Monday, February 7, 2011

A Case of the Mondays: Super Bowl Edition

As I've stated previously, I was less than excited about this game.  I'm sure if I were a Packer fan, I'd be pumped about the game.  But I doubt I'm alone in thinking that this was a pretty boring Super Bowl.  Had the Steelers even gotten one more first down during the last drive, it would have qualified as exciting.  As it stands now, the Packers had the lead the whole time and I just assumed they would win to infuriate me.  This was also true.  But let's talk about the game with a little bit more detail.

- Christina Aguilera forgets the words to "The Star Spangled Banner?"  And during the same week that Tosh.0 does a web redemption for someone who forgot the words to that very same song?  It's eerie, and I feel like Daniel Tosh is responsible.  Maybe he can get X-Tina to come on for a web redemption of her own. 

- The sound was not up all that loud where I was watching the Super Bowl, so I couldn't hear all that much of what Troy Aikman and Joe Buck were saying during their commentary.  This vastly improved my viewing experience.

- If I can play Denny Green for a moment- The Packers are who we thought they were!  The Packers are apparently unstoppable on opening drives.  I've seen them do this every game during the playoffs.  I'm not going to look it up to be sure, but I think they've scored on each of their first possessions during their playoff run.  Good defenses were able to adjust (Bears and Steelers for the most part) and the Falcons could not so they were blown out.  The Eagles are in the middle.  My guess is the key to beating the Packers is to get a stop on their first possession.  If you can get them to play from behind, you'd have a much better shot at beating them, but no team was able to do that.  I'm stating the obvious, aren't I?  Well, then let's move on to the next point.

- Super Bowl commercials are awful.  Companies seem to waste their millions of dollars on spots that aren't good.  The VW Darth Vader commercial was entertaining, but beyond that, I was unimpressed.  For those of you that liked the Budweiser rugged cowboy --> "Tiny Dancer" sing-a-long- just stop.  That commercial was awful.  I expect more from Budweiser.  That was awful.

- The Halftime Show... I don't know what to say about it.  It was pretty boring for me.  Also, whoever set the lights for the "V" on their "L-O-V-E" dance floor is not going to have a job for very long.  Did you notice the lighters were out on at least 3 dance floor squares?  I'm not sure there is a way to have a good Halftime Show.  Great artists seem to be minimized on such a big stage.  Average Pop artists are even worse.  I think G$ suggested the Foo Fighters a year or two ago, and I'd like to see what they could do on that type of stage.  Otherwise, the NFL powers that be may want to re-think how the Halftime Show is presented.  I think the format makes it impossible for an artist to really translate their talents to the known universe. 

- Aaron Rodgers destroys Brett Favre's legacy.  This could be the only redeemable quality of the Packers championship.  Brett Favre will always have his loyalist fans- that is a fact.  But quite a few Packer fans had jumped on the A-Rod bandwagon already, and anyone left on the fence is now firmly planted in Rodgers' camp.  It is wonderful watching Favre's legend crumble before our eyes.  He obviously was a great quarterback, but his diva-esque attitude has finally caught up with him.  If there is a Packer fan that agrees or disagrees with me, I'd love to hear from you.  Before you disagree with me, though, close your eyes and picture Favre in a Vikings jersey- then write to me.

- Big Ben wasn't clutch this time.  Hey, 10-3 in the playoffs with 2 rings is really, really good.  I'm not going to bash Roethlisberger, but he did have the chance to go down and win another Super Bowl, but was unable to get it done.  Why he didn't throw shorter to convert the 3rd and 5 at the end of the game, I'll never know.  And realistically, his 4th down pass was catchable.  It would have been a great play by Mike Wallace, but I guess his 60 Minutes had run out (get it?  Mike Wallace- 60 Minutes- eh eh?  No?  Awwww...)  The Packers were, in fact, the better team last night. 

- Ramifications for the future.  I'm very much looking forward to next year.  However, the Packers are going to be a scary opponent for years to come.  I also hate admitting that the freaking Detroit Lions are actually knocking on the door of being pretty good as well.  The NFC North is going to earn it's nickname of the Black and Blue division in the coming years. 

I hope you all had more fun watching the Super Bowl than I did.  It's tough to watch a rival win a championship, so I couldn't get into the game as much as other people probably did.  In the last decade, I've seen the White Sox win one, the Cardinals win one, the Bears get beat by the Colts, and the Packers win.  It's disgusting.  I'm putting all my eggs in the 2011 Cubs' basket*... let's do it boys! 

*This is written with hope and sarcasm all rolled into one.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Bad News & The Super Bowl

It is with a heavy heart that I write today.  My friend EJ's brother, Lorenzo, passed away yesterday at the age of 24.  I don't have much to say other than I'm saddened and I'm keeping the Verceles family in my thoughts and prayers. 

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It's tough to go into a Super Bowl prediction after such a tragic announcement, so I'll make this brief. 

The Packers are favored at -2.5 and the Over/Under is 44.5.  I'm 100% bias and cannot bet on the Packers.  The Steelers (I think) are the better team and will win.  The defenses seem pretty good, but were shredded the last time these two teams played each other. 

I'm not betting on the game and to be honest, I barely want to watch because I don't care for either team.  My guess, though is:

Steelers 30
Packers 21

I'll take the Steelers and the Over. 

Have a great Super Bowl weekend, and throw the Verceles family some good vibes in this tough time.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thank You Notes

Once again, I'm taking Jimmy Fallon's idea and making it worse.  Enjoy the results...

Dear Jay Cutler,

Thank you for not clearing things up about your injury.  All you need to do is have a 5-10 minute conversation with someone on camera and this likely blows over.  Or blows up even further.  Let's recap quickly:
1) You look like a wuss when coming out of the game because no one tells anyone what is wrong with you.  You then stand on the sideline and look physically ok (which may or may not be misleading.)
2) Many question your toughness, you get misty-eyed.
3) Brian Urlacher defends you.  I respect his defense.
4) You then TAKE THE STAIRS at a restaurant for your postgame meal.  C'mon man!
5) It comes out that you have a torn MCL.  This makes things a bit more understandable.
6) On 1/27, TMZ releases a video of you walking around in LA shopping with your girlfriend.  Again- c'mon man!
7) Today, it is known that you were given a painkilling shot at halftime, then went back in the game for a series against doctors' orders. 
In the end, if you want to pay me $100,000 a year (+travel expenses), I'll follow you around and make sure that don't do dumb stuff to hurt your image.  Seriously, I'll do this for you, the Bears, and Bear fans everywhere.  We'll get you a jazzy and make sure people realize that you actually are hurt- and if you're not, we're not going to fuel the fire of bad public perception.  Email me and let's get this started!

I'm serious,
Tony B.

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Dear Johnny Depp,

Thank you for making $20 million for acting in "The Tourist."  It helps me realize that even I might be able to trick someone into paying me a lot of money to do mediocre work.  What a great confidence boost!

Oh, and that last "Pirates" movie was pretty bad as well.

Loved you in other stuff,
Tony B.

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Dear White Stripes,

Thank you for announcing your break-up.  However, didn't you break up like 10 years ago?  I mean, you're a divorced couple in a band together- that doesn't seem like a recipe for a successful band.  Also, is the only loser in this Meg White?  I know Jack White is in other bands, but I've never actually heard anything else that Meg has done.  Good luck finding a new band that plays everything in 4/4 with only the most basic of beats. 

One and two and three and...
Tony B.

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Dear Fringe,

Thank you for moving to Friday nights.  I've actually been enjoying the time slot a bunch... but if you get canceled I will be raging mad.  You are pretty much the only good show on these days, so don't go the way of great shows before you (i.e. Carnivale- HBO, I'm still angry about that one.)

Keep it rolling,
Tony B.

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Dear Super Bowl,

Thank you for giving me a match-up that excites the general public, but could not be any less exciting for me personally.  I don't care for either team or their fanbases.  Seriously.  Do we really need another Steeler championship? No.  Do we need a Packer championship?  HELL NO.  I guess the only good thing about a Packer championship is that it would probably turn more Packer fans against Brett Favre- and that's always a good thing. 

Unexcited,
Tony B.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Complaint Section

This is going to quickly turn into "You Know What Really Grinds My Gears" by Peter Griffin, but today I'd like to talk about people that I've come across that truly bother me.  This will be an easy post to write because I feel like I run into people on a daily basis whose actions burrow into my consciousness like an over-active earwig.  I'd like to encourage everyone to write about bothersome characters in your own lives in the comments.  As Carl Weathers would say, "Here we go!"

Fat White Trash Guy At The Gym - The gym is definitely a place for me to get angry about other people and their actions.  If you recall, just last week I mentioned a kid wearing skinny jeans and a black t-shirt with an airbrushed picture of Jacob from Twilight working out.  Or how about the Steroid Guy that I've mentioned in the past.  Remember him?

Well, this new guy was a highly obese dude who grunted rather than actually speaking.  I was at a urinal peeing and I hear this guy from behind me grunting to someone as he walked into the bathroom, "Yeeeeeah, you gah dah do what you gah da doooo (long sigh.)"  It was like he was out of breath from talking and walking.  I'm trying to keep to myself but this guy is essentially making a scene of him going #1.  He takes a deep breath, an even longer grunting exhale and uses his forearm to brace himself against the bathroom wall.  As he starts peeing, he lets out an over-exaggerated, "Aaaaaaaaah, dat feels nice... Oooooh yeah, dat's it... time to work off dat hamburger..."  I broke out of their as fast as possible.  I didn't want him to capture me and put me in a skimpy bikini and chain me to his bedpost:



 



















Homeless Guy Who Lectures People After Getting Denied Change - If you've seen the South Park episode "Night Of The Living Homeless," you know that hobos can be like zombies looking for change to feed their various addictions.  Now, I know this is going to seem heartless on some level, but to read the rest we'll have to assume that I'm talking about the type of homeless person that isn't actually trying to better themselves, but is using people's change/charity to continue to be a drunk homeless person.  I'm sure there are exceptions to this scenario, but in my own experience I'm more likely to donate directly to a shelter or even a group that is trying to create better conditions in Africa than I am to giving a homeless person money directly. 

So I'm walking out of Safeway with Mrs. B. and a load of groceries, and I see a guy in my peripheral that is definitely going to ask us for money.  Not food.  Not something that will actually help him.  He wants money.  He wanders closer to my car and asks, "Can I have some money to help get me something to eat?"  Like I said, I physically have food in my possession and am loading it in my car, but he's looking for money, which again bothers me.  I say, "No," and he begins to get offended.

"A bunch of saints around here tonight," he replies with a venomous tone.

I'm not sure what to expect of a homeless guy, but if I applied for a job and the company said, "Sorry, you didn't get it."  Then I did an about-face and said something like, "Fine- I didn't want to work for your stupid company anyway."  I can't imagine they would regret not hiring me.  It's the same thing here.  I don't regret not giving this guy change because he was rude after the fact. 

I'm not sure why he felt like there would be saints running around the parking lot of of a Safeway in downtown Sacramento, but it goes to show me that he hangs out there expecting charity.  It's really hard for me to get into that.  Once again, I know some folks are put at a disadvantage early on in life and might have fallen on hard times, but it's hard for me to be an enabler to all hobos and continually give out change everyday (which I'm asked for change damn near everyday living in Sacramento.)  Enough of this rant- it makes me look heartless, which I don't think I am- maybe I'll sometime soon I'll write about the bum that my Mom gave change to 15 years ago that set me down this "heartless" (rational?) path...

Restaurant Servers That Use Nicknames For Their Customers - I know you think you sound cool and that customers just eat it up positively, but if you call me "Boss" during my meal, it will not please me and you will get tipped less.  There is one acceptable nickname and that is "Sir."  To be honest, I don't even like that.  Your job is to be helpful, accurate, and refill my table's drinks as fast as possible.  If the food is delayed (probably not your fault), communicate that sincerely and effectively and you have just won yourself a 20-25% tip!  Yay for you!

On the other hand, if you called my "Boss" (especially multiple times- overuse is the worst) during the meal, your tip has now been decreased.  I'm not sure there is a scenario where I wouldn't leave any tip, but I'll go down to 10% if you keep up those shenanigans.  My police officer friend says "Boss" is originally a prison term (maybe Clarkster can also shed light on that) so I really don't need some naive server thinking that is a cool thing to say.  Just don't do it.  "Chief" is not OK either.  As Dane Cook would say, "I'm not a Chief.  I'm not an Indian Chief.  I'm not a Kansas City Chief.  I'm not a Chef which can sometimes be confused with Chief on paper."   Nicknames are not appreciated because we're not friends- it comes off as patronizing "my good man."

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Ok.  Phew.  That was a load off my mind.  It might have been overly negative, but now I feel much better.  If you have your own examples or have comments on my complaints, leave them in the comments section.  Other than that, may your day be filled with enjoyable folks that don't make you angry or annoyed.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ouch

In my line of work, canceled events are going to happen.  It's just a fact of the business.  It could be weather related when canceling an outdoor event or it could be something as simple as an artist getting sick. 

However, having two concerts cancel less than a week from each other is NOT an ideal situation for anyone.  My usual stance is to never talk about work on this blog, which is why I'm being pretty vague about it all, but just know that I'm going bonkers today.  It's hard to build momentum or buzz for our venues when artists cancel so close to each other.  It is a bad coincidence, but the public doesn't care much about that- they want their shows and they don't care what it takes to get them. 

Hey, I'm the first one to recognize that the flu can be debilitating.  I got it earlier this year and could move for two days.  Luckily, I didn't have shows of my own those days, otherwise I would have had to cancel.  For the record though, I actually have never canceled a performance of my own.  Shows my have been canceled due to weather or something on the venue side, but I personally have never canceled a show.  I'm sure I just put a super-jinx on myself right there, but oh well. 

My life isn't bad, and I don't need you to play any of the worlds' smallest violins for me. Just know as you go about your day, there is a good chance I'll be getting smart-ass emails from angry college students that are naive to the way the world works.  They don't care that I personally didn't give Mike Ness flu-ridden mouth-to-mouth- they only care about the fact that there is no show tonight. 

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Case Of The Mondays

Let's look back at Brandon's comment from Friday:

"Maybe sending some fantasy baseball trades will energize you for the weekend."

I totally agreed that that would have energized my state of being going into the weekend.  Hilariously, no trades were sent my way, BUT I did get the league notification that Brandon did trade Matt Holliday to MY BROTHER for Josh Johnson.  Excellent sentiment Brandon, but you offered the trade to the wrong sibling!  If you want to flip Josh Johnson on over to me, feel free to send me offers- I'm listening!

Friday:

Mrs. B. and I got home from work without much to do.  Luckily, John and Katrina called up to see what we were doing.  We told them to drive into Sacramento and we'd go out to dinner.  After physically looking into a couple places that looked overly crowded or pretentious we decided to head to Chicago Fire for dinner.  GREAT DECISION!  I hadn't been there since Mrs. B.'s and my one year anniversary of dating and I had forgotten how damn delicious that place is.  It also doesn't hurt that the whole place is Windy City Themed.  One would think I would frequent this place constantly, and I probably will go back more often.  Their deep dish pizza is phenomenal. 

Friday night was capped off with a little acoustic jam session at my apartment.  Hopefully none of the neighbors were mad, but seriously, I could care less.  Almost all of them have, at one time or another, been way too loud at the middle hours of the night.  They were probably treated to glorious melodies that may never be equaled- at least, that's the way I remember it. 

Saturday:

Mrs. B. and I got up early and went to the gym.  She frequents the Dance Party Extreme aerobic classes at 24 Hour Fitness and I was getting my swoll on.  Does anyone even use that saying anymore?  Doubtful, but I just did so deal with it. 

After conquering Super Mario World later in the day, it was time for me to go to work.  UC Davis was playing the fierce UC Irvine Anteaters.  I don't really get to watch the games while working, but when I checked in, the Aggies were getting absolutely worked.  I left work and had a low key night, but the next day I checked on the final score of the game and oddly enough UCD came back and won on a last second shot in double OT!  Nice work!  I did not see that one coming.  

Sunday:

I went to the gym again and had no run ins with weird people which is unfortunate for blogging purposes.  It's been over a month of me regularly working out again and I feel much healthier and more energetic.  This productivity led me to Target to buy a storage box. 

I used said storage box to put away some stuff that was cluttering my music area in my house.  I'm hoping to parlay that into getting motivated and demoing about 10 new songs on my computer.  This would mean I'm laying the ground work on a new album.  Who knows when that would even get started let alone released, but it's nice to know I have the tunes to get it done.

I then spent a few hours learning some new cover songs.  "Little Black Backpack" do anything for you?  How about "Molly (Sixteen Candles)?"  Some new Hall & Oates?  Yeah, you're excited- I can tell. 

Mrs. B. and I ultimately ended the day watching "Dinner For Schmucks."  There were a few laughs, but overall I would not recommend this movie.  Steve Carell was pretty much the dumbest he's ever been and was pretty much intentionally ruining Paul Rudd's life.  I went from being uncomfortable to infuriated at these dumb characters who kept screwing up worse than Ben Roethisberger at a night club in Georgia.  I'll give it a 4 out of 10 for the few laughs that did come up throughout the movie.  Overall, I was not impressed. 

A big shout out to the NFC for beating down the AFC in the Pro Bowl!  I know Julius Peppers didn't score, but he was down the field blocking on both of the NFC's defensive touchdowns- nice work buddy!

It was a pretty productive and fun weekend, albeit a low key one. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Mail In

After a rough week, I have very little to contribute to the universe.  On top of that, Mrs. B. was being all dramatic, then brought me a piece of pizza to apologize!  Not a hug or even a protein shake!  Like I want a piece of pizza!

I wish I had some more insight, but unfortunately, this mail-in post using lines from Jersey Shore is about all you're gonna get.  Unfortunately, this week's goal of 5 solid posts failed.  Whether or not this post is actually the one that caused the goal to fail is up for debate, but have a great weekend anyway!  See you all Monday.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thank You Notes

I borrowed this from the Late Night With Jimmy Fallon- wanna fight about it?

Dear Car Salesman Who Was Fired For Wearing a Packer Tie To Work,

Thank you for proving that people are dumb.  Seriously, you deserve to get fired.  I'm not going to lie, I was wearing Bears stuff under my clothes for most of the week last week- but in an attempt to look mildly professional, I didn't wear sports gear outwardly to work.  If your car dealership in Illinois has sponsorship deals with the Bears, it seems like a reasonable request for you to not wear a dumb Packers tie.  Also, you wore it to be a jerk- not to "honor your dead grandmother, who was a Packer fan."  Nice excuse once the media got a hold of the story.  Ugh.  If the dress code says you can't wear a Packer tie, then you can't wear it.  If it says you can't wear short cut-off jean shorts, then you can't wear those either!  Common sense may never prevail.

Go Bears,
Tony B.

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Dear Jimmer Fredette,

Thank you for your performance last night.  I'm all for San Diego State winning, but dude, if you're going to play like that BYU will be unstoppable.  In exactly the opposite way of Jay Cutler, here is what PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT YOU.  You have Kevin Durant talking about how awesome you are- you don't need me!  Anyone want some highlights?



Awesome,
Tony B.

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Dear Kid At The Gym,

Thank you for your obviously comfortable workout attire choice the other day. I'm sure skinny jeans, a black t-shirt with glittery letters that says "Diesel" on it, and Sketchers was a completely functional decision on your part. It was even more surprising when you took off the first black shirt to reveal another black shirt- this one had a large airbrushed picture of Jacob from Twilight on it. Gay or straight, there's no way that was a comfortable outfit.

Keep sculpting those guns,
Tony B.

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Dear Hall & Oates,

Thank you for your awesome music. There's no joke here. Call it cheesy. Call it fluff. Call it what you want, but it's damn catchy and fun to listen to. I highly recommend Live From Daryl's House the web series. Check it out!

Best regards,
Tony B.

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Dear Eastbay.com,

Thank you for this hilarious tidbit.  I was looking at getting some shoes and I put in a search for "Chicago Bears" to see what kind of gear (if any) that you had on your website.  There are actually a few half-decent items, but that is not the funny part.  All the Jay Cutler gear has been put on massive clearance!  His premier style jersey has been marked down from $110 to $50.  His cheaper jersey replica jersey is down from $80 to $40.  Last, and most comical, is THIS T-SHIRT.  Marked down from $26 to $12.  Even the Brandon Marshall Broncos shirt is $1 more, and he's been on the Dolphins for a full year! 

You're welcome for the plug,
Tony B.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"You So Crazy"

I asked my friend for a blog topic today and she suggested the State of the Union address, Oscar predictions or what would happen if the Yellowstone Super Volcano erupted.  These were all great suggestions!  Unfortunately, I didn't watch the State of the Union address (too much talk, not enough doing), I have only watched Inception and Toy Story 3 out of the Best Picture nominees, and I HATE super volcanoes (there is a good chance that a super volcano killed off the dinosaurs!)

I also don't want to talk about Jimmy Buffet falling off a stage in Australia and then being rushed to the hospital.  Some people said there was a woman to blame, but in the end, it was all Jimmy's fault.

So what do I have?  I've pretty much worked my way through the grief process of the Bears' loss in the NFC Championship Game and I am ready to start anew.  What better way to do that than to talk about an A-hole at the Craps Table?  None, I tells ya!

This past Friday, my friends John, Brandon, and I went up to the Peppermill in Reno to drink, eat, play Craps, and make sports bets.  The overall trip was fantastic.  We had a free room, received our Gold Member Parking Passes, checked in at the VIP Services room, and everyone received some amount in free play- which is always nice and helpful.

After drinking a bottle of The Gentleman between the three of us, we went down to play Craps.  The game itself can be enough of a grind, but can be made excellent by the other folks at any given table.  A fun group of people can make Craps go from a solid game, to a ridiculously fun game.  Hell, if you have people betting against the table and the dice starting going your way- that can be a blast as well!  Showing up people who bet on the Don't Pass/Don't Come Line is ALWAYS fun times!

But the opposite is also true.  If a complete douche finds their way to the Craps Table they can ruin the entire vibe.  I'm not sure which comes first- the positive vibe or the massive winnings, but I will tell you that if an A-hole comes up to the table and said table goes cold, everyone WILL blame the jerkweed for the bad luck.  We'll call this "The Jay Cutler Principle."  It may not physically be the person's fault that everyone at the table is losing, but it sure seems that way and no one will give them the benefit of the doubt.

So what happened on Friday?  A space opened up right next to me early on in our session.  A tall, big bellied white guy steps in and immediately has the stink of douche all over him.  He was extremely drunk, talking in a very cartoon-ish voice, called everyone "big man," and threw a wad of $2900 into the center of the table for the dealers to count up.  He turned to me and put a wad of money in my face and told me to count it.  I was pissed.  1) This is inappropriate.  2) Just because you are proud of how much money you have, doesn't mean it's ok to tell people to count it (or do anything for that matter.  3) Count your own damn money!

After a minute of harassing, I decided to count the money.  I half wanted to peel off a couple 100s for myself, but in a casino that's probably not the best idea.  In retrospect, I should have charged him a $100 counting fee and he was probably drunk enough to do it, but in the end, I counted his 11 $100 bills and handed them back.  He threw them right onto the table for the dealers to count.  Obviously, he just wanted to show off his money and make sure everyone knew what a "big man" he was.  I'm going to guess he's over compensating for something else.

Once he had his $4000 in chips, and made sure to mention that he "usually plays with at least $5000," we were able to continue playing.  He was buying numbers, allowing the dice to roll 4 or 5 times, then he'd announce that he was taking all of his bets off.  What a dick.  Not only do the dealers have to keep track of his large bets, but he was slowing the game by taking his bets on and off the table in between rolls.  It was maddening.

Another annoying habit this guy had was whenever people were getting visibly sick of him, he would try to give them a knuckle pound and say, "You so crazy."  All f-ing night.  "You so crazy... you so crazy... you so crazy."  Unless you're possessed by Martin Lawrence, you need to shut your hole!

The great thing about this was he was being such an obvious nuisance that he actually got reprimanded for swearing at the table.  This was a great lesson to learn.  A pit boss doesn't care how much money you are throwing down- if you are a shithead, you will still get in trouble.

Eventually, we had to just color up, cash out and move tables.  It was not a tolerable situation.  I'm fairly certain the guy started propositioning other guys at the table.  He might have propositioned me at one point, but his drunken mumbling was inaudible.  The only thing I can understand was, "You know what I'm sayin'!"  I replied, "Actually, I have no idea what you're saying."  He just laughed like he was the Joker when Joker had Batman in an precarious position.

I'm all for being social and playing this great and social game, but remember kids, don't be an A-hole.  Ever.  But especially at the Craps table when there is money on the line.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jay Culter vs. The World

WOW.  Lots of talk on Jay Cutler's toughness has led me down the road of insanity.  The NFC Championship game was a tough one.  The media and public reacted in an extreme way to how Cutler acted during the game, so I need this post for me to figure out how I actually feel about Cutler as the Bears QB.  Let's start by flashing back to my own playing days when I was a senior in high school.  I played basketball at Northgate High School...

Our second game of the year was against Encinal High School (Dontrelle Willis' alma mater) and I dropped a solid 29 points on them.  Our team won easily and advanced to the championship game of the Ygnacio Valley tournament.  Unfortunately, in the 3rd quarter, I grabbed an offensive rebound and severely sprained my right ankle as I came down on someone's foot.  Typing that actually brought back a reminder of how painful it was.  It was ridiculously hard to walk.  I was fouled when I went back up for a gimpy shot.  I shot free throws and was pulled from the game.  As I said, we had the game in hand, so no problem- I wasn't needed the rest of the game.

However, our championship game was the next day and after icing the ankle, getting a good night sleep and taking some Advil, my ankle was JACKED.  I could barely walk.  I went into a sports medicine clinic for electric stimulation and ice a couple hours before the game.  They also taped it up excessively and added an ankle brace.  I took 4 Advil before the game and 4 more at halftime.  While warming up in the locker room I tried running on the ankle- I could barely do it.

And guess what?  I played the game, scored 12 points, our team won the tournament championship and I was named MVP.  The next day I was throwing up because I took too much Advil and actually still went on a recruiting trip up to UC Davis.  Was it worth it though?  Hell yes.

Do I tell you this brag about my toughness?  No.  This is a factual account that hopefully proves that I have some perspective on playing with an injury.  However, there is a dark side to this story...

The next game was a few days later.  I didn't practice on the days in between because my ankle was so messed up.  Our team played at Granada in Livermore against a team that frankly, was not as good as us.  I decided to tough it out again, but the swelling had gone up and I was even less mobile than before.  I played, scored 5 points, and I'm certain that I was one of the reasons we lost that game.  I tried to be a hero, but ultimately I was a bit selfish and it cost us a game.

I didn't miss a game my entire senior year.  My ankle got better after that and was not a problem for the rest of the year.  However, I did break both of my wrists (navicular bone in each wrist) and I played through those injuries as well.  I was able to do it, but it actually cost me my college basketball career.  I showed up to UC Davis as a recruit without a guaranteed roster spot.  Once I was cut from the team, I then had an opportunity to fix my wrists via surgery.  I did my best to hide the injures during tryouts at UCD, but I knew I couldn't continue playing in that condition.  I had offers to transfer away from UCD and play elsewhere, but my wrist surgeries took a long time to heal and rehabilitate.  I could've gambled on my fragile wrists and transferred away from a great educational institution just to play some ball, but I didn't.  I stayed at UCD and never played any form of college basketball (besides IMs, of course.)

Sure, it's fun to take a trip down memory lane, but as you can see, my tales have ups and downs when it comes to playing through pain.  In coming up with my opinion on Jay Cutler, I know also have information that he actually does have a tear in his MCL.  He could stand, but he couldn't cut or do any of the things that a truly effective QB could do.  Could he have gone out there and played?  Maybe.  Did Caleb Hanie play more effectively than Cutler could have with his injury?  Maybe.  We don't actually know these answers and we never will.  We can make assumptions about toughness when the large majority of us have not gone to work because of a "bad cold" or some other weak excuse.  Who are we to question an athlete's toughness?

Do I think Cutler lacks toughness?  After watching him get pummeled by the Dallas Cowboys, NY Giants, Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, and even the Seahawks earlier in the year behind an awful O-line- I'm gonna say no.  I don't think Cutler lacks toughness.

I think the biggest knock on Cutler is his non-verbal communication.  I once learned that communication is 80% non-verbal which is why instant messaging or texting can be difficult from time to time.  Large portions of the actual message are lost when the message receiver cannot see the non-verbal communication behind it.  It's exactly why people invented emoticons ;)

I'm not sure if Cutler needs to cater toward improving his public image, but it almost certainly would make it easier on him.  People don't think he acts they way he should.  He could be the most hated player in the NFL right now.  It's crazy that this is the case based on other players in the NFL:

- Michael Vick killed dogs and financed a dog fighting ring.
- Big Ben was accused of rape multiple times.  Granted, he was never convicted, but he probably wasn't being a total stand up guy.
- Ray Lewis was accused of, at best, being an accessory to murder.
- Donte Stallworth killed someone while drunk driving.
- Tom Brady once left the AFC Championship game allowing Drew Bledsoe to lead the Patriots to victory.  Once they advanced to the Super Bowl, Tom Brady was magically better and won his first ring- this example was used not because Tom Brady is a bad guy, but that he had a knee injury serious enough to keep him out of an AFC Championship game, but not serious enough to keep him from the Super Bowl two weeks later.  I don't remember anyone questioning Brady's toughness at that time like they have Cutler this week.

Where were the Bears without Jay Cutler?  They had former hated QB Rex Grossman.  They had Kyle Orton who was a stat machine earlier this year, but never all that effective in his career.  Let's go further back into the Bears' QB roster.  Henry Burris.  Jonathan Quinn.  Craig Krenzel.   Chad Hutchinson.  Kordell Stewart.  Eric Kramer.  Cade McNown.  Jim Miller (who actually led them to a playoff birth, but let's keep it real- he was not good.)  Even so-called "decent" or "good" QBs were awful.  Mike Tomczak.  Jim Harbaugh.  Jim McMahon- yes, Jimmy Mac was terrible.  His stats were unimpressive at best.  Their defense won Super Bowl XX.  My lifetime is littered with AWFUL Chicago Bear QBs.  Let's put it out there- Jay Cutler is, in fact, the best Chicago Bear QB of my lifetime.

On top of that, I live in Northern California where the starting QBs for the local teams this past year were Alex Smith, Troy Smith, Jason Campbell, and Bruce Gradkowski.  I see how frustrated Niner and Raider fans are with their QBs.  I also see how frustrated they are since neither team has been to the Playoffs in YEARS.  I'd much rather be in the Bears position than those teams, much like SF Giants fans would rather be where they are rather than where the Cubs are.  It's all relative to how you look at it, and I know Jay Cutler is an improvement over most of the garbage QBs that bring their teams down to mediocrity.  

So as a fan, as a former athlete who has played in pain, and as a rational person, do I want Jay Cutler as the Bears QB next year?  HELL YES I do.  There is no other answer I can possibly give.  The NFC Championship game was a huge let down.  It was a truly hard pill to swallow.  But would the Bears have even gotten there without Jay Cutler?  I doubt it.  Would I like Cutler to physically show more leadership qualities- sure I would.  Yet, from the way his teammates and coaches had his back after the game, he seems like he might be doing more of that behind the scenes than anyone outside of the Bears compound ever realizes. 

Until there is a tangible, realistic and better option, Jay Cutler is the guy in Chicago.  I'm not jumping ship or burning Cutler's jersey, so instead I'm going to be supportive and hope that Cutler does the one thing that will help him the most- bring Chicago a Super Bowl Championship.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Sick Case of the Mondays

I'm sorry folks.  That game took so much out of me.  In fact, the Craps table Friday night took a lot out of me as well.  It was quite the grind.  My friends and I were down for the evening, even on sports bets, and luckily we did stop at Boomtown on the way out of town and made a little bit of cash back at their Craps tables. 

I need an extra day to digest this game.  I want to talk about the Bears D, how good I actually think the Packers are, and whether or not I think Jay Cutler wimped out.  I just need an extra day to form my own actual opinions. 

I know this is a weak post, but I also had to work all Sunday night at a concert so I didn't see any of the AFC Championship game. 

Ugh.  I feel so drained of sports enthusiasm. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Conference Championship Games

I'm pumped for the games this weekend.  Unfortunately, I do have to work Sunday night so 1) I can't watch the AFC Championship game and 2) I can't stay in Reno longer than just tonight and tomorrow afternoon.  Bummer.  Oh well, though- tonight should be a great time and I will get to watch the Bears game, so we're all good.  Let's get on with the predictions:

Bears +3.5 vs. Packers 43.5 - This is a tough one.  I'm obviously bias and earlier this week I said that I could see this game going any which way.  What I'm hoping for is a defensive game where the Bears win the turnover battle (James Starks fumble, anyone?)  I'm taking the Bears 21-20.  Snicker all you want, but you didn't expect me to pick any other way, did you?

Steelers -3.5 vs. Jets 38.5 - I have no idea what's going down in this game either.  I did hear that the Steelers are awfully beat up after their game against the Ravens.  The Jets do seem like a team that is "on a roll" though I don't think that is wholly a reason to pick them (also see: Packers.)  I was really impressed with the Jets handling of the Patriots and they have already beat the Steelers earlier in the year, so let's go with the Jets 24-23 over the Steelers.

Bears and Jets to cover, under in the NFC game and over in the AFC game.  Am I crazy?  Maybe, but this should be a fantastic weekend of football!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thank You Notes

I seriously did not think that Jimmy Fallon hosting a late night show about be a good idea when it was first proposed.  He was somewhat funny on Saturday Night Live, but I found myself laughing at him more than with him due to him cracking up during every sketch he was ever involved.  Mrs. B. began DVR'ing the show in standard definition (to save space for good shows that need HD) a few months ago.  I'd catch clips here and there and eventually I became a fan.  More than ever, Jimmy has hit his stride as a late night host and his show is actually (can't believe I'm writing this) great!  No joke.  Two nights ago they had a bit about the 60 year old stripper that was fired for being too old.  In the monologue, Jimmy made the joke then danced a psuedo-Charleston to old-timey music to mimic the old stripper who he referred to as Mildred.  The joke popped up later while making fun of Myspace.  I know my description of this whole thing as not as funny in print, but it was a fine example of Jimmy and his crew bringing solid material to late night.  Also, the Roots destroy every night on his show.  They rock.  They are funny.  They are awesome. 

So, I stole this Thank You Note idea that Jimmy does every Friday.  At first I thought it was Jimmy's only funny skit- now I'm giving him serious "props" for the show as a whole.  He and Conan are the only watchable late night shows- and that is a fact. 

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Dear Milton Bradley,

Thank you for threatening a woman in Southern California and getting arrested on felony charges.  I really hope you go to jail so you can no longer disgrace the baseball diamond year after year after year.  For being a millionaire who works for other richer millionaires, one would think you could get diagnosed with bi-polar and get on some medication.  Oh well, I'm not here to play Dr. Tony, I'm just a regular guy who is sick of your temper tantrums and underachieving on the ball field.

Happy Trails,
Tony B.

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Dear Skip Bayless,

Thank you for defending Jay Cutler this morning on First And Ten.  You said if you were starting a franchise, you would pick Cutler over Aaron Rodgers.  Yikes.  I'm sure you just double jinxed Cutler and the Bears for this Sunday.  I'm going to have to borrow Ronnie's mind condom... Out of all the media to give the Bears support, you're the last person I wanted on the bandwagon.

Confused,
Tony B.

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Dear Peppermill,

Thank you for existing and giving me a free room for Friday night.  I'll see everyone on the Craps table, plus I need to cash in my Denver Broncos under on wins for the season and immediately put it on the Bears.  It should be another fun trip!

Excited,
Tony B.

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Dear Carmelo Anthony,

Thank you for making me sick of you.  You weren't important before, and you still aren't.  I'm pretty much done with you unless you go to the Bulls- then I'll be forced to care.  Until then, you and your crazy wife can fully enjoy the drama. 

Lala is an awful name,
Tony B.

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Dear Chicago Sports Talk Radio,

Thank you for giving wild opinions in a think Midwestern accent.  I recently got an app on my iPhone that allows me to stream radio stations around the country and I of course gravitated toward your fine brand of entertainment.  Callers are crazy.  By either exclaiming that the Bears will win by 20 or yelling about how the Bears still are awful, it's- as Vanilla Ice would say- "to the extreme."  It really makes me appreciate the shows out here- especially the Damon Bruce Show on KNBR 1050.  He's actually a Bears/Cubs fan doing a Bay Area talk show which gives it quite a great balance. 

Rock on with your bad selves,
Tony B.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The 2010 Chicago Bears - Like the 2010 SF Giants?


















The title pretty much gives away the entire post, but let's look at this anyway.  The 2010 San Francisco Giants went through ups and downs during the regular season.  Their pitching (which is a form of defense in baseball) was never questioned (except during August), but their offense did not impress most fans or media critics.  They were always considered dangerous if they got in the playoffs, but at no point did anyone expect them to go all that deep in the playoffs.  I would guess that 50-60% of "experts" selected the Braves to beat the Giants in the first round.  A solid 90% picked the Phillies to beat the Gigantes in the NLCS.  Once they got into the World Series, I would guess that 70% of "experts" picked against them.  (I don't have actual stats on this one, but if you disagree, let me know.) 

The Chicago Bears have lived a similar story.  They too play close games for almost no reason at all.  Check out their games against the Buffalo Bills and the senseless 17-14 loss to the Redskins earlier in the year.  Fans and media have had a hard time really giving the Bears respect throughout the year, much like the Giants.  Watch this, the following saying works with either team:

"The ______ are a decent team.  Their (pitching/defense) is great, but they lack the offensive consistency to win it all." 

Oh really?  Remember when people said that about the SF Giants?  Then they waltzed right into the World Series and snatched the Championship Trophy away from the Rangers like Ron Washington snatching a crack rock away from his lost at birth twin, Tyrone Biggums. 

The Chicago Bears are now being put in that exact same position.  They have an opportunity to go to a Super Bowl and all they have to do is beat future Hall Of Famer/Ruler of the Universe, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.  The Bears are not the flashiest team.  Their defense is stout and their offense is sporadic.  When it is on, it is fantastic to watch.  When it is not, they would have a hard time scoring points on a high school team where G$ is the extra point kicker.  But anything is possible in sports.  That's why we love sports- and it's also why sports destroys us from time to time.  The unexpected keeps us coming back for more. 

I doubt the SF Giants win was fully appreciated around the country, but I saw how much enjoyment the Northern California community got out of the World Series Championship.  I want that same feeling as a Chicago Bears fan.  I want to see Brian Urlacher cement himself into a full blown Chicago Bears legend.  I want to see Jay Cutler stick it to his critics and then raise thousands of dollars for diabetes care on the sly.  I want to see these things just like Giants fans wanted to see Aubrey Huff wave his red thong around at the victory parade (unsure if they really wanted to see that- but they did and probably enjoyed it by default.) 

I'm not guaranteeing victory.  I could see this game against the Packers going any which way, but I know I'm enjoying the anticipation and I'm hoping that the Bears get the job done and earn the respect that people have been unwilling to give them- just like the SF Giants did. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We're Halfway There (But It Doesn't Matter, Right?)

The other day, I mentioned that I was drunkenly singing songs on Rock Band 2.  One of those songs was the difficult "Livin' On A Prayer" by Bon Jovi.  People love singing along to this song despite it being VERY high on the difficulty scale for vocals.  If the song were an ice skating routine, one would be eligible for full points if successfully navigating this tune. 

I heard the song again on the radio the other day and it didn't sit right with me.  I was listening to the lyrics and I realized that they made absolutely no sense.  I know that popular music doesn't need to be masterful word-smithing, but it also should at least come close to making sense.  If Bon Jovi wants to make an indie rock album, then by all means reference crazy stuff that only Hunter S. Thompson's corpse can understand, but we're talkin' 'bout POP music right now! 

It starts simply telling the story of two down on their luck folks trying to make it in the world.  Tommy and Gina are attempting to make ends-meat by working at the dock and a diner, respectively.  Tommy's work is tough and Gina works for love... for love. 

Then it switches to Gina saying, "We've got to hold on to what we've got.  'Cause it doesn't make a difference if we make it or not."  For someone working so hard, it seems odd to me that she doesn't seem to think it makes a difference if they "make it."  I get that they have each other, but usually healthy relationships support each others' goals and give each other hope.  If I believed Mrs. B. and I were going to live in a one bedroom apartment for the rest of our lives, I'd be awfully depressed and unmotivated.  It does make a difference whether you make it or not. 

Now, I'm not clear if the next part is still Gina talking or if it switches to Tommy.  They make a point to clarify when Gina starts talking, so I'm going to assume it is still her.  Essentially, she goes from saying "it doesn't matter" to "We're half way there - Livin' on a prayer, Take my hand and we'll make it, I swear - livin' on a prayer." 

Once again, it does make more sense if Tommy is being Gina's rock, but since they make a point to say that Gina is talking, then in the next verse they make a point to say that Tommy whispers, "Baby, it's ok... someday," I'm going to take that as Gina is one crazy lady who thinks it doesn't matter one minute, then swears they will make it in the next breath.  

For a song about hope, this throws some mixed messages the listener's way.  It also is depressing to sing to because those notes in the chorus are next to impossible for normal folks to hit.  Even the recording has a crowd of people in the background helping Jon Bon Jovi to hit the notes.  A community sing-a-long always helps to hit notes, even if a few people in the crowd have to blow out their voice boxes in order to contribute to the cause. 

What did we learn today?  Probably nothing, besides the fact that I don't particularly care for this song.  Even "Don't Stop Believin'" is more tolerable than this jam (the difference is significant, in my opinion.)  Feel free to let me know other songs that don't make sense or annoy you for some reason- rational or irrational, it makes no difference.  Feel free to vent about it- I got your back.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Case of the Mondays

I'm off of work today for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and if you're not, feel free to call your boss racist!  (Or recognize that you more than likely work for a private company rather than a public institution.)  Let's talk about the weekend:

Mrs. B. and I have been working to clear out our apartment of junk.  We have limited space and it gets crowded easily.  The last few weeks, though, we've been really working hard to clean up.  Since we were meeting a group of friends for dinner at 7pm in Sacramento on Saturday night, I had the bright idea to invite our friends John and Katrina over to watch football before we left for dinner.  I would've invited everybody, but our apartment is not big enough!  It was nice to do this because we rarely have company over due to our lack of space and John and Katrina have us over quite often.  It was nice to be able to return the favor.

In honor of this special occasion, I went and grabbed a bottle of Gentleman Jack and some snacks.  The bottle of GJ was well worth it.  That stuff is delicious!  Katrina and Mrs. B. went out to run some errands while John and I watched the second half of the Steelers/Ravens game and the beginning of the Packers/Falcons game.  During that time, we were able to finish the bottle of GJ (750 ml.)  We were definitely humming by the time we got to dinner, but luckily the ladies were driving, so we were safe (as we always are- don't drink and drive!)

Dinner at Lucca in Sacramento was delicious, but I definitely burned my mouth without knowing it while eating my pasta with chicken.  It was all water for me at dinner which was good.  We kept checking the score of the Falcons/Packers game and it was damn impressive what the Pack were able to do to the #1 seed Falcons in their own building.

After dinner, it was over to our friends' Jen and Brandon's house where we broke out Rock Band 2 and got after it.  Mrs. B. told me Sunday that "Not every song you sang was a hit."  Hilarious!  Apparently, drunken singing makes me a lot worse, but hey- that's life I guess.

Socially, that was the peak of the weekend.  Football-wise, we all know I enjoyed 10am - 1pm on Sunday A LOT.  So, let's talk some football.

- The Ravens blew a golden opportunity to beat their rivals the Steelers.  Did you know that Joe Flacco has never beat the Steelers when Big Ben starts?  That's still true because of some awful plays and decisions by the Ravens (and the Steelers get by with a little help from the refs, gonna try with a little help from the refs...)  Oh well, the Ravens are boring anyway.

- The Packers obviously destroyed the Falcons in the Georgia Dome.  I can't speak to the entire game because I didn't watch and was pretty toasty during the game, but the Packer are a scary team.  Another fun fact- did you know that Tony Gonzales has never won a playoff game?  Yikes.  Doesn't seem like it could be possible, but it is very true.

- The Jets beat the Patriots.  This is pretty funny.  I don't care for the Jets, but it's not like I'm BFFs with Tom Brady either.  In fact, if the Bears are able to advance to the Super Bowl, I think the Jets and Steelers are both more beatable than the Patriots.  Look what Tom Brady did to them in Chicago already this year.

- BEAR DOWN!  I don't care if that victory was against the awful Seattle Seahawks.  The Seahawks beat a good Saints team and in fact did win more playoff games than the Patriots, Falcons, and Eagles this year so I don't want to hear it.  Jay Cutler really, really, really impressed me.  His pass to Greg Olsen on the first drive was fantastic.  His pass to Kellen Davis later in the game was phenomenal as well.

Cutler did make one AWFUL pass right to a Seahawk defender in the end zone, but fortunately for the Bears, the defender was not able to intercept the ball.  I was also disappointed in the defense at the end of the game, but I think they let up a bit because they knew they had things under control.  Good thing they didn't allow the dreaded back-door cover.  I didn't have money on the game, but I like when the Bears win and cover.

This sets up a great NFC Championship match-up.  These teams know each other, play close games, and represent a storied rivalry in the NFL.  I can't believe they have not played each other in the postseason since one week after the attack on Pearl Harbor!  (I'm full of fun facts today!)

This game should grab great ratings.  I'm also pumped that the Bears get to host the game.  That should work in their favor a little bit.  I'm going to have a hard time being patient knowing this Sunday will be an all out slugfest.  Like a little kid waiting for Christmas, these days are going to drag on.

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Overall, great weekend, and hopefully I can make the best of my day off today.  Rock on MLK, Jr.!  I'm not sure you'd be proud of our world today, but I do think we've made strides in the right direction.

Friday, January 14, 2011

NFL Playoff Predictions

I'm going to take a crack at predicting the NFL Playoff games against the spread today.  This is only for fun as I'm still working on my sports betting skill, so please take these with a grain of salt.  I will at least give reasons for why I'm picking the way I'm picking.  I really wish I was headed to Reno sometime this month, but sadly, my schedule will not allow it.  Let's get it on!

Steelers -3 vs. Ravens - It's funny that all four games are rematches from earlier in the year, with both AFC match-ups are of division rivals that played two times and split.  I have to give the edge to the Steelers purely because they are playing at home.  These times are quite similar in offense and defense.  The key may end up being the health of Troy Polamalu.  I can't help myself though- I'm going to take the Steelers winning and covering 17-13.

Falcons -2.5 vs. Packers - Earlier in the year, the Falcons beat the Packers 20-17.  I don't think that has much bearing on this game.  The Falcons will be fresh having from having last week off, while the Packers played the Eagles just six days earlier.  However, I am drawn to the allure of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' defense.  Oddly enough, I think the Packers are going to get it done and when thereby covering.  Packers win 24-20.

Bears -10 vs. Seahawks - This one is a tough one for me to pick.  I truly believe the Bears are the better team and will win.  Yet, I'm pretty sure the Seahawks will be prepared and how can any team take them lightly after they beat the Saints.  The Bears defense has to 1) stop Marshawn Lynch and 2) make sure Matt Hasselbeck is bothered in the pocket.  I'm taking the Seahawks to cover, but the Bears to win 24-17.

Patriots -9 vs. Jets - So much talking, not enough football.  Here is the best soundbite out of all the s**t-talking- it's Wes Welker mentioning feet 10 times while the media asked him questions the other day:



Are the Patriots the best team in football?  Yes.  Are they the scariest match-up for any team?  Yes.  Do I think they will win on Sunday?  Yes.  But I have to believe the Jets will cover- this shouldn't be a repeat of the 45-3 curb-stomping they took just a few weeks ago.  Patriots win 31-24. 

So there you have it- a potential Bears/Packers NFC Championship game sounds mighty nice to me.  Have a great weekend and enjoy the games!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thank You Notes

Jimmy Fallon's idea made worse on this blog- wanna fight about it?  

Dear LeBron James,

Thank you for tweeting about "karma."  The world needs an expert on the subject who feels comfortable ironically bashing the very people that you actually wronged with lectures on "karma" and "God seeing everything."  It's not like you're at risk for something "going around, then coming around." 

And by the way, if you want to be a villain, then stop backing off all the dumb stuff you say.  Own it!  Did the Emperor from Star Wars ever back off his public goals of dominating the galaxy?  No.  Did Skeletor ever threaten He-Man, then back off without being beaten like a red-headed step child back to Snake Mountain?  No.  Did Cyrus the Virus ever back off his plan to steal a plane and escape confinement?  No- Cameron Poe had to kill him in order for him to stop his treachery.  LBJ, you are an awful villain.  Your jumper is fine, spend more time learning how to be a solid and effective villain- it will be more interesting for everyone. 

Karma IS coming,
Tony B.

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Dear Ted Williams,

Thank you for taking only a week to show the world that you are actually a piece of crap that doesn't deserve the celebrity and charity that you've received.  While I think it's a fantastic idea for you to go on Dr. Phil (Mrs. B. watches regularly), it really shows that you've been a con man for the last many years, and this is your biggest con yet.  Getting arrested for being in a physical fight with your daughter probably doesn't help your cause at this point.  It was awesome of the Cleveland Cavs to hire you on the spot of a radio show- just one more mistake to add to their resume.  Don't employers do background checks? 

Best of luck,
Tony B.

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Dear Sacramento Kings,

Thank you for your time here in Sacramento.  I understand that you are looking to move to Anaheim.  I mean, why wouldn't the LA area want three basketball teams and zero NFL teams?  That seems to be about right. 

I guess if the City of Sacramento can't get their act together to vote a new arena through, they don't deserve a team- but if your team was better there would be a better argument for the public to keep you here.

Here We Rise,
Tony B.

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Dear Grunting Guy At The Gym,

Thank you for making sure everyone else in the gym knows how hard you are working.  The rest of us were concerned about you not getting a good enough work out in, but now we can be sure that you are maximizing your effort.  What a relief!  I can now go on with the rest of my day!

Grateful,
Tony B.

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Dear Driver Who Must Drive Up My Back-side To Change Lanes On My Left,

Thank you for doing your best Cole Trickle impersonation.  Drafting should be a more common practice on our nation's highways, so I can't fault you for that!  I do hope you Shake & Bake right into a center divide and die in a horrific grease-fire- just don't do that while I, or anyone else is on the freeway.  That might be a tough request, but I'm sure you'll find a way to get it done. 

Slingshot Engaged,
Tony B.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm Old & Boring

I had tons of meetings yesterday, didn't have any extraordinary/ridiculous shared experiences with Sacramento's finest folks, and once I got home I played some music then played a couple hours of Super Mario World and Street Fighter II: Turbo (yes, I downloaded these games for my Wii- they are still awesome.)

I haven't been listening to much sports talk radio and truthfully, I've been leading a pretty boring life these days.  So, if you've got any places that need to be rocked acoustically by a tall and handsome almost 30 year old- I'm on the prowl for gigs and I'm game! 

Instead, you get some videos from the Season 3 premiere of Tosh.0. First, the guy getting what he deserved. This should be called "Natural Selection."



Next, we have a scooter-bound person being as impatient and angry as I've ever seen:

Tosh.0Tosh Tuesdays 9pm / 8c
Video Breakdown - Elevator Wheelchair
www.comedycentral.com
Tosh.0 VideosDaniel ToshWeb Redemption

Yikes, right? At this rate, I may have to go to Wal-Mart to come up with some new stories!  Thanks for bearing with this slow day.  We'll talk some football by the end of the week, but until then, you can suggest what kind of errand I can run to create new blog-worthy stories.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tweet Tuesday

I'm going to try something new here because a) I can, b) I'm unoriginal, and c) I don't have anything else planned.  As many (few?) of you know, you can find me on Twitter at twitter.com/tonybataska.  I occasionally write funny and/or thought provoking content (yeah, right) so I'm posting things I've already written or things I will post today.  The only catch is that they all must be less than 140 characters.  Let's get it on!

1) How much do Cam and Cecil Newton make in incentive bonuses for tonight?

2) Troy Aikman seems to love that .

3) I'm naturally cheering for the Packers. I either hate or want the to face the Seahawks. ?

4) OK- so do the Niners tank the season to make sure they get Andrew Luck in 2012?

5) I want Harbaugh to say "I'm excited- I can feel it in my plums..."

6) So Ted Williams' unfrozen head was homeless and now has the voice of an angel?

7) @ NBA Fundamentally Sound Lay Up (this is a hashtag where you take names of video games and make them less ambitious- it's fun, you should try it!)

8) WWRFD?  I ask myself that every day- what would Ric Flair do?  WOOOOOOO!  

9) In conversation told someone "that's why Nickelback's music is so bad." They said, "Actually, I'm a fan..."  #UGH 

10) Coffee is the lifeblood of champions! #Ditka

11) Is it just me or is #AmericanDad better than #FamilyGuy currently?

12) After watching the Bachelor with my wife, I'm unimpressed with the talent on this show.  You know what I'm sayin'.  #uaintgotnoalibi

That was fun and easy.  Maybe I'll try to improve it next week.  What was up with Troy Aikman mentioning the Bone Formation over and over and over on Sunday?  That guy needs help.  And a new announcing partner. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Case of the Mondays

Well, well, well... that was HIGHLY unexpected this weekend.  I'm speaking of the NFL playoffs, of course!

- The Seahawks get it done.  Anybody remember what I wrote on Friday?  Here's a refresher:

Dear Seattle Seahawks (and by extension, the NFC West),

Thank you for being SO bad that you have the media and the public questioning the NFL's beautiful playoff system.  7-9 and in the playoffs while the 10-6 Giants and Bucs sit at home watching the playoffs on their gold-plated flat screens?  That's just embarrassing!  Pete Carroll should hold a press conference after getting stomped at home by the Saints and mention the words "outlier" and "underachievers" multiple times.  Come to think of it, your team may not have "underachieved," your division is just THAT BAD.

Disgusted,
Tony B.


Yeah.  I'm a moron.  Or am I?  I'm not sure anyone besides the residents of Seattle thought the Seahawks could get it done (most of them were doubtful as well.)   Also, no one could have predicted that Marshawn Lynch would actually live up to his potential.  It's amazing- the guy is pretty damn good when he's focused and tries.  Here's the best video I've seen of his savage run:



I'll save any further disparaging Seahawk comments until I'm certain that the Bears have beaten them this Sunday... why do I now have a bad feeling about this game?

- Peyton Manning has a 9-10 playoff mark?  It makes me feel that much worse that the Bears gave him his only Super Bowl ring (that game was winnable if the Sex Cannon wouldn't have kept falling over for no reason.)  Anyway, the Jets win and Rex Ryan moves on.  I really don't like the Jets, but I didn't have any money on the game nor any real rooting interest.  I guess the good thing is that we get to see Jets/Pats this weekend.  That should be quite the interesting game- keep your shoes on, Tom Brady!

- Chiefs/Ravens - I expected the Ravens to win.  They did.  It was boring.  Jamal Charles was MISUSED worse than any running back in the history of the league.  Charlie Weiss was too greedy and paid for it.  He was as hungry for passing yards as he normally is for greasy hamburgers.  How'd that work out for ya, hoss? I had the game on but was in and out of the room doing laundry and cleaning the bathroom because this game was so uninteresting. 

- The Packers move on.  I was in one sickeningly odd position for this game.  During the onset of the game, I was cheering for the Packers because I felt like the Bears facing the Seahawks would be beneficial (and I still feel that way- mostly.)  However, the Eagles looked so ordinary during the game that I started to believe that the Bears could take them to the woodshed and I started cheering for the Eagles to come back and win.  Obviously, they didn't so the Bears will now play the Seahawks.  This sets up SO NICELY for a Packers/Bears NFC Championship game.  I'm not sure if this has ever happened before, but I'M IN on this.  I don't care how scary the Packers are, this would be such a fun rivalry game that I want it to happen.  On Saturday, I will be cheering for the Packers to get it done (the fact that the game would be in Chicago makes it a much easier decision.) 

Fun fact: During the 2006-2007 season when the Bears went to the Super Bowl they hosted the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field and beat them 28-24. 

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I don't have much of a rooting interest for tonight's BCS Championship game, but I suppose I'll support the West Coast team.  Go Ducks if for no other reason than beating Cam Newton and the rest of the SEC. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thank You Notes: Post #600

Hello loyal readers and loyal commenter!  Today is the 600th post here at Second Rate Blog, and since we're doing things in "second rate" fashion, I'm going to steal Jimmy Fallon's idea one more time and write some thank you notes.  I hope you enjoy and feel free to leave your own thank you note in the comment section.

Dear Guy Who Yells For "Free Bird" At Every Show,

Thank you for thinking you're hilarious, getting a courtesy chuckle from your one friend who probably barely likes you, and feeling as if you got your own personal moment of attention before going back to being less original than Jay Leno's monologue (which I assume are still the hack-jobs they've always been- I refuse to watch the Tonight Show ever again.)  Your daily life must be hard- telling "Knock Knock" jokes and all.

Sincerely,
Tony B.

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Dear Seattle Seahawks (and by extension, the NFC West),

Thank you for being SO bad that you have the media and the public questioning the NFL's beautiful playoff system.  7-9 and in the playoffs while the 10-6 Giants and Bucs sit at home watching the playoffs on their gold-plated flat screens?  That's just embarrassing!  Pete Carroll should hold a press conference after getting stomped at home by the Saints and mention the words "outlier" and "underachievers" multiple times.  Come to think of it, your team may not have "underachieved," your division is just THAT BAD.

Disgusted,
Tony B.

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Dear Jim Harbaugh,

Thank you for being a savage and making Stanford relevant.  Your recent success made me think back on your days as the Bears' QB quite fondly.  With Neal Anderson and Brad Muster, I remember cheering that team on with childish enthusiasm.  Unfortunately, your recent success ALSO made go back and look up your actual stats from back then.  Needless to say, I was a naive kid.  Every QB the Bears have had in the last 5 years has been better than you- including Sexy Rexy.  Jay Cutler is frustrating at times, but let's keep it real, he out-passes you in his sleep.

Enjoy whatever new job you take,
Tony B.

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Dear Jimmy Fallon,

Thank you for this Power Ballad about the Oregon Ducks- Sebastian Bach is the man for participating in this:



I have to be honest, I was not pumped about the Jimmy Fallon Show when it first started, but you've really won me over. I like the fake game show sketches, Late Night Hashtags, and of course the Thank You Notes.

Keep Up The Good Work,
Tony B.

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Dear Ted Williams,

Thank you for being unfrozen and coming back as a homeless guy with a magical voice. The Cavs may have lost LeBron, but they have gained a legend. I'm hoping that one of your main jobs is to read Dan Gilbert bed time stories. That would be awesome.

Best of luck,
Tony B.

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Dear My Coffee Maker,

Thank you for coming into my life.  I finally have the ability to make coffee like a regular person.  My Costco-sized Folger's Crystals and Coffee Mate Creamer are as dangerous a combination as the media's perception of Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson- and that is dangerous!

Love,
Tony B.

Thanks for reading and have a fantastic weekend of NFL action!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Succinct Story Time

Here are a few quick tidbits from recent times:

- The other day, Mrs. B. and I were at Target.  We went in for one or two items and walked out with a cart full of stuff.  It always seems to work that way, huh?  Anyway, I decided I was going to fix our slow draining sink, so I went to get some Drano.  Once we were over by the cleaning supplies, I remembered that I a) needed to clean the bathroom as well and b) probably needed more Mr. Clean to do so.  I turned to Mrs. B. and said, "I think we need some Mr. Clean."  Out of NOWHERE, a guy with a thick European accent pops his head around the corner and says, "Mr. Clean!  Where is he?"

I paused, looked at Mrs. B., and we were both dumbfounded.  I put my hand out palm up and said, "Mr. Clean is all around here... I don't know which one you're looking for."  He walked away with a goofy smile on his face.  About 3 minutes later, he walked back by us with a spray bottle of Mr. Clean.  He smiled wide and proudly showed us his spoils.  We smiled back and laughed heartily on the inside.

- Forgive me on this one because I actually don't know the full story, but I'll fill in the gaps with assumptions.  I've been very diligent about going to the gym often and last night was no different.  Near the end of my workout, I got on the treadmill closest to the basketball court entrance.  About 4 minutes into my run, a curly haired white guy comes running out of the room with the court.  He runs toward the front desk.  About a minute later, a LARGE (read as: overweight) security guard comes back to the court with him.  This guard puts Kevin James as a mall cop to shame.  Maybe twice his size.

Anyway, the curly haired dude was wildly upset about something, so I took my earbuds out and tried to piece together the information.  Here's what I came up with:

1) Someone hit him in the face.
2) That someone may or may not have had a gun.
3) That someone also retreated into the men's locker room when the curly haired guy got the overweight security guard.
4) Curly went to find the guy who hit him.  He flushed him out of the locker room, and the guy ran out of the gym.
5) Curly ran after the guy, which was stupid.  If you got hit once, what's to stop you from getting hit again?  Also, I did hear rumblings of a gun, which seems to make this situation even dumber.
6) Literally a minute after that, the security guard came waddling out of the locker room.  Having missed the action, I can only assume he went to grab a burger.

No one was hurt and I apologize for not having the full inside scoop.  It was definitely some great entertainment while on the treadmill, though.

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Tomorrow is post #600.  I have nothing planned, but I better come up with something good.  Tonight, I'm playing at the Fox & Goose (1001 R St, Sacramento) at 8pm.  David Wallace of Automatic Rival is opening, so it should be a great show!  C'mon down if you're in the area!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Music These Days...

Music these days isn't going in the direction that I'd really consider "positive" or "progressive."  I know I sound like the old guy who starts off every rant with, "Back in my day..."  However, it's true this time.  It is much, much, much more difficult to find great music- although it is still out there.  Here are some songs that I can stand behind as "good" and you can even find them from time to time on the radio.  Be careful though, you may also find copious amounts of Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, and Ke$ha (you better NOT forget to spell her name with the $!)

Mumford & Sons "The Cave:" (fast forward to about 1 minute in)



These guys are probably my favorite new band around these days. Their other song "Little Lion Man" is excellent as well.

A Silent Film "You Will Leave A Mark:"



I haven't checked out the rest of this album, but I like this song- very well done.

Brandon Flowers "Only The Young:"



If you like the Killers, then you probably already are aware of Brandon Flowers' solo album, but this is the best song on the album (in my humble opinion.)

Black Keys "Tighten Up:"



Well, you get a good song and you get to watch two kids fight on a playground. Double win! This video is very entertaining- be sure to watch it!

Cage The Elephant "Shake Me Down:"



This song rocks! I love the arrangement here, and to be honest I didn't care for their previous songs on the radio.  The progress is encouraging.

So there you go. Five songs that can give you some confidence in music going forward. None of this compares to Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots. I remember when I used to have to walk 5 miles to school, uphill both ways...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

18?

The number 18 is not all it's cracked up to be. Sure- once you turn 18 you can do all kinds of cool stuff. You can get kicked out of your parents house. You can buy cigars and cigarettes (and in my case, not get carded on my 18th birthday.) You can officially kill someone and be solely responsible. What am I saying? 18 just isn't that cool.

You know what is awesome? The number 16. You are still a minor. You get your driver's license. You are still in high school with your entire future ahead of you. You haven't been beat down by adult situations and live a very ignorant lifestyle.

Mathematically, 18 is greater than 16, but in reality- 16 is much better than 18.

So why then does the NFL want to beat us over the head with 18 games? I agree that there is almost nothing I enjoy more than going to a Sports Book and watching the entire slate of NFL games, but do we really need 2 more weeks of regular season action?

First off, this can't be good for the players. If you play any type of fantasy football, you know how often players get hurt and miss weeks at a time. The average career of an NFL player is a little less than 3 years. Add two more games to the schedule and we may see their average career length decrease even further.  Running backs are commodities to be used up as quickly as possible- and watching them age is depressing.

Not to mention the state of the retired players of the league. For as great as Ronnie Lott was, it is hard to listen to him on the radio. I know some people enjoy his perspective, but it sounds like he has a hard time quickly thinking about what he wants to say. Rightly so, as he bashed his head into opposing receivers for years and now he gets to pay the price. The NFL game takes its toll on players and adding extra games each year is only going to take more tread off the tires.

But what about the fans? We're the ones playing fantasy football, betting on games, and spending money on ugly official NFL merch- don't we get a say? I think we should, but as much as Joe the Plumber thirsts for more NFL action, I can't imagine that two more games will be beneficial. If feels so right to end the season after 16. Do we really need someone winning the NFC West at 8-10? 7-9 is bad enough, but you run the risk of making it even worse in the future. Seattle's division win was the first time in history that a sub-.500 team won their division. If you expand the schedule, that scenario is far more likely rather than being an outlier.

How about the extra two games- where would they come from? Right now their is a beautiful symmetry of scheduling. A team plays everyone in their division twice, everyone in one NFC division once, everyone in one AFC division once, and the remaining two games come from the two teams that finished in the same place as your team in the divisions of your same conference (I hope that last part made sense.) It's perfect the way it is. Who would the other two games come from?

Would it make divisional games less important? Maybe. The Raiders finished 6-0 this year and missed the playoffs. That's another rare thing that happened this year, but it shows that divisional games can sometimes not weight as much as they should.

So maybe you rearrange the schedule and make each team play each other 3 times? Please don't do this. I love watching the Bears/Packers but I don't need it 3 times in the regular season. It's overkill. The law of diminishing returns comes into play strongly here.  Too much of a good thing start to make people get sick of that good thing.  Please allow the public to thirst after each NFL week rather than make them get sick of it (ya know, like the baseball season that people lose interest in by July or August if their team is out of it.)  Fans that are totally enthusiastic are much better than lukewarm, depressed fans that have more games of their crappy teams. 

Turning 18 seems awesome, but it really is just another stage in your life where you gain responsibility with not much reward.  The NFL going to 18 games seems like a great idea, but like turning 18, would be highly overrated.  Watching two more Bills games would be enough to make more of the fans go nuts- and not in a good way.

Now if they wanted to create a 21 game regular season schedule... that would be a party!

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Case of the Mondays: First Monday of 2011

That was quite a nice break from work!  I was off from Christmas Eve until today (though I did work briefly on New Year's Eve afternoon- not a big deal.)  I'm proud to say I actually went to the gym every day besides Christmas and New Year's days.  That was an excellent decision as I feel more energetic to start off the year.  But what else did I do?  Any thing I'd like to comment on?  Let's get down to business:

- Christmas Night Mrs. B. and I met her Mom and Step-Dad at Redhawk Casino.  It was pretty exciting because going to a casino is probably better than standard old family dinner- and that aspect of it was a lot of fun.  However, Redhawk itself was just ok.  Now, to clarify- it is a really nice and legit casino.  Yet, here are my problems.  1) Live Card Craps- it plays exactly like real Craps except without dice.  I lost my money and it felt rigged.  I guarantee it was not- but it FELT that way which sucks.  Definitely not as fulfilling.  2) No Sports Book.  State of California casinos are not allowed to accept sports bets.  So dumb.  3) It was CROWDED.  In a shocking turn of events, the place was insanely busy.  People there had less regard for personal space than in any other casino I've ever been in. 

I did play some good Video Poker, but I will probably not be going back any time soon despite the close proximity to my residence. 

- I cleaned out my closet.  Yeah, it was as boring as it sounds.  I think I've just kept too many shirts and other dumb or old clothes that were clogging up space.  It's nice when you go to wear a shirt and it's actually not wrinkled because clothes are compressed into a closet.  Fun fact: I still own one Mark Prior Cubs jersey. 

- I can finally make coffee!  I received a coffee maker from my friends and one from my Mom.  Apparently everyone knew I wanted one!  So I will no longer be without homemade brew and Coffee Mate creamer.  Where, O where shall I buy coffee and creamer?...

- I'm now a member at Costco!  There is a longer story to this that I may get into another day, but I now have access to all the big box bulk I can handle.  Am I excited?  Well, I now have 30 bottles of Gatorade and a huge plastic box of almonds, so yeah- I'm over the moon.

- I sang some karaoke the other night.  My friend runs a live band karaoke thing every Thursday (like I used to) and I went down to sing a few tunes.  I went with "Learn To Fly" by Foo Fighters and "Starlight" by Muse.  I was worried I wouldn't be able to sing Muse well, but it actually sounded alright- but that is a damn tough song.  I was jealous of the guy who sang "F*** You" by Cee-Lo.  That song is sick!  (I think I actually wrote that same thing the other day!  It's still true!)

- New Year's was spent at our friends John and Katrina's house (from Be The High Roller video fame.) It was a great time. We drank whiskey, smoked cigars, played Wii, and watched scary Dick Clark ring in the new year. I appreciate that he is a staple of New Year's, but it is so depressing to watch him. Everyone is in a partying mood, having a great time, then Dick Clark comes on TV and it's like about as depressing as watching a Sarah Mclachlan ASPCA commercial. Definitely a mood killer. It was a great party, though!

- The Chicago Bears look awful on offense.  This is crazy because Matt Forte was running the ball SO well early, but Cutler threw a few ill-advised picks and the Bears had an impossible time punching the ball into the end zone against the Packers.  Oh well.  I hope the Bears get another crack at the Packers because that would mean that the Bears were hosting the NFC Championship game.  That would be a lot of fun!

- Mr. Show was on the other day and I had forgotten how funny that show was.  Here's a sketch about a week long break up that I found hilarious- Explicit content to follow:



Overall, I had a productive and fun Winter Break. It was just what I needed. Hello, 2011- hope it's a good one.