Friday, November 30, 2007

I guess God needed a motorcycle daredevil

First, there's nothing lamer then when someone famous dies and people say, "I guess God needed a ____________." Give me a break. Did God need a middle management accountant or a heroin addict or does he only kill famous people for his own benefit?

When it comes right down to it Evel Knievel was pretty much a badass. I mean, talk about something that really defined the 70's. The red, white, and blue suits, the cocky attitude, the ridiculous stunts, the fact that people actually watched specials where he would jump 15 buses or a canyon or whatever. I mean, anybody that can make a career out of that is pretty cool. Hippie-ish people used to pack entire stadiums just to see if he could clear 15 cars or, more likely, to see if he would have some horrible crash. And that really is one of the most brutal crashes I've ever seen. When you can actually pinpoint the exact moment when his legs break and start flopping around. He was in a coma for 29 days after this one.

ESPN showed a tribute to him and they mostly showed his wrecks. At first I thought that was kind of lame but then they brought up the point that his greatest accomplishment was that he always came back from them. Well, that and the fact that he carried around a diamond-encrusted cane with a screw-off top so he could always have a few shots of Wild Turkey with him.

The man knew how to play the crowd and was always good for a memorable quote. "My name is Evel Knievel, I'm a professional daredevil." Or, in this story, "I like to gamble and I am good, but I am no maniac. If I had just a dollar left, I would bet 50 cents. But not the whole dollar. That kind of gambling is for sniveling failures. I'd never want to have to snivel to someone because I couldn't pay them."

But, the one that really sums him up is the one I heard from him on the Jim Rome show a few years ago when Rome asked him why he would try to jump the Snake River Canyon when he knew it was only a 50-50 shot he would make it. Evel replied incredulously, "Do you know who the hell I am?"


Aww, not on the

So, this image is from the K-State-Oregon game last night. The story in the email going around is as follows:
Walker came over with about 2 seconds left while they were reviewing how much time was left on the clock after he stole the hail marry pass. He runs over to the bench jumping up and down and holding his balls. He'd been hit a couple times in the throat by Catron and Taylor, so I assumed they went with the low blow this time. NOT THE CASE! I hear him say "I GOTTA PI$$! I GOTTA PI$$!", looking around all frantic. Coach Underwood just kinda stood there not knowing what to suggest. That's when Walker grabs a few Gatorade towels, shoves em down his pants, and the next thing I know we got drips on the Bramlage floor. Everybody started goin' wild...Anderson was laughing about how the photo guys were all taking pictures, meanwhile Luis put up another towel to block the picture process, as Hoskins and Co. just kept repeating "Are you serious??". Underwood and some other guys were shoving their fists in their mouths to contain laughter, and I really don't know if Martin saw a bit of it. IT WAS CRAZY!

The Kansas City Star put it a little more delicately:
With just seconds left in regulation and K-State lined up to inbound the ball and run a last second play, Bill Walker was overcome with an urge too strong to control. he stepped to the sideline and relieved himself with several towels.

Wow, that's pretty amazing. In high school someone accidentally took a swig out of beer bottle filled with piss, but can you imagine if Tarkanian was coaching there? I can only imagine the reaction he's going to get in every road game for the rest of the year.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Religious bigot Mitt

Mitt Romney recently said this when asked if he would consider appointing a Muslim to a cabinet position:
"...based on the numbers of American Muslims [as a percentage] in our population, I cannot see that a cabinet position would be justified. But of course, I would imagine that Muslims could serve at lower levels of my administration."

What? So, because there aren't enough Muslims that's a good reason to keep them out of your cabinet regardless of whether they are qualified or not? Well, based on the numbers of American Mormons in our population, I cannot see that a presidential position would be justified. But of course, I would imagine that Mormons could serve at lower levels of government. See how stupid that sounds, Mitt?

Oh, and doesn't appointing positions based on population sound a lot like affirmative action quotas? But of course we don't want anything like that. I guess you have to say some dirty, hypocritical things when you're appealing to the bigoted part of your support base.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

I thought this was kind of funny. Although I should point out that I have eaten squirrel before but probably as a direct result of the fact that my grandpa is from Missouri!


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

No wonder you're so messed up

Yep, your parents screwed you up. "Sure," you say. "But, I already knew that." Well, that may be true but the cause of it might surprise you. It was Sesame Street!

The first two volumes of the show have been released on DVD and include the warning "These early ‘Sesame Street’ episodes are intended for grown-ups, and may not suit the needs of today’s preschool child."

Umm, what? Intended for grown-ups? But, we all watched them when we were kids and I think I turned out ok. I'm a college graduate, I'm not a sociopath, I know my letters and numbers, I share!

Let's figure out what the problem is:
I asked Carol-Lynn Parente, the executive producer of “Sesame Street,” how exactly the first episodes were unsuitable for toddlers in 2007. She told me about Alistair Cookie and the parody “Monsterpiece Theater.” Alistair Cookie, played by Cookie Monster, used to appear with a pipe, which he later gobbled. According to Parente, “That modeled the wrong behavior” — smoking, eating pipes — “so we reshot those scenes without the pipe, and then we dropped the parody altogether.”

Which brought Parente to a feature of “Sesame Street” that had not been reconstructed: the chronically mood-disordered Oscar the Grouch. On the first episode, Oscar seems irredeemably miserable — hypersensitive, sarcastic, misanthropic. (Bert, too, is described as grouchy; none of the characters, in fact, is especially sunshiney except maybe Ernie, who also seems slow.) “We might not be able to create a character like Oscar now,” she said.

Snuffleupagus is visible only to Big Bird; since 1985, all the characters can see him, as Big Bird’s old protestations that he was not hallucinating came to seem a little creepy, not to mention somewhat strained. As for Cookie Monster, he can be seen in the old-school episodes in his former inglorious incarnation: a blue, googly-eyed cookievore with a signature gobble (“om nom nom nom”). Originally designed by Jim Henson for use in commercials for General Foods International and Frito-Lay, Cookie Monster was never a righteous figure. His controversial conversion to a more diverse diet wouldn’t come until 2005, and in the early seasons he comes across a Child’s First Addict.

First, of all, I loved "Monsterpiece Theater." Who would have even known that Masterpiece Theater existed without that? Despite the indoctrination I have never once in my life eaten a pipe. It doesn't even sound good to me!

Have we really gotten to the point where even Sesame Street is bad for kids? How will we survive when kids can't even be exposed to the best show ever made for children because a monster loves cookies and Oscar suffers from crippling depression and anger issues? It's really sad that we have to stick them in front of the Teletubbies for nonsensical cooing instead of introducing them to such great clips as this:

This is what made Sesame Street great. Here's a kid coloring just like we did and she looks at her crayon and wonders about it just like we did so suddenly there it is shown in a way that kids can think through how it's working on their own. And the soundtrack is a song by the Who (may not actually be by the Who because I'm a lazy blogger who eschews things like checking my facts).

Have the Teletubbies ever done anything that cool? Of course not. Because it's bland television with none of the heart that people like Jim Henson put into Sesame Street.

I just worry that kids don't get any real experiences anymore. And it's not like a television show, even one as amazingly good and culturally relevant as Sesame Street, is exactly what I'm talking about but it's a pretty clear example that things just ain't the same as they used to be.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Does this count?

I don't think this technically qualifies as a kid getting rocked at a sporting event but it made me laugh anyway. Maybe I need a new tag.

My favorite part is definitely the scream of terror at the end.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Border War

I've always thought that Iowa-Iowa State was a rivalry that kind of went under the radar mostly because ISU sucked for so long and, well, no one really cares about the state of Iowa outside of Iowa. However, another rivalry that really deserves some more national play is Kansas v. Missouri.

I mean, how many rivalries go back to the Civil War?

I'll run through some history for those that didn't grow up in Kansas. Kansas-Nebraska Act...blah blah blah...popular or slave state, etc, etc. The gist is Kansas was going to vote whether to be a free or slave state which led to mass immigration by anti-slavery advocates from the north. This didn't set well with the slavers in Missouri and controversy ensued. There was so much violence between the two sides that Horace Greeley called it "Bleeding Kansas" in his New York newspaper.

One of the most notorious incidents includes John Brown and his sons hacking up five pro-slavery residents with swords in response to the first time Missourians burned Lawrence.

John Brown is considered something of a hero in Kansas and that photo above is from a painting in the dome of state capitol building representing the strife that our great state saw during its birth. In grade school they sort of gloss over the facts of the massacre and that he was executed for treason after attempting to seize the federal armory in the hope of arming a slave revolt. Yeah, kind of a hardcore nutjob, but at least he was on our side.

It was during this time period that the term "Jayhawker" was coined for anti-slavery guerrilla fighters that burned plantations and freed slaves in western Missouri. You might have seen them in "The Outlaw Josey Wales."

The most infamous event of all of this is William Quantrill's raid of Lawrence in which over 400 Missourians managed to sneak across Kansas undetected. They met on top of Mount Oread, the home of the KU campus today, and swept into town burning it to the ground and executing every man and boy they could find. They killed around 180 before approaching Union forces caused them to retreat back to Missouri.

So, hey, obviously this thing had a hell of a start. You don't really hear much about militias from Oklahoma crossing the Red River to torch Austin, Texas (ripping off their scrotums is a different story). I suppose they aren't killing anyone anymore but they still really don't like each other. A good example is when Norm Stewart would bring his basketball team over he would make the bus driver gas up in KC so they wouldn't have to spend a dime while they were in Kansas.

You may have heard that KU and Mizzou will most likely play each other for a Big 12 North title and a possible spot in the national championship game. They're playing this game at Arrowhead stadium and probably at 7 PM. Let's see...thousands of fans from each school + bitter hatred + the biggest game in the history of the series + all day to drink = rioting? I've stood for an entire game in the student section at Kinnick Stadium and never feared for my safety but I'm honestly a little nervous about going to this game. I mean, they are from Missouri after all...

Actually one interesting thing I noticed is the lack of "Fuck Missouri" shirts. There are a billion "Muck Fizzou" shirts around here but the people waiting in line for tickets to the game were shocked at the guy selling the "Fuck Mizzou" shirts. Maybe it's just more accepted up there but there were always a bunch of "Fuck the Hawks" and "Fuck State" shirts. But, is dropping an F bomb any less classy than these shirts they are selling?

Ha! People from our state killed a couple hundred people in your town 150 years ago! pwned! Does the scoreboard actually refer to the number of dead or what?

On the back of this are the words that Quantrill said to his men before the raid:
"Raise the Black Flag and Ride Hard Boys. Our Cause is Just and Our Enemies Many"

Cause is just? Umm, well, I guess they are from Missouri. That's pretty embarrassing. Can we expect a Klan rally along with a tailgate in the parking lot?

Not to be outdone someone is selling these.
Which, and this must be the Kansan coming out in me, is honestly pretty awesome.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

My totally dorky brush with the stars

When you're in Kansas you don't really have much of an opportunity to meet many celebrities. Sure we may have produced Kirstie Alley or Paul Rudd, and Allen Ginsberg lived here until he died, but I've never seen those people and it's not exactly viewed as the national hot spot so the famous people here tend to be athletes. Obviously in Lawrence they're usually basketball players but once in a while you'll get someone else.

Today I decided to go do some studying at the Borders bookstore coffee shop and after a while this guy walks past and I think to myself, "wow, he really looks familiar." I see him again and think, "yeah, he totally looks like Mitch Holthus." My suspicions were pretty much confirmed when they called the name "Mitch" when his coffee was ready.

Now, 99% of you are saying, "who the fuck is Mitch Holthus?" Well, I'll tell you.

Mitch Holthus is better known as "The Voice of the Chiefs." I've been listening to him since I was kid when he was first doing K-State games and then those and the Chiefs until finally moving just to the KC games. When I'm driving at night I love to search the AM dial until I find some random game from somewhere across the central US so I've heard a lot of broadcasters and I really feel like I've been lucky to hear two of the best around call my teams in Pete Taylor and Mitch Holthus. I mean, he's so good that I never listen to the TV announcers for Chiefs games and I always have Mitch and Hall of Famer Len Dawson on the radio while I watch the games.

So, there's Mitch, drinking his coffee and flipping through what looked like some big charts. I can hardly focus on my work as I stare at everything he's doing. He goes up to ask the barista for something and it sounds just like he does on the radio. Awesome.

As I'm about to leave I know I need to go talk to him so I walk up and say something like, "excuse me, I listen to you every week and I just wanted to say hi and maybe peak over your shoulder at what you're working on."

"Oh, thank you," he says. "Let me show you."

So, he's got a couple of charts on his table. They both feature big numbers colord in red and gold for the Chiefs and orange and blue for the Broncos. Next to each number is the player's name, college, years in the league, etc., grouped like a depth chart. He explains that he does this all week and Tuesday is the opponent's offense and Wednesday is their defense and Friday is the day he puts it all together.

He says he lays out the stats and interesting facts in different colors. One color for careers numbers, one color for stats against the opposing team, and another for this season. He says, "let's find something interesing."

"Oh, here we go. Jason Elam. He's killed the Chiefs over the years. He holds the record for the longest field goal with that guy from the Saints in 1970. He hit game winners against the Chiefs in '94 and '98 (those years are made up, I don't remember what they were), and he's 46 for 56 in his career. He's scored more points against the Chiefs than any other human.

Here's Tony Gonzalez. He's having an amazing year and he's had 21 career 100 yard games. But...the Chiefs are only 10-11 in those games so what does that mean? It means he can only take you so far but you've got to have help from some other guys" as he points to Dwayne Bowe and some other players. This won't make sense to anybody that hasn't listened to him but it was exactly like he sounds when he is on the radio. I mean, I can almost guarantee that I will turn on the radio on Sunday and he will say almost exactly the same thing at some point. So, we talk a little more about that stuff and what all he tries to do with it all. He said, "so, it's kind of like I'm preparing for my final exam. Except it's open book. But, it's extemporaneous."

"Yeah, and you've got thousands of people grading it" I say.

He asks if I'm a student and I tell him that I went to ISU and now I'm at KU and he asks where I'm from. I say I'm close to Hutchinson and he starts naming off smaller towns and asks which one. I say, "Inman."

"Ah, the Teutons. What year did you graduate."

"Wow, I guess I should have known that you would know it. I graduated in '99"

"OK, didn't you have a guy that went on to play at West Point?"

"Umm, he actually played at Navy but his sister played at West Point."

"Oh, OK, what was his name?"

I tell him the name and he remembers him. Then I say I played with another guy that went on to start at Air Force and he remembers him as well. I felt bad being such a huge fanboy so I said I'd let him get back to work and of course he said it was great meeting me and all that crap but wow. I mean, he was such an awesome guy with such a great sports memory. One of the things I love about him is that in every game if there is a player from either team that grew up or played college in what he calls the "Chiefs Kingdom" (basically Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, and Oklahoma) he always brings it up. What makes it especially cool is that he grew up in Smith Center, Kansas, whose football team was, honest to God, a front page, full color picture, story in the New York Times today. I could post all kinds of crazy stats about them but I won't right now (except they've outscored everyone 704-0 this year).

Anyway, I know it makes me sound like such a huge nerd that I'm this excited that I got a chance to talk to him but I think he's really one of the best broadcasters out there and he was such a cool guy to talk to. I really think if I wanted to be an ass and monopolize his time he would have let me because he just seemed like that great of a guy. So, in honor of Mitch here's what I consider his signature Chiefs call (although one of his K-State calls was immortalized on a t-shirt this is what he will be known for) "Touchdown Kan-sas City! Touchdown Priest Holmes!"

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fundie Endorsment Day!

So, who did your favorite fundie endorse today?

My fellow Kansan Sam Brownback decided that John McCain was the best choice while fundie Christian Pat Robertson decided to go ahead and endorse the sometimes crossdressing, thrice divorced, pro-choice, pro-gay rights presidential candidate (and fascist) Rudy Giuliani. Kind of an odd choice, no? So, what would lead Robertson to overlook all that other stuff?

"To me, the overriding issue before the American people is the defense of our population from the bloodlust of Islamic terrorists," Robertson said.

Oh, right. That. Giuliani's clearly the most likely to start another ill-fated Crusade in the Middle East but there's still something that confuses me. Robertson said "I concur totally" when Jerry Falwell said this about 9/11:
The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way--all of them who have tried to secularize America--I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen."

He also said something about how we lost the protection of heaven for allowing abortion and "rampant internet pornography" although I'm not sure where the protection was before we had the internet and still had all those wars but whatever.

So...given all of that wouldn't our best protection against the "bloodlust of Islamic terrorists" have nothing to do with actual foreign policy and more to do with abortion and the gays? Ugh, this conservative logic makes my head hurt sometime but who am I to argue with a man that says he can leg press 2000 pounds?

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