Friday, December 30, 2011

The Twelve Days of Gheorghe-mas: Day Twelve

On the twelfth day of Gheorghe-mas, Big Gheorghe gave to me...

Twelve Appreciations

Eleven Months of Nonsense
Ten Holiday Beers
Nine Small-Town Nimrods
Eight Songs Dave Doesn't Loathe
Seven (More) Football Stories
Six Bits Worth Reviving
Five Awesome Gifts
Four Smokin' Rock Chicks
Three Blogging Concepts (Sports, Drinking, Elitism)
Two Footie Stories
And a Doofus on a Pony

Definition of APPRECIATION
\ə-ˌprē-shē-ˈā-shən, -ˌpri- also -ˌprē-sē-\

a : judgment, evaluation; especially : a favorable critical estimate
b : sensitive awareness; especially : recognition of aesthetic values
c : an expression of admiration, approval, or gratitude

: increase in value

It’s the fourth installment of Gheorghe-mas, and it’s the fourth time we close it out with a dozen appreciations for the year. This year we’re bringing back the association of these appreciations with my favorite music of the year. The truth is, I only failed to do so last year because I had listened to very little new music in 2010. Last year was a crappy, crappy year for a lot of folks in our gang, including me; I only learned this year that my personal barometer for the year is, in part, how much new music I hear, acquire, and enjoy. Who knew?

Drive-By Truckers, “Used to Be a Cop”
Trombone Shorty, “Do To Me”
Wilco, “One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley's Boyfriend)”

Let’s kick off my appreciations with an old stand-by, my ongoing love of seeing live music. There just isn’t much that beats it, and even with dollars on the wane this year, I managed to hit more than my fair share of great shows:

  • The Avett Brothers

  • Drive-By Truckers

  • Phish

  • Stone Temple Pilots

  • Trombone Shorty

  • Wilco

I can thoroughly recommend any of these artists in a live setting. With tickets already bought for a show I mention below, as well as the Old 97’s, Cowboy Junkies, and yes, Adam Ant in 2012, looks like we’re off to a fine start for the next year.

The Black Keys, “Lonely Boy”

Here’s how it used to work: I’d see old classmates like Zman every 3 or 4 Homecomings, maybe we’d talk music, and then we’d regale each other with stories about recent shows we’d seen. “Wow, wish I’d seen that show,” “Man, wish I’d known they were playing there,” and the like.

Here’s how the modern era of communication works: Zman posts the video to “Lonely Boy” pretty much as soon as the Keys were done filming it. Six weeks later, he sends me an e-mail with a link to the pre-sale for tickets to the Norfolk show in March. I get two General Admission tix online. A couple of days later, I send him an e-mail with info for a second pre-sale offering for the NYC tickets. The first show at MSG had sold out before he could land them, and he hadn’t seen this other opportunity. He subsequently scored a pair online.

God bless technology and its application to our collective rocking out to The Black Keys and many other acts. Without it, come March, Zman and I might be lonely boys indeed. Here's to Z, too.

Here's also to Squeaky, who continues to provide me discloads of music with neither prompting nor reciprocity. Thanks, as always, dude.

Feist, “How Come You Never Go There”
Death Cab for Cutie, “Stay Young, Go Dancing”

Rob referenced it ever so briefly in Day 11, but here’s another hat-tip to Shlara, if only for going out on a limb in a post that evoked a lot of other G:TBers’ stories and sentiments. We’re still pulling for you, Shlara, and we mean that in the dirtiest way possible. (Actually, I’m just glad you actually speak to me after my bad behaviors of our undergrad days.) Here’s also to Mark, who never bitched about a fairly debilitating injury – one that kept him from doing what made him happy – until it became extremely pertinent. Definitely feel for you, dude (ngs). And here’s to the G:TBers and FOG:TBs and everyone else with real-life struggles that, frankly, we can’t take less seriously. May our moronic little spitbowl here serve somewhat as a salve for what ails you.

Fitz and the Tantrums, MoneyGrabber
Peter Bjorn and John, “Second Chance”

2011, for me, can be categorized fairly succinctly:

  • Qtr 1: last three months of working for a tyrant

  • Qtrs 2 & 3: unemployed

  • Qtr 4: working at a job I love

The hell that was the 13 months of working for the -- without exaggeration -- worst human being I have ever met came to crashing close in March. I sent her a 3,500-word e-mail detailing the mismanagement, unprofessionalism, financial discrepancies, outright lies, and fraudulent activities she had demonstrated. Days later I was fired. Stay tuned, fans of the law.

For six months I was unemployed. You'd never know it from my lackluster G:TB output, but I was on the dole for half a year. Sucked pretty bad. Job opportunities rose and fell, but I managed to land a prominent position in a fantastic nonprofit. My role is to find jobs for people with disabilities, and it's more rewarding than any job I've held before it. I only hope to perform up to the levels they need, because the cause is worthy and these folks need work.

"Appreciating" this development is not a strong enough word. I am reveling in it. May you find a place of work that gives you satisfaction and appreciation, if not joy. Makes a world of difference.

Beth Hart & Joe Bonnamassa, “Well, Well”
Portugal.The Man, “Got It All

In addition to my appreciation for the career turn, I’ve had quite a few random windfalls lately. For some reason, I’ve been winning pools and drawings left and right. Nearly every time I threw my name into a hat, it came up Igor. Not that it’s always a huge payday; it’s usually quite the opposite. I won a crap golf shirt and a key chain. I won two tickets for a ride on the American Rover, a local schooner vessel. I won $15 in a raffle in which I entered $1.

Sometimes it’s pretty damn good, though. We won an iPad from Shaw Floors & HGTV for our entry in their Before & After contest. I won the super-exec parking spot for the next year here at work. I have been in a neighborhood poker group for 4 years, playing once a month and never won the big game in those years – then in a huge, well publicized game in November, I won it all and took home a sizeable chunk of change, taking out some of the best players I know in succession. Tons of luck there, as the final hand I was dealt was – no lie – 6 and 9, unsuited. (5-7-8 on the flop.)

I’ve always felt like I was a pretty lucky guy, and despite some recent nosedives in my life, I still do. (Granted, my fantasy football team sucked and my Powerball/Mega Millions results are never even close . . . but I’m still more fortunate than the next guy.)

Lissie, “Games People Play”
Mike Doughty, “Na Na Nothing”
Fountains of Wayne, “Someone's Gonna Break Your Heart”

Seems like every Day 12 I lament the lousy sports teams for whom I root and find a silver lining in them to appreciate. The latter part of this task is getting mighty tough.

  • New York Mets: 77-85, 4th place, ownership ineptitude, Madoff implications, one of the faces of the franchises defected to Miami, not getting better any time soon

  • Washington Redskins: at best they will meet my 6-10 prediction, ownership ineptitude, embarrassments galore, Rex Grossman, not getting better any time soon

  • William & Mary football: ranked #1 preseason, finished 5-6, meh

  • William & Mary men’s hoops: currently 1-11, ranked #336, extreme meh

  • Washington Bullets: 23-59 last year, 68 wins over last 3 years, not getting better any time soon

  • Norfolk Tides (AAA baseball): 56-87, last place, 24.5 GB, not getting better any time soon

The Virginia Destroyers of the UFL won the title!
Whoops, I never caught a down of it, though Marty Schottenheimer was winning games just 30 minutes away from my house. Meanwhile, my curiosity was piqued by the arrival of the Norfolk Sharx, an indoor soccer team in the MISL. I checked the paper two days ago, and here was the list of their results thus far:

Nov. 11 - Syracuse Silver Knights - L, 23-7
Nov. 19 - Milwaukee Wave - L, 21-7
Nov. 25 - Wichita Wings - L, 16-11
Nov. 26 - Missouri Comets - L, 19-9
Dec. 1 - Rochester Lancers - L, 16-2
Dec. 3 - Wichita Wings - L, 17-4
Dec. 10 - Missouri Comets - L, 15-4
Dec. 18 - Baltimore Blast - L, 19-8
Dec. 22 - Rochester Lancers - L, 26-10

Oof. I sure can pick ‘em.

Well, here’s the thing. I got into the College of William & Mary once upon a time because of three things: (1) a obvious clerical error; (2) my high school’s headmaster pulling some strings; and (3) because of one essay. In the essay I attempted to depict myself in stark contrast to the parade of trophy-hoisting winners and all-around champions that surely filled the applicant pool. Somewhere in the piece, I proclaimed, “You see, I have learned how to lose.” I detailed the extended woes of the varsity football team on which I played which went 1-9 two years in a row. I highlighted the disappointment of failing to make the varsity baseball team after hitting .351 for JV the year prior. I wrote in excruciating detail about losing our homecoming football game in part because the best catch I ever made was a foot out of bounds. (I didn’t need to expound upon my academic losses much, as my transcript told the bloody tale.) Man, I am one pathetic loser.

The College of Chris Wren saw fit to accept me, knowing I was more than ready for the steady stream of disappointments at W&M. Ironically, my favorite sports teams were in their championship-winning heyday then, in stark contrast to my own. Now, as good luck befalls me in other aspects of my life (see above), the sports teams I follow have hit a stupefying slump the likes I haven’t seen since . . . well, maybe my senior year at W&M. (There are droughts, and then there are W&M scoring droughts. Ah, yes, the disappointment.)

Hey – last night the Norfolk Sharx topped the Rochester Lancers, 18-16! So you’re telling me there’s a chance . . . and I appreciate it.

The Jayhawks, “Tiny Arrows”

Here’s to unexpected pleasures. New things that you’d never expect to be good, old things you had written off long ago. Apple pie moonshine, unbelievably tasty. The Jayhawks regrouping and putting out an album. Oft-embattled and generally self-sabotaging Johnny G winning our fantasy football title. (Sorry, Rob.) Adam Ant on tour? Count me in.

Maybe this will breed optimism about things I’d naysay, things like, say, The Beach Boys regrouping and making an appearance at JazzFest in April. Based on this interview with Mike Fucking Love (seriously, read each answer . . . what a self-absorbed prick), nothing has changed with the champ-de-douche. But with Brian and Al and Bruce Johnston there, it could be pretty spectacular. Or maybe Mike Love could fall off the stage and injure himself badly.

JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart

Drive-By Truckers, “Everybody Needs Love” (awesome video from Letterman, watch the end)

Ray Lamontagne, “Crazy”

I dig me a good cover tune. I did when I typed this screed in 2004, and I continue to scour the music soundscape for creative and worthy renditions of old songs. The ones listed above are outstanding; the version of the Wilco song is killer, with Archie Bell, Sam & Dave, and Otis Day influences. Here’s a listen of solid efforts from 2011 I also enjoyed:

Rhett Miller, "California Stars"
Weezer, "Paranoid Android"
Dum Dum Girls, "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out"
Nick Cave & Neko Case, "She's Not There"
Kurt Vile, "Downbound Train"
David Garrett, "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
Rachael Yamagata, "I'm Going to Go Back there Someday"

Jessica Lea Mayfield, “Our Hearts Are Wrong”

You only get one chance to make a first impression. And the first impressions that I get are usually way, way wrong.

Dave was a greasy weird guy from NJ that I’d never hang with after freshman year. Well, actually he’s a guy I still drive hours to see, one of the smartest dudes I’ve met, and my absolute foil on this planet. (Still weird, though.)
TJ was a brash blowhard. Well, actually he’s a highly introspective and considerate guy behind the curtain. (Don't tell anyone.)
TR, Zman, and Marls were uppity young dweebs unworthy to follow in our fraternity’s stead. Well, actually, they’re all rock solid with more interesting things to say in a deferential way than most people I know. (In truth, I always thought TR was pretty cool.)
Jerry was an idiot. Well, actually, Jerry is a savant.
Mark was a curmudgeon. Well, actually, Mark can be insightful and agreeable. Moreso when the Gators play well.
Dennis was fairly out of touch with the G:TB constituency. Well, actually, go read his brilliant Day 10.
Rob was a geeky little guy that I’d never hang with after freshman year. Well, actually, he’s the best friend a fellow could ask for, a mountain of character in a tiny little frame, and a guy I look forward to hanging with and poking fun at many times a year for years to come.

The lesson, as always, is that I am an idiot.

Adele, Someone Like You

Foster the People, Pumped Up Kicks

Coldplay, Paradise

Okay, so Dave covered guilty pleasures in his loathsome Day 8, but I already had this jotted down as an appreciation. I have always had a few embarrassing likes in my cabinet. I'm an unabashed fan of Sandra Bullock. And Patrick Swayze. And Sandra Bernhard. And Teejay. I thought "WKRP" was actually a really good show. As was "Simon & Simon." I liked Bobby Valentine. And Hubie Brooks. And Brent Price and Robert Pack. And Alvin Walton.

Musically, there are too many to mention, beyond Adam & the Ants. The ones listed above are "guilty" mostly because my daughters like them, poppy and popular all the way. But they're pretty good. The Coldplay tune in particular offends my musical sensibilities, to use the rock snob vernacular. It's synthy, lyrically vapid, and cheesy in some attempt to be anthemic; it's like a U2 throwaway. But damn if it isn't pretty catchy.

In the past, there have also been a couple of guilty pleasures I started to like only after a particular incident. I fell asleep in a car in 1993 and Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven," a song I did not care for, permeated my rem sleep from the car stereo; I had a dream about the death of his son (the basis of the song), and woke up kind of digging the song after all. Yeah, I'm a little weird, too.

And then there's "Stairway to Heaven." Overplayed throughout my radio-listening childhood, it was the embodiment of extravagant rock and roll of the 1970's. Ugh. Except when I was in a car following Flynn's one day, cruising down I-66 towards somewhere, he signaled to me on his meathook gnarled fingers 9-4-7. FM 94.7, the classic rock station. I flipped it over. "Stairway to Heaven." Flynn was more of a modern rock guy, a U2/R.E.M./Wilco guy, but there he was, jamming out in his Explorer to Page and Plant. By the time it got to Bonzo's entre, we had our arms elevated out our respective car windows, air drumming like dorks down the highway.

Sam Roberts Band, The Last Crusade

The Head and the Heart, Down In the Valley

Mayer Hawthorne, A Long Time

Flynn died some months later. I probably dredge up Flynn, Evan, and Lud stories all too often around these parts, but part of my job for all my years to come is to stoke the embers of their memories. I'll do the same for any of you who pass before me. Flynn left us five years ago this past Tuesday. Lud and Evan went 10 years ago this year. Here's to them and everyone else among our respective gangs who have gone along to the great beyond. You know who they are and what they have meant. Remember, like Lud said, "Children were a lot younger when my dad was a kid." (?)

Anyway, this appreciation isn't just for them, but for all the rest of you clowns as well. There's a saying I've heard, "Don't trust anyone who doesn't have old friends." Well, I feel pretty trustworthy on that criteria. Simon & Garfunkel's song "Old Friends" had a line:

Can you imagine us years from today, sharing a parkbench quietly
How terribly strange to be seventy

Well, Paul Simon was 26 when he wrote it. He turned 70 this year. Here's hoping he has old friends (besides Art) to do things like get drunk in the Corner Tavern and hit the greasetrucks or go to the OBFT with him.

More sap from A Very Special Episode of Igor:

“Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.”
― Tennessee Williams

“A friend is someone who sees through you and still enjoys the view.”
― Wilma Askinas

“Friends are God's way of apologizing for your family.”
― Wayne W. Dyer

More songs from 2011 you need to hear:

Dawes, "If I Wanted Someone"
Beirut, "Santa Fe"
Grouplove, "Colours"
Wilco, "I Might"
TV on the Radio, "Will Do"
Of Monsters and Men, "Little Talks"
The Decemberists, "Down By the Water"
The Civil Wars, "Poison and Wine"
Hoots and Hellmouth, "Apple Like a Wrecking Ball"
Kathleen Edwards, "Change the Sheets"
Rachael Yamagata, "Even If I Don't"
Cults, "Go Outside"
PJ Harvey, "The Words That Maketh Murder"
The Kooks, "Junk of the Heart (Happy)"
Feist, "The Bad in Each Other"
Bon Iver, "Calgary"
R.E.M., "We All Go Back to Where We Belong"

Random Idiots, “Dr. Seuss” (20th anniversary re-release)

-- So Paul’s Boutique was released in 1989. When we moved into the frat house that fall, Dave brought it with him and excitedly told me about it the very first time I saw him. He, Rob and I then listened to it 200 times.
-- Just like us, all-timer Miles Davis was quoted as saying he never tired of listening to the album.
-- Dr. Seuss passed away on Tuesday, September 24, 1991. The same day a lot of good music came out.
-- The next day, Dave came in my room with an idea for a new song. It would be about how Dr. Seuss used his pseudonym’s faux-doctorate to score chicks. He was on his way to class and gave me two couplets that he insisted be the foundation for the song:

Dr. Seuss ain’t no MD / but he was always into someone’s pan-ties
Dr. Seuss ain’t no gynecologist / but all the ladies know his fist

-- That was enough, and I inked the rest of it while he was in the class I was skipping.
-- Early that Saturday evening after a good amount of drinking, Dave, Hightower, and I piled into the fraternity men’s room (for outstanding acoustics) with two other cats and recorded “Dr. Seuss” on cassette. The vocal and guitar styling were lifted directly from the Beastie Boys, unabashedly so. The rest is musical history.
-- And Miles Davis died that same day – September 28, 1991.

The confluence is so eerie, as if it were meant to be. Three legendary musical acts inextricably linked by one fateful week and the Lorax.

Anyway, I appreciate Dave being such a random idiot.

Dr. Seuss by Random Idiots

Here's to 2011, which was a fair bit better than 2010. Here's to 2012; may we all see the end of it, and may I pretty much spew the same shit out in Day 12 again next year. In the meantime, happy listening, and Happy New Year.


Feeling Froggy

We're only two posts from finishing the year with 365. Since we love round numbers and we really love filler, we give you African Bull Frog. Watch all the way to the end.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Twelve Days of Gheorghe-mas: Day Eleven

On the 11th Day of Gheorghe-mas, Big Gheorghemas gave to me...

Eleven Months of Nonsense
Ten Holiday Beers
Nine Small-Town Nimrods
Eight Songs I'm Loathing . . . or should be loathing, but I'm loath to say that I'm actually liking them instead of loathing them . . .
Seven Football Stories
Six Bits Worth Reviving
Five Awesome Gifts
Four Smokin' Rock Chicks
Three Blogging Concepts (Sports, Drinking, Elitism)
Two Footie Stories
And a Doofus on a Pony

As I pondered weak and weary G:TB's 2011 output, I had it in my head that we'd had an off year by our normal standards. And then I started looking at some of the work we did, and realized that the drugs have really clouded my judgment. Let's do this, Dave Barry-style:


Igor kicked things off for us with an almost tender tribute to old punching bag Robby Alomar

Dave took the first angry steps towards a career in politics, while his running buddy Mr. Truck added the first plank to a platform certain to resonate with 100% of males.
My obsession with dangerous science led to my fingers traveling through time. As a follow-up to this post, they came back, eventually,with some great, if somewhat implausible stories about helping Harlan Sanders invent his famous chicken recipe.

I trust that the members of the G:TB community completed their reading assignments.

Zman started our philanthropic efforts for the year, helping the University of Buffalo hire a new football coach.


Dave's political aspirations expanded, as he harangued Roger Goodell on an issue of national import.

We sent a correspondent to the Super Bowl. 

TR expanded the G:TB multimedia empire to include animation. Not that kind, Igor.

Gheorghe: The Movie
by: Gheorghe

We continued our series of interviews with famous(ish) sports personalities, getting U.S. rugby standout Brian Hightower on the line via cans and string in advance of the International Rugby Board Sevens World Series Stop in Las Vegas.

Gheorghe: The Inspiration turned 40 and all we got him was this lousy post.

Charles Jenkins went all 'The Wolf' on the Wrens. Dagger.

We started talking about #3bids4CAA on Twitter. Nobody believed us.

Sachin Tendulkar, bitches!


#3bids4CAA became a reality, despite reality's heavy burden. Suck it, Whelliston.

The Almighty Yojo celebrated Biggie. Kinda.
American Dreaming by The Density

Our Second Annual March Madness podcast was slightly less successful than the first. Though more in keeping with our editorial standards.

The Old Guard are a respectful bunch of badasses.



Outside of Dave's opus on his Netflix queue, April was basically filler. Though it did mark the first time the phrase "unclothed genital contact" appeared in G:TB's pages.

We did manage to juxtapose 'Lamb of God' and a kitty snuggling with a dolphin in April.

And one of us dropped the worst draft analysis in history.


If you thought April was bad, get a load of May - a month in which we lamented the Tumblrfication of G:TB between TR's quality soccer posts and Jean Claude Van Damme animated gifs.

For some reason, I wasted precious time and words on Peter Angelos.

And Zman redeemed us by finding Adam Mansbach's brilliant 'Go the Fuck to Sleep'.


Mark bolstered his reputation as G:TB's leading semi-serious sports pundit with another terrific NBA Draft piece (which somehow got Teejay's byline).

Our big man lamented the loss of the Big Man.

We learned that Mark's family tattoo and athletic shoe budget will increase by 50%. Please don't doublecheck the math.

Dave weighed in on the Top 7 Coolest Ways to Die Via Animal. He left out death by flying squirrel.

We're probably gonna be the last people on Earth defending LeBron.

Z expanded our parameters, tennis-style.


We learned how to be men from the Zman. And The Almighty Yojo wrote a song about it.

It was a big month for Z, who got all statistical on us in evaluating running quarterbacks.

The Teej kept us in Muppets, with help from Shlara.

Pretty big month for Dave, too, who dropped the all-time best Fashion is Stupid on us. Cockroaches included. He also managed to include David Sedaris in a sexual fantasy. We don't judge here.

But the courts do, as Zman so elegantly informed us in a post that mixed Ghostface Killah with jurisprudence.  Come to think of it, 'twas a big month for Ghostface, too.

Not sure any of our readers know it, but I really find Roger Clemens distasteful. Don't much care for his legal opposition, either.


The Zman battened down the hatches with absinthe and soprasetta to survive Hurricane Irene.

July's judicial trend continued into August, as we discussed the legality of contracts signed while drunk, and followed the continuing saga of Urbont v. Ghostface.

It seems fairly clear that we're the internet's leading purveyor of shoot/pass first vs. run/pass first playmakers.

The Ghoogles brought back old friend Cocaine Bear.


Shlara's a bigger stud than most of the G:TB staff combined.

Igor lamented the end of R.E.M.'s world, and we read it.

September 24, 1991 was a very good day in music.

The Teej finally found an outlet for his prodigious popular culture skills.

Zman gave us yet more evidence of his Renaissance qualifications, declaiming at length and with skill about serious scientific matters a mere week before shining a light on The Low End Theory.

Mark kicked off what turned out to be Science Month with a personal message for Peyton Manning. This and Shlara's post from later in the month might be my favorites of the year.

We remembered 9/11.

It took a bit of cajoling, but Igor came through with a fine preview of the Rugby World Cup.

We forgot history, and were thus doomed to repeat it. Perhaps the most perfectly Gheorghey post of the year.


Beavis and Butthead returned to great fanfare from this corner of the 'sphere.

Teejay drew inspiration from a fairly likely source.

What the Kids Are Watching returned with a llama-flavored vengeance.

Z gave us all the soul we wanted.


It may not be the Wrens' year.

Mark may not be the most prolific blogger on the team, but he gives Z and Dave a run for the most words per post lead every year. He waxed wordly about Florida vs. Florida State and Urban Meyer heading to Columbus.

Quidditch, Muggle bitches!

Dave penned G:TB's first fiction, accompanied by a sperm cake.

In the end, 2011 was an improvement in a number of ways from its immediate predecessor, both on the field and in many of our personal lives. Summer Dave was unable to defend his MVP honor, which went to Zman for both his pace and the diversity of his handle. Mark's gonna have a lot of new material in 2012, so keep an eye on him.

Merry Gheorghemas, friends of G:TB. May the Biggest Man give you everything you hope for in the new year.

Some traditions are worth upholding.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Fashion is TREMENDOUSLY dumb...

...I mean, what the f**k is this? At some point does Fay Wray appear in this fashion show?

[Pic via lefresh]

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Twelve Days of Gheorghe-mas: Day Ten

On the tenth day of Gheorghe-mas, Big Gheorghe gave to me...

Ten Holiday Beers...
Nine Small-Town Nimrods
Eight Songs I'm Loathing . . . or should be loathing, but I'm loath to say that I'm actually liking them instead of loathing them . . .  Seven Football Stories
Six Bits Worth Reviving
Five Awesome Gifts
Four Smokin' Rock Chicks
Three Blogging Concepts (Sports, Drinking, Elitism)
Two Footie Stories
And a Doofus on a Pony

This year's 12 days of Gheorghemas has shaped into something of a public service announcement for things to contemplate this holiday season. From live music to gift ideas to hot chicks to interest in the Footies (and we were so serious about this one we curiously devoted 1/6 of the 12 days to it); we've covered a lot. Who am I to buck this trend? I've always been somewhat of an enabler. So, I'd like to present something to help get those synapses firing - a catalyst in a cup (or glass if you have to be so fancy about it). And really, there's no better way to contemplate than while sipping something divinely delicious and laden with alcohol.

Some quick background qualifications first. I happen to live a short Par 5 away from one of the best local beer markets in the country (which frankly, deserves its own post for a number of reasons). Everything from obscure domestic microbrews to lavish imports, they have them all.

You'd think I'd be fatter than I am - weird. As such, I've devoted a significant part of my holiday spirit to tasting as many festive fermented creations as possible. The other parts have been devoted (unequally) to sports betting, my children, and saving TJ's liver (and not necessarily in that order). So, on this 10th Day of Gheorghemas, I'd like to share with you, dear readers, some pleasant avenues to numbing those Christmas blues.

Editorial note: because I don't really care for ranking something so subjective, there is no numbering or order here. Instead, I've suggested a musical pairing with each selection to match the vibe of the beer. No rating system, no stars, no thumbs. Just simply tossing them up in the air so they fall like snowflakes onto your mittens. Seriously, please catch them on the way down, they come in glass bottles and will shatter if they hit the floor....

Bell’s Christmas Ale:

Musical Pairing: Wilco, Andrew Bird, Sufjan Stevens

A perfectly balanced ale that subtly blends its malts and spices for a smooth finish. This ale seems to capture the essence of the holidays without trying too hard. Bell's has become one of my favorite breweries in the States - consistently pumping out quality stuff for all pallets.

Anchor Merry Christmas and Happy New Year:

Musical Pairing: The Velvet Underground, The Grateful Dead, Girls

The counter culture crew really knows their brew -and has for a long time. This spicy sweetness is no exception. The rich color and bold scent will have you melting by the fire even before the nectar hits your tongue.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale:

Musical Pairing: U2 (1980-1989), The Shins, Mumford and Sons

This one you can probably get on tap in your local pub. It's become a hop lovers mainstay on the Christmas circuit. A beer for the people - I've seen it in the most finicky beer snob's hipster iceboxes as well as buried in coolers at stuffy tasteless holiday parties your boss throws.

Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve:

Musical Pairing: Old 97's, LCD Soundsystem, Rogue Wave

The Gheorghiest of all the selections - because it's not really a Christmas ale at all. Other than the Santa on the label and the red in the color, this red-hopped beauty is more like snowshoes on South Beach.

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale:

Musical Pairing: The National, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver

Wow. Do whatever you can to get this one. A quintessential Belgium brew taken to another level here. Mind melting malts and a rich velvety taste. Looks like art in a glass when you pour it with the thick head and dark color. Comes in at 10% ABV, so you'll be on your way to deep thoughts with a couple of these.

New Belgium Snow Day:

Musical Pairing: Cults, Vampire Weekend, The Avett Brothers

A beer so approachable and unoffensive you wouldn't know you're drinking something of such high quality. Malty, but not too sweet with mild spices creating a playful quality. You'll wish you were snowbound with nothing but time.

Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome:

Musical Pairing: The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Pink Floyd

I'm a sucker for everything that comes out of Samuel Smith's, so this was gonna be on the list even if it is somewhat of a departure from the usual English pub style ales they produce. Just reaffirmed its placement on this list last night as a matter of fact.

Great Divide Hibernation:

Musical Pairing: Radiohead, TV on the Radio, James Blake

The perfect twist on an old-English style ale. Like Alfrerd Hitchcock said, "suspense lies in the moments leading up to the bomb exploding; not the explosion itself." The whole time you're waiting for that bitter attack, this beer keeps the acidity in the dark with a nice sugary coating. Caramel and roasted malts make this heavenly for an evening of staying in and pondering the merits of concert sing alongs.

Troeg’s Mad Elf:

Musical Pairing: The Flaming Lips, Of Montreal, Frank Zappa

This one requires some adventure. Not what you'd expect from a Pennsylvania beer company. But, conjure up visions of candy canes dancing in your head while drinking this one. Sweet fruity and candy flavors take the the malts to another level. While also winning the ABV award on this list by topping out at 11%, don't be fooled by the whimsical sweetness....that elf is truly angry (or crazy (or both)).

Salud y Feliz Navidad!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Boxing Day

From Wikipedia:
Boxing Day is traditionally a day following Christmas when wealthy people and homeowners in the United Kingdom would give a box containing a gift to their servants. Today, Boxing Day is better known as a bank or public holiday that occurs on December 26, or the first or second weekday after Christmas Day, depending on national or regional laws. It is observed in Great Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and some other Commonwealth nations.

Boring. To the fine folks at G:TB, this holiday means lunch at our favorite Boxing Day locale:

Followed by a battle of topless pugilists:

And before our female followers claims we left them out, I imagine this google images gallery can keep you entertained for awhile.

Happy Boxing Day to all...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Twelve Days of Gheorghemas: Day Nine

On the ninth day of Gheorghemas, Big Gheorghe gave to me...

Nine Small-Town Nimrods
Eight Songs I'm Loathing . . . or should be loathing, but I'm loath to say that I'm actually liking them instead of loathing them . . .  Seven Football Stories
Six Bits Worth Reviving
Five Awesome Gifts
Four Smokin' Rock Chicks
Three Blogging Concepts (Sports, Drinking, Elitism)
Two Footie Stories
And a Doofus on a Pony

In very many ways Loudoun County, Virginia is a wonderful place. It combines rural beauty with exurban convenience, mixing small-town charm with reasonable proximity to big-city cultural amenities (and judging by the patrons in this coffeeshop, it's got the requisite hipster population to mark it modern). As of 2007, the county boasts the highest median household income of any county in the nation, at $107,207. The county played a significant role in both the Civil War and World War II, as George Marshall allegedly conceived the Marshall Plan from his estate in Leesburg*.  The Washington Redskins, Patton Oswalt, and the founder of Gheorghe: the Blog call the county home, and the quality of life in the area has helped it become the 4th fastest growing county in the country over the past decade.

Loudoun's also a very artistic place, home to painters, photographers, and artists of all stripes.  So you can imagine our pride, then, to find Loudoun getting national exposure for the creative expression of one of our citizens.  Perhaps a bit of background is in order.

Several years ago, local residents protested the placing of a nativity scene on the lawn of the County Courthouse on the grounds that a public facility is an inappropriate venue for displays promoting a single religion. The nine-member Board of Supervisors ultimately agreed, and established a process that enabled county residents to apply to display holiday symbols of their choosing in a first-come, first-served manner.  Interestingly, the application process does not require submitters to include a picture or other visual representation of their proposed display. I see no way this could go wrong.

Last year's displays were fairly tame, with a few atheist groups sprinkled in with local churches, mosques, and synagogues.  This year, 18 year-old Jeff Heflin wanted to make a statement. The young man was saddened by Christmas' overwhelmingly commercial nature.  In his own words, he sought "to depict society’s materialistic obsessions and addictions and how it is killing the peace, love, joy and kindness that is supposed to be prevalent during the holiday season." How better to do that than clothe a skeleton in a Santa Claus suit and hang him on a cross?

Heflin's performance art was met by a perfect storm of outrage, with Christians aghast at the affront to their faith, parents pissed about having to explain it to their kids, atheists and agnostics angry at everyone else's reaction, and local politicians quickly (and, of course, loudly and visibly) taking to the media to express their righteous indignation and shock, shock that anyone would do such a thing. Supervisor-elect and blowhard Ken Reid was "utterly outraged", and expressed his “...intent as the new Supervisor for Leesburg to seek changes in the county policy so these outrageous anti-religious displays are not debasing the lawn of our beloved courthouse.” When a local woman disobeyed the Sheriff's Office and dismantled the display, she was alternately cheered and jeered by the opposing sides.  If only this could have been predicted.

Fortunately, at least for those who like entertainment, the Board of Supervisors declined to discontinue this year's remaining holiday displays despite pressure to do so. Freedom of speech may not be pretty, but it's worth protecting.  Me, I'm really looking forward to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster's presentation. And planning next year's Apostles of St. Gheorghe concept, because it sure seems like my little town could use an antidote to self-seriousness. I'm a churchgoing man, but I confess very little tolerance for people of any persuasion forcing their views on others. Unless their views are anti-Dan Snyder.

In 2011, the voters of Loudoun County swept much of the incumbent Board of Supervisors out as Republicans made a clean sweep of the nine Board seats. In what may be taken as a heel turn by my liberal fellow travelers, recent events have convinced me that this is a good thing. I'll take competence over ideology, especially when it comes to my neighborhood.

Merry Flying Spaghettimas.

* The 'conceived' part of this might be made up, but the good General's Dodona Manor is smack in the middle of downtown Leesburg. I run by it on a regular basis.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Twelve Days of Gheorghe-mas: Day Eight

On the Eighth Day of Gheorghe-Mas, Big Gheorghe gave to me:

Eight Songs I'm Loathing . . . or should be loathing, but I'm loath to say that I'm actually liking them instead of loathing them . . . 

Seven Football Stories
Six Bits Worth Reviving
Five Awesome Gifts
Four Smokin' Rock Chicks
Three Blogging Concepts (Sports, Drinking, Elitism)
Two Footie Stories
And a Doofus on a Pony

If you don't know the distinction between "loath" and "loathe," then you've come to the right place. First, I should tell you that I am a professional English teacher, and so you can trust my expertise. Second (and not nearly as important) is the fact that I learned the difference between these two words several weeks ago. This should have no bearing on my counsel. Actually, you should be pleased and impressed that I am willing to admit that I did NOT know the distinction between "loath" and "loathe" until recently . . . because I could have arrogantly and pedantically pretended that I knew the correct usage all along. I could have made you feel inferior, but I'm not that kind of guy. Il vaut mieux s'adresser à Dieu qu'à ses saints, as they say. You know what I mean.

So now you trust me. Unless I simply pretended not to know the distinction to gain your trust. You'll never know, but it's better to trust me, because I am going to make a confession. A true confession (unlike the confessions that asshole James Frey made in A Million Little Pieces).

The difference between "loath" and "loathe" is this: loath means reluctant. It is an adjective. For example, I am loath to admit that I cried at the end of Snoopy Come Home. Loathe is a verb, and it means, of course, to hate, to abhor. As in, I loathe giblets.

So what happens when you put these words together in the same sentence? You get a list of songs that I am loath to admit that I do not loathe. In other words, these are songs that by all rights I should hate, but yet I don't hate them. If they come on the radio, in theory, I should shut them off, but I don't. Instead, I turn them up. I listen to them, instead of loathing them as I should.

I should be loath to admit this to the entire internet, but I want to set the record straight (both on the songs and how to use "loath" and "loathe" properly).

The Number One Song I Am Loath To Admit I Do Not Loathe is The Eagle's Hotel California.

I try to agree with Jeff Lebowski on all matters, especially his hatred of The Fucking Eagles. Why should you hate The Fucking Eagles, man? Read this article to find out. But despite Ron Hart's ten cogently argued points, I do not loathe "Hotel California." In fact, if I hear it on the radio, I tell my children to listen carefully, and then I turn it up. God knows why, but I think this is a song with which they should be familiar. I even learned the chords on the guitar so I could sing it for them (and in a delusional state, I looked up the tab for the solo, but that shit is way too hard). Last night at the bar, when this song came on, I ceased conversing for a while and listened. Seriously.

The lyrics are a bit cryptic, and so I went to Snopes to learn exactly what they mean . . . and, unfortunately, they don't mean very much. The Hotel California is not an inn run by cannibals or a mental hospital or the place where the Satanic Bible was written. The figure on the balcony is not a ghost or Anton LaVey-- it's the janitor. The song is not a swipe at Steely Dan.  If any of these things were true, I would like The Eagles more. Apparently, the song is "an allegory about hedonism and greed in Southern California in the 1970's." Pretty boring stuff . . . perhaps the song is just one of those lucky accidents, a far greater work of art than The Fucking Eagles intended.

The Second Song I Am Loath To Admit I Do Not Loathe is Believe by Cher.

Something about the Cher-effect (Cher's voice is altered by a pitch correction speed that is "set too fast for the audio that it is processing" by using extreme settings on Antares Auto-Tune software) captured my imagination, and-- though this song is really cheesy--  the chorus still sticks with me. Maybe this because of all the Ween pitch-shifting absurdity I listened to in my twenties.

Three: Ninety-Nine LuftBallons by Nena. 

This song infected my brain when I was very young (13) and I've never been able to remove it. I like the tempo changes and I even like the part that goes: "Bomp a domp bom bum waba wump."

Four: Closing Time by Semisonic.

I thought I loathed this song until I read this insightful essay about it on Grantland, and now I am loath to admit that I don't loathe it any longer.

Five: Boys of Summer by Don Henley

Holy shit! Revelation! I've been full of self-loathing because I don't loathe this song by Don Henley-- even though Igor and I have a close source who revealed that Don Henley is a giant douche-- and now I know why! While doing research for this post, I found out that the song was co-written by Mike Campbell-- the long time guitarist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. And I LOVE Mike Campbell, and I'm not loath to admit it! So it makes a lot more sense why I find this song both haunting and catchy, and now I'm not full of self-loathing about it. Nice work, Mike!

Six: Mr. Jones by Counting Crows

I loathe the name "Counting Crows." I also loathe all the "sha la la la" crap and the shit about the meaningful colors and the gray guitar. So the question is: why do I know all the lyrics to this ballstain of a song?

Seven and Eight: I Will Always Love You and Nothing Compares 2 U

Some confusion on my part here. These songs are both fun to sing in the shower (or in my Jeep when the stereo is broken). Somehow along the way, in my screwed up head, I combined these two songs into one. One song with a super-long mega chorus that goes: ""I ah-ah-ah-ah will always loooove you-oooh because nothing compares, nothing compares to you-ooh." I pretty much forgot that they were separate songs by different artists.

Coincidentally, they share a similar, mirror-like history. "I Will Always Love You" was written by Dolly Parton-- who is really white-- and made famous by Whitney Houston, who is not white. "Nothing Compares 2 U' was written by Prince, who is not white, but made famous by Sinead O'Connor, who is really white. Pretty cool, right? Try singing the mega-chorus in the shower, it's fun.

I hope this fosters some discussion of songs you are loath to admit you do not loathe, and I hope everyone can now properly use these two oft-confused words. Merry Gheorghe-mas . . . I have given you the gift of knowledge.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Twelve Days of Gheorghe-mas: Day Seven

On the seventh day of Gheorghe-mas, Big Gheorghe gave to me...

Seven Football Stories
Six Bits Worth Reviving
Five Awesome Gifts
Four Smokin' Rock Chicks
Three Blogging Concepts (Sports, Drinking, Elitism)
Two Footie Stories
And a Doofus on a Pony

Yes, we're hitting you up with more football talk. We will focus on EPL action here, as recent events in league play have set the stage for a fascinating Spring in 2012. So without further ado, let's kick it off.

1) The Big 4 is Now the Big 7. The Big 4 have seen some newcomers infringe on their turf at the top of the league tables, and while the title chase appears to be a two-horse race with the Manchester clubs, spots 3-7 remain very competitive. It seemed to be a given that Manchester City was going to run away with the league title, but a 2-1 loss to Chelsea in an intense match ten days ago has shifted momentum. Manchester City, with 44 points, leads Manchester United by two points as we near the halfway part of the season. A quintet of clubs trails them, hoping to climb into the Top 4 to qualify for next year's Champions League. They are Tottenham (34 pts), Chelsea (32), Arsenal (32), Liverpool (30) and Newcastle (27).

2) Spurs Is for Real. So is Newcastle. The biggest surprises of the season have been Tottenham and Newcastle. Spurs have been aided by ageless American keeper Brad Friedel, while Newcastle has seemed to scrape and claw their way through every match, rediscovering their swagger in their second season back in the EPL after being relegated a few years back. They have fallen back a bit of late, but their cool uniforms make them worthy of inclusion.

3) The Return of Landon (Calrissean) Donovan. Landon will be loaned out to Everton again for two months, after a successful stint there in 2010. Everton could sneak up into the top 8 of the standings if Donovan can provide the horsepower on offense to compliment Tim Howard.

4) Will Manchester United Sure Up Their Midfield? The Red Devils have been struggling to put the ball into the net for much of the year. The center midfield position has been an especially weak spot, forcing Sir Alex Ferguson to play Wayne Rooney in more of a midfield role. Michael Carrick is serviceable but not great, Phil Jones is a natural wing player and Darren Fletcher is suffering from a "chronic inflammatory bowel condition" called ulcerative colitis. Sounds unfun. So let's cross our fingers that the Glazers can pony up some casheesh to bring in a talented player during the January transfer window.

5) Will Manchester City's Team of All-Stars and Lunatics Implode the Squad? Since my last post on Manchester City on Day Two of Gheorghe-mas, the team has not disappointed me. Model-banging striker Mario Balotelli got into a fight with teammate Micah Richards at practice. Practice!? We talking 'bout practice. Practice. The club is dealing with the situation by increasing the height of its fences at its training field so the media can't see the dysfunction firsthand. For the record, I wouldn't mess with Micah Richards. Dude looks like he can whoop some ass. But then again, if I was a 20 year-old Ferrari driving multimillionaire, I might do it.

6) The Fall (And Subsequent Rise) of Arsenal. Arsenal shat the bed pretty fiercely out of the gate this Fall, starting the season 1-3-1, which included an 8-2 arse-whooping loss to Manchester United and a 4-3 loss to feeble Blackburn. However, the team has pulled it together since then, going 9-2-1 in its subsequent twelve matches to climb into a 4th place tie with Chelsea.

7) Sports Appetizer This Afternoon. We have a great weekend of NFL and NBA action ahead of us, but you can start your sports viewing this long weekend by watching Spurs-Chelsea at 3 PM. Go get some.

Bonus footage: Ruud van Nistlerooy highlight clip. Mr. van Nistlerooy was a prolific Dutch striker who played for Man U for six years earlier this decade, and then for Real Madrid for four more years. His skills were almost as awesome as his name is, so we are including a clip of him. I admire this clip poster's fandom, if not his grammatical skills.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I'll explain everything to the geeks

A fine chapter in the book titled "Misadventures of zman and TR" involves going to see the Allman Brothers at the Beacon Theater in 1998 or 1999. They put on a good show with a protracted jam that included several Allman staples as well as "Franklin's Tower," "Help Is On They Way" and "St. Stephen's". Time spent listening to "One From the Vault," the only Dead album I can stomach, served me well as I was able to identify the start of this Dead run before anyone else, including the guy in front of us whom TR nicknamed "The King of All Weed". TKoAW was a chubby disheveled 40-something dude with an amorphous mass of wiry dandruffy dry hair, a nose like a bell pepper, chunky glasses, a pushbroom mustache, a steal your face tshirt that might have been white at one point but was now dishwater grey (and likely orange in the armpits), sweatpants, and a fannypack. He had a younger woman with him who was cute in a hippie/Earthy manner and they went out of their way to say hello to everyone around them as they sat down. Once the show started TKoAW pulled a joint from his fanny pack, lit it, hit it a few times, and gave it to the guy on his left with a "take two and pass it on" hand motion. Or at least that's what I'm told that hand motion meant. TKoAW continued in this manner throughout the show, distributing joints in all radial directions and thereby clubbing our section into a cannaboid haze with what I'm told was cataclysmically powerful pot. The show ended on a predictable and thus somewhat unfortunate (from a storytelling perspective) note when the Allmans performed "Whipping Post" as their encore.

I returned to the Beacon this Saturday for the first time in over decade, along with FsOG:TB Squeaky and Juan Carlos, and FOz&S J-P, to see The National. This post is not an offical Gheorghe-mas entry but if you're looking for a good Christmas (or Gheorghe-mas) gift, give (or ask for) two tickets to see The National the next time they're in town. They kick some serious tail.

This show was quite unlike my previous trip to the Beacon. TKoAW wasn't there, nor was there anyone remotely like him. The crowd was mostly date-night couples and people about my age with a healthy smattering of 20-somethings and groups of attractive young women. Everyone bought their clothes at J Crew or Banana Republic. J-P commented that it was much unlike the Parts and Labor show he saw the previous night, which he described as a sausage fest. Unsurprising, if you ask me. Also in the crowd was a man in a tux with a woman in a wedding dress, which prompted the following exchange:

zman: "What the fuck? Who gets married then goes to a show in those getups?"
J-P: "They probably met at some bar where the bartender was playing a National album and now it's their band."
zman: "I bet he picked her up with a National pickup line."
J-P: "Fuck you talkin bout?"
zman: "Like we went up to her and said 'I'd eat your brains.'"
J-P: "It would be cooler if she offered to put his brains in her mouth. Maybe he just walked up and said 'Karen'?"
zman: "How about 'I was carried here by a swarm of beers'?"
J-P: "Your lines suck. If he had game he woulda said 'I won't fuck us over I'm Mr. November.'"

That settled it for us so we went with that explanation.

The National played for about 2 hours including almost all of High Violet and a bunch of old stuff from Alligator and some new stuff that they apparently debuted a week earlier. Their Bjorn Borg clone of a drummer (Bryan Devendorf) is insanely good with a style reminiscent of Muhammad Ali's -- his hands appear to float and skim around the drum kit while the sticks barely seem to touch the drums, but he produces a punishing cacophony of sound that cannot possibly come from only one percussionist. I know this because they project his image while playing on a massive screen behind him using a camera angle mounted directly above and slightly behind him. Just watching him play Bloodbuzz Ohio alone is a spectacle worthy of the price of admission (I never properly appreciated the complexity of the drums on that song). They also have a trumpeter, two trombonists, a four piece string section, and three keyboardists. Lots of folks on stage.

They put on a damn good show, concluding with lead singer Matt Berninger drunkenly staggering into the crowd and chair-walking Roberto Benigni style during Terrible Love, much to the chagrin of the guy in charge of his mic cord. They eventually corralled him back onto the stage where he called everyone out from behind the scenes to thank them for all their work on the tour (this was the last show). And then this happened.

After everyone finished and settled down, I turned to Squeaky and we looked at each other for a second, then he proclaimed "That was awesome."

The National turned Squeaky into a lover of singalongs. Go see The National. It will change your life. Squeaky is living proof! And you might get to see an encore that is the complete opposite of the Allman's "Whipping Post".

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Twelve Days of Gheorghe-mas: Day Six

On the sixth day of Gheorghe-mas, Big Gheorghe gave to me...

Six Bits Worth Reviving
Five Awesome Gifts
Four Smokin' Rock Chicks
Three Blogging Concepts (Sports, Drinking, Elitism)
Two Footie Stories
And a Doofus on a Pony

So, I almost ruined Gheorghe-mas. It's true. There hasn't been a Gheorghe-mas post in six days. I could make excuses, blame work, general apathy, a Reddit addiction (no chance Dave knows what Reddit is)...but I won't. I honestly couldn't figure out what to write about. No, rob, it's not rocket surgery, but I certainly didn't want to give a lackluster effort during the Gheorghe-mas season. Would I waste your time with six youtube clips? How many "Muppets rapping" videos are out there? As I whined about blogger's block in the car, @baconbaking even suggested doing six goose recipes (who's up for some Goose Balls) for Day Six, in homage to the original lyrics to "12 Days of Christmas". Well, I didn't do any of those. Instead, I chose to use my Day Six forum to suggest the editorial staff bring back some (fleeting) moments of G:TB brilliance. I give you six theme posts we need to bring back in 2012...

No. 6: Adopt A Rookie/Adopt A Team
Given we have to root for the William and Mary Tribe, arbitrarily adopting another team allows us perhaps the chance to root for a successful season. Though, given the well-documented G:TB Curse, whoever we picked is doomed to collapses. And quickly. I also liked that we stepped into the rookie adoption game, and welcome a return to this virtual human trafficking.

No. 5: G:TB Celebrates America
I mean, we're not communists (well, Dennis is a bit of a fascist), so why the hell hasn't this returned already. Enough about people's beach homes. Let's get a report on Branson, MO. Hell, let's get a post on Bronson, MO while we're at it.

No. 4: Ask A...
Don't want to give Dave a bigger head than he already has, but I thoroughly enjoy these question and answer sessions. The pool of potential answerees (is that a word?) is unlimited. Time for Summer Dave to become Winter Break Dave and craft one of these columns. Maybe we can get a list of new year's resolutions from Mr. Matthew Clemmens?

No. 3: Know Your Minor League Mascot
I believe it all began with a post about the Richmond Flying Squirrels (and rightfully so, they are a tremendous mascot). We need more of this, and not just baseball-related. I believe Virginia Tech beat North Florida last night (is that even a school) and their nickname was the "Ospreys". What's the deal wit that? rob, see, this is what the reader(s) is/are dying to know. I also like that we were able to include Jamie Farr in the G:TB historical archives via this feature.

No. 2: What The Kids Are Watching
No, really, I actually care what Dave's students and rob's daughters are watching on television. Hell, we can even branch out and see what sort of Skinemax danimal is watching weekend late nights.

No. 1: The Ghoogles
It has been quite awhile since we searched the world wide web to see what key words led folks to G:TB. This is #1 on the list because, well, I usually do this one...and it gave us the ridiculous "Alfonso Ribeiro Shirtless" google search claim to fame.

Just missing the cut: Anything large hadron collider-related, Bite Me Randy Newman (there can be only so much rob stuff), follow-up to the Jack Urbont situtation