Saturday, September 26, 2009

Weekend Video: Jim Gaffigan

This Weekend Video is a clip from the stand-up comedy of Jim Gaffigan from his TV special King Baby. A few years back somebody recommended his other special Beyond the Pale, and I had never laughed so hard. He is actually from NW Indiana, which is an obvious plus. He does bits on a bunch of different random subjects like Hot Pockets, laziness, bacon, and other things. Here is a bit he did on Waffle House:

...and on bacon:

...and here's a conversation he had with then-Senator Barack Obama:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Third-person Sports - BYU: Why the BCS bubble may not have burst just yet

Photo credit: AP

Admittedly, last Saturday was a very disappointing day in Cougar Nation. I, like any other fan of a non-automatic-qualifying team, loved having my team be the center of attention, even if it was only for a couple of weeks.

With the image of a game-winning touchdown catch by McKay Jacobson still only two weeks old, BYU got outplayed by Florida State at home, the first home loss since 2005. And that's the nicest way to describe a 54-28 drubbing.

Frankly, the Cougars were the ones who looked like they hadn't played at that altitude before. The defense that had all the ESPN talking heads paying so much attention to Provo couldn't stop a team Jacksonville State nearly beat.

That said, can BYU salvage the season? While I don't want to underestimate the rest of BYU's schedule, I don't believe a BCS Bowl is completely out of the question for these three reasons:

1. Florida State is not a bad team. Has anybody been following the team Florida State barely lost to? Miami has proven to not be a bad team. In fact, they are now in the top 10 after beating FSU and Georgia Tech, both of which were ranked. And after the way the Seminoles played against the Cougars, I think Miami's ranking, along with continued success from FSU, can only help BYU chances.

2. The Oklahoma game still happened.
Yes, BYU has lost a game, and no non-BCS team has ever gone to a BCS Bowl with a loss on its record. But if someone was going to do it, don't you think a team with a win over Oklahoma (who is not playing poorly, by the way), as well as possible wins against TCU and Utah (who could both be ranked at that point), is in the best position to do it? Frankly, even with one loss, BYU's resume would still be a lot more impressive than an undefeated Boise State (one win at home against Oregon).

3. The polls were actually pretty kind to us. OK, a 12-spot drop is never good news. However, nine games are still left on the schedule. Don't think it's impossible to slowly climb the rankings, especially with the TCU and Utah games still left. Especially, since the four or five undefeated SEC teams ahead of BYU have been feasting on a schedule Boise State would call weak. I would expect most of those teams to lose two games. BYU could very easily find itself in the top 10 once again.

Obviously, there are a lot of assumptions:

This is assuming Max Hall and the Cougars can shake off the loss and win the rest of their games.

This is assuming Boise State loses a game - even though the Cougars would be far more deserving than the Broncos.

This is assuming Florida State really is a good team.

This is assuming TCU and Utah will win every other game possible.

A lot of assumptions? Yes. But I am not - and no BYU fan should be - ready to give up on the 2009 Cougars.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Things in Hell: Bad Neighbors

As far as habitats go, renting is not a terrible way to go. There's a lower commitment level. You have a lower monthly cost for housing. If something breaks (accidentally), you don't have to fix it (if your landlord is adequately competent). And considering the things that have taken place over the last year or so, it's a relief to not have to worry about resale value. If you are not looking to stay in place for more than three or four years, renting an apartment is a very convenient thing to do.

Unless, of course, you have to deal with bad neighbors.

I should probably explain my definition of what a bad neighbor is or isn't.

A bad neighbor IS one who is up outside your window late night yelling, hooting, hollering, fighting, emitting all sorts of profanities, etc. It is amazing to me people can be so socially retarded that they would be standing outside your apartment past midnight swearing up a hurricane. We even had our landlord and his girlfriend arguing at 1 a.m., literally outside our bedroom window. If you own an apartment complex, that is a business. Why would take your relationship problem outside your tenants' window? That would be like the manager at Wendys' taking a employee out to the dining area and firing them during the lunch rush. Under no circumstances are your tenants better off hearing your vulgarity-laced anger than your own walls.

A bad neighbor ISN'T one who makes a batch of brownies now and then. We've had some really good neighbors.

A bad neighbor IS one who makes a batch of SPECIAL brownies now then. We've had some really bad neighbors.

A bad neighbor ISN'T one who doesn't look after you at all. Not trying to encourage stalking, so I'll explain what I mean. While we were living in the aforementioned apartment, we had a neighbor tell us he heard some people try to break into our car one night, so he let his dog out, and it scared the feces out of them. I don't want a neighbor who is in my business all of the time, but if one wants to be a night watchman, I just allow it.

A bad neighbor IS one who brings with him or her frequent police visits. One of our family's first apartments, we lived in a four-plex, and we loved it. We knew everyone in the complex, and better, we trusted everyone in the complex. Then, our landlords sold. We got a landlord who filled empty apartments with his brother's friends, and ABRACADABRA!!! Before you didn't see policemen, now you do! Four visits in four months.

It's a little nerve-racking to see a dozen police officers surrounding your home with their guns drawn and several police dogs by their side. It's also a little nerve-racking to see it twice. And it's also a little nerve-racking to find out your neighbors had been harboring a fugitive of sorts. I've gone my entire life without being responsible for a handful of police cars in my driveway. Why is it so hard for other people?

So little is really being asked by me. Luckily, I am currently blessed with adequate neighbors. We don't bother them, they don't bother us.

It's not the perfect living situation, but things could be a lot worse:

Things in Hell posts are periodic observations of what Hell might have. I am not saying this person/persons is/are actually going to spend eternity there. When I think of the what the worst possible place would have, these kind of people come to mind.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Weekend Video: Louis CK - Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy

I thought I'd start a recurring blog entry called Weekend Video. This Weekend Video features stand-up comedian Louis CK's visit to the then-Late Night with Conan O'Brien. I don't know too much about him, but this video is hilarious, and he is in a movie coming out soon called The Invention of Lying with Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner, Ricky Gervais (The Office, BBC), Rob Lowe, and many others. Enjoy this Weekend Video:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mountain Dew, Where Are You?

What ever happened to Mountain Dew?

I was never a fan of the drink itself, but I remember when Mountain Dew ruled the '90s with commercials like this:

Now you don't really hear much from "The Dew." (Maybe that's also because people started called Donald Trump "The Donald")

What I think has happened is - through no fault of M.D. itself - the demographic for the soda vanished.

Think about it.

Mountain Dew was the X-treme soda of the 1990s. Commercials featuring skydivers and BASE jumpers told consumers that Dew was it for energy-boosting beverages, and consumers listened intently and acted on it. Anytime a group of kids were staying up late playing video games or whatever, you could be sure a pack of Mountain Dew would accompany them. Nobody could deny the impact Mountain Dew's high-sugar/caffeine content had on people, and nobody could compete with it either.

Then came along drinks like Rockstar, Monster, and Red Bull, with enough caffeine to make a Starbuck's patron puke.

According to, the Mountain Dew with highest caffeine to product ratio (mg/oz) is Mountain Dew Game Fuel with 6 mg/oz. Most of the other Mountain Dew products are around 4.5 mg/oz.

Rockstar has a variety of products, with the highest being 80 mg/oz (Rockstar Energy Shot) and the lowest listed being about 10 mg/oz (Rockstar Juiced). Most of Rockstar's drinks are listed at about 15 mg/oz.

Monster also has a drink with 80 mg/oz (Monster Hitman Sniper), but most of its other products are at about 10 mg/oz. Red Bull is listed at 9.64, but its "energy shot" product has 40 mg/oz. So Red Bull and these other drinks may give you wings, but it also has a chance of giving you nervousness, irritability, anxiety, tremulousness, insomnia, and heart palpitations if you drink it, or any of these other drinks, too much.

Outside of incredibly ironic names, these drinks carry with them another kind of danger. I am in high schools all the time, and I see way more kids with these kinds of "energy drinks" in their hands than how many used to carry Mountain Dew when I was their age. So my fear is that, outside of the aforementioned side effects (which should instill enough fear by themselves), this kind of erratic behavior will increase among the youth as well as adults: (wish I could have embedded it on the page)

Long story short, many kids all across America are drinking these kinds of sodas at an alarming rate, and when you consider a can of it carries more than twice the levels of caffeine than a regular cup of coffee, the health consequences could be horrifying.

These drinks put the kibosh on Mountain Dew's clever marketing campaign, imagine what they could do to you and your family.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Who's In This Guy's Ear?

How many times have you watched somebody do a job and think to yourself, "I could that"?

Add sports adviser to that list.

Former Texas Tech standout, Michael Crabtree, has been the only remaining unsigned rookie for a while now, and it looks like that isn't changing anytime soon. According to, Crabtree, the 10th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, has said he is prepared to sit out this season and enter the 2010 NFL Draft.


Because a five-year, $20-million contract ($16 million guaranteed) is not enough - and that's just the base number. With incentives, the 49ers are reportedly willing to go up to a dollar less than what the ninth pick (B.J. Raji) got, which is about $28 million.

Not bad, right?

Not good enough, however, because Crabtree feels he should have gone higher than #10 in the draft. Thus, he wants to be paid accordingly.

Numbers are just that, and I could on and on about how selfish this makes him look, but I want to focus on how dumb it makes him look. (Plus, who enjoys reading about normal folk complaining about how much athletes make. That subject is played.)

My problem is with his "adviser" advising him to sit out the 2009 season and re-enter the draft next year. Worst idea ever.

It should be mentioned his "adviser" is his cousin, David Wells, who was banned for life from USA Boxing because of allegations of misuse of funds.

It should also be known that Wells, who once started a security company with a court bailiff (illegal: conflict-of-interest), is not Crabtree's agent, so why does he have any say as to what kind of contract Crabtree signs?

Wells, who was once arrested for stealing boxing gloves from the Dallas Police Athletic League, is really just another piece of evidence as to how athletes can go broke after making tens of millions of dollars. Paying out money to cousins and their hair-brained schemes has got to take a toll on a bank account.

Getting back to why sitting out a year is such a bad idea, Crabtree was picked 10th in the 2009 draft. With what precedent is he expecting to move up in the draft by getting one year older, not playing organized football for a year, coming off an ankle injury, and being known around the league as a holdout?

Anyone with brains about the draft should know this is the more likely scenario: Crabtree sits out an entire season, re-enters the draft, and, with all of the aforementioned baggage, is drafted late in the first round.

His "adviser" should look at this little nugget of info before giving anymore advice: None of the the last 15 players drafted in the first round signed contracts worth as much as Crabtree was guaranteed with his.

It doesn't matter if he thinks 49ers are low-balling him. Nothing positive will come from sitting out a year.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Too Funny to Pass Up

It is amazing something like this can get on the air on Fox News Channel without someone in his production staff meetings saying, "Gee, Glenn. For some reason it just doesn't look right. Are we sure we spelled it right?" Beck looked right the word several times. He spelled it out. The way he spelled it wouldn't have even made the right sound. Leave the "H" out instead, and you would have been much better off!

In my very first journalism class, we were warned "in the real world" we could be fired for misspelling a name. What about a common and easily spelled word? I'm not suggesting Beck be fired for this (frankly, the sheer embarrassment of the gaffe is probably enough), but it just amazes me a guy (along with the handful of people working on his show) who sure seems to think he's very smart could make that kind of an error.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Prez Wants to Talk to the Youth? What's the Big Deal?

When did the President of the United States become an enemy?

Barack Obama's speech to the youth of America on Tuesday, Sept. 8, has been met with a cornucopia of complaints from parents planning on keeping their kids home if their schools plan to show the president's talk. According to White House spokesman Tommy Vietor, Obama's speech will be about challenging students "to work hard, stay in school and dramatically reduce the dropout rate."

That no good S.O.G!

How dare he challenge our children to do something with their lives?! If they want to live in our basements playing video games and eating Little Debbies until they're 37, that's their business. We don't need the government sticking its nose where it doesn't belong!!!

Give me a friggin' break!

When did the president of the United States speaking to the youth of America become such a open-hand slap to the face from Big Brother? I would think Obama's life story could inspire kids to dream big and work for it.

Enter demagogue Glenn Beck:

Fresh off his "Obama is a racist" tirade, Beck pulled his head out of his butt long enough to take a quick breath and say the White House's goal is "indoctrination" of children. He is appalled at handouts sent out to schools that have students list ways they can help the president.

How terrible! If teachers talk about politics in the slightest bit, it should be about how we can kick and drag our feet against the efforts of the president, right?

This whole thing just makes me so disgusted, because this wasn't just one or two parents calling in to voice their displeasure, even though the speech was always said to be a non-policy speech. This is hundreds or even thousands of parents who rely on radio/TV personalities whose income relies on them being pot-stirrers. It's this kind of crap that makes people like Bill Mahr say "America is stupid."

Why shouldn't our kids think of way they can help the president? Didn't JFK say "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country"? Doesn't that make sense?

I guess what really bothers me is the hypocrisy of it all. President W. Bush spent eight years putting us in way more debt (i.e. Iraq) than Obama could dream of doing and robbing us blind of our civil liberties (i.e. the Patriot Act), but we were unpatriotic if we didn't support everything he did because he was the president.

Boy, is the shoe on the other foot now.

The difference is even as Bush was enslaving us in a war without a foreseeable conclusion, I would have had no problem with him talking to my children in this sort of format, because he was the president. It's a privilege to have our leaders address the nation. I know he's not going to talk policy. He'd have talked about doing something great with our lives. About working hard. About studying and getting as much education as possible. That is what the country was built on, and Bush AND Obama know that.

This comes on heel of an incident in Utah where an elementary school principal showed an Obama video on service called "I Pledge," which many parents considered "leftist propaganda."

Overall, it was a video intended to encourage people to go to and give a helping hand to issues they're interested in, and while it did contain a few "Obama issues" like stem-cell research and going "green," I think people overreacted to it.

I spend a lot of time with kids of that age, and I'll tell you 99% of them wouldn't have remembered the "leftist" ones five minutes after. They'd be more interested in repeating these ones:
  • "I pledge allegiance to the funk to the United Funk of Funkadellica," said Anthony Kiedis of the band Red Hot Chili Peppers. He went on to kiss his biceps, while saying, "I pledge to be of service [kiss] to Barack Obama [kiss]."
  • "[I pledge] to never give anyone the finger when I'm driving...again." (I didn't recognize the celebrity saying it)
  • Teen Wolf Too star Jason Bateman said, "For the environment, I pledge to flush only after a deuce, never after a single."
Even though it had some political aspects, it wasn't a video made to "indoctrinate" children. Most of the things said in the video were good advice. Obama ran the presidential race on change, and the video encourages citizens of the United States to help be the change they voted for.

I just wish the worst wasn't automatically assumed every time Obama does anything.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Norman: The Greatest Character in Any Movie

If I ever recommended a movie to someone based solely on one character, it would be "Yes Man." This character is hilarious, and, in my opinion, kind of saves an otherwise mediocre movie. And for those of you who have yet to see it, I'm not talking about Jim Carey's character (Carl). I'm talking about "Norman," Carl's fearless leader on the front line of finance.

I think the great thing about Norman is that he embodies characteristics of every poser you've ever known - in addition to other nerdy qualities.
  • He tries to be his employees' best friend
  • He throws theme parties
  • He talks big
  • And many, many more!
Here's a clip of him answering his door at one of those theme parties:

The clip I wanted to use is, unfortunately, unavailable to embedded, but you can check it out by clicking here. (FYI: There are just a couple swears)

Anyway, he's hilarious, and I recommend the movie on because of his performance.