I'm not sure I've ever been this ready for football season to show up. Sure, I was beyond normal levels of excitement last year after the arrival of Black Jesus, but this year I'm just totally ready. Baseball has been miserable for months. The Olympics were the ULTIMATE tease (except for the US Women's gymnastics team; time slowed down during that portion of the Olympics. SO GRACEFUL). It was a billion degrees every day for a 4 month stretch. But something happened last night. I went up on a rooftop, and I felt that first hint of fall: chilled air, a cool breeze... pleasant reminders that soon enough, the only acceptable colors to wear on Saturdays will be Cardinal and White. A week from this Saturday, the Badgers embark on their journey to win a ridiculous third straight Big Ten Championship. And that, my friends, is something worth jumping out of bed with a smile on your face.
Before looking forward, I'd like to take a moment to reflect on what happened in the world since the last time we spoke.
None really topped Macho Man devastatingly and prematurely leaving this cruel world last year, but some noteworthy losses:
Before looking forward, I'd like to take a moment to reflect on what happened in the world since the last time we spoke.
None really topped Macho Man devastatingly and prematurely leaving this cruel world last year, but some noteworthy losses:
- Mr. Pitt. I have no idea what his real name is, but Mr. Pitt was an ICON of the Seinfeld universe. I can only hope that heaven is filled with perfectly fitting socks and zero accidental Hitler mustaches.
- Whitney Houston. No jokes, just like to point out that this still shoots me into an uncontrollable fit of goosebumps every damn time.
- Don Cornelius, AKA The Conductor of the Soul Train. I think after he passed away, BET did an all-night marathon of old Soul Train episodes. Never in my life have I seen such high unintentional comedy.
- Ernest Borgnine.
Best known for his diligent work in creating the National BASEketball
League, loved by all Milwaukeeans, and forever remembered with the
- The guy from Swamp People, who somehow didn't die from a swamp creature, and totally looks like someone who spent a few too many days in the swamp:
JUST WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS OUT... THEY PULL ME BACK IN
Almost exactly one year ago today I wrote the following:
NASA decided to stop being badass and ended the space shuttle program, thus crushing my dream of being the first person to eat a Cheesy Gordita Crunch on the Moon. For the record, I think the Moon is cool enough to capitalize it.
Since then, all NASA has done is put a fucking BATTLEBOT* on Mars and give it a kickass Twitter account. I don't even know what's more impressive: that we can just send things to Mars like I send a letter in the mail, or that this little robot dude has over a million followers. If you asked me right now, this very moment, if I'd rather go to Mars or have a million followers on Twitter it's not even a freaking question, give me the followers. I've seen Prometheus, I know how that shit plays out, and I want nothing to do with it.
Although, at the same time I can at least amend my dream to be the first person to eat a Cheesy Gordita Crunch on Mars. Even though Mars looks like the worst place on Earth. Every picture just shows a boring ass desert of nothing. I need Curiosity to WOW me already.
PS - I think Curiosity is just the most ADORABLE name for a multi-trillion dollar robot explorer on the verge of discovering aliens. If I could somehow get the narrator from this video to do play-by-play of everything Curiosity does, I'd would litrally just die on the spot out of pure happiness.
*If you can sift through the filth that is the world of YouTube comments, there's always a little nugget in there worth a read:
That is so true and probably why I never built a Battlebot. Also, I wish there was a LEGO Battlebot. Anyone who's ever stepped on a LEGO barefoot is well-aware of their naturally destructive properties.
Yup, not at all surprised to see that LEGO Battlebots are a thing. I'm gonna assume stepping on this guy would kill a human.
CHICAGO BADGERS: The season opener is Labor Day weekend, so I'm guessing some people will be out of town/at weddings/whatever it is that people do Labor Day weekend but don't invite me to. With that said, I'm hoping to corral enough people and head to Will's, which is as Sconnie as it gets and has the awesome outdoor patio area worth taking advantage of before it turns to winter.
I'll also remind you that registration is open for the 3rd annual (I only count the years I attend) Young Alumni Badger Trolley Crawl on SEPTEMBER 15th. Keep in mind, this is a night game, so the crawl will essentially serve as a MOBILE PRE-GAME, which is rare and powerful and to be respected and feared. As of Wednesday afternoon, there are only 35 spots available. Don't delay. Here's your link. #rage
I AM PAYING TOP DOLLAR $$$ FOR REFERRALS: ACTUALLY THAT IS A LIE. What I meant was, if you have some friends/family members/frat bros/sorority sisters/illegitimate children that might be interested in receiving this once a week, please pass on their addresses. Thanks.
NOTE: If you're getting this for the first time, there's a good chance you've been added to the list because either a) a friend gave me your email address, or b) I swindled it from an email chain, knowing that you're a Badger fan. If, FOR SOME REASON, you don't want to receive these going forward, just shoot me an email and I'll take you off my list. Choose your next move carefully.
THE BEST DRINKS IN MADISON
Two years ago it was all about the bars. Last year, we focused on the food. Now it's time to really dig in and pick out the very best drinks you can have while you're in Madison. Anything is fair game: bar specialties, homemade concoctions, some weird combination I don't even know about. You name it. Well, I name it. And lord knows I'm gonna like some shit that you wouldn't touch if your life depended on it.
Birthday Mug at the Nitty Gritty
- UNLIMITED BEER
- I think you get a balloon, and I've never met a balloon I didn't like, except those ones people make out of condoms, because those are gross
- You get to keep the mug
- It's your birthday, so at least you've got that going for you
- The dankest buffalo chicken tenders in Madison are just a menu away
- You're at the Nitty
- The mugs are surprisingly effective at being thrown through your bedroom window by the assholes in Sigma Chi
- Seriously, Sigma Chi is where dreams go to die
- I think you only get the crappy domestics like Bud/Miller Lite
- Even after 14 free beers AND on your birthday, technically, you're still at the Nitty. RECONSIDER YOUR CELEBRATION
World's Biggest Mixed Drinks at Quaker Steak & Lube
On the menu, they're called 'Tankers', and they're just for beer. But if it's Gameday and you need something 1000x more aggressive, you can have them fill it with whatever you want. Basically, you need to envision a 96 ounce vodka lemonade for $3, because that's exactly what it almost is. Just a comically large mixed drink for dirt cheap. I like how you do your thing, QS&L.
Old Fashioned at the Old Fashioned
I feel moderately obligated to point out that I've never actually had an Old Fashioned at the Old Fashioned, but you don't name your restaurant after a drink unless you can make it damn good.
Or: I was really grasping at straws* to come up with another honorable mention.
NEW FACES TO WATCH (FUCK YEAH NOTORIOUS D.O.B.)
Vince Biegel, Freshman Linebacker. This kid is a monster. Despite the fact that we have two All-American caliber linebackers, Biegel is not gonna redshirt. Expect to see him on special teams - he'll be the guy decapitating people just because he can. Everyone's raved about him since he stepped foot on campus, and seeing him get some reps at linebacker this year will not be a total surprise. You can basically pencil him in as a 3 year starter, because he's just way too talented and has way too strong of a motor to keep off the field. Fun fact: He was the Wisconsin state runner-up in the 110m hurdles last year. Fun fact #2: there's a man-crush brewin' here.
Dan Voltz, Freshman Guard. Listen: any time a true freshman is pushing for a starting job on the Wisconsin offensive line, it's abundantly clear that he's the real deal. And that's exactly what Voltz is doing. After trying his hand at center, Voltz is firmly entrenched in a battle with Kyle Costigan for the starting right guard spot. A 4 star stud out of high school, Voltz held offers from Alabama, Auburn, Michigan, MSU, Nebraska, Stanford, Notre Dame, pretty much every legit school around. But this kid is SMART. He knew that if you wanna be an NFL lineman, there's one school that you need to take a long, hard look at. Fortunately for us, Voltz enjoyed that look. I also love his name and want to keep typing it and saying it. VOLTZ.
Danny O'Brien, Junior Quarterback, Savior of the Universe. Actually, that would make him Savior of the Universe Part II, because before his arrival, we were facing almost the exact same predicament that we had on our hands a year ago before Black Jesus answered our prayers. Before O'Brien decided to transfer to UW, our options were: Joel Stave (zero experience), Curt Phillips (coming off three ACL tears, which isn't really even possible), and Joey Brennan (can't trust a QB named Joey/he's now transferring because he's so terrible). Dire circumstances. Thankfully, Maryland fired their coach, brought in some asshole that tried SABOTAGING DOB's career, and here we are with two years of the Notorious DOB running the show for the Badger offense. Better lucky than good, I guess.
RANDOM MUSIC THAT I'M DIGGING HARD THIS WEEK
JUKEBOX JAMS EDITION
Dexy's Midnight Runners - Come on Eileen
Just a guarantee that if I'm near a jukebox and have a dollar, this song will be the first one chosen. You simply cannot deny its universal appeal or it's legendary slowdown/buildup. As an added bonus, I'll fa sho go off the deep end with quotes from this movie.
Foo Fighters - Everlong
I did this song at karaoke last weekend in middle-of-nowhere, Wisconsin. Pretty sure I nailed it. And by 'nailed it' I mean halfway through the song they turned my mic down and I could hear Dave Grohl belting it out. Karaoke's really not my thing.
Weezer - Say It Ain't So
Never put it on at a bar and seen fewer than 12 people start nodding their heads. They're probably thinking, 'Man, I remember the music I listened to in high school' and mocking me, but that doesn't matter, because this song is a classic.
CONTROVERSIAL JUKEBOX JAM OF THE WEEK
Michelle Branch - All You Wanted
My go-to 'I've had too much Jumplemintz, but I can still recognize that on one wants to hear this song but me, and I'm gonna play it anyway because I had too much Jumplemintz and I don't care about your logic' song. BILLION DOLLAR IDEA: They should replace that depressing Sara McLachlan song from the abused puppies commercial
with this fresh Michell Branch track and watch billions (of dollars worth) of puppies be rescued. Rule #1 of TV: Change the channel when that commercial comes on. But if it's 'All You Wanted' playing? MUST WATCH TELEVISION. You're gonna tell me these lyrics don't apply PERFECTLY to dog adoption?
If you want to
I can save you
I can take you away from here
So lonely inside
So busy out there
And all you wanted was somebody who cares
It's almost like she wrote the song for this purpose and this purpose alone.
PS - It's not fair that I work all day and can't have a dog.
PPS - Just learned 'All You Wanted' on guitar and will be performing at Open Mic Night at Red Monds in the near future.
Jordan Fredrick, Redshirt Freshman Wide Receiver. Funny how this works: Last year I listed Fredick and Kenzel Doe as 'New Faces To Watch', thinking that one of them would step into that WR3 spot with Toon and Abby. Turns out, Doe barely touched the ball while Fredrick took a redshirt due to a shoulder injury. But this year, you're looking at your starting WR2. Let's not overlook the elephant in the room* here: the wide receiver position is pretty much a mess after Abby. There's very little experience, and the reports from camp make it sound like a two steps forward, one step back kind of situation. With that said, the latest rumblings indicate that Fredrick has separated himself from the pack. He's got good size (6-3, 215), can run, and is catching the ball with more consistency than any of the other guys he's battling for reps with. SOMEONE gonna have to catch the ball on this team, and Fredrick looks like the guy to do it.
Dezmen Southward, Redshirt Junior Free Safety. When the head coach of a football team proclaims one kid to be pound-for-pound the best athlete on the team, ears perk up a little bit. And that's exactly what Bielema had to say about Southward. Despite playing in all 27 games over the last two seasons, Southward didn't truly start making an impact until the latter half of 2011, culminating in starting the Rose Bowl and recording 5 tackles against Oregon. With the athletic ability, size and experience he now possesses, the sky truly is the limit for Southward. I have no doubt that Bielema and the rest of the coaching staff are expecting a big season from Dezmen, and along with Shelton Johnson UW should have a pretty talented pair of safeties.
Beau Allen, Junior Defensive Tackle. We're really gonna need Beau to play big this season if we have any chance of reaching our lofty expectations. The D-Line has been incredibly disappointing under Bielema (outside of OB and Watt), and all that does is put pressure on the rest of the defense to get in the backfield (linebackers) or stay in coverage longer (defensive backs). Given enough time, a quarterback could make Revis and Woodson look like children out there. And that's been a huge issue for UW's defense recently. Enter Beau Allen. Along with a hopefully-healthy David Gilbert, there are expectations that this will be the year that the D-Line gets back on track and starts making disruptive plays in the backfield. While Beau may not rack up the sacks, he'll be vital in keeping opposing running games in check.
*Has anyone ever actually seen an elephant in a room? I haven't. UNTIL NOW:
PS - Maybe it's just me, but doesn't the military man in the blue working the laptop in the middle there look JUST like HRG from Heroes?
Very tempting to go with the MSU-OSU stretch, but we have two byes in between those games, and both are at home. Instead, I'm gonna look at the three games that we open up B1G play with.
All eyes that don't care about the SEC will be firmly planted on Lincoln, NE when we travel to face the Cornhuskers in a nationally televised night game at Memorial Stadium. No one can remember the last time UW played in Lincoln, so you can reasonably expect a good contingent of Badger fans to make the trek West (I'm like 85% sure Nebraska is West of Wisconsin - also, I've long since given up on knowing when/when not to capitalize directions). Throw in last year's utter destruction at Camp Randall, and you just know the place is gonna be rocking when those teams come flying out of their tunnels. I still don't get how we can lose to a team with a quarterback that throws like I do with my left arm, if only my left arm were severely mangled in a car accident the day before I had to throw with it, but apparently this will be a tight game.
Assuming for a moment that we escape the wastelands of Nebraska with a win, two games that will essentially determine the outcome of our division (still have no idea, worst names ever) are on deck. First up are the Zook-less Illini in Madison. There's a serious Zook Factor in play here - no one's ever doubted his ability to recruit, it was his shittiness in practice and on gamedays that led to his TERMINATION. Enter... whoever their new coach is. If he can get the ship righted, the Illini have enough talent returning to give teams fits. And it's not like last year's victory over them was a cakewalk. But this is a home game, and the fuck if we're losing a home game to an Illini team that doesn't feature Dee Brown, Deron Williams and James Augustine. And Jack Fucking Ingram. I haven't forgotten about you, you 9 foot tall daywalking ginger.
That brings us to the sexiest, trendiest upset pick on the entire schedule. I'm already dreading the cliche, 'Now, this Purdue team could REALLY give Wisconsin trouble here, Lou! I hope Wisconsin is ready because I think Purdue is a team that could make some NOISE in the B1G Whatever Division this season!' predictions on ESPN all week leading up to the game. Maybe it's just me, but I don't see it. I wasn't impressed with them last year, and no Purdue team has ever been relevant without a stud behind center. I'm even including Kyle Orton as one of those 'studs', despite all his neckbearding, Jack Daniels swindling bullshit. So unless Caleb TerBush takes a huge step forward this year, I have a hard time seeing Purdue actually contend for a division title. Also, he should change his name to Caleb TerDucken.
THIS SEASON'S EXPECTATIONS IN HAIKU
Back-to-back Rose Bowls
Back-to-back Rose Bowl losses...
TIME TO BREAK THE STREAK
I'm a HUGE fan of any situation where a reporter loses his/her shit on air. This would qualify. And isn't it kinda disappointing that Rhinos always have these crazy-ass names? I think it'd be HILARIOUS if rhinos, pandas, hippos, and all those terrifying large animals from foreign places were given super American names. For example, I think this video would have been exponentially better if the queefing rhino in question was named Henrietta.
The gold standard of reporters/anchors losing their shit. His laughing is just so perfect. Around like :35 seconds and :55 seconds he can't even BREATHE. I'm crying at my desk right now listening to him laugh over and over.
What happens if you surround a completely normal guy with bodyguards, cameramen and assistants... and then walk around Times Square? INSTANT FAKE CELEBRITY. My favorite part is the group of girls screaming after meeting him - including the one that says it was the 'greatest moment of her life'. Yeesh.
Realtalk, I'm a sucker for Price is Right videos. This is a new one in my books. I think he's an idiot savant of some kind, because that's the only way I can reason it. By the way, if you're remotely interested in the Price is Right, this is a must-read. Enjoy.
Still the best.
HOW TO NOT TRAVEL TO YOUR CONCERTO ON CTA
For the uninitiated, CTA is the Chicago Transit Authority (I think). You'll see plenty of interesting stuff if you ride CTA enough, and the only way to take it to the next level is to become a CTA iPhone Ninja. One of my specialties.
With that said, there are a few tried and true rules of public transportation that EVERYONE should know and adhere to:
- Don't smell like a butt
- Yield your seat to the elderly (everyone) and women (bros)
- If you're standing by the door, you are the GATEKEEPER and must act accordingly
- If you're paying with actual money, reconsider everything you're doing in life
- Never bring your 12 foot cello on the bus and take up 3 handicapped seats with it
Now, I never played cello. Or viola. Or violin. Or any of the weird hybrids that exist. But, and I could be wrong, I think we're looking at some extremely rare string instrument here, because there's no way that normal cellos are taller than giraffes. That just doesn't seem practical. Being the curious guy that I am, I dug a little deeper. My official conclusion is that the man in question was actually using this cello:
MEGA CELLO. I wonder if this selfish cellist even CONSIDERED the possibility of 3 handicappers getting on the bus at the next stop. Not a shot in hell. Which, appropriately, is where he'll end up.
I'VE GOT SOME SERIOUS THOUGHTS ON THE CURRENT FASHION LANDSCAPE
- Once the cool weather approaches, everyone knows that I am ALL THERMALS ALL THE TIME. I love thermals in ways you don't even understand. They're soft. They're warm. They layer with anything and everything. And they're cheap, which makes it easy for me to justify my ever-growing collection. But this fall, I'm planning on introducing a new player to the game. That's right, we're bringing crewneck sweatshirts back this fall. Like you, I've been an avid hoodie supporter my entire life. I remember hating crewneck sweatshirts when my mom would force one on me. But those days are long behind us, and crewneck sweatshirts are about to come back in a huge way. You really just have to ask yourself if you wanna be on the bandwagon right now... or when it's standing room only. The choice seems easy to me. One condition: This is my go-to and I had it first, so you're not allowed to wear it in my vicinity because we're not gonna be the two weirdos wearing the same kickass heather grey Wisconsin crewneck sweatshirt at the same BBQ:
this doubles as both my impeccable fashion sense AND new
#BillionDollarIdea: I think hashtag clothing is about to blow up. Now is
the time to pounce, and I'm already in the beginning stages of
developing my own #hashtag clothing brand. Tentative name: #GetTagged.
I've noticed that some people are already doing this, but no one has
really taken it to the level it needs to go to. For example, Zazzle has a
hashtag clothing section, and these are, without question, the LAMEST
shirts in the world. If I saw someone walking around with a #SWAG shirt,
I would feel totally justified in telling them that their parents
probably hate them:
- A few steps above those awful Zazzle shirts, our very own Badger Football program recently came out with these shirts:
- I like the fact that we're being progressive and embracing the glory of the #hashtag, but how do you go with #Badgers over #OnWisconsin? 'On Wisconsin' has become our trademark, our motto, our way of life. It's not just a nickname, it's more than that. It's why Bielema and Black Jesus end every interview with 'On Wisconsin' instead of 'Go Badgers'. It's why I can all but guarantee you'll see #ONWISCONSIN somewhere inside Camp Randall this year. When you're building a brand, you need to realize these things. Hopefully the #Badgers shirt was just a start (the front of it is ugly anyway), and lord knows the ways in which I want an #OnWisconsin shirt. MAKE IT HAPPEN.
I NEED YOUR HELP, BADGERS. LET'S SOLVE A CRIME!
So I'm on my way home tonight, probably air drumming a little too hard, and I get a text from a friend. She asks if I made the picture below, or if it's a common thing:
WTF. In case you don't remember, sometime last year I made a resume as a joke for a friend and accidentally sent it to a prospective employer. Here's the resume I made:
SLIGHT RESEMBLANCE. I ended up writing about that resume here in my previews, tweeted about it, put it on Facebook, and even wrote about it on the now-defunct blog The Hot Glove (F you Katz). So I definitely put that 'resume' out there in public.
What that doesn't explain, however, is how and/or why someone decided to make a crappier version of it... and how it ended up in my social circle.
THE GOAL: Figure out who ripped off my unintentional genius.
- The picture was originally tweeted by some kind of parody account called @ItsMonicaDavis
- The alleged job applicant goes by the name L JAUN, which I'm hoping is the Mexican version of Scientology creator L. Ron Hubbard
- The @ItsMonicaDavis account is most definitely, 100% created by someone who went to UW-Madison
- I always check the first people that a parody account follows, because 7 times out of 10 they either follow the creator or the friends of the creator. If any of these names ring a bell, I implore you to reach out to them and find out what they know: Kimberly Lear, Leah Gahr, Jeannette Rose, Ellen Hoffman, Sara Dorsey, Billy Smith, Todd Sandler, etc. You can see the full list here.
- I don't feel bad naming people like that because a) this is all out of pure curiosity, and b) anyone with half a brain could look through this account's followers
I HAVE FAITH.
That would be an onion haystack from the Old Fashioned. I finally popped my Old Fashioned cherry last weekend, and I'm just feeling really stupid for never having gone there before. Everything was delicious, and one of the cheese curds was the size of a pancake. Glad to finally check this place off my list.
Sunset on Lake Monona from the Pontoon Porch. Let me quickly plug them, because it was an awesome experience. You can get a crew of 20-30 people, bring all the booze and food you want (they have a grill on board), and they'll boat you around on Lake Monona for hours. The boat itself was great (jumping off the top is fully encouraged), the people running it were fantastic, and the views were obviously awesome. Definitely worth doing at some point in your life.
Well, let's see: last year I had us going undefeated and winning the National Championship. If not for two plays which shall not be named, we very well could have been in that position. But things happened, we somehow lost 3 games despite having the best offense ever, and we head into 2012 coming off two straight Rose Bowl defeats. As if that weren't enough, 6 (count 'em, SIX) assistant coaches left the program in the offseason. And we have a new quarterback. I don't know if Wisconsin football is necessarily at a tipping point, but it's definitely an interesting crux of some kind. If Bielema can turn in another BCS season (no matter which bowl it is and what the result is), then you can start drooling at the prospects of next year's squad immediately. This is a surprisingly young team considering their previous achievements.
But let's stick to this year. The schedule sets up nicely with MSU and OSU coming to Madison. OSU and Penn State are ineligible for postseason play. So the first question is can Wisconsin beat out Purdue, Illinois and Indiana to make it to Indy? I won't even insult you by answering that. And assuming we're in Indy, can we get past MSU/Mich/Nebraska on a neutral field? Hmmm.
11-1 regular season
Wisconsin def. MSU in the B1G Championship
Wisconsin avenges last year and gets BB his first Rose Bowl victory in a re-match with Oregon
Why does this somehow feel more unlikely than last year's prediction?
Good to be back in action. Let's do this.