Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gym Dawgs: Bascially like your PlayStation football dynasty, except real and much, much cooler

Now that some time has passed since the Gym Dawgs won their FOURTH STRAIGHT NATIONAL TITLE, despite losing one of the team's EIGHT All Americans to injury, it's time to ask: Where does this dynasty rank among the most dominant teams in the history of collegiate sports?

We're out of my wheelhouse on this one (which has seldom stopped me), but does UCLA's basketball dominance (7 titles in a row from 66-73) top this? When you consider that the SEC is arguably the dominant conference for women's gymnastics, and Florida, LSU and Alabama placed 4th, 5th and 6th at this year's NCAA Championships.

I can't say. I see that Utah won five gymnastics National Titles from 1982 to 1986. So perhaps this is a better question, from T. Kyle King:
How does one thank a senior class that will graduate having never known a season which didn't result in a national championship?

I think I'll start by buying a T-shirt.

And also by cribbing off of USA Today, via the senator:
“You should have seen that list of the top 10 coaches in the SEC in that Alabama newspaper,” Yoculan says, referring to a list by a Mobile Press-Register columnist. “I’m No. 10. (Football coach) Tommy Tuberville of Auburn is No. 9. How many national championships has he won?”

For the record, Coach Yoculan has nine. Mr. Tuberville, does not.

Perfect... except for the nine fumbles and all the transfers

A few years ago I bought one of those three-game ticket packages from Georgia tech. They've been trying to sell me stuff ever since, so I get emails from their "athletic department." This is how I can tell you that this year's ticket-selling slogan is... Georgia tech Football: The Perfect Option!

Never mind this. Or this. Or any of this.

The ticket offer came with a video - and a warning:
Warning: This video my cause excitement!

There seemed to be a lot of footage of them beating Duke. They beat Duke last year, right? Running the triple option?

Widespread Panic: Why are you trying to kill me?

In an excercise typical of a healthy combination of rules 1 and 2 following last week's Savannah run, I present you with a list of "Things Widespread Panic fans like."

With at nod to these guys, and, for that matter, these guys too.

1. Destroying their bodies
Whether it's drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, a lack of sleep or, most likely, all of the above, few groups of people are into excess like Panic fans. And no one, NO ONE, is more likely to polish off an organically grown, fully vegan meal with a half gallon of bourbon. Let it be said, though, that Panic fans have good taste, and choose to destroy their internal organs with only the finest bourbons, beers, pills and powders when possible.

2. Making sarcastic remarks
Often about hippies, how they hate hippies or how dirty hippies are. It's ironic, I know.

3. The music of Widespread Panic
They pretend to like other music.

4. Dancing "my ass off"
Typically poorly. See #s 1 and 3.

5. Ridiculous outfits
As I walked out of a show last week there was a guy in a white ape suit playing a guitar and harmonica. On any other day, that might have seemed strange.

Lots of this guy.

6. T-shirts with clever sayings and/or song lyrics printed on them (men only)
This is not be confused with No. 5, and in fact has far more in common with No. 2. I suppose the female equivalent would be either a homemade dress, or an outfit that allows the girl to blend in with all the hippies wearing homemade dresses, but still look super hot.

7. Forcing other people to listen to their music.

Seriously, what makes someone decide to bring their own drum to a concert?

8. Not paying for things
I'm convinced some Panic fans have two-year community college degrees in the art of grifting.

9. Over-paying for things

This might seem at odds with No. 8, but I assure you it is not. $5 for a bottle of water? I'll have six.

10. Owning ridiculous amounts of technology
That dred-locked hippie might not have a place to stay tonight, but he's got a $3,000 laptop, a digital recorder with dual mike set and a sweet titanium mike stand. He also has an iPhone and a walkie-talkie. Can he sleep on your floor tonight?

11. Washing over you like locusts
Attention concert promoters: You cannot have too many kegs of beer or $5 bottles of water on hand for a Widespread Panic concert. I know you think you can, but you can't.

12. Selling you something
No, I don't want a veggie burrito or your charcoal drawing of "Mickey Hauser." See also: No. 8. By the way, whoever invented grill cheese sandwiches with garlic powder for $1 is a flat-out genius of consumerism.

13. Not being able to find things that are clearly in their pockets
See No. 1.

Joe Cox: Probably a Widespread fan.

14. Noticing coincidences

See No 1.

15. Talking about how awesome shows they attended were
Trust me, unless a member of the band ascended into heaven during the show you're talking about, you might as well be quiet. See also: No. 1.

16. Predicting the next song
This is often followed by an insistence that the band was, in fact, "teasing" that song "just like two nights ago in Orange Beach." See also: Knowing that was a Bloodkin song.

17. Referring to band members as "the boys."
See also: Referring to multiple shows in a row as "runs."

18. Talking about how awesome Eugene, Ore., and the entire state of Colorado are
Athens would also be on this list, except everybody already knows how awesome it is. Even people who've never been there.

Yes, I've heard. Thanks.

19. Being from Tennessee
I have no idea why. Though I once knew a guy who lived in Memphis specifically because it was a convenient place to get to Panic shows from.

20. Text messaging songs as they are played
I don't know why everybody's cousin needs to know what songs are performed at at show they are not attending, but they do. See also: Holding their cell phones up and swaying back an forth during slow Talking Heads covers, posting shaky video of songs to YouTube and having hour-long conversations on internet message boards.

21. Becoming best friends with people they clearly will never see or talk to again
See No. 1.

22. Actually seeing those people at another show, and doing them some kind of favor
See No. 1 and No. 3.

23. Holding grudges
Largely because it gives them ample opportunity to exercise their right to No. 2. I once saw a band review that panned Widespread with more than 4,000 follow-up comments posted to it (I am not making that number up), including someone posting the reviewer's telephone number and address.
p.s. - i made that number up. It was 785.

24. Exagerating
You know, just for effect.

25. Despite it all, or possibly because of it, not wanting to leave
This town is nuts, my kind of place...

I don't know who this guy is, but the visor and Colorado sky are dead giveaways.

God's Blue Earth

From the front page of today's paper:

Danny Gilleland / The Telegraph

Monday, April 28, 2008

or else the Earth will swallow you

Nothing like forgetting yourself for a while. Good for the nerves.

We might be shaking but at least we won't be shaking alone.

Drafted and free agent Dawgs

As usual, Ching's your man.

Kregg Lumpkin got picked up by the Packers, which is cool.

Friday, April 25, 2008


While I was out of town, David Pollack officially retired from football. That deserves mention, even late. I don't think I've ever seen a defensive player consistently change a game like he did.

Two things, I think, tell you everything you need to know about Pollack as a football player:

1. The coaching staff had to hold him out of spring practices so the offense could function.

2. The University of Georgia has had two players named All America three years running. Herschel Walker is the other one.

Image: Jeff Blake, Morris News

"After all, we're decimated by injuries"

There are a lot of numbers here, but this breakdown on state-by-state football talent is worth your time. Look at Florida. That's just unreal, given its size compared to Georgia, Texas and California.

And if you can't handle that, this cartoon has... well, who would you cast as the voice of God?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

If by "a little" you mean...

I'm not a fan of the "John Boy and Billy" show (or a fan of putting "boy" in people's names). But it's on about 17 different radio stations between Macon and Savannah and I lost my iPod, so it's what I got on the way home this morning.

And they had this 88-year-old lady on the phone. She's a comedian and she's got the best title to any comedy album I've ever heard:

I love Jesus, but I drink a little.

Me too, Gladys.

More later, Lord willing. I'm working on a post called "Widespread Panic, why are you trying to kill me?" or, possibly, "Damn you Widespread Panic."

I think my buddy Huff actually wrote the first line, so that means the two most clever things in this post today, I stole.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The ones they told you about

I'm headed to Savannah for a couple of days. It's much needed. Here's hoping I come back one of the good people.

Sound on that link, by the way.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Herschel: I didn't think I would amount to anything

UPDATE: Here's a link to the whole piece.

Joe Kovac, another writer here at the paper, did a long, wide-ranging telephone interview with Herschel Walker this week. It's for a series called "This I Know," so it's really snippets of Walker's own words, not a traditional story.

We plan to run it Sunday on macon.com, but I thought I'd post a few snippets. Very little of it deals with the revelation that Herschel has been dealing with mental illness for most of his life. Most of it is just his take on life.

It's fantastic.
I know a lot about rage. Rage is evil. Rage is very evil. It is almost like a cat backed into a corner that's been there for a while. ... You assume that he's scared, but you do not realize that what he's doing is putting his defense against the wall so nothing can attack him from the back. ... He's gonna come out now ready to destroy something. ... That was the driving force that made me realize that I needed to go get help.

When David looked at Goliath — and I tell myself this all the time — he didn't see how big the task was, he didn't see how big the man was. ... He saw God. And that's what I tell myself: No matter what I take on, I'm gonna see God.

If you continue to tell a kid that he's bad, sooner or later he'll start acting bad. ... Tell a kid, "You're a king, man, you can do it. But you've got to act like a king. A king is not out there being rude to girls. A king is not out there abusing women. A king is not out there drinking. A king is not out there taking drugs. A king is taking care of his kingdom."

I didn't think I would amount to anything.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Determined now: VPI

Today is the one-year anniversary of the shootings at Virginia Tech. I got these pictures from a buddy of mine. I'm not sure who took the first one, and I hope the photographers don't mind me publishing them here.

The first is from a vigil shortly after the killings. The second was taken at midnight this morning. Those are university corpsmen standing watch.

Ray, rah, VPI.

Photo 2: Ivan Morozov, Virginia Tech.

Monday, April 14, 2008

It's 1,200 miles away

Did you know people are rioting over bags of rice in Haiti? And here in Macon I'm trying to decide whether I want to eat leftovers, or go out and have a margarita with dinner.

Nobody said life was fair. But nobody said you shouldn't try to make it a little more fair, either.

False prejudice

I guess a lot of people have already heard of this, but I picked it up from a book the other day. It's the best example I've ever seen of how prejudice can change people.
After the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jane tried a more direct exercise to bring the truth home about racial discrimination. It was an exercise which was to change her life.

Jane Elliott told her pupils a pseudo-scientific explanation of how eye colour defined people: blue eyes showed people who were cleverer, quicker, more likely to succeed. They were superior to people with brown eyes, who were described untrustworthy, lazy and stupid1. She then divided the class according to who had brown eyes and who had blue eyes. To ensure clarity of divisions - given that some eye colours might be subject to dispute, she used ribbons to mark out the 'inferior' brown-eyed children (those with clearly different eye colours acted as bystanders). To reinforce the situation, she gave the superior group extra classroom privileges, and would not let the brown-eyed children drink from the same water fountain. She made a point of praising the blue-eyed children, and being more negative to the browns.

Jane Elliott was amazed at the speedy transformation in her class. The superior blue-eyed children became arrogant, and were bossy and unpleasant to their brown-eyed class mates. The brown eyes quickly became cowed and timid, even those that had previously dominated the class. But what really astounded Jane was the difference academically. Blue-eyed children improved their grades, and managed mathematical and reading tasks that had proved out of their grasp before. Brown-eyed high-flyers stumbled over simple questions.

A few days later, Jane Elliott told her class that she had the information about melanin the wrong way round, and swapped the colour superiorities over. The brown-eyed children tore off their now-hated ribbons, and the situations quickly reversed.

Jane Elliott had proved - more dramatically than she had ever thought possible - how much discrimination is soaked up subconsciously, by both the oppressor and the oppressed. She had not told her pupils to treat each other differently, only that they were different; and yet they developed the characteristic responses of discrimination.

Walker: Breaking free?

I don't exactly know what to think of this. It's not every day you hear that arguably the greatest college football player of all time played Russian roulette in his kitchen.

We all deal with shit from time to time. I don't feel right myself at the moment. But I was on a ward at Central State Hospital today and there are 22 year olds with breathing tubes in their necks, drool running down their chins and arms they can't control.

So it's all relative. And I think that what this Herschel thing proves again is that everybody, everybody is their own brand of crazy.

Good luck out there.

Friday, April 11, 2008

"He laughed a lot and was kind to everyone"

- Dan Wakefield, who went to high school with Kurt Vonnegut

I would like to know what is written on Kurt Vonnegut's gravestone, if he has one. But I can't think of a better epitaph for any human being.

May we all be as we were at our best as children.
Human beings have had to guess about almost everything for the past million years or so. The leading characters in our history books have been our most enthralling, and sometimes our most terrifying, guessers.
- A man without a Country.

I share a problem, perhaps you could call it a tragedy, with most human beings: a tendency to lose contact with my own intelligence. It's almost as if there were a layer of fat upon the part of us that thinks and it's the writer's job to hack through and discover what's inside.
- interview, 1980

Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.
- Cat's Cradle

All male writers, incidentally, no matter how broke or otherwise objectionable, have pretty wives. Somebody should look into this.
- Timequake

Never trust a survivor... until you find out what he did to survive.
- Bluebeard

No matter what it is, you say, "It's all right."
"It usually is," I said.
- Jailbird

The economy is a thoughtless weather system.
- Jailbird

I observe how profoundly serious nature has made (my dog) about a rubber ice-cream cone — brown rubber cone, pink rubber ice cream. I have to wonder what equally ridiculous commitments to bits of trash I myself have made. Not that it matters at all. We are here for no purpose, unless we can invent one. Of that I am sure. The human condition in an exploding universe would not have been altered one iota if, rather than live as I have, I had done nothing but carry a rubber ice-cream cone from closet to closet for sixty years.
- Jailbird

During that war, which was about nothing but the ammunition business, there was a microscopic possibility, I suppose, that I called in a white-phosphorous barrage or a napalm strike on a returning Jesus Christ.
- Hocus Pocus

We had better make the best of a bad situation, which is a wonderful human skill. We had better make use of what has poisoned us, which is knowledge.
- Palm Sunday

If a lover in a story wins his true love, that's the end of the tale, even if World War III is about to begin and the sky is black with flying saucers.
- Palm Sunday

Seems like the only job an American can get these days is committing suicide in some way.
- Breakfast of Champions

I said, "Saul, are you gifted?"
Six seconds passed, and then he growled, "No, but what you respond to in any work of art is the artist's struggle against his or her limitations."
- A Man without a Country, quoting Saul Steinberg

Thursday, April 10, 2008

adapting to chaos there in the cocktail lounge

Friday will be the one-year anniversary of American author Kurt Vonnegut's death. I know, because I looked it up.

"You know what truth is?" said Karabekian. "It's some crazy thing my neighbor believes. If I want to make friends with him, I ask him what he believes. He tells me, and I say, 'Yeah, yeah--ain't it the truth?'"

- Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Georgia tech knows what women want: robotics demonstrations

Sent to me by my buddy Huff...

Part of me thinks: "This just can't be real."

The rest of me knows: "Of course it is."

Georgia tech, famous for its lack of attractive female students, is apparently recruiting women. That's actually commendable. But when your pitch involves robots, I think you've... I don't even know how to finish that thought. Something about a self-fulfilling prophecy and a stereotype explained.

To paraphrase George Costanza, I know less about women than anyone in the world. But even I know they're not going to any robotics demonstration:
Bring a Girl to tech

Saturday, April 26
Technology Square Research Building (85 5th Street, Atlanta)
9:30 – 10:00 a.m.: Check-in, Coffee & Doughnuts
10:00 – 10:10 a.m.: Admissions Welcome
10:10 a.m. – Noon: Robotics Program

Only an hour and 50 minutes? That's not nearly long enough.

By the way, ladies, if April 26 can't come soon enough for you, be sure to check out the tech Pi Mile 5K Race. I don't have any idea what that means, and I don't want to know.

UPDATE: Anyone else notice I had "demonstrations" misspelled for two days?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Lawrence H. Munson

Did you know the H. in Larry Munson's name stands for Harry?

My thoughts and prayers are with Munson and his family as he recovers from a Friday brain surgery. Thought the prognosis is good, I just can't help but think that brain surgery ain't no joke.

This is from my interview with him in 2005:
Q: What do you love most about Georgia football?

A: Ah, just the game itself. Trying to win. Just the game itself. Sometimes, it's great, after a day game played at home, and get lucky, and get home maybe by 4:30; it's a great time to have a drink if you won the game and if the game meant something. But, again, on the road, our nights and our dinners with our group as we look for the best restaurant in whatever city it is and hire cabs and hold cabs, we really, we have big times. Football, the anticipation, it's just a great feeling to win.

Friday, April 4, 2008

"I took a crushed cigarette out of his hand. He didn't want kids to see him smoke."

- Rev. Billy Kyles, who was on the balcony with Martin Luther King Jr. when King was shot.

I saw that quote last night during a documentary about King's death, from an assassin's bullet, on April 4, 1968. Kyles took the pack of cigarettes from King's pocket, too. He's kept them to this day.

And it struck me: Everyone's just a person.
Let this affirmation be our ringing cry. It will give us the courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. When our days become dreary with lov-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.
- Martin Luther King Jr., Where do we go from here?

From The Telegraph archives.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A blind man still can see

Back when I started here at The Telegraph, we had a talented design and graphics guy named Alan Gibson.

He left The Telegraph several years ago, but stayed active in the arts community. A few years ago, I heard he'd started losing his sight. I saw him downtown a month or so ago and he had dark glasses and a cane. His sight was completely gone.

And, yet, when the Cherry Blossom Festival asked local artists to decorate poodle cut-outs (the Cherry Blossom is Macon's signature festival, a pink poodle is its mascot) Alan Gibson volunteered.

I'm told he did his by feel.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Best of luck with that

Better Bulldog bloggers than me have already opined on this, but I just can't resist. Apparently Paul Johnson, the latest greatest Georgia tech "football" coach, says the triple-option will work at tech.

Perhaps it will. But check out some of his justifications:
"Bob Stoops has done a great job, but they haven't been near as successful as when Coach (Barry) Switzer was running the option," Johnson said.

"Alabama hasn't been near as successful (since it ran the option)," he said. "Auburn hasn't been near as successful. It took Texas forever."

Sounds good to me. While Coach Johnson is at it, maybe he'll install rotary dial telephones at the tech athletic offices, VHS tape decks in the film room and those cool looking old-school toilets with the pull cords.

Georgia tech: We tried
living in the present.
It didn't work so good.