Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's like "It's a Small World" only seven feet tall.

The Bucks just added a seven-foot tall Chinese man to their front court, which already included a seven-foot-tall Aussie with a terrible haircut, a seven-foot-tall Dutchman of Serbian descent and a seven-foot-tall black American with no eyebrows.

After Bucks owner Herb Kohl made a trip to Hong Kong to conduct personal negotiations with Yi's representatives, the young Chinese star signed a multiyear deal with the Bucks, ending a saga that began on draft night when he was selected with the sixth overall pick by Milwaukee.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Best Drink Special Ever

Friday night, I had plans to meet some friends at The Old German Beer Hall, a Haffbrauhaus bar on Milwaukee's Old World Third Street. I was the first of to arrive so I took a seat at the bar to wait for B & C and J & S (As I've mentioned before, I'm a tremendous third wheel, or 5th wheel... or Xth wheel where X = any odd number). I noticed that the specials board behind the bar said, "Friday Special: Free Beer." Free beer? There had to be a catch. I asked the bartender what the catch was. He said there was no catch. They tap a keg of Hoffbrau Original at 6:00pm every Friday and it's free until it's gone. Also, whoever gets the last glass from the free keg drinks free all night. So I ordered a beer. And, as luck would have it, it was the last one. What I had intended to be an easy night, turned into a pretty rowdy one. Although it could have been worse considering my history with German Beer. Maybe it's the polka. Or maybe it's the giant containers that German bars are in the habit of serving beer in.

Or maybe it's that I'm pretty "good" at the boot game. [In the boot game, you pass a three litre glass boot full of beer around a group of people. You can drink as much as you want, but if the person that drinks after you finished the boot, you have to buy the next one. I didn't buy too many boots in college.]

And that's basically free beer too.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I wonder if "Two Scoops" will be back?

NBC is bringing back American Gladiators. I think that this is totally awesome. American Gladiators was one of my favorite shows in my youth. It came into popularity just as Hulkamania was becoming sort of cliche. For those of you that don't remember American Gladiators, it was a syndicated game show in the early 1990s in which amateur athletes competed against spandex-clad behemoths and she-males, with names like Laser and Nitro, in strength and agility contests (some of which involved giant q-tips). I think that a new generation is ready for American Gladiators.

I've mentioned before that professional sports should make steroids legal. One of the criticisms is that pro athletes on steroids would be bad role models for kids. I don't think this has to be the case. I think we could learn something about role models from American Gladiators. American Gladiators placed the steroid-free everyman in head-to-head competition with gigantic steroid freaks in athletic contests, and fans rooted for the competitors! The steroid users were the bad guys. To your average 12-year-old or idiot, steroids make you look like Gemini, not like Lance Armstrong. [In reality, there's a PED for basically every kind of athlete. But who says we can't embrace stereotypes for the good of the children?] So when fans of the show watched, they could ask themselves, "do I want to be more like Gladiator or competitor?" Since the Gladiators were all bulk, it was only a matter of time before a competitor came along and utterly destroyed the juiced-up Gladiators. And that competitor was Wesley Berry. Yes, big muscles couldn't hold down Wesley "Two-Scoops" Berry. Not by a long shot.
I have said before on this here rag that no other athlete has dominated his sport more than Michael Phelps, with only Tiger Woods and Roger Federer coming close. Well, I forgot about Two Scoops. Two Scoops, named for the inclusion of Kellogs Raisin Bran in his diet, came into gladiator stadium and basically leveled it to the ground. It wasn't too often that a competitor bested one of the gladiators, especially in games like "Break Through and Concur" or "Joust." When they did it seemed almost lucky. But Two Scoops would march right up to those meat-heads and throw them out of the ring (or off the pedestal or whatever the case may be). He owned the Gladiators. He was faster, stronger, more agile, and he could jump over a car (seriously). He was like the Wilt Chamberlain of obstacle courses and Nerf guns. He broke just about every record on the show (although his eliminator record is marked with controversy because he was first down the zip-line but took the inside track). On top of all this, he preached staying in school, not doing drugs, and giving anywhere from 120% to 1000%. Two Scoops, I salute you. It's too bad you're in jail now.

Update! I just found some clips on youtube of Two Scoops kicking ass. Here his is winning The Gauntlet on International Gladiators:

Here he is jumping over a car:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I hate Andy Rooney

Andy Rooney is kind of a prick. And he's also really really stupid. Since my dad is a big 60 Minutes fan, I've been watching Andy Rooney for most of my life. For those of you that aren't familiar with him, Andy Rooney is this crusty old dude that spouts out a few minutes of stream--of-conscious nonsense at the end of every episode of 60 Minutes. I've seen hundreds of these segments, and every time I see one I ask whoever is around, "why does this guy have a job?"

Knowing of my hatred for Andy Rooney, a friend of mine sent me this article from the Stamford Times in which Rooney sort of talks about baseball. It's incoherent, unorganized, ignorant and even racist. I think it may represent the height of Andy Rooney's douchebaggery.

Apparently bloggers like me will sometimes "fisk" an article. The term is named after British journalist Robert Fisk and it basically means that you point out each bit of nonsense in an article. So today, I'm going to fisk Andy Rooney's trashy article about baseball. His words are in italics.

Baseball has never been my game. I never liked it as a kid, probably because I could never throw a ball very well. My friends said I threw like a girl and that's enough to put any young boy off a game. As I've probably told you — after over 4,000 columns it's sometimes hard to remember what I've said before — my father took me to a Yankee game when I was about 10 years old and Joe DiMaggio struck out three times.

Andy Rooney was born in January of 1919. Joe D came up in 1936. So either "about 10 years old" means 17-and-a-half at the youngest, or you're lying about seeing Dimaggio play when you were a kid. Also, Dimaggio struck out 369 times in 1,736 career games. That's about once every five games. I'm not saying he never struck out three times in one game, but it probably didn't happen more than once or twice. He also hit 361 home runs, so the odds of Andy Rooney seeing Joe Dimmaggio strike out three times in one game are roughly the same as the odds that he saw him clout three dingers in one game.

My disinterest in baseball as a kid has lasted all my life. I'm still not interested in the game. I don't watch it on television or follow it in the newspaper. I know all about Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, but today's baseball stars are all guys named Rodriguez to me.

Yeah, I can't tell any of those brown people apart either. And don't get me started on the negroes. Is he serious? Did he actually write that in something that was going to be published?

They're apparently very good but they haven't caught my interest. I also think baseball needs some rules changes, too. For example, the player who starts the game as pitcher should have to play all nine innings without a substitution. A pitcher hardly ever plays more than a few innings and then the manager replaces him with someone who isn't as good.

No, and a running back shouldn't have to play every down. Because that's not how the game works. Also, pitchers routinely play more than "a few innings." If your starter has to come out before the 6th, your team suffers. And relief pitchers aren't always worse than starters. They're just different. Like the counselors at school said I was "just different."

I think baseball managers dominate the games more than the players do and more than coaches do in other sports.

Yeah, that's probably true. And they get to wear uniforms. So what?

There are 30 major league baseball teams, but sometimes it seems as though the New York Yankees are the only team that ever wins the World Series. There have been 102 World Series since 1903. The Yankees have been in 39 of those and they've won 26. Five teams have never won a World Series. What in the world keeps baseball fans in those cities coming to games?

Lets list those five teams: Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Houston Astros, Colorado Rockies and the Seatle Mariners... and the Washington Nationals, Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. That's 8 teams. Even more than five teams have never won the world series. Maybe Andy is on to something here. I wonder if any football teams have never won a Superbowl? Lets see, there's the Vikings, the Falcons, the Lions, the Bills, and the Seahawks. That's five. But there's also the Chargers, the Eagles, the Browns, the Bengals, the Saints, the Cardinals, the Panthers, the Jaguars, the Titans and the Texans. How many is that? [Answer: 15]. There is more parity in baseball then in football by any conceivable measurement.

The figures they keep giving us on broadcasts of baseball games are batting statistics, the amount being paid the players, the number of fans in the stands. There are other statistics I'd like to hear more often. When a player comes up to bat, they can tell me what his batting average is but I'd also like to know how many times he's struck out. Tell me how many different teams he's played with. Which player on either team has made the most errors? What's the average IQ of a baseball team compared with the IQ of a professional football team?

First of all, "how many times a player strikes out" is a "batting statistic." Second of all, I'm sure the average IQ of a baseball team is much higher than the average IQ of crusty old 60 Minutes "journalists."

It seems like a major mystery that baseball has never caught on in other countries the way it has here.

Baseball is the most popular sport in The Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Japan, Cuba, Panama, Venezuela, Nicaragua, South Korea, and Taiwan. The USA just got stomped in the World Baseball Classic. And I'm pretty sure Ichiro is not from Ohio.

There are baseball leagues in several countries but their citizens' interest is mostly in soccer [football as they call it].

Wait, they call it "football"? How's Japan's "football" team?

Cricket is popular in some countries, but it makes hopscotch seem exciting.

So does Andy' Rooney's writing style.

It's easier to understand why our football game isn't played in other countries. Football is complicated. It takes a lot of practice and it's expensive. All players need for a soccer game is a ball and a pair of shorts and shoes. It's harder for a bunch of kids to get together Saturday morning and go to a vacant lot to play football than to play either soccer or baseball.

I know you guys aren't going to believe this, but sometimes my friends and I get together and play football. We've been doing it for years. Lest you think I am some snobby rich person, I swear to Thor, all it takes is a ball and a pair of shorts and shoes. And sometimes a coat and mittens in these parts.

Some of the best times of my life were playing football, and some of the best friends I made were fellow football players in high school and college. You're more dependent on teammates in football than in baseball and a bonding takes place.

How can he possibly know this? He stated that he's never played baseball and that he throws like a girl.

In a football game, you're dependent on the players on either side of you. In a baseball game, you're pretty much on your own.

Well, unless you get a base hit and don't want to be left stranded on the base. Or you throw to first to get a player out and you want the first baseman to catch the ball.

Basketball is a better team sport to me than baseball, but size means too much in basketball. I never got taller than 5-foot-9 and didn't make the basketball team in school. I ended up as the backstroker on the swimming team. I was a good swimmer but hated doing laps for practice. The water was always cold and after half an hour in the chlorinated pool my eyes were red and my skin wrinkled. It took the fun out of swimming.

I'm not quite sure what he's talking about here. He started out talking about team unity and now he's talking about chlorinated eyes. It's almost as if Mr. Rooney is crazy.

Considering the fact that who wins or loses any game makes no difference whatsoever in our lives, it's interesting how important a game can seem to us sometimes. The greatest sports loss of my life was a high school football game. We were undefeated and the game was the last of the season. It ended in a scoreless tie and we were crushed by what seemed like the worst defeat of our lives.

Yup, he's crazy. Totally bonkers. This has nothing to do with his theme. It's just some nonsense.

Write to Andy Rooney at Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY 14207, or via email at

Dear Andy,

You are a douchebag.


Danny from Milwaukee

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fantasy Football Draft Night

The fantasy football league you play in totally sucks compared to the one I play in. I mean, I'm sure you have fun with it and all, but compared to my league, your league is like fantasy football Jr. Or fantasy fantasy football. While your league is run by Yahoo, my league is run by a bartender named Dave that may or may not be a savant. In your league, whoever gets the first pick chooses LT. In my league, whoever was willing to spend almost 40% of his cap space got LT. At $38, LT was kind of a stupid pick in my league (In contrast, Frank Gore went for $25, Steve Jackson went for $26 and Brian Westbrook went for $23).

I won't explain my league in too much detail because the rule book is an inch thick and Dave may want to patent it. But it basically breaks down to three rounds of drafting. In the first round, the top 25 players (based on how they scored in our league in the previous season) are put up for auction. These are basically unrestricted free agents. You can bid as much as you want for these guys, so long as you stay under your $100 salary cap and leave enough to pay 19 other players $2.40 each.

[This year Michael Vick went up for auction because of his numbers from last year. I bid the league minimum for him and got him. It sounds stupid, but I can hold him over for next year when he comes back as an all-pro dog-killin wide receiver.]

After that round, all the remaining players are drafted, kinda like in your little baby league. But after the first four rounds of drafting, each team can try to steal two players that were drafted by other teams by making an offer on them. If you want to keep a player that you drafted that another team made an offer on, you have to match that offer. If you spent too much in the auction, you might lose your high draft picks, like my brother did. So these players are basically restricted free agents. After this it's just a regular draft to fill out your roster.

We play 16 games in the first 13 real games of the season due to double indemnity weeks in which you play both a head-to-head match as well as an at large match in which the top half of each conference gets a win and the bottom half gets a loss. The last three weeks of the real season are our playoffs and the [redacted].

[By the way, the draft took place at Copper's Pub in the Country Springs Hotel just off 94, one of the places where Dave tends bar. Copper's is a pretty great place to watch a game or draft a fantasy football team. Dave and some of the other bar patrons are sort of retarded in that they would rather watch pre-season football then real baseball when our team is in a pennant race, but I'll let that slide. What's cool about Copper's is the beer club. Coppers has 100 different beers in a bottle, good ones too. You can get this little card and check them off as you go. When you finish the card, you get your name up on the "Hall of Foam" plaque and a free night in an "executive suite" at the hotel. I think I'm going to be watching a lot of football at Copper's this fall.]

At the end of the 5 hours of drafting, my team shaped up alright. I had held over Willis McGahee ($10) from last year and got Ahman Green ($8) and Julius Jones ($10) [I had to put Jones on injury reserve to save cap room for now. I'll have to make some moves to take him off]for running backs. I got Carson Palmer for a song ($15) in the auction and drafted Brett Favre ($3) for my backup QB. I have Marvin Harrison ($17.50), Larry Fitzgerald ($3) and Hines Ward ($8) at receiver, Shockey ($3) at tight end, and some rando defensive players. I think it's a solid team and I should fair alright.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The evolution of sport

Last summer I went camping in the boundary waters for a few days with three buddies. We got really smelly, but had a great time. On the fourth day of our journey we had some down time at the camp site. There was a big rock near the fire pit and I said, "do you guys want to see who can throw that rock the farthest?" They all looked at me, then looked at eachother, and almost in unison said, "of course we do." So we drew a line and took turns heaving the rock. We each got three chances. Former Roomie B was the heavy favorite, but in his third attempt, BAR matched Former Roomie B's best throw.

[I should note that Former Roomie B is the manliest man I know. He owns a lot of tools, has lots of heads of stuff he shot hanging on his wall and had just carried a waterlogged canoe for like a half mile. BAR, on the other hand, lives in Boy's Town in Chicago, has curly blond hair and owns a parakeet named Steve.]

Obviously, the competition could not end in a tie. The two battled it out in five more rounds of "sudden death" until finally Former Roomie B bested BAR. We had just spent an hour throwing a rock in the wilderness of northern Minnesota and it was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. After the competition, we laughed at the idea of what our female friends would think if they saw it. They'd criticize. But guys love competition and for this reason, we rule.

A few weeks ago, about 15 of my law school friends rented a condo on a lake up in the Wisconsin Dells area for a weekend. On one of the evenings, we were discussing who was more crazy, men or women. The women, being crazy, all thought that men were crazier. We men, being right, disagreed. But what shocked me was that, one of their arguments was our rock-throwing contest! That's right, they said that our awesome rock-throwing contest was evidence of our crazyness. Anyway, a short time later, most of the women went inside the condo, presumably to gossip and do dishes. I looked at the rest of the guys and said, "do you guys want to have a rock-throwing contest?"

A few minutes later, we're down on the beach drawing a line in the sand and looking for a big rock. By the end of the first round, all of the girls were down on the beach watching us. Former Roomie B defended his title against strong performances by BAR and a newcomer to the competition, Seth Rogan. After we were finished, do you know what the women did? They had their own rock-throwing contest. Who's crazy now? Guys rule because we are willing to do fun things even if they seem stupid and pointless. Having fun is never stupid. Having fun is the point.

Last weekend, I had another fun experience playing a seemingly stupid and pointless game. I was in Brainerd, Minnesota (Yes, the town depicted in Fargo. They didn't really talk like that though. Of course, being from Wisconsin, I kinda talk like that myself.) for a wedding (that I will probably discuss in greater detail when I have time) . After the rehearsal dinner, some of the other members of the wedding party and I went to a bar on the lake. It was a typical lake town bar; nice patio, descent pizza, Big Buck Hunter, hilariously dressed locals etc. But the highlight for us was Hammerschlagen.

I had never seen this game before, but Hammerschlagen is a truly awesome sport. they take a big old cross section of a tree and set it on the ground at about table-height. Then a townie babe sells nails to drunk guys for $2. The nails are driven into the tree enough that they stand on their own. Then the hammer is passed around and players take turns swinging at their nail with the wedge end of the hammer. Whoever drives their nail in first wins a free drink. It's actually pretty tough to make contact with the nail, but if you hit it right, you can drive it in in one shot. That's when you feel really tough. Additionally, players make side bets in the middle of the stump, similar to craps. Yes, this game combines gambling and swinging a hammer. What could be better? After dropping $20, I finally won my free drink. Good times were had by all.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Maybe we should move him to the rotation?

I've been swamped lately, so posts have been scarce. I'll get back on top of things in the near future. I have several tales to tell re: croquet, rock-tossing and a bachelor party. But until them, I have to post this video because it's the awesomest thing I've ever seen: