Tuesday, November 2, 2010

LIVING LIFE: Sports Time Zoneology

*Pulled this one out of the archives from March of 2009

I knew that when I decided to move to Colorado from the East Coast a few months ago that my life would be changed and affected, I just didn't know how much my life as a sports fan would be changed and affected.

I got excited the other day when I saw a commercial for all the college basketball conference tournament coverage, so I planned out my week accordingly to make sure I was home in time to watch the games I really wanted to see.

One of those particular games was scheduled for this past Thursday at 7 p.m., so I raced home from work that evening, heated up a cardboard pizza, poured myself a cold beverage, lounged back in my recliner and was ready to enjoy the Madness of March.

As I turned on the television at seven o’clock on the dot, I was confused as to what I found playing out before me on the screen.

Not only was the game already on, it was almost over.

Suddenly, a wave of reality crashed over me as I realized that they game had indeed started at 7 p.m... Eastern Standard Time.

What a Rocky Mountain rookie mistake.

Spending my entire life by the Atlantic Ocean, I had always heard of an “East Coast Bias” but never knew what the fuss was all about; mainly, I suppose, because I had never been affected by it. I always thought it just had something to do with Heisman voting or college football polls or everyone’s misguided fascination with Derek Jeter. But now that I realize that the national sports networks only promote games to one time zone, I can understand why everyone west of the Mississippi hates the East Coast.

I'm still trying to get this straight: we are so technologically advanced as a species that there are scientists who are currently developing contact lenses that will transmit your favorite TV programs and sporting events into your eye, but we can’t come up with a way to run regionally specific commercials for those events?

Just unreal.

And it’s not just the TV ads, either. After the college basketball debacle, I began noticing other forms of skewed East Coast bias in the sporting universe. I have a fantasy NBA basketball team through a national sports website and in our league you have to have your lineup set by 7 p.m. – again – Eastern Standard Time.

On more than one occasion, I have logged on to set up my nightly lineup around 6:30 p.m. only to find that games are already in progress and my team is locked. It’s always fun to watch Carmelo Anthony put up 31 points or Chris Paul dish out 14 assists… on my bench.

Good times.

But despite any bias by the national media, I have to admit that there are some bonuses to everything starting two hours earlier than what I am used to.

It's nice to have Major League Baseball games start at five in the afternoon from the East Coast and there aren't any more annoying “late games” listed in the paper the following day. I can’t wait for football season to roll around and have the luxury of waking up to college football starting as early as 10 a.m. on a Saturday. It will also be the greatest getting home from church on a Sunday and not having to sit through those obnoxious pre-game shows anymore because the early games kickoff at 11.

And with Monday Night Football starting at 6:30 p.m. instead of 8:30, I will actually be able to watch an entire game without having to down a case of Red Bull and stumble through work like a zombie the following day.

I guess those perks will make the sacrifice of having to get my degree in Sports Time Zoneology a little more tolerable.

All I know is that I can promise you that my little scheduling faux pas from last week won’t ever happen again while I'm out here. When I heat up my cardboard pizza, pour myself a cold beverage and lay back in my recliner for the rest of the NCAA basketball tourney, I’m going to be on time this time.

Case in point: I just saw a commercial for the game I want to see this weekend and the television coverage starts at noon in the east and it’s being played in Indianapolis and that’s in the Central time zone, so I need to subtract one, divide by eight, carry the three… oh, wait… no, I need to divide by five and multiply by the square root of 47 and then…

Ok, can somebody help me?


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Saturday, October 23, 2010

LIVING LIFE: The Sports Wedding Calendar


I don't think my love of sports – OK, obsession with sports– is any big secret to anyone that really knows me; however, here lately I'm beginning to believe that the rest of the world isn’t sharing in my passion.

One of my best buddies, Paulie, just got engaged. He and his fiancé decided to have to have their wedding next month.

In November.

During one of the best annual sports stretches of the year.

“I know, I know,” Paul said. “Don’t even start with me.”

“I just want to make sure that you realize that you will be getting married during a college football Saturday,” I responded.

“Yes,” he said, becoming more dejected. “I'm well aware of the situation.”

“Then you will be leaving on your honeymoon and missing the NFL on Sunday, Monday Night Football on Monday, and a whole week of NBA games during the week,” I added.

“Just tell me where to turn in my Man Card," he said, now sulking.

Paul’s wedding will be just one more instance in what’s becoming a disturbing trend as of late. Within the past two years, I have missed a lot of March Madness basketball, tons of college football, almost missed Game 3 of the World Series featuring my favorite team, and the PGA Championship all because of weddings.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I did miss the PGA Championship because of my own wedding, but still… you get the point)

The problem isn’t that my friends are maliciously scheduling their nuptials during prime time sporting events on purpose, it’s just that we haven't been better informed as to when all of the prime time sporting events are being played. So, that’s what I’m here to do.

You’re welcome, world.

At the most recent wedding that my w
ife and I attended that was scheduled during an important game, I started to get a little chirpy. I began to pontificate profusely about how if you do get married during a huge sporting event, then you should have to be required to take into consideration all the men that have no desire to even be there in the first place (I lost it during that eternity between the ceremony and the reception, when you have to wait for the wedding party to finish taking pictures. Gets me every time).

I added that it should be mandated to have televisions strategically placed throughout the reception area because there will always be some big game on somewhere throughout the year.

Not wanting to force brides into having to deal with installing extra television sets, my wife wanted to know when the best times of the year are to have a wedding based on the annual sports calendar to make everyone happy.

And to shut me up.

After careful consideration and extended research, I have come to the rescue and have compiled a very helpful calendar that everyone can now use to schedule their future weddings around major sports events.

Men, I would suggest printing this out immediately and keeping it in your wallet because information this revolutionary tends to “disappear” quickly.

DATES YOU CAN'T HAVE A WEDDING BECAUSE OF CONFLICT WITH SPORTS:

- January 1 (NHL Outdoor Winter Classic)
- The rest of January (NFL Playoffs)
- First weekend in February (Super Bowl)

- Second weekend in February (NBA All-Star Weekend)
- March (March Madness)
- The first weekend in April (the Final Four and MLB opening weekend)
- The second weekend in April (The Masters)
- The last weekend of April (NFL Draft)
- May (NBA playoffs)
- June (NBA Finals)
- September (College and NFL football return)
- October (MLB playoffs, NHL returns, football every weekend)
- November (NBA returns, glorious football)
- December (NBA, NFL, NHL in full swing, college football bowl season)

DATES YOU CAN HAVE A WEDDING THAT WON'T CONFLICT WITH SPORTS:

- Last two weekends of February
- July
- August
- The third weekend in April*


*July and August are always the safest because baseball is the only sport being played at the time and no one actively wants to get married at the end of February. Besides, even if you do dodge a bullet with scheduling your wedding on that open weekend of April this year, your subsequent anniversaries will inevitably come back to haunt you for the rest of your life.

No need to be a hero, pal. As you can clearly see, there are pleeeeenty of other acceptable dates.

Here's my ultimate point: guys know that when we are in relationships, situations are going to come up where we are not going to get to watch every minute of every sporting event during the calendar year. But we just want women to understand that before you came along, this is all we did.

There's no grand mystery to solve about us.

My answer to every one of my wife’s questions pertaining to my life before her is always some variation of, "I was at my buddy's house watching the game."

How about a compromise? For every regular season game that we miss because we were at the mall with you, can we just please stop scheduling our weddings during MAJOR sporting events like March Madness or the World Series or the PGA Championship? And not just for us, but for every man that will be forced against his will to come be a part of our special day.

Is that really too much to ask?



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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

LIVING LIFE: Giving Me the Business

Our one year of marriage is the longest my Wife has been without a dog in her house since she was in elementary school and it’s starting to get to her. Everywhere we go, she oooh’s and ahhh’s at every dog we see. She even has a “Puppy of the Day” feature on her iGoogle homepage that I’m forced to suffer through looking at every evening.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t want a dog. I love dogs. I can’t wait to have a dog. But I keep trying to explain to my darling bride that the only issue keeping us from having a dog is that we can barely afford to take care of the two of us right now. Let alone one of man’s best friends.

Fortunately, I have found a decent alternative to keep her temporarily happy while we wait on getting our own canine companion. Our friend, Laura, lets us occasionally puppy-sit her Lhasa-Poodle mix, Millie, whenever she has to go out of town or if my Wife just desperately needs a doggy fix.

We have watched Millie a hundred times in the past and Laura asked if we could watch her last weekend because she had a lot of things to do and didn’t want to leave Millie alone for an extended period of time. Normally, this wouldn’t have been an issue, except for the fact that this particular weekend, my Wife was ALSO going to be out of town for a friend’s wedding.

Not wanting to leave Laura – or her dog – in a jam, I offered to take care of Millie by myself for the weekend.

Much to the surprise of My Wife.

“What’s the big deal?” I said to her. “I used to take care of my parents’ dog all the time by myself.”

“I know,” she said. “But this is someone else’s dog. What if something goes wrong?”

“What could possibly go wrong?” I responded defensively.

I should really start reading my own columns.

Laura dropped Millie off at our apartment on Friday night and we had a great evening. We played with her toys. We went out for walks. We watched the baseball playoffs (that reminds me, I still owe Mils money on the bet we had).

And as I drifted off to sleep that night with Millie cuddled up next to me, I was hooked. When my Wife got back in town, we were going to get our own dog. No matter the cost.

Saturday morning started off as pleasant as Friday had ended. I took Millie for a long walk and it’s important to note that she… um… took care of her business while we were out. We came back in the apartment and I jumped in the shower, only to find another nice little surprise when I got out.

She took care of business on our carpet.

Not a big deal, dogs do that kind of stuff all the time. Quick clean up and we were good to go.

Or so I thought.

About an hour later, I took her out for another walk and she took care of business three more times. I was getting a little concerned because, while I’m not expert, this seemed like a lot for a small dog in one morning.

We weren’t back in the house 10 minutes after the walk before she handled her business on the carpet again.

At this point, I didn’t know what to do. Part of me wanted to call Laura just in case something was medically wrong with Millie but my pride stepped in and convinced me there was no way I was going to fail at dog sitting.

I decided to have a little pep talk with Millie.

“Hey Mils,” I started. “Any chance we can tone down the business inside the house?”

Millie looked directly into my soul and I could instantly tell what she was thinking.

“You’re mine, buddy. I own you. I’m going to do whatever I want and you’re going to like it.”

Uh, oh.

After business was conducted on two more walks in the afternoon, I thought we were done for the night. Millie snuggled up next to me on the couch while I was watching television and I was starting to nod off when I noticed her getting up off the couch.

In what could have only been maybe a full minute, Millie did her business in three different places on our carpet.

Naturally the shock and smell caused me throw up on the carpet too.

Realizing something must be really wrong, I finally had to call Laura to come pick up Millie and spent the rest of the night cleaning the business filled war zone that had become our living room.

When my Wife got back home the next day, she couldn’t resist.

“How did it go?” She chuckled.

“Great,” I snapped. “Guess who is NEVER getting a dog?”

“Oh, come on,” she said. “Just consider it good diaper changing practice for when we have a baby.”

“BABY?!”


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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

LIVING LIFE: Pretty Fly for a White Guy


Now that I’ve gotten a little bit older and have a little bit more money, airline travel has become one of my new favorite past times (and let’s remember to keep the emphasis on “little” in both of those cases).

I've always loved traveling in general, but driving back and forth across this great country of ours four times already has burnt me out on long road trips for a while. In the meantime, I'm appreciating being able to travel more conveniently through the friendly skies.

The only problem is that every aspect of flying goes against every aspect of my nature.

There’s too much waiting that goes into flying. You have to wait in line to check any bags. Then you have to wait to disrobe in the security line. Then you have to wait at the gate to board the plane. Then you have to wait for the plane to take off.

Then there’s the worst wait of all: when you’ve landed and you’re dying to get off the plane but you have to wait for the flight attendants to help the one idiot dislodge his slightly too large bag from the overhead compartment.

Considering how I flip out if I have to wait at a stoplight longer than a minute and a half, this is not a doctor recommended list of activities for me.

Oh, and then there’s the actual flying.

I know it is all science and physics but if I can’t even comprehend how it’s possible for me to program my DVR at home from my computer at work, I’m never going to get past a man-made aircraft lifting off the ground and flying through the air.

At the end of the day, it’s just a bunch of people climbing into a metal tube and hoping for the best.

But when my Wife and I decided to move almost 2,000 miles away from most of our family and friends, flying suddenly became a necessary evil.

I’m proud to admit that almost two years in, I’m finally starting to calm down, relax, and borderline enjoy it. During take-offs and touch-downs, I no longer have to cling on for dear life to my Wife or, worse yet, the absolute stranger sitting next to me.

Baby steps.

What’s really strange, though, is that when I went to meet a buddy in Missouri last weekend, I realized that I am slowly starting to take on somewhat of a Clive Bixby alter ego when I fly.

First, I noticed that during that aforementioned wait at the gate, I always buy the most recent issue of Esquire magazine. I know that’s that not ridiculously abnormal; Esquire is a well-known, widely read publication. But it is kind of abnormal when you take into account the fact that after buying the magazine a few times at airports last year, I even subscribed to receive it at our house... only to never read it… unless I was on an airplane.

We finally had to plan random flights just to unload the stack of unread issues that were piling up on our coffee table.

Then I observed something unusual when the attendants come by mid-flight for my drink order. I always order tomato juice. In my everyday life, I NEVER drink tomato juice. It’s basically thinned out ketchup. Once again, after ordering it a few times on flights last year, I picked up some tomato juice to keep at our house... only to never drink it… unless I was on an airplane.

Is there some kind of clinical diagnosis for this kind of alternative behavior?

I mean, other than just being a weirdo?

Finally, I have become increasingly aware that I spend money like a drunken sailor whenever I fly. At home, I am militant when it comes to our finances, but when I get out of town I spend it like we got it. I also become a very generous tipper and will tip anyone for doing anything for me.

It’s no coincidence that every city I visit experiences a temporary economic spike. I’ve actually received a few “Thank You” cards from town officials.

I genuinely like who I am as a person, but my alter-ego seems to be having more fun than I ever do. So the truly bizarre question then becomes that if this world traveling-Esquire reading-tomato drinking-free spending son of a gun is fundamentally 36% cooler than I am, why can’t I be him all the time?

Maybe it’s because when you get bogged down in the routine of everyday life, you just need something different – or someone different – to look forward to when climbing into a metal tube and hoping for the best.


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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

LIVING LIFE: The Playoff Beard




As I have mentioned before, my Wife and I never argue about anything of actual importance; but our disagreements are always of the utmost significance to us.

Here is the transcript of a recent hum-dinger:

ME: It’s officially October! You know what that means, don't you?

MY WIFE: Yes! Cooler weather and awesome weekend trips to the mountains!

ME: And if by “awesome weekend trips to the mountains” you mean staying home to watch a ton of football and baseball playoffs, then you are correct!

MY WIFE: Ugh, is it really baseball playoff time, again?

ME: Yes… it is finally baseball playoff time again.

MY WIFE: You’re not going to grow that gross, scraggily playoff beard again are you?

ME: I HAVE to!

MY WIFE: No you don’t. It makes no difference on how your team plays!

ME: Umm… let’s review the facts.

MY WIFE: Here we go.

ME: In 2007, I didn’t grow the beard and they got swept in the first round. In 2008, I grew the beard and they won the World Series. In 2009, I grew the beard and they made it to the World Series and then I shaved the beard for that stupid Halloween costume and then they lost. I rest my case.

MY WIFE: But we were so cute as Joan and Roger!

ME: Yes, but I cost us the Series.

MY WIFE: And you almost cost your friendship with your buddy Gray in ’08 when you wore that thing as a groomsman during his wedding.

ME: Yes, but I can’t help that he scheduled his wedding during my favorite team’s first World Series appearance in 28 years.

MY WIFE: But you were in their pictures!

ME: But it was Game 3!

MY WIFE: Is Halloween during the World Series this year?

ME: Yep. Game 4 will be on Halloween night.

MY WIFE: So what costumes are we going to wear?

ME: I have no idea! That's almost a full month away. You can dress up as whatever you want.

MY WIFE: No, we have to be a matching couple! We’ve been Fred and Daphne, Joan and Roger and I thought we were going to be Jim and Pam from “The Office” this year.

ME: We can still be Jim and Pam.

MY WIFE: But Jim doesn’t have a beard!

ME: That we know of.

MY WIFE: No! We have to look authentic. What famous characters wear beards?

ME: I don’t know. I’ll just go as a baseball player again.

MY WIFE: NO! You did already two years ago!

ME: Because we won the World Series that year!

MY WIFE: You’re not wearing a costume you’ve already worn!

ME: We were living 2,000 miles away back then! No one out here will know!

MY WIFE: But I will!

ME: Fine. Let’s look online and see what famous characters have worn beards.

(We spend a few minutes doing an Internet search)

MY WIFE: Well, it looks like we’re down to Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jules Winnfield.

ME: What if I did Obi-Wan and you dressed up as Princess Leia in her Jabba’s palace costume?

MY WIFE: I can’t.

ME: Sure you can!

MY WIFE: Noooo, I can’t.

ME: I will grant you that costume is a little revealing–

MY WIFE: No, it's not that! It's because she’s not a redhead.

ME: Wait, what?

MY WIFE: She doesn’t have beautiful red hair like me, so I can’t be her.

ME: So let me get this straight. You can only dress up as female characters for Halloween that have red hair like yours - on a night where the whole point is to dress up as someone else?

MY WIFE: “Beautiful” red hair. Yes, that is correct. Daphne, Joan, Pam… seeing a pattern?

ME: Yeah, but I thought those were just convenient, not mandatory.

MY WIFE: Sorry, don’t know what to tell you.

ME: So what’s the list of remaining, available characters that have red hair–

MY WIFE: Uh, excuse me...

ME: Sorry, what is the list of remaining, available characters that have beautiful red hair?

MY WIFE: Of the top of my beautiful red head, I can think of Wilma Flintsone, Jane Jetson…

ME: Hey, I like that one! I could get a wig and be George Jetson!

MY WIFE: But he doesn’t have a beard!

ME: Well then you just better hope that we lose before we even get to the World Series so that I can find a more accommodating Halloween character to be with you!

MY WIFE (with a devilish grin): Well if that’s an option…

ME: DON’T YOU DARE!


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Monday, September 13, 2010

LIVING LIFE: Fantasy Turned Nightmare


Seven years ago, my buddy Paulie introduced me to something that would change my life forever: fantasy football.

Being the raging sports fan that I am, this discovery was the equivalent of the creation of the Internet or man landing on the moon or even Columbus finding America.

Fantasy is perfect for people like me who cannot get enough football only on Sundays and want to feel more connected and involved in the sport. And it is exponentially less pathetic than just creating a fantasy team in the Madden video game because you’re actually dealing with real players who are playing real games.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s still ridiculously pathetic.

Fantasy also provides me a way to stay connected with my friends who live all over the country. My Wife will call up one of her girlfriends back East and they will talk for hours about their lives and the latest gossip. Yeah, my friends and I aren’t going to do that. I haven’t had an actual conversation with my buddy Chris in probably six months, but we text 10 times a day about potential fantasy football moves.

So for the most part, the fantasy pros have heavily outweighed the cons until something unexpected happened.

The one league I was a part of wasn’t good enough anymore.

Four years ago, I got invited to play in another league that was set up slightly different from my original league and I thought I’d give it a try for a season. If I had been as bad in that league as I was in my first league (and still am), I probably would have been one and done. But no, I had to win the championship that very first year in the new league and then something even worse happened.

Two leagues weren’t good enough anymore.

Fast forward to the start of the current NFL season and I am in not one, not two, not three but FOUR fantasy football leagues.

And I can justify them all.

I’m in a 12 team/dynasty keeper league, an 8 team/2 player keeper league, a 10 team/auction draft league, and a 12 team/standard draft league.

So, there.

But now I have problems that I have never dreamed of before. With so many players on four different teams, I will inevitably have too many of my own players playing against myself in the other leagues. It was tough to enjoy Justin Bieber... uh, I mean Tom Brady’s 3 TD performance for one of my teams on Sunday when I knew he was obliterating the Bengals defense, which I had starting for one of my other teams.

Even that was nothing compared to the convoluted chaos I found myself in on Monday night. In one league, I had an 18 point lead over an opponent who only had Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles left to play. In another league, I had a 12 point lead over an opponent who only had Ravens running back Ray Rice. And in another league, I was trailing by 10 points but I HAD Charles and Rice. So I needed just enough from both, but not too much from either.

Hours later, I’m still confused as to how it all played out.

To be fair, the fantasy gods did try to warn me this year. I only wanted to do two leagues but I got roped into playing in the other two at the last minute (by “roped” I mean I was invited and instantly said, “Yes!”) and endured terrible draft experiences in both of those leagues.

In one of those leagues, we decided to bring our laptops to a local sports bar and hold the draft there. I logged in a half hour before the draft was supposed to start to check my Internet connection and everything was fine… until two minutes before the draft when I lost the connection.

The draft started and I scrambled to get back online and the computer started auto-picking players for me. And it was as if the computer had a personal vendetta against me as it drafted players I normally hate in fantasy and real football – including the starting quarterback, running back, AND wide receiver from my least favorite real NFL team.

Thanks, computer.

At least missing half of that draft was better than the other draft in which I missed the entire draft all together. Thought the draft was at 7 p.m. but it was at six, so I logged in at 6:45 the draft was already over.

I'm getting sloppier than Andy Reid blowing through timeouts.

After that debacle, I promised myself right then and there that I’m only going to play in one league next year.

Or maybe five.


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Monday, September 6, 2010

LIVING LIFE: With This Ring


My Wife is very cool about a lot of the nonsense that I put her through. Her life consists of watching a lot of sports, watching me play video games, calming me down on a regular basis, and watching a LOT of sports.

I still can’t see her angle on why she married me, but I’m sure she has one.

But the one and only thing that she is not cool about is when I don’t wear my wedding ring. She’s never said why it bothers her so much and I’ve never asked, but if you want to see her go from normal to Jwoww in .04 seconds, come over to our place and watch me slide my ring off.

The only problem with this being her only problem is that I hate wearing my ring. Not because of what it stands for, I just can’t stand wearing jewelry of any kind.

So this was a borderline-to-legitimate issue when we were planning to get married.

ME: I don’t really have to wear a wedding ring when we get married, do I?

MY WIFE: Don’t even try to get out of this one. YOU HAVE TO WEAR A RING.

ME: It’s not like I have a cavalcade of women knocking down my door so what’s the difference if I don’t wear one? Can’t I just get a tattoo around my ring finger?

MY WIFE: Yes, you can get a tattoo. I will let you get a tattoo instead of wearing a ring if you get one that says “I love my wife more than anything else in the world, she is so beautiful and I’m so lucky to have her and I will buy her flowers every day for the rest of my life.”

ME: Hmmm… Can I put that on a sign to wear around my neck instead?

Since that idea bombed worse than MacGruber (sorry, Will Forte!), I suddenly found myself in a jewelry store trying to pick out a ring. I didn’t care about price, quality, or design. The only thing I was concerned with was the weight. I asked the guy at the store for the lightest ring he had and told him I would even be fine with wrapping a few pipe cleaners around my finger.

We finally found a ring that was a suitable compromise for the both of us and I started to wear it a few weeks out before the wedding so I could get used to it. I was miserable for about a week. I was constantly aware of it and it felt like my left hand weighed a ton. Even worse, I felt like one of those poor animals that had been tagged in the ear for tracking purposes.

But then a funny thing happened, we got married and I got used to wearing it. I got so used to wearing it that I now feel weird when I’m NOT wearing it.

Another brilliant tactical development by the female gender.

So that - and the fear of my Wife - is what caused me to freak out a couple of weeks ago when I left the house to run a few errands only to realize that for the first time in over a year, I had forgotten to wear my ring.

I was grabbing a couple quick items in the grocery store when I looked down at my hand on the shopping cart and noticed the ring wasn’t there. My first thought was, “Where is my Wife right now?” Because if she was home and saw it lying there while I was out, I might as well never go back.

Once I had the calming realization that she was out of the house as well, I looked at my phone to see what time it was (I won't even wear a wrist watch). She said she would be home by noon. It was currently 11:45 a.m. and I was at least 15 minutes away from our house. I literally left the cart in the middle of the aisle and sprinted to my car.

Now I know why she’s with me – she owns me.

I screamed at every slow driver that I passed (this was before my massage) as I blew through stoplights, racing home like Memphis Raines. I pulled in to my parking spot at our apartment just in time to see my Wife turn the corner in her car. I deftly slipped my left hand into my jeans’ pocket and walked briskly to our front door. Once inside, I ran to our bedroom, found my ring on my nightstand, and exhaled deeply as my lovely bride walked in.

I came out and gave her a big, anxiety-ridden hug only to see her pause and stiffen up.

MY WIFE: You haven't been wearing your ring, have you?


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Saturday, August 28, 2010

LIVING LIFE: Broke My Back Mountain


I’ve been a little stressed out lately.

Nothing more than usual. I’ve just been feeling more frustrations at work, with our finances, and with all the “Glee” Emmy nominations.

You know, typical stuff.

Normally, I can deal with life’s simple struggles without breaking stride, but here recently I’ve been incapable of handling even the most insignificant issues.

So when my Wife and I were making plans to celebrate our first wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago, she was determined to find me some rest and relaxation. She pitched a weekend retreat to a resort up in the mountains that included a couples’ massage and spa package.

At first I was hesitant because I’ve never really been into the whole intimate massage scene. But when I found myself screaming at an old man because he wasn’t taking a right hand turn at a stop light as quickly as I would have liked, I knew that these were desperate times calling for similar measures.

Besides, I had gotten a massage once before a couple of years ago, and it wasn’t completely terrible – despite the fact that it violated every rule I steadfastly maintain in regards to protecting my personal space.

When my Wife and I got to the massage place (is it a “place”? Salon? Parlor?), a woman with a heavy French accent greeted us and took us to our massage room. She invited us to sit in a steam room for a few minutes and that they would be back to give us our massages (more on “they” in a moment).

ME: So we just go sit in the steam room?

MY WIFE: Yeah. What’s wrong?

ME: What do you do in there? Just sit?

MY WIFE: Yes, it’s supposed to be relaxing?

ME: Well, what do you wear? Your clothes will get wet if you’re just sitting there in steam.

(If you can’t already tell, I am painfully new to all of this)

MY WIFE: You don’t wear anything.

ME: WHAAAAT? You just sit there... naked... doing nothing... just looking at each other?

MY WIFE: It’s supposed to be romantic.

ME: Are you supposed to do… something in there? How is that any fun? It’s already way too hot and steamy in.

It’s a minor miracle that she stayed married to me for an entire year.

After five minutes of us sitting in the steam room in all of our awkward glory, we dried off and the woman returned to get us set up for our massages.

To measure what kind of intensity we wanted, she said she was going to squeeze our necks with her hand and then we would tell her if we wanted more or less pressure. She then proceeded to give us each a Vulcan death grip and after we picked ourselves up from the floor, we both told her that we wanted less pressure.

A lot less pressure.

She laughed one of those evil villain laughs and said “they” would return in a minute to begin. In a moment of panic, I pawned my Wife off to Annie Wilkes and ran to the other table, knowing that whoever came in couldn’t be any worse.

I’ve been wrong before, but I have never been quite this wrong.

Like from some terrifying horror film, the door slowly opened and a hulking beast of a man walked in. His name was "Steve" and he looked like a henchmen from a 1980’s Sly Stallone movie. He was wearing short gym shorts and a tank top with muscles bulging out of his muscles.

Based on the pressure the French lady applied to my kneck, my very first thought looking at him was, “Well, I had a good run.”

Like I said earlier, my only memory of a massage wasn’t that bad. As much as I didn’t like being touched all over, it was genuinely relaxing on the whole.

This experience would be defined as the opposite of that.

Steve crunched and crushed every bone he could find in my body. I kept trying to remember the secret war plans that had I had apparently been brainwashed with so that I could give them up and end this torment.

At one point he pressed down on my back so hard that I legitimately saw my soul trying to escape out of my physical frame. The crazy thing is that I didn’t try to stop it.

My Wife sauntered out of her massage relaxed and rejuvenated. I limped out and, weeks later, still have nightmares.

MY WIFE: So, do you feel any better?

ME: Well, I’m too broken and sore to feel stressed and angry.

MY WIFE: Mission accomplished.

ME: Thanks?


Follow Josh on Twitter @Just_Being_Josh and follow @INDT_popculture for entertainment updates

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Classic Sitcom Scene of the Day

A pre-"Back to the Future" Christopher Lloyd proves why he is one of the comedic greats in this epic scene from "Taxi". Of course showing this scene as a classic is like showing Jordan dunking from the foul line, but I just want to ease everyone into the new feature.

Feel free to comment below with any of your favorite sitcom moments and I'll get them posted in the coming days (and as a bonus, I have also posted the Classic Sitcom Scene of the Day from yesterday since it was only included on my twitter account)


"SLOW DOWN"




"Poor Horatio"




Follow Josh on Twitter @Just_Being_Josh and follow @INDT_popculture for entertainment updates

Monday, August 2, 2010

Living Life: My Resolution is Not Working Out


I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions.

My thinking has been that if I couldn’t make something happen in the first two decades of my life, it’s probably not going to happen now.

But this year was different. Coming into 2010, I committed myself to getting into shape. Not necessarily peak physical condition – just some semblance of any actual shape, as opposed to the blob of flesh I have turned into.

I don’t know where it all went wrong. In my teens and early 20’s, I was one of the most active people I knew. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I got off track somewhere between the introduction of fantasy football and DVR technology.

Recently, however, even I had to concede that there were some minor health related issues starting to develop. Simple tasks such as climbing a small set of stairs, standing up from a sitting position, or even breathing had suddenly become more difficult; so I promised my Wife I would start working out with her.

The only problem with working out with my Wife is that she is one of those weird human beings that actually enjoys inflicting pain upon her body. I’ve never understood that mentality and that’s always been my biggest barrier to physical fitness.

Why do something that hurts when it feels so good to do something that doesn’t?

With carefully crafted excuses and "schedule conflicts", I was able to hold her off for a few months but when her dad surprised us with a membership to a gym (that sits in front of our apartment) as an early anniversary present, I knew my goose was cooked.

I could sleep easy at night knowing I was blowing off a gym membership that I paid for, but there was no way I could live with myself when it is on someone else’s dime.

Part of our package included two free hour long sessions with a personal trainer and I found myself dreading this more than anything else. Blame it on the male pride, but I just pictured some perfectly sculpted Adonis laughing at me as I lay crying on the floor trying to complete a single sit-up.

So I was actually a little relieved when I got a call from a perky female trainer to set up my appointment. She was exactly what I needed to get back into the flow of things. She was extremely nice and personable even though we both knew she was probably judging me a little on the inside.

Unfortunately, once the clock started on our session her niceness disappeared faster than a thought from Snooki’s brain.

It was like one of those hours where time stands still and you think 40 minutes have gone by but then you look at the clock and see that it’s only been 12. Three minutes in, I thought I was going to throw up. 17 minutes in, I was pretty sure I was going to throw up. And 33 minutes in, I knew I was going to throw up.

For the last bit of our session, she put me on a treadmill right next to my Wife and of course they had to hit it off. It was one of those nightmarish scenarios that you feared in high school (or at least I did) where two girls were making fun of you... right in front of you.

MY WIFE (jogging along at a breezy pace on her treadmill): It’s taken me so long to get him to come here with me.

TRAINER: Oh, I know, my husband was a big wimp at first too.

ME (hanging on for dear life to the treadmill that I’m pretty sure the trainer set to “Rocket Launch” speed): I’M RIGHT HERE. I CAN HEAR YOU!

The pain suffered during that hour was nothing compared to the soreness I felt for the next couple of days. To talk on my cell phone, I literally had to use one arm to prop the other arm with the phone up to my ear. To add more injury to injury, I contracted an annoying head cold a few days later. Between the head cold affecting my balance and the stiffness throughout my body, I lurched around our apartment like a zombie.

I hate to admit it, but now that I’m past the initial push, I’m starting to feel a little better on the whole. Softball season starts this week and it will be nice to get to first base without the aid of a stretcher.

It only took me seven full months, but I’m finally starting to make good on my resolution.

Next year, I’m going to commit to something I can handle. I’m going to be the best nap taker of 2011.


Follow Josh on Twitter @Just_Being_Josh

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

She Knows Me Too Well

My Wife is both the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me.

She is the best because she is loving, caring, and supportive. She is sweet but sophisticated, fun but has depth, and has a vivacious appetite for living life. She makes me want to be the man she needs.

She is the worst because I can’t pull anything past her.

Since we have been friends for so long, she already knew all of my tricks and schemes when we started dating. At first, this was comforting because I could finally relax in a relationship. There were a few times early on that I tried running from the commitment but she didn’t freak out and just wouldn’t let me go.

Being with someone more stubborn than me was pretty much my only hope of ever getting married.

But now that we have been married for almost a year, she knows how to handle me a little too well for my tastes. For example: whenever I didn’t want to participate in an event or activity in a previous relationship, I just whined and moaned about it enough until the other person didn’t want to listen to me anymore and finally gave up on my involvement.

This plane doesn’t even get off the ground with my Wife.

It all became obvious last week while I was watching the Major League baseball All-Star game and then I noticed her standing at the front door with a plate of cookies.

MY WIFE: Are you ready?

ME: For what?

MY WIFE: To take these cookies to Abby and her husband. I told you about this.

ME: WHO IS ABBY?

MY WIFE: The girl that we met at church a couple of weeks ago. They just got married and live in our apartment complex.

ME: We have to go now?

MY WIFE: Yes. She is not feeling well and I told her I would drop off some cookies and say congratulations on getting married, and oh, I don’t know, maybe be a good neighbor.

ME: But during the All-Star game?

MY WIFE: They live right next door. It will take all of two minutes.

(Two minutes later when we are still walking through our complex)

ME: You said they live right next door. We have already passed 20 “next” doors.

MY WIFE: They live at the other end of the complex.

ME: You said they live “next door”! The other end is like a mile away! We should have taken the car.

MY WIFE: We are not going to drive the car to another building within our own complex. Besides, the walk is good for us.

ME: I will walk with you anytime, just not during the All-Star game! You said it would only take two minutes so I didn’t record it or pause it. I just better not miss anything.

(Two minutes later when we are still walking and my cell phone is blowing up after the National League has taken a 3-1 lead on a dramatic bases loaded triple)

ME: UGGGGGGGH!!! WHERE ARE WE GOING???

(Two minutes later when we FINALLY get to their front door)

ME: Can you promise that you will just hand them the cookies so we can go?

MY WIFE: Of course, this is not going to take long. She’s not feeling well anyway.

(The husband answers and invites us in)

ME: Oh, we were just dropping off the cookies, we really don’t want to bother you.

MY WIFE: Well, we don’t want to be rude!

(She walks in)

ME: Unbelievable.

The next 10 minutes were spent talking about their wedding, my Wife asking the other wife about planning a kitchen accessories party, and the other wife showing my Wife some of their wedding presents while me and the other guy stood there in the inevitable husband silence.

It was in that moment that I realized that my Wife is a genius criminal mastermind. She knew all along how far away their house was, she knew that it was going to take longer than two minutes and she still somehow got me to go with her.

I may have been kicking and screaming the whole time, but she still got me to go with her.

Her real brilliance is that she is smart enough not to fight with me because she knows that’s what I want. If I can get someone bickering with me, I know that I can eventually wear them down. But somehow she maintains a positive demeanor throughout and doesn’t show any vulnerability to my attacks.

Do I really not get to her? That's what I can't figure out. Or is she just sweeping it under the rug for now and one day it’s going to explode in the form of her tell-all memoirs titled, “That Guy Was Such a Pain in My Face”.

I honestly can’t tell yet but I’m enjoying the process of getting to know someone better as we navigate through this existence together.

Even though she’s already got me pegged.


Follow Josh on Twitter @Just_Being_Josh

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Network TV Fall Schedules Announced

Since the major broadcast networks announced their respective fall lineups this week, I thought I'd do a quick breakdown of what will be new, what will be different, and a night-by-night listing (all times Mountain Standard Time) of each net's schedule

It's the least I can do for taking that extended hiatus.


ABC

What's New:
ABC trots out new dramas "No Ordinary Family", "Detroit 1-8-7", "Body of Proof", and "My Generation" as we all try to cope in a post-"Lost" universe. JoAnna Garcia ("Privileged") stars in ABC's lone new comedy for the fall season. "Mr. Sunshine" starring Matthew Perry ("Friends") will debut midseason

What's Different: Not much. "The Middle" was the only existing show to move to a new timeslot.

** - New Show
* - New Timeslot


MONDAY
7:00 p.m. Dancing with the Stars
9:00 p.m. Castle

TUESDAY
7:00 p.m. No Ordinary Family**
8:00 p.m. Dancing with the Stars the Results Show
9:00 p.m. Detroit 1-8-7**

WEDNESDAY
7:00 p.m. The Middle*
7:30 p.m. Better Together**
8:00 p.m. Modern Family
8:30 p.m. Cougar Town
9:00 p.m. The Whole Truth**

THURSDAY
7:00 p.m. My Generation**
8:00 p.m. Grey’s Anatomy
9:00 p.m. Private Practice

FRIDAY
7:00 p.m. Secret Millionaire**
8:00 p.m. Body of Proof**
9:00 p.m. 20/20

SATURDAY
6:00 p.m. Saturday Night College Football

SUNDAY
6:00 p.m. America’s Funniest Home Videos
7:00 p.m. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
8:00 p.m. Desperate Housewives
9:00 p.m. Brothers & Sisters

For more on ABC's fall schedule, click here




CBS

What's New:
The Eye probably has the most buzzworthy new shows heading into the fall season. Tom Selleck headlines the new drama "Blue Bloods" and I'm personally interested in the new "Hawaii Five-O" reboot. William Shatner stars in the new comedy "$#*! My Dad Says" based off the now infamous Twitter account of the same name. The "Criminal Minds" spinoff starring Forrest Whitaker will debut midseason.

What's Different: CBS also made the boldest moves of all the networks by far. "Survivor" moves from Thursdays to Wednesdays to sure up the one glaring weak night in the lineup. The 18-49 demo ratings monster "The Big Bang Theory" will now lead off Thursday night with "$#*! My Dad Says" following, making navigating Thursday nights even more difficult than ever before. Sigh...

** - New Show
* - New Timeslot

MONDAY
7:00 p.m. How I Met Your Mother
7:30 p.m. Rules of Engagement
8:00 p.m. Two and a Half Men
8:30 p.m. Mike & Molly**
9:00 p.m. Hawaii Five-O**

TUESDAY
7:00 p.m. NCIS
8:00 p.m. NCIS: Los Angeles
9:00 p.m. The Good Wife

WEDNESDAY
7:00 p.m. Survivor*
8:00 p.m. Criminal Minds
9:00 p.m. The Defenders**

THURSDAY
7:00 p.m. The Big Bang Theory*
7:30 p.m. $#*! My Dad Says**
8:00 p.m. CSI
9:00 p.m. The Mentalist

FRIDAY
7:00 p.m. Medium*
8:00 p.m. CSI: NY*
9:00 p.m. Blue Bloods**

SATURDAY
7:00 p.m. Crimetime Saturday
8:00 p.m. Crimetime Saturday
9:00 p.m. 48 Hours Mystery

SUNDAY
6:00 p.m. 60 Minutes
7:00 p.m. The Amazing Race
8:00 p.m. Undercover Boss
9:00 p.m. CSI: Miami




FOX

What's New:
Sign me up for anything starring Will Arnett and his former "Arrested Development" writers ("Running Wilde")

What's Different: Apparently Fox finally got the memo concerning the annual surplus of "American Idol". Starting this season, the performance night of "Idol" with only be an hour and a half and the results show will be 30 minutes. Finally!

** - New Show
* - New Timeslot


MONDAY
7:00 p.m. House
8:00 p.m. Lonestar**

TUESDAY
7:00 p.m. Glee*
8:00 p.m. Raising Hope**
8:30 p.m. Running Wilde**

WEDNESDAY
7:00 p.m. Lie to Me*
8:00 p.m. Hell’s Kitchen*

THURSDAY
7:00 p.m. Bones
8:00 p.m. Fringe

FRIDAY
7:00 p.m. Human Target*
8:00 p.m. The Good Guys*

SATURDAY
7:00 p.m. COPS
7:30 p.m. COPS
8:00 p.m. America’s Most Wanted

SUNDAY
6:00 p.m. The OT (NFL post-game)
7:00 p.m. The Simpsons
7:30 p.m. The Cleveland Show
8:00 p.m. Family Guy
8:30 p.m. American Dad

Fox midseason schedule

MONDAY
7:00 p.m. House
8:00 p.m. Lonestar / Ride-Along**

TUESDAY
7:00 p.m. American Idol performance show
8:30 p.m. Running Wilde / Mixed Signals**

WEDNESDAY
7:00 p.m. Raising Hope
7:30 p.m. American Idol results show*
8:00 p.m. Glee*

THURSDAY
7:00 p.m. Bones
8:00 p.m. Fringe

FRIDAY
7:00 p.m. Human Target
8:00 p.m. Kitchen Nightmares

SATURDAY
7:00 p.m. COPS
7:30 p.m. COPS
8:00 p.m. America’s Most Wanted

SUNDAY
6:00 p.m. The Simpsons (encores)
6:30 p.m. American Dad*
7:00 p.m. The Simpsons
7:30 p.m. Bob’s Burgers**
8:00 p.m. Family Guy
8:30 p.m. The Cleveland Show*

For more on FOX's fall schedule, click here




NBC

What's New: With the Jay Leno 10 p.m. experiment scrapped from last season, the Peacock tries to get back on track with a lot of new offerings, including the J.J. Abrams spy-drama "Undercovers". And while I will certainly give it a chance, the new comedy, "Outsourced" might hit a little too close to home for me.

What's Different: This marks the first time in the past two decades that the "Law & Order" flagship series will not return to the lineup. Other than that, "L&O: SVU" and "30 Rock" are the only existing shows to change timeslots.

MONDAY
8 p.m. Chuck
9 p.m. The Event**
10 p.m. Chase**

TUESDAY
8-10 p.m. Biggest Loser
10 p.m. Parenthood

WEDNESDAY
8 p.m. Undercovers**
9 p.m. Law & Order: SVU*
10 p.m. Law & Order: Los Angeles**

THURSDAY
8 p.m. Community
8:30 p.m. 30 Rock*
9 p.m. The Office
9:30 p.m. Outsourced**
10 p.m. Love Bites**

FRIDAY
8 p.m. Who Do You Think You Are/School Pride
9 p.m. Dateline
10 p.m. Outlaw**

SATURDAY
Repeats

SUNDAY
Sunday Night Football


For more on NBC's fall schedule, click here

Monday, April 26, 2010

I Hate New Jerseys

Until recently, I used to love collecting professional sports jerseys.

Growing up as a Philadelphia sports fan, I had a Charles Barkley old school Sixers jersey and the Randall Cunningham Kelly green Eagles jersey. Even my first brush with being a Nuggets fan came with me as a kid designing my own 1980s rainbow styled jersey
using a white tank top and entire box of Crayola markers (still my favorite uniforms to this day).

But collecting jerseys of your favorite players on your favorite teams just isn’t as fun as it used to be because your favorite players don’t seem to stay on your favorite teams as long as they used to.

Case in point: as a Christmas present in 2004, my parents got me a Terrell Owens Eagles jersey to wear for the Birds’ impending Super Bowl run (that, as we all know now, ended disastrously). Since T.O. was hurt for the first two playoff games, I didn’t wear the jersey until the Super Bowl, but it was going to be my go-to article of clothing for many seasons to come. Fast forward a few months to the fall out between Owens and the team (that, as we all know now, ended even more disastrously) and I NEVER wore the jersey again.

That’s right, I wore that stupid T.O. Eagles jersey a grand total of one time.

Another case in point: after Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall single-handedly led my fantasy football team to a championship a few years ago, he became my new favorite player in the NFL. When I decided to move to Denver a year and a half ago, my then-Girlfriend (now Wife) bought me a Marshall jersey as a “Welcome to Denver” gift. But since I didn’t arrive to the Mile High City until after the 2008 season was over, I only got to wear my Marshall jersey around town this past year while the mercurial receiver and head coach Josh McDaniels were at odds (and then, once again, we all know how that ended).

In this modern era of sports where players change teams so frequently, a fan's jersey can become outdated faster than technology.

And it’s not even the players changing teams that are killing fans in regards to team apparel anymore.

It’s the players changing numbers.

I feel sick every time I go to the Pepsi Center and see the thousands of poor, innocent fans that are stuck walking around with a Kenyon Martin #6 jersey or a Chauncey Billups #7 or a J.R. Smith #1. That’s three players on one team that have changed their uniform number over the past couple of years (Chauncey and J.R. made their switches just this season).

I feel even worse for Cleveland Cavalier fans monitoring the LeBron James situation. He is either going to leave for a new team or even if he stays, he’s decided to switch from wearing #23 to #6. So you’re basically screwed either way if you currently own a Cavs #23 jersey.

Thanks, King James.

This current trend of players switching teams and switching numbers so often has cooled me a bit on throwing down hard earned cash to wear their current incarnation for a limited time. But I still love wearing my team’s colors, so I have been looking for some solutions to this increasing problem.

1. Wear a throwback jersey. There was a time where I would have resisted this because, while I respect the past, I like to live in the present as a fan. But when the present starts changing faster than the prices at your corner gas station, honoring the past quickly becomes an attractive option. My buddy Kevin was the first of our group to do it. He is a fellow Eagles fan and a couple of years ago, he bought a Jerome Brown (R.I.P.) Kelly green Eagles jersey and I remember thinking to myself, “Hmm… that will never become obsolete.” I followed suit last season when my father in-law graciously gave me an adult sized Randall Cunningham throwback. I wore it during every Eagles game this past year and he is still my favorite Eagle.

2. Order a personalized jersey. While I love the Cunningham jersey, I still want to sport the Eagles new colors from time to time and I’ve been leaning heavily towards ordering a custom-made “Mahler” Eagles jersey. I would still have the throwback but I could represent the present with one guy I know will never get traded or leave.

3. Redeem an old jersey. Denver fans are in a very unique situation right now. There are literally thousands of local Broncos fans that got left stranded with an outdated #15 jersey after Marshall got traded (like me). But when the newly drafted Tim Tebow announced that he is going to wear the vacated number as a pro, that provided a very intriguing option to redeem those Marshall jerseys by just changing the name on the back. Now I have no idea what Tebow is going to do as a pro but I just don't want to throw away another obsolete jersey. I’ve done some searching online and of course the NFL doesn’t sell replacement nameplates (and they apparently take legal action on any one that does), but there has to be a way. Even if I have to write Tebow’s name over Marshall’s name with a sharpie, I’m not going to drop another 80 bucks on a jersey with a number that I already own.

Any other suggestions to this issue would be greatly appreciated
.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2010 NFL Schedule is Announced

We may not know yet who is supposed to score points for the Denver Broncos in 2010, but at least we know who they will be playing against.

The less than stellar finish last season coupled with the lack of star power had to be determining factors in the Broncs only getting one primetime game on the 2010 schedule (week 11 at San Diego), but overall, it looks to be a manageable path for a team trying to get back on the right one.

The schedule makers were gracious to Denver as they get the Colts and Jets (at home) out of the way relatively early and while they do have a vicious three game road trip late in the season, Kansas City (a Kurt Warner less) Arizona, and Oakland isn't the worst combination they could have inherited. Besides, they are rewarded with two home games to end the season.

Here is the full Broncos schedule for the 2010 campaign:

12 @ Jacksonville

9/19 SEATTLE

9/26 INDIANAPOLIS

10/3 @ Tennessee

10/10 @ Baltimore

10/17 NEW YORK JETS

10/24 OAKLAND

10/31 @ San Francisco (in London)

11/7 BYE

11/14 KANSAS CITY

11/22 @ San Diego (Monday Night)

11/28 ST. LOUIS

12/5 @ Kansas City

12/12 @ Arizona

12/19 @ Oakland

12/26 HOUSTON

1/2 SAN DIEGO


Around the rest of the league, here are some of the other noteable games:

- Vikings vs. Saints (Thursday, Sep 9) Rematch of last year's NFC title game to kick off the new year. Let's all hold our breath and wait for Brett Favre to decide if he is going to grace us with his presence.

- Cowboys vs. Redskins (Sunday Night, Sep 12) Donovan McNabb makes his Skins' debut against the rival Cowboys in the first Sunday night game of the season.

- Ravens vs. Jets (Monday Night, Sep 13) New York head coach Rex Ryan faces his old squad in the Jets' first game in their new stadium.

- Giants vs. Colts (Sunday Night, Sep 19) Manning Bowl!

- Redskins vs. Eagles (Sunday, Oct 3) McNabb makes his return to Philly.

- Steelers vs. Saints (Sunday Night, Oct 31) The NFL decides to go head to head with the World Series

- Saints vs. Cowboys (Thursday, Nov 25) One of the better sounding Thanksgiving Day games in recent memories (Patriots vs. Lions is the other offering)

- Bengals vs. Jets (Thursday Night Nov 25) Rematch from the playoffs serves as a quality Thanksgiving nightcap.

Click here for full 2010 NFL schedule

Can't wait for the draft to make it's primetime debut on Thursday night and I'm already looking forward to the new season.

What do you think of the Broncos schedule? Are there any other games from around the league that jump out at you?

Let me know below!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

American Idol Top 7 Power Rankings

I can't help but find it ironic that the two contestants that I anointed the respective male and female favorites after Hollywood week were bounced from the Idol stage together last night.

Andrew was riding high after that ingenious Straight Up performance, but never built upon that through the competition. Instead of coming off cool and hip, he somehow grew nerdier with each week (no offense meant, as I am as nerdy as they get) but you could sense that he was having trouble connecting with any semblance of a demographic.

In all fairness to me, I did note that Katie was my default female leader after Hollywood, only because I hadn't seen Siobhan yet and was all kinds of concerned over Crystal's image issues (which have been solved to an extent). I thought Katie had one of the only "big" voices in the field this season but she never harnessed those vocals nor delivered that epic, power moment.

Had they found themselves as artists earlier (or at all), I still wouldn't have been surprised to see them standing together at the end. But they each lost their way, never found a specific audience to connect with, and here we are.


On to the Power Rankings!

I've got Crystal maintaining the top spot for the 12 billionth week in a row and I have to imagine that Lee, Siobhan, and Casey will be rounding out the Top 4 for the rest of the run unless someone else gets crazy white hot just at the right time (umm... gulp... Tim? Am I crazy or was he actually somewhat decent this week?).

How good is VoteForTheWorst.com feeling right now, by the way?

I still like Big Mike a lot but it's hard to consider him a legit contender after being up for elimination last week and falling into the Bottom 3 again this week. With Tim (ugh) and Aaron (ugh) starting to gain some traction, it's starting to feel like only a matter of time for Big Mike.


1. Crystal Bowersox (no change from last week)

2. Lee Dewyze (no change)

3. Siobhan Magnus (+1)

4. Casey James (-1)

5. Aaron Kelly (+3)

6. Tim Urban (+1)

7. Michael Lynche (-1)

Monday, April 12, 2010

One and a Half Men?

In a year where we witnessed the NBC-Tonight Show debacle, I can't believe I'm saying this, but the recent news of Charlie Sheen announcing he is ready to leave Two and a Half Men is shaping up to be one of the most bizarre/fascinating TV related stories I've ever followed.

I've resisted the urge to speculate on the matter for 12 full days now, but just can't wait any longer.

First the facts:

- Everyone thought it was an April Fool's joke (including me) when the story broke from People.com that Sheen was ready to leave the show after this, its seventh season. According to People, "Charlie’s just done," says a set source. "And he’s quietly telling his friends he’s not coming back." The story went on to say that Sheen had very recently turned down an offer from CBS for the eighth season because “He wants to move on,” says a friend of the actor. “Leaving is 100 percent his idea.”

- Men remains one of the highest rated comedies on television, so losing one of the main stars would be a major blow to the series and potentially to CBS and its powerful Monday night programming block (Men has anchored the night from the 9 p.m. EST slot for most of its run). History suggests that a show is doomed when a lead character exits and, ironically enough, one of the best examples is when Sheen himself tried to replace Michael J. Fox on Spin City.

- Everyone (including me) instantly took Sheen's statement as a negotiations ploy since his contract was up at the end of this season. Apparently he has been making somewhere in the ballpark of $800,000+ an episode but reportedly asked for $1.5 million per ep sometime last year (Sheen's people have since said these numbers and demands are false).


- What makes the story all the more interesting is that just last year, CBS picked up the series to run through the 2011-12 season, so in my mind, this still feels like the perfection negotiation tactic. Your contract is up, you know the show can't carry on without you but needs to fulfill its contractual obligations, you say you're leaving and the network suddenly has to throw money at you. Makes sense to me. But Sheen and his representatives have repeatedly disputed this point. “Both parties have known the score for over a year,” Sheen said in a recent statement. “In no way, has this been a hasty or negligent eleventh hour surprise." “A negotiation ploy is something you do to get the best possible deal," Sheen's publicist Stan Rosenfield added. "Charlie told them what he wanted a year ago.”

- Men filmed its season finale this past Friday and according to sources close to the situation, it was "business as usual." Reportedly, Sheen didn't address the studio audience on the subject or make any teary good-bye speeches to the cast and crew (who were supposedly stunned by his recent "decision" to leave the show).

So... where do we go from here?

As much as I would love to believe that Sheen has actually grown a conscience and this could actually be the end of my least favorite show on television, I'm not going buy into any of the posturing until an actual decision is made and Sheen is no longer on the show.

While there may actually be some truth to his desire to move on with his career (to what?), I just can't see him - or anyone for that matter - walking away from the boatload of money I have to believe that CBS is going to throw at him in a few weeks.

Why just a few weeks?

Because the network upfronts are in May. And for those not familiar with the term, the upfronts are the dog and pony show where the networks announce their fall schedules to potential advertisers (it's worth noting Men has been commanding over $220,000 for a 30 second commercial spot. Not bad at all for a half hour sitcom and you can't see CBS wanting to lose that kind of cash).

One rumor that has been floating around that makes the most sense (if he is truly sincere about leaving the show) is to only have Sheen appear in a handful episodes. That way he could get paid more per episode like he wants, the show would be theoretically be able to continue and fulfill its contract, and CBS wouldn't be paying him much more over the course of the season due to his limited appearances.

In the words of Michael Scott, that feels like a win-win-win.

If I was a betting man, however, I would put my money on CBS buckling, giving him the close to the $1.5 mil per ep and him returning for at least one more full season.

I will leave you with one last thought: If CBS thinks it through, they don't necessarily HAVE to buckle in this case. As I've been combing over their potential pilot orders, they actually have some decent sounding comedies in the works that could step right in and help stabilize the CBS Monday night lineup.

Off of the top of my head, they could keep "How I Met Your Mother" at 8 p.m. EST, slide in "Livin' on a Prayer" (from "HIMYM" scribes) at 8:30, move the widely successful "Big Bang Theory" up to 9 p.m., and lead out with William Shatner's new "family" comedy, "Stuff My Dad Says" at 9:30 p.m.

While I can't see them kicking "Men" of the night entirely (regardless if Sheen leaves or returns in limited duty), my point is that if this was NBC, they would have to give in to actor because they don't have any thing in the works to replace a hit.

But CBS does.

They already have more than seven potential comedy pilots being developed for next year. It remains to see how many - if any - actually get promoted to the schedule, but that's a huge number for one network regardless.

My humble advice to the Eye would be to call Sheen's bluff, proceed as if he (and possibly the show) aren't going to be around and wait him out until you are actually walking out on the stage to present your fall lineup to the advertisers.

Maybe he comes running in and takes whatever you're offering, maybe he really is choosing to move on with his life and career. Either way, CBS needs to realize it holds all the cards and they shouldn't give in to yet another potential greedy actor.

Which means they probably will.