Friday, May 29, 2015

Some of You Are Gonna Need Lawyers

In the midst of an actually important story about potential abuse of police power, Gothamist dropped knowledge that's vital for the men of G:TB, especially those that frequently use public transportation.

Watch the spread, gentlemen. From the story,

"Manspreading arrests are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to numbers-driven policing in the subway system, which often takes place in the middle of the night."

As defined by Wikipedia (and holy shit, I cannot believe that this is defined by Wikipedia), manspreading is the practice of sitting in public transport with legs wide apart, thereby covering more than one seat. I think we can all agree that full on gonadal bulges accompanied by a lack of common courtesy is a scourge we should address.

The author of the Gothamist article also notes that the word "manspreading" was used by a judge in dismissing a recent case, marking the first time that that word had been used in a court of law. Mind your crotches, boys, or it won't be the last.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Gheorghe By Any Other Name

Dave Fairbank will not like this very much. Because it's about him.

The longtime Daily Press scribe filed his final column yesterday, capping a three-decade career chronicling Hampton Roads sports. (He probably won't like the 'longtime' thing, either, even as his own Twitter bio casts him as a relic from another age.) In an era where it seems the prime directive of sportswriters across the land is to get as much face time as possible, and the hot take is the currency of the day, Fairbank is an ego-less throwback to an earlier time, when a well-turned phrase and a killer lede were the coin of the sportswriting realm.

Glamour Shot!
I first met Dave in 1991 (or '92 - most of the events of that era blur together for me), though I doubt either one of us remembers it very well. He covered William & Mary football, and I worked in the press box for W&M's Sports Information Office, responsible for preparing drive charts and huffing mimeograph fluid fumes. After a late-season game, several of our staff retired to a local drinking establishment with some of the reporters on the Tribe beat. It was the first, but not last time Fairbank drank me under a table.

We reconnected nearly two decades later via the magic of Twitter and the resurgence (well, surgence, maybe. 're' sort of implies a previous golden era) of Tribe hoops. At some point during the 2012 CAA Basketball Tournament, I wandered down to press row and reintroduced myself.  At some very different point during the 2014 CAA Basketball Tournament, Teejay and I found ourselves stumbling around Baltimore at 2:30 in the morning with a bemused scribe in tow. It seems Dave Fairbank has a soft spot for dipshittery and the proponents thereof.

Fairbank is oft-described here as a FOG:TB, and it's true that he's become part of our community -Marls and I hung out with him at the year's CAA hoops tourney, he always stops by our Homecoming football tailgate, and the last two years he's joined our merry band of idiots for lunch at Tortuga's Lie during the Outer Banks Fishing Trip.

Marls offered this when I asked him about Fairbank, "I had a long talk with him over too many scotches at this year’s CAA tourney.  As the conversation turned from basketball, to general sports, to politics, to history, to religion; Dave’s intellect, breadth of knowledge, graciousness, and personal decency became all the more apparent.  In short, he is a really good guy in a world that all too often lacks them." I couldn't really say it much better than that, even if I don't remember that conversation (reference the aforementioned sub-table drinking). 

On a selfish note, he's sent me emails on more than one occasion with kind words in reference to something we wrote. That's meaningful to me personally, because I deeply respect the man's own writing talent. He's both a consummate journalistic professional and a gifted wit. Two of my favorite recent Fairbank pieces show his range.

He was honored with a 2013 Associated Press Sports Editor (APSE) first-place award for Feature Writing for his piece on William & Mary assistant baseball coach Josh Tutwiler's incredible survival story. How do you like this for a lede?

WILLIAMSBURG — As Josh Tutwiler plummeted through the fall Missouri air, the sheer rock face racing past and the ledge from which he fell rapidly receding, he felt his conscious mind split in two.

On the other end of the spectrum entirely, here's Fairbank previewing Old Dominion football's 2014 season:

Growing up in rural Maine, young Bobby Wilder was often alone with his thoughts, a common occurrence for residents of the least populous state east of the Mississippi. Little was given to Wilder, who subsisted on snow and deer jerky for the first 15 years of his life. 

As he grew older, he began to question whether an abundance of timber and lobster adequately compensated for the harsh winters and crushing isolation of the lower 48's Gateway to New Brunswick. He saw the toll it exacted on those around him. You think fellow Mainer Stephen King dreamed up all the twisted, horrific stuff he writes? Heck no. He was simply relaying friends' and neighbors' vacations and family gatherings. Anyway, Wilder took to football and football to him. He loved the competition, but even more the game provided the kind of human interaction and camaraderie he was permitted to see only Thursdays on the family Magnavox and in dog-eared issues of People magazine he stashed in his locker. 

Wilder viewed football as a vessel and vowed that when he could no longer play, he would remain in the game and share its lessons with others like himself. He served a 17-year apprenticeship at his alma mater, the University of Maine, which was a little like a Trappist monastery without the robes and abbey ale. When he finally had the opportunity to venture south and begin his own program at Old Dominion, he would defy convention. He would onside kick as if it were a contract incentive. He would be true to the spirit of native Algonquin tribes and follow their credo of "behanem papoose kickit wuss" — which translates roughly to "only women and children punt inside their opponents' 40." 

ODU's program soared to great heights more quickly than anyone could imagine, but now faces an even greater challenge: a program that didn't exist seven years ago competes in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Well, when you've doused yourself in whale oil and set yourself on fire to get warm, Conference USA doesn't seem so tough. There's snow in the icebox and deer jerky in the bottom left desk drawer.

I mean, read that again. It's amazing. That piece led to a round of emails in the G:TB and extended community, most of which combined a sense of awe, and the belief the Daily Press editorial staff viewed Fairbank like the brothers of Delta House saw Bluto: 'Forget it, he's rolling'. That one writer could pen both of those offerings, well, that's worth celebrating. Whether Dave likes it or not. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We're not the only people on the interwebs that dig Dave Fairbank and his work. Michael Litos, another FOG:TB and erstwhile CAA hoops community member, offered this (in about 30 minutes, which speaks to his fondness for Fairbank) when asked for memories of the man's work:

Dave Fairbank made me nervous, that first time he acknowledged me. We passed each other in the tunnel that connects the Richmond Marriott to the Richmond Coliseum at the 2004, maybe 2005, CAA tournament.

There were head nods, but mine was filled with anxiety. I mean, this was Dave Fairbank. An actual beat guy whose stuff I read. I wanted to talk #caahoops for my very average blog, and was new to this part of the show.

"Hey."

"Hey."

We eventually got to know each other, and my admiration for his writing style only increased. He's retiring, and that's a loss for anyone who reads his stuff.

Fairbank would not want some long, gushy tome. That's not his style. Dave's dry wit makes the Sahara thirst, and he'd probably prefer you wake up one day in October when The Tribe begins practice again and wonder "what happened to Fairbank? I haven't read his stuff in awhile."

However he is worthy of something for his great career and sensational writing, so I'll let his writing do the talking. This is from a piece he wrote on former Tribe center Tim Rusthoven (#Beasthoven in our hearts), which I've had bookmarked in my browser for more than two years.

The lead is glorious--poking fun at the town, the coach, and oh by the way establishing what he will talk about:

There's a saying around William and Mary Basketball World Headquarters: Do your work early. It has nothing to do with the town's glut of pancake houses or a latent Amish streak in head coach Tony Shaver.

Towards the middle you get a spot-on and descriptive overview of Beasthoven's impact on the floor:

Rusthoven isn't the Tribe's most gifted player, which he readily admits. He is W&M's most important player. He provides a post presence for a team that plays outside-in, that spreads the floor and attempts to create space for passers and cutters and perimeter shooters. He forces opponents to defend honestly and not simply concentrate on the Tribe's wings and guards.

And then he summarizes with a behind-the-scenes anecdote, which brings you closer to the action and ties the piece together--and he manages to work in "three different kinds of cheesed off:"

In a recent loss at Northeastern, Shaver was three different kinds of cheesed off at the Tribe's dismal first-half performance. He demanded that Rusthoven get a touch on every possession of the second half. The players didn't quite comply, but the message was delivered. He finished with a career-high 25 points and 11 rebounds as the Tribe came back and took the league leaders to double overtime.

There’s so much more. I admit I had to Ghoogle (Editor's Note: We see what you did there, MGL) this one, but I remember Fairbank flashing his wordsmith prowess in a hilarious way--placing a Hampden-Sydney quarterback in a romance novel. Flat out brilliant:

The Tigers of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference showcase a remarkably versatile passing attack. Their leader, Nash Nance, sounds like either a quarterback, the lead in a Southern romance novel, or the alter ego of a crimefighting superhero. Perhaps all three.

[Excerpt from the soon-to-be-released novel: Quarterback's Diablo Heart

Nance coolly surveyed the field as the comely Sabrina Wickersham stood alongside him, her milky white hands trembling with anticipation, a forelock of her auburn hair masking the fear in her eyes.

"Nash, you mustn't throw into double coverage. It's too dangerous."

"Sabrina, my little doe, don't worry. The safety's cheating too far forward and he won't be able to help the corner over the top."

Nance let fly, then took Sabrina into his arms for a deep kiss. He never saw the pass drop into Walker's hands 55 yards downfield. He didn't have to. There was work to be done and a city to be saved.]

Putting all of that into context: you know those folks who post links to their writing on twitter, and you stop what you are doing to read them? That’s Dave Fairbank, a stop-and-read quality writer.


Salut.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We count ourselves fortunate here at G:TB to have turned more than a few online acquaintances into real-world friendships. The aforementioned MGL is one of them. LeBron James another. And we're really pleased to count Dave Fairbank in that number. Given his choice of beachside (semi?)retirement venues, we're quite certain that we've not seen the last of him.

And we're still working on getting him to write that comprehensive history of William & Mary basketball. We'll write the chapter on G:TB's influence on the Tribe's recent success.

Godspeed, Dave. We'll see you at the beach.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

WTF Update

"What the fuck gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future." - Miles, from Risky Business

I resolved (sort of) in January to fight against my natural inclination towards caution, deeming 2015 my Year of What the Fuck. Let's go to the video to see how I'm doing.

Rock star. Small stage.
Okay, there's no video. But here's what the next three months of my life looks like:
  • Running a conference bringing together people from across my company in a way that's never been done before. If I pull it off, I'm a rock star. On a small stage.
  • Spending Six days in Montreal checking out the Women's World Cup with my family.
  • Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.
  • Canoeing the St. Croix River in Northern Maine for five nights, and heading directly from there to:
  • Attending the 21st Annual Outer Banks Fishing Trip.
  • Running a Spartan Sprint.
  • Doing a GoRuck Tough.
I haven't made as much progress on a couple of projects I've wanted to tackle, but more often than not, I've said yes instead of maybe, when maybe always means no. As a side benefit, nearly all of these things will allow me to spend time with people I care about, and bring me closer to those people. And that's not something I really gave much thought to when I decided to stop thinking and starting doing.

What the fuck, man. Freedom.



Friday, May 22, 2015

Remembering a Legend on (what would've been) his 69th Birthday

Manchester United legend George Best passed away in November 2005. He would have turned 69 today. He must've lived a very Austin Powers-esque shagadelic life, being the best soccer player in the UK in the late 60's and early 70's. The quote above seems to suggest he had his priorities right.

Happy birthday big man.

Friday Music Filler

Like most old ladies, zmother likes to forward me stupid emails that she gets from her friends. Today, however, she forwarded me something that I find inexplicably entertaining. Playback.fm has a feature that will tell you the #1 song on the day you were born. My birthday jam is predictably dope:



And it was kismet that zwoman and I would get married based on her quite strong birthday song:



Other notably good birthday joints in zfamily:

zgrandmother: Down Hearted Blues by Bessie Smith

zstepsister: Come Together by the Beatles

zstepbrother: Tears of a Clown by Smokey Robinson

zbrother: Let's Dance by David Bowie

zsister: Don't You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds

This feature also includes a link to the song you were conceived to (i.e., the #1 song 9 months prior to your birth). Perhaps unsurprisingly, zwoman was conceived to (You're) Having My Baby by Paul Anka and Odia Coates, while I was conceived to Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth) by George Harrison.

And zdaughter was, predictably, conceived to Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke.

Waste a little time this Friday and tell me whatcha got in the comments.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dre & Eazy & Cube & Ren

Lost in the hype around the series finale of Mad Men was a mid-show commercial for a movie I did not know was coming out. It got me so fired up on my couch my wife was visibly concerned.

Fast forward to the 69 second mark if you don't want to see a cool intro w/ Dre and Cube and want to go right to the trailer.

Straight Outta Compton is coming to theaters on August 14th! I'm sure authorities in Ferguson and Baltimore aren't at all nervous about this movie.

FYI: somewhat NSFW b/c of language (duh), and because of some bare bottoms.

(somehow this is not the first time we are using the Paul Giamatti tag, which is kinda cool)


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Fashion Is Dumb...Or Is It Ingenious?

There exists a one-piece zip-up onsesie of a suit so cleverly designed as to fool adult human beings. That, or people think that Gregory Ferenstein (of bear fame, I assume) is a shambolic dope.



Knowing people as I do, I suspect that it's mostly the former. Betabrand, famous for bringing us dress pants made of sweatsuit material, took a dare and developed Suitsy, a one-piece, zippered jumpsuit that really closely approximates an actual men's suit. Tie, shoes, and belt not included, obviously.

Says Suitsy designed Jesse Herzog, "Let's change the world, one better-looking, more leisurely gentleman at a time". GQ, meanwhile, advised prospective Suitsy wearers to "imagine yourself not being lazy and buying a proper tailored suit instead".

G:TB fashion consultant Geoff wasn't available to comment. Because he was puking with laughter.




Monday, May 18, 2015

Giant, Awakening

Some of you may have seen this, but there was a reasonably big event in international sports this weekend featuring an American breakthrough.

The U.S. Rugby Sevens squad thumped Australia, 45-22, in the championship match of the final HSBC Sevens World Series, marking the Americans' first-ever series victory. The U.S. reached the final match with a thorough 43-12 dismantling of England, made the more impressive by the fact that the match was held in the Lions' home country.



Speedster Carlin Isles gets a lot of press (and he scored a pair of ridiculous tries against England), but this win was a comprehensive one by the Eagles. Danny Barrett registered a pair of first-half tries in the final, and Madison Hughes and Maka Unufe added singles to pace the big, physical U.S. side to a 26-10 lead.

Next for the Americans is an attempt to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics. There's a single spot available at next month's North American and Caribbean qualifying tournament, where we'll be huge favorites. After the performance in Twickenham, which clinched a best-ever 6th-place finish in the World Series, the U.S. will be taken seriously if they make it to Rio.

Dogs and cats, living in sin.