Archive for the America Loves Lists! Category

College Football Bowl Sponsor Rankings

Posted by Matt on Monday, January 6th, 2014

potato[Hi Everyone]

Arise from your holiday bourbon and ham stupor. Put away the Tostitos and the Bell Helicopter catalog and pay attention for a minute. There’s still a bowl game to be played and I’m pretty sure you’re going to watch it. You watched East Carolina vs. Ohio.

On the one hand, there is no worse postseason than college football’s. It’s not even close.

‘Hey I have an idea: Let’s wait a few weeks (we’ll say it’s because of scholastics haha) and then play 30 meaningless exhibition games with a bunch of rusty teams in random locations. Finally, we’ll have one title game between possibly not the two best teams in the country. That game will be on a Monday.’

On the other hand, we love football. So do we abstain from viewing? Pfft. Of course not.

That being said, it’s sometimes difficult to maintain interest through a 4.5 hour bowl game. Thus, as the sponsorships to these bowl games morphed into unrecognizable labeling over recent years, I found myself passing the time by searching the products, services and nefarious business practices of some of the more obscure corporate sponsors. Yes, I have to take all the fun out of things.

Anyway, there are 34 named sponsors. 34! And I ranked them. Because like weird conference loyalty and Spread Option Quarterbacks, college football fans love rankings.

[Note: These rankings are based on the whims and biases of the author and no particular statistical formula. If I insulted your employer, you probably agree with me.]

34. Gildan (New Mexico Bowl): This Montreal-based Textile Company makes cheap t-shirts and underwear. It also helps overthrow democratically elected governments in Latin American so it can operate its sweatshops with impunity. Prior to the excruciatingly long Washington State/Colorado State New Mexico Bowl, I had never heard of them, though everyone probably owns a dozen articles of cheap Gildan gear. This is what bowl season is all about for me: finding another gross company to avoid. Gildan – stop being terrible.

33. Valero (Alamo Bowl) – Refinin’ aint easy and Valero proves the rule. A top polluter, they are almost an oil company cliché. Saddam or no Saddam, legally or illegally, they’re dipping into that Iraqi oil and getting paid. Get some! Most of their malfeasance is pretty predictable –unsafe working conditions, money to PACs and candidates who fight energy regulation, pollution controls, etc. A terrible logo. It’s almost boring if it weren’t so awful. Like Oregon/Texas Alamo Bowl awful.

32. Bell Helicopter (Armed Forces Bowl) – Can some slick MBA explain the need for a helicopter company’s brand recognition among the average college football fan? “Honey, this reminds me. We still need to decide between the AH-1 Cobra and the UH-1 Iroquois.”

Dressed in typical jingoistic football fervor, the Bell Bowl self-importantly proclaims to be “more than just your typical bowl game,” by using the American military to benefit its corporate image.

I have an idea. Instead of slapping on your logo and “honoring” brave veterans at halftime of a meaningless football game, maybe lend your gigantic lobbying influence and financial support to elected officials who are a little more reluctant to send American teenagers to die in B.S. wars.

[Read the rest here]

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GW: Favorite Albums of 2012

Posted by Matt on Sunday, February 10th, 2013

Has everyone gone through List Withdrawal?  I’ve been a little busy, so I wasn’t able to get out a best/worst of ’12 list.  It was an election year, so it would’ve taken me 6 mos. to put it together at this rate.  Basically… This guyMichigan Republicans.  She’s cool. He’s not. They’re screwed. This guy is terrible. But not as bad as him. Like these guys. Was somehow a big deal. Love you buddy!  This still stinks. A lot of sadThey’re still the worst. America.

So I did throw this Favorite Music of ’12 list together.  It’s below.  Reminisce at your leisure.

 

 

 

 

 

25.  Kelly Hogan – I Like To Keep Myself In Pain:  Here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

24.  Ty Segall – Twins 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23. Strand of Oaks – Dark Shores

 

 

 

 

 

 

22. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Psychadelic Pill:  Album Art makes we want to get after some hard drugs.  But so does watching PBS. Don’t do drugs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

21. Joe Pug – The Great Despiser:  Some pretty beautiful stuff here. Would be ranked higher if I didn’t nearly nod off while listening to this behind the wheel on multiple occasions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

20. The XX – Coexist:  Standard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

19. The Raveonettes – Observator

 

 

 

 

 

 

18. Brian Jonestown Massacre – Aufheben:  Not the same offerings as the glory days, but some groovy business nonetheless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

17. Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball:  Missed the tour. Made the list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

16. American Aquarium – Burn.Flicker.Die:  See above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

15. Gary Clark Jr. – Blak & Blu

 

 

 

 

 

 

14. Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams:  See Here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Wussy – Strawberry (11/11):  Here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. First Aid Kit – The Lion’s Roar:  Sing little darling, Sing with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. Bob Dylan – Tempest: Bob.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. The Walkmen – Heaven

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Lee Fields & The Expressions – Faithful Man:  Good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself:  Favorite Bird album since Armchair Apocrypha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. Jack White – Blunderbuss

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid MAAD City / Section 80 (’11): lot going on here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Black Moth Super Rainbow – Cobra Juicy:  you are so cool.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Father John Misty – Fear Fun: Only Son of a Ladies’ Man.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Japandroids – Celebration Rock:  here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. The Shins – Port Of Morrow

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music:  Picked it up and haven’t stopped listening.  Brilliant stuff. I’ll leave it at that so I can get started on my Best of ’13 lists.

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Giraffes Are The Fucking Best

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

:)

Let’s tackle “small talk” one question at a time.  We just ran into each other at a terrible party – I’ve had a few to take off the edge. You’re just trying to avoid that co-worker who loves the olive tapenade and won’t remove his fingers from the small of your back.  We talk weather. We talk music. We talk about that one mutual acquaintance neither of us care about.  “He has that one brother with no chin who worked at Cinnebon Corporate for a while, right?”  “I think so.”  You’re wearing black lipstick, so everything is coming out bold.

 

Then I lay this question on you:  What’s the best animal?  Dog?  Wrong.  Cat? Please. I don’t know…Goose? I’m glaring at you with radiating condescension.

Just say, “Giraffe,”  and we can move on.  Giraffe?

Giraffes are the fucking best.  Here is empirical evidence to support this assertion.

DEMEANOR

Giraffes are big-hearted creatures – quite literally. They need their 25lb heart and high blood pressure to stop them fainting when they raise their heads from ground level. I looked it up. Long neck. Minimal Adam’s Apple. Unique neck tattoos.

:D

Giraffes love to relax, eat leaves and have occasional intercourse.They don’t complain. They don’t get in your business.  They just occasionally hit their heads on a branch and move along.

Am I a “heightist?”  No comment.

LOOKS

They are long and elegant like Heidi Klum or Omer Asik.  They have beautiful spotted coats like something you’d find in an US Weekly spread. (Victoria Beckham eats acacia leaves – just like giraffes!!!) While no two individuals have exactly the same pattern, giraffes from the same area appear similar – like Appalachians.

SELF – SUFFICIENCY

The ladies give birth standing up. (The men do NOT give birth.) Newborns are up and walking around after about one hour.  No strollers.  No bottles.  No adderol.

Giraffes travel in small packs – nothing obnoxious. They don’t need separate checks.

Giraffes only need to drink once every several days; they get most of their water from the plants they eat.  They’re like camels who aren’t showing off.

While only 1/2 the kids grow up to be adult giraffes, it’s not because the parents don’t care.  It’s just life.  Sometimes lions and motherfucking hyenas kill them for food.  However, rarely will these cats + other broke-ass predators approach adult giraffes because they’ll get fucking stomped.

Giraffes keep to themselves.  It’s similar to the fantasy of how oblivious Libertarian Homo sapiens perceive themselves before complaining about potholes a few minutes later.

TONGUES!

Check out these dang tongues! Crazy! They could take the paint off a pinwheel.

They also have subtle head bumps & back bumps.  But those tongues.  Man, those tongues are legit.

:P

I love giraffes! When I next awake on the African savannah, I will rub my eyes, pick off the beatles and gaze to the horizon blissfully tracking the slightly ribbed dome of the best fucking animal on the planet.

In closing,

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Mammalia Order: Artiodactyla Family: Giraffidae Species: Giraffa camelopardalis Verdict:  Fucking awesomis.

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GW’s Favorite Things – 2011

Posted by Matt on Monday, January 16th, 2012

Buying gifts for certain people is a difficult undertaking. What do you get for that terrible American consumer?

Maybe this will help.

I tried to prepare this in advance of the holidays.  I missed Christmas, but just in time if you’re looking for that late MLK-day gift idea.

1. 12-Pack of Miller High Life bottles:  It’s the perfect purchase for that small gathering you’re attending. Especially if it’s a gathering of “1.”

2. Hanes’ White T-Shirts (crew neck)

These basic clothing items do a great job of covering your torso at a reasonable cost.

 

 

Double Threat:  They can function as your summer wardrobe, as well as being the perfect undershirt for your business-casual existence. I prefer crew neck to v-neck because v’neck shirts tend to pull at 7 of my 12 chest hairs.

 

3.  Throwback Sporting Apparel For His Favorite Team

2 examples here, the first being the ’88 Bulls Logo cap. Next, check me out sporting the 1986 Snapback Bulls hat (I’m the one below). And YES, over my right shoulder  you will find those sticks that make the room smell like something.  Here we have the “Coast” scent of lotus flower, bergamot & lemon leaf. Ball so hard.

4.  New Balance shoes:  The perfect running shoe for dudes who hate running. I have 2 pairs that have lasted years. I believe Dr. Dan has NBs in all colors distinguishable by the human eye.

Also, for your smug satisfaction…

And we’re proud to say that 25% of our shoes sold in The United States are made or assembled right here.

If you’re wearing a pair of NB, feel free to annoy someone with the fact that 1/2 of one shoe you’re wearing is Made in the USA!  This allows you to confront wearers of Communist sneakers and ask them why their feet hate freedom.

For a false sense of salience, get some New Balance.

You’re welcome.

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GW: Favorite People of 2011

Posted by Matt on Saturday, January 14th, 2012

11.  Robert Reich:  Well before the Obama Campiagn swooped in and made the serious problem of income inequality a key part of its 2012 platform, Clinton’s former Labor Secretary had been all over it. Like Paul Krugman, Reich’s analysis over much of the last decade has been prescient and his prognoses painfully ignored for the most part.  I highly recommend his 2010 book, Aftershock.

10.  Veena Malik:  The Pakistani actress caused a lot of vigorous beard-stroking with her controversial covershoot for a bad Indian Men’s Magazine. In it, she displays an “ISI” tatoo, the murderous military rulers of Pakistan.

(The twist here is that after coming under fire from a lot of people + being disowned by her father [great guy], she has claimed part of the picture was edited, though didn’t deny posing with the ISI tatoo.)

However, Malik is no stranger to challenging the hyper-misogynist Muslim establishment.

In January she attacked attacked hardline clerics in Pakistan who demand modest Muslims should be suitably covered at all times.

‘If a woman is cool with wearing a burqa, she should wear a burqa. If a woman, being a Muslim, wants to wear jeans, then she should wear jeans,’ she said in an interview with The Australian newspaper.

She also launched a stringent attack on honour killings, highlighting that women were always the target and not men.

‘Have you ever heard that they’ve thrown acid in a guy’s face in Pakistan?,’ she asked.

This gutsy display has earned her credit in my book – enough to overshadow her fame-chasing as a cast member of India’s Big Brother.  Religious zealots who blindly follow the military establishment are the same all around the world.  Keep it up, Ms. Malik.

9.  Occupy Protestors: I attended a few Occupy Detroit events.   They were enjoyable (sans drum circle) and appropriate.  It’s a headless collection without an always consistent message. But there’s nothing wrong with that.  Unlike the Tea Party, it’s not merely the arm of an established political party trying to mask itself as something else.

Although most of the media coverage unfortunately dealt with Occupiers and their day-to-day relationship with local authorities, the movement effectively brought conversation of  “gross income inequality” from the quiet rooms where Mitt Romney thinks this chronic and devastating problem should remain.  So this goes out to the Occupiers – and I mean you…anarchist with an iphone.  You too…hippy dude with the unironic Guy Fawkes masks. Black guy who walked here? Kudos.  Keep it up. (not you, drum circle)

8.  Arcade Fire: The Suburbs came out in 2010, but is still the best album of the decade.  Their artistic evolution and continued attention to Haitian relief kept them in the front of mind this year. Also, an ass-kicking tour didn’t hurt.

7,  Wael Ghonim:  No one knows how Egypt’s revolution will shake out.  However, the removal of an entrenched autocrat in cause for optimism.  Former Google executive Ghonim was instrumental to the uprising, using social media as the spark.

“People who live in a country are the ones to decide their destiny because they are the ones who eventually pay the price for whatever choices they make.”

6.  Foldit:  This is so cool. I believe the lesson here is that smoking weed and drinking Mountain Dew Big Gulps will save the world.

Scientists spent a decade trying—and failing—to map the structure of an enzyme that could help solve a crucial part of the AIDS puzzle. It took online gamers all of three weeks.

Foldit was developed in 2008 as a means of discovering the structures of various proteins and amino acids—something computers can’t do very well—by turning it into a game. By inputting the experimental coordinates for the monkey virus enzyme, gamers—most of whom didn’t have a background in molecular biology—were able to accurately predict the structure of the protein, allowing scientists to pinpoint locations to stop the virus’ growth.

The study, published in Nature Structure & Molecular Biology, details how incredible a step this is towards developing more effective therapies for HIV/AIDS patients. It’s also an important precedent that lays the groundwork for scientists and lay people to work together to solve new problems and save lives. Which is very exciting. [Sydney Morning Herald via The Next Web]

5.  WikiLeaks:  There is no black and white morality when it comes to Wikileaks + Julian Assange. In an era of near total control by corporate interests and the military industrial complex, it would be nice if we could rely on the Fourth Estate to expose harmful corruption and abuses of power.  However, newspapers continue to fold and news organizations continue to cut overseas bureaus.  Do you trust CNN + MSNBC to turn away from the ease of perpetual election coverage? Do you trust Fox News to– hahaha, nevermind.

Do you want to know if your country is secretly dropping bombs on another country (say, Yemen…)?  How about obstruction of justice by the Catholic Church (gasp!)? It’s really difficult to cut through the static, but abuse of power and corporate misbehavior need to be exposed. 

Truth to power.

4. Sen. Bernie Sanders:  I understand it’s a lot easier for a guy like Sen. Sanders to vote his conscience in a state like Vermont.  Nevertheless, he’s one of the lone independent voices on the out-of-touch & dysfunctional Capitol Hill. Among his positions this year:

  • One of 13 to vote against the NDAA, which allows military to detain US citizens without due process.
  • One of few courageous enough to vocalize against historical tragedy known as the Iraq War.
  • Introduced bill to audit the Federal Reserve.
  • Longtime supporter of free media and critic of continued consolidation and vertical integration of media outlets.
  • (the only?) single payer supporter
Actually, you can check Bernie out here.  With Russ Feingold gone, he’s one of the few who truly represents the many.

3b. Derrick Rose:  The NBA’s ratings were through the roof last year.  Much of this had to do with LBJ and the Heat.  However, the soft-spoken Rose didn’t let those self-promoters overshadow him (until the EC Finals).  The NBAs MVP was humble as ever, yet nothing short of spectacular in bringing the Bulls from NBA purgatory to among the league elite.  A local kid from a terrible neighborhood, he has been aided by a strong family to get to where he is. That’s nothing short of remarkable. When he received his much-deserved $95 million contract extension a few weeks ago, I almost lost it when he choked up after saying, “Mom, We finally made it.” Yeah, I’m a sucker for this kid.

Proving you don’t have to be a dick like Michael or Kobe in order to be competitive and successful, Rose is hopefully blessing Bulls’ fans with a hard-working, gracious star they can support for years. (But if Thibs thinks punching Steve Kerr will get them closer to a title, I’m all for getting the likeable chucker out of the studio and having DRose light him up.)

3a. Aaron Rodgers:  I will never be a Packers’ fan.  However, with the exception of the “Belt” celebration, there’s little not to like about Aaron Rodgers.  I realized this while watching alleged rapist and definite dirtbag Ben Roethlisberger get the ball with a chance to march down the field in Super Bowl XLV, thus fulfilling all the disgusting “redemption” storylines manufactured by ESPN & co.

In 2011-12, if you hear the words “Christian,” “Community Leader,” Charity Work,” “Quarterback” and “Champion,” Skip Bayless and ESPN might chloroform you and place you in an unmarked van if you don’t smile and say “Tebow” with drool running down your mouth.  You would’ve thought Tebow was the one with the perfect mechanics, Super Bowl Ring and statistically historic season.

Besides being a seemingly decent guy who’s not up in your fucking face about it, Rodgers is actually interesting and has a sense of humor.  My Green Bay QB envy is fierce, but unlike oldman #4, I just can’t hate on Rodgrs.  I wish them “average luck” this post-season, which is a big step for me…

2. Stephen Colbert: For his hilarious & relentless mockery of the Citizens’ United decision, Stephen’s place is well-deserved as always.

1. Lisa Madigan:  On its face, the Illinois AG’s record is really solid, but not “sexy.” In reality, as an Illinois elected official who received her initial opportunity because of her powerful father, her independence is pretty remarkable. “Ethical compromise” doesn’t seem to be in her vocabulary and her fights on behalf of consumers are courageous.

She eschewed calls for her to run for Mayor, Governor + Senator in order to finish what she started. Also, she’s the shit + has relentlessly looked out for those most vulnerable.

  • Well before other late-to-the dance AGs saw the politically beneficial action…

Attorney General Lisa Madigan took immediate and aggressive action to bring relief to homeowners facing foreclosure. In October 2008, she negotiated a landmark settlement against Countrywide, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, for predatory mortgage lending and fraud. The Countrywide settlement, hailed as a model nationwide, pioneered the country’s first mandatory loan modification program. As a result of this settlement, approximately 400,000 homeowners across the country are expected to receive modifications of their loans with a total savings of $8.7 billion. That means approximately 21,000 Illinois homeowners will receive consideration for loan adjustments, from which $185 million in modifications are expected.

  • Then…In December 2011, Attorney General Madigan and the U.S. Department of Justice reached a record-breaking $335 million settlement with Countrywide over claims of discriminatory lending practices.
  • She has been a zealous advocate for the safety of children.
  • Ditto for seniors.
  • She has strengthened FOIA and had no problem going intra-party and contributing to the Blago investigation.  She has spearheaded ethics reforms in a state with plenty of ethical problems.
  • and on and on and on…

All of this has been done with budget cuts at nearly every level of Illinois government.  She is truly an example of the good government can do to protect its citizens. It’s why we vote and it’s why we don’t necessarily need bigger or smaller government, but better government – accountable to the people.

Also, I love her….

So Congrats, AG Madigan.  I can’t wait to see what you accomplish over the rest of your term.

Congrats to Ms. Madigan and her novel idea of "doing her job."

 

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Worst People of 2011

Posted by Matt on Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Adult "Bat Boy," a/k/a Rick Scott

20.  Rick Scott:  You have a friend on Facebook who updated his status with something like this:  ”post this as your status if you think all welfare/UEI recipients should be drug tested.  They’re all just puffing up ratings for the Price Is Right, so let’s make them jump through as many hoops as possible in this awesome job market. It’s a great use of state resources. USA! Also…fuck ‘em.”

Now imagine you are the governor of an awful state and implemented said policy because it’s the ultimate in pandering. (Also, it’s always cool uniting behind facebook campaigns….Matt and 211,932 others like “orange highlighters.”) 

Then imagine that before you were governor you were CEO of a company found guilty of  the largest Medicaid fraud in the country’s history. 

Let he who has not overbilled Medicare cast the first reimbursement.

Of course, the drug testing ended up costing the state more than it’s worth to deny benefits to the 2% of recipients who failed the drug tests. (If the state tested elected officials, I would bet $1.7 billion that more than 2% would drop “positive.” )

Oh, and it might be unconstitutional as a clear violation of the 4th Amendment. However, BO/W have made sure the 4th is the Tito or Jermaine of Amendments.

Stay true to form, Rick. See you next year.

19. Fmr. Sheriff Patrick J. Sullivan:  Can be located in cell block 3 of Patrick J. Sullivan Detention Facility.

18. Mike Allen: If you boiled down the smugly nonsensical petri dish of cable news to print form, you would have Politico. Mike Allen is its chief political reporter.  He’s also a talking point wrapped in a talking point pretending to do real journalism in talking point form, with the apparent lack of any discerning value system.

He clocked in at #9 on Alex Parenee’s 2011 Hack 30 List, and god willing he’ll one day reach the top of that City on a Hill.

17. Bank of America:  Since corporations are now people, they can now be included . (Thanks John Roberts, Chief Justice of the US Chamber of Commerce Supreme Court!)

In June, Bof A settled claims against its adopted lovechild Countrywide for a very light $8.5B.  While simultaneously putting their hand out to the TARP gatekeepers, BofA continued attempts to foreclose on Americans who weren’t even behind in their payments.  Beyond the hidden fees and all the other Big  Bank bullshit, they’re also really good at foreclosing on military families.

Purple Mountains Majesty!

16. Jon Corzine:  Even among elected Democrats, Corzine’s duplicity stands out in technicolor.  The former NJ Governor drove MFGF into the ground while practicing the same behavior he long condemned. In other words, the Goldman Sachs Way.  From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

When I read MF Global Finance’s second-quarter results, though, what popped out at me was its compensation expenses: 64 percent of revenues went to compensation. In any industry but Wall Street, that would be obscene. Indeed, in a talk he gave at Princeton last year, Corzine said that he’d been “arguing about compensation sins of Wall Street” for decades. Not enough to actually do anything about it, though, once he was back in charge of a firm.

Then there’s Corzine’s own compensation. When he walked in the door, he negotiated a salary of $1.5 million. (Incredibly, MF Global Holdings paid a $400,000 fee to Corzine’s lawyers.) He also received a signing bonus of $1.5 million, and $11 million in stock options.

But here’s the kicker. Like many executives — on Wall Street and off — Corzine’s agreement also covered his eventual departure. If he left MF Global because, say, it was sold, his $11 million in stock options would immediately vest, and he would get a $12.1 million golden parachute. Of course, the MF Global proxy statement doesn’t call it a golden parachute. It calls the payment “severance.”

There’s more to the story. When Joe Nocera wrote this killer column earlier this week, it hadn’t even come out yet that….THE MONEY’S GONE!!!

Federal regulators have discovered that hundreds of millions of dollars in customer money has gone missing from MF Global in recent days, prompting an investigation into the brokerage firm, which is run by Jon S. Corzine, the former New Jersey governor, several people briefed on the matter said on Monday.

15.  Charlie Sheen: next.

14.  Joe Walsh:  The Illinois rep. is a self-proclaimed “family values” tea partier who differs with his family’s value by the $100,000 he owes in child support. However, he loves to take personal responsibility and blame any of his kids’ debt on Obama.  He yells at constituents and doesn’t think a single bank has done a single thing wrong. He’s also a 2nd Amendment revolution troll. All around great guy. Well done, IL-8.

BTW, The Family Research Council Action gave Walsh an award for his “unwavering support of the family,” because of course they did.

13.  Evan Bayh:  A Man Of Honor.

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America Loves Lists! Top 5 Gin Drinks

Posted by Matt on Monday, December 12th, 2011

Gin.  It’s what’s for dinner – when you’re an anorexic alcoholic.  Soooo Happy Holidays!  Here are my 5 favorite gin cocktails.

5. Classic Gin Martini – This  is the quintessential drink for Prohibition-era businessmen and women who like to seductively eat olives.

  • 1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
  • 2 oz gin, chilled
  • Garnish with olives, lemon twists, or those ‘lil onions
  • Add ice, pretension, if desired.

4.  Lotus Cocktail – My rent may be too damn high, but I had my way with a version of this drink at some unmemorable Chicago eatery this summer. Basically – take the classic gin’ n juice recipe: remove the juice & grab the following: an expensive yet awkward glass, an organic vegetable, some other stuff. Finally, downsize to a Volkswagen product playing St. Vincent on satellite radio. You’re now ready to make the Lotus – and it’s pretty damn delicious.

  • 1 1/2 oz Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Domaine du Canton
  • 4 thin slices of cucumber
  • 2 oz club soda

Park the VW. Get past having missed the UPS guy and go inside. He’ll come back.  Pre-chill a cocktail glass and set aside on the granite counter. Cut three slices of cucumber into quarters and muddle in a mixing glass with the Canton. Not 1. Not 2. 3.  After sufficiently pulverized, add gin and a level scoop of ice.  It’s about to get noisy so turn up the television to hear the episode of Dr. Who you recorded. Shake for about 15 seconds.  Turn down television to appropriate level. Strain carefully into pre-chilled glass careful to limit the amount of pulp (you’re really doing it!).  Add soda to icy, crushed cucumber mixture. Swirl and strain again (I’m serious). Garnish with the remaining cuke slice. Get over yourself.

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Gratuitous World: Best & Worst Of 2010

Posted by Matt on Thursday, January 20th, 2011

What can you say about 2010 (except that it’s over)? In fact, while this might not be the greatest ‘Best of’ list, it’s certainly the latest. Here is how GW spent its year when it wasn’t throwing rocks at day laborers.

Book You Should Read: War, Sebastian Junger. Left, Right, Center, Whatever. Everyone should read about the daily toll of our nearly decade-long military action. A story of both courage and futility. The corresponding documentary (Restrepo) is also worth watching.

Best Television Show: Breaking Bad (again). Season 3 and still getting better. (How ’bout that finale?) The margin between this and other shows continues to grow.

Honorable Mention: Community. I’ve never liked Joel McHale. Never been interested in The Soup and my usual response to his stand-up is ‘oh, that was the laugh line?’  Watched a couple uninspired episodes last season because the tv was turned on. However, whatever the writing staff shook up this season produced gold. The ‘Armageddon/Apollo 13′ Spoof was one of the funniest episodes of tv this year. Same goes for the zombie-genre episode and heart-warming stop-motion Christmas episode. Well-done.

  • Thurs NBC: Parks and Recreations was also pretty great last year and definitely won the spring. 30 Rock is rebounding this season while someone needs to put The Office out of its highly-rated misery.

Favorite New Show: Via recommendation, just caught the 2nd Season of Party Down on Netflix. Went back and watched the first as soon as possible. Steve Guttenberg episode was awesome.

Worst Franchise Demise: Law & Order: SVU. People watch Law & Order because of the tidy, plot-driven, twist-at-the-3/4-mark episodes. Back in the day, they took this fool-proof premise and added sex crimes. Winner! Now the show is a shell of itself. Why does every episode have to include some melodramatic personal involvement of one of the characters? How many episodes ending with a Mexican Standoff are too many?C’mon! Just give me a serial rapist or abusive stepfather, a little legal battle, and be done with it. I’m starting to root for IAD. Benson & Stabler are TERRIBLE cops. They would be working Macy’s security if this was real life. But it’s not. It’s just a stupid television show. So maybe I should relax.

well that didn't take long.

Favorite Movie: Black Swan. In fairness, didn’t see much this year, but Aronofsky certainly got it done with this effort. I mean, a movie about Swan Lake that can keep me riveted for 2 hours? Well done. I also liked the much acclaimed indie flick Winters’ Bone.

  • Grab-The-Dirty-T-Shirt-Award: Mila Kunis. Not sure if you want to win this one, but you did. Well done. And I don’t care what ethnicity George Lopez wants you to be. We can all get behind sexy. so to speak.

Worst Last Words: In October, the State of Arizona executed convicted murderer Jeffrey Landrigan. When asked for his last words, Landrigan said, “Well, I’d like to say thank you to my family for being here and all my friends, and…Boomer Sooner.”

A classy way to go out for an obviously classy guy. Boomer Sooner is, of course, the official fight song and rallying cry for the University of Oklahoma Sooners, and I’m sure Landrigan’s final homage to the Sooners was duly appreciated by all associated with the University.

But just one thing – and I’m sure you’ll all be shocked – Landrigan never attended the University of Oklahoma, yet chose to use his final words to associate himself with the school.

To me Landrigan is a despicable but probably not far-off representation of all the townie college football fans – from Columbus to Norman to Tuscaloosa, who try to associate themselves with institutions they never attended, I’d like to say, Jeffrey Landrigan – while you’re neither Sooner Born nor Sooner Bred, you certainly are ‘sooner dead.’ good riddance, douchebag.

Best Inappropriate Tweet: 50 Cent - Speaking of MILF. I wanna do something that impact kids in a positive way, thats why im opening an abortion clinic. Ima call it 50/50 chance.

I laugh, but today’s offensive family planning idea is tomorrow’s Vitamin Water.

Hate-Monger of the Year: Pamela Geller - Wow, what stiff competition! Sorry Mr. Beck, Pastor ZigZag Chops, and virtually every Arizona conservative, but no one hated-it-up quite like Geller. I’m talking Barabara Bush type hate (as Richard Nixon would’ve said). Before the manufactured not-at-Ground-Zero-not-mosque controversy, Geller was probably best known as the Holocaust Revisionist who runs the Atlas Shrugs hate blog.  In 2010, she ascended to America’s prestigious ’Queen of Islamophobia’ position.  Here’s just a taste:

Amazon(.com) is pimping for jihad. The Arafat war scarf is on sale. The keffiyeh is the icon of the global jihad. It is as iconic of jihad as the swastika is for Nazis. Notice the advertising of the bloodiest murderer in modern Middle East history (the competition is stiff, after all), Yaser Arafat.

And kudos to virtually every media outlet for allowing her to mainstream her venomous bigotry. She couldn’t take home this award without you.

Best Product Innovation: Rascal Scooter’s Magnetic Stabilizer. Americans are getting fatter. We’re watching 35 hrs of tv a week, and increasingly bathing in corn syrup. Anyone looking for an investment opportunity should check it out…

Just one of the many innovations on display during the expo is Magnetic Stabilizer technology (patent pending) designed to prevent sideways tipping.  Stabilizer wheels utilize this technology to deploy only during contact with the riding surface, instantly giving 3-wheel scooters the superior stability of 4-wheel models.  This technology affords riders excellent 3-wheel maneuverability without sacrificing safety.

Worst Pope Of The Year: In a landslide, it’s Pope Benedict XVI! Among other gems, the disco pope blames the 70s for the kid rapers he protected for decades.

Unproven Fear Of The Year: Keeping my phone in my pants pocket will result in testicular cancer somewhere down the line, thus forcing me to sympathize with douchebag Lance Armstrong

Most Asinine Supreme Court Decision:  It doesn’t take much to keep tabs on the Roberts’ Court. Just look for a corporate agenda and follow the musk. To simplify, Citizens United v. FEC basically says corporations, like soylent green, are people. Enjoy that, America.

Worst Relationship Development: Groupon. Don’t get me wrong – this simple, yet genius business model is well crafted. But Jesus, ‘we have to go to restaurant __ because my groupon is going to expire’  seemed about as contrived as saving sex only during ovulation.

‘It’s -10 wind chill and a Tuesday!’ Doesn’t matter. Groupon, moutherfucker.

Do we really need a water pick? We already have 2. ‘It was a Groupon.’ And that’s where the conversation ends, as if  getting 30% off makes whatever unnecessary bullshit product immediately necessary.

Best Sports Story: Three years ago, the once proud Chicago Blackhawks franchise was in disarray. One timely death and a few successful personnel moves later, and the Hawks were back as the darlings of Chicago.  As one belonging to neither demographic, the rapidity of the bandwagon jumpers combined with the resentful push-back from the die-hard Blackhawks faithful made for a hilarious few months. In June, the Hawks triumphantly hoisted the Stanley Cup. And now that the Bears and Bulls are back, people might care again when if they make the playoffs.

Worst Sports Story – Event: World Cup. Once every four years I am susceptible to mouth-breathing rants in support of ‘American Exceptionalism.’ Well done, soccer.

Worst Sports Story – Individual:  Oh my God, I can’t believe it was possible to overshadow the ridiculous charade that was LeBron James’ free agency ‘Decision’, but CONGRATULATIONS Brett Favre! You did it again! And this time with more cock!

Best Campaign Ad: Alabama. Alabama. Alabama. Roll Tide, War Eagle, and whatever other stupid shit they do down there. I’m pretty sure it’s just football and campaign ads. They just churned them out one after the other. This one was my favorite.

Worst ‘Person Of The Year’ Award: Mark Zuckerberg? Really, Time? Welcome to 2007. amirite?

  • By the way, Least Substantive Publication – Time

Best ‘List’Salon’s Hack 30: Our Complete List Of America’s Worst PunditsA wonderful compilation of the media establishment hacks who drive our substance-free political discourse. E.g., big time hack and intellectually dishonest “historian” Jonah Goldberg (@ #7)…

Repeat offenses: Juvenile (but unamusing) sense of humor, adolescent writing style unbecoming a 41-year-old, laziness, “Simpsons”-quoting, inability/unwillingness to defend arguments when challenged.
Representative quote:

In today’s syndicated column I trot out the cliche that “hindsight’s always crystal clear.” Several readers have already reminded me that I wrote a column arguing exactly the opposite in June of 2002. This is the danger of cliches. I was trying to make a general point which everyone understands but also ended up communicating an even more general falsehood. Like saying violence never solves anything, people understand what I mean even when in reality what I’m saying isn’t true.

Wha?

GW Person Of The Year:  Any reader who can make a convincing argument for anyone will be  ’my person of the year.’ Giddyup.

Most Over-Saturated Celebrity (out-of-nowhere category): Jane Lynch. As an integral part of Best In Show (and Party Down Season 1), I’ll give her a pass for that Glee-whatnot. But isn’t it time for a vacation? I think I see her right now. Sitting over there.

GW Worst Person Of The Year: While BP’s Tony Hayward received well-deserved attention for the catastrophic Gulf Oil Spill, Massey Coal’s Don Blankenship could’ve been criminally liable for the West Virginia mine explosion resulting in the death of 29 miners. An epic gasbag, Blankenship is also one variation of the corporatists controlling this country.

(maynard + blankenship) But buying judges is hard work too! cheese!

I first read about this guy when he was caught vacationing in the French Riviera with a judge on the WV Supreme Court, while Massey had an important case pending in front of the WVSC. Lucrative and Romantic.

He loves to rail against the kind of regulation and enforcement that could’ve prohibited the tragedy. Believe it or not, he’s also climate change denier.  In a letter to the editor of the Charleston (WV) Gazette dated Oct. 30, 2009 Blankenship denied that climate change, or “global warming,” existed, and stated: “Why should we trust a report by the United Nations? The United Nations includes countries like Venezuela, North Korea and Iran.”

Great point. Really does a good job of scientifically refuting the years of research incorporated in the report. Instead we should trust Don Blankenship – he has nothing to gain. Did I mention he’s on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce and a bigtime Tea Party supporter? Probably didn’t need to.

So some lobbyist dollars and 29 deaths later, and Massey is one of the country’s most profitable coal companies! Congrats! ‘Free market,’ K-Street, deregulation, sell your soul, kick a puppy.

By the way, given the chance, he’ll fuck over your kids.  Congratulations, Don Blankenship! You’re GW’s Worst Person of 2010! Huzzah!

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GW: Favorite Albums of 2010

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

I’ve tried to play the guitar. It never took. I was inspired by my buddy Paul, who used to play the cymbals in the grade school band. He played those cymbals with the flair of a dozen figure skating suns. Alas, with the exception of 70s funk/soul karaoke, I don’t have the gift of music. I do have the gift of judgment.

This was a pretty good year for music. A good year indeed. And I haven’t even heard close to everything. There’s this guy called Kanye West who put out  some rap stuff that even the hipsters are getting half-chubbed about. Gonna have to swallow my contempt and check it out. Here’s what GW liked this yr…

(also good:  The Black Keys – Brothers, Futurebirds – Hamptons Lullaby, The Roots & John Legend – Wake Up, Nico Stai – Dead Pony, Kathryn Calder, Are You My Mother, Caribou – Swim, Cloud Cult – Lightchasers, Delorean – Subiza, Best Comedy Album (nerd!) - Hannibal Burress, My Name Is Hannibal)

20. CitayDream Get Together: solid debut. amirite? you probably aren’t sure.

19. Merle HaggardIf I Could Only Fly: There’s something to be said for literal bare-bones country. Merle continues to say it well.

18. Gil Scott HeronI’m New Here: Speaking of old timers, I repeatedly listen to this poetic trip for the entire month of February, though in fairness February is the shortest month. The more you know, kids. Not for everyone, but if you like the legendary GSH, you need to check it out.

17. Broken Social SceneForgiveness Rock Record: Pretty standard. Pretty Canadian. Pretty sure I want to see ‘Chase Scene’ live.

16. Dr. Dog – Shame Shame: Driving through west NC, heard this dude in studio on WYQS, an excellent public radio station. Good stuff. Sincerely, Shadow Person.

15. JonsiGo: If you open the door to this weirdo, he might get to you.

14. She & Him – Volume 2: Keep it simple. And as my old lady mockingly chimes in every time I play this album and Zooey D’s voice comes over the speakers,  ’the touch, the feel…of cot-ton..” The point of that little anecdote is that she doesn’t like it as much as I do.

13. The Black AngelsPhosphene Dream: A little polished and right there for you.

12. Mavis Staples -You Are Not Alone: Still got it? Amen.

11. El Ten Eleven – (self titled): Groovy.

10. The National –  High Violet: They really know how to start off albums. Not their best effort, but good nonetheless.

9. Titus AndronicusThe Monitor: This is the kind of pseudo-punk I hardly ever like. However, there are some rollickin’ tracks on this album.

8. Maximum Balloon – (self-titled): yep.

7. RakimThe Seventh Seal: (Officially Released 12/09) but needed obligatory hip-hop album demonstrating author’s multicultural tastes. Also my favorite rap album in a long time.

6. The WalkmenLisbonHarpoon Harbor’s favorite album of the year. I pretty much second what he says.

5. Fitz & the TantrumsPickin’ Up The Pieces: My current flavor of the month. Fun stuff. 2/5 at the Metro.

4. The Tallest Man on EarthThe Wild Hunt/Sometimes the Blues Is Just A Passing Bird EP:  Who said Swedes have no soul? No one I can think of. I just needed an opening statement. Take a listen. He cuts deep.

3. Ray LaMontagne & the Pariah DogsGod Willin’ and the Creek Don’t Rise: Always thought this guy was kind of a pretentious douchebag. He may still be, but now that he put out an enjoyable start-to-finish album that really stuck with me, I can deal with it. Not the most inventive, but certainly one of my favorites this year.  Who’s the pretentious douchebag now, GW?

2. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More: Missed the boat on a couple of opportunities to see these guys this year. Hopefully won’t happen again.

1. Arcade FireThe Suburbs: I know. Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock.

 

 

 

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America Loves Lists! Thanksgiving 2010

Posted by Matt on Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

What are we thankful for?

1. TSA Patdowns - Fighting the loneliness over the holidays? Now you can tell your invasive and patronizing Aunt Suzie about the new fella you met – Clint, the employed guy with good benefits who fisted you earlier that week. Pass the brussel sprouts.

2. Corporate Profits - Bad Economydouchebaghedgefundmanagersayswhat?

American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.659 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago, at least in nominal or noninflation-adjusted terms.

Hoo-ray! Don’t worry, not-obscenely-rich Americans. You don’t have to grab that expired Butterball out of the Wal-Mart dumpster this year. Splurge on the good stuff.  Boom times are ahead! Trickle Down, people! Jobs for all.  Motorboats for some. Leather Backgammon sets for others. Valtrex for a few. We’re all going to be ok. The Captains of Industry redeem themselves! Oh wait.

Still, most economists say the current growth rate is far too slow to recover the considerable ground lost during the recession.

“The economy is not growing fast enough to reduce significantly the unemployment rate or to prevent a slide into deflation,” Paul Dales, a United States economist for Capital Economics, wrote in a note to clients. “This is unlikely to change in 2011 or 2012.”

Shit. It must be that anti-big business black guy in the white house. Be thankful for that moment of false hope.

3.  Cookie Monster - The Relapsed addict and blue-american is at once a tragic and sympathetic figure. Now he wants to host Kristen Wiig’s Saturday Night Live. Like cocaine-addict Lindsay Lohan and 9/11-addict Rudy Giuliani before him, this opportunity could be a brief return to glory – a moment of warmth in life that is intermittently “crumbling.” LOL!

4.  Perspective –  Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl has always been a scumbag, whose scum was first exposed to me during the Deon Thomas incident of the late 1980s. Now he has been suspended for recruiting infractions (that he admitted to).  However, his wife is not happy about it at all. The Pearls have been victimized. And she apparently lives in a college dorm room, maybe with Meghan McCain. Hopefully she enjoys her Thanksgiving Break.

The descendants of Barabbas beg to differ. Too soon?

5.  Hands – Honestly, what would you do without them? Can you pass the gravy? I mean, can you fork some mashed potatoes in my mouth then pour some of that juice in there? Ah, too hot! Thanks for The Clapper, Grandma. Too bad I can’t operate this obsolete sound-activated electrical device.  And those “hands-free” bluetooth devices? Try operating that shit with a couple of stumps.  ‘Hey Timmy, do you want to join the class and make a hand-turkey on construction paper? Oh, that’s right. Just sit quietly in the corner trying to pick your nose.’

When you join hands in prayer, don’t forget to thank Bruce Pearl for all he sacrificed so you could have phalanges to text message and play with yourself .

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Gratuitous World Blog

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