Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Audacity Of Hope ... lessness

As the college football season rapidly approaches, stress is mounting and nerves are wearing thin, for we are on the verge of potentially the greatest season in Idaho sports history.

I speak, of course, of the one team in the state that has the cajones to schedule a top 5 opponent – our beloved Idaho State Bengals. While regrettably following the recent trend of lining up a “cupcake game” to open the season (ISU travels to Tempe to embarrass the hapless Arizona State Sun Devils on Sept. 5th), they’ll take their 1-0 record to Norman the following week to face perennial powerhouse Oklahoma, with their defending Heisman Trophy winner, Sam Bradford.

To their credit, Oklahoma seems to realize the unavoidability of their own “Appalachian State” game, and has at least made plans to maximize their financial benefit by rescheduling the game for prime time and airing it via pay-per-view. That type of insight is somewhat unexpected, given that they scheduled their opener, against a team from Utah (BYU) … in Texas. I guess that’s what happens when a team whose mascot is an historical reference to cheaters makes plans with a bunch of mormons.

It should be an exciting season. I guarantee you that the controversy in years past concerning non-BCS teams and their Bowl opportunities will seem like Sunday afternoon tea once a I-AA an FCS team decides to crash the party.

A ferocious Bengal tiger against a no-good, gun-jumpin', cheatin’, land-stealin’ homesteader? It is to laugh.

Above: The perfect killing machine.

Above: Sweet Jesus, dude, at least try to salvage a little dignity.

[UPDATE] Just to preemptively stave off any readers who are deluded enough to come here and make absurd claims about any other football team in Idaho, I would suggest that they go research which team has most recently won a National Championship. Don't challenge me on sports, people. Seriously.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Remain Calm! All Is Well!

Outside of a post about a Boise Hawks game, I haven’t really written anything about baseball this season. It’s not that I think there’s not a direct correlation between actions on my part and that of the performance of the Cleveland Indians, it’s just that I have been entertaining the notion that it’s an inverse relationship; that is, writing about them sort of jinxes them, much like blurting out “hey, look, Dead Acorn, your boy’s got a no-hitter going in the 7th!”

Clearly, I’m mistaken, and the reason for last season’s dismal performance was that I wasn’t writing enough. So, to that end, I’ve done a little analysis on what it will take to get the Tribe into the first World Series actually scheduled for November (thanks, WBC and Bud Selig, you jackasses):

First, let’s address their divisional rivals (as is perennially true, we can simply ignore the Kansas City Royals). Cleveland has 6 games remaining against both Detroit and Minnesota, and 3 against Chicago. It think it’s safe to say that we can expect records of 5-1, 5-1, and 2-1, respectively. Nothing controversial there.

That leaves the following number of games:

Cleveland: 24
Detroit: 33
Minnesota: 32
Chicago: 35

None of these teams are atrocious, of course, so let’s assume they’ll play at least .500 ball in those games. My projected records are Cleveland (18-6), Detroit (17-16), Minnesota (21-11), and Chicago (19-16). This will leave us with final standings of:

Cleveland 84-78
Detroit 83-79
Minnesota 83-79
Chicago 83-79

On to the post season!

Plenty of fans might look at a record of 54-69 on August 24th and be a bit pessimistic. With a little rational and reasonable analysis, however, it’s quite evident that the wigwammers will NOT be denied. Ah, the soothing power of data.

Go Tribe!

Above: Totally non-racist stereotypical mascot.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Favre-y Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful Southern Belle named Bridgette. She was originally raised in a rundown swamp by a woman named Mrs. Ippi, but grew graceful and lovely over time, and eventually had her debutante ball in the big city of Atlantis, which was, of course, the social center of the Old South. After a short while, however, she was courted by a kindly Northern gentleman named Wes Consin, who wooed her with sweet promises and whisked her off to a village in an exciting land that she had never heard of before … a land unlike anything she had ever seen! A land of cold harsh winters and icy hard ground. Bridgette was very excited.

Oh, how she loved Wes, and oh, how Wes loved her. It was truly a match made in heaven. Every Sunday, they would go dancing together, and Bridgette never missed a waltz. Sometimes there were grand post-harvest balls in which couples from the various village consortiums would compete against each other, and Wes and Bridgette got to dance for their consortium many, many times. They even won the Grand Prize once, and were King & Queen of all the land!

But no fairy tale is without its dark side, and not even something so beautiful as the romance between Wes and Bridgette could last forever. Wes still loved her madly, and some say it was the Village Elders (who controlled the coffers) that secretly felt that, even though she was still one of the most wonderful dancers in the world, her beauty was starting to wane. Others blamed Bridgette herself, claiming that she had grown self-centered and demanding. But whatever the reasons, Bridgette, at long last and with fond memories, felt she had to leave the village.

Though somewhat saddened at bidding her past farewell, she was almost giddy with excitement about the adventure that lay before her. It was obvious that she was very confused, for while the color of the ball gown in which she danced remained the same, she traveled to the biggest town she could find – far distant, in every way, from the charming village she had left behind.

Bridgette danced recklessly there – they didn’t use the same steps, and she often became confused. In fact, as often as her feet would touch down lightly and elegantly, drawing gasps of awe from onlookers, she would clumsily end up dancing with gentlemen from other towns! After just a short while in the chaotic environment of the bustling metropolis, Bridgette decided that she no longer had the desire to dance.

Soon, though, she became restless, and knew that she could not continue to deny her passion. She secretly longed to go home to the small village and be with Wes, but knew it could never be. Something she didn’t know, however, was that the big city had changed her. She had grown spiteful and hateful, and deep inside, sought to exact a harsh revenge on the Village Elders by whom she felt betrayed.

She moved back to a different village in the same consortium, just down the road from Wes’ castle. The two villages were bitter rivals, and held two competitive dance festivals each year, with much pride being taken by the victor. Bridgette felt that defeating Wes’ village would be the sweetest revenge of all, but alas, Wes was even more bitter for being spurned, and felt that Bridgette's return was a proverbial slap to his face. At both events, Wes and his new partner Erin tripped the light fantastic with such passion - nay, fury - that Bridgette became very addled and disoriented, and fell to the floor many, many times.

Epilogue: Though Wes had regained his pride, and happiness and joy were rampant in all corners of his village for many months, he knew that the glorious merriment would someday cease. And in the end, though he and Erin danced valiantly in the post-harvest festival, they eventually lost ...

To a troupe of dancing Bears, of all things!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dog Days Of August

Boise seems to have a lot of bank robberies. It's been a couple of months since I've read of one, but generally, there seem to be three or four a year. It always gives me a little chuckle ... I mean, really, a bank robbery? Who does that? I'm not a big fan of crime, of course, unless I'm absolutely positive I can get away with it, but there just seems to be something romantic about knocking over the local Washington Mutual.

I'm pretty sure I don't actually know any bank robbers ... well, I was pretty sure until today. I got home and walked into the house to say hi to the beast who will occasionally stop biting me in order to let me feed her, and here's what greets me:

Above: Potentially unidentifiable bank robber.

I was all "like, seriously, dude? You can't even write to make a stickup note, and your vocabulary is fairly limited as well. By the time the teller figured out what you meant by 'Ron't rit re ralarm!' the cops would have taken you out."

This is a dog who's too stupid to eat a treat when it's right in front of her eyes.

Above: Just ... just ... not smart.

Sometimes I don't know why I even try.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Of Cars And Dogs And Sealing Wax

One of the sites that I've got linked over on the side is McSweeney's, which is a mother lode of good writing, the reading of which is considered de rigueur if you're going to hang with the pretentious literary crowd. (I don't hang with the pretentious literary crowd, by the way, I just like reading shit that's funny and well-written.) One of the regular features is "A Convergence of Convergences: A Contest"
, which is described thusly:
Submit your own convergence −an unlikely, striking pair of images, along with a paragraph or three exploring the deeper resonances. The best contributions will be posted on the site, along with responding commentary from Weschler. (For those of you who still aren't quite clear on this "convergence" concept, it's kind of like Celebrity Look-Alikes, except instead of Nick Nolte and Gary Busey, it's a cuneiform tablet and the Chicago city jail, followed by a series of brilliant, spiraling ruminations.

Nothing that I've penned or ever will pen will be published on McSweeney's, of course, since 1) I doubt I'll ever submit anything, and 2) me no write good.

Nevertheless, I have snapped a couple of pictures on my handy-dandy cellphone-cam lately that had a certain familiarity about them, and the other night, in a whisky-induced moment of clarity, I finally realized the images that they evoked.

First, the Demon Hellhound for whom I work the mines, that she may gorge herself on the flesh of infants:

Above: One of her rare docile moments.

And here is Pig, from Pearls Before Swine (also linked over on the side):

Above: The comics page's most lovable character.

The ears suggest a common ancestor no more than four generations back, according to Lehi "Butch" Jensen, Senior Researcher at the LDS Genealogical Society.

Next up: as some of you may know, the Grey Ghost finally, well, gave up the ghost, shall we say. A sad day for all, and certainly a subject of a future post, but for our present purposes, it's sufficient to know that she left a permanant mark on my life:

Above: Major driver in Iraq War.

And from Prince William Sound:

Above: Vehicle of Joe Hazelwood, not a student of the "ride a bike if you're going to be drinking" school of thought.

Unfortunately, while these images are quite striking, and certainly lovely to look at and to compare and contrast, they really offer no insight into the central question concerning my existence:

Is my life a goddamned cartoon or a fucking shipwreck?

And the introspection continues ...

Monday, August 10, 2009

If I Were King Of The Forest

When I’m president, there will be a few changes made. These will not go through congress, they will not be reviewed by the judiciary at any level, and they will be enacted immediately via Executive Order upon my inauguration.

1) A lid standard will be set for the plastic food container industry. There will be a limited number of sizes (6-10, perhaps), and all lids for a particular size will fit all brands of containers. Our nation’s kitchen drawers are overflowing with mismatched pieces from companies that actually change their own lid design every six months in a devious form of planned obsolescence. A lid cracks, and rather than being able to buy just a lid, consumers are forced to buy a whole new set. Bastards! And lest you interpret this as mere frustration on my part, keep in mind that we, as a nation, discard approximately 233,000 tons of plastic containers a year. The reduction in manufacturing alone (as plastic is a petroleum-based product) would decrease our dependence on foreign oil by nearly 90%*. Fewer lids = fewer wars. Peace will be delivered in a handy, airtight, and standardized Tupperware container.

2) The maximum number of blades on a razor will be set at two. Triple Trac? Ta ta. Quattro? Quashed. Fusion? Farewell, fucker. Obviously, there are a lot of razors with more than two blades out there in America’s homes, and ours is not a nation in which the government can force the public to buy a product (usually). Therefore, I will implement a buy-back program which will be known as “Bucks For Blades.” (Since my plastic container edict will unquestionably get me labeled a communist, I might call it “Rubles For Razors,” just to make the wingnuts’ heads asplode.) After a three month transition period, the National Guard will be mobilized to search houses and enforce compliance.

3) The "musical" group The Doors must be “disappeared.” I’m talking full-on Orwellian erasure. All recordings, all media, all cultural references … gone. They will have never existed. This includes any covers, tribute bands, and movies. The Morrison Center will be renamed “The Center.” I’m considering banning actual doors as well, and having everybody just use those hanging bead thingies from the ‘60s. Possesion of a Vox Continental organ will be illegal. Val Kilmer must die.

Day Two: Roy Halladay to the Cleveland Indians; Health Care Reform.

* That's kind of a guess, but it sounds about right, doesn't it?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Let's See ... Spaghetti, Dog Food, Fleeting Moment Of Passion, Lettuce ...

I enjoy going to Winco to shop. I don’t always go there, because it’s a few miles away, and the convenience grocery store a few blocks will usually suffice to provide for my low-volume sustenance. Nevertheless, I do appreciate the no-frills, low-cost approach. Red bell peppers, for example, are usually around $.60 there, while they run a couple of bucks at Albertsons. The corn on the cob is usually about the same price, but the quality seems much higher at Winco. They’ve really got that whole “economies of scale” thing down pretty good.

I also enjoy it when some quite-attractive-couldn’t-be-a-day-over-22 checkout girl cards me for beer, but to be honest, that’s … well, let’s just say that happens only slightly more often than a five run homer.

However, as much as I enjoy the budgetary advantages of shopping there, I think my favorite thing about Winco is the social interplay that takes place between the shoppers as they criss-cross the aisles. It’s far more erotic than it might appear at first – one might be excused for not noticing the coy, sideways glances, the faint, wispy smiles, the quick strokes of fingers through hair, as the bodies stroll past each other, all pretending to be oh-so-interested in the deal of the day. It’s a subtle dance, as you first sense the sultry sexuality of a smokin’ shopress near the cereal*, initiating a reprioritization of your list and a quick calculation of when you need to arrive in dry goods, so that you can pass her again, forgetting any concerns with the efficiency of your trip, only hoping to lock eyes with her, if just for the briefest of moments; for in that moment comes a blissful sort of amnesia, a fleeting yet sweet release from your worldly ties and all that binds you, weighs on you, burdens you as did the heavens burden Atlas, and it’s only you two, if but for a split second, until, with the slightest of blushes and a shy downward glance, the spell is broken, and it’s off to the beer cooler to see if you can slam a quick one without getting busted.

It's definitely an interesting dynamic. Still, though, even without all that, you really can’t beat that deal on red bell peppers.

* The suckiness of my metaphors is rivaled only by that of my attempts at alliteration.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Release The Hounds!

I’ve mentioned before that I’m something of a less-than-stellar house cleaner/maintainer, but this weekend things really went to the dogs. Literally.

The hound with whom I share Casa de Acorn had a few houseguests over – Cooper and Peanut stopped in Thursday night, and Chili showed up Friday afternoon. Cooper is a little bit bigger than Indy, and they play pretty rough together (though all in good fun). So Thursday and Friday, they were gnawing on each other while Peanut watched from the safety of the couch. Then Chili showed up, and they were all “bros before hos,” so Indy was all butthurt a little put out by that. Chili likes the larger gals, however, and Indy certainly knows where the food bowl is, so she was back in the gang after a while.

I let them stay up late on Friday, which may have been a mistake. I think they might have been a little baked, because they were going on about the meaning of life, and Peanut kept telling the joke about the atheist dyslexic flea who denied the existence of a dog over and over, thinking it was the funniest thing since the Three Stooges. At one point, one of them suggested a game of poker, but Cooper muttered something about "being a fucking cliché," so that didn't happen. Later, they got all amped up about starting a band, and Chili thought it would be really hilarious to do a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Bitch.” Indy didn’t seem amused.

Well, they finally went to sleep, but not before we took the picture for the album cover:

Above: Angsty emo dog rockers The K-10s. (clockwise from lower left): Lead guitarist/pretty boy Chili, bass player/party animal Cooper, drummer/chick magnet Peanut, and lead singer/pit diver Indy.

It's probably for the best that they realized their folly when they woke up.

Bonus dog joke: So this guy walks into a bar with his dog. The bartender says “hey, buddy, no dogs allowed inside.” The guy says “well, this is a very special dog … he can talk!” The bartender is a little skeptical, of course, and asks for proof. The guy says to his dog “Ok, boy, who was the greatest baseball player of all time?” to which the dog barks “Ruth! Ruth!” The bartender looks at him with disgust, and throws them both out into the street. As they’re walking away, the dog says “How was I supposed to know it was a goddamned Red Sox bar?”