Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ghostdini Still Dodges Darts, Urbont's Still in the Game, People Still Hate Lawyers

Jack Urbont's saga continues! A bunch of preposterously Ghostfacian stuff happened in the intervening months since my last report. First, Urbont's lawyers tried to serve Ghostface with an amended complaint. Remember the last time Ghost got served? So does Pretty Toney. He won't let that happen again. Literally. He kept avoiding service to the point where Urbont's lawyers had to petition the court for additional time. It's predictably ridiculous:

I wish I was there to watch the process server attempt to penetrate GFK's security detail.

The court gave Urbont more time but apparently the best he could do was serve Ghostface's agent. According to a motion filed by GFK's lawyer, this is insufficient service because an entertainer's agent cannot accept service on behalf of the entertainer. I note that this motion reports an AOL email address in the signature block -- I expected the Wallabee Champ would retain counsel with a gmail account, at a minimum, but this really has no impact on whether service was proper. If service was improper then the amended complaint will likely be dismissed with respect to Ghostface. Ask a lawyer if you want to know for sure.

Meanwhile, Sony filed a motion to dismiss claiming that Urbont's claims were brought too late with respect to all potential infringement prior to May 21, 2007. The judge issued her decision on Tuesday. She wrote that:

Defendant Coles is a well-known "musician, performer, and producer," formerly a member of the group the Wu-Tang Clan.

Formerly?! I guess Judge Buchwald doesn't know about this. Here's a preview:

The judge first explained whether Urbont's federal copyright claim accrued at the time of the alleged infringement ("the injury rule") or at the time when he learned of the alleged infringement ("the discovery rule"). She applied the injury rule, following Second Circuit precedent. Because Sony and Urbont entered into a tolling agreement in May of 2010, the "injuries" that occurred more than three years before then were time barred. So Sony won on this issue. The judge also noted that the First, Third, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits follow the discovery rule, so Urbont would have won on this issue if he had filed in, say, Boston, Newark, Houston, Detroit, Chicago, or LA. This is at least one reason why people hate lawyers.

Part of Judge Buchwald's opinion dismissing the federal copyright claim distinguished the Second Circuit case Kwan v. Schlein. I note this only because she later analogized to Kwan in support of her decision to allow Urbont's state law claims to proceed, writing that "[i]t would seem only logical for federal and state claims based on copyright infringement to accrue in a parallel manner." This probably makes perfect sense if you're a lawyer. This is another reason why people hate lawyers.

Urbont's state law claim was not dismissed because the Wallabee Kingpin's alleged infringement was not analogous to the tort of conversion (i.e., Pretty Tone's use of the jingle didn't prevent Urbont from using the jingle), and was instead analogous to the tort of trespass (i.e., GFK merely interfered with Urbont's jingle). Therefore, each separate act of infringement gives rise to a separate cause of action. This result is somewhat incongruous, at least in my feeble brain. If someone completely destroys your copyrighted material so that you can never make any money off it again, you only have a limited time to sue them. But if someone rips you off in a way that doesn't prevent you from continuing to make money off your copyrighted material, you can probably go after them in perpetuity (well, until 70 years after your death, but who's counting)? Thank you Sonny Bono!

Unrelatedly, feel free to get me these Stan Smith X Pretty Toney kicks for my birthday:

Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Friday

I had this song stuck in my head for no good reason today. Now I'm stuffing it in yours. Enjoy.

Finally...the Ghoogles...have come G:TB

Ain't that right, Rock? (Jim Ross' reaction is always priceless)

So the top search item leading folks to this corner of Al Gore's invented universe is "zooey deschanel legs". Now, I'm not sure if this is voyeurs looking for some gams, or sociopaths who desire to own her personal appendages, but either way, it draws the folks in, so kudos gentlemen. We are a small subset of the interwebz Zooey Deschanel Fan Club (I, however, still don't get the appeal).

Now on to the other ridiculous, sublime, shallow and pedantic terms that led folks to G:TB over the past few months:
  • tattoo mess ups
  • cameo tattoo
  • droopy dog
  • fresh prince
  • lady spartan soccer wax
  • sibling tattoos
  • sexy highschool girls
  • sinus cavity
  • gaetane thiney
  • hot girls
  • porkslap
  • pursuit of happiness tattoo
  • awesome possum
  • baseball card
  • fresh
  • igor
  • mike magnante retirement benefits
  • worst rock songs
  • assholes
  • bea hamel
  • gaëtane thiney
  • poland
  • the irish curse
  • zooey deschanel thighs
  • ass holes
  • brigitte bardot naked
  • college bikini
  • maute bol
  • record player tattoo
  • zooey deschanel big legs
  • zooey deschanel hot legs
  • adventure time tattoo
  • alfonso ribeiro fat
  • alfonso ribeiro shirtless
  • arsenal tattoo
  • baseball cards
  • brigitte bardot hot
  • epic paradox
  • jack urbont
  • james hetfield wife
  • mike magnante pension
  • peeps diorama
  • alfonso ribeiro body
  • bikini top off
  • brazilian women names
  • california state tattoos
  • grammy
  • hairy dicks
  • stan kasten
  • terminator tattoo
  • beetlejuice tattoo
  • brazilian hookers
  • georghe the blog
  • hot rugby girls
  • james hetfield young
  • jason hervey
  • joshua bell metro
  • money over bitches tattoo
  • nirvana live
  • russian bikini
  • saint christopher tattoo
  • sea isle city
  • sibling tattoo
  • smoke tattoo designs
  • tattoo filler
  • tattoo filler designs
  • tattoo sleeve filler
  • thousand yard stare
  • what does a deviated septum look like
  • zooey deschanel scandal
  • "beasthoven"
  • big hairy penis
  • bikini line
  • bikini ripped off
  • bikini waitress
  • brazilian prostitute
  • brazilian pussy
  • california state tattoo
  • cameo tattoos
  • can white men jump ethnicity genes culture and success
  • corine franco
  • dali desert
  • dan mumford tattoo
  • darren sharper
  • dead man's hand tattoo
  • deviated septum
  • devo are we not men
  • dinosaurs tattoo
  • elodie thomis
  • faithful tattoo
  • ghorghe the blog
  • grammy trophy
  • group of sexy women
  • guitar pick tattoo
  • iceland women
  • indie tattoo designs
  • information society
  • kari wuhrer remote control
  • mike magnante retirement
  • nadal capris
  • nut shots
  • pork slap
  • question mark tattoo
  • rugby world cup trophy
  • saint george tattoo
  • short definition of internet
  • st christopher tattoo
  • st george tattoo
  • tattoo terminator
  • tattoos over stretch marks
  • tb friends
  • the internet
  • train tattoo
  • zooey deschanel dominatrix
  • zooey deschanel legs photos
  • zooey deschanel legs pics
  • "kim mcganty"
  • 15 year old bikini
  • a boy with a hood blog
  • adventure tattoo
  • adventure time tattoos
  • alex rodriguez jerk
  • alfonso lincoln ribeiro
  • alfonso ribeiro ripped
  • american football tattoos
  • anger tattoo
  • animal kingdom rides
  • are we not men
  • arod jerk
  • arsenal tattoos
  • avett brothers tattoo
  • avett brothers tattoos
  • bacon/sarcasm
  • bald poodle
  • baseball tattoo designs
  • berserker clerks
  • big hairy pussy
  • big pill
  • bikini babes
  • black panther symbol
  • bobby thompson
  • boston dynamics cheetah
  • brazil chick
  • brazilian females
  • buddy nix
  • butch at middleberry college
  • california love tattoo
  • cause of pain in right hand & right shoulder
  • college girl bikini
  • columbus day poster
  • corona bikini
  • cute cartoon butterflies
  • dancing russian gif
  • darren sharper super bowl
  • delle donne sports illustrated
  • diorama
  • droopy the dog
  • dru joyce iii height
  • dugges
  • filler tattoos
  • fu dog tattoo
  • funny lawnmower pictures
  • gears tattoo
  • german girls
  • giant sturgeon
  • glowpuck
  • grammys trophy
  • greg kihn - kihn of hearts (1992)
  • greg mcelroy sister
  • helicopter tattoo
  • hell is empty and all the devils are here tattoo
  • hot jmu girls
  • i hate kyle
  • iceland girls
  • icelandic women
  • italian flag tattoos
  • italian soccer player tattoos
  • janet jones gretzky
  • jessica biel summer catch
  • johnny hector
  • joshua bell
  • katy perry see through
  • killer peeps
  • kurt cobain live
  • listen to frank ocean mixtape
  • making fuck
  • matt muir superbad
  • men with three testicles
  • merkins
  • metallica grammy
  • mike love
  • military squirrel
  • monkey pussy tattoo
  • muffet mcgraw
  • muscle
  • muscles woman
  • music staff tattoo designs
  • nasal polyps
  • not taco bell material
  • nut cup
  • oil derek
  • oil spill otter
  • otter oil
  • peyton manning neck x ray
  • picking up butch
  • point of sale in the u.s. corn dogs
  • porkslap beer
  • pretty mexican girls
  • prometheus
  • quik rabbit sex
  • real incest archive
  • robert plant pene
  • roberto alomar
  • rockabilly cars
  • ron mercer
  • rupaul as a man
  • russian girls bikini
  • saint anthony tattoo
  • sandwich girls
  • sci fi movie
  • sexy greek girls
  • sleeve filler tattoo
  • small bikini
  • smoke filler tattoo
  • squirrel pictures
  • starr hill productions
  • success tattoo
  • tattoo above pussy
  • tattoo chuck
  • tattoo fuck ups
  • tattoo over stretch marks
  • tattoo st george
  • texas is the best
  • the cell movie
  • three beautiful men
  • tony the tiger animated gif
  • tottenham tattoo
  • traveler tattoo
  • true love never dies tattoo
  • true romance tattoo
  • two can sam
  • unclothed women
  • webb ellis cup
  • what is a deviated septum
  • women argentine sexy
  • young brazilian girls
  • young rupaul
  • zooey deschanel leather
Per the tiny dictator's request, here is the "wordle" for this blog post:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

G:TB, D-BT's

Dave never asked for this much detail, but here we go, anyway . . .

Drive-By Truckers

Formed: 1996
From: Alabama / Athens, GA

Style of music (not that we like to pigeonhole bands with labels): Southern Rock, Alt-Country, Rock and Roll
You might like if you dig: Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, Old 97's, The Black Keys


Dave asked specifically about albums, which some of our younger readers find to be an antiquated way of acquiring and listening to music. (Teej thinks it’s very silly when I tell him I’m going to the “record store.”) Still, here’s what Zman and I have to offer on their albums.

Zman: The Dirty South; Brighter Than Creation’s Dark; Decoration Day

Igor: I’d start with Southern Rock Opera, the double album that first got them acclaim. Listen to it straight through, including the awesome and educational “The Three Great Alabama Icons.” Then The Dirty South. Then Brighter Than Creation’s Dark.


Harder to pick, as there are so many good choices. There are have been four vocalists on Truckers songs, each with highly discernible voices:
  • Patterson Hood

  • Mike Cooley

  • Jason Isbell

  • Shonna Tucker
The latter two have left the band (and each other), but as you sift through DBT tunes, you will be able to identify whose song it is, and which of the four you like best. In the modern age, Dave, it’s easy to download individual songs, so here’s a list of recommendations.

Sands of Iwo Jima
Lisa's Birthday
My Sweet Annette
Self Destructive Zones
Putting People on the Moon
Daddy Needs a Drink
Dead, Drunk, and Naked
Everybody Needs Love
Boys From Alabama

Igor (in order, sort of):
Where the Devil Don't Stay
Let There Be Rock
The Righteous Path
Women Without Whiskey
Puttin' People on the Moon
Easy on Yourself
Two Daughters And A Beautiful Wife
Daddy Needs A Drink
Hell No, I Ain't Happy
Everybody Needs Love
Ronnie And Neil
The Southern Thing
Sink Hole
A Ghost To Most
Used to Be a Cop
Lookout Mountain
Carl Perkins' Cadillac
This Fucking Job
Feb 14

Upcoming Shows

Fri 04/06/12 …………Birmingham, AL …………WorkPlay Soundstage
Sat 04/07/12 …………Birmingham, AL …………WorkPlay Soundstage
Tue 04/10/12 …………Pensacola, FL …………Vinyl Music Hall
Wed 04/11/12 …………Gainesville, FL …………Florida Theater Of Gainesville
Thu 04/12/12 …………Tampa, FL …………The Ritz Ybor
Fri 04/13/12 …………Orlando, FL …………The Beacham
Sat 04/14/12 …………Charleston, SC …………Music Farm
Tue 04/17/12 …………Charlottesville, VA …………Jefferson Theater
Wed 04/18/12 …………Norfolk, VA …………NorVa
Thu 04/19/12 …………Carrboro, NC…………Cat's Cradle
Fri 04/20/12 …………Wilmington, NC …………Greenfield Lake Amphitheatre
Sat 04/21/12 …………Atlanta, GA …………The Tabernacle

Appearing at "Floydfest"
Fri 07/27/12 …………Floyd, VA …………FloydFest


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I used to hate the fool in me but only in the mornin, now I tolerate him all day long

I have been accused of being foolish on more than one occasion. Most recently, rob said I was foolish for predicting that Norfolk State would beat Missouri. "[W]earing stripes with plaid" foolish, to be precise. Because he's amongst the coolest guys I know, rob apologized for this remark by sending me this:

Expect to see it on the (clicking) hoof at an OBFT near you. I plan to get a Virginia State shirt for rob so that we can rock Virgina HBCU gear together.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hey Joe - Shut the Fuck Up (An Open Letter to Joe Namath)

Dear Mr. Namath:

As a life-long Jets fan, I've admired your career accomplishments for quite a while - both on the field and in the boudoir. I was raised to be a Jets fan and a Namath fan by my father, an Iranian immigrant who sailed to the US from Europe in 1965 to meet up with a lady-friend from New Jersey he had gotten to know in Germany. Given his dedication to make a lengthy sojourn to secure copulative action, he was a kindred spirit of yours in at least one way.

But unlike you, Mr. Namath, my Dad did not lead a charmed life as a college student. He worked 105 hours a week over the summer (not an exaggeration) to make ends meet at a small private college in New Jersey while you were playing for Bear Bryant. He hustled the women in the financial aid office for grants and served meals at the cafeteria in between classes and studying. He ended up graduating with a BS in Chemistry in 1970 and entering the work world.

My father worshipped you, Mr. Namath. You were the American Dream to him - a young bachelor living the good life as a famous athlete in Gotham. He followed your career closely. I remember him relaying the story of the Heidi game to me at a young age. He hated watching you at the tail end of your career, hobbling around in a Rams uniform in 1977. The two of us watched a lot of Jets games together in the early 1980's, including the horrendous 14-0 loss to the Dolphins in a monsoon in the AFC Championship game in January 1983. So as I grew up as a Jets fan, I kept you in high regard as a Jets legend, despite your pedestrian statistics. I even tried to convince myself you were anything but a mediocre color commentator on AFC games in the 1980's.

When your largest public faux pas happened on that infamous Monday Night Football game in 2003, I did not laugh. I was mortified. It was beyond embarrassing. I believe it proved to be a turning point in your life as it prompted you to seek treatment for your alcoholism. You appear to have conquered that demon.

My father passed away in 2004. In 2008, I came off the wait list for Jets seasons tickets after ten years. I felt compelled to purchase a jersey. In tribute to my father (and partially due to the high turnover of players) I selected a Namath jersey. I have worn it religiously to games since, and it has proved somewhat resilient to my predilection to spill things on myself.

Unfortunately Joe, it is now 2012. Father Time is advancing on you almost as quickly as your belt-line is advancing on your nipples. You are quickly morphing from a Jet legend to a sideshow freak, proffering opinions on all things Jets. You have an opinion on Rex Ryan, an opinion on Mark Sanchez and now you have an opinion on Tim Tebow. Know what Joe? I have an opinion on Tebow too. And I bet it's just as uninformed as yours. So do most other football fans. But unlike you, we don't have the opportunity to get in front of the media. But you do. And you babble whatever the hell enters into your fermented cranium because you feel you have diplomatic immunity after wining a Super Bowl 44 years ago. So you hopped in front of a mike and crushed the trade and said it was a bad move, a publicity stunt that would hurt Mark Sanchez.

You know what I say to that Joe? SHUT THE FUCK UP. You wear your pants above your belly button and have hair like Lloyd Christmas. SHUT THE FUCK UP. You are a recovering alcoholic who has lived off of one Super Bowl title for almost half a century. SHUT THE FUCK UP. You have a career passer rating of 65.5. SHUT THE FUCK UP. You never sat down with Tony Sparano, creator of the Wildcat, to discuss how Tebow could be used. SHUT THE FUCK UP.


(at least one member of) Gheorghe: The Blog

Monday, March 26, 2012

Take the Last Train to Lewisburg

Various media outlets gave credence this week to the rumors that have been swirling in CAA circles for some time. Conference hoops stalwarts George Mason and VCU are in discussions with the Atlantic 10 to leave the Colonial and join what is arguably the nation's best mid-major basketball conference. With Butler having already announced its intention to join the Newport News-based A10, it's hard to fault Mason and VCU for their interest.

The last time the CAA was similarly threatened in 2001, as Richmond, ECU, and American left the conference for widely divergent reasons, Tom Yeager engineered a deft raid of the America East, adding Hofstra, Delaware, Drexel, and Towson. Northeastern and Georgia State joined the CAA in 2005 to round out the current all-sports membership. (Richmond, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, and Villanova are football-only members - this is important.)

Our sources in the William and Mary athletic department have been extremely tight-lipped on the rumors, and in the absence of any hard news, we're left with speculation. It seems obvious that football is driving the CAA's strategic planning (and our violent disagreement with this will be the subject of a future post - the Cliff's Notes version is Division 1 hoops will always be a more valuable property than 1-AA football). As is our typically paranoid wont, let's start with the worst-case scenario. (Implicit in this discussion is the idea that schools can get out of any legal entanglements tying them to their current conferences.)

In the doomsday version of the future, Mason, VCU, and Drexel all leave the CAA for the newly configured (and really fun, frankly) Atlantic 10. ODU accelerates its transition to FBS football and joins the Sun Belt, as does Georgia State, leaving W&M, JMU, UNCW, Delaware, Hofstra, Northeastern, and Towson in an oddly configured seven-team league. Wilmington realizes it's better off as part of the Southern Conference or the Big South, and Hofstra, Delaware, and Northeastern head back to the America East with visions of SOUTHERN BIAS fading to a bad memory.

So W&M and JMU are left holding hands and looking around. The Big South represents a huge step down for both, leaving the Southern Conference and Patriot League as the only viable options. JMU probably prefers the SoCon, but W&M likes the idea of affiliating with the Patriot's elevated academic reputation. In the end, the two schools get pressured by Richmond to stay in the same league, but JMU's outsized football ambitions lead it southward temporarily as they plan for the FBS leap, while W&M is secretly happy to de-emphasize athletics, becoming the Patriot League's 9th member.

On the plus side, it makes our chances of reaching the Big Dance better, if you ignore the fact that Lehigh smoked us this year, Bucknell is a legit program, and we couldn't beat American when we were in the same league.

Pollyanna's sporting vision looks a little different, but not actually all that great. In this version of the future, the CAA still loses Mason and VCU (this is happening, boys and girls, whether we like it or not - it'll be kind of a bummer having to cut loose KQ from our gang, but getting to keep Mr. KQ will make it okay). Georgia State also leaves the conference to pursue FBS football, which is a net positive - the Panthers never really fit with the CAA.

Yeager and the crew in Richmond have planned for this moment, though, and their agreement with NBC Sports is a valuable leverage point. The CAA pilfers Appalachian State from the Southern and Coastal Carolina from the Big South (whose new head football coach, Joe Moglia, is the former CEO and current Chairman of TD Ameritrade - don't undersell the value of those connections) to add a pair of quality FCS football programs. The league also adds the College of Charleston, looking for an upgrade in hoops competition, to round out a 12-team conference.

This new configuration gives the CAA more geographical balance, and makes it an even better football conference. It probably also guarantees ODU multiple conference hoops titles in the next few years.

There are a handful of other scenarios floating in rumorspace, some involving Richmond returning to the CAA with Charlotte, as the latter starts a football program in 2013. Instructively, in none of these scenarios is W&M an active participant in its future. If my highly scientific polling is accurate, a large majority of William and Mary alums couldn't give two shits about the College's sports destiny. In an increasingly constrained fiscal environment, would it surprise any of our readers to learn that W&M was looking for a way to field competitive athletic teams with a smaller outlay?

And that's why I'll see you all in Bender Arena for the Tribe's first-round Patriot League tournament game in March 2014.

BREAKING NEWS, ADDED BY YOUR DOOFUS OVERLORD: VCU says it is NOT looking into joining the A-10.

World Banker, Universal Rap Star

Last week, President Obama nominated Dartmouth President and global health and medicine expert Jim Yong Kim for the Presidency of the World Bank. Though criticized by many as a pawn of the world's elite economies, the Bank's defenders view its mission as critical to the development of emerging economies, and...

Whoa. For a second there I was about to wander off the reservation in a disquisition about global economic policy. Thank God Jim Kim did this:

Now that's how we at Gheorghe: The Blog like our oligarchs.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Design Saturday

As I laze about in Lancaster, PA on this gloomy Saturday, I'm comforted by the fact that the globe's most talented designers are hard at work on life-affirming and work-avoiding miracles like Kebo, a one-handed bottle opener. We live in magical times, my friends.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Evolution: Calling to the Future by Begging for the Past

2012 is shaping up to be an interesting one for Old Dennis. The catalyst being that the offspring count in my house is set to (unintentionally) double in late August (and for those that don't know me as well as you should, I don't mean going from 1 to 2). After picking my jaw off the floor upon hearing the news, it became immediately clear that other changes were necessary to accommodate this little life event. And as a neanderthal at heart, of course, change is something I resist violently - with fire and spiked clubs. It goes against my nature. Just the thought of extremely large machinery and very tiny men tearing the roof off my house so a third story can take its place makes my palms sweat uncontrollably. Not to mention living with my mother-in-law for 3 months while they do it....That said, I'm a survivor. I'm evolved - a contemporary caveman who's traded his spears for golf clubs, his chisel and stone tablet for a blog handle and a MacBook Pro, his meats on a stick for.....wait....

...OK, let's not get carried away here. I'm not swan diving into the deep end. I'm still the kid that likes to dip his toes in by the steps while hanging onto the handrail for dear life. I want, nay, need to stay grounded as the metamorphosis gets underway. I decided I had to do two things first. They are: discover something classic that I'd always overlooked and sample something new that I've never tried. These two activities coupled together would summarizing my current outlook on things. And would help me ease into this new chapter. You know, holding onto the past while reaching for the future...some psychobabble like that.

Anyway, reading a classic novel seemed like a realistic way to check off part one of my to-do list. It shouldn't take too long and I might discover some hidden truths about the world or even myself along the way. So I read The Catcher In The Rye. A classic indeed. Some terrible movie hinted at the idea that serial killers and assassins always have a copy of this book with them when carrying out their business. I hate the lousy movies. But I've never read it before. I really haven't. Mostly because not reading it seemed like something Holden Caulfield would do. So, when given the choice in high school, I read something awful like Ethan Frome or Wuthering Heights or some other depressing book instead that nobody wants to read and was decidedly NOT The Catcher in the Rye. If you were there, you'd know how good it felt. But now after reading it, I'm worried I'll feel like a phony because I'll get all the inside jokes from the novel the sorry goddamn forty-something morons sprinkle into conversation to make themselves feel better about being forty - like they're original ideas or something. I worry a lot. But, this seemed like as good a time as any to read it. It really did. I've told you before, I'm crazy.

After the success of discovering a classic, I moved on to the sampling something new bit. Again, I'm not hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro or eating "Flatliner" buffalo wings or sleeping with anyone's sister or anything like that. I'm a simple man. I have simple interests. I like sports, music, and beer. I have a long and boring sports history (and drinking history for that matter) and I've already waxed poetic about my beer affinity in this space so I ruled those two areas out pretty quickly. But my musical journey has been a relatively short dalliance thus far. The truth is, I look like one of those empty souls just thumbing their way through Foo Fighter hits on the iPod waiting for the next Pearl Jam documentary or Smashing Pumpkins re-issue (both of which were released in 2011 and were phenomenal, but Nevermind that). But I'm a tad more complex than that. I appreciate artists doing whatever it is they do; as long as they do it really fucking well. So, I decided to go the musical route for part two of the list.

True to form, in stepping forward I've stumbled into what was yet again. The Shins released a new album on Tuesday. The Shins have been around for 11 years. But it's their first new release in nearly 5. You see, the band has been going through some changes of its own. Originator James Mercer started anew since kicking out every other member of the band a little while back to embrace a new chapter in his life. The result is somewhat fascinating. It's a unique and refreshing collection of tunes that sounds exactly like....The Shins. The pheaux-falsetto voice is still there, the keyboards, the sliding to and from notes with each catching chorus, and the nearly unintelligible lyrics that made them indie darlings a decade ago. The catch with the Shins is that they write simple pop music. And let me be clear here, I hate pop music. But, the melodies are so complex and lyrics so sharp that it doesn't feel like pop music when you listen to it. It feels like something you've heard before but can't quite figure out where. There's a mix of nostalgia and hope in their songs. There are moments that you find yourself relating to a song that you have no business relating to or saying "Yeah, I used to think that" or "Hey, I did the same thing" knowing full well you probably never did anything close to it or thought anything like it in the least. But you wish like hell you did or hope that you someday will. Mercer has saluted the classical version of himself while hoping the future undiscoverd version works out just as well.

I better get back to work now. Did I tell you I started a new job too?

Office Etiquette Advice

Dear Gheorghe:

One of my employees is named Rick. Every time I speak with him, I think of this scene from the classic comedy, The Young Ones:

Should I be concerned? Is this appropriate managerial conduct? And would it be okay if I referred to him in the same manner Vyvvyan does?

Thanks in advance for your answer,


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sweet Sixteen Action (No, Not The Gary Glitter Kind)

OK folks, looks like we need some filler today, so pasted below is the game action for tonight's Sweet Sixteen match-ups...with a special peeps photo as well.

Wisconsin (4) vs. Syracuse (1), 7:15 p.m. ET, CBS
Many people expected Cuse to lose before the Round of 16, and they almost did become the first #1 seed to fall to a #16 seed. Alas, they survived UNC-Asheville and beat down Kansas State in the second half to advance and face the Badgers. Is this the game Fab Melo's absence kills them? Will Rakeem Festivus step up in Melo's absence? Will Jim Boeheim continue to be a curmudgeonly asshole? (wait, we know the answer to that one already) On another note, I think Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor has been enrolled since 1997.

Louisville (4) vs. Michigan State (1), 7:47 p.m. ET, TBS 
rob's boy Draymond Green is having a special tournament already, and you have to like Tom Izzo's club in this matchup, mainly because it's fun to root against Rick Pitino and those Colonel Sander's suits of his. Lousiville center Gorgui Dieng has a great name, even if his game doesn't always match up to the name.

Cincinnati (6) vs. Ohio State (2), 9:45 p.m. ET, CBS
Yancy Gates will punch you in the face. Hell, this whole Bearcats team has no problem throwing haymakers for Lollipop Guild member Mick Cronin. This Ohio State team is not nearly as good as last year's squad, but as long as Sullinger gets some offensive help from William Buford (another Jess Settles Team member) and Aaron Craft the Buckeyes should win.

Florida (7) vs. Marquette (3), 10:17 p.m. ET, TBS 
Mark's team has had a cakewalk to the Sweet Sixteen, pummeling those uptight UVA douchebags and then throttling one-hit-wonder Norfolk State. Bradley Beal has averaged 14 points and 10 boards in the two games, which has to be bittersweet for Mark since his strong performance means he'll be headed to the NBA next season. Marquette's Jae Crowder, the Big East Player of the Year, looks like a girl. Their other star, Darius Johnson-Odom, has a porn star's name.

Oh yeah, here's that peeps photo I promised:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We Love Women: A Very Special G:TB Post

We generally eschew serious political commentary in favor of goofy inside jokes and quixotic windmill-jousting (is there really any other kind?). Sure, we'll occasionally make fun of a politician here and there, or mock South Carolina, but politics isn't typically our bag.

We make an exception, though, when the old white men who still run way too many things try to wrench us back into the '50s. We're still more aggrieved when they mess with our womenfolk. (Apologies to our womenfolk for the use of the word womenfolk. We get protective sometimes. Not that you can't protect yourselves. Okay. I'll shut up now.)

The Republican Presidential primaries have been a special kind of circus, replete with personal attacks, charges of flip-floppery, flim-flammery, liberalism, and Newtism, and six different kinds of crazy. I've mostly looked on with bemusement tempered with a tiny bit of terror about the idea that one of that collection of whackadoodles, narcissists, and weathervanes might yet have a puncher's chance of becoming the most powerful person in the free world.

But when the conservatives came for the vaginas, they overstepped in egregious fashion. From the kerfuffle over HPV vaccination to a full blown hue and cry over contraception coverage in employer-sponsored healthcare plans (featuring a national conservative icon calling a law student a 'slut' on the public airwaves) to requiring women to undergo humiliating procedures before the paternal state deems them fit to exercise their reproductive rights (and I don't want to get into a debate over abortion - regardless of your personal beliefs, a woman's right to choose is settled law), the religiously-dominated conservative movement has been virulently and increasingly anti-female in recent years. (As an aside, Transvaginal Ultrasound will almost certainly be the name of an indie band soon, if it isn't already. Look for them at SXSW in 2013.)

In the face of political absurdity, we see no option but to fight back in kind. Thanks to the gloriously named website, Government Free VJJ, we have a plan of attack:

1. Knit or crochet a vagina or uterus
2. Print a message to enclose
3. Mail it to your male Senator or Congressional Representative [links provided]
4. We’re in the process of arranging hand delivery to congressional offices in Washington, until then, go ahead and mail yours in!
5. Record your items in this spreadsheet so we can track which representatives still need to receive a "gift"!
6. Don't forget to thank your representative if he respects women and supports our rights.

This going to be much bigger than the Circus Peanut Diorama Contest. Naughtier, too.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Tradition Unlike Any Other

With the Masters fast approaching, and me feeling a need to accelerate the Tumblrification of this happy space, thought this was an appropriate way to fill up some time this morning. I sure hope Mark golfs, 'cause I just bought him a pair of these:

In completely unrelated news, Zman, send me your address via the email machine. 


My Twitter followers have already seen this, but I decided against purchasing these for myself. Instead, I got a pair for Dave. He's a pretty stylish fellow. These will complete his normal short-sleeve-with-tie teacher look:

Monday, March 19, 2012

That's Offal

On this Meaty Monday (contrary to the memos circulating G:TB HQ, this is not an homage to Igor), we celebrate the entire animal. Chef Chris Cosentino is renowned for his celebration of the animals he cooks, especially the parts that most American palates consider, well, disgusting. His San Francisco restaurant, Incanto, is recognized by Forbes Traveler as "perhaps America's most adventurous nose-to-tail restaurant." His website, Offal Good, goes deep on the odd animal bits upon which he's built a career.

I consider myself a reasonably adventurous eater, but I confess that Cosentino's latest offering gives me quite a bit of pause. Among other things, his new restaurant, Pigg, features french fries and pig ears covered in "brainase", an aioli that includes blended pig brains. The pig ears, sure - I'd give those a shot. The brain sauce? That'd maybe take six or eight stiff drinks.

I can't even imagine what the Doofus Overlord will make of this.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Metal Up Your Ass Friday (Reprise): Lemmy

Thanks to Palladia, the best HD channel I don't get to enough, I was able to find and record this documentary earlier this month. It is tremendously entertaining on many levels.

Oh yeah, I think there's basketball on today too. Go get drunk and watch some. Thanks to a genius sales guy at my company, I will be at a "client event" at a bar in midtown. This event features pitchers of beer and fried appetizers and starts at 12:30. Good times.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Your Thursday Madness Open Thread

Sorry to push down rob's "Picking Up Butch" post, but the 2012 NCAA Tournament has now begun, and I figured we needed an open thread to rant and rave about today's games. Please feel free to continuing trashing Rick Reilly in the comments, though, as that is always fun. For today's filler pics, I went back to an oldie but goodie theme...

Picking Up Butch: In Which We Redeem Rick Reilly, Temporarily

Lost in Norm MacDonald's brilliant Twitter takedown of Rick Reilly this weekend (a tour de force of understated knife twisting), and frankly lost somewhere between the back pages of Sports Illustrated and Bristol, CT, is that Reilly was once an insightful, funny and compelling presence in the sportswriting firmament. In fact, he authored one of my favorite sports columns ever, a story both personal to me and universal in its appeal.

My parents both attended Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. Careful readers know that the bucolic Green Mountain burg is my birthplace. In 2003, Reilly penned a moving tribute to one of the great small-school traditions of all-time, Picking Up Butch.

Here are the first few grafs:
The best college tradition is not dotting the i at Ohio State. It's not stealing the goat from Navy. Or waving the wheat at Kansas.

It's Picking Up Butch at Middlebury (Vt.) College.

For 42 years Middlebury freshman athletes have been Picking Up Butch for football and basketball games. It's a sign-up sheet thing. Carry the ball bags. Gather all the towels. Pick Up Butch.

Basketball players, men and women, do it during football season. Football players do it during basketball season. Two hours before each home game, two freshmen grab whatever car they can get and drive a mile off campus to the tiny house where 54-year-old Butch Varno lives with his 73-year-old mother, Helen, who never got her driver's license. And they literally Pick Up Butch, 5'3" and 170 pounds, right off his bed. They put him in his wheelchair and push him out of the house, or one guy hauls him in a fireman's carry. They pile him into the car, cram the wheelchair into the trunk, take him to the game and roll him to his spot in the mezzanine for football games or at the end of the bench for basketball.
My father framed the article. It hangs today in his old office. Later, other national media outlets picked up the story - Butch got airtime on CBS, ESPN and others, always with the same refrain: its the best tradition in college sports. On this most glorious of sporting days, I highly recommend a reread of Reilly's article. It's easy to be a cynic in today's sportscape - hell, the caricature that's now Rick Reilly does it professionally - but Butch has a way of bringing us back to the best of our natures.

So read Picking Up Butch. And enjoy the Madness.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy National Pie Day

Vintage Rock...have fun in the comments with this made-up holiday.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

When Caddies Go Wild

Sunday at the 2012 WGC-Cadillac Championship Paul Casey got a hole-in-one on the 15th hole. His caddie, Craig Connelly, though it won him a car. That elicited the reaction below.

Sadly for Connelly, he did not win a car. But he will be YouTube famous forever now.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Last Chance to Pay for Free Beer

Tickets are still available for tonight's Pints to Help Half Pints charity beer dinner at Birch & Barley in D.C. Join me, the Teej, the future Mrs. Teej, and Shlara for an evening of great suds and killer food. If this menu doesn't entice you, I fear you might not be human:

Victoria 2011 -  Allagash Brewing - Maine

Crudo of Hamachi
Pickled Fennel, Pomelo Beads & Mint
Beersel Mattina - Birrificio Del Ducato & Drie Fonteinen - Italy

Red Fife Ravioli
Housemade Bacon, Toasted Walnuts, Arugula & Green Peppercorns
Collaboration Not Litigation Ale - Avery Brewing & Russian River Brewing - Colorado

Grilled Ribeye of Beef
Confit Fingerlings, Black Trumpet Mushrooms & Butter-Braised Turnips
Smoke - Surly Brewing - Minnesota

Cave-Aged Valencay with Bergamot Marmalade
Without You I’m Nothing - Evil Twin (at Amager Bryghus) - Denmark

Pastore with Port-Glazed Figs
More Brown Than Black - Stone Brewing, The Alchemist & Ninkasi Brewing - California

Cave-Aged Colston Bassett Stilton with Honeyed Walnuts
Calva Reserva 2010 – Brouwerij ‘t Smisje - Belgium

Chocolate Peanut Butter Parfait, peanut crunch ice cream, chocolate curl
Backwoods Bastard 2011 – Founders Brewing Company – Michigan

Idjit! -  Dugges Ale & Porterbryggeri - Sweden

Executive Chef – Kyle Bailey
Pastry Chef – Tiffany MacIsaac
Beer Director – Greg Engert

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Gheorghe: Selection Sunday Filler

Igor emailed this highlight montage the other day, asking if I have ever seen it. Amazingly, the answer was "No." But I am glad he sent it along, because this is some Gheorghe Ghoodness. Watch it on loop as you prepare for the Selection Committee to stick it to Drexel at 6:00 p.m. ET and leave the Dragons out of the NCAA Tournament in favor of some middling bums from the Big East, Big Ten, or god forbid, the horrid Pac 12.

[H/T to BigPatrys15 for the video]

Friday, March 09, 2012

Gheorghe: The Week Finale

In what will come as precisely no surprise, we've run out of post topics for Gheorghe: The Week. Frankly, the excitement of it all has really taken a toll on our aging mindgrapes. We'll leave you with the best examples of what appears to be a criminally short supply of artwork featuring Gheorghe: The Man, and hope you'll stay tuned for GheorgheFest II: One for the Dumb.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

GheorgheFest: Video Surfaces

Gheorghe: the Week continues today with some grainy, wobbly footage of GheorgheFest that was captured by my better half.

The video below would be the beginning of worlds colliding, as it captures Ghita's entrance to the Verizon Center suite on Saturday evening So, enjoy some seriously handsome guys drinking copious amounts of alcohol around a 7'7" ex-NBA baller.

I am digging through the video archives right now...I think we might have a gem or two to add to this post later.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Behind the Music

Gheorghe: The Week continues with a pair of first-person recollections of one of the great conflations of music and sport in recorded history. Back in the early 90s, Igor and I owned an interest in a pair of Washington Bullets season tickets. I can't really remember how we afforded them, but one of the great perks given to season ticket holders was a team video called 'You the Man'. It defies description, frankly, so you'll need to take my word for it (and view one of its two incarnations below). On at least one, and more like a hundred occasions, we'd return home drunk, pop the cassette into the VCR (Google it, Mark) and sing along with our Bullet buddies.

Many years later, in a quirk of acquaintance and coincidence, we realized that two of our favorite female FoG:TBs not only knew the makers of the video (and its sequel), they actually participated in the filming of these epics. Sit back in your easy chair and/or cubicle and let KQ and Shlara tell you a little story.

(Fade out, then slowly fade back in. Soft music plays. KQ enters the frame.)

When you work for a professional sports organization, you occasionally get some pretty cool gigs. Most of the time you get overworked and underpaid, but there are some moments that make it all worth the hell that is late night Capital Centre coupon distributions: "I need more Papa John's coupons at the Eagle entrance NOW!!" Getting to be part of the making of the Bullets "You the Man" video was by far one of the highlights of my short but storied career at Washington Sports and Entertainment. 

The song: I don't remember a lot about this part of the process, except that Dana Mozie and Jesse James did a helluva job with it. They had a little more trouble capturing the essence of the Caps theme song, but still very talented individuals. For a laugh, watch this earlier version of the You The Man video, then watch the Caps video. A slight contrast in enthusiasm?

Since my memory is a bit spotty, what with the weeks of planning, shooting, the 5 am train to NYC to edit the video for 15 hours and the 1 am return train, and the fact it was over 15 year ago, I'll share some of my favorite moments from the video: 
  • The Price brothers look completely out of place. White point guards shouldn't dance. (Reminds me of PR guy Jim Delaney's story about getting on a team flight where Legs, Jimmy Mac, and the Price's were sitting in the back. Legs motioned to him, "Hey Jim, come sit back here with us in the suburbs")
  • At :24, a really young Nolan Smith. Love him.
  • Those scenes in the arena were filmed after (before?) a team practice. The fellas weren't too excited about it (ie completely pissed they had to do it), quite a bit of bitching and moaning if I recall (see Shlara's addendum) but they eventually got into it. Chris and Juwan were great, definitely the leaders, lots of ball busting. I didn't do a lot of player appearances, but anytime I worked with Juwan he was fantastic. Great attitude, great guy. Love his little break dance during the credits. I do seem to recall them all giving us a lot of shit about the song, the video, the script, etc. 
  • Big Gheorghe's centerfold moment (1:02)
  • A young Tim Legler (:56) before his teeth looked like Chicklets and hair looked like Jimmy Mac's (:59). Oh, and nice fist pump Jimmy.
  • Jimmy Mac pulls off the slack jawed yokel look at 1:18.
  • John Nash and Coach Lynam. They used to come into the office and sit in the sales pit and shoot the shit with the staff. We'd get the best inside stories, fantastic entertainment. Coach was hysterical. They'd often wander into our marketing office for a chat as well, as did Derek Smith, who would sit and chat for a long time. He was the best. Ever. (You also get a little glimpse here of how efficient we were at the office, when not watching the Caps accounting staff walk to the snack closet every 20 minutes.)
  • Radio DJ's are dorks, especially when they feel the need to add an exclamation point to the end of their name. And wear mom jeans.
  • 1:57. Can't remember why we were filming Big Gheorghe and Ahmad Rashad in what appears to be somebody's basement?  The Gheorghe/Ahmad—that’s footage from when NBA Inside Stuff (required Saturday morning viewing in the 90s) did a feature on Big Gheorghe. We think this was the same time as when were filming a commercial with Big Gheorghe. I don't even remember the original concept of the commercial, but Gheorghe struggled a bit with some of the lines, and we ended up just cutting a blooper reel of him trying to say "Call 301-NBA-DUNK."  Hanging with Gheorghe that morning was awesome - he was funny, chatty, engaging, had just gotten a new dog (Great Dane, natch), even let me try on his leather jacket. On me: the jacket brushed the floor, and the sleeves went past my knees and it weighed more than Rob.
  • 2:02. The Caps. Possibly the highlight of the filming for me (outside of all the time spent with Tim Legler). Great guys: Brendan Witt (who was what, 18 at the time?), Olie the Goalie, and Ken Klee (my birthday buddy). Peter Winik was our awesome camera guy from NBA productions and was a huge hockey fan. (Oh the irony). So he was all giddy, we filmed the whole thing on the ice and the players let us play with their sticks (not nearly as dirty as it sounds) and taught us how to shoot the puck. They were laid back, down to earth guys and a lot of fun to hang around. I gained a lot of respect for hockey players that day.
  • The other celebs in the video we were just lucky to catch at a game, and were all great sports about being involved. Sorry, can't remember any stories about that.
What you don't see on the YouTube version is the intro we added for season ticket holders, who all received a copy of the video as a gift. Yes, it was still VHS. That was a fun mailer to assemble. The premise of the intro was Legs and KQ/Shlara fave Calbert Cheaney walking out of the locker room after a game. They sit in the front row and say "what a great game" "yeah the crowd was really great tonight" "wow! these are great seats!" "yeah, and the fans that sit in them are the best blah blah" "yeah they are." (Tim turns to the camera) "from all of us at the Washington Bullets, thank you for your support!" Clearly, I did not write the script.

(Fade back in, with Shlara in frame. The final notes from the song quietly echo.)

We filmed the '94-'95 version - the first one - out in front of the Lincoln Memorial one day after practice, shortly after the big Chris Webber trade and Juwan Howard signing day that turned the franchise into a contender overnight. (It also sent my buddy Googs out to the west coast…sad day for Shlara.) Here’s what I remember—ALL of them complaining about getting on the fancy motor coach to go downtown, hating the sandwiches we got for them, grumbling about being asked to wear their Bullets gear and whining about the whole thing in general. The saltiest one was Scott Skiles—he thought the Bullets were a Mickey Mouse organization and didn’t seem to like anything we did, ever. But once we arrived downtown, and the music started playing and the crowd started gathering, they stopped yelling at me and lip-synched and danced and acted goofy, resulting in the best team music video of all time.

We had to re-cut the video in KQ’s first year due to trades. Since the song and video were such a big hit in Year I, we decided to go all out for an extended version and upgraded production values in year two.

And so you see it above, ladies and "gentlemen".....yooouuuuur Washington Bullets!

We'll be happy to open up the mic for questions.

(Fade to black to the sounds of "Muresan...You the Man, You the Man!")

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Range of Human Behavior

On Saturday, this guy hung out with Gheorghe Muresan and engaged in a wide variety of moderately juvenile and completely absurd activities.

On Monday, he did this:

I think he wishes he had some of that 'dry powder' to give to Marls before bedtime on Saturday, no?

Monday, March 05, 2012

GheorgheFest: A Story in Pictures

Gheorghe Muresan is 7'7" and 340 pounds. It's hard to imagine what that means until you actually see the man in person. And thanks to the Washington Wizards' dismal season and a well-placed FoG:TB, we got to do just that this weekend.

Worlds collided in a most improbably excellent way, as the far-flung G:TB community came together in the presence of Gheorghe: The Man for an evening of hilarity and unabashed fanboy glee. The sad sack Wizards recently offered deep discounts on luxury suites, kicking in a hefty food and beverage credit, free hats, and a visit from team ambassador Gheorghe Muresan. Our Doofus Overlord's pending nuptials gave us ample excuse for a gathering, and our friend and contributor Shlara reached out to her connections with the Wizards' management to nail the final details.

I confess to a degree of nervousness about the whole affair. I wasn't worried about anything we would do - despite our frequent bluster, we're a generally harmless bunch (the bouncer at Iron Horse may dispute this in the case of Marls). More to the point, though, I didn't want to ruin the image of Gheorghe I'd built up in my head over the years. The entire point of this blog has been to celebrate the joy and silliness in sports and life, based on our perception of a guy we'd seen on television. Shlara's known the big man for a long time, and I trusted her when she told us that he's a prince, but what if we got him on an off night? What if he disappointed us? What if Gheorghe was a standoffish dick? I really didn't want to rename this space Bryce: The Blog, or come up with a new slogan.

In the end, though, those worries were more than unfounded; they were absurd. From the moment Gheorghe entered our suite (and Oh. My. God. He is a mountainous human, broad in addition to tall, as the pictures in this post attest.) he was gracious, funny, kind, and generous. He patiently answered our questions about things serious and goofy, he cracked wise about his skill and grace, he talked about the game, his children, and all manner of other things. He seemed genuinely amused by our fondness for him (and took pictures of both the "GheorgheFest" banner Shlara made for the occasion and the cupcakes emblazoned with '77' that Teejay's fiance baked for us). He's a massive, enormous, prince of a guy.

As a result of combination of our age and the volumes of alcohol we consumed over an evening that didn't end for some of us until 3:30 in the morning, there are a few parts of the evening that we won't likely remember all that well. The 30 some-odd minutes we spent with Gheorghe are something we won't likely ever forget.

"No, Dave, you can't try to post me up."

Yes, that shirt does read "now back to your regularly scheduled dipshittery"
Shlara and Ghita
Can't wait for GheorgheFest II.

Special Bonus Dipshittery:

Gheorghe wasn't the only celebrity we hung out with last night. To wit:

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Forget All About That Macho Shit, And Learn How To Play Guitar

I had an interesting discussion with my friend Pastor Rob at the pub the other night. "Ha!" you scoff. "How could an irreverent agnostic like Dave have a discussion with a Man of Faith?" And I will admit, dedicated reader, that this is not a bad snap judgement on your part, as perhaps you overheard some of my previous "debates" with Pastor Rob and wonder if I could hold a serious-- or even semi-serious-- discussion with a someone religious about a weighty matter. I am here to set the record straight.

I can.

Sort of.

For a few minutes, anyway, as long as I get to make some jokes.

So the good pastor and I were discussing how there is no codified passage to manhood for Americans. Other cultures have these rites of passage-- if you're Native American, you smoke some drugs, sweat in a lodge, fast, go wander around the woods, and hallucinate. You come back from your vision quest with a cool new name and you are considered a man. If you're an American, then this process of doing drugs and wandering around is called college. You eventually graduate, but you are by no means considered a man. You don't even have a job.

If you want to do a vision quest in modern America, you've got to invent your own. Perhaps you do an Outward Bound trip. Perhaps you wrestle the "Shute" and make out with Linda Fiorentino. If you're Amish and you want to sow your wild oats, you have the option of participating in Rumspringa, a sort of organized period of adolescent rebellion. If you want to learn more about this, watch the documentary Devil's Playground. You'll see Amish kids partying down and hooking up. Then, after this archetypal period of separation and transition, they often return to their culture . . . and they are considered adults.

We have rituals in America that are supposed to indicate manhood: Bar Mitvah, confirmation, getting your driver's license, fraternity hazing, killing a Crip, basic training, graduation, your first tattoo, and losing your virginity in a whorehouse to Shelley Long, but I don't think people really believe in these rituals, I don't think that people believe that the man who has undergone one of these events is now ready for the responsibilities as an adult.. The religious events happen too early, and the rest are too various, inconsistent, illegal, and idiotic. While I'm not suggesting that we need something as extreme as the Hunger Games, it would be nice if there were some clear way to know when you are a man. I'm not totally against the old tradition of bringing your son to the local brothel, but since prostitution isn't legal here, it poses a problem. Now in Switzerland, where the price of sexual services is in a free fall because of the influx of French prostitutes, this would be a wonderful option. But we are more Puritanical in America, and in the modern world, I'm not sure if losing your virginity is enough. These days, there are so many other things to master besides sex, and most of them are far more difficult. What about obtaining a mortgage? Changing your oil? Refinancing that mortgage you obtained? Talking jive?

Oddly, women don't seem to have a problem determining when that have "come of age." They just know. It probably has something to do with menstruation. That and something I like to call common sense. Most women have it. Most men don't. So we need something physical and tangible and public and recognized. It's hard for modern men. It's not like the old days. In the old days, things were simple. You put on a big helmet with horns, rowed to another country, went berserker, and then made some fuck with the foreign ladies. You were a man.

Sports help to channel this. I never feel more manly then when I'm snowboarding down a steep mountain, or sweating profusely during a game of soccer or hoops. And I feel like a man afterwards as well, as I limp around the house, weary and bruised. But my wife couldn't give a shit. Unless you're getting paid for it, no one besides you cares that you play.

And so you need a host of other skills to be considered a modern man. You must be able to change a diaper. Survive a nut shot with grace and aplomb. Pass gas politely and surreptitiously in the office. Talk about gay sex without giggling. Say the word "duty" without giggling. Say the word "panties" without giggling. Say the word "menstruation" without giggling. Basically, you've got to stop giggling.

It's an impossible task, to figure out how and when a modern American is a man. I don't have an answer to this, and I've lost my way in this post. I've written my way into a corner. I was thinking about some sort of obstacle course, to be completed when you turn thirty-one years of age, but I don't know what kind of obstacles to place on it. Some should be physical, others mental, and others tedious-- I imagine-- but I've run out of good ideas. Maybe this generation of men will just wallow in their juvenelia forever.

On that note,  I'm going to get drunk with the rest of the G:TB staff (except for Mark, we'll miss you) and meet Gheorghe Muresan, and perhaps try to explain to him the meta nature of our relationship. This doesn't sound very manly at all, but it will be fun.

Friday, March 02, 2012

This Week in Wrenball: CAAction!

By the time you read this, I'll be steaming down the road on the way to Richmond for the first round of the 2012 CAA Men's Basketball Tournament. It's no secret that the 2011-12 Wrens were a significant disappointment. Injuries to four major contributors, all of whom are 6'6" or bigger men, were crippling. Kyle Gaillard missed the whole season, JohnMark Ludwick has only played a handful of games, Tim Rusthoven missed the first month, and preseason All-CAA first-teamer Quinn McDowell never found his legs after an offseason injury. Couple that with difficulty integrating Marcus Thornton's energy and athleticism into the W&M system and Brandon Britt's resulting ineffectiveness, and it's not hard to see how this team failed to live up to its promise.

That said, the CAA's coaches recognize the Tribe's talent and capability. In his tournament preview, FOG:TB Michael Litos polled the league's head men on a number of topics. In response to the question, "Who, of the bottom five teams, can win Friday and give their Saturday opponent a tough game–if not winning it?", W&M received more than twice as many nods as any other team. I can see it - the Wrens have never lost to first-round opponent Northeastern in the Commonwealth of Virginia. If they get past today's game (6:00, streamed on, they take on #2 seed VCU, a formidable opponent for sure, but one that W&M should've beaten in Richmond and played close in Williamsburg.

With Ludwick back in the rotation, the Tribe becomes really difficult to defend, the 6'8" senior pulling opponents' bigs out to the perimeter with his long-range skills, opening up penetration lanes for Britt and Thornton to drive to the tin or kick to McDowell and Matt Rum. W&M drilled Northeastern by 25 in the teams' most recent meeting, and the Tribe is 2-3 in their last five, including a two-point home loss to top-seeded Drexel. It's a preposterous longshot, but there's a chance that W&M finds its footing at the right time. They're clearly the toughest 6-25 team in the nation.

And if that pipe dream doesn't pan out, we've still got a hell of a weekend in front of us.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Pass the Time

The First Anniversary of my marriage was Sunday. It was a wonderful day. I love my wife. Blah. Blah. Blah.

All of that's great but I'm not here to talk about any of it today. I'm here to talk about the one thing I was in charge of at my wedding. The music. Now, don't get me wrong. I had some input on my wedding. But in large part (and by design) I was only lightly involved in most of the aspects of my wedding. Frankly, I didn't care about most things nearly as much as my wife, or her mother, or her friends, or my mother, or my sisters, or probably a couple dozen other people cared. I cared about the food and the music. I voiced some opinions on the food but this was somewhat offset by the fact that my Father-in law owns a fine dining Italian restaurant (I made damn sure we had a mashed potato bar though. Take that WOPS!). So, when it really came down to things, I was in charge of the music. But, you see, even this wasn't completely true.

Wedding receptions are funny. You want people to dance and have fun. The problem is most people like to dance to awful music. That's just the way it is when you're an elitist. Wedding receptions also kind of need a DJ. If only to keep things moving in an efficient and orderly manner. So I wasn't really in charge of all the music. Just some of it. We were going to have to hire a DJ and we were going to have to meet with him to discuss what we expected. So I had to compile a list of musical "dos" and "donts" for him. So, I worked on a list. A list that skewed closer to the mainstream. This wasn't torture. Even as someone who doesn't favor pop music, there's plenty of really good, enjoyable and danceable pop music to choose from if you give yourself 30-40 years to work with so. We met with the DJ and I gave him my list. He was a good sport and listened to us (me, really). In fact, I think he was actually happy to get away from some of the terrible wedding standards. He said he'd do a good job and he did.

Then it came time to discuss the intro songs for our bridal party as well as my wife & I. I already had songs picked out. My wife and I would walk in to Spottieottiedopaliscious and our bridal party would be introduced to the instrumental of Kanye West's Flashing Lights. (Quick aside: The DJ tried to show off his "musical knowledge" by saying "I don't have the instrumental for Flashing Lights but it shouldn't be too hard to find. You know, Kanye was a producer before he was a rapper." Ohhh, you don't say?)

All of that was fine and good. Even though I went far more mainstream with reception's selections than my own personal tastes generally lean, I was confident that our reception music wouldn't suck. And that our intro music would be unique and enjoyable. The only music left to select was for the cocktail hour. And the cocktail hour was truly all mine.

Below is the entire list of songs from the cocktail hour. Remember that DJ? When we arrived at the reception he came up to me and asked where I got the CD I gave him for the cocktail music. I told him I put it together. He asked if he could have a copy of it. I told him to keep the one he had. At some point during this conversation, I hope he felt pretty stupid for the little Kanye factoid he dropped on me the week before. Anyway, if you're looking for some laid back music today. I've got you. It's my gift to you. Well, that and my absence at Gheorghefest this weekend. I blame my lazy kid.