Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Yankees 9, Mariners 5

Sorry for the extended absence. I've been so busy stockpiling prescription drugs in preparation for my "Eddie Van Halen vs. Allan Holdsworth" piece that I just haven't had the time to write.

I attended Saturday's contest against Seattle with noted polymath and beer snob enthusiast Charles Simone. Lee Jr. gets along real well with pretty much all of my friends, but the kid seems to have a special bond with Chuck. Probably due to CS's clutch babysitting performance last summer while Mz whisked me across town to get my bladder drained, but who's keeping track?

We got to the game just on time, and realized that this might be our tenth year going to Yankee games together. Both being suckers for tradition, we indulged in our usual fare: drinking, gambling, and trivia.

I immediately presented Charles with a choice that would govern our beer consumption for the afternoon. We would either
1) drink a beer every time the lead changed (including the first run of the game, but excluding ties), or
2) be required to preface any beer order made with the word fucking, i.e. "I'll have two fucking Guinnesses, please."

Charles wisely chose #1. We also made our picks for the "dollar game"-- a simple system of bonuses and penalties based on hitting performances by several players of our choice. Within minutes we were frantically exchanging singles and ordering drinks with Javy serving up deep dongs to Ichiro and Russell Branyan, whom Chuck had on his dollar payroll. Like the morning after an ill-advised hookup, things were looking ugly real fast.

Turned out to be a false alarm, as we virtually broke even on our wagering, the Yanks came back in spades, and we were restricted to only two beers for the afternoon. Kept in check by circumstance, we resorted to a Bacchanalian festival of baseball and music trivia.

Chuck struck first by requesting the only active pitchers residing within the top 100 of all time in career strikeouts. I made it with a few nice hints, but wilted under CS's tough follow-up (active sac bunt career leaders), even with a few nice hints.

I was dreadfully underprepared in the trivia department, but I managed to slap together a couple of nifty "discussion" pieces. Me and my pals have gotten lots of mileage out of these before (bands named after non-vocalists, "classic" bands with more crappy releases than good ones, etc.), sometimes for weeks on end. We began with one that seems idiotic at first: the eight best metal bands of all time.

Maybe we should have anticipated that the toughest part would be defining "metal bands." Or, distinguishing metal from "hard rock." I honestly can't remember what Charles and I actually settled on that day, but here's how it looks after a few tweaks:

1. Black Sabbath
2. Metallica
3. Led Zeppelin
4. AC/DC
5. Iron Maiden
6. Slayer
7. Judas Priest
8. **Motorhead

**The original list had Nirvana on it, which was ruled inadmissible via the very argument I presented in defense of Kurt Cobain. CS would've liked to see Kiss, Motley Crue or possibly Van Halen in the 8-spot, while I was exploring absurd alternatives like Def Leppard or Cream.

Neither of us were comfortable with the inclusion of Zeppelin or AC/DC, but can you really turn your back on "Black Dog" or "Hells Bells"? Honestly, we just couldn't come up with anything better.

I later consulted one of the only people on the planet I'd actually listen to on this one (along with Pete C in AZ, my kids' babysitter, and a guy named Al I went to high school with)-- my buddy Grit. I hope he doesn't mind me printing his excellent choices:

1. Black Sabbath
2. Metallica
3. Kyuss
4. Iron Maiden
5. Motorhead
6. Judas Priest
7. Slayer
8. Anthrax/S.O.D.

We also debated songs whose live version is better known than the studio version but I really don't want to get into this one right now. I'm going to bed.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Foot, this is Mouth.

Some of my favorite "misspoken" gems from this summer:

Tim McCarver on Yankees' treatment of Joe Torre.

Dwyane Wade on Miami Heat hype.

Dr. Laura on, umm, race.

Hey, at least they're all sorry.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Masters of Reality

"100% fake." (her quote)
A totally stoned Arnold Poindexter once queried, "Would you rather live in the ascendancy of a civilization or during its decline?" A not-quite-as-stoned Lee Mazzola now replies, "Both."

If you're already bitching about Mad Men or trying really hard to spread the word about Treme, you're pissing on the wrong tree. This Golden Age of TV we now live in allows us never to be disappointed in a show again... just watch something else! Including reruns (excluding on-demand and DVR, of course), I claim there are a minimum of fifteen things worth watching during prime time on a nightly basis (and that's just standard cable!).

Work of Art: The Next Great Artist (Bravo)
I neither watch nor care about the chef shows, but how many elimination- based contests actually judge entrants based on a creative product? A nice wet spot on Chad Johnson's sheets doesn't really count as a creative product, although I guess I'd have to see the actual stain to make a final decision.

Anyway, contestants on Work of Art must create a piece each week according to a given theme and time restraints. The artists range from dorky hipster painters to pretentious designers to headcase photographers to trainwreck sculptors, and every possible combination of the descriptions I just listed. Contestants' work is critiqued each week by irritating gallerists, smug art critics, loathesome "enthusiasts," and a variety of smarmy artists themselves. It should come as no surprise that the show is dorky, pretentious, irritating, smug... you get the picture. What's surprising to me is how fun it all is! Plus, the winner gets their own show at the Brooklyn Museum and $100,000 worth of magic markers. There's something fascinating about watching people create half-baked (not to mention totally rushed) original pieces as part of a competition. I haven't been this excited since the Vancouver Olympiad's opening ceremonies!

Jersey Shore (MTV)
Haters can go smush themselves, and the indifferent don't matter anyway. Get over yourself and enjoy something that's undeniably hilarious and just plain fun. At least show some R-E-S-P-E-C-T-T-T for JWowww, who makes Xena the Warrior Princess look like Dora the Explorer.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey (Bravo)
I was a bit late turning on to this show and the Housewives thing in general. It's as if I'm hearing "Whole Lotta Love" having never heard Led Zeppelin before in my life; a bit embarassing but ultimately mind-blowing. To be honest, I got into RHNJ by way of Bethenny Getting Married?/RHNY, so it's more like discovering Zeppelin only after purchasing The Principle of Moments (hey, I'm sure it's happened to at least one person!). Either way, another masterpiece of stereotypes in the tradition of great American literature and film.

Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch (VH1)
One of the more bizarre programs you'll have the misfortune of watching. I'll just refer you to the "summary" provided on the actual VH1 website. Here's a little nibble (emphasis mine):

Just like in football, before you make the team you have to prove you rank high enough to make the rooster. So, before these woman get a chance to play in Ocho's tournament they are going to have to show him and a few of his NFL colleagues what they're made of in a mini tryout camp.

The show's math is even worse, as the harem has too many cincos and only a few ochos. Trainwreck TV.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Exercising While Intoxicated

Readers send me links, pictures, stories etc. all the time-- there's no way I could possibly get to all of them. Here's a nice one courtesy of one SeƱor Pants, along with some thoughts by yours truly.

The piece I'm talking about is from a fun new blog about drinking. Specifically, competitive drinking. The author performs a feat of epic proportions that you'll just have to read about yourself.

Here are some kinda relevant drinking feats of my own (or at least ones I've heard about):

1. The 100 Club - I'm not a member, and I've never even tried it. The idea is to drink 100 beers in a weekend, 72 hours worth (varying accounts might have you believe 5pm Thursday to midnight Sunday, but I think 72 hours is fair).

The regulations for this exclusive club are a little unclear in other areas as well. Are you allowed to puke? One friend of mine insisted, "NO WAY." Of course normal bathroom visits should be allowed, but what about secret vomits? We initially agreed that one plastic garbage can (we lived in a dorm!) in the middle of the room was fair for all functions including hurls, and then thought maybe we should be able to #2 on our own. I don't see how you could police the throw-up rule without major problems. Oh, and no drugs allowed.

God knows we talked about this one enough back in college. Of course, we over-analyzed this one to death, and came up with several approaches. I was always a "boot-and-rally" theorist-- drink until you puke or pass out, someone wakes you up, repeat, etc. Trying to plan it out seemed ludicrous. My friend claimed he had a "pacing plan" that should work, but it was never taken seriously by anyone. Wouldn't the 100 club have to be boot-and-rally, no matter what?

Didn't matter, 'cause it never happened. Our bickering about the rules slowly gave way to reasons why there was no possible way we could do it, except our reasons never included our drinking abilities. First it was financial... "There's no way we can possibly afford to buy 300 or 400 beers at one time!" That was sort of true, but not really. Then it became, "There's no way we have time to do this! When can we find 72 hours in a row with nothing to do except drink?!" This was outrageously false. We were able to find hundreds, maybe thousands of consecutive hours to do nothing but drink on a regular basis, but on no occasion were 100 beers consumed by one person during a 72-hour interval within said benders.

Finally, we settled for "I'll bet you so-and-so could do it." Arguing about who could or couldn't do it was as close as we ever got.

2. I lost a Monday Night Football bet once and had to drink two 64 oz. Colts in 20 minutes. I lost another bet around the same time and had to drink a warm six-pack of something nasty in some short amount of time, which didn't go well at all. People stopped making "the loser has to drink..." kinds of bets with me a while ago, and not because I'm such a prolific drinker.

3. This isn't really the same as what dj tennessee did, but I once sprinted about 20 blocks down Lenox Ave drunk on at least 13 beers in the middle of the night. The Miracle Mile, as I called it the next afternoon.