Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Good news! As of yesterday, Bank of America officially owns ZERO PERCENT of this automobile:

It is fully paid off, and it is now all ours. (use your "Price is Right" voices for this next part...)
Bob: Rod, tell them what they've won!
Everybody celebrate!!

Monday, January 25, 2010


For the five or six people left on earth I haven't told yet: Bowling started last week. I had a pretty good series, and a really good second game. (click to see bigger)

Considering the first game I threw a 99, that's a 101-pin improvement in back-to-back games. Wonder if that's some sort of league record.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Our bowling league starts tonight. I assume it'll look a lot like this:


And it'll sound a lot like this (warning: NSFW. Use headphones.)

Hopefully my teammates won't do this:


Yes, the "sports" tag assumes that bowling is a sport. Game on!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


BEST DAY: The Hold Steady show at Taste of Randolph was pretty damn cool (June 21).

WORST DAY: (tie) The 165 days I spent unemployed and looking for work (Jan 1 – June 14).

BEST STORY INVOLVING A CAT: Our friend Sarah adopted a cat. I facilitated as sounding board and driver (June 6).

A LOLCat of Sarah's Booni.

BEST SHOW: The Hold Steady at Taste of Randolph.

BEST SONG: For its relentless optimism and joy in a dire year, the winner is “Say Hey I Love You” by Michael Franti and Spearhead. Runner-ups: “Wilco (the song)” by Wilco (the band); “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon.

BEST RECORD: “Wilco (the album)” by Wilco (the band).

BEST ARTIST: In a quiet year musically, I'll give it to Wilco, for continuing to make challenging, exciting music.

BEST PICTURE: This one (taken July 31). It’s so good it’s on a mousepad somewhere in New Hampshire.

This is a good runner-up, from the same night:

BEST MOVIE: "State of Play."

FUNNIEST MOVIE: "The Hangover."

BEST USE OF HALL AND OATES IN A MOVIE: The high-five scene in “500 Days of Summer."

WORST MOVIE SPELLING: "Inglorious Bastards."

BEST CULT FILM: "The Room" (2003), the “Rocky Horror” for its decade, which I saw at the Music Box (July 25).


BEST ATTEMPT TO HELP PEOPLE DURING UNEMPLOYMENT: I started a group for out of work people to attend Mass at St. Alphonsus on Thursday mornings, then meet afterwards for coffee, donuts and conversation.

MOST UNDER-REPORTED STORY: Did Michael Jackson like, die or something this summer? Shouldn’t the news media have, you know, done a story or something about it?

BEST EXAMPLE OF BEING WHERE THE NEWS IS: I was in Boston this summer when the nation’s two biggest stories were Manny Ramirez linked to steroids and the “beer summit” between the Cambridge cop, Harvard professor, and President Obama (July 30-August 1).

BEST TWO-DOLLAR GUITAR: The fake Fender Stratocaster I won playing the ring toss game at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio (June 26).

BIGGEST IRONY: A plastic, image-conscious country band (Rascal Flats) covering the Beatles’ "Revolution" in a major-league baseball park (Wrigley Field) on a tour sponsored by a national department store (JCPenney's).

BEST STREET FEST: Wicker Park Fest (July 25). Awesome swag and a great set by Scott Miller, which a conversation afterwards led to …

BEST ROAD TRIP: We went to Knoxville, Tenn., to see TM’s alma mater Ohio play the Volunteers at Neyland Stadium, where Miller was our host and tour guide (Sept. 25-27).

WORST TREND: Adults voluntarily sacrificing their privacy on Internet websites like the Facebook and the Twitter.

BEST TEAM: Iowa football. They started 9-0 and finished 11-2 with an Orange Bowl win and #7 in the country.

BEST GAME: Notre Dame edged Michigan State, 33-30, with victory being secured by an interception as MSU was driving in the final minute (Sept. 19).

BEST DINING EXPERIENCE: Spring restaurant (Oct. 30). Runner-up: Chelsea Grill in Lincoln Square.

BEST AD: The Sarah McLachlan PSA for adopting animals was devastatingly effective. Runner-ups: Wendell the Miller High Life guy meets the High Life Light guy; Notre Dame’s “Fighting” campaign including Fighting Disease.

The ASPCA ad is too sad. Enjoy this one instead.

WORST AD: Subway’s 12-inch sandwiches for five bucks. Repetitive and annoying. I set foot in Subway once in 2009, and that was to get soup.

WORST ADVERTISING TREND: Words printed on the screen while being read. Are Americans that stupid that we now have to read our TV commercials?

BEST PC TECH: Jeff at PC Solutions. I had to go there three times in 2009, and each time he solved my problem perfectly.

WE’LL MISS YOU: Walter Cronkite, 92, newsman extraordinaire (on July 17); Jay Bennett, 45, musician extraordinaire (on May 24).

Most of you know this is my annual summation of the year passed, my own spin on the traditional Christmas letter. Let's hope 2010 treats you better than 2009, if the letters we received are any indication. God bless you and your family in the coming year.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Best of MPF 2009: The Nominees

Dudes and dudettes:

It's that time of the year, when the people who actually give a shit (this time around: Husker Larry, Erik, Igoe and Clam) ask when they are going to see the Best of MPF list.

Just as a general reminder: The Best of MPF list is released in mid-January, not early December like most year-end lists in magazines, because I feel you cannot evaluate something while in the midst of it. Time is necessary to separate yourself from that which you are trying to assess, so I take a couple weeks in the new year to evaluate the passed year.

Luckily, you dear reader, are close to the release of the Best Of list (just give me a day or two). As a reward for being a loyal reader (or a Buckeye fan who googled "Terrelle Pryor") you'll have the chance to read the list before it is released to the general public. Think of it as a midnight record release party.

As is tradition (all one years of it), I'll pre-announce the candidates for the major categories: Best Show and Best Record. Now, I haven't had the chance to look at which records in the collection were 2009 and which were 2008, so I'm gonna have to leave that one as a mystery for my loyal fans. To make it up to you, I'll show you the nominees for a different category for the first time: Best Chicago Street Festival.

And the dudes nominated are.

For Best Show:
  • Franz Nicolay (of the Hold Steady), Empty Bottle, 1/17
  • Old 97s with Brighton MA, Cubby Bear, 5/2
  • Ezra Furman and the Harpoons, Metronome Festival, 6/7
  • Ramsey Lewis, Ravinia, 6/12
  • Sarah Borges, Fitzgeralds, 6/13
  • OAR and Robert Randolph Band, Charter One Pavilion, 6/18
  • The Hold Steady, Taste of Randolph, 6/21
  • Barenaked Ladies, Taste of Chicago, 6/30
  • Buddy Guy, Taste of Chicago, 7/4
  • Headbangers Ball, Rock Around the Block, 7/11
  • Scott Miller, Wicker Park Fest, 7/25
  • Baseball Project, Martyrs, 9/11
  • Alejandro Escovedo and the Flatlanders, Country Music Fest, 10/6
  • Wilco, UIC Pavilion, 10/18
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Hall, 12/3
  • Andrew Bird, Fourth Presbyterian Church, 12/17
For Best Sports Game:
  • Cubs/Rockies, 4/15
  • Cubs @ Detroit, 6/25
  • Cubs/Braves, 7/7
  • Cubs/Mets, 8/28
  • Cubs (vs Milw?) in the bleachers, 9/17
  • ND/Michigan State, 9/19
  • Ohio/Tennessee, 9/26
  • ND/Boston College, 10/24
  • Pizza Pizza Bowl (Ohio/Marshall), 12/26
For Best Fest:
  • Mayfest, 5/30 (it was surprisingly hot as hell that day)
  • Metronome Chicago, 6/7
  • Old Town Art Fair, 6/13 (caught the end of Dolly Varden’s set)
  • Northcenter Ribfest, 6/14
  • Taste of Chicago, multiple days
  • Rock Around the Block, 6/11
  • Sheffield Garden Walk, 6/18
  • Wicker Park Fest, 7/25
  • Palatine Fest, 8/30
  • Chicago Country Music Fest, 10/4
Start the guessing! The full list to be released as soon as I get it done, I promise.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pick Six: Final Standings

Well dudes, college football is over. It ended with a thud, like Oklahoma's season back in September, when Colt McCoy took a hit to the shoulder on the fifth play of the national championship game.

And with that, the end of the Pick Six competition. Hosted by the Blue-Gray Sky, it is super easy, so anyone can play (more on that at the end).

Before looking at the final results, let's see how we got to the end of the regular season (before I got demotivated and stopped the weekly updates).

Week 9: I had a nice lookin' week: Texas won big and moved up, so did Geo. Tech, so did Ohio State. BYU moved back into the Top 25. (Nebraska and UCLA are still MIA.) That was good for a pleasant little five-point bump. Unfortunately, TM's Gaytors went back into the No. 1 slot, plus she got a boost from The Ohio St, Cal and Oregon. Quigley had very little movement (how cat of him) so the standings are: TM 65, MPF 52, Quig 50.

Week 10: This was the week I made my big move. Ohio State (damn them), Georgia Tech, and BYU made nice jumps. Meanwhile, TM lost another team when Cal dropped out. The end result was we basically switched places: MPF 63, TM 53, Quigley 51.

Week 11: The only major move was Utah losing and dropping seven spots--bad for Quigley. I got a small bump from Georgia Tech, and that's about all to write home about. MPF 66, TM 57, Quigley 43.

Week 12: Not a lot of movement at this time of the year. Ole Miss moved back into the Top 25 on the strength of beating LSU. Same for Cal, beating Stanford. The Bayou Bengals paid for that loss to the tune of seven spots in the poll. Rutgers celebrated their debut in the poll by losing. I am proud of the fact that I have three Top Ten teams, but I guess all that means is I kept the two I picked, and added just one. Bottom line, the re-emergence of Cal helped TM add some points, but not enough to take the lead. MPF 67, TM 63, Quigley 42.

So now to the bowl games.

I had a pretty good bowl season. I picked one of the two national championship contenders, only because I couldn't stomach rooting for the other option all year long. Texas lost, but stayed No. 2 in the polls. Ohio State, BYU and Nebraska all won and moved up. Georgia Tech lost, but I'm OK with that. UCLA won its game but was a no-show all season. But with five teams in the top 15, I finished with a strong 84 points.

Tina's winners were Florida, Ohio State (over another Pick Six team ... bad luck), and Central Michigan. Cal lost, ND didn't play. She had four finishers for a respectable 62 points.

Quigley's top line was great with Texas, but his next three (Ole Miss, LSU, Utah) were disappointments this season. Ole Miss, Utah and Nebraska won, LSU lost to Penn State, and Rutgers couldn't translate their bowl win into a poll appearance. He finishes third with 59 points.

As I said, the game is easy to play, so back in August we told some friends about it. While looking at the list, I stumbled across a couple names that are friends of the blog (with pre-bowl points):

HuskersDu: 65
Mortimer: 54
BooniRhett: 64
Lawrence Phillips' Revenge: 57, and nothing I would want to be on the receiving end of

If one of those is you, let us know how you did in the bowls!

Finally, because Michigan sucks, here is Michigan Man Braylon Edwards dropping a touchdown pass last weekend, in all his animated-gif glory.


This, by the way, was on TEH INTERNETS about 10 minutes after the play happened. Must be a lot of Braylon fans out there.