Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bachelor Episode 5 Recap: Puerto Rico is an amazing place to, wait for it, fall into the ocean with a naked model with an imploding mouth

By Artistry

Sadly, there is no Raw Emotion Podcast this week, but please keep the angry emails coming because that means you are doing what we've always wanted you to do: be emotional.

So in light of no REP and Finesse's inexcusable failure to even watch the show, here are some rambling thoughts divided into artificial headers at 5:45 a.m.  You know, for the historical record.  If you still need more, you can read our coverage of the whole season here.

Courtney

"I don't doubt that it won't be fun," said a flustered Ben when Bachelor camera-time leader Courtney first suggested they prance around naked in front of an ABC camera crew.


Ben is a good right-hand man.
Nikki

Nikki was fortunate to be with the man of her dreams for the "Unexpected precipitation but remember things don't always work out take it for what it is nothing can rain on this parade roll with the punches go with the flow let's shift gears and buy authentic Puerto Rican clothes I am the luckiest woman on earth I'd like to have a big wedding" date. It was like a romantic comedy, except that these actors couldn't pull it off.

For Jurassic Park fans: "Dodgson! We've got Dodgson here!"
Nikki also wants a second chance at the fairy tale.

Men shouldn't sit in baskets.
More after the jump...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

GTOG Podcast: Crosby's injury, the All-Star game, and the loss of Gen. B.A.

Though not officially a Raw Emotion Podcast, this still packs a punch. We talk about Sidney Crosby's neck injury, his friendship with Tom Brady, the NHL All-Star game, Ben's loss of General B.A., and for the last ten minutes, something we like to call "exploring the space."  It's the GTOG Podcast.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

GTOG Recap: NHL All-Star Draft (and Republican Debate)

By Finesse

If you missed the NHL All-Star Fantasy draft last night we envy you, but if you don't realize just how lucky you were, here's a quick recap of the proceedings, with some bonus coverage of the Republican debate.

The format is as follows -- Zdeno Chara and Daniel Alfredsson are team captains who select their teams from the pool of players voted to the All-Star game.  Each captain also got to have an assistant: Chara had Joffrey Lupul of the Leafs, and Alfredsson worked with Henrik Lundqvist, who somehow found time to pencil 90 minutes of drafting into his busy schedule of lobbying for goalie interference calls.

The show was hosted by James Duthie of TSN who looks like a guy who would play Seth Myers in the biographical movie, "Seth Meyers: The Movie No One Is Going To See."


The draft takes place in a casino "just across the Ottawa river."  Nothing screams BIG TIME more than the outskirts of Ottawa, a mood captured by Dave Molinari on Twitter.


Duthie insists that this draft is taking hockey "back to its roots" where Saskatoons at the turn of the 20th century used to wear $6,000 suits and check Twitter while hitting on 20-year old Russian immigrants named Alyonka.

Duthie introduces Alfredsson to the delight of the Ottawa crowd, and Alfredsson shows a surprising amount of personality for someone who looks like the guy in your apartment building who would passively aggressively complain to you that there is a no-move-in policy on the weekends while you're cramming a couch into the elevator on a Sunday afternoon.

"Technically the policy says you cannot move in today. I could report you if I wanted."
And Duthie proves to be the perfect host for an event where Zdeno Chara is prominently involved because it means there will be almost no occasion for Chara to laugh.


It's a commercial break, so let's check in on the debate.  Rick Santorum is pointing at his 93-year-old mother, and makes her stand up.  She gets a rousing ovation, or so she's told.

Much more after the jump...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

GTOG Wants You to Comment!

By Finesse

We never pump our comment section, even though there are some entertaining exchanges that happen in there.  But for over 18 months, we've basically been talking at you.  We'd love to hear any thoughts you guys have on the Pens, the Bachelor, Paula Deen's diabetes, or anything else.  There's a comment string going here about the Pens, so if you want to weigh in, click that link and tell us why we're smart or why we suck.

Proud Graduates.
And if no one takes the bait, that's cool, too.  We can always just talk to each other.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

GTOPG: Over Fleury's Left Leg; Pens Win 3-2

By Finesse

Marc-Andre Fleury gives up his share of goals that we think he should stop, most of which go through Brooks Orpik's legs on 1-on-1's and then over Flower's glove.  But if you try to go cross-crease on Flower and you don't get the puck up over his pad, Darren Pang is going to break into hysterics about Fleury's quickness in the Blues' broadcast booth.



Flower was phenomenal last night.  It was his 21st straight appearance, which is far too much, but he now gets a week of well-earned rest.  We had been calling for Brent Johnson to start this game, but apparently the Pens coaching staff knows more than we do.



- Or, perhaps, we know the same thing, which is that the Pens don't have any confidence in Johnson right now.  He is 2-5-0-2 with a 3.47GAA and .876 save percentage.  Those are horrendous numbers.  The last two times the Pens gave him a start, he was yanked and replaced by Fleury (both games were losses).  As reader P.Co pointed out in the comments a few days ago, starting goalies win championships in the spring, but backup goalies win them in January and February.  Johnson has earned at least one or two more chances before the trade deadline to solidify his position as the Pens' backup for the playoffs.  But that's about it.

- Here's a task for someone with access to the coaching staff.  Ask them whether the Pens' defensemen are coached to not tie up opposing forwards in front of the net.  By my unofficial count, the Pens allow approximately 79.8 guys per game to stand untouched in front of Fleury.  It's possible that this is a deliberate strategy by the Pens -- if the defensemen tie up the forwards, that means the D are also locked up, making it harder for them to get loose pucks in the corner.  It's also possible that this is a bad strategy.

- Rumors abound that the Pens are interested in Hal Gill.  We approve.

- Eric Tangradi was scratched last night in favor of Steve MacIntyre, who justified the coaches' confidence in him by taking a ridiculous tripping penalty during his 3:52 of ice time.  Shero has to seriously consider moving Tangradi while he still has some value.  If he still does.

- In the four games since Letang has been back, Deryk Engelland has played 14:31, 10:29, 10:36, and 11:48.

- A seven game win streak is absolutely huge going into the All-Star break. Given everything that's happened this season, we'll take this all day.


Go Pens.

**For reader Bryan**

What hands by Kunitz.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Crosby's at the beach? Uhh, Ok.

By Finesse

According to Dan Bylsma, Sidney Crosby is staying in California during at least some of the All-Star break to go to the beach.  You'll recall that Crosby originally went to California to visit with a renowned neurological spine specialist. This on the heels of another trip to Florida, and maybe Atlanta, to see Ted Carrick, a chiropractor who treats concussions.

Bylsma's quote:
"Not a timetable because it's possible he could stay there for a little bit of a break as well," Bylsma said of Crosby. "Not a definitive day back in Pittsburgh because he'll be staying on the beach for a little bit."
Forgive us for being skeptical.  Some will take Bylsma and the Pens at their word and think fun thoughts of Sid hitting on the girls from Laguna Beach.  Not at GTOG.  No matter how much positive spin the Pens try to put on Crosby's cross-country trips to physicians of unrelated specialties in order to treat a "concussion," we've been burned enough times.  Our walls are up.

We've reached the point where no news is bad news.  And that stands until we hear otherwise, from Crosby himself.



Go Pens.

Monday, January 23, 2012

GTOG Podcast: Bachelor Episode 4 Recap

What an emotional night.  In the first podcast Artistry has recorded since moving back to Pittsburgh, we discuss what it was like for him to watch The Bachelor with his dad, what Emily was thinking when she threw Courtney under the bus, and which Woman should have offered to sacrifice herself for the greater good.  Get the tissues out.  It's the raw emotion podcast.

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Bachelor Contestant: "Not happy about how this is gonna be played out tonight"

By Finesse

Bachelor contestant Samantha Levey is at it again.  Just a few weeks after she gave a "premature f*ck you" to ABC for its "fake and bulls**t editing job," she expresses that she is again "not happy" about tonight's episode, via Facebook.



Going to go out on a limb here: Samantha is not going to get the fairy tale ending.

GTOG Weekend Wrap: Pens Win; Insufferable Super Bowl Matchup

By Finesse

So much going on, so little time.  A few things to hold us over until Episode IV: Attack of the Eyelash Extensions.

- Just as it was unwise to bury the Pens afte the 6-game losing streak, it is equally unwise to coronate them  during the current 6-game win streak.  There are two things happening right now: Malkin is setting the world on fire, and the Pens are holding their place in the standings until Decision Day comes for Ray Shero.  When the world was ending less than two weeks ago, we told you not to panic.  We said the key date is February 20th, one week before the trade deadline.  By then, we'll know whether Sid has a legitimate shot at returning this season.  And if he doesn't....


- Not to rain on the parade, but the one concerning thing about the Pens' winning streak is that it is so dependent on one line.  Unofficially, Malkin and Neal have contributed to 142% of the Pens' goals in January.  It's never a bad thing that one line is doing too much, but it is a bad thing when the other lines aren't doing enough.

- If the Pens don't have enough confidence to start Brent Johnson tomorrow night in St. Louis, which would give Fleury a nine day break between starts (because of the All-Star game), then it's official that the Pens have no confidence in BJ.  Twenty-one straight appearances for Flower is too much.

- I'm not sure that either of the best teams won yesterday's conference championship games.  But I am sure that I won't be watching Sports Center for the next two weeks.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Instant Reaction: Malkin-Neal, Neal-Malkin; Pens Win 4-3

By Finesse

That one felt really good.  At some point in the relatively near future, we'll start complaining that the Pens are relying too heavily on the Malkin-Kunitz-Neal line.  But not today.  Go Pens.  Full recap tomorrow.



GTOG On the Record: NFL Championship Week

For historical purposes:

Artistry

New England 31, Baltimore 17. This is in no way objective and driven solely by a desire to see Baltimore lose.

Giants 24, 49ers 10. Niners can't contend with that d-line.

Finesse

New England 34, Baltimore 20. I want Baltimore to win. But they aren't going to.

49ers 23, Giants 20. Can't live in a world where for two straight weeks we have to hear, "Look, maybe Eli is the best Manning after all..."


Joe Paterno Passes Away

By Finesse

Joe Paterno passed away this morning.  He was 85.


Tough times in Happy Valley.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

GTOPG: Perspective from a patriarch; Pens Win 5-4

By Finesse

I didn't watch the game last night, so I was planning on posting the highlights, using some hyperbolic analogy to describe Malkin's one-timer, and mentioning Artistry's love of Dustin Jeffrey before calling it a day.  But I woke up to an unsolicited but appreciated email from my dad about the topics dujour and thought, "PIXELS!"


Finesse's Dad's thoughts on the Pens after the jump...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Man Down! Man Down!; Bruce Arians Retires

By Finesse

The Leader of Men has lost one of the Men who guides Him in his Leadership of His Men.

Steelers' offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has officially announced his retirement.  B.A., as he is affectionately called by Ben Roethlisberger, is known for opening up the Steelers' offense from the bruising Jerome Bettis days and bringing it more in line with the "Drew Brees Could Realistically Throw For 1,000 Yards in a Single Game" era.  In other words, he gave the responsibility for leading men to the man who leads the men.

"Ok, Ben. Bounce off 4 guys, then throw across your body to Santonio for a touchdown."
This statement from Mike Tomlin has the warmth and fuzziness of an arctic porcupine.




GTOPG: Malkin puts MSG on notice; Pens Win 4-1

By Finesse

Over the past six years, opposing teams have taken several approaches to trying to stop Evgeni Malkin.  None of them work on any sort of consistent basis, but one of the most common tactics is to try to get physical with him to "get him off his game."  The problem with that approach is twofold: first, Geno can be off his game and he is still the best player on the ice.  Second, it activates him emotionally, and an activated Evgeni Malkin is an Evgeni Malkin that's about to humiliate a whole lot of people.

Malkin's patented "I did that in Russia all the time growing up" smirk
So the Rangers took the get physical approach with Malkin early and it backfired.  He was sublime the entire game.  You can't really blame the Rangers for putting all their eggs in the Stop-Geno basket, because somewhat lost in the 4-game win streak for the Pens is the fact that we are basically a one line team.  Unfortunately for everyone else, that one line is destroying everything in its path.

More thoughts after the jump...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

GTOPG: Pens Win 2-1; The Internet Unites

By Finesse

Today the internet unites against two power-grabs that threaten our fundamental freedoms as Americans.  The first is SOPA, but the more important threat is a bill coming before the D.C. City Council that would allow Ted Leonsis's Verizon Center to hang banners and electric lights of unlimited size on the outside of the building and maybe even block the windows of a gym that I maybe use.  Ted has often felt that the rules should not apply to his facilities -- remember the Verizon Center being ranked as having the most amount of food-safety violations? We do! -- and this is no different.  The bill about the Verizon Center appears to exempt their banners from standards applicable elsewhere in the city.  You can vote against the bill here.


In other news, the Penguins won 2-1 in a shootout over Carolina.  It was a great game and a well-earned two points.  MalkiNeal for MVP.  Three other quick thoughts, courtesy of instant messages from Artistry this morning:

1) Do we need to revisit our condemnation of a Sulivan-Park-Kennedy line? They were nothing short of dominant against Carolina.

2) Watching Geno against the Hurricanes evokes powerful memories of Geno against the Hurricanes.

3) How come Brian Leetch was wearing Paul Martin's uniform last night? Really, how many chances did he have? I've never seen him play such an aggressive offensive game. He has the instincts, but he's not overpowering anybody with that shot. Do you think there is something permanently wrong with PM's wrist? Didn't he have surgery on it? Doesn't seem like he gets anything on his shots.

Go Pens.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bachelor Episode 3 Recap: The Final Rose in Pictures

By Finesse

[Listen to the GTOG Podcast for an emotional recap of last night's episode]

Let's set the scene.  It's the Rose Ceremony.  Ben has already given out a dozen roses so many of the Women should feel safe.  But they don't feel safe.  They feel scared.  Vulnerable.  Threatened.  Why?  Because of Shawntell Newton, famous for being a contestant on "Brad's Season," who returned to the show unexpectedly because she felt there was a connection between her and Ben that needed further exploration.

Modern day Magellan.
The other Women, who had put in just over a week's worth of tears, eye glitter, and more tears did not appreciate Shawntell coming into their cocktail party -- THEIR COCKTAIL PARTY!!!! -- to see if those few text messages she exchanged with Ben were as meaningful to him as they were to her.

And so it came down to the Final Rose.  One Rose, three Women -- Erika, the law student; Jaclyn, the NFL quarterback; and Shawntell, the funeral director from "Brad's Season."  Let's let the 40+ pictures I took within the span of about 120 seconds tell the story.  After the jump, we pick up right after Erika heroically regrouped from her first fainting episode and get inside the Women's heads to reveal what they were really thinking...

Monday, January 16, 2012

GTOG Raw Emotion Podcast: Bachelor Episode 3 Recap

What an emotional night.  GTOG favorite Shawntell Newton returned to the set of ABC's The Bachelor and was immediately and wrongfully torn to pieces by the other so-called "Ladies."  How dare they.  We talk Shawntell's return, Emily's ascent, Rachel's emergence and so much more on this week's installment of the Raw Emotion Podcast.

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You don't do this.  YOU DON'T DO THIS.

Crosby, Carrick, Concussions and Chiropractors

By Finesse

First and foremost, it's really a shame that Shelly Anderson only has 1,734 Twitter followers because she's a producer.

Second, she is reporting that Sidney Crosby is back visiting Dr. Ted Carrick to discuss his recurring concussion symptoms, including balance and motion problems.  Here's her timeline on the subject (for the uninitiated, read from the bottom up)


We don't really know what this means, but it probably isn't a "good" thing.  At best, it's a checkup to maintain the status quo.  Unfortunately, we also have no idea what the status quo is other than that Sid isn't playing.

This much we do know: the Pens' season hinges on a chiropractor in Atlanta.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Video of Ovechkin rapping

He's at the 2:55 mark.  Spends the rest of the video bouncing around in a wife-beater surrounded by kids in karate outfits.



This is a lot for us to process.

GTOPG: It Comes Easily for Some People; Pens Win 6-3

By Finesse

We're not really sure why Tampa is so bad this year when they were one goal away from getting to the Stanley Cup Finals last year, but it could have something to do with it being relatively easy for other teams to get wide open chances against the Bolts' below-average goaltenders.  And in this game, Evgeni Malkin looked like one of those 16-year-olds with a fake birth certificate playing in the Little League World Series.

The Russian Danny Almonte
This game went as it should -- when you play a last place team on a random Sunday afternoon, the priorities are to win and pad the stats, not necessarily in that order.  For just today, mission accomplished.

5 other quick takeaways after the jump...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

GTOPG: A New Hope; Pens Win, 4-1

Look people, no one has time today for a full recap. Good effort against a Florida team that has no business leading the Penguins in points. Here's what you need to know:

1) The 6 game losing streak is over.

2) The players are now presenting a united front to the media and fans.  Something happened behind closed doors this week, and at least a few players leaked it.  Going forward, we expect the Penguins will leave the locker room drama in the capable hands of teams like the Flyers.

3) Any team with Geno Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, and a solid supporting cast is making the playoffs if they don't lose heart and bring it every night.

Big game in Tampa Sunday after we watch 12 straight hours of football.  LGP.

"Come on. We all knew I was giving up a goal in the 3rd period."

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Secret Penguins Team Meeting Heard 'Round the World

By Finesse

In his column this morning, Dejan Kovacevic of the Trib writes
You're going to hear some of this stuff Friday when Crosby faces reporters at about noon in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. But let me lay this out now: The Penguins, the public and, yes, Crosby all need to learn how to handle this situation better in the future.  
That begins with the locker room.  
A few, certainly not all, of Crosby's teammates are of the mind that he's been symptom-free for a while, though they have no medical basis for that. Some think he should be playing. Some simply think he should be doing more to communicate, or at least be as visible as concussed defenseman Kris Letang.  
Last week in Pittsburgh, according to three sources, a group of players held a 45-minute meeting to discuss a temporary captaincy. Another source disputed that any such meeting occurred.  
If it did, were those players kidding? 
That's solid reporting.

My position on this meeting, if it did occur, is: Good.


Penguins' players are clearly frustrated by the uncertainty surrounding the Crosby situation, which is completely understandable.  But the worst thing they could do is just sit back and wait around with the expectation that Sid is going to come back and everything will be ok.  By adopting the mentality that "he's not here, let's start figuring out how to do this without him," the team isn't turning its back on Sid.  The guys who are playing have jobs to do -- kudos to them for trying to do it.

If some of the players think Sid should be playing, that's unfortunate, but not surprising.  Concussions are not well-understood, even by players who seem to get them all the time.  When Pens' players see Sid literally skating circles around them in practice, they may understandably think, "wait, I don't get it, tell me again why he's not playing?"  Sure, this may be an ignorant opinion from a medical perspective, but no one has ever accused hockey players of being geniuses.

Gave the camera a concussion with his eyes.
That's where education becomes important, and it starts with Crosby.  The sentence that resonates most with me from Kovacevic's column is: "Some simply think he should be doing more to communicate, or at least be as visible as concussed defenseman Kris Letang."  Whoever is saying that has a valid point.  If some of the guys on the team don't know what is going on with Crosby, doesn't some of the responsibility for that fall on Sid?  After all, he is the captain and these are his "men."  They deserve to know what is happening -- as their friend and co-worker, Sid is in the best position to educate them.  If Sid does that and they still think that outdated notions of toughness should trump Sid's doctors' advice then, again, no one is accusing hockey players of being geniuses.

The situation is reaching a boiling point and the best guy to turn down the heat on all of this is Crosby.  The sad thing is that there is any heat at all.  Almost everyone is rooting for Crosby to be ok.  We're on his team.  We want him to get better.  We want him to take as much time as it takes.  We want to know what is happening not because we want to judge whether he's tough or not, but because we support him and want to understand.


The truth is that throughout this whole process, we've too often had no idea what is going on.  You can argue that fans have no need or right to know -- I'd disagree with that, but I understand -- but his teammates and the organization do have a right to know what is happening.

It's not Sid's fault for missing all this time.  But the guys who are healthy have been dealing with this for over a year now; if they're tired of waiting for Sid to come back, it doesn't necessarily mean they think he's not tough or not a good captain.  It means they realize they can't sit around feeling sorry for themselves and they need to have a plan to go win games without him.  And that's exactly what they should be doing.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Is Sidney Crosby cleared to play? Answer the question!

By Artistry

"He badly wants to play and be out there," Pens GM Ray Shero said Thursday about Sidney Crosby. "But he's not cleared to play."

Oh. OK.



Surprised?  Mark Madden for the last 24 hours has been going on and on and on about how if Crosby has a mere headache, he may be exercising his personal choice not to suit up because he doesn't quite feel 100%.  And Madden's suggestion is, Sid, you'll never quite feel 100%, so either take the risk of suiting up or retire.  But stop wasting everyone's time with your silly little concussion symptoms.  Don't put yourself above the team.  This must be a conspiracy.  Is he cleared to play?  Is he cleared to play?  It's a simple question, just answer the question, is he cleared to play?

"When he's cleared to play he'll play," said Shero.  Ah hah.  Mystery solved.  Good work everyone.

How quickly we lose our patience and our minds. Read this again, then get back to what you were doing.

Back to the drawing board.

Get To Our Postgame: If Ted Leonsis Owned the Penguins; Pens Lose 1-0

By Finesse

Ever wonder what life would be like if Ted Leonsis owned the Penguins and blogged about the games afterwards?  Neither do we.  But, in the spirit of the Caps-Pens rivalry, which last night felt more like a Panthers-Flames matchup, let's pretend for just today that Leonsis owned the Pens.  What would he write?
We didn't get a power play.  They had two power plays. 
This was our 42nd game of the season.  We are 21-17-4.  In some eras, that would be a .500 record.  We are tied for 8th place with Washington, but Washington has played one less game.   
Last night was their 41st game of the season.
No excuses.  We have injuries to many players.  Sidney Crosby was in attendance last night.  He is recovering.  Every team has injuries; we have more injuries than every team.   
No excuses. 
Marc-Andre Fleury played well in goal.  We held the Capitals to 20 shots.  Usually that is good enough to win. 
We haven't scored many goals recently.  Our role players have gone many games without chipping in any goals.  Our stars are scoring some goals, but not enough goals to win.  Six goals in our last six games; we lost all six games. 
We play at Florida on Friday night.  Florida is having a good season.  They are in third place with 50 points.  It will be a big test for us on the road.
It's predictable when we are losing that we see negative pixels.  Read this one
We are improving.  Wish us well in Florida.  Thank you.
"That was nice. Thank you."

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

GTOPG: Turbulent times, indeed; Pens lose, 5-1

By GTOG Staff

"There he is, just thinking," Penguins announcer Bob Errey observed, as the Root Sports Pittsburgh camera found its way to Mario Lemieux's box.  "How many times have you seen him with his hand on his face, just thinking, where does the team go from here.  Actually, I don't know what he's thinking."  No, Bob, you really don't.  But that's exactly what we're thinking.

OK, that's what he's thinking, too.
The team just lost its fifth game in a row.  The Penguins have plummeted to 8th place in the Eastern Conference, with just one point separating them from Winnipeg and a spot on the golf course during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  Yikes.  Can and should the Penguins take some action to reverse this downward spiral?  Or is it just a matter of weathering the storm and getting Jordan Staal and Kris Letang, if not Sidney Crosby, back in the lineup for a strong playoff push?  There is no consensus here at GTOG.  We're struggling right along with the team.  We know the Penguins endure some measure of adversity every season.  There's always a losing streak that makes us just uncomfortable enough to question whether or not to stay the course.  And those down times - as long as they happen relatively early in the season - are seldom a reason to take any drastic action.  But this is different.  Nobody has any clue about Crosby.  The team is clearly dispirited.  Dan Bylsma looked like he was about to cry during his post-game press conference.  Where do we go from here?  We set our emotions aside and we analyze how we can make this team better right now.

A way forward, after the jump...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bachelor Episode 2 Recap: Ten Burning Questions

By GTOG Staff

[Don't forget to check out the Raw Emotion Recap Podcast here


At the end of every episode of The Bachelor, promises are made.  Promises of tears to come.  Promises of shocking twists.  Promises of swimming pools, wave pools, kiddie pools, lap pools, above ground pools, waterfalls spilling out into pools, and hot tubs, all of which are apparently on the grounds of The Mansion.  And if there is one thing you can say about The Bachelor, it's that it never disappoints.  It promises the moon, but delivers the sun.


But in a show that somehow manages to cram 11-minutes of content into a 2-hour window, we're still often left with unanswered questions.  Today, those questions get answered.

10. Does anyone live in Sonoma?

Apparently not.  Ben's first one-on-one date was with sweet southern belle Kacie B., and we know she is a sweet southern belle because Ben asked her almost exclusively about what "the South" was like, simultaneously professing that he loves people from the South but also that he "needs to get down there more," or something. They walked the streets of Sonoma, a city of over 10,000 people, all of whom were apparently home during the one-on-one, save for two random women who knew Ben and may or may not have been part of the "excess" he enjoyed after college when he was making tons of money in Internet advertising.


Seriously, why weren't there any people there?  Was the city in quarantine?  Was the quarantine ordered by city officials to prevent a Contagion-like outbreak of disease when they learned that Blakeley was coming to town? We demand answers.

9. How did that taste coming out of your mouth?

Bitter. That question, of course, was delivered by Courtney after Kacie B. read the date card, which revealed that Courtney would be the recipient of the coveted second one-on-one.  Courtney, who we've been told is afflicted with something women call "stupid mouth," put an entire room of fake-confident ladies on their heels with this simple question.  It was cutting, precise, and left no room for interpretation.  It's this year's favorite to replace "You are like a toxic disease on this, like, journey" as our phrase-of-the-year.

Our advice to Ben going forward: test whether Courtney is paying attention to your hopes and dreams by repeatedly asking her, "What did I just say?"  She will fail this test every time.

8. With Peyton Manning on the mend and the Colts contemplating drafting Andrew Luck, where does that leave Jaclyn?



Both could be out of a job by next week.
Dig deeper into the mysteries of Episode 2, after the jump...

Monday, January 9, 2012

GTOG Raw Emotion Podcast: Sometimes aging prostitutes just need to have a good cry amidst the luggage

It's Week 2 of ABC's "The Bachelor," and that can only mean one thing: the Women are having feelings they haven't experienced in a very, very, very long time.  Meanwhile, our man Ben is so real, so genuine, that it can only be coincidence that he is immediately drawn to the single hottest, least likable contestant.  And the crying prostitute.  Why did Curtis Painter get a rose? Why is Samantha stewing over Blakely in a toilet stall?  And why did Jenna think it was a good idea to tell Ben she feels "like a guy?"  The truth is right here.  It's raw. It's emotional.  It's the GTOG podcast.

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"Anyone have a suitcase?"

Attention Penguin Fans: DON'T PANIC! STAY CALM! WE NEED TO KEEP OUR COMPOSURE!

By Artistry

Between the near total lack of information about Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang and new injuries to Jordan Staal, James Neal, and Craig Adams, we're facing a Lord of the Flies situation among Pens' fans and media on Twitter right now.  We can only hope that none of the people calling for the Pens to shut Crosby down for the season RIGHT NOW or to execute a swift and significant roster shakeup ever has a finger on a nuclear trigger.  We understand the frustration.  We share it.  And we don't disagree with much about this Pensblog post on Crosby.  As discussed during Sunday's GTOG's podcast, the uncertainty surrounding Crosby's status has demoralized the fanbase and looks like it's beginning to infect the locker room.  That can't happen.  Here's what Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma should focus on this week:

1) Get the players in the loop. Dan Bylsma walking into a room, making really good eye contact, and saying, "The standard is the standard" isn't enough anymore. It's not fair to the players to be kept completely in the dark about the Crosby and Letang injuries, and it's not fair that the coaches are forced to try to convince them they shouldn't think about such things.  They should know what management knows, and what Crosby knows. We don't subscribe to the theory that Sid or Sid's "camp" is keeping information from management, but as team captain, maybe a pep talk for the boys is in order.

Time for extreme close-up

2) Give Brooks Orpik the "C."   We're fairly sure Jack Adams himself couldn't single-handedly shoulder the burden of getting this injury-ridden team to believe it can compete every night with teams like Boston and New York.  That belief needs to start with the players.

3) Let's reconvene on February 20, 2012.  That's a week before the February 27 trade deadline, which, for the calendar-challenged among us, is SEVEN WEEKS AWAY.  The Penguins are 21-15-4.  If they manage to win only 7 of the next 19 games through 2/20/12, they'll still have a winning record and remain in playoff contention.  A team with Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, and a hard-working supporting cast should be able to do that if it doesn't buy into the absurd notion that all hope is lost.  How do we know this?  Because a team featuring Bret Sterling, Tim Wallace, and Chris Conner for long stretches last season managed to rack up 106 points.  In six weeks, we should once again be looking at a lineup featuring at least Malkin, Fleury, Neal, and Staal.  In six weeks, we may have Letang back.  In six weeks, we may have some better idea where we are with Sid.  The feeling of uncertainty now is just that: a feeling.  Deal with it.  Things will be different as the trade deadline approaches - and we'll address that reality when we get there.

We may not enjoy these next two months of Penguins hockey, but if everyone remembers to breathe, indications are we'll live right through it.

Big Ben gives Steeler Nation an image to cherish this offseason



"Adrenaline does some crazy things. You want to be there for your guys." - Clark Kent, on Superman's performance during game-tying, 4th quarter drive.

Somebody just broke the unintentional comedy scale. For a detailed and provocative take on an emotional Sunday for Pittsburgh sports fans, check out the GTOG podcast.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

GTOG Raw Emotion Podcast: Tebow Eliminates Steelers; Have Penguins Hit Rock Bottom?

These are turbulent times, but instead of docking at any port in the storm, come to GTOG. We start by talking about the Steelers-Broncos and ask where Ike Taylor's performance ranks historically and how much blame Roethlisberger should take. We then get into the Penguins' Ridiculous Injury Situation Part 2, the Crosby uncertainty, and whether management should -- or can -- do anything. Finally, of course, the Bachelor. These are emotional times. Experience them with us. It's the GTOG Podcast.

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GTOG On the Record for Steelers-Broncos

For historical purposes, our picks.

Artistry: Steelers 17, Broncos 13. Buckle up for a game that will make you question everything you believe in, and then confirm you were right all along.


Finesse: Steelers 16, Broncos 10. The current negative karma overtaking Pittsburgh sports dictates that the Steelers' season not end until it becomes possible that it will end in the worst way imaginable -- in New England.


For our preview, check out the Roethlisberger-Tebow Tale of the Tape.

Go Steelers.