Saturday, June 30, 2007

Pardon the (Seven Month) Interruption

Well, he's left me again.

Tony Kornheiser's radio show (or at least the Podcast of it) was more or less the only thing getting me through any given weekday. Sometime around 1:00, my iTunes would download another hour and 26 minutes of brilliance. And I would read through medical records and claims reports while listening to stories of kapuchin monkeys, rats in mouths, Peter Yarrow burglars, and the greatness of Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic." But, with the looming return of Monday Night Football, Tony has left his show (again) in order to adjust his sleep patterns and prepare for the season.

A quick five-month recap of things I learned from Mr. Tony:
  • For suing his dry cleaners for a lost pair of pants, Roy Pearson should be made to pay, fired, disbarred, and hung by his toenails.
  • Fran Drescher is the worst guest ever. She stinks.
  • A person bearing a striking resemblance to Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary could break into your house at any time. Take due precautions.
  • There is likely someone at your grandparent's nursing home making them all laugh with the old "rat in the mouth" trick.
  • Abbie Lowell might be the smartest man in Washington, but he doesn't know squat about kapuchin monkeys.
  • If you're listening to Van Morrison and not drinking Scotch on your porch, well, what's stopping you?
  • David Halberstam is larger than life. John Junior Feinstein is more obese than life.
  • Blind people can't watch television, but they regularly leave it on so they can listen to it.
  • Wilbon loves a good bloodbath, and Phil Leotardo's death was a "Gots To Go" situation.
  • Beads and beaded necklaces are great gifts, though it is slightly better if the recipient intends to purchase Manhattan. If you don't have any beads, Callaway square-head drivers are a suitable substitute.
  • Bob Ryan is a HUGE American Idol fan.
  • The Washington Post ombudswoman is a dope.
  • If you are going to repeatedly quit a job, it's best to have your exit music picked in advance.
And I could go on and on and on. I'm one of the many listeners openly hoping Kornheiser loses his job at MNF, if only so he will return sooner. It will be a cold, dark 7 months waiting for his return. Come back soon, Mr. Tony. The kapuchin monkey demands it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Little Bit of Schadenfreude: The Fire Mark May Uber-Roundtable

The always fantastic Fire Mark May has proposed a set of questions for those of us who are so inclined. I am such a person. (Note: I am not a member of blogpoll, but I'm going to act like I am. I've got my eyes on the prize.)

Your Home Field Advantage

Give the more zealous portion of your fanbase a religion. What's this cult following? Feel free to give the splitters a derogatory nickname.

Um, the Allied Athiest Alliance?

In all seriousness, as a result of 2002-04, there are now two rabid factions of the Iowa fanbase. The "Win or Lose, We Still Booze" crowd really doesn't care about results, just as long as the tailgate continues. The more delusional "Potential National Champions" crowd wants to ignore all aspects of school size, recruiting base, location, and an aging in-state population and expects nothing less than 10 wins per season. This faction did not exist prior to the Capital One Bowl win over LSU. Whether you side with the alcoholics or the just plain crazy (and I have tendencies to get with both, depending on the circumstances), you have to hate the splitters.

In this case, the splitters are the "Up With Douchebags" crowd. These are the people who cheer for Iowa State and Nebraska and Minnesota when they aren't playing Iowa. They are generally from rural central Iowa, have a kid at State or a spouse from Minneapolis, and usually get hit with the empty 40 oz. beer bottles kicked down the street by yours truly after a loss. These people are not to be trusted, like someone who claims to like both Son Volt and Wilco.

Your biggest rival is in town, and College Gameday is your citaaaaaaay... Create a blatant corporate sellout promotion to appeal to the mass unwashed.

Come to Blain's Farm & Fleet with your Iowa/ISU ticket stub and receive 10% off a Carhart jacket. You get Farm & Fleet. The only other option
would be Old Style beer, the choice of a true tailgater.

Add one local delicacy to your stadium's concessions. Post-tax pricing is optional.

Hamburg Inn omelets. Because nothing caps five hours of binge drinking before an 11:00 a.m. kickoff quite like eight eggs, ham, cheese, and hash browns. All together, as God meant them to be. $6, tax included.

With an unlimited AD budget, add or subtract one thing to your school's gameday experience that has nothing to do with football.

This monstrosity would have to go:

There aren't many places in America where a man who died 64 years ago is revered like Nile Kinnick in Iowa City (the only place I can think of is North Wilkesboro, NC, where Senator Robert Byrd was born; Byrd died 57 years ago, but nevertheless continues to be elected by the great state of West Virginia). The guy was a Heisman trophy winner, a fighter pilot (he died in a training flight crash near Venezuela), a school president, and a law student. He even won the AP Sportsman of the Year in 1939, beating out such two-bit losers as Joe DiMaggio and Joe Louis. A statue in his honor outside the stadium that bears his name is not only proper, it's damn near essential. So when the administration unveiled this statute of what appears to be a Miss Bliss-era Zach Morris and told us it was Kinnick, most of us vomited a little in our mouths.

The replacement statue? Well, I like to think of Kinnick with giant eagles wings, and singin' lead vocals for Lynyrd Skynyrd with an angel band and I'm in the front row and I'm hammered drunk!

General NCAA questions

Coin a hilariously unrealistic stereotype that you would like to "make stick" for this upcoming season.

Ron Zook is being investigated for alleged recruiting violations. While the NCAA first became suspicious when Zook signed a Top-10 class to a school with no tradition, ancient facilities, no recent success of any kind, and an unfortunate history with John "I'm Transferring Because of this Cable Bill" Buetjer, it began its full-fledged investigation when it received tapes of phone calls recorded by Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl.

Redesign your conference or independent schedule with reckless abandon. Be prepared to include compensation for jilted schools and conferences in your explanation.

I'd roll out a new Big 12 (NOT Big XII, you pompous Rome-loving jackasses) with Northwestern and Penn State out and Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Iowa State in. East/West Divisions would be far too east-heavy, so we're taking the ACC way out and saying the first division is Michigan, MSU, tOSU, Indiana, Purdue, and Illinois, and the second division is ND, Iowa, ISU, Wisky, Minny, and Big Red. How much fun would that be? Plus, four of the most neurotic fan bases on the planet would all be involved. Penn State would be rolled into the Big East (which desperately needs a big football name) at the expense of Tampa Community College, er, USF. Northwestern would take its rightful place in the MAC.

Following up on your new realignment, blow up the BCS and devise a national playoff system, money grabs and missed exams be damned. Using your new fantasy conferences is optional.

Well, under the new world order, each conference would have a championship game (that means we'll only have 9 conferences after the Mountain West is rolled into the Pac-12, WAC, and Big XII, and CUSA is cannibalized by the Big East and combined with the Sun Belt). Nine conference champions, 7 at-large selections, 16 teams, winner-take-all, with the Championship played on January 1 at the Rose Bowl.

Last season, it would have given us Wake, Boomer Sooner, Louisville (even with expansion), tOSU, Florida, Houston, USC, Boise State, Central Michigan, Big Blue, Texas, Wisky, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, and West Virginia. Dear God, would that be fun. And the also-rans could play bowl games. That way, Notre Dame can still get rich.

Elect one public figure to replace NCAA president Myles Brand. Anyone with proper name recognition is eligible.

Dick Cheney. He'd make USC invade Iran.

It's About That Time

My boss had a luncheon a couple of weeks ago where he met Miss Iowa Diana Reed. Of course, Hawkeye fans know her as Hawkeye Golden Girl Diana Reed, but the mere mention of her name sent a chill down my spine, and it was then I realized we are a mere 10 weeks from football season.

Of course, that means we'll be truly firing up Hawkeye State soon. Through the month of July, we will be previewing each Big Ten squad, complete with a look at each team from a blogger who follows them. Throughout August, we'll be chronicling college football in particular, with a big, huge Iowa football spectacular at some point. By the time it's all over, it will be time for kickoff...

You may have also noticed the Big Ten blogroll has grown faster than Barry Bonds' head. I recommend all of these sites for your summer football fix. A number of these guys will be contributing to the previews.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Rod Beck Dead at 38

At the risk of Hawkeye State turning into a full-time obituaries page, I have to mention the passing of former Chicago (and Iowa) Cub Rod Beck. Beck was found dead at his home in Phoenix Saturday. He was 38 years old.

Beck had a brief stint with the I-Cubs in 2003. Most people who have a sort stay with the Des Moines team will live in a hotel. Maybe they would rent an apartment on a month-to-month lease. Rod decided to forgo these options and live in an RV. In the stadium parking lot. Behind the right field wall. Beck would sit on a plastic picnic table, hand out beers, and talk baseball with anyone who wanted to stop by. And the entire town came by at one time or another. By all accounts, he loved Iowa and Iowa loved him. Rest in peace, Shooter.

UPDATE: The Dugout has Rod Beck's first meeting with Jesus in heaven. Brilliant.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Terry Hoeppner Dead at 59

Bad news today on one of the Big Ten's best guys: Indiana head football coach Terry Hoeppner died today from complications of a brain tumor. He was 59 years old. By all accounts, Coach Hep was a charismatic leader, a smart coach, and an all-around great guy. I'll leave it to We Are the Postmen for an IU-centric retrospective.

Sure, Iowa's debacle in Bloomington this year was the true signal of the end (and probably the worst day of my year), but IU's performance that day reminded me of 2000 Iowa/Michigan State, when Hawkeye fans could finally see a glimmer of hope. And when Hep and his players climbed into the stands to celebrate with their loyal supporters (Hep called his team "a shooting rocket"), it reminded me of charging the Kinnick turf to celebrate with that team. There was a certain amount of consolation in losing to a team, a fan base, and a coach who could be so excited.

Indiana fans began to worry when Hoeppner went missing this February, but I don't think anyone knew the extent of his illness until today. Even when it was announced last week that Hoeppner would not be coaching this season, it always seemed to imply he would come back at some point. Needless to say, this came as a shock.

It's far too early to even begin speculating on the effect Hoeppner's death will have on this rising program. That will all be addressed in due time. God bless Coach Hep and his family.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

It's Not Plagarism if You Link to It

I'm back up and running, and what better way to return to the world of blogging than with a recap of stuff other people have written?

Drew Tate has signed with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders of the CFL. He has also taken the worst picture in the history of online press guide pictures. Tate joins fellow former Hawkeyes Freddy Russell and Khalil Hill in Saskatchewan. I always knew I would eventually be forced to prefer a team to the Vikings. I never would have thought it would be a team located in a city north of Minnesota.

For the first time ever, Iowa State is underrated. Sports Illustrated has ranked Lames #8 in their list of worst uniforms in college football. For the record, they rank the wicked awesome 'Cuse uniforms #4. Such a travesty just might force me to cancel my subscription to SI until the next time I'm offered free issues at Best Buy.

Cedar Rapids native and Big Blue wideout Adrian Arrington was kicked off the team. Except that, no, he wasn't. But he now has calves of steel.

Yost finally made it into Penthouse. And not for the reason you think. (Completely safe for work, by the way).

Anyone remember how Bill Clinton allegedly stole furniture on his way out of the White House? Well, Steve Alford tried to do the same on his way out of Iowa City. Only, instead of furniture, Steve took email accounts. And cars. And trips to the Final Four. By the way, The Hairgel is temporarily leaving us; Godspeed, OPS.

Also, if you have $1.7 million burning a hole in your pocket, you can own the Golden Boy's house.

Oh, and Ana Ivanovic is very attractive.

Finally, there has been a slight change in plans. I'm still starting my baseball blog, but the name has been changed. So come on over and read about the national pastime at Bat Boy Bobby Savoy (

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bring Out Your Temporarily Internet-Less!

"I'm not dead!"
"He says he's not dead!"

So, I haven't posted in a while. Here's the story: I bought a house, the closing got moved up a week, and I didn't have the internet service ready when I moved. It's on the way. Once it's hooked up, I'll be back bigger and better (including some smashing new t-shirts for the Iowa fan in all of us).

Until then, keep the faith.