Thursday, June 30, 2011

Codification of the Fighting Scale

By Peter K. Stephens

If anyone were to ever ask me, I would have to say that I'm a lover, not a fighter. However, this wouldn't be entirely truthful, since I’m probably not much of a lover either. Which I suppose means I'm neither. Which I suppose means I'm just a pussy. However, there was a brief period in my life when I became obsessed with the idea of getting in a fight. I'm not a violent person by nature, and I didn't really want to hurt anyone, but I wanted to get into one good fight during the time of my life when it could be shrugged off as 'boys being boys.' Now that I'm 26, if I were to get in a fight it would probably just end with something embarrassing, like me getting sued or the loss of a tooth.

For whatever reason, this time in my life[1] happened to coincide with a similar thirst for fighting in my friend and colleague Evan.[2] During countless discussions about getting in fights,[3] we realized there was a slight possibility that our hypothetical 'fight' could turn into a very real 'ass kicking.' We simply didn't know where we stood. I've never been in a real fight before, at least one that wasn't against someone who I happen to be brothers with. Evan grew up with sisters, at least one of whom could still kick his ass, so it was an even tougher gauge for him. So, like anyone who talks about the meaning of getting in a fight instead of just getting drunk and sucker punching someone at a bar, we came up with a five point scale to rank everyone's fighting ability.

The Fighting Scale proved useful for a variety of reasons. We determined that we were both Threes, directly in the middle of the fighting scale. This was good, because it meant that if we were to get in a fight with another three (the preferred scenario) it most likely wouldn't result in any long term consequences. A fight between threes would rarely if ever result in a hospitalization or an arrest. We also realized that all of our friends were more or less completely incapable of supporting us in a brawl. Whether through cowardice, un-athleticism, lack of size, or generally cordial dispositions, there wasn't a fighter in the bunch.[4] This meant that in the event of a group fight, we would most likely play the role of a West Side Story gang, with the other group playing the part of MS-13. With group fights out of the question, we were limited to solo endeavours, and due to my general inability to generate enough anger to get in a fight with a random stranger, no fights ended up occurring.

However, the Fighting Scale lives on to be shared with the world today. Feel free to reference it if you're considering a fight with a stranger in the future[5]:


A five is a complete nonfactor in a fight. This may be due to several factors. They may be a dedicated pacifist, physically incapable of defending themselves due to morbid obesity, or somebody's grandmother. In a more real-world scenario, a five would be a friend who would watch their friend get their ass kicked without interceding. There is absolutely no circumstance that would precipitate them getting in a fight.


A four is someone who would fight if it was thrust upon them, but would lose. As it turns out, most of my friends would be classified as fours.


A three is our prototypical baseline fighter. They stand out by not standing out in any particular way. Average athleticism, average temperaments, and no real fighting experience would be typical. A battle between threes would typically start with insults, involve a couple punches which wouldn't connect, and would end in more insults. The primary difference between a two and a three is opportunity. A three with enough fighting experience will most likely become a two.


A two is a capable fighter who could generally be counted on to beat up a three. As a three myself, they're easily identified as someone who I think would probably kick my ass if we got in a fight. Anyone who has been in multiple fights and handled their own is probably a two. While a two can be relied upon to win their individual portion of a group brawl, they can't carry a team, which is the defining characteristic of the next category.


A one is someone capable of anchoring an entire group in a fight. In the event of a fight, they will be a whirlwind of destruction. The cave troll from the first Lord of the Rings is a good example. Their fighting skill could be due to steroid usage, martial arts training, or a general rage problem. The irony of course is that all of these qualities would make someone a liability to hang out with in any situation that doesn't involve mortal combat. While a one increases your chances of winning a fight, they also increase your chances of getting in a fight, especially one that ends in arrests or curb stomping. A typical one is a barely functioning member of society. Within a group of friends, they're likely to spread a Sid Vicious-Nancy Spungen level of dysfunction. Ones can usually be identified by their sloping criminal foreheads and Tapout T-shirts. They may try to talk you up about upcoming MMA fights, but this ostensible friendliness is usually just a prelude to a headbutt.

So there's the fighting scale, laid bare. Through codifying it and by evaluating myself, I've established myself as a solid three, and found my place in the world. I've ascertained the meaning of fighting without actually fighting, which is what writing is really all about.

[1] We'll call it "Peter's Red Period."

[2] A real testosterone renaissance.

[3] Evan and I tend to talk about the possibility and meaning of things much more than actually doing them, which is why I never ended up getting in a fight and instead ended up writing an essay about it five years later.

[4] These same characteristics lead to a distinct rebounding disadvantage for our intramural basketball team.

[5] Incidentally, if you feel the need to consult an essay before getting in a fight, you probably should just avoid the fight in general.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Coolness System

By Evan Trapp & Peter Stephens

I don't know who the first person was who decided to pair James Dean, Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis together in tacky art prints, but it's not an exaggeration to describe them as a genius. Not only did they apparently achieve commercial success, but they inadvertently created a piece of art which served to inspire a coolness ranking system which can accurately categorize anyone and determine where they stand in terms of modern coolness.

-Peter Stephens, May 2010

It has been over a year since I first set out to describe The Coolness System that was developed during a now legendary intoxicated evening of pool with Mr. Peter Stephens. Since then, there has been much debate and confusion over the initial incarnation of the System so I have felt that there is a need for an updated, more definitive, analysis of the Coolness System. I will be using quotes from Mr. Stephens sporadically throughout this endeavor.

The System begins with what is now known as the Consani Radix. The Consani Radix is named after Chris Consani, the individual described as “a genius” above, who decided it a clever idea to place Dean, Bogart, Monroe and Presley together in various (as well as “tacky”) vice-driven scenes. Gambling, drinking, shooting pool- the scenes are likely what Consani envisions as ultimate coolness. But upon further examination it becomes clear that what Consani stumbled upon was not the peak of coolness, but rather the various incarnations of cool and uncool. The Consani Radix lays the foundations of the Coolness System in which every single individual can be dividing into.

The four categories are as follows:

Category A (The Authentic)

Category B (The Recluse)

Category C (The Uncool)

Category D (The Hipster)

The System has yet to fail. We been approached on numerous occasions with what people believe to be a conundrum or an outright failure of the System but each time Mr. Stephens and I have solved these so-called conundrums. Hopefully this essay will further clarify the System.

I will now delve into each category in further detail.

Category A (The Authentic)The A is cool. They have an inherent coolness and appeal that may be hard to define, but is instantly apparent. Marketers might call these people trendsetters. Authenticity is extremely important; any contrivance is readily apparent and immediately disqualifies someone from being an A. The As coolness is such that anyone can instantly tell it's there, and people instinctively desire to imitate it. The easiest way to tell an A is if they are imitated by Ds (The Hipster, described later). –Peter Stephens

Looking at the Consani Radix, James Dean represents the category A, because he is authentically cool. He didn’t have to try at all, he was simply cool, and people would follow him in an attempt to seem cooler. People whom have probably never seen his movies hang posters of him in their rooms. Why? He was cool and represents what coolness is. He’s an A.

Other notables in category A: Andre 3000, Bob Dylan, Carmelo Anthony, Albert Camus, Oscar Wilde, Barack Obama, Winston Churchill

It is important to note that categories A, B and C are all categories of authenticity. They are the individuals who are self-aware and do not attempt to be something that they are not. They are not afraid of their passions and an A is an individual who capitalizes fully upon their passion and appears cool the entire time. These people are often ones to be exploited yet their inherent coolness seems to always overwhelm any attempted exploitation. The coolness will forever live on.

Category B (The Recluse)The B is probably the most difficult to define. Nobody is likely to mistake a B for an A, so that's not an issue. The difference between a B and a C, however, is more nebulous, and because it is the most important divider in the scale, the most hotly debated. –Mr. Stephens

Category B consists of those who are not obviously cool to the general public. Specifically, category D does not understand their coolness so Bs are rarely if ever imitated. You likely wouldn’t find their picture on a t-shirt. But their coolness lies in their mysteriousness and their reluctance to become a leader of cool, and this is precisely what makes them as cool or, arguably to certain people, cooler than an A. The As and the Bs control the world of coolness. Everyone would like to think of themselves as either an A or a B, unfortunately, the vast majority of people fall into the lower two categories. By definition, As and Bs are cool. Cs and Ds are uncool.

Category B is also defined by their contentment. They're typically satisfied with their position, and would dislike the idea of someone imitating them like the imitation of As. As arbiters of cool, there's a healthy relationship between As and Bs. As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once wrote, "Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius." In the same way, genius recognizes talent. Real knows real.

I'm reminded of the example of a classic B, the late great Daniel Johnston. Daniel Johnston is a fat bipolar West Virginian who sings like a 45 year old woman, and who happens to write brilliant songs. He's been largely ignored by the rest of the world, and justifiably so. Nobody would argue that he deserves to be more famous or successful than he actually is, including, most likely, himself. However, Kurt Cobain, an A, constantly wore a T-shirt with his album cover, and he released an album where artists such as Beck and Tom Waits, arguably As themselves, covered his music. He's intrinsically cool, even though there's nothing appealing or desirable about him. Nobody ever said being a B makes you popular. In fact, you might be able to describe a B as an unpopular A. –Mr. Stephens

In relation to the Consani Radix, Humphrey Bogart represents category B. Bogart isn’t quite as cool as Dean, and he doesn’t seem to mind. No one really follows him and he doesn’t follow anyone, but he is cool in a loner type of way.

Notables in category B – J.D. Salinger, Jay Electronica, Samuel Beckett, George Harrison, James Joyce.

Category C (The Uncool) - The C is a simple category. Cs aren't cool. While they may have angst about not being cool, mostly in middle school, they don't desire to rise higher, or their attempts at doing so are so comical that they inspire Paul Feig TV shows. I would estimate that 80% of people are Cs. At least 99% of registered Republicans are Cs. – Mr. Stephens

Category C consists of all those lovable dorks that you know or, more than likely, are. A C doesn’t necessarily try to be cool, and this is what makes someone like Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones a C. He just stands there in admiration of the other cooler members of the band. While uncool, this category is absolutely benign in the world of coolness. They know what’s cool, and it is acceptably something different than them. They don’t fight it.

A category C person is not a failure in any way. Paul McCartney is pretty much the face of category C. He’s a huge dork who writes incredible, simple, great pop songs. He is still passionate, but he does it in an entirely category C way. Larry David is a C, and he is a comic genius. The authenticity of the C lies mainly in the awareness of their uncoolness.

A C is the type of person to spend hours upon hours analyzing and developing a Coolness System.

In relation to the Consani Radix, Marilyn Monroe represents category C. Though there is some debate as to whether Monroe is a C or not. She supposedly committed suicide, which is arguably a pretty cool way to die, but she did it by overdosing, a very uncool method. Elliot Smith, a notorious B, has the ultimate cool suicide: he stabbed himself in the heart, Shakespearean style. Monroe was never cool; she was just attractive and was marketed as such.

Other notables in category C: Garth Brooks, Bill Simmons, Larry Bird, Jim Gaffigan, Brent Musberger

So what happens if you are uncool but you won’t accept this? What happens when your passion is to try and not be passionate at all? Earlier I stated the authenticity in A, B, and Cs. They are authentic because out of self-awareness they are able to become the individuals they were meant to be. They’ve embraces their place within the Coolness System.

Enter category D.

Category D (The Hipster) – I would not argue that category D consists only of hipsters, but the hipster best exemplifies what it means to be a part of this disturbing final category of the Coolness System.

Category D is filled with individuals who are not cool in any way but, unlike those uncool people in category C, Ds refuse to embrace their uncoolness and they chose instead to try and believe the opposite. They are trying to become cool, when it is well known that one is either born cool or uncool, and this attempt makes them undeniably the lamest of all people. A D will not accept their fate, or are at least completely oblivious to what they actually represent.

As Mr. Stephens wrote,

The D is easily the least self aware category. What the D wants more than anything else is to be cool, and yet like a character in a Greek tragedy, it is this very desire that makes them uncool. A D will usually try to imitate coolness by aping As, and looking down on Cs. Every hipster is a D. Hipsters, the quintessential Ds, latch onto different A archetypes, recycle them, and regurgitate them until they mean nothing. Hipsters exist solely to crib past icons of rebel culture and ruse them in an ironic mess. Anyone who says they like all kinds of music, except country is a D. Country music is the music of the C, and Ds believe that by looking down on Cs it makes them cooler. Anyone who says they like all kinds of music, except country, except Johnny Cash, is a D. In this instance, the D can't even take a stand against a kind of music they don't like without letting people know that they respect the one A country music has.

A D will go to almost any length to appear cool to those around them. The debate that has flummoxed those outside the realm of the D for years is whether or not these individuals have any understanding of their lameness. Mr. Stephens makes a point to describe them as “the least self aware category.” But is their self-unawareness an inborn aspect of the D, or is the D simply a rebellious C? If the latter is true than I just described Ds as “rebellious,” and even though the only thing they are actually “rebellious” against is themselves, the use of the term “rebel” should automatically disqualify them from being a D.

So a D is born a D. They are “Born This Way,” as the current queen of category D, Lady Gaga, has proclaimed. Typical of a D, Gaga was unaware that she was describing her place within the Coolness System. (In a postmodern coolness, Gaga is seen as an A by the Ds of the world. I will further explain this postmodern concept in a bit.)

A D is someone like the rapper Common, who tries so desperately to be cool, but in the end is just a dork that can barely rhyme (There is only so many ways to rhyme “beautiful”). Hollywood is built almost entirely on Ds, with the occasional A to even things out. Ds will constantly think they are much deeper than they actually are. Sean Pean or Bono, for example.

Now let’s examine the Consani Radix in which Elvis Presley represents the D category. The argument against Presley as a D has been made, and while young Presley appeared cool, all you need to do is watch old Presley to realize that it was a sham the entire time. To make the System work (and it always has), one has to fully examine the situation and in some instances only time will ultimately expose an individual’s category.

Mr. Stephens writes,

In the rare instance where someone is a B and "becomes" a C, for example, it is much more likely that they were misclassified to begin with. Take the high school burnout for example. They may have been thought of as a A in high school, and now might be seen as a C or a D. The fact of the matter is, they were always a C or a D, it just wasn't always readily apparent.

Here’s an example of an A versus a D. The Buddy Holly glasses look has become a staple of Ds trying to look cool, but that is only because the As have done it (and done it well). Here is a picture of category A basketball star Carmelo Anthony with the Buddy Holly look:

He appears relaxed, natural, and cool. Now here is category D basketball star LeBron James attempting the same look:

His look is forced and awkward. In these two pictures alone we can see the apparent difference between the two and the obvious difference between As and Ds in general.

In the strange new world of postmodern coolness, Ds will often times mistake other Ds for As. This is what I refer to as the Postmodern D, but is more commonly known as the hipster. There was a time when only cool was imitated, but the Postmodern D will imitate another hipster almost as much as they will imitate someone authentic, creating an inescapable vortex of uncoolness, where uncoolness is innumerably multiplied onto itself. Luckily the only ones getting trapped in this vortex are other hipsters, so the loss in not of consequence in the world of cool. The Postmodern D is an essay in itself and will be developed more in depth in the future by Mr. Stephens and I.

Hopefully this clarifies any uncertainty that lies within the Coolness System. Surely there will be cases that arise in which an individual appears not to fit in any of the categories. We welcome any dilemmas that may arise.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Advise You to Keep Reading

By Brenda Purvis

I hate advice. I hate giving it, and I hate receiving it. I used to want to give advice to anyone who asked for it; I would jump at the opportunity! But I gave it up a long time ago. Over the years I’ve realized that asking for advice usually means “be my listening bitch for 30 minutes.” Or “take the time to give me heartfelt, thoughtful advice and I will absolutely not take a single word of it.” Either way, it usually ends up being a complete waste of my time, and I am proud to say that I am 12 months, 9 days, and 5 hours clean.

Then this weekend I was speaking to a woman who decided that her advice to me was to tell me what name I should write under. I appreciated her “help” but I knew nothing about her, her background, her education, or her political leanings, and had not actually sought the advice of this individual. It got me thinking about advice rules-of thumb, and what people should and shouldn’t do when giving it. It seems that most advice-givers are the inadequate, annoying kind, and it’s rare to find one that actually knows what they’re doing (like myself.) So before giving your next piece of advice, take a look to see if you fall under any of these categories. The results may surprise you.

The Unsolicited Advice Giver

Is someone like the aforementioned person. These types are usually older than their advice recipient. They tend to believe that they have reached an elite status of knowing it all, and that other common folk would be blessed to receive their advice. The advice is usually given while the person is in a superiority-induced blackout, and they may not even be aware of their actions. Do not attempt to question the advice from this person, nor confront them in any way until they are fully conscious. This person may sometimes be categorized as an Irrelevant Advice Giver due to the complete lack of pertinent advice they tend to give, but remember that the Unsolicited Advice Giver is different largely because of the delivery and unprovoked nature of the advice, and because they are probably a complete stranger. If you feel that you may fall into this category, please consult your local shaman or AA sponsor.

The Inexperienced Advice Giver

This person tends to be younger than the advice recipient. They’re easy to spot, typically dressed at least 3 years outdated in clothing and hair style, and are probably somewhat paler in complexion and sallow in the face. Advice is not always sought from this person, but is probably garnered in a situation where the Inexperienced Advice Giver has slowly entered him or herself in a conversation that they wish they were a part of. Advice from this person often lacks knowledge of general accepted behavior in society or personal details about the advice receiver’s actual situation. Advice from the Inexperienced Advice Giver feels like getting sex tips from a virgin. You should redirect them immediately to the closest Amish neighborhood or local LDS ward.

The Irrelevant Advice Giver

This person is much like the Inexperienced Advice Giver because when giving advice it feels like they haven’t listened to a single word that is coming out of your mouth, and therefore is giving you advice that doesn’t even resemble a logical solution to your problem. These folk are, for lack of a better word, retarded. They pose as acceptable, vaguely intelligent human beings, and WHAM! They hit you with all they’ve got! It is very difficult for me to describe the Irrelevant Advice Giver pre-advice but here goes: cranium to body ratio is usually much higher than your average human, and if you’ve ever caught someone’s eyes wandering during a conversation, in perhaps opposite directions, they’re an Irrelevant. Advice from them can be more angering than advice from an Unsolicited because the advice was 80% solicited and 100% ridiculous. This advice is like telling a paraplegic to “walk it off” or an unemployed man to “take a vacation.” An Irrelevant Advice Giver should be wearing a leash or ankle bracelet at all times, but I only have so much control over that.

The Hypocritical Advice Giver

Lastly and certainly my least favorite is the Hypocritical Advice Giver. This is probably the most prevalent of the four types and most difficult to get away from. Beware! They are your loved ones: friends, family, you name it! They’re in your life! Luckily this is the only kind of advice giver that can be retrained, but it isn’t easy. It’s best to avoid them for years at a time. The Hypocritical Advice Giver is so easy to identify you’re going to kick yourself for not realizing it before. They look and act like you and me, but have avowed to live exactly the opposite of the advice that they give you, and probably only 1-3 days after giving the advice in the first place. It’s the parent that grounds you for smoking pot because it’s addicting and leads to harder drugs, then finishes off a pack of cigarettes for the day. It’s the girlfriend who tells you to break up with your cheating boyfriend, then stays the night at her ex-boyfriend’s house. It’s the boss that says “do as I say, not as I do.” The only cure I have found for the Hypocritical Advice Giver is a good slap across the face and a cup of ice water over the head, but it is only effective for up to five minutes at a time. Long term cures require a trip to rock bottom, and I don’t know what happens down there.

So before you give advice, take a step back, and ask yourself a couple questions. 1. Am I being asked my opinion? 2. Do I have experience with this kind of situation? 3. Does my advice pertain to this person’s predicament? And 4. Would I take this advice myself? If you have answered “no” to any of these questions, then shut the f*#k up.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Elephant in the Room... Did I Say Room? I Meant Pants

By Evan Trapp

She find pictures in my email

I sent this bitch a picture of my dick

I don't know what it is with females

But I'm not too good at that shit

-Kanye West, “Runaway”

There was once a gigantic basketball player who was gifted not only in the sport of hoops but in his pants as well. Everyday, the gentle giant saw himself naked in the shower and thought, Goddamn, that motherfucker is huge! He was drafted first overall to finally live out his dream of playing professional basketball. The giant was so gigantic that his body had trouble adapting to the physicality of basketball and he was often injured. These injuries never allowed the giant to fulfill his potential and he soon became despondent.

Well, he thought one day, at least I have a nice package.

He decided his true gift, the one the world does not know about, should be on display. As the giant pondered curiously about his gigantic package, he realized this must be why he was chosen first overall in that draft. If only the people knew. He took out his cell phone and snapped a picture, sending the image to a girl he recently met at the local park. The girl then put the image on the Internet, causing an uproar on message boards and news sites. The giant inexplicably apologized for the images, but it was too late. The world finally realized the truth about the 2007 NBA Draft.

So that explains Greg Oden’s penis picture. But what’s up with all these other guys? There seems to be a bizarre trend occurring now that involves a man texting images of his penis to an often bewildered female. Celebrities such as Kanye West, Brett Favre, and ESPN’s Sean Salisbury are examples of this trend hitting the mainstream. The most recent example from Democratic Representative, Anthony “I Promise No Puns” Weiner, has seemed to overshadow all these other examples with the media storm he is causing.

Has this ever worked? Has there ever been a time when a female receives the image of a man’s junk via text message and she didn’t laugh? If this did work, even on occasion, every guy would have his package as his Facebook picture. Guys would walk around with that picture on their t-shirts. Upon meeting a female, guys would shake then flash. But it doesn’t work. So what’s the deal?

The penis is perhaps the single most unattractive part of either human body. The vagina is at least making an attempt to hide. There is absolutely no way that a woman is turned on by just the penis completely out of content, flaccid or other wise. (Side question: in Playgirl magazine, are the men erect or not? I’ve been wondering this for sometime. Is a woman more attracted to a penis that says: “Look at how excited I am!” Or do they prefer: “Look at how not excited I am!” I guess I will never know the answer to this riddle. At least in Playgirl there is some content to the penis. Its not just dick.) Has a picture of just a vagina ever turned on a man? No. That’s why you don’t see vag-shots floating around the Internet.

So what drives this strange phenomenon? Obviously, this being such a one-sided occurrences does not reflect well upon men. I will concede this round, ladies. But we still win driving.

Let’s look at the mainstream examples of this:

KANYE WEST- ‘Ye apparently sent his photo to a handful of women, not just one. But this is Kanye West we are talking about. It wouldn’t surprise me if half the recipients of his photo were Kanye West. This example seems to show how much the role of ego plays in the display of wiener. But Kanye is on a level on narcissism rivaled only by Prince. I call this “The Image formally known as Penis” syndrome. This surely plays a role in the penis photo phenomenon, but this is not likely the biggest factor in such occurrences.

BRETT FAVRE- Favre sent photos and left bizarre voicemails on the cell phone of New York Jet’s correspondent Jenn Sterger. Favre is from Mississippi. The last person of any intelligence to come out of Mississippi was William Faulkner (wait… maybe he was writing exactly how he thought), so this is an example of “Bumpkin Flirting.” I imagine to attract a female the average male Mississippian simply whips it out and grunts. Favre’s excuse for this ridiculous behavior is his upbringing.

SEAN SALISBURY- This is by far the most baffling of these examples, because Sean Salisbury absolutely has a tiny penis. I haven’t seen any actual pictures, but there is no way this guy doesn’t have a tiny penis. He hosted BattleBots for goodness sake! He has an ongoing feud with John Clayton. That's like having a feud with a fetus who has a ponytail. And there is nothing more pitiable than a fetus with a ponytail. What was he trying to prove? Salisbury was born in California, so his upbringing is likely not to blame. So, why Sean? Why did you feel the need to show off your tiny penis?

I imagine most cases, including Salisbury’s, lie somewhere between “The Image formally known as Penis” and “Bumpkin Flirting;” a bit of an ego but mainly a primitive thought process. In Favre’s (and Mississippi’s) defense, this “Bumpkin Flirting” seems more of an evolutionary remnant rather than simply a sign of stupidity. Perhaps, since the penis is truly the only sexualized part of the male body, this display is the desperate attempt of someone overwhelmed in a sexual euphoria, their brains clouded and judgment discombobulated, forced into their most primitive instincts. A woman has a much larger arsenal of body parts to suggest desires. A male just has the penis. So any show of sexual desire on behalf of the male will have to involve the penis.

Sex is a hell of a drug.

There is also the element of danger with these types of expressions. Somewhat like joining the mile high club except detached. The semi-secrecy and semi-intimacy of a cell phone to cell phone message allows an individual to do something electronically, detached from the “real world,” that he would not quite do in his physical life. This sort of behavior is overtly evident on Internet message boards, where the anonymity of the user creates a free for all for any idiotic or otherwise muted opinions to fly. Just look at any YouTube video. The comments represent the worst of humanity voiced by our faceless human race- racism, sexism, Conservatism (joke, calm down). The cell phone penis shots are to a degree just a continuation of this mentality. It is a riskier version, but it is nonetheless an expression that more than likely wouldn’t have been expressed in such a manner were it not for the semi-secrecy of technological communication. A male can feel the excitement of such an expression yet still feel somewhat hidden. It’s not as if he whipped it out in public.

No matter how many times the idea has failed miserably, how many lawsuits have been filed, how many jokes have been made, how many pictures have been leaked onto the Internet, a man will still decide in some moment of arousal that it will be a good idea to take a picture of his junk and text it to that not-so-special someone.

Oh, the things we do to try and get laid.

I can’t believe I just wrote 1300 words on penis cell phone pictures. All I really intended to do was make a “Greg Oden being drafted first because of his horse penis” joke. I used over 50 references to the “penis.” All this talk is making my head spin… I think I’ve got some strange primitive urge coming on… wait…where’d my pants go?... my cell phone is conveniently right here… I can’t believe I’m about to…


Sounds like you just got a text message.

Monday, June 13, 2011

James, Jordan, and Judgment Day: In Defense of LeBron

By Evan Trapp

As the Dallas Mavericks celebrate their first championship and fans of basketball can finally lean back and bask in Dirk Nowitzki’s legendary postseason performance one can’t help but notice the equally bright lights shining on the other side of the court. LeBron James, the demonized “Decision” maker, has once again fallen short of his assumed career goal of an NBA Championship. The man who provided us with the greatest basketball storyline of all-time will have to retreat to his “trusted circle” of yes-men as the taunts of fans will overload the television sports shows, radio airwaves and internet message boards for the following weeks and months.

As a fan of the game, I was rooting for Dirk. His postseason has been something that ESPN makes channels for. But still I held my breath. Because if LeBron could carry this team to two consecutive victories then he very well might be the next… the next… I don’t know. But you know who was on all of your minds.

James is not Jordan. We can all agree on that at this point (somebody ask Scottie now). And we probably could’ve agreed on that point a year ago. “The Decision” was essentially LeBron finally telling the world that he wasn’t the next Jordan. He told everyone who he actually was: a man who would rather play with friends than create enemies, a man who wants a one-hour special to express this, and a man who wants to celebrate this decision with a pyrotechnic display that would put Batista to shame.

"There's no way, with hindsight, I would've ever called up Larry, called up Magic and said, 'Hey, look, let's get together and play on one team,” Jordan expressed after “The Decision” aired, “But that's ... things are different. I can't say that's a bad thing. It's an opportunity these kids have today. In all honesty, I was trying to beat those guys."

This is the main argument against James summed up by the man James supposedly was to become. But James is not Jordan. James couldn’t win a title in Cleveland and even when he was accused of cowardliness and cheating he couldn’t win one in his first year in Miami. And people are now celebrating the fact that has been true the entire time- LeBron James is LeBron James. What more do we want?

I can’t help but think of all those loons that predicted that Judgement Day would occur on May 21, 2011. Didn’t we all think these people were crazy? How stupid and selfish did these people look to believe that our time on this earth is of such great importance that Jesus will make a guest appearance? There is always going these type of religious zealots who are so self-absorbed that they will chose to believe that the Resurrection will occur next Tuesday rather than face the day as it is. This clouds their mind and they refuse to believe that the Second Coming of Christ might not occur on a Tuesday or even during their lifetime. Many times in life people will selfishly think like this. If basketball is religion than Jordan is basketball Jesus. One is selfish to think we could have another one.

James is not Jordan. I mean, Jesus Christ, its time to take down the billboards.

Would the game get better if there is another Jordan or any player as equally dominate? Do we want that type of dominance or do we want to see a playoff performance like Dirk’s get rewarded with the ultimate prize? If the Heat would’ve won the series, Nowitzki’s story would be forgotten in a few months as the coverage would focus on how many rings the Heat will ultimately get. Yet that didn’t happen.

My single fear after “The Decision” was that the Miami Heat would become an unstoppable overwhelming dynasty, like the NBA Live team you created in middle school where you somehow got Iverson, McGrady and Vinsanity on the same team. You would run up the score and went the entire season undefeated, bumping Puffy’s No Way Out the whole time. “Can’t nobody hold me down,” your prepubescent, brace faced, white ass would scream. And the damn game was set on medium difficulty the whole time. What a sad scene. I feared Miami fans would become that white kid. (Note: this could be any white kid, not just me… ok, that was definitely me.)

But the Heat lost. The Mavericks showed that a championship team is not only top heavy but also filled with experienced overachieving players, hungry after years of never getting to the top. Here lies another chapter in the most scrutinized figure in sports. Sure, LeBron could’ve been the king of New York or truly lived out people’s Second Coming fantasies in Chicago, but we wanted that out of selfishness. And in the end, LeBron is still playing on an NBA basketball court. The Post-Jordan NBA has never been so intriguing. There has never been a more easily vilified team as the Heat. I love “The Decision” for the sake of the game. I never believed that James would “save” a franchise and thus remind us all of basketball Jesus. I didn’t want that because we already had it. Its LeBron’s time now. Whatever that may entail, it won’t entail absolute domination.

I’m willing to say that the people in Cleveland are the only people who should still be upset about LeBron. I understand this sort of crazy home team infatuation. A couple years ago Peter Stephens and I had a completely sober photo shoot posing with our recently purchased Brandon Roy Nike sneakers. Thank goodness, the photos of this event have been burned. I remember after Game 4 of the opening round versus the Mavericks this year (You know, the one where Roy looked like he did 2 years ago and scored 18 points in the 4th quarter), I texted several people “Roy hath risen.” It was a timely joke, made on Easter Sunday, but also somewhere in the back of any Blazer fans mind was this blind hope that this was actually true. That he had risen, become the Roy he once was, and would take us to the promised land. Anyone outside the state of Oregon would think this absurd. But I’m from Portland and I will forever think like this. I'm not from Cleveland.

So I ask of you: Do you really want to sympathize with the people of Cleveland for LeBron leaving them in such a fashion? I hope they never win a championship simply because it will be a great sports storyline. I have no personal connection to them so I view it entirely for the perspective of a basketball fan. A bizarre hometown infatuation with a player is one thing. A love for the game of basketball is another.

LeBron James is a great player and he will always be seen as such. He made a strange decision in a strange self-mythologizing fashion. He had a ridiculous welcoming party. And I loved it all. Jordan he ain’t, and I prefer it this way. If there’s anything this NBA Finals taught us it is that no matter what, if any lingering hopes still remained (admittedly, such as my own), he won’t be Jordan. His legacy is his own, and we are all still witnesses.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Theories of a Married Man

By Kenny Weigandt

One of my biggest strengths is that I’m very self aware. I’m confident when it makes sense to be confident, but more importantly, I’m humble when it makes sense to be humble. This ability has served me well with the ladies. Let me clarify that statement, this ability has significantly limited the times I’ve embarrassed myself with the ladies. You see, I’m a decent looking cat, but I fit into a rare and very specific type. It starts with my frame. I’m about 6’2, 150 pounds. In reality, I’m probably 140 pounds, but I only weigh myself fully clothed. So delusion leads me to believe I’m a buck fifty. Regardless, a great friend once told me, “You’re disgustingly skinny. It sickens me how skinny you are, but I love you.” Keep in mind, it was his 21st birthday, and he was blackout drunk at the time.

In my history with women, I’ve found that most women are horrified by my skinniness. But there’s a small population who are extremely attracted to it. Don’t ask me how or why, I suppose it’s all about preference. To many women, I’m barely a 3. However, to the right ladies, I’m a hard 8. In addition, I’ve long been described as the “All American boy next door.” As much as I despise the title, it holds very true to my personality. I’m courteous, a little shy, clean cut, I love my mother, and I’m extremely awkward in certain situations. I’m also one of the least threatening people you’ve ever seen. If I had to compare myself to a cartoon, it’d probably be Doug Funny (totally underrated show by the way, I’ll leave that discussion for another day). Ladies, if you brought me home to meet your parents, they’d probably be thrilled, but I’m not bringing much in the way of “edge.” Once again, some women hate these qualities, while others absolutely love them. I’m a niche player in the game of women.

As you can imagine, the type of ladies I attract are usually wholesome, unaggressive, and like to move things slowly. Therefore, in my career as a single man, I was hit on very infrequently. In fact, my career number of “I’m digging the skinny” invitations is in the single digits. Let’s be honest, you could count them on one hand.

However, in the last year of my life, that number has spiked significantly. Have I become better looking? Nope. Have I gained some street cred or weight? Absolutely not. Am I wealthy? I’m not broke, but definitely not wealthy. The only thing that has changed about me is that I got married. Not only did I get married, I landed one hell of a keeper. I’ll be the first to admit that I married up. My wife is way hotter than I am, and has her shit completely together. The only reason I snagged her is because she’s a rare exception who sees the gangly, somewhat awkward guy as a solid 8…maybe an 8.5. Needless to say, I scored big time.

That being said, since I got hitched, I’ve been approached multiple times by a very different type of woman. Most of them are older than I am (in some cases, much older), attractive, but they have that “I’ve lived hard” look to them, and they usually try to pick up on me with a conversation about age. It’s either, “Are you even old enough to be in this bar? Giggle.” Or “How old would you think I am?” To most of their credit, I’m surprised when they tell me their actual age. But the “I’m hotter than most women my age” is a common theme. Thanks to my experiences over the last year, I’ve formed a series of theories on why married men are hit on more than single men.

1) The “you’re not threatening so I can flirt” theory

These are probably the most common of my recent slew of pick-ups. These ladies enjoy flirting with a stranger, but don’t really want anything to come of it. So when they see or sense a happily married man, they know they can flirt without the fear of being taken advantage of. These are especially common amongst the older women, often referred to as cougars. They’re still pretty hot, but feel like they’ve lost a step. So when they can chat it up with a polite young buck (who as a courtesy always answers the age question with a figure 5-10 years under what they’re actually thinking), it gives a little boost of self esteem. These are often referred to as fake pick-up attempts. These women are harmless.

2) The “I don’t give a blank” theory

Some say the wedding ring is the primary reason why married men get hit on, but I think this is false. As previously stated, I hit the lottery with my wife. Therefore, I have no desire to go hunting for babes. So when I’m at a bar (or another setting where approaching might take place), I honestly don’t give a second thought if I’m standing near a mega hottie. For some reason, women find this irresistible. Keep in mind, this is not easily faked. Chicks know whether or not they’re being checked out and/or noticed. Ring or no ring, if you’re genuine in not caring, you become a target to the right kind of beezy.

3) The challenge theory

This most commonly comes into play when a wedding ring is being worn. Everyone wants what they can’t have. So when I’m rocking a wedding ring, it’s saying I’m off limits. To a devious woman, she says “challenge accepted!” and the game begins.

4) The “I’ve been wronged by marriage” theory

These ones are definitely the most aggressive. Some women just genuinely despise marriage. They’ve been scorned, cheated on, or done wrong by the institution, and therefore want to ruin a happy pairing. Therefore, not only do they not care if you’re married, they often prefer it when you are. These women are trouble in every sense of the word. Usually an “I’m married” ring flash turns a woman away, but to these ladies, that gesture is just throwing chum in the water. I can't stress this enough, when these ones come knocking, a happily married man needs to walk away. Being polite usually doesn't work with these vipers.

As much as I’d like to believe I’ve become irresistible to the opposite sex, it’s just not the case. The before and after marriage statistics just can’t be ignored. When Brady Anderson went from a career high of 12 homers to blasting 50…something was definitely up. Turns out he was roided out of his gourd. Marriage is essentially "getting hit on" steroids. The numbers are more impressive than before, but it’s unnatural, and it's actually an illusion.

I’d love to hear a married woman’s perspective on the same topic. I’ve always thought that women get hit on regardless of marital status and a wedding ring just weeds out the decent fellas. A good man won’t hit on a married woman because he has a conscience. A dirt bag thinks with his wiener and doesn’t give a shit. Regardless, the comparison would be fascinating.

So married gentlemen, keep your eyes peeled for the trouble seekers out there. And remember, your wife’s grass is always greener. Single guys, try to act more married, and I guarantee your stats will improve.