Wednesday, October 31, 2012

2nd Jay Cutler Cat Picture - Found!!

Our last Jay Cutler cat pic we revealed to the world went over so well that at the time, we immediately sent our team of interns in search for another. It took over two years of exhaustive searching, but I’m ecstatic to report that one of our Midwest interns, Lenny, unearthed this beauty at a Goodwill near Naperville.

Congratulations to Lenny, who will receive a personal tour of Robert’s GOIBER, a ½ pound of Franklin’s homemade cheese curds, 10% of our ad revenue generated this month, as well as bragging rights at the Packer Ranter, Inc. annual holiday party in December.

Say what you want about Cutler, folks, but he’s quite the animal lover.

Any comments or captions are welcome below.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It Sounds Like The Packers Need a Pep Talk

Via Packer Report's Twitter machine, I saw the following little ditty from Coach McCarthy from his press conference.  (@PackerReport is a great follow if you enjoy using the Tweeter.)

Well, last I checked, when you score more points than your opponent, it counts in the "win" column. Sure enough, the NFC North standings reflect this assumption. Sure, it wasn't exactly pretty, but when you are down nine starters, and you lose two more, you can't always look pretty like this.

It sounded to me like the Packers need a little pick me up.

"Now as Coach Mike probably told you, my name is Matt Foley, and I am a motivational speaker."

"So, let me give you a little scenario about what my life is all about. First up, I am 35. I am divorced, and I live in a van down by the river."

"You there, what position do you play?"

Tim Masthay: "Well, actually, Matt, I kind of always wanted to be a QB."

"Well, la-dee-freakin'-dah! We got ourselves a QB here. Hey, Coach Mike, I can't see too good. Is that Bartholomew Starr over there?"

Mike McCarthy: "...."

"Now from what I hear, you're using your arm not for punting but for throwing footballs. You're going to be throwing a lot of footballs when you're living in van down by the river!!"

"Hey you guys are probably saying to yourselves: I'm gonna go out there and grab the NFL by the tail! and wrap it around and pull it down and put it in my jock strap. Well I'm here to tell you that you're probably going to find out, as you go out there, that you're not going to amount to jack squat!"

"Well, I see one solution! And that is to get my gear and move into Lambeau! We're gonna be buddies! We're gonna be pals! Just me and my buddies!"

{Matt picks up James Jones and swings him around}

"I'm gonna get my gear!"

Mike McCarthy: "Umm...actually, Matt, you don't have to do that."

"I don't really give a rat's behind! I'm moving in! I'm tired of living in a van down by the river!!"

Now, I'm not sure if this little pep talk will work, but I do know that this poor coffee table was never heard from again:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

No More Chat Rooms for this Guy

I met him in an online chat room for people who like to sit in the dark and talk about Jesus. His screen name was Balthazar the Enlightened and supposedly he lived in Milwaukee and he had three pigs he called “breakfast, lunch and dinner”. I told him that’s pretty funny, but I had to go because I believed I was in the wrong chat room. I was looking for the room for people who like to drink beer and talk about Leroy Butler - totally different. “You don’t want to go to that chat room,” Balthazar told me. “It’s for sissy Packer fans who hate their lives. Stay here...with me.”

“Well, believe it or not, I actually like my life, Balthazar,” I told him. “And I think that’s extremely RUDE to suggest conversing on the merits of one of the greatest strong safeties in NFL history is for sissies. Did you know Butler was a five-time All Pro or that he invented the Lambeau Leap? No, you probably didn’t. I could go on and on, but I don’t think a MORON like YOU would understand,” I told him. It was OK to get a little cocky in the chat rooms, I thought. Per my chatroom protocol, I had turned on private browsing so he couldn’t track me down and harm me if I happened to strike that particular nerve in Balthazar the Enlightened’s body that would motivate him to do so. Of course, that would never happen, but you have to be careful. You never know with these Internet freaks.

I waited for his response. Nothing. Then, finally, he sent me a message. It was a series of numbers: What the hell? Some coded Bible verse? Wait, was that my ISP address!? Before I could check, I received another message – this time a shortened link. I clicked on it and a new Internet page opened. Here I expected some profane picture but instead it redirected me toward a Google page...and wait a minute, it was a Google map…of my house!!! This pyscho had tracked me down!!

"10… 9… 8….” He wrote. It was at this point I ripped my computer and any attached cords out of the wall. I quickly shut off all the lights and then sat by my front door with a baseball bat for the next 12 hours.

And that was the story of my last chat room experience.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

We Got a Phone. 'Cause We Got a Blog.

“These guys are NFL bloggers!” said Jim, introducing us to his group of friends we had never met before. At this point, Franklin and I just look at each other as in “Did he just…? F#ck.”

I can’t speak for other “bloggers,” but although the Ranter is part of our lives, it’s not something we identify ourselves with – certainly not primarily (lest we would’ve attended TBWII – ah, sweet regrets). In fact, we rarely talk about the Ranter – even with each other (think a weekly “Hey, you Ranting this week?” or “Nice Rant.” or “I can’t think of anything to Rant about. Any ideas?”)

After a couple seconds of uncomfortable silence while this registered, someone asked, “What team do you blog about?”

“The Packers!” said Jim the Helpful. Smirks all around. Franklin and I are silent. We’ve been through this before. That is, having to defend our site against all the stereotypes and implications that come with the label of “blogger.” “So, you live in your parents’ basements?” is usually the underlying thought.

“I wouldn’t call it a blog. We do creative posts once in a while that are Packer-related. What are you guys drinking?” I asked, trying to propel the conversation elsewhere. But these people weren’t having it. They were too intrigued by the idea that two, dare I say “normal” guys “blogged” about the Packers.

“So you like, analyze the Packers?” A girl asked, causing us both to burst out laughing. “No. Not at all actually,” Franklin said. “Then what do you write about?” she asked. “I don’t know – the last one I did was substituting the lyrics of ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ by Billy Joel with names of the Packers players. Franklin just wrote about this dream he had. It’s like the Matrix - no one can be told what it is. You have to see it for yourself,” I responded.

Major confusion at this point, to which both Franklin and I could not have cared any less. We have no desire to sell the Ranter to anyone or even explain it properly for that matter. It is what it is and we have fun with it. We will, however, sometimes get very feisty if someone just can’t leave it alone. And that’s exactly what was about to happen as I looked over to see Sassypants McGee yucking it up.

This time, Jim did turn out to be helpful as he explained to them that we were deemed special enough for to be sponsored. “Yeah, show them your phones,” he insisted. This got them to shut up. “Alright, Jim, I will. See, the good folks at Verizon Wireless gave us these phones – the new Droid Razr Maxx – with unlimited plans. They just ask that we try them out and mention them once in a while. Hell, I’ll probably write about this next week. This could be a post.”

At this point, I felt the need to drive home how sweet these phones actually were/are. And the situation could not have been better. In about a two seconds, I was able to pull up the Packer Ranter (thank you, 4G LTE network!). “Here, pass it around, I’m gonna grab some beers,” I said. “Look at that screen!” I heard as I was walking away, feeling a little better about myself.

Franklin and I, NFL bloggers? That’s damn right.

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Midwest Fans program and have been provided with a wireless device and five months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

We Didn't Pick the Packers (Your 2012 Green Bay Packers)

To be sung in same rhythm of Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Folks, it works. Don’t believe me? Sing it out loud wherever you are at the top of your lungs.

Editor’s note: Based on total syllable count of the lyrics, relative player public awareness and other considerations I’m not going to mention, not all active roster Packers were included. I still love you Don Barclay and Jerron McMillian. Also, if the rosters were three times as big, I could’ve kept this puppy going as long as the original song.

We Didn't Pick the Packers (Your 2012 Green Bay Packers)

Mason Crosby, Jarrett Bush, Nick Perry, Lattimore,
Jeff Saturday, Josh Sitton, Evan Dietrich-Smith

Mike McCarthy, Charles Woodson, Erik Walden, Casey Hayward,
Greg Jennings, MD Jennings, Bryan Bulaga

Graham Harrell, Sam Shields, Brett Goode, D.J. Smith,
James Jones, Jerel Worthy, Jermichael Finley

Aaron Rodgers, Alex Green, Lambeau’s got some new seats,
Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson, Joe Philbin goodbye

We didn’t pick the Packers
It was Mark and Mike
And that guy named Ted
We didn’t pick the Packers
No, we didn’t choose them
But we’re cheering for them

Dezmond Moses, Brandon Saine, Masthay and Raji
Ryan Taylor, Ryan Pickett, Robert Francois

John Kuhn, Tom Crabtree, DJ Williams, James Starks,
Clay, Cobb, Hawk, House, Favre nowhere to been found

Daniels, Brad Jones, we’re still playoff bound
Marshall Newhouse, Richardson, CJ Wilson, Atrium

Burnett, Benson, Terrell Manning, Tramon,
TJ Lang, Kevin Greene, Bishop tore his hamstring!

We didn’t pick the Packers
It was Mark and Mike
And that guy named Ted
We didn’t pick the Packers
No, we didn’t choose them
But we’re cheering for them

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oh-oh, Dreeeeamweaver....

Just woke up from the following dream. This is 100% true:

I was in Indianapolis wandering around a carnival outside Lucas Oil Stadium. I went inside to find my seats. The seats were similar to high school basketball bleachers. There were 10-12 rows.  I went back outside Lucas Oil Stadium to get something to eat. I had a corn dog, and I ran into two buddies from high school. I returned to the stadium and there were many more rows of bleachers that had filled up quickly. I walked along the side of the bleachers, looked up, and saw Colts fans had surrounded two Packers fans who were screaming, "Go, Pack. Go!" It looked like it was going to get ugly, but for some reason I joined them (Apparently, I'm brave). One Packer fan looked at me and said, "The same thing happened to me." I looked down, and I was wearing a Colts' Peyton Manning jersey. I walked back to the carnival to try to find some Packers gear. I lied to a carny and said I would come back and play skeeball. I came to another carny letting people into an escalator to the rides that were upstairs (This seems unsafe). I told him I needed to get to the other side of the stadium to buy something at the store (I had miraculously been transported back inside). I got to other side of stadium incredibly quickly. I began looking through the Packers items, I remarked to a fellow Packer fan that there was a surprising amount of Packers gear for an opposing teams' stadium. He agreed, and said, "We travel well." The only item that I liked was a women's Rodgers t-shirt. I debated purchasing it, thinking if I bought a big enough size, no one would know. The store was on the 2nd level and overlooked the field, which was strangely small, only 75 yards long. The game suddenly started at 11:00 a.m., I hadn't realized Indianapolis was on Mountain Standard time. The Colts were driving. Somehow Andrew Luck threw a pass to one of the Colts' cheerleaders, which she caught because no one was covering her (Packers must have been playing zone). She was running the wrong way down the field. A Colts' coach ran on the field and stripped the ball from her. Turnover on downs. Packers ball, somehow on their end of the field. Cedric Benson scored a touchdown the next play.

I woke up to my dog staring me in the face. I ran to my computer to document my dream for posterity.

What does the dream mean?

Rereading it...I say it means Packers win by at least 67 points. Go Pack!

The Temptation of the Ranter

A couple weeks ago, Robert and I received a cryptic email asking if we would take part in a top secret communicator assessment program. The only catch? Travel deep into enemy territory and retrieve said communication device. How deep? The heart of the Windy City, that's how deep. In addition, there were numerous other perks that were hinted at, as well. Travel, accommodations....and tickets to a Chicago Bears game. Obviously, our Admiral Ackbar alarms began sounding at a deafening tone. Who would offer this to us? 1) We're Packers bloggers with, frankly, limited talent and an odd sense of humor, 2) we have a minor following, and 3) the Bears. Really? After an intense debate, we warily accepted the offer to join this program.

Saturday, I arrived at our downtown hotel and found Robert enjoying his patented VooDews in his well-appointed room. We ventured out and watched some college football at a cliched Irish Pub, but left at a reasonable hour as we were to be collected at the hotel at 9:00 a.m. In the lobby we were greeted by several other bloggers and our hosts, who were adorned in full Bears paraphernalia. We were pilgrims in an un-holy land. In an effort to prepare ourselves for the sea of navy and orange that we were about to drown in, we partook freely in the ample supply of PBR tallboys while taking the shuttle to So...Sold...Soldier Field. (It's still hard for me to say, I'll just go with "venue" from now on.) When we arrived at the venue, we were whisked to the United Club was glorious. Waffles and omelettes made to order, prime rib, grilled paninis, cheese trays, meat trays, desserts, a nacho bar, a hot dog bar, bloody Mary bar with more fixin's than you could fit in a 32 oz Big Gulp, smoked salmon, oysters, crab, shrimp cocktail, and servers with a ceaseless supply of Boddington's. We even got a chance to have a beer with twitter celebrity @ChicagoBearJew. (Good guy despite his team preference)

Shortly before kickoff we made our way to our seats. The club level seating area's couches and carpeted floors, food and drink stands with minimal lines, clean restrooms, and over abundance of TVs felt more like someone's home than a pro football venue. It was definitely more luxury than anticipated at an NFL game. Our seats were great (for a non-Lambeau venue). Too great.

I started wondering how we ended up here, it ate at me all through the game, and well into our post-game reveling. As I took a bite of the greatest meatball slider ever made at The Purple Pig, it dawned on me...this was all a plot to turn us into stark, raving Bears fans. Robert and I discussed this and agreed that it could be the only rational explanation. I thought that best course of action was to abandon the program and head to O'Hare immediately escaping with our lives and our Packer fanhood intact, we would never stoop so low as to root for the Bears. Robert, however, has always believed in the "keep your friends close, and your enemies closer" mantra. He convinced me that we would remain in the program, use the communication device provided, and gather information on our enemies to the south.

The next day we received our communicators...and, I have to say, they are pretty impressive. We are continuing to explore the features...but rest assured Packers fans, all the while we are monitoring the Bears fans from afar.

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Midwest Fans program and have been provided with a wireless device and five months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Never Tell Me the Odds

Last year, Franklin and I hit up the Las Vegas of the Fox Cities (Oneida Bingo and Casino in Green Bay). The casino was simply hopping. It was, after all, the night before the 2011 NFL opener between the Packers and the Saints. There were even celebrities there, including Big Papi (true story), who had about ten seconds of public facetime before he and his entourage were escorted to a closed-off casino area I’ll probably never experience.

Once we navigated the buzzing, whirring, seizure-inducing lightshow spectacular known as slot machine row, we were able to find two open seats at a modest blackjack table. We cashed in a couple Andrew Jacksons a piece (thanks, Google!), set our bets and were dealt. Now, when I’m gambling at casinos, the last thing I like to do is to offer unsolicited advice to others. However, that didn’t stop the massholes next to us who were visibly irked at us as soon as we sat down.

“You want to split that,” the skinny one with the goatee and matching bracelets said regarding my two sixes. “The dealer’s also showing a six – it’s a bust card.” “Yeah, I know that but you want me to split sixes?” I asked. “The odds tell you too.” Nothing rang a bell, yet I conceded to his “authority.” This was naturally followed by a bust on one of my hands and the dealer beating me on the other with twenty. Things went on like this for the next few minutes, and when the chubby man in the warmup suit finally informed Franklin he “took his card,” we decided to cash out and try another area of the casino.

Having conquered more than a few video games in our day and now being devoid of douche-canoes telling us what to do, video poker seemed like an ideal choice. (I’ve also read payouts are about as close to even as you can get - they’d probably know more here.) But we could not seem to catch a break, no matter how many credits we played, no matter how many times I blew on the coins, and no matter how hard I asserted my telekinesis for a royal flush. It was (John) maddening.

With virtually no money left, we ended up at the lowest common denominator of both strategy and casino gambler pride: nickel slot machines. Even more embarrassing, we had to wait for the Piggly Wiggly Super Savers Club to finally leave to catch their bus. They had been “hogging the area for hours,” a crusty but benign senior in a Gilbert Brown jersey informed us.

With a mere five dollars left, we were just going to hit “max credits” on every spin and get the hell out of there. But something happened: we began winning. Ten, twenty, fifty – even one hundred credits at a time. What was going on? We had seemingly done all the right things back at blackjack and poker, yet here we were in a game almost completely devoid of strategy, recouping our losses and even venturing into the black.

So where am I going with all of this? Probably nowhere, but I’ll try anyway. Last year, the Packers were on one of the hottest streaks of all time but their formula turned out to be too top-heavy to sustain. This year, we’ve run into a little more than bad luck. And now it seems all I hear are the odds – the odds of an 0-1 team winning their division, the odds the Packers have of making playoffs after losing to Seattle. You know what? Never tell me the odds. Because even though the odds are currently against us, I’m as optimistic as ever because I see a team perfecting its balance. We’ve seen glimpses of the offensive dominance of 2011 – now complete with a running game! – as well as a quietly, perhaps significantly improved defense. If I’m putting money down on anything going forward, I’m not only betting on the Packers, but I’m also doubling down. I believe we’re going to find ways to win – however ugly or by chance it may appear.
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