Archive for May, 2018

Note: Try and find the words “Insanely Lacerationy” on the worldwide interweb. You can’t. That’s an example of why this site pulls in 300,000 hits a day. Boom.

So yeah, The Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling Festival has fairly simple rules. Some bloke rolls a cheese wheel down a frighteningly steep incline and a bunch of lunatics run full-speed down the hill chasing the cheese. Your prize for catching the cheese? The cheese. Good times. On a related note, those people are batshit crazy.

PS- There have been nights where I’d do this exact thing for a block of extra sharp cheddar. Not even kidding.

The Mendenhall Glacier is a 12-mile-long glacier in the Mendenhall Valley, located 12-miles from downtown Juneau, Alaska. The Ice Caves are inside the glacier, accessible only to those willing to kayak to, and then ice climb over the glacier. Another item to add to my Bucket List! Click to enlarge, man.

What kind of videos never get old? Dog videos. Adorable.

Even though I’m w-a-a-a-a-a-y past 35, these are funny.

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Sure, put a ship nearby. What could go wrong? Wahoo and Umbrella were code names for two underwater tests conducted in 1958. Wahoo was conducted on May 16, 1958 and Umbrella was conducted on June 8, 1958. Pat Bradley, the cameraman who photographed these events recounts his first hand experience of seeing these tests and being on the island as the tests took place. Crazy stuff.

Good Lord what a production.

So I read this article in the Canine Journal today, and I must say it is 100% correct on all counts. The article is in italics, with my comments included in regular type.

Jack Russell terriers are tough, tenacious, athletic, and super friendly. They have a never-say-die attitude.

Tough? Oh hell yes. More on that later. Tenacious? Dude doesn’t know the what quit means. Friendly? Well, yeah, as long as you don’t have feathers. Never say die? I can promise you Sparky would never, ever quit in a fight. He’d die first.

Did you know Jack Russell terriers can jump as high as five feet, or 5-times their own height?

I do know this. Sparky can pogo like you read about. He’s been known to jump up and ride with people on horses, no joke. He’s also jumped over the side of a pickup truck bed from a dead stop on the ground.

The Jack Russell Terrier is a dog who lives to work, and perhaps play as well, because being bred to hunt they are runners that enjoy a good run and in particular a good chase!

Der. Just ask the neighborhood cats. And rabbits. And kids on bikes. And anything with feathers.

An unfortunate instinct, however, is their barking and general noise level. A working Jack Russell would have to gain the attention of its master as well as frighten foxes and badgers from their holes and they did so by barking. Unfortunately for most, for owners today this is a characteristic that stuck with the breed and they are known for being noisy dogs that aren’t afraid to bark to get the attention of their owner or other companion animals.

Yep. All I have to do is pick up my car keys and all hell breaks loose. Someone asked me the other day why Sparky goes everywhere with me. My answer? “Because he insisted.

In addition to barking the Jack Russell Terrier is a particularly high energy dog that was bred to have good stamina when it came to the hunt. The Jack Russell Terrier can be deceiving for such a small dog. They have zero problem taking on a much bigger dog, or any kind of animal for that matter.

Gee, ya think? At 22-pounds, The Spark has taken on, among other things, a German Shepherd and a coyote. And oh by the way, he chased a pit bull out of our yard the other day. I kid you not.

The potential owner should always be aware of this stamina and need for exercise because the Jack Russell will always find a way to entertain itself if it is not provided with adequate exercise and stimulation.

True story. I gave Sparky a bath the other day and afterwards he wanted to be let out. He then proceeded to sprint around the house 5-consecutive times. Dead run. Not even kidding. Then he followed it up by nearly catching a dove before it took flight.

So yeah, pretty accurate description of my best friend. Sparky, man. Not sure what I’d do without him.

Amazing.

While researching artists I thought should be in the Hall of Fame, Warren Zevon in particular, I came across this gem of Eddie singing Zevon’s last song before he died. Blew me away. So damn good. Enjoy.

To me, the Rock Hall of Fame has become a bit of a joke. I mean, some of the artists who have made it in are a bit of a joke. I mean, Chic? Really? Anyway, what follows are 10 bands or artists that I think should be in, some obvious, others not so much. Let us commence . . .

Todd Rundgren

How is Todd Rundgren not in the Rock Hall of Fame? HOW? Todd Rundgren not only recorded what is in my opinion one of the greatest albums in history, Something/Anything?, he’s an amazing, ground-breaking producer as well. He produced the albums Straight Up by Badfinger, Stage Fright by The Band, We’re An American Band by Grand Funk Railroad, Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf, and New York Dolls by the New York Dolls among many, many others. Folks, those are some amazing, historical albums.

Todd was a forerunner in creating music videos, and his video for the song Time Heals was one of the first videos played on MTV. In addition, his song “Couldn’t I Just Tell You” has had a major influence on artists in the power pop musical genre.

Oh, and in 1985 Todd recorded the incredible album A Cappella, which was recorded using his multi-tracked voice, accompanied by arrangements constructed entirely from programmed vocal samples. Again, no instruments, just his voice imitating instruments. I’d like to see Hall of Famer Robin Zander of Cheap Trick try that.

Rundgren has also played nearly every instrument on many of his albums, and he’s played them well.

If you want to read my blog about his greatest album, click this link:

Something/Anything?: Todd Rundgren’s Magnum Opus

Todd needs to be in The Hall, man.

The Replacements

Quite simply, The Replacements are considered one of the pioneers of alternative rock. Paul Westerberg, Bob and Tommy Stinson, and Chris Mars formed the group, and their catalog is one of the most admired in rock. From the high octane “Kids Don’t Follow” and “Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash” through their mid-period stuff like “Hootenanny” and “If Only You Were Lonely” they never let up. And everything that contributed to the band’s failure to achieve breakthrough success — contempt, self-doubt, drug and alcohol abuse, and pure hatred for each other — also contributed to their mythology. This is one band that deserves a Hall of Fame nod precisely because they didn’t make it big. Westerberg’s solo stuff is amazing as well.

Big Star

Big Star’s potent mix of power pop, psychedelia and adolescent angst made them the definitive cult rock band and informed generations of indie rockers. They were formed in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1971 by the legendary Alex Chilton, Chris Bell, Jody Stephens, and Andy Hummel. The group broke up in 1974, and reorganized with a new line-up nearly 20 years later. So damn good. Groups like REM and Pearl Jam bow at the feet of these guys. Give a listen to September Gurls and tell me they’re not great:

The Pixies

The Pixies became a defining leader of alternative rock in the 1990’s, which ought to be enough for the them to earn consideration for a place in the Hall. The Pixies introduced introspection, poetic absurdity and killer hooks into punk rock, establishing a template for those to follow like Nirvana, Pavement, Guided by Voices, Liz Phair and, even later, Weezer and Green Day. Formed in 1986, the original line-up comprised Black Francis (who performed awesomely solo as Frank Black), Joey Santiago, Kim Deal and David Lovering.

The Smiths

The most English of England’s major ’80s alternative-rock bands, the Smiths never rose above cult status in the United States. But their unique style — nostalgic, understated, sarcastic, a little snarky — has been enormously influential, especially in Scotland (Belle and Sebastian, Teenage Fanclub, the Vaselines). But whatever chemistry went into the Smiths’ brief, electric career has never been rediscovered — not even by former Smiths Morrissey or Johnny Marr.

Television

The offbeat guitar heroes of New York’s original CBGB scene, Television defied the punk ethos with long, intricate songs that were part prog rock, part New Wave, with elements of garage rock and jazz fusion thrown in. Television owes an obvious debt to the Velvet Underground, but dozens of other important bands — from U2, R.E.M. and Sonic Youth to XTC and the Talking Heads — owe something considerable to Television. Television was AMAZING. Check them out and tell me if you agree:

Kraftwerk

Electronic music has been such an important part of rock music in the ensuing decades. Can’t these guys get in under the “influences” tag if nothing else? In fact, where are any of the great German bands, like Fury in the Slaughterhouse? My first introduction to Kraftwerk was in the 1981 when I heard “Pocket Calculator” on the album Computer World. Classic stuff. Listen up:

New York Dolls

Madonna made it in. David Bowie made it in. Iggy & The Stooges made it in. What kind of grassroots push is it going to take to put in these guys? Or will Buster Poindexter be admitted first? Can they at least be considered “influences”? Good God man. I am proud to say I once saw The Dolls at the Fairgrounds Coliseum in Columbus as part of the really weird lineup of the New York Dolls, The Babys and REO Speedwagon. Crazy stuff.

Warren Zevon

I swear to God I had to research this because I was convinced Zevon was in. How? Why? And do you know how many times he’s been nominated? ZERO, although he’s been eligible since 1994. This makes no sense on any level. With songs like “Werewolves of London”, “Excitable Boy” and his final song just before he died of cancer, “Keep Me in Your Heart” he just has to get in soon. Artists like REM, Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty have all publicly agreed with me. Fun Fact: I was in the Serene Lounge just off Ohio State campus in 1978 when a friend walked in and told me he had an extra ticket to see Warren Zevon at what was then Zachariah’s Red Eye Saloon. I’d never heard of him, but I said sure and was blown away. Anyway, put him in!

The Hoodoo Gurus

OK, maybe the Gurus are a stretch. Still, I believe these guys are one of the most underappreciated bands in rock history. In fact, I wrote about them in a blog called The Best Band You’ve Never Heard: The Hoodoo Gurus. The Gurus style is based on straight ahead rock ‘n’ roll, no doubt about it. From 1960s power pop to garage punk to hard driving rock and funky psychedelic kitsch their music pretty much covers the spectrum. The kicker for me though, as always, is the hook. Gotta have the hook in my opinion, and the Gurus deliver them in abundance. They also are a lyrically intelligent group who invariably bring a smile to my face whenever I hear them. So, if you want to hear some good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll peppered with a dash of wit, catchy hooks, jangly guitars, and some occasional scathing social commentary, The Gurus are for you. And although they won’t get in, they should be considered.

So, who ya got? Anyone you think needs to be in? Then again, like I said, KISS, Donovan, Chic and ABBA are in there, so what does it all mean anyway?

So Carrot Dogs are a thing now, and I believe this may be the beginning of the end of humanity. From the Washington Post:

This plant-based take on hot dogs gives carrots a roasted red pepper treatment: Char (either on the grill or under the broiler) and steam them, and then peel off the skins. They end up nicely cooked and lightly smoke-tinged, making them perfect for a cookout. Choose the largest, thickest carrots you can find; they shrink during cooking, and you can always trim the narrow end to fit the bun. Serve these carrot dogs nestled in buns with the toppings such as vegetarian chili, cheddar, chopped onion, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles/relish, ketchup and spicy mustard.

Oh for the love of God. I swear I didn’t even know carrots had skins, but the idea of a charred skinless carrot sounds disgusting. And I don’t care how much cheese, chili, and spicy mustard you put on a skinless carrot, it’s still a skinless carrot.

Note: I always have people messaging me telling how wonderful crap like this tastes. Save it. Also, I know regular hot dog ingredients include chicken trimmings and sheep casing. I don’t care. They’re delicious. 

It may be the most epic baseball playoff matchup in history, and it didn’t even involve a pitch. As reported by GametimeCT.com, a Southern Connecticut Conference baseball quarterfinal between Amity and North Haven was postponed due to weather, but still earned a result when the two teams decided to play rock-paper-scissors to decide a winner. The lighthearted battle went 11 rounds, with North Haven eventually emerging with a 6-5 upset victory with a deft use of scissors.

The issue is that whether the teams wanted it or not, the result won’t count in the official SCC logs. Per GametimeCT.com’s Peter Paguaga — whose “game story” may be the most epic piece of baseball prose of the past calendar year — the SCC commissioner’s office is now determining whether to accept the rock-paper-scissors result as the equivalent of an actual baseball game.

The odds of that ruling coming down in the affirmative are probably small. In short, it ain’t happening. Still, the creativity employed by both teams, and the enthusiasm of using a unique way of deciding a result during a time crunch, likely brought more enjoyment than anything else either could have done. And if enjoyment is the entire goal for high school sports, which is allegedly the most genuine and earnest form of athletics, shouldn’t that be enough to justify accepting a rock-paper-scissors battle as a bona fide baseball quarterfinal result?

Uh, no. No, it shouldn’t. But let’s digress a little. Soooo, you’re saying that winning a game of Rock-Paper-Scissors would be more fun than, you know, actually winning the game by using the skills you developed in practice to get better at the game you love? What’s next, deciding a basketball game by playing a game of Hungry Hippos?

Sweet Mother of God.

On a related note, if the SCC Commissioner allows this to stand he should be beaten with rocks, stabbed with scissors, and suffer a thousand paper cuts.

Heaven help us all.

Here’s the hotly contested, intense, character building contest:

Note: I refuse to believe these kids thought this would actually count as a game. No way.

Listen, I’ve seen some unfortunate renderings of famous people before but this one is really bad. Yikes. Who finishes that, steps back, and says, “YES. Perfect!”? I mean really?

PS- I bet that looks exactly like Brandi Chastain’s father.

Well, this is sort of chilling. I guess it happens between two males during mating season. Anyhoo, check it out. Looks as if something’s about to go down.

Cool. Click to scroll through the pics.

So true.

Thanks men. I’m proud of every one of you.

A few weeks ago things were great. As a high school basketball coach in Southern Ohio, my team had just completed back-to-back 17-win seasons and consecutive trips to the District Tournament at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio, our third and fourth trips there in the last 5-years. We accomplished this with few complaints from anybody. In fact, aside from one meeting during our 2015-2016 season and another in 2012-2013, things had run incredibly smoothly in our basketball program. I was extremely proud of my teams, their families and the Paint Valley administration and community. But let’s go back to the beginning . . .

About 6-years ago I was approached by the Athletic Director at out school and was asked to coach the boys basketball team, a job I’d held 16-years prior. I was apprehensive to say the least, so I asked several people their opinion. I was told that it wasn’t a good job, that we were a small school playing much bigger schools for the most part, there was very little talent in the program, and that the kids lacked the commitment to basketball that was evident in football. I was told that it was a different time, that kids were too busy with social media and online games to come to do the extra work or to open gyms.

I took the job anyway, and a week later we had 40 players at our first open gym. Turns out all you had to do was open the doors and they’d come right in. Who knew?

The interest was there, and it soon became obvious there was some talent in our school too.

That first year we won 8-games with a great group of guys, including 5-seniors who set the tone for the years to come. These guys bought into what we were doing and believed in me from the beginning. Our younger players watched them, saw how hard they worked, and that got us off to a good start. That first year we won those 8-games, including a win in the sectional tournament. The next year we won a Sectional Title and went all the way to the District Championship, and followed that up the next year with 16 wins, another Sectional Title and another District Final appearance. After a down year we bounced back with two straight 17-win seasons and two more Sectional Championships. As I mentioned before, all this with only a couple complaints, both of which were addressed and dealt with.

Or so I thought, which brings me back to a few weeks ago.

Again, I had no idea there was a problem until I was asked to come to a meeting with my Principal and Athletic Director on a Thursday. When I arrived I was told that our school board president had been given a list of “Public Concerns”. Right away the word “public” raised a red flag with me because the word “public” made it seem like the entire community was behind it, which I was sure wasn’t the case.

I was then told that the list was anonymous, rendering the term “public” meaningless, at least in my opinion. Hell, anyone can send in a list of complaints and say they were from the public. They may as well have said “national” complaints for all I cared at that point. To me, an unsigned letter is not a letter at all.

However, I was given a copy of the list, which I’ll happily show you later because I want to be as transparent as possible.

As I read the list, it became clear that a few people sat around a kitchen table somewhere, wracking their brain and trying to recall things they could add to the list. Since a few of the “concerns” involved the same people it’s pretty clear who all was involved. Was it a BOE member who actually created the list so they’d have a reason to vote against my renewal? I’ve been told by credible people that yes, it was.

At the time though, I wasn’t really worried. After all, it was a bunch of petty and trivial complaints that I was sure the board would dismiss for what they were, which was basically nothing. The administrators paid to evaluate me – the superintendent, principal and athletic director – were all going to recommend me to be rehired at the board meeting the following Monday.

To be sure, however, I called and texted all the board members to explain my position and to make sure we were all on the same page.

Of the five, two responded positively, one told me he didn’t feel comfortable talking about it and two refused to respond at all. Uh-oh. It was at this point I began to sense something was wrong.

Because of this I thought it would be a good idea to address the board before the vote. I did, and I went over each complaint, explained what each was about, and basically stated my case. Below are my notes regarding each concern, with the concern in bold and my response following. Click to enlarge:

As you can see, most were trivial, and in any event had been taken care of months, and in some cases even years ago.

Note: The complaint about leaving the players who were late for the bus came from one particular over-protective helicopter parent who just can’t get past it. It happened over 2-years ago.

As I went over my notes, one thing became apparent. Three of the board members didn’t care. They refused to look at me. They sat there, heads down and silent. What I was saying was irrelevant. The decision had clearly been made. When I finished there were no questions and zero discussion. This, after I’d given my heart and soul to the district for 25-years.

I was then non-renewed by a vote of 3-2.

After the meeting one board member, the president, stopped and attempted to explain to people who had gathered there, while the others who voted no walked briskly by with their heads down. I was told by the board president that he had, without further explanation, “followed his heart.”

Huh?

One month later, 2 of the 5 board members stepped down in protest, not just because I was non-renewed but because they felt the Paint Valley Board of Education had acted unethically, and quite possibly even illegally, in making the decision. You see, it’s illegal to have private meetings regarding board decisions prior to the board meeting, and this clearly occurred. And oh by the way, texts, phone calls and emails between 2-3 people is considered a meeting. It’s all spelled out in the Ohio Open Meeting Act and Sunshine Law.

Here is one of the board member’s letter of resignation, posted with his permission:

 

The letter speaks for itself.

I’d never blame any of my players for what their parents have done, and I hope you don’t either. I got along with all my players the past 6-years, and even the ones whose parents caused my non-renewal know I care about them. I know this because they’ve told me privately.

Am I upset about what happened? Of course I am. We’d changed the culture and were successful. We’d built something at Paint Valley I was proud of. We were a family. And as many of you know it takes a long time to build a culture, but it can disappear overnight. And in the end, a few people took away something I loved. Worse, I believed I had the support of the three people who voted against me.

Turns out I was wrong. They didn’t even have the courage or courtesy to come to me man-to-man, face-to-face, and address the issue. They took the coward’s way out. I considered all three friends, and I truly believed one would always have my back. He’d played for me and we’d won Paint Valley’s last league title together. Instead of having my back, however, he stabbed me in it.

The best damn fans anywhere. I love you guys.

And yes, I’ve heard the rumors. The board members who are saying that there’s “more to the story.” This is a common tactic among people when they’re trying to put doubt in people’s minds. Believe me, there’s nothing more. If you hear that, demand to hear the “more to the story.” There are no dark secrets. My coaching staff, players, and the administrators who are paid to evaluate me know this.

In retrospect it’s clear this had been in the making for awhile. I know for a fact at least one board member had talked to possible replacements for me as far back as January, and several people have told me that one board member was upset about his son’s varsity playing time. And believe it or not, there were apparently jealousies over all the attention my 6′-11″, 305-pound center received, the same player who happened to end up being the all-time scoring leader in school, league and county history. He also received a full scholarship to play Division I basketball, so yeah, he got some attention.

Bottom line, the decision to non-renew my contract was decided long before that meeting.

And you know the funny thing? All they had to do was sit me down after the season, look me in the eye and tell me that they wanted to make a change. If they’d had the common decency to do that I would have stepped down willingly. Instead, they chose to take the route they took. Guess it was easier for them.

Hey, you learn from these experiences. Some defend you fiercely and some are outspoken against you. And yes, you can learn a lot about those who remain silent too. Your circle grows smaller but stronger.

I’m also fully aware that, although I loved coaching at Paint Valley, there are worse things that can happen to a person. My family members can attest to that right now, believe me.

That said, I still love Paint Valley. I always will. A few small-minded, little, cowardly people can never change that. I wish nothing but the best for our athletes, and I only hope whoever coaches the basketball team loves the team, the school and the community as much as I do. I’m proud of the work I did there, the success we had, and the relationships I developed with my players, coaches, students and the best damn fans in the SVC.

And nobody can ever take that away.

Here’s Leah the Orca using bait to snatch dinner. Nice try, bird.

On a related note, this guy is an idiot. I mean, we just saw an Orca outwit a damn bird. He could grab this moron in a heartbeat.

A woman in Oklahoma died after she was mauled by dachshunds. On Thursday, 52-year-old Tracy Garcia was attacked by a pack of 7-dogs, all weighing less than 30-pounds and shorter than knee-length, near her home on Banyon Road in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

“From what it appeared, about seven dogs had attacked her,” Carter County Sheriff Chris Bryant told Oklahoma News Four, adding that when authorities arrived on the scene, one of the dogs charged at them, and they had to shoot it.

“Unfortunately, yes, we had to shoot one dog,” Bryant told the outlet. “It did charge our deputies and to protect our deputies, as well as the medical personnel, we did have to put down a dog.”

Well, that’s just unfortunate. Listen, there’s absolutely nothing funny about somebody dying. You know, unless it’s one of those idiots who walks into a lion enclosure or something, then it’s funny as hell. You know what else is funny? A woman being mauled to death by a pack of Wiener Dogs. I mean, do you think her last thoughts were, “Well, this is awkward. Not exactly the way I wanted to check out. Damn you to hell, Weiner Dogs.” And you cannot convince me the cops didn’t make fun of the deputy who shot the charging Weiner Dog. “Really Hank? You had to put a cap in little Trixie’s ass? You couldn’t, you know, jump on a lawn chair or something? Geez. That’s embarrassing, man.” Anyway, hell of a way to go I guess.

PS- Can you imagine being in this woman’s family? 5-years from now somebody will ask you what happened to Tracy and you have to say, “She was taken out by a murderous pack of Weiner Dogs.”

PPS- After rereading this I see that perhaps it’s not that funny. Apologies in advance.

PPPS- Nah, it’s funny.*

This dog saves his pal from drowning because that’s what dogs do, man. A cat would have probably put its paw on his friend’s head, held him under and gleefully watched him die. Dogs? They jump in and push their buddy back to safety, then hop out ready to frolic poolside. Dogs, man.

While perusing the worldwide interweb late last night I stumbled across this little mind-blowing nugget. The pilot episode of a TV series called The Lone Gunmen, broadcast on March 4th, 2001, featured a plot to hijack a plane and fly it into the World Trade Center. That, my friends, is chilling. Watch and try not to feel all freaky and whatnot:

Aaaand, speaking of predictions . . .

Pistanthrophobia is the fear of trusting others due to bad experiences in the past and relationships gone wrong.

 

Who’s hungry?

Holy . . .

Cool.