Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pros vs. Joes, Season 3: Episode 1

For those of you not familiar with the goofy genius of Pros vs. Joes, I can only direct you to my voluminous previous writings. For the rest of you, the seemingly obligatory season-to-season tweaks should be summarized here.

This season the show is being constructed as a giant tournament. 64 Joes, broken down into regions, playing until there is only One Joe, who will win $100,000. Which is a nice prize, to be sure. Still, it seems the pay-out of Season 1 ($20,000 per episode winner) will never again be reached. The regions will be played out in Legendary Stadiums throughout the country (the first episode, the Southeast Region, was played in the Orange Bowl). Each show will feature 8 Joes.

On to the first Episode

Which comes to the first worrying trend in the Pro vs. Joe newest season. 8 Joes? How will there be time for them all? Simple--2 get eliminated in the first 30 seconds, in a Joe-For-All Royal Rumble style elimination. All Eight Joes in a ring--first chucked over the top ropes are eliminated by their fellow Joes. Those two never even get to meet a Pro. That smacks of bullshit. I hope that this was a response to a Pro who cancelled at the last second, and not a sign of things to come.

Six Joes are left, and the judges seed them 1-6 based on their "aggressiveness" in the ring. The seeds are coupled in the classic way--#1 with #6, and so on. They will meet in a single event against the Pros. Let's meet the pros!

Jimmy Smith, Wide Receiver, mostly with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He seems a little too good and young to be participating. This is a future Hall of Famer, just a couple of years removed from retirement. But who cares.

Kurt Angle, Olympic and "professional" wrestler, whose connection to TNA Wrestling will be flogged relentlessly throughout the episode. He does a very good job of scary the Joes shitless.

Kendall Gill, former NBAer. Kendall is the oldest of the Pros, but still looks to be in pretty damn good shape. Also, he's just pretty. Gill would like to (and does) remind the viewing public that he has the record for most steals in an NBA game. He forgets to mention that the records is not his alone.

Joes seeded #1-3 get to pick which pro they are going to face. Joe #1, Eddie DuBose picks Jimmy Smith. Joe #6, Brent Allen comes along for the ride. (Don't get too attached to Brent). Joe #2, Matt Still picks Kendall Gill, which was probably done out of the fear of Kurt Angle, but wise all the same. #5 Jason Vogel is part of the grouping as well. Joes #3 and #4, Steve Ruff & Dallas Robinson, are acutely stuck with Angle.

Challenge 1: Jimmy Smith vs. Eddie DuBose and Brent Allen. The Challenge is simple enough. A QB is going to throw passes at Jimmy Smith. The Joes are playing single coverage cornerback. Each Joe gets four downs. Eddie gets early help when Jimmy drops a pass that hit him in the hands. Eddie doesn't need much help, though, as Brent gets dusted three straight times in embarrassing fashion. See ya later, Brent!

Challenge 2: Kendall Gill vs. Jason Vogel and Matt Still. Gill is playing defense for 8 possessions in one-on-one. Whoever scores the most advances. Vogel kind of acquits himself well, if you count his easy shots that went for misses. He probably should have four baskets, but finishes with just two. Still does worse, somehow, and finishes with just one basket. His style of dribbling seems to offend Gill, who thinks the high dribble of Matt is disrespecting him, rather than a lack of skill. Still, it turns out, guaranteed in his audition tape that he would win, or he'd shave his head. The Pros shave his head, and in typical dick-jock fashion, purposely leave him with a few ridiculous patches (because just shaving the guy bald wouldn't be demeaning enough). Whatever. Matt made the bet, and it was stupid to do so, and his hair will grow back. He will be forgotten quickly in any event. Vogel moves on.

Challenge 3: Kurt Angle vs. Steve Ruff and Dallas Robinson. The Joes who stayed away from Angle made a smart decision. This challenge is brutal--3 minutes in the ring with Angle--fewest takedowns wins. Ruff, somewhat to his credit actually tries to wrestle a bit with Angle, and gets reversed a few times; gets his legs taken out a few times. After 3 minutes, he has been taken down 8 times. Nothing too violent, but 8 times sounds like a lot of takedowns. Dallas comes in with the strategy I would have employed, which is to stay the fuck away from Kurt as much as possible. For the first minute or so, it is really effective. It also seems to piss off Angle. When he does get his hands on Dallas, the takedowns are far more violent. With about 45 seconds left, Dallas seems to be having getting off the mat. Whether he's really hurt, or whether he's being smart about the clock isn't certain. Whichever it is, it works--he scrambles out with only 7 takedowns.

Overtime: Jason Vogel, Dallas Robinson, & Eddie DuBose. Overtime works pretty much like it always has--face all the Pros in mini-competitions, against a clock. Each clock maxes out at one minute, and the clock stays running until the Joe gets to stop-the-clock stations.

Vogel is up first, and the first challenge is a PvJ staple--hit four shots before the basketball pro hits 6. If the Pro hits his six, the Joe maxes out. Vogel, it turns out, is a sniper, and buries his 4 baskets in about 5 shots, and 39 seconds. This will turn out to be the difference. The second challenge is to get in a ring with Angle, and then try to crawl out. I'm suspicious about this one, as Vogel wriggles out in about 25 seconds or so. The final challenge is to catch a Hail Mary pass with Jimmy Smith defending. Vogel gets a good bounce off a Smith tip, and ends up finishing in 1:44. Shockingly fast, considering.

Dallas Robinson maxes out in basketball, giving him over a minute before he's even reached stage 2. He's done.

Eddie DuBose, the #1 seed (based on a Royal Rumble, don't forget) is still left. He also has trouble with the basketball challenge, barely avoiding maxing out with 57 seconds. He's a big man though, and wriggles out of Angle's arms a bit quicker than Vogel did. With just Jimmy Smith left, he's only 10 seconds behind Vogel's time. DuBose catches maybe the third ball thrown in the Hail Mary challenge, but is clearly hurting for speed on the final sprint to the finish. He ends at 1:47. Jason Vogel advances! It's a huge upset! He was the #5 seed, after all.

coming tomorrow: my review of the 2nd episode of season 3. Which features a game that as an enlightened youth I called "smear the queer".

Monday, January 28, 2008

My New Bumper Sticker...

Hey everybody check out the new Ironic Tell-Off Bumper Sticker that yours truly has created! Buy one today and let all the old hippies and rednecks know exactly how you feel about their public displays of idiocy.

make custom gifts at Zazzle

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Orangutan Is Unfazed!

Just gearing up for life after football. I think I have a new favorite sport.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Sighted: Old White Liberal Professional Coach?

"I'm pro-choice, personally." That was all it took to start a controversy.

Rick Majerus who is now coaching at St. Louis University managed to put himself in the middle of a political controversy. Last weekend, Coach Majerus showed up at a Hillary Clinton rally (really, Coach? Hillary? feh.) and happened to mention that he's a supporter of pro-choice candidates. It should be noted that I've given Majerus a hard time in the past (deservedly), but I'll state right now that I think he's on the side of the abortion-providing angels on this one.

St. Louis University, while not directly affiliated with any Catholic diocese, is very much a Catholic school. Somewhat notable dickbag Archbishop Raymond Burke got his wimple in a scrunch, and demanded that the St. Louis powers that be castigate their employee for publicly airing his own beliefs.

(Burke is notable because he's the one who said he would deny John Kerry communion because Kerry was a pro-choice Catholic (as are a large percentage of American Catholics) but never said anything about politicians who supported the Death Penalty, or the War in Iraq. The hypocrisy is what makes him so dick-baggy. In fact, one could argue that Burke said what he did to help promote the failed presidency of a non-Catholic who was waging a stupid war, and has been known to giggle at Death Row appeals. Stay classy, Archbishop!)

Our big-media friend over at CBS Sportsline, Gary Parrish, quoted Burke on this "controversy" of an employee of an entity that the Catholic Church has zero control over, having an opinion that doesn't sync with the Catholic Church.

"It's not possible to be a Catholic and hold those positions," said St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke. "When you take a position in a Catholic university, you don't have to embrace everything the Catholic church teaches. But you can't make statements which call into question the identity and mission of the Catholic church."

If The Archbishop really believes that last sentence, it seems that he may be trying to destroy the Catholic Church from the inside. What Burke seems to be saying is, "You can work here, but you can never, ever, suggest that we are wrong about anything ever." Which is kind of a really, really old-school Catholic argument (Galileo would certainly find it familiar). And again, Burke has no real authority over St. Louis U--they are Catholic culturally, but not within the diocese. Take that quote, and now take a look at Majerus' own defense (from that AP article):

"These beliefs are ingrained in me," Majerus told the paper. "And my First Amendment right to free speech supersedes anything that the archbishop would order me to do. My dad fought on Okinawa in World War II. My uncle died in World War II. I had classmates die in Vietnam. And it was to preserve our way of life, so people like me could have an opinion."

His take on Vietnam aside, I think Majerus wins the American Values argument. Majerus has an opinion, he voiced it. To me, it is rather immaterial whether the Catholic Church pays his salary or not. But let's be clear--the Catholic Church does NOT pay his salary.

Now, we can talk about the moral underpinnings of this argument for just a moment (which is something most sportsblogs won't do. That's what makes us special. Give us a hug). Actually, we won't talk morality, we'll talk religious history perspective, and why this "moral" argument is outdated and out-of-sync.

Religions struggling to gain a foothold almost always have a prohibition against abortion or family planning of any sort. The ones that don't tend to die out (see: Shakers). When the religion gets big and powerful enough, the reason for the prohibition is forgotten, but the prohibition is not. So you get Catholics refusing to wear condoms and relying on the rhythm method, and fucking themselves into poverty. Or you have Catholics ignoring the Pope and the Archbishop and actually being smart about their family size. Condoms and abortions aren't evil, or even immoral--the prohibitions against them were made at the same time that prohibitions on "unclean" animals were based on the sanitation of the day. A Catholic who is pro-Choice should be seen in the same light as a Jew who enjoys bacon. Not living up the standards of the religion, sure, but hardly the end of the world.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Japanese Have Made Kansas Obselete

Or, more accurately, one ten year old Japanese girl has made the band of Kansas*, minus vocals, obsolete.

miwacar sent this along got this in his email, and shared it with me. I'm sharing it with the World, man. The world.

*Did anyone else know that Kansas was a Christian Rock band in the 80's? I had no idea. And I'm usually so up on my Christian Rock history.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Redskins 2008: Step One

Head Coach: Snyder's Follies

The three-time World Champion Washington Redskins are the favorite team of America's smartest and best-looking citizens. With official Christ-figure Joe Gibbs retiring after his second coming, the Redskins must make a hire which will stabilize a team that has swung between under-achieving and over-achieving for fifteen years. With a little patience on the part of the owner and the fans, we may get to see a Redskins head coach hoist a shineful trophy ... some day.

Distinguishing patterns is an important function of the mind. Shall we exhume some recent memories?

At the conclusion of the 2005 season, Gibbs led the Redskins to a late-season surge, a five-game winning streak which improbably propelled them into the playoffs. They beat the Bucs but fell to the Seahawks in the Divisional Round. They looked poised to take the next proverbial step, despite an aged QB (Brunell) and some lackluster offense. They brought in a highly-touted offensive guru (Al Saunders) to help launch them to the NFL Championship.

Instead, the 2006 season was the most disappointing I can remember. Brunell proved incapable of completing anything longer than screen passes, the new offense wasn't integrated and the defense (with the notable exception of Sean Taylor) gambled and lost, leading to a 5-11 season.

In 2007 the Redskins lost their offensive line at the start of the season, and struggled to beat mediocre teams. They swooned in the middle of the season, losing leads in the second half. Following the murder of Taylor, the Redskins looked like a team ready to pack it in like Heath Ledger. Yet Gibbs led the Redskins on a late-season surge, a four-game winning streak which improbably propelled them into the playoffs. They fell to the balding Seahawks in the Wildcard Round.

For 2008 they look poised to take the next proverbial step, just as they did entering the disappointing 2006 season. But they need a capable Head Coach who will shore up the foundation, maintain momentum and build from within. In a word, they need continuity.

The obvious choice for Head Coach is Assistant Head Coach (Defense) Gregg Williams. Since his arrival in 2004, a hard-hitting defense has been the team's only reliable feature. The 2006 team was a terrible, miserable piece of shit. But if we eliminate this statistical implosion, the defense under Wiliams ranked #11 in scoring & #8 overrall in 2007, #1 in scoring & #4 overrall in 2005 and #5 in scoring & #3 overrall in 2004.

And yet after four interviews, the Redskins still have not offered him the job. Now there are reports that he is no longer under consideration. There is a rumor that he "dumped on" Joe Gibbs, which he has strenuously denied. It seems out of character, but the idea of the Redskins deliberately smearing him so that they didn't have to hire him is too misshapen to even contemplate.

Former Giants coach Jim Fassel is now the most likely hire, a candidate for reasons unknown. He helmed one of the most boring offenses in the NFL, yet was the top choice Dan "The Schneider" Snyder before Gibbs was lured out of retirement. Though twice named Coach of the Year, his record (58-53-1; 2-3 postseason) over seven seasons is not impressive. Colts D Coordinator Ron Meeks is a contender, and Giants D Coordinator Spagnuolo will likely be interviewed after the Superbowl. They are unproven commodities riding high on one year of success.

Associate Head Coach (Offense) Al Saunders was fired, replaced by Seahawks QB Coach Jim Zorn. The Zorn hire reportedly moves the Redskins closer to hiring Jim Fassel. Al Saunders's expensive & expansive offense never achieved in Washington what it did in Kansas City or St. Louis, although it was effective in the running game with RB Portis and found better chemistry with longtime student QB Todd Collins running it.

Why is Zorn, whose only gig as an offensive coordinator was at Utah State from 1992-1994, being hired to run the offense? Fuck if I know. He's left-handed, which is sinister. I want a right-handed coach calling plays for my right-handed quarterback not some mirror-sucking mutant.
Scrapping Saunders and starting over yet again is a typical move from impatient owner Dan Snyder. He has been responsible for heaping difficulties on the team. Changing the offensive system yet again would mean that QB Jason Campbell will have to learn his sixth offense in seven years. The first time he had an opportunity to play a second year in the same offense was this year. He showed a lot of promise, with good (not great) numbers. Imagine his steady improvement if he had an opportunity to stay in a system long enough for it to become intuitive. With Dan Snyder running the team, we'll never find out.

Continuity? Look at the number of wins the Redskins have posted since Snyder bought the team and they hired six Head Coaches in nine years. Random and erratic, a reflection of the ownership: 10, 8, 8, 7, 5, 6, 10, 5, 9. Put that on a graph and it looks like Charlie Brown's shirt.

Dan Snyder bought the team in May of 1999, inheriting Nerfneck Turner. He fired Turner with three games left in the 2000 season. He has fired and acquired coaches with the impatience of a child. Snyder has had six Head Coaches in nine years and remains unable to see the connection between the Redskins' futility and their erratic front office. The ego-driven Snyder has been obnoxiously active in free agency, spending billions on fading big-name stars and producing flop after flop after flop after flop. I can't find a citation, but I recall seeing that of the 28 free agent Pro Bowlers the Dan Snyder has bought, not a single has made the Pro Bowl as a Redskin.

Vinny Cerrato was recently named Executive Vice President-Football Operations, whatever that means. He remains in charge of the team's roster, scouting and salary cap management, as he has since Snyder took over the Redskin organization. Cerrato has been behind every terrible move that Snyder has made; adding "Executive" to his old title merely emphasizes that with Gibbs gone, Cerrato and Snyder will act as GM. Any new coach will be shut out of personnel decisions; this lack of culpability will probably help him when he's looking for a new job in two years.

What the Redskins must avoid is a long, desperate search followed by a selection of the 3rd or 4th choice, such as when the Raiders picked Art Shell off their own scrap heap for one more meaningless season. Speaking of the Old Lady In The Tracksuit, he apparently drafted a resignation letter for Coach Lane Kiffin. I assume this would save Davis the trouble of firing Kiffin, which would cost more money. Unfortunately, Kiffin has so far refused to sign the letter.

That Snyder and Davis could be so effortlessly compared is a definitive indictment against the Redskins owner. They will both continue to spend millions on big names past their prime while hiring and firing coaches to assuage the anguish of their pickled egos. Washington fans want to hail victory, and all we get are Snyder's Follies.

Rematch, Reheat and Serve

Patriots 21 Chargers 12
The New England Patriots dispatched the San Diego Chargers with the distracted air of a haughty emperor. Despite QB Brady's 3 INTs (two terrible decisions and one tip), the Patriots looked as assured during the AFC Championship as they did all season. Without league-best RB Tomlinson, the Chargers struggled with too many long third downs (25% conversion).

By contrast, the Patriots converted 54% of their third downs, largely due to the heroics of RB Kevin Faulk. Faulk was absolutely clutch swinging out of the backfied, with five of his eight receptions resulting in first downs. A forgotten man on a team of golden boys, Faulk's contribution here was much greater than the record-breaking Brady-Moss combination.

A hidden key to the game was field position. The Chargers won the battle in the first quarter, enjoying their only lead of the game. From the second quarter forward, the Patriots averaged nearly a fifteen-yard advantage in starting position, which ended up being a 100 yard differential.

The Pats running game took over in the second half, as RB Maroney exploited the over-pursuing Chargers defense for 122 yards. He was especially successful running to his left behind LT Matt Light and LG Logan Mankins. The Patriots ran 31 times and passed 33 times, finding a run-pass equilibrium that eluded them in 2007 when they were nearly 40:60.

Statistics aside, this game was decided in the red zone. That's where coaching leadership distinguishes a winner like Bill Belicheat from a reptile like Nerfneck Turner (gross). In his unimpressive career as a head coach, Turner has always been quick to settle for kicking. The Patriots' incursions in the red zone produced 3 TDs and one uncharacteristic Brady INT. The Chargers opted for FGs instead.

With nine minutes left in the 4th quarter, the Chargers drove to the Patriots' 36. They were down nine points, and Turner should have known that they had to score on the possession. Instead of playing with four downs in mind, they threw three lame balls and punted. They never touched the ball again.

Giants 23 Packers 20 (OT)
In a game that seemed pre-ordained to go to the Packers, the Giants out-played the hometown whack Pack starring Brett "American Hero" Favre. Nobody was more sure than the Packers faithful, who perhaps should have taken advantage of the G.I. Bill when it was available to them.

This game should have set up an epic Superbowl of Evil versus Good (Morlocks versus Children of the Light, Axis versus Allies, Cobra versus G.I. Joe, Snorks versus Smurfs, etc).

Instead, we get Frowny-Clowny Manning, who was clearly the better quarterback on the frozen cliche of Lambeau Field. Both teams in the Championship greatly exceeded expectations even in the inferior NFC; that the #5 seed is going to the Superbowl almost seems appropriate. The Giants deserve credit for their outstanding underdog win streak on the road.

The Giants came into Green Bay and executed their normal game plan. The Packers started the game with cute little plays that got them nowhere until WR Driver beat the Giants CB and inexplicably outran the entire defense down the sideline. Favre managed to find holes in the middle of the Giants zone, but the Pack couldn't sustain drives (10% conversion) due to their lack of a running game (28 yards).

The Giants held the ball for 40 minutes; although the Packers D disrupted the Giants they did not have an answer for WR Plaxico Burress, who scorched them for 154 yards on 11 catches. Whatever the answer is, it obviously isn't single coverage: his 14 yard average is an accurate marker of his effectiveness, as opposed to Driver's bodacious numbers that were skewed by his brilliant 90 yard tightrope walk.

Special teams kept the Packers in it, as conditions prevented long punts and kickoffs but did not prevent K Crosby from kicking 2/2 FGs.

In this grinding war of attrition, the Giants looked like the better team, delivering body blows in the running game. Despite the vicious cold, there were no turnovers until the 4th quarter when there were two on the same play. The biggest turnover in regulation was the turnover that wasn't: the Giants fumbled a midfield punt return with 2:30 to play in the 20-20 tie.

Jarrett Bush was in perfect position to recover for the Packers. All he had to do was fall on it and the Wisconsin magic would flow like so much beer wort, downstream to the Superbowl. Instead, he tried to pick the ball up in traffic and run with it, like a dumbass.

After the game, Bush admitted, "I should have fell on it [sic]."

The Pack received yet another gift when Giants bonedaddy K Tynes missed his second FG as time expired. Before the OT coin was in the air, I made this proclamation from my plush armchair: "If the Packers win the toss they should take the wind, not the ball. The Giants are deflated right now and can be forced to go 3 and out which would give the Packers great field position. Otherwise, the sputtering Packers offense will have regular field position and Favre has only passed for thirty-two yards and an interception in the 4th quarter."

We'll never know if my tactic would have worked, but we know what didn't work: Favre throwing into the wind on second and eight, late and high and behind his receiver. The fellating of Favre stopped with the audible sound of a cork ejecting from a bottleneck: *pop*.

The all-time interception king of the NFL did it in overtime of the NFC Championship game. Classic.

Plenty of chumps dragged out the stat that extended his NFL record to 18 straight postseason games with a TD pass. I haven't found anyone trotting out his INT records, so I had to dig for it myself. It turns out that The Greatest Quarterback In The History Of The NFL, Who Plays Like A Kid Out There, has amassed 28 INTS in 22 playoff games. More to the point, he has thrown sixteen interceptions in his last eight playoff games. He certainly does have a linebacker's mentality.

Superbowl Rematch
This is the twelfth time that a regular-season rematch will be featured in the Superbowl. The team that won the regular-season game has only won five of eleven Superbowl rematches. This season, the Patriots defeated the Giants 38-35 in Week 17.

Playoff Pick'Em
Injustice Norwood: 10 pts
Adw: 10 pts
Jess: 10 pts
L'il E: 10 pts
MMMan: 10 pts
Miwacar: 6 pts
Big BM: 1 pt

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Eddie Johnson / Taylor Twellman sagas

It certainly looks like Kansas City striker Eddie Johnson, a young (and still pretty raw by international standards) striker is now headed for to the English Premiership League, to play for American player's home away from home, Fulham. Fulham is in some dire straits, as they are attempting to fight off relegation down to English First (Championship) Division. Another striker in the MLS, Taylor Twellman, despite his New England Revolution team being offered $2.5 million dollars for his services, is stuck here in the US.

I've read a couple of different takes on why this is. SoccerAmerica writer Ridge Mahoney is somewhat sympathetic to Twellman, Bernado Fallas of the Houston Chronicle is more so. I find that my particularly brand of disinterested lack of sympathy perspective wholly lacking from what I've read so far, and I'd like to offer it.

[Quick primer for American Sports Fans: The Tranfer Soccer, unlike football or baseball, offers windows (called transfer windows) that allow teams to directly offer cash to a club that has a player under contract. Let's take Vikings running back Chester Taylor. He had a good year last year, clearly becoming the 2nd banana this year. Let's say that for a two week period in December, other teams could offer money directly to the Vikings for the right to sign Taylor. He would then have to agree as well, and could probably even renegotiate his contract right then and there. Essentially, imagine if the Cash mentioned in a trade were allowed to be $10 million, and the player always had a No-Trade clause[End Primer: The Tranfer]

So, many American players, Eddie Johnson included, have put into their contracts a "trigger"--in which the transfer fee HAS to be accepted by the club--at that point, the transfer becomes the choice of the player. Fulham apparently hit that trigger price (right around $3.5 million) with Kansas City (Eddie's soon to be old team) and have now got the right to negotiate directly with Johnson. So he's off to England. If they offer him a contract he hates, he could always say "fuck it" and come back to his old club here in the MLS.

Taylor Twellman, whose NE Revolution was also offered a lot of money (over $2 million) for the right to talk to him have denied the club that was interested in him. The English club apparently told Twellman that they were going to triple his own salary as well. Twellman is unhappy about this turn of events. He wants to go to England.

Both SoccerAmerica and the Houston Chronicle point to this as a sure sign of MLS' short-sighted tight-fistedness. SoccerAmerica (rightly) questions if Twellman's agent failed to negotiate for a "trigger". SoccerAmerica is too kind to ask, but I am--If there is a "trigger", how in God's name is it for more than $2 million dollars? For Taylor Twellman? What?

Look, Taylor Twellman is talented on the MLS level. But he is approaching 28 years old, and never got a real sniff on a US National Team that was absolutely starving, dying for talent on the frontline. That's telling. He's practically a household name in New England soccer houses. Getting $2 million bucks for him, in a market where the dollar has gone to shit internationally, just to watch him flounder for a year in the English Championship (that's Triple AAA for you baseball people) and then come home isn't a sign that New England or the MLS are tight-fisted. They are going to be perfectly willing to send their young talent abroad--even if they aren't totally perfectly willing. Twellman isn't that young, and isn't that talented.

It wasn't Manchester United that came knocking for Twellman. It wasn't even Fulham or Watford. It was Preston North End. This is a team that last tasted anything like success in 1964. They haven't played in the top division since 1961, and they are in danger of dropping into the 3rd Division. It would be like if the NBA Development league tried to poach a 28 year old from the Italian Basketball League. Might that player be excited, hearing "NBA", just as Twellman is excited to hear "England"? But that team might look around and say, "Really? This guy is our star, and he's not going to get better or more famous by playing in some league no one but locals and fanatics watch."

So only Fallas' first three words keep this paragraph from being total shit: In Twellman's eyes, this was his chance at fulfilling nearly every soccer player's dream to play abroad and a shot at redemption after a failed stint in Germany years ago. More importantly, it would get him a step closer to the English Premier League. The clock is ticking. Weeks removed from turning 28, Twellman is already old by European import standards.

The clock stopped ticking three years ago. A step closer to the Premier League? Please--he'd need a time machine and some success at the US National Team Level to pull that off. If the New England Revolution accepted that deal, Taylor Twellman's chances of playing in the English Premier League would have still been only slighter better than mine (I can't help noticing how both articles quickly glossed over that whole "failed stint in Germany".)

The MLS and the Revolution are doing the right thing here--right now, Americans are considered a bargain in England. Hell, SoccerAmerica quoted Timmy Howard saying it: "I've said if before: America is the new Africa," said Everton keeper Tim Howard last year after leaving Manchester United. "It's one of the few places left where you can still get a bargain." That's a good reputation to have. Selling Taylor Twellman for over $2 million would have dimished that view, would have hurt young players like Eddie Johnson (23, big, fast, with an expected learning curve), and would have sent a pretty highly valued commodity in the MLS into the dump that is England's 2nd or 3rd Division.

I don't think the Revolution or MLS owes anyone an apology, especially Taylor Twellman. It sounds like if anyone owes Twellman an apology, it is his agent. Or, as SoccerAmerica put it, maybe Taylor should complain to himself:

No doubt the departure of Johnson angers Twellman anew. But if no team has matched his buy-out figure, he just has to sit tight and reiterate his desire to leave. And if no such clause exists, he really only has himself to blame.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Herschel Walker's Got Personality(s)

[updated] Um. Yeahbutwhat?

ATLANTA (AP) -- Georgia football great Herschel Walker has multiple personalities -- a revelation in an upcoming book that surprises the man who coached the 1982 Heisman Trophy winner.

"That's all news to me," former Georgia coach Vince Dooley said in Friday editions of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "All I know is whatever personality he had when he had the football was the one I liked."

"Breaking Free" will chronicle Walker's life with multiple personality disorder, according to Shida Carr, a publicist at Simon & Schuster.

This is a confusing revelation, no? I mean, Walker has been in the public eye for decades (he was on Pros. vs. Joes last year, even). He was playing a sport that necessarily demanded that he be around several dozen people almost every single day of his life. No one noticed this before? Were all his personalities people who loved playing football? I don't know a thing about this disease beyond what decades of watching Law & Order have taught me. But the idea that it could afflict someone very much in the public eye, always surrounded by lots of people, and no one knew? That's shocking. Perhaps that quote from the coach is more telling than he meant it to be. No one cared if he sounded different as long as he pounded that rock. But that suggests a level of callousness that I'm not sure I'm willing to believe (even with the sad Dexter Manley story on my mind forever).

So what the hell is going on here?

Update: Got a missive from a Brain Doctor I know on the subject. He says, "Dissociative Identity Disorder (aka mult. personality disorder) remains perhaps the most controversial diagnosis out there. Dissociative symptoms in general are often linked to specific (often trauma related) triggers, so I guess it would be possible for the most blatant DID symptoms to be very context specific for a particular individual, and therefore not readily apparent to those around them. Then again, maybe this represents some kind of an exaggeration of severe mood swings, etc. Its impossible to judge a case like that based on the limited information available (and filtered through the media to boot)."

So essentially, it is possible that if Walker was at his most comfortable, most happy on the footfall field, the symptoms may have never presented themselves, or seemed to the outward observor as just Walker being moody. Interestin'.

White Folks Do It Again!

Obviously, golf is not a sport. But I'm gagging on over-chewed NFL coverage, college basketball seems to be running on a loop (the foul-frenzy of the final three minutes must stop), and 2008 is a political year. Alas, White Folks have have done it again. This roiling controversy and its backlash reveal much about golf's racist legacy.

As I recently wrote in Racism In Sports, With A Twist, WASP postergirl Kelly Tilghman recommended that golfers competing with Tiger Woods should "lynch him in a back alley."

Golf Channel did not react to her tacky on-air remark until Reverend Al "Face Time" Sharpton publicly denounced the reference to the southern states' brutal history. Tilghman was goosed with a two-week suspension, and the larger questions of privilege, race & the golf industry were about to sink under the water hazards yet again.

Until Golfweek Magazine decided to run this cover:

In case their editorial stance on the issue remained vague, Golfweek columnist Jeff Rude opined:

"Before this little non-story that has led to the unnecessary two-week suspension of Kelly Tilghman grows more legs than a caterpillar, allow me to weigh in with two words learned at an age when people put caterpillars in jars: Stop it ... Tilghman and Tiger Woods are friends. They call each other. They text each other. She likes and respects him. There was no ill intent when her loose lips used a bad verb."

His argument: as long as Tilghman and Wood "text each other," there's no controversy. In other words, nobody who speaks German could be an evil man.

However, the issue isn't whether or not Woods was offended, it's whether or not flippantly using the word "lynch" in connection with one of the most prominent black men in the world might be offensive to everybody else.

The reaction of Woods was as muted (and spokesman-moderated) as when Fuzzy Zoeller spat his bitterness in 1997, “That little boy is driving well and he's putting well. He's doing everything it takes to win. So, you know what you guys do when he gets in here? You pat him on the back and say congratulations and enjoy it and tell him not to serve fried chicken next year. Got it? Or collard greens or whatever the hell they serve.

Zoeller, by the way, has weighed in with advice for Tilghman: “Just keep smiling and kill people with kindness. And remember, the sun will come up tomorrow .... Time heals all wounds."

I'm not sure, Fuzzy. I'm using you as the epitome of a privileged rich white asshole, so perhaps you're not out of the woods yet. Haha, get it?

Dave Seanor, editor of Golfweek was quickly fired for the noose cover. He was replaced by Jeff Babineau, who looks like the epitome of a privileged rich white asshole. Maybe he isn't, but that smirk on his well-fed puss doesn't look promising.

Stand by for the inevitable reactionary backlash decrying "political correctness." When people like Jeff Rude (see above) insist that the context of Tilghman's remarks mitigates their offensiveness, they are narrowing the argument. The context is properly the history of racism in golf, not whether Woods (the product of privilege) was personally offended.

Golf country clubs still exclude Jews, blacks, Catholics, women, homosexuals, et al. The effort to exclude minorities from their green dreams is one of the final battlegrounds in privately-sponsored racism. In 1996, Shoal Creek Golf & Country Club founder Hall Thompson explained "We don't discriminate in every other area except the black ... The country club is our home and we pick and choose who we want."

Has anything changed? Seven months ago, the Orange County National Golf Club in Winter Garden, Florida, had a "noose with the sign '1-800-whiners' hanging from the right corner of the outside-services office, which was located underneath the pro shop," as reported in the Orlando Sentinel.

Golf's legacy is a direct link to the KKK, only with more expensive membership fees and more pastels in the uniform. That's the context in which Tilghman's remarks must be considered.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Zindane in MLS?

Is Zindane contemplating a move to the states? If he comes, I hope to see him on Snoop Dogg's new show.

David Beckham and the Snoop D O double G!

While surfing the TV last night, I spied David Beckham hanging with Snoop Dogg. Now that's something I didn't imagine I would see on television.

MST3K Fans Rejoice!

The two guys who headlined Mystery Science Theater 3000 never worked together, but they have both realized that the new media lends itself to their talents. They have taken somewhat different tacks, but it seems to be working for both of them. It reminds me a bit of when Uncle Tupelo split into Son Volt and Wilco.

Mike Nelson jumped in sooner, and with the more innovative idea. Hence, he's Wilco, in this metaphor. Nelson and buddies have recorded mp3's, that can be downloaded, and played in time with DVD's that you rent. That keeps them from having to get the rights of recent awful movies. The number one thing holding Nelson's project back is the awful name--"RiffTrax". But it is still brilliant. And like I said, doing it the way they are doing it allows them to do recent movies. No scrounging for rights. Here they are, ripping 300.

Joel Hodgson, the creator of MST3K, has gone a different route. He's gone classic MST3K (hence, the Son Volt in this equation). Shadows on the screen of old school, classicly bad movies that no one has ever seen. He's having to deal with copyrights and shit like that. But he's brought a clearly classic cast of characters to help him. In time, both of these franchises should be hugely successful. Here's the trailer to Hodgson and Company's "Cinematic Titanic"

Mike Nelson's Rifftrax
Joel Hodgson's Cinematic Titanic

Brett Favre Loves The Game This Much

As a public service, we thought we would give the commentators of the Packer some new material about how much Brett Favre loves the Game. We already know he's a kid out there, and he's got the mentality of a linebacker, and (going back in time a little) that Mark Chmura is Brett Favre's best friend. We need (well, we don't need--the commentators need) new ways of describing Brett Favre's love of the game, his approach to the game. We are here to serve.

Brett Favre Loves the Game as much as a Zoo-Living Gorilla Loves his tire and kitten.

Brett Favre Loves Football like a retard in a Steinbeck novel loves his rabbits. Brett Favre will pet the game and name the game "George" and accidently kill the game with his over-enthusiastic hugging.

Brett Favre loves the game like a catamite loves his protector. If the NFL were an ancient Greek, Brett Favre would let it fuck him in the ass, happily.

Brett Favre plays the game like a crystal meth addict plays pinball at that seedy bar you promised yourself you weren't going to go to anymore, no matter how good their drink specials are.

Brett Favre loves this game too much to feed it roofies and dry hump it on its parent's couch. But he totally wants to.

The film "The Crush" starring Drew Barrymore and Cary Elwes was actually a metaphor for how Brett Favre feels about the Game. The famous line "I Love You, and YOU LOVE ME." was written by then quarterbacks coach Steve Mariucci, who admitted that it also symbolized his own relationship with Favre.

Brett Favre will kill anyone who suggests that there is something wrong with game. Because he loves it that much. Oh, sure, the game might cry out, "No, Brett, don't kill him! It's not worth it!" and then he'll kill that person anyway, and turn to the Game, and say, "Don't you get it? I did it for you. I DID IT FOR YOU!"

Brett Favre loves the game so much that if the NFL committed a murder, Brett Favre would take the fall.

Brett Favre is like a bonobo chimpanzee on X out there!

Brett Favre's best friend used to be Mark Chmura. Now his best friend is the game. He'd like the game to come to Earth as a person, so he could give it a sharp slap on the ass.

Brett Favre has dreams where he totally blows his load all over the game's face, and the game is into it.

Once, Brett Favre was in Spain, and he overheard some guy in a bar saying that American Football wasn't shit. That Soccer was the world's sport. Brett Favre killed that guy. And then his wife. And his children. And their pets. And the grandparents of their pets. That's how much Brett Favre loves the game.

Tony Sparano Hired by the Dolphins

As Andrew said he would be.

The Tunafication of Miami has begun.

I don't want to go completely on looks, but Tony Sparano looks like he would be happier teaching 7th and 8th graders the magical instrument of the Recorder.

That guy, over there, is going to coach an NFL franchise? Really?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Punishments for Insubordiantion Ain't What They Used to Be

A Pardeeville man is expected to appear in court Wednesday after he was arrested this weekend on suspicion of restraining his 7-year-old son with tape after the boy refused to wear a Green Bay Packers jersey.

The 36-year-old man was taken into custody on Saturday on suspicion of causing mental harm to a child, false imprisonment and domestic disorderly conduct, according to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities said that the boy's mother called police after the child refused to wear the jersey and the father restrained and tied him with tape for about one hour. The jersey was also taped to the boy during the time, authorities said.

The father is expected to appear in Columbia County Circuit Court on Wednesday.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

NFL Divisional Round: Schadenfreude

It is mathematically unlikely that anyone's favorite team is in the NFL Conference Championships -- especially for contributors in the IDYFT foster family. That leaves not much pleasure for the majority, besides the joy in someone else's suffering.

Schadenfreude was my guiding emotion through the weekend's football events. My Channukah Wish was granted when the Cowgirls got totally spanked at home. This was the first time in seventeen years that the #1 NFC seed lost in the Divisional Round.

It made B.O. Owens cry, which was absolutely priceless and godless ("I had all faith in God and believed that I could get back on this field in a timely matter the way I did today. I couldn't have done it without God," according to B.O.) It will also set up a full year of questioning Romo's commitment: football, or tabloid romance with his pop-slut and her parents?

The Cowbums haven't won a playoff game since a wildcard win over the Vikes 1996. Twenty-four NFL franchises have at least one playoff victory since the Cowbots' last post-season win. Dallas dominated Pro Bowl voting in a typical choad-load, and those twelve ass-blasters (note: each unit has a total of eleven players) will be crying themselves to sleep on their huge pillows. All the asshole Cowgoy fans -- both the real ones and the bandwagoneers -- have to choke down this dark & bitter lozenge with all the unquenchable agony of an anorexic girl at the Minnesota State Fair.

My next Chanukkah wish (I get eight, according to the literature) is for the Chargers to lose badly. Why? Because I like them. I like them and I hate Nerfneck Turner. That scabby-necked asshole, turning purple and bewailing like a bebitch. Gross! I want Turner fired so that I can enjoy the Chargers again.

I want the Packers to win only because I want the Giants to lose. I hate the Giants -- not nearly as much as I hate the Cowgirls -- and am looking forward to Eli's scrunchy little frowny face being so sad.

Playoff Pick 'Em Standings

Injustice Norwood: 10 pts
Adw: 7 pts
Jess: 7 pts
L'il E: 7 pts
Miwacar: 6 pts
MMMan: 7 pts
Big BM: 1 pt

Providence Smiles Upon Fat People

Snowball fight? In a snowstorm? Outrageous. It was the talk of Lambeau as well, at least for those coherent enough to utter cogent thoughts. Even as a resident of Wisconsin and
enthusiast for cheap, domestic lager served in large glass, I was taken aback by how absolutely housed the Packer fans were during the rousing victory over Seattle yesterday.

Yes, lucky old Barnyard was lucky enough to score a ticket and make the journey to the great white north for some unsupervised revelry in support of the mighty Green and Gold. And yes, there were some really, really intoxicated Wisconsinites. In an odd twist on typical Barnyard behaviour, I wasn't adding to the intoxication level. I was too busy documenting what Fox missed for our loyal readers. Check it out:
I'm pretty confident Half-man/Half-buck is the father of Cheese-Lad:

Class-less Green Bay fans have the gall to objectify women at a sporting event:

72,194 really wasted people obeyed this with unusual alacrity:

At the time I was thinking the weather would make this game comparable to the Philly/Chicago fogfest two decades ago:

Miller Lite won in a closely contested race:

Ryan Grant makes me feel funny in my pants. This was the beginning of his third touchdown run:

NFC Championship game? If you had told me back in August that the Pack would be there I would have punched you in the nose and called you a filthy liar. But here we are, and it is a damned shame that Mike McCarthy wasn't given the Coach of the Year nod for his efforts.

Why Haven't You Read "Scalped" Yet?

Were we not clear? Scalped kicks ass.

"Aaron's talent for dialogue is complemented spectacularly by R.M. Guéra's vivid pencil work."
--Playboy Magazine

"Aaron's narrative is dirtier than an Iron Eyes Cody vista, and promisingly matched with Guera's prairie-dusty art."
--Entertainment Weekly

"SCALPED is some of the most compelling character work and crime writing I've seen in a long time."

"The best new series in years. Spread the word. Tell your friends. Talk about it. Blog about it."

"One of the richest, most rewarding reads around."

"More and more of a must read each month."
--Ain't It Cool News

"One of the best offerings from Vertigo in recent memory... Highly recommended."

"SCALPED has attitude, SCALPED has guts and SCALPED is no holds barred. In short, SCALPED is fucking great."
--Crimespree Magazine

"If SCALPED doesn't leave shivers down your back, read it again."
--Reznet News

NCAA Hoops Round Up

While the glamour of white guys chucking a football was clearly the story for Saturday, we should not, will not, overlook some big College Basketball games, as there were upsets a plenty.

Kentucky got a big win from themselves, and possibly saving Billy Gillispie from being gunned down in the streets of Lexington, by beating Vanderbilt in double overtime. Kentucky has been downright awful this year, but beating a ranked team should help both their confidence and their pedigree for the rest of the SEC season. Vanderbilt was ranked #13 and unbeated going into the game--which is a weird thing to write about Vanderbilt. Regardless, Kentucky got a win they desperately needed to feel like this season wasn't completely lost.

Missouri beat #12 Texas 97-84. Texas bad-ass A.J. Abrams was super-cold from behind the line (under 30% on 11 attempts), and Missouri shot ridiculously well (70% in the second half). This feels more like a "What the Hell?" game than an actual statement game. Time will tell, but I'd imagine Missouri to still be just an OK team going forward.

Is it an upset when #5 beats #4? Probably not, especially when #5 is clearly more talented. UCLA beat Washington State 81-74, even with Washington State jacking (and hitting) 3's like crazy in the second half. Wash State is coached by the son of Wisconsin legend Dick Bennett, which basically means they aren't going to win games when the other team scores more than 80.
Finally, what makes the Big 10 fun in print, but not on TV is evidenced here, with stupid, shitty Iowa beating #6 Michigan State, 43-36. Let's say that again: 43-36! People paid money to watch that game. They should get a refund.

NFL Playoffs Round Up

Patriots beat Jaguars 31-20. Let the fellating of Tom Brady begin continue! I mean the press corp fellation, not the super-model/actress fellation, though that will almost certainly continue as well. It was an impressive game from Brady, who took what the defense gave him, and completed short passes that kept drives alive. And yeah, fine, it was a record completion percentage. The Jags were in this game almost until the end though, and one reason they were is that Jacksonville clearly had a game plan for beating the old Patriots Defense. With better players, it might have worked. I imagine both the Colts and the Chargers were taking notes on the game, and the Colts at least would have a good chance to score a lot of points on that Patriots defense.

Also, I would have thought there would be more room in those articles to give more than a little lip service to Lawrence Maroney, who did have an impressive game.

Green Bay beat Seattle 42-20. Holy Shit, does Brett Favre love this game? He LOVES this game! He's like a kid out there! He's throwing snowballs! If Brett Favre could, he'd rub himself up against this game--that's how much he loves it! Brett Favre spontaneously orgasms whenever the Lambeau Field PA plays "Bang on the Drum All Day"--that's how much he loves this game! How much does he love it? As much as a retarded bonobo chimpanzee loves masturbating--that's a lot of love.

Seriously though, the Packers looked good this afternoon--after going down 14-0 (thanks in no small part to a couple of Ryan Grant fumbles), they came back and fucking dominated. The defense the so thoroughly confused the Washington Drunken Savages offense got caught time and time again over pursuing on the run, and leaving themselves vulnerable on blitzes that didn't work.

Not to beat a dead horse, but exactly why does it take the AP reporter in this story fourteen (fourteen!) paragraphs to mention Ryan Grant's Packer post-season record 201 yards and 3 Touchdowns? But hey, let's hear more about the snowball fight between Favre and Driver! "'He turns around, packs one and hits me in the face. Good thing it hit my face mask, it might have hit my tooth or something,' he said."

Does Brett Favre only have one tooth?

This team looks awfully good in a NFC that is wide open.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

30 Rock: Please Come Back Soon

Cave in, you stupid Media Suits! You Donaghys! Here's the finale from Thursday, in case some of you were unaware that there was one last 30 Rock. I can't really explain some of the callbacks you'll see--but: 1) Kenneth referred to bagels as Jewish Doughnuts, and Liz Lemon tried to buy an apartment in a co-op that ended badly, and she treated it like a break-up with a fella. (Really do try to see the episode in all its glory--I thought it brilliant). Also, Jack has insisted that Gladys Knight sing on the show, as a gift to his girlfriend.

Quick note: Tina Fey has been getting a lot of richly deserved love/lust from the nerd community. But can we not all agree that Jane Krakowski is also super hot and super funny?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Today in Sports-- an Odd Fucking Day

I would have thought today to be a rather quiet day in sports--waiting with bated breath for the NFL Playoffs to resume, and maybe some college hoops. Instead, baseball and the NBA are sneaking into the picture for no real good reason.

Possibly nothing stranger than this: The NBA has ruled that the Heat and the Hawks have to replay the last 52 seconds or so of a game. Why? Because Shaq had been told he had fouled out when he hadn't. The game went into overtime, and the Hawks won. The Hawks have lost a win, and the Heat have a chance to pick up a game, to get within pissing distance of 10 wins. So who does this decision hurt? The Hawks, certainly. But also people who like watching decent basketball. Making people watch an extra minute of these two teams seems awfully mean. (How bad is the East? The Hawks lost a win, and have dropped 2 games below .500 (for now) and are still the 8th place team in the East. Ewww.)

The last time this happened, it was 1982! Speaking of things that have happened decades ago--you might think the MLB has had an investigation branch to its organization for at least that long. You thought wrong! But, I have to say, when you need to start a new a department in your sport, and it is run by ex-cops and ex-FBI field agents, you seem to be admitting that your sport is all sorts of fucked up. Good Luck, MLB. Way to react quickly to the scandal consuming your sport. Reacting after 15 to 20 years of abuse counts as "quickly", right?

Hey, speaking of cheaters getting punished--Mike Cameron just signed a 1 year, $7 million deal with the Brewers, even though he isn't allowed to play for the first 25 games of the season. Why isn't he allowed to play? Depends who you ask. The MLB says they found an illegal "stimulant" in Cameron's bloodstream. He says a perfectly legal supplement was tainted. Gosh, why would a rapidly aging 35 year old center fielder lie about his drug/vitamin regimen? Did I forget to mention that this was Cameron's second time getting caught?

This article about Johan Santana and where he may end up is full of nothing. However, I do like the passage in which Mets GM Omar Minaya was pelted with questions about getting Santana--from kids in Israel. It's a global Jewish economy. Or more accurately, Jews live in New York, and Tel Aviv, and they like the Mets. the Yankees are a little too goy, I guess. I may have misspelled "gay" just then. Oh, SNAP.

Finally: Do not, under any circumstances, fuck Glen Rice's wife. If you do, do not listen to R. Kelly and Hide in the Closet. Glen will find you, and beat you down. I love this story--it's like unto a bad sitcom plot, and yet so many details are left unsaid. Why did Glen go to his "estranged" wife's home? How did he manage to be there right when she was presumably fucking one Alberto Perez? Why did Alberto hide in the closet? Did he really have no time to gather his clothes and go out the back door or a window? Did he consider hiding under the bed? Did Glen Rice really average 18 points a game for his career? That's spectacular!

Racism In Sports, With A Twist!

Two stories caught my eye. They both deal in racism, but with a twist!

The first involves college athletes and charges of kidnapping, robbery and sexual molestation. But with a twist! The victims were three offensive linemen from UNC, weighing an average of 275 pounds, and are all white. The accused molesters are all black, two of whom are women and one "a naked man with a kitchen knife."

Just a few miles from the Great Duke Rape Bonanza of 2006, we'll have to see how the UNC case plays out before we draw any conclusions about Southern Justice. At Duke, rich white frat boys were accused of sexually assaulting a black stripper. The outcome was a boon to cynics: the boys were exonerated because the stripper wasn't able to determine if she had been forcibly violated by a penis or by a dildo and the DA was disbarred for trying to prosecute them.

In the UNC case, the linemen were celebrating a birthday rather than UNC's 4-8 season. They began drinking in the afternoon; by the time they rolled into the East End Oyster & Martini Bar for more Jagermeister bombs they were hammered. One of the players brought home the three defendants, allegedly in the interest of sexual escapades. Back at the apartment, the linemen allowed themselves to be tied up by the ladies. Then the story gets a little confusing, but molestation & attempted robbery occurred before the linemen heroically freed themselves.

The second story involves a white sportsjack making a stupid, insensitive racial remark on the air, but with a twist! The Golf Channel broadcaster who said that the only way to stop Tiger Woods was for all the other golfers to get together and "lynch him in a back alley" was a cute chick.

Kelly Tilghman, the first female play-by-play golf announcer, was a star member of Duke University's golf team. Hmmm.

The Golf Channel wasn't going to punish Tilghman until Rev. Al Sharpton denounced her. Although she apologized to Woods, she is facing a two-week suspension. The legacy of dumbass racist comments has been dominated by white men, whose slap-on-the-wrist punishments were harsher than what Tilghman faces. This despite the fact that none of them invoked the brutal legacy of 3,466 unpunished lynchings from 1882-1968.

The symbolism of the hangman's noose was the motivating factor in Louisiana's Jena Six case, when six black high school students were charged (as adults) with attempted murder after beating the white student ringleader of the Lynching Tree Preservation Society.

Meanwhile in the Democratic Primaries, two members of oppressed classes are vying for their Party's nomination. To counter this, the Republican field consists of privileged rich, white conservative men. What a twist!

Big 10/Comcast

Anyone who lives in the Midwest has seen the dollars that Comcast has sunk denouncing the Big 10 Network. My assumption was that the argument was over the tier that the Big 10 Network would show up on. As in, "Big 10 Network wants to be on the same tier as ESPN. Comcast is willing to put it on the same tier as Fox Soccer Channel and NFL Network."

Apparently, that isn't true, as our rich lady friend Jess who has NFL Network reports that she doesn't have the Big 10 Network, I guess due to the wrangling. (Interesting insight: Jess actually wants to watch the Gophers.)

So Jess hates Comcast, and I think with good reason. And the Big 10 Network, for good reason. Should the Big 10 Network be on Basic Cable? I think it should be on the same tier as ESPNU, which should be at least $20 more a month than the Fox Soccer Channel. I say that as a person who doesn't love European soccer 35 more times than he loves quickly devaluing NCAA conferences.

Fuck it. Jess' opinion is here: Read it!

Why We Didn't Write About Roger Clemens

Why bother to write about Roger Clemens, when you know it is a huge story, and every big dumb media outlet is going to be covering it, and that therefore, Dave Zirin of Edge of Sports is going to be writing about the coverage? Why fucking bother? We were going to write something better than this?

We now know that Roger Clemens has a rear end that's seen more needles than Keith Richards' family room. Yet it's what filled the syringes that have the sports-world and the US Congress all atwitter. Last night Clemens tried to sell his anabolic virginity to both 60 Minutes and the great proctologist of American journalism, Mike Wallace. For 15 excruciating on-air minutes, the seven-time Cy Young award winner put himself in Wallace's cross-hairs. He answered questions about Sen. George Mitchell's steroid report and what may or may not have been injected into his Hall of Fame cheeks by his personal trainer Brian McNamee.

The Wallace/Clemens showdown had the hype of a prizefight. But the millions at home didn't see the Mike Wallace who made Vietnam War architect Gen. William Westmoreland cry in his napalm. On Sunday we didn't witness Wallace the media bulldog, but a Chihuahua. If he had looked at the camera and said, "Yo quiero Taco Bell," no one would have blinked. The 89-year-old legend is a regular in Yankee owner George Steinbrenner's owner's box and has called Clemens a friend. On Sunday he seemed to have his own narcotic reaction to the athletic proximity.

Answer: No we would have not written it any better. Also, Dave had the balls to use the word "atwitter". Go read the rest now.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

RIP Sir Edmund Hillary

As you know, we here at IDYFT enjoy some of the more extreme challenges in life. I've been known to attempt to play Guitar Hero with my left hand, for example. Barnyard has traveled the whole Midwest, playing on exotic pool tables in state-highway taverns for many years. MuuMuuMan has pushed the very limits of male potency in ways you'd rather not know about.

So we see ourselves as spiritual heirs of the Hillary legacy. We doff our adventurin' caps to the great Kiwi climber and adventurer, Sir Edmund Hillary, who passed away just a few months short of the 55th anniversary of his reaching Everest's summit.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Skins Fans - Your Hoggets Can Now Glow!

Scientists have engineered cloned pigs that glow green and pass this trait to their offspring - this has significant ramifications for the future of the Hoggets. From the article:

"The smooth birth of these transgenic fluorescent green pigs testifies to the mature development of our country's use of somatic cell nuclear transfer technology to produce transgenic pigs,"

Now the Hoggets can be transgenic/vestite and glow green - perhaps the Hoggets could request as set of red glowing pig snouts? That'd be awesome.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Another Sign that Strange Things are a Foot..

I stumbled upon this story today, one of the longest winning streaks ever has come to a close. The Brandon High (that's right, Brandon High) wrestling team has not lost a dual match in 34 years, until last Saturday. 459 consecutive victories. Take that Pats, your big 16-0 looks pert small. Now, I'm 34 -so they've been winning since I was born. I, on the other hand, have not been winning since I was born (with the exception of my undefeated T-Ball season back in 1981). Does this event signal a big change for muumuuman? I'm feelin it. Can you guess the antecedent to "it". I knew you could.

Joe Gibbs Resigns

Wow. I was not really expecting this, even with the odd air Gibbs took questions the other day.

From the article:
WASHINGTON - Joe Gibbs has resigned as coach and president of the Washington Redskins.
The Redskins said in a statement that Gibbs will remain part of the Redskins family and serve as a special adviser to owner Dan Snyder.

Gibbs will discuss his decision at a 3 p.m. ET news conference at Redskins Park.

The Redskins will begin a search for a new coach immediately. Among the certain candidates are two former head coaches on Gibbs' staff, Gregg Williams and Al Saunders.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Marijuana, Is There Nothing You Can't Do?

Leave it to former QB Mike Vick, convicted dog-snuffer, to discover another use for marijuana: it gets you out of jail faster.

Vick was sentenced to 23 months in federal court for dog-fighting. But because he tested positive for smoking weed following his guilty plea, Vick qualifies for a drug treatment program. Upon successful completion of the program, his sentence could be cut in half.

Another bonus is that he has been moved to Leavenworth, Kansas. That's not normally a gratifying change of address, but bear in mind Vick had been stamping license plates in Virginia's Northern Neck Regional Jail (really).

Move over, Medical Marijuana. Here comes Defendant Doobie!

From now on, I'm going to smoke weed every day.

Vick will face state charges in Virginia for animal cruelty on April 2nd. He better get blazing.

Something Strange is in the Air.....

I think a few people, perhaps Noble Savage fans or members of the Raider nation, have expressed their love and admiration of Norv Turner. Looks like this year Norv Turner has actually done what he was hired to do - win a play-off game. Granted, the Titans were not the toughest opponent with Young slowed down by a injury and the patchwork offensive line. But the Titans did stop LT - and Turner won by having Rivers throw the ball. The addition of Chris Chambers has made the team multi-dimensional. Success for Norv? Yup. Better than Marty? Well, better beat the Colts to prove that. However, the game plan shouldn't rely on 6 ints from Manning and 2 missed field goals from Adam, AND two kick returns for TDs.
And Eli against the Bucs - I thought I'd see a turnover fest, but the Giants turned the ball over zero times? Zero? The Giants may have done that once all season. A play-off victory for Eli, and Garcia who had beaten the Giants in the play-offs twice gets his first loss against NY in post season play.
Forth and two, near mid field, down by one with less than 2:00 minutes on the clock, and the QB runs right up the middle for a big gain setting up the game winning field goal. Sounds like Big Ben to me, but nope - Gerrard and the Jags.
And finally, Joe Gibbs has the lead in the fourth quarter - he is 17-0 lifetime with the lead in the playoffs in the second half. Then Matt "We're gonna get the ball and were gonna SCORE" Hasselbeck actually does march down the field and score. Then Todd Collins throws his first two pics since 1997. O.K., so he hasn't really played since 1997 but it sounds cool.
Bizarre first week, and I do not think any team has a lock next week - should be interesting.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

NFL Playoffs Pick 'Em: Wildcard Round


The first round of the playoffs is finished, with four teams even sadder than if they hadn't made the playoffs in the first place. There are only eight teams left: the top 25%. Only one IDYFT-favored team is still in contention, so the hope is that this little Playoffs Pick 'Em might keep things personal.

Injustice Norwood: 4 pts
Adw: 3 pts
Jess: 3 pts
L'il E: 3 pts
Miwacar: 2 pts
MMMan: 1 pt
Big BM: 1 pt

Divisional Round Schedule
Saturday: Seattle at Green Bay (4:30 EST)
Jacksonville at New England (8:00 EST)

Sunday: San Diego at Indianapolis (12 EST)
New York at Dallas (4:30 EST)

Divisional round picks are worth 2 pts.

If anyone desires to re-pick their Pick 'Em (I know I do), please do so in the comments section. Know that you will lose a tiebreaker versus someone who keeps their picks straight through.

If you are happy with your picks you don't need to do anything.

If anyone has missed the first round and would like to jump in you are welcome to do so.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Spirit of Sean Taylor Comes Up Short Against Seattle....

The Drunken Racebaiters of Washington failed to be inspired enough by the memory of their fallen teammate, Sean Taylor, to turn in a passingly respectable effort during crunch time of a loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the opening round of the 2007 NFL playoffs. Justice is served. And though traditionally I have never particularly rooted against the "Red" Skins, I must say that imagining the amount of angst that this particular pathetic kick-in-the-crotch causes Andy Wice makes me extremely happy.

And while it is exceptionally sad that Sean Taylor lost his life due to the fact that America has traditionally implemented a policy of depriving the inner-city of basic civil rights while funneling drugs and guns into urban areas in a thinly veiled attempt at racist genocide, it is also ironic that these particular racebaiters, from the suburbs of Washington D.C., seem to have forsaken Taylor's memory by turning in a decidedly mediocre performance in this crucial playoff game. And by 'ironic' I mean: fuck you Mr. Wice.

IDYFT Mailbag

We get countless emails here at IDYFT (by countless, I mean either 0 emails, a large number of emails, or an acutal infinite number of emails) asking what the fine folk here at IDYFT do when we are not busily being dicks about sports.

We all have jobs, at least for next couple of weeks. We read, we play video games. Some of us go on "dates" with "dancers". Some of us have a wife and children, and crap like that.

We also write in other formats. Since we don't always get all of our dickishness out while complaining about the state of modern sports, or modern sports journalism, we sometimes turn to the classics.

So, I now announce, somewhat shamefaced, that a couple of us have been putting together a blog called Your Rotund Promiscuous Mother, wherein we adopt styles, and even passages from famous authors and thinkers, and make them into Your Momma Jokes.

We aren't proud of this. OK, we are a little proud. Feel free to peruse, enjoy, and maybe even submit your own samples. We will credit you, and your friends will be a little bit impressed maybe, if you have easily impressed friends.

Visit: Your Rotund Promiscuous Mother.

Friday, January 04, 2008

And That's Why I read BoingBoing

Scientists to make cows fart like kangaroos

What more can you ask for than that headline? That there be some scientific reason for it, and it isn't just about scientists getting really freaky for no reason? Done! Kangaroos don't produce methane, so if you can make cows fart like kangaroos, you may be helping the enviroment. In exchange, the kangaroos will teach the cows how to masturbate.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Lions, the Lions...

7-9 after a 6-2 start. The Lions appear to have talent, but no play-offs again. So out go the sacrificial lambs - this year Mike Martz, and Kitna* may be next. I have someone else to blame. No, it's not Millen.

I'll give you a hint, they just dropped to number 3 in auto-sales in the US. They have been behind GM as number 2 since 1931. Yup, ye good old "found on road dead" motor company, responsible for both the Edsel and Pinto. The Edsel (Every Day Something Else Leaks) is the biggest automotive failure in history. The Pinto's gas tank ruptured and the doors jammed shut when rear ended, a winning combo for the consumer. Mother Jones released an article damning the "exploding" Pinto, and lawsuits followed. Public opinion of Ford certainly wained after the exploding Pinto. (However, the cost-benefit sort of thing that inspired Rainmaker has never been fully proven.) Then there was the Explorer/Firestone tire fiasco a few years back**. Quality is Job one.

The lions were not always a joke. They were champions in 52, 53 and 57 - a dynasty one might say. Then in 1964 they were purchased by one William Clay Ford Sr., and the party was over. Since Ford took charge the Lions have one play-off win. One. Also, a Lions head coach has NEVER been the head coach another NFL team after his Detroit tenure. NEVER. Head coaching the Lions is head coaching suicide.

However, there may be an upside, inspired by fellow contributor Andrew Wice. Using SAT like structure Wice stated that Millen is to qualified as Cheney is to compassionate. Indeed. I'll take it a step further. Perhaps Henry is to Edsel is to William Sr. is to William Jr. (now Lions VP) as Samuel is to Prescott is to George H. is to George dubya. What is the commonality? - I'll let the reader decide. Lions fans can only hope that perhaps both of these are as Tiberius is to Caligula is to Claudius is to Nero or maybe a Nicholas to Alexander to Alexander II to Nicholas II: after the fourth consecutive heir of increasing ineptitude is the reign of terror soon to end? Will the people take it anymore? Pray for the Lions people, pray for the Lions....and for mojo.

Update: Martz has been replaced by offensive line coordinator Jim Colletto. That's right, offensive line coordinator. Quick stats: Lions offensive rushing rank? 31st. Sacks allowed? 54, only San Fran and KC had 55. However, they did have the fewest rushing attempts in the league (ave 20.3/game), and perhaps the Martz O requires an offensive line to do the near impossible, or requires a Marshall Faulk to keep the LB honest. So we can't nail Jim to cross yet - perhaps next year. Considering he was fired by the Raiders 2005 and his singular head coaching stint at Purdue had a 21-42-3 (33.3%) record, I think we get it ready for him.

Millen is the second highest paid GM in the NFL. He used to be number one, but the Big Tuna has that designation now. Third highest is the Chargers A.J. Smith with a win-loss of 50-30 (62.5 win %). Millen? 31-81 (27.7%). (Thanks to and espn)

*Kitna is not the "good luck chuck" of the NFL. Drew Bledsoe is.
**Oh, William Clay Ford Sr., Henry's grandson, married Martha Firestone - thanksgiving has been quite the ordeal for the Ford/Firestone family I'll tell you what.

Balls To The Wall

Newly-enthroned Bill Parcells fired Coach Cam "Cam" Cameron, in a move that surprised nobody. Taking over this week, Parcells has gone "Balls To The Wall" in rebuilding the Dolphins in his image. The Dolphins finished 2007 with one win. Though racked with injuries, the Dolphins' languor on offense was the primary factor for dismissing Cam after one year, and will usher in their fifth head coach in five years.

Cam was brought in from the Chargers' 2006 offense to pump up the Dolphins pudding-esque attack. Shockingly, RB Ronnie Brown was leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage before he was injured beyond repair in Week 7. With QB Trent "Permanent Brain Damage" Green suffering permanent brain damage and WR Chris Chambers cleverly traded away midseason, the Dolphins will have the #1 draft pick next year.

Obviously, Cam never had a chance. Remember, Cam was the coordinator behind the 2006 Chargers 14-2 season. He called the Bumarooski, one of the most jaw-dropping playcalls in the history of professional football. It scored a TD.

I'm not an apologist for Cam, but consider Cam's Chargers versus Nerfneck Turner's Chargers. With the same personnel, last year's Chargers ran for 544 more yards, passed for 416 more yards and scored 80 more points.

Parcells and Ireland will likely hire Cowgirls assistant Head Coach Tony Sparano, last seen eating a sausage-and-peppers sub at the Bada-bing. I'd look for Parcells to continue to go "Balls To The Wall" as we head into free agency, jettisoning the journeymen who have called the Dolphins home for the last four years (20 wins, 44 losses).

German gay metal band Accept, creators of the 1984's anthemic "Balls To The Wall," explains: "We've always been interested in politics and in human rights and things like that, so a lot of the lyrics that we had in those days, and to the end actually, were dealing with human rights, for instance, and that's really what 'Balls To The Wall' is all about."

The connection between the new Parcells regime and Accept's song are revealed in these lyrics:

"Build a wall with the bodies of the dead - and you're saved
Make the world scared - come on, show me the sign of victory
Sign of victory - sign of victory

You better watch the damned (God bless ya)
They're gonna break their chains (hey)
No, you can't stop them (God bless ya)
They're coming to get you
And then you'll get your

Balls to the wall, man
Balls to the wall

NFL Carnage Continues

The carnage is just beginning. We knew that. But after one busy day, we've been given another.

Least Shocking Fire: Mike Martz, who brought his high-flying, dependent on a great offensive line and an accurate QB to an offense that didn't really have either. Andrew has argued at great length how badly the front office of Detriot has fucked up their drafts. Clearly, the person at fault for this was Mike Martz who I believe has been in Detroit for all of 2 years. Martz didn't draft Rogers or Williams. He did make Mike Furrey and Shaun MacDonald free-agents to be, though. Furrey lead the league in receptions last year, and MacDonald caught like 8 TD's this year. To replace them, unfired Matt Millen has promised to draft 5 WR's next year. Clearly Mike Martz should have put the ball in the hands of super Running Backs Tatum Bell and Kevin Jones, who combined, almost had as good of a season as Barry Sanders would have.

I love this bit of the news: "According to various reports, Mike Martz could land with the San Francisco 49ers as a replacement for offensive coordinator Jim Hostler." Eat it, Hoss.

Big Tuna has brought in the architect of the current Dallas Franchise, Jeff Ireland, to help them recover. Can TO or Terry Glenn be far behind? Yes, they can be. Especially Owens.

In San Francisco, embattered leader Mike Nolan has agreed to a power-sharing arrangement with recently promoted 36-year old Management Uberkid Scot McCloughan. Sounds like Pakistan. Watch your ass, McCloughan! Make sure that nicely dressed 49'ers aide isn't a Raiders fan in disguise. Or vice versa.

The Ravens are looking at Jason Garrett to replace Brian Billick. Memo to the Ravens: Jason Garrett can't make mediocre WARRIOR Steve McNair good. Jason Garrett couldn't make Jason Garrett good. Get a real quarterback, and a real Offensive line, and a real Wide Receiving Corps, and I bet Jason Garrett will be quite successful. Of course, so would Billick, but never you mind, Baltimore Brain Trust.

The Chiefs Fired Four Coaches, not one of them named Herm Edwards. Charlie Joyner couldn't teach guys to catch? Really? Charlie Fucking Joyner? Look, it is a fact of life that wherever Herm Edwards goes, offense suffers. You hire him to improve a defense, not maintain an offense. You offset that by keeping Dick Vermiel's offensive coaches, which was the Chiefs did until today. But blaming coordinators for having Quarterbacks like Damon Huard and Brody Croyle, and back-up running backs like Priest "I hope My Head Stays On My Head" Holmes and Michael "I was pretty good 5 years ago" Bennett is bullshit. This was a management failure. A Huge One. Some idiot thought that as long as they had Larry Johnson healthy, it didn't matter who their QB was, and they were proved horribly wrong. And then LJ got hurt. I'm unconvinced of Herm Edwards' ability to show some balls on offense, or to manage a clock. But blaming Charlie Joyner for the lackluster play of the WR's is crazy. Especially when their best receiver was a rookie named Dwayne Bowe. A Rookie! Prior to him, the best WR in recent memory in KC? Eddie fucking Kennison.

Here's a prediction: the KC Chiefs will have the worst record in the AFC next year. Worse than the Dolphins, the Jets or even the Raiders. Bag it, Tag it.
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