Nick's Knacks Nick's Knacks

  • Does that make me a bad person?

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    It never seems to work out this way:

    • In the midst of winter weather the likes of which we experienced yesterday, you’re taking your time on the roadways, traveling at a rate of speed at which you’re comfortable for the conditions.  In fact, everyone is pretty much doing 15mph in the 25mph zone…except for the dude behind you.  Mr. Impatient Man in his 4-wheel drive SUV doesn’t think it’s that bad out, can’t understand why you’re snailing it down Webster.  After riding your bumper for a half-mile, intermittently increasing and decreasing the distance between you, he angrily switches lanes and accelerates past.  A couple of blocks down the road you notice an SUV in the ditch.  Ha!  It’s the same guy.  Karma, baby!

    Like I said, unfortunately, it never seems to work out that way.  Those people never end up in the ditch.  Mr. Speedy Pants, who rides your rear at 6mph over the posted limit because he has to go 75 in the 65, never gets pulled over. 

    Well, yesterday, everything changed for me! 

    The above story is absolutely true, except for the ditch part.  Dude just temporarily lost control, spun into the curb, and gave his rear axle a solid little love tap.  I didn’t think to myself “Oh no, I hope he’s OK.”  I didn’t stop to lend a hand, to inquire.  In fact, I drove by, honked my horn, and gave a little wave, grinning from ear to ear.  It felt fantastic.

    Does that make me a bad person?

  • Manti Te’o, the musical

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    DJ Steve Porter started the whole YouTube phenomenon of mashing up of news audio and setting it to a hot electric beat.  “Press Hop” was its name:

    Since that went viral, there have been many attempts by others to replicate Porter’s genius.  Most have failed mightily, either in production or in writing…sometimes both.  But I’ll tell ya what – this group has emerged as a legitimate contender with their Manti Te’o offering.  It’s fantastic, especially the breakdown with Te’o’s dad at the 1:39 mark:  


  • Rockin’ the triple entendre

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Today’s discussion of the Winter X-Games prompted listener Tom to suggest that I YouTube cross country snowboarding. 

    “Cross country snowboarding is the next up & coming sport,” he wrote.

    Thank you for the recommendation, Tom.  I cannot stop laughing at the one-liners in this thing.  It’s one of the most creative YouTube videos I have ever seen.  It’s one of those that makes you go, “Dang, I wish I had thought of that.”

  • Think of England!

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Well…here’s what all the fuss was about in today's opening segemt.  Try not to laugh.  I triple-dog-dare you!  Fantastic: 

  • The Ray Lewis dilemma

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Wes Welker’s wife has added her name to the list of pro spouses who just can’t help themselves. You’d think she would have learned a lesson from Tom Brady’s lady, following last year’s Super Bowl loss.  After all, her hubby was one of the direct targets of Gisele’s little tantrum at the elevator:

    But alas, Anna Burns Welker could not refrain from weighing in, from saying what many (perhaps most) are thinking.  Following the Pats’ loss to Baltimore in the AFC Championship game, Anna posted the following to her Facebook page:

    "Proud of my husband and the Pats. By the way, if anyone is bored, please go to Ray Lewis' Wikipedia page. 6 kids 4 wives. Acquitted for murder. Paid a family off. Yay. What a hall of fame player! A true role model!"

    She has since deleted the post and issued an apology.  Perhaps genuine remorse, perhaps somebody “got to her” and forced her hand, I don’t know.  We may never know why she actually backed off, but the reaction of the majority appears to be “Go on girl!  Spit the truth!”  Then there are those in the “move on, it’s been 13 years and he has found God, turned his life around” camp. 

    Here’s the thing about it – the treatment of the Ray Lewis story is deeper than I think we want to acknowledge, at least the God part.  You can Google up the case in which Lewis was charged and ultimately pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of obstructing justice.  It is worth taking a look at as you formulate your opinion on him and his involvement. 

    So what are we to do once we form that opinion?  That’s where it gets interesting.  It’s actually a bit of a Christian dilemma.  If you’re not a Christian, well, then don’t sweat it.  But if you are, you’ve got to at least consider that Ray Lewis is a changed man…saw the light…has been converted.  After all, from saints to mere lay people, the Bible highlights the conversion of the worst of the worst, the slimiest of the slimy, the dirtiest of the dirty - Saint Paul, Saint Augustine, the tax collectors, the adulterer at the well, etc.  The lessons are two-fold: to demonstrate that nothing is unforgivable with God, and to provide a cautionary tale against judging those who have sinned. 

    I am irritated as all get out by the in-your-face antics of ol’ Ray Ray.  And just because he throws it in our faces and screams “Glory be to God” into every waiting microphone doesn’t mean he owns an eyelash of sincerity in his demonstrations.  We don’t have to believe Ray that he has seen the light.  There are plenty of shysters out there, playing us all for fools, understanding full well the weight of the sources to which they appeal.  We don’t have to believe him.  But we have to at least consider that his conversion is genuine.

  • Say what?

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    If you had to lose one of your senses, which would you choose (as if you’d get the chance to choose that, right?)?

    Last night, there was a contestant on American Idol – yes I do watch, and yes that was me under the electric blanket…I am not ashamed – who has 40% hearing loss in one ear and 20% in the other.  She was pretty good, actually, but it got me thinking about that. 

    As a guy who wears headphones for over two-thirds of my workday, I’m always worried that I’m going to lose my hearing. It’s not an all-encompassing, ever-present, paralyzing kind of worry, but it’s always in the back of my mind…and it freaks me out…because I would be terrible at reading lips.

    I know there’s sign language to consider, but I am always the guy who thinks the guy across the room is saying something completely different than what he is actually saying.  

    "Oh,'re just being dramatic," you're probably thinking.

    Oh yeah?  Go ahead and try to pretend that these guys aren't saying what the voiceover throws at ya:



  • Answer me this, BBWAA

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Failing to induct a single candidate of the 2012 MLB Hall of Fame class, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America assumed the most egomaniacal position in the history of sports. 

    “Not in our game,” their collective decision screams.  And it infuriates me to the point of laughter.

    Let’s start here: I am a baseball nut…I love the game, respect the game, and tirelessly root for the game.  I think the statistics of the game of baseball tell a more complete story of a player’s overall effectiveness than any other professional discourse.  But I am so exhausted with the sacred treatment of baseball’s stat line.

    Major League Baseball statistics often prove as much a sign of the times as legitimate measurements. 

    Baseball’s history book (and HOF) is filled with men who played when African Americans could not – men who played when Hispanics could not.  Strike shortened seasons, growth to a 162-game season, the dead ball era, World Wars – just a few snapshots in time.  Oh yeah, and then there’s this not-so-little fact: EVERY BALLPARK HAS DIFFERENT DIMENSIONS! 

    I’m pretty sure the 315 foot porch in County Stadium’s left field helped to boost a few Brewers’ home run totals.  I’m sure the lack of foul ball room at Wrigley Field has kept a few hitters alive at the plate over the years.  Venues are labeled “hitter’s or pitcher’s parks” based on the decided statistical advantage afforded that respective side, but let’s not talk about that.  Imagine if Candlestick was 105 yards this weekend when the Pack arrived to take on San Fran.

    Moving on (‘cause I could keep going on that forever), BBWAA…please explain to me what you believe to be a performance enhancer.  Okay, ‘roids and HGH…obvious.  But what about the dudes who popped uppers back in the day?  The guys who took a cortisone injection just so they could get on the field that day?  What about the dude who burns one in the parking lot because it helps him relax at the plate?  How do we handle drugs that, at present, are not banned, but later we discover that they are indeed giving guys an edge and they are subsequently banned?  Complicate the mere questions with the broad brush of association with which you have painted dudes like Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza – not linked to anything but guilty because their fellow ballplayers have been pinched.  And then there’s the case of guy like Ryan Braun.  Wanna go there BBWAA?  What about a kid who might take something his rookie year, gets nailed, learns a valuable lesson and proceeds to put up 3,100 hits over the next 18 years…cleanly.  Is he not worthy?  Do his stats not count? 

    The most laughable aspect of their collective decision is this, however: the BBWAA made clear that PED perception does nothing to boost the accomplishments of those perceived clean.  The guys who are close to their standards (whatever that means) are no more impressive in the BBWAA’s eyes, despite the fact that they have judged the playing field unlevel.  Outstanding job, as always, BBWAA.  

  • Why camera angles matter

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    My man Feldy shot over this link to one of the funniest websites I have ever seen.  I cannot stop laughing at these innocently intended photos that have gone horribly wrong:


  • Fox hits another home run

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    Last night’s “Stars in Danger: The High Dive” reminded me of another fantastic Fox offering from back in the day – “Man vs. Beast,” a program that pitted man vs. animal in various athletic challenges.  The purpose?  None.  The entertainment value?  Immeasurable!

    I think they had a couple of shows in the series, but hands-down, the sprinter vs. giraffe in the original episode was the best event.  Olympic sprinter Shawn Crawford first took on a giraffe.  Disappointingly, there was a lot of quit in the giraffe which, at about the :07 mark, flirts with top speed only to throw in the towel, likely thinking to itself, “Yeah…I’m not dancin’ for you anymore.”  But then Fox lowers the boom, introducing a zebra to the mix..and controversy erupts:

    In your face, Crawford!

  • Hello there, Mr. Bowie!

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    I don’t go seeking opportunities to point out tight pants.  But a person in uncomfortably tight pants is impossible to ignore.  The eyes just go…well…where they go.  And the more you want to look away, the more can’t, and pretty soon those salivary glands under your tongue go into hyper mode and your shoulders tense up and you start to feel a little clammy all over. 

    This morning we were talking about the pants donned by David Bowie in the movie Labyrinth.  I think people thought I was exaggerating the point (not that I ever do that), but as the video evidence will show, I am spot on.  Just get a bucket handy in case you get the dry heaves:


  • Thank you, Alabama

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    As a sports fan, one of the greatest hurdles to the job is the need to rise at an early hour.  It sort of goes hand-in-hand with retiring early.  But when games get underway in the 7:00 hour, a 9:00 bed-time often means missing the second half action.  There are ways around that – just stay up and be tired, DVR and watch the remainder in the morning while getting ready, watch a highlight package the next day, whatever.  It all works out in the end, but rarely as spectacularly as it did for last night’s BCS National Championship game. 

    I can’t stand Alabama, despise Nick Saban, but I respect the heck out of ‘em both.  And I’d like to say, “Thank you.”  Thank you Alabama for putting such a hurtin’ on Notre Dame that no doubt existed in my brain that going to bed at halftime would produce surprise at the morning-after outcome. 

    The highlights came immediately, and repeatedly, like the instructions on the side of a shampoo bottle (that I learned this morning few apparently follow) – lather, rinse, repeat - the greatest of which may have been AJ McCarron’s pageant winning girlfriend, Katherine Webb.  Smokeshow alert in 3…2…1…

    But don’t be too hard on old Ogle McGawkerson, Brent Musburger.  Katherine Webb is Miss Alabama 2012.  When you’re a pageant chick, you’re pretty OK with folks eyeing you.  And c'mon now, weren't thinking it?  You were probably thikin' something far worse, but you just don't want to admit it to your chick.  "Yeah, she's OK, I guess.  I mean, if you're into that."

  • Cold is cold

    Posted by Nick Vitrano

    The forecast for Saturday is a high of 26 degrees with mostly sunny skies.  Sun is a great thing, and we clamor for it in the long Wisconsin winter months, but our nearest star tends to make a mockery of our allegiance from December through February, for when the sun is shining, we’re generally more violently shivering.  By game time Saturday night, I’m guessing the temp will be around 20, rapidly descending under starry skies.

    I will not be attending Saturday night’s Wild Card playoff game at Lambeau, not solely because of the temperature, though it is a factor.  After Gridiron Live (outside the Screamin’ Head Buzz from 5:30-6:30pm…hope to see you there) I am packing up the station vehicle and heading back.  For the Pack’s sake, it’s a good thing I am not attending, no matter the reason, as I have yet to witness a home playoff victory in my lifetime. 

    It’s not that I expect anything different this time of year.  And actually, 20ish degrees is pretty solid for a January night in Green Bay.  I just don’t welcome the cold as I used to.  I like being warm.  I like being able to comfortably rest both of my cheeks on my seat while taking in a 3+ hour affair.  I like the option of standing up (and not having to worry about that precious 18 inches of butt room, already reduced to 14.5 inches due to layering, shrinking to 10 inches).  I like being warm.  I like my own food.  I like my own bathroom.  I like my 50 inch high definition television screen with endless rewind capabilities.  I like being warm.  Did I already say that?  Twice?

    Yeah, so warmth is definitely a major factor.  And it will be for the players, as well.

    We love to talk big, love to lower our voices, John Facenda style, and speak confidently of the “frozen tundra of Lambeau Field.”  We love to convince ourselves that this is exactly how our guys want it, that we’re a cold weather team and chill is not a concern.  We love to believe that temperature will be a greater issue for the guys from the dome.  Now, there is something to be said for the psychological side of things, but cold is cold.  There’s no real “getting used to it.”  When the temperature drops, for those of us who live here, the human body doesn’t just go into some “been there, done that” assimilation mode.  It’s still cold.  It still frosts the skin.  Eskimos wear coats.  Sled dogs wear boots. Cold is cold.