Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A historic presidency

Much has been made about the historic nature of Barack Obama's presidential campaign. If elected, Obama would become the first bi-racial president in our country's history. This is seen by many as a symbol of how the racial attitudes our country have evolved over the past 400 years.

While Obama's race undoubtedly makes his presidential bid historic, an even more important aspect of Obama has been largely overlooked by the press and public as a whole. If elected, Barack Obama would become the first White Sox fan president in history.

Needless to say, I'm voting for him. Hell, I'd vote for Dan Pasqua if he ran for president. But, the thing I like the most about Obama is that he's not a fair weather fan. Yeah, I know he's not a south sider...I think he's from Kansas, or Hawaii, or Indonesia, or Afghanistan, hell who can keep track anymore. However, Obama has always declared himself to be a White Sox fan, and refused to pander or flip flop in a lame attempt to get votes.

This New York Times article details how Obama openly introduced himself as a White Sox fan to a room of Red Sox fans in Boston. Keep in mind, this was before Game 1 of the World Series in 2007. New Hampshire, site of the first presidential primary, is also a hotbed of Red Sox fans. Obama could have easily said "I love the Red Sox! Dwight Evans is my top V.P. pick! Jim Rice should be in the Hall of Fame and have a solid gold cathedral built in honor of his might and glory!" But, Obama refused, saying plainly, "I am a White Sox fan." My NIGGA...oh shit, I can't say that. Wait, can I? Hell, who can keep track anymore.

Compare this with Obama's democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. She grew up in Park Ridge, so she claims to be a Cubs fan. However, she's also been seen at Yankee games in a lame attempt to carpetbag the dumbasses in the Bronx. If Hillary said "I'm a Cubs fan," I'd respect her a lot more. I'd still stab the bitch, but respectfully. Instead, Hillary tried to play both sides, claiming to be a fan of the two most popular teams in baseball. And she lost. Coincidence? No, divine intervention.

Of course, our Mayor's also a Sox fan. As oppossed to Blago, who's a Cubs fan. They're both horribly corrupt, but Da Mere is just a lot better at hiding it. By the way, what's with the floppy hat look? Both Obama and Daley look like they got those hats for free on kid's night. I think if you're a bigwig politician, you need to spring for something a little more classy. Personally, I think Obama would look great in this one:

Throw on some Ice Cream sneaks, and he's set....although, that may be a little too "urban" for him. Which means black. He'd look like a black guy. Can I say that?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bike People: An Immersion Case Study

Earlier this year, I bought a Jamis Satellite, a steel-frame road bike. In the past 3 months, I've spent a lot of time riding my bike..I ride it to work, to the store, and every once in a while I ride it through Garfield Park and Lawndale. Quickly. Like most Chicagoans, I spent most of my time riding on the lakefront path. I've had the privilege of observing a wide array of unique characters and downright insane motherfuckers who also enjoy the fine art of bike riding. So now, I present to you, dear readers (Marty), an in-depth study of the people we call: bike people.

1. Captain Spandex
Preferred bike: Anything carbon fiber from a manufacturer you've never heard of
Notable accessory: XXX Racing jersey and shorts
Asshole rating:9

The racer is what every non-bike rider thinks of when they think of a 'bike person." Captain Spandex is somewhat of a paradox: he clearly has a lot of money, as evidenced by his $5,000 bike and $250 custom cleated booties (hehe booties). Yet, Captain Spandex can often be seen riding the lakefront path in the middle of the day. No, Captain Spandex is not a professional cyclist...don't let the matching jersey and shorts fool you. His 6 ft, 150 pound frame makes him cycling's equivalent of the Michelin man. Instead, Captain Spandex spends his days futily attempting to shave 100 grams off his body in an attempt to shave 2 seconds off his time, all while flying past you without saying a word. Asshole.

2. The Messenger
Preferred bike: Fixed gear that's totally custom so i've got the only one there's none other like it yours sucks cause it's not mine i'm cool as shit
Notable accessory: Chrome bag that's totally custom so i've got the get the idea
Asshole rating:9

Next on our list is bike messenger guy. I've got him listed on an equal level of assholedness as Captain Spandex. Even though they're opposites, they basically have all the same traits. They're so pretentious that they make the assholes at Reckless Records seem accomodating. They're deeply offended that anyone would ever consider not riding a bike to do anything, including mowing the lawn. They wear those hats with the little brim. What's up with those little brim hats? I'm tempted to give bike messenger guy an edge over the Captain Spandex because he does have a job...but then again, what the fuck do bike messengers deliver? Packages? Ever heard of UPS? Messengers probably consider their job a "lifestyle choice," but they're really just burnouts who are too fucked to get a job at Starbucks. Asshole.

3. Mountain Bike Guy
Preferred bike: Totally unnecessary mountain bike
Notable accessory: Cargo shorts, sandals, and shirt-free
Asshole rating:7

Mountain bike guy is what happens when Wrigleyville frat guys are allowed on two wheels. He clearly has no idea how to purchase a bike, considering he rides a mountain bike in THE FLATTEST CITY ON EARTH! He doesn't know how to adjust his seat, since his knees never extend more than 90 degrees. He wears sandals. And cargo shorts. And a white baseball hat. And not a shirt. Just kill the motherfucker already. As much as I hate Wrigleyville frat guys, I'm only giving mountain bike guy a 7 on the asshole scale. His sheer ignorance concerning bike riding make his sins a little more forgivable. But for god's sake, put a fucking shirt on. Asshole.

4. The Quad-Family Carriage of Doom
Preferred bike: a heinous contraption that never should have been invented
Notable accessory: The severed torso of a 4 year old
Asshole rating:8

I can picture in my mind the meeting that was the genesis of this bike.."Hey, why don't we create a bike that the whole family can enjoy! Together! We'll also put little seats in the front, so kids who still shit themselves can join in the fun! Yay!" Unfortunately, the Carriage of Doom has turned out to be, well, kind of dangerous. I've never seen these things go faster than 5 mph, which is slower than Aunt Emmy's Molasses.

The worst thing about them is that they take up the WHOLE can't get around them, and if you try you're liable to end up in a head-on collision with a shirtless rollerblader, which would be horrible, yes it would, no I wouldn't like that at all, but we all experiment from time to time, don't we?

The tourists who rent these things also think it's a good idea to cram all of their kids into one doom carriage..I've literally seen 8 people in these things at a time. The Carriage of Doom is the SUV of bikes: Huge, slow, and absolutely unecessary. Assholes.

5. Second Chance at Life Guy
Preferred Bike: Whatever bike they had 30 years ago, yes it's the same bike, isn't that amazing?
Notable accessory: Really expensive bike bags that only rich white people can afford
Asshole rating:3

Rounding out our list of bike people is Second Chance at Life guy. He just started riding his bike to work, have you heard? Of course you have, cause he can't shut the fuck up about it. It doesn't matter that he's almost 50, he's still got the energy to get up Monday morning and ride his bike! To work! Every day! Until Tuesday, when his ass is so sore it feels like he spent the night at shirtless rollerblading guy's house. Still, I like Mr. Second Chance. He's getting in shape, and not letting his age control his life. Plus, he's slow as fuck, which makes him the only guy I can pass on a regular basis. Keep up the good work!

So, you may be wondering (and you're not), "which one are you, Matt? So easy to judge, but you're obviously just as bad as ALL of these people." Yes, theoretical reader, I am. I own hi-tech spandex bullshit. I have a messenger bag. I talk about how I ride my bike everywhere and how it makes me better than everyone. So, why do I spend my time criticizing people who are just like me? I think Homer Simpson said it best:

Marge: You know Homer, it's easy to criticize....
Homer: Fun, too

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lonely knights

Today, I decided to go see The Dark Knight. Since I had been in Spain up until Monday, I didn't have a chance to see it last weekend. Of course, by the time I got back, everyone I knew had already seen it. Which left me with 2 options: (1) try to round up a group of scragglers/lackeys/hangers-on to see it with me, or (2) go see it alone. Since I didn't have shit else to do, I opted to see it alone.

As soon as I made my decision, I realized that I had never gone to a movie by myself. I don't know why, but there's something inherently weird about going to a movie alone. Why the fuck is that? You can't talk to anyone during the movie anyway. Besides, it's dark and no one can tell that you're the loser who's there alone (although, if you're going to see Batman at 12:20 on a Thursday, chances are everyone in the theater is a loser).

I feel the real reason for my solo movie-going awkwardness was based primarily on societal norms of group interaction. Whatever the fuck that means. Granted, there are some situations where being by yourself is not only acceptable, but advantageous (i.e. reading a book, or my love life for the past 25 years). But, there are others where, for whatever reason, it's just awkward to be by yourself, including:

1. Eating in a restaurant
I don't mean like a fast food or lunch place. I'm talking like a diner, or steakhouse. If you eat dinner alone at a real restaurant, it means (1) I don't know how to cook, and (2) I can't get a date. Why can't a man just go out for a good meal? Why does steak and social interaction with others go hand in hand? Let me eat my steak in peace.
(Editor's note: I've never eaten in a restaurant alone, but that's because I can't afford real people food. I'm currently subsisting on plums and dry oatmeal)

2. Drinking in a bar

This one's pretty obvious: if you're drinking alone in a bar, you're an alcoholic. Not only that, you're an alcoholic who can't even maintain relationships with other alcoholics. Then again, I've had times where I've had a few hours to kill, so I'll stop into a nearby bar for a beer. And I always feel weird as fuck! I don't know what to I try to make conversation with the shady bartender so that he'll give me some urine-soaked peanuts? Try to watch the TV, even though it's showing highlights from the Johdpur-Mumbai cricket match? God forbid, attempt to make conversation with a member of the opposite sex?

Me: Hi, I'm Matt
Female: What are you doing here alone, you alcoholic loser?
Me: (glug)(sob)

3. Bowling
Bowling, like Golf, is an individual sport. While playing a round of golf alone is perfectly acceptable, bowling alone is incredibly weird. In fact, "Bowling Alone" is the title of a book by Robert Putnam, which explores the collapse of interpersonal connections within American communities. I haven't read this book, but Putnam did come to Michigan to give a lecture when I was in college. And he was full of shit. Look, if I want to improve my bowling game, I can't just wait around until a friend and/or internet date that's sure to end in horror decides to go bowling. I need to practice, and if that means feeling a little awkward, then so be it.
(Editor's note: I've never bowled alone either. I haven't sunk that low. Yet.)

So, anyway, I saw the Batman movie, and it was pretty good. The moral of the story? Fuck society. There's nothing wrong with being alone.

All alone.

Hold me, Batman. Why won't you hold me?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Well, the Celtics won last night. Which led to this:

All those years, all that hard work, all those pancakes....well, what can you say now?

Monday, June 16, 2008

The NBA Finals (or, why purple is for losers)

The NBA Finals between the Lakers and Celtics began about a week and a half ago. I don't have an allegiance to either team, since i'm a Bulls fan. However, I've found myself rooting for the Celtics since the series began. I've given it some thought (I really don't have much to do these days), and here are some reasons why i'm rooting for the Celtics to win it all.

1. The Chicago connection
Kevin Garnett was a prep standout at Farragut on the city's west side. PJ Brown played for the Bulls following the Tyson Chandler trade. Paul Pierce was stabbed in the face. Okay, that last one technically has nothing to do with Chicago, but still...he got stabbed in the fucking face! Meanwhile, the only adversity Kobe Bryant had to deal with was forgetting to get his permission slip signed before embarking on a field trip down the Hershey highway.

If you know what I mean.

And you do.

2. They've earned it
Kevin Garnett spent the first twelve years of his career in Minnesota. Forget how crappy the T-Wolves were...can you imagine living in Minneapolis for twelve years? Talk about boring...I'm assuming Garnett passed a lot of time eating pancakes at Prince's house. Meanwhile, Paul Pierce was forced to carry the Celtics with Antoine "oh, no donuts for me thanks.....well, maybe I'll take a Baker's Dozen" Walker. Ray Allen's been toiling in relative obscurity in Milwaukee and Seattle. Granted, he did make the all-star team eight times, but still. At the same time, Kobe's already got three rings, which is three too many. Phil Jackson's already got nine rings for coaching, which again is too many for a guy who considers this completely incoherent book to be a guiding force in his life. Seriously, I remember trying to read that piece of garbage in high school philosophy class. I think we got through the first chapter before Mr. Korner decided that nap time would be a far better use of taxpayer money.

3. Sasha Vujacic
In the past fifteen years, basketball has become a global game. Some of the NBA's best players, including Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitzki, and Mehmet Okur are foriegn-born. I'm all for globalization and world peace and all that, but I absolutely cannot stand Vujacic. For one thing, he's the biggest flopper in the league...that guy never met a non-call he didn't like. Second, he's complains so much, he makes Rasheed Wallace look downright stoic. Third, he's a drug addict...or, at least he looks a lot like Leo Fitzpatrick, who played a drug addict in both Kids and The Wire. Or, maybe he doesn't. Either way, with the amount he flops around and complains, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that this guy's clearly a meth head.

4. The Lakers' team colors
Let me just say that I have nothing against the color purple. Purple is a combination of blue and red, two primary colors. It is the color of kings, the color of bravery, and the color of advent, the holiest days in the Roman Catholic church. Purple Rain is one of the greatest albums of all time, and The Color Purple was one of the few books I actually read in Mr. Johnson's world literature class (along with The Stranger, which unfortunately had nothing to do with this). Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, purple is the color of the greatest of all the McDonald land characters, Grimace.

That being said, purple has no place on a professional sports team's uniform. Or, more simply put, purple is for losers. If you look at the list of professional teams that currently feature purple as a primary color, you'll find that the Lakers are the only team that has won a championship:

NBA: L.A. Lakers, Utah Jazz, New Orleans Hornets, Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors
MLB: Colorado Rockies
NHL: L.A. Kings
NFL: Minnesota Vikings, Baltimore Ravens

Furthermore, the only college team I can think of who wears purple is Northwestern, a school whose football team has only won one bowl game (in 1949), and holds the Division 1-A records for losses and points allowed. Furthermore, Northwestern's most famous athlete alumni was Mike Adamle, notable for his commentary on the original American Gladiators. Which is kinda cool, actually. Nonetheless, it bears repeating: purple is for losers.

So, anyway, that's why I'm rooting for the Celtics, despite the fact that a Celtics victory will mean yet another championship for the city of Boston. Well, at least we Chicagoans didn't have to deal with this nightmare.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Orlando Cabrera sign generator

Sox Machine has come up with an Orlando Cabrera sign generator. Now, you can display your true feelings towards our one year rent-a-shortstop. I decided to haiku (yes, I just made haiku a verb) an ode to the Colombian crybaby:You can make your own sign here.

Nick Swisher or Southpaw?

At the Sox game last night, it was announced that Southpaw, the White Sox mascot, was celebrating his third birthday.

At the same game, Nick Swisher fell down while making a routine play in right field.

I was struck by the similarities between the two members of the White Sox. Since signing with the Sox, the main upside to Swisher is that he's "fun", "keeps everybody loose", and "he's a great clubhouse guy." In other words, we traded Ryan Sweeney and Gio Gonzalez for another mascot. So, the question remains: who would you rather have on your team, Southpaw or Nick Swisher? Here, for the first time, is a heads up comparison of the two:

1. Lineage

Southpaw joins a revered list of White Sox mascots, including Waldo the White Sox wolf, and the immortal Ribbie and Roobarb:

note: i'm not sure if they're selling the van, or if they lived in the van together.

Nick Swisher

Nick is the son of Steve Swisher, who apparently was a catcher on the Cubs at some point.

Advantage: Southpaw

It would be easy for me to simply say "Swisher's dad was on the Cubs, and the Cubs suck, so therefore Swisher sucks." No, i'm going to take the high road. I'm giving Southpaw the advantage because everyone knows that the only Cubs catcher worth a damn was Hector Villanueva.

I vaguely remember a day in the summer of 1992 when Hector hit a ball off the Wrigley Field scoreboard clock. The impact caused the clock to become frozen in time, much like the Hill Valley clock tower in Back to the Future. Then, I realized that I was watching a Cubs game, and switched back to NBC's Barcelona olympic triplecast. Southpaw 1, Swisher 0

2. Versatility
To my knowledge, Southpaw has never actually been involved in a game, unlike that midget that Bill Veeck sent up to bat that one time.

Nick Swisher
Although Swisher's natural position is first base, he's played at first base, center field, and right field this year (see above)

Advantage: Southpaw
Although Southpaw's never played in a game, he's probably still a better option in the outfield than Swisher, who often looks as clueless as Fred McGriff in those Tom Emanski baseball world training videos.
Southpaw 2, Swisher 0

3. Intangibles
Along with spreading good times and cheer to all the young Sox fans, Southpaw is usually seen with the "Chevy Pride Crew," a group of scantilly clad Mother McAuley dropouts in hotpants. Together, Southpaw and the Pride Crew distribute crappy t-shirts via a pressurized PVC cannon. Along with the McGriddles race, it's usually the highlight of the game

Swisher has a reputation of sacrificing his hair for worthy causes. Last year, he donated his hair to cancer patients, and this year has dyed his facial hair both pink and blue to raise awareness for breast and prostate cancer
Advantage: Swisher
As much as I love the hot pants crew, I have a bit of an axe to grind. One day, the pride crew was throwing out shirts. The kid behind me was standing on his seat, jumping up and down and yelling for a shirt. He also has a tray of nachos in his right hand. A shirt came his way, and the nachos ended up all over my fucking jacket! "Oh, my bad dude," was his only reply. Needless to say, I now have that kid's head in my trophy cabinet. That incident, along with Swisher's commitment to cancer awarness, give Swisher his only points of the afternoon. Southpaw 2, Swisher 1.

I'm not a Kenny Williams hater; in fact, I think he's the best GM in the game. But, as the above scientific testing shows, the trade for Swisher was simply unnecessary.

So, what to do with Swish? (doesn't anyone else know that's slang for homosexual?). I think the only thing to do would be to start Anderson in center, and have Southpaw and Swisher team up to form a mascot tag-team. A next generation Ribbie and Roobarb. Hell, Swisher's already halfway there with the pink beard. Either that, or trade him for YOUPPI!