Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Here's some awards - Don't drop 'em

Since the Super Bowl has a bye week, so do I. Instead of churning out pointless dribble about who I think is going to win the Super Bowl and why, I'm going to hand out some awards for the 2004-05 NFL Playoffs up until this point. Because everybody loves awards! Right? And don't fret - I will churn out my pointless dribble next week, when we're closer to the actual game.

In the meantime, let's get 'er done.

The Special Award for Self-Righteous Announcing in the Face of Extreme Adversity
goes to...Fox announcer Joe Buck, who was so appalled by Randy Moss' fake-mooning against the Green Bay Packers, that he went so far as to apologize on behalf of the entire network. Now, Fox needs to apologize for many things - one of them being Buck - but nobody needed to hear this commentary about why it was so "disgraceful" when Randy Moss fake pulled his pants down. In the realm of terrible things that can possibly happen during a football game (bad injuries, dirty hits, Herm Edwards) this wasn't one of them. One wonders what Buck's reaction would be to something truly disgraceful, like for example, child labor within the sweatshops of Indonesia. Or “The Rebel Billionaire." Where's our apology for THAT?

The Marty Schottenheimer Award for Poor Playoff Coaching goes to...Marty Schottenheimer. You would think the term "Marty Ball" is a fun game that you can play at parties where nobody gets hurt. But in reality, "Marty Ball" is a term associated with how Schottenheimer-coached teams perform in the playoffs, which is "badly." And many people get hurt. In this case, it was San Diego Chargers' fans, who had to watch their team blow a playoff game, at home, to the Jets in overtime. The Chargers were tight the entire game, and when they had the chance to put the game away by getting their rookie kicker in decent field goal position, Schottenheimer ran three consecutive plays up the middle with tailback LaDanian Tomlinson that got the team nowhere. When rookie kicker Nate Kaeding missed the subsequent field goal attempt, "Marty Ball" lived on. Again - not a fun game.

The "This Team Unity Thing Is Fun! - I Hate You Guys" Award goes to...the Minnesota Vikings, who all "blew their hair out" to signify team unity, and then never showed up to play the Eagles. It used to be that team unity was represented by the fact that members of a team just wore the same uniform. But the Vikings weren't content with this, and their expanded hair experiment worked only against Green Bay. After that, Randy Moss was walking off the field during trick plays and the rest of the team wasn't talking to each other on the sidelines. Nevertheless, the Vikings blew their hair out to signify that it was "them against the world." Unfortunately, the world won.

The "I Didn't Want That Ball Anyway!" Award
goes to...Indianapolis Colts' running back Dominic Rhodes, who had the football stripped right from his grasp by the Patriots' Tedy Bruschi, thus symbolizing the Colts' soft effort against the defending Super Bowl champs. Now I don't play in the NFL, but I would imagine that handing the ball off to the other team doesn't make you the most popular guy in the locker room, unless Rhodes accidentally walked into the wrong locker room. If he did, he probably handed Tedy Bruschi a towel.

The Most Inappropriate Use of the Term "Receiver" Award goes to...the Seattle Seahawks wide receivers, who got the "wide" part right, but dropped WAY too many passes against the St. Louis Rams. It all culminated with Bobby Engram dropping a Matt Hasselbeck pass in the end zone that would have given the Seahawks the win. And at one point in the game, during a play that did not involve him, wideout Darrell Jackson just ran downfield and never looked back, like Forrest Gump. The only guy who didn't drop a pass just happened to be the greatest pass catcher in history, Jerry Rice. Unfortunately, he didn't catch one either. Oh well. You can't catch everything, I guess. Thankfully for Seattle, it wasn't a big game.

The "Who Else Can We Blame For This Monumental Loss?" Award
goes to...the New York Jets, who, well...ya' know. So whose fault was it? Herm Edwards? Paul Hackett? Doug Brien? Chad Pennington? Javier Vasquez? Mine? Former Mayor David Dinkins? Hey, here's one - who cares?

The "What Time Does the Game Start? - Wait, We Lost?" Award
goes to...the Denver Broncos, who put forth one heck of a lousy effort against the Colts. They didn't even give Jake Plummer enough time to throw a costly interception. I mean, sure — he threw one, but at that point it didn't really matter. And that's no fun. Thanks a lot, stupid Broncos.

The Best Use of a Sombrero-Sized Beret Award
goes to...Shannon Sharpe, who proudly donned this enormous headgear during the CBS Pre-Game Show for the Pats and Steelers matchup last Sunday. Really though, it looked like he was wearing a deflated beanbag chair on his head. You go, Shannon!

The Best Terrell Owens Impression Award
goes to...Eagles' wideout Greg Lewis, who made big play after big play during Philly's romp to the Super Bowl. Sure, Freddie Mitchell did his part too, but when it came to Donovan McNabb throwing the ball downfield, it was Lewis who always seemed to be on the other end, doing whatever he had to do to make the catch.

The Greatest Sideline Performance Award
goes to...Falcons' head coach Jim Mora, Jr., who, during the waning moments of the NFC Championship Game, ripped something off of him, threw it down on the ground, and then tried to stomp on it. I couldn't really figure out what exactly it was that he threw to the ground. Maybe it was a piece of paper that said "Falcons' Super Bowl hopes." Nevertheless, his actions seemed to adequately capture the moment, like anytime I would watch Jeff Weaver yelling at himself on the mound while somebody was rounding the bases behind him. Boy, do I miss those days! (Coming in second place was Herm Edwards, who got in a shouting match with his running backs' coach during the Jets/Chargers game. He didn't win the award however, because this was the first time during his tenure that I actually saw Edwards doing something on the sidelines that didn't include staring at the game clock with a confused look on his face. Sorry, Herm. Maybe next year.)

And finally, The Greatest Time Wasted Spent Making a Sign Award goes to...that lady in the stands at the AFC Championship Game in Pittsburg, rooting her team on by holding up a homemade sign that read, "We Do What We Do!" Never have I seen more in-depth analysis of how a football team operates, as summarized in a sign. Great job, lady! But just to get things straight, what you're saying is, your team DOESN'T do what it DOESN'T do? Do I understand you right? I'm a little confused. And what, exactly DOES your team do? Lose AFC Championship Games at home? I'm not sure I would be bragging about that.

There's still more hardware to be handed out for the 2004-05 NFL Playoffs. Like that Vince Lombardi Trophy. But congratulations to all of MY award winners! You've done us proud this year. And remember - keep "doing what you do."

Whatever that is.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The power couple whose lights went out

People seem to be genuinely upset over the breakup of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. This is the biggest national news story since that guy cloned a sheep, which was very important at the time because it virtually doubled our sheep population.

The general consensus, according to my polls, is that people think, "If Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston can't make it together, then nobody can." Relationships all over the country are running for cover, as if they were being attacked by an army of super-human sheep. For example, my parents have been married for over 25 years, but now my mom is worried that my dad will finally want to "settle down and have kids," while she herself still wants to "focus on her career." There has been much tension in the Kenny household lately because of this, and it seems like every day my mom is coming home later and later from the set of her movie, which is inside of a hospital, and will probably be going straight to DVD, because nobody likes to watch urine samples.

Because, of course, these are the apparent reasons behind the "Breakup Heard 'Round the World." Jennifer Aniston, best known for her role in "The Leprechaun," wants to focus on her career. And as everyone knows, it's hard to focus on your career when you're married to Brad Pitt, and making millions of dollars because of your career. On the other hand, Brad Pitt wants to have babies. Not him personally, I think. He wanted Jennifer Aniston to have babies, but she couldn't because she contacted asbestos poisoning on the set of "The Leprechaun."

Anyway, this is all anybody can talk about. Everybody has his or her theory as to why this breakup happened. These theories include, but are not limited to: Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, herpes, Emmanuel Lewis, Red Bull, "The Leprechaun II," G-Unit, and former ABC anchorman Tom Brokaw, who had no comment. In the end, nobody is really sure what to believe, but hopefully sometime soon, one of these tabloid magazines will wake up and do a feature on this, and stop churning out story after story on the national deficit.

Regardless of WHY it happened, it's almost impossible to believe that a relationship between a really, really good-looking Hollywood couple suddenly ended. I mean, if people who are infinitely richer and more famous than we'll ever be can't show us the way when it comes to maintaining a successful relationship, then who the hell can? Our parents? Yeah, right. The same "parents" who can't stop thinking of themselves long enough to have kids?

Ha! I don't think so. Let's face it - we're all screwed.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Junkyard Dog?

Last week I took my truck in for some service, because it's been making some weird noises lately, like Ashlee Simpson. Also, it's way out of alignment. So much so, that if I were to take my hands off the wheel at any point during my driving experience, the vehicle would immediately just start going around in circles, like a dog chasing its tail.

I pulled my usual routine with the guy at the service station, feigning partial knowledge of anything that has four wheels. He knew I was full of shit though when I started using terms like "squeaky" and "underneath the car - not the pavement, but you know what I mean." Anywho, he called me back with an estimate of $1400 for the work that needed to be done. Apparently, I needed all new shocks and ball joints and non-squeakified collateral lug nuts, and "those kinds of things don't come cheap." In addition to that, I found out that my spare tire has a hole in it. Not in the middle, though. There's supposed to be hole there (often covered by what the serviceman described as a "hub cap"). I'm talking about IN the actual tire, which means that my spare tire is basically just for show, even though you can't actually see it because it's underneath the car. Not on the pavement, but you know what I mean.

So since I don't have $1400, I immediately picked up my truck and drove it around in circles with my hands off the wheel, contemplating what to do. "Do I need a NEW car?" I thought to myself. Right then, it sounded like the truck squeaked, "yes," but it could have said, "gas," because it does that sometimes when it's running low. Anyway, I couldn't bear the thought. I've had this truck for five years now, and I feel such a strong connection to it. We've had so many great times together, like that time my future wife found out that I drove a pick-up truck and she had to climb into it wearing high heels. Ha ha! My truck and I laughed for days about that one. Or the time I put all of that garbage in the back of the truck and I drove it to the dumpster and threw it out. We still talk about that day whenever somebody says, "Look at all this trash! How the hell am I supposed to transfer this to the dumpster!?" When THAT happens, I just look over at my truck and wink, and say, "YOU know what to do!" And then it does nothing while I fill the back with trash. Good times.

A more important reason I'm not ready to part with my truck is because it's paid off. Not "paid off" in that somebody bribed it to screw me over (although sometimes I wonder) - paid off in that I no longer have to make monthly payments on it. It's like I drive it for free, except for gas, and insurance, and that time I was supposed to pay $1400 to get it fixed, but never did. Nevertheless, I just couldn't spend that much money to get a truck fixed that was built in 1997, the same year that the Backstreet Boys were dropping $1400 a night on boxed wine and Crispy Creams. I felt that I would be better off putting that money into a new car - a car with shocks. Whatever they do.

So I called my uncle, who happens to be a part-time mechanic and a full-time shop teacher at a local high school, to ask him his opinion on the matter. He told me that if I didn't mind, he could take the truck to school and have his students work on it. For free. I told him that I didn't care if cigarette-smoking chimpanzees worked on my truck, as long as I didn't have to pay for it. So it looks like there's still hope.

I'm not sure how things are going to turn out, but anything is better than the thought of having to part with my first and only pick-up truck. Maybe I'm just delaying the inevitable. Maybe not. I guess I'll know in a couple of weeks, when I get it back from those 15 year-old kids, who better not steal my Jay-Z tape.

If it's still chasing its tail, I'll know what to do.

Order more lug nuts.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

A1 in the a.m.

Dunkin' Donuts has steak!

I have been waiting to hear those words since the day I was born, and I can't believe that the moment is finally here. All of those mornings that I would buy my coffee at Dunkin' Donuts and ask the cashier, "Do you have any steak to go with this"� and the cashier would say, "No," have NOT been for naught!

I feel like Andy Dufrene during "Shawshank Redemption" when he kept sending out letters so he could build a library, and then finally, years later, someone sent him some books and told him to leave them alone. Only Andy kept sending MORE letters. I am just like that, except that I'm not in prison, and I wanted steak instead of books, and I didn't want to build a library of steaks, I just wanted to eat them. For breakfast. And just like Andy Dufrene, I'm not going to stop here.
Dunkin' Donuts became popular for its coffee. And some may say, even for its donuts. But when someone like me came along, and demanded steak, my voice was heard. In the past, to get a good steak, one would have to go out at night, to a place like "Ruth's Chris," or "(Insert Former Athlete's Name Here)'s Steakhouse." Now, people can get a good steak when they want it - right after they wake up. And you no longer have to deal with all of the crap that usually comes with your steak, like a baked potato or even vegetables. People can now eat their steak the way God intended it to be eaten - on an everything bagel with eggs and ketchup. No fork and knife required.

And the world has me to thank. And like I said, I'm not stopping here. Who knows what else I can demand for breakfast that Dunkin' Donuts will be forced to adhere to? Lobster maybe? Caviar? Muffins dipped in alfredo sauce? I'm bubbling with excitement! But for now, I think I'll just savor this moment, like when Andy Dufrene enjoys his cold beer on the rooftop during "Shawshank Redemption." Yummy. This steak could use some cream cheese.