Under 30

I can't complain but sometimes I still do

Friday, June 16, 2006

"Another ignorant opinion about soccer from probably an overweight and physically unfit person"

E-mail is pouring in about my soccer column and, let me tell you, soccer fans are totally disproving my point about them being snooty elitists. Some examples:

"Another ignorant opinion about soccer from probably an overweight and physically unfit person who could not run (jog) more than a quarter of a mile. The only reason you are not raving about it is because our team not just lost, but was thrashed (yes 3:0 in soccer is called thrashing). And the reason they lost is because of people like you not caring about the sport and thus not supporting the team whole-heartedly regardless of your opinion. You should have saved your time and effort spent on writing this piece of garbage. Why don't you just write another raving review of a local Tom's Drive-In, that would suit your personality better. Grow up and stop being so ignorant."

(This e-mail came from a guy with the last name "Lard." Just thought that was kinda funny, you know, considering.)

"I am an American that was raised in Nigeria and I found the article to be very closed minded. Whoever wrote this article needs not only to updated his thinking abilities, but needs to catch up with the real world.

I blame American's lack of not loving the world cup on the American culture and media coverage. Americans feel that if there are not number one in something then it is a waste and unimportant. If they can not make millions off it then they will not promote it.

Please take time to raise the next generation of American to be a little different from you. God bless."

(Question: Why is it close-minded for me not to like something, but not close-minded of this guy to not accept that some people might not like soccer? What if I said Nigerians didn't watch the Super Bowl because they suck at football? Offensive, no? Also, I love the ending. "I hope your future children disavow all that you stand for and spit on your grave. God bless.")

"" 3-0? A blowout? That's winning by a field goal." No it is like scoring 3 touchdowns and winning 21-0."Americans don't watch soccer games.." Espn2 drew more viewers for a WC game than any other sporting event this year. "The problem is soccer. I don't like it." It's ok for you to not like it, but what is interesting is that you feel compelled to write about your distaste. I suspect there is some sort of insecurity about not being able to understand the aesthetic beauty of the game. You don't bash other sports, however no other sport has drawn 1.5 billion viewers for a game, as the WC opener did. Roughly 1 of 4 people on the planet. An average of 320 million viewers for every single game. That's 3x the number who watch the Super Bowl. I think it bothers you that you don't appreciate the sport and what you don't appreciate you must attack. By the way calling you an idiot is not snooty elitism. It is an ad hominem attack by a Neanderthal. So if it comforts you and assuages your insecurities. Have at it."


"unless you understand the game you can not enjoy it why is it that in baseball where guys stand around and chew and spit and scratch their private parts that a no hitter gets so much attention??? soccer is truly the beautiful game !! go out to sports america and watch a few games"


That's just a sample, kids. I'll post more as I get 'em.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Shameless self-promotion

The latest Under 30 is on the suckiness of soccer. Enjoy!

Any YouTube, Web TV fans out there?

I am doing a story on the growth of TV on the Web, including the ridiculously rich goldmine that is YouTube as well as Web spin-offs of network TV like Bravo's OUTzoneTV, MTV's Overdrive and VH1's VSPOT.

I'm looking for Fox Valley residents who watch TV on the Web to interview. Can you help? Please e-mail me at shyden@postcrescent.com if you can ASAP. (Do NOT post personal contact info in the comments section, PLEASE! Too many crazies read my blog!)

Watch this show! It makes no sense!

HBO has made its name with unconventional hour-long dramas about the mob, mortuaries and being married to three women at once. But the premium cable network’s new half-hour comedy doesn’t break with convention, it celebrates it. As a result, HBO might have its strangest show yet.

“Lucky Louie” debuted last Sunday after the season premiere of the lightweight but entertaining “Entourage.” (“Lucky Louie airs Sunday at 9:30 p.m.) It features comedian Louis C.K., a schlubby balding redhead, as a schlubby balding redhead with an inattentive wife, a mouthy daughter and a group of sad sack friends.

The set-up is pure sitcom, and so is the show’s aesthetic. “Lucky Louie” is shot on tape with multiple cameras (none of that arty “Sopranos” cinematography here), and the set is composed of cheap scenery stolen from at least a half-dozen ’70s TV comedies. (I was reminded of “One Day at a Time” with a dash of “Good Times,” though C.K. claims it’s all “Honeymooners.”) Oh, and there’s also a guffawing studio audience reminding you when to laugh.

After seeing commercials for “Lucky Louie,” I assumed it would satirize the sitcom formula in some way, like combining realistic situations wiht a patently false setting and laughing at the juxtaposition. But “Lucky Louie” is no satire. Sure, there are F-bombs and graphic sex jokes they would never allow on “According to Jim.” But “Lucky Louie” plays nice with other examples of the “fat guy with a hot wife” sitcom genre. It’s like an after-dark version ABC’s old “TGIF” line-up.

I didn’t laugh much at the first episode (the jokes are way corny and obvious in accordance with the genre) but I was intrigued. Is this show for real? If so, why make a family sitcom parents can’t watch with their kids? If not, why would viewers forking out extra dough for premium channels want to watch a dumb, major network-style sitcom? Part of me wonders if there’s an obscure level of irony “Lucky Louie” mines that I have not yet discovered. Otherwise, it makes absolutely no sense. I will continue watching until it does.

Blogger sucks


Don't worry, I'm not bringing back Suck/Lame. Just want to apologize for the lack of pics lately. It's looking pretty drab, I know, but Blogger isn't letting me load photos. Because it sucks. A lot. Again, apologies.

-- The Management

Save Screech's house

I am a snarky 20something dude, so of course I have some love for Dustin Diamond, the white Urkel, better known as Screech from "Saved By the Bell." Through no effort (or fault) of my own, I have seen every episode of the craptastic early '90s Saturday morning sitcom. In high school, I used to wake up every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. specifically to watch "Saved By the Bell." I didn't try to do it, I just woke up automatically at 9:55 a.m., like my body set its clock to NBC's teen programming. (I also watched "California Dreams" at 10:30 a.m.)

I was sure then (as I am now) that "Saved by the Bell" was the most poorly written, acted and executed show ever to appear on a major network. And, yes, I'm counting "Mama's Family." I'll never forget the driver's ed episode where A.C. Slater takes his test by driving a go-kart around a classroom. We were supposed to buy that as teenaged viewers, that Slater would get his driver's license because he safely negotiated a turn around a desk while going 3 mph. I can accept artistic license, but that's just showing contempt for the audience. Watching "Saved By the Bell" was like dating a girl with a chemical imbalance. I hated the show and the show hated me, but we couldn't get enough of each other.

But I digress. The reason for all this "Saved by the Bell" talk is Diamond, who is in danger of losing his house in Port Washington. I first heard about the story from my friend Tom Roz, a man who inexplicably insists that there are genuinely funny moments in at least a couple of "Saved by the Bell" episodes. Apparently Screech has taken to the Internet to raise the needed $250,000 to save his house from foreclosure.

Today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has a story about the matter, along with deets on Dustin's troubled finances.

He is cagey about giving specific information about both his current income and the home, which he declined to allow reporters into. On the 2001 bankruptcy filing, he listed his employer as NBC and his take-home income, at the time, as about $5,300 a month.

The active run of "Saved by the Bell" happened before Diamond turned 18, and he said that problems with both his parents spending his money, and substantial tax miscalculations, left him in a hole as a young adult.

Now, he says, he has reconciled with his father, owes money only for his home and car, and needs mainly to find a way out of foreclosure to move on with life. His best plan for it, he said, is the $15 T-shirt, on which a disheveled Diamond is pictured, as he described it, "in the Wisconsin woodlands in front of a shack," holding a "Save My House" sign.

The back reads "I paid $15.00 to save Screeech's house," with the third "e" added, he said, to offer at least a technical separation between the fund-raising shirt from the "Screech Powers" character on a copyrighted show.

"I think there's a lot of people who think it's funny," Diamond said. "It's not a hoax. I wouldn't draw this kind of attention to myself for nothing."

There is absolutely no way this is going to work, right? I mean, a T-shirt sale? Why not have a car wash? If you want to help, go here.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A shout-out to Menasha bars

I'm an old man. At least I feel like an old man. There was a time when I used to go out three or four times a week. I guess it was fun. It was only five years ago but it feels like 50. Looking back I can't believe I ever had so much money to waste, or so much time. Because at the ripe old age of 28, I find bars incredibly boring. Especially Appleton bars. The only bars I like nowadays are in Menasha.

If you live in the Fox Valley, you probably have made fun of Menasha at least 100 times in your life. Even people from Menasha make fun of Menasha. It is the blue collar meat situated between two uppity bread slices, Appleton and Neenah. People just love to rip on it. But people are stupid, aren't they? Menasha has got soul. And it's a blast to hang out there. I love three bars in particular: Hank's, The Old Grog and Club Tavern.

Hank's represents everything great about neighborhood Wisconsin bars: the beer is ridiculously cheap, complete strangers walk up and recommend stuff on the menu and the decor hasn't been updated since 1966. Did I mention how cheap this place is? A friend and I ate dinner and drank two pitchers recently and didn't pay more than $20. I'd pay 20 bucks to keep the drone-like dopes who hang out downtown from screaming in my ear.

The Old Grog isn't quite as glorious as Hank's, but it's located right across the street and it's a great beer chaser to a shot of Hank's. Again, the decor inside is classic. All wood and ratty carpeting, it feels like one of those awesome Up North bars where you wander where at 1 a.m. and end up being forced to squeal like a pig by 1:25 a.m. Except, you know, there's no squealing at Old Grog. Apparently the Grog's steak sandwich is legendary, because it always comes up whenever I mention the bar to people. Also, the Grog is a haven for sexually harassing midgets. At least that's what my girlfriend says. She was slapped on the behind by a little guy the last time she was in there. I suppose I should be mad about that, but I secretly love it.

Club Tavern is the hippest bar of the bunch. In fact, it's probably the hippest bar in the Fox Valley. (Which isn't saying much, but it's still pretty hip.) The jukebox is well-known among music geeks for being heavy on cult favorites like Mekons and XTC. The selection of beers is first-rate, too. What makes Club Tavern so endearing is that its hipness is wrapped in a cozy small-town coating. Where else can you blast the Butthole Surfers while eating fish fry with senior citizens?

So, the next time somebody makes fun of Menasha, just smile and silently mock their ignorance. Anybody who is anybody knows Menasha is the place to be.


New Dylan album due Aug. 29.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Soccer still boring

Big surprise! Americans don't care about the World Cup!

ABC reported overnight ratings for Saturday's England-Paraguay game and for Sunday's Mexico-Iran game at 2.7 _ about 3 million households for each. Spanish-language network Univision was also televising the games. Figures for Monday's game involving the Americans won't be available until Tuesday.

By comparison, the French Open women's final, televised early Saturday on NBC, drew viewers in about 1.9 million households. Even on its worst nights, the Winter Olympics drew about 16 million viewers in February.

Personally, I haven't watched a World Cup game yet. And I don't plan on it. I cop to an unabashed bias against soccer fostered by a number factors, including: (1) the game's overall suckiness and lack of spectator appeal (at least for my dullard American sensibility); (2) knowing too many a-holish soccer players in high school; (3) the soccer nazis who keep trying to make the sport popular in America; (4) it interrupts America's perfect sports calendar that includes football in the fall, basketball in the winter and spring, and baseball in the spring, summer and early fall; (5) orange slices.

Any soccer fans out there? Can I make fun of you?


Anybody know someone who needs a roommate on the Moon? According to Stephen Hawking, author of "A Brief History of Time" and (insert potentially offensive wheelchair-bound man joke here), the human race will have to eventually relocate off planet Earth in order to survive.

The British astrophysicist told a news conference in Hong Kong that humans could have a permanent base on the moon in 20 years and a colony on Mars in the next 40 years.

"We won't find anywhere as nice as Earth unless we go to another star system," added Hawking, who arrived to a rock star's welcome Monday. Tickets for his lecture planned for Wednesday were sold out.

He added that if humans can avoid killing themselves in the next 100 years, they should have space settlements that can continue without support from Earth.

"It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species," Hawking said. "Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of."

(I like the part about the "rock star's welcome." Dude, I'm not sure about Hawking's new stuff. This end of the world stuff is a little too experimental. Still, it was awesome to hear Chapter Six from "Brief History," man.)

If given the choice between the Moon and Mars, I'm picking the Moon. Mars seems like a place that's cool to visit but you wouldn't want to live there.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Didya see Elvis?!?

Saw Elvis Costello with Allen Toussaint this weekend and it was magnificient. Great songs, great musicianship, great feelings all around. My friend and Green Bay Press Gazette music reporter Tom Rozwadowski filed an extensive report here.

Costello is one of my favorite songwriters, and he has long been near the top of my list of People I HAVE To See In Concert. Elvis didn't disappoint. He was warm, fun and his voice sounded fantastic. But the big treat of the night was Toussaint, a New Orleans R&B legend whose work I'm most familiar with as a producer and sideman for other artists, namely The Band and the Meters. A lot of time was given in the set list to the wonderful songs Toussaint has written over the years, many of which I knew but didn't know he wrote, including "A Certain Girl" and "Workin' in a Coalmine." I definitely plan on investing in some Toussaint music soon.

Here's hoping it's not another 29 years before Elvis returns to the Fox Valley.