Not So Gr8 Vanity Plates

Vanity Plates seem like an awesome idea at the time, but after a while, you may start to regret it like a lower back tattoo…on a man. Here are a few vanity plates that missed the mark. The mark, by the way, is just having a normal license plate like the rest of us.

“I don't usually like to boast but…I'm online with AMERICA! I bet Bill from two doors down isn't. Ha! Bill…”

“Hey that's It's Mitt Romney's golf cart!”

“I got this for my son! It's his 16th birthday and he's number 8 in soccer! I hope he just loves it!”

“Well I actually caught yellow fever from a mosquito bite in South America…I'm dying…so I figured, you know, what the hell?”

“Well I usually just stryp in the club, but I want people to know I'm available for birthday's, bachelor event's…what that's how you spell stryper! I would know I am one, duh?!”

“I don't know what you had in mind there…but I'm going to have to ask you to leave the carpool…”

“So that's how you got the Lexus?”

“I got a new big job and the company gave me this Mercedes!”

Because nothing says country like a Mitsubishi Mirage!

“So when did you realize it?”
“The second I got to my kid's elementary school play.”

People do a lot of bath salts in Virginia apparently.

“Mrs. Phelps, I know you were trying to go for 'Pool Lady' but it's just coming across as 'Poo Lady'.”

“I'm pre-med.”

“I know you were trying to express your love of Agriculture, but…”

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Grief Is Weird

Grief is weird. It's something that is hard to imagine going through, when you never really have before. My dog died a few days ago, and it's the first time I've ever really “lost” someone that I love. For the record, I hate when we express death by saying that we “lost so-in-so…” I feel like it's demeaning to whomever it was that you loved. They aren't a jacket that you left on the bus.

Maggie was a West Highland white terrier and she was a gift for my seventh birthday. She lived 13 healthy, beautiful, and happy years that I will cherish for the rest of my life. The only signs of discomfort she had ever shown were in her last few days. A small lump had grown on her back and she wasn't as content with eating as she usually was.

The day before her appointment, I somehow knew deep down that it would be the end. As I drove to work with my stomach in knots, a Nickleback song began to play on the radio, and tears began to fill my eyes. This was surprising to me, because I have never been overly fond of Nickleback, nor have I ever really felt a sense of nostalgia toward their music. It's not like I ever sat around with Maggie, chain smoking listening to their albums. That would have been weird. I just had a feeling that something was wrong.

The ominous feeling I had in my stomach proved to be warranted, as on the day of her appointment, the vet informed us that Maggie did in fact have cancer, and needed to be put down. This was a difficult decision, but it was the right decision. We had caught it early and Maggie was in no real pain, but at 13, prolonging this process would've been cruel and unfair, and not at all the way we treated and loved this dog.

So she felt no pain at all and can now rest in peace, and I’ll be forever thankful that she did not have to suffer. Yet I'm still hurt by the loss of the greatest gift I've ever received. Which in my mind is strange, because it's not like I ever actually had a conversation with Maggie. It's not like she was Brian from Family Guy. She did not speak English, and I did not speak Dog. It was, however, a language barrier that my family and I were able to overcome and mutually understand when she was either hunger, thirsty, or had to shit.

It's not like we were old war buddies either. We weren't “in the shit” together in the trenches of Nam. In fact, I'm almost positive that Maggie had no army training whatsoever. I know I don't. I mean, sure she could have underwent some sort of training while I was away at school, but I still doubt it.

So why am I so sad? Why does my stomach hurt, yet I still fill it with waffles? Waffles are such a happy food, yet these are sad waffles. Why did I cry during a Nickleback song? That one sparked the biggest conundrum.

They say dog is “Man's Best Friend,” but I don't think Maggie was my best friend. I feel like that title is an injustice to the love my family and I shared with her. She was more than a friend; she was family.

So, I'm trying my best to remember all the good times I've had with her. Which is very easy, as there wasn't a single bad moment. She was a true joy, which I think is why I've been so up and down about this. I'll always love Maggie and I don't think I will ever not miss her, but I'm hoping it will get easier over time. Just as long as I don't hear any Nickleback songs.

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WITH THIS ROSE, I THEE BED: BACHELOR PAD (EPISODE 3), BY THE NUMBERS

Consider Your Dreams Haunted

Once upon a time, a young boy found himself at a rest-stop Friendly’s. Perusing the menu, he was overwhelmed by all the magical dessert items up for grabs.

“What ever will I order?” thought the boy.

He approached the counter in a haze, praying that the answer would come to him before his time had expired. His anxiety and indecision was on the verge of causing him emotional pain and an empty stomach. But then, just as the moment was nigh, a revelation!

“I’ll have a hot sludge fun day,” he announced.

The cashier looked at him bewildered.

“I’m sorry, did you mean a hot fudge sundae? There’s no such thing as a hot sludge fun day.”

The boy glanced at her and with a mischievous smile. With a gleam in his eye he responded, “Not yet, perhaps. But there will be…Oh, yes. There will be.”

And the boy was escorted out by security for being high on opium.

But young Chris was a prophet—a really stoned prophet—whose dream came to life last night, for all the world to see. And, my word, it was glorious…

Alas, we come upon the whimsy, nay, the glory, of Bachelor Pad Episode 3, by the numbers:

Number of potential winners: 16

Amount of things this game is about, as detailed by Ed: 3

1)   Influence

2)   Perception

3)   Flat-out lying

Stripper poles included in all transportation: 1 (Thanks for pointing that one out, Jamie.)

Number of times Chris Harrison was asked to say “hot sludge fun day”: 10 times fast

Number of times he could actually say it: 3. I said he was a prophet, not a WIZARD.

Years this franchise has been waiting for a contestant to say, “It’s my turn to get into the nutsack”: 10. David’s a national hero.

Excess minutes spent showing the contestants hosing themselves down post-sludge: TRICK QUESTION. EVERY MINUTE WAS NECESSARY FOOTAGE.

Foreshadowing of challenges-to-come: 1…

  “I’d rather do rhythmic gymnastics naked than do that again.” – Donna

Years I’ve waited to be described the way David was (“He studied the game before the game even existed.”): 23

Number of recourses when you stumble upon a prom: 1—“Shut the front door!”

Direction in which David knows his dates will dress: “to the nines

Number of times I rewound the scene where Chris’s line was subtitled as “I smell like a black eye”: oh, thousands.

Number of episodes it took for someone to say, “Karma’s a bitch”: 3. Lazy.

Days a week Jamie’s mom apparently “started to disappear”: 2…depending on whether said “weekends” were national holidays.

Additions to Blakely’s “Diarrhea List”: 1. David, meet Dairy Products and Fish Tacos.

Bad things, like, started by Chris kissing Jamie, in spite of being partners with Blakely: 2

1)   “Like, a war.”

2)   “Like, a perfect storm.”

Amount of people in this world unfamiliar with the concept of a wax museum: 4 total. No, Rachel, you’re not actually surrounded by celebrities.

Steps to creating your very own Bachelor or Bachelorette, finally revealed by Dr. Harrison: 3

1)   Full hair

2)   Full makeup

3)   Latex

Strength it took everyone involved not to make an Emily Maynard joke in response to Rachel’s line, “Trying to act like a wax figure is much harder than it looks”: I…Help.

FILL IN THE BLANK–Based on the exchange below, words to describe Chris’s feelings toward Jamie that originated on an episode of Sex and the City and became the title of a best-selling book and subsequent popular ensemble romcom: 5

Jamie: Chris…

Chris: Not tonight.

Jamie: Why?

Chris: Just because.

The degree to which Jamie doesn’t get it: nth

“I’m at…like…the rope is thin.”

Superheroes who got their start on Bachelor Pad: 1. Greetings, Captain Protein Powder!

Lines easily used to recap any episode of Bachelor Pad, spoken here to describe Tony’s experience as a wax statue: 1

“It was so funny. I mean…kind of sad and embarrassing.”

Expected responses to Chris’s question to the group, “What’s going on this week?”: 1—“NM, U?”

Unexpected responses to the aforementioned questions: 1“I feel like we’re all on edge so we’re almost scared to talk at this point because we feel like someone might be listening in on us or overanalyzing us and judging our conversations so we’re just in this very like somber mood where we’re scared to talk at this point.” WHOA. SLOW YA ROLL, LISA.

Astrology-based strategies: 1

“I’m a Scorpio. I will sting the shit out of you. In retrospect. For real.”– Blakely

Meaningful lessons on the art of “scraping,” as provided by Donna, as she makes out with Nick moments before she gets the boot: 1

“Everyone’s getting action but me…I can’t leave the bachelor pad and not hook up with somebody. Like, that’s crazy.”

Donna’s last words, to-be-inscribed on grave headstones worldwide: 11

“When I’m not around in my bikini, they’re gonna be pissed.”

…AND SO IT WAS WRITTEN.

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Plies Tweets

Plies is a rapper most famous for his 2009 hit song “Becky” which is basically a four minute ballad about falatio. Until verry recently, I had not heard much from this artist, until I started following him on twitter. I feel that Plies’ brilliance  simply can not be confined to 140 characters, so please follow me, as I delve into the mind of this modern day Socrates. Here is the most recent installment of, Plies Tweets.

We find our hero today in a vulnerable state. Apparently, even someone as special as Plies can have a rough night. The attached image is a message from Plies, to all the youngsters out there, that when one goes out for a night of tomfoolery and shenanigans, NEVER wear underpants. Who knows what dangers may befall you when restricted by the elastic confinement of undergarments? Espicially with the discomfort of tags!*

Luckily, Plies was able to make it home safely, surely with the help of a responsible designated driver, and mostly likely with the company of several bitches. He then was able to free himself from the confinement of his underwear and proclaim to the world from his balcony: “Tom Petty ain't right! I'm freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Free ballin'!”

Yes, I'm sure he said that.

Until next time friends, always live your life by this simple Plies motto:

“Hey Plies, it's a robbery, get up! I'm talkin' to myself though, what the fuck?”

*Unless of course you are a wearer of Hanes tagless underwear, then maybe you can wear your underpants…but whatever

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Could The 2012 Olympic Basketball Team Beat The Dream Team? (Answered!)

This essay was written by former NBA player Paul Shirley.  You can follow him on twitter here, and purchase his book about his time in the NBA as a twelfth man, here.

The most popular question relating to the 2012 Olympic basketball tournament isn’t which team in this year’s Olympics has the best chance of beating the Americans, but whether this American team could beat the 1992 American team – the so-called “Dream Team” that featured Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird.

It is widely assumed that this is a question without an answer; it is a diversion built to provoke arguments in bars, along the lines of “Which of Leonardo diCaprio’s ex-girlfriends is the hottest?” or “Is Mitt Romney human?”

If an “answer” to this hypothetical is found, it usually takes the form of, “Well of course the Dream Team would win…Jordan, Magic, Bird, where’s the debate?”

The man who delivers that answer is right about one thing: there isn’t much debate. It’s just that he’s completely wrong.

All nostalgia aside: Jordan, Magic, Bird, the Dream Team?

Tossed around like a handbag in a hurricane.

**

From a simplified viewpoint, a basketball team built in 2012 would beat a basketball team built in 1992 for the same reason a computer chip built in 2012 is faster than a computer chip built in 1992: people improve upon the work of their predecessors. LeBron James learned from Michael Jordan. Kevin Durant picked up tips from Connie Hawkins. Not directly, of course, Jordan has never been James’s coach and as far as we know, Kevin Durant has never even met Connie Hawkins.

Basketball players have learned from their forebears just as computer programmers have learned from theirs: knowledge is shared, tips are given, the men and women who come after are better off than the ones who came before.

However, this reasoning doesn’t provide a satisfactory answer to our question, because if time machines (and Face/Off) were real and we could switch players past and future, it is reasonable to assume that Michael Jordan & The Superfriends would have learned just as much from LeBron James & Co as happened in reverse.

The answer doesn’t lie in a direct matchup of the players. The answer lies in competition.

**

It’s 1964.

Larry Bird is 8 years old. Magic Johnson is 5. Michael Jordan is 2. Don Draper is somewhere between 28 and 45.

The dominant sport for kids to play: baseball. Second-place: probably football. Meanwhile, basketball is confined to the innermost of inner cities and the outpostiest of outpost Midwestern towns.

Now fast-forward two and a half decades. It’s 1989. Kobe Bryant is 11. LeBron James is 5. Kevin Durant is 1. The dominant sport for participation among American children: basketball. (Oddly enough, there is documentation to back this up. The Sporting Goods Manufacturing Association has been keeping track, so that Dick’s would know what to stock.)

So in 1989, everyone (in a relative sense) was playing basketball. In 1964, almost no one (again, relatively) was.

And that’s just in the US.

One of the reasons we romanticize the 1992 Dream Team: their competition was overmatched to an almost comedic degree. The dominance of Jordan, Ewing, Robinson et. al might seem to bolster the argument that the 1992 team was a once-in-a-century collection of players.

But in fact, it helps our case. In the 1992 Olympic Games, the rest of the world (outside of Serbia and pockets of Russia) played like it was sharing something like twelve functional basketball hoops.

The world’s contribution to the basketball talent pool was not, shall we say, significant.

Since then, the catch-up has been remarkable. The NBA now employs around 80 foreign-born players each year. (In 1992, that number was 21.)

Let’s not confuse the issue: the foreign players have their own Olympic teams. But all those great foreign players made it even more difficult to make it as an American in the NBA.

And if it’s more difficult to make it to the top, the players at that top are going to be much better than they were.

**

The demand is the same whether you started playing in 1964 or 1989: 12 spots on an Olympic team.

But thanks to increased participation from all corners, the supply is significantly bigger – more Americans, more foreigners pushing those Americans.

Bigger supply, same demand; I’m no economist, but I’m pretty sure that means the competition was fiercer for LeBron James than it was for Chris Mullin.

And if the competition is fiercer, the players are better.

And if the players are better, the 2012 Olympic team would smash the 1992 version like Cartoon Hammer v. Cartoon Piggybank.

**

There is a chance, of course, that the guy down at the bar – Barry, I’m assuming – is right. That there was just something different about Magic and Bird and Chuck and Mike and the Admiral. It is possible that he’s not romanticizing the past, that those men were transcendent genetic specimens, the likes of which we’ll never see again, and it doesn’t matter how many advantages one gives the young ‘uns; the old guys were just, somehow, better.

But a more likely answer is that the Dream Team was a lot of fun, and that they were something the likes of which we’ll never see again.

But only because they had it so easy.

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WITH THIS ROSE, I THEE BED: BACHELOR PAD (EPISODE 2), BY THE NUMBERS

Basically the Olympic village. Ya know, sans talent.

Ah, a new season of Bachelor Pad. Can you feel it? Can you smell it? Because it feels like a cold sore and it smells like a Turkish bath. By golly, it's swell. And it appeals to all audiences, no matter your race, creed, gender, or sexual orientation. Just half of you have to say you're watching “ironically.” That's fine. Your friends were already exposed to your fine-tuned sense of irony many moons, 1 OkCupid profile, and 5 seasons of The Secret Life of the American Teenager ago. Oh, look at me jumping right ahead to the numbers. I just can't help myself! It's like counting the presents under the tree! (Or so I hear from my less-ironic gentile friends.)

So, by the powers vested in Chris Harrison (spoiler alert: that's ALL the powers), I present to you Bachelor Pad Episode 2, by the numbers:

Number of potential winners: 18

Number of contestants: 19 (it's the kind of math only Bachelor Pad can do)

Dollars on the line: 250,000

Number of twins: 2 (Fake out! Bet you thought I meant pairs of twins. And you said one. And you look stupid because obviously there are 2 twins in a set of twins! HAZAAH!)

Previous episodes I forgot to blog about: 1 (Ok, mom. I can't be perfect ALWAYS.)

Minutes God decided to punish me for said indiscretion: 26. WHAT THE FUCK, DVR?!

How much your anger multiplies when you find out you missed RYTHMIC GYMNASTICS: A JILLION-FOLD.

Number of generous donations made by Jef Holm to tonight's episode: 1. That's his whole collection of pink glitter leotards.

Number of poor-man's-Ashton-Kutcher-Creed-cover-band-lead-singers featured: 1 (among, sadly, many)

Number of frat parties Michael and Rachel think they're at, based on the dancefloor makeout sesh: 1

Ingredients necessary to make Jamie feel special, according to Ryan6*

Round 1: Rose petals, twizzlers, marshmallows

Round 2: Flowers, balloons, sushi

*Bonus round: outfit of seafoam polo shirt with cableknit v-necked overlay

How Ryan is still a virgin: beyond me

Pieces of evidence ruining Jamie's assertion that Chris should want to have kids with her: 2 = Right lace fingerless glove + left lace fingerless glove.

Degrees enclosed in any given angle used by Donna in her portrait of Michael: 90. Just because it's a right angle, doesn't mean it isn't so. very. wrong.

Tongues visible in Donna and Michael's makeout: 2. OMGEWSTOPTHAT.

Amount of makeouts per episode: literally impossible to count

Number of boning euphemisms that could ever top Chris's use of “solidifying the alliance”: 0. You have all witnessed greatness tonight.

Chris's impressive rate of sexual conquest: 1 bunk bed at a time. (But really, Chris, that was fucked up.)

Number of Hotlines I dialed to save the children at the soapbox derby from exposure to Bachelor Pad75… Well, in my mind. I don't actually know of any hotlines.

Raise deserved in Chris's appearance fee for the line, “I'm gonna come back with 250 deep in my pocket, like, 'Hey, bitches! You see this?!'”: $1 billion dollars

Words on a soapbox it takes to steal my heart. Apparently. : 3. Ed! “In A Pickle!”

How disappointed I was that David didn't get the rose after hearing Chris's promise, “If David gets the rose tonight, shit is gonna hit the fan and somebody might die.”: THE MOST DISAPPOINTED

Percent of former contestants who have suffered the same affliction Blakely describes below: 99.87%

“And this was actually…it was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be when it came down to me really…thinking about things.”

Number of days left on Jaclyn's promise that Ed has “personality for days, yo”: an undisclosed amount

Number of pickle shout-outs included in Ed's pillow talk: 3

1) “I'm just a champion, got right in the pickle, drove her home.”

2) “Does that look like a pickle?”

3) “Flying pickle, yeah!”

Surefire ways to know a girl is at her lowest, as demonstrated by Erica: 1. She is crying while wearing tie-dye.

How much blood your ears could bleed listening to the twins, as warned by Erica Rose: “like gallons

How accurate I feel Erica was in this assessment: 110%

Emotional reactions David has to Erica's tearful goodbye: 1. He yawned. But, like, heartbroken-ly.

Number of virgins remaining on the show after Ryan gets the boot: 0...What's the opposite of virgin? Because we got 16 of those left. Yay!

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Americans In Foreign Countries

With the Olympics coming up, I'm pretty sure that you will start to see a few American's that look like this guy:

Current photo of Mark Spitz.* (In no way is this a current photo of Mark Spitz*)

It's totally cool to cheer on the good ol' USA over in London, but let's try to make ourselves look more like patriots, and less like the crowd at a McDonald's at 12:20 on a Wednesday. Here are a few American tourists that are playing the role of “What Europeans Think American Tourists Look Like.”

“There isn't ONE Olive Garden here! Italy sucks…”

“I came to Frankfurt, Germany for some friggin' hot dogs!”

“I'm really glad that we were able to take this trip to Palestine.”

“Why do you think people keep calling us 'Le Assholes'? What do you think that means? Whatever, where can we get some of their famous toast?”

“Yea, yea, yea, just chill for a second bro. We gotta take this picture. God…unprofessional.”

“This would make me look SO much hotter if I could grow a mustache.”

“Well my shorts are a little short, so this Native American necklace bag to hold my things. I see no problem here.”


The only thing missing from this picture is a “Don't Hassel Me, I'm Local” T-Shirt.

“Oh man check out this fuggin monks!  I want to get a REAL CLOSE SHOT OF THESE HERE MOTHERFUCKERS.  Can one of y'all smile or some shit?”

Nothing screams tourist like an outdated track suit!

“I don't care about a stupid sign, Mark just totally blew me off so I need a new Facebook profile picture without him in it. God Mark is such an ass. We need someone who talks English to take this picture.”

“HA! Look at these stupid sacred religious idols and their SUPER DUMB poses!  Let's make fun of them in front of locals for a picture!”

“I have the most original and CUUUUTEST idea for a picture with this leaning tower of pizza.”

“I keep my billfold in the front here so none of your damn gypsy children rob me. Now, I'll take 30 of them refrigerator magnets.”

“We are looking for some generic clothes that say 'London'. We only buy clothes that have the names of places we've been to on them.”

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Chasing The Major League Baseball Dragon

It was a warm Friday night in San Diego, and I sat in the bullpen of Tony Gwynn stadium, home of the San Diego State Aztecs, cleaning my cleats in case I got the call to get hot.  Next to me were seven other relief pitchers, all of us watching our starter struggle through the second inning of a game against Oklahoma State.  San Diego State was not known for its academics, (my father referred to it as “Harvard, without all the smart people”) but it was major division one college baseball and when I graduated from high school in 1998, it seemed like a good stepping stone to becoming a major league baseball player.  That was my dream. It was also the dream of everyone sitting next to me. To my right was a lefty sophomore named Royce who was built like Tony Soprano and had a windup that looked like a butcher throwing a 60 pound side of beef on to a table, yet somehow his fastball clocked in around the low to mid-nineties and he owned a nasty slider that darted down and in to right handed batters.  He had big plans for his future.

“When I sign I’m gonna buy a fuckin’ Hummer, with fuckin’ four DVD players in it.  Every seat’ll have it’s own DVD player AND it’s own screen,” Royce said, leaning back in his chair.

“What happens if everyone wants to watch the same movie?” I asked.

“Then I’ll buy four fuckin’ copies of the movie,” he snapped back.

“Why don’t you just get four screens that hook up to one DVD player.  What kind of assholes sit and watch four different movies at the same time?” said Donnie, a tall muscle bound right hander.

“Look, it’s my fuckin’ Hummer and I’ll have a fuckin’ hundred screens with a hundred fuckin’ DVD players if I want, and you can either ride in it and watch DVDs or you can suck a dick.”

“I think I’ll choose to suck a dick.  Sounds like more fun,” replied Donnie.

These were the kinds of conversations we had while we waited for a call from the dugout to get loose.  But in all the discussions about what kind of car we’d buy, or which beach we’d build a house on, no one ever argued about whether or not we’d become successful enough to afford these things.  It was just a given.

Now, it’s fairly common for most college athletes to believe they’ll someday be playing in the pros, driving cars reserved primarily for drug dealers and characters on Entourage.  But whereas with other sports you find out very quickly where you stand, baseball drags it out.  Major League Baseball is one giant cock-tease.  If you’re a wide receiver and you run a 4.8 forty and your name is not Hines Ward, you know right away you’re not getting a shot to play in the NFL.   The average major league fastball is 89 miles an hour, so if you throw 87 miles an hour, you have a good chance to get drafted and play in the minor leagues.

The NBA and the NFL expect you to come in the league ready to play.  If you can’t hack it, you’re either cut, or traded to the Jets.  Major League Baseball not only expects you won’t be ready, they even plan for you to take three to four years to become ready.   That’s why there’s roughly 4,000 minor league baseball players, all of whom are certain that they’re just a few hot months away from getting their shot.  And it’s not that outlandish, because baseball is a sport of streaks.   You don’t have to be Bryce Harper to hit .330 for a month in the minor leagues, or be Stephen Strasburg to have four quality starts in a row.  If you’ve made it to the minors, it means you have certain tools, that when fully utilized, could be major league worthy.   That’s a lot of “ifs” and “coulds” but a professional team has invested money in you.  You’re in “the system.”  And not only that, but EVERYONE has to play in the minors first.  It’s not like the NBA’s developmental league, where you’re hoping against hope you can be the twelfth man on an NBA team.

Almost everyone on that year’s San Diego State pitching staff had already been drafted out of high school.  I had walked on, and was probably the least talented member of the staff, but in two years I’d gone from throwing 82-83, to 86-87, and I thought if I continued to get stronger my velocity would increase, and that, combined with my good late movement on my pitches, might be enough to get me drafted and “in the system.”

“Halpern, get loose,” the bullpen coach barked, as our starter walked back-to-back Oklahoma State batters.

I ended up going an inning and a third in that game and giving up one run when a line drive back up the middle knocked off my shin and shot in to the visitors dugout.  I was rarely used that sophomore year but I felt I had a good shot of getting big innings my junior year.  That summer I worked out, put on fifteen pounds of muscle, long tossed, and did anything I could to get myself in shape.  Then, towards the end of the summer, a friend of mine who played in a men’s baseball league asked me if I could just toss the last two innings of his team’s championship game.  Then in the third inning of the game, the starter walked five guys in a row, and I was asked to go in.  On the third pitch of my appearance, I felt a snap in my elbow followed by intense pain.  I was fairly certain I had torn my MCL, an injury that necessitates Tommy John surgery.   Whatever dreams I’d had of playing Major League Baseball were gone.  I stood on the mound staring at the overweight balding guy in the batters box who’d been the recipient of possibly the last pitch I’d ever throw.  Then I took of my glove and walked off the mound in disgust.

The relationship between major league baseball teams and college baseball players is much like that of a drunken frat guy and a girl at a bar; They only put up with problems from you if they consider you to be really top notch.  Otherwise, at the first sign of trouble, they’re gone.  I wasn’t top notch.  I knew this was end for me.  The thousands of hours I’d spent practicing, playing, and learning the game, all in hopes of someday throwing a pitch on a Major League mound were gone.  All that was left was a throbbing elbow. Instead of explaining to the coach that I had stupidly torn my MCL in a beer league game, I instead told him I wanted to focus on my studies (which wasn’t entirely untrue).  I cleaned out my locker, and later that day after practice, explained to the rest of the pitching staff I was quitting.

“You’re not quitting,” said Chris, a lanky hard throwing right hander who became our ace and Friday night starter his freshman year.

“No. I am,” I maintained.

“No you’re not,” Donnie scoffed.

“Yes. I am. I’m not in the process of quitting.  I already did it,” I replied.

“So you’ve already quitted?” asked Jason, a red-shirt freshman.

“Quitted is not the past tense of quit, you fuckin’ retard,” Chris snapped.

I attended a few games here and there as I got my degree but I mostly stayed away because it was like seeing an ex-girlfriend who was now fucking all of your friends. Over the next three years, quite a few of my former teammates were drafted, where they were sent off to towns that you’ll only hear about if someone from the town chews off another man’s face.   These guys were talented, played hard, and for the most part dedicated themselves to someday making it to the show.  Some of them toiled for seven or eight years, trying to put together a few months that might get them notice, only to be released in their mid to late twenties with little money and no work experience.

Even for someone with as little chance of making it to the major leagues as me, it was difficult that day for them to hear I was quitting.  Not because it was going to hurt our team at all, and not because any of them thought I had a shot at the bigs, but because it was something none of them had been prepared to do; face the idea that this doesn’t always end in a Hummer with four TV screens.

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50 SHADES OF BEIGE: THE BACHELORETTE (SEASON FINALE), BY THE NUMBERS

Courtesy of www.Adopt-A-Mormon.com (I'd imagine)

Holy emotional rollercoaster, batman. That shit was GAME CHANGING. No, EARTH-SHATTERING. No…well…at least A HAIR off book. There was live broadcast, preemptive dumping, gender-bending pink goggles…It did not disappoint. And thank goodness. You see, we live in an age where heroes are rare. But you gave us Jef, our very own romantic, family-oriented, 27-year-old victor. And that gay, mormon, 17-year-old champion  got down on one knee, raised his Johnny-Bravo helmet to the sky, and gave America a fairytale ending. I am thankful and I am awestruck. But, above all, I am profoundly creeped out by Ernie Maynard. Like, High Definition nightmares.

But, for the moment as bittersweet as seeing Jef's skinny tie for the last time, I give you The Bachelorette Season Finale, by the numbers:

Potential suitors: 2

Number who potentially suit-her: THERE CAN ONLY BE 1

Article entitled “All Suites Equipped With Mini-Bridge” in Emily's contract with ABC: #6.5

Amount of times Jef changed outfits for meeting the future in-laws before landing on white t-shirt and converse: clearly 0

Ounces of Jef that would leave Emily, if given the opportunity: “not a single ounce”

Number of  men named “Ernie” who have successfully pulled off steely intimidation: 1. Brother Maynard, your work is unprecedented.

Percent of rich people who have heard the same silence that Arie inspired by saying, “I heard when it's overcast, it's good to fish. I heard that's when they bite.”: 87%

How many dead roses in a box it takes to get dumped on national TV: 9. Great decisions all around there, Arie.

How many times Emily would actually be engaged if she got engaged on the show: 3

How many times Emily would be engaged if she got engaged on the show, when extrapolated and repeated frequently in fear: “15.”

Amount of sides on a mouth available for speech: 2

Amount of sides of Ernie's mouth producing words: 1. Seriously, guy. Your face hurts my eyeballs.

Number of episodes I've been waiting for a sweet fanny pack to make an appearance: 10. Ricki FTW.

How much more profound Emily sounds when seated by the shore: threefold. See beach quotes below:

“But, I, um, you know, it's a big decision though, and, I don't know.”

“But, like, this time, I know that, like, I don't know.”

“I would think it was weird. Not weird, but, like, I'd be disappointed, you know?”

How condescended Ricki felt after Jef ducked down and high-fived her: Eh, she's 6. She was probably fairly charmed.

How many times I rewound Ricki's explanation of her swimming trick before realizing she was most likely speaking Papiamento, the Dutch-influenced native tongue of Curacao: 9

How much sex Jef earned for giving Emily the magical gift of 360º Curacao: Ha. Looks like it's just U + Ur Hand tonight.

Words it took for me to finally see how compatible Jef is with Emily: 5 – ”Don't do too much thinking.”

Years of accolades earned by Anonymous Audience Member #2 for the invaluable lesson that having a man love your child is “more attractive than a hot pair of jeans:” eternal

Feelings inspired by Emily's booting Arie before proposal time: 2 — Shock. And. Awe.

Pain felt watching Arie proceed into the herb garden to create a love potion: epic amounts of pain. And, yet, I cannot look away.

Number of times Emily asked Arie “how are you” before kicking the shit out of his heart: 3. Way to ease him into it.

Words of inspiration I wish I could've whispered in Arie's ear when Emily was breaking up with him: 4 – “West Virginia Hoodrat Backwoods.” Guess not everyone has that sort of potential.

Times Emily bursts into tears within the 3rd quarter of this episode: a trillion and nine. Lock it up, Em.

Brows furrowed in the audience after Arie's exit: betta be every. damn. brow.

ABC's budget for The Proposal: $30, approximated using public data on stages built of plywood in the middle of “Main Street” sets.

Size font on the speech Jef was clearly reading during The Proposal: 12. No one glances down that much when they speak. Unless the world's boobs moved a foot south.

Teeth clenched during Emily's epic pause before accepting The Proposal: ~32. I may have lost a couple during my tenure in West Virginia.

The number of “mo”s that made this final scene different than all other final scenes: 2. Emily, Ricki, and a ho goin slo.

….And that was your finale. Sorry, misspoke. Fin-ah-lee. That's how Chris Harrison pronounces it and, thus, how we should all pronounce it. Because Chris Harrison is nothing if not an expert in phonetics (and a world-class lover). And I thank God I only have to go a mere 12 hours without him. The Bachelor Pad Season Pree-mehr, here we come.

But, first, of course, After The Final Prose…

Number of words it took for me to feel closure on Emily's decision: 9

“I wanted you to hear me through my journal.” – Arie

…Ok, yeah. I back it.

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7-11 Seal's Our Fate

“Can you put $30 on pump 4, I'll take a pack of Malboro's, and…a cup of steamy hot mashed potatoes.”

I think we've gotten to the point where everything in 7-11 now is dispensed via something that looks like an asshole shitting.  I'm not sure if this is glorious or absolutely disgusting.  I  really wish I was able to sit in on the meeting for this contraption.  ”Well, let's see here, people love mashed potatoes, but I feel like it's a big pain in the ass to grab a spoon and scoop some in to a cup.  I guess it's just a dream that will never come to fruition.  WAIT A MINUTE.”

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