Monday, September 30, 2013

Happy Oktoberfest

I partook in Oktoberfest this weekend. The parade, the bars, the Fest grounds. Everything. And I had a spectacular time.

I didn't hear anything about any flipped cars until reading the La Crosse Tribune this morning and my reaction was nothing more than simply a chuckle.

Sure, I feel bad for the car owners and would be irate if it were mine, but it's not surprising that things like this happen. What is surprising is that people are this upset about it, or at least those quoted in the Tribune article or who commented online.

Here's the fact: Alcohol runs this town. And there's not necessarily anything wrong with that.

Sure, La Crosse has two fine hospitals, three great post-secondary educational institutions and countless fine small businesses.

But it's also a town full of people who have spent a significant portion of their lives here and have embraced the Fest tradition. Kornfest, Irishfest, Applefest, you-name-it Fest. You can tell yourself that they are predicated on "tradition" and "heritage" all you want, but that's just because it's more fun to drink a beer while you're wearing lederhosen.

So the quote that "We no longer have Oktoberfest. We have Drunkfest" simply amuses me. Where have you been all these years?

And I'm not giving the college kids a free pass on this. But having been in the middle of that scene not-too-long ago, in my experience, it's not the out-of-towners that are causing the ruckus. It's our own college kids. The ones that, for better or worse, make this city what it is.

I think the police actually do a remarkable job. Given their allotted resources, their motto has to be something along the lines of "don't try to stop them, only hope to contain them" and for the most part, I think they do.

As is with almost every scenario, it's a few bad eggs that are making things look worse. And when the city balloons to over double it's original size, that's bound to happen.

99% of you enjoy Oktoberfest within the realms of what is considered reasonable. Let's enjoy that fact for the rest of this glorious week.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Todd's New Pony

I get retirement gifts, but this seems a little much. A horse? At a baseball game? You've outdone yourself, Colorado Rockies

A horse? Really? What is he supposed to do with that? It's one thing to give someone a rocking chair as a gag gift. But a freaking HORSE?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Foods to eat while driving recently surveyed 1,500 drivers on the best foods to eat while driving. Drivers were widely divided in their top picks, but the humble candy bar squeaked out a first-place victory. I'm not sure why an insurance website is releasing details about an action that makes people inattentive, but that's besides the point. Whenever I'm driving, I typically go with a bottled beverage of some sort and sunflower seeds to keep me busy. A burrito would be incredibly difficult.

Rank Food Percent best foods to eat while driving

1 Candy bar 16%

2 French fries 15%

3 Potato chips 9%

4 Chicken nuggets 8%

5 Doughnut 8%

6 Fresh fruit 8%

7 Hamburger 7%

8 Breakfast sandwich 6%

9 Other 6%

10 Sandwich 5%

11 Hot dog 3%

12 Ice cream cone 3%

13 Burrito 2%

14 Pizza 2%

15 Taco 2%

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Interesting Story

I was reading the Tribune this morning and was fascinated by the cover story. I'm guilty of falling into the trap of using the flushable wipes - they're so comfortable! - but I had no idea that they weren't flushable. I'm not sure how else do dispose them though, as you don't necessarily want something like that sitting in your garbage can. I suppose there are those little garbage cans that some ladies use but...I'm a dude. Plus, space is a premium in my bathroom. Read more of the story here.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Stand down, Packers fans.

Rookie RB Johnathan Franklin showed promise, but made
a big rookie mistake against Cincy. Photo credit:

The Packers are 1-2.

It's ok.


Green Bay played 3 playoff teams from a season ago, and could easily be 3-0. They were in every game, but penalties, turnovers and the like flipped that record to 1-2.

There are 13 games left in the regular season, and the Packers won't be seeing a stretch like they did to start the season. There are four very winnable games in October and if the Packers don't go at least 3-1, then it might be cause for concern. Detroit and Cleveland at home should be wins, and Green Bay should be able to win one of the two games in Minnesota and Baltimore.

To win 10 games, the Packers would have to go 9-4 the rest of the way. Let's say that Green Bay loses to New York, Atlanta, Chicago AND Baltimore. That's still a 10-6 record, and historically speaking, that will get you into the playoffs way more often than not.

The bye week is coming at an opportune time, giving the likes of Eddie Lacy, James Starks, JerMichael Finley, Casey Hayward, Clay Matthews and Morgan Burnett to get healthy. That's right. The Packers should have beaten Cincy without this crew for all or most of the game.

Stand down, Packers fans. This season will be ok.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Say what?


Some fans just don't get it. After the San Francisco 49ers got thumped by the Seahawks in Seattle this past weekend, at least one Niners fan thought that the noise in Seattle gave the home team a distinct advantage. Here's her letter that ran in the Monday edition of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Was anyone else appalled by the unsportsmanlike conduct of the Seattle Seahawks and their fans, juiced on noise, which surely creates as big an advantage over an opponent as any performance enhancing drug and which, to their shame, NFL officials turn the same blind eye they have to concussions and drugs (“Seattle states case loudly, clearly in rout,” Sports, Sept. 16)?

It would be simple to fix. Seahawks players and managers would ask their fans to cease and desist, and the NFL would implement a new rule: The visiting team may stop the game when fan noise is greater than a specified decibel level, and should this rule be violated in more than three games, no home games will be played at the offending field for the rest of the season, including playoff games. Things would quiet down.

At a time when the world seems sour, sports give us a place of joy, community and hope, and to have it spoiled is a bigger loss than it seems on the surface.

Ms. Judy Spellman just doesn't get it. Seattle's fans are notorious for being loud, as they are dubbed "The 12th Man". In fact, this past weekend the crowd set a new world record, verified by Guinness, at 136.6 decibels. That's louder than a jet engine at close range. Well done Seattle.

Can you imagine if a Bears or Vikings fan friend of yours complained about the noise at Lambeau? If that were the case for me, I'd have quite a heyday giving them the business on that one.

Monday, September 16, 2013

James Starks Runs Wild

Courtesy of the Green Bay Press Gazette
James Starks, who at one point was fifth in the pecking order at running back during the preseason, pounced on his chance and galloped for a career-high 132 yards in the Packers' 38-20 win over Washington. He made the most of his 20 carries, hitting the holes in the offensive line hard and showing a good burst around the ends.

"I know this is what I’m capable of doing," Starks told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "I just have to keep rolling. It’s one game. I have to continue to get better, do things right each and every play and try to be a better player."

That’s the thing. It is just one game. Whereas very few will be surprised if Rodgers approaches 500 yards passing again, it will be surprising if Starks continues to produce at this level.

Lacy will have to pass a series of NFL-mandated concussion tests to return to the practice field this week, but it might behoove the Packers to take caution with their rookie running back, given that Green Bay has a bye week following this upcoming week’s contest with Cincinnati.

That should give Starks another opportunity to prove his value to the coaching staff, but that will come against the Bengals’ third-best weighted defense in the league from 2012, according to Football Outsiders, a group that now includes former Steelers stud linebacker James Harrison.

The Packers are definitely a pass-first team, but there has been a greater focus on establishing the run game in order to help keep Rodgers healthy and in the case on Sunday, wear down the clock en route to a victory. Starks wore down a bit as the game wore on, picking up two yards or fewer on six of his last seven carries.

Is Starks’ performance an indicator of long term success? No. But is it indicative of the progress the offense is making? Yes. Don’t look for a repeat performance against Cincinnati, and with Lacy likely returning to the fold after the bye, look for the Packers to continue to strive for balance for the remaining 13 games.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Mayweather vs. Canelo

99 percent of the time, I don't care about combat sports. I'm not a UFC guy and don't really get into wrestling, even though 10-year old me would be disappointed to hear that. With all that said, there's something compelling about a prize boxing fight, such as the Mayweather vs. Canelo fight this weekend. Two very different boxers, each sporting an undefeated record, with MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of dollars on the line? Wow. I don't think I'm gonna shell out myself for the pay-per-view, but I'm definitely going to seek out an establishment that will be showing the fight. Being a sports junkie, I feel like I need to be in the know come Sunday, but also, there's the possibility of a HUGE story if Canelo can pull off the upset. I'm getting excited just typing this.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

One of those days I'll remember forever

I was 13 years old on September 11, 2001, and it's one of the handful of days of my life that I'll always remember where I was and what I was doing. I was in 8th grade, sitting in the computer lab at my middle school when my principal came over the loudspeaker to vaguely describe what was happening in NYC. I remember being glued to the TV when I got home, trying to make sense of it all as a young teenager who was just starting to figure out that there was actually a world outside of my little life. It's hard to believe for me that 9/11 was a half a lifetime ago for me, and I've never really known a world without all of the changes that day brought about. I can't begin to thank enough all of the first responders and brave civilians that gave everything on a day that no one in this country will ever forget.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Packers vs. 49ers

Photo from AP/CBS Atlanta

After personally attending the buttkicking that the 49ers laid on the Packers on Week 1 of last season and then attentively watching each and every play of the playoff lost last season, I have to admit I was sort of bracing for the worst. I'm not shocked by the Packers' 34-28 loss to San Francisco yesterday, but here are my quick reactions to each of the phases of the game.


Aaron Rodgers was very good, but maybe not as great as GB fans are accustomed to. He completed "only" 56.7% of his passes, but still racked up well over 300 yards and 3 TD passes. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb were both great and Jermichael Finley was...ok. Unfortunately for the Packers, James Jones was non-existent.


It's not the offensive line that Mike McCarthy wishes he could trot out there, but they did ok. It took a while to get going, but I thought that they provided Eddie Lacy with some good lanes to run through as the game progressed. Lacy finished with a rather pedestrian 14 carries for 41 yards and a costly fumble, but I think it's safe to say this portion of the team will be improved from last year to this.

This was possibly the most impressive part of the Packers on Sunday. The 49ers have one of the best offensive lines in all of football, and BJ Raji, Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly did a great job, limiting them to 90 yards on 34 carries. They had Clay Matthews III spying on Colin Kaepernick for the majority of the play, and that helped turn this into one of the facets of the game that I'd say the Packers definitely won.


The pass defense on the other hand...not so great. Too many holes in the coverage allowed the mobile Kaepernick to pick apart the defense to the tone of 400+, doing plenty of damage while he was on the run. Anquan Boldin was ridiculous, catching 13 balls for 208 yards. The one solace I can take from this aspect of the game is that the Packers were without two of their talent young players, S Morgan Burnett and CB Casey Hayward due to injury.


Mason Crosby made all of his kicks. Tim Masthay punted well, and made a good tackle on special teams. Jeremy Ross, on the other hand, needs to learn when to stay in the end zone on kick returns.

Friday, September 6, 2013

8-Twelve to be no more

Even though Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun tried to recoup some of the goodwill that he lost when he was suspended for 65 games this season by personally calling a number of Brewers season ticket holders, it looks like it’s a week where he will take one step forward but two steps back.

According to multiple reports, the SURG Restaurant Group will be severing ties with Braun, which will force changes to multiple southeastern Wisconsin restaurants. The “8″ in the title of 8-Twelve MVP Bar and Grill in the Milwaukee suburb of Brookfield refers to Braun’s uniform number, and the title will be altered to remove the reference to the Milwaukee slugger.

“We’ve appreciated the relationship we had with Ryan over the last several years, and the entire SURG family wishes him success in the future,” Michael Polaski, CEO and co-owner of SURG, said in a statement.

SURG also worked with Braun on a licensing deal for a Milwaukee-based Italian restaurant called Ryan Braun’s Graffito, and the group said that restaurant will stay in business until the end of 2013 in order to ”to honor its pre-existing obligations to its customers and employees.”

As a Milwaukee native and someone who has dined at 8-Twelve, it’s a shame to see that SURG was forced to go in this direction, but it’s a decision that is probably best for the longevity of the restaurants.

The “Twelve” in the title of the restaurant refers to the jersey number of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The statement also said that the licensing deal that SURG has with Rodgers will remain unchanged.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Eff You Money

floyd mayweather jr cake

There are rich athletes, and then there are filthy rich athletes.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. falls into the latter category.

He's set to make $41 MILLION dollars from his fight next weekend against Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, which would only add to the $123 million that he reportedly has in one single, solitary bank account.

According to Forbes, Mayweather pulled down $85 million in 2012 alone...from "just" two fights.

His nickname is "Money" and apparently there is good reason why.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Drunk Iowa Girl

So, uh, this story is kind of interesting. A woman (and I use that term loosely, as she's just a college chick, let's be honest) got ridiculously plowed over the weekend and tried to take the field at the University of Iowa football game. And by ridiculously plowed I mean over four times the legal limit to drive... point three four one. THAT'S .341! Ridiculous.

There's her mug shot. She looks pretty white girl wasted. Here's what the police report had to say.

Goudie, Samantha Lynne, 22 of Iowa City, IA for Public Intox at Kinnick Stadium at 1321 hours. Goudie was stopped for trying to enter the field. Goudie was unsteady on her feet. Goudie blew .341 PBT.

Unsteady on her feet? I think any human alive would be unsteady at that BAC. How she is alive, much less still functioning, is astonishing.

And by the way, she's on twitter at @VodkaSamm. Classy.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Super Bowl Odds

With the NFL preseason finally over, it's time to completely look past the regular season and straight to the Super Bowl! Here's a look at the Super Bowl odds for each team, from the Las Vegas Hilton Sportsbook. Not totally surprising that the Broncos are the favorite, but it is kind of surprising that the reigning champions are given only the 14th best odds to win.



49ERS 6-1










BEARS 25-1




COLTS 30-1

LIONS 40-1



RAMS 50-1





BUCS 60-1


JETS 80-1

TITANS 100-1

BILLS 100-1




And apparently you have to bet nine dollars just to win five on Green Bay to win the division. I'm a Packers fan, but those other bets are pretty enticing.