Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Pros and Cons of Being Chased by a Bear

1) You’re getting in touch with nature.
2) All that cardio is finally paying off.
3) You had the balls to fuck with a bear.

1) You can’t remember if you’re supposed to run downhill or in zig-zags.
2) The khakis you’re wearing don’t wick away moisture like your running pants.
3) If you don’t outrun him, you die.

Monday, June 28, 2010

In Honor of Gay Pride

This weekend was Gay Pride weekend.  In Chicago they hold the Gay Pride Parade on Sunday.  It winds its way through the Boystown neighborhood in Wrigleyville.  For many years I lived near the parade route and I can honestly say that it’s one of the best parties/parades I’ve ever attended.  Everyone is in high spirits, there is a friendly and welcoming feeling for all and they never run out of glitter.

To my gay friends: Happy Pride weekend!  I’m sorry I wasn’t there to celebrate with you, though I’m sure you managed without me.  Just because I wasn’t able to attend the parade and accompanying parties doesn’t mean that I didn’t try to celebrate Gay Pride in my own way.  Here are a few things I did to celebrate Gay Pride:

  • Went to Chipotle, the most fabulous of fast food restaurants.
  • Walked my tiny wiener dog throughout our neighborhood.  Everyone knows there is nothing gayer than a man with a tiny dog in a pink harness.
  • Re-watched Mission: Impossible and Jerry Maguire.
  • Sent my wife out to return some fabulous but impractical shoes she bought.  No, that’s not in the spirit at all.  Scratch that.
  • Danced.  Danced like no one was watching.  To Tiffany.
  • Shredded my marriage license and destroyed my wedding video tapes so there is no evidence of my marriage.  If you can’t, then we shouldn’t be able to, either.
  • Wore my Canada shirt.
  • Watched an episode of Will and Grace and scoffed at the overblown stereotypes.
  • Went to KennethCole.com.
  • Called my mom.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Podcast: All By Myself

This Friday I've got a special treat for you.  It may seem like just another podcast, but this time it's just me.  No interview, no banter about improv.  It's just me and a little bit of music which means that it's much shorter than my others -- only 8 minutes!

Just a little goofy fun to kick off your Friday.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Real Reasons Why Soccer Hasn't Caught On in the U.S.

Have you been watching the World Cup?  I have and I love it.  I only watch soccer every four years when the World Cup comes around.  Each time I get completely sucked into the tournament.  Unfortunately, soccer doesn’t hold my interest once the World Cup is over.  I always wonder why.  I think I finally know why and I think it’s the same for most Americans.

Two weeks from now you won't remember his name.
1) The Pansy Effect.
Americans like their athletes to be tough.  We love seeing Willis Reed limp back onto the floor in the NBA Finals.  We expect our football players to continue to smash into one another with broken bones.  In fact, we encourage this.  I’m not saying it’s good, but it’s what we expect.  If you feign injury or flop, you get no respect.  You’ll find thousands of blogs (and announcers) more than willing to rip into you.  It’s just not how we do things.

In soccer flopping is accepted and rewarded.  Guys barely get touched and they drop to the ground and writhe around like they are in pain.  Once the penalty is called, they pop right back up like nothing happened.  The real problem is that the penalty is always called.  It always works.  Players are rewarded for taking a dive.  I haven’t watched every game of this World Cup but I’ve yet to see anyone penalized or carded for flopping.  In fact, the announcers never mention it unless Italy is playing and that’s only because the Italian players take it to the extreme.  They fall down during the national anthems because the music is too loud.

Until someone does something about the flopping, Americans will continue to think of soccer as a sport for pussies.

2) The acceptance of poor, unexplained calls by the refs.
The U.S. Team has been a victim of two disallowed goals because of bad calls.  The first disallowed goal against Slovenia wasn’t even explained.  No one knew why it was disallowed at the time and no one knows why now.  I understand that bad calls are going to happen and that you have to deal with them, but we should be told the penalty.

What’s worse is that everyone just accepts that no one will tell them what happened.  Everyone is all, “Oh, we’re playing an ancient game on a gigantic field with only three refs and that’s just how they do things.”  What?  You’re willing to live with no explanation?  This is how corruption happens.  Because American players rarely flop (and when they do they look embarrassed) and we’ve had two goals taken away from us, it’s reasonable to think that someone is out to keep the Americans from advancing.  Our government spent eight of the last ten years making more enemies than friends.  Not too hard to find a reason.

3) The stakes.
Americans get interested in the World Cup because there are stakes in every game.  What are the stakes when the World Cup is gone?  We know that the MLS Cup (or whatever it’s called) doesn’t mean anything because the best teams are in Europe but even then we’re not sure which they are or if they even play in the same league.  It’s a convoluted and confusing situation and we don’t give a damn because it’s not happening here.

Which brings me to my next point…

4) The players.
The best players in the world are not Americans.  They never have been and they probably never will be.  Americans want to be the best at everything and when we’re not we lose patience and interest.  It’s not that we can’t appreciate a great athlete from another country, it’s just that it’s a lot harder to get into a sport that happens on another continent with players from other countries.  It’s not worth the effort when we’ve already got three or four major sports right here in our homeland.

I’m sure most of you will think that I forgot to mention the low scores, but I don’t buy that.  Americans love baseball and it’s a relatively low scoring game.  Same with hockey.  We don’t need points to be entertained.

Sorry, soccer.  I’m afraid you’re going to be a second class sport in the U.S. unless some (or all) of these things change.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fame is Knocking on My Door

Look out everyone.  Things are really starting to happen for me.  This blog is really starting to find some traction with the people in Internet land.  I really think I’m on the cusp of something big.  How do I know?  Do I suddenly have the ability to see the future?  No.  If I could see the future I’d be busy playing the lottery and looking for tropical islands that are for sale.  I know that things are about to blow up because this weekend I had two different people try to persuade me into writing about them on this very blog.

You may not think that means much but I can assure you, it does.  Usually, the Internet isn’t the kind of place you want people to be writing things about you.  In most cases, that is only bad.  People want to have their names in the paper.  They want to be featured on television.  They want to be profiled in magazines.  And now they want to be featured on Mindsilt.com.

I think you can see why I’m excited.

What could have caused this sudden jump to the cusp of widespread popularity?  It’s probably due to a number of factors.  I think that my voice has really struck a chord with people out there right now.  They relate to my problems and they feel like I’m someone who is able to take today’s hot button issues and really make sense of them.  It could also be that I’m writing scathing reviews of popular television shows for a much more popular blog than my own (for now).  It’s probably my unique perspective in this troubling time, though.

I’m sure that several of you will worry about how this new found fame will affect me.  Do not worry.  I repeat: do not worry.  I’m the master of keeping it real.  If you know me personally you know how real I keep things.  My things are extremely real and I plan to keep them that way.  I promise to only run ads for things that I know that you will love and I won’t pressure you to buy my soon to come Mindsilt.com t-shirts with my famous “Unique. Just like everyone else” slogan.  Most importantly, I won’t let my opinion of the people I write about be colored by things like being able to use their in-ground pool any time I like or being allowed to hang out in their tricked out basement.  Those things will not sway my opinion.  I will write good things about those people because I genuinely like them not because I really love water slides.

See you on the water slide, Joe.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Am I A Real Sports Fan?

I like sports.  You might even call me a sports fan.  I’d definitely call myself a sports fan.  There are times when I don’t feel like a sports fan, though.

Being a sports fan has changed.  Or maybe it hasn’t.  Maybe fandom has just been amplified by the Internet.  There’s more access.  There’s more information.  If you don’t take advantage of every last bit of access and every last bit of information, you’re not really a sports fan according to those crazies on the Internet.

But, Jeff, you’re a crazy on the Internet.

That’s true, but I’m also not the guy that knows every guy on the Colts practice squad.  Hell, I probably couldn’t name all of the defensive starters.  Does that make me less of a fan?  When I’m at home, no.  When I’m on the Internet (which is also at home) with other fans, yes.  Even when I’m out at bars with other fans it somehow makes me less of a fan.  People expect me to know every detail about my team.  When I don’t know every little detail — like who the Assistant Special Teams Coach is — they dismiss me as some bandwagon jumper who will quit cheering when Peyton Manning leaves.

Will you quit cheering when Peyton Manning leaves?

Probably, but only because the Colts will be terrible and there won’t be much to cheer about.  I’ll still watch every game.  I’ll still pay for NFL Sunday Ticket so that I can see every Colts game.  I think that makes me a big fan, but that’s not the point.  I watch sports because it’s fun.  Sports are entertaining.  Anytime you watch sports there’s a chance you’ll see something amazing.  That’s the point.

I want to watch sports because it’s fun for me to watch sports.  Does knowing more about my teams add to my enjoyment?  Sometimes.  Do you know what really adds to my enjoyment?  Seeing my boys in blue jerseys or gold helmets carry the football across the goal line.  And winning.  Winning adds to my enjoyment.  Can’t that be enough?

Jeff, you’re still crazy.

I know.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Is It Just Me or...

…does everyone breathe a sigh of relief that the U.S. is on good terms with Germany after you see how efficiently they play soccer?

…is peanut butter the legal equivalent of crack?

…is it weird that people never say “in whack” as the opposite of “out of whack”?

…do you have absolutely no faith that the BP oil spill will change people’s minds about our reliance upon oil.

…have you lost your mind?

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Eventful Weekend

Some weekends are more eventful than others.  This was one of those eventful weekends.

Friday I went to the Phish show at Toyota Park with one of my college buddies and some of his neighborhood friends.  His neighborhood friends happen to be pretty connected and we got to sit in a skybox — or whatever it’s called.  You know, the ones with air conditioning and sinks and fridges and flat panel TVs.  For a night we got to separate ourselves from the unwashed masses.  Literally.  We had our own little stink free zone.  If the patchouli or body odor got to be too much we could always wander back inside and breathe the heavily conditioned, recirculated air.  We really soaked in the Phish culture.  As an added bonus, Phish decided to play an opening set straight out of our college years and we tweeted about how it took us back to those innocent days before Google.

About a month ago, Dee decided that she wanted to host a barbecue for her old high school friends.  We decided that this Saturday would be the day.  They were all going to bring their families into the city (all of them live in the ‘burbs) and we were going to grill in the park.  Instead, the weather forced us to change venues.  Dee decided to host her barbecue at her friend’s house in the ‘burbs.  I don’t know exactly where it was but the directions were: “Drive to the edge of the world and turn right.  First house on the left.”  The highlight of the day was this exchange with a four year-old child:

Jeff: “Look.  I found a nickel on the couch.”
Four year-old: “Did it come from behind my ear?”

Oh, to live in a magical world where the first place you look for money is behind your ear.

Our Sunday was to be filled with cleaning out a house full of junk.  Don’t ask.  Much to our surprise, we received a call on Saturday telling us that our hauling and hefting services were no longer needed.  Dee took the opportunity to spend money and buy all sorts of junk which I then hauled and hefted into our house.  I took the extra time to watch soccer, nap (sometimes at the same time) and edit some video.  I also spent a large amount of time trying to get Ruthie to stop barking at nothing at all.  Then we ate a really crappy frozen lasagna.  Real productive stuff.

That was my weekend.  How was yours?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Podcast: An Interview with Scott

Another Friday, another podcast.  This week I interview Scott Hogan, another of the fantastic cast members of pH.  You can see him in his new Cubs show at the Pub Theater or any weekend with pH.  Wherever you see him you're sure to laugh because he's one funny dude.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Some Nights You Just Don't Have It

I was going to blog the Blackhawks game but it ended up looking like this:
  • Whoa.  Something awesome just happened.
  • Something awesome just happened again.
  • That was almost awesome but not quite which is still kinda awesome.
  • Oh man!  That was close!
  • I feel like I’m good friends with Doc and Eddie.
  • Nice!  Big hit.
  • Awesome.
  • Oh shit.
  • How did he do that?
  • Did you see that?  That was awesome.
After reading my review of the first period, I decided that I’m not nearly as good at reviewing sports as I am at reviewing terrible reality TV shows.  Instead, I decided to write about the possibility of Big Ten and Pac-10 expansion.  I typed six words and was so bored I fell asleep on my keyboard.  Here’s what it looked like:

The big rumor right now is igooooooooofhjafghjolofghijoo

I woke up when I heard Dennis Leary yelling at me about the new Ford Super Duty.  I don’t care how angry he sounds, I still laugh every time he says “Super Duty” because all I hear is “Super Doody.”  Because I’m five years old. 

I thought briefly about reviewing the commercials during the hockey game but they only seem to be running the truck commercial about extraordinary poop and that Pizza Hut commercial with the loser Little Leaguers.

I guess that was kind of a review.

Also, I’d like to request that the Internets make the hockey commercial where the fans don’t leave actually happen.  Surely we can organize something like that, right?  It’s not like crowds aren’t used to calling for encores.  Frankly, I’m surprised this hasn’t happened before.  Why hasn’t this happened before?  What the hell?  Now I’m just disappointed in sports fans.

Sorry, I got off track.  Back to the post about what I was going to post about.

After deciding not to review the commercials but kind of reviewing them anyway I thought I’d write about the new iPhone.  Then I realized that everyone is writing about the iPhone and it basically reads like my Blackhawks game review.

So I gave up and went to bed.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Bachelorette - Episode #2 - A Review

If you are going to repeat the same formula over and over again you need to make sure the people executing the formula are interesting.  If these are the people The Bachelorette has chosen to make the formula interesting, I really feel for the people who have been watching this from the beginning.  This is what George Costanza meant when he said, “Why will people watch it?  Because it’s on TV.”

You know the formula.  Dudes, dates, drama.

1-on-1 Date, Roberto
Why do the bachelors/bachelorettes continue to be surprised when a helicopter descends onto the mansion grounds for a date?  Oh right, because they’re dumb enough to try to find a mate on television.  The helicopter set Ali and Roberto on top of a building in downtown LA.  But there’s a twist.  Their dinner was on a different building.  They had to walk across wires strung between the two buildings.  Is this The Bachelorette or Fear Factor

It's been one week since I gave a damn.
Ali spent the entire date drooling over Roberto.  At one point she said, “I don’t know if I’m pretty enough for him.  Not many guys can make me feel that way.”  You know, because she’s soooo beautiful.  Is there any doubt that Ali has already made up her feeble mind?  I feel stupid telling you that she gave him a rose.

Group Date
What happens when you round up a gaggle of douchebags and shoot a music video with Barenaked Ladies?  The world opens up and swallows them, right?  Unfortunately, no.  They missed their scheduled sink hole by about 2200 miles. 

Remember when the Barenaked Ladies used to sell albums by writing catchy pop tunes that got suck in your head even though you hated them?  Now they’ve been reduced to writing boring songs and schilling them on The Bachelorette.

Each bachelor was assigned a scene with Ali for the music video.  Some got to kiss her, some got to roll around in bed with her, some got slapped in the face but they all got to watch.  The Weatherman even got to cry when the guys made fun of him because he is the worst kisser in the world.  I really don’t think he understands the mechanics.  It’s like he’s never even seen anyone kiss before.  I’d make a gay joke but it’s not gay, it’s inhuman.

Crutchy’s Journey
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a new villain.  Now that Craig M. is gone, Rated-R is officially the new bad guy.  He limped his way over to Ali’s house and got some coveted 1-on-1 time.  Of course, this wasn’t scheduled time so he ate into Hunter’s 1-on-1 date.  That’s not what makes him the villain.  What makes him the villain is that he stood outside taunting Hunter about Ali being late to his date.  Then he spent the rest of the night talking about what he would do just to get some time with Ali without actually mentioning that he walked over to her place.  This is probably the last we’ll hear about this.

1-on-1 Date, Hunter
Thanks to Rated-R’s hijinks, Hunter got the anti-Bachelorette date.  He was invited over to Ali’s house for dinner.  No helicopter, no high wire, no pop band.  Just him, Ali and a hot tub.  Sounds like a great opportunity for some serious making out, right?  Nope.  It was as awkward as any first date you’ve ever had.  In fact, it was more awkward.  Why didn’t he bring his ukulele?  Or his personality?  Why?

The Final Party
I was wrong.  We did hear more about Rated-R’s little trip, though I don’t think any of us would have predicted that it would be the focal point of the whole night.  Would we?  Yes we would.  The best part was when the guys confronted Rated-R and he prefaced his response by saying, “I don’t normally swear.”  What?  A professional wrestler named Rated-R doesn’t swear?  Time for a new rating system.

After Rated-R lamely tried to defend his actions, he went over to the corner to cry.  A better choice would have been to body slam one or more of the other guys or even grab a microphone and rant incoherently in his best gravelly voice.  However, he exhibits absolutely zero features of a professional wrestler except for the fact that he keeps telling people he’s a professional wrestler.  That’s probably why his job won’t miss him while he’s filming the show.

All of the guys left the conversation confident that Rated-R would be going home this week.  They seemed to forget that Ali was the one that hands out the roses.

The Rose Ceremony
Has it been confirmed that names are written on the back of the roses so that Ali knows who she’s supposed to give them to?  She can’t possibly remember all of their names and the order she’s supposed to give them out.  I’m certain they have names written on them.  That’s why she stares so long at the rose before she gives it out — she’s sounding out the name. 

Ali waited until the very end to give Rated-R a rose to try to build some kind of suspense.  It didn’t work because he was up against the two ugliest and most boring contestants on the show.  One of the guys couldn’t open a bottle of Champagne for Christ’s sake.  Do they really think we are this dumb?

My roses go to:
  • Frank — for being the only guy to stay and watch the entire scene between Ali and Kirk where they rolled around in bed and made out.  Creepy.
  • The camera crew — for getting Ali outside to do an interview just as Rated-R hobbled up the driveway and into the shot.
  • The producers — for thinking we don’t know about the existence of cell phones and that we would buy that Rated-R just happened to appear at that exact moment.
  • Steve — for not realizing that being unable to open a bottle of Champagne was the perfect metaphor for his perceived impotence. 

Monday, June 07, 2010

250 Words: Baseball Sucks

Last night I posted the following on Twitter, "Canada's national sport (#hockey) is so much cooler than America's national sport (#baseball)." This was an attempt to give everyone another reason why Canada is so much cooler than us.  It was also another example of how lame baseball was.  I received several corrections telling me that baseball wasn't our national sport but was, in fact, our national pastime.  I want to thank those people for correcting me.  Yes, baseball is our national pastime.  Interesting in past times.  Now, our national sport is football.  Football is way cooler than baseball and actually makes us as cool as Canada national sport-wise.  Maybe even a little cooler.  Especially since Canada plays a weird, bastardized version of football that involves enormous end zones. 

Don't worry, I still love you, Canada. 

I know that hockey is your thing and that your football is a distant second, maybe even third (behind Curling.)  See?  Canada is still plenty cool.  They have Curling.  Curling is way cooler than Bowling, and Bowling is pretty cool.  They both go well with a good beer and they both are good group activities.  Keep up the good work, Canada.  I like what you're working with up there.  Anyway, the point wasn't to talk about how awesome Canada was (although it kinda was.)  My point was that baseball is so much more boring than hockey.  Seriously.  There's not even a comparison.  Hockey may be the most intense sport on the planet.  Baseball sucks.  Completely.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Podcast: An Interview with Drew

What do you need on a Friday?  Another installment of the Mindsilt Podcast.  This week we continue the series of interviews with pH cast members.  Today it's Drew Current, one of the newer cast members and one of the coolest guys I know.


Tuesday, June 01, 2010

250 Words: Jada Pinkett Smith

Really? Do we need another medical drama?  Especially one with Jada Pinkett Smith?  You know, one with a smart black woman who kinda keeps it street?  Does anyone think this show will succeed?  I can't imagine that it will be any good.  What’s it called?  Hawthorne.  It already looks dumb because they keep playing a promo where Jada says, "I run this."  Damn, girl.  Shit's gettin' real up in this piece.  I can only imagine how you'll appeal to the doctors and administrators with your smart side while appealing to the nurses and the rest of the staff with your hard, street side.  It takes that rare blend of playing the exact same character you've played in every other project you've been a part of and being married to Will Smith.  Thank God she’s got it.  How is this show different than Nurse Jackie?   Aside from the fact that Edie Falco has been in something worth watching before.  I don’t even care how it’s different than Nurse Jackie, I just wanted to point out the fact that Smith has never been in anything good.   Whoa, I just discovered that this is the second season of this show.  I’m shocked.   Who is watching this show?  Besides Will Smith, I mean.  Maybe Will Smith counts for more rating points than the average person.   Maybe he’s threatened to use his considerable charm to destroy whoever tries to cancel the show.  Maybe a show on TNT only needs one viewer to get renewed.  Maybe