Saturday, May 31, 2014

Roll Down the Windows, Turn Up the Volume

I'm headed to see one of my favorite bands this evening, which is great enough. But another of my all-timers just released a new record, so it's a bit of musical heaven for me at the moment. Pitchfork is streaming Bob Mould's new album, Beauty and Ruin, until June 3. If you dig the former Husker Du frontman's muscular rock, this one's right in your wheelhouse.

Here's a live version of the first single from the record, 'I Don't Know You Anymore':

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nightmare Fuel

I really, really don't like heights. Frankly, I made a conscious decision not to grow any taller than my current size because of it. So you can imagine the cold sweats I got when I saw what happened at Chicago's Willis Tower.

 According a a news report, "A spokesman for Willis Tower told the Chicago Sun Times that what cracked was a protective coating on the glass structure and not the glass itself. The spokesman said the protective coating worked exactly how it was supposed to work."

You'll forgive me if I stay here holding onto my desk.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Apparently, people don't much like seeing their cartoon heroes bathed in blood. My bad.

In an effort to cleanse this space and restore some beauty to it, today we discuss art, poetry, and history, all in one of my favorite places in the world.

Here's a video preview of the Twenty Summers program, an arts education effort initiated just a few weeks ago in the renovated Hawthorn Barn in Provincetown, MA. The barn has been a place of congregation and learning for such luminaries as Stanley Kunitz, Norman Rockwell, Jackson Pollack, and Norman Mailer. Seven years ago, it was at risk, as the development of that unique Cape Cod town threatened it. Today, it's been revived and restored.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Writer's Block

I've got a veritable shitload of post ideas swimming around my head, bumping into one another, being rude to the other guests. Some are serious, others stupid, still more somewhere in between. But generally speaking, I'm in a period of artistic malaise. (This assumes the reader will be generous with his or her definition of 'artistic'.)

Thankfully, there are people like Dan LuVisi in the world, putting out art that's actually interesting. LuVisi's work reimagines some of our most beloved animated characters. His work is sort of a visual version of Bert and Ernie's 'Ante Up' mashup.

His three-part series of blog posts and prints, 'Grand Theft Otto', opens like this: "Otto would have never imagined Bart Simpson to bring him to this point in his life." It ends here:

Another entry begins, "Kermit sat at a diner alone, poking a floating fly in his stale coffee. He looked around, the diner absent aside from the hostess. She knew him, but wasn't fond, often annoyed by his insecure-comments and strange behavior. See, Kermit wasn't the amphibian he once was, as times had changed, and some stars faded away."

That one ends pretty poorly for someone who looks a lot like Gonzo:

LuVisi's prints are available for sale on his website. If you've ever wanted to see Fozzy Bear stand in for Javier Bardem's No Country for Old Men character, your long search is over.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Everybody Poops (Themselves)

My youngest daughter's team split a pair of soccer matches yesterday, dropping a 1-0 decision in the morning before recovering from an early one-goal deficit to record a 3-1 win in an afternoon tilt. The goal that determined the outcome of the first match was a reasonably weak one, as gifted 10 year-old goalkeepers are a rare breed, indeed.

The loss in the first game came at the hands of a club that beat our squad, 4-1, in regular season play last Fall. One of those four tallies was an own goal off the foot of my daughter. She was playing an outside midfield position, and tracked back to defend her goal. As she sprinted towards the 6-yard box, a teammate cleared the ball off the end line, directly into her path. She hammered a gorgeous volley cleanly into the upper corner of her team's net.

She was distraught, breaking down in tears on the spot, even though her team was down 4-0 at the time. In the car on the way home, we talked about own goals, and how even the world's best players fall victim to the game's bad bounces. Her favorite professional player, Steven Gerrard, might've cost his team a Premiership championship with his own boner this month.

In her honor, and in an effort to bring good luck to her and her teammates as they take on a much better side this morning with a berth in the tournament semifinals on the line, a pair of videos detailing some of soccer's worst own goals. Because we all kick the ball off of our faces into the net in life every once in a while.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Booze, Pot, Presidents: A Memorial Weekend Digest

Just back from a week-long trip to the Twin Cities - can't wait to catch up on what I've missed in this space. Before I settle in to do that, a few items in preparation for the year's first long weekend that matters.

Jonathan Howland is a prince among men, and deserves a Nobel Prize for contributions to society. Howland was one of the first researchers to study hangovers in detail, and his pioneering work led to the foundation of the Alcohol Hangover Research Group (AHRG) in 2009. Since then, the confederation has done God's work on a topic of great interest to many of us this weekend and every other. In recent years, researchers have made significant advances in understanding the provenance of the hangover. As notes, "Best of all, AHRG’s researchers have begun to converge on a promising ­theory about what really causes hangovers: namely, that they’re an inflammatory response, like what happens when we get an infection."

UCLA postdoc Jing Liang has gone further, identifying a chemical compound that reduces the effects of alcohol on the body. It seems likely that we're mere years away from solving one of social man's most pressing challenges, making a pleasant weekday drunk no more impactful to a fellow's next-day productivity than a nice weed buzz.

Speaking of which, we're about to go all small sample size on you in an effort to celebrate common sense and libertarian wisdom. Opponents of marijuana legalization warned that recent legal liberalization would lead to increases in crime and societal ills. In Denver, at least, the early returns suggest that Colorado's repeal of pot prohibition is having the opposite effect.

According to a story by German Lopez at, "Since retail sales of recreational marijuana began in Colorado, revenues from marijuana sales have continued trending up. At the same time, crime in Denver, home of most recreational marijuana shops in the state, has dropped nearly across the board."

The following charts tell the story better than my words could:

Finally, and completely, clearly, and obviously unrelated to anything else in this post, one of our number will once again do his patriotic duty this Monday. We're looking forward to celebrating our 16th President by making him walk Teejay's dog.

All the best to you and yours this Memorial Day Weekend from us and ours at Team G:TB. See you in the comments.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Good Shot, Mate

I've never donned short shorts and strapped tape around my dome, but I've long been a rugby fan. Partly because a number of my best friends played the game in college, and partly because it's a sport, and if it's a sport, I'm constitutionally inclined to enjoy it.

One of the great things about the game is the camaraderie and esprit de corps demonstrated by even the fiercest opponents. Some of my favorite memories of my days in Williamsburg involve sweaty, dirty men in different-colored jerseys locked arm in arm, singing and drinking post match. (Note: that sentence may need a rewrite.)

Via various Twitter sources yesterday, an example of what I mean - Northampton's Salesi Ma'afu smoked Leicester's Tom Youngs with a hard left hand during the Saints' 21-20 victory. Ma'afu was ejected, while Youngs spent time in the sin bin. But after the match, this exchange ensued:

Good on both of you.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Media Types, Man Your Battle Stations

Minneapolis just got awarded the 2018 Super Bowl. (Moments after I landed at MSP, in fact. Coincidence? I think so.) Here's what February looked like this year:

On the other hand, the new stadium's gonna be gorgeous. And under a roof.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Spam Comment of the Year

Someone want to take a crack at deciphering this Footloose/pot brownie spam comment left on a soccer post?

Lazy Monday, indeed...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Lazy Sunday

A few items for your consideration on this sleeping in kind of day.

We mentioned Troy Tulowitzki's absurd numbers in the Rockies' home games in a comment a week or so ago. He's gone plaid since then:

Those numbers don't reflect the three hits he had in his first four at-bats last night. The lone out was a rocket to third that was speared by a diving Chase Headley. 

The FA Cup Final got some run in this space, but we probably underplayed the final matchday of Spain's La Liga. Atletico Madrid capped one of the more improbable title runs in elite national soccer league history. With a budget far below that of powers Barcelona and Real Madrid, Atletico managed to hold off both with a 1-1 tie against the legendary Catalan side yesterday. It had been a decade since any team other than the two Spanish titans had captured the La Liga title. And now Atletico goes for the double against Real next Saturday.

Presented with only a brief comment:

One could make the argument that any bet other than one on Miami yields pretty decent value at this point. I'm actually a bit surprised that the Spurs are less than 2-1, especially given the Ibaka injury. As always, entertainment purposes only. Unless you make a lot of cake on it, in which case, a nice sixer of Pliny the Elder would be great.

This guy (no names, people) is coming to DC next weekend to star once again in the National Memorial Day Parade. If you're local, we'll be tailgating. If you're not, consider a trip to the Nation's Capitol to pay your respect.

I realize I'm a bit of a broken record on this topic, but when one's favorite band makes a kickass album, one tends to run on a bit. KEXP hosted Old 97s live in studio this week, playing tunes from Most Messed Up. Please enjoy the selection below - may its sloppy, romantic vibe bring you and your significant other some sweaty, drunk pleasure. Maybe not tonight, perhaps, but some weekend in your near future. And Shlara and I (and Team KQ, hopefully) will be catching Rhett and the boys at the 9:30 Club on May 31. Bart Scott and I can't wait.

Enjoy the final day of the final weekend before you can start wearing white again, boys and girls. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

London 0 Hull 4

Much of the press coverage surrounding tomorrow's FA Cup Final between Arsenal and Hull City focuses on the London club's nine-year trophy drought. And while it's notable that one of English soccer's heavyweight's hasn't scratched in nearly a decade, it's their opponents' story that we find more compelling.

Fourteen years ago, Hull City was locked out of its home grounds as a result of fiscal mismanagement and missed rent payments. Only ten years ago, the club competed in England's Third Division, only one rung up from what is essentially semi-pro soccer. (The English system, in all its Byzantine glory, is explained in detail here.)  The Tigers slowly found financial stability, and earned promotions in 2005 and 2008 before being relegated to the Championship, then clinched their return to the Premiership last year. Despite being an early favorite for relegation, Hull City managed to stay up, finishing 16th, three points clear of the dead zone.

"I haven't heard of me, either"
Tomorrow's match at Wembley marks Hull City's first-ever appearance in the FA Cup final. Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger's Gunners have won 10 Cups, and taken three doubles (winning the Premier League title and FA Cup in the same year). Arsenal boasts household football names like Mertesacker, Koscielny, Ozil, Podolski, Wilshere, Giroud, and Arteta. Hull, well, Hull have a nice group of lads. Maybe you've heard of Tom Huddlestone, or Curtis Davies? No? That's okay, neither has anyone else.

Win or lose tomorrow, the Tigers have already clinched a berth in Europe next season, grabbing a spot in the Europa League by virtue of Arsenal's entry in the Champions League. From a geographical and probabilistic perspective, this would be roughly akin to the Portland Sea Dogs earning a berth in the American League. (Roughly akin, as there really isn't any American equivalent to the extra-league play that's such a vital part of European soccer.)

In the Tigers' honor, and because one can never have enough Housemartins, a song that describes (at least in the title) Hull fans' barely contained anticipation of tomorrow's 5:00 GMT kickoff.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fat Guy's Football Follies

As the European leagues come to a close and we eagerly await the opening of the 2014 World Cup, we turn once again to our non-resident Footie correspondent. Here's Fat Guy in a Speedo's semi-recurring football feature:

Git yer purple drank on, World Kickball in less than a month!  In light of the inevitable Buildup to Boredom (barring 2-3 games) a quick rundown of what’s doing abroad might help fan the flames of footie fun.  
Shit’s wrapped up. Manchester City took the title along with a £50m fine for breaking the Financial Fair Play rules thanks to one sheik’s evil dream of spending a billion dollars to wrest a big, metal plate from the sadly, lumpenproletariat Manchester United.  “Ishy Biladi,” the UAE’s National Anthem could be heard being regaled in public houses throughout Manchester and the UAE (if they had them).
Conversely, Fulham were one of three shitshows that won’t be seeing the Premier League next season or even longer (Editor's Note: You don't say. Jerk.). After Mohammed Al-Fayed sold the team to Shahid Khan pre-season, English people responded by minding the queue. Khan tore down the Craven Cottage talisman known as the Michael Jackson statue and Fulham were relegated for the first time in 13 years. Khan respectfully requested the statue back and Al-Fayed respectfully told him to jag off.  British civility ensued.
It’s been an exciting year in La Liga, in that there is never an exciting year in La Liga.  Surprising contenders Atletico Madrid take on Barcelona this Saturday, high noon, in the title decider. Atletico only need a tie to secure their first title in a burro’s years.   Additionally, the Champions League final is May 24th and for the first time in the tourney’s history both teams will be from the same city, Madrid vs Madrid.  Madrid is favored to run away with this one. 
Shit was wrapped up in March.  Bayern Munich stunned nobody by rending the league asunder. The Hoff flew out to serenade the Munchens, mediocre beer flowed, and encyclopedia writing ensued. Luckily for the United States, the half of the Bayern squad that makes up the German National Front  Team has been rumored to become complacent.  Their premature, heady success has resulted in a tanning, laundry, gym torpor over the past two months. In the ensuing World Cup, the US could possibly snatchen ein point out of them in the rainforest humidity of Man anus Manaus.
No clue, Juventus won it I think. (Editor's Note: Indeed.)
Waiting for Le Tour.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

If You Want Something Done Right (or at all), You'll Need to Do It Yourself

Queens-based rapper Action Bronson has been featured in this space before, lauded for his Gheorgheness. His new online food show on Vice only serves to reinforce our impression.

Entitled Fuck, That's Delicious, Bronson's show is part profane Anthony Bourdain travelogue, part tour diary, and part love letter to his favorite foods. In the first episode, posted below, he riffs on everything from his swan diving technique, to the perfect malted milkshake, to lamentations on getting old (as evidenced by his increasingly wrinkled testicles), to South African grilled meats. All with a twinkle in his eye, and the same generosity of spirit we've seen here before.

Check out Episode One, and keep the volume down if you're in the office.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Nuck Few York Bar & Grill

Free enterprise is alive and well in New Brunswick, NJ today after a Federal jury ruled against the town and in favor of Lawrence Blatterfein. The court found that New Brunswick mayor (and avowed Boston Red Sox fan) James Cahill unfairly blocked Blatterfein's application for a liquor license at his newly opened sports bar.

Cahill, for his part, objected to the establishment's name, claiming it is 'vulgar', and that it 'didn't belong in New Brunswick'. For the record, New Brunswick proudly claims greasetrucks as culinary landmarks, and boasts Giovanelli's, which offers the Fat Bitch, among other sandwiches. What crime against nature did Mr. Blatterfein commit to offend the mayor's delicate sensibilities?

Welcome to Buck Foston's Road House, kids of all ages. Clever? Mildly, I suppose, though in that part of New Jersey, it's probably considered in the pantheon with Da Vinci's finest work. Offensive? I mean, a little, if you're the type to get offended by things like that. Demographically sound? Absolutely - in a college town deep in New York Yankee territory, Buck's is a gold mine. And as the story linked above notes, Mr. Blatterfein's now got $1.5m extra dollars with which to outfit his money-printing den.

I won't likely spend any time or money in Buck Foston's, given my rooting interests, but I find it hard to get very worked up about the name. It's not as if Mr. Blatterfein called it Puck Fedro or Yuck Faz. Those would be fighting words. (Also, because, as it turns out, the place was never opened. Mr. Blatterfein closed The Knight Club, another bar he owned in New Brunswick, and moved to Florida in a fit of pique.)

If the resident New Brunswick, NJ (ish), um, resident and/or the members of the bar on the G:TB payroll care to comment on this case, they know where to go.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Once every four years, we celebrate the mothers in our lives with a hastily-written celebration of a wildly inappropriate yet aptly titled song. I love you, Mom. Please ignore this song.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Today is all about (the) Future

You could say that about most days. Most of our days are spent setting things up for the future. This is certainly the case when the day in question features the NFL Draft. Wait, no, I'm not talking about THE future. I'm talking about Future aka Nadayvius D. Wilburn, the Atlanta based rapper.  I'd be shocked if most of our G:TB regulars have heard or or heard from Future. In fact, I'm betting most conversations about Future would look something like this:

That all changes today though. Future dropped a new album recently and while I'm not a huge fan of his music, the lead single is top notch. It's catchy, has a great track and features a cameo from none other than Andre 3000. Not surprisingly, 3000 kills it on his cameo and nearly makes you forget about Future altogether. I think you'll fin this puts a hop in your step on this Friday morning. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

I Smoked Hog for 7 Hours

A guest post by BaconBaking. Our favorite chef, Hugo from the Dub, hooked us up with a smoker for no other reason than he is a very nice guy. Last Sunday, while I stressed out over a grad school project, BB went to work...

A couple weeks ago our good friend and chef extraordinaire gave me and Mr. BaconBaking a gift. A brand new charcoal smoker. While we enjoy grilling on our propane grill the traditional burgers, brats, dogs, and chicken, this was a mighty big culinary step.

This weekend Lesbopeep and I tried out the smoker while Mr. BaconBaking worked on his school project. Our first culinary adventure was a smoked pork shoulder.

After reading every website I could find, we decided to use 100% hardwood briquettes—not the self-starting ones. I only used lighter fluid to get the fire started, but let the fire burn for a solid 20 minutes to get rid of the lighter fluid. While I was getting the fire started, I left the pork out on the counter for like 45 min to an hour with a homemade dry rub. The rub was a mix of brown sugar, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, cumin, oregano, and thyme. I was told not to put tooooo much rub on, but you can see how much I used.

Keeping the temp up was the hardest part for me. Anytime I threw in more charcoal the temp would dip. I was told that I should make a small fire in an old coffee tin with holes in the bottom and throw in hot burning briquettes instead of cold ones and then the temp wouldn’t dip. I’m lazy, and that sounded way difficult for my first go at it. I was also told I should have spritzed the pork with apple cider to keep the pork moist, but the smoker we have has a water bowl and I made sure that was at least ½ full throughout the entire process. It was a little tricky to refill the first time, but after you get the angle and such you are golden.

It took about 7 hours to come to 180 degrees. (7 brutal brutal hours of tanning on the patio, chatting and catching up on reading. Smoking is hard work.) 180 was good for slicing and falling apartness, but not quite to pulled porkness. I think you have to be up to 190 to 200 for that and I got a late start. After we took it out of the smoker, we let it rest for a solid 30 minutes. I read it should rest for at least 30 min-1 hour. That is a brutal part of the process because you want to dive in.

I was super excited that I had a smoke ring (the red edge right under the bark) and that while I sliced the pork, it was really starting to fall apart. We ate the pork straight up with BBQ sauce the first night, the second night it was tacos…with homemade tortillas of course, and tomorrow I’m going for a smoked pork pizza.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Citius, Altius, Drunkius

James Nielsen won the 2007 Eugene (OR) Marathon and ran in the 2008 U.S. Olympic trials. He's a two-time NCAA champion at 5,000 meters. But those achievements pale in comparison to what he accomplished on April 27.

Nielsen, like Roger Bannister before him, shattered a barrier heretofore thought beyond man's physical capabilities. He overcame pain, a disbelieving public, and carbonation.

James Nielsen ran the first sub-5:00 Beer Mile.

An officially-sanctioned Beer Mile requires a runner to drink a full 12-ounce can of beer, run 400 meters, drink another full 12-ounce can of beer, run another 400 meters, and so on, until the mile is complete. Nielsen, motivated by U.S. Olympian Nick Symmonds' public interest in trying to be the first to break the 5:00 barrier, completed his mile in 4:57.

It's courage like Nielsen's that lift us all, that inspires us to follow our better angels, to continue to train so that, like him, we might conquer our own Beer Miles. Or, whatever the distance from our couches to our refrigerators may be.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Our filler has now boiled down to stuff I email rob...

To which he inevitable replies, "In unrelated news, post something, as I’m tied up all day and evening and most of tomorrow."

I complain I'm too busy with my end of semester school project, then say fuck it, and post what I originally emailed him**:

**rob realllly likes Ms. Delle Donne

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Sunday Morning Coming Down

If I'm going to be stuck at a high school all day watching a dance competition the morning after drinking too much whiskey, I'd like Johnny and Kris to be here with me.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Nerd Prom Preview

Those of you outside the incestuous orbit of our nation's political-entertainment-industrial complex may be forgiven for not knowing that the 2014 White House Correspondents Dinner takes place tomorrow at the Washington Hilton. Once a relatively obscure industry event, the WHCD has blossomed over the past decade into a supernova of starfuckery and circlejerking, as the journalists who cover Washington mingle with the people on their beat and a coterie of celebrities from various fields.

Far be it from me to belabor the discomforting question of the impartiality of journalists who make it a public priority to get overserved and take selfies with their ostensible subjects on an annual basis. I'll leave that criticism to Tom Brokaw. Nope, I'm just here for the jokes.

Comedian and actor Joel McHale takes his turn as the host of the event, before handing off to POTUS himself, who generally kills at these dinners. Of course, the librul media's in the tank for him anyway - they start laughing before his punchlines most of the time.

In preparation for the event, which will be televised by CNN (assuming the network's managed to locate the equipment necessary to remove its head from its ass in time), a pair of the more noteworthy performances in recent memory (check out the Bin Laden joke in Seth Meyers' bit - it happened on the very same night that U.S. forces carried out the raid that killed the 9/11 architect):