What Really Grinds My Gears…   2 comments


 

Taylor Swift has a new album out.  I know this because my mom drops off old copies of People magazine whenever she sees me and I read them.  Yep, I said it.  I read People magazine.  Go ahead and take a few minutes to laugh at my expense or take the extra step and send an email questioning my masculinity and come on back and continue reading.

In the last issue I read a piece on Taylor Swift and her new album filled with her self-written songs of heartache and broken relationships.  The article talked about how strong of a young woman she is to not only continue on through such heartbreaks but to be able to put them into words, especially after dealing with the embarrassment that came from the Kanye West debacle in September of 2009.

Warning:  This is about to take a Peter Griffin “You Know What Really Grinds My Gears” turn.  A teenage girl has some heartache and is strong for “continuing on”?  In high school I had a girl tell me she wouldn’t date me because she “needed some sort of looks in a relationship” and I managed to not jump off a cliff.  Where was my People photo shoot?  Actually, that makes sense…a kid who was too ugly to date is most definitely too ugly to appear on the cover of a magazine. 

But seriously, I am supposed to feel sorry for Taylor Swift for having her heart broken by John Mayer – the same John Mayer that has privately used and publicly dumped Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jennifer Aniston, Jessica Simpson, and countless others?  How naïve can someone be to think that wouldn’t turn out poorly?  People is applauding Taylor for falling into the “good girl who thinks she can change a bad boy” role that has plagued women for centuries, just ask Kelly Taylor about alcoholic millionaire Dylan McKay or Kelly Kapowski about NBC star and pot smoker Johnny Dakota (“There’s no hope with dope” – thanks SBTB gang).  Joe Jonas wasn’t the wholesome knight in shining armor you thought he would be?  You’re right, a former Disney star has never grown up to be something other than the chastity-loving model citizen the network made him or her out to be (see Spears, Britney; Aguilera, Christina; Cyrus, Miley; Hudgens, Vannesa; and Timberlake, Justin).  Who would’ve thought guys usually aren’t exactly what they claim to be on the first few dates?  Like Van Wilder said, “first dates are interviews” and most people are out to make themselves look as desirable as possible.  I told my wife that, despite what the inside of my car looked like on our first date, I was not a messy person.  Guess what?  I’m probably one of the messiest people you will ever meet.  Just a warning if you are planning on trying to date the likes of Dave Coulier (he’s not really like Uncle Joey, just ask Alanis Morissette) in the future, T-Swift.

 So, in conclusion, if we are going to appreciate Taylor Swift, let’s do so for her musical talents and the fact she has managed to be a famous young woman that has avoided rehab and sex tapes instead of her ability to get over failed attempts at romance with guys she is too attractive for anyways. 

Oh, and I was totally not too ugly to date.  And that girl had way too much gum in her smile anyways…just saying…

Advertisements

World Premier…   4 comments


Let me start this off by saying that I love my wife.  She’s an amazing woman who does things on a daily basis that impact others’ lives in ways I can only dream about.  Having said that, on occasion she also does things that leave me shaking my head in confusion.  This story is one of those instances and the premier of “S#*% My Wife Does That I Don’t Understand”.  (Disclaimer:  If she ever had time or the desire to write anything like this about me, she would have enough material to fill a 12 volume set.)

As anyone who read my last post knows, we had a furnace put in this past Friday.  Our utility room where the furnace is housed is also home to a good amount of random crap.  My wife, being the considerate person she is, cleared out the room so the workers could easily move around.  In doing so, she also disturbed some of the uninvited guests we’ve had come into our warm house from the cold outdoors through the backyard access door in that room.  As I later found out when I noticed what appeared to be a slow moving black golf ball with legs on our bedroom wall, one of these guests was apparently the spider from the wine cellar scene in Arachnophobia.  With the string of obscenities that flew from my mouth, she woke up in a panic and asked what was wrong.  I told her about the spider and she casually responded, “Oh yeah, I saw that thing earlier.  It was in the towel under the litter box.  It ran into the bedroom after I screamed.  I looked it up online and I think it’s some sort of wolf spider or something.”  Phew, good thing Al Gore invented that internet and thanks for the creation story of the tyrannosaurus rex arachnid twenty feet away from where we sleep, honey.  The part I failed to catch was where you stepped on it with your shoe instead of welcoming it to kill us in our sleep.

I don’t want to be married to Xena the Warrior Princess or anything, but is killing a spider that tough?  Maybe I am asking to have my cake and eat it too here, but when I’m home, feel free to act like you’re really scared and let me get all Rambo/Boba Fett on insects 1/100th my size, but when I’m not around throw on some Pink/Alanis Morissette angry woman music and channel your inner G.I. Jane/Ellen Ripley/Chun Li/Sarah Connor and take care of business.  You are the same girl who took a softball off the face, picked up the tooth from the infield dirt, and tried to reinsert it into your gums with your only fear being the possibility of looking like a carnie for the rest of your life.  You walk a half mile through Hyde Park’s finest dimly-lit streets each day for work.  Next time, just smush (not Jersey Shore style) the bug and move on.  Also, the beef in the chilli last week was a little dry…just saying…

Jealous? You will be…   2 comments


We are getting a new furnace put in this Friday because we used Mr. Magoo as our home inspector and he failed to notice the almost 40 year old furnace in the house was shot and spewing out chemicals like a freshman at his first frat party.  I find it weird I get excited about things like new home appliances now.  I remember as a kid I would look at toys and video games in Christmas catalogues and Sunday newspaper ads and get excited about how cool they looked and how much I wanted them.  I used to rummage through closets and drawers and even crawl around in our attic and crawlspace looking for presents each December.  I used to get so excited when I found the presents that I once opened a bunch of Power Ranger action figures and played with them anytime my parents would leave the house and then re-packed and resealed them in their boxes only to put on one of my best acting performances on Christmas morning. 

Now a heating contractor hands me a flyer with specs for my brand new Rheem 95% Efficiency Upflow Gas Furnace and I shoot right back into kid mode.  In-shot burners with a 24-volt slow-opening valve!?!?  Get outta here, I would totally trade my Shaq rookie card for that!  Integrated Furnace Control WITH Standardized On-Board Diagnostics!?!  I’m not sure, but I think the Millennium Falcon had one of those!

The thing is, I have to talk myself into things like this for a couple of reasons:  First, as an adult, the cool presents are just not as plentiful.  I really like to cook and all, but if I told my 9 year old self that I would one day get excited over a spice rack as a Christmas present I would have probably kicked myself in the nether regions and ran away crying.  Secondly, I have to figure out a way to justify spending that much money on something as unfun as a furnace.  “What are you doing this Saturday night, Joe?”  “Oh, its going to be awesome, I am staying in and saving up for my direct spark ignition furnance!”  That just doesn’t sound quite like going to Sluggers’ piano bar and batting cages, does it?  Finally, I can blame my sleepless nights on the pure excitement of a freshly cleaned air conditioning coil getting thrown in for free instead of my wife waking me up just to let me know the temperature in our house just dipped below 45.

So if anyone is looking for an exhilarating experience, give me a call this Friday night and I will gladly let you come out and tell me how jealous you are of my brand new furnace.  If I get a solid enough head count, I will even make a zesty dinner filled with some, but not all of, the 36 spices neatly organized on the metal and wood rack over my oven.

The Stephanie Tanner of the Holiday Season   4 comments


There I was, a mere five days out from Halloween, driving through the downtown area of Lockport, IL…surrounded by Christmas lights.  Kids were barely waking up from their sugar-induced comas and already the lights were everywhere – on light poles, around trees, in shop windows – everywhere.  If you threw some business cards for hookers on the ground and Pete Rose at a table signing autographed baseballs, you would think you just pulled up to the Vegas Strip.

Now, I am all for Christmas and the decorating in 15 degree temperatures that drop to -30 with each westwardly exhale of Lake Michigan, but what happened to the old rule of waiting until after Thanksgiving?  It is not just the decorating, either.  I just saw a commercial for ABC Family’s “25 Days of Christmas”…it starts on November 21st, a full four days before we carve the turkey.  My lovely wife had barely emptied the Halloween candy bowl before asking if we could put our tree up.  It seems each and every year, we collectively put less and less emphasis on the fourth Thursday of November in anticipation of the 25th of December.  Thanksgiving has become the discarded middle child between the flamboyant, sometimes trashy (see this post), costumed Halloween and the radiant, but not twinkling (right, Clark W. Griswald?), Christmas…or Hanukkah for my dreidel spinning friends.

Not to sound too much like Randy Marsh here, but isn’t this America?  Aren’t we the land of excess and “Old Country Buffet”?  How could we let this happen?  Why is it that we have pushed aside the single day of the year where gluttony is not only encouraged but expected?  Me being the “husky” fella (sidenote – I used to have to wear “husky” jeans as a kid because I had what doctors called a bit of a weight problem.  There are few things more embarrassing than going shopping with your step-mother for pants and having her tell the department store woman “husky” for your pants size.  Unless you count the “it seems like there is plenty of room in the crotch” line she dropped 3 minutes later.) that I am I probably taking this harder than most, but I truly think this is a problem of massive pro-portions (pun intended).  We cannot let Thanksgiving become the Stephanie Tanner (the only Tanner daughter without her own Wikipedia page…maybe I can do that for my next post) of holidays as I don’t think turkey goes well with an adult meth problem.  I’m not asking for anything crazy here, maybe a cartoon pilgrim in the window, a hand-traced turkey on the fridge, and a sabbatical from the “Holiday Lite 93.9” until after we throw out the canned cranberry sauce no one touched because it looks like weird Jell-o for old people.  So put away the Sears Christmas Catalogue, grab a slice of pumpkin pie, and pop your belt out one more size…I am sure the extra “padding” will help as us uncoordinated folks fall off the ladder hanging icicle lights from icicles the last weekend of November.

The Kids Are Alright…   2 comments


I helped my brother coach my niece’s youth basketball team on Saturday mornings the past few weeks and it was quite an eye opening experience.  I always thought that in movies where there would be a group of young kids together that the personalities were over the top and typecast (see Kindergarten Cop…seriously, if not to prove my point at least to laugh at the “Who is your daddy and what does he do?” scene), but coaching a small group of kids ages 5 through 7 will teach you otherwise quickly.

Since the kids are so young, there is a range of talent and interest levels that is off the charts.  Over the course of the season, I’ve witnessed things from a young girl picking her nose and wiping it on the court to a young boy telling my brother he wants to be a gang member for Halloween (I was half-tempted to take him to 61st and Cottage Grove so he could trick or treat there and see if he really thought it would be cool to be a gang member, but then I realized only Dave Chappelle can pull that off without getting arrested for child endangerment). 

One kid liked to do the “suck it” sign anytime he scored (tangent here…apparently the “suck it” sign is still relevant?  I remember when wrestling picked up a bit in the late 1990’s and Degeneration X was around and doing that all the time, but has wrestling kept up that well over the years?  Also, how do parents not realize that crossing your arms and banging them around your crotch is probably not something a kindergarten kid should be doing, especially in public?  Even if you don’t know what it means, it just looks bad…).  Another girl seemed more than content to stand at half court and either shoot people with her hand pistol or try to squish their heads between her fingers from a distance (a move I perfected over my 3 years of Little League where I amassed a staggering zero hits and 3 foul tips).  My personal favorite was the young girl who told my brother and me that her Mom was wearing lipstick to try and find a man.  Awkwardly, I responded with, “Good for her,” and moved on to something other than possibly being a new found baby daddy.

Overall, it was a lot of fun and the kids enjoyed themselves.  We even managed to escape the season without any “way too into youth basketball” parents yelling at their kids while videotaping and creating snack lists that consist of orange slices and Power Gel packets.  There is always the winter session, though.

Post-Halloween Monday: Christmas for Creepers   5 comments


In the movie Mean Girls, or as some know it “the approach to the board before Lindsay Lohan’s dive into the deep end of drugs and dating girls that look more like guys than I do”, Lohan’s character describes Halloween as “the one night a year where girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls say anything about it.” In reality, yes, Halloween is very much that type of night. A day before or a day after, including walks of shame the next morning, if a girl were to be seen walking down the street dressed like J-Woww from “Jersey Shore” she would be referred to by her fellow females as a hooker. However, on Halloween night, their friends and complete strangers are there to say “your boobs look awesome with only that piece of duct tape covering them up” or “Gaga would seriously be jealous of how your ass looks in those tights and thong right now.”

The one point Lohan misses, however, is that GUYS will talk plenty about girls and what they are wearing. To clarify, I do mean ALL GUYS, including the ones that don’t see you in person on Halloween night but that you are friends with on Facebook because you went to the same summer camp twelve years ago and they managed to find you on the site. With the rise of popularity of social networks, the Monday after Halloween has become something of a Christmas Day for creeps checking out girls on Facebook. Sidenote – for those who have seen St. Elmo’s Fire, could you imagine what Kirby (Emilio Estavez) would have been capable of if he had Facebook at his fingertips?

As girls come to out of hangover induced comas and blurs, they post their pictures of themselves and friends dressed as “sexy” versions of just about every late 80’s to mid 90’s female cartoon character or generic occupation/feline animal (construction worker, cop, tiger, lion, housecat, black cat, etc). With each picture post, there are guys chomping at the bit to get a glimpse of the girl they went to elementary school with and somehow managed to find and friend donning a Strawberry Shortcake outfit – tied together by a pair of bright green fishnets – on Facebook. I unfortunately witnessed this for myself yesterday while in the computer lab at school. There is nothing like sitting down to print out an article while the guy next to you sings, “Hey there little red riding hood, you sure are lookin’ good…” while checking out a girl dressed as something that involved a red hooded cape and black underwear. The moment that really sealed the deal on my future daughters not leaving the house on Halloween from years twelve through forty dressed as anything other than real-life nuns was when two guys that resembled Bulk and Skull (pictured above) from the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers show three computers down traded comments about how lucky a couple of gals were that the two of them “weren’t at the party to make Gaga gag” and “give Minnie what Mickey can’t” (although that one did actually made me laugh).

I am in no way advocating a change to Halloween traditions and costumes. By all means, continue to dress up the way you have and let yourself go crazy one night a year as you have probably earned it. Actually, while you’re out there, introduce yourselves to my single friends (you’re welcome, guys). Just be aware of and stop “friending” guys you haven’t talked to in years or don’t even know because they are probably in a dark corner of their mom’s basement looking at a picture of you as Tinkerbell from two years ago.

There Go the Irish…   5 comments


(Written Saturday Afternoon)

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Football…should that even be considered a proper noun anymore?  I just don’t know how much longer I can take this.  Every single year I get drawn in by a new quarterback, a new coach, or a “you know, we really didn’t look THAT bad in that BCS bowl game we lost last year.” – the same bowl game(s) we had absolutely no business being in.  As I write this, the Notre Dame players are most likely getting cleaned up in the locker room after a filthy 28-27 loss to Tulsa.  To quote a former college roommate of mine, “Tulsa is so bad we used to simulate playing them in NCAA on my PS2.”  That we did, Tony.  That we did.  As I stare at the ESPN Gamecast screen, I also can’t help but notice that the Duke Blue Devil football team, arguably one of the biggest jokes in all of collegiate sports, is beating Navy 34-23.  Thanks, Duke, you gutted me last spring when you knocked the Boilers out of the NCAA Tournament, now you are just pouring salt in the wound by showing even you can beat the Navy Midshipmen.

However, despite all the negativity that has surrounded the program throughout the Davie era, Willingham era, Weis era, and now Kelly era, I am not giving up hope.  I think I may have a solution that will bring Notre Dame back to the prominence it once enjoyed.  That solution you ask?  Cheat – simple as that.  How do you think I ended up with a B in calculus my junior year of high school?  Through studying and going to morning study sessions?  Absolutely not.  I stole the answers to the midterm and final exams with two of my friends by breaking into Ms. Lucheon’s classroom while she was at lunch.  What about that A on my AP History midterm?  Stole the test and made copies at Matt Ingersol’s house and then snuck the copy back into the classroom without Mr. Elfner knowing.  Did I end up dropping out of Purdue 7 or 8 years later?  Sure I did.  However, I graduated in the top 10% of my high school class and that ride at Purdue was amazing.   Those extra years even helped me meet my wife.  Plus, I’m back on track and will finish my degree this spring.

It has come to this, Swarbrick, Jenkins, and Kelly…you have no other choice but to make this happen.  Start dropping off Lexus cars, bags of money, and John Deere tractors for recruits and their families like Western U did in Blue Chips.  Start having morally questionable girls from St. Mary’s do “recruiting jobs” (see Jesus Shuttlesworth and his recruiting trip in He Got Game) instead of the finely tuned female morality machines roaming your own campus.  I am sure myself and all the other Notre Dame faithful would gladly be on probation for a few years and a couple scholarships short for a while to enjoy the fruits of a BCS National Championship.  The good news is that when the heat finally does come down, you can all jump ship and sign a contract to coach the Seahawks and/or date a girl with an ass the size of a drive-in movie theatre that made a sex tape with the less famous rapper brother of a hardly famous RB singer.  Everybody wins…except for the Irish on Saturdays until you start taking my advice.