Monday, March 30, 2009

It's Better than Lebron James

This is, by far, the best thing to ever come out of Cleveland. I've shied away from this beer for quite some time. You know how you stand in the beer isle at the grocery store for ten minutes trying to find just the right beer for the occasion? Well, I've looked through and around Burning River many times. I've excused it for different reasons each time... 1: It's from Cleveland. 2: It has an extremely ugly label 3: I've tried a Great Lakes' selection in the past (Edmund Fitzgerald) and I wasn't impressed. 4: It's from Cleveland.

And what's the deal with its name? After a little research (I read the back of the bottle), I found that it's named after an incident in which the Cuyahoga River actually caught fire due to pollution in 1969. I find it slightly odd to name a beer after a man made disaster, but that's Cleveland for you... they gotta be proud of something!

Despite the funny name and silly packaging, Burning River might be my favorite beer of all time. As you take a drink, you get a strong, yet perfect caramel taste. As it goes down, the bitter aftertaste is exactly what hoppy beer enthusiasts strive to find. It isn't overwhelming, but you can definitely taste this beer's tangy hops. It certainly isn't a tailgate beer, but for a steak or pasta dinner, it's absolutely perfect.

Cheers to Cleveland! (I can't believe I just typed that)

Interesting Final Four Statistics

I was looking at Final Four history this morning and I noticed a trend. There are far more teams from the east coast having success in college basketball than from the west coast. I've never really believed in an east coast bias, but should I?

Since 1999 only 4 of 44 teams that have made the Final Four have been from what I consider to be the "west coast." UCLA has made the Final Four 3 times and Arizona's made it once. That means that less than 10% of the teams in the Final Four over the last ten years have been from the west coast. 4 out of 44? Really? That's crazy.

20 of the 44 teams in the Final Four have been from the east coast.

Since 1979 there have only been 3 teams to win the NCAA Basketball Championship from the west coast... UCLA, Arizona, and UNLV. That's three out of 30! 15 of the 30 have been from the east coast. That's a pretty amazing difference.

There are probably thousands of reasons for these numbers... population, number of schools, time zone differences, tv exposure just to name a few. You could probably spend the rest of the day coming up with, valid, different reasons. But jeez, before taking the time to look at the statistics, I would never have believed there's such a drastic difference.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Door Knobs and Running Toilets

So... as some of you may know, my wife and I recently purchased our first home. It was built in 1940, but it's in pretty solid shape (knock on wood). We had an inspection done before we bought it. We made the previous owner fix a few things. My wife is a spectacular interior decorator. So, all-in-all, it looks and feels pretty darn solid.

This house is one of the first things we've ever owned. My wife once owned a 1997 Honda Civic. Which, by the way, she still becomes saddened at the mention of it. I say it was like driving a tuna can down the road, but darnit, she loved that car. I've never owned a car. I've paid many banks a monthly installment to drive one, but I've never fully owned one. So owning our home is a pretty big deal to us. It's fun, but sometimes it's frustrating.

There are two things that constantly nag at us. No, no... I'm not talking about the big things. I'm not all that upset that our kitchen sink got clogged on Christmas morning and caused the dishwasher to spill nasty water all over the kitchen floor. I'm not even all that upset that we had to replace our hot water heater the first day my wife moved in. And the ghost in the attic? Heck, he doesn't bother us as much as he bothers our two cats. It's the little things...

I HATE OUR DOORKNOBS! Each knob is very easily stripped. Meaning when you turn the knob, nothing happens. The little piece in the wall doesn't retract and the door doesn't open. Seems like an easy enough solution, right? "Go out and buy new knobs," you say. Well, we've done that. However our inside doors are only about an inch thick. This, in turn, makes the door frame an inch wide. So, in order to get a different type of doorknob, we'd have to replace the doors and the frames. And I just don't see that happenin'. The only doorknob made for this type of door are 7 dollar, easily stripped pieces of dookey. I have given up on happy door opening in our home. There is a bright spot, however. About 25% of our doors never fully close. So we never have to turn the knobs!

My other annoyance is brought to us by avenue of the bathrooms... the toilets. My wife may have nipped this problem in the bud, but I'm not sure and I'm definitely not holding my breath. When you flush, sometimes the water doesn't stop running. It doesn't overflow or anything like that, thank god. It just runs and runs. To fix it, you have to take the back off the toilet and stick your hand or a waterproof object in the water so that the water raises to a certain point and turns off. Gross, right? The amusing part about this is that it doesn't do it every time you flush. We can go two weeks without it giving us a single hassle. By that time, we think the problem is cured and we don't call a plumber. But, as sure as the sun rises, the problem always comes back... usually at 3 AM.

I guess it could be worse. I'm waiting for the day that the toilet won't stop running and I can't get into the bathroom because the doorknob is stripped.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Las Vegas Middle-aged Man Celebration (NCAA Tournament Gamewatch)

Like I said before, I've never seen so many middle-aged men in one spot. And yes, this is where I spent most of my time... prior to the WVU debacle. Luckily, I was accompanied by my wife and her family for most of it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sports Gambling

Last week I was in Vegas. And yes, it was the first weekend of March Madness. This might just be the best 4 days in all of sports and I got to spend it in the gambling capitol of the world. What could be better, right?

There were middle aged fellows there from all over the country. Each of them had dressed in their school of preference's attire... myself included. You couldn't walk 10 feet through a casino without seeing a big screen television. The town was pumped for buzzer beaters and half court shots.

On the first day of the tourney, I thought I'd get into the gambling spirit. I placed 3 bets against the spread... 10 dollars each. I ended up winning all three bets. It was fun, but no big deal... to me. To those who threw down hundreds or even thousands of dollars on each bet, the outcomes are a very big deal and not meant for entertainment purposes.

Take the Pittsburgh vs East Tennessee State game for example. The spread was something ridiculous... Pitt was -22 points or so. For those of you who aren't familiar with sports gambling, this means that Pitt is favored to win by 22 points. If you bet on the over, you believe Pitt will win by more than 22. If you bet on the under, you think Pitt will win by less than 22. ETSU kept the game close for 4/5 of the game. They played Pitt tough and I was loving it. I wanted to see the first ever 1 seed lose to a 16 seed. I wanted to see history. It was David vs. Goliath. I wanted to see big, bad Pitt go down to little ETSU. What sports fan wouldn't (except for Pitt fans)? Those who wagered Pitt would cover the spread, that's who.

It shouldn't have taken me by surprise, but it did. As Pitt pulled further and further away, people cheered and high-fived all over the place. It just wasn't any fun watching this game with room full of people who weren't pulling for the huge underdog. The spread made David vs. Goliath, Goliath vs. Goliath.

I don't have a problem with sports gambling. If you wanna gamble, go for it. It's your given right (in Las Vegas, at least). But remember... it changes your thought process. You don't see sports through the same eyes. You lose sight of the big picture and make it solely about yourself.

The Little Cat's Purpose

I've read plenty of blogs in the past. I've heard many people comment on other's blogs. It never occured to me to start my own until yesterday.

I frequent sports message boards. However, sometimes my threads and posts are a little too riskay for public forums supported by colleges and universities.

That brings me to the purpose of The Little Cat Blog. Yesterday I was once again banned from my favorite college sports forum. As I signed up for yet another username, I thought to myself, "This is getting old. I need a blog so I can say whatever I want." Ding, ding ding... winner, winner, chicken dinner. Don't worry, though... I'll keep it PG-13. :)

I'm sarcastic. Sometimes I think like a butt-head. But in general, I consider myself pretty realistic and fair. I'm just an average dude, talkin' about average dude stuff. So... if you like sports, tasty beer, a little politics, married life, family and all the interesting things that go along with owning your home...

Proceed (meant to be said like Adam Sandler in Billy Madison when he sees his teacher hanging out with "the penguin").