Sunday, July 22, 2018

Our Man Jimmy Moran

We've talked about former William & Mary star Jimmy Moran here a handful of times over the years. Almost always, it's in the context of the ill-fated 1997-98 Tribe team that went 20-6 and tied for the CAA regular season title before losing in the first round of the conference tournament with Moran and all-league guard Randy Bracy (who, incidentally, is now a member of the Florida State Senate) hobbled by injuries. What might have been, friends. What might have been.

Moran went on to play for Gran Canaria in Spain for 10 seasons, becoming the first and still only player from that little island's team to have his number retired. In 2014, he became the Portland Trailblazers' assistant video coordinator, before being named a full-time assistant for the Blazers before the 2015-16 season. For the past two summers, Moran has coached Portland's NBA Summer League team.

And this summer, in what is certainly an omen - and I will brook no opposition to this point - Moran led the Summer Blazers to a championship.

Portland went undefeated in seven games in Las Vegas, capping their run with a 91-73 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in the championship game. KJ McDaniels scored 17 points and grabbed 7 boards, Wade Baldwin added 14 and 4, with 6 assists, and Caleb Swanigan filled the stat sheet with 6 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Obviously, Moran was the key. Here are his pre-summer-season thoughts about the team's priorities. Keep it simple, stupid always plays.



Moran leads the Blazers to a title. Marcus Thornton scored 14 today to help Armored Athlete advance to the second round of The Basketball Tournament.

It's all happening, Gheorghies.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Whaleplane? Whaleplane!

I've been a bad Gheorghie of late. I've forgotten our very simple charter, to seek joy in the world and promote it. So I'm pleased today to have seen something wild in the world that made me smile reflexively, and happy to share it with you.

Friends, I give you the Airbus BelugaXL cargo plane:


Look at that beautiful, goofy, flying whale!

Airbus says they built it to shuttle airplane parts between various manufacturing facilities in Europe. It can fit two Airbus 350 wings within its fuselage. I think they also built it to give our fucked up world something to smile about.

Sure worked for me.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

For Your Musical Edification

In attempting to learn everything about all music of all time, you come across corners of the 'sphere like this one, a YouTube station stop called Middle 8. I don't know what the name means, nor do I really care.  But they have begun issuing some quick-hit, information packed mini-videos that quench my ongoing thirst for the kind of knowledge my father terms "useless" and that ORF Rock listeners seem to appreciate.

The first one I watched was a subject I was mildly familiar with: the lawsuit of 90's meteor The Verve as issued by the Glimmer Twins.  When it happened, Mick and especially Keith snidely disparaged the theft of their old tune by Richard Ashcroft and his band The Verve for the latter's song "Bittersweet Symphony," and sued them in a way that crippled the band into extinction. I loosely knew about the case, and I knew both songs well, but for the life of me I could never ever hear any traces of the Stones' "The Last Time" in "Bittersweet Symphony."

As it turns out, there's a pretty fucked up reason why.  Check it out in a data-laden six minutes or so below:



You can't always get what you want, I guess, unless you are selfish pricks with lots of money and lawyers.

Like lighter fare in your filler?  Here's a good one.  The last two minutes of this are a bit of unnecessary sociological scat (as labeled by the Sociology major here) about the nature of sports gatherings and human interaction, but the first four or five minutes are overflowing with very cool information I did not know.



There are other Middle 8 vids about How Kanye West Inspired Bon Iver, Does Greta Van Fleet Sound Too Much Like Led Zeppelin, How Portugal. The Man Made A Radio Hit, and Arctic Monkeys Coming to America, but I haven't watched them yet.  Yet.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

...And Ned Beatty As Donald Trump

I'm perhaps second only to Teejay around these parts as someone averse to spending time on politics, and when I do it's pretty dumb.  So here goes.

There is exactly one thing that came to mind as I saw the footage of the much-assaulted Putin-Trump besties press conference yesterday.  And it's a movie scene from my adolescence.  Please watch this for couple of minutes and tell me this isn't exactly what went down in Helsinki when DJT was asked about the Russian election meddling..

(Because every political blogpost should feature Rodney Dangerfield.)


It could be argued that our President also has startling similarities to another Ned Beatty character in celluloid history, his Otis to Putin's Lex Luthor.

Now... if only Donald Trump could give us a spot-on all-time Ned Beatty scene from another entry in his filmography...

And finally, because Jon Stewart is seen as much on TV as he is in the College Delly these days, here is your "Moment of Zen."


Monday, July 16, 2018

Stuff You Slept On, Alternatively Titled "layzman's filler" -- zman Edition

You should check out "Done by the Forces of Nature" by The Jungle Brothers. Perhaps the coolest thing I ever did as social chair was put "Feelin' Alright" on a party mix--a bunch of Thetasfrom southwestern Virginia wearing pearl earrings and cardigans spontaneously started dancing to it even though they didn't know the song at all. One of them even went "Alright!" when she heard the singer go "Woo-oo-oooooo-oo-oo" at the beginning of the song. That's how good it is.



1989 was a banner year for influential albums: "Three Feet High and Rising" came out in March 1989, followed by "Paul's Boutique" in July, then "Done by the Forces of Nature" in November. All three, in my humble opinion, influenced the way people sample. For example:



And this:



It makes you wanna freaky-deaky, right?



Although the album was produced by DJ Red Alert, an East Coast stalwart, you can hear the West Coast influence in songs like "'U' Make Me Sweat," which sounds like early Dr. Dre:



You can also hear how this song sounds like "Belly Dancin' Dina," albeit much angrier:



The album also features a number of conscious Afrocentric songs like "Acknowledge Your Own History."



If you're just going to download one song, and, like Connell, you like your hiphop bangin, I suggest this:



Despite having 16 outstanding tracks, no one ever talks about this album, let alone listens to it. You can change this. Get the album now and rock it at your next BBQ--no swearing, no racial epithets, some sexual innuendo but it's oblique enough that prudes won't get it. How can you have a bad time when this is going on in the background?





Sunday, July 15, 2018

Official G:TB World Cup Final Preview

On paper, today's World Cup Final between France and Croatia appears to favor Les Bleus. One of the youngest teams in the tournament (tied with England, with only Nigeria sending a younger roster), France nonetheless boasts luminaries all over the pitch. From Atletico Madrid's sensational Antoine Griezmann and Chelsea's Olivier Giroud up top to the brilliant attacking athleticism of 19 year-old Kylian Mbappe to Paul Pogba's majestic presence and skill to the imposing central defense pairing of Samuel Umtiti and Raphael Verane and the flashy if not always consistent Hugo Lloris in the net, the French are deep, talented, and appropriately arrogant.

And I haven't even mentioned the best player in the world, N'golo Kante, France's diminutive
wrecking ball of a defensive midfielder, nemesis to attacking plans, coverer of more ground than kudzu, and radar-guided disruptor.

A tall order, then, for this gritty Croatian side.

The Balkans aren't lacking for talent of their own. Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic (key men for Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively) make up a formidable midfield, one that will test Kante's considerable engine. Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic scored the overtime goal against England that sent his country through to the final, and an amazing overhead tally in the 2017 Champions League Final. Liverpool center back Dejan Lovren anchors the Croatian defense.



France has built into the final, with a middling at best performance in the group stage that saw them lucky to beat Australia before going through. They trailed Argentina, 2-1, in the second half of the first knockout round match, until they flipped a switch and roared to three goals in 11 minutes. The French comprehensively dismantled a good Uruguay squad in the quarters before dominating a Belgium team that had played some of the tournament's best attacking soccer to reach the final. The French are coming off of consecutive shutouts in games where Lloris really hasn't had all that much to do. They appear, in the best sense, imperious.

Rakitic, Modric, Frenemies
The gritty Croatians, on the other hand, have had to go to extra time in each of their three knockout stage matches after cruising through the group. They eliminated Denmark in a shootout, then did the same to host Russia after conceding a goal with three minutes to play in the second extra time period. Then, after going down early to England, Croatia found an equalizer in the second half and won the game on Mandzukic's goal. They dominated the Three Lions for the better part of the game's latter stages. They've been tested far more sternly than their finals opponents. The question is whether their legs will hold up against a young, fast, physical team.

For much of their semifinal game, England's quicksilver Raheem Sterling gave the bulky but slow Croatian back line fits with his pace. Mbappe might be the fastest player in the tournament, and Griezmann doesn't lack for speed.

Croatia is much closer to Romania than in France, so Gheorghe's positive energy may play a role, but it's not all that close, so the power may be muted. My kids have been in France this week, which means nothing, but it's interesting. They're in Italy now, so, really, no impact there.

France are an overwhelming favorite to win, at -210 on the money line (bet $210 to win $100), while Croatia are at +175 (bet $100 to win $175). I've been trying to find ways to credibly pick the underdog, but I can't convince myself of anything other than a France win. Croatia will likely sit back and absorb pressure, try to put bodies on Mbappe, clog up the central midfield and limit Pogba's influence, and hope to get Modric free on the counterattack to create. It could well be an ugly affair.

And when it's over, a young French team will lift the trophy. Which should scare everyone else over the next cycle or two - they're young, skilled, and really good.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Serious as Serious Can Be

I've spent a fair amount of time in my hometown over the past three weeks. It's a 30 to 45 minute drive each way so the trip gives me plenty of time to listen to music. zson accompanied me on one or two of these trips and he has a bizarre musical palate for a seven-year-old--I suspect no one else in his class gets in the car and demands LCD Soundsystem or The King Khan and BBQ Show songs by name. Lately he's into Jane's Addiction and we were listening to "Nothing's Shocking" as we pulled into Teaneck. Driving around town listening to this album made me feel particularly maudlin, as it pulled up memories of time spent inebriated with friends twenty-five-plus years ago. Then "Summertime Rolls" came on.



For a second, the line "It's oh so serious, as serious as can be" made me think of the serious state of things around me, but then I snapped out of it. This is a goddamn love song about summertime love, the one of the most fleeting and youthful things on earth. It isn't serious!



I realized I needed to lighten up, remember the Gheorghe mission statement, and try to take things in stride. So from the depths of my iTunes library, here are a bunch of fun songs about summer to help you (or at least me) get through the rest of June.










I used to know how to make yootoob videos turn into a playlist in an embedded player but clearly I don't remember how. No matter! It isn't worth fretting over. Just enjoy the tunes.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Good Job. Good Effort.

I leave tomorrow morning for three kid-free days in the Virginia Piedmont. Before I do, though I couldn't pass up the opportunity to share this with you.

In this image, Billie Joe Armstrong hugs a reporter. Probably.
I'm a big fan of The Washington Post. It's unquestionably one of America's best newspapers, and it's consistently good across all of its sections.  Though I no longer get the daily version in physical form, I do get an actual paper on Sundays. And perusing the Sunday Post (in this order: Sports, Business, Outlook, Style, Front Page) remains one of the simple pleasures of my week.

Today, though, Ben Bradlee spun in his grave.

In a story about a campaign in England to get Green Day's 'American Idiot' to the top of the UK pop charts in advance of President* Trump's visit to London, the Post cited an article written by Billie Joe Armstrong on ClickHole. As noted by The A.V. Club, ClickHole is affiliated with the Onion, which we all know (well, most of us know, and one Post reporter definitely knows now) is a satirical website, and as such, really does print fake news. The A.V. Club goes further in assisting the Post in checking the veracity of its sources, offering the following advice:
  • "Generally, reputable news sources end in a .com or .org web address. Beware bizarrely complicated domains. For example, nbcnews.com is real, whereas nbcnews.com.co.net would be bullshit.
  • If you’re not sure if a site is real, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the “about us” link. Many faux news sites, even completely unfunny ones, say they’re “satire” in their mastheads.
  • Google is your friend. If you see an image you think might be Photoshopped, do a reverse image search. You can also search fact-checking sites like factcheck.org, politifact.com, or that old reliable, snopes.com, to verify dubious-sounding assertions or statistics.
  • ClickHole is part of the Onion family of websites, of which only the site you are reading right now deals in non-joke information".
This will NOT help the mainstream media and right-thinking America win the fake news battle. Of that I'm quite sure. 

And now, off to get drunk and try to forget the world.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Anthem to a layoff / Appreciating 80's Clapton

Image result for unemployed gif

As most of you have heard, I was laid off in mid-March. It was for the best, to be honest. I hated my 60 y/o boss and her 60 y/o boss, both of whom enjoyed screaming and yelling at subordinates in a toxic, bureaucratic, heavily political atmosphere.  It was a bad match, like when you realize you have a boyfriend/girlfriend who is totally crazypants and you need to get out, despite the reasonable paycheck/sex. I needed them to break up with me for a couple specific reasons, and it happened. Life is too short for that nonsense.

With that said, it has not been a great time to be an out-of-work Wall Streeter. The model is changing for my industry, and not for the better. I looked hard at other industries and other cities, and even went to a franchise convention. Hooters was there! Not sure the wifey would love that one.

While unemployed, I was able to get to the gym quite a bit, because no job. So I had that going for me. As a creature of habit, I set a nice routine. I job-seeked (job-sought?) in the morning, ate a keto lunch at 1130, hit the gym at 1 and scooped kids from school at 3, often seeing my pal Zman there.

I realized one day in May that I was playing the same song every day on my five-minute drive to the gym without intentionally realizing it. It was a song I stumbled onto the previous winter, an 80's Clapton tune that I first heard Deep Tracks play on Sirius. I have come to realize I am a bit of a sucker for 80's Clapton. I love Forever Man, and will admit that when I was a kid watching Spacecamp, I registered the scene where bad boy junior astronaut Tate Donovan rolls into camp in a Jeep cranking that song. I remember thinking that was very cool. I finally got a Jeep in 2001, but I'm not sure I ever cranked Clapton while peeling into space camp.

(If you want to see the scene that I remembered, go to the 4:09 part of this clip here. It does not really hold up. I was not cool at age 11 and did not realize that aspiring to be like Chris Knight from Real Genius was not a valid life goal.)

Anyhoo, the tune that became my unemployement anthem, the one I cranked on my way to the gym every day, is Ain't Going Down, from Clapton's 1983 album Money and Cigarettes. I can't tell you why it resonated with me like it did, but messages like we're all lucky to be alive, and I still got something left to say hit a mark.

That song reminded me to stay humble and focused in my search, as I sought to keep providing for myself and three other important people in my life. After a couple months of keto lunches, pec wailing and job searching, I linked up with a former boss and former colleague who did not know I was on the beach. There was some mutual courting, and things came together quickly and cleanly, allowing me a couple more weeks off and a quick family vacation.

So enjoy the song below. And do yourself a favor and be kind to the next decent person who tells you they are out of a job. You can take the measure of a man/woman by the way they respond to you when you tell them you are unemployed and want to have a chat with them.



I think I will play this song on my commute on Monday morning, but maybe not again for a while after that. Thanks Eric. And thank you, Spacecamp, even though you tried to pretend Lea Thompson and Kelly Preston were unattractive nerds.

Friday, July 06, 2018

Gheorghasbord

It's pouring buckets here on the lake, and I'm going just a tiny bit stir crazy, so you're the winner, gentle reader.

Just two days before host country Russia takes on heavily favored Croatia in the quarterfinals of the World Cup, an interesting bit of business news from the Balkans. Troubled Croatian retail food conglomerate Agrokor agreed to sell a 47% stake to a group of Kremlin-backed banks as part of a restructuring designed to get the company back on solid financial footing. Agrokor's revenues
represent 15% of Croatia's GDP, and the firm's 60,000 employees make it the largest privately-held employer in the region.

The timing here is...interesting. 15% of Croatia's economy is in Russian hands on the eve of a huge international sporting competition between the two countries. Maybe we'll see a curious series of just-off touches by Luka Modric, or a suspiciously awkward foul by Dejan Lovren in a crucial situation (that'll probably happen regardless). Putin's a damn mastermind.

Scott Pruitt, arguably the most corrupt member of the Trump administration (and what a hell of a titanic accomplishment that is), resigned. I don't have a joke to make here. I'm just amazed that someone so transparently engaged in grift and mendacity lasted as long as he did. Unfortunately, his successor, Andrew Wheeler, is a coal lobbyist and protege of Oklahoma Senator and noted insane person and climate change denier Jim Inhofe. So, less corruption, more competently executed planet rape.

Here's a poetic justice headline, non-Pruitt category: "Lions killed poachers, leaving behind shoes, rifles and 'not much' else, officials say". Three dudes who were up to no good started making trouble in the Sibuya Game Reserve in South Africa, armed and heavily-provisioned, and apparently looking to slaughter the Reserve's population of rhinos. A pride of lions, described by Reserve head Nick Fox as "our watchers and guardians", went all Scooby Doo on the meddlesome villains, only slightly more violently. Said Fox, "They picked the wrong pride and became a meal".

This bodes well for England, for what it's worth. Three Lions, and all that.

A headline of a far different sort: "Spiders Can Fly Hundreds of Miles Using Electricity". We live in an age of electrified arachnids? Fuck it, man. Let Andrew Wheeler have his way and burn the whole planet down. Earth 2 has to be a nicer place.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

America Filler

I'm on a mini-walkabout, sorta trying to disconnect from the realish world with family on a lake in Ohio. And I've been trying for a while to write something that encapsulates a coherent philosophical framework that explains how I view the world and our place in it. Trying, but failing.

Until I figure it out, in recognition of our need to feed the tree of Gheorgheness with the blood of new content, here's something I posted on Twitter yesterday that I'll return to over and over again. This is how I think about America:

I think of patriotism like I think of parenting. I love my kids fiercely, and I get pissed off when they fail to do the right thing. I love my country fiercely, and I get pissed off when it fails to do the right thing. Expecting more of America doesn't make me less of a patriot.

God bless America. May she actually be what we believe she already is.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Baby You're a Firework

I am, by most measures, a cautious and conventional person. I've a house in the suburbs. I drive a Camry with 215,000 miles on it. I work for a giant multinational corporation, safely salaried with all the necessary benefits. College funds for my kids and a modest but growing nest egg.

As we've discussed numerous times in these pages, I've got tons of ideas and no follow-through. You guys remember Gheorghe: The Book, right? And the Mini Cooper that I first started talking about 10 years ago? (Zman has me pointed towards a Miata now. Maybe when my kids graduate college.) And I've been threatening to get a tattoo for years, but i really don't know how serious I actually was for most of that time. It sounded cool, anyway.

I did jump out of an airplane. That was pretty badass.

But as this anything but a pirate looked at 50, struck by the cliche desire to break out of the deepening ruts of convention (and to get the hell away from the news), I took a risk this week. And even this symbolic risk, doing something that used to be the exclusive province of rebels that's become common among housewives and hipsters alike, is meaningful to me, a consummate rule-follower.

I did this:


As I explained a few months ago, my father took to repeating the phrase 'it is what it is' while he was battling cancer, in hopes of deflecting people's concerns. He hated to be pitied, and he didn't like attention all that much, so he adopted a mantra that let him dictate the terms of engagement. I've worn a bracelet with that saying since he passed in November 2010.

I recorded my daughters saying 'it is what is is' on my phone, then I used the audio file to create an image using Soundviz.com:

When I shared it with my tattoo guru, Mark, he told me that particular design might be tough to do at the size I desired, given the fine lines and detail. He encouraged me to consult with a tattoo artist to see how it might be executed.

And when I first met Corey Wheeler at The Body Gallery in my town, he said he could do it, but only if I wanted the tattoo to span my entire back. I'm not quite there yet, so I asked him to play with it and see what he could do. I'd seen lots of his work online, and I like his informal, almost watercolor style, so I put my arm in his hand. Literally.

When he showed me his revised design, my first reaction was, 'man, that's a little bit bigger than I wanted'. My second, 'fuck it, take a risk for once'. I'm really glad I did.

As the process started, Corey was a bit quiet, working methodically on the outline of the image. As he started to fill in the coloring, he became more and more animated. First, 'this looks really fucking cool', then 'I've never done a piece like this - it's fucking badass' (note: really glad he didn't say that until we were almost done), to almost giddy by the end, calling over his colleagues to look at it. He seemed really proud of the work (he posted it on his Instagram feed a couple of hours later), and I was struck by the sense that I was watching an artist create. That part of the experience was entirely unexpected, and one of the things I'll remember the most.


My 16 year-old daughter was blown away. My sister said it looks like a firework display (and it kinda does). My wife, skeptical of the notion, digs it.

As for me, I'm still coming to terms with this 'new' image, the tattooed hipster dad (as my 14 year-old dubbed me). The design extends beyond the cuff of my dress shirts when I roll them up, as is my custom, so I guess I'm not hiding it at work. I hope that the symbolism will stay with me as I make decisions, even as it reminds me of both my Dad and my kids.

In any case, I'm glad I broke my pattern. I'm really happy with the art, and as much so with the fact that I followed through.

Now I just need to figure out what to put on the other arm. For balance, you know.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

"You Put Out a Paper. It's What You Do."

I wrote 'Fuck civility' the other day in the wake of the shootings at The Capital Gazette. Our friend Dave Fairbank has a much more personal perspective on the events of that afternoon. In an email he sent me expanding on his thoughts, he said this," Good journalists are terrified of making mistakes. I can't tell you how many times I woke up in the middle of the night afraid that I'd botched a score or misspelled a name. I'd fire up the laptop and check. I nearly always had it right, and I was miserable if I didn't." Most of the people using the media as red meat to fire up their political base know this to be true, and they choose to inflame regardless. Sad and shitty and stupid, these times of ours.

I've been sad and angry the past couple of days, courtesy of two of my least favorite aspects of present American society: mass shootings and contempt for journalists. Five people were killed at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Md., on Thursday afternoon, and it felt a little like family had died.

I was a newspaper reporter for almost 35 years. I grew up south of Annapolis, and the Capital is my hometown paper. I worked at the Capital as a part-time sports writer for a couple of years after college, trying to assemble enough clips and experience to land a full-time newspaper gig.

I knew none of the victims personally, but in 30 years at the Newport News (Va.) Daily Press, I'm certain that I shared press boxes and press rooms with John McNamara, who covered University of Maryland athletics for many years.

I love newspapers. What I love most about newspapers is newspaper people. Yeah, we can be selectively thin-skinned, and we sometimes devote way too much time and ink (pixels?) to ourselves. But most newspaper folks are bright and curious and quirky and committed. We discovered an outlet that allows us to be nosy and informative and occasionally entertaining for a living. Most of us work long hours for crappy pay in a business where they're throwing people overboard like they're auditioning for "Pirates of the Caribbean." And yet we come back every day because we yearn to tell stories and to make a difference in our communities.

That came through as I read about the victims. McNamara was a jack-of-all-trades who had an almost encyclopedic knowledge of local sports. He could write, edit and design pages, and was capable of covering most anything. He was described by one reporter as funny and humane and "a thoroughly decent person."

Rob Hiassen, brother of longtime Miami Herald columnist and novelist Carl Hiassen, was a big-hearted, award-winning feature writer who often found peculiar angles and subjects. He then became an editor and was much respected for nurturing young reporters.

Wendi Winters wrote her way onto the staff as an earnest and prolific freelancer. She studied fashion design in college and ran her own boutique in New York City before moving to the Annapolis area 20 years ago. She immediately started writing for the Capital, where she became invaluable.

Rebecca Smith was a sales assistant and a relatively recent hire at the paper, praised for her efficiency, heart and humor.

Editorial page writer Gerald Fischman was described as the conscience of the paper and the community for more than two decades. He was a quiet, exceptionally learned fellow who often communicated with colleagues via post-it notes and met his wife, a Mongolian opera singer, online.
So damn sad. I feel a twinge when any journalist is killed. But these weren't journalists in a war zone or some banana republic. They were in Annapolis, for Christ's sake. They were in a newsroom doing their jobs when a troubled asshole with a vendetta against the paper shattered their world.

The hell of it is, the alleged shooter had no gripe with any of his victims. His beef with the paper goes back to a 2011 column that called him out for stalking and harassing a former high school classmate, a woman. He sued the paper, unsuccessfully. Neither the columnist nor the publisher, who he frequently blasted by name on social media, is at the paper any longer. The publisher is retired and lives in Naples, Fla. The columnist now works at the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot.

Certainly, the alleged shooter knew that, since he told a judge during one hearing that his legal actions against the paper had become his life. Still, it didn't dissuade him. He reportedly armed up, went to the newspaper offices Thursday afternoon and barricaded the rear exit door to prevent escape. He then went around to the front, blasted the glass doors and walked through the newsroom, shooting and reloading his shotgun. Fortunately, police arrived within a minute of the first 911 call and were in the building within two minutes, or the death toll likely would have been much greater.

That's where the anger comes in. Another day, another mass shooting in America. Thoughts and prayers. Too soon to talk about possible fixes. Fades away. Until the next one. Lather, rinse, repeat.
The fact that the alleged shooter had a specific grudge against the paper supposedly meant that the act wasn't politically motivated. He wasn't some patriot targeting the lib'rul media.

Maybe not. But you don't think that a president who routinely bashes the press might implicitly validate reaching for a Glock in an increasingly divided country with 300 million guns and ready access to firearms? He said Friday that journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being attacked while doing their jobs. Sorry, Chuckles, you don't spend years calling the press "enemies of the people" and using them as stage props at your rallies and then get a pass for a few comforting words in the wake of a massacre.

Bashing the press pisses me off, as well. Sure, there are reporters and outlets with agendas. But most journalists are grinding in the trenches, doing their damnedest to get it right. They could barely organize a decent softball game, never mind operate within vast media conspiracies.

Heartbreaking as it was to see Thursday unfold, I was proud of the Capital staffers' response. Shaken to their cores, they still got back to work. It's something I've seen and experienced at newspapers all over the country. Floods, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, mass shootings, unfathomable tragedies. Doesn't matter. You put out a paper. It's what you do.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Fuck Civility

There's been a lot of talk lately about civility. Fuck civility. Civility got us Neil Gorsuch. Civility gets us one party steamrolling every political and civic norm we used to say we held dearly while the other party clutches its pearls and tries not to offend, lest it be called uncivil.

Marco Rubio tweeted about civility this morning.



Fuck Marco Rubio. Here's what he was referring to, an interview with Annapolis Capital Gazette writer Selene San Felice after she'd seen colleagues killed and feared for her life. In it, she says, “Our whole lives have been shattered. So thanks for your prayers, but I couldn’t give a fuck about them if there’s nothing else.”




You'll forgive me if I seem angry. I am angry. I'm angry almost all the time these days. It's not healthy, I realize. But it helps, sometimes, to say fuck. And so I'm not going to stop.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Buy Mike's Paul Newman!

My father-in-law, Mike, about whom I wrote previously, died on June 20. This was expected but sad nonetheless. Mike was very much a participant, rather than an observer, in the game of life. As a result we are fortunate to have tons of "Mike stories" to remember him by.

And we're in the process of generating one more Mike story! TR threw a party for his son's first communion last month, where I wound up talking watches with a mutual friend as well as FOG:TB Juan Carlos. I mentioned Mike's watch, a Paul Newman Daytona, and our family's interest in selling it without getting ripped off. Turns out both guys know the head of Christie's watch group and he lives around the corner from zfamily. They put us in touch and the watch expert is a fantastic guy. I brought the watch to his house, he verified it isn't a fugazi, and it will be auctioned online starting June 28 through July 12. They even took some nifty glamour shots.


Remarkably, it appears to have the highest estimated value of any lot in the auction. Not too bad for a $295 purchase that was worn daily for 40-some-odd years.

You can follow Mike's watch here. Feel free to bid--you can use a credit card! The whole zfamily hopes the auction results in one more awesome Mike story.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

This Week in Wrenball: Viva Le Tribe

It's early summer, and we find ourselves equidistant from the promise that comes with the beginning of the next Tribe hoops season and the familiar resignation of early March. In other words, it's not the customary time to talk Wrenball.

But when two of our throughlines intersect, we can't help but notice.

According to its Wikipedia entry, Le Mans Sarthe Basket, commonly known as MSB or Le Mans, is a professional basketball club that is from the city of Le Mans, France. The team plays in the French League and internationally in the Basketball Champions League.

After finishing third in the regular season in France's top division with a 21-13 record, MSB reached the finals against regular season champion Monaco. The top seed featured former Georgia star Gerald Robinson and Ohio State sparkplug Aaron Craft. Le Mans was led by FOGTB and FOLebron James Romeo Travis, Tennessee product Chris Lofton, and featured W&M's own Terry Tarpey as a reserve guard.

And in a hard-fought five game series, the underdogs from Le Mans prevailed, winning 76-74 in the deciding fifth and final game to capture the championship.

Travis scored a team-leading 14 points in the clincher. Tarpey was injured, and missed the tournament, but he's got a ring.

In Tarpey's first year in the French top division, he put up numbers that looked a lot like his collegiate box scores. He did a little bit of everything in the 26 games he entered (of a total of 47), averaging 6.8 points on 42.6% shooting (39.3% from three - a noteworthy improvement from his time in Williamsburg), led Le Mans in steals with 1.3 per game, was second on the squad with 4.8 boards, and added 2.0 assists and 0.4 blocks. And despite the fact he wasn't a starter, he was fourth on MSB with 23.6 minutes/game.

Not bad for the second guy from W&M to bond with Romeo Travis.


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Fuckmooks to the Barricades

I came here this evening to finish a cathartic and ultimately impotent post about our current political environment. It wouldn't have done much, but it would've been a marker to posterity about where I stood at this particular moment in time. I'll complete it in a day or two, but I'm kinda drunk, and I came across the most epic of Twitter ragestorms from a wordsmith of the first order, and I believe his words must be recorded in the event the Praetorians guarding the high castles of social media riches scrub them from our collective memory.

There's so much here. The outrage is real and justified. It's an indictment of the elevation of economic value over humanity. It's a celebration of the versatility of the language a communication method and a cudgel - can you imagine that we lived in a world without the word 'fuckmook' before today? It's rage against power subservient to power. It's fucking beautiful and it's awful and it makes me sad and it makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.

I just got done telling my kids over a gut-filling meal of fajitas and margaritas (the latter for me and my wife, not the teenagers) that they have an obligation to stand up for people less powerful, less visible, less white. And I came home to find out that even people like David Simon get silenced, even if only for a week.

The road ahead, my friends, is paved with peril. Don't be fuckmooks.





Thursday, June 21, 2018

Give the People What They Want

Back in simpler times, we used to make a big deal of the NBA Draft here in Gheorgheville. Some of our longest and most entertaining comment threads were inspired by the annual talent distribution/fashion show extravaganza. As our resident expert, Mark used to gin up cogent and contrarian analysis of the players on offer for the league's clubs.

While we remain simple men (the women, far more complex and interesting), times change. And the amount of time we have to spend on frivolous pursuits has diminished. Or we've just drifted to different frivolous pursuits. Fucking Twitter.

Times change, but the draft remains a constant. So join in this evening so you can hear me sing the praises of this year's Draymond Green - still the best call I've ever made on draft day - and so we can all relish the sartorial excesses of this year's class. Got a long way to go to top Jalen Rose.


Our lord and savior Gheorghe on draft night:


Samaki's sartorial splendor:


And the man most likely to throw the whole thing into chaos early...


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Summit, Dammit

If the mountain wouldn't come to Muhammad, then Muhammad resolved to go to the mountain.

G:TB has one up on ol' Mo.

After repeatedly pledging to convene an actual summit of Gheorghies at CAA Men's Basketball Tournaments held in various locales, with mostly good intentions, and nearly always reneging on those pledges (there have been a couple of near-exceptions, where a couple of us made our way to Richmond, or Baltimore), the Colonial Athletic Association has seen the light.

The CAA needs more Gheorghies, and the league is moving its feature event in order to attract us.

Beginning with the 2020 CAA Tournament, the league will host the event in Washington, DC, at the nearly-completed St. Elizabeth's East Entertainment and Sports Arena (SEEESA - they're not using that acronym, but I'll find a way to add a W and make it work) in Southeast. The 4,200-seat home of the Mystics (and the Capital City Go Go) snagged the CAA deal as its first-ever collegiate event.

Setting aside my obvious personal geographical affinity for the move, it also makes a ton of sense for the league. D.C. is essentially smack dab in the middle of the CAA footprint, 438 miles from Boston (northernmost league member Northeastern) and 506 miles from Charleston. It's within a three-hour (ish) drive of half the league's teams, and a relatively easy day's journey for all ten schools.

The move is also an acknowledgement by the CAA of its status in the pecking order. Last year more than 8,000 fans showed up for the title game in Charleston, but rumor has it that the league gave away more than half of those tickets, even as the host team made it to the championship. In a 4,200-seat arena, the odds are much better that the league will have a full, vibrant venue for its games.

We'll do our part to make it so when the Tribe's in the house. 2020 will be Nathan Knight's senior season, and we'll be in the SEEESAW, riding a roller coaster of emotions as the Commodore leads our guys to the NCAA Tournament.

And hell, while we're dreaming, we've got one more year to get together in Charleston at the 2019 CAA Tournament. See y'all there.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Got my Mind Set on Wanting to Rock


(Before you read, here's the gist of this nonsensical post: Which phrase is repeated more in a song - "I wanna rock" in Twisted Sister's song of that name, or "set on you" in George Harrison's "Got My Mind Set on You?" Think about it, make guesses and then read on to find the answer!)

Well yes, I am having a fine Father's Day. Thank you for asking. The recipe for success started with not having much scotch lying around the house on Saturday night. One nightcap and a 10:30 PM bed time made it easy to hit the gym when it opened at 7 AM Sunday morning. I did some nautilus and then decided to hit the bagel shop to buy breakfast for the rest of the fam (I'm off carbs, so no delicious bagels for me, unfortunately).

It was a beautiful morning, and I had the windows down in the car when leaving the gym. I dial-flicked to Ozzy's Boneyard just as Twisted Sister's "I Wanna Rock" came on. It was the perfect mindless tune for my five-minute drive. As I drove, I couldn't help but notice that Dee Snider pretty much just says "I Wanna Rock" over and over again, as well as saying "I WANT to Rock". Once you focused in on it, it was comical.

It reminded me of one early 90's song where the lead singer just repeats the title/chorus over and over again. That song, of course, is George Harrison's "Got My Mind Set on You," a shit-burger of epic proportions that ran heavily on MTV when i was in high school.


Because it's Father's Day and I finished my morning chores (fed family, watered flowers/bushes, walked the dog we are dogsitting, set up sprinkler in back yard), I decided to count the repeated phrases in each song, It is such an inane and pointless mission that it is perfect fodder for this fine blog.

We'll start first with I Wanna Rock. I decided to include both "I Want to Rock" and "I Wanna Rock" as acceptable because they're both conveying the message that Dee Snider wants to rock. I loved this album a lot when it came out. I think I can sing along to every song, including the terrible power ballad "The Price" and the creepy "Captain Howdy." I may not have loved this band as much as Marls though, given he owned a double-live CD of the band. I love him for owning that. Strong Island pride indeed.

Turns out Dee Snider says that phrase 26 times in the song, an average of once every 7.1 seconds. I know, it would be cooler if the song was five seconds shorter. C'est la vie. But the message is clear. Dee wants to rock.



Turning to the Harrison tune, we faced a quandary. Do we count only the full "got my mind set on you" or do we also include when he (or the backup singers) simply say "set on you?" We decided to just focus on "set on you."  Turns out Harrison and his posse of sadness utter that phrase 26 times as well, an average of once every 8.9 seconds.



So there you have it. Go on and impress family, friends and lovers with this knowledge. Happy Father's Day.


Happy Fathers Day

To all you brothers from another mother who happen to be fathers. I thought it might be appropriate to post something from the Godfather of Soul. Pay attention Dave, you can use these moves at your next pub night.


Saturday, June 16, 2018

And You Thought Filler Was Lazy

We usually try to write things in complete sentences, at least most of the time. But this morning, it's all experimental bloggery. In an effort to not lose the news cycle, and to celebrate what I think is an amazing record, herewith the notes, ephemera, and rapid scribblings that came from my keyboard when I listened to Neko Case play the songs from her new album, Hell-On.

if you thought i wasn't going to write about a new neko case record, you're crazy, man

speaking of 'man'. that's the first song she played in a live set at Littlefield in Brooklyn. but everything after that came from her new record, 'hell on'.

'god is a lusty tire fire' - title track. operatic, theatrical. 'i'm an agent of the natural world' - a damn force of nature.

there is no voice in the world like neko's. slate calls it 'her lonesome mesa of a voice'

'chipped my tooth on an engagement ring/and that's bad luck' bad luck

'i left home and faked my i.d./i fucked every man i wanted to be' curse of the i-5 corridor - epic tale

the guardian calls it "a pitch-perfect roar of female defiance"

gumball blue, written with carl newman, new pornos autobiography

winnie/gorgeous ode to women warriors 'i wanted to be her sailor's tattoo'

Friday, June 15, 2018

Say, That's Not Peter Cetera

Summertime is here again, our just about, and with that comes a bevy of music festivals, countrywide rock tours, and summer shows in each of the gheorghies' respective homelands.  I implore you people: go out and take in some live music, then blog about it at GTB.  I love to read about what you guys are listening to and the shows you see.

Some of you ask: what shows are out there?

Go here:  Pollstar.  Individual band pages are worthy but take longer to sift through.  Other sites exist and are fine (Bandsintown, JamBase, etc.) But Pollstar has been my go-to for a long time, and you can search by city, venue, or band quickly and easily.

So, what should these good people see?

Whatever you want! And if what you want is to see a big-name act that costs more than it should and you're stuck in row YY or at the back of the lawn and you're watching the band on a screen and they look like Fisher-Price figures, at the very least... at the very least... they should be the band you intended to see.

What the hell does that mean, Whitney?

Okay, forgive the rant, but there is a growing trend I'm seeing wherein older bands of prior popularity are touring the globe with a hodgepodge of musicians who were not a part of the original incarnation of the band.  Sometimes those stand-ins have replaced vital elements without whom, this really isn't the same band, now is it? But you see no asterisks or disclaimers.  And it's crap.

Obviously, things happen in the course of the life of a musical act.  People die.  People fight and leave.  People go solo.  People just get tired.

Obviously, there are some slots in the roster of a given band that could be filled by just about anyone.  For Random Idiots, that was 2nd pots/pans player.  Scott MacDonald took Jason Elliott's spot there for "Dr. Seuss" because Elliott was on the john or talking to his girlfriend or something.  Nothing was lost, and the rest is history, of sorts.

But when either the role that is replaced is a major one, or the talent that is lost is formative and foundational to the band, please don't ask the listening audience to just nod along like it's the same ol' same ol'.  It's not.

Lead singers are tough to replace, fair or not.  When Brian Johnson replaced Bon Scott, AC/DC recorded an amazing classic album's worth of material before hitting the road.  A quick switch of Brian as Bon just wouldn't have worked. Talking Heads cannot continue without David Byrne. It would rob the public of what they paid to expect.  Say what you will about Dead and Company, but at least they aren't out there peddling the name Grateful Dead without Jerry.  Without John Fogerty, the rest of the dudes took to Creedence Clearwater Revisited. It's about truth in advertising.



Here we go.  I've taken the liberty of doing some work for you. I'm taking a look at the landscape of summer tours and letting you know which are the real deals, which are close enough, and which are pale facsimiles for which you should be paying knock-off prices.

To preface this, I include an interview from Derek Trucks after Gregg Allman died. Keep an eye out for the subtle dig:
Trucks closed the book on the Allman Brothers Band forever after the deaths of both Allman and his uncle, who died in January. "You can't have an Allman Brothers gig without an Allman brother," Trucks said. "I've heard people try to argue that you can, but I'm not buying it. If [late band co-founder] Duane [Allman]'s not there, Gregg certainly better be there. There are a few bands out there right now that are using names that maybe shouldn't be. That's another discussion." 
This is that discussion.  Here goes.

Lynyrd Skynyrd
Hey, boys, if your ears were ringing, it's because you are the A#1 band out there that's using a name you maybe shouldn't be.  Ronnie Van Zant and Steve and Cassie Gaines died in one of rock's greatest tragedies. Ronnie's voice and lyrics were at the core of every Skynyrd song. After a 10-year hiatus, a handful of the survivors reformed as Lynyrd Skynyrd.  Maybe shouldn't have. Ronnie's little brother Johnny has manned the mic since. Through the years, original members have faded to the point where it's only guitarist Gary Rossington left.  Admire the perseverance, but it's not Skynyrd and if even one unknowing ticket-buyer thinks they're getting the original... hell, maybe they deserve what they get at this point. Anyway...  Verdict: Cover Band.

Fleetwood Mac
Last month the band announced that Lindsey Buckingham was no longer a part of the band. Okay, so the band has had numerous lineup shifts throughout its 50-year career, and maybe you were big fans of the Peter Green or Bob Welch eras of the band with hits like "Black Magic Woman" and "Albatross." You weren't. The core lineup since' 75 of Fleetwood/McVie x 2/Buckingham/Nicks was a hit machine for a brief moment, and they are a terrific live act to see.  But Buckingham is a living genius and the heart of too many of those hits. He and Nicks left the band in the late 80's, and the number of people that attended Mac shows without them you could fit on a single school bus.  And they were disappointed.  Stevie is there, but without Lindsey, leave it be.  Verdict: Not the Same.

Weezer
Their songs have faded into dreck, but I've seen Rivers Cuomo and Co. in recent years. Still good, 3/4 intact, and Cuomo is most everything to Weezer. Verdict: Good to Go.

Pixies
Pixies were a band most (included me) missed seeing in their original stint ('87-'92).  I did catch them when they reformed in 2004, and they were great.  Black Francis still leads the band around the country, (now with Weezer in tow) but there's one problem.  Kim Deal left the band 5 years ago this week.  There's a reason the Dandy Warhols sang "Cool as Kim Deal." Her voice, her bass, her cool.  An irreparable divot. Verdict: Not the Same.

Steely Dan
A two man classic.  Fagen and Becker.  Becker and Fagen. Walter Becker died in September. To tour again as the Dan without him there?  Verdict: Eat Bat Prick

Guns N' Roses
It's simple.  Axl, Slash, and Duff is good enough.  Axl and Buckethead and whoever else? You're crazy. They have the core together right now, so go see 'em before they implode again. Verdict: Good to Go.

Eagles
A strong assemblage of talent from their earliest days, but Henley and Frey were at the center.  Minus Glenn Frey, the best days of the Eagles are already gone. Verdict: Not the Same.

Stone Temple Pilots
Name someone in this band beyond Scott Weiland.  He died. Verdict: Not the Same.

Alice in Chains
I grant you, you can likely name Jerry Cantrell.  But Layne Staley meant too much to the band.  Verdict: Not the Same.

Styx
Tommy Shaw and a couple of others are in.  Dennis DeYoung and Mr. Roboto are out. Verdict: Not the Same, but do any of you guys really give a crap?

ZZ Top
All present and accounted for, sir.  Verdict: Good to go.

Def Leppard
Lead guitarist Steve Clark died of alcohol poisoning when the elder gheorgies (excepting Monsignor KQ) were in college poisoning themselves with alcohol, and Rick Allen is missing an arm, but otherwise they're the same.  Verdict: Close enough.

Journey
Wow, this one is interesting.  Dude, if you love Journey, and more people than ever seem to, go see Arnel Pineda. The sound is extraordinarily similar, and Steve Perry ain't walking back through that door. Verdict: Good to go.

The Who
Keith Moon died 40 years ago.  The Ox 16 years ago.  Daltrey and Townshend are all-timers among all-timers and worthy, though.  Verdict: Legit.

Little Feat
Lowell George 1945-1979.  Enough said.  Verdict: Cover Band.

The English Beat
Dave Wakeling is still the voice, and that counts for a lot. Verdict: Good enough.

Cheap Trick
Amazingly, mostly intact. Touring with "Skynyrd." More authentic. Verdict: Good to go.

Foghat
Also touring with "Skynyrd" this summer. Only the drummer from the original lineup. Verdict: Cover Band.

Violent Femmes
2/3 together. Vitally importantly -- with Gordon Gano.  Verdict: Good to go.

Phish
Simple.  They are still the same dudes.   Verdict: Good to go.

Chicago
Rob's first concert featured Peter Cetera and the gang. Now it's just the gang. Verdict: Not the same.

REO Speedwagon
Mostly still together, Kevin Cronin still singing. Roll with the non-changes. Verdict: Good to go.

Steel Pulse
David Hinds and Selwyn Brown and a newer crew. Get behind me Satan. Verdict: Good enough.

The Wailers
Debatable, a pale imitation of their former leader, but at least Family Man Barrett is there.  Verdict: Eh.

U2
Just kidding. Some things never change. Verdict: Duh. Good to go.

10,000 Maniacs
Natalie Merchant left during the Clinton administration. Verdict: Not even close.

Barenaked Ladies
Steven Page left in 2009.  Sang most of their best songs. Verdict: Not the Same.

Pearl Jam
Locked and loaded with most of the original crew.  Verdict: Good to go.

Yes
This one's for Mr. KQ. The roster rotates every few years. Steve Howe is pretty much the only original in the current iteration.  Verdict: No. (Sorry.)

The Cult
It was always Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy.  Still is. Verdict: Good to go.

Squeeze
Same with Squeeze: Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook.  Verdict: Good to go.

Dave Matthews Band
You know what's odd?  Dave is obviously still there, but with LeRoi passed on and Boyd now out (in lots of ways), is it the same experience? Verdict: Debatable.

INXS, AC/DC, and REM aren't doing this any more, but they were never the same after losing members of the band and now they are all kaput.

If you're at the State Fair and see "Quiet Riot" or "Thin Lizzy" playing, keep in mind that there are no original members in either band.

And Michael McDonald is... out of the Doobies.

Oh, one last one.

The Beach Boys
A few years back, I took my daughters to see them when Brian and Al joined #1 d-bag Mike Love for the 50th reunion tour.  It was great.  Soon thereafter, of course, it fell apart again, and now it's back to just Mike and not-quite-original-but-close Bruce Johnston and others (not John Stamos). This is bullshit of the highest order, as Mike Love continues to sue for the right to be the only Beach Boy in The Beach Boys. Honestly, people. Verdict: Bad cover band.  Don't do it.


Be forewarned, and don't be afraid to write into Dear Gheorghe with questions about a band coming to your town.


Thursday, June 14, 2018

Quick, Dirty, Definitive: A G:TB World Cup Preview

The 2018 World Cup kicks off today in Moscow (and dig on the vaguely Cyrillic/Moorish font FIFA's chosen). It's well-established that the United States squad will be watching from home, kicking it with their Italian and Dutch pals, in what's now surpassed the 1998 World Cup as the most abysmal American failure in modern soccer history*. And you already know who I'm pulling for, even though the Ticos have played really poorly in the run-in to the Finals. So in the spirit of Gheorghe, we'll keep this short and sweet.

We lost to Iran in 1998. Not good. Bad.
* If you're interested in a great story, packed with melodrama, hubris, players sleeping with their friends' wives, and mullets, check out Roger Bennett's podcast, American Fiasco, about that 1998 U.S. team.

Forthwith, the official G:TB World Cup predictions:

Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay

On the field, Uruguay are the class of this group, and if Mo Salah is healthy, Egypt are a good bet to advance, as well. But Russia are involved. And the tournament is in Russia. There will be chicanery. It won't be subtle. But we still like Uruguay and Egypt to move on to the knockout stage.

Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran

Spain just sacked its head coach, Julen Lopategui, after word leaked that he'd agreed to become Real Madrid's new manager. This might normally derail a squad, and it certainly could have an impact later in the tournament as tensions between the Barcelona and Real players on the team boil over. But Spain's going to win this group easily. Portugal will join them in the next stage.

Group C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark

France are the class of this group, and on paper, one of the favorites to win the entire thing. I don't believe in their chemistry - too many preening show ponies for my taste. Peru will finish second, barely edging Denmark.

Nigeria have the best kits in the competition
Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria

The heart wants Iceland and Nigeria. The head says Argentina and Croatia, two really strong sides.

Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

Brazil's biggest worry in the group stage is staying healthy. They should cruise. While I'm rooting for Costa Rica, I think they'll finish last in this group. Serbia's on fire, scoring goals for fun in their prep matches. I'm tipping them to go through.

Group  F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea

As with Brazil, the Germans won't be challenged, even as they've looked a bit ragged of late. Each of the other three sides could make a case. If Mexico can hold Germany to a draw in their opening match, they'll be a lock. Says here they can.

Group G: Belgium, Panama, England, Tunisia

England's been so bad in major competitions over the past several decades that their notoriously harsh media have gone easy on the Three Lions heading into this tournament. It pays off, as Gareth Southgate's boys ease into the knockout stages by finishing second to Belgium. England's opener against Tunisia is huge.

Group H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan

It's long past time for an African nation to make some real noise at a World Cup Final, and Senegal's at least going to have a chance. They'll finish second to Colombia in this group and grab the world's attention.

Round of 16

Uruguay over Portugal
France over Croatia
Brazil over Mexico
Belgium over Senegal
Spain over Egypt
Argentina over Peru
Germany over Serbia
Colombia over England

Quarterfinals

Uruguay over France
Belgium over Brazil
Argentina over Spain
Germany over Colombia

Semifinals

Belgium over Uruguay
Argentina over Germany

Finals

Belgium over Arg....Russia. Russia's gonna win. Russia wins everything. Forget all the rest.

And enjoy the footie.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Audience Participation

Big day for our pal Whitney. He's purchased the frozen peas. He's consulted his doctor. He's still got oats to sew, but as of this morning, no more seed. And to help him through, we commissioned a playlist.

Or at least the beginnings of one. You, the good people of Gheorghe: The Blog, get to add to this to your hearts' desire. Be kind, but be amusing.











zed man wanted something sexy, so here we are:

















All yours, friends. Let's send our friend's, um, friends off in style.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Last Week of School: Kids These Days

When I was in 8th or 9th grade, I wrote an epic poem about World War II as part of a school assignment. It probably wasn't any good, but I remember being pretty proud of it. That's about as creative as schoolwork got back in the day.

Now, with the advent of technology and access to digital tools, my kids are doing all kids of cool multimedia projects as part of their educational process. Case in point, my 16 year-old's hip hop debut, courtesy of her Research Biology teacher:



Yung Adrenal drops rhymes to teach us about glands and their function. She's no Yeezy, but I think her flow's pretty decent. I've got her working on a mixtape about thyroid function.