Monthly Archives: June 2013

Breaking Hip: Cool’s Little Brother Has Grown Up, Part 2

So I’ve had a lot of writing sitting in the slush files of my laptop. I forgot about this one, but I suppose it’s time to release the second part. Click here for part 1.

The clothes kind of say everything. We’re all in uniform, after all.

There were two guys that used to be the coolest dudes on the planet. Their names were Mickey Mantle and James Dean. A jock and a rebel, both embodying their side of America, the insiders and the outsiders. Mickey was a physical Adonis who I’m positive wore only a suit or a baseball uniform, and James Dean was a slender, pretty lad who wore a leather jacket and dangled a cigarette. Celebrated life and mourned death. Culture and counter-culture. They were booming at a time when America was ready to pass the torch from legends to celebrities, the infancy of cool. The thing is, nobody ever mentions those guys in the same breath. They were so similar, but one died a hero and the other lived long enough to see himself become the villain. Mantle, by all accounts, spent the last decades of his life as an alcoholic wreck.

Cool and hip have always overlapped to a degree, but they’re more the same thing today than they’ve ever been before. In today’s world, Mickey Mantle would make an effort to dress like James Dean. That’s because there will always be more James Deans than Mickey Mantles in this world. When Huey Lewis wrote his song about the pleasures of conformity, he sang, “yes, I cut my hair.” He was operating in 1986, making an argument that it was more satisfying to be in line with the man instead of going against the man. Cutting your hair was only something you’d do for a JOB. 25 years later, his point is moot. Hip is popular is cool. Parted hair is cool, because the nerds were finally able to popularize an idea they always knew was true. You aren’t supposed to be against the man to be cool, you’re supposed to be ahead of him. You aren’t cool by going rogue, you’re cool by creating wrinkles in the mundane. Flashy socks, coolest tech, your hand around a National Bohemian in the crowd of commercial domestics. The message is simple: I’m different like everyone else, just a little more different. And that’s a good lesson. No matter how the car runs, the paint is the first thing you see.

Marketing 101: It’s more important to be different than better.

…part 3, coming soon.

Non-Style Guy: 9 NBA Draft Fashions That We Love To Hate

9, nba, draft, fashions, that, are, burned, into, our, memories,

There has been a significant learning curve here.

This was an article I wrote for PolicyMic.com in excitement for the 2012 NBA draft. Most of what I would say as a preamble to this year’s draft is still in the preamble below. Enjoy the article and enjoy the draft!

One of the best things about recurring events like the NBA Draft is that they naturally birth recurring traditions; traditions which usually center around a quirky subplot within the event itself. Prominent examples of these organic traditions include ranking the Super Bowl commercials, or giving a thumbs up/down at movie previews like Siskel and Ebert (suck it, Roeper). A dandy piece of entertainment at the NBA Draft is that viewers inevitably turn into Tim Gunn, mocking college-age kids who dress up and play icon. It’s adorable.

My personal style is essentially Nick from New Girl (probably due to our similar financial situations).  If I was going to parade around on national television, I’d pay someone who knew about these things to dress me right, just like my mom did when I was little so other kids wouldn’t laugh at me (kind of worked). But here lies the problem. Legions of handlers have started getting these future draftees away from the Steve Harvey collection and in front of working mirrors, a nearly mandatory move considering today’s NBA players make personal fashion a priority. For us, this obviously sucks. The fashion awareness of the NBA fraternity is trickling down to the pledges, and it’s ruining my once healthy tradition of draft night mockery.

But I’m an optimist.  I still believe that Andre Drummond (update: Alex Len) has the potential to wear a red jacket.  Maybe Thomas Robinson (regret that optimism) will give a subtle nod to the upper ceiling of his ability by wearing an homage to Karl Malone (a satirical retro-suit is easily the Holy Grail of potential outcomes here, kind of like getting a Sega Genesis for Christmas in 1991). So here’s a look back at past draft-day fiascos, and let’s cross our fingers (and toes) that we get an outfit this good in 2012:

1. Samaki Walker (1996)

In retrospect, this suit should have been the first sign that Walker would make some bad judgement calls. He last made headlines by attempting to eat his weed prior to getting pulled over by police in 2011.

2. Erick Dampier (1996)

Dude played in the league for 15 YEARS! Amazingly earning more than Michael Jordan. Obviously his expensive tastes kept him working.

3. Tim Thomas (1997)

No words. Just emotions.

4. Chuck Person (1986)

It was 1986.  I was eight months old and wearing off-brand Huggies.  Maybe pink cummerbunds were cool back then.

5. Karl Malone (1985)

The GOAT of draft day apparel.  Short tie, white pants, purple jacket, future hall of famer.  And yes, moose knuckle!

6. Jalen Rose (1994)

Current ESPN analyst. Good to see he has grown up since the draft.

7. Drew Gooden (2002)

If you search “Drew Gooden” in Google images, you’ll see that this was far from his worst style move. You know what, the longer I look at it, the more it grows on me.

8. Maurice Taylor (1997)

#neverscared

9. LeBron James (2003)

I don’t care how many rings or $8,000 suits he wears, LeBron won’t live this down! Haters, keep on hatin.

The 2012 NBA Draft airs Thursday, June 28th at 7 p.m. EST on ESPN….And the 2013 NBA Draft is June 27th on ESPN at some time on the clock.

10 Things You Should Be Doing Now That You’re Grown Up

1. Always buying two-ply – I don’t want to call this the most important thing, but nothing tells your guests that you haven’t mentally moved out of your dorm/frat house than when they reach out and find some John Wayne toilet paper. It’s rough, tough, and it doesn’t take shit from anyone.

2. Saving more money each month than you spend on alcohol – You can substitute “alcohol” for “shopping” or “drugs” or “live-cam sessions.” Whatever, really. This is the golden rule of adulthood, and a hallmark of responsibility. I don’t care who you are, a young athlete who’s expected to support an entourage while you champagne and campaign, or a communications major trying to make your bones in highly-incentivized (read: low salary) sales position. If you’re buying booze, then you have discretionary income. If you’ve paid all essential payments such as loans, bills and groceries and you only have $10 left, you put $6 in a conservative Roth IRA and then go buy one moderately priced beer to celebrate your good sense (a King Cobra 40 is also an acceptable celebratory drink as it gives you a “budget buzz”).

3. Investing in your body – Here’s a list of things people routinely regret: drinking too much, staying up too late to finish a middling HBO movie like Abraham Linconln: Vampire Hunter, Pizza Hut lunch buffets, CiCi’s dinner buffets, eating two pizza buffets in one day, and everything they eat after midnight. Here’s a list of things people never regret: the workout they’ve finished, the sleep they got, finishing a healthy meal, saving money by not eating a meal after midnight. Investing requires planning, and your body will thank you for planning based on impending consequences instead of immediate desire.

4. Abiding to, “You can’t climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure.” – Classic Zig on dressing for the job you want. Far be it from me to tell anyone to buy a fancy wardrobe. Just acting like you got your shit together should be enough. Guy tips include shaving your face, tucking in your collared shirt, and wearing dress shoes with a matching belt. Girl tips include looking showered and un-slutty. It’s amazing how much of making it in life is just showing up and looking competent.

5. Taking a multivitamin – I mean, it can only help, right?

6. Looking fun on social media, not crazy – This basically means to not take any “night out” pictures after 11pm or hang out with people who do. Snapchat is exempt from this rule because I can’t help myself. Also, don’t Tweet bigoted statements cause you think it’s just your gang seeing them. That’s what group texting is for.

7. Paying with cash – You might think it’s because it prevents you from putting yourself in a financial predicament, but it’s actually because cash is sexy. In a study that might’ve happened, 100 women accepted an attractive man’s offer to buy her a drink. When paying in cash, 68% of the women gave the man their phone number. The other 32% took the man home with them. Upon awaking the next morning, they reimbursed the man for the drink he bought them with a $5 bill with their phone number on it. When paying with a card, 100% of the women simply said, “Thank you for the drink. I’m actually seeing someone.”

8. Recycle – C’mon bro.

9. Not using the word “bro.” – Unless you’re making a brodacious compound word like “broner,” the word that Californication coined to describe the unintentionally male-inspired boner.

10. Not taking life too seriously – You’ll never get out alive (If you haven’t heard that before, then you never should. You’re too grown up to watch Van Wilder).

Only living by numbers 1, 2, 5, 10 and sometimes 3 and 7,
Dusty “The Big Adolescent” Riedesel

Are You A Runner? 7 Infallible Ways to Tell You’re NOT

An unedited preview of an article that will be posted on PolicyMic over the weekend (or won’t, pending editor’s possibly questionable literary taste).

Full disclosure. I am not a runner. And while all runners knows what they are at the core of their being—like Christ’s salvation or hearing Jimi Hendrix—we non-runners are diverse parts of a whole, like white light fractured through a prism. What follows is seven ascending steps. If you can say “no” to each of these, then you are a runner. How long it takes you to get to a “no” will establish where you are in our non-runner brotherhood, our society of plod.

1. You smoke

You are not a runner. Because lungs.

2. You are in your third trimester

Of course it’s still possible to shuffle your feet in a hasty forward direction, but you’re no longer a runner. Maybe you were a runner. Maybe you will be again one day. But you live in the all too real present, and sometimes that gift is a pair of goggles and a “stylish as it can be” maternity one-piece. A thousand paved kilometers may be crying out, but they’ll have to wait. Creating a life requires compromise.

3. You don’t know how far a “K” is.

Of course you know there are 1.60934 kilometers in one mile, but regurgitating 2nd grade metric conversions that no one has forgotten doesn’t mean your feet have ran what your brain has remembered. You don’t know what it smells like inside The Sistine Chapel. Run a 5K obstacle course. If you reach the one-mile marker and say to yourself, “Sweet Steve Prefontaine! That can’t only be a mile,” then you don’t know how far a “K” is, and you are not a runner.

4. You don’t own “running” shoes.

You may own a solid pair of Asics. Maybe you even splurged for a reliable pair of New Balance 990’s. But if you’re wearing those shoes with pre-washed Levi’s and a Van Heusen Micro Smooth at your local tap room, then those are your sneakers or your “tennies.” A runner has shoes dedicated purely to their craft. “Multi-purpose” is just a synonym for mediocrity.

5. You “go for a jog”

Runners run. Joggers jog. Runners never say, “I’m going for a jog.”

6. You actually care how much you bench press.

Classic tell. Imagine a man asking, “How much do you bench?” Now imagine a man answering that question with pride. Does either man look like a Kenyan marathoner? Nope. A runner cares about his health. He (or she, whatever) is constantly attuned to the cardiovascular engine that sends out ripples of nirvana from heart to body to soul. They’re Zen. They’re pacifists. They love their bodies without clinging to an arbitrary standard of strength.

7. You have situational running posture

This is the final litmus test. You’ve been running for months. So much running. You’ve even considered adding Chariots of Fire to your favorite movies on your Facebook profile. You walk out your front door with an unseen smirk at the thought of jogging (HAHAHA! You remember your first beer!). Your Adistar Boosts feel like a second, supportive-yet-malleable skin on your well-trodden heels. Baby’s in bed and your ready to pound all 10 of those crying kilometers. You run. You tire, but you don’t realize it. You feel good. You’re mind is buzzing on a runner’s high and a Hearts on Fire loop in your earbuds. What’s that up ahead in your path? It’s a beautiful woman (or man, whatever). You lift your shoulders back and stick your chest out. Had you been hunched over the whole time? You pick up your pace and cross paths with the angel of fitness that you’ll never talk to. The moment is passed, and you’re running as you were before. Wait. No. No, you’re not. You’re jogging. Just as you were before.

Walking hard,
Dusty

What to be excited about in June

Mostly to get myself hyped for the month ahead, I’m going to be doing a “What to be excited about this month” post to kick off each month. In typical blogging fashion, I will limit this to broad topics like sports, movies, and TV and not the things I’ll personally be looking forward to, like should I wear a cowboy hat or a lamp shade to the Brad Paisley concert (I still haven’t decided!!!). Feel free to see what you might’ve missed in prior months:

January February March April May

1. Sports – The NBA Finals, June 6…

…to a month-saving seventh game if we’re lucky. The sports aren’t strong in June. Let’s critique the Tim Duncan runner-ups to LeBron’s champion of the month, the NBA Finals (for those that don’t get really deep analogies, Tim Duncan will lose the Finals to LeBron and Tim Duncan is boring. This analogy is as sound as, well, Tim Duncan).

The French Open and Wimbledon might be interesting if they starred LeBron.

The Belmont is Luigi to The Kentucky Derby’s Mario, and no one cares about your mansion, Luigi!

The US Open is golf, and the one thing I can tell you about watching golf is that if you’re on acid, it’s just as interesting as watching a Newton’s Cradle while you’re on acid, except slightly less interesting.

The name of the X Games finally had meaning after they divorced themselves from cultural relavence in 1999.

The College World Series is essentially AAAA minors, it’s like watching who wins the Miss Chongqinq beauty pageant.

The NBA Draft used to be fun before NBA draftees realized why it was fun. And so that’s how we have our winner. The NBA Finals take June.

How excited should you be? If you think Tim Duncan is really the dynamic individual that once out-rapped Kobe Bryant instead of the basketball sphynx we can’t read, then you should be as excited as the Timmy below. If not, you should be as excited as Dwight:

2. Movies – Man of Steel, June 14

Could it possibly have been anything else? When Warner Brothers fired this Christopher Nolan produced rocket into our cinematic consciousness as their last surviving hope for the Superman movie brand, we all knew we would see it. Every trailer and commercial has only become a brighter, yellow sunlight on what is certain to be first of an invulnerable franchise. Other June movies can only look at this Movie of Tomorrow and dream…White House Down already came out in MarchWorld War Z has my beloved Brad Pitt, but he’s no superhero…The Internship only gets a mention out of respect to Vince Vaughn’s corpse…And I will definitely buy a ticket for End of the World if it receives even one positive review.

How excited should you be? If you like the idea of a Christ-like figure harnessing his Godlike power through the soul of a man as he saves and guides a young race called “humanity,” then way to use your head:

3. 3. Television – Wilfred Season 3 Premiere, June 20

Yes, Wilfred. What show did you think is the most exciting show of the month? Dexter? All that’s left of that show is a compressed blood slide of a once proud killer in the ratings. The Hero? Far be it from me to doubt the most electrifying man in sports entertainment, but I’d rather navigate dark underground bunkers and face tough moral dilemmas than pick a reality show as the “most exciting” TV for the month. Picking finales like Mad Men and Game of Thrones goes against the forward-looking spirit of this post. And while I love the custodial work that True Blood does in transitioning our Sunday nights from Mad Men/Thrones to Sunday Night Football, it’s too much of a mental drop-off from those prior shows to call its premiere exciting. If you’ve only watched Wilfred commercials and though, “Meh,” then you are missing out. Wilfred is crazy, and it’s crazy how little love it gets. Dark, hilarious and constantly peppering it’s scripts with enough “WTF” factor to make you feel as insane as its characters, this show is more enjoyable than getting high in a small closet with your imaginary dog friend…maybe.

How excited should you be? If you like watching a grown man in a dogsuit being stupid like a fox as he does drugs, dry humps a one-eyed teddy bear and outschemes everyone all the time, then you already know how excited you are! If you don’t like that, then watch it anyways, then come back to this post and look at the then-poignant gif below:

4. Books – The Ocean at the End of the Lane, June 18

Few writers have the imagination of Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Anansi Boys). It’s been several years since he released a novel, but whether it’s his short stories, his comics or his novels (I haven’t really cared for his movies), his greatest talent has always been weaving the fantastically impossible into everyday reality so that a reader can’t see the seams. Even with the more prolific Stephen King releasing Joyland this month, I’d be surprised if another piece of ficiton makes a bigger splash in fictional waters than The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

How excited should you be? If you prefer novels about 100-year-old vampires with decades of culture and art in their zeitgeist finding a teenage girl captivating, then maybe pass on this one. Something that weird can happen in a Gaiman novel, but it’ll feel more like pedophilia than love, which is to say it will feel truthful.

5. 5. Miscellaneous – Father’s Day, June 16

A quick checkdown on how you should show your type of father that you love him this Father’s Day.

Does your father work at the mill and only speak to you to request his eighth Old Milwaukee? Say nothing. Just put your wallet back in your pocket as he refuses your charity at the Sunday afternoon restaurant. Your money goes to Old Milwaukee. Then sit, drink and and stare at the Pirates game. That’ll say it all.

Does your father frequently support your dreams both financially and emotionally while backing you up no matter how many mistakes you make? Buy him something nice, like a car detailing package. And write a card. Bring it to him personally. It’ll make it easier for him to reimburse you with cash when he wants to “make sure you’re doing alright.”

Is your father anything besides those two very particular types? A phone call will probably get it done. I’d recommend the 6 o’clock method of news, traffic, weather, sports and let’s kick it over to Mom see what’s going on in “world” news.