Friday, April 26, 2013

How Many Fats Will I See This Weekend?

I'm heading to Milwaukee this weekend to visit my little sisters at Marquette. That's right, for the next few days I'll be playing the role of the token creepy old guy on the college girls' couch. (What? There's nothing "token" about that, because it's not supposed to happen? Oh, well.)

I'm excited about the weekend for a few reasons. I've been to Milwaukee once, but this is my first time staying overnight. I have be honest, I was looking forward to seeing lots of fat Midwesterners. I figured the city would be filled with heifers, water buffalos, and other metaphorical fat animals. And that was just talking about the women. But now, I read that Milwaukee is actually the 17th-fittest city in the country, ahead of even my Big Healthy Apple (NYC is #22). This is like being told, on the eve of a trip to Africa, that you won't see any lions or giraffes. But I won't stand for it. In 2003, Milwaukee was America's 21st-fattest city. (Now we're talking.) At least a handful of those people are still around, staving off heart failure at this moment. I will find them. I will follow my nose to the German beer halls where they serve absurd amounts of bratwurst and Miller. I will have my Fat Milwaukee Safari.

Rest assured, FranT will find a FatT or two.

Other reasons (besides Fat-watching) I'm excited for Milwaukee:
--Marquette was recently ranked No. 6 on BarstoolU's "America's Most Underrated Party Schools" list. I couldn't find Notre Dame on the list, which I'm sure was just an egregious oversight. Here's what Barstool said about Marquette:
"[E]ven though the kids in Milwaukee might not be able to measure up to the ones over in Madison, they’re still probably the least socially inept Catholic school in the nation (which is the party school equivalent of being the smartest kid on the short bus, but still, credit where credit is due.)"
There were about four backhanded compliments in that sentence, but it still sounds fun!

--I can't wait to make a pilgrimage to the campus that nourished the talents of both Chris Farley and Dwyane Wade. My uncle, who attended Marquette in the 1980's with Farley, said Farley's two big gags were peeing on billiards-players' legs and throwing all the jackets into the snow outside house parties. Wade, meanwhile, carried the Golden Eagles (RIP, Warriors) to the Final Four in 2003. Can you think of two more different cool people than Farley and Wade? Maybe Christopher Walken and Lionel Messi?

--Seeing my two sisters, one of whom will graduate in a few weeks. It's gonna be awesome.

So wish me luck on my fatty-spying, underrated-partying, Chris Farley-imitating college weekend. Should be a good one.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

How Accomplished are the 2013 Yankees?

Another baseball post, because 'tis the season. 'Tis a very long season, but still, 'tis the season. If you're not into baseball, don't worry; I'll have a post on fat people tomorrow. Even if you like baseball, I'm warning you that this might still be a little nerdy for your taste. Feel free to skip it if stats and the game's history bore you. Again, you can read about fats tomorrow.

Anyhoo, everyone knows what happened with the Yankees and their injury/age issues this offseason. Still, I was looking at the roster the other day and was amazed by how accomplished their players are. When I say accomplished, I'm talking about their career awards, All-Star Game appearances, fame, and overall contributions over the course of their time in baseball. Granted, most of the Yanks' recognizable players are over-the-hill, but I decided to do an experiment.

I wanted to use's EloRater to compare the Yankees' career ratings to those of the Big Red Machine.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

How Many Bible Characters Would You Hang Out With?

I haven't seen it yet, but apparently the History Channel's The Bible miniseries is great. I'll probably try to watch it on DVD this summer. Despite missing the show, I have been thinking a lot about what it would have been like to live during some of the Bible's famous eras. For example, how much fun would it have been to live when David smote Goliath in the best underdog victory ever? And how much would it have sucked to spend 40 years in the desert with the Israelites? No amount of Frank's Red Hot could make manna taste good for that long.

I have also been wondering which Bible characters I would have befriended. I'm talking about buddies I could joke around and have a few beers with. Obviously, this eliminates ladies, no matter how hot or cool Sarah, Jezebel, or Mary Magdalene were.

I came up with at least eight guys from the Bible that absolutely would have been part of my crew. (Some of them were literally kings, so obviously I would have been part of their crews.) The one caveat--most of these guys are Jewish, so I would not be happy about having to drop tons of money at all their kids' Bar Mitzvahs.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How Do People Not Know How to Throw a Baseball?

Joseph Dever, a kid with autism, threw out the first pitch at the Phillies game on Saturday night. His pitch, which can be viewed here, was impressive. Not impressive for a young child with a disability--just plain impressive.

Anyways, Joseph's pitch got me thinking about some of the other famous and infamous first pitches I've seen throughout the years. I wondered how he could throw such a nice strike, while professional athletes routinely bounce their pitches from in front of the mound.

How Do These Baseball Movies Never Get Old?

I'm planning on seeing 42 later this week after reading a bunch of glowing reviews about it. Rob Neyer wrote a really interesting article yesterday after asking a bunch of great baseball people (Bill James, Brian Kenny, Joe Posnanski, etc.) what the next historical baseball movie should be. If you're at all interested in the topic, I encourage you to read it.

As for the rest of us, I compiled some of the best baseball movie scenes ever. If you're going to read the list, prepare to laugh in the beginning and cry at the end.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

How Silly are Sports Superstitions?

The NHL playoffs will begin next week and fans across the country are excited for the renewal of a wonderful springtime tradition: Playoff beards! Players across the league will grow out their facial hair for the duration of their teams' playoff runs. With that in mind, let's examine playoff beards and some other well-known sports superstitions.

Friday, April 19, 2013

How Will Anyone Take Down LeBron?

With so many sports' playoffs recently being about who is "hot at the right time", it's interesting to see the NBA Playoffs starting up with such a prohibitive favorite in the Miami Heat.

Watching the Throne

One of the questions within that Heat story line is: who is going to stop LeBron, if anyone? Not just on a single possession or quarter, but in general. It seems like we've already given the Heat the Larry O'Brien trophy and the King the Finals MVP, and it's somebody's job to snatch those prizes away from them, because the Heat have put themselves in a class all their own. LeBron is like the untouchable girl in High School who is newly single. A tall, handsome German dude with flowing locks brought her down for a time, but now he's been out of the picture for a while now, and now, as she struts through the halls, all that is overheard in the guys' locker room is: can anybody tame the beast again??

Here are the contenders:

Kevin Durant - The nice best friend  and front-runner. He's a good athlete and has good grades. I'm pretty sure he goes to church and regularly performs community service. If she friend-zones him, you can't fault him for how he played it.You'd bet on him if you had to bet who will win...but nobody's lining up to make any bets.

Tony Parker - the French exchange student who the girl gravitates toward because he's so damn smooth and  it appears he wears the same jeans as her. A nice angle, but it's not going to cut it.

Carmelo - Carmelo knows his competition, as they both moved into town in 2003 and have been fast friends ever since. He kind of has this cool, bad boy image, but no one is even sure if that is deserved. What we do know is that he's got the game to get the job done, but people are saying he needs to be more consistent and trust his friends' council a little more for success.

Derrick Rose - There was talk of DRose taking down the King, but he hasn't been in the school district in over a year. He's been away at boarding school, and there was rumors he'd be back around, but now it looks like he's going to be there for a while longer and therefore poses no real threat.

Roy Hibbert - Roy Hiubbert is the massive Tight End who intimidates other guys and gets girls' attention based on his size alone - but here he is rendered ineffective.

Paul Pierce - Pierce had a thing a loong time ago where he took down the prize, and has been bragging about it incessantly ever since, and says he had a chance last season. What he doesn't realize was that was before physical and mental development fully set in, and that his claims of repeating such a feat are purely delusion.

Brandon Jennings - Brandon Jennings and his Bucks are the lab partner, because they will get some serious face time over the next few weeks. Everyone else would kill for this opportunity, but the lab partner never goes him with the prize.

No chance, lab nerd

Are these comparisons even slightly accurate? Even if they're not, I had a sad amount of fun making them, gave a few f---'s along the way,  and would love to hear additional/better ones.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

How Many F---'s Do You Give? Part 2

As FranT mentioned, this topic was broached (love broaching topics, by the way) and it has opened up a world of discussion and introspection among the How Blank writers & friends. I tend to give a great many f---’s out of 100, definitely between 70 and 80. As I thought of all the f---’s that I give, and how anyone ever gives any, I found it increasingly hard to wrap my head around it all. I was giving a lot of f---’s about a blog centered around giving f---’s, and I felt as if I was getting nowhere.

First I thought that, everyone, in truth, gives 100/100 f---’s, because even claiming to not give one about something is in fact giving one towards its opposite. That was a rabbit hole I didn’t want to go down.

Then I thought that The F---’s were just like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but everything with that came down to money, and I like to think that while money plays a part in it, giving or not giving a f--- goes well beyond the concept of money.

Most of Adam Sandler's characters DGAF their way through life until faced with extraordinary circumstances

I finally realized that The F---’s exist in a sort of balance within 3 tiers. I don’t care whether you give 0/100 or 100/100, I think it’s about keeping whatever F---’s you do give in the right order and balance. Let me explain.

How Dastardly is the English Language?

When I was in college, I took Mandarin Chinese for a few semesters. To me, the most amazing thing about the language is that a small change in tone can drastically alter a word's meaning. For instance, the word "ma" can mean mother, hemp, horse, or scold, depending on which of the four tones is used. Similarly, in English, there are many words that have multiple meanings. Those meanings are more often determined by the context, though. Here's an example:

However, today we're not going to focus on words with multiple meanings. Rather, let's examine some words and phrases in the English language that sound strikingly similar to swears, dirty words, or otherwise unpleasant terms.

For each term, I'll give the actual definition and a few thoughts. If you can't figure out the unpleasant phrase it mimics, you've certainly never played sports or worked in a New York City public school.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How Ridiculous are Sports' Original Rules?

Over the weekend, my buddy Ryno told me about how he was recently invited to play on a travel men's baseball team. However, he's from Hoboken, one of the places that stakes a claim to being the birthplace of baseball, so there was a catch: The team plays all its games using baseball's original rules.

"Well, pegging was allowed back then," I said.
"Oh, f--- that!" he responded. Then, a long pause before he spoke again. "Was it really?"
I think it's safe to say that I killed any chance of him playing on that team.

Granted, baseball (or, base ball, as it was called back then) has changed radically since Alexander Cartwright wrote the first 20 "Knickerbocker Rules" for the game. Still, wouldn't it be ridiculous if some of our most well-known modern sports still played by the original rules? Let's take a look-see:

Sunday, April 14, 2013

How Many F---s Do You Give?

People often use the phrase "I don't give a f---," but that's not really true. We all give a f---* about some things.

*Trying to keep How Blank as close to PG-13 as we can, so we'll try to avoid the actual f-word as much as possible. Don't think it actually matters much, but whatever.

At a Boston bar the other day, my friends and I all discussed how many f---s we give out of 100. I'm a pretty laidback dude, so I said I give about 10 f---s out of 100. My buddy Chrisdrew is one of the only people I've ever met that legitimately doesn't care what others think of him. He said he gives just 1-2 f---s out of 100. Chrisdrew is actually very similar to Robert Doback from Step Brothers.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

How Much Money Do We Spend at Bars?

I was planning on doing laundry Tuesday afternoon when I got the call from my friends. "We're sitting outside at the bar! Come on up!"

I could hardly resist, on the day the great sports columnist Bill Simmons calls Halter Top Day. Halter Top Day is the day when the weather finally becomes warm enough in a notoriously cold part of the country (i.e., the Northeast) that convertible tops can go down and girls can wear miniskirts and halter tops outdoors.

So it didn't matter that it was a Tuesday; it was finally warm enough to sit outside at The Rambling House. And besides, I could still do my laundry. There's a laundromat right across the street.

Before I sat down at the sun-drenched table with my friends, I dropped my clothes at the laundromat. As I was cramming everything into the $2.50 machine instead of the one that charges $4.50, I realized the absurdity of my behavior. Here I was playing Tetris with my socks and T-shirts so that they'd stay in the machine, and I was about to go drop $40 at the bar.

When I got to the table, I related this conundrum to my friends. They all agreed that spending money at the bar is way different than spending money anywhere else. For some reason.

"Sometimes, for lunch, I choose a $5.50 sandwich instead of a $6.50 sandwich," Liz said. "Then I'll go out and buy a round of drinks for everyone. And I mean everyone."

I concurred. We might as well be saying, "Buy another drink for the strangers!... But don't give me cheese on my hamburger because it costs 50 cents extra."

Mindblowing. This was a group of logical people with good jobs, all agreeing that it's okay to throw money away during a night out. So where is the disconnect? I have a few theories:

Saturday, April 6, 2013

How Much Do Bald Athletes Need Headgear?

On Thursday night, I was watching Mariano Rivera close out Red Sox for about the 812th time in my life, and The YES Network showed a clip of a young Mo with a full head of hair.

It was weird to see him with hair, but I also realized that I rarely notice his baldness. Rivera is widely considered one of the best all-around athletes on the Yankees, but does this look like one of the most intimidating players in sports?

Obviously, we envision most baseball players in their caps, but I realized how much more of an aura the hat gives Rivera.
Now, that looks like a photo of a great athlete.

Rivera got me thinking about some other bald (or balding) athletes that seem much younger/better/more intimidating just because of their headgear.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

How Many French Phrases Are Acceptable?

Five? Three? Zero? I gave it some thought, and came up with six.

The other day I heard “nom de plume” and “fait accompli” in the span of a few hours. Nom de Plume was from something I saw on Facebook, related to the Aladdin street rat song. I heard “fait accompli” on sports radio. It struck me that I hadn’t heard either of these before, and I wondered what the best French phrases are that we use in conversation. So I took the few that I knew, the two I had just learned,  and researched a few more, and came up with the short list of the best French phrases used in English conversation.

Let me also distance myself and this post from anything political or even cultural regarding the French. All I’m interested in is the influence of a few French language phrases on American English, so don’t take it for anything more. Think of it like early Springsteen - block out his later politics if you like, and just enjoy Growin Up.

Nom De Plume - "pen name"

This is actually a stretch to ever pepper into conversation, but it was a great piece of useless knowledge that I picked up, and the fact that it came via Aladdin - One Jump Ahead was tremendous. The line is: “One jump ahead of the slowpokes/One skip ahead of my doom/Next time gonna use a nom de plume

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How Comical are Others' Accents?

It's been a few days, but I'm back. Sorry, but Spring Break is a busy time for a teacher. After last week, I feel like I need a break from my vacation. Woe is FranT...

Anyways, this weekend one of my sisters was telling a story about our dad from earlier in the day. He said he was out for a drive and "saw a woof." "A what?" she asked him. "A woof." It went back and forth like an Abbott and Costello routine until she finally figured out that Dad had seen a wolf. Oh, right, a woof.

It just made me think about some of the various accents I've laughed at through the years.

During college, we always had discussions about the way kids from other parts of the country said certain words. A couple kids from the Midwest called bagels bag-guls, with a long-a sound. We New Yorkers obviously said our "r" sounds like "w" sounds. And kids from Boston pretty much said everything like they were drunk Neandarthals.

Even better than other Americans' ways of speaking are the accents of foreigners. When I was abroad this summer, my buddy Kendrew and I enjoyed mimicking some of the words used by fellow travelers. From Brits, we stole the words wanker and bollocks, as well as any word with a "th" that we could turn into an "f" sound. (Examples: Thanks became fanks and through became frough.) From Australians, we adopted the word dodgy, which isn't really an accent-based word but it's fun to say. And from Scottish people, we couldn't really steal anything because they're so damn difficult to understand. Here, look:

Ever since we went to Jamaica in college, my buddy Pat and some of our other friends have been on a Jamaican kick. The other day, he sent my fiancĂ©e this:

Which all goes to show that when you say tomato, I say to-mah-to. And when you say woof, I sure as hell don't hear wolf.

P.S. Here's the obligatory Simpsons video:

Ohh, a "gime."