Last night I watched Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay. There’s a scene early on in the movie, shortly after they actually escape from Guantamo Bay where they end up in Miami; South Beach actually. They drop in on an old friend and are greeted at the door of his mansion by a playboy bunny type girl wearing no clothes below her top. They follow her inside through a roomful of these girls, all of them naked below the waist, out back where they eventually find their friend in a hot tub with three more of these girls. Harold and Kumar explain their situation to him and to help them get to Texas he gives them one of his brand new Mustang convertibles.
Now I’m no fool, and I know the difference between real life and the movies. Still, you’d be surprised at how much they actually reflect each other. There’s a reason that every movie about heroin ends up a filthy disaster where everyone is either dead or a zombie. I’ve never done heroin, but I’ve had dealings with junkies and Hollywood is not far off. I’ve never spent New Years Eve at a party on the 30th floor of a skyscraper in Manhattan where every man is wearing a tuxedo and all the women are wearing slinky and shiny dresses, but I believe in my heart that it happens every year. I’ve never been to Miami, and I don’t believe for a second that everyone there lives in a mansion, parties with Playmates, and gives away sports cars, but what I do believe is that Miami is one of the very few places in the United States where that actually does happen.
I lived in Los Angeles for 1 summer. One of the things that I did in those 3 short months was to attend a party in Bel-Air with supermodels and TV stars where we drank endless champagne, smoked a ton of pot, and had the option of endless rails of blow. Remember Hanson? Mmm Bop Hanson? They were there. All three of them. So was Eric Szmanda from CSI. Now I know that those aren’t exactly A-list celebrities, but they’re household names. And besides all that it one one hell of a cool party.
In the course of that summer I had a crazy fling with a drop-dead gorgeous Iranian girl named Semonah who tried to teach me Farsi, and whose dad wanted to kill me. I broke into the chem lab at UCLA at 3:00 in the morning to steal a gallon of ether which we proceeded to huff while drinking Jack Daniels. I hung out at a bar in Hollywood with Keifer Sutherland. I got pushed aside in one of the hallways at the MTV offices by Jordan Knight(of the New Kidz on the Block)’s entourage. I even drank beer on the actual set of “Cheers”. I did all this in less than 3 months, all the while working 30 or less hours a week making minimum wage at a video store in West Los Angeles. Who can say the same thing about Gary, Indiana? Or Bismark, North Dakota? My point is that some places are conducive to crazy cool shit happening and some places are not. I have a sneaking suspicion that Miami, Florida is one of those places.
Maybe that’s part of the reason the Miami Dolphins are completely fucking up my shit. Maybe the reason I have no idea what they’re going to do from week to week is because I don’t understand Miami itself. Maybe if I went there and spent some time getting to know the city I would have a zen-like epiphany and know exactly why the Dolphins will lose to the Jets and the Cardinals, then beat the Patriots and the Chargers, then lose to the Texans and the Ravens, then beat Buffalo. Maybe it has nothing at all to do with the teams they are playing. Maybe it has everything to do with Miami itself. The only pattern I can see is that they lose two, then win two. Since I am a hopeless gambler I must believe in the pattern. Next week they play Denver at home. According to their pattern they will win handsomely, then go on to lose to Seattle and Oakland. At the end of the season they will be 8-8 having beaten the best teams in the league and lost to the worst. Their season will be done by January and they will ring in 2009 in 75 degree weather amidst palm trees and speedboats watching teams like New York, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Green Bay, and Denver duke it out in the cold while they barbecue and watch the games with their doors open to catch the cool breeze off the Gulf through their Hawaiian shirts. That is if they even decide to wear shirts at all that day.
From my standpoint here in Olympia, Washington that does not seem that bad. The last fleeting days of October are here and soon the sky will darken, the rain will start, and I’ll have 5 months without seeing the sun to look forward to. November is like the last nail in the coffin for decent weather here in the Pacific Northwest. It is as ominous and foreboding as the Book of Revelations must be to someone that actually believes in that nonsense. November is a fifty-pound weight shackled to your ankles. It is a bucket of freezing water dumped over your head at 5 in the morning while you’re sleeping on the floor of a stranger’s living room. November is being stuck at the airport with no ride and no money and too many bags to carry by yourself. November sucks in the Pacific Northwest. It is the farthest you can possibly be from decent weather. You have nothing at all to look forward to unless you have plans to flee the area sometime during the winter. November is the month where I, every year without fail, seriously consider moving away.
It will be no different this year. Every year I find myself in Olympia becomes another year I wonder what the fuck I’m doing here. I hate the weather. I hate the way everyone here half-asses everything. And I hate how I can’t get anything, not even a pizza, delivered. I’ll be going down to San Francisco again for Thanksgiving this year. Every time I go down there it gets harder and harder for me to come back. People complain about the weather in San Francisco, but they have no idea. It’s like a billionaire complaining about how long it takes to count all their money. Being in San Francisco is the exact opposite feeling of being in Olympia. You feel good all the time. You’re happy to be where you are. You look around and you think to yourself, it really doesn’t get better than this. While the general sentiment in Olympia is this shit sucks.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s plenty of good things about living in Olympia. After all I’m here, and if it really was as awful as I just made it out to be I wouldn’t still be here. There’s a reason people live in Olympia, much like I’m sure there’s a reason that people live in Cincinnati. I’ve been to Cincinnati. It’s not cool. It’s located in Southeastern Ohio smack dab on the border of Kentucky which gives it this weird combination of Yankee hard-edged meanness and backwoods redneck hillbilly all rolled into one. It’s a busted city with no economy and no money. It’s no wonder that the Bengals have an overall win percentage of .448 with an overall record of 267-342-1 while the New York Giants located in the biggest, richest city in the country are .527 lifetime. Geography is everything. And that’s why I’m basing this week’s picks on geography.
Week 9 Picks
New York Jets @ Buffalo
You know how I just said that I’m basing my picks on geography alone? Well certainly New York City is cooler than Buffalo. Here’s the problem, though. The New York Jets don’t play in New York. They play at Giants Stadium in East Rutherland, New Jersey. Now I’ve never been to New Jersey, but I’ve heard enough to know that there are not a lot of places less cool than Jersey. Not only that but Buffalo is definitely going to win this one. Bills by 5
Detroit @ Chicago
Chicago is the third largest city in the United States of America. Chicago is the Windy City, the Crossroads of America, home of Al Capone and Michael Jordan. Chicago has the Sears Tower and Oprah Winfrey. Chicago is where the Bob Newhart Show took place. Detroit, on the other hand, is one of the few cities where you can actually see bums huddled around a burning oil drum. Their boarded up window to non-broken window ratio is second only to Gary, Indiana (ironically a suburb of Chicago). Their city should be burned to the ground if for no other reason then it spawned Kid Rock. Fuck Detroit. The Lions suck. Bears by 9
Jacksonville @ Cincinnati
Jacksonville is the largest city in Florida. It is on the northeastern corner of the state on the Atlantic side about 25 miles south of the Georgia border. The state of Florida’s reputation is one of the most bipolar of all states. Florida, much like the continental United States, is often divided by North and South. South Florida is the part of the state that is glamorized. It’s the part where women are scantily clad, the nights are pastel, and the party never ends. Northern Florida is the part of the state that rigged the 2000 Presidential election, sends black men to the electric chair, and is so cluttered with dying retirees that it takes 4 days to get a prescription filled. Cincinnati, on the other hand, isn’t much better. Both of these cities suck, but at least the weather in Jacksonville is pleasant. Also, they have beaches and an ocean. Jaguars by 6
Baltimore @ Cleveland
Baltimore is right next to Washington D.C. smack dab on the Chesopeke Bay. It is notorious for having one of the most consistently corrupt city governments in the nation. It always feels like it is wet in Baltimore. At night the city has a shimmer to it that is more dirty and evil than romantic and magical. It’s a gloomy and mysterious city in a strange and unique state. Cleveland is the biggest city in Ohio, which hosts 5 of the 20 largest cities in the country. Cleveland is a notoriously working class city located at the mouth of the Cuyahoga river on the southern coast of Lake Erie, one of the nation’s five Great Lakes. Lake Erie is the 4th largest of the 5 lakes, but is infamous for being the most polluted. The Cuyahoga river that runs through Cleveland is so polluted that it actually caught fire… twice! The Baltimore Ravens once were the Cleveland Browns. In a way it is like the Clevelnd Browns are playing the Cleveland Browns! Only since they moved to Baltimore they started winning all the time. Ravens by 6
Tampa Bay @ Kansas City
Tampa Bay is in the romantic southern half of Florida on the Gulf side near Orlando, home of Disneyworld and Busch Gardens. I heard that someone in Kansas City has a garden, but it became dried up and barren due to lack of care. Kansas City sucks, Missourri sucks, and the Chiefs suck. Buccaneers by 9
Houston @ Minnesota
Houston is the filthiest, most busted city in all of Texas. Houston’s claim to fame is a complete lack of zoning laws. That means it would be perfectly legal to open a paper mill next door to a day care center, or the city dump next door to city hall. Minneapolis/St. Paul, home of the Minnesota Vikings, is actually one of the coolest cities in the country despite the fact that it’s really really cold there. In fact, the climate might be the only negative thing about Minneapolis. The architecture is beautiful and cool. The populace is friendly and enlightened. There are multitudes of clubs as well as venues for music, theater, and art. Minneapolis is a strong candidate for coolest city in the country. Houston is a strong candidate for shittiest city in the country. Vikings by 4
Arizona @ St. Louis
Phoenix, the home of the Arizona Cardinals, exists purely because taxes were so low that many national corporations moved their headquarters there. The end result of this is Phoenix is a very rich city. There’s a lot of weird money floating around the Phoenix/Tempe area and not much else. Due, I’m guessing, to a lack of anything better to spend it on they city of Tempe decided to build a lake smack in the middle of downtown. That means if you go to Phoenix, a city surrounded by hundreds of miles of barren desert in every direction, you will be greeted by the cool and refreshing mist of a man-made lake. St. Louis is a step up from Kansas City, but not by a lot. St. Louis is most famous for birthing Miles Davis, Ike and Tina Turner, and Cheryl Crow. It’s an interesting city with a semi-rich history, but it’s in the middle of nowhere and it, much like it’s entire state, is busted. Money will always defeat no money. Cardinals by 6
Green Bay @ Tennessee
Green Bay Wisconsin, surprisingly enough, is most famous for the Green Bay Packers. In fact, that’s all there is in Green Bay. If you were to go to Green Bay in the month of May you would still see people on the streets wearing Packers jerseys and cheeseheads. Green Bay is barely a city at all with a total population of 100,353. That’s less people than Billings Montana, West Jordan Utah, and Waterbury Connecticut. So why do they even have a team? Because the Green Bay Packers were one of the first teams in the league, that’s why. The city of Green Bay may only house 100, 353 residents, but eight Sundays a year 72,928 fill Lambeau field to capacity with tens of thousands in line for a seat. As of this moment 74,000 people are on a waiting list for season tickets. The Green Bay Packers have more dedicated fans around the world than any other sports team in the history of the known universe. That alone makes Green Bay cool.
Nashville Tennessee rivals Minneapolis for one of the most underrated cities in the country. It is home to the Grand Ole Opry and a myriad of country greats. It is a surprisingly sophisticated city in a surprisingly sophisticated and enlightened state. Tennessee gets a bad rap a lot of the time, especially from uppity northerners that tend to look down on the South. Nashville is cool, and so are most of the people that live there.
I’d love to see Green Bay win this one. If any team in the league can serve the Titan’s their first loss it’s the Green Bay Packers. This is one where I would bet on the Packers and take the Vegas odds. Still, the Titans are undefeated and they’re playing at home. And, despite the Green Bay Packers, I’d rather be in Nashville than Green Bay almost any day of the year. Titans by 4
Miami @ Denver
What can I say about Miami that I haven’t already said? Scarface? The Miami Sound Machine? Miami Vice? What’s not to love about Miami? I used to work with a girl that told me about a bar that she worked at in Miami. It was right on the beach and they had a dock for speedboats. They sold cocaine right at the bar. All you had to do was lay down the money and ask for a pack of matches. Now that’s fucking cool. Denver is alright. It’s a kind of cool city smack dab in the middle of the Rocky Mountains which makes it gorgeous. It also means it’s cold and it snows a lot. I mean a lot. Miami will win this game if only because it is the will of the gods. Dolphins by 2
Dallas @ New York Giants
New York is the Big Apple. The city that never sleeps. Home to David Letterman, John Lennon, Woody Allen, and Donald Trump. Dallas is the 5th largest city in the U.S. I’ve never been there, but I imagine that it is akin to a giant used car lot. Giants by 6
Atlanta @ Oakland
Atlanta is cool. It’s got an underground shopping mall, the Coca-Cola factory and Outkast. Oakland is an enormous ghetto where people opt to spend their welfare checks on spinny rims and tasmanian devil decals instead of feeding their crack babies. Falcons by 8
Philadelphia @ Seattle
Philadelphia is the other city (besides Detroit) that you can expect to see a group of bums huddled around a burning oil drum. Seattle has the potential to be one of the coolest cities in the country, but it has a “little brother” complex. It’s always trying to prove how cool it is by acting tough and arrogant. The city has an antagonistic vibe that flows through it like a sewer. Also, their team sucks. Eagles by 5
New England @ Indianapolis
Foxborough Massachusetts is a suburb of Boston, one of the original candidates for Capital of the United States of America. It’s a rich city with a rich history. Indianapolis is the capital of Indiana, my vote for shittiest state in the U.S. Patriots by 2
Pittsburgh @ Washington
Pittsburgh is known for it’s steel mills and many rivers and bridges with names that are difficult to pronounce like “Monongahela” and “Allegheny”. It is a broodish city with many smokestacks and factories. Washington D.C. is the country’s capital city. Everyone in D.C. seems to either be extremely poor or extremely rich with very little middle ground. Even their mayor smokes crack. Steelers by 2
And that does it for this week’s predictions/geography lesson. See you on the beach.