Monday, February 25, 2013


That's right, folks, your favorite trivia host returns to action tonight at The Inner Town Pub in Chicago's Ukrainian Village. 

9PM. Perhaps I'll see you there.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

2012 NFL Gambling: A Season in Review, Part Deux

BTB's 2012 Gambling Standings*

NFC SOUTH        20-17

Bucs                     9-1
Falcons                 4-4
Panthers                4-6
Saints                    3-6

NFC NORTH        25-10-2

Bears                    8-0-1
Vikings                 8-1
Lions                    5-3-1
Packers                 4-6

NFC EAST           19-19

Cowboys              7-2
Eagles                   5-4
Washington           4-6
Giants                   3-7

NFC WEST          20-16-2

49ers                    7-2-1
Seahawks              5-4-1
Rams                    4-5
Cardinals               4-5

NFC TOTAL         84-61-4  

AFC SOUTH         17-23

Jaguars                 5-5
Colts                     5-5
Titans                   4-6
Texans                  3-7

AFC NORTH        13-22

Bengals                 5-4
Browns                 4-5
Steelers                 3-6
Ravens                  1-7

AFC EAST           21-19

Patriots                 9-1
Jets                      6-4
Bills                      5-5
Dolphins               1-9

AFC WEST           22-16

Chiefs                   7-2
Raiders                 6-4
Chargers               5-4
Broncos                4-6

AFC TOTAL         73-80 

Notes and commentary:

Teams I owned (7+ wins)
Bucs, Bears, Vikings, Cowboys, Patriots, 49ers, Chiefs

This group can basically be summed up by 1) the "bad good teams" (Bucs, Bears, Vikes, Cowboys) who I could count on to barely win or choke against decent competition, and handle business against the crappy competition. 2) The awful team (Chiefs) and 3) "the really good teams" (Pats, 49ers).

Teams that owned me (7+ losses)
Dolphins, Ravens, Texans, Giants

Basically, the overrated teams (Giants, Texans), and the Dolphins who I thought were decent but never put it together and the Ravens, with whom my only win came on the fluke Chargers pick'em game when Ray Rice picked up the improbably third and long. I thought they were a good bad team, but then they won the super bowl

A couple of other notes:
Washington: it took me too long to believe in them during late season winning streak, otherwise might have nailed them.
Seahawks: Once I stopped playing the home team jinx game, I had them down. Lesson learned.
NFC, I know you.
AFC, fuck off.

*The numbers don't match up, I'm missing 2 games from the team-by-team standings and the overall standings, but I don't really feel like going back to figure out the minor mistakes. In a sample that large, 3 games is no big deal, anyway.

Life in Africa

Browsing through the photography of Daniel Naude is something that I encourage you to do. I was certainly struck by the beauty of the work, but it was the juxtapostion--so unusual to me in my urban American life--of strange animals with humans, and in particular of animals with landscapes. One image summed it up the best:

In my America, cattle are never seen on the beach. I wish that they were.

P.S. Those are some sweet looking headlands.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rally Cry of the February Rider

My first time riding since September
And it's the freest I've felt since I can remember.
I'm out of shape, cold, and saddle sore
I may have lost the battle, but I'll win the war.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cookin' Some Stuff: Mac and Chee

One package macaroni
One 8 oz. package Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar, shredded
One stick butter
One half Pound Bacon
2-3 tbsp yellow mustard
Coarse black pepper to taste (I use A LOT)
One broccoli crown (optional)
3-4 cloves of garlic (optional)
1/4 cup milk (optional)

Cook bacon, let cool, chop into bits

Cook Macaroni

Sautee Broccoli with garlic while macaroni cooks (optional)

Once macaroni is cooked and drained, add butter and mustard and, little by little, cheese and black pepper. Stir continually until cheese and butter have melted. Add milk if you prefer a juicier consistency.

Eat and enjoy.

Add sriracha for kick.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

2012 NFL Gambling: A Season in Review, Part 1

Cones fall, trees grow, buds blossom, leaves sprout, leaves fall, then winter brings out the drunks in all of us, save for the fans of one lucky franchise, whose Super Bowl victory carries them through the dark doldrums of February, March and--depending on which region of America you happen to live in--April.

Now that my NFL divisional playoff wounds are completely healed, I feel like I'm able to at least speak about this past season, no matter what meekness pierces through the words and letters.

This year of MMXII marks the first semi-complete journey of fake football gambling for me, and I have mostly positive memories, especially considering I spent the bulk of the season in the mountains and on the beaches of Nicaragua, where I was lucky to catch a Spanish language broadcast pirated out of the Buffalo-Cleveland CBS network in Matagalpa, or unlucky enough to watch the Seahawks-Lions game at an ex-pat rapist haven in Granada.

Ah, well, I'll always have Monday Night Football in Week 3, the Golden Mary Game. I have reason to believe the Nicaraguan locals will never forget the visage of the crazy, blue-green-eyed gringo, twelve Tonas deep, crumbling to the ground for a painful moment--then suddenly leaping up into the air and running around in circles like a crazed fool. 14-12.

For people in Seattle, 14-12 will stand as long as 9-11. Never forget.

Yes, that brings us to numbers. For the games I actually got around to picking when I wasn't eyeball drunk on Flor de Cana, marooned on some distant God-fearing coffee farm, or wallowing in general despair, the count ended up slightly in the favor of the good guys: 79 wins, 71 losses, 2 ties.

79-71-2 works out to a .526 winning percentage, hardly worthy of Nostradamus, or even Swami Sez, but it beat the break even point of .524, just barely. Either way, I'll call it one hell of a good building block on my future gambling empire. If I had put $110 on each game my reward would have been a pretty sweet $90 Tuesday-Wednesday bender at my local dive bars.

I can also say with confidence that, although I didn't publish my playoff picks, I would have finished with a tidy 8-2 record, with a 3-1 divisional week (all but the Seahawks) and a perfect championship week (9ers to win as the favorites and Ravens to lose but cover). There was too much bitterness clouding my brain to come up with a pick for the Harbaugh Bowl aka the Garbage Bowl aka the Har-i-bowl. But let's look at the bright side, I was banking some cash money, baby.

Coming Soon: Team by Team, Conference by Conference Results

Silent Cal

This piece reminds me that if more rich conservatives lived in two-family houses, I might have some respect for them. Oh, and shout out Northampton.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cookin' Some Stuff - Chicken Soup

In which I write down my recipes so that I don't forget them, whether or not they are good.

1.3 lbs chicken breast
3 small russet potatoes, diced
2 small red potatoes, diced
6 carrots, pieced
1 bunch kale, sliced
1 ginger root, minced
1.5 cup red lentils
1.5 heads of garlic, minced
1-2 tsp. black pepper
1-2 tsp. cumin
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of crushed red pepper
squirt of sriracha
pot covering of olive oil
1 box chicken broth
some water

Cut chicken into small pieces, place into pot with olive oil, nutmeg, red pepper, some black pepper, cook for a minute or two.
Add chicken broth, potatoes, cumin, ginger, lentils, cover with water
Bring to boil, then drop to simmer, squirt sriracha,
Add carrots and garlic, simmer another 10-15 minutes.
Add kale, simmer another 20-25 minutes
Eat and enjoy.