Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Fall Internship Challenge Winning Submission

As per tradition, the Packer Ranter's Fall semester intern class battled for the coveted Tracy White Certificate of Excellence. Because it’s been known to catapult average-appearing students into top-notch job prospects, the Tracy White Certificate of Excellence (TWCoE) has grown both in legend and prestige. Former Ranter interns have gone on to exciting careers and time-consuming hobbies in insurance claims, craft store entrepreneurship and social media “specialization.”

While we appreciate the efforts of our four interns throughout the season (they are all invited to join us in Port Washington’s Fish Day this summer), we simply do not believe in participation trophies. Only one truly deserving intern receives the TWCoE signed by both Mr. Hillside and myself while the rest are rewarded by the experience of working for a real website.

After careful consideration, we eliminated Pigtails and Village Idiot from the final round – partly for their uninspiring brainstorms but mostly for their incompetent nacho skills – leaving Cornbreath and Dingleberry to battle it out. (We only use Delta Tau Chi-style names here at Ranter HQ.) The final challenge was laid out as follows via email:

The Packers are playing the Falcons for the NFC Championship Game this Sunday. You have two days to surprise us. Good luck.

We refreshed our emails regularly, expecting clarifying questions galore but they did not come...we knew we had picked our final candidates well. Only 12 hours had passed before I received a knock at my door. A friendly delivery man asked if I was the one whom they called “Greenfield.” I nodded and he handed me a heavy box wrapped in shiny green and gold ribbon. The note attached read, “May this offering be 1/100th delightful as my experience has been. With everything I am, Cornbreath.” Inside was a specially prepared care package of meats and a customized “Run the Table” giant cookie (estimated total value with rush shipping of $450+).
Nod bad, Cornbreath.

No question that Cornbreath had brought his “A” game to the intern championship challenge. But playing to our well-known and storied appetites was also an obvious choice; maybe too obvious?

Time was winding down without word from Dingleberry. If she was a minute late, she would be disqualified and Cornbreath would receive both the Certificate and accompanying cachet. While just about ready to call it off, Franklin and I received a curious message:

Coordinates – it had to be. I copied them into my browser: It was the Georgia Dome – the home of the Atlanta Falcons. So what? 

Google Earth view of the Georgia Dome
As I zoomed in, I realized Dingleberry wasn’t showing me the Georgia Dome but rather the construction area right next door. It was the Mercedes-Benz $1.5 billion future site of the Atlanta Falcons, expected to be completed next year.

Look closer.
There, just south of the Dome in a dirt-flatten area the words “GO PACK GO” surfaced as plain as day. 

Winner winner, chicken dinner!
The most amazing thing was – if you could really pinpoint a single amazing thing in the astonishing stunt – was that from ground level you probably wouldn’t be able to see it. Only from a highly elevated viewpoint could someone take notice, like via Google Earth. And it was all just for a deliberate audience of two Packer Ranters. Simply outstanding. We would eventually have to hear all the details of how this was done in such a short amount of time, but for the moment, we had to let her know immediately:


Five seconds later, she came back with the following:


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Going for the Record

My grandpa loves westerns. Growing up, when I would visit my grandparents, I would lay in front of the TV for hours watching old westerns like Gunsmoke, Bonanza and Wild, Wild West. I have fond memories of these times with my grandpa and these old shows. A hallmark of these shows is the barfight. Seriously, you can’t go longer than 3 episodes without someone cheating at cards, someone feuding over water rights or someone bumping into the angry cowpoke who just wants to drink, watch prostitutes micturate on a bed and fight (not necessarily in that order). The ensuing fight usually includes flying haymakers, smashing bottles, upended spittoons and numerous people crashing though tables. I loved these fights. My cousin and I would reenact them, smashing empty liter bottles over our heads and throwing each other through tables made of cardboard boxes.

Fast forward a few years and my latent fascination with barfights resurfaced when I saw one of the greatest movies ever made. A movie whose entire plot focuses on the physical action of barfights, the politics of barfights and the love interests resulting from barfights. I’m talking of course about, ‘Roadhouse’….you’re picturing roundhouse kicks and monster trucks right now, aren’t you? Yeah, you are. Awesome. ‘Roadhouse’ became somewhat of an obsession for me. I had a Double Deuce replica bouncer uniform, a Dalton haircut and the single of ‘Cliff’s Edge’. What? You don’t know, ‘Cliff’s Edge’? Pffft, it’s the song Patrick Swazye wrote and sang for the soundtrack. It's brilliant. In addition, I even wrote a paper for my Popular Media class positing that “Roadhouse” was a modern allegory for the class struggle of labor vs capital.

It was the research for this paper that connected with me Mike ‘Slivers’ McCombs. Slivers was an uncredited stuntman on ‘Roadhouse’ who got his nickname from getting 27 slivers embedded in his forehead after having a chair busted over his head while in the Marines. Slivers would never comment on why he wasn’t credited for his work on the film, and he said he never worked on another movie again after. During one of our chats about his time on set, Slivers revealed he was a Packers fan. We quickly bonded, and it led to a couple conversations a year about the how each season was going. I hadn’t heard from Slivers in a few years, but I got an email on Monday after the win against the Giants. The subject just said, ‘It can’t be done’. Intrigued, I opened the note.

Frank, long time no talk. How are things? Good here, just planned the stunts for my granddaughter’s school play. Pretty kickass. She fights off 15 ninjas and a ship full of pirates.

How ‘bout this season? Been a wild ride, brother. Never thought the fellas would make it this far, but here we are. Gotta say, though, I don’t think it’s possible, I don’t think Packers can win out and win the hardware. Look, I know what Rodgers said, but I just know how hard it can be. Frank, I never told you why I got kicked off the set of 'Roadhouse'. You see, late at night, me and some of the stunt guys and Sam Elliot would crush a couple bottles of whiskey, and we’d play this old stuntman game called, ‘Run the Table’. The rules were simple, each guy would take a turn getting slammed through as many tables as he could until he either 1) passed out or 2) tapped out. Well, one night we were really getting after it, and Elliot asks, 'What’s the record?' 

Me and the boys looked at each other, and Duke Bonecrusher (he claimed it was his real name) mumbled, 'Well, Sam, it’s not really important.'

'Goddamn it, Duke, how many?'

‘It’s, uh, eight.’

Well, if I hadn’t seen it myself, I wouldn’t believe it. Sam Elliot and his beautiful, long, grey locks Ran the Table to the tune of nine. Elliot ended up in the hospital for two weeks, and I got fired, but it was worth it to witness. To this day, no one has ever beaten Elliot’s nine tables ran.  So you see, Frank, that’s why Rodgers and the Pack can’t do it. No one can run ten. It just can’t be done. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

Take care of yourself, brother.

Slivers

I was dumbfounded. Two things I realized: 1) Sam Elliot is even more of a badass than previously believed 2) When someone loses faith, you gotta reassure them.



I wrote back:

Slivers, great to hear from you. That’s a helluva story. I love Sam Elliot with the fire of a thousand suns.
One more thing: Trust in Rodgers. They’re gonna do it. They’re going to run the table and go for ten.

Go, Pack.

Franklin


PS-Tell your granddaughter to break a leg…or maybe stuntmen don’t say that. How about just, good luck, and It. Is. Time.”


Friday, January 6, 2017

On Table Runners...

Say ‘good-bye’ to heavy sculptural bowls, fragile table art and precious linen placemats and say ‘hello’ to table runners! The easy way to add aesthetics without competing with d├ęcor or food, table runners eliminate the need for obscene, perfunctory centerpieces at a fraction of the price.

It’s often been said that the most common quilter and knitter’s dilemma is that very first project. While blankets, scarves and coasters are quite achievable, they generally represent a minimal effort whereas socks, sweaters, mittens and the like require a much more experienced hand. That’s why you’ll often find beginners enjoying middle ground in the form of the classic table runner. But there's so much more to table runners.

Now, a lot of people I talk to look at table runners as simply an extended coaster upon which a variety of drinks can be set. That would be a gross oversimplification. Table runners are incredibly versatile in both their utility and decorative possibilities.

Consider the scenario of food or drink being carelessly spilled upon a beautiful wooden table. If not cleaned immediately, the penetrating liquid would stain and create a permanent eyesore. A table runner would easily accept the burden of the spill while being able to be laundered just as easily as a tablecloth.

Among other things, one may also utilize an insulated table runner as sort of a massive hot pad, acting as a protective barrier betwixt your warmest of casseroles and your most precious of tables – something both table owners and servers alike would appreciate.

If you’re worried about hiding that beautiful, flawless table of yours, consider the implications of unsightly damage to that table because you failed to protect it in the first place. Your arrogance has resulted in ruining the thing you love most, and you will be reminded of this every time you sit to have a meal.

Whether you consider it a placemat, hot pad, decorative accent, napkin, coaster, seasonal centerpiece or simply table insurance, table runners will always have a place in today’s world. So go ahead, run that table like you mean it.
#Runthetable
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