Countdown to 2017

2017

2016 is coming to a close. As anyone will tell you, 2017 is guaranteed to be a banner year where nothing bad happens and no one, under any circumstances, will die. Sounds like a pretty good time to me. But, it would be disrespectful to the misunderstood 2016 without commemorating this passage of time in some way, and nothing says New Year like a countdown. So, to honor 2016, here’s sixteen countdowns. If you disagree with these rankings, you’re subconsciously letting the terrorists win.

Top Five Movies in 2016

  1. Warcraft– Instant classic. Put in a time capsule for future film makers to study
  2. Rogue One– Ending set up a sequel perfectly. Can’t wait for the gang to be back for Rogue Two!
  3. Manchester By the Sea– I can’t expect to be taken seriously as a film critic if I don’t include this.
  4. Moana– The Rock’s best role since Tooth Fairy
  5. Captain America: Civil War– The Captain America-Iron Man sex scene was one of the most shockingly beautiful things I’ve ever seen on film

Top Five Shows I watched in 2016

  1. Game of Thrones– This new show could really become something special in later seasons
  2. The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story– Brilliant, nuanced performances by all actors involved
  3. Seven Deadly Sins– I actually like this show. Watch it on Netflix
  4. Vanderpump Rules– It’s like a less classy Kardashians
  5. West World– Asks some tough existential questions. One example: which robot prostitute do you proposition first?

Top Five Video Games I played in 2016

  1. The Witcher III– I know it came out in 2015. I’m a little behind
  2. Final Fantasy XV– Weird plot pacing can’t beat the bromance at the core
  3. Fifa 17– If you played against me online there’s a good chance I wished death on your family. I swear it wasn’t personal
  4. NBA 2K17– Might rank higher if your MyPlayer wasn’t cursed to be a glorified role player
  5. Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask– I know it came out in 2000. I’m a little behind

Top Five New Years Eve Concerts

  1. Bush, The Paramount, Huntington, New York
  2. Kid Rock, Scottrade Center, St. Louis
  3. Los Lobos, The Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, California
  4. Don Henley, Global Event Center at WinStar World Casino and Resort, Thackerville, Oklahoma
  5. Bruno Mars, Park Theater at Monte Carlo Resort and Casino
    Las Vegas

Top Five Books I read in 2016

  1. Red Rising Trilogy, Pierce Brown
  2. I am Zlatan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic
  3. Losing Isn’t Everything, Curt Menefee
  4. Peppa Pig: Peppa Goes Swimming, Mark Baker and Neville Astley
  5. The excerpts from George Karl’s new book

Top Five Best Performances of 2016

  1. Death- Death ran roughshod over the world in 2016. Hard not to respect the best at the top of their game
  2. Hulk Hogan’s Legal Team- Singlehandedly brought down Gawker
  3. Colin Farrell as David, The Lobster– I’m a huge Colin Farrell guy. Most underrated actor this side of Tom Cruise
  4. Mike D’Antoni and James Harden- This Rockets team is awesome. Sorry for enjoying the fine art of 3s and free throws
  5. Japanese branches of American Fast Food Restaurants- This is kind of a perennial thing, but literally every crazy, harebrained, disgusting, borderline inedible food concoction thought up by the sick minds at the head of fast food corporations gets shipped to Japan for testing. And I want to try all of them

Top Five Worst Performances of 2016

  1. Forest Whittaker as Saw Gerrera, Rogue One– Arguably the worst acting/accent I’ve ever seen. But the more I think about it, the more it seems like a stroke of genius
  2. Brock Osweiler as Starting QB, Houston Texans 2016 Season– They could literally go to any high school field in Texas and find a better quarterback. Would save at least a few million dollars at the same time
  3. Democratic Party- I mean, tough to have a worse month
  4. McDonald’s- Listen, I ride or die for McDonald’s. But every move they make backfires. You’re not a high end bistro, you’re McDonald’s!
  5. British Royal Family- No weddings, no births, no nothing. What the hell, man? What am I supposed to fantasize about all day? And you wonder why the good people of England went so wayward

We’re gonna have to start reaching to topics a little

Top Five things I secretly love

  1. Flowers- Thought about dropping everything and becoming a florist countless times. Special mid-countdown countdown (don’t try this at home): Top five flowers 1. Cherry Blossom 2. Yellow Plumeria 3. Tulip 4. Garra de Leon 5. Iris
  2. The Last Samurai– Tom Cruise is an Operating Thetan among men
  3. Fruity drinks- Kind of piggybacking off flowers. It’s not my fault they’re good
  4. Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen– Easily my favorite cycle of operas, Wagner teaches the audience valuable lessons about Norse mythology, life, and love
  5. Fine scented candles- I’m gonna go ahead and assume that what’s said in 2016 stays in 2016

Top Five things I hate

  1. 15 second ads YouTube doesn’t let you skip- You’d be surprised how many murders you can plan in 15 seconds
  2. When your pinky toe randomly goes numb- This happens to everyone right? No? Umm, moving on…
  3. Companies that try to make taxes seem cool- Hey, H&R Block, calling yourself “Block” in commercials doesn’t make you hip. Harambe memes do
  4. Anyone who thinks the NBA used to be some combination of gladiator combat, Viking raids, and World War I No Man’s Land since it was so physical and it was better that way- Thinking Steph Curry isn’t good at basketball isn’t a charming idiosyncrasy. It’s just stupid
  5. People who sample grapes at the grocery store-

Top Five Holiday Traditions that should be kept year round

  1. The Falling Snow effect on the site’s homepage- I would do almost anything to keep this year round. Anything
  2. Stuffing- If I gave you a plate with stuffing on it in the middle of August, would you even recognize it as food? I’m not sure I would
  3. Cadbury Mini Eggs- They’re pretty much just long M&Ms, but once you eat one, you’ll eat like you haven’t eaten in three days
  4. Presents- There’s a small chance I’d be slightly happier if I got presents every day
  5. Eating way too much unhealthy food- Hey, I do this already! I’m becoming quite the trendsetter

Top Five Favorite Athletes of all time

  1. 2005-07 Colt Brennan
  2. Tom Brady
  3. Danilo Gallinari
  4. Rich Garces
  5. Von Wafer

Top Five Weather Patterns

  1. Clear Skies
  2. Snow Flurries
  3. Rainstorms on Fall weekends
  4. Stiff breeze
  5. Polar Vortex

Top Five Smells

  1. Sunscreen- If you don’t understand, take your plebian nose to Yankee Candle and pick up a Sun & Sand, then get back to me
  2. Saltwater- I guess I like the beach
  3. Coffee- Probably the best smelling drink
  4. Cinnamon- Mini rant but if you consider Big Red or Red Hots to be truly cinnamon you have the worst palate of all time. Like even grape flavored stuff tastes more like their supposed inspiration. Cinnamon isn’t spicy. At least no cinnamon I’ve ever had
  5. Roses- They only missed out on the flower top five because it would have been too cliché

Top Five Sandwich Fillings

  1. Pastrami
  2. Ice Cream
  3. Turkey
  4. Italian Beef
  5. Hot Dog Salami

Top Five Things I’m looking forward to in 2017

  1. Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Dark Side of Dimensions– Need I say more?
  2. The Patriots, Celtics, and Red Sox being champions at the same time
  3. Outrage for when most of the Oscar Nominees are still white
  4. Kingdom Hearts 3– Just kidding. It’s never coming out
  5. Spending more time with you people- 2017 is gonna be a big year in the Brian’s Den. Hoping you stick around for the ride
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Let’s go back to a simpler time

So not many people (literally just me and whatever poor souls opened my emails) know that I created a sample website around this time last year trying to get a job. Obviously, it didn’t work. In fact, most of the posts ranged from trash to warm garbage. But, there were a few good ones. This here is one of my favorites. It’s a simple enough tale, man falls into gorilla pit, but the timing is what makes it. I actually wrote this four months before Harambe’s death. Try to wrap your mind around that. Both the internet and gorillas existed before we learned Harambe’s name. Crazy.

 

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(source)- It was a story that gripped the nation – a five-year-old boy who was knocked unconscious when he fell into a zoo’s gorilla enclosure and was touchingly protected by a giant male silverback named Jambo, who stood guard as the pack of apes circled.
Now, 30 years after the iconic video footage made headlines around the world, Levan Merritt has shared his memories of that fateful day to MailOnline – and revealed how he cannot wait to take his two children back to the place that shaped him as a person.
The incident, on August 30 1986, had a profound impact on his life – from developing a permanent relationship with Jersey Zoo, to dealing with bullies at school who teased him with jibes such as ‘Tarzan’ and ‘gorilla boy’, to calling on the dramatic story as he impressed his wife-to-be, Amanda.
And the events that could have left such traumatic scars have done nothing to diminish his love of animals – including gorillas

Listen I don’t care about this guy’s life story. If you allow yourself to be bullied after surviving a gorilla pit, that’s on you and no one should feel sympathy.

What I do care about is that a gorilla might be number one animal I’d want to be saved by. If a random gorilla takes a look at you and decides, “yeah, I like this creature. I won’t beat him to a pulp and I don’t think I want anyone else to, either,” then you’ve got it made. That’s confidence that can’t be bought. That’s the ultimate street cred. It’s like the old Chappelle joke about how if you’re a white guy hanging out with all black guys no one messes with you. If a gorilla, the strongest, meanest, most violent animal out there, respects you and treats you as its own, no one will ever cross you (wait, was that racist? Think it might have been).

Top 5 animals to be saved by:

wild-horses 5. Wild Horse- Wild horses are the most breathtaking animals out there. On the off chance you ever come across a pack of wild horses and one decides not to attack you, that means you are a true master of wilderness. To tame the very spirit of freedom merely by your presence, that is the true sign of a wild heart. And when you ride on to the horizon upon the back of your majestic steed, the people will weep, for they have never seen such beauty.
howlsnow4. Wolves- It worked out for Romulus, Remus, and Mowgli. Being saved and then raised by wolves prepares you for adversity. By adversity I mean lack of sleep since the second you close your eyes one of the other wolves in the pack will just eat you since, you know, wolves can only go without food for so long. It’d probably be better to be saved by wolves then immediately leave. Don’t risk sticking around to join the pack.

 

python_2444555b3. Snakes- I’m not saying I really want to rescued by snakes, but being a snake guy is the only thing more intimidating than being a gorilla guy. Take the respect being a gorilla guy earns you, multiply it by ten, then turn that respect into fear. No one wants to associate with a snake guy unless they are also a snake guy. Usually overlaps with weapon guys. Snake guys run secret, powerful societies that hold dark, moonlit rituals. Again, not saying I really want to be saved by snakes, but being a snake guy opens doors that would be closed otherwise.

daniel-6-lions-den2. Lions- Everyone loves lions. Being saved by lions would earn you some respect, but it would also show you have a soft side. You have to be nice to connect with lions, just like any other cat. Scratch their ear, rub their belly, and in return, they don’t scratch you. Lions are less likely to save someone that doesn’t actively show them they are worth saving. Being saved by lions is perfect if you want to show a man or woman you’re the perfect mate. Strong enough to earn respect, sensitive enough to not get eaten.

tumblr_nswgn0my5c1senlveo1_12801. Gorilla- As mentioned above. Nothing gets you farther on the street than being saved by a gorilla. Nothing is more intimidating than someone who knows they never have anything to fear. That’s what gorillas do for you.

I don’t want to do this again

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Please, God. Not again

So last week the Giants clinched a playoff spot. My beloved Patriots have been in the playoffs essentially since week four and can sleepwalk through the AFC to the Super Bowl. The two teams are on an unavoidable collision course to meet in the Super Bowl for a third time.

I don’t think I can sit through another one of these. The Pats losing the undefeated season was legitimately the worst night of my life. The second loss was one of the most humiliating things I’ve ever been through since I went to college with a bunch of Giants fans. I can’t do another high pressure game that goes down to the last play after Eli somehow pulls something out of his ass that takes at least five years off my life.

It’s looking like the Giants first round opponent will be the winner of the NFC North. Both times they crushed my soul they beat the Packers in Lambeau en route to the Super Bowl. They just beat the Lions the other week, and Detroit is looking worse with each passing week. I guess I’ll root for the Packers, simply because they’re the far superior team. But things like who’s actually good get thrown out the window when the Giants are in the playoffs. The only saving grace is that the Giants had a pretty good regular season. 11 wins? Not really gonna sneak up on anyone. Somehow they will though since the Packers will be sold as the more dangerous team. It’s like standing in front of a train and not being able to get out of the way. The second the Giants are “disrespected” in January they win the Super Bowl. Pretty sure the anti-Patriots media does it on purpose now.

So, it’s come to this. If the Giants win their first round matchup I’m going to root for the Pats to lose their first playoff game. Now, I realize what I’m asking. Expecting Matt Moore, Matt McGloin, Tom Savage, Alex Smith, or Ben Roethlisberger (who’s never beaten the Pats in a big game) to come into Gilette and pull out a win is like expecting anyone but my mother to read this website. It’s just not probable whatsoever. But still, they’ve lost to crappy teams before. It could theoretically happen. I just can’t go through it again. Plus, once the Pats are eliminated the Giants magic goes away. They’ll instantly lose. It’ll be a win-win. Pats don’t lose another Super Bowl to the Giants and the Giants don’t win another one to give them 5 to the Pats 4. What’s not to love?

I hate that Eli has done this to me.

The Brian’s Den Mission Statement

Welcome, fair reader to the Brian’s Den. Careful, dangerously powerful takes lurk around every corner.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking “There’s at least 7 billion blogs out there. Why should I care about this one?” Great question, I’m glad you asked. Well, let’s run down what we’re all about here in the newest corner of the internet.

WHO AM I?

Who am I, you may ask? Just a guy living life to the extreme. I’m a writer, eater of food, and lover of sleeping. A true modern Renaissance Man.

WHAT DOES BRIAN’S DEN MEAN?

My name is Brian. It sounds like lions den. Seems simple enough.

WHAT WILL WE COVER?

I’ll write about pretty much anything that comes to mind. Sports (I’m a big fan of the Boston sports teams. We don’t have enough representation online), video games, movies, current events, food, plants and animals, weather patterns, small town zoning board politics, anything. If we really get crazy, I may even combine sports with pop culture, and maybe throw some gambling in there, too. Don’t think that’s ever been done before.

BRIAN’S DEN IS HONESTLY THE WORST WEBSITE NAME OF ALL TIME

Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But it makes you think.

WHY SHOULD I CARE?

Now we get to the true question. With so many (better) things to read out there, why should I bother with this crap? Because, ladies and gentlemen, whether or not you realize it, you need me in these trying times. I’m coming to you the day after Christmas 2016, one of the most emotionally trying times of my, and, presumably, everyone else’s life. The pure ecstasy of finally getting the Nintendo 64 I’ve been asking Santa for for years was quickly quelled by the sobering loss of a global icon. George Michael, co-founder of one of the top five musical duos of all time was cruelly taken from us. He gave his heart away this Christmas, but it turns out he needed it to survive. (Since I know you were wondering, Top Five Musical Duos: 1. LMFAO 2. Air Supply 3. Hall & Oates 4. Wham! 5. OutKast)

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Good night, sweet prince

As the internet will gladly remind you, everyone in the world died in 2016. Well, let’s end the year with a birth. A new shoulder to cry on, a new lighthouse in the dark, a new site to read. So come with me on this journey through life, and I promise you will only be mildly disappointed.

Why has no one noticed JJ Redick’s tattoos?

At the beginning of last season, a truly shocking sight rocked me to the core. JJ Redick, perhaps the whitest player in the NBA, showed up with a full tattoo sleeve. There’s even photo evidence:

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What the hell? I thought NBA Twitter would catch on and start trashing him. I thought there would be puff pieces about it on NBA Countdown. I thought he’d get an endorsement from Paper Mate since they both have so much ink. But nothing. Literally no one said anything about it. If Kobe had done something this unexpected Mike Wilbon would have done about five sit down interviews with him in a month. Well, I’ve been silent long enough. Someone has to address this. Pretend it’s November 2015 and you’re just seeing him for the first time. Actually, you probably had no idea he even got it until now.

Do we have a new bad boy in the NBA? All those girls at the poetry slams don’t stand a chance anymore. Getting chicks at the locavore coffee shops will be like shooting fish in a barrel for JJ. This is one of the most astonishing tattoos I’ve ever seen. I have no idea what the intent was for this. Did he want to add some edge? Become more mysterious? The end result is the most hipster looking pro athlete maybe of all time. It might be working since he dropped 40 last season. A dirty little secret of mine: I never really hated JJ Redick. I acted like I did, because our school already had our one Duke fan, and nothing got you kicked off the cool table in the cafeteria faster than being the second Duke fan in 2005. Don’t get me wrong, I hated that Duke team, maybe more than I’ve ever hated any other team, but most of my hate was directed at Paulus, Sheldon Williams, and Demarcus Nelson. I was still #teamMorrison, but I didn’t want Redick dead like most of America.

Not many things better than unexpected (i.e., white) athletes getting huge tattoos out of nowhere. It’s a foolproof strategy, too. People calling you soft and unathletic? Get a gigantic tattoo, now you’re the wild card. Maybe you’ve spent the offseason adding a killer low post game, maybe you’ve spent it freebasing under an overpass. It keeps everyone on their toes.

Best unexpected tattoos off the top of my head:

Andrei Kirilenko

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AJ McCarron

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Birman when he first showed up with the Nuggets

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Lionel Messi

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And of course, number one all time Robert Swift

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Before
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After

What’s up with McDonald’s commercials?

Can we talk about a disturbing trend? Actually, I hesitate to call it a trend since it’s been going on for so long. But this most recent occurrence was really the last straw for me. I’m talking, of course, about how McDonald’s only uses skinny, good looking young people in their ads. Look at this:

That’s not what happens at McDonald’s! There’s no well dressed, affluent young people having a great time. There’s only shame, depression, and screaming kids. As a fat guy who loves McDonald’s, ads like these offend me greatly. McDonald’s is all about housing a ton of food when you’re drunk with your buddies or housing a ton of food when you’re alone in the middle of the day and trying to finish eating before anyone can realize how disgusting you are.
I can remember one of the commercials for chicken selects was pretty much a GQ photoshoot. The average McDonald’s ad these days has more hipster glasses and bowties than all of Williamsburg put together. Who is a better representation of McDonald’s? This:

Or this:

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Food for thought.