Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sh**ting Bricks

Last night's action on both the college and NBA hardwood produced some epically bad shooting performances. I mean, trainwrecks in the mold of Celebrity Rehab's Jeff Conaway (sorry for the tangent so soon into this, but if you have not caught the puddle that is Conaway on this show, well, just watch for five minutes. Kenickie is in baaaad shape). All right, back to the premise of this post. From the college ranks:

Georgetown 74, St. John's 42 - It was 27-3 twelve minutes into the game. The halftime score was 41-14. The Johnnies shot 10 for 47 from two (21%), an even more woeful 1 for 14 from three (7%). It was St. John's worst loss ever (even worse than when Mullin couldn't find the eight ball after the '83 Big East finals). I even found a candid of St Johns coach Norm Roberts after the game - it's off to the right.

Cincy 62, West Virginia 39 - Wow, nice work getting your boys ready to play Coach Huggins. I mean, there was probably no way to fire your guys up about this average, run-of-the-mill conference game, right? As Big Bill might say, SIMPLY ATROCIOUS shooting by WVU - they were 10 for 50 from two (20%) and an unbelievable 1 for 22 from three (5%). Not to be outdone by St. John's futility, this was the worst shooting night in the history of West Virginia basketball. Somewhere, Nancy Zimpher is smiling.

Bonus Bricks - Dennis' boy Rick Majerus and the Billikens managed to score under 40 points again last night - the fourth time this year they have done that. Dayton trounced them 63-36. St. Louis has now lost games this year by the comical counts of 81-40, 61-39 and, who can forget, 49-20. Well played fat man, well played.

But wait, there's more. Apparently, NBA clubs have completely forgotten how to shoot the ball as well (or as Jay Bilas repeatedly says, "Score the ball"):

Raptors 122, Wiz 83 - If Eddie Jordan knew he was gonna get this performance, he probably would've skipped the trip and let Randy Ayers coach this game. A night after a Gibbsian "hard-fought" win over these very same Raptors, the Wiz were indeed, in the words of DeShawn Stevenson, blown out of the water. Toronto made 13 of 18 three pointers and shot 57% from two. The Wizards meanwhile managed to shoot a ghastly 37% from two and 38% from three. Even Larry Hughes and his career 41% FG percentage found this shooting performance laughable.

76ers 112, Bucks 69 - The WTF game of the night. I knew both of these teams sucked something fierce, but losing by 43 to the 76ers Milwaukee? Come on. The Bucks were 27 for 71 from two in this game (38%), had five more turnovers than assists (19 to 15) and, from a look at the highlights, would've rather not taken the court at all. Hey, Larry Krystkowiak, this is the type of game that gets a guy canned real fast. Well, that and your stellar 23-42 record to start your career.

Timberwolves 87, Bulls 67 - I almost forgot about this, you're playing the worst team in the NBA, a team that comes out at home and drops 8 points in the first quarter, and yet you still manage to lose by 16. These offensive juggernauts started a combined 0-for-18, and at the five minute mark in the first quarter the score was 3-2, thanks to a Justin Morneau moonshot into the baggie. Ah yes, shooting 23 for 69 (33%) from two and 3 for 18 (17%) from three might lead to that sort of collapse. You never like to read something like this from your coach after a game (Bulls very interim coach Jim Boylan): "They went into their own little worlds and were acting kind of childish at times instead of doing what we know we need to do against a team like this."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

LeBatard, Dead

Keep your head on a swivel, Danny-boy. You don't say this and get out of the blogosphere alive:

Q: ugliest nba guy of all time.....Dennis Johnson? (fluflu, pensacola 1/28/08)
A: i see your dennis johnson and raise you one george muresan and one tyrone hill (Dan Le Batard 1/28/08)

Also, not for nothing, what the fuck is a 'fluflu'? If we find out, you're on the list, too, pal. Tyrone Hill, though...yeah, that's pretty much right.
(Hat tip to The Big Lead, who seemed to think it was funny. We're watching you, too.)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

G:TB Insider's Look: The Redskins Hire a Coach

Gheorghe: The Blog has been proud to bring you cutting edge news, insight and poor-quality YouTubes for going on five years now. Today, we give you heretofore unseen video access to the Washington Redskins' current interviewing process as they look for the next victim of the Curse of Daniel-san Snyder. Watch the brilliance in action and thank us later.

Honestly, I'd rather have the good Inspector running this ship now. The look on Jarvis's face throughout the scene is the same pained look we Skins fans will be sporting for the next few years. And beyond.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Terrible, Horrible Homages

I was halfway through a jelly-filled when she walked into my office. Legs all the way to here, hair as black as Dean Keener's mood, and eyes colder than Eric Maynor's blood. It was the Pocohontas costume that really got me, though – me and Gabriel Byrne, suckers for cartoon babes.

“I don’t know where else to turn”, she whispered, her sweet-warm breath dissipating the bluish haze for the briefest of moments. (I don’t smoke, but I don’t dust much, either). “I took something from the Big Blue Beast, and he wants it back.”

(Dramatic music swells. A lightning crash is visible through the slits in the window blinds. An announcer’s voice is heard.)

Will our hero save the day?
Will the Big Blue Beast get revenge?
Will Litos continue to do his part?
Is it weird that I find cartoon women alluring?
Tune in tomorrow night in Williamsburg for all the answers.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bite Me, Randy Newman: XLII

Keeping with our general editorial (and life) philosophy, the G:TB staff plans to spend very little time adding to the hype heap surrounding the Super Bowl, one of the great monuments to over-serious aggrandizement in modern culture. (Note: that doesn’t mean we won’t watch the game; it is, after all, football – and we love us some football) Our contribution to the fortnight of folderol will be much, ahem, smaller.

In this installment of Bite Me, Randy Newman, we celebrate the Lilliputian amongst the Brobdingnagian on the rosters of the Patriots and Giants. Kevin Faulk, Sinorice Moss, and Kevin Dockery may all measure a mere 5’8”, but their contributions to their respective teams’ success stand at least 5’10” in stocking feet.

Moss and Dockery, though undersung and overlooked by their mountainous teammates, both look spiffy in Giants costumes, and occasionally turn in a fine play or two. Moss caught 21 balls during the regular season, while Dockery got on the field in 14 games. Huzzah, indeed.

It is Faulk, though, to whom we doff our wee cap and celebrate most fervently. The diminutive change-of-pace back caught 47 passes during the Patriots’ romp through the regular season, and was a critical move-the-chains element of their offense. He played a significant role in their 21-12 AFC Championship win over the Chargers, snaring 8 balls for 82 yards. Tellingly, he also recorded 9 fair catches this season, proving that he understands the discretion/valor equation. Little dudes are almost unfailingly smart, in football as well as life. (Note – this last assertion is anecdotal, but sure seems to be true from where I sit. Down here.)

This corner of G:TB is pulling for the Patriots for a handful of reasons, though we’ve long since ceased rooting for the New England 11. Boston is our ancestral homestead, and a significant number of my tiny family members still call the city home. A Patriots win will please them no end and add to the current conventional wisdom regarding the Hub’s sporting primacy. So that’s cool. Also, the spectacle of 19-0 has a certain attraction – even as I’m generally inclined to root for the underdog, NFL perfection is an awe-inspiring feat. I’d like to be able to say that I saw it happen. And if we can’t root for selfish reasons, why root at all?

That said, history will never know what acclaim the little folks would have reaped had Darren Sproles and his 5’6” frame turned the corner on Junior Seau.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dogs and Cats, Living in Sin

Ahh, the winter of 1997. I remember it well. Bill Clinton's attorneys were starting to worry about the President's sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. Brett Favre led the Packers to their first Super Bowl victory in nearly 3 decades, beating Bill Parcells' Patriots. The Dow topped 7,000 for the first time in history. And the William and Mary Tribe men's basketball squad won 5 straight conference games (7, actually).

Now, 11 years later, Clinton's still talking about a woman, although he hasn't likely had sexual relations with this one at any point in recent memory, Favre's a few hours away from a possible rematch with the Patriots, the Dow's causing significant consternation after slipping below 13,000, and that very same Tribe has taken 5 straight CAA games for the first time since 1997.

As has been the case in every W&M game G:TB has seen this year, the Wrens didn't get high marks for artistic achievement, but they played hard-nosed defense and fought every possession in topping Towson by a 61-51 margin in front of 2,781 (including G:TB's Whitney) in Williamsburg. The win takes the Tribe to 9-8 on the season, and a remarkably unexpected 5-2 in the CAA, good for a tie for second in the conference.

A mid-week road trip to Drexel's Philly campus precedes next weekend's home tilt with the revenge-minded Monarchs of ODU. As long as Litos keeps picking against the Tribe, I like their chances. And, by that, I mean that it's highly likely that Cinderella loses a shoe this week.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Your only hockey clip of the year... enjoy it. This is Rick Nash last night making the Phoenix Coyotes look silly. And yes, I am actually familiar with Mr. Nash's work. That makes the total number of NHL players I can name 14.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Father of the Year

Some 36-year-old donkey in Wisconsin was arrested Monday on tentative felony charges of causing mental harm to a child and false imprisonment. However, despite the big scary words in the previous sentence, Matthew Kowald was issued only a disorderly conduct citation for the incident. What caused all this ruckus you ask?

Well, apparently Mr. Kowald really wanted his 7-year-old son to don a Green Bay Packers sweatshirt for the Packers game against Seattle. The son, he did not so much want to do this. After threats of grounding got the elder Kowald nowhere, he took the next logical step (if you're Joan Crawford) and taped his kid up. From what I gathered, he taped him to a chair AND taped the shirt to him. Way to be thorough Matthew.

Apparently after an hour Kowald's wife had enough, and turned him in. I'm pretty sure the encore for Pack/Giants this week is Kid Kowald escaping from Houdini's Chinese Water Torture Cell.

After all was said and done, I really enjoyed this understatement from one of the cops:
"He wanted the juvenile to be a Packers fan, and I would suggest he went about it the wrong way."

Analysis from Gheorghe: The Blog’s resident Armchair Psychologist & Philosopher, Dr. Gheorghe:

Before you file away this episode under “Yet another inane installment of TJ’s News of the Mentally Impaired,” consider the deeper discussion of why this event took place. It’s tremendously sad to report, but it’s hardly a surprise: this is merely an extreme case of a pox that’s invaded our world, that of fathers and their increasingly skewed outlook on their sons or daughters. Insecurity is at an all-time high in adult males, despite this era of openly discussing our innermost problems and secrets in global forums. The supposed balance of wanting our children to resemble ourselves in appearance, action, and thought, while maintaining an over-arching sense of “what’s best” for them has begun to seriously lean in the wrong direction. Are we so uncomfortable in our own pale, pasty skins that we can’t rest until our progeny has emulated our very behaviors to a tee, presumably in some subconscious attempt to create a hip crowd out of our own offspring if we aren’t “cool” enough to fall in with an existing one? Or is it a more deep-rooted and time-tested fear, one of fathers unsure about matching DNA strands? The chances of speculation about our children’s biological tie (and, in turn about our mate’s love, honor and obeyance) are apparently diminished with every instance of the younger mimicking the elder, both in attire and outlook. Further, the father who cannot control his own son enough to coerce the Wisconsin-born-and-bred boy to root for the local juggernaut Green Bay Packers must undoubtedly be the softest, sorriest excuse for a father figure in the history of Lambeau Field, no? And such gnawing insecurity can only feed upon itself. The little boy inside the man is crying for acceptance and love, but the outer shell knows that any exposure of such an image will induce further humiliation. Conversely, the Greek school of thought (“the man inside the little boy”) . . . well, people, clearly it was simply time for a potshot at the Greeks what with those pictures of gay Athenians on motorbikes and moustaches floating around the blogosphere. (You know how they separate the men from the boys in Greece?) But I digress. What’s really deviant, what’s actually perverse and unacceptable in this society is the perpetuation of this self-afflicted perception that the father is a failure based on any behaviors of the son. I myself have been blessed with the good fortune of a father who has never felt this way and reiterates his rejection of this notion, vehemently protesting for all of you insecure fathers out there to hear, “Lo, tho’ my son may embarrass me, his entire family, and himself, tho’ he may bring shame on every soul who has come to know the boy, tho’ he may, at steady intervals, soil his family name and reputation as surely as he soils his underjohnnies, not one drop of that ignominy shall reflect upon me, the father. I am my own man and, at this point, only responsible for myself and only beholden to my God; as the words in my last will and testament reflect, I bequeath to him only my surname, my pity, and the brown liquor which he has already pilfered from my garage.” My fortune, however, is the exception rather than the rule in this society. And so, if there is but one lesson to take from this intellectually staggering slice of deep thinking, it’s this: what, dear friends, the fuck is it about Brett Favre that makes people do and say the stupidest fucking things ever conceived of? Dear Lord. Rooting for the guy must be more cerebrally toxic than huffing airplane glue. Cripes, people. Get a fucking grip.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Weakened Plans

The suddenly competent William & Mary men's basketball team takes on Towson at the TribeDome Saturday at 2pm. I will be doing my part (even carting a couple of chilluns to the Burg) to urge on the green and gold. Delly sandwiches at noon. Be there or be . . . someone with even the slightest vestige of a social life.

It's also on Comcast SportNet if you want to TiVo it for after you get back from your cocktail party/oyster roast/buddy's wedding/arraignment/stint in rehab/trip to Lowe's.

Up first for the Tribe cagers, however, is a date with the Huskies tonight. (Now that sentence really takes me back to the college days.) Tip-off's at 7 this evening.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Curt Schilling's Wife is Hunter, Trapper

Philanthropist, too - let's not forget that.

(Thanks to Mr. Irrelevant for the photo.)

Circle Jerk, Blog-style

Though he may not mean to, Dan Shanoff's conducting an interesting experiment in blogger/mainstream media information dynamics today. The background: the genius pottymouths at Kissing Suzy Kolber posted a just-plausible-enough "hearsay"-based item about the possibility of Tom Brady considering retirement after this season. KSK plays it straight, only tipping their chicanery in the 'tags' portion of the post.

Shanoff has written for in the past and is now employed by The Sporting News, so he's got an iota of big media cred. On his self-titled blog, he wonders aloud whether the mainstream sports media will pick up the Brady "story", couching it just enough to let the reader know that he knows, but not giving it away to anyone making a quick-click beeline to KSK.

I'm on the phone with Vegas to see whether I can bet on Colin Cowherd to "break" the news. And I'd say it's a better than 50/50 proposition that someone in the semi-serious media asks Brady about the issue during the runup to the AFC Championship.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Some Thoughts on Mustaches

The mustache has been creeping back into America’s consciousness of late, an event that could not make me happier. Perhaps, as the son of a Middle Eastern immigrant, I stand apart from the crowd in my hirsute jubilance. Do I (or, for that matter, Should I) feel incomplete as the son of a Persian man because I don’t sport upper-lip hair? Whatever the answer may be, I may have a lower social hurdle to overcome in the near future, for the mustache appears to be making a comeback (or, at the very least, a death rattle).

As a product of 1980’s pop culture, I was raised with images of alpha males like Tom Selleck, Ron Guidry, Charles Bronson, Keith Hernandez, Bobby Nystrom, Billy Martin, Ron Jeremy, Don Mattingly, Burt Reynolds, Joey Silviera, Goose Gossage and Hulk Hogan. Even the Hulkster’s first big rival was the mustachioed Iron Sheik! They represented the end-all be-all of tough guy cool. They drove fast cars, won World Series, had money, and/or banged Nina Hartley. I also envied Mr. T, but his look was a bit audacious for all but the most enterprising suburban 9 year-olds. It wasn't until I was older that I realized how much he looked like a cross between a gay genie and a seventh member of the Village People. Is that redundant?

(Brief aside: When I was a kid, my father tried to get me backstage at a WWF event in Asbury Park, NJ so we could meet the Iron Sheik. My father phonied up his Persian accent and convinced the security guard that we had traveled a great distance to meet the Sheik. The security guard bought our story, went backstage, and came back with….Salvatore Bellomo. That’s like trying to meet Mike Schmidt and getting Garth Iorg.)

In the last year, the sports world has shown us a ‘stache resurgence. Jason Giambi let it rip on his upper lip for a while last season and maintained the look because he was hitting fairly well with it. Just recently, Jason Kidd sported some hair up there. I wish I could complete the New York-area pro sports angle four ways with Jasons, but Jason Sehorn and Jason Blake are long gone from metropolitan area teams, and neither really seemed like the type.

We’ve even seen hipsters adopting the mustache these days. Johnny Depp is doing his own thing with it, but he may as well be a Frenchman these days, so we can discount him. Same for Sean Penn. Billy Crudup has occasionally sported a ‘stache since his stint as Russell Hammond in Almost Famous, as has co-star Jason Lee in his current performance as Earl. In the 1990’s, fellow William & Mary graduate Jason Ross, from Seven Mary Three, was an early adopter of the retro-handlebar mustache look, but that look is one that lies on a slippery slope. To wear a handlebar mustache is to risk being classified like the Sopranos’ own Johnny Cakes, inviting some unwanted attention (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
I am rooting for a mustache revival, not only for selfish reasons, but to redeem a generation of film idols, rock stars and professional athletes that established social norms for millions of American youngsters like myself in the 1980’s. For when we think of the decay of the mustache, we think of the ascension of the hair metal era. And that evokes painful memories that none of us want to revisit.

To read more, I recommend visiting the web site of the American Mustache Institute:

I also recommend you visit to read about a way to combine the cool of a ‘stache with philanthropy this Movember.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

David Banks IS Tiny "Zeus" Lister Jr.

I mean, do I really need to say it? Night, night David...

And how about the Teddy Atlas audio in the clip? That guy is tremendous.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Help, I've Eaten My Offense and I'm Crapping My Trousers

Rick Majerus just lead his Saint Louis Billikens to an NCAA D-1 record 20 pts. Read that again to make sure you're interpreting it correctly. That's 20 the entire team...for the game. I'm not exactly clear as to how a group of Division 1 basketball players can do this. But, I can tell you though, that putting up 7 in the first half is a great start.

I had the chance to meet Mr. Majerus at Five Star basketball camp in high school (Fun Factoid/Prank Gambling Nugget: a 6-pack to anyone who can guess the MVP of that week's camp. Hint: 6' 11" white guy, could play any position, and was maybe the biggest bust in Div-1 hoops history) and at the time he seemed like he really knew his stuff. Of course I was 16 and assumed any college basketball coach was a genius, so I could have had the proverbial wool over my eyes, but Jesus Christo hombre. Did the World Wide Leader leech the X's and O's right out of him or has the game passed him by?

Even still, whether he's still got it or not, I'm pretty sure I could throw together 10 guys right now that could score 25 against...George Washington (5-6 Overall)?! Pi-Lam '97 and '98 would have easily dropped 30. Shouldn't the college hoops parity encourage players to have more pride in their work?

This is unacceptable, Ricky.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Malik, can I write check?

The Rockets beat the Knicks last night, Isiah managed to get himself tossed, and Yao Ming did this to Malik Rose...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Futile Superfan Update

Huge one tonight in my home arena. The Wrens take on James Madison's Dukes in a battle for bragging rights at Casa Rob. My wife, a JMU alum, really doesn't care that much, but she likes the free stuff she keeps winning from me when W&M loses. I've also got a lunch bet on the line with a young whippersnapper in my office that went to JMU.

W&M's carrying a record of 5-8, 1-2 in the CAA. JMU is 9-4, 2-1 with a big win over VCU. The Dukes are favored by 1 in Vegas (that's a joke), Litos likes Madison by 4. Says here the Wrens won't stand for that kind of disrespect in their own building. Er, nest.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Goodbye, Mr. Gibbs

There's an AP report that our lord and savior his majesty the Joe Gibbs will be resigning as coach and team president of our beloved Washington Redskins. I think it's a perfect way, a perfect time for him to step down after rallying the troops the way he did this turbulent year. But I'm a tiny bit bummed. He is, after all, Joe Gibbs.

It didn't play out how we'd hoped, but I think I speak for all of us when I say . . . you were always better than Norv, Coach.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

60 Minutes I'll Never Get Back

Infamous investigative reporter Mike Wallace sat down with Roger Clemens recently and conducted a candid, brutally exhaustive, and no-holds-barred interview that aired tonight on CBS's 60 Minutes.

No, not really. They sipped tea, talked about the old days, and shot the breeze at Rog's Ranch. Then they played Parcheesi. (Roger let Mike win.) Oh, and camera crews happened to record some of it.

A single version of Mike Wallace's biographic synopsis contains each of the following snippets of text:
  • "hard-hitting investigative journalist"
  • "grilled with provocative questions"
  • "probing personality reporter"
  • "the nervy Wallace"
  • "hard edge lacking in most television talk"
  • "pointed, even mischievous questions that made guests squirm"
  • "framed in tight close-up, revealing the sweat elicited by Wallace's barbs and the show's harsh klieg lights"
  • "Mike Malice"
  • "the Terrible Torquemada of the TV Inquisition"
  • "the abrasive, tough-guy reporter"
  • "reputation as a bruising inquisitor who gave his subjects 'Mike fright'"
  • "most familiar modus operandi: the ambush interview"
  • "'make-'em-sweat' interviews"
There was nothing like a classic Mike Wallace interview . . . and tonight's airing was nothing like a classic Mike Wallace interview. By most accounts, he's lost his fastball.
WALLACE: And never anabolic steroids?
WALLACE: Pinky promise?

Clemens and Wallace interlock pinkies.

CLEMENS: Pinky promise. Cross my heart and hope for a free pass, stick a needle in my ass.
WALLACE: Well'p, good enough for me!

Cut to narration about Brian McNamee in a dubious manner.
Somewhere in a Denny's, Michael Moore weeps.

More stuff that made me cackle...
And if I have these needles and these steroids and all these drugs, what, where did I get ‘em? Where is the person out there gave ‘em to me? Please, please come forward.
Ah, yes. Memo to drug dealers: come forward, confess your crime, and face jail time; if you don't, I must be innocent. In a related plea, the writers at Gheorghe have never smoked banana peels or other illegal substances. If any such dealers would please come forward and proclaim their and our guilt to the world, please do. Otherwise, we're clean.
"My body never changed. If he's putting that stuff up in my body, if what he's saying which is totally false, if he's doing that to me, I should have a third ear coming out of my forehead. I should be pulling tractors with my teeth."
What?? How many ears is Jose Canseco sporting these days? I don't know much (can I get an amen?), but extra body parts growing out of one's face isn't a side effect of steroids or HGH, though it is a side effect of Levitra and Lipitor. (Can I digress for a moment? Was anyone listening during the commercial for Mirapex, a drug to combat "restless leg syndrome," when they said a side effect was compulsive gambling? Really?? Did I hear that right?? So my leg's no longer shaking, which is good. Of course, it's probably because my bookie's toughie knee-capped me.)

And Clemens' body has changed -- not quite to the drastic degree that the caricature known as Barry Bonds' did, but ask Bill Simmons or just visit Google images for a bevy of side-by-side photos showing an obvious trend towards lumpy suddenly halted by hard work, determination, and . . . B-12.

That's the tidbit that was leaked late last week -- that Rajah's defense has changed from "I did not provide Brian McNamee with any drugs to inject into my body" (a wiggle-room special to begin with) to "Yes, lidocaine and B-12." Most with knowledge in the field have laughed at the possibility that Clemens was injecting B-12 into himself. But that's his story.

Meanwhile, those of us who've lied to cover up a lie before think the entire thing is laughable. You can't bullshit a bullshitter, a veteran bullshitter once told me, and it's piling up down in Texas.

It went on in pointless fashion, with the obligatory misinformation about how steroids don't work and a nice red herring Vioxx sidetrack. We could continue to nitpick the finer points of what we presume is utter crap and bold-faced lying, but what would be the point? In fact, what was the point of this whole exercise? Why tap a 60 Minutes legend (who, by his own admission, is a pale shell of his former pitbull self) to interview him when the world already knows they're friends? That Wallace conducted what was, relatively speaking, a congenial puff piece of an interview when Clemens appears so plainly guilty made the entire segment a thoroughly futile affair. This was where I think we really saw the kid gloves:
WALLACE: How about a lie detector test?
CLEMENS: Some say they're good. Some say they're not. Do whatever. I mean—
WALLACE: So as far as you're concerned you would conceivably?
CLEMENS: Yeah. I don't know if they're good or bad.
WALLACE: Were you to pass a lie detector test, would that help prove that you're telling the truth and help restore?
CLEMENS: Would it?
WALLACE: I don't know.
CLEMENS: I don't either.
To go from the initial question, one with serious potential, into this pathetic group shrug-'n'-smile, is very telling. Here's how "the Terrible Torquemada of the TV Inquisition" of yesteryear would've handled that exchange:
WALLACE: How about a lie detector test?
CLEMENS: Some say they're good. Some say they're not. Do whatever. I mean—
WALLACE: So is that a yes, I'll take it or a no, I refuse?
CLEMENS: Yeah. I don't know if they're good or bad.
WALLACE: That doesn't sound like the confidence of an innocent man.
CLEMENS: What good would it do? There are so many people who have decided I'm guilty until proven innocent-
WALLACE: So if this were one sure-fire means of restoring the faith, why wouldn't you be on the phone right now setting up an appointment?
CLEMENS: But I don't know if they're good or bad.
WALLACE: Oh, if you're guilty, they're decidedly bad.

Cut to CBS crew pulling a polygraph out of their van and bringing it to Clemens.
(Side Note: In high school I did my senior speech on the validity of the polygraph, and a good portion of my quotes came from a 60 Minutes segment on the subject from 1986 in which they tore the lie detector's reliability apart; maybe that's why Mike Wallace was so reluctant to attack Roger's shaky answer to the question?)

But there really was no point to it. In Clemens' defense, there is no way he can prove his innocence. If he's guiltless, he's screwed. But what does engaging in soft-toss with Mike Wallace get you? And the session with reporters tomorrow? What can it possibly accomplish?

Oh, I know the answer to that one. A date with Congress. According to several affiliated folks, if Clemens had kept his quiet, he wouldn't have been called to testify under oath. Now that he's insinuated that the Mitchell Report is erroneous, they have to hear him out. Under oath. Did we mention it's going to be under oath? Now there are three possible outcomes:

1. He doesn't show. Guilt is presumed.
2. He pulls a McGwire and pleads the 5th. Guilt is presumed.
3. He denies wrongdoing. Perjury investigation commences, indictment looms.

All because he felt the need to get on the telly, play the victim, bemoan the sad, unfair state of this country's treatment of its superstars, and simply perpetuate the marathon of brazen dishonesty in steroid use -- one that doesn't begin or end with Roger Clemens, just stars him in the current episode. With every proclamation of his innocence, there will be more bloodlust in the heart of the public. Clemens is a tough Texan, though; he may see this thing to the end in ways people from Andy Pettite to Marion Jones couldn't stomach.

Roger Clemens didn't need or want any of this. He just wanted to retire and ride off into the sunset until his curtain call in Cooperstown to pick up his placque, make a speech, and fail to thank anyone. Now he has some serious crap to address, and he's brought much of it on himself.

And tonight's waste of 20 minutes of my time did nothing to sway me from the notion that it couldn't happen to a better guy. Enjoy, Rajah.

[Worth mentioning: I may just be bitter that watching this segment led directly to my inadvertently sticking around to witness Andy Rooney's corpse deliver a xenophobic, grotesquely unfunny assault on the diversity of surnames among the presidential candidates. "Did you ever notice how much better this country was when it was mostly white Anglo-Saxon Protestants?" Screw you, Roger, if only for that.]


What you see there is a photograph of downtown(ish) Norfolk, VA (pop: 238,832), home to one of the G:TB editorial staff. It's also home to the Ted Constant Convocation Center, the near-campus home of the Old Dominion hoops squad. Coincidentally, the Ted, as it's affectionately known (Norfolkers are known more for their bridge/tunnel thingy than their originality, it seems) also hosted last night's CAA tilt between the aforementioned Monarchs and the William & Mary Fighting Wrens.

In what looked very much like a rematch of the 1966 Kentucky/Texas Western NCAA final, at least in terms of the teams' respective pigmentation, the Wrens went into the Ted and pulled off a wholly unexpected 70-61 victory. CAA: LAMM's Michael Litos predicted a "trampling", and felt sorry for us in advance. And despite the fact that Wheelhouse Jerry thinks we're Futile Superfans, we really couldn't find any objective (or even subjective) reason to disagree with that prognostication.

W&M's win was their first in the 6-year history of ODU's splendid building and, if nothing else, demonstrated that extreme effort can, every once in a while, carry the day in the face of a relatively overwhelming talent differential. We'll bask in the glow of this one for a while, because even the most delusional of the Futile Superfans has to look at the W&M rotation and wonder how they'll squeak out more than 4 wins in conference play. After David Schneider, Danny Sumner, and Laimis Kisielius, things tail off precipitously.

Wonder if Whitney's regretting not making the mile-and-a-half trip from his house to the Ted now?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Hail Storm Brewing

Here at Gheorghe: The Blog we're gearing up for the big game tomorrow. No, I'm not referring to the W&M/ODU men's basketball game that our CAA-lovin' chum MGL predicted as a "trampling." Rob has already chastised me for not planning to make the two-mile trek over to the Ted Constant Center to watch my alma mater take a beating. But as I explained, I'll either be drinking my sorrows away or out on the town hooting and hollering to celebrate the result of the real "big game."

The Redskins are in the playoffs. Defies all logic, if you paid attention this year.

Tomorrow afternoon, 4:30 EST, 1:30 PST. RIP ST. Washington at Seattle. Skins at Hawks. Game on.

I'd gush further, but . . . well, I already did over at the Wheelhouse. Here is the three-headed dog from hell's take on this showdown, as reprinted with permission from the AP and Geoff. I reiterate only to keep the Redskin excitement free-flowing, just in case the oddsmakers are right and this is it for our '07 season.

Rob's Short Brief Take:
Tadd Fujikawa Underdog Memorial: Washington @ Seattle (-3.5)
Who dares stand before destiny’s hordes? You, limp-wristed Shaun Alexander? You, shiny-pated Matt Hasselbeck and your Muppetesque voice? You, rotund Craig Stadler wannabe Mike Holmgren? You, Lieutenant Weinberg? Nay, lads, nobody wearing that particularly fey shade of tealy gray and lime green will stop the marauding Washington Redskins this year.

TJ's Polynesian Wisdom:
Hottest (some might say second-hottest) team in football entering the playoffs against an uninspiring club that might have an slightly-banged up QB behind center. However, the Seahawks are something ridiculous like 20-4 at home since the start of the 2005 season (sorry, for some reason my research staff joined the writer's guild strike). The numerous Skins fans who read this drivel don't want to hear it, but Seattle wins, narrowly. In fact, playoff game in Seattle, probably coming down to a late field goal... hmmm, is backup-turned-starter Todd Collins the holder? The Gnomes Know: Redskins.

Whitney's Purportedly Whiskey-Fueled Rambling:
There's really only one game this weekend, as far as several of us are concerned. It's something of a miracle that the Washington Redskins are even playing ball in these here playoffs -- not necessarily in the burning bush (sorry to bring that up, Greg) kind of miracle or even the Guido Sarducci ("and I heard one of 'em was a card trick") way, but in the NFL Laws of Probability kind of miracle. As you might have heard, this team was full-on headed for 6-10 not long ago. It was a lock. And now...

I've said this to a couple of my cronies already, but what our leader and savior Joe Gibbs has accomplished in the last four weeks will be massively overhyped but cannot be overstated. I, and most of my offensively (to Native Americans) garbed brethren and sistren, were ready to issue the team a free pass for lying down and fading out of the 2007 football season after Sean Taylor's death. That they have demonstrated the antithesis of such a collapse has been an unforeseeable, stunning, and -- if you bleed gold along with the burgundy that most folks bleed -- stirring conclusion.

"Conclusion" is perhaps premature, but I think it accurately depicts my frame of mind. Everything from here on out is gravy. I am going the John Kerry flip-flopping route of taking back my whiny rants of why Gibbs 2.0 is a bust. I/we were not wrong on the fallible X's and O's that this administration has employed, nor so as to some bumbling in-game decisions. Where I think we have erred, however, is to assess the even-keeled, grandfatherly demeanor of Joe Gibbs as some sort of milquetoasty softness and a failure to address concerns in a stern, serious manner. The transformation of this club from underachieving, frustrating also-rans to executing, focused, driven players on a mission seemingly begins and ends with a coach who thrives in dire circumstances. Forgive the melodrama of such a reference, but like Patton, who was Albert Einstein during wartime and Rudi Stein during peacetime, Coach Joe seems to click it on most completely (and perhaps only) when things are headed off the rails. If the game "passed him by" during his time away, so be it. The guy is a leader of men, and the interim between Gibbs tenures was utterly marred with tacticians and engineers who couldn't claim such a title.

You may not want a soft-spoken grandfather type keeping boys-will-be boys in line during your routine NFL season. But when a teammate's lying in state, the calm tones of a near-sage and a man you know cares about the well-being of this team and every single person employed by it is the quintessential figurehead. It's as if we suffered through the slog of the past couple of seasons, questioning the man all the way, for this. "Just happy to be here" is a frame of mind seriously detrimental to clubs' chances of moving on in the postseason, so I hope the Skins' aren't stride-for-stride with my thinking. I have a feeling they aren't. Though I'll be just fine with this season's story no matter the result in Seattle tomorrow afternoon, I've got to believe the Washington Redskins will be bursting at the seams and ready to play. There are only a few folks who could motivate me to perform at my optimal level. One was my grandfather; another has to be that cordial old guy in the "R" cap pacing the Reskins sideline. I cannot wait for kickoff. REDSKINS

Fight on, fight on, 'til you have won, sons of Washington. We fans rather think we've earned it.

(Sorry, Teejay; I'm sure if the Jets were in the playoffs, we'd dedicate this space to saluting Eric Mangini... or something.)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Because I Know (at least 5 of) You Care

Plenty of beak to beak action in Williamsburg tonight as The Fighting Wrens host the Fightin' Blue Hens of Delaware, kicking off W&M's conference schedule in earnest (they were drummed by VCU a few weeks ago, and salved their wounds by thumping the likes of North Florida, Montreat and Fairfield). Our heroes currently stand at 4-7, with an RPI* ranking nearing Whitney's weight at 260.

Delaware enters the game with a matching 4-7 mark, but carries semi-decent wins over Boston University, Vermont, Albany, and conference foe Towson. CAA: LAMM's Michael Litos likes the Hens to peck the Wrens, but that's just more evidence of his clear anti-W&M bias. Or, more likely, points to the fact that he actually knows what he's talking about, as opposed to our fly-by-night operation.

* - Check out Litos' diatribe against the lightly-publicized but completely bogus change to the RPI formula that reveals the NCAA's bias. Not shocking, to be sure, but still, wauugh.