February 2005 Archives

belated super bowl review


The Super Bowl was two weeks ago, so what gives with the writeup coming out now? I was going to do my best to transcribe my notes quickly, to make this posting more timely, but Philadelphia Coach Andy Reid told me to take my time. "No need to rush," he said. "People are always rushing around willy-nilly in this crazy modern world. I say, relax. Type at your own pace. Stop and smell the flowers. Let your offense huddle after every play, even when you're down by ten points with three minutes left in the Super Bowl. Life, and the fourth quarter, are just too short."

Jamie Foxx the Beautiful

Before the game, there's a tribute to former Ray Charles. I was going to be snide and question how important the Super Bowl was for him, but it turns out he did the arrangement for the subsequent national anthem, and also grew up near Jacksonville. If they were going to use a local act, we could have ended up with Limp Bizkit, so it's relatively inoffensive when Alicia Keys sings "America the Beautiful" in Natalie Cole ghost-duet style. There are blind children singing along and deaf children signing along, and while it feels like a bizarre detour into Mr. Holland's Opus, it's ultimately nice.

Later, Will Smith introduces the Eagles, since he was born and raised in West Philadelphia, and I find myself comparing him to Jamie Foxx. Ten years ago, Will Smith was doing Six Degrees of Separation and Jamie Foxx was playing Wanda, the ugliest woman in the world, on In Living Color. Now Jamie Foxx has two Oscar nominations and a record contract, and Will Smith is introducing the Eagles and starring in Hitch. Of course, since I've made this observation, Hitch has made about $80 million, so maybe Will Smith is doing just fine. Still, Wanda? Tommy Davidson should be on the phone with his agent right now.

The Awesomest Generation

Before the anthem, there was a tribute to the Greatest Generation, because it's the 60th anniversary of...some event during World War II. Since WWII spanned five different years for Americans, we could theoretically have an anniversary tribute to WWII veterans every single year. The audience is cheering them for not dying since the end of the war, and that will only get more impressive with each passing year. By the time the last WWII vet dies, I'll have published my book, Generation Awesome, about my heroic post-9/11 peers.

The anthem went totally over the top, with a huge military chorus, an extra verse, an Air Force flyover, and a shout-out to the Empire with live satellite uplinks to Iraq and Afghanistan. I think one of the Greatest even mouthed, "You owe us, France" just before all the fireworks went off.

President Clinton Reinforces Stereotypes

Former presidents Clinton and Bush have become a tag-team tsunami awareness duo since the disaster, so they made a pregame appearance in the announcers' booth. Bush picked a 14-point Patriots victory. Clinton got a laugh by saying that he was indecisive, since "both cities voted for him". I thought, how clever of Clinton, playing on his waffler image. When pressed, he hemmed and hawed further, making it clear he really was a waffler, and still refused to predict a winner. He's not even running for anything! Make a decision! Pick the Eagles because Bush took New England! Anything! Dammit, Clinton!

Bush provided a funny moment when he got distracted and slightly terrified by a boom mike. Clinton was unfazed by the technology, which makes me think he'd be a fine instant replay official.

Replay Officials

There were two different calls in the first half reversed after replay review. Both involved fumbles occurring after a player's knee hit the ground, while the on-field official missed the call. After the second one, the referee looked really ashamed. "Fine! I'm watching the knee! Are you happy now?" Later, there was an incompletion overturned on review, and the ref was properly chagrined, although the receiver's knee was not a factor.

Inoffensive Announcers

The announcers weren't so bad. However, there are certain phrases used to the point of meaninglessness by nearly every sports announcing crew out there. A quick sampling:

If a player or the ball is unable to stop quickly, due to its forward motion, then and only then do I want to hear a reference to "momentum". The contest has no inherent "momentum" that can shift back and forth.

By virtue of playing in the Super Bowl, it can be assumed that all players on the field are professionals, earning salaries in exchange for their football play. It is unnecessary for the announcers to remind us that the New England linebackers are "doing a job", or "really working out there".

Though generally a peaceable man, Gene implied that continued overuse of the term "execution" was softening his stance on capital punishment for sports announcers.

Philadelphia and Dehydration

The Eagles had a lot of trouble staying hydrated. Donovan McNabb was sick to his stomach late in the game. A bunch of players headed to the locker room during the game, presumably to get rehydrated via IV. This shows a certain degree of inattention by the medical staff, or poor preparation by the players, but mostly, it's one of the first times since high school physical education classes that I've seen so many people opting out of sports due to cramps. It might have been less embarrassing had they simply said that Todd Pinkston's "friend was visiting."

The Steelworker

Philadelphia's starting tight end was injured in the NFC Championship Game. To replace him, the Eagles brought back a former tight end, Jeff Thomasen, now retired, who is currently employed in construction. He had to use all his vacation time for the year in order to practice for the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, meaning that, win or lose, he was going back to work the day after the Super Bowl. The Eagles were all surely disappointed to lose the game, but only one of them had to be back behind a desk ten hours after the game ended. If faced with the loss of his tight end, Bill Belichick would have been more ready, with punter Josh Miller taking snaps at tight end during training camp, and even catching a touchdown pass during the game. Actually, if Belichick ran Thomasen's construction firm, he would have had multiple janitors and receptionists ready to step in at Thomasen's desk for the whole pre-Super Bowl period.

Terrell Owens and the Ankle-Cam

Longtime Zembla favorite Terrell Owens had a stellar game, playing on a broken ankle that inhibited him from cutting to the left. As usual, TO rose to the occasion of a big game, racking up over 100 yards, including one long catch-and-run predicated by an impossible-looking leftward spin away from his defender. The TV crews provided some strange TO angles throughout the telecast, isolating a single camera on him and shooting from ground level. At first I thought that an admiring producer wanted to showcase Owens's magnificent leg muscles, but I reaize now that FOX chose that shot to ensure that, if Terrell Owens were to re-shatter the weakened ankle, America would have a closeup on the glorious inury.

The Halftime Show

Me: Wouldn't it be great if McCartney whipped it out at the end of this set? Not the whole thing, just one testicle.

Gene: Only if it had some elaborate piece of metal jewelry stuck through it.

Me: If that happened, would it make you think differently of his music?

Gene: Yes.

My Least Intelligible Note To Myself

"rambling Belichick-father-relationship-gay-sounding odd V. Lombardi segue. anapolis?"

Please enjoy Lincoln/Kennedy Coincidences, published in the November edition of The Heuristic Squelch back in November, but hitting the internet right now! Laugh your asses off, all of you. No offense to the assless, of course.

As you know, my first love is and forever will be cage fighting, but stand-up comedy is a close fourth. I will be tickling funny bones and tearing comedy cartilage next Saturday, February 19th, in a return engagement at 50 Mason Lounge. Shockingly, the club is located at 50 Mason St., near Union Square. Hey, what's the deal with Union Square? Are we still rubbing it in to the Confederacy? Hey, Jefferson Davis, no traitors allowed on the cable car! And tell Stonewall Jackson to stop fondling the mannequins at Macy's! Hey, you ever notice how long it takes women to put on their hoop skirts? I finished combing my muttonchop sideburns a fortnight ago! It's like, ladies, we gotta be at Appomattox Court House some time before 1866, OK? Am I right, Sand Happers?

It's another comedy showcase, made up of many talented, up-and-coming local comedy talents, and probably one crappy guy. Most likely, no one will try to lick or bite you at this show. I'm doing ten minutes. I may or may not dance. The official promotional information appears below:

Come see the funniest and hottest SF comedians ranging from comedians who have performed in top cities, been on TV to brand new up and coming local comedians.

50 Mason, SF Comedy Club Friday Night Showcase

Where: 50 Mason, SF Comedy Club (50 Mason Street @ Eddy)

When: Saturday, February 19th, 8:00 - 10 p.m, (Doors open at 7:30 p.m.)

Admission: $10 (No Drink Minimum)

Transportation/Parking: One block from the Powell Street BART and Muni station. Parking garage conveniently located across the street from 50 Mason and a 'discount' parking lot is on Eddy Street.

Raffle: Great prizes given away each Friday and Saturday night!

Reservations: Please call 415.398.4129

Website: http://www.50masonlounge.com

in greek, it'd be sunergos

I am taking 18 units this semester in my triumphant encore performance at UC Berkeley. Like "The Family Guy", I left amid poor reviews and little to no popular following a few years ago. Only my die-hard supporters ever dreamed I'd return. They thought my academic career was unfocused and prone to going off on tangents, albeit interspersed with moments of brilliance. They had little no interest in the further adventures of the chubby protagonist, me, but now I'm back. Why? DVD sales, my friend.

Right now, all my classes are running together. In my Irish literature class, thousands are fleeing Ireland during the potato famine. In my American Studies class, they're arriving in Philadelphia and bothering everyone. Stephen Dedalus is critiquing Shakespeare, and so is John Milton. Yeats is quoting Milton. Joyce makes fun of Yeats and the Irish Revival while Stephen Dedalus makes his students read Milton's Lycidas. My professor is also making me read Lycidas. Even Middle Eastern Studies shows an overlap. Thursday on BART, I read a speech from Yeats in the Irish Senate, denouncing the Catholic majority's hardline stance on the legality of divorce. Six hours later, a professor discussed the implications of a majority Shiite party attempting to impose religious law on the country's religious minority. And, of course, Yeats again referenced Milton, whose tract on divorce we'll be reading in two weeks.

This is no accident. A truly balanced acadmemic curriculum has the qualities of wholeness, harmony, and radiance. To create an environment where all of one's classes inform and influence the others, requires careful academic planning, or the liberal use of hallucinogenics during the BART ride to the East Bay.

Here's the plan. One, 68-page, all-encompassing paper tying together everything I've learned in the term. Five entire pages written in Irish. Two in Arabic. It'll show that Hamlet's grandfather was Milton's son, the eerie parallels between Flann O'Brien and Naguib Mahfouz and why the original sin of Adam and Eve has barred the Philadelphia Eagles forever from the glory of Super Bowl victory. There will be seven pages of footnotes, two pages of daguerrotypes, and whole thing will be held together by a sharp-looking clear plastic binder. Make room on the Dean's List, UC Berkeley, and tell those pinheads at the MacArthur Foundation to get some fellowship money together already. That is, once I finish the reading. I'm a little behind.

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