Friday, October 29, 2010

Be Prepared For When You Hear "Go Pack!"

Outside the friendly confines of Wisconsin, the Packer fan’s natural habitat, it is less common to encounter a Packer fan, than say when one is roaming the streets of Appleton. (While less common, the Packer fan’s habitat still extends further than any other NFL fan’s, I have anecdotal evidence of this, but also quantitative data in the sheer number of Packer bars around the world, estimated to be at 15,000 and counting) Upon discovering a fellow Packer in the wild, the customary greeting is, “Go Pack.” Nothing more is needed, or expected. Both individuals can go happily and proudly on their merry ways, knowing there are kindred spirits wandering the wilderness outside of the Motherland.

I live as close to a Packer fan’s home territory as possible, and I encounter some every now and then in my day-to-day activities. While the greeting is common knowledge, the response and acknowledgement to said greeting is open to interpretation and creativity. I came to realize this when a woman rollerbladed by me the other day, and yelled, “Go Pack!”. She sped off like Greg Jennings before I could acknowledge her. I realized I was caught off guard, and I vowed to be prepared when I come across a Packer fan in the wild again. After serious brainstorming, well, actually it was more of a light drizzle than a storm, I’ve come up with some suggestions for you to use when responding to a heartfelt, "Go Pack!":

The Raji: Notice how when Raji makes a big play he extends his arms and flicks his fingers calling for love from the fans? This is an excellent way to respond when someone gives you a, “Go Pack!”

The Slow Nod: Calm, confident…toeing the line of arrogance. You’ll look smooth with this Go Pack response.

The Shooter McGavin: This is for the highly excitable Packer fan. Upon hearing, “Go Pack!” you draw your six-shooters and start firing away at everything in sight.

The Dual Flex: This is for the intense Packer fan, I can see Robert using this one after 15 Red Bulls and 6 brats…Lift up both arms, and simply flex your biceps…this can be accompanied by a guttural, “RAAAAWR” if one is so inclined.

The Belt: You know it, you love it (or hate it), you just strap on Rodgers’s Title Belt, and nothing else needs to be done.

The Matrix: When Neo is “beginning to believe” he does this fantastic swinging of his arms, stops, looks at Mr. Smith, and beckons him to bring it on. This Go Pack reaction is a favorite of sci-fi and kung fu fanatics.

The Undertaker: This is perfect for when you and a fellow Packer fan are surrounded by enemies. You hear a "Go Pack!" and slowly draw your thumb across your neck while glaring at your opposition. Intimidation factor: HIGH

Of course another perfectly acceptable response to a "Go Pack!" is to just look your fellow Packer fan in the eye, and scream "Go Pack!" right back at them. The preceding are all good options, but I'm going to let you behind the curtain and tell you what my go to response to a "Go Pack!" will be moving forward.

The Bender: Don't you forget about me! Pop in your sweet diamond earring, raise your fist in the air, and just walk away.

Got any other ideas? Leave them in the Comments.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pat's Spat

The spirits walk among us – oh yes. Some are good, some are evil and others just wander in a sad existence because they don’t know they’re dead. You may not believe, and that’s just fine, but try telling that to the 41% of people who claim to have had a ghostly encounter or the gifted few who can actually communicate with them.

Most spirits move to the afterlife as seamlessly as bacon does from the pan into the gullet. But once in a while, something upsets them and they return to resolve unfinished business. Such was the case Sunday, when the ghost of Pat Morita surfaced on defense, swept Brett Favre’s legs and prevented his miracle comeback against the Packers.

I know this because last Saturday night/Sunday morning at 3am, a group of paranormal investigators that I found via craigslist and I visited Lambeau Field in hopes of conjuring said Hollywood icon. You see, Morita was a huge Packer fan and coincidentally, there have been numerous reports of a small, warrior-like man practicing Crane kicks on the roof and waxing cars in the parking lot at night. If this were in fact the ghost of Pat Morita, we were hoping his spirit would help settle a bet whether Chuck Norris reportedly turned down the role of John Kreese because he did not want to portray a character that reinforced a negative stereotype of martial arts. If there was time, we’d probably ask what God’s like and stuff, too.

Wearing some makeshift karate robes and Danielsan bandanas, we set up nightvision cameras and motion sensors around the stadium and walked around with voice recorders, asking questions in hopes of collecting some EVPs (electronic voice phenomenon). We received nothing but white noise until a certain sensitive subject was mentioned. “Porkchop”, our medium with limited precog abilities (who also makes one helluva Braunschweiger spread btw), suddenly spoke up. “Quiet noob, he’s here!” he told me. We looked around…nothing. “Now, Robert! Make haste with your inquiries.”

I pulled out my note card with the Norris question, but something compelled me to ask another. “Pat, do you regret appearing alongside Brett Favre in Reggie’s Prayer?” I asked. Then, as clear as the moon was full, we heard the word “Re-venge…” And with that, all of our equipment went dead as if unplugged. It was so loud and distinct and otherwordly that Clint, our tech specialist, freaked out into the night and we have not heard from him since.

That was all we captured. All of Sunday and throughout the game, I pondered the night’s previous events. If finally became clear to me on the very last Vikings’ play of the game when Favre dropped back and fell to the ground missing out on the chance to hit his open receiver in the end zone to win the game. Think I’m kidding? Replay clearly shows (at 6:15) that Favre simply fell, as though he was on the receiving end of a leg sweep from an unseen entity. Was this the ghost of Pat Morita taking revenge against his former favorite player on his favorite team going to their arch nemesis? Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Talking Trash with Vikings Gab

It's that time of the season again, Vikings week. As such, I did a little back and forth with Adam over at Vikings Gab. He valiantly tried to defend his team, but in the end, it's always difficult to defend the Vikings. My responses are in green and his are in violet.
Well, it is that time once again Packer Ranter, when gravity itself could cease to exist and the only concern Vikings and Packers fans would have is how it will affect Sunday Night’s game. So, while my team is struggling to play up to their potential and your team is struggling to find 45 healthy guys to play football, it is time to start another round of trash talk. I have to wonder if you are hesitant about doing so, however, as every time we have done this segment to date your team has been on the losing end. If you were a superstitious person, I would completely understand your hesitance to even respond.
I am indeed superstitious, but I am well aware of the small corner of the cosmos that I inhabit, and I understand that nothing I do has any effect on the Packers. That said, I have sacrificed 2 chickens and done an interpretive dance just to be sure that karmic balance is reached. You’re correct in pointing out the Packers have been ravaged by injuries, but this week should see Clay Matthews and Ryan Pickett back, both who are immeasurably important to our defense, one against the run and one against the pass. Hopefully, this helps against AP and Brent. Speaking of injuries, are you excited about the Lito Sheppard era beginning in earnest in Minnesota? I gotta say, I am.
Sacrificed two chickens? I thought stuff like that was every day practice in Wisconsin. I wonder if Matthews and Pickett will be anywhere close to 100% to provide that much needed help. With scummy weather in line for Sunday Night this game could very well be decided on the ground, and we all know who is superior in that department. The one guy that worries me most in the ground game on your team is Marshawn Ly- oh, wait, never mind. Lito has played well for us so far, with the exception being last week, but luckily we are getting Chris Cook back to knock him down a notch on the depth chart. Solid running, solid defensive line play, and solid tackling is a formula for victory in this one, and all those things are something the Vikings are superior to the Packers in. Don’t worry about the cold weather though, we’ve kept the third place seat warm for you and you’ll be sitting in it on Monday.
Actually, Robert lives in WI, I live in Minneapolis. I tossed the chicken carcasses at Mall Of America Field (MOA Field? Seriously?) for good measure yesterday. You can probably still go pick them up if you’re looking for something to eat tonight. Meh, Matthews at 75% is more than enough to dominate your tackles, and Ryan Pickett shouldn’t have much trouble with…which one of your centers is starting Sunday? Oh never mind, it’s BJ Raji at nose tackle against your no-name center, and Pickett going against…Anthony Herrera, wow. Throw in Cullen Jenkins and the Packers have 982 lbs on the D-line, but sure, keep thinking you will be able to run all day. Brandon Jackson is no worse or better than Marshawn Lynch, so why mortgage the future with a midseason trade? I mean, I get why the Vikings did it, you’re desperate, but to throw away draft picks just isn’t sustainable, which Zygmunt will realize in the coming (read: next) years. Chris Cook going on a bum wheel against Greg Jennings…or any Packer receiver? I’ll take that walking away. You’re playing the cold weather card? I think I can hear the creaking in Favre’s joints from here, hopefully his texting hand is alright after the game. Ray Edwards is pretty much the only pressure you MIGHT get on Rodgers because Jared Allen has never had success against Chad Clifton. One question I have: does Ray Edwards practice all these cheap shots, or is he just inherently a dirty player?
I just don’t want you to get your hopes up, especially when it comes to the passing game. After all, the Vikings have been responsible for Drew Brees, Chad Henne, and Tony Romo having their lowest passing totals of the season. If Rodgers goes into a wet and sloppy Sunday Night game thinking he’ll be able to pass all over the Vikings, then he’s got another thing coming. And you KNOW Jackson isn’t running for 100 yards against us. With Percy Harvin, Randy Moss, and Adrian Peterson on the field, the Vikings should be able to put up enough points to beat Crosby’s four field goals. I’m not too high on our offensive line, but considering we have given up less sacks and our ground game is leap years better than yours… I think we’ll do just fine. Oh, and when Rodgers is running around like a chicken with his head cut off, just remember that karma has a way of reminding people why not to throw chicken carcasses at public buildings. Normally, however, karma is able to get that message to people by the time they graduate from junior high.
I’ll take any chicken running around with his head cut off that has 12 rushing TDs in two and a half seasons. Also, that chicken with a head cut off running around means Brandon Jackson doesn’t have to rush for 100 yards for the Packers to be successful. I believe it’s referred to as a mobile QB, which Favre can only be called if you’re referring to his ability to send dong shots on the fly with his cell. What was the Vikings record in those games where they held Brees, Henne, and Romo to their lowest passing totals? 1 and 3? Seems like odds I’d take. The Vikes got the best of the Packers last year at Lambeau, Robert and I witnessed it first hand, but things always change. You have a confidence that far exceeds your coaches ability, and the Packers have talent that far exceeds their mediocre record. The universe will be balanced out Sunday night, my Junior High Eastern Philosophy Course taught me that. As far as public buildings go, will Mall of America Field be left standing as a museum honoring the Vikings’ futility after they have moved to L.A.? If so, I’d probably go wander around those beautiful cement concourses for an hour or two. Packers 30 Vikings 21.
If you're in the mood, run over to Vikings Gab and talk a little trash yourself. Go Pack!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Take a Deep Breath....

Of course I have concerns about the Packers, but I’m more worried about our fans right now. I haven’t seen this much freaking out since my cousin tried to get his dog to wear a a Santa hat during Christmas ’04. The dog would not stop running around, squealing like someone was branding him with a hot poker. He stopped eating for a week and has since become incredibly skittish about being touched on the head.

It’s a long season, Packer fans. We’re going to need you cheering for these last ten games and with a little luck, perhaps some more. To help you cope with these panic attacks, I’ve compiled a list of symptoms that may help you decide if you are in fact having a panic attack and if so, how you can cope.

Common Symptoms of Panic Attack

• Raging heartbeat, like you’re seeing new NFL spokesperson Marisa Miller for the first time
• Feeling as though you 'can't get enough air’ as if BJ Raji himself were sitting on your chest
• Terror almost paralyzing like watching Hoarders. Seriously, have you seen that show? Shock and awe, man.
• Nervous, shaking, stress probably stemming from a Mason Crosby game-winning FG attempt. Actually nevermind - that’s everyone.
• Feeling of dread as though Clay Matthews mistook you for an opposing quarterback
• Lightheadedness or nausea, like when you polish off a case of Mad Dog 20/20 to impress a babe and then fall over as you finally approach her
• Trembling, sweating and shaking as though you’re in a stagnant line to use the urinal after shotgunning those beers in the parking lot. Was it really worth it?
• General fear, fright, afraid, anxious like going against Ted Thompson in a staring contest
• Hot flashes, or sudden chills like getting a December gust of wind in the face at Lambeau
• 'Pins and needles' tingling like sitting on your hands for an hour and then standing up
• Fearful that you're going to go crazy or are about to die. Well, if that’s the case you should probably see a doctor. The Ranter probably won’t be able to help.

But people – to get over panic attacks, you have to face your fears. If you stop watching and attending Packer games, the football odds are against you - there’s a real danger of becoming a recluse. You could wind up self medicating on cheese curds and living through your avatar, a feisty warrior fairy named Gorgathina who’s into hunting ligers and threeways.

There is hope.

A great man once said knowing is half the battle, and I just dropped some knowledge bombs above. Now I want you to drink a Mountain Dew, Red Bull or caffeinated drink of your choice. Caffeine is a known stimulant that makes you feel on top of the world. Finally, you’re going to rebuild your Packer pride by watching watch some highlights of Clay Matthews here. Feeling good now, aren’t you, now that you remember what a great organization we have? In fact, bookmark it and watch it any time you’re feeling an attack coming on.

This systematic approach to dealing with Packer-related panic attacks should give you, our fans, peace of mind and keep you as safe as Ted’s draft picks for the rest of the year. Good luck, people.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Did Hawkeye Steal That Jeep?

Where's the jeep?

I hate looking for stuff. I don’t like misplacing things and getting HULK-like mad while trying to sort through where I may have left it. I don’t like shopping which is essentially looking for stuff and then having to spend money on it when you find it. I absolutely hated “Where’s Waldo”. Just point me to Waldo, and tell the story as to why he’s constantly in these crazy situations…I’m guessing psychedelics have a lot to do with it. Look at what he’s wearing, no one in their right mind would wear those glasses? Wait a minute...

Lately, I feel like every Monday I’m stuck trying to look for the positives in the previous day’s Packer game. This is getting tiring, frustrating, and frankly, I’m sick of it. That said, I’m giving it one final shot.

After Sunday’s game the only thing I could think about was the injuries…the severity of them and the sheer number of them. The injuries Sunday reminded me of Korea three miles from the front (Damn, I love that movie. If you haven’t seen it, stop reading, watch, and return; I’ll wait.). Okay, so you get it, Packers =Mobile Army Surgical Hospital right now. Unfortunately, it is without the hijinks, hilarity, booze, fornication, and Hawkeye Pierce. Basically, it’s just the shitty parts: the injuries, the wounds, and the general malaise. In an effort to further make this comparison and to lighten up the atmosphere at 1 Ranter Place, Rantersville, United Republic of Rant, I thought I would find some M*A*S*H quotes. Then I realized that I had to go look for them…aaaaand I'm back to being pissed off, so I just used one of the top my head that seemed most applicable:

“What kind of team is this? Everyone is dropping like dead flies.”

Okay, that’s depressing, and like I said, I was here to find and rip the positives out of the open chest cavity of a depressing loss. Here goes: the Packers backups played well. That’s pretty simple and pretty positive. Desmond Bishop, Andrew Quarless, and Mike Neal stepped in and played solid games, Bishop being at the top of that group. If the goal of building your team is to have capable backups in the event your starters go down, then the Packers are in a good spot. Now, the problem Sunday is that the M*A*S*H filled up waaaaay faster than anyone could have been prepared for. At this point, we have to hope that reinforcements are on the way and the patients are healing quickly.

Just to be safe, we can also hope that in the future when McCarthy says, “I think it's important we go over the three basic principles: organization, discipline, and team work.” Someone steps up like Dr. Oliver Harmon Jones and says: “Excuse me, but do you mind if we limber up first?”

Friday, October 8, 2010

Teddy Legend

One time I really tried to make it in this world. The job was sales. The product was knives. It was a total pyramid scheme, but I didn’t care. I was motivated to kick ass and move up in the world and get a Honda.

And in the group interview in the basement of the Holiday Inn, I absolutely killed it. The beefcake sales manager and his greaseball henchman were instantly impressed with my skills, and held me back after the others were dismissed to say I was going to be their next star knife salesman of N.E. Wisconsin.

They told me to get a suit and cut my hair and show up the next morning with donuts. I got the suit and donuts alright, but told them the hair was off limits. They conceded, saying I was going to be a pretty good salesman. “You’ve got potential, Randy” the big one said. “It’s Robert” I corrected him.

I arrived in the morning sporting the best suit my local Goodwill had to offer. There were others. Some had coffee, some were sweating; we were all hungry and determined. We were told that we possessed the shared quality of loving money and we were natural-born salesmen who would finally have to chance to reach our hidden potential in life.

“I’m willing to bet you (re: squirrely fat man) could sell a box of mouse farts to a perfume shop if there was $20 in it for you. But you’re not going to have to. Our knives are the best in the world. They cut through copper pipes. They cut through pennies.”

The henchman cut through a penny. It wasn’t easy, but he did it. “A half a penny for half your thoughts?” he asked. We laughed, as all anxious men do when surprised by a bad joke.

“These knives never need sharpening or washing. They all have a lifetime warranty and they make whatever food you cut with them taste 1000% better. They ‘re that f#cking good and you’re gonna sell them by the boatload,” the big one said. “But today, I don’t want you to sell. I want you to give them away. You’ll each be getting a set of knives and a map. The map shows the location of a local celebrity. You are going to drive to their house and give them a set of our knives for free.” He waited for someone to ask him the reason for this, but no one did, so he continued.

“Why? Because famous people are highly influential. I mean, would you buy a set of knives if you saw Dan Shalhoub using them?” “The guy from Monk?” was asked. “No, Dan. His brother. The Shalhoubs are from Green Bay. Or how about Little Bastard, the tennis coach at Neenah high school or Dustin fricken Diamond? They are all on this list and more. You’ll all get someone different and you won’t know who it is until you get there.”

Thirty minutes later I was navigating a subdivision somewhere in DePere where the houses looked like castles and the golden retrievers roamed free (within the boundaries of underground electric fences). As I approached the destination of my mystery celeb, I recalled the highlights of our pitch – free knives, best in the world, cut through pennies, no strings attached, maybe tell a friend but no strings attached, completely free, etc.

I knocked on the door, my heart fluttering at the thought of Screech answering. It finally opened and my jaw hit the floor. No, it was not a dream but none other than Silverhair himself, standing just two feet away and staring down this rookie knife salesman.

After a couple seconds of silence, when Ted was about to shut the door on my new career, I sprung to life. In a string of incomplete sentences and prepositional phrases, I threw out everything Beefake taught us. And as I offered the set of knives to the Packers GM and prepared to walk away strong and proud, something strange happened. He flat-out refused them and went back to his life.

Nowadays, when I look from afar at my first sale that wasn’t, I can’t help but have a sense of respect for the way Thompson manages the Packers. While I don’t always agree with it, I kind of understand it. When I see him make decisions and football picks – or seemingly lack thereof according to some – I recall that fateful day when he declined those amazing, free knives that cut through copper. What rationale could he possibly have have? I mean, they were completely free! I guess Ted said it best when, after briefly considering the knives, looked at me completely deadpan and replied:

“No thanks, I’ll play the hand I got.”

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

U-G-L-Y. You Ain't Got No Alibi, You Ugly.

So my coma over, I wake up to a Packers loss to the The Packers won? They just won ugly? Well, I never would have known that after perusing the Twitterverse and blogosphere on Monday. Everywhere I turned, people were throwing themselves off cliffs like lemmings.

In order to talk some people back from the ledge, I tried to come up with some real world analogies that would help to frame what an ugly win means. Enjoy...or don't, the cliff is that way.

An ugly win is like ordering a steak, and getting an angus beef cheeseburger. Not as appetizing, but you still get red meat…and you get cheese too.

An ugly win is like getting busy in a Burger King bathroom. It’s not pretty, kind of nasty actually, but at least you got busy.

An ugly win is like going up to the bar and instead of the smoking-hot bartender in the daisy-dukes and tank top, you get the plain bartender in the sweater and baggy jeans. Not as hot, but she will always get you a drink with a smile, and at least she’s not the meathead bartender with the tribal tattoo armband who calls you “Bro”.

An ugly win is realizing there is a new Rant at the Packer Ranter but instead of being written by Robert, you find out it’s written by Franklin. Not as fulfilling, but at least you have a new Rant to read.

An ugly win is like ordering a PBR tall-boy and getting a Bud Light instead. It’s still wet, and it’s still beer. (Well, I think Bud Light is beer…can’t be sure, but I’m told it is. For this argument, we shall assume it is.)

An ugly win is like a normal win but without the style points…wait, style points mean nothing in the grand scheme of things? Huh. Robert should be alright then. BURN!

An ugly win is like mowing the lawn, yeah it sucks, and sometimes sucks pretty hard, but in the end it’s done, looks alright, and you can forget about it. Plus, you’ve got another week before the possibility arises that you have to do it all over again.

An ugly win is like a failed Lambeau Leap. Yeah sure, you bricked it in front of hundreds of thousands of Packer fans, but you still just did something that a Detroit Lion will never do. Well, two things actually: win and do a Lambeau Leap.

An ugly win is like having sausage or ham with breakfast. Sure, neither is comparable to a pile of bacon, but they are both delicious pork products that compliment a pile of eggs and hash browns.

An ugly win is like banging your head against the wall, it hurts and it probably looks stupid, but hopefully it knocks some sense into you.

An ugly win is something Tracy White…well, an ugly win is something Tracy White has never been a part of…so, bad analogy on my part.

An ugly win is just like a pretty win…they are both damn wins.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday Caption Contest #6

Glory days. We've all had them, although maybe not quite like this! Sure he's out this week with another injury, but that won't keep Matthew Stafford from getting punked.

Post your best caption and you'll not only be the envy of our modest yet awesome readership, you'll also receiving the coveted Tracy White Certificate of Excellence.

Only first submissions will considered - anything more is still awesome though! Good luck, and Go Pack!!
Update. We're giving this one to Ms. Quarter. We both LOL'd at her comment that suggested Stafford spiked (or roofied?) the girl's drink second from left. Well played!
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