RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition. He does have an amazing PATREON, but also *normal* ARTIST WEBSITE too.

Thursday, December 31

J.J. Krupert Top 13 Countdown - December '09

The last J.J. Krupert list of the decade motherfuckers. Welcome to the Two Thousand & Teens. Music makes it all easier, or not fucking suck so much, or something. People who don't listen to music are untrustable, and will eventually do you wrong for lack of proper humanity inside themselves. It's not opposable thumbs or the ability to build tools or any of that scientific theorems that distinguish us from the other animals; it's the fact our molecules are rhythmic, dancing protons and neutrons and electrons, creating an energy that you can live within or without or ignore completely and fill up with other things. Music speaks to that rhythm, and each person's proton neutron electron march can vary, meaning when I like screwed and chopped musics but you don't, my electrons have more drag to their asses, while you're more fired up on protons. It's all science, though no studies have proven any of this, because true science can't be proved in a laboratory because laboratories are sterilized and real life shit is never sterile. These, apparently, are the songs that have moved my molecules around inside a little cybertron music mechanism the past month more than others. It's been a slow month since my usual J.J. Krupert Gaypod times are in the truck, going back and forth to work, and work's been non-existent the past 30 days. But these have made the strongest plus/minus play/skip factor in the last billing cycle, please remit.
#1: “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” by Daft Punk - Let me immediately clarify by saying I've never of my own volition enjoyed or even listened to this song. But it is a happy one for me. You see, my oldest kid did some riding with her uncle at some sort of Range Rover off-road course thing, and she came back saying she really liked a Kanye West song, "Stronger". I had stolen that long ago from inside the internets back when we were doing the Xpert Whiteboyz thing regularly, so I put it on her gaypod. She was playing it one day when we were riding to ballet class, which is like a 45 minute ride to the cold industrial satellite community of Crozet, and I asked her what about the song she liked, being I hate Kanye West. He is pop sounding enough to get played on urban radio stations 7 times an hour to trick black people into thinking he's some sort of icon pop rap star, and he's off kilter and non-threatening enough to make white people happy, so he's gotten pushed as far better than he really is, in for real terms. And my kid, although a kid, has usually had pretty good tastes in things and been able to see through bullshit. So I asked her what it was about that song she liked, especially considering I also put a few other tracks off that album on her gaypod and she didn't like any of them. Well, it was nothing to do with Kanye but just the weird electronic chorus part. I felt a weight off my shoulders, or at least a temporary reprieve until my kid starts liking shit I think is stupid, because Daft Punk is at least slightly more tolerable than Kanye West. Okay, way more tolerable. If something's going to be gay, I prefer it to be outright gay and not closeted and pretending. So I downloaded the Daft Punk with this song, and put it all on my oldest kid's gaypod, and she loved it, and played it a million times. The thing is, she knows I write about songs that get played the most on my gaypod, and she knows her playing habits, if we share songs between our gaypods, affects my countdown, which she knows I do on a blog, even though she doesn't read it. Hell, we don't really let her play on the internet at all, and never unsupervised, because I know the internet is a manhole cover into the devil's abyss; I'm looking at that retarded evilness every night and laughing about it. But as a parenty, you try to protect your kids. However, she knows I write about the songs, and she asked me to put this on my gaypod so as to force me to have to write about it, even though she won't see this, except she probably will in a few years. But at least now I can delete stupid Daft Punk off my 2 gig gaypod. (And this is what I wrote; so if you google this - or whatever is the search for things way kids do that in the future you come from - Gypsy, I still probably hate this song. But it's better than Kanye West at least, whose futuristic styles look pretty stupid now, don't they? Yeah, just like the '80s were for my age people. Kanye was retro future.)
#2: “Kings of Speed” by Hawkwind - Psychedelic music infused with methamphetamines obviously speaks to me, as I can't get enough of Lemmy era Hawkwind. I know Motorhead has become a great thing in this world of our's, but sometimes I secretly wish Lemmy had won the battle for Hawkwind's soul, along with that dancing chick Stacia (most beautiful semi-famous chick ever in my opinion), and he'd kept making his mark with music into that form of band. Lemmy is an international hero, and were I to become filthy rich beyond belief, one of my first actions would be to just pay Lemmy and Billy Gibbons to hang out together while I had somebody videotape them talking. I'd also get Lemmy to tell me whatever happened to Stacia.
#3: “Superhero” by Ani DiFranco - I cannot rightfully explain why I've been listening to so damn much Ani DiFranco, but I have been, even tonight coming home from Crozet. One theory I have is that as the father of three daughters, the oldest of which is about to hit 11, I'm prepping myself to have the proper back to support their minds' being right and not putting up with a bunch of bullshit from dudes. I'm not old enough to have forgotten what teenage guys think about. Hell, I still think what they think, not as often as when I was younger, but as an older man I do complicate it with elaborate situations and odd fetishes. But beyond brainwashing my children into being a take-no-shit little goddess chick, I don't know, once you get past the whole man-distrusting, borderline lesbianism of early Ani DiFranco, it's some good shit. Strong guitar, mad attitude, and some strange shifts in style and cadence. It's some really good shit, that I can't stop listening to.
#4: "She Said" by Hasil Adkins - This was lower on the list, then the other night I was cooking dinner and playing my gaypod out loud and this song came on and the kids recognize it, but my baby (who is almost 2 so not so much a baby) is my kindred spirit in this house, so me and her and the middle kid who is the wacky one, we'd stand still while Hasil was doing the build up, and then when he went into the "Hooo Haaa Hooo Haaa Haaa"s, we'd do herky jerky dances around the kitchen. We tried to make the oldest kid, who is in her tweens and too cool for pretending to Hunch, to do the herky jerky dancing too, in time with the Hooing and Haaaing. She was having none of it, because she hates all music that sounds like a hoedown to her, and Hasil Adkins falls into that category, but at a very low budget. But the baby was on board, and every time the song ended, she'd go "Genn!" for "again" and we played it again, like eight times in a row until my wife got sick of it too and really when it comes to sensible activities, only me and her and the oldest kid's votes count, so it was 2 to 1, and I had to stop repeating it and doing the herky jerky dance.
#5: “Do the Funky Donkey” by Otis Turner & The Mighty Kingpins - See, we should've been doing the Funky Donkey instead. My bad to my kids, in case they too grow up and end up googling things and finding all the retarded shit I write. In fact, let me just apologize to all three of you here right now. Actually, fuck that. You're lucky to have a dad like me. Shit is bodacious up in the house, and always was. You know that. You wouldn't be what you are today if it wasn't for me and your mama being who we were and still are because you can't change a freebird. Fly high.
#6: “Freedom” by Richie Havens - Yeah, this is the song from the Woodstock soundtrack, and it's just some simple guitar pounding made up shit, but it's a strong song. I actually downloaded like two Richie Havens CDs when I was looking for this, also because some "African Herbsman" song I had been listening to was a dub version of Havens' "Indian Rope Man". I can tell you, from going through the aural processes, that most Richie Havens is not every enjoyable. But man, he was dialed in when he did this song, and made a career out of one moment. You gotta love America. Or maybe you don't. Maybe you want to attack it by making airplanes catch on fire or lose control of themselves. Well, in America, you have the freedom to do that, or at least try and get away with it. We da best.
#7: “Easy” by The Commodores - This song is mellow personified, and makes me want to lay in the bed on a warm spring Sunday morning with the ol' lady, buck naked the both of us, breeze blowing through the curtains, getting nasty as we wanna, slow and easy, taking our time, till like halfway through this song. Then we gotta go fix breakfast for the kids or run errands or answer the calls from the Home Depot card and tell them how we're gonna pay them eventually but we just don't have any money right now. You know the deal. How did Lionel Ritchie do this song and then do nothing else ever in any form that means a damn thing to me now? And how did he make that Nicole kid of his? Perhaps jheri curl juice causes your children's eyes to look like they are being squeezed from out their head, like fetal alcohol syndrome but different like.
#8: “Singer Man” by The Kingstonians - I had downloaded a bunch of Trojan box set CDs from inside the robots, and had a bunch of that shit on my gaypod, and somehow the only one that has survived over the months is this song. I am not really sure why, but something about it does not annoy me like most reggae does fairly soon upon unzipping.
#9: “Monkey David Wine” by David Allan Coe - The early David Allan Coe stuff, Buckstone County Prison and Penitentiary Blues albums in particular, has been my background music the past five months when I walk through the backyard mud to the chicken coop or now to the pig pen with the old Nissan Frontier hood stood up with rebar as their door. This song is wacky, prison-crazed voodoo man David Allan Coe at his ultimate, and this song with "Walkin' Bum" is the best two-song combo any crazy redneck dude could ever hope to be, youtube age or any time. Hasil Adkins could've smoked PCP-laced crack and not come up with shit like "Monkey David Wine", and I love Hasil Adkins. It is amazing amazing retarded white trash from the south where plenty of non-whites influence your daily routines type music.
#10: “Sacalo Sacalo” by Los Diablos Rojos - A selection from The Roots of Chicha: The Psychedelic Cumbias of Peru, which I downloaded when I got into my cumbias rebajadas kick a few months back (basically, screwed and chopped cumbia music). The Roots of Chicha album is cumbia music revolving around the use of the hallucinogenic chicha plant. It's a really fucking great album, and if you have sterile white people friends always playing Buena Vista Social Club when you're over for shrimp enchiladas or fish tacos and Mexican beer, usually something other than Corona since that would be too obvious for sterilized white people, probably Negro Modelo, well you can bust this out as an amped out alternative when you invite them over to have pulled pork pupusas and some hot as fuck tamales with a case of Sol beause it's the cheapest Mexican beer available at the closest Food Lion, at least in the bottle. You could rock the 12-pack cans of Modelo Especiale with lime slices stuffed into the top. If you at all like the concept of "world music" but hate the didjeridoo Putamayo crap most world music you seek out ends up being, I suggest you google searh The Roots of Chicha and download that bitch pronto from some music stealing blog.
#11: “Alone & Dying” by Hank Williams III - One of the best things I did with Audacity was take the second disc of Straight to Hell and break it up into individual songs. That second CD is the greatest shit ever, drugged out screwed and chopped degenerate country music, and I wish an entire genre of music developed from it. Hell, I've done my part, because I'd say my slowed down classic rock breakbeat pitch shifted hobo raps I do in the camper are closer to that second disc of Straight to Hell in intent and delivery than it is to most anything else on this earth. I was really disappointed with Tricephus' last CD, as it kinda of seemed like coasting off the fumes of how bad ass Straight to Hell was. Then again, it's probably hard to follow up a fucking classic like that. Still though, I know Hank III struggles with the country schtick because he wants to do the rock shit, but the simple fact of the matter is there's nothing outrageously original about the rock shit he and Assjack do, which is not to say it's bad, just that it's part of a larger genre of trashy hillbilly punk, along the lines of Antiseen and pretty much any band that used to be involved with the Carbon 14 magazine I used to write for. But the degenerate country shit, there's nothing like that out there. Sterilized pseudo-outlaw degenerate stuff like Jamey Johnson gets popular as fuck on country radio for simply mentioning cocaine or jail, just barely. Hank III's fucked up country is the real deal, and it makes me sad for rural America that more people don't love it. Toby Keith's popularity is just another sad sign as to how badly Wal-Mart has Wal-martinized us of any real soul in our lives.
#12: “Fire on the Mountain” by The Grateful Dead - This has somehow survived far longer in the corners of my gaypod than I expected. Honestly, I was surprised it was still on there. But I ain't gonna front, I dig this song if it sneaks up on me without me knowing it's about to play.
#13: "The Lamb" by Aphrodite's Child - This was strange prog-rock album I found inside the internets about Babylon, which I had assumed was gonna be weirder and more Behold a Pale Horsey than it ended up being. Still, parts of it have survived for months on my gaypod, because it's fucking weird. I am no fan of prog rock because to me that means "fucking nerdy rock music" with lyrics in iambic pentameter and time changes that add nothing except complications to a good time. But Aphrodite's Child is worth checking out if you're into that nerd rock type bullshit from '70s.

Starr Hill The Love Wheat Beer

AFFORDABILITY: The Starr Hill variety of beers tend to be cheaper around here, at least cheaper to comparable hoity-toity brands of beer, but they also be brewing it locally in Crozet, Virginia, right by where I rent my porns while the kid is in ballet class. The company is owned and jugulated by Coran Capshaw, the music mafia demon who managed The Dave Mathews Band brand of sterilized, homogenized, noodley "jam" music to palatial palatability to suburbia. So I may get this cheaper than you might in your individual neck of the woods, if available at all, but sometimes I've gotten 6-packs that taste foul like they wasn't made right or went bad or something, so I'm not entirely sure they don't ship out the best tested batches, and then sell the rest at a slightly reduced rate locally, figuring local people are so far up Coran Capshaw's ass that they've given him half the city of Charlottesville for next to nothing, let him do whatever he wants, so he could serve them piss water and they'd smile and slap him on his shoulder and go, "Great microbrew Coran. You've certainly done it again, haven't you?" 2 out of 5.
DESTROYABILITY: This is a Starr Hill flavor that multiple people whose opinion I would not readily shit upon love, so I tried to give it a fair shot; but the simple fact of the matter is, for me at least, this beer tastes like an ass. You can call it something sweet and put a purty label on it all you want, but it's still an bottle full of ass. And not good ass, like slang for sex, but bad ass, like toddlers in car seats going "EWWWWWWWW" when you ride by a farm spreading pig biosolids on their hay fields in early autumn. 0 out of 5.
LABEL AESTHETIC: I will say this about this here The Love beer, it has the most beautiful label I've ever seen. My born day is Valentine's, so heart type things make me think of riding around the sun aimlessly yet successfully yet again, and I like thinking about that, especially when it involves presents from other people, preferably liquid presents that alter the way my brain be ticking along. I know Starr Hill shares a workforce with Coran Capshaw's army of minions in other similarly located companies, and most of the time when I look at their labels, I would expect more of their graphic designers, because usually it's pretty stupid. Like, I know every bartender on Earth is a "graphic designer" but you don't have to actually use those people and their limited mental resources for actual graphic design. That's what a lot of Starr Hill things have looked like over the years. So this is a nice exception to that personal rule of how they're going to suck. 4 out of 5.
CORPORATE MASTER: Coran Capshaw = local variety of white devil. We don't have enough 5%ers around here to make people more aware of that, but I'd like to think I'm part of the 10% and not the 85 who don't have a clue, so I'm here to tell you, Coran Capshaw = white devil. 0 out of 5.
OVERALL AMBIANCE: All in all, this is a limited basis beer, which seems to be a gimmick to trick people yearly into being like, "Oh snap, that's my beer!" about some shit ass beer. Then again, maybe the business practices of Starr Hill locally have caused me to buy some tainted, half-spoiled batches on the cheaper tip. Who knows? The point is, outside of a purty label, there ain't much to this beer other than a purty label. 1 out of 5.

Saturday, December 26

Williamsburg Alewerks Pumpkin Ale

AFFORDABILITY: This here pumkin ale came in 6-packs that weren't necessarily affordable, again via the fine selection at the Country Blessings store in town, but you know what man? Financially, I'm going down in a blaze of fury, ignoring most phone calls, answering machine with like 17 robot messages about past due payments. In that sense, if you are going down, go big on the way. I guess. 3 out of 5.
DESTROYABILITY: At this point, as I try to limit my alcoholic intake, like Nascar slowing down their rockets at Talladega, I don't know rightly or not if something destroys me, so much as if it creates in me a desire to overindulge. Me and my ol' lady, we are big fans of good pumpkin ales, thus far in our life consisted mostly of Buffalo Bill's, which seems to be lacking something in recent years. But I can tell you this here Williamsburg AleWorks was the real deal pumpkin ale, that had us wishing we wasn't poor so we could buy the last two cases of it. Shit, on Halloween night, I made the old guy at Country Blessings let me bust open an unopened case of it to snag a couple last six-packs that I shouldn't have boughted. If I had the money to be like, "Hey, let me put a kegerator in my house," this would be the beer I try to put inside such a set-up, which would probably be on the opposite side of our old ass house as the woodstove. Or more likely I'd have it outside by the camper hooked up to an extension cord that also ran to the Christmas lights wrapped around the chicken coop. This is the best pumpkin ale ever, and tastes like a pumpkin ale should taste, which is like somebody dripped some pumpkin pie inside a beer. Too many fauntleroy beers think "pumpkin ale" means a little nutmeg spice on top of a mouthful of earthy hops. Shit man, too many fauntleroy beers think "good" beer should taste like a mouthful of ass herbs half the time. Why can't a beer be tasty, slightly sweet, and lighter than sucking on a cascading hops plant, without being derisively called a macrobrew? Fuck you beer nerds. Chill out, and drink faster now and then. But in closing, I am saddened this beer is a seasonal one, and next fall, if my pockets are straight, I'mma buy a shitload of this, like cases of it, to save until Christmas once it's all gone, spring it out, and be like, "WHAT'S UP NOW WORLD?" on a good night in the kitchen with some music playing and the wife looking good as hell and the kids in bed and feeling good to my heart about the whole slice of it all. 17 out of 5.
LABEL AESTHETIC: It's an okay enough labelling they be using on their pumpkin ale, but really, for such a good beer, they should just fill it with weird pseudo-religious statistical nonsense like a Dr. Bronner's soap bottle. 2 out of 5.
CORPORATE MASTER: The Country Blesssings dude told me he deals with Williamsburg AleWerks himself, and they keep him satisfied, and he'd give them more cooler space if he could, but he had just gotten some sort of type of beer from them post-pumpkin ale that didn't sell as well. Thinking about a seriously micro microbrewery having some sales dude, probably the cousin or old college roommate to the guy who started the thing, calling some guy at some weird high end general store in shitty small town central Virginia, to try and get him squared away on some beer that nobody there's ever heard of, well, having just thrown in the towel of surrender after a four or five year stint of self-employment, I can respect that ethic. Even though Williamsburg is, by and large, a creepy place full of overly white people lacking in completely formed souls, I can give Williamsburg AleWerks some propers. 4 out of 5.
OVERALL AMBIANCE: This was the best beer I tasted for the first time in 2009. All in all, 2009 was not the best year of my life. I mean my family was healthy and my three daughters are beacons of bizarre joy, but moneywise it was nothing but an uphill fight, all fucking year long. Without the help of ma dukes, we would've been foreclosed and probably living in a fucking trailer in Farmville, the actual shithole place not the game. But we somehow got through it, and a new year bout to kick off, with big thangs in short order. Big thangs. And being with my family was strong as fuck in 2009, and kept me from taking a bottle of hydrocodone with two forties of Steel Reserve down by the river at the end of Shores Road. My wife and my kids and my property, which was compounded like I always dreamed this year with chickens and stupid guineas and pigs, it makes me feel good. We live a few miles outside of a small town, an actual bonafide small town full of failing businesses and a Dollar General and a new gas station in an old building that means I don't have to get my MegaMillions tickets in Palmyra anymore, and it all feels good. There's soccer in the fall on Saturday mornings where everybody who has kids is there. And since I've coached there for seven years now, there's a thousand people I know, and I'm coaching kids now that are the younger brother or sister of kids I coached before who are now turning into teenagers. And my youngest is toddling after balls on the sideline and I've got a couple of local homeboys who had their firstborn ever this year and my youngest and their firstest will be kicking it together in a few short years and we can coach 'em up together. And on Halloween we walked around town with our three kids and got candy from strangers and bumped into familiar faces and it was a warm, beautiful night, and we blew $20 on a couple more 6-packs of this Pumpkin Ale plus a pint bottle of something else I can't even remember, and other friends were sitting there eating pizza, and it was fucking perfect. The worst year of my adult life, still perfect as fuck and pleasant to my heart. How the fuck could I ever complain? This is the beer for this year, in my memory bank. God bless us, one and all. 23 out of 5.

Friday, December 25

Friday Love/Hate

I love Christmas in my house. I've got three cool ass kids, and even though we've had what will hopefully end up being the shittiest financial year of my adult life, there's a lot of love. The other week, drying clothes at the laundromat since our dryer broke and I can't afford the replacement part until next year, I walked down to the SPCA thrift store, with like $9 to my name. They had all their Christmas shit on 50% off of their already fair prices, only really found at undiscovered thrift stores. Once people know a thrift store is good and start shopping there, shit goes up. Motherfucking ebay and work from home delusionists ruined thrift stores. But nonetheless, the 4Paws in Scottsville is rinky dink looking so it'll never get popular. They had a ton of Christmas shit though, including weird ass ornaments, which was good, because we've had the tradition of buying each kid a new ornament for each year. Our Christmas tree style is not organized but a clusterfuck of accumulated decorations as hodgepodge as it comes. Last year, when we had money, I bought them all shiny, glittery, Mexican wrestling television set looking ornaments at an outrageous price from the stupid World Market. This year though, it was thrift store goodness, half off, coming out to about 35 cents each. (Side love: I love how computer keyboards don't even have a cents sign anymore, unless I have to double shift, alt/ctrl wingding my way to it by typing in the flight number of the airplane that hit the Pentagon on 9/11.) But they also had a couple of those corny ass lit up little buildings that became all the rage with old people the past decade or so, where you can build a fake little town on the mantel or under the tree or wherever. I bought a Santa's workshop, with the fourth wall gone, so you could Santa cold kicking it at his desk, getting some paperwork done, and a little Tavern, because the only other choices were a firehouse and a post office with no working light cord. I wanted it to light up, and I'm more down with drunkards than firefighters, so the Tavern it was. Put them up under the tree while everybody was upstairs putting away clean laundry, spending like $7 on the ornaments and the goofy mini-buildings, and it made the tree even more magic for the kids. The baby (almost 2, so not technically a "baby") kept stretching out on the sheepskin laid out at the tree and looking at Santa and reaching in to poke him on the hat. It made me feel like Pa Ingalls, but in the today days, still as broke, and not able to really fix shit as well, and not as resourceful in a self-sufficient sense, but we get by. We get by.

I hate getting chastised for digging through the dumpster the other day by the assistant manager lady catching me. She's always looked uptight to me, and her attitude about me being in the dumpster proved that. "I wouldn't do that if I were you... that food's not fit for eating." Whatever. I feed it to my animals, not my kids, usually. She added, "There's a reason the doors are shut... it's private property," so I shut the door on my side of the dumpster for fear of her finding the completely full case of of pears, apples, bags of lettuces, and baby carrots and dumping them out or some bullshit. Didn't say another word and drove off, feeling stupid, like I got scolded by a teacher in middle school or some bullshit, and went and did my other errands in town. Then I came right the fuck back to her precious dumpster, doors already open again by someone else, and there was my case of food, nice as can be. I stuck it in the back of the Subaru, but was nervous about looking for more good shit, and split. There was a ton of stuff today though, and I felt less worried. In fact, all the snow piled up in front of the dumpster from when they cleaned the parking lot actually leaves me more protected from prying, judgemental eyes. Since then, talked to a friend who also checks that dumpster for food for his pigs, and his nonchalance made me feel stronger about being so nonchalant about it. Fuck it man, it's good shit, going to waste. Not my fault they make it hard to get. At the same time though, if grocery stores did make it easy and put all their old produce in bins for people to come get, I most likely would never get any because a bunch of assholes would've already collected it all and felt all proud about themselves for recycling and not wasting. I think it's better to have to struggle to do that type of thing a little, because the struggle weeds out the easy-to-doers. If stores did leave their produce for whoever, people like me would never get none, and I'd have to buy pig feed, and pigs eat a lot of food and pig feed ain't cheap. Thank god trash is.

Magic Hat #9

AFFORDABILITY: It came in a colorful 12-pack box with four different varieties of beer, three bottles apiece. It was on sale for like $3 off the regular price, which was probably a jacked up bullshit price to begin with. But the knock-off deal made it almost acceptable to my maxed-out, 327 credit rating ass. 3 out of 5.
DESTROYABILITY: The #9 destroys you up well enough, kicking the horror story, as my oldest called it. I take her to or from ballet on Monday and Friday nights, and sit outside the Crozet library stealing music from inside the internets on my demon laptop while class is in session. But she's almost 11, so we have heavy philosophical discussions about this or that, like Greek mythology, or how the Middle East wars stem from religious shit, and I school her on the difference between Shias and Shiites in Muslim philosophy, and how that came from Israel being created, which came from World War II, which came from World War I, etc. etc. Homeschool is awesome because everything is classtime. Anyways, we stopped off at the Harris Teeter after class for some beer for the evening on the way home, and back in the truck, after checking the dumpster for produce or bread for the pigs (blasted trash compacting ass grocery stores!), she says, "Why do grown ups like beer?" I explain that it makes your brain work a different way, makes things seem wonky, maybe funny when they're not, sort of makes your thoughts more plasticky, something along those lines. While saying it, it seemed like a terrible commercial for drinking beer and probably would be a great drinking and driving PSA, and after I'm done, she's like, "Sounds like a horror story to me!" And we laughed and laughed and created a story of a world where people willingly made their brains slightly stupid to make their terrible lives more enjoyable and never rise up against the evil overlords (I think they were "Romans") who kept them down. Then we started making fun of people's Christmas lights. So yeah, Magic Hat #9 has a healthy amount of horror story possibilities, and tastes not unpleasant enough to swallow them down at the necessary clip. 4 out of 5.
LABEL AESTHETIC: Magic Hat does has a hokey psychedelia but modernized style to it, and does that thing where they put cutesy little quips underneath their bottle caps. On one hand, I find that stupid as fuck as a business practice, tailor geared to my generation of Generation ADHD-X, but at the same time, I can't front, me and the ol' lady had a couple of them sitting on personal display in our cubby hole overtop the kitchen counter because the cutesy little quips actually applicated to our actual lives as they were spinning, partially out of control, lately. Fucking retard Zen Buddhist beer cap meditations. That's what I've been reduced to in life. And still, as always, conflict, because on one hand, I feel at age 36, I'm glad I still sport retard styles. But on the other hand, what the fuck, it makes me want to chop people up with swords sometimes. That could just be my personal frustration boiling over though. 4 out of 5.
CORPORATE MASTER: It would help if I knew where the Magic Hat Brewing Company was, but the bottle I saved is outside beside the porch under two feet of snow, and the internet only connects in the other room where the tangle of phone wires is piled up by the homemade brooms in the corner. Is Magic Hat some hippie San Francisco shit, or an ode to Alice in Wonderland, or what? I guess I pre-judge by the psychedelic bottling caps and all that jazz, and I could go on forever with this vague, rambling nonsense, talking about lucha libre wrestling and Mexican wrestling masks, shifting into something about how Americans are lazy, me included, but we are stupid, and the bottle caps with goofy quips that Magic Hat does is so predictable blah blah blah, and get around to how, "They don't seem to be a ginormous corporation, but they're in every fucking store everywhere, so they're probably owned by some big company, so they must suck," and on and on in my normal bullshit. Let's just skip the standard protocols and I'll write them off mid-grade for the sake of moving through this as expediently as possible. I don't think anyone's here anyways. 3 out of 5.
OVERALL AMBIANCE: The #9 Magic Hat is what it is - a goofy, good-beer tasting beer priced slightly below other stereotypical good beers, but well above the cheapo hipster doofus canned brands. Basically it is for the upwardly mobile, even if in thinking alone, hipster detritus type. I would probably be demographed as part of that financial clique, and guess what? Magic Hat doesn't bother me so much, mostly because I have rock solid peeps in real life who be loving this shit and always end up bringing it to my house when we have parties or pot lucks or get-togethers or whatever. So I guess, due to that environmental conditioning, Magic Hat #9 makes me feel festive, even as a I have to pay for it myself. Upstart beers should use that as a marketing tool, although people would see right through it and just drink up all the free beer until the hook-up was gone and never care about that brand again. 4 out of 5.

Thursday, December 24

St. George Brewing Company Porter

AFFORDABILITY: This is a Country Blessings bottle of beer, one with a hefty price tag and a medieval Euro motif to it, and one that I’ve been putting off writing about because it does not jibe with me too well, at the time or in retrospect. Even if I saw a living history practitioner sitting behind an authentic old house at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, stealing sips of this here St. George’s Porter, I would still have low thoughts of it, unless the living history dude gave me a couple of Polish chickens to make me not tell his bosses he was drinking beer on the volunteer job. Polish chickens look like punk rockers from Jackie Chan movies made in 1987. 1 out of 5.
DESTROYABILITY: It is hard to tell if it got me drunk or gave me a buzz because it reminds far too much of a Renaissance Fair, and I did not drink it out of a horn cup. It seems sad to me that the people who Renaissance Fair up their lives tend to be pale-skinned types, because were I an old school dude from Medieval times finding myself a chick to make offspring inside of, and I tore down the nine layers of clothes, I would be bummed to see some white ass skin underneath. At the same time, to be true to the times, probably if I saw a chick’s ankle I’d get amped up to have sex. Everything’s relative. I often wish someone out there in this world of ours made historic porn where clothes came off slow and in layers and the sex was built towards rather than it just being a naked chick right away with twelve penises circling her head like turkey vultures. Porn has let us regular folk down, as has this beer. 2 out of 5.
LABEL AESTHETIC: Classical style Renaissance Fair looking labels could go either way. On one hand, it could conjure up the notion of vikings and boiling oil and sexing maidens on one of those beds with the cornerposts and all the gauzy curtains everywhere. But on the other hand, there is that whole Renaissance Fair aspect, where people drink homemade mead out of horns, but not in a cool way, instead very pretentious. I am torn completely, but the label is nicely done, so either way, viking berserker or medieval fetish dork, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt, even though I know viking berserkers don't drink dorky expensive beer like this. I'm a little hungover tonight, so forgive me, as I push through the fog. Tomorrow will be a new day though. 3 out of 5.
CORPORATE MASTER: Some Tidewater, Virginia, microbrewing company on some sort of old world kick. I'm not sure how down I am with that. The only part of Tidewater I really like to support is the part that has dogfights and plays that song "Virginia" by The Clipse and sells black Santana Moss bootleg jerseys at strip mall fashion stores where you can get a lake trout sandwich two doors down. 1 out of 5.
OVERALL AMBIANCE: All in all, St. George in spirit as a beer reminds me too much of dudes who would be proud to drink honey mead out of some sort of horn and try to convince you for about an hour-and-a-half that those Renaissance dork things are actually very alpha male and macho. Nothing about this porter grabbed my inner-porter lover, which seems to be a prejudiced porter lover that likes the eastern Euro types with a hefty touch of chocolate rather than other beery hophead porters. 0 out of 5.

Wednesday, December 23

NFL WEEK 16: Fighting For Tha Playoffs

The final cycle of eight teams for the regular season will be teams still fighting for a playoff spot (click the NFL 2009 tag below for previous weeks about the hopeless, the best, and those playing out their season), and then I will take the last week of the regular season off in waxing inefficiently about the professional football like I know something somebody else don't know. Nonetheless, here are the last eight teams left, all of whom hold onto to various levels of hope for postseason dreams to have a chance to be fulfilled, especially with a number of wild card teams having one the Super Bowl, or at least gone, in recent years.

#1: DALLAS COWBOYS (9-5, 4th overall) - Coach Ralph Wiggum led this team away from their standard December swoon to give New Orleans their first loss ever this year last weekend, and everybody is all up on the Dallas finally turned it around bandwagon. But come on, let's be serious, there's plenty of sway to a swoon, and one win does not turn around this sinking ship. Even if they stumble their way into the playoffs, they haven't won a playoff game in way over a decade. And even though they could still steal the NFC East divisional title away from the Eagles the last weekend of the year at home, I find it hard to believe this Dallas team, as inconsistent as they've been this year and in many previous winters, will beat the best team in the NFC and then two hated division rivals, three games in a row. Which means that if they make the playoffs, they will most likely go on the road to either Arizona, Philadelphia, or Minnesota. I can't really see Tony Romo stepping his game up on the road in the postseason to handle the veteran presence of Kurt Warner, Donovan McNabb, or Brett Favre, especially when my last memory of him in the playoffs was him fucking up holding the ball for field goals and turning it over like Jay Cutler.

#2: NEW YORK GIANTS (8-6, 10th overall) - The Giants need help, either to gain a game on the Cowboys or Packers. They hold the tiebreaker over the Cowboys, and I'm not sure about the Packers, but they are not in the driver's seat of their own playoff destiny. I can tell you this much... I never thought I could be annoyed and hate another Giants QB as much as Phil Simms, but I think Eli Manning might have passed him. I got to thinking the other day while riding around in my truck with no radio before I thought to replace the amp in the back of the receiver about what a bitch Eli Manning was, getting drafted by the Chargers but refusing to play for them and wanting to be traded to the Giants. What kind of bitch shit is that, having never played in the NFL? John Elway did the same thing, refusing to play for the Colts back in the day, and forcing a deal to Denver. Now I am not looking to enslave football players to whatever team drafts them until they are concussed into uselessness or all their ligaments get torn to shreds, but to pull some bullshit like that, pure trifling. And that's the team leader right there. Everyone else takes their cue from that type of guy. I hope they lose their whole team to the swine flu.

#3: MIAMI DOLPHINS (7-7, 11th overall) - The Dolphins need help, but after the Ravens and Broncos, who are a game ahead of like 7 other teams, I have no idea how much help they need. Their final two games are at home, but against the always unpredictable Houston Texans and the fellow wild card stalker Pittsburgh Steelers. The only home games the Dolphins have lost this year is to the cream of the NFL - the Colts and Saints, and both games were competitive. But can you trust the Chad Henne era to get it done? I don't know, but somebody's gotta make the playoffs, and it'll probably be by default, and I'd love for Ricky Williams to be able to play on a grand stage again. That dude's the best. When I am playing Madden in franchise mode, I'm always looking for him to show up as a possible coaching candidate, but he never does. Madden probably be prejudiced against new age religions, with his old cantankerous corny ass.

#4: BALTIMORE RAVENS (8-6, 12th overall) - The Ravens control their destiny, but with games at arch-nemesis Pittsburgh and the black enigma known as the Raiders, it is hard to say if they can get it done. How do you get a pair of road games at the end of the year like that? And with a wild card berth in the playoffs their only hope, there will most likely be no more games in Baltimore this year, so the good folks of Charm City will have to watch the rest of the year play out on the television. Joe Flacco makes me uneasy though. The Ravens defense is not as impervious as it used to be, and sometimes Flacco gets all non-franchisey looking. But between the opposite side of the ball elderly influences of Ray Lewis and Derrick Mason, mayhaps the Ravens can be held together into the playoffs to enjoy a flight to either Cincinnati or New England. Oh man, a Ravens at the Bengals wild card round playoff game would be about intense. I have grown up an NFC East fan, but it's hard not to love the utter hatred felt between AFC North teams and so readily displayed on and off the field.

#5: TENNESSEE TITANS (7-7, 13th overall) - If the Titans can upset the Chargers this weekend at home and then beat the Seahawks on the road, and somehow back door their way into the playoffs after starting at 0-6, you'd have to give Vince Young Comeback Player of the Century award. They looked like the worst team possible, as bad as Cleveland, Detroit, and St. Louis, at one point this season, and here they are now, actually staking a shot at the playoffs, while those other three teams are jostling for draft position and hoping a new President/GM/Coach/Quarterback will solve all their problems. And you gotta give it to Jeff Fisher too, as much as he hates stupid Wonderlic failing Vince Young, he's riding that dude as far as he can right now, and probably bought himself an extra year in Tennessee, as there were actually rumblings of letting Fisher go earlier this year. Lost in all this blurbage I be rambling on about too is that Chris Johnson is suddenly what Ladainian Tomlinson used to be considered.

#6: DENVER BRONCOS (8-6, 15th overall) - Denver goes to Philadelphia, which seems like a hard win, and then hosts Kansas City, which you'd think would be an easy W, but they also just lost to a Jamarcus Russell led Oakland Raiders team at home last weekend. Much like the Tennessee Titans 0-6 start has led to a miraculous comeback that might end up in the playoffs, the Broncos 6-0 jump out the gate looks like it could crumble into another missed opportunity for this franchise which always struggles whenever a horseface named Elway ain't QBing them. I think the problem is they don't wear those awesome brown and yellow throwbacks enough. They should've just abandoned their Eurofag soccer uniforms for the yellow and brown throwbacks as soon as they went 6-0, and rode it out as long as it'd take them. I know the NFL has stupid rules about all that, and actually I was just thinking about how stupid the throwbacks are gonna look years from now when people are watching retro highlights of this year and like Tom Brady is wearing a 1982 uniform or the Broncos are wearing some weird ass vomit colors. Nonetheless, I like ugly clothes, because fresh threads take away from my naturally rugged good looks.

#7: GREEN BAY PACKERS (9-5, 16th overall) - Aaron Rodgers has proved himself, and somehow the Packers defense, stocked heavy with young bucks, seems like it might be about to turn a corner and become a stifling ass entity, especially with Clay Matthews suddenly playing like a cracked out beast. I don't know, I could see the Packers causing some damage to the end the season and maybe upsetting some division champion's playoff dreams this January.

#8: JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (7-7, 21st overall) - The Jags loss to the Colts probably played them out of the playoffs, with a road game against New England next on the agenda, but one can never tell what that wacky Jack Del Rio will get out of his hodgepodge collection of nobodies and never-wills. Although Maurice Jones-Drew has become a fucking force and a half. If he played in an actual NFL city somewhere, his jersey would be in all the youtube rap videos.

"Re:Definition" by Black Star

I was tromping through the snow in the same fucking pair of Fila sneakers I've had forever today, to try and water my goddamned pigs, in a pair of ragged jeans, and it felt stupid to be walking through 20 inches of slushy snow in a pair of Filas. They are white and faded as fuck, and walking around in my faded white sneakers with no money or job in some jeans, it makes me feel like my dad, as in useless. That's not to say dude was a complete failure, because mostly he just never lived up to his potential, not allowing himself, riding that crutch of drinking and snorting and smoking a little too hard to self-medicate himself through the hard times, which in retrospect were most of his adult life apparently. The funny thing is I bought these Filas years and years ago, before I ever owned Filas, and wouldn't wear them for a while, trying to save their freshness. This was when I lived in Richmond still, and I finally busted them out for an afterparty drunkdown after a Black Star show in Petersburg, which I'm sure was scary as fuck for Mos Def and Talib Kweli, being Petersburg is not exactly the most enlightened place on earth. At one point in the '80s, it made the cover of Time magazine for it's retarded fucked crack problem. But I wore those Filas, feeling fresh dipped as fuck back then, and now here it is a decade later and I'm slopping hogs with my old dented truck hood for a gate to their pen, held up by rebar, five-gallon buckets dripping mucky water all down my leg, Filas long since past their fresh expiration date. Always chasing turkeys, that seems to be my modus operandi. But there is something hopelessly, endlessly for generations, white trash about walking around with facial hair in some ragged jeans with shitty dilapidated white sneakers on, and it makes me ashamed of myself, all by my lonesome with no one around to feel ashamed in front of. But the clouds are watching, and I know they're like, "Hahaha, look at that guy, watch this go down, I've seen it before."

Oranjeboom Premium Beer

AFFORDABILITY: The Oranjeboom is some sort of semi-real beer you can purchase in the beer aisle of Trader Joe's, which means it's on the budget tip, but budget white people tip, because you can only find Trader Joe's in white enclaves where the Whole Foods is too corporate and people just aren't comfortable putting Angie's vegetarian frozen foods into the trunk of their Prius, so they'd rather fill it with questionably organic frozen foods from Trader Joe's. I will tell you we hit the fuck out that store for the following things: organic frozen corn, frozen wild blueberries, olive oil, grade B maple syrup, crackers, funky little bottles of balsamic vinaigrette, “fresh” mozzarella balls, and weird shitty beer. Also, we do it all with food stamps, except for the beer, which means you paid for it. You paid for my children to fill a plastic coffee mug with organic frozen corn and walk around the house wanting to watch some Angelina Ballerina on the television. I mean, I paid for it too, in a worked sense, but honestly, I cheat on my taxes and don’t pay shit, ever. Fuck this government. But yeah, when you roll into the Trader Joe’s, the dude behind the cybertronic bar code scanning machine says, “$52.39,” and you say, “I’m gonna use my EBT card for what I can,” and he pushes a button and then says, “$4.29,” then the Oranjeboom don’t cost shit. Bwahahahahaha. 5 out of 5.
DESTROYABILITY: The Oranjeboom has a slightly odd taste that makes me feel like I used to be The D.O.C. maybe, but kind of Norwegian instead. I don't necessarily like that feeling, although I'm sure a vast array of vaginas comes as a standard feature. Kind of like GPS satellite directions though, I don't really need that. I'm good as it is, good as fuck. Oranjeboom rolls like the type of thing, that though supposedly part of a "good time", actually steps in the way a touch, causing you to point your toes inward like an 42-year-old woman having an oral sex orgasm, except you are a dude wearing some raggedy ass Converse, and you can't walk with the proper swagger through life when you got your toes curled all day long, tensed up, putting an ulcer inside your Achilles tendon. Also, I am watching Good Times and James Evans wouldn't drink this shit. You know, I went to the Best Buy and the Good Times was on sale, but I didn't have for-real money, just a little bit left of credit limit, and I thunk upon myself, "What would Florida Evans do?" And I knew she wouldn't buy this shit, so I left. But then I also thought to myself, "What would J.J. do, before he learned his good morale lesson in part two of the cliffhanger?" So I went back in and through The Good Times inside my jersey, and then kind of hung out loosey goosey style looking at the markdown shit up front until a pair of younger black dudes walked towards the exit, and I followed right behind, and the alarm went off because of my Good Times, so I stopped with my arms out, and the door dude was like, "You're good," and went after the black dudes, saying, "You're good." You'd be surprised how much shit you can steal through those electronic alarms just by stopping when the alarm goes off. I guess I could feel bad about having those black dudes get played by stereotypes, but I ain't the one that's racist. I'm just using racism against society's self, to my own benefit. And really, a white dude like me can only play the race card in small stakes increments, like getting his self some Good Times on DVD for free. And James and Florida are always wearing orange-ish clothes, to properly highlight their bold African-American features. James Evans has the best nostril flares in ever. He would've never drank Oranjeboom. Ever. Shit, the bus don't even go to Short Pump where they sell this shit at. 0 out of 5.
LABEL AESTHETIC: There are some things going on on this can that I fully endorse. Pinstripes and odd colors, kinda like Trader Joe's is the liberal company I would expect them to be and they have a beer vending machine at their design office, and some dude was sitting there drinking and listening to Premier League games on the satellite radio and decided he'd make a beer can up that would look good as a soccer jersey. So he came up with this. As I am in the midst of early onset of World Cup Fever, I cannot hate upon such a scenario, even if I completely made it up with my retarded brain. 7 out of 5.
CORPORATE MASTER: Oranjeboom has allegedly been brewed since 1671 by some Dutch people, United Dutch Breweries, but what the fuck is it about orange and the Dutch? Is there something I've missed in history? The national sports teams where orange, and this shit has orange in it ("Oranjeboom" translates as "orange tree"). I don't remember seeing crazy orange flags looking at Euro flags in the almanac when I sit around and look at flags and fantasize about all the ones I want to buy (#1 on my list - Rwanda). But whatever the situation, I have to think United Dutch Breweries is some sort of syndicate that controlled all the smaller breweries, and this one was the proudest and cheapest Dutch model to force upon the world, so they cut a deal with Trader Joe's, since I've never ever ever seen it anywhere else, or even heard of it before. I like such proudly ambitious yet naively localized world domination efforts. 4 out of 5.
OVERALL AMBIANCE: Oranjeboom's tall slender cans and odd style from crazy Dutch people is flavorful, but the fact it's only found (as fas as I know) at Trader Joe's makes it seem kinda frou-frou with a splash of ghetto (because that's basically what Trader Joe's is). I don't know, if it came in weird-shaped 12-packs at the Food Lion with pictures of the Dutch national soccer team on it, I'd have more handfuls of daps for it, but as it stands, I'm on the fence. 3 out of 5.

Tuesday, December 22

S14: World Cup 2010 Preliminary Rooting Interests

If you read this blog at all, it’s obvious I am a large fan of the American style of football, a game heavily steeped in strange rules and regulations and safety equipment featuring guys of questionable self-preservation desires and wild personalities. Nothing compares to football, in my mind. Yet, every four years, as I have grown older, I become more and more excited, and at earlier times, for the grand international spectacle that is the World Cup tournament, held in stupid South Africa next year. The first time I even paid attention, like many stupid Americans, was when the World Cup was held here, in 1996. At the time I worked in Richmond for a contractor with a heavy multi-cultural flair, featuring regular Americans, Mexican dudes, an Italian carpenter, a bunch of stupid New Yorkers, even a Canadian, plus ghetto black dudes. The Mexicans and the Italian were at each other for months before the Cup kicked off, and the first day of games, our bosses gave us the afternoon off and hosted us at one of their downtown apartments for manly appetizers and free beer. It was a great time, and my first real exposure to international soccer. Before that, soccer was mostly what my stoner high school friends could play and excel at since the superiorly athletic black guys at our school didn’t fuck with it.
But don’t get it wrong; I am no international futbol fan extraordinaire. I’m not going to meet up with other jackasses at a bar to watch Premier League games or UEFA Cups or whatever. The MLS is painfully boring to me, having watched the title game last month, but only being able to stomach like 10 minutes of it before the utter slowness of it, combined with David Beckham’s stupid hair, made me prefer like third-tier college football games instead. But the World Cup, when national teams are all together, going for it all, it’s a completely different game. My internet pal and longtime co-conspirator Mike Dikk explained to me one time that the reason for this is in international soccer of the professional variety, it’s like dudes from 7 different countries on the team, so communication can be an issue. But with national teams, it’s, for the most part, all dudes from the same place speaking the same language on the same page and working towards the same goal.
Well, I’ve actively been following World Cup qualifying in my google news for a long ass minute now, and have hyped myself up, and this shit doesn’t even kick off until next summer. My bro-in-law bought us a fancy new large face mos-def TV, and I plan to be paying for the satellite TV HAARP rays by then, so I figured, in my never-ending ability to talk for a long time about things I don’t really know about in a barely entertaining manner, I would share with you the 14 teams I am rooting for the most hardest and heaviest next summer in WORLD CUP 2010 STRAIGHT OUTTA AFRICA!

#1: UNITED STATES (ranked 14th in the World, 65 to 1 to win it all) - So I am usually your standard malcontent that roots against America in everything from swimming at the Olympics to the G8 Summit to conflicts in the Middle East. It’s my nature to hate the overlord, yet I was born inside the boundaries of the most overlording country on the earth. Of course, if I was born somewhere else I’d probably love America. Greener grass on the other side of the preconceived wall and all that. Yet, the truth be told, I tend to root for underdogs. And what bigger underdog is there in world soccer than America? We suck. Our best athletes all go play football or basketball or even baseball or tennis or golf before soccer. Soccer’s way down on the list after kids get older than 10. And also, being your standard 30-something Generation ADHD-X malcontent, I like lots of retarded things. And no country allows retarded sub-cultures to not only exist but thrive like America, except maybe Japan. But fuck Japan. This is about America. So while contemplating this list, and even though my home country wears terrible-looking uniforms, I am going to put my full psychic rooting weight behind the United States of America. I am a firm believer in the power of the psychic energy of the collective fan consciousness, and perhaps a big problem for America in the past is the same demographics that our soccer fans come from are overeducated smarmy asshole types who won’t just root for America because of slavery and World conquest and all that other shit. Well, I for one am going to put all that behind me when the whistle blows (is that how they start?) and going all in for Team USA next summer. Although I do wish we had enough of a soccer (I know uber nerd, it’s called “football”) consciousness here for our team to have a nickname like other countries do. And hopefully we’d have something better than stupid Eagles or whatever. I personally am saying right here we should just call them the USA FTWs, our national soccer team.
#2: GHANA (ranked 34th in the World, 65 to 1 to win it all) - In my last two rounds of World Cup watching, I fell in love with the relentless style of African team play, especially that of the Ghana Black Stars. Being the World Cup is being held in Africa for the first time ever, I actually followed the African qualifying pretty intensely online, which actually culminated, in true world soccer fashion, with strained political relations between Algeria, Egypt, and the Sudan after the final play-in game was played. But in recent years, Ghana has taken a hold of my attention deficit heart as a homeland for bizarreness. Between psychedelic fuzz funk music or strange drug-induced tribal religions or the best rap music made by actual Africans, it all comes from Ghana. Nigeria is a more well-known commodity internationally, what with its movie industry and oil exports and large population. But just to the left on the map is Ghana, a poorer and crazier version of the exact same thing, pretty much, although Nigerians would probably mock them for their Ibo ways (or something like that, I used to read an African rap music downloading message board and they had the strangest slurs for each other that I started to incorporate in my everyday life, but even I didn’t understand them). Ghana was the first independent African nation, hence the solitary black star on their African colored flag. But beyond that, they play full speed, for 90 minutes, relentlessly. They drew a tough draw in Group D, where they’re the lowest ranked team, although Australia and Serbia are questionable. But Germany is the easy favorite, and the scrappy speed-happy African Black Stars playing in the motherland against the ominous German team from the country that invaded the motherland 60 years ago, that’s gonna be great. Luckily, the gamemakers made that match-up part of the last cycle in this group, so hopefully both Ghana and Germany smoke the Serbs and the Aussies and have a super showdown to wrap up Group D’s first round.

#3: MEXICO (ranked 17th in the World, 65 to 1 to win it all) - Mexicans are some of the finest, most hard-working, honest, drunken, and crazy people I’ve ever known, even though I’ve probably known more of them than most other types of foreign peoples being two-thirds of all Mexicans live here. America is a funny place like that. There are more Puerto Ricans and Filipinos and Samoans and so on here than there are left at the actual place of nationality. Probably why Team USA FTWs don’t have so many folks pulling for them because everybody’s pulling for somebody else here. Being I like Mexicans, and first learned of World Cup’s greatness by working with two such dudes, who were hermanos, named Javier and Chino, I have always fondly rooted for Mexico. I feel an allegiance to Mexicans because much like them, I am hard-working, will do things I probably am not properly trained for without question, prone to violence, and love women with large asses and big for-real breasts. Mexico got a good draw by being in Group A, with host country South Africa, who should probably suck. They also drew France, who is the most evil, vile, despicable bunch of assholes to ever play soccer. Their star in the last World Cup stabbed another player with his baldhead and was not called a Foul on it (sometimes I like to write like I translated myself through Babelfish), and they got in this time by screwing over the poor, drunken Irish with an obvious handball that almost triggered a war. Not really, but if Europeans were half as passionate as Africans (as in Egypt, who had riots after it didn’t beat Algeria to get in), it would’ve. So Mexico, I fully with you on this ride, and when they play your national anthem, I will hold my hand sideways across my chest and chop at myself too like I am part of some alien army on Battlestar Galactica just like you guys.

#4: ARGENTINA (ranked 8th in the World, 9 to 1 to win it all) - I don’t normally support soccer’s great powers, but Argentina is coached by the utterly demented former cokehead and national hero Diego Maradona, which adds an amazing aura of unpredictability to their whole experience. They actually struggled early on in South American qualifying stages, but pulled it together to get in and try to win another Cup title in another rare moment of international glory for this nation. Plus, their tarheel blue and white striped jerseys are pretty pimp. But really, at first, a normal guy like me is all like, “Soccer is boring.” But then you realize that it’s not boring and full of lots of weird fuckers, yet they’re still kind of boring in their weirdness. Like Beckham. They’re weird in a friends-with-Tyra-Banks-and-is-a-judge-on-America’s-Next-Top-Model type weird. But Diego Maradona is the real deal wacky crazy type. He might shoot somebody in Africa, or call the Nigerian team a bunch of changos, or just get all gacked up and disappear the night before a game but show up and rally his team to victory by tying. Pure soccer.

#5: THE NETHERLANDS (ranked 3rd in the World, 12 to 1 to win it all) - The Orange will be waving high in South Africa next summer, as The Dutch team is ranked higher by FIFA right now than ever before. Basically, I like them because they wear orange. Most Euro teams have stupid uniform color combos, so some way northern Euro team busting out the bright orange, and being successful about it, I want to support that. The Dutch are the team to beat in Group E, and should be able to coast into the second round.

#6: NORTH KOREA (ranked 86th in the World, 2000 to 1 to win it all) - The longest longshot in the tournament are these zany North Koreans, and they drew themselves into Group G, generally regarded as the Group of Death for 2010, where everybody is awesome except North Korea. For me, I just like rooting for crazy things to prove the world wrong completely. Like Charles Manson, I hope he miraculously outlives his prison sentence and at like age 186 they have to make up reasons to keep him in jail or release him. North Korea, with Kim Jong Il in charge, are run by a nut, but he’s an artistic nut. If it was the World Cup of alternative filmmaking, he’d put some power behind it. But being it’s actual athletics, I bet he won’t even let his own country watch the games because the North Korean team will get blown out, in all likelihood, by Brazil, Portugal, and Ivory Coast, in that order. But North Korea did shock the world by beating Italy in 1966. So there is a precedent there. And I’m rooting for it again, although hopefully against one of the browner teams and not the black one.

#7: ALGERIA (ranked 26th in the World, 300 to 1 to win it all) - Algeria places so highly on my personal rooting list for this World Cup because of two things. First, they beat Egypt and caused international tensions to get in. That’s what makes World Cup soccer so great. Secondly, they are in America’s group, so if the Algerians can whoop up on Slovenia and upset England, it fares better for my beloved FTWs. So I am rooting for Algeria, in that lining up of allies and enemies sort of way that you have to learn to root for your favorite team when they’re not quite good enough to do it on their own, like you have to do with team sports.

#8: NEW ZEALAND (ranked 82nd in the World, 1000 to 1 to win it all) - The second longest shot to win the World Cup, New Zealand’s team nickname is the All Whites, which is kinda funny to me being they’ll be playing in South Africa. Still, in Group F, I don’t like Italy, mostly because I don’t like Italians (well not all Italians but many I’ve dealt with are far too unreasonable and crazy, although I guess they paint that with the more liberal term “passionate”), and I am indifferent about Slovakia and Paraguay. Slovakia I know only as one of the crazy eastern European countries that came about upon the disintegration of non-Soviet Union states. I only like those countries when they have a presence in strange arenas like sumo wrestling or underground international cockfighting. I never heard Raekwon rap about “Slovakians” although I never stole the new Cuban Linx from the internet either, so he might have. And Paraguay is the -guay country with the non-awesome flag, because I know Uruguay has the mellow stripey flag with the big ass sunshine on it that you could draw a smiley face all over and get high to. So mostly be default, I am going to be rooting for New Zealand in their group, and because they are giant underdogs, it makes me hope they somehow sneak their way into the second round. Probably not a strong chance of that though when they’re star player is a former MLS guy who’s not even good enough for that league anymore.

#9: PORTUGAL (ranked 5th in the World, 25 to 1 to win it all) - Even though I’m kinda rooting for North Korea in the Group of Death, if I had to pick a team that actually stood a chance, I’m gonna be going with Portugal. They’re one of the few European teams I enjoyed in 2002, and their green uniforms are aesthetically pleasing. And Spain is considered the best team in the World right now, so little old Portugal is once again getting overshadowed by its stupid Spaniard neighbors.

#10: NIGERIA (ranked 22nd in the World, 100 to 1 to win it all) - Now the Super Eagles of Nigeria are fucking high speed soccer exemplified. Last World Cup time, they were the most highly-touted team from the African continent, but not so much this time with Ghana, the Ivory Coast, and Cameroon all having better regarded teams. Still, in Group B, where you kinda have to assume South Korea is doomed to go 0 for 3 in the first round, all the Super Eagles really have to play for is a win over either Greece or Argentina to sneak into the second round on their home continent and take their chances with hyperspeed style in elimination play. The Argentina vs. Nigeria game is on the actual second day of the World Cup (June 12th), but I’m considering that my own personal kick-off to the festivities. Perhaps we will make a homeschoolin’ lesson of it and fix Nigerian and Argentinian foods and learn about the rich history of email scams before game time with the kids.

#11: IVORY COAST (ranked 16th in the World, 25 to 1 to win it all) - Yet another Group of Death aka Group G team I am partially rooting for, meaning I’m pretty much rooting for anybody playing there, kinda like how I watch the NBA playoffs. The Elephants of the Ivory Coast are considered the best team coming from the African continent, and were expected to be the best threat to go deep in the tournament, but then they got drawn into a first round group with international destructors Brazil and Portugal. Still, home continent advantage will play a role, and Ivory Coast is a proud country, one that tried to go to war with France a few years back with an air force that consisted of like 14 planes. Seriously. That kind of relentless pride may not help much in the war department, where financial backing goes a long way, but on the relatively even playing field of the soccer pitch (haha, I told myself I was gonna use that word one time), it can take them far. Not really, just around South Africa, but still, you know what I be meaning.

#12: URUGUAY (ranked 20th in the World, 80 to 1 to win it all) - Aforementioned smiley sunshine happy flag land from South America, and lopped into the Group A with South Africa and France, two of the teams I’ll be rooting the hardest against. So again, team sports politics makes Uruguay a personal favorite, at least through the first round.

#13: SLOVAKIA (ranked 33rd in the World, 200 to 1 to win it all) - Well, I did want to pull for at least one eastern European team that doesn’t exist on my World Map from 1992, so it was either Slovakia, Slovenia, or Serbia. Slovenia is in America’s group, and honestly I don’t even know what Slovenia is (which actually works for them in my warped mind), so they’re out. And to be honest, Serbians freak me out. Like Germans are machine people who relentlessly perform obsessive tasks, and thus can create things like Benzes and Volkswagens and Kraftwerk and scat porns. Well, Serbians are kinda like that, but they’re a broken machine people, so they’re success is not so great. Yet they keep relentlessly moving along whatever path they think they’re supposed to be on. It disturbs me. So by default, Slovakia becomes my strange eastern European team to love in 2010 and pretend they are a sauerkrauet eating people, except most likely I’ll make kimchi instead anyways. Slovakia is also in Group F, which gives me a (barely) more realistic chance of rooting for someone who advances to the second round than shitty New Zealand.

#14: HONDURAS (ranked 37th in the World, 500 to 1 to win it all) - I don’t care that much about Honduras or Hondurans, although I hope they love pupusas as much as Salvadorans and myself do. But really, there’s nobody else I wanted to pull for Group H, as Spain and Switzerland are boring, and Chile is the redheaded stepchild of South American soccer behind Argentina and Brazil. So I’m kinda just rooting for Honduras to have somebody to pull for if I happen to be watching a game from that group, to make it more interesting. I guess gambling would make it more interesting too. That always ends well.

Mickey's Fine Malt Liquor

AFFORDABILITY: When a liquor is malted, it automatically becomes a cheap way to discombobulate yourself. Mickey's is no aberration from that standard, although the proud dirtbag Irish-ish white people thickly associated with the Mickey's brand name sort of runs the price up a touch, not to where you're like, "Damn, that's an expensive malt liquor!" But it does take a little more panhandling than a couple 40s of Olde English or Colt 45 would. Still though, it's malt liquor, America's cheapest legal high. 4 out of 5.
DESTROYABILITY: One of my earliest drunkest moments of my adult life (going by 18 equals adult, not 21) was a party in Richmond where I drank seven double deuces of Mickey's. I fell in love with two chicks I never remembered and tried to create a new life together with a friend girl who was one of those chicks that was so cool, she played it off and never made me feel stupid about it at any later point. Tight. And I have fond memories of living in a ghetto ass apartment on Granby Avenue where it was too hot in the fucking house at all times so we sat on a stolen couch (from Fantastic Thrift) on the porch, and lucky we lived on the second floor so when dudes came chasing by with guns drawn, we were oblivious to the line of potential fire. But we would drink the Mickey's grenades and immediately upon finishing one, throw it across the street at the Terminix pest control warehouse building, busting out their upper windows. Seriously, the sidewalk was covered in green glass. And that was Mickey's. In fact, I have many great think backs to being happy drunk as fuck on Mickey's, in the degenerate cesspool of Richmond, to where things like having skinheads want to stomp my face in or a slut girlfriend who came home with hickeys on her neck, it all was kinda fun in retrospect. That's the Mickey's. It may be one of the greatest alterations to brain thinkings that I've recreationally abused. And the other night when I drank it again for the first time in years, it gave me a painful hangover that even pork products couldn't calm down. 9 out of 5.
LABEL AESTHETIC: I am no Irishman, but when watching the very stereotypical MMA, I tend to root for fiery redheaded dudes, unless they have some sort of tribal tramp stamp tattoo, which kinda freaks me out usually. That being said, any white man on Earth who is even relatively aware that his grandparents had a specific European heritage of one flavor or another, as opposed to hodgepodge mutt style like most of us from the South know, that any white man cannot hate upon the retardedly Euro ghetto flag mural-esque labeling of the Mickey's Fine Malt Liquor. It is tailor made for bad tattoos on the upper arms of dudes who proudly wear Red Sox gear in alternate colors. You know a shitty tattoo you just don't see as much anymore? The Tazmanian Devil. Once Looney Tunes pushed the merchandise in the '90s and fat, ugly redneck chicks started having Tazmanian Devil keychains and license plate covers and shit, it kinda ruined the Tazmanian Devil cartoon character as an appropriate meathead underclass white dude muscle tattoo. That makes me sad for the old days, when it was far easier to get high with a guy who had a bad Looney Tunes tattoo on his right forearm done with a guitar string in jail, trying to block the wind so you could light the bowl you were sharing. Who even shares bowls of weed anymore? It's always gotta be some convoluted ass "water pipe" that looks like it was used to test the mental agility of hamsters in lab experiments. Seriously, fuck this world. And props to Mickey's for staying true to it's old style while still trying to get today's people of the drinking world fucked up as well. In fact, double props, fucking beers on the white house lawn bringing on lobbying efforts for certain beers and shit. This world is stupid as fuck. 8 out of 5.
CORPORATE MASTER: Mickey's be made by Mickey's Brewing Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which I'm sure is actually owned by some sort of evil empire of one flavor or another, and goes back to some sort of actual Mickey's Brewing Company, which was probably legit, run by some old drunk Mick who figured out to hype up the alcohol content of his swag brew, yet the evil empire of one flavor or another bought it out, kept the stylings, so as to cash in on the poor white identifying with black yet still white demographic, bringing in convenient tie-ins with House of Pain and skinheads and such, and getting a steady chunk of change. Thing is, it kind of disappeared from my own personal public consciousness, and I thought it was maybe because I didn't live in Richmond anymore, but then it was at all the stores again suddenly. Or maybe it was always there but over by the Smirnoff Ices and Mike's Lemonades and all that goofy shit, but then somebody decided to move it over by the Steel Reserve once that section got big enough with the energy alcohol drink movement giving it some weight on the very limited American grocery store beer aisle shelves. So I don't trust this "Mickey's Brewing Company" alleged corporate situation, but in the name of my whiteness, I will give it the benefit of the doubt. If skinheads and House of Pain music from my time in Richmond taught me anything, it's that we have to stick together, those of us who are alike and down for the same types of things, if you know what I mean. 4 out of 5.
OVERALL AMBIANCE: A great history, an ability to fuck you up, memories galore in my dilapidated ramshackle brain... there are few shitty ass malt liquors that could make me feel as good as a summertime jam as Mickey's. In fact, just thinking about it makes me wish I had a hand grenade of it right now to pour down my gullet and throw at the world, trying to crack open my fishbowl. 5 out of 5.

Sunday, December 20


AFFORDABILITY: It is Budweiser, so in the sense of cheapest beer alive, it is not affordable at all; yet is cheaper than about half the good beers out there. I will never for the life of me understand how Budweiser, being it is cheap ass swill beer, can charge as much for a 12-pack as many on-sale quality beers with pop tops instead of twist-off action. Still, I bought a pair of tall cans with bright red motifs that were cheap as fuck compared to certain aspects of the beer shelf. So I cannot complain that Budweiser is too expensive, especially since my beer tastes have morphed into thinking Yuengling is the cheapest beer I will drank. But still, there is a divide between “cheap” beer and “good” beer, like any good hippie girl will explain to you when there is no weed to be smoked through the bong her friend who is taking a glass blowing class at the community college, and Budweiser is the most expensive “cheap” beer there is, although I know in its own head it likes to pretend it’s the cheapest “good” beer available on the open market. But come on, dudes in trademarked camouflage patterned clothes are never buying actual good beer, so stop fronting. 2 out of 5.
DESTROYABILITY: There is a long history in my lifetime of drinking the Budweiser, especially during the early days of dating my wife where we’d split an 18-pack while drinking and driving our way out of the Richmond city limits to where you could see the stars shine and feel your lifeline. But there is a thing about the rice brewing technique that makes for an upset intestinal fortitude the next day, and it brings upon a hungover feeling that most beers would never bring. But, unfortunately, if you go to a public event, hockey game or arena concert or whatever, you’ll have to go out of your way to drink something other than the Budweiser. It is their gangsta ass grip on American capitalism. Thus, I could never support them wholeheartedly, even half-heartedly. And it makes it impossible to drank their beer fast enough to confuse my brain with bloodstream-based delusions. I will fight no more forever. 1 out of 5.
LABEL AESTHETIC: I bought two tall cans of Budweiser, and one thing I have to give Bud credit for, at least with their main brand, is they keep it fresh. And yet they always have aspects of that basic well-known Budweiser beer can motif. This one is bright red, with the cursive Budweiser logo, and that Anheuser-Busch logo thing with the detailed blue nonsense like on the back side of a deck of cards. From when I was collecting 12-pack boxes, where most beers would hold the same packaging for years, some never changing it, Budweiser would refresh their packaging every couple of months, including special seasonal ones. Seems like since they got bought by the Euros, they've become more concerned with introducing a bunch of wacky side flavors of beer, which I don't understand, but they keep the Budweiser cans fresh-looking. Dare I say, this may be one of the pimpest looking tall cans around, like an NFL team having an alternate dark jersey for a Monday night game, since it's very different from regular Bud cans but very much like it. 5 out of 5.
CORPORATE MASTER: You know their steez... Budweiser used to use Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Willie Nelson to import white slaves from Russia through Israel into criminal prostitution rings based in the West Indies. A dime of every dollar you give to Budweiser's Anhitler-George W. Bush overlords is a dime towards the terminal cancer you will be secretly injected with while voluntarily getting a swine flu vaccination. They were the ones that killed William B. Cooper and suicided Hunter S. Thompson because he was about to expose the Finders child molestation cult from Florida that was creating blogospheric Republican monarch slave sensations and was involved in the Jon-Benet Ramsey sexual assault/murder. And they brew Budweiser beer, and there you sit, gladly drinking that bullshit, toasting your own impending demise. Oh [ ], why can't you hold more sway over these misguided sheep? 0 out of 5.
OVERALL AMBIANCE: Hey, there is nothing that feels terrible about drinking the Budweiser. It is like voting Republican for President and the guy wins and you are stoked because you did very normal things and were very predictably successful in doing so. You can drink the Budweiser and it is recognizeable and it is normal and it will get you drunk and you will feel American as fuck. Hard to believe only a few short years ago that this was actually still an American beer and Dale Jr. was driving the Budweiser 8 and we hated Arabs and refinanced our homes to get a fat nut to blow on a boat. Now look at us. Yet those capitalist pig German fucks still expect us to not only suck down our Budweiser and traditionally gluttonous American paces, but they're throwing in all this American Ale Golden Wheat Lime Ale bullshit. 2 out of 5.

Saturday, December 19

Simpler Times Lager

AFFORDABILITY: It is the cheapest beer available in the Trader Joe’s fake beer section selection, and when you factor it into the by the can deal they offer, you could buy a pair of cans of this for a dollar and some tax change, and the can promises 6.2% alcohol content. That makes it some homeless man beer, but at a place homeless folks can’t catch a bus ride to. 9 out of 5.
DESTROYABILITY: Simpler Times tastes like a couple of asses. Honestly, in the throes of sex, you can touch an actual ass, or around the edges of it, with your tongue, and it doesn’t actually have a taste, much less something terrible, so that’s more a figure of speech. So let’s place another thing into that metaphor... Simpler Times tastes like putting your tongue between the toes of some nasty, workboot-wearing dude who has worn the same white socks three days in a row, with a hole in the heel of his left sock and three of his toes sticking through the front end of his right sock. It smells like malaria and tastes like you don’t taste it because the smell is overpowering and ruins your taste. Did you know that if you wear a blindfold and hold chopped onions under your nose but eat a pear, it tastes like onions because your olfactory senses overpower your taste buds? For real though. So when I say Simpler Times tastes like a couple of asses, more realistically it makes me think I’m smelling a couple of asses, with a can of beer pouring into my mouth. A couple of nasty asses. 1 out of 5.
LABEL AESTHETIC: Simpler Times may be a fake beer of some sort or another, but they do a snazzy job of selling the angle fully, with dull old school colors and an almost goofy cursive font, plus little hops doodads accentuating the edges, really, if someone gave me a budget and was like, "Hey Raven, make a beer can," I would be stoked if this is what I ended up with. 5 out of 5.
CORPORATE MASTER: Simpler Times be claiming to be made by Minhas Craft Brewery, Monroe, Wisconsin, since 1845, but I would imagine if I googled that nonsense up, there'd be no long history of such a thing even existing. Which means the Simpler Times corporate master is a front company, so perhaps they also traffic in white slaves and stolen cell phones as well. Although, from Wisconsin, hearkening back to "simpler times", perhaps they kick it chill, and aren't degenerate organized criminals. The Minhas grandkids probably skip around old tractors, gathering up wrassleberries for canning jams on a Sunday afternoon with their MeeMaw, eating snacks of fresh goat cheese on baked crackers, while that stupid Prairie Home Companion plays on the radio dial. 4 out of 5.
OVERALL AMBIANCE: These are no longer Simpler Times at all, but if it boils down to drinking a shitty tasting beer in a funny retro can that I get for cheap from the same place I use my food stamps to buy a bunch of packages of organic frozen corn because for some reason all my children have been raised to think a plastic coffee cup half full of frozen corn is the best, sweetest snack food on earth. Of course, I immediately recognize the irony in the fact those types of Trader Joe's stores are usually in the suburban choke parts just at the periphery of the brightest pink light pollutions as seen from outer spaces. But it's hard to figure if Simpler Times are simpler like "Simple Man" lyrics suggest, or simpler like we find a way to sit under that light pollution in the far corner of the Best Buy parking lot drinking a couple beers while listening to satellite radio. 4 out of 5.

Friday, December 18

NFL WEEK 15: Playing Out The Season

These are the teams who are not quite the shittiest level but won't be making no playoff games either. And as I reflect upon my penchant for reflecting upon bullshit inside the internets, I realize I have not played to my strengths often enough lately. Fuck trying to impress people with whatever the average retarded mindset of today is impressed by. I am a country ass boy, rough around the edges and sharp in the middle. I may not be well-groomed or bred for international success, but the fact I can stand knee deep in wet red clay digging at broken pipes and have a redneck dude named Rudy show up to help finalize the bullshit before the snow sets in and we laugh and laugh about getting drunk in the snowstorm. That's my strong suit, public relations with all classes of real humans. The robot world I sometimes can't swim through too easily, what with all the clusters of confusion and chatterboxes of sensory distractions. But nonetheless, here's more of that.

#1: ATLANTA FALCONS (6-7, 16th overall) - The Falcons seemed like they were on a high trajectory, built upon Matty Ryan and Michael Turners, but now both those dudes are broken, and the team is below .500 and struggling to maintain hope for the rest of the year. The great thing is they busted out those retro red helmets this year though. Fuck that all black bullshit. That got played out when every ghetto assed dude on earth was wearing Raiders gear post-NWA and then the White Sox changed their whole style to cash in on that trend. Plus, red, black and white is the triple colors of Hindu and Taoist balance, and have a tight style of mesh together anyways. I'm surprised more teams don't rock that simple yet stylistic uniform pizazz instead of all this goofy dark blue, pro America with a darkened edge bullshit that replaced the teal and aqua trend of the '90s.

#2: HOUSTON TEXANS (6-7, 17th overall) - Speaking of shit-tastic uniforms, there is none worse than the Houston Texans. How could a city with such a rich tradition of fucked upness, weird rich oil tycoons wealthy far beyond their intelligence, DJ Screwed music, the janitor dude who sells cumbias rebajadas mixtapes south of the border, the Oilers and Earl Campbell, how could all that lead up to this Texans team with those uniforms? They will be forever doomed until they make a rebranding change, because even if they rock the alternate red jerseys, it's still stupid looking.

#3: SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (6-7, 18th overall) - When I made a list of the 8 teams I would put in this class, saving only 8 teams for the possibly making the playoffs list next week, the 49ers were the last team I moved to this failure category, because even with an unfavorable game at the Eagles this week, I could see them back dooring their way into the playoffs as the Cowboys and Giants slide. Which is understandable, because everyone lives in fear of Mike Singletary. Alex Smith is benched, comes off the bench, and is very serviceable as a QB suddenly for the first time in his career. Vernon Davis gets chased off during a game, and now catches more TDs than anybody. Michael Crabtree doesn't even play most of the year as a rookie, but comes in and gets it together quickly. It's like Mean Mike is running a scared straight program for pro athletes. I imagine he'll end up being considered the greatest black head coach ever, at least for a few years.

#4: CAROLINA PANTHERS (5-8, 19th overall) - Oh Panthers, forever kinda good but not quite good enough. It's not just Jake Delhomme's fault; it's like the stamp of the franchise. Yet they've maintained a power running smashmouth game style for a while now under John Fox. Has he finally lost enough games to justify getting fired so they can bring in Bill Cowher to create a bonafide Steelers south yet? Hard to say. They could easily rally and earn Fox another year. That dude is more of an unkillable cockroach head coach than Norv Turner.

#5: CHICAGO BEARS (5-8, 20th overall) - Oh man, Jay Cutler. That whole thing, being I hate the Bears, is so funny to me. And the internet is crawling with stupid Bears fans latchkey children from the '80s who wanted their dad to be a combination of Jim McMahon and Sylvester Stallone. Well, make room at the back of your closet for your knock-off #6 jerseys bros.

#6: PITTSBURGH STEELERS (6-7, 22nd overall) - There is nothing I can say I don't like about the Steelers - nice history, players that are not annoying, chill uniforms, head coach who seems like he's not averse to smoking a blunt while listening to Pete Rock & CL Smooth's Mecca & The Soul Brother on CD not from iTunes. Yet at the same time, being a lifelong underdog who is sposed to never amount to nothing and used to have people calling the cops on me when I was just in front of my building trying to make money for my baby daughter, I can't completely get behind a proven winner, so when something like the Steelers struggling this year, I can't help but smile inside my blackened heart a happy smile, content with other people's struggles, being they look all better than me and have a nicer house and be driving a new car that don't need new shit all over it any day now. Fuck successful people. And when they are beautiful plus successful, like Ben Roethlisberger or Troy Polamalu, they can't tear enough MCLs and ACLs and PCLs to make me feel better about my own life.

#7: NEW YORK JETS (7-6, 23rd overall) - As if I didn't have enough reason to hate the Jets, I blew the fuse in my truck radio the other week, but rode around for like a week before my boy D told me to check the fuse, which I did, dismantling my truck's guts to get there, and switched out a 15 amp fuse and had radio again. Of course, absence makes the heart grow delirious with idealized memories, so I thought it a good idea to listen to AM sports radio a lot this week, which invariably leads to the Mike & Mike show since the other AM sports show has Dan Patrick and he kinda creeps me out in a child molesty kind of way. But Mike and Mike are annoying as fuck, and even two minutes of Mike Greenberg's schtick will make you want to murder anybody from New Jersey with a knife dipped in AIDS tainted blood already. So now I hate the Jets even more. I hope they never do anything except be the stupid Jets forever.

#8: SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (5-8, 24th overall) - If the Seahawks and my interest level were geographic locations, we'd be on opposite corners of the world map and the earth would be flat and you couldn't crawl across on the underneath edge like those spiked turtle shells in Super Mario Wii. That means I know nothing, care nothing, and have nothing to say about the Seahawks, except for what I just wrote as a means of filling up this space with something that at least takes you time to read.