First with the awards.
Last Week's Swinging Dicks
In a massive six-way tie for third place, co-winners of a collection of armed and loaded mousetraps from my freezing cold basement: StuartScottsEye, Gamboa Constrictor, Bring Back Anthony Mason, Madoffs Mets, Theodore Donald Kerabatsos, and The Amazing Sneijderman, with 2 Favorites each in the past five days.
Here's my favorite comment from StuartScottsEye from last week. Such a complete joke. Great job.
Here's my favorite comment from Gamboa Constrictor from last week. It's a great Idiot joke.
Here's my favorite comment from Bring Back Anthony Mason from last week. Really, either of his jokes from Wednesday could be here. They were both spectacular.
Here's my favorite comment from Madoffs Mets from last week. Silly goose.
Here's my favorite comment from Theodore Donald Kerabatsos from last week. This guy's unbelievable.
Here's my favorite comment from The Amazing Sneijderman from last week. That's a great one-liner.
In an only slightly less annoying five-way tie for second place, co-winners of a collection of sprung mousetraps from my freezing cold basement: Eddie Murray Sparkles, Raysism, Steve U, RMJ=H, and IronMikeGallego, with 3 Favorites each in the past five days.
Here's my favorite comment from Eddie Murray Sparkles from last week. Smart and goofy and great.
Here's my favorite comment from Raysism from last week. A perfectly executed dig.
Here's my favorite comment from Steve U from last week. This joke has a really funny payoff.
Here's my favorite comment from RMJ=H from last week. This one killed the crowd.
Here's my favorite comment from IronMikeGallego from last week. It's like a pump fake that sends half the defense scrambling 30 yards in the wrong direction.
And alone in first place, proud winner of a collection of brutally mangled and mostly frozen mouse bodies from my freezing cold basement: DougExeter with 4 Favorites in the past five days.
Here's my favorite comment from DougExeter from last week. Another excellent one-liner.
But there's more!
The Monday Comment of the Day from StuartScottsEye.
The Tuesday Comment of the Day from Theodore Donald Kerabatsos.
The Wednesday Comment of the Day from SavetoFavorites.
The Thursday Comment of the Day from Madoffs Mets.
The Friday Comment of the Day from Theodore Donald Kerabatsos.
The Unwelcome Lesson of the Week
So, many ages ago, Earless and I spent some time talking about joke-making, and out of this conversation emerged an approach to jokes that essentially treats a punchline like a hunk of beef. And, because Earless is smart and articulate and also a great joke-maker, he did most of the talking and I did the oohing and ahhing. But I have the blog and the rest is history. So, forget everything in this first paragraph and continue reading below.
The general idea is that there are two basic ways of cooking a hunk of beef: hot and fast, and low and slow. And, because I was just watching Alton Brown on television, I feel qualified to talk about why you might want to cook one hunk of beef hot and fast and another low and slow.
Hot and fast cooking is for those very tender, very tasty cuts of meat that could be eaten raw - really, you're cooking the meat at all because you, Manly Master of Nature, believe you can improve upon its God-and-cow-given deliciousness. But really, a nice thick cut of grass-fed beef tenderloin requires the briefest touch of a smoking-hot pan or grill for a good sear, and you're letting the fresh, blood-red interior carry the meal. That's where the action is. Minimal seasoning, minimal cook-time, just a quick application of high heat to give the outside a nice crunch and seal in the juices. Delicious.
Then there's low and slow, and low and slow cooking is for tough, fibrous, somewhat less delicious parts of the cow: the ribs, the shoulder, the butt, the parts of the cow certain fancy types might otherwise toss to the dogs. Barbecue is brined and rubbed and cooked over low heat for half a day and then served with spicy, vinegary sauce because, hey, it's not exactly made from the most wonderful part of the pig. Beef brisket - same deal. Low and slow is all about the untapped and deeply hidden potential of an otherwise forgettable hunk of meat.
When you or I look at a cow, we see a big loud smelly animal chewing cud. When I look at a dead skinned cow, I see a room spinning round and round and then blackness and then my wife standing over me with a look of grim resignation and a nice man holding smelling salts. When a butcher looks at a dead skinned cow, he sees opportunities. A relatively inert hunk of muscle hidden in the most docile part of a docile animal? Top dollar. A big strong hunk of thickly fibered muscle from the animal's powerful hindquarters? Barbecue. Brisket. One way or another, he sees potential, a way to turn that part of that animal into something delicious, and therefore something worth trading for money.
The Deadspin commenter is not so unlike the butcher. Each post is a slaughtered cow, freshly skinned and cleaned and oh God where's the bucket [blacks out]
. . . hanging there . . . wwwrrrrviscera exposed . . . oh God . . .
Each post requires that you, the butcher/joke-maker, have the creativity and wisdom to see, within the content, avenues to humor, opportunities, potential. And each avenue, each angle, will require an application of language that falls somewhere between hot and fast and low and slow. And you will generally know the difference via your own honed sense of how funny an idea is all on its own. But, as we all know from watching Steve U and SavetoFavorites and Gamboa Constrictor and Theodore Donald Kerabatsos, there's potential everywhere in that post. Every cut of meat can be salvaged by the right application of heat, and every angle in the post can be salvaged with the right application of language. Maybe your limp pun isn't ready to carry the plate in a one-liner, maybe it needs dialogue or a big long paragraph, or maybe it needs to be an Idiot joke. Apply words and creativity as a chef would apply heat, and you're on your way.
Hey, enjoy the Pro Bowl, eat well, and be rested and ready tomorrow for another full week of kickass jokes.