Monthly Archives: March 2012

another brick



I hate the NBA, I just fucking hate it. The number of games, the oceans of uninspired play between playoffs, the miserable egos… I know all of you can come up with exceptions, but I don’t care. The NBA is in the course of destroying college basketball, and once that’s gone, I’ll basically cease watching televised sports.

Chuck Klosterman has a devastating article on Grantland about what might happen if Kentucky wins this weekend:

“Calipari’s scheme will become standard at a handful of universities where losing at basketball is unacceptable: North Carolina, Syracuse, Kansas, UCLA, and maybe even Duke. These schools already recruit one-and-done freshmen, but they’ll have to go further; they’ll have to be as transparent about their motives as Calipari is…

… There will be five schools sharing the 25 best players in the country, and all the lesser programs will kill each other for the right to lose to those five schools in the Sweet 16… In 10 years, it might be a niche sport for people like me — people who can’t get over the past.”

Now the NBA has taken Harrison Barnes, John Henson, Kendall Marshall, and (barring a miracle) James Michael McAdoo away from Carolina, years before they were due to leave, years before a diploma. They just can’t say no to the money; neither would any of us.

I will still be there when it is a shell of the game it once was, huddled up next to the television, finding the lonely satellite transmission on channel 623, watching UNC take on Chaminade or Wisconsin Green Bay or Lafayette in early December. I will still watch, even as the salivating green monster of bullshit plucks our most talented kids away. I just wonder if anyone else will watch with me.

the number you have reached


Things I Miss:

• Pluto

• physical photographs

• Peter Sellers

• bulky landline telephones

• Squeeze

• King Vitaman


Things I Don’t Miss:

• the croup

• finger-shredding bottle cap pull-out soda dispensers

• the brontosaurus

• Ronald Reagan

• the Chevy Citation

• calling it a “blue sky meeting”

• gum on the pay phone

• Charo


ugly ogallala


Dear Creighton:

Well, in the end, turns out you did it. Your hit squad jobbed our tourney, and no matter how much I strain, I can’t conjure any generosity. Maybe tomorrow, but today I seethe.

Hope you’re happy! Your basketball team had no business being near the sweet sixteen, so you pulled the only bullshit that might have given you a chance: you tried to actually hurt our team in the hopes that a quorum of Tar Heels would be sent to the emergency room.

You didn’t go for the ball when you tried to guard Kendall Marshall. You tried to take him out of the game. You body-blocked him onto the floor with a ghastly thwomp, and you broke his fucking wrist. Are you happy now? You ended our season without even beating us.


our entire season in one intentional foul

We already had two important players out, and John Henson’s wrist barely functioning. Sure, we managed to limp past 13-seed Ohio, but you dashed our season because you had a game plan that had nothing to do with basketball.

Tidbits like your wink of treachery is now infamous among people who still give a shit about the game, but I feel like I KNOW YOU. I went to junior high school only a few miles from y’all in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I had to deal with pigfat-laden thugs ambushing me every afternoon.


he hates your freedoms

Lemme tellya, folks – it’s only a matter of time before the glory days of your mid-major conference mediocrity wear off, and you find yourself 60 pounds overweight and arteriosclerotic, managing an unsuccessful soybean fertilizer company out of a motor home in Hiawatha.

I’m granting some of you an exception because you’re family. But the rest of you Creighton wankers can swing on a pair of deez nuts. Your coach looks like the villain from a 1930s gangster film, and the rest of your team should be killing puppies in a Steinbeck novel.

I used to stick up for Nebraska because of my mid-’90s visits to Hastings College, but no more. Screw Omaha and Nebraska: your politics are reprehensible, and your monotonous landscape signals the end of hope. Creighton, if you’re looking for a gracious loser, you can look elsewhere: you gave us a gift we couldn’t give away. Tomorrow I’ll be looking hopefully to the horizon, but for now you can eat a bag of roast dicks.

maybe even write a sonnet


Speaking of how awesome women are, allow me to brag about three ladies for a second. Over the weekend, we went to Provo, UT – land of my forebears – so Tessa could compete in the adult ice skating sectionals. She competed in three events: light entertainment, dramatic, and free skate:


home of various Olympic events in 2002

The result? Well, first of all, tons of my aunts, uncles and cousins showed up to cheer her on, which cemented their awesomeness and made every other skater wonder how Tessa had so many supporters a thousand miles from where she lived:


As for Tessa, she won the bronze, silver AND gold in the three events. Which, if you ask me, is even cooler than two silvers and a gold. It’s a royal flush!


back in Venice a few days later, modeling the hardware

The Lulubeans got to spend time with some of her cousins, especially Phillip (Buffy’s son), who showed her the perfect afternoon: docile chicks who loved being handled:


And then she went into the recording studio to sing two songs my mom had written for two different upcoming children’s albums. At 6, she’s the youngest singer they’ve ever used, and given my mom’s body o’ work, that’s saying something. I don’t think I can adequately express what ecstasy it was to see Grandma Linda direct Lucy behind the mike, like a lifelong wish you didn’t know you had:



She actually sang on three songs, but I thought I’d include a little mp3 called “For My Valentine”. This is just a rough mix, with none of the vocal sweeteners, studio tricks, or even a real backing track, but it’s just so… I don’t know, I suppose I had the same reaction Sean did when he heard it: “god is in heaven and all is right with the world…”

For My Valentine.mp3

one more eye and you would be a cyclops


My psych degree from Carolina pays dividends every few months or so, and here’s my latest pompous declaration: being a fan of your team is more important now than at any other point in history. Wishful thinking? No so fast. I gots science on my side this time.

One of my favorite professors at UNC, Bibb Latané, pioneered research on the Theory of Social Impact – a sort of social loafing dictum that says “the more people there are in any given situation, the less likely one individual is going to act.” The research on this stuff is always awesome. My favorite? Look at any choir singing, even the good ones, and then understand that 10% of them are just mouthing the words.

But sports is where you can get some good Social Impact stats: according to their early research, only 51% of football games are won by the home team, yet 76% of basketball games are. Surely there are other factors, but according to theory, basketball teams are much more responsive to their environment because there are only 5 players, and many of the home team fans are within 20 feet of them at any given moment.

Put simply, we can affect the momentum of a basketball game because we’re right on top of five dudes, but the hundreds of football players (and the hundreds of yards we sit from them) dilute any effect we might have on the outcome in a stadium.

You don’t need to write a doctoral dissertation on social media to translate this phenomenon to Faceboook and Twitter. When this picture went viral yesterday:


…I guarantee that Kendall Marshall eventually saw it, and was psyched. How couldn’t you be? Whatever pain or disappointment he might be having has to be lessened by the outpouring of faith and good will. The hand is his, his hand is ours.

Sure, there’s a limitation to our powers, as none of us fans will actually be lacing ’em up and jacking threes in the tournament, but our ability to be directly influential is not completely insignificant.

Was Joe DiMaggio emotionally buttressed by legions of young boys glued to their transistor radios in 1940s Brooklyn? Sure. But they don’t got nothing on us. Give us some Photoshop, a burst of inspiration and a decent wifi signal and we can get down and DO THIS.

in french: felchez


Okay, today’s question stems from the last couple of days’ discussion: what exactly, in your life, do you find actually offensive? It can be words, ideas, or anything that creeps up on a semi-regular basis.

I’m taking out the usual suspects such as Nazis, racists, bigots, homophobes, the “n” word and the “c” word (Brits excepted). I’ve made a point of not being offended by much, but here’s a short list:

1. “retarded”. Ick. I’m with Neva and Ann on this one.

2. Yukons, Denalis, Escalades and other humongous SUVs driven by people not hauling around kids or lumber. I know I gave up my environmentalism on this blog about three years ago, but people who drive those fuckers around still make me vomitous.


3. Republicanism. In all its forms. Perhaps not for conservative-leaning folks personally, but the public face and demeanor of Republicans is a horror freakshow.

4. Relentless Photoshopping of women in print ads. Lucy has shown no interest in the pop culture world, nor the tabloid newsstands, and she has to be dragged to the mall. But we will do everything in our power to give her a positive relationship with her own body.

5. Dahntay Jones, Matt Christiansen and Chris Collins. For obvious reasons.


furnishing a relief denied even to prayer


I pretty much stepped in it, as it were, with yesterday’s entry; what began as an exercise in exorcising demons dealt us by a shitty Jesuit school in Omaha turned into a donnybrook over the kind of language we can use as insults. As I said in the comments, the responsibility rests with me, as I was the one who pasted GFWD’s email into the entry without his explicit permission. He has his own vernacular on his private email list, and I have mine, and I opened him up to criticism for words literally cut and pasted out of its original context.

And yes, I used the word “literally” correctly. I checked my archives and I literally stopped using that word around 2005, when it became so abused that it no longer scanned normally.

But the bigger point here remains elusively compelling. As I told the essential Tammy O., I’m forever caught in the battle between “words mean things!” and “I wanna say what I fucking well want!” Further, it always seems to split down gender lines, as dudes hate being told what not to say, and women fundamentally understand the need for some words to go away.

It’s pretty easy to see the gender difference: straight guys have always loved words that denigrate women and gays. And let me be clear, I try not to be one of them. I work very hard at being a decent fellow. I strive to be sensitive, gender-neutral, and equal-minded, and then I see this on the internet:


…and I laugh so hard I spurt tea out of my nose. I think because it looks like our old dog Kije. Or because I’ve got traces of homophobia lodged in my spine like old viruses. Or maybe because it’s completely nonsensically awesome.

But part of it is the limitation of the English language. Let’s look at one word that is problematic: GAY. As I was growing up, the word morphed from “socially-awkward twit who acts effeminate” to “socially-awkward twit” to “an idea or thing that is enough off-the-mark to induce slight cringing.”

To wit: “Do you think this T-shirt is, I dunno, kinda gay?”


To date, no word has approached synonym to erase “gay” from the lexicon. The word “twee” is close, but even the word “twee” can be kind of gay. And yet you really can’t use the word “gay” for all the obvious reasons. “Fag” has its own history (as any perusal of the Louis CK oeuvre will demonstrate) but even “South Park” can’t fully exonerate it.

The words for women are a bit more problematic, because they fly out of our mouths so quickly. Most of the time, we have no idea we’ve even said them. All women who we consider pushy, dominant, domineering, sly, untrustworthy, mean, or manipulative get the immediate treatment: cunt whore slut nag cooze harpy bitch.

Not to mention that we diminutize them by calling them “girls” long past childhood, usually until the men chasing them no longer find them hot. Tell me you can’t read this Tina Fey quote and not find it 97% true:

“I know older men in comedy who can barely feed and clean themselves, and they still work. The women, though, they’re all ‘crazy.’ I have a suspicion — and hear me out, because this is a rough one — that the definition of ‘crazy’ in show business is a woman who keeps talking even after no one wants to fuck her anymore.”

And yet. AND YET…

Why can’t we call an asshole on a rival basketball team a “little punk bitch”? What if everyone knew what we meant? We’re not the bad guys. What if… in our parlance, “bitches” doesn’t mean “women” or “women-like” or “homosexual” or “deserving of scorn the way women are”… it just means “asshole”, devoid of any larger conspiracy.

What if we truly don’t believe that words like that contribute to how people treat women? What if we believe the word “fag” no longer applies to homosexuals, regardless of origin?

As for me, personally, I don’t know. I used to fight for the words I wanted to use, but time (and an allergy to cliché) has mellowed that end of my lexicon. I believe that all things being equal, the ruling always goes to the more aggrieved party. And being a straight white dude, that sure as hell isn’t me. But I have to admit, I occasionally yearn for the old words. I really miss telling my sister Michele than her “Bread, Not Bombs” T-shirt was totally fucking gay.

cobra kai lives on


I’m so unbelievably angry right now that I need another 12-15 hours before I’m of any use to anybody. Those of you who don’t watch basketball… oh, what does it matter, you stopped reading when you smelled what this was about.

As such, I’m going to let someone else do the talking and linking for me today- none other than Greg (GFWD) himself, who penned one of his best group emails ever this evening, after hearing of Kendall Marshall’s injury. I hope he won’t mind the publicity. Here it is:


Obviously, no one out of Chapel Hill is talking. You heard Roy. 

I wrote my friend, an orthopedic surgeon who repaired my second Achilles tendon rupture back in 2000. He wrote back and shared the following with me:

“I had the same injury my junior year. I played a rugby match the next week, but had to pull myself out at the half. I then missed the entire spring lacrosse season because it didn’t go on to heal.  Did he have it fixed? If he had a screw put in it he can probably play. Otherwise he’s screwed.” 

My doctor friend went on to suggest that they should use a compression screw during the surgery to ensure that he might be able to play. 


Not surprisingly, I was not the only one with that bright idea to “consult” with a doctor. My friend Jason Lina sent me a link to this article.

Here is some info on the type of injury from my friend Jonathan.

As a side note, all I could think about while watching the remaining games tonight was how sadly ironic it is that Kenny Smith has to be objective talking about these games in the studio, having suffered one of the other ill-timed infamous wrist breaks on a UNC team that was also destined for a long and deep tournament run. 


You may not like Carolina. 

You may think we get too many calls. 

You may hate Roy’s “Huckleberry Hound” schtick. 

But we do not play dirty. 

We don’t groom thugs. 

Check out the play that injured Kendall from my friends Betsy and Tim.

Roy actually said he thought it was just a hard foul. He likely said that without the benefit of having seen the “wink” (see below) and the replay above where that little bitch sends a forearm shiver into Kendall’s chest. Those things add a little more context to everything that happened in the game. 

The thing I hate most about this tournament is when you let oafs from subpar conferences into the dance with the big boys. Here’s a link to the dirty little bastard with a profile picture that makes you understand why some animals eat their young.

It’s not cockiness to point out the fact that someone like Kendall plays the game on a higher plane than most other players. So, when you get beaten by him, you don’t take your forearm and shove him while he’s in the air. You let him score and regroup or you foul him while he’s on the ground. You act like you’ve been there before.  Apparently, that’s not the case if you’re a little punk thug bitch playing for those Creighton cretins. (Before I cooled, I had a different c-word here). 

You play dirty. 

You also swipe unnecessarily at Henson’s wrist. 


I might have forgiven the Creighton foul that earned Big John a technical, if the CBS cameraman hadn’t caught that catamite “winking” at the Creighton bench, as though he had just followed through with the coach’s orders to “sweep the leg.”  In case you missed it, my friend Tim sent me this.

I have never wanted to reach through a television screen so badly. Almost made me wish I had powers like Darth Vader so that I could have remotely knocked that little bitch’s chewing gum into the upper deck.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this kid has several earmarked copies of “Catcher in the Rye” lying around his dorm room and routinely pens letters to Jodie Foster in between dissecting live animals. 

It didn’t end there. Before the half, their point guard swiped down hard on Henson’s wrist under the guise of trying to make a play for the ball. It’s what sent Henson–who otherwise played superbly–to the bench early. 


All during the game, I was telling people how much I wanted to have a player like Julius Peppers on our team. A player who could keep opposing teams from playing dirty. 

I don’t mind tough. The Wolfpack played us tough. They played hard, inspired, and tough. Not only was it fair and legal, but it also made both teams better. I think they’re in the Sweet Sixteen largely because of that game.

I am fine with tough players. 

I hate dirty. 

If I were the coach for Carolina, I’d always have a kid on my bench who ate nothing but nails and broken glass and shaved with a straight razor that he had to replace twice a day because his beard dulled the blade. The kind of guy whose muscles had muscles and made hardened prison yard thugs “shart” themselves whenever his face appeared on the television screen…


I’ll grant you that Zeller occasionally tries to exaggerate an offensive player’s contact in hopes of getting a charge call. In fact, he tried tonight early in the game and he didn’t get the call. That’s gamesmanship and nothing screams karma like missing the charge call and instead getting a blocking foul called on you. 

To any such allegations of flopping, I would say, “Touche”.  But, with respect to Creighton’s bespectacled little punk bitch center, I offer you this gem.

What this Creighton chump did, by contrast, has no place in the game. It’s less of a good defensive play on Zeller and more of an outright battery. 

I don’t ever want to wish any injury on a player for another team, but I do hope that karma one day helps Creighton to reap what it’s apparently teaching its players to sow. 

That would be poetic justice. 

Let’s hope that Kendall’s surgery is successful.


would you like the turndown service sir


I am writing to you from Provo, Utah – yes, that Provo, Utah – because Tessa is competing in the Adult Sectional Figure Skating Championships. I’m sure I have the name of that wrong, but you might remember her doing quite well last year, and this year she has some new tricks up her well-sequined sleeve.

She doesn’t actually wear sequins. Tessa is always stylish and gorgeous while still remaining in the ice dancing fashion milieu. But will other contestants be wearing sequins? Yes. Yes, they will.

But whilst I coop in the Provo Marriott Hotel, I do need to ask… why are hotels and motels designed so badly? I don’t mean the bedcovers, which are made ugly enough not to steal, but the basic amenities.

Allow me to give you three examples I experience almost every time I travel:

1. NO ELECTRICAL SOCKETS – Hotels in this country have been largely electrified since 1912. And for one hundred years hotels have not put electrical sockets in places where they can be used.


computer at left is charged by extension cord I BROUGHT running behind bed

Especially now, when so much of our lives are dominated by necessary gadget crap, the only way to charge your phone is to unplug the clock-radio or the various lamps shoved behind the nightstand. That if you’re lucky enough to have an outlet there.

More often than not, the outlet is behind the mattress under the headboard of your bed, meaning you have to risk shock and electrical fires just to surf the motherscratchin’ web. Which leads to…

2. HOTEL WIRELESS INTERNET BLOWS – I tried to load a 5-minute YouTube video for Tessa, and it stalled. She took a shower and did some light reading, and it still wasn’t fully loaded. A first-world problem? Sure, but a fucking problem nonetheless when your job depends on it.

And some hotels have a retractable ethernet connection that spins back into its coil, is only six inches long, and only works when you jiggle it. [insert “that’s what she said” joke here]



Neither Tessa nor I can walk into it, still shut the door, and use the terlet. Lucy did with some difficulty. And if you want to take a shower you have to walk into the shower itself and turn it on, using your whole body to brave the icewater turning to scalding plasma.

It’s just the little things, people. It’d be just as cheap and easy to do it right! Please come talk to me before you build any more mid-level hotels. Thank you.