Welcome to Run It Back. Each week, S.E. Shepherd brings you a unique look at the best (and worst) in TV, movies, sports, comedy, online video, and life in general. Is there something you’d like S.E. to cover? Hit him up on Twitter @TheSEShepherd.
Regardless of whether you’re a fan of Kentucky or Louisville, this weekend is big for college football. In addition to the clash at Commonwealth, The Fighting Nick Sabans are headed into College Station with bad intentions, and it has nothing to do with getting Johnny Football’s autograph. Those two games alone mean you’ve got about seven straight hours of what is hopefully entertaining football staring you in the face tomorrow. If you’re planning to hit the tailgate scene for the UK/UL game or host a viewing party at home, the clock is ticking. Chill the beer, slow-cook the brisket, and get those pigs tucked into their soft, doughy blankets. One of the best weekends of the young college football season is upon us, and you don’t want to waste a second of it. But before we say goodbye to the week that was, here’s a quick round-up of things from the last few days that mattered to me and might matter to you.
That American Life
The number of comedy podcasts popping up online these days is staggering, and trying to separate the wheat from the chaff can be pretty daunting. So it’s nice when something worthwhile falls into your lap. That’s exactly what happened with That American Life, a podcast that debuted in mid-June and quickly landed near the top of the comedy podcast charts on iTunes where I discovered it a few weeks ago. The show is a spot-on spoof of NPR’s ultra-popular This American Life radio show. Hosted by Ira Glass sound-alike “Ira Class,” the 20-ish minute episodes are a funny send-up of the type of quirky, too-good-to-be-true, slice of life stories made famous by the show’s more straight-shooting source material.
Best of all, it turns out that That American Life is produced right here in Kentucky. Earlier this week, Insider Louisville ran an interview with Stanley Chase III and Micki Dwyer from Louisville in which they discussed how the podcast started out, as so many great things in comedy do, as a joke between friends. It has since grown into a popular podcast that has been downloaded more than 100,000 times.
In the debut episode appropriately entitled “Lucky in Kentucky,” Class interviews a Kentuckian whose life is changed in unexpected ways when he wins $12 at Churchill Downs betting on a horse named Sea Triscuit. It only gets better from there. If you are a fan (or hater) of This American Life, odds are you’ll get a kick out of this show. You can like the That American Life page on Facebook for all the latest updates.
If God Isn’t a Broncos Fan, Then Why Are Sunsets Orange and Blue?
As a life-long Broncos fan, I can admit I’ve had much worse weeks.
Last season ended in devastating fashion after Joe Flacco connected with Jacoby Jones on a 70-yard prayer that sent the AFC Divisional playoff game into a doomed double overtime and ultimately broke the hearts of Broncos fans everywhere. If you’re a long-time fan of UK or any other team, you know there are losses that you will never forget, and for me, the playoff loss to the Ravens is one that will stick with me forever. After I clicked the TV off on that fateful January night, I didn’t watch one highlight from that game (still haven’t, never will) and other than tuning in for the NFL draft, I stayed away from pro football the entire offseason.
But then came last Thursday night. Oh, what a glorious night! Due to a scheduling conflict with the Orioles, the NFL brought the Ravens back to Denver for a season-opening rematch. For me, not only was it a chance to ease back into my love-hate relationship with the NFL (I love it when the Broncos win, I hate it when they lose), it also was an opportunity to exorcise the demons from that bitter loss. Right out of the gate, NBC tried to harsh Denver’s buzz by having Ryan Seacrest (who was roundly booed) lead a countdown to kickoff that had Broncos Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe in the number 2 slot playing second fiddle to former Raven Ray “What White Suit?” Lewis who finished things off. The game’s first half was a little shaky, and former Kentucky Wildcat Danny Trevathan made a bone-headed play in the second half that allowed the Ravens to hang around just long enough to keep things interesting (Mrs. Tyler Thompson covered Danny’s brain fart on the KSR main page last week), but when the dust settled, all was right with the world.
The biggest headline of the night was Peyton Manning and his bionic neck throwing for an NFL-record-tying seven touchdown passes. Through one glorious game, Manning’s stat line is an otherworldly 21-26, 452 yards, 7 touchdowns and no picks (which means he is on pace to throw for about 7,300 yards, 112 touchdowns and 0 interceptions over the full 16-game season!).
So why does that matter to you, faithful reader of a Kentucy-centric blog? First of all, as has been pointed out on KSR before, the Broncos roster boasts three former Cats in Jacob Tamme, Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan, more than any other team in the NFL (not to mention Quanterus Smith from Western Kentucky). That makes the Broncos the natural rooting interest for those of you without an established connection to an NFL team. Second, as an official representative of Broncos Nation, I’m cordially inviting each and every resident of the Commonwealth to climb aboard the Broncos bandwagon. But you have to hurry. Before you know it, it will be February. Peyton Manning will have thrown for seven more touchdowns in the Super Bowl, including one to Jacob Tamme. Wesley Woodward and Danny Trevathan will be swaggering off the field at MetLife Stadium clutching the helmets of their vanquished foes. And the men in orange and blue will be hoisting the Lombardi trophy over the carcasses of the Seahawks or 49ers or some other NFC team that fights and claws all season to earn the right to lose to the Broncos in the big game. Now’s the time to get in on the ground floor. Join me, BBN!*
(*Please note that I reserve the right to retract this entire section if, by week 5, Manning’s neck falls off, Von Miller gets ANOTHER speeding ticket resulting in his lifetime suspension from the league by Roger Goodell, or it’s discovered that Wes Welker is actually a Patriot in Broncos clothing sent by Bill Belichek to infiltrate the Denver organization and avenge the legacy of Josh McDaniels.)
Cool New iPhone, Bro. But Can it Turn an Egg into a Missile-Powered Locomotive?
Hyperbole in advertising is nothing new, but this clip takes it to new heights. A man sitting in a diner stares at an egg with a hole in it, then shoves his Vodafone sim card through a slot in the egg’s shell. From there, he’s off on a crazy journey involving a fuzzy kitten, a robotic monkey, a buffalo, a giant shark, a race car, and some sort of missile/satellite train that maybe also carries passengers(?). And all of that happens because his Vodaphone and its high-speed network are awesome. Or something like that.
Anyway, I only have two questions after watching this commercial. First, how flat-out creepy is that shot of the dude inserting a sim card into the kitten’s neck? And second, how long until the person who conceptualized/directed this technological fever-dream is tapped by Hollywood to reboot some long-dead franchise like Short Circuit? A month? Maybe two? The person responsible for this spot better be ready to get a fat Hollywood check. Johnny Five is alive!
Hell is the IKEA in Cincinnati on a Saturday Afternoon
I was in The Queen City last weekend and had to make a quick stop at IKEA. Up until about a year ago, I had never stepped foot in one of their actual brick-and-mortar stores, so I have no idea if the Cincinnati outlet is unusual or not, but it was one of the most soul-searing shopping experiences I’ve ever had.
When I pulled up to the Swedish monolith, it was busy to the point of absurdity. The store is surrounded by a monstrous parking lot bigger than the one that services DisneyWorld, and I happened to pull into the last open spot, located approximately one mile from the entrance. A seemingly endless line of cars flowed into the lot behind me. Most sensible people would look at this scene and think, “Oh, the parking lot is full? I guess that means I’ll just come back some other time.” But not Cincinnati IKEA shoppers. Nope! They’d rather be one of about 150 cars endlessly circling the lot for four hours like Clark Griswold trying to navigate a British roundabout.
Inside, the store is an absolute maze. Every inch of space that isn’t occupied by a piece of flimsy, oddly named, yet surprisingly durable, furniture is filled with a person. Young, mismatched couples arguing over dinnerware patterns as they attempt to stock their first apartments together. Parents dragging along bored college-aged kids staring into their phones, trying to find stuff with which to cheaply decorate dorm rooms so they don’t end up looking like flop houses. Packs of well-dressed women whom one suspects aren’t there to buy anything in particular, but instead are window-shopping for items to populate their dream foyers. And slightly hung-over dads (we recognize our own) leaning against carts so loaded down with boxes that it’s a miracle the tiny wheels beneath remain operational.
Upstairs there is a well-lit cafeteria area that serves a variety of dishes, the names of which all seem to contain too many consonants. The air is thick with the aroma of food that smells spectacular but, in actuality, tastes kind of like lingonberry-flavored sawdust.
Successfully navigating the store requires a GPS unit and a gladiator’s spirit, but once you manage to make your way to the checkout area, that’s where the real nightmare begins. You are unceremoniously vomited into a cement-floored cavern that looks like the warehouse from the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Sloppily positioned at one end are rows of cash registers with lanes so narrow that there’s no way to possibly fit through the openings carrying anything larger than an armful of placemats. Lines of frustrated and exhausted customers inch forward at an excruciatingly slow pace as shoppers try to figure out if they are allowed to keep the giant blue tarp-bags they were handed when they entered. And if you are one of the lucky ones who manage to make it out of the store with your sanity intact, you still face the nearly impossible task of finding you car and dodging the 14 Subaru Outbacks idling in the aisle waiting to compete for your soon-to-be-open parking spot.
The entire experience, from start to finish, is enough to send you begging to be admitted at the local loony bin. But I walked out of there with two end tables and two gigantic rolls of drawing paper for my daughter for less than $65, so I guess it’s totally worth it.
In Russia, Song Sings You
Sometimes a song comes along that is so good, you don’t have to understand a single word that is being sung to enjoy it. Such is the case with this little ditty performed by what appears to be the Russian Popeye, a hotter, blonde Olive Oyl, and their band of merry sailors. Watch this and tell me this isn’t the perfect drinking anthem:
VODKA FOR EVERYONE! NA ZDOROVIE!
That’s it for this week. My prediction for the game is UK 38, Louisville 35. Have a great weekend and Go Cats!