Friday, November 30, 2012

The Tofurky Roast & Gravy Kit!

Ever wondered what was in one of those big, green shoeboxes? Well, wonder no longer, Internet…


I’ve seen the Tofurky Roast & Gravy kit in the organic section of my local grocery store for the last three Thanksgivings, and this year, I decided to bite the proverbial, tofu-and-soy-based bullet and finally buy one of them.

As something that sort of resembles a vegetarian, there’s not a whole lot of meat-centric foods that I can say that I miss - barring pepperoni, for some inexplicable reason. In my last six meat-less years as a consumer, I really can’t say that I have said to myself “hey, you know what I miss? Turkey!” at any point in time - but seeing as how I’m a dude that obsesses over the most trivial, insignificant of consumer matters, I reckon it was only a matter of time until I plopped down my $9.99 in American dollars for some good old fashioned tofu-gobbler.

Before we move on to the set itself, I guess I need to say a few things about vegetarian-meat substitutions. I’ve tried, and for the most part, enjoyed, some of Tofurky’s other products - and rest assured, vegans, vegetarians and omnivores with REALLY out there tastes - there’s a ton of pseudo-meat on the market for you to sample and most likely abhor. On the general subject of tofu, I acknowledge that most people on the planet hate it with a passion, but what can I say? I’m a dude with rudimentary tastes, and by golly, I like its literally formless, shapeless, texture-less and for the most part, flavorless qualities. And in case you’re wondering, yes, vanilla IS my favorite ice cream flavor, too. I am THAT white bread, apparently.


In assessing Tofurky as a comprehensive product, you have to begin with the packaging itself. As you can see, it’s quite green, and comes with this really neat-looking sticker that says “100% Vegan,” because let’s face it, we all own at least one spiral notebook that could be aesthetically improved by such an adornment. The box tell us that the product is, among other things, “gourmet,” “meatless” and “delicious,” which to me, sounds just a bit cocky. The box also promises that it serves at least five people, but I don’t know - this is a pretty small box to feed that many people, and in case you forgot, goddamn, are American folks some real fatsos.


As far as the rest of the box exterior goes, you’ve got the basic stuff: ingredients, cooking directions and some photos of people that, for reasons which may never make 100 percent sense to anyone, decided to take pictures of themselves holding Tofurky kits while visiting world monuments. Yeah, you laugh now, but admit it: after a really great candy bar, you just know you’d wave that shit in front of the Sphinx, if you could.


Oh, but you don’t know how awesome this stuff is UNTIL you actually open up this thing. Even casual bystanders have at least wondered what actual Tofurky resembles, and the results do anything but disappoint.


The first thing you’ll notice is a paper insert asking you to adopt a real-life turkey. And you better believe, it gets better from there.


The insert gives you a website URL to check out and lists a few facts that are really, really hard to find scientific research behind, like the factoid that turkeys have an emotional spectrum on par with those fostered by cats and dogs and that most turkeys actually have the mental faculties to do simple fractions. Well, I may or may not have made up that last one, but if I was trying to get people to adopt birds that kind of look skinless Predators, I’d be giving the general public as many fantastical facts and figures as I could dream up.


Oh, and on the flip side of the insert? An offer for a Tofurky tee-shirt and a whopping SEVENTY FIVE CENTS off Tofurky-branded products. I like the fact that, by placing the two on literally opposite sides of the same card, the company is FORCING people to make major moral decisions between saving the lives of hideous creatures OR saving almost a dollar on vegetarian salami. I’ve heard of ethical dilemmas before, but this is ridiculous!


And I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up the “hidden” advertisements for some of Tofurky’s other products, which are printed on the tucked-in paper flaps that you can only see once the box has been opened. There’s nothing too exciting here - unless tofu ground beef and soy sausage is your idea of heart-pounding - but there does seem to be an all-faux-pepperoni pizza on sale, which I will assuredly be taste-testing at some point in 2013.


As far as the contents within the Tofurky box that contain calories (wait, do corrugated  boxes themselves contain nutritional bric-a-brac?), you’re basically getting two towers of scientifically modified food facsimiles.


The Tofurky roast itself comes wrapped in a plastic ball, about the size of a small cantaloupe. At first glance, it doesn’t look all that heavy, but once you actually lift it, you’ll realize just how hefty the dish really is. It’s not quite bowling-ball-dense, but yeah, you could potentially bludgeon someone with it, if worse came to where.


The gravy, I guess, is a little less intriguing. It’s basically just a plastic cup filled with frozen brown stuff, but once you actually microwave the stuff, you’ll detect a savory odor that, shockingly, seems to smell sort of like gravy.


The back of the box offers a couple of different recipe variations, but I’d advise you to just baste the dish in olive oil and cook as is in a nice, thick tuxedo of Reynolds Wrap. All in all, it’s not a bad wait time - about an hour and a half for a dethawed vegan-friendly butterball - so it gives you plenty of time to whip up other tantalizing entrees, like Spa-Chili and Thai Pizza, in the downtime.


And the final product, shockingly, looks kind of like a roasted turkey chunk. It ends up turning a nice light brown hue, and is stuffed to the gills with a really nice stuffing mix, that tastes just about as good as any “real” stuffing mixture I’ve ever tasted. The gravy is also pretty darned yummy, sort of comparable to the brown gravy you’ll find at KFC. As far as the side entrees go, this Tofurky roast is shockingly similar to a “normal” Thanksgiving banquet; hell, some of your non-vegan friends might even find it edible, for about five minutes, at least.


Which brings us to the Tofurky roast, as a comprehensive dish. One of my friends gave me the absolute best description of the roast’s taste when she said that it tastes just like those Salisbury steaks they used to give you in the cafeteria around Thanksgiving-time back in elementary school. I really can’t say that the Tofurky roast tastes like actual turkey, but it at least tastes like some sort of digestible, quasi-palatable meat-stuff, that, if absolutely nothing else, ought to give you nice, warm, fuzzy thoughts about being eleven again.

As a whole, the Tofurky Roast & Gravy set, surprisingly, isn’t all that bad. The gravy and stuffing is downright phenomenal, and while the roast itself may not taste exactly like a turkey, it at least has a rich, filling texture and flavor that does a good enough job aping some kind of meat as to be edible.

For omnivores, whether or not you’ll dig the dish is a 50/50, but I think most vegetarians and vegans will probably enjoy it. Hey, it’s either this, or just paper plate after paper plate of cranberry sauce, ain’t it?

BONUS TOFURKY VIDEOS! 

My official Tofurky Roast & Gravy unboxing...in high definition!

The unwrapping of a fully cooked Tofurky Roast...also in high definition!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Look at the Wii-U Launch Lineup

A succinct, unbiased roundup of every single day-one retail launch title available for Nintendo’s new console


In case you haven’t heard, there’s this new gaming machine out called the “Wii U.” It’s the first of what many folks are calling the “next generation” of home consoles, despite boasting hardware that’s LESS powerful than its two competitors from last generation’s console cycle. And uh, try to overlook the fact that almost half of the launch library consists of 360 and PS3 ports, and DEFINITELY try to overlook all of those storage problems and ESPECIALLY that, um, less than consistent, online integration.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, let me tell you kids something: there is a pervasive, as in, ENTRENCHED to the roots, Nintendo bias in the gaming media. Video game history has been practically whitewashed by the supposed custodians of gaming lore to make it seem as if video gaming was shit until Nintendo came along, and that virtually everything the Big N has done since the NES has been a rousing success while everything Sega, Atari and SNK did in the 1990s was utter crap. Yeah, Nintendo has released a lot of great games over the years, but it seems as if they get free passes ALL THE DAMN time for whoring out franchises and providing gloriously inadequate online services while virtually every other publisher and developer on the planet gets continually shat on by IGN and Destructoid and all those other lame-ass sites that have about as much credibility as a handshake from a Lehman Brothers associate for the exact same things. You’re not going to hear a lot of negative press about the Wii U anywhere else, so let me be the first - and perhaps, only - honest voice on the matter:

The Wii U, to put it briefly, blows. Like, Free Willy with sinuses blows, amigos and amigas.

The hardware is indisputably underpowered. The online integration remains hardly on par with what Microsoft was giving gamers on the ORIGINAL Xbox a decade ago. The gimmick this time around adds about as much to the experience of gaming as a scratch-and-sniff card, and to top it off? The battery life on the newfangled Wii U pad is about as lengthy as a box of sealed doughnuts at a Jenny Craig meeting. And with those afore-mentioned storage problems, good luck turning your Wii-U into an all-in-wonder media leviathan that the next wave Xboxes and Playstations will assuredly be.

Granted, it’s not hardware that makes a gaming station worthwhile, but its library, and to be perfectly blunt, I am not too impressed with what I’ve seen from the day one offerings. Yeah, there are a few good (but not GREAT) games to be found, but by and large, the crap outweighs the cream, and absolutely NOTHING available at retail currently justifies dropping  that $350.00 USD.

As a public service, I’ve decided to take it upon myself to review all 28 day one launch games available for retail on Nintendo’s new unit. A brief summary is attached at the very tail end of the article, but if you’re really pressed for time, here’s the Wii U launch in just 21 syllables: “some good, a sizable amount of bad and a whole lot of mediocre in between.”

I haven't seen this many shoddy ports since my last trip to New Orleans!

Assassin’s Creed III

It’s a lot like the PS3 and 360 versions, only blurrier, slower and with additional bugs. In other words, it’s like every other port you’ll find on the system.

Score: 6 / 10

Batman: Arkham City: Armored Edition

A solid game, although it’s not exactly an improvement over the older console iterations. The Wii-U features are so tacked-on, you can almost smell the Elmer’s on your control pad.

Score: 7 / 10

Ben 10: Omniverse

You know, it says a LOT about  the hardware when a day one launch game has a buggier online interface than  “Phantasy Star Online.” You know, that DREAMCAST GAME THAT CAME OUT MORE THAN 10 YEARS AGO.

Score: 2 / 10

Call of Duty: Black Ops II

A solid port of the hyper-popular FPS, albeit with a whole lot more technical hiccups than you’ll find on the PS3 or Xbox360. And let’s not even get started regarding the gimpy online play here…

Score: 6 / 10

Darksiders II

An action-adventure platformer that tries REAL hard to imitate “God of War” and “Prince of Persia,” but it just doesn’t have enough juice to compete with either genre titans. The control pad, by the way, adds virtually nothing to the experience, either.

Score: 6 / 10

Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two

As a plus, the game has pretty decent graphics, and it implements the controller a lot better than most of the other launch games. The down size is, the game frequently suffers from slowdown and other technical glitches…not that a developer would EVER rush a game into stores for the holiday season.

Score: 6 / 10

ESPN Sports Connection

A lot of people will tell you that this game is nothing more than a brazen, half-hearted imitation of “Wii Sports,” but you know what? They’re right.

Score: 3 /10

FIFA Soccer 13

It’s a solid footy game, and some of the touchpad controls make for a few hours of fun, but it’s certainly no match for its PS3 and 360 cousins. That, and it’s missing a ton of features, too.

Score: 7 / 10

Game Party Champions

This game is a lot like “Wii Sports,” only with more options. And all of those options, I assure you, suck.

Score: 3 / 10


And if your family actually spends more than an hour a week playing "Nintendo Land," congratulations on being the whitest people in history. 


Just Dance 4

If your idea of a good time is pretending to have an epileptic seizure with a MacBook in your hand, then this is surely a day one pick up for you. For everybody else, however, it’s probably best to keep on a walkin’ if you see this one on store shelves.

Score: 4 / 10

Madden NFL 13

For what it’s worth, it isn’t a bad port. I’d say you’re better off with the 360 and PS3 version, but all in all, it’s probably one of the better at-launch games at your disposal

Score: 7 / 10

Mass Effect 3 (Special Edition)

The control setup here isn’t as bad as you’d think, but it’s clear that the new pad isn’t the most conducive in the world for precision-heavy shooters. A decent enough port, but nothing that you haven’t already played before - and more enjoyably - on other consoles.

Score: 7 / 10

NBA 2K13

It’s got some interface problems - hell, there are some menus that the game WON’T let you back out of without having to reset your system - but as a basketball sim, it’s pretty damned outstanding. It’s probably on par with the PS3 and Xbox360 versions, and if you’re a hardcore NBA fan, it’s something that’s definitely (James?) worthy of your attention.

Score: 8 / 10

New Super Mario Bros. U

You know, I could seriously criticize the game for its lack of originality - really, it’s the same thing we’ve been playing for the last 20 years, albeit with a tablet computer in lieu of a controller - but at the end of the day? It’s still a fun game, and one very much worth trying if you decide to drop a full $350 on your brand new gaming rig.

Score: 8 / 10

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge

By and large, Ninja Gaiden 3 was a pretty disappointing game on the 360. Rest assured, this Wii U iteration remains a faithful port of that utterly unremarkable experience.

Score: 5 /10

Nintendo Land

A mini-game collection, featuring all sorts of referential Nintendo humor. Fun in short spurts, but nothing that will keep you gaming into the wee (Wii?) hours of the night.

Score: 6 /10


The future of video gaming / pawn shop surplus.

Rabbids Land

A gimped out mini-game collection, because god knows, Nintendo needs more of those on their platforms. For the most casual of causal gamers only.

Score: 4 / 10

Scribblenauts Unlimited

The “Scribblenauts” franchise is a pretty enjoyable little series on the DS. Unfortunately, the Wii-U is not, indeed, the DS, and a lot of the bite-sized fun just doesn’t make it in the translation to the big screen.

Score: 6 /10

Skylanders Giants

If you’re not familiar with the “Skylanders” shtick, it’s this amazing racketeering job in which the developer shamelessly require parents to purchase these specially-designed action figures so kids can access certain content within the game. And if you purchase this abomination, just remind yourself that you’re killing both “video gaming” and the prospects of your child ever becoming a non consumer-culture obsessed retard in one fell swoop.

Score: 0 / 10

SING Party

Nothing says “living it up” like singing Carly Rae Jepsen songs in front of your friends. No wait, pretty much ANYTHING other than that is “living it up” by comparison.

Score: 4 /10

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed

The single biggest surprise at launch, this game is a downright awesome Sega love-in that serves as one of the best kart-racing games to come down the pipe in quite some time. Seriously, how could you not have a blast playing a game that allows you to race against Danica Patrick, Wreck-It Ralph and a goddamned Sega Dreamcast VMU?

Score: 8 / 10

Tank!Tank!Tank!

A visually underpowered party game that tries to be one part “Worms!” and one part “Chu-Chu-Rocket.” And odds are, you won’t want either part.

Score: 4 / 10


Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Wii U Edition

A lot of people had issues with the version of the game released on the 360 and PS3, and this one doesn’t necessarily remedy any of them. Add an extra point if you’re playing it using the pro controller.

Score: 5 /10

Transformers Prime: The Game

This one may appeal to nostalgic men-children of the 1980s, but as an action-adventure game, it is severely stunted. If that wasn’t enough, the visuals and audio are both pretty lackluster, too.

Score: 4 / 10

Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper

Since every single console launch is required by law to include some sort of “Dynasty Warriors” game, the Wii U gets this formulaic, glitch-eaten re-release of a franchise that’s been re-hashed more times than Tommy Chong’s water pipes. For fans of super-repetitive hack and slash games ONLY.

Score: 4 / 10

Wipeout 3

Much to my surprise there seems to be a huge market out there for anti-game, tech demonstrations like this. If I have to tell you not to pick this one up, you’ve got bigger problems than choosing which software to squander your disposable income on, amigo.

Score: 3 / 10

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved 2013

Your girlfriend may like it, but come on, folks. Your money and effort would be better spent on a stair-stepper.

Score: 4 / 10

ZombiU

Nothing says “killer app” quite like awful combat, piss-poor graphics and completely needless gimmick controls. It’s playable, but the quasi-broken gameplay will certainly ensure more frustration that satisfaction.

Score: 5 / 10



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: 

The Wii-U launches with a half dozen games, and exactly ONE console exclusive title that I would consider worth purchasing (that being the new Mario game - not that I didn’t have a few problems with that one, of course.) Granted, there’s quite a bit of games available that fluctuate from mildly above average to almost, almost worthy of a purchase, but even with those titles in mind, you have to take two things into consideration:

1.) Virtually every game we’re talking about here is something that’s already been released on “last-gen” consoles and, much, MUCH more damningly…

2.) Said games were technically superior, in terms of controls, gameplay, graphics audio and especially online integration, on those last generation of consoles.

As a general rule, it’s sort of hard to hype a new gaming rig as the “console of the future” when you’re basically hawking consumers a big, fat plate of warmed over, half-eaten entrees that taste better on the machines they already own. As far as exclusive games go, we’ll probably be seeing a few great games from the Big N down the line, and pretty much Jack dookie from any third party developers until at least two or three years into the product’s life cycle.

For Nintendo to succeed, they’re going to have to give us a 3DS style-turnaround, not only in quality of available titles but also pricing. The fact that this thing is going for 350 smackers is just an affront to capitalism as a practice, and I suspect that, in less than a year, the console will be selling for AT LEAST $100.00 less (if not being retailed at $200.00 by Christmas 2013.)

As far as the future of the console is concerned, there is some promising stuff on the forefront, but whether or not Super Tekken Bros. or The Legend of Zelda: The Tablet of Ganondorf will be enough to seduce would-be gamers away from the Xbox 720 or PS4 is still up in the air. The price point was a huge factor in the success of the Wii, and unless the next two consoles from Sony and Microsoft are twice as expensive as the Wii-U, I wouldn’t count on that marketing strategy proving successful twice in a row.

Needless to say, I wasn’t too enthralled by what I saw from the House Mario Built earlier this month. Granted, they have plenty of time to right the wrongs between now and next holiday season, but as far as Christmas 2012 goes?

Sorry, but the console you’re looking for appears to STILL be in another castle...

Monday, November 26, 2012

LIVE Play-By-Play From Week 12’s Raiders vs. Bengals Game


Stream-of-consciousness notes from a long-suffering Oakland Raiders fanatic…


12:30 PM  EST - Well, it’s the last week of November, and the Raiders are already mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. At this point, I will be happy if Oakland can mount just six wins for the entire 2012 season. And the sad part? That odds of them going at least 0.375 in the win column before New Year’s Day is about as likely as an MC Hammer comeback.

12:37 PM EST - I guess I really don’t need to tell you about the back story behind this afternoon’s game. Carson Palmer, after single-handedly crushing every dream I’ve ever had for the last two seasons, returns to Cincinnati, to led a defensively stunted Raiders squad against his ex-team - a 5-5 team that’s won their last two games by a combined point spread of 59-19. And the Raiders are DEAD LAST defensively in 2012, posting a league-high 32.2 points allowed PER GAME.

12:41 PM EST - Oh shit, and I almost forgot; our ex-boyfriend Bruce Gradkowksi is playing backup in Cincy, while the rest of that god-forsaken heck hole gallivants around with their new squeeze, Andy Dalton. God, I hate having sloppy seconds.

12:52 PM EST - Looks like the Raiders will be without Run-DMC for the third week in a row. Marcel Reece has impressed as Oakland’s new #1 HB, but he ain’t exactly putting up world-shattering stats, either.

12:55 PM EST - P.S.: I hate Dennis Allen, so much.

1:02 PM EST - Raiders are set to receive first here in Cincinnati.

1:04 PM EST - Looks like Oakland is trying to get the run game going early. Considering Palmer’s recent forays, I think that’s more than a wise decision.

1:05 PM EST - And Palmer gets sacked. FML already.

1:06 PM EST - Raiders with a 3rd and 14. And a good goddamn, DO I HATE CARSON PALMER.

1:10 PM EST - 3rd and 1 for the Bengals. F. My. LIFE.

1:13 PM EST - BenJarvus Green-Ellis may or may not have a touchdown. Either way, the Bengals will at least have a fresh set of downs at the Raiders’ 1, and all of a sudden, I really have to throw up.

1:15 PM EST - And the points come off the board. An utterly meaningless reprieve for the Raiders, but gosh darn it, I will take it.

1:16 PM EST - TOUCHDOWN BENGALS. Green-Ellis punches it in, and Cincy leads 7-0 with about nine minutes left in the first quarter.

1:21 PM EST - Third and five for Oakland. And a dropped pass. Of course.

1:22 PM EST - It’s not even 1:30 in the afternoon, and I already hate myself and everything in this universe.

1:23 PM EST - Total yardage estimates so far? Cincinnati, 58, Oakland, a measly eight.

1:26 PM EST - Third and six for the Bengals. And Eff this Ess like you would not believe.

1:27 PM EST - You know, I’m beginning to think this whole season has been some sort of cosmological punishment for never paying that late-fee for “Spider-Man 3” before the local Blockbuster shut down.

1:31 PM EST - Of course the Bengals would pick up the first. You knew they would.

1:32 PM EST - A holding call, but SWERVE! It’s on the Bengals. So far, that’s the most positive thing that’s gone down for the Raiders today.

1:34 PM EST - The Bengals with an apparent touchdown, but it’s under review. And yeah, it counts. 14-0, Cincinnati.

1:37 PM EST - You know, I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: nothing good’s ever come out of Cincinnati. Ever.

1:41 PM EST - 3rd and 10 for the Raiders, and this is quickly shaping up to be Palmer’s worst performance of the year. And holy hell, is that saying something.

1:42 PM EST -

1:43 PM EST - You know, the Raiders in 2012 have kept redefining the term “nadir.” Every game, you say to yourself, “there’s no way the Raiders can play WORSE in the next game,” and then, yeah, they do.

1:45 PM EST - And the Raiders FINALLY stop Dalton on a third down. Let’s see if Oakland can, you know, make the ball go forward this time around.

1:48 PM EST - As a Raiders fan, I can safely say there hasn’t been a man this tormented by a redhead since Al Bundy.

1:55 PM EST - As a rough estimate, the Bengals have out-yarded the Raiders 165-25 so far today.

1:57 PM EST - I am absolutely flabbergasted by how awful the Raiders are in 2012. Trying to pinpoint who should receive the most blame between Dennis Allen, Mark Davis and Carson Palmer is sort of a moot point - after all, to play this horrible you HAVE to make it a collective effort.

2:01 PM EST - ANOTHER first and goal chance for the Bengals. This may in fact be the absolute worst day in the history of humanity.

2:02 PM EST - At this point, I don’t know why the Raiders D-Line DOESN’T intentionally try to cripple Andy Dalton. I mean, shit, why not.

2:03 PM EST - Everything you need to know about the 2012 season, in a nutshell: the only other Raiders fans in the pub just walked out in disgust, and it’s not even the third quarter yet. For god’s sake, even the CHIEFS fans stick around until at least the fourth.

2:06 PM EST - Yardage update? Bengals 254, Raiders…25. Twenty-five total yards, people. Twenty-five.

2:07 PM EST - You know, I could be real pissy about this game, but you know what? I have something called a “future-centric orientation” when it comes to things. Yeah, the Raiders are playing like, well, the Raiders now, but come 2034, when the Raiders finally make it back to the playoffs, I will reflect on this day, and smile, in smug acknowledgement of how far we’ve come as a organization.

02:08 PM EST - But, yeah, for the time being - GOD, I HATE EVERYBODY AND EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW.

02:10 PM EST - Well, the Raiders at least got A first down this afternoon…

02:11 PM EST - Carson Palmer and Andy Dalton reconfirm what we’ve all known for centuries: all redheaded people are worthless scum.

02:20 PM EST - Well, at least I’ve got the Los Angeles Kings to restore my sanity this April. Oh, wait.

02:23 PM EST - Thank goodness the Bengals just stoinked that field goal. I mean, a 21-point differential is surmountable, but a 24-0 spread heading into the third? Get outta’ here with that farcical shit.

02:29 PM EST - At the end of the first half, it’s Bengals 24, Raiders 0. I am now wholeheartedly convinced that the University of Northern Illinois could probably beat Oakland in an exhibition game.

02:32 PM EST - Yardage update: Bengals, 289, Raiders 83. Football is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.

02:37 PM EST - You know, it takes a man with a lot of decency in his heart to watch something he loves dump nothing but unfettered misery on his lap this much. I’ve never thought about cheating on my spouse before, but when your soul mate treats you like this? I gotta’ admit, folks, the glimmer of red and gold is looking mighty damn alluring these days…

02:51 PM EST - Running, passing, defense, special teams - the Raiders can’t do ANYTHING right this season. I fully expect them to sleep in and forget to show up next week against Cleveland.

02:53 PM EST - This is easily the worst collective Raiders performance I have EVER seen. And that’s going back to the days when Andrew Walter and Daunte Culpepper were competing for first string QB.

02:55 PM EST - Fine, I’ll say it: JAMARCUS RUSSELL would do a better job as starter than Carson Palmer. Honest to god, if his worthless ass isn’t unemployed next week, I am going to…um, hope he isn’t employed in the subsequent week, I guess.

02:59 PM EST - And the Raiders STOP the Bengals on third down! That’s a really minimal achievement, but considering this team’s defense, it’s like watching them win ten Super Bowls in a row.

03:04 PM EST - It’s amazing to me how a human being could have so much optimism about things at noon, and by three o’clock, he’s ready to drink premium gasoline and swallow a match. Thank you, Raiders, for making my will to live a lot more suspect than I thought it was.

03:07 PM EST - And Dalton gets sacked. Unfortunately, Philip Wheeler didn’t give him a Bas Rutten liver punch while he was down.

03:13 PM EST - Marcel Reece with the best Raiders run of the day. Hell, who am I kidding - practically the only Raiders run of the day thus far.

03:14 PM EST - TOUCHDOWN RAIDERS! Palmer connects with Denarius Moore to make this one a 24-10 game. Can the Raiders stage an epic comeback this evening in Cincinnati? (A: No. No, they cannot.)

03:18 PM EST - Andy Dalton eats dirt again! It only took three and a half hours, but the Raiders finally seem to realize this isn’t a scrimmage game.

03:23 PM EST - And the Raiders turn the ball over. Ohio shouldn’t even be a state.

03:24 PM EST -

03:30 PM EST - And a Bengals field goal makes this one a 27-10 game. This season is so done, you can’t even chew it.

03:36 PM EST - Jeremy Stewart with a 26 yard gain, followed up by a 10 yard rush by Marcel Reece. Do the Raiders really need a pass game anymore?

03:40 PM EST - Raiders with a 3 and 24. And since Palmer is the QB, you can take a wild guess what ends up happening next.

03:42 PM EST - After this season, I think the Raiders might as well change their motto from “Commitment to Excellence” to “Well, at least we have a good punter.”

03:50 PM EST - And oh hell, we’ve got ourselves an on-field melee. Expect some ejections momentarily.

03:55 PM EST - Two Raiders defensemen get booted, while one member of the Cincinnati O-Line gets tossed. If the Raiders defense doesn’t turn into the Hanson Brothers from “Slap Shot” for the next five games, I am going to be plenty pissed.

4:00 PM EST - With less than four minutes to go, the net yardage estimates are fairly one-sided: the Bengals have 411, while the Raiders have just 205.

4:03 PM EST - And Dalton chunks in another TD, and if you are a Raiders fan, you ultimately have no reason to live until at least next September.

4:11 PM EST - A dropped pass on 4th down, and this game is over, and hard.

4:13 PM EST - Our final score today in Southern Ohio? Bengals 34, Raiders 10. I hate football, with a passion.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Five Things Guys HATE About Women's Fashion

Five popular trends that dudes CAN’T stand about women’s apparel and cosmetics



In many ways, I’m sort of the opposite of a misogynist, because I flat out love women. I mean, I adore them and admire them and think that all females - in at least some manner - are both beautiful and alluring. Unless, of course, their name is “Ann Coulter” - sorry, but horse-faces with Adam’s Apples doesn't do it for me, kids.

One of the things I absolutely cannot stand about modernity is how the media-consumption-corporation complex has suckered millions of truly beautiful young adults into thinking they’re fat, ugly and in dire need of overpriced products that they could function just fine without adding to their mountainous credit card debt. If you wonder why so many girls have inferiority complexes and eating disorders, just take a walk down the junior miss section at the magazine rack - it’s literally rag after rag telling our daughters and girlfriends (or if you’re Woody Allen, both) that they need liposuction and facial reconstruction surgery five times a month.

I don’t generally write about fashion and women’s issues, primarily because it's a subject a testosterone-loaded wolverine probably has more credentials heading into than I do. That said, there are still five common elements of contemporary women’s fashion that I - and I would surmise, a good 95 percent of the rest of the male population - utterly abhor and definitely detest.

Ladies, do you want to catch your man - or just some random dude (and, I swear, I’m not going to make any Rush Limbaugh-esque judgments about your moral character if you do)? Well, if so, then take heed: here are five common fashion no-no’s that I think all young women would be wise to avoid…

Furry Boots

"Come on baby, let's go lumberjacking tonight!"

Ugg boots are far and away the most hideous things that have ever been crafted by humanity. They’re expensive, they’re gaudy, and if I didn’t know any better, every single woman in the United States owns at least three or four pair of them.

I’m not really sure why I foster such a distaste for these things, but for the love of all that is holy, NOBODY has to think these things will remain fashionable 20 years into the future. It’s cheap leather (or at the least, some crappy quasi-leather synthetic) juxtaposed with either fur or some sort of fur-like texture. It’s like someone took every “Jersey Shore” episode and smelted it into a form of footwear.

I hate everything about these abominations of capitalism. I hate the way they make girls approximately seven feet taller when they wear them, and dear lord, do I hate that insufferable “clip-clop” sound that permeates the hallway when one of them hoofs across a walkway. I absolutely detest the sight of seeing a human female tuck her blue jeans - or worse yet, neon-hued yoga pants - inside her boots, creating this nuclear explosion of pastel spandex, dyed cotton and pleather around the ankle region. Coupled with a set of oversized hoop earrings and pitch black eye shadow, and you have yourself a perfect storm of “Teen Mom” nausea.

Bangs 

Zooey Deschanel, seen here probably thinking about how evil she is. 
(thanks to Abeam for the Creative Commons nod)

If a girl has bangs, stay away from here. Just…stay…away…from…her.

I don’t think there’s a more sinister looking hairdo out there, personally. Whenever I see a girl whose forehead is obfuscated by a curtain of strategically clipped hair, I can’t help but feel a little suspicious. Is there a reason why she wants to keep me from seeing her forehead? If I gently brushed it aside, would I uncover a second mouth or a third eye or something? There’s a fine line between enigmatically seductive and testicle-shrinking concern, and it’s a line that “bangs” has crossed a long time ago.

I have a theory that all of the women on the planet with bangs aren’t actually human, but pod people like in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” Think about all of the celebrities that rock the hair style: Zooey Deschanel, Katy Perry, Carly Rae Jepsen - all humanoid-like, emotionless media creations that display about as much feeling as an unplugged toaster when they’re onscreen. Granted, some guys may think it looks cute, but I know better, pod people. I know better.

Ridiculously Curly Eyelashes

Because nothing is sexier than jabbing sharp things covered in hot glue  into your iris...

As a general rule, guys don’t give much of a shit about eyelashes. Odds are, if you were to pluck every last one out of your skull tonight, tomorrow morning, your man wouldn’t even notice. That said, the multi-billion dollar a year cosmetics-fashion complex has brainwashed you into thinking that the only way to get a guy’s attention is to rub black stuff over your cornea with a sharp stick, and it doesn’t look like it’s a trend that’s going to be falling out of vogue anytime soon…if ever at all, apparently.

This is a trend that I’ve noted fairly recently. I had a girl in one of my classes about two years ago whose lashes looked like set pieces from a Tim Burton movie - they jut out so far from her face, and at such perfectly curled angles that I was beginning to wonder if her face was slowly peeling backwards from her head.

Call me crazy, but I’m not necessarily a fan of the “newborn ostrich” look, and every time I see a girl with these absolutely ridiculous lashes - which are either fake or brought about by some newfangled brand of mascara that circumvents the rules of gravity - I just feel icky inside. Word to the wise, women-folks: guys generally don’t want to spend face time with a girl whose eyeballs look like a Venus’ fly trap ready to attack.

Pinterest Nails

Trust me...it was well worth the eight hour drying session. 

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last two years, there’s this site out there called “Pinterest.” Your girlfriend is on it. Everybody’s girlfriend is on it. If something has a working set of XX chromosomes, it has a biological need to be on the site. All in all, that’s necessarily a bad thing, unless you think eating brownies shaped like Frankenstein is a negative - and if that’s what you really think, then by god, your girl deserves a REAL man, hombre.

Most of the stuff on Pinterest is pretty harmless, if not kinda’ cool, admittedly. If one weekend you find your girl blow drying a bunch of crayons onto a piece of black construction paper, “Pinterest” is probably the reason why (but then again, she might just be “The Other Sister,” so proceed with caution.) But amidst the really banal stuff - like myriad “Twilight” junk and what appears to be five bajillion manuals on how to make a “messy bun” - you’ll come across a truly horrific phenomenon - the “Pinterest nails” section.

Nail polishing/manicuring in general is something I just don’t get. It’s expensive, it serves no real utility, and it hardly - if ever - looks attractive. Well, the “Pinterest” phenomenon takes what is already pointless and gaudy practice and amps it up to the extreme, so now, instead of just having to wait five hours for your girlfriend to paint and dry her nails a hideous shade like turquoise or burgundy, she will now be spending an even more absurd amount of money and time to paint some sort of elaborate, grotesque design on her nails that she will keep for approximately three days before wiping it off with toxic chemicals and repeating the process all over again. Note to the women of America: no, spending three days and three hundred dollars to make your nails look like Mount Rushmore is NOT going to make us think you’re hot…EVER.

Too Much Damn Lip Gloss 

Clearly, the last thing you see before the ideal goodnight smooch.

In reasonable doses, there’s really nothing wrong with lip gloss. After all, what’s more alluring than a girl with a nice, shimmering pout and the prospect of sucking berry-flavored face with someone? The problem, as is the case with pretty much everything else in life, is when women decide to take what’s a good thing in small quantities and ratchet it up to borderline insane excesses.

Many, many moons ago, I dated a girl who’s mouth was literally drizzling strawberry product…as in, dripping like a faucet that was almost turned off all the way, but just not tight enough. At the end of our date, I didn’t know if we were kissing goodnight or if I was being force fed a gallon of cherry frosting.

Girls, if you’re wondering if you’re wearing too much lip gloss, try asking yourself three questions:

1.) Does it look like you just won the gold medal in a blindfolded, hands-tied-behind-your-back jam eating contest?

2.) From a good ten feet away, would the common bystander mistake the bottom half of your face for a jellyfish?

3.) Is there an outside possibility that your boyfriend would drown in fruit-flavored Vaseline if you French kissed him?

If the answer to any or all of the above is “yes,” then congratulations; you are officially wearing too much damn lip gloss for your own good.

So there you have it, girls. If you want to appear at least superficially decent to the other sex (or Tegan and/or Sara, it is the 21st century, I suppose), you’ve got at least five things you know now to discard from your wardrobe and makeup box. And now comes the truly difficult part when it comes to alluring the men folk (and something you’ll NEVER read about in Vogue and Cosmo and all of those other abominations of print) - developing an actual personality.

And no…I don’t think you can pick that up at Victoria’s Secret, either.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

An Ode to the Seasonal Halloween Stores of 2012

Gone, Yet Not Forgotten: An Epic, Free-Verse Poem


I know what you’re thinking. “Hey Jimbo, you do know that it’s THANKSGIVING, so how come you’re STILL posting stuff about Halloween?”

To answer your inquiry, I will give you a two pronged response: number one, holy hell, am I stretched for time as of late, and number b? Because I STILL don’t think that I got my full All Hallow’s Eve fill this past Hallow-season.

Granted, it’s been a pretty busy fall for your kindly INTERNET IS IN AMERICA proprietor, but I think I didn’t do a quarter of the stuff I wanted to for Halloween 2012. Not only is that sad and pathetic, it’s downright inexcusable: this is Halloween we’re talking about, damn it, and if you can’t live it up 110 percent, I’m not quite sure if you’re living what I would consider a complete life, Holmes.

I don’t know about you, but I ALREADY miss all of those seasonal Halloween stores that sprung up overnight in mid-September, only to vanish from the face of the earth come November 01. Why do I miss them, you might ask? Well, here’s just a few reasons, dear reader…in epic, free-verse poem form!

OH, HOW I MISS YOUR HYPERBOLIC STORE MONIKERS! 



 “Halloween Thrills,” “Halloween City,” “Halloween Town,” “Halloween Everything!” 

You turned vacant Office Depot buildings into houses of wonder, amazement and mirth, 


Strip lot parking malls became witches’ covens and Frankenstein’s dungeons, 

And now ‘tis but an empty hole, right next to Dunkin’ Donuts

OH, HOW I MISS YOUR REGALIA THAT REDUCED EVERYTHING TO PLASTIC SLUTTINESS! 


Elastigirl, my, how she doth make all things elastic in this magical kingdom! 

Alongside Snow White, Cinderella, even the sexualization of Sissy Spacek! 


Angry Birds, no, more like sultry birds,

Masking a chub, looking at Leonardo! 

OH, HOW I MISS YOUR RIDICULOUSLY LAVISH PROPS AND ACCESSORIES!


Fog machines, that bubble up crude, electric lights, that blaze like gloom

Fake blood canisters, screeching animatronic props


Candy dishes, with spring-loaded hands

And a good goddamn, The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man!

OH, HOW I MISS YOUR ABSURDLY AGE-INAPPROPRIATE CHILDREN’S PRODUCTS!


Reading, Writing, and pretending to be gangsters? 

Why not indoctrinate the youth, with stereotypical visions? 


Let’s dress up like thugs, hookers and mobsters,

But hey it could always be worse…at least we’re not S&M monsters!

OH, HOW I MISS YOUR PRODUCTS THAT ARE DESIGNED SOLELY TO INCUR BUYER’S REMORSE!


So many knickknacks, almost all without reason, 

Useless and functionless, that’s the point of the season!


Nothing like dropping a Benjamin, a wasted spend, 

Sort of like voting, for our good Mormon friend! 

OH, HOW I MISS YOUR SELECTION OF NICHE MARKET GOODS THAT, FOR SOME REASON, I ALWAYS NEED ACCESS TO YEAR ROUND!


Pumpkin carvers, stencil sets and stickers galore!

Just one time a year, I think I need more! 


Hair dye, glow in the dark juice, 

Try to find all that shit, at Walgreen’s in June! 

OH, HOW I MISS ALL OF THAT STUFF YOU HAWK THAT I REALLY DIDN’T WANT AT THE TIME, BUT NOW THAT I THINK ABOUT IT A LITTLE, KINDA’ WISH I WOULD’VE PICKED UP WHEN I HAD THE CHANCE! 


Who in their right mind, could ever require this mess? 

Squishy eyeballs, bean-bag spiders and plastic bats? 


A Michael Myers mini-mask, so gaudy and without tact, 

Jeez, I wish I would’ve grabbed a whole bag! 

OH, HOW I MISS YOUR OBSCURE POP-CULTURAL RELICS! 


Some things, no man should rightly see, 

Like a grown up costume, for the Bride of Chucky!


As far as the licenses, there’s just too much to mention,

You can be a movie monster, even a shitty musician! 

FAREWELL, EYEBALL CLACKERS! 


With your most majestic clack!

FAREWELL, COLOR CHANGING GHOSTS! 


You impeccable sight!

FAREWELL, LIGHT UP PUNCHING PENS!


I once had one stuck in my ear! 

ALAS, FAREWELL HALLOWEEN…


…until we meet again next year!