Monday, January 25, 2010

Football Postscript and No I Didn't Forget About Bon Iver

Sure the Vikings lost but look at it this way: In each of the last three seasons, playing for three different teams, Brett Favre has thrown a crucial interception to essentially end his team's season. Two of these (2007 for the Packers, 2009 for the Vikings) occurred in conference championship games, the other (2008 for the Jets) in a crucial game the team needed to win to make the playoffs. In other words, we were all witnesses to history. Such under-pressure incompetence is nearly impossible to replicate.

Also, you can arguably say that the last two crucial moment interceptions (Jets, Vikings) were so over-the-top stupid that Brett Favre may possess a low enough level of intelligence to receive the DSM-IV (TR) diagnosis of mild mental retardation or, if not an Axis II diagnosis, he could at least be suffering from an Axis III condition that only manifests itself in high pressure situations. It takes a lot of guts and poise to overcome such an unfortunate circumstance.

Now, maybe I'm off base. One could claim that Coach Childress's underuse of Adrian Peterson is the true reason for the Vikings' loss, that if Peterson were utilized as he was during the 2007 season, or to a lesser degree, 2008, then the Vikings would have either won the game or would have had home field advantage which would have improved their chances.To this, I say: yeah but let's say that Peterson was given the ball more often. Let's say that Purple Jesus carried the ball 1.5 times as often. Now, allow me to use the statistical technique of extrapolation: Rather than fumble the ball 1 million times, he would have fumbled the ball 1.5 million times. An extra 500,000 fumbles would actually make victory more elusive.

Yes, I know that I just spent three long paragraphs complaining about a Hall of Fame quarterback that took my favorite football team to the NFC championship game and a young talented running back with a nickname suggesting son-of-God status who scored three touchdowns yesterday Perhaps I should keep things in perspective. The Packer fans might be gloating but didn't the Vikings season last two more weeks than that of the Packers? Yes it did. Don't Packer fans attach foam souvenir heads representing blocks of cheese to their own oversized heads? Yes they do.

Also, doesn't the obsessive identification that Wisconsinites have vis-a-vis cheese look a little sad when they refuse to acknowledge that California outdoes their state in every aspect of the domestic cheese debate: quantity, quality, variety, and distribution? This is true for the hard cheeses as well as the soft.

I realize that California's size gives it an advantage in terms of cheese quantity. So I'm willing to remove quantity from the comparison if the Wisconsin Cheese Board would just stop spreading* their propaganda regarding the other three aspects. If you want to whine about per-capita or per-square mile cheese production, then let's just give the award to Stilton-rich Vermont and cease our petty squabbles.

Still, I don't feel satisfied that I've demonstrated the clear superiority of my former home state (Minnesota) in relation to the fly-over / drive-through state with which it shares a border. I will end with a comparison of musical geniuses originating from each state.

Minnesota: Bob Dylan, Prince, Replacements, Husker Du (visualize umlauts over each 'u'), Lifter Puller, 40% of The Hold Steady, Trip Shakespeare, The Jayhawks, that one girl from season 6 of American Idol, Solid Gold, Tay Zonday, Gear Daddies, The Time, that one Mason Jennings song, Sex and Candy, Funkytown, and the great long lost studio band Lock Up Your Daughters.

Wisconsin: Violent Femmes, 20% of The Hold Steady, Sigmund Snopek III, and the first BoDeans album.

Even if one were to dock Minnesota one genius point each for Soul Asylum and Peter Himmelman and deduct three genius points for Owl City, the State of Many Lakes still musically outshines the State of Questionable City Planning. I rest my case.

Oh - I should point out that I'm fully aware that I go from an imagined California vs. Wisconsin battle to a made-up Minnesota vs. Wisconsin battle. And this was in reaction to a Minnesota vs. New Orleans football game.

Also, I could amend the MN/WI music comparison to reflect Hold Steady keyboardist Franz Nicolay's departure from the band. With four remaining members, I believe half the band is from MN and 25% is from WI. But let's hold off until the mustachioed one is replaced. Better yet, let's deny he ever left.

*In the original draft, this sentence looked a bit different, as I tried to squeeze** in a gratuitous analogy. It may seem obvious to any writer possessing even a minimum of pride that the use of the word "spreading" requires a cheese analogy here. So go ahead and try it if you think it should be done. The first part is easy: "...if the Wisconsin Cheese Board would just stop spreading their propaganda of cheddar..." But on what is it spreading its propoganda? On the cracker of public relations? On the French bread of state pride? The joke really doesn't work without an object on which the cheese is spread. And there is no universal spread-recipient of cheese that would make the analogy flourish. Besides, while Wisconsin may pride itself on its spreadable cheese production and consumption, here in California we have evolved far past the cheese-in-squeeze-bottle stage of development.

**This would have been pushing it. Trust me, it can't be done.