Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Jose Altuve is also the shortest player in major league baseball, standing 5'5". BMRN alumnus Dustin Pedroia towers above him, even as they now share one of the blogosphere's most coveted accolades.
Altuve's stature is not only inspirational for diminutive kids of all ages, he's also become part of the lexicon. Astro broadcasters now use 'Altuve' as shorthand for measurement. As in, "that homer traveled 156 Altuves". Careful GTB readers already knew that, of course, as we've got the short dude beat fairly well covered.
Huge(ish) congratulations from our team to Jose's. We'll be expecting big things next year. In a manner of speaking.
Monday, September 29, 2014
In theaters on November 14. I assume several of us will be heading to the cinema together that evening. Hell, maybe that afternoon.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
No, we're not digging deep for original oratory. Our team of rich Republicans wouldn't likely go for it, anyway. We're trafficking in tried and true today. One shot at a time. One hole at a time. Count 'em all up, and hope we get to 14 1/2. Like it did in Brookline in 1999. (Enjoy, once again, David Duval's 'fist pump' stylings. It's possibly the whitest moment ever caught on camera.)
I assume Tom Watson played that Leonard putt several times in the team room last night. Though, I guess, based upon his decision-making thus far in Gleneagles, he might just as likely have played Gallipoli. Bet Keegan Bradley's watching this instead.
War's over, man. Dubuisson dropped the big one. Things look bleak for the red, white, and blue. They looked bleak in December 1776, too, friends. The captain of a different U.S. side didn't fold up his tents and give the Cup to Cornwallis. Instead, he attacked, crossing the Delaware and capturing an entire Hessian garrison. If that doesn't scare the shit out of Martin Kaymer, I don't know what to tell you. Sure, the odds are long, but in the words of a different comedic giant, "So you're telling' me there's a chance?"
Friday, September 26, 2014
Baylor (-21) at Iowa State- Baylor is this year's version of Oregon for me. I'm going to take them to cover until the prove me wrong. They're an offensive machine. Art Briles has an offense that many, many QBs can put up absurd numbers in. When he has a QB as talented as Bryce Petty it's hardly even fair. Iowa State is a solid team and they play well at home. I expect the Cyclones to keep it close in the first half before the Baylor offensive onslaught ultimately proves to be too much to withstand. Baylor.
Duke ( +7) at Miami- Duke is good. Really good. They've blown out every team they've faced so far this season and were they not Duke they'd be favored here. But they are Duke and the general public can't get wrap their mind around Duke being a formidable football program. For shit's sake, they were only favored by 13 over Kansas AT HOME earlier this season. KANSAS!! This is all about perception. The public still thinks of Miami as a power program (they haven't been since Larry Coker was running the program into the ground) and of Duke as a school near the point of giving up on football altogether. Miami's at home but they have little to no home field advantage. Take Duke to win outright.
Colorado State (+9.5) at Boston College- Boston College's win over USC earlier this season ranks as the biggest upset of the College Football year thus far. It's also skewed the perception of the Fighting Addazzios. BC can run the ball as well as anyone (Florida transfer QB Tyler Murphy is in the top 10 nationally in rushing) but they struggle mightily in the pass game. They barely even try to throw the ball much of the time. Last week, BC struggled through the first 3 quarters with a Maine team that has lost to Bryant (your guess is as good as mine) this season. Colorado State is a program on the rise under former Alabama Offensive Coordinator Jim McElwain and they boast a stable of talented tailbacks playing behind an experienced offensive line. If you like passing you probably won't enjoy this matchup. If you like money, take the Rams and the points.
Hopefully no one out there in GTB land is taking our picks and trying to convert them into money. If so, you’re in the hole. Danimal is sitting at .500 and Mark at 4-8. Gambling is all about patience. The longer you stick with it and the more you bet, it’s bound to turn around for you. So take this week’s picks and double down. Just don’t tell your wife.
Northwestern +11 at Penn State
If someone told you a month ago that Penn State has a legitimate chance of winning the Big Ten, you’d think they were a bit squirrely. ‘Tis true though. They have a pretty good shot at it. Granted, the Big 10 is the new ECAC. Sure they’ve got Michigan State left on the schedule, but no one else considering what Michigan and Ohio State have become. With an extremely tough running D (6th in the country) against a bad to very bad running offense (106th), I have to say I was bit perplexed with the line. But whatever. Look for PSU’s QB Christian Hackenberger to break all sorts of hand-off records today to win by more than 11, 38-14.
Colorado State +9.5 at Boston College
Don’t look now but TYLER MURPHY! And the Iggles from BC are 3-1. I say it’s all smoke and mirrors. And word has it that former Saban/Bama OC Jim McElwain, head ball coach of the Rams from Colorado State, has a good program in the makings. They’ve got enough weapons on the offense (they throw it a lot) to keep this close and quite possibly pull out a win. But who the fuck really knows? I don’t. Come on Rams. Let’s cover that spread.
Arkansas +9.5 vs Texas A&M (in Dallas)
The hogs lost to Auburn in their first game of the season – props to both AD’s (A-Dees Nuts) for that move by the way. Ballsy. Winning the next 3 against no one special and putting up about 50-somethin a game. At 4-0, A&M hasn’t been tested and that includes the South Carolina contest. This is likely our game of the day on Saturday, or so I hope. The key for Arkansas will be ball control/time of possession. They have two beastly backs who average about 8 yards per carry and 100’ish per game. That’s right, 2! Their D which is quite good, will obviously need to stop them a few times too which hasn’t been easy for other squads. But they'll do it.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Now, on to the business at hand: The 2014 Ryder Cup Matches, this year played at the PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles resort, somewhere in Scotland halfway in between Glasgow and Edinburgh. This is only the second time the Ryder Cup has been played in Scotland, and the first time since 1973. So, we’re in Scotland, so this is a links course, right? Wrong. It’s a pretty well Americanized resort type course—no holes on the water, no pot bunkers (Sorry TJ), no massive greens with inexplicably short flagsticks. It’s actually a Jack Nicklaus designed track, so as long as you like hitting a fade and guys with oddly high-pitched voices, you should be all set. So why didn’t the Euros pick a links course so they could watch Phil Mickelson’s tits flop in the wind all week? Because even their players hate links golf, and that’s probably because it’s generally a pretty miserable experience.
|More of this Jim Furyk. Less of the other one.|
|DUFNER SAYS "OH YEAH"|
Rory McIlroy (1; 4-3-2) He’s good at the golf, and this time he even brought his alarm clock. Still seems like he can be mentally fragile at times…but the results of late don’t really back that up.
A 68 by me, Sergio--not quite enough to do the full flamenco on Dan Jenkins' head, but I make more metaphors with you at the PGA. Yes? No?
— Dan Jenkins (@danjenkinsgd) July 17, 2011
|We're gonna lose to this guy, huh?|
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Monday, September 22, 2014
In these, the final weeks of the Yankee legend's career, it's fashionable to mock him for being a shadow of his former self (his .230/.270/.293 post all-star break slash lines are a particularly cruel reminder that time always wins, and those are boosted by four consecutive 2-hit games through yesterday). I confess that I've jumped on the bandwagon myself, with help from the skipper of the Tampa Bay Rays.
I can't speak for others, but my insignificant jab was aimed at the Cult of Derek Jeter rather than the man himself. For as much as I've long rolled my eyes at the former, the latter is indisputably the Red Sox opponent I most feared and respected over the course of his career.
Derek Jeter is inarguably an all-time great, even as the confluence of his good fortune to play in New York when he did, the quality of his teammates, and his uber-professional approach led to the creation of a narrative to which no player's actual achievements could truly measure up. But even so, his measurables, at least at the plate, really do argue for his inclusion on list of the legends. He's first all-time among shortstops in hits, second in runs, and in the top ten in OPS, OPS+, HR, RBI, 2B, and - despite the often-accurate criticisms of the Fire Joe Morgan crowd - WAR (which combines offense and defense). I know that counting stats have their flaws, but there's something to be said for sustaining a level of play long enough to compile as many as has Jeter. He's not the greatest shortstop ever, but he's in the discussion.
(As an aside, I really miss Fire Joe Morgan. That link is a really cool remembrance by the site's main writers.)
You really can't find a more fitting representation of the difference between Derek Jeter and the Cult of Derek Jeter than this really well done homage from Gatorade and the attendant fawning over the ad.
The ad is terrific, for sure, as is Jeter. But when people, even respectable journalists like Rob Neyer, say shit like this:
Well, that's the kind of stuff that makes a fella want to start hating all over again. Here to praise, though. Here to praise.
One of the strengths of that ad is how well it depicts Yankee fans' feelings about Jeter. But Yankee fans are supposed to get verklempt in the presence of the Captain; they've been programmed to do so by his sustained reallygoodness and a willing media for 20 years now. The measure of Jeter's impact might be more accurately captured by his standing with fans of his biggest rivals.
When Jeter came to bat against the Red Sox, even as I knew he wasn't as dangerous as, say, Gary Sheffield with his menacing bat waggle, or Robinson Cano or Alex Rodriguez, even then, I was always afraid. Here comes another hands-inside rifle to right to score a runner from second. And, dammit, there it came.
In 2004, when the Sox trailed the Yankees, 3-1, in the ALCS, their hopes were dashed when Jeter drilled an opposite-field double to clear the bases in the top of the 6th of Game 5. I'd begun writing their obituary, because that's how it was supposed to end, with Derek Fucking Jeter beating them.
And when that incredible, impossible, still-goosebump-inducing series came to an end, when the Sox thumped the Yankees, 10-3, in Game 7, it wasn't the images of the stricken, befuddled Yankee fans that let me know it was really, truly over (though they were the best, weren't they?). No, it was the anger and then the resignation on Jeter's face as he raged against the dying of the Curse.
So, as Jeter finishes more Willie Mays stumbling around the outfield than John Elway on top of the world, he still deserves the accolades he's receiving. I respect him as much as any player I've ever rooted against. He is, as much as it pains me, one of sport's great winners, even though his calm-eyed Captain Intangibles creation myth is just so much happy horseshit.
In the final analysis, I'm happy to see him go, because he can't beat my team any more.
Saturday, September 20, 2014
Please note - I swear on the holy bible I made my FSU/Clemson decision Wed or Thurs. If I must, I'll pick another game should the Executive Committee deem necessary.
Oklahoma -8 at WVU
Who else is jumping on the Trickett Train this weekend? Clint, pronounced CLEE-int, is now beginning to get some print, much deserved. CT is amassing big boy yardage with a completion percentage to boot – 1200 & 75%! Hello!!!! And his 4 top receivers each average 10 yards or more per catch. Well, technically one is only at 9.8, but still. Morgantown is going to be OUT. OF. CONTROL this weekend. Oklahoma has their own weapons and a nice QB in Trevor Knight. He just seems to be a little inconsistent. When he’s on, he’s on. I see them eking out a win but needing to score last to do it. Orrrrr….they don’t convert that last possession and WVU wins! Could see a record breaking couch-burn up there in West by God. Either way, I can’t wait for this one.
TAKE ME HOOOOOME
TO THE PLAAAACE
Clemson +16.5 at Florida State
Jameis Jameis Jameis. What the fuck? Does he only possess common sense when he’s on the football field? Apparently. On the football field, thus far anyway, he’s been pretty pedestrian as has been their defense. Citadel scored 12 points on them losing “only” by 25. They rushed for 250 yards, 322 in total. That’s not a bunch, but we’re talking about the CITADEL. They converted 11 out of 17 3rd down attempts! FSU probably, and somewhat understandably had a difficult time getting fired up for that game. But I say it is pathetic. This line was 22+ pre-poor decision by JW. After his suspension was announced, it dropped by almost a touchdown. Almost. I’m predicting FSU loses the turnover battle (rookie QB related) which will be the difference in covering this spread.
Mark's got much better things to do that hang out with jackasses like us, and by all accounts he's had a pretty cool weekend already. Since he's a man of the people, he sent us his picks to sate our gambling jones.
Indiana @ Mizzou -13
(Note: I can't believe this line. It's like they want us to have free money. If I were a gambling man, I'd load up the kids' college funds and drop them on the Tigers. Which doesn't bode well for Mark's pick, now that I think about it. - Rob)
The Hoosiers (1-1) are coming off a loss to Bowling Green, while Mizzou has quietly opened their season with three straight wins, albeit against mediocre opponents. Nonetheless, a two touchdown line for any SEC team other than Vandy against a lower-rung Big 10 team is simply a gift.
Tulane @ Duke -17
There's a cool story in this week's Sports Illustrated about Rohan Marley, the former Miami linebacker and son of Bob. His son Nico is a 5'9", 200-lb sophomore linebacker for the Green Wave. Rohan runs a thriving coffee company in Jamaica, eponymously named Marley Coffee. Their motto: 'Stir It Up'. It's based in the Blue Mountains. Duke is the Blue Devils. So there's that.
Oregon - 23.5 @ Wazzu
Looks like both our prognosticators like the Ducks. Mike Leach's boys are gonna surprise someone, but neither Mark nor I think it'll be Oregon.
Since I have the mic, I give you your William & Mary Tribe -10 over the Lafayette Leopards. (Note: I think they're the Leopards. Too busy/lazy to look it up. If they're not, they should be.) Lock of the week, though - it's time for Jimmye's vaunted offense to show up. Or at least for the new look Tribe defense to continue to stand tall. Speaking of the latter, nice piece by FOGTB Dave Fairbank on W&M's junior corner DeAndre Houston-Carson in the Daily Press this week.
Friday, September 19, 2014
One of the things I've always shared with my Dad for as long as I can remember is a love of sports. He grew up in St. Louis as a die hard Cardinal fan and, like me, played every sport available to him growing up. Eventually he'd go on to play four sports (Soccer, Baseball, Football, Track) at St. Louis University High School. While there he excelled in soccer. For a number of reasons St. Louis was one of the few cities in America where soccer was popular in the mid 20th century and St. Louis University reaped the benefits of this popularity, winning National Championships in 1959, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1969, 1972 and 1973. Not surprisingly, St. Louis University High School had a standout program as well. My father's soccer skills early in his life led to a scholarship to SLU High and after that a scholarship to Rockhurst University in Kansas City, MO.
Rockhurst is a small Jesuit school in Kansas City, MO. My Dad was a part of their first ever recruiting class. The class that (they hoped) would help build their program. The coaching staff at Rockhurst wisely decided to build the program by stocking it with a number of players from the St. Louis area. The result was a lightning quick ride up the NAIA ranks and a Final Four berth during the program's first year of existence in 1964. Fifty years later, for their contributions to the University and it's soccer program, my Dad and his teammates are being inducted into the Rockhurst University Athletic Hall of Fame this weekend.
I'll be flying to Kansas City with my Dad today to be a part of the weekend's festivities which include a soccer game on Friday night and the Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday night. On top of that I'll get to see the campus of Rockhurst for the first time, meet my Dad's old teammates, drink some beers with he and his old teammates at the same bar they used to drink at in the 60s and listen to dozens of (presumably) greatly embellished stories. I'm sure I'll learn more about my Dad in two days than I did in my first twenty years.
I'm also sure I'll have never felt so lucky to have had him as my Dad for the past 36 years.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
I bought them on a Friday with a 14-miler to do over that weekend. My original intent was to break it up with 7 miles in the HOKA's and in 7 in the Newton's. But I didn't need to. They were fine the entire slog. That does not mean everyone could expect as much, but it is telling for sure. My foot pain post-run and the day after was significantly reduced. My loyalty being won over, not entirely but enough to always own say one pair out of two or three in use, I bring them to you, the GTB Nation, comprised of roughly three people that might read this with any interest.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
The commission, convened in 2012, announced earlier this week that a video captured by local farmer Hjortur E. Kjerulf is authentic, thus largely confirming the existence of Lagarfljotsormurinn, a legendary Icelandic sea monster. In the video, seen below, a large serpentine object moves across the surface of the water, before leaping clear of the lake's surface to snag a cow from the shore and swallow it whole. That last part is alleged - some of the video is a bit grainy.
According to local legend, Lagarfljotsormurinn is generally described as 90 meters long, with numerous humps. The creature is alleged to have been seen both in the water and coiled up on land.
Finnish researcher Miisa McKeown was extremely skeptical of the commission's initial findings until the existence of a second video (seen below) offered what appears to be incontrovertible evidence of the sea monster's existence.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
- At least 340 pounds of very stoned Action Bronson
- Unflattering impersonations of Guy Fieri
- A 1967 Pontiac Firebird convertible
- Homemade Albanian baklava made in the home of a real Albanian aunt
- A baklava and bacon milkshake made with the aforementioned homemade Albanian baklava and Benton's Tennessee bacon by a cute hipster milkshake proprietress
- Ritz Cracker cookies
- Fat kid jokes
- Subtle sexual "hit it" jokes
- Blatant fat-kid-eating-baklava-and-bacon-milkshake game on the aforementioned cute hipster milkshake proprietress
- Kew Gardens, original home of zfather and FOGTB JP
- Dick jokes
- A glass rubber ducky bong
- An obscenely obese, insanely high guy getting a tattoo
- Discussion of bad dap
- Korean chicken and dumplings
- White Castle
- White Castle topped with Korean chicken and dumplings
- Poop jokes
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle jokes
If you can't find something you like in this episode then you're watching it wrong. I just hope Bronsaline lives long enough to complete the next episode from ... wait for it ... New Orleans. IGOR!!
Here's the latest NSFW episode.
Monday, September 15, 2014
In response to a question from a prayer-skeptical reader of his weekly Village Voice advice column (described thusly: Every Wednesday, New York City's own Andrew W.K. takes your life questions and sets you safely down the right path to a solution, a purpose or — no surprise here — a party.), Andrew offered a thoughtful response grounded in accepting unknowns and embracing our own vulnerability.
There are so many powerful messages in the column, but W.K.'s notion of comfort with the impossibility of universal knowledge and foundational importance of acceptance of uncertainty really resonated with me. "To know that you don't know is the definition of a spiritual awakening", he writes.
It's not our intent to get all Jack Handey on the world today, and I, for one, am looking forward to tomorrow's Ghoogles post. But we could all do worse than thinking about Andrew W.K.'s words. Because they really are wisdom.
"Being humble is very hard for many people because it makes them feel unimportant and helpless. To embrace our own smallness is not to say we're dumb or that we don't matter, but to realize how amazing it is that we exist at all in the midst of so much more. To be fully alive, we must realize how much else there is besides ourselves. We must accept how much we don't know — and how much we still have to learn — about ourselves and the whole world. Kneeling down and fully comprehending the incomprehensible is the physical act of displaying our respect for everything that isn't "us.""
Sunday, September 14, 2014
I'm heading over to Orlando today to see a show at the best part of the extremely touristy Universal City Walk. Some good friends and I are going to see DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist at the House of Blues. When I heard that both Shadow and Cut Chemist were playing within an hour of my home I was immediately in. Life was good. I'd take a Monday off. Have some drinks with friends and see two hip hop DJ prodigies wreck a multi-turntable set. Then things got better. Much, much better.
“This has never been done before, definitely not on this scale. They’re HIS records, with his blessings. This isn’t just ANY copy of ‘X’ breakbeat, it’s THE copy, THE copy that started everything. Not just any records, the MASTER OF RECORDS’ records.” – DJ Shadow.
Using only vinyl pulled from Bambaataa’s historic collection – over 40,000 strong and permanently archived at Cornell University – DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist aim to present Bambaataa’s legacy in all its genre-busting and socially-minded complexity. DJ Shadow states, “His collection includes not just Soul and Rap, but also Soca, Calypso, Dub, Salsa…it’s obvious that this music was important to him, and it’s reflected in his own music. For example, when the Soulsonic Force is singing an African chant, it actually comes from a Manu Dibango record. That’s when being a crate-digger comes in handy – you have to be able to pick up on the references and reiterate them.”
Sorting through the collection with this holistic aim in mind was daunting. “The first sort was to make sure we didn‘t leave anything important behind. We definitely over-pulled,” adds Cut Chemist. To help them narrow their selections, DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist focused on the appearance of the records themselves, “It was pretty clear what he played a lot and what he didn’t. The sure-shots were covered with tape and the jackets were beautifully tattered; that made it easier after a while to pull records.”
“The program will be multifaceted,” DJ Shadow explains. “Bambaataa as artist, exploring the influence of his classics like ‘Planet Rock;’ Bambaataa as collector, and the genre-defining breaks he discovered; and Bambaataa as peacemaker and force for social change. He influenced an entire generation worldwide, so we feel a great obligation to get it right.”
Naturally, it was paramount to the two DJ’s that the tour have the full blessing and support of Afrika Bambaataa himself. “I call on all who love Hip-Hop to come out, see them, hear them,” says the Godfather. “My story is our history in DJing.”
The Renegades of Rhythm tour will use six turntables and a variety of real-time effects. “It adds another performance level, real-time sampling from the record that’s being played,” says Cut Chemist. Visuals for the tour will be supplied by acclaimed video director, multimedia producer and regular Shadow collaborator Ben Stokes. The tour with be produced by Jamal Chalabi and Backlash Management.
The tour may be rooted in a historic vinyl collection, but both DJs are quick to point out that people should not come to this expecting strictly an ‘old-school‘ set. As DJ Shadow sums it up. “DJ Shadow + Cut Chemist + Bambaataa’s records + his blessings: it’s going to be epic. That’s all you really need to know.” Or, as Afrika Bambaataa puts it, “DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist are going to blow your funky mind.”
Friday, September 12, 2014
A quick word on the Jags. I saw a funny tweet last weekend describing their game against the Iggles…I’m paraphrasing here – “The game was exactly like their helmets. One half simply glorious and the other an abomination.” I liked that. It stuck with me. And he was spot on. Henne was Foles in the 1st half supported by a defense that had their best half in years. Annnnnnd then Henne became Henne. A prediction on this week against the Washington Professional Football Team – If Henne plays nearly as poorly as last week’s second half, we’ll see Bortles. I also predict a Jags win.
And a quick word on the Hokies/OSU game. I’m happy for the Hokies, I am. But calm the fuck down Blacksburg. TR pointed out last week that OSU won’t be ranked in 6 weeks. He was way too kind. I’m no procrastinator, but if I had to guess I’d say OSU would be “pretty decent” without their QB injury, at best. With it, they are a big red & silver turd. So Hokie town, don’t get too confident.
Sorry…onto the picks.
West Virginia +3 at Maryland
I’d be a fool to say that WVU “has it figured out”, so I won’t. But they are undoubtedly a much-improved team from last year’s clown car. QB Clint Trickett (2 T’s) has 700+ yards passing in his first two starts of the season. You might recall that their first game was against Alabama where the Mountaineers held them close, and not for a couple of dropped passes and a questionable call or two, who knows? Trickster actually threw for MORE yards against the Tide in that loss than he did in last week’s 54-0 drubbing of Towson. My one concern is that Maryland skunked this team last year, badly. Regardless, I’m saying WVU gets all up in the Terps’ shell and cracks them open.
Georgia -6 at South Carolina
Whooa Nelly! Joe-Ja. South Carralaana. CBS. Verne Lundquist. Yessir! Three weeks in and we still have a whole lot of shit in terms of ball games today. This could end up being one. It COULD. Will it? Who the hell knows? It’s a big rivalry game obviously with the ‘ole baw coach at 1-1 and as a few here have pointed out, they haven’t looked especially impressive. BTW, they are 123rd in the nation in total defense. Georgia on the other hand….interesting. Veddy interesting. Could this finally be their year? I’m bullish on the dawgs. They’ve gone too long with too much talent not to make a run at it. This year’s talent starts in the backfield. Gurley as everyone knows is a beast and will probably be in the Heisman conversation. But take him out, and you got Nick Chubb, aka Chubby/Chubbstein/Chubbarino. Who’s that? Oh, just some frosh who has carried the ball 4 times thus far…..for 70 yards. And while running over and through people. Big people. Big athletic fast people that play in the SEC. These two guys are going to cause probs for the Cawwwcks’ D, which will open up the passing game. This line started at -2.5. I think Georgia wins convincingly. (I’d probably put down a BIG side bet that Hughes takes the ‘Dawgs here too)
Purdue vs ND
Purdue scored 17 points against Central Michigan (who scored 38 points against Purdue). That’s 55 points. I don’t see Purdue scoring more than 7 against ND. We could and SHOULD see another goose egg here, right? So, I gotta take the under. ND 48 – Purdue 3
Not an ideal start for me this year. I'm down overall and coming off consecutive 1-2 weeks. Last week saw me suffer at the hands of a few relatively bad beats in the Michigan State-Oregon game and BYU-Texas. I need to get my mojo back. I cheated a little and read Dan's picks as he posted before me this week so I'll take this time to say while I'm not officially picking the South Carolina-Georgia game I'm taking South Carolina +7 (my book is giving the extra half). South Carolina's defense has been awful but it's largely a result of atrocious pass defense. I say the Gamecocks stack the box and dare the extremely average Hutson Mason and Georgia's banged up wideouts to beat them on a regular basis. Georgia probably still wins but it's a close one. (So you should probably take Georgia)
Baylor (-33.5) at Buffalo- Baylor has become a top tier Big 12 program in recent years. However, tonight's game AT Buffalo is your reminder of how long ago (not long) it was that Baylor was absolute shite. Can you imagine Oklahoma or Texas having to agree to a home and home series with the University at Buffalo (what the fuck is up with the "at"?). Baylor stud QB Bryce Petty is back tonight playing with a couple of broken bones in his back (WHAT?!!?) but I doubt he plays more than the first half. It won't matter. Baylor will score easily and often. Sic 'Em Bears.
Purdue-Notre Dame (-27.5) at Lucas Oil Stadium - This is pretty simple. Purdue sucks. I mean Purdue really, really sucks. They've given up 34 and 38 points to Western and Central Michigan, respectively. Notre Dame, on the other hand has scored 48 and 31 points in their first two games. Will the Irish suffer a let down after pasting Michigan? Maybe. Will that letdown allow Purdue to play Notre Dame closely? No way. I hate Notre Dame but I love money so give me the Irish. One last note: Do you know who Purdue passed over to hire current Head Coach Darrell Hazell? Former Purdue LB Kevin Sumlin. Yeah, that smarts.
Kentucky at Florida (-17.5) - Despite a losing week, all was right in my world last Saturday night. A 65-0 shutout by your Alma Mater's football team will do that for you. Yes, I know it was Eastern Michigan. I also know 65 points was about a month's worth of scoring for Florida last year. Kentucky is a program on the upswing ever since Mark Stoops came to town but they're still Kentucky and they're walking into The Swamp for a night game. Florida still has much to prove to me (we'll find out quite a bit about them next week in Tuscaloosa...I'm scared. So scared) but I truly believe they're better offensively in terms of personnel and scheme than they've been in at least four years. As I've recently taught my daughter to say Come on Gators! Get up and go!
Thursday, September 11, 2014
I was woken up by my pregnant wife that morning, who said a plane had crashed into the WTC. Like Mark, I thought little of it. I figured a small commuter plane had screwed up and collided with the building.
I sat down at the television, instantly realized it was no small collision, and seconds later watched the second plane plow through the 80-something-ieth floor windows of the other tower. And I can remember that horrified feeling very palpably. Chills just typing it, the worst kind of chills.
Soon thereafter I got the call not to bother coming into my Federal government office. Glad to have missed that chaos due to sleeping in a little. But the next call was the worst, and I also remember that one all too vividly: our fratre Otis called me and said, "You know, Lud works in the World Trade Center." Sinking feeling Part II, more chills and a whole lot of anxiety. Reminds me of the first Superman movie when Miss Teschmacher overhears her boss Lex Luthor divulging his sinister, imminent plan to send missiles at the east and west coasts, including one headed to Hackensack, New Jersey at that moment:
MISS TESCHMACHERBut Lex, my mother lives in Hackensack.
LEX LUTHOR[looks at his watch, shakes his head no]
Hollywood and DC Comics are one thing. This was real life, or lack thereof.
Never really occurred to me at the time that Lud might not have made it out. He's Lud, the nicest guy I had ever met. Bar none. For real, not some posthumous superlative like we're prone to distributing. He was a shirt-off-his-back and maybe the top layer of skin if you needed it, too. Of course he made it out. He's Lud.
But subsequent phone calls forebode bad things. He worked on a floor with a big number. Damn his big shot job. He'd called his mom and said they told his office to stay put. Got that news right around the time the first tower imploded like a sand castle. Oh, shit. Then the second. Way worse words than shit.
And then, as Rob described, the waiting. And hoping against hope. It's an agonizing type of passing for family and friends, because you don't have the cops or the soldiers or the firefighters come to your door with bad news. You just don't have your loved one come to the door with good news. Over and over, minute after minute, and day after day.
Eventually, our group of friends became resigned to the sad fact. And then we found out our other fraternity brother Scoop Edwards, a year Lud's elder and a goofy guy with whom I attended a few Dead shows (brah), was gone, too. And a third Pi Lam, Jim Conner, who was old enough (class of '85) that we hadn't met or hadn't remembered meeting. As I recall, six William & Mary undergrad alums perished in the attacks, three of whom were in our fraternity within six years. Are you kidding me?
And so a week and a half later we sent Lud off with a fitting day and night in Manhattan, serious and sad followed by drunken and stupid, all of it filled with Ludisms and fond memories. It was also my 31st birthday. You assholes tried in vain to put my head in the john. Lud protected me. Seems like a million years ago.
The last time I saw Lud, eerily, was at Evan's funeral kegger two months prior. He had come out from the city to Pennsyltucky with Hud (simple nicknamers, we) to pay his remembrances to another great one. He gave my brother-in-law a ride to the hotel when no one would, because that's what he did, and then he drove home the next day and began a conversation with his wife about how he would want to be remembered in a funeral service (or lack thereof) like Evan's, which he assumed he would have to remind her over the years. Evan's festival of remembrance was July 22. Lud's would be September 22. A bad run of luck by any measure for our group. But that humdinger of a send-off for Ev was the last time I saw Lud.
The story didn't get rosier as time wore on. Lud's widow, I suppose I can say here in relative obscurity, turned out to be pretty horrible, though her horribleness benefits greatly from the context of those who removed her husband from this world. It suffers from any comparison to the man we cherished, of course. Lud's dad, who had mentored most of us W&M ruggers in the sport at one time or another and was a Welsh prince without the lineage, was eaten up by Alzheimer's and left us a few years back. And Lud's little sister, one of my favorite friends from college and Dave's/Rob's/my freshman hallmate, got married to a limey bastard who gave her children as well as much more than a pintful of heartache. No luck for the downtrodden.
That's all I have to say about that right now. Getting a mite bit choked before a meeting and a work happy hour wasn't on my agenda, but 9/11 is mostly about unplanned alterations in a workday -- and a life. God bless you merry gentlemen and women of G:TB on a Thursday extraordinary only in its place on the calendar, a date which dredges up sad and sorry memories for us. Thank goodness.
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
- Fishbone at the Boathouse - Dirty Kibby hanging upside down from the rafters playing his trumpet
- Garage a Trois at Denver Filmore - Charlie Hunter plays ridiculous tambourine solo. yes tambourine solo
- Twenty One Pilots at Boston Calling Festival - drum kit crowdsurfing
- Bob Mould at The Paradise cafe. solo gig with an hour set of acoustic then hour set of electric for about 75 people
- Califone at my house
- Red Hot Chili peppers at Vandy on the Presidents lawn 1989 - they wore the socks and the drummer stuck a drum stick up his ass and threw it into the crowd.
Tuesday, September 09, 2014
Monday, September 08, 2014
Here's Simon's description of the zombie ants, some of which may hit close to home:
"Once a disciplined member of a rigidly structured society, the affected ant stumbles out of its colony like the town drunkard, guided by a pathogen that has pickled its brain with a cocktail of chemicals."
The entire roster of absurd organisms is worth a browse. From the beautiful (the flamboyant cuttlefish is spectacular) to the sublimely evolved (check out the satanic leaf-tailed gecko's camouflage style) to the absolutely fucking disgusting (the botfly's larvae burrow into human skin, grow to full size, and leave a gaping wound upon their emergence), the gallery spans the range of animal oddities.
|The pearlfish swims up a sea cucumber's ass and eats its gonads. So, yeah.|
Sunday, September 07, 2014
Back in the early 90s, The Sundays were a staple of college radio and MTV's 120 Minutes. Lead singer Harriet Wheeler combined ethereal vocals and a lilting British accent with the kind of alternative rock girl vulnerable beauty that slayed the 20 year-old me, and makes 44 year-old me remember her wistfully.
Their only real U.S. hit, 'Here's Where the Story Ends' is posted below. It ain't gonna fire up a locker room, but it'll take some of us back to a time and place, and isn't a bad way to spend a lazy weekend morning.
(If you've got a few days to kill, check out that 120 Minutes link - it's a near-definitive archive of one of the more important shows in the history of alternative rock.)
The Sundays also did a pretty terrific cover of the Stones' 'Wild Horses', featured in the 1996 Mark Wahlberg vehicle, Fear. Harriet's just a little mesmerizing in this video.
And finally, foooootttttttbaaaaaaawwwwwwwwwlllllllllll!!!
Saturday, September 06, 2014
Danimal and I are back for another week of ill advised financial decisions. These picks aren't neccesarily ill advised, the wagers placed later in the day often are though. Whether it's trying to get back money you've lost or just trying to maximize a hot streak, wagers made in the moment are usually...who am I kidding, always a bad idea, results be damned. Will that stop me (or Danimal) from throwing down a few extras today? Highly doubtful. I hope you don't read this column expecting good advice.
It wasn't a great start for your boy last week. Officially I'm 1-2 though I did manage to come out a bit ahead overall due to some solid work on Thursday night and a few other plays (USC, Oklahoma State) during the day. Things could've turned out quite well had I not suffered at the hands of a last minute TD in the Ohio State-Navy game. Hope that helped out your heartburn, Urbs.
East Carolina (+17) at South Carolina- The line had dropped to +15 since I put my money in this morning so I'm not the only one who threw some money on the Pirates. Besides my affection for the state of North Carolina's official safety school (it was an hour away from my first college and we partied there quite a bit), the South Carolina defense looked like utter shit last Thursday. While some of that can be attributed to Texas A&M's stellar passing attack and the apparent fact that Kevin Sumlin is a god damn wizard, I believe just as much of that is due to the massive losses South Carolina suffered on defense. Beyond the loss of the NFL's overall #1 pick, the Gamecocks also lost two other starters on the defensive line to graduation. On top of that, South Carolina trotted out three first time starters (two true freshman among them) in the defensive backfield. Defensive Coordinator Lorenzo Ward is making changes and replacing three defensive starters this week. Maybe this solves all of South Carolina's defensive issues. Or maybe East Carolina QB Shane Carden (4,139 yards and 33 TDs passing in 2013) will chuck the ball all over the field. ECU won't win but they won't get blown out either.
Kansas State (-12) at Iowa State- Iowa State lost last week's season opener by 20 to an FCS school last week. Granted, that FCS school was the juggernaut known as North Dakota State and someone in the Iowa State athletic department should be fired for agreeing to play the Bison but a loss like that doesn't bode well for the Cyclones as they prepare to take on Kansas State this week. In the last game summary, I referred to Kevin Sumlin as a wizard. Well, if Sumlin's a wizard then Bill Snyder is a Super Wizard or a Grand Wiz...wait that's not what I meant. Anywho, Snyder is amazing. He built a powerful football program out of nothing and did it in the middle of nowhere. Then when his successor (RON PRINCE MOTHERFUCKER!) failed and the Kansas State program was falling apart, Snyder decided to come out of retirement and almost immediately turn the Wildcats back in to a program of national relevance. On top of all that, Snyder gave the world Darren Sproles. For that alone he should be knighted. Do they have knights in Kansas? Oh, who gives a fuck. None of us are ever going to Kansas anyway. SNYDERCATS.
BYU at Texas (O/U 46- Under) - Last year BYU ran for over 500 yards on Texas. The next day Texas DC Manny Diaz was fired. This didn't fix Texas' defensive issues and eventually the rest of the Texas staff was fired including long time Head Coach Mack Brown. Charlie Strong is the man in charge in Austin now and I, for one, have no doubt that he'll turn things around. This turn around is going to take some time though and now is now that time. Complicating matter this week is the news that Texas will be without starting QB David Ash and both starting Offensive Tackles when the Cougars come to town. This game wasn't shaping up as a high scoring affair before these injuries. Now, I wouldn't be shocked if neither team broke 20 points. Take the under.
Take it away, Danimal.
Missouri -3.5 at Toledo - One of those goofy lines you look at and think, huh? “Huh” cuz you have Missouri traveling to Toledo and also cuz it’s almost a pick’em. This is one of those lines that you should simply trust and probably go with the homer dawg. Which I. Am going. To do. Missouri has the coach in Pinkel (who coached at Toledo for a decade) and Mauk the QB who in looking at the stats, did a whole lot of nothing against South Dakota State. Yeah, I guess they have a football team. Having been to Toledo a couple of times in the last year and with several of their students who are technically coworkers, I’ve become a bit of a follower of the Rockets. This line opened up at -5.5 fyi. I’m going to go ahead and take Toledo to win in the Glass Bowl where they have a history of taking down seemingly more worthy opponents.
NC State has been horrific the last year or two. Before last week they lost 8 in a row before coming back down 10 in the 4th against Georgia Southern. It looks as if they’ve got a QB in Jacoby Brissett who is large and in charge and if not mistaken a Gator transfer, but other than that the cupboard is Googling is not in my interest at the moment as I have a Big Brother episode to watch. Val & I love us some Big Brother. I think ODU travels to Raleigh with an eye on a big win here while the Wolfpack goes in as the shoddy team they are. Throw in a little bit of Clarence mojo and it’s pretty much a lay-up. Or is it Whitney? Whatever Russ.