Thursday, May 24, 2007

Las Vegas

Ya'll readers. This Memorial Day weekend I'm heading to Las Vegas for the first time in my life. I figure the best way to honor veterans of foreign wars is to revel in all the things that make America great. Namely gambling, neon lights, Roseanne's stand-up act, and trannies, trannies, trannies. Oh yeah, that whole freedom thing is pretty nice too, if you can call living under this current fascist regime freedom. Heed the call people, read John Stuart Mill, admire Bentham's utilitarianism and vote Libertarian in 2008. Oh Christ, I've said to much. Who are you? Where are you going to stick those? Tell Sheila I love her....YARGHHH!! (Seriously though, I have the utmost respect for veterans. Many of my relatives have served this country, a few of whom have given their lives in doing so. Also I spent two years trying to learn German in college and that shit was impossible [like what the fuck's a past participle.....are you serious], so chest bumps go out to all the WWII vets who helped us all avoid that hornet's nest).

Enough bullshitting though. The purpose of this post is that I need help from you the reader. Don't worry reader, I won't harm you, I even have pockets full of bird seed for you. (Extends hand with dry corn kernels and seeds) Come here reader, it's ok. (Bends down on one knee) See that wasn't so hard was it. We can be friends. Here let me rub that spot behind your ear. Now that we've established a level of trust, I was hoping that you could give me some advice on what to do on my trip. For example is there anything that's MUST see, a cool place to take in the Pistons playoff game, an amazing place to eat, prostitutes that will do that thing where they......oh nevermind, my dad will be there with me, he'll know where to find them because he has the most amazing sense of direction and.....Oh shit, my mom and sister read this. (Passes hand over family's face) Disregard that last sentence. These are not the droids you are looking for. See, I was going to ask my friends for advice but then I realized I.....uhh.....heh......don't have any. Funny story actually, I used to have a lot but they were so petty and jealous about my good looks, intelligence, sharp wit, modesty and luck with women. Anyways, please leave the suggestions in the comments, and if I don't receive any it will be very, very sad and you wouldn't want to make me cry, would you? I thought you were different. You told me I was the main component of your future, that you wanted to take me places I've always wanted to see, that you even lov......(I run to the bedroom in tears wearing a flowing nightgown and slam the door.......and don't even think about taking a step towards me and then walking away).

O.k. I think I might be losing my mind, just leave the info below. Thanks.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Andrew Miller

Friday night I was fortunate enough to attend the series opener between the Tigers and Cardinals and witness Andrew Miller's major league debut as a starting pitcher. Like every other Tigers fan who has a genuine interest in the team, (and not some bandwagon law student fan who shows up in the third inning with their crazy-hot Chaldean girlfriend who is six inches taller than them gets to watch the game in better seats than mine and leave in the seventh inning. For the record I saw about 8 people from my school at Comerica Friday night in the situation I just outlined), I've been following Miller's progress throughout the minor leagues this season with great interest. I even went so far as to hire a "street urchin" to wire me reports detailing Miller's progress after each inning he pitched for the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Every five days I would don a smoking jacket, pack my finest pipe (one carved with an image of a Viking face on the front flanked by a topless woman on each side), wax my moustache and wait for the reports to roll in. Every half hour or so my "telex" machine would start pulsating and print out a message akin to this:

"Miller sends them down in order STOP Shutout through three innings STOP Looks like a bona fide, front of the rotation, major league twirler STOP."

Sure this was an extravagance I couldn't afford, but I didn't care because these reports pleased me, and if that meant I would have to sell a few of my organs to help pay for my summer classes then so be it. In a related note if you are reading this and are in need of a kidney, lung, or 80 percent of a liver just e-mail me for a great price. Any other body part is negotiable. Be forewarned though, I have the colon of an 80 year old man (I'm referring to my own colon and not the colon of an actual 80 year old man......wait why are we talking about colons? How did I get to this point......? Let's just move on and forget this even happened.)

I was hoping that Miller would somehow be able to make the team coming out of spring training but with the depth in the Tigers rotation and the organizations commitment to continue developing Miller as a starting pitcher instead of using him as a left handed reliever out of the bullpen to help replace the departed Jamie Walker, (a move I agreed with 100%), it appeared as though Miller would spend this whole season being groomed in the minors with the idea of him battling for one of the final spots in the rotation next spring, similar to Justin Verlander's career path the past couple of season's.

Then the injuries hit. First Kenny Rogers went down at the end of spring training with a torn artery in his pitching shoulder and early onset Alzheimer's disease (because he's old, get it, hahaha, I crack myself up sometimes, (wipes tear away from eye)). Rogers was immediately replaced in the rotation by journeyman minor leaguer and former Royals prospect Chad Durbin who, to his credit, had an outstanding season at Triple-A Toledo last year. Of course Durbin came out and immediately pitched like balls, sporting a 10.54 ERA after three starts and appearing completely overwhelmed. Being the passionate and reactionary fan that I am, this slow start by Durbin would not be tolerated. So I rounded up a bullhorn, a couple of friends and a group of homeless men armed with torches and marched to Comerica so I could demand that Miller be called up from the minors to replace Durbin. My cries fell on deaf ears however and Durbin was able to turn it around and pitch well enough over the next few weeks to justify keeping his spot in the rotation. The next starter to go down was Jeremy Bonderman who developed a blister on his pitching hand and was forced to miss a start against the Twins. I was hoping Andrew Miller would be called up for a chance to make his Major League Debut on national television for ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, mainly so he could give the Twins a taste of the dominance he will have over them for the next ten seasons and to hear Jon Miller (no relation) talk in orgasmic tones (yeah picture the guy to the right talking while orgasming and see if you can keep down your breakfast, sorry about the mental imagery there....) about the future of the Tigers and the brilliance of Dave Dombrowski in turning the Tigers organization around so quickly. Instead, after an organizational meeting that apparently included Randy Smith in disguise, the Tigers decided that some guy named Virgil Vasquez was more major league ready than Miller and called him up to make his debut. 16 runs later the Tigers had suffered one of their most humiliating losses in some time and a shell-shocked Vasquez was sent back to the nether regions of hell so he could work on developing one major league caliber pitch, (o.k. that was a pretty harsh assessment, I'm sure Vasquez is better than he showed and he was certainly nervous as hell, but I demand perfection, as evidenced by the painstakingly, well-crafted, sentences, and appropriate, comma, use, on, my, website.) Next, Mike Maroth missed a start after contracting the "Monkeypox" on the same day Zach Miner was recalled to the majors to offer bullpen help during a doubleheader against the Red Sox. The timing of Miner's arrival and Maroth's subsequent illness seemed a little suspicious especially after John Paul Morosi wrote in his Tigers Notebook that Miner was seen carrying a small package of rodents from Cameroon into the visitor's clubhouse at Fenway that morning. Miner filled in ably for the Tigers that afternoon and I was beginning to accept the fact that Miller would be stuck in Double-A for the rest of the season. Then, later that evening I was watching ESPN and saw on the crawl across the bottom of the screen that Bonderman had been moved to the 15-day DL and Miller was being called up to start Friday evening against the Cardinals. I immediately knew I had to attend this game, so the next afternoon my sister and I went to Comerica and picked up some standing room tickets.

That night I attended the game with my friend Matt, my sister and her boyfriend Patrick from St. Louis and stood against the wall behind the visitors dugout, which provided a pretty kick-ass and up close view for 15 dollar tickets. In between the barrage of runs scored by the Tigers, Miller was more than impressive in pitching six scoreless innings, surrendering four hits, while walking three and striking out two. A few things that stood out about Miller were:

1: His composure. When he walked Rolen to load the bases in the first inning I was bracing myself for the makings of big inning. However Miller got Ryan Ludwick to harmlessly pop-up to second base to end the threat and from then on Miller seemed to settle in, pitch with confidence, and had the airs of someone who was a veteran and not a rookie a year removed from pitching in the College World Series.

2: I was surprised at his velocity as given by the stadium scoreboard. I was under the impression that Miller pitched in the mid to upper 90's with his fastball, but Friday evening he only cracked 90 maybe a dozen times in nearly a hundred pitches. I don't know if the stadium radar gun was off or if I was mistaken in my understanding of Miller's velocity. Seeing as how I'm completely infallible I leaning towards the former rather than the latter, but if anyone has a definitive answer on this please let me know in the comments, because that would save me precious seconds over doing a simple Google search.

3: Last year Miller always struck me as one of those pudgy kids in Little League that wear baggy jerseys to hide their fat and balloon to 220 pound, balding slobs five years after high school ends because they've ceased to do anything remotely athletic. However Miller looked positively gaunt during last nights game. His jersey was hanging off of his body and he looked like a little kid walking around in his dad's clothes. They might want to get him checked for Crohn's disease or intestinal parasites or something before he wastes away to nothing. Also, let it be written that I loved the fact that he went with the three quarter length sleeve undershirt, it's the look I would go with if I were a pitcher and has shades of Matt Anderson in it.....hopefully that's where the similarities between Anderson and Miller end.

So where do I stand after seeing Miller's first start in person? Well I think I'll be telling my children, (or if I never have children, which is a strong possibility, I'll be telling the kids by the elementary school playground and the local community swimming pool about least until the police show up) about witnessing Miller's first start. By my rudimentary understanding of sabermetrics I'm projecting Miller's career to exceed Randy Johnson's Hall of Fame career as a best case scenario or be in line with Mark Langston at worst. Are these predictions completely irrational based on a small sample size of six innings in major league debut? Absolutely, but this kind of unbridled optimism is what makes baseball so much fun to follow.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mike v. Pack of Coyotes

Over the past two weeks or so I've been suffering from writer's block when it comes to sports. Even though it's an exciting time for sports in Detroit, with the Pistons in the playoffs, the Red Wings two wins away from another Stanley Cup Final and the Tigers sitting atop the Central Division with one of the best records in baseball, I've been having a hard time coming up with topics to write about and different angles to approach these topics. Nothing I write seems to make sense theoretically or grammatically and I've digressed from the main theme of this site more times in the past month than I would care to do so over the course of a whole year. For example I have wrote and re-wrote this opening paragraph about six times over the past 45 minutes and I'm still not satisfied with it. Seriously, you could force a chimpanzee to smoke copious amounts of crystal meth while staying awake for five days, chain him to a typewriter in a pitch black room filled with strobe lights and shooting flames while "Seasons in the Abyss" by Slayer was blared at a volume that would makes his ears bleed and the primate would still be able to manufacture more coherent, intelligent and humorous posts than I am capable of producing right now.

Now that I've set the bar impossibly high with that introductory paragraph, I'm going to once again digress from sports and write about a game my old roommate Mike and I used to play, (wait that last sentence sounded kind of gay, the game I'm talking about is strictly a hypothetical game, and not the game involving actual gay se......wait why am I even telling you guys this, you didn't even raise a question, let's just move along) that involved watching Animal Planet or the Discovery Channel until the sun came up and whenever a new animal was shown or discussed, I would ask Mike under what circumstances he could successfully vanquish the animal in a hand to hand battle. We would usually argue about this for an inordinate amount of time until things devolved into a half hour long wrestling match that left the two of us to exhausted to attend any of our classes that day. I truly believe that if Mike and I had spent as much time studying as we did playing Nintendo and arguing about stupid shit like this we would have graduated in three semesters with perfect GPA's, but I digress.

I know I've mentioned Mike a few times on this site before, whether it be for the repeated beatdowns I laid on him in games of Tecmo Super Bowl or his frightening similarity in appearance to Mike Maroth, but I don't think I've given him a great deal of context outside of mentioning a few isolated events and random aesthetic characteristics. I've been friends with Mike ever since he invited me to go see Ghostbusters II in first grade and even though that movie sucked assholes we've remained friends for the past 18 years. Mike has the personality of one of those guys who is ultra-competitive, quietly arrogant, and has a completely unjustified sense of self worth. However, his competiveness can be his downfall as whenever he would begin to annoy my friends or me and we wanted to distract him for 20 minutes or longer, we could just point to some impossibly heavy object, (i.e. a large rock or a refrigerator), and challenge him by saying something like this:

Me: "I was talking to Megan (the girl who lived next store) and we both agreed that you wouldn't be able to lift that stove sitting outside off the ground. Mostly because your arms are so tiny. I mean Megan was just saying about how when we first moved in she thought that you were my six year old little brother or a really ugly prepubescent girl or something."

Mike: (peering out the window) "You mean that stove next to the dumpster that the opossum's and badgers fight over? (Turning to look at me) I could lift that easily. I could probably lift it over my head or juggle them if there were more than one."

Me: "You are crazy, that thing probably weighs about 150 pounds. I bet you couldn't even lift one corner off the pavement."

After this Mike would usually leave the room and I would have 30 undisturbed minutes in the apartment to relax, maybe play a game of All-Star Baseball, or get a little homework done before I would hear him yelling out, "Hey, Andy!!!", and I would walk over to the window and see him next to the dumpster holding the stove off the ground as muddy leaves and voles came pouring out the back.

Enough context though, to research this post I grudgingly called Mike and set up this first hypothetical battle. However before we get to the analysis let's take a look at the combatants.

Mike (I don't have a photo of Mike on my computer so I had to borrow one of Mike Maroth as explained earlier): Age: 23, Height: 5'8", Weight: 150lbs, Top Running Speed: 20mph. Diet: Taco Bell, Sardines, Chunky Bars, Marijuana, Ruby Red Squirt. Favorite Movie: "The Chronicles of Riddick" (ugh). Favorite Musicians: Eminem, Seal. Little Known Fact: Broke his arm in second grade after falling down while trying to balance on a soccer ball, Mike is also the only person I know who has defeated the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES game without the aid of Game Genie.

Pack of Coyotes: Total in Pack: 9. Height 2 ft. tall. Weight: 30 lbs. Top Running Speed: 43mph. Diet: rabbits, mice, shrews, fish, fawns. Favorite Movie: Bull Durham. Favorite Musicians: Anything produced by The Neptunes. Little Known Fact: COYOTE is the acronym for an American sex worker activist organization founded in 1973.

Mike's Analysis: "The top running speed is irrelevant because I wouldn't be racing them, that would only incite them to attack me, kind of like they were running down prey. No, I would stand there and let them encircle me, sort of like a ninja going into battle outnumbered. Coyotes are pretty small so I know I could take them one on one and hopefully a single coyote would be feeling brave enough to come at me allowing me to neutralize it and use the carcass as a weapon against the next attacking coyote. After the demise of the second attacking coyote I would imagine the remaining coyotes would huddle up and try to devise a more effective attack. This timeout would allow me to use the two deceased coyotes hides to make a coyote skin and infiltrate the huddle. By the time the coyotes realized what was happening I would have put down 3 more, leaving me with just 4 left to execute. Amid the ensuing confusion the surviving coyotes would scramble in a panic and (while still wearing the coyote skin) I would hunt them methodically until only one was left. I would imagine the final one would beg for his life and I would show mercy, bring him home and raise him as my own."

Andy's Final Prediction: I'm not sure if Mike could kill nine coyotes, that seems like an awfully high number for a carnivorous animal that relies on killing it's prey to survive. However I think I picked a pretty weak animal for Mike's first opponent, (I should have sprinkeld in a few timberwolves) as there has been only one coyote related fatality recorded in recent U.S. history. I don't think Mike would be able to eliminate the coyotes in the fashion he outlined above, but I think he could effectively neutralize them in some way. My final estimate is that Mike would have a 95% chance of surviving the attack outlined above.

I promise this is the last non-sports related post for a while...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Detroit Sports Roundtable Discussion: Cabbie Edition Vol #1

Andrew Stout (Moderator): Hello and welcome to the inaugural roundtable discussion here at the Mickey Tettleton Memorial Overpass. My name is Andrew Stout and I am going to be your moderator this evening as we discuss a large range of topics pertaining to the current Detroit sports scene with colorful characters from various sectors of the community. Our first panelist is 53 year-old Claude Williams, who has lived and worked as a cab driver in the city of Detroit for the past 25 years. Welcome to the Overpass Claude.

Claude Williams: F*** you too. You said there would be Night Train and I ain't seen shit. My shift starts in 3 hours and I gotta be soaked by then or I'm gonna be really f***ing irritable and shit and I don't need that, understood?

AS: Sorry about that Claude...I've already drank it all, you should have been here on time. Moving on. Our other panelist is "Scabby" Oscar Flesch an 88 year old lifelong Detroiter who has been driving cabs for nearly 65 years. Very impressive "Scabby" with that kind of experience I'm sure you'll have many enlightening anecdotes to share with us.

"Scabby" Flesch: One of us smells like piss. Guess which one and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

AS: Wow, I'm regretting this already. Our first topic is the perennially losing Detroit Lions who recently selected wide receiver Calvin Johnson with the second pick of the NFL draft. What are your thoughts on taking a receiver with a top 10 pick for the 4th times in 5 years and the overall state of the franchise?

CW: The Lions? Shit, that franchise is f***ed. That Millen guy always talks about toughness and accountability but then he wastes high draft picks on dopeheads and fat-ass lazy wideouts. They need to hire a coach that will go in there and discipline those diva's. A real hard-hittin', skull crackin' muthf***a.

AS: Well Claude they went in that direction with their last coaching hire. Rod Marinelli served in Vietnam and has a reputation for being a very demanding but fair disciplinarian.....

CW: Nah, man. I ain't talkin about no "Yes sir," "no sir" drill sergeant bullshit. See, I would make a good coach. I'm not afraid to get into Big Baby's face if he half asses some run defense. I'd get right up in that fat f***'s grill an let him know he let me down. I remember this one time I'm driving my cab down Cass Ave at about 3 A.M. and this sketchy looking muthaf***a hails me, gets in the back seat and sticks a pistol right in my face. Now it looks like I'm f***ed but I ain't scared of some basehead, so I reach over to my passenger seat grab a hunting knife and put it right through this guys eye. He drops the gun in my seat and I drive around smoking and listening to "Rubberband Man" by the Spinners as he bleeds to death in my taxi. I dumped the body and took his watch to cover the fare. That's the kind of discipline football players respect.

AS: Hmmm....I don't know if that's the most awesome or most frightening story I've ever heard, while I mull this over let's hear from "Scabby".

SOF: I don't like the pick. I'm old enough to remember the last time the Lions were good and the whole key to their success was Bobby Layne, hands down the toughest son of a bitch to ever put on a Lions uniform. I remember back in 1953 getting dispatched to the Brunswick Hotel, which had a reputation for being a place of ill-repute if you catch my drift. So I pull up at about 7 A.M. and a disheveled Bobby Layne comes walking out, bottle of whiskey in hand and peering into the morning sun. When, all of a sudden, some floozy comes running out of the room and sticks a knife right into Layne's throwing shoulder. Layne doesn't even blink, turns around and grabs this broads arm, kisses her hard, breaks her wrist and sends her flying about twenty feet across the courtyard. Layne gets in the cab, with the knife still in his shoulder, takes a pull from his bottle, and growls "Briggs Stadium". About four hours later Layne throws 2 touchdowns and adds another one on the ground to beat those bastard Cleveland Browns. Greatest performance I've ever seen. That's what the Lions need and I don't think Jon Kitna has that gritty quality, although he is a vast improvement over those limp-wristed flits like Scott Mitchell and Joey Harrington. The Lions should go out and get a real blood and guts guy like Y.A. Tittle or Otto Graham.

AS: Sorry "Scabby," Otto Graham died 4 years ago although Tittle may still be available, and I apologize to you Claude, I stand corrected. That Layne story is the greatest story I've ever heard.

CW: (glares at Andrew, puts toothpick in mouth).

AS: I said I was sorry Claude but Scabby came up big with a kickass story, although your glare is cutting through me like a knife.........wait that's because you're shanking me from underneath the table. This seems like a good time to break, I need a doctor, Claude is going to run to the store and pick up some Thunderbird, and Scabby is making a run for a Crave Case. We'll be back shortly with our second installment addressing The Bulls-Pistons series and the showdown with Big Ben.........(collapses from blood loss).

CW: Check the whiteboys wallet and we can pick up some 'dro to go with this wine.

SOF: (Gingerly kneels over).

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Potential Band Names: Chief Bender

I think every boy goes through certain stages on what they desire their profession to be when they grow up.

First is wishing to become an astronaut or a baseball player. This stage usually lasts until they struggle with long division or are relegated in Little League to fielding the pitching mound while wearing a batting helmet, as their coach pitches to the more "talented" mentally retarded kid who needs a walker to get down to first base (No, this didn't happen to me. My coach only made me wear a jersey that said "Yes, I'm only seven years old but it's already painfully obvious that I have no fucking talent," but since the type was so small I had to read it to the crowd before each game). They soon realize there is about a one in a billion chance they'll actually make it to NASA or the majors so they quit after a few seasons of humiliation.

Second the recently disillusioned boy aspires for a more practical profession held by someone they admire, which is usually their teacher. This second stage lasts until they realize that most of their teachers are lonely, depressed, jaded adults who don't make shit for money and spend 40 years trying to teach U.S. history to room after room of asshole 16 year olds who would rather be burning down in their friends S-10 than learning about Woodrow Wilson and his League of Nations bullshit, (see Mr. Rasmovitch, I did learn something, now take the gun out of your mouth and go fantasize about that girl on the volleyball team in your Current Events seminar who wore those tight volleyball shorts to class 6 months ago. You've earned it).

The third stage finds a boy taking one last stab at stardom by going out and purchasing an instrument in hopes of forming a rock band with their friends. This usually happens after the boy sees some monster-looking musician/classmate get some amazing pull because they can emote while playing the same three chords and have a serious looking, forlorn demeanor while doing so. This stage ends after the boy realizes how much work is required to master the guitar and after they sit back, reevaluate things and ponder, that even in the light of all the potential tail waiting for them when they become a good enough guitarist to perform a "Pink Floyd song in the high school talent show, do they really want to become "that guy"?

By the end of the third stage, the boy realizes he is off to college and actually has to choose a career path. In a panic they decide to get a completely worthless history degree and flounder in school for four years. After graduating they try their hand at a number of professions available to history majors, namely acting as a drug mule or a gigolo, and after that fails they apply for law school.

Hang on this has a point and I'm getting to that I never went through stage three when I was growing up. I just jumped from disillusioned to deeply disillusioned with no hope for success in between. There have been brief moments where my friends and I have thought about forming a band, but then we realize we have nothing in common. My friend T.J. likes hip-hop, my friend Alex is a fan of double-bass drums and grind-core/spazz metal (like The Locust), my old roommate Mike is an emotionless robot incapable of understanding or liking any kind of music and I'm a fan of indie rock and garage bands. So from the beginning there was mounting tension over what genre of music we should enter and then we realized that none of us even knew how to play an instrument. However this lack of musicianship has not deterred me from trying to think up really kick-ass names for a rock band, just in case a band forms around my bed one night and I arise as the egotistical front man with complete creative control and dibs on any and all potential groupies, (Don't think this won't happen, I remember reading somewhere that The Rolling Stones were formed in this manner).

So what makes a good name for a band? In my opinion it needs to strike a balance between sounding bad-ass/catchy, pretentious and, this is key, contain a reference to a person of some minor historical significance from the early 20th century. A perfect example of this is Franz Ferdinand. I remember the first time I heard of Franz Ferdinand I thought, "Hey, I recognize that name from (one of my aforementioned useless history classes), that name actually has a pretty cool ring to it, man I bet those guys are assholes, they probably went to art school or something." So how would I achieve a similar result without using the name of an assassinated European Prince? By turning my attention to my other historical passion. Old-timey baseball.

Band Name #1: Chief Bender: Bender, whose real first name was Charles but who hailed from a time when derisive and openly racist nicknames were not only accepted but embraced, was a Hall-of-Fame pitcher for the Philadelphia A's from 1903-1917 and was a member of the Ojibwa tribe. I think his name satisfies the three prong test I laid out in the preceding paragraph, (that last sentence read like a hold in a court case, somewhere Judge Learned Hand is nodding in approval. I mean if he wasn't dead and took to reading fledgling sports blogs). First it's just a bad-ass sounding name, end of story. Second its pretentious because only one percent of my assumed fan base would be baseball historians and immediately get the reference while the other 99% would think I was making fun of Indians and their penchant for booze. Finally Bender was a historical footnote in the early 20th century due to his proficiency in the game of "rounders".

See teenagers and other aspiring musicians of today it's that simple. There's no need for some ridiculous, contrived band name, like Panic! at the Disco, whatever the hell that means, or some lazy The Strokes/Killers/Bravery/Hives/Vines/etc./etc. I'm providing this service to you, as someone who missed out on an important stage of his development, (outside of puberty), because I want to see you make it, and all I ask in return is 100% of profits, royalties, and complete control of your recording catalog. That sounds fair to me.

This is the first in a series of potential band names. The other posts won't be nearly as long because I won't have the long introduction. However if you readers hate this idea, I'll stop doing them and the list I have created will be tucked in my suit pocket and buried with me never to see the light of day again. Let me know in the comments.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Avril Lavigne

This post is long, so you might want to get some snacks........Thousands of Years Ago.....

This post is going to be a departure from the central theme of this site, which, if you are new to these parts is mostly about the joys of scrapbooking. Wait, wait, that's not right, I meant to say sports, I get my two hobbies mixed up sometimes, but who doesn't. Anyways, this post is dedicated to all those guys out there who used to argue in vain with their friends over the merits of Avril Lavigne's pulchritudinous, (thank you, Word of the Day calendar, wow that really is pretentious sounding though.......fuck it, it stays in). I've found myself in this position a few times and it's a very unenviable one (not as bad as being robbed at knife-point in an alley, but I digress), but before I go on any farther I feel as though I should provide a bit of context to the situation I'm talking about.

In the winter of 1998 I was a 15 year old sophomore in high school who essentially did nothing but hang out with my friend Kevin who was a year older than me, had a license to drive and a means of transportation that did not involve my mom and her minivan. You would think this would open up a world of possibilities and adventures, but you would be wrong, and don't you readers ever tire of being wrong. I mean, like every time I write, you guys make the most egregious presumptions and I have to take time out of writing to correct you.......(wait don't insult the readers Andrew, play nice until Operation Putsch is's all coming together). See, I come from a little town called Clio, where there isn't shit to do, especially for anyone under the age of.......well of any age I guess. I'm being completely honest when I say there hasn't been a worthwhile activity in that town since the donut shop that carried the arcade version of Mortal Kombat II closed about ten years ago.

Regardless, Kevin and I would drive around on most Friday nights for a few hours alternating stopping by:

1: Parties thrown by preppy kids that consisted of drinking their parents Seagram's with 2 liters of flat 7 Up and playing euchre with three guys who were distracted by trying to hit on the only girl at the party that would let them feel her up. This really sounds more like an exciting night at a retirement home than a high school party but our options were limited and it was pretty much equal too.....

2: Bonfires thrown by whitetrash kids in a field or by a barn, with most of the kids wearing ICP or Metallica shirts and getting drunk on MD 20/20 or Natural Light before everything culminated in a fist fight between some even more white trash kid from two towns over who would get wrecked by some fatass football player.

The problem was Kevin and I didn't really fit into either of these groups because we were way to cool for the preppy crowd, (even though Kevin tried to fit in by buying a whole wardrobe from Nautica, which just led to endless and justified ridicule on my behalf) and we were way to fucking handsome to be hanging out with the burnouts by the bonfire, so we would often choose option.....

#3: Which consisted of going over to my friend Josh's house and playing Goldeneye 64 on his big screen for about 5 hours, where I was unstoppable as Jaws packing the automatic shotgun and wasting anyone trying to get the body armor in the Temple that sounded pathetic.

One Friday following another "Slaughter at the hands of Jaws", Kevin and I returned to my house and turned on MTV just as they started to play a video that would alter the course of our adolescence, "...Baby One More Time". I remember we stood and watched the video in complete silence and wondered if we would ever witness something like this again. Little did we know this was the beginning of a wave of pop stars, (Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore, etc) similar to our age and all of whom exposed the girls we went to high school with as complete dogs, (sorry Karrie Brooks).

However I was always kind of indifferent to this first set of pop stars and a few years later during a game of R.B.I. with Kevin I mentioned this belief as an offhand comment. He immediately paused the game and burned a hole in the back of my head with his stare, culminating in this exchange:

Kevin: "Are you serious?"

Me: (turning around), "Well yeah. I mean don't get me wrong I think they are all pretty cute, and I think Mandy Moore is really pretty, but collectively they just don't do anything for me. They remind me too much of all the snobby girls in high school that only date insurance salesmen and think they've made it big time because they are a teller at the credit union, you know..."

Kevin: "That is the stupidest shit I ever heard, and sounds just like something you would say. 'Oh blah blah, personality, blah'. Who cares if they are snobby, it's not like we're talking to them. All I know is as long as they dress like strippers and make hot videos, they could go home and throw bacon at fat girls with image low self esteen and it wouldn't make them any less hot. Jesus, Prof. Gaybody why don't you listen to your Backstreet Boy albums.......i cant believe I hang out with you."

Me: "Hey, asshole I own those Backstreet Boys albums for their artistic merits only o.k."

However, during the summer after my freshmen year at MSU in 2002 I finally found the pop princess to fill the void in my life that had remained empty during the first wave in the form of a bratty, little, faux-punk Canadian named Avril Lavigne. I called Kevin and told him about my celebrity crush and he was less than impressed saying, "Sure, she's cute, but you would like her. It's the safe pick. She's Greg Maddux compared to Jessica Simpson's Pedro, solid but never capable of greatness." (Kevin can be a pretty shortsighted sports fan). I tried to argue back, "She's as pretty as those other girls she just can't embrace the "hotness" because she's got some bullshit punk girl image to portray. Watch it will happen someday." But he wasn't listening. So now it's up to me to prove it to him, even if it is years after the fact and after he's almost certainly forgot about our conversation, with a selected video retrospective of Avril's career.......(Man that was a lot of context, I'm finally getting to the good part and no one stuck around......hello (echo).......hello (crickets)......shit.)

1: Complicated

This is the video that started my whole interest in Avril, even though it's totally lame and cliche as hell. I can see some young record executive sitting around trying to think of a proper way to promote his new talent and saying, "Hmm, what would rebelious teenagers do? (taps pen on desk), Got it! They go to the mall, hang out, and fuck with security guards in a comical manner before skateboarding. Travis you are brilliant!! Nobody's ever thought of this before, even though every teen movie from 1982 on has this exact same scenario in it, but hopefully no one will remember that." before burying his face in a mountain of cocaine and laughing hysterically. By the way my copyright professor would lower my grade a whole step if he saw all the blatant infringement occuring on my blog right now by posting these videos.....Yikes.

2: Sk8ter Boi

This song and video were/are terrible, but I would still watch it when it came on. For some reason I've always had a soft spot for punk rock girls. I've always been attracted to the pink hair, tattoos and bitchy attitude but unfortunately this interest is hardly ever reciprocated and the only girls who find me attractive are, uh, none of them. I'm going to go cry now.

3: Don't Tell Me

Wait.....who the hell is this guy? How long was this going to go on before you told me? Huh, Avril!!! Oh thats right Andrew, you're not really dating her. No need to get all worked up like tat, but that still doesnt explain whose wrists I just grabbed (nervous laughter as I adjust my necktie). This video had potential as it features Avril in her underwear breaking things, but if you listen closely it's a song about not being pressured into sex by your boyfriend. BOOOOOOO!, whoops, I mean what a great message for teenage girls who face this kind of peer pressure from their pushy boyfriends, (boo.)

4: Nobody's Home

This video gave me the false impression that the streets were filled with hot homeless Canadian teenagers. So I went out in search of them on the streets of Detroit and only came across agressive alcoholics with dementia, prostitutes who looked like extras from "The Exorcist" and a raging case of syphi...... cotton candy. Avril gets bonus points for the old-timey, sepia toned bullshit, because anyone who reads this site regularly knows I'm a sucker for 19th century style romance. Oh, Jesus that wasn't manly sounding at all. (Clears throat) "Excuse me, I'm going to go make a sandwich out of nails between barbwire bread, catch you on the flip side, pussies." Now thats manly.

5: Girlfriend

Finally. This video was five years in the making for me (well I had made it previously using Barbie dolls and my imagination but I'm talking about an official video), and I demand you watch it in its entirety or I will never speak to you again. This is my example of the perfect girl and the standard to which I will hold any and all future girlfriends, so if your thinking about dating me here's the template, do with it what you must. One final gripe though, how is it that all these guys I know have 2 or 3 girls chasing after them and trying to get them to break up with their girlfriends and me, Mr. Big Shot lawyer man is up until 3 A.M. updating a blog about Avril Lavigne......Wait I just answered my own question. My next question is to see if this bed sheet can hold 160 pounds. Thank you everyone for indulging me and if you made it this far I'll send you a check for a $100*.

*Offer not valid to anyone. ever.

Finally...A Lions Draft Re-Cap.

Earlier this afternoon I took my last exam of the semester and it felt great (Seriously if I had to choose between taking an exam, fighting a T-Rex with a golf club, or taking a shower in prison for three hours I don't know which one I would choose......probably the T-Rex, but I digress). The class was Employment Discrimination, (taught by a guy with a eerie resemblance to a gnome lawn ornament, I would post a photo, but I may take another class with him next semester and don't want to face his 3 foot tall, white bearded scorn) which should come in handy in the future. It pretty much taught me how many sexist comments and off-color jokes I can get away with, (about one a month or so), and how many times I can expose myself to my secretary, (about once every two years give or take), and still avoid liability. See, this is the shit I need to learn in law school. I don't need to learn how to help other people with their legal problems, I just need to know how to keep myself out of trouble.

In a completely unrelated note I am looking to hire a secretary for those who are interested. The job requirements are as follows: Max. height 5'6", max weight 98 lbs, must bear a striking resemblance to Kristin Bell (top left), answer to the name "Jiggles", carry me into meetings and to the supermarket on their back and...uh....light typing, I guess, like 7 words a minute or something. Send photos c/o "Women are Things"........o.k., o.k. I have to stop, women's heads are exploding everywhere as they read this and my sister's gonna lecture me on equality, women's right's and blah, blah, blah, so I'm just gonna stop typing, and switch topics completely.

I hope it's not to late for me to chime in about the NFL Draft and the Lions 2007 picks. I'll break this down pick by pick, even though it's already been done by Big Al, in a way that is funnier and infinitely more clever than what I'm about to write, so uh go check that out, or scroll down, whatever......(Now I know your going to read this because you like the fact that I'm indifferent to your readership. You think you can change me. That I'm a long haired, wild eyed rebel, but you know I have a real sensitive side just waiting to come out. If I could only meet the right reader. Who knows, you could be that person, there is only one way to find out...../whispering/ on)
1: Calvin Johnson, WR Georgia Tech: I'm going to operate under the belief that every other Lions receiver will turn out to be sensational. Rogers was a bust, but Roy has been fantastic, Mike Williams sucked, so naturally Johnson is going to be a superstar. This is how the NFL works right? Anyways Mike Martz has to be going crazy right now and I can't wait to see some of the crazy shit formations he's going to roll out next season. However I get the nagging feeling that come Week 14 the Lions are going to be starting Devale Ellis, Bert Emanuel, and Pete Mandley because of all the injuries that seem to crop up at this position every season. On a personal note I can't wait to get Madden 2008 and play with Williams and Johnson. It's going to be amazing throwing for about 7,000 yards and 65 touchdowns with new quarterback.....

2: Drew Stanton, QB Michigan State: Finally, a quarterback to replace that fat cigar-smoking baby from "Who Framed Roger Rabbit ?", what's his face.....Jon Kitna. Kitna wasn't terrible last year, even if it seemed like he was sacked, fumbled or threw an interception on every other passing play. I'm not sure what to think of Stanton. I was never really impressed with his play at State. He was spectacular at times but wildly inconsistent, and it seems like even though he had the athletic ability to scramble about and make plays happen, he would take his fair share of kill shots and leave dazed after every series. It will be interesting to see what happens to Stanton the first time he lowers his shoulder as Brian Urlacher tries to detach his head from his body. I'm not looking forward to that moment......wait, yeah I am.

2: Ikaika Alama-Francis, DL Hawaii: It seems like every year the Lions take a defensive lineman on the first day of the draft, only for them to kick around for a couple of seasons and then disappear into the ether. By the way can we send out an all-points bulletin in search of Shaun Cody. What the hell happened to this guy? I'm sure I could do a Google search and find out in 2 seconds if I wanted, I guess I really don't care, that sounds like a lot of effort. The point is, I hope Ikaika can avoid this fate, successfully slay The Ghost of Tracy Scroggins and remain with the organization for more than three years. I wouldn't bet on it though.

2: Gerald Alexander, S Boise State: I thought the Lions addressed their need at safety last season when they drafted Daniel Bullocks, who turned out to be pretty sweet, and they are paying assloads of money to Kennoy Kennedy to man the other safety position. So why take this guy, a guy who was rated as a second day pick at best by all the draft "experts." Especially when we have a glaring need for a cornerback. Oh that's right, because drafting a corner would make way to much fucking sense and the Lions are currently being run by a man I wouldn't trust to set my alarm clock, let alone run an entire football organization. Jesus.

4: A.J. Davis, CB Somewhere State: Hopefully this guy can defeat the ghost of Kevin Abrams, and......wait, someones trying to get my say I've already used the "Ghost of" joke in this post.....ok...... and I use the "Ghost of" joke in EVERY post....... and I'm a no talented, one trick pony, hack of a writer...... (clears throat) well if you'll excuse me I have to use the bathroom...... (escapes out bathroom window, looks back, stumbles, and waits for the vicious hounds to chase him down).
5: Manuel Ramirez, G Texas Tech: I hate it when offensive linemen get drafted. It's so safe and boring. You sit there for five/ten/fifteen minutes waiting for the selection, and then Der Kommissar walks to the podium, clears his throat and says, "With the --th selection the Lions select some fatass lineman you've never heard of." If I were running the league I would limit the draft to skill position players only, and dispense the linemen in a matter similar to the Oklahoma Land Run. Like you wouldn't watch Matt Millen and Phil Savage tearing across the land on horseback trying to throw a net over Joe Thomas in hopes of obtaining his rights, that would be riveting.

6: Johnny Baldwin, LB Alabama A&M:

Mr Irrelevant: Ramzee Robinson, CB Alabama: I love this guys name, and demand he wear one of those Egyptian crowns covered in snakes and birds, or better yet conscript thousands of hoboes from Detroit to build an enormous tomb to contain his riches, servants, and lots and lots of purple drank. Too bad he probably won't make the team because I would be looking forward to that pyramid, but I look forward to a lot of mundane things. Now if I could only get that robot I built to dance....