You don't have to be much, if any, of a sports fan to appreciate the loss of regional identities over the past decade at the hands of the corporate naming rights phenomenon. Goodbye Comiskey Park, hello U.S. Cellular Field. Goodbye to names that could be immediately identified with a city, hello bland and anonymous titles that could be (and might as well be) any city in the country. You didn't need a map to figure out where the Astrodome, Hoosier Dome, or Three Rivers Stadium were. But the Staples Arena, FedEx Field, Petco Park, and Monster.com Field could as easily be in Dallas as in Shanghai (those are all real stadiums, by the way…if you can tell me where they're located without using Google, we have prizes for you).

The really sad part about it is that the phenomenon is spreading. "Naming rights" are suddenly being identified as valuable intellectual property in everything from public parks to schools. In the latter, or the educational system more broadly defined, naming rights are apparently what conservatives have in mind when they say that the free market would step in and make up the money that state legislatures no longer provide.

Public universities traditionally have two options for increasing their revenue: get more money from the state or raise tuition. As neither are feasible these days, gathering up the buildings on campus and selling the names like Monopoly cards is the next best option. The virus has only spread to stadiums and athletic facilities right now, but more than a few schools (including the cash-strapped University of Texas system) are considering crossing the line. So while Boise State University, long considered a unique and independent-minded school (Smurf Turf and all), now holds its concerts and ballgames at the Taco Bell Arena (let me repeat that….Taco Bell Arena) its students may someday be able to dine in the Nokia-Doritos Cafeteria before heading to class in the Axe Body Spray presents Psychology Hall. For now, Ohio State kids watch their ballgames in the Value City Department Stores Arena, but if they're lucky they may also get to live in Dr. Pepper Xtreme Dorms someday. Hell, maybe they can just sell the name of the entire school. "Indiana University – Bloomington" doesn't quite have the zing of Pepsi State at Bloomington, does it?

The sad thing is that in 30 years, when everything on the planet has a corporate sponsor and logo on it, the people who make excuses for it now will be among the loudest complainants. I suspect it will be my advanced age, not any adherence to the "Forgive them, for they know not what they do" principle, that will prevent me from smacking them.

"But the only thing that worried me was the ether."

RIP Hunter S. Thompson, (1937-2005)

This would normally be Erik's entry, but he is off on vacation this week without access to ginandtacos (evidently it's being blocked by the Kinko's where he's checking his email). He'll recomment next week.

Honestly I'm not the biggest fan of the entire catalog of Hunter S. Thompson but I do appreciate his existence. There was a time around 1969-70 when drug use changed from being part of a sense of peace, love and utopia, and instead became part of a sense of sadness at the death of such a (or any) notion and an excuse for paranoia, and Thompson was there to shoot the signal flare:

"There was no point in fighting…now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark — the place where the wave finally broke and rolled back."

If the rise and fall of the Woodstock generation seems less relevant each day, Thompson survives on as an inspiration to the kids who are pushing acceptible limits of psychotropic consumption everywhere. You can see his ghost everywhere in colleges. If you can picture a mirrored-sunglasses wearing, no-drug-fearing, cigarette-holder-in-mouth 20 year old in your head…wait. you don't have to imagine it:

fall 2000, dear lord.

Hope the next world is as fucked up as this one Hunter.

Put the Steak and Shake on my tongue.


1) I understand making fun of bad samples in rap and hip-hop is very 1998, but there are two songs hitting the airwaves that sample such bizarre material it deserves our attention. One is the song "Sugar (on my tongue)" by Trick Daddy, sampling the Talking Heads song of the same name (link to a song clip). The other is "Nasty Girl" by Nitty which samples "Sugar, Sugar" by the Archies (video clip here, no audio clip as the album isn't out yet).

My first thought is that the Powers That Be in Music have just gone ahead and started sampling in alphabetical order, and we have finally reached Sg-Sz in the record collection. My second thought is that this Nitty fellow must be quite the character, to have heard the Archies single on the oldies station and thought "this would make a great song about a girl who likes having anal sex!" I think he probably thinks that about any melody he hears.

My last thought is that we have progressed since the early 80s, as it is clear that "Trick Daddy" is just singing about cunnilingus. This is as opposed to David Byrne, who was almost certainly singing about a mix of cunnilingus and cocaine. The fact that doing cocaine nowadays is about as cool as Don Johnson in a day-glo suit or investment bankers and models in a bathroom stalls is a sign our culture is one step closer to an end-stage of perfection.

god bless america!

2) Roger Ebert showed up in the interview portion of the New York Times Magazine last week. I really hate the Great!/Crap! Thumbs Up!/Thumbs Down! aesthetic that passes for movie criticism these days, and though Roger Ebert isn't the cause of the problem, he certainly can take some of the responsibility for it's popularity. That said, I've always enjoyed reading his non-review movie writing (especially the Movie Answer Man), so I was excited to read this. Now this is the one forum where he can do his best to not appear to be from the Midwest. His answer to the question "Last Meal":

Something from the Steak 'n' Shake, a chain of restaurants in the Midwest. I'd get a super steak burger with onion and pickle, ketchup and mustard, an order of chili mac, a side of fries and a Coke. My first restaurant meal was held at the Steak 'n' Shake when I was 3, and I've been going back ever since.

Wow. I like the amount of detail he gives. You can almost imagine him pointing at the writer saying "make sure to get ketchup and mustard in the column." I remember back when I was at UofI during one of Ebert's Movie Festivals and I heard a rumor from a friend of a friend: Some of the directors and producers who were in town decided to head out to a strip club and tried to get Ebert to go; Ebert instead took the crew of volunteers out to Steak and Shake at 2am.

addendum: While trying to find Ebert's comments, I found that Ebert is a vocal advocate of Steak and Shake. As if there was ever any doubt. From his review of "Harold and Kumar Goes to White Castle", I movie I had also loved:

Because this column is read in Turkey, Botswana, Japan and California, I should explain that "sliders" are what fans of the White Castle chain call their hamburgers, which are small and cheap and slide right down. We buy 'em by the bag.

Is a slider worth the trouble leaving home and journeying through two states? If you're stoned and have the munchies, as Harold and Kumar are, and if you're in the grip of a White Castle obsession, the answer is clearly yes. The only hamburger worth that much trouble when you're clean and sober is at Steak 'n Shake. Californians believe the burgers at In 'n Out are better, but that is because they do not appreciate the secret of Steak 'n Shake, expressed in its profound credo, "In Sight, It Must Be Right." (Many people believe the names of In 'n Out and Steak 'n Shake perfectly describe the contrast in bedroom techniques between the coast and the heartland.)

Find a Steak and Shake nearest you.


The upcoming week on ginandtacos.com is almost certainly going to feature several pictures of the "Save Star Trek" party organized by Mike and his intrepid roommate Mr. Schneider. When this happens, our front page will simultaneously contain photos of or references to: Sean Hannity, the United States Male Corps, gay escort services, the Political Science department of a small college in Michigan, Scott Bakula, Sheriff John Bunnell, an anatomical diagram of the male reproductive system, a Scottish newspaper's sports section, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, the Cato Institute, NASCAR coverage, Trek United, and a box of cookies.

Don't try to question it. We are more than you could ever figure out with 100% of your Earth brains.

It makes me feel good to know that if anyone google searches a phrase such as "John Howard gay escort Bakula" we will undoubtedly be the first hit. However, to further confuse the search engines, I submit the following photo of a unicorn and a link to a website advertising itself as "a land where unicorns are loved by people around the world".



I feel it is fair to share with our readers the email which I sent to "Jeff Gannon" and "Talon News" (two entities which must forever hereinafter be written only in quotes to denote the dubious nature of even the most basic circumstances of their existence):


Your complete lack of journalistic credentials or ability to use the english language often left me wondering how you secured a job working the White House. I guess that getting paid to metaphorically suck Bush's cock wasn't much of a departure from your previous line of work, was it?

You may be a fake reporter from a fake news agency, but the important thing is that you were (wait…ARE) an authentic hooker. No one can take that experience away from you. Don't let the liberal media tell you that experience wasn't valid. Every Motel 6 you met your clients at, every hairy 50 year-old cornhole you "attacked" with your "8 inch weapon", every morning you woke up leaking unidentifiable fluids like a showerhead……that was all real, "Jeff." Own it.

Good luck auctioning your dick to the highest bidder for a living. Maybe when your butthole is all stretched out and no one will pay for your services anymore, you can go back to reporting. There are tons of opportunities in Hollywood for someone with your "skills".

In closing, fuck you.



(WARNING: most links in this story contain nude and pornographic photos of the subject….who happens to be a White House correspondent)

In case you've yet to pick up on this story (which has trickled into the Washington Post, Salon.com, and other "major" media outlets), the White House's favorite gay-bashing, softball-lobbing shill has an interesting life story. Actually, he has several.

It appears that Jeff Gannon, the fake reporter from a fake news agency who was mysteriously granted a full White House press access pass by the Bush administration even though he had no experience as a reporter, is actually James Dale Guckert, a former Marine. Oh, and a former $200 per hour gay prostitute.

Proud member of the United States Male Corps

A lot of eyebrows were raised when the Bush people flung their doors open so widely in terms of access and congeniality for a guy who isn't even a reporter and works for an imaginary, nonexistent "news agency" called Talon News. It became very quickly apparent that the jar-headed "Gannon" was nothing more than a semi-literate shill whose purpose was to fire off unedited White House dispatches to the internet's angry little network of Ann Coulter wannabes. At a recent press conference, he asked the President how he was dealing with Senate Democrats given that they are "so far removed from reality" and bashed Kerry as America's "first queer President."


Unfortunately, some enterprising bloggers found out that Mr. Gannon is actually a man with the incomprehensibly ugly name J.D. Guckert. He changed his identity because Mr. Guckert had a $20,000 civil judgment against him that he didn't feel like paying. Oh, and he was a gay hooker.

Yes, Jeff Gannon the White House "reporter" happens to be the same Jeff who advertises himself as ""AGGRESIVE, VERBAL, DOMINANT TOP…I DON'T LEAVE MARKS, ONLY IMPRESSIONS" with an "8 inch uncut weapon" on such reputable gay escort sites as meetlocalmen.com, workingboys.net, and StudFinder. Despite the initial claim that these were not the same person, the fully nude pictures of "Jeff" reveal that he has the exact same birthmarks, facial features, jewelry, skin folds, and misshapen right ear as Jeff Gannon. Quick, someone make up a better excuse.

Unfathomable hypocrisy is nothing new from extreme right-wing types. Anyone that far to the right is hiding something, period. But the appalling part about this is that bringing this idiot into the White House to parrot the administration was a conscious decision. There is no conceivable way that the Secret Service/CIA/FBI/Whoever could have done a cursory background check on this person (and we sorta hope that a background check is part of getting full press access to the White House) and not realized that he was operating a fake identity and was all over the internet offering his butthole to the highest bidder. This isn't one isolated Friendster page or something. This guy had nude pictures on dozens of sexually-explicit websites for "dating" services.

Someone OK'd this. Someone sat down and reviewed a background check and personal file that said "This guy is a gay hooker operating a fake identity" and thought "SOUNDS GOOD TO ME! SIGN HIM UP!"

The administration's desire to surround themselves with fawning regurgitators is no different than that of any other politician. It's just amazing and appalling that they could be so lazy (or pumped up with hubris) that they would pick someone who could so easily be exposed as a fraud and hypocrite. There are plenty of slobbering lapdog right-wing journalists they could have picked who are not gay hookers. It almost feels like this was some sort of bet among the White House staff…."Hey Wolfowitz, I bet you $50 we can get away with this."

It's been a long road getting from there to here.

I know what you are thinking:

As a loyal ginandtacos.com reader, I'm always up to date on the links you keep on the right side of your webpage. And while checking gapserblock, I saw a post related to something lame involving Star Trek, that when followed through, cites an email address mike@trekunited.com.

Mike I know your email is usually mike@whateverwebpage.com: is this you? If this is true mike, this is lame, even for you. This is lame, even for the internet.

Harsh, but true. As it stands I am the Number One officer (that's second in charge for you neophytes) for the Illinois chapter of trekunited.com. Long story short I pointed out the webpage to my roommate as a random site (I'm not a fan of the show, but he is), who immediately got in touch with the people in charge, and became a ranking member of their site.

He asked me "are you in?" It was the tone that close friends use when things are going to get a bit intense (the last time I used it, I believe, was showing up to a hungover friend's apartment saying nothing but "we have a red convertable and we are driving to Kentucky to drink Maker's Mark. Are you in?") – and as such I realized I had no choice in the matter.

My first fundraising idea was to have a bake sale where we would be from the future, having traveled through time bringing fresh cookies from the 23rd century to help Scott Bakula. But I realized that this didn't go far enough. We had to do something dramatic. So we rented out Logan Square auditorium and decided to throw:

TrekUnited.com Chicago Star Trek Save Enterprise Party

We contacted the internet all this weekend, telling people of the plans through various message boards. You could imagine my surprise when I opened my trekunited.com email address this morning and, instead of seeing hundreds of Star Trek fans rallying at my digital horn of gondor, finding a single email, from France. Babelfish could not determine whether or not the writer loved or hated the Bakula (the first person to comment an accurate translation will get an inappropriate belated internet v-day card from me).

As such, I'm getting a bit worried about this party – and I've gone to Red Alert. Have I mislead the female singer-songwriter pianist into thinking she is going to be "playing a normal party we are just throwing for a random group of people" so that she'd think "it would be a great place to invite all your [female] friends"? Have I had to write an email explaining why I'd make a good addition to the Gay Enterprise Fans Yahoo Group, in the hope of getting word to a possible cluster of guys living in Boystown who are a little too much into Quantum Leap? Have I outright bribed close friends into showing? Yes to all of these things, and to more.

And now I appeal to you. If you've always wanted to hang out/meet/get back in contact with me, but (or only) wanted to see me in a humble [read: wearing Starfleet jumpsuit] situation, now is your chance. You would all get a major favor back out of me; if you buy raffle tickets the favor can be of the "it's 2am and I'm covered in blood and I need you to come over and put your fingerprints on this gun/knife/candlestick" variety.

Do it for me. No wait; do it for Scott.

see you there. mike out.

Dear Fox Network on this Valentine's Weekend….

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of your television series "COPS", and it's offspring, "World's Wildest Police Chases." COPS is perfectly situation in the 7pm time slot on Saturday Night so that I can enjoy a light drink or take-out food while preparing for the later evening plans.

And If we are to define "prayer" as the act of observing a highly repetitious event over a length of time in the attempt to find spiritual peace, then the act of watching World's Wildest Police Chases' endless cycle of:

a) Car is pulled over.
b) Car takes off while officer is walking towards it.
c) Car drives for a long time while being chased and "tapped." Car then crosses the median and is headed towards oncoming traffic.
d) Narrator Sheriff John Bunnell observes that the Driver "is showing complete disregard for innoncent bystanders."
e) Spikes are thrown, blowing out the tires. Car drives on the rims, shooting off a hypnotizing fireworks display of sparks.
f) Driver gets to home/abandoned factory/end of the road, gets out of car and makes a run for it. Driver is then beaten senselessly by attending officers.

Is like the Our Father and Hail Mary rolled into one (if a helicopter or Macomb County is involved, then it's like the Act of Contrition).

nobody shows complete disregard for innocent bystanders on his watch

But back to the matter at hand Fox Network. Last year you aired a Cops special that could never be topped: you ran two hours of domestic abuse calls, entitled the special "Love Hurts", and ran it Valentine's Day Night. This really happened; scroll down to Sat. on this site, which gives it the accurate though misdirected description of "Even for 'COPS' this is tasteless."

I was able to watch the first two segments and they became my new favorite COPS moments. One featured cops appearing at a trailer home where a middle-aged guy was beaten up by his wife's secret boyfriend who had fled. The cops, god bless them, tried to counsel the situation, informing the wife that she would have to choose between the two men. After giving it a fair amount of thought, the wife tells the officer "I have decided." Cop: "Good to hear it." Wife: "I'm going to keep dating both of them."

The other segment involved cops appearing at a scene of reported abuse where the women was yelling out the second story window for them to go away. They informed her that the had to get inside by law, and that a battering ram was going to arrive at the scene and they were going to break her door unless she opened it. She closed her window and disappeared into the house – and sure enough 5 minutes later there's a broken door and everyone is being dragged outside in cuffs.

When the cops asked the women why she didn't let them in, her answer described that perfect american thought: "I figured if I stopped talking to you then you would just go away." This is Homer Simpson's "I'll hide under some coats, and hope that somehow everything will work out" in action.

So as you can see, I was hoping to see this special aired again this Valentine's Day where I could harness the power of Tivo to watch it endlessly for the better part of forever. Imagine my surprise then when I learned that you will be airing the Budweiser Shootout Nascar Race instead of any COPS. Perhaps people who watch COPS overlap with Nascar fans. Perhaps not (I don't). Either way, this special needed to air again, and I'm worried that it is lost forever.

Congratulations – you've broken my heart this Valentine's Day. I hope you are happy. This was your one chance to make even for the Fox News Network in my mind and you wasted it. You suck.



Reviving the fervor of the phrase: "I'll give my left nut."

What with the recent Super Bowl and all, we in the United States are at risk of feeling that we have a monopoly on obsessive, ridiculous sports fandom.

Americans are known to engage in such absurd actions as painting their chests and going shirtless in subzero weather, rushing the field for no apparent reason (landing themselves in jail), engaging in fistacuffs with the opposing team members, and eating dangerously fattening snack foods and sausages.

Yet, through it all, have they ever…..REMOVED THEIR OWN TESTICLES?

You can obviously see the connection

So, this is apparently how it went down. This complete lunatic told his drinking buddies that in the event of a Welsh victory over England in the Six Nations Cup, he would in fact sever his own testicles. This comes as virtually no surprise considering the fact that:

a. I am sure similar amazingly stupid statements have been uttered at a wide variety of sporting events.

b. The man is Welsh…

The shocking part of this story is the simple fact that upon Wales ending up victorious the man apparently took some sharp implement to his balls, removed them, and returned to the bar to boast to his friends. I am sure the conversation went something like this.

Severed-balls man: Hey bitches, bet you think you're a fan of the Welsh national team but are any of you cocksuckers willing to remove your own testicles to prove your love of the sport?!?

severed-balls man extends his hand to reveal two freshly cut bits of manhood

Random Rugby fan: But you are aware that despite your pure love of rugby, you will now never be able to properly love a woman – or most likely a man in your case.

Severed-balls man: Oh fuck, you're right. Someone call an ambulance.

There is no word as of right now whether the hospital attempted to reattach the testicles or not.

According to the Daily Mirror: "He came back later wearing a kilt with his testicles in a bag," a fellow fan who was with Mr Huish at the social club told the Daily Mirror.

"He lifted the kilt up to show everyone what he had done. There was blood everywhere, it was terrible. That's when he collapsed."

Updates: According to The Scotsman Online: "Staff phoned the emergency services and put the testicles in a pint glass filled with ice cubes. "

And finally the mirror.co.uk: "He will need cosmetic surgery and may be given a prosthetic scrotum."