Monday, January 11, 2010
Mr. Skee Ball: You ever seen ANYBODY land even ONE ball in those upper corner pockets on a Skee-Ball game? No?? Me neither. Until Friday night, that is. I was fortunate enough to witness a true athletic miracle when this unknown bar game master stepped up to the lane and cashed in not one, not two, but THREE STRAIGHT flawless rolls into the previously unattainable Holy Grail of Skee-Ball slots. My cousin Ben, who had also been taking in this remarkable sequence of events, stood back with his mouth agape and tears in his eyes. I took it one step further. I sauntered up to the guy after his round was complete. I told him that I'd been watching the whole thing from a distance. I thanked him for the opportunity to be a part of such a historic Skee-Ball moment. And I humbly offered my hand for a congratulatory handshake. After a moment of hesitation, the hero complied with the shake, albeit with a look of sheer horror plastered to his face that said, "I got no idea who this maniac is...but I want him away from me...immediately." After our brief encounter, I let the guy be, and headed back to my crew, but I couldn't help but have one regret over the whole thing: I shoulda went for the hug...
Joe Gibbs: Not exactly a banner day in the NBC announcing booth for the former Redskins boss. Gibbs fumbled his way through the Jets-Bengals game on Saturday afternoon like he had three tongues in his mouth. That's not a good thing...especially when one of 'em belonged to the man on his right, Joe Theismann...
UDM Titans Hoops Squad: With the High Socks Legend in attendance at Calihan Hall Sunday afternoon, the Titans gave Butler, the perennial Horizon League powerhouse, all they could handle. Unfortunately, the Titans only get partial hero status after coming up just short in the final seconds of overtime and finally dropping what could have been a program-defining win for a squad that has been sorely lacking in that department over the last several years. With an unusually raucous crowd in attendance, U of D fought hard all day and essentially had the game won after a gorgeous Woody Payne spin move put the good guys on top by one with just a few seconds left. But as is often the case in sports, and especially basketball, great teams and great players get the benefit of the whistles in the big moments, and that is precisely what happened here. Gordon Hayward, a white forward with a black name, hurried the ball up the court, picking up a punishing moving pick from teammate Matt Howard along the way. He fumbled the ball as he approached the paint, took an awkward step, then another, somehow eluding a traveling whistle in the process, and with just 0.4 seconds left on the clock, the referees finally made their presence felt. Foul on the Titans...two shots coming for the 88% Hayward. Defying the odds, he did miss the second throw, sending the game into overtime. But sitting there, most of us in the crowd sensed that the best chance to win the game had just gone by the boards, aided by a funny whistle at an unfunny time. Sure enough, the battle-tested Bulldogs from Butler made the big plays in the extra session and scampered out of Calihan Hall with a two-point theft job. But one thing this ballgame did do was serve notice to the rest of the Horizon League that a trip to Detroit is no longer a guaranteed W on the schedule.
Up in the Air: Is there anything on Earth less reliable than a movie review?? Every critic in the land has been heaping praise on this flick ever since it hit theaters. Some have labeled it "The best movie of the year." One mook even said that "Clooney sticks the landing with his performance." Exactly where did that comparison come from? As far as I could tell, the movie never displayed or mentioned anything having to do with gymnastics or dismounts from the uneven bars. Though it probably would have made the 109 minutes much more interesting had they done so. To sum up my thoughts on Up in the Air, I will quote Elaine Benes, who described another excruciating viewing of The English Patient with four simple words: "How about, it sucked?" When I heard the rumblings about this movie with George Clooney playing a guy that jets around the country firing people, I thought it was going to be done in a lighthearted fashion. As in, "Sure, his job is of a depressing nature, but watch how hilarious we can make it!" Yeah, that didn't happen. It was just depressing. In between the commentary on the faltering economy and sadness felt by all involved, they threw in numerous "uplifting" monologues on the pointlessness of things like marriage and family. And if you thought they were being unique by showing Clooney as a guy obsessed with airports and everything that goes with them, I've got news for ya. I've seen that movie before, and I liked it a lot better the first time I saw it...when it was called The Terminal. If you enjoy doing things like smiling or laughing, I'd find another movie to check out. But if you're in the mood to be bored and unhappy for 109 minutes, then this is the picture for you.
Pita Chips: Let me just start out by saying, "Thanks." What you guys do is noble work, and far too often it goes unnoticed and underappreciated. Well, that stops now. The great thing about you, Pita Chips, is that you have always felt like you could be yourself. You don't put on airs. Not for me...not for the people at the supermarkets...not for anybody. The big name on the outside of the container might say "CHIP" in big, bold letters, but that doesn't mean you have to be like every other Ruffle and Baked Lay on the shelf. You evolved into some kind of Chip-Cracker Combo that is delivered in the adorable little shape of a mini pita bread, with enough crunch to make us all think twice before crushing you in a single bite. I mean really, whose idea was it to carry the appearance of a pita bread, but possess the texture of a slab of concrete? Because, let me just say, it was genius, my friend. We know that to really enjoy all you have to offer, there is going to be some work involved. And we're okay with that. We are willing to break your biggest chips in the package into 3-4 sections. We as a civilization often feel like every snack should be inhaled in a solo chomp, but you spit in the face of normalcy and announce, "Don't you dare think of me as a 'one-bite stand!' I am better than that!!" We know, P.C., we know. And I like that you make us think it's acceptable to eat your whole lot in one sitting. After all, you tell us, "We're just little pitas. Go ahead and enjoy yourself. Come on, it'll be our own special secret. Just let us sleep in your bed. Let us bring in your mail. Let us into that cute little tummy." And so we do. Whether it's of the "Plain" variety or the constantly underrated "Sesame" delegation, we applaud you all the same. Even when we dip you in pesto or hummus, and you know one of your corners or sections might get lost in the trip, we don't hear a single complaint. You're doing yeoman's work, guys...and here's one fan that ain't afraid to express a little genuine appreciation for a job well done. See ya next time, Pita Chips...and trust me, it won't be the last time.
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