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2014 Mother vs. Grother Week 2

mcnabb-mom

The 2014 edition of Mother vs. Grother is already on fire. This week everyone is back in the same place to record our NFL picks against the spread. Just a reminder that Mother vs. Grother features me picking games against my wife Laura (the Mother) and my brother’s fiancé Mike (the Grother). Check out the current standings for the contest at our Pigskin Pick’em site.

We start off this week with a simple game to test the football knowledge of our two featured guests. It’s a little contest we call Rock or JockRock or Jock is very simple. I read a name out loud and then the Mother or Grother have to tell me whether that is a character the Rock played in a movie or a current NFL jock. Following the game we get down to the NFL picks. My wife does a good job defending the Ravens, while at the same time distancing herself from Ray Rice, and Mike unveils a new system for making picks that he calls MGI.

All that and more on this week’s edition of Mother vs. Grother.

2014 Mother vs. Grother: Week 1

The NFL season is upon us, and that can mean only one thing. It is time for another season of Mother vs. Grother. For those who weren’t around for our inaugural season here is how the weekly podcast works. I put my reputation as an NFL expert of sorts on the line last year when I made picks against the spread vs. my Mother and my Grother (Gay Brother). Of course as fate would have it I got demolished by both of them in the picks department. My Grother Joe actually finished in the 95% of ESPN Pigskin Pick’em entries. It was a devastating defeat. After last year I needed to shake things up.

This season we have two brand new players for me to match wits with. The new Mother for this season is my wife Laura. She’s been officially a Mother now for 5 weeks and is ready for the challenge. The Grother for 2014 is Joe’s fiancé Mikey. Mikey is an interior designer who has his own ideas about picking teams, and is out to prove that Joe’s 2013 win wasn’t a fluke.

We will be here every week picking games in ways never thought of before. As usual you can follow all of the action on our ESPN page. Now sit back and enjoy Week 1 of the all new Mother vs. Grother.

Separated at Birth?

Former NFL Officiating Tsar Mike Pereira and the king of Storage Wars Barry Weiss.  You be the judge

Planning King Joffrey’s Bachelor Festival

From : Sandore Clegane <DoggofWesteros@westeros.gov>

To: Knights of the Kingsguard <knights@westeros.gov>

Subject: The King’s Bachelor Festival

To my fellow members of the Kingsguard.  King Joffrey has appointed me as royal planner for his majesty’s Bachelor Festival.  Now his majesty has made some requests.  He wants a royal suite, access to any and all weapons on premises, sheets with over 300 thread count, 24 hour room service, oak spikes on site, sealed copy of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip on DVD, and he doesn’t want to put down a deposit.  That means we are basically down to three choices; Dorne, Highgarden, or Las Vegas.

Dorne is great because I got a guy there who promises to outfit one of the walls with all manner of whips, chains, and paddles.  Could be a great time.  Also would be nice to get some sun even though King Joffrey feels the sun often disrespects him by setting.  Highgarden is only on the list because we had such a great time at Ser Boros’s shindig.  The whole Highgarden boardwalk is so three winters ago.  Which leaves us with Las Vegas.  The downside is that they won’t recognize Joffrey’s royal banner.  According to the concierge I spoke with at the Borgota “everyone is royalty here”.  But we can get tickets to the new Cirque show La Brutalité.  Jugglers hanging by hooks, and a contortionist who whips her own rear.  All right up our alley.

Please send me your votes for the party.  Before it even gets started King Joffrey has already said we will not be playing any ale pong. He finds it tedious.  Also would prefer if the room had some sort of drain in the bathroom.  Makes for easier cleanup.  I also need you guys to help me out with the security deposit.  Should break down to about 100 gold coins to a man.

Remember do not reply all to this email.

Statement Required by Lord Baelish from the King’s Treasury  To the extent this message contains tax advice, the King’s Treasury Department requires us to inform you that any advice in this raven is not intended or written by our king to be used, and cannot be used by any member of court, for the purpose of avoiding any taxes that may be imposed under the decision of King Joffrey. Advice from our Lord relating to Westeros tax matters may not be used in promoting, farming or dueling with any entity, investment plan or arrangement to any taxpayer.

Saying Goodbye to a Friend

A friend of benliebman.com @JTBam brings us the tale of a headset lost.

It is with a heavy heart that I say RIP to my Xbox headset. After three red rings of death (only one while the console was under warranty) and four worn out or broken controllers, the headset was the last piece to go from my original Xbox 360 purchase in 2005. In 2009, right after the headset’s fourth birthday, the earpiece totally separated from the headband after having stepped on it in my Naples, Florida apartment. Fortunately the earpiece was still functional, so after MacGuyvering the headset with a Fudgesicle stick, a paperclip and athletic tape, the headset was as good as new (I distinctly remember it was a fudsicle stick and not a cream or popsicle). Unfortunately, two days ago, the sound started going in and out, and I knew it was time to put her down (everyone knows that headsets are female like boats and cars).

The Xbox 360 purchase holds a special place in my heart as the  first console that was purchased within a month of its launch. I was a late adopter to Nintendo, Genesis and the original Xbox, but this was the first console to come out when I was actually a functioning member of society. For the first time in history a video game console was coming out at a time when I was gainfully employed and I knew I would be purchasing one no matter what I had to do. A week after the official launch, 360s were still tough to find. They were sold out everywhere near me, but one day I received a call saying they received 50 consoles at Toys R Us. The only disclaimer was that you had to also purchase two games, an extra controller and a racing wheel in order to receive one of the 360s. I sped over to the store, laid down the credit card, and the console was mine (the racing wheel was later returned).

As of last night (after approximately six years and three months of use) the microphone part was still functional, so I adjusted the headset sound to come out of my speakers and still used the mic as per usual. This was working perfectly until my mom passed by right as UncleStinkyFNGZ was screaming about how much he loved “illegal substances”. It was at that moment that I knew a replacement headset was imminent.

The major question here is why did the headset outlast every other piece of hardware from the original Xbox? It certainly was the piece I abused the most. The headsets were cheap and easily replaceable, and I was also scared that the console and controllers  would break if you breathed on them incorrectly (which I was correct about). I guess unlike the console, the headset was built to take a beating. The situation reminds me of a MAD Magazine comic strip from ages ago. An older women brings a recently broken toaster into the manufacturer after having worked for over 20 years. The manager of the company thanked her for bringing the toaster in, and after she leaves he tells one of the employees that they should take the toaster apart in order to see why it has worked correctly for so long…so they can make sure it never happens again.

While I don’t think I will make the jump to the wireless headset due to my lack of funds, it is with a fond farewell that I say goodbye to the current one. The foam over your earpiece is 80% ripped off, and you were held together by a late night snack, but you served your purpose for so many nights of Fifa club matches and COD team deathmatch sessions. My ex-girlfriend also used you once to talk to her “friend” as they watched streaming Netflix together. Other than that, I hold you in the highest regards for working for so long and truly thank you for your service. You will be missed.

Follow Jon Bamel @JTBam on Twitter

Summer Movies 2012; Yes another breakdown

Hey, heard anything about Summer Movies yet?  Me neither.  So I thought why not do a quick list of recommendations because with HD and the web it really takes some extra oomph for a movie to be worth seeing.

Level I.  Movies I will actually see in Theaters.

Don’t forget what it takes to see a movie in NYC in 2012.  I first have to watch as the Mrs. googles the proposed theater to see if they have had any recent cases of documented bed bugs.  Once the location has been deemed clean of burrowing insects we move onto debating how early we need to arrive for the actual movie.  For a movie in its first weekend expect to arrive three days earlier and live in your mock tent city surviving only on pretzel bites and cheese dip.  Then when you actually get seated pray it is not next to the group of high school students who will text from their neon bright phones if seated ahead of you or discuss how much ass they are getting if seated behind you.  So as we can see the movies in this list better be worth it.

1. The Dark Knight Rises

I watched The Dark Knight on HBO so often that it became shorthand for when the Mrs. wanted to describe to others about how I control the television with an iron fist.  “What have we been doing recently?  You mean besides the Dark Knight?” was often overheard at social events from her.

2. Prometheus

Easily the best promotional campaign of the summer, and finally a thriller that doesn’t feel like a spinoff of the Human Centipede.

3. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

A great book often means a terrible movie, but in this case I want to go against the grain.

Level II.  Movies I need to provide a reason for us to watch on Cable

1. Avengers

Honey remember when we saw Iron Man on the plane and you really enjoyed it?  Well this is just like that movie.  Yeah Thor is in this movie too.  Yes we saw it on PPV.  I know you hated it, but this is different.  The Hulk is in it!  The big green guy.  Let’s just start it for the first five minutes and if you hate it we can turn it off.

2. Rock of Ages

Honey imagine how bad Tom Cruise sounds when he sings?  Yeah in that movie.  It is actually on HBO.  Me?  I mean I could watch it if you want.  Alec Baldwin is in it, so it has that going for it.  Why don’t we watch the first five minutes and see how bad it is.  Worst case scenario we can make fun of it.

3. Battleship

Rihanna’s songs are all beginning to sound the same to me.  Not sure if that means I am getting older or she is paying less for songs.  That movie?  Battleship.  It did ok at the box office.  Want to see it?  How about we watch the first five minutes and play Scrabble pass and play at the same time?

Level III. Movies I already feel are lost causes.

1. The Amazing Spider-Man

We need another Spider-Man as much as E! needs another Kardashian spin-off on its air.  Just as excited for this as I would be for Rob & Kris takes over Tarzana.

2. The Bourne Legacy

Shaky cam + Locations + Yelling Plots (WHERE IS TREADSTONE?  ARE YOU TREADSTONE?  WHO IS TREADSTONE?) – Matt Damon = nothing new.

3. Men in Black III

Money Grab III, but Barry Sonnenfeld is still a genius.

So grab a large popcorn and a map of the bed bug free theaters in your areas and enjoy.

Howard Stern & Twilight Fashions

Now while I loved Howard Stern’s Super Bowl commercial for America’s Got Talent (full disclosure I normally like anything Howard does) I do have to wonder where Howard’s fashion is heading.  While Howard has always dressed like a modern day Fonzi his recent clothing choices have begun to look like he raided the wardrobe truck for the Underworld movies.  I just don’t know why he is beginning to dress like an adult witch.

Real Housewives of Auto Tune

Last night at the Super Bowl Madonna did what most women her age do when appearing in front of HD cameras.  Cover their arms and hope for close ups to be kept at a minimum. While she was lip syncing around thousands of dancers with her auto tuned voiced bouncing off any standing wall in Indianapolis I realized that I had seen this sort of performance before.  No longer is it unique for women with children to be performing pop music for our benefit. The proof is below. I can’t tell if this means Madonna has fallen so far or if Reality TV has just risen this high. Point being I just don’t think you need to look to pop music for the best music from slightly masculine and pre-menopausal artists.

Bruce Jenner is a Canary

Now look this post is not going to be all about me channeling my rage and anger at the season finale of Kourtney and Kim take New York.  But while you mention it I did have a few favorite moments.  My first was when Kim lamented her wedding by remembering what she had done to the life of her new husband.  I am paraphrasing but her response went something like this.  “I just feel so bad, like, I plucked this hayseed out of a Minneapolis hibachi and brought him to Los Angeles where he is now constantly followed by paparazzi who are always after a piece of me.”  A honorable mention goes to Kim’s white robe for attempting, and failing, to cover up her giant rear end for the last twenty minutes of the show.

The best part of the show though was the moment you could hear Mary Ellis-Bunim’s ghost begin to start haunting LA.  After promoting that this episode what the one where we would see Kim and Kris finally break up the producers at the last moment threw a curve ball.  As Kim explained.  “I am such a public person, and my life is open to my fans, but somethings aren’t for public view.”  Reality okiedoke all over the American public.

And I bring up all of this to discuss how far out of control we have allowed this whole Kardashian/Jenner thing to get.  There are some people born today who can’t even remember when this family wasn’t the kings of reality tv.  We as a culture used to be so much better at these things.  Want proof?  Check out this photo.

Jenner

You are now looking at the 2003 cast of the what most people regard as the worst reality show ever, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.  And look who is sandwiched in between two people no one really cares about. Yes it’s clayface himself Bruce Jenner.  You think today’s Bruce would ever appear with this bunch of losers? We had a great idea of Bruce’s worth in 2003.  Bruce you go into the forest and crap in a bucket for our collective amusement ok?

I bring this all up because in so many ways America’s cultural canary is Bruce Jenner.  As he gets more and more popular the environment begins to get more and more toxic.  Once he starts hosting a show on Fox News saturdays at 8pm there will be no more oxygen left.  So I would never ask anyone to boycott or stop paying attention to them (it would be like telling dogs to ignore tennis balls) but to not forget what we used to think about Bruce and his face that always seemed more Cardassian than Kardashian.

Now I have to go check in on Khole and Lamar to make sure their true love is still blossoming for them in Dallas.  Priorities are there for a reason.

Geico flakes on Brian Orakpo

Every year football fans make a deal with the commercial gods.  For 16 weeks we will face nothing but beer, car, and insurance ads, and then sit through the same spots for the entire season.  Sometimes this results in greatness like the original NAPA know how ad (note the second ad changed NAPA guys and ruined the magic of “a new air filter”).  One company that has made its name on quirky and original ads is the insurance company Geico.  The company has brought us the Geico Gekko, Caveman, deep voice announcer, and numerous other wacky and wild spots.  The question though is why weren’t those creative people assigned to their new campaign with Redskins LB Brian Orakpo.

I am aware that most people don’t know the faces of their favorite football players, wearing helmets can do that to your public profile, but this ad’s main goal seems to be making us aware of Orakpo. The moment when the caveman says “you are Brian Orakpo all pro linebacker” causes immediate cringes. The Geico people are basically saying, “hey we know you have no idea who this is so let us spoon feed you”. Instead of wasting time reinforcing his name how about creating a campaign around Orakpo that is memorable for more than just his name being used.  Instead we are just stuck with another lame caveman joke and Orakpo standing around like a potted plant.  The second Orakpo Geico ad isn’t much better.

In this one we start out with Brian spelling his name on a scrabble board.  See focus groups who complained that they had no idea who this player was in the commercial!  We were able to seamlessly work it into the spot.  Sweet Genius! (Which by the way is the new show on food network for people who enjoy long drawn out critiques of sugar globes).

The major point here is don’t make me sit through advertisements to get to know your spokespeople. Either I know them or I don’t.  That is what makes them pitchmen.  Of course I imagine the main reason to use the Redskins all-pro is that his asking price is far lower than players people actually know like Brady, Brees, Manning, Peterson, or even Rex Ryan.  So take the cheap option even if it means we spend more time during the commercial just letting you know who you are looking at.

Does this mean Vonte Leach is on his way to a McDonalds ad?  That sound you hear is Terrell Suggs’ phone ringing because State Farm needs him in a red blazer.  I’m John Kuhn and I drive a Volvo. That is why I AJ Hawk use Davidoff Cool Water.