The Soak of the Year

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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Freezing my balls off. Baseballs that is. HAHAHAHAHA! GET IT?!?!?!??!?!

I am attending the Cubs opening day game at Wrigley Field on Friday.  At the moment, the forecast calls for Rain/Snow showers.

Why am I doing this?  The same reason I do everything.  Peer pressure.

Anyway, here’s an article by Jason Notte about cold Opening Day cities:


5 Opening Day Baseball Cities That Freeze Fans
By Jason Notte

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — If baseball’s Opening Day is supposed to end fans’ winter hibernation, why is it so cold for fans in northern climates?

Major League Baseball made a deal with fans last year that was applauded by purists, but left a lot of fans in the cold: The 2011 season would start in March so it could end in October. The reasoning was that November was just too late to be playing baseball — even if it is the World Series — and that it was unfair to ask players and playoff attendees to dress warmly in that crisp fall air.

Unfortunately, instead of asking just two franchises’ fan bases to suck it up and dress in layers, baseball’s now asking all 32 of its teams to get a cold start to the season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this year’s March 31 start is the fifth-earliest Opening Day in history and the earliest since the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays opened the 2008 season on March 25 in Japan.

In fairness to such MLB broadcast partners as Fox (Stock Quote: NEWS) and ESPN (Stock Quote: DIS) and sponsors including Bank of America (Stock Quote: BAC), General Motors (Stock Quote: GM), MasterCard (Stock Quote: MA), Nike (Stock Quote: NKE) and Pepsi (Stock Quote: PEP), there’s just a lot more on the line later in the year. Opening Day is lovely and all, but it doesn’t bring in the $191.2 million in ad revenue that the World Series did last year and doesn’t come close to the $223.6 million spent when the Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009.

Besides, how cold can a March 31 opening day possibly get? According to John Labombarda from Elias Sports Bureau, Opening Day was cold enough in some cities before the switch. Here are the five teams most likely to freeze their fans during the home opener:

Milwaukee Brewers

Home stadium: Miller (Stock Quote: TAP) Park

Average March 31 temperature: 40 degrees

Sure, the Brewers have a retractable-roof stadium and a heating system. That doesn’t exactly help when Wisconsin’s state pastime is tailgating.

Miller Park’s roof closes and its heating system can crank temperatures up to 30 degrees warmer than than the bitter chill outside. That was little help on April 10, 2000, however, when the mercury dropped to 34 degrees and gave Milwaukee the second-coldest Opening Day in the past 10 years, according to Elias. At the time, the Brewers were playing in open-air Milwaukee County Stadium and weren’t above kicking off the season with a little Wisconsin snow and sleet.

By the time Milwaukee tied its own record for cold openers with another 34-degree Opening Day on April 5, 2002, Milwaukee had learned its lesson and put the team in fans in much cozier confines. The Brewers dodge a March home opener this year by playing on the road in temperate Cincinnati before coming home April 4. What if it’s freezing then? At least the beer will be cold. Besides, fans still have sausage and a Green Bay Packers Super Bowl win to keep them warm.

Cleveland Indians

Home stadium: Progressive (Stock Quote: PGR) Field

Average March 31 temperature: 40 degrees

Indians fans must have loved hearing Texas Rangers third baseman Michael Young tell USA Today last year that he’s glad the 2011 season’s starting early because “watching the playoffs last year, you saw guys freezing out there in New York.” What does New York know from freezing?

Back in 1997 — you know, that year in the late 1990s when the Yankees weren’t in the World Series — the Indians played in the coldest World Series game ever against the Florida Marlins. It was in Cleveland, it was on Oct. 22 and it was a blistering 38 degrees.

Now, because Derek Jeter can’t find his neck warmer, the Indians have to play their home opener during a time of year that’s equally frigid and just off of Lake Erie. The Indians open Progressive Field on April 1, but you could spot them an extra week and their fans would still be spotting ice floes on the Cuyahoga River. In fact, Cleveland joined Milwaukee in a two-way tie for the second-coldest Opening Day in the past decade when the game-time temperature plummeted to 34 degrees. Unlike those softies in Wisconsin, however, Clevelanders couldn’t just close the roof and crank up the heat. Clevelanders learned this firsthand in 2007, when it had a four-game series snowed out and cold weather forced it to move another three-game series — to Milwaukee.

We just can’t believe the MLB would do this to Cleveland after fans watched Cy Young Award-winning pitchers Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia and All-Star catcher Victor Martinez leave and endured yet another playoff-free season from the Browns. We won’t even mention the woeful Cavaliers or that guy they had the big poster of who left for warmer climates. That would be just too cold.

New York Yankees

Home stadium: Yankee Stadium

Average March 31 temperature: 48 degrees

Just think, the whole reason these games are being moved back in the first place is because the MLB saw Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte celebrating their 2009 World Series win in hooded sweatshirts. And you say the rest of the baseball world thinks the Yankees are a coddled, overfed bunch of crybabies out to ruin the game?

Perhaps an early Opening Day is the best way to thank the Yankees for inspiring this little tweak in the baseball calendar. After all, maybe the team just needs a little reminder that just eight years ago, they played in the third-coldest home opener in the past decade against the Minnesota Twins. On April 8, 2003, it was a brisk 35 degrees while the Yanks and Twins were on the field, which is as cold or colder than any game-time temperature the poor Yankees had to suffer through during the 2009 World Series.

Besides, we don’t know how the Yankees stay so cold when they have a league’s worth of hate to keep them warm.

Minnesota Twins

Home stadium: Target (Stock Quote: TGT) Field

Average March 31 temperature: 41 degrees

Laugh at the Yankees’ woes if you must, Minnesotans, but they weren’t the sheltered little indoor turf team playing out in the cold, cruel world on that chilly day in 2003.

After nearly three decades sealed within the warm baggie of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, the Twins moved outdoors to Target Field last year. Temperatures were gorgeous and in the 70s, but even the Twins knew what could have been when they inserted an empty “Weather Protection Day” into the schedule a few days later just in case they were rained or snowed out.

Some Twins fans have gotten fairly defensive about the issue, wondering why Target Field is held to a higher standard than ballfields in Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh or Chicago, where it’s just as likely to be cold or snowy. Maybe it’s because newly elected baseball Hall-of-Famer Bert Blyleven told ESPN he still remembers pitching in snow flurries on Opening Day at the old Metropolitan Stadium. Maybe it’s because, back in 2008, one of former Sen. Norm Coleman’s platform issues was that he’d brought NHL hockey back to the state. Maybe it’s because — on the weekend before Major League Baseball’s Opening Day — the forecast still calls for high temperatures below freezing and lows of 11 to 15 degrees.

Want to convince everyone it’s not too cold to have an outdoor stadium in Minnesota, Twins fans? Tell the team to stop ducking the weather and scheduling road games for the entire first week of the season … again. Tell them to make their home opener a March 31 night game instead of an April 8 day game (with yet another “Weather Protection Day” built in on April 11). Why not? The Yankees are doing it.

Chicago Cubs

Home stadium: Wrigley Field

Average March 31 temperature: 43 degrees

“Aw, Chicago’s just cold because it’s windy!” Yes, and Opening Day is often delayed in New York and Boston by deluges of apples and beans, respectively.

Chicago is cold because, like the majority of the cities mentioned in this article before it, it’s near the Great Lakes. Anyone who’s lived near the Great Lakes knows that they just act as a giant freezer unit and ice maker for seven to eight months out of the year. It also produces something called “lake-effect snow,” which locals will talk about as casually as they’ll mention a passing shower but dumps more snow than storms other states consider blizzards.

Park a major city right next to a Great Lake, put fans of the city’s baseball team in a drafty old stadium and hold the opener in March and you’ll see why even the ivy on the outfield wall begs for a blanket on Opening Day. The Cubbies don’t open Wrigley until April 1, but their coldest opening day of the past few years — and the coldest Opening Day in the major leagues in the past decade — took place a full week later. When the Cubs hosted the then-Montreal Expos on April 8, 2003, the temperature dropped to 32-degrees, which should give fanboys who praised this year’s schedule change pause the next time they complain “but it’s freezing in March.”

Considering what happened to the Cubs later that year — the whole five-outs from the World Series, Steve Bartman ball, eight-run eighth inning, blown Game 7 and lots of tears and talk of billy goats — teams may want to take great pains to avoid freezing home openers in the future.


The crises and madness of Jon Arbuckle

Garfield sucks and so does just about every comic you find in your newspaper. I don’t know why newspapers bother printing comics as I’m sure they’re not only expensive but also they suck. Just looking at one makes me pissed off.

In the United States, comics originally printed as a tactic in the Hearst v. Pulitzer newspaper wars. The immigrants who populated the big cities couldn’t read English but they could appreciate the comics and would read whichever newspaper had the best comics. Why they didn’t simply go online, open the local newspaper in Google Chrome and have the browser translate is beyond me.

Anyhoo, today we still have the comics in the paper taking up ink and paper which makes the existence of comics both foolhardy and wastedful. That said, if it wasn’t for shite comics like Garfield, we wouldn’t be graced with such genius as Garfield minus Garfield which actually improves upon the original.

The concept is to take a Garfield comic and remove the titular feline. It’s genius and see for yourself below.


This is from GLIDE magazine’s website:

Top 25 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the ’90s

By Garin Pirnia

May 12, 2005

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What defines a hit? While the music industry defines a hit by how it ranks on the Billboard Charts, the essence of a hit is something else. It’s how a song manages to become a part of pop culture iconography. Music is always very autobiographical—where you were when you heard the song, how it affected your life, and how it transfers from one generation to another. Several of these songs on the list were mainstream Top 40 hits—others gained momentum on College Radio. In the 90s, the word “alternative music” was coined which went on to represent everything from indie rock to grunge to pop music. The 90s was a period before radio stations were run by monopolies, before the advent of the internet and filesharing, before satellite radio, and a time when more than just radio airplay mattered. Most of the bands on the list are no longer together, but all it takes for a band to succeed is that one hit. Also included on the list are some obvious guilty pleasures choices—the songs you don’t want to like, but can’t help turning up everytime you hear it—even when you think no one is looking.

1. “Nothing Compares 2 U” – Sinead O’Connor (1990)One of the most famous love ballads of all time, this Prince penned song put the hairless Sinead and her political and religious antics on the map. It’s a beautiful and compelling song that echoes with palpable heartbreak and sorrow. Sinead should’ve made peace with the Pope while she still had the chance. Oh well, I guess we know where she’s going after death.

2. “Black Velvet” – Alannah Myles (1990)

Canadian Alannah Myles burst onto the scene in 1989 with her sultry and bluesy song that made men around the world swoon. This song was a number one hit in the States in 1990 and took over the airwaves for months on end before it and her career disappeared into the spring night. She even won a Grammy that year for “Best Rock Female Performance.” At least she has something to show for it.

3. “What’s Up?” – 4-Non Blondes (1993)This became an anthemic and existential Generation X piece in 1993 with Linda Perry’s famous grainy voice singing about praying, cathartic crying, and shouting at the top of her lungs: “hey, hey, hey, what’s going on?” Luckily for them, the song still gets rotation on the radio.

4. “No Rain” – Blind Melon (1992)

Lead singer Shannon Hoon did a Kurt Cobain but no one talks about Hoon anymore. The song follows a child pariah who wants to fit in and finally does in the end with hooks and a bittersweet pop melody leading the way. The video was just as popular as it featured the now famous Bee Girl. The song was the anti-thesis to the grunge based songs of that period, and over ten years later, it’s still lovely to hear.

5. “Laid” – James (1993)A guitar is strummed then builds to pounding drums on the lyric: “This bed is on fire with passion and love/the neighbors complain about the noises above/but she only cums when she’s on top.” James was deemed the “next Smiths” in their native England, but they never lived up to those expectations. Today, it’s one of the best songs about obsession—next to “Every Breath You Take,” of course.

6. “I Touch Myself” – The Divinyls (1991)

For years there have been songs about masturbation from the Violent Femmes’ “Blister in the Sun” to Cyndi Lauper’s “She Bop.” Finally the Australian group the Divinyls released a song that’s very blunt about the deed: “when I think about you I touch myself.” After the approval from a mainstream hit, doing the deed seemed more appropriate–well, kinda….

7. “Song 2” – Blur (1997)“Whoo Who!” screeches Damon Albarn on this succinct, two minute long song. Besides that lyric, most of the lyrics are basically incomprehensible and open to interpretation. Although Blur had been highly acclaimed and prolific, they had managed to stay under the radar for most of their career—at least in the States. But with this song, suddenly they were everywhere…and so was the fun to say “Whoo Who!”

8. “No Myth” – Michael Penn (1990)

Michael Penn evolved from a pedigree family. His brother is Academy Award winner Sean Penn and his wife is Academy Award nominee Aimee Mann. Penn contributed his one and only hit with this early-90s infectious pop hit filled with jangling guitars and an infectious chorus that asks the question: “What if I were Romeo in black jeans?” Too bad he couldn’t keep up with the Joneses.

9. “Cannonball” – The Breeders (1993)Before the Breeders, Dayton, Ohio raised Kim Deal was better known as a member of the now revived Pixies. The achievement of the song comes from the heavy bass lines, high voltage guitar riffs and distorted vocals that penetrate right through the listener. But like the album title Last Splash insinuates, it was their last hurrah until The Deal sisters regrouped with members of the punk band Fear for 2002’s Title TK.

10. “Torn” – Natalie Imbruglia (1998)

She was the “It Girl” of 1998 after “Torn” sold millions of copies. For a while, there was a new pop princess in town, but as Andy Warhol always said, everyone has 15 minutes of fame and hers ran out around 1999. She released another album to a less than stellar response. Did the industry really think an ex-Australian soap opera star could have legs? Still, “Torn” remains a great pop song with its universal lyrics on love.

11. “Girl Like You” – Edwin Collins (1995)British singer Collins had a hit in 1983 with his band Orange Juice, but it wasn’t until the mid-90s that Collins gained notoriety with this retro song featured on the soundtrack for the film Empire Records. It’s a very catchy and rhymatic song involving coarse guitars, Collins’ slightly sinister vocals and electro beats that pulsate and build to electrifying intensity.

12. “I’m Too Sexy” – Right Said Fred (1992)

It was 1992 when these Germans broke onto the scene eschewing shirt and hair and releasing a song about, well, being sexy. These guys were too sexy for their car, their shirt, their cat, and so on. They live on in infamy with the prolific use of the track in car commercials. I guess in the end they were too sexy for their mortgage. Drum roll, please.

13. “Tubthumper” – Chumbawumba (1997)In 1997, everyone was singing “I get knocked down, then I get up again, you never can keep me down.” It was difficult to understand these Brits lyrics, but one lyric that did stand out was “pissing the night away.” It’s a pub song about the joys of alcoholism including falling down, peeing all night and fighting. With this one song, Chumbawumba sold a plethora of albums, but now those albums are being sold at garage sales. Oh, the irony.

14. “I Know” – Dionne Farris (1993)

Before Dionne Farris had a solo career she was a member of the seminal progressive rap/hip hop group Arrested Development (not to be confused with the excellent tv show). But after she parted ways from them, she released this funky and sassy alt song. Unfortunately, her star faded too soon and she hasn’t been heard from since. Come to think of it, neither has Arrested Development (the band that is).

15. “MMMBop” – Hanson (1997)When they first arrived on the scene, people couldn’t tell if they were little boys or little girls because of their long, silky hair. These kids even played their own instruments unlike other teen groups from that era (ie: Backstreet Boys). The track is a sugary and happy Jackson 5-esque song that you don’t want to like but secretly play alone in your room when nostalgia strikes. The oldest Hanson, who’s like 22 now, has 2 kids and a wife! Where does the time go?

16. “Seether” – Veruca Salt (1994)

This punky, high voltage song kept up with the alt-rockin riot grrl acts of the 90s like the Breeders. The ever unavoidable and catchy chorus: “Can’t fight the seether!” lingers in the brain along with the churning electric guitars. An angry and powerful rock tune just like the seether herself. Any band that names themself after a character in the trippy Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory has to be cool.

17. “Fade into You” – Mazzy Starr (1993)A dreamy and poetic song about love that’s highlighted with Hope Sandoval’s luscious voice. Slow, acoustic guitars create a trance-inducing lullaby along with the use of the tambourine and piano. The psychedelic ambiance allows the listener to drift away as the music consumes. After hearing this song, everyone wanted to find that special someone and fade into them.

18. “Natural One” – Folk Implosion (1995)

Remember this band? Probably not. Frontman Lou Barlow and company contributed several songs to the controversial film Kids including this hit that was on the soundtrack but not used in the film. It was a sleeper hit that crept out of nowhere with its psychedelic tones, throbbing drums and discordant beats. Just like the film, this track is still very memorable.

19. “Bitch” – Meredith Brooks (1997)In today’s world of five second delays, it’s surprising that unholy word doesn’t get bleeped out on the radio, but Brooks was audacious enough to test the system. Brooks made it pleasant and quite fun to be the aforementioned curse word with her use of clanging rock guitars and profound lyrics. She became popular during the Lillith Fair period then disappeared along with the breakthrough festival.

20. “Bad Reputation” – Freedy Johnston (1994)

A lamenting song with a mood of despondency, desperation and loneliness, it tapped into something deeper than most alternative songs of the time. At the chorus, the song picks up with Johnston asking “do you want me now?” with tangible forlornness. This folky and guitar driven singer/songwriter fare worked well during the end credits of the 1995 cult/angst film Kicking and Screaming.

21. “Closing Time” – Semisonic (1998)No one wants to hear the words “Last Call” after a night of drinking, but this song was about those dwindling minutes of the evening when you’re bleary eyed, a bit lonely, and looking for someone to take you home. The song contains a contagious tinkering piano and a melodic guitar fueling the sage lyric: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Well said.

22. “I’d Walk (500 Miles) – Proclaimers (1993)

Mix identical twin brothers and Johnny Depp and you get this highly catchy and upbeat song about love that was prominently featured in the Depp romantic comedy Benny and Joon. This song became the feel good song of the year with its sentimental hooks and musings on love. Originally released off a Proclaimers album from1988, it was resurrected for the movie and became a huge hit.

23. “Flagpole Sitta” – Harvey Danger (1998)“I’m not sick, but I’m not well!” screams the lead singer of Harvey Danger. This rock song covers everything from paranoia, stupid people breeding, insanity and hell with raucous guitar interludes and lyrics. “They’re all coming to get me!” Harvey Danger screams. Disturbed and twisted never sounded so good. The song was especially relevant on the trailer for the silly teen film Disturbed Behavior.

24. “Connection” – Elastica (1994)

UK alt rock was popular in the 90s especially bands with a female lead singer. Justine Frischmann left the influential band Suede and the band’s frontman Brett Anderson to form Elastica. This album ousted an Oasis album to become the biggest selling albums in the UK during that time. “Connection”’s appeal lies in its vivacious beats, gritty guitars and electro tinges that reverberate long after Elastica did.

25. “Right Here, Right Now” – Jesus Jones (1991)These guys seemed to be all the rage with their poppy song about the world changing. This song featured some beginning techno beats, but the band failed after their foray into more techno material afterwards. The chorus still rings after a decade: “right here, right now/watching the world wake up from history.”

BONUS—The Group that Had More Than One Hit but Should’ve Stopped at One:

The Spice Girls

It seems hard to believe these women ever existed. The group was put together like a reality tv show and played out like one for about a year. With names like Sporty, Scary, Baby, etc, they found a place in Trivia Pursuit history. Their first and biggest hit was the catchy “Wannabe” (1997) with cheesy lyrics like: “If you want to be my lover, you got to get with my friends/make it last forever/friendship never ends.” Maybe they didn’t know how to write song lyrics, but boy could they pose! They followed up the infectious “Wannabe” with two duds: “Say You’ll Be There” and “2 Become 1.” Thankfully eight years later, these women have moved on to relative obscurity except for Victoria “Posh Spice” Adams who went on to Bend it like Beckham, David that is. Victoria, your secret past is safe with us.

Agree, disagree, have your own suggestions? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
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Did Hootie and the Blowfish sell their souls?

Heard “Hold My Hand” by Hootie and the Blowfish today on the radio and it made me wonder about the one-album wonder (see what I did there?).

Now there have been many a one-hit wonder and I’m sure you, dear reader, can name more than a score or two. That said, we can’t think of too many true one-album wonders.

This could def pass as Satanic

Hootie and the Blowfish’s debut, Cracked Rear View, was a sixteen-times platinum album containing four top-ten hits: “Hold My Hand” (#10), “Let Her Cry” (#9), “Only Wanna Be With You” (#6), and “Time” (#14).

A few sentences ago, I wrote that I couldn’t remember many one-album wonders. Since I wrote that, I have remembered some. (i.e. found in an online search). Many of the one-album wonders that I have remembered have rises and falls that are easily explainable: Alanis Morrisette (breaking up w/Uncle Joey from Full House – true story), The Darkness (lots of cocaine) and the Bay City Rollers (common sense prevailing – who could wear tartan ankle-length trousers?).

Hootie and the Blowfish, on the other hand, shot to stardom in the middle of the 90s with an edge-less sound and a sex-less look. Mind you, this was in the middle of the music video era and a decent video could at least get you a hit.

In spite of not being apart of a trendy sound and lacking a marketable image, Hootie and the Blowfish churned out a debut with four hits and a few other solid songs. Hand-over-my-heart, dear reader, Cracked Rear View is a pop classic.

Hence, my question. Did Darius Rucker and co. strike a Faustian bargain with Beelzebub himself in order to obtain the inspiration for their opus? We may never know…

Just seeing if this works…