Friday, January 31, 2014

My official Super Bowl prediction

I've said before that two weeks in between the NFC/AFC championship games and the Super Bowl is too much, especially if the team you root for is playing in the game. Those two weeks in early 2011 were brutal as a Packers fans.

What that time has done in this particular case has given endless analysis to what is hopefully going to be a very good game. You've heard plenty about it- offense vs. defense, Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, Richard on and so forth. It has all the makings of a classic, which probably means it won't be, but for the time being, I'm going to pretend it is.

The experience factor only applies to a few people in this game, namely Peyton Manning, but I don't think that puts Russell Wilson at a disadvantage. He's an incredibly cerebral QB who plays well beyond his experience level, and I don't see the moment being too big for him.

In my opinion, it's defense that wins championships. Not necessarily who has the most stifling, smothering defense, but rather who will come up with a big play when needed. Champ Bailey is a Hall of Famer, but he's probably not even one of the three best DBs playing in the game on Sunday. For as good as Peyton is, I think the secondary for Seattle will be even better when needed and will allow the Seahawks to pull out a close win.

OFFICIAL PREDICTION: Seattle 27, Denver 21

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Restaurant Service

DISCLAIMER: One of my first jobs as a teenager was a restaurant, so I feel like I'm qualified to comment on this. Anywho...

SITUATION #1: I've been to two different restaurants this week. Tuesday night was a bit nicer of a sit down place, but not overly fancy. I went with three friends, and we got drinks and an appetizer before ordering our entrees, which the server said would take about 30 minutes to come out. No big deal, especially if we know up front. 

It wasn't overly busy in the restaurant, which gave our server ample opportunity to check in on us. Which she did. Over and over and over. I barely got a few sips of my water down before it was refilled, and the second we were done putting the last bite of appetizer in our mouth, our appetizer plates were whisked away. 

I get checking in on your tables, but literally every three minutes? It got to the point where it was almost comical and certainly interrupted our conversations.

SITUATION #2: I went to lunch today and all I wanted was the soup and salad bar. Didn't need a lot of attention from a server, other than to get a drink refilled. Which took forever. I'm trying not to sound like a snob, but not that hard, right? I made the joke that if I slurped loudly at the bottom of my cup, the server would magically appear. And wouldn't you know...

My point here is this: which would you rather have? An over attentive server, or one that forgets you're there? I don't get the former very often, but I found myself very annoyed by it. And how do you tip? I like to think my baseline is 20%, and then move it 5% either way based on the service. Fair?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

SOTU Savior

Why was the name Ernest Moniz so important during last night's State of the Union address?

Because if something drastic were to happen, he'd be our President today.

Dr. Ernest Moniz, secretary of energy.

Moniz, the current Secretary of Energy, is 15th on the depth chart in the chain of succession for who would become president should something happen to the first fourteen.

It's not announced until shortly before the SOTU who the "designated survivor" would be, but this year, it's Moniz.

Kind of morbid, if you think about it.  But he does have great hair.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Olympic Fashion

The Olympic Opening Ceremonies are about a lot of pomp and circumstance, with all of the participating countries parading around in their national colors. The question for next month's Sochi games: Would you rather be from Norway or the US of A?

Here's what the Norwegian curling team is wearing.

Here's what the USA athletes will be forced to wear:

Neither option is...good...but which is less worse?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Matt Garza

According to multiple reports, including Ken Rosenthal of MLB Network and, the Milwaukee Brewers have come to terms with 30-year old right handed pitcher Matt Garza. The deal is reportedly worth $52 million over four seasons, but the club has yet to confirm the deal.

After staying almost silent (signing Mark Reynolds and Lyle Overbay aren't really loud) throughout the off-season, the signing of Garza certainly is a noise-maker for the Brewers.

With Masahiro Tanaka off the market, the next series of moves were certainly to come quickly, and Milwaukee wasted no time in scooping up one of the best free agents still available. The move doesn't automatically vault the club directly into contention in the NL Central, but it's a reminder to fans that the team certainly isn't throwing in the towel either.

So, $13 million per year, for four years, for a pitcher that just hit 30 years old. What does it mean for the Brewers?

It means that the Brewers add a proven arm to their rotation, rather than having to rely on the likes of Tyler Thornburg, Johnny Hellweg and Hiram Burgos, at least not to start.

It also means that if Milwaukee scuffles again this season, Yovani Gallardo could certainly become a enticing trade chip to flip for prospects. But if Gallardo, Kyle Lohse, Marco Estrada and now Garza can put together a consistent season, 2014 could certainly be an uptick for the Brewers.

While the signing comes as a bit of a welcome surprise for Brewers fans, it also brings to mind one name that many fans in Milwaukee don't like to hear: Jeff Suppan.

Suppan, whose $42 million salary was the previous high for a Brewers free agent, had two mediocre and two bad seasons for Milwaukee from 2007 to 2010. He finished his stint with the club at 29-36 with an ERA of 5.08.

The Garza signing will hopefully more fruitful for the Brewers, especially if he can maintain his career 3.84 ERA. Garza does come with a bit of a history of injury, having missed time in 2013 due to a rib injury, and time in both 2012 and 2011 with elbow issues.

St. Louis, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh all finished with 90 or more wins in 2013, so this one signing doesn't necessarily mean a playoff run for Milwaukee. However, if Ryan Braun comes back at an MVP level, if Jean Segura, Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy continue to be strong up the middle, and if the rest of the pitching staff stay healthy? If all those prove true, the Brewers will certainly improve on their 74-88 record from 2013 at at least make things interesting in the NL Central.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Double Toilet Trouble...fixed!

I know the Olympics are about bringing nations together, but I don't think they need to be that close.

A picture that went viral last week depicted a stall at the Olympic Biathlon Centre in Sochi that had two toilets.

View image on Twitter
via @BBCSteveR

I know the Olympics are about bringing nations together, but I don't think they need to be that close.

Apparently enough of a stink was raised (get it? bahaha) that the toilets were removed and the bathroom has been converted into a "utility closet" according to Reuters. Here's what the stall looks like now.

Sochi bathroom stall

Kinda disappointing, right? I have a feeling we would have heard some great stories about that stall. Oh well.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Billion Dollar Bracket

I love March Madness. Those first two days of games are some of my favorite days of the year. I watch college basketball all season long and when those brackets are finally released on Selection Sunday, I take great joy in filling in the bracket. I typically do one on gut instinct and then one with a bit of analysis. Typically I do OK, but the tournament is just so freaking unpredictable. One year I got all four teams in the Final Four correct, and picked the national championship correct too, but the rounds before that were nothing short of a disaster.

With 68 teams in the tournament, the odds of making a perfect bracket are astronomical.  According to Mashable and the USA Today, your odds of randomly picking a perfect bracket are 1 in 9.2 quintillion. I don't even know how many zeroes that is.

This year, Quicken Loans is creating a contest, insured by Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway, in which a $1 billion prize will be offered to anyone who completes a perfect bracket. That means picking all 67 games correctly, and the prize is $1,000,000,000. You can take it in 40 annual installments of $25 million, or one lump $500 million sum.

Monday, January 20, 2014

My take on Richard Sherman

We live in a world where it's outside the norm to be something other than politically correct.

At times, that's very disappointing.

Then there are moments like yesterday's NFC title game, in which Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman was his postgame interview with Fox reporter Erin Andrews.

I didn't have a problem with the way it went down. Sherman had, just minutes ago, one of the biggest moments of his professional life. An incredibly athletic play helped his team clinch a spot in the Super Bowl for the first time in his career. Can you say adrenaline rush?

At that level, football is a raw emotional game that is unlike you or I have ever experienced. And Sherman is very confident in his abilities to play said game at a very high level. In fact, he's one of the few players in sports today capable of both talking the talk AND backing it up by walking the walk.

The only person that should possibly be offended by what he said was Michael Crabtree. (Colin Kaepernick too, to an extent, as Sherman probably shouldn't have given him the "choke" sign, but Kaep did throw the pick there.) There was a bit of gloating (with a hint of sarcastic sportsmanship?) when he went to go "shake" Crabtree's hand, which unsurprisingly, Crabtree refused. The wide receiver isn't blameless here, as he had apparently run his mouth a bit too, but I don't think what Sherman did was malicious. Crabtree gave Sherman an inch of motivation and Sherman stretched it into a mile.

As someone who does cover sports, having someone give an un-Belichickian interview was good to see. Some actual material to use in a story? Amazing! And the two weeks between yesterday and the Super Bowl can be a loooooong time. Having something to spice it up? Fine by me.

NFL players pour their heart and soul into their work, with the goal being to get to (and ultimately win) the Super Bowl. So a guy is a little excited to get there and lets his emotions show? And DOESN'T CURSE on live TV? It's refreshing.

And those throwing around terms like "classless" and "thug" should really do their homework.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Storming the Court

I've been a part of a few court stormings in my life. The first one (technically on a field, but whatever) was in 2010, when the Wisconsin football team upset top-ranked Ohio State, at night, at Camp Randall. That whole game was incredible. The Badgers, ranked #18 at the time, got a jump start on the game thanks to a kickoff return TD by David Gilreath (a highlight that still gives me chills).

That was the only time I've stormed a playing surface as a fan. The other time I was part of a storming was in 2006, when my high school basketball team snapped a 19-game losing streak with a miraculous win and our fans stormed the court. Also pretty legit.

Something about the way Indiana stormed the court after beating Wisconsin last night bugged me. Sure, the Badgers were 16-0 and the #3 team in the country but...they were only 16-0 and the #3 ranking was a byproduct. The Hoosiers were the better team last night and deserved to win, and proved that they're probably better than their 12-5 record.

So what warranted the court storm? I'm not sure. If Indiana wants to measure themselves against the top programs in the country like Duke, UCLA, UNC, etc. (which historically, they probably should), shouldn't they be above storming the court? I know Wisconsin has had the Hoosiers' number as of recent, but should there be the expectation that they're supposed to win still?

When Indiana upset #1 ranked Kentucky on a last second 3 in December of 2011? Absolutely. It was in the moment, on a buzzer beater, against THE top ranked team in the country? The Hoosiers were in control during the late stages of the game, meaning there wasn't nearly the same amount of drama.

I'm probably making a mountain out of a molehill here, but it bugged me. And I'm not making excuses about why the Badgers lost and I'm trying not to sound bitter. It was a well-fought, much deserved win for Indiana, but I'm not sure it warranted a court storm. I think those should be reserved for very rare occasion. A mid-January home win against a conference opponent is not that occasion.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

iPhone stun gun

I saw the article for this, and my first impression is that I was surprised that something like this didn't already exist. But alas, there is a company called Yellow Jacket that has developed a stun gun attachment for the iPhone that can "can shoot 650,000 volts of electricity into a would-be predator (or unfortunate butt-dialer?) for just $149."

A few thoughts:

A) $149 seems like a reasonable price. A quick google search tells me you can get stun guns for a whole hell of a lot cheaper, but if you're more likely to have this in your hand and ready to use when needed, can you put a price on that?

B) 650,000 volts seems like a lot, but in comparison, maybe not. Some of the mid-range stun guns can put out over 10 million volts on a full charge. But still, 650,000 volts is better than none?

C) It has a safety switch. Good call.

What do you say? Is this something you'd invest in?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Don't mess up my pizza order

People have certain expectations and when they aren't met, it's understandable why they get upset.

I'm not sure this is one of those situations.

According to the AP:
A Central Texas man has been accused of stabbing his girlfriend after she brought home pizza instead of a chicken sandwich he wanted for lunch.
McLennan County jail records show Michael Corsey of Waco was being held Saturday on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Online jail records do not list bond or an attorney for Corsey, who was arrested Friday.

Waco police say Corsey allegedly grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed the woman because he had asked for a chicken sandwich, but she brought home pizza. Police say the victim was also choked and struck in the face.
Investigators say the woman, whose name wasn't immediately released, was treated for minor injuries.

I really shouldn't laugh, and I seriously hope the girlfriend is OK, but can you read this and not chuckle?

Sometimes a man wants a pizza so bad that he's willing to go to jail for it, I suppose.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Stop Signs

I like to think of myself as a pretty good driver. I'm not perfect (and neither are you), but in my 10 years of driving (yup, I'm not that old) I've been in one accident, gotten two tickets and only been pulled over one other time. Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

However, this morning, on the way to work, I almost got T-boned by a pick-up truck. I'd venture to say it wasn't my fault, but it really wasn't the other guy's fault as well. It was an intersection within my neighborhood where there isn't a stop sign or yield sign restricting traffic in any direction. Now, 99% of the time there's nobody coming perpendicular to me as I'm driving through my neighborhood. This morning, however, was one of that one percent of times where there was someone coming.

Luckily, we both skidded to a stop and avoided a collision by probably about two feet, or maybe even less. It was enough to get my heart really pumping and my mind racing for the rest of my drive in. I got angry at the city for a while too. Why doesn't every intersection have at least a yield sign for someone? I know that there's the whole "right of way" but come one, how hard would it be?

I got lucky this morning, but I imagine there are people every day who don't.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Badgers Basketball

How about them Wisconsin Badgers?

Bo Ryan's team is 16-0, and off to the best part in school history? What's been the secret?

Well, for starters, this isn't the Badgers team that you might have gotten accustomed to over the past decade. Sure, they can play like that, with stifling defense and an efficient offense, but this one likes to play a little different.

Wisconsin can shoot the lights out of the ball, and they're especially good in transition. And the more they shoot in transition, the faster they play, the more they score...there's good reason why the Badgers put up 95 in their thumping of Illinois last night.

The Badgers are ranked 4th in the country and 1st by the RPI (which does kinda mean something, especially come Selection Sunday) as they cross the halfway point of the schedule. Of course, things get tougher from here on out, as it's one conference match up after another. But the schedule plays into the Badgers favor as much as possible, with the toughest games (Michigan State and Ohio State) both at the Kohl Center. They can certainly win both of those games, but running the table to 31-0 will be nearly impossible. A three game stretch against Minnesota, and then at Michigan and Iowa, could be a stumbling block.

What makes this Wisconsin team so dangerous is the versatility of each player, from Josh Gasser and Traevon Jackson in the backcourt, to Ben Brust and Sam Dekker on the wings, to Frank Kaminsky everywhere. Bringing the likes of Bronson Koening, Nigel Hayes and Duje Dukan off the bench give three more looks that make the Badgers even tougher to match up against.

Do I think they'll go undefeated? Absolutely not. But they could certainly win the Big Ten and make some noise come March. Last night's trouncing of the Fighting Illini was just another of a long stretch of examples of why this team could be something special. Next up is Indiana on Tuesday, so buckle up and enjoy the ride.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Na na na na na na na na

Think it's been cold here? Well, it's been exactly the opposite in the other hemisphere. It's summer in Australia, and they've been dealing with temperatures at and above 110 degrees Fahrenheit. And the issues they're dealing with there?

Bats dropping dead. Literally.

From The Telegraph:

About 100,000 bats have fallen from the sky and died during a heatwave in Australia that has left the trees and earth littered with dead creatures.

In scenes likened to "an Alfred Hitchock thought bubble", a heatwave across the north-east state of Queensland in recent days caused mass deaths of flying foxes from an estimated 25 colonies.

"It's a horrible, cruel way to die," a conservation worker, Louise Saunders, told The Courier Mail.

"Anything over 43 degrees [Celsius, 109F] and they just fall. We're just picking up those that are just not coping and are humanely euthanising what we can."

Health experts have warned residents not to touch the dead creatures amid concerns about the spread of virus or bites and scratches from bats that may still be alive. At least 16 people have been are receiving antiviral treatment after coming into close contact with a bat.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I'm going to brag a little bit here, but there's some advice, so bear with me.

I've always like knocking icicles off of things. I don't know why. When I was younger, my brothers and I would have sword fights with the biggest icicles we could find (no one ever lost an eye, thankfully). They've always been amusing to be. For some reason, my neighbors house always had bigger icicles, and I got jealous. When I was at home over the holidays, my mom tasked my younger brother and I with raking snow off the roof and clearing the icicles from the gutters. Yes, please. We had a hard time getting to the icicles on the second story, so we decided to open the windows, hang halfway out of them, and swing at the icicles with a yard stick. It worked fantastically.

Embedded image permalink
My brother trying not to get electrocuted

Flash forward to this morning, when I woke up to frigid temperatures in my house. I go to check the thermostat and it reads 48 FREAKING DEGREES! I go downstairs, and can't figure anything out, so before I start calling people to come help me, I decide to go Macgyver around outside, and sure enough, the furnace exhaust had frozen over into a giant ice cube. I whip out a trusty Phillips head screwdriver and start hacking away at it, eventually freeing the pipe of as much ice as possible. My neighbor looked very puzzled as she drove by slowly, staring at this man repeatedly stabbing a PVC pipe at 7:30 in the morning. But hey, the heat kicked in and started to warm up my place immediately. I'm glad I didn't die of CO2 poisoning overnight.

So there's my loosely connected story. Icicles are cool, but they also kinda suck. The end.

Monday, January 6, 2014

My Sunday

Yeah, the Packers lost, but I had a fantastic Sunday. I got to sleep in, under a plethora of covers, and lay in bed as long as I wanted to. I got all of my cold-weather prep work in on Sunday, having gotten supplies from Walmart and Festival, as well as put a full-tank of gas in my Jeep. I was ready to go, and by ready to go, I mean ready to stay inside the entire day.

By the time I got around to turning on the TV, the first NFL game was already on, and it was a moderately entertaining one between the Chargers and the Bengals. I didn't really care who won, but it was nice to be wrapped in a blanket, not worried about freezing my tail off at a tailgate at Lambeau. Call me a fairweather fan if you want, but yesterday was significantly less stressful (and probably similarly enjoyable) day for me. I haven't regretted not pulling the trigger on tickets at all. If I lived in Appleton or Oshkosh, yeah maybe, but a 4-hour ride home after a gutcheck loss like that? No thanks.

Since I was at home, I got to do some cooking, so I made some fantastic (at least in my opinion) Asian chili wings in the crock pot. And by the way, crock pot liners are the greatest invention ever. Or at least up there. As I was devouring them, I was thinking to myself how difficult they'd be to eat at Lambeau. So there's that.

I fully endorse this product with absolutely no compensation on my end.

After the Packers' loss, I was very thankful that there was something to immediately take my mind off football. I love this Wisconsin Badgers basketball team this season, and they played a very entertaining game against Iowa almost immediately after football ended. They played poorly in the first half, but came back and looked like one of those teams that just knows how to win. So that was nice to have.

After that, I flipped over to the DVR and caught up on some shows, then passed out early. I didn't leave the house, even for a second, and in no way was that depressing.

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

Do you make resolutions? I don't, but mostly because I'm terrified of commitment.

But, alas, there are some people that do. Here are some statistics from the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology, via

Percent of Americans who usually make New Year’s Resolutions45%
Percent of Americans who infrequently make New Year’s Resolutions17%
Percent of Americans who absolutlely never make New Year’s Resolutions38%
Percent of people who are successful in achieving their resolution8%
Percent who have infrequent success49%
Percent who never succeed and fail on their resolution each year24%
People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions

So there you go. Less than half of 'merica makes New Year's resolutions, and only 8% of people achieve their goal.

If at first you don't succeed, lower your standards. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Packers tickets

There are two things I can guarantee about this whole Packers ticket availability situation I've been hearing so much about.

1) There is NO FREAKING WAY that the game is actually going to be blacked out.

2) If it were, it wouldn't affect La Crosse. Only the "team markets" in Green Bay, Milwaukee and Wausau.

There are still thousands of tickets available to Sundays game, and I have a few theories why.

1) They still ain't cheap. The cheapest ones that I see on StubHub are $123 each.

2) It's supposed to be freaking cold. Negative 5 as a high? Wind chills approaching NEGATIVE FIFTY? Mother nature isn't messing around.

3) A 3:40 start on Sunday? That makes for a long day, and a late night of driving. (So hop on our bus!)

4) The Packers are 8-7-1, and the 49ers have won six straight and are 12-4. San Fran has also been the Packers' nemesis as of late.

Any one of those reasons may be enough to keep fair-weathered fans away. The combination of all four? Well, you get the scenario the Packers face this weekend.

But like I said, there is no way the Packers or their corporate sponsors let the blackout rules take effect. One way or another, enough tickets will be purchased to ensure that the games will go on.

I'll be watching from the warmth of my residence on Sunday. As a die-hard, should I feel guilty? I don't. It would easily be a $250 investment, on top of the hundreds I've shelled out for the 3 Packers games I've already been to this season. I bleed green and gold just as much as the next guy, but I also have a few other things to consider, like my health and finances. No thanks.