Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Tournament of Everything Round 1: International Waters Regional

At Disputed Zone

1 The Sumerians vs. 16 Paper Towels
It's obvious from the start that this one is a mismatch. The Sumerians invented writing, beer and the wheel. Do you enjoy any of those things? Find them indispensible? Thought so. In a world without paper towels, we'd have to clean up messes with real towels, increasing our laundry load. I think we'd all make do. Worst-case scenario, we could look to the Sumerians again, who were probably working on a papyrus towel when they were overrun by the Akkadians. If this blog were run by that one character from The Great Muppet Caper, I suppose this had a chance of being an upset. But here on Earth? No way. The Sumerians 121, Paper Towels 77

8 Hungary vs. 9 Monkeys Doing People Things
This is actually a matchup between two very similar teams. Consider: It once was run by an Admiral, despite having no navy or seaports. It once lost a war to Romania. And it nearly named a bridge for Chuck Norris. All of these are likely results if monkeys ran a country, it's true. But that said, Hungary has contributed more to the world than snickers in history class, paprika and goulash. For example, the Rubik's Cube, ballpoint pen and non-Euclidean geometry are all distinctly Hungarian inventions. As is, in a way, Attila the Hun, the bloodthirsty steppe badass who made Genghis Khan look like David Brent. While Monkeys Doing People Things is always good for a laugh, Attila has no patience for your juvenile snickering. Silence! Lest you find yourself full of stab wounds and tossed in the Danube. Hungary 75, Monkeys Doing People Things 63.

5 Winged Helmets vs. 12 St. Patrick’s Day

Compelling matchup. On one hand, you have what I don't think is too much of an overstatement to call the sweetest helmet design ever. On the other, you have a holiday that celebrates beer, beef, nostalgia for college, and late-night sing-alongs of "Bitches Ain't Shit" and "The Jeffersons." Winged Helmets jumped out to an early lead, thanks to helmets previously worn by Tom Harmon and Tim Biakabutuka. But St. Patrick's Day countered with old photo albums and Yeats poems. But then Bo Schembechler sent in Charles Woodson's helmet came in as a defensive stopper, and all the soda bread in the world couldn't save St. Patrick's Day's corned beef and cabbage. It also didn't help the 12-seed that they had no depth because the bench players were vomiting, fighting and peeing in the Gatorade jug. Winged Helmets 97, St. Patrick's day 88.

4 The Industrial Revolution vs. 13 Jennifer Jason Leigh

It's the world's most industrious actress up against the Industrial Revolution itself. Lets check out some of the finest products of each and see how they compare, shall we?

  • Amy Archer from The Hudsucker Proxy vs. the spinning jenny. Yes, it's nice to have cheap, mass-produced textiles now and then, but I'd gladly fashion a tunic from leaves and grasses in order to see Leigh's fast-talking Manhattan Argus reporter chew some more scenery with the dad from Frasier and the guy from the Old Spice commercials. Call me a dork, but that scene where she whistles and calls "Copy!" Yeah, that's hot. Jennifer Jason Leigh takes this matchup going away.
  • Stacy Hamilton in Fast Times at Ridgemont High vs. the Watt Steam Engine. Let's see: One slept with Mike Damone. The other paved the way for increased coal mining, freed factories and mills from the need to be located on rivers and eventually led to steam-powered locomotives and ships. Hmm, closer than you'd think, considering. But this one goes to industry.
Now we go to the lightning round to settle this: Last Exit to Brooklyn, Rush, Single White Female and that one role in which she lost a ton of weight to play an anorexic girl for a freakin' TV movie against nightlife, the Romantic movement in literature, trains and the rise of leisure time that eventually led to such diversions as football and blogs. Maybe someday Jennifer Jason Leigh could change modern life as we know it. Until then: The Industrial Revolution 81, Jennifer Jason Leigh 65.

At Macau

6 Eggs vs. 11 Three’s Company Reruns

This might have been closer if Three's Company Reruns hadn't upset The Jeffersons in the conference tournament. But it's tough going up against eggs, an essential ingredient in pretty much any dessert or breakfast worth eating, as well as a staple food in almost every civilization. What? You thought Jack's Bistro was known for its creme brulee because Mr. Furley told all his friends? Not a chance _ it's because Chef Tripper knew his oeufs. Fish don't fry in the kitchen, beans don't burn on the grill, and Three's Company Reruns don't stand a chance against one of the culinary world's most versatile and tasty ingredients. Eggs 81, Three's Company Reruns 59.

3 YouTube vs. 14 Jacques Cousteau
Being able to have instant access to video of pretty much anything and everything is pretty cool, I guess. But Jacques Cousteau looked at the ocean and was like: "I wonder how cool it would be to be able to carry my own air around with me so I could swim like a fish or a seal?" Then he invented the aqualung so he could do it. Then he spent his life doing, well, just that. Extraordinary doesn't begin to describe it. Jacques Cousteau 88, YouTube 73.

7 Yankee Hotel Foxtrot vs. 10 The Office (UK)

Both of these were revelations for me in 2003, which makes this a much harder category to judge. Each one is a genre-best for me. I can think of only a few albums I've enjoyed more than Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which I received as a gift from a friend who figured _ quite rightly _ that I'd fall in love with it. Even secondary characters have a humanity, an essential human need for contact and attention that comes across beautifully. As for the main characters, the depth of feeling they can mine from the simplest gestures beats anything you'll find on TV right now. This may well be sacrilege, but the ensemble cast assembled by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant can at times make the group on M*A*S*H look like cardboard cutouts. You want more praise? Fine: Gervais as David Brent is one of the all-time most hilariously absurd performances in TV history; the romance between Tim Canterbury and Dawn Tinsley is a study in gesture and longing. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is awesome, but I guess I appreciate TV more. The Office (UK) 72, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot 58.

2 Breasts vs. 15 Fear of Commitment
First of all, I would like to affirmatively state for the record that there is nothing wrong with Fear of Commitment. This is one of the all-time things that gets a bad rap, and I, for one, have had enough. Sure, it's the No. 1 grievance aired by women _ as long as such women are blonde helpmeets in some addle-brained sitcom, or sitting around the Yoplait, rhapsodizing about just which harmful stereotype their tub of bacteria-filled milk best enables them to fulfill. Fear of commitment means you take commitment seriously. You think Henry VIII was afraid of commitment? Fear of commitment means you're a sincere person who takes his or her word seriously. Fuck that. It's the people who aren't afraid of commitment that you don't want to wind up with. That said, how do you compete with breasts? Beats me. Breasts 78, Fear of Commitment 76.


voidoid said...

Monkeys Doing People Things lost to Hungary? Are you serious? Have you never watched Lancelot Link? Or seen a chimp wearing a suit and smoking a cigar? I've been to Hungary, and I enjoyed myself, but not nearly as much as I enjoy seeing a chimpanzee dressed as a sea captain.

Flop said...

Hey, voidoid, did you see what the Huns did to Thrace? Sorry, not even Lancelot Link and a whole army of Secret Chimps could have stopped Hungary. Also: Non-Euclidean geometry. If I see chimps explaining the Poincare disk model (huzzah, Wikipedia), maybe we can schedule a rematch.

VerbalD said...

Being a proud owner of both breasts and fear of commitment, I believe that breasts won undeservedly. I just have to tell you -- fear of commitment never stopped anyone from running a few miles. I know for a fact that breasts can do this. I also think that fear of commitment leads people to a positive ending, whereas breasts often lead only to trouble (and not always the fun kind -- but the kind of trouble where your best friend is ready to punch you in the face).

voidoid said...

Obviously, flop, you do not (or cannot) truly appreciate anthropomorphized physical comedy. Any sane person knows that a chimpanzee, when dressed as a human and moving its mouth as if to mimic speech, is hysterically funny. Furthermore, Euclid's fifth postulate was initially discredited by an Italian (huzzah, Wikipedia), and despite Bolyai's influence was pioneered largely by Bernhard Riemann.

If you can watch this clip and still insist that Hungary is superior to Monkeys Doing Human Things, you are no friend of mine.


crimenotes said...

I'm with voidoid. I fucking love when monkeys do people things. Hungary is what happened to Bulgaria after the scourge of gentrification.

Round 2 is going to be interesting. I'm going to be picking the winners from Flop's round and vice-versa. One of his winners I've never heard of and a couple others I know little about. I'm just glad that I don't have to think about Elton Brown and cooking.

Flop said...

Verbal, Voidoid, CrimeNotes: Buck up, campers. Anything can happen in a single-elimination tournament. This doesn't mean that Hungary is inherently superior. Just that they outplayed Monkeys Doing People Things this time around. You think I was happy about what happened to Roald Dahl or Alton "Don't Call Me Elton, Dumbass" Brown? These things happen. There's always next year's tournament.

In conclusion, I would like to state for the record that Monkeys doing people things is always funny. Poor dears just drew a tough matchup. They'll go back to the compound and get over it by roller skating and wearing fedoras.

Flop said...

VerbalD, I apologize: I lumped your comments in with the Hungary Haters. Yours are clearly more considered and thoughtful.

You may be right in that breasts are overrated and fear of committment is underrated. We certainly agree on the latter.

In fact, I think that most of your points are valid to some extent, although fear of commitment has actually kept me from the gym on a number of occasions.

I'll spare you any experiential comments I may have on breasts, but just point out that in the end, I felt that they seemed a more formidable force than fear of commitment.

In basketball terms, you could say they matched up well on the court.

VerbalD said...

I guess next year, fear of commitment is just going to have to buck up and demonstrate why it's inherently better than it's reputation.


Flop said...

I know. You hate to see these supposed mid-majors get punished by the seeding committee just for playing in a lesser conference. If we do this again, I promise the comittee will take your well-reasoned comments under consideration.

Between breasts and Hungary, this is is officially the most controversial region.