Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pre-Outback Bowl Mailbag

No shortage of things to talk about. Let's dive right in. Thank you for your questions.


Alison S:
What is wrong with Wisconsin?! My million dollar question is who will be our next head coach? Hopefully Aranda.
Well it was SUPPOSED to be me. Got my application and résumé in to Barry before the deadline, but I never heard back. Since Paul Chryst has already been announced as the 30th coach in Wisconsin football history, here's the application I sent Barry's way:
Mr. Alvarez, 
My name is Brandon Rifkin and I’d like to formally apply to be the next head football coach of the University of Wisconsin football team. What I may lack in actual football knowledge, I more than make up for in SPIRIT and the ease at which I would assimilate myself in the Madison culture. 
My football experience is vast and plentiful. Here are the highlights:
  • 1997 Camp Ojibwa Pineapple Football Champions. My responsibilities included snapping the ball (not between my legs, seems really hard), wrapping up (form tackling – flags are always moving), and trying not to cry when a power tripping 19 year old from Highland Park yelled at me for failing at wrapping up.
  • Two time Bayside Middle School/Maple Dale Middle School CHAMPION. This was basically the Wisconsin/Minnesota rivalry, minus the axe/plus puberty. NOTE: If you do a background check and hear about the kid who got shot in the neck with a firework at one of these games, I was TOTALLY not involved in that. NOTE #2: I rumbled on the O-Line, #Sconnie4Life
  • Made a really sweet one-handed interception in a UW-Madison intramural game one time. And it was my LEFT hand.
  • Dominated a pick-up football game on the front lawn of the Kohl Center while waiting for basketball tickets. Wasn’t even sober. Ran like the wind.
  • December 3rd, 2011. Wisconsin vs. Michigan State in the first ever B1G Championship. 4th quarter, 2nd and goal at the 5, down 6. I told EVERYONE I knew sitting by me that we were gonna run the shovel pass. I LOVE THE SHOVEL PASS. And what did Russell do? Ran a pitch-perfect (get it?) shovel pass to Montee. Six.
But there’s so much more to coaching football than football itself. How can you adequately evaluate me unless you really know me? And there’s no better way to know a person than to ask them what kinds of movies they like. So, let’s keep this relevant. Coach Rif’s Top 5 Favorite Football Flicks:
  1. Remember The Titans. I’m all about diversity, and moving players around to find their best position, and STRONG SIDE
  2. Sleepers. Not a football movie, you say? OH HO HO, I challenge you to find a more satisfying victory than the boys beating the guards and Rizzo giving his LIFE for victory. That’s the kind of motivation I aim to employ.
  3. The Blind Side. I start to salivate thinking about what we could do with a kid like Michael Oher. GOTTA COME TO O-LINE U, KIDDO.
  4. The Replacements. I have an idea for a new movie. It’s called: THE WALK-ONS. And it’s all about how we’re gonna own the B1G with the best walk-on program this side of MILWAUKEE.
  5. Jerry Maguire. You see how much Jerry loved his players? And how, in turn, they believed in him and achieved success they could only DREAM of? Yeah. Let’s do dat.
As you can see, my heart and mind are in the exact right place to lead Wisconsin back to glory. Pound the rock on offense, Blitz B on defense, Wisconsin forever.


Coach Rif

PS – Can’t call myself Coach B for obvious reasons, people don’t forget.
Also had to update the old résumé:

After submitting, I realized I missed a letter in 'pizza'. Gonna assume UW handles résumés the same way the rest of the world does: grammatical mistake = automatic rejection. I'll be kicking myself over this for years. YEARS.

The Mrs. and I swear around our 8 year old daughter all the time. I really like swearing, it's fun. We've never put on filters and tell her it's OK to swear at home but not at school.  That being said, she very rarely swears at home and has never done it at school. 
Should I be disappointed or proud?
IMMENSELY proud. Swearing is SO MUCH fun! I LOVE swearing. I love that I can swear right here in my blog. FUCKITY FUCK FUCK. That you swear around your kid all the time and she NEVER swears is downright amazing. Drawing that line between things you can do at home vs. things you can do at school sounds like Grade A Quality Parenting. Mrs. SOLObucky and yourself have reared a child with class.

My family actually had a similar situation: most of us swear all the time. I have a brother 13 years younger than me, so I was deep into the swearing game when he started getting old enough to listen and comprehend and talk. And yet, despite all of us swearing around him, he always knew not to say those words. He still doesn't swear much, so maybe we all just looked like savages and he decided he'd take the high road.

Danny G:
You know how some frats make their pledges sit blindfolded in a room while a song plays on repeat for hours on end? What'd be your top-5 most annoying songs of all time in this scenario?
1) Rednex - Cotton Eye Joe. This is actually the worst song of all-time AND the song that would drive me insane the most quickly. I can't stand this garbage.

2) Kanye West ft. Mos Def - Drunk and Hot Girls. How Kanye let this song actually get released is mind bottling. I put it on real quick to remind myself of the misery and then I got distracted. Just listened to the entire song. I confidently stand behind my choice.

3) Kanye West ft. Lil Wayne - Barry Bonds. Consecutive songs on a Kanye album that were BEYOND terrible. Go figure.

4) University of Michigan - Hail to the Victors. I do not think I need to offer up an explanation for this one.

5) Weezer - We Are All On Drugs. There are many worse songs in the world. But hearing this song over and over would just remind me that my favorite band actually WROTE this garbage. I HATE this song. It narrowly edged Beverly Hills.

PS - Somehow Weezer's newest album was actually good and that makes the years of suffering through the trash all worth it.

Kelly N:
Why does Andy Ludwig have a job? He's not our OC in 2015, right? Please agree with me because I need something to hope for next year.
No. He's not our OC next year. It doesn't even sound like GA wants to bring him with to OregSU. Whoever runs the offense next year will heed Chryst's advice and run his system. This is fact. Ludwig is a clown and cannot be trusted. We will never see him again. Don't even concern yourself with the possibility.

Just so this isn't so depressing- would rather be Leo or McConaughey?

Leo and it's not even close. McConaughey is out there doing those creepy Lincoln commercials. Leo's bringing home 20 models from the club at once. I've been on #TeamLeo for a long time. I think going back to The Beach. I love that movie. Leo's the man.

Sarah F:

What are your thoughts on this new LASER WEAPON SYSTEM?? It has a "dazzle" mode.

Picturing dazzle mode as a giant poof of glitter.

I am ALL FOR sweet new weapons that feel like they came out of a video game. And the laser operator even uses an Xbox controller to aim the thing! He's basically playing Halo in real life, which is insanely cool and absolutely terrifying. The only thing that's kinda lame about this laser is that it's the skinniest little laser ever. Just a couple nanometers? I don't care how far you can shoot bro, that girth is WEAK.

Plus, we don't even get to see the laser beam itself. I demand to see a giant red laser beam of DOOM pierce through the sky to burn terrorists' heads off. It's a start, but we need more from the engineers at BIG LASER.

PS - Dazzle mode sounds fabulous.

Emily E:

I was reading your list of top UW alumni and realized they are all dudes. Although they are all great dudes, are there any women that will make the list?
It's time to take a moment and appreciate the wonderful NOTABLE FEMALE ALUMNI:

  • Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia. WHOA. That makes her the first elected female head of state in all of Africa. That is IMPRESSIVE. In 2014, Forbes tabbed her as the 70th most powerful woman in the WORLD. I feel safe in saying that she was my biggest oversight. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is certifiably B2DB (bad to da bone). Oh, what's that? She also won a Nobel Peace Prize? Borderline overachiever, but badass nonetheless. FUN FACT: her niece is Donna on Parks and Rec.
  • Joan Cusack, actress. You may know her best as the uptight principal from School of Rock. I probably enjoy that movie more than I should. The plot is pretty absurd. But maybe I'm just a sucker. I guess she's in a bunch of other stuff, too (I don't watch Shameless). Solid actress.
  • Laurel Clark, medical doctor, US Navy Captain, NASA astronaut, Space Shuttle mission specialist. Truly awful that she's known for being onboard the Space Shuttle Columbia when it blew up. Zero jokes to make here: she sounded like a brilliant person and an excellent representative of both the state of Wisconsin and UW.
  • Joyce Carol Oates, author. I KNEW this name. I wasn't sure what she wrote, but I knew she was a famous author. I asked my co-worker if he knew who Joyce Carol Oates was, and he said 'yeah, she like... wrote stuff I think'. Can't BUY name recognition like that. OMG, she wrote Black Water? As in BLACKWATER BAY? Probably not. But you can imagine what it'd be like if she did, eh?
  • Greta Van Susteren, Fox News commentator. BINGO, another name I recognized. LOOK OUT, she's a Scientologist! Real life Scientologists are so fascinating. If I'm to believe everything in that South Park episode is accurate, then she is certifiably INSANE. This does not reflect well upon us. Also, I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that Greta here is the only person on either list that my grandma would recognize. My grandma eats that Fox News shit UP. She watches like 4 things: Wheel of Fortune, Fox News, Blackhawks games, and Bears games. Nana was not ready for HD channels. CONFUSION REIGNED SUPREME
  • Meredith Gardner, American linguist and codebreaker. CODEBREAKER! Looks like we got another member of the B2DB Club. Damnit. Apparently Meredith was a perfectly acceptable name for a dude back then. I've been DUPED.
  • Esther Lederberg, microbiologist and a pioneer of bacterial genetics. Best known for? Discovery of the bacterial virus λ. MYSTERIOUS GREEK VIRUS. I'm terrified of virus λ. Couldn't be more appreciative for Esther discovering this, assuming it's been cured. Esther, ELITE old woman name.
  • Katia Sycara, robotics MASTER. How do we feel about people who dedicate their lives to robotics? At some point, they're going to go a little too far, right? They're going to develop the robots that take over the world and use our bodies for energy. I recently watched the Matrix movies if you can't tell. There are more acronyms in her Wikipedia page than any I've ever seen before. DARPA, NASA (I know that one!), AFOSR, ONR, AFRL, NSF, ONR MURI, COABS DARPA, RETSINA, OWL-S, ACM/SIGART, IEEE, AAAI, UDDI, OASIS (not British), ETAI, good lord. The Intelligence : Acronym ratio is a key indicator of pure intelligence. Katia is GENIUS.
  • Suzy Favor Hamilton, U.S. Olympian runner. AKA Kelly Lundy, professional escort. Now that is one hell of a career pivot. Once word got out that she had become an escort, she lost all her deals with Disney and Nike, and the B1G renamed their Female Athlete of the Year award. Yikes. But whatever, she was a hardcore Olympian and owned up to her choice. Respect.

Joe H:

Brutal game, thankfully they don’t put gates on the exits and I could leave with 9 minutes left in the third.  My question is…Why the hell are there slippery death spots all over NFL/College football fields.  Any time a player runs into the bench area, there is a 90% chance he slips, falls and gets concussed (%’s vary based on study).  Why don’t they just have grass everywhere or the artificial green with used tire?  I swear before my lifetime is over, someone will go in for a lambeau leap and come away with a broken leg.  I don’t want to live in that universe.
It's a valid question. Football sidelines are a wasteland of slippery tarps, camera cable booby traps, and a never ending parade of people half paying attention to what's going on on the field. Ideally they'd have like 20 yards of cushion around the field like Oakland's baseball field has all that foul territory. But that pushes the fans back further from the field and/or means getting rid of seats. Which means making less money. If there's one thing that hold above all else, it's that the NFL will do anything to make money.

We already saw Sean Payton break his fucking leg because there wasn't enough time or space to get out of the way. Someone is for SURE going to tear their ACL in an awkward sideline slip. That will not be a fun day.


I usually walk home from the commuter train station. One day recently, it was raining pretty hard so I drove. On my way home that night, I passed someone who I know has a pretty long walk. Since I'm sympathetic to the cause of such people, I offered her a ride. I did so having forgotten that about 90 seconds prior, when I got in the car, all of the flatulence I'd saved up on my almost hour-long train ride was released. It was a cold day, so I didn't open the windows. In that two minute time frame, I had gotten used to it. Anyway, she accepted the ride, and I think did a pretty good job of hiding her repulsion. My question is: am I forever going to be "that nice guy who dropped ass and whose car fucking reeked to high hell," and is there anything I can do to change that?
You're Fart Guy forever. She might not tell people since she definitely appreciated the gesture. But yeah, you're forever Fart Guy in her eyes. That's okay. There are plenty worse things to be than Fart Guy. You still get a gold star in my books for offering a ride. Walking in the rain is miserable and I'd rather sit in your Honda Stink Civic than be wet and cold and have to walk for DAYS. Keep on keepin' on, Fart Guy.

Joe T:

What's your take on GA?  Is it time to say, "In Chryst We Trust"??? Will he break our hearts in 2 years and leave for UAB' Football program starting back up (ugh, that would be terrible).... Or will it be a match made in heaven to have the hometown kid, a Wisco QB from the 80s (side note - is this the greatest decade in modern time?), come back and lead the badgers out of the game that no one will ever speak of again (unless it is looked back on as a turning point and Badgers go on to a dynasty of multiple BigTen trophies, and dare I say National Championships)?  We really wanted him before GA... does Pitt's 19-19 record scare you?  Feel free to get into your concern about recruits we may or may not have had... so long as we remain Running Back University of Wisconsin.  In your face Texas!
A quick note on GA before we never talk about him again and his time in Madison is forgotten forever: what a clown. No one even knows what the REAL reason was for his sudden departure. Maybe he was homesick (apparently the 730 miles between Oregon State and Utah State isn't a big deal)? Maybe he was frustrated that JUCOs and other not-so-smart recruits couldn't get into Madison? Maybe he felt overshadowed by Barry? Maybe he wanted more money for his assistant coaches?

I have no idea. All I can go by is what GA has told us: 

This can only go two possible ways: either GA is just BSing everyone and not saying the REAL reason he left... or he's just a nutjob. Given how he handled the Stave non-injury and MGIII's curious snap count vs. LSU, the former is certainly plausible. I doubt Andersen ever had difficult questions to address at Utah State. He certainly seemed put off by the media in Wisconsin. Spotlight's a little bigger in Madison than in Logan, buddy.

And if it were the latter? If he really abruptly left a great job in an amazing city coaching a damn good team in the world's best college sports town because some higher power told him Corvallis, Oregon was where he was supposed to be? OMG, this is the best thing that's ever happened. Maybe a higher power was telling him to bench MGIII against LSU! Maybe that higher power was whispering 'McEvoy... and let him throw it!' in his ear! Maybe that higher power wasn't done and was gonna start telling him new ways to lose games we have no business losing. I don't know. And I'm glad we're not going to find out. Goodbye, Gary.

And hello, Paul. Welcome home. We know what we're getting: a Wisconsin guy through and through, an offensive genius, and someone who will surround himself with the right assistants to make up for his weaknesses. He's not the big personality Bielema was. He's not the strong recruiter Andersen was. But he's shown he can wield monster offenses, and it definitely appears he's in it for the long run. I'm on board. It sounds like Aranda is gonna stick, which would be an absolute COUP for Wisconsin.

I expect this hire to work out splendidly. It looks like most of the recruits are going to stick, and all indications are that the best football players in Wisconsin are more likely to choose Paul Chryst than they were Gary Andersen. That's important. Wisconsin recruiting starts and ends with putting up a fence and keeping the talent home.

Officially on board.


Better vacation: house on a beach or a cruise?
I don't think you could pay me to go on a cruise. It might be my fear of large bodies of water (they're terrifying), but going on a cruise doesn't sound all that cool to me. Disease everywhere. You're trapped. CAPSIZING. Awful.

Beach house is badass. You can grill food and lay out (boring) and go BODY SURFING and all the other fun activities that play better on a real beach. AND at the end of the day you can sleep in a real bed in a real house. Or maybe you feel like getting out, so you can just hop in a car and hit the town. I like that freedom. I demand that freedom.

Danya S:

Assuming Chryst is the new coach, and assuming he's any good at it, just how many Jesus jokes can we expect from you next year?
NONE. I am going to take the high road and leave the Jesus puns for the lazy. 

PS - I am most likely going to make a fair amount of Jesus puns. I apologize in advance.


If you went on a date with Taylor Swift, what would be on the agenda?
Shaking. So much shaking. More shaking than you could ever imagine. I'd load up $1,000 on the TouchTunes machine, summon an Uber Black Car, and we would travel bar to bar with 'Shake It Off' queued up on the jukebox. Walk into every bar, instant shake party on the dance floor, take a shot, and then bolt to the next bar. This could go on for HOURS. Eventually I'd get really drunk and break down about her taking her music of Spotify. Seeing how it's affected her biggest fan up close and personal, she'd immediately bring the Shaking back to Spotify.

Spotify would then offer me the official title Director of Swiftness and the world would be back to spinning on its proper axis.

PS - I have no idea, Happy Hanukkah:



Presents:  Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?
OOOOOO, time for a round of ASK THE JEW THE CHRISTMAS QUESTION. It's gotta be Christmas Day, right? Christmas Eve just feels like CHEATING. Is that just a made up movie trope that families all run gleefully through their homes the second they wake up and have a great big present opening party while mom and did sip on their coffee knowing they don't have to buy their kids anything for at least a month? I like to pretend that's real life.

Plus, if you do the Christmas Eve presents party, the kids will not have ample time to bask in their new toy glory. If I got the new Call of Duty game at like 10 pm on Xmas Eve, I'm staying up until 8 pm the next day playing. I don't think younger children can handle that kind of lifestyle. Put the kids down and make them wait to open their presents. Respect the game.

PS - My family always goes to a mudblood family's house for Xmas Eve. Santa comes and brings presents and I'm just realizing that we open them at night, but that's only because we don't live with the mudbloods. They wait and open their presents the next day.

PPS - If you haven't figured out that mudblood is Harry Potter for half-Jewish/half-Christian then I question if you even Harry Potter.

PPPS - I don't really Harry Potter because I thought mudbloods were like half-wizard/half-muggle mixies. Apparently that is not accurate. WINGARDIUM WHOOPSIOSA

Tim S:

Have you listened to Serial yet?  If not, you should make the necessary adjustments.  You can easily knock out episodes on your train rides to work.
I have not. If you haven't figured out from my Timber and Shake It Off obsessions, I like to get on the bandwagon late and really hammer it in everyone's faces how awesome these things are after the fact. I watched Breaking Bad last year for the first time and THOROUGHLY enjoyed all the 'ugh I'm so jealous you still get to watch all this for the first time' comments from my friends. Just wait until I start Serial next year and everyone's SUPER jelly. I thrive on that jelly.

Can you still name all 50 state capitals by heart without hesitation?

Oh, absolutely not. Once every year I fire up the 50 capitals Sporcle and give it a whirl. In fact, let's give it a shot right now!


Well. That went... not so well:

Now, let's clarify one thing: this wasn't a fucking spelling test. I DEFINITELY knew Des Moines and Augusta, but apparently I could not spell them. So I really got 40 in my mind. Allow me to explain why I got the other 10 wrong:

  • South Dakota. Absolute guessing game which one was Bismarck. I knew that was one of the Dakotas, but no clue which one it was. Let's be honest, these things need to merge into one massive state of nothingness sooner rather than later. Proposed capital for OneDakota: LE PANCAKEVILLE
  • Missouri. No I did not type in 'Missouri City' to see if it would take. Yes I typed in 'Missouri City' to see if it would take. BFD.
  • Louisiana. We really should give me credit for 40.5 because I ABSOLUTELY knew this was a 'B-something' city name. I was ALL OVER that B. Just didn't have the rest. Partial credit is a blessing.
  • Tennessee. Okay that's one I should probably know. FINE.
  • Alabama. I'm starting to notice a pattern.
  • South Carolina. You're telling me I've watched 2 seasons of Party Down South AND 1 season of Party Down South 2 and I still don't know a damn thing about the south? This is BOGUS man.
  • Virginia. My strategery of guessing wherever the flagship state university is located did not work very well.
  • West Virginia. Not a chance.
  • Pennsylvania. I clearly started with Philadelphia and that wasn't right. A few minutes later I was back on Pennsylvania and had a stroke of GENIUS: HERSHEY! HERSHEY, PENNSYLVANIA! THAT'S SO RIGHT! It was not right.
  • Rhode Island. Whatever.
Here were some of my other guesses:

  • Tegucigalpa
  • Maine City
  • Jackson...ville
  • Tempe (why do people know about Tempe if it's not the capital of Arizona?)
  • Williamsburg (doesn't Williamsburg, West Virginia have a nice ring to it?)
  • Rhode Island City
  • BOOM CARSON CITY THANK YOU NIC CAGE AND CYRUS THE VIRUS (I think I typed 'Reno' 17 times before realizing it probably wasn't right, and then I dug Carson City out of NOWHERE at the last second.)
  • Bayou
  • Philidelphia (perhaps I spelled it wrong and this was actually the correct spelling)

I could take that test again right now and probably get the same score or worse.

PS - After I wrote this I got home and caught up on the season premiere of the Real World's new season. 2 of the roommates were from Baton Rouge and Providence. So if I watched this episode yesterday like I should've, I woulda gotten 42/50. Reality TV dropping US capitals knowledge left and right.

PPS - I mean it's not rare for me to get wrapped up in a season of the Real World. But this season being in Chicago makes it a no-brainer. Maybe I'll see my blurred out face in the background in the episode they go to Will's at 10 am on a Saturday!

3PS - I'm not prepared for the emotional roller coaster that will be the next season of The Challenge.




  1. mind bottling....tell me this was a mistake b-rand...........FESS UP.

  2. And I quote "How Kanye let this song actually get released is mind bottling."