sometimes referred to as "Shaq Diesel" and had a rap album out. (If I have ever added the suffix "-diesel" to your name, this is where I am coming from. Like "Garz-Diesel.") So what I am trying to say is you had 40 boys running around in colorful jackets like a gay parade and no one had any idea what they were actually wearing, which seems to apply to any of these shirts I have listed.
Because I'm 25 now and not 12, I'll just stay cool by wearing the Yadi jersey.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mr. Hilbert and The Lords of the Underworld - Paranoid at the Talent Show

I found this on YouTube. I think they kick ass! Like seriously, I would pay to go see this band play. The singer just fucking gets it! Not to mention Mr. Hilbert over there playing the solos. I'll bet they needed a lead guitar for the talent show and they asked Mr. Hilbert, their favorite teacher, to fill in. I can just picture it. This is as punk as "Paranoid" gets.

I think I'll post another video's fun and easy!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Song

I am about to leave for Austin to hang with Eric (Garz) and Jono. But before I leave I want to post this Halloween song. Now I know what you're thinking, "Danny, you already made a Halloween post!" Well yeah, I put up a random downtown picture of my girlfriend, but I was really drunk when I posted that. And Eric, if you read this, I'm gonna need some kind of energy drink tonight because I didn't sleep much last night at all. Of course I'm gonna buy some Lone Star on my way up if I remember.

K, here's a scary-type video from the Misfits

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Meagan! Yo!

With love,

Downtown H-Town

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Oasis - Dig Out Your Soul

via Facebook wall posts:

Tony (Danny's brother): just wondering, is someone gonna review the new Oasis album for Charz? Before even hearing it, im afraid they missed the bus, if you know what i mean. They had there time to become the next Beatles, or Blur for that matter, but unless its a brilliant album , which is a possibility, a minute possibility, I expect it to be dated, and not in a good way. Lemme know what you think. Maybe ill give it a listen myself

You know, that's a good question. I saw a commercial for their new single yesterday and it actually wasn't bad at all. I was thinking the same as you...that they've been pretty irrelevant for the past 6 or 8 years, but this new song was pretty good. That said, I still don't know if I'm compelled to listen. If you want to tackle it, or write anything else for charz2k for that matter, let me know and I'll give you access.

you know what, whens the last time you saw a commercial for a new album that was any good? They really need to use TV to get that information out? A little low if you ask me. The last album I saw a commercial for was Nickleback or some bullshit. Before I even listen to the album I'm gonna be biased about it, if I was to review it, which I appreciate the invitation to, I'm gonna be a little vexed by it. So if you don't mind that, I think I could review it for you...maybe, I'm still not sure if I'm worthy enough

There ya go, Tony, you're worthy. I listened to this album and after a few minutes my mind started wandering and I wished I was listening to Definitely Maybe (not because the new album reminded me of DM, but because the mediocrity reminded me of when Oasis was worthy of any praise they were given). I'm not in middle school anymore, but Definitely Maybe is still awesome. I found a copy at a thrift store the other day and bought it, even though I already own it, because I left it in Houston. That's how good it is. This new one? Well, you know that part of High Fidelity where Jack Black's punctual, lovable, and ever critical character Barry gets all up on John Cusack for listening to "old sad bastard music " (which is really Belle & Sebastian, who are awesome) and Rob Gordon replies that he just wants to listen to something he can ignore? WELL, do I have the album for you!

Oh yeah. Tony was totally right on that tv commercial thing. Good albums are never advertised on tv.

Bears: 4.0. I should have known that this album would live up to expectations. I should have known enough to ignore it.

Anti-bears: 3.1. Once you get into it, it practically ignores itself. Also, this inspired me to listen to Definitely Maybe for the first time in a while. You lose some, you win some.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I Love the Cubs

What have I been thinking all along? I love the Cubs, they're great. To think that I could ever harbor hatred for them so much now seems preposterous for me.

Zambrano, I love you. (Can I call you Dr. Z?) I love how until April of 2009 you will only be able to give your lame tirades in your own house and destroy your own property and act like a baby where no one has to see you.

Edmonds, I love you. Thanks for acting like you hate the Cardinals now and all your years there didn't mean anything. Thanks for being the experienced post season player that was supposed to join the Cubs and lead them through the playoffs. It would have been better for you to hang up your cleats before you decided to play for Chicago.

Cubs fans, I love you. Thank you for always griping. I am sure this series will give you a cornucopia of places to lay blame and fault. I'd would have much rather let that goat stay in the stadium back in 1945 than let Zambrano anywhere near Wrigley. Seems as though there are multiple goats up on the northside nowadays.
As for the curse itself, you ejected a guy for bringing his farm animal into the stadium- what did you think was going to happen?

Bears: 0.0. The Cubs, by definition, don't even qualify as true Bears.

But above all things, I love this fan at Dodger Stadium. The cameras showed him in the heat of the moment in the bottom of the 9th as the Dodgers rounded up a huge upset of the Cubs:

Is that Tim Lincecum?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Springer for President

A few days ago I was doing some laundry and flipping through channels, late morning on a weekday. Even with cable, this is ghost-town time for tv unless you like soap operas, home shopping, trashy talk shows, or George Lopez. While I wouldn't wish Sr. Lopez or soap operas on my worst enemy, and home shopping shows never have anything I like, sometimes daytime talk shows are televised gold. The one I watched on this particular day was perhaps the most famous of the trashy talk shows, guided by the "Ringmaster" himself, The Jerry Springer Show.

Now, I only managed to tune in to see the final five or ten minutes of the program, but I am not exaggerating when I say it was probably the best five or ten minutes of continuous television I have ever watched*.

I walked in on a scene with this very vocal middle-aged woman yelling at her daughter for sticking by her man, a dapper young man with aspirations of military service. Jerry Springer, noticing a flaw in the gentleman's plans is quick to point out that you need a high school education (or equivalent) to join the Marines (is this true? I have no idea, but I trust Jerry). Of course he and his girl have thought of that already and she gets all defensive and points out that he's getting a GED so it's all good. Jerry: "Well then. It's hard to believe we're LOSING over there!**" Audience/me: uproar. It's so true! This guy's a dumbass and he's going to be part of the face of our military operations. Oh, the tragedy.

Next, Jerry announces that there's going to be a spelling competition. Naturally, this is going to be good. The producer, whose name I do not know now that it is no longer Steve Wilkos*** pulls the redneck guy and the angry mother of the girlfriend onto the stage, front and center, to compete against each other in a battle of what little and questionable mastery of the written English language each has to offer. I'm going to write this out dialogue-style so I don't muddle it up with excess verbosity, and because it stands so brilliantly on its own.

Producer (to the mother): "First word, 'Loudmouth, as in---'"
Mother (speaking quickly): "L-O-U-D-M-O-U-T-H"
Producer: "Ma'am, you have to wait. I'll use the word in a sentence for you"

Mother: "Oh, ok"
Producer: "Your word is 'loudmouth', as in 'You are a
Audience: chuckles

Mother (slower than before): "L-O-U-D-M-O-U-T-H"

Producer: "Correct". (Now, to redneck guy): "Your word is 'hillbilly', as in 'has anyone ever called you a
hillbilly before?"
Audience: laughs

Redneck (looks confused, doesn't quite know why audience is laughing): "H-I-L-L-B-I-L-L-Y"
Daughter: looks proud

Producer (to mother): "Wait for it this time. Your next word is 'annoying', as in, 'most of the members of this audience think you are really
Audience: laughs

Mother (defiantly): "A-N-N-O-Y-I-N-G"
Producer (to redneck): "Your next word is 'dentist', as in 'Before you leave Chicago, you should visit a
Audience and Mother: uproar

Redneck: "D-E-N-I-S-T"
Producer: "I'm sorry, can you spell that again?"

Redneck: "D-E-N-I-S-T"

Producer: "I'm sorry but that's incorrect. The correct spelling is 'D-E-N-
T-I-S-T'" Redneck: "AW MAN" (throws his arms down like Kros)

Then the mother gets all up in his face for being a dumbass, the audience keeps laughing, and I'm dying on the floor by this point. I don't remember what the final thought was, but it was hilarious also.

*Statement does not include The Wire, The Simpsons seasons 1-9, Beavis and Butthead, or, well, anything that can be classified as legitimately "good" tv.
**Clearly, not all military men have the intellectual deficiency that this guy does. Support our troops.
***Congrats on getting your own show, Steve!

2008 Char2k Playoff Preview Extravaganza

So, once again the 2008 MLB playoffs are upon us. I used to look forward to the playoffs eagerly every year, as my Braves were sure to be contenders. And then my excitement would fade, as my Braves were sure to find new ways to flame out year after year. Those days are behind us though. They ended in dramatic fashion in a series that pitted suitemates against each other. In the end, the Garz-JJVen alliance bested the J-Charz pairing. UGGH how could Farnsworth blow that 5 run lead. Anyways, let's take a look at this year's match-ups!

Cubs vs Dodgers

PREDICTION: I'm having trouble calling this one. The dodgers had a good September, and people are talking about Manny for MVP. On the other hand, the Cubs pulled away nicely in the Central race. I am narrowly going to take the Cubs on this one, just because Andruw Jones played for the dodgers this year, and some of his loser-residue may have been left behind on the team (but I'm sure whatever he's doing right now, he has a big grin on his face)

Phillies vs Brewers

PREDICTION: In the sprit of full disclosure, I hate Philadelphia and I love Milwaukee. Yes John Kerry is eating a delicious looking cheesesteak, and Miller beer kinda blows, but I grew up going to a lot of Brewers games, because my grandparents live in Milwaukee. The Brewers were always my #2 team, and I've been sporting my brewers cap around town that I got years ago at free-hat day at the ballpark. (And a certain classmate of ours was very pro-philly...) So, inspite of the fact that Sheets is hurt and CC has pitched 14 times in the last 6 days, I gotta take my Brew, setting up a Midwest NLCS showdown.

Now, I could and probably should go on into the AL. Pundits say the AL is way stronger. I saw, Pshhhaw. Charz2k is an pro-NL site. That's something we all agree on. So I'll quickly sum up the AL... Whitesox beat the (Devil) Rays, crushing the hopes of... nobody, because who the hell cares about the Rays, aside from the fact that it's a nice story. And I'll take the Angels, because God is obviously cursing Boston, after letting them win championships in the 3 major sports. Brady is down, and the Sox will be down next. And who will win the ALCS? Who cares? The Brew Crew will shock the world, in spite of the fact that they aren't very good, and dominate whomever the AL throws at them.

2008 is the year of the Brewer! Yes I glossed over the Brewers beating the Cubs, but this image says it all: they will shoot the cubs and stand proudly over their dead bodies.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Many Sides of Garza

Garza is obviously beloved by all posters on this site. But let's be honest, the guy is mercurial. You don't know which Garz is going to show up one day after the next. I'll do my best and try and outline the major Garz personas for you so you'll be ready next time:

Matt Garza, Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Basically Garz knew that he was never going to make it back to the playoffs as an Astro, so he allowed himself to pitch for the Rays. They're one of those newly hyped teams that haven't been around too long. Pitchfork gave them a good review, Garz signed up. Garz practiced his pitching motions in our dorm in college by throwing Ram Jam and Cat Stevens vinyl records across the room at the wall.

Roberto Garza, Chicago Bears
Geez. Only Garz would put "#1 in Nutrition" on a package of frozen cinnamon buns. That's the kind of business savvy that he learned at the Wash U. B-School. And notice it doesn't say "Most Valuable Player," but "Most Valuable Person." Fits with everything I know about the guy. He does it all.

Aldo de la Garza, Former A&M Football Player
All I ever heard Garz talk about at school was how much he loved College Station. No wonder. This is the innocent look he will try to give you when you accuse him of eating all the oreos.

David Lee Garza, Musician
I remember the day Garz insisted on buying that darned cowboy hat.

Alana de la Garza, TV's "Law & Order"
Since she's on Law & Order maybe she'll come to law school to give a lecture, except instead of her walking through the door it will be Garz himself. He has that same outfit except it says "Jesuit P.E." across the front.

Ambassador Garza (Mexico)
This is Garz, ironing out all of our political issues south of the border. I knew this was in his future when he'd chat it up in Spanish with everyone on the St. Louis Metrolink coming back from Busch Stadium late at night.

Garza Theatre, (Post, TX)
Basically everything Garz stands for musically, memorialized in a building. (That was a nice touch, Garz, with the two little red white and blue buntings next to the sign). Seems the theatre caters to plays and stage productions. Currently they are featuring a show entitled "An Evening of Culture." It said the audience members get treated to pumpkin beer and Ritz crackers while watching Beavis and Butthead.

I hope this helps to explain Garz a bit better.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Don't Change a Thing For Me

I love finding beauty in unexpected places. For years I've written off INXS. Who knew they were capable of this piece of musical perfection?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What Did I Just Buy?

So I was killing some time at Best Buy the other day, but I'm not sure what my purpose was in being there. Little did I know it was my destiny playing out before my own eyes. I was just looking around, I suppose, and I came across a DVD display on the side of an aisle: a gargantuan He-Man cartoon treasure trove! Now, I stood debating these DVD's for the longest time, and at one point decided against them and walked around some more of the store. But sure enough, my heart came calling me back to the He-Man DVD display. "Man, it's He-Man!" I tells myself, and it's Vol. 1 which is 33 episodes for $20! What a deal, no wonder they're on display! I mean, my mental math tells me that's like .10 cents an episode, I'd be a fool not to buy it.

Thus I grabbed it and ran to the register, and the guy there is one of those guys with the stretchy loops in his ear lobes, and he's like "Nice choice, He-Man, and at a good price." This acclaim from the Best Buy employee made me feel better about myself and my purchase- kind of like getting complimented when you bring your Arcade Fire CD to the register instead of getting laughed out the door. So I said "Yeh, twenty bucks seemed fairly reasonable," and the guy says "No man, they're only $9.95, they're on sale. So if you want to go check them out again go ahead."

Now, this is where my mental prowess kicked in-- I'm no idiot. I go over the facts and decide that since two minutes ago I was standing there expecting to pay $20 bucks, then that extra $10 is basically one of those "sunk costs" that you can't retrieve regardless of what you do because it is already spent. I mean, this is one of those economic "prisoner's dilemmas" where I can go home with only one DVD set and $10 or two DVD sets with $0. Naturally, I went back to the He-Man aisle and picked up Vol. 2 and brought it back to the dude at the register and went home happy.

Garz knows that I can find ways to justify any purchase. I've spent his money in this fashion multiple times at Vintage Vinyl. But although I've only watched four episodes up to this point, let's just say I think I've already reaped the rewards of my decisions about 5 times over. You can't script stuff like this nowadays.

Bears: 1.2. Watching these proves to be quite the time killer-- the afternoon just disappears!

Anti-Bears: 4.3. I like this animation better than all the Toy Story type stuff anyways, and they have a moral/lesson revealed at the end of every show that should have been learned in the episode! Maybe they will teach some money management principles at some point in the collection.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wrigley Wrevisited

I didn't go to Wrigley. But that Astros game tonight was so good. Hunter Pence almost hit for the cycle, those double plays were great, and more! I haven't watched baseball as religiously as I usually do this year because the Astros have been sucking. But I happened to see the game tonight and it was so good. I noticed: Jim Edmonds' old ass will kill the Astros until he retires, Cubs fans still suck...they're so fickle and they boo the Cubs too much. Ohhh shit, I remember watching WGN back in the day and just hating Steve Stone and Chip Caray so much. haha that's wack dude! Also, I remember when Aramis Ramirez was the worst fielder! He was on the Pirates and he was usually good for one error per game. Since he's been on the Cubs, he's improved a lot though...and that sucks! I seriously think the Cubs could win the World Series this year! As an Astros fan...I hate that! Carlos Marmol is the best set up man in baseball and the Cubs are too balanced. What's the world coming to? My Astros have won like 6 or 7 in a row and that's nuts! What if we actually won the wild card?!

I hate the Cubs...but it's like a different hate than the one employed by Cards fans. It's like a very personal hatred where I just wish Carlos Zambrano would break his arm or tear his rotator cuff or something...just to see the Cubbies fail! More about Jim Edmonds though...Lord I hate watching him play CF against the Astros! He catches everything! He should totally be a slow, old, white dude who misjudges fly balls and can't hit the cutoff man anymore...but no, man, he's still like Otis fuckin Nixon out there. I actually don't remember how good of a CF Otis Nixon was...but shit I remember HATING the Tomahawk Chop! Damn I hated the Braves...but now they don't matter too much anymore.

But if I moved to Chicago I'd wanna be a Sox fan I think I've decided. But NO No No! my most hated player is A.J. Pierzynski! He seems like such a douche bag! Jim Thome is just a damn hick too! I've lived in Texas toooo long and that shit is no longer cute!

Oh...does telling people "Alfonso Soriano swings the biggest bat in baseball" make anyone else laugh too??

Friday, August 29, 2008

People were cooler in the early 90s

Today I caught "Video Yearbook" on FUSE, which is a tv showcase of videos from a particular year. It's extremely refreshing to still be able to see music videos on tv, and even moreso to see the kinds of videos kids from my generation remember staying up late to see in the wee hours of the morning on the original MTV, way back before the reality show invasion sapped every ounce of credibility from their once legendary lineup. The year featured on this episode was 1994, though viewers should know that not one video I saw was actually from 1994! Instead was a smattering of vintage greats from 1991-1993ish (in the twenty minutes or so I watched), and those videos taught me a lot about music filmography, including the recipe for the perfect encapsulization of what I'd like to think the parts of the early 90s I don't really remember were all about:
  • Neon
  • Funky dance moves
  • Big pants
  • Floppy hats
  • Giant sunglasses
  • Squiggly shapes
  • Cheap green-screen text
Example 1: TLC - "Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg"

In the second video, we take the scene to the beach! Not everything mentioned above is in there, but plenty of neon, bikinis, funky dance moves, wacky haircuts and general zaniness abound.

Example 2: Wreckx-N-Effect - "Rumpshaker"

The other videos I saw were all of the grunge/post-grunge movement (Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains, Nirvana, etc) so they don't merit discussion and barely even the mention I gave them. Hip hop is where it's at, and if current indie rock/hipster styling weren't such a diluted pastiche of what's in those videos, I'd want it to come back full force. For now I guess I'll just have to except the ironic embodiment that Williamsburg's finest are delivering, and use it to remember the golden years of identity confusion.

Anti-Bears: 4.8. 4.7 of those A-Bs are expressly allocated to the sunglasses in the TLC video.

Bears: 2.9. Those fucking hi-tops and cheap neon sunglasses that I saw all over Pitchfork Festival need to fucking go. Also it was kind of a bear when Left-eye died a few years back.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

M.I.A. - Paper Planes

Damn, this song is everywhere. And why not? It rules. It's so groovy and catchy then you get to the chorus and it's all "all I wanna do is *BANG* *BANG* *BANG* *BANG* and *CH-CHING* and I take your money...". I mean those sound effects are fucking awesome. Gunshots and a cash register opening? Brilliant! It almost makes you want to go rob someone just so you have a reason to shoot a gun and open a cash register while you're singing along in your head. If you don't have a gun, and you do have a hand, you should form your hand into a gun and make shooting motions whenever that part comes up. If you don't have a gun and you don't have hands, I'm sorry because that really sucks. There's got to be something you can use, right? As for that cash register, you have to envision one of those older ones with the pull arm that opens it. Modern electronic registers are far from acceptable, even if they do make some sort of ch-ching noise. Just know that you're an idiot if this is what you think of.

Anyway, I'm getting to a point, I promise. Today I took a bus down to UT campus so that I could get an ACL pass for a friend from some dude from craigslist. While I was walking down Guadalupe I heard "Paper Planes" playing from a jeep at the stopped red light and I looked over to see what I can only assume is the biggest douchebag in the universe singing along to his cd with a stupid affected british accent and a terrible singing voice (and a slightly embarrassed girlfriend rode shotgun). It wouldn't have been so bad if the guy didn't have spiked blonde hair and if he wasn't wearing a tank top.

Now, my music taste almost automatically categorizes me as a snob, or at the least, an elitist. I try to not be judgemental when it comes to music tastes, but when people are talking about music and it's my turn and I mention a bunch of bands that the people I'm talking to haven't heard of, I can feel myself being silently labeled as "one of those people", the kind of individual who is liable to hate everyone who doesn't measure up taste-wise to their impossible standards. What's ironic about having the kind of mentality where you thinking everyone's an idiot for listening to the radio is that the feeling tends to go away as you listen to more and more music, but that's a topic for a different discussion.

What I'm ultimately getting at is this: that fuckwad in the jeep is the reason for such elitism and snobbery. I saw that idiot in the car and I immediately felt a small pang of defensiveness for M.I.A., and a little bit of selfishness in that I didn't want that idiot to have the capacity to listen to the same music as me. It kind of left this repugnant image in my mind that I'll probably think of every time I hear that song from now on. Thank you, asshole, you might have ruined a great song for me.

Bears: 4.5. It kind of sucks when a song you like is totally ruined. It's possible that it might not be completely ruined though, so there's that.

Anti-bears: 1.5. It's at least a little funny, right?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Trip Back to the '90's, via eBay

A fond memory of my grade school days (starting around 4th grade) was coming home from school to watch television. We had a gargantuan snack drawer in the house that was overflowing with Oreos, Twinkies, and other Little Debbie goodies and I would raid it, head upstairs, and plop down on the couch for the weekday TBS excitement- one hour of Saved By the Bell, one hour of Full House (I think WGN even played their own hour of Saved by the Bell, so you could sit there forever if you wanted). Things change- there is no more afternoon tv with that sort of heavy-hitting lineup, and the snack drawer doesn't seem as big to me anymore. At any rate, for some reason I was on hold with the insurance company today and I found some true gems of memorabilia on eBay that commemorated these special memories in my heart.

What Would Danny Tanner Do?
You couldn't fault anyone wearing this shirt. If I saw someone walking around in it you would have to think that they were logical, smart-decision making people, and that never hurt anyone. I would like someone to get on the ball and make up some "What Would Charz Do" t-shirts. It could be like a Taco Bell marketing campaign.
3.5 anti-bears: quite the conversation piece
4.0 bears: takes a lot of guts to wear, which Danny Tanner never had
Slater Tee
In the t-shirt spirit still, I actually like this one. It is pink though, and suggests that the thought of AC Slater alone is enough to make one dizzy with infatuation, so the only people who could wear this one would be 14 year old girls (or Charz).
4.0 anti-bears: good for a legitimate laugh (maybe)
4.5 bears: as a guy, I am excluded from being able to bid on this
Trading Cards
Are you kidding me? Who buys these? "I'll trade you my Johnny Dakota and Mr. Tuttle for your Belding." "Nah, man, that's a rip-off, throw in Mr. Dewey and we'll call it a deal." "Is it autographed?"
o.o anti-bears: no use whatsoever
2.5 bears: looks like they may have been only 25 cents. i'd have probably suckered myself into buying a pack
AC Slater Doll
This may come off as just another shot at Charz, but it's not. He truly has one of these.
3.7 anti-bears: comes with a "stamper" of Mario's authentic autograph that you can use on your yearbooks
3.3 bears: doesn't look like the plastic mullet blows in the wind
Uncle Jesse Doll
If I had any courage at all, I would put this on my desk at work. I mean, think of all the comments it would produce! Jesse, of "Jesse and the Rippers"! It's an indie rock artifact.
4.2 anti-bears: if you look closely, you can see that "Jesse's guitar holds family photos."
o.o bears: this is totally redeemed because Jesse's guitar holds family photos.
Mr. Belding Autograph.
5.0 bears: Obviously the seller of this notecard with Dennis Haskins' autograph just pulled out an index card from the drawer and signed it. Couldn't he have at least found Mr. Belding's baseball card in one of the packs above? I bet Belding can't even walk to the store without 1,000 people digging out index cards for him to sign, poor guy.
I left out the Saved by the Bell sheet music that was up for auction.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Olympians in Pinstripes

So as I was forced to watch the Olympic games due to baseball rain delays, I happened to notice Michael Phelps win his 31st Olympic gold medal. Hats off to Phelps and all, but what I thought was most interesting were the rumors buzzing around that the Yankees are trying to sign him up for that extra little boost to get into the playoffs. We all know that the Yanks always recruit and snatch up the best players, slap a Bombers hat on their head, and ship them into the Bronx. You didn't think that Yankee GM Brian Cashman limited himself to looking only for ballplayers, did you? So after a bit of research, I found the top Yankee prospects, assuming they perform well enough this week in Beijing for New York fans to accept them into the family.

#1: Michael Phelps, Swimmer, United States

As already stated, Phelps is a baller in the pool. No reason the Yanks couldn't use him as another outfielder. He could probably swim to first base faster than Pudge could run there. Rumors also say that Phelps can provide a variety of speedos in the locker room that Jason Giambi can wear when he wants to bust out of a slump.

#2: Jiang Yuyuan, Gymnast, China

So the trendy thing seems to be to import an Asian guy to the Major Leagues. At Wrigley, all the lame Cubs fans seem to go bonkers over Kosuke Fukudome. They sell karate headbands in and around the stadium that say "FUKUDOME" on them in Chinese lettering, the kind of headbands that Danny Larusso wore in The Karate Kid. I saw grown men wearing them as much as children. Fukudome is the most overrated player ever, but they love the guy to death because he's Asian. So since Hideki Matsui has seen a lot of the DL lately, the Yankees front office seems to think that putting Yuyuan in left field will boost ticket sales, if not their chances of making the World Series. By the time you finish reading this article, the country of China will have cast enough votes to get Yuyuan into the 2009 All Star Game. It's just all about keeping up with the multicultural times, really.

#3: Sean Breathnach, Shot Putter, Ireland

I don't even know if this guy is in the Olympics. I just needed a shot putter and I thought he should be Irish, so this is what the technology spit out at me. Basically the deal is this: Joba Chamberlain sucks and couldn't live up to the hype. Yanks want to bolster their pitching staff, so why not Sean Breathnach? Remember the "Joba Rules"? Where Joba couldn't pitch more than ten pitches or something in an inning, and then had to sit out like three games in-between to rest his arm? Sean Breathnach doesn't need any of that babying. You're pretty much guaranteed a complete game every time he takes the mound. His ERA might end up a little high, but you can always count on not having to go to your bullpen until at least the ninth.

#4: Shawn Johnson, Gymnast, United States

Shawn Johnson is a gymnast, and though small the Yanks think her durability could land her a few starts as a backup catcher, giving Pudge the day off every now and then. In fact, the scouts believe that she may be the only one who is able to catch on the days when Sean Breathnach makes his starts in the rotation. As additional appeal, she could be a new flame for Jeter, who has already dated through the ranks of Mariah Carey, Gabrielle Union, et al etc et al.

#5: (A-Rod's request to the Yankee front office- anyone from the women's Olympic weightlifting team)

No comment.

#6: Mary Lou Retton, Gymnast, United States
Surely you recall those shenanigans Clemens and the Yankees pulled, where Clemens waits until he sees which team he wants to play for, sits until mid-season, and then signs for billions of dollars, and then announces his coming-out-of-retirement during the seventh inning stretch at Yankee stadium? Signing an old star past their prime and acting like they're going to be the season's saving grace is straight up the way New York does business. This year, they've got their sights on Mary Lou Retton, Olympic great. Leave it to the Yanks, they have no shame. At least Retton will come through in the clutch better than A-Rod- she's a threat to take the "Miss October" title away from him.

So that's the hot news that I found from the scouting reports. If the Bombers can even add half of these prospects to their team, I guarantee you they will be able to make it to another choke in the playoffs.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wreview from Wrigley

So the Cardinals took only 1 out of 3 games against the Cubs this weekend, but I was fortunate enough to be present at Saturday's game, which was the one where they were victorious. A driving voyage to St. Louis for a Thursday afternoon game, and then on to Chi-town for Sox vs. Sox on Friday and then Cubs/Cards on Saturday ended on a good note with a 12-3 Cardinals win. Listening to them drop the rubber game on the radio while driving back Sunday was a bit of a bear. Does a "bit of a bear" equal "cub"?

Without letting this become a rant about my dislike for the Cubs, I'll say I do enjoy going to Wrigley. This was only my second trip there, the first being with Garz last summer when Zambrano pitched- coincidentally, I saw him pitch again on Saturday. It has a good cozy feel too it, and the setting makes a regular season game feel like the playoffs. We had tickets that were in the very last row in the upper deck on the third baseline, but the stadium is so small we still had a good view of the whole game (not really obstructed by the steel beams). We were shaded and our backs were to a chain link fence, giving a good cool breeze. I'd say there were 25-30% Cardinal fans there, and I wore my Ankiel jersey and cheered enthusiastically for St. Louis, but was careful to not be obnoxious- I was not there agitate Cubs fans.

That said, I do not understand the fixation with the Cubs. If you took away Wrigley, what would be left? And is Wrigley even that great? Baseball is only good when the Cardinals win (feel free to change that to whichever team you like). I didn't travel all the way up to Chicago to see Wrigley, I wanted to see the Cards beat the Cubs at home, and that may as well be in a sandlot or a cornfield in Joliet. So while I'll buy that Wrigley is cool, I don't see how it warrants the attitude or confidence that the fans seem to have about their "cubbies." And why does it seem like such a trendy pick to be a Cubs fan? Why do I picture the classic Cubs fan as a frat guy with shades and a beer in his hand? Has someone pulled the ivy over my eyes?

Overall though, this was your classic 5 anti-bears/0 bears type of trip. Again, I didn't mean this as a rip on the Cubs or their supporters, and I didn't encounter any fans who were bears themselves. It just seems that if someone moved to Chicago tomorrow and you asked them which team they would root for, they'd pick the Cubs. Just sayin'.

One big bonus for Wrigley- none of the gimmicky games/music/attention-getting junk that goes on at most other stadiums. You can truly go there for the baseball (and Cubs fans can go for the beer). I mean if I ever have a six year old kid and take him to the baseball game, he won't be playing in the sandbox during the game or over at the Build-A-Bear workshop. He'd better at least be trying to convince me, through the use of statistics like isolated power upon my request, why the Cardinals picking up Felipe Lopez was a good idea.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Dark Knight

I've heard friends call this movie the greatest movie they've ever seen. Everybody is gushing over its brilliance. I saw it last night... and I gotta say, I disagree. I mean, I thought it was alright. It was pretty good. But not great. People think I'm crazy. They get mad when I don't speak highly of the film. Have any 2k'ers seen it? I'm curious what ya'll think.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Zero Boys

Damn was I ever fucked up last night. I got to hang out with Eric's brother Christian though.

Hey, we've had lots of Grateful Dead talk on charz2k. While I'm not completely against "The Dead" I did grow up as a punk, the hippie's natural enemy. So The Zero Boys are our punk antidote. Go watch this video of them playing at the Pizza Palace in 1981. The Zero Boys were from Indianapolis and I actually like them more than the Germs. The Germs are great but Darby Crash looks like an inaccessible, jerky art-fag compared to the Zero Boys' Paul Mahern. I mean look at these guys! They're just poor kids making noise. Plus, their songs are amazing. These are just song snippets but I can't get enough of this video.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rock Band vs Guitar Hero

Fall, 2005. I'm a senior in college, splittin' a room with J, livin' with the guys in Milbrook. Kros mentions he got some really frickin lame sounding game about a guitar-ddr crossover with a plastic guitar. A few weeks later, we have Guitar Hero 1 in our common room and are rocking out on a regular basis. Now, almost 3 years later, GH3 is out, as is Rock Band, GH3's prime competitor in the fake-plastic-instrument-video-game-whynotspendyourtimelearningarealinstrumentinsteadofwastingallthistimeonfakeinstruments-market.
So here it is. Guitar Hero versus Rock Band. The final say. The winner is... Rock Band, by a landslide.

I was hesitant at first about Rock Band. I was a loyal GH fan, and vocals/drums seemed kinda dumb. BUT, like with GH 3 years ago, I was wrong. Rock Band is superior to Guitar Hero in every single way.

1. Drums/vocals. This adds a whole new fun element in the game. At first I was timid about singing, but no longer. It's a lot of fun. Who cares if you have an awful singing voice. Your friends will be too glued into hitting the right notes on their instruments to notice. And drums, although difficult, is also very fun. If you have 4 ppl playing GH, you gotta alternate songs. Rock Band is great for groups of friends-maybe one of the best hang-out-and-play-with-friends games of all time for any system.

2. The Campaign. I'll admit I'm not familiar with GH3's campaign mode, and comparing RB to GH1 would be unfair. So I'll just rave about RB. The "World Tour" starts in just a few cities, and as things progress, you can unlock new cities and bigger venues. Also, in venues you have options to play single songs, or sets. And there are challenges and stuff along the way, and new things can be unlocked, like a sound guy, PR firm, etc. Very addicting and fun to play.

3. The guitar gameplay. Of all things, GH should have a better guitar... I mean it's called GUITAR HERO. You'd expect the guitar and bass to be better. Although almost a tie, I give the slight edge to RB, because in GH, when you get "starpower," the colors turn blue and I would always miss a note as I switched to starpower because the colors go away. In RB, the colors stay, so I can safely deploy "overdrive" and keep my streak going!

4. Last, but not least, the songs, man! We keep unlocking new songs, and they keep rocking. Electric version! Reptillia! (although GH3 has this too) Don't Fear the Reaper! (VERY fun to sing) The Who, The Rolling Stones, BOSTON!! Bowie, Black Sabbath, (early) Weezer! The songs are great, and more can be downloaded.

Rock Band simply rocks. So go get Rock Band, or be like me, and bum off of a friend who has it. Why waste your time with a "real" instrument when you could be earning virtual fans, traveling all over the world with your band, and having a great time?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Why Jared, Why??

gotta take sown that pic

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Best Second of the Year

Anti-Bears: 5.0

Bears: 0.0

Picking out a single second to call your favorite of the year is trimming all the possible candidates down to the one that has 1000 milliseconds of pure joy. Thus it is impossible to have any bears for the champion. Many people have favorite days or even months, but I have one definite choice for the ultimate annual second.

It is a moment of doubt, a flash of uncertainty, yet a beacon of hope. It comes on the birthday of our country, the greatest in world history. I look forward to this second every year.

Which second, you ask? For certain! It is without a doubt the last second of the hot dog eating contest on Coney Island, when everyone scrambles to shove in the last bits of pig and soggy bun into their mouth (as long as it's in there when time's up, it counts!)

Congrats to Joey Chestnut, eating 59 dogs in 10 minutes and beating Kobayashi in a 5 dog eat-off after the tie. Way to keep the title belt in America.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Happy 4th of July everybody! I was driving past the fireworks stands the other night and realized I hadn't bought fireworks in years and years. I probably wouldn't even recognize what new technologies they have available these days, but here are the ones I remember.

Let's start the review off with a bang. These were cool. I always felt like an army soldier and wrapped these things over my shoulder. If Kevin McCallister could use them to scare away a pizza delivery guy in Home Alone, surely I could employ them to a grand purpose as well. I don't think I ever did though. I probably just sat around staring at the cool Black Cat logo.

Tanks- I was all over these things. It combined my favorite passion for little Hot Wheels cars and toys into a sweet, compact, and menacing looking firework. As I recall they never rolled as well as I thought they were going to on those little paper wheels, and only scooted a foot or two anyways.

Sparklers- A classic firework, a classic dud in my opinion. You had to stand there and once the initial joy of getting the sparks to fly with the "Hsssss!" wore off, the only thing left that you could do was move your arms around in awkward motions to make light shapes in the night. Quite a girly firework, if you ask me. The stuff for gymnasts and baton twirlers. Kevin McCallister wouldn't be caught dead with one of these sissies.

Roman candles. My dream as a little kid was to get in a roman candle fight with the older kids in the neighborhood. I was always too scared to ever get that experience, my one true 4th of July regret; I don't like to talk about it.

Rockets- Ahoy! Now these were something to get excited about! I remember these being a bit more expensive than the other fireworks, so I had to shell out a bit more dough to blast one of these guys into the sky. Oh man. What is better than putting five bucks on a launch pad, lighting it with a punk, and seeing it skate off sideways down the street instead of actually going upwards? Now that's something to buy!

Finally, Snaps. Ah, after it's all done, these were what remained. You could carry the joy of July 4th into July 5th, 6th, and 7th with these snaps. They were packaged in sawdust that got all into your pocket. Nothing more refreshing than thinking you were out of snaps and then discovering one last one hiding in the bag under the dust. These were worthless.

Anti-bears: 1.0. I can't actually think of anything good to say about fireworks, other than I can't imagine the 4th of July without them.

Bears: 4.5. If you can't tell, I don't like fireworks. July 4th is cool, but I don't dig watching the same thing over and over and over, especially if I had to pay for them. I'll be in watching the Cards/Cubs game on Friday night. Hopefully Zambrano will get lit up.