Saturday, August 30, 2008

It won't be long now...

As I sit behind my desk this morning, I'm as happy as I've been in months. I'm also as nervous, excited, and curious as I've been in a very, very long time. This is what the beginning of College Football does to me. More specifically, this is what the beginning of the Florida Gator Football season does to me. I've spent the last 8 months scouring message boards, reading practice reports and holding my breath, all in anticipation of today. Its like Christmas fucking morning, if I got drunk and yelled at the TV for hours on end on Christmas morning. Soon, I'll go to the gym and run a few miles, if only because that will help take up just a little bit more time before today's 12:30 Florida-Hawaii kickoff. Its a beautiful day ladies and gentlemen...and I intend to enjoy every last pad popping, band playing, sweat dripping minute of it.

LSU-Appalachian State (NL): The College Football gods are so fucking cool that they've concocted a hurricane in order to give us football earlier than we would normally have it. Gustav has resulted in the rescheduling of this game to 10 am EST, and I couldn't be happier about it. Will the Mountaineers pull the upset? No fucking way. Any chance of that happening was gone this time last year when App State beat Michigan. Which is really too bad because LSU is ripe for the picking this year. (I'm guessing 3 losses) The offense has major questions at QB and the secondary is very young for the Tigers. Howeva, LSU's defensive line is NFL quality (seriously) and they have the deepest stable of running backs in the SEC, if not the nation. This game will be close early, but LSU will wear the Mountaineers out in the second half which should allow the corndog scented rednecks of Baton Rouge enough time to get home and board up there huts before Senor Gustav's arrival.

Missouri-Illinois (8.5): Has there ever been a game featuring two QBs who were so clearly one race based on there name? I mean seriously, have you ever met a black guy named Chase or a white guy named Isiah (not to mention Juice)? Of course you haven't. This game was terrific last year, due in large part to Chase Daniels' 4 ints and Juice Williams' injury which allowed Illinois to get back in the game by passing the ball. Supposedly, Juice has vastly improved as a passer this year. I have no idea if this is true (Everybody is always inproving under the watchful eye of Towlie, er, Zook) but it damn well better be because Rashad Mendenhall has taken his dumb ass to the NFL and Arrelious Benn is gonna need to get the ball in his hands in ways other than the reverse and the bubble screen if the Illini offense is going to be consistently potent this year. Missouris has no such problems, Daniels is terrific, especially for a fat kid, and Jeremy Maclin is a poor man's Percy Harvin. The Tiger defense is much improved, allegedly, so I'll take Mizzou going away.

lorida-Hawaii (34.5): I've tried to make it seem like I care deeply about many of the other games this weekend, and while I do care (somewhat), none of these games can hold a candle to the return of my beloved alma mater. The return of Florida football is always a major event in my life, but this year its impact is substantially amplified. This is the most loaded, balanced football team that the University of Florida has put on a football field in many years. Unfortunately, this team is also the most injury prone Gator team that I've ever personally witnessed. Tomorrow, Florida will be missing projected starters due to maladies such as ACL tears (Ingram, Munroe), staph infections (Moore), heel surgery (Harvin), toe dislocations (Spikes) and muscle strains (Hunter). And thats only the starters. Everyday has seemed to bring a new injury. Luckily for Florida, this team is deep, talented and experienced enough to overcome these obstacles...for the time being. Will Florida be able to fulfill its preseason promise if injuries to key contributors continue to pile up? Of course not. Should they win in impressive fashion today despite these setbacks. Hell yes. Look for players such as Chris Rainey, Brandon James and Emmanuel Moody (rubs hands together/giggles like school girl) to assume a large part of the offensive load today. Specifically, look for Moody to announce his presence as the feature tailback that the Gators have been missing since Urban Meyer arrived in Gainesville with authority. He's been a monster in fall camp and has the ability to change the way the spread is executed in a manner that will strike fear in the hearts of SEC fans all across the south. Defensively, keep an eye out for a freshman corner named Janoris Jenkins. Not only is his name awesome, he's also forced his way onto the field as the Gators' nickel corner with his play in both spring and fall camp. I anticipate a 30+ point win and a very drunk and jubilant afternoon for yours truly. If all goes as planned, I'll need a nap before I sit down for Alabama-Clemson. Good God, the day we've all been waiting for is here. Whew...I've got to be honest with you. I feel a little like Jesse Spano right now...

Finally! College Football has come back to America!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Only in New York

An excerpt from Today's NY Daily News:

10G reward for tips on goat strangler

The reward for the Long Island goat strangler has grown to $10,000. Donations poured into the Suffolk County SPCA for the capture of whoever kidnapped twin goats from a farm and strangled one with a belt last week. Teddy's body was found dead near the Raleigh Farm in King's Park, while his sister, Pinky, is still missing.

Anyone with information is asked to call (631) 382-SPCA (7722).

Teddy is pictured at right below, with his sex addict goat friend David.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back like Cooked Crack!

The college football gods are indeed a strange and fickle group. Today, shortly after arriving home from the purchase of my 2008 gameday Gator t-shirt (Yes, I buy a new one each year. Yes, I'm aware how fucking gay this must seem). I discovered that the water heater in my home (which for some reason is located within my home instead of my garage) had begun to leak profusely. Water was everywhere. I spent the next 40 minutes soaking up water in my laundry room, kitchen and bathroom with every towel in my house as well as a number of rarely worn t-shirts (making sure to not use any of the previous seasons' Gator tees, natch). While this was both infuriating and a tremendous inconvenience, I quickly realized that it was simply the college football gods showing me a little unconventional love. You see, many weeks ago I had committed to attend a poker night with my girlfriend in support of her friends christian youth group. (Yes, I too find it odd that poker/gambling somehow equals Jesus' unending love but I digress). Of course, when I committed to said Poker Night I was completely and totally unaware that it would be taking place on the first night of the most glorious season known to man...College Football season. But, now that the water heater has become such a pressing issue here at the homestead, it appears as though we'll be unable (sigh) to attend the aforementioned Christian Poker Night. Let's see your "god" get you out of unwanted commitments so quickly and easily as mine did, Christians.

Anywho, with that long winded explanation out of the way, I'll be settling in tonight to watch one of my former dieties, Stephen Orr Spurrier, take on NC State (aka Where QBs go to die). Its a pretty solid game for a Thursday night debut (better than Stanford v. Oregon on the ESPN2) and we're likely to get a few highlights from the Jackson St.-Georgia Tech game going on in Atlanta this evening as well (crosses fingers that one of the highlights will feature Ryan Perriloux shooting an GT defender whilst rolling out on a play action pass...C'mon, don't act like you'd be shocked).

I wont pretend to know much about NC State aside from the fact that no QB has been able to last even one full season as the unquestioned starter since the salad days of one Philip Rivers and that they're coached by Tom O'Brien. However, I know plenty about South Carolina and I'll give you a few players to watch this evening as you merrily toast the kickoff of the 2008 season.

Jasper Brinkley: One of the best LBs in America, also probably the most underrated, due to last year's early season knee injury that resulted in a medical redshirt. He's huge (6'2", 275), fast and plays with great instincts. He also has a brother named Casper, which has to count for something. Seriously, the guys a monster. Keep your eyes on #52 tonight.

Emmanuel Cook:
Cook is a South Florida kid who was passed over by all the Florida schools and many SEC programs due to his lack of prototypical size and speed despite great numbers on both sides of the ball (He rushed for over 2,000 yards as a senior in high school). He's been a starter at SC since his first game and along with Brinkley has been a staple of the Gamecock D since his arrival.

Kenny McKinley: The best and most important player on the SC offense. He was a 1st team All-SEC selection last year and is on a number of preseason All-American lists. He's in the mold of many of Spurrier's past receivers (not very tall, more quick than fast, extremely good hands) and should put up monster numbers this year, provided that Tommy Beecher or Stephen Garcia can stay out of the HBC's doghouse long enough to establish some chemistry with McKinley. McKinley's as good a college receiver as there is this year and I'm betting he goes for 100+ yards and a touch tonight.

So there it is, the most one sided scouting report you've ever read. What can I say...I love the SEC and think the ACC should be viewed on the same plain as the MAC or Mountain West in terms of credibility. I mean, Wake Forest is pick in the ACC this year? Fuck off. Hopefully, you'll join me in the comments at some point this evening to drink in the glorious return of college football and, of course, drink.

Labor Day NCAA Football Preview

There are two "pivotal" games on the docket on Monday. If you are like me, you will be ready for some red, hot NCAA action to ease the pain that inevitably comes with the end of Summer.

Fresno State (+5.5) @ Rutgers, 5 PM
(over/under at 60)

We fold the first of our Labor Day game previews into the most hallowed tune sung by Rutgers fans along the banks of the old Rar-i-tan River: Rutgers "The Bells Must Ring."

March, men of Rutgers,
Down the field today,
March to another score,
Forward to the fray.

Fight! men of Rutgers
As in days gone by,
Fight! for the Scarlet flag
Over the rest must fly.

March they will, but only because they've hitched their wagon to the right arm of QB Mike Teel. Hidden behind the Raymell Rice hype machine, Teel threw for 20 TDs and over 3,000 yards as a junior. His top targets, Tiquan Underwood and Kenny Britt return. Both exceeded 1,000 reception yards last year. So Scarlet Knights fans should hope the pigskin flies like the Scarlet flag if Rutgers is to make a run in the Big East.

While folks question the strength of their running game, I point to the strength of the name of the team's running quarterback threat - Jabu Lovelace. With an androgynous porn name like that, you have more pressure to perform in the bedroom than on the field. He'll give defensive coordinators headaches when he lines up behind center.

Keep Rutgers colors to the fore,
For they must win so fight, fight, fight!
And we'll advance some more to score,
The Rutgers flag flies high tonight, alright, alright.
We'll fling the Scarlet banner out,
And Rutgers men will fight, fight, fight!
The bells of Queens each victory shout,
The bells of Queens must ring tonight.

Rutgers will line up against a team that sports their same scarlet and white colors. Other than that, there's not much to offer on Fresno State. The editorial staff of G:TB does have to admit they have a soft spot in their collective hearts for this school for the following reasons: a) they play a decent out-of-conference schedule this year, with early games against Rutgers, Wisconsin and UCLA., b) the Jerry Tarkanian Samurai Sword Era, and c) the baseball team introduced me to The Skullet cut.

One thing I know is that the Bulldogs are flying across the country and staying in Piscataway, NJ. If that's not enough to demoralize a team, I don't know what is. Rutgers fans will be out in force, James Gandolfini will be on the sideline (trying to snort it), the sun will be shining and the nymph goddesses in the Raritan River will work their magic to lead the home team to victory. G:TB says take Rutgers and the under. They will pull out a 33 to 21 win.

Tennessee (-0.5) @ UCLA, 8 PM
(over/under at 47)

If there's one thing that Volunteer fans seem to hate, it's Phil Fullmer. Maybe it's because he's a polarizing figure. Maybe it's because he can't seem to get his team out of the muck in the middle of a competitive SEC. Maybe it's because he looks like Fred Thompson with an extra chromosome. Whatever the case may be, fans that don't like him and hope the team has a fighting chance in the SEC this year (Editor's note: They have no chance) can't be excited by the action that sports bettors are laying this weekend.

The Vols travel out to the turf of official G:TB villain Randy Newman to face a UCLA squad in the first year of the Rick Neuheisel era. Vegas has the Bruins getting only half a point. Bettors seem to be ignoring the fact that UCLA's starting QB Patrick Cowan got hurt (again), their backup QB Ben Olson got hurt (again), and the man with the third best arm on campus, Kevin Love, bolted for the NBA. That doesn't give new offensive coordinator Norm Chow much to work with. It will take a couple years for the staff to recruit the athletic thugs that Neuheisel prefers, so there are dark days ahead for fans of the 2008 UCLA Bruins.

The Vols offense will leverage some Yankee, I mean A-10, I mean CAA football brainpower this year. Former Richmond head coach Dave Clawson is the new offensive coordinator. Thankful that he no longer has to strategize against the powerful secondaries in I-AA, I mean FCS football, Clawson will use new QB Jonathon Crompton (Tebow size, Tee Martin skills) to try to get some points on the board.

G:TB thinks things will go as smoothly for Neuheisel in the PAC 10 as they've gone for Ty Willingham. Look for the Vols to run up the score in a lopsided match. take Tennessee and the over in a game that won't be as close as the score looks: Tennessee 34, UCLA 17.

I Hate Myself for Loving You

“My name is Rob, and I’m a fan of the Washington Redskins and the Alabama Crimson Tide.”

“Hi Rob!”

An Alcoholics Anonymous-style greeting seems appropriate, as the current incarnations of my two favorite football squadrons fill me with a self-loathing I can only assume equals that of a drunk on a week-long Mad Dog 20/20 bender who wakes up next to a snaggle-toothed, tattooed (and not in a good way) barmaid named Doris, with a vaguely unpleasant burning sensation in his manparts and an unexplained ring on his finger.

In Dan Snyder and Nick Saban, my gridiron faves boast two of American sports’ most megalomaniacally disagreeable personalities, and I’ll not mince words: their presence makes my fandom less enjoyable. These are franchises that were once led by legends epic in their impact on the game and their teams. Jack Kent Cooke and Bear Bryant were larger than life, giants who could do no wrong, even when they did wrong. To say the current regimes pale in comparison redefines the concept.

Nonetheless, we’ve got good, old fashioned American football on the television in 8 short hours, and just like my GTB colleagues, I’m all kinds of pumped to hear the roar of the crowd, boom of the bass drum, and crack of pad on pad contact. And so, in an effort to distract myself and fight off the urge to self-mutilate, let’s talk football.

Alabama vs. Clemson (- 4.5)

I keep trying to convince myself that the Tide’s the right side in this one: SEC>ACC, Saban>Tommy Bowden, Crimson & Cream>Orange & Purple. But I just don’t believe in this Alabama team. Clemson’s got exceptional talent at the skill positions, and is one of the few ACC squads with the speed to compete evenly with SEC teams. Saban will almost certainly be able to cheat his way to a few extra scores (starting with frosh wideout Julio Jones – we don’t really think that Escalade he’s driving came from Mom and Dad, do we? A joke, friends. We kid.), but I’m still not sold on John Parker Wilson as a big-time talent. He’s tougher than most kids with that SEC fratboy hair flop, but he’s not an elite signal-caller, despite what the good people of Birmingham tell themselves at cocktail parties. As much as it pains me, I like Clemson and the points.

Southern Cal @ UVA (+18.5)

Somewhere, a bunch of dipshits wearing blue blazers, orange and blue rep ties, and a misplaced sense of entitlement are gripping handles of Virginia Gentleman and believing their Wahoos have a snowball’s chance in hell against USC. Somewhere else, Gryffindor prepares for its’ epic Quidditch match with Slytherin. The latter is based more in reality.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Good LORD am I excited...

Its not often a video that consists of only still photos and a song with no words can get you so jacked that you're ready to go tackle the 6th graders playing catch across the street from you but, well, thats what the impending arrival of college football does to me. I'm so fucking excited that my weekends have meaning again. I'm so fucking excited about watching football for 12 hours straight on Saturdays. I'm so fucking excited for Tebow and Harvin and Spikes and ARRGGGH!!! SMASH!!!

There's a very real chance that I won't sleep on Friday night without the aid of copious amounts of alcohol. If I don' matter, I'll just stay up and watch this video until Gameday comes on. One more weekend of only baseball on TV and I might have killed myself.

Brushes with Greatness

Over the past month, the world travelers on the G:TB staff have been from coast to coast and any number of places in between, spreading the gospel of good cheer to our fellow man. We’ve had interactions of all manner with the fine people of this country, but alas, we’ve struck out in our pursuit of the modestly famous.

In the past, our crack staff has rubbed elbows with luminaries like Jim Bowden, Sugar Ray Leonard, Wes Unseld, John Ashcroft, and, obviously, this blog’s namesake. But I’m not sure any of us will be able to top my chance encounter with one of the 90s most celebrated television personalities.

Several of us journeyed to Charlottesville, VA in the early fall of 1995 to cheer on William and Mary’s gridders as they faced the University of Virginia in a formerly annual intrastate affair. W&M was summarily thumped by the Division I Cavaliers (though the Tribe did outscore UVA in the final 3 quarters of the game), but the result was incidental to our brush with the ridiculously sublime.

After the contest, as we gathered at our tailgate to toast the Tribe and make fun of Whitney, a group of tall, athletic African-American gentlemen walked past. UVA hoops star Junior Burrough stood out, but not nearly as much as his friend, the mere presence of whom caused me to exclaim with much glee, “Jaleel!”.

Perhaps it was the accumulated effect of more than a few adult beverages, or maybe it was the way the late afternoon light caught his face, but I’m pretty sure Jaleel White was psyched that I called him by his real name, and not that of his television alter ego. In my mind, he tells his version of this story to anyone who’ll listen, tells them that he’s an actor, dammit, not a character. And people know his name.

G:TB certainly does.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Quick Thoughts While Waiting for the Immodium to Kick In

Some quick thoughts on food, drink, traps and other inane items after a long weekend in Chicago with the family to visit DB, official friend of G:TB:

1) Wrigley Field is an absolutely fantastic place to watch a ballgame. I enjoyed my first Old Style draft beer there on well as my second, third, fourth and fifth. And some Budweiser. I also threw down a brat with onions, an Italian sausage with all the fixings and a sweet cheesy Italian beef sausage (similar to the sandwich above, if you added sweet peppers and a mighty dollop of cheese). For dinner, I added a few sushi rolls and more yellow American beer. Let's just say that I pushed the toilet handle a few times on Monday. But good times all the way around.

2) I liked the "Go Cubs Go" song more than I would've thought. They played it at the end of the game. Maybe it was the gallon of cheap beer, but it was a good time to stand and sing with 35,000 other people (Note: It was definitely the gallon of cheap beer).

3) If you want to know how many beers you need to drink before you think it's a great idea to buy a Fukudome shirt, the answer is "a whole lot."

4) Struggling with an overtired 1 year-old on a flight who refuses to sleep in your lap is not good times. Not for me, not for the guy next to me who got kicked in the ribs, and not for the Filipino woman in front of me who had the top of her head smacked. Twice. It's amazing the power a 1 year-old can generate with a downward swinging open hand gesture.

5) I get the sense that Michelle Obama could pick up a pair of 90 lb. dumbbells and rip off a set of 25 shrugs without a grimace. A striking, intelligent woman she is, but one with abnormally strong traps. That's all I could think about during the parts of her speech I watched. I kept ratcheting up the weight in my head that I bet she could shrug when she has her "Shoulder Day" workout.

6) Anthony Davis, Rutgers' new left tackle, is the second coming of Michael Oher. I guess that makes him the third coming of Orlando Pace. Or Jonathan Ogden. Or the fourth coming of Anthony Munoz. Something like that. But the guy's good. And Rutgers will be better than people think this year in the Big East.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Aint' Too Proud to Beg. Or Steal

During my well-documented lunchtime trip to Chick-Fil-A, I caught a few minutes of Dan Patrick's radio program. His poll question today intrigued me so much - mostly because of my immediate answer, one that surprised me - that I want to share it with you: if you could win a gold medal by cheating, but there was no chance you could get caught, would you do it?

For me, the answer is simple. It depends.

More to the point, in the words of the great American P.Diddy, nee Puff Daddy, nee Sean Combs, it's all about the Benjamins. If I could win a gold medal in an event that ensured a built-in marketing-driven lifetime annuity, like the 100m dash, or the decathalon, or a swimming sprint, count me in. I've got a family to feed, clothe, educate, and marry off. I could live with the resultant guilt because I'd know I did it for my kids. If I was competing in Finn-class sailing, well, I guess I'd take my chances with my God-given abilities.

Which, at least in Finn-class sailing, are fairly limited.

Doing my part...

I had some other pressing issues that had to be attended to this morning, so I wasn't able to throw together a little post to go with a liveblog of the USA-Argentina game. Of course, since I took the early morning off, the guys on Team USA got all discouraged and came out flat in the 2nd quarter thus allowing Argentina to climb back into the game without the help of an injured Manu Ginobili. Luis Scola is having his way with us inside and the U.S. has been stifled by the Argentine zone, resulting in way too many three point attempts and sloppy passes. Which has , not suprisingly, resulted in a lack of cohesiveness within the halfcourt offense.

Now, I may not be as patriotic as Geoff (read: I don't get drunk and listen to Toby Keith records by myself) but I'll be damned if I'm gonna let America lose to a bunch of swarthy, flopping, gesticulating Argentines just because I couldn't be bothered to put a blog post up about this meeting of international basketball superpowers. So there you go...I'm doing my do yours and join me in the comments for the second half.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Nobody is canoeing down my street thats good.

As I'm sure you're aware, I've been a bit busy these past few days. Busy doing nothing. While that may sound odd, thats essentially what a hurricane or tropical storm can/will do to you if its not serious enough to merit an evacuation. You're busy making sure that the doors of your home aren't letting water in and that you are as prepared as you can be should your home face any major flood or wind related damage but, essentially, you aren't doing anything 90% of the time. Just sitting around listening to the rain and watching the radar for updates. You can't do anything else. Its windy, its raining (in this case for three days straight) and, quite often, the roads are not fit for driving. I've never been snowed in but I imagine the feeling is awfully similar and that, in both cases, you're dying to get out of the house by the second day.

Dont get me wrong, its not exactly horrible to have an excuse to sit around your house, drink and play Wii but, even that can get tiresome when you don't have any other options. In the end, I probably shouldn't have mocked this storm to the degree I did, but there was no way to know that Fay was going to park herself above my town and proceed dump rain endlessly for 3 days. I mean, who would've guess a tropical storm would break rainfall records throughout the county and while resulting in wide spread power outages? Certainly not me. Hell, I thought it was ridiculous that school was being canceled. Now, school won't be back in session until Monday, there are tons of areas still under multiple feet of water and most people just want to get back to living their everyday lives. Obviously, things could've been worse for me. I was never once concerned about my house or my family, I got to get drunk for a couple days straight and through it all, I had the Olympics to provide me with a steady diet of worthwhile TV.

Ceai: Olympic Version

Checking in from Beijing (Fairfax, actually) with an update on our brothers and sisters from Romania. Gheorghe’s countryfolk are even with Michael Phelps (more like <, but who’s counting) at the time of this post, collecting a total of 8 medals (4 golds, 1 silver, and 3 bronzes).

Gymnast Sandra Isbaza broke the heart of America’s darlings by winning gold in the floor exercise, despite being scared of tennis rackets and swords. Meanwhile, Viorica Susana and Georgeta (her name appears to be missing a few ‘h’s) Andrunache struck metal in the women’s pair rowing event. Alina Alexandra Dumitru won the women’s extra lightweight 2% non-fat judo competition, and as a door prize, will receive a free rhinoplasty. Finally, and not to be overlooked, Constantina Tomescu, a 38 year-old mother, won the marathon. Bad mothershutyourmouth.

Oh, and in semi-related news, the U.S. Softball team lost to Chaminade, er, Japan in the gold medal game. First the clever little Nipponese win the World Baseball Classic, now they’ve vanquished Jenny Finch (Cat Osterman, really). What’s next, Toyota will be the world’s leading carmaker? Mrs. Fields’ Apple Pies will be replaced by Sara Li?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Apologies in Advance

I just saw my first Usain Bolt > Michael Phelps headline. Are we so bereft of original thought as a blogosphere and a society, and so slavishly devoted to faux controversy that we can’t do better than this? Usain Bolt is a thunderclap, a freakishly talented athlete who will likely redefine our notion of the possible. And, oh, by the way, so is Michael Phelps. Tiger Woods, too, and LeBron James. Can we add them to the >>> circlejerk, too?

Sometimes, instead of posing unanswerable questions and drawing absurdist lines in the sand of athletic accomplishment to get more pageviews, maybe we should just stand back and say, “Holy Shit. That dude’s awesome. I’m really glad I got to watch that.”

/crotchety old codger rant

Overlooked and Underpaid

Frankly, you have my deepest apologies for taking so long to get this online:

Former Yankees pitcher Hideki Irabu was arrested Wednesday for allegedly assaulting a bartender after drinking 20 mugs of beer, a police official said. Irabu, 39, became angered after his credit card was rejected. He then allegedly pushed the bartender against the wall, pulled his hair and smashed at least nine liquor bottles at a bar in Osaka, western Japan.

One Ping Only

After 12 days of Olympic competition, there are 22 countries which have earned but one medal. Of those 22, only 5 have garnered the elusive gold as their lone medal. So, of course, we'll highlight them and ignore the loser silver and bronze solo medalists. That's the breaks. I imagine for the five below, if the Olympics ended today, they'd be national heroes? (or at least I think they would...I must admit I'm not entirely familiar with the reception a Women's Triple Jump gold medalist might get in Cameroon**)

Bahrain - Rashid Ramzi
Track and Field/Men's 1500m
All Mr. Ramzi did was win Bahrain its first Olympic medal...ever. They've been entering Olympics since 1984 and coming home each year with nothing but Rod Roddy's parting gifts to show for it. And you know Morocco's gotta be pissed...Ramzi is Moroccan born. He and Bahrain have one GOLD medal. Morocco? One little bronze. Point Bahrain.

Cameroon - Francoise Mbango Etone
Track and Field/Women's Triple Jump
Francoise Mbango Etone of Cameroon has been here before. In 2004 in Athens she won Cameroon's first gold medal (again, ever) in this very same event. In fact, this time around she set an Olympic Record to boot: 15.39 meters (seems pretty damn far to me).
**Well, based on this, I'd say she does indeed get a heroes welcome:
“Yesterday was Cameroon’s day of glory at the Beijing Olympic Games,” wrote the Cameroon Tribune. “The green-red-yellow flag was paraded around the capacity full Beijing Olympic stadium by the nation’s golden girl.”

Panama - Irving Jahir Saladino Aranda
Track and Field/Men's Long Jump
Irving just won Panama their first gold medal...ever. Seems to be a recurring theme. Maybe he and Rashid should hang out, play Risk or something. Total number of medals Panama has in the history of the modern Olympics? Three.

Thailand - Prapawadee Jaroenrattanatarakoon
Weightlifting/Women's 53kg
Come on, honestly, take a look at that name again? That has to be the best name in the 2008 Olympic Games, bar none. I mean, seriously? That is awesome. It's no secret that certain members of this editorial staff really like their female weightlifters, so they'll be happy to know Prap Jar (for short) set an Olympics record with her 126kg lift in the second clean & jerk. She finished with a 221kg total after topping out at 95kg in the snatch. Typing those things make me laugh.

Tunisia -
Oussama Mellouli
Swimming/Men's 1500m Freestyle
Oh good, the redemption story of our group, someone get Mary Carillo out of her pod. Mellouli won the 1500m free on Sunday to claim Tunisia's first gold medal since the '68 Mexico City games. The kicker - he won this gold after returning from a doping ban. It's the Olympics, second chances for all. Oussama got banned for 18 months for popping greenies, but that's all behind him now. Tunisia has gold again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

An Olympic Performance to Remember

Now that we're a couple days past the magic, we can sit back and try to gauge the magnificence of the performance - the raw power, the dominance over the competition, the ability to step up and bring the goods. Yes folks, we are here to praise Liu "Muscles" Chunhong for her ballsy gold medal winning performance in women's weightlifting.

As predicted on this modest site two weeks ago, the Honger ran roughshod over the competition. Despite weighing only 69 kg (152 lbs for those of you who like your weights in US terms and your metric conversions without sarcasm), the Honger snatched 128 kg (282 lbs) and did a staggering clean-and-jerk of 158 kg (348 lbs). Both individual amounts are new world records.

So here's to you, Liu Chunhong. Though you may have a penis like Gheorghe, you have a heart like him too, so much so that we don't begrudge you for annihilating Gheorghe's Romanian competitors on your road to victory.

To all you smitten fans out there, no more yanky her wanky. After this tough competition, the Honger need food.

Ceai Complet: August 19, 2008

I always get a kick out of these Comedy Central Roasts they periodically do, and I apparently missed the Bob Saget Roast Sunday night (I can't imagine having to look too hard for a re-air)...but I'm hoping it had something even 1/10th as good as this (and shocker of all shockers...this is not a Jeffrey Ross clip)...

WAIT - I'm thinking 90% of you might want to be really careful before playing this. The other 10%, watch and laugh...

Monday, August 18, 2008

We got some Canes over here...whoosh, whoosh.

My apologies for using possibly college football's lamest chant as a title to this post. I honestly couldn't think of anything else. As you may (or may not) be aware of, Florida is bracing for the impact of a hurricane...barely. Hurricane Fay is a hurricane by the slimmest of margins and isn't likely to be an actual hurricane for long once it reaches land near Ft. Myers. However, that hasn't stopped a number of counties throughout the state (including my own) from canceling school and various other government activities.

Of course, this will start a domino effect that will result in most places closing their doors for the day tomorrow. This is why I love hurricanes. Not all hurricanes mind you. Some are extremely shitty and can leave areas without power and water for days on end (duh). And, I'm not just talking about legendary storms like Andrew or Katrina. I've been through hurricanes that have totaled my high school gym, flooded my house and even destroyed a local hotel over the years.

Hurricane Frances may have destroyed some shit (actually a lot of shit) but I got to get drunk and play poker with my friends for 3 straight days.

Yet, for all the times that a hurricane has come through and actually fucked shit up there's been 3 or 4 that resulted in nothing more than rain, wind and an excuse to get together with friends and get extremely god damn drunk. That is what Fay is...a day off. A reason to drink sleep in tomorrow and then wake up and get drunk again. And, thats why I love hurricanes.

Now, if you'll excuse me I have to go fight through the crowds of idiots furiously gassing up their cars, RVS, motorcycles and generators and grab a couple cases of beer. Have fun at work.

Bow to your new LLWS Overlord

With all apologies to Joakim Soria, there's a new "Mexicutioner" in town, and he goes by the name of Jesus Sauceda.

And, oh yeah, he's only 13 years old. And completely freakin' dominant.

Yesterday, Mr. Sauceda threw a perfect game for Mexico in the Little League World Series, the first perfect game in South Williamsport since Chao-An Chen of Taiwan tossed one in 1979.

12 batters up, 12 batters down. Did I mention he struck out all 12 of those batters? Yep, he did. And the only reason he didn't get to toy with the Italian kids for a few more innings? The 10 run mercy rule came into play.

Domination. And for the hell of it, he also went 3-for-3 at the plate, hitting a grand slam in the 3rd inning, finishing with 6 RBI on the day.

So, next time you want to avoid another Olympic puff piece, flip over to ESPN and see if you can catch a glimpse of Mexico's diminutive Bob Gibson. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My Olympic Experience

The other night, I watched Bob Costas interview Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson after their one two finish in gymnastics, and frankly, I was disgusted. These girls had a powerful forum where they could trash talk, gloat, taunt, and – most importantly—make veiled or not so veiled political commentary about China, and they chose to do none of these. Instead they talked about hard work, perseverance, camaraderie, and self-esteem. Do these girls go to high school? Do they know anything about China’s human rights record? The pollution? A place called Tibet? The natural disaster relief that makes FEMA’s reaction to Katrina look like Harvey Keitel as Winston Wolf in Pulp Fiction? Perhaps they don't have teachers, just media coaches.

Athletes in the past have often used their Olympic fame to provoke political debate. Who can forget what Mary Lou Retton said to Howard Cosell after her gold medal in 1984? Cosell asked her how it felt to score perfect tens in both the vault and the floor exercise and Mary Lou smiled and said: " I shit my leotard, of course, but at least I didn’t have to wait in line for toilet paper so I could wipe my ass.” Message received by the boycotting Soviet bloc.

Or how about what Mike Eruzione mouthed to the camera after he scored the game winner in 1980? “That’s what happens when you bastardize a Marxist utopian dream and corrupt it with crypto-fascism and propaganda!”

Instead, Liukin and Johnson fed us saccharine smiles and palaver about how great their “Olympic Experience” was going. Olympic Experience? What happened to Olympic Games, i.e. Olympic Competition. I’m all for good sportsmanship—shake hands with your opponent after you crush them and hear the lamentations of their women, but certainly spit on your hand before you shake.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Planning Out My Answers to the Smalltalk Questions I Expect to Field Over the Weekend

No, I don't know why the Spanish Men's team is completely being let off the hook for being racist assholes...

Would I like a jagerbomb? No, I'll take just Jager, thank you.

Yes, I do read his occasional non-Redskins posts. He's kind of a douche. And yeah I think he is married...but very, very gay.

Is it true I was rooting for Ryan Lochte over Michael Phelps on Thursday night? Yeah.

I hate that guy! After all these years, he's still the most annoying guy on SportsCenter, by far. You know what I heard? He likes to get hookers on the road, take out his glass eye and have them fu...well, you know.

I really didn't think Dwyane Wade was a good fit for this team but I forgot what an athletic force he can be whens he's 100%. I now realize I should've been worried about Carmelo's nonexistent defense and poor shot selection.

Her tits are absolutely fake. I have no problem with that whatsoever.

The Gators? Well, the offense should be legendary, even for Florida, but the safeties are gonna be extremely shaky...again.

Honestly, those Darkmane commercials are hilarious. So bad its good, you know?

Yes Greg, Jacksonville is on. No, I do not want to share a bed with you.

No...I didn't see how epic the waves were today. Yeah, completely missed it...bro.

It really shouldn't have been a surprise to anybody. I mean, Marbury and Iverson were the starting backcourt.

Of course I ended it with a youtube clip.

It's Up to You

As noted in the comments yesterday, no list of movie villains is complete without the Kurgan, Clancy Brown's over-the-top scene-stealer from the legendary Highlander. And so, a YouTube to start the day.

(Not for nothing, Clancy Brown also makes the list for his portrayal of Captain Byron Hadley in The Shawshank Redemption.)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Vote or Die

For those that missed it in the comments yesterday, it appears Hollywood has decided to recycle/destroy yet another masterpiece, this time Wes Craven's 1984 horror classic "A Nightmare on Elm Street". And even if as Greg suggested Billy Bob Thornton plays his Freddy Krueger as Sling Blade the entire film, I'm still not interested. However, the talk of Nightmare on Elm Street did get me pondering something - what's the best song/video to be associated with a horror film over the years? As often (or always) is the case, me pondering = you watching YouTube clips. So I present to you my two answers to this question, because frankly, I wrote this post, so I get to pick two. First up, avid golfer and Detroit Rock City native Alice Cooper supplies this track for Friday the 13th Part 6:

And then there's this cheese-rific gem from some kid called the Fresh Prince and his goofy sidekick DJ Jazzy Something (in my googling I discovered there was a huge legal battle over the real video for this song, so deal with this):

Feel free to join Mayhugh in the comments telling me I missed about 50 better choices. I'm off to work with the White Lando on his first speech.

I Think the Answer is Obvious

New blogger Te-Nehisi Coates asks an important and serious question today: Who will speak for the white people? Billy Dee Williams has been tabbed as the "Black spokesman", but inexplicably, the Caucasian post remains unfilled. I think we've got a remedy. And I think you know where I'm going.

Now more than ever we need a uniter, someone who is able to get beyond the divisions and failed policies of the past (that whole Al Jolson thing, for example. Our bad.). Today's global society cries out for someone with bonafide honky credentials but a demonstrated record of love and understanding of people of all races and creeds. We need a man devoid of insecurity and a need for self-gratification at the expense of others, a man whose very existence bespeaks inclusion, understanding, and a lack of self-seriousness in a world dominated by the opposite end of the spectrum.

It's time, friends, for us to acknowledge the plain truth that's been hiding right in front of us these many years. It's time for the pale-skinned to extend a hand of love and silliness to our brethren around the nation and the globe, to embrace our own inner doofus and laugh along with those we may not understand. In short, then, it's time for Gheorghe.

(If that picture doesn't convince you of Gheorghe's connection to the whitest amongst us, then I'm afraid you'll never be convinced.)

Oh, and before we move on too quickly, I'd like to genuflect to the awesome that is Mark's knowledge of basketball. GTB clearly leads the internet in heavily tattooed hoops savants.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The World is Flat...

When I told Rob I'd do a column on the Olympic Men's Basketball competition, I quickly decided it would have to be two columns. One column would deal with Team USA and the other column would handle the rest of the contending countries in the competition. Because, for better or worse, that's what this competition comes down to...America and everybody else. Now I'm not saying that I think the USA is a lock to win the gold, far from it actually, just that Team USA is on a completely different level in terms of popularity, press and worldwide fame than all of their counterparts, possibly combined.

I tackled what I felt were some of Team USA's problems in the last column and thus far my fear about a lack of pure shooters on the team has proven justified. Tomorrow morning, Team USA will face a Greek team that is well equipped to exploit two of America's other major weaknesses, pick and roll defense and half-court offense. This, among other reasons, is why Greece is one of 3 or 4 teams with a realistic shot of upsetting America and taking the gold medal. How about we get to the list then...

Greece: Not a single player you've heard of, unless you remember Vasilis Spanoulis from his one year with the Houston Rockets, but they might be the best "team" in the entire Olympics. Spanoulis is Greece's best player and will be guarded by Kobe Bryant tomorrow. He's a combo guard that is the table setter for Greece and America will benefit greatly if Kobe is able to disrupt Spanoulis and force him into turnovers. As a team, Greece will look to slow the pace down and make the game a physical, grind it out game. Defensively, they are the epitome of a team playing to the edge of the rules (think Miami Heat circa 1996) and I wouldn't be surprised to see them draw a technical from Carmelo or Kobe. On offense, Greek will look to victimize America by using the pick and roll by employing a lineup that uses three point guards, (one of whom is 6'7") often at the same time. Don't be surprised if you see the Greeks run three consecutive pick and rolls in one possession. Don't be surprised if America is losing in the 4th quarter tomorrow.

Argentina: We all know the story with Argentina. They play exquisite team basketball and take advantage of the slightest lapse in concentration by their opponents defensively. They can score with any team in the world and have one of the most decorated players in international basketball to lead them. As a result of this, they are the defending Olympic champs and have a history of playing extremely well in international competition against America.

However, this Argentina team is not as formidable as the squad of 2004 or 2006. Their core group of players has gotten older (Pepe Sanchez retired) and there has not been an large influx of young talent. With that said, Argentina is still amongst the most physically talented teams in all the world. Led by Manu Ginobili, Argentina also boasts a very solid frontcourt with Luis Scola and Fabricia Oberto. Scola was the MVP of last year's Tournament of the Americas and is one of the better scoring big men in all of international basketball, while Oberto is a terrific defensive anchor in the middle as well as one of the world's biggest floppers. (Of course, he's no Manu) While Argentina is one of the favorites in this competition, I get the feeling that this team is one the downslide collectively, due to age and some extended NBA seasons, and doubt we'll be watching them in the gold medal game.

Lithuania: Probably not a real threat to America based on the way they were handled by Team USA during the exhibition schedule. However, Lithuania has already upset Argentina and boasts a team full of experienced and fearless competitors highlighted by elder statesman/leader Sarunas Jasikevicius and the newest, brightest Lithuanian star Linas Kleiza. A very good team, but a team that's caught in between generations right now, and thus not fully capable of competing at the level we saw in 2000 or 2004.

Russia: Another team that I don't see as a true gold medal threat but one that is certainly capable of pulling off an upset or two that throws the tournament on its ear. Watching Andrei Kirilenko play in the summers for Russia must drive Jazz fans crazy (well, that and the incest). He's spectacular for this team, doing a little of everything and then taking over offensively in crucial moments in a multitude of ways that you rarely out of him in the NBA. It makes you wonder if Jerry Sloan burns him with cigarettes every time he commits a turnover or something. The team's next best player is a black guy from Pittsburgh who played at Bucknell (J.R. Holden) and is a hero in Russia after he beat Spain with a buzzer beater to win last summer's European Championships. The team is coached by an American who has installed the Princeton offense and managed to resurrect a national program that was in shambles when he took over 8 years ago. Talent wise, there are a few failed NBA players like Sergei Monya and Viktor Khryapa that also supply some scoring punch but they aren't going to carry this team very far on their own. Bottom line: The ruskies will go as far as Kirilenko takes them.

Spain: Without question, this is by far the most talented team outside of America. By my count, they boast 7 players who play/played in the NBA with an 8th on the way in wunderkind Ricky Rubio. I also have to award them the mantle of biggest group of douchebags now that they managed to steal the title from Argentina, thanks to this photo.

On the court, Spain likes to push the pace behind Jose Calderon (the best PG in this tournament outside of Team USA and a possible future All-Star) and score points in transition but they also have the biggest frontcourt in the entire competition with the likes of Pau and Marc Gasol as well as Jorge Garbajosa protecting the rim. On the perimeter, Spain shoots it better than any other team in this tournament. Both Juan Carlos Navarro and Rudy Fernanadez are terrific coming off screens and creating offense for themselves or teammates and Raul Lopez provides solid play as the backup PG. Rubio has been somewhat of a defensive ace in the early going for Spain, a blessing considering the deficiencies of Navarro and Fernandez on the defensive end as well as the fact that, at age 17, many thought Rubio wouldn't find his way onto the Spanish squad. Spain's definitely weaker on defense than a number of the other favorites due to their penchant for gambling and a lack a physicality defensively. However, they possess such a deep offensive arsenal that they are often able to survive these defensive lapses through the strength of their varied offensive attack. Going into the competition, I had Spain picked to meet America in the gold medal match and I still think that's where this will all end up. Actually, I hope thats how it all ends up.

I'll be in the comments in the morning to guide you through the first real test for Team USA in almost 2 years.

Something to hold you over...

Evidently every member of the G:TB staff is busy today with various forms of work, or in Whitney's case just not answering their phone because they're bidding on a mint condition vinyl copy of Sandinista! I mean, why else would our midget overlord send me an email imploring me to post something...anything. Admittedly, its largely my fault since I'm predictably delinquent in the delivery of the second half of my Olympic Basketball column. So...since that column is still a few hours away, how about a little funny from Stepbrothers. Did it have a plot? No. Was the acting especially well executed? Of course not. Did I laugh my ass off? Hell yes. Will you be singing Boats n Hoes for the rest of the day? You bet your sweet ass.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A final goodbye to one bad mutha...

I was out yesterday, or else you would've been treated to this final G:TB "tribute" to Isaac Hayes, who sadly passed away Sunday. And by "tribute" I of course mean this minimal amount of prose and an appropriate YouTube clip. There are many to choose from in Isaac's case, but I've always been partial to his fantastic work in this extremely underrated 1981 Kurt Russell vehicle (and apparently, so was someone on YouTube, so thanks "Terra812"):

"They sent in their best man, and when we roll across the 59th Street bridge tomorrow, on our way to freedom, we're going to have their best man leading the way - from the neck up!"

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Figure out what this picture has to do with this post...

With the USA Men's Basketball teamed poised to take on China in what is quite likely the biggest sporting event in the long and storied history of the host country, as well as the first game of the Olympiad for both squads, now seemed like a good time to address the latest iteration of the Men's National Team.

Its no secret that this iteration of the Men's National team was constructed with the sole purpose of recapturing the gold medal. It's also no secret that this American team is as well constructed and talented a team as any that's been put together by USA Basketball since 1992. Jerry Colangelo, Coach K and the rest of the staff have done a fine job of assembling talent and motivating them to play together for a single purpose. However, this team is far from a lock to bring home the gold medal. In fact, I think you'll see them in a back and forth game with China going into the 4th quarter this morning. Simply put, this is still a very flawed basketball team. One that has the ability and raw talent to run teams off the floor but also one that, when faced with adverse circumstances is very likely to retreat inward and become a selfish and individualistic group of players on both ends of the floor.

Now, I don't mean to be what Darkmane is to the X Games here. I want the USA to win and do so in impressive fashion. However, I've also watched enough of this team to be more than a little concerned about how they'll react when faced with a patient team that executes its gameplan for long stretches of time without supplying the US Team with the turnovers that fuel most of its offensive runs. With that said, here are what I see as biggest potential problems for Team USA over the next couple of weeks:

Halfcourt Offense: As I mentioned, when the US is able to get out and run off of opponents' turnovers, they are unstoppable and a joy to watch. However, when they are forced to slow it down in execute in the halfcourt, things become decidely less impressive. This team has not played enough basketball together to have an innate sense of where each other are going to be on the floor, which stagnates ball movement and limits quick ball reversals. As a result of this, the US does not counter well when teams are able to stop the first two options on the initial pick and roll (This offense, like Duke's, is pick and roll heavy). At this point, the instincts of star players in the NBA take over and the rest of the possession often consists of a guard attempting to create something by going one-on-one.

Another problem in the halfcourt is the poor spacing that the US displays. The NBA game is played from the 3 point line in, meaning that NBA wings station themselves on the edge of the line in anticipation of kickouts. Once they receive the ball they are then able to decide whether to shoot or penetrate past an overzealous defender. However, the international line is nearly 3 feet closer than the NBA line and thus creates far less room for wings on kickouts. The US has yet to adjust its positioning to this difference. US wings need to position themselves a foot or so beyond the international line in order to create more space for their jumpshots, as well as better driving lanes for themselves and post up space for their bigs.

Finally, the US still lacks great 3 point shooting. Despite efforts to remedy this problem the selection committee really only gave Coach K one true 3 point shooter (Michael Redd). The rest of the perimeter players on this team are streak shooters, at best. Who's the second best shooter on this team? I'd go with Deron Williams or maybe Kobe Bryant, but even those guys aren't known as pure shooters. There is going to come a game when Redd can't hit a shot or get free and we'd better hope that Bryant or James and Carmelo Anthony are feeling it that evening.

Defense: Here is the team's biggest problem just as it was two summers ago at the World Championships. In the semifinal loss to Greece in Japan, the Americans were completely destroyed by nothing more than a steady diet of high pick and rolls. Once things started to go south, players stopped communicating, started worrying about their assigned men and eventually blew an 11 point second half lead to a team whose most well known player was Sofoklis Schortsanitis. From what I've seen, the pick and roll defense has still not improved tremendously. There doesn't seem to be a definitive plan for how to defend it each time out and too often one opposing player is left wide open as two US defenders smother the other offensive player. Teams that know each other well will find consistent success against the US by running the pick and roll and, at some point, the US is going to have to figure out what their plan of attack is. Do they trap it? Or should they switch and take advantage of the mobile big men at their disposal? Whatever the choice, the US needs to figure out a more effective way to defend basketball's oldest, most basic play.

As bad as the pick and roll defense has been, the US team's biggest problem is the propensity so many of its players have for gambling defensively. Think about it...Kobe, Paul LeBron, Wade, Williams...every one of them likes to play the passing lanes for easy steals. On their respective NBA teams, this is fine. However, teams cannot support two and three players constantly gambling for steals on defense. It results in too many help situations and too many wide open shooters. By refusing to play straight up chest to chest defense, the US is playing right into the hands of its opponents who want nothing more than to create wide open looks for their shooters. This penchant for gambling is the other side of the superstar syndrome that people rarely talk about, but its just as selfish and destructive as the one-on-one offensive play that has so often crippled America's recent international teams. Their has been a lot of talk about commitment to the team by these players in recent weeks but you'll know that they actually believe this when you see five guys talking, helping and playing good, well principled man-to-man defense every time down the floor. If they are able to do that consistently, turnovers will come and they'll come without the wide open momentum killing threes from the corner that Team USA has been giving up at an alarming rate so far in it's exhibition schedule.

Finally, if you're having a little trouble getting excited about this morning's game, allow Marvin to help get you in the mood...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Official G:TB Olympic Preview: Track Cycling

Today’s featured Olympic event combines elements of ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’, strategy that would be at home in a NASCAR race, rocket science, and extremely form-fitting apparel. Let’s hope NBC uses one of those pixelating thingies when they televise the men’s competition, yes?

Oh, and a big part of the event features competitors standing completely still while balancing on bicycles in the middle of an oval banked somewhere between 30 and 45 degrees. I give you the Individual Sprint competition in the Track Cycling venue.

Called by some “the fastest 10 seconds in sport”, and by others “why the fuck are they just sitting there”, Individual Sprint is a lot like my college sex life – lots of standing around doing nothing followed by a furious flurry of action and one person feeling a whole lot better than the other. Curiously, table tennis offers a different, though similarly accurate analogy – competitors flailing away with one hand in what is ultimately a silly and inconsequential endeavor.

The US Cycling Federation’s website…is hopelessly chaotic and impossible to navigate, so we’ll turn to our old friends at Wikipedia for a brief description of Individual Sprint. According to the unerring and righteous ‘pedia, “The sprint is a track cycling event involving a one-on-one match race between opponents who, unlike in the individual pursuit, start next to each other.”

Simple enough, except that the opponents must complete 4 laps of the 250m track to determine who wins, and the competitors usually spend the first 750m of the race riding at an roughly the same pace as the athletes competing in the bike race portion of the old ‘Superstars’ series (and how awesome was that, by the way?), with one rider hoping to use the aerodynamic advantage inherent in drafting to slingshot around the other to the finish line. It is not uncommon to see both riders at a dead stop halfway up the track waiting to see who blinks first, followed by a pell-mell dash to the finish line.

SI thinks the Netherlands’ Theo Bos will take the gold, and since I love me some Orange, I see no reason to disagree. Look out for Jennie Reed of the good old US of A in the distaff competition. Because she’s a big girl moving really fast, and if you don’t look out you’ll wind up pancaked.

Competition starts on August 16, with the finals for both genders on the 19th.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Official G:TB Olympics Idiocy

It was twenty years ago today . . . or at least this year.

On September 17, 1988, just under the wire to where it'd technically be the Autumn Olympics, the '88 Summer Olympics kicked off in Seoul, South Korea. Seoul was not a city extensively familiar to the Western audience, but it was certainly one ripe for puns galore. (The dubbing of Greco-Roman wrestler Andrzej Wronski as "The Seoul Pole" might have been my favorite.) The Seoul Olympics may be most notable as the last that the Soviet Union topped the medal count, for obvious reasons. (Teejay, Rob's a History major and he'll tell you why some other time.)

That Olympiad was also, in fact, one filled with all kinds of excitement. You probably don't remember Hodori, perhaps the least idiotic-looking Olympic mascot in the last few decades, but you surely remember the highlights. For example...

- You remember the late, great FloJo racking up the medals;
- You remember The Rape of Roy Jones, Jr.;
- You remember the US men's basketball team not getting it done and causing the evolution of the 1992 Dream Team;
- You remember Gabby Sabatini, because she's the most beautiful woman ever to set foot on a tennis court;
- You certainly remember Ben Johnson (the sprinter, not the poet), some world records, and some stripping;
- You -- and by "you" I mean G:TB's own Rhymenocerous -- definitely remember Greg Louganis banging his head on the board, in addition to some diving-related stuff.

Good times.

At the very same time, the 1988 Paralympics (aka the "Olimpics") were taking place in Seoul as well. This has no relevance whatsoever to this post, I just wanted to include that terrible, not nice, parenthetical gag I just thought of. I'm admittedly chuckling, going to hell, and very sorry.

At the very same time, on the other side of the world, an eerily different sort of Olympiad was taking place. These Olympics were hosted in a sleepy college/tourist/retiree/ridiculous Colonial crap town in the United States' mid-Atlantic region. On the 3rd floor of Monroe Hall -- yes, the very same freshman dormitory where just two centuries earlier an intoxicated James Monroe had once urinated on his compatriot's hand-wrung laundry stack -- a handful of young men and women came together to witness a singularly unique event. (Singularly unique in that it was simultaneously taking place in college dorms all over America.) Yes, I'm speaking of the Beer Olympics. Ah, to be 17 and wildly immature again.

Somebody in our group had uncovered a cassette (hey, it was the '80s) of "Bugler's Dream." That's the brass-and-timpani song to open the Olympics, not Geoff's theme song. You all know it, and even though I'm not as gung ho about the Olympics as Rob is, it invokes chills upon each first listen every Olympiad. Well, with the "real" Olympics happening in South Korea at the time, and the theme song being played on repeat (you know, where you rewind the tape and then replay it a bunch of times), it was a natural progression to commence the drinking game. In a school where even studying sometimes involved drinking games, it only made sense to capitalize on the palpable Olympic mania on campus. ("Really? The Olympics are going on?")

Eventually, the efforts of four brave freshmen led to a Hall-wide decathlon of sorts in the Monroe attic, one featuring sprints and chugs and cheering and a lot of falling down. What I recall best, however, was the initial foray into the Olympiad by our foursome. The timed trials, if you will. In a triathlon not at all unlike what comprises a real triathlon (in that you feel God-awful the next day), two dorm rooms across from each other lit the torch (in the TJ vernacular) and commenced a beer bong/16 oz cup/shotgun one-man relay 'twixt rooms that, when repeated in hopes of new world records, left four guys knee-walking drunk and full of bad ideas. But I'm skipping ahead.
(It should be noted that although what is pictured here is a new fangled shotgun-tool for beer cans, the old school method of using a key is -- and will always be -- the preferred way to prepare a shotgun.)

Olympic Gear:
Funnel; Cup; Key; Two cases of beer purchased at the local Beer Lion by one boy-faced "Jerry Garcia." Olympia Beer, natch. Remember, when people ask what makes Olympia taste so friggin' awful . . . it's the water.

The Olympians & The Events:
Long Island's own K. "Ahoy" Malloy led off with a solid if unspectacular bong's worth behind the closed doors of room 309. He had to shut both doors behind him as he then rushed across the hall to 308, warding off write-ups from the homely, red-headed girl RA down the hall we just called "Seaward." A workmanlike chug and a solid shotgun left him with a decent time in the first heat.

B. Cheese Hightower followed with an impressive bongload and a reportedly dazzling wolfing of the sixteen ounces. Upon re-entering 309, however, he belched up a few ounces of something decidedly liquid, and when he refused to lick it back up off the floor, he was instantly disqualified by the judges. Tragedy for the hometown fans back in Chesapeake.

I stepped up in the coveted third slot, ripped through the funnel allotment, struggled a bit through the cup, and nailed the shotgun event fairly swiftly. I was comfortably in the lead with a time somewhere just over :30. Feeling good, if a tad bloated. Little did I know, little did any of us know, that we were about to bear witness to one of the great beer-related performances of my generation.

Leesburg native Douglas Earl "Doug E. Fish" Nelson stepped up, took a breath, gave someone the finger, and set the beer bong aside after two scarily substantial swallows. He was back in the room in less than 10 seconds, leaving me stunned speechless. Later reports indicated that if he'd poured the beer in the nearby sink, he couldn't have done it with any more speed or ease than down his gullet. A deftly executed shotgun performance halted the clock at :19, a thoroughly startling finish. Just . . . wow.

After that, we tried in vain to knock him off the perch, but when you're in the presence of the master, there are but many apprentices. We ended up recruiting some of the hallmates to try to top him. Alas, it was not to be. Sentence Boy Dave slept with his head on the toilet that night, and I'm more than reasonably sure Rob threw up. Just another night on wild, wacky Monroe 3rd West. Yep, we were crazy like that.
(END long, self-congratulatory nostalgic story that Jerry hates.)

I wish I had a happy ending to give you, but just like Ben Johnson that year, Doug E. Fish was stripped -- not of his title, but of his right to attend the country's second oldest university. Children, take a lesson: drink if you must, binge drink if you're cool at all, but remember that there's a balance between your studies and your rampant alcoholism. Drinking 31 days in a row might've made me a hit with the fellows and a disease to the co-eds, but it didn't serve my GPA particularly well.

So finally, do yourself a favor and get into the Olympic spirit with a listen to "Bugler's Dream" below. You may just find yourself so caught up that you enact the 2008 Beer Olympics. And if so, remember the Olympic Creed:

"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well. It's the water."

Forza Italia

It's a proud day here in the combined G:TB/BMRN newsroom, as one of our own just made a tiny bit of history. (By 'our own', I obviously mean 'someone we've heard of and have fond feelings toward'.)
Earl Boykins, all 5'5" (allegedly) of him, just signed a 1-year, $3.5m contract to play for Vitus Bologna in the Italian league. The deal makes the diminutive stud (man, if I had a nickel for every time one of my lady friends called me that) the highest-paid player in the Italian league. Setting aside the fact that Boykins' new team appears to be named for Vitas Gerulaitis' manparts, this is huge news in the world of the not-so-huge.