Originally written on 08/04/11

After you turn 21, most birthdays don’t mean much of anything. There is nothing about turning 28, for example, that makes it any different than turning 271. Only the decade milestones are still noteworthy, and even then mostly for depressing reasons, for example the “What the fuck did I do with the last decade of my life??” conversation that you have with yourself in the mirror.

As I approach one of these meaningless non-decade early 30’s birthdays, I recently had an experience that made me feel like the guy who drives the windowless van in those 1980’s after school specials trying to find kids to finger bang. It was a crysturbation2 situation with a side order of dirty old man shame. My skin is crawling even writing about it days later.

The scene: I am attending a local event which involves a variety of people dressed in costume and playing a role or character3. I walk past a local lass wearing a costume that could be best be summarized as “boner-tastic” and I do a painfully poor job of hiding the fact that I am ogling her. You would have thought I was trying to solve a magic eye puzzle. My tax forms don’t get that much of my attention.

A few beers later that same day in another part of town, I walk past the same lass again. This time, however, she has changed out of costume and into a t-shirt that reads “[City name] High School Class of 2013.” I didn’t exactly set the curve in my math classes growing up4, but I’m pretty sure that means that the best-case scenario there is that she is SIXTEEN (16) years old.

As I stood in complete shock, staring off into the middle distance and absently wondering if I was going to throw up as I tried to piece together what the fuck just happened, the following thoughts ran through my mind in rapid succession:

A. There was a time in my life when having that kind of reaction to a girl that young would have been no big deal. That time ended about the same year that Bill Clinton was cramming Robustos into his intern’s stink crevice.

B. I was a sophomore in high school the year she was born. If I had been lucky enough to lose my virginity that year and the condom broke, she could be my daughter.

C. The car I drove to the event that day is the same age as that girl5. And it’s not even the oldest car I own.

D. When I turn 32 in August, I will officially be twice her age.

E. That guy up ahead kinda looks like Chris Hansen. Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck don’t make eye contact, maybe he didn’t see you, NO I DON’T WANT TO HAVE A SEAT RIGHT OVER THERE.

And just like that, a normally meaningless early 30’s birthday has taken on new meaning: I will soon be twice as old as a 16 year old. If I don’t make it to Vegas in 2012, will someone please DVR my episode of “To Catch a Predator” for me?

1 Unless you are Amy Winehouse. She would probably like another shot at that whole 27 thing. But fuck her.

2 Defined as: anything that turns you on but simultaneously makes you feel like a broken human being for being turned on by it. If you’ve ever jerked it to those Japanese cartoons where the chick gets fucked by tentacles2b then the previous sentence probably made complete sense to you.

2b Footnote to the previous footnote – you don’t have to lie to me, you have totally done this. Excessively Hairy Robin Williams will be coming by shortly to embrace you in an awkward hug and whisper “It’s not your fault” into your ear repeatedly until you break down sobbing.

3 I live in a county seat so we have all the random summer festivals, some of which have themes that are the thinnest excuses imaginable for people to just get together and get hammered without feeling like alcoholics for being slammed at 11:30 in the morning. “You mean if I dress like a dwarf or some stupid shit, I can have scotch for breakfast? DEAL.”

4 This may or may not be true – I can’t remember much of anything in the way of grades, classes I took, things I learned or pretty much anything that happened in my life before last week.

5 I am clinging to my 1995 Toyota for dear life because it is the newest car that does not require an emissions test ever again in this state. You might find me strange for doing this unless you happened to read the footnotes about crysturbation, in which case you’ve probably given up trying to figure out what the fuck is going on here.

Originally written 07/06/2011

1. Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler – One to relax, and maybe one more to unwind. Motor skills, social skills and critical thinking skills are still at full function (a relative term for me). This is the end of the line for business occasions, or social occasions with people who are easily offended by blumpkin references in casual conversation.

2. Stoned Silence – Number three down the hatch, number four is not far behind. Ability to make conversation PLUMMETS and internal monologue keeps repeating things like “Shit, I’m really starting to feel it.” I have been known to stare into the middle distance with my mouth slightly ajar for minutes at a time during phase 2, like Sarah Palin trying to figure out the square root of something. This is also the phase where the “don’t stare at cleavage for more than three seconds” rule is flagrantly ignored. Ssssssssstoned.

3. Having Trouble Controlling THE VOLUME OF MY VOICE – Four and five down the gullet in gulps, and after this the math stops because who the fuck can count past five of anything when Gentleman Jack is involved? Slide in your ear plugs because it’s time for the repeated shouting of whatever I happen to find funny that night. Think the script of “Talladega Nights” is funny? WHAT IF I SHOUT THEM AT YOU? THE ROOM’S STARTIN TO SPIN REAL FAST…CAUSE OF ALL THE GAYNESS. Last year’s fantasy football draft was treated to “HIDE YO WIFE, HIDE YO KIDS” about 735 times, each rendition funnier than the last.

4. The First Rule of Fight Club is… – Officially too many, that’s what is on the scoreboard right now. You think Ryan Howard would make a better slow pitch softball player than Prince Fielder?!? I WILL PROVE YOU WRONG WITH MY FISTS. Fortunately for me and my beautiful face featuring cheek bones that melt vaginas, most people choose to ignore me or shove me out of the way because the real muscles to support those liquor muscles are painfully absent.

5. Distinguished Southern Gentleman – A glorious and unexplained bridge between angry and vomiting, the DSG rarely makes sense but he always sounds important doing it. Memorable quote from the Distinguished Southern Gentleman (read aloud in your best drunken Foghorn Leghorn for maximum effect): “There are…certain occasions…where it is appropriate to partake in the wearing of pants. This, sir, is NOT one of those occasions. TESTICLES!”

Originally written 06/08/2011

I was recently shopping in one of the many retail warehouses that populate the landscape of suburban America in 20111. After navigating the obstacle course of other shoppers laboring to breathe as they waddle down the aisle because they ate 3700 calories of fast food for lunch, I find what I’m looking for2 and bolt for the checkout.

The checkout clerk, all of 16 years old, scans my item and says to me:

“Can I have your home phone number?”
“No, you cannot have my home phone number.”
“I need to enter a phone number to check you out.”
“Well you better come up with Plan B because I’m not giving you my phone number.”
“We won’t call you or anything.”
“Why are you collecting phone numbers if you don’t intend to call people?”

[Pregnant pause in our exchange. Clerk looks mildly terrified and may be considering calling her manager over.]

“You know what? My phone number is (312) 588-2300. Just put it in there.3

Why do I relay the details of this exchange, which ends with the store clerk thinking (based on my phone number) that I am the Empire Carpet man? Because I want you to understand that I don’t shy away from petty conflict. In fact, I embrace it. Which will make what I am about to say all the more meaningful:

If you find yourself at a blackjack table with another player who does something stupid, like hit on 15 when the dealer is showing 6, and you feel the urge to grab their two cards and shove them so far down that person’s fucking throat that you could give them a paper cut on the back of their dick…take a deep breath and let it slide.

Part of the reason that blackjack is one of the best plays in Vegas is because the house only has a slight advantage, and there is a real element of chance built in to the game. For every dip shit move that causes someone to take a card you may have needed, there will be a balancing moment later on when that same clueless oxygen processor will accidentally take a card that the dealer needed and cause them to bust4.

The guy sitting at 3rd base could be a mouth-breathing hayseed with Brachiosaurus ankles and a T-shirt that says “9-11: The Truth is Out There” or he could be Steven Hawking and Marilyn Vos Savant’s love child. It doesn’t matter – you’re still going to get whatever cards you get. Sit back and enjoy the game.


1 Side note: is there some reason why all stores are now built with 78 foot high ceilings even though none of them sell anything taller than a basketball hoop? Are we planning on storing airplanes in our retail stores during the coming war with North Korea?

2 Made in China, hey what a surprise.

3 Everyone who grew up in Chicago just started laughing…everyone else is probably confused. Hang in there, the answer is in the next paragraph.

4 This actually deserves a celebration that is intentionally over the top and boisterous, because 99.8% of blackjack dealers in Vegas have no fucking personality and deserve to have it rubbed in their face when someone “pulls a Homer Simpson” and beats them with dumb luck.

JetBlue flight attendant quits by verbally assaulting the entire plane over the intercom, then grabs two beers and exits down the inflatable emergency slide:


What a terrific mess. The cast, in order of importance:

1. Passenger – What kind of sociopath cracks somebody in the melon with their luggage, and instead of apologizing tells the guy to FUCK OFF?!? I’ll tell you what kind: the best fucking kind.

We need people like this working as foreign diplomats. “Oh, your pathetic country just got flooded back to the Stone Age because all of your buildings are made out of dried donkey poop and bendy straws? And after years of giving money and weapons to people that we are fighting in a war, now you want money and supplies from us? Let me put you on hold; I’ve got to slice this bread lengthwise before I can crap in it.”

2. Flight Attendant – Nothing more to say really. Just a world class “F You, I Quit” executed with style.

3. JetBlue – Nice job waiting 25 minutes to let anybody know what the hell was going on. It’s not like we’ve had any recent history with airline terrorism in this country, so feel free to finish that iced tea and spend a few minutes reflecting before calling the police.

I also like the statement “At no time was the security or safety of our customers or crewmembers at risk”….yet the guy is being charged with reckless endangerment.

4. Wall St Journal – Good lord, what a horribly written article. Sean Gardiner’s writing toolkit: one Speak ‘n Spell, a refrigerator magnet poetry starter kit, and a bottle of Jim Beam. Go ahead and count how many times some variation of “the official said” appears in that story.

Good call running that photo of an American Airlines plane to illustrate that JetBlue was the company involved in this incident. Anyone with two fingers and access to Google Images could’ve done better than that in about 12 seconds.

Let’s end this with another virtuoso quitting performance:

The Chicago Bears have an interesting dilemma heading into training camp: what to do with Garrett Wolfe?


Wolfe has not seen extended time in the backfield but has excelled as a member of the special teams punting unit. Now that the Bears have acquired Chester Taylor from Minnesota, they have a logjam at running back. Do they keep Wolfe on the roster for his special teams contributions? Do they keep Khalil Bell, who is likely a better running back than Wolfe?

Here’s an answer from outside the box: keep both. Cut punter Brad Maynard.

During training camp, bring in a retired Australian football player to teach Wolfe how to drop punt and torpedo punt while moving behind the line of scrimmage. The emphasis here would be on the ability to get punts away quickly and accurately, with less of a focus on distance.

Every punt situation becomes the special teams version of the Wildcat formation: Wolfe catches the snap and can…

  • Punt directly
  • Take a few quick steps in any direction to draw defenders in before drop punting
  • Make a run for it
  • Throw a short pass

By having Garrett Wolfe handle punting duties, the Bears would gain the following advantages:

  1. Opposing teams would have to keep more players near the line of scrimmage to prevent Wolfe from scrambling for the first down. A quick, evasive running back has a much better chance of picking up a few yards over a comparatively slow and clumsy punter. This would translate to worse protection for the punt returner, possibly negating any lost punting distance.
  2. 11 guys on the punt coverage team who have a legitimate chance at tackling the punt returner, instead of only 10.
  3. Added roster depth at an important roster position that is prone to injury.
  4. Organizational Huevos – instant credibility as a team not afraid to try something different. Remember when the Dolphins debuted the Wildcat formation in 2008 and stunned the Patriots 38-13? Being unpredictable counts for a lot in the NFL, at least in the short term.

I am admittedly something of a football idiot when it comes to the tactical X and O part of the game…can someone with more football knowledge explain why this wouldn’t work?

The annual Brett Favre retirement drama is literally the only recurring sports story that makes me long for the old newspaper days. Back then you only had to read about this once a day, and only if there was a significant development. But ESPN has nine channels of programming to fill 24/7, so any time anyone even remotely related to the story says or does anything we get 12 hours of reaction coverage, talking heads making empty points over archival footage of the same damn 10 plays from Favre’s career.

If you gave me a choice that I could either:

  1. Eat a mouse and then shove a python up my ass, just to see what happens.
  2. Watch Chris Mortensen speculate wildly about the length of Brett Favre’s grass clippings and how it relates to his retirement decision, while a heavily concussed Kordell Stewart stares off into the middle distance and Stu Scott checks out the new production intern on the sly with his lazy eye.

I would actually have to think about it and weigh both options.

(That being said, I would still take Favre on the Browns in a cocaine heartbeat. He has to be better than Jake Delhomme, who should play next season in sad mime makeup.)

Torn Meniscus Pie

Florida Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan tore a meniscus in his knee while attempting to smash a shaving cream pie into Wes Helms’ face during a postgame celebration.

Coghlan is the 2nd MLB player to suffer a serious injury during a postgame celebration this season; Kendry Morales broke his leg jumping on home plate after a walkoff home run at the end of May.


First of all, why the hell is any team with a sub-.500 record that plays in front of 300 fans at home games celebrating anything at all?

Second, cream pies? What a stupid ritual. Last year someone tried to give Joe Thomas a surprise shaving cream pie to the face, and he performed the first spontaneous Face-Ass-Ectomy in medical history. Maybe they should smash each other in the face with vitamins or calcium pills instead, since these Nancies can’t even jump without shattering their knees and legs.

I miss the steroids era when guys had legs like tree trunks. Yeah, they had balls like raisins, but that wasn’t MY problem. Mark McGwire’s meniscus was strong enough to chew its own meals AND shit them out.

“[Manager Edwin] Rodriguez said the team addressed excessive celebrating and there will not be any more shaving-cream pie rituals.” That had to be the most exasperating locker room speech ever. I would’ve made it about halfway through before I just ripped my own head off and threw it at someone.

If someone blew out their knee trying to smash a shaving cream pie in my face I would absolutely squat down and fart in their mouth as they writhed on the ground in pain. Hopefully one of those short but powerful blast farts that billow your boxers like a flag in a 70 mph breeze. I bet that would taste like shame.