Thursday, January 28, 2010

G-Men Origins: Lion King

Lion King is a member of the family Secondarie where males reach upwards of 14 stone. Visually, Lion King is highly distinctive and easily recognized by his Predator-like black mane. With uncanny speed and power to match, Lion King can easily take down prey of similar size or larger.

After seeing limited battlefield action under the Elephant Seal (not to be confused with the Walrus), Lion King was subsequently traded to the G-Men for a quaff of mead and some battle armor in the year of our Lord, three and two-thousand. This proved a very unwise action by the Elephant Seal but extremely fortuitous for the G-Men.

In his time defending the G-Men, Lion King has displayed great feats of athleticism, strength and cunning. Like many in the family Secondarie, Lion King spends half his time resting and the other half in intermittent bursts of activity, usually in coordinated hunts with Woodchuck. He has encountered numerous enemies, consistently rendering them powerless and ineffectual.

Dedicated and highly durable, Lion King recently suffered a rare injury only a level six Liger could heal .This leaves Lion King’s future with the G-Men somewhat in doubt. What is certain is that when Lion King is on the field, the G-Men have an increased chance of victory.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I Can Admit It

Looks like Lony got his wish.

I was incredibly ambivalent last year when Favre was in New York. It didn’t bother me, and it didn’t instill any emotions whatsoever. However, put Favre in my front yard wearing purple, and I was forced to feel something. My feeling amounted to raging disgust, and an even greater hatred for the Vikings than I already had. I know, I know, I didn’t even think that was possible. Living in the heart of Vikings’ territory means I had a front row seat to the Savior Bandwagon being gassed, loaded, and peeling out of the station. It made me gag and choke on the awful fumes.

I’ll never even remotely come close to rooting for the Vikings, but I didn’t hate Favre, disgust is different than hate. (Disgust aside, I was impressed by the fact that he kept getting back up after being beaten like a piƱata all evening.) So yeah, watching the game, I was cheering against the Vikings and that includes #4. I couldn’t have written a better ending to this than the one that played out yesterday. The Vikings lost, and Favre was a pretty big part of that. I enjoyed the irony of it playing out eerily similar to how it played out for the Packers in 2007. I was happy, very happy, and then something happened that totally rocked my foundation of disgust. I realized I couldn’t enjoy the Vikings’ loss without admitting this…

Inner monologue:

“No, Franklin, you can’t do it.”
“I have to! I need to get it off my chest!”
“You will lose your credibility and bring scorn upon the House of Hillside.”
“What credibility?!?”
“….good point. Have at.”

Okay, so here it is, you want an admission? I’ll give you an admission: I had a momentary lapse of disgust. I felt…empathy. After that 16 year-old kicker hit the winning field goal, the camera went to Favre on the sideline with a blank look on his face…and I felt bad for him. Then he looked on the verge of tears when he was talking to Drew Brees, and I was sympthetic. No matter how you felt about him over the course of the season, I bet that you did too. For some reason, Favre elicits emotions that others don’t or wouldn’t, and you know what? That’s cool.

But you know what else happened? My eyes refocused, I saw the jersey he was wearing, and I returned to feelings of…no, not disgust this time, but to ambivalence.

So, here’s to future ambivalence towards #4.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

One Man's Opinion

LXIV Caliber
By Lony Olec

Let’s get one thing straight: I don’t hate Brett Favre. He took us to the big show twice, won it once, and came within spitting distance plenty of times. He allowed me to hold my head up high as a Packer backer, which is difficult when you are a fan of America’s greatest sports institution in a city as barbaric as Chicago, where holding your head up high for the Green Bay Packers, the finest collection of humanitarians and athletes ever assembled, is considered a cue for the Molesters of the Midway to throw bottles at your face. So when I finally quite my job as an engineer in the nineties and moved to De Pere to be closer to my team, I was glad that I traded in a $87,000-a-year position to start as a new guy in the electricians’ union at $9 an hour, a tradition of football excellence that any human whose heart still pumps blood could be proud of, AND a winning season. So I don’t hate Brett Favre. I just want him to rue the day he took the fans and the people of Green Bay for granted.

I want him to be injured early in either the NFC Championship game or Super Bowl XLIV – not much, maybe a low spinal or both of his femurs broken – and then, while he watches from his hospital bed, I want his team, the ‘greatest team he ever played on’, to collapse. I want the opposing team to crush the Vikings, the way a 400-lb. lineman crushed Brett’s pelvis – the way that Mississippi drama queen crushed our hearts.

That’s all. I am not a vengeful guy. I just want Brett to realize that he should have quit when he said he would. I want him to realize that he would never have found a greater family than the Packer family, and that he should have just appreciated that he was able to play, and play well, for the greatest football city in the world, rather than head to some minor league dump like New York or Minneapolis and try to be a big fish in a little pond. You always were a big fish, Brett! You were always the biggest fish!

And when Brett hobbles around his home after he finally retires for good, requiring a walker because of his shattered knees, or has to have ramps installed because he is paralyzed from the waist down, I want him to consider the blob of tapioca pudding staining his t-shirt, dribbled from his mouth when his nursing assistant fed him, and say to himself, “Man, I had a good thing in Green Bay.”

I just want justice.

The views of Lony Olec do not necessarily reflect those of the Packer Ranter.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

G-Men Origins: Hawkman

Part Midwestern humanoid and part Broad-Winger, the Hawkman is known for his bulkish figure and attacking ferocity. Thought to be the reincarnation of an ancient Nordic prince, the Hawkman’s conspicuous long, blonde hair is reminiscent of a violent medieval warrior but also serves as a female attractor when not in combat.

As a first-class graduate, the Hawkman was believed to have mythical abilities that would help lead the G-Men for centuries. However, success was mixed for the Hawkman, and he was relegated by Silver Hair to serve on special missions instead of patrolling the main battlefield.

The Hawkman remains a controversial figure. There are those who believe he will someday help lead the G-Men to victory while others suggest he would not yield a return more substantial than a skin of goat’s milk from a one-eyed gypsy.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Views from the Hillside.

Here you go Ranter fans, my season-ending Views from the Hillside. You may not want,'ve got it. When you're as meat drunk on red meat as I am, your mind can't think longer than bullet points.
  • Each year after the season is over, I go to the store, buy a big fat steak, grill it while drinking PBR tallboys, and then work my way through it. By the time I’m done savoring each morsel, I’ve come to grips with the end of Packer football for another year. If I feel like haven’t completely reconciled my feelings and let go, I do the same thing the following evening….I’ve had four steaks this week, and it seems like a fifth is on the menu for tonight (hence, the meat drunkeness). Man, this is getting expensive.
  • I will not be in Minneapolis this weekend which is fantastic because the smell emanating from the Metrodome would probably kill me. Jerry Jones, Tony Romo, Brent, and Jared Allen are all in the same place at the same time? The EPA should declare a preemptive toxic spill now and just hope they can stop the overflow from polluting the Mississippi more than it all ready is.
  • Two of Greg Jennings receptions on Sunday were absolutely insane…and I don’t think either involved a push-off.
  • I’ve been told to quit complaining about the refs more than once this week, and you know what? I’m not going to do it. Do I really, truly believe they were the reason we lost the game? Of course not, but they didn’t help, and if I want to bitch about it, I can. There’s only one reason for it: it’s CATHARTIC. Plain and simple. Some people blame Mike McCarthy, some blame Mason Crosby, some blame Robert (he even blames himself), some blame Jarrett Bush, but in the end it all achieves the same purpose: it helps you feel better about losing the game and the season being over.
  • The refs stunk…HA! Maybe I don’t need another porterhouse tonight.
  • It’s a long offseason but 88+12+85+21+52+25+77=Optimism
  • I don’t know if you pray, meditate, worship wood nymphs, or believe in nussing, and I don’t care; but keep the people of Haiti in your thoughts, and give something if you can spare it. It’s the right thing to do.
  • I’ll step off my soapbox now…
  • My one goal in 2010 has nothing to do with the Packers, work, or my personal life. Prior to the kickoff of the 2010 season, I plan to find out why Fox uses the robot. I know people who have never watched football in their lives who have walked into a room, looked at the TV, and said, “What’s that robot doing, and what does it have to do with this football-thing you’re watching?” Then it makes ME look stupid trying to explain it, when the whole problem actually is: THE ROBOT IS STUPID! And just an fyi: that robot is making you stupid, and I think you have the right to at least know why it exists before you end up like this.
  • Bring on the draft…what's the date today? {sigh}

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Blame Myself

I thought I did everything right. I wore my Packer Zubaz to bed the night before. I sipped coffee from my lucky Packer mug in the morning. I recited Lombardi’s will to win speech to my dog after I put on her Packer collar and before we played fetch with my Aaron “The Camping Man” prototype. I set the meat out to defrost and whistled some. Everything was perfect.

But there was still seven hours until kickoff. And when I went to get the Bloody mix from the garage, a lifetime’s worth of clutter lay there, taunting me like some tormenting devil child.

“Go on, Greenfield,” the clutter spoketh. “Stop staring. Get your booze mix and leave me to revel in my chaos and filth… just like you do every other day.”

“Quiet, beast!” I yelled. “Or I shall void thee back into the abyss!”

The clutter was amused. “You silly Ranter. Have you forgotten what day it is? Did it slip your mind that your precious Green Bay Packers are in the playoffs today and you have your famous cheeseburger surprise to prepare and possibly a Rant to write? You talk to yourself, by the way. Which is how I know all this.”

“I have had just about enough of you!” I flipped on the lights, exposing the clutter for all its vile worth. I started pushing things aside. Aha! Behind the cooler and under some (collector editions, nice) nudy mags I found the shelves I bought in summer the last time I felt motivated to clean the garage.

Seven hours and ten garbage bags later, I was putting the last of the “miscellaneous shelf” items away. I had no idea what time it was because there are no clocks in there. I figured it would be fine though because pregame coverage of the GB game on the radio would let me know when I should stop working and commence my own pregame rituals. Before I knew it, an update announced that Rodgers had thrown an INT. I had the wrong station on, idiot!

I literally began choking on my Leinenkugels. Coughing and somewhat disoriented, I stumbled inside to see for myself. Like you, I then remained in shock as the Cards put up a quick 14.

Now, I’m probably being too hard on myself when I say it’s my fault the Packers lost, but I can’t help it. It’s just so abnormal for me not to be ready with plenty of time to spare for any Packer game, let alone a playoff game. Such bad joo-joo! I guess we are all questioning things right now. I just need some time to think.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Green and Gold Samurai

Samurai. Got your attention?

The warrior-elite of feudal Japan have become the stuff of legend. Known for their battlefield prowess, they were also scholars, poets, and prolific zen-gardeners (You can’t fight all the time; you need a place to tend to your wounds every now and then). They were known for their honor and respect of tradition, both within their own samurai culture and the Japanese society as a whole. But let’s be honest, ultimately a samurai is understood to be a master of combat. A sword, staff, spear, bow and arrows, are all creative tools of their death-dealing trade. Modern fictional versions of the samurai include: Jedi Knights, The Bride, this Dude, not this Dude, and even Wolverine. I could even make a wild assertion that these guys were modern version of the samurai.

The reason this all comes up is because I just watched Ronin again. For those not versed in Japanese, ronin is the term given to samurai who have no master and are motivated by the acquisition of wealth…and possibly women, but I haven’t ever heard that second part, it’s more of a personal inference. Anyway, Ronin... ronin… samurai… Ghostbusters… Nick Barnett. You don’t need to see my connections, but the point being is I got there today. Well, the Ghostbusters are actually irrelevant to this argument, but anytime you can try to justify in your head a claim that Peter Venkman and Ray Stantz are samurai, you know it’s a good day.

Back to Nick Barnett. Green Bay’s very own samurai is having a phenomenal season, which I’m sure you’re all aware of. He leads the Packers in tackles, has four sacks, and he has done all this in a new defense and while recovering from a shredded knee. Barnett must have a pretty sweet zen-garden to meditate and recover in to pull off the recovery that he has. His resume for this season and in years past speaks to the dedication he has to his craft. Yet, something always creeps into the Nick Barnett discussion, and it boggles my mind. Some Packer fans question his samurai sword celebration.

I still read or hear about people being bugged by it, or thinking it’s not being used at the appropriate time. To this I say, you’re lucky you’re not dead already. In feudal Japan, samurai had the right to kill commoners when they saw fit, and it’s lucky Barnett hasn’t seen fit to eliminate you critics with his katana. You are only breathing because #56 is merciful and doesn’t want to waste time cleaning the blood from his blade after he separates your head from your torso for your insolence.

I’ve never questioned the Barnett samurai sword. EVER. In fact, I love it. I can always see it coming, and I stand up and copy it (not nearly as well). I do this for two reasons: 1) it, and samurai, are freakin’ cool and 2) I don’t want Nick Barnett to become angered by my lack of enthusiasm. I like my head attached to my torso, thank you very much.

So, Nick, if you’re reading this, congrats on the great season, good luck in the playoffs, and here’s to many, many more samurai sword celebrations this postseason and beyond.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Aaron Rodgers MVP? Not Even Close!

The one knock that somehow keeps coming up is that Aaron Rodgers’ personality is well, not as exciting as his play. Since his game appears to be borderline flawless, some Turdvilles have latched on to the fact that Rodgers tends to remain calm and level-headed despite every opportunity to completely lose control of his emotions. Like Tim Duncan or Albert Pujols, all Aaron Rodgers does is perform at an incredibly elite level but the man can’t even take a moment to impersonate the Governator or crack a good fart joke at the presser. What the hell?

Of course I have to take this criticism with a grain of salt because it usually comes from A) casual fans or B) Favre fans. But it did get me thinking – if Aaron Rodgers is among the best players in all of pro sports but has one of the worst personalities (supposedly), who would his opposite? In other words, who might suck on gameday but could MC a roast of the great Don Rickles that night? Who, my friends, is sports’ Most Valuable Personality (MVP)?

Bubba Smith. Sure he played nine seasons in the NFL, but what he’s most known for is playing hulkish officer Hightower in the Police Academy series, aka the Gutenberg years.

Bob Uecker. A self-proclaimed awful player during his time, Uecker actually made it into the baseball HOF as an announcer. For over 30 years, Bob has been the voice behind the mic for own Milwaukee Brewers. Along the way, he yucked it up in Mr. Belvedere, awesome Miller Lite commercials, and even became most memorable sports announcer in the history of cinema. Folks, this guy is not only a Wisconsin classic, he is also a national treasure.

Jeremy Kapinos. Rumor is that our very own Packer punter is known for his hysterical practical jokes around the locker room. I heard that one of his favorite things to do is tell people they are cut during training camp. When they start to breakdown or go ballistic, Kapinos announces, “Just Kidding!” and gives them a business card that says, “You’ve just been fooled out of your jockstrap by Jeremy “Just Kidding” Kapinos. Now available for corporate events and private parties.” Just what I heard.

OK, so Rodgers is more likely to show up on the MVP or Super Bowl stage before the Saturday Night Live stage. So what? I can’t even believe I feel like I have to reiterate this, but THAT IS A GOOD THING. There is no such thing as a perfect athlete and we’ve learned that no athlete is untouchable. If it’s not their performance, it’s their personality. If it’s not their personality, it’s their behavior, and so on. But if you’d rather have someone who specializes in showmanship over leadership, you may need to question whether winning really is that important to your team. Give me Rodgers any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
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