Friday, July 31, 2009

I Hates Geeses to Pieces

I'm a golfer, insomuch as I own golf clubs, buy golf balls and tees, and spend as much time as God permits on golf courses.

In this summer alone, I'll play on courses that range in price from $9.00 to $90.00, and invariably in my part of the world what these courses lack in price similarity they more than make up in a common nuisance.


Canada Geese to be exact.

These black-and-white-necked fowl are the bane of many golfer's existence. They're fond of water, and golf courses offer the kind of urban oasis - large open space often dotted with ponds and lakes - that just sound the siren song to these web-footed scoundrels.

Enter the city of Rochester, Indiana. The city council will begin debate on a measure introduced by the Round Barn Golf Club to allow hunting amid the estimated 1,000 Canada Geese that call the course home over the winter.

Some may call this cruel, but ask any golfer and he'll gladly reach into his bag and let you borrow his shotgun. These damn geese can be aggressive. Almost every golfer has a goose story. One that's been related to me involves an angry female, a frightened foursome, and a fast-moving tree limb...and death I believe.

But the more ubiquitous problem doesn't lie in goose behavior but goose remainders. That's right: goose shit. The article articulates the "health hazards" that these geese provide. While most golfers aren't finding themselves dripping in histoplasmosis, it sure is hard to read your putt with a green, goose turd right in your line. That just flies in the face of golf etiquette.

I expect the Rochester city council to approve the opportunity for five locals to have an open slaughter on the seventh tee box. However, I envision a murderer's remorse falling on these chosen hunters because many of the geese have become emboldened by their regular relations with golfers and show little fear around humans. It'll be like the machine gunners who closed their eyes as wave after wave of British, French, and ANZAC troops stormed into the open at Gallipoli only to be mowed down.

It's gonna be ugly. Goose parts everywhere. Mind if I play through?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It All Gets Better with Advertising

This story keeps getting better.

On its face, this is a tragic 'Man allegedly hits girlfriend's daughter with a hammer for snoring' story. Charles Williamson admits whipping the 14-year-old with his belt for the cardinal sin of "upsetting" his collection of Dale Earnhardt
memorabilia, a story made seedier considering Charles Williamson was once a prison guard. But the real fun starts when you read the story on the website for the Muncie Star Press.

Williamson was evidently so tired of listening to his girlfriend and his daughter snore that he had planned on kicking them out of his home. Evidently that wasn't enough to get through to these nefarious log sawyers. Hence, the alleged claw hammer incident. It's all settled now and appearing in papers and websites all over the world. And that's when things get funny. Here's an ad accompanying the story from the Star Press page as it appeared Wednesday morning.
Granted, this is an automatic ad the refreshes to Pizza Hut, and Ball State football depending on when you visit, but this couldn't be any better if it had been an ad for Hammerin' Hank's Blood Remover.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bad Idea Show Review: 2009 Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park

Another hip weekend of music in the books! It took me a couple days to de-hip myself, but I'm back to reality. This year's Pitchfork Music Festival definitely lived up to last year's.

I had ambitious goals regarding the mockery of the hipsters this year. But too quickly did I choose a hipster accessory to photograph. Early on, it became clear that the plaid/western-style shirt was dominating the wardrobe of the days. But in full, disclosure, I have to admit that I planned on wearing one as well, and by Saturday evening, we had to redefine what qualified as a hipster accessory. Here's what we came up with:

- it must be out-of-date
- it must be counterproductive to the clothing/accessory's actual purpose
- it can reference a middle school obsession/fashion/size
- it must take wok to put on/wear

A plaid shirt doesn't really fit any of those. In fact, a plaid shirt apparently is just a plaid shirt. It'd be like picking jeans, or t-shirts. So on the final day of the festival, I tried to switch gears, searching for some things that do fit our definition:

- girls wearing feathers in their hair
- guys wearing early 90's basketball jerseys
- Ray Ban sunglass frames with clear lenses

But enough about that. Let's get to the music. I've embedded video from the festival in each band name (I even took the Flaming Lips video! Aren't you proud of me?!):


Traffic made us miss out on Yo La Tengo, but we got there in time to get in position for Built to Spill while the Jesus Lizard did their thing. I couldn't quite figure out what their thing was exactly.

Built to Spill - I missed out on seeing them in Indy a few years back when a show of theirs got canceled, so I was happy to check this band off my list of haven't seens (come to think of it, I hadn't seen any of this year's bands before. Yeah for me!). Built to Spill was cool. They were a bit more jam-bandy than I anticipated (lots of 3-minute songs played in 8 minutes), but it was extended power chords instead of extended guitar solo noodling, so I was down with it.


Our first full day of music. We also did a bit of walking around the vendors, where we saw a bunch of people trying to break world records. The URDB has been moonlighting on Jimmy Fallon lately...

At the festival, people were trying to kiss as many people as possible in 10 seconds, recite Ferris Beuller's Day Off quotes, and other crap like that. Whatev. Back to the music...

Cymbals Eat Guitars - I liked 'em. At times, the lead singer got a bit too screamy for me, but that'll happen when your band is led by Peter Brady.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - They said that backstage, the National told them they should sound more like Weezer. The crowd sort of laugh-booed at that. I sort of agreed. But these guys were truly excited to be there. The drummer was taking pictures of the crowd, and it reminded me that for some of these bands, this was the biggest crowd they've ever played for. This is a band that seemed to really appreciate the opportunity. They took advantage. They were loud. They rocked.

Matt and Kim - It was either them or Beirut, and I've been all about the guy/girl duo groups, so I was eager to see them. They didn't disappoint me, and I may have fallen in like with Kim. Adorable much? Anyway, this was another band that was clearly having fun and excited to be in Chicago. High energy, fast pace, Chicago shout-outs. Their set got a bit repetitive even for me, but when they pulled out "The Final Countdown" before ending their show with their hit "Daylight," It was pretty sweet.

The Black Lips - We watched the first half of their set. They smashed a guitar after the 1st song. That sounds about right. After 6 songs of dirty-surf-a-billy (did I just coin a new musical genre?!), we'd had plenty of drugged out rocking, and moved on.

The National - We saw the 2nd half of their set, and they clearly knew how to put on a good show. I wondered if the brooding mood of the music would work, but the two lesbians who seemed to fall in love during the last 3 songs of their set were quite touched by the music. Adorable much? but yeah, I think I made a mistake by not seeing their whole set.


Sunday seemed to be loaded with great acts. Loaded, I say!

Frightened Rabbit - This was my 2nd favorite act of the weekend. They're Scottish, and they play their music ridiculously loud. And the drummer looks like Animal from the Muppets, only angrier. I thought they sounded a bit like the Frames, only with more kick to them (and less sappy modern musical). I heard a lot of people site this band as a highlight. I concur.

The Thermals - I had only heard one song by them, but LOVED it, so I was pumped for them. They're a three-piece, and seemed to try to create a time machine back to 1994 with their choice of bands to cover (Sonic Youth, Breeders, Nirvana, Green Day). Thanks to them, I don't have to see Green Day in order to see "Basketcase" performed live! Thanks, Thermals!

Grizzly Bear - I felt sorry for them, because during their set, the Flaming Lips were setting up, and everytime Wayne Coyne came out onstage, the crowd cheered like crazy. Occasionally Grizzly Bear grabbed everyone's attention, but for the most part, their ethereal rock sort of killed time until the madness that would be the Flaming Lips.

The Flaming Lips - I'd never seen them, and had heard that their either wackycrazyawesome or spend so much time being wackycrazyawesome that they don't get around to playing a good rock show. Well, on this night, they were WACKYCRAZYAWESOME!!! Wayne spent a bit too much time explaining that they always play what the fans want, and would prove it by noting what number each song fell on the request list. Yeah! They played #25! Still, they came out to a crapload of confetti, and had girls dressed as kitties and frogs dancing on stage. There was a whole construction site motif (as I'm sure you guessed by the kitties and frogs) so their roadies were in orange construction gear and the whole set was orange as well. Wayne had a camera on his mic (I'm assuming this is a common practice of his) and each song had an accompanying video. They even had MTV-era Jon Stewart and 90210-era Tiffany Amber Theissen introduce them. But back to the show. It was a great way to end the weekend. Wayne was constantly pausing to bask in the glory, and yes, there were giant balloons. But they also played musical instruments. I liked that part too!

Best Performance: The Flaming Lips
Best New (to me) Band: Frightened Rabbit
Band I Regret Not Seeing: Japandroids
Band That I Assume Molly Ringwold Loved: M83

There you have it, another successful Pitchfork. Were you there? What'd you love/hate? How many feathers did you wear?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The First Bank of Fat Tony or Grifters Savings and Loan

Times are tough for most of the world. Folks are losing jobs. Paychecks don't seem to come along often enough. Options are running short.

In fact, many people are resorting to making ends meet with payday loans on the high end and the black market on the low end. Whatever staves off foreclosure, people are willing to deal with any level of lending, regulated or not.

That is, unless you bank with Fifth Third. Yes, the little bank with the funny name has made the leap into a new service sure to be a boon courtesy to its customers. It's simple really, and not a new idea at all: it's loan-sharking.

Have a gander.
According to the disclosure, Fifth Third will give you a loan for 35 days for a mere cut of 10%. Congratulations, not only are you scraping to pay your bills, you now earn only 90% of what you should get paid.

Fifth Third will no doubt hype the benevolent hand they're reaching out to the downtrodden, and draw a comparison to how much fee income they're not collecting when they offer such a service. Yet, what really catches my ire is the fact that the same people who they're willing to let mortgage their paycheck would be drummed out of any manager's office were they to seek a reasonable, everyday car loan or mortgage refinance.

Banks are all about fee income these days. They'll slash the grace period on your credit card, strengthen the default limits of the same, charge you a few bucks more for a foreign ATM, etc. Then they'll sell an out-and-out swindle like this Early Access and feed us a line about helping a guy when he's down.

It's about another line all together. That bottom line ain't so rosy when you're trading at $7.52 a share. Time to rebuild on the backs of poor people.

Of course, there's no possible way this could go wrong. They're limiting advances to $500. They're charging a lower fee than most payday loan outlets that can charge rates equivalent to 400% APR (and cheaper than the cash advance fee on their own credit cards). They're providing a service that most folks would jump at when the well is dry.

Who cares?

This is merely a ploy for the bank to take a cut of deposits and lend money to the otherwise undesirable. Not to mention their setting themselves up to generate further fee income. It's unsecured credit preying on the desperate, a band-aid on a gushing wound. It's loan-sharking through the frickin' ATM!

Congratulations, Fifth Third. You're a damn bookie, a hustler, a cheat, a con. And you're making money off of it.

Monday, July 06, 2009


Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Adventures of Being Robbie Hummel

Robbie Hummel is currently playing on the US World University Games team.'s Luke Winn has posted an interview with the Boiler standout that wonderfully outlines the multi-faceted world that is college athletics.

In the interview Hummel hits many bases including:

  • Coach Matt Painter's axioms - "Everybody can't play shortstop and bat leadoff."
  • The perils of fake MySpace and Twitter accounts - "My God that thing was making me sick."
  • Fans obsessed with Hummel's back health - "Did you get that Eucalyptus oil? Call me back."
  • What another big man could bring to the Boilers - "[Craig Brackins of Iowa State] is big, has post moves, and can shoot.
It seems that Hummel's enjoying himself, keeping his back healthy, and even giving glimpses of a four-year career at Purdue - "It makes a mockery of what college basketball is supposed to be about: Somebody going to get their education at college, and playing basketball at the same time."

Just stay healthy Rob, and try not to make Coach Painter chuck too many balls off of the backboard.

Indiana is the Third Best Rivalry?

When asked to rank Purdue's highest rivalry, what school undoubtedly ends up on top?

Not so fast.

According to ESPN's Pat Forde, the Boilermakers just can't wait to tussle with Sparty. But wait, it gets crazier.

If given a second guess who Purdue can't wait to play after Michigan St., Forde insists it's that other team from Michigan. In fact, Indiana and Purdue don't even make the honorable mention team on Forde's Red-hot Rivalry listing.

The craziest thing about all of this: it's true.

Purdue fans got a bitter taste of success last season only to have Michigan St. pull away in the Big Ten race like a national finalist should. Sure, Purdue came back to win the Big Ten Tourney, but they didn't get another crack at the Spartans in the process. At the same time, no one could deny the psychological and nose-crushingly physical impact the Manny Harris play had on the Boilers. Purdue did in fact get a rematch with the Wolverines...and promptly lost by nine points. But as Forde notes, both crusher and crushee - Harris and Kramer - will be back on the court this season. Bring on round 3.

So, it's hard to imagine that entering what could be the third straight exhilarating season of basketball in West Lafayette that Indiana wouldn't even be in the top two rivalry spots. It's almost as surprising as seeing only one Big East matchup - Villanova v. Pitt - in ESPN's listing.

Do I think beating Indiana is going to be any less of a priority this season? Not in the slightest. For now though, I've got to think that Michigan and Michigan St. just have bigger circles on the calendar.

Oh, yeah. Football's coming soon too.