Friday, August 30, 2013

Danimal vs. Mark: CFB "To The Pain" Weekly Pick 'Em

"First things first, to the death."
"No. To the pain."
Mark and Danimal, considering themselves some sort of college football gambling savants, have decided they want to do a weekly college pick 'em post. Who are we to turn down content, so what the hell...when will we ever be in Haiti again? Let's jump right in with the Week 1 picks:

First up, Winchester's finest, whose refusal to follow the rules laid out to him by myself and the diminutive dictator mean we need to post this before Friday night's action. Thanks, Danimal, you big jerk...

W&M + 32 at WVU
At the time of this selection, Thursday at noonish, the line on the W&M/WVU game is at 32. I really want to bet W&M. I hope they make it a game, but at 32…. I. Jes. Cah. Dew’h Capn! 35.5, sure. Despite the shitshow that is Dana Holgorson and all that comes with it, I have to go with the ‘eers. I think there is a great chance I will regret this. As of just the other day, the guy wasn’t even sure who he was going to start at QB. He said he doesn’t know who his team is yet. Throw in the fact they lost I don’t know, 40 points a game with the loss of Geno? Yeah, sure, I’ll take West Virginia.

Texas Tech -4.5 at SMU
I know virtually nothing about either of these teams but I think highly of June Jones. It’s a big home opener for the ‘Stangs with two relatively high-scoring teams. This is one of those quick-look gut bets that does wonders for a bookie’s income. A home dog with imo a better coach and a home opener….I am compelled to take SMU.

Temple +29.5 at ND
This is torturous. Whatever wagering “strategy” I take with the Irish each year, I lose. Pre 2012, I was almost always betting on ND against the spread. Last year, I did the opposite…. Both were poor decisions. Last year I didn’t care though b/c they were winning.
Here’s the dillio. I like Tommy Rees. Notre Dame is very fortunate that he is the go-to guy after Golson’s temporary vacation (he’s been suspended for the semester for “poor academic judgment”) You may not realize this, but Rees played in 11 of their games last year and if it weren’t for him, they likely would have lost 2-3 games prior to getting sodomized in South Beach. Their wins against Purdue, Stanford, and Michigan had a whole bunch to do with Tommy coming in as a relief guy to get moving what Everett couldn’t. He’s 14-4 as a starter. He’s a senior this year with some pretty impressive stats – 2nd all-time completion %’age in a season (65.5%); in 2011 he completed 135 consecutive passes without an INT, ironically; if he were to end his career today, he’d be the all-time completion percentage leader at ND. And no, that does NOT include the completions he has thrown to defenders. On the flip side, this same guy threw fourteen (14) INT’s during his 2011 season. I’m trying to remember how many times were in the red zone - it was somewhere between A LOT and WHY IS HE STILL PLAYING. It wasn’t less than 6 for sure and possibly as many as 8. He fumbled the ball 5 times. He was personally responsible for 19 turnovers. N-N-N-N-Nineteen. Nineteen. Somewhat in his defense, he was sacked 13 times and was rushed at least a bazillion. His decision making was let’s say, poor.
My stance at the beginning here was that until Tommy proves me wrong, he will keep the “Turnover” moniker and thus I can’t bet on him/them. But I talked myself out of it. Tommy is going to have a terrific game. He’s all growed up. Plus he has a top-5 defense, a solid receiving corp, and oh yeah, they’re playing Temple. Temple scores a trash touchdown at the end to lose 49-10.
No, no, no. Go with initial instinct. Make him prove you wrong! Remember Tulsa? South Florida? or was it Central Florida? How about the bowl game against FSU? Stinky. They will likely lose the turnover battle. Lose it by 1 and that’s possibly a 10-14 point swing. Ten points equals Temple covering!
Fuck that…it’s TEMPLE! They could lose the turnover battle by 3 but it won’t matter because Temple will not score more than 10 points!
Irish – 42-10. Final final.

And now on to the tattooed one's selections. See Danimal, your combatant actually picked all Saturday games. Thanks for coloring between the lines, Mark.

Toledo (+23.5) over Florida: I don't bet on Florida games. I'm already too invested in the result of a Gator Football game without having money riding on it. And I'd feel dirty if I bet against Florida. That doesn't mean you should feel bad about betting against my alma mater here. I've already expressed some of my concerns with the Gator offense in the G:TB comments but to sum it up, they're missing two starting OLineman and the only experienced tailback. Not a good recipe for any offense, much less one that wants to rely heavily on the running game. On top of that, Toledo returns 9 of 11 starters on offense, including a senior QB who threw for nearly 2,700 yards last year and a tailback that rushed for almost 1500 yards. I don't expect the Rockets to win, but I do expect this game to be fairly close late. Take the Rockets and those 23.5 points and make some drinking money for yourself.

Boise State (+3.5) at Washington: Washington just finished a multi-million dollar renovation project on Husky Stadium, which was already one of the most unique settings in college football. Now, its state of the art and unique. More importantly, Steve Sarkisian has the Washington Football program headed back towards the top of a suddenly very competitive and strong PAC-10 (the second best conference in the nation this year, in my opinion). After struggling to live up to lofty expectations last year, I expect both Washington and QB Keith Price to enjoy success this season. I just don't think they beat Boise in this spot. Boise and Chris Peterson live for these types of showcase games. And they don't get many chances at them. This is the game I'm most excited about on Saturday, which is too bad because there's a 99% chance I'll be hammered by the time this thing kicks off at 10 PM EST. I doubt I'll see the end of this one but I'll take Boise and the points.

Virginia Tech vs. Alabama: (-21): 21 points is a lot of points to lay for a neutral site game between two well known college football programs. That's not nearly enough to scare me off from Alabama. Alabama has been a wrecking ball in these season opening neutral site games. The Crimson Tide also have to best QB they've ever had under Nick Saban and the best collection of skill position players since they could trot out Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Julio Jones at the same time. In terms of depth, you could make the case that this group is even better. On the other side, Virginia Tech has never been known for their wide open offensive style. And while Logan Thomas has every physical tool you could ever ask for in a QB, he's not very good at actually playing QB. Alabama rolls.

Bite Me, Randy Newman: Righting Wrongs

This blog has been in existence for nearly 10 years. We're nearing a million total views of the 2,726 posts we've published. And we owe the world an enormous apology.


There are very few people in any walk of life who love what they do more than Kurkjian. His devotion to baseball borders on obsessive - in fact, obsessives border on Kurkjianesque. From 1989 to 2010, he spent 15 minutes every morning clipping box scores from the newpaper and pasting them into notebooks. His giddy, lunatic exaltation ("Wes Littleton got the save!") after Texas' 30-3 win over Baltimore in 2007 is the stuff of legends. I daresay there aren't two dozen more Gheorghey people on the planet.

Kurkjian's passion for his work is enough by itself to make us like him, but he's also among the most self-effacing members of a press corps that's mostly anything but. Can you imagine Chris Berman allowing himself to be subjected to this:

And if that weren't enough, though he's a diminutive fellow, standing a sturdy 5'5", he's noted as a hard-nosed and more than decent basketball player. From 1986 to 1989, Kurkjian was a regular in Cal Ripken's legendarily serious pickup hoops runs. "The reason Cal invites me is that I always pass the ball to the open man," Kurkjian says. "Cal's like that, too. He always wants to get the job done, and he wants it done the correct way."

I'm reminded every time I hear Kurkjian's unique voice how much I enjoy and respect his approach. And more often than not, I'm moved to at least a smile. On Tuesday, I was moved nearly to tears of laughter, when ESPN's Scott Van Pelt dropped his well-honed Baltimore mock-accent on the unsuspecting Kurkjian. Fast forward to the 5:10 mark in this clip. It'll make you happy.

Our sincere, befuddled apologies to both Kurkjian and America for this egregious oversight.

And Bite Me, Randy Newman.

(In other BMRN news, 5'1" Canadian midfielder Diana Matheson of the Washington Spirit - number 9 in your program, number one in my daughter's heart - was named to the inaugural National Womens Soccer League Best XI after tallying 8 goals and 3 assists. I saw her slot a low-angled shot past Hope Solo to give the Spirit a 1-0 win over the latter's Seattle Reign. I think I heard her whisper to Solo, "Bite Me, Randy Newman", as she celebrated the game-winner.)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

People of Rosslyn, VA: Please stop trying to poison rob

Seems someone in Rosslyn might be taking squirrel population control into their own hands, and that's not good news for our Tiny Dictator, who is unable to distinguish poison pills from nuts. The folks at the Ode Street Tribune blog are asking you, dear citizens of Rosslyn, to stop poisoning squirrels, Charles Bronson vigilante style.

Oh yeah, this quote cracked me up:
Squirrels face deadly attacks from hawks. Hawks face deadly attacks from their shadows in windowpanes. Don't add to the violence that already exists in the world.
All I'm saying is, you keep knocking off his kind, and rob's gonna send Moose and Rocco to rough you up...

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Quick Hitters

On the eve of a new football season, FOG:TB and all-around Renaissance Man Dave Fairbank offers a preview of the Tribe's season-opener/couch-burner at West Virginia in today's Daily Press.

If you're looking for other great coverage of W&M Football, you've definitely come to the wrong place. May we commend to you, though, the really excellent work being done at Shades of 48, which is rapidly surpassing us as the leading W&M sports blog on the internet. Not the leading W&M hoops/dipshittery blog, though. No sir.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Happy 8/26!

From FOG:TB Shlara, a reason to celebrate:

The Tiny Dictator and Doofus Overlord have ceded the floor to me today, and I’d like to invite all of the Gheorghies and FOGTBs to celebrate 826 Day with me. 
Today is August 26th (8/26), which is a special day for the 826National network. (FYI, this is nothing like 4/20, you degenerates…)

You’re not familiar with 826National, you say? Well, let me tell you about it…

Dave Eggers is not impressed with your apathy
826 is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. The organization is based on the belief that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. With this in mind, 826 provides after-school tutoring, story-telling and book-making field trips, evening and weekend writing workshops, in-school programming, help for English language learners, and student publishing opportunities, all free of charge. The programs are challenging and enjoyable, and ultimately strengthen each student’s power to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in his or her individual voice.

That sounds like the introduction to a grant letter, because it is. To get a more inspiring explanation of 826, I’ll let our founder tell you about it. If you don’t have 25 minutes now to watch Dave’s TED Prize speech, here’s the Cliff Notes version: 

It started when he was living in Brooklyn, a writer with an unconventional schedule and several friends who were teachers and educators.  There were a lot of kids in his neighborhood—many who came from disadvantaged homes—who needed some extra attention to perform better in school, and their parents either didn’t have the experience or bandwidth to support them.  So when Dave decided to relocate his publishing house, McSweeney’s, in San Francisco, he opened a multi-purpose space for writers and editors as well as a (free) tutoring center for neighborhood students. He found a building on Valencia Street in the Mission District, but there was one catch…the place was zoned for retail, so they had to set up some sort of store, to be in compliance with the regulations. The space was old and had a lot of character, and they realized that it kind of looked like the hull of a ship—so they decided to open a Pirate Supply Store complete with peg legs, hooks, leeches and planks sold by-the-foot. Right behind the Pirate Store, sat the tutoring center, and surrounding the center, the McSweeney’s staff desks. The Pirate Store piqued student’s curiosity, the free tutoring appealed to parents in the neighborhood, and Dave’s writer friends flocked to the space to volunteer. Students flourished and the center became a hipster landmark in the city.

The magic of 826 has spread to many U.S. communities and the network boasts eight official chapters so far: San Francisco, LA, Seattle, Chicago, Michigan—Ann Arbor & Detroit, Boston, New York/Brooklyn, and DC. There are also several international programs inspired by 826 (Australia, Sweden, Italy) and many more U.S. cities taking the steps to build an official 826 program in their community.

Creativity is what sets 826 apart from other writing and literacy organizations—you find it in the programs (songwriting workshops, poetry and novel-writing classes) and the people who get involved (Neil Gaiman, Christopher Hitchens, Fiona Apple, Zooey Deschanel (EDITOR'S NOTE: Wait, did you just say Zooey Deschanel?) and the events hosted by each chapter (Scrabble for Cheaters with Peter Dinklage, Books for Breakfast with legendary sportswriter Bob Ryan, Poker for Jokers with Ira Glass and Michael Ian Black, The Judd (Apatow) and Jon (Brion) Comedy & Music Hour featuring Peter Frampton, Colin Quinn and RZA). Each city’s center has the same whimsical approach, with a local twist (Robot Supply Store in Michigan, Superhero Supply Store in NYC, Time Travel Mart in LA), and all of the writing programs result in a published piece—even for the first-graders at Storytelling and Bookmaking field trips. 826 makes a measurable impact in student performance. And it changes students’ lives.

Hi, Zooey!
I was fortunate to discover the DC chapter several years ago, when they were testing the model as “Capitol Letters Writing Center.” Learned about it in Daily Candy, of all things. (If you don’t know what Daily Candy is…ask your wife.) Literacy has always been an important cause/issue to me, plus I’m one of those annoying do-gooders.  Over the years, I’ve volunteered as an adult literacy tutor (helping an adult learn to read is an incredible experience), served as an after-school tutor, weekly reading buddy and as a volunteer elementary school librarian. I created a massive reading incentive program for the Bullets/Wizards back in the day and even worked at a children’s literacy organization for a few years.  Safe to day, I know a little bit about this issue.  So it was really exciting for me to find an organization that is fresh and creative and just a little off-center, but yet completely substantive. I joined the board in 2011, and it’s one of the smartest decisions I’ve made in a while. The students constantly amaze me with their writing skills and I’ve been able to meet the most fascinating people—826 is like a magnet for creative nerdy types.

Literacy may not be your thing, but if it is, I want you to think about helping out the 826 chapter closest to you. Maybe it’s a donation of $8.26 each month for a year, maybe it’s attending one of the awesome events we host, or maybe you can spare some time to help out—volunteer with one of the writing or tutoring programs or provide some pro bono help (you’re all skilled in something).

And, if literacy isn’t your thing…go find your thing. Do something that makes an impact beyond yourself and your family. Give some serious thought to what matters to you, and where your talents/skills can be leveraged and then find something that matches. You don’t need to commit all of your free time, just some of it. And if you don’t have any free time, find time—this is important. Get involved. It’s time.

Monday Filler

Stole this from a friend's FB post a week or two ago. I chuckled. Though I think it should say, "Say You, Say Tea"


Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Weenie Chronicles

In the second installment, we watch as our mild-mannered insurance salesman jumps out of an airplane and lands in front of 160,000 NASCAR fans and a live national television audience. It's a little bit badass.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

It's Your Saturday, Not Your Lawn's

You ladies wanna see my lawn?
My family is tending our very first garden this summer, a 4x8' raised bed featuring tomatoes, cucumber, eggplant, green peppers, and a wide variety of herbs. With the exception of a pair of bewilderingly unproductive summer squash plants, our little plot has thrived. We eat something from our crop with nearly every dinner, and it sure looks like we'll have more tomatoes than we'll know what to do with in a few weeks.

All of this mini-farming has me spending a lot of time online these days seeking advice and ideas on all things green. In the past week, an inspired article caught my eye.

In addition to edible plants, I'm also fairly adept at growing things that cover my lawn. Is it my fault that many of these things aren't what mainstream suburbanites typically consider 'grass'? Crabgrass is green. Clover is green. Chives are green. Why the fuck are you looking down your nose at me because I don't give a rat's ass about your perfect zoysia carpet? Who do I look like, George Toma?

Now, thanks to the giant brains at Scientific American, I've got ammunition.

Author Ferris Jabr (note: may not be a real person, given that name) bought a new home last year, and set to creating the perfect American greenscape. Until he stood back and asked these critical questions:
Surveying my garden, my impulse to rip up a flowering cluster of so-called weeds and replace it with a monochromatic mat now struck me as somewhat selfish and completely uninspired. Given a plot of land beside one’s house to use as one wishes, why turn so much of it into a lawn? Why must a lawn consist solely of uber-green, short-cropped, nearly identical blades of grass? What is a lawn anyways?
Jabr goes on to answer the latter question with a deeply researched history of the American lawn. What was once symbolic of great wealth became a societal norm with the advent of the first planned communities in the late 1940s. Since then, an entire industry has arisen to goad us into believing that we're less than men if we can't grow and maintain lush turf, and HOAs across the land exist to ensure that we conform, or else. (Not mine, though. I'm the President. Because I don't want to live in a place with lawn nazis.)

The lawn of my dreams
But according to Jabr, "...the consequences of our obsession with pristine grass lawns may undercut any benefits. In addition to depriving both native pollinators and honeybees of wild habitat and food—and thereby threatening our agricultural system—lawncare guzzles water, spews smog and soaks the earth in potentially harmful chemicals."

In fact, Jabr continues, "A conventional lawn is also a complete perversion of grass’s typical life cycle."

His solution, and that of a growing number of scientists: flowering swards of low-growing broadleaf plants. As soon as I figure out what that sentence means, and convince my wife that I'm not a complete lunatic, I'll never mow a lawn again.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Filler/Friday Night Fun

As most of you know, I live in a little beach town in Florida. It's perfect for me. I can walk two blocks east from my house to the Atlantic Ocean or go one block west and hit the Indian River (it's actually not a river but an Intracoastal Estuary, but whatever). The weather is generally pretty great and the lifestyle is laid back. One major drawback to where I live is that no good live music ever comes to town. When I was growing up The Wailers used to play a yearly show on the deck of one of the local beachfront hotels (where the Teej  & Mrs. Teej stayed earlier this year) and last year Fishbone played at a local bar, but by in large if you want to see any live music of renown you have to travel to Orlando, or farther.  As I've gotten older, I make it to less and less of these shows, especially if they occur during the work week.

Somehow, tonight is the exception to this rule. One of my favorite hip hop acts and one of the better live shows in hip hop, Atmosphere, is playing at an outdoor venue Cocoa Village as part of the Kickin' Up Dust Tour. Also playing will be Slighty Stoopid as well as West Coast underground hip hop stalwarts Eligh and The Grouch. I can't emphasize enough how rare this is, or how excited I am.

Atmosphere is a pretty unique group in hip hop. They hail from Minnesota and were one of the earlier underground/independent label hip hop groups to enjoy critical and (light) commercial success (They also had a distribution deal with Epitaph records at one point. A first for a rap group). The first time I heard Atmosphere was back in Gainesville when I heard The Woman with the Tattooed Hands.

It was, and still is, unlike any rap song I'd ever heard. From that point on, I tried to get my hands on any new music from Atmosphere. Then they released God Loves Ugly which still ranks as one of my all time favorite hip hop albums. Slug and Ant have somehow found a way to make "emo rap" without sounding like whiny complainers. If it sounds odd, that's because it is. It's different but very good. If you're in Minneapolis and they're playing (Rob) or they come to your town, I encourage you to check them out. And because it's Friday, here's one of my personal favorites that also happens to go well with most of our preferred Friday evening activity.

Enjoy the weekend, Gheorghies.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Metal Up Your Ass Wednesday (Evening) - Worlds Colliding Edition

Ever wondered what Pantera would have sounded like with David Allan Coe singing for them? If so, this is for you.  This is from 2006, but I just stumbled onto this yesterday (thank you for Liquid Metal, Sirius). 

David Allan Coe is no Phil Anselmo, but his country inclinations add an interesting twist to Pantera's southern-infused metal (they hail from the Dallas area).  The album was recorded in 2004, before ex-Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott was murdered. 

As usual, I am wildly late to the party on something (just started getting into LCD Soundsystem this year), but this is fun enough to share, especially for those of us who used to wail out the lyrics to "You Never Even Called Me By My Name" at 1:55 AM at the Green Leafe in the mid-90's. 

Gheorghe or Not Gheorghe: A Debate

Please enjoy Nate Robinson's airport freestylings at this link. When you come back, we'll play point/counterpoint:

Point: Nate Robinson is a silly dude, which is pleasing to our sense of whimsy.

Counterpoint: Nate Robinson is goofing off in an airport, a place most people want to get the fuck out of as quickly and distraction-free as possible.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Footy Fandom

Since none of our resident Premiership experts could be bothered, FOGTB (and longtime FOD) Ryan, aka Fat Guy in a Speedo, offers his take on finding English rooting interests. Feel free to use the comments section to tell him where he's wrong:

Greetings soccer fans and Americans. As NBC has picked up the rights to all English Premier League matches this year and Yanks can now watch more matches than anyone in Britain (blackouts prevail) it seems like a good time to get other sports fans into a lather about a 2 hour game that might end in a 0-0 tie.  Here’s how you too can get involved in the action:

Pick a team.  There are 20 teams in the PL (1st division), the bottom 3 get relegated at the end of the season and the top 3 in the PL Championship (2nd division) get promoted. Only 5 clubs have won the title (Arsenal, Blackburn (a one-off), Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United). As Americans, no one cares who we support. If we had the misfortune to be born in the UK we would be bound to support our local club and odds are they would be horrible. The PL has 20 teams and London alone currently has 6 teams in it. Growing up in NJ, I had friends who were NFL fans of the Cowboys, Raiders, Broncos etc, in England you are a ‘plastic rent fanboy’ if you are a Londoner supporting a Manchester team.   

Ten years ago, my friends who watched PL (3, 2 ex-pats) were Arsenal fans so I chose Manchester United as I had heard of them and they had just picked up Tim Howard. Ignorance is bliss, Tim was shipped off less than 2 years later but I stuck with the Yankees of the PL and they have been a juggernaut ever since. Manchester United’s manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, just stepped down after 27 brilliant years so the pundits are not sure if this streak will continue. In addition to being the greatest football manager ever he is also renowned for his Bobby Knight-esque rants known as the ‘hairdryer treatment’. Once, David Beckham was on the receiving end of it Ferguson kicked a cleat at him and hit him above the eye, which required stitches.

Ferguson being Ferguson refused to apologize and Beckham being Beckham forgave him anyway. Ferguson hand-picked his replacement, fellow Scot David Moyes formerly of Everton FC.

Other top teams to consider are:

Chelsea – Bought 10 years ago by a Russian oil Mafioso who has paved the way for other worldwide oil barons, tycoons and Mafiosi who are wont to change the teams logo and colors on a whim after 120 years of consistency. He has pumped over $1B into this mid-level London side and turned them into Champions and perennial contenders. Chelsea have won 11 trophies in 10 years under Roman with TEN different managers.  He recently rehired Jose Mourinho after firing him years ago mid-season after winning the title the previous year, Jose once referred to himself as ‘the Special One’ and has coached Porto, Intermilan, Chelsea and most recently Real Madrid, generally to huge success. Chelsea might win it all this year, they are a good team to be a fan of if you like to cheer on a bunch of bastards and villains as the apple doesn’t fall far from the Russian oligarch.

Arsenal (the Gunners) – This is a great London team to support if you enjoy past success and fiscal solvency. Led by the great Arsene Wenger, a French manager who is derided by opposing fans as Big Sesame Bird and ‘pedophile’ (for the record he is neither). One of his claims to fame is having coached the Invincibles in 2003-04 season. This team did not lose a single game and went on to win the title but also played ‘beautiful’ football which is very important to most fans who seemingly would rather lose playing ‘beautiful’ football than win ugly. This is another concept that makes bridging the gap difficult for Yanks.  Arsenal have won fuckall the past 8 years (there are 4 trophies a team can win over the season, the League Cup, the FA Cup, the Champions League and the Premier League title) but more importantly, have spent no money on players the past 8 years but have the highest ticket prices in the League. Fourth place is still very important in the PL and Arsenal pretty much have a lock on 4th place trophies if they existed. Arsenal lost the opening game this past Saturday at home to an average Aston Villa side so it’s looking like more of the same for them.

Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool. These 3 teams round out the top 6 you might choose to cheer on. Manchester City was bought by Arab billionaire Sheik Mansour who pumped $1B in to win one Championship title as the formula seemed to work for the Russian equivalent. Tottenham are the rivals of Arsenal as both are North London teams, they are a good team for members of the Tribe (not the W&M one) as their stadium, White Hart Lane is located in the Jewish section of London and supporters proudly refer to themselves as ‘Yids’, even the non-Jewish ones.

Liverpool is a great team if you are a Dallas Cowboys fan. They have worldwide brand recognition and are the Grand Dame of the PL in terms of tradition and history. All home games are opened with a rousing rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ and the supporter’s section is referred to as the Kop. Unfortunately, much like the Cowboys they’ve not tasted success for a while and last were Champions in 1989 but have never won a Premier League title as it’s current iteration was formed in 1993.
Lastly, Fulham are also a good team to support if you don’t want to take it too seriously and not too concerned about winning silver. They are usually mid-table and have had many Americans on their roster over the years, furthermore, they have a statue of Michael Jackson outside of their fantastically named home ground, Craven Cottage in West London.

Another perk is the games are Saturday and Sunday morning and make an excellent excuse to drink away a hangover before sports we care about, i.e. college football, kickoff.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Big Ball Monday

Set your DVRs for the story of Wesley Warren Jr., the man with the 132-lb scrotum. It highlights his big, swinging problem, his Howard Stern appearance to raise funds for surgery, and his post-surgical appearance.  TLC at 9 PM ET. 

For a wildly graphic look into the surgery, you can click here.

And happy birthday to my son, who turns six today!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Summer ASSociates

Ahhhh, summer....a time for overly entitled, douchebag law students to dream of becoming overly entitled, douchebag lawyers; all while being wined and dined by firms as part of a summer associate program.  For those of you lucky enough to have avoided the law gig, summer associate positions are essentially a summer internship where law students audition to be hired by the firm after graduation.  At many of the big law firms, it is also a rub and tug session by the firms to convince prospective employees that working for a big firm is not going to suck as bad as it actually does.  (For any summer associates reading this, please note that the showers in the office are not there for hosing off after a 3 martini lunch or hooking up with the cute paralegal in the Bankruptcy dept. They are there so you don't draw flies during your 100 hour work weeks next fall.)

This summer, it appears that Edelson, LLC decided to have a little fun with their summer associates by hiring an actor to be the worst summer associate ever.  They didn't let the real summer associates in on the joke until a week into the program, when the actor interrupted a welcome cocktail party to introduce himself with the video below.  The funny thing is, "Scotty Larson" is not that far off from somebody in my summer associate class way back when.

I can't speak for the quality of work life at Edelson, LLC, but they seem a lot more Gheorghie than the firm I worked for.

Friday, August 16, 2013

What an AWFUL idea

Below is something even dumber (and more permanent) than a Jump To Conclusions mat. If real, this dude is one of the bigger idiots on the planet:

[h/t boing boing, via Squeaky]

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fashion is...Rihan-diculous

Second post of the day, for two reasons:

1 - We needed to trump rob's melancholy Charlie Brown filler
2 - I needed to make up for that hirsute Jaws bathing suit pic

Therefore, you get a modified "Fashion is Dumb" installment, in which music superstar Rihanna heads to her home country of Barbados for "Carnival" and dons an outfit like this:

[h/t half the internet]

How Soon is Now?

(h/t Large Hearted Boy Tumblr)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Put Me In Coach, I'm Ready to . . . Coach? Coach? Coach?

My wife asked an interesting question while we were watching Serena Williams destroy a tiny old Japanese lady at Wimbledon (the match had a professional wrestling quality about it . . . it was hard not to root for Date-Krumm, despite what happened at Pearl Harbor). My wife said: "Is tennis the only sport where there is no coaching at all?" I brought up golf, but she reminded me that golfers -- professional ones at least -- have caddies to consult with.

Officially, tennis players aren't supposed to receive any coaching during play -- it's illegal. This is a controversial issue . . . my favorite purported breach of this rule is when Maria Sharapova's father was allegedly "holding up pieces of fruit" during a match. Some folks deemed this "coaching," as he was passing his absent-minded daughter the message to eat something between sets (fruit, I suppose). Reminds me of  this fabulous high-fructose bit of athletic instruction:

I wasn't able to find much information on how much coaching is allowed during different sports, and how influential this coaching is, so I will take some uneducated guesses. I'm not talking about the training before the event -- I'm speculating on the amount and influence of coaching during the event. I'll try my best to come up with a half-baked continuum, and the the real sports people can correct me in the comments.

Short of giving someone a lesson, I can't see how coaching is going to help all that much during a tennis match anyway (aside from reminding someone to eat a banana so they they don't get a calf cramp . . . and I'm sure there would be a lot of volunteers willing to rub Maria Sharapova's calf cramp while feeding her a banana).

I think mid-match tennis coaching might go like this:  Try hitting your first serve in the little box more often! Don't hit your backhand into the stands anymore! Stop staring at Ana Ivanovic's legs and focus!

Golf is similar -- you shouldn't screw with someone's swing when they are about to engage in medal play. Years ago, I was a high school golf coach. I once said this to a player, just before he teed off: Hey, Brian? Quick tip? If you return your right elbow to your sternum on your follow through, and shift maybe twenty percent more of your weight to your left foot on impact, you might corral that slice you've been dealing with . . . or if that doesn't work, then it might be that you need to loosen your grip and turn it a couple millimeters clockwise . . . and this is a tough three-iron over the water, you don't want to start the match with penalty strokes, so forget about the drink and think good thoughts, mainly: elbow, sternum, weight-shift, loosen that grip, and most importantly . . . don't lose your tempo! Good luck! Wait, wait! Step back! I don't think the club-face is aligned properly with your stance! 

Obviously, the results were disastrous.

I am in the middle of David Foster Wallace's masterpiece Infinite Jest, which is mainly set at a fictitious high-caliber tennis academy. Hal Incandenza has to break some bad news to his "Little Buddies," who he must mentor through the program; he tells them that tennis is a sport where "you are deeply alone." Every player knows where he stands in relation to all the other players. There is no community, only existential alienation. And thus it is fitting that the tennis player must remain alone and isolated on the court, without the aid of a coach or the comradeship of a caddy or trainer.

Golf is a bit more collegial. The introduction of actual coaching would make it interminably slow, and I suppose it's lonely when you're hitting the ball very poorly, but otherwise, it's a good walk spoiled for everyone out there. You're all in it together against the course. And you've got your caddy.

I am guessing that the coaching that happens during a boxing match is fairly useless, even if your trainer is giving you really specific and excellent advice, such as: Just make sure he hits you an even number of times, so you don't end up with amnesia. With the roar of the crowd and the whump of the gloves hitting your noggin, the best coaching is still going to sound like this: Wakka woof woof wakka whoom! Or perhaps it sounds more like the adults talking in Peanuts. I will have to do more research on this subject. But in between rounds, you do get a minute to offer your sage wisdom about the sweet science, as you shove vaseline up your fighter's nose.

Coaches probably have even less influence during a wrestling match, as the breaks between rounds are shorter and there's even more lactic acid involved. The best thing a wrestling coach can yell at his young charge is: Make sure you wash those mat burns with peroxide! Otherwise, you'll contract a Staph infection!

I coach soccer and I will admit something: there is no correlation between what you yell on the sidelines and what your players do on the field. If you didn't teach them ahead of time, it's too late. The soccer field is big, and the players are very far away from you. I spend my time talking to the players on the bench, to avoid behaving absurdly. I occasionally turn and look at the game, but the ball is invariably out of bounds.

I have also coached basketball and this is a different story. Things happen fast, so you constantly feel as if you're going to have an anxiety attack, but you can change defenses and call plays. You can't actually shoot the ball, but you can try to get your team to give the ball to the person you want to shoot it. And then you can jump up and down if he makes it. You can also influence the official by throwing a chair at him.

I've never managed a baseball team, but I recognize that the game proceeds at such a lethargic pace that the coach has time to do all sorts of things (as do the players . . .  in what other sport is there enough time to give someone a "hotfoot"?)

No one will debate the great significance and influence of the High School Chess Coach.

And then, of course, there is football. These coaches earn their money. They are the auteurs. Fellini. Godard, Bergman, Parcells, Gibbs, Landry, Shula, Lombardi, Pacino. They communicate with the quarterback by radio. They get images from upstairs. They put in the "nickel back." They use "the dime." They invent the spread offense. They decide to fake the punt.

I played Intellivision football when I was a kid, and the play calling was rudimentary. 9-6-2-4 was my favorite. My skills bottomed out with Tecmo Bowl and the superhuman Bo Jackson avatar. Madden confounded me, and my younger brothers would destroy me because they could call and understand the plays. No amount of juking and spinning could erase this truth. And thus, I am happy as a soccer coach . . . or as they are more commonly known, a soccer trainer. You train the players, and then let them loose on the field to do what they will. And, miracle of miracles, you get paid almost as much as the football coach!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Beware Swedes Bearing Catalogs

It's been quite a week for Swedes. Henrik Stenson and Jonas Blixt played in the penultimate group at the PGA Championship. Zlatan Ibrahimovic pulled an epic pout in Paris Saint-Germain's Ligue 1 opener against Montpellier. And the White House announced that President Obama will head to Stockholm in September instead of Moscow.

The President would be well-advised to prepare himself for what he might find. Our investigative reporters have spent the past several minutes digging into a trio of stories that suggest that the normally benign Swedes may be quietly working on plans the likes of which even Dr. Evil might find audacious.

As most Swedish plots must, this one begins with IKEA. The video below purports to show the ingenious way the furniture giant is using mobile technology to enhance the shopping experience. Using a new IKEA app, consumers can superimpose any piece of the company's furniture into their own room. In and of itself, this is a brilliant piece of marketing magic.


But here at G:TB, we don't take such things at face value, because we have active imaginations and often too much time on our hands. The Huffington Post reported last week on a Swedish lab's announcement of the creation of a new form of magnesium carbonate, dubbed an 'impossible' material.

Named Upsalite, the new material is extremely porous, and likely to be extremely efficient in absorbing moisture and controlling toxins from industrial accidents. 

"So IKEA has a new way to control manufacturing tolerances," you say. And you'd be right. It's the final piece of the puzzle that's so terrifying.

The National History Museum of Denmark has warned of the presence of pacu off the coast of Southern Sweden. (It's noteworthy that we're forced to rely on the Danes for this bit of news - obviously, the Swedes are trying to hide something.) Though pacu sounds like something from a dirty Irish-Italian version of Pokemon, the truth is far less amusing. The 25cm member of the piranha family is known for its attraction to a certain portion of the male anatomy.
“The pacu is not normally dangerous to people but it has quite a serious bite, there have been incidents in other countries, such as Papua New Guinea, where some men have had their testicles bitten off,” said Henrik Carl, a fish expert at the Danish museum, speaking to The Local, an English-language newspaper in Sweden. “They bite because they're hungry, and testicles sit nicely in their mouth,” he told the paper.

That last sentence may well be the most chilling in the history of the written word.

So let's consider what we've learned. The Swedes have mastered teleportation. They've developed an ability to control moisture levels to a very precise degree. And they've bred testicle-devouring superfish. While we've been distracted by their beautiful women and friendliness, they've built a doomsday machine the likes of which the world has never seen. Millions of tiny yellow and blue ball-chomping fish may soon rain into living rooms and men's grills across the United States, if we don't stop them.

President Obama, you're our only hope. You, and Iron Balls McGinty.

Jack Urbont Finds Bob Digitech Without Searching the Internet

Long-time readers of G:TB know that the first track off of "Supreme Clientele" is the subject of a lawsuit between Jack Urbont and Ghostface Killah. The second track is a song called "Nutmeg" and when I tried to find a video of that song to embed in this post I found this:

This has to annoy Mr. Urbont and the folks at Marvel Comics. If you fast forward to the 4:20 mark, you'll hear the RZA encouraging people to search the internet for Bob Digitech, which is one of his aliases. Mr. Urbont will likely take a modicum of satisfaction in finally finding Bob Digi without even needing to use the world wide web and causing the public disclosure of his home address which will doubtlessly be annoying. In particular, Ghostface's Rule 26(a)(1) initial disclosures name Robert Diggs as a witness likely to have discoverable information and provide his home address in Tarzana CA. Robert Diggs is, of course, the RZA, aka Bobby Digital, aka Bob Digitech, aka Bob Digi, aka Prince Rakeem.

Undisclosed, however, was GFK's current address ... unless he's living in his lawyer's office. Instead of providing the whereabouts of Pretty Toney's hideout (the Ghostcave?), his attorney directed all correspondence to his attorney's address. Odd.

Less odd is scheduling order in the case. In fact it's pretty standard, although two things pop out at me. First, the case will be tried to a jury. I am soooo fucking pissed that I left Manhattan. Can you imagine sitting on that jury?! People would pay money for that gig. Second, all fact discovery must be completed by February 14, 2014, including depositions. That's Valentine's Day for all you married folks. Given that no one seems to have a legitimate address for Ghostdini, it might be hard to track him down for his deposition. It wouldn't surprise me if they couldn't corner the god hisself Cocaine Biceps until the 11th hour resulting in a Valentine's Day deposition. This will be amazing because you know Ghostface does on Valentine's Day, right? "Shock the bitch b." That's what happens.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Lazy Saturday Music Theory

Postulated: Frightened Rabbit's 'The Woodpile' is a spiritual heir to Big Country's classic, 'In a Big Country'. Discuss.

Big Country-In A Big Country by adiis

Friday, August 09, 2013

Jay Bilas, Very Gheorghe-y

As Mark noted in the comments the other day, Jay Bilas took the hypocrites at NCAA HQ behind the woodshed earlier in the week, to such a degree that yesterday the NCAA, tail between their legs, fundamentally changed part of their business operation. All because of a Jay Bilas tweet blitzkrieg (tweetkrieg?).

A longtime favorite of G:TB, I took the opportunity to self-promote and tweet at Jay, reminding him (and my limited twitter audience) of Bilas' role in the seminal last 80s action flick "I Come In Peace". Much to my surprise, Jay Bilas tweeted back at me...

Jay Bilas, risin', grindin', oozin' gheorgheness. And now, amazingly, I get to use the "Bilas deserves an Oscar" post label a second time.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Fun with Mashups

Heavy metal Bee Gees cover band doing 'It's Raining Men'? You had me at heavy metal bee.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Don't go in the water.

Shut up, Jaws tagline. I'll do what I want.

Via tumblr, of course.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

One Buc Place

As I'm sure everyone who regularly read this blog knows, I come from a family of FSU alumni and fans. Both of my older sisters attended FSU with the oldest beginning her tenure in Tallahassee in 1989. This particular sister is 12 years my elder. As a result of this, as well as the fact that my parents are both highly involved parents and big sports fans, I spent much of my adolescence attending Florida State University Football games. In that sense, I've been pretty lucky. I've seen some very memorable FSU games against the likes of Florida, Notre Dame, Clemson and Miami among others.

Among all the games I attended, two stand out more than the rest. The first is the "Choke at Doak". A game where Steve Spurrier's visiting Gator team took a 31-3 lead into the fourth quarter before allowing 28 unanswered points to the Seminoles in a game that ended in a tie. I sat in the student section that day next to my sister who is 6 years older than me. I was not yet a Florida student or fan. It was awesome. One of the most amazing late game comebacks of all time and I got to see it happen.

The second game that stands out wasn't nearly as good. Nor was it as well played. This game stood out for an entirely different reason. Dominance. The dominance of one player. That player was Warren Sapp.

Growing up, I went to a lot of FSU-Miami games. It was the best rivalry in college football, by far, and it happened to always fall within a couple days of my birthday during the second week of October. So in 1994, my sister Penny (6 years older) bought us tickets to go to the FSU-Miami game at the Orange Bowl. Obviously this was a fantastic birthday present.

I must state here that the Orange Bowl was a total dump. It was old, creaky and it smelled like piss. It also happened to reside in one of the worst neighborhoods in Miami. With all that said, the place was awesome. Especially for Saturday night games. The game FSU-Miami game in 1994 pitted the #3 Seminoles against the #13 Hurricanes and kickoff was at 8 pm. The Orange Bowl was electric that night. I was probably one of about 20 sober people in the whole place. It was loud, it was hostile and it was great.

Now, like most football fans in their mid-teens I didn't yet have a deep appreciation of the game. I paid more attention to the so called skill positions players. Wide receivers, defensive backs, running backs, etc. But everything changed that night. That night Warren Sapp absolutely took apart an extremely talented FSU offense. It felt like he did everything. And every time her made a play, the Miami band played the The Imperial March. It was the first time I had ever heard it used at a sporting event and holy shit was it cool. After that night I paid a lot more attention to the rest of Warren Sapp's games. And to line play in football in general. For a number of reasons, its a night I'll never forget.

As I mentioned earlier, my family is full of sports fans. Not everybody in my family is a fan of all the same teams, But everybody in my family is a fan of the same two teams. The St. Louis Cardinals. And the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Everybody in my family other than myself was born in St. Louis. And in 1973, they all moved to Clearwater, FL. In 1976 my parents became original Buccaneer season ticket holders. Setting me up for a childhood filled with long Sunday drives across the state (and back) to bake in the sun and watch the Bucs get their brains beat in my nearly everyone in the NFL. It's hard to overstate how bad the Bucs were. They were a joke. I don't mean that metaphorically. Growing up, I only knew one other kid who was a Bucs fan (we're still friends to this day). Think about that for a second. In a town nearly equidistant from Tampa and Miami only one other kid besides me liked the Bucs. I don't blame them either. The Dolphins were good. And they were cool. Dan Marino. Duper and Clayton. I wouldn't have rooted for the Bucs either. I didnt have a choice.

And eventually, I didn't think they'd ever be any good. Then the Bucs drafted Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks with the 12th and 28th picks of the first round. Within a matter of months, the entire future of the Tampa Bay Buccaneer franchise changed forever. When Tony Dungy came aboard as the head coach the following year, the franchise changed forever.

Because of my experiences watching both Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks dominate opponents on the collegiate level I was extremely optimistic about their chances in the NFL. But I had no idea how quickly they would put their imprint on the franchise. You know the rest. Eventually the Bucs won a Super Bowl, which was awesome. Sapp and Brooks anchored a historically great defense that could possibly put as many as five guys in the Hall of Fame (Brooks is a lock. Ronde Barber is close to a lock. John Lynch gets in eventually. And I think Simeon Rice does one day too.)

All of this was a extremely long winded way to say that I love Warren Sapp. And I'm happy he's in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I had the chance to go to the Hall of Fame as well as the Hall of Fame Game in 2002 at the tail end of my internship in Cleveland. It was a pretty cool experience. I took my picture next to the bust honoring the only Buccaneer in the Hall of Fame, Lee Roy Selmon. Now Lee Roy isn't a trivia question. There's another Buccaneer in the Hall.

Judge Montes Leaves Me Breathless

During a discussion twixt Squeaky, Patchie, and me about local politics on the ride to the airport from OBFT, Patchie posited that NJ and MA are the crookedest states in the Union. Squeaky opined that nowhere is as crooked as MA and I objected, noting that NJ is at least a close second if not crookeder. As if on cue, I learned about In re Roman A. Montes today. I could tell the story myself, but the complaint spells things out perfectly.

So far so good--Montes is a judge.

Hey, who am I to judge (pun!). A grown man went to a noodie bar.

"Befriended" is a funny way to describe the exchange between a noodie bar dancer and a patron, but whatever. This is where it gets crooked.

Oooh judge ain't right, his court ain't right, his honor is a pimp, tell by his eyes. It gets grimier.

What are the odds?!? Can't make this stuff up ... unless he stalks the hot women involved in cases before him, especially the strippers. But he didn't do that, did he?

Sounds that way to me! But it could have been a random coincidence, in which case he would have done the right thing and walked away ... right?

Wrong! So what did he do next? What any ethical judge would do. He had it bounced to another court due to conflicts. But look how he couched it:

Un-fucking-believable!! "Hey Paulie, transfuh dis case ovah to Clark. I went ovah to Breffless dis weekend, one ting led to anothuh, an' it turns out now I'm bangin' duh strippuh who's involved in dis case! Gotta keep up appearances, nah mean? So get dis conflict outta my courtroom." Impossibly, it gets better.

Judge got game! He "was afraid of cutting [her] off and not speaking to her anymore" is a polite way of saying "C'mon son, I'm just tryin'a keep my dick wet ovuh here." Which he did, apparently.

So how does this end up before the ethics committee? Much like Odysseus, it was hubris that laid Judge Montes low.

The stupid bastard bragged to the judge who caught the conflict transfer! "Hay-yo, did choo see da cans on dat broad in dat Mahtinez case I sent ovuh to you? Guess what? I'm dooin' uh! Marone, she fugs like a champ. Hopefully I can work my way trew a bunch uh huh strippuh colleagues before she finds out!" The other judge dropped a dime, leading to the following predictable conclusion:

Jersey rocks! Chris Christie in '16!