" That's just the sort of blinkered, Philistine Pig ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage!"

John Cleese

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving and Fuck You, America!

Wanna see the difference between the Obama Administration and the GOP tax plans? (y'know the GOP right? The fuckers who were on the clock when all this happened. The ones that the mouth breathing moron American independent voters/ignorant saps just gave back the keys to the car. Yeah, them.)

It's right here:
Looks sound, huh? (Slaps forehead)

But we better make sure extending those unemployment benefits to the 10% who can't find work in the worst economy in 70 years is paid for.

Those greedy fucks getting 35% of what they made at their previous employer.

"The definition of stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results"

Albert Einstein

Monday, November 22, 2010

Morons, Your Bus Is Leaving!

Good Lord, reading the Iowa message boards is like peeking into the Special Needs Room at the junior high.

"Fire Ferentz! Fire O'Keefe! This is unacceptable!"

(Cue eye rub)
Frustrating? You bet your ass. Dissapointing? Yep. Unacceptable?! Accept it.

Dumb asses, do you realize we were all singing Ferentz's praises when he was 8-4 in 2008?

Here's a small example of the difference between a BCS season at Iowa and a ho-hum trip to Tampa, that 80% of programs would kill for.

2009:

1.WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED: Despite ,apparently, being coached to throw only to running backs and tight ends three yards downfield during a two minute drill, Ricky Stanzi leads Iowa during the last minute and a half against Michigan State. A slant to Marvin McNutt on the last play of the game wins it for Iowa, 15-13.

WHAT EASILY COULD'VE HAPPENED: Stanzi's pass is two inches higher and it bounces off McNutt's right shoulder pad and falls innocently to the turf. Iowa loses 13-9.

2. WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED: Tyler Sash brings an INT back 95 yards against Indiana after it bounces off 4 players. It completely reverses the game and momentum, going from a 27 or 31 to 7 deficit to 24-14 going into the 4th quarter. Which leads to a meltdown by Indiana's defense and a "where the hell was this all fucking game" breakout by Stanzi and Iowa's offense.

WHAT EASILY COULD'VE HAPPENED: Chappel's pass falls incomplete, IU settles for a FG and takes a 27-7 lead into the 4th. Still think the comeback happens? OR the INT is caught but Sash is tackled right where he catches it. Down at the 5. Iowa still has to go 95 yards to score. Still think the comeback happens?

3. WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED: Thanks to an unbelievably asinine rule Iowa has to block 2 FGs as time expires to knock off FCS Juggernaut Northern Iowa, 17-16.

WHAT EASILY COULD'VE HAPPENED: The guy makes the motherfucking FG. Iowa loses to a fucking FCS team and the season gets off to a rousing start. Still think they go 10-2?

There ya go, Hawk fans. Now, you're 7-5 and in the Champs Sports Bowl instead of the Orange.


2010:

1. WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED: After a clusterfuck on special teams and a Pick Six, Iowa snags momentum back from Arizona with a 4 yard TD pass to Jewel Hampton (remember him? The guy that could've been the zing to Adam Robinson's zang. Therefore, making the Iowa offense more unpredictable and y'know...better?) to make it 14-7. Only to give up a 100 yard KO return for a TD to lose whatever momentum they've gained.

WHAT EASILY COULD'VE HAPPENED: Iowa gets it's head out of it's ass and actually tackles the guy at say the 45. An inspired defense comes out and stuffs Arizona for a quick 3 and out. The teams trade FGs the rest of the half and Iowa is down 17-10 at half. Instead of 27-7. A game they eventually tied BTW....

2. WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED: Wisconsin trails Iowa by 6 with under 7 minutes to play.Iowa forces a 3 and out and the Badgers are forced to punt. A fake goes for 8,000 yards before Iowa players realize there's not a ball in the air. Wisconsin takes it down the field from there (converting an "OK you're not that good, Scott Tolzien" 4th down pass) and go on to win 31-30.

WHAT EASILY COULD'VE HAPPENED: Iowa's coaching staff looks away for a moment from the robotic game plan and realizes that a fake may be something to watch for in that situation. Wisconsin realizes that they are in "punt safe", he kicks it and Iowa gets good field position to kick a game clinching FG.

OR Iowa makes a goddamn extra point or doesn't drop a snap on a chip shot FG. OR Scott Tolzien's 4th and 3 pass is 3 inches down and the receiver can't catch it. Iowa gets ball on down. Game over. See where I'm going with this?

3. WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED: Dan Persa completes a 20 some yard TD pass with 1:30 left to give Northwestern a 21-17 lead against an inexplicably drained Iowa defense.

WHAT EASILY COULD'VE HAPPENED: Adrian Clayborn gets off one of his blockers/holders a second sooner, Persa's "brilliant" pass is now a prayer and Micah Hyde, who had decent coverage, turns around to make the pick. Game over.

4. WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED: Terrel Pryor converts a 4th and forever on a SCRAMBLE! Ohio State goes on to score a touchdown in a plot so predictable the writers of Scooby Doo Mysteries are shadowing the Iowa coaches this week.

WHAT EASILY COULD'VE HAPPENED: Iowa's coaching staff realizes that when you have 3 time outs left and you see the other team going for it on 4th and game, you may want to call a TO to reset the defense. OR Iowa leaves a linebacker in to shadow Pryor and they makes a tackle before he actually gets to the marker. Iowa takes over on downs and worst case, OSU is forced to drain their TOs and Iowa punts it away with 2 minutes left, deep into OSU territory.

Honorable mention: Indiana's receiver actually catches the ball. Iowa loses.

OK, so now Iowa is 10-0 or 9-1 (the Arizona game was a toss up even without all the bullshit) OR they're currently 6-5. All on the whim of a handful of plays/decisions. Ya see?!

It's not rocket science, people. Iowa's margin for error is small. Actually, most of college football is like this. It comes down, essentially, to about 10 plays every year whether or not you go 11-1 or 10-2 or you go 6-6 or 7-5. Iowa made most of them last year. They're not this year.

You would think Iowa fans would be used to this by now.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

So Tired-Ass, It's Like Watching...

House.

For the first couple seasons, House was a perfectly amiable show, interesting enough to pass the time, formulaic, sure but a decent 42 minutes of entertainment.

Then the formulaic part became just so damn predictable.

So much so that you could put money down that Addison's or Crohn's disease were going to be the red herrings for the first 48-52 minutes (or some rare tick disease from some revelation about the patient's recent travel to the Brazilian rain forest at the 28 minute mark) and then some entirely irrelevant discussion between House and some other character, usually about donuts or something, brings about the a-ha! moment and it ends up being some rare blood disease usually only found in Mongolia and brought about because the patient ate Twizzlers after doing coke to cope with the depression of being molested as a child.

Same shit with the Hawks (well...not exactly the same).

Hawks are an amiable, interesting enough team with solid production values that offers entertainment but a false sense of security for the first 48-52 minutes of the time clock, compiling a tenuous (Browns) lead on the scoreboard but little things start to bleed into the brain as everything crescendos.

Offensive runs go from the three-to-four yard variety to the one-to-no-gain sort. Passes on 3rd and 8 go from a nice nine-yard slant for the first to suddenly dumping off to Robinson or trying to hit Reisner in the flat for a two-yard fail.

Opposing quarterbacks go from having to worry about the rush to being able to plop down a lawn chair in the pocket and wait for anything to open up. Opposing runs off tackle become 12-yard gains instead of three to four.

And my personal favorite, the fourth quarter "surprise" that opposing teams spring on Iowa - the stop-and-go and the long out patterns - that seems to befuddle the Iowa secondary like it's coming from new-fangled, futuristic style offense not seen on this Earth.

Little cracks, little chinks in the armor start to show...and then the floodgates open.

They get tired, players have to take a few plays off to get their breath and when a play needs to be made, they don't seem to have a guy that can make it to the extent that would make Iowa a very good, borderline great football team instead of merely good.

And all of this starts to happen right about the 10:56 mark in the fourth quarter, which is right about the time House has his a-ha moment because he noticed a double-parked car in the parking lot and that somehow relates to a parasite cutting off oxygen to the heart and lungs.

It's just so despairingly predictable (in a football sense).

Football's a weird bird anyway but you can only compare any team to everybody else.

Given everything, unlike so many other Ferentz years, Iowa's exactly a 7-4 team. They're exactly as good as their record says they are.

And that's probably cosmically appropriate after last season.

Pitcher and catchers = 85 days.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Worst.Season.Ever




Wow. Talk about a tired ass script.

It's like a festering boil that you just think will go away on it's own. You think "There's no way it could have more puss and actually get GREENER."

But it does.

More thoughts tomorrow.

Jesus.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm Going To Pretend Tom Ricketts Is A Genius

Disclosure: This is an alternate universe based in absolutely no fact. This is Christo bored and missing baseball.

Fresh off the news that the east wall at Wrigley and its potential to mangle human flesh will now not come into play (every possession will go west), one, and by one I mean me, has to wonder.

Either the fledging Cubs era of Tom Ricketts is one of the biggest and weirdest in recent memory or...

...he might be a genius.

I say genius.

Stay with me here.

Put aside the payroll logjam. Put aside the fact that Jim Hendry went from one of the seemingly most astute GMs in baseball to someone that looked like he was simply throwing darts at a wall. Put aside Crane Kenney and his holy water inclinations. And put aside the fact that these issues are still issues and will be for at least the near future.

Ricketts bought the Cubs for $845 million, the most paid for a professional team ever and he bought it with an absolute and obvious finite potential for growth in the short and long-term with Wrigley as the primary revenue generator.

A Cubs Network has been dead in the water for years (mainly because who is really going to watch the '69, '84,'89 and early aughts collapses as the network's highlights for the franchise?) so scratch that as a viable revenue stream for now.

So here's a rich man, a Cubs fan, who bought it as a play toy for the most part. It's not like, in its current condition, that the team is going to afford Ricketts to bathe in money anytime soon.

But here's the rub. Yes. By all media indications, he might have been sold a bill of goods, wildly overpaying for the Cubs and once he got into the details of where the Cubs can go financially ten, twenty, thirty years from now, I'm sure he could hear the Tribune board laughing at him in his sleep.

But that doesn't mean he's going to lose a barrel of money, either.

I'm sure he could squeak out a modest profit in its current condition for years to come.

As a 47 year-old man with many cognizant mental years ahead of him and the realization that owning the Cubs isn't the "retirement" business enterprise he thought it might have been, would you want to "squeak out a modest profit" for the next 30 years of your cognizant mental life while your fellow billionaires snicker behind your back over how you got bamboozled?

At some point, hearing "riding daddy's coattails" and "got lucky" would start to get to you a little bit, not to mention that Tom is a University of Chicago guy, an environment and group of alumni that's notoriously competitive when it comes to balance sheet penis size.

I'm not saying this is the psychological case with Ricketts. I am saying that it makes one - and by one I mean me - wonder.

Or it could have - and probably was - the plan from the beginning. Make THIS, the Cubs, a money bath. And to do so, Wrigley has to go.

It's not going to be easy but it's doable and here's how:

1. When buying the team, talk about the romantic and idyllic personal connection to the past to endear yourself the slobbering Cubs base that wet themselves over all things Wrigley as an "experience" more than the product on the field. Lull them into a false sense of security to buy some time.

2. Don't do anything of note for a year or so to solidify the perception of your intentions to preserve said "experience"

3. But in that year of basic inactivity, do small things (like the Toyota sign) that only mildly gets said slobbering fan base in a minor snit over sight lines and "tinkering with the character" in order to get people talking about revenue streams in order to display the extent to which Wrigley is tapped out when it comes to generating future dough (and remember, he inherited the payroll mess so some level of cover is built into the equation - he has some Cub fan capital to spend with that).

4. In the above public discussion, take advantage of the news that the Cubs, when the Toyota sign debate hit in April, that the team now had the highest average ticket prices in baseball ($52.56, White Sox were $38.65, the average MLB ticket was $26.79) and were second to the Red Sox in fan cost. This furthers the "tapped out" argument and actually makes the average slobbering Cub fan begin to think about how the team can compete on the free agent market, allowing visions of a dead decade of Cubs baseball invade their dreams. In other words, they kinda start to feel sorry for a billionaire because their baseball pleasure zone is now indelibly attached to said billionaire's wallet.

5. The big one. Ask the city and state for $300 million to renovate Wrigley and its surroundings in the worst economy in 70 years, right at the time when Tea Partiers are going ballistic over wasteful government spending, frame it in an amusement tax argument to be tacked on to tickets that are already the highest in baseball, say there is "no Plan B" (still haven't found out why issuing corporate bonds isn't an option), release pretty drawings to media that demonstrate the dreamy possibilities and release them after it's obvious the state and city aren't going to play ball to show Cub fans what they can't have. Sit back, relax and watch it fail miserably, which was the plan in the first place. But make it plausibly viable. Make it a plan that seems doable, just not in the current fiscal environment. That shows you tried your darnedest (It won't get into "socializing the risk and profitizing the profits" framework of the thing and that it's coming from a family whose father is the only funder of "Taxpayers Against Earmarks," a group that rails against wasteful government spending from the furtherest reaches of the right-wing world ($600,000 to Sharron Angle). It's weird. It's just weird.)

6. Display that "creative" revenue streams are a dead end, like playing college football games at Wrigley. But to do that, you have to demonstrate the parameters. So put on a hockey game in the dead of winter and make damn sure the discussion in the media, aside from the cuteness of it all, is focused on why this is happening. Frame it as an alternative Wrigley revenue stream at every turn. Seriously. Google it and read every story.

7. Show the limitations of that. Put on a college football game that, even when it was announced, people ruminated on how the hell that was going to work. There was a reason nobody has played a football game there in 62 years. All possessions are now going east to west, a prescient clue that this alternative revenue stream is dead in the water for any future game.

8. Sound dejected and woebegone when talking about the dim possibilities of "allowing the Cubs brand to grow". And when doing so, talk about it in concrete terms of years. Like 'this will allow Wrigley to be a viable entertainment and baseball venue for 35 years.' People can fathom that. It's most of their lives. It also makes them understand that any downgraded plan reduces that year framework as well, it simply puts everything on a respirator and makes people think that we're just going to be talking about this again in five or ten years. That lets the unthinkable wander into the frontal cortex. Tear down Wrigley.

9. From the very beginning, that's the plan. Get the unthinkable into the public discussion. Take a year to publicly demonstrate that Wrigley is a dead end from every angle, do it low and slow to let it delicately bleed into the average slobbering Cub fan brain, do it at a time when the team blows and nobody really cares to experience the quaint charms of an outmoded stadium and, most importantly, do it during the off-season, a time when the variables (like a team suddenly playing well and people are actually going to games) are out of the equation. (a side note: I thought the Quade hire was a good one but hiring Sandberg throws a wrench into this alternate universe. Renewed fan interest, even stupid renewed fan interest like this one would have been, is an undesirable outcome for the end game here. Too nostalgic-y at a time when the "future of the franchise" is the only topic desired to be on the table.)

10. Maybe get a political columnist at the Tribune to write a "Tear Down Wrigley" column that gets a lot of play at the paper during a slow news time (fellow U of Chicago guy as well - oooh, Christo gets really conspiratorial!) during a time when it's obvious that there's a sea change in public opinion on the issue (right on cue). The young 'uns don't really care/could be persuaded to tear it down and the geriatrics are the only ones that really give a crap because everything was better 40 years ago.

Eureka! Only took one year of ownership. "Tom Ricketts, you are ridiculous!" You are a genius and kinda my hero. You created an atmosphere unthinkable just one year ago. And all the cards fell for you. The economy tanked and, as rich people do, you found a way to use this economy to your advantage. The team sucked enough on the field and the prospects for the immediate future of Cubs goodness look woefully dim. That takes away the ability of the fanbase to wrap themselves in the Cubs flag, get themselves in a tizzy and scream about tradition and charm. It even makes them a wee bit desperate and desperation brings about malleability, a condition that lets them think about "compromising their values."

Something that might have taken ten years for the average non-super human took you one. You created a intricate, slowly oozing plan that actually got people to seriously consider tearing that piece of excrement down. And you did it by framing it in an argument that logically concludes that it's for the betterment of the franchise and the only real logical alternative once the city and state officially balks without ever actually saying it yourself. Not once. In fact, you did it in a posture portraying the exact opposite.

So I say kudos to you, Tom. Best play I've seen in years.

Iowa, 22-18.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kinda Wanna Vomit...

I have no clue about daytime soaps but I found this on Ken Levine's excellent blog and wanted to share.

Holy God. If I was one of these actors a long alcohol shower would've been in my future. The 8 second mark is my personal favorite but it keeps going after that. Oh, and try not to eat your hand from the intelligence insulting 33 to 50 second mark.




And then there's this one:



...aaaaand this one

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

That Went Well...

To add to Christo's soup analogy (dead on BTW) I'll offer mine: There was a kid from Monticello when I was playing baseball in high school that every other guy on the team would feast on. He came up as a freshman just like I did and I got to face him every year. A submariner but hardly Kent Tekulve, his fastball just kind of was there and whatever breaking stuff he had was flat. But I couldn't get over the goddamn submarine motion and every time I faced him I would ground out weakly to second or foul off the two good pitches I would see and then proceed to strike out on a terrible pitch in the left handed batters box. Meanwhile, the rest of the team would be enjoying a nice stats padding 15-3 win. It became branded in my brain that I couldn't hit this guy even though he was unbelievably hittable. THAT'S Iowa vs. Northwestern.
At least I didn't have to watch Pat Fitzgerald dance around like an asshole.

The Good: Um.....Marvin McNutt? Guy made an unreal catch to keep some hope alive during Iowa's Chinese Fire Drill last drive. Alan Reisner also bailed Stanzi out of a few fucking putrid throws. Seriously, Rick, you can throw to someone else on 3rd down.

The Bad: Where to start? Stanzi has reverted back in some ways to the norm. The INT with 10 minutes left was just a brutal decision that gave Northwestern a glimmer. And that's all those dickfaces need. Iowa was running at will at that point and could've, at worst, ran another four minutes off the clock but no, Stanzi had to remember they were playing Northwestern and it was about time someone had to piss in their pants. Cue wounded duck into triple coverage. McNutt running underneath without a guy within 10 yards of him on that play, BTW....
I hate to pile on the coaches but Ken O' Keefe really needs to tell Stanzi that it's OK to throw to someone besides his tight end on 3rd down. And you guys really need to work on the 2 minute drill. It shouldn't take a minute to get a first down when the other team is in prevent. And if they aren't? Go deep. The cluelessness is pretty inexcusable to be honest.

The Godawful: It's November, guys. Defensive players shouldn't be falling over like wounded Rebels at Gettysburg. When I saw Clayborn and Klug and the lot sucking air on the last drive I knew it was over. And the drive before that. And the drive before that. I'm baffled as to how 22 year old guys on a football team can be that winded in the middle of a late season game. Nice conditioning.

The defense is so overrated it's not even worth talking about anymore. That's 4 times that they needed to make a stop and didn't. I'm not counting Indiana as a stop, it was dumb luck. (The same Indiana team that just gave up 83 to Wisconsin BTW...Stay classy, Brett!) That's not an anomaly, that's not bad luck , that's just a defense that can't get it done when it needs to. Some good players but really not very tough to beat when you get down to it.

Yeah, they can win the next two and go 9-3 and that's not terrible but I saw nothing yesterday or the week before that leads me to believe they can beat Ohio State. It's possible and college football is queer that way but this is a deeply flawed team.

The Insight Bowl is a very real possibility. I think I have plans that night.

P.S.-- Fitzgerald said in his post game news conference that he refers to the last 5 minutes of the game as "Cat Time"....Oh, Fuuuuuuuck you!

P.S.S-- the officiating was fucking brutal. Clayborn was ass raped on the first scoring drive by NW and I lost count at 7 on obvious holding calls on Persa's "scrambles". Jesus. I hate being that guy but these refs didn't help. And last time I checked a defensive player hitting a guy a full second before the ball gets there is still pass interference, even on a Hail Mary. Ref standing 5 feet away looking right at it.

This is getting old.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I've Had More Enjoyable Bouts Of Diarrhea

Playing Northwestern is like eating an old and bad bowl of soup.


You know, something like minestrone, an already dull bowl of bland in my world (even good ones), and one that's been sitting, simmering on low for days.


The kind of soup experience that involves going to a restaurant for lunch that you didn't want to go to in the first place but your first three choices were either closed or packed. So you end up at a diner-ish style place that's a ghost town and smells like tears.


You just want something simple like a quick soup and sandwich. The server, doubling as the fry cook by the look of his apron and skin, says they have two soups, a broccoli cheese and a minestrone. Judging by the smell of the place, you pass on anything dairy-related and opt for the minestrone.


Out comes an unfortunate bowl of odd-colored liquid with unidentifiable floaties in it that defy description. The peas are gray, the carrots are a mushy paste, your server skimmed off the top so no rice is in sight and copious amounts of oily goo begins to clot and bubble to the top of the exceedingly hot bowl.


You're hungry and alone so you get up the courage to dare to take a bite and it tastes exactly like you expect - like burned moth balls and Elmer's glue dipped in sadness.


That's what the week leading up to Northwestern feels like. That's what watching the game feels like. That's what it feels like after the game, every year, when the bitter taste of reassessment on Iowa's season hits my tongue.


Every year. Every mid-November when the weather begins to turn gloomy and Iowa sits in a position that makes you think "what if." And then Northwestern comes along. Northwestern (next year is October 15, Thank all that is holy).


Lost five of the last six to Northwestern.


And by the looks of Minnesota today, that one might not be a gimme. Could this team really end up 7-5? This team?


Iowa basketball today at 2pm. New coach, new players, why not?


I know what to expect from them. Anything else is a bonus.


Monday, November 8, 2010

20 Years Of Absolute Torture Is Now Over


Bye, Joe.

I guess you weren't consistent enough.

I won't miss you.

The End.

Monday, November 1, 2010

OK, So I Guess We're Gonna Do This

Apparently there's some sort of election tomorrow. Gosh, I wouldn't know because I haven't seen any commercials. Seriously, the negative ads are astronomically weirder and more laughable this year than in the past. And that's saying ALOT!

Anyway, the increasingly idiotic American voting public will once again put back into power a party that four short years ago was booted out in epic asswhompery. Yep, the party that thinks it's a good idea to stall unemployment benefits in a jobless recovery, did nothing about skyrocketing health costs in the 6 years they were in control of all three branches and thinks boys kissing is the single most awful social issue today. Way to go, America!

I have said it from day one, the Tea Party (God, I'll be glad when that shit goes away Wednesday) will get the GOP a whole bunch of seats tomorrow and it will also kill them in the long run. It actually is hurting them this year. It was a walk to control of the Senate but a wacko nut job in Delaware made a safe Republican seat an easy Democratic win and only bat shit insane idiot Sharon Angle could lose to Harry Reid. Whuuuut?! Reid may still lose but for him to even be within 10 points of anybody speaks to her coo-coo for cocoa puffs instability.

So, way to go America. You get what you deserve.

Predictions: 54 seat pick up for the Republicans in the House and your clueless, asshole Republican Uncle will think the Sun will shine brighter and the bird's songs will be more beautiful. Sean Hannity jerks off on national TV. Rush Limbaugh will somehow bring race into the equation. Keith Olbermann implodes on his self righteous anger.

7 seat pick up in the Senate. Democrats still control but with a basically 50/50 breakdown it makes it an even more worthless body of White people getting together for no good purpose.

Surprises: Harry Reid eeks it out in Nevada and along with Christine O'Donnell getting asshammered in Delaware they lose Two seats that "mainstream" Republicans would've easily won and given the GOP control. Thanks, Tea Party!
Good luck with those folks, Republicans!

Cue the infighting......