Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Summer Road Trip

I once saw John Jurkovic at Rainbow Falls waterpark in Plover. I asked him why he went there instead of Noah’s Ark in the Dells. He smiled and said, “So I won’t get recognized.” Then he walked away. John Jurkovic, master of the subtle humor.

The reason I got to thinking about Rainbow Falls, Noah’s Ark’s redheaded step-brother, was because in about a month and half I will be traversing Central Wisconsin and meeting up with fellow Ranter, Robert, in Green Bay for a little training camp excitement. The long and straight journey across Wisconsin on Hwy 29 doesn’t take me past the waterpark because a) it's on Hwy 51 and b) it doesn't exist anymore, but having grown up in North Central Wisconsin, summer drives in that part of the state always remind me of piling into Carrie Olsen’s older sister’s station wagon and heading to “The Falls” for a day of intense sunburn and ingesting massive amounts chlorine. Actually now that I think about it, it might have Carrie Olsen’s older sister that I remember so fondly…

Anyway, getting back to training camp. It’s a rare thing that you will find me admitting that I don’t know something, especially voluntarily and not under duress, but I don’t know what attending training camp is all about. I am a newbie, if you will. And as such, I need to know the important stuff. Stuff like:

Are there concessions, or …let me get to the point, do they sell beer or can I bring a cooler of my own?
Can I give a kid with a bike $20 to stand by me and sneak in a picture when the players ride the bikes to practice?
Can I sit next to Aaron Rodgers’ special-lady, or is it lady-friend?
Can I sit close enough to hear Mike Trgovac screaming at the D-line?
What is the tailgating scene like?
What’s the best possible entry point for sneaking into the Don Hutson Center if practice is inside?
I’m looking for anyone out there to answer these questions or just to give me some tips on how to maximize my enjoyment factor. If you’ve got some training camps under your belt, leave a comment or send an email to packerranter@gmail.com and tell me what I need to know.
Back by popular demand:
Tracy White Fact of the Day: Tracy White’s Middle School had to hire a 3rd groundskeeper to repair the divots he was leaving when tackling opposing players.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

AJ Hawkman - Get it?

Yes, superheroes are among things besides the Packers I am also obsessed with (Packers still are #1 mind you). By the end of the year, I hope to Photoshop the entire team into X-Men-like characters - maybe they'll even make a (better) movie out of these someday.

Because his last name is also an impressive animal, I choose AJ as the first (only took like a day). No, I won’t always just be relying on last names of players for inspiration. I will always try and capture the essence of the player. Like Mason Crosby, for instance, might be a robot sasquatch with a laser sight on his foot. Or Aaron Kampman might be a warrior monk, because he is currently an (online) student at Dallas Theological Seminary. I’m thinking Donald Driver will be an insane clown or a dentist, because he is always smiling.

Why do I do this? Because I don’t want to be delivering pizzas forever. I figure if I hone my skills now by the time the job opens up for that big ad agency, I’ll be primed to make a splash. But, whatever happens in life, it's good to know the Ranter is always there.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sister Maggie Has Some Advice for Wilf

Sister Margaret Kalinowski once told a girl in my class, “The only thing a desperate girl gets is the Clap…and well-deserved it is.”

It is now official. What has been rampant speculation for months, has now been let out in the open like a rank pair of socks…..Vikings owner, Zygi Wilf, is a 10th grade girl. Wilf told an invite-only crowd of season ticket holders at a “State of the Vikings” address that Brett Favre’s future with the team is completely up to him. This was already the case, as no coach, teammate, or GM tells Favre what to do, but now it came from the mouth of his future boss.

This is downright hilarious. The Vikings have now clipped off any man-parts they had left and thrown them to Favre and Bus Cook to play with. Personally, voluntarily clipping off my man parts would be my last, desperate act as a living, breathing human being, but not for the Vikings.

The ramifications of this statement by Wilf are tremendous. He has elevated a player, not even on the roster, above all the players, coaches, management, and ownership, essentially saying we will wait for him and welcome him with open arms at any time and adjust our plan to his desires. Can you imagine any player the Packers would even remotely consider doing this for? I will grant this concession, the Vikings struggle to sell tickets, so maybe he is being brought in fill seats and sell jerseys, but to sell your soul as an organization to make a couple bucks is the sign of an impending downfall of epic proportions, a downfall that will land in suburban L.A.

Meanwhile, their best defensive player, Antoine Winfield, (sorry, you mulleted meathead, it’s true) is sitting out and waiting to get a deal done while they try to whore themselves out to a washed-up, prima donna QB. It’s short-sighted, disrespectful to their fans (who don’t really know any better anyway), and I absolutely love it.

The Packer Ranter offers this to Zygi Wilf: If you wish to let the inmates run your asylum that is your business. However, I can caution you that you are opening a can of worms that you cannot begin to fathom. Favre is manipulative and selfish and you will ultimately reap what you sow. Do you really think Darrell Bevell and Childress can control him? He’s already proven that is not the case by refusing Major Dad’s request to attend OTAs. Having said this, I, Franklin Hillside, heartily endorse your decision to turn control of your organization to Brett Favre and Bus Cook. That’s two W’s for the Pack next year and lots of antibiotics for Vikes’ fans.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wish I Had Thought of That

I know what you're thinking - "That guy's gonna make a million dollars off those panties! I wish I had thought of that!" Don't worry, there's great ideas out there for you too, people, if you just think hard enough.

Most readers don’t know that I’m actually an semi-profession inventor. Sure, everyone has a decent brainfart once in a while like a “Jump to Conclusions” mat or the next great beer bong. But I like to think I’m a little more advanced than your casual idea-puker. I’ve actually placed in invention contents, met with invention submission companies (scam, btw) and routinely submit ideas to companies around the world. I’ve even sold my own line of pizza toppings for a brief stint in ’04.

I’ve always been passionate about ideas and future trends. So much in fact, I took two semesters of business entrepreneurship at UW LaCrosse in the 90s (I was later asked to leave after bankrolling cribbage tournaments in Laux Hall). I guesstimate that I’ve had over 200 inventions in the last 15 years, and almost half of those were original ideas, which is pretty solid. There’s even an area in my basement devoted just to these undertakings called “Greenfield’s Observations, Inventions, Brainstorms & Experiment Room” (GOIBER for short). There you’ll find dozens upon dozens of sketches, prototypes and failed experiments ranging all the way from science and technology to tupperware and underwear.

As having toyed with developing Packer underwear myself, I can tell you straight up that the “Cheese Chick” underwear pictured here is one of the best versions I’ve seen in a long time. Totally beats out the “Javon Walker Was Here” thong and the “There’s a Brat in my Boxers!” boxers. And it just goes to show that the best ideas are not always invented by some Turd Ferguson at MIT, but by people like you and me (hey, that rhymes!).

If you have a great idea or invention related to the Packers you’d like to share, email us at packerranter@yahoo.com. Include your name, a one-paragraph summary of the invention and send along any supporting material (drawings, designs, etc.). We’ll post them in an upcoming story. Cheers from the GOIBER! ~R.G.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Buck Stops Here

The hubbub erupting from a small corner of Packer world this morning is that Brett Favre will be on the premiere of Joe Buck Live tonight at 8 pm on HBO. I can’t imagine watching Joe Buck for an hour, and it becomes even more nauseating to think that, in addition to Buck, you would also have to listen to Favre for an hour. HBO and Joe Buck have another problem. The problem being: Joe Buck’s show, and Favre’s (presumed) “feel sorry for me” interview, goes up against something on HBO’s own family of networks that will ensure no one watches it.

Ladies and gentlemen, the last hour of the 8th greatest Western of all time is playing on Cinemax East from 8:00-9:00. See if this rings any bells: “Regulators! Mount up” Nope, not the Warren G song, it’s this. Yep, good luck Joe and Brett, you’re up against Young Guns. With Emilio Estevez, Keifer Sutherland, Lou Diamond Philips, and Charlie Sheen, not to mention to Jack Palance as the nemesis, you aren’t coming out on top no matter how big of a “gunslinger” (couldn't resist) you are. It’s a shame HBO is setting Joe Buck up for this immediate failure, I would have liked to have seen it be more drawn out.

You’re still thinking that you’d rather watch the Favre interview, complete with requisite excuses for retire, un-retire, retire, un-retire? Maybe I need to refresh your memory about the ending of the movie. It is a classic Western setup with the protagonists holed up in a house and surrounded by their enemies, in this case the U.S. Calvary, bounty hunters, various lawmen, and an angry Jack Palance. If this wasn’t enough to get you excited, here’s a quote from William H. Bonney leading up to the final confrontation (which turns out to be bloody and over-the-top. Nice.)

“Hey, Peppin. I see you got Charley Crawford down there with you.”
“Yeah, that's right, Bonney. We got a whole..”
[Billy the Kid shoots Charley Crawford]
“Hey, Peppin. Charley Crawford's not with you anymore.”

Simple and funny, yet incredibly intimidating.

You know the rest, escaping the burning house in a trunk, slow-motion gunplay and screaming, and finally Emilio Estevez’ amazing shot from up on a horse, right between Jack Palance’s eyes from about 50 yards away. You now have the Ranter’s permission to go search YouTube for any and all, Young Guns clips, I’m not so naïve as to believe you have not done so already.

Enjoy, the movie tonight.... wait, you’re still trying to figure out the top 7 Westerns of all time aren’t you?

Update: Franklin's Top 7 Westerns of all time

  1. The Searchers (aka The Lions looking for a win)
  2. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (aka The Packers, The Vikings, and the Bears)
  3. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (aka Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings)
  4. The Magnificent Seven (aka The Packers Front Seven)
  5. Unforgiven (aka Brett Favre on the Vikes)
  6. Rio Bravo
  7. Tombstone (aka Cutler's Future in Chicago)

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Leg Cross

Are you sick and tired of traditional standing? Do you want to look great and be comfortable while observing people, places and things? Or, have you ever just wanted to keep urination at bay for extended periods of time?

Then try the Leg Cross! Founded by Packers GM Ted Thompson, the Leg Cross is a revolutionary way to achieve comfort and style while in the upright position. Forget standing – that started thousands of years ago by Neanderthals. 9 out of 10 people agree, it’s about time for something new.

No assembly required!! If you’re right-handed, chances are you’ll be right-legged too. Without moving your left foot, simply move your right foot over and plant it on the other side – the Leg Cross is that easy!

And the great thing about the Leg Cross is that you can accentuate the casual coolness of the look by either placing your hands in your pockets or behind your back (as shown). But NEVER cross your arms in front. As TT says, “The arm cross in front combined with the leg cross is a contradictory pose. You’re saying ‘I’m relaxed’ with your feet but declare ‘I’m uncomfortable’ with your arms. It’s like drafting a punter in the 3rd round – it just doesn’t make sense and I honestly feel bad anytime I see someone in that ludicrous pose. It’s not necessarily because they look stupid, it’s that they don’t even know any better.”

Take it from the Ranter – the Leg Cross will make you the envy of your peers. You’ll never go back to free standing again.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Words of Wisdom From The Butts

Warning! Oversimplification to follow! If you like talk of X’s and O’s, fluid hips, and nose tackle/inside linebacker twists then you may be disappointed…but hopefully slightly entertained.

The defensive scheme shift and overabundance of stories about it prompted me to take a brief, but extremely enjoyable trip down memory lane recently, back to my first practice of tackle football. I vividly remember three things about that day: 1) walking by one of the parked school buses and seeing the driver, Otto before there was an Otto, rocking out, air guitar and all, to Poison’s Don’t Need Nothing But a Good Time 2) the smell of the locker room: a combination of stale sweat, dirt and grass, and Old Spice deodorant and 3) Coach DeWayne Butts. Coach DeWayne Butts (he pronounced it DEEE-wanye) was about 70 years old in everyone’s best estimation, but no one really knew for sure because no one talked to him or even saw him anywhere but the football field. All we knew was that he was our defensive coach, he yelled a lot, and smelled funny (In college, I came to realize that he had smelled like E&J Brandy after I asked a girl I met at a party why she smelled like Coach Butts) That didn’t go well.

That first day, I’ll admit, I was truly green. I knew very little about the X’s and O’s of team football, I watched the Packers on Sundays, but my Grandma Beatrice, whom I was living with, hated all announcers (still does) and made me watch on mute. The only thing I knew was playground football. Through the course of the drills, I somehow got identified as a linebacker, 3rd string. That was fine with me since I didn’t know what I was doing anyway. While the 1st team offense and 2nd team defense were scrimmaging, one of the linebackers got hurt, and I see Coach Butts storm towards me. He grabs my facemask and literally throws me into the huddle while the play is being called. I line up roughly where I thought I should be, the ball is snapped, and I get bowled over by the fullback, Nick Kromlich, the biggest, strongest kid in my grade. Laying on the ground with the wind knocked out me, I hear Coach Butts screaming, “Get up, Hillside! Do it again!” Same play, same result. I didn’t even know where he came from this time. Coach Butts screaming is now getting progressively louder…and angrier. Next play, I avoid the fullback, but get knocked on my ass by the tight end. It’s now becoming a game for the offense, see who can knock Hillside down. Before I can get my feet under me, I’m being lifted off the ground by my facemask.

For the next 3 minutes, I am treated to Coach Butts' face two inches from mine, assailing me with insults, verbally abusing my ancestors, and spraying my giant coke bottle glasses with Copenhagen spittle. I honestly can feel the tears coming, but I hold them back and then he lowers his voice and whispers something in my ear that I’ll never forget: “You smack someone in the mouth, Hillside, he’ll think twice about coming back.” I look up at him and he smiles a crooked, slightly maniacal smile, breathing E&J on me, and screaming, “Do it again!”

I watch him as he trots of the field, and think, ‘That, man, is crazier than a Viking fan believing their own hype, but I’ll be damned if he’s going to yell at me again.” The ball is snapped, and I don’t even wait to see where it’s going, I find Kromlich and make a straight line for him. The next thing I know, his helmet is laying 4 yards away, and he is curled up in the fetal position. I stand up, slightly woozy, and walk toward the huddle, only to have my facemask grabbed by Coach Butts again….Are you kidding me, what’d I do this time?

He screamed, “HILL-side! That’s how you play DEE-fense, kid! It ain’t f#$%ing rocket science! Smack ‘em in the mouth! HI-YO!”

After that, I spent the whole season at linebacker. I rarely knew exactly where I was supposed to be, but I can you tell you that I took his words to heart, and I didn’t do half bad.

Am I naïve enough to think that this is the case in the NFL? Nah, not at all. But sometimes, in the midst of all the hoopla about scheme, position change, and whatnot; we forget that it’s still a game, and sometimes the only way to play D is to line up and smack someone in the mouth, something that was distinctly lacking last year.

I have heard that saying alot since that day, but it never seems to carry the same weight without a semi-crazy, possibly tipsy, 70 year old man screaming it at you. Thanks, Coach Butts.
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