Congratulations White Chili, Death League 2009 Champion!

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

A hearty congratulations goes out to White Chili, winner of the second annual TMS Death League.

For the second straight season a wild card pick proved to be the deciding factor. White Chili's pick of Patrick Swayze catapulted him into the lead spot, which he easily maintained for the remainder of the season.

Of course this has now led to the "Swayze Rule" which takes effect starting in the 2010 season, in which no person may be drafted as a wild card if they are suffering a terminal illness with a prognosis of less than a year to live at the time of the draft.

Of course Death League 2010 has already begun at the stroke of midnight on Black Friday. later this week I will post a recap of this year's Wild Card draft as well as the full rosters for the new season.

Here are the final standings for 2009.

RK Manager
1. White Chili
Farrah Fawcett, Walter Cronkite, Patrick Swayze
2. Brant Brown
Bettie Page, Chuck Daly, David Carradine, Les Paul
3. Chaim Witz
Carl Pohlad, Ricardo Montalban, Dom DeLuise, Ted Kennedy
4. The Hundley
Eartha Kitt, Paul Harvey, Robert McNamara
5. Daft Funk
Jack Kemp
6. Chip Wesley
Ed McMahon
6. Jordi
Bea Arthur
8. Arcturus
Karl Malden
9. Governor X
9. Tommy Buzanis
9. Lingering Bursitis

Happy Turkey Day, from the Saloon!

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

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! As you all settle into your La-Z-boy and zone out watching football while the your in-laws bicker about which parent made your cousin Chad "gay", please remember a couple of things.

1. You will not be able to eat as much as Jim Hendry, Lou Piniella, or Geovany Soto on a pot bender this Thanksgiving, even if you are wearing your super stretchy stretch pants or decided to just wear a "Snuggie" and nothing else. Give your stomach a break and keep it to three or four plates of food (plus dessert, of course). Remember, the gravy boat is for everyone, it's not just a fancy looking glass even if it is placed directly in front of you at the table.

2. Do not act upon that awkward attraction to your new cousin whose mother just married your Uncle Jack. Sure, there is no blood relationship between you two, and getting away from the family and your crazy Uncle's war stories to go fool around in the laundry room might seem like a good idea at the time, especially after more than a few rum and cokes, but you are going to have to see this person at least a couple times a year. There is no breaking up with family and it can only lead to uncomfortable glances and having to avoid this person for the rest of your life, or until your Uncle Jack finds a new gold digger.

3. When deciding on whether or not to participate in the after-dinner game of tackle football, we realize some of you may be delusional in grasping the concept of aging. Just make sure to ask yourself, "Does my insurance cover back/hip surgery?" If the answer is yes, then go ahead, enjoy. If not, you might want to arm chair quarterback this year's game.

4. Deep Fried Turkey: best attempted before hitting the tequila.

5. Leave politics to the politicians. Sure, you might feel the need to tell everyone about how Obama is fucking up this country and point out every little fucking detail about it, but really, no one gives a shit about your warped hidden racist views.

And finally, give thanks, it's Thanksgiving Day for fucks sake. Not sure what to give thanks for this year after you lost your job, your wife and girlfriend left you and didn't even leave the dog and that 10 speed with frozen tires is your new "ride"? Well, here are some simple things that the bartenders are thankful for this year*:

Wolter: 1979
Daft Funk: Titties
Chaim Witz: The fact that KISS will never die
Dave Thomas: Cotton balls
Chip Wesley: Sneaking into "New Moon"
The Hundley: The Biggest Loser
Brant Brown: Hating me...and everything for that matter
White Chili: Mousetraps
Lingering Bursitis: Scotch eggs
Arcturus: Diet soda
Adam Blank: Obscure horror movies and vodka

And me, I'm thankful for all of you, reading this shit I put forth into words, errors and all, both here and at College of Idiots. Happy Thanksgiving, and enjoy your fucking mashed potatoes!

*None of the bartenders actually approve the things they give thanks for, I just made them up.

For Your Consideration: Blood Freak

November 24, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Adam Blank

Being sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving never gets its due. Even with all the great traditions associated with it (like tofurkey, Detroit Lions football, and arguing with your siblings while drunk), Thanksgiving is regarded as a mere halfway point between two more exciting holidays. And this is a shame. As Americans, Thanksgiving is a holiday that's unique to our culture...unless you count Canada, Grenada and a couple other countries that celebrate it. But fuck 'em.

Perhaps Thanksgiving suffers because we don't have one special movie to put us all in the spirit of the holiday. Christmas has It's A Wonderful Life. Halloween has Halloween. But what do we, as a culture, have as our traditional Thanksgiving film? Nothing comes to mind. Certainly almost every sitcom has a Thanksgiving episode. But aside from the WKRP episode, they pretty much all suck. And, yes, there are a few movies that center around Thanksgiving, but they're typically schmaltzy and dull. And there's the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special, but that shit is depressing. So I propose that we Americans settle on an official movie for Thanksgiving that exemplifies our values, accurately reflects our history, has something vague connection to turkeys, and shows some tits. Fellow Americans, I'd like to nominate the pro-Christian, anti-drug exploitation epic Blood Freak.

To better evaluate just how uniquely American Blood Freak is, I've assigned "American Points" to certain objects, actions & concepts expressed throughout the film that exemplify our culture. Although I will not explain how these points are awarded, I will tell you that they're based on an extremely rigid scale and are not arbitrarily assigned by some drunk guy. So here we go...

As the movie begins, our chain-smoking omnipotent narrator babbles on about "change & fate." We learn that any one of us can be a catalyst for change, even "a pretty girl with a problem." (Chain-smoking: +2 American points, vaguely philosophical bullshit about fate & catalysts for change: +1 American point)

Our hero, Herschell, is riding down the Florida turnpike on a badass chopper. He pulls over to help out a stranded motorist, who happens to be the aforementioned "pretty girl with a problem." (Chopper: +3 American points. Florida turnpike: -1 American point.)

She takes Herschell to her house. She shares the house with her much hotter sister, who is having a 70's style swinger/drug party! The good sister asks Herschell not to partake in any of the debauchery, and Herschell, home after a stint in 'Nam, isn't going to rock the boat. The good sister then admonishes the bad sister for her drug use, and reminds her that her body is a temple for the Holy Spirit.

Hot sister: +4 American points. Swinger/pot party: +10 American points.
Viet Nam:
+6 American points. Religious fervor: +4 American points.

Herschell is hit on by a married woman at the party, but keeps up the good guy act by rebuffing her advances. She tells him that he's "nothing but a dumb bastard who doesn't know where it's at anyway!" Refusing sex: -5 American points. The woman's priceless comeback: +5 American points.

The bad sister also takes a liking to Herschell, but he's holding out for the good sister (i.e. his meal ticket), and passes up a ridiculously easy lay. Seeking vengeance, she conspires with the local drug dealer (who happens to be the same guy whose wife wanted to have sex with Herschell) and they plot to get Herschell hooked on drugs. (Turning down sex: -5. Revenge: +3.)

Herschell meets the girls' father, who owns a poultry ranch. +7
Herschell bullshits his way into getting a job at the poultry ranch. +5

To earn his keep around the house, Herschell helps out by cleaning out the swimming pool. The bad sister puts on a bikini and tries to seduce Herschell again. When that fails, she smokes pot, then proceeds to get him to smoke a joint by mocking his prudish ways. He gets stoned and laughs manically. They eventually make love on a tacky bedspread, and we get a brief shot of the bad sister's tits. (In-ground Swimming pool: +2, bikini: +5, succumbing to drug use via peer pressure initiated by hot slut: +7, brief tit shot: +6. )

After the night of passion, Herschell wakes up late for work. In the ensuing pandemonium, we get a brief shot of the bad sister's ass. At work, some food scientists inform Herschell that he can make extra money by eating turkey that was injected with an experimental drug. Rather than actually do work, Herschell agrees to get paid to eat turkey. The scientists tell him that the eating of the drugged turkey will take place the following day. (Being late for your first day of work: +6, ass shot: +4, opting to get paid for eating: +10)

Herschell goes about his workday, happily tossing turkeys over a fence, but soon goes through serious drug withdrawal. Apparently, the pot Herschell smoked was laced with something. He twitches his way home and convinces the slutty sister to get him more drugs. The drug dealer gives Herschell more of the stuff, and Herschell threatens to beat his ass if the drug supply runs dry. (Tossing live animals around: +3, drug withdrawal: +1)

The next day, Herschell is handed an entire roasted turkey at work. He eats the majority of it, then starts to feel funny, eventually collapsing and going into convulsions. One of the food scientists finds him and dumps his twitching body in a ditch away from the poultry farm. (Gluttony: +8, dumping the body of a person in need of medical treatment: +9)

In the ditch where the food scientist left him, Herschell transforms into a turkey-headed monster that craves the blood of junkies! He goes on a killing spree of modest proportions. (Becoming a turkey-headed monster with a craving for junkie blood: +30)

We're only halfway through the movie, and Blood Freak already has 130 American points! That doesn't include the remainder of the movie where a victim has his leg sawed off (an actual amputee was used), the drug dealer gets his comeuppance, the narrator talks about addiction while smoking & having a coughing fit, and Herschell is saved through the power of prayer! Let's see how the first half of Blood Freak compares to the other nominations:

Patton: 95
The Ice Storm: 49
Home For the Holidays: 32
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving: 21
The Star Wars Holiday Special: 14

Clearly, Blood Freak is the quintessential movie for the Thanksgiving holiday. And if you don't agree, well then you're nothing but a dumb bastard who doesn't know where it's at anyway!

You Make the Call: Jay Cutler

November 23, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

Jay Cutler..................................or..................................Jay Cutler

Nobody cares how great of an arm you have if you keep throwing your perfect spiral 15 yards ahead of your receiver!

Target: Making My Life a Living Hell

November 20, 2009 | Comments (1) | by Ginger Russ

I always used to like Target. I mean when I would compare it to it's evil nemesis, Walmart at least. I don't even shop at Walmart, absolutely refuse to. But recently I have been rethinking all the good memories I've ever had about shopping at Target, and by good memories I mean that in the most abstract way a person who hates shopping can have about entering a store that is an acre full of mindless walkabout zombies.

Mashed potatoes, the most impossible thing to make since the scotch egg.

The scene is this: a couple weekends ago I decided to make mashed potatoes to accompany the Beef Bourguignon I was making for traditional gameday feast that we have when my friends and I get together for the Bears games on Sunday. Like most Americans, I prefer my mashed potatoes of the real variety. None of that boxed, dried, or Country Crock in-a-tub shit. Unlike most Americans though, I make my own mashed potatoes, which I was grossly unaware of when I went on my extremely long and frustrating journey to find a hand potato masher. You see, I don't own a mixer, like Rachael Ray I don't bake, and I also prefer my mashed potatoes to be a little lumpy. You know, some texture so that it doesn't taste like grandma's nursing home food.

I was sure the aisle with all the kitchen gadgets in the grocery store would have one, no problem I assumed. But you know what they say about people who assume don't you? So when the grocery store that I went to purchase the potatoes, butter, cream, cheese, bacon and scallions (I was making cheddar-bacon mashers) didn't have one I didn't fret. Surely the Target next to my house would have one, it's even one of those "Super" Targets. But like I was saying, you know what they say about people who make assumptions.

Like the record player and Brant Brown's happiness, this object is nearly impossible to find nowadays.

Fifteen minutes at staring into a 30 foot long aisle of every kitchen gadget ever known to man outside of the Bed, Bath and Beyond store later I felt like someone was playing a horrible joke on me. With only 30 minutes till the Bears game kickoff and all my friends on their way to my house, I was astounded that even though Target carried 10 "sandwich crust removers" (apparently knives are too difficult to operate nowadays), they didn't carry any potato mashers. Well, this just couldn't be right, I had to ask an employee if they were just out and had some in the back, even though the 2 empty rings were clearly not marked for potato mashers.

I know we throw the term around pretty loosely here at the Saloon, but I truly believe this to be a War Criminal: people that wear red shirts in Target. Why the fuck would you wear a red shirt in Target unless you are there specifically to fuck with me when I need to find something? I must have walked up to at least 3 different people before I realized they were just shoppers and not employees. And fuck Target for not handing out real uniforms. What, they can't afford them? Have you ever noticed that the employees get to pick their own red shirt to wear, and they usually pick one that is so common that fifteen customers in the store will also be wearing the same exact shirt at that moment?

Target employees: too young and fat to be strippers, for shame!

After FINALLY finding an actual employee I was told that they didn't have any and that they also thought it was strange that they didn't carry them. Fucking-a-right it's strange. But I guess it's just America today, too lazy to mash their own potatoes. Fortunately, the good people across the street at Walmart (like I said, I never shop at Walmart, but am reconsidering) had a potato masher, even if it was basically a 3" plastic circle with a couple holes punched into it that was attached to a handle flexible enough to be a Chinese gymnast. I might as well have used my hands to mash those potatoes. So my point is this, 'Merica, if you plan on mashing your own potatoes this Thanksgiving and don't have a masher or a mixer, make sure to reserve an hour of your day to travel to Bed, Bath and Beyond to get a real, old-school metal masher. Enjoy your fucking potatoes!

Person of Interest: Guy On a Bike at Night

November 19, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Hey you. Yeah, jackass with the skinny jeans, unkempt beard and thrift store t-shirt. Yeah you, asshole. Riding your bike at night? Not cool. Riding without any sort of reflectors or lights? Well, all I can say is that you deserve whats coming to you, be it an accidental run in with a rogue car door or me purposely running you off the road into the storefront window of a record store that you probably work at part time.

Listen, I love a good bike ride, I really do. Get some fresh air, get the blood flowing, see the beautiful sights of Chicago. It's economical, it's good for your body and it helps clear the mind. But for the love of Lance Armstrong's one remaining testicle, just stop with the reckless night time bike riding. Given the fact that the majority of most roadways don't have dedicated bike lanes and the streets here are skinner than your emo-stunted cock make this practice even more absurd.

If you want to do some organized late ride, that's cool. But when I see you run a stop sign, hog the lane or flippantly dismiss the rules of the road, I can't help but want to see bodily harm come to you. At the very least, I'd like to go to your house, drink all of your PBR, switch all of your radio presets to HOT A/C, superglue the pages of your graphic novels and show your girlfriend how a real man makes love.

I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings (no I'm not). You can always take solace in the fact that Death Cab for Cutie are still releasing albums and no one has touched your soy milk that's been sitting in the work fridge for a solid 6 weeks. Better hop on the ole' 12 speed and head over to Jewel at midnight to replace that shit and buy a pack of Lucky Strikes. Just know that I'll be in my car....watching....waiting...

Trash I Saw On Lifetime: Cyber Seduction

November 17, 2009 | Comments (1) | by Adam Blank

I'm a fan of the old exploitation movies; the kind of movies about a scandalous or hot-button issue filmed on a shoe-string budget and rushed to drive-ins & decaying grindhouse theaters to turn a quick profit while the subject was still relevant. And while this sort of movie doesn't often get made for theatrical release anymore, they're still being made for television. Lifetime's original movies are a goldmine for trash movie aficionados. Case in point: Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life...

Justin has a mediocre but stable life. He's a good student and the star of his high school's swim team. His swimming prowess has begun to make him popular with the cool kids. He has an attractive but prudish girlfriend, a mother prone to overreacting, a passive father, and an impressionable younger brother. But Justin's entire life collapses like a house of cards when he innocently clicks on a link to a porn site sent to him by his friend.

At that very moment, Justin becomes obsessed with internet pornography. And energy drinks. But, oddly enough, NOT masturbation. Apparently, Justin succeeded where I failed; in replacing jacking off with Rock Star. If the kid would have just rubbed one out, his entire life would still be fine. Justin didn't...

The energy drinks keep Justin awake late one night, and while looking at what passes for internet porn on Lifetime, his mother barges into his room to see why he isn't asleep. He quickly tries to turn off the computer, but his mother saw the vaguely lurid images. She attempts to go back to bed, but she's just too shaken up over the whole thing, so she decides to wake up her husband in the middle of the night and demand he talk to Justin about the evils of pornography. He tells her that Justin is a normal boy, but that only angers his cunt of a wife, so he has to promise to give Justin a vague lecture later so his nagging wife will let him sleep.

The next day, Justin's life starts its downward spiral when he underperforms at swimming practice. To make it worse, Justin begins to notice that high school girls dress like sluts. And he likes it! In just two days, internet porn causes Justin to objectify every woman he sees. His father's halfhearted lecture doesn't help matters, and Justin's appetite for porn and Red Bull grows.

A day or two later, Justin is viewing more porn when his younger brother busts him and insists that he get to look at the porno or he'll tell mom. Jesus Christ, Justin! Lock your fucking door already. Justin reluctantly obliges and it fries his little bro's brain! But Justin just can't stop showing porn to others; it's the nature of the beast!

Soon after ruining his brother's life, Justin is hanging out at Timmy's house. Timmy is the guy who got Justin hooked on the hard stuff by sending him the link at the beginning of the movie. Instead of playing more video games, Justin suggests they look up porn and pulls up some latex fetish site that looked more like an ad to a performance art showcase than hardcore pornography. But it's apparently too much for Timmy, who isn't cool with this "twisted" stuff, and Justin leaves.

In the safety of his own room, Justin visits the webcam site of the local high school slut/porn star and begins chatting with her while drinking an obscene amount of Red Bull. He tells her how "Amaaaaazing" she is. Can Justin really be considering having sex with the easy hot chick instead of waiting for his wholesome girlfriend's vagina to defrost?

If this brief synopsis of the first half of the movie sounds a bit over the top, it's got NOTHING on the second half of the movie. Some highlights of the rest include:

• Justin being ostracized by his peers.

• The Virgin Vaginas!

• Justin getting suspended from school.

• Justin's mom seeking the guidance of a friend whose "marriage was destroyed because of internet pornography."

• Justin seeking out sleazy back rooms in the bad part of town to get his porn fix.

• A vicious beating.

• And one of the most inexplicable scenes in the history of motion pictures, which can only be hinted at with this picture...

None of those spoilers can detract from the glorious train wreck that is Cyber Seduction: His Secret Life. Although Lifetime touted this movie as a provocative depiction of a modern social ill, it's got the accuracy and sensibility of Reefer Madness. The director is the same guy who directed Friday the 13th Part VI. He also directed the equally absurd Lifetime classic, She's Too Young, about the freshman class blowjob syphilis outbreak.

Probably because Lifetime doesn't want us watching their movies ironically, Cyber Seduction is not available on DVD. You might be able to download it somewhere, or you can watch the movie in installments on YouTube. If you're lucky enough to get Lifetime or the Lifetime Movie Network, you can always check their listings (it isn't scheduled to air again this month). This movie must be viewed in groups, and it doesn't hurt to have a few drinks handy.

Brant's Rant

November 16, 2009 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

NFL 'hang time' clocks:
What in the hell is the point of showing the 'hang time' of a punt in digital format on an NFL broadcast. The point of a punt is to pin the receiving team as deep into their own territory as possible. Why in God's name would I care if it takes that punt 4.9 or 4.3 seconds to land? How much money went into creating that graphic on each broadcast. Better yet, how many wasted dollars are going to some chump in a truck starting and stopping that fucking clock? Yes, these are hard economic times, but that ass hat would serve us a lot better if he were washing our cars or serving our drinks.

The term 'bogo':
If you're not hip to it yet, the term 'bogo' stands for 'buy one get one'. It is often associated with shitty restaurants and second-rate merchandisers. If you're like me, you often hear 'bogo' at your place of work, possibly in the form of a mass e-mail sent throughout the office by an overweight post-menopausal woman, with a coupon attached. You know what bitch? I don't give a shit if Souplantation has a buy one meal, get one half off promotion. Take your fat ass and barren womb over to that shithole buffet with one of the other hags and eat clam chowder until you have a fucking coronary. Please. Just don't bother me with your cost-savings nonsense, I don't give two shits about your frivolity. I feel so sorry for your husband, who likely lost his will to live 20 years ago. I shit on your 'bogo'.

Kids playing stickball in the street and their ignorant parents:
I'm all about our nation's youth getting exercise, being outdoors, using their imaginations and such. But for Christ's sake, don't play stickball on the street that's full of parked cars! How stupid can you be? My car was parked in my own goddamn driveway and you hit it twice you pieces of shit! If you're going to knock a projectile, go down four blocks to the fucking park! How is that not clear? Do you not have parents? Are they unaware that it's their designated weekend to be responsible for you? If they were worth their salt, they wouldn't allow you to play ball in the street and destroy other people's property. Or perhaps they're too busy smoking drugs or cheating on their spouses, and are just glad that you're not in the house to witness their various indiscretions. Either way, here's to hoping that you mature quickly enough to not knock up some girl before you graduate high school.

international friendlies; Tim McGraw; USC football; Bill Belichick's ego
Underrated: the Bengals being good; the word 'cocksure'; Colts vs. Patriots

Ha Ha, Look at You!

November 15, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

Wow. Just wow. Up by 6 with less than two minutes to play and you elect to go for it on 4th and 2 on your own 28? You don't make it, Peyton gets the ball on the 25....ballgame. The Evil Genius costs his team the game and home field advantage in the playoffs in one fell swoop.

I honestly can't recall a more irresponsible coaching decision in all of my grizzled, slightly homosexual days, especially in such a crunch time spot. A lesser coach would be fired. If he were a soccer coach, he'd likely be murdered. (No joke)

As The Hundley aptly stated, 'Ego is a bitch'. Guess that sleeveless hoodie/cum towel is gonna be used to dry the tears of New England tonight Billy Boy!

Bill Belichick: This couldn't have happened to a bigger asshole. Love it!

Holy Christ, Please Trade for Granderson

November 12, 2009 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Word in the rumor mill (thanks MLB TradeRumors, Paul Sullivan, Jon Heyman, etc.!) is that the Tigers may be willing to listen to offers for Curtis Granderson. Unless God hates us all, the Cubs are sure to at least kick the tires. How often can you kill two birds with one stone (leadoff hitter and lefty pop) in these times of economic hardship?

Oh, we would bring up the economics of it all, wouldn't we! Granderson's contract has him due for $25.75 million over the next three years. That's nothing for the Ricketts, who have said that they intend to keep the Cubs among the top three spenders in baseball. You have to spend money to make money, right? I think Jesus said that. Check the Bible. He's in the New Testament part.

Surely Hendry would be required to move Uncle Milton first, eating the better part of his $21 million. They'll certainly have to absorb another bad contract in that move, which the Tigers wouldn't want. That probably leaves the Cubs in a position where they would be forced to cough up a slew of youngsters. Hopefully that would start with Jake Fox (future DH extraordinaire) and the mythical Starlin Castro. I'd like to see them move Samardzija (completely overrated), but again, we would have to eat some cash. The bottom line is that it could be done, and it would be much more satisfying than going into next season having only brought in Luis Castillo and Marlon Byrd.

Would Granderson cure all our ails? Probably not, but he's the one piece that would fit best. Sure he strikes out a lot, but at least those strikes are swinging, as opposed to Bradley who never lifted the bat off his shoulder. He doesn't really hit lefties worth a lick, but you can spell him on occasion if you retain Reed Johnson. And maybe Granderson doesn't steal as much as you would like, but he's certainly more of a threat to steal a base than anyone else on the roster (we're looking at you Crazy Legs Soriano). Plus, by Dusty Baker logic, Curtis should be able to handle all the hot afternoon games better than someone like Pat Burrell.

Granderson is an Illinois boy and a seemingly all-around good guy. You know, the kind that you might want in a clubhouse. Yep, it might hurt the back pocket, and it will further thin out an incredibly thin farm system. But the Ricketts need to make their mark. Let's do this thing! We can worry about the consequences after the 2010 playoffs.

Update: If the Cubs were to actually acquire Granderson, we have dibs on being the official Curtis Granderson Cubs blog. Perhaps that would entail a name change. Thunder Granderson's Saloon? Lightning Curtis's Saloon? Something like that.

A Tale of Two Giant Assholes: Time Warner vs The NFL Network

November 12, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Adam Blank

Tonight, the Bears take on the San Francisco 49ers. Even though my cable bill is about $140 a month for T.V., phone & internet, I won't be able to see the game. You see, I have Time Warner Cable.

Time Warner Cable & The NFL Network have been fighting over the cost & availability of the NFL Network since 2006.

Time Warner claims that the NFL Network wants them to charge subscribers an extra $0.61 per month to carry the channel on their digital basic programming. Apparently they are unwilling to do this, since the demand for the NFL Network is seasonal. How nice! Time Warner is looking out for my best interests for a change! The selfless souls at Time Warner refused this offer; however, they would allow the NFL Network to be carried on their Digital Sports Tier, for which I believe they charge an additional $9.99 a month (I tried to get the exact price off Time Warner's website, but an error occurred when I attempted this!). The NFL isn't so sure people would pay an extra $120 per year for their network & a bunch of soccer channels, so they refused.

Full disclosure: my soul burns with a fiery hate for Time Warner Cable . They charge a ridiculous amount of money for very little programming & their tech support and overall quality are abysmal. A couple years back, I waited nearly two weeks to have my services reconnected because, unbeknownst to me, some asshole unplugged my cable line from the box in the alley behind my apartment building. Time Warner claimed they sent somebody to check out the connection to my building, and they couldn't find anything wrong. Taking them at their word, I tried to get a technician sent to service the cable in my apartment, but they were "booked solid." It was only when I told them I wanted my service canceled and a refund given that they finally sent a surly Russian guy to fix the problem. It took Viktor all of 45 seconds to remedy the problem. I got a $60 refund, missed a day of work, and might have gotten herpes from the payphone on Alvarado Street that I used to call them. If I had any other options for high speed internet in my area, I would drop these fucking clowns in a second and get DirecTV.

However, as much as it pains me to say this, I can't put all the blame on Time Warner. I love the NFL, but I have no use for their network outside of the 8 regular season games they have the exclusive rights to. Am I really going to watch a 3 hour long "classic" game once pitchers & catchers report? Or listen to their 3rd rate commentators talking about next week's matchups? Fuck no; I have two ESPN channels for that shit. And they're right; I wouldn't pay an extra $10 a month for the Time Warner sports tier when I'd only use it a couple times per season. But isn't their main objective to get as many viewers as possible so they can charge more for advertising? Morons.

At $0.61 cents per month for the NFL Network, I'd end up paying Time Warner a whopping $7.32 extra per year for the NFL Network. Shit, I'd gladly pay $5 just to watch the Bears game! And I'm sure I'd be willing to shell out the remaining $2.32 over the course of the remaining 7 games. Why don't they make the games pay per view? Aside from the Bears vs. the 49ers, I'd probably purchase their exclusive Thanksgiving game just to alleviate boredom of that wretched holiday.

Once a cheaper high-speed internet option becomes available in my area, I'm dropping Time Warner Cable. The $7.32 per customer every year they'd be paying the NFL Network is nothing compared to the $1600+ they currently get from me yearly. But I'm not letting the NFL off the hook. This league makes a shit-ton of money and can afford to give away their network that's useless 357 days out of the year. Until this shit is settled, I'm going to attempt to find a pirate website that streams the NFL Network games, thus screwing mega-corporations out of my money.

Let's Make a (Bradley) Deal!

November 10, 2009 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

As has been documented on numerous occasions at TMS, other Cubs blogs, sports talk radio, and basically any every modern media platform, we are tired of Milton Bradley, and wish the saga would end. With any luck, Jim Hendry can work some magic (and take on an equally bad contract) this week at the GM meetings. To have to go into January, or God forbid Spring Training knowing that Bradley is still on the club would just be a tad bit ridiculous.

Now, we also tend to overstate things as sports fans. Many of us use the term "we" when referring to our team's performance on the field. Milton Bradley does not know us personally. He will never go to your home or have a beer with you. He doesn't necessarily care about you, and off the field, you likely do not care about him. He is a player on the team you have chosen to follow; nothing more, nothing less. Milton is a real human, he has feelings, he cares passionately about his performance. If he didn't, he would just be Adam Dunn. Milton wanted this to work out, and we wanted Milton to work out. Unfortunately, neither happened, and we all know it is time to move on.

So, who would you rather have for the next two years in place Bradley? Who would you rather open your heart to? Who would you rather bunk with? Who would you rather invite on a fishing trip or to a strip club? Aaron Rowand? Really? Luis Castillo? Vernon Wells? Barry Zito? Pat Burrell? Are any of those options that much more attractive? Ugh. Better yet, what would you rather have than Bradley? Assuming the money washed out in the end, would you trade him for proper urinals instead of troughs? What if it meant Dave Otto replaced Bob Brenley? Would you do it then? What if you could get rid of Bradley, but you had to start going to Church every Sunday? What if you could be free of Bradley, but it meant that you would have to go through a bout of chlamydia? What will this freedom be worth? Feel free to post what you'd be willing to sacrifice or take on in lieu of Milton Bradley.

War Hero: Tony Bennett

November 10, 2009 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

We often throw the term 'War Hero' around loosely at the Saloon. Today we assign that designation to one of the great crooners of our time, who just so happens to have truly earned it.

Anthony Dominick Benedetto was born in New York City in 1926. Tony's talents in painting and singing were apparent at an early age, earning him enrollment at New York's High School of Industrial Art. At the age of 18, he was drafted into the United States Army, where he served as an infantry rifleman. Bennett was stationed in France and Germany during the waning days of World War II. He would later describe the horrors of war in his autobiography, including the struggles brought on by the harsh winter landscape, and the experience of house-to-house combat while driving back German soldiers. When the war ended, he remained in Germany for a period of time, assisting in the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp.

When Bennett returned to the States, he picked up on his vocal training. He opened for Pearl Bailey in Greenwich Village in 1949, where he was spotted by Bob Hope. This was the break Tony needed, as he was soon after signed to Columbia Records. A string of chart-topping hits would follow throughout the 1950's, including two standout albums in which Bennett collaborated with the Count Basie Orchestra. "I Left My Heart in San Francisco", widely recognized as Bennett's most popular song, drew acclaim after it's 1962 release.

In the mid-1960's the musical landscape began to change, and Bennett found it increasingly difficult to wade these new waters. He went to great lengths in an attempt to change his professional fortunes over the next 15 years. A failed record label, a relocation to London, and a near-fatal overdose brought Tony face-to-face with the 1980's and some hard choices. He brought his two sons into the fold in a last-ditch effort to rehabilitate his career. Gone were the residences in Las Vegas; in was a new deal with Columbia, and the embracing of popular culture.

The youth of America, weened on rock 'n' roll, had until this point been relatively oblivious to the standards genre. An appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards, along with an MTV Unplugged recording, endeared Bennett to this new audience. The record that resulted from his Unplugged session went on to earn him an Album of the Year Grammy, and went a long way in rejuvenating his career.

Aside from being known as one of the great male vocalists of the past century, Bennett has delved into other passions. He was an active member of the Civil Rights Movement, participating in the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches. In the same vein, he would refuse offers to perform in apartheid South Africa.

Perhaps what he would prefer to best be known for, however, is his painting. His works are featured in numerous galleries throughout the world. He was the official artist for the 2001 Kentucky Derby, and was commissioned by the UN for two paintings. The UN would go on to honor him with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' Humanitarian Award in 2006.

In total, Bennett has won 15 Grammy Awards and two Emmys. These, however, are mere symbols of the greater work that he will one day leave us with. Tony Bennett, the vocalist, entertainer, human rights activist, soldier, and multi-talented artist, is a true American treasure. Most of all, he is a legitimate War Hero, of the caliber that only Thunder Matt's Saloon can properly recognize.

*Biographical facts were largely culled from Wikipedia. We can trust that thing now, right?

Steven Tyler Quits Aerosmith?

November 09, 2009 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Word on the Internets is that Steven Tyler has, for all intents and purposes, left the band Aerosmith. Lead guitarist Joe Perry has alluded to this in recent interviews, though he admits that it is not out of the ordinary for Tyler to go incommunicado for lengths of time.

If it is indeed true that Tyler has given up his post as the frontman for one of America's most iconic rock 'n' roll bands, Perry says they will seek a new lead singer and new direction. However, it would be a daunting task to replace the flamboyance and showmanship of Tyler. It likely could not be done, thus making it difficult to promote an Aerosmith tour at $75 per ticket. If he is replaced, the more likely scenario is a downshift in ambition, and a prominent place on the state fair circuit next summer.

In my more impressionable days, I held Aerosmith in incredibly high regard. They were my first exposure to good old-fashioned dirty rock music. Unfortunately, they've been largely irrelevant over the last decade. Such is life, especially when you've been going at it for nearly 40 years. Aerosmith has certainly overcome adversity in the past, but if Tyler is truly gone, the rest of the boys will be facing a steep uphill battle.

Happy Berlin Wall Day!

November 09, 2009 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

The Iowa Hawkeyes Finally Lose

November 07, 2009 | Comments (0) | by T.R.

Doesn't the James Vandenberg Era look exciting?!?!

The Team With Jerry Hairston Jr Won

November 04, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Chaim Witz

"Good game Jerry."

"Thanks man. You too."

John Grabow......Why?

November 04, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Jake the Terrible Cubs Fan

According to Bruce Levine on ESPN 1000, the Cubs are working on signing lefty reliever John Grabow to a multi-year deal worth between $6.5 million and $7.5 million.
Agent Paul Kinzer represents Grabow, who would be the team's left-handed set-up man and a possible back-up closer in the event Carlos Marmol is injured or needs a day off.
Jesus, really? Grabow as our set-up guy? Grabow closing games? Maybe I'm missing something here but at no point last season when I watched Grabow did his pitching knock my dick in the dirt. Fine, I realize we need a lefty in the pen, but keep Grabow away from the eighth and ninth innings if at all possible. Wouldn't a set-up/closer combo of Angel Guzman and Carlos Marmol make more sense?

Ugh, we'll see how this goes but Grabow is my front-runner for the 2010 Glendon Rusch Award, given each year to the Cubs southpaw reliever that completely implodes on them. Here's a quick look at past winners.

2009: Neal Cotts
2008: Scott Eyre
2007: Will Ohman
2006: Glendon Rusch

So once they get Grabow locked up, how about figuring out that second base situation? Maybe sign someone that isn't a hobbit?

Away to the shire Treebeard!

The TMS Booze Project Guide to Hangover Prevention & Cures

November 02, 2009 | Comments (0) | by Adam Blank

Hangovers...proof that there is a God, and he hates fun. The only foolproof way to prevent a hangover is to not drink in the first place. But "abstinence only" approaches are hardly realistic, and certainly aren't enjoyable.

There are thousands of folk remedies out there. Some work better than others, and some will just aggravate the condition. No single "cure" is going to completely wipe out your hangover, but there are many things that can lessen the symptoms enough so that you can be a productive & functional member of society the next day.

Try to prevent the impending hangover while you're still drinking. Stay hydrated while drinking and keep chugging water long after you had your last adult beverage. Also, if you can put off passing out, try to stay awake for an hour or two after your last drink. Drunk-Sleep isn't real sleep anyway, so if you can wait out the effects of alcohol, you'll get better rest even if you don't get as much.

Vomiting - Sometimes you can't help but throw up during a night of heavy drinking. However, if you know you've drank way too much, but not enough to vomit involuntarily, I suggest trying to induce it yourself. Hover over the toilet, think about dog turds, and let go of your stomach's contents. If you manage to throw up, you might be able to avoid a hangover entirely. At the very least, you won't feel as bad the next morning.

Chaser - Chaser doesn't claim to cure hangovers, but rather prevent them from happening in the first place. I've tried these little red pills on a few occasions and they actually work. The activated charcoal in Chaser absorbs the toxins in alcohol. Chaser will prevent the blinding headaches and mental fog, but it doesn't do anything for queasiness, fatigue or dehydration. The major drawback to Chaser is that you have to take them before you start drinking and follow up with more pills while you binge. During the height of drunken revelry, it's easy to forget to pop a magic pill.

Black Coffee - This much-touted cure is actually one of the worst things you can do to treat a hangover. Coffee is a diuretic, which means you'll feel more dehydrated in the long run. If you're queasy, coffee is only going to aggravate your stomach.

Painkillers - Aspirin, Tylenol, Advil, etc. are all bad choices. Although it might seem like a good idea to medicate your headache away, pills will do more damage to your liver & stomach. You've got enough to worry about without internal stomach bleeding or liver failure.

Sports drinks - Gatorade & Powerade contain too much sugar. Instead, opt for the low-calorie versions. Your best bet is actually Pedialyte, the stuff they give to children with diarrhea. It takes care of three of the worst symptoms of hangovers: dehydration, vitamin deficiency and lowered blood sugar.

Greasy Food - Food is essential for dealing with a bad hangover, and nothing works better than terribly unhealthy food. Pizza works fine, and there's often leftovers if you drank with a group of people the night before. Personally, I've had the best luck with greasy burritos from a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles. The greasy food remedy is one of trial & error. Try experimenting and eventually you'll find the one that works best for you.

Bloody Mary - I've never tried any of the "hair of the dog" remedies myself, but I know a few people who swear by a Bloody Mary the morning after. Nobody seems to be able to adequately explain why adding more alcohol helps a hangover, but the Bloody Mary proponents can't all be wrong. The fruit juice contains hangover-fighting nutrients & fructose, both of which will help you feel better. Still, the day after drinking heavily, alcohol is the last thing I want to put into my body, followed closely by tomato juice. Be careful; you don't want to reek of alcohol when you finally stagger into work.

Trail Mix - I've discovered that a $1.50 bag of trail mix from 7 Eleven is one of the best hangover cures available. I don't claim to know why it works, but it does. Get the kind with nuts, raisins & chocolate and slowly snack away the effects of last night.