Saturday, April 28, 2007

Steve Young is pissed

With the Packers taking uh who? Justin Harrell, Steve Young is ready to challenge Mel Kiper to a knife fight in the parking lot between rounds.

Once I get the video component of the blog back in line, I'll post the video, but as Young was trying to make a point that by drafting a defensive player with two wide receivers and a top tight end on the board, it sends the wrong message to Brett Favre about how much the team is willing to help him.

If you were to let the exchange play out, Young was a minute or so from asking to see how many Super Bowl rings Kiper had won.

While I would have liked to have seen Greg Olsen go in that spot, I'm just happy Brady Quinn wasn't taken to bookend him with his brother-in-law, AJ Hawk.

For the record, Quinn has been moved to a secure location backstage to save him from further embarrassment, except when Suzy Kolber comes around and praises his bravery for sitting backstage and waiting to collect millions.

Also, I think that there has been somewhat of a snowball effect here, where teams see a guy fall from the Top 10 and assumes there's something they don't know about why he's still on the board, so they go elsewhere with their pick. I'll be surprised if he doesn't get drafted in the first round, but have to say it'd be pretty funny.

(Photo from:

Reggie was disrespected

In a strange new commercial for Madden '08, Reggie Bush gives a short soliloquoy about how he "fell" in the draft to a number two pick and that was OK by him because now he's a Saint and the Saints are good, dammit!

Uh, what?

Should it really count if the reason he was left on the board by the Texans because he was deemed unsignable?

Not to let the Texans off the hook on this one, but if Bush was using that disrespect to motivate himself in his rookie year, he's a superstar in waiting on the public speaking circuit.

By the end of a weekend session at the Holiday Inn ballroom, Bush would have you convinced that you were due thousands of dollars in back pay at work because they failed to promote you despite never showing up on time, taking three-hour lunches and taking a whiz in the plants around the office.

(Photo from

NFL Draft - 12:30 p.m.

I'm watching the picks tick by - and Brady Quinn sit around in the green room - and so far there hasn't been any action on the trade front.

I'm just not feeling Quinn like I did for previous players who have fallen on draft day. My recent favorite has to be Ben Roethlisberger, who made fun of Eli Manning and sat around eating free candy while he waited his turn.

The big subplot this year is "the character issue" with players being described in terms of work ethic and maturity - Calvin Johnson was pimped as Randy Moss talent with Jerry Rice personality - as a close second to actual ability.

Following the record suspensions doled out to Adam "Pac Man" Jones and nearly half the Bengals and Vikings -well, those are pending - it's no surprise that this is a big concern with this year's draft class.

On sports talk radio this morning, there was a lengthy discussion about whether the Raiders would want a new blue-chip receiver in the same stable as Moss and whether or not that could poison a draft pick.

Just something to consider after the Quinn ruckus yesterday.

(Photo from

Thursday, April 26, 2007


The Mississippi River runs right down the middle of the Twin Cities here and while it doesn't technically divide the two, it's close enough for most people to see it as the dividing line.

Like the lake in Chicago or the bay in San Francisco, the river helps to define the towns and most people here have a pretty strong attachment to it.

When you think of how far the river flows and what it stands for in terms of American iconography, most people think twice when they see the spraypainted messages near the storm drains warning against polluting.

Not that I saw the storm drains and thought, "That'd be a great place to dump an old car battery!" but it keeps me honest. I keep track of crap blowing around the yard and making sure that nothing too nasty drips on the garage floor or driveway that could make its way to the river.

Then, I drive home two days ago and what's going on near the curb of the local gas station? Some lady pouring the last 1/4 gallon of gas from a plastic gas can right down the storm drain.

It's hard to believe Earth Day isn't a bigger deal in the United States.

(Image from

Day of the taco

Saturday will be a great, great day.

The temperatures will soar into the mid-70s here, the big chores were knocked out last weekend and the NFL Draft will be on TV all day long.

It will also mark the anniversary of the invention of the bacon taco (patent pending).

Frankie and I learned one very important thing that day - never cook bacon in any sort of setup where you can't get that hot grease to do the cooking for you. Like in a wok full of ground beef.

I guess to break new ground for humanity, you have to endure a little crappy bacon. Something tells me The Girl won't be adding these to our regular menu any time soon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

How do you get there from here

I seem to have an odd habit of being around police stations for some of the real touchstones of my generation. Not because of an arrest record or anything - but it will be difficult to explain that to my children - but because of work.

The morning of 9/11 was spent in a newsroom and partially in the 8th District on Chicago's southwest side and I saw the coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings in a few Minneapolis precincts we're working in.

This is only worth noting because the police don't see crushing news like that the way most people do. In fact, 9/11 was fairly remarkable because it was the first time I'd seen these untouchable men and women actually internalize something that horrible - it usually rolls off their backs publicly.

In private is another story. Firefighters, police and the reporters who cover them have a bad habit of gallows humor to take the edge off of the awful crap they wade through on a daily basis.

Murders, fires, child abuse, animal abuse and other things no sane human being should ever see are part of the job for cops and firefighters, but 9/11 was the only time I'd seen an entire department just shake their heads and try to move forward with their days.

That was until Monday.

As the numbers continued to edge higher by the minute, the room we were working in grew quieter and as word spread, the number of heads sticking in through the door to catch a few minutes of the coverage increased. It was all very strange as we all tried to keep working on our respective jobs without saying much.

In the vein, here's something from Poynter's Morning Meeting today, with a former news director from Denver who oversaw the Columbine coverage offering her best advice to colleagues in Roanoke:

I have been thinking of you and wishing you all of my best thoughts and prayers. Your strength and leadership will be very important in these next few days. A few things that were helpful to me... never forget that you want to do right by your community.

You will have networks and others around for the next few days/weeks, but you have to remember to do what you think is right -- and not just what they are doing. Your work today will plant the seeds for the stories that will become a part of your coverage fabric for the next decade plus. Competition can be invigorating, but not at the expense of making mistakes. The stakes are too high.

As far as your coverage -- pay attention to your community. You will get your tone and style from them. As for you -- just be ready to be human and be okay with that. I can only assume that you have been going non-stop for the past day. At some point, you will stop to take a breath and everything will hit you... the enormity of the situation, the loss and the pain.

Find time to reconnect with your family and friends. You'll need that to keep you nourished as you try to keep others on your staff nourished. If someone hasn't -- make that call to get a counselor or two into your newsroom. Your staff won't expect to start having the feelings they will. Keep doing the temperature checks on them -- and when you can -- get them a break. Be patient with them on the phone... they may get testy and impatient and angry. That's to be expected. That may be one of the only ways they can be human when they are expected to be objective. Listen and be a good coach and have a good plan -- and don't leave them hanging. And, never forget that what you are doing is so very important.

Your viewers and users need you today and tomorrow more than they may have in a very long time. Hang in there -- I know you're up to the task. We're thinking of you. And -- let us know if you need anything.

Just something worth keeping in mind as the coverage continues to develop and the national outlets begin to drift from the human stories and into the muck of what pushed a person to murder indiscriminately.

Because as macabre as it may be, that's the thing most of us are trying to justify in our mental moral ledger - how did the shooter get here from there? More specifically, how would I get there from here? Is it even possible?

Now with NBC being handed the exclusive of the year, the darker sides of the story, as well as our collective interest in it, is beginning to turn as we inhale as much information as we can and try to make sense of the senseless.

I just thought it was worth noting that as the next wave is ready to crash down - the ugly, ratings grab that is looming - there are members of the media who are trying to do things the right way and help repair a fractured community and not just slow down for a national audience willing to gawk at what amounts to a horrible roadside accident.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the folks from Roanoke keep things together in the next month.

(Photo from the Chicago Tribune)

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

You thought I was kidding, didn't you?

I know I tend to fly off the handle, especially when it comes to stupid people doing stupid things, but this was just too good to pass up.

This actually happened on the local news tonight and I've uploaded it to prove my point.

The anchor holds up a sheet of paper, says that it is a copy of a search warrant, and raises a few questions in my mind.

1.) How are we sure that's the search warrant and not just something fished out of the recycle bin before they hit the air?

2.) Why? Is the credibility failing? Is this a treat for the hi-def crowd that can read the small type? I have no clue. I usually just take the news anchor's word for things - I don't require written proof.

3.) Are we supposed to be impressed or something?

Honestly, this type of shit happens all the time up here. I'll even add a new tag for this stuff. We'll call it "TV from the Arctic."

Monday, April 16, 2007

Where's my money?

You'd think that with all the money Will Ferrell's movies make that he wouldn't need to rent any longer... or drive a cab.

Enjoy, it's a lazy Monday.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

So it goes

Kurt Vonnegut died this week and it was one of those deaths that I hear about and hits me much, much harder than I thought it would. For a man I never met, I was profoundly saddened to hear he had passed away, and didn't realize that I even felt that way.

Run the tape back to when I was 9 or 10 and I found an old copy of Breakfast of Champions in a box in our garage as my dad and I were in the process of throwing out old shit. Mixed in with other paperbacks, I was going through each one to try and put off actually doing work for as long as possible.

When I asked my dad about it, he was actually a little happy to see what I'd pulled out of the stack. Instead of telling me about Champions - or to get my ass back to work -he told me a quick story about Welcome to the Monkey House and how it was a book he'd buy and loan out and then buy again.

This was a big thing to me as a kid, because I never really saw my dad read a book cover to cover. He'd read periodicals every night - I have scarring memories of the "birds and the bees talk" involving a clipping from some magazine about puberty coming at an earlier age because of a cocktail of factors in the modern world - but never books. To hear that Vonnegut was an author my dad would read and re-read was nothing short of monumental in the eyes of a kid.

I stashed Champions away until that evening and then started reading, barely putting the book down until I'd finished it. This isn't something I'll normally do, as I hit a wall around the 75 percent mark and still have a backlog of nearly finished books. But with Champions, I just kept powering through, utterly fascinated by the novel.

To say it did nothing short of changing my (limited) world view isn't doing it justice. Dirty jokes and scribbled illustrations, crazy insights and non-linear storytelling, it was a book that had that 1982 Apple commercial impact on me.

Miles away from the usual fourth-grade fare that was required reading in school, this book had a strong underground feel and made me start questioning the education I was being given versus the one I thought I should expect and seek out if it wasn't provided to me.

From there, I grabbed as many of Vonnegut's books as I could and continued to be amazed by him on different levels as I saw more of the world and began writing myself - It was genius to use storylines from an author in the story to float ideas that wouldn't necessarily stand on their own - and always carried a healthy respect for him as an author. Looking around the blogosphere, I'm not the only one to feel the impact.

Still, it wasn't a big shock that he passed, but it was a problem for me all week. Despite his wit, wisdom and utter chaos that came across on the pages, I couldn't help but feel that we've all lost something very important.

So, with a little time to reflect and do the requisite searching tonight, I think the best way to sum it all up comes from Slaughterhouse Five which, if you're literate and haven't read yet, is a major disservice to the universe. (Just as a quick point of reference, Tralfamadore is an alien planet where the narrator is being kept.)

The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist.

The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.

When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in bad condition in the particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments.

Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is "So it goes."

Not for nothing, but when I e-mailed my dad to ask if he'd seen Vonnegut had died, the return e-mail boiled down to, "No... but so it goes."

(Image from

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Interweb is no place to hide

Working in tech-related fields really draws attention to those in our society who, despite living in the same towns as all the rest of us, look at a new remote control or laptop like you dropped a dead possum on their board room table.

People who are unclear on how to operate a VCR or don't understand simple analogies like, " Oh, this works just like iTunes." (Uh, iWhat?) It never ceases to shock me when this happens, but more than that are the times where someone has something up on their computer screen or wallpaper that might be a little too personal for public consumption.

This of course leads to the evil cousin of stupid - a phenomenon known as "Wait, the Internet is public?"

The difference is simple - stupid is a picture of a middle-aged man in his Speedo on a private laptop that accidentally gets put up on the big screen or a curse-laden rant sent to co-workers on accident. The other is posting pictures of yourself onto a very public, well-travelled site like Facebook and then running for office.

One of the customers I've done a few projects with has had this conversation with me - her son has dreams of running for Congress some day and is very careful with regards to what he puts out there for the world to see. It's every other week where some high school sports team is suspended for drinking and posting pictures of it and it seems that every farmhand in the major leagues has his own MySpace page where he's doing something stupid when the call comes to head to the Show - see Deadspin for some of those, there's even one today.

So, it's no surprise to see this story about Googling a new boyfriend or girlfriend - and thank God this wasn't an option when I was in college or things would have gotten ugly in a hurry - on the same day that the University of Minnesota - Duluth knocks down the whole Facebook/MySpace thing for its athletes.

It's a different world and while some are willing to throw themselves on the mercy of the court of public opinion, there are others who simply forget that potential sweethearts - or worse yet, employers - have the same access to your online accounts as your shithead buddies.

Also, if you're not entirely comfortable with technology, don't push your luck right off the bat. There's no guarantee that your computer won't crash tomorrow, so take care choosing which picture of yourself in a thong you post as your wallpaper, you self-involved jackass.

If you can't recover your term paper or quarterly report yourself, you might want to just put up a picture of the race car/palm tree/puppy dog like everyone else.

Yes, we all know you're a delicate little snowflake... No, we still don't give a shit.

(Image from:

Monday, April 09, 2007

Father of the Year voting is still open

OK, I'll admit that this is probably no worse than the old "doorknob and a length of twine" routine from the cartoons, but it's a little extreme, no?

Most shocking? That he didn't shoot someone off-camera - it seems like thinking ahead isn't really this guy's strong suit.

Note: This is going in as a link as of right fucking now because I can't turn off the auto-launch feature and I have to admit that if that kid always made annoying noises like that, I'd have gone the arrow route, too.

Colin Cowherd is an a-hole

It's been big news in the mini-universe this weekend, but Colin Cowherd of ESPN essentially assassinated where his listeners all swarmed over and smashed the little server to bits in a matter of moments.

The Big Lead is up and running again on a more robust server and isn't blinking when it comes to the Worldwide Leader or Cowherd's stupidity.

There was a lot of talk being thrown around regarding legal actions against Cowherd and ESPN was forced to weigh in via its freshly-minted ombudsman (who is, in fact, a woman) but in all, Cowherd gets a slap on the wrist and is told not to do it again.

It should be noted that this isn't the first time Cowherd has been in hot water with the bloggers, as he directly lifted content from a Michigan sports blog, read it on the air and then refused to apologize when he was called out on it.

While other sports broadcasters can see where all this Internet mumbo jumbo is going, paying attention and dropping "You're with me, Leather" references on SportsCenter and beyond, Cowherd is the poster boy for big media agoraphobia, lashing out against defenseless sites and basically reliving high school, only as the jock this time.

So, until bloggers as a whole are given a bit more respect from big media outlets and are seen as something more than a diversion for frustrated wash-outs and hack writers, those with axes to grind and everyone's favorite stereotype, the blogger in his mother's basement (Woo-hoo, pass the Cheetos and let me know when my new Star Wars action figures get here, Ma!) expect more run-ins like this one, as well as more outright plagarism from cretins like Cowherd.

Let's face it, if you put something good out there into cyberspace, there's a chance that someone will be waiting to rip it off as soon as it's posted. The real kicker is that the smaller your blog is, the less likely anyone is to notice, even if you're screaming bloody murder the whole time.

I think that's one of the nicest things about the Deadspin community - the fact that bloggers and commenters of all stripes really got upset about this and e-mailed and called nearly everyone at ESPN with a published address or phone number and generally just getting cranky about the whole thing.

So, while I'd still love to see Cowherd have to defend himself against actual charges in court, it's nice to know he's pissed off his bosses this week and will hopefully be that much closer to working the morning drive in Fort Wayne, Ind.

For me, it's not so important where he's stealing material from or what kind of creepy stunts he's pulling by crashing defenseless sites, but the fact that he's becoming more and more well known for those types of character issues.

You hear his name once in the whole M-Zone fiasco - and if you don't think outright, indefensible plagarism isn't a major, major problem on ESPN's radar, you're crazy - and you think "Hmm... interesting." You hear about his latest problem with being a jackass and it really starts to set off red flags.

Personally, when I hear the name Colin Cowherd from now on, my first reaction won't be "Oh, ESPN, right?" it will be "Shrutebag."

(Image from

Sunday, April 08, 2007

How sweet is that?

I love the Internet.

Without it, where would I find my bacon suit in time for the wedding? I mean, finding a bacon suit shouldn't take that long, but when you need it right away and without even knowing it existed until 15 minutes ago, the Internet is really second to none.

I really shouldn't push my luck too much, though, given the fun we've been having all weekend and all.

I think my favorite was the little discussion about how I set up A/V equipment all day and so, "I think I can handle a little bitty TiVo without any instructions, thank you very much..." before plugging the control into the serial jack versus the IR jack.

I step away, come back and ask how it's working and The Girl tells me, "Just fine, now that I set it up right."

I asked if she wanted the "I'm a professional" speech again or of once was enough.

(Image from:

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Why I will never cheat off Bono in History class

For years I held an unneccessary grudge against U2 for being such self-involved pricks.

Then, with a little more book-learnin' I finally had a reason to point to when people wondered why I thought so little of the band.

In Pride (In the Name of Love) Bono caterwails:

Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

That's great and all, but uh, dude?

Even Wikipedia knows that "King was assassinated at 6:01 p.m. April 4, 1968, on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee."

Not exactly the crack of dawn, even for a rock star.

Here's where I've always been confused - April 4 isn't really a date that sticks in someone's head unless it's your birthday or something, in which case, total bummer of a birthday... and Happy Birthday, Heather!

So, at some point, someone in the band had to look the date up and confirm, but didn't notice that the group King was with was headed for dinner at the time.

Bono is damn lucky he's going to save the world someday...

(Photo from

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Monday, April 02, 2007

What will they do for an encore?

Here's a video I've been sitting on since mid-winter, when the Florida Gators beat Ohio State for the National Championship in football (and the Buckeyes need to start getting their shit together tonight if they don't want it to happen again in basketball).

Nike posted the video and found it, but it always makes me laugh.

As someone who was a second-team All-American in vandalism and drunken tomfoolery my junior year (I was academically inelligible my for most of my senior year and then we failed to make the tournament after a poor showing in conference play) I think this is a total riot.

Also, it's funny to watch the whole thing snowball... just as Nike thought it would.