Monday, June 30, 2014

How Overdue Was My First Goonies Viewing?

Back in March, I wrote a post about evil adult villains in children's movies. I linked to the article on Facebook, and my buddy Dermot mentioned the Fratellis from The Goonies. At that point, I had to admit that I never saw the film. Since I was presenting myself as an expert in children's movies but hadn't seen one of the canonical works in that genre, Dermot responded as I knew he would. "You're dead to me, Fran," he wrote on my Facebook timeline.

In order to win back Dermot's friendship and correct a fundamental problem in my life, I rented The Goonies on Monday. Here, in descending order, are the top 10 moments of that solo viewing party:

Friday, June 27, 2014

How Did We Choose Fictional Drinking Partners?

A couple months ago, Kavanaugh e-mailed me about another collaborative project. "How about this for the next draft?" he wrote. "TV drinkers, drafting five each for your crew." As usual, I went overboard, suggesting we expand the draft to include all fictional characters and pick 10 each. Predictably, it was slow-going. We didn't get through the entire 20-character draft for a variety of reasons (fatigue, busy jobs, getting drunk in real-life, etc.).

But we did complete eight picks each, and the draft had its moments. Since I didn't want to rob posterity of our Mensa-level exchange, here it is:

Monday, June 23, 2014

How Cool Was Meeting Larry Johnson?

A few weeks ago, I took my students on a field trip to Central Park. I was playing basketball with some of the boys, and one of them hit a three-pointer while also drawing a foul. I did the "LJ" hand sign, and the kids looked at me like I had been reincarnated as Randle McMurphy.

I was confused at first, then I realized that Larry Johnson's famous four-point play took place in 1999, before any of my students were even born.

Friday, June 20, 2014

How Similar Are the Yankees and Spurs?

In an ESPN "Daily Dime" column Monday morning, J.A. Adande tried to put the Spurs' fifth NBA title into perspective. Here's one sentence that stood out to me:

"[While] Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees have as many championship rings as Tim Duncan, dating back to 2006, Jeter also had more managers and has reached the World Series only once since 2003."

Adande essentially argued that the Spurs have been the most consistently great professional sports team since Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls. He mentioned the Belichick-Brady Patriots and Kobe's Lakers as other teams with a claim to that distinction.

Whether the Spurs were indeed the best franchise of the last 20 years is arguable. It might be instructive to compare them to those aforementioned Yankees. Even if we don't learn anything groundbreaking, it will still be fun to take a side-by-side look at two of my favorite teams ever.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How Punny Was Today's Post Cover?

Back in January, I wrote a post about all the shit Masahiro Tanaka was in for after he signed with the Yankees. I discussed the media, the high expectations, and people gawking at his hot wife. Most of all, I questioned whether Tanaka knew about the absurdity (and borderline racism) of the New York tabloids. Here's what I wrote then:

I wonder if Tanaka is familiar with horrible puns about his nationality. The New York tabloids are great at this. I remember when Hideki Matsui hit his first homer in Yankee Stadium and the back page of one of the papers said "UPPER DEKI!"

Tanaka better prepare himself for seven years of forced, sometimes insensitive Japanese jokes and puns. After a bad outing: "TANAKA SURRENDERS AFTER A-BOMB". After a strong playoff start: "TANAK-OUT PUNCH!". After an arm injury: "MASA SHAME". It should be pretty fun.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

How Important Is Going for It?

I saw my sisters on Sunday for a Father's Day celebration, and I told them that a bunch of people informed me recently that they've been "murdering life." Apparently, my college-age sisters have been having a lot of fun lately, or at least they're faking it really well on Instagram.

They confirmed that they have indeed been living it up, standard behavior for a bunch of girls in their late teens and early twenties. The three oldest sisters told me they planned on going to Saloon in Manhattan to watch Monday's U.S.A.-Ghana World Cup match.

"Isn't that the Barstool party?" I asked.

"I don't know," Leenie said. "But the people with the best, most American costumes win a free keg of beer. We're GONNA win that keg."

How Good Does That Patriotism Smell?

The U.S.A. sandwiched a couple strong offensive attacks around 80 minutes of mediocre play yesterday, good enough for a 2-1 win over Ghana. Ghana had been the mongoose to America's snake, the Laertes to the USMNT's Hamlet. But in both teams' 2014 World Cup opener, the Stars and Stripes did just enough to defeat their African foils and grab a much-needed three points.

Now, the U.S. will face a Portugal team that was just obliterated by Germany. If the Americans can pull out a tie, they'll sit in the driver's seat for the second spot in Group G. If that happens, our boys will simply have to hold their own against Germany in order to advance to the knockout stage. Basically, the U.S. will just have to avoid performing like France in every war against Germany ever. In fact, that should be the American mantra before the game against the Germans: Just don't get demolished (like France).

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How Cartoonish Is My Uncle?

My uncle Pat is a lawyer in Brooklyn, and he called his sister to tell her that he recently won a pretty big case. She looked it up and found this sketch in the newspaper:

Photo via
My uncle is pictured on the far right, and we had a few laughs teasing him about this caricature over the weekend. He, of course, claims that it "doesn't look like me," but that's pretty dubious.

Monday, June 9, 2014

How Philosophical Are These TV Dads?

With Father's Day looming next weekend, it's important to remember all the wisdom we've gleaned from our dads over the years. For instance, my old man taught me how to scalp tickets, why nothing good ever happens after midnight, and where to find the hidden parking spots in Manhattan.

In many ways, fathers are like philosophers. If I had to choose one famous thinker to represent my dad, I'd pick Socrates because of his ideas about minimalism. It seems like my dad hasn't bought a material item for himself since the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics, when he splurged on a couple commemorative pins. This quote from Socrates sums him up pretty well:

Phoro via

With that type of comparison in mind, here's an assortment of TV dads and the philosophers they most closely resemble.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

How Sportstacular Are These Next Three Weeks?

In the hockey episode of The Simpsons, Marge tries to tell Lisa that sports is just a small part of life. At that point, Homer marches in chanting "Sports, sports, sports, sports..." Homer then informs his wife that Bart will be riding in the front seat of the car because he's a "good guy at sports."

What's that? You've never watched that scene? Well, here you go. Always remember that Uncle Fran loves you.

Anyways, Homer would love the next few weeks because they'll be full of -- you guessed it -- sports. Here's what I'm so excited for:

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How Creepily Funny Are Doll Jokes?

I went back to Notre Dame last weekend for my five-year college reunion, and my buddy Matt shared this photo from his phone:

The doll is creepy as hell, I know. There are just so many uncomfortable things to process at once. But here are my favorite features, in order:
1. "Real Pregnancy Action" gives this toy the feel of an action figure, theoretically making it just as appealing to boys as girls.
2. Baby's pregnant baby means that there are three generations of baby in one box. Talk about value.
3. The back of the box actually says "Waters really break." For some reason, the plural "Waters" kills me.
4. The tiniest baby bottle is so cute.

In actuality, Baby's First Baby isn't really a toy. Artist Darren Cullen created the doll to make a statement about the idea that "toys intrinsically train girls to have and care for children while they are still only children themselves."

Whether or not Mr. Cullen intended for the doll to be funny, my friends found it hilarious. It looks like Chucky, has a pregnant baby, and boasts of "Real Pregnancy Action." If you don't find that hysterical, then I guess you're just a little too "normal" for me.

Despite the creepiness inherent in all doll jokes, there have been a bunch of funny ones throughout the years. With Baby's First Baby as a jumping-off point, let's count down our five favorite doll jokes: