Tuesday, July 29

Urban's way home.

One intriguing part in a quote-heavy book is Meyer's response as to how to approach the 2008 Georgia game, specifically addressing the Bulldogs picking up a much-hyped celebration penalty after their first touchdown in a 42-30 win last season: "That wasn't right. It was a bad deal. And it will forever be in the mind of Urban Meyer and in the mind of our football team. . . . So we'll handle it. And it's going to be a big deal."

-- Gene Frenette, Florida Times-Union, 19 July 2008

Florida Gators head coach URBAN MEYER, on his way home from an eventful week at SEC Media Days, sits in stoic silence in a Delta departure lounge, his unblinking gaze locked straight ahead. Presumably he's looking at the Boeing 737 parked outside, but there's an ELDERLY WOMAN sitting between him and the windows, knitting to pass the time. Periodically she looks up to find the dead-eyed stare of MEYER burning right through her forehead; each time she looks back down at her knitting, a little bit more nervous, until finally she hastily shoves her knitting in her carry-on bag and moves to another bank of chairs out of MEYER's field of view.

The coach doesn't so much as blink to acknowledge her departure. His gaze remains locked on the airplane outside.

Presently one of the flight attendants at the gate gets on the intercom.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a schedule change concerning Delta flight 1458 to Atlanta, with continuing service to Charlotte and New York-LaGuardia. Due to severe weather reported in the Atlanta area, departure has been delayed 45 minutes, and we are now expecting a gate departure time of 9:40 a.m.

MEYER's head whips around.

We will do our very best to ensure that all passengers connecting out of Atlanta will be able to make their flights. Thank you for your patience.

With precise body movements evoking those of Robert Patrick in the second "Terminator" movie, MEYER gets up from his seat and strides purposefully to the gate. Even though the FLIGHT ATTENDANT has been watching him ever since he got up, MEYER clears his throat loudly once he's standing in front of her.

Yes, sir?

That's no good. Forty-five minutes? That's no good. We need to leave now.

I'm really sorry, sir, but there are tornado watches in some of the counties around Atlanta and the airport is on a ground stop until they've passed --

Tornado watches? As in not even a warning? Let me tell you something Urban Meyer has learned in his time on this planet, miss -- tornado warning, that's something you don't want to fly through, that's a big deal. But flying through a tornado watch? That's a matter of will.

Sir, I, uh -- none of this is up to me, it's --

Maybe not. But you're an employee of the airline. You're involved because you've chosen to be. Do you know how long I have to make my connection in Atlanta? Fifty minutes. Fifty minutes between flights. What happens if I don't make my connection?

If we arrive too late in Atlanta for you to make your flight, we'll give you priority placement on the very next flight to your destination.

Uh-huh. And do I get any compensation for that? First-class upgrade? Some kind of voucher?

Well, no, since weather conditions aren't under our control, we don't typically give --

That's uncalled for. First of all, it's against the rules. If you really look at it, some people could be missing important appointments because they're not getting to their destinations on time.

Sir, I'm really sorry, but there's nothing I can do about this.

MEYER whirls around to face the rest of the passengers seated at the gate, some of whom have been watching his confrontation with the FLIGHT ATTENDANT.

Are you hearing this, everyone? You seeing how you've been disrespected here? Some of us are gonna be late for our flights, and she's telling us we just gotta sit here and take it.

That sucks.

You're darn right it sucks. So are you just gonna sit there and let 'em walk all over you like that? How many of you got less than an hour to make your connections?

A young BUSINESSMAN stands up.

I do!

Yeah? You OK with them telling you you're just gonna have to catch a later flight? Who else?

As several more PASSENGERS stand up, the FLIGHT ATTENDANT desperately tries to quell the situation.

Look, this is all just a --

Don't listen to her! You can either sit there and take it like good little sheep, or you can get mad! Now who's gonna stand with me?

I will! This plane needs to get moving now!


The standing PASSENGERS begin marching over to MEYER's side as the coach throws his hands in the air, riling them up and challenging them to act. As their commotion grows louder, the FLIGHT ATTENDANT picks up a walkie-talkie.

All right, everybody needs to sit down this instant, or I'm calling Homeland Security!

The mention of "Homeland Security" stops MEYER's would-be compatriots dead in their tracks. One by one, they slink back to their seats, leaving MEYER standing alone at the gate.

Finally, with a heavy sigh of frustration, MEYER walks back to the same seat he was sitting in earlier. He once again locks his gaze onto the airplane sitting outside. He does not blink.


His steely expression now frustrated, but still determined, MEYER stares down a red-jacketed DELTA AGENT at an information desk in Terminal A.

So you've already put me on one late flight, and now you're telling me you can't put me on my other flight until one-twenty?

I'm sorry, but as I've already explained, the first flight being late was because of the weather, and we don't have any control over --

That wasn't right. It was a bad deal. And it will be forever in the mind of Urban Meyer and in the mind of the rest of the passengers on that plane.

Long, awkward pause. Some of the people standing in line behind MEYER begin to look at their watches.

Sir, I've put you on the next flight to Gainesville, the earliest one we have, which is ASA flight 4528 leaving at 1:20. If you can handle that, great. If you need an earlier flight, our only other option is to put you on another carrier, which would --

Oh, I'll handle it. And it's going to be a big deal.

The DELTA AGENT lets out a withering sigh, unimpressed.

Is there anything else I can help you with today, sir.

No. I believe our business here is completed.

MEYER continues to stare at the DELTA AGENT for several tension-fraught moments, but the AGENT merely cocks an eyebrow, challenging the coach to escalate the confrontation. After a few more tense seconds, MEYER grabs his carry-on and walks away.

Thank you for choosing Delta, have a nice day.

At this, MEYER whirls around, points to his eyes with his index and middle fingers, then points a single rigid index finger at the AGENT. Then he turns around again and continues on his way.

A little ways down the concourse, MEYER takes out his BlackBerry and dials.

(Into phone)
Shelley. It's Urban. Change of plans. Instead of flight 4779 arriving at eleven-fifty-five, it's gonna be flight 4528 arriving at two-fifty-seven. (pause) I don't know, some nonsense about tornado watches. (pause) Shelley, I didn't call you to be lectured about the weather, all right? (pause) The amount of time is not the issue, it's the principle of the whole thing. It's a bad deal, and -- (pause) Oh, I can forget. I can forget just fine. But I can't forgive. (long pause) Never mind. Just be at the terminal at three, all right? (pause) All right. OK. Bye.

MEYER hangs up the phone and puts it in his pocket. He finds himself standing in front of a Starbucks, and walks in.

Welcome to Starbucks, what can I get for you today?

You want to know what Urban Meyer would like? Urban Meyer would like a double-shot grande latte, skim, and a muffin.

I'm sorry, I think we may be out of skim milk -- is two-percent OK?

I don't know. Is giving you two percent of the price OK?

Uhh -- I'm sorry?

It's very simple: I've asked for something, and you've tried to give me something less. And that isn't right. That's a bad deal. I understand the motivation here, but you're trying to give me something different from what I asked for. So do you want to try and get what I asked for, or do you want me to handle it? 'Cause I'll handle it.

I'll -- I'll go back in the back and see if we have any skim.

The BARISTA hurries back into the stockroom, wiping away tears. Her companion behind the counter finds himself the new target of MEYER's icy stare.

Uhhh . . . do you know what kind of muffin you'd like?

Look at me.

I . . . am looking at you.

MEYER moves closer to the counter.

No. Look . . . at . . . me. Look me right in the eyes.

Practically shaking now, the second BARISTA moves closer to MEYER's face and stares at him.


You got me now? You looking right at me, you're
not gonna turn away? 'Cause I am looking you right
in the eyes and telling you I want . . . that one.


MEYER stands at the main entrance to the airport, watching, jaw clenched, as cars pull up, pick up or drop off their passengers, and drive away. He checks his watch with the sharp, precise movement of a military commander, and shakes his head.

Unbelievable. Just. Unbelievable.

Presently a Mercedes ML350 with a "Florida Gators 2006 National Champs" front license plate zooms up to the curb. MEYER begins walking toward it and an attractive blond woman, his wife SHELLEY, races out to meet him.

Welcome h --

Three o'clock, Shelley. I distinctly remember saying three o'clock. It's now three-twenty-two.

I know, honey, I got here at three, like you said, but you didn't come out right away and the policeman told me I had to --

No no no. That's an excuse. What's the first rule I've tried to teach everyone in this family?

"You cannot control what other people do -- "

(leaning out car window)
Hi, Daddy!

Not now, Nathan. (to SHELLEY) "What other people do, but . . ."

" . . . But each person carries his own perception of reality, and we can keep them from imposing that perception on us."

And how do we do that?

God, Urban --

Shelley? How do we do that? Come on, this is a big deal. Do you understand that this is a big deal?

Excruciating pause.

"Eliminate distractions, focus, and achieve the objective."

Right. That's right. That's what you need to do. All right? (beat) I don't tell you guys these things just to hear myself talk. These are rules for getting what you want, what I want, what we all want out of life. This is about a path to success.

Whatever. Can I please just have a kiss now?

Oh. Right.

URBAN gives his wife a perfunctory peck on the cheek.

Now, you want me to drive, or --

That won't be necessary. Urban Meyer can handle this.

MEYER grabs the keys from his wife, throws his suitcase and carry-on in the trunk of the Mercedes, and gets into the driver's seat. He throws the SUV into gear and, with a chirp of the tires, they're on their way.

So how was Media Days?

It was satisfactory. We accomplished what we needed to do.

'Satisfactory'? That's it? How'd Tim do in front of the cameras?

Tim handled it very well. Was poised, stayed on message, handled himself very well. If there's one person Urban Meyer never has to stay up nights worrying about, it's Tim Tebow.

God, honey, you know I hate it when you talk like that.

The Mercedes has pulled up to the toll booth at the exit from the airport. SHELLEY takes out a ticket and reaches across URBAN to hand it to the ATTENDANT.


URBAN reaches in his pocket and pulls out a twenty to give to the ATTENDANT.

This is the exact-change-only line. You gonna have to back up and go through the next one.

MEYER's jaw sets as he turns to stare at the ATTENDANT.

Would you like to say that one more time?

(eyes narrowing)
I need you to back your vehicle up and go through the line to your right.

MEYER stares daggers at the ATTENDANT for a few moments.

Fine. But it's not right. And Urban Meyer isn't gonna forget this.

MEYER shifts the Mercedes into reverse, cranes his neck to look behind him, and begins rolling backward.


Monday, July 28

Auburn preview: At long last, Coach Tuberville, have you no shame? Have you no respect for tradition?

By Keith Olbermann
Guest Columnist

Tonight, a Special Comment on Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville's decision to fire offensive coordinator Al Borges and bring in Troy coordinator Tony Franklin to install -- you guessed it -- a spread-style offense on the Plains.

It was all well and good when Urban Meyer brought the spread to the Southeastern Conference in 2005. Certainly, Meyer's Florida Gators garnered a huge amount of attention the following year when they stunned Ohio State and won the national title. However, it's worth pointing out that the Gators were still struggling to adapt to the spread that year, and won the title not with a high-powered offense but with their defense.

Now Tuberville is leaping aboard the bandwagon and attempting to implement a spread-style system for his own team, the Auburn Tigers. It's a curious choice, given that Tuberville's supposedly archaic run-first, strong-on-defense strategy beat that revolutionary Gator team in both of the last two seasons.

But the danger that this poses goes far beyond bandwagons and overused quarterbacks. Tuberville's decision strikes at the very heart and soul of a proud conference and the sacred philosophies that have guided it for decades.

Think back on the great running backs in Auburn history. Bo Jackson. Brent Fullwood. Tucker Frederickson. Rudi Johnson. Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown, whom Tommy Tuberville somehow managed to get into the Tiger backfield at the same time. Coach Tuberville, is this how you honor that tradition -- by forfeiting "three yards and a cloud of dust" for "three-step drop and an incomplete pass"?

Coach Tuberville, you famously remarked after your victory over Georgia in 2001 that maybe Mark Richt should run the ball more. Your path to a 13-0 record and an SEC title in 2004 was paved by a ground attack that averaged nearly 200 yards per game. Have you now decided that that wasn't good for you, that polls and TV ratings have dictated that you must now try and force Kodi Burns to become the next Tim Tebow?

In no way is this intended as a slight against Coach Franklin. He did indeed engineer an impressive transformation at Troy, which improved from 111th in the nation in total offense to 17th under his tutelage. But for Tommy Tuberville and his minions on the Plains to now assume that he will effect an equally dramatic and immediate transformation at Auburn is to ignore the gaping chasm in defensive firepower between the Sun Belt Conference and the SEC. Sir, do you seriously not believe that there is any difference between, say, Georgia's defense and Louisiana-Lafayette's? Do you honestly think the Bulldogs are going to be so in awe of Kodi Burns's passing prowess that their pass rushers will simply stop and stare into the heavens as Burns sails deep balls over their heads?

History, of course, will be the final judge of what Tommy Tuberville seeks to accomplish in the loveliest village on the Plains. But if history is a judge, it can also be our guide. Again, we must look back to 2006, when Urban Meyer's Gators won the national championship not because Meyer's spread offense was working to perfection -- it wasn't -- but because they played lights-out defense and didn't let close leads slip away.

One year later, Meyer finally had the spread personnel he was looking for, but he didn't have an every-down tailback, nor did he have nine of the previous year's defensive starters. Behind Tim Tebow, that spread offense worked, but because of an overworked quarterback and a pass defense that finished the season ranked 98th in Division I-A, the Gators dropped three regular-season games, finished third in their own division, and ended the season giving up 41 points and 524 yards in a bowl loss to Michigan. Yes, that Michigan, the one that lost to Appalachian State and ran an offense apparently devised sometime just after the invention of the forward pass.

With this in mind, Coach Tuberville, every SEC fan from Columbia to Fayetteville has every right to ask: Is this what you seek, sir? Is this your vision of what you want the Southeastern Conference to become -- a conference that becomes obsessed with finesse passing offenses to the detriment of the power running game and defenses that have served it so well over the past three quarters of a century?

For if this is your vision -- a re-creation of the late-'90s Pac-10, in which defense is a lost cause and every game is a 41-38 shootout -- then I and other like-minded college-football fans across the Southeast can merely shake our heads and say: May God have mercy on you, sir. Indeed, may God have mercy on us all.

And that's your Special Comment and your guest column for this, the one thousand two hundred ninety-ninth day since Tommy Tuberville declared the 2004 Auburn Tigers the "People's National Champion." I'm Keith Olbermann; good night, and good luck.

-- Keith Olbermann first made waves in TV sports with a five-year stint on ESPN's "SportsCenter" during which he and co-anchor Dan Patrick became the most popular pairing in the show's history. Since then, Olbermann has entered the world of politics, with his nightly news/commentary show "Countdown" having become MSNBC's most-watched program. His awards include a 1995 Cable ACE award for Best Sportscaster and a 2007 Emmy for Best Newscaster in a Dramatic Role. In his spare time he enjoys attending major-league baseball games and serving as President-For-Life of the Edward R. Murrow Fan Club's Manhattan Borough Chapter.

Our celebrity-preview series concludes later this week with a look at Georgia Tech by someone who is nearest and dearest to me out of all our guest columnists. Don't miss it.

Friday, July 25

The Friday Random Ten+5 takes its beef global.

Last week I caused an international incident by calling out Liechtenstein for not recognizing my ancestral homeland of Slovakia -- or I would have caused an international incident, had anybody in Liechtenstein actually read it. Whatever, they probably have to go into Switzerland and ask for permission to use the Internet just like they have to do for everything else.

But Liechtenstein's utter lack of any kind of response has only emboldened me, and this week I'm calling out five more countries I got problems with. I'm not talking about the same old "Axis of Evil" countries we all can't stand, I'm talking about other below-the-radar countries we're not even focusing on yet. So here are Five More Countries I'm Calling Out For Whatever Reason:

Oh, I'm sorry, The Gambia. Which should be the first indication that there are some serious wankers in this country -- I mean, their insistence on referring to themselves as "The" whatever pretty much makes them the Ohio State of sovereign nations (which means that if their national football team ever does qualify for the World Cup, they'll only end up getting blown out by South Africa). Not only that, but they're clearly hogging the Gambia River just to spite their perfectly nice, respectable neighbors in Senegal, and their president, Yahya Jammeh, issued a directive this past May for all gay people to leave the country in 24 hours or face beheading. Nope, no repressed issues there.

Hugo Chavez's whole "look at me, I'm a megalomaniacal South American commie" routine was cute for a while after he got elected in 1998 -- kind of had a nice, nostalgic mid-'80s feel to it. But now the guy's just being an asshole. Not to mention he's making some very bad choices in terms of friends -- dude, seriously? Fidel Castro, who was barely even upright when you first met him in 2004, much less now? Vladimir Putin? Oh, sure, he acts like he's your friend now, but just wait until the first time you try to cut your oil exports to Russia -- you'll be waking up not with a horse's head in your bed but with a big glowing lump of plutonium. Basically, Chavez seems to be setting his country up perfectly for a "Boogie Nights"-style downfall; it's only a matter of time before he nearly gets killed in a botched drug deal and is reduced to giving a hand job to the president of Ecuador in the UN parking lot.

Saudi Arabia
We've been focusing so much attention in Iraq and Iran and whatever else these days that we seem to have forgotten that Saudi Arabia was home to 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers, not to mention the fact that they're all getting stupidly, insanely rich off of our addiction to foreign oil. Yet we still refer to them as an "ally." This is one sick, abusive relationship we've got going on here, isn't it?

OK, yes, they have kind of an awesome flag, but this former Soviet republic still maintains a system of political repression and human-rights violations as blatant as any country out there. This is mainly due to the legacy of the late Saparmurat Niyazov, the bat-shit-crazy former president (and gold-medal Wayne Newton impersonator) who decreed that a loyalty oath had to be recited regularly by all government officials, TV reporters, and schoolchildren and even renamed the days of the week after his family members; he also wrote a book that he unilaterally declared the nation's seminal work of literature and spirituality, placing it on the same level as the Koran. Basically, his sole ambition over the course of a 16-year presidency seemed to be becoming the retarded man's Kim Jong Il, and it resulted in the kind of bizarre personality cult even the Bush administration would never be able to create, if only because nobody would ever believe that George W. Bush could write a book. And by all reports, it's continued to a large extent even two years after Niyazov's death.

They still have slavery there. 'Nuff said.

I hereby dub the five of thee, along with Liechtenstein, the Axis of Suck. Turn in your diplomatic credentials at the door.

And now the Ten:

1. A Tribe Called Quest, "4 Moms"
2. Groove Armada, "If Everybody Looked the Same" (Sth 3205 12" mix)
3. Pixies, "Tame"
4. Orbital, "Way Out"
5. The Roots, "100% Dundee"
6. The Rolling Stones, "Under My Thumb"
7. Nine Inch Nails, "Gave Up" (remix)
8. Underworld, "Glam Bucket"
9. Pixies, "Debaser"
10. The Chemical Brothers, "One Too Many Mornings"

Now for your Random Tens, and the nations on your shit list (if you didn't mention those last week), in the comments.

Thursday, July 24

A memo from the desk of Arnold T. Pants, Esq.: Vorsprung durch Obama, font wars, and an obituary.

· With 0% of precincts reporting, Hey Jenny Slater is projecting Barack Obama the winner of the 2008 presidential race. I know, I know, that's awfully presumptuous on my part, but if this is the best the right wing can do against him, I think it's pretty much in the bag. (Hat tip: LGM.)

Yes, that's right: Barack Obama, who is giving a major speech today in Germany, is taking heat from this twit for printing handbills for the event in German. Oh noes!!!! This is the most embarrassing gaffe by an American politician overseas since Bill Clinton's trip to Rome in 1994, in which he shocked the nation by doing as the Romans did!

· Not only that, but Obama's picture on the flier is in profile, which as we all know makes him TEH HITLAR!!111!1!!1!!

· Maybe you have to have gone to journalism school or worked in some aspect of the publishing industry to find this funny -- either way, I'm sure it helps if you're a huge dork -- but I nearly cried with laughter watching this.

My only quibble is with them choosing Comic Sans as the hero. NOBODY likes Comic Sans.

· Paul Westerdawg and Senator Blutarsky have both given us some interesting insights recently regarding the long-term psychological effects of "The Celebration" during last year's Georgia-Florida game. It really is hilarious hearing the Florida fans out there say things like "The Celebration didn't get in our heads" and "We're SO gonna remember this" in practically the same breath. A few months ago, I was almost kind of dreading this year's Cocktail Party, thinking that we might have kind of painted ourselves into a corner; given how many people's eyes are going to be on Georgia this year to see if we really have turned the tide in terms of making the UGA-UF rivalry competitive again, a big loss in this year's game could be even more disastrous than usual. But after reading the recent stuff from Westerdawg and Blutarsky, my mental glass is coming a lot closer to half-full; it's clear that the Celebration did get into the Gators' heads, whether they want to admit it or not, and the simple fact that they've been forced to give a shit about this rivalry again has as much potential to restore equilibrium as anything else.

Oh, and Urban Meyer is a jackbag. Referring to himself in the third person? Melodramatic statements like "it's going to be a big deal"? He's already starting to sound like those Georgia Tech knobs who were saying stuff like "Just remember, Richt, what goes around comes around" six years ago after the 51-7 game. And that, I believe, is inadvisable.

· Finally, please join me in mourning Practically Harmless, 4, whose feeding tube was removed last week. The blog is survived by one writer -- my sister -- and the job and boyfriend who are now occupying the majority of her time.

It's tough pulling the plug on a blog -- I've had to do it once or twice in my time -- but keeping a good blog regularly updated can be harder than it looks sometimes, and I respect anyone who has the fortitude to say "Sorry, guys, I'm hanging this up" rather than making a half-assed attempt at continuity after disappearing for three months by saying, "Uh, sorry I kind of fell off the face of the earth there, here's a video of a panda farting." The dirty secret in our family, though, is that Ann's been a better writer than me for a while now, at least as far as stuff not involving football, French newsreaders, or dick jokes. So hopefully she'll muster the mojo to take another crack at it one of these days.

Not that I'm trying to lean on you, sis.

Wednesday, July 23

Kentucky preview: You wanna play in the man's game? Then you better learn how to play defense.

By David Mamet
Guest Columnist

Let's get one thing straight right now: This is a man's game. This is a game of hand-to-hand combat. You're going to have to use your hands to push another man out of your way and know that he's going to be using his hands to do the same to you, and if you can't handle that, if that knowing that frightens you, then you don't need to be here. Dan Hawkins said "Go play intramurals"? 'F I was an intramurals coach I wouldn't even take a guy didn't know that, or couldn't make his peace with that. You don't like it, there's the door.

And regarding the SEC specifically -- and you'd know this you coached a day in the SEC in your life -- you gotta know how to play defense. This is not negotiable. And I've heard it all before, your "spread offenses," your pro-style sets, all that bullshit, it's all gimmicks. It's all a way around something. You're trying to evade these men, these men who want to get their hands on you and throw you to the ground. Your forty time, your "moves"? They are excuses. They are the tactics of men who are afraid. Nothing more than attempts to avoid that contact and try to alter the very ethos of this game.

I can say this 'cause I've seen what it got you. Rained down points on the Kent States and Eastern Kentuckys of the world, didn't you, then your dicks went limp in the clutch: 14 points against Mississippi State. Thirteen against Georgia. "Oh, but we beat LSU." You want to coast on that all season long? Fine, but don't do it on my time. Save those war stories for your fuckin' friends down at the local watering hole after you've come home from another Music City Bowl. You don't have André Woodson anymore, you don't have Keenan Burton, you don't have Rafael Little, so it is fuck-or-walk time, gentlemen. You're sure as shit not gonna be winning any shootouts this year, so you better learn to win some in the trenches. You learn to play some defense, or else you know what’s waiting for you? First prize is a spot in the national title game; second prize is a December bowl. Third prize is you’re fired. Win, or hit the bricks.

So let's see what we've got here. Eight returning starters on defense, five in the front seven, three in the secondary. I suppose you think that's good, huh? Here's what I think: Fuck your eight returning starters. I don't give a shit who coached you in high school, which college recruiters were keeping your family up nights with text messages, you gave up nearly 400 yards a game and only had 24 sacks the entire year. Last eight games of the season? After you'd finished knocking up that gang of sorority sisters you call a non-conference schedule? Gave up more than 34 points per game. Made Mississippi State look like a goddamn Arena League team. You can't stop them any better than that, what makes you think you can stop Knowshon Moreno? You gave up 124 yards to him last time you saw him. What you gonna do this time, lay out the red carpet and let him go over two bills? Maybe you bottle him up, you let Caleb King steal your lunch right out from under your fuckin' noses?

It is fuck-or-walk time. You learn to pressure a quarterback, you learn to wrap your arms around a guy and don't let go until his face is in the turf, you might have a shot at knocking off the Bulldogs this year, being at home and all. You don't, you give Matt Stafford all day to throw and let Moreno make you look like a buncha fuckin' statues, it's back to getting beat by 30, 40 points. You'll be selling your possessions to get to another Music City Bowl.

Does that scare you? Does that wipe the grins right off your 8-5 faces, you bluegrass cocksuckers? It should. 'Cause it takes brass balls to play in this league, gentlemen, and I don't think I see a one a' you who's grown any yet. Find 'em, or I got no sympathy for you. Fifth place in the SEC East is no man's land. You reside there, you reside alone.

And that's all I've got to say to you. Close the fuckin' deal, win the game, or spend bowl season in front of your fuckin' TV. That's it.

I'm going to get a drink.

-- David Mamet is one of the country's most accomplished and versatile writers, having earned a Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1984 as well as an Academy Award nomination for original screenwriting. His recent works include the comedy November, which recently concluded a run on Broadway, and the film "Redbelt," which he wrote and directed; an upcoming drama portraying a gritty ensemble of D-IA football players, Glengarry Glenn Dorsey, is slated to premiere in January.

Our next preview addresses some controversial issues relating to the Auburn Tigers, and our columnist is an outspoken commentator who isn’t afraid to take a stand.

Tuesday, July 22

It must've sounded like a good idea at the time.

I have a tag for the posts on this blog called "techies are adorable," but it looks like I might have to start one for South Carolina fans, too:

The tanking economy and overbuilding have tempered the Midlands “cockominium” craze.

Forty condominiums at Carolina Walk, near Williams-Brice Stadium, will go on the auction block Saturday, and at Stadium Village Lofts, 59 units that recently were finished are moving slowly, developers say.

“Some of the people that were qualified (to purchase a condo) a year and a half ago are not qualified now,” said Boyce Haigler, a developer of Stadium Village Lofts.

"Cockominium" -- let that word roll off your tongue a couple times. Now, doesn't the cutesy desperation in that concept strike you as almost Tech-esque?

Mind you, I don't have any blanket condemnations of Columbia to issue because there are some spots around the downtown area that are actually quite nice. The stadium area, though, makes mid-'80s Detroit look like Versailles. Between that and the tanking economy, I don't think it's any wonder people aren't lining up to make a new real-estate investment just to get closer to a team that's 37-35 over the last six seasons.

Particularly when it's called a "cockominium," which sounds like a place where multiple porn flicks are filmed simultaneously. Maybe it's just me.

(Hat tip to the good Senator.)

Monday, July 21

Florida preview: The Gators are gonna do it. They're gonna get there. This is the time.

By Tom Cruise
Guest Columnist

First of all: I think it's a privilege to call yourself a Gator, and I think it's a privilege you have to earn. When you put on that jersey, when you step out into the arena, you're not just there to be a spectator. OK? Because there are plenty of those kinds of people out there. What you're there to do is score points. That really is what it comes down to. How do you do that? Well, first, you've got to get out there, man. Ha-HA! I mean, right? HA! You can't just stand there waiting around for somebody else to do something, you line up, you square off, BOOM! You go for it.

For me, it really is all about the spread offense. Have you read about it? I mean, have you really read about it, gotten in there, seen what the quarterback is expected to do, seen all the possibilities you've got in front of you? I mean, people can be very glib about the whole thing, but they don't know the history of the spread offense. I do. And it's just -- when you see it, you can't not be amazed by it. And once you see it, you're spurred to action. That's all there is to it.

And I think the Gators are the authorities on the spread offense. They're the authorities on the quarterback draw, they’re the authorities on the jump pass, they’re the authorities on the wideout option, the deep pass, everything. Once you have these tools and you know that they work, it’s not enough to just sit there. I mean, have you seen all this in action? Ha-ha-HA! BOOM! It's just like -- YEAH, man! It's all, it's all encompassed right there. Everything you could possibly want to do with a football from an offensive perspective, the answers, they’re all in there. That strategy, that offense, it's just waiting for people to come take a look, pick it up, become a part of it.

This Tebow kid -- I mean, people have heard about him, but they don't really know him. When you see what he's done, and I'm not even talking about his schoolwork, his family, the circumcisions out in the Philippines, I'm talking about every day he gets up out of bed and he's already got that game face on. People are going to him for help, because they know, they know, he knows what's going on. When you're a Gator, you have that responsibility. This is the time. Now is the time. Being a Gator, people are turning to you, so you better know it. Urban Meyer’s going to look you in the eyes, look into your soul, and tell you he wants you. So you better be ready.


And people come to me, they're like, "Have you ever met a Georgia Bulldog?" Ha-HA! Ha ha ha ha ha! HA! Wow, and I hope one day it's gonna be like that, you know? When, like, "Oh, the Bulldogs, I read about those in history books." And they’ve got their All-American running backs, their end-zone celebrations, that’s fine. That’s the very mark of an SP. But someone like that, when they look at you and they know you’re running the spread, that you’ve got it down — they won’t come up to you. Not to your face. They know you’ve got it all right there in the playbook -- XYZ, zip right, H-back, QEDMF, SPC, AEIOU and sometimes Y, milk milk lemonade around the corner fudge is made -- bup-bup-bup-bup-bup, that's what people are coming to us for. That's what they expect from us. Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, Urban Meyer, right on down the list, they know that's going to be expected of them. And you just — you gotta do it! Ha-HA! Ha!

I mean, people talk about wanting the world to be a different place. I’d like the world to be a different place. I’d like to have won an SEC championship last year instead of going to the Capital One Bowl and getting creamed by those SPs from Michigan. But you know, you can sit there wishing, be a spectator — ha-HA! HA! I mean, RIGHT? — or you can make it happen. I make it happen. Urban Meyer makes it happen. Tim Tebow, he makes it happen. They’ve just cancelled out that part of their personalities that wants to sit there on the sidelines. They don’t stand for it. And I don’t either. When Urban Meyer looks at you, points at you, stares you down, you know, you know, that it’s time to act.

Ha-HA! HA HA HA HA HA! Whoo!

So it’s like — it’s not complicated. Not complicated at all. But you gotta know it. If you know it, you know it, and if you don’t, you don’t. And if you know it, you better know you know it, because if you know it but you don’t know you know it, then it’s like not knowing it at all. And if you don’t know it, then know you don’t know it, and start knowing it. You know? It’s that simple. It is just. That. Simple. Just — pfffft! POW! HA HA HA! You know?

And I have to tell you something -- it's rough and tumble, you know? It's wild and woolly. It's shake and bake. It's Amos and Andy. It's Jacoby and Meyers. It’s Up, Bustle and Out. It’s Trinidad and Tobago. But it’s a blast. I want to go out there and know I did everything I could to put some points on the board. It weighs on you. I think about that a lot. But it is what it is, you know? You always want to do more. I know I always want to do more. And those spectators, they’ve got to either get on the playing field or get out of the arena.

But I’m still gonna be there workin’. Tebow, Harvin, all the other guys, they’re gonna be in there. Getting in the game. That’s how we do it, you know? We don’t do anything halfway. HA HA HA! For me, it’s just — PHWOOO! HA HA HA HA! HA HA!

HA! I’m so PUMPED about this season, man! I just wanna — ERRNNGGHH! I’m just gonna say it: I LOVE THIS TEAM! HA HA HA HAAAA! YEAAAHHHH!

— One of the world’s most instantly recognizable actors, Tom Cruise has appeared in more than 30 feature films since his debut in 1981, including lead roles in “Top Gun,” “Jerry Maguire,” “Minority Report,” and the “Mission: Impossible” films; his most recent work, a testimonial for the International Association of Scientologists’ Freedom Medal of Valor ceremony, was leaked to the Internet in January. In addition to following the Gators, his outside interests include neuropsychology, amateur psychiatry, sparring with talk-show hosts, and being certifiably fucking insane. He is married to the former Kate Noelle Holmes of Toledo, Ohio, and is supposedly the father of one child, daughter Suri.

Next in our series: One of America’s most prolific writers for the stage and screen pulls no punches as he makes a hard-nosed assessment of the Kentucky Wildcats’ prospects for the upcoming season.

Friday, July 18

The Friday Random Ten+5 is droppin' truth bombs over Vaduz.

The other day I was link-surfing through Wikipedia -- you know, one of those meandering jaunts from hyperlink to hyperlink that you just kind of follow without thinking, until you come to and you're like, "Holy crap, all I wanted to know was how many times Richard Burton had been divorced and somehow I'm now reading about the Dawson's Field hijackings of 1970" -- and I found myself perusing the list of unrecognized countries. And lo and behold, the nation of Slovakia -- the land of my ancestors, where the morning mist wafting over the Tatras is as lovely and sweet as any perfume -- was on it. Yup, neither Slovakia nor our comrades in the Czech Republic are recognized by Liechtenstein due to an ongoing dispute over something called the Beneš decrees. Liechtenstein!

So my natural reaction to that is -- what the fuck, Liechtenstein? Who do you think you are, all hugged up between Switzerland and Austria like that? You may have the highest nominal GDP per capita in the world according to the CIA, but that just makes you a bunch of rich skiing twerps, it doesn't make you special. For your refusal to respect my homeland, Liechtenstein, you're not only getting a permanent spot on my "On Notice" board, you're the subject of this week's +5 -- as in Five Reasons Liechtenstein Sucks.

They're small
How small? Sixty-two square miles, y'all, meaning that Rhode Island dwarfs Liechtenstein. Luxembourg is more than 15 times the size of Liechtenstein. In fact, all but five sovereign nations in the world are bigger than Liechtenstein, including Slovakia. You call yourself a country? The city of Birmingham is both bigger and more populated than you. I've probably flown into airports bigger than you. Speaking of which . . .

They don't have a single airport
Nope, if you want to go to Liechtenstein -- and why the hell would you? -- the best you can do is fly into Zurich (above) and rent a car. The only landing area of any kind is a heliport in Balzers (heh, Balzers), and it doesn't even have any regularly scheduled flights.

They depend on Switzerland for their military
However, air travel is only one of many things Liechtenstein has to go running to daddy Switzerland for. Liechtenstein is one of the few countries in the world to have no army of any kind, so according to the CIA, they turned over responsibility for their national defense to Switzerland. Apparently they got rid of their own military in 1868 because -- get this -- it was too expensive. Yeah, the country with the highest per-capita GDP on earth is too cheap to field a field an army to defend their sixty-two lousy square miles of suck. There's just one problem, Liechtenstein -- you put your defense in the hands of what is, as we all know, a neutral country. Going to them for military protection is kind of like asking a priest for advice on how to get laid. So stellar strategy there, guys. Bra-vo.

Their national football team sucks
Team Liechtenstein's highest-ever FIFA ranking was 118th in the country; in the qualifying for the 2006 World Cup, they came in next-to-last in their group with a 2-2-8 record. (And lost by an aggregate score of 7-0 to . . . ? That's right, Slovakia, bitches.) To look at it another way, San Marino's national team has won only one match in its 22-year history, and it was against Liechtenstein. If that's the best you can do, guys, you might as well hang it up. Maybe ping-pong is more your speed.

They've chosen profiting from Nazism over respecting the sovereignty of our glorious Slovak homeland
OK, so the whole dispute over the Beneš decrees? What happened was Czechoslovakia seized some Nazi property in the wake of World War II, and some of it just happened to belong to Prince Franz Joseph II, who profited directly from the Holocaust. And it was Liechtenstein's hissy fit over Nazi boy's ill-gotten gains that inspired the whole "I'm not diplomatically recognizing you, I'm not diplomatically recognizing you" routine with Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Awfully defensive about that Nazi heritage, huh, Liechtenstein? Hmmmm?

So in conclusion, Liechtenstein, you may consider yourself comprehensively, diplomatically, and internationally pwn3d. That's courtesy of the other red, white and blue. And if your buddy Switzerland doesn't like it, he can come get some of this, too.

And now, the Ten, coming to you this week courtesy of the iPhone:

1. The Clash, "Something About England"
2. Richard Cheese, "Welcome to the Jungle"
3. U2, "Zoo Station"
4. The Chemical Brothers, "Marvo Ging" (Big Bad Baz remix)
5. The Kinks, "Nothin' in This World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl"
6. U2, "New Year's Day"
7. Radio 4, "Struggle"
8. Thom Yorke, "The Eraser"
9. Pet Shop Boys, "West End Girls" (Sasha remix)
10. Pet Shop Boys, "We Came From Outer Space"

Now then, readers, if you got beef with any of the world's sovereign nations, consider this your opportunity to vent (and share your own Random Tens while you're at it) in the comments.

Thursday, July 17

LSU preview: We're gonna win another Super Bowl, y'all!

By Britney Spears
Guest Columnist

Hi, everybody! I just want to say first of all I am SO EXCITED to be writing about LSU for you guys! See, LSU is like right down the road from my hometown of Kentwood, so they're kind of like our hometown team, and oh my God, we were SO THRILLED when they won the Super Bowl last year! I mean, not the SUPER BOWL Super Bowl, but, like, the Super Bowl of COLLEGE, you know what I mean?

Anyway, we are all SUPER-HUGE Tiger fans, and Jamie Lynn was even thinking about going there before, you know, other stuff kind of came up. (Have you seen her new baby? She's cute and everything, but not as cute as Sean or Jayden James. Now that I don't have custody of the two of them, Jamie Lynn's been getting all the attention, and she's been kind of milking it lately -- I may have to have another baby pretty soon, I don't know. Gotta show her who the REAL star in the family is!)

OK so anyway. The ONLY thing that everybody's been talking about is all this stuff with Ryan Perrilloux (if I have a daughter next that's TOTALLY what I'm naming her -- I mean, Ryan Perrilloux Spears, how adorable is that?), about how he's all messed up in the head and how LSU is totally screwed now that they only have two inexperienced quarterbacks to try and replace him. But that is SO unfair, because y'all, let me tell you something: When I told Kevin (A**HOLE) Federline I wanted a divorce, that was like the best thing that ever happened to me. He was a bad influence, I finally got him off my back and out of my life, and that freed me up to do all the things I love the most: I put out another album, I could spend time raisin' my kids, I could go to Starbucks whenever I wanted instead of having to worry about all his crap. It's like my song "Toxic": He was poison, and once I got him out of my system, everything was GREAT from there on out.

And that's just what LSU is like right now: They got out of a bad relationship with a LOSER -- I mean, he's at some D-IAA school in ALABAMA -- and they are so going to be better off for it. Like that one quarterback they have, Andrew Hatch? He transferred to LSU from Harvard. From HARVARD, y'all. So you know he's like super-smart and isn't going to be throwin' interceptions or getting sacked or whatever like Perrilloux did in the SEC championship game.

And have you seen all the other guys on their offense? They have a running back named Keeland (sp? these names are HARD!) Williams who can run 4.45 in the 40. I think that means he can go from 0 to 40 miles an hour in 4.45 seconds, and y'all, that is FAST. And there's ANOTHER guy named Trindon Holliday, who is only five foot five and y'all, that's only an inch taller than me, and he is ADORABLE!!! He's so small you can't hardly even tackle him, and he scored, like, a hundred touchdowns against Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl a couple years ago.

And what? The defense? Ummm . . . OK, I don't actually know anything about defense, y'all. I mean, how do you even figure out if a defense is good or not? It's just like, "Go out there and run into people and don't let them score any points!" And LSU's pretty good at that. They'll probably hold Georgia to, like, four points. That's pretty good, right? Or whatever.

Anyway, the point is LSU's gonna be awesome this year, and when I hear people talk about how it's going to be a "down year" and they've lost this player or that player, it makes me want to CRY, y'all. Like, did they not just SEE the Tigers win the College Super Bowl? And everybody makes fun of poor Les Miles because he's kind of weird and he wears big hats, but y'all, first of all, there is nothing wrong with wearing big hats. Second of all, everybody does crazy stuff sometimes and that doesn't mean they're bad people or dumb or whatever. Like, that time I shaved my head, everyone was like, "Oh my God Britney's CRAZY," and blah blah blah, but it got me all kinds of attention in the media, and THAT allowed me to bring attention to one of my most passionate causes, which is how the paparazzi gets in people's faces and ruins their lives, and how we should have the right to go after them with umbrellas or whatever we might have to hit them with. And it's the same thing with Les Miles. Him going for it and calling passes on fourth down and whatever, that's like his version of me shaving my head, and he doesn't do it 'cause he's CRAZY, he does it 'cause he knows something good's gonna come out of it, like winning the game or the College Super Bowl or whatever.

Punting is like wearing pants: Just 'cuz everyone SAYS you should do it doesn't mean you HAVE to, because this is a free country and besides, you can't score any points by punting. I mean, DUH!! I'm totally not a football expert but even I know that!

So anyway, to recap: LSU is awesome, our quarterback is going to be super-smart, Les Miles is a GENIUS and people just don't understand him. And Georgia's going to be good and everything, Mark Richt is SO CUTE, prolly even cuter than Les Miles, but that doesn't mean he's a better coach and they're playing the game in Baton Rouge so LSU wins.

So get ready for another College Super Bowl, y'all! I can't wait!

--Britney Spears is a seven-time Grammy Award nominee who has sold nearly 90 million albums worldwide, and who set a new UCLA Medical Center record this year for being placed on two separate 5150 involuntary psychiatric holds in the span of a single month. She is scheduled to release her next album early next year.

Next in line: He's issued controversial pronouncements on Hollywood, spirituality, dating, medicine, and seemingly everything in between -- and now he's got the inside dope on the Florida Gators. Don't go anywhere.

A memo from the desk of Arnold T. Pants, Esq.:
Billboard semiotics, the spread of the "douchewattage" meme, inappropriate T-shirts, and TV FAIL.

· OK, I got the satire behind the Barack Obama New Yorker cover, but can somebody 'splain this to me?

Don't vote for a Democrat . . . why, exactly? Because then we might not have any more of those awesome nation-unifying events like 9/11?

(Actually, the song he's hawking on his Web site might actually be more offensive -- not to my sense of decency, but to my musical sensibilities.)

· Ostensibly, this quiz is to determine how close you are to being "that guy," but let's call a spade a spade and describe it as it really is: a quiz to determine how much of a douche you are. It even gives your results in terms of temperature, as if to convey how much douche-energy you're giving off . . . hmmmm, where have I heard that one before? My temperature, in case you were wondering, is regrettably "hot"; I don't use a sleep mask or noise-cancelling headphones on planes and I don't describe things as "sick," but I do quote movies obsessively, and as for the thinking-Hayden-Panettiere-is-hot question, well, I think we all know where I stand on that one.

· That said, at least I'm not this guy:

It just so happens that that picture was taken at a police station -- where its subject, Daniel Allen Everett, was taken after attempting to set up a sexual tryst online with someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl. My only regret is that Chris Hansen evidently wasn't there to comment on his shirt. (Which, given the circumstances, shouldn't it have read "World's Greatest Daddy" instead?)

· I'm with Blutarsky on this one -- you do a list of Georgia's top 10 athletes of all time and you don't put my boy Champ Bailey on it?

Pimping: As a general rule, not easy, but easier for some than for others.

· First Bill O'Reilly, now Laura Ingraham . . . man, you right-wingers seem to have some problems with what we call "the TV." After watching the linked video, you can kind of see why her show was cancelled after a run of only three weeks; it was probably for her own safety -- some of her "handlers" you can see in the background there look as if they're compiling mental lists of where they might hide her body.

But what's even funnier is the fact that when she's not complaining about something or grouching at a producer, she spends the rest of the video looking like this:

Close your mouth, Laura. This is national television, not special ed.

But still, you're a treasure. Don't ever change.

· As for conservatives who don't come off like complete 'tards, my Tent City homeboy Josh has gotten some major linkage for his "explosion-by-explosion account" of "Die Hard," which celebrated its 20th anniversary this week. All things considered, if you've got to be obsessed with a particular movie, that's not a bad one to be obsessed with.

Which reminds me: Just when I'd gotten done pissing my pants with anticipation over my iPhone, I get to piss my pants all over again with anticipation for "The Dark Knight," which opens this weekend. If you're in Birmingham and want to join a big group of grown men and women who have been reduced to giggling pre-teens when we go see it on Sunday, holler.

Tuesday, July 15


I think this represents that rare confluence of both a) something being every bit as awesome as it's been hyped up to be and b) me having one before everyone else in North America does. Either way, I'm calling this a "win."

Monday, July 14

Vanderbilt preview: Vandy iz teh suxx0rz, but Jorja no can haz freebie.

By Teh LOLcats
Guest Columnists

-- Ever since they burst onto the scene with the debut of I Can Has Cheezburger in January 2007, the LOLcats writing collective has been one of the nation's most prolific commentators on pop culture, politics, sports, pet care, and other issues; their college-football analysis includes guest posts at Georgia Sports Blog and Every Day Should Be Saturday, among many others. Their first book on college athletics, I Can Haz Dollarzz?: How Corprit America Iz In Ur Sportz Ruinin Ur Futbawl, will be released in November.

Our focus next turns to LSU, and nobody knows the Tigers better than our next columnist, who grew up right up the road from Baton Rouge.

A very short movie review.

This was one of the most jaw-droppingly awesome moviegoing experiences I've had in a long, long time. I know this outs me as a big softie, but I nearly cried at the end, it was that affecting and amazing.

It's a shoo-in to win the "Best Animated Feature" category at next year's Oscars, but to me that doesn't seem good enough; this is the kind of film that needs a Best Picture nomination, and yes, I know it's only July.

If you haven't seen it yet, go forth and do so, tonight, unless you're an Eddie Murphy fan who has vowed to bring the rest of your life to a crashing halt until you get a chance to see "Meet Dave."

Friday, July 11

The Friday Random Ten+5 has its pride (and its orange crush).

As threatened, this week's +5 is Five Things I've Never Had To Stoop To No Matter How Bad My Luck With Women Has Been -- inspired, of course, by the tale of the Georgia Tech student who solicited lessons on how to kiss on Craigslist so that he could properly impress the Internet girlfriend he was about to meet in person for the first time. Between that kid and "Dimitri," the clinically disturbed voice-mail-leaver, I've definitely been blessed with some opportunities to feel better about myself lately.

Making up a story about myself
Not that I haven't thought about it -- I'm a decent actor, not to mention an extremely accomplished liar (if I do say so myself), so I'm sure I could spin a fairly airtight yarn about having flown an A-10 "Warthog" in the liberation of Afghanistan or being a talent scout for the Boston Red Sox or something like that. Particularly if it was just for a one-night stand, and I wouldn't have to play it out for more than 12 hours or so, I think I could pull that off. But every time the thought enters my head, my Catholic guilt kicks in not long afterward and I can't go through with it. Might still be worth trying, though, as a . . . sociology experiment. Of sorts. Yeah, that's it.

Making up a "Canadian" girlfriend
Again, I'm sure I could put together a ripping good tale of some ridiculously hot synchronized swimmer from Vancouver I met on vacation or something, but I can't do it -- and this time, it has nothing to do with guilt over telling a falsehood; mainly, I've never been able to bring myself to do something that pathetic, no matter how well I'd be able to pull it off.

Getting a girl drunk
I know I've made plenty of jokes on here about looking way better after a few beers -- which I'm sure is true -- but once you get past all the jokes about getting someone drunk and open to suggestion, there's the fact that intoxication voids a person's ability to grant legal consent, which means there's not a place in the country where that wouldn't be considered rape. Not a real bright idea, in other words. Not to mention that most drunk people are so annoying I wouldn't want to spend any more time with them than I absolutely had to in the first place.

Availing myself of the services of a prostitute
Oh, sure, Eliot Spitzer made it look all cool and glamorous, but most of the cities I've lived in, I've been in what you might call a somewhat lower-income part of town -- which means that most of the hookers in my neck of the woods haven't been the high-class Eliot Spizer kind of hooker but rather the corner-of-Ponce-and-Monroe, track-marked, trade-you-a-trick-for-a-crack-rock kind of hooker. And I don't need an STD that bad.

Placing an online ad requesting kissing lessons
I mean, seriously, dude. Jesus.

And now the Ten:

1. The Pretenders, "Where Has Everybody Gone"
2. Thievery Corporation, "Lebanese Blonde"
3. Underworld, "Luetin"
4. The Chemical Brothers, "Fuck Up Beats"
5. Underworld, "Juanita/Kiteless" (live)
6. U2, "Trip Through Your Wires"
7. Thievery Corporation, "Indra"
8. New Order, "True Faith"
9. Richard Cheese, "Come Out and Play"
10. Johnny Cash, "Daddy Sang Bass"

Your turn -- Random Tens and lists of things you're proud you've never had to do in the comments.