Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My New Favorite Santana

Let me be clear: I really liked Rafael Santana. He was a solid defender, a miserable hitter, and one of those random guys that everyone seems to remember from the 1986 Mets. Notwithstanding that affection, I have a new favorite Santana, and redemption, thy name is Johan.

There are still meaningful hurdles in place before this trade is official (i.e., the Mets have to sign Santana to a new contract), but I have to believe the Mets would not have let this become public if they didn't think there was a better-than-decent chance that they could sign the long-term deal.

Omar, all is forgiven.

More to come . . .

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Guest Blogging Action: Win it, Lumpy! Get the ball!

Here at Where's Luke?, we always try to bring you the best. But sometimes, we get fuckin' lazy and don't post much, like the past few weeks. So it's nice to receive a little love letter like this one, from our buddy whom we'll call Lumpy. Without further adieu, a guest post from Lumpy...

Thank you to Open Bar, Side Bar, Chuckjerry, and the Notorious LJT for allowing me to contribute to this blog, which I enjoy thoroughly and check for updates almost daily.

I would like to remain anonymous on this blog (Editors' note: Lumpy, see above), though if you are reading this, chances are that we know each other rather well. Throughout my childhood and teen years I was often encouraged to “win it” and some may describe me today as follicle-ly challenged.

Recently I heard about a website called “ratemyteacher.com.” This woman I know claimed that her students rated her as the “hottest teacher at school.” I did not find this rating system on the website, nor did I think this subsequent rating about her was possible because I have vision.

On a random ride down route four on the bodega bus, I saw our old high school and decided to check ratemyteacher.com for THS, particularly many of the student ratings for our old teachers.

Just to be clear, the smiley is the overall rating, followed by the teachers name, subject, number of ratings and numeric overall score (5 is the highest rating possible.) The comments from students (in blue), especially the negative ones, should probably be taken with a boulder-sized grain of salt.

some lady, Home Economics 1 (number of ratings)1.0 (overall numeric rating)

i hate this teach, she screams fo no reason and get mad at ppl fo no reason,, and her tests r always hard, im gettin a C in her class

Well maybe we won’t need the salt shaker for this one, but please keep it in mind for the rest.

random teacher 1. English 16 2.7

Great teacher, and a nice lady. Two memories I have- 1.To get the class quiet one day (cause we were being dicks) she slammed the door and broke the glass. 2. She gave everyone a hug on the last day of class. Honestly though, she brought the “class” into classroom.

Apparently her students agree:

She is the -ish (Ish: 1. Slang term often used to replace "shit.")

Looking back, one of the best teachers I ever had. Tough, smart and willing to spend the time to make sure I learned how to write.

But maybe not all of them:

Got the best sleep of my life during her class.

some guy, Physical Education 9 2.8

His students comment:

this guy is the coolest - crazy - but he rules! Fall Back V.

(Fall back: 1. chill out, relax, stop trippin 2. hop off to get off ya nuts.)

Coolest teacher ever, u gotta piin?, what r u talkin about u want a pen? Speak english, lol

My favorite student comment about this guy: taught my mom and now me, still fun

Actually, this guy has taught Drivers Education to 5 generations of the Voce Family. Great-great-great Grandma (aka “mostly dead”) was taught by Mr. Vuono on the Ford Model T.

In their most recent holiday card to this guy, the Voce Family wrote “To our families favorite teacher, who has provided us with countless hours of entertainment through our own unique impressions around the family table, Happy Holidays, hope you can teach little Katlin in 2023.”

some lady, History 5 4.4

Her students comment:

She was the best teacher. Its too bad she retired she was a very good teacher and one of the nicest.

this lady & I developed an amazing friendship. I loved her AP history class and Fed Challenge was an awesome experience too! I'll miss her a lot & only wish her the best.

She plays favorites, she refuses to listen to other peoples' opinions, and is incredibly rude. AP History I was completely useless, you'll do better taking regular, seriously.

I just remember this being one of the most fun classes for me. A lot of us and our friends were in this class and we acted like complete dicks the entire time.

yo no se, Languages 8 3.3

His students comment:

I love Mr. Jardines! He is the best Language teacher in that building if you're willing to work.

he is so great and you learn so much with him; he's tough but one of the best teachers ever!

he is the worse (This student is probably bi-lingually dumb -- stupid in two languages.)

I had this guy or as we called him for no apparent reason “Mr. HardPenis.” I think Jason Hosey said it once and I repeated it, like I did with many things he said. I liked this guy and thought he was a great teacher, but I remember him going on tangents sometimes, once he spent an entire class telling us about the best brands of watches in the world, in great detail. The only time I really saw him lose his cool was when he taught us that “jardines” was “gardner” in Spanish and Leon Autry called him Mr. Gardner. ChuckJerry-Do any of your Hispanic students ever call you Mr. Jardines, can I call you Mr. HardPenis?

Konsevick Michael Math 2 2.8

Also known as Coach K, my two favorite Coach K quotes:

“AAAAAAAAHHHHHhhh! Evan, you fuckin' suck!”

“The three biggest lies ever told are: 1) The check is in the mail; 2) I’m on the way; 3) I won’t cum in your mouth” (Diesal, thank you for telling me about this last quote, just hearing it second hand in your Coach K voice was one of the highlights of my high school career)

Loeser Math 4 1.5

That can’t really be his/her last name. Is there a French pronunciation that I am missing?

Zubiaurre Peter Drafting 3 4.7

Maybe I am missing something (and no doubt one of you guys will point it out if I am) but are we really teaching drafting, wasn’t that used for architecture and engineering blueprints before we had something called computers? Are we also teaching cartography just to make sure that the satellite imaging isn’t making mistakes? I checked with one of the current Teaneck School Board Members who shall also remain anonymous and he/she does “not have any idea what they do in this class.”

Hey everyone, please share some of your own opinions/stories. I had a lot of fun writing this post and I hope you enjoyed reading it. The ball is on the tee, share some stuff if you get a chance. Oh yeah, and if you want to check out ratemyteacher.com, feel free to use my account, login: FrankAllen Password: JimDelaney.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Friday Classic Video: Weng Weng

I think Open Bar must have been thinking of something exactly like this when he came up with the concept of the "Friday Classic Video."

From what I can gather, this is a tv show from the Phillipines that someone found and wrote a rap about and laid it over clips of the show.

If you love midgets, rap, music, wit, and irony (and if you don't, you aren't reading this blog), then you'll love this.

And He's Off

So, today was my first Weight Watchers meeting.

It was kind of like what I imagine you'd get if you crossed an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting with a Yoga Class.

It was a weird experience and I have to say I was a little embarrassed to be there, I don't think I really made I contact with anyone the whole time because I felt a little silly.

I rocked the scales at fucking 247.5. Jesus.

Basically, the whole thing is about breaking up the process into, dare I say, bite sized pieces.

Now, for my height I always weighed more than I technically should but the last time I was relatively happy with my weight was at about 200 pounds or so, which is what I was in the picture I posted last time so I suppose that's my goal.

My 'membership' is for 10 weeks right now - that's what I've prepaid for - so in that time, I'd be really happy if I could get to 220. That sounds like a lot but given that I'm such a gluttonous pig right now, it probably isn't as bad as it sounds.

So in any case, here's the chart that will continue over the next month and a half:

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Fire John Clayton

About six months ago, Open Bar introduced me to a sports blog where the authors post inane comments and columns by sports journalists, and ridicule the many inconsistent, incoherent, and incomprehensible things that are said and written about sports. Fire Joe Morgan has become one of our favorite websites, and I am in no way trying to (a) rip them off, or (b) suggest that I can do it better. Those guys are hysterical, and I am a hack. With that disclaimer out of the way, here is my attempt at a Fire Joe Morgan-esque post. For my first foray into this medium, I chose a relatively easy target.

Peyton Manning is the definition of a franchise quarterback.

Ok. So we’ve established the following.

fran·chise quar·ter·back [fran-chahyz kwawr-ter-bak]. Noun.

1. Peyton Manning.

The reason is pretty simple. General manager Bill Polian built the Indianapolis Colts franchise around him.

Wait. Um . . . Ok. That’s fine. But I guess we need to tweak our definition a little bit.

fran·chise quar·ter·back [fran-chahyz kwawr-ter-bak]. Noun.

1. Peyton Manning.
2. A quarterback around which a franchise is built.

Manning not only changed the fortunes of the Colts, but he changed the standard of quarterback play around the NFL. He came into the league in 1998 when the quarterback position was in the abyss. Some teams held on to aging quarterbacks too long while others rushed NFL Europe quarterbacks into starting jobs.

Quarterbacks in the NFL in 1998: Dan Marino, John Elway (who won the superbowl, despite being an “aging quarterback”), Steve Young, Brett Favre, etc. In 1998 there were four quarterbacks with passer ratings over 100 (Randall Cunningham, Vinny Testaverde, Steve Young, and Chris Chandler). This year there were only three (incidentally, Peyton Manning was not one of them in either 1998 or 2007). In 1998 Peyton Manning led the NFL with 28 interceptions.

Is the overall talent pool at quarterback better in 2007 than in 1998? Sure, I can get on board with that. But “in the abyss”? Knock it off.

In his fourth season, Eli Manning achieved franchise quarterback status through his game management in three road playoff games.

Our definition is getting confusing.

fran·chise quar·ter·back [fran-chahyz kwawr-ter-bak]. Noun.

1. Peyton Manning.
2. A quarterback around which a franchise is built.
3. A quarterback who manages the game in three road playoff games.

His achievements aren't to be confused with his brother's. Eli didn't revolutionize the game like his brother. Those accolades ride with only Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, two talents who achieved Hall of Fame credentials before their 30th birthdays.

Well I don’t think I would have had any problem not confusing the two if you hadn’t just told me they were both franchise quarterbacks. Ass. Until now I thought one was an exceptional quarterback having a stellar career and the other was on a hot streak leaving fans like me to wonder whether he had turned a corner or would return to disappointing form next season (or next week). Now I don’t know what to think.

Also, how do accolades “ride” with a person. Is that an even remotely proper coupling of those two words? Take a minute to open up Google and type in the phrase “accolades ride with” (or just “accolades ride”), and be sure to set off the phrase with opening and closing quotation marks. Did you notice that in the history of the Internet no other person anywhere in the world has ever used those two words together? Does anyone have a thesaurus at the worldwide leader? Does anyone even skim these articles before they are posted on espn.com?

Nowadays, a franchise quarterback is the man behind center who annually gives a team the chance to not only make but also win in the playoffs.


fran·chise quar·ter·back [fran-chahyz kwawr-ter-bak]. Noun.

1. Peyton Manning.
2. A quarterback around which a franchise is built.
3. A quarterback who manages the game in three road playoff games.
4. The man behind center who annually gives a team the chance to not only make but also win in the playoffs.

(Clearing his throat before a great hall of professors, dignitaries, and other intelligentsia): “Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great honor to announce the Clayton Theorem, according to which Mr. Clayton has proven that Kyle Boller, Mark Rypien, and Jeff Hostetler are all franchise quarterbacks.”

Whether his critics like it or not, Eli Manning did enough good things in three playoff games to get the Giants to the Super Bowl.

I like it.

His numbers weren't great but they were good enough. He completed 62.4 percent of his passes and had an efficient 99.2 quarterback rating in three playoff games. Unlike his brother, Eli Manning didn't revolutionize the game. He just managed it. He was more in the Jake Delhomme-Ben Roethlisberger mode, running an offense that ran the ball more than it passed.

Are we still stuck on Peyton “revolutionizing the game”? You’ve said it twice now, so you must really think it’s true. Did I miss something? Is Peyton better than Montana, Marino, or any of the other legendary NFL quarterbacks? And even if he is, how did he “revolutionize” the game? Can he fly? Is that it? In twenty years are there going to be quarterbacks just flying around the field dropping into the endzone for six points, looking up at the heavens, smiling, and saying “thanks, Peyton.”

Peyton Manning and Brady might be the standard, but they stand apart from the rest. When the Giants traded with the Chargers in 2004 to get Eli, they knew he wasn't his brother.

My, my. And how, pray tell, did they arrive at that above-grade-level conclusion? I guess they hadn’t been burdened with your uber-confusing and self-defeating definition of “franchise quarterback.”

In their eyes, he was the most talented of the quarterback troika of Eli Manning, Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers. As it turns out, this trio won more playoff games (10) in its first four years than the six first-rounders taken in 1983 -- headed by John Elway and Dan Marino -- who won eight playoff games in their first four years.

So to follow the observation that the Giants thought Eli was better than Roethlisberger and Rivers, you have given us a statistic that might tend to show that the three of them in the aggregate performed better than a different group of quarterbacks did 24 years ago. Stellar.

Though Eli Manning's performance faded in the second halves of the 2005 and 2006 seasons, he put the offense in position to make the playoffs every year. In his past three seasons as the Giants' starting quarterback, Manning has run an offense that has averaged between 22.2 and 26.4 points a game, playoff-worthy numbers. As a result, the Giants have made three consecutive trips to the postseason even though Manning didn't get credit for being in the driver's seat.

Isn’t that because he wasn’t in the driver’s seat? In 2005 against Carolina he was 10 of 18 with no touchdowns and three interceptions; in 2006 against the Eagles he was 16 0f 27 with another pick and two touchdowns. He couldn’t complete 60% of his passes or throw for 200 yards in either game. By saying that “Manning didn’t get credit” aren’t you implying that he should have?

Manning's swagger is less pronounced than his brother Peyton's. He's a quiet leader, which has caused outsiders and even insiders such as Tiki Barber to question his leadership. Peyton is a true field general. Eli is more of a facilitator, getting his offense's parts to work without much fanfare.

Swagger? Quiet leader? Can you please stab me in the hand right now with a pencil? On the journalistic integrity scale, this is roughly akin to saying that Ricky Williams loves spending time with other people, but is so focused on the game that he occasionally needs to be alone.

Though this is his fourth season, Manning has arrived and should get only better. The Giants' offense is pretty basic. The Giants run primarily a two-receiver offense. When they go to three receivers, Manning completes about 58.9 percent of his passes and had 14 of his 23 touchdown passes this season. He's a 57.8 percent thrower from shotgun. Those aren't great numbers, but they are good enough.

Not great, but good enough (also the second time you’ve used this phrase? Are you trying to make your point by repeating yourself? Does that work? Does that work? Hmm, maybe it does.

In any event, this quarterback whose numbers are not great but good enough is the same guy you just called a “franchise quarterback.”

So let’s recap:

fran·chise quar·ter·back [fran-chahyz kwawr-ter-bak]. Noun.

1. Peyton Manning.
2. A quarterback around which a franchise is built.
3. A quarterback who manages the game in three road playoff games.
4. The man behind center who annually gives a team the chance to not only make but also win in the playoffs.
5. Not great, but good enough.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Dirty Thirty, Facebook and A Matter of Fat

Today, at work, my birthday seemed to be the hot topic. My friends keep asking me what I'm doing for the birthday. My mom wants to know what I want. My beautiful and loving girlfriend whom I love dearly wants to know what I want for a present (she wants to be mentioned in a blogpost every once in a while - there you go, honey).

OK, so I guess it's time to bite the bullet; call a spade a spade; stare in to the deep, dark abyss: I'm going to be thirty in forty days, four hours and twenty four minutes.

Now, I'm a pretty happy 29 year old and I imagine I'll be a pretty happy thirty year old but when you change the numerator on your age, it's a big deal (I know it's not a numerator but fuck you, you young whippersnapper, you knew what I meant). Going from 9 to 10 was exciting, 19 to 20 was more exciting because 21 followed. Now, it's less exciting and it will get less so as I continue on (when I turn 40 I'll be nostalgic for 30, I'm sure).

Now, there's a lot of great things about getting older: you make more money, you get settled down and you know who you are. You also lose possibilities - I have to accept I will never be a rock star or a power forward for the New York Knicks (well I could probably play on the Knicks these days (by the way, Isiah, take the three game streak and shove it up your ass)) and I'm also that much closer to death - you're eyebrows also grow unfathomably long and your ears decide they want their own hair as well. Now, taking a step back: the former is great and the latter isn't really devastating. In any case, I'm definitely beginning to move into a new phase of my life and much like December 31st isn't really any different from January first, it's a marker.

As a soon-to-be thirty year old, I figured I was too old for at least one thing. Sixteen year old girls. And social networking sites. I was 25 when I reluctantly joined Friendster at the behest of a friend. At 27, I joined Myspace - again at the urging of another friend. Both were entertaining and it was a good way to keep up with people from your past you wouldn't otherewise speak to. At 29, when encouraged to join Facebook, I answered: "I'm too old for that stuff".

Well, a few days ago a roommate of Open Bar....I guess we don't use proper names here so I'll just call him The Angry Young Man or TAYM for short, oh, there he is now:

Anyway, TAYM told me a guy that worked for me 3 1/2 years ago had old pictures posted on Facebook. I asked how I could see them and he countered, join Facebook. Faced with the dilemma of such a juvenile endeavor, I hesitated but decide to go for it - I joined.

Well, my friends, I have to say you're never too old for Santa Claus, The Simpsons, masturbating or social networking sites. It's a great way to keep in touch with people and Facebook is particularly dope. Friendster was cool but everyone left for Myspace. Myspace was OK but, it had a sketchy thing going on or something.

Facebook is dope because, mad people are on it but it's not sketchy. It's also cool because there are mad games on it. Remember 'Oregon Trail'? Yeah, it's still fun. Unfortunately Open Bar died in my wagon in the rockies. I marked his tombstone 'Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee'. I also currently have six open scrabble games and I'm able to stay in contact with former aquainances. You know, those people who you want to know what's going on in their lives but don't really want to see or actually speak to. It's really a great thing.

So I joined the site and have been thoroughly enjoying it. I eventually gained access to the pictures from four and a half years ago and it was good to reminisce, however, there was one glaring thing. I was a good looking guy then and now I'm just fat.

Here's me then.

Here's me now.

I have a couple of things to say on this topic, first of all it sucks to get fat. Second of all, mad non fat people seem to wonder how someone gets obese. Now, I'm probably like forty pounds overweight at least, I'm not like boom baba boom baba boom fat, but I'm a hefty guy and used to not be, so now I know.

Before I answer the 300 pound question (no I' not 300 pounds), I have an observation to make.

There are certain social rules people seem to follow, which they won't point out if you're bald or dumb or ugly or retarded or missing a limb. Two things, however, people feel good about saying are 1. Asking you when you're going to get married if you've been dating a girl for more than a year and a half (kind of a personal question, don't you think?) and 2. Pointing out that you're fat. About a a year ago, this woman I used to work with saw me on the subway. Now, she was like 4'6" and was drunk all the time -- kind of, let's say, rough around the edges. She saw me and said, "Damn, man you got FAT!" I said, "Yeah but you're still a fucking drunk midget". She looked at me, hurt. Why is one worse than the other? I guess people feel like being fat is a sign of laziness, and I suppose in a way (OK in a big way) it is.

So how does a formerly good-looking guy let it all go? What? I can't say I was pretty cute? Well did you get voted Homecoming King
.....and get booed off of the gym floor for being white? No? OK then, you unpopular ugly motherfucker!

Well, it happens slowly. You get a job after college, you drink, you eat after you drink, you sit in a cubicle all day and that drains your energy. After work you go home and eat and don't feel like going to the gym. And so it goes, and so it goes.

One day, you're 20 pounds overweight and are a little upset but don't do much. Then one day you're 40 and mortified. You feel bad about yourself but have built up bad habits and they're hard to break. You can break them but it feels hopeless and after a week or two you fall into bad habits again.

Well, having gotten a glimpse of what I've been, I'm trying to do something about it. I joined Weight Watchers and am, tonight, in front of all the loyal readers of Wheeeere's Luke, committing to losing 40 pounds by August 1, 2008. I'm going to make my weigh-ins a recurring thing both to keep up my commitment and to give you a healthy dose of schandenfreude.

So, I'm going to my first meeting on Tuesday. I'm going to keep up casual acquaintences, trim my eyebrows, ears and nose, get in shape and make 30 a kick-ass year!

(And don't forget to watch the funny video with the monkey right below!)

Friday Classic Video: One Chimp, No Cup

I'm a huge fan of nature programs. During the time when LJT, Diesal and I lived together, we would frequently spend hungover Saturday and Sunday afternoons watching National Geographic. My favorites are the big cats, while Diesal loved anything about the African plains. LJT, on the other hand, simply liked monkeys. So in honor of that, I'd like to share this little clip.

Oh, and I know chimps aren't monkeys, okay. They're in the Great Apes family, along with gorillas. So shut up, all our zoologist readers. (They are legion, lemme tell ya.)

Thanks, Evil Chili!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Toilet Bowl 2007: A Short Story

(This was originally written by Side Bar. Also, make sure to check out the hysterical video LJT posted below.)

To be read in the voice of that guy who did the voice-over on The Wonder Years. Minor liberties have been taken with the facts, but they are all true to the heart of the story. Please hit play on the video below to put you in the proper frame of mind.

Teaneck, New Jersey. Sunday, December 23, 2007.

The rain whipped the cracked, leaf-covered driveway. I looked out from our living-room window. Little daggers of water were spearing the ground relentlessly, bouncing off the pavement like hot oil sizzling in the frying pan.

"No chance." I said to my brother, MMG, flatly.

"I think you'll be surprised," he replied evenly, ever confident in his skills, which include both the power to forecast (and affect) the weather on hope alone and the ability to summon six other people telepathically.

As we hurried to the car, the rain somehow seemed to pick up, daring us to continue with this fool's errand, mocking our efforts to preserve not only a 20-year-old tradition, but a piece of our youth. A piece of ourselves.

"There is just no way anyone is going to be there," I said. "I mean, do you really think Andy B is even allowed out of the house in this weather? And Open Bar? It's not even 10 o'clock -- I'm not sure he's even gone to bed yet."

"I really think you'll be surprised," he replied -- still evenly, but with (maybe?) the slightest trace of uncertainty.

There were few other cars on the roads. Doubtless they were last-minute holiday shoppers cursing the weather, and perhaps themselves for waiting until December 23rd to make those final Christmas purchases.

Fortunately, we were not in that boat. Rather, we headed out to fulfill a tradition of many years. Every Christmas Eve, we played football -- a game we brilliantly titled the Toilet Bowl. As kids, we played full-tackle. Now, a bit older, we play (rough) touch. But it's the tradition that counts. No matter the weather.

As we turned the corner onto Windsor Road, approaching from the South, I glanced West. We used to go sledding down that big, sloping hill (though it seemed rather small today). Straight ahead we could see a few people standing in the parking lot at Benjamin Franklin (BF) Middle School. For a brief moment I wondered if we would have to find another spot, or if we would have to share the field with others. Curiously, it was not until we got even closer that I realized these were our people, our friends -- laughing at the rain, the hour, and the sheer ridiculousness of the situation -- who had come for the same reason we were there: to have fun, and to be 8 years old again, even just for a few hours.

Almost everyone who said they would be there was there. Walt Clyde was there, and his brother, Beer-on-the-Girl. Open Bar was present, accounted for, and wide awake. Chuck had driven all the way out from Queens. And Andy B was there, wearing six pairs of gloves, two sweatshirts, and insisting that he not be tackled.

As we started tossing the football around the parking lot, we laughed about the condition of the field, all of us wondering if we could make a game of it. Someone (Open Bar) complained that there was no beer. (Which was reasonable, considering that at the previous year's Toilet Bowl, a 30-pack of Miller Lite eased the pregame/halftime/postgame conversation.)

We walked the short distance from the parking lot to the North playing field. (BF has two fields, a North and a South and, for some reason, we've always played on the North field). At this point, it was Open Bar, Chuck, MMG, Walt Clyde, Beer-on-the-Girl, Andy B, and myself.

The field was a mess. Pools of standing water, patches of ice, all of it surrounded by and filled with slippery, slush-like mud. Basically, swamp-like conditions. Even the few who were smart enough to wear cleats could barely get any traction; those of us in sneakers could barely stand upright for more than a few steps. It didn’t matter. Or maybe it did. But probably, it was better this way.

We "borrowed" a few cones from a public-works truck parked nearby and sketched out two end zones and sidelines. Same rules as always: First-down marker at the midpoint of the field, no hand-offs, one blitz per four downs, five-mississippi before you can rush the QB. (Or was it seven?)

We chose up sides as we always do: the 1978 birthdays versus everyone else. Someone from had to play permanent-QB to keep the teams even, as there were only three 1978s and four non-1978s. But as fate would have it, just as the first drive got underway, Diesal D -- a proper 1978-er -- arrived (along with Danny G, who was carrying a small bag with an even smaller dog inside. Seriously.). Danny G took care of Gia (the dog), and Diesal joined our team, making it a true 1978-team against MMG, Andy B, Walt Clyde and Beer-on-the-Girl. For the 20th (or 21st? 22nd? 19th?) year in a row -- without ever missing a year -- on the day (or two) before Christmas, we all gathered in Teaneck for a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

The Toilet Bowl was underway.

The game itself proved to be quite a matchup. We (the 1978s) scored early and often, but the non-1978'ers hung in. But after consecutive interceptions by Open Bar, Diesal, and myself -- and, on offense, Diesal conjuring a Super Bowl XXI Phil Simms, as he relentlessly picked apart the non-1978 secondary, aided by the elusive receiving abilities of Chuck -- we began to pull away.

The non-1978s battled back, though, coming within a score or two of tying up the game. With third down and a long field to go, MMG dropped back to pass, looking for Walt Clyde deep. I was covering Walt Clyde on this particular play, and he flat-out burned me. The combination of his speed, my lack thereof, and the poor field conditions were no match; I had blown the coverage, and Walt Clyde was wide open. MMG heaved the ball deep, way too far over my head for me to do anything but watch Walt Clyde score. Then, just as Walt Clyde was about to haul the ball in for the touchdown, he lost the handle, and the ball fluttered to the soggy turf below. Rather than stopping, however, Walt Clyde just kept running. He never broke stride to curse his hands, or the weather, or the slippery ball that eluded his grasp . . . He just ran North along the tree-lined field, farther and farther out of view. It was hilarious.

On seeing that, we all agreed: Halftime. After a short break for water, wringing out our socks, and (in a few cases) a smoke, we reconvened. (But without Walt Clyde who, it may as well be said, had continued running all the way back to his home in South Jersey. Just kidding, Walt Clyde was forced to leave, much to his chagrin, as he had left it all out there on the field.)

Upon restarting, the 1978 squad continued to dominate (with Diesal now serving as all-purpose QB for both sides). As the 1 p.m. Giants kickoff drew closer, and our mud-soaked clothes beginning to weigh us down, both teams drove up and down the field, scoring on some hilariously executed plays. (Stunningly, the 1978s executed the Holy Grail of the schoolyard/pickup-football game: a double-reverse flea-flicker touchdown pass. Yes, dear reader, anything can happen.)

Naturally, a game like this delivered the funny, too. At one point, Diesal found the Brett Favre inside him and hurled a pass so amazingly fast that Andy B didn't even notice that it passed within 6 inches of his head. Had the pass fluttered a little bit to the right, this post would be an "R.I.P. Andy B's face," rather than this delightful retelling. (Oh, and at a different point, Andy B just missed a reception, slipped, and then -- before even hitting the muddy field below -- let out one of those classic screeches you only hear when one is in real fear. Seriously, he yelled before he even hit the ground. Sweet.)

About 20 minutes into the second half, on a seemingly innocuous play, Diesal dropped back and spotted Open Bar running down the left (East) sideline -- with a step on MMG. Diesal tossed a picture-perfect spiral that (would make Eli Manning cream in his shorts) seemed to hang in the air for an eternity . . . from Bryant School, to Lowell Elementary School, to our days at BF . . . The ball hung in the air and landed in Open Bar's waiting arms. A perfect pass and catch. Montana to Rice.

Open Bar never broke stride, but MMG was too close to give up. He pursued, Open Bar fled . . . Two grown men, sprinting after a youth spent playing football with friends. Open Bar neared the end zone, but didn't slow down, for MMG hadn't slowed his pursuit. Open Bar looked back, spotted MMG a few feet behind, and, with the widest shit-eating grin you'll ever see, flipped MMG the bird, and and continued running into the end zone for the score. MMG continued to pursue, wanting that final tackle, but Open Bar stayed just a few strides ahead.

The chase extended beyond the end zone. About 15 yards after the touchdown was clear and both men were well off the field of play -- but still running full-steam -- Open Bar (who was wearing cleats) came to a dead-stop, stepping just a smidge to his left. MMG (who was also wearing cleats) streaked past Open Bar and made one final bid to even the score. He slid into the mud, attempting to wipe Open Bar's feet out from under him. However, he missed, badly, winding up about 10 feet past his target. His slide through the mud, though, was tremendous.

There was Open Bar, holding the football in glory, while his pursuer dealt with the massive amount of new mud his clothes had just acquired.

Back on the field, Diesal, Beer-on-the-Girl, Andy B, Chuck, and I collapsed in laughter. Not only at the site of MMG on the ground (he claimed it was an intentional dive), but at Open Bar still flipping the bird. However old we all are now, in that moment, we were all just kids. Football, lots of mud, someone falling, a middle finger.

Soon after, we sat at the bar at Vinny O's, devouring sliders and hot wings and pitchers of sweet, sweet lager. Our legs were numb, but we all knew of the inevitable soreness to come -- something we never had to worry about years ago.

The cold rain from earlier in the morning had stopped. In spite of the conditions, we had played. Against the odds, we had met up once again to fulfill a tradition.

It used to be we would meet up in my basement after the game to play some Nintendo. Twenty years later, we simply moved over to Vinny O's to drink together. The camaraderie was still the same. And as every pitcher was emptied and drunk, the brotherhood was refilled and restored.

All was well.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Not Exactly the Rosary

I haven't posted in forever and, yeah, I'm kind of mailing it in here but this video is a-mazing.

This Australian teenager threw a party while his parents were gone and all hell broke lose, leading to the most disingenuous apology ever.

Follow-Up (and Atonement): Passing Over the 2008 Mets

A few days ago I complained that Omar Minaya was spending time in Israel, and derided the trip as distracting him from his duties as GM of the Mets. Mockingly, I queried whether Omar and Ehud Olmert would be playing stickball together. Well, apparently the joke is on me, because, as the New York Times reports today, Omar did in fact meet the Prime Minister of Israel, talked baseball, and apparently paved the way for some positive diplomatic banter with the soon-to-visit President of the United States.

Minaya, right, with his latest addition to the Mets' pitching rotation, 78 year-old Phil Neikro.

Omar, you have my apologies, especially since the article goes on to note that you remained current on your duties as GM, taking calls and e-mails as they came. Fair enough.

L'chaim . . . now go make a trade for Santana.

Monday, January 14, 2008

As Winston Wolf put it...

..."Let's not start sucking each other's dicks just yet."

What to think about the Giants' victory? Side Bar put it very well earlier (and read his post below, plus his excellent State of the Mets post before that), but my strongest reaction to tonight's game is...

How the fuck did this happen?

Earlier this year, I was fairly certain the Giants would suck. And by "suck," I don't just mean Godfather III suckage. I was thinking more like Showgirls. Going 0-16 was totally reasonable to me. Hey, we'd get the first draft pick, right?

But then the season started. After the first two games -- which, deserves to be noted, were losses to the now-defeated Cowboys and the next-up Packers -- I felt vindicated. Game three revealed a new side to the G-men, in a quality win against the Redskins. Following that, Big Blue ripped five more victories. Halfway through the season, we were 6-2. Not bad, right? Unless you remember that we were 6-2 in 2006 and 2005. This year, a second-half collapse not only seemed inevitable, it seemed justified. This team just wasn't good enough to merit any optimism.

I'm not sure how, but by the end of the regular season, the Giants were 10-6 and in the playoffs. I still refused to believe the team was any good. A mere matter of strength of schedule, I thought. The Giants beat up on some crappy teams, but against a talented foe, they were hopeless. Late-season losses to the Vikings and the rejuvenated Redskins seemed to confirm this.

Thankfully, 3 of the 4 writers of this venerable blog decided to do something about it. On December 23, 2007, we played the Toilet Bowl. A marvelous competition of the highest order. Fun was had by all. (And, I ask again, where the hell is the write-up of that game, dammit?!)

Following that, we headed over to Vinny O's to nurse our wounds and drink ourselves silly. But most importantly, we went to support the Giants as they entered the freezing atmosphere of Buffalo. The previous week's game gave no indication that these footballers would step up. But goddammit, we went there to drink our support in pitchers!

That Sunday afternoon, after we had given all we had on the Benjamin Franklin Middle School North Field, the Giants gave all they had on that field in Buffalo. Suddenly, Eli Manning remembered how to pass. Corey Webster finally lived up to the promise he showed me when he played for the national-champion LSU Tigers in 2003. And a newcomer named Ahmad Bradshaw ran for 150+ yards.

The Giants left Buffalo with a new confidence. On behalf of the staff of Where's Luke?, I would like to extend a huge "You're Welcome!" Clearly, after all, we inspired that performance.

Since then, the G-men have played their best football since, I dunno, 2000? When they went to the Super Bowl? I think so.

These last few games have been awesome. In particular, the victory over the Cowboys. I haven't had a moment of sports elation like that in a long time. It was typical of the games the Giants have lost, year after year. Up until R.W. McQuarters' (incredibly awesome) interception of Romo's pass in the end zone, I was 100 percent certain they would lose. I was happily, oh so happily, proven wrong.


Remember what the Wolf said. Remember that this team still isn't that good. The secondary is hanging by a thread. No Shockey. Plaxico's ankle is about as solid as the housing market. And Eli could very easily regress.

I will head into the Packers game the same way I have the past few weeks. I don't think they're gonna win, and for good reason. But there's a certain element of luck involved in any postseason. Any team can get hot, and ride that hot streak to a championship. But don't forget -- even if we beat the Packers, who will be waiting in the Super Bowl?

P.S.: I feel obligated to give Tom Coughlin a little credit for something. The last few years, bullshit penalties have not only killed the Giants, but it flew in the face of the conventional wisdom of Coughlin as a disciplinarian. However, tonight, the Giants were penalized 3 times for 25 yards, while the Cowboys were 11-84. This year, the penalties were not the problem that they were during the past few seasons. It's fairly obvious to point out that if you don't commit dumb mistakes, you'll do better. But people rarely give proper credit when something doesn't happen, and this year the Giants have played a much more disciplined game. That's definitely one reason they've improved, and -- even though I still don't like him much -- credit is due. Tom Coughlin, well done.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Popcorn Kernels

I am planning on writing a lot more about the Giants' stunning 21-17 upset of the Cowboys (either by way of an update to this post or a separate post), but a few preliminary observations come to mind:

1. The Giants were completely unable to tackle Marion Barber in the first half, and mostly contained him in the second half. A few of us watching the game observed that the Giants were tackling him much lower in the second half, which stopped Barber from evading the first tackle. If Coughlin and/or his assistants were the ones to address this at halftime, it is a tangible example of excellent coaching.

2. The Giants' offensive numbers were somewhat unimpressive, but that may have been due to the solid field position they were given by the solid kickoff and punt returns they enjoyed most of the day (when was the last time kick returns were one of the reasons the Giants won a game?)

3. R.W. McQuarters . . . Open Bar and I forgive you. For everything. What a game.

4. Eli Manning. He is far from Tom Brady at this point, and there are still plenty of reasons to be skeptical, but in his last three games (two of which were playoff games), Eli is 54 of 77 for 599 yards, eight touchdowns, and one interception. This quarterback and this team picked a spectacular time to play their best football of the year.

5. I would have paid money for the shot of T.O. crying after the game to reporters. It's tremendously satisfying to see a guy with that much arrogance ("getcha popcorn ready") cut down a few notches.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Passing Over the 2008 Mets

This is going to be ugly.

I have tried, I really have tried to remain calm, patient and, forgive me, even excited about the prospects for the 2008 Mets. I really and truly have. I dutifully bought my seven pack the other day (we opted for the Jose-Jose-Jose Pack, "a festival of Friday night games at Shea." A festival? Come on. Are we even trying anymore?). But denial ain't just a river in Egypt, and there is simply no way to put it off any longer.

This team is going to suck.

You and me both, pal.

Just look around. Starting pitching? Not really. We lost 200+ innings with the departure of Glavine (who, by the way, I still think struck that guy out in the top of the first inning against the Marlins, which would have changed that game, my life, and probably the price of tea in China), and have not replaced him. El Duque and Pedro are a combined 345 years old, and have three healthy limbs between the two of them. John Maine and Oliver Perez are both really nice second or third starters; neither is a front line pitcher. Mike Pelfrey has promise, but there is no way to be sure what we can get out of him. It gets worse from there.

The offense should be good, assuming Reyes rebounds from a lousy second half and Wright continues to develop, but Delgado is done, Alou won't start 100 games, and it is becoming increasingly clear that while Beltran is a phenomenal player, he is not the superstar the Mets paid almost $100 million for. From there we are in real trouble. If you sit close enough at Shea you can actually hear Luis Castillo's knees creaking, Ramon Castro is 300 pounds, and Brian Schneider is . . . wait, who the fuck is Brian Schneider?

So what have we been doing to improve this team?

Angel Pagan? Stop. What the fuck kind of deep psychological conflict is that shit? Angel? Pagan? Who am I? Well at .264 with four home runs in 70 games last year I'll spare you the suspense: you're a fucking chump. And you aren't the answer.

A vast, right field conspiracy?

Do you see where I am going with this? Brian Schneider, Angel Pagan, that other guy from the Nationals. This is not how you take a championship-caliber team with a few holes and get them over the top. The Mets need pitching, so we trade young outfielders for other young (and shittier) outfielders. The Mets need a catcher, so after Yorvit Torrealba (worst. name. ever.) doesn't pan out we promote The Pillsbury Doughmuchacho to do more of the catching.

I have been repeatedly astounded by what a lousy job Omar Minaya has done with the Mets this offseason, but this week really takes the Challah.

A few days ago, it was reported on mlb.com that the Mets were still very much in the running to nail down a trade with the Twins for Johan Santana. As any baseball fan knows, Santana is one of the best two or three pitchers in baseball, would provide a huge boost to the Mets rotation, and would single-handedly make them a much better team.

So how did our GM handle this news? What phone calls is he making? What meetings is he setting up to make sure that this tenuous and uncertain opportunity isn't squandered?

None. He is in Israel. As the New York Times reported last Friday,

General Manager Omar Minaya was getting ready to depart for an eight-day good-will tour of Israel.

Minaya’s involvement evolved from his friendship with the player agent Arn Tellem, who is leading the delegation and is on the board of directors of Seeds For Peace, which strives to improve relations between Israeli and Palestinian children.

The trip will mark the second consecutive off-season that Minaya has visited a foreign country for the first time. Last winter, Minaya spent time in Ghana as part of a delegation that was trying to heighten interest in baseball

Now look, I am all for doing good work and trying to use your celebrity to promote positive change, but you have got to be shitting me. The potential to land arguably the best pitcher the Mets have had since Gooden or maybe even Seaver, and Omar is at the fucking Wailing Wall sowing seeds of peace. No, no, fuck that. You need to get your ass in to your office, sit down with your people, and figure this shit out. The fact that the Twins are even willing to talk to the Mets with Reyes off the table is proof to me that this deal can get done, but our GM has better things to do?

And what the fuck is he going to do over there anyway? Shuttle diplomacy? What is Omar going
to go play stickball with Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert and just reason with them? This isn't Jimmy Carter we're talking about here. Shit this isn't even Gary Carter we're talking about here.

Maybe Omar is shopping for a new faith, maybe he digs brisket, or maybe the Angel Pagan thing confused him more deeply than we thought. Whatever the reason, one thing is clear: unless Elijah the prophet shows up at Passover this year with a nasty slider and a decent change-up, we're fucked.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hey Peter Man! (UPDATED)

Well you don't need a million dollars to do nothing, man. Just take a look at my cousin, he's broke, don't do shit.

-- Lawrence, Office Space

So I finally got around to quitting my job, and now I have a new job. In theory, this new job will provide a bit more stability in terms of hours, and give me less of a reason to bitch and moan about how hard I work. Hope springs eternal.

That's not really the point of this post, however. Instead, in between old job and new job are five weeks of no job (yep, five weeks). While I have always had all sorts of grand plans for what I would do in between jobs (hike Everest, volunteer for a campaign, work with the poor in Bogota (New Jersey, not Central America), etc., etc.) I am becoming more and more enamored with the idea of doing absolutely nothing.

Now that's not entirely true, because I have already scheduled a few weekend trips to Florida to golf and/or hang out, and Meg and I are going to the Dominican Republic at the end of February, but other than that, I really have nothing planned. Now I may look back on this time and think it was not well spent, but waking up at 11 to catch the new Price is Right (which is, alas, awful; a mere shell of the Bob Barker days), lounging around NYC all afternoon, and baiting Open Bar into ludicrous drinking excursions on a Monday seems like a pretty much can't miss idea. Stay tuned.


For the record, I normally only go back and edit posts other than my own (except for LJT, because he can't spell and has horrible grammar and he told me it's okay. By the way, anyone know of any open jobs for a dynamite copy editor?), but I felt the need to post this little Gchat Side Bar and I had soon after his post. What do y'all think?

Side Bar: yo we should do some sort of drinking game or drinking event and document it over the course of the day on the blog. it would be hilarious as we got more and more drunk.

Open Bar: sure. you gonna bring the laptop with us as we bar hop all day?

SB: yeah . . . I was struggling with that.
maybe some sort of blackberry where we email it to LJT and he posts every hour.

OB: I could definitely bring a notepad where we write shit down as events progress. do you have a camera phone for visual documentation?

SB: I have a digital camera . . . if we have a laptop we could upload the pictures.

we can do that afterwards. unless you're married to the live-blog thing

SB: I think the live updates would be funny, but so long as we have documented it correctly, it will be the same effect.
no one is going to be reading it in "real time" anyway

OB: we could incorporate an hourly visit to some internet cafe (and also document the increased annoyed-ness of the owner)

SB: I really, really like that.

OB: poor guy

SB: it's not his fault we're so drunk

OB: we should just give him $50 at 10 am and smile deviously

SB: are you volunteering me for that donation? let's save that for the IPAs

OB: i was actually thinking some kind of wager for the day. whoever wins, pays
I meant loses, pays

SB: an interesting proposition
I also think it would be funny to go to Shea like a month early and pretend to have tickets and start asking when the game starts/

OB: and then get increasingly irate every time some guy tells us IT'S FUCKING JANUARY

SB: and then be sorely disappointed when the security guard tells us to beat it
that would be fantastic
we would need a video camera for that

OB: i have a tape recorder and microphone, which is easily hidden

SB: wait . . . the more I think about this, it could be fantastic . . . we go out there pretending that we are being videotaped, have bogus tickets made up for the event . . . tape people's reaction to us being so crushed when we find out we've been had
sh*t. gotta run. talk soon.

OB: i'll think on it...
Sent at 8:01 PM on Thursday

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I'm Happy That Hillary Won New Hampshire

At this point, I'm honestly torn between the prospect of nominee Obama and nominee Clinton. My feeling is that today, at this moment, the idealistic vote goes to Obama, but the prudent vote goes to Clinton. Yesterday in New Hampshire, Clinton's victory served to ensure that Obama will, in time, become the prudent vote as well as the idealistic vote.

Follow me here. Let's assume Obama had won New Hampshire, effectively becoming the overwhelming favorite, requiring a miracle of sorts from Clinton to pull out the votes on super tuesday, Feb. the 5. This would allow Obama to keep walking around giving stump speeches about abstract ideals and may have actually, despite my facetious tone in the endorsement, started promising unicorns to Americans with enough space to keep them. What's gonig to happen now is that Obama is going to actually have to stand for something in order to get those votes. So that means he'll have had at least this extra month of January to hone his platform, explain why he doesn't want to require Americans to have health care, why he wants to have tea with Castro and Kim Jong Il, and how he's going to convince the Democratic congress to up the cap on the social security tax. (Ok, that last one was really my issue, but I'd like to see someone pick it up.) Bottom line, Barack needs this fight. If he's going to position himself on the Hugo Chavez side of center, then he's going to have to get ready for McCain (Mac is back!) coming hard with the Piggy and Samaneric conch busting, right leaning fire and brimstone.

A side note: I'm pretty pleased at the prospect of all 3(well 2.5) major Democratic candidates taking up the cause of universal health care. All of their plans are pretty similarly based on the Massachusetts model, with some alterations. Now this plan is flawed in the traditional Canadian/British model of universal health care, but it's I think the best we can do from where we are to where we want to get.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The profound enlightenment to be found in this article has driven me to drink

When I was about 8 years old, I distinctly remember Side Bar demonstrating to me that a simple test of logic proves that Santa Claus could not possibly exist. Now, you might think that's just kind of dickish. And it was. But even as a youngster, Side Bar's bullshit detector could not be denied. I should've thanked him, I suppose, for his refusal to permit my continued ignorance.

His point was simple: "How could one guy visit every kid's house in the entire world in just one night?"

I was dumbfounded. I felt like my whole world had been torn asunder and rebuilt in a flash. Those sorts of things happen when everything you've ever known turns out to be total bullshit, but yet somehow makes perfect fucking sense. Like when you find out Bruce Willis was a ghost the whole time!

Just today, I spotted an article which gave me that same rush of mind-blowing discovery that was heretofore unforeseeable. (Is it redundant to use the same syllable twice in a row? Probably.)

Here's the article, the title of which I will post below:

College Drinking Games Lead to Higher Blood Alcohol Levels

No fucking way.

And just for kicks, here's the first paragraph. It's filled with such illuminating insights, I'm amazed that an actual human being was able to so skillfully combine left-brained poetic majesty with right-brained scientific fact-finding. (Though there's no byline, so I guess it coulda been written by God or something.)
SUNDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The first on-the-scene study of college drinking behavior shows that parties with drinking games result in higher blood alcohol levels, while themed parties encourage college women to drink more heavily than men, new research suggests.
And finally, here's one more bit of 100%-pure amazingness:
The researchers found that playing drinking games, having a personal history of binge drinking, attending a party with many other intoxicated people, and attending a themed event all predicted higher blood alcohol levels.
Again, no fucking way!

Without bothering to read the actual study, I'm going to go ahead and predict what a few more of the predictions in this study will be.
  1. While participation in any drinking game tends to increase overall alcohol consumption, participation in certain drinking games which entail more drinking than others lead to participants drinking more alcohol than in other games involving less drinking by the participants.
  2. Usage of liquor as opposed to beer and/or wine in drinking games leads to slightly different levels of drunkenness. For example, chugging one pint of lager or ale will result in the participant getting "less drunk" and "less hospitalized" than if the participant were to chug a pint of whiskey or tequila.
  3. Certain drinking games which involve "puke points" (wherein a participant receives extra points for drinking enough to induce vomiting, then returning to continue playing; also known as a "boot-and-rally") will involve more participants vomiting than those which do not encourage such skills.
  4. Drinking alcohol leads to the drinking of alcohol.
In a separate study, an even more surprising result was found. See picture below.

(Pics from here and here.)

Friday, January 4, 2008

And now, introducing the next President of the United States...

Barack Obama!

I must admit, I did not like the idea of turning this [insert superlative] blog into a political mouthpiece, but after the past two weeks or so, I feel no choice but to concede a point.

And that point is that due to the courageous endorsement by the editorial staff of Where's Luke?, the winner of the Iowa caucuses was none other than the man himself...Mr. Barack Hussein Obama.

I have to give credit where it's due, and that's to Side Bar, who put together that incredibly insightful -- and, little did he know, influential -- post. But more than that, because I'm sure Side Bar knows it, too, the true credit belongs to Chuck.

After all, it was Chuck who put in the snarky little comments. (You know, those ones in parentheses!).

LJT, you did a tremendous job as campaign manager as well. Don't think I'd forget you!

But ultimately, I think the real reward should go to me. After all, I put up that breathtaking comment, which everyone read and thought about for a few days after, right? The sheer breadth of wisdom espoused in my comment was so cathartic that it prevented me from even sleeping that night, so I'm sure that's what happened elsewhere as well.

Anyway, congrats Barack, congrats staff of Where's Luke? In particular, congrats to Side Bar, Chuck, and LJT.

But most particularly, congrats to me, Open fucking Bar. It's nice to know that, after seeing the results of the beautiful and perfect democracy that is the Iowa caucuses, perhaps, the country will finally right itself.

Soldier on.

[Editor's note: Yes, I, Open Bar am predicting right now, this January 4th of 2008, that Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States. This is independent of any co-writers of this blog. Unless, of course, they choose to agree with me. Then, in that case, I will give them credit for saying it. After I did first, though.]

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Things That Are Overrated: The Iowa Caucus

First of all, the Iowa caucus doesn't even decide anything. It is not a primary, and the outcome of the caucus doesn't decide any delegates, doesn't win you any states, and doesn't lead to anything tangible in the way of getting you elected president. This thing is just level after level of confundity. As best I understand it from reading the Wikipedia entry on the matter, the caucus determines local delegates, who then go and elect county delegates, who then in turn go to elect district delegates, who then select the state delegates. AKA, this process is useless.

Also the way the caucuses are run is a fucking travesty. In order to vote you have to take several hours out of your day and go to the meeting place. Then when it's time to vote you don't get to cast a secret ballot, instead you have to stand in a group with the people who all support the same candidate. And then in some other corner of the room are the people who support another candidate. So you could get mad peer pressured into casting your vote. Or you could just be a non-Goldman who doesn't like to stand out from the crowd and so you linger for a second and then get in the group with the coolest people in it or whatever. That shit is mad rigged.

Also, the result of the caucus doesn't exactly line up one to one with the eventual results of each party's nomination. Since 1972, which is apparently how long the media have been sucking cocks in Iowa, the Deomcratic winners have been: 1972-Uncommitted (more people essentially abstained from voting rather than pick a candidate. Good way to spend your two hours at the caucus, people), 1976-Uncommitted, 1980-Jimmy Carter (incumbent), 1984-Walter Mondale (eventual nominee), 1988-Dick Gephardt (Dukakis finished 3rd), 1992-Tom Harkin (Iowa senator, the other candidates didn't run in Iowa), 1996-Bill Clinton (incumbent), 2000-Al Gore (only other contender was Bill Bradley), 2004-John Kerry (after the Howard Dean meltdown)

The Republican winners have been: 1972-I don't know, apparently only the Deomcrats made a big deal about 1972, 1976-Gerald Ford (incumbent), 1980-George Bush Sr. (Reagan won nomination), 1984-Reagan (incumbent), 1988-Bob Dole (George Bush Sr. eventually won, finished 3rd), 1992-George Sr (incumbent), 1996-Bob Dole (eventual nominee), 2000-Dubya (eventual nominee), 2004-Dubya (incumbent).

All of this is confounded too by the fact that the Republicans also hold something called a straw poll in Iowa, which is an even earlier vote held in the previous year that sets the tone for the Republican caucus.

I lost something there in the middle, but my point is that this is essentially just a media exercise where nothing gets acoomplished unless you decide to scream like a chicken afterwards (Byaaaaaahh).