"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Misty Eyed Memories
So, MGoBlog turns one year old today... ish. (The date slipped by about five days thanks to the UFR for OSU fiasco.) You will have to forgive the impending brick of narcissism, but before we start I would like to thank everyone who read, emailed, and commented over the past year. My output is greatly aided by the idea that people are reading. I appreciate your patronage.
Now your Obligatory Look Back. I didn't know what I was getting into when I posted Blog.Init last year... I figured a few links, a snide comment or two, and then a return to normal life. That didn't so much happen. You want proof? I used a Firefox plugin to count all the words that showed up over the past year, and though the following number is too high since it counts all the things I quoted and hundreds of instances of the words "trackback," "comments," and their ilk, I think you can mentally revise it downward by quite a bit and still be somewhat stunned, especially if you're me. Here goes:
So what have we learned?
- Lists are awesome.
- The words "basically," "actually," "generally," and "essentially" are wastes of space that somehow manage to insinuate themselves into sentences on a regular basis and must be eradicated 9 of 10 times.
- The Elements of Style could have been "OMG omit needless words LOL!" 753 times.
- The colon and its bastard cousin the semicolon are useful for breaking up the monotony of "clause, yay more sentence, but what if not sentence?"
- Intentionally mangling the English langauge is interesting (in moderation, Scoop).
- When you're down on your luck, kitten idolatry is a pick-me-up and how. Especially when one of 'em's got a rifle.
- I have a lot of pent up anger about sports media.
- Tyler Ecker kills bunnies. Also, MSU OL Roland Martin is, uh... not smart.
- Pat Massey... eh... not so much.
- Michigan == Sufjan.
Brian Hates Things
I wish there wasn't as much of this in the archives as there is, but I get the feeling that people who are totally satisfied with the media's coverage of the field they are passionate about don't start blogs. What would the point be?
The wonderful thing about sports blogging is the rich array of ego-boosting targets the journalism of same provides. This goes double for Detroit, a vast wasteland of sports punditry. And it goes like eleventy billion for ESPN. How quickly did I hate Scoop Jackson? He had me at hello:
What. The. Hell. Look, I watch MTV Jams. I know what "skeet skeet skeet" means. I think Flipmode is the greatest. But I have no goddamn idea what Scoop Jackson is talking about. His debut article on Illinois... is it self-parody? Is he subtly mocking, Jonathan Swift-style, the influx of retarded bravado that plagues sports journalism, radio, and television across the country?
I regret to say that I have concluded that he is not.
Ouch: not one but two extraneous thats in the final sentence. At least I'm not Terry Foster:
...I head over to Foster's new home and I see paragraphs without spaces between them, the word "pixie" spelled "pixy," and this goofy little passage:
All of a sudden you have a Philly team that did not believe, thinking it can win at The Palace. It is a can of worms you do not want to deal with.
Hurray for extraneous commas! Hurray for sentences that sound like a robot attempting to master hoonam slang!
HELLO CARL. WE ARE TO TALK THE SLANG. IT IS A CAN OF WORMS YOU DO NOT WANT TO DEAL WITH. I WILL EXECUTE THE WHOOP-ASS ON YOUR ASSOCIATED PROCESSES. DIVIDE BY ZERO ERROR!!! NULL REFERENCE EXCEPTION!!! I AM DYING I AM DYING. WHY DID YOU DO THIS TO ME CRUEL MASTER?
I think the meanest thing I said all year was directed at Frank Deford in an embryonic Unverified Voracity:
Frank Deford further confirms that the correct answer to the question "When is Frank Deford going to die?" is definitely "Not soon enough."
Damn! Even I think that's cold.
But mostly I hate small children:
[After the 25-23 Michigan loss to ND] I was attempting to stalk my way out of the stadium as angrily as possible when I saw a child and his father approach me. "Aha!" I exclaimed. "Perfect!" They were in the sweet spot: The child was young enough so that he posed little threatâ€” a swift kick to the head and he would be down, crying for his motherâ€”while the father was old enough that, having dispatched with the son, I could batter him without fear of serious repercussion. All I needed was the most tenuous justification and the cathartic beatdown could commence posthaste. This is when the horror comes in.
The child, a towheaded young boy, maybe eight, maybe nine, approached me and looked up. He opened his mouth; I awaited the beautiful slur that would unleash my inner Wolverine, as it were.
I swear to God, the Devil, and Charles Woodson that these are the exact words that came out of the boy's mouth (the exact words):
"Good game, mister."
No, wait... mostly I hate Columbus, Ohio:
We would soon learn that whenever an Ohio State fan does not have anything else to say, he says "Fuck Michigan." It is appropriate for any situation you find yourself in, from meeting a new coworker to cops busting your meth lab to being confronted with your infidelity on Jerry Springer. It's a "Roll Tide" for the gap-toothed central Ohio set. I heard or read "Fuck Michigan" probably over 100 times during my brief sojourn in Columbus. Perhaps this will suffice to explain the thing's magnitude: I assume the "Ruck Fival" t-shirt scourge is a nationwide thing. You've all seen the slack-jawed moron who wears this incredibly clever shirt into the stadium. These things exist because you can't wear a shirt that says "Fuck Rival" into a stadium... unless that stadium is Ohio Stadium and that opponent is Michigan, in which case approximately 10% of the crowd can and will wear shirts that say "Fuck Rival" and declare to fans of Rival who pass by that Rival can indeed get fucked and how.
No, wait... I think what I hate the most is 2005.
Brian Loves Things
Foremost among them--and now would be a good time to mention this is all totally platonic--bizarre little Japanese girls. Somehow I ran across the picture at right while doing a Google image search for Rasheed Wallace. The website that hosted it opened up a brave new world of bizarre Japanese girls and their wonderful, hallucinatory drawings of giant-eyed NB
A stars. The Free Press even made mention of it, though it didn't cite mgoblog as the source. Frowny face. Angry face.
I loved maniacal defenseman Eric Werner, now departed:
He represents everything I love about Berenson's high seas adventure style of hockey, and given the choice between remembering him skating back into his zone furiously after giving up yet another two-on-one or plunging into the slot--cutlass gripped between his teeth, eyepatch askew, parrot panicking, singing a song with lots of "yo-ho-ho"ing--to fire one past a confused landlubber of a goalie, I'll take the latter, dammit, and something for my scurvy while you're at it. (How about that sentence? Take that, Faulkner!)
Obviously my love extends to pirates and sentences tortured to the point of collapse as well.
And the Pistons, well, it's a good thing this isn't a Pistons blog or it would be really mindless and treacly. When I do post, things like this get said:
If this country is ever attacked by robot Nazi KKK members, Billups, Sheed, Ben, Rip, and Tayshaun will rise up at the last moment and say "No. This country is not being taken over by the robot Nazi KKK. Not while we totally kick ass." Then they will beat the robot Nazi KKK on their home floor, Space Jam-style. Billups will be MVP.
I discovered that I, too, love MacGuyver--just like pitcher Jenny Ritter--during what's likely the first recorded instance of a softball liveblog. An extra-innings leadoff double sets up this sequence:
... the winning run is on third with one out.
10:18: It's Dodd at the plate. Ritter throws three straight balls, looks like she's just staying away from anything she could possibly get into the outfield. Walked her on four pitches. Sets up a potential inning-ending DP, that was probably as close to an intentional walk as you'll see without actually getting one.
10:21: Infield pop fly for the huuuuge second out. UCLA needs a hit now. OMG WTG!!!
10:23: They be intentionally walking Duran for the force at any plate. Tara Henry is the make or break batter here.
10:26: Strike one. Strike two. And a ground out. WE WIN THE NATIONAL CHANCE TO KEEP PLAYINGSHIP.
Mostly, though, I love football. Even though this season was ultimately the most disappointing I can remember, there was still one moment where the sport grabbed even cynical Wolverine fans and reminded them why they went through all this. It created The New Math:
Then, then... after we had blown it, blown it all to hell, we were sitting on the ten with one second that Lloyd Carr had verbally eviscerated the referees to get, one little second and his little second pal, with one play into seven guys sitting in a zone. Henne dropped, and fired, and Manningham cradled the ball, and incoherent things came out of my mouth for a good minute. I think there was WOOOO. I think there was HOOOO. It was a good time.
86? 86? At that moment, if he had ripped off his outer jersey and revealed the gleaming 1 underneath we all would have understood. At that moment, if he had decided he was going to fly we all would have understood.
Now that we are three hours away from this season's termination there are few actual events to impinge upon the steadily accelerating train of optimism that will have me on the phone sometime in August, screaming:
Hungry Armenian: FOOTBALL!
mgoblog: AAAH! FOOTBALL! FOOTBALL!!!!
Hungry Armenian: AAAH!!!
In short, hurray football! Hurray blog! I hope you thought this enterprise was worthwhile and useful... at least parts of it, anyway. The future holds many things, probably tables and ALL CAPS EXCLAMATIONS!!! and zone-bemoaning. I hope you'll, you know, read it and stuff.