Thursday, January 29, 2015

How Do You Pick Your Bruce Songs?

FranT and I wanted to have a draft of Bruce Springsteen songs, but it needed some parameters. Top 10? Top 20? 50? Our decisions needed consequences, and every pick had to matter.

So we decided to take one song each from Bruce's Top 5 Albums according to a Rolling Stone reader poll, along with an extra pick from Born in the U.S.A., which was No. 6. It left plenty of classics unmentioned, but we felt the only way to get a draft done in under a year was with some limitations. Here's how it went down...

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How Do Dogs Mourn Their Kin?

A couple weeks ago, I posted a eulogy for my family's golden retriever, Harry. I thank all the people who shared kind/funny/sympathetic stories about Harry, who lived a great dog's life. In that blogpost, I mentioned that Harry was once a Christmas gift from my cousins, whose dogs gave birth to a litter of puppies. This weekend, my cousin Jessie told me that when they bought Harry's dad Woody, they planned all along to set him up with their female dog Chloe.*

*Maybe that was why they named him Woody? (Sorry, I had to.)

The bad thing about keeping a litter of puppies in the extended family is that they all tend to die at around the same time. My cousin Jenny's dog Hubble died in the fall, soon after several of Harry's other siblings had moved on. This weekend, it all became too much for my cousin Ellenoira's dog Rica. As one of Harry's last surviving relatives, Rica went into a period of old-fashioned mourning:  

Saturday, January 17, 2015

How Do You Rank Taylor Songs?

I don't really know how to say this...

We need to talk about Taylor Swift.

5 songs have been released so far in a format other than iTunes. I might be super weird by writing this post, but at least I'm not buying the album. This must be what it was like before the Internet when you had to actually wait for a song to be released. What a lesson in patience for our youngsters.

Just kidding, they probably illegally ripped the whole album onto their Snapchat accounts using their super-secret "bae" code language. It's a world I don't care to understand.

Nevertheless - it struck me how clear the order is when ranking those 5 songs. It would be like ranking filet mignon, a turkey sandwich, and cat food. Each song is in its own stratosphere.

Here's the definitive order of the Taylor songs thus far released. Unless you disagree (and if you do, feel free to let that be known at the bottom).

5. Shake it Off

How Bad Are These Boys?

At some point during Christmastime, my family was discussing women with loose morals and women with self-destructive tendencies. Because I guess that's what Catholic families talk about at Christmastime. Anyways, we were analyzing ladies that Father Curry, my high school Theology teacher, would have referred to as Jezebels. At the high point of the conversation, my mom blurted out this gem: "You can love a good boy just as much as you love a bad boy."

Michael Jackson jokes aside, I thought that my mom's comment was worth a bit of further exploration. So here's an incomplete history of "bad boys" in popular culture:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

How Stereotypical & Hilarious Were the Punchout Characters?

Dan LeBatard posed the question yesterday on his radio show: "Which group has the most right to be offended by the Mike Tyson Punchout characters?"

I had no idea about this Nintendo game, but apparently all the different boxers from around the world are the most hilarious collection of bad stereotypes across all walks of life and parts of the world. 

Listen to the podcast from the show to get the full effect. Some digital ink has been spilled on this topic, but if you've never heard of this ridiculousness or need a refresher, here are my 11 favorite.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

How Do I Say Goodbye to My First Dog?

Growing up, I never had much use for dogs. I enjoyed people's company better, and I sometimes thought of the preference for dogs or for humans as mutually exclusive. What's the fuss about dogs, I thought. They can't even talk or laugh. I just wasn't a dog person.

Now, don't misunderstand me. I'm not the dad from Beethoven. I never hated dogs. I just thought that dogs ruined vacations, parties, and time that could be better spent on other activities. It seems stupid looking back, but that's how I felt. I thought, Who would want to have that kind of responsibility if it doesn't directly involve taking care of another human being? I never really wanted a dog, and I even claimed to prefer cats in order to piss off my dog-loving buddies.

Then, we got Harry. In the fall of 2002, my cousins' golden retrievers, Chloe and Woody, had a litter of puppies.* So, as a Christmas gift, my aunt and uncle gave a dog to each set of cousins. We got the sturdiest puppy of the bunch, they said, so that he'd be well-suited to the country. Never mind that my parents live just an hour north of the city; to people in Queens, anything north of Yonkers qualifies as "upstate."

*I felt like a "doggy-style" joke was too easy there.

We named the puppy "Harry" after Jeff Daniels' character from Dumb and Dumber. The dog had a lot to live up to, but in the end Harry gave me exponentially more joy than all my combined viewings of Dumb and Dumber. And that's saying something.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

How Did Aaron Boone Get Two Hall of Fame Votes?

That's right. Aaron "Bleepin'" Boone got a pair of votes in Tuesday's Hall of Fame voting. Boone got those votes on an absolutely loaded ballot that kept Carlos Delgado from even staying on another year. It's absolutely unconscionable that any writer voted for Boone. Or is it?

Here are the four reasons anyone could have had for putting Boone on his or her ballot:

Sunday, January 4, 2015

How Can New York Sports Fans Remain Optimistic? (2015 Edition)

Last year, coming off an abysmal sports year in 2013, I outlined 14 reasons for New York fans to remain optimistic in '14. Some of my points ("Hockey in Yankee Stadium", "The Watchable Rangers") actually did help to brighten up another bleak year. However, others ("Earl Joseph 'J.R.' Smith", "Michael Pineda's Return") fell flat on their pine-tar-smeared faces.

Since the Rangers' Stanley Cup final run over the summer, New York sports fans have had precious little to cheer about, as many writers have pointed out. As we headed into 2015, I decided I would write a pessimistic blogpost this year. I set out to average the winning percentages of all the major sports teams to see if 2014-15 had a chance to become the Worst Year in New York Sports History.