Monday, March 2, 2009

March is for Madness

February 28th has gone by and thank God it’s not a Leap Year; one less day to wait for the best month of the year- March! With March comes the promise of spring and the perennial rebirth of life. The silence of winter is replaced with chirping birds, vibrant colors and the sound of children playing in the street. Punxsutawney Phil can go to hell if he sees that damn shadow. After a cold and bitter winter we leave our forecasted fate up to a small mammal? Phil sucks; I say bring on global warming. Of course he’s going to see his shadow when stadium lights powerful enough to cause sunburn are brought in so a crowd of morons can ohhh and ahhh at a groundhog.

Perhaps the greatest part of March is spring training. Despite baseball’s disgusting corruption, nothing is better than seeing your favorite team trot onto the field on a hot day and bring home a victory. Nothing is better than sipping down a cool brew as the unmistakable “CRACK!” echoes throughout the crowd of onlookers. There is certainly something innocent and untainted about the game of baseball. It brings back childhood memories of my Father getting me out of school early to attend opening day. Baseball’s spirit embodies the hopes of small children walking to the park with oversized gloves. I remember oiling up my glove and stretching it out the night before I would attend a game, all in hopes of catching that coveted foul ball that would provide more joy than any corrupt wish adulthood could bring. Spring reminds me of stories my Grandma use to tell me; about the good ol’ days when Grandpa would sit out back on a warm summer night as the soothing voice of Nuxhall would wave through the thick air. Spring is purifying, no matter what age you are, going outside on that first warm day and throwing around a baseball is one of the most relaxing and heavenly feelings on Earth.

March is a schizophrenic month; while it can provide all the relaxation in the World through the form of baseball, it too can provide a bit of madness. February may be for lovers, but March is for fanatics. In what other month can you spend three straight weeks watching nothing but college basketball? The amount of exams and test I’ve failed due to March Madness is insurmountable. My education becomes severely inhibited each year during this time period and I would have it no other way. The amount of work hours spent watching the 16 seed take on Goliath could probably eject us out of depression. Yet, if you gave any man a choice between economic grace or watching Cinderella put on that glass slipper, any self respecting man would undoubtedly choose the latter. Let Miss Teen USA worry about peace, happiness and The Iraq, I want to watch 5 guys kick the shit out of Tyler Hansborough.

Along with schizophrenia comes addiction, gambling addiction. Keeping updated brackets becomes a full time job. Eating and breathing become secondhand, making sure you correctly marked Sienna taking down Kansas is essential. Even Grandma, who hasn’t watched a college game since 1952, fills out a bracket. There are varying sciences that weigh into picking winners. Some actually watch college basketball all year long and make educated guesses; and some choose teams because the school colors match their favorite purse or they have a cute mascot. Despite everything that is wrong with the latter, it’s okay because it’s March. Even children become hooked. Little Jonny can’t learn Math, but he can sure remember the starting lineup for the Memphis Tigers. I can’t remember what I did last week, but I can tell you who won the national championship my freshman year of high school. I also can’t remember my family’s birthdays but I can tell you exactly when and where I was when Kenyon Martin broke his leg, effectively ending UC’s hopes of a championship and my childhood dreams. How many times did your teacher stop teaching and turn on the first round? The Gospel according to Vitale says, “Thou shalt watch March Madness” and “Thou shalt be on cloud nine.” Who are we to argue with God?

With so much emphasis being placed on “going green” these days, more emphasis should be placed on March; after all, it allows us all to be green. St. Patrick’s Day is the greatest holiday ever, period. It started off as a Christian holiday designed to celebrate the life and death of St. Patrick, yet (for better or for worse) the whole World has taken the holiday under its wing. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in Ireland, America, Japan, Australia, Canada, Singapore and Russia. On March 17th, people from all walks of life can be spotted wearing green and downing a Guinness. What other day is the term “Kegs and Eggs,” acceptable? What other day is it okay to be drunk by 10 a.m.? What other day is it okay to dye your beer green and clamor about spewing horrible renditions of the Irish accent? This should be a national holiday resulting in a one day expulsion of the drinking age. We should all embrace our Irish roots (if only in spirit) and take a day to chug 16 Irish Car Bombs and clad our bodies in every green item we can find.

March is also home to the Women’s NCAA Championship. Fans can get their fill of…haha, yea right.

March is named after Mars, the Roman God of War. Mars was probably responsible for the deaths of thousands, maybe millions of people over the course of human history. But he sure did give us one hell of a month. Here’s a salute to Mars, for without him we may have ended up with a month named after Fauna, the Goddess of Fertility and we would be celebrating ovaries and eggs.

REMINDER: On March 28, between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., turn your power off for at least one hour. Cities and businesses across the globe are taking part in an effort known as Earth Hour, designed to help save energy and resources.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Has tighter wallets resulted in tighter belts?

A survey I composed asks this very question. How has the poor economy affected alcohol consumption? It seems most people have taken measures to cut back on their drinking in an effort to feed their children or pay their mortgage. One word: undedicated.

Melissa Kramer, a Communications graduate from UC seems to be having a rough time with this issue. "We can't even drown our sorrows with alcohol in this sh---y economy." Amen.

As people watch their 401-k's, stocks and savings accounts drop faster than Kellogg’s dropped Michael "Isn't it funny that I smoke weed out of a water bong" Phelps, the one solace we have to ease our troubled minds is being put on the back burner when compared to more pressing issues. Melissa also comments, "I don't drink every night but now even a six pack of Mike's Hard is a gut-wrenching decision, when I need gas in my car and my mortgage is due." Fair enough, yet this is one of America's greatest past times. What's more American than going to a ballgame and sucking down a Budweiser while eating a hotdog? That, ladies and gentleman, is the American dream. Thus, through the transitive property, not drinking alcohol is Un-American.

It seems there are those who have taken the Y2K approach to our current economic crisis. Pama Mitchel, an assistant professor at UC, says "I've also been pretty good at stocking up for the proverbial rainy day. Even if the world goes into a depression (God forbid), we could survive for awhile on the contents of our cellar." I have images of a post-apocalyptic World where a small group of survivors are huddled in Pama's basement guarding their precious inventory against zombies who's life is now sustained solely on alcohol thanks to the radiation coming from the hole in the O-zone because cows fart too much. Run-on sentence and I watch too many stupid movies.

Then there are those who don't let their tighter wallets constrict their drinking endeavors. "The failing economy has made me more prone to drink at home or at a friend’s house to help save money, as well as drink the fear of another depression away!" says Sean Tuke, a Network Administrative student at Cincinnati State. Similarly, Jessica Murray, a Journalism intern says "My friends and I have recently begun drinking before we hit the bars to save money on alcohol. It does the trick!" Ah yes, nothing beats showing up at a bar already buzzing. Beer muscles in full flex, liquid-courage raging; Mothers you better lock up your daughters because the man is in town and I'm feeling kinda funky, feeling kinda fine. This method seems to be the general consensus amongst college students (or at least me and my alcoholic friends), yet it always proves to be a splendid time resulting in memories that will last a lifet....that will last until you blackout and wake up wondering where you are and who has your pants.

Finally, gentlemen don’t let a lack of dead presidents deny your obligation to women. Amanda Woodruff, a UC student has this to say "but the thing that really bothers me is the stupid loser guys at bars that refuse to buy a drink. If you can't give up $3 for a drink (aka conversation starter), you will always be a loser in a bar." That’s right fellas; nothing is a better conversation starter than buying a girl a drink. However, if you're like me buying a girl a drink means watching your three dollars vanish into the crowd only to come across her later dry humping some guy with hair gel. This move is a game time decision, it’s about a 50/50 shot that she'll actually talk to you, proceed with the mindset that tomorrow you might get laid-off and that three dollars equals three double cheeseburgers.

Overall, the sentiment seems to be that people are resorting to cheaper beer/wine and going out less. It has personally affected my consumption and there is a noticeable difference in attendance when going out to bars. However, when debating whether or not to visit your local watering hole remember, on pretty much any given night bars will have deals or happy hours. Below I have listed some local bars accompanied with the night they have special deals. Enjoy.

"Don't we all drink Nati anyway?"
-Nayla Pica, Journalism student at UC.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

An Epic of Time Wasted

The day was September 21, 2008. The third quarter was coming to a close and the score was 28-6. Boo's rained out as fans of the losing team began to file out of the stadium in disbelief and misery. This is a common sight in stadiums across the nation, only it generally occurs when the teams are consistenly bad. However, this is the tale of New England Patriot fans during the third game of the season versus the Miami Dolphins. Less than a year after the Patriots had finished with an 18-1 record, they had the gall to boo and leave early. A child throwing a temper tantrum in K-Mart because his Mom won't buy him Spongebob underwear, has more dignity than the Patriot fans had on this day.

A few months back I read an article listing cities in America with the "greatest fans". The list was laden with powerhouse cities such as New York, Boston, L.A., Pittsburgh, etc. I disagree with this list and the mindset behind it; this article should have been about the best sports cities. These cities may have great fans but it's too easy to be a fan. Being a baseball fan in New York is equivalent to being a fan of fine cuisine and teleportation. Being a fan of the Steelers is like being a fan of winning the lottery. Being a fan of Boston sports is similar to being a fan of children's laughter and small puppies. It's Easy.

No, the best fans (although maybe the dumbest) are the ones who keep coming back for more. Real fans are those whose "fan-dom" is about as enjoyable as a painful shit or getting hit in the face with a bat. Real fans are those that support the Lions, who are the only team since the expansion to the 16 game regular season to go winless. Real fans are those of the Cubs, who have the longest drought without a championship in all of sports. Real fans are those of the Bengals, who have gone almost two decades with only one winning season. Real fans are those of the Arizona Cardinals, who until this past year had never been to an NFC Championship game. These are real fans. The type of fan who isn't pampered by wins. The fan who hears playoffs and thinks it's a new form of masturbation. The fan who walks the streets wondering why God hates them. It's not easy being this fan and yet every Sunday, fans in Detroit, Cincinnati and Arizona skip church to watch their teams lose. Think about that, fans of these teams are willing to skip church, the way in which they communicate with God. The device used that enables them to prepare for eternal happiness in Heaven, gets skipped to watch a team that provides eternal frustration. This is a fan.

Sign me up, because while being a fan of one of these teams might feel like an epic of time wasted, you know deep down that day will come. Faith destroys all fear and while that day might come when you're old and gray, and not soiling yourself is more of a concern than sports, it doesn't matter because all those hapless years spent as a fan finally paid off.

Unless Mike Brown runs your team, then you have no hope, give up and go to church.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Guitar Zero

Where have all the guitarists gone?

Guitar Gods like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Santana all have one thing in common besides being some of the greatest guitar heroes of all time; they're old. With the exception of a few bright spots here and there, the airwaves are flooded with mediocre talent who cover their mediocrity with tuned-down guitars and distortion. But compared to the legends of old, our present day guitarists can't hold a guitar pick to them. After extensive research and interviews I have found the cause for our current drought of guitar talent.


Children, heed my warning, put down the plastic and pick up a Les Paul. In the 70's and 80's the guitar was used for expression and freedom. Teenage angst was fueled by the screeching of a guitar in garages all around the states. Today we have chubby fingers pressing plastic buttons, giving kids a false sense of accomplishment. It's too cold to play out in the garage. The guitar strings hurt my fingers.

People, this is becoming a nationwide epidemic even more serious than childhood obesity. Guitar Heroes are beginning to acquire a new disease known as Guitar Heroitis. Symptoms include: poor posture, carpal tunnel, even greater childhood obesity, poor grades, stunted bone growth in the wrists and fingers, heightened anxiety leading to anger problems and worst of all, an unbalanced ego since being a Guitar Hero makes people feel superior when in reality they're just another dork playing a video game. Music departments in schools will fall into disrepair. Grades will suffer, more and more children are picking up the plastic axe rather than reading a book. People, the disease has hit very close to home. My sister can play Guitar Hero with her feet, but can't seem to pass grade school classes, my step-dad's curses echo throughout the house followed by the sound of him missing notes. They're continuously late for dinner and often resemble drug fiends in need of another fix. Guitar Hero is breaking apart the American Family! The following is a YouTube clip of a small child playing Guitar Hero with the approval of his parents. Warning, what you are about to see may shock you.

Guitar Hero is destroying the very essence of what America was founded on: Capitalism. No longer will parents need to buy their children guitars. Guitar shops will close around the World, millions of people will lose their jobs. The music industry as we know it will be demolished. Guitar Hero will lead to the complete destruction of America. Be a real hero, help save America, go out buy a guitar and start a rock band. Oh shit, Rock Band...

Monday, January 19, 2009

America's Favorite Pastime?

I'm as big a sports fan as anyone. I love the rivalries, the heart, the determination and the effort that athletes put into the game. That being said, Baseball just plain sucks. We should rename Bug Selig, The Don and replace the National Anthem with each team passing good ol' Bud to kiss his pinky ring. This is not to incriminate The Don; however, the obese amount of money being spent on players these days is shameful. Ever wonder why terrorists hate America? Perhaps it's because we live in a society that pays players an absurd amount of money to trot onto a mound every 5th day and throw a ball. I make $9 an hour working a crap part time job. The Yankees signed C.C. Sabathia to a 7-year, $161 million dollar deal. This means that Cool Cash Sabathia will make on average $23 million dollars a year. During the 2008 season, C.C. averaged 113 pitchers per game and only pitched in 253 innings which comes out to 28 complete games. If these statistics remain somewhat the same, this means that C.C. will "earn" $821,428 per complete game, $90,909 per inning and $7,269 per pitch. I would have to work 807 hours (33 entire days) just to make what C.C. makes per pitch! I'm not chastising C.C., if someone offered me that much money to sell my soul to the devil (play for the Yankees) you better believe I'm taking it. The problem lies with the "brain" of the operation. People like George Steinbrenner who spent $423 million dollars this past off season in the signing of three free agents. Are athletes really worth this much money? If those depressing TV-ads are true and you can really feed a kid in a poor country for 15 cents a day, we could make every day a Thanksgiving feast. The perfect silver lining is the fact that this is taking place during one of the worst depressions in America's history. Who knows, maybe while you're standing in that bread line C.C. will drop by in his helicopter and throw a couple pennies at you, then maybe Mark Texeira will park his jet-pack and give a compelling speech about perseverance and unity . You can make the argument that it's their money they can spend it however they want. True, but it seems strange that most other major sports have a salary cap so the Davids' can contend with the Goliaths'. Either way, that's alotta jack.

My beef is not with baseball alone. In the NFL, players who go in the first round of the draft receive ludicrous contract offers laden with incentives, this before they even play one snap of a game. A rookie could sign a $22 million dollar contract, like Brady Quinn, and not even start, much less have any impact on the team what so ever. Overseas, Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the world's best soccer players, is reportedly for sale at 120 million euros. That is just to buy him, that doesn't even include the contract the player will receive.

My aim is not to cry like some tree hugger about kids with flies on their face or that wood used to make the bats is destroying the ecosystem; rather, my aim is to conserve the purity of sports. Baseball is one of the most corrupt organizations on the planet. It's more common to see a tiny-testicaled, biceps bigger than my head, cartoon of a man stumbling on his words more than W. in front of a grand jury then it is to actually see real criminals. Professional sports used to be fun. When did the money become more important than the game?

It's just sports, entertainment, monkeys dancing around for our enjoyment, but Planet of the Apes seems to be rapidly approaching. The next time you attend a ball game, keep an eye out for Charlton Heston, we may need him.