Hello everyone, Six Zero here with the second-to-last installment of:
SIX QUESTIONS WITH CHITOWN BLUE
Inspired by the official site’s “Two Minute Drill” series and TomVH’s famous Q&A segments with potential recruits, this weekly feature highlights some of the more famous personalities here at MGoBlog. Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll get to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light on their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.
I happen to have it on good record that there are only three things in life that Brian Cook fears: The first happened on Tuesday night. The second is the threat of legal action by the Jim Henson company and/or the Disney empire for the extensive use of all things Muppet. And the third is, quite simply,
the WOLVERINE LIBERATION ARMY.
The WLA… the Chinese—no, the North Korean contingent of MGoBlog, whose radical ideology and user-generated content strike terror in the hearts of MGoBloggers across the globe. I can tell you—and I take my very life in my hands by sharing this story—that I once designed a T-shirt criticizing the WLA and their brand of humor. That night I went to bed, satisfied with a new design that might find its way to the MGoStore. The next morning I awoke, only to find a bloody Macbook screen laying between my feet, and a simple message: The WLA had been watching,
and was not impressed.
To help dispel some of the myths, and to avoid the gulag, we recently sat down with one of the most prominent leaders of their party, the esteemed
ChiTownBlue, for this exclusive interview:
1. Okay, first and foremost, and I know I’ll hold my breath when starting my car tonight just for asking this question, but there are many posters who do not even fear the WLA anymore, let alone know what it is. Tell us in your own words, what is the Wolverine Liberation Army?
The Wolverine Liberation Army is a state of mind. It's also our frequently fallow (at least in the off-season) blog. The term was cribbed from a Steve Szabo quote in which he referred to the Spread offense as "communist football" - thus, Dex borned this babby. All our silliness with Unicorns, Zima, and was cribbed from a trolling WVU fan who accused us riding Unicorns and drinking Zima. Hey, it stuck. But the state of mind part is more interesting, so I'm going to run with that.
The WLA, basically, thinks that we watch football, and sports, for fun. Not for opportunities for moral outrage, chances to express dissatisfaction, or some sort of pecking order of "what fans are cool" or whatever. The outrage over the Free Press? Forget it - that's not football. The efforts to find out "who the mole" is in the AD? Forget it - that's not football. Making character judgements about anyone based on their choice of team? Not football. Talking about Sparty and Buckeyes in the most facile, terrible stand-up comedian terms of "Sparty's are like this, Bucky's are like this"? Again, not football.
Have fun. Stop looking at things to get upset about. Please don't contribute to the tabloidization of sports coverage with crazy "As the World Turns" stories of Archie Collins kidnapping recruits and stuff. Talk to Buckeye and Sparty fans. Wear green or red sometimes, it's cool. It's just football. Enjoy it.
(For the record, this interview was conducted before the Fall of the House of Woolfolk.)
Anyways, when I first arrived on the MGoScene, you were everywhere on the blog, constantly (for lack of a better word) kicking the ass of unintelligent posters who made unsubstantiated claims and keeping the standard of commentary at a very high level. You’re certainly back and holding posters accountable again, but what happened? Where’d you go?
Yeah...I should probably tone that down. I can be a bit strident. It certainly earned me an army of detractors. I "left" MGoBlog mainly because I thought I spent too much time screwing around on it, and that maybe my bitchiness wasn't really making it a great place. My last act as a mod was to ban myself, hence, the vanishing of my old screen-name. But yeah, after awhile I heard the siren song, and, for better or worse...I'm back.
2. Okay, finally onto the football. For some of the most loyal maize and blue faithful, this offseason has been as difficult as last year. The infractions, the Dorsey situation, and further implications of battling factions within the halls of Schembechler. Being someone who holds people accountable for their words and actions, what’s going on here??? And, if I can ask, where does Rich Rodriguez stand in your book?
I think Rodriguez is a demonstrably good coach, which he's proven over the course of his career. That said, if he doesn't get it done this year, am I going to waste much time and energy arguing that his termination is a miscarriage of justice? No, I'm not. Some will want to talk about how "The Carr Faction" didn't want him, or something of the sort, but I don't buy the "warring factions" thing a bit. The violations were caused by two pieces of a large bureaucracy that didn't efficiently do their job. If he's gone, it will be becase his record isn't very good, and you don't need conspiracy theories to find the rationale of 86ing a coach with a losing record at the winningest football program of all time.
You were possibly the first person I ever heard discuss (a long time ago, if I remember correctly) that we’re better off with Denard as a quarterback. What do you think will happen under center this year, and are there any other clairvoyant observations you’d like to share with us heading into the 2010 season?
Let me couch everything I say here with a caveat: My skills as a talent evaluator are useless.
First, I just liked Denard - he seems to have a magnetic, charismatic personality, he has a huge smile, and he's a ton of fun to watch. So, there was definitely a bias there. Second, knowing that Rodriguez has just come off 3 years of Pat White, in his most successful stretch as a head coach, I figured he might be pre-disposed to the lightning bolt at QB.
This year? I think we'll see both, but again, I think that pre-disposition to Robinson exists. Robinson just needs to develop to the point where he can make the easy throws to keep the defenses honest. If he struggles through the air as much as he did last year, I'm sure it will be Tate's job.
In addition to that, I think that if Tate plays this year, Roy Roundtree has a huge season - the moment he stepped into the rotation last year, he was Tate's first option, and it was obvious. It sort of makes you wonder where he was for the first half of the season. If Robinson plays, I think you'll see the TE's and the slots as the prime targets - guys who can be outlets to a scrambling Robinson. Jamiemac is a huge proponent of Kevin Koger, and I agree that he could be poised for a big season if he washes the petroleum jelly off his hands.
3. Without divulging too much information, can you describe what you do for a living? And what do you like to do for fun on your own time?
I work in the hospitality industry, and have held jobs in hotels and restaurants. Most of my work now comes mostly in a "consulting" capacity, specifically regarding financial decisions like forecasting, budgeting, pricing, etc. Are you still awake?
I could tell you what I did for fun prior to a few months ago, when I had my first kid, as the answer now would be "not sleeping much, changing diapers, and cleaning vomit". I used to swim on a "Master's" swim team, and do some recreational running in Chicago's multitude of summer 5 and 10k's - I once built up to a 1/2 marathon, but that convinced to not go any further. I still run, but early morning swimming and newborn babbies aren't terribly complementary. I also really like cooking, but these days, that mostly manifests itself by watching Top Chef.
4. With that being said, you perhaps might be the single most qualified person to ever answer this next question… describe the perfect meal.
Having spent some time in the industry, and more time in a peripheral industry, I've gotten to eat at, and have enjoyed, some pretty swank restaurants around Chicago, but I have a hard time beating a hunk of prime, aged NY Strip with salt and pepper, seared hard on each side and finished in the oven (AS HOT AS IT GOES, PEOPLE). Carmelize some shallots, put them on top, maybe saute some corn and mushrooms in olive oil as a side vegetable. Glass of red wine (if you're feeling frisky, use some to deglaze the pan and reduce it for a sauce, but I rarely do this). BOOM, DINNER'D.
It should also be noted that I'd chop of some of my less useful fingers for one more free day in Ann Arbor when I can go to the Maize & Blue Deli for lunch (they had a sandwich on challah with turkey, cream cheese, havarti, honey-mustard, sprouts, and cucumber that I'm in appropriately excited about just typing) and hit up China Gate for dinner (Chef Yan FTW). I haven't been to either since maybe 2001, so I don't know if they still exist. Do they still exist? Please tell me they still exist.
5. Can you explain why you are a Michigan fan?
This is rather simple - I went to Michigan from 1996-2000. I'm not from the area, but my mother was a Michigan resident who wanted to go to Michigan, didn't get in, went to Michigan State (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA), then transferred to Wayne State. Anyway, I had been getting pressured, in one way or another, to go to Michigan since birth. So, yeah.
Now, it is public record that you were indeed a scholarship athlete at the University of Michigan. Tell us about it: the sport of choice, the process of being offered, and the honor of actually wearing the block M in competitive play.
I swam at Michigan for three years, showing up they year after they won the national championship with Olympians like Dolan, Malchow, Potts, Borges, and Namesnik either in the program or still hanging around with Club Wolverine...all guys I had watched in Atlanta a few weeks prior to stepping on campus. Urbs was the Olympic coach - it was about the highest profile situation you could find in college swimming.
With that sort of quality, I never got the opportunity to swim in that many big meets - I was the swimming version of the victory cigar on meets we knew wouldn't be that competitive. The one thing it did instill in me, watching a guy like 'Snik, was a huge respect for not only how talented, but how dedicated you needed to be in order to be successful at the college athletic level. This largely informs my frequent scorn and intolerance of people who knock current or former players, like say Nick Sheridan: you have no idea how hard he worked to get where he was. I just think of how amazing it would have been, personally, to swim in an NCAA championship and, concurrently, to have ANYONE, much less hundreds of thousands of people, disparage me being there. These guys eat, breathe, and sleep their sport ringer where they are, something like that is, in my mind, worthy of unconditional respect.
6. Finally, who's your all-time favorite Wolverine?
Because I was an athelete at Michigan, I got to have some interaction with a few of the players in my time there - my favorite player is the guy I met who I liked the most (happily, he was also pretty good) - Dhani Jones. Dhani was a smart, charismatic, friendly guy who took genuine interest in anybody he met. He also, from 1997-1999, played on some of the best defenses that Michigan has turned out over the past 20 years. Not many legendary defenses lose their starting middle linebacker (and captain!) in the pre-season, as happened in 1997, but Jones stepped in as a sophomore and played at a high level.
I don't know him, but I think I see many of the same qualities in Denard Robinson - which probably explains my affection for him.
If MGoBlog is an exclusive club for the most diehard Wolverine fans, then the WLA is the elite of the elite. The revolution from the revolution. I maintain a vision in my head where they enroll their members in elaborate candlelit ceremonies that involve cult robes, two-handed swords and the blood of goats. I’d like to think that elaborate secret handshakes identify one member to the other in every walk of society, and that there’s no telling how far their influence reaches into the stands of Michigan Stadium and beyond. And, like our very own Skull and Bones Society, most of us will never be good enough to call ourselves a member.
For what it’s worth, as a designer by trade I can honestly say that the WLA has a pretty gorgeous web site. Its functionality, user-friendly interface, and general aesthetic appeal fits their unique style and really promotes a high level of quality and integrity in the product. The articles are written primarily for humor’s sake, and yet there’s a very significant amount of insight and truth stirred in for good measure. To top it all off, some of the MGoBlog members I hold in highest regard are the contributors if not proprietors of the whole thing. So why, then, don’t I read this thing every day? Why am I not a maize and blue Bolshevik by now?
Eh, prob’ly the unicorns. Horned horses are just freaky.
All kidding aside, if you take away all of the imagery, all of the stylized Rich posters, all of the gimmick—ChiTown and the other contributors are just really good fans, following our team in their own out-of the-ordinary way and having fun the entire time. And any site that can publish Big Boutros’s philosophical take on the career of Patrick Swayze surely doesn’t have to worry about taking itself too seriously, and that’s always a good thing. In other words, if you enjoy the posts of ChiTown, Dex, CPS, Musket Rebellion, Chrisgocomment, Big Gay Heart, Ninja Football, Big Boutros, Imafreak, and others… check out their site. You might find yourself some cultural learnings of Michigan for make glorious website of Wolverine Liberation Army.
Last week will be the last MGoProfile before the 2010 season of Michigan Wolverines football. So you better be good, I’m tellin’ you why…