Monday, December 31, 2007

Everybody watched the Patriots game

I don't really understand what TV ratings numbers mean, but apparently a whole lot of people watched the Patriots go 16-0 on Saturday night. Which is great. Let the world fear us. Let them tremble before us. Let them watch in awe as we continue to lay waste to those teams foolish enough to challenge us. Mwah ha ha!

Ahem. Apparently, the game's rating was the highest rating any television program this entire season has obtained. Which makes sense, because there's seriously nothing worth watching on TV right now, especially since "The Office" turned into a boring touchy-feely show about relationships. Guhh. I kind of can't wait for "The Sarah Conner Chronicles," though... is that weird?

Also, according to
Saturday's game was the first three-way simulcast in league history.

Three-way simulcast, eh? Sounds hot. Like the league maybe had always wanted to try it, was kind of curious (who wouldn't be?), but needed to wait for the right opportunity to come along. Oh, the league might be a little self-conscious about having done it for the next couple of days or so, maybe even regret it a bit, but in the long run the league should feel good that it was able to let its inhibitions down and enjoy something like that. It's ok, league, we still respect you and promise not to tell our friends (*snicker*).

Incidentally, I get that this whole Saturday Night Football thing is good for ratings, but I always thought that the point of football broadcasting was to legitimize the consumption of beer at times when it might not otherwise be socially acceptable. To me, a game is kind of wasted on a Saturday night. Then again, I did manage to get free drinks the entire night I was out on Saturday simply because I was wearing a Tom Brady jersey and the gentlemen around me were feeling magnanimous due to our victory. So that's always good.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Mad Libs, the Gabe Kapler way

I really don't find it all that interesting that Gabe Kapler has decided to return to the majors. Of course, he will always have a special place in my heart along with all the members of that magical 2004 Red Sox team (except for you, Doug Mientkiewicz*), but this story really just doesn't have anything particularly compelling about it. So a journeyman outfielder whose career was steeped in mediocrity (.270 average, 64 homers over 850 games) gets bored after a year of coaching Class A ball in Hicksville, SC and decides to restart his career with a team coming off a season of blown potential and continued squandering of Prince Fielder's obscene talent. Yawn. Have fun hitting 9 home runs next season, Gabe.

What did catch my attention, however, was this little gem of a grammatical construction in a post about Kapler's return:

"As far as the question about burning bridges, it could not be further from the truth," he said. "My relationship with [Sox] baseball [operations] is stronger than ever."

That looks to me like some pretty serious liberty being taken with brackets in the second sentence there. By those rules, Kapler's sentence could be mutilated to say any number of things. Observe:

"My relationship with [furry] baseball [mascots] is stronger than ever."

"My relationship with [footed] baseball [pajamas] is stronger than ever."

"My relationship with [eating] baseball [shaped cereal] is stronger than ever."

"My relationship with [crapping out] baseball [sized lumps of glass] is stronger than ever."

"My relationship with [bald, somewhat reminiscent of a storm trooper in a purple-and-black vest, and yet undeniably attractive with his bulging forearms and chiseled features that remind me so much of my own] baseball [player Matt Holliday] is stronger than ever."

and George Mitchell's personal favorite,

"My relationship with [taking] baseball [steroids] is stronger than ever."

That last one really calls the value of Kapler's legacy of competent fielding and lazy fly outs to center field into question.

And he and Matt Holliday would make a cute couple, if only the right-wing fascists of the Rockies management would allow them to express their love. Curse you and your god-fearing ways, Clint Hurdle!

*Yeah, I spelled that right on the first try. You wish you were me.

Football on ice

So the above video is kind of impressive in and of itself, what with the running around on the ice and somehow not wiping out in spectacular fashion as I would most likely do. But the story behind how I found this video is actually much funnier. I went on to YouTube to look for more Australian football videos (I'm becoming obsessed), and started to type "football in Australia" in the search box. But then, Firefox did that little thing where the drop-down menu of past searches you've done that begin with the same letters as what you're typing appears, and the strangest thing popped up:

"football on ice"

Yes, that's correct. At some point in the recent past, I actually searched YouTube for "football on ice." I can't for the life of me remember doing this. What on earth was I thinking? What was I hoping to find? Did I find it?

Obviously, I had to perform the search again, and this is one of the videos I found. Nothing really that cool, though. Disappointing.

Stephon Marbury: liar?

Saying this might actually make me a terrible person, but isn't it just a little suspicious that Stephon Marbury's father just happened to die right at a time when Marbury is clearly pissed off with the Knicks and doesn't want to play? Marbury gets bumped from the starting lineup, storms out on Isaiah Thomas, gets slapped with almost $200,000 in fines that he is currently appealing... and now, oh-so-conveniently, his father passes away just in time to give him 2 weeks off from working the bench for a team that's already posted losses to Chicago, Seattle, and the Clippers? I don't buy this for a minute. I'm sure Marbury has a tearful phony voicemail message saying that he's at the funeral home while he's actually out having wacky adventures with his uptight but loveable best friend. He's clearly faking it.

Or maybe he killed his father.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Australian football players are awesome

So they play football in Australia. No, not like the kind of football that's actually soccer (get it right, every country in the world except America!), but a kind of football that bears no resemblance to any other sport you can think of. It's played with a ball that looks like an American football and can be kicked or carried, but not thrown, and the field has 4 field goal posts and is shaped like a giant oval. (See video above if you need a visual.) Like rugby, the players thrash the everloving hell out of one another and don't wear any pads, and the teams all have stupid names like The Magpies and The Roos. Basically, it's what you might see if you did a whole bunch of drugs and then watched a regular football game. The point is, though, that just like all Australian athletes (I can only assume from what pop culture has taught me), the players of this bizarre game are big dumb oafs. Yay!

An amateur Australian Rules football player celebrating a grand final win was rushed to hospital after accidentally swallowing a bottle cap out of a beer-filled premiership cup.

The 24-year-old from Adelaide inadvertently gulped down the serrated West End beer cap after downing the beer left in the bottom of the cup.

"They filled the premiership cup with beer and were passing it around among everybody,'' Royal Adelaide Hospital emergency department registrar Dr Robert Douglas said.

"He felt something in his throat, and it was a beer bottle cap in his chest, stuck in his oesophagus.''

Tests showed the man's blood alcohol concentration was almost 0.11.

Seriously? This guy sounds awesome. He's the type of guy who was so fun to hang out with in college because he was always so much more of a mess than anyone else -- you could count on him to be out in full form on a Tuesday evening, thereby legitimizing everyone else's being out.

The more I read stories like this about international sports tomfoolery (I feel like British/Irish/Australian sports talk should always contain one or more of the words "shenanigans," "tomfoolery," "hooligans," and "buttocks"), the more disappointed I am in American athletes and their failure to live up to international standards of sports-related idiocy. Come on, Sidney Ponson. Enough with the drunk driving/drunk speedboating/drunk walking down the street and terrorizing little children. I'm sure you could take a beer cap or two to the small intestine.

Also, I just Wikipedia'd Sidney Ponson. Did you know that he was KNIGHTED in 2003 by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands? (Ponson is from Aruba, which is part of the Netherlands kingdom. Apparently, the Netherlands is Holland.) Thus, his full name is Sir Sidney Alton Ponson. Like... a knight. Can't you just picture Sidney Ponson riding around on horseback whomping on non-Christians with one of those dangly spikes on a rod? Eating mutton? Kidnapping, but then eventually wooing, damsels?

Ok, so maybe my only knowledge of what it means to be a knight comes from having gone to Medieval Times. Sue me.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Playlist

Amateur blogging is difficult in this sense: no matter how time-at-work consuming, cathartic, or otherwise enjoyable it may be, every once in a while your life will up and make you busy enough that you realize that you do, in fact, have other things you can and should be doing. Such has been the last several weeks: a huge project at work, time with the family, partial identity theft (yay!), and even the occasional holiday-themed get-together with good friends in the greater Boston area. A girl really can't complain... but now I'm bored and putting off doing the dishes, so back to the blog I stealthily creep.

I don't have much to say in the way of local sports, since I'm trying not to jinx the Pats (and sleeping in my super-old Tom Brady jersey from high school) until Saturday at 8:15 pm, and the Celtics continue to be very good but kind of uninteresting. Also, the Mitchell Report can suck donkey nuts. I refuse to talk about it, even though everyone keeps asking me what I think of it. Yeah, Roger Clemens has been my favorite athlete of all time ever since I was a wee tot learning about The Curse and going on my first trips to Fenway with my uncle, and even though he's devolved into an egotistical attention whore (even worse than me!) in the years since, it fucking slays me that everything he's done might be called into question because of this report. But, I'm not going to talk about it, so there. Also, if you're a baseball fan with no real loyalties looking to settle down, I advise you to consider moving to Detroit before April.

So, not sports for now. It's the end of the year and all that, so I'm saving up for some sort of ingenious list like everyone else comes up with. Right now is not a great time to do that, though, since I'm pretty sure any kind of Top 10 (regardless of the topic) I tried to come up with at this moment would look something like this:

Item 1: Cranberry vodka
Item 2: The Futurama movie
Items 3-8: Cranberry vodka
Item 9: Those cookies from Trader Joe's with the candy cane pieces in them
Item 10: uhhhh what's on TV?

I really don't see enough movies to do Top 10 Movies, and most of the books I've read this year didn't come out in 2007 so a Top 10 Books list would just be a self-congratulatory Look How Sophistimacated I Am piece of garbage rather than a topical and timely literary review. Boo.

So, naturally, I turn to music as the thing that I know most about for purposes of list-making. I hate to do rankings, though, since my taste in music tends to fluctuate wildly. Hands-down, the best album of 2007 is "The Search" by Son Volt (YES. YES. YES.), but beyond that, I find that my "favorite" song, album, or artist tends to very much depend on my current mood, circumstances of the previous several days, and, most notably, the season. What I tend to do is create playlists by season and listen to them endlessly throughout -- so, rather than subjecting the musicians I love to pointless ranking that might hurt their feelings (as per the most recent South Park), here is my Winter 2007 playlist in order of play. It's different from a summer playlist: less folk music and Wilco, more emphasis on lyrics of regret (yeah it was that kind of November), lots of artists named Ben (pure coincidence). This summer was about The Kooks, but the winter is about piano rolls and angst. All of these songs belong on everyone's iPod this January, so soak 'em up.

  1. So Here We Are -- Bloc Party. Tell me those mournful rolls aren't the best way to start out a long drive through the snowy Massachusetts countryside.
  2. The Animals Were Gone -- Damien Rice. Saw him do this live last December at the Orpheum.
  3. Are You Nervous? -- Rock Kills Kid. Actually my favorite song right now. Holy crap this song is good. "This song is about MEEEE!"
  4. Brighter Than Sunshine -- Aqualung.
  5. Sunshine -- Keane. I'm pretty much the president of the Keane fan club, even though nobody else I know likes them... suck it. They're so underrated.
  6. Crown Of Love -- The Arcade Fire. Definitely directed at a certain someone.
  7. Lazy Eye -- Silversun Pickups. Kind of reminds me of what I loved about Nirvana.
  8. Nothing Happening -- Ben Kweller. Come on, this can't be ALL sad songs.
  9. Hideaway -- Rock Kills Kid. The only band duplicated on here, with good reason.
  10. Diamonds On The Inside -- Ben Harper.
  11. Lazarus -- Porcupine Tree.
  12. Half Light -- Athlete. This is such "hero in a movie realizes he has to do whatever it takes to get the girl of his dreams in just the nick of time" music... and god help me, I love it.
  13. Starlight -- Muse. Perhaps the most rock-out-able track on here.
  14. The Crane Wife 3 -- The Decemberists.
  15. Take Me To The Riot -- Stars. This album came out the day before my birthday, and I couldn't wait to have it. It's not as good as it could have been, I don't think, but this song builds up in the best kind of way.
  16. Methamphetamine -- Son Volt. Not 100% fitting with the rest of the indie-pop on here, perhaps, but this is the best song off the best album of the year. It's stark and lonesome, even though it's a partial duet, and does perfect justice to Jay Farrar's reedy drawl and twangy guitar tunings.
  17. Here We Are -- Creeper Lagoon. So emo it's embarrassing, but driving and pensive in just the way a winter song should be.
  18. Lightning Crashes -- Live. There's a great story behind why this is on here, but that's for another time. Suffice to say this: it's all about a boy (a boy in a Randy Moss jersey, as I remember him best), and that shouldn't surprise you.
  19. Landed -- Ben Folds. This song ends on the perfect note to end this playlist, and even though the lyrics are imbued with loss and regret, it's just upbeat enough to leave you feeling warmed rather than drained.

So that's the playlist... trust me, it's good. And now I really should get to those dishes.