Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You know what's funny? Derek Anderson's composure.

The Boy once told me that after a loss, his high school football coach forbid the team from talking, laughing, or smiling on the bus or the way home from games. "What are you smiling about? You lost!" he'd say, or some variation of it.

It was that kind of attitude that caused The Boy to go play rugby; he wanted to play something fun. If only he'd known that in the NFL, losing by 18 is a laughing matter: Derek Anderson, the for-now-QB of the Arizona Cardinals (Motto: Kurt Warner, please take our calls!) was caught laughing on the sidelines while down by 18 against San Francisco -- then got huffy when a reporter dared ask him what was so funny. Let's look at what someone low-budgetedly taped off their TV to see what happened:

Someone should tell Derek that if you want to be a star in this league, the way to handle press conferences is to repeat every question and then just say "I'm just here to play the game."

What's amazing is that the reporter-- the reporter -- is now taking heat for doing his job. One site called the reporter's question a "blindside attack." Sure -- because asking a quarterback about something he did during a game is way out of line, right?

That reporter -- a guy named "Milton Kent"-- takes the time-honored step of "misphrasing the question in a way that lets him answer it the way he wants: what lawyers call a "straw man" argument, setting up a straw man that you can then knock down:
Have we really reached the point where every single action on a sideline or bench or dugout has to be explained? How many of us, especially those in the media, could withstand the inevitable scrutiny that would arise if we had to answer for every seemingly inappropriate comment made in the course of a working day? There's hardly a reporter or editor alive who has always said the right thing at the right time, but we always expect the people we cover to be perfect, even if we don't know the reason for their imperfection.

The problem with that is that the reporter who asked the question wasn't asking about "every single action on a sideline." The reporter was asking about one action: Laughing while in the midst of losing your sixth straight game.

You know what Anderson might have been laughing about? Maybe that Arizona guaranteed him a minimum of $3.25 million when it signed him -- so no matter how bad he played, he's going to be a millionaire. Here's what I imagine that conversation sounded like:

Anderson: Man, we suck.
Lutui: You said it.
Anderson: Want to go get some solid gold tattoos grafted onto our skin after the game? On me?
Lutui: Only if we can spit on Arizona fans on the way home.
Anderson: (Laughing) You got it, man.

Update: Steve Johnson Doesn't Hate God, but he's not so crazy about YOU. (God Still Has No Comment.)

Steve Johnson may be a little unclear on just how the Internet works.

Despite having posted evidence to the contrary for everyone to see, the Buffalo wideout who has become more famous for not catching a ball than anyone could imagine now denies that he actually blamed God for dropping the pass that would have won the game against Pittsburgh:

In fact, Johnson has lots more to say on his Twitter feed -- not all of it so profoundly philosophical. Here's everything he said following his explanation that when he blamed God he wasn't, you know, blaming God.

(Guess who he did blame, eventually? If you said the fans, take a gold star!):

So Before Yall..well I'm pretty sure you've awready judged me. I hope you guys look n the mirror. I dnt blame u 4 being mad @ my gm I WAS 2!

Spoke To Friends Fam Teammates and Most Importantly I Spoke With My Wife. I Honestly Believe Evrything Happens For A Reason! Everything!

S/O To My Real Friends And Fanollowers! Also Major S/O To Them Bills Fans! I Don't Play For Myself and AnyOne who know ME knows That!


I can continue but ill leave it at that! N THANKS AGAIN! Oh Yea And S/O To the Bills Fans That Bash Bills Players! Real Talk Its Still Luv!!
Just to recap the key events of DropGate:

1. Steve Johnson dropped a pass that would've won the game. (Video below.)
2. Steve Johnson blamed God.
3. Steve Johnson got closer with God, no longer blamed him.
4. Steve Johnson decided to take out his frustration on "the Bills Fans That Bash Bills Players." Because true fans don't say things like "You're being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars but you can't hang onto a ball that literally lands in your hands?"

Monday, November 29, 2010

God Hates Buffalo, Is Undecided About Cleveland.

So much to talk about today, and so little desire to actually work.

You know the old joke, when players thank God for a kick going through the uprights or a pass falling into their hands -- the old joke being why would God hate the other team?

Well, the answer to that joke is that the other team is the Buffalo Bills, revealed by wide receiver Steve Johnson's Twitter feed to be the focal point of God's disappointment with His creations after Johnson dropped a game-winning TD catch in overtime yesterday:

That wasn't the only divine-related tweet from yesterday's game. Ben Rapistberger's Twitter feed briefly displayed this message:

Thanks, Big Guy, for another undeserved win. Now I'm goin' out to get some chicks. Hope Goodell doesn't read this. Where'd I leave those roofies?

Separated At Birth?

Cortland Finnegan:


Kyle Broflovski:

At least Kyle won his fight.

The Wisconsin State Journal Redefines "Winning" To Avoid Getting On A-Rodg's Bad Side.

How badly do reporters not want to be on The Anointed One's Enemies List? Bad enough to pretend that A-Rodg won the Packers-Falcons' game yesterday.

In his weekly feature "Oates Grades The Packers," the Wisconsin State Journal's reporter Tom Oates does just that: He grades the Packers. He gave the offense this week a C-, and had this to say as commentary:

When Aaron Rodgers is your leading rusher, something's terribly wrong. Rodgers accounted for 395 of his team's 418 yards. Remember his 90-yard, game-tying drive the next time you talk about his inability to win close games.

So, Tom Oates, is there something about a game-tying drive that I should keep in mind when talking about winning games? And at what point in my football ruminations should I recall Rodgers' 1-yard-game-not-tying fumble?


When you're done remembering Rodgers' 90-yard-game tying drive that Tom Oates thinks won the game, why not try remembering the memorable people you'll meet in Just Exactly How Life Looks, a collection of wondrous short stories you won't be able to put down:

Available on Lulu.com
and on your kindle.

Your Improbable Stat Of The Day

Who's the best quarterback of the Super Bowl era?

Probably Matt Ryan.

Don't scoff. Matt Ryan's win yesterday over the Let's-Shoot-Ourselves-In-The-Foot-To-Be-Sporting Packers improved his record to 19-1 at home in his first 20 career games -- a record that matches Danny White's record in the Super Bowl era.

While his counterpart yesterday, A-Rodg The Anointed one, gets all the hype, consider that Ryan is only in his third year and has already made as many playoff appearances as Rodgers -- and has that gaudy 19-1 record. It'll be three weeks before we'll see if Ryan can extend the home wins, though, as he next plays in Atlanta when the Saints come to town on December 27.

The Commander In Chief takes one for the team.

President -- and more importantly, the 2009 Nonsportsman! of the Year! -- Barack Obama picked up 12 stitches as part of his Thanksgiving Day basketball stats. The president -- shown at right staring out the window of his boarding school while waiting for Jane Eyre to come home -- was injured in an almost symbolic way that will no doubt be the highlight of many an editorial cartoon over the next three weeks.

Let the story from the improbably-named "Storm Byrd," reporter for the Arizona Daily Wildcat, give you the details:

This holiday weekend, President Barack Obama was greeted with a reportedly large selection of pies at the dinner table, then almost had his sweet tooth knocked out of his cranium. During a pickup basketball game, Obama received a swift elbow to the mouth from his opponent on the court, Rey Decerega. Decerega, the director of programs for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, was so into the game that he didn't even apologize to the president for the elbow. Talk about being a "beast." ...Not even former collegiate basketball champ and current NBA basketball player Tyler Hansbrough had the courage to get in Obama's way on an easy lay-up during a pickup game in 2008.
The good news is that he only has to wait until 2014, when Obamacare kicks in, to get those stitches removed.

If you're wondering how fit the Prez/Nonsportsman of the Year is, this was in the last of the five games he played that day.

AND, I have exclusive video:

See how cool I am? It's not just HuffPo that can rerun others' news and claim it's their own.

(That's where I got the video from, by the way. HuffPo. Because I like irony.)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree...

And by "apple," I mean "methods of cheating," and by "tree" I mean "Coach* Bill* Belicheat*."

Still confused? Let ESPN explain:
The NFL fined the Denver Broncos and coach Josh McDaniels $50,000 each because the team's video operations director broke league rules by filming a San Francisco 49ers practice in London last month. The NFL investigation determined that Steve Scarnecchia took the six-minute video of the walkthrough and presented it that day to McDaniels. The coach declined to view it. But the NFL fined both the coach and team because the matter was not promptly reported, as required by league policy.

So, take note: The NFL did not fine the Broncos for taping the 49ers' practice. It fined them for not reporting that they'd broken the rules.

Cheating isn't the only thing McDaniels learned from Belicheat. He also seems to have gathered tips on the nonapology:

"I apologize for not promptly reporting the improper conduct of our video director before our game against the 49ers in London," McDaniels said in a statement.

Again, McDaniels isn't sorry they cheated. He's sorry they didn't report cheating. And, again, someone from the Belicheat coaching tree gets away with breaking the rules, and the NFL issues only a slap on the wrist. The whole thing makes me mad enough to sucker punch Ben Rapistberger in the face.

Also: you have to cheat to beat the 49ers? I smell excellence cooking in Denver. (Or, not so much.)


Looking for a good Christmas present? Consider this book:

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Aaron Rodgers Probably Doesn't Like You.

That picture at the right is making the rounds -- clearly showing The Anointed One smirking at The Former Gunslinger. So what does A-Rodg have to say about the show of apparent (and appropriate) glee at beating the guy who tried to keep him from being a starter?

“That was, Brett and I embraced, and then he made a funny comment about (Packers offensive line coach) James Campen as we were separating... And I looked back and smirked about his comment about James Campen and they froze it.”
Nobody, not even A-Rodg, believed that, and for a change, a reporter actually asked a follow-up that challenged the athlete:

Asked how we know that was the real reason for his smile, Rodgers replied, “How do you know? Because that’s never been my personality. Agreed? … I looked back to see if James was back there and I had a smirk on my face. I wasn’t smirking at anyone. Maybe James Campen.”

Let's consider The Anointed One's claim that smirking and the like has never been his personality: First off, he says he's smirking at his one of his own coaches, not his competitor. Good career move, A-Rodg.

Secondly, Rodgers is all about the grudges. Among the grudges he's currently or formerly nursing are one against Tony Kornheiser (who Rodgers called stupid and dumb), Ron Jaworski, the 21 teams that passed him over in the draft before the Packers took him, his own current coach Mike McCarthy (about whom he had this exchange):

Q: Have you ever sat down with Mike McCarthy (the 49ers' offensive coordinator in 2005) and asked him why the 49ers passed on you?

A: You know what? Not really. It's not a big deal for me. I know the organization made a decision. I know coach McCarthy was the offensive coordinator there and could have been my offensive coordinator if the Niners had taken me. I know it's a business. And I know the team was trying to make the best decision they could make. So there's absolutely no ill will with the 49ers or Mike Nolan or anybody.

(Did you notice the name missing from that comment? A-Rodg had such a grudge that when McCarthy came to Green Bay he had to meet personally with The Anointed One to hash it out. In a meeting Rodgers demanded.)

Rodgers also gave a backhanded swat to Clay Matthews and other Packer players partying in the Wisconsin Dells this year, ripped the offensive game planning, and, of course, once told Packer fans who liked Favre that they'd better "get on board now or keep their mouths shut."

I like Rodgers, and like that he says what he means -- if I've got any problem with him, it's that once he opens up his mouth and gives a good honest quote, he then backs off of it.

So face the facts, A-Rodg: You don't like... anyone.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Have a Witzelsucht Holiday Season! (It's the 2010 Nonsportsmanlike Conduct! Nongift! Nonguide!)

It's time, as the title said, for the Nonsportsmanlike Conduct! Nongift! Nonguide!, a holiday tradition.

Every holiday special has a theme and a special Holiday Message, and this much-beloved annual feature here on Nonsportsmanlike Conduct!, is no different, so please, take a moment to read the following:

The following is a special announcement brought to you by Nonsportsmanlike Conduct:

Do you suffer from the pain of Witzelsucht?

Don't be so quick to answer. You may be a victim of Witzelsucht and not even know it. Take this short quiz to see if you are in need of medical help:


I suffer from Witzelsucht: A. True. B. False.

If you answered a, then you likely suffer from Witzelsucht. If you answered b then you are trying to bluff your way through this quiz without admitting you have a problem. And if you answered I'm okay with them touching my junk then you should fly out of Los Angeles airport, where the TSA screeners are all hunky.

Witzelsucht can strike anybody, anywhere -- and this debilitating condition is growing ever more common. This disease, first defined in 2005, causes its victims to tell "inappropriate or poor jokes." Consider this horrifying story from medical researchers:

A 2005 case study describes a 57-year-old woman who suddenly morphed into a more gregarious version of herself. "She had become the life of the party and would laugh, joke, and sing all the time."
And it doesn't just affect the person with the disease: as is so common today, especially in America, we're all victims:

As [one researcher] explains, the jokiness "can be annoying to family and caregivers, (but) it is usually not a terrible problem."

So now, go back and take that quiz again, and engage in some reflection. Do you tell inappropriate jokes? Do you giggle uncontrollably every time you imagine an egg freaking out because a potato can talk?

A potato and an egg are boiling in water, at some monastery kitchen, when the the potato says "zeeez it sure is hot in here", then the egg says "ahhh this potato can speak".
Have you ever laughed at Family Circus? As you can see, this disease is more wide-spread than you imagined, and unlike malaria, which at least has rich people creating tiny Death Stars to fight it, there is no telethon, there is no charity fundraiser, there is no guest appearance by Leonardo DiCaprio, to help the suffering witzelsuchters.

So as we enter this holiday season, please, be aware of the problem, and listen, at the office parties and family gatherings and lines waiting for mall Santas, and when you hear a bad joke, take a moment to pause and say to yourself "Man, I wish I had the kind of job where I could get paid for coming up with stupid names to describe boorish behavior."


And now, back to... the

Nonsportsmanlike Conduct! Nongift! Nonguide!
Your Guide to What NOT to Get the Sports Lover In Your Life.

We all know sports fans. Some of us are sports fans. Some of us are nonsports fans. And, as the holidays approach and Black Friday -- my third favorite holiday, behind Christmas Eve (#1) and Thanksgiving Day (#2) -- is upon us, we will all ask ourselves this question again: What should I get that sport-lover in my family?

The answer, of course, is simple: get him or her or them a jersey, or sweatshirt, or cap for their favorite team.

That's it.

That's all you need to get.

But there are those among you who will not be satisfied with that simple answer. There are those among you who will want to do something creative or fun or interesting or some other word that I can't think of right now as you purchase a gift for the sportslover in your life, and to you, I say:


Just get a jersey. Or sweatshirt. Or cap. Or, if you must, socks. From their favorite team. That'll do fine.

You won't listen, though-- you'll go out in search of that one-of-a-kind unique sports-y gift for that person, and you will be superproud of that gift and you will give it to that person and they will smile and laugh and say "It's great" but through it all, you will know secretly that you have failed miserably.

Still, if you must go "off the board" and get the sports fan in your life something other than a simple item of clothing with a logo on it, at least do yourself a favor and read this entire post, memorize it, print it out, and DO NOT GET ANY OF THESE ITEMS for that person or people. This is a service I provide you, my beloved reader(s?), in hopes that you'll finally take my advice and refuse to buy crummy gifts for sports lovers: Each year, I scour the internet for literally dozens of minutes to find the absolute worst sports-themed gifts out there, so that I can warn you not to get those things.

Without further ado, here's the 2010 edition of what NOT to get the sports lover in your life:

1. The "Mom Can You Teach Me How To Hit Baseball Video". Everyone knows that moms are no good at sports -- but that doesn't have to stop them from trying to help little Johnny pursue his Major League Baseball dreams, does it? (Answer: Yes.)

Or does it? Being a mom, and being bad at sports, may no longer be an impediment to good parenting -- since you can cure the latter condition by watching this instructional video. Don't believe the hype? Well just check out the description:

Have you ever watched your son or daughter struggle at the plate and wished that there was something you could do to help them? You've practiced with them, you've provided comfort and encouragement-but even that can only go so far in improving your child's performance and confidence when it comes to hitting the ball. What you need is a way of teaching your child the fundamentals of hitting that will be fun and educational. In "Mom, Can You Teach Me How to Hit? you get to spend the afternoon with former Chicago Cub Bobby Woods in New York's Central Park as he teaches a mother and her 12 year son the most important principles of hitting, includng the "Top Hand Release" style of hitting used by major league superstars like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Bernie Williams. Woods,will show you and your child everything you need to know to improve your hitting performance. 75 minutes. 2000. SP-20001. DVD.
If all-text paragraphs don't sell you on that, watch this ACTUAL VIDEO of a guy I assume is Bobby Woods, actually teaching moms how to actually teach their sons how to play baseball:

I feel smarter, and less like a lame ol' mom already.

One quibble: I'm pretty sure that the evidence has established that it was not exactly swinging technique that allowed
"Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, and Alex Rodriguez" to hit so many homers. So if you get this video, you'd better also get "Mom, Can You Teach Me How To Inject Steroids In My Butt And Then Hide The Evidence?" (hosted by Roger Clemens.)

2. The Arsenal Single Flashing Ornament. If you're like me, but a version of me that (a) likes soccer and (b) is British and (c) is totally deranged, then you, as that version of me, have probably at one point or another said to yourself:

"My Christmas tree doesn't have a sufficient amount of flashing lights demonstrating how much of an Arsenal fan I am."

Also, you probably said that in a British accent:

"Moy Chrismois Tree dun't have a sufficient amount, etc etc. mate." (You get the point.)

Well, problem solved -- and solved by combining one of the lamest presents you can give with one of the lamest sports around.

Who gives an ornament for a Christmas present, anyway? By the time you get the present, the holiday is over, or just about over. It's like giving someone a sweater in March.

Still, when you consider this ornament in a dramatic close-up:

You can feel the allure, the magnetic tug, of that design: The red! The three glowing lights that (presumably, from the product title) flash! The fact that it's been Liked by 3 people on Facebook! How can you resist?

3. Fatheads: It's become something of a tradition for me to scout out the clearance section at Fatheads.com, because the only thing your sports fan wants more than a life-size representation of the people he cheers for on Sundays is a life-size representation of someone so unpopular that his poster has been marked down.

Before I could find those marked-down giant wall images, though, I found out that Fatheads.com has become that overused cliche, Big Brother, only for real: Fatheads.com now offers a feature that lets you "See Who's Buying Fatheads Now," a map of the WORLD in which little markers provide you the names and locations of people buying stuff from Fatheads.com even as we speak.

That's how I know that Sheryl Bow, of NH, bought a New England Patriots "Flying Elvis" Logo, this morning -- Sheryl's getting a jump on her holiday shopping.

Imagine the uses for this technology! Suppose, for example, that Fatheads.com were to offer this for sale:

We all recognize that as the winning entry in the "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" contest, right? If Fatheads were to make that available as a giant wall-hanging, not only would I buy it and put it on the Babies! wall, but also, Osama Bin Laden would buy it, and then we (and the CIA, and that one guy who was arrested for trying to capture Bin Laden) would all instantly know where he is!

See why I should be in charge of government? Free health care, and we'd have Bin Laden. And yet, you put John Boehner in charge. (Oh, well, at least he can provide us all with tobacco lobbyists' checks, the road to hell being paved with nicotine-stained fingers.)

More exciting this year than the cheap Fatheads are what I also assume to be a new technology -- Fatheads.com is apparently on the cutting edge of tech, well ahead of places like Google and Homeland Security -- that of Fatheads letting you create your own Fathead. All you have to do is upload a photo and instantly, your own picture or sports moment can become a larger-than-life wall-hanging. So you can imagine the possibilities: You can make your own giant Muhammad and become the target of a jihad. Or you could print up that picture of your kid crying when you made him play goalie in the championship last year. Or you could create giant-size Christmas cards to mail to people featuring this photo:

That kid in the sunglasses deserves to be a Fathead and hang on the wall of everybody in the U.S. Except Cheryl Bow, NH. She's already got her Patriots' thing.

4. Desktop PingPong Set: What's the one thing that everyone who's ever spent a day at the office has in common with everyone else who's done that? We're all bored stiff and looking for any possible way to avoid work.

What're the other two things all our days at the office have in common? We all aren't sweaty enough, and we're using our desks for things like "holding piles of papers waiting for us to do work about them."

The Desktop Ping Pong Set fixes all those problems, and also answers the question you've been asking yourself: "How can I get myself fired from this job in a fun, aerobic way?" Using this set-- which comes with "detailed" instructions on how to play -- you can play Ping Pong anywhere you can find a reasonably flat surface and a group of people who don't mind that you're swinging a bunch of paddles around and hitting balls at them. Suggestions include not just a desk, but the dining room table. Make sure you move the mashed potatoes first. Or don't, and play a version of Beer Pong in which the loser has to eat all the leftovers before serving again.

If playing ping pong on your desk seems too gauche for you -- if you're a purist who demands the pristine, kind-of-tennis-like surface Ping Pong is usually played on, consider instead the Miniature Ping Pong Table,

A slate that's 28x14 and promises to convert any table into a ping-pong table through the magic of "putting a ping pong table on top of that other table."

The MiniTable also folds into a briefcase-style unit for ease of storage -- so you can totally fool your boss into thinking that you're working. "What are you doing?", your Spacely-Sprockets' Type 1960s Stereotypical Boss will ask you, and you'll show him the briefcase that's clearly not a pingpong table, and say "The Jenkins File," after which he'll leave you alone for weeks. (That's also the plot of Mad Men's Christmas Special this year.)

5. A "Forever Young Club" Membership. If you Google "marathon gifts," as I did for no particular reason other than I thought I should have a fifth item in this list, and I also had just finished reading about 2/3 of Sports Illustrated's startling expose of how the first marathon may not have actually been run by Pheidippides -- the issue doesn't say much about Cam Newton, but that's probably because SI doesn't investigate corruption in sports until it's at least 2,500 years old -- you'll find, if you google that term, a link to MarathonPlanet.com, which will then refer you to the Forever Young club, a club whose history is a little less shrouded in mystery and legend than Pheidippides' run:

The Forever Young Club was born out of a great relationship in a healthy
marriage. Greg Stasik used to tease his wife, Denise, of how he would never
get old. And, that he was the president of the Forever Young Club. Rod
Stewart and Dick Clark were also members (but they didn’t know it). One
year, Denise got Greg a present. She had several T-shirts made that said
Forever Young Club on the front and got him a business card that said that
he was the president.

From those humble beginnings, the Forever Young club has grown into a business that has a website and everything, and which, for just $24.99, will certify that special someone in your life as being Forever Young in the best possible way: via a t-shirt and a certificate you could print on your home computer if you were a little more creative and a little more cheap:

The FYC Gift Pack is a perfect way to honor that Forever Young person in your life. The Gift Pack includes a personalized certificate and an exclusive Forever Young Club T-shirt. The recipient should be at least 40 years young. ... The certificate is a beautiful light blue with ornate border, personalized with the member's name and reason for being recognized. The certificate comes in a blue jacket with foil seal, and lists your name as presenter.

To be fair, you'd probably have no way of putting a foil seal on the packet. Also, while a person should be at least "40 years young" (blechh!), there are other qualifications, as there are in fact three kinds of Forever Youngs -- and that's not even counting the Alphaville version:

The three official ways to be Forever Young are "Young At Heart," "Young In Body," or, for people whose hearts and bodies are too old to qualify those ways, "Young In Spirit." There's none of the mealy, easily-manipulated criteria to choose recipients for this honor, either: the site sets out specifics of how you qualify for each.

So to be Young In Body, a person must have a resting heart rate of less than 50, or have run a marathon, or ridden a bike 3,000 miles in a season, and so on. The most startling qualification for being Young In Body? The site says that you qualify if you have "come back from the dead."

Also, if you can do "50 good pushups." So, you know, whichever way you want to qualify: 50 pushups or be resurrected.

Young at heart people don't need to be the second coming or do pushups: they can qualify by being, for example, a "Hot Air Balloon Captain," or playing board games, or even skipping rocks.

I'm assuming that at some point, the Young In Body people are going to look at the Young At Heart people and say "Wait a minute, I ran an ultra-marathon and then died and came back, and that guy skipped some rocks, and we both wear the same t-shirt?" But then both groups will likely gang up on the Young In Spirit people, who can qualify merely by laughing or smiling a lot.

Which means that if you suffer from Witzelsucht, you qualify for this group just the same as if you'd raised from the dead. Which has now caused me to reconsider their inclusion on this list: any group that equates the Second Coming with a head injury and bad jokes is okay by me. Go ahead and get a membership for that special someone. But don't try to get it for Vincent, in Bayville, NJ. According to Fatheads.com, Vincent has just bought himself a Disney princess castle. Hey, sometimes you've gotta think of yourself, right Vincent In Bayville?

In closing, I'd just like to remind you all once again of that special story that sets this season apart from any other, a brief parable that embodies all that is good and noble about humanity, that makes us, at least at this time of the year, think about the better side of life and try to be a little nicer to those around us. In fact, I'll reprint it in whole, right here, so that you can carry it with you as you go out shopping:

Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and Jesus walked into a bar, and the bartender said, "What is this, some kind of joke?"

Read Last Year's Nonsportsmanlike Conduct! Nongift! Nonguide! by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Are the Packers the most influential NFL team?

The Boy pointed out something to me tonight: We were discussing how I dislike the Packers' GM and Coach when The Boy made the point that Green Bay has had more of an impact on the NFL this season than any other team. Aside from getting Wade Phillips and Round Of Beef fired, The Boy noted that the Packers

-- took out Kevin Kolb on opening day, thus spawning the concern over concussions and the resurgent career of the Puppy Killer,

-- had a helmet-to-helmet hit on Jay Cutler in the Chicago game, helping spur the NFL to tighten the rules on those types of hits, as well,

-- and, overlooked by The Boy but not by me, Buffalo Bills' QB Trent Edwards made his last start as a Bill against Green Bay -- following that pathetic attempt the Bills benched Edwards and then cut him just 8 days later, leading to the installation of Obi Wan Fitzpatrick as their starter and a 2-0 winning streak.

Clearly, Packers Coach Mike "Mike" McCarthy is not a man to be trifled with. Ted Thompson, though? You can trifle with him. He practically invites it.

I didn't know Fitzy had a beard... and now I wish I didn't.

Fitzy is the new Favre, minus the sexting, is what I texted to The Boy the other day after learning that the Buffalo Bills continued their march to mediocrity by putting up 49 points against the Bengals.

Then, yesterday, on the Dan Patrick Show, DP mentioned that Ryan (Fitzy) Fitzpatrick had a beard that rivaled Zach Galifanakis', and I had to take a moment out of my busy day to look, and his beard is truly disgusting:

I understand he's trimmed it down now.

Fitzy brings more to the job than just the beard, though: He was also named "Best quarterback for the buck" by Forbes magazine -- an award he got before he'd even won a game this year.

So long, Round Of Beef

50 out of 50 drunks in a bar agree: It was time for Not Really The Coach Brad Childress to really not be the coach anymore. If you're keeping score, that's the third coach fired after losing to a team from Wisconsin this year -- two of them from Minnesota. Meaning that no matter how hard the GOP pretends it's doing something other than cutting taxes on the wealthy, we're not going to pull out of this recession unless and until Wisconsin football teams lose.

Which shouldn't be long now. Remember, they've still got Bielema and McCarthy in charge, so you're never too far away from a horrible coaching decision. Expect McCarthy to open the game against Atlanta this week with a fake punt. On defense. During a TV timeout.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Whodathunkit?!: The Three Best Things You Want To Know About Thanksgiving THIS Year.

Whodathunkit!? appears on both Nonsportsmanlike Conduct! and The Best Of Everything.

Every year, as Thanksgiving rolls around, I begin to wonder anew: Is this the last time we'll celebrate Thanksgiving? Is this the year it finally dies?

My views on the future of Thanksgiving are well-known, of course, and are always becoming weller-known as people who are obviously readers of my blog reconvey my thoughts (without giving me any credit) and the latest of those People Who Obviously Read My Blog is Robin Meade, who hosts her news show on CNNHLNAFLCIOROFLMAO every morning.

The other day, Robin proved to people who love to watch news shows identified only by letters that she reads The Best Of Everything when, following a story by that one economic reporter who always looks a little angry, Robin said "Pretty soon we won't celebrate Thanksgiving at all anymore."

Which is what I've been saying all along. So while I'm glad to see that everyone continues to agree with me, thereby proving how right I always am, I'm also a little sad that when I'm eventually proven right on this one, we'll no longer celebrate Thanksgiving and I'll have to find a different holiday to serve as my excuse to make 12 pounds of homemade Chex mix.

And, the fact that Thanksgiving is as doomed as a person who relies on Arizona's government-run medical program makes me sad, too, each year when I do the Thanksgiving Whodathunkit?!, which has become sort of a deathwatch that itself is not unlike Arizona's government-run medical program.

But let's put aside those grim thoughts! Now is not the time for sadness, after all. Now is the time for celebration! For family togetherness! For the comforts of home and hearth and good food! For...um... football, I guess, featuring... um... the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys, fortunately not playing each other this year (although, it might be interesting to see who would be worse in that game), and for... getting ready for holiday sales that, technically, started two-and-a-half months ago.

In short, now is the time for you to get your annual dose of the Thanksgiving Whodathunkit?!: The Three Best Things You Want To Know About Thanksgiving THIS Year. Here's a dose of stuff to talk about or do at the family gathering this year, filling the silence that falls on the group as you all collectively realize why you don't visit each other more than once a year:

1. You can take part in some trademarked "Thankssharing(TM)," thanks to "The Thanksgiving Game."

Why not, this year, combine two dying American traditions: Thanksgiving and board games? Thanks to the wonder of a company known as The Thanksgiving GameTM (seriously) you can play The Thanksgiving Game, in which, according to this actual quote from the game's Amazon page,

Players experience ThanksGiving, ThanksGuessing, and ThanksSharingTM
Note that apparently only ThanksSharingTM is trademarked, so you are free (apparently) to use ThanksGiving and ThanksGuessing in everyday conversation without fear of a lawsuit from anyone except J.K. Rowling, who by royal grant has the power to sue anyone anywhere for anything.

The actual game play was a little mysterious to me. While I was pretty sure it involved a good amount of ThanksPlaying (TM me, so take that, game-makers), I wasn't clear on what actually had to be done in this no doubt superpopular game. The Product Description didn't help much:

Liven up your Thanksgiving celebration - your family will love it. For players ages 7 to adult. 3 or more players. Message from the Game Creator: For many years, the Thanksgiving GameTM has been played by our family each year on Thanksgiving Day. Traditionally it is played around the table, between dinner and dessert. The game gives everyone an opportunity to express their gratitude to God and to each other. When friends and family gather to show their love and appreciation, everyone is a winner! However, we suggest that a prize be offered to the official winner, such as candy, a plant, or a new Christmas decoration. If you don't have a prize, you can offer something else, like the largest piece of pumpkin pie! Or add your own family tradition. The Thanksgiving GameTM is great for ANY time of the year, and we hope that it will bring you years of enjoyment and meaningful memories with family and friends!

So I've got to bring my own prize, on top of being with friends and family? And it's going to delay dessert? Not a good sell, ThanksPeople (TM). And I'm still not sure how it's played. But if you do play it, make sure at some point to say "Pretty sneaky, sis!" in admiration. Even if you don't have a sister.

You know what this made me wonder? Why isn't there a Thanksgivingopoly, in which players buy sets of meals and put plates on them instead of houses? You could have, instead of Boardwalk and Park Place, Turkey and Mashed Potatoes, and the cheap properties (Baltic and Mediterranean) could be "Green Bean Casserole" and "That mincemeat pie Aunt Suzanne brought."

It would be a perfect companion, after all, to Macy's Thanksgiving Parade-opoly which is, sadly, a real thing:

2. You can push your family members out a plane, and have it have something to do with otters.

Tired of hosting Thanksgiving and thinking maybe you'll make a crummy dinner to show why you shouldn't have to do all the work? Here's a better way to get out of next year's hosting duties, and by "better" I mean both "dangerous" and "for some reason making a reference to otters:" The $15 SuperOtter Jump skydive available all Thanksgiving Weekend in Orange, Virginia. For less money than I'll spend on boxes of Chex and Worcestershire sauce, you can hurl yourself out of a perfectly good plane and hope to land safely in Orange, VA, or at least close by. The company says that

Once you give thanks with your family & friends, come on out to Orange and jump your turkey feathers off!

But why wait until after dinner? If you really want to spice up that talk at the dinner table, imagine when every single person at your party says "This year, I'm thankful that at least my relief 'chute opened." And best of all, you don't just get to see what the holiday looks like from more than two miles up in the air: You also get to take part in what's billed as a:
Which sounds to me like throwing a bunch of gloppy white stuff onto people from 13,500 feet, which in turn sounds to me like totally awesome.

3. When all else fails, wrap your turkey in a blanket and throw it into a fire! Yum!

You'd think that since people only eat turkey once a year (not counting leftovers) that simply having a turkey would be novelty enough -- but you'd think wrong, because this is The Land Of Constant Novelty, where television shots last no more than 3 seconds and a story longer than 1 paragraph is deemed epic or too long. (Which is why 90% of you stopped reading this back at the part about Robin Meade.)

That need for constant innovation doesn't just lead to Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches in a can

Take a swig! As for me,
I'm waiting for a tube of potato-chip-paste.

Maybe by next year, when we all have to stand in line all day Thanksgiving for the Door Buster Sales that'll be beginning at 6 a.m. that day, we'll have Thanksgiving Dinner In A Can!

Our need for innovation also leads to newer ways to cook a turkey/nearly kill yourself. For a couple of years there, the cooking method du jour (French for "which to light your veranda on fire") was deep-frying the turkey, but deep-frying is so yesterday that it might as well be a Paul McCartney song.

(Thanks, folks, I'll be here all week.)

The newest craze-to-come? Campfire Turkey Cooking. It's easy! And fun! And it's actually neither of those! Plus, it requires that you go camping, which might be the only way to make Thanksgiving more uncomfortable than it already is (aside from jumping out of a plane, that is.)

Campfire turkey cooking is recommended by Trails.com, which helpfully provides steps to follow to safely cook your turkey over an open flame, but which unhelpfully doesn't say what to do when the open flame ignites most of the forest, wrecking the Thanksgivings of the 35,000 firefighters who will battle that blaze for two months. (They won't get to the doorbuster sales on time!)

To give you an idea of how delicious a campfire turkey would be, consider the savory images presented by steps 3 and 4 on the site:
Step 3
Put your turkey into a dutch oven if you have one big enough to accommodate it. The turkey cannot be touching the sidewalls of the oven, and if you have a big turkey, it is unlikely your oven will be large enough. If not using an oven, wrap the turkey in cheese cloth and then wrap the entire turkey in three to four layers of aluminum foil.
Step 4

Rake out half the coals from the campfire and into the pit. The bottom should be completely covered in coals, so consider one to two inches of coals a minimum. Also, make sure the stuff you rake in is mostly coals and not mostly ash. If there is no rake, use your shovel or camp spade. Place your turkey on top of those coals. Then rake the remainder of the coals into the pit and throw dirt on top until the pit is covered

Thereby transforming your turkey into a mockery of The Telltale Heart -- but providing it with that good, wholesome, traditional flavor of "hot soil."

Trails.com didn't then suggest throwing the dirty, fiery turkey out a plane from 13,500 feet, but I think that's understood.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Click here to read Last Year's Thanksgiving Whodathunkit!?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

You never count your money when you're sitting at the table, but counting it when you're sitting in Division I football is okay.

So an agent, Kenny Rogers (but probably not that Kenny Rogers), admitted sending a text to a Miss. State booster setting out a payment plan for Cam Newton. The agent says that it was all Cam's father's idea, that Cecil Newton insisted that Cam should get $180,000 to sign with Miss State and be a Bulldog. But let's be clear about one thing: Cam didn't know he was gettin' paid:

The Newtons' attorney, George Lawson, told WSB-TV of Atlanta Thursday that he is "one million percent" certain Cam Newton did not take any money. Lawson says if Cecil Newton discussed money, his son "knew nothing" about it. "No money has been offered to Cam Newton. Cam Newton hasn't asked for any money," Lawson said in the report. "Cam Newton, Cecil Newton and Jackie Newton have participated in the ongoing NCAA investigation. They have been truthful and candid with the NCAA." The attorney added, "I don't think there's any question that Cam Newton knew nothing about any money discussions, if any money discussions were had."

(Source.) If true, it's likely Cam didn't know nothin' about nothin' because he was too busy cheating at the U of Florida to pay attention to his dad trying to cash in on his career early: The Newtons have yet to deny that Cam -- who, let's not forget, is about ready to join the hallowed ranks of Heisman winners, taking his place alongside O.J. Simpson and Reggie Bush -- was on the verge of expulsion for cheating when he transferred to Auburn. Instead of saying it's not true, Newton's lawyer says he's gonna get the guy who sang like a canary:

Lawson also said that Florida should expect to hear from him regarding a report on Cam Newton's academic status at that school. Cam Newton was on the verge of expulsion after three instances of cheating at Florida, before he decided to transfer to Blinn (Texas) College, FOXsports.com reported last week, citing an unidentified source.

"Cam Newton's grades and academic standings at the University of Florida are protected matters. And to the extent that the University of Florida has violated a federal statute, I have some understanding of what the University of Florida's address is and at some appropriate time they'll hear from me," Lawson said.

Nice. That lawyer is on the top of his game. He not only knows about federal statutes -- but he knows what the U of Florida's address is. That guy is worth every penny.

As for Cam -- go ahead and give him the Heisman. Then we're closer than ever to making this come true and proving yet again how influential I am.

Hey, SI, what numbers should I play in the next Powerball?

Tuesday Morning Quarterback used to make fun of the New York Times' oddly specific final-score predictions -- noting that the odds against predicting the final score of a game are astronomical and further noting that the Times had, if I recall correctly, only gotten one right, ever.

So I imagine that TMQ had an even more bemused reaction to Sports Illustrated's prediction article about the BCS Champion this year. In a remarkable glimpse into the future, SI writer Andy Staples predicts not just who will be in the BCS title game -- that wouldn't really be that great of a feat, would it -- but also predicts the final score -- Ducks over Auburn 66-62.

Not only that, but Staples predicts exactly how the game will unfold -- with additional predictions embedded in that account. Here are excerpts from the whole article:

When the analysis ends and the game begins, Newton immediately will show why he won the Heisman Trophy in a landslide. [NOTE: SI does not say how much Newton will demand to be paid to attend the trophy ceremony] On Auburn's second play he picks his way through the defense for a 68-yard touchdown. When the Tigers follow a defensive stop with an 18-yard Onterio McCalebb touchdown run to take a 14--0 lead, Auburn fans launch into the "S-E-C!" chant in anticipation of the conference's fifth consecutive national title.

Did you see that -- Staples knows what the second play of the game will be and what the fans will be chanting! He's remarkable, and it only gets better:

By the fourth, both defenses are exhausted. Kelly and Malzahn know this, and they press the gas pedal harder. After Newton flattens a linebacker at the goal line to give the Tigers a 62--59 lead with four minutes remaining, Kelly gathers his offense on the sideline. "We will not do anything desperate," he says. "We will run our offense." James chews up yardage on the zone-read. Maehl catches short passes over the middle. Thomas, whose rushing yardage has been limited by the Tigers' sideline-to-sideline speed, finally gets the corner and goes out-of-bounds at the four-yard line with a minute remaining.

Thank God Staples left us some suspense: He doesn't say what halftime speech the coaches gave to their players, but he did take away some of the thrill you Auburn fans would've felt when Thomas was rushing down the field at the end. Don't bother standing up and spilling your nachos; he steps out of bounds.

Staples also tells you how the game ends, and provides an epilogue:

After safety Eddie Pleasant picks off a desperation heave from Newton to seal the win, the celebration begins. Kelly raises the trophy, and the Ducks carry him off the field. Meanwhile, copycat offensive coordinators everywhere burn their playbooks. By the end of January, Malzahn's book sits at No. 3 on The New York Times nonfiction best-seller list. By the first weekend of the 2011 season, only 50 of the 120 Division I-A teams use a huddle.

And, granted, he may have spoiled a lot of the future for you by revealing that Malzahn will write a book and how high it'll rise on the book lists -- but he left you guessing about which 50 I-A teams will be still using a huddle, didn't he!

The best part? SI says that the article isn't for entertainment only: It's subtitled "a not-so-absurdly-early look at a title game between Auburn and Oregon," in which, SI says, "one thing is certain: They will score and score." So SI specifically disclaims the thought that this is simply a hypothetical scenario, fun to imagine. You can take it to the bank! Thanks, SI!

Horse racing: It's like NASCAR, only there's actual athletes involved.

It's the sport of kings -- and since there aren't any kings around anymore, it's the sport of people like YOU. I'm talking about horse racing. Horse racing is still out there, still alive as a sport and entertainment, and that means that horse betting is still there, too. And you can do your horse racing betting at Racebook.com -- the one-stop site for betting on the ponies.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

That's it. I'm through with Mike & Mike.

It was bad enough yesterday trying to listen to sports talk radio while not wanting to hear anything good about Michael Vick, about whom this is the only thing I can think when I hear his name:

I turned off Mike & Mike's slobbery lovefest and then even turned off Dan Patrick's radio show when they wouldn't shut up about how transformative the Monday Night Football appearance was when Michael Vick scored six whole touchdowns -- which is like a point for every dog he personally and brutally tortured and killed by electrocution or hanging.

Instead, yesterday, I listened to the Freakonomics podcast and hoped it would blow over, only to today go down to take a shower and get ready for work and turn on ESPN radio, which I listened to long enough to hear the Idiot Mikes proclaiming that if people could just get past the whole brutally electrocuting puppies thing and focus on Vick's on-field achievement, they could see what a great guy Vick is.

I turned it off. I will not listen to Mike & Mike ever again. Any radio show that not only condones dog killing but asks me to forget about it doesn't deserve my ears and I'm not going to be offended anymore while I'm trying to shave.

In case Mike & Mike managed to forget-- or to set it aside along with their consciences, here's parts of the ESPN story on Vick that ESPN ran three years ago:

Michael Vick was sentenced to prison Monday for running a dogfighting operation and will stay there longer than two co-defendants, up to 23 months, because he lied about his involvement when he was supposed to be coming clean to the judge who would decide his fate.

...Dogs that did not perform up to expectations were killed by electrocution, hanging, drowning and other violent means by the dogfighting ring. Hudson said evidence, including statements by the co-defendants, showed Vick was more directly involved than he admitted. Hudson also mentioned that Vick had been deceptive on a polygraph test. "He did more than fund it," prosecutor Michael Gill said, referring to the "Bad Newz Kennels" dogfighting operation. "He was in this thing up to his neck with the other defendants."

Nice. We should just get past that, though, right? Not for me. I won't watch a game with Vick in it. I won't listen to a broadcaster that speaks favorably about Vick.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Way to go, Bills! In a game watched by nobody, as far as I could tell (I was stuck watching the Vikings/Bears 'game' until I gave up and just finished reading Freedom by Jonathan Franzen), the Bills narrowly defeated the Lions 14-12, and showed an appropriate amount of emotion about the meaning of the victory:

Way to go, Buffalo! I hope somebody woke up Old Man Gailey and let him know his team won't finish the season winless. The Lions lost when they didn't know how to Use The Two properly, and couldn't convert a 2-pointer to tie the game. If they didn't have bad luck, they'd have no luck at all, but no luck might be preferable for Detroit at this point:

All in all, it was a victory best symbolized by the photo, below, from BuffaloBills.com:

There is no more defining image of this year's Buffalo Bills than "Accosted By Muppets."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jake "The Snake" Plummer: Alive And... Handballing.

If you, like me, were minding your own business and not wondering at all what Jake "The Snake" Plummer was up to these days until somebody brought up what Jake was up to these days, at which point you couldn't stop wondering, then wonder no more:

He's playing handball.

According to Yahoo! Sports Blogs, Plummer lives in Sandpoint, Idaho, (population: 7,000 people who want to be close to Canada but still live amongst anti-government posses) and runs an annual tournament there. His goal is to popularize the game that he credits with making him an elite (?) NFL athlete:

Jake says his larger goal is to popularize youth handball nationwide while encouraging teen athletes not to focus too intensely on a single sport. "My ultimate goal is to get coaches to stop specializing their athletes, telling them they can't play other sports because it'll hurt their football," Plummer says. "I played all three sports and handball whenever I could. That's why I made it in the NFL -- that rounded me out as an athlete."


The really weird thing about this story? Every year, Jake gets this close to winning his tournament, only to have Peyton Manning stop him cold.

There's a video for this, too. I haven't watched it; tell me if it's boring, or if it goes into something really NSFW after a brief introduction:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pay no attention to the man IN FRONT OF the curtain, either. (Quotent Quotables)

While Auburn QB won't comment on rumors that he's an academic cheat and demanded money to play pro football, Auburn Head Coach Gene Chizek feels no such hesitation, and will defend his QB in the most mystifying way possible -- using misstatements related to "The Wizard Of Oz"

I'm standing up here on a very important week trying to defend garbage.... Is there a wizard behind the curtain? I don't know and I don't care.

Just to be clear: The Wizard was in front of the curtain. The man behind the curtain was not the wizard. And also, to be clear, it's a pretty poor defense when someone accuses you of cheating and soliciting pay-for-play and your response is "who invaded my privacy, man?"

Here's Cam not invading his privacy any further, while also noting that he's had an excellent time and implying that he's got God on his side...

With God AND The Wizard both backing him up, he's a lock for the Heisman.


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