Thursday, January 29, 2015

Illicit Ramblings from Puppy Bowl Media Week
This Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday which means one thing and one thing only: PUPPY BOWL! That’s right, Puppy Bowl XI will air on Animal Planet this upcoming Sunday at 3 p.m. Yes, sport’s greatest spectacle is upon us once again. Adorable beasts will be pitted against other adorable beasts in a battle of attrition the likes of which is simply unparalleled in today’s world of neutered athletic competition.
                They will chase toys, run up and down an artificial playing surface, probably fall in a water bowl or two, sniff each other’s butts and so on.
                And this year, the competition will be at a level never before witnessed on the Puppy Gridiron. According to a report, this year the athletes will be divided into two separate teams in lieu of the traditional “every man for himself” arrangement. The two teams will be Team Ruff and Team Fluff and they will battle for the new but already highly-coveted and celebrated “Lumbarki” trophy.
                As is tradition, The Cheese Life submitted a request to Animal Planet to be allowed to participate in Puppy Bowl Media Week and as is tradition that request was denied. Something was said about how “There’s no such thing as Puppy Bowl Media Week, these are just animals, they can’t consent to interviews or even respond to questions in a way that’s able to be written up.” Whatever. I assume it’s because this is a blog and as we all know, Animal Planet is firmly in the pocket of old media.
                Good news: This year a Cheese Life operative managed to sneak into Animal Planet’s corporate headquarters in Silver Spring, MD and get the inside scoop on what we can all expect when the teams hit the field for the only event that matters. Said operative claims to have spent the better part of a week holed up in and around the facility and meeting with many of the event’s key players and officials.
                Now, while I can’t confirm this operative was famed film producer and disgraced corn farmer Drake Stone, I can say that the operative’s notes were left in the third floor men’s room of our very own Cheese Life headquarters. The door to this bathroom was found opened yesterday even though it had been locked since Stone mysteriously vanished, as he had the only key and no one cared enough to call a locksmith. Also, the notes were found in a manila folder with lock of blonde doll hair tied together with a blue and green polka dot ribbon, another very telling sign if you know Drake.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

One True and Seven Other Examples of Low-Stakes Fallout from 'American Sniper' Disses
If there’s one rule we as Americans hold sacred it’s this: Always support things with the word “America” in the title. It’s for that very reason “American Pickers” and “American Restoration” are renewed season after season, AFC and AL teams are more popular, successful and attractive than their nationalist counterparts, and America Ferrera was a thing.
                It’s also for that reason “American Sniper” has made four hundred and seventy bazillion US dollars since its release and will soon become the first feature film to win EVERY Academy Award, even ones it’s not nominated for, with the exception of foreign film because something that patriotic can’t be be called foreign.
                Of course, not everyone loved “American Sniper” with the blinding passion of one hundred thousand suns. A few weeks ago, Seth Rogen and Michael Moore had some, shall we say, choice words on Clint Eastwood’s unimpugnable masterwork. Moore called into question the bravery of snipers in general (even American ones!) and Rogen had the unmitigated gall to say that one movie about a really good sniper reminded him of another movie about a really good sniper, even though one sniper was clearly American and the other was blatantly German!
Ever since, Moore and Rogen have been taking a beating in the court of public opinion. Recently they sustained what might be the … uh … least damaging blow yet. Moore and Rogen have been officially banned from Brann’s Sizzling Steaks and Sports Grille in Wyoming, MI.
According to the image posted by Good Morning America, an electric sign outside the restaurant read: “Michael Moore and Seth Rogan (sic) are NOT allowed in my place.”
Tommy Brann, the owner of the aforementioned establishment, explained their ban thusly:
“It really disturbed me what they said, especially after Chris Kyle dying. He’s far from being a coward. I was mad, it’s my restaurant, I want to do it, so I did it … I have a lot of military friends, my uncle Dave was a prisoner of war in Germany, my uncle Ted served, my dad served. I think it was a slam on the military and a slam on Chris Kyle.”
While Brann’s status as a true American hero is beyond dispute, let’s be honest, I’m sure Rogen and Moore were devastated to hear the news that if they ever find themselves in Wyoming, MI – population 72,125, the third largest community or city in West Michigan, the 14th largest city in the state of Michigan, the 18th largest community in the state and the largest suburb of Grand Rapids, all according to Wikipedia – they won’t be welcomed at that one particular restaurant.
Truly devastating.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Men's Locker Room: A Horrifying True Story of the Macabre
As I frequently brag about on here, I go to the gym in the mornings. Now, now, please, hold your adulation. Remember: I’m no hero. I’m just a guy who doesn’t mind getting up early in the morning. The teachers, they’re the real heroes. Oh and that cat who scared away that dog that was attacking the kid. So the teachers and that one cat. The rest of you people, step up your games.
                Anyway, after I finish pumping iron, I’ll hop in the gym’s shower to wash away all of the blood, sweat and tears I’ve built up over the course of the last hour and a half or so. Mostly tears. I cry a lot in the mornings. It’s just a thing. Don’t worry about it.
                It was right before one of these showers where I discovered one of my favorite gym characters: the man who hates closed doors. In case you’ve forgotten him, this was the guy who liked to poop with the stall door thrown wide open, and who also showered, once again, with the door open. Different door though, thankfully.
                I created a whole backstory for this guy in my head. I decided he was probably a war vet (he’s got a crew cut and wears gray combat boots) who was probably held as a prisoner for an extended period of time and who developed a deep-seated pathological fear of shut doors. Seems obvious. Oh, addendum to that story: I overheard this guy on the phone the other morning talking to what I can only assume was his young kid. Yup, wrinkle.
That kid’s life with dad-who-doesn’t-close-doors must be a goddamn nightmare, by the way. Oh look, there’s dad having sex with mom again. There’s dad taking a dump again. Maybe we should go to your house to play video games next time.
Last Friday though, I had a bathroom encounter which made dad-who-doesn’t-close-doors seem like Ward Cleaver. I walked into the bathroom on that morning, post workout, to find a lady standing there. An honest to god lady.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Winter Update: One Snow in and I Already Hate Everyone
I think it was the great philosopher Plato who said: “If you can’t be bothered to shovel a fucking sidewalk, you shouldn’t own a fucking home.” Or maybe it was Madame Curie. I can’t remember. The point being, someone over the course of ancient history knew exactly what he or she was talking about.
           If you’ve ever spent any time in Pennsylvania between November and April, you might have noticed our propensity to get a little snow during those months. We’re not talking Antarctic levels. There aren’t marauding gangs of penguins wandering the streets of the Keystone State, threatening children who are walking to school. But we get a little of the white stuff when it gets cold.
           Last Monday, we got quite literally a little of the white stuff. I don’t have the final totals in front of me, but I’d wager that we received somewhere in the neighborhood of two inches of snow. This wasn’t the heavy, water-logged, destroyer-of-backs snow that the heavens dumped on us last winter. This was light and powdery. It might as well have been left behind by a giant powdered donut who’d walked through the neighborhood sneezing.
My girlfriend and I shoveled our house and the sidewalks in front of our two neighbors, threw down some salt and called it a day. We did our neighbors’ sidewalks because we use the sidewalks and one of our neighbors is an old man and the other is a middle-aged cop who is never home and when he is home, he doesn’t give a shit. Despite the extra workload, we weren’t out there for hours, toiling away while the Snow Meister chucked iceballs at us and laughed wildly. It took maybe half an hour max. As far as shoveling experiences go, this was about as pleasant as you’re going to get.
And yet, that wasn’t enough for some people.
After Monday’s snowfall, the Ice Age happened. It was so cold in Pennsylvania last week that ruffed grouses were literally dropping out of the sky frozen solid. It was so cold that Gov. Tom Corbett’s icy heart was literally the warmest thing in the state. It was so cold that locals assumed the Philadelphia 76ers had won the NBA championship because hell had to have frozen over. It was a chaotic, confusing time for us all.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Strange and Fearful Art of Buying a Calendar
It’s that time of year again. The holidays have gone, having momentarily embraced us in their warm and loving arms only to abandon us to the cold and lonely clutches of January. These wretched and vile weeks between New Years and spring are known for many things, none of which are good. Rampant seasonal-affective disorder. Endless global blizzards. Near-constant polar bear attacks – both bear on human and human on bear. But most sinister of all, this time of year is also calendar-buying season.
                Other than finally deciding to get that face tattoo, there aren’t many decisions you can make in January which will impact the next twelve months of your life quite like purchasing a calendar. Choose wisely and you’ll have a constant companion for the next twelve months, one that can buoy you through the rough patches and enhance the positive ones. Choose poorly and you’ll spend an entire year turning into dust like that Nazi at the end of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” over and over. To clarify, that means you’ll turn to dust, reform, then turn to dust again, and then repeat. All year long.
                Put a little blue check mark icon next to that one because it’s verified.
                How about an example? Last year, I went with a calendar which featured players from the Philadelphia Flyers, my favorite hockey team. Things started off great. I got to celebrate each month with a picture of a different star player. Then it happened. I got to Max Talbot, a player who was no longer with the team. Remember, these things get printed up pretty far in advance. It was OK as the player had left on good terms via a trade which benefited both teams. I still liked him and was content to celebrate March with him. I moved on.
                Then the summer happened. The Flyers shockingly traded away Scott Hartnell, one of their top players, a fan favorite in a lopsided deal which did little to benefit them at the moment. To make matters worse, that trade happened in June. Guess who was the Flyer of the month for August? Yup, Hartnell. Old wounds were torn open. Tears were shed. Curses were levied at the cruel calendar gods. Eventually, as the month ended, I healed. Once again, a little worse for wear, I moved on.
                And then we got to December and the world ended. You see, December’s picture was Ilya Bryzgalov. In case you don’t follow the Flyers or the NHL, Ilya Bryzgalov was a very expensive goaltender who came to the Flyers with lots of hype, who performed below the levels expected, was deemed a weirdo due to the fact that he said what was on his mind, and he was eventually paid around $23 million by the Flyers to go away and never come back. That parting of ways took place … hmm … let’s see … oh right … a year and a half before his image graced my calendar! Who prints these things that far in advance? Or was this just some trick by an employee at the calendar factory who was about to be laid off?