Archive for January, 2007

castro.jpgHavana, Cuba – Ailing dictator Fidel Castro left his sickbed on Tuesday to appear on Cuban national television. The occasion was a visit from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, known to music aficionados as “The Randy Jackson of South America”.

The two socialist leaders are reputed to have engaged in several private talks over the past two years, and the topic of discussion frequently roves from feeding and housing their people to a shared enthusiasm for the #1 television show in the U.S. – American Idol.

“El Comandante is a huge Taylor Hicks fan.” said Carlos Lage Davila, one of six Cuban Vice Presidents “He even bought a ‘Soul Patrol’ t-shirt off of eBay last year. His health problems initially kept him from pursuing his dream of starting a Cuban Idol program, but he revived the idea when Presidente Chavez agreed to appear as a celebrity judge.”

Despite a tremulous and halting rendition of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”, Castro is the odds-on favorite to win the finals, which are held in Havana, where his power is unquestioned. Chavez put him through with his typical verbal swagger, saying “Mira, Jefe! Dat was da bomb, perrito! You’re going back to Havana, amigo, 1,000 percent!” The other two judges, Castro’s second cousins Ivan and Carlito, saluted smartly, and the iconoclastic leader was through.

fleetlinesmall.jpgFinalists in the singing competition are rewarded with a complete style-and-uniform makeover by El Jefe’s own tailor, along with a contract to appear in weekly in-show advertisements for the 1946 Chevrolet Fleetline. The winner, to be announced in a lavish live ceremony on March 1st, receives a contract to perform the national anthem at the Pan Am Games, a crate of hand-rolled cigars, and a Cultural Advancement Grant from the Venezuelan Treasury valued at 9 million pesos.

The U.S. Commerce Department continues to enforce an embargo that prevents American pop music from entering Cuba legally. The blockade has done nothing to erode Castro’s power base, but has considerably eased the aural suffering of the average Cuban citizen.

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I know, usually you need something to read while you’re working. Well, today da man has me under his thumb and I can’t post for a while, so I’m going to send you to one of my longtime blogroll homies: Awful Announcing.

He’s plying his trade, cluing us in on the Super Bowl Sideline Reporter surge, and giving us a warning as to what crimes will be perpetrated upon us by the well-coiffed masses. Give unto him your thoughtful and wiseass comments, and ye shall be richly rewarded in the afterlife.

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bushfootballsmall.JPGWashington, D.C. – Super Bowl fever is gripping the nation, and in every office, amateur bookies are coming out of the woodwork. The White House is no different. Early Monday morning, White House Counsel Fred Fielding was making the rounds, trying to fill in the last few open spots in the White House Super Bowl Pool.

“Sure, wagering in the workplace is technically against the law” said Fielding with a wink “but if any numbnuts wants to take me to the Supreme Court, I have a notion I’ll win.”

While the prospect of subverting the law of the land might elicit snickers in these hallowed halls, violation of the unwritten code of office betting is no laughing matter. “You buy one square, you get one chance to win. You buy seven, you get seven chances to win. That’s it!” said a cabinet-level African-American female who declined to be identified. “I don’t care who you are, you pay your money and you take your chances – it’s the American way!”

The source of her ire can be none other than the Football-Fan-in-Chief, who has an unprecedented 100% victory margin in the annual pool over the past six years. Bush is perhaps our most intensely competitive President ever, and his antipathy to losing is legendary. But does he cheat?

“The guy polishes his car with the Geneva Convention – what do you think?” said another highly-placed source. “One year it was the false alarm security lockdown – when we were all allowed back in the Oval, I see my name whited out of the winning square and El Jefe’s scrawled over top. Then the year after that he promised Harriet Miers a Supreme Court appointment if she’d switch places with him. Every year we take steps to thwart the jobbing of the game, and every year he ups the ante. This year it’s the Presidential Signing Statement that allows him to rearrange the squares during the game for national security reasons.”

footballpool.gifWhile the head of the President’s security detail would not comment on specific procedures surrounding Super Bowl Pick ’em, the Secret Service has confirmed that the changes came at their urging. “You can’t have foreign nationals homing in on POTUS.” said a Treasury Department agent. “If you nail him down to one highly-visible square, his Super Bowl wager becomes a liability. The key to keeping him safe is to keep him moving, and keep Al Quaida guessing.”

While none of the senior White House staff would go on record with their accusations of cheating, a sign of discontent among the ranks surfaced when the subject of the snack table was broached. According to sources, all of the 37 participants offered to bring hard, dry, salty pretzels and no drinks.

“If Prince shows a nipple or a buttcheek, it’s going to be ‘hello, Dr. Heimlich!'” crowed the Surgeon General of the United States. “It’s gonna be hard to cheat with my fist in his thorax, I’ll tell you that!”

A lack of clarity in Federal law muddies the question of who is responsible for the President’s Super Bowl picks should he become incapacitated. Many speculate that Vice President Dick Cheney would serve as the President’s cheating proxy should he choke on another pretzel. Democrats argue that the grid would pass to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“Ordinarily I’m not in favor of handing power to Democrats” said one participant “But in this case, I’m pretty sure we can convince Pelosi to move the bossman’s name to the conjunction of 5 and 8. I ain’t no socialist, but let’s share the wealth a little bit!”

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vcurams2.gifIt pains me to write this article, but the Rams have earned it. After a few early stumbles out-of-conference, including a silly loss to Appalachian State, VCU head coach Anthony Grant has the ship righted. The Richmond-based team is now 10-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association, including wins over last year’s Final Four darlings George Mason, and my own Old Dominion Monarchs.

The CAA is my pick for the next surprise conference. If they can follow The Valley’s lead and keep the good coaches from jumping ship, and keep making an imprint on the field of 64, they have a chance to raise the profile of the entire league. With representatives in Philly, Boston, and the D.C. area, the economic potential may actually be greater than that of the MVC. And since we’re talking about collegiate amateur athletics, it’s all about the money, dawg.

Anyway, let’s take a look at these black-and-gold clad denizens of the Siegel Center:

Head Coach Anthony Grant

  • Was hired by VCU President Eugene Trani because he was the only candidate to refrain from giggling and saying “Seriously, your name is Tranny?”
  • Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth determined scientifically that Grant is only 22.6% as annoying as previous coach Jeff Capel. Will need to get those numbers up if he wants to keep his job.
  • Left Florida after the National Championship season because he was tired of being asked to hold Joakim Noah’s handbag in department stores.
  • Wore goggles in his playing days at Dayton so people would think he was Horace Grant’s brother.

Junior F Wil Fameni

  • From Cameroon, West Africa, where mid-major basketball players are now the nation’s third largest export after coffee and rubber.
  • Like all of those ass-kissy foreign players, is majoring in something applicable (Accounting) and plans to graduate.
  • Sat out one year after transferring from Arizona State. Has said the chance to eat at Kuba Kuba every day was the deciding factor in choosing VCU as his destination.

Sophomore G Eric Maynor

  • Favorite Assistant Coach: Tony Pujol.
  • Won his High School Science Fair by installing a Flux Capacitor on a moped. Sadly, he was never able to achieve the velocity needed to engage the device.
  • He don’t use tissues, or his sleeves, he don’t use napkins… he uses maaaagazines.

Senior G Jesse Pellot-Rosa

  • One of the few hyphenated names that is more fun to say than that of New England Patriot’s linebacker Tully Banta-Cain.
  • Made a courageous return to basketball after missing an entire season with a life-threatening lawn darts injury.
  • Keeps several glasses of water by his bed in case those aliens from Signs ever try to grab him.

Senior G B.A. Walker

  • Parents named him after their favorite member of the A-Team: B.A. Barackus. He still refuses to drink milk before a game.
  • Hails from the cruelly named municipality of Onancock, VA.
  • Has won the team’s Americas Cup Yacht Racing fantasy league three years running.

Junior F Michael Anderson

  • Played in the Boo Williams Summer AAU league, which is more than a little bit fun to say.
  • Often rocks the Derrick Coleman headband during games.
  • Really, really doesn’t miss the Jeff Capel face.

The CAA is an up-and-down conference, where even the best teams can lose a couple on the road. Right now the only realistic road to the Big Dance is to win the conference tourney, but the Rams may be able to make a bid for at-large consideration if they continue to play this well in-conference. Ideally, they would meet up with the Oklahoma Sooners and give their old coach something to cry about (though the simple fact of going to Duke was more than enough for Bobby Hurley, Cherokee Parks, Quin Snyder, and Christian Laettner).

So yeah, I’ll say it. Go Rams! Go CAA!

I kid because I love here at Extrapolater. However, I do have a site dedicated to getting the straight dope about colleges across America, called College Rule Notebook. If you’d like to set me straight, take the quick survey. We’ll dig up links & photos to illustrate your answers.

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Peyton Manning Complicates Everything!

No, I’m not going to reruns or anything. It’s just that I wrote this piece about Peyton Manning back when I was first starting out – it got linked by Deadspin at the time, but it’s really even more timely now that Mr. P is finally in the Super Bowl.

So, here it is again:

If you’ve ever watched the Indianapolis Colts play football, you’ve seen the “Peyton Manning Dance”. The All-Pro from Tennessee employs the most frantic audible signals of any quarterback the NFL has ever seen.

While the shouting, wrist-flapping, and pointing seem calculated to emasculate the Offensive Coordinator who called the original play, as well as baffling the defense, the gestures certainly seem to be effective, as the Colts’ high-octane offense runs up the score on a regular basis. And now, the show is going to Miami for Super Bowl XLI, as the Colts take on the Chicago Bears.


Extrapolater reporters spoke to some of Peyton’s friends and acquaintances confidentially, and we were able to re-create several scenes from his daily life.

As one friend – we’ll call him “Eligh” – said: “Peyton’s a perfectionist. If that means he micromanages every aspect of his life, well, so be it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go scatter the magazines across the coffee table before he gets here – that drives him up the wall!”.

Does OCD make for a better quarterback? Only time will tell. What we do know is that this mania for complicating every task is evident in everything Peyton Manning does.

Dinner with his parents:


“Mom, I know you want the veal, but I’ve been studying the dessert menu, and we might need to audible out of your selection. If you think you might want the Tiramisu, I’m going to check down to the Trout En Papillote with angel hair pasta, assorted vegetables, and tarragon mustard sauce. If there’s arugula in the assortment, order a foie gras appetizer. There’s salmon on the specials board, but we’re only taking that one if they bite on the substitution – summer squash instead of garlic mashed potatoes. Dad, you’re not going to have much time left to decide when the menu’s in your hands, so you’re just going to have to freelance. The waiter’s going to be all over you.”

At the grocery store:


“OK, the other shoppers are swarming the aisles today, so we’re going to have to take what they give us. Marvin, the old guy is camping out on the ribeyes, so I’m going to need you to break off your route and grab a couple of New York Strips. Dallas, those kids are playing soft zone around the Pepsi, so I want you to go underneath and get a two-liter of Fanta. Reggie, you go long like you’re going to bring back some Ben & Jerry’s, hopefully that’ll pull the coverage back enough for Dominic to get into the flat and grab me some damn Cheetos.”

At an orgy:

Amber, I’m going to fake the toss to you, but then you’re going to need to come around the left end and seal off my backside – hard. Joanie, your responsibility is to line up as a tight end on the right side, go in motion to the two-hole, and then lay your man out flat on his back. Heather, I’m going to pump-fake a couple of times in your direction, but you’re a decoy, so try to draw a second man your direction. That way Sophia ought to be wide open, and I can nail her with the skinny post in the end zone.”


Next week: Joey Porter’s deeply disturbing Barbie-doll dioramas.

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The annual Super Bowl wager is a reliable part of the pregame festivities. A little human-interest B.S. to keep us entertained as we grind through two weeks of lethargy-inducing interviews and speculative articles about the player matchups.

Typically the Mayors of the opposing cities shake hands over a civic-pride-boosting arrangement like this: “OK, if you win, the City of Baltimore promises to give you a case of crabs. Wait… I mean we’ll send you a case of crabs. From Chesapeake Bay… that you can eat… not the other thing. I just want to make that perfectly clear.” And then the Mayor of New York offers to send Baltimore some bagels with lox and everybody has a good laugh and photo op and we all go on our merry way.

This year, I propose we adopt a Super Bowl wager with teeth. Chicago and Indianapolis are a mere 165 miles apart, and the states share a long border, so there have to be a few issues we can clear up, based on who wins the game.

My suggestions:

Contractual Agreement between Super Bowl participant Cities and States

1. Cessation of disputed territories

  • If the Bears win, the Governor of Indiana will officially cede any claim to the disputed territory of Gary, Indiana.
  • If the Colts win, Illinois will officially cede the border town of Carmi, and the world-famous statue of Big John.

2. Disposition of personal and organizational property

  • If the Bears beat the Colts, Peyton Manning will return the Mike Ditka moustache he wore in the Sprint commercial.
  • If the Bears win, the Colts will return up to 5 official NFL footballs – each signed by the player who intercepted it. These balls will be awarded to the Bears defensive unit in recognition of their ability to overcome futility in the passing game.
  • If the Colts win, Joseph Addai will be granted use of O’Hare airport in order to shoot an updated version of O.J. Simpson’s Hertz Rent-a-Car commercial.
  • If the Colts win, Dan Klecko and Jeff Saturday will be immortalized with life-sized statues made of cheese in the William “Refrigerator” Perry Fat Guy Touchdown Hall of Fame.

3. Promissory notes regarding goods & services

  • If Chicago wins, the Bears will pay travel, meal, and accomodation expenses for Mayor of Indianapolis to attend the Oprah Winfrey Show on Makeover day.
  • If Chicago wins, the NCAA selection committee will email the final tournament brackets to Bears’ HQ at least one hour before releasing them to the media.
  • If Indianapolis wins, Chicago music legends Buddy Guy and Otis Rush will write a bad-ass blues theme song for the Colts, calculated to increase their street cred by roughly 15%.
  • If Indianapolis wins, the Chicago Tourism Commission will give Colts players, coaches, and front-office members the Ferris Bueller tour of Chicago, including a free Abe Froman sausage platter to take home.

4. Imposition of legal restrictions

  • Jason Whitlock will be forbidden from writing about Ball State University or Jeff George for the period of one calendar year.
  • Jay Mariotti will be enjoined from writing anything at all during the same period.

The astute reader will note that no condition of victory by either team is required to enact the last two measures. They have been stipulated on humanitarian grounds, and are to be enforced regardless of the outcome of the game.See you next Sunday! Who’s bringing the crabs?

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Favre Back In Rehab

favretours.JPGCanton, OH – Sources are reporting that iconic Green Bay Packers Quarterback Brett Favre has voluntarily reported to a secure addiction treatment facility near the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The mysterious facility is a joint project of the National Football League and the NFL Players’ Association, but reporters have never been allowed inside the doors, and the building’s true purpose had not been revealed until today’s news.

The eight-time Pro Bowler did not address the media directly before checking in, but his publicist issued a revealing statement written in Favre’s own words:

To all of my fans and supporters: Thank you for standing by me during this difficult time. Many of you know that I have struggled with addiction to painkillers in the past. What I didn’t understand at the time is that the pills were simply a proxy for the thing over which I am truly powerless – my addiction to football.

When I entered the NFL’s substance-abuse program in 1996, I truly believed that it was Vicodin I was addicted to. But even when I fished a half-digested pill out of my own vomit and chowed it back down, it wasn’t painkillers I was taking. The pills had started to look like little footballs to me.

Now I realize that even with the pill-monkey off my back, there is still a 800-lb. Gorilla in the room. And I’m not talking about Gilbert Brown.

My recent inability to retire rather than play out the string with a sub-standard team really made me realize I have to face my demons. As of this morning, I will make myself eligible for induction into the class of 2007 at the Hall of Fame’s Jan Stenerud Center for Football Addiction. Behind these walls, I hope to find the strength to finally let go of the pigskin, and take a seat on life’s bench, next to my family.

Thank You.

Favre’s teammates reacted with studied nonchalance. Packer’s backup QB Aaron Rodgers said “Well, um, you know, Brett’s going to do what Brett’s going to do. He’s, um, a great leader around here and we’re really going to miss him while he’s gone. But I really want him to get the help he needs, and if that means I have to put down the clipboard and actually get my uniform dirty, that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make”.

vicodinfootballs.JPG“The Stenerud Center is the first of its kind in America, which by definition makes it the best” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “Our old outpatient treatment program had some limited successes – big names like Tiki Barber and Barry Sanders were able to retire while they can still walk upright. But we have a long ways yet to go. As long as a Vinny Testaverde or a Kordell Stewart is still sucking down Gatorade in one of America’s top-fifty television markets, the crisis is all too real.”

Experts in addiction counseling speculate that Favre will be locked away for up to a month. “He’s a voluntary commit, so he’s going to be there until he no longer feels the compulsion to do the Lambeau Leap into the arms of another football team. Of course, he could be out much sooner if he succeeds in teaching that 7-foot Indian to throw the water fountain in a compact spiral”.

Will the Gunslinger retire at the end of this season, bringing despair to Wisconsinites, opposing d-backs, and John Madden? Only time will tell. But for now, we are left hanging, waiting for a word, once again.

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Good Writing=Good Reading

Some people might thing the internet is clogged with too many blogs, but I still delight in skimming the cream of the crop. And I find new ones to add to my list every day.

And don’t think I won’t share with you-all. I just discovered The Feed, where opinions about sports might be harsh, but they are also well thought-out and defended, instead of just shouted about. And, he had the good taste to quote moi (and Al Swearengen) in his latest piece: “Stand It Like A Man”. So ya can’t beat that.

Read it. Do it. Do it now.

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bestpitcher.jpgHollywood, CA – The entertainment industry was rocked today by news that Best Pitcher nominee White, with little blue flowers would be withdrawn from contention just one day after nominations were announced. No reason for the abrupt change of course was announced, but the gossip grapevine has been going full-tilt since early this morning.

“Sure, it was a great pitcher, but there were problems even in the early going” said Hollywood insider Matt Vlasic. “It was always sitting around in a private trailer, getting sloshed and wetting the carpet. In my opinion, it was only a matter of time before it fell all the way off the wagon and got completely smashed. But the studio’s just going to have to pick up the pieces and try to move on. You can’t waste time crying over spilt milk in this business.”

The pitcher was Williams-Sonoma’s best hope for critical success in a year that saw the bottom fall out of several worthy projects. With this latest failure, WS President Timothy Beltran finds that his recommendations don’t carry much water in Hollywood any more.

shalit.jpg“I’ve been instructed by the board to cut costs this year. Do you know how hard it is to compete when you have no money? Every other studio is turning out these big-budget flying saucer blockbusters, and I’m stuck making small pitchers with no frills. I mean, I’d definitely like to have something like the Potter franchise, but we just can’t afford those kinds of special effects any more. The shine is off, and the cracks are starting to show. If we can’t turn this thing around, we’re going to be left without a pot to piss in.”

The pitcher has drawn critical raves, which lessens the sting of low attendance. Chicago Sun-Times critic Jim Emerson called White, with little blue flowers “An elegant vessel-filled to the brim with sublimeade”. Gene Shalit was predictably succinct in his praise, trumpeting “What a crock!”.

Beltran is still hopeful that Williams-Sonoma can recover their investment in the pitcher. “I think we can repackage it and try to recoup some of our losses in the overseas market.” he grinned. “These kinds of old-fashioned pitchers are doing very well in Greece and China right now”.

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newmexicostate_logo_2005.gifI was all set to write “Who The Hell Are… The Villanova Wildcats” today, but I realized that was just an excuse to write about Kevin Durant, and that’s not really the way this is supposed to work.

So I perused the scores from the weekend, and saw that the dreaded “Extrapolater Article Jinx” had claimed another victim. One week after I finally got around to profililng Nevada , the Wolfpack fell to the New Mexico State Aggies in Las Cruces.

I wondered about the viability of elevating an unranked team to “Who The Hell Are…” status after they had beat the previous week’s entry, but as I perused the Aggies’ website, I saw the piece de resistance – their coach is none other than Reggie Theus!!!! Coach Fuller from NBC’s “Hang Time”? I’m there!

The former NBA star has used his star power to attract a great deal of mercenary talent to the Las Cruces campus. By my count, 10 current players transferred from other universities, including players from Utah, St. John’s, UNC-Charlotte, and Kansas State. Add in a Juco player, coach’s second cousin Londale, and a couple of other Freshman, and you’ve got yourself a decent team.

Sadly, the Aggies have had a few missteps out-of-conference, losing to Loyola Marymount, Arizona, and Louisiana Tech. However, they are 5-1 in the conference, losing only to UNM on the road. They are undefeated at home in the Pan American Center. Can the plucky denizens of Las Cruces win the conference and make the dance? Stay tuned and find out.

The ones to watch:

Head Coach Reggie Theus

  • Coach’s decision to bring along a relative is eerily reminiscent of a plot from “Hang Time”.
  • Is fond of saying “I was Rick Fox before Rick Fox was Rick Fox”.
  • Rumored to be considering the role of Mr. Drummond in a remake of “Diff’rent Strokes”, in which he adopts two wise-cracking white children. The move is being vocally opposed by Conrad Baines.
  • Starred in this state-of-the-art recruiting video.

Junior G Justin Hawkins

  • Transferred from Utah. Was surprised by the astounding lack of differences between conference play in the Mountain West and the WAC.
  • Thought Utah’s nickname came from the scene in “My Cousin Vinny” where Joe Pesci says “Dese two youts…”
  • Actually got a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas when he was 11. Did not shoot his own eye out.

Senior G Elijah Ingram

  • Teammates are convinced that he is over 30 years of age, based primarily on his hairline.
  • As a native of the east coast, Elijah was convinced that he needed a passport to attend school on New Mexican soil.
  • Will be unveiling his senior thesis project at this year’s Burning Man festival – it is entitled “300 naked women and two tons of lunchmeat”.

Junior F Tyrone Nelson

  • Makes frequent trips to Roswell, NM to look for E.T.
  • Still has his birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese’s
  • It is his lifelong dream to appear on Masterpiece Theater as famed British naval hero Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson.

Junior C Hatila Passos

  • Originally from Rio De Janiero, Brazil. Fled to the United States to escape the public shame of coming in dead-last in the all-city thong competition.
  • During a routine traffic stop in 2006, Las Cruces police attempted to deport Passos… to Mexico.
  • Transferred to NM State from Arkansas-Fort Smith, home of the fearsome “Forty minutes of H-E-double hockey sticks” system.

Junior G Fred Peete

  • Attended Pullman HS, Oklahoma A&M, Kansas State, and now New Mexico state in his relentless search for the true middle of nowhere.
  • One of his proudest achievements while at K-State was scoring 14 points in a win over Missouri and making Quin Snyder cry.
  • Hoped to follow in Dennis Rodman’s footsteps by attending A&M, but was unable to make the next step when he found out he was allergic to hair dye and looked fat in a wedding dress.

Whether the Aggies make the NCAAs or not probably depends on whether they hold serve on their home court and win a few games in the conference tourney. One thing’s for sure, though. If this squad can’t get it done, Coach Fuller Theus won’t hesitate to bring in a girl who can shoot the rock.

I kid because I love here at Extrapolater. However, I do have a site dedicated to getting the straight dope about colleges across America, called College Rule Notebook. If you’d like to set me straight, take the quick survey. We’ll dig up links & photos to illustrate your answers.

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