Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Bye Week Mailbag Part 2!

Before getting into Part 2, a quick word: I've decided to participate in Movember, which means I will be growing a ridiculous attempt at a mustache to raise money for a very, very good cause. It is also my birthday this month. I'd like to COMBINE those two, so I'm asking anyone who's willing to donate to my Movember fund. This gets you completely off the hook for getting me a birthday present, which is a good thing for you since the only thing on my bday list is this. Give however much you want, do it anonymously if that helps (BUT NO FAUX ANONYMITY), but I'd really appreciate it if you could help me out. I promise to share pics of whatever monstrosity grows out of this experience. Here is a link to my page, where you can see my mom has already jumped on the 'donate instead of getting him a birthday present' bandwagon.

Many thanks in advance. And now back to your questions.

Matt G:

Thinking of Homeland..........If you had to join one branch branch of military/government service what would it be and why? I think Director of CIA would be awesome.

Well yeah, in theory being the Director of the CIA would be pretty badass. But you also have to make some decisions that will result in people dying - whether they're your people or dirty terrorists. That's a lot of pressure.

And hang on. This only works if you have to pick a branch and then work your way up. You can't say army and proclaim yourself Secretary of Defense. If you could pick whatever title you wanted, it wouldn't really matter which branch you were in since you'd be so high up and far removed from the rigors of military service. So no, you can't just be CIA Director. Now that we're clear, let's go branch by (Michelle) branch:


I'm gonna pass on the Army. The entry level position for the Army essentially entails being a pawn in a giant chess match of war. That means you're either gonna die, or battle forever and try and make it to the end so you get a bump, like when you get to bring your queen back from the dead in real chess. I don't like those odds, and I don't wanna get shot in the ass in Afghanistan even IF that would give me a lifetime supply of Lieutenant Dan impressions.


Yeah, right. Nothing against the Navy since the only person I really know who went into the armed services went the seaman route, but I suck at water. I don't think I'm claustrophobic, but the idea of being in a sub a thousand miles under the sea doesn't tickle my fancy. PASS


Do they count as like a sub section of the Army? Let's just say that if I'm too soft for the Army, joining the Marines is borderline insane.


FUCK YEAH TOP GUN I COULD BE LIKE TOM CRUISE. And then reality hits like the force of ejecting your skull into your cockpit windshield and you quickly realize that maybe you don't wanna have a job where one of the occupational hazards is being sucked into a jet engine.


I'd be ringing that bell so hard so fast they wouldn't even have time to call me a coward.


These are kind of the same thing. In theory I would just be an Americanized James Bond, but I can't lie worth shit and would make an atrocious spy. That leaves only one possibility...


OOOOOOO. I think the Secret Service has a great gig - they hang out with really powerful people, get to wear awesome suits, and then they write amazing movies about you! Do you think they get to pick the code names for their assignments? If I had to protect the president, I'm for SURE giving him the codename 'Warweasel'. PROTECT THE WARWEASEL AT ALL COSTS.

PS - Apparently they do NOT get to pick their codenames. From one of my new favorite Wikipedia pages:

The Secret Service does not choose these names, however. The White House Communications Agency assigns them.

BULLSHIT. If I'm gonna take a bullet for the president, the least they can let me do is affectionately refer to him as my Warweasel.

PPS - Best codenames from that article:
  • Mitt Romney - Javelin. So, this.
  • Rahm Emanuel - Black Hawk. DAS RACIST. (Serious question: He's black, right?)
  • Todd Palin - Driller. Going to assume that's some kind of sexual innuendo/double entendre.
  • Ted Kennedy - Sunburn. Jesus, who did he piss off at the White House Communications Agency?
  • Air Force One - Cowpuncher. There has GOT to be a story behind this one.

Matthew B:

With Gasser's injury, where do you see the Badgers falling now? I know you were a big bo-liever in this team finishing top 3 in the B1G, but this injury hurts us severely. Like, I see us going five now, which still makes us a top 25 team and probable 4 seed. But, seriously, how much does this hurt us? And does this bode well for Dek?

It definitely hurts. There's no way to sugarcoat that. The team will adopt the next man in philosophy because that's what they've been taught to do. And I'm sure it will be genuine and they'll have a successful season. But Gasser is easily the least replaceable player on the roster. If Berggren goes down, we've got a much improved Kaminsky ready to take over. When Bruiser ripped his leg open, we plugged Dekker into the lineup and came out ahead. But Gasser? That's tough.

Marshall will play the point now, but that means our starting backcourt will be him and Ben Brust - a couple of guys that are 6' on a good day. Gasser was a legit 6'3 and LONG, which helped make him our best defender. And that's the side of the ball that we're really going to miss him on. Says a lot, doesn't it? He was a 40+% 3 point shooter and our starting point guard... but it's his tenacious D that we'll truly yearn for. AND YEARN I SHALL.

Fortunately, Bo Ryan is still the coach. The core of last year's impressive squad is back for the most part. And then there's Sam Dekker. This is your last chance, my friends, to get on the Dekker Bandwagon before it blows up. I PROMISE you, he's going to be an absolute star at Wisconsin. 6'7 with a great handle, range on his jumper, and no fear in taking it hard to the hole. A coach's son that rallied his team to a miraculous state title on the Kohl Center floor earlier this year, Dekker will be tearing up the Big Ten from day one. Never been so excited for a debut.

tl;dr Still a top 4 team, look out.

Ron S:

Regarding Joel Stave and Josh Gasser going down on the same day, why did the sports gods take a massive shit on the University of Wisconsin?

Well, not only did they go down on the same day, but we also blew the MSU game while all of those injuries were happening/being announced. I didn't know how to process it. Stave went out with his collarbone, MSU is driving, and then I check Twitter to see that Gasser is out with an ACL? Didn't think that was real and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what Wisconsin did to deserve this. But that's sports. Sometimes you stay healthy all year and it's AWESOME, and sometimes the most important players from your football and basketball teams get season ending injuries in a 6 hour window.

I'd try to dig deeper to come up with a better answer for you, but every letter I type is raising my blood pressure and whisking me away into a deeper, darker depression. For everyone's sake, I'm moving on.

Danya S:

1. Best Halloween costume you saw (and remember)?

Key word: Remember. I can't with any degree of certainty tell you about the costumes I saw out at the bars, so you'll have to get my 'best of' from the parties I was at. IN NO ORDER:

Daniel-san as the shower from Karate Kid:

What he lacked in creativity he made up with execution.

Tony Perkis from Heavyweights:

Did I enjoy being able to freely quote Heavyweights as I got drunker and drunker? YESYES I DID.

Epic Sax Guy:

*Abridged white guy version.

2. What do you think of 'pun' costumes? (i.e., a potato hanging from a belt... a dictator)

'Dictator' is kinda lame, but in general I'm all for them. From where I'm sitting, a pun costume usually means the person wearing it is a) creative and b) put some effort into their costume. You can definitely still have a great costume without both of those things, but mixing them together will often yield the best results. The only thing I'll add is that you have to be careful that it's not too clever, because the only thing worse than having a crappy costume is having a costume that no one understands and you have to spend all night explaining it. 

Ben B:

What is the best Jock Jams song from any volume?? Pretty skeptical that a clear winner exists...

After consulting the most useful Spotify playlist ever, this is what I've come up with:

Volume 1: Gary Glitter - Rock and Roll (Part 2)

[Holy shit the 70's were amazing, watch that video]

Just BARELY edging out 'Whoomp! (There It Is)', this song is still blasted at stadiums all over the world. It obviously took on a new meaning after going to a thousand Badger games (before its eventual ban), but this song is too iconic to be associated with any one team.

Volume 2: Montell Jordan - This Is How We Do It

Volume 2 peaking at #10 on the Billboard 200 is obviously a product of the first one's popularity, because Volume 2 sucks.

Volume 3: DJ Kool - Let Me Clear My Throat

Easy buckets.

Volume 4: Backstreet Boys - Everybody (Backstreet's Back)

[Next year Halloween costume idea: Go as the BSB from this video]

Hard to argue with the Backstreet Boys. I decided not to consider 'Jump Around' for this because that just wouldn't be fair. And at this point, it's much, much bigger than a standard Jock Jam.

Volume 5: Vengaboys - We Like To Party

I will ALWAYS have a soft spot for the Vengaboys.

With these in mind, it comes down to Gary Glitter vs. DJ Kool. If we were talking best pure song, DJ Kool would be the runaway winner. But I'm interpreting your question to really be looking for the best Jock Jam. And everyone knows that while all Jock Jams are songs, not all songs are Jock Jams.* For that reason, I'm declaring Rock and Roll (Part 2) to be the single greatest Jock Jam in the world.

*Lies. Not all Jock Jams are songs because they had random audio clips mixed into the CD's. Point still stands.

Ryan G:

1) Is it worth it to go to the Big Ten Championship game in Indy, KNOWING full well we are going to get blown out?

If you go in with the mindset that you're only there because it's an easy drive from Chicago, tickets shouldn't be too pricey, and you know you'll have a good time with your friends in a city that only exists to have people come get drunk for a weekend... then you can probably justify going. But if the thought of watching thousands of Michigan fans act like they're the greatest fans of the greatest team from the greatest school in the world already hurts you, then you better strongly reconsider going. I am surprised that 'reconsider' is a word and does not need a hyphen.

2) Why are pretzel buns the exception, not the norm, for burgers? Has anybody EVER had a bad pretzel bun experience?

Agreed 100%. Whenever I go to Trader Joe's I always make sure to pick up a bag of pretzel rolls because virtually ANY sandwich is significantly better on one. A homemade turkey sandwich on a fresh pretzel roll is as good as it gets when you're hungry but don't feel like cooking.

The more I'm thinking about it, the more confused I'm getting, though. How can a pretzel come in snack form AND bread form? Does this mean, in theory, I could make a nacho cheese Dorito roll? That's like taking Taco Bell's move and just blowing the boundaries of what's possible away. I think snack food flavored rolls are about to be a multi-trillion dollar industry in the world and I'd rather get on this bandwagon now before it fills up.

3) Agree or disagree: McDonald's is underrated in comparison to Wendy's. McD's so ubiquitous that people take its excellence for granted.

Are you trying to say that McDonald's has been taken for granted enough that it can play the Nobody Believes In Us Card? Crazy to think about, but not too far from reality. No one touches McD's fries in the fast food industry, but I think Wendy's might still be the best overall joint out of the 3 biggies. So maybe it's hard for me to call McD's underrated because I recognize how delicious it is (I wish I hated it and it was illegal), but I think Wendy's is a little bit better overall.

CAVEAT: If you factor McD's breakfast into the mix, things get a lot murkier. I've never even contemplated Wendy's breakfast, and we all know that the only way to reward oneself for waking up stupid early is with some WacArnold's b-fast. It's possible that could tip the scales (appropriate phrase given the subject?) in Mickey D's favor.

Jamie M:

For someone who knows an awful lot about Harry Potter, why have you not invested the time to read the books or watch the movies?

Does it seem like I really do know a lot about Harry Potter? Here's what I've got:

  • Wingardium Leviosa (make shit fly)
  • Expelliarmus (removes the arms from Snuffleflugs)
  • General rules involved in quiddich (absolutely nothing matters other than catching the little golden snizz, which is kinda like hitting the 25 point shot in Rock N' Jock)
  • Voldemort is an ultimate bro (best tweeter out of all the Harry Potters)
  • Hufflepuff is a fun word to say (EVERY DAY I'M HUFFLIN')
  • Somehow that ginger kid is working the hottie, definitive proof this is fictional (I'm going to assume he's fucking loaded)

Outside of that, I got nothin'. I watched the first movie back in high school (guys will do most anything for a girl) and obviously wasn't hooked enough to read every book in one sitting. At this point, I have too much fun living in ignorance of the Harry Potter universe. It's also one of those situations where I've made fun of my friends too much for all the butter beer they've drunk, so now I'd just be a hypocrite if I got into HP. I'd rather miss out on something that might be kinda cool than be a full-fledged hypocrite.

Oh god. I think the only reason I don't watch Harry Potter is out of stubbornness. GET ME THE BOOKS IMMEDIATLEY

Danny G:

What are the top-5 things you hear in interviews w/ athletes/coaches that makes you hate them the most?

Forget all the bullshit cliches that athletes and coaches spew during their interviews. We need more Jim Harbaughs in the world:

Reporter: “You think this performance tonight put any confidence issues to rest?”
Jim Harbaugh: “I don’t think there was ever a question there. I think its just a lot of gobble gobble turkey. You know?”
Reporter: “What is gobble gobble turkey?”
Jim Harbaugh: “Just gobble, gobble, gobble turkey from jive turkey gobblers. You know. It paints a pretty good picture. He’s a very confident guy.”
That's gotta be up there in the Interview Answers Hall of Fame. I bet that reporter felt like the BIGGEST jive turkey in the world after Harbaugh stomped on his face.

Anyway, the cliches that I could live happily without ever hearing again:

  • 'The better team won today' - This is arguably the dumbest thing you can say.
  • 'We're just gonna try and get better every day' - As opposed to those rare teams that emphasize getting worse as the season goes on.
  • 'We gotta play with more heart in the second half if we're gonna pull this one out' - This has only worked ONCE.
  • 'Well, you've got two teams out there that really don't like each other' - I've played competitive sports most of my life and I can't think of a single time where I liked the other team I was playing.
  • Anything Gregg Popovich, Phil Jackson, or Bill Belichick say. They are the MASTERS of feeding bullshit to worthless sideline reporters and I LOVE it.

The world will be better off once they get rid of halftime interviews with coaches, and we'll really see progress once sideline reporters are eliminated from the sports landscape. Looking forward to the day.

Tim S:

Funniest moment in Seinfeld?  Not scene, not episode, Im talking one snall part that make you crack up more than anything else?  I go with the crazy thing Frank does with his eyes when yelling at Steinbrenner for trading Jay Buhner instead of reacting to hearing George died.

That's an unfairly difficult question, but I'm gonna go with this:

Season 8, Episode 1: The Foundation
Background: Susan is recently deceased, and George mourns the only way he knows how: in his boxers, eating a block of cheese. Susan's parents enter and George 'cleans up' by tossing on a suit jacket.

GEORGE: Yeah! Look at me! I was free and clear! I was living the dream! I was stripped to the waist, eating a block of cheese the size of a car battery!
JERRY: Before we go any further, I'd just like to point out how disturbing it is that you equate eating a block of cheese with some sort of bachelor paradise.

Honorable Mentions:
  • Kramer's 'They kept ringing the bell!' while telling his story of driving the bus
  • Frank's 'You saying you want a piece of me?' from the blooper reel of that episode
  • Kramer explaining how communication is non-verbal while he mimics the scene of Frank and Estelle's reaction of hearing George's man love towards a she-Jerry
  • George's take on 'These pretzels... are making me THIRSTY!'

I could probably do this for hours.

Sarah F:

What's the best/craziest/most awesome food you've recently tried for the first time ever? And what food(s) have you still not tried and are ashamed/embarrassed of this oversight thus far and are very much looking forward to trying? (Or possibly you're terrified of trying but know you should)

On my list of accomplishments over the last year or so: Eggplant parm (not bad), water chestnuts (not even sure they count as food, but I don't mind them), Pad Thai (acceptable), tofu (comes in a distant last after every real protein), scallops (NOT TOP CHEF QUALITY), and Greek caviar (enough booze and pressure from a cute girl will do the trick). But the best one I came across?

This is probably gonna sound stupid because EVERYONE loves it, but I've only recently discovered hummus and I think I'm sold. I'm actually all about any way to incorporate more pita in my life, because pitas are fucking delicious. If it were socially acceptable to start getting pitaburgers, I'd do it in a heartbeat. Does this all stem from my love for gyros? MAYBE ABSOLUTELY YES IT DOES I LOVE GYROS.

When it comes to foods I haven't tried but should, probably gotta look at the seafood department. I have NEVER had your standard piece of salmon. I hate the smell of fish and I'm pretty sure I'll accidentally swallow a bone that will puncture my stomach. This fear may or may not hold water, but it is very real. But people seem to love that shit, and I even see people ordering it instead of steaks, which is rather un-American if you ask me.

Just a little weird with food.

Daniel P:

Black Sheep has been on a lot recently, which has made me think about Chris Farley and his far too short career. How do you think he would have progressed in his acting life? Would he branch out and do some weird sander type garbage? Or would our lives be enriched with more genius things like "fat guy in a little coat" and "officer jack mehoff"?

Part of me wants to think that the guy who gave us Oscar-worthy performances in Tommy Boy and Black Sheep would NEVER have sold out to make shitty movies. But the other part of me remembers a time when Adam Sandler was on top of the world after Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore. In fact, let's look deeper at Sandler's timeline:

  • 1995: Billy Madison
  • 1996: Happy Gilmore
  • 1998: The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy
  • 1999: Big Daddy
  • 2000: Little Nicky
  • 2001: The Animal
  • 2002: Punch-Drunk Love, Mr. Deeds, Eight Crazy Nights

The drop-off from Big Daddy to Little Nicky is remarkable. I'd also like to point out that the trifecta of I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, and That's My Boy tells you everything you need to know about where Adam Sandler's career has gone.

But would that have happened to Farley? Eventually, I think so. I doubt I'm alone in thinking that Farley is simply much funnier than Sandler, so perhaps his shitty movies would have been more enjoyable... but it's so rare for an actor to avoid the high paying crappy gigs that eventually come calling when you become a mega superstar. And make sure that's understood: Farley was well on his way towards becoming a mega superstar. He was as good as anyone on SNL while he was there (and SNL was killing it in the early-to-mid 90's), and Tommy Boy will go down as one of the best comedies of the 90's (I firmly believe that). So, yes, you would've gotten more genius moments - many more. But you'd probably have to sift through Chris Farley equivalents of Little Nicky and Zohan to find them.

And finally...

Andy C:

I often like to describe certain people as "the worst kind of human"... for example a) the person who cheats at words with friends b) the person who takes a knee when winning in teh 4th quarter in a madden game... What kind of people meet this criteria for you? Do you have a top 5, worst kind of humans?


5. The person who browses the channels through the info instead of the guide. WHY DO YOU DO THE THINGS YOU DO. That guide exists for this very reason. Don't tell me you still wanna watch what's on while you look for something new - you CAN'T watch whatever show is on and adequately peruse the info on the bottom of the screen. Use the guide before I punch the remote through you face.

4. The person who brings McDonald's into a closed environment around lunch time. I'm not even sure what's worse: Someone skunking up the elevator right before you have to ride 20 floors in it, or the person in the cube next to you inhaling a Double Quarter Pounder while you're poking at your Healthy Choice Top Chef CafĂ© Steamer.

3. People who leave time flashing on the microwave. I am waging a WAR in my office over this. I've enlisted spies who sit near the microwave to write down the names of any offenders and yet every day I go over there to fill up my water bottle I see a blinking :53 just taunting my face off. Drives me crazy. I'm starting to think me and this guy have something in common:

2. People who stand in front of elevator/CTA/any doors. Pretty sure this one doesn't even make sense. But I see it EVERY DAY. The best is when a junk-touchingly full L train comes by and people immediately make a dash for the doors. First of all, there's no room for you to get on as is. Second of all, the only way you're getting on is if someone gets off, and how are they supposed to get off when you are BARRICADING the doors like some sort of Occupy protester? Inevitably, this is the same person that waits for an elevator on the first floor of a busy building by standing directly in front of the doors. Bonus points if they're on their smart phone and immediately plow into the elevator when it gets there while people are trying to get off. Your meeting with the Bobs must be extra double urgent today, dickface.

1. People who walk on the left hand side. Oh I'm sorry, I thought this was America. And In AMERICA, we do things on the right side. We drive on the right. We walk on the right. We use the doors to the right. Do you know why we do this? So that you never have those awkward little encounters where two people face off in a winner-take-all confrontation and start shimmying back and forth before nervously scurrying on past. Those are the WORST. And if everyone just stayed to the right hand side, they would never happen. UGH.

Thank you for the opportunity to bitch my heart out. I feel a lot better now.

To those of you that submitted questions: Thank you. Indiana preview coming Thursday. Try not to go too crazy about the election.



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