Thursday, July 30, 2009

International House of Quinn

Bob Dylan said, “When Quinn the Eskimo gets here, everybody’s gonna jump for joy.”

Well, Franklin Hillside says, “When Quinn the Pancaker gets here, everybody’s gonna run and hide!”

I love pancakes….and I love blocking. Combining the two together into a Pancake Block makes me giddy, and in case you were wondering, a pancake block is one in which the blocker flattens a defender and buries him in the turf.

August 1st marks the day Quinn "The Pancake” Johnson begins his assault on would-be tacklers across the NFL. Does Johnson get the moniker, Pancaker, because, much like pancakes, he is awesome? Seriously, pancakes are awesome, what other food has an international house? No, he will from here forward be known as Pancaker because in his final season at LSU, Johnson was credited for 70 pancake blocks and looks to continue with the Packers where he left off in college. Think about that. It means he averaged just over 5 blocks a game last year where he took a defender to the ground.

Now, I didn’t jump to this nickname without some thought. I read also read this:
He excels at blowing linebackers out of the hole
After reading this draft pick analysis, I contemplated dubbing Johnson: Whale Spout or Blow Hole, but for some reason the evolutionary miracle of a whale’s breathing just can’t live up to the fluffy, syrup-covered goodness of a pancake. I thought about Lava-Spewing Volcano Man-Freak, but a pancake still beats a volcano 9 out of 10 times in a fair fight.

And so, enter Quinn "The Pancake" Johnson.

The song, The Mighty Quinn, ends with the line: “You’ll not see nothing like the Mighty Quinn.” Yessir, Mr. Dylan. I’m looking forward to it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Introducing the Camping Man

There's a new toy in town.

With such positive feedback about the Corey in Madison’s action figure idea, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to develop a 2D prototype of Aaron "The Camping Man" action figure!

As a genuine work-in-progress (that I’m pretty proud of), I would describe the Camping Man as rugged, resourceful and friendly – kind of a GI Joe meets Lambeau. "From the backyard to the North woods, it’s the perfect camping complement for any young Packer fan or any Packer fan simply young at heart," one could say.

You’ll notice he is donned in green and gold attire, and I would assume that any outfit The Camping Man wears would reflect the Packers colors. Underneath that outfit and painted on his plastic body is a manly, black, Under Armor one-piece that showcases both toughness and pride (maybe there will be a limited-edition Green Bay Packers American Gladiators-style suit someday). Possible accessories include the fire, plate ‘o burgers, wieners on a stick, fishing hat and machete for blazing trails through tall grass an’ such.

As far as size goes, I’m thinking the Camping Man would be 12 inches tall. That’s not too small as to get overlooked and not too big that it would fall into doll status. And since this is a camping-specific action figure, either he simply glows in the dark or if you say, “Guide me Camping Man!”, his eyes become two miniature flashlights. Yes!

I honestly believe AK would be proud of this one.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Wisconsin Pilgrimage

This is our 100th Rant, and there is zero going on with the Packers, so I thought I’d share a WI pilgrimage that is near-and-dear to my heart. Now this isn’t a pilgrimage to Mecca, this is more like a pilgrimage to a low level holy site, comparable to a short journey to the local shrine or the unmarked tomb of a moderately famous imam. This little jaunt that I take a few times a year ends in Cumberland, WI, and it involves two of my favorite things: a temple of bratwurst and heaping piles of cavatilles. You don’t know what cavatilles are? For shame…I will explain.

The Hillside elders live in a beautiful home on Beaver Dam Lake in Cumberland and there are not many better places to visit. The downstairs living room is a shrine to the Packers, complete with a 3x5-ft. bar mirror of Lambeau, lamps and mugs adorn the shelves and tables. Chairs and pictures are spread around the room; Grandma Hillside loves her Packers. However, it is not solely the family and lake that draws one to Cumberland, although if you wanted, Lucille would probably watch a Packer game with you if you mentioned me. The draw for any true Wisconsinite and lover of food to “The Island City” is Louie’s Finer Meats and The Tower House, Bona Casa Foods, and Sammy’s Pizza.

Louie’s Finer Meats is quite simply an amazing, family-run, meat emporium. You name it; they’ve probably got it, including 50+ types of bratwurst. They make beer brats, cranberry brats, the Badger brat (onion, garlic, mozzarella, pimento), jalapeno and cheddar brats, and the Packer brat, made with the ‘kraut already inside along with some good ol’ Wisconsin Cheddar. They even have a Viking brat which just goes to show you that a) no one’s perfect and b) Louie Sr. is a shrewd businessman. In addition to a number brats that would take four seasons of tailgating to plow through, they have meats galore. Steaks, chops, loins, breasts, and bacon cut as thick as your wrist, pretty much whatever you need. Also, if you look at the reflection in the stainless steel of the refrigerated display case just right, you can see a sign on a pad-locked cooler that says: “The Ol’ 96er”. Bring plenty of coolers when you go because you will always leave with more than you anticipated, and you will be a better person for it.

Cumberland was a popular destination for Italian immigrants, and a visit to Cumberland is not complete without visiting at least one of the trifecta of Italian restaurants in town. Following behind Grandpa Hillside’s Sedan de Ville as he inches through town toward either The Tower House, Bona Casa, or Sammy’s Pizza is harsh punishment when all you want to do is bury your face in a plate of cavatilles. You may think I mean cavatelli, but I assure you that I don’t. While the two types of pasta are similar, the Cumberland-evolved version is slightly different in that it is a solid noodle rather than simply folded over. I have never found somewhere outside of Cumberland that sells cavatilles, and maybe that is why they have such a hold over me. Each of the three restaurants’ cavatilles have a slightly different sauce, but you cannot go wrong with any, and they all come with a choice of meatballs or Italian sausage. You will be missing out if you don’t go for the sausage, mark my words. Now, if you are pressed for time and can't spend all day sampling fat, doughy noodle dishes, then I suggest you make a beeline for Sammy’s. In addition to the cavatilles, you can get a Miller Lite in the old-school 8 oz. glasses and, in true Wisconsin style, a portion of the dining room is a shrine to the Packers. The wall of Sammy’s is covered with photos of Sammy with current and former Packers, from Bart Starr to Greg Jennings…most of which are autographed. Beautiful!

Fill a cooler with meat and eat cavatilles, drink a beer, and admire a fantastic collection of autographed Packers’ photos and you'll be very glad you made the pilgrimage to Cumberland, Wisconsin, The Island City.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

From My Goiber to Yours

GOIBER (n.) An acronym, which stands for "Greenfield's Observations, Inventions, Brainstorms & Experiments Room." Also known as my basement.

It’s been said that everyone has at least one great idea. Not to brag, but I’ve had two so far (the endless bag of money and flying cars). When it comes to ideas related to the Packers and football, I can’t think of a better group to poll than the greatest fans in the world.

A few weeks ago, I requested that our readers volunteer their great Packer inventions to share. I was pleasantly surprised there are so many creative Packer fans out there. I’m happy to say you answered the call. Here is a list of the top Packer inventions as submitted by fans of the Ranter – all equal value in originality and awesomeness.

Ice Cup Holders – Graham, Wisconsin native, now in the Chicago suburbs
Like some of the best Packer ideas, this one was inspired right at Lambeau at the below-freezing 2007 NFC Championship game. Here’s how Ice Cup Holders came about in Graham’s own words:

As I was sitting (standing) sipping my beer and yelling loudly, my beer seemed to get colder. It occurred to me that this is not normally the progression of events when drinking a beer… Then it occurred to me. Sure I’m in Green Bay, the best place in the world, but how could I bring a little Green Bay to others.

Just think of the pleasure to millions of fans whose beer gets colder DURING the game. Then you can go get two beers, put one in your beer cooling cup holder and drink one while your other is getting COLDER.

Now if that doesn’t put you in the mood for a cold one, I’m not sure what will. I’m seriously considering pursuing a prototype for Ice Cup Holders in my GOIBER. Thanks Graham!

Green Bay Packer Crackers – John in Wauwatosa
“Green Bay Packer Crackers” is the only thing that John wrote, and why not? It doesn’t need a whole lot of explanation.

Seriously, this invention is absolutely brilliant in its simplicity. In all honesty, I’m kind of surprised I haven’t seen this anywhere yet. You could be onto something, John. And crackers go with cheese so well!

Aaron Kampman “The Camping Man” Action Figure – Corey in Madison
This idea apparently came from my AJ Hawkman post last month and a lifelong affinity for camping. Corey in Madison noted that Aaron Kampman is from the Midwest, looks like an outdoorsy fellow and is also a very charitable person. This makes him not only a good role model, but also a potential toy.

I always brought my GI Joe’s camping when I was little but my son just isn’t into them. He’s such a huge Packers fan that I think an Aaron Kampman action figure would really make him happy when we go up North.

And what little boy wouldn’t be happy with a toy molded in the form of a future Packer HOFer? What would make this invention even sweeter would be like a series of outdoor outfits you could dress AK in (the Hunter, the Camper, the Hunter/Gatherer, etc.). But maybe dress-up gets a little too Barbie, eh? Thanks, Corey!

40-oz Koozies – John in Wauwatosa
They make ‘em for 12-oz bottles and cans, why not a 40-ozer? This is the second zinger from Wauwatosa John and another gem. Just imagine the envy of your friends as you carry around your O.E. in a mega Packer koozie. Well done, John, well done indeed. Let's party sometime, btw.

Leg-Mounted Brat Holders – Franklin Hillside of the Original Packer Ranter
This isn’t your ordinary Leg-Mounted Brat Holder; this one is mounted right inside your pants! …You know, to help your legs stay warm during cold games.

As each holder would potentially hold four brats, if you double your Leg-Mounts, you’ve doubled your brats (eight!!). Not only will you be saving money from not having to buy your meat at the game, but you can also make new friends as you pass them out to your Lambeau neighbors. (Optional kraut dispenser clips to the inside of your jacket.)

I’ll merely echo Franklin’s words when I say, “Yes!!!!” to the Leg-Mounted Brat Holders.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Greatness Probably Tastes Like Butter Pecan

I believe it was Marlon Brando who once said, “Acting is like a 3-gallon vat of ice cream. Sure, you can devour the whole thing in one sitting, but you’ll still want more. Who’s hungry?”

Call him a diva, call him what you will, it’s clear that Favre’s sweet tooth for acting ice cream might never be satisfied. But what is the genesis for such a lifelong obsession of playing the world for his personal stage? Not so much a “what” as a “whom.” That’s right, it was the Minister of Defense himself, Reginald Howard White.

Back in 1997, with the help of a few friends and higher calling, Reggie White created a little moving picture called “Reggie’s Prayer.” With an inspirational plotline and star-studded cameos from the likes of the good M.C. Hammer and the great Pat Morita, this movie seemed destined for Transformers-like box office success. However, audiences didn’t flock to the cineplexes for whatever reasons despite critical success on like this review from “Artist & Author” near Mt. Baker, WA.

“The movie maintains its excitement to the climax when Reggie fights the bad guys and then tracks down a kidnapped team member into the Oregon wilderness to try to rescue the boy.”

(Sidebar: Replace "Reggie" and "boy" with "Arnold" and "daughter" and you have the plot for Commando!)

In this clip, Holmgren, playing the director of custodial arts, is explaining to coach Reggie a play he and his “son” came up with in 1979 called “The Left Coast Special.” Reggie surveys the play and aptly responds, “Looks like the quarterback option.” Both lines are delivered very straightforward and pretty naturally to be honest – I felt like I was watching a documentary at times. However, the next line at the 54 second mark, is arguably the greatest line of all time.

The script calls for Brett, or Burt the idiot custodial sidekick here, to say, “A play can have two names you know.” Now, there are numerous routes an actor might take. A student of the Stanislavski system would have labored over this line for weeks, relentlessly inquiring and pursuing the creative development of the scene in artistic self-reflection. Another performer might travel down Strasberg’s method approach, diving to the greatest depths of his character’s essence, resulting in a psychological embrace where there was no longer any semblance of Brett, only Burt the janitor.

I’m not sure what path Brett took, but he delivers this line with such brilliance, they could’ve made a 10-part Ken Burns fictional documentary about Burt the janitor entitled Awesome and it still wouldn’t have captured the greatness. I’m sorry, the written word is a poor excuse for the excellence of that line. Much like the Matrix, it must be seen. Again, the 54 second mark. Watch it and then watch it again.

You can only imagine the accolades he received after this film was released. Best Supporting Actor in a Faith-based Film. Best Newcomer in a Professional Athlete’s Pet Project (Category: Film). You can only imagine the realization of his special hidden talent – that of acting – dawning on Favre and the hunger for more. Look at us now, over 10 years later, still reflecting on a great debut performance. So while we may not agree with everything he does off the field, at least now we can understand it.

Somewhere, Brando is tipping his spoon to Brett.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Larry Fitzgerald Knows Smooth When He Sees It

Last post-season, I enjoyed watching two things: 1) The Vikings getting beat and 2) Larry Fitzgerald.

Fitz’ postseason numbers were unbelievable: 30 receptions for 546 yards and 7 TDs, including 127 yards and 2 TDs in the Super Bowl. He basically carried Arizona on his back and came within a miracle catch by Santonio Holmes of being Super Bowl MVP. I think few would argue he is the best receiver in the league following that performance. That’s why this little nugget he tweeted yesterday made me giddy:

Just finished the workout today with greg jennings, Jerry Rice,Marcus & the guys.4 being 46 jerry wasnt in too bad of shape 4 an old man lol

Not only was Greg Jennings working out with the best receiver in the game yesterday, he was working out with the second best receiver in the game ever. (Sorry, Jerry, Don Hutson is #1)

As if this wasn’t exciting enough, Fitzgerald then dropped this little beauty:

@DSoHigh Greg Jennings routes are smooth as a babys butt lol. Packer Fans have alot to look foward to this season
Now, I’m not sure who @DSoHigh is, or why he's getting the update on GJ's smoothness, but that is a great quote. A quote that should continue the ever-growing excitement for what Greg Jennings is going to do this season.

Routes as smooth as a baby's butt....NIIIIICE.
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