Saturday, January 31, 2015

Heat Miser for President

It's 22 degrees outside, and the wind's gusting up to 40 miles per hour. We discussed my growing aversion to the cold here before (but I can't find the post to link to it, so perhaps we should also discuss my increasingly unreliable memory), but this winter seems to be testing me more than any before it. I started the year in Minneapolis in single digit (and below-zero) temps. It hasn't been all that much better back home in the 'South'. And don't get me started on seasonal affective disorder. That shit might be real, if my current mood is any indicator.

It gets better, though. Sunday, I fly to Orlando for a week of work. Sure, nearly all of it will be spent indoors at a conference, but I'll be able to walk outside in shirtsleeves, bask in the warmth of the sun, and dream of light-filled days to come.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Discount Doubletake

If you're like me (easily distracted and not terribly observant), you watched the new version of the Aaron Rodgers State Farm commercials and said, 'Huh, Rodgers does a pretty decent Sheffield accent'. If you're like most people, you likely wondered how State Farm found a dude that looked that much like the Packers' signal-caller.

Look no further.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Here's what I think about Tom Brady's balls.

When I first heard that Tom Brady's balls were under-inflated I chuckled, much like Brady did himself when questioned about the issue. But somehow this fiasco took on a life of its own once Brady's preference for tender balls (as opposed to Aaron Rodgers' love of turgid balls) was twisted to make this hot air (or lack thereof) a "legitimate" story. Some jackals said the Colts should play in the Super Bowl instead of the Pats, others said Brady should be banned from the game. Still others want a new AFC championship game to be played between the Colts and the Ravens.

The rationale for this hooey generally holds that "A Rule Is A Rule and If You Break A Rule You Should Be Punished" and "We Must Protect The Integrity Of The Game." I have a pretty Gheorghe view of this matter--I do not take it, or myself, particularly seriously.

The whole A Rule Is A Rule line of thinking is just plain silly. There are Rules and then there are rules. "Thou shalt not kill" is a Rule. "Thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain" is merely a rule, and a goddamn rule at that. People who espouse this rationale are hypocrites unless they always cross at the corner and only when the "WALK" sign lights up; they didn't drink or smoke or look at porn underage; they never take a sip of their coffee on the Metro; they've never peed in a bush or between two parked cars on Harrison Avenue at 2 am on their way home from the delis; they never littered; they never let their car inspection expire; and the never lied to their girlfriend when she asked if she looked fat in a particularly unflattering outfit. They certainly never smoked pot or drove a car after drinking a few beers or got free cable when the previous tenants moved out and didn't turn it off.

I think the best analogy is speeding. Everyone speeds every day. No one thinks you should get a speeding ticket for driving 29 in a 25. No cop would give you a ticket under those circumstances and no judge would enforce it. I didn't pick those numbers at random--those extra 4 MPH represent a 16% increase over a 25 MPH speed limit. That's the same percentage difference at issue with Brady's balls--2 psi is 16% of the 12.5 psi limit. Honestly, if you heard that Tom Brady drove his car 29 MPH in a 25 MPH zone, would you say that he should get a ticket? That he should lose his license? That he should go to jail?

Of course not. Because that 4 MPH differential is meaningless. Who's to say how fast anyone is actually going? A speedometer has some accuracy limitations, as does a radar gun. Even if the radar gun is perfectly calibrated and balls-on-accurate, should the driver be penalized if his speedometer is a little bit off?

Similarly, 2 psi of air pressure is meaningless in this context. How accurate is an air pressure gauge? I'm sure NASA has really good ones, but how fancy are the ones used to measure footballs? Why would anyone make a really fancy football air pressure gauge in the first place?

From a more legitimately empirical perspective, ESPN analyzed balls of different pressure and found no real difference, in my view, beyond the fact that the ball of lesser pressure can me indented 1 mm further.

As you've heard ad nauseum, the Patriots blew the Colts away in the second half using firmer balls, so those 2 psi truly made no difference.

I've done something that no one else who wrote about this nonsense likely did--I went and actually read the NFL rulebook. Rule 2 is titled "The Ball." Section 1, "Ball Dimensions," says in part:

The ball shall be made up of an inflated (12 1/2 to 13 1/2 pounds) urethane bladder enclosed in a pebble grained, leather case (natural tan color) without corrugations of any kind. It shall have the form of a prolate spheroid and the size and weight shall be: long axis, 11 to 11 1/4 inches; long circumference, 28 to 28 1/2 inches; short circumference, 21 to 21 1/4 inches; weight, 14 to 15 ounces.

What if the Patriots got a batch of balls with leaky bladders? Can that happen to a football (I know it happens to frat guys)? I don't know but it wouldn't surprise me if Wilson makes some duds once in a while.

More surprising: the circumference across the laces can vary by 1/4 inch?!? Doesn't that seem like a big deal? Do the refs measure all of those dimensions in addition to the air pressure? If a ball is too long does the ref say "You got long balls Larry"?

Section 2, "Ball Supply," says in part:

In the event a home team ball does not conform to specifications, or its supply is exhausted, the Referee shall secure a proper ball from the visitors and, failing that, use the best available ball. Any such circumstances must be reported to the Commissioner.

Wait, "failing that, use the best available ball"?!? So if all of the available balls are under-inflated then the ref would just use the "best available" under-inflated ball? Then the rules clearly contemplate using non-conforming balls in certain circumstances! How big a deal could this be? Sure, you have to report this to the Commissioner, but no penalty is specified. Seems like a minor speeding infraction to me.

While going through the NFL rulebook I found some other rules that are also like doing 29 in a 25. For example, Rule 1 Section 1 says in part:

The playing field will be rimmed by a solid white border a minimum of 6 feet wide along the end lines and sidelines .... In addition, within each bench area, a yellow line 6 feet behind the solid white border will delineate a special area for coaches, behind which all players, except one player charting the game, must remain.

Yeah, this is enforced.

Speaking of that Mike Tomlin photo, Rule 13 "Non-Player Conduct" Article 4 says:

The only persons permitted within the solid six-foot white border (1-1) while play is in progress on the field are game officials.

Tomlin was fined by the league in that instance, but I don't think the refs penalized the team during the game. Probably because coaches are in the six-foot white border all the time.


NFL News: Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins Sideline Brawl [Watch]

Rule 13 Article 2 is really interesting. It says:

Either or both team attendants and their helpers may enter the field to attend their team during a team timeout by either team. No other non-player may come on the field without the Referee’s permission, unless he is an incoming substitute (5-2-2).

During any team timeout, all playing rules continue in force. Representatives of either team are prohibited from entering the field unless they are incoming substitutes, or team attendants or trainers entering to provide for the welfare of a player, and any game-type activities are prohibited on the Field of Play.

That second paragraph is in red in the rulebook. God knows why. Coaches enter the field just about every time they throw a challenge flag.

Which NFL Coach Has The Funniest Challenge-Flag-Throwing Motion?

Rule 13 says it's a 15 yard penalty if you violate Article 2 but I've never seen it enforced and I think sports talk radio would explode if a ref ever tried. Kind of like if cops started giving tickets for doing 29 in a 25.

I could go on with the rules but you get my drift.

The "Protect The Integrity Of The Game" prong of uproar is farcical. rob already took down the NFL's integrity about two years ago (relying on efforts from Senator Tom Brady nonetheless!). But here are a few more Integrity Of The Game points to ponder.

Eugene Robinson was arrested for soliciting a prostitute the night before the Super Bowl. He played in the game. Because prostitution is part of the Integrity Of The Game.

Walter Thurmond was suspended last year on November 24 for four games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He came back just in time for the playoffs; the rest probably helped him get ready for the post-season and he played in the Super Bowl. Because substance abuse is part of the Integrity Of The Game.

Ray Lewis used something called deer antler spray leading up to the Super Bowl. Apparently it was not on the NFL's list of approved supplements. He played in the game. Because using unapproved substances is part of the Integrity Of The Game. As is obstructing justice in a murder investigation, but that was before a different Ravens Super Bowl.

Leonard Little killed a woman while driving drunk on October 19, 1998. Three and a half months later he recorded four tackles in the Super Bowl. Because killing people is part of the Integrity Of The Game.

I'm starting to veer away from Gheorghe's mission statement so I'll stop with those examples. My point is that somehow or other, the Patriots played with some slightly under-inflated balls for half of the AFC Championship Game. We know that these balls conferred no competitive advantage because they played the second half with firmer balls and cruised to victory, a perfect test/control experiment. No one can currently say why these balls were soft. It could be due to leaky bladders or a crappy gauge or a rogue ball attendant or maybe even Tom Brady is lying and he let the air out clandestinely. It simply doesn't matter. To the extent there is any violation of the league's rules here, it's akin to doing 29 in a 25. People have done much worse but still played in the Super Bowl.

So let's leave Brady's balls alone.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The 12 Days of Gheorghemas: Day 12

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


Twelve Appreciations
Eleven Months of Awesome
Ten Reasons Being
Late Gifts Still Worth Giving
Eight Chapters on Music in a Post 
Seven Books For Reading (Seriously) 
Six Beers Worth Drinking 
A fiiiiifth Golden Ring..... (please?) 
Four Years of Marcus
Three Scummers Picking
Two albums to look forward to 

A fat guy in a jersey 

It's that time of year again.  Yes, that special part of the calendar when you come to G:TB and ask, "It's still Gheorghemas??"

I'm drawing the curtains on another fine Gmas season, this time before Chinese New Year.  Cue the fireworks and dim sum.

As always, I intend to pair a dozen of the many things for which I am grateful with my favorite songs released in 2014.  Mainly I'm lucky to still be alive, employed, and with children at age 44, but as I was compiling this year's list of aspects of my life that make me particularly appreciative, I noticed something. They were the same things as I write every year. Friends, family, music, beach trips, Dale's Pale Ale, etc.  Kind of boring, even for me.

So here it is: I'm really very thankful for you clowns.  All of yous.  Don't let it go to your heads.

I listened to enough good new music this year that my end-of-year compilation stretched to two discs, the Upside faster stuff and the Downside mellow stuff.  Available upon request and via Spotify playlists below, but here's how I map them to my friends in the microblogosphere known as Gheorghe.  Come with me now and hear some of it.

Kongos, "Come With Me Now"

Cracker, "March of the Billionaires"

Dreamers, "Wolves"

Marls is a good egg.  He's a generous sort with whom I have had some fairly indulgent fun lately (Springsteen Row 1, Mets 15th row, Hamptons rollicking, New Orleans debauching).  Makes me feel like the billionaire I won't ever be, and I appreciate it.  Also, every 5th word out of Marls' Long Island mouth is the F-word, and the Dreamers song is blatantly NSFW.

Modest Mouse, "Lampshades on Fire"

At the 2004 DC Santa Stumble, Jerry called me a music snob.  I protested and asked for evidence to support his claim. Without hesitation, he replied, "Okay, I bet you liked Modest Mouse way before they got popular."  I laughed really hard.  But dammit, their 1996 song "Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset" is six minutes of slow-moving indie melody not to be missed. Jerry, thanks for always calling me on my bullshit in a way that makes me laugh.

By the way, "Lampshades on Fire" was released in December and may be my favorite of the year.

Drive-By Truckers, "Made Up English Oceans"
The Black Keys, "Fever"

Z, thanks for keeping me up to date on the bands I like and the shoes I don't.  Better reviews of music than in any publication people pay for, and a willingness to open your doors and couch and Tonka trucks and mustard for a great show.  Many thanks.

alt-J, "Left Hand Free"
Painted Palms, "Spinning Signs"

The title of one of these and the band name of the other seem vaguely to be onanistic references.  For some reason, that makes me think of TR -- especially the mustachioed version.  TR, thanks for eagerly lampooning yourself for a good GTB laugh.  It underscores the premise of why we congregate here.

The New Basement Tapes, "Kansas City"
Tove Lo, "Habits (Stay High)"

Here's why I like Mark: usually you have two friends, one who has the storytelling skill, penchant for poignancy, and depth to share personal stories like the one about his dad playing soccer at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, another who breaks bad here and there and can serve as an audience so Clarence can relate bawdy tales of pale ales and large rails off medium bosoms.  Mark has broad enough shoulders to be both of those guys when he wants.  Quality.

Mike Doughty, "Light Will Keep Your Heart Beating in the Future"
Ray LaMontagne, "Supernova"

I am usually appreciative for the diverse array of Greasetruck music Dave, Mr. Truck, and the Almighty Yojo release. 2014 was a lean year for that.  But in his stead, I submit the Mike Doughty tune as the best banjo rock song since "The Bear" in 2009, and the Ray LaMontagne song as the best song to use that word since "Anna Kournikova Supernova" in the early aughts.  I thank Dave for serving as the foil of mine like no other for over 25 years.  May the Idiots record something in 2015.  Or release a dance remix.

Hozier, "Take Me to Church"
Stereo Explosion, "Now or Forever"

Rootsy met me out in a Roanoke bar this year and had his drinkin' shoes firmly afoot. The night was blurry, but one thing is clear: I gotta get me back to the Star City for more fun with my little little little little brother -- and return to his recording studio which resembles a church music room.  2015, the year Clarence and I record a Duets album.  I need to do it now or forever hold my piece. Stay tuned. Cheers, Rootsy.

Future Islands, "Seasons (BADBADNOTGOOD Remix)"

While this version of the song sounds très Zman, the chorus is all Dennis, as we await his return from an anarcho-syndicalist commune.

Sharon Van Etten, "Taking Chances"
Milky Chance, "Stolen Dance"

Though several dabble, Danimal seems to be the resident bookmaker at G:TB. Perhaps his old pal Jean Pierre factors into that. But thank you, Danny Boy, for showing me how someone very much in the know can get consistently burned by the outcome of games so I don't add this vice to an already long list.  (He's also the resident bartender.  Those recommendations I dive into willingly.)

Mr. KQ
St. Paul and the Broken Bones, "Call Me"

"Core principles" is a term coined a decade or so ago by a wise person among our circle of friends to describe the notion that if you happen upon one of our gang's hometowns, you call them up and go have a beer.  While newer to our group, Señor KQ seems to have mastered core principles since well before we were even born.  And although his favorite activities include crouching, touching, and engaging, we will still take his calls and drink his booze every time out.

Death from Above 1979, "Trainwreck 1979"

Greg's about the youngest among us. If he was born in 1979, this song title is perfect.  Either way, it's good rock.  And Greg is, too.

Cheap Girls, "Knock Me Over"

I don't know anybody in my town who's a boxing fan.  If the sport is ever mentioned, everyone bemoans its deep decline and irrelevance in the modern sporting world.  I'm able to contribute some counter-evidence in the argument thanks to Mayhugh (and Mark) as the champion of a not dead yet sport.

Catfish and the Bottlemen, "Kathleen"
Interpol, "All the Rage Back Home"

The Squeaker keeps me up to speed on new music.  Catfish and the Bottlemen is a little known Welsh alt-rock band, just the type of thing Squeaky would unearth for me.  And if he'd sent it my way, Squeaker would be sure to note that the song is all the rage back where they're from.  Keep 'em coming, little buddy.

Gheorghe's Ladies
Ingrid Michaelson, "Girls Chase Boys"
Jenny Lewis, "Just One of the Guys"
Meg Myers, "Desire"
Alvvays, "Archie, Marry Me"

Ladies love cool James.  Whitney loves cool ladies.  We have more than a few of them in our midst, which we would have figured impossible when we were in college.  They lend credibility and context to our boys' locker room, even as we (really I) bug Shlara with dick jokes and dipshittery.  God bless you, fair ladies, and here's to the lot of you.  The hole really is greater than the sum of your lady parts.

Sun Kil Moon, "Ben's My Friend"

Ben "Boots" Brubeck is his friend.  And we all remember the Boots blogpost.

First Aid Kit, "Silver Lining"
Lykke Li, "No Rest for the Wicked"
Beck, "Blue Moon"

Not one but two Swedish indie pop acts make the 2014 list.  Pretty rare.  As were Teej blog appearances in 2014.  He checks in only once in a blue moon, but (a) he's earned a reprieve after shouldering the load (ngs) for the early era of Gheorghe, and (b) we appreciate him getting schooled now so he can get a cushy job that will allow him to blog at will.

Old 97's, "Longer Than You've Been Alive"
Counting Crows, "Scarecrow"
J. Mascis, "Every Morning"

Plenty to thank Rob for, as has been the case since 1988.  Performing more heavy lifting 'round these parts than any of us -- truly one of the best bloggers ever, pound for pound.  His core principles are in the 95th percentile, and he keeps Clarence humble while absorbing every last stupid, trite short joke. Not bad for a wee one.  Just as deep down "Cheers" was really about Norm Peterson, as evidenced by the theme song and the fact that he was the only character to appear in every episode, this place is mostly about Rob. With some Teej, Dave, and other goofy characters thrown in for comedic effect.  And we like it that way.  Every morning I check to see if Rob's posted, and more often than not he has answered the bell.  Cheers, my friend.

Sleater-Kinney, "Bury Our Friends"

I am grateful for having Clarence on the blog, if only because he says the things I really shouldn't.  Here's hoping he sticks around and we don't have to bury this friend like we have had to bury too many already, including one whose Gheorghie self-proclamations were appended by multiple exclamation points. 

Strand of Oaks, "Goshen '97"
Cold War Kids, "All This Could Be Yours"
Aer, "Says She Loves Me"
Ex-Cops, "Black Soap"
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour, "My Club"

Gheorghe Muresan
Aloe Blacc, "The Man"

Of course.  And we are doing this in 2015.  (The second item on the menu.)

Say goodbye to Gheorghemas.  Say goodbye, my baby.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday, Funky Sunday

I've been to some excellent weddings in my time. There was a terrific celebration in the Lake Tahoe area that brought dozens of us to the Sierras for a week. The Teej and Baconbaking pulled off a ceremony that was perhaps the most perfect reflection of a couple's unique personality I've ever witnessed. Dave got thrown in a river in his tux. Clarence and his lady yachtrocked the ORF, Three Sheets to the Wind still the best live wedding band I've ever seen. But there's competition.

Just this week, I learned about the band that a friend of mine had play his nuptials. He's a Harvard undergrad, Wharton MBA, Georgetown School of Foreign Policy, and McKinsey alum and now the CEO of a mobile app company. He is, along with Dave, one of the two smartest people I've ever met. (Though his brand of hyper-intelligence is for more practical than Dave's.) He's from Boston, worked on John Kerry's presidential campaign, and completed a Birkebeiner. He is, as his resume suggests, (and I say this fondly) among the whitest people in the world, at least by outward appearances. Which, as we know, can be deceiving. By rights, he should have had Three Sheets play his wedding, unironically.

Instead, he and his bride rocked out to the Pimps of Joytime:

In a happy coincidence, the Pimps are coming to my little town in just three short weeks. See you there.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Let's Play Two

R.I.P., Mr. Cub. Maybe the original Gheorghie. Here's a great passage from a Joe Posnanski blog post about Ernie Banks:

“Maybe it’s sacrilege but I believe Banks was a con artist,” John Roseboro said. “No one smiles all the time, naturally, unless they’re putting you on and putting you on. Every day of our lives isn’t a good one.”

Only it was for Ernie Banks. Every day was a good day. His mother had wanted him to be a minister. His father wanted him to be a baseball player. In a way, he was both. The ballpark was his pulpit. The crowds were his congregation. Ernie Banks was the first black player to sign with the Chicago Cubs, and like all pioneers he dealt with the pressures and fury that raged all around him. He dealt with it all in his way, not with speeches or sermons or shouts of anger but by being Ernie Banks, by hitting long home runs and playing terrific shortstop and never missing a game and expressing his joy for baseball and life as boldly as anyone who ever played this wonderful game."

Friday, January 23, 2015

Canadian Fashion, Still Awesome

By now, all of you know of our fondness for all things Canadian. Poutine, hockey, Michael J. Fox - we could go on for a while. Today, more confirmation of our northern neighbors' whimsical excellence in the form of this dress worn by Miss Canada at the Miss Universe pageant. Little concerned about the accuracy of the score, but not so much that we'll keep this from you.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Jay, Where's the Beat?

Sucker MC's who did not learn, if you don't this time, they shall return.

For all you old school and older school fans, last Sunday DJ Run and the Devastating Mic Controller got onstage for the first time in over a decade in London.  There it is.

Run wore an Adidas sweatsuit.  Natch.

DMC wore . . . a Grateful Dead Steal Your Face t-shirt.  Of course.

The show was a tribute to their fallen mate and big beat blaster, king of the crossfader Jam-Master Jay.  Jay's 2002 murder is still unsolved, and Rex Kramer's not coming through that door to remedy that any time soon.

Today would have been Jay's 50th birthday.  Get a little of the best DJ in the US of A.

So when asked who's the best, y'all should say: Run-D.M.C. and Jam Master Jay.

And like all fairy tales end, you'll see Jay again, my friend.

One, Two, Three...Two Hundred and Seventy Nine

At some point in the near future, likely this evening in Newark, Delaware, Marcus Thornton will rise up twenty feet from the basket, kick a leg out in his uniquely balletic manner, and drain a three-point shot. It will be the 279th of his collegiate basketball career, the most by any William & Mary player in history.

We have correspondents standing by, ready to offer their insight.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Regrets, I've Had a Few

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -- H. Jackson Brown (often misattributed to Mark Twain)

I don't generally do New Year's resolutions, and I'm not really planning to start now. I do have something I'd like to work on, though, so I'm telling you about it in hopes you'll hold me accountable.

I'm a flawed and imperfect man in ways to numerous to count. For the purposes of this post, we'll stick to just one thing (though I'm sure you'll feel free to enumerate others in the comments). Today, we're here to talk about my general inability to go from inspiration to execution.

I get lots of ideas. Get 'em all the time, really. Big ideas, small ideas, crazy ideas, inspired ideas - I get all kinds. Sometimes I even tell people about my ideas, in the hopes that naming them will force me to follow through. It doesn't. I can't get over the walls, almost always self-built, that block my path. I'm a dreamer. But I'm not a doer.

This blog, even as it's lasted more than 11 years, is an example. Started in a righteous flurry of creative inspiration, it wouldn't exist today if Teejay hadn't picked up the ball when I grew tired after the first dozen posts or so. Teej, at first alone and later with Whitney, carried G:TB through the wilderness of 2004-2007 until a combination of William & Mary basketball success and external validation roused me from a long blog-slumber. None of that happens if I'm the one that has to make the effort.

Not this Socrates
Socrates is credited with saying, 'the unexamined life is not worth living'. I started to examine myself, trying to figure out why I can't finish anything, but I got distracted. But I did hit on one fairly obvious truth: I'm too often willing to settle for the comfortable known rather than striking out towards a possibly awesome but certainly scary unknown. Here's an example:

I met the late Mark McCormack in 1997, while I was a graduate student. He attended several cocktail parties at a friend's parents' house, and I struck up an acquaintance. Tiger Woods was in his ascendancy, and Mr. McCormack would often seek me out at these parties to ask how his most lucrative property had performed that day. He knew me by name. As my graduation approached, I got a call from Mr. McCormack's secretary, telling me that IMG had a job opening that might interest me. When I called the hiring executive, he let me know that Mr. McCormack had recommended me for the job, which was, as I recall, a very cool opportunity in IMG's television production business.

It was also an unpaid internship. In Manhattan.

I had recently become engaged, had a negative net worth, and was staring down the barrel of $40,000 in student loans. A more ambitious and adventurous man would've thrown caution to the wind, figured out how to get a job waiting tables or tending bar, and jumped in with both feet. I, as you know by now, did not. I couldn't get past the negative, the worry about how I could make it work, to get to the upside. I had lots of practical reasons to turn the opportunity down, and I kept the bowlines securely fashioned, safe in the harbor.

Life has worked out okay for me thus far. Better than that, if we're being honest. But I remain stuck with a nagging sense of what might have been. With that opportunity, and with half a dozen other decisions that were never made, projects that never got off the drawing board (with several other guys in the late 90s, I started talking about a cloud computing start-up, well before that marketing catchphrase existed - kept talking, too, but didn't actually do anything), recurring blog features that didn't recur, risks untaken.

I frequently tell people that I don't know what I want to do when I grow up. Partly because it's true, and partly because it's a convenient excuse to not think too hard about it. I suspect I'm not alone on this (or much of what I've written in this post, really). Rachel Gillett of Fast Company wrote about this phenomenon in an article about conducting a life audit, describing her level of intimidation when forced to actually write out her life goals and share them with others.

Wrote Gillett, "I felt nervous that 1) I wouldn’t have enough goals and I would realize that my existence is pretty pitiful and, 2) I have a ton of goals but I will forget all of them in the moment or not know enough or have done enough research in my daily life to know what any of it means."

I don't have any illusion that writing all this down and sharing it with you will make me suddenly a risk-taking, devil-may-care free spirit. My New England pragmatism is far too ingrained for that. But my goal for this year is to channel Miles in Risky Business. I want to say "What the fuck" more often. As Miles says, "What the fuck gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future."

I'll test my resolve on this early. I'm working on a couple of projects with other Gheorghies. Normal me would stop in a week or so because that's the easy way out. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, nobody gets hurt. What the fuck? What's the worst thing that can happen?

Tell you at the end of the year.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Fashion is...Spectacular

Don Cherry turns 80 in three weeks. Don Cherry (on the left, if you're contextually deficient) this tonight:
The legendary Canadian hockey coach and broadcaster is known for wearing clothes nearly as outrageous as his personality. Put differently, Don Cherry gives no fucks.

On his birthday a year ago, Huffington Post offered a compendium of the former Boston Bruin and Colorado Rockie (Rocky?) coach's Top 25 suits. With all due respect to the Post, it's a half-assed effort, at best. A simple Google search shows us a dozen outfits that dazzle in their sheer I-did-it-my-way ballsiness.

This blog is 11 years old. And we've never mentioned Don Cherry once before now. I assume it's because our editorial leadership is rabidly anti-Canadian.

I'm a 38 short, in case any of you are starting to get ideas.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Caption This Part II

Still overserved. Do your worst. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Caption This

Apparently there are some overserved G:TB'ers in NOLA. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

G(h)eorg(h)e: The Son

Grateful tip of the cap to Shlara for alerting us to a story posted yesterday on The Washington Post's high school sports site.

The story goes for the cliche headline (Big Man on Campus), but is an otherwise G:TB-affirming tale of George Muresan, a 6'8" (6'11" with the rooster 'do) forward for the St. Andrew's High School and the eldest son of Gheorghe Muresan. The junior starter isn't cut from the same cloth as his old man, slender and light on his feet, and more apt to take a wing jumper or drive to the basket than post up, but he does credit his father's counsel.

“He doesn’t put me down and he doesn’t bring me too high up; he just tells me tips,” said George, who averages 5.8 points. “It’s exciting because he’s been to the professionals. He knows what he’s talking about.”

FOG:TB and Fans of Gheorghe alike will be pleased to learn that the elder Muresan comes across as the good guy that we know him to be, and a model sports parent. Says St. Andrew's head coach Kevin Jones,“Anytime you’re the son of a former NBA basketball player, there’s going to be some unrealistic expectations that come with that. But [Gheorge is] not one of the parents trying to come to our practices. He lets us do our job. . . . and all the kids love him.”

So do we, Coach.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

This Week in Wrenball: Bearded Ladies and Undersized Rebounders

I'm not Thomas Jefferson
Bill Chambers averaged 20.2 points and 21.7 rebounds per game in 1953. Jeff Cohen went for 24.2 and 18.1 in 1960. David Cox dropped double-digit dimes four times in his Tribe career. Thomas Jefferson dominated in the post, his 6'3" frame the 18th Century equivalent of a 7-footer.

But never, in W&M's 110 years of competitive hoops, had a Wren recorded a triple double. Until Saturday, when junior guard Terry Tarpey scored 18 points, pulled down 11 rebounds, and delivered 10 assists in the Tribe's 81-73 win over JMU. The 6'5" Tarpey was named CAA Co-Player of the Week, adding a career-high 22 points and 13 boards in W&M's 85-79 loss to Elon on Thursday.

Marcus Thornton receives his share of well-deserved press as the Tribe's offensive leader. But the 6'5" Tarpey has arguably the most well-rounded game of any of Tony Shaver's players. In his first two seasons, the Connecticut native was mostly known for his athleticism, defense, and dirty work. Though he came to Williamsburg with a reputation as a scorer (his father graduated as New York University's all-time leading scorer), Tarpey's contributions were generally hustle-related. He led the Tribe in rebounding as a sophomore, grabbing 6.1 boards/game. Presaging his all-around leadership this season, he was one of only two players in the CAA to place in the league's top 12 in defensive rebounding, blocked shots, and steals.

Like the Tribe, Tarpey had a solid, if hardly remarkable, out of conference performance. But the beginning of CAA play heralded an entirely new Tarpey, altogether. In four league games, he's averaging 15.3 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.5 blocks, while shooting 59% from the field and 85.7% from the line. Those are plaid numbers. He leads W&M in boards, assists, steals, and blocks, equally absurd. He's second in the CAA in rebounding to Drexel's pogo stick, Rodney Williams, leads the league in blocked shots per game (did I mention that he's a 6'5"wing?), is fourth in steals/game and fifth in assists/game. He's a Renaissance ballplayer. A Wrenaissance man, if you will. (You won't? Eh, can't say I blame you.)

Tarpey's also tough as nails, an attribute not necessarily available in large quantities in the Tribe locker room historically. W&M's 3-1 start (woulda coulda shoulda been 4-0) matched the expectation we set for them at the beginning of the CAA's season-opening four-games-in-eight days sprint. More than any single player, Tarpey set the tone.

We don't expect triple doubles, or 15/11/4 lines, for that matter. But if a reasonable facsimile of this Tarpey joins Thornton, the emerging Daniel Dixon, and the talented, if erratic, Omar Prewitt for the remainder of the season, there aren't many CAA teams that can match the Tribe for all-around talent.

And that's as rare and magical as the bearded lady at the circus.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Action Bronson is Actin' Crazy, Ridin' Easy, Mr. Wonderful

It's no secret that I'm an Action Bronson fan. He is the latest in a long line of brilliant emcees who don't take themselves too seriously. Biz Markie, Kool Keith, the Beastie Boys, Del the Funky Homosapien, MF Doom, and Ghostface Killah turn their rapier wit inwards and poke fun of themselves from time to time. Doom and Ghost have long been rumored to have a collaboration album in the works. They recently released a song "Ray Gun" which is not from said hypothetical album, but from the upcoming "Sour Soul" collaboration between GFK and something called BADBADNOTGOOD. It's funky as hell.

Ghostface and Doom's brand of unseriousness is my favorite. The spread a layer of grime over the farcical, the cover the antic in grit, and they do so in a stream of consciousness fashion that often blows my mind.

Action Bronson has been called a Ghostface knockoff because their voices are remarkably alike, and because Bronsoline uses similar preposterous wordplay. While Ghostdini's recent sonic experiments turned songs into chapters of a book (similar to how episodes of "prestige" TV are used to tell a fragment of the series' story), Action Bronson delves into the psychodelic. Here's the artwork for his new single, "Actin Crazy," from his upcoming album "Mr. Wonderful":

For the record, that's a 300+ pound Albanian redhead wearing 3D goggles, a brown track suit, and weightlifting gloves, shooting a laser gun in outer space while riding a shark that shoots laser beams out of its head and missiles from its gills, and is held aloft by clouds in its fins/armpits while being supported by a flotilla of missile-laden fish that appear to have nasty dispositions. And the song sounds as crazy as that picture looks.

This trippy lunacy is not limited to "Actin Crazy." Check out the video for "Easy Rider," another song from "Mr. Wonderful."

If you're not excited for this album then we probably shouldn't talk music. But if you want talk about this album you're going to have to wait until March 24.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Picture This Man with a Beard

Today we celebrate the birth of Shlara with a carefully selected gift. Please enjoy your happy day responsibly.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Playoff Beard? Payoff Beard

"This is a story about a man, and how he achieved his dream  — by doing nothing."

So begins the story of Madison Rowley, the owner of the World Champion Beard of 2014. It also serves as a statement of aspiration that Gheorghies the world over are embracing today. I shall commence doing soon as I work up the energy.

Friday, January 09, 2015

G:TB Playoff Beards

While we wait for Clarence's Gheorghemas closer, we've decided, in the best tradition of hockey players, that we won't shave until we see that 2014 year-ender.

By 'shave', of course, we mean 'post anything other than filler'.

Today, a new song by Billy Idol. Or new to me, anyway. Apparently it was released in October. I heard it this week on 89.3 The Current, Minneapolis' best radio station. It kinda kicks.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

We Just Needed An Excuse to Use Disco Clam in a Post

We haven't met Jennifer Viegas, yet, but we like the cut of her journalistic jib.

Viegas, a reporter for Discovery News, dropped this lede in a story headlined 'Disco Clam Freezes Prey with Toxic Snot':

"The disco clam, so named because light flashes from its mirrored “lips,” turns out to be the disco ball from hell. New research has found that the clam’s impressive light show attracts prey, which may be rendered immobile by noxious, acidic mucus produced by the busy bivalve."

But she didn't stop there with the barely disguised innuendo in service of scientific knowledge-dropping. Check out this passage about forbidden (wo)man/bivalve love:

"At first it was thought that the clam might be trying to woo mates, but that sentiment might have been felt more by researcher Lindsey Dougherty of UC Berkeley. She was thrilled when she first encountered the unique clams in a dark, underwater cave during a dive in Indonesia.

'It was on that trip I first saw the disco clam, and immediately fell in love,' reminisced Dougherty in a press release."

We can't really blame Dougherty (or Viegas, for that matter). Ctenoides ales is a funky, funky beast. Dig its light show stylings:

Viegas has been on fire over the past month, riffing on whale longevity, black widow potency, the Large Hadron Collider (!), vomit, and clairvoyant animals. Consider her on the G:TB radar. We can never have too much entendre-laden science writing.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Don't you dare try to touch "You Da Man", Jesse Jaymes

The Sports Guy is reporting that Marquis Jets founder and NBA theme-song-writing mogul Jesse Jaymes is a strong candidate to be the next owner of the Atlanta Hawks. His wife started Spanx. They aren't slackers.

While I'm excited at the prospect of a "Spanx give-away" night at a Hawks game next season (that should help improve attendance at Phillips Arena, right?)...I'm a little worried about the safety of our beloved "You the Man" theme song.

Half of the Gheorghies are lawyers, right? One of you needs to look into the copyright status of the Bullets theme song.
We can't have Jesse co-opt it for his new team.
Or sample it.

And/or, we need Ernie to keep this in mind with any ATL negotiations.

Can we get a "no trade clause" for a song??

Monday, January 05, 2015

WWGhD: New Year, New Recurring Feature

As I read Sports Illustrated's remembrances of sports figures that passed in 2014, I learned that Red Klotz won't be losing any more basketball games. The 93 year-old Klotz was the coach and general manager of the Washington Generals, the Harlem Globetrotters' longtime foils. In his career with the Generals, it's estimated that Klotz won twice and lost more than 14,000 times, despite his claims that the Generals were trying to win each time out.

As a player, Klotz was more successful. At the time of his death in July, he was the oldest living NBA Champion, having won a ring as a reserve on the 1948 Baltimore Bullets. At 5'7", he's believed to be the shortest player ever to win an NBA title. He continued to play as the Generals' point guard until the age of 68. This Joe Posnanski piece is a great reminiscence on Klotz's life and career.

Reading of Klotz's death led me to think about what it would be like to play for the Generals, knowing you're almost certainly going to lose before a large crowd, and that you're reasonably likely to be embarrassed at least a little by the Globies.

Which leads me to another idea entirely. On this the first real business day of 2015, we introduce an audience participation recurring feature: What Would (the) Gheorghies Do? In which we offer a choice (or several choices), mostly sports-related, and our reading audience decides in the comments which of the choices are most preferable.

In honor of Red Klotz, the very first WWGhD, a two-parter:

Would you rather play a single D-League game, or suit up for the Washington Generals for a year?

Would you rather have Red Klotz's coaching career, or Rich Kotite's?

Saturday, January 03, 2015

This Week in Wrenball: Resolutions

Out of conference schedules for mid-major leagues like the CAA are essentially equivalent to preseason NFL games. In all but the most rare of years, non-league play serves to prepare teams for a conference slate that will determine which single team will make the NCAA Tournament.

That's not to say that OOC play isn't entirely meaningless. Non-con action reveals important strengths and weaknesses, and gives coaches a sense of where they need to improve.

In the case of our Wrens, we've already highlighted the issue that Tony Shaver's got to fix. He knows it, too. After W&M lost, 69-62, at Old Dominion, the Tribe head man said, "[W]e're not tough enough to win these games on the road right now. We knew coming into this game, the No. 1 statistic, the most vital thing we could do was rebound the ball and we gave up 15 offensive rebounds and 20 second-chance points. We've got no chance to win if we do that."

Then, W&M headed to Chapel Hill, gave up 20 of the game's first 24 points, and got trucked by North Carolina, 86-64. Was the Tribe going to beat UNC, even with a great effort? Unlikely. And did they show some heart in trimming a 25-point second-half deficit to 9? For sure. But that's some cold comfort from a team that's shown an inability to close against even semi-tough road opponents.

In our preseason preview, we said that we'd be perfectly happy with a 5-5 non-con record (because we don't count very well), "so long as it looks like progress, and we've figured out how we're going to defend the post."

I prefer mine medium rare, to be honest
W&M beat the teams they should've, and didn't get a single win against a stretch opponent. The jury's still out on post defense, as the Tribe really didn't play a big guy worth anything, other than Carolina's large and talented frontcourt. So I guess we're not perfectly happy. We're perfectly medium, with a side of apprehension.

FOG:TB Dan Crain is the proprietor of the oft-caustic, generally frustrated Dragons Speak (you would be, too, if Bruiser Flint was your coach and all your best players kept getting hurt), a Drexel hoops blog. He's also a really smart hoops mind who knows the CAA well. He just did a CAA season preview, in which he nails W&M's outlook: "They can't box out your grandmother, so they better make the first shot because they won't get a second.  A team that is this reliant on shooting makes their margin of error much too thin to be considered a favorite, and should struggle on the road where shooting percentages generally decline."

Crain still picks W&M to finish second in the (admittedly not very strong) CAA, banking on the Tribe win 8 at home and 4 on the road. I can't say at this moment that I'm that optimistic. I see a team that's got a lot of offensive talent, but isn't very tough, outside of Terry Tarpey. I see a sophomore in Omar Prewitt who should be taking a leap from a terrific freshman season, but seems to have regressed, shooting .271 from deep and .556 from the line. I see no depth whatsoever in the frontcourt, and actually very little depth in general. Shaver really only seems to trust eight players, and those last two might be a reach. The four games in eight days run to kick off the CAA season will test the roster.

On the plus side, and it isn't all worrisome, I still see Marcus Thornton, averaging 19.1 ppg and shaking off a slow shooting start to make 42.7% of his threes. I also see a sophomore who is taking a leap after showing late-season glimpses of promise. Daniel Dixon is the team's second-leading scorer, averaging 11.5 ppg and making 50% of his threes. If he's what he's seemed to be in the early going, and Prewitt shakes of his funk, the Tribe's got three scorers the equal of anyone in the league.

That early-season sprint, while grueling physically, doesn't require the Tribe to match up against any of the CAA's preseason favorites. W&M hosts the College of Charleston today travels to play at Drexel and at Elon, and returns home to take on JMU. A team with top-tier league aspirations wins at least three of those.

And a team with top-tier league aspirations resolves to show some resolve.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

The Twelve Days of Gheorghemas: Day 11

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


Eleven Months of Awesome
Ten Reasons Being
Late Gifts Still Worth Giving
Eight Chapters on Music in a Post That's Got Way Too Many Words in It, For Which I Apologize Seven Books For Reading (Seriously) 
Six Beers Worth Drinking 
A fiiiiifth Golden Ring..... (please?) 
Four Years of Marcus
Three Scummers Picking
Two albums to look forward to; and 
A fat guy in a jersey

This image can be found by ghooghling 'gheorghemas'
As we noted yesterday, 2014 sucked in the real world. We didn't exactly light it up here, either. Our 289 posts represented the lowest G:TB post count (post count!) since 2007. I’d like to think we made up for it in quality. I’d also think that women find me irresistible. 

Despite the diminished output, we did manage to drop some entertaining bloggery. Other than sports and music, by far the most popular topic of G:TB interest in 2014 was weed. The world at large could've used a lot more of that.

As always, enjoy this trip through the year in Gheorghe. Apologies if I didn't include one of your personal favorites. This is hard goddamn work.


Because of a chronological quirk*, 2013’s Gheorghemas didn’t technically end until March 25, so things got off to a bit of a slow start this year. 

* - that's an excuse for someone's laziness.

We said we were going to do a Drug Week, and dammit, we did a Drug Week:
Which actually turned into Drug Month, or as several of our contributors call it, a month.


We spent essentially no time on the Super Bowl, but we loved the Winter Olympics (so much so that we used the phrase, ‘We’re all Ice Dancers today. Especially Dave.), proving yet again that we’re citizens of the world.
Zman took us all on a Kafkaesque journey through the American healthcare system. This was likely the greatest public service we did in 2014. If you don’t count all the Drug Week stuff.

Because of Jonah Keri, we got to celebrate Curtis Pride.

We inadvertently stumbled upon the Baconbaking recipe guestie recurring feature. For which we are all grateful.

Virginia is for (quick) lovers, a post that kicked off G:TB Sex Week. Seldom in the course of recorded human history was more written about a subject by lesser-qualified authors. Though the eldest G:TBer (non-Mr. KQ category) did opine about old people making love.


The Teej gave the world this gif, and joy was spread across the land.

For the third time since 2008, we chronicled a Tribe run to the CAA tournament championship game. This one ended even more cruelly than did the others. And zman’s ‘How are they going to blow this?” in the comment thread for the final is probably responsible. Not sure how he lives with himself.

To add insult to injury, TR called us all losers. And that’s okay.

Zman bouillabaissed, though there's been more baisse in the Drafts since March.

Clarence posted something again! (Sure, it was Day 12 of Gheorghemas 2013, but nobody here keeps track of shit like that.)

In a very cool guest post, Ms. Green Went to Washington. How is it that Teej and Baconbaking are the best parents in this group?

Mark lauded a Florida hoops team that might’ve been my favorite non-Tribe squad in a decade.


Man, the first part of April was lame as shit. It was mostly filler. And filler about filler. But we picked it up as the weather grew warmer.

Marls ‘previewed’ the Final Four. It was…something.

TR gave us an OKC travelogue. In case we ever get there.

Once again, we lost the Washington Post Peeps Diorama Contest. Start thinking now about our 2015 entry.

A new Old 97s record dropped this month. And, boy, was it a long overdue tour de force.

As always, zman on the law is entertaining. Won’t be long now before he starts his own spinoff blog. The Mork & Mindy to our Happy Days.

We sandwiched a post about Ta-Nehisi Coates between two about colonoscopy and a squirrel-inspired DJ. You might get better writing on other blogs, but you have to look hard to find more eclecticism.


The fifth month posted the year’s worst posts/days ratio, clocking in at a meager 0.677 ppd. (September, if you care, logged a robust .90 ppd. And September 2008, with a prolific 1.33 ppd, is the most productive posting month in this blog’s illustrious history. Says something about Septembers. Hell if I know what that is.)

James Nielsen ran the first-ever, and still-only sub-5:00 Beer Mile

Baconbaking smoked hog for 7 hours. Holy shit did it look good.

Mark and I had a generational divide.

Nuck Few York.

Rugby > Football.

Yet more content on booze and pot. Seems there was an unintended theme this year. And every year.

Y'all hated Muppet gore.


Not even half-way through the year and I'm growing weary of typing. This shit is hard, man. Anyone else want to do this next year?

I tried my hand at zman-style legal analysis. Zazzle was involved.

And then zman did a me-style weed and The Wire post. Worlds collided all over this thing.

We entered the phrase 'lollipop parenting' into the lexicon.

As is our custom, we allowed Dave to pen a World Cup preview. As is his custom, he did with atrocious formatting. We had several other World Cup posts, some of which were more than just pictures. We like the soccer, it seems. Teej's 'Kings of the Dive-berian Peninsula, amirite?' headline might've been the year's best.

Danimal met Tiger. In 2006. Sort of.

Z was all about that baisse. Again.

Daniel Bard as a metaphor for mortality. We're deep as an ocean.

Mark's annual NBA draft post was overshadowed by Shlara's competing NBA draft post. Controversy!

My kid is a ninja.


The first full month of summer certainly encouraged some lazy-ass blogging. Filler on top of filler was the theme, apparently. And if you're like me, when you go back to look at the month, all of the video clips are associated with the wrong posts. Which makes for some really fucked up juxtapositions.

The Teej did some mascot research. His primary finding: the Griffin still has no pants.

We're going to Canada!

Amidst more weed posts and some filler of pictures from foreign cultures, zman entitled a post, 'Vagina Kayak'.

Indonesia's new President is a metalhead. Rock on, archipelago.

Mark busted out a 'hatters gonna hat' post tag. Might be the year's best.

We all had a blissful Teej.


Mark's got some grey creeping into his beard. Which is still phenomenal.

Pop hired Becky Hammon, and KQ used the occasion to protest our commingling of processed meats and vaginas. Or something.

Jesus, we posted about weed again.

And we posted about NBA coaches again.

Sean Carter is a data scientist.

Shlara committed actual journalism

Jesus once more, zman posted about surgery again. Though 'Pour One Out for My Vas Deferens' is a pretty catchy headline.

Sad news about Jack Urbont's legal proceedings.

College football returned, and with it some top-notch prognostication**.

** - well, one of the notches, in any case.


The pearlfish swims up a sea cucumber's ass and eats its gonads.

Our resident adventure eater found testicles.

Squeaky gave us a concert guestie.

Clarence penned a moving 9/11 anniversary tribute to our lost friends.

Action Bronson's 'Fuck That's Delicious' may have been G:TB's favorite new show of the year.


Danimal doesn't mind looking like an idiot when he runs. Or does much of anything, really.

Mark's Dad is a hall of famer. Easily a top five post of the year for me. The other four are obviously things I wrote.

I said nice things about Derek Jeter.

Ryder Cup guestie from Triumph the Insult Comic Republican.


To be honest, I'm not really excited about the work we did in October. Do better, folks.

Nice Rock and Roll Hall of Fame/Gheorghies tribute by Clarence, though.

Marls explained our love/hate relationship with football. Or with Teri Hatcher and Dice Clay. Hard to tell, really.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones, maybe our best new music find of the year. We're not counting Run the Jewels, 'cause they're not new.

Hope sprung eternal in our Tribe hoops preview. Hope is a little less springy after a flawed 6-5 OOC start.

All Blacks > USA Eagles > Philadelphia Eagles.

My adidas.


We gave you the recipe for the secret sauce, then we proceeded to break out some excellent Top 10 music lists.

Mayhugh dropped sweet science.

Short Attention Span Book Reviews.

Excellent Meatloaf retrospective. Awful formatting effort. It's a wash.

Clarence Explains It All. And I just got the pun. Fuck.

Zman. The Bills. The Browns. A tradition unlike any other. Truly, though. Nobody else would do this once, let alone annually.

Hallelujah. Holy shit. Where's the Tylenol?

May you have a blessed 2015, and may the spirit of Gheorghemas be with you always.