Friday, January 30, 2015

Limerick Friday LXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXVXII: Cheaters Doing Cheating Things, Plus Feels-Kicking “Parenthood” Bids Adieu

Here’s coming the cheating again
It’s not if, it’s when
Belicheat pretended not to know
Brady lied in the snow
Get your asterisks ready, men

Didn’t think it’d be for me
Five days down at Disney
There were inconsiderate pricks
And lots of selfie sticks
But magical, I admit freely

The face of the Cubbies you knew
Ernie Banks was Wrigley, it’s true
One of the best shortstops of all time
They called him “Mr. Sunshine”
Whaddya say we play two

Denver’s kneejerk reaction
Should help Chicago gain traction
John Fox comes to the Midway
To jumpstart the Bears’ play
Already the offseason’s best transaction
The kinda family we should
Be if only we could
Drama included
Reality undiluted
Farewell, underrated “Parenthood”

Friday, January 09, 2015

Scooter & Hum's Top Five Books of the Year 2014

The eighth addition of the "Scooties" books of my year was marked by trilogies and a dearth of time to invest in as much reading as I would've liked. Of course, as usual, a few tales picked me up and shook me.

Without further ado ...

#1: “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” by Stieg Larsson

What I Say Now:

This novel passed the border from engrossing to mesmerizing, with Larsson’s seamless merging of the Blomkvist and Salander storylines halfway through the book being a true feat of literature. Larsson’s prose is stilted and factual—belying the journalist he was in life—but the absorbing mystery of the story steamrolled any potential issues with translation. Lisbeth Salander is hailed in some quarters as the most fierce and complex heroine in the history of literature, and it is her intricate, many-edged psychology that truly powers the book, which features one of the most memorable closing lines I’ve read: “She tossed Elvis into a dumpster.”

Passage to Remember:

“An unloved girl with odd behavior … a taciturn girl with hostile vibrations.”

“Blomkvist had opened the door to hell.”

#2: “White Plague,” by Frank Herbert

What I Say Now:

This 30-year-old tour de force builds a steady momentum, spreading like the virus it tracks throughout the plot. With shifting perspectives, it can be difficult to keep characters straight, but Herbert reels you in with subtle humor and manages to eclipse even the political and societal reverberations described throughout with a walloping conclusion. Like Larsson, Herbert quietly builds a story that runs on—and pays homage to—girl power, long before the Spice Girls stumbled into the spotlight.

Passages to Remember:

“Every outrage has its own euphemism, Enos.”

“ … the essence of diplomacy—creating acceptable solutions out of lies?”

“The failure of civilization can be detected by the gap between public and private morality. The wider the gap, the nearer the civilization to final dissolution.”

#3: “Revival,” by Stephen King

What I Say Now:

The King of foreshadowing hits his trademark hard in this one. While channeling his personal stance on religion in the form of “The Terrible Sermon,” King makes the audience wait for the creepy shit to get rolling with the minister. When it finally arrives, the payoff is well worth the suspense, as he paints a scene on par with any horror he’s described during his illustrious career. Somehow King has managed to forge new ground here by intertwining questions of faith and the politics of religion with a coming-of-age tale that deals with the consequences of innocence truly and irrevocably lost.

Passages to Remember:

“I muse on that, sometimes, Jamie. When I can’t sleep. How a little paint can make shallow water seem deep.”

“I remember sunsets as red as the blood on my father’s knuckles, and how that makes me shiver now.”

“He spoke with the patience of a true believer. Or a lunatic. Maybe there’s really no difference.”

“I thought of how life had been before I realized I was a frog in a pot.”

#4: “A Short History of Nearly Everything,” by Bill Bryson

What I Say Now:

It took me quite a while to slog through this one, but Bryson did a pretty good job of taking textbook-y material and making it readable, with a few comedic wrinkles sprinkled in. I will say it that it made me feel a little bit smarter by the end of it, which is no small feat.

Passages to Remember:

“It is a curious feature of our existence that we come from a planet that is very good at promoting life but even better at extinguishing it.”

“There seemed to be a mystifying universal conspiracy among textbook authors to make certain the material they dealt with never strayed too near the realm of the mildly interesting and was always at least a long-distance phone call from the frankly interesting.”

“It’s an unnerving thought that we may be the living universe’s supreme achievement and its worst nightmare simultaneously.”

#5: “Slow Getting Up,” by Nate Jackson

What I Say Now:

Jackson’s hilarious, revealing and thoughtful autobiography peels back the façade of modern-day pro football. From painkillers to sexcapades to Cognac on the sideline, he destroys the romanticism of the game, shedding light on how players must assimilate or disappear. He stops short of diming out specific players at times, but he eviscerates former Denver coach Josh McDaniel. The book has some repetition and a few mistakes, but overall this was a clever tale, told from the perspective of the guy whose NFL existence is decided week to week, far from the glow of ESPN and fantasy football.

Passages to Remember:

“In the NFL, you are alive until you are dead. There is no in between, and no way to put yourself on the other side mentally. You fight every day to keep your job by convincing yourself that you belong. And every day you return to work and see your name still posted above your locker is proof that you deserve that locker. Then one day, fate sneaks up behind you, taps you on the shoulder, and breaks your nose—or blows out your knee.
“Then it’s over.”

“Football players are conditioned for violence. We are at home in the melee. We may have moments of quiet reservation and doubt when lying on our living room couches, but on the field we are pulled toward the mayhem. The feel of the helmet and shoulder pads, the sound of the whistle, the taste of the mouthpiece, the smell of grass and sweat: sacraments for bloodshed.”

“One day after the next: all days the same. It’s the routine of football in the lives of football men that quiets the demons within. It’s the routine that keeps them at bay. And it is the end of the routine that we all fear.”

“Satisfied that my endless pursuit of football perfection has finally been reached, or is finally revealed as unreachable, the hand of fate steadies, lines up the scope, and pulls the trigger. No doubts this time. The sniper hits his mark.”

Honorable Mention (in 10 words or less):
“Zen of Marketing,” by Seth Godin: Fascinating and unique look at applying practical marketing applications.
“A Drink Before the War,” by Dennis Lehane: Absorbing debut novel from a promising writer who chose cinema.
“Mr. Mercedes,” Stephen King: Foray into detective genre lacks characteristic King pacing.
“Girl Who Played with Fire,” by Steig Larsson: Salander and Blomvkist return to tackle conspiracies and sex trafficking.
Divergent, Veronica Roth: “Hunger Games” Lite.
Insurgent, Veronica Roth: “Hunger Games” Lite-r.
Allegiant, Veronica Roth: “Hunger Games” Lite-est.

The Office: Middle Earth

SNL is stepping up their game. I can dig it ...

Friday, December 19, 2014

Limerick Friday LXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXVXI: “Newsroom” Fades To Black, Plus Patience During The Holidays

Three seasons of “Newsroom”
They went by in a zoom
Through all the drama of right and wrong
It was about Charlie Skinner, all along
Sorkin tricked those who assume

After the Dolphins reach another low
Everyone but the owner seems to know
It’s time to press restart again
In pursuit of a playoff win
So sorry, but Joe has to go

Jax kissed a Mac truck grill
Ending the “Sons of Anarchy” thrill
A show with enormous holes
But it dragged you over the coals
Cartoonish but engrossing still

He’s the emo QB
Moodier than a child of 3
His whiny face smolders
In the City of Big Shoulders
Cutler ain’t cuttin’ it, ya see?

Traffic beyond reason
At work, no appeasin’
Yet the lights twinkle merry
The kids are excited, very
So grin and say, “‘Tis the season”

Last time

Friday, December 05, 2014

Limerick Friday LXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXVXI: The Commish With The Horseshoe Anal Implant, Plus Beth Shuffles Off The TWD Immortal Coil

Another playoff trip. oh boy

By using every owner ploy
But Shamrock used all his luck
Had me saying, “What the fuck?!”
Knocked out by goddam Colt McCoy?!

Playoff hopes barely alive
Thanks to a Geno Smith drive
Pushed around by the Jets
Escaped at the end, you bets
For consistency, we do strive

Down by five TDs
Still talking trash incessantly
Or maybe it was just Swahili
Expected better, silly me
Cheaters won’t be humbled, don’t you see

Lined up and punched ‘em in the face
Added to the cheaters disgrace
Hit ‘em until they quit
Then rubbed their face in the shit
The Pack took over the whole place
Impromptu lullabies
And anime eyes
With a shot to the head
Innocence lost on “Walking Dead”
For Beth, a fanbase cries

Friday, November 21, 2014

Limerick Friday LXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXVX: That Time O’ The Fantasy Year, Plus “Homeland” Jumps The Jihadi

 A breath away from 7-3
‘Til the Bears stole it from me
Another week, another brutal beat
Just rinse and repeat
Bad luck returning untimely

After shite beyond reason
Final game of the season
Have to get off the snide
And halt an unlucky slide
For a playoff spot to be seizin’

Lots of oversharing and talkin’
Before Carol got nailed jaywalkin’
Noah, a convenient addition
In true TWD tradition
Now Daryl is hospital stalkin’

Across the Rockies they sore
To take on a stiff-necked stat whore
The Dolphins a sorta surprise
Can they avoid a late-season demise?
Squarely in the race at 6-4
Carrie got dosed down the rabbit hole
But she uncovered the mole
Saul want HAM
In Afghanistan
“Homeland,” you make me so droll

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Deep Thoughts By No-Look McFadden: Episode 73

My life and the world at large is in desperate need of Seinfeld emojis. Smarty techie types, please make this happen.

Tony Dungy as the NFL’s moral authority, as I’ve said repeatedly, is a bad joke

This is a crying baby video phone ad that kicks you right in the feels.

I was in this position not all that long ago. But I couldn’t nail this level of honesty in a job interview. Priceless.

Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and actor Dave Foley look shockingly alike. They both also kind of look like Ellen Degeneres, but that’s neither here nor there.

Senator Whitehouse of Rhode Island is my new hero, destroying reality climate deniers.

I like “The League,” I really do. But their insistence on including the Rafi and Randy storyline goes beyond bizarre to out-and-out stupidity. I’ve never turned off one of these episodes halfway through until one about Rafi and Randy comes on, because they’re routinely unfunny, pointless, and non-football-related. [/rant over]

I want to join this bank. I mean, maybe I really don’t, but still. They were cool before they were illegal.

I’m not sure it’s really possible to describe how awful a broadcaster Boomer Esiason is. Wow.

So let me get this straight: One of the greatest rock bands in the history of music gives away music for free (and one of their best albums in years, it should be noted), and the reaction is offended outrage? Think about that for a minute.

Judging by the response of a new U2 album landing on the iTunes front page, you would have thought that Bono was going around stealing people’s kidneys in the middle of the night. Welcome to the new world of faux entitlement and fabricated sensibility, ladies and gentlemen.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Limerick Friday LXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXVIX: A Melancholy Farewell to “Boardwalk Empire,” Plus Ignorance Sweeps The Vote

Intense, engrossing and clever
Predictable? No, never
Nucky doomed by greed and talk
To die along the boardwalk
One of the best of all-times and ever

Capone bid his son goodbye
There was something in my eye
Narcisse erased by Lucky’s armory
Jimmy’s son avenged the Darmodys
On “Boardwalk Empire,” all must die

Oh, what a happy November
First league win I can remember
Finally didn’t need an excuse
To take down Syracuse
The Pack now a functioning ACC member?

About the Scooters you could say
They sort of find a way
Moving to 6-3
Treading water carefully
‘Til Mathews and Gordon play

A dark day for you and me
As well as for democracy
Senate lost to bigoted thieves
Almost hard to believes
Land of the ignorant but free