Tuesday, October 28, 2003

I've been reading Rachel's recent musings about, among other things, the merits of certain Outkast and Rage against the Machine songs, which got me thinking about my own audial* preferences. I'm one of those people who doesn't like most of the songs they like the first time they hear them**, that is, I usually require time for a song to grow on me. But there are a few select songs that I have liked right from the get-go, and Hey Ya and Killing in the Name Of just happen to be two members of that group. In fact, Hey Ya deserves extra credit not only for being a great song, but also for being accompanied by one of the most unabashedly joyous videos I've seen in a long time***. A few other "liked-em-the-first-time" songs that come to mind are The Urge's Four Letters, Two Words, Outkast's Bombs over Baghdad, and The Roots' The Seed 2.0, Weezer's The World Has Turned and Left Me Here , The Who's Who Are You, and Yes's Roundabout.

Anyway, I'm getting distracted from the purpose of this post, which is attempting to explain my musical prefrences. Perhaps it's easist to do this in the form of pseudo-decision tree (or a choose-your-own-adventure novel for that matter, they're conceptually identical).

0) Is it is a country song? If yes, you lose. If no, move to 1.
1) Is it a Led Zeppelin song? If no, move to 2. If yes, the song passes the Lucas test.
2) Is it a rap song? If yes, move to 3. If no, move to 4.
3) Is it a rap song that sounds exactly like 95% of rap songs that have come out in the last few years? Does it involve very expensive or very cheap alcohol, clubs, "Pimpin", and your thoughts regarding Ho's? If yes, you lose. If no, move to 4.
4) Is it played on MTV? If yes, move to 5. If no, move to 6.
5) Is it sung by someone who's unusually attractive, to you or the opposite sex? If yes, you lose. If no, move to 6.
6) Is there a "techo" (i.e. stupid and repetitive) beat behind it. If yes, you lose. If no, move to 7.
7) Is the song from the eighties? If yes, move to 8. If no, move to 10.
8) Is the song closer to a Journey song than a Talking Heads song? If yes, you better well be listening to it for comedic value. If no, move to 9.
9) Is it a hair band song (and yes, Bon Jovi is as much of a hair band as Poison, Whitesnake, or anything else)? If yes, you lose. If no, move to 10.
10) Is it a song where you "really have to listen to the lyrics". If yes, you lose. If no, move to 11.
11) Does it sound like a song by The Strokes? If yes, you lose. If no, move to 12.
12) Does it suck? If yes, you lose. If no, the song passes the Lucas test.

* Yes, it is a word.
**I just set the world record for bad pronoun use in a phrase. Thank you.
*** The video can be seen here, by the way, but I must warn you it means you'll have to go to the MTV website.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Ok, so last week's experiment did not work out too well for Lucas. So this week, I get the final say on the picks, but he's going to make the comments (except the Jax one). So....we'll see how it goes.

NYG at MIN: I have nothing to say when Lisa insists on picking Minnesota. MIN

CLE at NE: People say Butch Davis isn't revealing his QB until gametime because he doesn't want to tip his hand, but its really because he waits to see who gives him the bigger bribe. This week Tim Couch gave Davis a puppy and a pearl necklace, so my money's on him. NE

CAR at NO: You think I'm jumping ship on the Panthers after only one week? And yes, Chris, your pick here is a valid upset special.CAR

DAL at TB: DO NOT misinterpert this as a vote of support for Dallas in any way, shape or form. I just really think Tampa sucks. A marginal upset special. DAL

TEN at JAX: Chris, don't feel bad. I may be a Jags fan, but I'm a realistic one. This is definitely a rebuilding year for the Jags, so...TEN

DEN at BAL: Here it is, my "Game I don't care about of the week". It's also a strong contender for most boring game of the week, as these teams will probably combine for about fifty yards passing. BAL

DET at CHI: This is the game that's being broadcast this week in Hell, incidentally. CHI

SEA at CIN: I actually have a good feeling about Cincy here, but I'll defer based on Lisa's proven expertise. SEA

STL at PIT: I'm still not convinced that St. Louis is any good on grass, especially with no running game. I'm also predicting that whatever dope the Rams trot out at RB will have at least two fumbles, but I don't get any points for that. PIT

SF at AZ: I'm starting to think the Cards only win will be against Green Bay, and that pretty much ruins my life right there. SF

HOU at IND: I loved Tony Dungy's move to Indy because when he was in Tampa I was forced to hate him even though I always liked the guy. Not in that way, you weirdo. IND

NYJ at PHI: Green is the color of the Jets, the Eagles, and puke. PHI

BUF at KC: The Dick Vermeil "Real Tears" Cryin' & Smilin' Doll is evidently in line to be this Chrismas's must-have present. KC

MIA at SD: Every year there's that one team who plays only to spite me in picks. Last year it was the Titans. This year it's the Chargers, who won their only game on the only week I didn't pick them to win. This, of course, guarantees a gigantic upset. MIA

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Two news stories in two days? You better believe it. This one involves some scientific investigation of the well-known 5-second rule: If food's on the ground for less than 5 seconds, it's still good. It took a high school student to come up with the idea, and the results seem to be somewhat inconclusive, so clearly more analysis is needed. In particular, I think there are more intersting questions to be addressed on this matter, such as:

1) Correlation between income levels and propensity for application of the 5-second rule
2) Correlation between weight and propensity for application of the 5-second rule
3) Correlation between age and propensity for application of the 5-second rule
4) Why anyone would think this is important enough to devote time and money to

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

BOO! This weekend I was lucky enough to complete a rare quad-fecta* of football suckiness, something that happens only rarely and tends to ruin my week from there on out:

1) I lost in picks to Chris
2) I lost in my fantasy football league
3) The Packers lost
4) The Wisconsin Badgers lost

So I Boo, not at anyone or anything in particular, but only at cruel fate, whose furies have aligned against me. Booooooo.

On a more positive note, scientists have discovered a 65-millon-year-old frog living underground in India, the last of the kind that hopped around trying to avoid dinosaurs in the late Cretaceous. I don't think it's the one particular frog that's really old, which would be more interesting, but it still looks cool. Scientists call it the greatest find in the last hundred years, which makes you wonder just how much fun amphibian archaeology is the rest of the time.

*What comes after a trifecta, anyway?

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Chris recently claimed that I should no longer get credit for the picks on this site, which is a "Them's Fightin' Words" situation if I've ever seen one. Therefore, I will make the picks this week (with input from Lisa - it's a double-barrelled assault).

Before I start, however, I have to take a shot at Chris's recent "upset specials", where the phrase "upset" is being stretched to the breaking point. GB at home over KC? SF over MIN? These aren't exactly shocking picks. Perhaps he's just discouraged that his earlier (legit) upset specials didn't pan out. Anyway, there was never an established rule that we must pick upset specials ever week, so I would recommend that Chris stop these clear misnomers. From now on, I hope to see that the term is only used when appropriate.

Ok then, on to business.

GB at STL: If I ever was to pick GB to lose, this would be the game. Alas, I cannot - I'm blinded by my sentiments. I'm like "The Woman Who Keeps Coming Back" in all those movies I hate. GB.

NE at MIA: In a shocking upset, this game gets the "Game I Don't Care About of the Week" Award. MIA.

DEN at MIN: Vikings are in way over they're head, and I'll stick to that line even if they go 16-0. Daunte Culpepper is due for one of his patented 5-turnover games. DEN.

PHI at NYG: Wow, there's something really wrong with the Eagles. Two things, actually, a snakebit defense and a terrible offense (and Donovan McNabb ain't the problem, even though he's been playing like 60's folk rocker Donovan lately) NYG.

TEN at CAR: I've been partial to the Panthers ever since they made my week 2 upset special dreams come true at Tampa Bay. Can you imagine how good this team would be with even a speck of a passing game? CAR.

NO at ATL: And the difference between Doug Johnson and Kurt Kittner is what, again? NO.

BAL at CIN: Bengals, you've had your fun. Now go back to doing what you do best. BAL.

SD at CLE: Chris calls this the "Snoozer of the Week", which sounds an awful lot like my "Game I Don't Care About of The Week". I'm looking into suing for copyright infringement. The Chargers have let me down too many times this year to pick them. CLE.

DAL at DET: I have a feeling that Detroit could pull this one out, but that would be breaking my cardinal rule: Thou Shalt Never Pick Detroit In An Upset. DAL.

NYJ at HOU: Believe it or not, the Jets have almost the same record they had at this point last year. Now they're old and bad, but they can rekindle memories of their playoff run for one more week, at least. NYJ.

WAS at BUF: Ah, it's been so long since I've had to come up with Steve Spurrier one-liners. Discouraged by a recent defeat, Steve Spurrier now requires Patrick Ramsey to report to the sidelines after each play to see if he's been benched or not. BUF.

TB at SF: Do I seem to unreasonably target the Bucs for upset specials? Yes, I do. But it's worked so far. SF.

CHI at SEA: Note to Chicago's management: Your team sucks - It's not Kordell Stewart's fault. By the way, do you think Kordell can put "Professional Scapegoat" on his resume at this point? SEA.

KC at OAK: (Lucas's inner monologue during end of last week's game) RRGH! SO MAD AT K.C. .......Slowly...being...calmed...by...Dick Vermeil's...puppydog...face..........Ahhhhh....... OAK.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

MLB Playoff Musings:
(Warning:you will not find this interesting if you don't follow baseball)

I recently realized that, being a brewer fan, I have never watched a meaningful baseball game in my life.

If the Cubs do win it all, the Brewers and the Pirates each deserve at least 25% of the credit: The Brewers for knocking the Astros behind the Cubs in the standings, and the Pirates for supplying half the Cubs team.

I hate the Yankees as much as the next guy, but Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez are punks.

If anything, I'd have to throw my hat in for the Marlins, who are young, spunky, low-paid and enthusiastic. Dontrelle Willis is a little too enthusiastic, though.

Speaking of the marlins, has anyone noticed that they're basically the polar opposite of the florida team that won it all a few years ago, which was old, lethargic, high-paid, and calm.

Chicago fans, stop crying about fan interference. That kind of play happens in baseball. The Cubs didn't get screwed, and were still leading by three runs after it happened. It's the Cubs fault, so deal with it.

If I hear anything more about goat curses or bambino curses I'm going to start cursing.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

Ok, it's time for NFL picks again. I could just pick the same teams as Chris so that we remain tied for another week, but what would be the fun in that? And, not only is this a big week for the picks, but our fantasy football teams are playing each other this week. Oh, and Lucas wanted me to let everyone know that he's allowing me to continue to make the picks for another week because I "whipped Chris' butt" last week (remember, I didn't say that, Lucas did).

NYG at NE: Well, I couldn't really come up with much to say about this game, so I'll be brief. NYG

CHI at NO: The Saints haven't done a whole lot this year. Neither has Chicago, until last week. Which means...nothing. Except that I don't think Chicago is going to have a win streak of 2. NO

TB at WAS: Just looking at this, I would go for WAS, mainly because I'm not a fan of TB, but also because TB just finished playing an overtime game on Monday night. But, since they lost, I'm sure they're very angry and I think they might get a win based on that. TB

MIA at JAX: So, theoretically, I should always pick Jax since that's the team that I root for. But, I'm realistic, and I know that they aren't very good, so if I pick them to win everytime, that'll get me into trouble. Last week, I had the opposite problem, but at least I could console myself with the fact that they won. Maybe that'll happen again this week. MIA

OAK at CLE: Once upon a time, I would've picked Oakland. But that was a long, long,...,long time ago. When they were young. CLE

PHI at DAL: Does anyone else find it weird that Dallas is 3-1? And yet, I keep picking them to win. And they have rewarded me both times. But I think I'll try to spice things up this week. PHI

KC at GB: Will Dante Hall extend his streak another week? I don't know, but we all know who I'm picking for this week...surprise, surprise...GB

HOU at TEN: Yeah, so, Houston could come out of nowhere and win, but I doubt it. TEN

CAR at IND: Somehow Indy managed to have enough stuff last week to beat TB. Do they have anything left for this week? Which unbeaten team will win? IND

PIT at DEN: This could get me into trouble this week, but I feel like picking PIT

BUF at NYJ: Can the Jets get their first win against a Bills team that has suffered a couple of injuries (namely, Moulds)? Ok, why not? And let this be my upset special too. NYJ

BAL at AZ: Lucas also agreed that he would choose this game for his "Game I Don't Care About of the Week Award." Against Arizona, I'll take the rookie coming off a bye. BAL

SF at SEA: Oh yeah, last year's infamous Sharpie game was between SF and SEA. Well, that may happen again, but I think that the outcome might be different. SEA

ATL at STL: Still no Vick, still not picking Atlanta. STL

Thursday, October 09, 2003

I am proud to present the Real-Life Cartoon Character Award to the Jacksonville Jaguar Chris Hanson, who recently injured himself in a bizzare wood-chopping incident. This is the same Chris Hanson who, approximately the year ago, injured himself in an equally bizarre fondue incident.

Only a punter.....

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Do you ever have an idea for a post, but then keep procrastinating the actual "posting" part? C'mon, I know you do. But this isn't about you, it's about me, of course, and an event I attended about a month ago. I have been meaning to post about it ever since then, but always found found myself doing other things (not important things, mind you, but still things). Anyway, I've decided to suck it up and finally write something, so .....

I was always under the impression that if there was a "fest" to be had, one that was worthy of its name, it was done in milwaukee. For those of you who aren't familiar with the area, there's a large festival park on the shores of lake michigan near downtown that is used almost continously over the summer for one festival after another. The naming conventions for these festivals are at MadLibs-level simplicity: If you are celebrating (noun1), you name your festival (noun1)fest. A near-complete list can be found here, although I should mention that some of them are listed by their more formal names, violating the conventions I mentioned above.

Now recently, in Madison, I happend to see some advertisments for a so-called "Bratfest", which was held in Madison, not Milwaukee. If you haven't quite grasped how the name thing works, Bratfest is a Brat(wurst) festival. If you don't know what bratwurst is, you might as well stop reading. Evidently, this was no ordinary bratwurst festival, it was in fact "the world's largest" bratwurst festival.

I had some reservations about going to a non-Milwaukee fest, but we're talking about sausauge here, so, needless to say, I went. I was expecting a wide varietly of bratwurst from different sausage makers available for purchase, along with some bratwurst cooking and eating competitions. Instead, there was exactly one type of bratwurst available and no side attractions. It turns out that this was all a big stunt to try to break the world bratwurst-eating record. I doubt wheter this record actually exists since it has no parameters associated with it, it's just a number, "148,230". One the bright side, the sausages were just $1 a pop and were pretty tasty too. I had a couple, and although the record wasn't broken this year, I considered my time at bratfest well-spent.

The End. If you were expecting this rambling, incoherent tale to go somewhere, sorry. If you're looking for a moral, I don't think there is one. How about, "Don't look a gift brat in the mouth"?

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Lucas has graciously decided that I should make the picks again after my performance last week. But it seems that someone doesn't want to talk about that, so I won't. Anyways, it might have been beginner's luck. I guess we'll have to see how things turn out this week.

MIN at ATL: Hmm...well, Vick is still out, so that means that Atlanta will have a hard time doing anything on offense. Sorry Lucas, but...MIN

TEN at NE: Is there anyone healthy on the Patriots? You better hope that you don't leave the game with more injured people. In this case, I have to go with the team that is still intact. TEN

MIA at NYG: Um, I don't really have much to say about this game, except Ricky Williams. The end. MIA

NO at CAR: Can I ride the Panthers' bandwagon again? After the Saints' sorry showing last Sunday, the answer is yes. CAR

CIN at BUF: Ok Cincinnati, you had your win. Now it's back to what you do best: losing. BUF

OAK at CHI: The old and creaky raiders versus the winless bears. The Bears looked pretty awful in their last game and I think that this trend will continue. OAK

AZ at DAL: This game doesn't sound too exciting aside from the whole emmitt smith thing. It's not that I necessarily think that Dallas is good or anything. I just think that they might be slightly better than Arizona. DAL

SEA at GB: As before, I don't want to die. Not to mention, is Seattle really that good? Honestly? GB

DEN at KC: Portis is still iffy and the other team has Priest Holmes. Gee, I don't know. KC

SD at JAX: This is a hard game to make out since neither team is very good and since neither team has won a game. Someone has to win, though, and opinions seem to be divided. I want Jacksonville to win, really I do, but....I just don't think that it's going to happen...SD

DET at SF: Owens, you are a pathetic, self-centered, egomaniac. Now, having said that, I still don't think that the Lions can win (but just out of curiosity, if Detroit plays Cincinnati, should you pick Cincinnati? I'll have to ask Lucas). SF

WAS at PHI: Is McNabb back to the way he was last year? I hope so, since he's on my fantasy football team. But that's not the point. But I do think that they can beat the Redskins. PHI

CLE at PIT: I guess if any team had to lose to Cincinnati, it would be Cleveland. And now they have to face Pittsburgh? Life can be so cruel sometimes. PIT

IND at TB: Does Indianapolis have anything left after their Sunday night performance last week? I don't know, but Edgerrin James is supposed to be back in the lineup so that helps. Call this my upset special. IND

Friday, October 03, 2003

There's been some discussion recently about Wisconsin state quarters, and of course I feel the need to speak up. Now I'm a Wisconsinite, through and through, but the winning design is nothing short of shameful. How can anyone put a cow's head and the word "Forward" within fifty feet of each other? And the cheese and corn? That's one winning combination. My gut is just twisting in anticipation of the next time I can sit down in front of a corn & cheese sandwich.

Even worse, this design was actually the winner over two other finalists in an online poll. The other designs weren't exactly profound, but they looked like fine art compared to 'ol cowhead. Now, in my opinion, the only Wisconsin residents that would possibly vote for the cowhead were farmers, and they don't account for a large percentage of the state population (and aren't exactly the most internet-savvy either). Therefore, the only logical explanation is that most of the cowhead votes came from out of state, as the website made no attempt to check what state you were resident in. The votes could have come from disgruntled bear fans in Chicago, Minnesotans with an identity crisis, or even smug east-coasters. Wisconsin has many enemies, but I digress...

The story doesn't end here. A few days ago, disaster was apparently averted when the committee in charge of determining the winner decided to go against the popular vote in favor of the explorer quarter. But Wisconsin's governor, who has the final say, decided to ignore the committee and go with the cowhead anyway. If this isn't grounds for impeachment I don't know what is.

Forward, indeed.