From time to time we’ll take a look at eight somewhat random things that are culturally relevant right now. And, by culturally relevant, I mean to me which pretty much means it’s limited to sports, TV shows I watch and whatever the hell Netflix has sent me in the recent past.
Given that I’m not all that culturally relevant, I’m probably not the guy who should be deciding cultural relevance. But, you, the home reader, are getting exactly what you are paying for.
So you’ll just have to deal with it.
Why is it “The Eight” and not “The Nine,” “The Fourteen” or (better for everyone, probably) “The Two?”
Because eight seems like a number I can handle, and if it’s good enough for Mike Quade it’s good enough for this.
In the immortal words of Bobby Bowden ripping off United 97, “Let’s drool!” I mean “Let’s roll!”
1. Derrick Rose and the Bulls – The Bulls season starts tonight on ESPN against the Durantula and the rest of the Oklahoma Sexuals . I know that it’s suddenly cool to be hockey fans and I get that. The Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup and all that stuff. But there’s room for some basketball love, too, right? These are the Bulls. You know the team that used to roll with the greatest player of all time? But enough about Tom Boerwinkle. I like hockey now, too. I mean not enough to watch more than a few minutes of a regular season game, but I get the allure of it. Fat people love to wear hockey jerseys. It’s like getting to wear a blanket around town. Good for you. Hockey’s awesome in person. Lots of action, the arena is purposely kept cool which means your beer stays colder longer. And, if you’re into junior hockey there’s a good chance you’ll get to see a coach rape several of his players. All solid reasons to like hockey.
But you really need to pay attention to this Derrick Rose kid that plays for the Bulls. Hometown guy, incredibly fast and athletic, mumbles a lot, and he is pretty good at the playing of the basketball.
2. Friday Night Lights returns – If you have DirecTV (and if you don’t, then you don’t love TV enough) you can watch the fifth and final season of Friday Night Lights start tonight. It’s only one of the TV shows ever made, and I’m not even exaggerating. Derek Jeter liked the show so much he decided to marry one of the actresses. Fox liked the show so much they cast one of the other hot actresses in a new show and cancelled it after two episodes. But the stars of this show aren’t really any of the “kids” in it (though the Riggins boys are always worth your time). It’s Coach Taylor and his MILF-tastic wife, the always great Connie Britton. It’s a show that will make you laugh, give you goose bumps the size of bed bugs and make you want to punch somebody in the face, sometimes all at the same time. We love sports, and we love TV, and never have the two existed together better than on Friday Night Lights.
Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t not watch.
3. The World Series – The optimist in us sees that the Giants and Rangers weren’t all that great the last couple of years and here they are in the World Series! So how far away could the Cubs really be? The realist in us knows that the Cubs are a Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain or Cliff Lee and Josh Hamilton away. And don’t get the pessimist in us started about how the Cubs drafted Lincecum out of high school and claimed Hamilton in the Rule V draft. The pessimist in us is always drunk and he’s always looking to start a fight that he probably can’t finish without picking up some teeth off the floor.
The real stories in this one are the managers. One of them has the biggest head in baseball history (seriously, Bruce Bochy’s hat size is an 8 3/4…a record that even a roided up Barry Bonds couldn’t break), the other one is the only manager ever to flunk a drug test for cocaine. (Bobby Cox flunked one for too much Bourbon and Sparky Anderson’s Geritol levels were dangerously high at one point.)
The worst part of the World Series is, of course, that it’s announced by Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. We get it. Joe’s act is that he’s too important to be wasting his time on baseball, and McCarver’s is that he’s had hundreds of head injuries. Actually, McCarver’s isn’t really an act.
How insufferable are Joe and Tim? A San Francisco newspaper ran instructions on how to set up a delay so you can watch the game and listen to the Giants radio announcers. It’s totally worth it to hear the great Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow. You get Jon Miller, too, and he’s surprisingly (or maybe not-surprisingly) tremendous when he’s uncoupled from Joe Morgan, even if he does over-enunciate the shit out of every Hispanic name. (Youuuuu-ree-bay!)
4. Jake Utler – Are we ready to give up on the franchise quarterback? Well, the fact that his offensive line never blocks anybody and his wide receivers can’t seem to be troubled to finish their routes…maybe? It’s one thing to throw interceptions because a large, angry man wants to throw you to the ground and knee you in the groin and the men charged with slowing him down aren’t doing that, and it’s one thing to throw interceptions because a wide receiver doesn’t get where he’s supposed to get to, but it’s another thing altogether to just half-assedly lob a ball to the sideline inside your own 15 like you’re on the Late Show with David Letterman trying to throw a ball into a garbage can from Dave’s desk. The Bears coaches are dolts and the front office might actually be worse, and the scheme and the team aren’t doing much to get the most out of Jay’s very obvious talents. But does he have to act like this much of a turd all of the time? Sometimes it’s not them, it’s you. Right now it’s both.
5. Sons of Anarchy incest – Admittedly I’m late to the party on Sons of Anarchy. I took Alan Sepinwall‘s advice and ignored season one and watched the season two DVDs so I could watch season three. It’s a great show, and one of my favorites now. But the writing is…to put it modestly…a little uneven. Some episodes are taut and really well excuted, some are so hack you wonder how the same people could put them together. Without spoiling too much, let’s just say that the Sons have had to go to Belfast to take care of a situation (they flew a cargo plane over there and yet didn’t bring their own bikes, that one I haven’t figured out) and Jax Teller is about to find out that he’s got a half-sister he didn’t know he had. His mom knows about it now, but she hasn’t told him. The half-sister doesn’t know it yet, either. And so, they spent last night’s episode coming on to each other, in full view of mommy. I’m Irish, but even I know it wouldn’t be cool to bang your half-sister. Maybe a little TF would be OK, but sex is certainly out. Right?
6. Notre Dame seniors – The last four years haven’t been kind to the Notre Dame football program. The early promise of their 400-pound-supergenius-significant-strategic-advantageist fell flatter than the cat Charlie once “accidentally” sat on (in his defense, that one thought the cat box was optional most days), and now in year one of the Brian Kelly era things aren’t really much better. They actually lost a game while the other team’s coach was having a heart attack. In the Lou Holtz days that would never happen. Frank Stams would have stopped a fake field goal by himself while Michael Stonebreaker kicked the opposing coach in the chest to simultaneously kill him and save his life. So Notre Dame fans are upset. This comes as no surprise, considering the place is full of kids who got 1500s on the SATs and are really hopeful they’ll have sex with someone before their 30th birthday. Hopeful, not optimistic.
One of them was frustrated enough to write this pithy little letter to the editor to the independent student newspaper they share with the diploma mill across the lake:
The senior class is on the brink of an achievement that has never been accomplished. Assuming (and this is a big assumption) that the football team beats Tulsa this weekend, the game against Utah will be our chance to break the record of most losses in a four-year period, previously owned by the Class of 1964. When we get steamrolled by Utah on Nov. 13, we will officially be the losingest class in Notre Dame History. That day will also be Senior Day, a day that the senior class is allowed on the field at the end of the game. The senior class should not walk onto the field, but storm the field in celebration of its four seasons as spectators in the student section. The senior class should show its thanks and appreciation for a record-breaking four seasons by storming the field at the closing of the loss to Utah on Nov. 13.
Matthew McManus is a little bit of smart ass isn’t he? Well done, young man. I see what your goal was. It was to pretend to be an insufferable douche bag and you pulled it off with aplomb. I personally can not wait to see you run onto the field, clutching your asthma inhaler and trying not to wet your pants. And, I hope when you do, the creepiest human mascot in college football history beats you senseless with his tiny little shillelagh.
Eastbound and Down – The idea for this show was too good not to work. You take the very funny Danny McBride and you cast him as an unlikeable, washed up Major League pitcher and you send him home to be a substitute PE teacher. How can that not work? Well, it only worked some of the time in season one. When it was good, it was great. When it wasn’t…it was awful.
So for season two, they sent the failed big league pitcher to pitch in the Mexican League and it’s been awesome. So awesome that when they cast Don Johnson as his dad (the real reason he ran down to Mexico in the first place) even that was only like the 12th most awesome thing that’s happened this season.
The video is NSFW.
And when you see what Stevie does in the Mexican prison at the end of Chapter 11…well, I’m not going to spoil it for you. Just suffice to say the next time you are in Mexico you too will be demanding they learn how to boil meat.
8. Mike Quade – Well, it’s been more than a week now, but since we based this thing on his uniform number, we might as well take some time in the first installment and recognize Mike Quade for beating out Ryne Sandberg for the managerial job with the Cubs.
The thing that’s going to make this sweet is that when Darwin Barney hits a walk-off in the 14th inning of game seven of the World Series next year and sends Cubs fans into waves of delirium, Quade-mania will achieve full impact. People will be shaving their bodies and closing their eyes when they smile. And the Cubs will recognize his feat by retiring number 8 in honor of the great men who have shared number eight over the years. Quade, Andre Dawson, Barry Foote, Michael Barrett, Nomar Garciparra (for a day), Alex Gonzalez, Jim Frey, Todd Pratt and Joe Pepitone. I’m sure all of those names will fit on the flag.