Tuesday, November 26, 2013

How Long Would a Couch-to-Fridge Marathon Take?

I was at my cousin's wedding last Friday night, and the topic of the New York City Marathon came up. I said that my dad ran the race for something like 15 straight years, and someone else commented that they would only run the marathon if they could do it from their couch.

"How long do you think a marathon would take, if you just went back and forth from your couch to your fridge?" I asked. I got a variety of responses: "Two months." "Six months." "Six years."

Well, it's a good thing I'm here to solve this word problem!

Monday, November 25, 2013

How Hot Was Kirstie Alley?

On Saturday morning, we were watching Cheers* on TV Land, and we had a few observations. Here they are, explained through a series of quotes.

*The greatest fictional bar ever!

My wife Kerry: "I never knew Cheers Frasier was Frasier Frasier."
Now, Frasier was one of the most successful spin-offs in TV history, but I understood Kerry's confusion. In the Cheers episode we watched, Frasier was slamming back shots like he was in a speakeasy. Did Frasier Frasier change that much, or did he just get old when he moved to Seattle?

My friend Molly: "Woody was a cutie."
Damn right he was! Long before he was a tree-hugging, zombie-killing old man, Woody Harrelson was the lovable hick barkeep from Indiana. We watched Woody's first episode and he was at his boyish-good-looks peak. Alas, Woody could never quite fill Coach's bartending shoes.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

How Does it Feel to Have a Pile of Junk?

My mom is doing major renovations on our house, so last weekend I was home organizing, cleaning out, and throwing out old stuff so that they can start moving the remainder of the dressers and such. Basically, I was told to claim anything worth saving, or else it was all getting donated or tossed.

I started off by uncovering a picture of this young stud, who apparently had high aspirations of going to Harvard.



How Deep Is the Western Conference? (Power Rankings, Week 4)

In this week's NBA action, we watched kicking and screaming. We caught a glimpse of what might be, as well as what might have been. And we saw funny insults along with sad injuries.

In the latest power rankings, eight of the top 10 teams reside in the Western Conference. We'll take a deeper look at two of those squads, the red-hot Portland Trail Blazers and the solid Dallas Mavericks.

Friday, November 22, 2013

How Depressing Is the Beginning of Winter? (But...LINKS!)

Are you talking about two Mondays ago, when I walked outside in the darkness and was welcomed with a sleet-shower? Or yesterday afternoon, when I left work at 4:30 and it was already nighttime? (Can't wait until Spring Daylight Savings Day!) So, yeah, late November and early December are pretty depressing. But there are some better -- if not necessarily brighter -- days ahead.

Besides, I hate talking about the weather, unless...well, unless it's funny.


To get you through the increasingly chilly weather (as well as this Friday workday), I've compiled a list of things that make winter enjoyable, along with fun links for each silver lining.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How Confusing Are These Athletes' Names?

Cleveland Browns tight end Jordan Cameron and Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan both made the the mid-season All-Pro team in Sports Illustrated. With Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski sidelined for the first six weeks of the season, Cameron made sense as the best at his position in the AFC. Even if Gronk had been healthy, though, it would have been fun to pick both Cameron and Jordan. (That is, Jordan Cameron and Cameron Jordan.)

Sports names have a long history of playing similar games with our minds. Aside from the many family members who have played in pro leagues (the Alous, the Mannings, and the Sutters), there are many athletes whose names have otherwise confused us.

Monday, November 18, 2013

How Do You Choose a Fictional Bar?

Perusing this very blog earlier today, I took a second glance at the poll at the top right, "In Which Bar Would You Most Like to Drink?" (if you haven't voted already, vote! how hard is it? ). I gave it some more thought than when I actually voted for it, but after further consideration, I stand by my pick of The Drunken Clam. Why? The random allusion cutaway, duh.

How Tedious Is Raking Leaves?

My buddy Ken just moved next door to my parents, so naturally Ken is forcing my little siblings to do his chores. Yesterday Brian, my 10-year-old brother, told me that Ken made a bet with him: If Ken could make one out of three shots from behind the three-point line in the driveway, Brian had to rake the leaves on Ken's lawn. If Ken missed all three, he owed Brian five dollars. It actually wasn't a terrible bet for Brian on the surface; Ken has always been a crappy shooter, and five bucks is like five pounds of gold to a little kid.

When you dig a little deeper, though, it was a crappy bet for Brian. The rim on my parents' hoop is ridiculously forgiving, so going 1-for-3 from beyond the arc isn't very difficult. Also, five bucks means nothing to Ken. Finally -- and most importantly -- raking leaves sucks.

But how much does raking leaves suck compared to some other seasonal chores? Glad you asked! That's what we're here for.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

How Do the Spurs Do It? (Power Rankings, Week 3)

This week, we watched Carmelo's failed "Hack-a-Howard"a Windy City statement, and nothin' but Nets. Oh, and two of the beatliest dunks of this young season. (Click here for DeMar DeRozan and  and here for Xavier Henry.)

In the Week 3 Power Rankings, we'll take a deeper look at the elite San Antonio Spurs as well as the middle-of-the-pack Atlanta Hawks.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

How Immature Am I?

Considering I devoted a whole blogpost to the comedy of poop earlier in the week, I guess the answer to today's title is "Very."

Here's some further proof of my immaturity. Kerry is currently making our shopping list, and she asked if I have any special requests for food this week. My response: "Boar's Head Bacon and Reese's Pieces." Diabetes City, Population: FranT.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How Would Ben Franklin Describe These Sports Stories?

According to Yahoo, on this date in 1879, Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to his friend Jean-Baptiste Leroy: "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

I've written before about Franklin's love of grandpa's old cough medicine, and in that post I addressed some of the quotes that have been misattributed to him. Among those is "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." But it's safe to say that Ben did in fact opine on the certainty of death and taxes.

In Franklin's honor, here are a few happenings from this week in sports that are almost as certain as death and taxes:

The Spurs keep Spurrin'
Death, taxes...and Duncan's Spurs

Gregg Popovich has experimented with San Antonio's new pieces (Marco Belinelli) and players with new roles (Kawhi Leonard), and the Spurs have still jumped out to a 7-1 start. They even topped the undefeated Pacers in my Week 2 NBA Power Rankings.

The Duncan-Popovich Spurs make me long for the days when the Yankees held the title of Most Consistently Great Franchise in Sports.

Monday, November 11, 2013

How Far Can the Pacers Go? (Power Rankings, Week 2)

Week 2 is in the books, and we witnessed the Knicks' worst-case scenario realizeda perfect start in Naptown, and a perfect start to Utah's bid for Andrew Wiggins. In this week's Power Rankings, let's take a deeper look at the 7-0 Pacers and the wildly entertaining Minnesota Timberwolves.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

How Funny Is Poop?

Okay, I'm about to give you a short list of my favorite poop scenes of all-time. Poop culture, if you will. As always, I'll try to keep this post PG-13. But if you possess characteristics like "maturity" and "decency," you might want to stop reading here.

Everyone else, get ready to have a really shitty time after the jump.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How Does the Middle Feel?

I'm going to withhold any true reaction, analysis, or breakdown of How Blank's beloved Knicks through four games, and just tell you how I feel. 

The expectations were fairly high, and the roster is pretty talented. But the East is pretty top-heavy, and the Knicks just lost their best defender for 4-6 weeks from a team whose defense was already in question, depending on the lineup. We've got too many of some positions, not enough of others, a crazy owner, and a dance team that can't...dance? Wait a second, I hear this song playing...it goes like this:

How Much Do Americans Really Like to Vote?

Yesterday's voter turnout in New York City's mayoral election appears to have set a record low, with just 24 percent of registered voters fulfilling their civic duty.

As I read about that, I felt a little better about the current poll on this blog. Then, I did the math and realized that far fewer than 24 percent of our readers have voted an answer to the question "In which fictional bar would you most like to drink?"

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How Would 2013 View the Copacabana Incident?

This morning Kavanaugh wrote a really interesting post about bars to which he would time-travel, and here's the comment I quickly left:

Another good one from NYC: Copacabana Nightclub during the '50s. Imagine having a front-row seat as Mickey, Yogi, and Whitey caused absolute mayhem. Modern-day media would have had a field day with them."

I wrote that before work, and since today was Election Day, I didn't have students to teach. As I sat in meetings all day, I thought some more about the Copacabana Incident and decided it warranted its own post.

For our younger readers (Read: For all 20 of our readers), the Copacabana was a happening nightclub in Manhattan that consistently booked high-profile performers like Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, and Frank Sinatra. You might know the Copa, as it was called, from the famous scene in Goodfellas.

How Would You Time-Travel to Bars?

Last week, FranT wondered what the most desirable fictional bars were, and it got me thinking: what bars in history, and in which year, would you most want to attend? It combines Fran's idea of the fictional bar with his idea of picking and choosing your time travel destinations. It's tough, and the history of the specific bars gets foggier the further you try to go back. While many of these double as music clubs or night clubs, I'm going to keep it to primarily a bar/establishment that also had entertainment, as opposed to entertainment that happened to serve beer. I could rattle off 20 or 30 classic games or concerts I would've wanted to be at, but that's for another time. I'd like to place myself in a bar during a time when something great was likely to happen. Granted, none of these places would feel as culturally significant at these times, but that's a rabbit hole we don't want to go down right now.

Monday, November 4, 2013

How Powerful?: NBA Rankings, Week 1

A couple of weeks ago, Kavanaugh gave you his pre-season NBA rankings, featuring a short description of each team. I'm going to do my weekly Power Rankings a little differently. I'll rank all the teams, but I'll only do a write-up on two or three of them. For those teams -- usually notable risers and fallers -- I'll give a longer rundown of their performance. I'll probably cover each relevant* team 4-6 times throughout the 36-week season. Except, of course, for the Knicks, who I'll write about more frequently.

*The term relevant doesn't necessarily mean the team must be a contender. I just don't plan on writing about bottom-of-the-barrell teams that are Riggin' for Wiggins. The list of relevant teams should be clearer by December.

In Week 1, we saw a rookie dethrone the champs, the return of Lob City, and Derrick Rose dropping a floater*.

*No, not the same type of floater as Fat Bastard dropped in the second Austin Powers movie.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

How Boss Is This Baseball Card?

On Monday I wrote about an autographed baseball card that Don Mattingly sent me when I was a kid. Well, here it is:


Like I said, it's from the 1994 Topps set. A thing of beauty.

Friday, November 1, 2013

How Are the Knicks Doing through Two Games?

Here are ten thoughts about this young Knicks season after the team beat the Bucks 90-83 on Wednesday night then lost a heartbreaker, 82-81, in Chicago last night.

1. Let's accentuate the positive first. Tyson Chandler, who snatched 19 rebounds against Chicago, is again playing like the beast we watched for most of last season. Chandler was embarrassed by the Pacers' frontline in last year's conference semis, and he put on 10 pounds of muscle over the summer. One of his patented back-tap rebounds kept the Knicks alive in the last minute against the Bulls, and I loved the emotion as he slapped the floor after drawing a foul with less than 10 seconds to play. He missed the first of two free throws to leave the door open for Derrick Rose, but he's still the heart and soul of this team. The Knicks will go as far as the defense can take them, and Chandler is the anchor of that D.

2. Speaking of D-Rose, who shot just 7-of-23 before nailing a beautiful floater with 5.7 seconds left...
The Knicks missed a really good opportunity to take advantage of the Bulls and their point guard, who is still a bit rusty and was dealing with a sore neck last night. (He was wearing some baller-looking neck tape.) The 'Bockers missed a chance to notch a confidence-building win against an elite opponent before the Bulls really hit their stride.