Wednesday, June 30, 2010

LeBron to LeBulls?

As I touched on in my last post, midnight tonight will mark the beginning of the most anticipated free agency period in NBA history. Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, Carlos Boozer, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce and, oh yeah, LeBron James will test the market, looking for their next big paycheck. The Knicks, my team of choice, have had July 1 circled on their calendar for about two years now, hoping that the bright lights of New York could lure LeBron James (and more) to the Big Apple. As we have neared that fateful date, however, the Knicks' chances of signing a marquee free agent like James or Wade have seemed to dwindle. Talks of LeBron and Bosh heading to Chicago to team up with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah have heated up. Here's a story that, if true, would put a nail in the Knicks' coffin and make this Bulls #6 jersey a reality.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Weekend Recap, Now with a World Record 215 Underpants

Welcome back for another work week, loyal readers. For those of you who are upset at having to start another week of work/school, here's something that's sure to put a smile on your face:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

USA-Ghana Preview

Dan (not Daniel, but another Dan) was born and raised in California. In today's match, he'll be rooting for Ghana. He has an explanation for this, but it's not a good one. As he is the expert on the Ghanaian soccer team, he's been nice enough to give us a preview of the game:

As the foremost expert on the Ghanaian national soccer team in Sam’s circle of friends, I’ve been asked to write a preview of the upcoming round of 16 match between the US and the Black Stars. I’ve been hooked on Ghanaian soccer ever since the second day I spent studying abroad in Accra, when I got ripped off buying a Ghana jersey and needed to find a way to justify the expense. 

In the interest of full disclosure, I rooted for Ghana when they beat the US 2-1 back in 2006. Despite the cries of “Traitor,” “Terrorist,” “Don’t Tread” and “Give Back Your Passport,” I plan on doing so again on Saturday. I’d go into the reasons why, but either you know me or you probably don’t care that much, so I’ll get on with the preview.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Couch Pretzels: The Magic Bullet Infomercial

A few weeks ago, Peter brought "Couch Pretzels" to The Couchwarmers.  Today, Peter is back for part deux.  Nothing like a commentary on infomercials to fill a Friday afternoon.

The Magic Bullet Infomercial: There are a lot of good possibilities in the infomercial category: Sham-Wow, The Snuggie, anything involving Ron Popeil. But the Magic Bullet wins out because of its ability to provide the audience with just enough narrative to keep us watching—not for the product, but for the characters.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Know Thy Enemy: Algeria

Just thought I'd quickly give you the third part of my aforepromised (no, it's not actually a word, but you know exactly what it means) "Know Thy Enemy" series. Tomorrow the U.S. plays Algeria. A win puts the Americans in the knockout rounds. Since I've been out of the loop for the past few days, I don't know whether or not our soccer guru is going to have anything for you by tomorrow, so this may have to do in terms of a game preview. But isn't it fun to have Daniel back? He'll knock the rust off soon, I promise.

So I did some research on Algeria, and I really don't know what to say. 90% of Algerians live near the coast, because that's really the only livable part of the entire country. That's right, Algeria. Your country is a giant wasteland. Sam Kinison, what do you have to say about this?

I'm Baaaaack

I hope you all enjoyed Sam's tyrannic reign over The Couchwarmers for the past month or so.  If you're still reading, I assume you did...or you just happen to be a member of Sam's family so you're obligated.  Well, for the next two months at least, Sam will be in Maine so that leaves me as the principal voice of the Couchwarmers.  I've been gone a while so, in order to best fill you in some loose ends, let's get an old-fashioned Q&A going, shall we?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

USA-Slovenia Preview

We're happy to be joined once again by our soccer guru, Bradley, who's here to preview USA-Slovenia. Spit your gospel, Nostradamus:

A disclaimer before I preview USA-Slovenia: I just had my wisdom teeth removed and am very high on painkillers. I apologize if I make up words, players, or even countries. (Note: Slovenia is in fact a real country, despite it disguising itself as a small village. I am not making this place up, I swear.)

The main word that comes to mind about Friday’s match against Slovenia is “scary”. The US is the favorite, and is expected to take care of business. But this may not be that simple. The USA has a terrible track record of not showing up to play when they are favored to win. Just ask Ghana.

Know Thy Enemy: Slovenia

In advance of each of the USA's World Cup matches, The Couchwarmers are happy to bring you a series called "Know Thy Enemy." If you want insightful match analysis, you're gonna have to look elsewhere -- that's not what this is about. However, if you're looking for jingoistic taunts aimed at antagonizing the other side, welcome. Next up for Uncle Sam, Slovakia Serbia Slovenia: 

I'll be honest with you, I didn't know too much about Slovenia before I started writing this up, so I did some research. Well, after poring over Wikipedia and Googling "slovene stereotypes," I've come to the realization that Slovenia is boring. Like, really, really fucking boring. Shove-a-hammer-and-sickle-through-your-eye boring.

Need examples? Well, here are some facts from a travel guide:

Summer State of The Couchwarmers

As I've previously referenced, today I head up to Maine for the next two months for my summer job as a camp counselor. Yes, these are the only two months out of the year where I work, but they also happen to be my favorite two months out of the year. So technically, until the middle of August, I'm not a member of the 9.7%. I'll be back from the 90.3% though, and that's a promise.

Many of you have asked, "What's going to happen to The Couchwarmers while you're away?"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

An Answer to the Salt Problem

New research has suggested that people who load their food up with salt might not have weak taste buds. In fact, the exact opposite could be true -- that people who love salt might be so called "supertasters," people who experience tastes more intensely than other people do. That's right, people -- my taste buds are strong. Too strong.

Like many of you, I load up my food with heaping piles of salt. Of course, every time someone sees me turn a salt shaker upside down and go after it like I'm using a Shake Weight, they give me the obligatory, "You know you shouldn't be eating that much salt, right?"

Summer TV Preview

Personally, I won't be enjoying this summer's new TV, since I'll be off in the Maine wilderness for the next two months. Fear not though -- I'll still be posting sporadically and hopefully getting some help from the disembodied head of Daniel. More on that tomorrow, though.

Really, the summer is when you should be catching up on old shows. Breaking Bad just finished its third season, and I maintain that it's the best show on TV right now. If you have time to watch 30 episodes of something this summer, that's where you should start. If you need more, you could always see what all the fuss was about with LOST or start watching Dexter in preparation for this fall's Season 5. But if you're looking for new TV options this summer now that all the regular shows have ended, here are a few to consider:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Guest Post: A Golf Hypothetical

Today's guest post comes to us from Jamie, a friend of The Couchwarmers. It was sent to me Sunday night, so by the time you read this, he will have already either failed miserably or partially succeeded in his attempt to become the most famous golfer ever in the history of the sport. He also poses an interesting hypothetical at the end, which I know will stir up some lively debate in the comments. Jamie, it's all yours:

Tomorrow at 7AM at the Golf Club of New England I will tee off for my first competitive round of golf since my father dragged me to our local country club to enter a junior event when I was eight years old. Growing up, my parents were avid golfers, but I tended to concentrate on the more “popular” sports (e.g., soccer, basketball, and baseball). My golf exposure was limited to the random times I would play with my Dad, where I would close my eyes, swing as hard as I could, and hope I would make decent contact.

Bear vs. Shark: The Final Verdict

In a match that was decided by a single vote, the winner is....The Shark!

Shark     51%
Bear       49%

Down goes Bear! Down goes Bear!

And just like the last time, The Couchwarmers are in total agreement with this verdict.

Monday, June 14, 2010

USA-England Recap

Bradley, our resident soccer expert, will be here throughout the World Cup, providing previews and recaps for the U.S. matches. Today, he's back for an analysis of USA's glorious tie over England. And yes, as he won't hesitate to tell you, he was one Michael Bradley goal away from a perfect pre-game prediction. He's like a soccer Nostradamus -- or a miniature Buddha covered in hair. I cede the floor to you, soccer guru:

“If you buy a ticket, win a raffle”.

This fantastic commentating comes from Martin Tyler, who couldn’t have described this terrible goal better. It was a gift from the Gods, in a game that felt like it was already lost. If you had offered me a 1-1 draw before this game started, I would have taken it, no question. In the 4th minute, when Ricardo Clark decided marking Steven Gerrard was not important, I would have sold my left kidney to get a point out of that game. Probably my right too. This was a fantastic result for the U-S-A. The New York Times had it right in their headline: USA WINS 1-1.

Weekend Recap, Now with Vuvuzelas


Welcome back for another work week, loyal readers. For those of you who are upset at having to start another week of work/school, here's something that's sure to put a smile on your face:


Remember that? Wasn't that awesome? Let's recap:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Last Call For Bear vs. Shark

We can all agree that the abomination of God shown on the right might be the world's most perfect killing machine. However, bearsharks only exist in our collective imagination. Therefore, for the past few days, we've had you vote.

Consider this your last call to vote if you haven't yet. Voting closes tonight. This race is close. Extremely close. So every vote counts. Make your bear growl or equally-as-intimidating shark noise heard.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

England Preview: The One with Actual Soccer Knowledge

This guest post comes to us from Bradley, who unlike me, actually knows a lot about soccer. He's here to preview today's World Cup match between England and the U.S. I hope you're ready to get hit with some soccer knowledge:

When the World Cup draws came out, English newspaper headlines read:

Very clever, England. You still refer to us as Yanks, reminding yourselves of a pathetic defeat to your very own colony. You see, it is incredibly enjoyable to make fun of England, as Sam has already so eloquently done. But while tea and Hugh Grant do suck, it is not my job to rip on England, but rather to prove how they will lose from a soccer standpoint. On Saturday, the USA will once again be victorious. Really. Here's why:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Know Thy Enemy: England

In advance of each of the USA's World Cup matches, The Couchwarmers are happy to bring you a new series called "Know Thy Enemy." If you want insightful match analysis, you're gonna have to look elsewhere -- that's not what this is about. However, if you're looking for jingoistic taunts aimed at antagonizing the other side, welcome. First up for Uncle Sam, those foppish dandies from across the pond: 

The U.S. takes on England tomorrow at 2:30PM, in what has to be the one of the most eagerly anticipated matches in U.S. history. Of course, I'm sure you all remember what happened the last time the U.S. played England:

What about the time before that?

The Most Dramatic Conference Realignment Plan You'll Hear

I don't know about you, but I'm loving this whole NCAA conference realignment thing. This might be the most excited I've been about college sports in a long time, save for a recent NCAA basketball championship. Basically, these schools are deciding on the future face of college sports. In addition, there's the added drama of a few big-name colleges (e.g., Kansas) potentially being left out in the cold by other schools' defections.

The rumors are flying: Big 12 schools are leaving for the Pac-10, Big 10, and/or the SEC; additionally, the SEC might possibly be plundering schools from other conferences as well. Some decisions are supposed to come down today.

People are saying that with these new conferences, the NCAA won't be necessary anymore. These mega-conferences will be free to create their own inter-conference championship games, finally ridding college football of the BCS. There will be much dancing and joyous celebration in the streets. People will light small fires and happily dance around them in circles.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why Golden Tate Stole the Maple Bars

Hell, after watching this, I would too. This place looks incredible. Keep an eye out for Golden's maple bars at the 4:59 mark.

Why NCAA Violations Keep Happening

The big piece of news coming out of the NCAA today (you know, other than that whole "conference shake-up that will change the face of college sports") is that "the University of Southern California has received a two-year bowl ban and a sharp loss of football scholarships in a report on the NCAA's four-year investigation of the school. The NCAA cited USC for a lack of institutional control Thursday in its long-awaited report, which detailed numerous violations primarily involving Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Reggie Bush and men's basketball player O.J. Mayo. The violations, which span almost four years, primarily involved 'agent and amateurism issues for a former football student-athlete and a former men's basketball student-athlete,' the NCAA wrote in its report."

The NCAA also sanctioned USC's women's tennis team for violations. This came as no surprise to anyone though. Like myself, I know many of you have been saying for years that NCAA women's tennis is COMPLETELY OUT OF CONTROL.

But back to the top story -- basically, OJ Mayo and Reggie Bush were receiving money from agents while playing for the Trojans, and USC either knew or "should have known" that it was going on. So for the next two years, USC is basically playing for nothing but pride. This is something that's going to take years, at the very least, for the USC program to recover from. But what about the athletes in question? What happens to them?

Woe Is Youse Guys: Stanley Cup Edition

Fans of all that is right in the world can relax -- the Flyers didn't win the Stanley Cup. Maybe fans in Detroit and other hockey cities in the midwest are upset that Chicago won, but I'd have to think that most of the country is very happy with this result. Especially me. God, I hate the Flyers.

Why? Because they're all thugs. And criminals. And horse rapists. But mostly because they're all thugs. And Dan Carcillo's moustache is disgusting.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What Should I Make For Dinner?

I'm serious. I need ideas. Those of you who knew me a few years ago may remember me as the guy who was happy to pop something in the microwave and call it a meal. On nights that I was feeling really adventurous, my George Foreman Grill and a badly-formed burger patty passed as gourmet. But in the past year or two, with all the free time I have, I've decided to learn how to cook.

When you have all the free time in the world, cooking just makes sense. It takes time out of your day. Homemade food is always better than store-bought. But most importantly, you've actually done something on any given day if you've cooked. It's not unlike a toddler dropping a deuce in the toilet and proudly showing his parents what he's done -- it's just that in my case, instead of a steaming pile of shit, it's a steaming pile of food. In a few hours, it's all the same thing anyway.

My New Favorite Athlete

Fans like athletes they can relate to. Sure, we may idolize those who train ten hours a day and don't eat anything that hasn't been scrutinized by a team of nutritionalists, but we can never fully connect with them. They're not like us. When it comes down to it, there is a certain sense of satisfaction that comes with knowing a celebrity does the same things that you do.

With this background, I present to you my new favorite athlete who doesn't actually play for one of my teams: Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate. You see, last weekend, Tate was a little hungry at 3am. So what did he do? Did he order a pizza? Did he head out to an all-nite diner? No, and no. Those both would have been satisfying, lawful options -- yet what Tate did was both satisfying and illegal. Yes, at 3am last weekend, Golden Tate broke into a donut shop.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Couch Pretzels: Jack Van Impe Presents

Today's guest post comes to us from Peter (not Little George, but a different Peter). He's even been nice enough to write the introduction for the first in what we hope will be a continuing series. In Couch Pretzels, we'll unearth diamond-in-the-rough TV shows and other forms of entertainment so that you too can enjoy them as much as we do. Peter, the floor is yours:

We all come across shows by accident. Sometimes, you develop an odd fascination with them, often because they are a train wreck, other times because they are just entertaining in a way you can’t explain. You probably shouldn’t waste time with them, but you do anyway. Soon you realized you’ve watched or heard enough to be considered a fan.

In the spirit of The Couchwarmers motto to “catch everything that falls between the cushions,” I present to you the first installment of “Couch Pretzels.” You know the feeling of finding an old pretzel amongst the cushions, don’t you? Sure, it might be from the 1pm football games, and it’s most definitely not a smart idea to eat it, but you do anyway. And more times than not, it’s satisfying in an empty caloric way. Well, these shows are kind of like that.

Rex Wiltshire Knows Your Mom

I'm driving back up to New York today, so I'm not gonna have much for you. Although I will leave you with a commercial for a tattoo parlor that's been getting some play here in Richmond recently. Keep an eye out for Rex Wiltshire's opinion on tramp stamps and the double-shrug he gives at the end while making a joke about your mom. These are definitely the kind of guys I want permanently altering the appearance of my body.

Coming this afternoon: a guest post!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Weekend Recap, Now with Glorious Steak Aroma

Welcome back for another work week, loyal readers. For those of you who are upset at having to start another week of work/school, here's something that's sure to put a smile on your face. You'll have to click it in order to read the small print, but trust me -- it's worth it:

Now, on to the recap:

What Happened at the Bachelor Party

A good weekend all-around. Bachelor party was a lot of fun. Here's what went on:

That's right. You're not getting a word from me. Keep checking back for the weekend recap.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Ridiculous Hypotheticals: Bear vs. Shark

In case you missed Part I, here's everything you need to know. Basically, we asked you guys if a bear and a shark fought to the death, who would win? We gave you a chance to voice your opinions before we put it to a vote, and the emails were everything we had hoped for. Also, I was bored, so I created my own interpretation of "bear vs. shark in neutral territory," as you'll see in the picture above.

Without further ado, the arguments:

Erin's Take on Bear vs. Shark

This Bear vs. Shark submission comes to us from Erin, a friend of The Couchwarmers. Due to both length and thoroughness of research, we feel that it requires its own post. We strongly encourage you to read on before coming to a final verdict:

Friday, June 4, 2010

Just Say No To Ice

First off, I'd like to thank Carter for designing our new Couchwarmers logo. I think it's perfect. She said it was much better than doing actual work, and for that, we're eternally grateful. Although I'm still trying to figure out what to put in the blank spaces to either side of the logo. Little George suggested we hold a contest asking people to submit designs of things that they want there, but I told him I didn't think we'd get any submissions. If you want to prove me wrong, I'd love to see it.

Also, this is the last call for Bear vs. Shark submissions. The arguments will be posted and voting will open sometime this weekend. If you want to be able to influence the voting masses, go ahead and make your opinion known. Now to the issue at hand:

Why Kendry Shouldn't Have Happened

A few days ago, Angels first baseman Kendry Morales hit a walk-off grand slam. He happily ran all the way around the bases, threw off his helmet, jumped onto home plate, and promptly broke his leg. He's most likely done for the season.

So now, a big deal is being made over walk-off celebrations. You know, the kind of thing where the person who had a game-winning hit goes flying at full speed into the middle of a group of teammates, who then jump up and down and repeatedly smack the game's hero in the head. I know what you're thinking: there is no way that something like that could end poorly.

Free Donuts For All

First off, May's numbers are in, and the unemployment rate has a very familiar feel to it. I like it, and not only because it fell. Something just feels right about being part of the 9.7%. So to you, unemployment rate, I say this: don't change. Don't ever change.

Also, happy National Donut Day! Head on out to a Krispy Kreme or something to celebrate -- they'll be giving away free donuts all day. Just remember I alerted you to this the next time you ask yourself what we've ever done for you. Now that we've taken down our original tagline, I think we may have found a replacement -- The Couchwarmers: Read Us and Get Free Donuts. I like it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Night With The Flying Squirrels

A few days ago, I mentioned that I was taking a long Amtrak ride. For those of you wondering, I’m in Richmond, VA for the week. Yes, the town where I grew up. It’s a wonderful place to live if you enjoy Civil War memorials. If you don’t, then you’re pretty much going to have to make your own fun. I’m here because I have a bachelor party to go to this weekend, but I thought I’d spend a few days back home around the festivities.

Tonight, I’m heading down to The Diamond to see our brand-new minor-league baseball team, the Richmond Flying Squirrels, who are the Double-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Yes, it’ll be fun, but this will also be a major challenge for me.

The Perfect Game That Wasn't

Last night, for a split second, Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga had pitched the 21st perfect game in Major League Baseball history. 27 batters up, 27 batters down. Then, with one outstretched arm motion, umpire Jim Joyce wiped it from the record books. Today, there are a lot of angry people, but strangely enough, this might end up being a very good thing for baseball.

No, I'm not here to skewer Joyce. Sure, his blown call was an egregiously bad one, but he's human. He'll make mistakes. He just happened to make a very bad one at one of the worst possible times. As badly as I feel for Galarraga, I feel just as bad for Joyce. This isn't a blown call that people will forget about -- most likely, this will define his career. Although to his credit, Joyce accepted full blame for his mistake, and to his credit, Galarraga, who had every right to be upset, took the high road and graciously accepted Joyce's apology.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Delaware Is Not One To Get Emotional

Sure they're upset about the perfect game that wasn't, but you have to think that most of their anger is directed at the fact that they're living in Delaware. That definitely puts things in perspective.

The Clambake

From a story perspective, there really isn't much of one from this weekend's events. No one fell in the fire. No one got arrested. A good story should have at least rising action and a riveting climax. Me trying to tell the entire story of this past weekend's clambake would come off as a "I had fun and all of you should be jealous" post. That's not what this is for. That's what Facebook photo albums are for. But for those of you who have never been to a clambake, you can look at this as a simple instructional guide if you ever want to put on a clambake of your own. And if you do, invite me. Because clambakes are fucking awesome.

First, a picture of the finished product:

Or more specifically, this is the finished product:

Guest Post: Obama and the Oil Spill

This post comes from Mike, a friend of The Couchwarmers. Thankfully, he's into current events, because I most definitely am not. For me, "current events" means what I'm eating for dinner. Mike's post uses this column as its basis. All opinions expressed are those of the writer, because, well -- let's face it, when it comes to politics, I don't have any. Mike, take it away:

I like Peggy Noonan's writing a lot, and think this is dead on. Okay, I know she writes for the Wall Street Journal, but she's reasonable and thoughtful. Regardless, at some point, the campaign-like Obama worship has got to stop and intelligent moderate views must prevail. There have to be expectations for his presidency besides passing costly, watered down legislation that will need revision down the road. Personally, I love reading both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal to actually know what is going on in the middle and reality. Synergy.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

This Has Nothing To Do With Anything

And now, a little bit of license plate-related entertainment, courtesy of the car in front of me. For the record, I'm incredibly proud of myself for managing to get a picture with my phone while I drove. 
Go me.

Your Summer TV Best Bet

With all of the standard TV shows either having ended for the season already or ending in the next week or two, we're quickly approaching summer TV time. You know, that dreaded time when networks trot out remaining episodes of cancelled programs alongside game shows that are venturing closer and closer to Japanese game show territory.

I'll try to put a full summer show primer up sometime in the next week or so, but right now, all you really need to know about is what has consistently been the best summer show over the past few years. Yes, Hell's Kitchen premieres at 8PM tonight on Fox. You're right if you think it's a stupid show -- it is. But that's what you get when you hold a cooking contest between people who can't really cook. Although if you enjoy dumb people getting verbally abused by an angry British man, this is right up your alley. Give it a try.

I'm on a train for seven hours tomorrow, or maybe ten hours if Amtrak gives me what I've come to expect from them. For this reason, we're giving you guys a guest post tomorrow morning. Plus, if I get around to it tonight, I'll have the clambake recap all ready to go tomorrow. If not, you're just gonna have to live with it.

Weekend Recap, Now with the Bizarro Invention Bracket

Welcome back for another work week, loyal readers. I hope all of you had a great Memorial Day weekend. In honor of this special Tuesday Weekend Recap, for those of you who are upset about having to start another week of work/school, here's something that's sure to put a smile on your face:

I'm gonna have to start changing that last part soon, though. In honor of summer vacation, school won't be in that last sentence for much longer. Those of you earning a steady paycheck, on the other hand -- that just sucks for you. Well, you know what I mean. Let's recap: