Tuesday, June 11, 2013

(good ol jr voice) good god! that's the fake mailbag's music!

"When I was young?  
I knew everything.
She was a punk who 
Rarely took advice.
Now I'm guilt stricken,
Sobbing with my head on the floor.
Stop a baby's breath, 
And a shoe full of rice.

I can't be held responsible --
She was touching her face.
I won't be held responsible --
She fell in love in the first place.

For the life of me?  I cannot remember,
What made us think that we were wise,
And we'd never compromise.
For the life of me?  I cannot believe
We'd ever die, for these sins --
We were merely freshmen.

My best friend took a week's
Vacation to forget her.
His girl took a week's worth
of Valium and slept.
And now he's guilt stricken,
Sobbing with his head on the floor.
Thinks about her now, and how he
"Never really wept", he said.

I can't be held responsible --
She was touching her face.
I won't be held responsible!
She fell in love in the first place!

For the life of me?  I cannot remember,
What made us think that we were wise,
And we never compromised.
For the life of me?  I cannot believe
We'd ever die for these sins -- 
We were merely freshmen ..."

-- "Freshmen" by The Verve Pipe, fitting when you consider it came out during my freshman year of college, I guess ...


If Mr. Mellinger can bring you Twitter Tuesday every week, the least I can do is give you a fake mailbag every ... well, every so often.

As always, these are real inquiries* from you, to me, regarding what's on the site, or what's on your mind. 

Let's do this.

(*: if I counted right, eight -- eight! -- of these were legitimate emails, texts, or other queries delivered to me.  As someone who struggles for topics to write about at times, thanks?)


* "Summer's here!  You're a grizzled veteran of the drinking process -- what's your favorite summertime libation?  Favorite summertime beer?" -- Anthony V, Overland Park.

Wow, starting off right away with a topic near and dear to my liver, if not my heart.

Your answers?  For beer, it's Sam Adams Summer Ale, without question.  Nothing else even comes close.  Honestly, other than Shiner Bock, I'm not sure there's a beer out there I love more than Sammy Summer Ale.  The only other beer in the discussion for "favorite" would probably be the Westin Brewing Co's Drop Kick Ale.

For libations, I mean, how can you top the one thing I make better than any other person in recorded human history?  A nice, chilled, on the rocks vodka tonic, with fresh lime(s) floating peacefully at the top of that potent cocktail*?  I also won't turn down a decent margarita (lime, not strawberry), and every so often, a sangria hits the spot.

But definitely -- Sam Adams Summer Ale, and a chilling, fresh, cooling vodka tonic.  Not gonna lie gang -- I'm starting this at work.  I might have to mosey across the street to Applebee's for a quick one-hitter at lunch.

(*: all libations made by me are made "Stevo Style" -- a minimum of 50% alcohol.  There's a reason a second guest room is getting opened at the pool -- three if you count the Stevo Memorial Couch in the basement. I'm guessing the bartender is the reason ...)

* "The Royals!  (Pause).  Should I drop the LL Cool J voice?" -- Heath C, Harrisonville.

I wouldn't call "it" (beating up on two awful clubs) a "comeback" ... but man, last night was encouraging.

I thought about posting over the weekend that this Tigers series is the biggest series the Royals have played since the Twins to open September 2003 when the two were tied for first ... but everyone knew 2003 was a lost cause at that point. 

If anything, you can argue last night's win was the biggest in 19 years, since the Monday opener against the White Sox in 1994, that kick-started the fourteen game winning streak, and took the Royals from 7 1/2 back to virtually tied for the wildcard when the strike hit.

Man, these guys have sucked for awhile ...

* "If your name was John Hammond, what do you do with your backcourt?" -- Brent S, somewhere in incorporated Johnson County.

Blow it up. 

Let's be realistic here.  The Bucks finished under .500 this year, got the eight seed by default, and weren't even remotely competitive in any of the games against Miami.  When you haven't won a playoff series since the Twin Towers were still standing, that's not a positive sign.  This team isn't going to get any better through player development.  No major free agent is going to sign to play in the most underrated fun city in America.  And they're drafting in no-man's land yet again.

The NBA, like the NFL, you either want to be on the rise, or completely crap out.  The Bucks are hovering.  It's time to crap out.  Don't resign Ellis, sign and trade BJ for the first decent offer to come along (hopefully for a first rounder), and build around Larry Sanders / John Henson (who wasn't half bad this season, to my surprise), and who I'd draft at 15, Shane Larkin of Miami (FL).

* "So who would you trade BJ to?  Or just let him walk as a restricted?" -- Drew K, Shawnee.

To me, there's one overwhelming landing spot.  A team that adding BJ, could push them over the top.  A team that, like Milwaukee, will always struggle to get top talent to come voluntarily to the market.

Your ... Indiana Pacers.

The Pacers have one huge liability -- DJ Augustin is the starting point.  I'd take Indiana's first rounder, plus Augustin and some other salary filler, and give BJ the contract he wants.  He instantly at least draws the Pacers equal with the Heat, and definitely puts them ahead of the Knicks, and probably the Bulls. 

Who says no?  Milwaukee shouldn't -- they're gaining an extra first (albeit in what many experts consider to be the worst talent-wise draft in league history), and the one thing John Hammond has consistently gotten right in his tenure, is the draft.  Indiana shouldn't -- they acquire a huge upgrade at the point for a washed up guard that's overpaid, and a draft pick that wouldn't see the court for two years anyways.  It's win-win.  That's what I'd do.

Which of course, means there is no way that's happening.

* "Loved the Friday Night Lights recap!  Great idea!  What's coming next?" -- Vineet T, Queens.

The number eleven ranked episode is in development, and should be up by Wednesday evening.  After that, I'm leaning number fifteen.  And fifteen is gonna take awhile to get through -- I'm going to be too busy laughing out loud to type.  That episode gave rise to so many catch phrases between me and my friends, that I'm telling you, it might take me a week to crank that one out, once I start it.

* "So last summer was an epic fail, Stevo.  No "Insert Ouncer Here" Tailgate!  What the f*ck?" -- Megan K, City Market.

Agreed.  My bad.

* "Don't make that mistake again!" -- Megan K, City Market.

Well, considering the whole reason the tailgate started was to mend a demolished friendship that currently is (once again) in the proverbial "punch bowl in Florida Evans' hands" phase, perhaps it is time to bring it back after a one-year hiatus.

I'll start looking.  I make no promises ... but I'm open to suggestions.

(ed: 7/11/13: "The Voice of Reason"'s original question, and said screen shot of the query, have been deleted out of respect for Dusty and Kellie, and out of acknowledgement of how wrong I was, to take our private fight, public.)

* "I know you read Twitter Tuesday.  I loved the "name six things you'd change in sports if you could" query.  Curious as to what you'd change in sports, if you were appointed the Sports Czar for a day." -- Gregg G, Bonner Springs.

That was my favorite query today as well.  Here's one thing I'd change in every major sport I care about:

Baseball: bring back the bullpen cart.  I could not agree with Mr. Mellinger more than I do about this.  To think that an entire generation of fans is growing up having never seen a bullpen cart in action, is just tragic.

Football: use fantasy football rules for field goals.  Three points from 39 yards and closer, four points from 40-49 yards, five points from 50 plus.  Not only could this infuse some added drama to close contests, it also opens up Pandora's box of decision making when you've got 4th and short in no-man's land (aka "between your opponent's 40 and 30").  Having to decide between trying to perfectly place a 38 yard pooch punt, or putting five points on the board is fascinating to me.  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Oh God.  I forgot.  But actually, isn't that yet another perk of this idea -- watching "Fat" Andy Reid trying to read his chart to figure out what to do?

Basketball: universal 24 second shot clock.  I'm looking at you, National Collegiate Athletics Association.

NASCAR: schedule changes.  I wouldn't change a thing prior to TNT taking over in early June, the FOX portion of the schedule is fine as it is.  The TNT and ABC/ESPN portion is a catastrophe. 

First, I'd swap Indy and Atlanta, moving Atlanta to late July, and Indy to Labor Day weekend, to restore the luster of the Brickyard race.  Second, I'd move the June Pocono race to Iowa Speedway.  Pocono having one race is bad enough; having two is a national nightmare.  Third, I'd swap Kansas' second race, and Sonoma.  There needs to be a road course in the Chase, and I miss my summer race weekend at the Speedway. 

Golf: ban Chris Berman from ever being allowed on a telecast.  Don't wait -- do it now, as in right now, as "in time to go into effect at Merion this weekend".  Just let him and Roger Maltbie enjoy a couple cold ones at the clubhouse, and if need be, let them think they're on the air.  Fake cameras and everything.  Just don't actually broadcast him. 

Hockey: in the words of Sunny Ledfurd: “not a god d*mned thing”.  Seriously, this Stanley Cup playoff has been beyond fun to watch.  Now if the Stars could just return to their late 1990s level of achievement …

* "Any great music you've gotten into lately?" – Ashley G, Bonner Springs.

Actually, I'm really liking these Florida Georgia Line guys.  "Get Your Shine On" is phenomenal.  Ditto "Dayum Baby".  Totally am digging "Even If It Breaks Your Heart" by Eli Young Band.  I know -- it's a year old, but I still loop it.  

But the one song I cannot stop listening to is "Angel Eyes" by Love and Theft.  Sweet merciful Jesus, I love this song.

Also looking forward to the upcoming August releases of Eric Church and Matt Nathanson's latest efforts.

And yes -- if you'd told 26 year old Stevo that 36 year old Stevo would have at least half of his iTunes consist of country music, and that 36 year old Stevo wouldn't be listening non-stop to Alt Nation or The Spectrum, I'd have laughed you out of the room.

* "What concerts are you hoping to make?" -- Katie H, Raytown.

Usually I'm down for 311 anywhere, anytime, anyplace, but I think I've just gone to too many of their shows to care this summer.  I wouldn't mind seeing Train.  Still bummed Kanrocksas crapped out; would have loved to see MGMT.  Other than that, I haven't even kept up on who all is coming.

Hell, I haven't even looked at Summerfest's lineup yet, I'm so far behind the curve thanks to "Stevo Held Hostage By Annual Audit"-gate.  Now in Day 12.

* “Spurs in five huh?  It’s got a chance!” – Damien J, Midtown.

Like I noted after the Spurs gutted out one of the great game one’s in Finals history: this series is either going to be like the Pistons / Blazers in 1990 (last gasp of a fading champion versus the presumed power team for the next five to six years when the proud champion prevails), or Lakers / Bulls in 1991 (last gasp of a fading champion versus the presumed power team for the next to five to six years where the emerging power demolishes the last gasp champ).  I’m leaning former rather than latter, but if the Heat win tonight, it’ll definitely be the latter.

* “Loved the TV Theme Song tournament!  I assume you saw your favorite television couple remade a classic that you inexplicably forgot to include in the field, right?  “Hart to Hart”’s omission was a bigger snub than anything done to you at the bowling alley bar this year Stevo!  Love ya!  Teammates forever!” – Penny H, Liberty.

And welcome to your Fake Mailbag debut girl!  An honor reserved only for the best of people.

And to answer your question: hell yes I saw it*!  Although the Simon and Simon remake with Adam Scott and Jon Hamm last year was funnier.  Just my opinion though.  I’ve been known to be wrong.  A lot.

(*: gratuitous yet justified pimping moment of the post: “Parks and Recreation”, NBC, Thursdays at 8pm ET / 7pm CT.  The best comedy on television, and nothing else even comes close.)

* “Regarding this TV Rewatch idea (which I assume you blatantly ripped off from Alan Sepinwall), how did you arrive at the shows you did?  I mean, some of them are obvious – any “Blue” fan would agree those two episodes are classics, and easily top five no matter whose list of favorites you’re looking at.  But why not “Voir Dior This”?  Or the pilot, arguably the most influential hour of television in the medium’s history?  Or “Closing Time”, when Sipowitz falls off the wagon after Andy Jr's murder?  How the hell did you narrow this list down to just 27?” – Frank L, El Paso.

Well, you’re the RTVF major who works in the industry … so let me try to explain how I arrived at the final twenty seven.  An episode got picked if it fit one of these five criterias:

1. favorite episode from one of my ten favorite shows of all time.  This applies to “Hearts and Souls”, “The Man Behind the Curtain”, “Heartland”, “The Thrilla Near the Vanilla Extract”, “Cries of Silence”, “Mud Bowl”, “A Matter of Mothers”, “Leslie and Ben”, “College” and “Made in America” (I couldn’t choose), and “Forever Blue” (10/27; 17 slots left).

2. it’s an episode from one of my ten favorite shows of all time, that at least is in the discussion for favorite episode status.  This applies to “The Son”, “What a Day For a Daydream”, “The Shape of Things To Come”, “Happily Ever After”, “Raging Bulls”, “Life Before His Eyes”, and “Baby Blues” (7/27; 10 slots left).

3. it’s an episode that any fan of that show, would concur, was a landmark, noteworthy episode for whatever reason.  An “all time classic”, if you will.  This applies to “Chuckles Bites the Dust”, “I Dream of Jesus”, “Two Cathedrals”, “JR’s Masterpiece”, and “The Accident” (5/27; 5 slots left).

4. it’s an episode that I love, not necessarily for any particular reason.  This applies to “2162 Votes”, the “Smash” pilot, and "The Wind That Blew My Heart Away" (3/27; 2 slots left).

5. because it’s my site, and what I pick, gets rewatched.  This applies to "The Merv Griffin Show" and "Cabin Fever" (2/27; 0 slots left).

Hope that helps.

* “What were the toughest omissions?  I know how much you love a good television show, surely there were some tough first-outs” – my mom, Lenexa.

In descending order, the five toughest omissions:

5. “PTV”, Family Guy.  Seth Macfarlane’s loving (and completely true) ode to the “fellas at the freaking FCC”.  I really, really, really am going to miss live-capping “You Cheeky Bastard”, “Dogs Humping”, and the cornerstone of PTV’s Tuesday night lineup, “The Peter Griffin Side Boob Hour”.

4. “Pine Barrens”, The Sopranos.  I’m not as into this episode as most Sopranos fans are, but Paulie and Christapha in the woods of south Jersey, chasing a Russian mobster, while subsisting on packets of ketchup, is pretty damned funny.

3. “Texas Forever”, Friday Night Lights.  As perfect a finale as imaginable – Saracen and Julie wind up together.  Coach gives up his hopes and dreams, and lets Mrs. Coach win.  (Seriously, the scene in the mall when Coach drops “will you take me with you to Philadelphia.  Please”, never fails to get to me).  Buddy gets his Dillon Panthers back.  And Tyra and Tim wind up as they were intended to be: best friends.  God I miss that show.

2. “The Chrismukkuh?”, The OC.  You all have no idea how tough it was to leave this one out, from The OC’s best season (its final one).  Whoever came up with pairing Ryan and Taylor, should go straight in on the first ballot into the Brilliant Ideas Hall of Fame.

But without question – (allard baird voice) without question – THE toughest omission:

1. “So-Called Angels", My So Called Life.  It’s been nearly twenty years since this episode first aired (December 22, 1994, per Wikipedia), and I still religiously watch this at least 5-6 times every time Christmas approaches.  What “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “A Christmas Story” is to some people during the holidays?  This episode is to me.  The whole final segment, from when Patty arrives at the cathedral, through the finish, is just so freaking good, it’s my holiday time go-to staple.

* “I’m scared to ask … but your thoughts on the IRS scandal?” – Jasson W, Shawnee.

Why would anyone be scared to ask?  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Oh.  Yeah.  I do (president bill clinton voice) loathe and despise Barack Hussein Obama.

My thoughts on it are this:

1. There isn’t a chance in hell itself the President didn’t know what was going on,
2. What occurred was without question – (allard baird voice) without question! – the single biggest abuse of power in this nation’s history, and
3. President Obama should resign, or be impeached.

Folks!  And I’m not using the Joe Biden voice here, but folks!  If what is alleged to have happened did occur, you do realize that the President of the United States, or at least operatives extremely loyal to him, directly affected the last election.  They targeted groups likely to not be aligned with the President, and made it impossible for them to attain tax-free status for fundraising purposes (while approving every left-leaning application with warp speed). 

I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, Independent, or Republican ... or liberal, centrist, or conservative (for the record, I am the first, and the center, for those two designations), this should outrage you.  Let me ask you this: if Mr. Bush had done this in 2004, when facing a difficult re-election against Senator Kerry, what do you think the reaction from the left (and the members of the media who lean that direction – I’m looking at you, MSNBC), what do you think their reaction would have been?  Justified outrage.

The head of the IRS visited the White House 157 times in the two years leading up to the election.  Care to guess how many his predecessor visited the Bush White House in 2003 and 2004?


Now, I will grant you, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act no doubt plays into the rise in number of visits … but shouldn’t that make you even more outraged?  Because now the IRS is going to be the determining body in who receives proper medical care in this country if you go on one of the exchange plans.  Do you think people who would do this with an election, would NOT do this with a conservative’s actual life and health?  If you truly believe that, then I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona for ya.  From the front porch?  You can see the sea.  And if you’ll buy that?  I’ll throw the Golden Gate in free. 

The House must, as a matter of precedence, establish an independent council and investigation into this.  They have to.  If only because we all know, at some point, the nation’s going to toss the Obama folks to the curb.  Sorry you blind followers of Barry – it won’t last forever.  The nation threw out the New Deal.  They threw out the rising tide of President Reagan’s boats.  They threw out the Clinton economic boom of the 1990s before the crash had even begun in 2001.  Eventually a far-right regime will be in charge. 

And when they are?  If you don’t investigate and punish this now, then how can anyone on the left complain when they’re the target next time?

The IRS must be above politics.  This needs – and demands – a special investigator, with full prosecutorial powers.

Which means we'll get nothing, and like it.

* "OK, I'll bite.  How can a centrist Democrat -- using your words, not mine -- "loathe and despise" President Obama?" -- Brooke B, The District.

Well, couz, allow me to register my outrage at your moving on me.  No Summerfest for me this year.

Having noted that, it's because I believe in personal responsibility.  You create your own path in life.  It is NOT the responsibility of government to coddle you from birth to six feet under.  (Although to be fair, if the far left had it's way, you'd be coddled from the moment the condom broke, until Dr. Gosnell snipped your neck.)

I also attempt to be fair, and see both sides of an issue, before making up my mind on it, and I am willing to revisit an issue if I see a reason to change my viewpoint.  For the record this has happened twice.  Fifteen years ago, you wouldn't find a more strident supporter of abortion rights -- on demand -- than me.  Now, I oppose all abortion (although I would not overturn Roe v Wade, if enforced as originally written by Justice Brennan), on the grounds that it is murder.

And this year, I have changed my stance on gun control.  Both sides are no longer insane; only the NRA is.

* "So how are you the last one left standing in accounting at (company I work for)?" -- Everyone, Everywhere USA.

I have no godd*mned clue.

* "Bark!" -- Zeus, KCK.

My beef ain't with you, dude.  Your Meaty Bone supply line is still safe and/or secured.

* "Bark!" -- Zeus, KCK.

You're welcome.  But for the love of God, if I ever dog-sit you again, try not to break in the couch next time, ok?

* I choose to close with this, instead of the traditional close.

(ed: 7/11/13: I have deleted the original ending, due to my improper and absolutely unacceptable trashing of two friends.  I apologize for all of eternity, for my mistake from the original posting, by taking our private fight public.)

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