Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Closed for the Holidays?

Many businesses take a few days off for the holiday season. Some take a full week.

It seems that we at The Writings feel the length of such breaks is not nearly sufficient. As a result, it's been over two weeks since the last blog update. Never fear, dear readers, updates are on the horizon; exciting updates involving topics like:

- A look back at 2009.

- The emergence of the K-State men's basketball team.

- The folks one encounters at games for the aforementioned team.

- The manipulative minds of one-year-olds.

- And, of course, yet another update from the neighborhood Burger King.

Stay tuned.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lesson of the Day

During the course of tonight's Monday Night Football game I have experienced a laundry list of feelings, including:
- confidence;
- discouragement;
- joy;
- outrage;
- insecurity;
- denial;
- acceptance;
- exuberance;
- fear; and finally,
- relief.

All aforementioned feelings took place because the semi-finals of my fantasy football league hinged on this game.

The lesson, as always: I really have no life.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Attention Shoppers

Christmas is just around the corner (figuratively) and I've still got holiday shopping to complete. Luckily for this guy, we live in the age of online shopping, meaning I can buy gifts from the comfort of my couch, rather than doing something as physically taxing as walking in a store. The web contains a bevy of options for shoppers who enjoy avoiding human interaction at all costs, with one of the most popular being the online auction site, ebay. As a service to you, the reader*, I'm scouring ebay to find the best deals this holiday season. Sit tight, because you'll be in a bidding-war in no time.

*Replace "reader" with any of the following, as necessary: indifferent observer, lovesick stalker, bloodlusting stalker, confused person looking for something with literary value, individual researching different ways to whiff on jokes in a blog.

Want to show someone how much they truly mean to you this Christmas. Perhaps you should get them a gift that they'll have for the rest of their lives... and beyond. Imagine how surprised your loved one will be when they unwrap a granite headstone on Christmas morning. For the price of the stone, the seller will even engrave the full name, year of birth, and year of passing. Note: If you purchase one and attempt to predict your loved one's year of passing so that you wouldn't need to have it engraved again later, you may want to go ahead and purchase a stone for yourself - dated 2009 - as well.

Do you have someone with a sweet tooth on your shopping list? Have no fear, 21 packs of Japanese Candy are waiting for your bid. Where else but Japan can you get fruity gummy candy shaped like rice, tuna, octopus, salmon eggs, and broiled eel? I'm not sure what logic went into deciding that the tuna and salmon egg-shaped pieces should be strawberry-flavored, but I'm truly intrigued.

Perhaps you know someone that is very comfortable with their personal body odor, enjoys dressing up in costumes outside of Halloween, and gains unfathomable joy from scaring small children. If so, this Frosty costume is just for you. Oddly, this item currently has no bids. Who wouldn't want to pay nearly $400 to look like a snowman?

For the entertainment buff on your shopping list, what could be better than a hand-signed 8x10* of Kevin Sorbo. Mr. Sorbo not only starred in the epic television series "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys"**, but he showed his acting range by moving on to projects like "Kull the Conquerer" and "Hercules and Xena - The Animated Movie." $17.99 for this item? Hello, bargain.

*Am I the only one that would be more impressed to get a signature that had not been scrawled via hand? Give me a foot-signed photo anyday.

**See? Even the title tells you that the show was legendary.

Are you the cheap sort? The type that doesn't want to buy any gifts for anyone? Believe it or not, ebay can suit your needs, as well. Check out this listing for nothing. Unfortunately for you, it seems that even nothing costs something these days.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Future, Conan?

News came out recently that Kansas City is a finalist on the list of cities being considered as potential World Cup soccer match hosts in 2018 or 2022. In speaking about the possibility, Mayor Mark Funkhouser mentioned that feels soccer is the "sport of the future." Such a proclamation brought forth immediate concern in my mind. After all, in my 27 years as a functioning (mostly) human, the only soccer games I have watched from start to finish were those that involved writing a game story afterward and receiving a (meager) paycheck down the road.

The sport known as football everywhere but in America is one that I have never been able to develop an appreciation of. Frankly, it bores me. Even when I was being paid to attend the games, the "action" often had me pondering more entertaining ways to spend my time before even 10 minutes had passed. Could I teach myself to balance my pen on my chin by the time the game wrapped up? Should I record my own play-by-play commentary on my electronic voice recorder?* If someone plotted my text messaging tendencies in 2006 on a graph, odds are that one would notice considerable peaks during the periods of time I spent watching soccer.

*"There's a kick... another kick... a kick to the fullback... Holy rotunda, another kick!"

Alas, the point of this Writing is not ridicule a sport so many around the world hold dear. The point is to express concern about our future. As a child, television, film, and video games taught me that nearly everything in the future would involve some combination of hoverboards, flying cars, rocket boosters, robots, space colonies, nearly invincible clones, lightweight body armor, meals in pill form, teleportation, and scary-smart artificial intelligence. Childhood Derek would be giddy at the mere thought of a sport that combined even half of those items listed. Now Adult* Derek has learned that - in at least one authority figure's opinion - the sport of the future involves running, kicking, and... more running.

*Term used loosely.

Is this really the best the future can offer? And does it really make sense to call something that has been around for ages the "(blank) of the future"? By this logic, we can say the Geo Metro is the car of the future, ABBA is the band of the future, and Burger Time is the video game of the future. It's my personal thinking that any and all "... of the future" should refer to things that have not yet been created (otterball* is the sport of the future), things that just recently hit the market (Droid is the phone of the future), or things that have yet to gain popularity (The Writings is the blog of the future**).

*What's otterball? Your guess is as good as mine.

**Checking to see if you're paying attention. If the blog of the future involves continual references to professional wrestling, we may all be in trouble.

Will Kansas City host World Cup Soccer in nine and/or 13 years? Only time will tell.

Will soccer be the hottest ticket in town in nine and/or 13 years? Is it the "sport of the future"? With this, I must disagree. Recent Major League Soccer attendance figures for KC seem to indicate that I'm not the only one who feels that way.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

All the Thanks You Can Handle

It's that time of year again.

No, not the time of year where I attempt to buy stock in turkeys.

No, not the time of year where I grow depressed that the Chiefs have not won a playoff game since I was 12.

No, not the time of year where I start wearing football cleats everywhere I go in attempt to avoid disastrous slips on sneaky icy patches.

While all scenarios listed above are certainly feasible (and by "feasible" I mean either ridiculous or cripplingly disappointing), they also stray far from the point I am attempting to make. It's the time of year where giving thanks is the thing to do. Granted, one could put up a very good argument that there's always something to be thankful for. I could not agree more; however, since we are approaching the only holiday that actually contains the word "thanks" in its name*, it seems a good time to express the things I'm thankful for via The Writings.**

*Sorry, Thanksentine's Day. You'll get your recognition at some point.

**Nothing says, "thanks" like a seldom-read blog, right?

I'm thankful to be surrounded by an incredible family that supports me in whatever I do... Even if it involves numerous failed attempts at being funny and an in-depth account of an Ottawanian garage sale.

I'm thankful that the youngest member of my family is healthy, growing, and sharp as a tack. Sure, she'll carry around a globe and call it a basketball, but to the astute observer it's rather obvious that in doing so she's expressing her fondness for the Harlem Globetrotters. My guess is that she'll master this by the time she's two... and will be able to whistle "Sweet Georgia Brown" while she's doing it.

I'm thankful for a variety of friends that continue to tolerate me, even when I have nothing to add to the conversation but an obscure sports reference or television quote.

I'm thankful for The Office and seasons 3-11 of The Simpsons, as they have provided most of the material referred to in the aforementioned sentence.

I'm thankful for employment. I hear being a hobo isn't as glorious as it sounds.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to write. The fact that I have not lost any fingers to blood-thirsty doors is a true blessing.

I'm thankful for the chance to combine two things I enjoy - watching sports and writing - when the opportunity presents itself. Message board threads questioning who the heck I am are icing on the cake.

I'm thankful for the fact that Zack Greinke and Billy Butler did their bests to ensure that ritualistic mass suicides would not occur at Kauffman Stadium over the summer.

I'm thankful for the fact that certain college football coaches are actually familiar with the concepts of "halftime adjustments" and "improving during the season."

I'm thankful that the Chiefs choose to win one game they have absolutely no business winning each year. (See: Broncos, 2008; Steelers, 2009). Even the narrowest sliver of hope still counts as hope.

I'm thankful for the fact that I don't think I can dance. My attempts at Conan O'Brien's string dance belong nowhere near the watching eyes of others.

I'm thankful for the fact that "The Biggest Loser" has always been spoken for as the name of a television show... Just in case I ever get on TV.

I'm thankful for the fact that I'm not on TV. It's what is best for me and for the viewing public that is not fond of the level of boredom that could actually make one's brain attempt to escape one's head through the nostrils.

I'm thankful for the fact that my apartment walls are as thick as a cardstock piece of paper, rather than the standard 20# stock. The "dope rhymes" my neighbor "drops" would probably leave me continually "busting a move" with thinner walls.*

I'm thankful for the fact that my readers are willing to put up with completely dated and out of touch attempts to grasp slang. 

I'm thankful for the fact that someday, Brett Favre will actually retire... Someday.

I'm thankful for the fact that you, the reader, apparently made it through this whole list of items I'm thankful for. If you just skipped to the end, thinking there would be some sort of hilarious grand finale, I'm thankful for you, too. Odds are you're confused concerning what blog you're reading, since I focus mostly on in-depth studies of foreign wars, but the thought is appreciated.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This Week in Sports - Nov. 15-21

Zack Greinke Wins the AL Cy Young Award
The national media recognizes what most local folks already know: Zack Greinke was the best pitcher in the American League last season. Greinke made several hitters look like they were swinging pool noodles while at the plate this year, and for that he wins baseball's top pitching honor*. He's the first Royal to win the Cy Young since David Cone in the quasi-season (read: strike-shortened) of 1994. Greinke is also the first Cy Young winner to say that he had not been thinking about the award lately because he was busy playing World of Warcraft. How can someone (aside from opposing batters) not love this guy?

*The Cy Young narrowly edges out Royals Pitcher of the Year as the top award for a pitcher in baseball.

Astute readers might wonder why awards like the Cy Young are just now being presented when the baseball regular season finished 44 days ago. The answer to such a query lies in the fact that votes are not certified unless they are first sailed across the Atlantic and then mushed through the course for Alaska's Iditarod. Upon completion of such tasks, Snowball the sled dog will lick (if you're lucky) your ballot*.

*Ballot submission is completed by burying the ballot in the outfield at Wrigley Field, all while angry Cub fans curse about your mother, douse you with beer, and zing batteries at you in attempt to make you lose track of what you're doing.

Dwayne Bowe is Suspended for Using a Substance Banned by the NFL
What this means: The Chiefs will lose to the Steelers this Sunday by 31 instead of 24. Bowe is the Chiefs' best receiver, but such a title is akin to being called the Least Terrifying Raiders fan. They're all folks you wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley*. In the grand scheme of things, Bowe's suspension means very little for this team.

*Note: The Writings do not condone going into dark alleys at all. Nothing good ever comes from a dark alley. If you really need to venture into an alley, wait until daytime. The Writings: We're Here to Keep You From Getting Jumped by Thugs, Ninjas, or Mutated Rats.

I apologize. I'm supposed to be an optimistic fan, but the Chiefs of recent seasons seem be the kryptonite to my super-optimism. At times, I wonder if I'd trust the organization to draft my fantasy football team.

Dolphins Running Back Ronnie Brown is Out for the Rest of the Season
This news, dear readers, is devastating. You see, my fantasy football team - Get Off of Mike Cloud - is already on a losing streak that threatens to eliminate me from playoff contention. That streak continued last weekend thanks in part to Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew making a selfless play and taking a knee to waste time off the clock when he could have scored a touchdown. His act helped his NFL team win, but it cost GOoMC six fantasy points... I lost by three. It seems Mr. Jones-Drew values his spot on the Jaguars' roster (and the checks they pay him) more than the spot on my roster (and the fact that I'm willing to pay him in shout-outs from The Writings... Go get'em, Mo!)

Brown's injury presents me with quite a predicament. He was my No. 2 running back. Now, my options to replace him are Buffalo's Fred Jackson (who has barely been worth a roster spot since starter Marshawn Lynch returned from suspension; however, there's talk that he could assume a greater role if the Bills choose to embrace the Wildcat offense), Indianapolis' Donald Brown (who was threatening to take the load of the carries from starter Joseph Addai, but then suffered an injury) or one of three players on the waiver wire: Atlanta's Jason Snelling (in for an injured Michael Turner), Washington's Ladell Betts (in for an injured Clinton Portis) or Seattle's Justin Forsett (in for an injured Julius Jones).

Best case scenario: Jackson becomes Buffalo's Ronnie Brown, and Donald Brown runs so well coming off his injury that the Colts have no choice but to give him carries. GOoMC ends its losing streak, zips through the playoffs, and leaves me in position to gloat about my championship once the season is over. Also, people don't pity me for putting this much thought into fantasy football.*

*If I ever need to write an essay on why I'm single, I might just copy and paste this section about fantasy football... They'll get the message.

Worst case scenario: My running backs continue to stand on the sidelines. My free agent pickup is injured. Donovan McNabb decides to leave the country. Maurice Jones-Drew thinks that he should start kneeling the ball every time he touches it. Roddy White is attacked by an actual falcon, which proceeds to bite 6 of his fingers off. The Steelers' defense goes on strike. GOoMC scores 14 more points the rest of the season and misses the playoffs; I suffer much taunting as a result.  I suffer much taunting for putting this much thought into fantasy football. My family buys me a CD titled "Your Neighbor's Greatest Hits" for Christmas.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Things I Don't Understand - A Place I Would Not Choose for Relaxation

As I have mentioned in this space previously, on occasion I enjoy taking a quick walk around the park. I find it can be a good way to clear one's head, to take in a nice day, or to encounter individuals fit for proper examination courtesy of The Writings. I haven't been to the park in awhile (the whole "exercise" thing could really tarnish my reputation as one who relishes torpor), but it seems the park is now trying to come find me; I just encountered a park bench... in a public restroom.

Upon seeing the bench in this location, my mind was immediately paralyzed with confusion. You see, my understanding is that park benches serve as:
- a nice place for people to sit and relax;
- a good spot to enjoy a visit with an old friend;
- an excellent location to observe one's surroundings and ponder the beauty of such creation;
- and an ideal setting for taking a loaf of bread/bag of seeds/cage of mice and feeding ducks/pigeons/red-tailed hawks as one pleases.

Alas, I've struggled in figuring out situations where any of the above scenarios would be enjoyable/feasible in a public restroom.

Relaxation? I can think of better spots. (Like hanging by one's toenails off a bridge.)

Visiting? If you're attempting to have a heart-to-heart with someone while flushing toilets provide the audible ambiance, odds are you won't be speaking with that person again.

Observation and pondering? Uhh, no. No.

Feeding winged creatures? If you encounter a public washroom that serves as home to a flock of anything, you have bigger problems than a park bench.

It's obvious that this park bench does not belong in this restroom. The question remains: how did it get there? Is it the result of a prank by a competing hotel? Did a slightly mentally unstable city employee get confused by a supervisor's instructions to install the bench "near your favorite water feature"? Did it simply materialize out of nothingness?

There's really only well way to find out... Unfortunately, that involves me getting off this bench and asking someone.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Things One Learns in Hays, America

- At least one parent in this world thought the name "Jeeroy" was a good idea.

- One is only allowed in a hotel hot tub at 6:45 p.m. if he converses in very loud Spanish.

- Daylight Savings Time does not apply in select hotel rooms.

- Hotels have free Wi-Fi... Free Wi-Fi that actually works is a different matter.

- 10:15 p.m. is not to late for the hotel maintenance guy to knock on your room door to make sure your keys work.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Shocking Stat of the Day

Through an unexplainable series of events, I currently find myself looking at the Internet Movie Database ( listing for O.J. Simpson. From this page, you can access information on all movies and television programs that Mr. Simpson has ever appeared in (including an episode of Circus of the Stars!).

While it's certainly useful to know that O.J. appeared as himself in a 1977 episode of Celebrity Challenge of the Sexes, today's interesting stat relates to the website's STARmeter. As stated on, the STARmeter reflects "what people are interested in, based not on small statistical samplings, but on the actual behavior of millions of IMDb users." In other words, if people check out your profile, your STARmeter rating will jump.

Now it's time to prepare to be shocked and appalled. If you're standing, sit down; if you're sitting, stand up; if you're drinking something, take a big swig so that your spit-take will be worthwhile. Yes, dear readers, this stat will leave you bewildered.

You see, O.J.'s popularity is down six-percent this week.

(Insert collective gasp from all readers of The Writings here.)

Yes, you read that correctly. Mr. Simpson's popularity is down six-percent.

This is horrifying.

How can people be so disinterested in O.J.'s acting career? Granted, his last acting role in a major motion picture was in Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult, which was released 15 years ago. And, granted, he's been involved in a couple moderately publicized legal snafus since that film's release, but does that really call for a decrease of interest in the man's filmography? The man was in Hambone and Hillie, after all: a film that's drawn a respectable 4.8/10 rating on 4.8! That's almost 5!

A six-percent drop in popularity... Crazy.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

240 Words or Less

Upon sending an email citing the absurdity in bragging about college football team's narrow defeat of an unranked opponent, I received a response saying that my reply was long enough to be a book. The reply in question was 240 words long. It seems fairly obvious that the person who made such comments is not a regular read of The Writings. If he was, he'd realize that limiting myself to 240 words is no easy feat... The aforementioned comment also makes one wonder if the replier is much of a reader, as 240 words wouldn't make much of a book. I'm not sure that Tolkien, a master of miniscule details, could have described Tom Bombadil's doorstep in a mere 240 words.

Nonetheless, I decided imposing a 240-word limit might be interesting. After all, what if my readers (wheter real or imagined) sport attention spans similiar to that shared by the frustrated email reader? What if all these continually rambling posts have done nothing but turn people away from The Writings? What if my readers are much like my niece; they can concentrate on one task for only a couple minutes before they feel the need to go build a pyramid of dolls or see what damage they can do with their grandmothers' canes?

I'm willing to adapt. This Writing will not exceed the aforementioned 240-word limit. I'm interested to see what I can accomplish with such boundaries, and I'll start with-

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cloudy With a Chance of Seeds

When I went out to my car on Sunday morning, I discovered that the rear window and trunk were covered in sunflower seeds.


When one discovers that a portion of their motor vehicle is pasted with seeds of Kansas' state flower, one question immediately springs to mind*: Why does my car look like it took a wrong turn through a Major League Baseball dugout?

*No, it's not, "What flavor are they?"

Why were these full seeds adorning my car? Did I unknowingly order a dumping of seeds at Have I made enemies with the folks at DAVID? Did I suffer the brunt of a scattered seedstorm? The answer eluded me.

Now that I've had a few days to think things over, I think I've figured out the answer.

Strange things just seem to happen to me.

What type of strange things? I'm glad you asked*.

*If your inner monologue did not ask this question, I apologize, as it's going to be answered anyway. If you would rather have something else occupy your mind, perhaps could sing the theme to The Facts of Life. I'll even get you started... "You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have..."

- Once, a girl I had never met before came to my apartment, opened my front door, walked inside and asked me if Lisa was around. Upon being informed that I had no clue who Lisa was and that I was the sole resident of that apartment and had been for three months, this stranger looked at me like I was crazy.

- After moving from that apartment, I had some trouble locating some mail that I figured may have been delivered to the wrong location as I was transitioning to a new apartment. I went back to my old place to see if the new resident had received any of my mail. The timid-looking female that answered the door said she hadn't seen anything... Oddly, this girl - despite the fact that she wore a colorful bandanna in her hair, a blouse, and a long skirt and spoke in a rather melodious tone - sounded like a man. As I apologized for taking up her time, I got a better look at this girl's face... This girl was a man. Yikes.

- A friend was once trying to encourage me to go introduce myself to an unknown female at a bar. I glanced in the direction of this female only to have an obscene gesture (commonly nicknamed for a winged, feathered animal) waiting for me. It was definitely intended for me, and I had definitely never met this girl before. Apparently my aura offends people. 

- After getting ready for work one morning, I went to the coffee pot to fill my mug. Oddly, my coffee had a rather transparent look to it. After much deliberation, I realized that I had not brewed crystal-clear coffee, but instead forgotten the grounds completely.

- As mentioned in this space not long ago, I recently received over 40 calls from a family member's cell phone during the wee hours of the morning. This was a result of his phone soaking up water like a ShamWow. Because I was sleep deprived, enjoy torturing myself, and have no common sense, I periodically answered the calls, thinking something might be wrong. Because I enjoy torturing myself, was sleep deprived, have no common sense, and I'm a nice guy, I did not simply call back out of fear that I might wake my niece.

If the above examples are not proof enough that book of my life has some odd chapters, rest assured that there are more. Unfortunately, I have to quit writing, as I'm feeling a bit hungry.

... I wonder where I could find some sort of sunflower-based snack...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ask how...

I saw an ad today for the Buxton Palm-Sized Wallet. This amazing product is made of genuine leather and "fits in the palm of your hand!" This is amazing, since my wallet just fits in the palm of my hand*.

*You'll notice that my wallet doesn't merit an exclamation mark for being palm-sized. What a piece of junk.

The ad for Buxton's Palm-Sized Wallet (BPSW for those who enjoy acronyms) caught my eye not because it features an accordion-fold interior with plenty of room for eleven credit cards (although, of all folds named after musical instruments, the accordion is my favorite); not because of the exterior ID window pocket (although it would be convenient to be able to remind myself of my identity without having to actually open my wallet up); and not even because it has the Buxton assurance of quality*. No, the BPSW ad caught my interest because of a line toward the end stating, "Ask how to get the Buxton Palm-Sized Wallet in brown or red..."

*When was the last time a company as renowned as Buxton let you down? Think about it.

Up until this point, I had little interest in the BPSW. Aside from the tear in the top and the fact that it could potentially fall to pieces at any point, my wallet suits me just fine. I paid little interest to this commercial, since I knew it was a product I did not need. This all changed when I discovered I could ask how to get the product in different colors. Who doesn't love variety? With a TV Drama-like twist at the end of their ad, the Buxton folks not only provided information that the BPSW is available in more than just standard black, but they provide a cliffhanger in that you have to call to find out how to attain such alternate colors.

The suspense is killing me.

Odds are that to get the alternate colors all you really need to do is ask for them and the Buxton folks are just trying to pique curiosity of those who are feeble-minded like myself.  Nevertheless, I like to think that there's a chance that the operators in Buxton Land have more interesting journeys in mind for those that wish to attain these color-splashed versions of the BPSW. Consider the following:

1. Call the Buxton folks at their 800 number to inquire how one might be lucky enough to get a BPSW in an aesthetically pleasing shade of red or brown.

2. As instructed by the operator, walk outside, find a hobo and tell him that you liked him better before he was corrupted by the all-mighty dollar.

3. Duck the punch the hobo attempts to knock you out with.

4. Run.

5. After escaping the murderous rage of the hobo, find a shubbery and unearth its roots.

6. Transport the shrubbery to the nearest park. Plant it there, and then run tiny laps around the plant until you are dizzy enough to fall over.

7. Fall over.

8. Upon regaining your equilibrium, go to the nearest store that sells art supplies. Buy one bottle each of red and brown acrylic paint.

9. Take the bottles of acrylic paint home, mix the pain together in a mason jar, and the paint a picture of a brownish-red (or reddish-brown) Palm-Sized Wallet on the screen of your newest television.

10. Take a picture of your newly-painted television with a digital camera.

11. Email the picture of your television featuring the BPSW artwork to the folks at Buxton. Include your name, social security number, and credit card information in the email.

12. Destroy your digital camera.

13. Upon receipt of your digital picture, SSN, and credit card information, your information will go through an approval process (estimated to take 6-8 months) during which time you might notice unusual charges on your credit card statement. Ignore these.

14. Once your emailed information is approved, an operator will contact you. When this occurs, you will have six minutes to recite the alphabet backward, name all state capitals in alphabetical order, and answer three trivia questions about William Howard Taft's teenage years.

15. Pass the six-minute test and, just like that, you'll have your choice of a red or brown BPSW... If they have any in stock.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Comment of the Night

I've never been a fan of the New York Yankees. Appreciating the small-market Kansas City Royals as I do, the free-spending, "we'll pay a popcorn vendor $35 million if he might be worth another win" attitude of the Yankees has always disgusted me. They have players that make more money than some small nations, after all.

It is this loathing of the Yankees, of whom my dad is a fan, that made this evenings Comment of the Night so very enjoyable. After a dinner at my parents' home, I started watching game 5 of the ALCS with my father, mother, and brother. Dad was openly rooting for the Yankees. My brother and I weren't holding back in cheering for the Angels. My mom, whose interest in sports lies only in the fact that her family enjoys them, mostly ignored such proceedings and casually flipped through a magazine.

As the game progressed, it was only natural that Derek Jeter's name came up. He is, after all, the Yankees' all-time hits leader. He's a former Rookie of the Year, a Gold Glove winner, and a former World Series MVP. He's the most identifiable Yankee today. Naturally, this all means that I'm not his biggest fan. Unfortunately, as is often the case, tonight's game announcers seemed to care little about my personal feelings. The praised Mr. Jeter to no end. My dad rooted for Jeter to help the Yankees get things going. My brother and I rooted for Jeter to leave during the game to go on a date with some celebrity. Meanwhile, the sportscasters gushed about the Yankee shortstop.

As the commentators carried on about Jeter as if he could have created the Earth in five days and turned an unassisted triple play on the sixth, my mom suddenly took notice. With no intention of poking fun, just looking to be informative, Mom said, "Jeter... I know him. He's in my AVON catalog." Then, she grabbed the catalog for the "world's leading direct seller of beauty and related products" and flipped through the pages until she found the one bearing his face. It's true, Mr. Yankee is featured in a publication that exists solely to get females to buy cosmetics; it's also true that those who don't know a sacrifice fly from something on the end of their fly swatter know Mr. Jeter for this very fact.

Now I'm just trying to figure out what verse of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" mentions AVON.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Topic? Who needs a topic?

I made a trip to the grocery store this evening and, frankly, it was a bit depressing. Recently, you see, a new grocery store moved into town and it seems that many folks feel it is the bee's knees, the cat's pajamas, and many other animal possessives that don't really make sense but are intended to make something sound popular. As a result, inside my supermarket of choice I encountered more store employees than I did fellow shoppers. It was almost like they had closed the store for my own personal shopping spree, only I still had to foot the bill at the end. I went shopping to pick up necessities and hopefully find some quirky folks to write about for another edition of People in Your Neighborhood. I left pondering an eternal question* and wondering if my checkout lady thought I was some sort of scout sent by a larger grocery store**.

*If a grocery store is open but no one enters, do the automatic doors still work?

**I did not have a radar gun with me, but this tiny woman was slinging my groceries across the barcode reader like a pitcher looking to hit triple digits. If I was a scout, she would have been in trouble anyway. I've always thought control was more important than speed in the checkout process.

Luckily (or perhaps not) for you the reader, we at The Writings always have a contingency plan. With no viable topics presented by the ghost market, we'll move forward with no topic whatsoever. Focus is overrated anyway.

First things first, this man is an imposter
Hmmm... He wears a Royals cap, a K-State shirt, and they call him "Derek"? This sure sounds like someone I know. Rest assured, dear readers, the guy featured in this video is not the blog author you've grown to adore (the words "tolerate," "have indifferent feelings toward" and "despise" can also be used here as necessary). How can I be so sure?
1. I don't shop at Wal-Mart unless it's absolutely necessary. The mass chaos combined with scenes like these make me feel odd about purchasing fresh produce there.
2. When I go grocery shopping, I purchase more than Cheez-Its, two packages of candy, and deodorant. This impostor seems to be on some sort of Everyday is Halloween diet.
3. I'm fairly confident my ancestry is Swedish, not Asian.
4. This guy did not have a single awkward encounter with another human on his entire shopping trip. Meanwhile, I can't get a haircut without the stylist admitting that she loses track of what she's already trimmed when she's talking and then having to run off to get a bandage because she cut her finger. (Welcome to today's lunchbreak.)

Sir, we've been jammed.
While cooking bacon have you ever thought, "Boy, I wish I could just spread this from a jar instead?" Perhaps you are not satisfied with your current options when making a jam sandwich? Or maybe you just really enjoy punishing yourself (and/or your arteries) via the spreadable items you ingest? Whatever the case, it looks like your covered. Bon appetit.

Competitive Gaming; How do you get started?
I saw this question posed earlier. The answers that come to mind immediately:
-Abandon any hope of dating.*
-Move in with your parents.
-Become comfortable with only encountering pixel-generated sunlight.


Fly Me To the Moon...
It just struck me that The Writings has not given an official stance on the Balloon Boy story yet. Such an omission must be rectified. Whether the panic over the possibility of the young kid named after a species of bird (thank goodness Dodos are extinct) was real or fabricated, I think the whole situation proves to be an argument in favor of childhood obesity. Think about it; if the little man in question was more Augustus Gloop than Charlie Bucket there would not have been any worry about the idea of that balloon floating off with him inside. People would have realized there was no chance the thing was leaving the ground. Parents (and future parents) remember this when you're wondering if your little kid really needs a couple more donuts: The larger he is, the less likely he will be to float off in some ridiculous weather balloon/UFO-hybrid that you have for some reason decided to tether to your home.*

*Is the author making this argument simply because he was hefty to the point of appearing Hutt-ish as a toddler? No comment. 

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nothing but Football - Wading the Red River

Another fall Saturday means another day packed with college football. This Saturday, however, presents a twist that previous NbF Saturday's have not: K-State has a home game tonight, meaning I'll actually be moving from my couch in order to go watch that game in person, interact with other people, and write a game story for (shamless plug). Human interaction? Crazy concept, I know.

10:50 a.m. - ESPN analyst Lee Corso just picked K-State over Texas A&M as his weekly upset. To cap his rundown of his reasoning behind the pick, he said "Go AARP." Bill Snyder did just turn 70 years old, but I had no idea that the university had changed the mascot. Does this mean Wille the Wildcat is going to be looking extra gray today? Or do we debut a new mascot: Leroy, the old man that is still angry that his evening paper was wet when he picked it up three months ago?

10:56 a.m. - Corso and his College Gameday crew are in Dallas, for the annual Red River Rivalry matchup between Texas and Oklahoma. Earlier in the show, they mentioned that Indianapolis Colts' quarterback Peyton Manning (who went to school at Tennessee) is in attendance; now they have brought Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, to the set to make predictions for the day's games. I'm all for bringing in celebrities to a broadcast, but it might make more sense if they actually have a connection to one of the schools involved. Where's WWE broadcaster Jim Ross when you need him?

10:59 a.m. - It turns out that the National Anthem doesn't apply to those on the Gameday set. The analysis of the upcoming game just carried from the opening "Oh say..." through "...of the brave." I wish they would have at least stood up and spoken their thoughts in Star Spangled melody.

11:11 a.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
OU just converted on third-and-10 thanks to a 65-yard catch and run by running back Demarco Murray. This directly followed a comment from a broadcaster that this was the exact down and distance that the Sooners wanted to avoid. I disagree. Now if they are third-and-66 at some point, they might be in trouble.

11:15 a.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
OU kicker Jimmy Stevens just kicked a field goal off the left upright and through the posts. Replays seem to show that he did not call "bank," but apparently it still counts.

11:21 a.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
The Sooners force and recover a Colt McCoy fumble. Oklahoma's next play from scrimmage is a sack of Heisman Trophy-winning QB Sam Bradford, who is consequently forced out of the game with a shoulder reinjury. With the way pass protection is working out so far, this game might just be a battle of kneel downs and punts in the second half.

11:34 a.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
Oklahoma backup quarterback Landry Jones just led the Sooners down the field on their way to another field goal. The Sooners lead 6-0 and the Texas defensive coordinator is currently looking increduously at his defense and saying, "Seriously, guys? We're ranked No. 3 and we're letting a guy named Landry with a Super Troopers mustache lead scoring drives?"

11:42 a.m.
Iowa @ Wisconsin
In other game action, Wisconsin leads Iowa 3-0 in the second quarter. Big 10 football... it's pretty boring.

 11:44 a.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
Texas punts for the third time in the opening quarter. Thus far, their offense has been somewhere between "pathetic" and "Raider-like."

11:45 a.m.
I realize that the KC Chiefs lost to the Oakland Raiders (whose offense is about as Raider-like as can be). I'm also fully convinced that seasonal depression is a direct result of being a fan of poor football teams.

11:51 a.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
While discussing a penalty, the field judge, line judge, and umpire were just standing in a row with their backs to the camera. The result was the letters on the back of their ref shirts spelling "FLU." I'm now trying to figure out if it's a coincidence, or some sort of cryptic warning about germ warfare from the officiating crew.

11:56 a.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
The Longhorns fit in one more punt before the end of the first quarter. Coaches normally go into games with specific game plans. I wonder if Mack Brown's gameplan included having his punter on the field nearly as much as his Heisman-contending quarterback.

12:10 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
Colt McCoy is sacked for a loss of 17 yards and Texas punts again. I'm beginning to wonder if the Longhorns remember that the goal of each possession is to advance the ball down the field and score.

12:22 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
This Brent Venebles-led defense of Oklahoma has the Longhorns looking as if they haven't played organized football before. In other words, the Texas punter had the opportunity to show off his leg again. Venebles was once an assistant coach at Kansas State... Yes, I am to the point this season that I will accept transitive moral victories.

12:28 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
Landry Jones bounces two passes in a row and it's the Sooners' turn to punt. It's at this point that all Big 10 fans wonder what in the world I'm talking about when I call their brand of football "boring."

12:33 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
In a strikingly intelligent move, Texas wide receiver James Kirkendoll headbutts an OU defensive back after being tackled short of a first down. The headbutt comes while Kirkendoll is just five feet from the nearest referee and just five yards from his head coach.  Such positioning kind of elminates the usual "It wasn't me" defense.

12:35 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
This game is taking place at the Texas State Fairgrounds and the play that just happened belonged in a circus. A Texas punt (surprise!) is fumbled by the OU returner. A Longhorn (Texas football player, not an actual bovine) picked it up and ran it toward the end zone, but the ball was knocked loose by OU and it went out of bounds. Thanks to the ruling that the punt was muffed by the returner, Texas keeps the ball, as muffs cannot be advanced. Had the play been ruled a fumble, OU would have had the ball at their 20-yard-line thanks to a touchback. If you are confused after reading all of this, imagine how the folks in the stands that came to the game because they knew they could go eat a funnel cake and ride the Octopus to the point of extreme nausea after the game feel.

12:45 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
Texas finally scores, thanks to the fact that they started their possession in field goal range. OU fumbles the ensuing kickoff and Texas starts another drive on the Sooner side of the field. Odds of Texas actually scoring a touchdown this time? My guess is that it's the same as the ratio of unicorns to leprechauns.

12:52 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
McCoy carries the ball down inside the 10 before being stripped (of the football, this is a family game) by an OU defender. Result: another empty UT possession and OU ball at the 20.

12:56 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
A prankster has apparently replaced the game ball with a greased pig from the fair, as an attempted OU reverse is fumbled. The Sooners recover the slippery swine at their own one-yard-line. To increase the chances of scoring, look for the referees to award points every time the ball touches the turf in the second half.

1:00 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
A view of Oklahoma's punt team reminds me of the time K-State's punter did not join his punt unit on the field. (At Oklahoma in 2005.) I'm not sure why this occurence is never mentioned in discussions of unconventional moves in football. As Pepper Brooks of "Dodgeball" might have called it, "It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for them."

HALFTIME Thought...
Last night, I taught my one-year-old niece to clap for herself whenever she successfully got the lid on her sippy cup. Sure, that may not seem like much of an accomplishment to those of us whose motor skills are advanced to the point that we could complete such a task consistently*, but for a tike like her, it was something to celebrate. What does this have to do with this game? The Texas offense has looked poor enough that I think they might want to start clapping for themselves whenever they make a first down.

*I think I reached this point about three years ago.

1:28 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
Texas not only gains a couple first downs on their opening drive of the second half, but they also tie the game with a field goal. I'm now picturing Mack Brown clapping wildly like my niece. Oddly, the mental picture is complete with Mack sitting in a high chair, like my niece. Once again, I think I have too much time on my hands.

1:41 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
OU's Ryan Reynolds comes up with a tackle.
Cue a random tangent relating to Ryan Reynolds, just not this one...
Remember when Ryan Reynolds starred in the sitcom "Two Guys, A Girl, and a Pizza Place," but after a couple of seasons the show changed its title to the more concise (and ambiguous) "Two Guys and a Girl"? Did the shows producers really think that having the pizza place involved was holding the show back? Was there an actual conversation that involved the quote, "I think we may really have something here, but the pizza place is dead weight. We have to drop it"?*

*These are the type of thoughts spurned by boring football games.

1:49 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
Toss some some Twinkies in the deep fryer, it's time to celebrate in Dallas as the Longhorns scored an actual touchdown. The myth that field goals are the only way to score points in football has officially been debunked.

1:57 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
With the realization that touchdowns are still the most effictive way of scoring points in American football, the Sooners follow suit and tie the game at 13. I'm also now remembering that football can be entertaining.

2:18 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
In a shocking turn of events, we see a field goal. What are the odds?

2:26 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas
The Sooners fall a foot short in converting on fourth-and-one at midfield. The broadcast crew applauds coach Bob Stoops for "remaining true to himself" and being aggressive in the situation. I applaud myself for not turning off the television after such a weird statement.

2:33 p.m.
Oklahoma @ Texas (obviously... i think this labeling has run its course)
Texas defensive back Aaron Williams makes an absurdly athletic interception, placing the Longhorns in scoring territory again. Time to seal things up?

2:36 p.m.
The answer to the previous question is "no" as the Sooners come up with an interception of their own. This game has had a strong "When in Rome" feel... When one team fumbles, the other does, too. When one team can't score anything more than a field goal, the other follows suit. When one team finally scores a touchdown, the other does right away. Now, when one team throws a pick, the other follows in a hurry. I'm kind of hoping that one coach declares that his school has been cheating and that all their wins should be given to Kansas State. They'll be back in bowl contention in no time.

2:42 p.m.
Interception Texas. Time for another round of hot potato?

2:46 p.m.
Not sure how I've gone this far without mentioning that Brent Musberger is wearing a hot pink shirt with a yellow tie and a brown jacket. Note to self: style is not a requirement to make it in the world of sports broadcasting.

2:54 p.m.
Texas runs out the clock and wins in rather uneventful fashion, 16-13. Fitting end to a rather uneventful game. At least the Longhorns can go clap for themselves now.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nothing but Football - Monday Night Edition

Since its incarnation, the wildly popular* "Nothing but Football" series has been limited to covering college football on Saturdays. Those who tend to be curious might wonder why NBF has yet to venture into the realm of professional football. The answer to that query has little to do with the fact that I do not enjoy the pro game; but, a lot to do with the fact that I'm lazy. Nonetheless, tonight we at The Writings are making the transition to the NFL. It's Monday night, the Dolphins are facing off against the Jets, and my fantasy football teams needs 13 points to secure a victory. If that's not a storyline that will draw folks in, I have no idea what is.

*Read: The author enjoys it.

7:54 p.m. - Dolphins' running back Ronnie Brown scores from three yards out to cap an 80-yard opening drive. Brown is the one player in this game that the fortunes of my fantasy football squad - "Get Off of Mike Cloud"* - lean on. Thanks to my decision to play a suspended wide receiver over a Cowboy that had more receiving yards than anyone in team history, my squad enters the final game of the week trailing by 12 fantasy points. Oddly, I feel pretty good about my chances. 

*If you have a working knowledge of Rolling Stones' songs and former Chiefs running backs, hopefully this comes off as slightly humorous... If not, it fits pretty well with everything else in this blog. 

8:00 p.m.  - I realize that the simple fact that I feel good about something probably spells doom more assuredly than most spelling bee participants. I am the guy that predicted both Kansas State and the Kansas City Chiefs to win their games this past weekend. Instead, they lost by allowing a combined 3,851 passing yards.*

*Figure may not be accurate, but it's my best estimate.

8:01 p.m. - The Jets fake a punt and the punter actually runs like an athlete. No offense to the punters of the world, (and I have little room to talk, since I run with the speed of an overburdened burro), but the fact is that most punters look like they're running in concrete shoes when the have the oppotunity to sprint on the field.

8:07 p.m. - Jets' receiver Braylon Edwards catches a touchdwon pass from rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez to tie the game. Edwards started the week as a member of the Cleveland Browns, but was traded last Wednesday. Edwards had gone 12 games since his last touchdown reception with the Browns. He also allegedly got into a fight with a friend of Cleveland's favorite son, LeBron James. It seems there's a lesson to be learned from all of this: If you want to be traded from one of the worst teams in the NFL to a playoff contender, perform poorly for an extended period of time and then deck a celebrity's pal. It's just that easy.

8:28 p.m. - Commentator and former coach Jon Gruden is speaking in glowing fashion concerning New York assistant head coach Bill Callahan. I know some Nebraska fans that might disagree with his assessment.

8:42 p.m. - Rendering the very title of this Writing moot, my digital cable has discovered TBS, where the Philadelphia Phillies lead the Colorado Rockies 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth inning. A win for the Phillies would push them to the National League Championship Series, where they'd face the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Rockies are the team I decided to back when the Royals were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. (Although I still think they might be able to find a loophole to get into the World Series... Never give up!) Unfortunately, my backing seems to have eerie powers, as all teams that I root for are prone to disappointmet. Thus, I apologize, Rockies. You did not deserve the curse of my support.

8:51 p.m. - A strikeout ends things for the Rockies, and the Phillies are celebrating their series victory. If only I could bring myself to root for the Yankees, I'm pretty sure they would fold like an expert oragamist.

8:53 p.m. - A 15-yard pass to Ronnie Brown is nixed thanks to a Miami holding penalty. I haven't felt this invested in anything involving the Dolphins since I was rooting for Ace Ventura (pet detective) to figure out who kidnapped Snowflake, the field goal kicking dolphin.

9:01 p.m. - After totaling 8 fantasy points on Miami's first drive, Brown has tallied just one since. It seems that now is a good point to show concern that I might lose this matchup in tight fashion. Apparently I need to quit rooting for myself.

9:11 p.m. - After deep thought, I'm now wondering how deeply The Curse of Derek's Support actually affects my life. I mean, my favorite NFL team has won just two of the last 30 it has competed in; the college squad I root for lost by 52 points on Saturday; the one Major League Baseball team I support no matter how many mistakes they make has not been to the postseason since I was three years old. Can this all be coincidental? Or do I not only need to abandon any athletic allegiances I have, but also start rooting against myself in life to have a better chance at success? (C'mon, Derek! Make a complete ass of yourself in public!)

9:25 p.m. - The Dolphins just went three-and-out on a series in which Ronnie Brown did not see the field. If there is a concern-colored crayon in your box of 64, you might want to grab it right now.

9:35 p.m. - Mr. Brown returns and carries for seven yards. Go Ronnie! ... Wait, I mean, don't go, Ronnie! Fail! Fail!

9:36 p.m. - This whole jinx idea has me rather conflicted.

9:38 p.m. - A six-yard carry by Brown puts him at 12 points on the night and ties me with my opponent. At this point, I need to root against fumbles and carries for negative yards... I mean, I need to root for those events. I'm going to figure this whole thing out at some point.

9:44 p.m. - Miami running back Ricky Williams runs for a first down, hurdling over a defender on his way. This seems like a good time to mention that the Kansas State defense limited Williams to 43 yards on 25 carries during his Heisman Trophy-winning 1998 season. Ahh, memories.

9:50 p.m. - The Dolphins grab a 17-14 lead when quarterback Chad Henne connects with tight end Anthony Fasano for a short touchdown pass. Said play has no implications on my fantasy football match up, but apparently the outcome of this game actually matters, too. Who knew?

9:57 p.m. - Braylon Edwards just made one of the most athletic touchdown receptions that anyone familiar with football could imagine. To attempt to describe it would be an exercise in futility.

10:01 p.m. - Note to self: Edit the last entry, as a coach's challenge resulted in Edwards being marked down at the one-yard line, as opposed to finding the end zone.

10:02 p.m. - Guess what, Miami? Your challenge doesn't matter. The Jets score the very next play.

10:09 p.m. - Not two minutes after Gruden mentions that the Dolphins need to get receive Ted Ginn involved in the game, Henne connects with him for a 53-yard score. I'm not frantically searching to see if I can find Gruden's cell phone number in order to request that he mention that Ronnie Brown needs to score another touchdown.

10:11 p.m. - In what has to be a shock to many, it turns out that I do not have the cell phone number of a former NFL head coach that once led his team to a Super Bowl victory.

10:17 p.m. - The Dolphins break up a pass on third down and the ESPN production crew cuts to a shot of what seems to be some fan that is on the field pretending to be a cheerleader. He just threw down a pair of foam fingers in excitement.

10:21 p.m. - A two-yard carry by Brown gives him 60 rushing yards on the night. It also gives Get Off of Mike Cloud a 102-101 lead. Now I might be forced to root for Brown to be benched the rest of the game, just to avoid any possibilty of achieving negative points.

10:22 p.m. - Call the game due to lightning! Call the game due to lightning!

10:23 p.m. - I realize there has been no threat of stormy weather in the Miami area tonight... I'm just shooting for hope.

10:27 p.m. - The Jets just picked up 49 yards on a pass interference penalty that should have never been called. 49 yards! The referee that called that one may need to send an apology card later on this week.

10:29 p.m. - The Jets score one play later and now lead 27-24. Fantasy implications or none, this is one heck of a game.

10:39 p.m. - There are less than two minutes left in the game. Miami trails by three; yet, they're alternating quarterbacks. Calling this strategy "unconventional" is like calling the throwback uniforms the Broncos wore this weekend "aesthetically displeasing."

10:43 p.m. - Touchdown, Ronnie Brown! Brown carries up the middle for a score with just six seconds left. He just cemented a victory for Get Off of Mike Cloud... Oh yeah, and I guess he helped his real team out a little, too.

10:45 p.m. - It seems that I can put off rooting against myself for now. Ronnie Brown has proven that the Derek Curse can be overcome. Thank goodness. I would have felt pretty awkward quietly repeating to myself "Say some thing offensive! Say something offensive!" when encountering potential dates.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Something for the "Bad Idea" File

Whether or not you, dear reader, are a member of the Twitter community, I have confidence that you have at least some idea of what the ornithologically named social networking website is. With 140 characters at their disposal, people can post updates (tweets) on whatever they like. People might post what they're currently doing, their thoughts on current events, or lousy attempts at being funny*. Twitter has become a worldwide phenomenon. Everyone from no-name bloggers to failed vice presidential candidates utilizes the tweet factory.

*I'm sure you've guessed what category most of my tweets fall into.

Unfortunately, like most areas of the web, Twitter also suffers from spam. Twitter accounts are created every day that have as much legitimacy as the guys selling bootlegged DVDs on the street corners of big cities. Believe it or not, the tweets from these spammers don't really cover a wide range of topics. As one would expect, like evil pied pipers, they're all trying to lead you somewhere you probably shouldn't go.

A bevy of these spammers attempt to post things that should be... uhh... provacative in nature. Unfortunately, such tweets aren't always thought out in good fashion.*

*Insert appalled gasp here.

A post I read earlier this evening had me particularly concerned. I noticed I had a new follower on Twitter. Thinking it might someone willing to pay me a very generous salary to write anti-Favre propaganda, I checked the identity of said new follower. It was then that I discovered that this was a blatant spam account. I was about to click away from the page, when I noticed the account's most recent post.

"Taking a shower."

Now one convenient thing about Twitter is that you can update it from anywhere. All you need is a computer, a Blackberry, a cellphone, or a carrier pigeon with bluetooth*. Unfortunately, none of those items react very well with water. Believe me. I received 44 phone calls between the hours of 2 and 5 a.m. the other night as the result of a family member's phone acting as a sponge. Electronics and water are not yet good buddies.

*I cannot confirm that the final option actually works.

Because we at The Writings value education, we're going to pass on a lesson to all; even the spammers out there. Feel free to tweet that you're eating broccoli. Feel free to tweet that you're enjoying an a cappella rendition of Rockin' Robin. Feel free to tweet that you have issues with the plot of Teen Wolf. Just don't tweet when you're showering. It's bad news for everyone.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Quick Thoughts - Five Hour Energy Edition

According to a televised ad, the big question surround Five Hour Energy is "What's in it?"

Thankfully, this ad keeps suspense to a minimum, following with the answer.

"Everything in Five Hour Energy is available in everyday foods - like apples, avocados, broccoli, or bananas - or already in you."

Pardon me, ad wizards, but I must ask a few questions of my own...

- Is there a reason that you refused to look beyond the letters A and B in your Encyclopedia Britannica when finding foods to mention in your ad?

- Who eats avocado every day? Is there some sort of Guacoholics Anonymous organization that I'm unaware of?

- Could you really not craft better wording than saying many Five Hour Energy ingredients are "already in you"? Unless Five Hour Energy is actually a drink created to help convert all daywalkers into vampiric beings, I'm not sure your wording paints the correct picture.

- Was there a study completed to determine that five hours of oddly-flavored energy is the preferred amount? And how accurate is that five-hour estimation? If I don't feel that I got a full five hours of energy after ingesting this concoction, can I complain and get those valuable minutes back?

Thought for the Day - Cycloptic Tiger

The '80s band Survivor released "Eye of the Tiger" in 1982. In fact, according to this, Survivor's examination of tiger optometry was the top song in the U.S. on the date of my birth. The song was prominently featured in the third movie of the Rocky series (as were Mr. T and Hulk Hogan... Perhaps this film should have been called "The Perfect Storm.") and has since been pumped through the PA systems of stadiums and arenas to get sports fans psyched up for athletic competitions.

As songs from the '80s go, it's rather iconic.

I just have one question: Why does this tiger only have one eye? If having the "eye of the tiger" is an advantage, wouldn't having multiple tiger eyes weigh things even further in your favor? (That was two questions... That type of miscalculation is what I get for avoiding math since sixth grade.)

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Ode to the Drunk Sitting Behind Me

It's game day at Arrowhead Stadium,
The game clock has just started to crawl;
Unfortunately the guy sitting behind me,
Has consumed absurd amounts of alcohol.

K-State stands on our side, Iowa State on the other,
Meanwhile, we're up in the top stadium deck;
There's no chance someone on the field could hear your "quips,"
Nevertheless, you decide to check.

Your taunts of the Cyclones are insufferable,
Your mouth is where lame, slurred comments are born;
I understand the opposing squad is from Iowa,
But please don't tell them to "G'eat some hot corn."

I'm not sure how many beers you've consumed,
Nor the number of brain cells you now lack;
But, it's hard to pass much respect your way,
When you fall forward over my seat and onto my back.

I help you back up, you mumble something incoherent,
It's quite a relationship that we maintain;
I don't recall any bonding, or singing of "Lean on Me,"
But with your level of inebriation, you'd probably forget the refrain.

Apologies are passed on by your family,
But, oddly, the booze continues to flow;
Seems that those truly apologetic,
Would either cut you off or tell you to go.

How can I tell that you're still drinking?
How do I know that on a liquid diet you continue to dine?
Perhaps it's a gift, a sixth sense, if you will,
That, or I feel the suds just spilled down my spine.

More apologies are given, a "free ride" is mentioned,
I'm not really sure what that means;
I just know my shirt smells a lot like a brew now,
Sitting in front of you? It was "Bad Idea Jeans."

The game is a tight one. It's down to the wire,
I could live without you hitting me as you clap and cheer;
The 'cats won by one, so I'll try not to complain,
Your celebration? Probably more beer.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


At the grocery store this evening, I noticed a couple. Both members of this couple had a cart, and each cart contained as many six-packs of soda bottles as one could possibly fit in a grocery cart. Seriously. I'm fairly confident that if the greatest minds in the world of architectural engineering convened at this grocery store, they would not have been able to find a way to get more six-packs of soda in these carts.

The question that immediately came to mind, upon seeing these carts, was, "Why in the world do these two need that much soda?" After much thought, I have decided there are three possible answers.

1. They plan to take the soda to an undisclosed location, remove the labels, and then stick their own labels on them, all in effort to start their own soda company, which they have unfortunately decided to call "I Can't Believe It's Not Dr. Pepper."

2. They're so concerned about children's teeth rotting from sugary soda that they're buying all they can and then pouring the bottles into area rivers, ponds and streams. Sadly, this means we'll soon encounter hordes of deer on caffeine highs and with rotting teeth.  

3. They recently purchased a pet store and they're really interested in testing whether hamsters will explode if they drink highly carbonated beverages.

As I see it, these are the only three possible explanations for buying that much soda.

What do you mean, "They might be having a party"?

... I guess that's possible. But would exploding hamsters really add that much to a party?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

People in your Neighborhood - Back to the Park

It's true; we at The Writings have dissected* the sort of folk on might encounter during a lap around their nearest park before. Nonetheless, the wonderful thing about the park is that no two trips are alike. Consider the park-goers encountered in my neighborhood this very evening...

*Not literally.

The guy looking for the gym
Whenever one goes out to do any sort of activity that might be considered exercise (running, walking, biking, army crawling, weightlifting, chasing one's shadow, hiding from gypsies, or spinning until one becomes dizzy), it seems one is always bound to encounter a muscle-bound person that looks like they went to GNC and purchased an Everything Basket. From television and film, I gather some of these Herculean folks think a clever way to impress those of the female variety is to ask them "Which way to the gym?"*

*I have never tried this. Reasons: 1) It's creepy; 2) I have little muscle to speak of; 3) I look younger than my age. So young that the female hearing this query would probably direct me toward the jungle gym... Oooh, monkey bars!

This evening, I encountered such a Hans-and-Franz-ian individual. He walked with a menacing stature, wearing a cutoff shirt to alert everyone that he was, in fact, strong. Sadly for this fellow, the "Which way to the gym?" question would not have worked out well, as he was carrying two dumbbells with him on his stroll. Some might say this is a method to help gain strength as one walks. I like to think he left the gym and forgot how to get back.

"No, seriously, which way to the gym? They know I have these dumbells and I don't want to have to pay for them."

The guy looking for the fridge
The title of this one is misleading. I'm not referring to any folks that might be large in stature and candidates for the next season of The Biggest Loser. No, the man I'm referring to looked like a refrigerator repairman. This silver-haired gentleman enjoyed his evening constitutional while wearing a dirty t-shirt, dirty jeans, and aviator sunglasses that have surely been around since the last time they were in style. I cannot confirm that he had a wrench in his back pocket, but as he meandered around the park's perimeter, he almost seemed like he was searching for something - something like the house he was supposed to be completing a service call at.

The guy with a tattoo in an unfortunate location
As I journeyed around the municipal recreation area, several joggers zipped past me at different times. Did I feel silly sauntering down the sidewalk when so many folks were getting in touch with their inner Prefontaine? No. I despise running. It's horrible. I really, really cannot stand it. (Editor's note: This anti-running rant carried on for approximately 2,387 more words. In the interest of reader wellness, we have eliminated the rest.)

The joggers that went by came in all shapes in sizes - big and small; round and stick-like; dogless and dogful - but only one made me stop to ponder his sanity. As I walked northward on the west end of the park, a figure zipped past me without warning. I was listening to my iPod and pondering what life would be like with discernable skills; therefore, I heard no approaching footsteps. As the figure took off past me, I noticed it was some guy lacking a shirt. Whether he wore no shirt as a fashion choice or a product of the recession was unclear, but one thing was not: his lower back. There, at the L-5 vertebrae, was ink on skin creating some sort of design that I did not bother to commit to memory. Like so many Hollywood starlets and college-aged females, he had a tattoo on his lower back.

Unfortunately for this guy, he apparently is not aware of the following rule: tattoo on a girl's lower back - okay; tattoo on a guy's lower back - odd and disturbing. Unfortunately, I spent the rest of my walk around the park pondering why this guy would get the ink-needle treatment on this area of his body. Was it a fraternity prank while he was passed out? Is his idol Angelina Jolie? Was it as the result of a pinkie-swear with his BFF? I probably should have asked, but catching up with him would have involved running.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Nothing But Football Strikes Back: The Main Event

At this point in time, my couch is making comments about how lazy I am, but I can't quit now. It's nearly Wildcat game-time.

9:09 p.m.
Before we get to K-State-UCLA coverage, we're treated to the end of the Cincinnati-Oregon State contest. Out of sheer boredom, I decided to look at Cincy's athletic website. It makes me wonder if they have a difficult time believing that they actually have a successful football program.
Why do I feel this way? The Bearcats list their spring game as a victory on their schedule page.

9:24 p.m.
Apparently things are more relaxed on the west coast. I was pretty certain kickoff was set for 9:15 p.m. Weird.

9:27 p.m.
UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel basically confirms that we'll see two different UCLA quarterbacks in the game tonight. With that, the over/under for quarterbacks to appear in this game is set at 4.5. What's your bet?

9:30 p.m.
Wildcat quarterback Carson Coffman carries the ball on two consecutive plays. The next play, running back Daniel Thomas carries. One of the plays was not like the others.

9:33 p.m.
An announcer insists on calling K-State receiver Attrail Snipes "AN-trail," despite the fact that his first name does not contain the letter necessary to create the "nuh" sound in the English language. Oh well. Names can be DIN-ficult.

9:35 p.m.
After putting together a rather productive drive, it all goes awry when Coffman throws an interception after being flushed from the pocket. Opening-drive points are overrated, anyway.

9:45 p.m.
The Bruins take a 7-0 lead after pushing the ball down the field in fairly impressive fashion. D'oh.

9:52 p.m.
Right after I send a text message complaining about too many carries by Coffman, the Cats get a big gain on a shovel pass that was perfectly set up by the QB run threat, and then get another good gain on a QB keeper. There are many reasons I don't coach football; this supports one of them.

9:53 p.m.
After missing a touchdown by a length of receiver Brandon Banks' toes, kicker Josh Cherry knocks in a field goal to put the Wildcats on the board. Cherry missed three kicks a week ago, so such a sight is akin to seeing a Gatorade factory after being lost in the Sahara.

9:59 p.m.
UCLA has a touchdown called back due to having an ineligible receiver downfield. Nonetheless, I'm beginning to have second thoughts about my prediction.

10:05 p.m.
UCLA hits a field goal, and it's revealed that some stats for this game are sponsored by K-State is thin enough on the defensive line that I'm tempted to check eharmony for some backups. Does it work as a recruiting service?

10:14 p.m.
UCLA converts on 3rd-and-14.

10:15 p.m.
I turn on the curse-word filter in my head.

10:16 p.m.
UCLA decides to try to pick on the most proven player on the K-State defense, cornerback Josh Moore. Moore expresses his appreciation by pulling down an interception. I'm not sure what the Bruins were trying to accomplish there, but I hope they try it a few more times.

10:26 p.m.
K-State is penalized after a UCLA player shoves a Wildcat into the Bruin punt returner. Two plays later, the Bruins are down to the Wildcat 35-yard-line. Luckly, the curse-filter is working effectively.

10:31 p.m.
Wildcats limit Bruins to a field goal. Bruins lead 13-3. K-State is right back in this game if they can score a touchdown... Unfortunately, at times that seems like a pretty big "if."

10:37 p.m.
Daniel Thomas completes a pass out of the Wildcat formation... And tonight's winner of the "get this guy the ball more" award is... Daniel Thomas!

10:39 p.m.
Thomas gets the ball... Unfortunately, he has to scoop it off the turf after a failed pitch on the option. What starts with 'p' and rhymes with bunt?

10:42 p.m.
UCLA leads 13-3 at the half. The announcer deems it an "effective" half for both squads. I disagree.

11:06 p.m.
We're back, and the announcers are talking about the Rose Bowl as if it is the Holy Land. I'm 98-percent sure that's not true.

11:16 p.m.
The Wildcat offense looks effective thus far on this drive. The reason? Thomas has taken several snaps in the Wildcat and has befulddled the Bruin defense. No. 8 needs to be involved in nearly every play at this point.

11:22 p.m.
"A lot of Wildcat fans expected Thomas to be a Michael Beasley or Ell Roberson-type."
Honestly, I didn't expect Daniel Thomas to be anything like Michael Beasley. I don't recall him doing much on the gridiron.

11:24 p.m.
Thomas finds paydirt. Wildcat fans find hope. Coach Snyder finds an offensive option.

11:25 p.m.
The special teams unit finds a new way to botch an extra point when the holder somehow cannot find the ground to set the ball on. I've lost track of a lot of things in my life, but the ground has never been one of them.

11:30 p.m.
UCLA punts after finding nothing on offense. Can the Cats score on back-to-back possessions?

11:33 p.m.
No. But, the Bruins' next drive starts at their own 4 after a nifty punt by Ryan Doerr.

11:37 p.m.
UCLA punts from its own end zone and KSU's next drive will start at the Bruin 41. Can the Cats score on alternating possessions?

11:40 p.m.
A Bruin defender leads with his head instead of thinking with it, prompting a flag and extending the Wildcats' drive. Hooray for mindless antics.

11:43 p.m.
The field goal unit is back. Accuracy is not. K-State misses an opportunity to cut the UCLA lead to one. I think they might be approaching the record for missed kicks set by a Charles Brown years ago.

11:46 p.m.
UCLA receiver Nelson Rosario a one-handed grab that any receiver would envy. Speaking from experience, it's also a catch that brings fans of the opposing team to shout obscenities.

11:54 p.m.
The UCLA kicker nailes a field goal. He's on the Groza Award (best kicker) watch list. It seems that a kicker is something one takes for granted until they don't have one.

11:58 p.m.
That drive was about as productive as a visit from a Jehovah's Witness.

12:03 a.m.
We're past midnight, and UCLA drive is saved by a horse-collar penalty. The Bruins capitalize with a long passing touchdown... I never have been a fan of equestrian fashion. 

12:14 a.m.
A pass that basically amounted to K-State's last chance to stay in this game just fluttered to the ground like wounded moth. Thirteen hours after it began, Nothing But Football day ends with nothing but aggravation. This game could have been something very different, but the production from certain areas on this team is far less than it should be.  

12:18 a.m.
Unbelievably, K-State attempts to defy my eulogy by forcing a fumble and getting the ball back. Miracle time?

12:20 a.m.
If allowing two sacks, a near-interception, and an actual interception in a span of four plays counts as a miracle, then yes; miracles can happen. Who has a fork? This one is done. Bruins 23, Wildcats 9. 

12:22 a.m.
I never have liked football, anyway.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Nothing But Football Strikes Back: 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.

This edition of Nothing But Football brought to you by Little Caesar's Pizza. Providing authors of blogs that few read with suitable Saturday evening meals since the dawn of time.*

*Timeline may be skewed.

6:59 p.m.
Louisiana Lafayette @ Louisiana State
LSU leads the battle for Cajun Country 14-0 in the second quarter. A Lafayette victory would make K-State's loss to them look a lot more respectable... I'm not expecting to gain any respect.

7:06 p.m.
Florida State @ BYU
For the second time today, I've heard mention of a football player missing some time with the swine flu... I know there's a lot of this going around, and that it's a serious issue, but would it be so wrong if we started calling it the "pig plague"? Alliteration makes everything better.

7:17 p.m.
Florida State @ BYU
The play-by-play announcer for this game is slightly less annoying than having your ear canal serve as a temporary beehive. Enough is enough, and it's time for a change.

7:36 p.m.
Texas Tech @ Texas
The Longhorns return a punt for a touchdown and end up celebrating near the school mascot, Bevo - an actual longhorn. The beastly being rose to its feet and for a moment I thought we might see what it would look like if a rodeo clown wore football pads. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and Bevo went back to simply hating his life as a showcow.

7:53 p.m.
Texas Tech @ Texas
Thanks to a hot-potato fumble, the Red Raiders just lost 32 yards on one play. Oddly, Texas Tech chooses not to go for it on 4th-and-41. I think they need a dose of "bold and daring."

7:54 p.m.
Self-loathing @ Derek
I kind of hate myself for typing that.

7:56 p.m.
Texas Tech @ Texas
According to Brent Musburger, Texas Tech coach Mike Leach is "absolutely fascinated" by pirates. Garrr?

8:08 p.m.
Temple @ Penn State
How long before PETA attempts to strike the phrase "pooch punt" from the football dictionary? It's bound to happen, right?

8:12 p.m.
Texas Tech @ Texas
After the Red Raiders convert on 4th-and-2, Kirk Herbstreit says that he thinks Detron Lewis has a chance to be "this year's Michael Crabtree." Does this mean Lewis is going to sit out next season when he doesn't think the millions of dollars he's being offered are enough?

8:31 p.m.
West Virginia @ Auburn
Word from the press box is that there are several "smurf hybrid" players in this game. Shows what I know... I thought smurfs were fictional. Apparently they're not only real, but they're having interspecies relationships with humans. I wonder if there are any Gargamelian descendants playing on the opposing squad.

8:45 p.m.
Texas Tech @ Texas
The Red Raiders pull off a fake kneel-down so convincing that the referees rule the play dead and the half ends. This proves my theory: referees hate entertainment.
On another note, Mike Leach refrains from talking like a pirate in his halftime interview.

8:58 p.m.
Other games prepare to take a back seat, as it's nearly time for the game everyone* has been waiting for.

*Naturally, for purposes of The Writings, "everyone" refers to everyone that reads this blog. The over-under on this number has been set at 1.5.

Because I enjoy making predictions (even though most inevitably go horribly wrong), here's the shot at tonights game. Wildcats top the Bruins 20-19. You read it here first. (... and probably last.)

Nothing But Football Strikes Back: 2:30 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Previously on Nothing But Football...
Announcers acted as if they owned players, a Cal running back attempted to win the Heisman with one game, and a horrendous pun was offered up by the author.

2:39 p.m.
Utah @ Oregon
No two people have the same fingerprints. No two people have the same DNA. No two snowflakes are exactly alike. Along the same lines, I don't know if the University of Oregon has ever worn the same football uniform twice. I'm waiting for the day that they take the field with Daffy Duck on the side of their helmets.

2:49 p.m.
Michigan State @ Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish score. Bandwagon fans everywhere consider rooting for Notre Dame again, but decide they better wait until they're in definite bowl contention.

2:53 p.m.
Tennessee @ Florida
Bryce Brown, a freshman running back from Wichita, carries the ball for the Volunteers. Brown refused to consider attending K-State when a certain former coach was "pursuing perfection" with the program, but showed a little interest again once Bill Snyder took over the program. Alas, it was not enough to land Mr. Brown.
Ron Prince - the gift that keeps on giving.

Non-football Rant (effectively rendering the title of this Writing "Nothing but Football..." moot. Sorry. You get what you pay for.)
Can someone explain the concept behind the Tacos at Midnight-flavored Doritos? Is there a distinct difference between the taste of a taco at midnight and the taste of a taco at any other time of day? Does it refer to the fact that the disgruntled employees of a fast-food Mexican place might even be further disgruntled if they are still making tacos at midnight? Or is this flavor derived from the fact that most people who are eating tacos at the midnight hour probably have some booze in their system? Have the chips been soaked in skunky beer? Which is it?

3:22 p.m.
Tulsa @ Oklahoma
I enjoy watching OU backup quarterback Landry Jones, who is taking snaps since Sam Bradford went down in the opening game of the season, play football. Why? It has nothing to do with his playing style. It has everything to do with the fact that he currently is sporting a mustache that makes him look like a skinny Farva from Super Troopers. It's undeniably entertaining.

4:13 p.m.
Michigan State at Notre Dame
The Spartans score to take a 17-16 lead just before halftime. The game is a tight one, but the more entertaining thought is the idea of a bunch of rowdy Irishmen actually fighting against Spartan Warriors. That would be an epic battle.

Quick aside...
For those worried about the well-being of someone who stays locked up in his apartment all day watching football when the weather is near-gorgeous in the outdoor world, don't fret. My windows are wide open. I could not get more fresh air if they sold it in packets at vending machines... Although that's probably because I would refuse to buy it, much like bottled water.

5:04 p.m.
Tulsa @ Oklahoma
The Sooner Troopers are up 45-0 with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter and the game's announcers have begun comparing football to life. "You get knocked down, you gotta get back up." ... I'll take "Quotes you hear when your team has no chance of winning," Alex.

5:05 p.m.
Tulsa @ Oklahoma
I also realized that the announcer was dangerously close to quoting Chumbawamba. What ever happened to that group?

5:13 p.m.
Nebraska @ Virginia Tech
According to the sideline reporter, a player in this game "just limped off with a right leg." I'll take instead of the alternative (limping off without a right leg) any day.

5:30 p.m.
Tennessee @ Florida
The Gators just picked off a Volunteer pass to seal a 23-13 victory. One commentator talks of how Tennessee put up a good fight against the top team in the nation, and says that coach Lane Kiffen might not sing "Rocky Top" (the unofficial fight song of UT) after the game, but he can sing Aretha Franklin's "Respect."  I will mail my next paycheck to CBS if Kiffen does this in his postgame interview.

5:34 p.m.
Tennessee @ Florida
My paycheck is safe.

5:46 p.m.
Nebraska @ Virginia Tech
Behind 15-10, two Hokies just hooked up on an 81-yard pass play to put them at Nebraska's three-yard-line with just over a minute left. No failed attempt to be amusing here. It was just an impressive play.

5:50 p.m.
Nebraska @ Virginia Tech
After dancing in the pocket for seemingly the length of a Harry Potter marathon, VT quarterback Tyrone Taylor finds a receiver in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. Hokies 16, Huskers 15, with 21 seconds remaining. Wow.

5:54 p.m.
An update was just shown of the USC-Washington matchup, in which the Huskies upset the No. 3 Trojans. Two words come to mind: Ha. Ha.

5:56 p.m.
Nebraska @ Virginia Tech
A VT interception ends things. The Hokies are victorious. Virginia Tech was the higher ranked team, yet VT fans are storming the field, causing a ruckus in general, and forcing coach Frank Beamer to yell at a few of them. I refuse to attempt to make sense of this situation.

6 p.m.
Michigan State @ Notre Dame
In a situation that could not be made up, a Notre Dame player just tackled his own teammate in the Irish backfield. I hope the statkeepers at least give the guy credit for the tackle. It was a decent hit.

Nothing But Football Strikes Back: 11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

It's Saturday, again. It's a day full of college football games, again. The Kansas State Wildcats are on the road, again.

Bake those ingredients at 350-degrees for a couple of hours and, odds are, I'll be about as active today as an average paperclip.*

*What about an above-average paperclip? Your expectations of me are entirely too high.

With my agenda set*, my couch fully prepared to support my body weight for 13 hours, and my fridge just 12 feet away, it seems that the second edition of Nothing But Football is imminent. Join me, won't you?

*11 a.m. - Midnight - watch football and note observations that I (and most likely no one else) find relevant and/or slightly humorous.
Midnight - 12:01 a.m. - Briefly regret the fact that I have no life to speak of.
12:01 - 12:02 a.m. - Consider actually developing some social skills, which might aide one in developing a social life.
12:02 a.m. - 12:03 a.m. - Say "nah" quietly to myself, with a wry grin; the sort you might expect at the close of a poorly written 1980s sitcom.
12:03 a.m - Sleep

10:44 a.m.
College Gameday
No, games have not started yet, but ESPN is already doing its best to grind my gears. For the past year, whenever a situation has called for Texas Tech highlights to air, the network has seemingly just popped in the game film from the Red Raiders' game with K-State last season. I realize that Tech dominated, winning 58-28. I also realize that then-quarterback Graham Harrell threw for over 400 yards and six touchdowns. Nevertheless, as a K-State alum, I would not mind occasionally seeing a highlight of a Red Raider touchdown that did not take place in Manhattan. Please.

11:03 a.m.
Cal @ Minnesota
"This is what college football is all about."
I'm not sure how many times I have heard that phrase, but I'm pretty confident that every time I've heard it, it has been in reference to something different. Just now, the phrase was uttered regarding the atmosphere at TCF Bank Stadium. Apparently college football is "all about" corporate sponsorships.

11:10 a.m.
Cal @ Minnesota
The Golden Bears just put together a rather impressive scoring drive, going 80 yards in nine plays. All but seven of those yards game via Cal's rushing attack, led by running back Jahvid Best. Meanwhile, one commentator mentioned that Minnesota defenders were waiting for the arrival of the Calvary. Not the cavalry, mind you, but the Calvary. This game seems to have taken a religious turn.

11:23 a.m.
Duke @ Kansas
Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis finds a hole in the defense and runs 20+ yards for a touchdown. The Blue Devils lead the Jayhawks 7-0. It's early - very early - and the odds of Duke holding on to such a lead are akin to a donut's chance of surviving on the KU sideline. Nevertheless, I always enjoy the thought of the Jayhawks losing.

11:32 a.m.
Eastern Michigan @ Michigan
The Wolverines score to take a 10-3 lead and the Michigan band celebrates by playing "Hail to the Victors." The aforementioned fight song is also the fight song of my high school alma mater; as a result, I'm reminded of my high school glory days on the gridiron. It's hard to believe it's been ten years since those in the class ahead of me made it their personal missions to see how firmly they could plant me in the dirt each day in practice. (Pretty deep, it turns out.) Nothing like a good game of "paste the skinny kid that minds his own business." Ah, memories.

12:11 p.m.
Cal @ Minnesota
Jahvid Best takes off for his third touchdown of the day. The score prompts one of the commentators to say, "That's my boy."
... I don't think he's speaking literally.

12:47 p.m.
Duke @ Kansas
KU leads 20-7 at the half. Due to an unwritten but understood rule of The Writings, I cannot provide any more updates of this game unless Duke regains the lead... I wouldn't expect to hear from this game again.

1:02 p.m.
Cal @ Minnesota
The game commentators just talked about a 310-pound offensive lineman that used to play ice hockey. I guess if anyone needs a new twist on the "How much does a polar bear weigh?" pickup line, you might have one.
... Then again, a response of "Not as much as that dude," may not have the intended effect.

1:14 p.m.
East Carolina @ North Carolina
In a battle of directional Carolina's, the northern version blocks a field goal. One announcer refers to the player who blocked the kick as "our guy." Is it just me, or is there a disturbing trend of commentators taking ownership of players today? First we had "my boy," and now "our guy." If we reach the point where a player is referred to as "my schmoopy" I'm calling ESPN to complain.

1:22 p.m.
Cal @ Minnesota
The fightin' Gophers just tied the game at 21 with some trickery, but the noteworthy thing here is that comment from the broadcast crew that "it looked like Cal was going to blow Minnesota out of the gym in the first five minutes." Credit goes to the architects in Minnesota, as they made this gymnasium look frighteningly like an outdoor stadium. It's uncanny.

1:41 p.m.
Eastern Michigan @ Michigan
"Your guy." Is there some sort of illegal college athlete trafficking program going on that I'm unaware of?

2:06 p.m.
Cal @ Minnesota
The Golden Bears have 35 points, and all five of their touchdowns have been scored by Jahvid Best. It's probably safe to say that he's the best of the Bests.

... I'm sorry. It had been awhile since I'd had the chance to write such a horrible pun. It's an addiction and I'm seeking help for it.