Welcome to the Digital Viking: The EDSBS Guide to Spicy Living. Published every offseason Friday, the Digital Viking embraces zesty living with a six-part review of the essentials:
--A patron saint invoked for inspiration
Diligent study of the Digital Viking's recommendations will increase spiritual happiness and liver circumference. Apply weekly and live daily for best results.
Orson: A female patroness for today for so many good reasons. We like people who fought Nazis, mostly because Nazis are one of recent human history's 100% evil villains, and those who fought them were always right as long as they fought Nazis and therefore infallibly valiant and just. We like ladies who like a drink, which Nancy Wake certainly did, and women who like to curse, which Wake did "in the coarsest of terms" according to the Economist's obituary. We like women tough enough to take interrogation from the Vichy, walk across the Pyrenees to escape the Nazis, and who then returned to the fight in World War Two only after becoming a trained assassin and paratrooper. We're not proud of this, but we like women who didn't like killing a German sentry, but who did it with her bare hands because she had to, dammit. It's arousing, frankly, and we're going to have to live with that.
A lioness among housecats, we salute you, Nancy Wake, a fitting role model to close out this show. To the series finale of the Digital Viking. (Yes, the series finale. More on that in a moment.)
Holly: I call this story, "Two Gentlemen Of Knoxville. " Two bros of my tender acquaintance had an apartment across from my first post-dorm digs in the Fort, and got it into their heads that they could fund their leisure hours by a) stealing a Coke machine from campus, 2) filling it with cans of beer bought by the case, and d) selling it for a dollar a can at parties. They made a killing. In their honor, please behold the mini fridge beer cannon, and salute the feats of college ingenuity raring to spring up coast to coast in the name of a cheap drunk and quick thrill. God bless America the most.
Coda to this story: Some months later, the apartment was robbed by two other guys, and one of the entrepreneurial bros got clocked with a gun (though thankfully that's as far as it went), and the robbers got away, because before they could call the police they had to summon a friend with a truck to cart away the very-stolen Coke machine. Swindle Industries reminds you to please binge responsibly.
Doug: Confession: I've sorta sworn off beer and liquor this month in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, I might be able to burn off some of my over-30-white-guy-paunch by the time football season starts (at which point I can start heading back to tailgates and piling it all back on again). Problem is, there are any number of other ways I can destroy my body without booze, and this here's one of 'em. Chick-fil-A's banana pudding milkshake made a seismic impact among my circle of friends when it came out earlier this year, but for me there's still nothing that tops the peach milkshake that just reappeared for a limited time this summer -- so very Southern in its conception, and with just enough actual fruit to temporarily distract you from the fact that you just consumed something like 800 calories. It's like the Scarlett O'Hara of shakes.
Orson: Steadier of hands, friend to frozen Stalingrad snipers, refuge of sinister figures huddled in boardrooms late at night, and do-all tonic to utility drinkers the world 'round, vodka, you are the last thing we will recommend for those in need of steady, dependable liquid sanity. Flawless when served cold in a martini, a covert operative when paired with tonic or orange juice, and vicious in a flash in shots or straight up, there is someone there when the doing needs getting done and his name is Ivan. He wears an overcoat and has iron teeth, and he is a henchmen like no other. Stoli for the steady, fancified Grey Goose for brand whores, and Zubrowka so you can tell your doctor you haven't been skipping salads and veggies. The bunker drink to get through any personal nuclear winter. Respect it.
Orson: Have we really sung the praises of the whole chicken? Probably, but it bears repeating: cooking an entire animal and then eating it, preferably with fingers WHICH YOU WILL BURN TO SHIT IN THE FIRST FIVE SECONDS OF THE PROCESS is one of life's perfect meals. Brined, set for 45 minutes at 425, patted dry as a bone beforehand, and covered with olive oil, salt, and pepper equals armed and ready in the tube. When it comes out it's inevitably perfect, and then eaten with a fervor a lesser person might consider embarrassing if you were a lesser person. You are reading this, and are thus obviously not that person, and you'll just consider it "sex your mouth can have with a chicken legally in every state in the Union, including South Carolina which has weirdly specific rules about person/poultry relations."
Doug: Spotted this pulled pork benedict in @bubbaprog's Twitter feed a couple weeks ago and it's haunted my dreams ever since:
I imagine seeing that picture was kind of like Balboa gazing upon the Pacific Ocean for the first time. It's . . . so . . . beautiful. (For those of you who'd like to know, i.e. everybody, Bubba says it's at 29 South in Fernandina Beach. I'm going to be staying right in that very vicinity when I head down for the Cocktail Party in a couple months, so if anybody knows a good place to get an angioplasty in the Fernandina/Amelia Island area, shoot that info over to me when you get a chance.)
Holly: In our eleven months and change since taking on full-time responsibilities at the mothership, we have not taken a vacation day. More on that in a minute, but FIRST LOOK AT THIS:
What you're looking at is an Arnold Palmer donut, an iced-tea infused cake with lemon frosting, and it looks like summer on a plate to us, and is probably about as close to a summer vacation as we'll see this year. Brought to you by Darren Rovell, who is not 32, and don't you dare believe him when he says he is, because if he is 32 we're unsure what we've been doing with our lives. #darrenrovellbirthersfortruthmerica
Holly: The Singing Bird Pistols, four of which I imagine are secreted on Ambassador Schnelly at all times (two per suspender):
Doug: Wait, they crash-test helicopters, too? The guy who oversees those tests has the best job ever. "Bob, we're gonna need you to fly this helicopter…" "But I don't even have a pilot's license." "You didn't let me finish. We're gonna need you to fly this helicopter around by remote control and then crash it. Then we're gonna give you another one, and you're gonna crash that one too, only in a different way. Then we're gonna give you another one . . . you starting to see the pattern here, Bob?"
Orson: I don't know what's going on here, but it's awesome.<----This sentence describes the best things in all things. If you don't think this when you are experiencing something you think is great, then it is not by definition great.
Orson: A repeat of the only vehicle we've ever wanted so bad we could feel it in our marrow with a panging indistinguishable from young love, regret, or the temporary walking lupus you get with a really bad hangover.
I would give my right kidney to make X-Wings real. I'd also get anorexic just to avoid being the inevitable first guy killed in an attack run, because fat X-Wing pilots were always the first ones to go, usually while yelling something ignoble like "GAAHHHHHH I'M HIT." As much as we hate stating obvious things, our final words as sparks shot out from behind our helmet would be "OHHH SHIT THE DVR---"
Holly: We're going to cheat a little this one last time, because it is our party, and one time we let Fearless Leader put Stacey Dash in this space so who are we kidding, and talk for a second about something wondrous that serves the purpose of slowing things down rather than getting them where they're supposed to go: the palpably unfair act. This is going to sound cray-cray, but at the start of the summer, not a single EDSBS staffer had ever heard of the term, and "discovered" it while researching names for a new top-secret SBN operation. if you've never been faced with one either, know that it is awesome, and that this is why: in the case of "any illegal action that the officials deem has clearly and indisputably deprived a team of a score," (think Chris Jessie if he'd really gotten his elbows dirty in that one Holiday Bowl), American football referees at the college level are allowed to award yardage to the offended team, award a score, or force a forfeit of the game, at their own discretion. There's some light reading on the matter here, along with example games for you to savor, and a callback to the moment when we first fell in love with Bret Bielema. Ron Cherry can't know about this penalty. There's no way he knows about this penalty, right? Nobody tell him. Sssshhhh.
Doug: When Porsche came out with the Cayenne, purists were justifiably horrified -- here's a marque with one of the most peerless sports-car résumés of any automobile company in history, and they decide to bump up their profit margins by adding a big motor and a Stuttgart badge on a VW Touareg. Ferrari, on the other hand, opted for the unsubtle Ferrari FF, a bright-red $300,000 breadvan that goes from 0 to 60 in less than four seconds. But with four seats, a hatchback body style and four-wheel drive, you could make the case that the FF is, in fact, a stealth SUV. But it's one that will attract way more chicks than a Cayenne, or whatever warmed-over mommywagon Detroit is trying to pass off as a rugged adventure vehicle these days.
Doug: Take samples from about a dozen different '70s soul tunes and early hip-hop numbers, blend for three minutes on a medium setting, add a Master of Puppets guitar grind distorted into near-unrecognizability, sprinkle a vocal sample from a South Korean funk band on top, and you get DJ Shadow's "The Number Song":
That's the third track off Shadow's first studio album, Endtroducing…, 63 minutes of awe-inspiring music constructed almost entirely from samples. Shadow digs through used record bins the way antique car restorers comb auto salvage yards, so 90 percent of what he's used here is stuff you may never hear in its original form unless you go hunting for it; and lord knows you're never going to have the forgotten '80s sci-fi movie "The Aurora Encounter" on while simultaneously listening to both T. Rex and rapper Percy P and think to yourself, "You know, I bet I could make a song out of all this." But DJ Shadow did, and we're all the better for it. These are tracks to get completely lost in.
Orson: The Shark Who Came to Breakfast. This is not a real novel. If it were, though, it would describe a lot of things. It would describe the moment when somehow I got Holly's number, or she got mine, and then an IM, and then a transcontinental flurry of random IMs so arcane they confuse me now, the remnants of some long dead code now buried atop other layers of code. The scene where she fell, stunned with fatigue, in front of Mandalay Bay and onto a grass embankment after 48 straight hours in Las Vegas, and begged for Kanu and I to let her sleep there. The moment when, at SEC Media Days, Robbie Caldwell said the words "turkey insemination," and the look of pure open-mouthed glee in her face. Running circles around Midway hugging total strangers and crying hysterical tears after Landon Donovan buried the game-winner against Algeria. Chaos, and more nonsensical chaos.
There are a lot of moments like that: surreal moments of no interest to you, but invaluable to us even in their absence of order or sense.
Holly came on as our pet shark on the site, and like any proper beast has now completely outgrown her aquarium. She'll explain more below, but in short let me say this. She is the smartest, funniest, and most versatile person I have ever worked with anywhere, and that includes my time teaching English to undocumented Mexican single mothers. (They're wickedly funny, and can craft a household budget out of $7.00 in quarters and two pounds of bathtub cheese.) The rest is embarrassing sentiment, and in a week when Howard Schnellenberger is retiring there's enough of that around already.
The floor is hers, as is a part of EDSBS which she will forever own. The shark came to breakfast, and breakfast has crept into brunch, and there's a lunch appointment somewhere else she has to get to, most likely tearing a poor surfer in half somewhere along the coast of East Central Florida. Happy hunting, Megashark. Only the sea itself can contain a killing machine of such perfect design, ruthless instinct, and relentless pursuit.
Our new editor emeritus, the floor is yours.
Holly: Body of an American.
We're hustling Doug through The Wire this summer, and what we're about to say reminded us of this, so shut your facehole, Simmons; we lived all five years of this show the first time it aired, so stow the referential checklist from an eon in webtime ago and get with the iCarly jokes already. I'd like to have gone out McNulty's way, but life moves too fast sometimes for there to be reasonable resources on hand with which to fabricate a serial killer.
We're lashing out in an effort to put off shifting into first person, but here goes, a little nugget of pertinent information buried as deep as a lede can go, because those of you who read to the end of these things deserve to be first to know:
Eventually we're going to have to make up an origin story for how I met Orson Swindle, and how that led to meeting Doug Gillett, and how a pair of Florida and Georgia bros affected the life path of a Tennessee girl in so many sunny ways you'd never guess we're all bitter division rivals with no clue when it's time to back down on every day that counts. But I don't remember how this all started, and neither do they, and none of us have ever been able to explain what we've done here to anyone's satisfaction.
The archives pin us down some: Four years and three days ago, I woke up before dawn on the West Coast to a blinking IM from Fearless Leader that read, simply, "Who's Now: Shawne Merriman vs. Galactus?" That evolved in twenty-nine minutes into this post, my first appearance on ye olde Wordpressed EDSBS. Four years and three days later, on the shores of no sea, I'm hanging up my Clemson-fucking spurs. This is the last Digital Viking, and, for the forseeable future, my last post in any official capacity here on our sagging and beloved back porch of dick jokes. The mothership is in good hands as well, but those hands are mine no more.
I have the superflu*, so you're spared anything attempting eloquence, but the facts are these: I have a new job. I start in ten days. I'll tell you all about it as soon as I can. But this right here is the best job I've ever had, and Spencer Hall teaches a master class in wordcraft just by existing every day, and now I'm off to spread the gospel of "laugh about things, and stop wishing you won state when you were thirty years younger" to a shiny new corner of God's green internet. I will miss you all terribly, and am fighting back real human tears this very minute. (But I will also retain banhammer privileges, so watch your asses.)
And that's all. I'm heading over the horizon (SHUT UP IT'S AN INTERNET HORIZON DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO), looking back every step, with all the love the shiny black pit where my heart should be can hold. Be excellent to one another. I'll be seeing you.
*Unless this is really Captain Trips, in which case, I'll see those of you what know how to get there at Mother Abigail's porch steps. Or Vegas. Who'm I kidding. Probably Vegas, right? He's not kidding about that Mandalay Bay story. Best nap I ever had. Swindle and Kanu took one too, and don't ever let them try to tell you different.