Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Whole 42 Letters: Duran Durant

Football is in full swing, NBA is starting up next week, and the World Series starts tonight. Prettaaaaay, prettaaaaay prettay good.

What the hell happened to the Cardinals?  Why would they even bother to win all those playoff games just to lose 3 in a row when it really matters?  Go Tigers!

I'm not really sure what happened to the Cardinals. They were one of the top offenses all season and yet they couldn't hit a pretty mediocre San Francisco starting pitching staff. These things happen. The Yankees were a better offense all year and even worse against the Tigers. I really thought the Cardinals had morphed into the New York Giants, a good regular season team that turns it on in the playoffs, but baseball is a volatile game. The Giants are probably the 4th best NL team and the Tigers might have been the 6th best AL team (the Rays and Angels, teams which missed the playoffs, had more wins playing in much tougher divisions), but THAT'S WHY THEY PLAY THE GAMES. There's only one October (every calendar year).

How we name NFL seasons and Super Bowls is all f'ed up; trying to remember the roman numeral or the season when it spans 2 years is hard to remember, so what's a better system?

We run into the same problem with NBA seasons because of how seasons are staggered, but last year's Christmas start eliminated a lot of the usual ambiguity. The Heat played basically all of their games in 2012, so we call them the 2012 champions. I'm sure Bill Simmons has written a TELL ME WHY THIS SHOULDN'T HAPPEN column about this, but the NBA really should consider moving the start date to Christmas and playing closer to 70 games (with the Finals ending in July). They'd compete less with football, we wouldn't have this weird year switchover thing, and it could wrap up just as baseball is getting good. TELL ME WHO SAYS NO.

Since almost the entire regular season in football is in the earlier year, I vote that we just refer to the champion by the year they played the season, not won the Super Bowl. I'm okay with Roman numerals, but I wish we would have started it in like 1961, so the last digit would match up. I know the Packers won Super Bowl XXXI and I call them the 1996 champions, but I'll be honest that I don't know off the top of my head whether we won the Super Bowl in January of 1996 or of 1997 (Wikipedia says: 1997).

At what age did you learn how to use a copy machine effectively? What do you think the average age is of learning that skill today, and what do you think it was 20 years ago?

I'll come out and say it. I suck at using a copy machine. I can never get the hang of reducing things, and everything ends up perpendicular and it's a big mess and I hate it. I hate it so much. I actually can't figure out if people are more adept at using copy machines now than 20 years ago because while they're probably more prevalent, they have way more confusing features and again, I hate it. I think most people learn roughly how to do it while in elementary school, probably from the librarian or something. This is a weird question.

What's the best type of water bottle?

I mean the obvious answer is Nalgene, but I don't think I've ever held on to a Nalgene bottle for longer than 2 weeks. They're worse than gloves. I'm going off the board and saying sippy cups.

Y'know all those art projects/poster projects you had to do in school? How have those helped you in your life?

I actually wrote all the answers for this post in macaroni noodles before typing them out sooooo....

What's better, junk food or vegetables?

I hate that I'm a person who even thinks about this. Junk food is way, way better than vegetables, but if I could only eat one of them I might just choose vegetables. I actually do feel better when I eat a lot of vegetables, and I don't eat all that much junk food. Also, what qualifies as junk food? If I just had to give up like sweets and Doritos, I could do that easily. Fuck it, I don't want to be the biggest bitch in the world so I'm going junk food.

If you could pick any plant to be (except the mucho-obvious Venus Fly Trap), what would you be? And I'm talking about the plant kingdom, so don't say any fungi or anything. Literally plants. Like photosynthesis and shit. Explain the difference between plants and fungi.

As to the second part of your question, here you go. I also get the sense that you don't want me to choose any plant that flowers (though let's face it, I wasn't going to). I'll go with basil because it's fun to say like a British person. Baaaasil. I just Googled "badass plants" to see if something awesome would come up and I was underwhelmed by the choices.

Were the Tour de France authorities correct in stripping Lance Armstrong of all of his tour championships?

The authorities were absolutely correct to strip him of his titles. I'm going to write a real post about this and I don't want to step on it, but I'm always fascinated by various sports leagues' relationship to history. The NCAA wiped out like 13 years of PSU football games in the wake of the Freeh Report, and according to their record books we're supposed to act like they don't exist, not that they happened and are now discredited. Baseball, which cares more about its history, put an asterisk next to Roger Maris' name because he broke an important record held by Babe Ruth in 8 more games, but didn't do the same when Ichiro broke George Sisler's hits record the same way. 

Armstrong cheated (well, everyone cheated, but so did Armstrong) and the Tour can't make an exception just because the man who got them all that publicity cheated, too. By all accounts, he would have gotten away with it if it weren't for those meddling kids and their dog... sorry, that he was such a dick to everybody. Now, just like in NCAA sanctions, his name no longer exists.

The more important parts of Armstrong's legacy, cancer awareness and to a lesser extent, the popularity of cycling, can't be stricken, though. I guess there's solace in that. Also, dumping Sheryl Crow was a good move. She's the worst.

If you could eat any current professional athlete, whom would you eat? Alternatively, if you could choose any current professional athlete to eat you, whom would you choose?

I don't know what direction I should go here. I would probably want to eat someone who has a good amount of fat and also takes good care of their body. Like any linemen is chock full of HGH and I don't want to ingest that. A guy like LeBron is all muscle so that's no good either. I'd probably go for like Kevin Love. Seems like he meets my criteria.

I would want Tyson Chandler to eat me. He's a classy motherfucker and I think he'd pair me with a nice wine. Just look at that getup below. Pure class

What are top 5 least interesting teams in the NBA?

This is a really good question, which is indicative of why the NBA is doing so well. Every year, there are plenty of baseball teams that bore the stuffing out of me (some people would say that about all baseball teams), and even in the NFL, I have to say I don't care about most of the AFC because I root for an NFC team. In basketball though, probably because it's so ideal for highlight packages on YouTube, I like just about every single team. The Bobcats will suck again, but I'm interested enough to watch Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bismack Biyombo. Even the Bucks have Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, who won't play winning basketball but will at least be fun to watch.

Two teams that are built to suck after losing their marquee stars, the Suns and Magic, top my least interesting teams. I would have put the 76ers on this list because they're like an offensively inept Bulls team that doesn't play defense with enough ferociousness for me to care, but they got Andrew Bynum this offseason, and the one thing he isn't is uninteresting. I'd also throw the Rockets and Blazers on this list, though I would really like to like both of these teams. I just think they're pretty low on talent and they don't have can't-miss prospects I can watch mature. Last, I'll throw the Pacers on this list, my nomination for the next Hawks and a team that has an eternal second round of the playoffs ceiling. David West is fundamentally sound but Jesus are they boring to watch. Roy Hibbert is a national treasure though.

Outside of the top contenders, the most fun to watch team (if not the most interesting) is by far the Denver Nuggets.

I'm still enjoying the playoff collapse of the Yankees and the season-long collapse of the Red Sox. Wealthy, big-market teams need humbling probably more often than it comes. Anyway, what must these teams do to retool? 

Big-market schadenfreude is truly a wonderful thing. The Yankees really don't need to do all that much retooling. They'll get another hitter or two in the offseason and their pitching will upgrade when they get Michael Pineda (who was supposed to be their #2 starter this year) and Mariano Rivera back for next year. The team is great, though maybe not quite great enough to win a World Series anymore, but they're not too far off. Because there's no salary cap, the atrocious A-Rod and Teixeira deals won't really hurt the Yankees unless they choose not to spend much, which is the Steinbrenners' prerogative.

The Red Sox are a lot farther away. Their starting pitching is a mess, and aside from the aging Ortiz and Pedroia (who's coming off a bad, injury-prone year, but whom I expect to turn it around), they don't really have a lot of hitting either. Who knows if Ellsbury stays? Will Middlebrooks and Jarrod Saltalamacchia were both very good this year, but I have no idea if that's sustainable. I think they're basically ceded the next season or two and want to build "the right way."

Do you miss the NHL (National Hockey League)?

No. I also love that you wrote out National Hockey League. I got into the playoffs the last few years, but that's it.

With your new-found appreciation of '80s music, what would you say is your favorite Duran Duran song?

This past week I've thrown myself into non-Talking Heads '80s New Wave music in an attempt to see what all the fuss is about. I'm not doing this ironically. I can't state that enough. I just wanted to listen to some Depeche Mode and Duran Duran and see if I could get into it. And it turns out I kinda really like Duran Duran, again not ironically, and I have no shame over that. The first thing I'd say is that I was told to expect Moog but it's kind of like being told to expect cold weather in Wisconsin. You need to experience it firsthand to have any idea what it's about. Second, they have some really great hooks, and this song makes me think of a bunch of white guys singing de-sexualized Prince songs.

It's maybe not my favorite, but this video certainly is. Work that tambourine, Mr. Duran. (I don't know any of their names, and don't plan on learning.) I'll probably still stick to Talking Heads when in the mood for New Wave, but this has been fun. I'm planning to do this with other eras where I don't know that much.

Imagine you are given ultimate control over the playlists of all US radio stations, and it's in your power to remove one artist and all of their songs from the radio forever.  Who would you pick?  

Bob Seger. I literally had to think for less than a second about that. I JUST HATE HIM SO MUCH. I took his old records off the shelf AND DESTROYED THEM FOR ALL ETERNITY. A boy can dream.

Do you buy giant bags of fun-size candy from Walgreen's the day after Halloween when they're 50% off?

Yikes. I don't really eat much candy. The last bag of candy I bought (or wanted to buy, because I can't remember if I ever found it) was York Peppermint Patties shaped like Christmas Trees, just because that's an awesome idea. That was at least two winters ago. Between that and my new-found love of Duran Duran, I think it's time to wrap things up.

Send questions to Sean for next week.


  1. The answer is always buy Skittles. The greatest food.

  2. One October, yes, but two Adars something like 11 years out of every 19.