Sunday, July 31, 2011

Burress Bets Big on Possible Visit to Gay Island in NFL Playoffs

By Artistry

Question if you must his decision to stick a loaded weapon into the band of his sweatpants as he entered a crowded New York City nightclub - to say nothing of the decision to wear sweatpants to a New York City nightclub.  Debate, if necessary, the dullness of mind reflected by him then proceeding to shoot himself in the leg.  But say this for Plaxico Burress: the man has foresight.  No sooner does Plax sign with the New York Jets today than the Steelers turn around and sign William Gay.  Will Plax get to spend a Sunday afternoon in January luxuriating on Gay Island?  It's a pretty good bet.

Don't drop the ball.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Wake Up With GTOG: Breakfast at Tomlin's

By Finesse

Early this morning, Plaxico Burress met with Mike Tomlin to have breakfast in the cafeteria at Steelers training camp at St. Vincent College.  It's unclear just how seriously the Steelers are pursuing Burress, but you have to imagine that the interest is real.  After all, the cafeteria at St. Vincent is to the NFL what Fiji is to the Bachelor -- the perfect place to fall in love.

It's hard to establish an opinion one way or the other on whether the Steelers should bring Burress back because no one seems to know what he has left.  He was at his peak before he shot himself in the leg and went to jail for two years.  That's not something you can easily recover from.

Given the caveat that we have no idea whether Burress is even good, this flirtation with Plaxico is happening for one of the following three reasons:

1) Placate Big Ben: Ben may love his Band of Brothers but he would love it a lot more if he could get a taller member.  He's been pining for a tall receiver since the day Plaxico left, and this very public desire once caused Hines Ward to take a break from taking offense at being a third round draft pick (the horror!!!) to take offense at being called not as tall as Plaxico.  Under this theory, the Steelers want to show Big Ben that they are listening to him and will not hesitate to tell Ben how hard they "tried" to sign Plaxico after Plax gets double the money somewhere else.

2) Santonio Remorse:  Santonio Holmes just got $24 million in guaranteed money from the Jets, the most ever for a wide receiver (or close to it).  The Steelers dumped him for a 5th round pick just two years ago.  (The Steelers eventually traded that 5th rounder to Arizona for a 6th round pick and Bryant McFadden, or as the package is more commonly called, a 6th round pick).  The Steelers traded Holmes for nothing partially because they wouldn't have been able to sign him and partially because the Steelers simply cannot -- and I repeat, CANNOT -- tolerate one of their players smoking marijuana.  It is unfathomable that the organization would ever tolerate any such immoral and illegal behavior.  Never.  Can't even imagine it.

The harsh truth for the Steelers is that trading Holmes for any sort of morality-related reason was ridiculous at the time and has proven to be completely disingenuous, even embarrassingly so.  The guy was a perfect fit on the field for the Steelers.  The argument that the team wouldn't have been able to sign him is probably true, but to ultimately come away with only a 6th round pick and some skid marks -- well, it doesn't add up.

Can you believe it!?!? We got him AND a 6th rounder!!!!!
By flirting with Plaxico, and potentially signing him, are the Steelers admitting in some odd, Finesse-just-made-this-up way that they mishandled the Santonio situation?  Yes.  Now, suddenly, the Steelers will tolerate a wide receiver with some baggage, especially since they are confident that James Harrison has significantly more and bigger guns than Plax.

3) Throw it to Plaxico!  Hey, maybe he still has it.

Friday, July 29, 2011


By Artistry

A routine 6 pm SportsCenter suddenly exploded Friday as Adam Schefter appeared with his Blackberry to report this breaking news:

Schefter: "I'm hearing from several people this afternoon that the New York Jets are out of the running for Nnamdi Asomugha. The Dallas Cowboys are out of the running for Nnamdi Asomugha. And the mystery team absolutely out of nowhere? [Checking blackberry] The Philadelphia Eagles.  To emphasize, three different people are telling me right now that the team is the Philadelphia Eagles.  That's right.  This is what the Philadelphia Eagles do.  They are just so secretive.  Now, out of nowhere, again, I want to emphasize that this is what sources are telling me, here come the Philadelphia Eagles.  What's really amazing about this is until today, all my sources were saying Nnamdi Asomugha, New York Jets.  That's what I've been breathlessly reporting now for days.  But now they're saying Nnamdi Asomugha, Philadelphia Eagles."

Random anchor: "Wow."

Schefter:  But here's what's even more amazing. Last summer we had LeBron and the "Decision." Who would have ever thought we'd have another decision, in the NFL, with even more drama.  I want to emphasize again right now, Nnamdi Asomugha, the Philadelphia Eagles."

"You heard me. Nnamdi Asomugha."
Random anchor: "Wow. Philadelphia? I never ever ever would have guessed Philadelphia. How?"

Schefter:  "The Philadelphia Eagles were the mystery team. They are just so secretive. I want to emphasize that this is what sources are telling me.  Nnamdi Asomugha.  Here we have confirmation. Yes. Nnamdi Asomugha. The Philadelphia Eagles. 5 years, $60 million."

Random anchor: "Not quite the mega-deal we were expecting. [Pregnant pause]. Correct me if I'm wrong."

Schefter: "Um. Well, uh, Darrell Revis makes $11.5 million a year. This contract pays $12 million a year.  So."

Random anchor: "What did the New York Jets NOT do to make this happen."

Schefter:  "The New York Jets have a certain amount of money available under the cap.  Another team has a bit more money available.  The Philadelphia Eagles.  They offered that money to Nnamdi Asomugha.  And this afternoon, my sources told me, you know what?  Nnamdi Asomugha is taking that  money.  Who could have seen THAT coming. The Philadelphia Eagles.  Just incredible.  [Checking blackberry].  Nnamdi Asomugha."

This is SportsCenter.

Steelers Offensive Line Really Rounding Into Shape

By Artistry

More lineup shuffling today for the Steelers.

In: Willie Colon, Jonathan "I Only Started 9 Games and Had 11 Holding Penalties" Scott

Out:  Max Starks, Flozell "Human Turnstyle" Adams

Now the Steelers are looking at an offensive line unit consisting of Colon, Scott, Maurkice Pouncey, Ramon Foster, Chris Kemoeatu, The Big Legursky, some kid named Chris Scott, rookie Marcus  Gilbert, and maybe that guy Tony Hills.  An improvement over the most penalized line in the league in 2010?  We don't know, but Ron Cook thinks the line looks terrific.  And that really has us worried.

1st and 30.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jerry Meals Tapped as New Secretary of Department of Homeland Security

By Artistry

Busy morning. Word is someone may have blown a call last night.

- What a terrible, terrible break for the Pirates. Losing in 19 innings to the Braves on a brutal call the worst call ever and dropping even a half game at the top of the airtight NL Central standings is every bit as frustrating as people are making it out to be.  But take a step back.  The Pirates didn't score for the last 17 of those innings.  They'll pick up a bat at the deadline, but it won't be Barry Bonds circa 2001, and if we're being honest with ourselves, that's about what it would take to make these Bucs even close to a legitimate threat to win a championship.  It also wouldn't make any sense to swing a major deal.  We're building something here.  Piece by piece.  It's like I tell my two-year-old when he tries to stuff an entire slice of pizza that's as big as his head into his tiny mouth:  " Be patient. It's not going anywhere. And there's more coming."

Not my kid. But I would probably cut that up for him.
- No idea how the reported 4-year Ike Taylor deal will look for the Steelers in 2014, and we don't know the dollar figures, but it's hard to imagine how they could have let him walk.  Not with receivers around the NFL lining up to buy a ticket to Gay Island.

- The next order of business for the Steelers is rumored to be offensive lineman Willie Colon.  But rumors are dangerous.  GTOG briefly posted an item on Tuesday based on a Dejan Kovacevic retweet of some other dude at the Trib who speculated that Scott Brown was reporting that Ben Roethlisberger was already lamenting the loss of one of "my guys" or, as it's known at GTOG, the "Colon cleansing."  Then the tweet disappeared.  We have no clue what's going on.  Willie could be at Tessaro's with Dan Rooney and Mike Tomlin celebrating a new contract extension with the Steelers. Or he could be with Ken Wisenhunt in Arizona because that's where ex-Steelers go to be ex-Steelers before they come back to be Steelers again the next season.  Here's what we do know:

1) People that watch offensive linemen say Colon is one of the best there is. We don't watch offensive linemen.  Unless they're Doug Legursky.

2) Willie didn't play last season. He played the season before, and the o-line was terrible. And he was Ben's wing man that one time in Georgia. Band of Brothers, indeed.

"Honestly? You're Not That Great of a Wing man."
- Brett Keisel also appears to be terrified of James Harrison. "I'm sure James would never say what he said.  Sometimes what James says gets misinterpreted as something that was said," said Keisel.

- The Jets reportedly signed former Steelers receiver Santonio Holmes to a 5 year, $50 million contract that gives Holmes the most guaranteed money of any wide receiver.  Ever.  Holmes is really good receiver, and an exceptional player in the biggest moments.  But you're going to guarantee $24 million to a guy that couldn't even stick with a team that tolerates, say it with me, a potentially homophobic rage-a-holic linebacker, a possibly reformed but still largely insufferable alleged sexual predator but now very publicly married QB, an alleged drunk driver, and a Bin Laden apologist?  Hey, it's your money.

Wake Up With GTOG: Target Hearts Dockers

By Finesse

GTOG Chief Technology Officer and co-founder Eloquence doesn't speak often, but when he does, it's worth listening to.  With fiery passion, he sent this email last night.
Does no one in Target's marketing department do any research or does Target's marketing department have zero hockey fans?

Yup, it's true -- they're using our song: 

I'm sticking with the original -- handsome men crossing streets and little boys flying kites -- over a multi-generational bocce ball game. Not even close in my opinion.

If Target's next ad has women in singlets flying around on jet-packs, then we'll have to investigate more closely.

Eloquently put, Eloquence.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Today in Ron Cook Poetry: The Epic to End All Epics

By Finesse

A sincere apology to all of our fans, especially those who have been with us since the beginning.  This morning, we had a winning lottery ticket, but we threw it away.  We weren't there for you, and we will never ever forgive ourselves.  Of course, we are talking about our failure to draft a poem out of Ron Cook's incredible, unbelievable, and unfathomable column in this morning's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  We're sorry for missing this.  We really are.  It's why we're here.  It's why GTOG "is."
Today in Ron Cook Poetry: OK, So I Made Only Seven Paragraphs 
I was stunned.
I didn't realize it had gone away.
Has there ever been a less intrusive four-month-plus work stoppage in professional sports?
No minicamps?
No organized team activities?
No real offseason?
No problem.
Of course, that isn't happening.
Not that that's a bad thing.
Forty-seven days and counting ...
Isn't that a wonderful thought?
No more Goodell and Jeff Pash.
No more Smith and Kevin Mawae.
No more legal, basic agreement mumbo jumbo.
No more for 10 years!
Can you believe it?
Some, no doubt, are painful.
Antwaan Randle El, for instance.
Aaron Smith, perhaps.
Just don't blink.
It's all going to happen very quickly.
It will be Sept. 11 before you know it.
OK, so I made only seven paragraphs.
Here's the good part:
The back-and-forth didn't end there.
Forty-seven days and counting ...
I don't know about you, I can't wait.

Bachelorette Emotion in Action: Ben F.

"I'm available today.  I'm available."

Bachelorette Emotion in Action: Ryan

"I'm 31-years-old and where has that gotten me?"
Explore these feelings and more with this week's Bachelorette Raw Emotion Podcast here.

GTOG Raw Emotion Podcast: Bachelorette Episode 9 Recap ... OVERNIGHTS!

Another emotional night at GTOG headquarters. Ashley's Journey is down to two suitors after a shocking departure, a not-so-shocking-return, a second dump, a second tearful exit, and a completely and totally unnecessary rose ceremony. We go head-to-head on our choices for who we think has the upper hand, and address countless other pressing questions like, Was President Obama there for the right reasons? Just how big were Ashley's hoop earrings? What was Ben F's sweater and why would he ever wear such a thing? Caution: You're about to enter the GTOG Raw Emotion Podcast.

Click here to subscribe on iTunes.

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Exactly how we felt.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Grateful Nation Thanks GTOG for Wall-to-Wall Lockout Coverage

By Artistry

Jubilation today at GTOG headquarters as news of an NFL labor deal confirmed that we can finally scale back our exhaustive coverage of the lockout.  Now let's just sit back and enjoy the team chemistry.

Band of Brothers.

RHONY Episode 16 Recap: L-O-V-E Love or N-O-T Not

By Sheer Elegance, GTOG Special Guest Blogger*

The finale. It happened. Season over. Everyone came together at the end and acted like they kind of liked each other. But we know better.

LuAnn was putting the finishing touches on her single (Se Bonne, Se Bonne) at that guy with the mohawk’s office. As usual, he was wearing his sunglasses inside and seemed very vague. Then suddenly he says, yeah LuAnn, so I have someone I’d like you to meet, and it ends up being Natalie Cole. And obviously she’s hawking something via Bravo because she offers to come to LuAnn’s anniversary party she’s planning for Jacques and sing a duet with her. Like seriously, why in the hell is Natalie Cole even at this guy’s place? He is so creepy and marginal and she has seriously made records and won Grammy’s (right? I think). It's funny when Natalie says to LuAnn (graciously) that “Money Can’t Buy You Class” is hilarious. It’s not clear that LuAnn thinks any of this is hilarious. But she does seem more self-aware than usual that she’s not a real singer and that this whole getting to be a singer ride is pretty insane and interesting. She’s very star struck at this moment and it seems relatively sincere.

Read on for the Full Recap here...

Wake Up With GTOG: Go To Bed With Ashley?

By Finesse

Critical night on the Bachelorette.  Last week was Hometowns, but tonight is Overnights.  If you've never experienced an Overnight with GTOG, you don't know what you're missing.  To set the scene of what is likely to happen tonight:
Ashley and Ben F. are at dinner.  He is talking about his dead father.  Ashley is voicing over that she feels Ben F.  is being "really real."  Walls are crumbling all around us.  A Fijian waiter comes over with an envelope.  It's from Chris, and there's a key inside.  "If you choose to take advantage," the card reads, "then you can use this key to the Fantasy Suite to share a private evening together.  -Chris."  They exchange glances.  Ashley voices over, "I'd love to spend more time with Ben."  Cut to the Fantasy Suite door closing while we see a zoomed-out silhouette of Ashley and Ben.  Toyota commercial.
What happens in the fantasy suite is anyone's guess.  Our official predictions for tonight:

Finesse: Ben F. gets the Fantasy Suite. Conny and Ash "just aren't quite there yet. We're moving at a slower pace than with some of the other guys. But that's ok." JP flips out when he realizes ashley had the Fantasy Suite with Ben F.

Artistry: I say it comes down to Ben and Constantine. And they end up having a threesome.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

You Win, Ted Leonsis. For Now.

By Artistry

Who is right?  Who is wrong?  Funny?  Not funny?  There were a lot of questions and no real answers in Ted Leonsis's Saturday blog post, but one thing is eminently clear.  The headline, "Thin-Skinned - Fat-Skinned," looks very much like a direct reference to this week's little back-and-forth between the billionaire pro sports team owner and GTOG.  Which begs another question.  How many Ted Leonsis blog posts can we get out of this?

I posed this question today to my lovely wife, who is 39 weeks pregnant.  Needless to say, she's emotional right now.  How emotional?  Imagine for a moment that one of the remaining suitors on the Bachelorette took Ashley to the fantasy suite and - in the throes of passion - called her "Emily," toss that emotion in a blender with Chantal O, and top it off with a dash of the righteous anger every woman in America felt when Brad dumped two women at the same time during the season 11 finale of the Bachelor, and that's Mrs. Artistry.  So maybe I should have anticipated this.

"He's a person, too," she chided.  "I like Ted Leonsis.  I think he's smart.  He likes bloggers.  You should be happy about that."

I am not about to argue with her.  After all, we are people, too.


Ben Gets Married Today; Sigh of Relief Pushes Heat Wave Further East

By Finesse

Ladies, he's off the market.  Big Ben Roethlisberger and long-time girlfriend Ashley Harlan are all set to tie the knot today at Christ Church at Grove Farm in Ohio Township.  The event is shrouded in secrecy but because of GTOG's limitless connections, we've obtained a copy of Ben's vows that he wrote himself:
I promise to be a loving and faithful husband and to force my offensive line to go to get steaks with me so that I look like a team leader even though they hate my personality.  I'm not kidding, Doug Legursky hates me.  I also promise that I will never go back to the following places: Lake Tahoe, anywhere in Georgia, the South Side, Miami of Ohio, or the Grove City Nike Outlet where I got that red long sleeve shirt I wore when I apologized for conduct that I denied doing.  God.  Faith.  I promise never again to wear clothes with life-size depictions of Satan on them.  I promise to continue limping noticeably during every game.  I promise that I will say I'm humbled while resting my feet on the quarterbacks coach whose name I don't know.  I promise that I will not act like Peyton Manning anymore, mainly because James Harrison is pointing a gun at me right now.  But most of all, I promise to apologize profusely to your father for making him be here today.  Band of Brothers. 
In all seriousness, this is a big day for Ben.  We wish him and Ashley all the best.  It looks like it's going to be a beautiful event based on how dressed up Ben got for the rehearsal dinner.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Throwback to a Better Time

By Finesse

Lots of noise out there today.  Let this video take you back to a better time.  You know where you were.

Spring 2009.  What a season.

Does Ted Leonsis Have Thin Skin? Actually...Yes

By GTOG Staff

Follow us on Twitter

It's no secret that we, like many others, take great delight in poking the orange bear that is Ted Leonsis.  We just never realized he was paying such close attention.  Not even two hours after we tweaked him about the brutal Verizon Center sound system, he's already responded to our post on his blog.  There are only two explanations for this: Either Ted Leonsis is sitting in his office googling himself, or he came to listen to our Bachelorette Hometowns Raw Emotion Podcast.

"Can't wait for the Raw Emotion Podcast!"
We could do a word-for-word breakdown of Ted's response, but let's start with the greatest source of Ted's delight -- pointing out that a picture of Alex Semin that says "Alex Semin" is not a picture of Boyd Gordon.  Great catch, Ted!  We hadn't noticed.  All we can say for certain is that the picture of Semin was probably not from the playoffs.  But this one is:

Good luck finding a picture of Boyd Gordon scoring a goal.
Ted clarifies for us that that the new sound system is not intended to make the arena louder.  Thank God, because that would be like making Ted more sensitive.  He also humblebrags about the Dalai Lama's recent appearance at the Verizon Center, an appearance which is best remembered by GTOG as having made it really crowded outside my gym (where, incidentally, I've never seen Ted).

Our position on Ted is clear: we think he is a smart person who owns a very successful professional sports team .... and the Wizards.  He's done great things for the Caps, and if he were the owner of my favorite team, I'd be happy.  But I'd also be embarrassed.  He can't let anything go.  He responds to every slight, engages every blogger (Thanks, Ted!), and lets the media antagonize him even when they aren't trying to.  He preaches accountability, but owns a trademark for the phrase, "No excuses, but..."

If you're looking for an example, you don't even have to go back a year.  Last July, we did a post about a fantastic ESPN report exposing the sports arenas with the most health-code violations.  Guess who was #1?  Ted, with 100% of the vendors at Verizon in violation of the D.C. Health Code.  Ted, of course, had to respond in a post that was actually titled "Most Deserved, But..."  I'm not making that up.  Ted "accepted" responsibility, and then immediately blamed ESPN for doing the report in the first place to fill up a slow news day.  He also blamed the D.C. laws for being stricter than in other cities, which is like getting a bad sunburn in Hawaii and then blaming Hawaii for having sun that's too strong.  We could cite infinite examples, but we're at work right now.

Could never be mad at the sun with a tint like that.
Ted, pull up a chair and have a chat with GTOG.  You are exorbitantly wealthy.  You own two professional sports franchises.  You own Groupon and some other stuff that I'm not looking up right now.  It's charming that you're so accessible to the fans, but while we're not saying you should climb up to Mt. Pious, maybe it's best if you hover a little bit above the fray for a while?

On second thought, nah.  We like you better this way.

P.S. Living Social > Groupon.  Discuss.

Ted Leonsis's War On Hearing

By Finesse

[Apparently Ted has responded to this post in his blog, presumably to point out that the man on the screen is Alex Semin and not Boyd Gordon, as if we didn't know that.  You may have taken our hearing, but we can still see that the picture of Alex Semin that says "Alex Semin" is actually a picture of Alex Semin.  Good luck trying to find a picture of Boyd Gordon scoring a goal.  Anyway, here's our response.  Also, follow us on Twitter].

You'd probably expect Artistry to be the first one of us to do a post about hearing loss given his extraordinary oldness, but this isn't about Super-Olds like him complaining about the good 'ole days.*  It's about the health and safety of citizens in the District of Columbia.

If you've ever been to a Caps game at the Verizon Center, you have surely noticed the near-fatal volume of the scoreboard speakers, particularly if you sit at ear-level with them.  You'd rather stand with your head in the space shuttle engine than listen to the monster truck announcer tell you to get ready to watch a video of Matt Bradley and his wife at Whole Foods.

This full-scale assault on hearing is only getting worse, as Ted Leonsis announced on his blog:
Also the Verizon Center has installed and will continue to refine during the next few weeks an upgraded sound system and we are also hard at work on modernizing a bunch of suites in the building.Scratch some more To Do’s off our list. Thanks for the support!
This is a call for action.  To the regulators who found that Leonsis's Verizon Center was the dirtiest in the business -- a finding that Leonsis scoffed at because the D.C. laws are stricter, as if that's a valid reason for violating them -- step up to the plate.  If you can hear me.

*The man took some swings at me this morning.  Two way street, buddy.

RHONY Episode 15 Recap: Beauty, Class, and Elegance Lies Within a Hummer

By Sheer Elegance, GTOG Special Guest Blogger

Home stretch ya’ll. Tonight is the finale. So let’s get this done, shall we?

LuAnn and her assistant Michael show up to a meeting with a guy named “Jersey” who is some kind of stylist. He actually does music video marketing stylisting, which Lu needs for the video for her song “Chic, C’est L’Vie (Se Bonne, Se Bonne).” LuAnn says earnestly, “it always goes back to beauty, class and elegance lies within the soul.” That’s not even a sentence, and she is totally serious about all of this and that is why I can’t stand her. This esteemed video marketing team suggest a hotel called The Borgata in Atlantic City for the shoot. It’s just gorgeous, this group of people are being paid to say. And yes, actually, they might get a Hummer. Nothing says beauty, class, and elegance lies within the soul like a Hummer. Does the budget allow for a jet LuAnn wants to know. They can’t even pay actors, so I would guess no jet. LuAnn sees herself kind of like Sophia Loren. Classy, European, chic. You know.

Not happy to be dragged into this.
Chris the director of the video gets put on the spot. “Chris, what do you like about the song?” Um, it's … I mean, I … he falters. Well, the song has a catchy beat. Yes. A catchy beat. Yikes. The set-up here is that this team of professionals feels that they want all the Housewives in the video, as I guess that would make it more of a “thing” from a marketing and um, stylishistical approach. So the stage is set for all of the Housewives to figure out a way to bow out of this situation.

Read on for the full recap here...

Wake Up With GTOG: Rebecca Black is Tearing Us Apart

By Artistry

When Rebecca Black put her new music video "My Moment" up on the special Rebecca Black Youtube channel, we had no idea the kind of impact it would have on our lives.  I've been sitting at my desk, staring out the window, holding myself, and rocking back and forth.  My partner Finesse has gone completely silent, and I really don't know if he's going to recover from this.  Let me explain.  GTOG rode the wave of the "Friday" phenomenon for several months, and we looked forward to this new release like it was Super Bowl Sunday, or Hometowns.  We had an emergency podcast planned to dissect every Moment of "My Moment."  Then it happened.

Something about that video made my friend recoil, made him withdraw, sent him looking for comfort, somewhere where he could be safe.  Maybe it was the little clap and snap move at the 1:15 mark.  Maybe it was our Rebecca going Full Beyonce at 1:54.  Or maybe it was the White Man's Overbite at 2:05.  Everybody has a theory.  Me?  I think it's the cumulative effect of watching Rebecca Black completely losing her innocence.  Who does she keep looking at while she sings?  Does she see her friends, way back in the cheap seats with the commoners?  Does she even eat cereal anymore?  What happened to our little girl? 

They grow up so fast.
Finesse, if you can hear me, we don't have to do a podcast. OK? We don't have to do it. You're safe. Come back to us.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ben and Ashley: It's Destiny

By Artistry

In case you needed another reason to call your bookie and wager that Ben will be the last man standing when Ashley hands out the final rose on this season's Bachelorette, here it is.  We don't know how we missed this.  It's all so clear now.

Ben and Ashley

Ben and Ashley

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bachelorette Episode 8 Recap: Everything I Need to Know I Learned from Hometowns

By Finesse and Artistry

Sometimes work gets in the way of writing epically long Bachelorette recaps.  It happens to the best of us.  So, briefly, here are 10 lessons we learned from Monday's episode.

10. Make sure you stretch (i.e., date Constantine) before you work out (date Ben).  Constantine is the donut to Ben's baseball bat.  In each of the past two weeks, the Bachelorette has opened with the human insomnia medication that is Constantine.  He got the first date in Taiwan and was the first Hometown this week.  That would be like Saturday Night Live opening with the sketch that got the worst review in rehearsal.  But while some might say this is poor programming, we beg to differ. Everyone knows Ben is just a better version of Constantine, so ABC is letting Ash take her cuts with Conny in the on-deck circle before taking full swings and making contact with Ben.

9. Listen to Ames.  Ashley talks about Ames like she is conducting a parent-teacher conference with his mom.  "Ames is the most unique guys I've ever met."  "Ames is very humble about his accomplishments."  In all seriousness, we are going to miss Ames.  What a Gentleman.  Every other sentence may have been constructed "Adjective - Pronoun - Look Confused - Smile" but there was something about him.  He's going on Bachelor Pad, but that doesn't mean we'll watch.  It's 3 hours long.

Not even Ames can sustain 3 hours.
8. If you want to date Constantine, you better move to Cumming, Georgia.  Mrs. Conny had one question, and one question only for Ash: "Would  you move here? It's important to Constantine.  WOULD YOU MOVE HERE! ANSWER MY QUESTION!!!!"  Meanwhile, Con's dad was giving his blessing for Constantine to propose to "Ass-ley."

7. Though burdened by a misshapen head, Ames got the looks in the family.  For those wondering, Seneca is his sister, not his mom.

And this is what Ames will look like in 5 years.
6. Stick to the checklist. Ames declared that he "threw out the checklist early on with this Journey" and instead took his sister's instruction to give Ashley "the full Ames."  We're pretty sure that in at least a dozen states, you're required to register as a sex offender if you're caught giving someone "the full Ames."

5. Time isn't standing still beneath the magnolia tree.  It just feels that way to us watching at home.

4. We'd all save a lot of time if the contestants just brought lists of everyone they've ever had sex with to each date.  One of the requirements of being the Bachelorette is that when Hometowns come around, you have to ask each suitor how many women he has brought home to his family.  And you are only allowed to have one of two reactions: 1) "Hmmm, only X" or 2) "Wow, X."  This is non-negotiable.

Pretty sure this guy would fall in the "wow" category.
3. There is a direct relationship between how many dead parents you have and how far you get on the show.  Unless you're Ames.  Both his Dad and stepfather are dead, and he still got sent home.  Man, Ashley really didn't want to have sex with Ames.

2. We know guys like JP. In other words, we know Jewish guys from Roslyn who had a mullet and a Bar Mitzvah at the roller skating rink and listened to REO Speedwagon and grew up to be petulant and overly dramatic Bachelorette contestants who flame out in the finale.

1. Ashley loved feeling like she was in 7th grade when she went skating with JP.  You know who wouldn't love that feeling?  Ames.

We're back with the Full GTOG next week, because much like Constantine, when we love, we love hard.  And much like Ben, we are real guys.  But unlike Ben and Constantine, we don't look particularly alike.  In the meantime, if you're looking to get your emotions on, listen to the podcast.

Monday, July 18, 2011

GTOG Raw Emotion Podcast: Bachelorette Episode 8 Recap ... HOMETOWNS!

Outrage tonight at GTOG headquarters, as we try to come to grips with the ouster of perhaps the most thoughtful, sincere, and imaginatively dressed Gentlemen ever to appear on the Bachelorette. How could Ashley forget the magic under the Magnolia tree? When Constantine loves, how hard does he love, exactly? What happened on Ben's date? We may have dozed off. And when will Ashley see JP for the emotionally domineering Brad Womack-esqe lover he most certainly is? We threw out the checklist early on in this Journey. Brace yourselves. The Raw Emotion podcast starts right now.

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So long, old friend.

An Open Letter to Non-Bandwagon Pirates Fans

By Artistry

Dear Long-Suffering Pittsburgh Pirates Fans:

We notice you are feeling pretty good about yourselves these days, and undertstandably so.  Finally, you are getting your due.  At long last, you are being recognized for your resilience and your unwavering loyalty to the Buccos.  You have endured 18 straight losing seasons, and now when you walk down the street people feel obliged to stop what they're doing and applaud as if you're returning from duty in Afghanistan.  Richly deserved.  You are members of very, very, very exclusive club:  the Non-Bandwagon Pittsburgh Pirates Fans.

Big Hand.
Just to be clear, we at GTOG are not qualified for membership.  It's possible blog co-founder Finesse has never made it through the sixth inning of a baseball game.  I can't say for sure.  The peak of my Pirates fanhood probably came in about 1986, when Johnny Ray was the team's best player, we were awed by the power hitting potential of one Mike Diaz and encouraged by the promise of a fresh-faced Bob Kipper.  Seriously, those were my guys. 

Childhood Hero
The Bucs' string of early 90's success coincided with my college years, there was no baseball package available at that time, and so my fanhood actually diminished a bit during that stretch.  Does this make me a pre-Non-Bandwagon Non-Bandwagon fan?  I don't know.  It doesn't matter.  Because this day is about you. 

Think about what you have accomplished.  Instead of doing something to make yourself happy, learning a new language, or curing cancer, you watched some 26,000 innings of losing baseball.  You refused to acknowledge that the sport was actually better with steroids and cocaine.  You talked yourself into guys like Bobby Hill and Andy LaRoche, even as the Yankees were throwing $20 million at utility players.  And here we thought we were making an entirely rational and completely justifiable position not to pay attention to any of it.* 

Now, as we look for a seat on the Bandwagon with the understanding that we are still not obligated to watch an entire game, we ask for your indulgence.  Don't dismiss us out of hand.  We know we need to earn our seat at the table.  Kindly show us the patience you usually reserve for Pedro Alvarez when he is batting .208.  Open your hearts.  Embrace the fact that we're asking you what the score was last night when it's possible the team didn't even play.  Invite us over to watch a game.  We'll bring beer, and we'll almost definitely be late.

Respectfully Submitted,

* We were busy watching the Penguins lose like 200 games in four seasons pre-Crosby.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wake Up With GTOG: What is a musk deer gland and where can we get some?

By Finesse

If you want a confusing, entertaining, and potentially sad read this Sunday morning, check out this odd story about the North Korean women's soccer team.   We're about a month late to the party on the lightning strike aspect, but we traditionally get our women's soccer news on a west-coast-time plus one month schedule.  Here it is in a nutshell: five members of the team tested positive for steroids which came from a musk deer gland that is from a special deer that lives in Siberia and parts of North Korea and FIFA considers this a banned substance but the team says that it is part of a traditional Chinese medicine and that the only reason the players took it is because of a serious "lightning accident" that occurred last month in which "several players" were seriously injured, an incident that is completely baffling and goes unexplained but is part of a larger theme of mystery surrounding the North Koreans because they also claim that in a maybe-related or maybe-unrelated incident, more than five of their players had to go to the hospital after their match against the U.S. but absolutely no reason is given for that nor proof other than pictures of players getting into ambulances.  Got it?

This is a photograph of the North Korean women's team.
Further research reveals that the lightning may have hit at least five of the players.  You know that old saying: Only in North Korea.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

"I will whip this Snuggie off right now and come over there and smack your mahth!"

By Finesse

The Pirates are in first place. It's a good day.

In other news, I've already said "smack your mahth!" 47 times this morning.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Annotated James Harrison Apology

By now you've probably seen the statement from James Harrison responding to the ballyhoo caused by his inflammatory remarks in this month's "Men's Journal."  Now, in a GTOG exclusive, we have James Harrison himself reflecting on that statement and giving us the story behind the apology. 

Accept my apology. Or else.
"I'll start by offering my apologies for some of the words that I said during the four days in May that Men's Journal was invited to my house to discuss what the NFL has recently been portraying as their attempts at 'player safety' rules and regulations, and to cover my everyday workout routine."

I'll start by thanking my agent for writing this for me.  The way he managed to convey an apology, which he deftly qualified by suggesting that "Men's Journal" threw me under the bus by highlighting the wrong quotes? I'm not sure I could have pulled that off.  In fact, I know I couldn't have.  Hell of a first sentence.

"I did make comments about my teammates when I was talking about the emotional Super Bowl loss, but the handful of words that were used and heavily publicized yesterday were pulled out of a long conversation and the context was lost. Obviously, I would never say that it was all Ben's or Rashard's fault that we lost the Super Bowl.  That would be ridiculous."

I would just say that it was mostly Ben's and Rashard's fault.

"Both Ben and Rashard are great players and great teammates. Clearly the entire team bears responsibility for the loss, me included." 

And by "me included," I mean I'm a member of the team.

"It was a team effort and a team loss."

The Steelers played, and the Steelers lost.  There's really no other possible interpretation of what happened.  But it was mostly Ben's and Rashard's fault.

(He sort of has a point)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wake Up With GTOG: Goal Nidre

By GTOG Staff

Via Puck Daddy, we bring you the holiest goal of the year.

What a move by the Israeli.  The Greek goaltender didn't know whether to cry or say mazel tov.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What the hell is happening with the Steelers?

Finesse: Earlier this morning I did a post about whether the Steelers should cut ties with All-Pro linebacker James Harrison in light of his recent comments about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. (To be fair, a lot of what he says is really funny and he throws some red meat to Steeler fans with the accusation that the Patriots were stealing signals in the '04 AFC title game. Love that.). The topic has sparked a lot of passionate opinion on all sides; thus, we have to delve into this a little deeper. So, Artistry, what say you? Should the Steelers look to get rid of James Harrison and, looking at the bigger picture, what the f**k has been going on with the Steelers organization these past 4 years?

Artistry: Let's take these one at time. First, James Harrison. His inflammatory comments get a lot of play, it seems like his propensity for violence may not be limited to the football field, and he reportedly trashes his own teammates - notably Ben Roethisberger - in the new Men's Journal article. But get rid of him? No. You don't cut the cord on someone merely for being outspoken. Let me channel Ron Cook for a second: This is America, remember? I'm confident that there are plenty of morons, miscreants, and a--holes on every team in football, and we shouldn't be so offended every time somebody gives us evidence of that. Now, the Rooneys may well decide at some point that James Harrison is a liability, that some off-field controversy outweighs his contributions between the lines. We're not close to that point. He's not a (convicted) criminal. If you read his blog, he can actually be pretty thoughtful. He mostly just pushes buttons, though I reserve the right to come down harder on him once I see this alleged gay slur. Now, your second question is much more troubling to me. It's never a punter or backup lineman stirring up offseason controversy for the Steelers (though sometimes backup tight-ends and kickers cross-swords in the parking lot). It's the team captains. It's Hall of Fame level guys like Hines Ward, Harrison and Roethlisberger. It's major contributors like Santonio Holmes and Rashard Mendenhall and Jeff Reed. Is there a leadership vacuum here?

Finesse: I don't actually believe that the Steelers should let Harrison go because he is too good of a player and plays his ass off on the field. But it's worth asking the question, because the constant distraction caused by Harrison and the players you mentioned is getting, well, very annoying. There's no other way to put it. I'd just like it to stop so that I can watch ESPN NFL Countdown without the Steelers' "image" being discussed for 2 segments (joking, I'd never ever watch that show). As to whether there is a leadership vacuum, I'd say yes, there probably is. The first potential "leader" to look at is Tomlin who, while we love almost everything about him, has essentially seen all his best players do something embarrassing at various points during his tenure. Obviously he can't go to Georgia and take the keys away from Hines Ward (in fact, no one from the Steelers' organization should ever go back to Georgia), and he can't dive in front of Cedrick Wilson's  girlfriend. But is he letting the inmates run the asylum? Most of the veterans on the Steelers, for as fantastic and successful as they have been, are almost unbearable to listen to. They're arrogant with a persecution complex -- a deadly combination, that Tomlin may not perpetuate, but does enable. Of course, it doesn't help when your other supposed leader -- your star QB -- is the biggest culprit of them all.

Artistry: Go easy on Ben. He's a family man now. Besides, Harrison's comment about the quarterback is probably the one that will raise the most eyebrows:
“Hey, at least throw a pick on their side of the field instead of asking the D to bail you out again. Or hand the ball off and stop trying to act like Peyton Manning. You ain’t that and you know it, man; you just get paid like he does.”
Oh boy. Looks like someone just excused himself from the Band of Brothers. It's hard for me to put any of this on Tomlin. If anything, he's tougher on the players than Bill Cowher ever was. You hit it on the nose by suggesting we may be just looking at a bad batch of guys. We've got a potentially homophobic rage-a-holic linebacker, a possibly reformed but still largely insufferable alleged sexual predator QB, an alleged drunk driver, and a Bin Laden apologist leading the charge out of the Heinz Field tunnel. Lucky we cut the guy who destroyed the paper towel dispenser. Otherwise, we might have a PR issue.

Wake Up With GTOG: Cut the Cord on James Harrison?

By Finesse

Apparently Steelers' linebacker James Harrison slams NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in an upcoming issue of Men's Journal.  And instead of the politically correct "I'm not a big fan" criticism, it's the "If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out, I wouldn't do it.  I hate him and will never respect him."  Oh, and a gay-slur, some shots at ex-players and even some shots at his own teammates.  He also says Brian Cushing is "juiced out of his mind," which is interesting coming from a player who was an undrafted free agent in 2002, didn't do anything in the NFL until 2007 when he miraculously became Team MVP, exceeded that in 2008 as NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and plays and lives his life with a certain degree of "rage."  I'm not sayin' ... I'm just sayin'.

We should probably wait until the full article comes out to make a final judgment -- after all, what's the rush? -- but if what is reported is accurate and is not mitigated by taking the quotes "in context," then we have to ask.... is it time to say, "Peace Out, James Harrison?"

He's a fantastic football player, but he's become a professional "Make It About Myself" artist.  He admitted to hitting his girlfriend in 2008 and got a bizarre pass from the Rooneys at the same time they were kicking Ced Wilson off the team for a similar offense.  Since then, he's delivered a series of punishing hits that may or may not have been dirty, although that's not the issue with him.  It's the distraction, the negative attention, the penalties, and, ultimately, the ridiculous position that he is constantly putting the Steelers' organization in.  He, and others, complain that the Steelers are targeted by the league, a ridiculous assertion given that they are the most popular team in the NFL and have the most beloved ownership group in the sport.  He slams Goodell relentlessly and immaturely, but you know who Goodell works for?  The Rooneys.  Would he take a squirt on Dan Rooney if he was on fire?  Could he even find Ireland on a map?

Then again, he's really good.

Maybe we can put up with him.....

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bachelorette Episode 7 Recap: "Have I Talked to You About Water Heaters?"

By Artistry and Finesse

[Check out this week's Raw Emotion Podcast here]

You can learn a lot about a person when the stakes are high, and the stakes can't get much higher than they were on this week's episode of the Bachelorette.  The final six gentlemen were competing for four spots on next week's Hometowns, otherwise known as the dates where Ashley comes to each Gentleman's hometown to meet his family, the Gentleman goes off to one room with his father to hear things like, "Son, we love you and just want you to be happy. We're behind you 100%.  You're our son," and Ashley goes off with the Gentleman's mother to laugh disproportionately hard at the Gentleman's baby pictures, all in search of the coveted but closely guarded "Blessing."  But that's next week, so let's not get ahead of ourselves.  We have work to do.

With so much on the line, it's no wonder that the pressure of this week brought out these guys' true colors.  Ben handled his Moment with confidence and poise while JP was small, resentful, and petty but managed to survive based on his body of work throughout the season.  Constantine and Ames played it close to the vest by doing, almost literally, nothing.  They, too, got roses.  Lucas, on the other hand, failed to get a rose and was seconds away from getting his rifle and proclaiming "From my cold, dead hands!" but was able to walk himself back from the brink of disaster.  And Ryan's carbon-neutral flame was finally extinguished -- he was shellshocked and uncomprehending when informed of his ouster -- but he shouldn't fear.  The man has a higher calling.  More on that later.

2 horse race?
And how did Ashley handle the pressure?  She cried, she questioned whether she was cut out for this, and she talked flawlessly in the present tense about her past dates.  Now that we're at 02 P.B. (post-Bentley), we've grown accustomed to a more determined Ashley, an Ashley who dances less and simply won't put up with you if there is no "physical connection."  In other words, even if she refers to you as "gorgeous," it doesn't mean she wants to sleep with you.

Read on for the FULL RECAP...

Pens Lock Up Dustin Jeffrey

By Artistry

It may be barely a blip on your summer radar, but the Pens resigning Dustin Jeffrey to a two-year contract at $575,000 per just made our day.  Granted, it's been a pretty uneventful one.  But we really like Jeffrey's game

Any time you can sign a guy who won't embarrass himself in a Top 6 role for that money, it's a win.

Monday, July 11, 2011

GTOG Raw Emotion Podcast: Bachelorette Episode 7

[After you listen, you can read the full recap here]

Oh boy.  After another shocking episode, and a few cocktails, we lean on each other to laugh and cry simultaneously.  How have Ames and Constantine made it this far? Has any quarterfinalist ever done less than Constantine to deserve a ticket to Hometowns? When did the bloom come off of Ryan's rose?  Can Ben's momentum be stopped?  Who will change JP's diaper after his next tantrum?  We answer all of those questions and more in one of our most emotional podcasts yet.  For all the times we've cried on the podcast, we deserve one where we can laugh.  We lose it a little at the 3 minute mark, but stick with it because we do regain our composure.

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The sun doesn't always shine.

RHONY Episode 14 Recap: Put on a Top Hat and Forget Your Troubles

By Sheer Elegance, GTOG Special Guest Blogger

Frankly people, I can’t be bothered to watch this episode a second time in order to write a pithy recap. My normal “process” is to watch the show once through and then again to take notes so I can maybe I can make myself laugh through the tears of the heinousness that is RHONY. But this episode, and this series, is really beginning to fatigue your girl Sheer Elegance. Its gotten so bad that I’m desperately searching the Bravo website to see how may more shows we have to sit through this season. And the answer is 2 more shows and then the reunion show, which will likely be stretched into ten episodes.

Anyway. I’m just going with what stuck out when I watched Thursday. If there are scenes or details missing I apologize. I’ll rally eventually.

Sonja is bankrupt but can’t resist another costume party, so she goes shopping for burlesque themed garments at Patricia Fields with her stylist, Ramona, and Avery. Avery is sharp and skeptical about her mother wearing a bustier and a short skirt, saying wisely, “her ass will hang out” of one chosen skirt and that “she’s not 20 anymore.”

"While I'm at it, Mom, maybe you should try blinking."
She also declines Sonja’s invitation to come to the party. I’m sure she’s too busy running her hedge fund to bother with such time suckage. Sonja seems fun and self-aware as usual and they try things on and look at whips and dildos and such and encounter a lovely drag queen doppelganger that is an expert in fake eyelashes. These types of things tend to happen at Patricia Fields.

Read on for the full recap...

Has Plaxico Burress Taught Us Nothing?

[Language in this video totally accurate, but NSFW]

Wake Up With GTOG: Shock and Awe

By Finesse

We feel the same way about this as we do after an episode of the Bachelorette: vulnerable, confused, excited, eager yet guarded, naked, reticent but verbose, optimistic, pessimistic and, above all, impassioned.

Huge Bachelorette episode tonight.  Arguably the biggest of the season.  We'll be there for you with a new Raw Emotion Podcast.