Sunday, July 29, 2007

I Really Really Really Really Really Really Really Hate I Hate My 30s

Holy shit VH1s "I Hate My 30s" is terrible. I sat down thinking I'd be at least slightly amused, but within the first five minutes I decided that Heath Ledger going Brokeback on me would be more appealing(not to mention funnier). The show has absolutely nothing redeeming going on for it, one of the characters looks like my Aunt Jenny(who has had six kids)and is supposed to be a sex symbol, and one of the characters is trying to rip off Booger from "Revenge Of The Nerds." I honestly can say I thought "Schlinder's List" was funnier, and that was the most sober movie of all time. Oh, and they close the show with a PSA with an animated fox telling them not to drunk dial if they are married. Bombs over Baghdad!

The Cuts!
Love Plus One-Haircut 100
Uncertain Smile-The The
A New England-Billy Bragg
Banquet-Bloc Party
Gimme Some Water-Eddie Money

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Scandal-The Warrior(Or Maybe the Warriors?)

Mr.Benesh asked for it, and here it goes: I always knew that the NBA was not, per se, fixed, but that something fishy was going on. It's not even a gambling thing. The way it works is that big name players have always gotten ridiculous calls. I am not exactly sure why this happens(my theory is that the NBA kind of nudges the refs to let the KGs, AIs and Lebrons of the sport score more). What I am sure of is that this happens in all pro sports, and it has gone on forever. Greg Maddox's strike zone was always wider than Frankie Rodriguez's, and Gretzky basically changed the way a NHL game was played and called (he was the littlest guy out there, and basically off limits). So all sports leagues are flawed, but a ref actually calling T's to get one team to shoot more fouls to cover the spread (like supposedly happened in the Knicks-Heat game earlier this year) is fucking crazy. I just hope that this doesn't expand into other refs. I actually have started to watch the NBA much more closely after about a ten year slacking off period, and this would kill all the new enthusiasm that I picked up for it in the last two years.

The Cuts!
Lady Don't Tek No- Latryx
Bombers-Gary Numan
Calley Oh-Billy Squier
International Players Anthem-UGK/OutKast
Smoke Rings In The Dark-Gary Allan

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Curse Of Ragnar

The last two weeks of my life have been spent doing pretty much nothing, nada, zippo. I work my workweek and I come home and do one of two things:
1.Watch TV

One book I just finished was Now I Can Die In Peace by Bill Simmons. The book is a fantastic read about one Red Sox fan and his obsession with his team that some call "cursed." Simmons never subscribes to the curse, and when the Sox finally won it all in the magical summer of 2004, Simmons gets pumped that all the curse talk is dead for good.

This got me thinking about my own local sports franchises. I am nearly 25 years old, and I have seen two Minnesota teams win titles in my lifetime. My father is in the same boat. Over that time, I can think of more actual instances of depression and heartbreak than victory and elation. All the usual suspects are there: the Wolves in the magical summer of 2004, the Twins in 2002,03,04 and the dump that they took last year, and of course, the fucking 1998 Vikings.

Actually, I am positive that the Minnesota Vikings have a more star-crossed history than that of the Boston Red Sox. Too many crazy things have happened to this team over the years to think, hey, it's just a really bad 48 year streak the Purp got going for them. Here are just a few examples of events in the timeline of sadness:
  • Super Bowl IV-I wasn't around for this one, but my dad said that it was one of the worst experiences of his sporting life. According to the sportswriters, there was no way in hell that the Vikings were losing this game to the Chiefs. They had beat the shit out of the Browns the week before and were something like a 16 point favorite. Yet, the Chiefs made the NFL champs look dated and slow by shutting down their running game and coming at the Vikes with something that the NFL was not used to-a passing offense. Add to that the Chiefs jackass coach being mic'ed for NFL Films and calling the super long Otis Taylor touchdown on film, and it was insult to injury.
  • All the other Super Bowl losses- Every time I see a highlight film of any of the Vikings Super Bowl losses, it acts as if the Dolphins, Steelers and Raiders beat an imaginary opponent. There is NOTHING on the Vikings. Nothing. They will show one or two plays, then bust nuts about how God-like Terry Bradshaw was. The truth is, the Vikes never really got blown out in any of the games. Then again, they really didn't hold their own in any either...
  • The "Hail Mary Game." I have spent my whole life hearing about this game. Basically, my dad told me that one of the Pearsons on the Cowboys pushed Nate Wright down, no flag was thrown, and a ref got clocked by a whiskey bottle thrown by some drunk from Fridley. Well, three years ago, I tracked down a bootleg copy of this game on eBay. That is exactly what happened. The Vikes were fucked by a shitty non-call, and some stupid ref got what he deserved. The saddest part is that this team was 12-2 and was probably the most realistic shot at winning a Super Bowl. Oh, did I mention that this game caused Vikes QB Fran Tarkenton's dad to have a heart attack and die? I am not making this up
  • The "Darrin Nelson Game" (1987 NFC Championship Game)- I remember this one. I was five and had just started watching sports hardcore. I remember a pretty mediocre Vikings team shocking a really good New Orleans team and one of the 49ers dynasty teams both on the road. Then came the Redskins. Tommy Kramer was going through one of his injured periods and Wade Wilson was throwing bombs to Anthony Carter and Leo Lewis like he was Elway. A.C. even got the cover of S.I. the week of this game. Then fucking Darrin Nelson has to drop the easiest freaking pass ever as he was about to go into the end zone with four seconds left in the 4th. Goodbye win, goodbye trip to the Super Bowl to face the Broncos (like this wasn't going to be a win?), and hello Herschel. If you can find the clip of this on YouTube, don't watch it. I watched it 12 times in an hour. It shows some bar in International Falls all primed to celebrate, then, BOOM!
  • Steve Young's run- yes, the most legendary run in NFL history was done on one of the top ranked defenses of the late 80s. The Stormin Mormon worked his way through Browner, Millard, Carl Lee, Al Noga and seven other guys. And I get to see it whenever there is a highlight show!

None of this compares to something that I still haven't come to grips with totally, and it will be nine years in January. Something that is so painful that I can barely type this without getting teary-eyed. Something that made me cry drunk when my friend Brandon somehow found my tape of this at a party and threw it on. Yep, its the 1998 NFC title game.

That fall was one of the most magical in Vikings history. So many good moments, like Moss torching the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and the Packers on MNF. The team was 15-1! The only loss came against Tampa Bay because Mike Alstott decided to have a career day. Randall Cunningham was amazing, there were three scary as hell deep threats(Moss, Chris Carter and Jake Reed), Robert Smith was having an awesome season, Gary Anderson didn't miss a fucking field goal all year, and the defense kicked ass. And the Niners, Packers and Cowboys were out of the playoffs. WE WERE PLAYING THE FALCONS!!!!!! Miami was booked. We were going to beat the Broncos in two weeks, cause there was no way in hell the Jets were beating them. Finally, a Super Bowl!

Except Denny felt the need, with the best offense in NFL history, to take a knee with about a minute left in regulation. Lets take another game with a similar scenario. Lets say that the Patriots take a knee to play OT with the Rams in Super Bowl XXXV. Then Tom Brady doesn't become God. Expect that Denny Green is one of the worst NFL coaches ever in the postseason and Bill Belichick of the Pats is a coaching mastermind. So the knee is taken. And Morten Andersen kicks the game winner for the Falcons in OT. Yep, I knew this was going to happen from the SECOND that Gary Anderson missed the clincher in regular time.

Honestly, I have no idea what happened after the game. I blocked it out. My tape of the game cuts off the second the Falcons win, and goes to the AFC game. I may have went to Target or K-Mart to buy a graphing calculator, but I think that was after a Packers loss. I did cry, my brothers cried, and my dad cried. The next day at school, no one talked, except for my friend Kyle. He paused at the lunch table, looked at me, and said "We are not fucking talking about it. Ever. Not fucking ever." Then we ate our Italian dunkers.

The aftermath of the game was terrible. My dad became a Buccaneers fan for two years. I basically quit following sports and started investing myself into pro wrestling until around 9/11. And the loss broke the last bit of sanity of Vikings fans.

That game begat the 41-0 game at Giants Stadium two years later. I had spent the night at Steve Louwerses house playing Final Fantasy Tactics, and while driving the five miles from his house to my parents, the Giants scored two TDs. Game over. Even more heartbreak happened at the Cardinals game when Nate Poole caused the Vikes to miss the playoffs(and Paul Allen to have an on-air fit doing the play by play). I tried to call my friends, but they knew how I was going to bitch, so no one picked up. This was also right after I got dumped by my girlfriend of two years. God, what a great time!

That pretty much sums up the Vikings curse moments from my perspective. I have no idea how the curse got there, but I do know, to paraphrase Michael Jackson, the curse is real and I believe in it.

(Oh, and while writing this, ESPN showed Mike Vick's 75 yard run through the Vikings defense in OT to win a regular season game. Thanks, fuckers)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Love Plus One

So today I was about to go do some laundry and "Scott Baio is 45 and Single" came on. Needless to say, laundry had to wait. This may be the most perfect reality show ever, and I've only seen the first fifteen minutes so far. In the opening, the Baio reveals that he lost his virginity to Joanie...and then makes a "Joanie really did love Chachi" joke! He took the work out of it for us. Then, he goes to play golf with Wayne from "The Wonder Years". Even his crew of buddies besides Wayne (straight out of ethnic Italian typecasting 101) are fantastic. Oh, and since the Baio is the executive producer, I think he picks the music. All I've heard so far are INXS, the Cure and the Pretenders. And a-Ha. I am 100% positive the Baio went over to his CD rack and picked the tunes that got him laid in 1991 for the soundtrack. Wait, what is that? HAIRCUT 100! "LOVE PLUS ONE"! I love this show.

The thing is, I usually hate reality TV. The first "Real Worlds" were nice, but after the whole threesome in the hot tub thing in Vegas, I lost interest. I once saw Rudy from Survivor at the State Fair with Dave Ryan from KDWB, but that really didn't get me interested either. My previous highlight in reality TV would have to be "Breaking Bonaduce" when he chugs cranberry vodkas on a curb after an argument with his wife. I am sure that this show will top anything I saw from Danny Partridge.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Oh Canada

Just got back from Quebec City and Montreal where I stayed busy for a week. Some of the highlights:
  • Getting hassled by the border patrol at both the Canadian and U.S. borders. Now I know why Ice Cube and T thought the way that they did.
  • Eating, lots of eating. Something called "Pizza Lunch" which was like a pizza slice inside a roll was one of my favorites. Also, a Montreal style hot dog with mayo, lettuce and french fries on top.
  • Canadian Beer. They have a 10.1% content Labatts 40 for four bucks Canuck. Drinking one of these caused me to black out and yell at the U-20 World Cup match on CBC. This was also the same night that I saw tits on late nite TV. What an odd beer.
  • The waterfall outside Quebec. It was bigger than Niagra. I'm not usually one for cornball shit like this, but it was awesome.
  • The fact that the largest convenience store chain in Quebec is "Couche-Tard"
  • No English. OK, this got real old real quick, but it was quite novel for a while
  • The cobblestone streets of Quebec
  • Watching the Canadian equivalent of "The Daily Show" and not understanding a single political reference
  • POUTINE!! The best Poutine was at A&W, strangely enough. DQ also had good poutine. I went to a local place called Chez Ashton that had some crazy ass poutine, like "Michigan" with chili and hot dogs, and one with peas and ham.
  • The street performers. Dudes juggling fire is always cool.