Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lift the Shades; Bluegrass Blues; Junior Underachievement

Page 2 time again, even though I oughta be in bed.

• During Wednesday night's Nuggets-Lakers playoff game, ESPN's cameras did the obligatory star shots – Jack Nicholson, Hugh Hefner, Zac Efron. Speaking of Mr. Efron, the 20-something high schooler was looking dapper in his pretentious casual dress and $300 sunglasses. That's right, sunglasses. Guess it was so bright with all those stars in the house.

People wear shades indoors for only two reasons: 1) Their eyes are extra sensitive to light, or 2) they're trying way too hard to be cool. Efron falls in the latter category, as I suspect most people do. Seriously, I once saw a guy eating in Old Country Buffet with his '90s-style Oakley wraparounds firmly planted on his shnozz. Dude, you're eating at Old Country Buffet. So was I, but at least I took my shades off. The fluorescent lights aren't that bright.

It should be noted that Donald Sutherland wears those huge grandma sunglasses to Laker games, but he's weird anyway, and he's old, so he gets a pass.

• Been a tough week for the University of Kentucky. A tough Wednesday, in fact: former basketball coach Billy Gillispie sued the school, which has since countersued; new coach John Calipari's old team, Memphis, is in hot water with the NCAA (which 167.22 million people predicted would happen); and blue chip recruit John Wall pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor breaking and entering charge. All this after three players left the team, which will conveniently help the Wildcats stay within the scholarship limit.

Ah, college sports, that pure respite from the corruption and cynicism of the real world. Pass the Kool-Aid.

• Poor Dale Earnhardt Jr. is struggling, which means it must be Tony Eury Jr.'s fault. Earnhardt's crew chief – and cousin – was let go by Hendrick Motorsports on Thursday, marking the second time the two have split up. Surely this is what Junior needs to become a NASCAR champion. First it was his control-freak step-mother and the second-rate resources at DEI holding him back; now it's his crew chief. Fact is, Junior's racing for the best team in NASCAR, and he's still stinking it up. Yeah, maybe it's you, Dale.

Quick hitters:

• It mystifies me that a spelling bee warrants coverage by the sports media. Some girl whose last name I can't even spell won it this year. Kudos to the always hilarious D.J. Gallo for trying to make it sportsy. Don't get me started on dog shows.

• Hey, Fran Tarkenton, welcome back to the spotlight. Good to see folks still can't pin you down.

• By the way, the Red Wings and Penguins are playing in the NHL Stanley Cup Finals – for the second straight year. That's be really fascinating if I gave a crap about hockey.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cubs' Banks (Not Ernie); Sox Peav-ed; Satan on Ice

The Page 2 column is back. You probably have no idea what I'm talking about, so a quick review: My first few years at the Daily Journal, I wrote a freakin' hilarious column about the national and international sports scene. I now have to focus my efforts on covering the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

But, I've had an itch to revive the column, and this is a good place for it. Perhaps it doesn't quite fit with my blog's theme, but it's my blog, dangit. Deal with it. On with the show.

• A potential buyer for the Chicago Cubs has lined up three banks to finance the deal. Gotta make you feel secure, Cubbie fans. Maybe your team will get some sort of government bailout, in the form of a bye into the World Series. Not that it would help. By the way, Cardinals rule, suckas.

• The Twins dropped 20 runs on the White Sox on Thursday night, just hours after San Diego ace Jake Peavy turned down a trade to the South side. It was such a bad day, Ozzie Guillen actually ran out of curse words. Pretty sad. He ended the postgame press conference by saying, "Just a flippin' crappy day, dangit. Kiss my buttocks, Peavy."

• You seen these Kobe/LeBron muppet ads? Pretty funny. There was also a Kobe/LeBron documentary that aired on ESPN on Thursday (I missed it). The Lakers and Cavaliers are still in the playoffs, and many experts expect them to meet in the NBA Finals. All this Kobe/LeBron hype makes me wish I was one of those loser NBA conspiracy theorists, because this would provide tons of ammo. Truth is, these are the two best players in the game, they're the past two MVP winners, and they're both Nike guys. And after watching Nuggets-Lakers Game 2, the refs are definitely not trying to help Kobe and L.A.

• I accidentally caught part of a hockey highlight Thursday night and noticed Satan fighting. Oh, that's Miroslav Satan, of the Penguins, and it's pronounced "Shu-TAHN." (Note his ID number in the url; coincidence?) Dude's gotta officially change the pronunciation, because you just don't cross-check Satan.

Quick hitters:

• Worst opening pitch … ever. He throws like my (lovely, beautiful, sweet, talented) wife.

Michael Vick is finally out of Leavenworth. Had a tough 19 months there, but thankfully he retained his ability to avoid being sacked, if you know what I mean.

• Poor, misunderstood Ryan Leaf is at it again, facing drug and burglary charges. Worth noting: Unlike Vick, Leaf was not an elusive quarterback. Just sayin'.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Ultimate Mullet; or, A Piece of Art

While cruising the Wal-Mart parking lot today – these days I do that while waiting for my wife, not as a Friday night social activity – I saw a mullet. Yes, I know, that's like saying I saw a raving drunk at a Kennedy family reunion. But this was no ordinary mullet. It almost defies description, but I'll try.

It was jet black, wavy and wide, and reached down at least a couple inches below his collar. It was so thick and greasy, I think it could have deflected hollow-point bullets. It almost looked fake, except that its owner was thinning just a bit on top. He was a homely man with a white-specked beard. He must've been coloring that mullet with motor oil. Kind of reminded me of the old Elvis' do.

I wish I had taken out my phone and snapped a picture to share with y'all, because this was easily the most spectacular mullet I've ever seen. When I saw it, I told my kids, "That's the most spectacular mullet I've ever seen." They asked me to turn up the radio. Kids just don't appreciate art these days. And this was redneck art at its finest, a thing of beauty. I hope I see this fella again. Maybe I'll pose for a picture – with the mullet. And maybe he'll let me touch it. OK, that'd be a little weird. But this piece of work was like its own entity, and the man was no more than a host.

That mullet puts to shame the one I tried to grow in ninth grade. It was weak, and I now understand why it took me so long to talk my mom into letting me grow it out. And after seeing this guy's mullet today, I know now I was trying to reach an impossibly high standard.

Today's Redneck Thought: "Business up front, party in the rear." – Classic description of the mullet

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Piece of Meat; or, The New Sexyburger

I could be wrong here, but I don't think food is supposed to be sexy. I've seen it dressed up or arranged in an artistic manner by those big fancy chefs, but I've never found anything seductive about grilled salmon or cauliflower (especially not cauliflower). Apparently Hardee's thinks otherwise.

The burger chain has a (short) history of airing racy ads – like the infamous Patty Melts spot – clearly aimed at playing on the raging hormones of males aged 13-106. (Yeah, once you hit 107, the fire's gone.) The latest Hardee's ad features another saucy, cleavage-bearing vixen chowing down on a Western Bacon Thickburger. I have two problems with this ad: A) It's oversexed, and B) it's false advertising. People who look like her do not eat Thickburgers. If she did, she would not be allowed to wear that dress.

Sure, it's a fantasy combination for many guys – a hot burger and a hot chick – and I guess that sells. But hamburgers are not sexy. Sure, they're tasty, but they're also greasy, fattening and did I mention, NOT SEXY! They're food. They come from cows. You cook 'em, eat 'em, and – pardon my French – crap 'em out. Fully digested ground round – not sexy.

Today's (Somewhat Related) Redneck Thought: "I'm not certain in which book it appears, but I know that somewhere in the Bible it says, 'Thou shalt not put mushrooms on no cheeseburger.'" – Lewis Grizzard

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Fancy Hay Hauler; or, Leaving Our Mark

Boy, we rednecks sure know how to put our stamp on even the nicest things, don't we? I was reminded of this earlier today when my father, who used to run amok in Lafayette County, Miss., was trying to figure out how to clean the hay out of the trunk of his Mercedes.

Granted, it's an '85 diesel beast, goes 0-60 in 3.5 days. And it has large trunk capacity, for your luggage, camping gear or dog house insulation. Nevertheless, when the fine German engineers slapped this one on the bumper and saw it off the assembly line, I'm pretty sure they were expecting their vehicle to find a more distinguished role, especially late in life.

That's the thing about my dad, though: He's practical. He didn't buy it just because it's a Benz – he's not into labels – but because he got a good deal on a reliable car (he also once owned an '82 Benz diesel). He has a truck, so I'm not sure why he put the hay in the Mercedes, but I'm sure it was done for the sake of convenience.

My father is not alone in putting his redneck mark on otherwise elegant items. There are people like me, for example, who download fart apps to their iPhone. (Entertains the kids for hours.) And there are people, usually teenagers, who purposely rip holes in their $80 designer jeans. And then there are those who mock the geniuses behind Microsoft. At least we didn't make Jeff Foxworthy a prophet during the 1996 Olympics.

Fancy things and rednecks just don't mix. I recall accidentally breaking a commemorative plate of some sort that was hanging above our kitchen doorway, and my mom all but said, "We just can't have nice things!" No, no we can't, because we don't know what to do with them. I'm shocked my iPhone has survived a year-plus – I did try to leave it on the ground next to a football practice field – but I'm sure it will eventually wind up in a discarded bag of pork rinds. An unbefitting fate, indeed, but not unexpected.

Today's Redneck Thought: "Between New York and LA, there's 200 million people that aren't hip, and they don't want to be hip." – Jeff Foxworthy