The Sad Story Behind Trivago Guy

If you’ve seen any ads for the German travel agency Trivago, you’ve no doubt taken note of their oddly disheveled spokesperson, known in Internet circles simply as “Trivago Guy.”

Trivago Guy

While I’m supposed to be listening Trivago Guy’s pitch for finding the best price on a hotel room, I’m instead transfixed by his “sad divorced dad” vibe. I find myself asking questions not about how to find the best fleabag hotel room in Terre Haute, but more important things like, “Where did this guy come from?” “What unspeakable tragedy befell him to make him show up to an ad shoot dressed this way?” But most importantly, “What the hell happened to Trivago Guy’s belt?”

Turns out the answer was there all along, and it can be found in The Sopranos.

In the season one episode “Down Neck,” we find out that Trivago Guy did in fact have a former life and a clean-shaven face. He was once known as Mr. Meskimmin, gym teacher for Verbum Dei Catholic school in New Jersey.

Mr. Meskimmin (Tim Williams, aka Trivago Guy)

Not shown: He STILL is not wearing a belt.

It was Mr. Meskimmin who reported A.J. Soprano and his friends for showing up to gym class loaded on sacramental wine. While A.J. was only briefly suspended for his offense, Meskimmin’s life was effectively over.

Unbeknownst to Meskimmin, the chubby underachiever he reported was the son of DiMeo Family Capo Tony Soprano. In retaliation for getting his son into trouble, Soprano pressed Verbum Dei into firing Meskimmin with no severance benefits.

With no money and no job prospects, Meskimmin’s life collapsed. His wife of many years left him. He was forced to skimp on basic necessities like razor blades, shirt buttons, and belts (although he always found money for booze). He bounced from hotel to hotel, developing a keen sense of the cheapest place to stay in whatever town he happened to drift into.

Eventually, his misfortune became his salvation. Armed with this hard-earned knowledge of finding cheap accommodations, Meskimmin tried to find employment with companies like Expedia, Priceline, and Orbitz — to no avail.

Feeling that his life in America was going nowhere, and facing continual harassment from Soprano and his crew, Meskimmin decided to flee. Without the means to purchase a plane ticket, his desperation led him to stow aboard a Lufthansa flight to Germany — even the knowledge that he could die from sub-freezing temperatures was no deterrent.

Once in Germany, the details of how he ended up in the Düsseldorf offices of Trivago are still unknown. But something about this sad, empty husk of a man with a very particular skill caught the eye of Trivago executives.

The rest is advertising history…

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Brochure Beauties #3: Caribbean Gardens in Naples, Florida

Here’s another 1950s gem of a travel/tourism brochure. This is for Caribbean Gardens in Naples, Florida, a nature preserve/zoo created by the late Dr. Henry Nehrling in the 1910s, and it was originally known as  H. Nehrling’s Tropical Garden and Arboretum.

As the brochure explains, Nehrling’s gardens had become neglected following his death in 1929, but were revived in 1954 by Julius Fleischmann.

Caribbean Gardens in Naples, Florida Caribbean Gardens in Naples, Florida Caribbean Gardens in Naples, Florida

In the late ’60s the Gardens began the transformation into a zoo, and the facility is now known as Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens. You can still get there by following the Tamiami Trail, aka Route 41.


Want to see more Brochure Beauties? Of course you do!

All-Time NFL Franchise Rankings, 2014 Edition

With training camp upon us and the 2014 NFL season just around the corner, it’s time to revisit my list ranking all 32 franchises from best to worst. For reference, here is last year’s list. And don’t forget to check out all my other fantastic sports lists as well!

I didn’t see the need to introduce any major changes to my calculation system, other than to penalize teams for losing seasons. Also, I did go back and correct some data entry errors I discovered. None of this had a noticeable impact on the rankings, as no team moved more than two places from the 2013 list.

The Criteria

The categories and point values are as follows:

  • 25 points for a championship game/Super Bowl win, 15 points for a championship game/Super Bowl loss (starting in 1932).
  • 5 points for a season with a playoff appearance (starting in 1967), and 8 points for a season with a playoff win.
  • 1 point for a winning regular-season record, -1 point for a losing regular-season record.
  • 3 points for any year with a regular-season winning percentage of at least .750, -3 points for a regular-season winning percentage of .250 or less.
  • Consecutive winning regular seasons are worth 2 points starting with the second, 3 points for the third, 4 points for the fourth, and so on. The counter is reset after any non-winning season. So if a team has three winning seasons in a row, they get a total of 5 points.
  • I apply a unique multiplier to a franchise’s all-time winning percentage, such that anything below .500 essentially incurs a penalty.

Feel free to share your thoughts on my rankings in the comments below. And as I did last year, I must give credit to two sites that helped form the basis of my own formulations — Bob’s Blog and Page 2.

All rankings are current through the 2013 NFL season. Last year’s ranking in parentheses.

The Top 10

New England Patriots#1.  Dallas Cowboys (#1) — 15.20 avg.

#2. Baltimore Ravens (#2) — 11.73 avg.

#3. Oakland Raiders (#3) — 11.00 avg.

#4. Green Bay Packers (#4) — 10.64 avg.

#5. San Francisco 49ers (#5) — 9.79 avg.

#6. New England Patriots (#7) — 9.69 avg.

#7. Miami Dolphins (#6) — 9.14 avg.

#8. Minnesota Vikings (#10) — 8.19 avg.

#9. Chicago Bears (#8) — 8.14 avg.

#10. Indianapolis Colts (#9) — 8.12 avg.

The Cowboys are so far ahead of all other franchises that it would take several more seasons of mediocre to bad football to see them tumble out of the top spot. But they seem determined to try anyway, as their average dipped .30 points from last season.

The Ravens had the second-biggest fall this year, and their average is down an eye-popping -0.77 points. This is mainly due to their age, as they have had so much success in their brief history that anything short of a Super Bowl appearance will have a negative impact on their numbers for awhile.

Elsewhere, only the 49ers and Patriots actually increased their averages from last year’s list. And two teams, the Patriots and the Vikings, climbed up the rankings. New England moved past Miami while Minnesota leapt past the Colts and Bears to assume the #8 position.

The Mediocre 12

Seattle Seahawks#11. New York Giants (#11) — 7.98 avg.

#12. Cleveland Browns (#12) — 7.65 avg.

#13. Denver Broncos (#15) — 7.10 avg.

#14. Pittsburgh Steelers (#13) — 7.07 avg.

#15. Washington Redskins (#14) — 6.05 avg.

#16. St. Louis Rams (#16) — 6.00 avg.

#17. Kansas City Chiefs (#19) — 5.93 avg.

#18. San Diego Chargers (#18) — 5.37 avg.

#19. Tennessee Titans (#17) — 5.25 avg.

#20. Seattle Seahawks (#22) — 4.92 avg.

#21. Buffalo Bills (#20) — 4.67 avg.

#22. Philadelphia Eagles (#21) — 4.36 avg.

This group had the most movement from 2013’s list, with just four teams standing pat. Both Super Bowl teams, Denver and Seattle, both moved up two spots, while the surprising Chiefs did the same.

If the Giants pull it together and rebound from last year’s disappointing finish, they stand the best chance of cracking the top 10. Still, they’d also need a really bad season from Colts, Vikings, or Bears.

Tennessee’s rotten 2013 campaign earned them the dubious distinction of being the only franchise to fall two spots this year, although they’re not in imminent danger of falling into the bottom of the list.

The Bottom 10

New Orleans Saints#23. New York Jets (#24) — 2.87 avg.

#24. Jacksonville Jaguars (#23) — 2.82 avg.

#25. Detroit Lions (#25) — 2.60 avg.

#26. Carolina Panthers (#26) — 2.43 avg.

#27. Cincinnati Bengals (#28) — 1.46 avg.

#28. Atlanta Falcons (#27) — 1.39 avg.

#29. New Orleans Saints (#29) — 1.37 avg.

#30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (#30) — 0.68 avg.

#31. Arizona Cardinals (#31) — 0.54 avg.

#32. Houston Texans (#32) — -1.78 avg.

Not a lot of movement here, although some historically bad franchises continue to gain ground in recent years. The 11-5 Saints returned to their recent winning ways and added roughly 30% to their franchise point average in the process. If things shake out right for them they could very well move past Atlanta and Cincy into the #27 spot.

The biggest losers in the bottom third were the Jaguars and Texans, who combined for six wins. The Jaguars fell behind the Jets in the rankings, while the Texans became even more entrenched in the basement. It could take several winning seasons in a row for them to even move into positive territory for point total and average.

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