Thursday, March 31, 2011

Eternal Springing Hope

Damp gloominess notwithstanding, it's once again the Baseball Poets' favorite time of the year. The next year we've all been waiting for has arrived, the verdant cathedrals flung open to welcome the Boys of Summer and their attendant rooters, Annies, and furtive pharmaceutical providers. And as always*, the G:TB Baseball Preview** is here for your reference and enjoyment.

(* to my knowledge, we've never done a baseball preview)

(** this really isn't a baseball preview)

Others will focus on whether the Red Sox will live up to expectations (color me cautiously optimistic), Buck Showalter's first full season in Baltimore, Zack Grienke's ribcage, the Cubs' Sisyphean quest, Albert Pujols' walk year, and any number of other worthy intrigues. In keeping with our sub-niche specialization, we'll go a different route.

As the fourth-leading chronicler of CAA athletics (behind CAA: Life as a Mid-Major, Defiantly Dutch, and the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record, but way, way ahead of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and the Virginian Pilot), we'll be following the 11 former William & Mary ballplayers earning a professional check.

Three ex-Wrens begin the season on major league rosters, led by veteran pitchers Bill Bray and Chris Ray. Bray is finally healthy after 2009 Tommy John surgery, and enters his 5th big league season looking to be the Reds' late-inning lefty specialist after holding lefties to a .106 average in 2010. Ray saved 33 games for Baltimore in 2006 before struggling through his own injury issues. He accepted a non-roster invitation from Seattle in hopes of earning a late-game relief role, turning down several guaranteed MLB offers from teams with settled closing roles.

Will Rhymes opens the season as the Tigers' starting second baseman after playing in 54 games for Detroit in 2010. The 5'9", 155-pound Rhymes hit .304 with a .763 OPS in his debut season and will likely bat 9th for Jim Leyland this season. He'll take his first cuts of the season against C.C. Sabathia in the Tigers' opener this afternoon. (Annoying sidenote: A Bing image search for 'Will Rhymes' yields a ton of photos of his cousin Busta, but few of Will. Google > Bing.)

Follow our good friend Extra P (of Storming the Floor and CBS Sports Online fame) and his mates at Bus Leagues Baseball for news about the 8 Wrens playing minor league ball, including former big-leaguer Brendan Harris. The veteran infielder begins the season in Igor's backyard (not actually his back yard - there are far too many empties in the way to play baseball) with the Norfolk Tides. Check in with the W&M athletic department for a full list of W&M ballplayers in the minors.

Honor

My sincere gratitude to the men and women of the 3rd U.S. Army Regiment for their commitment to celebrating the service of our fallen Veterans. My family and friends had the distinct honor of laying my father to rest at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday. While it was an obviously solemn and sober affair, the presence of some 60+ Old Guard soldiers performing their duties with military precision and respect despite the cold drizzle was in many ways inspiring. My Dad's place in Arlington was well-earned, and the Old Guard let us know that they understood and agreed. As Dad was a Gheorghian goofball of the highest order, our regularly scheduled dipshittery will commence shortly.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Ghoogles: Laziest Attempt Ever

Cut and paste job of every keyword search that scored at least two visitors for G:TB in the last seven days. I'd say we're devloping nicely as a niche diorama internet destination.

And seriously, Judy Tenuta? Her agent should be cutting us a check for keeping that woman's name afloat on the interwebs.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

This guy here is dead. Cross him off, then.

Our midget editor told me we needed to post something today. I imagine you're all sick of us touting VCU, so how about some baseball....season starts Thursday, I will be at the Nattys home opener, a businessman's special...so what the heck, how about a look at the hometown nine (it ain't pretty folks):


OK, well, have fun with that. Bernadina just got sent down. We'll be back tomorrow with useless filler.

Monday, March 28, 2011

#8wins4CAA

New FOG:TB Jerry Beach has some very nice things to say about our humble staff today over at Defiantly Dutch (or as our blogroll prefers, Defianty Dutch). Of course, he also has kind words for our arch-nemesis, He Who Deals in Reality, but in all the mid-major group hugging that began on Saturday and will last for the next week, we're more than willing to let that go.


We're thrilled this morning for one of G:TB's long-time supporters, Mike Litos of CAA:LAMM fame. As the Teej coined this weekend, MGL is Don CAA-leone, the leading chronicler of Colonial hoops on the internet. He's also a VCU grad, which made this weekend's events all the sweeter for him - not to mention that his tireless and insightful coverage of the conference earned him a trip to San Antonio to cover the regional. We're hugely proud to be his friend and very, very happy for him. MGL wrote a lot this weekend for the Around the Horns blog - check it out if you want to see the best VCU coverage available.

I shouldn't neglect the fine work our very own Teej has done over at SB Nation DC. Check out his stylings so you can say you knew him when.

All of this almost makes me think that the same thing could happen to the Wrens. Almost. Enjoy the moment, Futile Superfans. It's pretty cool.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Good luck VCU. If people weren't rooting for you before, quoting "Dumb and Dumber" is a good way to convert them...

Phase 1 - Quote:
"It's kind of like the movie 'Dumb and Dumber," said VCU coach Shaka Smart on Saturday, setting up a popular line from the gap-toothed doofus played by Jim Carrey. "'So you're saying we've got a chance?"
Phase 2 - Clip:


Phase 3 - Profit. VCU in the Final Four.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Basketball, a wedding and numerous assholes with differing agendas...

Who schedules a wedding in March? Assholes, that’s who. For the second time in as many years, one of my wife’s friends has a wedding scheduled during the meat of the second weekend of the tournament. Two key differences this year: (1) Last year there were no TVs to watch while
drinking/avoiding people at the reception and (2) Florida is playing in an important game during the wedding this year. It’s a bit of a wash, especially since this year’s wedding is a short affair (10-15 minutes) and its on the deck of an oceanfront hotel with the reception being held in said hotel. I plan on being at the hotel bar with 10 minutes left in the first half, at the latest.

Here’s the real problem though. Florida is playing Butler. Butler might be a “mid-major” but they’re bullies. For real. I’m not calling them the Pat Riley era Knicks but there is a bit of an element of that team to their game. They are, by far, the most physical team in the country and they bump, hit and push the opposition so often that many plays that would often be called fouls aren’t called against Butler simply because the refs can’t call everything. It’s an effective defensive strategy and one Butler is exceedingly good at executing. Look at their last two opponents, Pittsburgh and Wisconsin. Each is considered amongst the most physical teams in America, yet both of them were physically pushed around by Butler throughout much of their games. Florida, on the other hand, is not thought of as an especially physical or tough team. Part of this true and part of this is due to the perception of Florida as a program. This perception, I contend, is largely wrong. Florida was, early in Billy Donovan’s career, known for pressing, playing 10-12 guys and shooting tons of threes. However, as time has passed and Florida has become both more successful and more established, the Gators have become a program that thrives on quality halfcourt offensive basketball, good big men (look at the number of bigs Donovan has put in the NBA, its impressive, to say the least) and solid team defense. One need look no further than Thursday night’s win over BYU for evidence of this. Kenny Boynton did an exceptional job guarding Jimmer Fredette but was also helped out by the fact that nearly every time Fredette had even an ounce of daylight, there was a second (and often third) Gator defender flying at him with a hand up. So, you see, these teams are far more similar than most would have you believe. Right down to their boy wonder head coaches. We’ve all marveled at the story, success and likability of Butler’s Brad Stevens over the last 2-3 years but it’s easy to forget that despite having won 2 National Championships and being the 3rd all time winningest coach in SEC history, Billy Donovan is still only in his early 40s. Somehow, he’s still one of the nation’s most underrated coaches and he’s built a premier program in a place that had no record of sustained basketball success in the 70 some odd years before his arrival from Marshall.

If you can’t already tell, I’m pretty psyched for this game. I expect it to be a back and forth, physical affair that comes down to the last possession or two. With that said, and in the interest of time, here are a few keys to the game:

Shelvin Mack: Kenny Boynton will once again have his hands full with a physical, experienced and multi-talented guard. Mack carried Butler in their win over Pittsburgh last weekend and is fully capable of going off for 25-30 again today. Boynton is an underrated defender but is going to need the help of his long limbed teammates to keep Mack in check.

Florida’s frontline: I said this would be key in the BYU game, and it was. Florida has one of the country’s deepest, most athletic frontlines. They’ll need to feed Vernon Macklin and Alex Tyus the ball early to put pressure on Smith (coming off an ankle injury) & Howard (prone to foul trouble) in order to establish them against a smaller Butler frontline. Alex Tyus gave Florida his best game in two years against BYU. Freshman phenom Patric Young had his best game of the year in the win over UCLA. Florida will need 2-3 big games out of their 5 man frontcourt rotation to come away with a victory.

The Point Guards: You can make the case that Florida’s most important player is Erving Walker. He’s tough, a natural leader and has taken (and made) more big shots for them this year than the rest of the team combined. He’s come a long way from the turnover prone, sometimes wildly out of control player he was last year. However, he still has days where he settles for his jumpshot too often and doesn’t control the pace like Donovan would like. He must take care of the ball, contend with Butler’s physical guards and be able to hit a few timely shots. On the other side, Steven Van Zandt is as much of a reason for Butler’s late season surge as anyone. His insertion into the starting lineup gave Butler another sorely needed shot creator and allowed Mack to move off the ball and concentrate his efforts on scoring. He’s going to see a number of Florida defenders today (Walker, Boynton, Scottie Wilbekin) and he’s going to have to be able to handle their pressure effectively while getting Butler into their halfcourt sets.

Chandler Parsons: As he goes, Florida goes. When Florida was losing to the likes of Jacksonville University early this season and fell out of the top 25, Parsons was struggling in nearly every area of the game, especially scoring as he was averaging about 8 pts/game. When Florida hit it’s stride during SEC play (13-3 overall), it was Parsons, leading the team in rebounding & assists (2nd in scoring), who was the catalyst for this run. The SEC Player of the Year must come up big today and fill the stat sheet if Florida is to advance to the Final Four.

Finally, a fun fact: Brad Stevens and Billy Donovan are a combined 4-0 in regional final games. Obviously, somebody’s perfect record won’t survive this evening. Should be interesting to see which one of these talented coaches it is.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Metal Up Your Ass Friday, Featuring Static X

It's Friday, people. Suck down your coffee, get this song cranking on your work PC and be happy that another week will be complete in a few hours. With ample New Jersey representation and tattoos among the editorial staff, this song felt fitting.



I picked this song to honor of my wife, who is celebrating a birthday today. I think of her every time I hear the song, especially the lines that say "Your shit's like chocolate cake. Your ass smells like a rose."

Wishing you all an ass that smells like a rose today.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Once More with Feeling

On the cusp of another weekend spent immersed in basketball being played by teams other than our favorite, a little reminder that Tony Shaver continues to take the Wrens in the right direction. The Washington Post's local recruiting beat writer gives comfort today, reporting that Tribe signee and 2011 Maryland Player of the Year Marcus Thornton has no intention of trying to get out of his commitment to enroll at William and Mary. "“William & Mary recruited me all along,” said Thornton. “I’m happy with my decision.”

The 6'3" shooting guard averaged 23.4 points per game in his senior year at McNamara. He's rail-thin at 165 pounds, but has loads of offensive talent. With lots of youth in the Tribe's guard rotation (only Kendrix Brown will be a senior next season), Thornton needs to prove he can score and play defense at the college level in order to get quality minutes, but his talent is undeniable. He'll also bring the best hair W&M's seen since Zeb Cope left the Colonial Capital.

6'7" forward Tom Schalk from Apple Valley, MN joins Thornton in the Class of 2016. The Maxpreps Top 100 recruit is the highest-rated signee in Tony Shaver's tenure at W&M, for whatever that's worth. Schalk committed to W&M as a high school junior, and brings a versatile all-court game and a sweet three-point stroke to the 'burg. He averaged 22.8 ppg as a high school senior.

Sometimes the filler just writes itself...

I first saw this story on twitter last night. I mean, can a story be any better set up for a clip than this one?
U.S. investigators are examining whether two airline flights landed at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport today without tower guidance because the lone controller on duty was asleep.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Golden Age of Moviemaking: "Towering Inferno"

A couple of weeks ago I was jamming out to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack when Disco Inferno came on. Fantastic song, yes, but that's not why I'm here today. My OC-ADD brain immediately jumped to "Towering Inferno" , the epic 70s disaster flick about, well, a skyscraper on fire. Hopefully you have all seen this classic, but if not, the trailer below will get you sufficiently fired up (perhaps) to watch it, sometime, maybe:



Yep, that is indeed Orenthal James Simpson. AND Ernest Borgnine. Greatest casting ever. McQueen was salty Newman had 12 more lines than him in the movie. I mean, freakin' Fred Astaire is in this movie. John Williams, yeah that famous composer dude, did the score. Just ep-ic.

OK, get excited, next week I'm gonna ramble on about the original Poseidon Adventure...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This Whole World Wide Web Thing is Awesome

While The Teej remains fascinated by some sort of bestiality movement (see here), we find ourselves entranced by other, higher brow web sites.

Like this one. Rated PG-13 for bad language. And worse grammar.

And since we usually have a picture in our posts, here's one for you all:

Monday, March 21, 2011

Solutions

I've had a nagging professional problem on my mind for the past several weeks. As is often the case, I've followed the advice of a college friend and ignored the issue. Today, through no action of my own, the problem went away. Darren Brown would be proud.

Don't tell my kids, but that's...one to grow on.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Tournament: Day 4

I can't quote the bible like Zman (I've never been into fiction) but I did want to make life easier for all our friends commenting from their phones so I decided a new post was needed for the Sunday slate of games. And while I was thinking about that I decided I should push some of my musical tastes on the readers of G:TB (shit, everyone else does). You may have never heard of Ratatat. If not, they're just a couple of Broooklyn hipsters who do dope remixes. Very, very dope. You've probably heard of Slim Thug...but you've probably never listened to him. I can't blame you. He's not really my style either. Despite my southern upbringing, there aren't a ton of Southern rappers that I love.

I do, however, love this remix. Don't blame me if it's stuck in your head all day today.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

And on the third day, He made herbs.

According to the Bible, on the third day God created kind herbs: "And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good." I will leave this theological discussion to other members of our editorial staff on this the third day of the NCAA tournament.

It's almost too nice out to stay in and watch today's games. Almost. Instead I shall spend the evening and the morning of the third day of the tournmament firmly planted in front of my TV. Join me in the comments.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Idiots Rule, Part Deux

Nobody likes to hear about other people's NCAA tournament bracket's getting busted, I know this (it was by far the most annoying part of an otherwise highly entertaining Twitter day Thursday). And trust me, I would never have thought to post this unless 'House Jerry hadn't emailed post-midnight last night to let me know how awful I am doing in the pool below. Never mind my other bracket that is relatively unharmed - just take a look at your boy Teej thinking he was waaaay smarter than he really is...


After the first day of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, I lost four Elite Eight teams, two Final Four teams and a Finalist. This bracket, she is bad.

Friday Filler: Jack White Style

This guy can't not kick ass. Enjoy his recent set from a parking lot at SXSW. And the back half of the video features another artist who's loved by at least one member of the editorial staff - the one and only Seasick Steve.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Idiots Rule

We had a few technical issues with our audio last night, so we we're forced to give you the transcript of our second annual March Madness podcast:

From: Mark
Sent: Wed 3/16/2011 8:48 PM
Subject: RE:

AHL. I know absolutely nothing about how we're doing any of this...

From: rob
To: Mark; Teej
Subject: RE:
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 20:46:37 -0400

I think we should publish the email thread. Do we know how we’re recording it?

rob

From: Mark
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 8:45 PM
To: rob; Teej
Subject: RE:

When we doing this? Are we doing this?

From: rob
To: Teej; Mark
Subject: RE:
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 20:31:07 -0400

You tell him he's young enough to be my son?

rob

-----Original Message-----
From: Teej
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 8:30 PM
To: rob; Mark
Subject: Re:

I'm drunk on the metro. Rob, our new boss is 24

----- Original Message -----
From: rob
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 07:28 PM
To: Teej; Mark
Subject: RE:

I'm on a boat! I'm in.

rob

-----Original Message-----
From: Teej
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 8:27 PM
To: Mark; rob

I'm in a metro tunnel

But would love to do a ppdcast in 30 min

From: Teej
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 5:25 PM
To: Mark; rob

I can do this, but has to be in conjunction with me writing up vcu game

From: Mark
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 03:35 PM
To: Teej
Subject: RE:

I'm in. We doing this tonight? I'm playing ball until around 7:30 or so but am free after that. Let me know.
________________________________________
From: Teej
To: Dennis; Dave; Zman; Mark; rob; TR; Igor; Mr. Truck; Almighty Yojo
Subject:
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 13:27:11 +0000

http://www.podbean.com/

From: Teej
To: Dennis; Dave; Zman; Mark; rob; TR; Igor; Mr. Truck; Almighty Yojo
Subject:
Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2011 9:19 AM

Oh, I long forgot whatever that site was. Ill just use the ole google machine t find a new site

From: rob
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 9:18 AM
To: Dennis; Dave; Zman; Mark; rob; TR; Igor; Mr. Truck; Almighty Yojo
Subject: RE: clicks for average page views per day

I thought you set up a new website – is that right?

rob

From: Teej
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 8:53 AM
To: Dennis; Dave; Zman; Mark; rob; TR; Igor; Mr. Truck; Almighty Yojo
Subject: RE: clicks for average page views per day

What website we using for this? and what time we doing this?

From: rob
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 9:20 PM
To: Dennis; Dave; Zman; Mark; Teej; TR; Igor; Mr. Truck; Almighty Yojo
Subject: RE: clicks for average page views per day

We’re gonna need to cast pod tomorrow night – who’s in? And Teej, have we tested the new casting service?

rob

From: Mark
Sent: Friday, March 11, 2011 5:06 PM
To: Dennis; Dave; Zman; Teej; rob; TR; Igor; Mr. Truck; Almighty Yojo
Subject: RE: clicks for average page views per day

Based on the "success" of last year's March madness G:TB podcast, are we going to do a 2nd Annual?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Aloe Blacc with TR/FD's Lovechild

If TR and FD had a lovechild, they would make a kid with an afro who could do the Rerun Dance. Kinda like this:

'Twas the Night Before Madness

In case anyone was wondering what Greg's been up to lately, his exploits have garnered more than 700,000 views on YouTube.

Monday, March 14, 2011

And now back to your regularly scheduled program, already in progress...

We have a "Fashion is dumb" reader submission for your viewing pleasure today.  Im not even sure where to begin wtih this one...


And here's a bonus entry I uncovered this morning. It was screaming to be included/mocked:

#3bids4caa, a G:TB Production

It's easy to see now, with hindsight's clarifying wisdom. But back then, when we the G:TB brain trust created the #3bids4caa hashtag, we had no idea of our power and reach. We were just hoping, wishing, dreaming that the CAA - once a Selection Sunday afterthought - could sneak a third team into the March Madness mix for the first time in conference history. We weren't dealing in reality. We just had no idea.

No idea that our words traveled from our keyboards to Those That Make Decisions in Indianapolis. That the power of a simple idea based in obvious logic (not shared, perhaps, by Bilas, Digger, Davis and Vitale) would work like trickle of water, becoming a stream, a flood, a raging river, cutting a great canyon out of formerly impenetrable rock. That suggestion, repeated, amplified, and repeated again has the capacity to work miracles.


We'll spend some time trying to figure out how to use our newly-discovered power wisely. Until then, we're just basking in the odd joy that comes with being so conditioned that your own team won't make the Dance that you live vicariously through conference mates.

Okay, Patriots, Monarchs, and Rams. We got you there. Now make us proud.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Shallow Water is More Dangerous Than The Internet

The premise of Nicholas Carr's new book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains is that reading on the internet is not the same as reading an actual book, and he proves this on the molecular level, with research from neuroscience and psychology. It turns out that there's nothing like a book-- an analog book made of paper pages-- as a delivery system for putting knowledge into a human brain . . . to take short-term memories and make them long-term, you need a "thimbleful by thimbleful" approach, and if things move too fast-- hyper-links, images, e-mail and Twitter interruptions, filler-- then you will experience "cognitive overload" and remember very little.


I'm not going to argue against Carr's thesis, as many critics have. I think they are scared of his findings because, like everyone else in the free world, they are spending a hell of a lot of time on the net, and they don't want to face the music. I'm also not going to agree with the majority of people that say the internet is making us smarter. I agree with Carr. Google is making us stupid. And the Ghoogles are making us stupider. Many people have said that the knowledge stored on the internet, readily accessible and search-able, allows us to free up our brains for other thoughts, but this is patently false. The more we have in our own brains, the better we can think. And study after study has proven that the more facts you know, the better you are at reading and memorizing new facts. Paradoxically, our brains are not like computers with finite memories. When an actor memorizes the lines for a play, it doesn't make it more difficult for him to memorize the lines for his next play; in fact, it makes it easier.  When the Teej memorizes statistics about every college basketball player in the nation, it doesn't hinder his ability to quote lines from bad '80's movies (but not a particular good '80's movie). When Igor learned about vajazzling, it didn't erase his memories of every single thing every person he was acquainted with did or said during college.

But what Nicholar Carr is forgetting is that having the internet around may make students more likely to read something-- even if it is hyper-linked and on a screen-- rather than do a host of other things . . . things not even remotely like reading . . . and perhaps that's not a bad thing. When I was young, in high school and college, I didn't have access to the internet. I think Al Gore had invented it, but he hadn't told anyone about it yet. And so I read plenty of actual books. Despite all this deep thinking, I was involved in some pretty stupid stuff. I hit my head a lot. Once I dove into a river, drunk, with the intention of riding a cooler down some rapids, but-- luckily-- the spot I chose was six inches of shallow water over a black rock. I had to be fished out, unconscious, with a broken tooth, but I probably wouldn't have survived the rapids. Conclusion: diving into shallow water is more dangerous than the "shallow reading" that we do on G:TB.

I often chose to bang my head against another person's head . . . I'd pretend I had a secret to tell them and then SMASH! My friends all considered this social head-butting good fun. The things I witnessed were astounding-- and I can't be particularly specific here because I don't want to put any of the G:TB staff at risk for prosecution-- and I should point out that I was never directly involved in these things, in fact, maybe they didn't happen at all-- but I'm talking about daring ledge dives, risking life and limb to fix a TV aerial, arson, fisticuffs, vandalism, pumpkin chucking, drug use and moving bookshelves, high speed chases on stolen bicycles, keg filching, strudel stealing, DEA posing, projectile vomiting for fun and profit, the planting of preserved reptiles and amphibians, plenty of public nudity and hundreds of other stupid, dangerous, and very analog activities that we did to while away the time (Igor's memory on this topic is better than mine).


My hypothesis is this: if we had the internet to tool around on, we might have been a bit dumber, but we would have been a hell of a lot safer. There's a lot of discussion about how awful cyber-bullying is today, but is it worse than real bullying? Or drinking a shitload of bourbon and going out to fight townies? Or using an SUV to drag people around on a rope in a snow covered parking lot? Or whipping bottles at people? Or taking your shirt off so someone can serve a ping-pong ball at your bare chest? Maybe cyber-bullying is worse than pong-ping, but it's not worse than having to bend over and let a grown man paddle your ass with a wooden plank.

In fact (perhaps from reading all those regular books) we were too smart. We were too smart, with too much free time (when you were this smart, you didn't need to go to class) and no Facebook to occupy our time and dumb us down. So if you ventured into my fraternity, you might find someone riding a giant table up and down a hall soaked with citrus, drinking sangria out of a wok. Or tossing a flaming frozen duck off a balcony at a passerby (and remember, I was never directly involved with these incidents . . . I just happened to witness them). Or stumbling drunk out of a girl's bed, urinating in her closet, and then attempting to put on her pants. Or any number of things that our staff could probably remember and describe better than me (because I was never there). Would these things have happened if we had the internet? We'll never know, but I'm hoping my children will watch YouTube videos of people playing the "there's no reason for that" game instead of actually participating themselves.

The positive thing for the staff of G:TB is this: we can claim that we represent the last "intellectual," generation, and though we are dumbing ourselves down each and every day with our internet use here at G:TB, at least we have our traditional education to rely on as our bedrock . . . unless, of course, instead of reading books, you spent your youth watching Network Television.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Cougar 'Splosion

Great cause, cool car, hot babe. Sold. 826National, a non-profit dedicated to helping at-risk kids learn creative writing skills. - is raffling off the car you see in the picture below. (Neko Case not included).


Drawings begin on Monday. Get some.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Filler: Gheorghe in Film

With tsunami-related damage, destruction, terror, and mayhem on the newsreel at the moment (fingers crossed for my aunt and uncle in Hawaii, among many others), it's time for something pertinent and appropriate. Filler!

What's your favorite Gheorghe video?

(1) All-time Romanian footballer Gheorghe Hagi, scoring and advancing...



(2) Elena Gheorghe, "Disco Romancing"...



(3) Gheorghe Zamfir, needs a pantsing...



(4) Gheorghe Muresan, just dancing...



Cast your votes in the comments. There's a chance the ballot box may be stuffed on this one.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

American Dreaming (Dedicated to The Notorious B.I.G.)

The Almighty Yojo was stalling on this post . . . but it doesn't look like he's going to muster the energy to make another dry-erase animation any time soon. And when he saw the Zman's topic, The Yojo knew it was time to unveil his new sound . . . and his new band name: The Density.


The Almighty Yojo would like to thank Shakespeare, Biggie Smalls, Rage Against the Machine, Martin Luther King, Steve Carrell, Bob Dylan,Tracy Morgan, and-- most importantly-- all the people who volunteered to be interviewed for this half-baked project.

You have all contributed to capturing the collective consciousness of the dream state. While some cynical skeptics are not open to the significance and meanings of dreams, all the Yojo can say to those people is: your loss.
The Almighty Yojo deems this SFW, although the Almighty Yojo's wife was worried that people at work might "think you do a lot of drugs when they hear that."


All I can say is that my fellow colleagues contributed to the song just as much as the I did. The lyrics are transcribed below, but they hardly do justice to what is going on in the song.

 
American Dreaming by The Density



American Dreaming

I have a dream today,
rooted deep in the American Way:
live beyond your means,
magnify your TV screens.

I dreamt of a woman with the head of an otter,
hair slicked back with dripping water.
an old man tried to touch her daughter.
He sang the theme from Welcome Back Kotter.

Egyptians dream of the god Osiris,
head of a gator, body of an ibis--
or maybe that’s Anubis, maybe I’m wrong?
Who cares, like Baal, Haddad, they’re gone.
Monotheistic dreams replaced them
Solaris dreams of Stanislaw Lem.
When you read H.P Lovecraft
you dream about unknown Kaddath.
Tracy Morgan dreams of Tracy Jordan
Tracy Jordan dreams of Tracy Morgan
a drunken baby gives a jailhouse tattoo
a rib cage is a basketball hoop.

I dreamed I was at work,
fixing a big machine.
Took off my pants and shirt.
Heard everybody scream.
My teeth turned loose and brown,
They fell unto the ground.
Everyone stared at me.
They laughed and stared at me.
This is what I dreamed.
You tell me what it means.


I dream I’m falling through my bed,
my wife replaced by a horse’s head,
spiders crawl from the sheets--
I hit the water with my feet.
Then we’re crouched, rolling dice,
Ice Cube, Ice T, and Vanilla Ice.
I roll the snake eyes once, then twice
in an alley full of rats and mice.
the spiders, they boil at my feet
the snakes, they coil in my sheets

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan,
with opium go on and on,
‘til the man from Porlock says he can’t.
Deckard dreams he’s a Replicant.
Dr. Minor believes metallic biscuits
were forced down his throat by pygmy gypsies.
Neo in The Matrix with Bob Newhart,
Floyd and Toto rip the curtain apart.
Unvalued stones at the bottom of the sea,
dead men’s skulls in the slimy deep--
holes where once inhabited eyes.
Clarence and Edward soon to die.
You worry about those princely boys,
try to remember dreams are toys,
but the woman in the pure white robes
melts before you . . . the bear moves close.

I have a dream today . . .
I have a dream today . . .
I’m Bill Murray in Groundhog’s Day,
Your Bill Murray in Groundhog’s Day.
Do androids dream of electric sheep?
Let the chemist put you down deep.
Eternal inception of the spotless mind:
Dicaprio and Carrey fight dream time,
only to find the world unchanged--
except for the passages in your brain.
And if we shadows have offended,
think but this and all is mended . . .




R.I.P. BI.G.

Biggie died 14 years ago today. His murderers deprived us of more genius like this:

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Your #3bids4caa Rooting Guide

Schadenfreude is pleasure derived from the misfortune of others. You can look it up. The futile superfans still hoping against hope that last night's hard-fought ODU victory over VCU didn't spell the end of our #3bids4caa fun will be glorying in the stumbles, bumbles, and missteps of a baker's dozen of NCAA Tournament wannabes (we can't root against fellow mid-major bubbler Butler) over the next week.

No, we don't really believe that VCU has a chance, but they played an entertaining game in front of a national audience last night, boast wins over UCLA, George Mason, and Old Dominion, a 9-8 record against the RPI top 100, and a top-50 RPI of their own. Unlikely? Sure. Crazy? Not as much as plunging into a freezing Atlantic Ocean. We can still hope against hope, and give you a short, sweet list of the metaphorical dolls into which we're sticking pins:

Richmond
Michigan State
Georgia
Marquette
Virginia Tech
Boston College
Baylor
Memphis
Alabama
Clemson
Utah State
Colorado
Southern Cal

They say that prayer is powerful. Let's band together to see if they're right.

Monday, March 07, 2011

#3bids4caa, Day 4

I got it dead right. Told you we'd see an upset yesterday that would keep #3bids4caa alive for one more day. (Fingers crossed that nobody will read yesterday's post to cross-check me.) VCU played as complete a game as we're likely to see this month, thoroughly outclassing a very, very good George Mason team, 79-63, to advance to the CAA Finals. The Rams forced 14 Mason turnovers, withstood a brief Patriot run to open the second half, and breezed in front of a partisan Richmond Coliseum crowd. Jamie Skeen hit a career-high 4 threes on his way to a game-high 21 points, while Bradford Burgess went for 16 points and 13 boards for VCU.

The loss snapped Mason's 16-game winning streak, but Jim Larranaga's team is still going dancing in a few weeks. Those with an appreciation of history will remember that the 2006 Cinderella Patriots fell in the conference semis before embarking on their mythical run. Selection Sunday will lack the same drama this year, and there were no groin-shots today, but the symmetry hasn't gone unnoticed in Fairfax.

Hofstra had an opportunity to send us all to bed happy last night; a win for the Dutchpride would've clinched the CAA's third entry into the NCAA Tournament. Alas, a combination of superior athleticism, terrific defense, inspired point guard play, and somewhat questionable officiating doomed Charles Jenkins and his mates, who fell to a hard-nosed ODU squad by a 77-69 count. Senior point guard Darius James, who averaged 7.1 ppg this season, dropped 16 for the Big Blue Beast to complement Frank Hassell's efficient 22. Keyon Carter came off the bench to give Blaine Taylor's team 10 and 8. Jenkins found it much harder to get points on the drive against ODU than he did last night against our Wrens, going 6 of 16 with 16 points and 6 dimes. Our new twitter friend Jerry Beach (@defiantlydutch) noted with both bias and some legitimate beef that Jenkins took 11 shots from inside the arc without drawing a single shooting foul.

It will come as no surprise that I'm picking VCU tonight. I really wish it were Hofstra taking their shot, but beggars can't be choosers. With every major chronicler of the bracket telling us that Mason and ODU have already punched tickets (Joe Lunardi had them as 7 and 9 seeds, respectively, as of Friday - hardly bubble teams), Shaka Smart's squad holds the fate of our silly little hashtag in its hands.

I once again watched CAA tourney action on a small corner of my laptop screen, toggling between the ESPN3 telecast and a lively community tweeting #caahoops and our homegrown #3bids4caa hashtags. (The CAA's decidedly bush league TV package is a source of a future post.) I was getting ready to shut down my computer and have my daughter kick my ass at SuperMarioKart when a final tweet caught my eye.

@midmajority: I missed it on purpose. I live in reality. RT @burythemfast @midmajority Somehow you must've missed the #3bids4caa hashtag making the rounds

Careful G:TB readers (and I think all of our 27 strong readership qualifies) remember our early season run-in with @midmajority, defender of the mid-major faith, obsessive hoops connoisseur, apparently touchy rule-keeper. My tongue was firmly in cheek back then when I lamented my loss of status among the chosen.

Today, though, I wonder with some reason whether the alleged keeper of the flame has forgotten the sublime magic of the possible. Truly, it's the arrogance that irritates more than the actual words. Has this eloquent chronicler of the quixotic quest of the littles become such a big in his universe that he can't bear a storyline that punctures his prefigured narrative? If #3bids4caa becomes a reality, could it mean that things are changing in a way that threatens the mid-majority ethos? (Well, no, it would just mean that this year's senior-laden and well-coached CAA teams had a really fucking good year, nearly all the way through the conference.) Why not revel in the silly, goofy hope, though?

The same guy that wrote, "It always ends in a loss. But this moment, right now, is a new beginning. It is the renewal of hope that things will finally change," is now dealing in reality? The talented dreamer that said, "Those of us who keep going, keep doing and keep traveling are fools in the throes of unrequited passion. There are thousands of us, everywhere, content to find and share the company of other perpetually jilted lovers, inspired and pushed forward by those fleeting and fading glimpses of beauty," now throws cold water on the hopeful giddiness of those who would seem to be fellow travelers?

Maybe he's forgotten.

Or maybe he's just a dick.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

#3bids4caa, Day 3

Tony Shaver got a technical foul yesterday. Tony Shaver. Nicest man in the Quad Cities (Croaker, Toano, Norge, and Lightfoot, if you were wondering). Got a technical. Our sources tell us that Shaver either a) dropped a "Gosh" at an inappropriate moment, or b) couldn't control his mustache, which is admittedly a foul-mouthed beast, though it blushes every time it goes out for drinks with Blaine Taylor's lipjacket.

More importantly, Hofstra had fresh legs and Charles Jenkins. Both of those things took a telling toll on the Wrens in the second half of last night's CAA quarterfinals. W&M took a two-point lead into the break after holding Jenkins to 5 points. (No team in the 8 games played thus far in the tournament has led by more than a pair of points at halftime - the patrons are getting more than their money's worth.) But the Dutchpride dominated the last frame, burying the Wrens by 18 and holding Quinn McDowell to only 6 points on as many shots. As I tweeted last night, this is my favorite 10-22 team ever. With only Marcus Kitts graduating, we're eagerly anticipating the 2011-12 Wrens.

While the Tribe's gone home to feed Tim Rusthoven 4 meals a day for the next 8 months, the top 4 seeds remain in Richmond for what promises to be an awesome weekend. I'm tired of the Pulp Fiction theme, so we'll just pick the games straight up. We're thisclose to making #3bids4caa a reality, needing wins by VCU and Hofstra today. G:TB thinks we'll get halfway there.

Game 9

(4) VCU vs. (1) George Mason

There's every reason to believe that this'll be a dandy. VCU faltered down the stretch, but matched Mason at 12-2 in the conference just a few short weeks ago. The Rams are a terrific defensive team, with multiple options on offense and a seasoned roster. Mason's won 16 in a row, and swamped Georgia State under a 42-9 run yesterday. The Patriots also defend aggressively and have even more diversity on the scoring end. I'd love to pick VCU, but I can't see it. Mason is as good a CAA team as I can remember. One thing I feel comfortable in saying is that the atmosphere in the Coliseum this afternoon will be frenzied.

Game 10
(3) Hofstra vs. (2) ODU

Here's where we're pinning our three-bid hopes. ODU's deeper and stronger than Hofstra, plays better defense, and has a substantial edge in coaching experience. All Hofstra has is the best player on the court. Sometimes a transcendent player makes all the difference. We're saying today is one of those times, as Charles Jenkins finds a way against the physical, formidable Monarchs.

And it's aliiiiiiive.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

#3bids4caa, Day 2

After an hour or so of Amazing Race-style search for tickets, Team G:TB's intrepid field reporters and our entourage settled courtside for what turned out to be a thoroughly entertaining and well-played contest between our Wrens and JMU. The Dukes are clearly talented, but W&M was equally obviously a more cohesive team. Baby-faced assassin Quinn McDowell dropped a CAA Tournament-record 35 points, scoring on a variety of drives and deep looks. His step-back triple near the end of the first half was a signature heat check moment. Got our group of pasty old guys leaping from our seats, in any case.

Oft-maligned Kendrix Brown was a monster on the boards, not a description frequently used to describe a 6'3" guard. Brown had a game-high 9 caroms and a team-high 4 assists. The young Wrens held off the Dukes in the end thanks to a composure that belied their age. After JMU made a late run to take a 68-67 lead, W&M made 5 of 6 free throws while holding the Dukes scoreless over the game's final 90 seconds. Said Tribe coach and G:TB Hall of Famer Tony Shaver after the game, "A lot of people will define this team by the win-loss record. I don't. I thought we'd walk on the floor with an inner arrogance tonight."

Fellow G:TB Hall of Famer The Teej offered his trenchant analysis postgame, adding "Someone should tell Denzel Bowles he can give back the bathroom pass from Summer School now." The Dukes' All-CAA big man was all but invisible, a combination of Marcus Kitts, foul trouble, a terrific W&M gameplan, and apparent indifference holding him to 5 points.

We're dodging Johnny Law as we motor back up I-95 this morning, but the Man won't stop us from another day of previews.

Game 5
(9) Georgia State vs. (1) George Mason

Nice win for the Panthers yesterday. But now they've got to face the Bad Motherfucker Jules Winfield as personified by Jim Larranaga's Patriots. GMU's on a dominant run, winners of 15 straight games and NCAA locks. GSU hands over their wallets in today's first game.

Game 6
(5) Drexel vs. (4) VCU

Bruiser Flint's Dragons pulled out a surprisingly tough win over Towson to move on to face the hometown Rams. We give VCU a puncher's chance to run the table this weekend, so they're Bruce Willis' Butch. And they'll turn out Marsellus Wallace's lights this afternoon in a game that'll be so ugly it's pretty.

Game 7
(7) Delaware vs. (2) ODU


Running out of battery on my laptop. ODU = Vincent Vega, because Blaine Taylor's an excellent dancer. And they win today.

Game 8
(11) W&M vs. (3) Hofstra


Can't wait. Hofstra, obviously, is Mr. Wolf. Hell, Charles Jenkins by himself is Mr. Wolf. And W&M's still got that watch in its ass, and they'll need every ounce of that inner swagger to make #wrensmakethecaasemis a reality. I can't pick against the Tribe, but if Hofstra wins, we're pulling hard for the Dutch.

Here's hoping today's action matches yesterday's for drama.

Friday, March 04, 2011

#3bids4caa


We're breaking new ground, blogging in motion from southbound I-95 on the way to catch the Baby Wrens' CAA Tournament first rounder against JMU. In the spirit of our poorly conceived and badly executed previews from years past, we're channeling Quentin Tarantino to bring you the 2011 CAA Tournament, Pulp Fiction-style.

Game 1
(9) Georgia State vs. (8) UNCW


Most previews are completed before games are played. We're avant garde like a motherfucker. This game's over. Georgia State as Tim Roth's incompetent armed robber (the Panthers showed an equal amount of skill and smarts in their pre-tournament firing of Rod Barnes) took out UNCW, in the role of Zed, by a 58-52 count. Zed's dead, baby.

Game 2
(12) Towson vs. (5) Drexel

Drexel was hard to cast, but in the end, they're tough and strong. We predict bad things to befall them. And they'd fit right in at a pipe-hitting party. Bruiser Flint's team are Marsellus Wiley. Towson, with their 0-18 conference record, are all dressed up in latex. They'll meet the same fate as the Gimp.

Game 3
(10) Northeastern vs. (7) Delaware

Bill Coen's Huskies were down and out, losing their first 8 in conference play. Then Eric Stoltz as Lance jammed a hypodermic in their chests. And Chiasson Allen became Chaisson Allen, leading NU to 6 wins in their final 10 CAA contests on his way to a first team All-CAA nod. Delaware boasts the conference Rookie of the Year in Devon Saddler, but they're going the way of Marvin, getting their brains spattered all over the car in the first game of the evening session.

Game 4
(11) William & Mary vs. (6) James Madison



Much like Christopher Walken's Captain Koons, the Wrens have been walking around for years with a metaphorical watch in their ass. In this case, an NCAA berth stands in for the timepiece. JMU's as schizophrenic as any team in the CAA, capable of winning four in a row to get to the Dance, and just as likely to lose to W&M. Mia Wallace went from high highs to near death, just like Matt Brady's Dukes. Tonight, the Lance doesn't get the needle into Mia's chest in time and the Wrens continue their recent CAA Tourney success.

Tune in tomorrow as we preview the quarterfinals while whitewater rafting. Bet you can guess who Mr. Wolf is, can't you?

One Painful Moment

The Teej and I will be attempting an unprecedented feat of blogging this afternoon on our way to Richmond for the Wrens' first-round CAA Tournament matchup against JMU. Until then, please enjoy this memory from the 2006 tournament, which served as prelude to one of the most amazing runs in NCAA hoops history, and at the same time almost stopped Gheorghe Mason's Cinderella March before it happened.

The instant he did it, Tony Skinn knew he had made a horrible mistake. The sight of Hofstra's Loren Stokes crumpled on the floor of Richmond Coliseum was bad enough. The look on Coach Jim Larranaga's face when he took Skinn out of the game certainly left no doubt in his mind that he had done something awful.

But it wasn't until the next night, still in a state of semi-shock after the punch and his subsequent one-game suspension by Larranaga, that it really hit him just how badly he had lost control. He was watching the Colonial Athletic Association championship game between Hofstra and UNC Wilmington when ESPN showed the footage that had been making the rounds since the incident 24 hours earlier.

Click here for the rest of the story...

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Ranking Topps 1980's Baseball Card Sets: #3 - 1984

With the snow finally melting in the Northeast and the Grapefruit and Cactus League action heating up in the Southeast and Southwest US, I thought it would be a good time to dust off the Top 10 1980's Topps Baseball Card Sets Rankings. While plowing through slightly more than 69% of the list last Fall, I shamefully kept you in suspense all winter in the biggest cliffhanger since Dallas. Or Cliffhanger.

So please accept my apologies. With a moment of free time from three miles high on a Delta plane, I would like to get this baby back on the tracks. To recap, here are the rankings to date:

#10 - 1986
#9 - 1988
#8 - 1982
#7 - 1980
#6 - 1985
#5 - 1987
#4 - 1981

The 1984 season brings up some bad memories. Not only did our AL East rival Detroit Tigers run away with the division, their goofy closer Willie Hernandez won the Cy Young and MVP, robbing Don Mattingly, who put up a gaudy .343/23/110 with 44 doubles and 207 hits.

But the Mattingly rookie is not the only bright spot in this year's set. We also get the Dwight Gooden rookie. These two guys lit up New York and the baseball card community for much of the 80's. Almost as much as Gooden lit himself up with coke. The Mattingly card is also notable for referencing his position as 1B-OF and showing a picture of him in the field without his stache. At least the 1980's Yankees got one thing right by using Donnie Baseball at first instead of Steve Balboni.

We'll keep this one short, as my battery indicator suggests I am running out of juice and I am being distracted by picturesque view of Nebraska below. Good to know I paid $12.95 for wi-fi with a laptop that was half-charged. Strong. We hope to push out the remaining two sets in one uber-spectacular smorgasbord of nerdness later this March. Stay gold, readers.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Today is truly a day for celebration...

Wait, you havent heard? Yep, get your party hats and dancing shoes on, because today is...

National Banana Creme Pie Day!!! Yeehaw!!  To celebrate, please watch this extremely unfunny clip from the Dana Carvey show:



Oh yeah, I also heard it was Dave's birthday. Whatevs.

Egg, Sperm, Man



Sam I am
Down with the program
Green eggs and ham
Yosemite Sam

Sentence, essay
Lecture in the schoolday
C'mon man, name's not Jose
41's old, Happy Birthday

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Visual proof Dave is insane (I think)

The style this is shot in made me almost vomit, so I'm not actually sure Dave is in the clip. But even if he isn't, here's a bunch of Jersey folks jumping in the ocean in mid-Febraury. Why? No clue. You'd have to ask Dave.

Still More Rise of the Machines

Boston Dynamics, which in 2008 unveiled a four-legged robot called BigDog, has been tapped by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the research and development arm of the DOD, to create a human-like robot and an agile, robotic Cheetah that developers said will eventually be able to run 70 mph.

Robot Cheetah! With Adonis blood, one presumes.