Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sole Searching

As the old saying goes, if you want to learn about a person, walk a mile in their shoes. Or in the case of several adidas aficionados, fly to Argentina to see a man's shoes.

Gary Aspden is the curator of the adidas Originals x SPEZIAL collection, an archive of some of the brand's premium looks. Aspden is also, as you might imagine, a sneakerhead of the highest order. While working on the collection, he was tipped about a store in Buenos Aires with a huge selection of vintage three-stripe gear. As any sane obsessive might, he gathered three friends and a film crew and flew across an ocean to have a look.

The resulting mini-documentary, Sole Searching in South America, is equal parts hymn to the brand, archeological dig, and homage to one man's lifelong passion.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Shoot the Boot Saturday

Monday night we got to watch a fantastic and fairly stunning upset, that of our beloved Washington American Football Club over the universally loathed Dallas Cowboys.  That was nothing.

On Saturday at 3:30 EST, a contest will kick off that has far less of a real chance for underdog victory.  No matter,  It will be fun to watch, anyway.

Okay, sports fans, here's a chance to show some nationalistic pride, wow your significant other with your international cultural literacy, and watch top athletes smashing into each other while throwing and kicking a ball.

Your USA Eagles take on the single most recognizable international rugby side in the world, New Zealand's All Blacks.  

The match is at Soldier Field in Chicago in front of a sold out crowd of 61,500.
I used to work in Chicago at the old department store.
I used to work in Chicago, I don't work there any more.

And our old roommate Brian Hightower will be calling the game. Not bad, Highcheese. Father Abraham had seven sons, and one of them was Hightower.  And he never passed the ball.  All he did was go like this.

This article quotes US coach Mike Tolkin saying this is just the start for rugby in the US.  Rob may tell him it started with his blogpost, but they may agree on where it's headed.  In an Australian publication, the author writes:
Yes, the All Blacks will win handily, but the match is seen as a stepping stone in the USA’s progression from second tier rugby playing nation to first tier.
The haka in Chi-town with our buddy on TV?  We'll take that.  Tune in.

3:30 PM, Saturday, November 1.  NBC.  


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Leave No Trace

Moth-style: bears, in the woods, doing things.

Monday, October 27, 2014

If Not Now, When? If Not Us, Who? Or Is It Whom?

In March, gutted, we posted this:

"But W&M has made three finals in seven years after a recent history devoid even of hope. We're brutally disappointed today, but there will be a tomorrow. As Tony Shaver said last night, "The thing I get angry about is people trying to define whether or not you made the NCAA Tournament as whether you had a good year. If our goal is to make the NCAA Tournament, we can move into a conference that has the same academic restrictions we have. We choose to play at a higher level. I think that's admirable to be honest. We're not going to let the NCAA Tournament define our team." (We're grateful to Defiantly Dutch for finding us that quote.)

In 2003, the New York Yankees came from behind to beat the Boston Red Sox in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series on an Aaron Boone walkoff homerun. That's the worst I ever felt after a sporting event. Second worst, I guess. But one year later, that pain was long forgotten."

Today, on the cusp of a new season, hope's eternal wellspring is renewed, and we're a few short months away from one year later. Time will tell whether we're Kevin Millar or Charlie Brown. (I've asked TJ to frost his tips, Millar-style, to bring the Wrens luck. Still awaiting his answer.)

Hoping to give a few more fan bases that look.
I've spent the last few days trying to figure out a unique angle on this campaign, but the dominant storyline is so obvious as to be unavoidable. There's only one angle. The greatest player in W&M history plays his last season in green and gold. Last March, Marcus Thornton was a quarter of an inch from sending the Tribe to its first NCAA Tournament ever. This season is about him.

Thornton begins his senior season with 1,519 points, best in school history over the first three seasons of a player's career. He trails Chet Giermak, W&M's all-time top scorer, by 532. While it's not a foregone conclusion, Thornton scored 599 points last year, so Giermak's mark is in sight. Thornton also enters the season second in Tribe history with 223 made three-pointers, trailing David Schneider's knuckling jumper by 55. Marcus is also in the top 5 among returning NCAA Division 1 players in career threes.

Beyond the numbers, though, Thornton's the most electric player ever to wear a Tribe uniform, a gym rat who's added a new dimension to his game in each of his seasons in Williamsburg. When we checked in on him this summer, his even-keeled, no drama demeanor was augmented with a bit of an edge, a hardness in the final minutes of a decidedly informal game that we'd only seen glimpses of before. As one of only two seniors on what's suddenly a very young Tribe team, Thornton's going to be called on to lead in a very different way.

The CAA's beat writers tapped Thornton as the league's preseason Player of the Year, while picking the Tribe to finish second behind Northeastern. Though last year's conference Rookie of the Year, Omar Prewitt, joined Thornton on the all-league first team, and Tony Shaver's team is just one year removed from a 20-win season and a CAA finals appearance, there are those that question such lofty expectations. W&M lost six seniors, including career 1,000-point scorers Tim Rusthoven and Brandon Britt, and athletic wing Kyle Gaillard.

All hands on deck on defense around the rim this season.
Despite Thornton's reassuring presence, there's no escaping the fact that this will be a very different flock of Wrens than the one we've watched grow up over the past few seasons. W&M has a roster with excellent size - no eligible player is listed as shorter than 6'4". Ironically, with all that height, the team's biggest question mark will be the frontcourt. 6'9" junior Sean Sheldon averaged 3.4 points and 3.0 boards a game backing up Rusthoven last season, and while he's added muscle (and adopted a Rusthoven-esque longer hairstyle), he'll be hard-pressed to match the departed center's production. Senior Tom Schalk and redshirt freshman Jack Whitman fill out (in a manner of speaking) W&M's interior options. Deep, we ain't.

The size and skill of the guards and wings on Shaver's roster, though, offer the veteran coach a fascinating menu of potential options. The projected opening-day lineup pairs 6'4" redshirt freshman Michael Schlotman with Thornton in the back court, while 6'6" soph wing Prewitt, and hard-working 6'5" junior Terry Tarpey join Sheldon along the front line. 6'6" freshman Oliver Tot is a long-armed, strong guard with international experience, having played for the Slovakian men's national team. 6'5" guard Daniel Dixon blossomed as a defensive stopper and occasional scorer during his freshman season. 6'8" freshman wing Paul Rowley needs to gain weight and learn to create his own shot, but he's deadly from deep, and if he can prove he can defend his position, may get some run.

Tot jokes? Why yes, we have some of those.
As is usually the case for a Tony Shaver team, we expect this group to be able to score on just about anyone, especially given the versatility of the unit, though we'll be looking in the early weeks of the season to see who emerges as a reliable third scoring option. The challenge for these Wrens, though, will be on the boards, and in the defensive end. Teams with talented big men will be a tall order (my bad) for the Tribe's youthful front court. Northeastern's Scott Eatherton, in particular, has to be salivating at the chance to take on this roster twice. Tarpey's a tough, athletic hardass, and led the team in rebounding last season, but he's going to be playing the four at 6'5".

We're less than three weeks away from the season-opener at (gulp) Florida. The non-conference schedule offers several decent tests, all on the road (the Tribe plays at the Gators, UNC, Richmond, and ODU), and a handful of winnable confidence-builders. More than most years, the out of conference slate is a feeling out opportunity. We'll be perfectly happy with 5-5, as long as it looks like progress, and we've figured out how we're going defend the post.

This Tribe season starts for all practical purposes on January 3, when W&M hosts the College of Charleston. We know better than to make predictions about our team, and we know from painful recent experience the pitfalls that come with even the most mildly positive expectations for Tribe hoops. But as the hashtag goes, #inmarcuswetrust, now more than ever, if only for a few more months.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Two Great Tastes

Courtesy of Fast Company, a little Sunday morning culture for y'all.

Illustrator Tracy Worrall created 77 different representations of animals as depicted in rock music lyrics. Everything from the Beasties' 'Brass Monkey' to Survivor's 'Eye of the Tiger' to The Beatles' 'Blackbird' gets the pop art treatment in the collection.

Individual prints can be yours for $48 per print. Just tell 'em Gheorghe sent you.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Week 9- It Just Keeps Getting Worse

Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse, last Saturday happened. I could be talking about my official wagers or the Florida-Mizzou game. Take your pick. Both were abject disasters. I'm not quite the Jeff Driskel of College Football wagering in 2014 but things are certainly trending in that direction. Thankfully, mercifully the Gators have a bye this week. All the better to rest up for the wood shedding that awaits them in Jacksonville on November 1st. Sadly, for me, I don't get a bye this week. So make some money and go against me.
Rutgers +20 at Nebraska- TR was a week earlier with his 'take Rutgers and all those points on the road' advice. Ohio State has turned into a wrecking ball over the last month. Nebraska is still the Nebraska that we've come to know under Bo Pelini. Good, not great. Near the top of the sorry Big Ten but not at the top or elite. Rutgers bounces back and covers.

Mississippi -3 at LSU- The Tigers are a very popular pick to pull the upset this weekend. This is a by product of (a) this game being played at night in Tiger Stadium and (b) a general skepticism that still exists toward Ole Miss. Both of these a fine reasons. I'm not buying either of them. I'm a believer in the Ole Miss defense and I still think LSU is a below average SEC team this year. A night game in Baton Rouge helps keep things close before the Rebels pull away in the second half.

Texas +10 at Kansas State- Kansas State is coming off a win at Oklahoma. A win that included a pick six from mediocre Sooner QB Trevor Knight, a missed OU extra point and a missed 19 yard Oklahoma FG late in the 4th quarter. Kansas State's defense is legit as they've shown against Auburn and last week against Oklahoma. The Wildcat offense, on the other hand, is average and now QB Jake Waters is banged up. Texas has quietly come together in recent weeks. They followed up a gutsy game against Oklahoma with a last minute victory on the road at Iowa State last week. Charlie Strong knows what he's doing. If only Florida had a guy like Strong on their staff before they chose Will Muschamp to succeed Urban Meyer...(siiiiiigh). Hook Em.

Mark has been good to me this year but I expect him to turn it around. Looks like he has a good opportunity here with a head-to-head matchup at LSU. To the picks of Danimal!

Mississippi Rebels -3 at LSU Tigers
Mississippi heads to Baton Rouge unbeaten against the spread at 6-0-1, and….unbeaten. They’re quite good on both sides of the ball and more accurately they have an exceptional defense, #1 in the SEC West. Average yards per carry for the Vols last week? 0.0 Another factoid – they are undefeated against the Spread this year at 6-0-1.

LSU kicked the poop out of Kentucky last weekend 41-3. Many thought Kentucky had a chance after LSU’s season to date. They were mistaken. Though in their last 4 contests they’ve dropped games to Auburn where they were demolished and Mississippi State which we all know now was the Bulldogs’ coming out party (and Florida almost beat them, sadly) LSU believes they are still in the mix and they certainly will be with a win here. Baton Rouge is going to be cray cray on Saturday. If LSU ties or wins the turnover battle, I think they win the game.
Tigers. Hear them roar.

Oregon -17.5 at Cal
Ranked #6th are the Ducks, bright-eyed and bushy tailed as they head toward the finish knowing they are so very much in the thick of things with what has and will continue to happen in the SEC, ND’s loss (with likely another one to come imo), and their reasonably easy schedule the remainder of the year. This year’s slip-up, to their fortune, came early against Arizona. With the Bears’ D 120th in the land, Oregon’s Offense 6th, I look for Oregon to put a ginormous beat down on Cal. I’ll go ahead and give the rare score prediction here – Oregon 55 Cal 24
Michigan +17 at Michigan State
It has likely been a decade, maybe two? since either in this game were favored by more than two touchdowns. There is no reason Michigan State won’t win this by 4 or more touchdowns. None I say!
Well, maybe there is. This is it for Michigan. This and the Ohio State game. Their season is over and for the seniors their careers. For many, how they play in this one will define them as players. As a team. And as men! They have been humiliated, the butt of many a joke. I expect the Spartans to be a little lackadaisical here, a little overconfident with their success and their rival’s lack thereof. I think something nutty is going to happen here. I’ve gotta feelin about this. Michigan State wins by 16 and the UM covers. And the Predator pic is a shout out to Buckles.  

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Post, Interrupted

I'd planned to post our annual Tribe Hoops preview today, but I got a call from my boss at 10:30* asking for some changes to a presentation, so my prolix plans were postponed. Instead, far fewer words about music.

(* EST. Worse for him than for me, as I'm in Minnesota.)

Zman alerted us to the brilliance of Birmingham's St. Paul & The Broken Bones a few days ago in the comments section, and we had a group moment. Then, in Williamsburg, Marls and I had a conversation with FOG:TB Dave Fairbank, a fellow-traveler music fan, in which I tipped the veteran Daily Press scribe to the band's brilliance. Or so I thought.

He gave me a half-smile, reached into his laptop case, and pulled out...a copy of Half the City, the band's debut album. It was a cosmic convergence like we haven't seen since Gheorghefest, at least.

And a sign that we need to fill some space with SP&TBB videos. My mind remains blown. These guys are phenomenal.

This post also doubles as a heads up for our Charlottesville readers, as the band plays tonight at The Jefferson, which in its own right is a pretty cool little joint. Get some.

And as a little lagniappe for our viewing audience, when I semi-drunkenly tweeted another FOGTB, Mike Litos, about the band, he gave me this gift in return:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wednesday Filler

In the event no one was planning on putting in some filler, I offer this. I stumbled upon it on the tweeter a few weeks ago and placed in my back pocket for just this sort of day.
Looks like the South Florida Floridians filled out a few more surveys than the rest of us Floridians. And they like the Sidecar out west. Fuckin hippies. Sex on the Beach is pretty popular where there are no beaches. And you Virginia peeps like the Pisco Sours. Whaa??? Yeah, Pisco Sours, of course.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Now You Tell Me

I dropped a link to a Fast Company story about American drinking and hangover habits into the drafts folder several months ago, figuring it'd be a decent filler at some point. Now, as I finally get back to it and actually read the story, I'm kicking myself. It would've been really helpful had I read it two days ago.

A company called Blowfish markets what they purport to be the most effective hangover cure on the market. In their words, 
Blowfish is a lemon-flavored fizzy tablet that will stop the pounding in your hungover head faster than you can imagine. It’s the only hangover product with a formulation recognized as effective by the FDA (which is kind of a big deal). Doctors use it. Bartenders swear by it. And we guarantee it’s the best remedy out there – so you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose by trying it (except, you know, your hangover).
I started drinking at around 1:00 p.m. yesterday, on a postcard perfect fall afternoon in Williamsburg. I stopped sometime around 2:00 in the morning, though the details are a bit fuzzy. Clarence claims he saw me and another of our friends struggling to get into our hotel room at around that time, which sounds odd to me, as I think I remember leaving him with some other friends in an entirely different hotel room.

Either way, my 7:00 a.m. wakeup call this morning found me somewhere between groggy and abjectly addled. You all know the symptoms, so I'll spare the litany, but this hangover had (still has, really) representation from the entire catalogue. An effervescent assist would've been blessed.

According to Blowfish's research, aptly named Intoxication Nation, Virginia is the 34th-most hungover state in the Union. However, the District of Columbia clocks in at the top of the charts, the single most-hungover jurisdiction in all the land. And since there are large parts of the Old Dominion that considers Northern Virginia essentially an extension of D.C., I feel it appropriate to claim residency in our Nation's Capital, at least for this express purpose. I've certainly lived up (down) to it today.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What is this, Week 8?

Week 8 Picks! Yeah! I write this from Winchester, post mini-summit with the Marls which was also our first time meeting. A wonderful chap he is if you have not had the pleasure. Mr. KQ - next time my friend. I regret only having a couple of hours to spare but my homeland was calling.

If keeping track at home, you've figured out that Mark and I are pretty bad at picking games. As compared to last year at this time, Mark was around 5 or 6 games above .500 and I 1 or 2 games above .500. Today, Mark is 6-14-1 and 9-12 for yours truly. This weekend we make some changes though. Right Mark? AndI'd like to apologize again for last week's half-ass effort. 'Twas on the annual golf trip with my laddy's. Well let's get onto it shall we?

Syracuse -5 at Wake Forest
I thought I'd start off with a bang here. It'd be interesting to see the TV ratings on the ND/FSU game IF everyone were required to first watch in its entirety, this shitshow of a football game. The doormat of ACC. Hell, the doormat of college football are these two. Five points seems like 3 touchdowns but what the hay. Syracuse has scored some points against far greater opponents including 20 against FSU and 15 against ND, with a few turnovers mind you. Wake has had far less success so for that reason, I gotta go with the 'Cuse.
'Cuse is in house omygod omygod.
Stanford -3.5 at Arizona State
That thar is a head-scratcher. If I'd guess this spread without seeing it I would have figured Stanford by a touchdown. Admittedly, and I'm sure this is of no surprise to anyone, I don't do much research on these games. Much of it is what I've seen and perceive from usually just one of the teams. And what I've seen from Stanford is a team that probably got a little more hype pre-season than it should have. Their offensive line and thus running game is pretty similar to the Jaguars of Jacksonville. My guess of a -7 point spread was more due to ASU being annihilated by UCLA last week 62-27 rather than Cardinal superiority.
Sun Devils
Notre Dame +11.5 at Florida State University
Yup. I'm going against my pre-season edict of not, under any circumstances, betting on an ND contest. Ignoring this game this weekend here at GTB would simply be sacrilege. 'nah gonna do it.
So what's going to happen? One of two things - ND loses by 2 or more touchdowns or they win by a couple. I don't see a middle ground here. One concern for ND is their recent propensity to turn the ball over multiple times per game. Golson alone has 9 of 'em in the last 3 games. Nine times? Nine times! Nine times? Yes, NINE TIMES. Throw in a few more among the other guys and out comes a struggle against Syracuse, and a game they could have lost against UNC. The concern though is also somewhat of a silver lining. Not too many teams regardless of who they are playing will/could come out with wins with that many TO's. The other concern is ND's secondary combined with their blitz packages that when executed flawlessly are effective. When not, not effective? Yeah, not effective. I don't see Winston having any problems play-wise with his distractions this week. He'll play well and so will FSU despite their recent challenges. Everyone gets up to play FSU and everyone gets up to play ND. Should be a good'n. And I'm going with the Irish. Shocker of the day right?
Last Week was a fucking debacle. Danimal and I both went ofer on our picks and I missed Florida blowing an extremely winnable game against LSU because the PGA National Reesort doesn't get the SEC Network. Things have to turn around this week, right? RIGHT?

Kentucky +10.5 at LSU- This is your Daddy's Kentucky team. That's because your Dad's Kentucky team played basketball and was coached by Joe B. Hall. But seriously, Mark Stoops has Kentucky trending up. He's recruited extremely well and has developed those recruits. They should've beat Florida in the Swamp and did beat South Carolina in Lexington. LSU doesn't play defense like the Les Miles coached LSU team we're accustomed to seeing. LSU probably finds a way to win but the Wildcats cover.
Georgia at Arkansas +3.5- Arkansas was a missed extra point away from taking Nick Saban and the Tide to Overtime last week. While the record may not yet reflect it, Bret Bielema has a much improved Razorback squad. They have two big time tailbacks, an offensive line that's bigger than any NFL Offensive Line and a more than adequate QB. It's pretty impressive that's managed to turn this program into Wisconsin South in less than two years. Now he just needs and SEC win to show the nation and his boosters that things are moving in the right direction. Today's the day he gets that win. Woo Pig Sooey.
Tennessee +16.5 at Ole Miss- I was wrong. Ole Miss is for real. Dr. Bo isn't the scattershot QB we've seen the past two years and those stud recruits that Hugh Freeze has brought to Oxford the past two years have developed nicely. Quiet as it's kept, Butch Jones is doing similar things with the program in Knoxville (Side note: Everyone in the SEC seems to be improving, except Florida. Hey Dan Mullen! How, YOU, doing?). Tennessee's issue this year is that they had to replace every starter on both the Offensive and Defensive line. That's a tall task and the main reason we won't see a significant difference in Tennessee's Win-Loss record this year. They're better though and they have some legitimate talent at the skill positions. Enough talent to keep this game somewhat close. Take the Vols and the points.
(My site didn't have the FSU-Notre Dame line listed but I'm with Danimal. Take the Irish and points. If you've been paying attention the one good wager I've been making all year is taking the FSU opponent and the points. They're not the asme team this year. Not even close. FSU wins as usual but they don't cover. As usual.)

Friday, October 17, 2014

Real-Getting Reminder

While November's elections seem increasingly likely to herald at least two years of donkey dismay due to demographic destiny and dragging Democratic disapproval (bygones - started rolling with the alliteration and couldn't stop), there remains a bright spot in our Nation's Capital.

As we told you in August, ballot initiative 71 asks D.C. residents to decide whether to essentially legalize possession of marijuana for personal consumption. The measure is expected to pass by a large margin, and while it may well get hung up in Congress, it'll be yet another blow for the friends of common sense. Oregon's also likely to move closer to legalization in this election cycle. (See how I left that 'common sense' weed joke alone. Showed a lot of restraint there, no?)

In honor of what will likely be the only election result that folks like me will be smiling about on November 4, I've purchased Mark one of these shirts for his birthday. Here's the link for those of you that want your own.

Looking forward to a Williamsburg mini-summit with several Gheorghies this weekend. Just keep the lights on here, will you?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Red Hot Action

As we hunker down for the afternoon arrival of rainmegeddon here in the DMV, I found a video that might brighten up your day.  While it can't hold a candle to the Bullets' "You Da Man", this steaming pile of awesomeness is the perfect storm of mustaches from the 80's, acid wash jeans, matching polo shirts, bad synth music with goooooooooooooood awful lyrics, air trumpet playing and terrible lip synching.   Methinks that the folks up in Calgary could have used Shalra and KQ to help with the production of this one.    

You can't touch a flame when it's red hot!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It Gets Chili in October

This past weekend while some of us were canoeing on the Russian river, lounging by the pool at PGA National, taking in football games at MetLife Stadium, or attending an animal husbandry conference in Pinehurst, NC; a group of highly trained athletes came together in the nation's capital to put their reputations and their stomachs on the line in the Ben's Chili Bowl World Chili Eating Championship.   Not since TR's performance in the 2001 Festival of San Gennaro Cannoli Eating Contest have I seen such dedication to one's craft.    

In the end, Nathan's Hot Dog Eating champion Joey Chestnut was victorious by ingesting seven and a half bowls of Ben's Chili Bowl chili in just six minutes.  That is over 1.8 GALLONS of chili.  This my friends is the price for glory.  

The attached video is worth a watch just for the fantastic emceeing job by Sam Barclay from the IFOCE, even if the beheading imagery might be a bit distasteful in the current environment.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Brain Smasher.....A Love Story

In 1993, Andrew Dice Clay and Teri Hatcher starred in a very forgettable piece of American cinema entitled, Brain Smasher.....A Love Story.  Typical story of bar bouncer (the Brain Smasher played by ADC) meets fashion model (Teri Hatcher), Brain Smasher and model get attacked by Chinese monks, model loses Brain Smasher, model gets Brain Smasher back and they fall in love.  You know the drill. Despite knowing what's best for her, Teri Hatcher can't help but fall in love with the rough and tumble charms of the Brain Smasher.

By now, you are undoubtedly saying, "Marls, why are you bringing up any Andrew Dice Clay films other the TR favorite "Casual Sex" or "The Adventures of Ford Fairlane?"  Partially, it's because I celebrate the entire cannon of Mr. Clay's work, except for that "Blue Jasmine" crap.  But mainly it's because the title relates well to my current feelings about the NFL.

On Friday, the paper of record (the New York Times, not the Daily Press - sorry FOGTB Dave Fairbank) published an op-ed piece by Eric Kester entitled What I saw as an N.F.L Ball Boy.  Kester is an author and 2008 graduate of Harvard who spent time on the Crimson football team, though he appears not to have lettered for them.  More importantly, in 2003 Kester was a ball boy for the Chicago Bears.  That was 10 years ago, and the NFL will undoubtedly say that they have made the game safer since then, but one can't help but be troubled by a view into the world that we all know exists but don't want to think about while downing wings and crushing cold beers.  As Kester says:
As fans high-fived and hell-yeahed and checked the progress of their fantasy teams, and as I eagerly scrambled onto the field to pick up shattered fragments from exploded helmets, researchers were discovering the rotting black splotches of brain tissue that indicate chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Known as C.T.E., this degenerative disease is the result of players’ enduring head trauma again and again. Symptoms include dementia and extreme aggression, and C.T.E. is considered at least partly responsible for the string of recent suicides of former and current N.F.L. players, whose anger, sadness and violence eventually collapsed inward.
After reading that, even a crisp pint of Pliny the Elder does not quite taste as good.

Kester's op-ed piece is written as a defense of the good things about football while advocating for change to ensure that football can continue.  However, after reading it, I can't help but be moved closer to this blog's prediction of a rugby ascendancy.  That said, as I am writing this, I am getting ready to turn on today's slate of NFL games.

In the end, we the fans are all Teri Hatcher, minus the copious amounts of plastic surgery.  We have fallen in love with a brain smasher and can't give it up.  Only, in our case, the brain smasher is real and we pay good money night after night, weekend after weekend, in support of the spectacle of a modern day gladiator tournament with each player willing to put their bodies, minds and long term health in jeopardy for fleeting money and fame.  All of this is fueled by us, the fans, who are all too willing to rise up in righteous outrage at the transgressions of players or management, but only as long as it doesn't get in the way of our enjoyment on Sunday.

None of this is new or groundbreaking information.  Nor am I saying that I'm going to stop watching.  I guess I'm just admitting that I'm in love with a the brain smasher even though I know that on some level it's wrong and makes me feel like I need to take a shower.

Just to lighten the mood, I leave you with a clip of Ed O'Neil in Ford Fairlane performing the Disco Express classic "Booty Time."

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Week 7: It's All Cream Cheese From Here

Here are mine. I titled a post but couldn't type in it. Blogger hates me. (ed. note: fixed it)
Mark's Picks are coming to you live from PGA National in beautiful West Palm Beach Florida
Last week finally put me back on the right side of things. Of course, things could’ve turned our better had Michigan State not taken a 4th Quarter nap and allowed a Nebraska team they were dominating to come roaring back late and cover. That’s why they call it gambling though kids. Actually, I’m not exactly clear on the origin of the word gambling but Geoff once told me to just act like you know what you’re talking about and 95% of people will buy it. And it’s worked out pretty good for that guy so why not?
Michigan State -20.5 at Purdue- Speaking of Michigan State, Sparty has been a great bet this year. Outside of two bad 4th quarters against Oregon and Nebraska, they’ve covered all their games and done so by a wide margin.  This week they take on a Purdue team that might be the Big Ten’s worst. Even though Sparty has to travel to the hornet’s nest that is West Lafayette, IN (Is it the House that Mike Alstott or Drew Brees built? I always get confused.), I’m confident that Michigan State gets back to the dominating form they displayed in the first 3 quarters of last Saturday night’s game. Sparty. 
LSU at Florida (Over/Under- 47)- Outside of Vanderbilt, these might be the SEC’s two most pedestrian offenses. Honestly, even calling them pedestrian is probably too far. They’re terrible, plain and simple. LSU will play two QBs. First, a sophomore who lost his starting job last week to a true freshman. And that same true freshman who performed so poorly that he relinquished the QB job by mid game last week at Auburn. Both QBs will play, and both will be underwhelming. Florida has QB problems of it’s own. Starting QB Jeff Driskel reached new lows last week by throwing for 59 yards and 3 interceptions before being yanked in favor of true freshman Treon Harris who led Florida to a comeback victory at Tennessee. Harris is now indefinitely suspended from the Florida Football team while the target of a sexual assault investigation. So, Driskel is back as a starter by default and should continue to make Gator fans mad with his poor decision making and even worse accuracy. The O/U could be 37 and and I’ll probably still take the under.
Ole Miss at Texas A&M (-2)- Ole Miss is coming off the biggest win in the program’s last 50 years and the best night in Oxford possibly even. A&M is still licking their wounds after being trounced by Mississippi State. This is nothing more than a bet on both teams coming back to the middle. A&M is still an average team defensively but they’ll be better in a wild atmosphere at Kyle Field. Ole Miss will have trouble getting back up to their peak for this game (at least early) and Dr. Bo Wallace won’t play the game of his life for the second straight week. The SEC West is impossibly tough and it shows this week. Aggies.
Danimal' Picks:

Hi there. On the yearly trip w/the Incesterians in Pinevegas, NC so my apologies for the effort here.
Some of Winchester's finest lining up a putt

Florida State -24 at ‘Cuse
Winston in the news again. That’s weird huh? As Mark said last week, if you bet against FSU in every game this year you’d be 4-1. Not today though.  ‘Noles

BC +3 at NC State
NC State (ed. note: nice effort Dan)

Miami (OH) +14 at Akron
Huh? Really? Yes. Really. Keeping my eyes on the team from Oxford is common practice with my wife being an alum and many of her friends and family still there. Have you ever been there? It’s quite a nice campus. The town ain’t all that bad either. Now, the team from Miami travels yonder to Akron this weekend to take on the Zips squad, coached by one Terry Bowden of the Bowden Clan. His Defensive Coordinator is Chuck Amato, former D Coord from FSU/Bobby Bowden days and former NC State Head Coach. I think he’s a huge tool, Amato that is, but there’s no denying he builds nice squads. Another tidbit you might not have been aware of is that Miami’s QB is ND transfer Andrew Hendrix. Andy isn’t a very good quarterback. His accuracy is lacking. It isn’t entirely his fault though as his team isn’t blessed with weapons. Or an offensive line. Or a good defense.  And though he hasn’t thrown any INT’s in the last few games, that’s going to change this week. Akron is go all sneaky squirrel on the Re*!awks and and beat ‘em handily. Akron stock – moving upward. Miami stock – staying where it has been for a while – in the cellar.  ZIPS

Thursday, October 09, 2014


Here is the list of nominees for the next batch of inductions to the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and the Gheorghies that Clarence associates with them.

1. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (Rootsminer)

2. Chic (baconbaking)

3. Green Day (Clarence)

4. Joan Jett and The Blackhearts (Whitney)

5. Kraftwerk (Dave)

6. The Marvelettes (Shlara and KQ)

7. N.W.A. (Mark)

8. Nine Inch Nails (Squeaky)

9. Lou Reed (TR)

10. The Smiths (rob)

11. The Spinners (TJ)

12. Sting (Danimal)

13. Stevie Ray Vaughan (Mr KQ)

14. War (Marls)

15. Bill Withers (Zman)

Don't question it.  Embrace it.  And vote for the five you believe should get in.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

This is how you celebrate the birth of someone's child

Let's just say those guys at the Wheelhouse know how to properly acknowledge the birth of a child:

I hope this form of celebration continues in the future and extends to other life events.

[We have a "Gene Hackman salaries" label. That is awesome.]

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Monday, October 06, 2014

Funk Sneak Attack

In this age of over-stimulation and exponential information expansion, it's paradoxical that music is
both easier and harder than ever to find. Easier, in that a couple keystrokes or a quick perusal of Pitchfork gives us a treasure trove of discovery. Harder, though, in the sense that all of this information about artists and releases sometimes means that we miss signal in the noise.

Case in point: did you know that Prince released an album last week? Two, actually.

It's okay. I didn't either.

I'm not the world's most avid Prince fan, but I'm reminded anew every time I hear anything he's recorded how revolutionary his sound was to a bunch of white suburban kids back in the mid-80s. Dig if you will the picture/She and I engaged in a kiss/Sound of her father coming up the stairs scared the shit out of me/Can you my readers...can you picture this?

The aforementioned Pitchfork gives Art Official Age/Plectrum Electrum a relatively pedestrian 6.5 rating, but seems a bit more enthusiastic about the record in saying, "Musically, Art Official Age is all over the map—gloriously so, in fact—as though Prince is trying to cram a triple album into a single disc."

If FUNKNROLL is any indication, it seems like he's trying to cram a triple album's worth of sounds into each song. There's a Trombone Shorty-esque horn break, some electronica, a bit of old school Princely naughtiness, and a beat that can't decide whether it's funky or spacey. I'm not even sure yet if I like it.

But I do enjoy the accident of discovery. And the trip back in time.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Week 6! HUUUUGE Week

From what I can tell, most of the GTB Mafia had a nice Friday afternoon. Danimal had enough time to post his picks by mid-afternoon and the Teej met with Marls for Happy Hour drinks. Me? Since you asked, well, mine wasn't spectacular. No, I spent it disciplining children and helping run a lacrosse practice (I know NOTHING about lacrosse). The result of all this is a hastily composed summary of my weekend picks. By the way, thanks to Rob for the Saturday evening jinx last week. A possible 3-0 weekend quickly turned into a 1-1-1 weekend. It beats 1-2 though. Barely.

Nebraska at Michigan State -6.5
The Spartans are, in my opinion, easily the best team in the Big Ten. That's not saying a lot, I know. Still, despite Sparty's early season loss to Oregon I believe they're still one of the nation's top teams as well as one of it's most balanced. Gone is the team with a dominant defense that propped up an average to below average offense. This year's team scored points in bunches while still managing to choke opposing offenses to death with their physical style of play. Nebraska is undefeated but hasn't been impressive in most of their wins including a narrow escape against McNeese State and a primetime Saturday night home win over an average Miami squad. Sparty. Big.

Alabama -4.5 at Ole Miss
Gameday is making their first ever trip to Oxford which, of course, means it's first ever trip to The Grove. The Grove is legendary and the scene tomorrow should be an all timer. The bourbon will be flowing, snobby white people will be dressed in their finest and then they'll go to the game and watch Alabama mercilessly take them apart. Alabama has played in dozens of these big games under Saban. This is the biggest one Hugh Freeze or anybody else on the Rebel sideline has ever been a part of. I think the Ole Miss defense keeps it close early before Dr. Bo Wallace does what Bo does (turn it over in spurts). Things will quickly go south from there and Bama cruises in the 2nd half. Roll Tide.

Baylor -14.5 at Texas
I know, I know. Three favorites isn't exactly "sharp" betting. Oh well, go against me. Honestly it's probably not a bad idea given my current run. Anyway, Texas is a mess. They're down 10 players since the beginning of the season including a starting QB and two starting Offensive Linemen. Baylor, on the other hand, is an offensive wrecking ball. An offensive wrecking ball that Texas players repeatedly disrespected this week in the press. If Baylor gets up early they're going to pour it on all night. Give me. Bryce Petty and the Bears.

Onto Danimal's picks.
Oklahoma -4 at TCU
I’ll probably kick myself for this. Why? Because I’ve deleted my original thoughts and TCU pick and have switched it to the Sooners. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is picking TCU in this. Their defense this. Their defense that. Yada yada yada. They’ve allowed 21 points. Yeah, that’s pretty good. But it was against Samford and Minnesota. You know what I say to that right? B F D. That’s right. Big freaking deal! Oooh, and they shut out SMU. Whoopdee Doo! Who hasn’t? I’ll tell you who hasn’t? North Texas and Texas A&M who each gave ‘em 6 out of sympathy. That’s who. Did you guys see Oklahoma handle the ‘Eers in Motown? I sure did. QB Trevor Knight is nothing to write home about I readily admit, completing less than 60% of his passes, but that’s all he’ll need with his O Line and running backs carrying the load. Screw you TCU.
Florida +2.5 at Tennessee
Florida is a team whose stock is steadily dropping under Muschamp. Their past strength, defense, has become their Achilles, allowing 72 points in the last two games. They hung with ‘Bama for a couple of quarters thanks to a few turnovers converted to TD’s and sloppy play by the Tide. They also gave up 645 yards, the most in school history. QB Driskel is weak to very weak. Tennessee on the other hand is on the way up, playing at home as a 2-2 squad who had Georgia beat last week on the road. Tennessee is starving for that big win and their first against the Gators in 8 years or so. I think they can taste it. It’s palpable. I think the Vols win this handily in Knoxville.

Texas A&M +2.5 at Mississippi State
 Another of our many, too many in my opinion, stellar matchups this weekend with two undefeateds. Mississippi State is coming off a bye week and their ginormous win at LSU the week prior when Phenom Dak Prescott (Dak?) introduced himself to the world as well as the Heisman Committee. If it weren’t for the week off, I’d probably predict a big letdown after 7 days of hearing how great they are. If's and buts, candy and nuts. A&M too is coming off a big-boy comeback on the road against the Razorbacks. I’m going to guess that took a lot out of those fellas, physically and mentally. Danny Boy Mullen has got it going on down there in Starke Vegas with his boys a true contendah in the SEC West. They’ll take advantage of the Arkansas film and throw the kitchen sink and then some at Mr. Hill.
Mississippi State

Friday, October 03, 2014

Dick's Filler


On Monday, DICK’S Sporting Goods posted this map showing the most popular NFL jerseys from each state, through Week 3 of the 2014 season.

Some of these confuse me greatly.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

You Can't See This Post Because It's Wearing an Invisibility Cloak

Courtesy of the Doofus Overlord, a scientific discovery from the University of Rochester with significant implic

              n't wait until we scrape up the funds to buy one.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Reason #3,785,069 Why I Love Twitter

Florida faces Tennessee this weekend for the 44th time, with the Gators having won the last nine matchups (I'm sure Mark would've mentioned this in his picks column, so sorry for stealing the lede). It seems lots of folks are fired up for the contest, including noted Guy Who Yells Repetitive Things In The Background, Lil Jon:
Oh yeah, while we're here, THIS