Monday, December 29, 2008

Holly Jolly Hangover [The one where I talk to strangers]

One more story before the annual holiday overdose and detox.

As I have already shared, this year more than any I can remember has filled me with a good-natured holiday spirit, apparently so much so that I'm even stopping to help strangers on the street. This is a strange little tale of such holidaytime mitzvot, if you'll indulge me.

About a week or so ago, I was finishing up a round of holiday shopping when I decided to hit up Papaya King on 86th St. for a little festive frankfurter. As I passed by the Loews theater I was flagged down by a fairly ordinary looking gentleman. Having grown up around and now lived in the Big Apple, I was wary of someone trying to grab my attention saying, "Excuse me, excuse me, I'm not gonna ask you for money, could I just ask you something for one second?" Usually such a person is actually trying to say, "I'm about to ask you for money in a very strange way, could I just harass you for several uncomfortable seconds and/or minutes?" I was leery, but he said he wouldn't ask for money and I guess I figured I could just be on my way if he did, so I slowed down to the old, I'm-walking-past-you-but-slowing-down-and-making-eye-contact-so-you-have-roughly-4-seconds-to-make-your-pitch-before-I-move-on pace.

"Hey man, I know this is crazy but I was just in there with my girlfriend and we started arguing, she stormed out and stole my car and drove back to Jersey," he started, gesturing toward the movie theater. "I gotta get on the Path train and get my car back, but I have no cash and they won't refund my tickets," the man continued. Producing two ticket stubs, he made his pitch: "They won't give me my money back because I'm just one person with the two ticket stubs, but like I said my girlfriend ran out on me. You think you could try to take these inside and get my refund for me so I'll have some cash for the train?"

Right now you might be in disbelief that I let this exchange go on for even this long. You may be shouting at your screen, "Walk away, Schiff! Walk the eff away!" Nine times out of ten I would have, but something kept me involved with this one. It was just too confusing. I couldn't walk away without more details. "Why would they give me - a single person with two ticket stubs - a refund when they wouldn't give it to you?" I asked. The man told me he couldn't be sure that they would, but also added that when he had attempted to get a refund he "Got a little smart with the manager." Alright, more pieces of the puzzle falling into place. At this point I'm skeptical and almost about to walk away. If this guy wants to fight with his girlfriend and cause a scene in a movie theater, let him find his own way home, right? I just couldn't do it, though. I gave him a cross-eyed, "Who farted?" face and voiced my doubt. "I don't know, man, seems pretty unlikely." That's when he hit me with this gem:

"The worst that can happen is they say no."

I thought it over for a second and I decided, "Hot damn, 3rd avenue stranger, you're right. What the hell? It's relatively light outside, we're in a crowded area, you seem harmless, albeit sketchy, enough. I'm gonna do it. Gimme them ticket stubs. All they can do is say no, right?" With that I was off on my mission. I took the stubs, walked into the theater and cut the entire line of people waiting to buy tickets. I got to the front counter, bypassed the manager-type in the button-down and set my sights on my target, the wide-eyed, probably less likely to ask questions teenage cashier. I approached her and ad libbed a story about my car is getting towed, my girlfriend ran after the tow truck and I need to refund these tickets because we're not staying. The cashier, not wanting to question the fact that a man whose car is presently being towed for some reason has time to stop and refund his movie tickets before chasing after the tow truck, looked up at me with those innocent eyes and said, "No problem." Sure enough, she took the ticket stubs, printed up and signed a little return receipt thing for the register, opened the drawer and started counting bills. "You paid cash for these, right?" she asked, catching me off guard. I replied that of course I had, and she produced 25 big ones. I took the money outside to my grateful new stranger friend, who seemed legitimately awestruck (although not enough to give me a portion of the refunded cash as a thank you). "God bless you, man," he said, turning toward New Jersey. "Dude," I said to him with a sheepish look, "get back to Jersey and make up with your girlfriend, damn." With a giggle and a grin he was off on his way, possibly to the Path station to track down and reconcile with his girlfriend, possibly to the nearest liquor store - I would have been more than upset if I had seen him at the Papaya King counter moments later - but I walked away feeling good. I had done a good deed for a fellow man in distress, a random act of kindness in the midst of the season of perpetual giving.

My question to you is, do you think it could have been a scam? Jaded as we are, New Yorkers think everyone that stops to talk to us is out to get us somehow. Oftentimes this is the case, but I don't necessarily think it was this time. I mean, who goes to the movies, then stands around outside the theater asking people to go in and refund the ticket stubs? Do people really go into movie theaters collecting stubs off the floor to then pull off the curbside bait-and-switch? He never once tried to take my money or get forceful with me. Is it possible that this simply was a random act of good will toward men? What do you guys think about all this? For now I'm going with a self-congratulatory, "Job well done," and hanging on to this one as a good Christmas story, but I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

On a completely unrelated note, my roommate just got back from this cruise, which creeps me the f out. Imagine you were on the ship and learned the news on your cabin television? Holy shit.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The NBA: Where Hanukkah Happens

Recently I echoed the sentiment of so many small children when I said that all I want for Hanukkah this year is one head-nodding religious artifact, which I then amended to state that all I want for Hanukkah this year is one head-nodding religious artifact and a piece of special birthday cake made just for a three-year-old named for one of history's most ruthless dictators. And this, my friends, is why they gave us eight crazy nights. Because tonight, on the third night of Hanukkah (and still the one and only night of Festivus) I hope my Jew love gives to me: one Rally Rabbi bobblehead, one Adolf cake... and a shout out from Ko-be.

I was introduced to The Embedded NBA Reporter, Elie Seckbach, through an intriguing couple of recent posts on freedarko. He came to America from Israel in 1996 to play college basketball and has been covering the NBA since 1997, although his popularity has received a major boost recently thanks in large part to Internet video. Andy Gray of CNNSI called Seckbach "the most entertaining NBA reporter out there" because of his quirky, candid interview style and zany questions beyond the realm of basketball, which often result in classic sound bites from NBA stars. To ring in the third night of Hanukkah, we've got Elie's Hanukkah videos from the last three years, with this year's at the bottom. And yes, that includes shout-outs from Kobe, The Diesel, and The King.

Upon hearing that Hanukkah commemorates a war victory and involves 8 nights of presents: "I need to celebrate Hanukkah more" - Ron Artest

"Happy Hanukkah. You guys have fun and blow out all the candles." - Ricky Davis

"Happy Hanukkah and, uh, I hope everything, you know, goes the way they planned." - Trevor Ariza

For more Seckbachery, check out Elie on Fanhouse.

I find tinsel distracting

Today is December 23, and as we all know, that means another Festivus is upon us. As I have noted, this year I've been more imbibed with the holiday spirit than any winter I can recently remember. As such, I've been feeling especially good natured and have spread my cheer through good deeds, gift-giving, and copious Jack Daniels consumption. But let's face it. Over the past year, you all have upset me incredibly, so before we gather around the aluminum pole and admire its high strength-to-weight ratio, let us give pause for the Festivus airing of grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people, and now you're gonna hear about it! Consider this your open forum to come forth and tell everyone what's got you all prickly this year. Say whatever you want in the comments, just don't be mean or single people out (if you have to, at least let them be in on it. Festivus is a time for togetherness, after all).

I will begin with my D.C. contingent. Where the eff were you guys on this??? You know I love Seinfeld and holidays that can be celebrated via kiosk. Just look at all those great notes about things that pissed people - wait, wtf?! You must think you're pretty smart, random Adams Morgan Festivus Kiosk griper. Well I say you couldn't smooth a silk sheet if you had a hot date ..... I lost my train of thought.

And so the airing of grievances has begun! Let the rant continue in the comments, and please air as much or as little as you like. Remember, until you pin me, Festivus is not over.

Monday, December 22, 2008

More Tunes! aka where the F are my Friday Jams?

Inexplicably, Saturday's Friday Jams have disappeared completely from the Schiff Happens radar. Please, someone, anyone, whoever you are out there - if this is your way of paying me back for posting unlicensed content, a simple "Cut that shit out" letter would have sufficed. Anyway, with my entire awesome post gone, here's the track list - you're on your own for download links this week I guess.

Ball Greezy - I'm the shit
Jay-Z - Brooklyn Go Hard ft. Santogold
Justin Timberlake - If I ft. T.I.
Eminem - Number One
Charles Hamilton - C Food
Asher Roth - Roth Boys (I'm pretty sure I can still embed the video, so see below)
N.A.S.A. - Money ft. David Byrne and Chuck D (also gonna repost this video)
Ghostface Killah - Ghostface Xmas
Vic & B.O.B. - Hot (from Collipark Christmas)
Run DMC - Christmas in Hollis

Roth Boys video:

Money video:

And of course as a special Festivus Miracle, in keeping with the Christmas jams at the end of the list and me wanting to spread some extra cheer for initially posting this late, here's the first episode of the new season of Flight of the Conchords.

Update: I'm pretty sure my Slim Shady postings are responsible for the disappearance, as my post about where he's been and the leaked track has also disappeared. I still don't understand why these posts are just gone without any form of correspondence from Blogger or otherwise - if anyone out there can shed some light, please do so.

Sometimes you just want it to snow

From the "Soon-to-be-remixed ad nauseum" department comes this gem of a poor Oklahoma University coed who just wanted to make it snow. Look, she's super sorry, okay? She'll even sweep the floor, just stop hating her! Come on, her dad did it, she just wanted to do it too!!

From the tiny bit of investigation I've done on this (aka reading the always-insightful comments) I'm pretty sure that this girl shot off a fire extinguisher in a library or dorm building in an attempt to create a finals winter wonderland. This naturally set off the fire alarm which, if you have gone to college you will know, requires immediate evacuation and lots of standing around outside freezing your face off while you wait for the fire department to (slowly) show up, (slowly) investigate and (very quickly) leave. You are then allowed to reenter the building and hold a grudge against the freshman dipshit (or in this case insane Alpha Chi) who committed the offense.

I actually have a bit of personal experience with this, having set off my dorm fire alarm my first year at UVA by burning a bag of microwave popcorn. It happened late on the Sunday night back from Thanksgiving break, so everyone was just settling in and getting ready for the return to classes when they were forced to stand outside in their pajamas for 45 minutes. Plus, the popcorn was being prepared for the now-retired ::sheds tear:: Talk Sex With Sue Johannsen (this was a weekly ritual with friends, I swear), which makes the offense that much more ignoble. But did I cry about it? Hell no! Grow a spine, Oklahoma girl. Stand up and take your fire alarm offense like I did - tell one trusted friend, slink to the back of the crowd while the fire department does their thing, then deny, deny, deny until people stop talking about it a week later. Then you can go on winter break and by spring semester you're barely an afterthought. OR you can become a lip-quivering YouTube sensation, totally up to you. I'm sorry, that was mean. You just wanted to make it snow.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Maxim loves all my favorite sandwiches

From the department of "Why didn't anyone tell me about this months ago?" (and Ilan) comes this article from the January 2009 UVA Arts & Sciences Online, which looks curiously like a retread of this article from The Hook back in August. I can't understand why The University waited until now to publicize this, but nonetheless I'm feeling a great sense of pride today knowing that the man who used to personally deliver pulled pork barbecue sandwiches to the frat house for dinner every Thursday is now finally being recognized nationally for his boss hog.
This summer James “Jinx” Kern (MA Art History ’84, BA Art History ’76), whose Jinx’s Pit’s Top Barbecue is a Charlottesville landmark, won accolades for his Kentucky-style barbecue from both—you can’t make this stuff up—The Wall Street Journal and the men’s magazine Maxim, which named his the nation’s best pulled-pork sandwich.
The pictures give a small idea, but really don't even begin to illustrate the disaster area that is Jinx's tiny 12-seat barbecue pit stop. They do, however, fairly accurately illustrate the oddball that is Jinx in his apparent signature pose: short shorts with legs crossed and high socks with docksiders. As a very satisfied customer, I can attest to the greatness of this man's pork. I have met him a few times, so I had an idea of how strange a character Jinx is, but I have to say that the article really drove it home. If you've ever had barbecue from Jinx, you'll read choice quotes like these with an uneasy feeling of, "Yea, that sounds about right:"
“Living at home at age 35 without a job is not a good thing to do”
“I had made the mistake of going out to California with a woman I’d met at a wedding to see if we could work it out, but we couldn’t”
And of course, who hasn't felt like this?
Regret: My significant other is a 20-pound cat.
Awwwww, poor Mr. Jinx. He's like Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka, a misunderstood mad scientist, unyieldingly driven to perfect his creation, spiritually unfulfilled in the name of pork progress. Well take heart, master of swine. The world has recognized your greatness. Frame the Maxim article and cram it amongst the rest of the "decor," and keep on living the dream.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

the secret is out, I was right all along

Yesterday, as you may recall, I was left hung out to dry at my first ever office Secret Santa. I was actually really looking forward to coming to work today as a result, mostly because I figured there was a real shot I'd have to shake this guy down for my $15 (or generic gift of equal value). Fortunately, the entire morning went by with no sign of gift-giving, though Santa was clearly in the building. It seemed like an afternoon confrontation was imminent - I'd have to take matters into my own hands officially after lunch.

I took my break, came back and started instant message chatting with my brother to assess the situation. His idea was to email the Secret Santa organizer commending her for such a fun activity, then accept her gratitude before sending a second note saying that Secret Santa in fact sucked ass because I didn't get shit. At this very moment, still chuckling to myself, I felt a tap on my shoulder. My manager handed me a business card-sized red felt pouch. "From Secret Santa," she said. I eagerly tore into the pouch, nearly hyperventilating with excitement, and pulled out... Starbucks!
That's right! Just as I surmised yesterday, my approximate month of basically anonymous half-efforts here earned me $15 worth of coffee at a place I never go into from a person I never met. Not only that, but there was a totally blank "To:/From:/Amount" card alongside the gift card in the little red pouch. Thanks for personalizing my coffee, Dick-a-claus. The blank card bolsters my belief that he literally got his morning coffee, bought the gift card, stuck it in his pocket and continued down the street to the office. And did I mention that he didn't even hand it to me himself? Maybe he's just trying to protect my fragile little mind from the traumatic realization that Santa is made up. Or maybe he wants to remind me that Jews dont get to have Christmas. Well guess what, Secret Santa? I'm done with gifts and all of it. If you need me, I'll be fishing the Festivus pole out of the crawlspace.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hey man, I love you this many dollars worth

Today is office Secret Santa day, which is humorous and awkward for several reasons. I had to miss about a week of work to get some minor surgery done, so I didn't even know about plans for Secret Santa until after I got back. All the deadlines referenced in the Secret Santa emails (and there were many more than necessary) had passed, so I just figured I had missed out on picking a person and having my name in the pot and everything else. Not so. My managers decided - and I just can't thank them enough for this - to pick a person on my behalf. Lets backtrack here for a second and note that I started this job 2 weeks prior to my surgery, which is just enough time to meet roughly seven people at a new office. This means that I have no idea who my gift recipient is (he's been pointed out to me, but we've never been introduced), and unless whoever got me is one of those seven people (unlikely), then somebody is in the same unfortunate, awkward situation as I was. "Hey man, I've never met you, but here's a small, generic token worth a maximum of $15. I picked it out for you based solely on your gender and what Bob in sales told me you look like. Happy Holidays." I really hope there is no bro hug involved.

Office Secret Santa is also awkward because I was hired exactly 3 days before my company's major round of layoffs, which means that as everyone is exchanging gifts with coworkers they've known for some time, I'll be standing there looking around like a lost puppy while people try to figure out who I am and why I deserve their holiday cheer. This is roughly the work equivalent of your cousin bringing her rebound boyfriend to Christmas dinner 2 weeks after breaking up with the long-term guy everyone loved, him taking the head seat at the table and asking your family what you got for him this year while Nana struggles to discern whether there's a new guy at the table or she's wandered into the wrong house again.
"Who the eff is that guy?"
"Oh hey everyone, I'm Steve. I started when all your friends got fired, really excited to be here. Happy Secret Santa!"
Also, I don't even celebrate Christmas, so I don't really feel comfortable being referred to as a Santa. Nor have I ever gotten a gift from Santa, as I have known for some time that he is made up. Oh shit, was that the secret?
I'm definitely curious to see who picked my name and what they got for me. I got my person a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble. I figured this was a good gift on the assumption that all of my coworkers can read. I'd be perfectly happy with a generic gift like that, or my backup choice for my person, a bottle of wine. At least I didn't go the Creed route.
Less than one hour until the big secret is revealed - can you feel the excitement? I've never participated in a Secret Santa at the office, so my only frame of reference is Secret Santa at The Office. I feel like the real life version could be just as awkward, but not nearly as hilarious. I'll let you know how it goes.

Update (11:30) Agnes from HR just walked by and said, "Lets go get our booty!"

Update (12:10) Secret Santa over, phenomenal letdown even for my basement-low expectations. No awful gifts, no awkward moments, and oh yea, no present for this guy. According to my sources, my Secret Santa didn't show up to work today and obviously didn't drop his gift in the pile on Monday (considering he probably was going to pick up a Starbucks gift card during his morning coffee run on his way to the office today anyway). Also, the guy I bought the gift card for emailed me to say thanks, so we've still never officially met. Work is so awesome.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Phish Happens? [Rumors, Speculation and Hearsay]

You get a few hippies playing drums and next thing you know, you got yourself a colony.

Too early to speculate, but never to early to circulate unconfirmed, fact-free rumors. Thanks, Rolling Stone!
Bonnaroo, the East Coast’s premiere multi-day, multi-stage gathering of the vibes (held in Manchester, Tennessee from June 11th to 14th) usually doesn’t release its lineup until early February — but hears from reliable sources close to Phish that the band will top the bill for two nights, restoring the fest to its jam-friendly roots ... Also being buzzed about with some legitimacy: Bruce Springsteen as Sunday night’s closer.
If true, this would definitively mean 2 things:

1. Let Cartman explain:

If we are to assume Cartman's theory is true (and when has little Eric ever been wrong?), the biggest jam band ever headlining 2 nights at the biggest jam band festival ever could truly be a hippie gathering the size of which we've never seen. It goes without saying that every hippie out there would reroute his tour-following convoy to descend upon Manchester, TN next June. If ever there were a chance for Cartman to round up all the hippies in the world and lock them in the proverbial basement, this would be it.

2. A dramatic sea change in the Bonnaroo crowd would occur. Bonnaroo is generally the one time of year when hippies and rednecks coexist, but Springsteen's northeast contingent would probably drive away a good portion of the jorts-wearers and mullet-heads who usually abound. The Bonnaroo crowd has changed as the band lineups have become more varied over the years, but a Phish/Springsteen headlining combo would create a completely different atmosphere than any 'Roo before. Both Phish and The Boss attract a vehement band of loyal followers, and each could command their own 100,000 person, 3-night festival (10 straight sold-out nights at Giants Stadium, anyone?). The battles between the noodlers and the fist-pumpers could truly be epic.

So, how do you guys feel about a Bruce Phishsteen Bonnaroo? Personally, I can't wait to see the look on those little Eichmann's faces when they get a taste of those crunchy grooves. (If you like music festivals, hippies, or things that are funny, do yourself a favor and watch this South Park. Just do it. Like right now.)

Assume the rumors are true and get your presale and VIP packages [Rolling Stone]
and your primo weed for the reunion [Stereogum]

"We believe the request ... to inscribe a birthday wish to Adolf Hitler is inappropriate"

I know I said last night that I only wanted one tchotchkke for Hanukkah this year, but f it, that's why we get 8 crazy nights, right?
That's why this year I am also wishing for a slice of Adolf Hitler's birthday cake.
Courtesy of Lindsay Robertson, here's the sad story of poor little Adolf Hitler Campbell, who is being denied every child's dream of seeing his name written in frosting.

Young Adolf Hitler Campbell will be getting a cake from Wal-Mart this year.

Come on, people! It's Hanukkah for crying out loud! I really do feel for these kids, because it's not their fault that their parents are such epic douchenozzles. At least he'll have his campaign commercial all set if he ever decides to run for office.


Butterfly... gimme a fluttah! Gimme a flut-tah!

Greg the Bunny goes to Vegas and illustrates what happens to me at the blackjack table.

Bust a cap(tion)

Tired, hungry and outnumbered, the nannies of London form the legendary Umbrella Phalanx in a final, desperate attempt to rid the city of Mary Poppins and her expialidocious voodoo witchcraft.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The only gift I want this Hanukkah

Have you been a good little mensch this year, or have you been a miserable kvetching noodnik? The Festival of Lights is fast approaching, and you're not doubt looking to get your grubby little mitts on all this year's hottest holiday chazzerai. But this year, the only tchotchkke I want is a Rally Rabbi bobblehead.

Call me a schmendrik schlemiel shmeggegie, but the thought of an ex-Deadhead, baseball superfan Rabbi spreading the good word from a motorcycle known as the "Mitzvah mo-bike" just gets me all farklempt.

A great article and a great find by Deadspin.

Mullet Monday!

Sorry if you missed me during a busy weekend and portion of a Monday, but here's a little something to put a quittin' time smile on your face (if the fact that it's quittin' time doesn't make you happy enough).

"If you ladies continue your unruly behavior I will be forced to use my baton."

Species: Rent-a-mullet, Mull Security
Spotted: Scott Staium North End Hillside, Charlottesville, VA
Notes and Conclusion: Potentially a frat boy volunteer, but more likely a jobless degenerate, the Rent-A-Mullet is hired by a stadium, concert hall or strip mall to patrol the premises and appear as a symbol of authority for 8 bucks an hour. The mullet is kept tight, as is the Event Staff polo, for purposes of intimidation, but the Rent-a-Mullet is known to be mostly harmless. This species is fairly common because the job appeals to the mullet's aggressive predisposition to activities requiring potential physical force or use of weapons. Ironically, most Mull Security are slow-witted, overweight and out of shape, so streaking drunks are likely to blow right past him while his gaze remains firmly fixed on the scantily clad, likely underage female fans in the distance.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Secret Stache Revealed!

The first ever installment of the Friday Secret Stache was truly a study of great moments in mustache history. Four years ago, almost to the day, someone showed up at AEPi fraternity house with a pack of stick-on mustaches, and a party was born. At the time I hoped that this night would be the catalyst for a bumper crop of upper lip growth, reviving a once-proud tradition of mustachioed fraternity men. It was not to be, but I continue to imagine the future reunion where the four of us return to UVA sporting real-life versions of the stick-on stand-ins seen here.
Here's a breakdown of the four staches and their owners:

Stache A: Eeyore sporting a near perfect Chevron - a classic style, matches his hair to a tee making it appear the most natural of the 4., clearly evocative of tremendous pride and satisfaction. Also looks most like aforementioned D-Day.

Stache B: Who has 2 thumbs and a lip curtain? Don't act like you're not impressed with my Lamp Shade. This style stache is comparable to a big black fuzzy caterpillar, known in some circles as a Dad Stache. As the son of a man who has proudly sported a soup strainer since his college heyday, this is an undergraduate mock-up of what I'm supposed to look like when I grow up.

Stache C: The only real name for this is the Schittstashe. Looks like something your grandfather might wear, especially if he's southern and goes by "Colonel." While we're on Colonel, there's the obligatory reference any time a white Petit Handlebar like this one comes out. Like both Colonels, Schittberg is a raving drunk, fights bouts of forgetfulness bordering on Alzheimers, and occasionally soils himself.

Stache D: The Chad's Handlebar shows why this style of stache has endured so long. Eccentricity and balls are both required to rock a proper 'bar, and many notables have hung this type of lip drapery because it so uniquely defines the personality and character of each wearer, setting him apart despite its familiar design. The multifaceted capabilities of the handlebar were embodied appropriately this night by The Chad. No doubt a bold individual, The Chad is also a true man about town - an athlete, socialite, showman, inventor, gentleman and scholar - whose many hats require the only lip accessory capable of matching them all.

To all my people who don't wanna go to work [Friday Jams]

Ten tunes for your Friday feel-good head nod. Download, make yourself a little playlist, name it Schiff Happens: Friday Jams, get down.

Asher Roth - I Love College (because I'm pushing this Heeb on everyone right now, because he's gonna blow up in '09, because Rivers Cuomo should lighten up and because we all love college)

Kanye West ft. Mos Def - Good Night (off The Graduate Mixtape)

T.I. - Message to the Government (from the cutting room floor of Paper Trail)

DJ Bling - King of Rock Mixtape Volume 1 (it's no Girl Talk, but a fun mashup)

N.A.S.A. ft. Kanye West, Lykke Li and Santogold - Gifted (off N.A.S.A.'s new album The Spirit of Apollo)

Cornershop - Candyman (from the new LeBron Nike commercial that's oh so nice)

Jay-Z - Jockin Jay-Z remix ft. Travis Barker (if you know me, you know I'm all about rap meets rock)

Charles Hamilton - Brooklyn Girls

Ludacris - Press the Start Button (off the Dutch bonus to Theater of the Mind. Only Luda could make all those video game references sound so hard.)

Bob Marley - Iron Lion Zion (previously unreleased from Songs of Freedom, in case you're stuck on what to give me this holiday. Honestly, who could brighten up your Friday better than Bob?)

Friday Secret Stache

My affinity for the stache is well known among those closest to me, so I'm gonna try another little something here that I will call the Friday Secret Stache. I'll post a close-up, you attempt to identify the handsome man behind the stache. Post your guesses in the comments and a little bit later I'll post the results and break down what makes that day's flavor saver special. To start things off with a bang, today we have a quartet of crumb-catchers from my personal stache, er, stash (there's your hint). Good luck, stache-gazers.





Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Why the Yankees should forget CC. What? They signed him? Awesome?

I was all set to wake up this morning and write my "Why I'm over CC Sabathia" post detailing the many reasons why the Yankees should stop waiting around for him to decide if he really wants to play in New York, cut bait with their massive contract offer and instead worry about bringing back Andy Pettitte and signing Derek Lowe to solidify the pitching rotation, and signing Manny Ramirez to protect A-Rod (we're really still pondering whether this would be a good idea?) before CC half-heartedly decides to give New York a shot and ultimately flames out under the glare of the media, his record-setting contract and the endless availability of restaurants offering 24-hour delivery.
Instead, I woke up to learn that not only did the Yankees and CC take the first steps in this direction, but the club sweetened the pot with another year and $20 million. Am I excited that the Yankees now have a legitimate ace? Hell yes, of course. I love CC as a competitor and, by all accounts I've seen, one of the all-around good guys in baseball. It just worries me that a guy who was so on the fence and trepedatious about playing in the Bronx for this long is all of a sudden going to carry the 2009 Yankees back to the World Series. For that kind of money and for his stature, Sabathia can't be stepping to the podium and putting on the pinstripes thiking, "Maybe this will work out ok." This decision needs to come with a world-beating, "Let's make this happen," attitude. CC is known to put immense pressure on himself, which will only compound any potential doubt in the face of the massive external pressures he is about to face. That all being said, I still don't think that he will be a flop (and I don't buy into the concerns of many about his physique after so many years of ardently supporting David Wells, the elderstatesman of big fat lefties). Far from it. He's one of the best pitchers in the league and will be good for the Yankees both on the field and in the clubhouse, where he's known as a great teammate who brings people together (something I believe the Yankees have sorely lacked in the A-Rod era). It's a move the Yankees had to make, and maybe in the end it really did simply come down to money for Sabathia. Fine. The problem lies in the way the process played out and the doubts raised along the way. As a Yankees fan, I'm pretty sure I should be overcome with delerious excitement this morning. Instead, I'm just cautiously optimistic. My only hope is that CC doesn't feel the same way.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Mullet Monday!

In what may already be my favorite feature of this fledgling blog, I present to you the first installment of Mullet Monday! I'll brighten up the start of your week with a new specimen every Monday. As an aspiring mullet hunter, I'm still on the prowl for the next rare, exotic breed. I invite you all to join in the hunt with me, and submit your best work to be featured in an upcoming Mullet Monday. For now, I simply invite you to feast your eyes on a true marvel of nature.

"I'm telling you, if you play Come Together backwards it totally says 'Get er done!'"

Possible Species: British Mullet, Abbey Roadllet, I Am the Mullrus
Habitat: St. Johns Wood tube station, Northeast London
Notes: The first mullet I ever captured in the wild. During my semester in London I decided one afternoon to check out the famous Abbey Road Studios and zebra crossing. I never had any designs at all to hunt mullets until I ascended from the tube to the street and saw this mysterious foreign breed. I was at once amused and shocked by the existence of a Limey mullet, which I had previously believed to be solely an American creature.
Conclusion: This mullet is delicately groomed and maintaining a civil phone conversation in close proximity to the other man. The uncharacteristic lack of American mull-rage suggests the gentility of its British cousin, but could this be a patriot in Doubmull-oh-seven mode, plotting to defame the famously mop-topped Beatles by mulletizing their Abbey Road merchandise? Not out of the question, as a confused mullet may very well have misinterpreted the Fab Four's "British Invasion" of America some 40-odd years ago.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

(sh)It's always sunny in Piscataway

Thursday night I had to put on my Jersey hat and defend Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, against allegations that it is somehow a second-rate institution. I was especially hurt that these allegations were coming from my two roommates, who are both from New Jersey. Rutgers is a bastion of New Jersey state pride, one of the oldest universities in America, the home of the first college football game ever, and breeding ground for the nation's greatest sandwich (officially Maxim's best of 2004, possibly best of ever). Not to mention it's a good school and just a typically fun college environment. My defense was valiant, but fell on deaf ears. Luckily, this guy showed up at the Rutgers-Louisville football game and made us all proud to be from the great Garden State.

Frankly I'm surprised nobody has thought of this move before, at least to my knowledge. But then, not everyone can be as forward-thinking as an RU man.
Apparently this Steve-O/Hank Williams, Jr. lovechild was taking lots of pictures with RU coeds in the stands, so if you have access to any of these, or if you know anything at all about this man and why he has chosen not to shave since graduation, please let us know.

Shit(ter) Happens

Another conversation with The Chad has yielded yet more inspiration.
Earlier today he remarked on the amazing amount of time that can be wasted at work by doing number 2s. In his case, his office is simply a small apartment shared only by him and his boss, so he faces a particularly unique predicament. In most office restroom scenarios, the dastardly deed is committed in a secure stall of anonymity. Not to mention you are almost guaranteed to be well out of range of your manager or coworkers, as well you should be in such a moment.
In The Chad's setup, however, when the boss looks up and sees the restroom occupied, there's only one man that can possibly be in there. My natural first question was, doesn't he fear the huge potential embarrassment in the event of a particularly symphonic movement? In my mind's eye I could see the hangdog look on his face when he responded with only, "Exactly," but as they say, necessity is the mother of invention.
"Thats why i've come up with an idea," he posited. "The musical toilet. A toilet that converts your farts, based on volume and duration, into more pleasant musical notes...This can also make giving blumpkins more appealing."
This is either insanely brilliant, or insanely insane. Would the toilet simply play single notes, or would there be full songs playing based on the tenor of your turds? I would imagine there would be some licensing issues to work through there. Would there be alternate models that played animal noises or hilarious cartoon sound effects instead of musical notes? Is there a USB port for your iPod so you can sync your shit? There are too many variables to account for right now, but The Chad is an engineer, so I am expecting a prototype some time in the near future.

Schiff Happens the remix remix 2.0: Back again for the first time

Sometimes people call me Schiff Happens, and I suppose it does.
The nickname originated in the burbs of dirty Jers in 2000 when I was 16 and started making mix cds. This was at the height of the real Napster, known to us then as the coolest shit ever invented(!!!), but right before mp3 players were sweet. I'd spend hours downloading and listening to songs, then meticulously put them in just the right order to reflect the mood and the tunes that I was feelin at the time. Then I'd mock up some album artwork using Wordart and random pictures from the internet and give each one a snappy title. The first one was simply called "Schiff Happens," and the cover had a cartoon diagram of food's path through the digestive system. After that spark of Da Vincian creativity I continued to crank out the mixes, and soon I had every Jew in my high school rockin out to the choicest cuts on classic mixtapes like Schiff Happens Volume 4: Hot Ish Err Time, Schiff Happens Volume 6: God I'm Huge and right around this time of year, Santa Put Schiff In My Stocking: Steve's Holiday Hits. As we graduated and went to college or Brookdale, we drifted apart until Facebook came out. By then iPods and emo had dooked all over the better place and time from whence Schiff first happened.
But life goes on, and although Schiff Happens went away for a while, it was never really gone. When I was 16, free song downloads meant everyone had to know my freshest learners permit jams. The music was out there, and we all had to hear it, in a particular order from a particular (aka MY) point of view. Now I'm 25, and the boundless interwebs will allow me to distribute not just my favorite music, but the very essence of Schiff - value and fun for their own sake. Use this space to enhance your daily day in a variety of bitchin ways, some of which I have in mind and some of which (I hope) will evolve over time through my constant desire to make a big sarcastic joke out of everything plus feedback from whoever's really alive out there. This includes, but is by no means limited to, creative shit, funny shit, random shit, and shit talkin. In these shitty times, all this shit seems pretty necessary, and that's really what Schiff Happens was all about in the first place. A moment in time demands my contribution, and my vast network of friends must participate. Its Schiff Happens 2.0.
So thank you, Schiff Happens aficionados, for keeping the faith. It feels good to be back.

"It happens." "What, shit?" "Sometimes."

I had wanted to start up a blog for a minute, but I didn't think anyone would notice because of those damn attention-whoring Shiba Inu puppies. My friends and I like to help each other tolerate the workday by sending hilarious electronic mailings, and I figured my 6-man core audience was about as far as things would go. But I recently got some positive feedback on one of my emails, which I give to you now in the form of a cute little Mad Libs. Print it out and fill it in with your friends (click to enlarge).

The first response to this email was simply, "You really should start a blog." Maybe you don't think this is the most appropriate story to hear when you're first getting to know someone, but who among us hasn't been there? Don't act like you've never been victimized by an errant shart or other emergency of the gastrointestinal variety. If you have an especially good tale of intestinal distress, let me hear it. I'll even Mad Lib the best ones for us all to enjoy on our next long road trip or sleepaway camp bonfire. How did this one turn out for you?

Have a nice day.