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February 20, 2003 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-02-20

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4B - The Michigan Daily - 1oekend Kagaioe - Thursday, February 20, 2003


The Michigan Daily - Weekend Hagzine - Thur

A gut-busting good time


By David Enders
Daily Arts Writer

John Rubadeau, my boy, is one of the
finest human beings on the planet and
certainly one of the finest professors at
the U. The man taught me a great deal about
writing and helped expand my vocabulary.
I hope he's not reading my column today.
I offer this praise and pretext
because I am about to ignore a
plethora of standard words at my
disposal in the ol' personal dialect
in order to focus on just one, a word
that I use colloquially in no less
than four ways. The word is "ban-
gin'," and I don't hear nearly
enough people employing it.
Likely, this neglect stems from the
public's confusion. Is bangin'a verb?
A noun? An adjective? Isn't it the
abbreviated gerund form of the verb
"to bang?" However, after this col-
umn, no longer can the mass, speaking
public lean on the crutch of ignorance.
First, bangin' can be used as an
indefinite adjective meant to denote a

positive characteristic. For instance,
last week during a phone conversa-
tion, I asked my friend Kim (pro-
nounced, with a Scottie Pippen-like
drawl, "Kee-im"), "How was your
trip to Las Vegas?" Kim replied,
"Oh, it was bangin'." Similarly,
Michael Jackson tried to credibly
assert the existence of any sort of het-
erosexuality in his body (I'm laugh-
ing too) by introducing his song "You
Rock My World" with a skit celebrat-
ing the comeliness of a female, say-
ing of her, "Yeah, she's bangin'."
The term is not limited in use
solely as an adjective, though.
Bangin' is most commonly the sec-
ond part of a predicate.
Sometimes, it's a gerund substi-
tuted for "having sex": Over the
break, I'm gonna be bangin', son or
who 's bangin' in that bedroom?
Other times, bangin' might refer to
answering the telephone. That use of

the term was popularized by Jim
Rome, a broadcasting .personality,
who would often say on air, "We're
bangin' phone calls." Those without
a talk show can use the term as well.
I, in fact, was bangin' some calls
last night until "Ed" was on. (Oh,
what a slept-on program.)
Bangin' as gerund is similarly
applicable when expressing the notion
of stasis, or performing the routine.
How did I spend my time last week-
end? I was just doing my thing. I did
the laundry, ran some errands, paid
some bills. I was bangin'.
There are situational uses of the
term that are also acceptable. In the
hip-hop world, "to bang" is substi-
tuted for the standard "to fight" with
some frequency, and that phenome-
non makes the sentence, "We we're
bangin' and he took out his brass
knuckles," perfectly legitimate. In
basketball, playing near the hoop -
attempting lay-ups in traffic, grab-
bing a rebound while another player
caroms into you, defending a basket-
bound penetrator - is often called
"bangin' inside."
Having read the preceding exam-
ples, many people should now have a
nearly full grasp of bangin' and its
accepted usage. The next step is for
everyone, myself included, to use ban-
gin' with enough frequency that my
friend John not only hears it, but also
later reads about it in his cherished
(and rightfully so) American Heritage

Dictionary. With those goals in mind, I
challenge everyone to embrace ban-
gin' over the break. If we can all just
use the term in three different ways
each day, I think it will catch on.
So -that no one thinks I am ignor-
ing my duty, I'll participate in the
challenge too. I am having lunch
with both of my grandmothers next
week and while they'll surely be
completely confounded, I'll tell
them, "I was bangin' the other day
when I saw this bangin' girl walking
down the block. Taken with her beau-
ty, I started bangin' phone calls." The
looks on their faces will be bangin'.
If the season ended today:
Regular readers of this column
(there are probably three) will
notice the debut of a new feature
this week. Through the end of the
NBA season, I will be ranking my
top five MVP candidates as of the
publication date). In my mind, MVP
is exactly what it stands for given
the caveat that a player's team isn't
atrocious (because if you are great
for a terrible team, then you're sim-
ply Ricky Davis), and thus my list
will reflect which players have been
most valuable to their respective
teams this year, not who's the best
player or who would win in a theo-
retical vacuum.
5) Ben Wallace -A two-dimen-
sional player, yes, but without him,

the defensive-juggernaut Pistons
would never get a rebound and miss
the playoffs. With him, they have
the East's best record. And, defense
has to count for something.
4) Kobe Bryant - If Shaq and
Kobe weren't on the Lakers, the
team would win 15 games, maxi-
mum. Instead, the Lake Show is tied
for eighth in the West, and Shaq has
not been Shaq this year, although
the hobbled version is still good.
Kobe has been unstoppable.
3) Tracy McGrady - The
league's leading scorer also boards
and passes for a contending team
with no size. Any club that is close to
the playoffs having relied on Shawn
Kemp in the post is miraculous, and
the Magic's magic man is TMac.
2) Kevin Garnett - Do-it-all
Garnett is the only guy averaging
20-10-5, and he's the catalyst at
both ends of the floor for a
T'Wolves team whose second-best
player has perhaps been Kendall
Gill. Garnett was the leading candi-
date until the Spurs went nuts on
their Western Conference road trip.
1) Tim Duncan - Tony Parker is
small and can't shoot; Stephen
Jackson is inconsistent; Bruce
Bowen can't score; 40-year-old
Kevin Willis (!) is currently starting
at center; and reigning winner Tim
Duncan makes all those shortcoming
irrelevant for league's hottest team.
TD has beautiful fundamentals and
has become NBA's most consistent
player. Double-double man Duncan
may double-dip on the MVP.
- Disagree with Joey's picks? E-
mail him at litmanj@umich.edu.
WGheekeud m
Brett Mountain '
Tony Dig, AheHarper, Brett'
Mountain, Ryan Weiner
Cover Photo: Brett Mountain
Arts Editors: Todd Weisers
aita r iDitorason Roberts,
Edctoer s I ditosiMgs
ArEditors h: oui eMiser

On a recent Friday night, Vicki
Tunkel stepped up to the plate. Or
rather, the pan. Tunkel's goal was to eat
a 16-inch pizza by herself. She was one
of four persons or teams on the Friday
Night Fight card at Bella Napoli Pizza,
where pizza-eating contests are held
every Friday and Saturday.
The premise is simple. Contestants
must eat a certain size pizza in less than
30 minutes. They pay an entry fee
based on the size of the pizza and the
number of teammates. Eat the entire
pizza; win money. There are few rules.
"Don't spit, don't puke, and don't
give your pizza away," says Guiseppe
Cincinnato, Bella Napoli's owner.
Cincinnato started the contest after he
made a bet with a customer that the
man couldn't eat a 30-inch pizza.
(Cincinnato won.)
At a glance, seen smoking a cigarette
behind the counter, he is an imposing
man. As he serves slices, his smile and
friendly banter puts customers at ease.
He encourages Tunkel as he starts the
clock and then insists I take a piece of
pizza to get a better idea of what she's
trying to do. It's hearty stuff.
Tunkel's boyfriend also provides

encouragement. He stands next to her,
offering the dubious support of summa-
rizing the plots of whichever "Rocky"
movies he can recall. "So there's this
boxer, right? And no one believes in him,
except his manager and this girl."
"Rocky II" eventually merges with
"Rocky" and plotlines from the other
movies intersect like the umbilical
cords of cheese that cling to the rest of
the pie whenever Tunkel picks up a
slice. "Who was the villain in that one?
Mister T was in number three, right?"
I marvel at the fact Tunkel has fin-
ished half the pizza in less than 10 min-
utes. Her boyfriend says it's nothing:
"If you had a TV with Comedy
Central on, she'd have done it ten min-
utes ago."
There's 7 pounds of dough, 3 pounds
of cheese and 40 ounces of sauce on a
30-inch pizza. Cincinnato says fewer
than 20 percent of the teams finish, but
most know their limit.
"Only two teams have puked."
Tunkel is eating a 16-inch pizza. She
weighs 103 lbs. At the table next to her,
four girls use napkins to sponge the
grease off the top ofa 30-inch pizza and
begin the process of failing to eat it.
"This girl can eat so much it's
frightening," Tunkel's boyfriend says.
"She's more of a long distance runner

than a sprinter."
While we stand talking, Tunkel's
pace has slowed.
"Get up, walk around a little bit, but
keep the pizza in your hands,"
Cincinnato tells her.
She stands up, bends a knee and
pulls her foot behind her butt in a ham-
string stretch.
"There's a way to win," Cincinnato
says. But when the pizza gets too hard
and your jaw gets tired, it's over."
The four girls at the table next to
Tunkel have stopped eating. Cincinatto
walks over to them and holds out a fist-
ful of $100 bills.
"Eat of all of that in the next five
minutes, I'll give you $1,000."
I had assumed the contest's partic-
ipants would be mostly beefy drunk-
en guys, looking for easy cash and
some attention.
"More women than men,"
Cincinnato says.
"It does somewhat surprise me if you
look at society's messages concerning
women," said Alison Brzenchek, the
University of Michigan Health
System's health education coordinator
for eating issues. "I think we've been
socialized as women in public to eat a
certain way, and I think that most
women are potentially uncomfortable

If you eat It, you will win money.
in public settings eating large amounts
because of what judgments people
might make. I don't think this is the
way to conquer that problem, but to a
certain degree, it's good that women
feel comfortable."
Tunkel stands up, sucks in her stom-
ach and rebuttons her pants.
"I tried chewing really fast - I tried

not e
put a
but ws




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