Friday, July 30

The Friday Random Ten+5 advises you on what not to wear when you're not wearing anything.

Last night a discussion somehow got started on Twitter about what items of clothing are appropriate to wear when you're otherwise completely naked. OK, I'm the one who got that discussion started, but beyond that I have no further details. Anyway, I think we managed to get a pretty good list of ground rules laid down, and I present them to you as this week's +5: Five Things It's Unacceptable To Wear As The Only Thing You've Got On.

dark socks
This is the article of clothing that started it all: There's just nothing sexy about dark socks, in any context, on either gender. Not that they're not fashion-appropriate, mind you -- you wouldn't wear white socks with a dark suit, after all. But the dark socks are worn simply out of necessity. There's still nothing remotely alluring about them. Think about it this way: If a hot chick walks into your room completely naked, that's awesome. If she walks into your room naked except for black socks, though, that's weird, perhaps even a little sad. If you're interested enough in some major-league sexing to take off all your clothes, really, why not take 10 extra seconds to ditch the socks? You're that worried about your feet getting cold?

As belts have grown wider and wider in recent years, some models and wannabe celebrities have attempted to push the envelope by wearing belts in lieu of skirts or even tops. Here's the thing, though: If I see you with nothing but a belt around your waist, my first thought is that you forgot to put pants on. And if you can't remember to execute a task that simple, I can't give you points for accessorizing. On the other hand, since it technically doesn't violate the "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service" rule, you could probably still get into a 7-Eleven.

football pads
Just because you like two things doesn't mean they'll necessarily go well together. For example: I love Dreamland ribs. I also love the Bentley Continental GT. Eating Dreamland ribs in a Bentley Continental GT, however -- particularly whilst traveling near the Bentley's top speed of 197 miles per hour -- strikes me as a terrible idea. Same thing with scantily clad chicks and football uniforms. Apparently the Lingerie Football League wants me to think that a girl in her underwear is just as sexy when you throw pads and eyeblack on her, but I respectfully disagree; really, she just looks like she decided at the last minute to go to a Halloween party dressed as one of the characters from Mad Max but had to half-ass it. If you want a girl to look sexy at a football game, put her in a cheerleading uniform and leave her on the sideline; if you want her to actually play -- and I saw a segment about the LFL on "CBS Sunday Morning" of all places, and yeah, some of those girls can ball -- give her a respectable uniform and let her do her thing.

Like football pads, helmets are just too bulky to be useful for any kind of bedroom play. And while it might sound like a fun, crazy idea to ride, say, a motorcycle wearing nothing but the helmet, that seems like a great way to set a new Guinness world record for skin grafts. (Notable exception to the helmet rule, per Spencer: Viking helmets are acceptable when it's Valkyrie Night. I concur.)

knit winter caps
Obviously, you have to be very careful about wearing hats while naked. Wear the wrong one -- and honestly, most of them are wrong -- and you just end up looking like a fool. Winter caps or "toboggans" are probably the worst: I know you supposedly lose the vast majority of your body heat through the top of your head, but really, if it's cold enough out that you feel the need to throw on a winter cap, you probably ought to be clothing yourself in other ways. And I can't think of any sexual role-playing in which a winter cap would have to play an integral role, unless you really got turned on by sledding down hills on garbage-can lids as a kid. (If this is along the lines of what you're into, you're better off buying a shapka and playing James Bond vs. Sexy Russian Spy.)

Next week: five things you can wear when you're naked except for that. Until then, though, the Ten:

1. The Jesus & Mary Chain, "Far Gone and Out"
2. Thievery Corporation, "The Richest Man in Babylon" (Groove Corporation remix)
3. Fatboy Slim and Earth, Wind & Fire, "September/The Joker"
4. The Beach Boys, "God Only Knows"
5. Miles Davis, "Jeru"
6. Underworld, "Skym"
7. Underworld, "Jumbo"
8. Astrud Gilberto, "Who Needs Forever?" (Thievery Corporation remix)
9. Moby, "Southside"
10. The Fugees, "The Beast"

Your Random Tens, as well as any personal recommendations on nude accessorizing, are invited in the comments.

Wednesday, July 28

Are there any chinks in Alabama's armor? (Anybody? Anybody?...)

The consistently awesome Senator Blutarsky -- showing more conscientiousness on his supposed vacation than I do on a normal day -- has left behind some goodies for his readers, today's being a series of polls soliciting opinions on how many wins to expect for each team in the SEC (starting with the West Division). His exercise prompted me to sit down with a copy of this year's SEC schedule and go through it, game by game, to get an idea of where everyone would end up in the standings.

When the smoke cleared, I realized that, among other questionable judgments, I had Alabama ending up at 12-0.

It's obviously not all that far-fetched as conclusions go -- Nick Saban's obviously got them operating at maximum efficiency and then some, to the point that the Tide are basically the consensus #1 across the punditocracy's unofficial preseason rankings. Still, the law of averages dictates that it's going to be extremely difficult for any team, even one as good as the Tide, to rumble through a third straight regular season unscathed. For starters, they're only returning two starters on defense after having handed over a staggering amount of talent in the first three rounds of the NFL draft; there's also that matter of six SEC foes getting a bye the week before they face Bama (about which the always-meek Tide diehards have hardly uttered a word of complaint).

So if the Tide do have to get upended by someone, who's it most likely to be? Take a look at the rundown of the most likely contenders, then cast your vote at the bottom.

PENN STATE (Tuscaloosa, Sept. 11)
Points in favor of an upset:
Name-brand team with one of the nation's top returning RBs (Evan Royster) as well as a big, experienced line to put in front of him, which will be a major test for Bama's gutted front seven.
Points against: PSU's situation on defense is almost as shaky as Bama's -- their entire starting LB corps from last year is gone -- and none of their QBs are anywhere near as accomplished as Greg McElroy. Bama has had very little trouble in these marquee early-season games over the past couple seasons.
Prognosis: Not great. Saban is cash money in games like this, and it's hard to picture a Big Ten team coming out victorious at Bryant-Denny.

ARKANSAS (Fayetteville, Sept. 25)
Points in favor of an upset:
Maybe the most potent offense Bama will face all year, with all but one offensive starter returning. Ryan Mallett gives Arkansas a chance in every game they play. The game's in Fayetteville.
Points against: Alabama will be coming off an almost certain blowout win at Duke, while Arkansas will be returning home from a date at Georgia. Mallett played like cold stale ass against the Tide last year (12-of-35 for 160 yards, one TD, and a pick in a 35-7 loss); the Arkansas defense, meanwhile, has sucked out loud since Petrino got there.
Prognosis: Poor. Arkansas could be good this year, but "good enough to beat the defending national champs" sits squarely in the I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it file.

FLORIDA (Tuscaloosa, Oct. 2)
Points in favor of an upset:
It's Florida, a team that will no doubt be looking for revenge after having gotten cornholed in the SEC title game last December. They've got a terrific offensive line and three of the fastest RBs in the country, all of whom will be poised to strike at the Bama defense right where they're most vulnerable.
Points against: Trading Tebow for a junior making only his fifth career start robs the Gators of any air of invincibility. No more Charlie Strong, either.
Prognosis: Decent, but it's still hard to see Alabama not coming out on top at home; the loss of Tebow, Strong, Riley Cooper, Aaron Hernandez, and Brandon James equals, if not exceeds, any glaring losses on the Bama side.

SOUTH CAROLINA (Columbia, Oct. 9)
Points in favor of an upset:
The 'Cocks return more starters than any other team in the conference, including four of five on the O-line and maybe the most promising RB corps they've had in years. As a rule, beware night games in Columbia.
Points against: Carolina winning a meaningful game period, much less against the defending champs, is kind of a surreal picture. It certainly isn't going to happen without a stellar game from the quarterback, but Spurrier has sounded like he's one sideways glance away from strangling Stephen Garcia all summer long. As a rule, positive signs about the Gamecock O-line have been meaningless.
Prognosis: Am I crazy if I say "not that bad"? Carolina will be coming off a bye, and as mediocre as they've been at many points in Spurrier's tenure, they've claimed a top-10 scalp in two of the last three seasons (and come achingly close in many other such opportunities). Given Carolina's M.O., it'd be just like them to knock off Bama to get to 3-2 or 4-1, win a few more games to come within striking distance of the top 10 and get everyone excited, then pull their usual collapse down the stretch.

OLE MISS (Tuscaloosa, Oct. 16)
Points in favor of an upset:
Whenever people start pooh-poohing a Houston Nutt team, that's when you should worry. Has one of the few front sevens that will give Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson any kind of challenge all year. Potential for Alabama to be looking ahead to the Tennessee game.
Points against: Landing Jeremiah Masoli looks like basically the only chance they have of putting up any kind of offense this year. Very green secondary will be a big fat bullseye for McElroy. The game's in Tuscaloosa.
Prognosis: Poor. Nutt is always a threat to pull a stunner of an upset, but he's just got too much talent to replace this year.

TENNESSEE (Knoxville, Oct. 23)
Points in favor of an upset:
If ever there was a year to overlook the Vols, it's this one. Tauren Poole will be a real threat against the Alabama defensive front. The game's in Knoxville.
Points against: Other than Poole, UT's offense may be so horrendous this year that Alabama's defensive inexperience may not even matter. And even Poole will only be able to do so much behind the ragtag O-line Tennessee will have to field.
Prognosis: Sub-poor. Saban has yet to lose to the Vols as Bama's coach, and that includes his first year in Tuscaloosa, when his guys barely made bowl eligibility and Tennessee won the East; it's not gonna happen this year.

LSU (Baton Rouge, Nov. 6)
Points in favor of an upset:
This game has rocketed to the top of the list of games the Tigers get geeked up for each year, as evidenced by achingly close games against demonstrably superior Bama squads in each of the past two seasons. The defense should continue to improve under John Chavis. It's hard to bet against LSU in a night game at home.
Points against: LSU is tied with Vandy for the fewest returning starters in the SEC, and that's not good coming off a year when they were mediocre or worse in nearly every statistical category. The offense, in particular, could be a mess.
Prognosis: Should be good -- and might be, by the time this game is played -- but I don't think it is. LSU got to nine wins last season in spite of being statistically awful; when a team with this much raw athletic talent relies that much on luck to win games, they're wasting a lot of that talent, and I don't see a whole lot to convince me that's going to change substantially in 2010.

MISSISSIPPI STATE (Tuscaloosa, Nov. 13)
Points in favor of an upset:
Dan Mullen clearly has this team pointed in the right direction; they were quite competitive against LSU, Florida, and Ole Miss last year. The defense could be pretty good, particularly against the pass.
Points against: The gap in talent between the two teams remains substantial. Mullen is still struggling to implement his system with the players he's got.
Prognosis: Bad. I know, it wasn't that long ago that Alabama was getting punked by State on the regular, but Bama has clearly come a long way since then; MSU still has a long way to go.

AUBURN (Tuscaloosa, Nov. 26)
Points in favor of an upset:
With Gus Malzahn masterminding the playbook, Auburn's offense could be even better than last season's, while Bama's will almost certainly be worse -- not good considering how easy Auburn made it look in jumping out to a 14-0 lead in Auburn last year.
Points against: Auburn's defense wasn't anything special itself, particularly against the run. As surprising as Auburn was last year, the thought of Gene Chizik knocking off Nick Saban in T-Town remains surreal.
Prognosis: Honestly? Not that bad. I think Auburn's one of the most underrated teams in the country at the moment. Should Alabama roll into this game 11-0, though, it becomes that much harder for me to picture Auburn knocking them off.

Your turn:

Feel free to expound on your choice(s) in the comments.

A memo from the desk of Arnold T. Pants, Esq.:
Careers headed in different directions, booze, and Legos, of course.

· Life update: So I've been at my new job for almost two months now, and things have been going well -- my affinity for Legos is already becoming well-known throughout the office, which I think is probably a good foretaste of the full-blown Georgia football obsession that will be manifesting itself in just a few weeks. I've also moved into a house, a little 1930s-era number just a few blocks off of the park. (Renting, not owning -- please, bitch, you know I'm not financially responsible enough to handle anything as complicated as a mortgage right now.) Between the park and the fenced-in backyard, Champ and Jenna are doing pretty well, thanks. I'll put some photos of the place up when I've got the place looking right (i.e. like a hobo's not squatting there), but I do have one thing set up exactly the way I want it, and it's the most important thing: the bar.

· In other Columbus-related news, those of you who (like me) were upset to see David Hale depart his role as the Ledger-Enquirer's resident Bulldog correspondent/blogger extraordinaire will be relieved to know that his successor, one Seth Emerson, gives a pretty good interview. Consider, though: Hale is leaving the Bulldogs beat to go cover the Phillies for a paper in Delaware; Emerson comes to Georgia from South Carolina after having covered the Gamecocks for five years. If there's a starker contrast between trading up and trading down, I must confess I haven't seen it. (Welcome, Seth.)

· As for the rest of my homemaking responsibilities, I've been sucked into Ikea's neon with a big assist from Holly -- I wouldn't say that I look forward to Ikea trips as much as I look forward to excursions to, say, the Lego store, but it's getting close.

· Speaking of Legos, I have a new gift idea for anyone who's interested in buying it for me -- the Tower Bridge, all 4,287 pieces of which will be hitting stores on October 1. I think it's going to be around three hundred bucks, so let me know when I should set up the PayPal account for y'all to donate to.

· Finally, this, because it's awesome.

Tuesday, July 20

HJS asks the tough questions.

I don't have to be here talking to you right now, you know. I had multiple people offer to credential me at SEC Media Days, where I could be with Spence and Holly right now, rubbing elbows with journalists from around the country, stuffing my face with free Chick-fil-A biscuits while getting to interact with the top coaches and players in college football.

But instead I'm stuck at that job I was so happy about for some reason a couple months ago, so that ain't happening. But if I were there, these are the questions I'd ask:


For Nick Saban: When it was announced that USC was getting nut-punched by NCAA sanctions, how hard did you laugh, or did you not have time for that shit?
For RB Mark Ingram: How many times have you heard/read that Trent Richardson might actually be better than you, and how do you feel about that?
For QB Greg McElroy: For some reason I always feel like your first name should be spelled "Gregg." You ever feel like that?

Mississippi State
For Dan Mullen: I've never seen you and Rob Riggle in the same room before. Can you confirm, unequivocally, that you are not Rob Riggle?

For Joker Phillips: Am I the first person to have ever made a "Smoker"/"Midnight Toker" joke about you, or do you get that all time?
For WR/QB/RB/PR/KR Randall Cobb: Why don't you ever play tight end or offensive line? Are you fucking lazy or something?

For Urban Meyer: I think you're a pussy because you couldn't eat this Hardee's Monster Thickburger and then run a mile in under five minutes. Wanna bet me that you can?
C Mike Pouncey: I bet you'd like this nice, crisp hundred-dollar bill, huh?


For Mark Richt: I couldn't help but notice that you only had one Chick-fil-A biscuit this morning. Is that a sign that you're on the hot seat?
For P Drew Butler: Does "I'm the best punter in the country" help you get ass?

For Bobby Petrino: I'll say a job and you blink twice if you put your name in the mix for it, once if you didn't. OK, ready? USC. Tennessee. Washington Redskins. Vanderbilt. Argentine national soccer team. Barack Obama's old senate seat. Akron . . .
For QB Ryan Mallett: So that little knee-scooter thing you were riding around on this past spring: Did you feel, like, totally gay on that thing?
For DE Jake Bequette: The Arkansas defense has finished dead last in the SEC in both of Bobby Petrino's seasons as head coach. What are y'all doing to move up to 11th?

For interim head coach Robbie Caldwell: Wait, where's is Steve Martin?
Follow-up: No, seriously, where is he?
For LB Chris Marve: Look, I'm tired of playing games -- where the fuck is Steve Martin?

South Carolina
For Steve Spurrier: Does it eat at your soul that you're probably going to end your career winless against Lane Kiffin?
For FB Patrick DiMarco: Coach Spurrier brought only one offensive player to Media Days and it was his fullback. Let that sink in for a minute: his fullback. No, I don't actually have a question, I just wanted everyone to ponder that. OK, if I have to, here's a question: Dude, how awesome was "Inception"?!?


For Gene Chizik: Have people started calling you "13-24 Gene" yet?
For OT Lee Ziemba: Has Ryan Pugh ever gotten confused and tried to break your knees by mistake?

For Derek Dooley: Did you get to inherit all of Lane Kiffin's Ed Hardy shirts and Axe Body Spray, or did he take that stuff with him?
For LB Nick Reveiz: Not only are you and Janzen Jackson the only two halfway decent players left on Tennessee's roster, you're the only two who aren't facing a reasonably lengthy jail sentence at the moment. How are you handling the pressure?

For Les Miles: Coach, what time is it?

Ole Miss
For Houston Nutt: How long do you think you can hold this lit firecracker in your hand before it goes off?
For DE Kentrell Lockett: I don't really have any questions, I'm just gonna start this tape recorder and you say whatever comes to mind. Ready? . . .

Friday, July 16

The Friday Random Ten+5 stands up for wagon rights.

If you've been reading this blog for a long time you're probably aware of my borderline-unnatural obsession with station wagons, Volvos in particular. So imagine my dismay today when I discovered that this sweet piece of ass . . .

. . . probably won't be coming to the United States. That's right: Volvo, the company that helped turn station wagons into status objects, that put the 265-horsepower V70R on the road, that once used the advertising tagline "Until Ferrari builds a station wagon," is denying us the V60 wagon you see above. That's kind of like McDonald's announcing that it's only selling Big Macs in Europe and Asia from now on. Sure, you could just go get a Quarter Pounder or even an Angus Deluxe, but what if what you really want is a fricking Big Mac? And why would McDonald's just arbitrarily deprive us of the main product they built their name on to begin with?

Of course, a lot of the blame rests with people who insist on buying SUVs instead of wagons, which are just as practical but sleeker, more agile, and way more efficient. At any rate, in a world where even Volvo can no longer be counted on to stand up for station wagons, I figured I'd use this week's +5 to pay tribute to the wagon's unsung badassedness -- so join me, won't you, as I sing the praises of the Five Most Awesome Non-Volvo Station Wagons Ever:

Ford Taurus
Hell of a way to kick this off, I know. But hear me out: When the Taurus first came out in 1985, at a time when pretty much every other car was rocking sharp angles and square sealed-beam headlights, this thing was hot shit. Or at least I thought so as an impressionable third-grader, and when my mom finally replaced her old Chevy Malibu with a Taurus LX wagon in 1987, I was in heaven. Not only did the thing look badass, but for the first time our family had a car with a rear-facing third seat in it, which my sister and I had coveted for years. Of course, it didn't take that long before we discovered that my cousin Duff and I were the only ones who could sit back there for any length of time without getting carsick, but hey, good for us. Incidentally, I remember taking a family trip up to Washington, D.C., when I was in junior high, and Duff was the one sitting back there with me while we were stopped at a traffic light somewhere in Alexandria and a dude in an Escort rear-ended us. Yup, we got to watch the whole way as the guy -- who was dealing with one of his kids in the passenger seat -- sped toward us, looked up, mouthed the words "Oh shit," tried to hit the brakes, and plowed into us at 30 or 35 miles an hour. The Taurus? Ended up with barely a scratch on the back bumper. So don't tell me that thing wasn't gangsta. Sometimes I still get wistful about it. Room for five passengers and two or three kegs . . . yeah, that would've been an awesome car to take up to college.

Citroën DS Break
Before anyone makes any French-car jokes, "Break" isn't meant to be a consumer warning, it's just the French shorthand for "station wagon." (In the UK it was called "Safari" or "Familiale"; in the U.S. it was just called the "Wagon." Man, we had no imagination whatsoever back then.) By any name, the DS was decades ahead of its time when it first hit the roads in the mid-fifties: It was one of the first cars ever to have disc brakes, power steering, and a semi-automatic transmission; the wagon added a cavernous cargo area and a rear-facing third seat (w00t). The DS as a whole developed a devoted cult following, but the wagon has been converted into everything from ambulances to Ghostbustermobiles to off-roaders to, well, whatever the hell this is. There are still a few of them plying the roads in various far-flung corners of the U.S., and I'd like to think I'll be able to get my hands on one of them someday.

Bentley Continental Flying Star
OK, this one's a bit of a fudge, because it's not technically a station wagon, it's a "shooting-brake" -- a specialized niche of car developed by (mostly British) rich guys who wanted to have something as fast and stylish as a grand touring car but also wanted to be able to carry their rifles and hunting dogs around their property. The Flying Star, converted from the standard-issue Bentley Continental by Italian coachbuilding house Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera, has everything that makes the Continental awesome (twin-turbo W12 engine, 0-60 in less than five seconds, top speed butting right up against the 200-mph mark) but adds a cargo area big enough for me to go by and borrow my parents' lawnmower when I've got yard work to do. Hey, awesome! And it only costs 590,000 Euros, which at the present exchange rate I think converts to approximately half a bajillion dollars. Give or take.

Alfa Romeo 156 Crosswagon
The Crosswagon was sort of the Italian version of the Subaru Outback -- take a mainstream station wagon, jack up the suspension a couple inches, add bigger tires, and throw on some body cladding to make it appeal to people who might otherwise get snowed into buying an SUV. As the picture above indicates, it could actually hold its own off-road -- as much as anyone in Italy would ever need it to, anyway -- but had a high-pressure turbodiesel engine that got gas mileage in the mid-30s. Presumably this would have been the preferred car of left-leaning Italian soccer moms, which is a demographic I can live with. (Actually, they'd be called "mamme di calcio" over there. See, this blog teaches you stuff.)

Audi RS6 Avant
I'm assuming you gearheads out there are familiar with the Audi R8, yes? OK, ponder this: Audi took the 5.2-liter V10 out of that car, dialed the horsepower up a few notches, and dropped it into a station wagon, which you can purchase and drive up to 174 miles per hour -- assuming you live in Germany, have $160,000, and are comfortable with the prospect of your face being peeled off by g-forces, Colonel Stapp-style. Quite simply, it is not only the most bad-ass station wagon ever produced but one of the most bad-ass cars on the planet, period. The only thing it doesn't have is the all-important rear-facing third seat, which is kind of a shame, because I think it'd be fun to put your kids back there and let them wave as you smoke Porsche 911s and Shelby Mustangs away from stoplights.

By the way, I'm launching a Twitter campaign (aimed at @VolvoCars_US) to demand that Volvo treat the V60 wagon as an equal: Be sure to use the hashtags #shameonyouvolvo and #freetheV60, along with whatever else you can come up with. With your help, I can force Volvo to bend to my whim and bring the V60 stateside, or at least send me some free shit.

Here's the Ten:

1. Pet Shop Boys, "I Wouldn't Normally Do This Kind of Thing" (extended version)
2. The Trammps, "Disco Inferno"
3. The Sex Pistols, "Anarchy in the U.K."
4. Eric B. and Rakim, "I Ain't No Joke"
5. U2, "The Unforgettable Fire"
6. Ned's Atomic Dustbin, "Grey Cell Green"
7. Beck, "Novacane"
8. Gorillaz, "Feel Good Inc."
9. Morrissey, "I'm Not Sorry"
10. Ice Cube, "Wicked"

Your turn -- your favorite wagons and/or wagon-related memories (even those not involving accidents), along with your own Random Tens, in the comments, por favor.

Thursday, July 15

A new side hustle.

I'd file this under "shameless self-promotion" if the mere act of having a blog didn't qualify as self-promotion in the first place, but either way: If you're into the Atlanta sports scene and you're not already keeping up with SB Nation's Atlanta-specific site, you need to be. Tons of worthwhile stuff on the Braves, Falcons, Hawks, Thrashers and, of course, the Bulldogs.

I'm contributing twice a week with some armchair analysis of what's going on with Georgia football. Which, unfortunately, has mostly involved the Georgia legal system of late -- but hey, it's summer, and if your college football program is getting written up at all, it probably ain't good. Whatever: Here's some of what I've been banging out the last couple weeks:

· My take on the tragicomedy of Damon Evans's downfall -- specifically, why he had to go.

· Actual number-crunching in the service of explaining why it would be all but statistically impossible for Georgia's turnover margin -- a garish -16 last season -- to get any worse in 2010.

· And, of course, plenty of material on the recent arrests of Dontavius Jackson and Tavarres King for booze-related offenses: why their punishment might signal a major strengthening of discipline in the wake of the Evans embarrassment, and why certain folks should get over themselves before turning the sanctimony dial up to 11 in discussing such incidents.

The actual football discussion, of course, will ramp up considerably as the actual season draws closer -- by which time, of course, both our athletes and our administrators will be too busy to get arrested for shit.

Friday, July 9

The Friday Random Ten+5 looks back fondly on some good guys.

Over the past couple days, a number of the SBN-affiliated blogs -- EDSBS and Burnt Orange Nation among them -- have been posting about their favorite players from their respective teams. Not the players with the best stats, mind you, or even the players who won the most, just the guys they most enjoyed watching, the guys who put smiles on their faces and made them think, "OK, that dude makes me proud to be a [insert team name here] fan." Particularly at a time when the nauseatingly contrived spectacle of last night's Lebronathon makes us wonder if it's worth it to even call ourselves sports fans at all, it's nice to be able to pick out guys we do like and give them the credit they deserve just for brightening our days.

So I decided to make this week's +5 my own list -- not definitive, by any means, since I only came to UGA in 1995 and hadn't really had anyone indoctrinate me into the ways of the red and black before that. But these are the guys I got most excited about watching, the guys who would put the proudest grins on my face when somebody would ask me, "So, hey, what do you think about . . . ?" Herewith, simple, short and sweet, my Five Favorite Georgia Players:

5. Tony Taylor
Tony never seemed to get quite the same national media attention that, say, Rennie Curran or Odell Thurman got. But he always seemed to have a knack for being in on the play. If you needed a sack, he'd get one. If you needed an interception, he could come up with that too. And if you needed one of the weirdest, wildest scoop-'n'-scores in Georgia football history to flip the momentum of a game -- i.e. the play against Georgia Tech in 2006 seen above -- he'd pull that off, too. Never talked a lot of shit to his opponents, even though he'd usually earned the right to; just worked his ass off every single play, and more often than not had a big grin on his face afterward.

4. Hines Ward
The 2006 Super Bowl MVP did it all, too, just on the opposite side of the ball: He caught passes, he carried out of the backfield, he returned kicks, and just for good measure, he passed quite a bit too, taking over at QB midway through his sophomore season in '95 after both Mike Bobo and Brian Smith got hurt. (As a result, he holds Georgia's record for passing yards in a bowl game, with a 31-of-59, 413-yard performance in the '95 Peach Bowl.) Oh, and he'd block a bitch into the earth's mantle, too, if he had to, a talent he has continued to display with great relish in his justifiably lauded career as a Pittsburgh Steeler. In both Athens and Pittsburgh, he's always seemed to have a big smile on his face as he climbs out of a pile of tacklers, and the smile just gets bigger the harder he's been hit. If this was an "I Hope He Plays Until He's 60" list, he'd probably be at the top.

3. D.J. Shockley
Shock was the perfect story: Hypertalented recruit commits to the Dawgs, ends up having to wait his turn for four years behind the guy who would eventually set a new record for wins by a I-A starting QB, then has an absolute dream season -- 24-5 TD-INT ratio, another four TDs on the ground -- that culminates in an SEC title. He had every opportunity to turn into either a cranky, resentful also-ran or a raging egotistical douchebag, yet somehow it never happened; he was such a good kid that, if someone gave me a time machine but said I could only do three things with it, I'd stop the assassinations of Lincoln and Kennedy, then go back to October 2005 and convince Mark Richt to bench him for the second quarter of the Arkansas game. Seriously, Shock deserved an undefeated season that year (or at the very least deserved to go out with something other than an utter defensive collapse and loss to West Virginia in the Sugar Bowl). I still hold out a glimmer of hope he's gonna break out and do something incredible in the NFL one of these days.

2. Knowshon Moreno
Man, what isn't there to like about this kid. He had awesome moves in the backfield; he bounced right back up after tackles, Hines Ward-style; he pulled off highlight-reel plays like it was nothing; he danced a mean Soulja Boy; he played with Legos. But even with all that, I think my favorite thing about him was how much fun he was obviously having every minute he was out there. Ideally, all our players would be enjoying themselves that much. Do I wish he'd stayed around two more years? Oh, clearly, but I can't quite begrudge him leaving; I'll just root my ass off for him with the Broncos and hope that our paths cross one of these days when I'm wealthy and revered beyond all reason.

1. Champ Bailey
If we'd had one or two like him in the secondary the past few years, even Willie Martinez couldn't have found a way to make us give up points. Schooled opposing wide receivers while playing defense, then turned right around and schooled his fellow cornerbacks while playing wide receiver (and schooled any of those guys who dared try to cover him on kick returns). Wore my lucky number. Dated one of the hottest gymnasts on campus. And then, just to ensure that we would be forever bonded in an irrevocable star athlete/groveling fan relationship, he went and got drafted in the first round by the Redskins. Champ's with the Broncos now, but he's still one of the bigger badasses in the NFL, I still have his jersey . . . and yeah, I named one of my dogs after him. There have been a lot of damn good Dawgs in Athens since I started school there, but he's the damn goodest.

Honorable mention: Jeff Owens (Georgia's own "huggy killbear"), David Pollack, Jon Stinchcomb, Rennie Curran, and Boss Bailey.

And now the (other) Ten:

1. Lifelike, "Discopolis" (Chris Lake remix)
2. Pet Shop Boys, "Fugitive" (7" mix)
3. Hard-Fi, "Hard to Beat" (Axwell mix)
4. Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Sir Psycho Sexy"
5. Underworld, "Born Slippy.TELEMATIC"
6. Dr. Octagon, "3000"
7. U2, "City of Blinding Lights" (Hot Chip 2006 remix)
8. Morcheeba, "Shoulder Holster"
9. Boogie Down Productions, "Jimmy"
10. Pet Shop Boys, "It Doesn't Often Snow at Christmas"

Your turn: Your Random Tens and/or shortlists of favorite athletes from whichever team you call your own, in the comments, please.

Tuesday, July 6

Stay riveted to this blog tomorrow night, when I'll be live-blogging my laundry folding.

Normally I hate it when someone puts up a blog post or Twitter that's basically one long (or not-even-that-long) "I don't care about X," because seriously, get over yourself. There is no International Secret Brotherhood of Coolness, and they're not going to whisk you off to their secret lair in a cave under a mountain in the Swiss Alps and initiate you into their number because you wrote 1,000 words about how the World Cup or Pixar movies or house music are completely unworthy of your attention and that's soooo awesome.

Now then: That said, seriously, fuck Lebron James and his one-hour prime-time which-hat-am-I-gonna-pick special. And at least three-quarters-fuck ESPN for indulging him.

A whole hour? For what? Is Lebron gonna rap? Tell jokes? Is James Lipton going to interview him about what he was feeling while he was shooting all those Nike ads? I mean, Kobe Bryant is the poster child for everything that is rancidly selfish and ego-driven about the NBA -- which is most things about the NBA these days -- but even he didn't get an hour in prime-time to tell us he was gonna stay a Laker and not sign with the Clippers after all.

So yes, I'm breaking my cardinal rule and announcing to the world that I don't give one-tenth of a rat's ass which city will be slobbing King James' knob for the next four or five years or however long it turns out to be. The paintball episode of "Community" comes on at the exact same time -- you think I'm gonna miss that to watch Lebron's ego get even more inflated? And look, I didn't want to say it, but yes, this makes me more awesome than you. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go listen to some really obscure band you've never heard of.

Thursday, July 1

They see me dozin', they hatin'.

There are as many different types of mugshots as there are types of people, from the pathetic and embarrassing (panicky grimace, eyes wide with the fear of being violated in the holding cell during the night) to the brazen (shit-eating grin and a proudly displayed "FREE MUSTACHE RIDES" T-shirt). But I think y'all will concur that this mug occupies a whole new plane of realness.

Yup, when you can't even keep your eyes open for your mugshot, you know you've advanced to the Premier League of drunk driving. One small problem: The cat in the photograph is UGA's athletic director, Damon Evans -- being spirited back to Athens as we speak, as I understand it, where a ripping good hangover and, likely, a cheery weekend of resume-updatin' await.

Should events warrant a series of Better Know A Replacement-AD Candidate posts, kind of like we did with the defensive coordinator position a few months ago, you'll read 'em here.

"The ability to bend it like Beckham is insignificant next to the power of the Force."

My first thought was that the unfortunate player at the end of the clip would have to be Italian, since they're the masters of clutching various body parts and writhing in pain when they haven't actually been touched.