Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Farewell, Deuce

He might not have been the most talented American player ever, and he certainly wasn't the best-behaved, but he might've been the toughest. Clint Dempsey, tied with Landon Donovan as the all-time leading goalscorer for the U.S. Men's National Team, announced his retirement from professional soccer today.

Here's a compilation of his most important goals:

Here's a terrific story by Grant Wahl in Sports Illustrated about Dempsey's unusual upbringing in the sport.

And here's the Clint Dempsey Face, which epitomizes the tenacity and no-fucks-given, no quarter given attitude he'll likely most be remembered for.

Thank you, Deuce. You were a bad, bad man.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Expanding the Parameters

It's always cool watching brilliant creative types share the things that inspire them. We learned a while back, for example, that Open Mike Eagle was a huge fan of They Might Be Giants, which obviously hit us in all the right places. 

And we'll start this week on a fun note, listening to Big Boi riff on his love for Kate Bush's beautiful 1985 alternative hit, 'Running Up That Hill'. I didn't see it coming, either.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Kill All the Golfers

Hertha Berlin needs Carl Spackler.

The Bundesliga side faced an unusual challenge this week in the days leading up to its first match of the season. As head coach Pal Dardai's squad headed out to training on Thursday, they saw this:

The mole damage, not the dude's ass. You can still train if you've got a guy's ass on the pitch. Not so much with a network of mole tunnels under your training ground.

Spackler will have to try a different approach, however, as moles are a protected species in Germany with a fine of up to 50,000 euros ($57,773) if killed or injured.

Hertha Berlin, which finished 10th in the Bundesliga last season, features America goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann (yes, that Klinsmann). Known as Die Alte Dame (the old lady), Hertha was a founding member of the German Football Association in 1900. Football clubs get nicknames for a lot of reasons. If Hertha's known as the Moles in years to come, it'll be an improvement.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

I Have Identified the Worst Song Ever Recorded

I love satellite radio.  I have been a subscriber for quite some time, and while I do spend most of my time on my preset faves:

Preset 1
  • The Spectrum
  • First Wave
  • Alt Nation
  • 70s on 7
  • Beatles Channel
  • Grateful Dead Channel
Preset 2
  • Jam On
  • Backspin (now LL Cool J's Rock the Bells Radio)
  • The Joint
  • Willie's Roadhouse
  • E Street Radio
  • Comedy Greats
...and surrounding channels like XMU and Elvis and Classic Rewind...

...I will also bounce around at times and see what's emanating across the SiriusXM universe.  In doing so, you step in it sometimes, encountering music you long ago laid to rest, or never would have entertained at all.  Exhibit A in the latter category appeared on the 90s on 9 station yesterday.  Here we go.

"One More Try" by Timmy T

Let's dig in just a touch, just for a moment so as not to get any on you, shall we?

Okay, we'll start with Timmy T himself.  His stage name is terrible. Tim Torres would have been fine.  Timmy T sounds like something you'd see on a lunchbox in 4th grade.  Terrible, Timmy T. Bad boy.

Way, way, way worse is his look.  Even by 1990's standards, an era which which made the day-glo of the 80's look chic by comparison, Timmy T's style is just crap.  To some degree people can't help how they appear, and rock singers have a long history of lousy decisions where fashion and gesturing is concerned. That said, if there was ever a look that warranted getting punched in the face, Timmy T had it pegged.  As well as his jeans.  Seriously... this dude makes the shitheads in Color Me Badd look like Motörhead.

Okay, visuals be damned, let's get to the music.  You'll soon wish you had not.

The musical style, if there is one, best fits into the category of "high schooler got a Casio keyboard for Christmas" with trace elements of a Latin influence. For including the last part of that sentence, Julio Iglesias and Carlos Santana are sending some goons to my house to issue me a blanket party. Menudo wouldn't deign to take a call from Timmy T.

Lyrically, if you punched the words up significantly you could elevate the song up to a status of "utterly vapid."  Read them here, if you want.

Here's the gist of it.  Timmy T disappointed a girl, either with his singing or something acid-washed, I'm sure.  He made her cry.  He told her lies. And she fucking bolted, apparently leaving behind her jacket with shoulder pads, which presumably he now wears to remember her.  Timmy T misses her and wants her to reconsider and come back to him.  You know, because of all they've been through, the good times of her being disappointed and being lied to. 

Timmy T spends most of the song rhyming "you" with "you," which Homer Simpson would appreciate but few others will. The most interesting line in the song, which is akin to the best bite of a shit sandwich, is "You'd forgive me if you could."  It would be cryptic and interesting if . . . well, no, it isn't, it doesn't make any sense whatsoever, but at least it's different from the rest of what's here, surely the most trite and banal lyrics ever scribbled onto a napkin at TGI Friday's.

The video... oh my.  I'll say this, Timmy T leaves nothing in the tank.  I mean, his moves aren't... well, they're rubbish, but who can truly groove in an orange mock turtleneck/double breasted beige sportcoat or shirt/tie/leather blazer? 

The camera work reeks of "high schooler just figured out VHS camcorder tricks," and the shot of him at the grand piano while synthesized keys are played by a robot in the audio... it amuses.

Best part of the video?  They misspelled his name!  They list him as "Timmie T," which is even more embarrassingly adolescent.  I guaran-fucking-tee some clown in the video processing room saw this bucket of hot garbage come through with the name Timmy T and fucked with it just for laughs.  Also, the label (Quality Records) is pure unintentional comedy.

Three things to marvel at, and all are true.

1. According to Wikipedia, this song "hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on March 23, 1991." 
Staggering.  Just staggering. This song and that fact are pretty much what propelled Kurt and the boys to give Nevermind that little extra oomph and displace the radio dreck of the time.

(Wikipedia also says: "A Cantopop version of this song called Missing You in this Lifetime (一生掛念你) was made by Hacken Lee. A Cajun version was made by Jamie Bergeron and the Kickin Cajuns."  That is best part about this whole thing.)

2. On multiple websites, the following footnoted authorship appears:


Seriously.  Check it out. What in the hell... There simply is no way.  Now, we have established here recently that Mick, Keith, and their musical representation will sue the ever-living pants off you for even coughing like Mick on your record.  Not that anyone would want Timmy T's terrible pants, anyway, but there's just no way that the drivel Timmy T warbles here can or should be traced back to the Glimmer Twins. Interweb error, right??  Come on.

3. As it turns out, I have this song in my collection.
You see, back in my mad CD-accruing days, I scooped up Living in the 90's, a collection of refuse from the decade that doesn't even merit coaster status.  But I've got it, and I ripped all the songs onto my (very large) hard drive.  Sad!

Nota bene: The CD label creator also added an erroneous period (not to be confused with the 1990's) after Timmy T's T.  Presumably to distance the artist from Mike D, Jay-Z, and other periodless talents.

So, good people,  there you have it.  The internet, and specifically satellite radio, has led me to another epiphany, that of the discovery of the worst song ever recorded. 

The More You Know.

Timmy T...where is he now?

To sum up, I point to the last words this young ESPN anchor phenom ever said on the air.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Whit's Next Stop

There is no shortage of news clips or articles down here in the F-L-A on the real estate community featured here...
Only in Florida (for the short-term only). And only Jimmy Buffett. 

Saturday, August 18, 2018


I've already bored you in the comments about my evening out with my kid at a concert, so I won't do that again. But she asked me if we could go to more shows, which is a ginormous win in the dadding category. And we're in desperate need of new material, so here's some Jake Shimabukuro playing Ed Sheeran and tying several recent G:TB discussions together to tide us over.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Better Late Than Never: A Post of Gratitude for the OBFT

Good people,

It has been over a fortnight, and I am rather woefully delayed with this transmission. Do not let my tardiness belie my most sincere appreciation for the 96 hours of blissful time-travel that has taken place every year since 1994.

This year, the 25th Annual Outer Banks Fishing Trip was as much fun as I have had doing anything, ever.  And I remain grateful for my comrades for being there for two and a half decades.

Tortuga's Lie remains the top spot in the Outer Banks and among my favorite 3-hour tours of every year.

A tradition like many others.

The lads commissioned a gorgeous spot-on painting of my favorite views of the world.  I have it hanging in my bedroom.  I am so grateful for this.

Dave wrote a very funny recap that covered most of it.  But not all of it!  Two silly things he missed:

  • Our friend Bruce brought a case (or more) of Zima.  With Jolly Ranchers. Terrible.  We drank it.
  • I made a blended drink called peachy-weachies.  Old family recipe:
    • 1 can frozen lemonade
    • lemonade can filled 1 1/2 times with dark rum (or vodka)
    • 2 peaches, skin and all
    • ice

    • Put all ingredients into a blender. Grind up. 

There you go. What a bunch of badasses.  I love you guys.

Here's to 25 more.


Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Efforts of Wayne

If you're online and remotely into sports, you've already seen this. It was a SportsCenter Top 10 selection on Sunday evening. We're not breaking news here.

But this play was so spectacular, and so unexpected, that it's worth a half-assed Gheorghian treatment.

I can't believe it, either
Once the class of MLS, D.C. United is today a mediocre side. Pants, if you will. Headed into Sunday's match against Orlando City, United were in last place in the Eastern Conference by five points. To be fair, they've played significantly fewer matches than the average team, and an overwhelming majority of their matches thus far have been played away from home as construction was wrapped up on Audi Field, the club's new home.

Over the past several seasons, the club's developed a reputation for poor management, tight purse-strings, and lousy on-field results. That's starting to change, as the new stadium comes online and new ownership with professional sports experience takes over. DCU picked up U.S. national Paul Arriola last season as a step forward.

And last month, the club added international legend Wayne Rooney, which felt at the time as much of a marketing tactic as anything else.

It doesn't feel like that any longer.

Deep into second-half stoppage time against Orlando, with the match tied at 2 (Orlando equalized through Dom Dwyer despite playing with only 10 men for most of the second half), DCU won a corner kick. Head coach Ben Olsen waived goalkeeper Dave Ousted into the penalty box, pushing all 11 players forward in a desperate attempt to earn a critical three points.

The risk a team runs in pushing that many players forward is obvious. A quick clearance can lead to a counterattack against an empty net.

Cue quick clearance. Cue counterattack. Cue Orlando City three-on-one break, with Rooney - who's 32, with a million miles on his odometer, having started playing in the Premier League as a 16 year-old - as the only thing standing in the way of a devastating loss for his side. Freeze the video below at the 0:13 mark - all Orlando's Will Johnson needed to do was whip the ball into the center of the field, and either of two teammates would've walked it in. (And if you want to see desperation, check out Ousted's pellmell sprint to get back to his goal at around the 0:49 mark.)

You know what happened next. Rooney sprinted 40 yards, made a saving tackle along the sideline, sprung to his feet, took three rapid touches forward, and launched an inch-perfect cross-field diagonal ball onto the head of 5'3" Luciano Acosta, who leapt over a defender and nodded the ball into the side of the net for his third goal of the game.

Madness ensued. At Audi Field and in my living room. I watch more MLS than most people (which isn't saying all that much), and I'm quite sure I've never been as dumbfounded, never leapt to my feet involuntarily by a play in our domestic league. It might well have been the most remarkable soccer play I've ever seen.

As the bloggers at Black & Red United said (with cool accompanying screenshot), "That’s 32 year old, multi-million-dollar Premier League import Wayne Rooney. The number nine. The guy people said was past it. He’s the one having to make a 50 yard sprint this far into stoppage time on a muggy night to prevent a bad draw from turning into a worse loss."

I never fancied myself much of a Wayne Rooney fan, but after watching that effort, and hearing more and more about the level of professionalism and commitment he's brought to D.C. in his short tenure, I'm sold.

Sports are cool.

Monday, August 13, 2018

WWzD/Automotive Alphabet Aerobics: T is for Triumph, Alternatively Titled: WWzD, Mr. KQ Edition

Owning an Italian sports car has been compared to having a beautiful younger mistress. The experience is exciting, dangerous, and expensive. Sometimes you'll be embarrassed to be seen in public together, but you'll privately love the sounds it makes. People who don't know you will laugh and assume you have a mid-life crisis, although the reptile part of their brain will envy you. It will explode at the least convenient times in the least convenient places. Your wife will eventually issue a "it's me or her" ultimatum. It will seem like a good idea at the outset and you'll be in love (or lust) for a little while, but ultimately you'll regret the decision.

Owning a classic British sports car is more like being friends with Whitney. The cost of entry is comparatively low. You'll smile a lot and have lots of fun, despite the lingering fear in the back of your mind that it could collapse in a heap at any time. Passers-by will grin and wave, people you don't know will come over just to talk, people familiar with the car will tell you stories about their experiences with it for hours. Sometimes it'll backfire and smell stinky. Your wife won't understand the allure at first, but after a while she'll grow to enjoy the experience too. Simply put, if you take care of [Wh]it, [Wh]it'll take care of you.

There are a number of affordable British marques if you're looking for a fun rear-wheel-drive two-passenger droptop. One is Triumph, which was founded in 1885 and went out of business in 1984. They made a number of sports cars with nifty names like Spitfire and Stag, but their premier model was always named after TR. Seriously, they had the TR1, TR2, TR3, etc.

You probably remember seeing the TR7/TR8 in the 1980s, or parked in front of the Sigma Chi house circa 1995-96 (the guy from Saddle River had a white one). They look like doorstops--this was a big design theme in the 1970s, particularly with Italian designers.

The TR7 has a weak 2.0 L in-line 4 making 90 (ninety?!) horsepower. The much rarer TR8 has a 3.5 L V8 that puts out a staggering 133 horsepower. The TR8 doesn't seem to command any premium over the TR7, and at this point both cars are 35+ years old so I'm not sure you'll find one that can meet those power figures, so I wouldn't sweat finding one over the other.

I'm not going to tell you not to get one of these, they're pretty and fun and the price of entry is low (here's one for $3750 OBO in Garden City). But even the crispiest example isn't worth much and repairs will be necessary and expensive if you can't do them yourself, and it doesn't really have a ton of cache (it was part of Triumph's death-gasp and is generally unloved--it's too new-jack for fans of British roadsters who are a tweedy lot, and it's way too underpowered for people who like its wedge styling). You'd be better off buying a 20 year old Miata.

The perfect Triumph is the TR6. Like all vintage roadsters it's completely analog--there are no computers between you and the carburetor, the brakes, or (God forbid) the steering rack. The driving experience brings tremendous tactile feedback in these types of cars. If you drive over a quarter you can tell if it's heads or tails. It has a straight-6 engine, a wooden dashboard, pontoon fenders, upright styling, and a faaaaantastic exhaust note.

BaT explains it better than I can and they have some helpful links at the end. TR6's are relatively plentiful and cheap too. This one was stolen for $12,500.

TR6s are also cool because they came in a broad range of riotous 60s/70s colors. Do you remember when cars had colors? Go to any car company's website and try to build a car that isn't black, white, or gray/silver. It's not uncommon for manufacturers to offer two different versions of black and three or more versions of gray. Here are your color options for a base Toyota Camry:

You won't have many more options for a base Honda Accord:

Chevrolet also provides a wealth of boring options for the top-of-the-line Impala:

If you're like me and you bemoan the death of colorful cars, take a look at these color charts, they'll break your heart. Here's my favorite:

That Carib Blue though! It would work on any convertible. Oasis Green is perfect for an SUV. God I love 70s car colors.

Here are the options for TR6s:

Wow! Conifer, Laurel, Saffron and Signal get it done for pre-1973. From 1974 onward Triumph put giant black rubber warts on the TR6's front bumper, but I'd deal with them (or just take the warts off) if it was British Racing Green, Java Green, Topaz, Mimosa or Pimento. Topaz and Mimosa might be perfect colors for this car. BRG is obviously an impeccable classic choice too. Here's a clearer paint card for 1973-75 which might be the best of the bunch.

The average TR6 is a little over $12,000. For about $20,000 you can get a very nice example. The only must-have, as far as I'm concerned, are Union Jack decals on the rear quarter-panels. If you're going to drive a Triumph you have to rock the Union Jacks.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

No Thinking on Sunday

I confess that when I first heard Dirty Projectors' new single 'Break-Thru', I listened to it like Nipper, the dog from Francis Barraud's famous painting, 'His Master's Voice'. Head cocked to the side, kinda trying to figure out what I was listening to. The song is dissonant, and choppy, and melodic, and fun, and weird.

Then I heard Dave Longstreth talk about it and play it live with a full band, and I decided that I really liked it.

Judge for yourself, and don't think too hard about it.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Guess Who's Back. Footy's Back.

It's that time of year again. On the first day of the 2018-19 English Premier League season, our man Fat Guy in a Speedo has issued forth his preview of...hang on.

One minute. Sorry.

I'm being told that Fat Guy's preview got lost in the mail. We don't have anything for you.

The blogshow must go on, however, and Manchester United does host Leicester at 3:00 Eastern in the season's lidlifter, so herewith a couple of odds and ends as the league kicks off.

The consensus opinion says that Manchester City, coming off a season that saw them set records for most points, most goals, and largest margin between first and second place, remains the class of the league. It's hard to argue with that consensus. Pep Guardiola's squad added classy wing Riyad Marhez from Leicester and didn't lose anyone of note.

"I'm very pleased with myself"
That same consensus agrees that Liverpool significantly improved during the summer transfer window, and is the odds-on favorite to come second. Jurgen Klopp's team got much better in the net by grabbing Roma's Allison, added a terrific defensive midfield presence in Naby Keita, picked up midfielder/right back Fabinho from Monaco, and snagged mini-mite Zherdan Shaquiri from relegated Stoke City to back up Mo Salah. Liverpool will be the most fun team in the league to watch.

After that top two, it's a consensus mishmash. Most everyone believes that the top six consist of the aforementioned two clubs and Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal. For my money, both West Ham and Everton, who went on spending sprees, have a puncher's chance of topping at least one of those four.

Spurs fans are apoplectic that their team was literally dormant during the transfer period, adding not a single player despite the fact that they're opening a brand new stadium. I'm going contrarian. Spurs return a very solid squad, with nine of their roster playing in the quarterfinals and beyond of the World Cup in Russia. That might mean they'll start slow, but they'll finish in the top four when it's all over.

"My management, they are shit"
Manchester United fans are also up in arms, and they've got more reason. Jose Mourinho has been pouting all summer about his management's relative inaction, and his black mood won't get any better as his team scuffles all year.

Gheorghe says the top four looks like: Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham, and Chelsea.

Meanwhile, in the great middling mess of a relegation battle that'll likely span at least ten teams, my Fulham side just broke a league record by spending £128m on transfers, the most ever by a newly-promoted club. Shahid Khan's son Tony went for it, landing 12 new players and all but assuring the Cottagers will stay up.

Wolverhampton Wanderers, another promoted side, also did significant business this summer, and look poised to join Fulham in the solid middle of the table.

The bottom three, according to Gheorghe, are: Huddersfield Town, Cardiff City, and Southampton.

And as soon as we find Fat Guy, we'll give you an actual preview.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Waving My Dick in the Wind: The Best of Ween

So there's a Ween compilation out now.

Greatest Hits albums used to be a big deal.  (Just ask the Eagles.)  Nowadays, though, you can compile your own and listen away.

I could describe the shit sandwich that the record company issued as a Ween best-of, but someone else has already done that better.  On the Rate Your Music site for this release, a reviewer named "Tornadoes" writes:
Haphazard and half-assed digital-only sampler that was assembled without Ween's participation. It's ostensibly a collection of the Elektra/Warner years but it contains nothing from their major label debut Pure Guava (since the rights to that have since returned to the band) nor does it have anything from the preceding album The Pod (Elektra reissued that for a time but that licensing arrangement later expired). It does have GodWeenSatan since Warner now controls that outright (since they bought Rykodisc, who had bought Restless, who had bought original releasing label Twin\Tone – but yeah, you don't care about that chain of title runthrough) but this compilation goes overboard and inexplicably makes that release the centerpiece of this compilation. Don't get me wrong at all, GodWeenSatan is my favorite Ween album, but it's idiotic that 12 of the 20 tracks were taken from there, and several of the selections are HIGHLY questionable. ("Nicole"? "Old Man Thunder"? "Puffy Cloud"? Why?) There's also zilch from 12 Golden Country Greats, even though Warner still owns the rights to it, and the absence of "Ocean Man" is unforgivable. Whoever assembled this has a lot of explaining to do. My mom would also like to mention that this lacks her favorite Ween song ("Mister, Would You Please Help My Pony?") and I agree with her that extra demerits are in order for that omission.

I recall when Ween's record deal with Warner originally ended, it was mentioned on the band's website that Rhino Records had the option to make a best-of and that the group might record a few new songs for it or allow some rarities to be used. That collection never came to be but now we have this useless release that was created without Ween's input, since Warner is allowing the obscure X5 Music Group company to raid their archives and assemble "professionally curated music products and playlists customized for a global, digital music market." That's corporate-speak for "we have the legal right to repackage and put out unnecessary horseshit just to scam out a few extra Spotify clicks," by the way.
Ween's demon god The Boognish
I love the venom.  And Tornadoes is right.  This is terrible.  Spotty and incomplete, like Pete Klam's drawers circa 1992.  Poorly conceived at best.

To paraphrase, I offer a comment to Warner Bros that simply takes the name of the first song on Ween's first album: You Fucked Up.

So what are we gonna do about it?  Replace it with a playlist, natch.  Warner used 20 songs, so shall we.

Here goes.

Ween 20-Pack

Where: New Hope, PA
When: 1984–2012; 2015–present
Who: Dean Ween, Gene Ween, others eventually

Here's the deal.  Two friends who met in 8th grade liked to get hammered and make music.  Then they started recording it.  4-track lo-fi.  Super stupid but very funny songs about genitals and food and girls.

Then they started touring.  Then they got better at this.  And made better songs.  And recorded in a studio. And filled out a real band. And still liked to get hammered and make music.  Super stupid but very funny songs about genitals and food and girls.

Along the way they had MTV success and live albums and a prog-rock album and a friggin' country album with Nashville session guys and the friggin' Jordanaires and almost a Pizza Hut commercial and a soft-rock song with David Sanborn.  And an absolute ton of fun.

Then Gener got too far gone and cleaned up and quit Ween and Deaner said it's a life sentence so I'll leave the light on and eventually Gener came back a few years later and now they are living happily ever after back together.

I love Ween, and not because they are Random Idiots but way better.  Not just that.

Here's my stab a best-of album. Okay... so I made the standard 20-song GH, and then I made one for the Next 30 Ween songs. Too much great stuff to tickle your fancy, Mr. Fancypants.

The second set is more fun.  Bookended with juvenilia stalwarts, it's chock full of jokes like "Pollo Asado," even more offensive material (a la"The HIV Song"), the best live cover song ever if you listen until the end, and amusing crap like "The F**cked Jam," which drove our buddy Tinsley so insane at the OBFT that he threw the CD into the dunes in a fit of madness.  Both are chronological, so you can hear the progression from idiots to refined idiots.

And let me type this in bold: NOT SAFE FOR WORK.  Lord, no. Not nearly.


Tuesday, August 07, 2018

I wonder what they're saying.

You've probably seen the video of Kate McKinnon rapping in Hungarian on The Tonight Show. I'm not gonna lie--I'm impressed. That said, I think Animal Cannibals deserve a lot more shine than they're getting as the creators this song, which is called Yozsefváros.

These guys are great! They sampled "UFO" by ESG and "Synthetic Substitution" by Melvin Bliss. Ghostface relied on that same sample five years later in what is probably my favorite GFK song.

And they seem like fun guys to hang out with. At 1:03 they're peeing in public. At 1:17 they're petting a horse. At 1:22 they have a weiner dog in a sweater. At 2:09 they look like extras from the Sabotage video. At 2:23 they have a sheep. At 2:24 they shake hands with Csecsei Bela, mayor of Budapest and owner of a fantastic Hungarian mustache.

I wish I spoke Hungarian so I could understand what the hell they're saying!

Monday, August 06, 2018

Inside Baseball

Our man Dave Fairbank spent a day with the lads at OBFT last weekend, which is questionable decision-making on his part. Despite that, he managed to put together this inside view on the new W&M logo launch. And now you know...the rest of the story.

Last week, William and Mary athletics unveiled several new logos and marks that its teams will use as identifiers in the coming years. I had an advance look at the logos and spoke to a handful of folks in the athletic department about them and the process behind the changes.

An assistant athletic director asked me to write a story to accompany the rollout, not because I have any graphic design or brand marketing expertise (I do not), but as a longtime newspaper keyboard jockey in Newport News, Va., who covered the teams for years, he believed me capable of constructing a piece that hit the proper notes for what they were doing. Or he took pity on a freelance typist looking for beer money.

If you haven't seen them, the athletic logos are a bit bolder and more eye-catching than the present edition. More important, they lean on the school name, rather than the athletic teams' nickname. The thinking was that William and Mary, a 325-year-old institution that has produced U.S. presidents (Jefferson, Monroe, Tyler), comedians (Jon Stewart, Patton Oswalt, Michelle "Smokey Eye" Wolf), business giants (Walt Zable, Mark McCormack, Joe Plumeri), acting Glenns (Scott and Close), and unusually tall law enforcement administrators who contributed to our present daily news cycle dyspepsia (looking at you, James Comey) has far greater cachet than a synonym for "group."

The new primary logo is an angled W&M. A secondary logo incorporates the athletic mascot, the Griffin, a mythical creature that for William and Mary purposes has the head of an eagle and the body of a kinesiology major. The athletic teams will continue to be known as the Tribe, but the description will be phased out of uniforms, apparel and most visual representations - courts, fields, signage, etc.

What ramped up the push for new logos and re-branding efforts, so the tale goes around the athletic department, was a chance encounter in an elevator last fall. New athletic director Samantha Huge and football coach Jimmye Laycock were in Chapel Hill, N.C., the night before W&M's football game at nearby Elon. A gentleman on the elevator asked about the "Tribe" script on Laycock's clothing. Laycock explained that it referred to William and Mary. The gentleman, a Midwesterner and Notre Dame fan in town for the Fighting Irish's game versus UNC, said he knew about William and Mary and Williamsburg and was very complimentary. Huge said that, by the time she stepped off the elevator, she knew they had a branding problem. Tribe simply didn't resonate with enough people outside the circle. Nine months, and hundreds of hours of samples, trials, discussions and effort later, they have refurbished logos and brands that everyone appears pretty stoked about.

Short of William and Google, or Apple and Mary, I don't know that new logos and branding at a mid-size university would move the needle much for me. But as some have pointed out in this corner and elsewhere, folks of my vintage aren't the target audience. Sure, clothes makers and the school bookstore would like to sell as much new swag as possible to all ages and sizes, but this is aimed at youngsters, who are increasingly visual and are bombarded with images constantly.

Shaver might think the logo will help. I think Nathan
Knight will help more.
Hoops coach Tony Shaver and women's soccer coach Julie Shackford were genuinely jazzed about the new logos and branding efforts. Shaver said that he believed that the bolder visual representation would help his team, and the department in general, take the next step. When I asked what the next step was, he replied: winning the conference tournament and getting to the NCAAs. I asked how a logo and amped-up visuals might accomplish that. He said that because kids, i.e., recruits, are so visually motivated, and because William and Mary casts such a broad recruiting net, catching the attention of one or two kids could make all the difference in a league as competitive as the CAA. He said that if W&M can at least catch a kid's attention, then the coaches and the school have ample attributes to sell. Shackford echoed some of Shaver's thoughts. She said that fresh logos and rebranding give the school a chance to re-set and present a new look to kids and parents. She spoke about how CAA peer James Madison had established a presence in the youth soccer hotbed of northern Virginia, and how William and Mary needed to wedge its way into the mix for top-shelf, in-state and regional recruits.

We wanted feathers.
New logos and rebranding aren't an end, but part of Huge's effort to pull the athletic department into the 21st century. Her stated aim is to excel athletically and academically, to compete for championships. That said, find an athletic department where that's not the goal. But she appears willing to rattle cages and make requests and spend money toward those ends. As someone who wandered around campus and through the hallways for years, dynamic was rarely a word I associated with William and Mary athletics. Most of the coaches were uniformly excellent and often maxed out their resources. But administratively, they would convene a panel to compose an outline to explore a study to present to a focus group. That approach might be fine in academic circles, but athletics must be a bit more agile.

William and Mary's re-branding and push toward greater visibility will cost money, the one area that I didn't get a handle on in my discussions with people there, because it seemed to be a floating target. New uniforms and warmups and signage and such aren't cheap, but more than manageable with an estimated $24 million athletic budget. The real money is going to come from facilities upgrades and paying coaches what they're worth. Money wasn't an issue at Huge's previous stop, senior associate athletic director at Texas A&M, where coaches' salaries alone were $24 million per year, according to the Texas Tribune, and which generated $211 million in revenue in fiscal year 2017, according to USA Today.

Without Power 5 conference money, and Texas money, the trick for dozens of other universities inlower-tier leagues, is to figure ways to stand out, to draw attention and to attract recruits. Logos and branding are a step in that direction. The folks in Tribeland maybe should have given a little more thought to Apple and Mary.

Different, but I like it.

Saturday, August 04, 2018


I am hoping there are at least a couple of you that have yet to see this commercial starring FIGJAM Phil Mickelson. When it first came to my attention on Thursday I have been meaning to post it, cuz let's be real, I don't do much around here. Like Tiger, my feelings towards Phil are so very conflicted. What I do like about Phil is his self-deprecating humor, displayed like never before in the video below.

And hat is off. I bought a couple of their shirts a year or so ago in a, you guessed it, golf shop (Sea Island TR!). I hadn't seen or heard of the brand. Bought the shirts b/c they are absurdly comfortable. Until I saw this ad, I didn't realize they were Mizzen+Main - I had to go look b/c I thought they might be. And surprise! They were. Are. Will continue to be.

Happy Saturday everyone! Less than four weeks out from football...hang in there.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Happy Birthday

Today is Metallica lead singer James Hetfield's 55th birthday. My first thought upon learning that was 'damn, that's old'. My second, 'damn, I'm not...that...far...away.' So that was a cheery way to start the day.

Turns out the band has an endearing and stupid tradition on Hetfield's birthdays. I think we need to institute this:

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Stuff You Slept On, Alternatively Titled "layzman's post" -- rootsy Edition

It's back, rootsy style!

Back in my youth, like any red eyed American white kid who discovered a taste for the devil's lettuce, I heard Bob Marley's Legend. Soon enough I had my own copy, and decided to dig deeper into Marley's music. I went to local Record Exchange (remember record stores?) and purchased the four CD Songs of Freedom boxed set, all chronologically sequenced and nicely bound together in an attractive package.

It's a fair bet that I used the cover to roll out a spliff like the one Bob Marley is holding between his fingers in the cover photo prior to first listen, preparing to take the reggae sacrament. I heard the first track, "Judge Not" from 1961, and was not feeling it. Went on through the disc, but it wasn't the same, clean sounding recordings that I'd heard on Legend. Same with most of the second disc. I didn't hate it, but I definitely didn't love it. Discs 3 and 4 were a bit more in line with the Bob Marley sound I was expecting, and 1 and 2 sat for years in the now ragged package, played maybe twice each.

Fast forward to January 21, 2017 - I got called up on stage at the inaugural Roanoke Women's March, to play some percussion with one of my band mates and a female singer he gigs with locally. I grabbed a tambourine and some shakers and pretended to be a percussionist. We played Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come", another tune I can't recall, then one called "Small Axe", which I thought I might have heard before, but wasn't sure. When I got home I did a little research and discovered that it's a tune the Wailers wrote with Lee "Scratch" Perry, and it is on Disc 1 of Songs of Freedom. So I dug out the old box set and for maybe the third time ever, put in the first disc, skipped to track 22 and pressed play.

My forty-something self was a lot more open to the more primitive vibe of this track, and the others on the the first two discs of the set. And, since I didn't handle them much in my youth, they still play perfectly. Here is a story about the tune's origin as a diss track.

Oh, and the Jimi-Bob tattoo is on the leg of a buddy of mine from Roanoke, who is now out in LA working as DJ Petey Clicks. He came up with the idea, and his tattoo guy thought enough of the joke to adorn Peter's leg with it for free.

Petey Clicks sounds like the nickname Klam wished he had.