Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Lunchlady Doris, have you got any grease?

Hooray, it's Fat Tuesday.

In New Orleans, that means drinking Hurricanes and watching women take off their shirts.

In Detroit, that means paczki. (Pronounced "POONCH-key.") Basically, they're just like jelly donuts, except they make them with extra lard so they're much worse for you than normal donuts. The average ones weigh in at 425 calories and 25 grams of fat, and they're a big tradition in the Polish community.

It's stuff like this that makes me wonder if all those old Polish jokes (submarine with a screen door, etc.) really aren't true after all. You're not making them taste any better, but you're making them significantly worse for you... just because you can?

You'd be better off with a jelly donut, a can of Crisco and a spoon.

This state is just weird.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Kill your radio.

The content of this post may be old news to some. That's fine; I'm writing it on the off chance that someone else hasn't heard of the site I'm about to pimp, or for some reason hasn't chosen to check it out yet.

If you haven't ever gone to a site called Pandora, I implore you to do it now. Here's how it works: You enter the name of one of your favorite bands, then the site creates a sort of personalized virtual radio station for you. It plays songs by your band, as well as other bands who are somewhat musically similar. This gives you a chance to (gasp) expand your musical interests! If you get to a song you really don't like, you can skip to the next one. For some reason (they say it's a licensing thing), you can only do this a few times per hour.

When you couple this nifty little site with the fact that you can download pretty much anything for 99 cents at iTunes (or for free on BearShare or any other not-quite-legal file-sharing system, if you're so inclined) it sort of makes listening to the radio seem a little pointless.

Ummm... not that there's anything wrong with their usual mix of songs: "That was Kelly Clarkson. Next up, 50 Cent! Then, Kelly Clarkson!"

Friday, February 24, 2006

Petey Pablo meets the 12th Man

Via the comments section of an EDSBS post. Words fail me.

Raise Up, A&M Style

Death Penalty.

Dear NCAA,
We, the undersigned, strongly believe that the action depicted in this photo qualifies as an "improper benefit" for the Ohio State student-athletes pictured.

The shirt was clearly thrown into a section of the crowd solely populated solely by student-athletes, therefore making it a benefit not available to the student body on the whole.

We believe this could qualify as a "Major" violation because of the quality of the merchandise involved. That t-shirt appears to be made of good material-- witness the fact that it is holding its shape despite being fought over by three men. It is our estimate that the T-shirt in question must be worth a minimum of $10,000.

We ask that in the name of sportsmanship, you please see fit to ban all of those players immediately from all future NCAA competition.

If for some reason you're only able to ban one of them, please make it Troy Smith. We ask this not because he seems to list "beating the everliving hell out of Michigan" at the top of his list of hobbies, but because he is the only one singled out by name in the caption, therefore making him the most serious violater.

Thanks for your prompt attention. We look forward to seeing the jack-booted heel of NCAA justice come crashing down on these soon-to-be-former student-athletes as swiftly as possible.

Sincerely,
Lloyd Carr & Michigan fans everywhere

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Two minutes hate.

I'm going to be as non-specific in this post as I can, avoiding names of people and stations and even genders of people involved. I'm also going to reference a couple stations in town, based on what I've been told be people who work there as well. I'm pretty sure no one at my station knows about this site, but I'm hoping to not get fired before I get the chance to walk in (soon, I hope) and quit. This day is coming one way or the other; I'm going to get fed up enough to jump out of the plane one day in the near future-- I'm just hoping that enough time has passed that I can assemble a parachute before then.

I've made it a point to not turn this page into a place where I just bitch about my job. In my experience, the vast majority of people hate their jobs and would happily quit them about three seconds after winning the lottery, and really it's not all that interesting to hear them complain about them.

Recently, however, I have made the mistake of really reflecting on my current position and realized that this goes beyond the normal boredom and/or dislike that I have felt about jobs in the past. I'm coming home angry a lot of nights, simply based on the idiocy I'm seeing and dealing with on a daily basis. It's getting to the point where it's starting to impact my weekends-- by mid-afternoon on Sunday I'm already filled with dread about returning to work the next day.

I spent a summer during college working as an accountant. That, until recently, was the absolute apex of crappy jobs I've had. I have also had the good fortune to spend several years in jobs I legitimately loved; working in sports, covering teams I was interested in. I used to go in to work early and work several hours per day off the clock just because I really loved and believed in what I was doing.

Now I work in the news department of a TV station. Here's the problem: This is not only something I don't believe in (I haven't once watched one of our newscasts in its entirity, nor have I watched any local TV news program in several years), but something whose value is clearly almost nil for just about everyone who we pretend to serve.

Once upon a time, TV news was designed to inform people about issues and events that were significant to them. Over the years the news business has become pretty much 100% about money (ratings). I don't mean to be a Pollyanna... I realize every business is about making money, but I assume that most other businesses aren't as self-righteous and self-congratulatory every time they do even the smallest thing to benefit their customers.

A current example involves a local landmark which (we're told) is in danger of closing because of a roughly $5 million budget shortfall. The solution of one station in the market? Send a reporter out to the landmark with an empty fish tank, into which viewers can dump money. After four (I think) days, he has collected about $17,000. At this rate, he will collect enough to cover the annual operating defecit in about four years.

If you know anything about annual operating costs, they tend to be a problem each year. That would suggest that raising the money to cover them over the course of several years might not work. This has not prevented the station from constantly congratulating itself for "saving" this landmark.

This all comes from the top, of course. A leader who came to the station promising big things-- no gimmicks, no bullshit, just good journalism-- and has proceeded to do exactly the opposite of what was initially discussed.

During the key "ratings" months, the station has given away video game systems, vacations, and any other number of inane prizes. All of this is done under the guise of "viewer benefit" (We're helping you! We love you!), which natuarally is bullshit. It's gimmicky shit you pull when your actual news content is not substantial enough to bring in viewers. Of course, substance is typically the last thing on anyone's mind.

One phrase I've heard about a thousand times in the last few months is "the tease is more important than the story." Basically, this means that as long as you can tease viewers (running those little promotional spots during programming that say "coming up at 6" or whatever) into watching your story, it doesn't really matter if you give them something substantial. As long as they stick around to watch, who cares if they leave unsatisfied. You got credit for their viewership anyway.

One station in town is excellent at this. They promise "hidden camera undercover investigations!" and "you won't believe what's behind this door!" Then, they give you three minutes on how college kids drink a lot on campus or how high school kids are getting served at some bar.

At some point, one would have to hope that viewers get smart enough to figure out that you're not delivering what you're hinting that you will.

Tonight, one station in town is promoting a story about the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan incident. Never mind that there's no real reason to run a story: there's absolutely nothing new, it's not an anniversary of the event... it's just that the leadership decided that people are interested in figure skating right now and HEY! Nancy Kerrigan got attacked in this area! People find that interesting!

Of course, the same leadership is so damned stupid that they are running this piece opposite the end of the women's figure skating competition, so everyone who has even a passive interest in figure skating is watching a different station and never sees the promotions for the piece, let alone the piece itself.

Another gimmick that every station is in love with is "breaking news." This term used to mean "holy crap, something is blowing up right now! Huge explosions! People running for their lives!"

Now, thanks to an army of consultants who all say, "viewers will always watch breaking news," anything qualifies as breaking news. Minor car accidents? Shootings that happened four hours before the show? A garage fire in another city? It's Breaking News!!!

Last week, a producer spent the afternoon insisting that a certain story was breaking news ("There are still cops on the scene...") until two more legitimate breaking news stories happened. Suddenly, the first one wasn't breaking news anymore because "I don't want three breakers in a row. That wouldn't look right."

Eventually it gets to the point where you're somewhat surprised when something tabbed "breaking news" actually is something that's going on right then.

Again... viewers pretty much have to pick up on this at some point. No worries... every story is now "Only On (Channel Number)!" or "Exclusive!" or, my personal favorite, "First On (Channel Number)!"

Yes, by watching us, you learned about the car accident seven minutes earlier than if you had been watching the other guys. You're so welcome.

The best portion of all the Breaking News comes when one of the other stations dubs something breaking news and the leadership at my station laughs and points, "Haha! They're calling that breaking news! What a joke!" Then, they go back to trying to legitimize how we can call something that's every bit as old and outdated "Breaking."

The leadership is made worse by the fact that the person in charge is pretty much completely unable to make up their mind about anything.

Something will be done one way, only to have the person in charge (presumably noticing that the competition is doing it a different way) start yelling about how we should be doing it that way. Once that second way is implemented, the person will start yelling about how we used to do it one way and wondering why we changed it. You probably think I'm kidding or exagerating, but I'm not. It's completely insane.

Of course, the leadership-- being incredibly insecure (witness the constant indecision)-- has chosen to surround themselves with incompetents and suck-ups, so there is no chance that anyone in a position of authority ever gets called on their bullshit.

This insecurity also manifests itself in the leadership's complete unwillingness to confront others (over whom they are in a position of authority), regardless of how rude or miserable those people might be.

One producer at the station represents this better than anyone else. Basically, this person is insane; constant freak-outs, yelling and whining that the spineless middle-management finds it easy to cave in to. It's the "squeaky wheel gets the grease" phenomenon in action to a degree that I have never seen before. This, naturally, empowers this producer to do it more and more, since no one ever calls them on it.

If you're having trouble picturing it, try to think back to when a sibling was four years old and really wanted something at the toy store. The whining gets a little louder, the language slowly gets a little more pointed until basically you're witnessing an adult temper-tantrum.

If you put together a sitcom about this newsroom, critics would rip this person as too one-dimensional of a character. "No one is like that in real life!" Well... at least one person is really like that.

This producer has no problem telling people (writers, for example) that she doesn't want them working on her show. This is usually not done in a particularly subtle or decent way. In her mind, the (insignificant) marginal benefit of having one person do something far outweighs any interest in not being an outright bitch to one's co-workers.

Again, through the tacit approval of spineless superiors, this behavior ends up getting rewarded.

I'm just completely sick of it all and am pretty much ready to jump.

There are plenty of good, decent, hard-working people that I work with in almost every position (including at least one of the managers, who really doesn't fit the mold cast above). It's not completely without redeeming qualities... it's just not worth the hassle and the bullshit any more.

(I might decide to pull this post at some point... if it vanishes that's why.)

Looking ahead.

Pat Forde of ESPN says, "I'm now starting to suspect that the (men's basketball) national champion almost has to come from the top five teams..."

His top five:
1. Duke
2. Villanova
3. Connecticut
4. Memphis
5. Ohio State

This OSU season reminds me a little bit of the 1999 Final Four team, since it kind of came out of nowhere. However, there's also a little bit of 2002 football season mixed in there as well.

Remember, that fall everyone was already looking ahead to the 2003 team that would return almost all of its starters. 2002 was supposed to be a solid building year (they were ranked in the mid-teens in most preseason polls) and then it turned out to not only far surpass the 2003 season, but any in the previous 30 years at OSU.

This year, everyone is talking about Greg Oden, and this team has come from basically nowhere to suddenly become a part of the national championship discussion.

So you're saying there's a chance...

The answer to the "has it ever been done before" Big Ten championship trifecta is no.

The Big Ten has only recognized a women's champion since the 1981-82 season, and no school has ever won a football, men's basketball and women's basketball championship in the same academic year.

The last two times a team won both a Big Ten football title and a Big Ten men's basketball title in the same season... believe it or not... it was Illinois.

In 2001-02, they won the football title outright and shared the basketball title with Indiana, OSU and Wisconsin.

In 1983-84, they won the football title outright (thanks to a scheduling quirk where OSU finished a half-game back) and split the basketball championship with Purdue.

It has also been more than 10 years since any school won the men's and women's basketball titles in the same year. Purdue did it back-to-back in 1993-94 and 1994-95.

There's a 2.93% chance we're going all the way, baby!

There's an interesting site that predicts the probability that each individual member of the NCAA field will advance to each level of the tournament.

I can't vouch for the methodology, but it's a good way to kill half an hour.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Huh-uuuuuuuuuge win...

The Buckeyes went into the Breslin Center and beat MSU for the first time since 1992.

Naturally, the game was not on TV here in Michigan. Fox Sports chose to show a game between the Red Wings and Canadiens alumni teams and no local station picked it up on ESPN-Plus. I hate this state so much.

Now all that stands in the way of at least a share of a Big Ten title are home dates with Michigan and Purdue and a roadie at Northwestern.

I'm hoping that the combination of Northwestern's strong showing in Columbus and Michigan's big win over Illinois will add up to the Buckeyes taking those two games very seriously. Then, it's just a matter of finishing strong against the Boilers.

The other four-loss teams probably have tougher remaining schedules.

Iowa is at Illinois (very tough) before finishing at home against Penn State (gimme) and Wisconsin (not easy).

The Badgers are at Northwestern (not a gimme), home for Minnesota (gimme), at Michigan State (tough), and at Iowa (tough).

One is guaranteed to lose, since they play, and both have tough road games on top of that. There's a good chance OSU could win the league outright.

This season has been almost as out-of-leftfield as the 1999 Final Four run.

I've pretty much completely convinced myself to go to the Big Ten Tourney. And jeez... wouldn't it be convenient if OSU played some of its NCAA games in Auburn Hills...

Finally, here's a crazy thought: with a win tomorrow night, the OSU women's basketball team would clinch the Big Ten title. The OSU men control their own destiny to win at least a piece of the championship with three more wins.

That means that in one academic year, OSU could win at least a share of a Big Ten Championship in football, men's basketball and women's basketball. Without looking it up, I'm going to guess it's been a very long time since that has happened in the Big Ten, and maybe even nationally.

WTF?

I have made the point before that I'm not the biggest fan of pro sports. I have something of a rooting interest in New York teams in all four sports, but it pales in comparison to my interest in the college game.

Still, when I heard about the Knicks' latest trade, I involuntarily swore out loud.

Isiah Thomas traded Penny Hardaway (worthless and wildly overpaid, but with a contract that expires this year) and Trevor Ariza (young, not that great but cheap and with an expiring contract) to the Magic for Steve Francis.

He of the max contract for three more years, plus shitty attitude.

Whaaaaaat?

Hello?

That doesn't even get into the fact that Francis and Marbury are going to be completely unable to play with each other and will probably end up fighting right out on the court.

I'm not a violent person by nature, but I want to stab Isiah in the face right now.

More fun than a barrel of Canadians...

Because productivity is over-rated... I give you Virtual Curling.

It's somewhat flawed in that there's no broomin', though.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The enemy of my enemy is my friend, Grasshopper.

Dear Michigan,
Thanks for pulling yourselves together to beat Illinois. That should really help OSU with it's run for a Big Ten title. Now that you're pretty much guaranteed to get into the NCAAs, feel free to take the rest of the week off.

Sincerely,
Tom

Monday, February 20, 2006

Audi like who?

Legendary baseball announcer Curt Gowdy died today.

Lots of people are sad about this. I, however, am just young enough to not remember him on the NBC game of the week. I also am from far enough south in New England to not have heard him do Red Sox games on anything approximating a regular basis.

So basically, this entire post was an excuse to use that title.

[Bows]

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Maybe it's just me...

Is anyone else tempted to buy the URL heismanpunditpundit.com and create a site analyzing the original He Is Manpundit site?

How about starting with why anyone gives a shit about some blog about the Heisman when the mainstream media beats that award into the ground starting around mid-April to the point where most college football fans would rather get punched in the face than hear about it in more depth?

A sign of the times...

This time last week I was all excited to see the Olympics. I had set my Tivo for every U.S. men's hockey game and was even looking forward to crap games like Kazakhstan-Latvia.

Now... once again the Olympics have served as a reminder of what's wrong with sports (and the coverage of sports) these days.

A handful of American athletes were singled out as superstars before the Olympics. They were all we heard about: Michelle Kwan, Jeremy Bloom, Lindsay Jacobellis, Apollo Ohno and of course the everpresent Bode Miller.

All that hype and what did they do?

Kwan dropped out because of an injury.

Bloom failed to medal, as one of his unheralded teammates brought the gold.

Jacobellis pulled a Leon Lett, handing the gold medal to a rival.

Ohno didn't qualify for the finals in one event and got a bronze in another.

Miller has done nothing, failing to medal in the Alpine Combined while a virtually unknown teammate won the gold. He didn't medal in the downhill and he didn't medal in the Super G.

It's nice to see that the trend of overhyping athletes/teams (U.S. women's hockey, anyone?) and then having them not even come close to living up to the hype is not just limited to the professional ranks. Because it has made watching sports so much less fun than it used to be.

My little buttercup has the sweetest smile...

So the wife and I were over at a friend's house last night and stumbled across The Three Amigos on TV.

I naturally voted to drop everything to watch it. The misses... not so much. We watched about 15 minutes worth and she didn't laugh once.

Apparently lousy taste in guys is not her only personality flaw.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Priorities

If there was any residual doubt that I have no interest in TV news, it was formally erased today.

Around 5:15 this afternoon the entire newsroom was gripped by the drama of a bank robbery that turned into a police standoff in Detroit. News helicopters overhead, hostages trapped inside, snipers on the roofs, SWAT teams... the whole shebang. Everyone was glued to their TV sets watching every second, unbelievably excited to know how it was going to end.

I was sitting at my desk somewhat oblivious with my TV tuned to CBC, swearing quietly as the US men's hockey team wasted golden opportunity after golden opportunity in pissing away a point against Latvia.

Between that and OSU putting together its worst shooting performance since the MSU loss, this has been a banner day all around.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

So you're saying there's a chance...

OSU's chances for a win in Lambeau Field got a little better when Wisconsin's starting goalie had a setback with an injury. He's recovering from a knee injury suffered last month.

You hate to see a kid get hurt, but facing a guy who's 1-5 in his last six games at least gives OSU a fighting chance instead of the 18-2-2 Hobey Baker contender.

I'm not sure I can emphasize strongly enough how I would have jumped at the chance to go to this game anytime in the last 10 years. I actually thought about going when I first heard about it, but am stuck at a business meeting in Columbus today (the reason I'm writing this around 5 am) and there's no way I could make the drive up in time.

Between this and missing a chance to go to the OSU men's game at Crisler this week because of work, I'm really feeling like an old person with boring priorities right now.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Just like last night... clap clap clapclapclap...

OSU women's basketball completes the Crisler Two Step, beating Michigan's chickyballers, 74-55.

The Buckeyes are now 5-1 against Michigan in the "Big 4" sports, including 4-1 in Ann Arbor.

(And yes, the dropoff in the level of excitement between last night and this is about the same as the dropoff between football and men's basketball.)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Just like football... clap clap clapclapclap...

OSU's four biggest sports to play Michigan so far this year (football, men's basketball, women's basketball, hockey) have played them five times, four in Ann Arbor.

The Buckeyes are 4-1.

A couple quick thoughts...

I actually liked the officiating for the most part tonight. OSU got called for one more foul (14-13), but that's to be expected when you're living on jumpshots for the most part. The officials let them play, even when things got a little frenzied down low (they probably could have stopped play a few times during the insane rebound, tip, rebound, miss, rebound, make sequence that Sims had, but they didn't). Unless it gets nuts, let 'em play.

I don't think a team has ever done more with zero inside game and about as much defense as the Buckeyes did in the first half. That 12-for-16 orgy from behind the arc is one of the big reasons why no one wants to see this team in March. They could get hot and make a run to the Elite Eight or dump a game to a 13 seed in the first round if they're off. There's just no way to know what you're going to get.

Je'Kel Foster is one of those guys who just haunts other teams' dreams. His 5-for-6 mark from deep tonight makes him an absolutely unholy 12-for-14 from behind the 3-point arc over his last two games.

If you watch the first half again, when Ivan Harris hits the Buckeyes' third triple in a row, if you look in the background you can see some of the members of the UM student section doubling over like they got punched in the stomach. I like to call that "good times."

I ended up getting stuck at work and couldn't make it to Ann Arbor. It's probably for the best that I didn't go to the game. Around that time I started doing the "Prince and the Revolution" thing from the classic Chappelle's Show skit, saying "good" as soon as the guy releases it. By the time it got up to 8-for-9, I was just greeting every three-ball with a Dick Vitale-like OOOOOOHHHHHH! OOOOOOOOHHHHHHH! I don't think I would have been welcomed with open arms in Crisler.

Courtney Sims looked unreal. 26 points (13-for-16 shooting????) and 15 boards is a damn good night no matter who you're playing. He completely owned the paint on both ends of the floor for about 30 minutes tonight. Sims out-rebounded everyone in the OSU frontcourt (Terance Dials, Matt Sylvester, Matt Terwilliger, Ivan Harris and Ron Lewis) 15-6. In the words of the late, great Tuesday Morning Quarterback, "Ye Gods!"

Dials had a dreadful night (although he came on strong at the end and started to neutralize Sims) and still looked miles better than Graham Brown.

Michigan can't buy a break injury-wise. First Lester Abram has to sit out again, and now they lose Dion Harris too?

Michigan's remaining schedule and my best guesses:
at Purdue (Win)
Minnesota (Win)
at Michigan State (Loss)
Illinois (Loss*)
at Ohio State (Loss)
Indiana (Win)

*- I changed my answer three times. Michigan needs a big night from Sims and Horton.

OSU's remaining schedule and my best guesses:
Illinois (Win)
at Wisconsin (Loss**)
Northwestern (Win)
at Michigan State (Loss)
Michigan (Win)
at Northwestern (Win)
Purdue (Win)

**- Based solely on the fact that UW will have one game where they play absolutely out of their minds and kill someone they shouldn't. They clobbered IU this week and probably have one more like that in them.

That puts OSU at 11-5, and probably gives them a share of the Big Ten title in about a four-way tie.

Nothin's gonna stop us from raisin' a banna...

My friend e-mailed me a few paragraphs from Bill Simmons' latest column which start to put in perspective how badly Isiah Thomas has screwed up the Knicks.

The Bobcats have 13 wins and the Knicks have 14 wins. According to hoopshype.com, Charlotte's 2005-06 payroll is $33.4 million, while New York's payroll is $125.9 million. Not including team options on younger players, Charlotte has $21.8 million in guaranteed salaries committed for 2007; $14.2 million committed in 2008; and $0.0 million in 2009. New York's guaranteed money looks like this: $110.3 million (2007); $49 million (2008); and $45 million (2009). Also, the Bobcats kept all their first-round picks through the decade, while New York gives Chicago its 2006 lottery pick and switches first-rounders with the Bulls in 2007 (with the Knicks getting the lower pick).

To recap: For that one extra win, the Knicks spent four times as much money, killed their cap flexibility through 2009 and gave away any chance of having a top-five pick in the next two years.


Oh, and by the way, he's also in deep doo-doo for sexually harassing one of the top female executives at the Garden.

Assuming any of this is remotely accurate (the internets being notorious for people spreading "Tenuta to UM" rumors and such), you're telling me that no one at MSG recognizes what a fuckup this guy is?

Unfortunately, I think it's probably somewhat similar to something that I've seen in person recently; a boss makes an atrocious hire and then basically shuts their eyes, sticks their fingers in their ears and pretends not to notice how badly the new imbecile is screwing everything up.

Because as we all know, admitting you made a mistake (any mistake) is a sign of weakness. Better just let the idiot run the ship into the ground. After all, you're smarter than everyone else, so they probably haven't even noticed yet.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Be a man, use your hand...

Today, one of my co-workers suggested that the new Diet Pepsi slogan "Brown and Bubbly" could be the finest food/beverage-based euphamism for diarhea that the world has ever seen.

I maintain that the true standout on the Outback Steakhouse dessert menu, the Chocolate Thunder From Down Under, is the one and only champion in that department.

Are there any other entries in this category before the committee puts it to a vote?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Pots & Kettles

Another day, another post on the M-Zone bashing Ohio State fans.

Since they're so concerned about fan behavior in the rivalry, here's a post from an OSU fan today on the OZone.

If you don't want to click on the link, I c&p'd it below.

My wife and I travelled to Ann Arbor this past November for The Game, and her first visit to the Outhouse (my fourth). We drove out from Philadelphia on Friday with our car flag flying high, and the marching band blasting through the stereo. After staying with a friend in Toledo on Friday night, we got up early on gameday and headed out to check out campus before tailgating.

When we arrived in Ann Arbor, we somehow ended up on the street where all the frat houses sit. Neither of us knew where we were exactly, but we saw a few folks with Ohio State gear wandering around so we figured we were safe.

As we pulled up to a stop light, a gathering of 15-20 frat boys, already sauced, were standing at the corner with "F*** Ohio State" signs and whatnot, and jeering loudly at any scarlet they saw. When they noticed our car (which was not subtly decked out in OSU colors) they began to yell at us, with an impressive string of curse words and offensive jestures. My wife and I, neither of us too far removed from our college days, laughed it off and gave them a friendly wave.

Then one of them chucked an egg right into the passenger side window. A flurry of eggs followed, hitting the back side of the car as we drove away. Heading up the street, we noticed that every frat on the road had a group of Wolverweenies out front, throwing eggs at every OSU car that passed. Worse, one place even had a fire hose and was dousing every OSU fan that walked by (and even though it wasn't freezing, it was damn cold that day).

We turned off the street, forgetting a stroll around campus, and looked for a car wash. Following us was another car who began beeping and gesturing at us. After a minute I realized that he wanted me to pull over, so I complied. The guy got out, and ran up to my car...and instantly began apologizing for the behavior of the students. I appreciated his apology, and took note that he was wearing a university of Florida sweatshirt, on the day of The Game no less. He said "I'm a Michigan alum and that's not the way we are here. You know I hate Ohio State too, but I don't......I mean, uh....." I thanked him for his kind gesture, and we proceeded to get the car washed.

Fortunately, most of the fans at the stadium were much more cordial, even among the tailgaters. Only one angry shove from a woman in the stands, but mostly just quiet resignation that we were going to own their butts again. As ol' Pittman strolled in for the winning score, I thought fondly of those frat boys, and smiled.

Not just November any more...

Not content to kick Lloyd Carr's ass only in November, Jim Tressel now brought the fight to Carr's home state in January as well.

Tressel was a keynote speaker at the Michigan High School Football Coaches' Association meetings a couple weeks ago. (Link here, scroll to page 11.) Lloyd? Not so much.

Sleepin' on the couch

You may officially color me confused by the K-Y Warming Lubricant commercials. I'm sure you've seen them... the woman is sitting on the bed reading off the label of the bottle while her husband is right behind her.

My confusion comes from the latest version of the commercial which suggests that this product would make a stellar Valentine's Day gift.

I'm not sure what message you'd be trying to send by wrapping one of those up for your favorite little lady on V-Day. It probably comes down to either "Happy Valentine's Day to a woman whose vagina feels like sand" or "I'll be backdooring you like the '98 Princeton Tigers tonight."

Either way, I kind of doubt that too many women would appreciate the sentiment.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Ummm... so?

It's Super Bowl Sunday. Woo.

I don't know whether it's the fact that I woke up at 4 this morning (Thanks, "job at a TV station that's doing a billion hours of coverage today!"), my general apathy towards just about anything NFL-related these days, my sub-conscious personal backlash against events that receive way too much hype (I haven't watched a Heisman ceremony for several years) or the lack of a sexy matchup, but I'm just not getting into the game at all.

I feel like I should watch it tonight simply because I always watch it, but that's not much of a reason.

We're going over to a friend's house to watch it on her HDTV, but it's probably about even-money that we'll come home at halftime and I'll take the dog for a walk or something, then watch the end if it's close.

NFL: Feel the excitement!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Nice poll

The fact that OSU is 23rd (third in the "others receiving votes" category) of this week's NCAA hockey poll is a pretty good indication of one of two things.

Either A) It shouldn't be a top-20, because there really aren't that many good hockey teams around or B) it's a bigger sham than the Harris poll.

This is a team that's coming off a split at home with Notre Dame, split at Alaska-Fairbanks the week before that, got swept earlier this month by Bowling Green and is a scorching hot 3-5-1 in 2006, entering this weekend's series at Yost.

By the way, those three aformentioned teams who went a combined 4-2-0 against the Buckeyes combined for exactly zero votes.

Civilization

Finally, something to make living in Michigan a little more tolerable.

The good folks at Chipotle got off their asses and opened a few locations in the state.

It was honestly a little disheartening to log onto that website when I first moved up here, enter my zip code and find out that the closest location was the one on Dublin Road in Columbus.

Hallelujah. I still hate living here, but at least it's a start.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

OSU fans: The new Detroit?

It has recently been all the rage on Michigan blogs all across the internets to share horror stories about visits to Columbus. This is usually offered as evidence that OSU fans are thugs/criminals, take football waaaay too seriously, or are in some way a lower form of life than those who gird themselves in maize and blue.

This, somewhat ironically, has come on some of the same blogs where people bashing Detroit are decried as beating a dead horse.

I will happily admit that this element of OSU fan-dom exists, and concede that perhaps said element exists in a slightly larger percentage of the fanbase than it does at other schools. I personally think that has a lot to do with OSU being such a "state school" and the fact that non-alums tend to affiliate themselves with OSU at a much greater rate than other schools around the country.

In my experience, there's a big difference between Michigan grads and Michigan fans. One group tends to be well-educated, well-spoken and decent human beings. The others tend to be the kind of people who watch NASCAR, wear camoflouge, spend a lot of time out in the woods and tithe 10% of their income at Cabela's.

The same thing is true at OSU, although I think the percentage of the second group is a little higher.

My issue is with the perception that "these things don't happen at Michigan", or that they at least don't happen with anything close to the frequency or intensity.

Bullshit.

I've been to the last five OSU-Michigan games in Ann Arbor, starting in 1997. Two of those times (2001 and 2003) I was working the game for a media outlet. That meant I was sitting in the press box and not wearing anything that would have identified my allegiance.

In 1997, one of the guys I was with was hit with a thrown object (golf ball? battery? who knows?) at the College Gameday set. After the game, we spent an hour trying to get out of the stadium from out seats in row 2. Michigan fans knocked one of my friends down a couple rows of seats and a particularly kind Michigan fan decided to quench my parched throat by dumping a beer on me.

In 1999, I walked out of the stadium to chants of "OSU sucks" and "Fuck the Bucks" (it's clever because it rhymes) from Michigan fans. Many were students, but one older guy (the typical non-UM grad fan; wearing a camoflouge jacket, Block M hat and sporting a mustache) got right up in my face.

In 2001, a fan with OSU car flags who had parked near me returned to his vehicle after the game to find that an obscenity had been keyed in his paint.

In 2005, we were seated next to two Michigan fans who were so drunk that one of them fell over the row of fans in front of us during pregame warmups. The other was beligerant and cursing at us for the better part of a half-hour before passing out sometime in the middle of the first quarter.

I saw the always clever "Buck the Fuckeyes" shirts had gained in popularity, along with one that carried the caption "OSU Sucks" and depicted an OSU cheerleader... umm... servicing a Michigan football player.

These sorts of things are decried by Michigan fans as being childish and profane when seen in Columbus, and they are. But they're equally so in Ann Arbor. You can talk all you want about how many you see or who's wearing them, but the fact is that element of the fanbase exists in both places.

When OSU fans refer to Michigan as scUM or dUMb, it's an indication of their obsession and inferiority complex. When Michigan fans refer to OSU as tOSjoaU (The Ohio State Joke Of A University) or "THE MINIMUM SECURITY PRISON AND HOME FOR THE MENTALLY CHALLENGED" or any of several other monikers, it's because they're clever and OSU is stupid/crooked.

"Lllloyd" is hackneyed and unfair to a fine human being. "Cheatypants Sweatervest" is funny.

People yelling "Fuck Michigan" in public should be forced to stop by other members of the fanbase. Hockey fans chanting "Chump, dick, wuss, douchebag, asshole, prick, cheater, bitch, whore, cocksucker" is just people being spirited and creating a good atmosphere. (It's nice to see that after a decade or so, the school is actually pretending to care about that now.)

Three words, Michigan fans: Get over yourselves.

You've got the same assholes in your midst that everyone else does. If you want to pretend that there's some huge difference in the percentage, that's fine. Whatever makes you feel better about yourselves.

No one is arguing that there aren't a number of dumbasses who choose to cloak themselves in scarlet and gray. A cursory glance at any number of OSU message boards will confirm that (Good tipoff: Playing the "4-1, you're just jealous" card on people calling your fanbase thugs).

But let's not pretend that your Block M hat comes with a diploma from the Emily Post School of Refinement.

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