Sunday, October 30

The Lord answers all prayers . . .

. . . but sometimes the answer, as my mom used to tell me, is "no."

Except -- except man, when we ran that freaking miracle halfback-option play for the touchdown in the third quarter, I really thought things were going to turn out differently. In case you didn't see the earth-shattering awesomeness that was Spartan 47: Second and seven from the Florida 9, Dawgs down 14-3, Joe Tereshinski III takes the ball from under center and nearly gets planted in the ground by a Florida DL who came blasting through our O-line like the freaking Kool-Aid pitcher. But right before his knee touches, T3 shovel-passes -- or more like dump-truck-passes, if there is such a thing -- the ball back to Thomas Brown, the RB. The would-be sacker sees that Brown has the ball, so he gets up off of T3 to go after Brown, but that releases T3 to race his Polish ass to the goal line. And T3, whom all the haters said had committed the cardinal sin of not being D.J. Shockley and therefore couldn't run for shit, has gotten up off his Polish stomach and run to the goal line fast enough for Brown to throw him the ball, and T3 catches it while he's in midair and getting creamed by Todd McCullough, and as two-hundred-something pounds of McCullough ride him to the ground he still manages to stretch across the goal line and break the plane.

Fuck a Immaculate Reception, that was one of the most amazing plays I've ever seen. Too amazing to get wasted in a loss, is what I'm really trying to say here. I mean, what if Buck Belue had thrown that ball to Lindsay Scott back in 1980 only for Lindsay to get shoelace-tackled at the 15 and the Dawgs have to settle for a field goal? I don't think so. Great men don't do great things just so it can end up not mattering. You see a play like Spartan 47 executed, not just executed but ripped from the razor-sharp, blood-soaked fangs of defeat, you think, All right, dude. If we can pull of some shit like that, we're gonna win. We're just gonna.

And had we won, Spartan 47 would be remembered 25 years from now just as Buck-Belue-to-Lindsay-Scott is. But Spartan 47 was only one touchdown, and we needed two. And apparently after putting the Most Awesomest Touchdown Ever in our bag of tricks, we forgot to pack another one.

That's the last Moral Victory on the Rocks I'm going to drink this weekend, except to say that T3 played a hell of a game and for all the talk about how Chris Leak looked so poised and so confident in the pocket early, he only had 8 more passing yards than 'Shinski did. Point is, T3 doesn't bear the sole blame for this loss, not with all the woulda-coulda-shouldas flying around Alltel Stadium yesterday. I just hope they'll pick themselves up off the mat and beat Auburn in two weeks like they did back in 2002. (Well, not exactly like in 2002, because I'd prefer not to be down 14-3 at the half or need a last-minute TD pass to escape with a victory. But you know what I mean.)

But I'm still proud of our team, and God willing, we'll beat Auburn. God also willing, I'll be there in Athens to see it. So if anyone knows where some tickets are available, help a poor depressed brother out and let me know, k thx.

Friday, October 28

Friday Random Ten, Merry Fitzmas Edition.

Well, Cheney's chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby got indicted on perjury and obstruction-of-justice charges today. Yeah, yeah, he's innocent until proven guilty, but let's just say the nickname "Scooter" is not going to inspire a lot of deference or intimidation in the prison shower. I'll save the full-fledged four-alarm raging kegger for if/when Karl Rove gets nailed for something, but at the very least this latest news is worth a celebratory G&T or something. I will not, however, be participating in the drinking game whereby I do a shot every time a Republican tries to claim that what Scooter is accused of doing is tooootally different from what Clinton was accused of doing, because a) I'd like to be sober enough to have some tolerance left over for the game tomorrow, and b) I'm not sure I have that much alcohol in my house.

By the way, has anyone seen Ann Coulter lately? God, she looks terrible, by which I mean more terrible than usual, but more than that, she's just got this defeated tone in her voice. Like between the dismal approval ratings, the rampant spending, the Harriet Miers hoo-ha and now the Libby indictments, she's pulled back the curtain and discovered that the Great and Powerful Oz is just some room-temperature-IQ Texan with nice suits and a big-ass microphone. Oh, how the skanky have fallen.

I'm going to cut the schadenfreude now before God decides to take some karmic vengence on yet another Georgia quarterback, and just roll right into the Ten:

1. R.E.M., "Radio Free Europe" (live)
2. J. Geils Band, "Centerfold"
3. Pet Shop Boys, "Flamboyant" (Scissor Sisters mix)
4. Patton Oswalt, "My Christmas Memory"
5. David Holmes, "Pickpockets"
6. Elvis Presley, "Suspicious Minds"
7. Dave Attell, "Parrot"
8. DJ Shadow, "Midnight in a Perfect World"
9. Air, "New Star in the Sky"
10. Oasis, "Wonderwall"

Now it's off to say a Rosary for Joe T . . .

Thursday, October 27

I'll be praying to a big god, as I kneel in the big church . . .

. . . that Joe Tereshinski doesn't completely melt down against Florida on Saturday. The thing is, and maybe I'm going all Pollyanna here, but I don't think he will. I wouldn't advise anyone to expect Matt Leinart numbers from him, but I don't think anybody should be bracing themselves for, say, a repeat of what Quincy Carter did against South Carolina in 2000. Obviously I'd feel better if Shockley were in there, but when life gives you lemons, you make Tereshinski-ade, and either way it ain't the end of the world just yet.

I got two words for you, kids: Clint Longley. Don't know who Clint Longley is? Nobody else did, either, until Dallas Cowboys QB Roger Staubach got hurt in the third quarter of the Thanksgiving Day Redskins-Cowboys game in 1974. Longley, who hadn't thrown a single pass all season, was sent in as Staubach's replacement, and with the Cowboys staring at a 16-3 deficit, it looked like all the 'Skins had to do was get in the n00b's face, grind out the clock, and go home and get their tryptophan on. Longley, however, apparently had other ideas, and he succeeded in bringing the Cowboys to within 23-17 in the fourth quarter. And with 35 seconds left, 'Boys 2nd-and-10 from midfield, Longley launched a deep pass to Drew Pearson, who snagged it at the four and sashayed into the end zone. Ballgame. When I was a kid in the '80s, the glory years of the first Joe Gibbs reign, my dad told me the Clint Longley story in much the same way that Latino parents warn their kids about Cucuy: Don't get too smug or cocky about how well the 'Skins are doing, or Clint Longley will get you!

Point is, every once in a while a hero steps out of nowhere, and when it comes to this particular rivalry, Georgia is due. And who better to lead that kind of out-of-nowhere charge than JoeT3? This is a dude whose granddad played for the Bulldogs' SEC-championship teams in the 1940s, his dad played for the Bulldogs' SEC-championship teams in the '70s, and now here he is, the third generation, making his first start in what is arguably the biggest game of what could end up being yet another title season for the Dawgs. Getting to defend the Dawgs' SEC title hopes in the Cocktail Party was probably a daydream of his ever since was old enough to know anything about football. Even when he was old enough to start daydreaming about nailing Pamela Anderson in the back of a Bentley, those fantasies probably ended with " . . . on my way home from Jacksonville after beating the Gators, of course."

In order for the Dawgs to win, though, T3's gonna have to give the Gators something to respect in the passing game, and that means the Georgia coaching staff is gonna have to let him. In other words, they're gonna have to let him air it out once in a while, lest the Gators decide to put eight or nine guys in the box every freaking play and tear our running backs (not to mention T3 himself) limb from limb.

Here's my Christmas wish for you, Mark Richt: Promise me that the first time JoeT3 gets stuck with a third-and-long in our own territory, you won't call a fucking toss sweep so that maybe our punter can pin the Gator offense a little deeper. That's all I ask. 'Cause when you do shit like that, you're basically saying to the opposing defense, "I don't trust this guy [our quarterback] to be able to get the first." I don't have a problem with conservative play-calling when it's still early in the game and there's no reason to pull out anything cutesy just yet, but there's conservative play-calling and then there's just plain wilting, and making Florida respect us is difficult enough as it is (though in Richt's defense, that was certainly a problem long before he even interviewed for this job).

The maddest I've ever been at our coaching staff was right at the very beginning of last year's Georgia-Auburn game: There we were, taking on the #3 team in the nation in their own stadium, and in spite of the fact that their defense was one of the scariest in the country, I'm talking Robert-Duvall-loving-the-smell-of-napalm-in-the-morning scary, we'd mounted a pretty sweet little opening drive that took us all the way down to the Auburn 19. First down, David Greene scrambles for a yard. Second down, Thomas Brown gets nailed in the backfield for a three-yard loss. We call a timeout to figure out what to do, and then, inexplicably, Leonard Pope false-starts to put us at third-and-17 from the 26. Now, anybody with at least a George W. Bush level of brain activity knew we probably weren't gonna pick up 17 yards on a designed run against the top defense in the SEC, but Richt calls a handoff to Brown, who gets stopped after seven yards.

At that precise moment, as I sat there amongst approximately 15,000 Georgia fans packed into a visitors' section big enough for maybe one-third that, I looked at my totally hot date, who was enjoying her very first SEC football experience and whom I wanted to impress soooo badly with a big-ass Georgia upset, and I knew we were gonna lose, because the coaching staff had basically said, Well, fuck, we can't get a touchdown here. They didn't have enough confidence in David Greene, winningest quarterback in the history of freaking D-IA football, to believe that he could maybe throw a fade or something to Pope and at least get the first down; instead, they declared themselves satisfied to take only what Auburn would give us and no more, which was destined to be not freaking much. From that moment on, as they used to say on "Seinfeld," Auburn had "hand" in the relationship, because Georgia had basically turned into that one pathetic guy in every circle of friends, the one who's dating some Playmate-caliber chick who's miles out of his league and protects this status by letting her walk all over him: You want me to stay in and watch "Sex and the City" with you instead of hanging out with my friends, without even the benefit of a post-show beejer in return? Fine, just don't break up with me! The football gods punished Georgia's cowardice by making the center snap the ball high on the ensuing field-goal attempt, which Andy Bailey obediently missed, and that was that. We were going to lose, and we did lose, and it was a loss richly deserved.

So all I'm saying, Georgia coaching staff, is don't do my boy Joe like that. Remember how T3 hit Sean Bailey on that 43-yard deep pass against Arkansas right before halftime, which set up the field goal that would ultimately prove to be the margin of victory? I don't care how good Florida's secondary is (though it is 13th in the nation, just FYI), you gotta let him toss a few more of those, because if you want others to love you, you must first love yourself, and that means loving your QB enough to believe he can make those kinds of throws. Force the Gators to respect something other than the run, or Shockley's not gonna be the only one with a bum knee come Sunday morning.

But as long as Richt and the coaching staff let T3 do his thang, I think he, and by extension our offense, will be fine. Regardless of what happens, I'm not betting on him to put up Cody Hodges-type numbers, because with the kind of defenses both Georgia and Florida are bringing to the table, this is destined to be one of those 20-16 (or less) type games where one side or the other so much as crossing midfield pretty much qualifies as a pants-pissingly-exciting moment. But call me crazy, I kind of like those games, you know? Say what you will about the 6-3 Alabama-Tennessee game last week, but it was exciting, every big play and every point mattered, and I think that's going to be the case Saturday.

And call me crazy again, but even though Georgia was already 2 for their past 15 against Florida coming into this game and had to suffer the indignity of losing their star player, there's this weirdly electric atmosphere around the game this weekend, like something really amazing is gonna happen that one team's fans are going to be talking about for a long time. I'm half expecting old men to start complaining of getting funny aches in their legs or dogs starting to act funny and go hide underneath beds en masse across the Southeast. I don't know what that amazing thing is gonna be, and I wouldn't dare try to predict it, but . . . well, it could be you, Joe Tereshinski The Third. Immortality! Take it! It's yours!

And, uh, go Dawgs. Sic 'em.

Wednesday, October 26

Who's the cat that won't cop out when there's danger all about? Joe!

With D.J. Shockley out for the Georgia-Florida game this weekend, my new favorite person on earth is of course Joe Tereshinski III, who will start at QB for the Dawgs and comes from a long line of gentlemen whose blood runs red and black. I'll have my whole big spiel about the game in a couple days, but until then, whether you're a Georgia fan or someone who reads all my football ranting not knowing why in the world I'd get so worked up over this crap, mosey on over to this post at Paul Westerdawg's blog and read the two linked stories on JoeT3. That post led me to two of the best sports quotes I've read all season long, the first one from Georgia center Russ Tanner:

"Do I have any Joe T stories?" center Russ Tanner said. "Probably none that should be in the newspaper. Joe's definitely got personality. He's just a lot smarter than most of us when he?s talking to you guys."

The second one is from one of Paul Westerdawg's co-workers, a Tennessee fan:

"It's ridiculous. You guys get the Tereshinskis and they've won like a dozen SEC titles playing center, defensive, QBs and whatever. And you get the Baileys who've all been drafted in like the first Round. But our legacy is 'The Punting Colquitts.' What a jip."

Yup, I'll take it. Joe, all of Bulldog Nation stands behind you, prepared to do anything and everything you need us to do in order for you to get your first career W as a starter. You need a chai latte from Starbucks, we'll get it for you. You need your plants watered and your goldfish fed while you're in Jax, we'll do it for you. You're still haunted by the memories of some stuck-up bitch who wouldn't go out with you when you were in junior high, we'll call her bosses and tell them she's a cokehead for you. Just walk tall and sic 'em, buddy.

It's not our "party" . . . but we'll still cry if we want to.

Tonight people all over the country will gather together for candlelight vigils and other memorials to mark the 2,000th U.S. military fatality in the Iraq conflict. Obviously, most of these people are likely to be moderates and liberals who opposed the war in the first place, but with a majority of Americans now expressing the opinion that going to war was a mistake ? and two thirds of Americans now dissatisfied with Bush's handling of the war ? it's safe to say a few (or more than a few) of those people are going to be disgruntled Republicans and ex-Bush supporters, too. The supposedly liberal media has spent more than two years now trying to portray anti-war sentiment as being restricted to outlying fringe bands of nutty Volkswagen-bus-driving vegan anarchists, but they clearly can't make that claim anymore, and neither can the Bush administration.

That hasn't stopped some members of Bush's dwindling group of diehard supporters from trying to make that claim, however. The virulently unrepentant racists at a blog called Little Green Footballs falsely portrayed the events as "parties," and the equally racist Michelle Malkin obediently picked up the slander and ran with it. (By the way, the American Friends Service Committee that's organizing the events? Is a Quaker organization. Clearly the Quaker church is a rabid America-hating bunch of Islamofascists that's been running unhinged for centuries.)

If merely being anguished at the deaths of 2,000 good men and women, and not having confidence in the current administration's ability (or commitment) to ensure that their deaths were not in vain, constitutes hatred of America, then I have news for people like LGF and Michelle Malkin: There are apparently a lot more "America-haters" out there than you realize. The American people are unhappy with how things are going, clearly; some of them are demoralized; many of them are downright angry. But they're not angry at the troops. They're not unhappy with the Quakers. And you can't blame their dissatisfaction on the old "liberal media" bogeyman. The Bush administration trumped up our so-called rationale for going to war; they sent our troops into Iraq undermanned, underarmed, and underprepared; and in spite of mountains of damning evidence that their prewar assumptions and "planning" ? if it can be called that ? were woefully lacking, they resolutely refused to make any sort of changes. The Quakers and their millions of supporters are not "partying," Mrs. Malkin, they are grieving. If you weren't so robotically driven by your blind fealty to President Bush, maybe you would be, too.

So just to recap, if you don't want to send our soldiers off to fight a poorly planned war halfway around the world, if you suggest that our soldiers need better leadership, if you question why they're not being sent out there with proper body armor, if you even grieve for the soldiers who have died, you hate the troops and you're anti-American. Yet somehow, I think the people holding candles tonight at those so-called "parties" are, in fact, better Americans than the Malkins and Bushes of the world will ever be.

Cross-posted at ADP Blog.

Sunday, October 23

Damn, Lord, why you gotta forsake a brother?

Back when I was in junior high school in Tennessee -- yes, I lived in Tennessee from age 7 to right before I started high school, no, I'm not proud of it, make your "hillbilly" jabs and let's move on -- I was . . . well, how to put this charitably? I was a total dork. Now, I know what you're thinking. "Doug, you? A dork? You have tons of friends, you're out almost every night of the week, you hobnob with the cream of the political crop, you recently went out with a stone cold Eastern European fox hot enough to make you throw rocks at Angelina Jolie -- how could you ever have been a dork?" Well, dear reader, I appreciate the sentiment, but it's true. I was pasty (OK, pastier), skinny, barely five feet tall, frequently acne-smattered, and interested in the kind of shit no self-respecting seventh-grader, at least at the time, would've ever found cool. The one time I mustered the balls to let a girl know I liked her (which I did through a friend of hers -- that's what a pussy I was), the response I got was the kind of nose-wrinkling facial expression you get when you find some mold-covered food item at the back of the fridge and you're like, "Jeez, what the crap did this use to be?" And my only friends were the people in junior high just as dorky as I, a very select group indeed.

Anyway, when you're Archduke Nerdinand of the Austro-Geektarian Empire and you have no self-esteem, you reach out for someone, anyone, who might bear the dubious distinction of being even dorkier than you are so you have someone to make fun of as bad as people are making fun of you. Amazingly, when I was in junior high I found one. For the purposes of this story, I'll call him "Eric," because his name was Eric; I remember him as being somewhat overweight, very pasty, with braces and a pair of glasses approximately as thick as Joe Paterno's. I can only imagine how horrible this guy's life must've been to be even dorkier than I was at the time, but I made fun of him unmercifully every chance I got, and if he ended up in therapy at any point in the subsequent 16 years, I'm probably as likely to be the cause as anything else.

If I ever run into Eric again, I'm going to fall on my knees and ask him to forgive me, and probably cry like a little girl with a skinned knee when I do so. It may sound strange for me to be bringing this up now, 16 years after the fact, because I guess a lot of people would've forgotten all about it, but let me tell you something -- God doesn't forget. Oh, no. You may think you're leading a good life, you're going back to church, you're donating lots of money to hurricane relief and whatnot, you're not even taking advantage of your newfound non-dork status to pick up random women in bars by telling them you're a movie producer or that the Red Sox just called you up to The Show -- but God still remembers about that poor bastard whose life you ruined in junior high, because He does stuff like this.

Just so You know, though, God, the next time You want to punish me for something, You can focus it all on me and me alone -- like letting my car get broken into (again) or giving me a horrible case of diarrhea or something. You don't have to take it out on someone like D.J. Shockley, who waited patiently for three years for his chance to start for the Bulldogs, was having a stellar season leading the Dawgs to a potential SEC title, and was just about to head into the biggest game of the season before sustaining a freaking MCL sprain. Not trying to tell You how to do Your job, Lord, knowing that You're all-powerful and all that. Just saying, You didn't have to take it out on The Deej. Spare him, take me, knamean?

So anyway. Unless it turns out that Pat Robertson is not in fact batshit crazy and he decides to perform a laying of hands on Shock's knee that somehow magically rehabilitates him in time for the Georgia-Florida game this weekend, we're probably going to have to go with our second-stringer for this year's installment of the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. The good news is, we can lose that game and still be one game ahead of Flawda in the SEC East standings. The bad news is, we will have lost to Florida, we will no longer be undefeated, and any outside chance we had at going to the Rose Bowl will pretty much have gone bye-bye.

At least our second-stringer, Joe Tereshinski III, has acquitted himself pretty decently so far this season. He doesn't present the Shockley scrambling threat that has forced opposing D-coordinators to guzzle Pepto cocktails all season long, but he does apparently have an arm, and plus he comes from a long line of Bulldogs -- his father and grandfather both played for UGA -- so you know the dude's gonna be motivated. In case any of you don't understand what this is like, it's like if you followed your father and his father before him into the legal profession, you graduate from law school, toil in mostly undistinguished anonymity for years, and then all of a sudden get nominated to serve on the Supreme Court. In other words, it's like being Harriet Miers, only I'm a lot more confident in Tereshinski's qualifications for his job than I am in Miers's for hers.

Plus, Tereshinski. I know I've gotta be related to this kid somewhere down the line, because my mom's side of the family is a bunch of eastern Europeans who came off the boat in the mid-1910s and all brought with them last names that have like 14 syllables and maybe one vowel, if they're lucky. Seriously, you go up into Caroline County, Virginia, and you run into cats that got last names spelled like Zczyvrkswncvenski yet are somehow pronounced "Schmidt." Anyways, point is I can get behind a cat named Tereshinski, and I will be rooting my silly red-and-black Polack ass off for him (actually Slovak ass, but who's counting?) on Saturday.

If you're in the Birmingham area this coming weekend and you feel like stopping by the crib to watch the game, whether you're Slavic or not, c'mon by. I'ma be makin' some potato pancakes, kielbasa and cabbage to celebrate the Polish Powerhouse's (hopefully) triumphant march into Jacksonville. Moms, if you're reading this, I need those old family recipes, yo.

Anyways, while I'm on the subject of sports, I want to take this opportunity to give shout-outs to some more folks who are doing this sports-blogging thing way better than I am: The Drizzle, a fellow Bulldog whose own why-God-why Shockley soliloquy will probably be going up any minute now; Sexy Results, the staggeringly well-written product of a dude who's a Virginia alum just like my mom and dad; and Every Day Should Be Saturday, which is both hilariously insightful and insightfully hilarious, and I say this even though it is written by a couple Florida fans. I can only hope that God will take note of my charity toward the enemy, recognize that I'm really trying not to be complete scum, and thus refrain from any further indirect punishments like, say, Mark Richt being fatally struck by lightning or Quentin Moses dying of a cerebral hemorrhage after having his skull crushed in a horrible freak Whack-a-Mole accident.

Please, Lord. I'm begging You. Look, I'm even going to church this evening! I'm so trying!

Monday, October 17

The feel-good movie of the year.

I was trying to track down that remixed movie trailer for "The Shining" -- you know, the one where they turn it into this heartwarming tale about a goofy dad and his lonely kid -- and finally found it today (courtesy of Double Viking). Go watch. Even if you're not a movie buff, it's still ten times funnier than that JibJab stuff that gets a 30-second plug on CNN every time some crappy new animation comes out.

Saturday, October 15

Right, but liberals are the elitists.

Just imagine the category-five poop storm that would've erupted had John Kerry had the audacity to say something like this:

If we are faced with disaster in this country -- let me ask you this, OK? You just be logical. Get all of the emotion out of this. Get all of the emotion out of this. But if we are faced with a disaster in this country, which group do we want to save? The rich or the poor? Now, if you have time, save as many people as you can. But if you have to set some priorities, where do you go? The rich or the poor? OK? Who is a drag on society? The rich or the poor? Who provide the jobs out there? The rich or the poor? Who fuels -- you know, which group fuels our economy? Drives industry? The rich or the poor? Now if you -- all of a sudden, somebody walks up to you and says, "Hey, Boortz listener. You're gonna have a -- you have to make a choice. You're going to -- we're gonna move you to another country. And you're just gonna have to make your way in this other country. We have a choice of two countries for you. In this country, people achieve a lot and they are wealthy because of their hard work. In this country, people don't achieve squat. They sit around all the time waiting for somebody else to take care of them. They have children they can't afford. They're uneducated. They can barely read. And the high point of their day is Entertainment Tonight on TV. Which country do you want to live in? The country of the high achievers, or the country of sheep, the country of followers?" You know what you're gonna do. I don't see what the big problem is. I just don't. I mean, if you -- who do I want to save first? The rich.

. . .

I'm serious about that, folks. You see, that's the kind of thing that's going to end up in news stories: "Neal Boortz said that in times of disaster we should save the rich people first." Well, hell, yes, we should save the rich people first. You know, they're the ones that are responsible for this prosperity.

This was professional ass clown Neal Boortz, so-called libertarian, on his radio show that (sadly) is based out of Atlanta. I don't know if this is just him trying to out-libertarian everyone else in an effort to atone for having his nose buried in George W. Bush's government-expandin', big-spendin', civil-liberty-erodin' ass for the better part of four years, but either way, Boortz is a jackass, and it's getting easier and easier for me to say the same about anyone who'd call themselves a "fan" of crap like this.

Friday, October 14

Friday Random Ten,
When I Was 27, It Was a Very Good Week Edition.

It's been a good week, y'all -- Georgia beat Tennessee, my fantasy football team is still undefeated, I got to see Wes Clark on Monday when he made his swing through Birmingham, I've been getting stuff done at work, a friend of mine is getting out of jail, the weather's been beautiful here, and remember the staggeringly hot Ukrainian waitress I briefly mentioned last week? We're going out on Monday. Now, knowing my past history, this is all going to get balanced out in due course by something horrible happening -- Georgia losing to Vanderbilt tomorrow, or maybe me getting diagnosed with prostate cancer or something -- but until then, I'm going to just sit back and enjoy life, and while I do, here's the Random Ten:

1. They Might Be Giants, "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)"
2. Nanci Griffith, "Speed of the Sound of Loneliness"
3. Looper, "Mondo '77"
4. Depeche Mode, "Kaleid"
5. De La Soul, "Eye Know"
6. London Beat, "I've Been Thinking About You"
7. I Am the World Trade Center, "Metro"
8. Avenue Q, "Schadenfreude"
9. Gorillaz, "White Light
10. Bobby Darin, "Beyond the Sea"

As always, it's now your turn, so dump your own 10 in the comments, along with whatever wonderful stuff has been happening to you lately. Because I care.

Thursday, October 13

Your president, and supposedly independent media, at work.

Once again, we have proof that this "liberal media" business is a total crock, and that the media is still in fact more in Dubya's pocket than anyone else's. What we've got here is an astouningly lame photo-op in which Bush is basically making a very complicated and fancy video-phone call to the troops; a competent media would've seen this for what it was, said "laaaa-ame" and given it maybe a passing mention in their news coverage, no more. But our supposedly wicked liberal Bush-hating media jumps up and says, "Oooh, yes, please let us cover the president's pre-staged phone call!"

Last year, when I was doing volunteer press-relations duty for the Clark campaign in Alabama, I sent out a press release announcing that a large group of state legislators had endorsed Clark and were going to gather for a conference call in which Clark was going to thank them personally. An editor from an Alabama newspaper I won't name here sent me back an incredibly snide, unprofessional e-mail saying (and this is almost 100% verbatim) "Wow! The legislators are getting a PHONE CALL from Wesley Clark." Like it was a silly non-event not worth covering. But I'll bet you money that they have a story on Bush's phone call in tomorrow's edition, and I'll peg the chances at 50-50 that it'll have a photo with it (25-75 that it'll make the front page).

Here's a priceless little Bush quote from the "event," though: "I wish I could be there to see you face to face and thank you personally. Probably a little early for me to go to Tikrit. Perhaps one of these days the situation will be such that I'll be able to get back to Iraq." I really hope someone has the balls to throw this back in Bush's or Scottie McClellan's face the next time one of them talks about how great things are in Iraq, how the violence really isn't that bad, the whole place is safer than a Lutheran church.

Speaking of Scottie, here's evidence of Sucka MC telling a flat-out lie (hat tip Atrios) about the nature of the photo op. Scottie says it was an unscripted, un-pre-screened event, press people in the Pentagon itself say otherwise. (I was going to ask why nobody's covered this aspect of the event, but then it occurred to me that neither a completely staged Bush event nor a complete lie told by the Bush administration are actually, you know, news, except in the dog-bites-man sense.)

Anyway, Georgia kicks off against Vanderbilt at 6:15 p.m. Central on ESPN2 on Saturday, and I'll be watching that here in my apartment, so if any press people want to cover that, feel free. I can guarantee that what I'm watching on my TV screen will be far be far more spontaneous and unpredictable than what Bush was watching on his.

Monday, October 10

OK, I'm 10 years old, but this is still the double entendre of the week.

John Madden, just now on "Monday Night Football," talking about San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates and how his basketball background makes him an especially good receiver:

"He just jumps up and attacks balls."

Yeah, so does my neighbor Melissa's dog, but nobody's talking her up for the Pro Bowl.

Sunday, October 9

All your stadium are belong to us.

Oh, my. Oh, yes, I think that was so good, I may need a cigarette now. Posted by Picasa

The only criticism I'm going to make, and it's a pretty picayune one, is I wish we hadn't allowed that last who-cares touchdown to the Vols at the very end of the game (especially since from some angles it looks like the UT receiver's knee was down short of the goal line). I don't know, it just seems like 27-7 is a lot more impressive than 27-14. But the ESPN commentators I was watching this morning seem to have recognized that, for all intents and purposes, our defense basically shut the Vols out until it was too late, so that's the last I'm going to say about that.

Everything else about the game was beautiful. And I'm sure some Dawg fans are going to bitch that it was an ugly victory and our offense didn't actually look that good, but you know what? Our offense was actually pretty freakin' great when you actually stop to think about it. We gouged one of the nation's best D-lines for nearly 200 rushing yards, and though D.J. Shockley may not have had a Heisman-clinching game statistically, he sure did look like a cool-headed -- dare I say David-Greene-like? -- field marshal in one of the most challenging venues in college football. Even when he f'ed up and turned the ball over, he'd come right back out on the next series and perform like it never happened. Other than maybe Brodie Croyle, who's got durability issues, name me another quarterback in the SEC you'd rather have than Deej right now (and no, "I'd build a time machine and go back to 1997 and kidnap Peyton Manning" is not an acceptable answer).

Plus, I like the fact that, while we do have a very talented offense, we're not dependent on it to win every time; I like the fact that we have a tough, snarling, blue-collar, old-school D that will keep us from ever being damned with the backhanded compliment of "finesse team." I suppose there are worse things than winning every game in a 48-45 shootout, but that's what we have a Pac-10 for. This is the SEC, and I'm proud to have a team that can stand up, look just about any opponent in the eye, absorb a Mike Tyson punch to the gut (if one is forthcoming) and come right back with one ten times worse.

Now, I don't want to come off as too cocky here, because if there's one thing you can count on from the Bulldogs, it's following up a hard-fought, emotional, season-making win with a real stinker of a performance. So I won't be the least bit surprised if we go up to Vanderbilt this weekend and wind up tied with the Commodores heading into the fourth quarter. (I'm really not trying to be a Negative Nancy here -- I'm just saying, if you're thinking of taking Georgia minus the points, you might as well just wipe your ass with a $100 bill and then set it on fire.) But until then, sic 'em, baby.

By the way, I would be remiss if I did not rehash this bit of brilliance from homey DAve's season preview from a few weeks ago:

I just don't get the hype surrounding the Vomited-Carrot Orange this year. Refer to football rule number two: If you're one week from the opening of the season and STILL not sure who your starting quarterback will be, you're in more trouble than you think. Yes, they'll have probably the 2nd-best running game/O-line in the conference, but UT won't be able to extract victory from their collective rectums like they did last year. And that Neyland Stadium home-field advantage? Not as important as it used to be my friends. A big special teams play (remember Damien Gary in the 2001 "P-44" game? Most people don't.) helps the Dawgs squeak one out.

Dawgs win a razor-thin close one. Maybe. Player of the game: Thomas Flowers.

Let the record show that Thomas Flowers broke the game open with his 54-yard punt return in the fourth quarter (the six-point culmination of which is pictured above). DAve is probably too humble to take the proper credit for this, although he's up in Knoxville right now and it'll probably be at least Wednesday before he's fully conscious, so we may never know for sure.

Ahh, good times. Good times.

Friday, October 7

I've got my pride,
I've (hopefully) got my orange crush.

Life is full of fairly obvious, easy-to-explain pleasures -- booze, fine European automobiles, big boobs, "Chappelle's Show," bacon. But each of us carries around a list of things that are much more specific and personal, yet bring that little adrenaline rush of happiness in ways we can't quite explain. I'm not even talking about personal taste here, as in a preference for a particularly pricey brand of Scotch or a certain cut of suit; I'm talking about something even deeper and more personal than that, more obscure, those things that maybe 99 percent of the population would be unable to appreciate but in you brings about that little tingle of excitement and anticipation reminding you that, as fucked-up as life may seem sometimes, some things about it are just plain awesome.

Every person has their own list of these, and each one is as unique as a fingerprint, not to mention really eclectic. I know mine is, as it includes, but is not exclusive to, the "Celebrity Jeopardy" sketches from "Saturday Night Live"; the last two minutes of "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic"; opening up the menu at a new restaurant and finding that they serve fried green tomatoes; the Citroën 2CV; getting waved at by the amazingly, stupefyingly, gouge-your-eyes-out-now-cause-it's-never-gonna-get-better-than-this hot Ukrainian waitress at the restaurant around the corner when I'm out walking my dog; the 5-4 downshift in my car; driving down I-85 by the Atlanta airport and watching a plane come in and land right over my head. Stuff like that.

To that list you may now add the below picture, as well as Georgia Sports Blog, the place where I saw it today.

 Posted by Picasa

To most people this probably just looks like a screenshot of some horrified and/or stunned people, but when I saw it today, it took me all of 0.0005 seconds to figure out what it was, and when I did, I almost jumped up and did a little Snoopy dance right there in my cubicle.

OK. It was October 11, 2003, and Georgia was playing Tennessee up in Knoxville. And I went up to Big Orange Country with a few friends of mine from college to see the game -- amazingly enough, the first game I'd ever seen at Neyland Stadium. Georgia had a three-year winning streak over the Vols, but I was still nervous; Tennessee doesn't take kindly to getting beat by anybody three years straight, and they were pissed. We went downtown, paid a scalper $500 total for four tickets within loogie-hocking distance of the field, and marched into the lions' den.

Georgia played a very solid first half. The offense put together some very nice, consistent drives against the UT defense, and the Bulldog defense looked almost uniformly fantastic -- Tennessee's one big play was a 90-yard run-and-catch for a TD in which the UT receiver all but snatched the ball out of Decory Bryant's hands before they hit the ground. Still, that meant the score was just 13-7, Georgia, with Tennessee driving furiously right before the end of the first half.

Tennessee got all the way down to the Georgia 1 yard line with just seven seconds left in the half. I figured Jabari Davis would pop it in, or at the very least Tennessee would kick a field goal and go into halftime trailing Georgia by only three. But what happened was the center snapped the ball, Casey Clausen took it, and before he could hand off, bumped into his fullback. He fumbled the ball, and Georgia safety Sean Jones took it, and ran. And ran. And ran.

Ninety-two yards. Ninety-two freaking yards. Touchdown, Georgia.

Instead of 14-13, Vols, it's 20-7, Bulldogs, and Tennessee basically packed it in after that. Georgia scored 21 more points in the third quarter -- 14 of them off of Clausen interceptions chucked deep in his own territory -- and when the smoke had cleared, Georgia fans were pretty much the only people left in that massive stadium to marvel at the final score: 41-14, Georgia, the second-worst defeat ever suffered by the Vols at home.

So that screen shot, you'll note, was captured with :00 left on the clock in the second quarter. Those Tennessee fans are sitting there in shock having just witnessed Sean Jones's stupefying sprint to paydirt. The ESPN producers haven't even had time to change the score yet. Oh, God, what a beautiful, beautiful thing.

So anyway. This is partly my long-winded way of calling attention to what an awesome blog Paul Westerdawg is running over there, and apologizing for not having linked it before now. Even if you're not a Dawg fan, you have to admit Paul is one funny guy, with big-time extra credit for having made a Bill Brasky reference in his analysis of the sheer apocalyptic awesomeness of Georgia tight end Leonard Pope. "I know Leonard Pope! He goes about nine-foot-seven, 845 pounds. You know, he jumped off the Empire State Building this one time and he only sprained his ankle. Leonard Pope once showed me a video of him making love to my wife, and it was the most beautiful thing I ever saw!" (Even Florida fans, who have a pretty kick-ass blog going on themselves, think he's awesome.)

It's also my way of bogarting a page from my friend Benjie's book (and his blog) by using a freewheelin' Friday to pose a question: Readers, what are some obscure, personal little things that bring a smile to your face from out of nowhere? A certain smell? A flavor of ice cream? A bass line? Whatever it is, put it in the comments so that we, too, may appreciate.

Finally, this post is my way of saying, as the Bulldogs prepare to march into the lions' den once more this Saturday, Hunker down, you hairy Dawgs. I have a feeling this game's going to be so close, so tense, that Larry Munson's going to be on life support by the time the fourth quarter starts, and I may be right there with him. But God willing, as we lie there doped-up, IV'ed, and respirator'ed, we will be watching the Dawgs march off that orange-and-white checkerboard an undefeated, SEC-East-leading team.

Sic 'em, boys.

Friday Random Ten, Goin' to the Chapel Edition.

While homies Josh and DAve will be heading to Knoxville this weekend for the massive, huge, most-important-thing-since-the-birth-of-Jesus Georgia vs. Tennessee game, I will not be. Rather, I am headed to Anniston, Alabama (which is, in fairness, certainly no worse than Knoxville), for a friend's wedding. I can't get too upset about that, mind you, because this is supposedly the first weekend in a decade or longer in which Alabama and Auburn both have byes, which means his is only one of probably 15,000 weddings happening in this state tomorrow. Nevertheless, it does put something of a crimp in my usual game-watching regimen: I probably can't start guzzling beer the minute "College Gameday" comes on at 10 a.m. like I usually do, and I don't think Grant would appreciate it if I rolled into his wedding wearing my red #4 jersey, either. (Well, maybe Grant would understand, but I don't know I can necessarily count on his future in-laws to do the same.)

Fortunately, the Georgia game starts at 2:30 Central, so I'll be able to catch most of it before I have to head to the ceremony. So I expect I'll get to Anniston about two, find me a sports bar to plop myself down at, and just hope I don't pound so many PBRs there that I can't drive from there to the church. (Well, I'll also be hoping that Georgia will have rolled up a four-touchdown lead by the time I have to leave, but certainly, not committing a DUI has to be the top priority.)

Anyway, while y'all are praying, casting spells, sticking pins in a voodoo doll or whatever it is you do for a Georgia win, here's the Ten:

1. Team America, "Freedom Isn't Free"
2. R.E.M., "Walk Unafraid"
3. Mo' Horizons, "Fever 99"
4. Dr. Dooom, "I Run Rap"
5. Pet Shop Boys, "It's Alright"
6. The Beastie Boys, "Body Movin' " (Fatboy Slim remix)
7. A Tribe Called Quest, "Busta's Lament"
8. Avenue Q cast, "If You Were Gay"
9. Gorillaz, "19-2000"
10. Patton Oswalt, "The Poetry of Pornography"

Walk unafraid, D.J. Shockley, walk unafraid.

Thursday, October 6

Psssst! Dude! Shut up!

If you have ever dreamed of a day when you would finally cease to be amazed by just how far some Republicans can willingly bury their snouts in George W. Bush's hiney-hole, Blogs for Bush is, unsurprisingly, not for you. They tie themselves into such fanciful knots trying to spin Bush as a genius that you really just can't help but laugh, and the closest the site ever comes to anything approaching actual debate is when one of the bloggers says Bush is awesome and another one insists he is, in fact, really really awesome.

Yet there was an interesting -- well, dichotomy is probably too strong a word, but let's say difference in nuance between two of the Bushbloggers in the wake of the Harriet Miers nomination for Supreme Court. Mark Noonan's job is apparently to act as the grown-up of the bunch -- the Moe, if you will -- and while he can't resist the obligatory pseudo-analysis of how Bush is a god come to earth and Harry Reid can only prostrate himself in the blinding glow of Bush's genius, he does eventually manage to write something reasoned and worthwhile:

A Final Word to My Fellow Conservatives:

I know you wanted a fight - but you're wrong to want a fight. A fight is not what you want - what you want is to win. Sometimes, when the chips are really down, you have to fight...but this isn't one of them. We're going to get what we want and we'll get it - likely - without a fight.

The only thing we should be fighting is our armed enemies overseas...while we've deep and intractable differences with our fellow Americans on the left, they are not actually the enemy. They are misguided; they are at risk of falling into evil; they are, quite often, worse than fools...but they are not the enemy. We've got a real enemy - concentrate your fire on him, and spare the country endless political battle if you can.

Well, uh . . . thanks, Mark, sort of, I think. I promise to work on not "falling into evil" in the weeks and months ahead. But give him credit for recognizing that maybe, just maybe, some things in this country are more important than partisan gain and the relentless clutching for power at the expense of insert opponent here.

That revelation, however, appears to be beyond the grasp of Noonan's fellow blogger, Matt Margolis, the Curly of the bunch. (And not even really the Curly, more like the Curly Joe. No, the Shemp.) Apparently Mark and Matt don't talk much, because in the very next post after Noonan's, Margolis not only makes the mistake of not of deviating from the script that Miers is the absolute best most brilliant nominee that could ever have been named, he also contradicts all that nice for-the-good-of-the-nation stuff that Noonan was saying earlier:

. . . I believe most of us conservatives were hoping for a nominee that would have outraged Democrats, such as Janice Rogers Brown, Priscilla Owen, or Miguel Estrada. We wanted a fight. It is now a question of how much we conservatives trust Bush to make the right decision. When it comes down to it, I do trust him to make a good pick... The question I still need answered is whether or not she is the right pick.

Ahh, yes. In direct contradiction to Noonan, what conservatives like Margolis wanted first and foremost was not a good nominee but a fight. And the "right pick," in Matt Margolis's eyes, was not someone with judicial experience, not someone who would vow to protect the Constitution and/or individual rights, but someone who would outrage Democrats. 'Cause that's all that matters, see. But it turns out Harry Reid's actually cool with Miers, not outraged, and that makes Matty saaad. Awwww!

So anyway, hope you've enjoyed this fascinating little journey into the ever-widening crack that's starting to appear across the conservative psyche. Mr. Noonan, we don't agree with you, but we respect the fact that you do what you do and believe what you believe in the honest best interests of the country, and we hope one day you'll come to realize we libs aren't all as bad as you've made us out to be. As for Mr. Margolis . . . your mom's calling, and it's way past your bedtime. Grow up.

Monday, October 3

Alabama. Alabama. Don't panic.

OK, Alabama, I know what you're thinking: But everything was going so well! People were starting to respect us! Why did Roy Moore's dumb ass have to ruin everything and jump into the race for governor?

This isn't as bad as it looks. Really. Let me explain.

If Roy Moore's ego is as big as I think it is, and the Republican Party is just as insular and rigidly dictatorial as I think it is, this could be just what it takes to punch the Alabama GOP right in the gut and set them back 10 years or more. In previous races, the Republicans were able to make considerable hay by snagging support from both the old-school pro-business conservative faction and the neocon crypto-fascist Christian-right faction. But now they could very well be split in two. The pro-business Republicans will stick behind Moore because they know that Moore becoming the face of Alabama would be a business disaster for the state, but the Christian conservatives will jump right on board the Moore bandwagon. The Democrats may have to deal with a schism of their own as Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley faces off against former Gov. Don Siegelman in the Democratic primary, but that won't be nearly as fractious, nor as long-lasting, as the one on the Republican side.

The Republicans have to re-nominate Riley for governor, of course. To not nominate an incumbent governor would be tantamount to admitting that the last four years were a mistake. If the Alabama GOP is anywhere near as single-minded and vindictive as the national party -- and there's every reason to believe they are -- they'll do everything they can to deep-six Moore's campaign so that Riley can coast. And they'll look the other way if the Riley campaign pulls tactics against Moore similar to what the Bush campaign did to John McCain five years ago.

There are four possible outcomes here. The first is that Roy Moore loses the nomination to Riley, bows out gracefully, and the Baxley-vs.-Riley race proceeds according to plan. Think Moore's ego will allow this to happen? Yeah, me neither.

So the three other outcomes are:

a) Moore loses the nomination to Riley, fades into nothingness, and his disgruntled hard-core-Christian supporters stay home on Election Day, pissed off that Riley doesn't have enough of the hard-core right-wingnutty goodness they crave -- allowing Baxley to coast.

b) Moore loses the nomination to Riley -- and decides to run as an independent. The conservative wing of the party is split right down the middle: The old-school economic conservatives back Riley (or, seeing the writing on the wall, jump over to Baxley), the Christian wingnuts back Moore, and Baxley wins with 40 percent of the vote.

c) Moore somehow wins the Republican nomination, forcing the GOP to campaign with one of the nation's most polarizing (by which I mean "embarrassing") figures at the top of the ticket. Pro-business conservatives stay home or get behind the Baxley campaign. Anyone even remotely left-of-center swarms the polls to keep a whack job like Moore out of the governor's mansion, and Baxley wins big.

So you see, Alabama, all is not lost. Just let Moore do his thing, let the Republicans do their thing, and we'll be fine.

I don't know how many of you have had occasion to take I-65 north from Mongtomery up roward Birmingham, but if you've made that trip anytime in the last 15 years or so you've probably seen these two billboards facing the interstate on some guy's property about 15 miles north of Montgomery. The first one has the "For God so loved the world" Bible verse on it, and the second -- quite sincerely, according to most of the lifelong Alabamians I know -- says "GO TO CHURCH OR THE DEVIL WILL GET YOU!"

At least it did, until recently -- when it was changed to say "We Love Lucy: Baxley For Governor."

See? There's nothing to worry about. Alabama, we'll be fine.