Dear Reactionary Cubs Fans, Please Shut the #$%@ Up!

June 30, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Some days I truly hate being a Cubs fan.

And that has nothing to do with the team. It's the fact that I'm unfortunately lumped into a group of reactionary jackasses that freak out as soon as things look a little dire and begin rallying behind ridiculous scapegoats and reasons as to why the Cubs suck.

The latest bag of shit being tossed around involves the Trib's Phil Rogers suggesting Carlos Zambrano be waived. You know, because his antics have begun to wear thin he will never mature into the ace the Cubs need him to be. I won't link to the pile of journalistic dog shit on the Tribune, but if you want to see what I'm talking about, go to this post at HJE where Bad Kermit tears it to shreds.

Seriously people. Just stop. Carlos Zambrano IS NOT the problem. Milton Bradley IS NOT the problem. If you really think they are the top two things wrong with this team, please, take your giant souvenir "W" flags, roll them real tight, and do your best David Carradine impression.

The vitriol towards Zambrano just stuns me. He had a rough game against the Sox sure, but has anyone noticed that since his meltdown at the end of May, Big Z has been pretty solid? For the month of June, he posted a 2.91 ERA, a 1.15 WHIP and held opposing batters to a paltry .212 AVG. Aside from this most recent outing, Big Z had a quality start every time this month. Lay off him folks. In fact lay off the entire rotation. These guys have pitched their asses of this season only to be screwed by a limpdick offense.

Then there's Milton Bradley. His offensive output should be more surprising than his actions. Clearly Bradley hasn't found a groove this season and for a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve surrounded by neon lights with loud big band music playing, his outbursts are pretty much a given. Should Milton mellow out? Yeah, he could tone it down a little, but you have to be naive to think that a 9 year veteran of the league that has shown these outbursts throughout his career wasn't going to have them in a Cubs uniform from time to time.

And even if Bradley is slumping a bit, his stats are certainly not the worst. Currently Bradley is batting .238 compared to Alfonso Soriano's .232. BUT, Bradley has a .351 on base percentage compared to Soriano's dismal .296. That's terrible, especially for a lead off guy. Even Juan Pierre had a .330 OBP during his stint in Chicago. Also Bradley has drawn 2 more walks than Soriano this season, in 118 fewer plate appearances. Hell I love Soriano, but with his contract and what he's done this season so far, it seems to me there should be a little more outrage over his play than the antics of a couple hotheaded guys.

And it doesn't stop there. Where's the outrage over Kosuke's .177 AVG through June? Are we just accepting that this is the norm for him? Where's the outrage that Ryan Theriot should be batting well over .300 but isn't because of his newfound delusion that he should try to swing for the fences when we really just need him to slap one to the gap in opposite field? Where's the outrage that Aaron Miles is still on this team? (Thank God he's on the DL) Where's the outrage that our farm system and scouting is clearly subpar at best and has been for some time?

We're still not to the halfway point of the season and the doom and gloom mob has already dialed the Illogical Reaction knob to '11'. I'm begging you folks, for the love of all that is sacred, shut the fuck up.

TwitterLog: Day One, Into the Abyss

June 29, 2009 | Comments (2) | by Zachary Kenitzer

Armed with nothing but a semi-stable DSL connection and a large glass of sweet tea I attempted this day to digest the "Tweets" of the Internets most prolific posters, so into madness we descend.

Oldest Tweet: @LarryKing: Conan just did a bit on me as a "Transformer" -- I love all those late night guys!

Lamest Tweet: @AshtonKutcher: on donner on blitzen

Ashton: Give up on being cool. This image has been on the internet for a long time now. It would be like me Twittering a photo of an LOLCat, they're funny and cute but should be reserved for 13 and 14 year old girls. Sorry.

WTF Tweet:

1: @ParisHilton: - Camels are so Cute!
2: @ParisHilton: - BFF'S ;) Dolphins rock! So sweet and intelligent
3: @ParisHilton: - Dancing with a Dolphin ;)

Swimming with Dolphins, Riding Camels: Sounds like an average day for Paris. Ohh and P.S. Camels are cute, until they spit on you.


1: @THE_REAL_SHAQ: Kevin harts momma so old She watches the History Channel to see if she’s on it. Uh oh Send me your best momma joke I'm waitn lil kevin

2: @THE_REAL_SHAQ: Kevin harts Mama is so ugly Her birth certificate is an apology letter from the condom factory. Shaq Bring kevin u wimp, lil wimp lol

Thank God there is some sanity on here, I mean momma jokes are better than nothing. Shaq keep on keepin' it on with the Momma jokes.

Best Tweet of the Day:

@SarahSilverman: Here's a fun tidbit: It actually takes more muscles to make your asshole frown than to make it smile.

Clever, witty play on an old turn of phrase. Well done.

Worst Tweet of the Day:

@MileyCyrus: reading "identical" by Ellen Hopkins. It is deff. in my top 3 favorite books of all time! :) so disturbing but beautifully written.

I describe a distrubing book with smiley faces too. Also there are many better books out there that you obviously haven't seen nor heard of. Please for your sake get a library card, or just buy a bookstore, your choice.

OJ Simpson's Low Down Dirty Shame

June 26, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

Whaaaaaaaat's crackulatin'?

What's that? You thought that you wound't be hearin' from your ol' boy OJ just because I'm on an extended vay-cay in the slammer? Shit, son...I ain't never been in a situation I couldn't buy my way out of, talk my way out of, or stab to death.

So here I am in sweet ol' Chicago. I've been spending my time walking around into fancy restaurants and picking up people's checks. I don't mean I'm paying for them, dumbshit! The Juice is a bit low on funds right now so I gotta keep my spending down to the barest of essentials: imported hardcore German skin mags, Ten High and PCP. Oh shits yeah is there PCP.

But really, when I say "picking up people's checks" I really mean that I'm picking them up. I heard that Johnny Depp left some waiter a $4,000 tip last week at a restaurant near here. Fucks yes, that's what OJ's talkin' about! I'm hopin' that I can sneak up and steal a tip like that from a table before the waiter gets there. And if I run into Johnny Depp, even better! If that dude tips four large for a steak, imagine what he might tip The Juice for a BJ! I call my specialty the OJ/BJ. What's the difference between an OJ/BJ and a regular BJ? Two things - about $30 and also my thumb is gonna be two knuckles deep up someone's asshole the whole time. But whose browneye will it be? The answer may surprise you! Legit!

Aw shit, did I forget to tell you how I ain't in jail anymore? Sorry...that's the PCP. It turns out that they locked up the wrong dude! This whole time, they was lookin' for some guy named OJ Simpson to lock up. But guess what? I'm the one and only JO Sampson! I can see why they mixed me and OJ up since we're both such suave and sexycoolmotherfuckers, but once they realized that they had the wrong dude in custody, they let me go. Fuck you if you don't believe that's how it went down! And if you hear anything over the next few days about a "jailbreak in Nevada involving explosives, masked men and guards being incapacitated and sodomized" you know that it's probably some shit that Perez Hilton made up.

(On a side note, you may have heard that Perez Hilton had a few insulting names for earlier in the week, which OJ does not approve of. Luckily, I can call Perez Hilton the most hurtful and demeaning word that I can think of: white.)

Aw fuck! Have I really been referring to myself as OJ this whole time? Just forget about all that because I ain't OJ. I'm JO (heh heh...JO! That never gets old. Crab meat and model trains, bitch!). What the fuck you mean 'Who are you talking to?' I already told you I've been doin' tons of PCP all week! Don't you listen to any of the knowledge I'm droppin' on your ass?

Look, the point is that I heard the Saloon is back open and that they boys need my help. Fuck me, the Cubs got swept by fuckin' Detroit? Those motherfucks couldn't buy a win right now! No seriously, they don't have any money! How the hell do you lose to Detroit? November 25, 1976...I ran all over those bitches for 273 yards and 2 scores! AND I had the runs at the time from doin' too much coke the night before! Let's check the OJ meter to see how high that kind of performance scores:

Five out of five! Double legit!

Nah, what the Cubs need right now is that killer edge. They need someone wreckin' fools and buttsexin' minors...I mean...leading them to victory! If only there was some young, good lookin' stud who could be cold as ice on the field but warm as a Towering Inferno in the sack that could up their chances of winning by infiltrating the Sox clubhouse for the next few days and evening things out a bit. If only JO Sampson was around and was a free agent.

Wait! I'm JO Sampson (fuckin' *wink wink*)! I'm definitely not OJ Simpson.

Shit son, I'll see what I can do. As much as I hate going back to any place called "The Cell" because it reminds me of prison, I'll do whatever I can to get the Cubs to the promised land! Maybe that'll cheer me up after losing two of my friends yesterday. I remember back in the 70's, me and Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett and Buzanis used to hang out on the Oriface Penetrator. Buzanis used to try and hook up with Farrah, but she'd always punch him in the balls. She sure was a feisty one. MJ and I used to crack up every time. I dedicate my sabotage of the Sox this weekend to both fo them and Buzanis' shattered left nut. Now that's the low down dirty shame.

Twitter: The Internets Evil Plan To Destroy The World

June 26, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Zachary Kenitzer

Twitter may have started as a small innocent way for internet dorks and their friends to communicate via 140 character instant update feeds, but now it has turned into an evil menace intent on raping and destroying the world. It gives everyone the ability (but not license) to be expert on any topic and feeds into the notion that most people actually care what you think about.

This has not become truer for people that follow celebrities. TV shows make fodder out of what Paris Hilton thinks about the newest purse sitting in that hot little trendy boutique. Frankly, I don't care what she thinks, but I'm sure some prosti-tot thirteen year old does.

Twitter: That's Hot

To make it even better there are a host of people that pretend to be famous by living the secret lives of faux-celebrities, pretending to like the same things and say the same things in what really amounts to a (pathetic) attempt to gain "followers" or people that actually care about what you think. So when you follow a "Tweeter" you may actually be following your smelly aunt who has an abundance of cats and has been lonely her whole life, or even this guy:

1337 h4x0rs 4 7wi773r : i iz p@riz hi1t0n

My utter hatred of Twitter has prompted me to follow the worst and best “Tweeters” for a week, reporting back to TMS from the field. This actually might be the equivalent to sending a reporter to a war zone (or just the worthless intern to the coffee machine protected by bears... rumor has it we're expendable) To prepare I've been training reading status updates on almost as evil Facebook and for the experiment I will be taking food, water, clothes and a gun (nothing too fancy, just a simple .50 caliber machine gun) which I intend to sleep with. I’m preparing for the worst and might come back with PTSD.

Starting Monday I will be posting short "mini-posts" to chronicle the efforts of the Internets finest to actually make people care about what they think.

Surrounded By Communists to Twitter: Bring it...

In Memorial -Michael Jackson: August 29, 1958–June 25, 2009

June 26, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

In case you were in a cave with Osama Bin Laden yesterday, Michael Jackson suffered a fatal cardiac arrest. He was 50 years old. Every news organization in the free world is going to try and sum up the legacy he leaves behind, both the musical one and the dark acid trip his life had become. All I want to say is that when I think of Michael Jackson, I don't think of the child abuse allegations, the bizzaro children, his strange personal habits, or the utter ruin of the man's face. Instead, I think of Las Vegas, 1983/84. I remember living at 5 Erwin St. on Nellis AFB and my mom driving my brother and I into the city to the Thomas and Mack Center to see the Las Vegas Stars play baseball or the Americans (lame ass name, right?) play indoor soccer. I also can remember driving to the pool in the base's Area 2, (which was in the middle of the desert and not off limits like Area 51). I remember playing soccer in the AYSO for a team I believe was called the Thunderbirds and going to the water slide across the street from the field with my little brother.

What does all this have to do with Michael Jackson? My mother had bought the album Thriller and she played it constantly. Hell, even when we listened to the radio, half the time they were playing "Thriller", "Beat It", or "Billie Jean". (The only other song I remember hearing as often was Van Halen's "Jump"). So some of the best memories from my childhood, I tend to associate with the music of Michael Jackson. He was always around, either on the TV or the radio. It seemed like everyone was either moonwalking or attempting to. I've never seen another musical phenomenon like what surrounded Michael Jackson. I missed out on Beatlemania and the Elvis craze, but I saw the Jackson fandom first hand. Love him or hate him, every one of us who grew up in the 80s was touched by it.

As far as I'm concerned, I've already mourned the loss of Michael, the man whose music was a part of my life, both as the little kid with the big afro with his brothers on the oldies stations I lost myself in during my early teenage years to the jeri-curled popstar with one glittering glove that he later became. That man disappeared a long time ago. (To the aliens who kidnapped Michael after the release of Bad and replaced him with one of their own, I can only tell you that the impostor has passed. Can we please have the real Michael back now? I would really appreciate it). In all seriousness, like Elvis before him, Michael Jackson remains an icon of the American Dream and of the bitter price that often comes with it. Like many, I will choose to remember the music he gave us, rather then the sideshow his life became.

Chicago Cubs: The Bill Gates of Baseball

June 25, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Ginger Russ

The Chicago Cubs completed their philanthropic trip through Detroit this Thursday, giving it's citizens a glimmer of hope in the city which has been hardest hit by the current economic downturn. The city's economy has been particularly effected as jobs at automotive giants General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC have all but disappeared and it's inhabitants have fled to other parts of the country looking for relief.

During Spring Training, Jim Hendry and Lou Piniella got together and decided instead of focusing on a World Championship this year, they would instead help other cities by losing most of their away games, thus improving the morale of a nation. "We wanted to be the Bill Gates of the baseball world," Hendry was quoted as saying. Bill Gates gives 100% of his personal earnings to charity through his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Not only do the Cubs help down-and-out cities by improving morale, they also help by boosting ticket sales. Thursday's game, even though it was a weekday day game, brought in a sell-out crowd of 42,332 fans, a season high for Comerica Park this year, although the ticket sales may have been skewed by the fact that it was "In These Tough Economic Times Day" at the ballpark. Fans that could prove they were unemployed paid five pence for a ticket and a raffle was held for a free house giveaway during the seventh inning stretch. Most of the crowd was able to take advantage of the cheap ticket prices, given that 22% of the city is unemployed, but the Tigers organization did not lose money on the promotion, as the average cost of a single-family home is only $7,500.

So far the Cubs have helped the cities of St. Louis, Phoenix, Milwaukee, San Diego, Atlanta, Houston, and Detroit, each by losing at least 2-3 games in those cities. Derrek Lee, known for his charitable efforts, was particularly shocked by the conditions in Detroit. As the team leader, he instructed his team not to win any games in the series. The fact that the Cubs were able to strand so many runners during the series, while still keeping the games close showed MLB that the Cubs weren't going to just "lay over and die", but would rather give the fans in Detroit some good action that would keep their minds away from their troubles, if only for a few hours.

The Cubs hope to continue their charitable travels, as they will travel to the South Side of Chicago, Pittsburgh and Washington DC in the coming road trips.

The Prodigal Son Wants A Crack At the State House

June 25, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Wolter

God, what a colossal tool you are.Often, when people learn I am, in fact, from South Carolina, they are stunned. I’m an avowed atheist, a civil libertarian, and I have never shot a gun at anything living. I don’t even have a strong enough accent to place me anywhere near my home town of Charleston (most people assume I’m from Ohio or something). I hate NASCAR, and don't sleep with my cousins.

But, if you get to know me, the hints come out. I’m passionate about the fact that barbecue is a noun, and should be made with either mustard or vinegar. I strongly believe tea should be iced and sweet, or it’s better off in a harbor. When I drink I get maudlin about country songs and boiled peanuts. And, I own a few slaves (it’s a heritage thing, people. It has nothing to do with hate).

And, while I love my adopted home state of Illinois more than I love John C. Calhoun’s wild-eyed stare, I’m willing to do my part and throw my hat into the ring.

God, how terrifying you are. Calhoun could never get elected in the TV ages.That’s right, Palmetto State. This expatriate Sandlapper is willing to come home and govern you. Govern you hard.

Well, that’s not really true. I’m in no way willing to actually “come home” for more than a few days at a time. But hey, in these internet-savvy days, you don’t need to actually live somewhere to control it. Most of the TMS bartenders don’t live anywhere near Chicago, and Chaim Witz was actually replaced by a team of Indian day laborers 7 months ago.

However, I've got big dreams. In 2012, I will be 36 years old. That's the first election where I will be legally eligible to be president. And, as that election approaches, I will be unveiling a comprehensive platform that is sure to galvanize the entire electorate (I'll give you a hint: Flying Goddamn Cars). I am the man to build a bridge to the mid-20th century's idea of what the 21st Century was going to be like.

Or, I would be, if I didn't have absolutely no experience in governing, a public record of underachieving, and almost zero personal charisma.

Easy way to solve this: get elected governor of some podunk state, be charmingly stupid, and pander to the masses. And here is where South Carolina steps in...

I'm not going to go deeply into this current imbroglio. We all know what's going on down there. And, frankly, I found those emails disarmingly heartfelt and embarassing. Human emotions like that sicken me, and I will not support their promulgation.

I think what outrages voters more than sinful behavior is pretending you aren't a dirty sleazeball. Bill Clinton still kept a reasonably high approval rate while nailing every thick ankled, small uvula'd woman in the Beltway. Sure he denied everything, but he did it with a wink that said..."you've all ridden a moped, too, boys..."

So, South Carolina, I make these promises:

1. I have no ability or experience in leadership roles. I know nothing about running a state government. This should not be a problem, as I'm pretty sure no one born in South Carolina in the past 75 years knows how to run a Quizno's in a strip mall, much less a State Government.

2. I will be abusing the power of my office. That is the strongest campaign promise I plan to make, and I'll be damned if I break it. You can trust in me.

3. Most importantly: I can assure the voters of my home state that if I disappear for 3 days I am safely ensconced in a mountain hideaway with a pile of drugs, a few handles of whiskey, and no less than 6 prostitutes of no less than 3 different ethnicities. In fact, even when I'm actually going on a hiking trip or just taking some time to catch up on reading, I will tell the press I am going to Argentina to bang my hot mistress. Because I have a rep, people.

So what do you say, South Carolina? Are you willing to take a chance on an unproven maverick who won't play by the rules? I mean, your leadership has been running your state into the ground for almost 2 full centuries. Why not choose a man who will do it openly, honestly, and (quite likely) completely fried out of his mind on psychedelic mushrooms and Islay malt scotch?

Vote Wolter. His Sordid Scandals WILL Go Into Sexual Details.

So...majestic. He's got my vote.

Paid for by the Committee to Elect Jon Wolter to Run South Carolina Into the Ground.

In Defense of...Public Urination

June 25, 2009 | Comments (0) | by White Chili

We’ve all been there.

The seal has been broken for quite some time. The last round of Jager bombs you and your friends ordered right before you pounded your beer and stumbled out the door doesn’t seem like such a good idea now, does it? It’s cold outside and you catch a glimpse of the long line in front of the next stop waiting for two people at a time to leak out the front door.

You are pee dancing your ass off.

You start to weigh your options and your definition of shame takes on new and interesting shapes. Finally your entire life boils down to a single harsh reality:
You tried to fight the good fight, but if you can’t find somewhere to piss in the next eight seconds, you will be the coolest person since Miles Davis.
You start to look for some shelter like an ant in a rainstorm. A dumpster, the outcrop of a building, a sleeping vagrant. Really anything will do, as long as it’s out of sight from The Man. Ladies, this is one of those time when life is truly unfair. And yet, I can personally vouch that some of you haven’t let this “inconvenience” stand in your way. In fact, standing has nothing to do with it.

Once you give your body the go-ahead, there is no turning back. A mad man holding your own mother hostage could not convince you to stop. Sex, riches, power...nothing even comes close to the satisfaction that you’re feeling at that moment. All done and it’s time to catch up to your friends.
“Where were you? Did you....did you pee in that veterans cemetery?”
You are God damn right I did.

And frankly, I don’t see what’s so bad about it. Urine is sterile. It’s not like I’m taking a dump in a playground. You’re probably doing more harm to the environment when you wash your car in your driveway. And what about people who walk their dogs? My street is given a fresh coat of dog pee three to four times a day.

It’s not civilized, you say? It’s what separates us from the animals? Go to any private golf club in America. Your gender or race might be banned, but peeing in the bushes? Put me down for a 5 and I’ll catch up with you on the tee box.

Public urination is the God-given right of every American. It’s really the only reason that guys go camping. Besides, if I hold it there’s a good chance I could get uromisotisis poisoning and die. Do you want that on your conscience? Think about it.

The Closer Mystique

June 24, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

Watching Kevin Gregg blow his third save of the year against the Tigers the other night got me thinking about closers. It seems to me that there are very few elite closers in the game, past and present. What makes an elite closer is something I like to call Closer Mystique, which I believe is made up of three elements, listed below in no particular order:

1. Reputation.
Don't underestimate the value of this factor. Much like the outlaws of the Old West, an elite closer generates a reputation throughout the majors. If the closer has a significant reputation, he's on the hitter's mind even before he throws a single pitch. This mindfuck often leads to desperation at the plate, enabling the elite closer to dispose of the hitter without even needing to make good pitches. Building a solid reputation takes time and perseverance. No one in the game has more of a reputation than Yankee's closer Mariano Rivera. He's been closing for the Yankees since the Bronze Age and while he's modified his technique to compensate for age, he remains one of the most effective closers in the game, his success enhanced by the rock solid reputation he's built as a stopper. Guys just expect to make outs against him when he pitches. Other pitchers whose reputation added to their success are Trevor Hoffman, Bruce Sutter, Rob Nen, and Eric Gagne (during his Dodger tenure).

2. Ability
This is pretty much common sense, but ability is an important factor, which itself has two elements, Velocity and Location. If you don't have the first, you better have the second. And without the second, it's unlikely that you're going to have a long career as an elite closer, even if you can throw the ball 100+MPH (See Farnsworth, Kyle). Most of your elite closers are going to be able to bring the heat. What distinguishes a closer from a middle reliever is the ability to not only pitch at high velocity, but to make good pitches. It's highly important that an elite closer keep his walks to a minimum, thus limiting the number of baserunners. Since closers usually pitch in tight games, this is crucial to maintaining the lead. There are guys (like the aforementioned Farnsworth) who can throw a fastball 100 MPH, but have no control over where it goes, or they leave it right over the plate, like Zumaya did for Hoffpauier the other night. So all the velocity in the world is useless without location. You can get by for a while on pure speed, but eventually a major league hitter is going to catch up to it and hit it a mile. There are only a few closers who have been able to get by with reduced speed, relying on location. Guys like Sweaty Joe Borowski, denzien of the backdoor slider, are rare and usually aren't successful beyond a season or two. Too be truly successful over multiple season, I truly believe you need a combination of velocity and location, perhaps best exemplified by Francisco Rodriguez. (It doesn't hurt that K-Rod also has his whiplash delivery, which helps befuddle the hitter even further). A few other closers with this perfect recipe of ability include Joakim Soria, Lee Smith, and Billy Wagner (when healthy). Add Carlos Marmol to this list when he's got his location working for him.

3. Mentality
Mentality can be broken down into two elements: Personality and Intensity. An elite closer has a personality very different than any other pitcher on the staff. He has the ability to come into the game with everything on the line, put it all out there on the field, and then come back the next day and do the same, regardless of the results. An elite closer cannot be afraid to lose games. Failure will happen, but the elite closer will refuse to acknowledge said failure and move on. There are no yesterdays when you're a closer. The good closers know this, the mediocre ones let failure get in their head and they flame out. A closer also has to have intensity. The best closers aren't just pitchers, but intimidators. They stare in at the plate with steely eyes and pitch not for the win, but for the kill. And they have to do this as many times as their manager will allow during a given week. The best closers have a fire unmatched by any other player on the field. The best example of mentality in action was the late Rod Beck. He stared in at the plate with a sniper's intensity, his twitching arm a further distraction for the hitter. The Shooter gave his all every single game and he refused to allow defeat to affect him. K-Rod, Mariano Rivera, and Bruce Sutter are all pitchers who show that intensity and disregard for losing that an elite closer must possess.

Thus we have what I believe to be the makeup of a great closer. I think if you have at least two of these elements, than you can close in the big leagues. If you have all three, you can be considered truly elite.

Summer Games: Disc Golf

June 24, 2009 | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

Now that summer is here, it's time to get that itchy shirt off and get outside. This is doubly true in times of Cub woe that we're currently experiencing - we need something to pass the time and dull the pain. Summer Games will examine some classic outside games, carefully choosing ones that lend themselves to shirtless participation and the coexistence of your favorite summer beverage.

Ay ay ay! Is summer EVER here! JC, the Midwest is getting it with a vengeance - 105 degree heat index with humidity levels higher than a hippie at Bonnaroo. That means we really DO need to get the shirts off and stay hydrated (The Hundley drinks Old Style Light, the official beer of Fun). And when it's this hot, maybe we should look to outdoor activities that are pretty mellow, like...say...Frisbee Golf! Oops, Chip Wesley has informed me that the proper terminology is disc golf. The last person to say Frisbee golf was tied to a stake at a Widespread Panic concert and continuously doused with patchouli oil.

That being said, DISC GOLF is a fun game. I poke fun at the stereotypical bohemian stronghold on the sport, but make no mistake, disc golf is for everyone. Surely you've seen a disc golf course where you live. Hell, in this part of Iowa I live in, there are 5 courses within a 30 minute drive, so if we have them, then you certainly do too.

If you know how to play regular golf, then you'll know how to at least score disc golf. Each hole has a specified "tee box" from where you make your initial throw (or "drive") and you simply count the number of throws it takes for you to get your disc in the basket. Much like regular golf, each hole is different, with varying degrees of difficulty and different assigned par rankings. As far as the discs themselves, you could go hogwild. There are specific disks for "driving" long distances, there are mid-range discs "irons" and, of course, short range discs or "putters". You should be able to pick up these discs for $10 a piece for basic stuff, though through eBay or local sports used sports dealers, it can be much less. And don't forget your disc bag to carry all of your (weed) discs around.

For those of you who are a bit too extreme for the normally mellow-paced disc golf, don't panic. If you've done enough disc golf, you'll notice that there's a hybrid disc golfer out there, one who's always asking you if he or she can play through. You watch them sweatily approach the tee box, hurl their disc, and then sprint after it. The round of golf is treated as a foot race. Not my cup of tea, but if EXTREME disc golf is your thing, more power to you. Maybe you could even get tatted up...

Probably one of the best parts of the sport is the ease of play. Sure, it may take you a few tries at figuring out how to throw a disc for distance and control (it's not like your backyard Frisbee), but after that the game is quite enjoyable. By and large, most of the courses are set up in and around city parks, lakes, and creeks so it's also a nice view. Much like Thoreau and Walden, you are one with nature, you are in a place where you are free from the demands of society, you're in a free place where no shampooing or deodorant is required, and no one will get up in arms if you puff some chiba. It's mellow, man.

Chad Cordero could not be reached for comment. He was ALLEGEDLY ding-dong-ditching various houses own by senior citizens.

War Hero/War Criminal: Anton Migursky

June 23, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Ginger Russ

In case you were unaware, and shame on you if you are, today marks the 25th anniversary of the "Ryne Sandberg Game". Before this game, Ryno was a virtual unknown among most baseball fans. But the NBC Game of Week would change all that. Down by a run in the ninth inning and facing the Cardinal's ace closer, Bruce Sutter, Sandberg hit the game tying home run to put the game into extras. The Cardinals would come back in the top of the tenth, scoring 2 runs and seemingly putting the game out of reach.

But Ryno would have one more chance to beat Sutter, as he came to the plate in the bottom half of the inning with one runner on. What would happen next will be forever ingrained in the memory of Cub fans of my generation and baseball fans everywhere with Bob Costas' classic call, "Do you believe it?!"

Twenty-three years and two days later, Anton Migursky would get his own day. No, Anton did not play for the Cubs, and I highly doubt you have ever heard of him. You won't find his name in the record books or sports almanacs. But he did manage to make what Koyie Hill would call, "One of the best saves I've ever seen in my life."

Migursky's job was keeping Cubs players safe. He was a security guard at Wrigley Field, and just recently retired this past Sunday. Almost two years ago, though, he became known as the best tackler on Wrigley Field since Kyle Farnsworth.

The scene is Wrigley Field, Cubs vs. Rockies. The Cubs were in the lead starting the ninth inning, but Lou's relievers couldn't hold the game down. After giving up a three-run bomb that cost the Cubs the lead, a drunk fan ran onto the field towards the pitcher, yelling, "What are you doing?"

And just like that, Anton Migursky jumped into action, clothes-lining the fan just before he was able to physically assault the pitcher. Piniella was even quoted after the game saying, "Lovie Smith is looking for him."

Unfortunately for the Cubs, the man Migursky saved was "Brown Spot" Bob Howry. Howry began his career as one baseball's elite pitchers, garnering himself a lofty three-year, $12 million paycheck from the Cubs. But when Migursky saved Howry, he was already on the downward spiral of his career, one that cost the Cubs too many blown saves to count (or that I'm too lazy to look up). In 2008 Howry continued his suck-itude and finished the season with a 5.35 ERA. The Cubs were finally able to decline arbitration on Howry at the end of last season and he is currently "pitching" for the Giants.

So this Bud's for you, Anton Migursky. For doing your job above and beyond the call of duty, you are a War Hero. But you should have tackled Howry, or just not gotten there so fast. If you hadn't tackled that fan, it possibly would have ended the headache that was Brown Spot Bob for the next year and a half. And for that, you are a War Criminal.

I Formally Denounce Our Newest Bartender

June 23, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Wolter

Look at me, Hack! It's all for you."Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast; for it is the number of a man; and his number is 666." Book of Revelation Chapter 13 Verse 18 (Also, the Book of Maiden, Album 3, Track 5).

They laughed. They all laughed.

I have tried to warn the other bartenders about the Scion of Satan we just allowed to waltz in here like he owns the place. And, for once, I'm not talking about Ginger Russ or any of our other summer interns (keep striving gentlemen: one day Chip Wesley will let you take off the paper trainee hats). No. I'm talking about the beer guzzling, obscenity spewing, foul-smelling demon in the vintage 1978 road cap (and for once, I'm not talking about Dave Thomas).

I'm talking about Damien Lucifer "Hack" Wilson Brown V. Or as he insists on referring to himself, Hack the Fifth.

I'll admit, part of my resentment stems from the fact that I momentarily assumed that Hank III was writing for the Saloon, thus increasing the Truckliness of this site 600-fold. But no. Instead of the Hellraising Grandson of Country Royalty, we get the Hell-Spawned Foster Son of TMS Bartendertry.

Oh sure, he looks like any other human larva at first glance. Unfocused eyes, poor coordination, thin dribble of drool, etc. (and, for once, I'm only partially referring to Chaim Witz)...but the moment Brant brought him back to the Saloon with the proud grin of the newly adoptive father/host organism I sensed trouble. And yes, to paraphrase that Imp of Beelzebub, my first instinct was to fob this evil off on the Heathen Chinese for what they did to Kingston Falls in general, and the vivacious and talented Phoebe Cates in particular. Oh, and Mr. Futterman...I'll never forgive them for Mr. Futterman...

So, mark my words, giving this preternaturally self-aware murderbaby a soapbox on this, the 579th Most Popular Vaguely Cubs-Related Blog on the internet is like dropping a Mancoulteratee in front of Jordi. It seems like a good idea at the time, but it will end in tears.

And a hell of a dry cleaning bill.

Thunder Matt's Saloon Summer Intern Program: Introducing the "Winners"

June 22, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Well after a long and grueling selection process we are proud to introduce the inaugural class of TMS Summer Interns.

These three gentlemen will be at the Saloon for the remainder of the baseball season doing all the menial chores that the established bartenders no longer care to do. Stuff like cleaning the toilets, fetching Chaim's tuxedo pants from the dry cleaners, rolling Tommy Buzanis to his side when he passes out on the floor every Tuesday, oh and of course, writing blog posts.

So without further ado, here are the new interns


Real name: Russell

Ginger Russ is from Northern Illinois originally but now lives in the desert of Arizona, despite the obvious danger of fair-skinned gingers bursting into flames. G.R. may also be TMS's first confirmed fanatic. So much so he created his own Cubs blog called College of Idiots in an attempt to be like us. In his free time, G.R. enjoys drinking vodka in the shade.

Real name: Zach

SbC hails from Louisville, Kentucky and is by far the youngest person to ever put on the TMS uniform (modeled here by The Hundley, the hat is optional). The name Surround by Communists is in obvious reference to there being a shitload of Reds fans where he resides, that and he's chapter president of the local Young Communists League.


Real name: Adam

Adam lives in LA and is an accomplished drinker. When not in an alcohol-induced haze he spends his time watching obscure horror films and attempting to legitimize his college degree in English Literature as he goes from temp job to temp job.

Let's give these guys a hearty TMS welcome, which of course means mock and ridicule them in order to mask our own personal insecurities and shortcomings.

Fernando's Musings From the Taqueria

June 22, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

June 15th - June 21st

Wet Fart of the Week: Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez - A-Rod and his .213 average were benched for consecutive games citing 'fatigue' (see: steroid withdrawal) from his prior injury. Then manager Joe Girardi, who really needs to let that hair grow out a little bit, announced that Madonna's cougar hunter would be given at least one day off every week leading up the All Star Break. Maybe now Alex will finally have the time to take in Rock of Ages or Shrek the Musical and catch up on some light reading.

Fantasy Sleeper Makes Good: Kevin Slowey, Twins - To the common man the Minnesota Twins rotation appears to be a giant mass of indistinguishable white guy, with a side of Liriano. Yet savvy players know that Kevin Slowey is the one that you want. He's off to a 10-2 start this year with an ERA and WHIP that are likely to go down as well, based on his aversion to walks, which is as exaggerated as The Hundley's aversion to foreigners.

Fantasy Sleeper Gone to Pot: Crash Davis, Rangers - Davis was consistently rated amongst the Top 10 1B in the game this preseason, his hype even exceeding fellow teammate Nelson Cruz. While Cruz has proven to be the real deal, Chris Davis has been one of the biggest disappointments of the year so far, striking out 101 times in 222 at bats and failing to even reach the Mendoza Line (.194). With blue chipper Justin Smoak looming on the horizon for the Rangers, Davis has to be sweating like Marlon Brando at a Ryan's Steakhouse.

Zorba the Ray: Ben Zobrist - Zobrist seems to have a cult following that can only be described as both 'extremely sexual' and 'painfully disconcerting', but to be fair, he's earned it. With 15 donkey slaps, 42 RBI and a 1.044 OPS in only 191 ABs, while playing nearly every position on the diamond, Zobrist has become Mark DeRosa 2.0. Zorilla has still got a ways to go before he catches DeRosa in the groupie category, but he's still young and virile.

They Call Him The Machine. The Steroid Vending Machine: Albert Pujols, Cardinals - Sure, it's all heresy and speculation (get used to it, that's the era we live in), but I'd love for a Cardinals fan to make a convincing argument to me that Albert Pujols is not on roids. Is it fair for me to assume such a thing without evidence? Oh God no. But for years everyone knew that Sammy was juicing, even before the recent evidence came to light. I mean look at the guy. Look at his numbers. Unreal. Of course, I hate the Cardinals and Pujols with every scrawny, underdeveloped bone in my body, but still...some guys you just know. In a court of law you're innocent until proven guilty, but in this era of abusers, when you look like this and hit like this, it's pretty much the other way around, fair or not.

Rockies in 6!
Colorado Rockies - Somebody break up the Rockies! Under new manager Jim Tracy, the God Squad have reeled off 16 wins in their last 17 games, which included a streak of 11 games in a row, thrusting themselves (not in a sexual way mind you) right back into the playoff picture. Let by the hitting of the incorrigible Clint Barmes and the rejuvenated goatee of Todd Helton, the Rockies have taken a small portion of Northern Colorado (the bored section) by storm. Even Jason Marquis hasn't been exempt from God's fairy dust, racking up 9 wins despite being Jewish. Expect this surge to be relatively short lived though, because as we've seen with the Cubs, karma catches up to those who deny the fate of Thunder Matt Murton.

Give These Guys a Greasy Taco:

Nate McLouth, Braves - .417 OBP, 2HR, 7RBI
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates - 10/29, 3 3B, 6 RBI
Albert Pujols, Cardinals - .522 OBP, 4HR, 11 RBI
Prince Fielder, Brewers - 9/23, 2HR, 11 RBI
Miguel Cabrera, Tigers - 11/24, 3HR, 9R
Juan Rivera, Angels - 8/23, 2 HR, 5 RBI
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers - 12.2 IP, 13K, 0.00 ERA
Felix Hernandez, Mairners - 16.1IP, 14K, .086 WHIP
Derek Lee, Cubs - 8/22, 4 HR, 9 RBI

Give These Guys a Taco Filled with Cilantro:

Ryan Madson, Phillies- 3IP, 2 BS, 15.00 ERA
Kerry Wood, Indians - 11.57 ERA, 2.17 WHIP, Cubs MVP
Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals- 4/28, OHR, 1 RBI
Stephen Drew, Diamondbacks - .148 OBP, OHR, 0SB
Trevor Hoffman, Dodgers - 10.80 ERA, 0K, 2.40 WHIP
Chris Davis, Rangers - 1/20, .050 OBP, more strikeouts than Dave Thomas on a Friday night

Randy Wells Finally Gets First MLB Win, Cubs Sweep Indians

June 21, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

After the drama of Friday and Saturday, having today's game only go 9 innings, stay under 3 hours, and not have to worry about making a comeback was a bit of relief.

Congratulations to Randy Wells for finally earning his first major league win. After a handful of great outings from the rookie, the offense and bullpen gave him some support today en route to a 6-2 win over the Indians.

Mark DeRosa for the series, 1-7 with 5 strikeouts, and one run in with a phone. Look the ovation was nice and all, but can we please move on now? Mark is gone, trading for him to return would be asinine, and bitching about his absence when the Cubs are faltering is beyond stupid*.

How about Derrek Lee? 18 game hitting streak now which has bumped his batting average from .246 to .288. Seeing any Cubs hitter with an average over .250 is a welcome sight.

Meanwhile, Milton Bradley has a 10 game hitting streak going. Put Aramis back in the equation in a few weeks and the Cubs may finally have a potent 3-4-5 in the lineup once more.

After getting to see him for a couple games I've warmed up to Andres Blanco a bit. Clearly he's not going to be an offensive stud, but his play at 2B was certainly above average compared to the rest of the hobbits they've previously used this season.

Four straight wins for the Cubs bringing them to 34-31 on the season, one game behind the second place Brewers and 2.5 games behind the Cardinals for first. There have been some pretty miserable moments this season, but it's far from over and dammit I'm all for some overt optimism at this point. Keep in mind at this same date in the 2007 season the Cubs were 32-39.

Now it's off to Atlanta for one game, Detroit for three, the Southside for three and Pittsburgh for three. Hopefully the Cubs can keep this newfound offensive momentum heading in to this 10 game road trip.

*but not nearly as stupid as say, ripping Carlos Zambrano then implying that Jason Marquis would be the better option to have in the rotation. But I don't know anyone that has done that.

Pitching Machine Put Out to Pasture

June 19, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

Shawn Estes retired today, about 6 years too late. Shawn will of course be remembered by Cub fans for coughing up oodles of runs during his not short enough tenure in Chicago, his spot in the rotation assured only by how tightly his lips were locked around Dusty Baker's cock and the fact that he was born left-handed. For further evidence of Estes's suckitude, one only need look here. I tried to find a picture of Estes in a Cub uni, but apparently all the evidence of his time with the Cubs has vanished. Thank God and the mighty Mancoulteratee.

CoY Battle Royale Results: Ahmadinejad, I mean Keith Moreland wins!

June 18, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Yes it was completely legitimate.

Keith Moreland defeats Mark DeRosa 27-22

Dwight Smith defeats Turk Wendell 27-22

Glenallen Hill defeats Joe Borowski 42-7

Steve Trout defeats Mike Bielecki 33-15

So in the Final Four we will have Moreland vs. Smith, and Hill vs. Trout. Now on to the voter comments you kids seem to enjoy so much.
  • I know Dwight is a TMS Bartender fan-favorite, but I joined up after the fact, and I always bet on CRAZY. I'm hoping for a Zonk, Turk, Frankenstein, Trout final four. Oh, and sorry ladies, the Pulse should NEVER have made it this far. ~ Wolter
  • Enough with the mancrush on DeRosa....he's got to go down. Glenallen Hill is taking this shit.
  • Mark DeRosa IS from Valhalla. So far that trade looks pretty suspect. Glenallen Hill didn't need no steroids-other ballplayers inject his blood and get the same results as steroids. Dwight Smith-stay black. Steve Trout, just for his awesomely poofy website.
  • Why Glenallen Hill? Because fuck you, that's why.
  • I have no idea what I just did. I love America.
  • I remember reading an article about Bielecki in one of those glossy Cubs yearbooks you used to be able to buy at the park. In it, they revealed that the other players on the 1990 Cubs called him "Style Master". I like to believe that somewhere out there, on a dark street corner, there's a Style Master saying "$40, but I don't get in the back of a van."
  • Please, for the love of God, warn your readers. THERE IS NO CANDY IN STEVE TROUT'S WINDOWLESS VAN!!!
  • As much as Zonk was a part of my childhood, DeRo was/is definitely The Man. Dwight Smith deserves to move on because... aww shit, y'know. Once again, I am too scared to vote against Glenallen Hill. And Steve Trout's website is epic.
  • I voted for DeRo just so you would have to Machiavelli the results.
I could post the Final Four today or tomorrow but I'm too lazy. Look for it next week. Thanks for voting!

CoY Battle Royale Update: Elite Eight Polls Closing in 2 Hours

June 18, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

In past rounds I've just ended the battles and an undetermined time. However there's one battle raging on in particular right now that is as close as it can get. So I'm just posting a quick FYI to anyone that has yet to vote that the polls will officially close at 1:00pm Central Time. I will reveal the full results sometime later this afternoon.

The Cubs Need A Slumpbuster

June 17, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

Things are getting dire on the Northside. Can anyone on this fucking team hit with any consistency? To quote Chaim Witz: "Every time Fontenot, Bradley or Soto show signs of breaking out of their season long slumps they follow it up with a couple of soul crushing turds." Well put, sir.

The time has come. Someone on the Cubs needs to man up and solve the problem as Cubs of Yore, chiefly Mark Grace, solved them. Someone must be sacrificed for the good of the team and for us, the fans. Someone needs to take all the woes besetting this team and in one glorious unselfish act, remove the stain of ineptitude that has besmirched the 2009 Cubs.

The Cubs need a Slumpbuster. And not just any Slumpbuster, but the Slumpbuster to end all Slumpbusters. We need to find the Ultimate Slumpbuster and choose the sad sack in blue to martyr themselves for the sake of his teammates.

So, who is it, Cub Nation? Who's got the slumpbusting cred to knock this team of lightweights off the schnide? (No rules-dead or alive). Which Cub should have to take one for the team?

TMS Beer Project: Hoegaarden

June 17, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

With the name Saloon included in our moniker, one could surmise that we here at TMS like to drinky drinky. One that would make such an assumption would be correct, thereby throwing out the whole, 'when you assume you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me' bullshit. We also like to plagiarize each other. In the same vein as the Wrigleyville Bar Project, we are proud to bring you another installment of the TMS Beer Project. The premise is simple: we review beers. Each rating will feature a variety of scores from 1-10 and comments from the bartender. This is a public service damn it. We don't want you to be the sucker who pays $15 for a six pack of some overrated Belgian cat piss. Now, we all drink massive amounts of beer so we know what we speak of. Each of us seem to have a favorite style of beer though. Will we be reviewing macrobrews like Bud and Coors? Oh you bet your Aunt Susie's ass we will. For purposes of this science experiment, and it is in the name of science, those will be the "control" group. Use them as a base line for when we review lesser known imports and microbrews. Without further ado, I bring you our next beer:


Brewery: Brouwerij van Hoegaarden, Hoegaarden, Belgium

Type: Witbier

Receptacle: 12 ounce bottle poured into a glass

Drinkability (1 being Jim Jones' kool-aid, 10 being the nectar of the gods): 8, I've never been a real big fan of the Belgian white beers (I'm not counting Blue Moon, although if you are drinking that stuff you better be female or Chaim Witz). I'm talking about the real Belgian witbier. The stuff that's usually an unfiltered wheat with orange peel and coriander and some other crazy spices those wacky Belgians like to toss in. For me the overabundance of coriander generally turns me off to this style of brew. However Hoegaarden gets it right. There's the nice, light taste of the wheat with the hint of citrusy orange. Then the coriander is casually joining the party at the end, but he's just walking over to the corner of the room to make friendly conversation, not like some Belgian whites I had where coriander kicks down the door, suckerpunches you in the sternum, steals your wallet and gives your sister herpes. No this coriander is much more subtle and acceptable in modern society. I'd let it walk my dog or mow my lawn with no worries.

Heartiness (1 being fresh mountain spring water, 10 being a pureed British steak infected with mad cow disease): 3, A hearty beer it is not, which is fine. You're not looking for something heavy to make you feel like you just drank a Hungry Man TV dinner. This is a light ideal beer for hot midwest summer days. In fact this is the good summer beer you can drink year round, unlike some of those special "summer brews" you folks clamor for when it's in season.

Intoxication (1 being your friend's weird pentecostal grandmother high on Jesus, 10 being Boris Yeltsin on a week long bender in the Crimea): 6, At only 4.9% ABV, Hoegaarden packs a healthy amount of alcohol like a traditional American macro would. Nice enough to get a good buzz going on your back deck but not so strong that you pass out in the sun and wind up burning like John Candy in 'Summer Rental.'

Celebrities You May See Drinking This Brew: Herman Van Rompuy, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, Dr. Evil, Gerardus Mercator, Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters.

Affordability ($ being chicklets in Tijuana, $$$$ being diamond encrusted braised lamb shank from a trendy cafe on the Champs d'Elysee): $$$, I honestly can't remember how much I spent on this. I guess whatever your standard price for a six pack of European import beer is probably what it's going to run you.

Overall: 8.5, I have come to quite enjoy Hoegaarden (it's pronounced Hoo-garden for those of you that have made numerous "hooker farm" jokes by this point). It's not going to be a regular in my fridge any time soon but for a hot summer day outside I would highly recommend it.

Cubs/Sox Postponed, Pierzynski unintentionally gets clean in the rain

June 16, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Someone give the hillbilly a bar of soap while he's out there!

In other Cubs news we have failed to talk about, Gerald Perry was fired as hitting coach. Von Joshua moves up from AAA Iowa to fill the spot. Will Joshua be any different than Perry? Probably not. At the very least we can hope it put a boot in the collective asses of the players as they can only blame their flaccid offensive prowess for Perry's dismissal.

Also a new report from the New York Times says Sammy Sosa tested positive for steroids in 2003. First Rolling Stone reveals in an interview that Adam Lambert is gay and now the NYT with this? Can we get some more articles of the "no fucking shit" variety? How about a special National Geographic report, "Africa: There are lots of black people there." Or maybe a new episode of "Iron Chef America" where Bobby Flay will reveal that salt tastes salty.

That's all I have for now. Please vote in the Cubs of Yore Battle Royale if you haven't yet. We can't let Mark DeRosa beat Keith Moreland. Otherwise I may have to rig this bitch Iranian-style.

Rockies in 6!

If I May Be Pompous For a Moment...

June 16, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Wolter

Note: In lieu of writing TWO non-Hitler-Punch-Related Blog Entries in the same month, I am dual posting this entry on TMS and my own personal (long neglected) blog, The Slog . You case you give a rat’s ass.

Welcome to Wolter’s Music and Pop Culture Theory Corner, a feature deemed “Too Pseudointellectual Even For Pomp Culture” by a volunteer panel of U of C grad students.

Today’s discussion is based on aspects of the Generational Theory first espoused by William Strauss & Neil Howe in their seminal work, Generations (not to be confused with the incredibly bad Star Trek movie of the same name), and how they related to the lyrical content of the debut single two unrelated UK bands from roughly a quarter century apart (The Adverts and Art Brut).

Generational Theory is a more or less cyclical explanation of long-term historical trends based on each generation’s relation to and reaction at the previous generations throughout the phases of their life. It’s a very fascinating tool that, while not fully accurate as a predictive device, is very interesting as a means of analysis of events. You can get a decent quick-n-dirty overview in the wikipedia link above, which I strongly recommend reading as a background material (I'm going to be relatively brief in my reasoning, so if you find flaws with this theory, remember that Strauss & Howe wrote several books on the topic, and it's worth reading more about it).

At any rate, the short version is each generation has an overall character that is the result of its environment (though obviously there are always members of each generation that defy the prevailing norms). The two generations that matter for this discussion are Generation X (also known as 13th Gen) and the Millennial Generation (also known as Generation Y).

The Adverts formed in 1977 as part of the slew of punk bands that appeared in the wake of the Sex Pistols (and to a lesser extent, the Clash and the Damned) rise to notoriety in the UK. Their debut single, “One Chord Wonders” is a marvelously paranoid ode to the bravado and gallows-humor of musicians with low-self-esteem everywhere who know in their hearts they are doomed to failure. For the purposes of this discussion, please feel free to download a copy here.

And, for your perusal, here are a copy of the lyrics (hopefully correct, as god knows I don’t want to search too deeply for lyrics sites, and the requisite computer viruses they seem to contain):

I wonder what we'll play for you tonight.
Something heavy or something light?
Something to set your soul alight?
I wonder how we'll answer when you say,
"We don't like you - go away,
"Come back when you've learnt to play"

I wonder what we'll do when things go wrong,
When we're half-way through
Our favorite song,
We look up and the
audience has gone.
Will we feel a little bit obscure?
Think "we're not needed here,
"We must be new wave
- they'll like us next year"

The Wonders don't care
- we don't give a damn
(repeated to end of

Note the outright pessimism and cynicism of these lyrics. This is a band that fully expects to go nowhere, but plans to do so defiantly. This is very indicative of the Nomad Generation mentality, which describes both Generation X (born c. 1960-1982 – opinions differ on the exact dates) and preceding similar generations (such as the Lost Generation). Of course, Adverts lead vocalist TV Smith was born in 1956, a few years before the first Generation X cohort, but this song’s worldview is much more Gen X than Boomer (and most of the fans he was reaching for were first cohort Boomers). Indeed, most of the idealized notions of the Punk subculture are overwhelmingly suited to the first stirrings of Generation X – rebelliousness tempered with nihilism, a belief that there is no future and very little hope. Irony is the shield of the Nomad Generation, defending it against the dark pessimism ingrained in most members.

On the other hand, Art Brut (who formed in 2003 at the cusp of a Post-Punk revival in the British charts, are staunchly part of a Hero Generation (The Millennials who followed Generation X and are most closely analogous to the GI, or Greatest Generation born c. 1900-1924). Team oriented, optimistic, and usually hard-working, Millennials are often thought have no use for the cynical irony of the Gen X-ers (which irritates Gen X-ers almost as much as being called "Gen X-ers"). They have the sense that they are special and have been brought up for a purpose, which can be seen in the debut single "Formed a Band" which can be found here (well, the album version). Also, note (like T.V. Smith) that Art Brut's lead vocalist Eddie Argos was born just before the technical beginning of this Generation, but is singing to an audience of first cohort Millennials. I think some artists on Generational cusps are the canaries in coal mine who feel the shift as it's happening.

Now contrast the following lyrics with what goes before:

Formed a band
We formed a band
Look at us
We formed a band

Honey pie, I don't know when it started
Just stop buying your albums
from the supermarkets
They only sell things that have charted
And Art Brut?
Well we've only just started

And yes, this is my singing voice
It's not irony
And it's not rock and roll
I'm just talking
To the kids

Formed a band
We formed a band
Look at us
We formed a band

I want to be the boy
The man
Who writes the song
That makes Israel and Palestine
Get along

I'm gonna write a song
As universal as Happy Birthday
That's gonna make sure
That everybody knows
That everything's gonna be ok
I'm gonna take that song
And we're gonna play it
Eight weeks in a row on Top of the Pops

Formed a band
We formed a band
Look at us
We formed a band

Dye your hair black
Never look back
My past is my business
We have two songs about more-or-less the same subject by bands that aren't massively musically dissimilar. But what a difference a generation makes. A specific denouncement of irony (at least the humorless kind), and a bouncy statement that despite their admitted shortcomings, Art Brut (whose very name means, more or less, "Primitive Art") will take the world by storm and solve everyone's problems. The Adverts seems to be saying "You probably will hate us, but screw you, we don't care what you think...much...." Art Brut is saying "You don't know it yet, but we're your new favorite band. And we love that about you." There's a bit of a twist of the knife at the end, but no true darkness pervades this song.

Ultimately, of course, this is just an observation I made while listening to my iPod on shuffle. But it gave this late-cohort Gen X-er (God, I hate that term) some food for thought about two songs he happens to enjoy quite a bit for very different reasons.

Summer Games: Horseshoes

June 16, 2009 | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

Now that summer is here (almost), it's time to get that itchy shirt off and get outside. This is doubly true in times of Cub woe that we're currently experiencing - we need something to pass the time and dull the pain. Summer Games will examine some classic outside games, carefully choosing ones that lend themselves to shirtless participation and the coexistence of your favorite summer beverage.

Horseshoes. You have no idea how hard it's been to have written two previous Summer Games articles (bocce ball and washers) that weren't horseshoes. Perhaps I didn't want to blow my load (or in Chad Cordero's case, a late inning lead). During frequent in-Saloon banter, I have made no secret about my affection for horseshoes. Summer means many things go many people. A large contingency of people associate the warm, sunny weather with a swimming pool or a boat. Your chunkier, more jovial brethren will pine about how it is official grill season. Music lovers bust out the patchouli and get super heady about outdoor music festivals and their accompanying hackey sack tournaments. To the everyman like myself, it means horseshoe season. Technically baseball is America's game, but deep inside my cold landlordian heart, horseshoes is truly America's game.

Following the Revolutionary War, it was said by England's Duke of Wellington that "the War was won by pitchers of horse hardware." That's goddamn right, you English fairy. Not only are horseshoe throwers super cool people who exude sexual prowess, they're also patriots and winners of war. Who wouldn't want to be lumped in with that group? The taliban, that's who. And go ahead and throw in these two assholes.

Some quick research tells me that the game of horseshoes may well date back to the times of the Grecian army, way back when the years only had three digits. (Strange, I always thought my grandpa created the game, as well as being the greatest show thrower in the world.) Because no one kept diligent records back then, the first real data takes place around the Civil War time, when the popularity of this great game gained steam, particularly with the Union side. (And you thought that pitching shoes was only for hillbillies. For shame!)

The greatness of the game lies in it's simplicity. Basically anyone can pitch a horseshoe, and the cost of 4 shoes and two stakes is relatively cheap and easy to set up. The two stakes are placed 40 feet apart, and each team throws two shoes in their respective turn. The type of courts are open to speculation, but it's a known fact that in the Midwest, real men throw into grass/dirt pits. Sand pits are generally for old geezers that can't perfect the craft. Being caught throwing into sand pits is cause for public shaming and occasionally verbal and, in extreme cases, physical abuse. Also frowned upon are pits that are surrounded by any sort of structure.

The game itself is simple. You can click here for the official rules from the NHPA, but know that most people play by amateur rules. The amateur rules consist of getting three points for a ringer (the shoe wraps around the stake), two points for a leaner (shoes leans against the stake), and one point for a shoe that lands within a horseshoe's width of the stake. The closest shoe cancels out the others, unless the same person throws the two closets shoes. Easy peasy, Japaneasy. If you can't figure this game out, you're a retard.

There are many different ways to throw a horseshoe. The way the oldschooler and pros do it is to throw the shoe flat, and have it rotate one time so that the shoe (ideally) lands with the open end facing the stake. Better chance for ringers, and more often than not, it's not a wild shoe that goes bouncing wildly out of control. Sounds simple, but it's easier said than done. The other popular way is to pitch the shoe flipping end-over-end, hoping that it lands open side at the stake. Many people have perfected this throw, having it flip only one time. On dry, flat courts, a low trajectory shoe can be thrown in this matter and slid up to the stake. Many variations of these are common, with the "Missourian" style, with the shoe flipping many time. Also seen is the "hillbilly" style, throwing the spinning shoe that rotates like a Tasmanian devil. The knuckle shoe is less common, and is a shoe that does not rotate or flip at all. Knuckle throwers are rarely successful and commonly confused. Again, addressing the Cordero contingent, the shoes are not pitched while still attached to the horse.

As you can imagine, beer plays a vital role in the game, and sometimes to a greater extent, gambling is king. It's usually a given that each player puts up a buck per game, and the winners hold court. Alcohol increases the camaraderie and, when overindulged in, can swing the pace and effectiveness of the game. Shirtlessness? C'mon, it goes hand-in-hand with the game. Much like the other Summer Games, when the temperature is over 55, you might look a bit silly if you're still wearing a shirt.

All in all, it's a real American game. One of the best horseshoe stories I can tell takes me back to college days. I took a set of stakes and four shoes up to college when we rented a house. The large mass of Chicago kids in Iowa City liked to label the game as a "farmer game" and only suited for rednecks. When they finally tried their hand at the Game of the Gods, they were bitten by the 'shoe bug, and suddenly we found numerous requests for additional tournaments. Yes, it's a great game, and one that certainly can lay challenge to soccer as The World's Game.

CoY Battle Royale: The Elite Eight

June 14, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

At long last the Battle Royale rages on. Only eight men left standing, soon to be four. For a quick update of what has happened thus far, click the full bracket at right.

A quick refresher on how this works.

There is a link in the right sidebar under "Cubs of Yore Battle Royale". Click on that link to load a survey allowing you to vote on all four battles. Feel free to leave comments at the end of the survey as well. Most but not necessarily all comments will be published.

The battles will close sometime whenever. Results will be revealed later that day.

Now let's get the battles started.

#1 Keith Moreland vs. #7 Mark Derosa
  • Moreland has destroyed his competition thus far making easy work of Brian McRae and Damon Berryhill.
  • DeRosa has been a dark horse in the tournament, taking down higher seeds Frank Castillo and Rick Wilkins.
Keith Moreland Facts Review*
  • Nicknamed "Zonk".
  • Hails from Texas.
  • Played with Cubs for 6 years.
  • Acquired by the Cubs from the Phillies in December 1981 along with Dan Larsen and Dickie Noles for pitcher Mike Krukow and cash.
  • Played C, 1B, 3B, LF and RF during his time in Chicago.
  • Once hunted and killed a chupracabra.
  • Led the Cubs in 1985 with 106 RBI.
  • Inducted in the National College Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • Regarding Keith, former teammate Gary Matthews once said, "I don't think I have ever seen a better hitter at the plate when the game is on the line than Keith Moreland."
Mark Derosa Fast Facts Review*
  • Hails from Valhalla according to some Cubs fans.
  • Played with the Cubs for 2 years.
  • During those 2 years, Mark played 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, LF, RF and was also a part-time referee for Aramis Ramirez's cockfights.
  • Mark was signed as a free agent in by the Cubs after having what at the time was a career year with Texas. He came to the Cubs in a head-scratching signing and left the Cubs in a head-scratching trade.
  • In 2008, Mark was seventh in the NL with 8 sacrifice flys.
  • According to his Baseball Reference similarity scores Mark is most similar to Mike Lamb.
  • Married to hot model.

#5 Turk Wendell vs. #2 Dwight Smith
  • Turk used his quirky antics and persona to beat Kevin Tapani and Kyle Farnsworth thus far.
  • Dwight Smith had no problems against Jim Bullinger or Doug Dascenzo because, "Aww know."
Turk Wendell Fast Facts Review*
  • Hails from Massachusetts.
  • Played with Cubs for 5 years.
  • Insisted that the umpire roll the ball to the mound rather than simply throw it to him. If an umpire would ignorantly throw the ball to him, Wendell was known to let it go past him, or even to let it bounce off his chest, after which he would retrieve it from the ground.
  • Wore a necklace made from the claws and teeth of various animals he had hunted and killed. He was the Ted Nugent of baseball.
  • Was incredibly vocal about Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa using steroids.
  • Beaned Vlad Guerrero in a game once and afterward said, "If he doesn't like it, he can freakin' go back to the Dominican and find another line of work."
Dwight Smith Fast Facts Review*
  • Hails from "Awww shit, you know."
  • Played with the Cubs for 5 years.
  • Batted .324 in 1989 and finished second to teammate Jerome Walton in NL Rookie of the year voting.
  • Sang the National Anthem before Cubs games during his playing days.
  • The Billy Dee Williams of baseball.

#5 Joe Borowski vs. #6 Glenallen Hill
  • Borowski has profusely sweated his way past Derrick May and Rey Sanchez to make the regional finals.
  • Glenallen Hill destroyed his previous two opponents with such ferocity that they have asked to not have their names mentioned any more.
Joe Borowski Fast Facts Review*
  • Hails from your local Denny's.
  • Played with Cubs for 5 years.
  • At age 31 improbably came from nowhere to become a top arm in the Cubs bullpen.
  • Converted 33 of 37 saves during epic 2003 season.
  • With the Indians, Joe led the AL in 2007 with 45 saves despite posting a 5.07 ERA.
Glenallen Hill Fast Facts Review*
  • Hails from the Land of Badass Motherfuckers.
  • Played with the Cubs for 5 years.
  • Hit a HR onto a 5-story apartment complex outside Wrigley Field in 2001.
  • Was named in the Mitchell Report. It remains his most famous mention in anything ever.
  • Not very good on defense; nicknamed "The Juggler" for his defensive ineptitude. Just don't call him that to his face.

#4 Mike Bielecki vs. #3 Steve Trout
  • Bielecki has cruised to victory so far against Luis Salazar and Kevin Foster.
  • Trout shutout Ronny Cedeno before outdueling Scott Sanderson with his down-to-earth good looks.
Mike Bielecki Fast Facts Review*
  • Played with Cubs for 4 years.
  • Shares a birthday with Wesley Snipes and Tim Couch.
  • Pedro Guerrero of the Cardinals robbed Bielecki of the first Cubs no-hitter in 19 years with a home run. Mike was a scant 8 outs away from history.
  • Won a career high 18 games as a Cub in 1989.
  • Traded to the Braves with Damon Berryhill for Yorkis Perez and Turk Wendell.
  • Known to hang in the same social circles as Tommy Buzanis.
Steve Trout Fast Facts Review*
  • Hails from Detroit.
  • Played with Cubs for 5 years.
  • The last Cub to pitch back-to-back complete game shutouts, which were his last games with the Cubs.
  • Helped the team reach the playoffs in the oft-heralded 1984 season.
  • Was no stranger to the occasional burrito-eating contest.
  • This.

Alright, now it's time to hit the polls. You can vote by going to this link, or by clicking on the "Go to Battle" link in the sidebar.

*As always, some of the "Fast Facts" may not be true.