Monday, August 31, 2009

Mergers and Acquistions

Opening the Google News homepage, you may see one of the top ten stories listed today is about BJ Services being acquired by Baker Hughes for $5.5 billion.

BJ Services is not what my first thought indicated it would be. That either makes me a man or... uh... a man.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Around the World

Circumnavigate. It means to go around the globe. I don't mean one of those sweet globe bar things that really rich people can afford to buy from The Sharper Image. I mean the whole thing. You know... Where you and (sometimes) I live. Yeah. Earth.

Earlier this week, 17 year old Mike Perham of England finished his circumnavigation of the globe. When I was that age, I was worrying about not crashing my 1989 Ford Escort (named "The Mach 5"). For those of you who don't know, I eventually did but not before I had some amazing senior pictures taken with it. I was at the photography studio and saw a picture of this guy dressed as a fireman standing next to his red pick up truck... There were photo-enhanced flames and everything! After deciding that this dude looked like the baddest mofo on the planet, I decided that I, too, wanted to inspire the throngs of middle classians with a sweet picture of me... and my car. And so shot after shot (much to the photographers amusement) were taken of me in amazing poses in, on, and around my car. I was like Tawny Kitaen in a Whitesnake video but with slightly more clothes.

But back to my point. This is truly a remarkable feat. 30,000 miles. Alone. Sure, he had a support crew relatively nearby him the whole time but this wasn't like Bear Grylls faking his way through adventures. Did anyone see the episode with Will Ferrell? I can't imagine the star of Semi-Pro (the best film about Flint EVER) surviving any extended period of time in the mountains. Maybe if it were Winter Park, Colorado and there mugs of cocoa a-plenty. But that would be about the only way. Otherwise, this dude ain't buyin' it. And I've been known to buy some dumb shit in my day. The 2 disc collectors edition DVD set of Snakes on a Plane for instance. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy the movie. I do.
How impressive is Mike's accomplishment? Well, let me try to put things in perspective. 500 years ago, Juan Sebastián Elcano (not Ferdinand Magellan) completed the first circumnavigation of the globe by sailing with a crew of sea worthy men who had spent their entire lives training for said purpose. 251 of the 270 men who started on the voyage died during it. That's not very good. Unless you're a pirate and are into looting, pludering, and killing... Then it would be a great success!

I think I'd like to try my hand at something like this. All I need is $14 million and a dream, right?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"The Courage of Detroit" by Mitch Albom

There are several writers that I particularly admire:

  • C.S. Lewis for the way he portrays religion.
  • John Irving for the way he portrays religion in the stark but paradoxically comparative way to Lewis.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien for the world he created. [All the world's Harry Potter devotees would do well to take a step back in time and read his works.
  • Mitch Albom for every word he has ever written about Detroit.

Never heard of the last guy? Don't worry... You will.

Mitch Albom is primarily known for writing Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Well, at least outside of the Metro Detroit area. They're two respectable books in their own right loved by millions of Oprah devotees the world over. And by "devotees" I mean "soccer moms". Of course, you probably already knew that.

Sure those books are a little schmaltzy and certainly touching. And, sure, they were wildly popular at the time of their respective releases; each spending several weeks on The New York Times' Best Seller list. And, sure, the made-for-TV movies did quite well (so I've read) when they aired. But non of those reasons are why I like Mitch Albom.

Mitch Albom, for nearly a quarter of a century now, has lived and worked in the city of Detroit writing for The Detroit News and Free Press. I remember when I finally started to understand the gravitas of his quality of writing when I was in middle school and looking forward to his weekly Sunday column in the sports section. He wrote and still writes about the Pistons, the Red Wings, the Tigers, the Wolverines, and the Lions. Rather, he wrote and still writes about my Pistons, my Red Wings, my Tigers, my Wolverines, and (admittedly) my Lions.

Very recently, I got into a spirited conversation (go figure) about the merits of the state of Texas versus those of Michigan. I saw my fellow debator's point: about why she had so much pride for her state. I encourage everyone to be proud of where they are from, where they're at, where they are going (even if they don't always know where that is). I don't appreciate folks using words like "douche" when they are ignorant about a situation. And, yes, I use that in the academic sense in this case. I've been called many worse things in my lifetime. Water off a duck's back, really.

I love my home state. Ask Langford. He'll tell you I never shut up about the place. Find me a place with more refreshing summer nights. I dare you. Find me a place where 85 miles hours per hour on the freeway may be fast enough for the center lane. I double dare you. Find me a place where you can get Vernor's on tap. I triple dog dare you. But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

And, still, I know I will never be as good of a writer as Mitch Albom or ever be able to express how much that state and that city has shaped me. So, I'll let him do it.

Thank you, Mitch, for being incredibly talented. Thank you for influencing (to this day) how I would like to be able to write. Thank you for continuing to support the city of Detroit and really the entire state when so many of us (myself included) have up and left. But, really, thank you for being an incredibly talented and gracious man. Detroit The world needs more folks like you.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


All of Nashville seemed to be in one place last night:

That's right, at the The Jonas Brothers concert. "the The"? Sure. Why not?

In keeping up with all things Nashville as it is my job (but not really), I checked my Twilight twitter feed throughout the day. The fine folks over at Nashvillest have a much more relavent blog than I do and the accompanying corporate tie-ins which I am so desperately seeking to make me rich beyond my wildest dreams. Or, at the very least, afford me an extra burrito every once in a while. Anyway, the Nashvillest twitter feed thingy was consistently updated with pictures upon pictures upon pictures and updates upon updates upon updates about Team Dreamboat The JoBros. Who knew that these three dudes were as popular as they are, inciting tweens (some as old as 12, even) to lose their mind in mass hysteria? Not I.

That doesn't mean that I'm completely ignorant of popular culture but I'm not much for the Disney tween scene. In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I do enjoy Miley Cyrus' latest single "Party in the USA". What's not to love about it?
- "Party"? Check
- "USA"? Check
- "in the"? Check
I still kinda hope that she falls of that mountain she's trying to climb from her previous single [Writer's note: "v" and "c" are right next to each other on the keyboard. Don't make a mistake.]. Maybe her next song could be called "The Descent"... Maybe she can work in a reference to the film of the same name:

I was descendin' down that hill / I didn't know the path /
I came across the creatures / And all their bloody wrath

A little bit macabre for someone whose Christian name is Hope Destiny Cyrus? Poppycock! It would just be a sign of her maturity. Hell, I'd buy the record if she started singing about zombies. I wonder if I can get some points from Hollywood Records for that? Hmm...

What was I talking about? Oh, yeah... The Jonas Brothers and the stupid traffic. Nashville traffic is bad enough. Nashville drivers, doubly so. So you can imagine the downtown area chock-a-block full of minivans [Writer's note #2: This is defensible because I drive a sport utility wagon.] full of the aforementioned tweens and at least one rather unfortunate chaperone... and the aforementioned maelstrom of forrest green Honda Odyssey that ensued. Speaking of which, I'm sure that Odysseus would be rolling over in his grave if he knew that his name had been lent to a car manufacturer whose sole purpose was to transport seventh graders to see some dudes whose hair will never fall out sing power ballads.

All of this traffic frustrated me. Traffic usually does. Not so much in the morning or evening on the way to or from work, respectively because that's part of the day; that's budgeted into my schedule. However, when all I want to do is get home and watch Payback and fall asleep, I get frustrated when throngs of glowstick wearing young girls get in my way.

It's not that I hate the girls. I don't. I think there's some poison magic in the glowsticks that turns girls from moderately coherent and occasionally semi-logical to totally incoherent and acting like spending $83 on a bottle of wine on a first date is a totally legit thing to do. It's not, by the way.

Maybe I'm just jealous of The JoBros. I don't have throngs of people screaming and clamoring for my attention: especially of the female persuasion. Also, I don't have an awesome stylist who can make me look like I'm not developing a bald spot and who would encourage me not to wear the same two pair of pants over and over again for weeks on end sans washing. And maybe I don't have sweet guitar playing chops (even though I kinda do). And maybe I can't wear a vest and not look like a penguin. And maybe I don't have the force of Disney behind me.

But I've got a cheeseburger tattoo on my arm and I once sat down and watched all 45 episodes of Sports Night in a row. If those don't do it, I don't know what will.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Beast (revisited. sort of.)

I promised you an update on my dating misadventures, so here they are. I just ruined the suprise with the strike through tag, didn't I? No matter. It's story time, regardless. A week and a half ago, I wrote this blog entry about misstep number ∞ in my dating adventures. Or, rather, the lack thereof. .
Is it of the utmost importance that you read the aforementioned note before continuing this one? Not really... but it'd help. The part that I will reference dragon slaying while wearing nothing but my underpants and a smile might be a bit confusing otherwise. The picture to the right is a sculpture of the battle that may have actually taken place.

Last Wednesday night, I showed up at 22's house for dinner and movie night. I know that that ship had done sailed [which was shortly before I took on that horde of magical trolls] but, if you'll recall from the previous blog entry I had struck up a conversation with her roommate. We'll call her 25. And, as fate would have it, she is also a hot lady nurse. If I were to chalk things up to coincidence, that would get a big mark.

Not feeling the slightest bit awkward, I arrived on time (as I always do) and was greeted at the front by 25 wearing nothing but a towel. I couldn't make that up if I tried and we all know how things in my dating life tend to go anyway. That's right... "Starcruiser WEEEEE... Starcruiser CRASHHHHH!" How many The Ewok Adventure: The Battle for Endor references did you think you'd encounter today? Probably not too many.

Are you thinking about Wickett in a towel answering the door all seductively?

What about now? Yeah... Thought so.

Things were going well. We talked about my beard. We talked about tattoos. We talked about how well I can grill food... Okay... So I've got a few things going for me. Everything was going well until her boyfriend showed up.

The first thing that has popped into my head after writing and subsequently reading that last sentence is Adam Sandler as Robbie Hart in The Wedding Singer with his, "BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION YESTERDAY!" tirade that he launches into. Again... If there's anything that inspires lust and desire it's thoughts of Adam Sandler. And Wicket the Ewok. Sharing a towel.

I'm chock full of romanticism today.

What should have been an awkward night turned into me and four other people (22 invited her man friend over for the evening, by the way) watching No Country for Old Men. But at least it was better than fighting that rock monster like I did a week and a half ago as I mentioned at great length in the previous post. I mean... I had to woo 'em somehow, right.

Nashville continues to amaze me. It's the only place on earth that I can think of where the bards and poets end up with the ladies and I end up standing confused with my sword in my hand.

Let's hear it for entendres.

Monday, August 24, 2009

I'm an expert in nameology

I inevitably end up at (The)5 Spot most every weekend. Is it because I get a halfway decent price on drinks? Is it because I never have to pay cover? Is it because at least one of the Shortlands is up there most every night? Is it because there’s a chance that The Mattoid is playing? The answer, of course, is “yes”. To all of it.

I think what makes a bar feel more like home than perhaps it should is not only what is there but what isn’t there. Now, if you’ve ever been to Red Door East you may already know where I’m going with this. Sure, I can fit in there when I want to. I can also end sentences with prepositions when I want to. I can even do it twice in a row. It tends to be a very ‘hit or miss’ crowd. (The) 5 Spot, however, is a ‘hit’ each and every night. That is, when people are there. That’s an advertising problem that they have so I’m going to let them worry about it for the time being. I am available for hire. *wink*

I don’t hang out with dudes are into cage fighting. That’s their thing and being small and without the use of some sort of weapon or without being able to cheat in said fight, I’m imagining that I wouldn’t be very good against some sort of skilled opponent: especially when the dude has tribal tattoos. That’s like Samson and his hair, right there, except for it’s permanently affixed.

Before Erika, Sean and I went to see Inglorious Basterds on Saturday night, we decided that after a round of fish and chips that we would hit up (The) 5 Spot for a quick drink. And wouldn’t you know who was there… The entire Nashville Cage Fighters’ Group-y Association of Dudes Who Look Like They Eat Rocks for Breakfast or the NCFGAoDWLLTERfB, for short. And by “entire” I mean “three”. I swear, though, that one of these guys looks like and takes up the size of 9 regular guys. Multiplication tells me that that’s like 27 regular guys. It only took me six years to finish college by the way.

I was quietly enjoying my bottle of cold, delicious Miller High Life [sponsorship, please] while bikini-clad models pranced about me [big sponsorship, please] and wearing my favorite sports team’s ball cap [gimme some money already, Miller Brewing Company!], when a member or nine of the NCFGAoDWLLTERfB got up and ordered some sort of “bomb” drink for one of his ladyfriends who had just arrived. Now, I didn’t get a good look at said ladyfriend but I did hear a loud, high-pitched series of “WOOOOOO!s” behind me from a woman who smelled like she was probably all sticky and glittery. Too much Love Spell perfume from Victoria’s Secret [no sponsorship needed, thank you very much] is never a good thing.

I managed to keep from laughing out of fear of getting beat up one nine of these dudes. “WOOOOOO!’s” usually make me giggle. But what made me almost spit out some of my golden deliciousness [PAY A DUDE!!!] was that same high pitched voice introducing herself to the rest of the NCFGAoDWLLTERfB. “Hi!” she squeaked. “My name’s Misty!” She said it with such fervor and vigor. Such joy. Such rapturous wonder that one could not help but be mystified as to why she was so excited about her own name. I’ve never been that excited about my own name. I don’t know if I’ve ever been that excited about anything in my life… and I’ve seen some cool shit. A mountain lion, for instance. That was pretty cool. I don’t know if I have ever gotten ‘Misty’ excited, though. I mean… I don’t know if I have ever gotten excited like Misty. That’s the one.

Maybe she had a thing for being named after weather conditions. That would certainly put her in a unique group, though. There aren’t a whole lot of folks named Katrina or Ike that just get stoked on weather every time they hear their name. I mean when I think of those two names, I think of displaced masses and high gas prices. Or, too a lesser extent, the great Soviet ice skating pair of the late 70’s. Maybe it’s because her name isn’t a violent weather condition; just kind of annoying. In that respect, her name was an entirely apropos moniker.

But what do I know… my last name is Bohn. I don’t really have a leg to stand on. Except for the calceneus bone… and then I guess I do. Well, two of ‘em, really.

Doubly good.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ring a ding ding!

When I lived in Michigan, I had a friend and former roommate named Brad: super nice dude, drank too much Coca Cola, and was more into Detroit Tigers baseball than anyone else I had ever met. We worked together, too, and strangely enough never got at each other’s throats. It was lovely. Brad always had some crazy situations surrounding him. One in particular sticks out…

I was sitting at home on the night of the Malace at the Palace and had re-arranged the furniture in the family room, much to Brad’s initial shock and severe confusion. Some people just have a thing about the placement of their futons. At any rate, I heard a pair of voices behind me coming in the front door of the apartment and recognized one of them. The other was high pitched and pretty-like. It was a woman that Brad had managed to convince to swing by apartment 12A-182 before they headed back out. This was particularly intriguing to me because she was 6’1” and looked like a model and Brad was 5’10” and (strangely enough) looked like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings trilogy. “Good for him!” I thought as I turned my attention back to the television.

Three seconds later, Brad had picked me up and spun me over his head like a pro wrestler would and made my foot hit the ceiling fan. This was both exciting and annoying. “ROBBBBBBBIT!” he yelled. “This is [insert generic name of a woman here]. We’re going back out to the bar and you’re comin’! Hang on, I gotta go make bears.” If you have to ask what “make bears” means, I don’t want to be the one to tell you. Furthermore, if you’re into pickin’ up chicks at the bar and have already one back to your pad, why would you want to risk going out again? Bah… No matter. It didn’t make sense to me but then again neither did many of Brad’s plans.

During the long Michigan winters when external home improvements and window cleanings all but grind to a halt, I would often find myself with nothing to do. I got really good at Madden 2005 once… I was playing it several hours a day. I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy three times that winter, too. I may have even made it to the post office a time or two. I was pretty productive. Brad, however would be scheming. Always scheming, he was… For the precioussss… And that’s not too much of an exaggeration.

One plan of Brad’s that I found particularly intriguing was his plan to rob a bank. Yes. Rob a bank. I don’t think he’d ever actually do it because he wasn’t very stealthy but that’s just nitpicking, in’it? Anyway, his plan was to head up to the U.P. and find a bank in a county with one cop. He was going to stage a car accident on one side of the county and while Johnny Law was out dealing with that he would go rob a bank. I mentioned to him that his planned sounded awfully similar to the plot of Reindeer Games and he called me a “Ben Affleck lover” and got mad. Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms, yo. Besides, I wasn’t the one trying to rob a bank.

Pure of heart, I am was.

Recently, the biggest heist in London’s history took place. Yes, folks, things outside of the realm of celebrity deaths happen in the world… Although this summer seems to be proving that point to the contrary. Conspirators are turning up left and right in this burglary.

I haven’t talked to Brad in a few years. I, unfortunately, lost contact with him when I moved to Nashville. I know he isn’t improving homes any longer. I know he wanted to go get his MBA. What I don’t know is if he ever honed his safecracking abilities. Or if he’s been to London recently. Or if I’m really going to get that 10% cut that he promised me for keeping my mouth shut. I probably won’t now, though…

So, Brad, keep running. Don’t travel at night. Stay off the roads. Wait… that was hobbit advice and we all know that Gollum can’t resist a gold ring.

Monday, August 17, 2009

No, Luke... I am your flower... Er... Father.

I think that there’s a difference between binge drinking and drinking on a typical Saturday night and for me that would be intent. It’s pretty simple, I know. And, as I’m sure you’ve all heard, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I think that’s a lie and a bold miscategorization [that’s seven syllables right there] but I’ll get to that some other time.

In my never ending quest to… umm… do something, I end up at the bar on a relatively regular basis. I like beer and I’m Irish. What do you expect? I’m not going to light the world on fire with how charming I can be with parlor tricks and certainly the phrase “not a dry seat in the house” rarely applies to my hitting-on ability. Again, I like beer and I’m Irish. I’m there to have a good time and, sure, if some gorgeous young lassie magically falls in love with my beard (one woman in particular on Saturday night called it “sexy”) then all the better. All the best. Whatever. I don’t have flat-ironed hair and I knew that at the end of the evening (Saturday night, for example) when Baron VonDouchenstein was settling up his bar tab and getting ready to have a no-strings attached hook up with Blondie O’Sexuallytransmitteddisease, I was walking out the door to go clean up flowers from a wedding with a couple of gay dudes… this being after I had worked in a flower shoppe for seven hours earlier in the day. I couldn’t make that up if I tried. But that’s the life that I’ve chosen. Besides, fifty bucks for cleaning up a wedding is fifty bucks.

I realize that most of the latter portion of that paragraph made me sound gay. I’m not. I’m just bad with hittin’ on chicks at the bar.

So anyway, as I was leaving 3 Crow on Saturday night to go clean up flowers from said wedding, I received several swift kicks to the legs under the table from Robbie. He said I needed “encouragement” or something. I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention. At any rate, I finished my last bit of courage juice for the evening (it was number severalth, by the by) and walked out to the back porch to feebly and flusteredly (fuck you, red squiggly line, it is too a word) do my deed. No, I wasn’t going to pee on a table or anything like that. I’m not that kind of drinker. I’m the kind that plays air guitar solos to Journey songs and falls of the bar stool. Simultaneously. It’s called “talent” and I’d like to think that I’ve got some. God made me funny-looking so He made up for it by making me funny. I made my way up to the top section of the back porch and did what I do.

“What is that?” you might ask. I made an ass out of myself. Not quite as big of an ass I made out of myself when I yelled the F-bomb very loudly at the Sounds game earlier that evening. I didn’t corrupt any youth. A gaggle (that’s what a group of kids is called, right?) turned themselves around with mouths agape at my blue language. We all know they had heard the word before otherwise they wouldn’t have been so offended by it. See how I reasoned that one out? That’s just another example of my talent.

Any attempts for making a quick but lasting impression were, as usual, feeble. I’m not lacking in confidence just ability. When 22’s [Robbie and I have a code language by the way] face lit up with text message receipt after text message receipt from her yet-to-arrive-but-promised-he-was-on-his-way date for that night, I knew my chances were nil. I didn’t care, though, because I had that wedding to go to and I’m really quite good at making dramatic entrances and exits. I’m like Darth Vader in a way… if he delivered flowers occasionally.

So, guard down and significant amount of talent juice still in the system, I turned my attention to making nice for the next 15 minutes with everyone who wasn’t anyone for the reason that I was there.

What? That’s right… I started hitting on other chicks, unbeknownst to me at the time. Women like to be called “chicks” right? Turns out that I’m at my best when I don’t care. Or, so I’d like to think.

After striking up a conversation with another chick [there’s that word again] at the table, and giving her a ten minute window of my life and her telling me that my beard was “sexy” (see?) we decided that Wednesday night would be a good night to get food. Actually, I said it and said that she didn’t have a choice. Seemed to work out. I wonder when she’s going to tell me that she has a boyfriend. Probably after I pay for her burrito. In a sick twist of something-or-other, burrito lady also happens to be a hot lady nurse. Not the one from my “Love in an Elevator” series but a different one altogether. I’ll update on Thursday with the exciting conclusion even though we all know how it’s going to end already. Just like Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith. That’s two Darth Vader references in one blog. Ladies, eat your heart out.

So I went and cleaned up a wedding. And being the stellar guy that I am, I told a friend that I would bring her some flowers that I was going to swipe that were leftover from said wedding. I dropped them off on her porch in west Nashville at 130 in the a.m. because she was still out for the night.

If you’re sitting there reading this blog (and I know you are because I hear it all the time, stalkers), you like burritos and beards and guys that will drop off stolen flowers for you on your front porch while you’re out having a good time somewhere else, then for the love of God, get me. Desperation is an ugly cologne but it’s better than smelling like hookers.

And all that without a single picture. See? Talent.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I have no good memories of Rick Pitino

When I was in middle school, I collected sports cards. Every red cent I could get my hands on went straight to buying packs of cards. I would never buy them individually from the display cases – that was no fun. I had this grand investment scheme wherein I would hoard massive amounts of cards and one day, some years down the road, would part with my collection when it had no more sentimental value to me. Unless this industry makes a serious comeback, I think I am out of money. I wonder if I can get a bailout for that? Maybe call it the “Cash for Cards” program. I mean, Shaquille O’Neal rookie cards have held their value about as well as Joe SixPack’s 1992 Dodge Dakota. It’s simple economics, really. Or something.

As I started growing older (not really “growing up” because that’s not any fun), my interest in accruing a greater number of cards dwindled in comparison to having more valuable ones. And one way to increase the value of cards was to get them autographed. I often envied and still do, to a certain degree, my cousin Ryan who has a rather impressive autograph collection for sports memorabilia. I started at the beginning… writing letters to players with addresses that I found in the back of my sports card pricing magazines. I’d usually throw in a card or two asking for their autograph and telling them about a play that particularly stuck out in my mind that I enjoyed having seen. Check out the fuckin’ sentence construction on that! Many players were happy to oblige.

My favorite memory of getting any correspondence back from a player was from a little known National League pitcher from the 80’s named Dave Dravecky. He wrote a really great book called Comeback about his battle with cancer that I read when I was in seventh grade… Probably while I was listening to Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’s “Good Vibrations”. This is where I am going to put a picture of Marky Wahlberg in his underpants because chicks like that sort of thing. I wrote him (Dave, not Mark) a letter informing him that I didn’t have any recollection of his playing days in the mid-to-late 80’s and I didn’t have any cards of his to ask for an autograph on but that I really enjoyed his book. Long story short (because I know that few of you come here for touching stories and rather for the snark. Don’t worry… I’ll get there eventually.), he got cancer, had a much ballyhooed and incredibly heartbreaking comeback, and eventually had his left (pitching) arm amputated. Several weeks after sending him a letter, I received a letter back from The Outreach of Hope Foundation. This was particularly exciting for me because being all of twelve or so I was pretty stoked when I got mail of any kind but especially it appeared as though I had received junk mail. I was growing older and I liked it. Similar to that Katy Perry song about kissing a girl and liking it. How’s that for referencing things that were awesome a year ago. Get in line, advertisers willing to give me your money! See the snark? ‘Cause there it is!

I opened this piece of mail that I got and much to my surprise and elation, I received a very nice typed letter from Mr. Dravecky thanking me for my letter. It was quite personalized and even signed! Hot damn! As I continued to read the letter, and search through this rather large envelope, I discovered that Dave had taken the time to dig up some of his old baseball cards and autograph them for me. It was an incredibly nice gesture from an incredibly nice man. I’ve still got those to this day. Maybe sentimentality is harder to kill than I thought it would be.

One of the many sports figures that I sent letters to was Rick Pitino. I remember that distinctly because I sent autograph requests to just two coaches: Rick Pitino and Chuck Daly. I never did hear back from either one of them. Chuck got a pass because he was busy coaching against the dreaded Michael Jordan and had led my beloved Detroit Pistons to back-to-back titles and was out winning Olympic gold medals with the 1992 Dream Team. In all honesty, I think I could have coached that team to gold:

  • Computer Blue!

  • You guys want some Pancakes?

  • Game… Blouses.

And so on… I was a prodigy.

Rick Pitino, however, had no excuse. This was right after his shitty pro coaching stint in New York and just before Kentucky started to get good at hoops again. For some reason, I had always appreciated his coaching style. Maybe it’s because his Knicks could never figure out a way to beat my Pistons in the playoffs. Subconsciously, I bet that had something do with it.

If you follow sports, I’m betting that you’ve probably heard about the current maelstrom surrounding Pitino. I know that Wikipedia is not a credible source but I just wanted to give you the quick and easy version… Just like Pitino would have wanted it!

What? Too soon? Too mean? Balderdash!

I’m not here [today] to drag his name through the mud. He’s doing just fine digging his own grave. I'm doing just fine throing out as many metaphors as I possibly can. I’m here today to tell you about my experiences with sports celebrities. That’s an ugly, awful word: celebrities. But, one of the first memories I have of Pitino was a bad one… Nearly twenty years later, I still have the same impression and now I’m kinda glad I don’t have his autograph.

I wish there were more Dave Draveckys in this world and fewer Rick Pitinos. I’m pretty naïve, still… I guess that comes with not growing up.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Win in the End

People like me. They really do. Not in the “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog-gone-it people like me” sort of way. After Stuart Saves His Family, it’s amazing that Al Franken was still able to become governor. Of course, Minnesota is kinda fucked up anyway. SNL-isms aside, people really do like me. Whether it’s my athletic prowess, my good-at-internets-skills, my beard, my rapists’ wit [?], or my tattoos, it’s something. Hmm… Maybe it’s ‘cause I’m Irish. There’s no cure for charm, ladies. Sorry ‘bout that. My connection to the great Emerald Isle not withstanding, if I had to pin it to any of the things listed above, I would peg the tattoos. That doesn’t mean that I want you pulling at my shirt to look at them. I don’t pull at your shirt to look at your boobies, do I? Hmm… I might be on to something here. I know I’ve mentioned that before and at somewhat extended length but it bears repeating.

Also, boobs are awesome. What? They are.

All that being said, my current collection of tattoos is only going to take me so far. I’m back in the very competitive East Nashville market now where hipsters rule. It’s like Brooklyn without the smell and it’s about one percent the size. So… uhh… not at all really. It is, however, filled with people that look and dress and like this. Strangely enough, a sweatband doesn’t mean to me what it means to them: “We use these as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline!” Sorry if I slipped into Col Nathan Jessep territory for a moment there. It happens. I just want to let you all know how very intensely anti-hipster I am despite what my outfits would indicate. I dress like an idiot because I have no fashion sense; hipsters dress like idiots because they are idiots. There’s a very fine line of distinction between the two.

Part of the ever growing East Nashville hipster repartee to the fashion (and really whole social) world at large is the increasing number of ironical ironic tattoos. I have plenty of funny ones, sure. But all of mine are for things that I like:

  • Do I really like The Big Lebowski that much? Yes.

  • Do I really think I’m AWESOME? Yes.

  • Do I really like cheeseburgers that much? You better believe it.

For several months now, I have talked about wanting to get a Teen Wolf tattoo. I haven’t figured out where and, since I’ve been short on cash and since Colby up and moved to Denver, I haven’t really had the opportunity to go get some sick ink, brah. There are few other movies that I have seen more often than that one. Interestingly, I have never owned it on DVD or VHS (taping it off of NBC 20 years ago doesn’t count, I don’t think). Christmas is just around the corner, dear readers.

Think of the hipster points! Scene points are dead, by the way. I’m back on the eastside and on to bigger and better things! I’m thinking of something along the lines of Scott Howard doing a handstand on top of the Wolfmobile. Don’t tell me that that wasn’t the coolest fucking thing you saw in 1985. I mean, chicks with glitter all over their faces would be clamoring for my attention! I’d even get a shirt that reads “What are you looking at, Dicknose?” just like Styles. I could even pretend I was in high school when in reality, I’m in my late twenties (barely) just like Jerry Levine did for that character. Talk about a perfect storm.

I’m looking forward to this greatly. I’m gonna skrimp and save my pennies to make this dream come true. I’m gonna win in the end. [Mark Saffin, you are a musical genius.]

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hair raising performances

You see what happens when you're good at computers? You can figure out ways around blocked websites. Facebook pending. Sure, they're in place for a reason at work but when it's this slow on a Monday, what is one supposed to do? I've read all my beaty little eyes can handle on FMLA morning already. Yes, there is a test later. Yes, that was a lie. As of late, I have done an excellent job of staying on task here at work. I really enjoy my job and, stranger still, I really like working in a cubicle. Not as much as I like, say, mountain hiking but it's better than getting kicked in the teeth or creeping out a blonde at the bar which I may have inadvertently done on Saturday during the East Nashville Tomato Festival. But it's okay. All that being said, I am doing some job shadowing this afternoon and have really nothing else to do until that begins.

It's called "rationalization" and we all do it all the time. Don't judge me.

As I was am giving my eyes a rest from all things related to FMLA and the associated insurance whatnot that goes hand in hand with it, I popped on over to Google's news page. If you don't know how to get to Google, I am certainly not going to provide you with a link. Here's a quarter. Buy a clue. At any rate, their news section is exactly what one would expect it to be like: full of meta amounts of data and stories on everything from Obama's latest giving money away platform (send some my way, Barry!) to Typhoon Morakot attacking Taiwan. It's a pretty good aggregator, if you ask me. And I know you were going to anyway. I'm like a pre-cog in that movie Minority Report. You remember... The one with that dude that can't act (look to your left, kiddies) and... uhh... and that other dude that can't act. It sucked. Plus, Tom Cruise looks like he's trying to do some weird, Tron inspired finger dance half the movie. It's very disconcerting.

However, since it is Google and all... You get plenty of shit, too. Like, for example, a link to tasty nugget of news right on the front page. That's news? Really? I'm not even going to get into the fact that the movie (NOT film) won 11 MTV movie award things. I already threw up in my wastebasket and I don't know if I have the stomach to start thinking about that again.

Sure, people either love or hate the Twilight monster. Books, movies, that chick that was in that one Jodie Foster movie about a room in a house or something... There's rhythm, music, the works all about it. I don't know the first thing about the saga. Don't really care. What I do care about is how the dudes in the aforementioned MTV article credited their "awesome hair" for helping them to win awards. Sure, it appears that the, uh, stars of the film spoke it in jest but let's be serious for a second, okay? But just for a second.

Kids don't know any better. They see these dudes running around with greasy hair raised toward the heavens and are all "Sure, I'll vote for them for some awards!" Here's a major secret, folks: I used to have hair like that every summer. I got it at this place called "camp". It was awesome. There were panty candy raids and everything. I'm not so sure that "candy" is a better word than "panty". The entendres are through the roof on that one.

I've always been ahead of my time and ahead of the trends. If, 15 years ago, I would have known that having sweet and disgusting hair (it's a paradox) I would have said to my hair, "Hey, hair! Don't start fallin' out! You're gonna have to win an MTV Movie Award for me someday, damnit! Look your best!"

Of course, I could always just by that stuff in a can and have someone photoshop the results into an ad for me which may or may not have been done on one of the images on this post. I'll let you guess which one.

It's not the one with out Tom Cruise. I told you that I'm no good at keeping secrets. With that in mind, Tom Cruise survives Minority Report. There... I just saved you two and a half boring hours. Where's my award for that?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

John Hughes: Full of bits of humanity

This has been the summer of celebrity deaths. My friend Mike has a theory (he calls it the "Celebrity Death Trifecta") that celebrity deaths happen in threes. Sure, there's that old adage that things happen in threes but Mike likes to specifically assign this to celebrity deaths. Clearly this theory has been blown out of the water. Although calling Billy Mays a 'celebrity' was certainly pushing the use of that term. I can yell really loudly, too, damnit. By the way, a recent toxicology report from Mays' autopsy indicated that his body had elevated levels of cocaine in his system when he died. This should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody.

One of my passions, of which I have many, is movies. Going to the movies, seeing movies, watching and re-watching and re-re-watching Fletch on a Sunday morning. All of it. I don't know the first thing about film making but I imagine I would rather enjoy it. I was thinking about reading a book about it.

Recently, John Hughes died. Sure, some of his later work (Maid in Manhattan, I'm looking at you) was less than stellar and sure, once the 80's left him he wasn't what he used to be. He took everything that so many teenagers loved and loathed about being teenagers and presented them humorously and heartbreakingly in a way that only celluloid can deliver. [SPOILER ALERT] Remember the end of Planes, Tranes, and Automobiles when Steve Martin's Neal Page realizes that John Candy's Del Griffith really is just a semi-homeless traveling salesman looking for a friend? Neal sees these dozens upon dozens of stickers on Del's traveling trunk and realizes that he is doing to him what so many others beforehand had done. There's a slight smirk of self-realization that washes over Neal's face when he realizes that he could be the change in someone's life that he needs to be. His films were never heavy handed but were full of moments just like the one that I tried to describe above; full of bits of humanity. I can't tell you how many times I've watched that movie. I have it on VHS and I'm sure the tape is getting pretty close to worn out by now. Maybe it's because I'm a cinephile. Maybe it's because I always thought that John Candy's character would be the worst travel companion of all time. Maybe, though, it's because full of those bits of humanity... Like so many of his films were.

My favorite John Hughes related film (take a look at his credits on his page and you'll see just how prolific he really was) is unabashedly, unequivocally Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Ferris embodied everything that every teenager wanted to be: Smooth, had an amazingly hot girlfriend, made vests look cool... You name it, he could do it. Paradoxically, Ferris also characterized everything that made teenagers of, well, every age, teenagers:
*Painfully uncool -- Don't tell me that you don't still sing into the shower head with your hair in a shampoo mohawk.
*Being more than slightly amused at the bodily sounds patch on your keyboard.
*Failing at something EPICALLY and following it up with a feigned confidence of "Never had one lesson!" I've said that line more times than I can count.

And that's how his films ran. Full of anti-heroes. Full of heart. Full of Simple Minds songs. Full of bits of humanity.

John Hughes wasn't controversial. Neither were any of his films. Well, Home Alone 3 may have been just because it was that bad but that's another story altogether. He was able to tap into something in his writing that so many of us (no matter what age we are or were at the time) were able to relate to: that we all were and are painfully uncool. And that's why his films work.

Over the past several years, I have given up on trying to be cool. I don't want to sit down and listen to some hip new band because I've heard nothing but hype about them and upon hearing said band that AP or Kerrang! has just named its "Next Big Nothing". I don't care that much. I don't want to go out and seek new trends on how to market oneself. I don't care about building a brand or an image. I realize that all of that seems incredibly counter intuitive to having a blog. But the simple fact remains that I am painfully uncool. I wear camouflage cargo shorts just in case you needed some icing on the cake. As a matter of fact, I am wearing them right now. That, and nothing else.

Turned on yet? Thought so.

The older that I get (I'm pushing 30 here, folks) the more I realize that Ferris was cool because he cared about his best girl and his best friend. That's all it took. That and some bits of humanity.

Thanks, John Hughes. The world will miss your films. I know I will.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Red, white and blue... not green.

Have you ever seen the movie Boiler Room? It's like a really bad version of Glengarry Glen Ross. And no one is nearly as bad ass as Alec Baldwin's character, Blake, in the Generation X/Y version. Having done sales before, and having been on a million and one sales interviews (a million of which sucked), I have heard, "Oh, man! You've got to see Boiler Room! I watch that movie about once a month. [Pause for laughter]. It's really intense." Anytime I hear that (or some derivative thereof) I know right then and there that the interview is over.

Seriously, you might be surprised at how many times that that movie comes up during sales interivews. I wish I were kidding. If I ever change companies again (hopefully, that won't be the case) I will ask the recruiter on the other end of the phone call if the person with whom I will be meeting is going to mention that film. If they do, I won't even show up... like the Detroit Lions in every football game... uhh... ever. Suck on that one, William Clay Ford. Your team sucks. Your team sucks worse than Boiler Room and guys that wear slip on shoes without socks. And that's alot.

But what's worse than my intense dislike of that horrible, horrible film, and how whatever-it-is relates to the business world? Going GREEN.

My friend Robbie had a nice rant over on his blog about the Cash for Clunkers program. I think that's a good start. Patrick Copeland followed that up with a blog of his own. Again, moving in the right direction. Sure, I love the environment. I drive a 4 cylinder car. I turn off lights when I'm not in a room. I buy rechargeable batteries for my Wii controllers.

I'm sick of hearing about every company "going green".

"Oh! I'm saving the environment! I love the earth! Dirt! Grass! Michigan State!" Michigan State sucks. But that's not the reason that we should stop going green. That's right... I said it. STOP. Damn right.

First off all, Miss Piggy tried to go green for years by gettin' all up on Kermit. That would have killed all the sexual tension on The Muppet Show and what fun is that? Going green all in the name of some porker that needed to get laid? That's not worth it. If you're into that sort of thing, go hang out on 2nd Ave... There's a place called Fuel that's just for you.

What is it that made America great? Was it hanging out with Mother Earth? Nope. We've been fucking that up since before there was even an "America" to speak of. Ask any Indian (feather not dot) about that. They'll tell you. But, by raping and pillaging the land nice and early, we ended up with one of the greatest days of the year: Thanksgiving. Gravy. Turkey. Getting drunk really early on a Thursday. All part of the tradition.

Need another example? Sure! The Exxon/Valdez spill 20 years ago. It wasn't a terrible thing at all! All this drunk Russian captain was trying to do, other than play slalom with some icebergs while doing a shot of vodka for every successful navigation, was trying to make baby seals and polar bears rich beyond their wildest imagination. "Здесь, хорошая печать ребенка! Возьмите эту нефть и быть богатыми! Коммунизм - для мещан... Будьте богаты! Живите! ЖИВИТЕ!" is what he said. What does it mean? This: "Here, nice baby seal! Take this oil and be rich! Communism is for wimps... Be wealthy! Live! LIVE!" Seriously. It's on the black box. Ships have those, right? Did it work? Your damn right, it did. A year and a half later, the dude released a horrid record and still gets to make babies with Heid Klum. It's not 'cause she's in love with his talents. It's 'cause he's loaded.

So I say to you, my fellow Americans, "Screw going GREEN!" It ain't ever got us nowhere. Go buy a sweet new gas guzzler. Go throw your McDonald's wrapper out the window. Leave on all the lights on at your house all the time.

It's how we got here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

By George!

About ten years ago, Ryan Rado, Marcus Kingsland, and I went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Why? Because we wanted to hang out with P.O.D. If you think I am kidding, let me tell you that I am not. The Fundamental Elements of Southtown had just come out and I was fat and listened to mall core. I tempered my love of all things baggy jeans and Adidas related with enough Sunny Day Real Estate to kill a horse. How Sunny Day Real Estate ever killed a horse, I don't know... but you get the idea. Life was very confusing and my love life was as exciting watching Double-A baseball. The three of us decided, on a whim, that driving to Pittsburgh at 11 on a Saturday night for a Sunday night show was a good idea. I was supposed to get a tattoo, I was supposed to do some physics homework, I was supposed to have a jolly good meal or four.

None of those things happened. I got my car broken into, failed my physics test the following week, slept on the back of a tour bus, and realized that Pittsburgh is really just like Detroit with a much better football team... and many more cops. Couldn't stop some dude from breaking into my car, though.

I ended up getting an email address. Called it ih8pittsburgh at hotmail dot com. I wonder if it still exists. Hmmm... If my stolen semi-legal internet connection offered more than one bar, I'd head over there and check it out. I do remember my password, too. I remember everything. Except... not really.

Okay, so Pittsburgh. I'm sure by now, you've all probably heard about the guy out in Pittsburgh who shot some folks at a gym. This is not funny. It's not... Dudes going out and shooting dudes is what happens in HEAT. That movie rules. Shit like that happening in real life is not cool.

I came across an article in today's Christian Science Monitor (because I read it all the time) about George Sodini talks about how he had a website. All about his lack of a dating life. All about how women rejected him. All about his sweet facial hair. I don't even know if I'm making that last part up. I haven't read his blog. Like how no one reads mine.


World domination, here I come.

I feel bad for this guy. He was just a lonely dude, looking for love like (eh! EH! pretty fuckin' smooth, huh?). Hell, I've got to give the dude credit for at least going to stalking chicks at an aerobics class. He wasn't like so many other stalker-dudes-that-go-creepy like Mark Wahlberg in Fear. That move sucks, actually. Reese Witherspoon is creepy. Ask me about my "Reese Witherspoon has a giant light bulb for a head" theory some time. Ask me when I'm drunk. It'll be more fun for me that way.

All this dude needed was some chick to make out with him. And maybe talk about pro wrestling days gone by.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Shake it like a baby you don't like.

I don't eat fast food very often. I eat it more than I should but still... Not that often. Last night, after playing Fable (and, by the way, I'm about a third of the way through it already) for a few hours, I decided that dinner was in order. I like the game. A whole, whole lot. Probably more than I should.

Blogging about video games on the internet? Single, indeed.

Anyway, I got in my car and drove down to Checkers to get a Checkerburger (which is much better than it deserves to be) and a shake. I eat/drink shakes less frequently than I eat fast food. But, and I'm going to quote my Grandad here, "When I want a malt, I want a malt!" Imagine if I were 83, southern, and fist fought Hitler during DubyaDubya 2 and there you go. I don't think I'd want to watch that, though. I'm not much of a boxing fan. Except for when the chicks wail on each other. That rules. Also, if my Grandad were still talking, I'd be scared shitless. Grandad's been dead for a year and a half now and that would be a hell of a trick.

So there I was, sitting in The Family Truckster and thinking about how awesome this milkshake was going to be. Awesome. Mega Awesome. Turbo Awesome. Almost as Awesome as Shark Week which, incidentally, is going on right now. My conversation with the voice on the other end of the magical order taking communimicatorer box went something like this:
Me: "Yeah... I'd like two Checkerburgers."
VotOEotMOTCB: "Two Checkerburgers... Anything else?"
Me: "Yeah, and a, uh, LARGE strawberry shake."
VotOEotMOTCB: "We outta shake mix."
Me [echoing the VotOEotMOTCB]: "You outta shake mix?"
VotOEotMOTCB [disgruntled]: "Yeah... we all outta shake mix."
Me: "Oh, well then I don't want anything.

And I drove off.

Why is every fast food restaurant perpetually:
a.) out of shake mix, or
b.) saddled with a broken shake mix machine.

I'm in the wrong business. I don't want to help people and companies solve their problems anymore. I wanna get into the shake business and I want to do it for me. And only me. Ask me if you can have some of my shake next time we hang out and see what happens:
We all know what happens here. This fight wasn't for pride or the love of a pre-coked out "healthy" Elizabeth Shue. It was 'cause the Cobra Kai tried to get on Daniel's shake. I know. I was there. I've got the tattoo to prove it. Karate is about devotion and discipline. And milkshakes. Trust me: I've got a black belt in... uh... Milkshakuru.

Why don't the shake makers ever plan properly? There's clearly a higher demand for shakes then they are giving their consumers credit for having. All I want is 800 ice cold calories and and all of my saturated fat for the day all at once... And I want it NOW, damnit!

Checker's, don't pull this shit on me again. Get some shake mix and get it now. Consider this strike one. Ask Wendy's about how long I can hold an ice cream-related grudge.