Saturday, February 27, 2010

Happy B-Day, Johnny!

Men are not responsible for either remembering buddies' birthdays, or buying them gifts in the rare event that they should happen to remember. This would only really happen if some other reason for remembering the day came into play, like it was St. Patrick's Day or August 11th. All that can be expected from another guy is the following conversation:

"Dude, it's your birthday today? Cool."
"Yeah, petty sweet."
"Man, I didn't know that, how old are you now?"
"The big ____-____"
"Sweet. Here's a shot. Let me get you another beer."

Transaction complete. Now, of course it is customary for it to proceed farther than that, but if not, the previous conversation is all that is required between men.

That is, of course, unless you find the ultimate, one-of-kind, perfect gift for the Cliff to your Norm. Millhouse to your Bart. Egon to your Ray. Well, Robert and I found that gift for good friend of the Packer Ranter, John Johnson, aka The Company Man. I was surfing around this new website called "eBay". Okay, okay, I understand that it's not new, but auctions scare me. They would scare you too if you went to an auction with your grandpa as a child and accidentally bought him a $20,000 snow plow. I still owe him $5,000, and Mr. Plow doesn't forgive debts. Anyway, we found the greatest gift that Ted Thompson's #1 fan could get for his birthday:

That's right, Robert and I got John Johnson a custom-made 4x6 Ted Thompson picture and an authentic 2009 Brookfield Police Ted Thompson card...both autographed by the man himself. Who would want autographed GM memorabilia? Well, you've never met John Johnson, I guess. The most damning criticism of Ted Thompson, I've heard from him? "Hmmm....that's a big contract for Grant. Not sure about that. Well, In Ted I Trust." (Turns out it was a pretty good deal, in Ted he trusts, indeed)

Well, that may have been damning criticism, but the best praise I heard: "This is the best birthday gift I got."

Hell. Yeah. Now, how old are you?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Summer Rubber Had Me a Blast

Some things are not easy to admit.

Like the time I soiled my pants very badly in junior high after eating a moldy bologna sammy on a triple-dog-dare.

Or the day my mom walked in on me kissing a mirror when I was seven (it was practice for the big game someday hopefully with Greta Heinemann).

However, the summer when I was five became more than just an embarrassing moment, it was a season of shame. You see, I had these reoccurring dreams – night terrors, really – of Darth Vader chasing me up the stairs. I would try and climb as fast as I could, but the stairs turned into quicksand and I got stuck. Right before D.V. would grab me, I would wake up. And the bed would be wet.

This happened 2-3x/week, my mom tells me, for a good month before my parents did something about it. No, they didn’t get me a therapist or apologize for letting me watch Star Wars too young, they got me a twin-size rubber sheet… with a giant Packers “G” logo on it.

You see, my parents knew the one thing in my life that I would never try and harm in any way would my turtle Mortimer or the Packers. They must’ve been out of the ocean-themed rubber sheets so they got the Packers ones instead. And I’ll tell you, they worked like a charm. No, they didn’t stop the Vader dreams right away but after we started using the rubber sheets, I would only wake up screaming… the bed was dry!

My nighttime confidence grew so much that one night I gave Vader a swift kick to the helmet and he stopped chasing me. It was the last Star Wars nightmare I would ever have until the real-life nightmare that was Jar Jar Binks.

Out of curiosity, I emailed my mom to ask where they bought the Packer rubber sheet. Apparently, it wasn’t a sheet at all – it was an all-weather XL grill cover that they cut up and bungee-corded to the bed. Well played!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The List: Item #63

As we have gotten older, Robert and I have become more responsible, especially in regards to our tailgating experiences. Our initial forays into tailgating were successful, if Spartan. We would get to the parking lot with the barest essentials, but invariably would have forgotten a key component: kraut, or buns, or spicy brown mustard, or a bottle opener. Lucky for us, tailgating Packer fans are the most generous subsection of humans on the planet discovered to date, so we would always barter beers (That was one item that never seemed to be forgotten. We may be forgetful in our excitement for game day, but we’re not morons) or extra meats for the lacking items.

However, our early experiences have taught us well, and now we rarely forget anything. The reason? We have begun to compile a list of essential items that we deem mandatory for Packer fans in search of maximum tailgating enjoyment. We simply refer to it as “The List”. It is an ever-evolving collection of things that get packed into Robert’s Tercel early morning on gameday. As Packer fans have been generous to us in the past, we now hope to pay them back by sharing “The List” with them. Over the course of the offseason, The Ranter will be highlighting items from “The List” with the intent of helping others achieve an Impressive tailgating experience.

Without further adieu, The List: Item #63: A set of Perfect Fit Buttons

Unless you are blessed enough to have a pair of Zubaz, or you are one of the few, the proud, the “I wear sweatpants in public” crowd, you probably will be wearing a pair of pants to the game that have a button. The problem with this is, you will also be eating copious amounts of grilled meat, baked beans, chips, chili, and not to mention consuming a lion’s share of beer. While this is enjoyable, the resulting expansion of your midsection is uncomfortable at best, and painful at worst. Hence, Item #63, an inconspicuous means of releasing the pressure of your waistband for the next few hours. This will ensure that you will be able to stand and scream in comfort for all of the Packers’ plays, while continuing to fill your gullet with Leinies. In addition, thanks to your Perfect Fit Buttons, the post game celebration at Stadium View or Anduzzi’s will be able to continue into the wee hours of the morning. Ahhhhh…..

You can thank us this fall.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Once Upon a Pie

Every industry has its peak season. For those in the business of making pizza pies in the US of A, it coincides with the NFL season. During those four months, you can expect to generate 2/3 of your revenue for the year. If you’ve worked it, you know it’s as chaotic as it gets and definitely not for those who like to dilly dally/fiddle faddle/lolly gag. But if you can somehow grind your way through, it can pay off big.

During the ’96 season, pizza delivery was really booming in Wisconsin, and especially for our store. We had what some call the perfect storm of success. It was beautiful. After cutting ties with some major turdlingers, we realized we had kind of a Pro Bowl Pizza team. That is, we had quality tossers, efficient drivers (yours truly), smooth operators and to top it off, one of the pies we concocted one drunk Tuesday – the Triple Bacon Cheese Dripper – became successful beyond our wildest imaginations.

My store had almost 5,000 deliveries alone (a franchise record to this day, my friends) and I put almost 25k on my Tercel that season (that’s with taking game days off per my arrangement with my boss). Yeah, we were working double and triple shifts but almost always with a smile on our face. After all, we were making unprecedented money (I had a stack of tips smashed as thick as phone book). And almost as good, our customers loved seeing us. Some simply tipped more, others offered homemade knickknacks, and it wasn’t unheard of to be invited in for beers and yes, even the occasional motorboat. Life was good!

Our store performed so well that we each received a bonus from corporate of $150 (before taxes) and five vouchers for a free large one-topping with the expiration date missing (suckers!). It was the kind of reward that dissolved your cynicism and rejuvenated your faith in mankind – it truly felt that great.

But as much as I like to reminisce about that year, we owe it all to the Packers. Without a doubt, they were the hypodermic needle for the greater Green Bay/Wisconsin economy. Our store, like so many others, was simply riding the crest of that magical Packers season. I think that season was best summed upped by my coworker Geoff, a promising young tosser with webbed feet. He said, “Dude. You know what I just realized? When the Packers win, we all win!”

That’s damn right, Geoff.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Ranter Needs Your Help!

Some people (especially radio guys it seems) hate it when you ask them, gently suggest, or flat out tell them what to talk about. Here at the Ranter, we take no such stance. We like to think of ourselves as a collective, a commune if you will. We take suggestions, we take questions, and sometimes we’ll even take direct orders, usually not without a snarky comment, but we’ll still take it. Our ultimate goal is your happiness, and not like the happiness created by booze; well, at least a strong pairing for the boozy happiness that so many of our readers, all eight of you, drift along in.

So here’s my request to you, let us know what you want to read about. Because, contrary to popular belief, it’s not easy to come up with the stuff that graces the posts of The Ranter, regardless of how easy Greenfield makes it seem. Let’s be honest, the offseason is too damn long for us to come up with original stuff every day. Hell, it took me ten minutes to come up with the idea of doing a Rant with no idea other than asking for Rant ideas. Brilliant! Thank you!

Do you want more G-Men Origins? Who do you want ‘The Chronicler’ to immortalize next? Classic G-men characters like ‘24 Karat Hornung’ or newer heroes like ‘The Green and Gold Surfer’?

Do you want G-Men Nemesis Rants? ‘The Grey Ghost’, ‘Rodeo Clown’, and ‘The Weeper’?

Do you want more in-depth draft analysis? A mock, mock if you will? For example: would you rather draft Mel Kipers freak-show hair in the first round, or trade down and draft the idiot, over-reactive Jets fans that always make the draft hilarious to watch?

Do you want more interviews with other Packers bloggers? I know Alex Tallitsch and Brian Carriveau really set the bar high, but I think we can get to know some of these people who spend their time writing for the interwebs about all things Packers. Any specific questions you want asked?

Do you want to know how many times Robert rode the mechanical bull outside Stadium View after the Packer/Viking game this year? And why? Or as I like to call it: “Adventures in Tailgating”. Sorry, no Elisabeth Shue…at least not THIS year.

Do you want more Guest Rants by wordsmiths like Lony Olec, D the Dragon, or The Company Man: John Johnson (Ted Thompson’s #1 Fan)?

Do you want something so crazy, that it would violently tear at our sanity, and make us laugh hysterically?!?!? I’m not that clever, so the topic will have to come from you.

Do you want me to stop being lazy and just think up stuff on my own? Fine, but tell Greenfield he has to buy better beer then, the Duff’s is just leaving me sluggish.

If you’ve got an idea or want to have your voice heard and responded to, leave a comment or send an email…it’s a long offseason, so we will get to it. If not, Robert is Director of The Ranter Complaint Department.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

G-Men Origins: Iron Thigh

Born Masonathan Gargomel Crosby IV, he is a G-Men specialist and socialite playboy whose right leg was engineered into a high-powered bionic weapon known as Iron Thigh.

As a teenager, Mason’s young thigh showed promise. It was girthier than the other boys and more defined as well. He routinely triumphed in Herculean-like challenges – the Texas leg press, the leg push-up, kick the keg and so on. The legend of Mason’s thigh grew and earned him an opportunity to serve with the Buffaloes of Colorado. There, his leg ego ran wild. He charged women to touch it, convinced the alchemy club to bronze it, and even ordered biomedical department to routinely experiment on his thigh lest he use his legs as a nutcracker and their heads as giant walnuts… or something.

After several failed experiments, Iron Thigh was completed. Upon graduation, he enlisted with the G-Men and proved to be immediately effective. The pressures have since mounted for Iron Thigh and although his leg remains as powerful as ever, it’s less about the length and more about the width these days.

Subsequent re-imaginings of Iron Thigh have placed him in both the Civil War as a cannonball kicker and also as the star of Kicked Off, a dating show where he sends unwanted women into the abyss with an otherworldly booming kick. For now, Iron Thigh seeks to regain his seemingly lost reputation as a mighty leg specialist for the G-Men.

Monday, February 1, 2010

With the 23rd Pick...

I was told at an early age that if you don’t toot your own horn, no one else will. So here I go. I read Don Banks’ first mock draft last week, and I was pleasantly surprised by his excellent choice for the Packers at #23. He went with Maryland junior offensive tackle, Bruce Campbell. Here’s my toot. I liked this pick a couple weeks before Banks did. Ha! …and most of you think I don’t know what I am talking about.

That’s about the entire extent of similarity in our pick; mainly, that we agree it should be Campbell. Banks offers up legitimate football reasoning mostly that he is a hulking, man-beast. My rationale for this pick is purely selfish. I’ve never seen Campbell play, I don’t know if he’s ever going to be a great left tackle for the Packers, but I do know his selection by the Packers will make gamedays even more enjoyable. I know you’re thinking: not possible, gamedays are like beer, the only way they can get better is to have more of them, and the Packers won’t play 16 times a week. Well, hold on and let me explain. You see, whenever I hear the name Bruce Campbell, I can’t help but think about shopping smart, shopping S-Mart. (If that doesn’t ring the awesome-gong in your melon, go buy this and come back.)

The fact is this could be your gameday:

Campbell gets called for illegal hands to the face: “It got into my hand and it went bad, so I lopped it off at the wrist.”

Campbell lines up across from Jared Allen: “Yo, she-bitch! Let’s go!”

Campbell and Rodgers in the huddle:
C: “34 Clatto Verata Nicto veer option”
R: “Well, repeat them.
C: “34 Clatto Verata Nicto veer option”
R: “Again.”
C: “I got it, I got it! I know your damn plays, alright?”

Campell staring at the Bears’ defense: “Now I swear the next one of you primates even touches me…”

Campbell recovers a fumble: “Got you, didn’t I? You little sucker.”

Campbell pancakes a D-end and stands above him: “Hail to the king, baby.”

Campbell shakes hands at the coin toss: “Name’s Ash. Housewares.”

Colledge misses a block and James Campen screams at Campbell and Colledge:
DC: “My bad.”
BC: “Good. Bad. I’m the one with the guns.” {flexes both massive arms}

Seriously, I could go on all day, but the point is having Campbell at left tackle would lead to your Sunday afternoon being filled with grooovy quotes like these. The question you must ask yourself is would you rather listen to Ash…or Joe Buck?

I thought so. Give me some sugar, baby
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