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The San Diego Chargers’ home opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars will be blacked out after they failed to sell out by the 72 hour NFL deadline.

The NFL’s attendance issues for the 2010 season have been of major focus in the preseason and through the first week of the season. Most highlight the economic downturn and high ticket prices as the culprit but this is a more nuanced issue than most commentators are willing to accept.

Of course, Jacksonville has been the butt of the majority of blackout jokes for some time; 7 of the 20 blacked out NFL games in 2009 were Jaguars games. Is Jacksonville more economically-depressed than other NFL cities? Sort of. Jacksonville has the 73rd-highest unemployment rate for all US metro areas. How many NFL markets rank higher?

Three. Detroit, Miami, and Tampa.

The smallest of these markets, Miami, is still 250% bigger population-wise than Jacksonville. (San Diego is pretty much right between Miami and Jacksonville at a clean 1,000,000; this doesn’t count the sizable Mexican market).

Seems simple then, right? Jacksonville just doesn’t deserve an NFL team. There are 32 teams and Jacksonville’s in market 47… but Jacksonville’s the only market in Florida that’s actually gaining in population.

The key here (and this is where Jacksonville and San Diego cross paths) is in the demographics of that population. It matters little how many people live in a region; it matters how many people there fit the profile for a potential NFL fan.

Who is your NFL fan archetype? Fortunately, we know. The average NFL fan is:

Male 25-40 years old White Has a household income of $75,000

We have plenty of people like that in Jacksonville. There are plenty of people like that in San Diego, too.

You know what job pays a mean of $70,168? The military’s paying that much right now.

San Diego, Norfolk, VA and Jacksonville are the three cities with the highest saturation of active-duty military residents in the country. While combat operations are complete in Iraq, the United States military maintains more than HALF A MILLION TROOPS DEPLOYED OVERSEAS.

Put simply, San Diego and Jacksonville are great NFL cities demographically, but they’ve been stripped of their key ticket-buying demographic by the War on Terror. The people who were buying up Jacksonville Jaguars tickets during the Tom Coughlin era are now serving on aircraft carriers or in Afghanistan or Okinawa or Germany.

The same can be said for San Diego (more of them on aircraft carriers though).

Neither city has a lack of residents who love their football teams. Both cities have a lack of residents who are, well, resident… and not by choice.

The same can be applied across the NFL, of course; every city in America supplies troops to our military. But the NFL’s core ticket-buying demographic remains the exact same demographic the Department of Defense finds most preferable in war; until the War on Terror is scaled back to pre-2002 levels, the NFL will continue to struggle to find fans to buy tickets.


This story appeared on ESPN Los Angeles this morning and was quickly removed from the site. It is presented here in its entirety.

LeBron James leans against a waist-high stone wall with a 16-foot-tall Buddha hovering over him.

He’s at Tao, a bustling restaurant and nightclub inside the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas, and his arms are crossed as he listens to Lynn Meritt, senior director of Nike Basketball, and Charles Denson, president of Nike Brand.James is quiet, occasionally applying Chap Stick on his lips and nodding when he hears something he likes.

Five security guards are stationed around him, one at each corner of the table he’s about to sit at and another roving around with him, watching his every move. Anyone who takes two steps toward James is stopped and must have James’ approval to come closer.

The waiter bringing him his cup of green tea with a spoonful of honey and a dash of lemon juice makes the cut, as does the scantily clad brunette with a tattoo of a heart on her right shoulder.

She wants to take a picture with him. “I can’t right now,” says James. “Maybe later, upstairs, I’ll remember you’re the one with the tattoo.”

James will host a party later in the upstairs nightclub at Tao, but he is currently hosting a dinner for his friends and family in the downstairs restaurant. Wearing a gray striped shirt and gold crucifix around his neck, he bobs his head to music played by an amped-up saxophonist who weaves his way around the table like a one-man mariachi band.

I have somehow found myself at this exclusive table, seated beside Eddie Jackson, who is introduced to me as James’ father (though he actually began dating James’ mother, Gloria, after LeBron was born and the two are no longer together). Jackson, wearing a muscle shirt accentuating his large biceps, looks like a member of James’ four-man entourage, like one of his childhood friends.

James’ circle includes Randy Mims, seated to his right at the center of the table, Maverick Carter, seated at the head of the table, and Richard Paul, seated in front of James. The quartet makes up the initials behind LRMR Marketing, the management firm James founded almost four years ago with his buddies. Their offices in downtown Cleveland gained notoriety this month as the location teams flocked to for their meetings with James.

LeBron James partied at Tao last weekend, complete with a kings’ cake and an entourage to make heads of state jealous.

Seated to the right of James is Chris Paul, whose brother, C.J., is seated across from him. The New Orleans Hornets point guard has seen how James has positioned himself to win a championship by signing with the Miami Heat and joining forces with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and has reportedly considered a similar move himself.

The truth is, in James’ dream world, the duo he would love to play with for the next decade would be Wade and Paul, his two closest friends in the NBA. Paul has been like a brother to James since the two were in Las Vegas four years ago for USA Basketball training camp, when as a rookie he carried James’ and Wade’s bags to and from the team bus.

James and Paul are fairly quiet at the center of the table as they take in the scene around them. As family style plates of miso-glazed Chilean sea bass and crispy lobster and shrimp dumplings are brought to the table, James effortlessly picks up the food with his chopsticks and occasionally raises his cup of green tea to passersby as they raise their martinis and mojitos in his direction before being helped along by security guards.

When trays of dessert plates are brought over, James gets up, preferring to start his party upstairs instead of indulging in the giant fortune cookies and chocolate cake. A security guard comes over and puts plastic wristbands on our wrists and escorts us through the back of the restaurant, up a flight of stairs in the bowels of the hotel and through a back entrance into the club. About a dozen security guards, moving their flash lights, direct us to a roped off section on the dance floor of Tao next to a couple of apparently nude women in a bathtub full of water and rose petals.

James, now wearing sunglasses in the dark club, immediately stands up on the couch and folds his arms high on his chest and nods his head. He smiles as he looks at the dozens of people crowded on the dance floor. Noticing him, they stop dancing and snap pictures as the DJ screams out, “LeBron James in the building!” and plays LMFAO’s “I’m in Miami.”

Carter, LeBron’s childhood friend and manager, begins dancing around James like Puff Daddy in a Notorious B.I.G video. A giant red crown-shaped cake is brought over to James while go-go dancers dressed in skimpy red and black outfits raise four lettered placards that spell out, “KING.” Carter grabs a bottle of Grey Goose and pours a quarter of it on the floor and raises it up before passing it off.

James’ infamous one-hour special, “The Decision,” was reportedly the brainchild of Carter, a 28-year-old who has never managed anyone outside of his friend James. This three-day party marathon in Vegas (which James is being paid six figures to host) is also Carter’s idea.

Bottle after bottle of “Ace of Spades” champagne is delivered to the table by a waiter flying down from above the dance floor like some overgrown Peter Pan on a wire. One time he’s dressed like a King, another time as Indiana Jones and another in a replica of James’ No. 6 Miami Heat jersey.

James, who can hardly see the flying figure through his tinted glasses, almost gets kicked in the head on the waiter’s last trip down. He looks at the girls around him and says, “I wish they’d have one of these girls with no panties do that instead of the guy.”

Toward the end of the night, Boston Celtics forward Glen Davis walks past James’ party and looks at the scene up and down several times like a painting in a museum, soaking in the images of the go-go dancers, the “King” sign and the costumed man delivering bottles of champagne.

Davis shakes his head and walks on.

James dances on the couch and sings along with the music blaring from speakers all around him.

The more you hang around James, the more you realize he’s still a child wrapped in a 6-foot-8, 250-pound frame. The night after the party at Tao, he and his crew walk through the casino at the Wynn and Encore and he pretends to dribble a basketball as he walks past ringing slot machines and tourists who do double-takes. In a Nike T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, James’ pantomime seems unconscious. He stops every few feet to shoot a jump shot, his right hand extended above his head on the follow through. He weaves through a pack of a dozen friends and pretends to connect on a layup as he walks past a gift shop. He passes overhead casino signs and jumps up and slaps them, pretending to dunk. Columns covered with advertisements for lounge acts become stationary defenders, chumps to fake out before connecting on imaginary mid-range jump shots.

James probably goes through a practice’s worth of shots as we walk from the XS nightclub at Encore (James left his poolside table when he saw the club was practically empty), through Wynn and over the bridge to the Palazzo.

Soon after arriving at Lavo, a restaurant and nightclub at the Palazzo, a scene straight out of “West Side Story” breaks out when James and Lamar Odom, seated at a nearby table, engage in an impromptu dance-off to California Swag District’s “Teach Me How To Dougie.”

Odom, smoking a cigar, can’t quite keep up. James celebrates by crossing himself and taking a shot of Patron. Moments later, a handful of girls dressed as cheerleaders walk toward his table with someone dressed in James’ Heat uniform. Someone throws talcum powder in the air as James does before every game, while his new unofficial song, “I’m in Miami,” plays.

Odom casts a glance James’ way before looking in the opposite direction and raising his glass at a couple on the dance floor who point to their ring fingers and smile.

Back at his table, James and his crew sing every word to Rick Ross’ “Free Mason.” LeBron raps every line to former teammate Damon Jones (who played with him in Cleveland). Jones, puffing on a cigar, nods.

James rips out the lines:

“If I ever die, never let it be said I didn’t win/ Never, never say/ Never say legend didn’t go in/ I just wanna die on top of the world.”

While he looks at club-goers flashing the LA and Westside signs at him, James smiles and points to Jackson’s T-shirt, which reads, “Another Enemy,” and raises his glass of champagne.

Finally, Carter tells James it’s time to leave the club and they do, LeBron pretending to cross-over tables and shoot over slot machines all the way back to his room.

It's another Independence Day

This is your anthem



Je me suis substitué à la Providence pour récompenser les bons… que le Dieu vengeur me cède sa place pour punir les méchants!

Fiesta Bowl screencaps

I’m sick of seeing shitty Fiesta Bowl screencaps of Cowbell Girl and otherwise. Get the good ones at That is all.


2009 October 10 10 10 14.jpg




Andrea Kremer, S & M fetishist

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2009 October 4 22 9 19.jpg


Sadly, Chik-Fil-A speaks the truth.

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BUT THEY CAN STILL SCREW THEMSELVES. Chik-Fil-A has no place to comment on the Cleveland Browns. Their sandwiches are crap. YEAH I WENT THERE.

Truth in advertising


I love Roger Federer. I’m upset that he lost, because now I know Andy Roddick could have won.


Tomorrow Brazil will lose to the United States in THRILLERBOWL. Here is my song and video for the occasion.


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I’m not only making songs, I’m MAKING VIDEOS.


The USA lost in the Confederation Cup today thanks to a turncoat traitor scalawag named Giuseppi Rossi.

I dedicate this song to him.

(1:55 mp3)

Selena Roberts has been blasted for using anonymous sources in her Alex Rodriguez steroids-and-other-allegations book, The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez.

Why, then, is the media running with the news that Manny Ramirez used HCG, and that he tested positive for steroids?

Yahoo!Sports, attributing a source close to Ramirez, reported that the substance for which Ramirez tested positive was a sexual-enhancement drug prescribed to address erectile dysfunction. But multiple news sources, including the Associated Press and, quoted anonymous sources that Ramirez tested positive for the female fertility drug HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin.

Nobody is questioning THESE anonymous sources.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m not defending Manny Ramirez by any means. I’m defending Selena Roberts and the necessity of anonymous sources. I’m also trying to highlight the reason I think Roberts is getting attacked the way she is — blatant sexism. I don’t quite know how to make this argument, though. The only way to get around it, I suppose, is to simply highlight the hypocrisy in yesterday’s furor over Manny Ramirez, and leave it at that. If it isn’t a vindication for Selena Roberts, well, it ought to be.

stephen curry -- FLASH

I made a highlight video for Kyle Whelliston of The Mid-Majority. It’s Davidson star guard Stephen Curry, set to the video of Queen’s “Flash,” from the Flash Gordon movie. I hope you like it. (Yeah, my blog cuts off the edge. That’s my fault, not YouTube’s. But it’s in HD! You can view it there if you don’t believe me.

a truly great commercial

Quaker Steak & Lube is a popular wings establishment. It used to be based in Pennsylvania (hence “Quaker”) but has spread across the country, drawing people who love wings but hate sports (and hence avoid the superior BW3’s). There’s one in Pinellas Park, and thus this ad ran at 3am on Fox Sports Florida one night after a Rays game. It’s priceless, and features Colts cornerback Marlin Jackson.

Soon after this commercial premiered, Jackson went down with a season-ending injury.

Pro Bowl rosters explained

Q. Why isn’t Braylon Edwards going to appear in the Pro Bowl?

A. The NFL sent him an invitation, but he dropped it.

Soccer is, occasionally, entertaining

It’s true, you just have to know why.

“Old Lady”


Chris Landry plagiarism update

620 WDAE’s Steve Duemig, Monday:

The final question was: ‘Did you plagiarize or not?’ His answer was ‘No.’ As the weekend went on, more evidence came across my desk, and on Saturday afternoon I decided to terminate our relationship — our show, our station, our sponsor for the show, with Chris Landry.

I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut. I gave him the opportunity to come clean, and every time he said he didn’t do it. I said I would defend Chris until the end, and the end has come.

When you think you’ve been lied to directly, it tends to get you between the eyes.

I congratulate and recognize Steve Duemig for doing the right thing, for once.


I’m currently holed up at my folks’ winter place trying to get my decades of life in order. I can, fortunately, pick up the ol’ hometown 620 WDAE in Tampa in order to listen to the Jim Rome Show.

I’ve written elsewhere about 620’s PM Drive host Steve Duemig. I’m not fond of the dude, to say the least. On Friday afternoons, he features a guest named Chris Landry. Landry’s a pro football expert and is very popular with Duemig’s listeners.

As Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio discovered this week, he’s also an alleged plagiarist. And not even a very good one. For months, he’s been allegedly lifting content word-for-word from the National Football Post. Cleverly, he’s changed a word here and there to try and pass it off as his own — which only makes him look more guilty.

Why am I posting about it? Because I’m incensed by the reaction from Duemig’s listeners. Now, I have a lot of things to love about Tampa Bay, but the intellectual capability of its’ average resident is not one of them. Every single caller this afternoon is asking why this is such a big deal; “why should we care?” and “I don’t see the problem here” is a common thread.

Last night, I was tripped up by a 1941 copy of The Works of Gilbert and Sullivan. The book was a collaboration between a music professor and a master arranger and both provides an accurate choral and orchestral representation of the music in the duo’s operatta collaborations and an academic description of the origination and execution of each work. It was striking to realize that 120 years ago, intellectual property law in the United States was still in its infancy. The rabid popularity of early works like H.M.S. Pinafore and The Pirates of Penzance led to copycat productions across the United States, mere weeks after the shows opened in London. Gilbert and Sullivan were unable to stop these productions, inaccurate as they may have been, because there were no laws in place to protect their work.

How did they end up winning the IP war? They simply prepared the work on both continents simultaneously (difficult given Sullivan’s tendency toward procrastination and the fact air travel, let alone intercontinental air travel, had yet to be invented) and opened on the same night.

Fortunately (with some reservations), the courts and Congress caught up with the times. Yet now we live in an age where Command-C and Command-V (that’s Control to you PC/Linux users) make plagiarism so easy anyone can do it. The ease and pervasiveness of filesharing make intellectual property rights even less meaningful.

Is the overall American trend toward defending plagiarism? Do we no longer feel a person’s work belongs to them, in some fashion? Or are we just not informed about what constitutes intellectual property theft?

(This post is published under a Creative Commons License, the details of which can be found at the bottom of the page.)

Woody Paige Chalkboard Generator

I wanted to learn PHP, so I created the Woody Paige Chalkboard Generator. Feel free to play with it. It's in early beta stage, expect adjustable sizes, fonts, etc soon.


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The pic tells it all.

22 September, 2008 -- FOXBORO, MA: Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Monday bemoaned his team's response to the Dolphins' single-wing offense that allowed running back Ronnie Brown to run for four touchdowns and throw for another. Belichick suggested the Patriots should have been prepared.

why i love president bush for going to china

It speaks for itself.

weapons of mass distraction


oh god it's hideous

in beautiful HD...

I love women's basketball, i really do. But this is just painful. I've already seen four airballs. I have yet to see a jump shot taken by either team, because none of the women on them can accomplish anything that qualifies as "jumping," which I'm pretty sure requires both feet to be off the ground at the same time.

But it's in HD! And there's three more channels of it in HD! Including Honduras vs. Italy soccer, with Korean commentary for baffling reasons!

(Hint: if you have cable, rescan your channels. You can enjoy bad basketball, handball, and soccer at 5am too!)

news travels a bit more slowly over there

Also, why wasn't he wearing a tie tonight? Are ties banned in Red China?

why i love wikipedia


Your pre-BCS Championship "Buckeyes suck" post


Number of 2007 NFL Pro Bowlers who attended Kent State: Three
Number of 2007 NFL Pro Bowlers who attended Ohio State: One

a modest proposal

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Ace Davis, paraphrased:

The NFL draft exists to replenish players. Teams that don't subject their starters to a full season's abuse (i.e. teams that, like the Indianapolis Colts, don't play their starters in the final game and either actively tank or [as Tony Dungy did] passively allow the other team to win) are clearly at less need to replenish players -- and should be penalized by losing their first-round picks in the NFL draft.

It's reasonable, and it would end the disgusting charade of a football game we saw last night. Indianapolis tanked their game, not only to "protect their starters," but to ensure Tennessee (a division rival) earned a worse draft pick through their 10-6 record.

The Colts have damaged the integrity of the game far more than Michael Vick ever could, and I'm astonished Roger Goodell cares so much about the latter and not at all about the former.

Oh my, this is astounding

Technology is fantastic.

We don't have NFL Network here, so I'm watching a most wonderful feed from Denmark. It's in Danish, but you can understand a lot of English phrases. One of the commentators just called Terrell Owens a "Gangsta." Plus, there's no commercials -- they send it back to the studio for every break. I have no idea how these guys keep coming up with stuff to talk about. Plus, it's 3:30 in the morning there, so they appear to be a bit soused and/or groggy. With grog. Or perhaps Glögg.

"Pass Interference" doesn't translate to Danish, apparently. Who knew?

i still get them

The NCAA has a blog | Athletes aren't stupid

Somehow I missed this development, but the NCAA has started a blog, one that while a production of the NCAA, seems to be fairly independent in its observations and is almost serving, so far, as an ombudsman of sorts for the college athletics organization.

I am no fan of the NCAA, finding them to be hypocritical at best and criminal at worst, but this seems to be a great move. So far, the Double-A Zone has covered the possibility of a DI-A playoff (citing none other than SportsProf, which has been linked to from this blog since its inception), Division II basketball, and perhaps coolest of all, the site is featuring player blogs, including one from North Carolina-Greensboro communication major (and SoCon basketball POY) Kyle Hines (thanks to Whelliston for that head's up) -- certainly a point of pride for my colleague and UNCG alum Antoine Hardy.

I love athletes who share a love for the game and their own education. Devil Rays minor league outfielder Fernando Perez has a great player journal on the site where he provides terrific insight into baseball, learning, and life -- that's not hyperbole. Perez majored in cultural studies (holla!) and creative writing at Columbia, so I suppose it's not a surprise that he can elucidate about sports in a way we're not accustomed to:

In this way I see baseball as an 'anti-modernity.' It feels as though the men who play and stay in the game indulge in a counter culture, the lifestyle in which all you have to do each day is play. It's rustic. These are reasons why I'm here.

It's no wonder that baseball is the sport that's written about the most. There's something about it that strikes a chord with people who have the patience to understand it. [...] If I had to point to something, I'd say that aesthetes are drawn to the way that it's played with calculated civility. The national pastime might be all about passing time outside. It can't do just to say that it's because of its history. I hate to use the pretentious superlative that it "transcends sport," although I believe it has some merit.

That's just a snippet. Perez' post is really beautiful writing, and I encourage you to click the link above and read it in its entirety -- and his previous entries. I'm sorry to hear that he won't be writing about baseball anymore, but I hope he starts his own non-baseball blog somewhere because he writes beautifully and is a tremendous autoethnographer.

Ross McKeon is an idiot

Ross McKeon of Sports is a chapter chairman of the Pro Hockey Writers Association, and yet he seems to know nothing about hockey.

In his most recent article, a feature on the front page of the Yahoo portal, he highlights the decline in attendance at Detroit Red Wings games and claims that Detroit is "no longer Hockeytown, USA." He then presents arguments for why other cities are worthy of the title. The problem, of course, is that his criteria are entirely arbitrary (despite being predicated on home attendance). And get this:

Pretty darn good, in their own way: Dallas, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Jose
Nice try, but this doesn't really work: Tampa Bay

Let's look at average attendance figures from the past three years, shall we?


Tampa Bay: 20,509 (103.8% capacity)
Dallas: 17,828 (96.2%)
San Jose: 16,831 (96.2%)
Pittsburgh: 15,804 (93.2%)
St. Louis: 14,213 (74.7%)


Tampa Bay: 19,876 (100.6%)
Dallas: 17,914 (96.7%)
San Jose: 17,422 (99.6%)
Pittsburgh: 16,424 (96.9%)
St. Louis: 12,520 (59.6% -- last in the NHL)


Tampa Bay: 19,172 (97%)
San Jose: 17,496 (100%)
St. Louis: 17,492 (83.3%)
Dallas: 17,193 (92.8%)
Pittsburgh: 17,058 (100.6%)

As you can see, hockey clearly doesn't work in Tampa. Feel free to provide Ross some feedback on his misguided assertions.

Say it ain't so, Martina

I've been a tennis fan since, well, I was born. While I was cursed with an utter lack of athletic ability, my father's tutelage led me to at least become competent in the sport, and my favorite players ranged from Stefan Edberg in the 80's to Andre Agassi in the early 90's until somewhere around my senior year of high school, when I realized the women's game was more exciting and a better exhibition of fundamentals.

I quickly became a fan of Martina Hingis. While my friends in college all followed the flashier, allegedly prettier Anna Kournikova, I latched onto Martina as my favorite. She was better, after all, than anyone in the world, and I came to find her pretty hot on her own means.

Eventually Martina retired, and moved to Wesley Chapel, Florida -- where I lived for two years before moving here to Clearwater. I actually saw her around town, twice; both times she was driving in her yellow Lamborghini. If I'd seen her in person I probably would have turned to stone. When she announced her comeback, I was ecstatic. Now she's retiring again. Why?

Martina Hingis is a crackhead.

Now, I have been around the internets long enough that nothing fazes me. But cocaine? That's Jennifer Capriati's domain. Maybe she was just really sleepy, I dunno, but I wasn't aware Euros enjoyed the nose candy. Then again, she's been living in Florida a long time. Wesley Chapel is a strange place, an amalgam of meth-head rednecks and super-rich athletes holed up at Saddlebrook. I'm sad Martina is retiring, but I'm more sad that she's apparently joined the illustrious ranks of David Crosby and Stephen King. (Totally had King pegged for angel dust.)

In light of her final retirement, let us linger upon some of Martina Hingis' greatest quotations. She embodied a true paradox of sport: both great- and bad-ass. (Google Image Search the former if you don't believe me.)

When asked in 1999 about her rivalry with Anna Kournikova: "What rivalry? I win all the matches."

Why she terminated her doubles partnership with former Wimbledon champion Jana Novotna: "She's old and slow."

Why she didn't enter mixed doubles at the 1997 Australian Open, after having won singles and women's doubles: "I need to give someone else a chance to win an event."

The Onion is still posting articles

In the middle of qualifying exam question #1. Football is an unwelcome presence.

TAMPA, FL—Saying that their No. 2 national ranking is "not something we really want or need at this point," nervous University of South Florida head coach Jim Leavitt told reporters at the team's afternoon practice yesterday that he "more or less was hoping" that his team would lose one or more of their next several games.

Continued at The Onion...

Bad choices of words, exhibit A

Mike Patrick on Virginia Tech's performance at LSU:

"They were murdered."

zomg we won


SunTrust building, downtown Tampa, Thursday night.

A weekend in Gainesville

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I am, by my academic upbringing, an ethnographer. In this sense, I ventured outside my comfort zone of mid-major football and 24,000 seat stadiums to attend the Florida-Troy game on Saturday in Gainesville. Ben Hill Griffin stadium is a bit obnoxious, so I thought I'd make a video that tries to describe the experience from someone used to much smaller and quieter surroundings.

Thanks to the Grapefruit Gal for scoring the great tickets.

A captioned slideshow of the weekend follows after the jump.

Happy football Christmas!

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I'm in Gainesville, and leaving in about 12 minutes to make it back to Clearwater in time for GameDay. Have a terrific Football Christmas, everyone, and GO BOBCATS! GO BULLS!

(looks over his shoulder for Grapefruit Gal)


Bonds' #755: A Media Criticism

So I edited together a video of Barry Bonds' 755th home run last night, as called by five different announcers.

Watch it! It's interesting. I think the most telling part I had to edit out because it came too late; the Padres radio announcer (who, you'll see, is clearly the most critical) says, once the game resumes, "And now to more important things, the game's tied at 1-1."

The rise and fall of Starter Jackets


My sleepwear options change on a nightly basis. Sometimes I wear a white, longsleeve Texas Longhorns T-shirt with one of my orange pairs of J.Crew pajama pants. Sometimes it's a Napoleon High School Tennis t-shirt with forbidden gym shorts, or one of my many sports jerseys (few of which are actually mine, save the 1984 Bernie Kosar Miami Hurricanes throwback and the 1998 Carolina Hurricanes Sean Burke jersey). A trip through my closet is like a trip to the ultra-discount store, which is not coincidence as I obtained many of these items at the ultra-discount store.

This image courtesy the STARTER JACKET FETISH SITE. No, srsly.
Last night, I wore one of those "borrowed" jerseys, namely a New Jersey Devils belonging to my brother (Hot Dog Man, you haven't been looking for your Devils jerseys, have you?) The back of the jersey notes that it was manufactured by Starter, which made me wonder,

"What happened to Starter Jackets (and related clothing)?"

Once the domain of athletes, gangsta rappers, and actual gangstas (and gangsta wannabes) Starter clothes have virtually disappeared from Foot Lockers and Champs Sports locations nationwide. Where once an Oakland Raiders Starter jacket identified one as an "O.G.," now the thugs and ballaz are wearing NASCAR gear (or at least they are here in St. Petersburg) proving that even the uneducated are capable of understanding irony. In the early '90s, Starter jackets found their way to the nightly news, as people were regularly shot and killed for their bulky, unattractive sportswear. The story of the rise and fall of Starter appears to be as-yet untold on the internets, so here I am, telling it.

Michael Wilbon says that throwback uniforms are today what Starter Jackets were in the late 1980's.[1] The source of the success, he alleges, is the same: hip-hop culture.

Starter was once the darling of the sports world, having exclusive contracts with, among others, Major League Baseball; in 2000, MLB switched contracts to Majestic Apparel, and that seems to be the beginning of the downfall (though, notably, the New York Yankees consistently wore their old Starter Jackets throughout 2000[2] ).

Contemporary news articles most often feature Starter Jackets in descriptions of crime suspects, such as:

Police were seeking a black man, 24, with a dark complexion, wearing a blue Starter Jacket with white lettering (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 27 August 2000)

Police say the gunman is a black male in his late teens, wearing blue jeans and a blue Starter Jacket (Little Rock Democrat-Gazette, 25 September 1997)

His accomplice was described as 25-30 years old, 6 feet and 200 pounds. He was wearing a ball cap and a University of Miami Starter Jacket (Columbus Dispatch, 21 June 1999)

A man wearing a black Starter Jacket, blue jeans, and brown boots got out of the car with a gun drawn, punched the victim in the side of the face and demanded money (Newark Star-Ledger, 17 April 2003)

Elyria police Detective Chuck Gallion said Steckman used candy, beer and Starter Jackets to persuade pre-adolescent boys to have sex with him (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 16 September 1997)

Starter Corporation was founded in New Haven in 1971 by David Beckerman. By the mid-90's, it was selling $365 million in sports apparel. Did the association with crime (both in suspects' descriptions and murders over the jackets themselves) lead major sports organizations to end their affiliation with Starter?

As it turns out, Starter faded into obscurity for a several reasons:

1. The hockey and baseball labor stoppages of 1994.

Hockey didn't start its 94-95 season until January, and baseball's season ended August 12th -- making for a quiet sports autumn. Starter, which had exclusive contracts with both, saw earnings fall $33.3 million in 1994 and the company never recovered. While the $4.8 million deficit did improve to a meager $1 million profit line in 1995, shareholders weren't impressed, and the company that went public at $21.50 a share was staring at $5 a share only two years later.[3] It's possible this is mere coincidence, but the association is striking.

2. Starter made inferior merchandise but sold it at upscale establishments.
because its products sucked. "No one ever bought a Starter Jacket because it was the warmest jacket out there," explains a retailer, "They bought it because it was a cool brand."[4] Nike and Reebok were much better-prepared to produce quality athletic apparel, and were prepared to sell it at discount prices -- something Starter refused to do.

3. Brand extension instead of brand expansion.

Starter could have mitigated its problems by seeking new markets for athletic wear (a brand expansion) like non-licensed performance apparel (a role now filled by Under Armour) or non-mainstream sports (soccer, Arena League). Instead, they extended their brand to children's wear by Disney, school supplies, and socks.

In 1996, Brandweek wrote "Once the ship is righted, the vision is a Starter that could look a lot like Nike or Reebok."

As it turns out, Starter declared bankruptcy in 1999, and was purchased for $46 million by a consortium led by, yes, Value City (bringing this post around full-circle if you bothered to click the link in my introduction).

So that's where Starter went.

  • Wilbon, Michael. "Throwback jerseys: An old fashion statement." Washington Post, 6 February 2003: D01.
  • Robbins, Lenn. "Wrong Yankee Jackets? Sew What?" New York Post, 18 October 2000: 069.
  • Lefton, Terry. "Starter: In licensed athletic apparel, Starter owned authentic." Brandweek, 9 September 1996: 52.
  • Jacobsen, Michael. "Performance ANXIETY." Sporting Goods Dealer, 1 January 2004.
  • Adventures in last-year post comments

    | 1 Comment
    This doesn't count as a real post, but some jackass replied to this post from last year about the tatted-up punter that I saw during the Tampa Bay game on TV:

    he was also a safety in college dipshit, oh and he runs a 4.3 40 and bench presses nearly 380lbs. check the facts next time before you clown on someone else. oh and by the way i bet your butterfly tatoo on your back would go great in the nfl too

    I dunno, knowing such intimate details about a punter? Sounds kinda... you know. He has an Indiana State email address, though the punter went to Illinois, so who knows.

    If you are replying to a year-old blog post, it means you're searching for that name. I dunno what the phrase was, exactly, all StatCounter says is "handjob Indians game" which I'm thinking is someone else.

    Yes, this is in the category of "sports."

    Today is "Independence Day" in the United States. What is "Independence Day?" Perhaps we should consult Encyclopedia Dramatica:

    The 4th of July is one of several United States holidays created to whip up patriotic American feelings and remind the rest of the world that they better not fuck with us. Also known as Independence Day, it was originally started by a small terrorist gang because they hated the civilized, British way of life, with its incessant tea & crumpets routine, and loose talk about abolishing slavery. Since then, the 4th of July has become an endearingly fetishized annual occasion for parades, picnics, and sex parties, that make the USA the world’s most admired nation.

    I love the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating competition at Coney Island in New York. I like it so much I recorded a song about it. It's maybe the best song ever written about hot dogs. Evar.


    Anyway, so last night I celebrated with this girl and her boyfriend, by running around in the LA Hangout with sparklers while hitting on the girl, in unabashed fashion. Oh, and we did Mudkip shots. (Citing ED twice in one post? Crazy.)

    Apparently I am seeing some band play in St. Petersburg tonight. i don't know what band is playing, but I know who's opening for them, so we have that going for us. It's Basic Rock Outfit, a band that somehow avoids the natural suckiness of being from Tampa.

    Oh, yeah, and then there's the hot dog eating competition. Click the jump to read about that... LIVE.

    Super Bowl semi-liveblogging

    | 1 Comment

    Only because I can.

    10:59 - The party went well. The cleanup is a pain in the ass. Parties suck when you're the host. The Miller Lite in my hand just told me not to hold your breath tomorrow for the commercial review. #1, I missed almost all of this year's ads (being a host and all) and #2 I'm going to bed now. Look for the commercial review on Tuesday, my day off.

    10:15 - Peyton Manning, how does it feel to be the most "by default" MVP in Super Bowl history?

    9:30 - People can't figure out why I'm cheering for the Colts to win and yet was begging for a reversal on the INT challenge. And now Bob Sanders just intercepted Rex Disgustingman again. This game is OVAR.

    Also, Jenn is upset because I told her the dude who was going to propose to his girlfriend in a Super Bowl ad didn't come up with the money. Plus I just got a text message from The Girl that she sent the other night, something I probably should have responded to, you know, that night. Or yesterday. Or this morning.

    9:14 - NO MORE SCORING! I want my 22-17 prediction to seem prescient.

    9:00 - People keep getting drunk and leaving... there's only about ten people left here, and for some reason four of them are from Philadelphia and are proudly wearing Eagles gear. Jennifer has an odd coterie of friends.

    8:26 - I forgot to mention I put the 13" color TV i bought in Wiki Wachee (sp?) on the way to the GMAC Bowl in my bathroom tonight, and everyone loves it. One of my roommate's friends headed to the bathroom at the beginning of the halftime show, saying, "I'm gonna go watch this in the bathroom." I might just have to make my bathroom TV a permanent fixture.

    8:20 - Covering Dylan? The Foo Fighters? Brilliant. Best halftime show ever. At the very least, best halftime show since the wardrobe malfunction. Dammit, Prince melts my face off. I still have goosebumps.

    8:16 - See, it's cute, get it? It's purple out, and it's raining? In all seriousness, this halftime show makes me want to shoot my roommate for not letting me set my home theatre sound system up in the new house.

    7:50 - Two more fumbles. I want to take back what I said about the MAC. This game is more along the lines of a Class-AAA high school game. These guys don't resemble professional athletes in any way.

    7:16 - First part of the Coke "GTA III" ad: genius. Second part? Had me searching under the cushions for my lost masculinity.

    7:13 - My landlord's wife, an Auburn fan, is screaming every time Grossman drops back. "I'LL BE DAMNED IF A GATOR WINS THE SUPER BOWL!!!"

    6:52 - Sorry, we have enough food for about 50 people here, and I'm trying to do my part. Meanwhile, can I please turn in my late-November bottom-of-the-barrel MAC game and get the NFL Super Bowl I ordered? This really isn't up to my standards. Oh, and I haven't really seen any ads yet. I've been too busy stuffing my piehole.

    5:52 - Oh, God, they turned football into soccer. Or something else limp and Euro.

    5:49 - The TV on the patio is SD, the TV in the living room is HD. The HD set is delayed several seconds, so the smokers on the patio actually get to see everything happen before those of us inside.

    This isn't a huge deal, but right now, with this weird-ass music, it creates a bizarre pre-echo that really makes me wish I was drinking Absinthe instead of Coors Light.

    5:38 - My roommate just confirmed what I'd suspected all along: she is entirely uninterested in the game, and would prefer we fast-forward through them to get to the commercials. "The Tivo doesn't work that way," Rob answered.

    4:58 - When did Katie Couric get amazingly hot?

    4:48 - Today I was watching Back to the Future part II and I realized that in that world, HDTV had yet to be invented in 2015. Watching Hines Ward's mother, I longed for those days of standard TV... because I just lost my appetite.

    An infallible Super Bowl prediction

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    Thanks to my roommate for not complaining too much about me simulating a football game in Tecmo Bowl while she's trying to clean. We're throwing a huge Super Bowl bash tonight, and she's going a bit nuts over it all.

    I'll try and do the Super Bowl ad review this year (I know, I took a year off last year, bite me) if I don't get too drunk.

    ESPN makes me want to shoot myself

    Today is the 20th anniversary of the day I cried harder than any day in my life to that point, and, save for the day 19 years ago yesterday, the hardest I cried in my life.

    And ESPN is making me relive it, right now, on SportsCenter.

    I am, of course, talking about The Drive. I need to go to bed, because this on tv ... it's ruining what was a fantastic evening with a young woman of whom I've really very fond. (I'll write about it later. It was a four-page night, and it's 5:37am.)

    Elway. I still want to punch him in the face.

    Akron vs Loyola-Marymount: A photoessay

    I posted a photoessay at Bobcat Attack of my visit to Akron last night.

    Go read it.

    That's ridiculous!

    | 1 Comment

    There's these two guys I know. Their names are Chris and Antoine, and they're probably the two coolest dudes I've met since moving here. Maybe that's a stretch, or a commentary on the people I meet on a daily basis. Either way, they're guys I don't spend enough time with -- mainly due to my living far, far from campus these days.

    So the three of us were talking in the lobby during a break in class today, checking out coeds, et cetera. I dropped out of the conversation to take a leak, and on the way I passed a skinny white dude wearing a LeBron James jersey... with no shirt underneath.

    White dudes look ridiculous in basketball jerseys. It's true.

    Certified ridiculous.
    They just do. White dudes don't have the body to fill out a basketball jersey, though that setback can be slightly ameliorated by wearing a shirt underneath. This dude had no shirt. He looked ridiculous.

    He looked ridiculous like people look ridiculous in those "hata blocka" sunglasses. He looked ridiculous like those girls wearing gaudy Tiffany's charm bracelets. Ridiculous like people wearing baseball caps with an ironed-flat brim. Ridiculous like wearing two polo shirts at the same time. Ridiculous like wearing one polo shirt, but with the collar popped. Ridiculous like exposed bra straps, socks with sandals, and jeans with sequins.

    Ridiculous like spelling ridiculous "rediculous." Two million idiots and counting.

    So I chatted with Antoine about this observation, and he suggested I blog about it, which is what I'm doing. I generally think white dudes look ridiculous in basketball jerseys, black dudes look ridiculous in baseball jerseys, and everyone looks ridiculous in football jerseys.

    Women, however, look amazingly hot in hockey sweaters. (Yes, they are called sweaters. Not jerseys. Sweaters.


    Fight! Fight! Fight! | Soul Asylum vs. Gin Blossoms

    | 1 Comment

    When I was a kid, I loved hockey. I went to bed every night during the season listening to WJR out of Detroit, and Steve Yzerman, Joey Kocur, Bob Probert, Steve Chiasson, and Petr Klima were my best friends. I had a babysitter one summer who was from Buffalo -- a huge Sabres fan, and we'd watch ESPN's fantastic coverage (though in retrospect they seemed to highlight Gretzky and Gretzky only) while my parents were out doing whatever grownups do.

    One night I watched an amazing hockey fight between the Soviet and Canadian junior teams that was being talked about on SportsCenter. I'd pretty much forgotten about that fight until someone brought it up in a Fark thread about SI's greatest fights -- and how it was left off the list. Helpfully, a poster provided a YouTube link to television coverage of the fight. It's one of the more amazing things you'll ever see.

    Truly awesome, especially when they turn the lights off. Perhaps Kurt Cobain was referring to this incident when he wrote the words, "With the lights out/It's less dangerous."


    Had you come up to me in high school and asked me to list my five favorite bands, I'd probably have answered thusly:

    Counting Crows
    Gin Blossoms
    Soul Asylum
    Toad the Wet Sprocket
    The Refreshments

    One of those bands has been active since then. Two of them broke up, and the other two (Soul Asylum and Gin Blossoms) have been on hiatus... until this summer. Both bands released their first albums in several years (eight for Soul Asylum, ten for Gin Blossoms) and I anticipated their release with baited breath.

    Reviews for the two records criticize that the bands' sound hasn't changed despite the lapse of time. Critics blame the bands for being "stuck in the '90s." Yet I argue that if you're going to emerge after a long hiatus, you HAVE to sound like you used to. Otherwise, you have no audience. An old band that returns with a new sound is going to alienate the only guaranteed buyers of your record. Plus, I LIKED how those bands sounded, and I'm happy that they sound like they did when I was a pimply-faced high school sophomore without a date to Homecoming.

    So here are my reviews.

    Gin Blossoms - Major Lodge Victory

    Some say the Gin Blossoms' downfall came before their first full-length record, New Miserable Experience, was even released. At the end of recording sessions in 1992, the band fired Doug Hopkins, guitarist and writer of NME-bound tracks like "Hey Jealousy," "Found Out About You," and "Lost Horizons."

    The record eventually became a huge success, Hopkins committed suicide, and critics proclaimed the Gin Blossoms a one-album-wonder. Their followup, Congratulations I'm Sorry, didn't find the same commercial success from the previous album, and the band faded away into county fair and rib-fest headlining obscurity.

    After four years of promising rib-fest fans "A new album is on the way!" it was finally released a few weeks ago. What's missing? Strangely, not Doug Hopkins -- I got over that part early on. Sadly, longtime Gin Blossoms drummer Phillip Rhodes elected not to join the band in creating the new record, and his absence is conspicuous. I feel people ignore drummers a bit too often when they listen to music -- overemphasizing the singers and lead guitarists. Rather, I argue the drum beat is the primary component of a band's signature sound, and changing drummers can considerably affect how a band comes across.

    That having been said, Major Lodge Victory isn't a bad album. It sounds considerably like vintage '90s Gin Blossoms. Just different. And more boring. The first two tracks, "Learning the Hard Way" and "Come On Hard" are fantastic, but after that, things sort of fall off. It didn't hold my attention very well, and I've only listened to it a few times since then. Is it better than 90% of the records that have come out in 2006? Absolutely. But music sucks.

    I once saw Soul Asylum and Gin Blossoms back-to-back nights at a venue in Kentucky that no longer exists. Interestingly, the first time I saw the bands play they were also back-to-back -- literally, performing consecutively at the 1995 concert for the opening of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at the late Cleveland Stadium. Gin Blossoms performed the Beatles song "Wait" and Soul Asylum rocked out with Iggy Pop.

    Eight years later, in that dingy garage in Covington, Jarvin P and I stood watching Dave Pirner thrash around onstage with Soul Asylum in front of about 150 dedicated fans. "This guy used to f*ck Winona Ryder," I whispered to him, and wondered if Pirner was thinking the same thing, now that he's in a garage singing to your average Sociology 101 class.

    The Silver Lining is Soul Asylum's return from the grave (dancer's union). Referring, I assume, to the death of bassist Karl Muller (which happened amidst recording) and Katrina (New Orleans being Dave Pirner's adopted hometown), the record is even more like vintage Soul Asylum than MLV was vintage Gin Blossoms. You've probably heard at least one track from this record already: ESPN uses "Stand Up & Be Strong" all over the place during college football highlights. It's a good song, but the intermission track of "Standing Water" is maybe the best song the band has written since "Runaway Train."

    All this being said, the greatest surprise for me is the hidden track. The iPod revolution has changed the nature of looking for hidden tracks; simply by looking at the time remaining on the last song one can ascertain whether or not there's something extra afterward. Most hidden tracks are throwaways, and maybe that's the case with "Fearless Leader," but two seconds into it I recognized one of my favorite songs.

    That's an interesting aspect of The Silver Lining. Most of the songs are actually quite old, and finally making their way to an album. "Fearless Leader" was written almost 20 years ago, during the Reagan Administration -- yet it, like Grave Dancer's Union track "Black Gold," could be a current criticism of President Bush. "Fearless Leader" was originally a B-side to the CD Single of "Misery," released in 1995, if that tells you anything. "Success is Not So Sweet" dates back to the multi-platinum days of 1994. "Slowly Rising" refers to "Weapons of Mass Destruction" yet was written long before 9/11 -- and the aforementioned "Standing Water" could be a perfect paean to New Orleans, and it is... but it was written years before Katrina.

    Perhaps the prescience of these tracks makes the record what it is. What I do know is this: this record melted my face off, and having been conditioned by Major Lodge Victory to be disinterested, it was a real shock to find a record I was jamming to amidst rush-hour traffic. I hope this record sells well. I hope pop music hasn't evolved while we were all holed up listening to Replacements records (btw, Replacements bassist Tommy Stimson replaced Muller for the rest of the tracks on Silver Lining). I hope. I do.

    Funniest sight in the NFL

    | 1 Comment

    There might not be anything more hilarious than a tatted-up punter. Anyone who saw the Bucs game today knows what I mean. Here's the only pic I could find of him on the Saints' website:

    He's inked all up and down his arms. Way to go, punter.

    What's even better is the Saints' caption for the above photo.

    P Steve Weatherford makes a tackle of a Titans return man.

    ..yeah, he's really wrapping Pac-Man Jones up. Then again, maybe he's just showing some professional courtesy to a fellow thug.

    Virginia Heffernan has a hot voice | Football, Baby

    Dual CRTs are sexy.
    Virginia Heffernan's interview with NPR's On The Media is live. Listen to it here.

    She has a hot voice. She's 37. Think she's single? She's not bad looking. She has a Harvard Ph.D. (!!!)

    Anyway, you know what she's talking about if you know why I'm taking time out of our holiest of holy days to post about it. She and her New York Times blog have been up, down, over, and under the Lonelygirl15 hoax | conspiracy | drama | fake drama | debate for a while, though we're still waiting for more of those vaunted emails she claims to have.

    Oh, and the daughter of the dude who registered that trademark we talked about yesterday? She just happens to run the Young Writers' Workshop in L.A. (and volunteers for SUMMER CAMPS IN L.A. at the Painted Turtle Camp, affiliated with Paul Newman's Hole In The Wall Gang foundation).

    So, here's my current stance on the story.

    Bree goes to USC, meets Daniel, decides to put on the world with her elaborate hoax.

    Hoax starts to get out of hand, and after receiving email from viewer about the selling of Lonelygirl15 merchandise (four days to be exact), the trademark application is filed. Read about that here, though it's the forum so... don't waste your time.) Bree knows her friend Lisa (whom she works with either at the Young Storytellers Foundation or at Painted Turtle Camp) has a father who's an attorney, and asks her to ask him to protect her service mark.

    So the application is filed, though since it has nothing to do with his work, he uses his home address on the application.

    I think it all makes perfect sense.

    Football picks for the day:

    Ohio 35 Tennessee-Martian 7
    Ohio State 42 NIU 24
    Notre Dame 35 Ga Tech 14
    Cal 10 Tennessee 7
    Penn State 21 Akron 17

    Today we launch Blogtracks, a musical accompaniment to your reading pleasure. Hopefully it catches on and more bloggers offer a streaming, relevant soundtrack to their posts. Stream today's by clicking here.

    In today's episode of Journeys, we'll cover some major Lonelygirl15 hoax - scam - conspiracy - fakery news, talk with lonely Northwestern alums, and rock out with our collective jocks out to celebrate Football Christmas.

    Big news in the Lonelygirl15 world, and hopefully the elaborate ruse all comes crashing down upon someone very soon -- as we here at Journeys have way better things to be doing than talk to attractive law school students over IM and fire emails across continents. Here's what's gone down in the last 24 hours.

    Lonelygirl15 (I'm pretty much resigned to not calling her "Bree" anymore) posted a new video -- and it's time for making cookies! Though, conveniently, they make the cookies... in her bedroom. So we don't get to see the rest of the "house," or as I refer to them, "sound stages." The video, to its credit, is on face quite dull, but contains all number of clues to those of us on the investigation trail. "Bree" drops a few Myspace names, and "Daniel" is seen, almost ludicrously so (in the manner that they REALLY WANT TO MAKE SURE WE SEE), reading this week's Rolling Stone. Okay, so the videos really are recorded with a decent amount of recency. Or not? One poster matched a screenshot side-by-side with the actual cover and declared it a Photoshop job. You be the judge.

    That's the least interesting discovery made in the last day, though.

    Let's start at Tech forum site Anandtech. Anandtech is one of those sites you had bookmarked back in the late 90's owing to the forums constantly buzzing with news of free coupons, free shirts, and free DVDs. The late 90's were a jackpot for freebies, and those of us with the right connections ended up with piles of swag from websites that don't exist anymore. Except for this one called Google, who sent me a T-Shirt back in 1999 which reads, "I Google" (using the trademark as a verb, which they would really like you to stop doing).

    ANYWAY, longtime Anandtech poster "edprush" lets this bomb fly:

    Later posts explain she's been asked to attend a private school in Oregon or receive private tutoring. Apparently other cousins inform him an appearance on Leno or Letterman is in the works.

    No surprise that he also has a YouTube account.


    Intrepid users tracked down a development at, of all things, the United States Patent & Trademark Office.

    Yes, kiddos, Lonelygirl15 is now a trademark. Its owner? *drumroll*

    Goodfried, Kenneth INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES 17341 Cumpston St Encino CALIFORNIA 91316

    Um. Okay? And the text of the application?

    IC 038. US 100 101 104. G & S: Broadcasting programs via a global computer network. FIRST USE: 20060524. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20060524

    First use in commerce? You mean this is commercial in nature? It's not just some girl and her friend making videos from her bedroom?

    I feel so disillusioned.

    So now it's time to track down Mr. Goodfried and find out the truth. Is the end in sight? And why is a labor attorney filing trademark applications? Using his home address (a modest-looking place right off the 101)?

    Meanwhile, the mysterious informant Mr. T is speaking more Jibba-Jabba in the forums:

    she graduated from McAuley High School in 2003

    That doesn't jive at all with what edprush was saying, but, then, what's McAuley High School? There's McAuley High Schools everywhere -- including Cincinnati. I'd do some Myspace school searching, but Myspace sucks. Seriously, I'm not sure how Myspace is so popular, as it's a standing example of how not to engage in web design. Not only is the site horribly ugly (which could be fixed by, oh, three minutes of CSS adjustment), but IT DOESN'T WORK. Seriously, try doing a search based on networking or high schools, or browsing schools by city -- it just doesn't work. "An unexpected error occurred." No, I've long come to expect them, thank you.

    So Myspace sucks.

    Mr. T would also like us to know "she spent 2004-apr2006 in miami florida" which ... means nothing. He won't tell us much more, because he "doesn't want to face litigation." Seriously, check it out here. I think the dude's nuts.

    For what it's worth, there are people getting paid to do what I'm doing here, and so they're doing a better job of it. The L.A. Times (thanks milo) has latched onto the story, and yesterday published a long expose on the subject. Here's the highlights:

    If you freeze the frame at one minute and 36 seconds, you will see (according to some) a shadow sweep over the lower left-hand corner of the video; a shadow which, it is alleged, was likely cast by a boom mike — proving the use of professional equipment on the set.

    (In regards to a YouTube message poster:

    However, when contacted by ToLD, Johnny replied by saying: "i am sorry i am not at liberty to share any information with you. i apparently signed a Non Disclosure aggreement in feb 06. which legally keeps me from responding. again I apologize." (sic)

    The fact that a major international newspaper has something called "The Trail of Lonelygirl15 Daily" on the front page of their Entertainment section is phenomenally surreal. It's the big time, kiddos, and those of us scooping up the dirt on the sidelines are headed for the bench, unless we keep up the due diligence. Now I know what it was like for Pauly when the big-timers showed up just in time for the Main Event and muscled the bloggers out of the way.

    Finally, one of the forum kids made this parody. It's smart, but if you're going to make something smart, get somebody not tone-deaf to sing it. Gilbert and Sullivan weep in their graves.

    Some of us are just gearing up for the backlash.


    Yesterday was Football Christmas. To celebrate, I attended my local BW3's to watch the Northwestern-Miami game and whatever else they'd put up ... which wasn't much. Sat next to an excited Northwestern alum who had nice things to say about Athens. He was okay, but the $3.00 22oz Coors Lights were better. So was the Chase Club bartender next to me from Bay City, who wouldn't leave me alone, not that I wanted to be left alone.

    The most miserable part of Football Christmas -- and there's always a miserable part -- is the fact that more than half the televisions at BW3 were set to the Buccaneers' preseason game. And the ones that weren't were being roundly ignored. These ignorant 'necks care more about meaningless NFL preseason games than FOOTBALL CHRISTMAS. Oh, and Delmon Young has a higher batting average than he does on-base percentage. God, I love baseball stats. Psyched to see Delmon in person tonight.

    Behave, kiddos.

    Today's Blogtrack featured 7L & Esoteric - "Play Dumb" and Goldfrapp - "Fly Me Away (Ladytron Remix)".

    We might as well be debating perestroika


    On Monday, June 12th, Major League Baseball suspended Jason Grimsley 50 games for his role in a federal investigation involving human growth hormone (HGH).

    The suspension of the already-unemployed Grimsley -- a folk hero of mine for his role in the Mission Impossible-style replacement of Albert "Joey" Belle's bat in 1999 -- precipitated a torrent of attention toward the substance now considered a bigger threat to fair play in professional sport than steroids, which, unlike HGH, can be detected in testing. Baseball's launched its own investigation into HGH abuse, and sports talk radio has latched onto the HGH debate as its primary topic of conversation.

    Thing is, they're all about 20 years late into the conversation. This isn't a matter of closing the barn door after the horse has escaped, it's more an issue of returning to the farm after it's been a Wal-Mart for a few decades.

    In 1988, I was a ten-year-old fifth grader at St. Augustine Catholic School, a tiny K-8 institution in my hometown of Napoleon, Ohio. My father, coach of football, basketball, and tennis, also directed the NHS speech team, having been introduced to forensics in college and turning out to be quite successful at the activity. Eager to introduce me to competitive speech, he brought me to the high school one evening to observe practice. One of the young team members was a boy who was my first real role model, a St. Augustine alum named Matt Gunter. Matt would later go on to graduate from Notre Dame and find a successful career in accounting. Four years ahead of me in school, Matt exhibited academic and athletic leadership that I really wanted to emulate. That evening, though, Matt was a freshman practicing a persuasive speech he'd written about the abuse of a substance called human growth hormone. He presented anecdotes about people suffering from pituitary gland disorders that stunted their growth -- mentioning a diminuitive fifth grade classmate of mine named Melanie -- and how HGH was ending up in the hands of professional athletes instead of people like Melanie, who actually needed it.

    The speech provided solutions on institutional and legislative levels, suggesting reform in the methods of manufacturing and distribution, and I was moved by the idea that public speaking could target a specific social problem and provide ways for the public to act on a solution.

    That was 18 years ago, and we're just now bringing the HGH debate to a national level.

    Why weren't we listening to people like Matt back then? Denial about the lengths to which athletes will go to enhance their abilties is one reason. The August 23, 1983 New York Times featured an article discussing the possibility of doping issues creeping into the upcoming 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. At the time, the USOC head of drug testing was a West German named Dr. Manifred Donike. Donike dismissed the value of HGH, explaining work to stop its proliferation would be useless, and future drug scandals were unlikely:

    Dr. Donike said those days might be over. He said drug problems in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics should be minute. He dismissed claims for the effectiveness of HGH (human growth hormone), supposedly the newest wonder drug for athletes. ''Chances are small,'' he said, ''that's there's anything else out there.''

    HGH was one of the first genetically-engineered substances, and the first to result from the Genentech organization, which enthusiastically promoted its synthesis at the cost of research into its possible abuse (April 18, 1984 Financial Times).

    Genentech is now the world's leading biotech firm with a value of $82 billion.

    In 1989, West German (forgive my consistent use of the term, I'm dealing with a bit of ostalgie today) magazine Stern published a report that Seoul Olympic tri-gold medalist Florence Griffith Joyner had received HGH from a fellow runner. Joyner laughed off the allegations.

    The 1992 death of NFL star Lyle Alzado brought new attention to the debate. Alzado maintained his fatal brain tumor was due to his years of steroid abuse, though individuals familiar with Alzado's regimen have maintained he switched to HGH after the NFL's introduction of drug testing in 1987. As HGH directly affects the behavior of the pituitary gland, situated at the base of the brain, it's not a stretch to assume HGH might have been a contributor to his cancer.

    Joyner herself died in 1998, having experienced a major brain seizure. Joyner retired from competition immediately after the '88 Olympics, and suffered major seizures starting in 1990 and continuing on until her death.

    Did HGH kill Alzado and Joyner? Is it more than a "natural body substance" as suggested in a 1990 New England Journal of Health article? Are the side effects more severe than enlarged facial features and "gigantism"?

    I'm not laying out those arguments here. What I am saying is that the current investigations being undertaken by Congress and Major League Baseball are laughable. HGH has been a problem in professional sports for more than 20 years, and it shouldn't have taken the search of a journeyman reliever's house to instigate the investigation of its abuse. It's time for sports organizations to confront their denial and for the public to ask why it's taken so phenomenally long to get to the bottom of the issue.

    This has been #3 in a series of "30 in 30" essays.

    Twenty years


    20 years ago, Len Bias lost his life to a cocaine overdose.

    1986 marked the awakening of my sports-conscious being. While I vaguely remember sitting in the back room of my parents' first house in 1984 and watching Carl Lewis completely pwn the rest of Earth's Olympians (minus the Soviets who were sitting out because we totally ditched their party four years earlier. Place was dead anyway), I wasn't really sports-aware until 1986.

    It started, of course, with Super Bowl XX. Those dancing, rapping Chicago Bears and their "Super Bowl Shuffle" were the stars of the first major sporting event I really remember watching with my father.

    (Who let the unbelievably white/uncoordinated backup QB Steve Fuller dance in the front row? Even worse, they LET HIM SING! Err, "rap." Mike Singletary is particularly bad, too. And check out the punter! More cowbell!!!)

    That's about the same year some outfit called the "Bleacher Bums" recorded a song about a man who was my idol, both athletically and professionally. Did I mention I just received my throwback #20 Orange Bowl jersey of his? Of course I didn't. But here's "Bernie, Bernie" to remind all you Clevelanders of the good ol' days. (Listening to it again, I swear I hear Peter Griffin in the background.)

    Anyway, 1986 also found me discovering hockey, thanks to Jill, my babysitter who was from Buffalo and a rabid Sabres fan. (Until this point, I'd been a Red Wings fan without really knowing why. This is pretty much still the case.) I watched Montreal defeat the Calgary Flames in the Stanley Cup finals and am pretty sure no Canadian teams have been back since then.

    (Sorry? Edmonton went this year? Cool... I would have watched, but I couldn't figure out what channel the games were on.)

    Yet it was the NBA season that really got me interested in professional sports (outside of Cleveland, at least). My father loved Larry Bird and the rest of the Celtics, maybe because of our Irish heritage, or maybe because Larry Bird is freaking awesome. The Cavs were a year away from being any good, so I latched onto the Boston Celtics bandwagon and watched them dismantle the Houston Rockets in that year's NBA Finals.

    Days later, the Celtics took Maryland star Len Bias with the 2nd overall pick in the NBA Draft. (I am not entirely sure how the Celtics had the 2nd overall pick after winning the championship, but the draft also had five more rounds then than it does now.) I was excited for this new player, and read all the newspaper articles about the role he would play as the future to Larry Bird's past and present on the Celtics.

    Two days after the draft, Bias died of a cocaine overdose.

    Of course, the news shocked the sports world, from Tony Kornheiser's fantastic column in the June 20, 1986 Washington Post to Sports Illustrated:

    I was a mess. All of seven years old, I didn't really understand drugs, or drug abuse, but the name "Len Bias" and the words "cocaine" and "overdose" would forever be inseparable for me.

    They still are.

    I break several laws every day. I do stupid things, dangerous things, and consume mind-altering substances with regularity (caffeine, alcohol, etc). Yet I have never touched cocaine, and never will.

    Why? Len Bias.

    The Benoitian restorative goal in the post-Bias period was that the incident would serve as a stronger deterrent to drug abuse than any Nancy Reaganesque "Just Say No" campaign. Transcendence trumping tragedy, if you will. Unfortunately, the government wasn't willing to hinge the future of drug control on that kind of incident, and Democrat Tip O'Neill introduced strong anti-drug legislation in Congress as a response to the outrage that rightly followed the Death of a Dream. The repurcussions -- millions of Americans jailed for drug possession, and billions of taxpayer dollars wasted to the incarceration of nonviolent offenders -- resonate as violently twenty years later as they might have seemed to the sports world after Bias' death.

    I don't know how many other men my age have stayed away from cocaine because of Len Bias. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Lonise Bias has dedicated her life to helping her son's legacy be a disruptive one; getting in the way of possible paths to drug abuse. They're finding kids today don't react like the children of Generation X. It seems it was necessary to experience the shock... the horror... the disbelief... to create a fear response far stronger than any curiosity could overcome.

    This has been entry #1 in an attempted "30 in 30" campaign, invented by StevenL and brought to my attention by Charlie.

    Roundup time

    ESPN's E-Ticket covers Euro smash success "chessboxing"

    Yes, a combination of boxing and chess. Is that not the best thing ever? Seriously, I want to see Mike Tyson take this on. I would pay good pay-per-view money for some Chessboxing. I bet Lennox Lewis would pwn people in this sport.

    Meanwhile, if you've ever been lucky enough to listen to Bob Lassiter's radio show in his heyday, you know how utterly hilarious he was and how there has never been anyone like the "Mad Dog" since. Once upon a time, crazy liberal radio hosts could actually keep jobs, but the talk radio airwaves are dominated by fascists now.

    Anyway, Lassiter's dying, and he's been keeping a day-to-day log of his failing health at It's heart-wrenching and amazingly moving to watch a man die, virtually. It's an act of performance art unlike anything I've ever experienced.

    If you don't know the "Mad Dog," check this call out from 1987, with "Mr. Airstream." "I bet you live a very loose lifestyle. I bet you smoke Marijuana and other drugs. I might report you. I'm going to report you to the..." Lassiter:"Trailer Park Association?" 7 minutes 54 seconds, courtesy Lassiter Airchecks

    (Stay tuned for the guy talking about how great Jim and Tammy Faye Baker are. "I'm going to write the Chamber of Commerce! I bet you have a surfboard, don't you? I bet you wear cutoff jeans, and haven't shaved in three months! Are you married, or living in sin?" Lassiter: "A little of both.")

    Boston Celtics Cheerleaders

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    The Boston Celtics, a team I've long appreciated, are bowing to 20th century pressure and putting Cheerleaders on the sidelines. Far from me to be an old-timer, but this makes me sad, mainly because I think cheerleaders belong in college and in Los Angeles and nowhere else -- especially hockey games. Though the new Rays Team in Tropicana is pretty cool...

    Silinx was good enough to post a Boston Herald photo from tryouts this week:

    ...which, for me, immediately brought this to mind:

    Greatest finish ever

    That was amazing. I know it was only the second closest finish in history, but the action in the last five laps was truly amazing.

    Congratulations to NAPOLEON, OHIO'S OWN SAM HORNISH Jr.!!!!

    *catching my breath*


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    Happy March Madness Mathematics Day!!!

    I need two more computers :-/

    Inventor of slap shot dies at 75

    'Boom Boom' Geoffrion falls down, goes boom

    My question is this: The slap shot had to be invented? You mean the guy who came up with hockey, and all who played it until Geoffrion, didn't realize if you wound up and hit the puck harder it would go faster? Real physics whizzes y'all have up there, Canuck.

    I thought this was funny

    Made this while watching the Outback Pro-Am over at the TPC yesterday. Hale Irwin went and choked away his lead, possibly because of my friend's dog barking loudly. Click the video linky to see. (LJ people, you'll probably have to click the link below to go view this at the EW site).

    Bye, Mr. Furley | I love me some boxing


    Our esteemed landlord here at Apartment 201 has moved on to that great bachelor pad in the sky. We'll miss you, Mr. Furley, and your utterly foppish ways whilst sipping whiskey at The Regal Beagle.

    We'll miss you, Ralph. Someone said today you used to be a sheriff's deputy in some small redneck village. How interesting.

    Meanwhile, Fernando Vargas, despite talking serious smack on Rome's show this week, done got his face beat in like a mofo.

    "Maybe it's a tumor."


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      This page is an archive of recent entries in the sports category.

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