Saturday, May 30, 2009

Vertically Striped Radio - Episode 2: The Vertical Socks Strike Back

Episode #2 of Vertically Striped Radio is in the can. On this episode, I was supposed to be joined by Bruce for the first time, but unfortunately, he was held up by issues of unloading his moving truck. He promises he will join us next week, and he will be held accountable for his lack of dependability, but I also understand because he is in the middle of moving to Colorado.

I ended up hosting solo, but it worked out alright, we were joined by The Ed who helped me discuss the current state of the Nuggets, and also let us know what was up with his T-Shirt business. I also was able to shoot the breeze with Face Ventura from the Dameshek.com message board about Twitter and the history of the internet and we also had a long discussion about the NHL Finals. Face then hung on the line to help out with a Magnificent 7, Radio Edition, as we broke down 7 of the worst things in sports.
We celebrated the end of a great run by the Nuggets in a bittersweet way by playing two Nuggets fight songs one day after they were run from the playoffs by the Lakers. It was a fun show, and we will likely be back again next week. If you'd like to listen to the show, you can go to www.blogtalkradio.com/verticallystripedradio or you can listen to it from the blog by pressing play on the widget below.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thoughts on Nuggets-Lakers Game 5 as Dandy Don warms his vocal chords.

After his playing days in Dallas, Dandy Don had a stellar turn in the booth on Monday Night Football.

“Turn out the lights, the party’s over.“ Don Meredith would sing this in the announcer booth on Monday Night Football back in the 70’s when the competitive portion of the football game ended and garbage time began. I’m too young to have heard him sing this live, but I have heard it enough on NFL films highlights that it has become my own personal song to signal the end of a sporting event. Yes, I literally sing it to myself in my head almost every time a game reaches the point where the outcome is no longer in doubt. Dandy Don’s tune isn’t playing in my head just yet in regards to the Nuggets-Lakers series, but my mental Dandy Don is gurgling salt-water and warming up his voice.

In what was a terrific and exciting game for three quarters, the Nuggets fell asleep for the first five minutes of quarter number four, and gave up an 11-0 run to the Lakers, and thus ended the competitive portion of the ball game. The lead briefly ballooned to double digits for the Lakers before the Nuggets pulled it briefly back to within four, but at no point after that run did I believe that the Nuggets were going to win. The Lakers cruised to the finish and a 103-94 victory that puts them firmly in the driver’s seat for the series. I said in my last post that the team that won Game 5 would win the series, and unfortunately, I still believe that. I think the Nugs have a great chance of taking down the Lakers on Friday night, but I can’t see them winning a Game 7 in Los Angeles.

Melo played a team high 40 minutes on Wednesday night, but George Karl probably should have made that even higher, as when Melo began the fourth on the bench, and was noticeably absent during the majority of the stretch which killed the Nuggets. For the first time in the series, the Lakers actually looked like the better team. Kobe Bryant shot much less than usual, and instead got the rest of his team involved. Trevor Ariza played defense like a man possessed, Shannon Brown ignited a rally at the end of the third with a huge dunk over Chris Andersen which helped propel the Lakers from 7 points down to taking the lead for good. Derek Fisher looked like the Derek Fisher of five years ago. Even Lamar Odom decided to care about this game, and he pulled one of those dynamic performances which he unleashes once every five or six games or so. He had one of those games that get NBA people so excited about his potential. (Of course, he has been in the NBA for almost ten years, so I think it’s fair to say that he is what he is, a talented but inconsistent performer.)

For the first time in this series the Lakers finally resembled the team that won so many regular season games this season. They hung around with the Nuggets for most of Game 5, and then a switch flipped late in the game and the Lakers exploded on both sides of the floor and suddenly the game was out of reach. Despite a game effort from many of the Nuggets, they didn’t have enough, and the Lakers finally looked like the tremendous Lakers team that everyone expected to cruise to the Finals when the playoffs began.

This game was not lost on the defensive side of the ball, but rather due to an offensive lull in the fourth quarter. This may not be fair, but I place all of the blame squarely on the shoulders of Kenyon Martin; largely because I really don’t like him, but also because he partially deserves it. Due to the fact that he made three jumpers earlier on in the game Kmart thought he was “on” and he proceeded to jack up shot after ugly shot during a stretch when the ball needed to be in the hands of the likes of Chauncey, Melo, and J.R. Smith. Kenyon has been solid most of this series, but the moronic version of Kmart who overrates himself and starts to think he is a jump shooter showed up and submarined the Nuggets chances of winning the game and ruined their best shot at winning the series. I will do a dance of joy the day that the Nuggets finally rid themselves of Kenyon and those stupid lips tattooed on his neck.

So where does the series go from here?

Glass half-full guy: The Nuggets have outplayed the Lakers in four of the five games in this series. They will take care of the Lakers without a problem in Denver and then will have a one game for all the marbles situation on Sunday night in Los Angeles. They have already won one game in LaLa Land, and they have a terrific chance to get a second if they play up to their potential this weekend. Plus the Lakers have been highly inconsistent this whole postseason, and just because they played great in Game 5 doesn’t mean that same team will show up for Game 6 and 7.

Glass half-empty guy: The Lakers have finally awakened, perhaps the Nuggets find a way to squeak one out against them in Denver in Game 6, although that is hardly a lock, but they have only two chances of actually winning a Game 7: Slim and None. Home teams win Game 7’s almost all the time. In the history of the NBA there have been 104 Game 7’s and the road team has only won 21 times. So if it’s not impossible for the Nuggets, it’s the next best thing.

Glass of a drunk guy: Hey, I ordered a vodka tonic, I don’t have a clue about the Nuggets and Lakers. Gimmie my booze!

My Glass: I really think the Nuggets find a way to win in Denver and force a Game 7 on Sunday, I also think that the Lakers are not going to lose a Game 7 at home this year. I’m holding out hope, just because I really want the Nuggets to win, but I have to say that my prediction is now Lakers in 7. I’m not ready for Dandy Don’s song to be played for the Nuggets, but I fear it’s coming.



Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hey Hey, My My - The Denver Nuggets will never die!‏


I'll bet you had no idea that Neil Young was a HUGE Nuggets fan, did you?



Hey Hey, My My. The Denver Nuggets refuse to die! All apologies to Neil Young, but I stole and slightly modified his song because it does seem Nuggets refuse to go quietly into the offseason. As the NBA moved into the Conference Finals round, I didn’t like Denver’s chances all that much just because they historically have been worked by the Lakers. The Lakers were the presumptive Western Conference Champion at the outset of the playoffs, and I didn’t see anything through the first two rounds that made me really believe that the Nuggets could take them. I had the Lakers winning the series in five, but then a funny thing started happening. The Nuggets decided that they were going to compete with the Lakers. That’s a development that I hoped for, but wasn’t sure was going to happen. Let’s review how we got where we are…

Game 1
The Nuggets biggest regret right now has to be Game 1. They led by 7 over halfway through the final quarter, they outplayed LA the whole evening, and had they been able to get an inbounds pass in, chances are great that they win the game. If they are able to win Game 1 they likely would be up 3-1 in the series right now, and be much more likely to take the series. Game 1 hurts so much because it’s a game that they should have won. They wasted a gigantic effort from Carmelo Anthony and frittered away a game that was theirs.

Game 2
Game 2 was when they showed their true grit. Trailing by 14 in the second quarter and looking like they were going to fold like a chaise lounge, they tightened things up before halftime, and were able to gut out an impressive win thanks to the second consecutive humungous effort from Melo along with the first Linas Kleiza sighting of the postseason. Game 2 started Denver believing, the Nuggets had stolen away both home court advantage and serious series momentum from the Lakers. The idea that the Nuggets just might win this thing was no longer far fetched, it was possible.

Game 3
Game 3 hurt because the Nuggets did just about everything right, but they shot like bad guys trying to shoot Rambo…lots of shots fired with nothing hitting it’s target. They only shot 39.3% overall and only 18.5% from the three point line. If you’re going to beat the Lakers, you need to shoot better from downtown than 5-27. If they had gone 8-27 (which is still a miserable 29.6%) they win the game. The Defense was very good, but no one other than Chris Andersen had a good game. When Birdman is a solid role player, the Nuggets are in good shape. When he is their best player on a given night, chances are good that the game will be a loss. Despite a terrible game from most everyone but Bird, they were still able to fight and claw all game, and they actually held the lead most of the game, but in the fourth quarter you could feel the game slipping away due to the subpar night from most of the major Nuggets and the fact that Kobe Bryant was doing Kobe Bryant things (41 points, and all the big plays at the end).

Game 4
Monday night was a must win for Denver. If the Nuggets fell into a 3-1 hole to the Lakers, all hope was lost, and we would be doing the postmortem on the season today. The Nuggets could not afford to drop another game in Denver, and they came out playing like they knew it. Despite the second consecutive subpar offensive night from Melo, the Nugs ran away with the game thanks to a spectacular effort from JR Smith who in only 28 minutes provided 24 points, 2 Rebounds, 4 assists, 2 Steals and only 3 turnovers. His swagger was too much for the Lakers and Kmart, Nene, and Birdman were monsters on the boards coming down with 15,13, and 14 rebounds respectively. The Nuggets owned the paint and outrebounded Los Angeles 58 to 40 and this game was never in doubt.

Where do we go from here??
So now here we are, tied at two games apiece four games into the series, and I’m not sure the importance of Game 5 can be overstated. I only see this series ending one of two ways. I think the Nuggets will win it in six games or the Lakers will take it in seven. I don’t think the Lakers are going to win another game in Denver, and I don’t think the Nuggets can win a game seven in L.A. So yes, sports fans, I believe that whoever wins game 5 will be going to the Finals.

These two teams seem very evenly matched. The Nuggets’ advantages seem to be that they are a better team, they seem hungrier, and they seem more talented overall. The Lakers’ advantages are that they have the best player (Kobe), they have more experience in these big game situations, and they have home court advantage.

If I had to gamble the house on an outcome, I’d probably put my money on the Lakers in seven, but thankfully no one is going to require me to put my home on the line, and I am very hopeful for my more desired outcome of Nuggets in six. No matter what happens from here on out, the real winners are basketball fans, who are seeing some fantastic basketball. This series is a total tossup right now, and I believe in the Nuggets chances, they can win! I put the odds at about 51% chance for the Lakers 49% chance for the Nuggets. If you had told me at the beginning of the season that I would be giving the Nuggets that kind of odds to win the West, I would have laughed at you. No matter how this next week of basketball goes down, this season is a success, now it’s just a matter of seeing how successful this season will be.

It’s better to burn out than to fade away. No matter how this series ends, no one is going to say that Denver faded away. Go Nuggets!





Sunday, May 24, 2009

Vertically Striped Radio - Episode 1 - Now playing on a computer near you.


Okay, so the Vertically Striped Socks brand is branching out. I have stepped outside my comfort zone of writing, and have decided to go multi-platform. That's right, I have started my very own Radio Program. It's mostly sports talk, but it may venture into all sorts of other goofiness.

The first episode is in the can, I was surprised at how much more difficult it is to produce a radio program than it is to listen to one. I feel like I did okay, and it was fun to have a creative challenge. You never realize how hard it is to monologue until you try it, very awkward feeling, but when I went back and listened to it, it really wasn't that bad. I'm no Howard Stern, of course, but it wasn't awful.

My first show I spent talking about the NBA Playoffs, then I got a call from The Whale off of the Dameshek.com message board, and then I spent a ton of time talking to The Ed, who is fantastic radio, and he really carried the program along to another level. It's much more fun to talk to people than it is to try to just blab on my yourself. My brother Bruce is planning to join me shortly as my co-host, which I welcome, but it's a lot of fun doing the radio program. If you'd like to take a listen to the first episode, you can listen in or download the MP3 file at www.blogtalkradio.com/VerticallyStripedRadio. Or you can also just listen to it now by simply pressing play on the box below! See how easy I make it for you?
Hope you enjoy it! There will be more to come.


Monday, May 18, 2009

The One, The Only, The Ed!

Heyyyyyyyyyyyyy Everybody!
The Ed
(This is merely one artist's rendition of Ed, no known internet photos have surfaced as of the date I posted this article)

In the deserts of Nevada you can find him. In the oasis town of Las Vegas he makes his home flitting between his three major hubs: The Casinos where he wagers on his games, the fast food joints where he obtains his sustenance, and the Wal-Marts where he finds his football men. A fifty-five year old black man who has decided that he is going to start aging in reverse (He is going to start subtracting a year from his age each birthday from now on, so on his next birthday he will be 54, the following year he will be 53, etc. He hopes to make it back to 45.)

His name is Ed Miller. (Big E, little bitty D, Big M and then i-l-l-e-r, if you need to know how to spell it, Ed style) However to a host of fans he is know simply as, “The Ed.” His charm is undeniable, even if his methods are somewhat less than politically correct. He’ll tell you how it is, and you’ll believe him. Partly because what he says makes sense, and partly just because you can’t help but like the guy. He definitely moves to the beat of his own drum, and his grip on reality as a whole can at time be somewhat tenuous, but he’s a pretty good guy at heart, and if you listen to him for any amount of time, chances are you’ll appreciate his brand of wisdom and knowledge.
He can turn a phrase like no one else in recorded history, and the things that come out of his mouth can be both nonsensical as well as deeply profound, often times simultaneously. He’s not a philosopher. He lives life as it comes to him, but I find it impossible that you would listen to him talk for very long without at least being intrigued.

I first encountered The Ed on Dave Dameshek’s podcast on page 2 of ESPN.com, since then, he has launched (with a lot of help from Mike Dell, the editor in chief over at LCSHockey.com) his own show on BlogTalkRadio.com and his own website at theedssuperdeluxewebsite.com. He also has a large presence at the Dave Dameshek message board over at dameshek.com. His screen name is “Pey Pey 23” and he leaves his fantastic insights all the time “on that message thing.” Although his spelling doesn’t always jive completely with Merriam-Webster (he spells the name Brittany B-R-E-E-T-O-N-J-Y) you pretty much always get what he's after. I have talked to him on just a couple of occasions on his show, and he’s definitely a good guy.
Occasionally he slightly alters actual words or names and creates his own unique words and phrases. Swine Flu quickly became Spine Flu, the economic downturn is now a 'repression', Ben Roethlisberger is Benlisberger, and Kobe Bryant turned in Cody Ryan. Ed, who is a big Indianapolis Colts fan, is convinced that former head coach Tony Dungy was a terrible coach who never had his headset connected.

There is no way for me to fully explain the Ed, you have to experience him for yourself, but I am going to include quite a lengthy list of quotes from him to give you a taste. These are quotes that I have gleaned listening to his show in podcast form over the past few months, but he is good for a quote like this every five minutes or so. I would try to give context for these quotes, but I’m not sure that it would make a lick of difference, because the non sequitur nature of the Ed renders most context irrelevant. Just read them, and if you like what you read, I guarantee it’s better when it comes out of Ed’s mouth directly. If you’re interested in hearing more, Ed’s show airs at www.BlogTalkRadio.com/lcs every Thursday night 10:00 PM Eastern Time (9:00 PM Central, 8:00 Mountain, and 7:00 Pacific) Be forewarned, that his show is probably not entirely appropriate for kids, but you can make that decision for yourself, I’m just putting this out there into the universe, do with it as you will. But I now present…Edisms:
"It's like a pirate that eats sunshine, it don't make no sense!"

"People can't be namin their kids crazy names like Air Filter Jenkins‏."

"I gotta get this booger off my finger, hang on. Man this thing is big. It won't even shake off my finger."‏

"I'll punch him in the mouth with an autographed picture of Mohammad Ali"‏

"I got two frying pans and a lunch box, but it don't make no difference.‏ "

A caller named LiJay was causing an echo on Ed's radio program so Ed said, "He done swallowed some kind of transitor system or something."‏

Ed has an idea for a great product. "Diet Soap, wash away the pounds!”‏

"Hold on, I'm about to choke on a nacho chip‏."

"I don't know if you're knowledgeable, but you know a lot of stuff."‏
"You got two sticks and a gun, You cant make biscuits"
"Some kids drove by in a car and threw tacos at me"

"I'd be down there on 3rd base line just get ready and Pow, gone like a lightning slash. I was so fast sometimes they'd give me two runs for stealing home.‏"
"You want a poke in the eye with a stick?"
"For Breakfast I have... 2 eggs... 2 pieces bacon... 2 cookies and a coke"

"Whoever's doing good at the baseball game sucks at the homerun derby and whoever's doing good at the homerun derby sucks at the baseball game, It's kind of a weird trynamic.‏"

"That guy is shadier than Pimento Loaf.‏"

"Anybody calls in and gives me an update I'm gonna mash em in the mouth with like a stop sign or something.‏"

"Just a bunch of nonsense trash in a basket.‏"

"My heart's racing like a turnpike in a buttlenut."‏

"Patrick Roy was a better goalie than Martin Landau.‏"

"Can you believe it? That's all just stuck in my head like a monkey's nuts.‏"

Singing his own version of Steve Miller Band – “I want to fly like an eagle, wearing jeans.”‏

"That dog is a big ole monkey dog, man. It's HUGE!"‏

Dick Banks, a musician who helped record and produce many of Ed’s songs. "He has a piano on a stick.‏"

"Dave owes me a six pack of barbeque lotion.‏"

"If I see you, I'm just gonna tackle you, man.‏"

"You can't get superstars of the millennium at just the break of a dime." (Referring to getting Texas Tech coach Pat Knight for Dave Dameshek's show)‏

"I'm going to annomalate you.‏ You're going to get annomolated, and that's how it's going to be.‏"

"I got a toothache in my stomach.‏"

“you have never reely lived until you see a body rikoshay off of you winsheeld...‏” – Ed posted this on Dameshek.com…it’s probably better if you don’t ask

"Don't be calling in trying to win prizes cuz I give real prizes on my show and cash and trips for two to Guam and everything!"

"It's scared me to death, man, like a pickelloaf sandwich on some hot bread, it don't matter."

"She's hot like some hot chocolate and some pudding wafers, I'm telling ya."

"You beat lijay, but a monkey and two bricks coulda done that."

"It ain't good Good Friday, cuz that already passed right before Easter, but it's still an Alright Friday. It's alright Friday, I guess."


I also thought I’d include these three bits of conversations that happened on various podcasts, because they cracked me up…

(On Dameshek on Demand)
Skylar The Sass (on Dave Dameshek’s podcast): “Hey, what’s up the Ed?”

Ed: Not too much, man. Just thinking about what I’m doing, you know, cuz sometimes I gotta get it done and you know, I gotta make sure people have it all cuz if they don’t ain’t nobody gonna have nothin.


(On the Ed Show)
Ed: We drivin in a construction zone right now.
Mike Dell: Well, be careful, the Ed
Ed: There’s flashing lights and people jumpin around… This guy got a hammer and a butcher knife.
Mike Dell: Now why does he have a butcher knife, the Ed?
Ed: I don’t know, he’s a construction worker.
Mike Dell: Oh, well then that makes sense.
(On the Spanky Brown show)
Ed was asked: "What do you use for bait?" He said, "I put Cheese Whiz on some worms."‏
I hope that you enjoyed all of these "Edisms" but if you didn't "Don't cry about it." And whatever else you may do, "Don't let 'em talk bad about ya!"
The Ed 2

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Magnificent Seven: 7 Eccentric things I would do if I were stupid rich

The premise for today’s magnificent seven is simple, let’s say I won the lottery four hundred and eighteen times in a row. I now have so much money that I laugh in the face and the balance sheets of Billionaires. I have stupid money. What do I do with my stupid money? (And yes, I would do a lot of good and noble things with my riches, be assured of that, but this list is all about the weird stuff I would work on.) Vertically Striped Socks is now proud to present…The Magnificent Seven – 7 Eccentric things I would do if I were stupid rich.

1. This first one is something I could probably do now, although I wouldn’t be able to justify the minimal expense on my limited budget, but if I had stupid money? Done and done. I would wear a brand new pair of socks every day. Is there anything better than the cushy goodness of a brand new pair of socks fresh from the package? They still have the fluffy support and cushiness that slowly is lost as they are repeatedly washed and slowly they are ground down into a mere mortal sock, but if I had stupid money, I would only wear a pair of socks once and then donate them to some charitable cause that could use an unending supply of almost brand new socks.

2. I would commission a graphic design firm to rework the image of my fantasy football league. They would be immediately set to work creating professional looking logos for every team in my fantasy football league. I would have them create a league logo, and create cool logos and word marks for all the teams that would be the envy of professional sporting leagues around the globe. After these brand images were created for each team, the design team would then work with a team from some sporting apparel company such as Nike or Reebok and they would design team apparel for each owner in the league. I would have these items shipped out to each fantasy owner before our draft so we could all come to the draft wearing our own team’s apparel. It would be glorious!

3. I would buy the Carolina Hurricanes and immediately move them back to Hartford and change their name back to the Whalers. Seriously, we need hockey in North Carolina? Really? Plus there is no finer uniform in sports than the old blue and green Hartford Whalers jerseys, this needs to happen, and I would gladly be the one to make it happen if I had stupid money.

4. I would commission a statistical study in the Men's room at my office to see which sink gets used the most. In the men’s room at my office there are four sinks, for some reason I really want to know which sink gets used the most. This one is mostly just for me, although I would gladly share the results with the world. I would hire some undergrad student desperate for a few bucks to station himself in the bathroom and keep stats for each sink. It might be a little awkward, but this is information that I would like to have, information that may be critical for the world.

5. Most normal guys have a dream car, some exotic Italian sports car or some precision piece of German engineering that if they had the means to acquire, they would pick it up as a way to show off and compensate for their other shortcomings. They don’t actually ever expect to own their dream car, because oftentimes these vehicles cost more than the GDP of Finland, so it remains just that…a dream. I am normal in that I too have a dream car; I am a bit of a freak in that my dream car retails for an MSRP of $20,275. That’s right, I love me some Honda Element. I dig that groovy looking box. It’s not overly fancy or expensive, but I want one. My wife and I were once involved in a newlywed game, and one of the questions she got right about me was, “What would be the first thing I would buy if I won the lottery?” Yup, she knows me well enough that she wrote Honda Element on the card. So obviously, I’m a bit of a dork. Now, if I had stupid money, this would not change my dream car scenario, it would only increase the dork level of my dreams. You see, if I had stupid money I would buy a fleet of Honda Elements in all different colors so my vehicle could match my outfit. Say I’m headed to the Broncos game, I’d break out the orange Element. If I were in a brooding mood, I’d get all dressed up in black and hop into the Black Element. Lets just say that I have temporarily placed my hockey hopes in the Chicago Blackhawks, I could tool around town in a red Element. To celebrate Earth Day, I might hop in the green Element. The options would be only as limited as my imagination. I have to say this is one of my favorite ideas for my stupid money.

6. Everyone hates advertising, but no one does anything about it. Since I now have stupid money, I think I would have to get into at least one slightly subversive activity, and here would be mine. I would declare war on advertising, specifically billboards. I would put together a coalition of people who are as annoyed with advertising as I am who also have a bit of a militaristic bent and I would finance a war on billboards. I would reward my crew for the most creative way possible to tear these things down, with the one caveat that they cannot hurt anyone or destroy any other property other than billboards. They could use Molotov cocktails, chainsaws, makeshift bombs, a pick axe, semi-automatic weapons, Abrams Tanks, basically any method of destruction would be in play so long as the target was a billboard. My war on billboards would be fierce. I believe that it would be celebrated as our liberation from they tyranny of road signs. Viva La RevoluciĆ³n!

7. My final thing I would do if I were stupid rich is a bit odd considering my previous item, but stay with me here. I would buy a three minute advertising spot during the Super Bowl. I know, it goes against my whole war on advertising, but get this…I would buy the advertising, but then would show some type of short film during that time. I would do my very best to keep my intentions for the three minute spot secret, but I would hire an experienced Hollywood production team to create my film. It would be some sort of art that would be a bit out there, but it would also be awesome. I haven’t worked out all the details on this, but the major ingredients to the film would be that it would be a bit confusing, a bit odd, quite a bit provocative, and most importantly it would have to have zero connection to any product or political position. I would not want to advertise anything except for art and then not explain what was going on so people would be left to try and figure out what the heck just happened. I absolutely love this idea, and if I were stupid rich, it would most definitely be very high on the agenda.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Blog on Demand: (Old) News Item - Broncos to wear Vertically Striped Socks this season!


Broncos vice president Jim Saccomano displays the retro uniforms that will be worn this year by Denver to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the American Football League.




The glorious modern Vertically Striped Socks to be worn this year!




Welcome to the second edition of Blog on Demand, the recurring feature where someone gives me a great idea of something to blog about, and I then write about it and give that person credit for a great idea. Today's idea comes from a person I've only met online and don't even know his real name. I spend a lot of time chatting it up with the chaps over at Dameshek.com which is the message board home for the Dameshek on Demand podcast, one of my very favorite podcasts that I listen to every day on my commute in to work. The podcast is done by Dave Dameshek of 710 ESPN in Los Angeles, and it is a high quality daily sports podcast which is very entertaining and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

There is a great little community of sports fans over there on the Dameshek.com site. One of the regulars over there with the screen name #1 Sploser (Which to the best of my knowledge is a word created by Adam Carolla which is a combination of Spaz and loser) gave me the idea to blog about the news that the Broncos will be wearing the very uniform and socks which gave inspiration to the title of this blog. I found that to be a capitol idea, and so #1 Sploser, this post's dedicated to you!

This is old news, but I haven’t commented on it and seeing as how my blog is named Vertically Striped Socks, I am clearly overdue for a comment. The NFL is honoring the 50th anniversary of the American Football League by having the eight teams that were AFL teams wear throwback uniforms from the early years of the AFL. Just in case you weren’t aware, the picture at the top of my blog is an artists representation of what the Broncos first uniforms looked like. Yes, they are eyesores, however they are also awesome. Brown and Yellow is a color combo so ugly that it’s beautiful.

I am burying the lead, though. I know many people in Denver thought (hoped) the Broncos would never again don the vertically striped socks. I am very pleased to report that not only are they going to go the brown and yellow route, they are going to make my dreams come true and once again wear the oddly striped hosiery. Yup, in week 5 and week 6 the Broncos are going to be wearing full on throwbacks up to and including Vertically Striped Socks.

The Broncos are selling the yellow and brown uniforms on their website, but it appears that they won't be selling any of the socks, which bums me out, because I would like nothing more than to purchase a pair of ridiculously ugly brown and yellow vertically striped socks. So if anyone is looking for a great Christmas gift for me, you just can't do better than brown and yellow vertically striped socks. Seriously!

I don't know if this development is going to drive any extra traffic to my blog, but even if it doesn't, it is going to be great for the brand recognition factor of the blog and it's relation to the Denver Broncos. Plus, I'll get to see the Broncos actually wearing these fabled socks, which has me over the moon with excitement! The most pathetic thing about the whole affair is that with my rather low expectations of the Broncos chances for the season, these two games are easily the thing that I am most looking foward to in the upcoming year for Denver football.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Embracing my Inner Wookie

No time for food when you're a Wookie.


There is odd, there is peculiar, there is befuddling, and then there is the message that was left on my voice mail by the community pastor of my church a few weeks ago which was a surreal combination of all these synonyms. Sadly, the actual message was mistakenly erased and lost for all time, which is a real shame, because it was a beauty! It went something like this…

“Hey Craig, it’s Brian Gray! Listen, I have a role for you to play after our service this coming Tuesday. When I thought of everyone at our church, there was only one person that came to mind who would be perfect for this role, and that person is you. I wanted to see if you would be willing to be Chewbacca for us. I need someone who is tall enough for the costume and also outgoing enough to ham it up a little bit. We have the costume for you and everything, and I can work with you on making the right ‘Chewbacca’ sounds if you like. (He then proceeded to make Chewbacca sounds over the phone to my machine) Anyway, can you give me a call and let me know if you’d be willing? Thanks!”

So, I have to say on the scale of weird messages I have received in my life, this one is easily number one on the list, and it is so far ahead of whatever might be second that the list really begins and ends here. Who hasn’t received a message from one of their pastors asking them if they would be willing to be Chewbacca for church the next day?? That’s normal, right? Actually, the best part was when he made the actual Chewbacca noises. I’m so sad that this message got deleted, as it was one of the more fantastic goofy pieces of recorded sound I have ever heard.

The best part is that Brian was 100% correct. I was the perfect guy for the job. I imagine the real Chewbacca may have been a bit taller than my 6’3, but he couldn’t have been too much bigger so I definitely had the tall thing down pat. Plus, I have no issue with wearing crazy embarrassing costumes, and to prove this point, I give you exhibit A, which is me dressing up as the Cher portion of the Sonny and Cher duo for a costume contest that was held at work. So I had the elusive combo of being tall and not afraid to wear a silly costume and play it up.

Yup, that's me as Cher. I'm very attractive in a dress.

I called Brian back right away to tell him I would be happy to be his Chewbacca. There was an actual reason for this silliness, our teaching pastor Dave is transitioning out of his position in order to be a missionary in Mozambique, and that night was actually going to be his last talk. Dave is a big fan of Star Wars, 80’s hair bands, and Southern California. There was a reception that was being held afterwards where there were going to be several stations where people could take photos with some of Dave’s favorite things. There was a station where people could dress up like 80’s rockers, a station with a surf board and In-N-Out signs where they could and of course the Stars Wars station, which had a few toy light-sabers and me.

Our services are held on Tuesday nights, which is awesome because I am able to go to church and never miss a football game, which is a good thing in my book. (Actually, there are a lot of awesome things about my church, and if you live in the Denver metro area, I highly recommend checking it out. Here is our website…www.TNL.org)

I showed up about twenty minutes earlier than usual for church that night so that I could try on the Chewy costume and get the lay of the land. When I arrived, the costume was there, but the head was missing. I tried on the body of the costume which was basically a full body suit made up of brown shag carpet. It fit me just fine, although I could tell that I was going to be warm. I took the costume off and went to the service.

The service was actually a very emotional goodbye from Dave, who has been the teaching pastor at our church for around nine years. He is leaving on good terms, and has helped in getting the new guy acclimated, which has been pretty cool, but saying good bye is never easy. It was a great service, but as soon as the message was over and the congregation started singing, I excused myself and made a beeline for the community room where the reception would take place. Chewbacca’s head had arrived, and I clad myself in the full Chewbacca suit and practiced my Wookie calls.

It’s a strange sensation to be dressed up in a costume in a crowd. The odd thing is that I felt somewhat self-conscious at first, but when you’re dressed up like a giant walking carpet, it’s rather difficult to be inconspicuous. I couldn’t just stand around, so I started trying to interact with the people. It didn’t take too long for my silly side to come out, and before long I was pretending to hit on the women in the crowd, giving the children high fives and giving giant bear hugs to guys that I barely know. It was fantastic fun. I may have creeped out a few of the people who didn’t know who I was, and I know without a doubt that I permanently traumatized at least three or four small children, but I was having a blast.

Even my own kids were extremely wary of the costume, until I briefly took off the mask to reveal who I was to them. After that, Ellie thought that I was funny, but Luke was still a bit wary of me. I felt terrible about the kids who saw me and immediately ran away in terror, but when you’re 6’3 and wearing a Wookie costume, there is only so much you can do to be non-threatening. I was apparently very scary.
My kids were definitely a bit nervous at first...

...but they warmed up to Father Chewbacca


The down side to dressing up in a full body suit of shag is that it tends to get hot rather quickly. That Tuesday had been rather warm and the church building was packed with people so the body heat was doing a good job of warming the room. Add to my fuzzy suit the latex mask and gloves that breathed about as well as an iron lung in an Amish community, and you have yourself one sweaty recipe, just add Craig and mix in a room for about 45 minutes. Since I am as blind as Mr. McGoo I had to keep my glasses on which was difficult to do under the mask. The fact that I was sweating profusely under the mask made it even harder to keep my glasses on, and the fact that my glasses made it hard to look out the eye holes combined to make me a very sight challenged Wookie.

I think that the mask is actually supposed to be pinned to your hair to keep it in place on your head, but as my hairstyle could best be described as Q-Ball, no such luck for me, so the mask wobbled on my head as I tried to keep my eyes sort of lined up with the eye holes as best as possible. Suffice to say that my visibility was less than ideal. Since the kids who were not afraid of me were enjoying coming up to me, I was a little afraid that I might do an unintentional Wookie body slam to some poor five year old, so I was trying to be careful as I moved. Fortunately, no physical harm was inflicted upon any children, and hopefully the emotional damage was kept to a minimum.
Not all the children were scared of me.
Some of the kids downright loved me!


The one surprising element to me is how the ladies love Wookies, as you can see from the pictures. Chewbacca had plenty of attention from the fairer sex. Since I am a happily married Wookie, this didn’t do much for me, but it did give me an idea to share with anyone who is having difficulty getting a date…dress like a Wookie. Seriously, You won’t be able to keep the ladies off of you! Just a bit of dating advice.
Chicks dig Wookies!
Chewy = Chick Magnet


The women seriously can't get enough of Chewbacca!


After about forty-five minutes and a whole bunch of photographs, I had sweat enough to fill a gallon jug and the crowd was dispersing so I decided my time as Chewbacca was ready to come to an end. I removed the costume, and gave it back to the woman who had brought it, and took my kids home with my mission accomplished. I have now joined that elite fraternity of people who have dressed up like Chewbacca for their church. We are truly the few and the proud.



It ain't easy being a Wookie.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

As the Sporting World Turns: Quick Thoughts on the World of Sports for May 3rd, 2009.

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Can Chauncey keep the Nuggets train rolling? Gosh, I sure hope so!


In the "How about that department" I give you your Kentucky Derby winner Mine The Bird. I think it's cool that a 50-1 shot won the Derby, it makes me feel like there is hope for the ridiculous underdog in the air, which is good news when you're a Nuggets fan about now.

How great is it that the Nuggets won Game 4 against the Hornets by 58 points? Some people might say that they were being unsportsmanlike by running up the score. I say, when you have a team with a history of being headcases and giving up gigantic leads, you keep your foot on the floor at all times, and let up after the series is over.

It's a good feeling to see the second round of the playoffs starting, and still have your team be in it. That's a feeling I haven't had since I was a Senior in High School, so I'm definitely not used to it. I said at the beginning of the season that my highest hopes for the Nugs was that they would make the second round, but now I'm getting greedy and will only be satisfied if they make the Conference Finals. (I'm realistic enough to not really expect them to beat the Lakers should they make it that far, but it doesn't mean that I'm not hoping for something like what Mine The Bird pulled off today.)

I'm a little bit bummed that the Baby Bulls couldn't pull off the huge upset in Game 7 in Boston, but they are already the big winners of the playoffs, and they didn't even win their series. It's hard to imagine that anything else we see this postseason is going to compare with the series of Games that the Bulls and the Celts just concluded. Four overtime games, including one double overtime and one triple overtime, and a game decided on a last second shot?? That kind of drama is unheard of outside of Disney movies, and it really happened. Too bad that it was only a first round series, if something like that happens in the conference Finals or the Finals it becomes a legend of mammoth proportions.

It's been a little over a week, and although I still feel like Josh McDaniels make a huge mistake in taking Knowshon Moreno, I am rather excited that he is going to be on my team. I have a feeling that he could be special, and I love the fact that he and the Broncos consulted with the family of Darrent Williams before he took the number 27. No one has worn that number since Williams was killed a few hours after the Broncos were knocked out of the playoffs by the 49ers on the final day of 2006. The coolest part of the story is that all the Williams family asked Knowshon to do is to spend a few hours every month helping out at the Darrent Williams youth center helping to mentor kids. So far, so good on the Knowshon era, I feel like getting a 27 jersey or else renaming my son Knowshon.

I have been monitoring the NHL playoffs, although I'd be lying if I said I've been doing it terribly closely, but there are a few stories that I have enjoyed. The Chicago Blackhawks, much like my Nuggets, are tasting the second round of the playoffs for the first time in a long time. They haven't made it this far since the Avalanche played their first season in Denver and knocked them out in the second round en route to their first Stanley Cup. I find myself cheering for the Hawks for a myriad of reasons. I have a lot of family in the Chicago area, I have been to a few Blackhawk games at the United Center, they are a huge traditional rival to the hated Red Wings, they have some wicked cool uniforms. All of these factors have turned this team into my adopted playoff team this year, and I hope they can take out the Canucks and keep the dream alive.

Although I don't really have a huge vendetta against the New Jersey Devils or their goaltender Martin Brodeur, for some reason it brought a smile to my face when I heard that in the final 80 seconds of the Devils' Game 7 against the Carolina Hurricanes that the Devils went from up in the game 2-1 to out of the playoffs with a 3-2 loss due to two soft goals let in by Brodeur. I think the reason that it made me so happy is because it's another reason to say that Brodeur is inferior to my favorite Goalie of all time, Mr. Patrick Roy. I feel that to say Brodeur is a better goalie than Roy is utter nonsense, and now I have even more ammunition.

Speaking of Patrick Roy, how goofy is it that when I was watching the Portland Trailblazers against the Rockets in their first round playoff series every time I saw Brandon Roy, I wanted the announcers to say his last name with the French Canadian pronounciation? How much cooler would the Blazers be if Roy's name was pronounced Brandon Wah?

With the Celtics looking like they won't have KG and also having lost Leon Powe, and the Magic not looking terribly impressive against a lackluster 76ers team, is there any way that LeBron doesn't make his second Finals appearance this year? Last time he made it, it seemed like a miracle against the seemingly superior Pistons two years ago. This year it feels more like an inevitability that the Cavs make it, and I think he goes one step further this year and wins the whole thing.

If anything good can come of the economic downturn, perhaps it will lead to the demise of the WNBA. That league was hemmoraging money in a good economy, and is the first sports league in history that is being kept alive strictly due to political correctness. The only reason it is still afloat is due to the NBA keeping it on life support. I have to believe that pressure is mounting on David Stern from NBA owners in a down economy being less and less keen on spending the money to keep this unpopular league running. This may make me a bad person, but I really dislike the WNBA, and keep hoping that someone pulls the plug. I know, they aren't hurting me, and no one is forcing me (or anyone else) to watch it, but for some reason, the fact that this league even exists annoys me.

Please Brett Favre, for the sake of everyone who listens to Sports Talk radio, stay retired. You were terrible at the end of last season, and no one wants to see you don Vikings purple. It's not like I can take you too seriously right now anyway, but if you come back to the NFL again for Minnesota, that will officially be too much. Don't tarnish the legacy any further, please just keep mowing lawns and tossing footballs to High Schoolers in Mississippi. Please, I'm begging you.