Friday, December 31, 2010

Best of the Best

No, not that horrible Eric Roberts karate tournament movie. Just a compilation of the best songs from the best five metal albums of 2K10. Considering that old stalwarts like Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie, and KoRn released albums this year, the pickings were surprisingly slim, owing mostly to the fact that many of the heavily anticipated albums released this year were very uneven. Soulfly’s “Omen” is a representative example of this problem. The album features three excellent songs (“Bloodbath and Beyond,” “Rise of the Fallen,” and “Off with their Heads”) interspersed amidst a rubble of mediocre efforts. Here’s hoping that Max Cavalera’s next album with Cavalera Conspiracy, scheduled for release in March of 2K11, will not be as patchy.

In chronological order of release, then:

Fear Factory – Mechanize – Christploitation

I’ll confess that I had no idea who Gene Hoglan was until I first heard this album. Well, I know who he is now. Good Lord, the drums on this album are un-fucking-believable. Coupled with the return of Dino Cazares, the current line-up of Fear Factory is, pound for pound, hard to beat. And I mean that literally as well as figuratively. Even including the normal-sized Burton C. Bell, the average weight of each member of Fear Factory has to be upwards of 300 pounds. Nonetheless, “Mechanize” is a fantastic album, quite possibly the best one of the year. It was hard to pick one individual song out of this album, but I settled on “Christploitation” because of the über-creepy piano riff. I won’t ruin the song by trying to describe it, but I will encourage anyone reading this to buy the album. It’s well worth it.

As I Lay Dying – The Powerless Rise – Anodyne Sea

I heard the first two songs off this album on the radio while coming back from a Rays game with my nephews. Oddly enough, the only reason we had gone to said game was the post-game concert, featuring the venerable baddies from Texas, ZZ Top. There’s no over-the-top evolution or shift in this album. It’s just a solid 45 or so minutes of well-polished metalcore. “Anodyne Sea” is a terrific song, and is a good indicator of the band’s consistency.

Black Label Society – Order of the Black – Crazy Horse

This was probably the most pleasant surprise of the year. I’m glad Zakk Wylde took a little time away from his busy beer-drinkin’, deer-killin’, dumb-ass redneckin’ schedule to put out his first decent album since “The Blessed Hellride.” The first song, “Crazy Horse,” is a nice little throwback, although it’s a bit disheartening for an old fart like me to note that Black Label Society’s 2K10 album is much, much better than Ozzy’s new album.

The Sword – Warp Riders – The Chronomancer II - Nemesis

Big, big ups to my niece’s boyfriend Rick for alerting me to the fact that The Sword had released a new album, which he rightly described as “fucking epic.” And as a bonus, it looks like these guys have finally learned to play in more than just one key! Just like their previous two albums, “Warp Riders” is heavy, groovy, and greatly influenced by Black Sabbath. This influence is readily apparent in the album’s best song, “The Chronomancer II – Nemesis.”

Mushroomhead – Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children – Harvest the Garden

There’s no way these guys will ever recapture the magic of their “Superbuick” and “XX” days, especially since J Mann left the band. That having been said, this is still a terrific album, and J Mann’s successor, Waylon, does a fantastic job providing “rap” in addition to clean vocals. The keyboards return to prominence here, something that was oddly missing from the previous album, “Savior Sorrow,” and Mushroomhead appear to have regained their edge. “Harvest the Garden” starts off sounding like Bow Wow Wow’s “I Want Candy,” then turns into a funk-laden, furious five minutes of pure awesomeness.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Joan Sutherland (1916-2010)

The greatest Australian of all time passed away three weeks ago. For all the obnoxious histrionics surrounding that POS Maria Callas and her disgusting, ululating garbage disposal of a voice, people tend to forget that Joan Sutherland was the greatest soprano of all time. Hell, she may very well be the greatest opera singer of all time, period. I'll let the late, great Sutherland argue her own merits. Rest in peace, Stupenda.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The concert bucket list

I finally got to see Lamb of God and Metallica in concert last October, and so was able to cross them off my "I've GOT to see these guys before I die" list. The same happened with Hatebreed, Rob Zombie, and KoRn a month ago, as witnessed by this awesome clip of KoRn's "Did my time":

Next month, I'll cross off Anthrax and Megadeth. Great, right? Of course... but bucket lists are problematic because they have a nasty little tendency to grow. I just heard The Sword's latest album, "Warp Riders," and they sound like Black Sabbath (bucket list: check) all hopped up on Texas 'roids. I've GOT to see those guys before I die!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Random thoughts on the 2K10 World Cup

I'll always remember South Africa 2K10 as the "Finally! A Uruguayan side that played up to its considerable potential, made me immensely proud, and didn't make me want to gouge my eyes out!" World Cup. For a team with such a glorious soccer history, La Celeste had, in my soccer-watching lifetime, been mediocre and unremarkable at best, and sluggish, ultra-defensive, and occasionally flat-out dirty at worst. Their last noteworthy World Cup run was exactly 40 years ago, when I wasn't yet two years old. Well, it was well worth the wait.

After a coma-inducing draw in their first match, this glorious edition of La Celeste found their rhythm in the second match, where they trashed the host nation, and then went on to defeat an obnoxious Mexican side to win their group, all while playing a polished, disciplined, and, shock of all shocks, extremely crowd-pleasing brand of soccer. That success carried over to the round of sixteen, where they defeated a game South Korean side, and to the quarterfinals, where, in an all-time nailbiter, they once again crushed the hopes of the host continent by knocking out Ghana. In the semifinals, some unfortunate defensive lapses cost them dearly against an effective but surprisingly dirty, whiny, flopping Netherlands, and an unbelievable slew of missed goals against Germany consigned them to fourth place. Still, La Celeste were awesome, and striker Diego Forlán was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player in the tournament.

There were many other things to remember about this edition of the World Cup. To wit:
  • The first match took place during the last day of school. I had programmed my DVR and was wrapping up all of my loose ends and getting my end-of-year checklist completed when my Russian math pal, AK-47, came over and suggested we watch the game at school. Nothing says "teachers are more than ready for the summer break" like having two grown men sitting in a darkened classroom watching soccer on the projector.
  • Those vuvuzelas... man, they're beyond annoying. I hope that crap doesn't catch on here. It's bad enough having to put up with idiots banging thundersticks and ringing cowbells.
  • Since none of the Spanish channels broadcast in HD, I watched the tournament on ESPN, and was very pleased with the network's excellent coverage. I just wish those limey announcers would stop adding r's to every word that ends in the letter a. To this day, I don't understand why someone would say Argentinahr, Nigeriahr, Algeriahr, ideahr, etc.
  • The American broadcasters were excellent, but the Beckham saga must have really damaged Alexi Lalas' psyche. He was a super laid-back player, famous for his surfer dude attitude and good humor, but as a commentator, he's vicious, judgmental, and unforgiving. Yes, he was right to trash goalies for blowing routine saves, referees for carding sissy fouls, and Cristiano Ronaldo for being a foppish fag. But characterizing every mistake or questionable tactic as "a disgrace," "a catastrophe," or "an absolute joke" seems excessive.
  • The geniuses at FIFA decided to try out a new ball for this tournament in the hopes of increasing scoring. Well, it worked. The addition of panels to the ball's exterior pattern resulted in a knuckleball swerve for just about every shot, cross, and corner kick, as well as several bizarre bounces. It's no surprise, then, that the goalkeeping in this tournament was awful. The US goal against England was the most notorious example. I watched that game with my pal Greg, a fervent supporter of the English squad, and when goalkeeper Robert Green fumbled an innocuous long-range shot into his own goal, Greg's shocked reaction went something like this: "What? OH MY GOD!!! Gaaahhh!!! Whu... GOD! Why... England! Come on!!!! What the... I need a cigarette!" British journalists were equally aghast, coming up with some outstanding descriptors, including "Stars and Tripe," "Red, White, and Green," and my personal fave, "Hand of Clod."
  • One of the many things to like about ESPN's coverage was their courtesy in broadcasting the pre-game national anthem ceremonies. Some anthems are musically gorgeous (France, Germany), some are exhilarating in their operatic splendor (Italy, Uruguay, Paraguay), some are awful (Mexico, Brazil)... but only one nation is glum enough to have an anthem written in a minor key: Slovakia's lovely, haunting, "Lightning Over The Tatras."
  • Germany's soccer team consisted of a few Germans, three Poles, two sodomy-loving Turks, a Ghanian, a Brazilian, a Croatian, an Iranian, and a Spaniard. As if that collection of soccer mercenaries wasn't despicable enough, the German coach eats his own boogers, and isn't the least bit shy about it. Is there a more repulsive team?
  • Maybe not a team, but there's definitely a more repulsive moniker: New Zealand's "The All-Whites." I guess "The Klan" would have been to obvious, and "The Aryan Blunder from Down Under" too clumsy.
  • The most bizarre storyline in the World Cup: since North Korea did not have a contingent of supporters, FIFA reportedly hired Chinese actors to pose as North Korean fans. You couldn't make that stuff up.
  • You also couldn't make up some of the great player names, from the clunky weirdness of a Greek player named Sokratis Papastathopoulo, to the sophomoric joys of Serbian goalkeeper Stankovic and Nigerian forward Shittu, and to the great irony of Japanese forward Honda and, my personal fave, a South Korean midfielder named Gook.
And now, the long wait until Brazil 2K14 begins.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My rambling Muse story

When I'm driving my car, I usually listen to my iPod or books on CD. I do, however, occasionally listen to the radio. This usually happens because the book on CD du jour ends, and I'm so close to my destination that I just leave the radio on until I get there. This was the case a couple of months ago, when I left work and headed to Wal-Mart to buy some odds and ends. My radio was tuned to the hard rock station, where some nondescript Nickelback knock-off was whining about something. That song ended right as I was pulling into Wal-Hell, and without any sort of preamble or DJ set-up, the next song came up. I don't know exactly at what point I started paying close attention to and enjoying the music, but I think it was when I heard a clapping accompaniment to the song's rhythm. Whatever the case, I sat in the car and listened to the entire song, growing to really, really like it. Of course, the next song, another Nickelback-inspired piece of musical garbage, came up without any sort of announcement regarding song titles, so I was left wondering what the song I had enjoyed so much was, let alone who sang it.

As I walked from my car to Wal-Hell, I tried to mentally list the song's salient points so I could look it up when I got home. A catchy beat, the aforementioned clapping, a brooding, keyboard-driven minor-key progression, nifty instrumentation, and a soaring vocal line. The song was a wonderful blend of hard rock and new wave pop, kind of reminiscent of Marilyn Manson but devoid of Manson's needy "Hey! Look at me! I'm weird! I'm different! LOOK AT ME!" rhetoric. I also committed to memory a couple of refrains, no small feat for me, since I couldn't care one whit about lyrics. Alas, by the time I got home, I could only remember the following: I had really liked a song, it reminded me of but was somehow better than Marilyn Manson, featured keyboards and clapping, and... that's about it. I tried the radio station's website to see whether there was a track list available, and since there wasn't, wrote them an admittedly incoherent e-mail inquiring about the song. No luck.

Given my obsessive-compulsive nature, there's no way in Hades that I was going to let this go. The next day, I asked all of my classes about the song. None of my students had any idea what I was talking about, although a few politely expressed reservations about my mental health. I made it a point to listen to the radio in the hopes of hearing the mystery song again, but had to give that up -- there's only so much Nickelback and Red Hot Chili Peppers garbage a man can put up with. I grudgingly resigned myself to the fact that by failing to quickly write down the snippet of lyrics I'd picked up from the song, I had missed any realistic hopes of figuring out what the song was.

And then, a few weeks ago, serendipity struck. I had recently joined a gym, and was in the locker room changing into my ratty work-out clothes when, lo and behold, The Song started playing in the gym's background music radio thingamajiggy. I finished changing quickly, and went looking for either someone who could tell me what the song was, or for something to write with. As luck would have it, I noticed that one of the ubiquitous TV sets in the cardio area was playing a music video that matched the audio. I parked myself in front of the TV, ignoring the weird stares from the gym's other patrons, and watched, in the hopes that the artist and song would be credited at the end of the video -- I do much better at remembering stuff when I see it written out. Huzzah! The much sought-after info scrolled through as the song finished up. Almost three months after first hearing and, not to put too fine a point on it, obsessing over The Song, I finally knew what the hell it was.

This story seems pointless now that I run into The Song constantly, since it's featured in commercials for some idiotic Tom Cruise / Cameron Diaz movie, but whatever. Without further ado, here's "Uprising," by Muse:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

An old fave comes to Florida

Yet another roundabout tale that, I promise, has a point.

Component #1: My nephew Patrick is a car mechanic, and he recently started working at the service department of the new Chevrolet dealership in Estero. As luck would have it, since Saturn went out of business, this Chevy dealership in Estero is now the closest place where I can have my car serviced under the warranty. (I'll rant about the demise of the last American-made cars that were actually made in America at another time, I guess.)

Component #2: My niece's boyfriend Rick works for some pizza joint, and because he has aspirations of some day running a pizza place of his own, actually has an interest in his job and so keeps up on "pizza news."

A few weeks ago, during one of our family gatherings, Patrick mentioned that some pizza delivery car had come in for service, and that he didn't get a very good look at it because he was busy, but thought it said "Geppetto's." Patrick has heard me rave about Geppetto's pizza and barbecue ribs / chicken / whatev enough times, so that car caught his eye, if you will. Rick immediately mentioned that he had also heard of a "new" pizza place named Geppetto's that had opened in two SW Florida locations, and that his understanding was that it was a small chain that was established in Ohio. I thought this sounded way too good to be true, but decided to check it out. A google search confirmed the awesome news: Geppetto's, the award-winning and super-awesome pizza & rib joint from Cleveland, is venturing into geezer-land.

Yesterday, I took my car into the dealership to have some pesky power steering issue repaired. On my way back, I finally had a chance to stop by the still-too-good-to-be-true SW Florida Geppetto's. Large pizza, pepperoni and green peppers. A jar of barbecue sauce. Unbelievably delicious, as always.

Now, all I need for true bliss is:
  • for Antonio's to open a restaurant here so I can snag their incredible salad dressing -- yes, it's THAT good
  • for the Cavs to fire Mike Brown and hire a REAL coach, one who won't pander to and kiss LeBron's ass but who will, instead, light a fire under LeBron's underachieving ass
  • for the Browns to show a little patience for a change and try to make steady year-to-year progress, culminating in a perennial playoff contender
  • for the Tribe to get out of cheapskate Dolan's stranglehold and stop fielding a quadruple-A team
Let's make it happen, God. Please!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I still haven't seen a live boxing card

It's not for lack of opportunity. I'm some 75-150 minutes away from several locations that regularly offer boxing cards. Last night, for example, there was an affordable boxing card 90 minutes away from where I live, headlined by two World Championship bouts: Celestino Caballero vs. Daoud Yordan, and Andre Berto vs. Carlos Quintana. As if that weren't enough incentive, part of the take from the gate was tabbed to benefit the victims of the Haiti earthquake. Be that as it may, I'm so miserable with allergies and so unbearably overwhelmed with work that I pussed out and stayed home. I had some regrets about not going, but I was consoled by the fact that I was able to watch the fights on HBO. If the two televised headliners are any indication, I should be glad I didn't make the trip. A one-sided beatdown? Impressive, but boring. An awkward, whiney, foul-filled fight? Yikes.

Caballero looked entirely too relaxed in his fight, but why shouldn't he? Game effort by Yordan notwithstanding, the fight was nothing more than a sparring session. It was extremely one-sided, but not the viciously brutal beating that HBO's announcers would have had you believe. Robinson vs. LaMotta was brutal. Mancini vs. Kim was brutal. This fight? One-sided, but not brutal. When Lampley brought up the Leavander Johnson fight, I almost threw up. Lampley makes me sick. He's like a woman on the rag. Everything is intensified exponentially, and always in favour of the house fighter / favourite. "HOW MUCH MORE OF THIS CAN YORDAN TAKE?" Relax, Lamps. Yordan took punishment, but he was never so much as stunned. People criticize Gus Johnson for his histrionics, but I think Lampley is just as douchey. Or maybe I'm just getting old. Whatever.

As for Berto, he needs to stop his whining. The first-round KD was legitimate. If fighters don't like getting hit in weird places, they should avoid positions in which the only places they can get hit are weirdies. Don't like getting hit in the back of the head? Stop bending over so far and/or stop turning away so far that the back of your head is the only available target. Another thing I dislike about Berto is the way he smothers his own punches by getting too close for adequate punching range. If a half-decent trainer gets a hold of him, the first thing he'd do is grab a meter stick and explain some fundamentals of proper punching distance. Be that as it may, this was an important win over a tough, cagey vet. Berto's handspeed is very impressive, and his character is top-notch. But the division's elite would tear him to pieces, quite easily. I hate to be a repetitive old fogey, but he needs way better handling before he starts so much as thinking about big-time fights.

Regardless, I'm sorry to report I'm still a live boxing virgin. But like any self-respecting virgin, I'll continue to wait for a worthy dance partner. Glad I didn't give up my cherry for last night's snoozefest.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring is here

And with it come a new and an old ritual. The newbie: a much-needed and appreciated week off. I love the new job, and am hoping to get renewed for next year. By all accounts, the first year is the worst owing to an equal mixture of inexperience and overwhelming amounts of preparation work. The latter is particularly true, since I'm teaching three different classes. Be that as it may, I'm happy to finally have a job where I feel like I'm actually doing something meaningful and worthwhile, and where (knock on wood) it doesn't appear I'm going to get royally fucked over.

The old ritual, however, is the subject at hand: spring training! Where hope springs eternal, even for the worst teams. Where a 97-loss debacle of a season is quickly cast aside if the young'uns show signs of progress. Where seasons lost to injuries and the tyranny of subservience to the big-market teams who can afford to rip the talent out of your ball club are, for the moment, forgotten. Thanks to the MLB Network and one of the greatest inventions of my lifetime, the DVR, I've been able to watch a few spring training games, and while I'm nowhere near anointing this year's ball-club as a post-season threat, there are quite a few good signs that the team won't be as atrocious as last year's edition.

Jake Westbrook finally appears to be fully recovered from Tommy John surgery. His sinker has been heavy and quite effective, and his fastball still gets up there with enough speed to keep hitters honest. He looks ready to continue the success that was derailed by injuries. Is he a legit #1 starter? Probably not, but he's tough and gritty, and if his body cooperates, he'll keep the Tribe in games. Fausto Carmona has been absolutely lights out thus far. His stuff is downright electric, and when he locates his pitches, he's practically unhittable. That wasn't the case the last couple of years, but a couple of minor adjustments to his mechanics appear to have set him right again. His last two starts, he went six and seven innings, giving up no runs, walking only two, and getting roughly 75% of his outs on weak grounders. I still remember, quite fondly, how he burst onto the scene in 2007. I don't want to jinx things, but he appears to have regained that form. The rest of the pitching staff is iffy. Lots of young arms with outstanding stuff, lots of inexperience harnessing that stuff on a consistent basis. Masterson and Carrasco, in particular, have awesome velocity, but need to locate their off-speed pitches more consistently. Huff and Talbot have potential. It's hard to believe this, but Huff actually led the staff in wins last year, even though his ERA was an absurd 5.9 something. Let's just move on before I start crying.

The bullpen can't possibly be any worse than last year's craptacular edition. Laffey's been bumped out of the rotation to start the season. It stinks for him, but he's actually better suited for this duty. I really think he'll be the Paul Assenmacher type we've been looking for since, well, my old buddy Paul Assenmacher. Raffy Perez and his wicked slider appear to be back on track now that Raffy's delivery is consistent again. I don't quite know what to make of Smith, Sipp, and Lewis, so keep'em crossed whenever they come on. The Korean reliever (Ching Chang Chung? Bink Bank Benk?) has a very live arm, so I hope he makes the roster. Chris Perez steps into the closer role now that Wood is on DL for the umpteenth time. This could work out for the best. He was brought in as the closer of the future, so why not throw him into that role? He's got the right demeanor and arsenal of pitches, so as long as he doesn't go all Wild Thing on us. Not to be a cynic, but he can't possibly be worse than Wood or Blow-worski. The only problem is that he HAS gone all Wild Thing on us before. I remember a game last year where he walked four guys in a row before Wedgie finally decided to pull him. Let's hope Acta handles him, and the rest of the staff, better.

The everyday line-up looks outstanding, especially now that some of the dead weight has been removed. Signing Branyan is crazy, but his pathetic, underachieving ass is on the DL, so he won't be leaving a small village on base while he strikes out trying to pull outside pitches anytime soon. We didn't sign any Philadelphia cast-off outfielders this year, so the Michaels / Dellucci poo-poo platter is, thankfully, a thing of the past. What we have instead is an awesome combination of young and just-entering-their-prime bad-asses.

Ass-Drivel Cabrera leads off, at least for now. He's an excellent hitter, gets on base, works the pitcher, and is a crafty baserunner. Sizemore moves down to the second spot in the line-up, at least for now. He's completely healthy, and has hit the shit out of the ball this spring. Pika-Choo hits third, and looks to go into the season even hotter than last year, where he hit .300+ with 20 HRs and 80+ RBIs. Colour me skeptical when it comes to Hafner, but he also looks completely healthy, and has hit pretty well thus far. Peralta... well, he's in shape. I just don't know what to expect from Jhonny, except that he starts the season at third base, which is where he SHOULD have started last year. Hopefully the consistency leads to more consistency at the plate. Jhonny can hit if his head is right. LaPorta gets the nod at first now that Don Quijote Branyan is whiffing away on the DL, and this is a very good thing. Thome II is about as dumb as they come, but he's been crushing everything thus far while showing OK discipline. Marson's kind of being lost in the shuffle amidst all the hoopla for catcher-in-waiting Santana, but this kid has awesome potential. I think he's going to surprise quite a few people. Valbuena showed flashes last year, and he's an outstanding fielder -- he and Cabrera have turned some fantastic DPs this spring. Considering the top half of the rotation induces an enormity of grounders, this is a very good thing. Brantley hits in the ninth spot, at least for now. He's way too good, though. I think Acta has him here so as not to pressure him, but soon enough, he'll be moved up to bat lead-off while the rest of the line-up moves down one spot. This is the line-up I can't wait to see. Brantley is a prototypical lead-off guy: average, discipline, and speed. Cabrera is a prototypical second spot guy: average, contact, fantastic bat control. Sizemore is a prototypical third spot guy: average, speed, and huge power. Pika-Choo needs to hit in the clean-up spot, where he'll be enormously productive now that a supposedly healthy Pronk can protect him. And so on.

I like what I've seen from the Tribe thus far when it comes to base-running and situational hitting. Lots of well-executed hit-and-runs, sacrifices, and steals. They actually pulled two double steals in one game! So far, so good. Acta looks like he knows how to get the most potential out of his youngsters, and appears to have infinitely better people skills than his well-meaning but sour-faced predecessor. The pitching is the weak spot here, but there are tons of live arms in the minors. Carrasco, Hagadone, Gomez, and Rondon are all top-notch prospects. There's no shortage of young talent, either: Santana, Donald, Chisenhall, Mills, Brown... these guys could (SHOULD!) spend some time in the majors this year.

So, lots of youth, lots of potential, lots of question marks... and a little bit of hope, which springs eternal.

Go Tribe!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Finally done

And what's best, the losers-that-be actually spelled "conferred" properly this time. I shit you not.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

He's a tractor-lovin' gunslinger

Had to watch yet another Favre game in which the announcers made me sick with their ridiculous, over-the-top fawning praise. Make no mistake about it, Favre is good. Considering the guy's my age, and he's still putting together outstanding clutch performances like he did in today's playoff game, I can't really heap my customary dose o'hatred upon his undeserving shoulders. It's just that I'm tired of the "gunslinger" who's "just havin' a ball" hyperbole. We get it. The guy's good. The guy's apparently very likable. He still enjoys playing the game, even at his advanced age. He still has an alarming propensity for zipping the ball into triple coverage, and he still gets a free pass (pun intended) when those ill-advised passes get picked, because when he gets away with his craziness, exciting things happen. Good. Great. Lovely.

But not so good when the lunacy leads to an unsportsmanlike, in-your-face, running up the score late TD toss when the game was 27-3 with a little more than a minute left in the 4th quarter. Scummy? Unnecessary? Childish? Absolutely. But the TV talking heads loved it. If that had been a non-media darling like Matt Schaub or Aaron Rodgers running up the score for the sake of beefing up his statistics, I'm sure there would have been quite a bit of holier-than-thou outrage. Instead, the announcers were practically high-fiving each other over Favre's hayseed, aw-shucks bullshit. So, it's not necessarily Favre I hate (although I do find him annoying), as much as the way the media fellates him. At any given point in a game, you'll hear countless references to gunslingers, ballplayers, good old boys, tractors, rugged manliness, gunslinging, good old-fashioned fun, having a ball out there, gunslinging, playing the game, enthusiasm, craftiness, and gunslinging. Typical TV talking head soundbite after a 7-yard dumpoff to Adrian Peterson resulted in a first-down and an exuberant display of good ole' boyishness from Favre:

Oh, that gunslinger... he's a gunslingin' son of a gunslung gunslingin' gun that slings gunslung gunslingin' gunslingers. In short, he's a gunslingin' slung-gun gunslinger who slings guns like a gungslingin' son of a gunslung gunslingin' gunslinger. Oh, and he's just havin' a ball out there. 'Cause he's a gunslinger. Gun. Sling. Gunslinger.

Give me a break. I hope he gets his hillbilly ass handed to him next week-end. In a tractor. With a gun. And a sling. Gun. Slinger.