Tuesday, May 31, 2011

And boom! goes the dynamite!

You probably think the headline refers to Ohio State's Jim Tressel's resignation; Tressel did, after all, pull an Ensign this week, resigning in the hopes that it would end the investigation into wrongdoings, but this blog isn't about that...

... so much. The only thing I know about Tressel's resignation is just that: he resigned. I haven't read up much further on it thus far because here's what I know about NCAA Division I-A (or BCS-Level) college football programs that go 106-22 over many seasons: they cheat.

Or, cheat by the standards set up by the NCAA, which demands that coaches and players live up to standards that the university itself doesn't have to, and that are rarely enforced, anyway -- when it counts.

The worst charges -- the "most egregious," according to Fox -- were that Tressel lied to the NCAA and covered up allegations that his players had sold memorabilia to a local tattoo parlor, itself a violation.

So Tressel was primarily in trouble for not revealing to the NCAA that players were selling gear they wore.

Meanwhile, Ohio State University auctioned off game-worn gear, while the investigation into players doing that was going on.

That's not the only hypocrisy on display here. Tressel was aware of rules violations, and didn't report them -- but what about Ohio State?

Ohio State acted shocked... shocked... that Tressel might let his players get involved in rules violations, or might himself commit rules violations -- but they hired Tressel while he was under investigation for NCAA rules violations at Youngstown State, and while Tressel moved on to Ohio State, Youngstown was sanctioned for things that happened there. (See also: USC, Pete Carroll.)

Should Ohio State have been allowed to hire a coach that was under investigation? Shouldn't Tressel have been suspended by the NCAA, or shouldn't Ohio State have refused to hire him? The only people punished for Tressel's rules violations were a minor college that he left in the lurch.

And while he was with them, Ohio State had to know about Tressel: everybody else did. Sports Illustrated has this quote in its article about him, relating a story told by an associate about Tressell (allegedly?) rigging raffles so that certain players would get memorabilia:

"In the morning, he would read the Bible with another coach," Tressel's former colleague said. "Then, in the afternoon, he would go out and cheat kids who had probably saved up money from mowing lawns to buy those raffle tickets. That's Jim Tressel."

There have been ongoing rules violations and reports of the same for years under Tressel. So Tressel is forced to resign for not reporting violations: what of the Ohio State administrators who did exactly what Tressel did: ignored evidence of ongoing rules violations?

Will they resign?

Ohio State is allowed to do the things that Tressel and his players can't, and they hired Tressel for doing exactly what they now fired him for: for ignoring NCAA rules.

Those rules are "rules" that the NCAA and other college-sports related organizations routinely ignore, if they want to: Cam Newton and Reggie Bush both were awarded Temporary Heisman Trophies, heightening their draft prospects. Cam Newton was allowed to play out a season he "earned" by having his dad shop him around... reportedly without his knowledge. (The Ohio State players under suspicion were allowed to play in their BCS Bowl game this year, too, so the "rules" apparently don't apply post-Christmas.)

This post's headline doesn't so much refer to Tressel or his resignation, as it does the sideshow of fireworks this creates, fireworks that Ohio State and the NCAA and other college football factories hope will distract you from realizing that the NCAA, major colleges, and related organizations are making millions off college players while secretly encouraging rule-breaking for major programs, punishing programs that actually enforce academic and ethical standards, and then throwing a little bit of sacrificial jetsam off the ship whenever the public starts paying attention.

"We will always be Buckeyes," Tressel said at the end of his resignation speech.

Yes, and Buckeyes, and the other programs that routinely win, will always ignore the "rules" college sports claims to live by.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Thursday Sporting List: Would you rather be on ESPN, or assistant-manage a Starbucks?

I tell my kids that two things set the average salary for a job: How hard is it to get in, how much do people want to do it? If a job requires a lot of skill or work to do, but is very desirable, you'll get paid a lot to do it. If a job requires very little skill to do, but is very undesirable, you'll likewise get paid a lot to do it.

Then there are sportscasters: in a strange market where slots are limited, no skill is especially required, and the money comes not from the people you work with (fans, athletes) but from people who want to work with those people (advertisers) those rules go out the window. And so, here, for your delectation (it's a word!) is

A Listing Of Sportscasters' Salaries,

with a few comparisons thrown in:

$2,000,000: Colin Cowherd, ESPN radio host, annual salary, not counting the money he'll get for a sitcom based on his life.

$1,500,000: Hannah Storm, woman; Pat Summerall, football play-by-play man.

$750,000: Isiah Thomas, failed front office exec/NBC basketball analyst.

$300,000: Joe Gibbs, NBC Football analyst; Kevin Kiley, TNT football reporter.

$114,943: Average salary for a vice president at Bank of America.

$104,470: Average nationwide estimated salary for an athlete competing in "spectator sports."

$79,050: Average nationwide estimated salary for "radio and television announcers, spectator sports."

$44,000: average salary for ESPN sportscasters.

$43,001: Average salary for a Starbucks store manager.

$41,630: Average salary for camera operator in sports/cable related programming

$26,550: Average salary for an umpire or referee at a community or recreational center.

$24,060: Average estimated national salary for sports book writers and runners.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Aaron Rodgers doesn't like Christina Aguilera...

... but he watches Glee?

Speaking to a local radio station this week, The Anointed One (whose enemies list rivals Nixon's and includes hot chicks, probably Justin Timberlake, and his own teammates) gave some insight into how he prepares for a game: SPOILER ALERT! It's showtunes:
First of all the chick from 'Glee' killed the first song. She should have sang the anthem too. I knew because it was the Super Bowl…
(Source.) I don't get the last part, but Rodgers didn't dwell on it, going on to explain how his pathological shyness (shyness that didn't affect his ability to photobomb every team captain photo ever) allowed him to keep track of the lyrics to the National Anthem:

I don't like standing in the front row because I don't like being or having that camera right in front of my face. I know I'm on the bazillion-foot Jumbotron, so I'm going to stand behind some people who maybe aren't the most TV recognizable names and see if I can blend in. So I kind of went and hid in the back.

Hiding in the back, A-Rodg had the ability to read the words on the screen, and also to try to alert security to what was obviously some sort of Al Qaeda plot to undermine our morals:

"I don't know who I was standing next to, but she [Aguilera] starts singing it and in most of the stadiums they have the words up on the board, kind of up-and-above the singer, so she can tell that she screwed up... She screwed up and I knew it and something was off. I'm looking around going, 'Does anyone else realize this?' I don't think they had because I don't think the people were listening, but I knew something was off, so I kind of tapped…I think it was Diyral Briggs next to me and said 'Hey did you hear that?"

Too bad Seal Team 6 (Copyright Disney 2011) wasn't there to avert the tragedy that followed as chaos ensued:

We walked out for the coin toss and at the Super Bowl there are these long TV timeouts, so we go out for the coin toss. I'm one of the captains," he told the same station. "There's five of us. The Steelers' guys are standing over there and we're standing looking at each other for a good three minutes. Well over to the left, about 10 camera men have been trying to get in place for the best shot and two of them are fighting. They're yelling at each other in different languages, flipping each other off and one guy is flipping him off and the other guy below him is just taking all of these pictures of him. The guy above is flipping off the little guy down below, who is kind of squeezed in to get the lowest spot … They're both screaming at the other and taking pictures of each other for a good minute and a half and I'm tapping [linebacker] A.J. [Hawk] like, "Look at that over there! Look at those guys!' It was unbelievable.
Yahoo! Sports, the source for this story, has upped the ante on the rapidly-growing Rodgers Legacy Movement, repeatedly comparing him to Joe Montana in the story, which would be a totally accurate comparision provided that either this wasn't Rodgers' first Super Bowl victory, or provided that Montana had faced a defense that was hungover and ill-prepared.

We can, though, look forward to an A-Rodg cameo on Glee, or at least to A-Rodg squiring that chick from Glee around town.

In closing, that chick from Glee:

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Thursday Sporting List: Arrested Development?

Rogue Mutt deserves some props for stirring up controversy over the world of online book reviewers, and I'm late on the Thursday Sporting List, so I'm stealing his idea from the comment on this post and giving you ESPN Employees Who Have Been Arrested:

(This isn't the complete list; just the list of ones I could come up with at 6:40 a.m. on Friday morning.)

1. Neil Goldberg, motor sports producer: public indecency and related charges stemming from peering into a neighbor's window and masturbating.

2. Harry Teinowitzi, ESPN 1000 radio personality, driving under the influence.

3. Matthew Barnaby, hockey analyst, trespass, contempt, and harassment related to domestic incident.

4. Jay Mariotti, "Around The Horn" analyst, felony domestic charges.

5. Howard Bryant, baseball commentator, domestic assault and battery.

6. Jeremy Green, ESPN.com writer, possession of child pornography.

Hmm. Turns out there might be a darker side to a job where you just play games all day.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

UW Coach: "Another time, I remember when Maw tol' me I had to go out back and put Yeller down..."

If you can believe UW Badger Football Coach Bret Bielema -- and I'm not saying yet that you should, just that "if you can" -- then defensive end/newly-drafted but somehow-still-unemployed J.J. Watt was a potential NFL prospect whose own dad didn't believe in him.

Bret back on May 8 told the heartwarming (?) story of a meeting he had with a bunch of parents to raise the prospect that -- gasp!-- their kids might potentially one day play in the NFL. That group of parents included the parents of then-juniors Nick Toon, John Clay, and J.J. Watt.

Said Coach Bret, of this meeting:

I remember John Watt saying to me, 'Coach, this is amazing just to think about. (J.J.) can play in the NFL someday... I was like, 'Well, if your son keeps doing what he's doing, I think it might be a possibility.' I didn't plan on losing him after one more year."

Do you think that John Watt was really amazed, at the start of his son's junior year, to imagine the possibility, apparently for the first time, that his son might one day play in the NFL? And that Coach Bret thought it was a possibility?

J.J. Watt, remember, was drafted in the first round, 11th overall, by the Texans -- which alone would make it remarkable if Coach Brett and J.J.'s dad had really never given any thought that their lil' guy could one day be a real NFL-er -- but John Watt's (hypothetical) gee-willikers amazement at the prospect Coach Bret held out -- potentially -- for his son is even less believable when you consider J.J. Watt's background -- a background his coach and dad (presumably?) knew:

J.J. lettered in football (among other sports) and originally attended Central Michigan, where he played tight end, but left that school expressly because he wanted a better chance at getting into the NFL:

"I wanted to play in the NFL," Watt said. "I wasn't going to do it catching eight passes in the MAC (Mid-American Conference). I knew I had to make a change."

(Source.) J.J. then walked on to the Badgers, but was given a scholarship before he even started to play, and earned All-Big-10 honors in the next two years.

So was John Watt (let alone Coach Bret) really gosh-darn surprised to hear that his son, who quit one school to give himself a better chance of making the NFL by playing for a defensive-minded coach who had coached other recent defensive ends into the NFL, and that his son's NFL prospects had gone up after he earned All Big 10 honors and played alongside the son of a former NFL receiver?

Or did Bret Bielema just need a heartwarming-sounding story to give to local reporters while (rightfully) touting his program's success in producing more and more NFL-caliber players.

Either way, while Bret is taking credit for J.J. Watt making it --completely unexpectedly?-- to the NFL, J.J. himself is not paying the love backwards. Asked about where he learned pass defensing (one of the skills that attracted the Texans to him), J.J. faulted Coach Bret for not teaching him:

"I was never really taught about it...I figured it’s one great way to limit the QB’s throwing range is to put your hands up. It’s something I have tried to work in over my career and it’s worked great for me."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

That's why I didn't finish the marathon. (That and the extra pizza I carry around my waist.)

You'd think with all those entry fees prepaid, the organizers of the Green Bay marathon could have afforded a tape measure, but you'd think wrong. Turns out organizers laid out a course that was 800 feet longer than a standard marathon*

*a standard marathon usually measures "way too many miles to run"
resulting in all the times being off and having to be adjusted by organizers after the fact. The error was discovered because people complained of "inaccurate GPS readings" to organizers, but even with the adjustment, the extra footage may have cost a woman her Olympic dreams: Verona, Wisconsin runner Katie Howery won the women's marathon but had hoped her time would qualify her for the Olympic trials.

The former Minnesota distance standout collected the $3,000 top prize after completing the 26.2-mile course in 2 hours, 47 minutes, 12 seconds, easily outdistancing runner-up Rael Murey of Coon Rapids, Minn....

Despite difficult conditions in which winds from the north-northeast blew between 26 and 32 mph, with gusts to 41 mph, Howery clocked a time that marked a sizable improvement over the 2:52:45 she turned in while claiming the Fox Cities Marathon title in September.

But she fell short of the 2:46 standard she needed to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in January.

(Source.) The organizers blamed the problem on old paint from a previous race two years ago, and adjusted people's times using some formula I couldn't discover, which left Howery still shy of the qualifying mark.

On the bright side, Katie Howery now holds the World Record for Longest Marathon Ever Finished.

That's not the only alarming (?) news coming from the Green Bay Marathon (a thing I didn't even know existed until today). In a bit of news that should serve as a warning to all runners (like me) who listen to music while we stagger around a track (or is that just me?), a third-place finisher was disqualified for wearing an iPod during the race:

Kelly McClure...was one of three non-elite runners in the women’s field to finish in the top five, the first time that’s happened since the marathon started in 2000....

And then she was disqualified.

According to USA Track and Field rules, elite eligible prize-winning runners aren’t allowed to wear iPods during a race. That falls under the guidelines of outside assistance.

McClure, who never imagined she’d finish close to the top five, put her iPod in at Mile 16 when she started to run against the wind.

(Source.) The organizers took a strong stance in favor of mob rule forcing the authorities to let people listen to Cee Lo if they darn well want to:

“I don’t agree with the USATF rule,” race director Sean Ryan said. “I think they are punishing above-average age-group athletes who go out and have a good day. I don’t like the way the rule is structured. It’s a terrible compromise by USA Track and Field.

“They know darn well that they cannot prohibit iPods all together. You can’t beat society. There are too many people wearing iPods, so there is no way to ban them all together. So instead, they are picking on our best runners and trying to prohibit them from wearing them.

So if I understand this, you're allowed to wear an iPod, unless you win, in which case the iPod is deemed to have helped you win?

The use of an iPod cose McClure her third place finish, and $500 in prize money. And in true (Green Bay) reporter style, the Green Bay Press Gazette got the scoop on what she was listening to when she put on her tunes (a country singer named "Jason Aldean") without finding out what song. So I've posted this: Why by Jason Aldean:

Best reaction to this story by far? This blogger, who says that if you can't run without music, you shouldn't be allowed to run.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Thursday Sporting List: A walk down memory lane with Tiger Woods (keep it down during the back swing!)

Tiger Woods this week will try to stop his slide from the number one position in golf; he held the number one ranking longer than any other golfer in history. How long did he hold it for? Here's a list of things that occurred during the time Tiger Woods was ranked number one:

Steve Jobs returned to Apple Computers, in August, 1997, just about two months after Tiger first became number one.

The Lunar Prospector mission blasted off in January, 1998, and reached the moon, finding evidence of water there.

President Bill Clinton denied having an affair with Monica Lewinsky in January, 1998, was outed, impeached, and tried.

The Jenny Jones Show and Warner Bros. were found guilty, in May, 1999, of causing the death of Scott Amedure after putting him on a show of same-sex crushes.

The Y2K scare came and went in 2000.

Enron filed for bankruptcy in December, 2001.

"American Taliban" John Walker Lindh pleads guilty in July, 2002.

The U.S. announced that the war in Afghanistan had been won on May 1, 2003.

Facebook was founded February 4, 2004.

Pope John Paul II died in April, 2005.

Saddam Hussein is sentenced to death in November, 2006.

The Writers' Guild went on strike in November, 2007.

Michael Phelps wins 8 gold medals at the Beijing Summer Olympics in 2008.

Swine flu was officially declared a "pandemic" in June, 2009.

The Chilean Miners were brought back above ground on October 13, 2010 -- just about three weeks before Tiger lost the number one ranking.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Meanwhile, I'm sitting here reading the blog about them playing basketball during the day...

Have you ever wondered how good an athlete sportscasters really are? No, me neither. But I have often asked myself the question "What job could I have that would involve little to no actual work or accountability, while still, technically, qualifying as a job?" and, as always, the answers come back (1) Lady GaGa press secretary, and (2) Sportscaster.

Here are some ESPN staffers engaging in a trick shot competition:

That was posted to the Page 2 blog by other ESPN staffers who are apparently not high enough up the chain of command to get to play basketball during the day. But their job is still blogging for ESPN, so don't cry for them, Argentina.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Brett Favre would be a terrible coach, which makes it a good thing he isn't planning on it. (Brett Favre's Legacy Update!)

That was a quick trip Brett Favre made in and out of the Yahoo! "Trending Now" box on my computer. Around 11 o'clock, waiting for a phone call, I checked my email and noticed that Favre was number 2 on the "Trending Now" box -- so I quickly opened the link to see what Favre was doing. Had he discovered an Osama bin Laden death photo? Thrown eggs at Justin Bieber? It had to be something momentous.

Sadly, it was not. Speaking at a youth football clinic Friday -- why did it take three days for this news to reach me? -- Favre mentioned offhand that he was considering options other than playing football:

"Could be coaching, could be TV," Favre told WDAM-TV. "Both of those are probably unlikely, at least anytime soon."

(Source.) And if you read that whole quote -- which many people apparently did not -- you saw that Favre in fact disclaimed any plans for coaching. Let me home in the part I'm talking about, in case you missed it the first time around:

"Could be coaching, could be TV," Favre told WDAM-TV. "Both of those are probably unlikely, at least anytime soon."

Granted, he said "probably unlikely," but is the fact that Brett Favre didn't categorically rule out the idea of someday doing something a reason to trend him up to number two in the news?

Apparently so -- and it's also a reason to immediately say he'd be no good as a coach.

That comes from Bleacher Report, which jumped all over the story of Brett Favre saying that he's probably unlikely to coach by first elevating Favre's disclaimer of any coaching aspirations into a claim that Favre is thinking about coaching, saying:

Yep, you read that right; Favre told reporters that he would consider getting into the game as a coach at some point in the future.

See? Favre said that maybe he'd coach some day - -which means he would consider coaching. Which means that Bleacher Report, as the defender of all that is good in sports, must now shoot down the idea they (almost) singlehandedly created:

While Favre could be a hit in the broadcast booth, I can't think of a worse idea for Favre's new career (other than perhaps cell phone camera pitchman) than coaching.

Really? You can't think of anything worse Favre could be doing? What about Al Qaeda spokesman? What about writer for Bleacher Report?

The article doesn't just give opinions, of course; what do you think this is, Fox? It also gives reasons:
This is a guy who never seemed to mesh with his coaches during his entire NFL career

Other than meshing with Mike Holmgren to get to two Super Bowls, you mean, and other than meshing with the run-first offense that the Packers emphasized in Mike ("Mike") McCarthy's first year or two. Favre also really didn't mesh with Brad Childress that year that he led the league in every category you could imagine. You're so right, Bleacher Report! But can you give me other reasons?

Favre was never one to stick to an offensive script, often calling audibles at the line of scrimmage and going rogue.
Favre as coach would be faulted for not sticking to his own offensive script, of course -- who wants a coach changing his mind about things he thinks? Also, Bleacher Report: are you saying that Favre's frequently calling his own plays in a career that was marked by phenomenal success is a mark against a job in which he would call the plays?

Let's move on:

He frequently seemed to get bored during games, deciding, "Screw the plan, I'm bored. Let's try to throw this one into triple coverage and see what happens."
I assume you're referring to the famous Philadelphia Eagles' playoff game, where Favre threw the same route a third time in the game, resulting in an interception. I don't know, offhand, whether that was a called play, and neither do you. But the play did work two times before -- as did Favre's long pass for a touchdown in his first Super Bowl, the long pass for a touchdown in overtime against Denver and the long pass for a touchdown against Oakland just after his father died.

Man, Favre got bored a lot.

How does Favre's style of play make him a good choice as a potential coach? He's not a Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, a player who breaks down opposing defenses and finds the holes; he's more of a "relying heavily on my incredible arm" kind of a player.

Yes, either of those two men would obviously make better coaching prospects than Brett Favre. Look at how Peyton Manning threw the same route often enough that a Saints defensive back was able to jump the route and pick him off in the Super Bowl, icing the game for the Saints. Or how Tom Brady was able to skillfully "break down" the New York Giants' defense after going 18-0 to reach the Super Bowl.

I don't know about you, but the idea of Favre mentoring my young quarterbacks sounds like a terrifying prospect. For all the good things he did, he managed to cancel plenty of them out with brain farts, poor choices and occasional clashes with coaches over game plans.
There's a good chance Favre would teach the young quarterbacks terrible habits, like throwing into triple coverage. In fact, Favre sounds like the last person you'd want in charge of your team's young quarterbacks (other than Jon Gruden, of course).
Brett Favre, as a coach, would obviously be so enamored of himself that he would assume that every single quarterback on his roster could do everything that Brett Favre himself had done as a quarterback. No-- don't stop to think about whether that makes sense. Just roll with it, as you rolled with the idea that Favre would decide to coach a team, and then decide to teach his quarterbacks "terrible habits" and not mentor them at all. I think it's pretty obvious that the team would have to count itself lucky if Favre didn't simply punch his young quarterbacks in the face. But he's Brett Favre, so in fact he might decide to do that, too.

Sure, having Favre as a coach could work. He was a great quarterback, who has considerable knowledge to pass on to a potential young signal-caller, and if he's figured out that some of his mistakes were in fact mistakes, he could be a great asset.

That is the part of the article where Bleacher Report remembers that they want Favre's autograph and also remember that if he does go into coaching, they want to interview him and not be locked out of the press room -- plus, bonus points because in the future, if Favre does coach and does well, Bleacher Report can say "We knew it all along."

But, given all the potential potholes he presents, do you really want to take the risk?

And in the end, readers, it's all up to you hypothetical future NFL team owners. Bleacher Report isn't saying Favre would be a good or bad coach (beyond the headline and 98% of the article, that is), they're just posing the question, the question being, as I understand it:

Do you want to take the risk that Brett Favre, whose career consisted solely of throwing the ball into triple coverage because he was bored and/or strangling puppies, would be a good coach for your football team full of impressionable youngsters who need mentoring, or would you rather hire Peyton Manning and Tom Brady to coach your team in a tandem effort?

I do admire that they took a non sequiturial swipe at Jon Gruden, though. That is reporting.

I'm not sure this qualifies as "analysis..." (Quotent Quotables)

But I'm also not sure what a "fife" is, so I'm obviously unfit to be a sports talk radio host on a national show, unlike Dan Patrick, who demonstrated his mastery of the art (?) when he provided this insight into the Boston Celtics' chances in the playoffs:

"That's the fife and drum bugle corps right there. Give them a drum and bugle and they're ready to go."

Right. Uh huh. I see your point. Wait, what now?

Dan's comment raises some obvious questions, which I will list, then endeavor to answer:

1. Does that really qualify as commentary, let alone analysis?

2. Does the fact that Dan said that Boston is the fife & drum bugle corp but then said they only need the drum and bugle indicate that Dan thinks Boston already has the fife?

3. What's a fife, anyway?

4. Is there a picture of a woman in sexy revolutionary garb to finish up this post?


1. No, but Dan Patrick gets paid a lot of money and got to hang out with Brooklyn Decker, who wears this to work:

Do the people in your office wear that? Would you want them to? If the answer to both those questions is yes, where do I send my resume?

The point is, who am I to quibble with his methods?

2. I'm tempted to say yes, but nobody really knows what a fife is, so I'm not willing to give Dan Patrick that kind of credit yet.

3. A fife is a narrow, shrill flute that can be made of a variety of materials, including cocoboro, which is fun to say.

Steve Carell plays the fife, and explains what one is in this clip:

This is a recording of an actual Drum, Fife & Bugle Corps:

4. Of course there is. You're aware of what the Internet is for, right?

Click here for more Quotent Quotables.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Oh, America, I weep for you: A set of commercials shows what we think is tough.

I've seen this ad:

A couple of times now, and each time I see it, I think the same thing: you chose a wide receiver to embody the spirit of your car?

Because that's the point, as I get it: that Calvin Johnson-- a Detroit Lion, for Pete's Sake (sorry, Rogue Mutt) -- is the same as the car: a tough guy who can be cleaned up and look nice. "Aggression... in it's most elegant form" is the tagline, so I think I understood the message it was trying to send pretty well.

Which made no sense. If you're going to go tough, why choose a wide receiver? I think the only position less equated with toughness on a football team than wideout might be placekicker.

Might. Have you seen Sebastian Janikowski? Also, you picked a Detroit Lion -- and the Lions recently set a world record for being the losingest team ever. So, not the image you were probably hoping to project.

But things get worse. When I looked up the commercial to post it here, I found out there's more than one of them. The other one features Ashleigh McIvor in the same kind of thing -- she's in skiing gear, and then changes into a gown.

That ad has the same tagline, too -- so now skiers are aggression embodied? Skiers? Isn't the whole point of skiing to not hit things and slide downhill? Since when did sliding downhill become synonymous with aggression?

has to mark the end of the American Century, right? Not "Lafayette, we are here," but "The toughest thing I can think of doing is letting gravity pull me down."

I'd post the Ashleigh video, but for some reason Youtube won't work for me right now, so look at it here., and look at her here:

If you read only ONE thing today...

... make it the back of the breakfast cereal box. Mine had a quiz about cereal on it! But if you read two things today, then once you check your "Cookie Crunch IQ," check out these great books.

And, if you're going to buy one, why not buy THREE, because if you buy any three of these, and email me proof of purchase at thetroublewithroy[at]yahoo.com, I'll send you the other two, free.

The Scariest Things, You Can't Imagine

The Scariest Things, You Can't Imagine

Print: $10.00

Download: $1.25

A shape-shifting demon torments children while their parents stand by. A widower haunted by the ghost of his wife tries to understand her requests. A baby stolen from his mother by gargoyles returns, full of hatred for the life he's led. A family of children raised by grave-robbing corpse stealers tries to discover a way out. An elderly man possesses the power of life and death in his retirement. These stories present images and people who will haunt your thoughts for a long time after you read them.

Just Exactly How Life Looks

Just Exactly How Life Looks

Print: $11.18

In Just Exactly How Life Looks you'll be introduced to unforgettable people living remarkable lives. Cowboys wander in a timeless desert. Scientists meet in secret to plot a new way to get attention, and money, from people. A man and his would-be lover try to find lions on safari, and more. The people and places in this book spring to life fully-formed and full of anxiety and imagination. They worry about the time they have had and the time they have left. They bury their loved ones and look for new friends. They talk and laugh and hope and cry and die, while their friends and family and enemies and Gods watch them, seeing, in their faces and actions and fears, a portrait of just exactly how life looks.



Print: $11.50

Download: $1.49

Claudius wanted to be the first man to reach the stars... and maybe he was. In a stunning psychological horror work, "Eclipse" unfolds slowly, beginning with Claudius drifting through space after something has gone wrong with his mission. As he stares at the only thing he can see, a tiny rock off in space, he mulls the events that led him here, reflecting on his childhood and the mission-turned-into-murder. Or did things go bad? As "Eclipse" unfolds, the reader is treated to a twisting, constantly changing landscape created by Claudius' own mind, as version after version of what-might-have-happened pile on. One thing is clear, though: Something has gone wrong, and Claudius may never reach the stars. Or will he?

Do Pizza Samples Really Exist?

Do Pizza Samples Really Exist?

Print: $10.06

Download: $1.49

Why will paying attention to Paris Hilton destroy the universe? How can one number be better than the other? Are saber teeth really necessary for a good movie monster? Would Hollywood as we know it exist if not for Jennifer Aniston's hair? These questions and more are asked, and answered, in the only book that dares to explain how jellybeans are related to the apocalpyse. Essays on pop culture, things that are The Best, and life show a provocative, and hilarious, way of looking at the world.

Thinking The Lions, and 117* Other Ways To Look At Life (Give Or Take)

Thinking The Lions, and 117* Other Ways To Look At Life (Give Or Take)

Print: $12.98

Life, only funnier: Here's the book you've been waiting for, assuming you've been waiting for a book about a guy who spends his time trying to prove velociraptors didn't exist, who teaches his kids to gamble and helps them with their homework by wondering what would happen if you cut a superhero in half, whose own wife said he would get a crocodile for a babysitter, who finds squid chili romantic, and who generally makes the most -- or the least? - -of his life.

Are you the electronic reader type? Get most of these books and my blogs on your Kindle for as low as $0.99. Click here for details.

Poll Results: What Will Cam Newton Do First?

Nonsportsmanlike Conduct! readers -- all six of them! -- don't think Cam's future is all that bright: The first round draft pick/plea bargainer faced heavy skepticism in the poll that asked "Which Will Cam Newton Do First?" The results were

Give back the Heisman Trophy: 6 votes.

Win a Super Bowl, Sign a Free Agent Contract With Jacksonville, and Announce He Wants to Be a Professional Golfer all tied for second with zero.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Thursday Sporting List: Don't Quit Your Day Job.

That's so easy, I can do it. Ever say that about a sport? You're not alone. I used to criticize placekickers in football, until one day I took the kids up to the high school field and tried to kick an extra point. Not only did I miss, I almost pulled a muscle, which taught me to stick to criticizing Aaron Rodgers, instead. He can handle it.

I haven't given up on my dream of someday quarterbacking the Buffalo Bills to a Super Bowl victory -- I'm waiting until they move the team to a warmer location to try out. And, as I said, I'm not the only person to think a sport was so easy that anyone could do it. Take baseball, for instance. Looks really simple, right? Like anyone can do it? If you're nodding your head in agreement, check out the Second Thursday's Sporting List of people who thought they could play baseball, but couldn't:

1. Kevin Costner: Went 0-for-3 with an error at shortstop while playing on the minor leage San Bernardino Inland Empire 66ers against the Seattle Mariners.

2. Kurt Russell: Russell was one of the first teen Disney stars, and tried to parlay that into a baseball career -- only to sit the bench on the minor league team his dad owned.

3. John Grisham: Grisham figured he was a major leaguer waiting to be discovered, and even transferred schools to play baseball -- but like Michael Jordan, couldn't hit a curveball.

4. Garth Brooks:
The second-biggest failure of Chris Gaines' career? Not making the San Diego Padres in 1998.

5. George Clooney:
Not content with having every woman in the world love him and partying with the Italian Prime Minister (allegedly?), Clooney tried out for the Cincinnati Reds in 1977 at 16; he failed to make the team, and would go on to a career in shoe sales before landing that Fact of Life job we all remember him for.

6. Tom Selleck: researching a role for "Mr. Baseball" in 1991, Selleck got called up to bat in the 8th; the catcher told him what pitches would be thrown, and Selleck still struck out on four pitches.

7. Dwight D. Eisenhower: "Ike" wanted to make money playing baseball, having done well at the high school level -- but two quotes from him sum up how things worked out:

"I was a center fielder. I went into baseball deliberately to make money and with no idea of making it a career. I wanted to go to college that fall and we didn't have much money. But I wasn't a very good center fielder and didn't do too well at it."

"When I was a small boy in Kansas, a friend of mine and I went fishing and as we sat there in the warmth of the summer afternoon on a river bank, we talked about what we wanted to do when we grew up. I told him that I wanted to be a real major league baseball player, a genuine professional like Honus Wagner. My friend said that he'd like to be President of the United States. Neither of us got our wish."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Poll Results: Which athlete would you buy stuff from?

Peyton Manning could sell ice to an Eskimo, provided that you give him at least 3 seconds in the pocket and don't make him roll out. That's the read I get from the poll that asked

Which athlete would make you buy something he or she endorsed?

Peyton topped all vote getters, with 8. Then it was:

LeBron James: 3 (presumably not from Cleveland.)
Serena Williams: 2
Lindsay Vonn, Derek Jeter, Kobe Bryant, Tiger Woods: each 1 vote.

Getting zero votes were Tom Brady, Alex Rodriguez, and Michael Phelps.

Really? Smoking pot negates eight gold medals? And what'd A-Rod ever do?

Monday, May 2, 2011

So this is what he was up to before stealing "The Tonight Show" back from Conan. (Weird Sports.)

Last week, because Cam Newton became the latest colossal draft bust, I went looking for a picture of a baby in an Auburn jersey, which I thought must exist given that (a) college football fans are insane and that (b) southern college football fans manage to go so far off the register of sanity that they actually lap sanity and taunt it as they go by...

And to my surprise, I did not find a baby wearing an Auburn jersey, per se, but I did find this:

Which is even better, in terms of making fun of people. That is a video that promises to teach kids how to properly root for Auburn:
Teach future Tigers aficionado numbers, team colors, and even ABCs in this fan favorite featuring music from the Auburn University Marching Band

Yeah, I mean why should kids be learning stuff without tying that stuff into Auburn? Auburn style counting: "1: Number of felonies Cam Newton plead guilty to. 2: years he played at junior college before we paid him to come here."

Or Auburn's ABCs: A is for athletes, who get paid to play here...

You may think I'm just shooting low hanging fruit in a barrel here, but I haven't even begun to open up that kettle of monkeys, because there's something worse than Baby Tiger DVDs (which aren't actually available anywhere I can find them.

I give you: Jay Leno's BABY NASCAR!, which is a thing:

The description for that actual thing you can actually buy is:

Jay Leno presents this Team Baby release, which combines educational tips for children and some hot NASCAR action.

Jay Leno wasn't desperate for money, was he? So he really will do any old thing people ask him?

The company really put an effort into marketing this thing, too: Under "DVD features" on the site I found it, it notes that it comes with a "Keep Case."

There's a customer review, too:

5 stars Great Kids DVD
I watched this with my kid and he loves it, better than the boring Baby Einstein dvds too. I believe this company has sport themed dvds as well. look it up.

That comes from "JRAccord," in Austin, Texas. And with Jay Leno's help, this DVD was hot enough to get two minutes on Good Morning, Texas.

You can just feel the excitement when Blonde says revs, can't you? All that hype didn't work: Shockingly, Team Baby Entertainment is not around anymore. But that DVD is still available, as I noted, so if your kid needs a 30-minute lecture on "watching cars turn left," go order it now.


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