Category Archives: Miscellaneous

The storm is upon us

On one particular Islamic night, which is called the Night of Nights, the secret portals of the heavens open wide and the water in the water jars is sweeter than on other nights; if those gates had opened as I sat there, I would not have felt what I was feeling that evening.

Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius, Jorge Luis Borges

Tonight, something strange and sharp is going to happen. One term for that event – a human term – would be “kickoff”. It would be foolish on anyone’s part to believe that tonight’s significance revolves around the propelling, by hip, abdomen and lower leg, of a football through the air for the first time since early January. That’s what it’s nominally about, the way breakfast is nominally about ingesting your first sustenance of the day.

But you and me? We know it’s about the bacon: unequivocally bad for you, but oh, oh, oh so good. Tonight I begin my four month long descent into depravity. Yes.

Also,

It’s been too long since I’ve updated this site. Update: I’ll be contributing to Matt Hinton’s new college football site, which is under the gaze of Yahoo! Sports and Rivals. You might know Hinton better as Sunday Morning Quarterback, nee SMQ, nee Ray Guy. Now he’s Dr. Saturday, and apparently I’m responsible for the Kubrickian theme he chose. If you spot him riding a nuke into Orlando for the Southern Miss-UCF game you’ll know who to blame.

Hinton’s always been good, but now he’s getting paid. I’m happy to be in cahoots with someone I regard as one of the premier college football writers out there. It also means this site will continue to be infrequently updated.

Enjoy your bacon.

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Three things

One: The Onion’s Our Dumb World should be the first thing you buy when you stop reading this post. It is, miraculously, just as good as Our Dumb Century, which probably had as much to do with the development of my world view and sense of humor as anything else.

Two: this is now my life…

Three: did Tebow deserve it? Ontologically speaking, boobies. Err, yes.

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Bandwagon!

No, not the cardinal and gold kind. I’m talking the ’08 kind.

I’m liking Ron Paul more and more, true, but man: think of the speech possibilities! My write-in vote is now decided.

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Blogpollin’! With an apostrophe to denote casual, perhaps rural excitement!

Stupid me finally got around to asking Brian of mgoblog to enroll me in the Blogpoll. This is as good a season for me to do it as I will be seeing the vast majority of the Top 25 live, in person and with plastic cups full of substances in my hand[s]. And this I vow: to never, ever, ever vote sober.

And I will still whup on Stewie Mandel’s ballot every time, even if I am chewin’ on peyote buttons.

Chewin’ on peyote buttons! Rural! Bring on the jorts!

(Incidentally, it’s 1:17 Eastern and I finally got a ticket to USF-West Virginia-OMFG did that quarterback just pass?!-Battle for the Bucs’ Pirate Ship. Shout out to Kyle of bullspen.com and the USF athletic department. SHOUT!)

JORTS! I’m a bit excited, as you can tell. Three Top 25 teams in two days. I’m a grown man!

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The siege of Fortress Europa continues

So, I’m back in Portugal. This necessitates several things: sun block, surfing, the halting and continuing half-assed Portuguese education I began a year ago, and a switch back to my original blog. At least for non-college football related posts.

Yes, that’s right: after almost half a year of non-original blogging, the triumphant return of that thing you never read hath returned! Please note that any logic discrepancies in my prose/grammar are due entirely to the backwards Portuguese keyboards and not, in fact, having any to do with lager. Which is tasty, but still subservient to ale.

Anyway, ciao, you American scum.

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Oh, yeah: scant posting for the next few weeks

I’m, like, going to Portugal. So get your college football fake news kicks somewhere else. I won’t be back in the next few weeks (I’ll still be in, like, Portugal) but I expect I’ll find time to hunker down and excrete some posts by then.

For those who remembered last year’s invasion of Fortress Europa, I don’t plan on getting robbed again but it wouldn’t surprise me. Enjoy summer football, suckers! See you in August, and a select few of you in August, September, October and December.

Notre Dame sucks.

Bye, Jimmy! (Pic courtesy of the MZone.)

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Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007

All of the true things that I am about to tell you are shameless lies.

Kurt Vonnegut is dead. He was a funny man who happened to be old and not, as with some, the other way around; that he was old was a miracle he was confronted with every day for the sixty-two years since he survived the firebombing of Dresden, once the Florence of the Elbe.

I was reminded of Dresden the other day when I saw a picture of the Frauenkirche rising above newly laid cobblestone, its 314-foot tall dome looking every bit the architectural wonder that repelled Prussian cannonballs during the Seven Years’ War. It’s huge even today. I can only imagine what it must’ve looked like in the eighteenth century.

In 2001 I was 17 and in Europe for the first time in my life. I spoke fluent German (still do, though it’s slower now) and was steeped in Dresden’s lore, but not because I was particularly well read: I had to give a tour of the city. I pointed out its secrets and its history in the native tongue, and my German class forgave me my datives and subjunctives and duly noted my checklists and bullet points. We had each chosen a city in Germany, and we each gave a walking tour of that city, and we each bumbled our way through the arm length compound words and split verbs. It was awkward, but effective. That day I was speaking to the city for them, and they understood our communiques. Dresden did not speak back to me the way the great cities do, though. It was not simply that Dreden was a shadow, though it was that. Dresden was something even worse: modern. So much had been destroyed in 1945, and what was left was the loathsome grey of Soviet Bloc Europe. There seemed to be little reason to preserve character because what little there was carried with it too much ugliness and pain. The citizens had taken to the task of rebuilding with an enthusiasm that was the child of World War II and East Germany, and the city was now sleek and efficient and European. You can’t fault Dresdeners for this, but still and all: Dresden was unremarkable.

Except the Frauenkirche. It withstood two days of bombing but had finally succumbed after more than half a million bombs had been dropped on a city that, on February 15 1945, was melting at temperatures in excess of a thousand degrees centigrade. In 2001 it was being rebuilt, and that made me feel something at least: the ruins had lain dormant for so long as a symbol of the war, and now there were scaffolds and support structures and steel frameworks. It looked like something that would never be complete. It was strangely comforting. I felt that so long as it was incomplete it would be impossible to forget the war, to forget what it had destroyed (one of the greatest cities of Europe), and the skeletal building confirmed that.

In 2005 the church was “completed”. In 2007, Kurt Vonnegut is dead.

I saw a picture of the Frauenkirche, once one of the marvels of the continent, randomly, as these things happen, in a news item having nothing to do with Germany or war. The dim parts of my brain still connected to high school recognized its stone dome immediately, and the first thing I thought was pure Vonnegut: there must be tons of human bone meal in the ground. That’s from one of my favorite books in the entire universe, Slaughterhouse-Five.

I think Vonnegut would’ve struck a similar juxtaposition between renewal and discomfort. He would’ve done it in simple language, because he spent so many years on the brink of failure and also because his chief at the City News Bureau of Chicago had probably hammered simplicity into him, which was okay since Vonnegut was a police reporter there. I think there would likely be a doodle of some sort to accompany the language, hopefully something representing an asshole or an act of coitus. Vonnegut was good at presenting harmless whirls and loops and lines called drawings alongside the harmless whirls and loops and lines called writing to make sure we all knew that nothing was harmless, and that everything was innocent. It was a good way of reminding us that language is frighteningly important, and also that our idiosyncrasies and tics and ideas about language and its use are frighteningly dumb. People have burned Vonnegut’s whirls and loops and lines for a while, though now it’s probably less of a public ritual. He opposed this in typical fashion: by writing letters, and making fun of idiots by presenting them to themselves.

Vonnegut created a religion called Bokononism. Bokonon was a heretic and a charlatan and the smartest man in the world, which amounted to one giant ice cube in the end. Literally. His words are wise, starting with the introductory quote above…

All of the true things that I am about to tell you are shameless lies.

Amen, if you’ll pardon the blasphemy.

He said something else about lies, specifically harmless lies. He (I could be referring to Bokonon, or Vonnegut, or both) called them foma, and he said, so beautifully, so simply:

Live by the foma that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.

You could end a lot of wars with that one.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. was my favorite living writer. That title now passes on to several writers whose collective karmic burden has been increased exponentially by the passing of the man from Indianapolis, and by the impossibility of anyone ever making Indianapolis interesting again. He was proud of his ineptitude in the war, critical of any and all crimes against freedom of speech, a lover of music, an unrepentant midnight dialer, a man whose vocation came to him happily and confusingly and bewilderingly, unafraid to deliver a searing word, capable of language so transcendent every book and letter and note seemed (like his speech on Palm Sunday, 1980, to the St. Clement’s Episcopal Church in New York) based on the Sermon on the Mount, an occasional alcoholic, a father of seven, a devout follower of St. Mark (the author of Huckleberry Finn, not the gospel), and a damn funny man. In the end, he was also an old man. I am reminded of his book Breakfast of Champions (Vonnegut gave it a grade of C, which I thought was unfair, but that was Vonnegut), and of fictional fiction writer Kilgore Trout’s response when God/Vonnegut (again, that was Vonnegut) released him into freedom: “Make me young again!Make me young again!…

That sentence always struck me as the saddest thing he ever wrote, mainly because he wrote it when he was in his early fifties. He had thirty plus more years to go until he met his maker, who, if there’s any justice in this world, will make Vonnegut young again. I am reminded of that sentence, which caused me to feel my own body aging for the first time, and of Hunter S. Thompson, who died two years ago having taken his own life after writing this:

No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won’t hurt.

And the only thing I can think is: man, getting old sucks.

Which I think is pretty appropriate, and both writers would have approved – with an addendum. Hunter would’ve demanded Wild Turkey be spilled over the page or screen, and included that all those getting old be required to shut the hell up and enjoy whatever narcotic substances, football games, fishing rods, typewriters, coffee, ocean and Wild Turkey they could get a hold of while they still could, and then probably something about buffalo meat and caribou hearts. Then he would’ve pulled out a .357 and laughed evilly.

Vonnegut? Who knows, but he might’ve talked a bit about Dresden. He once proposed to plot out Slaughterhouse-Five on the back of wallpaper with different colors representing the trajectories of individual lives, and the firebombing of Dresden would’ve been a giant vertical line of orange cross hatching. Some of the characters would make it through, most would not, and the surface would gradually drain of color until, if you went far enough, everyone was dead and the only color was the plain monotone of the back of wallpaper. It struck me as entirely appropriate. Dresden was the central point of Vonnegut’s life: that he survived one of the worst massacres of World War II is entirely dumb luck. Why him? I doubt he could’ve answered that. It must’ve struck him as entirely inappropriate, even through the constant, guilty thankfulness of those that live. But I’d like to think he’d say something about the Frauenkirche, and how the stones are not the same, that the human bone meal had disintegrated or blown away or been removed, that the new church was beautiful and a marvel and not real all at once. And about how none of that matters, because where there were stones and human bone meal and a ruined church there’s now something else, some other color we weren’t aware of. He would’ve made me feel stupid for feeling that the rebuilt church was wrong somehow, and he would’ve made me feel stupid for feeling stupid, which is the natural disposition of all humans unless they’re listening to music. And he would’ve drawn a sphincter right next to the Frauenkirche, and said they both mean the same thing anyway: whirls, loops, lines.

I consider H.S.T. and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. to be cut from the same mold even though their lives, their writing styles and their works are so wildly divergent. They were both men who spoke their minds out of necessity. They regarded the world with a mixture of bemusement, horror and fascination. They were both deeply suspicious of anyone in charge. They spoke truth to power, though not in that pithy clenched fist raising way; there was something seamless and natural about their drive to continually write what they wrote. It seemed as if everything else that didn’t involve the staccato typing of those “harmless” whirls and loops and lines was just an ill-fitting suit, and one that was hastily taken off with relief once they got back to their compounds and behind closed doors. They were famous for cussing, but their profanity was actually pretty mild, the truth behind the words more profane than anything marked by four letter words. They knew the military was an inherently insane thing, and so saluted it as a fellow traveler. They both enjoyed whiskey.

They both died too young.

I hope Vonnegut’s headstone reads as he wrote it, in Slaughterhouse-Five:

Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.

Which is a lie, but a harmless one.

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A belated happy anniversary to/for/with me

My original blog went up in the first week of April 2006. We are currently in the second week of April 2007. Here’s a bouquet of flowers I picked from the neighbor’s garden.

At first I went with items about my personal life, random news stories, etc. You know, crap no one wanted to read. The first time I got a significant amount of hits came with an extended Charlie the Hutt metaphor. It dawned on me that, as I would mention later

This once again proves two things:

1) Notre Dame sucks, and anytime you point that out you’re gonna get high-fives.

2) It is extremely difficult adapting Huttese to a college football fake news article, but it’s also extremely worth it.

It might also have helped that I posted links on several college football message boards, a known breeding ground for the most rabid, click happy huddled masses outside of conspiracy theorist slashdotters.

Thank you, faithful readers! Our long national two day year old nightmare of never making it into wordpress.com’s Friday, April 7 2006’s Hottest Blogs’ top twenty is finally over!

Thus my focus became college football, and those rabid, click happy huddled masses have done me well since then. By done me well, I mean that they’ve bombarded me with poorly typed physical threats, questions about getting them in contact with Reggie Bush to see if he wants to buy http://www.ReggieBush25.com, comments about my hygiene, polemics about morality and the lack thereof in my Hell-bound flesh, and general disgruntlement regarding Mark Richt’s proven love of rumps and rump accessories.

Also, a number of entities, organizations and sundry of escalating shadiness and/or legitimacy have asked me to write for them, each of them using variations on “do it for free” to entice me into their world of reduced expectations and shattered dreams, and when that didn’t do the trick they sprayed themselves with Axe and rubbed their bloated capitalistic hands on my thighs. Which is very flattering. So I’ve got that going for me.

Mainly, though, this blogging thing has been a welcome relief and a daily reminder that putting out any product at all is better than whinging my way through another crappy puff piece in the local rags, bemoaning Bill Plaschke and his one.

Sentence.

Per.

Paragraph.

Modus operandi, which isn’t that bad, actually. Those who can, write. Those who can’t, write. So at least I’m writing.

USC football will open up the 2007 season as the top ranked team in the nation, which is how it should be. I won’t be at the Coliseum for any of the games, however. I’m driving a car across the country to take in a game in at least 14 different stadiums during the fall of 2007. I will be on the road for the entirety of what could be a national championship season. That I’ll be missing USC games is the only bad part of this deal; that I’m going at all is due, in large part, to the many people I’ve met online whose maniacal obsession with college football has made me less shameful of my own delusions and misallocated priorities. That’s a thank you, by the way.

And thank you to Notre Dame football, the teat from which even the least creative of us may suck. My dearest Fightin’ Irish: you are the echoes that keep on giving.

That’s right, Charlie. Everyone wants a piece of you and your FUPA – even disembodied arms can’t get enough.

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A break from the regularly scheduled tastelessness

Is tastelessness a word? Too many alveolar fricatives in one semantic unit.

I’ve been growing out my facial hair since USC lost to UCLA in the beginning of December. It’s just something I do: don’t shave from game one until whenever the Trojans lose, and once they do lose immediately begin a new beard on Sunday. A mourning beard. An Asian mourning beard, so a sparse mourning beard.

If USC advances to a bowl game and wins, I don’t shave until Signing Day. BCS title game? Not until the NFL Draft. So Signing Day it was!

(Boooo.)

I’ve also been growing my hair out. The European cities I was stuck in during the summer and fall did nay believe in providing a buzz at 5 units of currency. Now: I’ve been shaving my own head since I was 14, and I’d be damned if I was going to pay 15 euros to have someone else spend ten minutes on something I could do in five minutes, so grow it out I did. It was extremely weird having hair, and I looked forward to giving myself a mohawk and dyeing it cardinal and gold in anticipation of the Fiesta Bowl.

(Boooo.)

After the UCLA debacle and the Michigan stomping I set my sights on Feb. 7: National Letter of Intent day. This was set in stone. Diverging from the chosen path would result in horror upon horror and evil too evil to be described except by using a superfluous “evil”. Don’t mess with a streak, etc. etc.

I messed with the streak last Friday. This was me before…

Fear my intense googly eyed hairy stare.

This was me between…

I look like I know what I’m doing, I know.

And this is me now.

Gravity, meet thy doom.

Normally I’d reserve this post’s spot for something about recruiting. It is, after all, National Letter of Intent day, and USC is hauling in some good ones. I was all ready to do an epic fifteen page long David Foster Wallace imitation about a week spent on the recruiting trail with Pete Carroll. I had an entire footnote prepared about the kind of creepy Triumph of the Will vibe you get when recruits are cheered by an entire stadium/arena. I had footnotes on the footnotes about belly dancers at “official visit” dinners at the Papadakis Taverna. I planned to use made up mathematical formulas named after obscure G.I. Joe characters to illustrate the essential chaos of recruiting. Instead, this post is about me shaving my beard and giving myself a mohawk before the date I’m allowed to do so, a serious transgression of arbitrary but cruelly effective boundaries the mere thought of which make me twitch my thumb towards my mouth, feet already curling into fetal position. If you’ve ever met a sports-obsessed freak (or, more likely, if you are one), then you know that screwing with a streak is the surest way to screw with whatever semblance of balance you might have.

Why did I do this? Because Friday was the last day of chemotherapy for my older brother, and why the hell not? It’s a celebration, bitches. With mohawks. Mohawk. Whatever.

“And I’m Ron Burgundy. Go fuck yourself, cancer.”

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I got nuthin’

No new material. Instead: links.

Still no word from Tressel’s World. Diagnosis: malt liquor, quaaludes, cave.

Brian is furious, and there’s smashed Oreos and upended calipers to prove it. I don’t know per se that Brian is an Oreo kinda guy, but I get a kick imagining him reading an article about Michigan’s twelfth opponent and, just as he’s twisting off one half of a cookie, he spots the blurb about how “[The Wolverines] need eight home games in order to pay the bills”.

Both Black Shoe Diaries and There Is No Name On My Jersey have odes to Tony Hunt. I didn’t need to read them to feel better about my choice of Hunt as the first running back recipient of a Creedy, but occasionally it’s nice to put aside hatred and witness an un-affiliated fan’s unabashed love for another man and the way that man carries his ball.

Part one of Orson’s recruiting two-headed monster. Part two will undoubtedly include a Konami video game reference. Also by Orson: tattoos, and why you shouldn’t get them. That’s actually not what the thing is really about but after seeing yet another goddamned tribal tattoo and koi tattoo on the same person that’s what I’m stressing to the world. Stop it. Please. For the children.

We the college football fanatics of the world are now unfortunately well versed in trying to gather legal advice and knowledge – piecemeal and from sources that very often contradict each other – simply because our beloved rosters have been put in cuffs more times than we’d like to think about. Then there’s Cal fans. Yeah, Marshawn Lynch is dealing with the aftermath of extralegal affairs right now (could any man who does this commit evil? I’d like to think not), but I’m talking about Cal fans having to dig up lawyerish speak and rationale in confronting their latest problem: trees.

Yost likes tanks.

You really should read SMQ’s interviews with Arrelious Benn and Colt Brennan. Also: President Carpenter’s speech.

Provo Pride is conducting what has got to be one of the most impressive features I’ve ever seen: a player by player retrospective of every single BYU recruiting class of the past decade. ’96 and ’97 are already done, and 1998 is now being served. Revel in the admirable and scary obsessiveness. Just don’t count on Provo Pride making it all the way to 2006 before signing day, as originally advertised.

Conquest Chronicle takes a look at the latest iteration of Bushgate and concludes that everything is still status quo: nobody makes a move for the fence until the spotlight cycles through! Alright, maybe that’s not what they concluded but that’s my advice.

If there’s one thing I’m not tired of, it’s Auburn’s claim to the 2004 championship. Let me cue up a Dodge Ram commercial and grab me some McDonald’s because I’m lovin’ it! Bada-dah-DAH-dah.

loserwithsocks one ups the Emory and Henry. Florida hate still nearing Chernobyl levels, but might taper off soon to mere Three Mile. (Beat.) Nah.

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