Friday, November 2, 2007

The All-Underrated List

Recently published on ESPN.com was an article about why Houston Astro great Craig Biggio is the most underrated ball player of his generation. Of course, Caitlin and I have had great fun over the years discussing the merits of various underrated things including blueberries, Tennessee, and our hometown hero, Biggio. Also in the news was the now wildly underrated Carol Burnett and her publicized lawsuit w/ Family Guy getting tossed. I believe her to be underrated b/c nobody seems to discuss her any longer in the list of great pioneers of comedy even though she was one of the first great female comics of the modern television era.

So while the concept of underrated has always been a topic for Caitlin and me, I figured more people might enjoy an expansion of this topic as it has always brought us great amusement. Below is a list of 20 underrated people, places and things plus an explanation of why they're there. Excluded from the list are Craig Biggio, blueberries, Carol Burnett and Tennessee. They're already documented as being underrated.

Hakeem Olajuwon: One of the most dominant big men ever, he secured 2 championships, leads the NBA all-time in blocked shots, and in his prime he utterly destroyed David Robinson, Patrick Ewing and Shaq in an 18-month span. Yet he always seems overshadowed by Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem in the lineage of great centers. This doesn't seem right to me.

Idaho: Beautiful state, charming people, a city greatly on the rise in Boise, and one of the state's universities gave us one of the most memorable plays in college football history (Boise State's Statue of Liberty play). Tons of stuff to do outdoors including fishing and kayaking on the Snake River and world class skiing in Sun Valley and Hailey. And yet Idaho's neighbors Oregon and Washington get more love in the Pacific Northwest.

French Toast: Waffles and pancakes both have restaurants named after them, but I'll still take French toast over either one of them.

Kitchen sheers: One of the handiest kitchen utensils, I always use them especially when trimming the fat off of certain things like skirt steak. And they're easier to use plus safer than a knife and fork.

John Fogerty: The man penned some of the most memorable songs of his era, wrote some of the greatest rock n' roll in a 7-year span w/ Creedence Clearwater Revival, but is constantly overlooked by others of his era that burned out more quickly than he did. Hendrix, Joplin, and Morrison seem to gain more critical acclaim. But John Fogerty is still alive. The others aren't.

Iceland--Volcanoes, geysers, statuesque blonde women, and rounds of golf at 3 AM are all pretty awesome. The literacy level is at 90%, the country boasts little crime and it has one of the greatest parties scenes in Europe w/ the capital city of Reykjavík. It continously boasts one of Europe's best economies. It's also home to one of the world's most unknown liquores in aquavit. And yet the UK and Ireland dominate most of the headlines.

Brisket--Has brisket ever not delivered the goods? Ever? Ribs may get more critical acclaim, and sausage may be more versatile, but in terms of a great Texas BBQ, brisket is the one thing everyone can agree on.

Bass guitar--Yeah, I know I'm incredibly biased in this regard, but here me out. The bassist is typically the most unknown guy in the band. There's the lead singer that's the focal point, the guitarist gets the solos, the drummer is typically the loudest and craziest guy in the band (see Keith Moon, John Bonham or any of Spinal Tap's drummers). But the greatest rock star of all time, Gene Simmons, plays bass proving that despite being completely unknown bassists can still have a presence above and beyond the other three guys in the band.

Portugal--Spain is oftentimes romanticized, and I suppose w/ good reason, but Portugal is closer to the ocean, just as warm, and they've got a cool offbeat language. Lisbon might be the most unknown major city in Western Europe.

"Macho Man" Randy Savage--In his absolute prime w/ the WWF, we probably couldn't classify him as underrated. In fact, he's a great example of someone who was overrated then, but completely underrated now. He was an acrobatic pioneer in his day, someone who popularized top-turnbuckle manuevers now seen quite commonly in pro wrestling today. He was never quite as popular as Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant or the Ultimate Warrior, but looking back on it, he may have had more impact than those three in terms of how we watch pro wrestling.

The Muppet Movie--Given the popularity of films like Shrek, it seems more and more implausable that The Muppet Movie doesn't gain more acknowledgment as the Godfather of these types of movies. Forget about The Rainbow Connection for just one moment, and consider this. Jim Henson managed to get Steve Martin and Richard Pryor both in their comic primes to do cameos. He got Mel Brooks to play a mad German scientist, and got Madeline Kahn to reprise her role from Blazing Saddles. Read that again. He managed to weasel prostitute references into a kid's movie! How this film doesn't get mentioned as one of the great comedies ever is beyond me.

James Young--He was the lead guitarist in Styx. The band itself is properly rated (a tad overrated seeing as how they stuck around wayyyy too long and fired their trademark lead singer), but JY is wildly underrated, and isn't even in the discussion of great rock guitarists of his era. But any doubt as to whether he should be there should be dismissed when listening to the Paradise Theater album. JY whips out tasty butt-kicking riffs on Half-Penny Two-Penny, shifts to funk riffs halfway through the album, and caps it off w/ a shrieking, gutbucket blues solo on Snowblind that's so bad-ass, it feels like he should be wearing a top hat and writing riffs for his forthcoming 1987 album called Appetite For Destruction.

Pete Rose--Like O.J., society has focused more on what he's infamous for rather than what he was famous for originally. And probably w/ good reason too. But when the topic of greatest hitters of all-time come up, why is Pete Rose, the all-time hit king never in the discussion? He has more of them than anyone else in baseball history! Ted Williams, DiMaggio, Tony Gwynn, Ty Cobb, yeah they were all tremendous hitters w/out question, but doesn't Pete Rose deserve the same kind of respect despite his gambling issues? Even Shoeless Joe gets more praise for his hitting ability than Pete Rose has.

Acadia National Park--Conde Nast Magazine once called it the most beautiful place on Earth. But in the list of national parks, it doesn't even seem to register compared to Yellowstone or Yosemite. And it's not like it's impossible to get to either. It's about three hours north of Boston off of I-95 making more accessible than the aforementioned two. Coupled w/ the fact that a ferry ride from the park's center in Bar Harbor, Maine takes you to Nova Scotia, Acadia deserves more love than it's getting.

Dana Carvey--Most people forget this b/c Saturday Night Live in his era was absolutely loaded but he was the biggest and possibly the best cast member of that lot. And that was a cast that included Mike Myers, Phil Hartman, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, and Chris Farley. He gave us Ross Perot, George H.W. Bush, Garth, The Church Lady, pulled off an incredible one-man skit as Tom Brokaw announcing the death of Gerald Ford, but despite all of this, he still doesn't receive his due as one of the pantheon members of SNL.

Playboy--How is one of the world's best-selling magazines underrated? Consider this: The market is currently saturated by soft-core men's magazines that have more or less what Playboy offers. Porn itself is so saturated itself just by virtue of the Internet. One can literally find what Playboy offers just about anywhere on the Internet. And yet Hugh Hefner consistently finds America's best writers--everyone from Stephen King to Issac Asimov has contributed in the last decade--lands cutting edge interviews w/ big-name politicians, and has one of the best sports sections in any men's magazine. It is always relevant, but never mentioned amongst the best magazines of any genre. And frankly, it should be.

Christopher Moore--One of America's finest humorists, he actually managed to write a hilarious book about the first 30 years of Jesus's life w/out anyone being offended. That, in and of itself, is worth noting. He has put out innumerable best-sellers spoofing vampires, science, religion, and angels amongst others, but is still in the shadows of more famous humorists like Dave Barry and Kinky Friedman.

The Boondock Saints--Truth be known, this movie about two Irish-Catholic brothers that take on the Russian Mafia is starting to become properly rated. It should be considered in the Pantheon of great film noir movies made of the last twenty years, but it still hasn't gotten the acclaim of anything Tarantino has released. Willem Dafoe gives an Academy Award-winning effort as the gay FBI agent, but never even sniffed such a nomination. He was better here than he was in Last Temptation of Christ.

Albuquerque, New Mexico--Still a hidden American jewel despite its consistent growth. 300 days of sunshine year-round with no humidity, fantastic, damn near Pantheon level grub (check out Los Cuates) and world-class hiking through the Sandia Mountains. Put that together w/ really friendly people, a major university in town, and a recent study that said it was the fittest city in America, and you have a really likeable place. Regionally, though, Santa Fe, Denver and Phoenix get more love. Speaking of those places...

The Mountain Time Zone--Monday Night Football starts at 7 PM. It ends around 10:30 PM. That's enough time to get off work, head home, get something to eat, and then go out w/ your friends and listen to the likes of Kornheiser and Theismann verbally abuse the English language. Well, OK, that sucks, but the rest of it is pretty cool. The NCAA Tournament starts at 10 AM, and virtually all major sports events start at decent hours that won't leave you sitting in traffic when they start or going to bed in the 5th inning either.

We at Sports Karma are always looking to glorify the underrated, so please feel free to post comments as to what else needs to be added.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

"What am I doing wrong" - Gold digger slut

as seen on NY CL:

THE POST:
What am I doing wrong?

Okay, I'm tired of beating around the bush. I'm a beautiful (spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I'm articulate and classy. I'm not from New York. I'm looking to get married to a guy who makes at least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don't think I'm overreaching at all.

Are there any guys who make 500K or more on this board? Any wives? Could you send me some tips? I dated a business man who makes average around 200 - 250. But that's where I seem to hit a roadblock. 250,000 won't get me to central park west. I know a woman in my yoga class who was married to an investment banker and lives in Tribeca, and she's not as pretty as I am, nor is she a great genius. So what is she doing right? How do I get to her level?

Here are my questions specifically:

- Where do you single rich men hang out? Give me specifics- bars, restaurants, gyms

-What are you looking for in a mate? Be honest guys, you won't hurt my feelings

-Is there an age range I should be targeting (I'm 25)?

- Why are some of the women living lavish lifestyles on the upper east side so plain? I've seen really 'plain jane' boring types who have nothing to offer married to incredibly wealthy guys. I've seen drop dead gorgeous girls in singles bars in the east village. What's the story there?

- Jobs I should look out for? Everyone knows - lawyer, investment banker, doctor. How much do those guys really make? And where do they hang out? Where do the hedge fund guys hang out?

- How you decide marriage vs. just a girlfriend? I am looking for MARRIAGE ONLY

Please hold your insults - I'm putting myself out there in an honest way. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I'm being up front about it. I wouldn't be searching for these kind of guys if I wasn't able to match them - in looks, culture, sophistication, and keeping a nice home and hearth.

it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
PostingID: 432279810

THE ANSWER

Dear Pers-431649184:

I read your posting with great interest and have thought meaningfully about your dilemma. I offer the following analysis of your predicament. Firstly, I'm not wasting your time, I qualify as a guy who fits your bill; that is I make more than $500K per year. That said here's how I see it.

Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me, is plain and simple a crappy business deal. Here's why. Cutting through all the B.S., what you suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party and I bring my money. Fine, simple. But here's the rub, your looks will fade and my money will likely continue into perpetuity...in fact, it is very likely that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won't be getting any more beautiful!

So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning asset. Not only are you a depreciating asset, your depreciation accelerates! Let me explain, you're 25 now and will likely stay pretty hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you!

So in Wall Street terms, we would call you a trading position, not a buy and hold...hence the rub...marriage. It doesn't make good business sense to "buy you" (which is what you're asking) so I'd rather lease. In case you think I'm being cruel, I would say the following. If my money were to go away, so would you, so when your beauty fades I need an out. It's as simple as that. So a deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage.

Separately, I was taught early in my career about efficient markets. So, I wonder why a girl as "articulate, classy and spectacularly beautiful" as you has been unable to find your sugar daddy. I find it hard to believe that if you are as gorgeous as you say you are that the $500K hasn't found you, if not only for a tryout.

By the way, you could always find a way to make your own money and then we wouldn't need to have this difficult conversation.

With all that said, I must say you're going about it the right way. Classic "pump and dump." I hope this is helpful, and if you want to enter into some sort of lease, let me know.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Older And Wiser...But Still Bad-Ass (Short Story)

I got out of work at 10:30 PM last Thursday night, and went immediately over to Chris's house. You might imagine that I got out late that night, but on the contrary. I work until 1 AM so this was actually a reprieve for me. I had stored in my trunk a bottle of Jameson's 12-year. Back in the day, under the same circumstances this bottle would have been 100-proof Southern Comfort that I probably would have poured w/ some OJ, guzzling all while I made the drive south. But the days of manic, booze-induced speed trips down I-35 are done permanently, thank God.


But some things remain. And when Brad's in Austin, time doesn't necessarily reverse itself. We just add a little bit more to the clock.


I arrived at Chris's a half-hour later. I pulled up a chair and a glass of ice, and poured myself a little Jameson's 12-year on the rocks. Brad was in town from Los Angeles partly for Saturday's Texas-Nebraska game, but more for a job interview in Houston the next day. In years' past, we would have greeted each other at the door w/ a salutation more appropriate for Flounder and Blutarsky. Instead, he was discussing the recent passing of his father. Kevin chimed in about how he just became a father. I discussed how my father and mother just got divorced. And Chris countered, even while all of us were being unusually maudlin, about how he was still one bad mother. We laughed, but not hilariously. I poured another Jameson's for me, and made sure the rest of the crue's glass was full.



I woke up Friday morning feeling like a Bukowski novel, and smelling like the gastric innards of a Dublin distillery. I'm getting older, and in this case, definitely not wiser. I staggered like a punched-out welterweight through my kitchen and slammed some Advil back w/ an Austin water chaser. Jim Rome was on my radio ranting about the Yankees or the Red Sox or college football or something. Maybe he was reading emails, maybe he was venting about how we need a college football playoff, maybe he was interviewing my father taking the third string QB gig w/ the Rams. Whatever. It was irrelevent. Even my ears were bloodshot, nauseous, and on the verge of puking. I went to work eventually.



Saturday morning, I woke up booze-free, but my cell phone was buzzing around 10:30 AM. Brad was already on the 40 Acres, and was a few beers down to boot. God Bless Him. Tailgating on a Saturday afternoon during the college football season is a Southern artform. The canvas is typically an asphalt lot against a blue sky filled w/ mesquite smoke. The colors can vary but typically our Southern Picassos paint w/ rich, pecan whiffs of brisket and a spill of Stubb's spicy BBQ sauce. Jack Daniel's, Shiner Bock and Bloody Mary's are used liberally by the swirls of elder alums, and scantily clad sorority hotties alike.



We weren't scheduled to beat the hell out of Nebraska for at least another four hours. "Get your ass down here," Brad said. I showered up and arrived in the shadows of our alma mater and Royal Texas Memorial Stadium around 12 noon. Kevin and Brad met me in the Shiner Bock tent. Kevin's originally from Shiner, TX, the little town that bears the name of my favorite beer. He knows a few people that could get us into their tent for all their fixings. And their beer. Lots of their beer. The brisket was cooking, ready for consumption, and they had at least seven more cows worth of meat, so skimping on the grub wasn't necessary. I grabbed a Shiner, and a plate full of meat, slathered it in BBQ sauce and began to coat myself into a greasy frenzy. College football Saturdays in TX rock, no matter where you go, unless you go to College Station where I'm not even sure the Aggies allow anyone to eat or booze until they get their jihad chants just right. But I don't think anyone would argue that there is nowhere else better in TX than a Longhorn tailgate. The band next to us was playing a revved-up, punk cover of Folsom Prison Blues. The tipsy girls were walking by, yelling "Hook 'em" to no one and everyone in particular, including the band. Nebraska was about to get killed. I sipped my beer, took another bite of my brisket and grinned. And then Domingo showed up...



Domingo was one of my ex-roommates from college, now living out in the Bay Area. We were notorious troublemakers in school, perhaps our most famous moment being down in South Padre Island, where we spent approximately a whole week drunk, and mated w/ more women than Gene Simmons. And apparently, SPI wasn't nearly enough for him b/c the minute he touched down in Austin, Hooters' waitresses were giving him their numbers. Seriously. He has pictures to go w/ their numbers and everything. It must be his accent b/c Lord knows I can't figure out what else it might be.



Domingo was going to the game, but Brad and I weren't. Eventually, after gawking at his pictures, we parted ways. He was going to Houston after the game. Brad and I needed to go downtown, and assault our liver w/ gin. In fact, we needed to go to the nearest sports bar, and assault our livers w/ gin now. We had a glorious number of games to choose from including our Longhorns. We ordered up some grub, grabbed our gin, and Brad presented me w/ some big news: He got the gig in Houston. Mad love to him. His first drink was on me. And since he'll be a two-hour car ride a month from right now, I figure this won't be the last drink on me either.



Halftime rolled around, and Kevin called us. The game sucked, and not b/c we were beating them so badly. They were actually up by two touchdowns. He said he wanted to meet us up at the bar. We weren't going to deny the man a seat as long as he paid for the round of drinks. Somewhere around the 3rd quarter, Kevin showed up, and whipped out his cash. If memory serves me right, this was Kevin's first round, my seventh, and Brad's 22nd. He had some catching up to do.



Eventually, we won. We certainly didn't beat the hell out of them, although we should have. 28-25 was the final score. Still enough, I still live here in Austin, Brad will live in Houston, and those fat slobs HAD to go back to Lincoln. Sucks to be them.



We meandered down to Chris's place after the game for more gin, victory cigars, and to lay out the plans as to how we were going to lay waste and conquer downtown Austin that night. First stop: Cedar Street Courtyard.



I don't know who told Brad this, or sold him on this idea, but he was told that Cedar Street Courtyard in the heart of Austin's Warehouse District was this supple land where MILF's grew on aspen trees, and the booze flowed like lapping tongues of ocean. All I know is that we showed up, and there were a bunch of women shaking their asses to a band playing Bon Jovi covers. They were screaming at these middle-aged jackholes like they really were Jon and Richie. They were throwing panties at them. Not us. Fuck 'em, I said. I wasn't really in the mood to deal w/ some chick who gets out once a month and was going to throw her goods at a guy pretending to rock. Chris and his girlfriend, Mandy, were w/ us, and they wanted to grab a bite to eat next door at Saba. It's this cool tapas bar, that's always playing chill house music from Sasha, Digweed and the ilk. I couldn't wait to split fast enough.



Brad and I ordered more booze; they ordered up grub. Slackers. Saba actually sits directly on top of Cedar Street Courtyard and just to the east. We could look down at the fray and make fun of everyone dancing like an idiot to You Give Love A Bad Name while we jived to Digweed. Somewhere around my second Saba drink, Brad and Chris were talking about the last time they were boozing this close to a window. You know, as opposed to the last time they were boozing next to a Guatemalan hooker or a three-assed giraffe. Whatever. They concurred that the last time they were swilling it up w/ this kind of view would have been at a 2004 wedding in Fort Worth where Kevin first hooked up w/ his future wife. They pressed their ball sacs up against a window to taunt him while he was making out w/ her. Kevin saw what was going on, saw their walrus-sized nads, and couldn't stop laughing while he was tongue wrestling w/ his soon-to-be spouse. Brad declared that this must be done again. Again, I say, whatever. I wasn't at that wedding, and frankly, I like my gonads where they belong. But Brad believed this is a task that must be followed through after Chris and Mandy were done w/ their food. And he's preached to Chris w/ the fervor of Billy Graham and Joel Osteen that he must do this too. Brad became the Oral Roberts of ball sac showing, preaching to our intimate congregation that Chris MUST show his lordly goods to the masses below or God would call him Home.



After the tab was paid and the dishes were cleared, Brad pushed the table out slightly, and stared down at the Bon Jovi-loving masses like he was tucking in his shirt. He wasn't tucking in his shirt. He gave the crowd what they should have wanted to see, but they never stared back in appreciation. Or even wanting. And unlike crusaders of the past, Brad went on this pilgrimage alone. Neither Chris nor I joined him. Mandy has no balls so she was clearing on the outs. He walked away from the window w/ his junk in tact and left the window unstained. But permanently scarred.

Last up on the night was the Belmont. It's on 6th Street, but it's not where the massive string of collegiate dive bars are. It's further up the way, pocketed next to a sushi restaurant. We were greeted by a concrete courtyard, bebop jazz and a swoon of bourbon-glazed female eyes. We stepped inside past the courtyard, and found ourselves a sleek, black booth hidden in a wooden enclave. If you've seen Swingers it looked like the Dresden--a place where Double Down Trent and Sue took Mikey to down martinis and get him out of his woman funk. Brad and I looked at each other immediately and started reciting lines from the flick. We were two big bears w/ claws and fangs just trying to kill the bunnies. But the booze still took center stage over the bunnies.

We were drinking, we were chuckling, we were mellow and cool to the stylings of Miles and Monk. Our booze consumption at this point was rivaling the legendary tales of Modern Drunkard. Brad, himself, had been drinking since 9:30 AM Saturday morning. I admit our prowess isn't immortal, but we wondered aloud if a Zen-like space exists between the mere mortals and the Rat Pack.

However, I doubt that Dean and Frank would have laughed as hard as we did when we saw the Belmont's table top advertisement for their happy hour appetizers. They were passed appetizers. Yes, you heard me. Passed.

Brad and I laughed not like Dean and Frank, a hearty, man-like, Jack Daniel's induced howl. Rather, we were the gin-spitting Beavis and Butthead, a maddened cackle without any sort of suppression. "Passed appetizers?" Brad bleated. "Seriously, does the waiter come up to you shit in a bowl and tell you to share?" "What about passed pate?" I asked. We collectively roared at that. The bourbon-glazed female eyes that were originally staring us down were now shifting away in uncomfortable disgust. Not that we cared or even noticed. We were the Demigods of Swill ruling Austin w/ a mighty fistful of ninety-proof power. Houston will be conquered next month. But as the lights came on to kick us out of the Belmont, we stood wobbly but strong overseeing our booze-soaked kingdom. Coltrane played our coronation music while we sauntered out into the streets. The jubilent drunks filed out on to 6th Street and into their cars that they shouldn't have been operating but did anyway. Our taxi was there to take us away from the masses. We sped away in our yellow car chauffeur. Far from the people that wished they were us.

I woke up late the next day and watched football for most of it. I met up w/ Brad over at Kevin's place and we played w/ his kid, trying to help her crawl amongst her blocks. It was like we picked up where we left off on Thursday night. Brad's father had passed. Kevin is a father. But, no matter how many responsibilities we share or grievances we carry, we still proved w/out question that we were still a collective one bad mother. It's refreshing still to know that even after all these years, after all the crap that's happened in our lives, we can still bring it.

Kevin's daughter fell asleep w/ her busy blocks all around her. He put her in the crib, came back downstairs and flipped on the Patriots. He poured us some Jack, and we quietly watched Tom Brady decimate the Redskins. Like Brady, we had our championships.

Just like him, we're looking for more.