Shit I Don’t Understand, August 2012

I encounter a lot of things in my daily business that leave me scratching my head or wondering if we’d all be better off if we’d never evolved our so-called “advanced” intelligence. The following are some of those things.

I don’t understand why this bartender is so intent on having a jellyfish as a pet. Seems like about as much fun as having a pet rock–except you never have to worry about asking a friend to pee on a sting you received from your pet rock to neutralize the venom.

I don’t understand why no one has invented a specially angled mirror to assist people with muffin tops with ensuring they don’t spill out under their untucked shirts. Such a device would make the view from a subway seat a lot less offensive.

I don’t understand why Boston thinks it needs an Innovation Center, nor do I understand what the hell people would even do at such a place. Are we no longer allowed to have ideas in the North End or the Back Bay? And why am I picturing the Innovation Center as a big, bare room populated by a few dirty hipsters holding cardboard signs begging me to donate to their Kickstarter projects?

I don’t understand why the MBTA thinks it needs a mascot. Did fares go up to pay for this? Is it a plan to reduce customer service calls by giving us a walking avatar of the MBTA on which we can take out our frustrations? Are we all supposed to punch Charlie in the face when we get mad at the T’s shitty service? Is there any way we can get Charlie into a cage match with the Sebastian’s walking salad mascot?

I don’t understand why Snooki gave her son a relatively normal name. I was hoping for Smush-smush Martini or something equally as fun, and all I got was Lorenzo. If she’s going to pretend to be a real celebrity, damn it, she needs to name her children like she’s a real celebrity. The Jersey Shore producers must not have been allowed into the maternity ward.

I don’t understand why a lot of the politicians commenting on Senator Akin’s stupid remarks about rape felt the need to preface their comments with “As the father of two daughters…” To me, this construct implies that they wouldn’t give a crap if they didn’t have daughters, which makes them natural scumbags who wouldn’t have known better without female offspring. If that’s not the case, then that clause is unnecessary and their speech writers need to go back to fifth grade English. But they’re still all scumbags. Unless one of them wants to hire me to write speeches, because that guy would be awesome.

 

2012 NFL Preview: AFC West

The biggest collection of shitshows, underachievers, and also-rans in the NFL, the AFC West promises to be wide open yet again. Every one of these four teams is loaded up for a 9-7 season capped by an embarrassing first round exit and a tumultuous offseason of finger-pointing. It’s the Bachelor Pad of the NFL. Hooray!

1. Kansas City Chiefs – I firmly believe that Romeo’s crew was better than last year’s 7-9. Add Peyton Hillis to complement Jamaal Charles and remove any chance of Tyler Thigpen playing by letting him go to Buffalo and suddenly you’ve got a competent offense to go with a decent defense.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Anna Paquin. Nothing special, but she takes all of her clothes off three or four times a year.

2. Denver Broncos – The second most important Peyton in this division will give the Broncos a definite jolt if he’s anywhere close to the player he used to be in Indianapolis. Problem is, I think it’ll take him a little while to get going, and he doesn’t have much talent around him. Despite how great Manning could be, I can’t help feeling that Tim Tebow’s smash mouth style was a better fit for this team and this coach.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Olivia Munn. Should’ve just stayed on G4.

3. San Diego Chargers – Another team with a good quarterback and not much else. Given the haul the Bolts could get for Rivers and his fantastic angry faces, maybe it’s time to trade him and blow this crew of underachievers up.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent:  Kirsten Dunst. Not what she used to be and not showing any signs of turning it around.

4. Oakland Raiders – You know what’s not good for a football team? Constant coaching and management changes. I firmly believe that any coach in the NFL should be given a minimum of three years to show what he can do: one year to examine the existing talent and cull the herd, one year to bring in new players and teach them the system, and a final year to see how it all goes when it’s in place. Oakland hasn’t done that. You know what else is bad for a football team? Carson Palmer.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: J-Woww. Just a mess.

2012 NFL Preview: AFC South

This one’s easy, right? The South consists of one great team, one team that could be decent, and two giant terds. Should just be a replay of last year, right?

Mostly.

1. Houston Texans – 10-6 and a win in the playoffs with a JV quarterback leading the way at the end of the year? I smell a repeat and a first round bye, even with Mario Williams off to Buffalo.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Keira Knightley. Kind of an acquired taste, but you can’t deny the talent.

2. Tennessee Titans – 9-7 and a playoff spot certainly isn’t out of the question for this talented young squad, but I can’t see them leap-frogging Baltimore and I’m sticking by my choice of Miami as the other wildcard.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Marion Cotillard. Current muse of important industry players and likely the next big thing.

3. Indianapolis Colts – Having successfully sucked for Luck, the Colts now get to wait a season or two for their new QB to hit his stride while finding players who can actually play defense and don’t just look good in the uniforms. They can’t possibly be as terrible as they were last year, so that’s something.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Lindsay Lohan. Former trainwreck trying hard to put it back together.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars – Just move to LA all ready.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Snooki. Nobody wants to smush with the Jaguars.

2012 NFL Preview: AFC Central

Ah, the AFC Central. So top heavy and boring. So predictable. That said, I totally just jinxed myself and Cleveland’s taking this division.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers – Yes, they’re old. Yes, they’re always banged up. No, they’re not done. That playoff loss to Tim Tebow’s Denver Broncos has got to sting, and it’ll motivate Pittsburgh to one more year atop the division they’ve mostly owned for the last decade.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Jennifer Aniston. It seems like she’s been around forever, but she just keeps on keepin’ on.

2. Baltimore Ravens (wildcard) – Ray Rice is a certified beast behind one of the game’s better offensive lines. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed can still bring it. That said, I don’t trust Joe Flacco. If something happens to Rice, the Ravens are screwed.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Ke$ha. I wouldn’t want to meet either her or that shifty-eyed Joe Flacco in a dark alley. Luckily, I suspect you can smell both of them from five hundred feet away.

3. Cincinnati Bengals – Certainly a young team on its way up, but that’ll only get you so far when you share a division with a pair of juggernauts. BenJarvus Green-Ellis may not outperform the departed Cedric Benson’s production, but at the very least he’s a lot less likely to end up in jail.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Deborah Ann Woll. True Blood’s Jessica is hot stuff, but she hasn’t appeared in anything important outside of HBO’s crown jewel. Give her a few years. Yes, I put her in this spot partly because she has the same color hair as Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton. I am not above using a cheap trick or two.

4. Cleveland Browns – The Browns were recently sold for $1 billion. $1 billion seems like way too much for something that spends half of its time in Cleveland. In more relevant news, it doesn’t matter how old quarterback Brandon Weeden is because he’s got no one to throw to and a line that’s going to get him killed.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Kathy Griffin. Good for an occasional laugh, but not a team you want to watch very often.

2012 NFL Preview: AFC East

The one thing that riles me up more than public transportation is professional football. From September to February, I spend every Sunday afternoon glued to whatever television set I can find, watching whatever game happens to be on (unless my only choice is the Jets against the Dolphins, because I’m a New Englander so fuck that). I yell, I scream, I cuss, and I don’t hesitate to tell the commentators, referees, coaches, and coordinators all about how I could their jobs better than they can.

To get myself good and warmed up for the upcoming months of arrogant I-know-better-than-you’ing, I’m going to foist my preseason picks (which are better than yours, by the way) upon the unsuspecting Internet. But these aren’t just any picks; these are picks made using the award-winning Hollywood Starlet Equivalency Index, a public service I developed to help those who don’t know anything about football better understand the teams involved. It’s my little gift to the sports prognostication world; if you fuckers return it for store credit, I will find out, and I will not come to your birthday party ever again.

With no further ado, here’s the American Football Conference’s East division.

1. New England Patriots – I’d pick the Pats to take this division even if I weren’t such a ridiculous homer. This team is too talented, too stable, and too well-managed to fall apart without the help of several dozen ridiculous injuries. Brandon Lloyd should give Tom Brady the legitimate deep threat he’s lacked since Randy Moss, beastly tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez should keep getting better, and the defense will be significantly better with a healthy year from safety Patrick Chung. The secondary continues to be a concern, but Bill Belichick obviously doesn’t give a fuck.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Scarlett Johansson. The best of the best, even if you shave her head, put her in a fat suit, and make her talk with an annoying lisp.

2. Miami Dolphins (wildcard) – Better than most people think, Miami actually allowed the fewest points scored in the division last season. Their 2-5 record in games decided by 7 points or less reveals a team with terrible luck and terrible quarterback play. David Garrard’s no Dan Marino, but he’s reasonably competent as long as he’s got a quality running back to rely on.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Anna Paquin. Kind of funny looking from certain angles, but still attractive.

3. New York Jets – I can’t wait for the inevitable Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow quarterback controversy. I’m pretty sure Head Coach Rex Ryan would be completely content to run the ball on every offensive play, so Tebow seems like a good fit. Even though devoutly religious people give me the willies and I’m required by Massachusetts law to absolutely loathe the fucking Jets, I can’t help pulling for Timmy to steal the Sanchize’s gig. The rest of the team is just too much of a mess.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Kristen Stewart. Good looking on paper, but can’t keep her shit together long enough to be a threat.

4. Buffalo Bills – The league’s most loveable losers are an average team trapped in an above average division. They’d have a shot in either of the West divisions, but not in the loaded East. Awesome quarterback beards, sadly, are not worth any points in the game of professional football.
Hollywood Starlet Equivalent: Lisa Kudrow. Always overshadowed by Courtney Cox and Jennifer Aniston.

Rolling in Royalties

Who got his first ever novel royalty check this week? This lucky buckaroo! One-hundred and two smackers and change. I’d post a picture, but I don’t want any of you sketchy Internet people ripping me off or Photoshopping stupid cat pictures over the top of it.

I now find myself with a quandary I’ve always wanted to have: how do I spend all of my writing profits? I’ve narrowed down the options to a group of finalists and ranked them from “yeah, that’s useful and I should buy that but I probably won’t” to “I shouldn’t waste my hard-earned income on this crap but I probably will anyway.”

  • Pots and pans. I’ve spent most of my adult years living with people who thought it was important to spend more than $8 on a frying pan. I kind of miss being able to mooch kitchen equipment off those people. A nice stainless steel saucepan can go a long way, especially if you ever need something sturdy to swing at a burglar. I don’t think it’s important to spend a lot of money on the kitchen, but I got used to a certain lifestyle.
  • A second desk or table. My current desk is way too small to hold all the change I’m piling atop it, hence why I’ve set up my second laptop atop a nightstand half of its size. It looks like some kind of half-assed podium or lectern. I really need another desk or table; running one computer at a time just is not working for me.
  • An electric bug swatter. I got to play with one of these a few weeks ago. I’m not sure I’ve ever had more fun. I felt like a predator stalking my helpless prey.
  • Four cab rides to work. Fuck taking the T in the morning. Thanks to my writing prowess, I can afford to commute in style in the back of a smelly cab.
  • A Chris Jericho-style blinking jacket. All of a sudden, the lights dim in the bar. Amid the shrieks and gasps, a series of gently pulsating lights shaped vaguely like a man cuts through the terrifying darkness. The house lights go back up, the music hits, and I turn around with a fist pump and order a Manhattan. And all the ladies swoon and rush to pay for my drink.
  • Beer. Yeah, Narragansett’s probably about to be one-hundred and two dollars and change richer.

I Stole Your Lunch

Business is booming in Boston’s Seaport District. For the last two years, swarms of construction workers have been busy turning a neighborhood that used to be a boring parking lot into a mecca of modern capitalism. Unfortunately, all those new buildings are full of people–and those people need lunch.

“No problem!” you might declare after checking out a map of the area. “There’s a restaurant on every corner, many of which weren’t there six months ago!” True dat. But what that map you so cleverly Googled doesn’t tell you is that none of those joints is any good for lunch. Although $12 crab rangoons make great appetizers for rich douche bags attempting to bed the gold digging skanks they meet on OKCupid, such fare is inappropriate for the midday meal. The Seaport lunch scene–which, let’s face it, was never all that great to begin with–is literally collapsing under the weight of the blue button-down shirts and khaki pants that have infested the neighborhood. Outside tables are always occupied. Special sandwiches are always gone way too quickly. And lines are perpetually clogged with snappily dressed yuppies intent on making sure the sandwich guy only puts “a little bit” of mayonnaise on their bread and that they get red onions instead of white onions and that the focaccia is cut at a precise 45 degree angle and OH JESUS CHRIST SOMEONE CALL NEXUS-INVASION-ERA DANIEL BRYAN CUZ I SEE SOME PEOPLE WHO SHOULD BE CHOKED OUT WITH THEIR OWN TIES.

Luckily, I’ve got a plan that will save my sanity, keep Daniel Bryan focused on regaining his World Heavyweight Championship, and improve the overall lunchability of Boston’s Seaport District: build a few dumps and stock them with cheap, good-but-not-great food. I’m talking greasy spoons here, people, not trendy food trucks or cafes staffed with hipsters who judge me because I don’t always eat my crust. I want narrow, stuffy joints with questionable air conditioning and bathrooms you wouldn’t use unless pissing in the nearby harbor would somehow make you spontaneously combust. I want food that won’t send me running to said bathroom but also won’t attract undo attention by being particularly good; Pour House or Squealing Pig quality would do. I want these places to be staffed by gruff, no-nonsense men and women with names like Sully and Val and Sketchy Pete. Most of all, I want places people who prefer to take care of business casually will turn their noses up at on their way to have $10 guacamole made right at their table by a man who can’t spell guacamole but sure smiles a lot at the rich folk while he makes it.

Get on this shit STAT, Mayor Menino. Your reelection might depend on it.