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    WE'RE GETTING AN EDGE BACK AND REALLY GETTING AFTER IT

    Our practices are more physical this year.

    before they were strictly affairs of the spirit realm

    We're hitting more than ever, which we're hoping will improve our physicality.

    we re-examined the rules of football; apparently it involves tackling and we are working on this important element

    This is different than last year...

    last year we attempted to negotiate with runners with the ball; this approach failed, as they often did not realize we were having a conversation. they simply ran past us, or rudely collided with us and caused significant discomfort to our person

    ...when we as a football team may have lost our edge.

    our edge is extremely important to good football; it is a multipurpose tool with screwdriver capability. our edge is not wi-fi equipped. our edge had a warranty and we let it lapse because it's hard to remember all the things you need to renew in a month. shit, we're not even sure if we have life insurance right now. our edge is not returning calls and may be selling shake weed to community college students for a living instead of using the trust fund they have to do what granddad wanted you to do with it all along: recapture the family's former glory by investing in a Panamanian transport concern. our edge has no idea what it is but coaches talk about it all the time and it seems to result in a lot of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties at the worst possible time. our edge does not have a linkedin account and never will and doesn't even know what linkedin is so stop sending those fucking emails

    We've had very physical practices. And I think our players have learned to practice the right way.

    players no longer wander off in the middle of practice or show up in aquasocks and formal wear to practice and that's a real improvement. they have also stopped showing up in ghost form which boy howdy that was some kinda deal. our players have stopped adopting thirty dogs at once and showing up to practice and saying pupppiiiiiiiies and just letting them loose on the field in the middle of drills. we're getting better and the lack of stray dogs is just one example of that improvement

    p.s. the offseason is crap 


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    LET'S TALK ABOUT HOT SEATS AND HOW TO KEEP THEM COOL AND DRY IN TWO DIFFERENT BUT IMPORTANT CONTEXTS

    The Shutdown Fullcast for this week HEATS UP with HOT SEAT CONJECTURE. There's also talk about proper buttcrack maintenance in hot weather if you want to skip straight to the 42 minute mark, but otherwise we ask:

    --Isn't the coach at Alabama always the fifth most endangered coach in the country no matter what happens on the field? --Is Kliff Kingsbury too handsome to fire? (YES, YES HE IS)

    --Big transfer news in the state of Florida with LUKE DEL RIO that's right LUKE DEL RIO and NO ONE ELSE

    --Mike London is already fired right yes yes yes he is right?

    --Does Mike Gundy have a horrendous, horrendous year ahead of him? Probably? Yes?

    --Does Gold Bond Powder start a bakery in your pants on hot days?

    --How does one get properly drunk for every game at every kickoff time on the college football schedule?

    You may subscribe on iTunes under Podcasts/Sports, download directly here, or simply listen to in the convenient Soundcloud player below. #butts


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    Everything is crap; now watch Biff crash this golf cart.

    My brother was being born and I got to hang out with Dad. Hanging out with Dad meant all the great things about being taken care of by a dad who had no domestic capabilities whatsoever. We ate fast food breakfast every morning, watched laundry pile up in the corners of the house and enjoyed a decided negligence of bedtimes because my dad did not understand how to take care of us, much less himself. He regarded sleep like an untreatable tropical disease: He had it, and from time to time it made him pass out for a while until he recovered.

    We ate the cheap, generic-brand, knock-off cereal in bags when Dad was in charge. We also got to watch Letterman. The first night I watched Letterman I was 6 years old. The host looked like he'd loitered in from some other show: He was irritable, rarely looked directly at the camera and wore tennis shoes and jeans with his suit. When he did look in the camera, even 6-year-old me recognized what this was. This show was a total fucking disaster, right down to the long pauses, obvious, got-nothin' time killers, and half-speed interviews with celebrities often horrified by the thought they'd shown up to the wrong place.

    That night, David Letterman got paid to watch a woman throw tennis balls at a labrador retriever. After significant earnest effort, the dog managed to hold three balls in its mouth at once. The next night, I think he put a canned ham in a hydraulic press. It was, by any accepted standard, deplorable television. It was crap, and it was all I wanted to watch.

    Letterman1EmerySTill

    I grew up in Tennessee and Georgia and Florida and South Carolina in a sea of crap and the mundane, average, crappily done things people did every day. The first thing to come on the television in the mornings was the farm report, read by exactly who you think would read those things: a bald guy in horn rims with a hilljack accent in a short-sleeve shirt and tie, droning on for 15 minutes about sorghum prices. The Ralph Emery Show came on next, a show where the cast was mostly bleary-eyed studio crew members clumsily reading off live ads for tractor places in Lebanon and Murfreesboro. It, too, was deplorable television. I watched it every damn day for years.

    Dave was from Indiana, which is as middle as middle can get in terms of Middle Western mundanity. But it's not far off from Tennessee, or the South, or any other place where the norm is so boring you have to resort to grand acts of weaponized boredom. Dave dropped random shit off a five story tower, played "Will It Float" with anything he wanted to throw in a pool and drew up elaborate traffic maneuvers for New York City cab drivers to execute in impossible traffic situations. He was the bored guy at the party who would ask around until he found someone, anyone, who could do something to amuse him. Then he'd show you: Hey, did you know Mike here can squirt milk from his eyeballs? Did you see that? Well look at that, would ya?

    Letterman2

    Everything was terrible and boring, sure, but that didn't mean it had to be terrible and boring. This was especially true when Dave got to remind everyone and everything that they, too, were terrible, boring and just as subject to periodic reminders of their mortal normality. He attempted to bring flowers to horrible, boring corporate bosses at GE, and was thrown out of the building. He pissed off the extremely serious Bryant Gumbel by yelling "I'm not wearing pants" through a bullhorn in the middle of a Today Show interview.

    Once he got access to celebrities, Letterman often asked them deliberately mundane questions just to immediately short-circuit the usual gas cloud of fame around them. For a time, Joe Frazier was a regular phone-in guest. Dave would small talk for a second, and then ask him how much gas was in his car, keeping track of the levels in Frazier's Cadillac on a posterboard gas gauge. He told bad jokes for months until they got good, or sometimes told good ones for years until they turned bad, and then somehow flipped back over to good again.

    And when he finally got good at interviewing people, it was always when he got guests talking about ... crap, mostly, or at least the crappy jobs they had, or even the times when they brushed up against the lowest degree of fame possible and still made a crapheap of the opportunity. Something like Tom Hanks talking about ruining Slappy White's golf clubs, for instance:

    Letterman was the first and maybe the only person on TV I felt like came from the Republic of Mundane Crap, too. He had a contagiousness: You noticed the odd store named "Just Shades" from that point on, or got a fond affection for the stumbling 5:30 a.m. local weatherman who could not for the life of him correctly tie his tie on the Columbia, S.C. news. Things were normal, and often bad to middling, and that could funny -- even side-splitting if you just saw it from the right angle.

    And for 6-year-old me, Letterman wasn't a coping mechanism so much as a way of seeing reality. Dave found a woman across the way at Rockefeller Center in a window and thought: That's our show. First we'll call her. Then we'll strike up a friendship. Then, in the middle of her work day, we'll send her a hawk because ... well, because we can, right? It'd be a crime if we thought of something this amusing and didn't do it. We'll put a camera on chimpanzee's head, or take over a Taco Bell drive-thru. We will try it and if it fails we will laugh at our failure because that's often funnier than success would have been anyway.

    If life gives you nothing but office elevators, race them. If you have nothing else, you can throw shit into a pool and see if it floats and call that a game. Nothing but crap in all directions isn't a curse. It's a starting point, a palette. And when someone gives you money, and time, and maybe a camera or two, don't waste it. Make the velcro suit of your dreams and jump onto a wall to see if it will stick. Let Chris Elliott live under the stairs. And to hell with the celebrity guest: Move them back five minutes. Biff says he'll drive a golf cart through a pyramid of tabasco sauce. We're hanging out with Dad tonight and he has no idea what he's doing. Neither does Dave. It's the dumbest, best thing ever.


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    LSU IS A VERY HARD TO PLAY BUT LET'S NOT MISS THE IMPORTANT PART HERE

    LSU is 62-9 at home under Les Miles' tender and occasionally distracted guidance, so yes, there are numbers to back up the notion that LSU is very difficult to play at home, Joe Alleva. You know that pedantic thing where you have to explain certain things on the internet not because you want to explain them, but only because you want to beat superpedants to the point? This is kind of that thing.

    For instance: someone will probably point out that scheduling is hard with anyone, since no one wants to give up a home game they could otherwise schedule against Georgia Southern and OKAY MAYBE NOT GEORGIA SOUTHERN. Then someone will bring up how LSU (led by a very enthusiastic Alleva) attempted to pole-vault out of the Florida series, a series near and dear to our hearts because a.) It's really fun for both fanbases, and b.) we don't need another reason, it's just fun and that's more than enough. Then someone will mention how much money is made by those neutral-site games, which are an easy sell to both parties and make all kinds of financial sense to the people who care about those things.

    Why anyone would start caring about money and sense at LSU is beyond us, though pedantry would also demand that we point out how much of the Louisiana budget sinkhole is not LSU's fault, and instead directly traceable to the stupidity of its political elites. (Like, a flagrant kind of stupid, beyond even the stupidity of the states surrounding it and that is seriously saying some shit.) You could overthink it, but thinking isn't an SEC necessity. In the end, Alleva's probably half-right, and half-talking shit because he can. That's about the right ratio for any athletic director opening their mouth at any time.

    What we really want the takeaway from this to be is that Les Miles' email address at LSU is listed as the following:

    LesMilesMrFootball

    My given name is Les, but you can call me what my friends call me: "football."


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    JJ Watt would remind all passengers to please form two lines.

    This is all inspired by a single tweet:

    Jeff Kent totally looks like a cop. A lot of athletes look like cops, actually, now that we're thinking about it. Specific kinds of cops in a lot of instances, sure, but definitely cops.

    For instance, yes: Jeff Kent is definitely a state trooper, somewhere.

    JeffKentCop

    Kevin Bass is also a state trooper.

    KevinBassCard

    JJ Watt is a Homeland Security officer at the Milwaukee International Airport, who wants you to form two lines, please.

    DareOfficerWatt

    Miguel Herrera is the BAD LIEUTENANT.

    BadLieutenant

    Doris Burke is The Chief (the good kind, who wants you to do this right or not at all).

    DorisChief

    Tom Coughlin is also The Chief (who's taking your badge and your gun and doesn't want to see your face in the department for two weeks, because you are suspended, pal).

    TomCoughlinCop

    Roger Goodell is the D.A. who just wants this case to all go away so he can work on his congressional campaign.

    CopGoodell

    Mike Carey is a homicide detective and partner of Ed Hochuli. He can also fly helicopters.

    MikeCareyCop

    Ed Hochuli is also a homicide detective, and is the partner of Mike Carey in a CBS buddy cop show.

    EdHochuliCop

    This Mark Sanchez is a rookie traffic cop with dreams of becoming The Chief someday and really helping people.

    SanchezCopRookie

    This Mark Sanchez is a veteran undercover cop who doesn't know where the line between good and evil even starts in this roiling cesspit of a city.

    MarkSanchezCop

    Rex Ryan is an affable beat cop in Queens, who is maybe too old to be on a walking beat, but "he didn't get into this job to be pushin' a fuckin' pencil around, man."

    RexRyanCop

    Jim Tomsula is a corrupt corrections officer.

    JimTomsulaCop

    Mike Tice is the cop who's like, "Son, what's in this bottle? Vodka? Gimme this." [/eats bottle]

    MikeTiceCop

    Karl Malone is the Texas Ranger who plays by his own rules and maybe also forgets and leaves his loaded gun on the table at barbecue places.

    KarlMaloneCop

    Bryce Harper is the hot-headed rookie who's one step away from blowing this whole case open -- if he doesn't blow up the department first.

    BryceHarperCop

    Jose Mourinho is the Interpol agent who found you after years of chasing you around the globe, despite your expertise in the art of disguise and ability to travel under skillfully falsified documents.

    JoseMourinhoCop

    Pete Weber is the local traffic cop who tases your mom during a traffic stop when she mouths off, and then charges her with resisting arrest.

    PeteWeber

    Every NFL coach is a cop. Just look at them.

    NFLcoachesareallCops

    Barbaro was definitely a cop. Vice, probably. Oh, you thought he was mounted police, right? That's what you get for living by stereotype.

    BarbaroCop


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  • 05/26/15--06:56: THE MC TURNS OFF THE GRAVITY
  • ONE EASY WAY TO MAKE FOOTBALL SAFER

    So by and large no one has any suggestions on how to clean football up and prevent the plague of head injuries that may be the death of the sport as we know it, but the answer seems pretty simple if you watch this. It's a solution anyone who's played Halo online knows and knows well: Just turn gravity down, and let the players do the rest. That F will get a lot smaller if you take the M and the A in the equation and reduce them, and what better way to reduce them than to turn Mother Gravity down to a manageable, pleasant level. Don't ask how. Marco Wilson obviously already knows the answer, and will be happy to share his secrets if you just offer him a scholarship.

    P.S. You'll want to turn the gravity down fast, there are also people like Zaquandre White coming to your citaayy and they like using the full power of their not-inconsiderable momentum. "THAT'S JUST BAD TACKLING," says the guy who has eight laptops open to mention traveling before every dunk ever.


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    FIFA makes it easy, but John Oliver might be talking about your sport, too

    This video and article were original posted in June 2014.

    1. John Oliver's gotten really, really good at his job really, really quickly. Everyone will watch this today, and then share it on your social media platform of choice with "WATCH JOHN OLIVER SHRED FIFA LOL", and you'll miss the central and most painful point of this. FIFA is a horrible institution, a toxic cauldron poisoning the soul-warming flame of soccer itself. It's not just that John Oliver can do the Jon Stewart thing you're so fond of hitting the like button on, but it's the deft hand pointing you towards something so much worse that makes Oliver remarkable here: that you'll still watch, because for all its faults something in you and billions of other people still feeds off something in the game, something that enables FIFA despite your best critical instincts. Take that in as evidence of his skill, or hell, just hit the little "Share" button and type LOL. Whether you notice it or not, John Oliver's doing something remarkable here, something broadly applicable to any sports fan struggling with a beloved game that might be in some very filthy custodial hands. (CC: everyone, pretty much.)

    2. There actually is a movie about FIFA. Its title is "United Passions," and in case you wonder what narcissistic managerial drones would create a film about corrupt sporting kleptocrats, your answer is simple: the narcissistic managerial bribe-guzzlers at FIFA. They spent $27 million of FIFA's "non-profit" money on the film, and did not even attempt to cover up Sepp Blatter's only remarkable skill as a person in the trailer. ("He is good at finding money.")

    This is the most exciting clip from the entire preview.

    THAT TABLE POUND SAVED SOCCER. Add Sam Neill and Tim Roth to the list of actors who will literally appear in anything for money.

    3. You can watch the entire E:60 on Qatar's labor atrocities here, and should.


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    COME TO CHURCH, WE GOT TO GET SOME IMPORTANT POINT BREAK TAKES OFF OUR CHEST

    This free-wheeling and extremely (even by our standards) edition of the Shutdown Fullcast covers:

    • Why the cult of the Big Green Egg is mostly a lie
    • How POINT BREAK IS MERELY GOOD AND IS CERTAINLY NOT ON A LEVEL WITH OH SAY SOMETHING LIKE THE CLASSIC "UNDER SIEGE"
    • A description of the time Jason saw his youth group leader stage a mock kidnapping and execution to teach the value of church? Something like that?
    • Which teams could go 8-0 to start the 2015 season and have it mean absolutely nothing (hello, Mizzou!)
    • Can you witness to a zombie?
    • What absolutely insane college football superstitions and beliefs do we believe are real despite all evidence to the contrary? For instance, why are all Friday games ABSOLUTELY CRAZY (even though there is no evidence this is even remotely true) and why do insane things always happen in Lubbock at night (like losing by thirty in dull fashion!)
    • How Florida State could lose four games in realistic fashion, and possibly five if you like to do drugs and believe stupid things

    You may listen in the Soundcloud player below, download directly here, or simply subscribe on iTunes under Podcasts/Sports.


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  • 05/28/15--07:29: THE MC WRITES PR FOR CLEMSON
  • THIS MARAUDING BEAR DEFINITELY DIDN'T GET THESE BERRIES FROM DABO

    BEARS COMIN' TO CLEMSON. Given recent events on campus involving Dabo Swinney and his endorsements or non-endorsements of political stances, we'll write this press release for Clemson.

    Recently, a bear was sighted on the Clemson campus. The bear made his appearance on his own, and without the official endorsement of the school, the athletic department, or coach Dabo Swinney.

    The appearance of the bear was strictly a social one. In no way does the bear's appearance with Dabo Swinney represent an endorsement of any of the bear's political beliefs. Dabo Swinney leaving piles of garbage outside his office labeled "BEAR FOOD" is also coincidental.

    Furthermore, though Dabo Swinney has been seen in the company of bears and often wears pro-bear paraphernalia and attends meetings with a pro-bear stance, he disavows any claim to the bear agenda including mauling, surviving off trash, pooping wherever they like, and the widespread and shameless raiding of picnics for their own pleasure. To be clear: Coach Swinney admires bears for their tenacity and the work they do fertilizing the countryside, but he does not endorse them politically.

    Dabo Swinney was going to feed the bears again by upturning an entire dumpster of cafeteria garbage outside his office, but due to some people's incorrect presumptions about what this might mean and the distraction it provides for his football team, he has decided not to do this today.

    Good morning.


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    Sometimes a team is more likable when it loses. The Rockets took their beating at the hands of the Warriors, and were more human because of it.

    The Hawks took their assbeating as they did everything this season. They took it professionally, but not quietly. Al Horford's elbow-drop on Matthew Dellavedova embodied their fierce but calculated commitment to losing with dignity, but not without some vengeance. Horford plowed the point of his large, uncushioned synovial hinge joint into the side of Dellavedova's head, got his Flagrant 2, and then calmly shook hands with his teammates before walking into the locker room for the remainder of the game. The Hawks lost, but not without a fight, but also not without the results of that fight being totally conclusive.

    The Hawks presented a great, just-malleable-enough foil for the Cavs' triumph.

    The Houston Rockets did not return the favor for the Warriors, because the general code of this Rockets team does not contain the word "cooperate." That lack of cooperation meant Houston pulling out one thunderous win at home before prolonging the series, opening Game 5 with a giant run, and then forcing the Warriors to break into an emergency stash of Harrison Barnes to close out the series. And even then, the Rockets kept things juuuuust close enough to tantalize, keep you watching, and continue to destroy your sleep patterns.*

    *The NBA playoffs give you an idea into just how tired drug addicts must be all the time. The Rockets, with their reliance on drawing free throws and prolonging the game, are clearly in the meth addict category of NBA playoff viewing experience.

    Houston, even in loss, had to be annoying. It was in their nature. Their big man, Dwight Howard, is a defensive genius with little ability to play anything resembling polished offense after a decade in the NBA. He takes passes or missed jumpers off the rim from James Harden, whose role in the Rockets offense seems to be best described as the "Leeroy Jenkins" role. He rolls in whenever and wherever he likes, and often regardless of whether anyone else is with him, and always with absolute confidence. Trevor Ariza and Jason Terry are in there somewhere. Sometimes Josh Smith sits outside and waits for an outlet pass. He seems just as surprised about it as you and I are.

    The Rockets were baffling and still are, and they made a disappointing, kind of baffling exit. But let's say some kind things about them. The Rockets were assembled by Daryl Morey and his crew of Sloan-ite analysts. They should have been the logical extension of brute math in action: three-pointers, free-throws, and everything else prescribed by the formulas that built them. At times, especially when they were winning, this was exactly what Houston presented. Those times, good as they might be for Rockets fans, could be totally unwatchable for the general public.

    Teams all lose in different ways. When they collapsed, the 2013-14 Indiana Pacers fell into the doorframe like a corpse and then refused to move until the Heat stepped over them. (The Pacers getting to the conference finals is the real crime, but the Eastern Division still exists.)  That Cavs team that LeBron James took to the 2007 Finals against the Spurs lost honestly because they had one player, and one only, and behaved accordingly in close but exciting losses. (They looked like they knew it, too.) The 2014-15 Hawks handed in a professional, concise submission. The Clippers built an epic neurotic masterpiece for which the proper words and terminologies have not been created yet.

    Yet, when the Rockets were losing or struggling, they looked human, fallible, even sympathetic. Not all teams are blessed with personality in loss, but the Rockets had it. Look, there's Dwight Howard playing well, but still playing with every glaring flaw Dwight Howard's always had. There's James Harden singlehandedly keeping the team afloat, and then putting a new hole in the lifeboat, and then plugging it before immediately making a record-setting sized new hole in the boat. There's Josh Smith, caught on camera looking at a pep-talking Dwight Howard from the bench with a look in his eyes somewhere between please stop talking and I can't believe you won't stop talking when I have this look on my very uninterested and unhappy face.

    Jason Terry took the ball to the hole last night, looked up, and clearly had the same thought anyone over 30 has had when they get on a skateboard: I've made a terrible mistake, and need to abandon this plan immediately before I am harmed.

    It was failure, but compared to what Houston looked like when they won, it was compelling, familiar failure. Loss like that transcends calculating design, or at least makes it something recognizable because ... well, because you've had the Rockets' job before. The workplace isn't bad, but it's not great. Your co-workers are OK to pretty good -- even the one guy no one can clearly stand despite his efforts to be popular. There's a lot of talent, and maybe one transcendent talent on board, maybe some castoffs, maybe some people just hoping to make it to retirement. There's definitely a system -- at least, theoretically there's a system in place, a system that can make things seem kind of rote and mechanical.

    Not all teams are blessed with personality in loss, but the Rockets had it.

    Some jobs aren't funny or endearing until something goes wrong, though. I thought about something last night I hadn't thought about in 15 years. I once had this OK-but-mechanical telemarketing job. It worked. The people were fine, but kind of cold and clearly just punching clocks. Calls, if they didn't work out, were supposed to go three minutes or less. Successful surveys could go 30 minutes or so, max.

    And I remember nothing about that job except the time it went totally wrong, and this guy on disability from his utility job, high off back pills and coconut rum, simply wouldn't let me off the phone for two hours. My supervisor, listening in, tried to cut it off but simply gave in because ... well, because he was funny, and wouldn't stop talking about his motorcycles and his ex-wife, and the time he had a mountain lion in his yard. ("I think it was a mountain lion? Could have been a cat.") We let him go because the job was clearly over, and we were all clearly over the job, and sometimes only a true disaster can make that indisputable fact.

    That's what this Rockets team felt like in defeat: disparate, fallible parts only united by their system, a system so good with such high-quality parts that it got them very, very far. They looked even worse in comparison to the Warriors, a system whose parts clearly have the kind of unquantifiable supernatural cohesion and chemistry no one can really plan for, or calculate. That's not a rebuke of analytics. It's an acknowledgment that sometimes losing can redeem a mechanically successful but ultimately unlikable thing, or at least make it something more human to the viewer. Dwight Howard, in defeat, said "I'm still a champion" after their loss last night, and it almost made you want to hug him. Then again, the robot's always most sympathetic in its final scene.


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    Jon and I had a contest to make the perfect fake Modest Mouse song title, and guess who won? That's right: YOU.

    Texted My Dad/Reno Kidney Scam

    Watchin' Invisible Television

    Other People Are You Except Them

    Forty Raccoons

    We're On A Space Shuttle, Spit In Your Milk

    Coupon Steve

    They Buried Us With Subway Tokens

    Crunchy Towel, USA

    Underground Suntan Coffin

    You Sold It and I Burned It

    Handful of Soup And Spoons For Teeth

    We're Gonna Regret Us

    Been Punching a Barge

    This Goddamn Econoline

    Twisting in the Shitter

    Ambidextrous Snake You Ain't A Horseshoe

    Flea Dip

    Coinstar You're My Only Queen

    The Sun Painted Me a Picture (And I Ain't Hanging It In This House)

    Blistex Handshake On the Moon

    Woke Up and Fought a Pancake/Tulsa

    Mule Night

    Corpse Full of Lies

    Dancin Dancin Dancin Shoes On, Dancin Dancin God's My Socks

    The Air Is Too Thick For Gypsies Here

    Set a Course for Shitville

    This Insurance Is Expired

    General, This House Is Marzipan

    Sank a Plane (Again)

    Electricity Shrinks The Trees (Power Lines Make Lower Pines)

    Rite Aid


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  • 06/01/15--09:56: MARK MAY, FILM CRITIC
  • NO ONE BLOCKS A SCREEN LIKE ESPN'S NEW MOVIE CRITIC

    Mark May is off College Football Final at last, and we're frankly sad about this-- not as sad as we were about him abandoning his Twitter account, sure, but still a little sad. No one played heel better at one in the morning, or made more consistent negative remarks about Notre Dame or Ohio State, and those two things alone are badges of merit. Farewell, tireless hornets-nest-kicker. May you find a soft landing spot somewhere at the WWL, preferably covering the noon Big Ten games on ESPN Purgatory.

    In the meantime, there's definitely one thing we want to see out of Mark May, and that's more Twitter movie reviews.

    See? A natural gift for cadence combined with a flair for appropriate bombast, all the tools a critic needs to shine in the dull field of moribund hot-take cinema commentary. That's not even contrarianism. We're sure Mark May believed Olympus Has Fallen was the best movie he'd seen in years, and would happily refuse to elaborate before moving on to his next cinematic hot take.

    Like so:

    MMMovieReviewsMarigold

    MMMovieAloha

    MMMovieTDE

    MMMovieHotTub

    MMMovieGameofWar

    MMMovieLego

    MMMovieLego2

    MMMovieTomorrow

    MMMovieSniper

    MMMovieGetHard

    MMMovieRunAllNight

    MMMovieEntourage

    MMMovieMKX

    MMMovieDeerHunter

    MMMovieBitchPerfect

    MMMovieBitchPerfectApology

    MMMovie50Shades

    MMMovieTwizzlers

    MMMovieInception

    MMMovieMortdecai

    MMMovieMadMax

    MMMovieChappie

    MMMovieDanica

    MMMoviePaulWalker

    MMMovieExMachina


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    CIVIL CONFLICT WHICH IS DEFINITELY AN ORIGINAL SERIES

    1. Civil Conflict was the worst alternate Law and Order knockoff ever.

    2. When choosing a rivalry, be sure to seek out someone with literally no overlap in interests or cultural stakes. This ensures a hearty staring across the field wondering if the opposing fan even breathes the same gas, or considers the same items to be food.

    3. Additionally, make sure the two teams are literally as far apart as two teams in conference or division can be. This ensures minimum attendance of games, and thus preserves a real mystery about who, or even what the opponent truly may be.

    4. Do not wait for a rival to emerge organically, either. Just pick a team. Anyone will do. You need someone to fight and fight with malice as an organizing principle of your identity as a fan. You are leaving the bar at 4 a.m. and you must leave with someone. Hey, barstool. You're not my usual type but you'll do. Dinnertime and yes, I'll take anything in the seafood case. No, I don't even know if I'm allergic to mussels and have no idea how to cook them, but I'll just deep fry them and hope it works out.

    5. STOP MAKING SAD THINGS AND BEING SAD, UCONN. JUST STOP AND ENGAGE IN A PLEASANT AND FORGETTABLE RIVALRY WITH TEMPLE AND INSULATE YOUR SADNESS BECAUSE WE ARE FLORIDA FANS AND WE HAVE ENOUGH SADNESS AT THE MOMENT TO KEEP US THROUGH THE NEXT FOUR WINTERS.


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    This is how Sepp Blatter ended up resigning from FIFA. It is the most unbelievable movie script ever made.

    So:

    This Swiss guy is named Sepp Blatter. He somewhat stereotypically got his start at a watch company, and then turned his sights to running a corrupt sports nonprofit named FIFA that sold a giant soccer tournament that only happens once every four years, but involves the entire world. He also had a stint as head of the World Society of Friends of Suspenders, an organization that advocated for women to stop wearing tights and go back to stockings and suspenders.

    The tournament (and a few others sponsored by the soccer organization) are popular enough to suck in money from everyone and everything imaginable: shoe companies, airlines, sports beverages empires, possibly evil giant Russian gas conglomerates, and television networks small and large. The Swiss guy made it all fantastically profitable at little cost to the soccer organization, often by getting host countries to build and run most everything for them. He made money.

    The Swiss guy made a lot of money. He made a million dollars a year by his own accounts, though that number is believed to be much, much higher in reality. He made enough money to fund a feature-length movie about this organization, and to pay Tim Roth to play the corrupt Swiss guy despite bearing no resemblance to him whatsoever. He paid out bribes to maintain power, exacted bribes from those sports companies and countries desperate to host that huge tournament, and used all that solidarity and momentum to win elections, build bigger tournaments, and construct other things like a giant scary meeting room that looks exactly like the war room in Dr. Strangelove.

    He also traveled like this:

    According to South African press reports, Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president, will sleep at the Michelangelo Towers with his own red-carpeted private entrance to a spacious office, an entourage of five bodyguards, an African-themed en-suite bathroom and a personalized mini-bar stocked with South African wine and ice cubes made from bottled Evian water from France.

    He also acquired many of the immunities of power one can only get at the pinnacle of the sports-industrial complex. He said that women soccer players should wear tighter shorts to increase the popularity of the game, and dismissed claims of racism on the field by suggesting that it did not exist, but that if it did then a handshake could make it all go away. The Swiss guy, it was rumored, even believes that he should receive a Nobel Peace Prize for his services to humanity.

    It goes on really well until someone gets very, very mad.

    Correction: It goes well until a former United States President gets mad about one of those giant tournaments. The Swiss guy gives the giant tournament to a tiny desert nation named Qatar, which despite being tiny, infernally hot, not a traditional soccer power in any sense of the word, and covered in sand, is otherwise perfect for a giant tournament. They also have an unfortunately high death rate when it comes to their foreign workers building all those proposed tournament venues and accompanying infrastructure. This nation's government also tend to ignore the most basic needs of the workers and treat them as indentured servants.

    One of those countries not in the running was the United States, and when the former American President hears this he reportedly breaks a mirror.*

    *The American President got so mad he ... well, his foundation still recently took somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000 from the winning country. Politics is weird so let's just keep it moving here.

    This all happened! And so did this: The aggrieved Americans begin a large and dedicated federal criminal investigation of the giant soccer organization using weird laws that allow them to basically arrest whomever they want as long as there is some money crossing American lines in an undeclared and untaxable way.

    A bunch of lawyers working out of Brooklyn (led by the eventual current Attorney General of the United States) begin to pull away the layers and uncover the following people, who I swear are all real and somehow richer than all of us.

    First, the money led to a 400 pound man nicknamed "Mr. Ten Percent" who liked to carry a parrot on his shoulder, keep his cats in their own luxury apartment in Trump Tower, and funnel money from the soccer organization through a system of shadowy, untaxable channels. He also liked to get his picture taken with Vladimir Putin and charge his employer's expenses to his personal card. Like, $26 million of expenses over seven years of employment. Did we mention his ex-wife kidnapped the parrot at one point, and then trained the parrot to berate him by screaming "YOU'RE A CHUMP" at him during meetings? Or that he was arrested cruising down a New York street on a mobility scooter by the feds? Or that he turned informant for the Americans, and carried a bugged keychain into the soccer organization's meetings? We should mention all of that.

    Second, once the members of the soccer organization were observed doing enough to nail them for global racketeering, they were arrested en masse in a Swiss hotel staked out by cops described as looking like "friendly-faced Swiss hipsters" who drove the arrested away in a Nissan Leaf? And that one of them who wasn't there, a guy from Trinidad and Tobago named Jack Warner, told TV reporters that authorities "know where to find me" if they wanted to arrest him? And that they did, and arrested him and put him in a jail for a night before he made bail, and then defended himself in a video using an article from The Onion he may have believed was real?

    Third: did we mention this guy's sons may have been the ones who informed on him? And that under pressure, every single one of these people appears to be wilting like an unstarched shirt on a hot summer's day?

    Fourth: The giant corrupt soccer mafia-corp-thing may not have been very good at hiding its tracks, and in fact left a paper trail of those bribes:

    Those named in this letter insist this was a $10 million payment given out of the kindness and goodwill of their hearts.

    Then the corrupt Swiss guy, who somehow managed to keep every last one of these plates spinning and run a global sports empire off the back of what appear to be some of the most bumbling lackeys in the history of bumbling lackeys, was re-elected as head of the giant evil corrupt soccer octopus four days ago. "I am the President of everybody," he said in celebration. Four days later, he resigned.

    This is the worst, least believable script you have ever read, and life wrote every word of it.

    SB Nation presents: FIFA's ridiculous corruption press release explained


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    CHARLIE STRONG HAS REAL TIGERS, YOUR MOVE, REVEILLE

    CharlieStrongTigerStyle

    AND EVEN THE BEASTS OF THE WILD SAVANNAH CALL HIM LORD AND KING. Texas is never losing a game ever again, even those these are clearly not the best wild animals to randomly appear in a college football situation.

    We will never forget you, Vagrant Fox of the Dark Lubbock Night. Never.

    (via Dalton Santos)


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    FIFTY MINUTES OF FIRE ABOUT UAB, BISCUITS, AND AGGIES BUYING EXOTIC ANIMALS

    This week's Shutdown Fullcast is up, and runs as follows:

    0:00--12:00 We discuss Ryan's trip to West Virginia, Tudor's Biscuit World, the safety fair held in a funeral home parking lot in West Virginia, how Senator Robert Byrd is definitely not dead, and how difficult it is to pin down the West Virginia accent without talking like a camp cook in an old Western. Off the rails by the third minute, really.

    12:01--29:00 A discussion of something football-related! Charlie Strong poses with baby tigers named Bonnie and Clyde, an examination of states that will allow you to own a tiger without any paperwork whatsoever, Kliff Kingsbury remaking the "Tip Drill" video as a recruiting pitch, Texas A&M making up eight new exotic animal-based traditions in order to compete, a pitch for an SEC Network show called "Aggie Court," and Kevin Sumlin quietly wondering when he can take the Chargers job.

    29:01--41:00 Where we discuss UAB coming back, how your school has never done anything wrong, Ryan making a dubstep highlight video of the 2014 Idaho/Florida game, how we really aren't saying the worst things you can say about Birmingham when we say bad things about Birmingham, Bill Clark is coming back to UAB for ROLL DAMN VESTED PENSION, and what college towns do not have a Joseph A. Bank and thus cripple college coaches' ability to purchase the same suits.

    41:01--END Reader mail, including the saddest games you can watch in 2015, the seasick feeling of being in Tampa in October, and how global warming as a Big Ten domination plot might backfire on them spectacularly.

    Subscribe on iTunes under Podcasts/Sports, listen in the Soundcloud player below, or download directly here.


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    ANOTHER THRILLING INTERACTION BETWEEN PAUL JOHNSON AND THE MEDIA RE: A NEW GAME IN IRELAND

    This morning's Morning Constitutional features Paul Johnson discussing his team's agreement to play their 2016 opener in Dublin versus Boston College.

    YEAH, we're playing a game in Ireland. I'll answer a few questions about if I have to.

    Who are you playing?

    Ourselves. Boston College will also be there. Says right there in the press release. Thought you'd read that but I assume things some times. You know what happens when you assume?

    You make an ass out of u and me?

    No. What's this got to do with me. You calling me an ass?

    No, Paul, I--

    Not that I care. I was gonna say that when you assume, you take something as a given in a situation. We don't do that here. I don't know you're not a robot. That's why I keep a loaded shotgun in my office bolted to the underside of this desk. It doesn't care if you're metal or flesh. Just does its job.

    [a moment of tense silence and the smell of fear]

    What do you know about Ireland?

    It's over there.

    Over where?

    I don't know. Do you know? Are you a map? I'm not a map. My name's Paul. It's not map. Media wants you to be something else, but I'm never gonna be a map. Why do y'all want me to be a map?

    No one wants you to be a map, Paul.

    Well that's not what it sounds like. Sounds like you got a frame and a hammer and a nail. Or you're gonna spread me out on a table and put toy soldiers on me and roll dice and probably try to play Risk on me. You're probably that son of a bitch who works the Australia strategy. You're that guy, aren't you?

    Paul, I--

    Just say it.

    I always try to take Australia.

    Of course you do.

    Do they have football in Ireland?

    I don't know. My job's not Person-Who-Knows-About-Ireland. They might have football. They might not. When we're there, they'll have some football, I promise that. When we leave, they might not. Seems pretty basic to me. Might not to you, but that's you, not me.

    What do you have to say about Boston College as your opponent?

    They'll have eleven men on both sides of the ball, just like we will. If they don't, we can't play football. I also think they're from Boston, but I can't say that for certain. You might say that for certain. But that's the media for you.

    Why Ireland?

    I dunno. Why don't you ask yourself in a mirror and see if you get a good answer? You probably won't. I go where they tell me to go. You want to tell me where to go? Write me a check and I'll go there. I got a job to do here. You wanna write me a check?

    No I--

    Write me a check for seven dollars and fifty cents right now, son.

    I didn't bring my checkbook with me.

    Well give me your debit card. If you're serious about this, that is.

    No, Paul, I--

    Coach. Coach Johnson. Only three people can call me Paul: my daddy, my momma, and the Grim Reaper.

    Wait, your wife doesn't call you Paul?

    Not before 8 p.m. she doesn't. Give me whatever credit card you have on you.

    This is my Visa card with a $4,000 credit limit.

    Thank you. I'm gonna cut it up with this machete I also keep in my office. I'm gonna do that right now. You can watch. Or not. I don't care.

    [he hacks up the credit card and also part of his desk with the machete without ever changing expression]

    Thank you Coach Johnson.

    Call me Paul.

    Well thank you, Paul.

    Don't ever call me that again you son of a bitch.


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    THE WATER HORSES OF THE BAYOU STATE, EVER FEARLESS AND TUSK'D

    In a universe of infinite universes, there are other outcomes, other worlds, other yous...and even other college football teams, teams much like the ones you know and yet different. Some are better, some are worse, and all exist somewhere in the multiverse. This is one of them.

    There was a plan in the late 19th century. This should be enough all by itself to pique your curiosity. The 19th century was full of grandiosely horrible ideas, but even in a crowd with "The Boxer Rebellion" and "miasma theory" this one stands out as fantastically stupid: hippo ranching in Louisiana.

    This could have happened. Senator Robert Broussard proposed importing hippos to the bayous of Louisiana. Once there, the merciless killing machines and plant vacuums would devour all the invasive, non-native water hyacinth, grow fat in the swamps of the state, and then be killed for their meat at a time when America was going through a very real meat shortage. It solved three or four problems at once, and only required a.) the importation of one of the most dangerous animals in the world to one of its most dangerous states, and b.) a Jurassic World-level of hubris towards the natural world and the unintended consequences of

    The bill Broussard sponsored never made it out of Congress, and the dream of future airboats crashing over submerged water horses in the bayou died with it. The timing in this timeline wouldn't have worked out, anyway: LSU adopted the Tiger as their mascot in 1896, prior to the "birth of hippopotamus ranching" in the United States in 1910.

    Yet imagine what could have been, dear reader, and what may be in some parallel universe:

    A mascot much more in line with LSU's general modus operandi of recruiting large, fast, and unruly monsters along the defensive line, and putting the ball in hands of barreling, contact-absorbent running backs in the backfield.

    LSUFightingHippo

    You might even be able to keep one on campus, too. He/she would be just like Bevo, only with murder and river lice. You can even tote them around the stadium prior to kickoff for maximum intimidation, provided you have a white stretch limo with a hot tub in the back. Someone at LSU has one of these and stop lying and saying that you don't.

    The fight song works just as well, or even better if you're into imagining a terrified student body held captive by the whims of a wild animal. (And we are.)

    Just do as you're told

    Let's fight to hold

    The glory of the Hippo's Gold.

    Don't let it spill,

    The hippo--he'll kill!

    He'll gore you

    for dear old LSU.

    You better not score

    He sprints river floors!

    Your blood sings with fright

    Come on you Hippos, Fight! Fight! Fight!

    for dear old L-S-U. [HIPPO NOISES X 3]

    The Tiger Rag works just as well, if not better as long as you imagine it as a terrible advocacy jingle for hippo meat consumption.

    Long ago, way down in the jungle

    Someone got an inspiration for a meat,

    And that jingle brought from the jungle

    Makes savory steaks with a nutrition quite complete

    Vitamins and protein, please!

    But cook it through to stop disease!

    Tho' it's just the smell of the hippo

    It was cooked in a creole way,

    More and more they howl for the 'Hippo'

    Ev'ry where you go today

    They're shoutin'

    Where's that Hippo!

    Fry that Hippo!

    Broil that Hippo!

    Where's that Hippo!

    Blanch that Hippo!

    Bribe that Hippo!

    Hold that Hippo!

    You can even scream out "Suck that hippo dick" during "Neck," LSU students. Did we mention that hippos also have armored testes, making their balls impervious to attack? Or that they ooze a protective red coating called "Blood sweat?" Did we repeat that they kill more people than tigers do every year, and in much more terrifying ways? And that they bite kayaks in half just because they can, and fight elephants in the wild?

    We've kind of sold ourselves on this. It's not too late, actually. Louisiana does have a $1.6 billion budget shortfall, miles and miles of unusable swampland, and a fondness for genuinely terrible ideas from the last century, so it's not totally unrealistic to think this might get a second look. Would it be worth it, you ask? Say it with us, and let your skepticism evaporate in the light of true beauty: Les Miles, hippo whisperer. That sells it for you, right? Just nod. We see you nodding and are sending hippos to Baton Rouge right now.*

    *Don't worry about customs. We got a cousin who'll fix that for us.


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    NOPE DEFINITELY NOT A SUSPECT HIDING IN THIS CROWD OF FANS

    First, just check Cookout for the suspect. If he doesn't roll through there in eight hours after the robbery wearing the exact same sweatshirt, then you know the culprit was a pro from out of town.

    Second, NC State returns nine starters on offense, has a butt-easy run through the first four games of its schedule, and could win eight games if it just goes .500 down the remainder of its slate. Syracuse and Wake get them to six wins without much fantasy; a split with with the rest gets them eight, an upset gets them nine, and a miracle or two along the way has them at double digit wins, something the Wolfpack's only done once in their entire history as a football program.

    (They did that under Chuck Amato in 2002, in case you were dying to find a coach who illustrated your theory that fattened schedules have created some flabby standard-making. You know: besides Will Muschamp.)

    Third, it's a nice thought to wear a Schnellenberger mask, but a poor tribute to the man. Howard Schnellenberger never robbed banks. He wined and dined the women of high society, seduced them with his wit and charm, and then quietly stole their jewelry after the camera panned away and showed the discreet waving of expensive curtains waving in the moonlight. (And they asked him back the next week, and thanked him.)


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    YEAH UH HUH YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS

    JANGOGLACKIN

    Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin Jango Glackin.


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