Nick's Knacks Nick's Knacks

  • Kyle Lohse rap

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    As I celebrate the life of “Eazy” Eric Lynn Wright, who passed away this date, 1995, we’ve invited you all to submit your best (radio capable) raps about the Crew’s newest free agent acquisition, Kyle Lohse.  Go ahead and post here or e-mail ‘em in, but remember, the bar has been set with everybody’s favorite Brewers lyricist, Keith: 

  • Bingo!

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    America, the land of free speech.  Most people stop there, forgetting that with free speech comes responsibility.  You can call out "fire" in a crowded theater where there is no fire, but there will be a legal consequence to that action.  Apparently the same holds true for falsely proclaiming "bingo."  Just ask Austin Whaley, an 18-year-old Kentucky fella who has been barred by a judge from saying “bingo” for 6 months after he did precisely that last month.  Whaley did not have bingo but shouted out bingo, and now he’s the owner of a pretty second-degree disorderly conduct violation as well as the aforementioned banishment.

    It got me thinking of one of my favorite movie scenes from one of my favorite movies, “My Girl:”

     

  • GB gets LSU

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Here is Nikki Caldwell, the head women’s basketball coach at LSU.  The Phoenix women will attempt to make her cry on Sunday.

    Geeze, Nick...that's not nice.  Well...neither is sports.

    Now, it's not personal.  I have nothing against Nikki Caldwell.  I don't know Nikki Caldwell.  She's merely the target of my competitive ire as the face of the LSU women's basketball program.

    A lot is being made of the snub job (once again) by the selection committee as it pertains to UWGB.  I agree that I’m not sure what they must do to generate more respect come tournament time…and I’m not even talking about a nod based on past program success. I’m just talking this year.  A top 20 ranked team with a RPI of 21 nationally, riding a 24-game winning streak has to play at LSU (an “others receiving votes” team with a RPI of 34) in the opening round. 

    Hmm.

    So yeah, perhaps unfair…perhaps unjust…perhaps a legitimate cry of “FOUL!”  But I am not a fan of the victim status.  One of the most rewarding aspects of sports is that the game itself is the great equalizer.  Contests are not won nor lost through talk, speculation, and paper analysis.  

    Nothing can be done to change that seed.  All that can be controlled is our reaction to it.  I’m proud of the entire coaching staff and the players who have chosen to grin and move forward.  Now, they must win...and that’s even tougher a task than turning the other cheek.

    Go get ‘em Phoenix.  And, Nikki, I’m sorry.  I know you didn’t make the bracket.  You’re just doing your best to coach your best to achieve the best.  It’s not personal.  I’m just a fan of our GB women.   

     

  • Tabasco takes how long to make?

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    I am always fascinated by how things are made or constructed.  From the complexity of suspension engineering like that of the Golden Gate Bridge, to the simplicity of a bottle of hot sauce, one thing is certain – it’s never as easy as it seems.

    Check out the process of brewing up a batch of Tabasco.  Somewhere in Louisiana, a guy is picking a pepper that won’t make it to your store shelf until summer of 2016.  Un-freaking-believable:

     

     

  • Congratulations to the committee?

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Kentucky.  Tennessee.  Virginia.  Southern Mississippi.  Maryland.  And that’s about it. 

    Once again, we have reached the hours after the NCAA Tournament selection and there is a handful of controversy – and truthfully less than that in terms of true beef.  But once again, the countless shows that dedicate themselves to (over)analysis of the field of 68 are swinging from the jock of the selection committee.

    I feel like I write this blog every year, but I guess I feel like I have to, as every year the record plays again.

    “Congratulations to the committee for putting together a great field.”  We’ve heard it uttered countless times since yesterday at 6pm.

    Hmm.  “Congratulations.”  Interesting choice of words.  

    I’m begging someone to explain to me how selecting the tournament field of 68 is praiseworthy.  First of all, it’s the committee’s job to assemble the 68 most deserving teams.  That’s what they do.  Celebration of their ability to do so is akin to thunderous applause when I turn on the microphones in the studio.  Completion of a task one is charged with conducting is hardly grounds for congratulations.  Perhaps I'm making too much of semantics, but it bothers me.

    Then there’s the “surprise” over who made it in and who was left on the outside looking in.  Really?  We didn’t all pretty much know who was going to make the field?  Here you go:

    1 – Take your top 25 ranked teams and add the “others receiving votes” in increasing numerical order. The most votes becomes 26; the second most votes becomes 27; and so on. That gets us around 40 teams.

    2 – Factor in the automatic qualifying teams (conference champs) that did not make the top 40 ranker.  That gets you to about 52 teams.

    3 – Sprinkle in the best of the bubbles, based on a not so lengthy list of criteria like RPI.

    Field determined.  Boosh. 

  • Jeff Gordon punks car salesman

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    I’ve always been a fan of Jeff Gordon.  I don’t know anything about the guy other than what he permits us to see through the lens of a camera or permits us to hear from behind a microphone, so he might be a complete donkey, but I don’t know…I get the vibe that he’s a pretty good dude.

    Check out this hilarious punk job he pulled with Pepsi:

    Well played Jeff.

  • Tom Crean goes berserker

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Tom Crean’s love for Jeff Meyer is like a truck...Berserker.

    Here's the clip we were just talking about.  How about Crean's smirk as he's wrestled away from the altercation he started?

     

     

     

  • That’s a moth, right?

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    I guess we’ll have to take tattoo artist Liam Sparkes’ word for it tjhat this is One Direction’s Harry Styles.  I’m always leery to run with stories like this when the photographic evidence is sans face, but Sparkes says it’s Styles and we have yet to hear otherwise from Harry himself, so…

    It’s allegedly a butterfly.  I don’t know.  There’s a fine line between butterfly and moth, and I’m not sure on what side Harry falls on this one.  Without some colorful accents, looks like a common moth to me.

    I hope there’s some deep rooted meaning behind the butterfly, but regardless, Harry, you’re a dude, and now you’re permanently inked with a butterfly.  It’s kind of like wearing skinny jeans.  Skinny jeans are fine…provided you’re not a dude.

  • Where’s the outrage?

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    After “Back to the Future,” I had a massive crush on Lea Thompson, so I was ecstatic when “Howard the Duck” came to theaters a year later.  And in fact, I was kind of a big fan of the flick.  Hey, cut me some slack, I was like 8.  Talking ducks and rock and roll and Lea Thompson…what was not to like at 8?

    There’s one scene in the movie that I cannot believe did not generate more controversy back in the day.  Today, advocacy groups of every cause imaginable would be climbing over one another to voice their displeasure with the film.  And though I thought nothing of it at the time - it’s funny what you will accept as normal or logical when you are a kid, before your innocence has been sucked out by the real world – I have to admit that it’s wildly inappropriate.

    Albeit a critical scene, providing a glimpse into the true nature of Howard’s character, exposing his macho front as just that, a front…a false façade, perhaps a defense mechanism for the humanoid duck struggling to be accepted, I’m certain that this scene never would make the big screen in 2013:

  • I have scorpions!

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    While plugging in my laptop to the outlet behind the couch, a small, dark little speck caught my eye on Sunday afternoon.  The light was just right and my vantage point perfect to notice the about 2mm thingy that, upon first glance, I thought was just one of those tiny little, fast moving spider fellas.  But when I got the tissue to squash it, two long arms extended and sent me into full-on panic mode. 

    I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that I tend to overreact to things…but this was crazy lookin’.  It was like a spider but it had scorpion arms.  I didn’t know if it was a tick or a louse or some exotic thing that had hitched a ride on my produce and was now primed to attach itself to my 11 month old daughter as host and slowly devour her – yeah that’s the kind of stuff that goes through my mind.  So, I grabbed a Tupperware and sealed it in there and then began a Google search. 

    Turns out it kind of is a spider – same arachnid class – and it’s actually quite common and quite beneficial.  They eat beetle and fly larvae and ants and mites, and you probably have them in your home too.  They’re simply so small that they are rarely ever noticed.  Meet my new pseudoscorpion pal:

    I feel like I need to put a stick and a leaf in there with him, you know, to mimic his natural environment.  And though I’m not concerned at all about my family’s well being with these guys crawling around, I am starting to doubt the effectiveness of my storage container.   This thing has been sealed up since Sunday and the pseudoscorpion is still goin’ strong.   Not exactly air tight.

  • The best and worst of my TV purchases

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Since Ron Popeil first teased me with the Pocket Fisherman, I have been hooked by the television infomercial.

    In taking the time to jot down all of my “as seen on TV” purchases over the years, I have compiled what I believe to be an exhaustive list, totaling 23 items.  However, in taking various mental walks through the bowels of my home, that list seems to be growing by the moment.  Oh…Oxyclean…forgot about that one!  See what I mean?  Make that 24.  Darn you, Billy Mays!

    I don’t know what’s a greater indictment of my weakness as a man – the fact that I have purchased 24 things off of television, or the fact that I have so many things cluttering my home that I have purchased off of television that I cannot immediately recall them all from memory.  When I was a kid, every few months, my mom would go on a (what seemed to me at the time) “crazy” cleaning spree in which things were loaded into bags and a timer was set.  We were permitted to keep anything we could remove from the bag and put away in the time allotted.  It taught many lessons, but mostly it was an education in hoarding.  “If you don’t use it, get rid of it,” she used to say.

    But here’s the thing…I use pretty much all of the things that I have purchased from TV.  With rare exception, I have been an overwhelmingly successful TV shopper.  There have been some pretty monumental busts, however.  So…here we go…the best and worst of the 24:

    BEST 3:

    The Showtime Rotisserie Oven – Where Ron Popeil failed with the Pocket Fisherman and Spray-On Hair (GLH-9 is its actual product name), he knocked it out of the park with the Showtime Rotisserie Oven.  Based on repetition of use, quality of product produced, and the fantastic free toss-ins (the solid and liquid flavor injectors, the grill gloves, the roaster basket), this baby is a can’t miss.  Best Thanksgiving turkey ever! 

    The Sobakawa Pillow – What is a good night’s rest cost these days?  Not $100, not $75, not $50, not even $30 like you may be thinking.  For one easy payment of $19.99, you can rest your weary dome on a pillow of buckwheat hulls.  I use it ever night – have for over a decade – and it’s glorious.

    Space Bags – Triple your storage space with these easy to use plastic storage bags.  These things are outstanding, especially if you have kids or limited closet space.  Suck all of your sweaters into a flat rectangle come spring and store them until next season.  Suck up comforters, T-shirts, blankets, anything.  Store up all of the clothes that your kids outgrow in 1/3 the space.  Caution, however, the travel bags are great for packing a ton into your suitcase for that big vacation, but remember there are weight limits.

    WORST 3:

    The Lazy Man’s Car Wax – The theory is that you can clean and wax your vehicle in one step without having to wait for the application to dry.  Wipe it on, apply a little elbow grease, wipe it off while still wet.  Unfortunately it only proves a theory.  Very streaky and leaves behind a tough to remove film.

    The Simoniz Car Wash Kit – This baby is equipped with an extension rod topped with a rotating head of shammy strips, like you would find in the old-school drive-through car washes.  This is great…if the water pressure from your hose was actually enough to spin the head.  While dry – fantastic.  The second the shammies get wet, they become too heavy to spin.  The soap dispenser frequently clogs and the bug scrubber is too weak-bristled to have any real impact.  On the positive side, the pressure nozzle does blast out the gutters pretty well.

    The Pet Brush – Designed with rubber bristles to get deep down into the fibers of your carpet to draw up that tough to vacuum pet hair and dirt particles, the pet brush (can’t recall if it had a cooler name than that) delivers on none of its promises.  It simply kicks up the old hair and dander that has electromagnetically stuck to the bristle from the first time it was used.  Fail.

    So there you go.  If you have any questions on any products, let me know.  From the Weider Crossbow to Mr. Misty, I’ve got an eclectic collection.  And please, if there’s something out there that I simply must try, let me know!

  • Guido breaks his silence

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    In a media exclusive, the formerly missing Miller Park Italian racing sausage, Guido, spoke this morning with my brother Vince Vitrano and his partner Susan Kim on WTMJ.  How did it all go down?  Check it out.  It’s pretty compelling stuff:

    I guess it's true about Italians...we speak with our hands.