17 September 2009
“Standing in that inexplicable darkness. Where there was no sound anywhere save only the wind. After a while he sat in the road. He took off his hat and placed it on the tarmac before him and he bowed his head and held his face in his hands and wept. He sat there for a long time and after a while the east did gray and after a while the right and godmade sun did rise, once again, for all and without distinction [except for football fans from Ohio, because ‘fuck them,’ apparently.]
Southern California 18, Ohio State 15
Broncos 12, Bengals 7
This week’s football-related mood is: Crestfallen
28 August 2009
“Lo, and the Lord said unto the faithful, ‘The football is good, and thou shalt have it.’ But, unto his children he spake a caveat, ‘Ye, the football shall be watchethed, but only by he who eateth a bunch of wings and puncheth thine walls when his starting quarterback injureths himself and is lost for the majority of the season.”
I, for one, would like to take a moment to thank our Lord for the return of our most favorite of pastimes and drinking excuses. In His honor, I will worship at the alter of my local bar, and genuflect by watching the heinous play of my wayward Bengals. Also, I’ll drink a shit-load of bloody Marys. For those of us who have looked forward to the first week of football, the excitement is almost too much to handle. Last season, I was so excited that I was passed-out next to a dead hooker before half time. In an effort to help you get the most out of the first time in seven months you’ve cared about something, I’ve decided to put together an itinerary. Note: all times are PST; because games start at 10 a.m., we get to drink a lot earlier than all you Quakers, out there.
3:oo a.m. – Wake up. Practice tantric masturbation for three hours to center yourself. Orgasm pure energy.
6:00 a.m. – Make a pitcher of margaritas [FN 1]. Put on your “Get Pumped” mix CD to get pumped in a manner commensurate with the occasion. Mine consists of fourteen straight tracks of “I Don’t Know Much (But I Know I Love You)” by Aaron Neville. Drink the pitcher of margaritas. Shit, while your at it, make a margarita pizza [FN 2].
7:30 a.m. – You’re going to want to warm up your rage muscles, because even though it’s the first week, you’re inevitably going to see something in their play which convinces you that your favorite team is going to have a shitty season. Such as, “they’re from Detroit.” I like to do ten minutes of yelling exercises, followed by three sets of wall punches.
8:30 a.m. – Make your lucky breakfast of two soft-boiled eggs with toasted, buttered, French bread soldiers [FN 3.] Sure, this lucky breakfast hasn’t worked in terms of bringing you happiness during the football season, but – hey! – you’ve never gotten Ebola after eating it, so it must be doing something right.
9:00 a.m. – Generally, this is the time of day when you’re going to start getting the shakes and hyperventilating, in anticipation of kick-off. The best way to calm these sensations? You guessed it: drinking mescal and huffing model airplane glue. Another way to calm yourself is to set a terrible towel on fire. And a Steelers fan.
9:30 a.m. – bang hot chicks.
9:45 a.m. – [If you happen to be on the East Coast – or follow a team other than those that generally start their games at 1:00 EST – good for you! You get to start drinking now, and will be able to get drunk, throw up, nap, and start drinking again, all before your particular kick-off. Hooray, you! ] Begin your pilgrimage to the sports bar (unless you have Dish Network, in which case, fuck you and your Sunday Ticket.) I suggest leaving a trail of cigarettes, so you can find your way home after the game.
10:00 a.m. – Ohboyohboyohboyohboyohboyohboy. Order second bloody mary.
10:01 a.m. – Well, it’s official: the Bengals are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. If you listen closely, you can hear Mike Brown being inept while counting his money and blindly piloting my favorite football team towards yet another unyielding maelstrom of suck.
10:02 a.m. – Order your third bloody Mary since getting to the bar. Also order nachos. And wings. And artichoke dip. And a breakfast burrito.
10:30 a.m. – I tend to be a pretty reticent football viewer while I’m at the bar, but I’m not averse to standard, perfunctory conversation every once in a while. It’s important to know, however, that if you’re engaged in conversation with someone while the game’s going on, there’s a good chance you may be interrupted by the other person when someth- OH, MY GOD, HOW THE FUCK COULD YOU DROP THAT FUCKING PASS! CATCH SOMETHING, YOU FUCKING MONGOLOID!!!
1:00 p.m. – Well, the morning game is over, and you have several options open to you: (1) you can stay at the bar and continue to try and woo that cute bartender (I think his name is Dave); (2) you can emerge from your cavern of iniquity, scratchy-throated and heartbroken, to voyage home and nap the nap of the valiant; or (3) if you’re a Steelers fan, you can, you know, eat babies, or whatever it is you sick fucks do. I generally opt for the nap…
1:30 p.m. – …But not before making a traditional post-game snack of chile con queso. Melt shredded cheddar and Velveeta in a double boiler, then add in some cream, onion, peppers, and whatever else your shriveled, defeated heart can dream up. Slow down your afternoon drinking by nursing 18 Modelo Negros. Weep softly. Nap.
5:00 p.m. – Tune in to Football Night in America to watch an hour and fifteen minutes of Brett Favre coverage. Get out your punchin’ fist one more time.
9:00 p.m. – It’s been a long day, so you’re going to want to pack it in a little early. Stake yourself out a nice, comfortable spot next to the toilet. And, hey, no worries about work tomorrow, because when you call in sick, you won’t be lying. Plus, it will give you all day to drink before Monday Night Football. God, I love this sport [FN 4].
FN 1. As such: 1.5 parts good tequila, 1 part lime juice, 1/2 part Cointreau (or Triple Sec.) Rim the glass (not in the sexy way) with salt, and pour over ice.
FN 2. As such: Awww, you know how to do this, already, you chef, you.
FN 3. As such: boil water, drop in the eggs, remove from the heat, then let steep for 7 minutes (for XL eggs, 5 or 6 for smaller ones.) Remove eggs and run under cold water. Cut off the tops and dip toasted matchstick-sized segments of french bread into that luscious volcano of cholesterol.
FN 4. Apologies for the lack of culinary excellence in this post, as well as for it being so Bengals-centric. Speaking of the Bengals, please be sure to take a moment to join the revolution. If not for me, do it for Karen, here…
27 January 2009
*Unless you’re a Bengals fan, in which case, there’s not.
Remember when you were a kid and August rolled around, and you knew that Summer was almost over? So you’d try to enjoy the remaining free days of vacation, but you’d still have a little sadness over the fact that you’d soon be returning to school? So your dad would take out that rubber hose from his dresser drawer and beat you with it to really give you something to cry about? And then your mom would console you by saying something like “You really shouldn’t test your father like that, he already thinks the wrong son died in that river”? Yeah, that’s kind of how I feel every year at this time when my beloved NFL is only two weeks away from leaving me for another interminable hiatus.
I love the NFL, and the off-season always marks a desolate, lonely, depressing time in my year. No more excuses to start drinking at 9:00 a.m. No more being able to let off steam by throwing remote controls and punching holes in walls and innocent bystanders. No more having to curl up in the fetal position, crying myself to sleep after another Bengals loss. Ah, how I’ll miss it… But, much like that fifth grader who tries to squeeze as much enjoyment as possible out of those last weeks of summer, we still have the Super Bowl to look forward to. As everyone expected at the beginning of this season, Super Bowl XLII will feature the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Cheating Cocksuckers Who Also Probably Don’t Believe The Holocaust Happened.
Like most right-thinking Americans, I hate Pittsburgh with a raging intensity that makes even my boners jealous. This, of course, is going to mean that watching the Super Bowl will be insufferable, especially since I’m pretty sure the Steelers will be adding another ring to their collection. They can put it right next to the one they got in ’05 after insidiously taking an ACL-crushing cheap shot against Carson Palmer in the wild card game. I’m picking the Steelers to win this game, mostly because I looked in-depth at the stats surrounding both competitors and discovered that the other team in the game is fucking Arizona.
Pittsburgh’s inevitable collection on some pact it made with Satan notwithstanding, the Super Bowl, regardless of the teams involved, offers an opportunity for one last Sunday of gluttonous snack food consumption and wonderful booze drinking. Whether you’re at home, alone, making the commute to Black-Out Island, or at a friend’s house, trying your hardest to ensure that you get every ounce’s worth of free hootch, the Super Bowl truly is a great booze holiday. But it’s not just about the sauce, my friends! No, there are numerous fatty snacks to wolf down, as well. Because, let’s face it – when else are you going to make pigs in a blanket? If you said “every Tuesday evening before Gossip Girl,” you’re my kind of person. And a homo. What follows is a humble list of some of the spirits, snacks, and other accoutrement that will be sure to make any Super Bowl party a success.
I don’t know what brilliant son of a bitch invented these things, but I hope he’s now somewhere in heaven, punching Robert Atkins in the face. When I was a little kid, I held T.G.I.Fridays in the same esteem I currently hold such restaurants as The French Laundry, merely because I considered potato skins to be the height of the culinary arts. Oh, sure, is the combination of carbs, cheese, bacon, and sour cream a bit gouche, in reality? Aren’t potato skins merely bar food? Yeah, they are, but they still rule your face, so shove it.
Most booze has a built-in deterrent in the form of the treacherous and insidious hangover. Margaritas, the nefarious bastards, also like to mix in their own special kind of evil in the form of wicked, unrelenting heart burn. And they’re fucking worth it! No superbowl party is complete without a giant pitcher of margaritas (tequila, triple sec, and lime juice), ice, and salt. Not only will margaritas get you so fucked up that the mere sight of Hines Ward no longer makes you want to fire bomb that Vietnamese Soul Food restaurant down the street, but, in addition, the dames will flock to them like the salmon of Capistrano. They’ll probably get so drunk that you can save your roofies for next weekend!
If I were the head of Peta and wanted to woo people to vegetarianism, I would simply use as a slogan “Vegetarianism: You Can Still Eat Nachos!” Boom! Everyone’s a vegetarian. Nachos (or, as I like to call them, “Mexican Bruschetta”) were invented by some dude with the eerily similar-sounding name “Ignacio,” in 1947. Some white guy was going to invent them first, but Ignacio did it for half the price. While there are many ways to make nachos using myriad cheeses and sauces, I like my nachos simply with a demure drowning of cheese product – you can save the real cheese for your viewing party when Milk comes out on DVD, Liberace. For our purposes, drown the chips in fake cheese, top with jalapenos, and then, all of a sudden think to yourself: “Holy Fucking Shit… What if we made these nachos with… Doritos?!?!?!?” No need to thank me when you win the Nobel Prize.
I have drunk about everything known to man, in my time: absinthe, mescal, actual moonshine, the blood of my vanquished enemies, sweat from a Japanese girl’s underwear that I bought on-line… But nothing has offended my palate quite like the unholy union of anise and ass funk that is Jagermeister. I honestly don’t get it when a guy brings a bottle of this swill to a party and expects everyone to be grateful. “Oh, thanks, Jared (they always have the worst names), good to see you brought the Jagermeister! And I was worried that we were all out of emetics! What? What’s that? I can’t hear you when I have my foot on your throat.” Seriously, is there any reason to like a person who likes the Jag? I’m not going to say something derivative like “You know who else likes Jagermeister? Nazis!” But, seriously, people who like Jagermeister probably want to kill Jews and burn their corpses in ovens. Then lose a war because of bad strategic decisions made in Berlin, rather than allowing those decisions to be made close to the front lines. In other words, they’re a lot like Nazis.
Another great excuse to brave the douchebag menagerie that occupies most Super Bowl parties is the myriad dips that most assuredly await you. Hummus, french onion, salsa, and hummus are all delicious additions to any party buffet. As are those little cocktail franks one sets afloat in a sea of smoky barbecue sauce. Finally, if you don’t have one of them big ass sandwiches from the deli at your Super Bowl party, it’s a known fact your favorite team will go at least four games under .500 next season. Way to go for the last 18 seasons, Bengals fans! Finally (Part II), I have omitted Buffalo wings from this list, because their inclusion in it should be self evident. If you don’t have Buffalo wings at your house this Sunday, you should immediately kill yourself. Do us all a favor and take a Steelers fan out with you. Or five.
28 October 2008
“When, in disgrace with Fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in [good football teams],
Featur’d like him, like him with [winning records] possess’d,
Desiring this man’s [Longhorns], and that man’s [Titans],
With [scotch] I most enjoy contented at last.
Penn State 13, Ohio State 6
Texans 35, Bengals 6
This week’s football-related mood is: Drunken Resignation
17 September 2008
“The merry grinding of the roller skates, the cheerful if ironic music, the cries of the little children on their goose-necked steeds, the procession of queer pictures – all this had suddenly become transcendentally awful and tragic, distant, transmuted, as it were some final impression on the senses of what the earth was like, carried over into an obscure region of death, a gathering thunder of immedicable sorrow; [The Chef’s Prerogative] needed a drink…”
USC 35, OSU 3
Titans 24, Bengals 7
This week’s football-related mood is: DISCONSOLATE
5 September 2008
Don’t let my rock-hard abs, perfectly defined pectorals, ripped lats, and huge penis fool you – I’m no stranger to fatty, artery-clogging, and greasy fare. Pizza, cheeseburgers, and foie gras smeared on bacon are all right in my lard-loving wheel house. But when I’m in the mood for some truly messy, succulent, nap-time inducing food, I tend to turn to barbecue. Specifically, I love me some melt-in-your-mouth ribs, with a side of baked beans and steak fries. Now, I know that barbecue inspires fierce loyalty in people, and that any preference opposed to ones own regarding the best way to cook, sauce, or prep an item sparks both righteous indignation and me punching people in the face. I’m not here to tell you how to make award winning pork butt, or to settle the titanic and contentious cases of Wet v. Dry, or Vinegar-Based v. Tomato-Based; I’m just telling you how to get some tasty-ass ribs from your oven, without too much fuss. So if you BBQ elitists don’t like it, you can stick it in your smug-holes, along with that $600 smoker you use once a year. Now, for those of you who, like me, don’t ask much form your ribs, let’s finish up pleasuring that Swedish lingerie model we met at Whole Foods and tuck into some down-right passable pork.
Admittedly, cooking ribs in your oven won’t give them that iconic smoke ring or tasty bark so familiar to barbecue fans; but it does allow you to cook them in your home, which means you can cook them while naked and glistening from the baby oil you rub all over yourself on special occasions or when you need a little pick-me-up after a rough week. Now, even though these are pretty easy to make, don’t think that they’re going to be quick to make – you’re going to want to budget about 2-4 hours of cook time, alone, if you want the finished product to be falling off the bone and not give anybody worms.
I’ll let you figure out what kind of ribs to buy, whether St. Louis style, baby back, or from Chili’s. The three main things I’m going to focus on are (1) the rub; (2) the tenderizer; and (3) what changes I can make in my daily life to help reverse the effects of global warming. The rub is important because Alton Brown tells me that it is. I can’t remember what he said to put in it, but I can tell you that I happen to prefer black pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, brown sugar, smoked paprika, and salt (does that sound right? I have no idea. Those are all spices, yeah?). As for the tenderizer, I like to hang my ribs up and pretend I’m Rocky Balboa, punching them in a meat locker. Additionally, I like to add a little beer to the cooking vessel, as well as to my gullet.
All that shit I just listed
Your favorite BBQ sauce, which happens to be the one I’m going to tell you how to make
Wake up early, tell that supermodel you just showed the best time of her life to scram, and pre-heat your oven to, oh, I don’t know, say, 300 degrees. As the name “rub” implies, you want to gently sprinkle your seasoning on the pork. Pour some beer in a big Pyrex dish, throw in your ribs, cover tightly with foil, and put the whole she-bang in the oven. You, my friend, now have about three hours to kill by watching football and being handsome. Normally, I would tell you drink your ass off during this time, and today is no exception – go ahead and get blitzed like you were Carson Palmer behind his shitty O-line. When the ribs are ready, take them out of the dish and crank up your broiler. Paint the ribs with the sauce you just made from cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, salt, and red pepper flakes. Throw ’em under the heat for a little bit, but be sure to take them out if it looks like they’re going to burn, genius. Serve with fries, an ice-cold beer, and a sense of satisfaction at having accomplished something in three hours which could have been accomplished in far easier fashion had you just gone down to the sports bar at the corner, ordered a rack, and watched your favorite team lose the first game of the season.
29 August 2008
Like that first drink of wine after crossing the desert; like embracing your lover after being apart for as long as your heart can bear; competitive football makes its much-needed return this weekend, quenching our feverish, absence-fueled longing and desire. And, unlike your girlfriend, football didn’t cheat on you with its spikey-haired supervisor when it had to go to Dallas for that business trip, last month (fuck you, Diane!). Now, I know that this weekend is “only” college football, and that a lot of the matchups aren’t all that “marquis”; but if that’s your concern, you probably shouldn’t worry about it too much, as your ballet practice and hug-tag competition will probably preclude you from watching much of it, anyway. For those of us who love football in any form (so long as it doesn’t involve Bon Jovi team ownership or Canada, that is), this Saturday allows us the chance to breathe a nice, long sigh of relief, knowing that we are again in the loving arms of our most favorite of pass-times, secure in the knowledge that she won’t abandon us again until the cold, sun-bereft days of February. The pass-time of which I speak is football, of course, but perhaps even more important, includes its corollary: boozing during football.
As Virgil wrote in The Aeneid, “Any man not needing the intoxication of drink during the vexing play of his home team is no man at all, but a God; and such Gods do not exist.” I’m pretty sure ol’ Virge was talking about the importance of getting good and shit-faced during the play of ones favorite football team, because as any fan knows, bad play is downright unbearable while sober. As a Bengals loyalst, I wholeheartedly agree – tying one on not only makes the good times more enjoyable and the bad times endurable, but as football fans, is our God-given right. As such, I have endeavored here to give you a sort of booze syllabus, with which you can approach not only this Saturday’s games but all the glorious dual football-dayed weekends to follow…
Breakfast Booze: Bloody Mary
For the longest time, I had an inexplicable aversion to Bloody Marys. Once I turned twelve, though, my palate changed, and they became a staple of my weekend brunches. A good Bloody Mary should be spicy enough to give your senses a swift kick in the nuts, yet booze-laden enough to say to them, afterwards “I’m sorry baby, you know I love you – come here, give Daddy some kisses.”* In a blender, mix vodka, tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish (made from real horses, please), lemon juice, some jalapeno, salt, pepper, blood, Mary, and lemon juice. Pour over ice in a tall glass, and garnish with celery, two olives, and a shot of Bourbon on the side.
Afternoon Hootch: Salty Dog
Holy shit are these fuckers refreshing. Just combine vodka and grapefruit juice over ice – couldn’t be simpler. The good thing about these guys is that they’re light and can be drunk at a good clip without having to worry about your one-way ticket to black-out island being punched. They’re soothing, too: without the aide of Salty Dogs, furniture tossing-related homicides would have been up about 125% in my greater living room area during the soul-destroying 2006 NFL season/BCS championship game.
Chances are, you’re going to need to decompress, a little, after yelling at the T.V. all day (I mean, seriously, how the fuck do you drop that fucking pass?!?!?!). The best way to do this is to nurse a few scotches during the late game, then gracefully fall asleep on your living room floor. The Glenlivet has always been my favorite affordable scotch, but if you’re some kind of high-fallutin’ upper crust type, feel free to drink something more expensive, just to make me feel inferior.
Well, I hope that this booze primer has been helpful, and I also hope that you are as far into your cups as is necessary to numb your senses when your team fumbles on the game-tying drive, with less than two minutes left to play in the game. Cheers!
P.S. Just to keep some semblance of a culinary presence in this post, here’s a recipe which will transform anything in your pantry into food your guests will swear you bought at a gas station: make a quick roux, add cream and grated cheese, and melt over low heat. You now have a cheese sauce you can dip practically anything in: pizza bagels, pizza hot pockets, french bread pizza, even regular pizza. As for me, I like to dip cheese sauce in my cheese sauce. For those of you who may be lactose intolerant, however, you may want to man the fuck up and consider growing a sack – pansy.
*And if you read that line with the voice of Billy Dee Williams in your head, then you’re just the kind of person who’s going to make it in this world, and I want to be your friend.
3 August 2008
Thank you, sweet, merciful, tap-dancing Christ: Football is finally back. -Ish. Today’s Hall of Fame Game marks not only the first outing of the ’08/’09 season, but also the end of having to cut myself every Sunday in order to distract from the emotional devastation caused by the lack of NFL games. This is kind of how I feel right now: