Sunday, November 30, 2008

Stem Cells

Once in a while, I like to take a break from discussing creepy people and basketball players that look like aliens and talk about things that have a little more relevance. That said, I'm very happy Michigan voters lifted the ban on embryonic stem cell research this month.

Now, I certainly lean to the left on most issues, but I can generally come up with an excuse for why people are conservative on certain things. But not with stem cells. If you're against stem cell research, then get off my planet. You're either really dumb, a minion of Satan or good ol' boy larva.

It's quite simple--we have an opportunity to cure so many horrible diseases, but instead, we literally throw it in the garbage. The fact that this has been an issue for so long and that it's still banned in most states is an abomination. This kind of mindset puts us in danger of falling back into the Dark Ages:

Oh, you have strep throat? Don't use antibiotics--that's black magic and witchcraft. Just go to the barber and let him drain your blood.

Follow that path and the next thing you know, the entire human race is going to be subjected to eating Applebee's and watching Full House reruns.

Heh, speaking of Full House, am I the only one who thinks it's hysterical that Uncle Joey used to hook up with Alanis Morissette? I'm just trying to wrap my head around picturing him as the subject of "You Oughta Know" and the part about going down on him in a theatre. Anyway, I'm digressing--stem cells good, Applebee's bad.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Odds and Ends

So I called Rosemary (my grandma) this weekend, but apparently I didn't return her last phone call. Fire up the Rosemary guilt trip machine:

Rosemary: Hello?
Me: Hi Grandma, Happy Thanksgiving.
Rosemary: Who's this?
Me: It's Big Ern.
Rosemary: Big Ern who? How come you never called me back? I says to your mom that I don't think you love me anymore.

Can't wait for Christmas.

On another note, Ari has begun to trying to hump my mom's two female dogs. Scissor me timbers. And of course my little brother immediately starts singing Come to My Window.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Commence the Gluttony

Roll out the trough, I am officially back in Michigan for Thanksgiving.

So we're in the kitchen and my mom is telling me how Austin, one of my twin 13 year old brothers, wanted to buy a "300" poster for his room and she wouldn't let him.

Mom: "Your brother wanted to buy a poster that said 'Tonight we dine in Hell.'"
Ben (my other 13 year old brother): "Yeah, well he also had his girlfriend meet up with us at the movie we went to last Saturday."
Mom (glaring at Austin): "He better not have or else he WILL be dining in Hell."

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Light Festival

I went on Saturday. Damnit. I'm a shitty Grinch.

Later on, I went down to Cullen's, this pub in my neighborhood that I often go to.

It's a pretty busy night, there's a band playing and I'm standing up at the bar talking with Tom, another regular, when this woman in her mid-30s comes up to us.

Woman: There aren't enough guys out here dancing with us.
Tom (pointing his thumb at me): He loves to dance. Let him finish his beer and he'll be out there with you.
Woman (wraps her arms around my arm): See you in a few minutes, cutie.
Big Ern (glaring at Tom): You're a dick.

So over the course of the night this woman comes over every 15 minutes to see if my beer is gone yet. Sweet. Anyway, Tom and I continue to chat and throw them back. After a while, he brings over these two girls probably in their late 20s. Keep in mind Tom is 40, but he's a pretty good-looking guy. If you took Kevin Kline and hit him the face with the ugly stick maybe like one time, you'd have Tom. He's also in some kind of sales, so he's a pretty smooth talker.

Anyway, he brings these two girls over. I have no romantic interest in the girl I'm supposed to be talking to, but for the sake of being a wingman (and because I don't mind talking to people), I keep her entertained and chat about this or that (because we all know how quickly a girl's friend can cause things to unravel when not entertained). Talk about painful--she had the personality of Eor on sedatives. But whatever, I know my role. Eventually, Tom takes his girl on the dance floor and starts making out with her--forget that he has a long-term girlfriend in Minnesota. The important thing is, my job is done.

I go to the bathroom and when I come back, this other regular, Kevin is standing at the bar next to my beer. Fuck. This should be an adventure. Kevin is far and away the creepiest guy I've ever met. He's around 40 or so, completely bald with a shaved head, a doblè chin and is the kind of guy who begs for sex--I know, all qualities women drop their pants for, right? It's pretty incredible--I've seen him get shot down so many times then immediately move on to the next girl without skipping a beat. Nothing more attractive than a guy who will stick his dick in anything, eh ladies?

So I'm talking to him when these two women around 40 years old or so, make the mistake of entering Kevin's Halo of Creepiness (basically if you get within a 10 feet radius of him, you're getting creeped on). He quickly picks up their scent and locks in on one of them. I step back to watch the wonder of it all. It's like watching Picasso begin work on an empty canvas. Actually, it's more like watching a toddler finger paint with its own dirty diaper. I'm pretty sloppy at this point, but I felt the need to warn her friend.

Big Ern: I hope you guys have some kind of secret bat symbol or something to rescue each other because he's really creepy.

You've been warned.

After about two minutes, he says out loud, clearly within their hearing range:

"I'm getting no where with this girl. Wanna switch me?"

Hahhahaha. Ohhh man. I don't know much about girls, but I can tell you that nothing makes a woman feel more special than when you try to hit on her friend first, get shot down and then move on to her.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Bean

I've decided that I really like the Bean. I've never been partial to it one way or the other because,'s a bean. But over the last few days I've walked by it a couple times and I have to say, it's grown on me. Everyone just seems happy to be around it, taking pictures and such.

On another note, I've also decided I really like Dunkin' Donuts coffee. I had a cup the other day and then stopped by and had a Starbuck's coffee later on that afternoon. No comparison. Starbuck's coffee seriously tastes like somebody pissed in it. Now, I can't speak for the lattes or the frappachinos or whatever, but when it comes to straight coffee, Dunkin' Donuts is better and it's not even close.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Big Grinch McCracken

I'm never going near Macy's. Ever. Again. The other day I'm walking downtown and all of a sudden I get a horribly splitting headache. Normally this only occurs when a Dave Matthews song comes over the radio but this time it was because I was standing in front of the Macy's Christmas Fortress, surrounded by ridiculously over the top holiday crap. Trumpets, teddy bears, nutcrackers and jolly tourists taking pictures with all that garbage; I could feel the lifeforce slowly being sucked from my body.

I hate Christmas.

On a brighter note, I saw Quantam of Solace and Slumdog Millionaire this week and recommend both.

Slumdog Millionaire is probably the best movie I've seen since the Dark Knight. If you get a chance to see it, go. It's a limited release, so those of you in Jackson and Knoxville are probably screwed, but for everybody else, watch it...great movie.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fox News/Encino Man, part 3

So today I went downtown to pick up a couple books and ended up getting interviewed by Fox News. They asked me what I was 'most thankful for.' I immediately narrowed it down to guns, the Lord and FREEDOM FROM MUSLIM TERRORIST KILLERS!!!! RAWRRR! COUNTRY FIRST! But, I ended up going with pumpkin pie.

Getting back to Dan, it's about 2 a.m. and at this point he has gotten shot down by the girl eating with her family, tried breaking into a PT Cruiser and has disappeared into my grandparents 55 and older community.

About 45 minutes later, I get a call from him and he has no idea where he is. I do my best to give him directions to my grandparents house, despite the fact he's speaking mindless garble and is about as sloppy as sloppy gets. Thirty minutes after that, he barges through the front door carrying a toy pistol, an American flag and a plastic flamingo lawn ornament.

Yes that's right: a toy pistol, an American flag and a plastic flamingo lawn ornament.

Dan (while holding the toy pistol up to the flamingo's head): Nobody move or the penguin gets it!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ari's Big Adventure

So tonight I let Ari out around 9 p.m. to this park right across the street from my place. Like every other day, I let her off the leash and let her do her business. But once in a very long while, she decides she's ready to go back up to my apartment right away, with or without Big Ern. Tonight she did just that: takes off toward my apartment and gets hit by a car.

I immediately start running over to make sure she's ok. Of course she's terrified and pops up and starts sprinting away from the car and down the street. I chase after her, but she's got a step or two on me and within a matter of seconds she turns down another street and is completely gone. There's a cop right there who saw everything and asks if I want to jump in and look for her. So I get in and he goes over the radio to tell the other patrol cars in the area to let him know if they see a stray dog.

About 10 minutes later we come across another cop car that says she ran past them right by Wrigley Field.

Cop: That fucker was bookin'!

We looked around my neighborhood for about 45 minutes with no luck. Finally, he dropped me off back at my apartment and took down my phone number in case someone found her.

At this point it's about 10 p.m. and I'm losing hope that I'm going to find her. For all I knew she could be downtown, in an animal shelter or dead in the street. But I had to keep looking, so I walked back down to Wrigley.

When I take her for a walk, we usually go down Southport Ave., which is about a mile and a half from my place and where I generally like to hang out. I figured there might be a small chance she remembered and she might be down there.

Sure enough, an hour and a half after she ran off, I see a couple walking up to their car with her on Southport, about to take her to an animal shelter. Relief doesn't even describe it. These people must've thought I was some kind of psycho.

I asked them where they found her and no joke, this is what the woman said:

"You know that bar Cullen's? She was just hanging around outside there."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Encino Man, part 2

After getting shot down by the girl sitting with her family, Dan preceded to hover around other random girls that were steadily trickling into the bar.

As for the rest of us, we ended up running into a couple guys from the Louisville men's golf team, who I had previously written an article about. One of them was from Scotland and is best friends with the greenskeeper at St. Andrew's, which is basically the birthplace of golf and one of the most exclusive courses in the world. He gave us his phone number and offered to get us a tee time if for some reason we ever happened to be in Scotland. Note that my attention span usually lasts about six holes before I either start doing donuts with the golf cart or become too drunk to play, so more than likely I won't be taking him up on that offer.

Meanwhile, the Encino Man has disappeared. Andrew goes outside to look for him for about 10 minutes or so before rushing back into the bar to inform us that Dan is trying to break into a car. Sure enough, he's outside lining up about 20 feet from a parked PT Cruiser and starts sprinting full speed and throws his body, elbow first, into the driver side window which thankfully did not break.

As we start to approach him, Dan's carnal instinct kicks in and he immediately runs away from us like some kind of wild animal. Phil takes off after him. Andrew and I just kind of stand there because well...we're lazy. Phil can't keep up and the Encino Man disappears into my grandparents 55 and older community.

The conclusion tomorrow.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Encino Man

So one of my roommates from college, Dan, has a habit of drinking so much in one sitting that he literally de-evolves into a caveman-like creature, an alter-ego we've dubbed the Encino Man (a homage to the Brendan Fraser-Pauly Shore cinema masterpiece).

Dan transforms into this creature about every three months or so and when he does, it's like a sloppy combination of King Kong and Andrew Dice Clay. Similar to Homo habilis in intelligence, Dan's ability to reason goes down, while his desire to mate and break things skyrockets. One of my favorite Encino Man stories:

I was doing a reporting internship at a newspaper in Florida. My grandparents live in the same city as the newspaper I'm working at so I stayed with them at their place in a 55 and older community. Dan, along with two of our other friends, Phil and Andrew came down to visit over spring break.

One night we're out at the bar and it was a few days after St. Patty's Day, which equates to cheap-stale-green beer. After a while, I start to notice that Dan is really throwing them back. Little by little, he begins to slur his words and disengage in human conversation. Finally, he announces to the rest of us:

"Fuck it, I'm gettin' some tonight"

Enter the Encino Man.

It was only about 8 p.m. so the only single girl at the bar near our age was eating dinner with her family, but that made little difference to Dan. At this point, his eyes looked like a couple of glazed donuts and his mouth was hanging open like a broken marionette doll.

After oozing over to their table, Dan completely ignores the other seven people at the table (including her dad) and zeroes in on their college-aged daughter. Nobody knows exactly what was said or if it was in English or some kind of Neandrathal dialect. What we do know, is that the conversation lasted for about 75 seconds, a lot longer than we expected, before Dan grunted away unsuccessful. Shocking, I know, because girls LOVE flirting with guys in front of their dads.

More tomorrow...

Monday, November 10, 2008

All-Alien Team

The NBA has many accolades it hands out to star players--the All-Star team, All-Rookie team, the All-Defensive team, etc. I've often discussed my own NBA awards team, consisting of players who literally resemble extraterrestrials. Granted this conversation usually only occurs when my brain is soaking in a pool of Natural Light, but that is neither here nor there. Behold the All-Alien team:

Sam Cassell
This is a no brainer. Elongated head, no hair, no eyebrows; classic alien characteristics. Still not convinced? Take a look at this:

The evidence speaks for itself.

Reggie Miller
Star Trek: Deep Space 9 fans have long known the link between Reggie Miller and Quark, the show's mischievous Ferengi bartender. The ears, razor sharp teeth--these two were obviously separated at birth.

Steve Nash
A two-time MVP and he's Canadian? Heh, I don't think so. This guy's got alien written all over him. Observe the classic oval shaped head.

Tayshaun Prince
Ahh, Miller vs. Prince. The 2003-2004 Eastern Conference Finals, a great moment in alien basketball history. As you can see here, Prince is clearly the superior being. No human has limbs this long.

Joakim Noah
You might recall Noah from Return of the Jedi. Before his days with the Chicago Bulls, he often hung out in the basement of Jabba's Palace, eating the heads off of bounty hunters, exotic dancers with sweatpants on their heads and any other employees who fell out of favor with Jabba. Hopefully Hutt at least offered a decent 401K. Clearly dental isn't included in the benefits package.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Creepers: An Intimate Portrait

Many of you know my fascination with creepy guys. Over the next few weeks I've decided to periodically identify and profile the different variations of creepers and their unique characteristics.

Today I'm going to discuss what I like to call, the Bouncin' in da' Club Creeper. The most common species of creeper, any girl who has ever been to a bar or club has likely encountered this hair-gellin', cell phone flippin' cloud off too much cologne.

The Bouncin' in da' Club creeper will often buy a round of shots in an attempt to slither his way into initiating contact and striking up a conversation that consists of what kind of car, shirt or salary he's got. Very aggressive, the Bouncin' in da' Club Creeper can appear somewhat attractive at first glance with a Banana Republic or Versace button-up shirt and nice, well-kept hair. But up close and upon further review, girls quickly pick up the rancid stench of desperation.

Make no mistake, the Bouncin' in da' Club Creeper has no qualms with ditching its own friends to hover around you and your group all night by himself. Naturally, its brain does not comprehend the words "no", "I have a boyfriend", "I'm busy tomorrow night," or "we're just going home after this." Resilient, this creeper has never been shot down (in its own mind) and will sink his mandibles into a completely uninterested girl all night, buying drinks, grabbing them to dance, hugging them, rubbing their back (gross) and sometimes even following them from bar to bar.

Luckily, girls are born with natural defensive mechanisms for combating the specific advances of the Bouncin' in da' Club creepers. This entails several techniques, the most common being the "group dance" maneuver where girls grab friends who have been targeted on the dance floor and bring them back into the safety of the herd.

Bouncin' in da' Club Creeper Dossier
Occupation: Advertising; cell phone salesman
Beverage of choice: Jager; Sparks; any energy drink
Natural Habitat: Choose your meatmarket: Barleycorn's, Rush and Division (Chicago); Hannah's in the Old City, Cool Beans (Knoxville); Crazy Cowboy (Jackson)
Mode of Transportation: Hyundai; anything with street glow
Hobbies: Shopping; slipping roofies in your drink

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Air Bud VII????

I've recently found that like Air Bud, my dog also has a love for fetching footballs. Upon discovering this, I was overcome by a vision that looked something like this:

The only thing standing between me and being the proud owner of a straight to DVD movie star, is that she hasn't really figured out she's supposed to catch in the ball in air with her mouth like in the movies. I'm thinking I might just start throwing the ball in the general direction of her face and hope that some kind of natural defense mechanism kicks in and she starts to bite at it while it's moving toward her.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It Puts the Lotion in the Basket

I must admit, I don't really mind public transportation. Sure it's got a few problems, but as long as you can get past the panhandlers and come to realize you probably won't make it on time, it can be pretty entertaining. One of my favorite stories:

One morning I get on the Red Line to head to work. I'm standing there reading the newspaper and I overhear this conversation between the woman and man sitting a few feet from me. Normally, I don't really care what other people are talking about, but this guy was so loud the entire car couldn't help but hear every word he said.

And let me say this: he was weird...really weird. Like, "It puts the lotion in the basket" weird.

He was wearing this dirty old gray jacket, two inch thick glasses with the old brown plastic rims and a tan knit cap with his thinning, curly brown hair sticking out. He had just met this woman on the EL and had been talking about the benefits of mothballs or something stupid. Anyway, this woman was being nice, probably nicer than she had to be, and had been engaging this guy in conversation. That's when it took a turn for the creepy:

Red Line Creeper: Is your grandmother still alive?
Woman: No, she passed away a long time ago.
Red Line Creeper: I was really close to my grandmother. I was visiting her one day and everything was fine. Then the next week she got really sick and died, just like that.
Woman: Oh, I'm sorry.
Red Line Creeper: Yeah, the funeral was a closed casket, so I never got to see her again. Years later I went to her gravesite and all I could think about was how I wanted to see her. I talked to some of the cemetary workers about digging her up so I could give her a hug and say goodbye for the last time, but they said they weren't allowed to do that.
Woman: That's the creepiest fucking thing I've ever heard in my life.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Really Hate Olive Garden Commercials

Take a look at this:

Well, I've done the math and whoever wrote this commercial needs to be shit-canned immediately. Seriously America, this is what our best and brightest writers can come up with?

And let's all be honest with ourselves, young, good-looking and seemingly well off couples do not frequent The Olive Garden. I think this group needs to be replaced with overweight, white trash family celebrating young Crystal's high school graduation. And in reality, Olive Garden customer dialogue has less to do with math and more to do with bitching about how for $7 they expected more than a bland-tasting bowl of wannabe alfredo butter slop. In a world run by Big Ern, the entire Olive Garden ad campaign would consist of:

Well, shit. It's cheap and the breadsticks aren't half bad.

Obama 2008

Thank. You. God. I'm beginning to regain faith in the American people.

In order to vote for McCain I honestly believe you have to either be:

a) Rich and selfish
b) Really dumb
c) Someone who wears bow-ties
d) Too stubborn to admit the War in Iraq was a REALLY bad idea
e) A proponent of Christianity meddling in politics

Luckily there aren't as many fraternity guys, religious zealots and unread scalawags as 2004 would have us believe. Looking forward to a competent president.