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    The humblebrag has an evil variation we need to address: the despicable humdrumblebrag. This was on Reddit. it is our fault for going there in the first place, and for ignoring obvious advice, but it happened.



    And once you've done that--and that might take a few hours--put on your Templar's hood, pull the special book-trigger in your library to open your secret entrance, wend me down the steps of your labyrinth, and initiate me into the secrets of your thaumaturgies. Is it that your hands are more naturally skilled, and not as sweaty as the average cretin's wank-mitts? Could it be that you are simply more careful than the rest of the population, a more thoughtful, conscientious natural aristocrat wandering the hoi-polloi in a smoking jacket and jotting down the petty, easily avoidable miseries lesser others devour from life's buffet of incompetencies? Is it that the phone doesn't break because it hits your enormous dick on the way down, thus reducing the impact velocity? It's probably that.

    It could also be this: you're inordinately proud of the most boring tedious accomplishments imaginable, and want to boast about them to people who place no value in your tedious merit badges whatsoever. "I never get hangnails," you say, proud of your Nobel Prize-winning ability to not bite your fingernails. "How hard is it to floss every day," you say, proud of the perfect teeth you will chatter into the grave with the rest of us who yes, might decide to say "Fuck it" and crash drunkenly into bed without dragging string through our teeth.

    "You missed your flight? Did you get your car stolen?" Yes, that is the only way to miss a flight, and in fact the closer you stand to the gate, the more important and virtuous you look. It's amazing how the Phelps account will notice this. The Phelps account is yours because you--you go-getter--got to the airport two hours early, and blew at least sixty precious minutes of life you will never get back looking through the paperbacks available in the gift shop and playing Candy Crush on your phone. I can play Candy Crush all day on my phone because I keep my phone fully charged at all times. Of course you do, bitch. Of course. The Phelps account people love people with fully charged phones.

    The Phelps account wants to fuck in the bathroom right now.

    Goddamn, you are brilliant beyond all compare.

    But it doesn't stop there. There is literally no limit to this tour of the castle of impregnable mundanity you have spent your whole life constructing. You just don't understand how someone could have a suspended license, because how hard is it to mail something in? It's not hard, and that's the issue. In fact, it's something you do effortlessly, probably online, and probably months in advance because how hard is it to keep a calendar, like the immaculate one you keep in your mansion of inestimable glories--because if the rest of life is this easy, you have one of those, don't you?

    So, grand humdrumblebraggers of the world, the answer as always is this: it is because you are simply better than the rest of humanity. That is the point of the humdrumblebrag in the first place. The master of the humdrumblebrag is running headlong toward the perfect attendance award for life, and wants to know why you're not keeping up, all while taking the moment to slap a tiara of of LEDs on their head in the conversation and announce that yes: they have climbed that mountain, and paid their cable bill on time. It took effort, superior virtue, and grit, but they did not manage to break their phone made of glass*, which they will carry with them to their grave, which awaits them after a lifetime of well-spent effort using the fully extended ZIP code and always, always arriving fifteen minutes early for everything.

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    AJ's right. There are demons in the world, and some of them were at the Grammys, because that's where evil chooses to reveal itself. Herself. Whatever form it takes, is what we're saying.

    That's where it's going to reveal itself, and definitely not in the form of someone right under your nose, barely disguised as a human, relentless and unsleeping in the undeveloped wilds of our nation's sordid basement. It certainly wouldn't be that, because the Devil likes to advertise, and definitely wouldn't take a detour for Miami before deciding that Miami is too sketchy even for Satan himself.

    NOPE. You pegged it, AJ. The devil's on your teevee, and is definitely not jumping into your arms. Alabama, why must you solve all the important mysteries of the universe, and leave none for the rest of us? The riddle of how to get toilet paper out of your trees, the difficulties of meeting new people, finding a way to say "I love you" with the gift of a military helicopter, or even the mysteries of weather.


    Leave something for the rest of us to do, Yellowhammer State. It's one thing to take the BCS as your personal fiefdom, but to take the national title in biochemical warfare research and open source ambulance dispatching, too? That is just the sin of gluttony, and thus totally the department of the devil that lives in Katy Perry's bustier, and who most definitely does not coach a football team in your state.

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    I don't care about the weather. Someone said it'd make me more personable. I think I'm personable. Don't know why me explaining what you already know is gonna help with personable. Why's my body invisible. This is the weather. It won't help you with anything.


    Forecast for Gainesville. It's adversity. You're just gonna have to overcome it. It's here for I dunno a while. Miami's got a heavy shower of DBs. Lotta bullshit in Texas. I don't even wanna know Ohio. We don't know anything about Ohio and never will. Doesn't help us win football games down here. Doesn't help you win either. Nothing helps you win. Nothing helps us win. I know how to win. Please help me.

    The seven day forecast is--


    I don't even know what those numbers mean. That's last year. I'm not talking about last year.  We'll be fine Friday. WE'LL BE FINE. Just gotta overcome drizzle of hellfire and a high of I dunno that's a lot of degrees. You'll notice there's nothing on Saturday. That's been accurate for a while now. I'm personable and know how to win. This has been the weather.

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    Series: "Archer Vice," aka the one where Adam Reed has surrendered all fucks he might have once had and embarked on a serialized drug epic involving characters from an entirely different universe who happen to be reaaaaallly bad at dealing drugs. Maybe the familiarity with the cast made you just a little too comfortable with this whole endeavor, or maybe you just trust the Archer brain trust implicitly after four astonishing seasons, but stop for a second and think about just how fucking bonkers this concept is.

    They simply don't care. The ballsiness and/or extravagance is breathtaking, and that's before you get to the part where a coke-blasted nude Pam has a foursome with Yakuza members. Coke-blasted Pam might be a bit redundant this season. It's Pam. The cocaine is implied.

    (GIFs from Zap2It's superb and timely compilations.)

    Location: Mostly Tunt Manor, NYC. Tunt Manor is now a magical sack of monied dementia for the characters to pull whatever they need out of, and that's fine because monied dementia has some fantastic props. Tunt Manor has tunnels (because of a Tunt with a thirst for recapturing slaves and selling them back to their owners, of course,) a gun room (all loaded, see "monied dementia,") and somewhere in its bowels a lurking Babou, just waiting to rip Sterling Archer's face to shreds. It also has an old-timey Gentleman's Club of London gym in it, complete with Woodhouse being slowly crushed to death by a medicine ball. He could be down there for quite some time, as in "the rest of the season."

    Plot: A deal to take the counterfeit money and exchange it for something real goes awry when Pam--already coked to the gills--trades it in for amphetamines, and thus earns a death bounty when the Yakuza realize the money is fake. Please remember that these are the same Yakuza you saw in "Drift Problem," when Pam was racing them for cash. Should you find Pam's indestructibility to be beyond belief, please remember that you've already believed in her ability to both drift race and cage fight for money, and that you are watching a cartoon about wealthy idiot spies that comes on at ten p.m.

    The rest of the episode is an excuse to shoot Ron Cadillac in the stomach, play around with Tunt Manor, and get Archer into a situation where he demonstrates that he can do something right in his new life as a drug baron. (Which, astonishingly, he does.)

    Ripped from the headlines: The Yakuza are totally in deep in the amphetamine trade, and do cut off fingers for offenses by their members. New York City is shot through with tunnels, with the Schinasi Mansion and its tunnel to the Hudson River being the most notable example of wealth paired with a deep belief in Mole People.

    References: "Scrooge McDuck-ian vault," aka a reference to this. Archer's threat to get all "Josh Randall" in a gunfight namechecks Steve McQueen's character in the television Western Wanted Dead or Alive. Krieger "Bonham's a pussy" line mentions Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, presumably hated because avowed Rush Fanatic Krieger sees him as the false idol you might worship instead of drummer Neil Peart. The crushed Woodhouse says "I'm finished" like Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood, but a character spending an entire episode beneath a heavy object is a callback to the Sealab 2021 episode "Mingus Dew," when Captain Murphy spends an entire episode being stung by scorpions while being trapped beneath a Bebop Cola machine. (Also referenced in the Season 4 finale, with Jon Hamm voicing the Captain Murphy part.)

    Cameos: George Takei as the Yakuza boss, who has now been bested and shot by the Archer crew twice.

    Was Pam naked? Yup, and seen just finishing up a triumphant foursome with the Yakuza. "You too, Oji-san."

    Did Archer lose another loved one to gunfire? No, but formally speaking he did get someone injured seriously in Ron Cadillac, gut-shot when the Yakuza open fire on Tunt Manor. I love Ron Cadillac's speech about being there for Mallory, and supporting her in everything she does--including her new career in drug-dealing. You might know better people than I do, but the great realism of the show comes in little moments like Mallory begrudging her otherwise fantastically loyal and loving husband for making her drive a free floor model Cadillac, and not a new one.

    This is how people can be most of the time: petty, small, and often too drunk to make better decisions in the face of total chaos. This is a misanthrope's show, through and through, and if you doubt this remember that last night you watched a paraplegic cyborg in his underwear drink, cry, and get lambasted for "pussyaching" about his condition.

    Complaints about free entertainment. I'll second the AV Club's lament: Lana doesn't make much sense, which I'm fine with because (ARCHER: FILE NOT FOUND), but also build on that by saying that she's not being given that much to do. I'll also complain that there was not enough Cheryl in last night's episode, but only because you could not have enough of Cheryl detailing her family's mad history or getting excited over autoerotic asphyxiation.

    It's the first episode that had its own kind of gravity this season, and it accomplished the kind of manic, snowballing energy the best Archer episodes have at the end: Archer repeatedly firing off the gun in the car, with each gunshot and subsequent ear-ringing getting funnier and funnier with repetition, and Archer himself hitting his stride only when the situation had gotten completely untenable for all but the least sane. That was sort of the point here: that Archer could not only survive this episode, but do well and broker something like a truce at gunpoint. He's gonna be fine as a drug baron, even if he has to break a few phones along the way. (Not his, mind you, but Woodhouse's. Poor, poor Woodhouse.)

    MVP: Cheryl. Not even close, and that's just counting her weird-ass histories of the Tunt Family. "It bankrupted him."


    "Sorry, I don't wanna get a dry socket." --Archer

    "Not to a Chinaman." --Ron Cadillac, in the best muttered aside of the episode

    "...and they're all loaded. This was the best house to grow up in." --Cheryl Tunt

    "What, were the Hell's Angels busy?" "Yeah, busy bein' pussies." --Mallory and Pam, discussing the magical world of organized crime.

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    This is how two and a half inches of snow paralyzed Atlanta, roughly speaking.

    1. This is a poorly run city that barely sees snow. The last time ATL was hit with a winter storm, there were four--FOUR--salt trucks at the ready. Two of them ran into each other on the way out of the lot, and reduced the road-clearing capacity of the city by fifty percent. This city, administratively speaking, does not do anything well. There are a lot of reasons for this, but ineptitude as a general rule leads to massive ineptitude in specific areas of anti-expertise. Atlanta's bad at a lot of things it has to do every day, so the things it has to do rarely are really, really badly done--particularly when it involves something the city experiences every three or four years

    2. This is a sprawling metro area encompassing eight thousand square miles with at least three major interstates (depending how you count them and their subdivisions) and one huge ring road in 285. It's hilly as hell, and on top of those major arteries features a commuter population that takes at least another four or five roads you'd consider highways anywhere else. It works at a snail's pace on a good day. Throw any kind of inclement weather into the equation, and the heart-shaped organ of Atlanta becomes one big traffic cardiac event.

    3. So before anything even happened yesterday, you had a complex and tangled transit system spanning no fewer than six major agencies and government entities that would implode with the slightest hiccup in the transit equilibrium.

    Then someone coated the roads in ice just in time for rush hour.

    4. And then something happened, and nothing happened in response. No one freaked out when winter storm advisories were announced. No cancellations were made, and the city and GDOT had nothing ready, and no capacity to catch up once they were behind. The city and state play a game of chicken with winter weather. The usual tactic is to call everything off, cancel everything early, and risk ridicule for the sake of not having people trapped on the roads for ten hours. This is usually done with the luxury of a night to prepare.

    5. This storm not only hit farther north than projected, but also hit in the middle of the day--the exact time when the rush hour cannon is loaded with the full brunt of Atlanta's commuting class. The city and state failed, but so did everyone else. Employers, famously flocking to Georgia because we don't have much of a government to interfere with things, did not fill the void by responsibly suggesting people telecommute. Schools said nothing, and had to shelter children overnight while cafeteria workers stayed to make food for the kids. People slept in CVS and Publix last night. The best man at my wedding slept in a hotel conference room. He is only seven miles from home, and still is as of this morning, because no one did a single smart thing.

    6. So if you're glorying in this, and using this disaster of civic ineptitude to gird your own puny loins this morning, great. I encourage this, because I want you to be the worst possible person. Everyone's got a goal, and you're headed down that path whether I want you to or not. You survived that brutal Northern winter all by yourself, writing a check and living in a less deplorably managed city. You did it, you Meteorological Ayn Rands of the world. Be sure to tell the people sleeping in freezing cars on the interstate about it this morning. I think that's what this is for. This is definitely what this moment is for. Your shitbag horizon is calling: go grab it with both hands, and don't bother wearing gloves.

    7. If you want to know what happened, it's that a sprawling mess of a city with zero preparation or capacity to handle a logistical challenge got hit right where it could afford it least: straight in the heart of the city, i.e. the ability to drive from one point to another in an automobile. You have solutions. We have an Atlanta. You should know that the two rarely meet.

    8. TL; DR: everyone failed except the lunchladies, teachers, postal workers, and the firemen down the block I heard going back and forth all night without sleep.  Oh, and the bartenders. The number of bartenders working last night was nothing short of heroic.

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    All of us need some heppin' after a hard workout, and Houston's staying strong. Or as he'd say, "STRAWWWNG." You don't know if he's wearing anything behind that cryo-tube, do you? And that's disturbing you, as is the question of whether Houston Nutt has left that tube since the year 2011, and hasn't just been watching film with Ron Zook in the next tube over, occasionally trotting out for short bursts of broadcast television and then back into the cryo tube where he waits, unsleeping, hitting the cellphone to Jimmy Sexton and eyeing the UConn job?

    Because that's exactly what he's been doing. And yes, Houston Nutt is totally nude in this picture, shrouded in icy mist and mysteries. So really, the usual Houston Nutt stuff, just minus the hilarious oversigning--unless there are forty-five junior college recruits and academic non-qualifiers in that tube.* We hope he gets a job soon, because the world with Houston Nutt coaching football in it is a richer place, particularly when doing that thing where his undermanned 5-7 team comes out of nowhere and blindsides a sleepy overdog at home.

    *There are not forty-five recruits hidden in that tube. There are forty-seven.

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    The biggest problem in America this weekend will be people not knowing the exact type of people coming to their Super Bowl party. The second biggest problem is not having enough listicles telling them who these people will be. Well, problem solved, America. You're welcome.

    SB Nation 2014 NFL Playoff Coverage

    With selections from Jon Bois and Celebrity Hot Tub

    1. The ghost of your Aunt Lois. She stays under the stairs most of the time, but something about the Big Game gets her out into the living room, complaining about how your mother finished her oatmeal forty-eight years ago and never apologized for it. She talks loudly over the game, wondering out loud awkwardly about her misspent days among the living. Why'd she spend her life with that worthless man from the telephone company, Aintry? She wonders all this, all day long, reading Jude Devereaux novels under the stairs in the broom closet. PLOT TWIST: Your aunt Lois isn't even dead, and hasn't paid a dime in rent ever, and may not be your aunt. You might want to talk to her or the police or both about it.

    2. The man who will one day stab the mayor. He brought dip.

    Who brought a girl to this party this is my mancave. Man cards. Dr Pepper 10.

    3. The girl who knows nothing about football. Look at her, asking questions about the game, and wondering things out loud while trying to socialize. Guhhh, she has ovaries, and is talking with words, and brought good food instead of the bag of chips like everyone else. She could start having babies right in the middle of your floor. Who brought a girl to this party this is my mancave. Man cards. Dr Pepper 10. I'm so lonely it hurts, and I cry at night. Please let me watch the game, I am a real football fan.

    4. The dad from The Wonder Years. Sits over by himself at your kitchen table, clasps his hands and grimaces for four hours.

    5. .ELONA MIH EVAEL .nam sdrawkcab ehT


    [/intercepts handful of Doritos headed toward your mouth on way out door]

    7. THE 90s. Dammit, 90s, this party can't eat listicles about Boy Meets World, take your fat pants somewhere else.

    8. Millard Fillmore. Just muttering about the Whig party.

    9. Treat Carroll. Pete's identical twin who goes around at night convincing everyone that Pete never sleeps. He will spend the entire game on his phone reading a 9/11 conspiracy theory message board and talking about the Bilderburg Group fixes the Super Bowl every year -- just like his brother would.

    10. Jeff. Who invited freaking Jeff--


    Jeff, who no one has liked ever but still keeps getting invited to parties, Jesus, just go away Jeff. (via)

    11. A Super Bowl PR Email. It was not invited. It does not address you by name. It just wants you to know about this amazing list compiled by [BRAND DELETED] that you may be interested in. It will talk to you loudly and without warning every 20 minutes to see if you remembered that email. You will stuff it in the trash can repeatedly, only to watch it crawl out every time. Twenty of them are at your party. This party now sucks.

    Breaking Madden

    12. Drunk guy! He's drunk. He is drinking alcohol and talking in a normal voice. Look at how drunk he is! He has had at least three beers, and his shirt is clean, and my god he is drunk! This dude is so drunk. Let's point out how drunk he is. He'll probably have another beer, with alcohol in it, and let someone drive home! What a drunk.

    13. That guy who can't stop talking about gambling. "The other team just scored points." Yeah, that's your guy. Call the police, what he is doing is illegal. Tie him up. Tell the police he was talking about "the numbers game" and lay a finger next to your nose. This is criminal code for "the mafias." They'll shoot him the minute they get there if you do this. #Justice

    14. That baby chewing on a ball of dog hair in the corner. He's the biggest fan of all, is what you'll tell CPS when they find him on the fire escape.

    15. A stolen Chevy Silverado. Through the front wall of your house in the third quarter. The driver will leap out and continue to run from the police while you jump on the hood, rip your shirt off, and yell "THIS IS FORD COUNTRY, BUDDY." You'll grow a penis the minute you do this. This is the best day of your life.

    16. Rob Ford. See scenario in No. 15, but with "Rob Ford" in place of the truck.

    17. Jadakiss. You want the hardest Super Bowl party, you invite Jadakiss.

    18. Guy in a jersey. What's he doing wearing a jersey and a shirt with long sleeves? Why does he look like a giant man-shaped stack of raccoons wearing a human mask, with weird little pairs of raccoon hands where his hands should be? Why the palsied walk, as if he were just a bunch of raccoons wearing human clothes? Where did he get the 20 dollars for the party betting pool? Why is he just eating the guacamole with both hands, stuffing it into his shirt pockets and pants, and emitting a constant chittering noise from spots all over his body? Guy in a jersey, we don't know why you're here, but people seem to like you even if you're wearing a child's article of clothing in public, and are a giant stack of crafty woods creatures.

    19. Kevin Hart. I'm sorry this is a law he has to be everywhere and that means your party, too. He's short, and frustrated, and there are no two things Americans love more than that.

    20. A guy who likes Bill Hicks. "Did you know there's no god, ugh, corporations, right? Just blew your mind, but keep up, sheeple" he says before going outside to "vape like I'm Goat Boy [makes disgusting noises into hands for one minute straight.]"

    21. The Alabama fan. "I ain't sayin' it won't be close. But the Tide got Seattle by a field goal, and Denver by seven with that sissy spread passing shit. Saban'll tune that right up."

    22. That guy who misses the party. He's pinned under a snack machine at his office after hours, and people won't be there for days! This loser always misses all the fun.

    23. The neighborhood arsonist. If you're so good at it why is there still a neighborhood, pal? Now that's a real burn, buddy.

    More from SB Nation NFL

    SB Nation's complete coverage of Super Bowl XLVIII

    The Notebook: Can the Broncos hold off Seattle's pass rush?

    Behind the Boom: The secrets of the Seahawks' secondary

    Just 'bout that action: Marshawn Lynch and the Super Bowl circus

    NFL mock draft: Blake Bortles is the new No. 1 pick

    The sordid end of David Meggett: From All-Pro to prison

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  • 01/31/14--11:20: PRESIDENTIAL MEAT RATINGS

    With Celebrity Hot Tub, of course.

    The discussion on Twitter yesterday demanded a full review of Presidents as edible meats. We have a few ground rules. First: we use the USDA's beef rating scale. Second, the standing President is exempted from the discussion, mostly because we do not want a call from the Secret Service. Third, we reserved the right to claim some Presidents weren't even meat at all. Fourth, we call dibs on Taft.


    William Taft. Let's be clear: Taft was the Kobe of Presidentmeats, and a standard we shall never see again walking the paths of the Rose Garden. In a time when weighing over 200 pounds made one a Clydesdale, Taft ballooned to a richly fed and powerful 320 pounds at his peak. In modern numbers, Taft would have weighed seven thousand pounds, and had his own gravitational field surrounding him with a mini-constellation of junk mail and random street debris at all times.


    Actual photo of the Millennium Falcon escaping Taft.

    The possibilities are endless--the tomahawk steak cut on Taft alone would run you a hundred bucks in a quality steakhouse--but remember that the Comanche could live for three months on one Taft, and used every part of the Taft in their daily lives. Be respectful with this peerless beast, and the top grade meat it gave its life and Supreme Court seat up for to land on your plate.

    William McKinley. The Gold Standard was not just a fiscal policy for McKinley, but a personal ethos. Believing that he should shed his body of all but its most essential elements, McKinley gradually had many of his organs and appendages removed until, at the time of his assassination, he was a skeleton-less, but succulent, sentient beef tenderloin. (In other words: THE FINAL FORM OF EVERY OHIOAN.)

    Zachary Taylor. A bigger man, well-marbled and active enough to make for a good blend of fat and muscle. More importantly, Taylor's fondness for Louisiana cooking likely gave his meat a tinge of savory Creole spices and a natural immunity to malaria. Serve carne asada-style to Mexicans for maximum irony, or enjoy all by itself in any cut. A truly top-flight Presidentmeat.

    Herbert Hoover. How a 220 pound man from Iowa who was resoundingly unpopular in the midst of the Great Depression wasn't publicly seized, coated with dry rub, and grilled is a mystery that scholars still can't unravel. People ate literally anything in the 20s, including barrels with POISON written on them in comically large font.

    Chester A. Arthur. A well-marbled and well-maintained 220 pounds fed on gout-inducing banquets, you want to make sure you get your Chester A. Arthur only after it's matured into its full adult body. Ample jowls make for some of the best Presidentmeat guanciale around.

    James Madison. The smallest president at a teensy 5' 4" and 122 pounds, Madison is the executive branch's game hen - it must be tasty because it's so expensive, but in reality you're just like "fuck how many bones does this thing have?"

    Bill Clinton. Leftover Popeye's chicken that you sneak into the kitchen to eat in the middle of the night because fuck what that doctor said salad is joyless. This is not a metaphor.



    John Adams. Described as small but "well-knit," Adams was basically like a suckling feral pig raised on oceans of hard cider and beer. Too small and un-marbled to be Prime, mind you, but certainly good solid winter ham material. For best results, put one of John Adams's legs in a pot with some greens, smashed garlic, and some chicken broth. Now let it simmer all day, low and slow like the little man himself.

    James Monroe. Big farm-fed slabby beef, basically, so treat him like a cheaper Prime Rib. The Family Pak of Presidentmeat, for use at second weddings and lesser banquets only.

    Martin Van Buren. First president from New York; also the first president who was not a man but actually just a slab of salted venison Jackson kept hidden inside an overcoat and called "Vice President." (The wig was for laughs.)

    Andrew Johnson. The first President to be impeached. In their haste, historians often fail to note that he was also cured with apples and lemons. Savory country eatin' untainted by literacy or antibiotics.


    George Washington. Certainly organically raised and thus high quality, but too lean to make Choice. Dental problems should give you pause, though. Losing adult teeth on the regular is a sign of being too turnt.

    Richard Nixon. Oh, you criticize him for his anti-Semitic comments on tape, but how would you feel if you were the first president made completely from blood sausage? You have no idea how cruel Talmudic scholars were to young Richard "Treif-ling" Nixon.

    Thomas Jefferson. Our nation's first gourmand-in-chief ate practically everything, so like most relentless omnivores his flesh was probably either a.) oily and tough like a bear's, or b.) tasted like a river silt sandwich like that of a giant catfish. One of our best Presidentmeat prospects for frying in a heavy batter, since all man may be created equal but some simply lack the marbling to become anything but meat-fritter material.

    Franklin Pierce. Cured just enough by years of intense drinking, Franklin Pierce makes fine enough jerky for a woodsman's lunch, and would be acceptable hamburgers in a pinch provided you had a grinder, and did not need the hamburgers to have a definitive moral standpoint on slavery.

    Harry Truman. Not much meat for eating, but slap that bad boy and some herbs in a pot on low heat for four or five hours and you've got yourself a sassy, flavorful stock. (Strain carefully to remove bones and eyeglasses.)

    Rutherford B. Hayes. Not bad eating, it's just that it takes forever to clean the beard off it during kitchen prep.

    Warren G. Harding. Tasty, but nearly impossible to clean because of all the baggies of cocaine secreted away inside his body.

    Calvin Coolidge. Stringy, but connoisseurs know flash-frying a Coolidge's hat makes for a surprisingly good amuse-bouche.

    Jimmy Carter. Passable skirt-steak flavor, but watch your ass when you get near those teeth. Butchers have lost fingers thanks to underestimating the crushing power of those things.

    Dwight D. Eisenhower. You don't get that fifth star on accident, and in Ike's case his unique ability to survive off his own fingernails was just what a resource-depleted Army needed. (Note: this is how Bugles were invented.) So, no, there's no meat here. But there's nutrition in a pinch, and that's how we're going to beat those Vichy sons-of-bitches.


    John Quincy Adams. Lived on very little, so has to be one of our stringiest, stingiest selections. Probably like eating a cat, but not a feral cat. Also spent his life obsessed with the haters, which toughens the meat. (This is why Lil Kim can only be used as jerky.)

    James K. Polk. Regular participation in underground Washington Stabbing Salons kept him lean and fit, but be sure to sort through his Presidentmeat very carefully after cooking, as it's full of broken-off blade tips. They're like extreme bay leaves.

    Andrew Jackson. Old Hickory is the Presidentmeat that hunts you back. Thin. Mean. Riddled with lead, tuberculosis, and once coughed up a Spartan's helmet at the White House dinner table in the middle of calling Henry Clay a motherfucker. Andrew Jackson's sole advantage as Presidentmeat is that hatred, disease, and environmental conditions pre-cured him into living jerky. Drop a piece of Andrew Jackson on the floor, and he would clatter like gunmetal. Never spoils; also was never edible in the first place.

    William Henry Harrison. Died after a month in office, so strictly sausage grade meat sold to countries without regulatory agencies or a concept of traceable corporate liability.

    John Tyler. Well-fed on an organic diet, but not substantial eating. HOWEVER: did have 14 children by two different women, so would likely be prized for his aphrodisiac properties and hunted quickly to extinction by Chinese medicine vendors.

    Millard Fillmore. Supported opening up the U.S. to new trade markets, secretly to find tonics and tinctures to enhance the lustrousness of his hair, which he prized more than "any political freedom man may seek to enjoy." Biohazard.

    James Buchanan. Might be fine eating but for one thing; Buchanan's flesh was so alcohol-soaked that his very presence in a kitchen with open flame would be a screaming fire hazard.

    He would get angry when the White House would only be stocked with small bottles of champagne. Every Sunday he'd go to a distillery to pick up a 10 GALLON jug of whiskey. He'd drink cognac... and up to two BOTTLES of other alcohol... every night.

    Would make an excellent firestarter, however.

    Ulysses S. Grant. See "James Buchanan," do not eat.

    Abraham Lincoln. One time we read a travel guide to China that said hey, listen: you might see chicken on the menu, and you might want to order it, and you will. Then you'll get a chicken, and realize that every chicken in China outside of the coastal areas appears to have died of starvation. Abraham Lincoln is that rural Chinese chicken, and you should not eat him.

    James Garfield. Was fond of squirrel soup, tea, and simple crackers, so his meat probably tasted like nursing homes smell.

    Grover Cleveland. The chili meat of Presidents, and yes that is a joke about how you're going to see him in non-consecutive settings.

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt. You'd think veal, and you'd be very, very wrong. In the Yalta variety pack of meats, the order is Churchill (rich, boozy,) Stalin (lean and mean, like horsemeat,) and then Roosevelt, a bologna-grade meat Subway would have difficulty slipping past inspectors without a giggle.

    John F. Kennedy. The only meat the FDA classifies as a protein and amphetamine. Not to be consumed by pregnant women, small children, those who need to operate heavy machinery, or the elderly or immune-compromised.

    Lyndon B. Johnson. Fun fact: is the only Presidentmeat mentioned in Fallout series of video games. A can of it gives the player "a five point bonus for lying about your war record" and "bunghole awareness." (Does cause you to lose three points of "not having your dick out in public," though.)


    Benjamin Harrison. Was actually 180 pounds of pure tempeh.

    Theodore Roosevelt. Many think of Roosevelt as one of the most masculine figures to sit in the White House. But his years as an outdoorsman and conservationist hid a shocking secret: he developed the ability to photosynthesize, and was thus not made of meat at all.

    Woodrow Wilson. Was technically racist poultry.

    Ronald Reagan. How much does 184 pounds of tapioca pudding cost? We don't know either, but it beat the Russkies with a smile and a shiny tie pin so maybe you should ask them, comrade.

    George H.W. Bush. More of an immortal condiment than a meat, like mayonnaise that never goes bad and also invades Panama because it just feels like doing it.

    George W. Bush. Skittles.

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    Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is just like every other NFL head coach, except for one thing. Spencer Hall takes a look at what sets Carroll apart from his NFL peers.

    SB Nation 2014 NFL Playoff Coverage

    Somewhere along the way, Pete Carroll acquired a reputation as something other than a stereotypical NFL coach.

    Maybe the trick is one of peer comparison. Take a Mike Smith, for instance, and place him next to the Pete Carroll. Note the more traditional NFL styling on a Mike Smith, the plush ring of stress-fat piled around the midsection. Note the hair, authoritatively gray with aging, and slicked backwards in the manner that screams "you can trust me, because I spackle my hair for maximum efficiency" to a certain gullible slice of the working world. Examine his gameplans, and find a record of pure, unassailable conservatism.

    Mike Smith has been very successful and boring, the paragon of the well-fed NFL salaryman, and is not Pete Carroll. Carroll has never looked like an NFL coach, or even a football coach period. Shock-topped with white hair, prone to rapid gum-chewing and exuberant sideline celebrations, he's way closer to "dynamic physicist in a Bruckheimer movie" than coach. He's lean, and barely eats. Occasionally Carroll went boogie-boarding when he could get away with it at USC, and spent his insomniac night hours venturing into the wilds of South Central Los Angeles to give out his personal cell phone number to random kids. You know: just to talk, if they ever needed him.

    Mike Smith might not even have a cell phone. If he does, it is probably a flip phone. Mike Smith went for it on fourth down only 14 times this season, a staggering number given how many situations the 2013 Atlanta Falcons--a horrendous, injury-wracked lump of a team--found themselves behind, and likely needing something, anything to stay in a game. There is another coach who went for it less: Pete Carroll, who for all his vaunted barbarian tendencies steered the Seahawks this season with both hands on the wheel at ten and two, relying on his run game and defense to win games, and only going for it 11 times on the year on fourth down.

    The comparison falls apart when you look at other numbers, too. Pete Carroll is somehow eight years older than Mike Smith. (Jesus, genetics are a bitch when it comes to aging, Mike.) Carroll has more years in the league, had more head coaching experience coming back into the league, and has something even Mike Smith didn't even have prior to his hiring in Seattle: the irresistible scent of an NFL retread. Carroll's base defenses are a 4-3 under and a modified Cover 3. By the numbers and by playbook, Carroll is the same bland sedan everyone else in the NFL drives, albeit with a few hacked details that make all the difference.

    So this setup was a cheap ruse all along to ask the question: what then, if anything substantial, makes Pete Carroll considered anything like an outsider, maverick, or freak among NFL coaches? A good chunk of it are the cosmetics: the sideline demeanor, the ungelled hair, and the outrageous public policy of making football look like fun. Only one NFL coach in recent history has pulled off an unassisted pimp walk in reaction to a play: Pete Carroll, who wore this monocle and top hat in his mind long before anyone used Photoshop to make it visible to the rest of us.

    The rest might be the most controversial of all: that Pete Carroll might be a brilliant coach with an unreplicable way of doing things. "Freewheeling" is one word used to describe Carroll, one that makes him sound something closer to charismatic hobo than coach. It's not entirely inaccurate, but it doesn't do justice to the constant intensity, or the attention to detail, or any of the things that actually make Carroll different. Coming relatively fresh from the college game, he understands the talent coming in, and what motivates them. Coming from an NFL background, he understands how much of the league works in terms of that talent, its management, and the need to fit odd pieces into productive roles in conventional schemes. Like Jimmy Johnson, he remains one of football's perfect survivors, a coach who swam in college and pro football's deep ends with equal comfort.

    Must Reads

    If the Seahawks win tonight, Carroll will have a college football title and an NFL championship to his name, joining Johnson and Barry Switzer (BARRY SWITZER, he said, followed by multiple punctuations) as the only coaches to do so. Johnson's locker rooms were similar to Carroll's in one respect: competition was all, and all was competition, albeit a fearsome, ruthless brand where Johnson happily admitted he would treat every player differently based on their talent.

    Where Carroll may have more in common with fellow Pac-12/NFL migrant Chip Kelly than the dictatorial Johnson, though, is in attitude. Nick Aliotti, Oregon's longtime defensive coordinator who retired this year, was asked what he missed most about Chip Kelly not being around in the football offices this year.

    "He was funny. A lot of people didn’t get to know that side of him. He was a fun guy. 99.9% of the time, he was upbeat. You would come in in the morning and loud music would be blaring just like we have on the field.

    That word--fun--may be the great divider here. That a game should be fun, and better for it, may still be an heresy in the NFL, but heresies are a matter of fashion, for the most part. If another hoary old maxim about the NFL stays true--that it is a league of imitators--then a Seattle win will make Pete Carroll, and Chip Kelly and Jim Harbaugh, look like what they may have been all along. He, and other grinning maniacal charismatic NFL assassin-managers of the future, will look like the safest choices possible.

    SB Nation's Super Bowl coverage

    Ufford: Deserve had nothing to do with Seattle's win

    Godfrey: The Super Bowl, or why the NFL always wins

    Trains in vain: The Super Bowl vs. New Jersey Transit

    NFL mock draft: Believe in Bortles | (Early) 2014 power rankings: Philly favored

    See the Super Bowl commercials again | Watch the mini-Seinfeld reunion

    Jon Bois' crazy Breaking Madden Super Bowl basically came true

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    Right. So here we are, a day shy of Pete Carroll becoming just the third coach to win both a college football national title and a Super Bowl. Now what you're thinking, if you're an NFL owner, is this: because I have no imagination, and run a business with virtually guaranteed profits, how can I do exactly what Seattle did? How do I, NFL owner, find that next college coach with NFL DNA, take him from the college ranks, and place him in just the position to almost succeed, and make it look as if we, the franchise, are almost trying to win?

    More importantly, how can I do this without spending any money?

    The answer is clear. You need a model that believes in running the ball, and then punting that ball. You need a coaching model that knows how to go 9-7 in THE LEAGUE, and give just enough hope that your team might be just seconds away from turning a corner it will never, ever reach. You need a college coach with that collegiate rah-rah enthusiasm and yet the grudge-y, drudge-y workaday demeanor of a committed league doombot.

    You need an answer, and that answer is clear.


    He's available for no money down and moving expenses. Think of him as Meat Carroll, both because he is a college coach just waiting to get back to the NFL, and also because he is now literally most valuable when sold as meat.

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  • 02/03/14--12:21: BRING US THIS SWEATSHIRT

    Step one: acquire this sweatshirt.

    Step two: remove Drake

    Step three: discard Drake

    Step four: wash the sweatshirt, because it's probably got all that sad Drakeness on it. Get that on your skin and it won't come off for months. You'll mope around in strip clubs, suspicious of every girl there because a.) you're suddenly incapable of finding real love, and b.) you forget you're in a strip club, fall in love with a stripper, and thus continue the cycle of distrust, heartbreak, and peak Drakeness.

    Step five: well, just don't discard Drake. Find a good home for him, like as a judge on a reality show where he can purse his lips, put his chin in his hand, and go "yeah, Clementigo, that was real. REAL. Just, yeah. Real." The Voice seems to take anyone. Put him there.

    Step six: wear sweatshirt, gain superpower of being shockingly elusive in the state of Alabama.

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    Series: the fifth season, the one wobbling along on little shaky Colt legs until the fourth episode where it stood tall, stuck its mighty muzzle in a mess of cocaine someone had carelessly left in the feed trough, and bolted over the fence towards a busy highway and certain splattery doom. The season's faltered along for three episodes of amiable hit-or-miss, and that's all over in a blur of frying pans, eggs that will be four minutes late, and a hulked-out Pam let loose in the bowels of Tunt Manor. As Woodhouse says when the dart hits his neck: "Oh, hello old friend."

    Location: Still stuck in Tunt Manor, loaded with plot-convenient tunnels allowing characters to randomly appear and disappear, and further enabling Cheryl to tell more stories about her family's long history of wearing weird robes and oppressing minorities. If this seems like a long time to work the gag that the cast of Archer are so bad at drug dealing that they can't even get out of the house, please recall that Sealab featured whole seasons where the characters didn't get past their own front door, much less to Mexico. Or Columbia. Or wherever. But look hey, Woodhouse is out of the pool! Way to go, Woodhouse. Here's an episode where you're shot in the neck with a tranq dart, and liked it because it reminded you of your old days making suicidal heroin bets with William Burroughs.

    It's an old three-camera sitcom setup--the "don't let someone in the kitchen!" caper--mutated and applied to Archer. Which is brilliant, particularly when you get rim job references worked into a tender scene between Archer and Lana in said kitchen. Oh, and the kitchen's loaded with a pile of cocaine, and the character is a bizarre FBI agent, and Pam got really skinny but lost neither her Hulk-like strength or her gigantic Big Ten school boobs. It's all working, is what we're saying.

    Plot: After eating yogurt she laced with cocaine, the crew wonders how to get Pam off cocaine, and tries to insert a mind control chip into her head. Additionally, Cyril has two dick-shaped graphics illustrating how they need to sell coke in order to make money, but that's really secondary to chasing Pam around, and also preventing the FBI agent Woodhouse invited in from seeing the pile of blow in the kitchen. A proper caper, like we said, and an ideal way to juggle as many elements as possible in a single episode of Archer.

    Ripped from the headlines: Um...nothing, really, unless you count a mid-episode digression about acceptable search and seizure by law enforcement. (Which was, per our attorney friends, pretty accurate.)

    References: This might take a minute. "Dr. Who money" is what Archer calls the British pound, and prompts an episode-long discussion of the metric system. (Which seriously: we're in a club with Burma and Liberia. That ain't good.) "Green and half-deaf" is a reference not just to the Hulk, but to the Lou Ferrigno Hulk, since Ferrigno was half-deaf, but still heard well enough to take a lifetime's worth of taunting from Arnold in Pumping Iron. EAT YOUR PASTA, LITTLE LOU. 

    When Mallory mentions Thomas Corwin Mendenhall, she's a.) misunderstanding Lana's outrage at Mallory suggesting she give Pam even more cocaine, and b.) namechecking a 19th century meteorologist and scientist who was one of the first advocates for the metric system. Calling Ron Cadillac a victim of progeria references Frisky Dingo's running gag about the disease of premature aging. Cheryl describes herself as Esmerelda, which makes Pam the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

    And yet there's more! Archer claims to not have the internet, but instead relies on Minitel, the pre-internet French internet provider. Mithril is the invincible wood metal from the Tolkien universe, and the running gag with Ripley is straight from Aliens.

    Cameos: Gary Cole, as Agent Howley. Like everything with Gary Cole, this episode was fantastic, and thus confirms the Gary Cole Rule. (All things with Gary Cole are amazing.)

    Was Pam naked? No, but her boobs did hypnotize Krieger and Cyril, the latter of whom is slowly embracing his dark side. It's always the bookkeepers who go hardest in the dark timelines.

    Did Archer lose another loved one to gunfire? No, but he did have a moment with Lana that finally gave some insight as to a.) why the hell Lana's still hanging around at all, and b.) that Archer's soft spot for babies resurfaced. Look at him, referencing Braxton-Hicks contractions and pre-eclampsia. Archer needs Lana, Lana needs Archer, and Archer still needs a blow job. Or a rim job. Both. Whatever. Archer's not bad at this life, and keeps attaining a marginal and almost believable level of personal growth here.

    Complaints about free entertainment. Other than Krieger forgetting to reboot Ray's chip, thus ending his paralysis after letting him malinger in a wheelchair? Which is actually pretty funny, and screw it, I have no complaints, particularly not about an episode where Krieger got killer lines, Cheryl became a fearless country singer, Pam rampaged around shirtless and got shot with like thirty tranq darts, Archer shared a tender moment AND displayed a deep understanding of maternal health issues, Lana got to shoot someone, a thorough discussion of search and seizure was had, Woodhouse showed off those new gym muscles by clocking someone with a frying pan, Gary Cole made an appearance, and Cyril showed signs of becoming a new, sinister self. Oh, and we're all going to Mexico, or Southeast Asia. (NOTE: we don't get to do that until Feb. 24, because even the staff writers at Archer want to watch the disasterscape of the Sochi Olympics.)

    "I hope you have a lot more where that came from." --Mallory

    "Cobra whiskey and ladyboys!" --Mallory, discussing Archer's study abroad experience

    "Beep. Boop." --Krieger, talking about how easy it would be to reboot the paralyzed Ray's system

    "I learned it by! OH MY GOD." --Archer, figuring it all out at once

    "Cheryl's gone. I'm Cherlene now." --Cherlene, the new Cheryl, demanding Carolina fries, and openly speculating about Tunt Manor being burned to the ground. (This means it will be totally burnt to the ground this season.)

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    Albert's got a fax machine. Okay, Albert probably found a fax machine. Albert probably stole that fax machine from "an estate sale," which is Alachua County terminology for the thing where an old person dies with the door open. That fax machine needed a new home, and was hungry and cold. But it's eighty degrees in Gainesville today, and fax machines aren't alive and-- shhhhhh, it's shivering, let's get this boy inside before the cold really sets in.

    Let Albert know if you see the pigs. Also let him know that apparently he's the head coach at Florida now, and will have to run things for the next year or so. It can't be any worse than what's going on right now or a spin on the John L. Smith designated interim carousel of horrors, so we offer our full support to Albert, and wish him the best of luck in the 2014 football season.

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    Everyone needs some extra caffeine on Signing Day, including Les Miles. He'll take two.

    National Signing Day is strange, but some things remain the same. If you want to interview The Boss, you need to bring The Boss some coffee first.

    We're all just getting coffee for Les Miles, really. Spiritually speaking, that is.

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    This is the only piece of recruiting news you will need or care about today. He has found a home. It is a lion; oh yes, it is a lion.


    Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba

    Sithi uhm ingonyama

    Nants ingonyama bagithi baba

    Sithi uhhmm ingonyama


    Siyo Nqoba


    Ingonyama nengw' enamabala

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    First of all I just wanna say how happy we are the University of [YOUR SCHOOL HERE] about our incoming class. It's a special opportunity for all those young men who rose to the challenge of being [MASCOTS], and it's a special privilege for us to get to know them and coach them. Just a real special time. I'm excited, and you should be too.

    We signed a lot of kids who are going to help us improve the future of this program. We got size. We got some speed. We got some girth and more than a little explosiveness. We addressed more than a few needs. Got a few surprises there, but mostly the good kind of surprise. That's recruiting now, and we all have to live with it.

    Most importantly, we got our kind of guys. Real [UNIVERSITY HERE] men. Guys who are gonna perform both on and off the field, both as teammates and as students. These are the kind of people we want on our football team, and I'm real excited about the excitement they bring to the program.

    Reporter: COACH! What about missing on [player who will eviscerate your team singlehandedly for the next three years before becoming an NFL legend who was at one point your recruit]?

    Coach: I don't wanna talk about who ain't here. I wanna talk about who is, and about this fine group of young student-athletes who've chosen to come here.

    Reporter: Coach! Talk about [RECRUIT OF SOME IMPORT]. Does he come from a good family?

    Coach: He comes from a good family and a good place. Great people. Good mom. Dad. The whole thing.

    Reporter: Coach! Will [incoming freshman who has to play immediately because you have no one else at that position] see playing time as a freshman?

    Coach: There aren't any promises except this one: he'll have a chance to compete like everyone else.

    Reporter: How excited are you about this class?

    Coach: I'm excited. Just real excited about all of it. Thank you, and Go [MASCOTS].

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    I am doing pushups on my knuckles. I am doing pushups on my knuckles on a cold concrete floor. I am ready.

    I will not be one of the fallen. I will not be the one you see ripped limb from limb by the Alabama fans in the lobby, three days from their last meal and cut off by the Auburn occupation of the Chick-Fil-A from the only source of food. I will not be the last meal of Phyllis from Mulga and her kin. I will survive.

    I am doing burpee pullups with a fifty pound pack on and humming the ESPN college football theme. Three days killed lesser men and women. Four days in Hoover. FOUR. That's where we are now. Just when survival shows you the finish line, it drops back to the horizon and makes you run a whole other marathon. I survived for three days one year in the ceiling, licking the Dr. Pepper off the pipes and making trips at night to eat the last Golden Flake cheese curls off the carpet. Never again.

    This time I fight. I will make it through the first day's tribal alignments, and then the initial skirmishes. I will endure the second day, and the reign of the talk radio overlords. Dammit I will see through the bloody coups of the second night, and live mostly intact to the third day when the ESPN stormtroopers seize control of the Wynfrey's escalators. I'll hold a corner of the ballroom with my compatriots until our cellphones finally die, and we can tweet the horrors no more.

    I am running ten miles under cover of night with a homeless man on my shoulders just to prep for a scintilla of the horrors of a four-day-long SEC Media Days. The man's name? You knew him once as Mike Dubose, but that man is dead now. His name is Chang-El-Maray now, and he is my spirit guide and trainer. I do not allow him to sleep under my deck; no, he chooses to, in order to be closer to nature's cruel bosom.

    When you see us enter the fourth day alive, you will know our preparations were not in vain.

    See you in Hoover, or hell. Whichever one comes first.

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    Ron Zook--no longer [NAME REDACTED] on this site--has a job. A football job, the kind where you do football things and get paid money to do them, and not a job at a bank. He'll be coaching outside linebackers for the Packers, and probably doing a bit of recruiting. You do recruiting in the NFL, right? He's really good at that, so we hope you do.

    We have no advice other than these few simple rules for living with your newly adopted Ron Zook. He's very energetic, and will require a lot of exercise. Take him on a three mile walk at minimum every morning and you should be fine. He does not eat, so do not worry about food. He will require beverages, however, so feed him only Red Bull Zero to keep his weight down and his spirits up.

    He has no health problems, and will live to an expected age of 203 or so.

    You should also know that this is a big and good thing for him, because he's at a great spot in his life. He failed as Florida coach, and then had a middling tenure at Illinois in one of the toughest jobs in major college coaching. (Illinois has killed every coach who has ever touched it.) He's a good position coach, and was a really, really good special teams coach for Florida at once point. You can't blame someone who is probably ideally a position coach for taking a head coaching job, and at least trying before going back to his roots.

    It's a good thing for us, too, because it reminds us that none of this is forever. Ten years ago we were entering the 2004 season, and praying for the end of the Zook era, praying as much to a mighty divine blade as to a deity that it would just stop, and end, and stop killing our love of the sport of football. Ten years later, we're sitting here with another slightly beefbrained coach who's probably a good dude way over his head and struggling, and who in all likelihood is entering the last miserable, misbegotten year of his tenure at Florida.

    And right now we hate football, mostly because it means watching this team, and thinking about it, and hating everything they try to do, and then fail to do in spectacular fashion. It means detailing failure, and wondering whether you will ever savor a single pleasurable moment from the game again. It would mean more of Big Dumb Will Muschamp football, the leaden, sorrow-inducing slugball that's rapidly turning the Florida football program into a middling ACC franchise.

    But it also means that one day, Will Muschamp will have a job he can be good at again, and a place where he can be comfortable and happy, and we can remember this fondly as the hilarious shamblefest it was. It'll happen some day. Just tell us it'll happen some day. We'll just believe that because the alternative is horrible, and will make us hate football.

    P.S. Do not feed him after midnight or he will fight the first person that gets near him. It's happened before.

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    The first car I ever drove was a 1987 Mercury Sable. It was the first American car made entirely of Shitty Plastic, an official plastic the Ford Motor Company and its subsidiaries used for all their cars starting sometime in the last 70s, but really only perfected in the year 1987. Nothing was manual in this car, and thus half the electrical equipment either failed to work or mewled pitifully when pressed. The tape deck, an auto-reverser that played a double album of Phil Collins' Face Value and Hello, I Must Be Going far too many times for any man to endure, randomly flipped sides without warning. The air conditioning made cameos in the Florida heat, and died altogether about two weeks after I started driving it.

    My dad drove it through a foot and a half of Tennessee backroad mud on a whim once, and thus exhausted every last bit of athleticism the car might have ever possessed in a single go. A touch of the accelerator generated a fine wheeze of emphysema from the engine; a turn of the wheel, and every single pound of the car's immense plasticness lurched over one wheel and dared the rest to follow. At its worst the Sable felt like wheeling a very tall and obese elderly man around on a forklift after you'd both had a few drinks. At its best, it didn't have a best, and was 100% worst in all directions.

    Worst of all, its automatic transmission had a speech impediment. It stuttered, and hopped from first to second and sometimes third gear without warning. It had a nasty habit of doing this in the parking lot of my high school--the very crowded and target-rich parking lot. An insensate dull zombie of a car most of the time, the Sable heaved to life at the sight of an oblivious pedestrian. A Mercury Sable was, at one stage in its adolescence, very badly bullied by a teenaged pedestrian, and thus has a natural tendency to lose its mind and leap at their kneecaps.

    I hit the accelerator on US 19 once and the entire transmission shattered and fell out of the bottom of a car like broken teeth from a boxer's mouth. My first lesson with cars was this: they are all awful, terribly made, and come packed with Phil Collins tapes.

    I have to buy a new car, and there is another lesson in this: the car you want is awful, and so is the car you have. You may joke about people taking bourbon too seriously, and you should. It's bourbon, and you should drink it, and pissholing other people for liking a different kind of the same thing to drink is the kind of rank insane timekiller people crave on the internet. You should go do all of that, and then go drink whatever bourbon you like.

    Bourbon combat has nothing on autopissantry. The car you want to purchase is horrible. The car you have is worse. At no point have you made a good decision, because every car is full of lies and choices of identity and morals you cannot get right. Welcome to the helm of the consumer's Kobayashi Maru: the goal is to see how well you handle utter and total failure. Choose a Ford and die; choose a Subaru, and well here's another flavor of pinheaded failure.

    Before you even start you've already made so many mistakes you will never get back. You drove a MINI? Yes, yes I did, and for the moment still do. I bought it new, too, because I have terrible consumer spending habits like buying a new car simply because...well, because I could, for once? (That's seriously the reason, in total: because I could.)

    I also drove it and enjoyed its underpowered engine, weird dash arrangments, and condescending German interpretations of Britishness. (How the fuck would I know it was ersatz? I'm fat, hate tea, happy, and all of the other things that indicate I'm American.) I even liked its tiny backseat until I found that stuffing two children with carseats in the back required doing a kettlebell routine in a low, squatty horse pose just to toss them in the seats.* It got worse when the baby got bigger, and getting the kids in through three doors (hello, suicide door) started to resemble stocking a U-boat for a journey.

    *The infant might as well be in his own separate well-ventilated glove compartment. And no: this is not a good idea, no matter how good it may sound to parents with kids who hate riding in the car.

    So at the very least I need to buy a car with four doors, an assumption that someone really invested in the notion of clinging to their car will despise. (I live in Park Slope and the Mini's been great! With three kids! I swear, said someone way more slender and generally competent than you.) And I'm probably just going with the four doors, since the other car qualifies as the family truckster, and mine will remain the car I drive around town and occasionally on long road trips.

    And yet the failure's just begun. Want to stay sporty? You have quantified amounts to cite in terms of the gas you, stupid moronfaced you, will spend on gasoline over the next three years. Want an economy car? Well, here's the exact amount of fun you will not be having, courtesy of precise horsepower numbers and that test drive where you mashed your foot to the floor on the access road by the dealership and felt....well, the warm but lukewarm thrum of a perfectly normal car engine, and not the sound of ripping flesh and dragonfire farting you got when you ill-advisedly test-drove that hot hatch model.*

    *Which you did, you stupid, stupid person.

    We haven't even gotten into how badly you're going to fuck up choosing by brand. If you don't choose American, you are a traitor and I dunno, maybe less Wrangler, and may not be able to buy Wranglers by law anymore. If you do choose American, here's a car with sad, tragic styling that reeks of office park and sock stirrups. (The sport models are the worst, and feel like an energy drink label exploded onto a designer's page.) Don't even bother trying to subdivide by European carmakers, because even German car loyalists have their own petty brawls that you don't even want to begin to try to understand. (Morons have died in the BMW vs. Mercedes wars, and that's without VW partisans raging against both.)

    God help you if you buy a KIA. They'll never believe it works, much less that it's good and not made entirely of discarded fish scales from a Pusan processing plant.* You could buy a Pagani Huayira in cash, and someone would ask: but where are the cupholders? (Trick question: the newest Pagani actually has cupholders. I assume they were carved from elephant femurs by imprisoned Templars.)

    *We have one. It's great, and yes, may be made entirely from reconstituted fish scales.

    The last failure will be the weakest link of all: you. A car says how much money you make to some, but that's just a partial disclosure of a sum judgement to be made about you. The worst part is what it says about you personally, particularly if you had some latitude to choose what you were driving in the first place, and make choices based on the worst criteria of all: what you would spend money on to make you momentarily happy. Be overly practical, and you miss on the fleeting fun you could have; be too frivolous, and you're pissing away precious capital in the name of indulgence.

    I am the worst case of this. I should get a Mazda 3, the well-reviewed and much-lauded four door hatchback that fits everything I'm looking for. It get 40 miles to the gallon, can squeeze in a rear-facing carseat, and looks beautiful and drives well and it's perfect. It's what I should get, and it is perfect.

    And if I were to get something stupidly fast with enough torque to spin the shit off the biggest outhouse pig in the world, it would probably be the equally well-reviewed Ford Focus ST, a car reviewers have been spitting kittens out about for the better part of two years. It's well-balanced, and gets shockingly good mileage for an overpowered pocket monster of a car. It doesn't look bad on the outside, and the engine noise comes out with that kind of incongruous roar you get when you see someone who looks like John Newman sing with the voice that comes out of a John Newman. It is objectively a great car.

    Objectively speaking, it also doesn't torquesteer like a large breed dog with no leash training when you slam the accelerator to the floor. It doesn't have a giant maniacal face sculpted into the front of it, and doesn't handle like Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, and doesn't get a meager 30 mph on the highway if you're lucky. It doesn't have the slight and periodic urge to threaten you bodily harm before zipping out of a dead standstill. If it were a horse, the Focus ST would be a well-trained show pony, and not a loopy paint capable of jumping the fence and scaring the crap out of its rider.

    That car would be the Mazdaspeed 3, which is a fool's car so overpowered that the torquesteer could kick in while you're sitting perfectly still in a parking lot. It is the Skate 3 physics engine of cars, a folly, the last mutant baby of a chief engineer surely fired with extreme prejudice the minute they got the car on the track. It's the car that had me laughing out loud the instant I hit the gas, and the one that didn't remind me of every sad Ford I'd ever sat down in and thought, "This is a sad corporate conference room on wheels, and lacks only a derelict conference call speakerphone to complete the scene." It was the car that, for better or worse, matched me: unevenly powered, erratic, speed-addled, and sort of okay with it.

    You can fit two carseats in the back and load children comfortably through the doors. (The backseat's actually a little better than the Focus, but only a bit.) Whenever I get around to buying it, it will do for the practical bits. There will be nothing to do about the infant at the wheel, but I'm buying a car. I knew I would fail at it from the start. Everyone does, because it is buying a car. The end product will be the sum of your weaknesses, which is why every truck commercial in the world ends with an unspoken but implied "...UNLESS YOU'RE GAY," and also why I'm probably going to be driving an overpowered Japanese death sled for the next decade.

    It'll be one kind of failure or another. You just have to embrace one kind, and ride it until it spits out its transmission somewhere on a six lane highway without a tow truck in sight.

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