Thursday, December 27, 2012

Duct, Duct, Gift.

It's sitting there. Under the tree. Resting next to the four-pack of argyle socks and seasons one and two of MacGyver. The bright yellow surface reflecting the twinkling lights, a couple spruce needles stuck to the edge.

It had been tucked in the bottom of my stocking, a stocking that had gotten buried under wrapping paper, boxes and half-popped bubble wrap. As numerous Hillside cousins, nieces, nephews, dogs and two random neighbor kids abandoned their gifts to play with the wadded up wrapping paper and discarded ribbons, the stocking appeared. I picked it up to rehang it on the mantle and felt the cylindrical object jammed in the toe, a yuletide toe jam if you will. I reached in the stocking and pulled out the small item and admired the Peanuts wrapping paper. That tree really did just need a little love.

I slowly unwrapped the last gift of the 2012 Christmas season and not much could have prepared me for what was enclosed by Charlie Brown, Linus and Lucy standing around their little tree. I couldn't have been more surprised if I woke up with my head sewn to the carpet, Eddie. In my hand I held what I initially thought was a Green Bay Packers hockey puck, but as I turned the item over in my hands, I realized I was the new owner of a roll of Green Bay Packers' duct tape.

I glanced around wondering who had given me this offering, but none of the Hillside clan seemed to be paying attention...which was fairly typical. I realized that this was the only piece of Packers paraphernalia I had received this year, which may have a been a sign from my family that I have reached green and gold capacity. I said, "thank you," to no one in particular, thinking someone would respond, and I could ask how they intended for me to use this Packers adorned duct tape. Unfortunately, kids went right on playing, dogs went on chasing each other around the tree, and adults went right on spreading good cheer next to the egg nog bowl. I flipped up the roll, caught it, and placed it under the tree.

Two days later, I still have not found out who had given me this gift. Resigning myself to the belief that it may have actually been Santa who inserted this into my stocking, I've moved on to finding uses for it. I'm fully aware that there are hundreds, if not thousands of uses for duct tape, but when you put the "G" on anything, be it shirts, socks, spatulas, garden gnomes, long johns, bathroom rugs, you have a responsibility to conduct yourself in a manner befitting the Packers' organization when using said item. Green Bay Packers duct tape cannot just be applied anywhere. There are rules. It must have a utilitarian  purpose, but it must also be used in a decorative and boasting manner. It must be in full view of others, Packer fans and heathens alike, but it must not draw attention to some sort of embarrassing mishap like a pair of split trousers (Yes, I have witnessed torn trousers "fixed" with duct tape, don't pretend you haven't). So you see, this isn't just an easy stocking stuffer gift, this is a thought-provoking item, and it must be used pridefully, but also prudently and with respect.

As Hillsides slowly remove their presents from under the tree and make their way back to their hillsides of origin, I continue to ponder this Packers' duct tape usage. Then it occurred to me, there's nothing better than a gift that makes you think. Maybe that was Santa's intent the whole time.

Smart guy, that Claus.

PS - If anyone else received Packers' duct tape, let me know how you intend to use it. Unfortunately, I don't think it will repair your broken dreams of becoming a roadie for Def Leopard, it's not magic. Sorry.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

We Answer Motown Milton's Questions

Before the last Packers/Lions game, we shot a few questions to Motown Milton who is a lifelong Detroit Lion fan. Because of this fandom, he has gone through more suffering than any Packer fan will ever know. As if that wasn't enough, he is engaged to be married to a Vikings' fan (although he assures me that Minnetonka Tina is now a Lions' supporter). Milton is assuredly a stronger man than I. Anyhoo, in the interest of fair play, Robert and I agreed to answer some of Milton's questions. Enjoy.

What's it like to win in Green Bay? It's been since the early 90's I don't even remember what it's like?

FH: Hmmm....very philosophical question. I have never thought about what it's like to win in Green Bay. It's akin to asking, "What's it like to breathe the air?" 

RG: Wow, getting right into things. Winning at Lambeau is like a living thing – it connects you more to life. I like to think about what was going on with the players in the offseason and what they do right before the game. I like to think about how the sun is shining down, just a little warmer, during a game. I think about all those people who gathered for the experience. Some are old and some are young, and how the tradition will continue after I’m gone. I love how the team continues to evolve, how every season and every win feels just a little different than the last. Winning at Lambeau is like life itself. It feels so f**cking good.

Fresh or fried cheese curds?

FH: Much like the spoon, there is no "or". 

RG: Yes please. OK, fried cheese curds with a side of ranch at Stadium View are as good as it gets. Been known to cure hangovers as well.

If Rodgers, McCarthy, and Calvin Johnson joined forces would they dominate the NFL? I figure 3,000 yds for Calvin and 7,000 for Rodgers.

FH: Throw in Adrian Peterson to that crew, and I would say they could play 3 on 11 and always be favored by +7.5

RG: While likely true, the question is otherwise irrelevant. Rodgers is capable of dominating the NFL by himself. Just ask the people at who they have their money on.

What's the brew of choice at Packer tailgates?

FH: I was tailgating in Green Bay last weekend, and I had Miller Lite, Coors Light, Spotted Cow, Moon Man, PBR, Sierra Nevada, and a bloody Mary. I think variety is the spice of life....and tailgates.

Best food item at Lambeau?

FH: Whatever you eat at the tailgate, or whatever cheese, sausage, and crackers the girls behind you from Marinette give you during the game. Thanks, ladies.

What is a must for a person making their first appearance at Lambeau?

RG: Time. I believe it was Aristotle – or was it Aerosmith? – who once said that life’s a journey; not a destination. The same holds true for Packer games. While Lambeau is the pinnacle of sports venues, nothing compares to the total experience of a game-day weekend in Green Bay, preferably hosted by a Packer Ranter.

FH: What he said. Also, the Ranter even offers short tours of the players' parking lot...on accident.

What if Lambeau had a roof?

RG: I will not entertain this ridiculous hypothetical.

FH: If Lambeau had a roof, I wouldn't want to live on this planet anymore. 

How would you feel if the Pack were winning 3 games in a row with under two minutes to go vs. good teams and blew all three games? Oh wait – that's been the last three weeks for the Lions. Pretty much sums up our franchise. One playoff win since 1957, but at least we didn't lose on a hail Mary that the other guy didn't even catch.

RG: Venting is good for the soul. Just get it all out, man.

FH: I'd feel like a Lions' fan? Too soon for Fail Mary jokes, Milton. I still get a rage headache when I see Pete Carroll and Rusty Wilson. TOO SOON!

What's it like to win a playoff game and god forbid make the Super Bowl?

RG: Like warm apple pie.

FH: It feels like taking that first bite out of a brick of sharp cheddar...wait, you don't eat it right off the brick? 

What’s your take on all the Packer commercials? I can't believe Jennings missed so much time when he hurt himself in the old spice commercial?

FH: Truth is, Greg Jennings wasn't even hurt. Mike McCarthy was just giving Rodgers a higher degree of difficulty. He 's constantly trying to find new ways to challenge him. I believe McCarthy plans on starting Rodgers at safety against the Bears. 

Thoughts on cheeseheads? Manly, ridiculous, tradition, waste of money?

RG: Perhaps all of the above. Hey man, they saved a guy’s life once I heard. You just have to embrace it. Harmless fun.

FH: Of all the things you could spend money on to wear on your head, a foam piece of cheese is the most manly, ridiculous, and traditional.

Brandon Pettigrew or Jermichael Finley vs. the jugs machine? I think jugs machine wins.

RG: Well played, sir. Well played indeed.

FH: I'm in Finley's corner. He has picked it up lately, and he will be a big factor in the playoffs. #uncharacteristicallyseriousanswer

This one’s from ‘Tonka Tina: "How will the Lions blow it in the last two minutes Sunday?"

FH: Don't worry, it won't be close in the last two minutes.

Favorite Lions player?

RG: Barry Sanders was the best running back ever.

FH: Harry Colon. No question.

Rank Suh, Cutler, Vikings' horn, Vikes’ fans, John Randle, Warren Sapp

FH: I will not do that, but Vikings' horn is last, somewhere behind feces.

Milton's Prediction: Either Packers win big – and I mean REAL big – like 38-17 or close back and forth game with Pack again winning at end 27-23. How's Rodgers going to sleep knowing he's going up vs. a secondary of Chris Houston, Drayton Florence, Delmas, Ricardo Silva, Don Carey, and Carlton Banks (and only one of those is made up). Good luck Ranters. I'll be pulling for you in the playoffs. I'm kinda jealous of your franchise.

RG: Folks, we cannot make this up. The jealousy runs deep. You have to give this Lions’ fan credit for his honesty and his humbleness. He might be one of the coolest opposing fans we have ever encountered. And while you don’t need our permission to marry Tina, Milton, you certainly have our blessings.

And yes, the Packers will win.

FH: You're welcome to become a Packer fan, Milton. We will greet you with open arms. You could do a lot worse than green and navy and orange or purple and yellow.

Prediction? Packers win big. Finley has a TD. #YOTTO
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