Monday, December 31, 2012

The Twelve Days of Gheorghe-mas: Day Twelve


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

Twelve Appreciations
Eleven Months of Blog Posts
Ten (ish) Gifts for Gheorghies
Nine Lists of Top 10 Things
Eight Wins Worth Noting
Seven Traits for Winning
Six Facts O'Ghoogling
Five Lasting Images
Four Things to Think About
Three catastrophe 'staches
The Finest Holiday Duet in History
And One Hell of a bloggy Par-ty

I love Gheorghemas. It’s the only time you can expect regular submissions from the Gheorghe staff, and while our random irreverence is what keeps people typing in our URL (in actuality you’ve bookmarked our site) from January through November, the twelfth month brings annual anticipation of Rob’s summation, Teej’s picture, and a number of other recurring segments that actually recur.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year. 

I am grateful for the opportunity to close out each Gheorghemas and the corresponding year’s worth of bloggery with my frequently redundant batch of appreciations.  This is the fifth installment of G-mas, and as I read over Day 12 versions 1 through 4, the first thing I notice is my duplication of either general sentiments or specific mentions in each post.  What can I say, I don’t evolve much through the years, and my memory is pretty holey these days.  The other thing that strikes me is that the four-year period of my Gheorghemas cappers has been a whirlwind of upheaval, discord, new endeavors, and change in my life.  I am sitting approximately 100 yards from where I typed Day 12 in 2008, and yet I am thousands of miles away in many aspects of my life, for better and for worse.  Four years is an eternity in one’s life.  Where will we be four years from now?

As it has turned out, 2012 marked a significant uptick in the day-to-day joy in my goings-on, certainly from the dreck of the three years prior.  Once again, I set the appreciations to music, my favorites from 2012.  Here we go again...


Next summer marks the 20th Annual Outer Banks Fishing Trip.  That’s a big number, and considering the debacle that OBFT the First was, it’s amazing to see the trip rolling on after two decades.  Not one thought of the annual jaunt occurs with great appreciation for the house we inhabit one weekend a year, the lengths to which people go to make the trip, and the good times we crank out every single time.



I appreciate and marvel at the physical feats and eye on bodily health undertaken by the GTBers and the FOGTB.  Rob continues to move further away from his Little Pork Rind days, running a 10k even on New Year’s Day.  Danimal is our resident Iron Man type, Dave goes for a run before other OBFTers even wake up, KQ will work you out and cleanse your body, Mark is battling back from his Peyton Manning-like neck injury, most all of you run races . . . it goes on and on.  And then there’s Maude.  Meaning me, the guy with Bea Arthur’s physique.  I have friends who have executed inspirational game plans to get themselves healthy.  I have friends in the health care industry who stress the importance of being physically fit.  Hell, I have a friend that’s a professor at an Ivy League medical school and whose entire career work has centered around the correlation between physical exercise and cancer prevention and treatment – it’s just preposterous that she ever let me lay my unhealthy flabby body down on top of hers.



I have not been one to make idle threats of improvement in the past – I recall responding to Dave Flynn’s promise that 2003 was the “year of fitness” with a declaration that would instead be the “year of fatness.”  But it’s time, and 2013 shall be the year.  I may consult with some of you as to how to accomplish it, but I appreciate what you all have managed to do in this realm, and I will try to join the movement.



Not so fast, my friend.  The road to being able to see my johnson in anything but a mirror won’t be rapid, and it won’t mean a total abandonment of vices. I just had to use Merriam-Webster’s website to get the meaning of moderation, so it’s time for baby steps.

In the meantime, I will confess to highly enjoying the comments section of G:TB as a place to check in and log the night’s consumption details
.

Here’s one I do every year.  Live music.  Soul-stirring, chills-inducing good shit.  My 2012: Old 97’s in January, Black Keys in February, The Last Bison in March, Drive-By Truckers in April, Avett Brothers in June, Wilco and The Beach Boys in July, Flogging Molly in August, Springsteen in September, Adam Ant in October.  All great fun.  Missed seeing old Norfolk fave Waxing Poetics reunite onstage last night because of a certain football game.  (Well worth it, though.) Old 97’s in C’ville again on Valentine’s Day 2013 (good way to wow your ladies, dudes) and Fishbone in a tiny Norfolk venue that same month.  Live shows make my world go ‘round.


A friend of mine’s family business is Birdland Records, a Virginia Beach classic.  His brother runs the store, and they are stubbornly old-school in their approach.  My friend’s twin sons are enrolled at William & Mary and UVA, respectively, and they formed a great local (now 10-piece) band called Major and the Monbacks.  Playing January 5 at the Norva.  Here’s to the notion that our obviously brilliant taste in music can be passed down to our progeny, defeating the evil empire of pop bullshit music that seems to find them at every turn. 

 
Hope springs eternal in the unending love for our sports teams.  (Unending for everyone except Rob.)  In Day Twelves of Gheoghemas Past, I bemoaned my awful rooting interests.  And though nothing of banner consequence has been recorded into the books yet, here’s where I stand:
  • I saw R.A. Dickey get his 19th win on an amazin’ day at Citi.  (Thanks, Marls.)
  • The not-awful Tribe has its best chance ever to get off the NCAA tourney schneid.
  • Hail to the Redskins.
I’m such a sucker.



Here’s my annual toast to the ladies of G:TB, the G:TBers’ ladies, and just ladies in general.  We are thinking of you, and when we do, we think of you like this:


Sorry.


A hat-tip to good deeds on display every day.  I appreciated the 2012 Santa Stumbles.  I appreciate the fund-raising activities in which many of the G:TB gang participate, even when I am tapped out and can’t give to all of them.  And finally, I appreciate like crazy the chance to work where I work and see acts of giving on a daily basis.  It’s pretty friggin’ great.  Kudos, and here’s to a day when Gheorghe can have a charitable component to it (beyond the free chuckles doled out on occasion).


Hi, Gheorghies!  People don’t always get what G:TB means to those who frequent it.  I get mocked for being a blogger.  The reality, however, it’s that it’s simply a means to staying in touch with old friends and getting to know new ones.  (Mark, thanks for the Gmas gift… I’m still getting accommodated to it, but I like it.)  There’s no way I’d be so in tune with what these college cronies have going on with their lives without Gheorghe.  Facebook and Twitter serve a similar purpose, but before there were those, there was Gheorghe.

And here's the the summits that were GheorgheFest and the Doofus Overlord's wedding. Outstanding.

And the way my chums have picked up on the wee-hours “Hi, Gheorghies!” check-in makes me smile.


Rest in Peace… MCA. Don Cornelius. Andy Griffith.  J.R. Ewing, George Jefferson, and Quincy. Epstein and Horshack. The only one on this list that I was for Halloween, Richard Dawson.  Neil Armstrong and “Ride” Sally Ride. Angelo Dundee and Bert Sugar. Alex Karras. Davy Jones singing, Dave Brubeck at the piano, Earl Scruggs on banjo, Duck Dunn on bass, and Levon Helm behind the kit.  Kid Carter.  

The other Whitney.  And, sadly, on the rebel side of heaven, Igor.  (We’ll miss him most.)

And more importantly, people in our lives.  Grandparents.  More sadly, parents.  Tragically, children.  Friends.  Family.  Evan, Lud, and Flynn, I’m not nearly forgetting you clowns.  Here’s to them all.


I continue to appreciate the contributions all you people make in posts and comments.  Keeps me informed, biased, and laughing all the way.  Ho ho ho.  And, in appreciation for their tireless contributions to the blog, the G:TB staff has asked Danimal and Marls to come aboard for 2013.  (In a related story, I lost in arbitration over my 2013 contract, so I’ll continue to be blogging for the league minimum.)  Here’s to more quality content being churned out in the name of Gheorghe.  And postcount!


This post is a milestone, definitely not for content but merely for a number.  This is the 2,500th published post at Gheorghe: The Blog. 

Happy New Year, friends.  Here’s to another 365, and all the best in Lucky ’13.


Oh, one more thing.  I’m getting hitched again in a few weeks, and you are invited.  Norfolk, VA.  January 26.  Be there.

Cheers, and Hi, Gheorgies!

Bills Fans Say "Don't Re-Tread On Me"

G:TB superfan Work Jerry alerted Teedge and me (not I) of Chan Gailey's rumored termination and requested a post summarizing candidates for the big chair at One Bills Drive. So here we are.


Since the great Marv Levy retired, the Bills have suffered through five-and-a-half head coaches: Wade Phillips, Gregg Williams, Mike Mularkey, Dick Jauron, Perry Fewell (only on an interim basis for 7 games, and thus only half a coach), and Chan Gailey. Phillips was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach when Levy retired and at the time the move made sense, or at least was defensible (pun!) as Buffalo's defense was pretty good under Phillips and promoting from 'twixt Marv's ranks made sense to Bills fans. That Phillips phloundered as HC in Denver a few years earlier wasn't a concern, as Marv was a retread from KC when the Bills hired him. Although he's generally viewed as a dolt and a failure, Phillips had a 0.604 win percentage in Buffalo (29-19) and was the last coach to take them to the playoffs (in 1998 and 1999), although he never won a playoff game.


The Gregg Williams hire also made more than an insignificant amount of sense in 2001. Williams was the engineer of Tennessee's ferocious defense that was arguably best in the league in 2000. He was only about 42 at the time and never held a head coaching position at the NFL level so he didn't have to carry retread baggage. Who wouldn't want a young, successful, innovative defensive mind to take over a team with lots of young talent on defense? Williams went 17-31 in three seasons and was fired after the 2003 campaign even though he turned the defense into a top-5 unit. The real problem with the 2003 squad was the offense, which mustered a meager 11 passing TD and 13 rushing TD in 16 games, resulting in the 30th fewest points scored. Thanks Bledsoe! Williams went on to have relative success in Washington and later won a Super Bowl in New Orleans where he tried to have several players mutilated, leading to what appears to be a lifetime ban from the NFL.


The Bills then turned to Mike Mularkey, who coordinated the Pittsburgh's 20th-ranked offense the year before. Like Williams, Mularkey had no head coaching experience and was something of an up-and-coming youngster who put together top-8 offenses in 2001 and 2002 with Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox. It seemed like a great idea at the time to bring in an offensive guru to straighten things out on that side of the ball and just maintain Williams' solid defense. It didn't work out as planned, and, in fact, was a complete mess. By 2005 the Bills ranked 24th or worse in points and yardage on both offense and defense, and Mularkey was fired with a 14-18 record in Buffalo. Mularkey is now shitting the bed as HC in Jacksonville, where the 2-12 Jaguars rank 31st in offensive points and yardage. At least he achieved symmetry.


After the mularkey with Mularkey, the braintrust in Buffalo decided to go retread again and hired Dick Jauron who despite having 2001 Coach of the Year on his resume was a clearly terrible candidate with a 36-49 record as HC and only one season with more than seven wins, including a 1-4 stint as interim head coach in Detroit in 2005 after Steve Mariucci got canned. Remarkably, the Bills took Detroit's castoff and put him in charge. Jauron went 7-9 three years in a row and was 3-6 in 2009 when Ralph Wilson took pity on me and relieved Jauron of his duties (or, in his case, doodies). Perry Fewell took over and stood no chance of getting the HC job, what with Jauron's stench and stain upon him.


Which brings us to Chan Gailey, who was a very successful OC with Pittsburgh in 1996-97 with Mike Tomczak and Kordell Stewart (history repeating?). Gailey was the HC in Dallas in 1998-99, where he went 18-14 and engineered top-10 offenses both years. After Jerry Jones gave him the boot for an 8-8 season (which was probably appropriate given all the HOF/Pro Bowl talent they had), he was the OC in Miami for two years where he was the steward of a statistically below-average offense. From 2002-2007 he was the HC at Georgia Tech, where he went 44-32, including 2-4 in Bowls, and never won an ACC Championship. Somehow he became the OC for the Chiefs in 2008 who ranked 24th and 26th in yards and points respectively. After about a decade of mediocrity, Gailey apparently held no football-related job in 2009. Then Buddy Nix swooped in and put him in charge of the Bills in 2010. Since then he is 15-32, or 0.319 for those of you without calculators handy. Predicting this undesired outcome does not require genius-level intelligence -- indeed, I'm an idiot and my first reaction to the Gailey hiring was "I want to die" (scroll down to the comments for all the scatological fun).

Gailey has to be out after this year. HAS to. Would you play for a man who throws like this?

Who Has The Funnier Challenge-Flag-Throwing Motion, Andy Reid Or Chan Gailey?

I could prepare a list of candidates that I would like to get the job, the usual suspects like Cowher and Gruden, but all of those guys are too smart to even interview for the position. So here's a list of mopes that I predict will don a suit and tie and meet with the Bills' geriatric braintrust. Like my johnson, this list is short and undistinguished. I fully expect the Bills to hire another team's castoff to retread the HC position. The only question is, how far removed from his last head coaching job will the new hire be?

Andy Reid
Reid won't get the job because he's too legitimate: he has a 130-92-1 regular season record, he's 10-9 in the postseason, and his offenses are consistently excellent. He makes the list because he has a very Buffalo look about him and I can envision Buddy Nix offering to bring McNabb in to play QB. Although he qualifies as a retread he is way too qualified to handle the reins in Buffalo.

HIRING ODDS: 6.9%

Norv Turner
Norv looks like a good fit in light of the foregoing. He has a goofy name like "Gregg" and "Chan" and he experienced tremendous success as an OC in the 1990s with the Cowboys. He is 113-122-1 in the regular season and 4-4 in the postseason, and these numbers may actually be too good for him to get the job in Buffalo. I know Skins fans loathe Norv but he took Washington to the playoffs and won a game which is more than anyone has done for Buffalo since Marv Levy beat the Dolphins on December 30, 1995 by calling 49 rushing plays on a 26 degree afternoon. Not a typo. December 30, 1995. It's been 17 years. But I digress. Simply put, Norv Turner is too good an option to make the grade for the Bills. They will dig deeper.

HIRING ODDS: 7.1%

Mike Nolan
Mike Nolan is one of those guys who remain inexplicably employed in high level positions, making him a strong to quite strong candidate for the Bills. He broke onto the scene as the Giants' DC in 1993, a year in which the G-Men ranked 1st and 5th in points and yards allowed, respectively. The Giants' defense drifted into mediocrity over the next few years under Nolan. He became the Skins' DC in 1997, and their defense became increasingly worse under his steady hand, culminating in the 1999 season when his defense ranked 30th and 24th (out of 31 teams) in yards and points. He then put up a good season as the Jets' DC, making them an above-average unit. The next year he was Baltimore's WR coach, which is a totally logical career progression. In 2002 he became the Ravens' DC and they had a below-average defense, which is remarkable because they were top-10 for the three years before and the four years after that. To his credit, Nolan oversaw two of those top-10 years (2003 and 2004) before landing the HC job in SF. Under Nolan the Niners had one of the worst defenses in the league from 2005-2008. He then ran fair-to-middling defenses in Denver and Miami. He is now the DC in Atlanta, where they currently rank a tough-to-reconcile 23rd in yards and 4th in points. Nolan was 18-37 as the HC in SF and he never made the playoffs. In fact, he never won more than 7 games in a season. This record of low achievement and making sow's ears out of silk purses makes Nolan a great fit for the Bills, but at 53 years old he might be too young. Nolan's old-timey habit of coaching in a suit might confuse Nix into thinking Nolan is elderly, so that helps his cause.

HIRING ODDS: 69%

Ted Marchibroda
Ted Marchibroda is a spry 81 years young, 8 years older than Buddy Nix and 13 years younger than Ralph Wilson. So he gets all their cultural references to Packards and Claudette Colbert. Marchibroda is so old that he was the #5 overall pick in the 1953 draft, back when there were 30 rounds and 13 teams. Marchibroda also has ties to the Bills as the architect of the K-Gun offense when he was Marv Levy's OC from 1989 to 1991. He's 87-98-1 as HC with a 2-4 playoff performance. Those two playoff wins seem like two too many for the Bills, but both came in ... wait for it ... 1995! Symmetry! His teams made the playoffs three other times, in 1975, 1976, and 1977. These dates may be a bit too recent for Nix and Wilson's approval but they are pretty attenuated. He hasn't coached since 1998. There's no way in hell that Marchibroda is up the task of working 14 hour days or even staying awake for three consecutive hours on a Sunday afternoon. I expect him to make it to the final round of interviews.

HIRING ODDS: 71%

Weeb Ewbank
Weeb has a preposterous name like Chan and he's over 90 like Ralph Wilson. He has three rings, his most recent coming with division rival New York. The Bills have lost 6 in a row to the Jets and 8 of the last 9. Weeb's inside info as a former Jet coach would be just the edge the Bills need to get past them. Some will say that his 0.502 regular season and 0.800 postseason records are too good, but Ralph and Buddy might look past this in light of the fact that Ewbank hasn't coached in 40 years. And he's in the Hall of Fame! Who could pass on a pedigree like this? The fact that he's dead cuts against him, but not enough to preclude him from getting the job.

HIRING ODDS: 96.9%

I realize that my hiring odds figures add up to well more than 100%, but I took SSMCIS, a curriculum developed in the early 1960's in response to the first Sputnik launch which convinced American educators that the US lagged behind the Russians in math and science. Accordingly, I, like the Bills' front office, rely on new math and all hiring odds figures are presented in base 8. Tom Lehrer can explain it for you.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Twelve Days of Gheorghemas: Day 11

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

Eleven Months of Blog Posts
Ten (ish) Gifts for Gheorghies
Nine Lists of Top 10 Things
Eight Wins Worth Noting
Seven Traits for Winning
Six Facts O'Ghoogling
Five Lasting Images
Four Things to Think About
Three catastrophe 'staches
The Finest Holiday Duet in History
And One Hell of a bloggy Par-ty

One of my favorite Gheorghemas activities, after the unveiling of the picture of Baby Teejus, is sitting down with a bit of wassail (in this case a Summit Oatmeal Stout), and a good playlist (the Pitchfork Best Songs of 2012 on Spotify) and reading through the year's posts. (You would NOT believe how much crap we post in a 12-month period. It's amazing the network hasn't cancelled us yet. Thank God for that small, yet vocal, group of influential women that dig our scene.)

Without fail, this annual exercise produces a mix of laughter, mild disgust, and genuine admiration for the work this extremely motley crew produced over the preceding annum. And so, without further ado, the Best of Gheorghe: The Blog 2012:








January was dominated by posts about the dreadful and completely unlikeable Washington Wizards and the equally dreadful but much more fan-friendly William & Mary Tribe. In the midst of that bleak blogscape, Dave managed to tear off an appreciation of Talking Heads' 'Once in a Lifetime' that both informed and engaged. And made us wistfully recall a time when he was a serial lizard murderer.

We also celebrated Squirrel Appreciation Day, which reminds me to remind you to mark January 21 on your calendars to celebrate this year's events. Mark, I take a size medium in most surf t-shirts.

Marcus Thornton gave us the first amazing moment of his career.

Lord in Heaven, I'd almost forgotten about the picture that accompanied our BCS Championship Game preview. I think it's the hat that does it for me.

Dave also gave us an appreciation of the digital first down line and, on January 3, provided the blogosphere's first 2012 Year in Review. So he peaked early. Which, yep.

In February, Teej rubbed electronic shoulders with a former Washington Bullet, which presaged the greatest moment on G:TB history by less than a month. Tracy Murray is a good sport.

We were all more than a little shocked when Clarence dropped a pissy (though probably warranted) rant about the Grammys. So out of character for this character.

Less than a week later, Clarence weighed in again (you'd better damn believe that pun is intended) with another lengthy (though not particularly girthy) Grantland review. The combined effort must have winded him, because I'm fairly sure he never wrote anything else all year long.

Mark waited until March to give us his first post of the year, but it was a good one, complete with a dope - as the kids say - playlist from his wedding.

On Monday, March 5, we told a story 19 years in the making. And even though our words and pictures were pretty good, they didn't do justice to the Night Gheorghe met Gheorghe. We'll do it again, if only to make sure Mark can make it this time. (And TR may have clinched the Oscar for Best Performance as a Recovering Urinatee.)

The most coherent post of Gheorghe: The Week was KQ and Shlara's retrospective of the Washington Bullets' criminally underrated 'You the Man' video.

We celebrated Rick Reilly. Really. (Skip the fact that the thing we celebrated was 9 years old. It was worth celebrating.)

We also celebrated vaginas. In a far less creepy way than we normally do.

Dennis posted! About babies, Catcher in the Rye, and The Shins. Hope he doesn't post again in 2013, or he'll be Octodad.

Our first post about conference realignment, the death of the CAA, and W&M's eventual move to the Patriot League surfaced late in the month. The Teej jumped in with Breaking News that turned out to be more wrong than a picture of a crocheted vagina on a Muslim kids blog.

TR turning heel on Joe Namath foreshadowed a shitshow of a Jets season.

Finally, Zman remained the internet's leading expert on the Jack Urbon/Ghostface legal kerfuffle.

Phew, March came in like a lion and tore that motherfucker up all month long. I don't expect it to keep up.

Three themes dominated April: squirrels, baseball, and art.

Our first picture of Tim Kurkjian's underwear accompanied our review of major league baseball's marketing slogans, which were predictably lame. Not so Clarence (who may have been Igor at the time) and Marls' preview of the Mets' 2012 campaign. Certainly, they'd agree that the preview was far more entertaining than the season.

Dave gave us his definitive list (and really, with Dave, is there any other kind of list?) of Seven Movies That Are Better Than The Book, and while he omitted 'The Green Mile', he turned in a solid effort. I can't wait for the film version.

Fugazi's Ian MacKaye gave us the G:TB Quote of the Alltime:
"I was cleaning my room once and I was listening to Led Zeppelin. Robert Plant was going on and on about all of these seemingly adult kind of things and I realized he was eighteen when he did that record—I was probably twenty-nine years old at the time—and I just thought, “Oh my god, I’m twenty-nine years old and I never became an adult.” Here’s Robert Plant and he’s eighteen and he’s singing about having his own apartment and running around town. To me, he seemed so adult. I called my dad and I said, “Dad, I’m kinda freaking out over here. I’m twenty-nine years old and I’m starting to realize that I’m a man, but I never made that transition.” And he said, “Well, I’ll tell you two things. First off, I see you as a man, as an adult man. You’re not a kid. And the second thing is that I can’t see myself as a man.” He was sixty at the time and he hadn’t come to terms with it either. It was nice and terrible at the same time to realize that that transition is a difficult one."
Clarence and I went back to back with posts about ukelele music and poetry. Badass ukelele music and poetry.

Thankfully, Mark redeemed the month with a long think piece about the NFL Draft. Footbaw!

Honestly, May was a pretty dismal month, both in terms of the quality of our output and the subject matter. The world lost both MCA, Maurice Sendak, and Chuck Brown (Duck Dunn, too), and we shared our sadness.

The CAA blew up, too, and while our initial assessment of W&M's athletic administration was probably overly simplistic and too harsh (if you think I feel bad about dissing Terry Driscoll after chatting with him about the subject at length, you're right - this is why I would make a terrible journalist), we're still nursing a post-heyday hangover. So, too, is #caahoops, apparently.

I cannot fucking believe I forgot about this picture when I did the Best Sports Photos of the Year.


The Teej inadvertantly killed Igor by celebrating America. And Whitney. I miss those guys.

At least we drew the month to a close in style, as TR recapped the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, featuring Fat Anthony Kiedis.

June saw us drop a mere 20 posts, the fewest of any month since December 2007. Nice work, lads.

Despite the lack of quantity, I submit to you that the (relative, because, c'mon, it's us we're talking about) quality was impressive - even the filler. Topics ranged from the serious (the use of the term 'hero' to describe military men and women and a tribute to a friend of mine who passed far too early) to the silly (pictures of my feet made a triumphant return), stopping at a burrito-making robot and an appreciation for LeBron's first title. Importantly, we also debuted the 'questionable mascot sexuality' tag. Huge SEO.

Mark started the month with a great read on the Thunder/Spurs Western Conference final, complete with albino James Harden photo, and finished it with a typically solid NBA Draft post. I'm far more happy about the fact that he recently acknowledged that I was right about Draymond Green. Blind squirrel, nut.

I usurped Clarence's role as resident music critic, reviewing Rhett Miller at Jammin' Java and the excellent and highly-recommended Big Easy Express.

We also continued to shake our heads in increasingly dumbfounded amazement as the War on Vaginas escalated.

I'm pretty proud of our resilience. After what must've been an exhausting June, we soldiered on, cranking out 21 posts in July. Warriors, we, the Kellen Winslow, Jr. kind.

Fully five of those posts celebrated, in one form or another, the event of the Gheorghian social season. It was a glorious mess, full of foreign accents, silliness, awkward social interactions, and barely remembered late night grease. Wait, that was just Greg's part. In actual fact, Doofus Wedding was one of the most heartfelt celebrations of love and friendship this grizzled correspondent has ever attended.

One of the more unexpected events of the year occurred in the week before the wedding festivities, when Clarence professed his admiration for Mike Love. This ranks just slightly below Wayne Lapierre being found to have a heart on the list of unlikely happenstances.

In more prosaic news, Dave got a dog. If you haven't read the story of the interaction between Dave, his dog, two garbage cans, and three lesbians, I insist you stop what you're doing and click this link. It might be the single most guffaw-inducing moment in G:TB history.

Summer Dave put his free time to additional good use, proving the existence of the Higgs Boson by...interviewing it. Bet those CERN pointyheads feel pretty stupid about spending all that money on the Large Hadron Collider now.

Speaking of the Collider (which we only did 4 times this year - we're clearly going to need to devote more resources to the project in 2012, if the fucking Republicans in Congress can get their act together and resolve our budget issues), it gave us one of the year's best typographical errors.

Gheorghe: The Nation fielded our first-ever Olympic team, and while we didn't medal, we did have the tallest flagbearer. In other Olympic news, we were among the first major news outlets to predict glory for Gabby "The Flying Squirrel" Douglass. Honestly, prescience like ours should be licensed to protect the innocent.

August is generally one of our lamer months, both as a society and a blog. In our consistency, we did not disappoint. Our August was a mishmash of filler (in one case, we just posted a bunch of the stuff we'd left lingering in drafts - I assume it was a statement on the ephemeral nature of art. Or just really lazy.), video clips, Doofus Honeymoon photos, and dumb fashion.

We did manage to continue to raise awareness of stupid male behavior, international version, as we highlighted the Pussy Riot story.

FOG:TB Marls heralded the great news of the Mars Curiosity Lander's challenge to the Large Hadron Collider's scientific supremacy.

Wan Joon Kim, y'all, the Gangsta Godfather.

Oh, and after years of idle threats, I quit the Redskins.

As ambivalent as our efforts may have been over the summer months, September was a revelation. We were entertaining as shit. By my count, 21 of the 27 posts were at least above average by our standards, an amazing batting average. Even some of the filler was high quality (Taylor Morris, once again) Hell, I don't even have space to highlight two fine college football posts from Mark. In fact, I recommend you peruse the entire month. But in the event you've only got half an hour to kill rather than an afternoon, you'll enjoy these posts:

One Man's Fan Free Agency Journey concluded with the selection of the New Orleans Saints as my new NFL rooting interest. It hasn't exactly been a success on the field. But I move on, stoic in my resolution.

Zman delivered another in a long line of excellent tennis posts, this time a requiem for Andy Roddick's career. He was fated to be an afterthought in the Federer/Nadal/Djokovic era, but he was a massive talent, and a seemingly good dude.

TR entertained with a story of a sporting odyssey, capped with a keeper of a photo. Almost certainly the highlight of the season for the Jets.

Bob Mould rocked, Snoop talked politics, and we learned how to execute a proper snot rocket.

We debuted Music Mondays with Shlara, to much critical acclaim. People liked it so much that we did it again a week later.

Wheelhouse Geoff gave us one of the better Ryder Cup previews you'll find anywhere on the dipshit side of the interwebs, and likely anywhere at all.

You guys remember when we didn't have the real NFL referees? Clarence does - his expert roundtable closed the month in style.

October, as you might imagine, was a bit of a letdown after September's rocket ride to glory.

The little guy was celebrated, as we championed Taylor Heinicke's Heisman campaign (he did win the much more prestigious Walter Payton award) and Adam Greenberg's Field of Dreams moment.

We had zMusic and zLaw, equal measures excellent. And zBills, which was nothing so much as a cry for help.

Shlara gave us a serious post on Lance Armstrong's inevitable exposure as a cheat, and a far-less-serious post in which she self-identified as a cougar. You don't get this kind of range anywhere else in the blogosphere.

While this post about FOG:TB Mike Litos' career move was a solid one, the comments are a great chronicle of the Gheorghe community's experience with Superstorm Sandy.

Our GOP friends were unwise enough to come at me in an election wager. And dumb enough across the nation to give Republicans a majority in the House. Not really dumb enough, actually, just gerrymandered enough.

Our Washington Wizards season preview was as awful as the team turns out to be. Foreshadowing, as it turns out. (Get it?)

And then there was November, in which we did the right thing as a nation, and returned Joe Biden to Washington. 

The Brothers Murray are American treasures and should be celebrated at every opportunity.

I'm pretty proud of the 'Nate Silver is a many splendored manbeast' metatag.

Dave's post-Sandy story was a great read.

In an upset, we were optimistic about the 2012-13 William & Mary hoops season. #1bid4wmtribe!

And in less of a surprise, Dave both defended his Scary Story Contest title and wrote about it using a completely different font than the one cleared for use by the G:TB Brand Management team.

We outed Clarence as a poet, enabling us to use the 'badass poetry' tag again. Also an upset.

We also outed Danimal as an athlete, raconteur, and prince among men.

Clarence closed the month with a post about booze. Another in a line of really surprising things.

We'll finish the year with 305 or so posts, and while it's a bit of a down year in terms of quantity, there was a lot to like. Apologies if I left out one of your favorites. This is hard goddamn work. Much love to the entire Community of Gheorghes. Feel free to excoriate me in the comments, and have a Gheorghey New Year.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

This Week in Wrenball: Reckoning

We wrote in our season preview that anything better than a 6-6 mark headed into CAA play would be a positive outcome for a young Wrens squad trying to bounce back from a dismal 2011-12 campaign. With a 7-3 record going into the final two games of the non-conference schedule, W&M's playing with house money by our initial measure. (Though if we'd known how bad ODU would be, we might've revised our expectations.)

We see you too, Tony
While that .700 winning percentage is clearly progress, the underlying fundamentals (as my friends on Wall Street like to say) tell a mixed story. If we're being honest with one another, we acknowledge the tissue-soft nature of the Tribe's competition to date. Hampton, Liberty, High Point, Radford, Howard, and Salisbury ain't exactly Murderer's Row. CBS Sports' Jerry Palm, formerly the proprietor of CollegeRPI.com, ranks the Tribe's schedule to date 346th out of 347 Division I schools in terms of difficulty. If nothing else, it was good for the team's confidence.

On the other hand, though, a convincing argument could be made that the Tribe should be 9-1, at the very worst 8-2. W&M was within a basket in the final minute at Wake Forest, and led Richmond by 5 points with less than 90 seconds to play in overtime on the road. The latter loss, in double overtime, leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of Tribe fans. (Though Spidey's coming conference affiliation reckoning has the sweet smell of schadenfreude upon it.)

I attended a Tribe Club reception last week (and got berated by Shlara for pestering W&M AD Terry Driscoll about conference musical chairs), and while most of the cognescenti were realistic about W&M's opposition to date, there was an unmistakable whiff of optimism in the air. To be fair, much of that positivity derives from never-better one in seven CAA Tournament odds, but even seasoned Green and Gold observers sung the praises of Tony Shaver's squad. (And many are even more excited about the 2013-14 Tribe, citing what might be the best overall recruiting class since the Jimmy Moran/Billy Phillips coups of the mid-90s.)

With the Big Three of Marcus Thornton, Tim Rusthoven, and Brandon Britt playing at a very high level, and fourth option Kyle Gaillard gaining confidence with each outing (and leading the CAA, shooting 63.6% from the field), the Tribe is a increasingly deep team on offense, if untested on defense.

Tim Rusthoven may be in for a long afternoon
All our cautious optimism will be tested this afternoon, as W&M travels to West Lafayette, IN to take on Matt Painter's Purdue squad (televised on ESPN3). Though the Boilers enter the contest with a 5-6 record and desultory 201 RPI rating, they've bullied the Tribe's CAA brethren this season. Purdue drilled Hofstra, 83-54, on November 11, then hammered UNCW, 66-40, ten days later. They haven't beaten anyone of note, however, with a 73-61 win over Clemson counting as their best win, and losses to Oregon State, a down Villanova squad, and a mediocre Eastern Michigan on their ledger.

Junior guard Terone Johnson leads the balanced Boilermakers with 12.2 points per game, with four others averaging between 6.7 and 9.6. Massive (7'0", 280 lbs) freshman A.J. Hammons scores 9.6 points and grabs 5.7 boards a game. W&M has nobody anywhere near his size, which will present a challenge to Rusthoven and his mates on the interior - at the same time, Rusthoven's experience and post savvy will test Hammons' youth. (Thanks to Tribe SID Kris Sears for the latter insight.)

Even the most rosy-lensed Tribesmen* don't expect a win today, but we think W&M will give a mediocre Purdue team a run. We'd certainly be surprised if the Tribe becomes the third straight CAA team to get dumptrucked by the Boilermakers. In any event, we'll know a lot more today about what we've actually got here.

* Our online friend @WM_VA_Josh was casting about on Twitter for ideas for his new personalized license plate. We dropped knowledge on him. And the rest, like the Tribe's destiny, is history:

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Twelve Days of Gheorghemas: Day Ten

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

Ten (ish) Gifts for Gheorghies
Nine Lists of Top 10 Things
Eight Wins Worth Noting
Seven Traits for Winning
Six Facts O'Ghoogling
Five Lasting Images
Four Things to Think About
Three catastrophe 'staches
The Finest Holiday Duet in History
And One Hell of a bloggy Par-ty

For years I've been a kind of drunk Uncle here at Gheorghe: The Blog. And I was good at it. Good at it because it suits my style of selfish procrastination and because I've been an actual drunk Uncle (not the creepy kind, the fun kind) for over 12 years now. I show up at the major events for my sisters' kids. I bring them a good present. I make a few wisecracks, insult the alma mater of my family and in-laws and then I'm out.


And it's kind of been that way here at G:TB as well. I'm a natural outsider amongst the staff as I neither attended William & Mary, nor do I have any other natural ties to any of the other staff members. My only tie-in is Greg and he's about as consistent a presence around here as Shawn Kemp is at his kids' sporting events. To be fair to Shawn, a consistent presence of that nature would require a tremendous amount of time and air travel. Anywho, I felt like my role at G:TB was perfect. Show up to write about the NBA or College Football or something else every now and then, insult people I barely know in the comments and then I'm out. The problem this year is that I have a new job that doesn't allow me to waste time writing posts while at work. And, oh yeah, I have a kid of my own now. A kid that still can't feed, clothe, bathe, change or care for herself in any way after over 11 months. I'm beginning to think this little shit machine is even lazier than I am. Just wait until she starts drinking. So, am I blaming my pathetic performance (or lack thereof) this year and, more specifically, this Gheorghemas on my kid? No. Am I blaming it on my job AND my kid. You're fucking right I am.

So, in true drunk Uncle fashion, I'm here three days late to deliver my Christmas gifts to you. Also, it should be noted that you will have to pay for these gifts yourself. I took the time to personally pick them out. Anything beyond that on you.

Rob: In the wee hours of the morning (or the late hours of the evening) after TJ's wedding I ended up in a conversation with Geoff, Geoff's wife and Rob about music. It began with music we enjoy working out to. During this time, it was revealed that Geoff's wife is a big Motley Crue fan. I approve. It was also revealed that Rob had no idea who Pete Rock and CL Smooth were. Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed. Shortly thereafter, I received an email from Rob asking if I could send him some hip hop suggestions for his daughters as they were being unduly influenced by the terrible hip hop that is currently polluting the mainstream radio airwaves. Being the drunk Uncle I am, I said yes. And then I did absolutely nothing. Well, Rob. I'm burning some CDs for you and your daughters. But, hopefully, this playlist will give you a start. Both in terms of artists and actual songs. (Disclaimer: I'm terrible at picking good hip hop songs that skew toward the mean AND Rob asked me to keep it somewhat PG-13)

Zman: It's no secret that Zman and I have a long lasting long distance, completely heterosexual love affair. He's a much more successful, erudite version of a few of the kids I grew up playing basketball with. Meaning, he loves shoes and hip hop as much (or more) as I do. Well, I actually met Zman this fall. Since he once sent me a picture of his high school yearbook photo, via email, I was in no way surprised by his appearance (I had imagined a white Ghostface prior). So, Zman I give you a hoodie that I received this year for Christmas.

Clarence: Everyone here is well acquainted with Clarence's love for Yacht Rock. I'm going out on a limb and guessing that Clarence is not, however, well acquainted with the work of Alchemist (the producer, not the book, nerds). So, I'm just going to put this here.

TJ: TJ is the person who originally brought me to Gheorghe. We met through Greg. We exchanged drunken voicemails. We hung out in Jacksonville and watched Slater knock out a Georgia fan in one punch. We later laughed about it while casting papal ballots via a green apple stolen from the concierge's desk in our hotel. Finally, it all came full circle as I was (somehow) invited to TJ's nuptials this past summer. My wife ended getting TJ and @baconbaking an extremely thoughtful gift for their wedding. This is slightly less thoughtful but no less awesome.

TR: I still haven't ever met TR. But I did start following The Iron Sheik on Twitter this year due to TR's retweeting of his broken English insults of Virgil and Hulk Hogan, among others. TR, I think this would go great in the office I imagine you having.

Dave: I don't really know Dave. We've never met and I must confess I sometimes don't get around to reading his posts until a few days later. It's that whole selfish procrastination trait (and Dave's posts a long. It's like a homework assignment sometimes). I do know he's a pretty smart fellow who enjoys reading. So much so that he gave us book assignments last year. He even assumed I didn't like soccer and told me to read a soccer book. Like with most things I'm told to do, I took umbrage with Dave's assumption and informed him that I did indeed like soccer and had grown up playing it while being coached by my Dad who'd played soccer collegiately. What's the point of this? I'm really not sure, other than to say that I think Dave would really enjoy "Play Their Hearts Out". It's not about soccer, rather the youth AAU Basketball scene and it's ever seedier underbelly. It's really entertaining book and certainly one I'd suggest for anybody who coaches youth sports (Dave, Rob) at any level.

Marlin: Does Marlin work at G:TB Enterprises? No, I'm told, he doesn't. But I've gotten really, really drunk with Marlin twice this year and he somehow ended up about a mile from my house this fall following Hurricane Sandy. So, I feel like he should get something too. So here's former Met, but constant scumbag Wally Backman losing his shit for your viewing pleasure.

Danimal: Another guy who doesn't actually work here. But, to his credit, Danimal comments a shit ton (he hates his kids) and has significantly added to the low level of discourse. It's been a big year for Danimal, between yet another birth of one of his childrens and Notre Dame finally being a relevant college football team again. Actually, Danimal is going to Miami (kind of) for the BCS Championship Game. Fuck that guy. He's had enough good fortune this year.

Squeaky: Squeaky likes vinyl. If you follow him on Twitter he will beat you over the head with this fact. I too like vinyl. Though our musical tastes vary wildly. So, Squeaky…if you ever come to Florida you can have your pic of

or


Or you can pick out something else (not my original pressing of "Paid In Full" though), or I'll just buy you a beer.

The Wheelhouse Brothers: I'm losing steam here as most of this has been written after beers with Greg and Vitas so you're getting the short end of the stick. Jerry- you used to love gay drinks, and you made me drink Zima on your first trip to Gainesville, so you're getting a bottle of Salted Caramel Vodka. I had some of this on Christmas night. It's as awful it sounds. Enjoy. Geoff- Not your finest year. You predicted here at Gheorghe: The Blog that Mittens would win the Presidential Election in a "landslide" or that Obama would win in a closely contested battle. Yeah, about that...we'll get you a Ouija Board, your predictions can't be worse using it. And, because I know you'll get good use out them, a pair of these.

Better drunk than never. Wait, I think I screwed that up. Ah, fuck it. My actual family has hated me for one reason or another this holiday season so y'all might as well too.

Oh yeah, one last thing. This song is fantastic. Seeing how this little French asshole made the sausage is even better.



Merry Gheorghemas!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Twelve Days of Gheorghemas: Day Nine

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

Nine Lists of Top 10 Things

Eight Wins Worth Noting
Seven Traits for Winning
Six Facts O'Ghoogling
Five Lasting Images
Four Things to Think About
Three catastrophe 'staches
The Finest Holiday Duet in History
And One Hell of a bloggy Par-ty

By definition, year-end top 10 lists are a subjective and incomplete way to catalog the events and achievements of an entire trip around the sun. Since we're nothing if not subjective and incomplete, here are are the 2012 Top 9 Lists of Top 10 Things We Found Semi-Randomly Googling Things We're At Least Moderately Interested In.

The International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) at Arizona State University released its 5th annual list of Top 10 New Species. While we admit to feeling a tiny bit of terror at the idea that new species are popping up willy-nilly, we found the Sneezing Monkey of Myanmar (Rhinopithecus strykeri)  a welcome new planet-mate.

Fully 43% of GTB paid staff members live in New Jersey, so we're happy to highlight NewJersey.com's Top 10 Feel Good Moments of 2012. From Newark Mayor Cory Booker's early-year rescue of a constituent trapped by a fire to the story of Patrick the Pit Bull, who was nursed back to health after being dropped down a trash chute (may you meet a similar fate, asshole person who did that), the Garden State did manage to find some hope in a largely dismal year. The top story: former Rutgers player Eric LeGrand's signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Yep.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the same agency that time-transported President Obama to Mars as a teenager, also gave us a 28.3 mph robot cheetah as one of its Top 10 Most Popular DARPA Features of 2012. Robot Cheetah!



I'm not much of car guy - I drive a 2006 Toyota Camry, only because my dented 1999 Toyota Camry was deemed by my wife unbecoming a man of my prominence. But Zman, he loves things automotive. So for him, Car & Driver's Top 10 Best New Cars of 2012. Boxster? I hardly knowx her.

Time Magazine isn't typically known for its sense of humor, but we did enjoy one entry in its year-end list of lists. The Top 10 Ridiculously Obvious Study Findings included such gems as, 'Want to Limit Aggression? Practice Self Control!', and 'To "Think Outside the Box", Think Outside the Box'. The latter study had participants literally sit in and outside boxes and take tests that measured creativity. Our favorite, though, was a study that we've actively conducted for the better part of the last 25 years (give or take), 'Moderate Doses of Alcohol Increase Social Bonding in Groups'.

We've already spent a lot of time on sports this Gheorghemas, but this TVGol YouTube compilation of the world soccer Top 10 Goals of 2012 is sublime. For my money, it's Ibrahimovic, that danger man. And speaking of Dangerman, a shoutout to our friend Otis, proprietor of this eponymous tumblr.



Now that we've eased the Doofus Overlord into the world of multi-ingredient food (with @baconbaking's significant assistance), we'll move on to phase two. Bon Appetit's Top 10 Best Restaurants of 2012 includes an entry in DC, so we'll start there. (One in Minneapolis, too, for my traveling pleasure.)

What do Flo Rida, Gotye, Sean Paul, Laurenţiu Duţă, and Holograf have in common? They each hit the top 10 in the Romanian pop charts in 2012. Romanian music videos, racy!



Though I drop it quite frequently, I don't know very much about science. (That bastard Large Hadron Collider notwithstanding.) Perhaps that's why I'm so consistently amazed by stuff I find on the internet about it. The Guardian's Top 10 Science Videos of 2012 is a great way to kill an hour and learn some stuff. I particularly enjoyed this demonstration of Faraday's electromagnetic induction experiment:



Finally, we leave you on an upbeat note (and a bonus tenth list), with cheapflights.com's list of the Top Ten Happiest Countries in the World (which is based on an annual study by the Legatum Institute). Every Scandinavian country, as well as their Danish neighbor, make the list, as do our friends the Dutch. Stupid socialists and their dumb hippy drippy happiness.


Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a film to watch.

'There's Pooh Everywhere'

We like Neil Gaiman, and we like Winnie the Pooh. And we're tired of waiting for the next day of Gheorghemas. It'll get worse before it gets better.


(h/t: @twoeightnine)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, Gheorghies

And happy holidays, in case you ain't down with the fat man (Santa, not me). I hope you aren't sick of pugs, because today's xmas greeting comes from our pug, asleep on a robed unicorn. Yep, this happened:


Monday, December 24, 2012

Xmas Eve/Pug Filler

We here at G:TB would like to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas, if you in fact celebrate the arrival of the red-suited fat man tomorrow (insert Dom DeLuise track suit joke). In honor of this pagan holiday, here's a picture of our pug, geared up and obviously enthused for today and tomorrow's festivities:


Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Twelve Days of Gheorghemas: Day 8

On the eighth day of Gheorghemas, Big Gheorghe gave to me:

Eight Wins Worth Noting
Seven Traits for Winning
Six Facts O'Ghoogling
Five Lasting Images
Four Things to Think About
Three catastrophe 'staches
The Finest Holiday Duet in History
And One Hell of a bloggy Par-ty

On September 5th, I formally renounced my allegiance to the Washington Redskins, and pledged my fandom to the post-Bountygate New Orleans Saints. This decision, years in the making, was met with derision, amusement, confusion, curiosity, and a surprising amount of understanding. 

Wheelhouse Geoff was both understanding and confused, commenting "rob, this seems like an incredibly dumb time to make an incredibly reasonable and justifiable move. I don't get it."

Mayhugh offered this counsel, "Week 1 gives us great opportunity to see if this journey was real or imagined. I tried to start rooting for the Panthers maybe 5-7 years ago and the second I watched a skins game I was back. So it will be quite a testament to your commitment to your new team if you can actually root against the Redskins. Frankly, I just don't see it happening. At least not this suddenly. Hard to just flip the switch. It's like Macho Grande - those wounds run... pretty deep."

Dave, predictably, was baffled, saying, "this is a fascinating experiment. will rob be able to summon the visceral "that's my team" feeling on demand? i consider myself a logical guy, but i certainly can't explain the gut-wrenching emotions i experience when watching giants game . . . i think it might take a long time to switch your allegiance. but, how are we to know what rob is experiencing subjectively (unless we waterboard him right after the game?)"

In their way, all of these comments were both on the money and wide of the mark. Ultimately, one of the brightest (and humblest) in our number intuited the core challenge most accurately. That commenter was me, when I wrote, "i think disdain for the synderskins will be easier to generate and sustain than will passion for the saints. hell, i've been rooting for my fantasy team players against the skins for a few years now. in fact, i think that was the first sign i was open to a divorce."

Week One, as Mayhugh guessed, was an interesting study. I watched with bemused dispassion as RGIII exploded on the scene, shredding the listless Saints for 320 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns and leading the Redskins to a 40-32 win. I found it hard to get really fired up about the Saints, but I really had no issue rooting against - or at least remaining neutral - about Washington.

That pattern continued throughout the rest of the season. When I watched the Saints play, I pulled for them, but I confess that I haven't generated much passion. Nor have I sought out information about the team proactively. I'm interested, but only moderately. The dismal 0-4 start didn't help.

At the same time, I never had cause to regret abandoning the Redskins. I've enjoyed watching Griffin's emergence, but only because any fan would - he's remarkable, the most exciting NFL quarterback I can remember. Even with that, I haven't seen an entire 'Skins game this season. I'm not sure I've seen any complete NFL game, to be honest. I know a shitload more about W&M hoops than I do pro football this season. My fantasy football opponents thank me for this. (My fantasy CAA Hoops opponents, though, are fucked - I picked up Benimon late, and have Hagins and Beasthoven. I'm dominating.)

All that said, I'm legitimately thrilled for my pals who pull for the Burgundy and Gold. You've waited a long time to have real hope. When the Redskins win, it makes me happy - because it makes you happy.

But it also makes Dan Snyder happy, and that's a bridge I remain unwilling to cross back over.

Tomorrow gives me a real opportunity to work up some pro-Saints spirit, as they take on the Cowboys in a game that has real meaning for Dallas (technically for New Orleans, too, but c'mon). I still have no problem hating Jerry Jones' team, so all of you in Skins Nation can count on my exuberant support of the Black and Gold.

Gheaux Saints, and best of luck, Redskins fans. I'll be pulling for you guys. But I probably won't be watching.