Tuesday, June 20, 2017

MOTIVATION


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Better Draft for All

I'm going to tell you something I've learned during the lead-up to this year's draft: 47 PBR tallboys in a night will dilute your sample. Wait, no, that's not it. Well, probably that's true, but I don't have the requisite replicability to consider it fact.

What I have learned is that the lead-up to the draft is just too damn long. Months of waiting, and we've only reached the eve of the draft? And there's only one round tomorrow? We deserve better. We should demand better.

Follow me, folks. Let me take you to a better NFL Draft, an NFL Draft you didn't even know you wanted, but you'll wonder how you ever lived without. I'm not talking about going back to the old format of rounds 1-3 on Saturday and rounds 4-7 on Sunday (although that would be an improvement over the current nonsense). Think bigger than that.

A round a day for a full week? Nah. Bigger.

Imagine a world where there are no anonymous scouts trashing players, there aren't 4,632 mock drafts all saying the same thing but just different enough to get your click, there isn't a week dedicated to parading prospects around on TV in their durned undies. Does a draft really happen if there are no mock drafts, you ask. Well, I can assure it does and it will. We can enjoy the draft in a Shangri-La void of spandex dog and pony shows, and scouts talking down players only so their team can draft them later on. We can live our best NFL Draft because in this nirvana that we will create together there is no time for these things. None.

You see right now, on this alternate plane where we should hope to someday exist, the Indianapolis Colts are on the clock with the 80th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. April 26th is exactly 80 days from February 6th, or as some people refer to it: the day after the Super Bowl. In this alternate universe you have just enjoyed 80 days of the NFL Draft. Each day represents another glorious pick. Think of the crazy trades the could, and would, happen if teams had extended periods of time to plan and orchestrate them. Think of teams scrambling to sign a free agent when they realize their targeted prospect is now, or will be, gone.

Teams eliminated from playoff contention would have their draft order assigned as they are eliminated, and as the playoffs progressed, other teams would be added to the queue. This still allows time for all teams to prepare...as best they can, with a slight edge going to the bad teams. As the draft continues on, the later round picks will be doubled up and tripled up on days, allowing the draft to conclude just in time for OTAs to begin in June.

You want this. Search your feelings. You will know it to be true.


Oh, and Mr. Goodell, I know you're reading this, so I will promise you, you can make money off of this. It's a win/win for everyone.

...Let's just get this thing going.




Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Would You?

A Friday is a great day to come up with "Would You?" scenarios. Every Friday in the breakroom, Craig the Custodian and I have a cup of coffee and pose some "Would You?" scenarios to each other.

"Would you eat five spoonfuls of the year-old yogurt in the back of the breakroom fridge if you got free yogurt for year?"

"Would you shave Gimli's back hair and give Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pip foot massages if you could spend a week hiking with the Fellowship?"

"If your dog could talk, would you want to know what she thought of you?"

Whatever your answer, you have to be prepared to make a case for why that would be your choice. It's really a good way to take your mind off of work and get you ready for the weekend. Plus, Craig usually has a little Red Breast to Irish up our coffees. Would you drink at work if there was a 16% chance you would get caught and fired?

As I was leaving the breakroom last Friday, Craig said, "You need a haircut, man." This comment and the Irish in the coffee got me thinking about a "Would you?" for Packers fans. So, I posed this question on Twitter:
It immediately become apparent that I must be 1) tremendously vain 2) complacent with the Packers sustained success or 3) underestimating the emotional uplift that a Super Bowl victory brings to fellow Packers fans. This seemed like a legit "Would You?" to me, I of thick luxurious hair, and I of a great appreciation of sustained Packers success. I would have to seriously ponder whether shaving my head for a year would be worth it for me. On the other hand, if I was bald, it would be a very difficult decision to wear a rug, a rug that everyone I met knew was a rug. (FYI-There is no cheating. You can't tell people why you have made either of these choices. Come on, guys.)

Well, based on my replies, I am in the minuscule minority. I quickly learned that Packers fans have a shocking disregard for their hair. SHOCKING. DISREGARD. Many responses seemed to imply that people are carrying a razor in their pocket in the unlikely event they are offered this deal on the street.

Then, while I was contemplating taking a straight razor to my scalp, I read these:

You know that part in 'The Matrix' when Morpheus explains to Neo what the Matrix is? The part where he vomits, passes out and then wakes up in his cabin on the Nebuchadnezzar contemplating his new existence? That's where I am, folks. I have awoken to the new reality that I am not the Packers fan I thought I was. I am not the fan who is going to give up a finger, even a pinky. Hell, I'm not even the fan that's going to shave his head.

Please excuse me while I go deal with this reality.


Friday, April 7, 2017

Mark Borchardt and the Packers

By Mark Borchardt

“The Pack Is Back.” And that's each and every year. Despite the odds that the doomsayers occasionally lay, those in the perpetual know understand that the game is good; nourishment for the soul, each and every season, and is meant for one thing and one thing only: to be played and thoroughly enjoyed. And nothing else.
I, myself, revel not only the game itself but in the context in which it occurs as the tides of time turn the land from lush Summery green to the golden fringes of burgeoning Fall. Ultimately, we're thrust into the cold, menacing throes of the Winter world but the Pack is right there with us. And in short sleeves to boot!
So, when you think about it, each game is like the turning of a page in the novel of time, its relentless march chronicled in weekly passages of seasonal change. Looking outside my living room window as the players strategize on the screen, I, at first, see full canvases of green that slowly turn into rusty hues of amber until the ultimate atmospheric cruelty leaves those once full trees into barren skeletons that await Winter's unholy doom. Well, that melodrama's for somebody else, as I thoroughly enjoy the qualities of all four seasons. And watching the Packers each and every week guarantees that I'll be seeing that stunning view through that living room window.
Mark, representing at Slamdance 2017
I've been watching football since 1978 and have been a Packer fan from Day One. Each and every year I look forward to the season and take in one game at a time, week by week, intensely watching from kick-off to the closing seconds. And during those dastardly commercials, the sound is succinctly cut off, for it's a great time to clean up the house and work on my journal and other writings. I usually stay at home for those purposes and rarely see it elsewhere. I can't even remember the last time I watched one at an establishment.
Whether the game is viewed in the trance of solitude, or among a joyful gathering of friends, Aaron Rodgers and company promise the real deal and I'll be there each and every time...
Mark Borchardt is a Wisconsin-based independent filmmaker, writer and actor, whose many works include "Coven" and the recently released short documentary, "The Dundee Project" - you can watch the trailer here.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Weird Bets or How We Like to Cope With the Offseason

The NFL offseason – a seemingly dreadful abyss of anything of importance other than the Grammy’s. I really thought this was finally going to be Björk’s year.

During the season, we know we can get the best NFL odds on daily matches at William Hill. But for time being, Franklin and I decided to spice things up with a few creative bets to keep our minds occupied. What follows is the exchange that took course over the last week, and to which we’ve both agreed.

Franklin: The over/under on Kleenex boxes in view in the war room is +/- 7.5. I am taking the over and will bet my set of three (3) monogramed Forrest Gregg handkerchiefs. I was told he used these beauties when he would hit up a Friday fish fry at one of the local Supper Clubs.

Robert: If you fail to secure us adequate lodging for a game this year by September 1st, you have to do a book report on Vikings 50: All-Time Greatest Players in Franchise History or Jared Allen Quarterback Killers Cookbook.
"Jared Allen is just as forceful and irreverent in
the woods or kitchen as he is at the line of scrimmage."
Franklin: Ongoing offseason bet: I can eat more sauerkraut in 1 hour than you. Series is all tied up at 8-8-1.

Robert: In a blind taste test on five judges, I’ll bet you my pulled pork wins over yours this summer. Loser has to show off a fake Twilight “Team Edward” tattoo on their calf at training camp and drink beer through a straw.

Franklin: More of a hypothesis, than a wager: Ted Thompson listens to Hall and Oates to prepare for day one of the draft.

Robert: I’m extremely confident they’ll resign Jared Cook. If they don’t, I will subscribe to O, the Oprah Magazine for a year.

Franklin: I’ll bet that I’ll be shocked by no less than four of Ted Thompson’s draft picks. Fairly surprised by two. One I nail spot on. Day-three draft pizza on the line (two toppings only).

Robert: Ok, but if at any time you start live tweeting the draft, you have to mow your lawn in a skirt.

Franklin: Over/Under 36 references to JJ Watt when TJ Watt works out at the Combine. (What’s with these guys not having real names?)

Robert: It’s been said that fashion is art and you are the canvas. If Ted Thompson is seen wearing capris this summer, you have to wear a Najeh Davenport jersey to work for a day.

Franklin: I'll bet you my llama for your sledgehammer that I can throw this football over them mountains.
We ask our close friends and readers to hold us accountable for consequences, and to keep a close eye on Ted Thompson’s legging choices this summer. How do you spend the offseason? Let us know of any creative bets in the comments.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Fall Internship Challenge Winning Submission

As per tradition, the Packer Ranter's Fall semester intern class battled for the coveted Tracy White Certificate of Excellence. Because it’s been known to catapult average-appearing students into top-notch job prospects, the Tracy White Certificate of Excellence (TWCoE) has grown both in legend and prestige. Former Ranter interns have gone on to exciting careers and time-consuming hobbies in insurance claims, craft store entrepreneurship and social media “specialization.”

While we appreciate the efforts of our four interns throughout the season (they are all invited to join us in Port Washington’s Fish Day this summer), we simply do not believe in participation trophies. Only one truly deserving intern receives the TWCoE signed by both Mr. Hillside and myself while the rest are rewarded by the experience of working for a real website.

After careful consideration, we eliminated Pigtails and Village Idiot from the final round – partly for their uninspiring brainstorms but mostly for their incompetent nacho skills – leaving Cornbreath and Dingleberry to battle it out. (We only use Delta Tau Chi-style names here at Ranter HQ.) The final challenge was laid out as follows via email:

The Packers are playing the Falcons for the NFC Championship Game this Sunday. You have two days to surprise us. Good luck.

We refreshed our emails regularly, expecting clarifying questions galore but they did not come...we knew we had picked our final candidates well. Only 12 hours had passed before I received a knock at my door. A friendly delivery man asked if I was the one whom they called “Greenfield.” I nodded and he handed me a heavy box wrapped in shiny green and gold ribbon. The note attached read, “May this offering be 1/100th delightful as my experience has been. With everything I am, Cornbreath.” Inside was a specially prepared care package of meats and a customized “Run the Table” giant cookie (estimated total value with rush shipping of $450+).
Nod bad, Cornbreath.

No question that Cornbreath had brought his “A” game to the intern championship challenge. But playing to our well-known and storied appetites was also an obvious choice; maybe too obvious?

Time was winding down without word from Dingleberry. If she was a minute late, she would be disqualified and Cornbreath would receive both the Certificate and accompanying cachet. While just about ready to call it off, Franklin and I received a curious message:

Coordinates – it had to be. I copied them into my browser: It was the Georgia Dome – the home of the Atlanta Falcons. So what? 

Google Earth view of the Georgia Dome
As I zoomed in, I realized Dingleberry wasn’t showing me the Georgia Dome but rather the construction area right next door. It was the Mercedes-Benz $1.5 billion future site of the Atlanta Falcons, expected to be completed next year.

Look closer.
There, just south of the Dome in a dirt-flatten area the words “GO PACK GO” surfaced as plain as day. 

Winner winner, chicken dinner!
The most amazing thing was – if you could really pinpoint a single amazing thing in the astonishing stunt – was that from ground level you probably wouldn’t be able to see it. Only from a highly elevated viewpoint could someone take notice, like via Google Earth. And it was all just for a deliberate audience of two Packer Ranters. Simply outstanding. We would eventually have to hear all the details of how this was done in such a short amount of time, but for the moment, we had to let her know immediately:


Five seconds later, she came back with the following:


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Going for the Record

My grandpa loves westerns. Growing up, when I would visit my grandparents, I would lay in front of the TV for hours watching old westerns like Gunsmoke, Bonanza and Wild, Wild West. I have fond memories of these times with my grandpa and these old shows. A hallmark of these shows is the barfight. Seriously, you can’t go longer than 3 episodes without someone cheating at cards, someone feuding over water rights or someone bumping into the angry cowpoke who just wants to drink, watch prostitutes micturate on a bed and fight (not necessarily in that order). The ensuing fight usually includes flying haymakers, smashing bottles, upended spittoons and numerous people crashing though tables. I loved these fights. My cousin and I would reenact them, smashing empty liter bottles over our heads and throwing each other through tables made of cardboard boxes.

Fast forward a few years and my latent fascination with barfights resurfaced when I saw one of the greatest movies ever made. A movie whose entire plot focuses on the physical action of barfights, the politics of barfights and the love interests resulting from barfights. I’m talking of course about, ‘Roadhouse’….you’re picturing roundhouse kicks and monster trucks right now, aren’t you? Yeah, you are. Awesome. ‘Roadhouse’ became somewhat of an obsession for me. I had a Double Deuce replica bouncer uniform, a Dalton haircut and the single of ‘Cliff’s Edge’. What? You don’t know, ‘Cliff’s Edge’? Pffft, it’s the song Patrick Swazye wrote and sang for the soundtrack. It's brilliant. In addition, I even wrote a paper for my Popular Media class positing that “Roadhouse” was a modern allegory for the class struggle of labor vs capital.

It was the research for this paper that connected with me Mike ‘Slivers’ McCombs. Slivers was an uncredited stuntman on ‘Roadhouse’ who got his nickname from getting 27 slivers embedded in his forehead after having a chair busted over his head while in the Marines. Slivers would never comment on why he wasn’t credited for his work on the film, and he said he never worked on another movie again after. During one of our chats about his time on set, Slivers revealed he was a Packers fan. We quickly bonded, and it led to a couple conversations a year about the how each season was going. I hadn’t heard from Slivers in a few years, but I got an email on Monday after the win against the Giants. The subject just said, ‘It can’t be done’. Intrigued, I opened the note.

Frank, long time no talk. How are things? Good here, just planned the stunts for my granddaughter’s school play. Pretty kickass. She fights off 15 ninjas and a ship full of pirates.

How ‘bout this season? Been a wild ride, brother. Never thought the fellas would make it this far, but here we are. Gotta say, though, I don’t think it’s possible, I don’t think Packers can win out and win the hardware. Look, I know what Rodgers said, but I just know how hard it can be. Frank, I never told you why I got kicked off the set of 'Roadhouse'. You see, late at night, me and some of the stunt guys and Sam Elliot would crush a couple bottles of whiskey, and we’d play this old stuntman game called, ‘Run the Table’. The rules were simple, each guy would take a turn getting slammed through as many tables as he could until he either 1) passed out or 2) tapped out. Well, one night we were really getting after it, and Elliot asks, 'What’s the record?' 

Me and the boys looked at each other, and Duke Bonecrusher (he claimed it was his real name) mumbled, 'Well, Sam, it’s not really important.'

'Goddamn it, Duke, how many?'

‘It’s, uh, eight.’

Well, if I hadn’t seen it myself, I wouldn’t believe it. Sam Elliot and his beautiful, long, grey locks Ran the Table to the tune of nine. Elliot ended up in the hospital for two weeks, and I got fired, but it was worth it to witness. To this day, no one has ever beaten Elliot’s nine tables ran.  So you see, Frank, that’s why Rodgers and the Pack can’t do it. No one can run ten. It just can’t be done. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Take care of yourself, brother.

Slivers

I was dumbfounded. Two things I realized: 1) Sam Elliot is even more of a badass than previously believed 2) When someone loses faith, you gotta reassure them.



I wrote back:

Slivers, great to hear from you. That’s a helluva story. I love Sam Elliot with the fire of a thousand suns.
One more thing: Trust in Rodgers. They’re gonna do it. They’re going to run the table and go for ten.

Go, Pack.

Franklin


PS-Tell your granddaughter to break a leg…or maybe stuntmen don’t say that. How about just, good luck, and It. Is. Time.”


Friday, January 6, 2017

On Table Runners...

Say ‘good-bye’ to heavy sculptural bowls, fragile table art and precious linen placemats and say ‘hello’ to table runners! The easy way to add aesthetics without competing with décor or food, table runners eliminate the need for obscene, perfunctory centerpieces at a fraction of the price.

It’s often been said that the most common quilter and knitter’s dilemma is that very first project. While blankets, scarves and coasters are quite achievable, they generally represent a minimal effort whereas socks, sweaters, mittens and the like require a much more experienced hand. That’s why you’ll often find beginners enjoying middle ground in the form of the classic table runner. But there's so much more to table runners.

Now, a lot of people I talk to look at table runners as simply an extended coaster upon which a variety of drinks can be set. That would be a gross oversimplification. Table runners are incredibly versatile in both their utility and decorative possibilities.

Consider the scenario of food or drink being carelessly spilled upon a beautiful wooden table. If not cleaned immediately, the penetrating liquid would stain and create a permanent eyesore. A table runner would easily accept the burden of the spill while being able to be laundered just as easily as a tablecloth.

Among other things, one may also utilize an insulated table runner as sort of a massive hot pad, acting as a protective barrier betwixt your warmest of casseroles and your most precious of tables – something both table owners and servers alike would appreciate.

If you’re worried about hiding that beautiful, flawless table of yours, consider the implications of unsightly damage to that table because you failed to protect it in the first place. Your arrogance has resulted in ruining the thing you love most, and you will be reminded of this every time you sit to have a meal.

Whether you consider it a placemat, hot pad, decorative accent, napkin, coaster, seasonal centerpiece or simply table insurance, table runners will always have a place in today’s world. So go ahead, run that table like you mean it.
#Runthetable
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