Wednesday, May 24, 2006


This team is going to give me a heart attack. Billy needs new shorts!

The Sabres went up 4-1, then let the lead slip to 4-3. Maybe it's because I'm a Buffalo fan, but I coulda sworn they were going to blow it in the last 30 seconds.

But they didn't. And they took a 2-1 series lead.

Could this be the year? Could this be the team??? Or are the ghosts of Brett Hull and Darius Kasparitis going to haunt my dreams forever? Usually my Buffalo teams have a habit of outplaying the opponent but finding a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. With this Sabres team, it's exactly the opposite. Even typing this brings out all my superstitions. I don't want to contribute to them blowing it.

But maybe, just maybe, they won't blow it.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Bad Sports Logos - Los Angeles Clippers

I am trying something new here. Maybe it will be a runaway hit, and maybe I will lose interest. It's a new N.O.C.W.I.T. feature called "Bad Sports Logos." Here we celebrate some of the worst ideas in sports logo concepts. I wanted to toggle between pro and college sports, as well as major and minor leagues. If anyone has any comments or suggestions for really horrible sports logos, please pass them along. For now, I will utilize Chris Creamer's magnificent Sports Logos site.

When you are the Los Angeles Clippers, you have a few strikes against you. First of all, you are probably the worst franchise in all of major professional sports (this season notwithstanding) and easily in the bottom three.

Secondly, you share not only the same city, but the same arena as the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the marquee franchises not only in basketball, but in all the sporting world.

You have a terrible, cheap owner, and a major inferiority complex. But most of all, you have a very bad logo.
The Clippers' lame ass logo

Now the logo is very competent. The lines are sharp. The basketball icon is nearly a perfect circle. The blue and red color scheme is pleasant enough. But has there ever been a logo in the history of sports that has such a combination of being bland and non-threatening? I can't think of one.

The NBA is a league of very bland logos to begin with. In fact, until the last few years, most NBA logos consisted of little more than a basketball and some words. And perhaps a vague prop to jazz it up a bit.

To wit:

Not much imagination. The difference is this: within the last decade and a half, all of the above logos have been changed and or snazzed up to keep up with the explosion in marketing and sales of jerseys. The Clips have done nothing since they moved to Los Angeles.

But this isn't even the worst logo this team has ever had. Before, when they were the San Diego Clippers (in the days of Ron Burgundy), this was the winner they came up with.

Ugh, don't even get me started on this piece of crap. Ostensibly, it's supposed to be a stylized fleet of clipper ships sailing against the San Diego sun. But I contend it was the winner of a "come up with the Clippers' logo!" contest, submitted by a third grader who had three colors of construction paper at his disposal.

My question is this: with the boom in sports marketing (especially since companies like Reebok and Nike are helping out with design), why haven't the Clippers tried to upgrade their look to go with their newly winning attitude? Think of the cool looking 3-D designs they could have come up with? A large ship? A gruff-looking sailor mascot? A large electric hair-cutting razor? (The razor could be teeth or something. Come on, somebody pay me for my high-concept ideas!)

You would think that the center of the entertainment world would be able to find a marketing or graphic design company that could make the Clippers the new cool team in town. Kinda like the Chicago White Sox became the hot-looking uniform in the Windy City in the early '90s and the Nets became the toast of the New York Metropolitan area in the last 5 years.

Come on Clips! I'll give you a start.

Just color it blue and red and put a big "LA" on it and let's get those new uniforms out by next season!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

When Is It Going to Fall Apart?

It takes 16 victories to win the Stanley Cup.

The Sabres bounced Philly in 6 games.

16 15 14 13

Ottawa walked into a goat-headed buzzsaw.

12 11 10 9

Carolina is, after all, just the Hartford Whalers in disguse.

8 7 6 5

I hope I'm not getting too ahead of myself.

4 3 2 1

Do I even dare think it?

I've come with you this far. Please don't break my heart again...

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Magic Phony

The biggest non-story of the day is the retirement of Doug Flutie, the mighty mulleted midget who, somehow, inexplicably became one of the most beloved sports figures of the last quarter-century. Through a combination of grit, luck and media manipulation, Flutie is the veritable poster boy for overachievement.

Considered too small to play football, Flutie has become an icon of "heart" overcoming physical limitations, and of a man with a penchant for magic finishes.

So many adjectives have been used to describe the diminutive gridiron "legend." Words like gritty, gutsy, heroic, clutch, magical, and other superlatives. He was relegated to playing minor league football in Canada until his meteoric return to the NFL with my Buffalo Bills. Even 6 years after he left the Bills, he is still deified in Western New York.

Let's just take a quick look at the reasons he has somehow been placed in the pantheon of clutch athletes.

But a closer look reveals that Flutie's accomplishments and achievements don't necessarily merit the cult status that he's achieved.

Now, you will never hear me say anything negative about the Hail Mary. It's one of the best plays in the history of football and one of the most iconic moments of 1980s sports, period.

The CFL stuff, however, while very impressive, is hardly the kind of achievement that usually garners much attention this side of the 49th parallel. Do you think that the average casual sports fan can name any other single CFL Most Outstanding Player? (I can name three others: Tom Clements, Rocket Ismail, Jeff Garcia. But then again, I'm a huge geek.)

Also, let's further examine Flutie's return to the NFL for a moment. His 1998 season with Buffalo cannot be taken away. It was one of the most fun seasons of football that I can remember and he really took that team on his back. I will not begrudge him that. But by 1999, defensive coordinators had gotten wise to his shenanigans and he became very stifled, offensively. In fact, the reason the Bills made the playoffs that year is because they had the #1 defense in the league.

But by this time, so many blue-collar simpletons were so enamored with Flutie that he could do no wrong. So when Flutie was pulled for the Bills' first playoff game, Bills fans were aghast. How could they possibly bench the great Flutie? Most people forget that Rob Johnson actually had that playoff game won .... until a little thing called the Music City Miracle happened. (Imagine if that play had never happened. The Bills go onto the Super Bowl, Rob Johnson becomes a local hero, my brother doesn't destroy a lamp in righteous anger immediately after the game, I don't contemplate driving head-on into oncoming traffic later that day.)

What was interesting about this little turn of events, though, is that Flutie subsequently became Machiavellian in his desire to turn the team against Johnson and in favor of himself. He talked trash about Johnson, asked teammates to back him, and became an overall non-team player. (If you read interviews with Flutie from this time period, sucesses were always measured in "me" and "I," and failures were spoke of with "we" or even "they." You can read a full account of Bucky Gleason's original account of Flutie right after he left the Bills in 2001 here.

Ironically, Bills fans, who had so long championed the character-laden philosophy of Marv Levy and Bill Polian, looked the other way at Flutie's Phonyness. Instead, people clamored for Flutie's return to the suddenly-mediocre Bills in 2000, and when he left the Bills for the San Diego Chargers before the 2001 season, Bills fans in Rochester (mostly women, for what it's worth) petitioned the local radio and TV stations to broadcast Chargers games, even if it meant not showing Bills games. It was a sad, pathetic time, and I was ashamed to be a Bills fan.

After Flutie left the team, the Bills did not return to their former glory, and haven't made the playoff since. So maybe this is why I am bitter against the little Napoleonic prick. But I'd like to think it's that I reject phony people who try to manipulate their own image to look better.

What is amazing to me is how the legend of Flutie still lives, especially in Western New York. Here is a guy who did win the Heisman Trophy (as did O.J. Simpson, by the way), had an incredible play in college, and then really didn't do much. He was a bust in the NFL (save for that one season), and never won a playoff game. After his one great NFL season, he fizzled out as a backup in San Diego and New England, notably making the first drop kick in 64 years in 2005.

So considering the fact that Flutie's list of actual accomplishments is brief, it is clear that the power of selective memory and the phenomenon of legend-over-reality is influential. Since Flutie will continue to be on TV doing college football analysis for ABC/ESPN, his continued exposure will only add to his legend. The guy's 21-year football career is nothing to sneeze at, but I wonder if people who love him so much remember why they actually loved him in the first place.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Team Of Destiny

Look out. These boys are for real this year.

That's four lines of pain comin' at ya, bitches. Don't sleep.

Fear the Goat Head, Jersey OR Carolina.

Conference Finals here we come!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

My Horse in '08

Officially, I am a member of the Green Party. I switched to Green in 2000 because I was fed up with the hypocritical moralizing and elitism of the Republican Party and the whiny, nattering elitism of the Democratic Party. The Green Party is really more grassroots, and I think Ralph Nader is a great American and a genuine human being.

Mainly, the reason i "Went Green" was as a protest against the other two shitty options. It was 2000, remember, pre-9/11, and pre-Bush Administration. I felt that my vote didn't count anyway, so I might as well show my displeasure with the current two-party system. That'd show 'em!

Of course, what happened over the subsequent 6 years or so has changed my perspective on the entire scope of voting. And now, especially since the last two elections were so close, stakes are much higher. Bottom line: things are going downhill fast, and it's not just Bush; it's the culture of divisiveness, fearmongering and corporate-pandering that all the Neo-Conservatives have brought into every aspect of government.

So, after much spectulation on Capitol Hill, I have decided to put the rumors to rest and finally, at long last, announce my candidate for the 2008 presidential election.

Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Or "Joe" to me.

Like any candidate, there are a few things I don't love about him (but I'm sure his opponents on both sides of the aisle will address those), and I'm sure a lot of exaggerations will be brought up (such as the overblown plagiarism charge from 1988), but in general, he has proven to be a great purveyour of common sense and moral strength.

Sure, he's an Irish Catholic, has bad hair and is a bit long-winded (kind of like someone I know), but I think he is one of the few Democrats with the necessary combination of moral fortitude and brass balls.

Right after 9/11, when Bush was still in a Pet-Goat- in-the -headlights daze, Biden was the first person, Democrat or Republican, that I saw on TV who seemed in control. When we were all looking for a sense of calm and security, it was Biden who gave me my first feeling that the world wasn't ending in the next week.

It should have been Bush giving me that feeling of security. After all, he's, y'know, the president and stuff. But for all the tough-talking that cowboy does, he has been woefully inept reacting to any national crisis.

John McCain has sold his soul to Karl Rove. Hillary Clinton is disingenuous and divisive, and if the Democrats think she has a Culkin's chance at Neverland Ranch, they are dumber strategists than I ever thought.

Biden's my boy. Which means of course, he has no shot.

Friday, May 12, 2006

"You're With Me, Leather"

Yes, Chris Berman's pickup line -- and possibly the most sublimely perfect pickup line of all time -- is my favorite phrase of 2006. I literally cannot not laugh when I hear it or read it.

Seriously, just looking at this shirt makes me giggle. (God bless Deadspin, the best sports blog in the world. Bill Simmons my ass) for bringing this phrase to national prominence. Or at least prominence in my own personal lexicon. Apparently you can buy the shirt here at I can't buy it because I will never stop laughing.

Yes, for the record I am actually laughing to myself as I am typing this by myself in a dark room. It may be creepy but it feels terrific. The great thing about the phrase is that it is so multi-purpose. You can use "You're With Me, Leather" for so many reasons. To ask someone to run an errand with you, selecting a DVD at your local video store, finally finishing that TPS report for your boss, or just as a Zen mantra to help re-center yourself and restore the chi back into your balls.

To paraphrase a Dionne Warwick song, if you see me walking down the street and I start to cry, each time we meet... just say "You're With Me, Leather" and I will probably urinate on myself with laughter. Let's try it out.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Git-R-Done Indeed, You Fat Talent-Deprived Shit-kicker

I must admit that I am not much of a fan of the stand-up comedy of David Cross, but as a comic mind, he cannot be denied. Anyone who was on two of the ten greatest comedy shows in the history of television (Mr. Show with Bob & David, and Arrested Development) has to have something going on, right? As Stephen Colbert might say, David Cross "gets it."

So I was more than impressed when the erstwhile Tobias Funke decided to get all up in Larry the Cable Guy's ass. (Granted, this "open letter" is from December 2005, but I just found it so it's new to me.)

I have a lot of respect for David Cross in this piece, because not only is he unafraid to debunk the whole "regular guy tellin'-it-like-it-is" cop-out for being a lazy, fart joke telling no-talent, but he even has the sheer cojones to take a swipe at the heretofore untouchable Dane Cook! (I mean, I like Dane, but let's dial down his ubiquitousness just a shade, shall we?) I did not see that comin'!

Ultimately, I'm glad that someone wasn't afraid to call out lazy and cheap humor and fire the first salvo for intellectual comedy. Several years from now, I have a feeling that Larry the Cable Guy, while filthy rich, will be but a footnote of novelty comedy, such as a Pauly Shore or a Michael Winslow. A one-trick pony who filled a niche (the niche in this case being humor for the lowest common denominator) and faded into obscurity. David Cross on the other hand will probably (and hopefully within his lifetime) be lauded as a great creator of TV comedy, even if his Jesus-hating stand-up gets old after the 37th "Catholics-are-mindless-sheep" joke.

Either way, anyone who knows me knows that I will always champion the side of arrogant intellectual elitism over that of lazy penis jokes any day.