Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pruning The Family Tree

AUTHOR'S NOTE: In no way whatsoever am I suggesting that I would enact physical violence against my in-laws, unless in self-defense as a last resort.

That said, I just took another one of my in-laws off my Facebook friends list, and she deserved it. Just when I thought all the ruckus from my in-laws' humiliation of my wife from the family camping trip had subsided, she chose to bring it back up again. Oh, she made a weak-ass claim that it might not have been about my flaming my in-laws after all that, but I knew better. And I was able to confirm it with a simple two- word post:

"too bad."

And she had the nerve to threaten physical violence against me after I revealed her true colors! Oh, I have better weapons to use against your cellulite-ridden carcass than my fists, dearie. I have shame, repudiation, vindication, and humiliations galore to use. In so many words, if you think my wife is faking or exaggerating her illnesses, or you don't like the fact that I am more than happy to call anyone out on their bullshit, then get the fuck out of my life. We have no further use for you.

And with that, I award the Fred Phelps Award for The Dumbest Humanoid On The Planet to my former sister-in-law, Nancy Gingrich-Walker. I don't give a flying fuck if you don't like that I air out the family's dirty laundry. That's my wife they've been talking about, and if you'd rather defend them than the truth, by all means - go down with the sinking ship. May (insert they deity of your choice here) have mercy upon your soul.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Enough Whining - Let's Cook, Dammit!

A few months ago, I came across a recipe for pan-fried chicken breasts covered with hummus and coated with panko bread crumbs while I was waiting for Joy in yet another doctor's office. Recently, I tried playing with it a little, and I came up with something pretty damn good. I'll call it......

Miso Horny Chicken.

Here's how it came to be. Have you ever bought instant miso soup at an Asian grocery store? You know, comes in a bag very little English on it because it's fucking Japanese? Well, making the soup is pretty simple - take the small, soft, squishy packet (which is basically condensed miso soup, comprised of miso paste and dashi no moto - broth made from the dried and flaked loin of a fish called bonito) and dump it into two-thirds of a cup of water and stir, then add the larger packet of dried seaweed (likely nori) and veggies and wait for them to hydrate before eating. Well, my mom loves the soup, but hates the nori. So one day while Joy and I had the house to ourselves, I came up with another use for those miso-soup packets. Here's the recipe:

(Serves two)


Two chicken breasts, roughly 6 - 8oz. each
Two packets instant miso soup base
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. olive oil


Season each chicken breast lightly with salt and pepper. Open the miso soup base packets and empty the contents into a small bowl. Brush each breast liberally with the soup base, then dredge the breasts in the panko to completely cover. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, and panfry breasts for 8 to 10 minutes a side depending on size of the breasts. Serve with rice and steamed vegetables.

Personally, I like to serve this with bok choy (Chinese cabbage), split lengthwise and steamed with chicken broth spiked with garlic, ginger, and a dash of sriracha hot sauce, then take a little of that broth and condense/thicken it into a sauce.

Enjoy, and bon appetit!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Joe's Simple Solution For A College Football Playoff: The Playoffs Themselves ('Bout Damn Time)

Well, I think you've had plenty of time to digest my proposal so far as to how to fix college football. Well, now we're into the real heart of the matter - the actual playoff system itself. So let's begin, shall we?

Now that we have ten conferences, all conference champions earn automatic berths. Using the human and computer polls that currently serve as the basis for the BCS, six wild-card entries fill out the remainder of the National Championship bracket. With this information, I'll now give you a hypothetical field of sixteen teams. First, the conference champions:

PAC-10: Oregon
Big Ten: Wisconsin
SEC: Alabama
Big East: Penn State
Texas Athletic: Baylor
Mountain West: Boise State
Midwestern: Nebraska
ACC: Florida State
MAC: Ohio
Great Atlantic: Miami (FL)

Add Stanford, Iowa, Georgia, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and Clemson as remaining six teams. Okay, the field is set. So how do we get from sixteen teams down to one? Here are my two options First off is a straight single-elimination tournament. Using the same polls that selected the wild-card teams, seed the entire field from #1 to #16. For the sake of arguments, I'll let you seed the teams how you want. For the First Round, let the top eight seeds host the games. From there on out, use the BCS bowl games (Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, Orange) plus two others - let's say the Holiday and Cotton Bowls to stage the quarter- and semi-finals, with the National Championship game held say, the Sunday before the Super Bowl.

The overall season schedule could, in theory, look something like this:

2012 Regular Season Start: weekend of Sept. 15-16
2012 Regular Season End: weekend of Nov. 1-2
Ten game season with two bye weeks
First round playoff games: Dec. 22
Quarterfinals: Dec. 29
Semifinals: Jan. 5, 2013
National Championship: Jan. 27, 2013 (presuming that the Super Bowl is held on Feb. 3, 2013)

I take inspiration for my other from the NCAA's method for determining its champion in Men's Ice Hockey. Take those sixteen teams and put them in four regional brackets using the geographically appropriate teams as best as possible, and use the existing bowls for all 15 games. Using those sixteen teams and fifteen bowls, here's a potential bracket:

West Region:
Holiday Bowl (San Diego, CA), 12/22 - Oregon v. Notre Dame
Emerald Bowl (San Francisco, CA) , 12/22 - Stanford v. Boise State
Winners play in Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA), 12/29
Midwest Region:
Alamo Bowl (San Antonio, TX), 12/22 - Oklahoma v. Ohio
Texas Bowl (Houston, TX), 12/22 - Nebraska v. Wisconsin
Winners play in Cotton Bowl (Dallas, TX), 12/29
Southeast Region:
Independence Bowl (Shreveport, LA), 12/22 - Alabama v. Baylor
Liberty Bowl (Memphis, TN), 12/22 - Georgia v. Clemson
Winners play in Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, LA), 12/29
East Region:
Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, FL), 12/22 - Florida State v. Iowa
Florida Citrus Bowl (Orlando, FL), 12/22 - Miami (FL) v. Penn State
Winners play in Capital One Bowl (Tampa, FL), 12/29
National Semifinals:
Fiesta Bowl (Tempe, AZ) - West champion v. Midwest champion, 1/5/2013
Orange Bowl (Miami-Dade, FL) - Southeast champion v. East champion, 1/5/2013
National Championship:
Championship Game (Arlington, TX) - Semifinal winners, 1/27/2013

"What about the rest of the bowls?"

Simple enough. Teams with at least six wins that failed to qualify for the playoffs are still eligible to play in bowl games not affiliated with the National Championship system, with the bowl games themselves played pretty much as they are now.

So there you have it. A simple system - okay, maybe not as simple as I'd like it to be, but it's workable. The situation as it stands now is unworkable - hell, it's fluid as we speak, with Texas A&M leaving the Big 12 after this season and Oklahoma likely to follow, both schools outraged over the ridiculously unfair advantage created by Texas' deal with ESPN to create its own television channel, the Longhorn Network. The Big 12 may fall apart just as fast as the WAC is, as its elite schools move to the Mountain West, while the MWC loses BYU and Utah this year, and TCU bails for the Big East next year. Most college-football pundits see a future of four sixteen-team conferences hoarding all the power and money for themselves. And that's just not right. Conferences should be about local schools and local rivalries, not continent-spanning, money-spinning behemoths. We already have the NFL for that.