The Best & Worst of Johns Hopkins, 2001-2002

Wow. Time, amiright? It’s got a cape and a jetpack and afterburners. I originally tried to write this article you’re about to inhale way back in the ancient internet age of September 2008. Where was I at this ‘lifepoint’? I was a freelance contributor for COED (2-3 months in) and an Associate Marketing Manager for Playboy magazine. This was also right around the time that I’d met an absolutely INSANE Irish woman at Galway Hooker in midtown. But, that’s another story for another ‘late night’ at another bar in another zip code.

So, now that you’re settled in and understand where (and who) I was, here’s why I dig this article up from the archives: My 10 year class reunion is this weekend (May 4-6th). As I reluctantly limp into this ‘celebration’ with expectations so low it hurts, I’ve decided to re-visit this near-forgotten post and add my 2012 commentary. Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need… roads.

Since I began writing at CO-ED, I’ve been thinking a lot more about my collegiate days. Waking up at noon, devouring footlong subs from Blimpie’s, makin’ sexy eyes at the old married Asian cashier at Schnapp Shop, nearly coming to fisticuffs with women larger than me, hearing stories about my dream girl banging every other guy in my fraternity, and, of course, thoroughly pissing off every professor I’ve ever had.

Nearly four years later and I can’t top that description of my tenure at JHU. Yes, I left out a lot, but I really couldn’t encapsulate that experience any better.

Of course, I could add that I passed out shirtless in my high school classmate’s bathroom at the football frat after spraying it in vomit the first college party I ever attended.

I could talk about de-pledging that same frat and almost failing out of school because I was way too into my girlfriend.

I could’ve mentioned the eventual break-up and emotional breakdown I suffered the following year as I pledged a different fraternity.

The ‘awakening’ I embraced early on in my junior year that melted away and almost resulted in my transfer to Muhlenberg (again, for a girl) or Rutgers.


Missing practice. Missing the team bus. Disappointing Coach Babb.

And the Coup de grâce? Talking to a Phi Mu sister on the stoop of her house til the sun came up only to part ways with an awkward hug on the last day everyone was on campus senior year. It was the perfect symbolic scene of my blindfolded stumble to a degree that costs more than I’ll ever make in a year.

Anywho, the class of 2002’s 5th year reunion was last April. I vaguely remember seeing a bunch of my old classmates in between bad decisions and blowjays (jk, I actually meant menstruation cycles). Since that walk down memory lane was under construction without any signs of being completed, I googled the internets and found this gem: The JHU Newsletter from May 2002, the month/year that I graduated. One of the features in the campus pub (not PJs you buttneck!) regaled its readers with the stuff that I probably should’ve identified with and chuckled over and instead I just scratched my head and pounded some more “magic juice.”

Thus, the impetus for my decision to write the original article. Damn you, Google. Drudging up my pain. You’re like the Brother of Hazing Past.

Without further ado, I give you The Best and Worst of Johns Hopkins 2001-2002.

Full article along with my fratastic commentary is on in 5…4…3…2…done:

Best: John Bader. You mean, Mister Bader? All joking aside, Dean Bader is the best addition to the administration we’ve had in decades. He has seen one chief through the Rhodes Scholarship process (BTW: I got into Oxford!), given us fodder for stories and reminded us that we need to be happy, not rich and employed by investment banking firms. He’s the one administrator who cares enough about the students to do something pro-active. Thank you, Dean Bader. Good luck at national championships! Tone Rangers rule!

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: You lost me after “All joking aside.” I don’t think I ever met or saw Dean Bader, but he sounds like the antagonist in a raunchy college movie about a bunch of lovable losers banding together to form a fraternity only to realize they were already in one…on the inside.

How do you know you’re at Hopkins? They know who the f****** administrators are. Maybe that was my downfall – not reaching out to the faculty more. Why didn’t I try to write for the newsletter? Because I’d have to deal with authors like this – “BTW: I got into Oxford!” “Tone Rangers rule!” These keys sure do get slippery when covered in vomit.

Worst: Ira Young. Like his predecessor Mike Little, Ira Young thinks that frat brothers beating the shit out of each other in the middle of 33rd St. is good, old-fashioned fun. Once again, we have a Greek Life Coordinator that cares more about the image of fraternities on campus than about their behavior.

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: This dude sounds awesome! Let’s be honest, having Tom Brokaw f*cking mention frat fights in his commencement speech? Awesome sauce. No no, you’re right. He should’ve mentioned lauded and laugh factory a cappella group Octopodes. Vomit.

Haha. Even I have to laugh at my comment. Kudos, 27-year-old me. I admit the frat wars were absolutely ridiculous in retrospect. It got out of hand quick. That scene from Anchorman when the news teams do battle perfectly captures what went down. Of course, it was just Pike and SAE. Fiji and Wawa were too busy boning girls. See what happens when we don’t get laid? We turn into barbarians.


Best: John Astin. Not only does he lead a Buddhist group with his wife, he is Gomez. (snap snap)

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: What about Michael Bloomberg?

Wait for it…

Worst: Michael Bloomberg. God, we’re so sick of this guy. Hopefully, getting elected mayor of New York City will take him off our hands. Look, Mike: We don’t want any more donations, “anonymous” or not. And you really suck at consoling NYC as was obvious after the Chelsea explosion.

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: Oh… haha… jk… I wonder if by “Chelsea explosion,” the writer meant the wonderfully messy mishap during “Elephant Walk Night” at Rawhide. (Google it)

Talk about White Whine / First World Problems – you’re sick of his donations? You’re kidding, right? No, you’re 100% correct. Why advance the school’s resources, footprint, and share in the marketplace to the next level when you can continue to manually cut and tape film strips together like cavemen. Derp.


Best: First. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to call you all assholes, assholes.

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: I disagree, asshole.

Ya know, I go back and forth on whether or not I’d like hanging out with me at different ages. Me and 27-year-old self would f****** demolish sh*t.

Worst (tie): A or B. Get a job or something, guys.

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: In this market? Uh, which would’ve been the dreary market of 2002, which ironically is extremely similar to the current market of 2008.



Best (tie): Owl Bar. Yards of beer, stained glass and general swankiness All that, and the crispiest chicken fingers anywhere. Honestly, this place just rocks. Brewer’s Art. With a beer that is almost 20 percent alcohol, you can’t go wrong. Or right.

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: WTF!?! I’ve never heard of either of these places and I was in Baltimore for almost six goddam years. “Yards of beer?” “20 percent alcohol?” Where’s the stargate to that little piece of heaven? Don’t say, “my pants,” you ornery Owl-Brewer.

Come to think of it I have been to Brewer’s Art once. Still, of all the bars in the area, this writer picked two of the more obscure venues for Hopkins kids. PJs was/is small and cramped, CVP same, and Rootie’s was, for the most part, done-zo midway through Sophomore year (1999-2000). Those are just on/near campus.

We’d go to Bo Dome, Hammerjack’s, Have a Nice Day Cafe (not a cafe), Gator’s, McFadden’s, Craig’s, etc. Towson, Loyola, Power Plant. Still, if this chick (I’m fairly sure it’s a chick) is pounding yards of 20% abv beers, I wanna party with her… or pretend to have witty banter so I can maybe get an OTPHJ on the third date. HOPKINS!

Worst: PJs. Any place that’s owned by someone who believes that responsible journalism is a legitimate reason to unilaterally cancel a food deal with no notice just isn’t worth going to. Oh yeah, and it’s also just a dank place.

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: Dank, haha. Somewhat but not really related side note – Cliff Dank, Class of 2001, was a pretty righteous dude. Funny, charismatic, good guy. When I was with my ex freshman year, I come to find out one of her sorority sisters hooked up with Cliff. Seeing me as nothing more than a fellow sorority sister or just plain reducing me to invisible status, said sorority sister goes into a lurid tale about the hook-up and she made me proud by not skimping on the deets. It seems that Dank has a member like a Coke can. Hold on to that for a moment. Let it settle. Now caress it. A f*cking Coke can! She went on to talk about how she couldn’t fit it in her mouth or her south mouth, but I was already buying black market “enhancement” pills. That sorority sister is married now (boooooo) and I’ve developed horns on my corona. Damn voodoo medicine.

Hey, no one hates PJs more than this guy. Being young for my grade, I worked harder on trying to finagle my way into that dump than I did on any paper or test. By the time I was able to get in there on a regular basis, everyone my year that was there was over it. Sure, I could scam on frosh chicks, but they were always making plans to go somewhere else. NOT a good place to hook up.

Bar (unknown)

Best: Dizzy Izzy’s (good night). Probably the only place around here where you can run into a dozen mullets and Rob Cerretti, all on the same night.

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: Another place I’ve never heard of. Crap. I guess you could say I was more of a Towson/Loyola/UMBC/CONDOM student than a Johnny Hop. I picture this place has dizzy bat races out the ying yang twins. If so, rock and then also roll. I also picture a Dirty Jerz blonde with ultra teased hair wearing nothing but denim (including thong), bumming ciggies, destroying shots, and looking to score coke. I picture my friend The Rabbi promising said blow in exchange for some blow, bringing her back to the house then her getting super pissed when she finds out we were lying.

Haha. Listen, I know liking your own Facebook comment is the ultimate form of douchebaggery, but, face(book) it, I’m a douchebag. LIKE.

Worst: Dizzy Izzy’s (bad night). When this place isn’t on, it’s just a bad scene. Think all mullets, no Rob.

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: I just googled Rob Cerretti, the only result was this newsletter. Either this dude is a mega bad-ass or this writer’s got a Tyler Durden thing goin’ on.

FOUND HIM! He’s a paralegal in Brooklyn. Graduated from JHU in 2000 with a BA in poli-sci then got an MA in 2005 from JHU in ‘American Government’. At first glance, seems like a cool dude. But until I get a dose of this dude first hand, I don’t really see him making or breaking a night.


Best: Second Floor Men’s, Shaffer Hall. Do you want to know why this bathrooom is so good? E-mail and he’ll tell you.

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: Sh*thouse poetry is a lost art form.

I would later find out there are rumors of a stall in a bathroom at LSU where gay dudes just pound each other out. Does every school have this? Makes you wonder what went down before you got there. Regardless, I pwned that glory hole.

Worst: Any AMR Bathroom on a Sunday Morning. You’re hung over and you need to drop a hot steaming load before you can trudge over to Terrace for some restorative waffles. One stall is covered in puke, one in piss and one has a naked pledge still passed out. What gives?

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: Herpes – it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Jeez, you puke, piss, and pass out in one bathroom and suddenly it’s a national crisis. As far as the nudity goes, it’s just skin, Stephen.

HOW IS THAT THE WORST?!?! That IS college. Are you kidding? I would become overjoyed with tears if I woke up Sunday morning to find all that mess decorating the bathroom.


Best: Yuengling. We’ve never really gotten a hold on why it has that name, but this is some pretty damn tasty beer. It beats most others hands down, and since it’s made in Pennsylvania, it’s still cheap.

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: It took me a while to warm up to Yuengs, but 26 happy hour wing specials later, it’s not so bad. By the way, I went to a wedding in PA, down the road from where Yuengling is brewed. During the open bar at the reception, I asked for a Yuengling and the guy said, a lager? And I was all, uh, a Yuengling. Lager. Yuengling. Lager. Apparently, the Yuengling is so prevalent there it’s become known simply as “lager.” Does the SEC know about this?

Sadly, this is the beer I choose when I want a change of pace from the core water-down American staples (Coors, Miller, Bud). Meanwhile, there would be brothers a year or two above me rolling into the house with Magic Hat and sh*t. I dunno,  I fear change? If it ain’t broke? I still drink 40s of OE and bombers of Steel Reserve. United States of Whatever, guy.

Worst: DeGroen’s. We don’t care that it’s made in Baltimore. This stuff is just completely unpalatable. Plus, it evokes disturbing memories of that night when every tap at One World except this one went dry.

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: I completely agree with this call. An older alumni ordered it all the time. He also ate raw ground beef straight from the package. His insides must be like V for Vendetta.

Fun fact, I hung out with the man mentioned in my comment while he was in the military and he nearly MANGLED some hipster hobo on the Lower East Side after refusing to give the guy a ciggie. Maybe I should start drinking DeGroen’s.

Breakfast Spot

Best: Pete’s Grill. If you’re willing to brave the wilds of Greenmount Ave., you will be greatly rewarded, Grasshopper.

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: Greenmount? Wigga, please! I walked there once and managed to buy and sell 10 virals of crack and turn three or four tricks. All around, a pretty decent outing.

No one loves breakfast more than this guy, but I’m not looking to lose an organ over it.

Worst: Wolman on Saturdays. If Sodexho Marriot were any cheaper, we’d have scrapple night on Tuesdays.

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: Couldn’t agree any harder. I’d always wake up too late, so the only breakfast items left were a couple Fruit Loops and a piece of French toast that looked like Horatio Sanz put it down his pants.

Ah, but when I got there at a decent time, it was like Baconalia before Baconalia was Baconalia.


Best: Gatehouse. It’s old, it’s green, it’s in a ditch and it’s all ours. The envy of every other student group on campus, this home-away-from-home for News-Letter editors has served us well since the 70s, and every year adds another layer of history (and grime). Oh yeah, it’s also bigger on the inside than on the outside. Cool, huh?

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: I sort of remember this place. The 70s that is. Time travel is highly recommended – don’t let the Terminator franchise fool you.

No clue about this place. It sounds like it might have secret underground bathhouse where debauched organizations have ritualistic orgies. In other words, the best.

Worst: Clark Hall. Not only is it completely insane that BME gets its own damn building, but it also looks like a misbegotten high school gymnasium. Not that anyone over here at the N-L has ever been in there, but it honestly doesn’t matter. The place sucks.

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: I constantly got lost in this place. Which isn’t saying much. I once got lost in a bedroom.

It’s true, if GPS-enabled smartphones didn’t come around, I’d be six feet under.


Best: Toyota. They take a licking and keep on ticking, and five of our editors drive ’em. And if you ever need to break into one, it’s not that hard.

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: I love what you do for me, pointless category.

For reals. WHY IS THIS A CATEGORY?! Who DRIVES when you’re a student at a city school? It just seems like such a hassle. Did I ride on the roof of a brother’s car after ‘Big Gay Punchfest” senior year at the house? Yes. But still, it’s not like this was Fast & Furious U. Plus, Toyota? Way to buy American, ya commie.

Worst: Any SUV. Do you really want to tell the whole world that you have a small penis?

NEAL’S FRATASTIC COMMENT: Where exactly do you start measuring from? Seriously. Is it where the balls connect to the shaft or where the shaft meets the pelvis or from the bottom of your belly button or where your taint ends?

You’re telling me the majority of NFL players have Tinie Tempahs?

So, from this point on I wrote comments for the remaining categories three times over before I quit because Blogger blows (hence my shift to WordPress). My quips are out there somewhere in the cybersphere. We’ll never forget, Neal’s Fratastic Comments from September 2008. Long story short, I’ll spare you the categories that suck and cherry pick the best of the rest.

Convenience store

Best: UniMini. Best meatball sub anywhere. Period. And Samir is the friendlist guy ever. That in and of itself would net UniMini this particular honor, but it also throws in intriguing music, service with a smile and the ability to change $20 bills. AND! They have a huge adult section. Yeah, naked chicks and dicks.

RIP Uni Mini. What a travesty. When I went back in 2007 for the 5-year, this was probably the saddest victim of the campus facelift. My brain might be so ravaged by alcohol that I might be making this up, but I’m pretty sure the guys in Wawa devised a device whereby they’d lower their order in a bucket with money from a window and get their order back in the bucket to pull up. Regardless if that’s true or not, it’ll be a scene in my movie.


Worst: Paper Moon. Even if it is the only game in town at 4 a.m., we’d rather just eat ramen at home if it means we don’t have to pay $15 for mediocre food served in a funhouse-from-hell atmosphere filled with spaced-out ravers and cops.

Matt G’s a funny dude. He comes off as this meathead but then he’ll ask me if I want to go see the quirky French rom-com  ‘Amelie’ at the indie theater downtown. Here’s a classic example of his dichotomy – he raves about Paper Moon, so we end up going there and he starts a ‘NERDS!’ chant. God bless him. I could write a whole book on the guy.


Best: Nyquil. Ever wanna be able to just fall asleep, no matter where you are or what you’re doing? This lovely, green liquid can make it happen.

F*** Nyquil. Anytime I took that, I’d be up all night with suppressed coughs. Thanks for muting my hacking. What a joke pick – of all the drugs accessible on campus and in Baltimore you go with an OTC suppressant? I mean, not Ritalin or Adderall? EVERYONE was on that sh*t except me and it’s one of my biggest regrets. Peeps were pulling all-nighters like champions. I’d even settle for a phone-in pick like Weed.

Worst: Heroin. One in nine Baltimoreans can be wrong.

Ah, come on. Like anyone with half a brain didn’t see that coming. I would’ve gone with ‘Love’ or even Nyquil.

Hard Liquor

Best: Bailey’s Irish Creme. Girls can’t get enough of this creamy liquid refreshment. Wanna get laid? Keep some on hand.

Rarely would I have any liquor in my room at the house – I was poor – so I’d just steal some of the Natty Bo’s or Beast from the basement and throw it in the mini-fridge. However, one night, a brother gave me a bottle of Smirnoff vanilla vodka. It paid off tenfold. But, the writer makes a good point, if she’s down for Bailey’s, she’s down for other “creamy liquid refreshment”. But for my money, nothing’s better than tequila.

Worst: Tequila. Last time one of our Managing Editors had this, he came on to a bench at Columbia University, five blocks from where he was drinking the night before. Let this be a lesson to you.

Son of a bitch. Yeah, I get it. Tequila can be the worst. I remember smelling Montezuma one night at the house and gagging like a virgin at her first gang bang. Still, there’s no better feeling when you and a lady get a shot of Cuervo or Patron together. That just screams, ‘boner time in pound town’.

Liquor store

Best: Schnapp Shop. They have beer pong balls. Yeah.

SCHNAPP SHOP! This was my lifeline. My rock. When I needed someone, she was there. I bet she’s still there. And I can’t wait to see her. I’m referring to the finely aged Asian lady working the cash register. If she weren’t married, I’d gladly treat her to a picnic furnished with MD 20/20s and 40s.


Worst: 723 – Did you ever want to know how it feels to be charged with statutory rape? Picking up anyone here is a good start.

F that noise. 723 had this INSANE deal on Friday nights. From 7-10 pm they had QUARTER BOTTLES. No limit per customer. You have 8 finger slots? You get 8 bottles of beer for … carry the one… $2. Tip a buck ‘cuz you’re a cheap college kid. $3. I once made out with a girl there like “the plane was crashing” and got a free “Big Boys Bail Bonds” t-shirt. Pure Heaven.

Place to get a BJ

Best: The roof of Bloomberg. At least one of you gets to enjoy the view.

Worst: The men’s bathroom on the second floor of Shaffer. See worst bathroom.

I just don’t get BJs. No, I understand them. I just don’t receive them. I’ve gotten better about how to get one, but it was a lost cause in college. For me, there wasn’t any way I could solicit one without sounding like a total tool. Besides, this was Hopkins, which means you replace the ‘B’ with an ‘H’.

Place to pick up chicks

Best: Other Colleges. We hear that they know a condom from a lab glove over there. Vive le difference!

True that, my man. If I had to rank from most likely to least likely, it would be Towson, Loyola, MICA, UMBC, Condom. But I hear the Condom chicks can get wild… until your brother tries to pull some kind of dip and breaks her nose. I’d throw in Salisbury and UMD, but I’m lazy.

Place to take a date

Best: The 13th Floor. The view is awesome, the drinks are relatively strong and you can look like a yuppie for a night, instead of your usual status as unemployed 20-something who hasn’t cleaned his bathroom since the Clinton administration.

I think I went to a formal there and I believe I got on the scoreboard. So, yeah, sure, why not. I didn’t really go on many dates in college – maybe 2 or 3 – but I do remember going to a Mexican joint that had hubcap margaritas called “Nacho Mama’s”. Very solid. Deciding to go see “Enemy at the Gates” afterwards? Not so much.

Reason for being on Ac. Pro (Ed. note – “Academic Probation”)

Best: Too much sex, not enough time to study. Yeah, right. Nice thought, though.

Uh, actually, yeah. This happened. See ‘Freshman Year’.

Worst: Pledging. Are you really that lame that you need to buy your friends? And what will you tell the teacher? “Sorry, I can’t turn in my paper on time because I was being spanked by a cadre of other men.”

Typical bullsh*t from a GDI. I lost like 25 lbs pledging and ended up almost breaking my ankle during a late night yog. As gay as this writer wants frats to be (and Google Image search results apparently), it’s a strenuous stretch that tests every facet of your being. I still recite the greek alphabet to myself while holding a lit match. Therapy is going well.


Worst: Orient Express. We’re still nauseated from eating this shit last year.

Stuff’s like Mickey D’s, you crave it, you have it, you regret it. For some reason, that free can of Coke you get was one of the best feelings one can get in college. The woman who worked there belongs in a horror movie.

StuCo Officer

Best: Stephen Goutman. Quite possibly the only guy on Student Council with something on his mind other than his resume. Or at least he’s the only one who says anything about it. Props.

I know of Stephen. I’ve talked to him a couple times. But I’m not political.

Worst: Anuj Mittal. A thorn in the side of responsible student government for two years now, this kid just makes us long for the days of Zack Pack. But we like the memorial fountain on his head.

Okay, so I’m not political but this dude was currying favor from day one. How funny is it that we had a guy named “Zack Pack” running the show? Doesn’t get much more Hopkins than that.

Disappointed? Yeah, I know. Johnny Hop might smoke up with Brennan Huff on the regs, but he was a blue ballsin’ institution. I was chomping at the bit for the 5 year and ended up coming away from it like, hmm, maybe I should get my sh*t together. Everyone was married or preggers. You can imagine what I’m feeling as I head down to B-more for the 10 year. Cue “Forever Young”.

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