Posts by Chris Stout
The NFL playoffs are right around the corner, and it’s not too late to show your team spirit with a bit of an old-school flavor. Karmaloop’s Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Co. collection offers some pretty sweet throwback gear for teams from the NFL and other major sports.
Sure, Mr. Purist, it would be nice to get your hands on the real, authentic, old-school deal, but you know it’s just way too hard to track down your favorite team’s throwback stuff at a thrift store, flea market or other vintage purchasing spot. Plus, if you do find old-school gear for your team, it may not be in the best shape. And it may not be as comfy as the new-school throwbacks that are currently available from Mitchell and Ness.
We were sent an extra cozy Steelers sweater, and I got to say with LA temperatures hitting an all-time low of 55 to 60 degrees, I’ve been sporting this thing on the regular. It’s super-soft, pretty durable, and it’s something you can wear on the couch, in the bar, out and about, you name it.
So if you want to support your team going into the playoffs (or if you’re a Jets fan and you just want to show your rebellious pride/hope for next season), I suggest checking out the collection of old-school gear (hats, jackets, sweaters, jerseys) available from Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Co. Stuff isn’t cheap, but you do get what you pay for: unique, high quality, throwback team support apparel that’s totally worth the price.
Zombies, hot pin-up girls, Rev Run, a full military evacuation, off-roading, zip lines and ATVs, spa treatments, freshly fallen snow, southern luxury, a decommissioned government bunker and one really posh hotel built in the mid-nineteenth century. If the world was supposed to end, this is where you’d want to be.
December 21, 2012 came and went, and we’re all still alive. But if for some reason the world had come to a close, the MANjr team and 400 other party goers would have been save and sound. That’s all thanks to Shock Top and the End of the World Bunker Party that the beer brand hosted at The Greenbriar in West Virginia.
The winners came from far and wide. Some people won a trip to the party from Facebook. Others gained entry through giveaways and sweepstakes held at bars, on the web and on the radio. However they got there, the people assembled were ready to party like there was no tomorrow.
The whole event was a study in clever brand marketing, high-level logistics and epic execution. Designated survivors were notified weeks in advance of the party and were sent top secret materials about the weekend’s events and festivities. We were given the option to choose from a variety of “end of the world” training events. This included a 5K Zombie run, off-road driving training, a zip line and ATV adventure, a trip on a biplane (which was cancelled due to the weather conditions), polar plunge, bungee jumping or the chance to do nothing and get pampered at the spa and hit the casino.
Although we didn’t get to participate in these training events, by all accounts each activity option was pretty awesome. With the amount of unfiltered beer I consumed the previous night, I don’t think I would’ve survived the zombie run. But that’s just me.
After the activities were completed, it was time to rest up for the final, epic last meal. This was really a treat. The multi-course meal was set in a large banquet hall.
Here’s the breakdown of the courses:
First Course (Most Important Meal of the Day)
- Sugar Glazed and Fresh Cut Fruit Topped Donut
- Melting Chocolate Chip Made From Scratch Pancakes
- Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon
- Scrambled Farm Fresh Eggs
- Suggested Pairing: Shock Top Raspberry Wheat
Second Course (Living off the Land)
- Deep Fried Seasoned Country Chicken
- Memphis Style Cole Slaw
- Sothern Baked Macaorni and Cheese
- Suggested Pairing: Shock Top Belgian White
Third Course (Break Bread Together)
- USDA Prime Cut Strip Steak
- Hot Fresh Baked Rolls and Light Churned Butter
- Country Mashed Soft Fluffy Potatoes
- Select Mixed Green Salad with a Light Vinaigrette
Fourth Course (End of the World Midnight Snack)
- Double Stuffed Oreos served with ice cold milk
- Chocolate Sundae waffle cups with chopped nuts, whipped cream and cherries
- Orange Sorbet dollop floating on a Shock Top Belgian White
- Plated Snickers bar on Fine China with sterling silver
Epic last meal indeed. All the guests were stuffed by the third course and before the midnight snack desert could be served, the dinner was interrupted by a news broadcast that reported the demise of the globe and the existence of a group of survivors set to post up in a bunker in West Virginia. That was immediately followed by a rush of military personnel calling for an evacuation of the survivors assembled in the banquet hall.
Everyone got up out of their seats and grabbed what beers they could. We were handed these metallic heat jackets and loaded on to buses. A short ride later, we arrived at the main entrance to the bunker, with Humvees and military members standing watch. We entered the bunker (a decommissioned Eisenhower-era top secret U.S. government relocation facility for Congress) ditched the heat jackets, and the party was on.
Gorgeous Shock Top girls littered the crowd and ensured that everyone had a beer in hand and a smile on their face. The setup was pretty elaborate. All the Shock Tops were present: Belgian White, Wheat IPA, Lemon Shandy, Raspberry Wheat, Apple Cider and the specially-brewed End of the World Midnight Wheat.
“We set out to brew an indulgent beer for a once in a lifetime occasion,” said Shock Top’s brand manager Zach Hotz. “We achieved it by combining midnight wheat, chocolate malt and chilies.”
We danced, we drank, we hoped for survival…
At midnight we were treated to a surprise guest – Rev Run from Run DMC. He fired up the crowd and kept the party going. Good times we’re had by all.
“The Shock Top End of the World Bunker Party provided a unique experience for a unique group of beer drinkers,” Hotz said. “A time to have fun, cross items of the bucket list and enjoy good beer with great company.”
The event was success all around. Posh digs, cool activities, an elaborately executed schedule. Some serious planning must have gone in to the whole weekend.
Thanks to Shock Top for sending us out to cover such a fun event. The Shock Top End of the World Bunker Party definitely lived up to the hype. If the world was going to end, there’s no place I would’ve rather been than drinking good beer with good people in a party bunker atmosphere.
The New Year is right around the corner. Time to start drafting those resolutions and map out a plan for a healthy and happy 2013. It’s also time to start challenging yourself so that you can push outside your limits in the coming year. Some people are already getting a head start on that.
A few weeks ago, we told you about Hines Ward and his efforts for the upcoming 2013 IRONMAN World Championship. Ward is partnering up with REFUEL | got chocolate milk? to bring in two weekend warriors to compete with him in the 2013 triathlon competition in Hawaii.
For Ward, the training has already begun in Atlanta. To get ready for the 140.6-mile competition, Ward has been swimming, running and cycling pretty hard, and refueling afterwards with lowfat chocolate milk to recover after his workouts.
His journey (along with the two athletes will join him) will be documented via a new web series called BECOME ONE. You can follow all the action at gotchocolatemilk.com.
At Green Bay -10.5 Tennessee
Packers cover the big spread. Titans prep for next year.
Pick: Packers -10.5
At Carolina -9 Oakland
Oakland doesn’t have the Chiefs to kick around last week. Panthers roll.
Pick: Panthers -9
At Miami -5 Buffalo
Miami is technically is technically still in the playoff hunt. That’ll end on Sunday, but Fins will still win.
Pick: Fins -5
At Pittsburgh -3 Cincinnati
Crazy playoff implications here. The Steelers are in if they beat the Bengals and Browns. The Bengals just need to get a W in Pittsburgh. AJ Green is going to give that banged up secondary problems, but if the Steelers can minimize miracle turnovers, they should take this.
Pick: Steelers -3
New England -14 At Jacksonville
Talk of Tebow coming to town next season is going to do nothing to soften this beat down.
Pick: Pats -14
Indianapolis -5 At Kansas City
Colts are playoff bound. Chiefs are ready to clean house.
Pick: Colts -5
At Dallas -3 New Orleans
I like the Saints as spoilers. There’s a lot of pride left on a good team that had a tough year.
Pick: Saints +3
Washington -5.5 At Philadelphia
RG3 is back. Philly’s done.
Pick: Redskins -5.5
At Tampa Bay -3 St. Louis
Both teams got shellacked last week. Going with Fisher over Schiano here.
Pick: Rams +3
NY Giants -2 At Baltimore
Baltimore is sliding a bit. The Giants haven’t looked that sharp either. Giants bounce back.
Pick: Giants -2
At Houston -7.5 Minnesota
I keep picking against the Vikings and they keep winning. You’d think the Texans could cover, but with AP playing like a man possessed, who knows.
Pick: Texans -7.5
At Denver -11 Cleveland
Manning train rolls through Cleveland.
Pick: Broncos -11
Chicago -7 At Arizona
The Cards won last week! The Bears have lost three straight. Chicago shows up for Lovie.
Pick: Bears -7
At Seattle -2 San Francisco
Niners are coming off a huge win, but Seattle just dominates at home.
Pick: Seahawks -2
At NY Jets -2.5 San Diego
Change to the QB spot took way too long for the Jets. Same goes with the regime in San Diego.
Pick: Jets -2.5
Last Week: 8-8
Last Season: 140-120-12
Atlanta -3.5 At Detroit
The Lions have been a pretty big disappointment this season. With another losing season secured, the only thing left to play for is personal accomplishments. Megatron is closing in on Jerry Rice’s single season record for receiving yards and he’s likely going to get it. Outside of Stafford feeding his big receiver early and often, there’s nothing else to the Lions can offer here. I’m not sold on Atlanta’s chances to do damage in the playoffs, but they should be able to cover here.
Pick: Falcons -3.5
WWE Diva Eve Torres Interview
WWE diva Eve Torres knows the thing or two about devastating combos. Trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the former Clippers Spirit dancer turned wrestling sensation has carved out quite a career for herself. In addition to being a three-time WWE Diva’s champion, Torres has also appeared in multiple TV shows (Deal or No Deal, Stars Earn Stripes, Attack of the Show) and ad spots. Her latest partnership is with the pretzel-filled snack food COMBOS and she’s participating in a web series called The COMBOS Files. In the series, Torres and other celebs try out different combo experiments suggested by fans. The series airs on www.facebook.com/COMBOS.
We had a chance to interview Torres, and we discussed her wrestling career, whether LA will ever become a Clippers town, the best and worst thing she’s tasted on The COMBOS Files and a whole lot more. Here’s the interview:
CS: So tell me about this web video series you’re doing with COMBOS.
ET: Yeah so COMBOS – it’s called The COMBOS Files and me and Sam Punk are a part of it this year. It’s an interactive web series that COMBOS produced where we – myself, Sam Punk, and some other celebrities – meet up with celebrity chef Graham Elliot and we test out some of the COMBOS flavors that fans have suggested and submitted through on the Facebook page. Some of them are really good and others are really not good (laughs), but we had the pleasure of trying them. So these videos basically show us taste testing them. Sam Punk and I also got to create our own COMBOS flavors and Graham Elliot got to make them come to life in an amazing way and it was a lot of fun. The videos are all on the COMBOS Facebook page. Check out me and Sam Punk battle it out in the hot wasabi challenge.
CS: Oh, so let me ask you this. I guess we’ll start here. What’s the worst fan-created combo that you had to try?
ET: I had one that was like squid and cheddar.
CS: Ooh, that doesn’t sound good.
ET: Yeah. It was like – it literally had little squids on top of it. I was like… let’s just say, it was hard to eat (Laughs).
CS: (Laughs) All right. So on the flip side, what was the best fan creation?
ET: Probably the best one was, well… the best one was the one I created of course.
CS: Obviously (laughs).
ET: Peanut butter.
CS: Peanut butter and what?
ET: It was banana and peanut butter.
CS: Okay, that’s always good.
ET: Yeah. So I’m like nothing’s wrong with that. So I’ve got to say that was my favorite. But second place might have been pumpkin pie, which you can also see me try out on one of the videos on the COMBOS Facebook page. And you can also see what I would look like as the Statue of Liberty in that video.
CS: Okay. We’ll check that out. So I know that you danced for the Los Angeles Clippers Spirit from 2006 to 2007, do you think LA can ever become a Clipper town?
ET: LA is a bandwagon town, that’s what they are (Laughs).
CS: Yeah, it’s true.
ET: If the Clippers are doing really well then guess what? They’re a Clippers town.
CS: Yeah. Good point.
ET: But unfortunately I think it’s always going to be a Lakers nation here. Which, you know, I don’t mind being the minority. I don’t mind being the ones that stay by the Clippers even when they’re not doing so well.
CS: Yeah, which has historically been true. I understand. So how does dancing or cheering at a sporting event compare to the rush of actually participating in wrestling and the intensity of the ring?
ET: Well I mean it’s a good warm up, I’ll say that, it’s a good warm up; like performing in front of thousands of people at a basketball game. But the difference is in dancing you’re one of many girls out there and the spotlight isn’t necessarily on you per se.
ET: So coming to the WWE, once that spotlight is on you, and you’re in front of the same amount of people or more, you know – 70,000 people maybe at Wrestle Mania – it changes a little bit. All of a sudden the stakes are a little bit higher and it’s a much different experience. But I have to say, it’s so much more fun. So much more fun. I mean don’t get me wrong, I love to dance. I still love dancing, but it’s just a different kind of rush. And especially when you get to the competitive part of it and the competition in-ring, there is absolutely no rush in the world that I’ve ever had like completing for a high stakes match. And some of the matches that I’ve had, you know, against the Beth Phoenix or at Madison Square Garden or at these historically places and matches that I will remember for the rest of my life. It’s an incredible feeling.
CS: So what inspired you to try out for the WWE Diva Search in 2007 in the first place?
ET: Well you know it was one of those things that I just looked at and I was like “I think I can do that.”
CS: “I can do that” (Laughs).
ET: I think that’s me, I think I can do that. I’m competitive, I like to perform. I just felt like it encompassed all the things that I enjoy doing and am passionate about. The performance aspect, traveling around the world. And, like I said, the competitive and athletic aspect of it. I knew I had that, being a gymnast growing up, and a dancer, and someone who has practiced martial arts as well so, what can I say? Here I am five years later and I realized I was right.
CS: (Laughs). So have you ever had a serious injury in the ring while you’re competing?
ET: No but, I’ve been really lucky, knock on wood. I’ve never really had anything I couldn’t work through. So I’ve had a pretty semi-broken nose. I don’t know, that’s probably not the doctor’s term for it (laughs), but I’ve pretty much had my nose smashed on television and that was not good. So I’ve had quite a few black eyes in my time, and I hyper-extended my arm actually a couple weeks ago, which I’m still kind of recovering from. But considering how many matches I’ve had and how much time we are in the ring, that’s pretty good.
CS: And how long do you see yourself continuing to wrestle?
ET: You know, I don’t know. It’s like, I’m still having fun doing it so, you know. Someday, it may no longer fun, then I think that’s what it would tell you, but it’s also hard on a woman’s body for sure. But I still enjoy doing it and there’s still more, I think, to accomplish. But yeah, I think it’s just something that your heart will tell you whenever the time is right and you think it’s come to that moment. But I think it’s important to just feel like you’ve accomplished everything that you set out to accomplish in the WWE. So yeah, whenever that happens.
CS: So back in September you became the first three-time WWE Diva’s Champion, and you won in Boston which is your birthplace, and it was just a couple days after your engagement as well. Was that an exciting stretch of time for you and your family and did you really enjoy that?
ET: Oh god, it was absolutely an incredible couple months to be honest. Because I had just won the Stars Earn Stripes show and that was a great thing. And then I got engaged and in that one week I got a lot of bling added to my repertoire.
ET: Both the engagement ring and the title, it was nice. But yeah, it really was a great, great time. And actually Boston was where I won my last championship in the Fatal Four-way.
CS: Oh nice.
CS: How much does the actual Brazilian jiu-jitsu and kickboxing skills come into play when you’re in the ring? Because it’s a little bit different. I mean it’s not the same as, say, an MMA fight or something like that. Do you see a lot of parallels? Do you see there being a distinction?
ET: Well it’s very different. But it helps a lot. I mean it helps me just kind of know. It helps me with my confidence in the ring for sure. Just kind of knowing how my body works, knowing how other people’s bodies work, and it actually helps more than you’d think, just having that athleticism and the confidence that I get from jiu-jitsu helps a lot. Even if the actual moves or holds or whatever aren’t actually transferred over, I have to say it’s helped me in-ring a lot.
CS: Do you have to just have a mental switch to know that you’re not going to try to break someone’s arm or something real quick?
ET: Yes. you do. (Laughs)
ET: Yes. And that’s why I love what I do. It is different. It’s not MMA, it’s entertainment and it’s a lot of fun and it takes some creativity and you’re telling a story and I want to do that in the best way possible, whether it’s using jiu-jitsu techniques or not.
The second annual Pass the Crown program officially ended this week with one final steal. Jersey Girl Sports put out the most number of tweets with the #PassTheCrown hashtag and took the honors of making the final swipe. The iPad Mini’s, which had already changed hands a couple times, was the last item to be stolen.
Because of all the retweets and Twitter mentions, Crown Royal was able to send out 1400 gift bags to our troops as part of the Crown Royal Heroes Project. Among the gift bags that went out, was this one right here which was put together at the Cowboys/Saints game by Playboy playmate Kylie Johnson:
We were able to hang on to the Crown Royal XR Happy Hour that we jacked from The Roosevelts. So stay tuned for details about the next MANjr/Crown Royal event.
Thanks to everyone who got going on the retweets and helped make the second annual Pass the Crown program another fun experience.
Green Bay -3 At Chicago
Bears are floundering. Injuries piling up. Packers aren’t all that healthy either, but they are a better team.
Pick: Packers -3
At Atlanta -1 NY Giants
Can the Falcons prove they deserve the top seed? Or will the Giants come in to town with their late-season mojo.
Pick: Giants +1
At New Orleans -3.5 Tampa Bay
Rough season almost over for the Saints. Only playing for pride now, they should cover at home.
Pick: Saints -3.5
At St. Louis -2.5 Minnesota
AP is a monster, but the Vikings need to support him a little.
Pick: Rams -2.5
At Cleveland -4 Washington
Cousins look good last week, but the Browns just love covering spreads these days.
Pick: Browns -4
At Miami -7.5 Jacksonville
Spread feels a bit high for this game, but I guess you got to go with Miami
Pick: Dolphins -7.5
Denver -3 At Baltimore
The Ravens will have a hard time getting Rice going against the Broncos run defense. Baltimore plays better at home, but I feel like Denver has hit a bit of a playoff-ready stride.
Pick: Broncos -3
At Houston -10.5 Indianapolis Luck might not win but he should help Indy cover.
Pick: Colts +10.5
At San Diego -3 Carolina
Win one more for Norv? Seems more likely than play hard to save Ron.
Pick: Chargers -3
Seattle -4.5 At Buffalo
Not a slam dunk home game, but Seattle’s up to the road challenge.
Pick: Seahawks -4.5
Detroit -6 At Arizona
Lions should crush the rudderless Cards.
Pick: Lions -6
Pittsburgh -1.5 At Dallas
Pittsburgh puts it together on the road and keeps pace with Cincy.
Pick: Steelers -1.5
At Oakland -4.5 Kansas City
Someone’s got to win this game and it’s going to be the Raiders.
Pick: Raiders -4.5
At New England -4 San Francisco
The better conference makes a statement.
Pick: Pats -4
Last Week: 10-5-1
Last Season: 140-120-12
Cincinnati-5 At Philadelphia
The Eagles shocked the world by playing inspired football for one week. But it’s all too little too late. The Bengals have something to play for. They lost to Dallas so they’re still below the Steelers for that last AFC wild card spot. Andy Reid’s a goner, and even if the Eagles came out hot and motivated to win one for the Walrus, it’s just not gonna happen.
Pick: Bengals -5
Last Week: 10-5-1
Last Season: 140-120-12
At Washington -2.5 Baltimore
The Skins have momentum and last week, the Ravens showed that they’re not exactly unstoppable.
Pick: Skins -2.5
At Cleveland -7 Kansas City
Tragedy fueled an inspired victory for the Chiefs. I don’t think they can maintain that level of emotional intensity for another week, on the road.
Pick: Browns -7
At Pittsburgh -8 San Diego
The Chargers could be in house cleaning mode while the Steelers could be playoff bound if they keep winning. Big Ben’s return prompts a big win in Pittsburgh.
Pick: Steelers -8
At Indianapolis -5.5 Tennessee
These Colts could make some noise in the playoffs.
Pick: Colts -5.5
NY Jets -3 At Jacksonville
The Jags got beat up pretty bad last week. A big game from Montell Owens likely won’t be enough to put the Jags over the top in a sloppy game.
Pick: Jets -3
Chicago -3 At Minnesota
AP is putting together an incredible season. The Bears are coming off a tough loss and their defense needs to get healthy. This game could be close for awhile, but the Bears should pull away.
Pick: Bears -3
Atlanta -3.5 At Carolina
The division rivalry that wasn’t. The Falcons are just better.
Pick: Falcons -3.5
At Tampa Bay -7.5 Philadelphia
This season just can’t end soon enough for the Eagles.
Pick: Bucs -7.5
At Buffalo -3 St. Louis
The Bills showed a spark last week, but the Rams are riding high as well. I like St. Louis a bit better in this situation.
Pick: Rams +3
At Cincinnati -3.5 Dallas
You don’t bet against tragedy. There’s just too many examples of tragic circumstances translating into inspired play.
Pick: Cowboys +3.5
At San Francisco -11 Miami
I feel like the spread is too high for this new look Niners team. They’ll probably cover though while playing such an inferior team at home.
Pick: Niners -11
At NY Giants -5 New Orleans
As much as I want to pick the Saints again, the Giants just have more to play for. They have to win now to keep this playoff hope thing going.
Pick: Giants -5
At Seattle -10 Arizona
This Cards team needs a new something. QB, head coach, something. Seattle is winless in their division, but undefeated at home.
Pick: Seahawks -10
At Green Bay -7 Detroit
This just isn’t Detroit’s year.
Pick: Packers -7
At New England -3.5 Houston
Game of the week right here. In primetime no less. Edge goes to the Pats.
Pick: Pats -3.5
Last Week: 8-8
Last Season: 140-120-12