Mar 27, 2007

Idol Live Blog

I figured since I'm watching American Idol tonight, I might as well live blog it. Following the show, I plan on drowning myself by immersing my head in mayonnaise.

It's Gwen Stefani night, and I'm not sure what that really means. They are doing her songs, or songs that Gwen likes, or songs that she's heard, or songs that have words, or something. Her video intro says her abs are world famous or something. Great, I can't wait to rush out and buy a No Doubt CD now - I hear she has killer abs.

Lakisha starts by singing a Donna Summer song, while hiding a roast beef sandwich in her cleavage. In the meantime, her high heels file a lawsuit against her for violating the Geneva Convention on torture.

Chris Sligh appears to be singing a completely different song than the band is playing.

Gina sings her song really well, which is disappointing because it sets her inevitable Playboy appearance back at least one week. May of 2008. Bank on it.

A commercial for "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader" promises to show a contestant that "makes show history." The show has been on three weeks. I'm serious.

Sanjaya remains the George Mason of this year's Idol competition. I have gained a new kind of grudging respect for him - he knows how bad he is, and he's set out to be spectacularly bad. I actually didn't hear any of what he sang, as I was crying my eyes out.

These anti-marijuana ads are actually pretty awesome, and I imagine they'd be even better if you were high.

Wait...was Haley just on?

Phil Stacey appears to have stolen my mother's hat. He does a Police song, second of the night. What is the theme here again? Anyway, we're all happy that he took time out from hanging with Frodo and Bilbo to sing us a song. Despite his surprisingly good performance, he still just generally sucks and I don't care to have him on my television anymore. He's in the Navy - shouldn't he be in Iraq?

Melinda's once-endearing "aw shucks" demeanor has now turned me against her, and I hope she not only gets voted off, but also is attacked by a jaguar on stage. She is also dressed like she's late for her shift at the Wonka Chocolate Factory. They're trying to pack 10 of these songs into an hour, which means they're all like 8 seconds long.

Think Randy Jackson's real dog gets jealous when he calls everyone else "dog?"

Magic 98 promises to play "all my favorites" like Cheryl Crow. How did they know?

Blake absolutely murders "Love Song" by the Cure, which sends Robert Smith spinning in his grave. I just can't divorce that song from the Cure. He's sometimes pretty good, but his only shortcoming (that he can't sing) also happens to be a pretty important shortcoming in a singing competition. Simon calls him the "strongest guy in the competition," and I think he has to be talking about how many pushups Blake can do.

Jordin Sparks overcomes her obvious porn star name to give a decent performance of some Gwen Stefani song. If her last name was spelled "Sparxx," there's a 98% chance you would have gotten to know her during your bachelor party. It appears that her shirt has been made out of a Pizza Hut tablecloth. The background signers suck - she should really turn around and yell at them. She's my favorite on the show (mainly because I remember her dad playing in the NFL), and she will become the first 8 foot tall woman to win this competition.

I really like Chris Richardson, even though he does sometimes seem like he's a counselor at Justin Timberlake Summer Camp. Stefani kills him in the intro video, which leads me to think of a cool strategy - when you meet the "big star" earlier in the week, you should purposely do terrible so they rip you in their intro. Then when you give your performance, everyone will be pleasantly surprised and think you worked hard to bring your "A game." It's like a presidential contender trying to downplay their chances in a primary, so they can declare victory when they come in third place or something.

For some reason, the show ends at 8:08, which means I had to push off my scheduled 8:00 inebriation by 8 minutes.

It has become apparent to me that the show is now Sanjaya-proof, so I'm betting Haley gets the boot. It's becoming pretty clear that in three weeks you'll have a better chance of seeing a sasquatch riding a unicycle down your street than you will of seeing a white girl on the show.

If I Can't Change Your Mind

I can't tell you how happy I was to find this clip on YouTube. One of my favorite songs ever off my favorite album ever. The music and video are about a second off, but you get the picture.

Down With the Ship

I was amused by reading Jeff Van Gundy’s recent proposal to allow all NBA teams into the draft lottery. Why? Because he thinks the current lottery rewards losing, and that teams may tank near the end of the year to have a better chance at a good pick.

And guess what team he played last night that prompted his remarks? Wait for it…

The Bucks!

Obviously, the Bucks' recent near-pornographic level of play set Van Gundy off. I was a little distraught when the Bucks fired Terry Stotts – I mean, what better way to end up with a good pick than to allow Stotts to continue to drive the team into the ground? After he was fired, the Bucks won two straight games, much to my chagrin.

Realizing that they were scuttling a chance to help the team long-term, they immediately kicked the season into “Titanic” mode. Bogut and Villanueva out for the season with mystery injuries. Mo Williams follows them to the DL with a “respiratory infection?” Jared Reiner getting big minutes last night, while Dan Gadzuric (making $6 million per year) doesn’t even get into the game? Damir Markota can play a little point guard, can’t he? Why risk Earl Boykins’ health?

Are the Bucks justified in tanking the season? Of course they are. Sure, they may be defrauding ticket holders of their money for the rest of the year, but isn’t it worth it if it makes them better in the long run? Bill Simmons at has a couple columns discussing this phenomenon with regard to his beloved Celtics – whether it’s ever appropriate to root against your favorite team. And in this case, I agree with him that it certainly is.

And it’s not like every other bottom-feeder isn’t doing the same thing. Ray Allen just disclosed that he’s been playing hurt all year and he’s shutting it down. Before you know it, Michael Redd is going to go on the DL to try to cure his baldness. Pau Gasol is going to sit out due to a sprained beard.

If the Bucks lose every game for the rest of the year and that nets them Greg Oden, Kevin Durant, Brandan Wright, or Jeff Green, that would be just fine with me (Joakim Noah is a fraud).

Dancing on a Volcano

My latest column on the Wisconsin Supreme Court race is up at WPRI. Check it out.

Mar 25, 2007

See You Soon, Sis

As I mentioned in the State Journal story about me, I have a younger sister who is being deployed to Iraq. As luck would have it, she spent a week at Ft. McCoy before being shipped out this week, so I was able to drive up and see her for a couple hours on Saturday night. I picked her up at the base and we went to dinner at the Foxhole in Sparta, about 15 minutes away. She opted to eat with me rather than watching her beloved Kansas Jayhawks play their NCAA tournament game against UCLA (she's a KU grad).

Before coming to Wisconsin, she had spent a month training in Texas. She was upbeat, but I could see she was tired and missed her husband, who she married in October of last year. She's being sent to do physical therapy for detainees near the Iraq-Kuwait border. I asked her how many detainees actually need physical therapy as opposed to actual medical care. "Apparently a lot of them hurt their shoulders throwing rocks at us," she joked.

While at Fort McCoy, all the female soldiers have to take pregnancy tests before they're deployed. If you're pregnant, they won't send you. Three of the women in her unit showed up positive on this recent round of tests. And she's pretty sure that they are intentional - given that those women had been away from their husbands and boyfriends for a month.

She said the area where she's going has a lot of British soldiers. She's crossing her fingers that Prince Harry pulls a back muscle and needs some physical therapy. She said that some detainees have been known to walk off, but they always return - since if they're in U.S. custody they eat well and get medical care.

She said the food she'd been eating for the last month was terrible. She noticed the warranty on the coffee maker in the barracks at Ft. McCoy ran out in 1969. She said the rules are obviously strict, but she had considered bending a couple to be able to talk to her husband more often. "What are they going to do to punish me, send me to Iraq?" she said.

By writing this post, I don't mean to imply that my sister is more important than any other soldier going to serve in Iraq - I just happened to have a blog. But I will miss her a lot. I know sometimes it takes situations like this to truly appreciate someone, but for me that's not the case - I have always appreciated how great she is.

So hurry home, sis - we miss you already.

And don't ask what I'm doing in this picture. I have no idea.

Mar 23, 2007

An Expensive Affair

I've said in the past that I actually do genuinely feel sorry for gays and lesbians, as their potential pool of lovers is so much smaller. Which makes this story all the more sad. Even though this woman got scammed, I empathize with her. Although the Dukes of Hazzard scene is priceless.

Mar 21, 2007

New Strategy for Israel

Some of you may remember my post about perennial Madison mayoral candidate and noted crazy person Will Sandstrom at the old blog. Well, someone sent me his blog, complete with a 33,000 word post - so make yourself a sandwich, sit down, and enjoy! Oh, and keep in mind - 2.6% of voters in Madison voted for this guy.

I have a broader question, though. Why is it that all crazy people are against the Jews? You never hear any lunatics sing the praises of Israel before they start pouring thousand island dressing down their pants. For some reason, once you become completely unhinged, it's always some "Zionist plot."

What I think the national Jewish groups need to do is to begin to reach out to America's crazy people to turn the tide back in their favor. A little PR couldn't hurt. Just think - with a couple thousand mini-bottles of Wild Turkey, they can have America's street people yelling pro-Israel slogans on our street corners.

Mar 19, 2007

Saving Me From Myself

So for Christmas last year, I got my wife a year long "wine of the month" membership at Barriques. It's actually great - they do a really good job picking out wines, although the downside is that you have to go to the store and pick them up once a month.

I was working late tonight, and remembered that I needed to pick up the wine before I came home. I went straight from work to Barriques, and it looked like they were closing. I went in and asked if I could just pick up my wine, even though the register was closed. The girl there said that was fine, then corrected herself.

"It's after 9:00 - I can't let you walk out of here with it."

I looked at my watch and noticed it was 9:03. And I couldn't leave with a bottle of wine I purchased in December of 2006.

So thank you, state law, for saving me from the convenience of picking up my wine. We are all much safer now that I have to make an extra trip out to Barriques to get it. Lord knows the damage I could do with that corked bottle in the back seat of my car on the way home.

Keeping Tabs on SXSW

The South by Southwest Festival in Austin, TX, remains one of the great events that I have yet to attend. And it's killing me, as my hipster cred is eroding with every year I fail to make the trip.

Anyway, my friend Stephen Thompson, now online music editor at NPR, spent the last few days down at SXSW keeping a blog of the events. Good reading.

Mar 17, 2007

Baron von Fathead Strikes Again

I filmed another "End Insight" commentary for the "Here and Now" show this week. A little better than last week, I think - but I'm still no Stone Phillips. They say the camera adds ten pounds, so they must have been filming me with five cameras. ( a joke stolen from The Sports Guy at ESPN)

The "what it the world did he just say?" look on Frederica's face when I finish is classic. I think this pretty much sums it up:

Mar 15, 2007

Bracket in Flames

Remember when I said it would make the Marquette loss go down easier because I picked Michigan State in my bracket? I was incorrect. That was a complete disaster. A team that can't shoot and has no inside game against a tough, physical team that rebounds like crazy. Same thing that happened to MU against the Badgers - not a good matchup for them.

In fact, about midway through the second half, my sick daughter started throwing up in her bed, and it was actually a welcome development - since it gave me an excuse not to watch any more of the game. Marquette played so badly, they actually stopped broadcasting it in HD halfway through the game. CBS was probably like, "we're paying a lot for this HD signal, why waste it on these turds?"

As for the rest of my bracket, I might as well eat it now, so at least I get some nutrients from the paper it's printed on. Otherwise, it's a complete waste. I started out 0 for 3 in the morning games, and I've just been so-so since then. There should actually be a special prize for a guy who gets all of his picks wrong. If you think about it, it's just as hard to get all your picks wrong as it is to get all of them right, correct?

Now it's on to root for Virginia Tech, another one of my former schools (there are only three, although it seems like more).

My Bracket

Here's my NCAA Tournament bracket. A couple of notes:

As much as it kills me, my Warriors are going down to Michigan State. Of course, this pick is just to hedge my bets, so I'm not completely bummed out when they lose.

My big surprise is Indiana beating UCLA - I think UCLA overachieved all year in a bad conference, and they finished poorly. Hoosiers move on to the final eight.

Kevin Durant scores 64 first half points against North Carolina, realizes he might be drafted by the Bucks, then scores 64 points for Carolina to make everyone think he's crazy. With the first pick the Bucks instead draft noted white guy Brian Butch, not even realizing he's not eligible for the draft.

Hoyas cut down the nets, proving once again that Catholic schools have God on their side.

This Simply Has to be Seen to be Believed

For those who don't follow serious news, Jon "Bowzer" Bauman, late of the musical group Sha Na Na, was at the State Capitol today lobbying for some dopey bill that prevents people from making money impersonating old groups or something. Actually, I don't like the bill because it would kill my lucrative career touring Wisconsin as Marvin Gaye.

Anyway, I was wondering which is more puzzling: the fact that people still pay money to go see Sha Na Na, or Bowzer has so little dignity that he still goes around doing this:

This is a picture of Bowzer practicing a little dip-dip-dip-diplomacy with Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald's loyal staffer, Brian Pleva.)

It is good to see him staying in touch with his gang member roots. Lord knows, there's nothing the street ruffians of today love more than a little doo wop music. That and beating people to death.

Next up: Weezie shows up at the Capitol arguing that fish don't fry in the kitchen, but concedes that beans may, in fact, burn on the grill.

Bizarre Love Triangle

I realize I'm waaaaaaaay late to the party on this, but I've just now realized how great those "to catch a sex predator" shows are. The ones where the FBI poses online as a 13-year old girl and lures some sex predator to a house where they're caught on camera and busted by the local cops.

There was one on the other night where NBC found out that the guy they lured to the house had actually been talking dirty to more than one FBI agent at a time.

My initial thought is - you think one FBI agent's feelings are just a little bit hurt that the guy felt the need to look for love with a different 13 year old girl? Like, maybe their skills at posing as a prepubescent temptress weren't up to par?

Think that was an awkward day at the FBI offices the next day when the two officers sat next to each other in the morning meeting? Like, one of them shot the other the "oh, so you're the one he left me for" glance?

And yes, there is a special level of hell for dudes who troll for little girls so much that they actually manage to run into two agents at once. That is dedication.

Majerus Blog

My old boss is apparently writing an NCAA Tournament blog for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It would shock me if he even owns a computer, but I have to admit - it is actually really good.

I worked as a basketball manager for the University of Utah from 1993-1996. I was probably the worst manager in the history of managing, as I was more interested in being involved with the playing and coaching aspects of the job than I was interested in washing uniforms.

UPDATE: A friend reminded me that I have this video from a Utah/Arizona game in 1993, where I'm sitting behind the bench. I'm the skinny guy in the white shirt and yellow tie that takes turns looking disgusted at the refs and fixing his early '90s hair.

Mar 14, 2007

Don't Call it a Comeback

Friends of mine knew that it was just a matter of time before I jumped back into the blogging game. For new readers, I'm the guy that used to write a blog as Dennis York before I shut that whole operation down and emerged from the shadows.

I plan on making this blog a repository of things that generally amuse me. I can't promise that I'll update it as often as I did the York blog, as I have other writing assignments that will take up a big chunk of my time (see my commentaries at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute website). Nor will any of the content necessarily reflect the views of WPRI.

However, I do plan on making it an outlet for things that anger, puzzle, and frustrate me. I figure this will be a slightly better option than my second choice, heroin.

"How Did This Dope End Up on My TV?"

The good folks at Wisconsin Public Television somehow decided that I was qualified to contribute an occasional commentary to the "Here and Now" show.

You can watch the video of it here (I'm at about the 24:50 mark), but I caution you may want to escort small children out of the room first. I look like I'm starring in an al-Qaeda hostage video, just with less convincing acting. People watching the show probably accidentally thought they had tuned into a buffalo wing eating contest when they saw my fat head on their TV.

Anyway, despite my contribution, it really is a great show, and everyone should watch. If you don't, then the terrorists have won.

Oh, and I'm going to be on a again this week. Hopefully, I'll be a little better.