Monday, October 31, 2011

Top five things you should know about winning a World Series.

1.     Get there early to get close. I didn’t have tickets to Game 7, but since I lived in the host city, I knew I wanted to watch in a place that was close, but not too close to the action—in case I wanted to run down to the stadium afterwards (which I did).
2.     It doesn’t matter where you watch the game. By the time I got off of work and downtown, all of the best sports bars were standing-room-only. So my friends and I settled on an Irish bar with lots of TVs. It didn’t matter because, by the first pitch, even that place was packed. And every place in town went nuts anyway.
3.     Be prepared to high-five … a lot. That was the most bizarre part of the whole thing: everyone wanted a high-five. After a certain point, we’d just throw up both arms and plow through a crowd like it was a tunnel.
4.     Forget cabs. At one point, a guy holding up his nearly passed out girlfriend asked me to help him call a cab. It rang and rang and rang. I pointed them to the nearest Metro stop and wished them luck.
5.     People get crazy. I will never forget the sight of a hefty woman, kneeling on all fours on the hood of a car in the middle of the street, her skirt hiked up around her armpits, shaking her rump to the cheer of the gathering crowd. Go Cardinals!

Friday, October 28, 2011


I don't need the "Grammer" Police for this one. Just strong neck muscles in order to shake my head back and forth, disapprovingly.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hipster Pumpkin

Yep, it's probably going to be the first pumpkin smashed this year. Not that it cares about you or your Neanderthal ways.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What was that??

If you’re like me, Game 5 of the World Series last night played out more like a David Lynch film than an actual baseball game. To wit:
·      FOX interviewing Derek Holland for a whole inning as he did an impression of Will Ferrell doing an impression of Harry Caray
·      Adrian Beltre actually earning a paycheck instead of phoning it in like he did for four seasons as a Mariner*
·      Albert Pujols hanging Allen Craig out to dry twice. I get that Pujols was walked three times and might not be in a rhythm, but man, put the bat on the ball
·      LaRussa pulling Rzepczynski for Lynn, having Lynn intentionally walk the next batter and then pulling Lynn for Motte. Did Tony get his bearded pitchers mixed up?

*Yes, I’m still bitter about this. Shame on the M’s for signing him to a large contract after one allegedly steroid-fueled contract-year season

Monday, October 24, 2011


This last weekend, I went to a friend’s bachelor party. One thing lead to another, as they are wont to do, and, well, long story short, I ended up in the ShootPaul warehouse wearing an over-sized Elvis head, a T-shirt, some shorts stuffed with T-shirts and flip-flops.

And I got shot. A lot. And it stung really, really* badly.

Let me put it this way: you know when you’re walking into a cold lake to go swimming? And sharp pebbles stab you with every precious step? And you tense up whenever the bracing water creeps up another inch? That sharp intake of breath that’s accompanied by a barely audible, “ah-HA-ha”?

It’s like that the whole time.

Am I complaining? No. Am I whining? No. Am I hoping that a sexy nurse with a satchel full of salves** is reading this? Possibly.

But I do have some newfound respect (and concern) for the boys at ShootPaul. Am I their archenemy? I should be so lucky. No, I’m just a man with some bruises, a website and a dream of doing it all again soon.

*Did I just invent the “really” scale? Yes. It works like this: one really, actually means “really”. Two uses of “really” back-to-back means a speaker is trying to make a point while also trying to curry sympathy. Three or more uses of “really” means a speaker is a drama queen and loses credibility in an amount that’s inversely proportional to the number of times they mention “really”. No really.

**Did I just invent a new band name? Yes. Satchel of Salves.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Costume 5: PLINKO

Yes the popular The Price Is Right game. I took some screen grabs, printed everything out to scale, and tacked it all together using foam core, clear plastic, dowels and a hot-glue gun. For the PLINKO discs I used poker chips.

“This is going to be awesome!!!” I said to myself in the mirror, as I’m apt to do when awesome things are nigh.

And on the big night, things were awesome for about 15 minutes. That was until I ran into another PLINKO. That’s right: two PLINKOs at the same party. What are the odds? It’s not like someone had died on the PLINKO board. Or there was a PLINKO movie coming out*. Or Drew Carey was retiring the game forever. No, it was just the most random coincidence of our generation or possibly of all time. And that’s why this costume was the most awesome of the awesome.

*Summer 2015

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Costume 4: Charlie Brown

Or rather, “CHARLIE BROWN!!!” No other costume has elicited such fervor. Everywhere I went, people would yell out "Charlie Brown". You didn’t hear me yell “ZOMBIE ROBOT!!!” or “SEXY NUN”! But everyone loved Chuck. I would be across the street and people would be compelled to yell. I’d be walking along a quiet street and people would open their windows to shout down at me. It was crazy and unexpected. And, yes, I did get lots of rocks.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Costume 3: The Bee

According to the tag, this costume was intended for 2-4 year olds. I was looking for a last minute costume with a buddy of mine and we were desperate. We were literally on the way to a party and it was find a costume at Walgreens or die. I looked long and hard at it and finally said, “I think I can squeeze into this thing.” I did and it was hilarious. There was a little stinger on the back and with the hood raised my vision went from 180° to 120°. And it was basically a half-shirt, coming down to mid-waist.

The first year I wore it, my stinger was molested repeatedly and my buddy’s sister thought I was gay. I don’t think she understood how “the Birds and the Bees” worked*.

The second year, I went to a Halloween party that coincided with Game 5 of the Detroit Tigers vs. St. Louis Cardinals World Series. When the Cardinals won, there was no hesitation: we had to go downtown. So we went. And it was amazing. We were minor celebrities and it was ridiculously easy to find each other.

Me:                    Has anyone seen Rainbow Brite?
Stranger:            Was she with an Iron Sheik?
Me:                    Yes!
Stranger:            They went that way.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Costume 2: Playing Card

On paper, this should have been one of the greatest costumes ever. It was from a TV commercial shoot I had done and was made by professionals.

It was horrible. Let’s count the ways, shall we?

1. It was solid foam. With a foot of stuff covering both ears, the costume smothered sound like I was a billionaire* and it was one of my heirs holding the pillow. WHAT? WHAT DID YOU SAY???

2. It was constricting and restrictive. Not only was the costume tight and uncomfortable, it prevented me from bringing my hands—or my drinks—to my face.

3. It nullified peripheral vision. Blind spots? Don’t mind if I do.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Costume 1: Frankenstein

Was this* the greatest costume ever? No. But it was one of my favorites. Long before store-bought costumes had to have a movie property attached to them, I went with a literary one**. The beauty of this little monster was that it came with a sweet, stiff-legged walk and low guttural growl. And the best part was that it drove the villagers’ candy out of their homes and into my stomach. CCCCAAAAANNNNNDDDDDYYYYY!

* Artist's rendering
**Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus

I’ve been a gangster, farmer and Frankenstein monster.

Finding the right Halloween costume isn’t hard … for me. For you, dear readers, it might be more of a challenge. Have I had some stinkers in my past? Sure. Do I regret dressing as Kurt Cobain, only because I had long blond hair at the time, mere months after he took his own life? A little.

But my pain can be your salvation. This week, I will be presenting my Top 5 favorite costumes.

Here are my patented Top 4 questions to ask when choosing a costume:
1. Will it cover my face?
2. Will people “get it”?
3. Is it timely, yet unexpected?
4. Will it hide “The Sexy” (usually my calves or elbows)?

If you’ve answered “no, yes, yes, no,” congrats: you have the perfect costume!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Vanity, thy name is taken

If you've ever thought about buying a vanity website address (e.g., registering a domain), like, it's actually pretty easy.

There are many reputable companies, like,, and even, and disreputable companies, like Domain Registry of America and Web Listings Inc (who try to appear "official" and charge $35 per year), who will check and see if your proposed website name is available.

If it's available, it should cost you around $6 to $9 per year to register.

If it isn't available as a .com, it might be available as a .biz, .us, .org, etc., but to me, .com is still where it's at. If your name isn't available, you have two options: 1. contact the holder of the address and grab your wallet, or 2. choose a different name. And sometimes that name might be a unique spelling away, like Taddddd, instead of Tad (The extra "d's" are for determination).

And once you've found a name you like, jump on Facebook, Twitter and all of the other social media sites to grab it there as well.

Good luck, you vain devil, you.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The "Grammer" Police

In the beginning, there was The Blog Stalker, that shadowy denizen of the, um, shadows.

Well, now, I am proud to introduce to you another of my dear readers who has earned themselves a logo of their own: The "Grammer" Police. This noble citizen has caught a few of my rare mistakes as if they were Waldo and he/she were the person looking for Waldo.

Who was Waldo hiding from, anyway? The IRS? His sexuality? The Mob?

Publisher: Hey, remember Waldo in Accounting who saw that grisly murder? Let's turn his new life in the witness protection program into a children's book.

Anyway, thank you, "Grammer" police for fighting the never-ending battle against illegal grammar.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In a former life

I once had aspirations of becoming a political cartoonist. My thought was to dub myself "Mad Tad" and right the injustices of the world, one cutting pen stroke at a time! And then rent was due. And, well, you can guess the rest.

As you can see, I tended to lack a certain degree of nuance to my humor.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Yer outta here!

Baseball has a pace made for radio. The ebb and flow of action on and off the field affords listeners the luxury of tuning in and out with the rise and fall of an announcer’s inflection. A man can work with one ear cocked toward the radio and both eyes focused on whatever task is at hand.

Because only baseball has a language all its own.

Sage announcers with easy voices translate cracks and grunts into six-four-three double plays and a long fly ball that’s back-back-back, outta here! And when the action stalls or moves in fits and starts, these auditory guides dig deep into their pockets filled with anecdotes and pull out a story that just so happens to build upon the one we’re listening to right then and there.

We follow the action because the action is easy to follow.

I began following baseball in the land of Dave Niehaus, an announcer who would never give you the score, but reeled you in with his unbridled enthusiasm. MY, OH MY indeed.

Then I moved a place dominated for decades by the boozy wanderings of Mike Shannon, an announcer with a voice for radio and, um, a way with words. Often the wrong way.

But regardless of which announcer is or was leading the way, I have a confession to make: when it comes to watching the game on TV, I’d rather have no guide at all.

Heresy, I know.

But hear me out. When baseball is on the radio, I can do other things, like drive long distances or work on a home improvement project, because the announcer tells me when to pay attention.

When the game is on TV, I don’t need the announcer to tell me anything because I can see it all for myself. If TV announcers realized this and stuck with only speaking when there was a break in the action or during a call that needed clarification, I’d be fine with them hanging out and watching the game with me. But they’re constant chatter. They become noise. And, really, when it comes down to it, the only noises I want to hear during a baseball game are the crack of the bat, the organ piping away and the crowd going wild.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rock it.

This weekend I went to an indoor rock climbing gym with some friends. I had been several times before, but this time I learned two very important lessons.

1. Climbs have ratings. Who knew? Not me. Apparently they involve the number five, followed by a decimal point and a number. The five means that the climb is vertical (or inverted) and requires the use of ropes. The number after the decimal indicates the level of difficulty. A 5.6 or 5.7 mean that I can climb to the top. A 5.9 and above means that I cannot make it past the halfway point.

2. Muscles fatigue and then fail. Again, who knew? I’d felt the forearm burn. I’d even felt the little, itty-bitty muscles in my fingertips beg for mercy. But I had never actually had them revolt on me. But there I was, clinging to the rock like a booger on a finger, trying to scale a 5.9er. I shifted my weight, tried to push up and … I was floating counterclockwise to the ground. Worse yet, my one of my fingertips was bleeding. Who’s crying? I wasn’t crying.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Two-for-One Day!

I recently read a book and listened to an album by Patton Oswalt. So instead of spreading them out over two days, you, dear readers, get both on the same day. It's like a Groupon without the Group. That's right: it's on.

Album Review: Finest Hour by Patton Oswalt

The Premise:
Mr. Patton Oswalt tries to make you, the listener, laugh through the use of his voice, inflection, pacing, stories and observations from his life as both a human being and a newly made father.

The Good:
Recorded in Seattle, Mr. Oswalt seems to really connect with the audience. The energy and pacing of the album has the easy grace of a dinner party, with more chortles, guffaws and W00Ts. He is clearly at the top of his game and each bit is well crafted without actually feeling crafted. The set pieces with the most effective laugh-per-minute ratio and bang-on observations were:
·      The Miracle of Sweatpants
·      The Dumb Gay Friend
·      The Ham Incident
·      The Weight Loss Plan
·      The Bonus Track

The Bad:
I’m sure the nerdiest of the nerdy fans will be disappointed that Mr. Oswalt has pulled back on the sheer number of esoteric references in his routine. This didn’t bother me; it’s just worth noting.

Also, while most of the observations were as razor sharp as ever, there were a few bits that didn’t feel as nuanced or as original as they could have been.
·      The Invisible Anus
·      The Vomit Bag
·      The Best Comedy I’ve Ever Seen

The Verdict:
Buy it if you can handle some swearing. And laughing. Besides, it’s only $8 on Amazon.

Book Review: Zombie. Spaceship. Wasteland. By Patton Oswalt

The Premise:
Patton Oswalt tries his hand at being a “Writer”.

The Good:
Mr. Oswalt’s strengths as a stand-up comedian best translate to the printed page when he’s making cultural and sociological observations. When he sticks to telling straightforward stories peppered with references, both popular and obscure, he is at his best, but it’s a misnomer to classify this book as “humor”. There is a lot of heart between these pages. As a first effort, this work is admirable, if severely flawed. The words worth a read:
·      Also By Patton Oswalt
·      Preface Foreword Intro
·      Ticket Booth
·      Prelude to “The Song of Ulvaak”
·      Zombie Spaceship Wasteland
·      The Victory Tour
·      Mary C. Runfola Explains Her Gifts
·      About the Type

The Bad:
For fans expecting Mr. Oswalt’s stand-up routine in printed form, or hilarious anecdotes about life on the road or Hollywood, they will be sorely disappointed.

Mr. Oswalt never seems to know what kind of book he wants to write. Is it a collection of stories? Is it more of a notebook with all sorts of humorous sketches? Is it a walk down memory lane?  

It reads as if he desperately wants to be taken seriously as a writer, but then undermines that conceit with a cast-off piece of “humor” writing. This might seem harsh, but that the book evokes any sort of emotion or thought cannot and should not be dismissed.

The Verdict:
Borrow it. Or check it out from the library. Like an Apple product, wait for version 2.0, when all the bugs are worked out.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Bucket Special

Most Americans sharing beer at a bar or restaurant will order a pitcher. There’s not a lot of mystery here: draft beer tastes better and the patrons get a discount for buying in bulk.

In St. Louis, beer is served in buckets. Or rather, bottles placed in buckets filled with ice. Why? No clue. Maybe the hot summers?

Wastefulness aside, the problem I have with the “bucket special” is this: it’s not a standard unit of measure. Is it five beers or six? Five beers for $15 isn’t really a deal at $3 per. Six beer for $15 is $2.50 per, which means you basically buy five at $3 and get one free. Better deal? Clearly.

So STL, figure your stuff out. When I see the words “bucket special”, I should know exactly what it is that I’m ordering for breakfast*.

*I kid. I'm more of a brunch guy.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Don’t know how to celebrate America’s favorite German holiday? Don’t worry: nobody else does either! So grab a traditional beer and brat and try out one of these untraditional themes:

FLOCKTOBERFEST—Seagulls are to Germans as seagulls are to Americans: delicious. And great when paired with a pretzel dipped in sea salt.

JOCKTOBERFEST—Dust off your old letterman’s jacket and relive your high school glory days with the annual “punching of the nerds”.

KNOCKTOBERFESTKnock, knock? Who’s there? Your new favorite annual tradition. Add a knackwurst for more hilarious fun.

MOCKTOBERFESTYour aim is so bad, your friends call you Adolf Miss-ler. That’s just some of the fun that awaits you when you mock the ones you love, German-style!

ROCKTOBERFEST—Um … no. Unless it involves throwing rocks at the people who have wronged you within the past year. Then … Ja!

SPOCKTOBERFEST—Live long and … party!

WOKTOBERFEST—Face it, China is taking over everything, anyway, so why not get a jumpstart on the trend by combining bratwurst and stir-fry?