A look at the least important things in life

The Rundown: First Installment

Every so often from now on, I’m going to post things to read/watch/complain about. This will be the first installment of what I think/hope will become a weekly or at least every-week thing to do. Also, I’m open to better ideas for a name; I’m not really married to “The Rundown”, so this segment will probably change over the next few months.

Four Things to Watch This Week

1. Republican Debate (Thursday at 7 p.m. on CNN)

If you don’t care about where our country is going, you should still tune in. Mostly because when you see the disasters that we’ve elected to represent us, you’ll feel ashamed of yourself and do better next time.

It’s depressing to see the people the Republican party has thrown together in an attempt to defeat Barack Obama in November. Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich… it’s just sad. I hope nobody wins in November.

(By the way, we’ll bring this back around to politics. Just know this isn’t supposed to be fact; it’s supposed to be funny. If you’re coming here for voting advice, I’d go ahead and find a comfortable insane asylum if I were you.)

2. Texas at (7) Baylor (Saturday at 12 noon on CBS)

Texas has been the proverbial underachiever for a few years now in the Big 12. Baylor, led by Perry Jones III, Quincy Acy and Quincy Miller, are a darkhorse (and my personal favorite at this point) not only to win the Big 12 but advance to the Final Four.

Plus, it’s our first football-less weekend since August. It’s time to start taking a shine to college hoops. This is the point where things start to get very interesting, with conference play really getting intense and the BracketBuster (one of my favorite random college hoops days, as a proud graduate of a mid-major) right around the corner.

If you haven’t done so already, check out Baylor, Murray State, Vanderbilt and Kansas State. Those four will be very interesting in March. Also, catch as much of the Big East as you can; you can never tell from week to week who will and won’t be in the Big East next year.

I’m already excited for the Big East Tournament; who will be this year’s Kemba Walker? What ref will blow a chance for bubble team, only to have that team get into the NCAA Tournament anyway? And during which press conference will Jim Calhoun go crazy and make all the reporters feel wildly uncomfortable?

3. Royal Rumble (Sunday at 7 p.m. on Pay-Per-View)

If you don’t like wrestling, feel free to skip ahead (the next choice is soccer, so you’re more or less screwed either way). The Royal Rumble is a fun gimmick surpassed only by t-ball in the “everyone gets a turn to play” sense.

The premise: two dudes start out pretend-fighting in the ring. Every couple of minutes, another person runs in to pretend-fight and pretty soon you’ll have a dozen or so people running around pretend-fighting one another. The only way to get knocked out of this is to get tossed over the top rope and have your feet touch the ground. At that point, you can either a.) pull the person that threw you out of the ring onto the floor with you by grabbing their leg and pretend-beat the crap out of him or b.) walk out of the pretend-fighting area, yelling curses at the spectators and yourself.

Needless to say, I couldn’t recommend this more highly. Even if you’re someone like me (who only watches wrestling 2-3 times a year now; my wife doesn’t need more proof she married a bona-fide dork), you’ll still enjoy it, because 30 people are in this thing. The WWE has to call out the old guard (and I mean OLD); chances are, you’ll see at least a couple of childhood heroes from the world of pretend-fighting.

4. Stoke City at Manchester United (Tuesday at 2 p.m. on ESPN2/ESPN3)

I know; soccer again. But even if you hate the sport, you’ve probably heard of Manchester United (kind of the New York Yankees of English soccer). Stoke City is eighth in the Premier League, which sounds great; they have also given up 10 more goals than they’ve scored this season, which is pretty astounding.

A win against the United would prove the Potters belong in the EPL and complete a truly meteoric rise by English soccer standards. Stoke was in relegation for 23 years prior to 2008; basically, they weren’t good enough to play the best teams in England, so they were sent down to a lower division and had to fight back to the top flight. Almost like when a baseball player gets sent down to the minor leagues, only it’s an entire team. Can you imagine Major League Baseball trying this and sending the Baltimore Orioles to Triple-A? Because that would be awesome.

Three Things I’m Reading (and you should too).

1. The Four Agreements

If you’re like me (unlikely), you really don’t like stuff. Other people, doing things you have to do, household chores… things just piss me off. Given that I am married and come home now instead of blowing off steam like I used to do (drinking, video games, dodge bullets), in recent months I’ve found myself more high-strung for no particular reason.

The Four Agreements is a self-help book in the sense that it points out obvious things you don’t think about (which is what a self-help book is, I suppose). Life and happiness boils down to these four points: keep your word, don’t take things personally, don’t assume and do your best at everything. If you can find this book, give it a read. You’ll find yourself thinking about things that should make you happy. I’m not an expert, but I’m pretty sure that’s what life is supposed to be about anyway.

2. Rembert Explains the ‘80s

Rembert Browne writes for Grantland. One of the gimmicks the website has introduced that has actually stuck with me is a running column entitled Rembert Explains the ‘80s. In the article, a guy roughly my age takes a YouTube Clip from a 1980s show and shares his thoughts/ideas on it, mostly to make fun of it. Since most of the people that read this are my age, I want to give you a healthy appreciation for being alive now, when these sort of things are ironic and not pop culture. I hope my mom appreciates the above link; it’s an old episode of Alf.

3. Deadspin’s Funbag

Deadspin’s Drew Magary is hilarious. The Funbag is always worth a read, and this week’s was no different. Magary riffs on weight loss, why it should be okay to punch high schoolers and how to talk your way out of receiving an F for sleeping through a final exam.

Two People to Follow on Twitter

1. Peter Burns (@PeterBurnsRadio)

A radio host out of Denver, Peter Burns is funny. His takes on sports and nightlife are always amusing and I admit to retweeting this guy at least as often as I think up my own clever stuff to say. Even if you don’t like the Broncos or LSU, he’ll make you laugh. He also does the “Burnt Toast” daily links blog over at Busted Coverage, if you want to mosey over there for more.

2. Patton Oswalt (@PattonOswalt)

Comedian and actor in the critically acclaimed movie Young Adults, Oswalt live-tweeted his (probably) imaginary drinking session with other Oscar snubs like Michael Fassbender, Andy Serkis and Albert Brooks following the AMPAS announcing the nominees for the little golden statuettes on Tuesday. Watch this clip, follow him for a while and see if you don’t sound smarter and funnier.

One Nationally Relevant Rant

1. State of the Union

Once a year, the Democrats and Republicans quit throwing stones at one another long enough to get together and play nice while our president gives a speech that half the audience ignores and the other half hates. This has been going on for over 200 years, and everyone loves it!

This year’s State of the Union was no exception, with a whirlwind of forgotten faces (look, it’s John McCain!) pretending to be interested in a President who was pretending to fix the country. Frankly, I’m tired of the whole charade.

This was probably a good idea when some of the Founding Fathers still held sway in Congress and people gave a damn about honor and decency towards others. But now, in an election year certain to be the muck-rakingest yet, it just feels a little hollow.

We KNOW these guys don’t like each other; 364 days out of the year, Democrats don’t have a single good thing to say about Republicans and vice versa. But we’re supposed to believe that on one night in January everyone will sit quietly and listen to the President, and one guy will offer an official rebuttal while 40 others get ready to go on Fox News and contradict the whole thing?

Next year, let’s try this: instead of a State of the Union, let’s hold Fight Club in the Capitol. Democrats and Republicans with long-held beefs can just bare-knuckle brawl their way to a solution. Maybe they’d get it all out of their systems and we could have a functioning Congress that didn’t want to tear one another’s throats out.


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