Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Stock Broker

Here's what I think of my Stock Broker.




And here's what She thinks of hers.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Stop

Before I get to the exciting elevator blog (you know you can’t wait), I wanted to talk about a more serious issue – The Bus Stop. Since I’ve been working a day job, I wait at the same bus stop every morning, around the same time, give or take. Naturally, you start to notice the same people. But what’s really weird, is that these are the exact same people who waited with you for the big yellow school bus when you were a kid.

The cast of characters is all there. The rich kids, wearing their thousand dollar suits. The girl that really shouldn’t be dressing herself yet. The guy that looks a little bit too old to be in your grade, but he’s still wearing a backpack.

I’m not sure where I fit in. I think I’m somewhere in-between the awkward girl with glasses and the computer geek that needs to get a teen movie make-over so he can become the quarterback of his high school football team, and therefore, sleep with all the cheerleaders. Then we would only be missing the class clown, but no one ever says a fucking word to each other anyway. Who wants to talk in the morning?

Friday, October 26, 2007

DMZ/North Korea pics


The building is on the North Korean side, a couple KPA (Korean People's Army, or North Korean soldiers) and some obviously high ranking dude in a suit. Can't quite tell, but one of the KPA's rifle may be pointed right at me.


This guy is South Korean Military Police, and hard to tell by the pic but probably 6'6. I didn't want to move in any closer for the picture. This is the room that straddles the border between north and south. The soldier is standing right on the line, I am north of him, technically in North Korea.


The door to North Korea.


The world's tallest flag pole. Good thing it was a windy day, apparently the North Korean flag weighs 600 pounds. This is the "Propaganda Village." None of the buildings have windows.


The MDL, or border proper. The small concrete divider between the buildings marks the border. The soldiers are South Korean. Like I said, I was hoping to see the classic stand-off I'd heard about, but the KPA border guys must be on break. In fact, the South Korean soldiers are only right on the border like that when there is a tour group.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

El Baño

Something just isn’t right with our bathroom. If you ever find yourself on the 15th floor of our building, pee elsewhere. Trust me. The following stories are true.

1. The weird guy in the stalls.
So, there I am taking a wiz, when all of the sudden I hear this faint, but familiar music. There is some dude in the stalls behind me listening to his iPod so loud that I can hear it clearly. And he’s playing Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing. What better song to listen to when you’re on the pot?

2. There’s an old guy, wears a suit everyday, who pee’s on his shoes. We have no idea why. He doesn’t accidentally miss. He literally does this everyday, at the same urinal, whenever he takes his first trip to the John. I don’t know. I call number 2 Insane guy who pees on his shoes.

3. I’m in the bathroom washing my hands, and some guy in a stall pulls out his cell phone and makes a call. This guy is doing business on the shitter. The only people allowed to make calls in this situation are mimes.

4. The guy that always takes the middle urinal. Look, do we really have to go over this again? There are three urinals, the middle one is only there for decoration. It never gets used. This isn’t a bar at 1:56am. Use the stalls, or wait it out. And, no, there aren’t “privacy walls” in between, but God Bless the man who invented those.

What’s really strange is that people will come to our floor just to use the bathroom. You see them get off the elevator, hit the head, then get back on the elevator. Stay tuned for my next blog: Elevators, and the idiots who ride them.

I’m serious.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The DMZ is our home

Last weekend, I finally made it to Korea's number one "tourist attraction." The world's most fortified border, and easily one of the strangest places on earth.

The Seoul USO office and the bus to the DMZ was surreal on it's own. Not only was it pretty much all white people, it was pretty much all Americans. Being on a packed, I don't know, 70 person bus where 80% of the passengers were Americans and English was the only language being spoken was definitely strange for me. Plus, while my people, English teachers, were certainly well represented, the bus was chock full of middle aged people from places like Atlanta that were in town for reasons other than teaching English, and were staying for periods considerably shorter than one year. People who didn't even know what bibimbap is, based on conversations I over heard. Bibimbap, by the way, is an extremely common and tasty rice dish. It's like being in France and not knowing what a baguette is. I dare say, maybe even actual tourists. I've been here over a year, and it's the first time I've ever seen one. It didn't make me homesick.

The DMZ itself - something else. 6 foot 6 South Korean soldiers at the border, wearing cool Ray Bans at all times, fists clenched. The North soldiers weren't around, at least visibly, at the immediate border, but I'm fairly certain that they were around somewhere, guns trained on my tour group.

The DMZ is 4 kilometers wide, 2 km per side to the actual border proper, ie, the MDL, or Military Demarcation Line. Within the DMZ itself, but a little bit away from the border where the soldiers were, there are two villages, one on the south side, the other on the north side. The southern village has a few houses, actually American-suburban looking houses, where the small, government subsidized population lives. The south side villagers are all farmers, and they make something like 80 grand a year tax free, but when they farm, there are armed soldiers (US and Korean) with them on their fields at all time to defend against a northern invasion. The southern village has a 100 meter tall flagpole donated to them shortly before the 88 Olympics. The other village, predictably, is on the northern half of the DMZ. It is known as "Propaganda Village" in the south, largely because the northern village is uninhabited. There are some buildings that look like apartment blocks, but when viewed with binoculars, it becomes clear that none of these buildings have any windows. This village, not to be outdone by it's southern counterpart, built a 160 meter flag pole, the highest in the world. That's 525 feet. The village is known as Propaganda Village, by the way, because it used to broadcast North Korean propaganda via loudspeaker 16 hours a day or so. The north also use to have a number of signs on the mountain faces saying things like "Follow the way of the Leader" and stuff like that, and the south likewise had a number of lit up signs promoting democracy (The north never lit up their signs, because, you know, power shortages). Sadly, both sides agreed to remove their outward, intrusive propaganda two years ago. I was really looking forward to seeing that.

At the end of the tour, we saw a fairly hilarious Korean-made video. It was in English, and the narrator sounded like a native English speaker, but it was still full of terribly put together and likely mistranslated lines such as "The DMZ is our home." It also made reference to the natural aspects of the DMZ (which is a true statement, a 4 km wide swath across the peninsula, most of which has had no human contact in over 50 years) but went too far, saying that a visitor to the DMZ can see "extinct species." After hearing that, I was really pissed that I didn't see a stegosaurus.

More to come later on this, along with some cool pictures.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Not That Kind of Green

So, I’m walking to work from the bus this morning when it happens again. A bearded man with a green tie-dye bandana approaches me. Now, my mp3 player is broken, but lately I have been wearing the headphones and just faking it, but today I forgot.

Bandana: Hey, another fellow environmentalist?

Me: No.

Bandana: No? Don’t you care about the Earth, man?

Me: Get away from me mother(earth)fucker.

That’s a mix of what I actually said, and what I wanted to say.

The problem with these jerkoffs, well, one of the problems, is that there is no doubt in my mind if I actually gave them money in the morning just so they will leave me the hell alone, another one is going to approach me at lunch.

“Care about saving the planet?” Yes, but I’ll do it my own way. I’ll throw away my trash. I’ll recycle. I’ll go to Bonnaroo. But I’m not giving some guy on the street a dime.

It’s probably not a scam, but I don’t know where that money goes, and I don’t care. If I give anyone on the street money it’s going to be someone selling me a streetwise. Not some asshole who is trying to look dirty because he is “one with nature.”

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fauxlorado

A couple more notes on the baseball playoffs:

I’m extremely happy about the current national backlash toward Dane Cook. I, for one, hated him before it was cool. Some work buddy at Sprint showed me a clip of his on the interweb years ago, saying check out how funny this guy is. I was instantly repulsed, and haven’t wavered since.

I still hate the Rockies. They aren’t a real team, and don’t come from a real city. Buddies of mine back home, like Daniel and Toast are apparently huge supporters of them. Big shock. It’s getting to be impossible to argue with Daniel about sports, because he hops on the bandwagon of contemptible teams every season, because he will like “the style of play” or “the way they play the game” or some such horseshit. That’s simply not what sports are supposed to be about. In 1987, Daniel and I had a wager on a Browns-Broncos game. He had the Browns, I had the Broncos, in a game that turned out to be Elway’s famed “Drive.” I had no particular ill-opinion toward either team, as I hadn’t yet adopted the Chiefs at the time and thus had little regard for the AFC. The sides we chose were based on Daniel’s unconditional hatred of the Broncos. I asked Daniel why he hated the Broncos, and he said it was because he hated Elway. I asked him why he hated Elway, and he said it was because he hated Elway’s hair. So, I verified, you hate an entire franchise due to one man’s hair? Yes, he said. This seemed ludicrous to me at the time, but it turns out Daniel was right. Elway had ridiculous hair. But he wasn’t an asshole, and the Broncos by extension evil because of his hair. No, Elway had ridiculous hair because he was an asshole, and he was employed by the Broncos because they were evil. But the end result was the same, and Daniel’s original statement was a true one.

So really, I don’t understand this “liking the style of play” thing. Like everybody else, I adopt teams in the playoffs in most leagues most years, as my teams tend to be pathetic and don’t make the playoffs to begin with, and lose in the first round if they do. But style of play can only be one consideration in these adoptions. You also have to consider what sort of fan bases these teams represent. And when it comes to, say, the Red Sox or Rockies fan base, I want no part of it. Plus, despising entire cities of teams and fans is part of the fun in sports. The Rockies winning would make Bronco fans happy, and thus me angry.

Lastly, my buddy Jack emailed me a pretty good take on the baseball playoffs, which I’ll now get to:

"wait, they play baseball in colorado now? i guarantee you no one living in boulder is aware of it. and moreover, todd helton is a baseball player? i was always sort of under the impression that he played tennis or something - one of those random names on sportscenter that you hear but don't pay much attention to, and aren't really sure what they do, like texas tech football, ultimate fighting, soccer,  rutgers, old dominion, virginia com monwealth, any professional hockey team located in the confederacy, and the seattle seahawks.
 
look, i know that boston fans are annoying. but can you imagine rockie fan right now?
really?"

Go Cleveland. I guess I have some connection to them this year, as they are the only team alive that I don’t loathe, and that my fantasy football team is called the Cleveland Steamers.

The Lone Talker

So, I’m in line for Potbelly’s the other day. Great Sandwiches. Next time you’re in Chicago, check it out. Anyway, in the loop, there’s always a long line, even though there’s a Potbelly on every corner. To speed up the process, they ask you your order way before you get to the counter. (the sandwich does have to go through a toaster, after all) They ask me what I want, I shout my order. That’s how it works.

They ask the woman behind me what she wants, she says she’s not ready. Then, she says, to no one in particular “I’m not going to yell my order.”

I never know what to do in these kinds of situations. Is she talking to me? Is she talking to the guy behind her? Was that meant for the cashier? I have no idea. She’s just throwing dialogue out there, hoping it will stick to something.

I chose to ignore it, and act as rubber to the floating dialogue (monologue, really). If I would have agreed with her, perhaps I would have given an awkward sympathy laugh, or an acknowledging head nod. But, it’s potbelly downtown. You yell your order so you don’t have to wait as long. That’s how it is. Don’t try to drag me into your monologue when I don’t agree with you.

She looks at the menu. “Do they have any salads?”

Now, there’s no way she thought I was listening. I gave her no indication I wanted to be part of this. I don’t know what to think of these lone talkers.

Situation 2. On the train to the airport. Some dude gets on, it’s 5:00 on a Friday, the train is super crowded. Dude squeezes his way to the back of the train where we are, gets settled, says “It must be that we’re all tired from work, huh?” A bunch of blank stares, a few people look around “Is he talking to me? Is it my responsibility to bounce some dialogue back to him?” My answer: only if you agree with them, and the point they’re making isn’t completely obvious. He might as well have said “I’m a dude on a train.”

Lone talkers, at least make an interesting point. Then you can get an obligatory smile, nod, or, if you’re really lucky, a little dialogue.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Eighth Grade Man

It’s occurred to me that a buddy of mine here has been reverting to or has fully reverted to junior high status. I’m actually a bit worried about this. I know the cat is young, a good couple years younger than my brother, and he was not alive during the peak of the Michael Jackson / Thriller era, which I have memories of. Still, this could happen to you too. Lets look at warning signs that your buddy may also be stuck in eighth grade-

1) He is “dating” a girl that he has never kissed.

2) He ditches his drinking buddies to stay home and talk on the phone to said girl (again, that he has never kissed.)

3) When he does go out drinking, he is guaranteed to get a call from said girl and to be on the phone for at least 20 minutes.

4) When he is hanging out with friends and not on the phone from said girl, he is texting her every 14 seconds. By the way, I don’t get this new-fangled “texting” thing. I use the text messages, more so here because I have a ghetto pre-paid phone and outgoing calls are like 30 cents a minute. Still, I don’t converse with the texts under any circumstances. If I have a “text” conversation that requires me to send more than 2 texts in a 10 minute span, I’m on the verge of throwing my phone against the wall. If I have to convey something to somebody else that requires more than one text, I fucking call, cost be damned.

5) He is actively pursuing a long-distance relationship of horrendous inconvenience. The last time this should ever happen in somebody’s life is the girl in freshman year of college who has the boyfriend back home. Everybody knows there are only two results for this. Either she transfers school at the end of the year (or more likely at semester break) or she cheats on him and they break up. Yeah, this isn’t junior high here, but by sophomore year of college, the “long distance relationship” types fall off the landscape. And at least those freshman year girls lived in the same town as the boyfriends in high school, they didn’t actively pursue someone who lived out of town from the get-go. Like I did, in junior high. Or like my buddy does now. I’ve literally chosen not to call girls I’ve met here because they live in a neighborhood that requires a subway transfer.

And, on the non-girl tip:

6) He is trying to organize his friends to talk shit on a buddy’s Facebook “wall,” (by the way, I don’t like Facebook, it seems like the official social networking sight of 13-year-olds to me) which seems pretty much like the classic junior high girl style slambook. (and yeah, I’m aware of the vague irony of making fun of my friend on the interwebs right now, but it’s my fucking blog, not his “wall” that I’m doing it on, and also, you’ll notice I haven’t mentioned any names).

7) He is currently reading “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.”

So yeah, I’m annoyed I guess. I am looking forward to his moving on to tenth grade. At least then he’ll have a later curfew and we can talk about “The Catcher in the Rye.”

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where art thou, Neighbor?

Firstly, we have a new feed on the blog, so you can now SUBSCRIBE! Check out the column on the right and subscribe to an RSS feed or receive Email updates. If anyone wants to help promote the blog, let me know. I have a little banner/button for you.

Now that the business is out of the way, it appears my loving neighbor has moved out. The last time I saw him was a few weeks ago, carrying things down the hallway, starting straight ahead, making sure not to make eye contact with me (the devil).

I thought it was just me he hated since I was the one who tired to talk to him in the elevator, but Michelle said she saw him in the hallway by herself, smiled, and he pretending like she didn’t exist. Now, I know what you’re thinking. This guy hates all people, he doesn’t believe anyone exists. Wrong, I would say. On the bus, he sometimes sat with the same girl, and they would talk (rather loudly) the whole ride. This guy has the weirdest voice ever, by the way.

Since then, he has not been seen or heard of in my building or on my bus. I guess I’ll never know what the bastard had against me. But I like to think, in the long run, I won and he lost. He moved because of me, no doubt about it. Chalk one up to the good guys.

And Chalk one up to KU Football for being ranked higher than USC.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dear Dick

Dear Dick Stockton:

Please leave Chicago, and never come back.

You are BAD LUCK to Chicago Sports. Anytime I am watching the Bears, Cubs, Bulls, Blackhawks, or Fire on TV, I don’t want to see your face or hear your voice. You bring the worst luck an announcer has ever brought to a Chicago team.

Exhibit A: The Cubs. Here we are in September, kicking ass, winning the division, enjoying the games with Len and Bob…and then, all of the sudden, we’re in the post-season, you take over the play-by-play, and the Cubs go to shit. And every single time that lead off asshole on Arizona was up to bat, you brought up the homerun he hit in Game 1. Thanks, for that. I really wanted to remember that moment over three games.

Exhibit B: The Bears. The Bears come off a great win in Greenbay, we seem have things under control against the Vikings…then I notice who’s announcing the game. Minnesota comes back, Peterson rips us apart, and Longwell hits a filedgoal with no time on the clock to win the game. What’s that, Dick? Oh, that field goal he kicked was a new record for him? Great! You must be so happy for Longwell!

Dick, you and Longwell deserve each other. A cursed sports announcer and a washed up kicker.

In closing,

F U, Dick.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Spectacles, Testicles


It’s weird. I’m 26 years old, but I still have a third grader inside of me.

I recently had to start wearing glasses. In fact, I forgot them today, and I’m straining my eyes writing this. Glasses are so simple, yet amazing. My eyes slowly got worse over the past few years, but it’s amazing to see the difference on what I can see again that I forgot about. I can read small street signs from way further way, and even the TV is much crisper. I’m sure glad my girlfriend was still hot!

In the past, the only glasses I’ve worn were Sunglasses, which I would take off as soon as I stepped indoors (unless I’m with my Aunt Gin, Jack Nicholson, or at the final table of a poker tournament, in which case, ship it.) But it just felt weird to leave them on walking inside a building. The first few times I walked into a store, I took them off out of habit.

The first time I wore them to work, I was self conscious. It’s completely ridiculous, but it’s true. I knew nobody was going to point and laugh, or call me four eyes (I wouldn’t care if they did) but it felt like the first day of third grade, when I parted my hair on the left instead of the right. Eight solid years parting it on the left. I was due for a change, but I was worried what people would think. That was a major fashion change, and I risked eating lunch at the cool table.

The other thing that’s started to happen, is consciously noticing people with glasses, and wondering when they had to start wearing them. It’s almost like a club, like Larry David is in the bald club. One of my best friends and roommates had glasses in college, and since I met him post-glass, I never pictured him any other way, even when he wears contacts. Strangers who wear glasses look completely normal because that’s the first time you’re seeing them. My issues come from 26 years of not wearing them.

I hope the glasses community welcomes me. I already got my invitation to our first meeting. And I know there are a few imposters out there, wearing glasses with no prescription because it’s cool to look dorky. They, like guys who choose to shave their heads, are not members of the club.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A Foo Finish


The Foo Fighters new album, Echoes Silence Patience & Grace, is a must buy.

The single that came out before the CD was okay…but you have to hear the complete story. They are just so good at finishing a CD all the way through. In many CDs of bands I love, you get to about tack 8 or 9, and you find yourself changing the disc. The Foo Fighters are so good at finishing an album (kind of like how the Bears were good at finishing the Packers) you can listen to it more than once and continue to be surprised by great track after track. “Oh, I forgot about this one” is a very common phrase.

There’s a great mix of their hard rock badass style, and some amazing acoustic guitar songs, and, they even mix those together in a great way.

Check it out.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Lost in translation, indeed

I gotta say, Japan is something else. Definitely a strange and different country, and I already live in a strange and different country. A couple random stories:

After landing in Tokyo and getting to the station where I had to change trains (and rail networks, requiring me to go outside) I saw a really hot girl, wearing a really short skirt, calf-length boots, and one knee pad. Just one. This was in a non-hip neighborhood at like 3 p.m. It was cool.

Once I was outside, I decided to smoke a quick cigarette. Smoking in Japan is basically the opposite of the rest of the world. Restaurants don’t have smoking areas, you can smoke anywhere, even in McDonalds and Starbucks. But, you can’t walk and smoke outside, there are designated smoking areas outside that you have to stand by. While smoking my first non-airport cig in Tokyo, I stood next to a large ashtray that had a “Smoker Team” logo on it. Just then, a minivan pulled up with the same logo, and two guys wearing matching “Smoker Team” caps and polo shirts hopped out and proceeded to change out the water and remove the cigarette butts from this large ashtray with the efficiency of an Indy 500 pit crew. Within 43 seconds or so, they were back in the van, on their way to the next stop.

Strangely, I didn’t eat any sushi on this trip. I know, I know, you can’t go to Tokyo and not eat sushi, right? But, I’ve had sushi in Japan before, so there was no novelty in it, and there’s a sushi place across the street from my apartment in Seoul, so it’s not like it’s hard to get. I did eat Japanese food, including an awesome beef and rice bowl that I am unaware of the name, as the restaurant had no English whatsoever. I also had pub grub, Haitian, French, and Mexican, all of which is much harder to come by in Seoul than sushi.

This could be a separate blog, but the Rupungi (Tokyo’s main club district) bars and clubs were chock full of security personal and touts, which are two concepts I just don’t understand. This is hardly a Japanese phenomenon, but it just doesn’t make sense. If I am in the mood to go to, say, a dance club, or a titty bar, or a bar, and some guy comes up to me in the street and says hey, come to my establishment, and attempts to give the hard sell to get people in, what are the odds that I am going to said establishment? I’d say zero. I don’t want to go to any club or bar that sends people out to the street to harass people. Security is another matter. One dance club that we did go to was chock full of security. If you go into a dance club, and there’s tons of obvious security guards walking around, do you feel more or less secure? I’ve only been to one club in Seoul that goes this route, and its also the only club in Seoul where I’ve ever felt less than secure. I had one beer and left, and I haven’t been back. This just seems like really faulty marketing to me.

I went to a Japanese baseball game, the Yomoyuri Giants (Ichiro’s old team) and that was pretty awesome. Much better skill-wise than the Korean league, and way more people in attendece. Of course, tickets and beers cost the same as in the US, so that was less fun. Easily the most hilarious element of the game is that the seat vendors, including the ones that carry 5 gallons or so of draft beer in a backpack, were all cute 90 pound Japanese girls. And, there were probably 100 of them there, and they all seemed to be really excited and happy to bring me and my buddy beers, despite the fact that the stairs were steep, the backpacks heavy, and we were sitting in the nosebleeds. I still can’t get my head around this. In Japan, there’s no tipping, so I can’t understand why these girls were so eager to haul 50 pounds of beer up to row 37 or wherever the hell we were.

Also confusing - I stopped to get a coffee in some high end coffee joint in Ginza, which may be Tokyo’s highest-end neigborhood. Playing on the sound system in said coffe joint - Gretchen Wilson’s Red Neck Woman. And the clientele seemed to like it. A song about shopping at Wal-Mart (which I don’t think makes Gretchen Wilson a redneck, by the way, I think it makes her a dumb cunt) at a high end coffee shop in the high rent district next to the Fendi store. In Tokyo.

Wrigley is Dark


The first pitch of the game was a homerun, but not for us.

The Cubs made it so far, and were red hot in September. To watch a team crumble like that, especially in our house, was awful. It's really depressing actually. Yeah, last year they finished in last place in their division, and this year in first, but hopes were so high in Chicago. Walking around Wrigleyville 5 hours before the game started, people were excited. This town was on fire. High fives in the street- everyone smiling. By game time we were so fired up, the game was already won in our minds. But, the baseball gods had other plans last night. They wanted the other team to celebrate on our field.

Next year, it will officially be 100 years since they've won a World Series. That could make a good story...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Part Set

Part III - Korean Baseball

Teams that are RIGHT:
Kia (Gwangju) Tigers - Really, the team I randomly decided to like, mainly because they have the hottest cheerleaders.
Doosan (Seoul) Bears - Gotta go for a hometown team.
LG (Seoul) Twins - But, I have no loyalty here, so may as well go for both hometown teams. Tehy play in the same stadium. If one of them played on the north side of the river where I live, I would certainly cheer for that team wholeheartedly and hate the other one. The knock on this team - they're called the Twins, and I really don't care for LG products.

Teams that are OKAY:
Hyundai (Suwon) Unicorns - I mean, they are called the Unicorns. That's just hilarious.
Hanhwa (Daejon) Eagles - I really don't care about this team at all.

Teams that are WRONG:
Lottte (Busan) Giants - I'm just jeolous that Busan, Korea's second city with 1/3 the population of Seoul, seems to draw more fans than the Seoul clubs.
Samsung (Daegu) Lions - The Evil Empire of Korean baseball, they have all that Samsung money.
SK (Incheon) Wyverns - Everybody who has played Dragon Warrior knows it's always bad when a Wyvern draws near.

That's it. that's the whole league.

Part Deux

Part 2. Pro Baseball.

Teams that are RIGHT:
Chicago Cubs (Obviously.)
Kansas City Royals (I think they give you ten bucks and a free hat if you go to a game. It was also the first stadium I ever went to. And they beat the red birds in ‘85 for the series, straight up.)

Teams that are OKAY:
NY Mets (The correct team to cheer for in NY, as long as they are not playing the Cubs)
Baltimore Orioles ( I have to admit, I like the stadium and the tradition. Plus, the team is not a threat to any of the above.)

Teams that are WRONG:
St. Louis Cardinals (Pure Evil.)
Boston Red Sox (after spending time in Boston and seeing 96% of people on the T wearing “B” hats and talking like dickheads… and really, I just hate New England fans. I think my friends Jay (due to his terrible Boston accent) and Alyson (due to her love of sports) are the only exceptions.)
NY Yankees (If you hate the Red Sox, you have to love the Yankees right? Nope. I’m sick of them. And Fuck Johnny Damon and his Yanks haircut.)
Arizona Diamondbacks (Their fans are really old and have no tradition. I’m sure you can guess why they made the list. And it's too fucking hot to play baseball in Arizona. What's that? Oh, you can close the roof? Oh, well, why don't we just sit inside and play house all day. Idiots. Goats willing, they'll be done soon.)
Chicago White Sox (I don’t like when their fans infest my neighborhood bars, just looking to talk shit. Guess what? The Cubs won the series.)
Florida Marlins (Florida should retire as a state. And the fact that they beat the Cubs wasn’t Bartman’s fault. There. I said it. Can Dick Stockton stop talking about it now? “With five outs to go…” For Gods sake, I’m trying to watch the game.)

Baseball Playoffs

Ah, baseball playoff time again. Or, as I know it, the sports gods’ annual middle finger at me. I must have been a 1920s Yankee fan, or maybe I was in fact Shoeless Joe Jackson in a past life. Clearly, I did something to piss off the baseball gods, which is probably why I’m shackled for life to the Royals and Cubs. Not surprisingly, the ball always rolls back down the hill before I get to the top.

A brief and recent history for the recent baseball playoffs: Last year, against all odds, St. Louis won. Prior to that came the White Sox, the Red Sox, the Marlins, the Diamondbacks, and the Yankees (11 times or whatever). Every possible way to piss me off, the baseball god have found it. Unquestionably, my favorite World Series winner in the last 15 years has been the Angels in 2002, who I am completely indifferent to. Really, I’ve learned that the best baseball result I can hope for is mild bemusement.

This year, I am obviously cheering for the Cubs, and everything else is secondary. But, secondarily, the playoffs couldn’t have started worse for me. Cubbies lose, of course, but so do Philly and the Angels. I care about one of the 8 teams in the playoffs, and I can tolerate 3 others, and I despise 4 of them, and I am positive that all 4 teams I hate will win, and the two LCS Series will do nothing but piss me off.

Basically, I have little doubt that Boston, New York, Arizona, and Colorado will be advancing. I hate these teams, but for different reasons. My hatred of the Yankees, of course, needs no explanation. My hatred of the Red Sox, well, really that should require no introduction either. The Red Sox are really the exact same thing as the Yanks. They have more money than everybody else, and spend like drunken sailors overpaying for schmoes like JD Drew simply because they can afford to. I’ve felt this way about the Sox since well before their World Series, though I certainly hate them more since then. Sox fans were insufferable assholes before 2004, now they’re cocky insufferable assholes. I hope that if the Cubbies ever win it all that we never become like Red Sox fans, and that everyone who’s ever so much as changed planes at O’Hare doesn’t decide to write a book about the Cubs championship. So in a way, I almost hate the Sox more than the Yanks, because at least the Yankee fans are aware of their own evil. What I fear most in the AL is the seemingly eminent ALCS between these teams. Which will mean, 6,000 some miles west of LA, I still won’t be able to get away from this shit. Sports columnists that I enjoy and read religiously will abandon the NFL for 2 weeks and talk about Sox-Yanks exclusively. If this series happens, I might have to do the unthinkable and boycott espn.com, si.com, and others the whole time. By the way, I go to espn.com no less than 11 times a day.

On the flip side, I hate Arizona and Colorado for entirely different reasons. On top of that, I also hate the Diamondbacks and the Rockies. Mostly, I hate them because these are not real teams, and they don’t play in real cities. Denver and Phoenix are both places that nobody is really from, largely because both cities were founded some time in 1974. And, of course, both are 1990s expansion teams that came to be since the Royals’ last playoff appearance. These teams also violate several cardinal rules I have for liking a team. I don’t like any team that has existed for less time than I have. Also, I don’t like any team from Denver or Phoenix. And finally, and this corresponds with both rules, I don’t like any team named after a state rather than a city. Minnesota started this trend, but for years it was only them. Also, the Minnesota teams get a pass, because Minneapolis and St. Paul are similar in size, if not fame, thus it’s sensible there. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like the Vikings or Twins, but I can tolerate their existence. But, it seems most recent expansion or moved teams tend to adopt this state model. I presume it’s because every city that matters already has a team, so the cities that get expanded to now have less cache in their name. That, or these new teams are founded by assholes. There is no excuse for teams called “Arizona” or “Colorado” because there is no St. Paul to Denver or Phoenix, Denver and Phoenix are the only “cities” in these states. Of course, the Carolina Hurricanes and Panthers are even worse, since they won’t even say which Carolina.

So, since the baseball gods hate me, we’re heading toward a Boston-Phoenix or a New York-Denver World Series. That, or the baseball gods will decide that this is the Cubs’ year after all, being that I live 14 time zones from Wrigley rather than 4 blocks away. Fuckers.

Monday, October 1, 2007

For Titles Sake

It’s time I gave it to you straight. These lists are in no particular order. Okay.
Part 1. COLLEGE.

These schools are the correct ones to cheer for.
The University of Kansas
Emporia State University (though I expect them to win, but always fun to watch, and yeah, I know, Leon Lett went there.)
Notre Dame (only in football…well, that and badminton.)
Dartmouth (come on, give them a chance to win the Ivy League like they deserve)

These schools are Evil, and wrong to cheer for:
Syracuse
USC
North Carolina (obviously)
Duke (who doesn’t hate them?)
Any team from Florida, especially the Gators. KU Still has the last laugh on the Gators, by the way, beating them when they were number 1.
Missouri
Kansas State
Penn State (mostly because it’s in a town called University Park…idiots)
Yale (I partied in Cambridge, I didn't want to get out of the car in New Haven)
Washburn (that’s right, they made the list, the bastards)
Princeton (ever met anyone from there? I bet they were smarmy)
Ohio State (that's right, I hate THE Ohio State University)
Michigan (even though they had the fab five, but they hate Notre Dame. I have enough sense to hate them back)

Pretty Bad, but not entirely evil.
University of Wisconsin (Madison…fuck the badgers. They always screw up my bracket. And their fans are annoying.)
Any school in Texas (don't deny it)
University of Arizona (she knows)
UCLA
UCONN
U of Maryland (I just don’t like them)

As usual, the bad guys outnumber the good guys. But, now that you know which teams to cheer for, keep fighting the good fight and the good guys can win.
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