Friday, June 30, 2006

Friday Random 10: The Last Stand

Four posts in two days. I can understand if you're giddy.

I, myself, am giddy as well. Not because of my increased output - I am around my own genius 24/7, you will remember - but because I'm slamming against the headboard of a 4-day weekend. And yes, it's actually a real bonafide extended weekend, because I have been teaching a bunch of first graders these past couple of weeks, and have another week to go. So life as a summertime teacher ain't all fun and games.

Happy Fourth, everybody. I'll be doin' the usual thing - a little grillin' out, a little baseball tailgating (Saturday at 2 in the Turner Field blue lot, anybody who's interested), running - or, well, walking - the Peachtree Road Race, and taking in the firework sights at Lenox Square. And probably having a drink or two at some point.

Some Friday Random 10 for your viewing enjoyment:

1) Monty Python, "Never Be Rude to An Arab"
Racial slurs are even funnier when said in a British accent. Try it.

2) Josh Joplin Group, "Beautiful"
And here we have my sister's only ex-boyfriend who will ever find his way into my iPod playlist. Unless Jamie ever dates Peter Cetera, because he stays.

3) Stereophonics, "Doorman"

4) U2, "Baby Please Come Home"
One of my favorite Christmas songs, but I might throw up a little bit if I think of Christmas right now. I'm in hot weather mode.

5) The Who, "Baba O'Riley"
You know, the song from the Hummer commercial.

6) Bruce Springsteen, "Ain't Got You"
From "Tunnel of Love," which I've been listening to a lot lately (especially "Tougher Than the Rest," which is a Top 5 Springsteen song without much of a struggle). I referred to the album recently as "older" Bruce, something which DAve scoffed at - but the damn thing is NINETEEN years old. I know it's not "Darkness on the Edge of Town" or anything, but two decades is not a small chunk of change.

7) The Pogues, "London Girl"

8) Jermaine Dupri, "Welcome to Atlanta"
You're welcoming me? Your Asheville-born ass is welcoming ME to the city I was born in, ass? The nerve.

9) Live, "Operation Spirit (The Tyranny of Tradition)"
Ah, Live - the memories, my peeps. They were my second Athens concert, shortly into my freshman year (I had attended a stellar Warren Zevon/Kevn Kinney show a little while earlier). Also, and perhaps more importantly, the Live show was the first time I ever got drunk in public. So obviously hearing this song makes me tear up a little bit.

10) U2, "Love and Peace Or Else"
The best song from "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb" - which of course means it was never released as a single. That would have made too much sense.

Blogger roundtable: Back in the swing (and various other cliches)

Blogging has been light lately, I know. There's no valid excuse, given I'm a teacher and free time is in no short order these summer days. Well, thanks to Doug over at Hey Jenny Slater, I have a fantastic reason to get back into the publishin' ways - an opportunity to talk about myself.

By way of Jenny Slater, by way of the good-but-misguided folks at Every Day Should Be Saturday, here's an "all about Josh" edition of the blogger roundtable.

1. Education. List the region of the country you were born in, what universities you attended and at least one other you would have attended if your alma mater didn't exist.

I am a rare Atlanta native, born in the early months of 1976. The farthest away I've ever lived is Athens. Of course, that pretty much answers the second question - I attended undergrad at the University of Georgia from 1994-1998, and am now currently working my way to a Masters degree at Mercer University in Atlanta. If UGA didn't exist, I would have been a Florida Gator. And if you must know, I was pretty much headed to UF, having been accepted there before my UGA letter rolled in as sexy as Alexis Bledel covered in butterscotch pudding. I didn't expect to get into Georgia (their standards being much higher, obviously), and was already researching the Gainesville campus. Thankfully, the folks in Athens pulled a shocker - before the days those were commonplace on campus - and welcomed me into their loving family.

Because, man, that national championship my junior year would have sucked.

2. Sports Affiliations. List your top 10 favorite teams in all of sports in descending order. For instance, your alma mater's football team may be number 1, but perhaps there is a professional team that squeezes in before you get to your alma mater's lacrosse team.

This is a tough one, because in all honesty, I only care about three sports teams. I mean, when Georgia basketball and baseball are doing well, I'll be in the stands - but I fully admit to my bandwagon status. However, the Bulldog football team could be perennial 2-game winners and I'd be there every Saturday. The Falcons could not see the playoffs for three decades and I'd be in the stands. The Braves could lose 100 a season, and I'd still enjoy a lot of beer at Turner Field (I may be able to prove this last one sooner than later).

So yeah, the very elongated top 10:
  1. UGA football
  2. Atlanta Falcons
  3. Atlanta Braves

    ... precipitous dropoff ...

  4. UGA basketball
  5. Atlanta Hawks
  6. Atlanta Thrashers
  7. UGA baseball
  8. Pittsburgh Steelers (due to multiple UGA alums on the roster)
  9. Cincinnati Bengals (ditto)
  10. Other various UGA sports

3. Movies. List the movie you've watched the most, your favorite sports related movie, the movie you secretly love but don't like to admit it (possibly a chick flick or B-film), and the movie you were (or still are) most looking forward to from this summer's season.

Up until college, this would have been a toss-up between The Karate Kid and Back to the Future. I watched those two with a religious fervor in my elementary years. However, as the decades have come and gone, the movie I've watched most has to be Die Hard. My world stops whenever it comes on. I mean, s-t-o-p-s. We hooked up the DirecTV at a UGA tailgate last year, and unfortunately for those with me, I had the remote and Die Hard was on HBO. I watched damn near the whole thing instead of College Gameday. It's like crack, but only a lot better.

My favorite sports-related movie has to be Field of Dreams, though the whole high school auditorium scene still irks the fuck out of me. Runners-up are Rocky, Hoosiers, Tin Cup and Die Hard.

Of course, I hold a special place for Remember the Titans, featuring the sexiest extra ever.

A movie I secretly love but don't like to admit it ... I will scream my love of Varsity Blues from the mountaintops. 10 Things I Hate About You approaches genius at times. I own Lock-Up, Not Another Teen Movie and Drop Dead Gorgeous on DVD. Waterworld really isn't that bad. Oh, and Steel Magnolias made me cry. There, I said it.

As for my most anticipated summer 2006 movie, I've already seen it - Superman Returns. It was very good, a bit short of great. As for the rest of the summer, I would be happy only seeing Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, World Trade Center, and Miami Vice.

4. Music. List your favorite band from middle school, high school, college and today. Also, as with the movies, include the song you secretly love but don't like to admit. If Nickelback is involved in any of these responses, please give a detailed explanation as to why, god, why.

My favorite band since 5th grade has been U2, but it's a little boring to respond to every part of this question with the same answer. So instead, I'll say what band I most associate with these eras. First, I never went to middle school - DeKalb County, back in those pesky late '80s, had students go straight from elementary (K-7) to high school (8-12). As far as my grades 6-8 years, though, I probably listened most to Drivin N Cryin, with the seminal "Fly Me Courageous" coming out my 9th grade year and leaving my CD player a year or so later. My high school soundtrack was all Pearl Jam, all the time. Starting at UGA in the summer of 1994, I strongly associate Hootie & the Blowfish with my college years, which is probably the reason I still dig them so much. As far as today, I listen to, well - U2, Drivin N Cryin, Pearl Jam, Hootie & the Blowfish...

Song I secretly love: "Since U Been Gone" by Kelly Clarkson is the most recent example, anything by Hanson is a little bit further in the past. My all-time secret song, though, and one that firmly puts this post in the damn-I-can't-believe-how-honest-he's-being category,... "Rocky Top." Just a catchy damn tune.

5. Books. Favorite book you've finished, worst book you've finished and the book you really should read but haven't gotten around to it.

My favorite books are William Goldman's "Adventures in the Screen Trade," and its sequel, "Which Lie Did I Tell: More Adventures in the Screen Trade." Hilarious, on-point, incredibly revealing, and shockingly close to my own bizarre tastes. And a special nod has to go to Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series, particularly the third book, "The Waste Lands."

The worst is a mass-market tie - John Grisham's "The Chamber" and Tom Clancy's "Red Rabbit." Say what you will, but both have written a few good books each, and Clancy has turned out a couple near-classics ("The Hunt For Red October" and "Without Remorse"). I remember practically wretching at the forced sentimentality of "The Chamber," and "Red Rabbit" was an excessively dull money grab, pure and simple. Worse, it was written solely because Ben Affleck had taken the role of Jack Ryan on-screen, so Clancy felt it necessary to write a story about the character's younger days. Wretch squared.

I really, really, really should read Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged," but those MFers are daunting.

6. Travel. Favorite city you've ever been to and the one place you still must visit before you shuffle off this mortal coil.

I'll spare you the obligatory "Athens is the best!" answer. Honestly, my favorite city to visit is New York, but a special shout-out has to go to Edinburgh, Scotland. Those folks know how to party, I'm telling ya. A few years ago, I bought a plane ticket to Edinburgh, and another one leaving London two weeks later. A master plan was hatched: spend half a month slowly working my way to England, by way of various small towns and pubs along the way. Well, once in Edinburgh, I was hooked. I stayed there 12 sleepy days and 12 damn-near-sleepless nights, and had to fly to London for a very brief stay. Dublin, Amsterdam, Paris, Munich - I'll catch ya on the flipside.

7. What do you love most about college football in 20 words or less?

The pageantry, the friends, the tailgating, the unbelievable UGA women, and increasingly less, the game. Fifteen words, and the last five disturb the hell out of me. The machinations of college football - the ones that actually control what happens on the field - is ruining the sport for me. The NCAA and its incompetent handling of damn near everything is souring everything short of the pregame festivities, which even they couldn't fuck up (though Michael Adams keeps trying his damndest). I don't believe in the BCS and I don't believe in the bowl system, and it's hard to get worked up for something when there is absolutely no payoff, at least for the regular fan. The NFL will never hold the same luster for me as gamedays in Athens, but as far as what happens between the goalposts - well, I have almost as fun sitting on the couch on Sunday as on Saturday, which is absurd and damn near criminal. And the funny thing: a simple 8-team playoff would tip the scales back to the college game, and tip it dramatically. I can't be the only one who feels this way.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Myspace fun

So I just received a Myspace message from Jenna Fischer, the unbelievably cute star of NBC's "The Office." She responded to a question I had about a recent film she directed - just a two sentence thing, nothing much. Still, a cool thing to do.

Question: Should I stop thinking we're best friends now?

Question: Should I maybe cancel the roses, all sixteen dozen of them?

Question: Should I call Guido back and stop the hit I put out on her husband?

I mean, it's obvious she likes me. Do I need to remind you again? Two sentences.

Trapped in the closet

A gambler's paradise is between the months of September and January, when the gridiron is being torn apart every Saturday, Sunday and Monday (and Thursday, if you're a fey ACC team). The winter months, save a couple weeks in March, is almost a dead zone at the sportsbook. Sure, you have the guys taking the basketball points, and the really die-hard (read: junkies) betting on baseball, but it doesn't even compare to the zenith of a good "Monday Night Football" contest - a show, by the way, whose ratings would absolutely plummet if gambling were extinct.

And when I say "gambler's paradise," that's actually highlighting the wrong victors. Football season is actually a bookie's paradise, because, really - gamblers very, very rarely win. So in the months of, say, June, bookies have to find any way they can to keep their regular customers interested., for example, has this very real wager running at the moment:

Who will come out of the closet first?
Fri 6/30 7:00AM (EST)

1001 Vin Diesel +400
1002 Oprah Winfrey +600
1003 Keanu Reeves +200
1004 Tom Cruise +2500
1005 Anderson Cooper +2000
1006 John Travolta +3000
1007 Jake Gyllenhaal +250
1008 Condoleeza Rice +800
1009 Alex Rodriguez +1200
1010 Kordell Stewart +1000
1011 Jeff Garcia +750
1012 Peyton Manning +350
1013 Troy Aikman +1000
1014 Mike Tyson +3500
1015 Steve Francis +1000
1016 Greg Maddux +1000
1017 Marvin Harrison +800
1018 Mike Piazza +1500

* Note: Prop is on which celebrity listed will publicly announce that he/she is gay. If any of them is caught on camera making out with someone of the same sex and published by a respectable show biz mag will count as coming out of the closet.

Ok, Josh again. And, oh boy, do I have some questions - aside from what constitutes a "respectable showbiz mag."

First, there are some very obvious inclusions here. Tom Cruise? Check. Mike Piazza? Fine. Kordell Stewart? Assuredly. John Travolta, Alex Rodriguez and Jeff Garcia? Understandable.

Those are folks who've been dogged by gay rumors before, even though the majority are likely untrue (not so fast, Mr. Travolta). Some of the other entries are what stands out ... Ok, I'm not even going to pretend it's not Peyton Manning's name alone that makes my ears go Vulcan.

Not only is Tennessee's favorite son listed seemingly out of nowhere, but he's one of the favorites. Of all the people on that list, Betus thinks the only people with a better chance of coming out are Keanu Reeves and one of the stars of Brokeback Mountain. See, the way it works is if you put $100 on Gyllenhaal and you win, Betus will pay you $250 (based on his +250 odds). In turn, you hit the jackpot if you wager $100 on Mike Tyson and are victorious, because the payout will be $3,500.

Bookies aren't stupid. They just don't throw out prop bets for the sake of throwing them out. Are there rumors I haven't heard? Could this really just be the work of a vindictive Colts hater (Marvin Harrison is there as well, as I'm sure you've noticed). And, really, doesn't Eli seem more likely to be caught, in a perfect world with Jeremy Shockey?

Also, who else should be on the list? Who would you wager on?

Friday, June 16, 2006

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

Suddenly, I have become a huge Eastern Illinois football fan.

Well, a fan of one of its players, at least.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

FYI, ITP in the ATL is :), IYAM.

It's nice to see Verizon has adopted our irritating lingo.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Betting for the cycle

Less than 24 hours after his motorcycle accident, Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger is already the focus of the gambling world. is accepting wagers on how long Big Ben's recovery will be, and even what new helmet legislation will possibly be called.

Unbelievable. And by "unbelievable," I mean "unbelievably awesome."

How long will the recovery be?
Sat 6/17 7:00AM (EST)

1 Between 1 and 3 months +100
2 Between 4 and 6 months +200
3 Between 7 and 9 months +400
4 1 year or more +600

* Note: Prop is on how long will take Ben Roethlisberger to completely recover from the motorcycle accident. If less than a month 1 to 3 months will be deemed the winning option.

How will the bill (if introduced) be called?
Sat 6/17 7:00AM (EST)

1 Ben's Bill +300
2 Roethlisberger's Bill +200
3 Helmets for biker's Bill +400
4 Quarterbacks's Bill +600
5 No Bill on this matter will be introduced -160

* Note: Prop is on if a Bill will be introduced to require biker to wear helmets based on Ben Roethlisberger accident. Bill must be introduced before December 31st, 2006 if not No Bill on this matter will be winning option.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Stay gold, ponyboy

The most shocking aspect of this article is I agree with PETA.

The least shocking is it happened in Alabama.