Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Little Boxes, Sports Bars and Crazy Packer-backers

My life over the past two months has looked vaguely like an after-school special. Instead of being about drugs or eating disorders, however, the after-school special of my life would be about TV and the Internet. I moved into a new [but very old] apartment in May. I decided not to get cable or Internet at the new crib. This was motivated partly by the desire to save money, but mostly because I wanted to be more productive. If I didn't have easy access to cable or Internet, the argument goes, I would go exercise, read books and talk to friends in person. After a month or so of idiot-box sobriety I broke down and called Time Warner Cable. At first I used it reasonably. A few shows here or there, checking my email a few times a day. But after a short time my downward spiral continued. On Sunday, I realized that not only does my cable come with 6 months of free Showtime. It also comes with 6 months of free Showtime On Demand. After three days with Showtime On Demand, I have two questions: (1) Why aren't all TV stations "On Demand"? and (2) Isn't Weeds the awesomest show ever?

I've watched the first two seasons in the last three days. Everything about that show rules. For those of you not in the know, Weeds is about a hot suburban housewife that starts selling pot in her affluent suburban neighborhood to pay the bills after her husband dies. Great concept for a show, no? The theme song, Little Boxes, is so catchy in an old fashioned kind of way yet so fitting for describing suburbia. The supporting cast it dominant. It's great to see Kevin Nealon working again, and Elizabeth Perkins should never lose the Emmy for best supporting actress. Both the kids are great too, and Uncle Andy is hilarious. And most importantly, I am absolutely in love with Mary Louise Parker.

Yowza. Normally I'm not that into brunettes that are 15 years my senior, but wow. She's also an awesome actress. So much of the show rests on Parker's eyes and lips, which she uses to show frazzled mom, no-nonsense drug pusher or really hot babe quite effectively. If you haven't watched Weeds, you should check it out. It may seem at first glance that Weeds is kind of like a Desperate Housewives equivalent, but it's closer to the antithesis of that show. It also might seem at first glance that Weeds is just stoner humor, and although Uncle Andy and Kevin Nealon's characters do provide plenty of stoner humor, that's really not what it's about either. It's more clever than that. It's more about the deconstruction of suburbia. The show sets up easy PTA jokes and pot cliches, but then takes them in a slightly different direction. It's hard to explain, but it's awesome. And did I mention that Mary Louise Parker is really really hot?

Isn't it ironic that I hit rock-bottom in my TV addiction with a show about drugs? [Actually, I don't think that is ironic. It's fitting.]


Last night I took a break from Showtime On Demand and watched the Brewer game at Zim's Sports Bar. Zim's is a prime example of the change in the ambiance of sports bars to a more grown-up atmosphere. Your classic sports bar has fake wood walls, pennants from the local team, PBR in a can, peanuts in the shell, vomit in the sink and a cigarette machine. In contrast Zim's features a more trendy atmosphere, clear views to several plasma TVs, leather couches, vintage black and white photos of local sports heroes like Brett Favre, Robin Yount (There are few things funnier than Yount in 1982 Brewer garb and mustache riding a motorcycle) and Al McGuire, and more interesting bar-food, drinks and micro-brews. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good old sports-dive, but I like Zim's a lot too. It's located in an old carriage house on Milwaukee St and still has the same brick walls and slightly sloping floor that once made it easier to wash the stables out at night. The front wall has been opened up with big windows that remain open in the summer. It's a good place to watch a game.

The Crew dropped the Giants with the help of a complete game from Sheets. Most of the offense came off of effective small ball played against struggling rookie pitcher Tim Lincecum. The Cubs and Cards both won too so the Crew remains seven games ahead in first.


In other sports news, Wisconsinites are thinking about the Packers even though it's June. Packer fans are a unique breed. Most people know that, despite the fact that they play in the smallest market in professional football, all home Packer games are sold out for the next 35 years or so. Dads put their new-born sons on the waiting list for tickets in hopes that the babies will have seats by the time their midlife crises set in. What some of you may not realize is that they actually sell out Lambeau Field for the intra-squad scrimmage. When some teams that play in big markets like Phoenix can't sell out regular season games, it's pretty impressive (or pathetic and delusional, take your pick) that the Pack sells out the Brett Favre vs. Aaron Rodgers QB match-up. We love our Packers like we love our children--not because they are good, but because they are ours.


PaulNoonan said...

Small ball sucks. So does buntin and sacrificing. Extra base hits rule. So does walking. HRs are the best.

Dan said...

What are you talking about?

PaulNoonan said...

Most of the offense came off of effective small ball played against struggling rookie pitcher Tim Lincecum.

Dan said...

Small ball sucks? So you'd rather not have had those runs? Or at least you'd rather have had everyone swing for the fences at every pitch? You never thin sac flies and sac bunts are a good idea? Walking sucks? Stealing bases sucks? Manufactured runs suck? Really Paul?

Anonymous said...

Regardless of the merits of smallball, I think we can agree that MLP is pretty good looking.

PaulNoonan said...

Yes. Making outs sucks, and small ball requires out-making. Stealing is fine as long as you are successful 71% of the time, but it is not a huge benefit.

Dan said...

I wouldn't want a team that only scores manufactured runs, but I think you need to do that once in a while.

PaulNoonan said...

I call small ball "psychic ball." You should only do it when you know in advance that you won't get a hit or a walk. Then it's OK.