Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and Mea Culpa From "Stuff"

Wow! So, that happened. We've been remiss in posting--especially Nance--and we're sorry. There are a ton of good reasons, but here are the best ones in no particular order:

Top 5 Reasons We Were Slugs And Didn't Post
1. Finals
2. The Scarlet Letter
3. Christmas
4. Fatigue & Generalized Malaise aka Burnout
5. The Craziness over at the Tie Report

We'll each take the ones that are germane to ourselves and chat them up. Here's Nance:

2. The Scarlet Letter: I just finished dragging my honors sophomores through this, and let me tell you, it was exhausting. Only Nathaniel Hawthorne can take a sexy story like a Puritan pastor knocking up a lonely wife and bury it in an avalanche of paragraph-long sentences and polysyllabic words. If I had a dollar for every time a kid said, "Oh, that was what happened? WOW!", I'd be retired and typing this in the Bahamas by now.

3. Christmas is the workiest holiday ever. 'Nuff said.

4. ZZZzzzzzzz....! Huh? Am I still typing this post? I will spend the entire Christmas break in my fleece pants and bathrobe and (hopefully) new slippers napping, waking only to go back to bed.

5. Since my little Brian Williams Tie Report site got noticed and the AP story broke the day before Thanksgiving, it has been insane. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful and excited. VERY! But the pressure is on. I can no longer wait a couple days when I'm busy or tired to do the Reports. The very fact that BW himself reads The Report is amazing to me. I've been contacted by other people in the industry who read it. Good heavens.

Jared, take it away!

1. It is no surprise, nor is it news, that I had finals and that they were brutal and took up far more of my time than I anticipated or wanted them to. Almost 200 pages written, and nearly 1300 read in a span of about two and a half weeks. I know, right?

3. I recently declared to my mother that I may not do Christmas ever again. This is, of course, not true. I mean, the sentiment is, but the actual denouncing of Christmas just isn't going to happen. It is stressful, it starts in October, and it beats me over the head while at the same time sneaking up on me. How is this possible?

4. See 1 and 3 for other examples of this. Look, the whole thing here is that everything this time of year feels like the biggest deal ever. Last Friday, my cell rang, I answered it, and it was a wrong number. I looked at the Lady Friend and said "Can you believe that? It's almost Christmas". She told me to calm down and asked if I needed another Dortmunder or if perhaps I would like "something stronger like a martini." Burnout. I was burnt out and couldn't deal with the idiot on the other line. Just couldn't.

5. I too, have had some craziness related to some national exposure as well. Get your minds out of the gutter, all of my clothes remained on. I write for, and it has turned me into a legitimate high demand expert. I do interviews for a nationally syndicated program (DC And The Family) every Friday morning, I do a Cleveland webcast every Monday night, and I have done interviews for ESPN Radio in Dallas, Philly, and Phoenix on several occasions. AND I have to find time to write what the site wants me to. Being an NFL Draft Analyst does not, contrary to popular belief, begin and end with the Draft.

So, loyal readers, accept this post as a peace offering for our sabbatical. Once things calm down with Christmas, we will back with a bit more regularity. After all, this is one of our Top 5 priorites.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Top 5 Songs of Myself

Everyone has them. Everyone has a song or two that are songs of themselves. A song that you only play when you're flying solo. The shower, the car, at home alone, the dorm room while your roomie is at the library. The reason you only play them when you're alone? Because you know that you cannot stop yourself from singing them. That, and it's embarassing that you enjoy them. Ladies and gents, without further ado, my

Top 5 Songs of Myself:

1. Father Figure - by George Michael
2. Reasons - by Earth Wind and Fire
3. Before He Cheats - by Carrie Underwood
4. Bye Bye Bye - by NSYNC
5. Anything from the Grease soundtrack.


1. It's a really singable song. And near the end, GM gives you a chance to really belt it out and set your shower on fire with your wailings, melting the grout and causing tiles to fall from the inside of the shower walls as your voice bellows with raw sexuality and passion. Don't judge.

2. Act like I can't hit that high note. I recently caught myself doing so as though the Lady Friend was NOT seated next to me. This was awful. For me. There is no doubt, however, that she was impressed...or was it horrified? Either way, this is a great song and I owe my father big time for adding it to my repertoire of dorm room cleaning music.

3. Let's get one thing straight: Carrie Underwood is gorgeous. Also, pretty well talented. There's just something about the agression involved in that song that I really like. Everyone has wanted to do that do someone's car. (Right? Or am I nuts?) Can I sing it? God no. Do I sing it? Hell yes. But only when I am by myself.

4. I refuse to elaborate. All I will say is that I dare you to listen to it twice without singing it or doing the motion they do in the video. And don't act like you don't know the motion I am talking about.

5. Grease was the best thing that happened to me the summer before my freshman year of high school. My buddy's sister got the VHS for her birthday; we watched it once with her, then stole it. It was ours and we could not be stopped. We watched it usually once or twice a day, every day, for three months solid. I know all of the words to all of the songs. The best one, however...Summer Lovin'.

Tell me more, tell me more. What are your Songs of Myself?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Top 5 Sandwiches

Sometimes, you just want a sandwich. And I don't mean one of those goofy, gourmet made-up cheffy creations either, like avocado-inflamed trout cheeks and sprouts with mint and mango pesto on a flarkle cheese focaccia roll. I'm talking a standard, no-fuss sandwich that you can just make your own damn self. And eat with Lay's Original Potato Chips. But save the foldy ones for me.
Here are my Top 5 Go-To Sandwiches:

1. BLT
2. Reuben
3. Peanut Butter & Jelly
4. Grilled Cheese
5. Tuna Salad

Okay, so if you don't love the Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato sandwich--I cannot help you; no one can. I won't even prescribe the condiment. You can choose: mayonnaise or Miracle Whip. I don't care. You can even decide whether or not to toast the bread. Hell, I don't even care if the bread is white or wheat! This is the perfect sandwich, especially if you have just picked the tomatoes fresh from your own garden oh my god I think I harmed myself just thinking about it.

The Reuben is best ordered out, but it can be made at home, even with a good deli corned beef. Do not even attempt to say, "Oh, and you can make it just as good with turkey." No, you cannot. Shut up.

And, come on, peanut butter & jelly. Classic. I will say, however, that if you do not at some point try it with Smucker's strawberry jam, you are missing quite possibly the gustatory opportunity of a lifetime. As far as peanut butter, I prefer Jif. Smooth. Just an FYI.

Grilled cheese is the ultimate comfort sandwich: warm, buttery, smooth, gooey, and you know it is seriously naughty in the fat and cholesterol departments. Who cares? If you're going to make it count, use real butter, though. So good!

Finally, I have to say that I make a killer tuna salad in the summertime because I use fresh dill from my herb garden. I use only white albacore tuna--water packed--Hellman's real mayo, and tons of fresh dill. I toss a little Lawrey's season salt and fresh ground black pepper in there and let me tell you, that stuff is major.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Top 5 Signs I Am Too Old

OK, here's the deal: I am sort of tired of addressing Christmas stuff. I know, I know. However, there are plenty of other things going on that we need to address on this blog; otherwise, who will? It's a very good thing we started this, no?

Without further ado...
The Top 5 Signs I Am Too Old

1. I am George Washington.
2. I found somewhere between 15-15,000 GRAY hairs in my beard this morning.
3. Today I answered a question in class with "I'm going to need to deliberate this matter further and get back to you." And I wasn't trying to be funny.
4. I don't stand and yell at sporting events anymore.
5. I read the NY Times in my boxers while I drank coffee this morning.

-On my floor, the RA put up presidents that coincide with our room number. So, I am in room 901. The first president was George Washington. Thus, I am George Washington. Perfect. I would have rather been John Adams, but that's my roommate. George Washington's presidency was overrated. His accolades as a war hero are warranted. But his presidency...strikingly mediocre.

-Really? Grays? And I looked again literally about 15 minutes ago...and I would go so far as to say that my beard is at least 25% gray with some random red hairs as well. I don't understand. It's troubling.

-I said that (#3) because that's what I meant. I could have just said "hmm...can I think about it and get back to you?" But no. I had to say it all...professorially (did I just make up that word?). Everyone thought I was trying to be funny, but I really wasn't. People my age don't say stuff like that. Almost ever. Christ, I'm old.

-This (#4) was my first sign that my youth was officially dead. I used to scream and yell and clap and get animated. Now, I do none of that. I participate in the occasional standing ovation but not with any regularity. Instead? I sit there, play with my beard, roll up my program, and hold onto it for dear life. I am also convinced that this helps.

-This (#5) needs no further explanation. Suffice it to say, I did not read just the sports page and stop. I. Read. The. Entire. Paper.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Only 5 Christmas Specials We Really Need

There's way too many Christmas specials on TV, and they come on way too early. Most of them are crap. I'm not one of those people who say that the TV specials were way better when I was a kid forty years ago. We had crappy Christmas specials then, too--creepy marionettes and a really dumb one based upon the carol "The Little Drummer Boy" that went way beyond the basics of that song. But there are way too many now that are plain garbage, and we need to get back to the basics. Here is my list--in no particular order--of

The Only 5 Christmas Specials We Really Need:

1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
2. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
3. Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol
4. A Charlie Brown Christmas
5. The House without a Christmas Tree

The Grinch cartoon is a classic narrated by Boris Karloff, and the singing is done by the legendary Thurl Ravenscroft, who, in addition to having a kick-ass name, did tons of voices for Disney including that of Kirby, the Brave Little Toaster. Doesn't matter. The Grinch is probably the best Christmas special in that it is a timeless classic. It has no product tie-ins, no pop culture references, and nothing to date it. Best thing? It's not sappy.

Rudolph is the most iconic Christmas special there is. Yes, it's hokey. Yes, it has that horrid musical sequence with Rudoph and Clarice. Yes, it has the incredibly cruel Santa scenes. (And what exactly is so horribly wrong with that misfit doll, anyway? No nose? Give a kid a Sharpie--FIXED!) But when Rudolph trumpets, "Ready, Santa!" in that goofy voice, you know you love it.

Mr. Magoo doing Ebenezer Scrooge was genius casting. This is the best version of the Dickens story that there ever was. As a rule, I'm no fan of musicals, but this one gave us the term "razzleberry dressing." Come on!

And, I'm sorry, if you do not love the Charlie Brown Christmas special, then you have no soul. In its place, you have a black, sulphurous, leeching void. What about Pigpen as the Innkeeper? What about the dancing twins? What about Snoopy's doghouse winning First Prize?

Finally, if you have never seen "The House without a Christmas Tree," then you have missed a really good Christmas special. It was televised in 1972, but is set in the 40s. Heavy-hitter Jason Robards stars in it, and it's a heartbreaker about a little girl whose father is left to raise her after her mom dies, and he just plain sucks at it. She desperately wants a Christmas tree, but he...well, not so much.

Probably since this is already December 3rd, the networks are done showing Christmas specials and have moved on to showing summer reruns. But you can put these on your October calendar for next year!


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