Friday, April 30, 2010

A Thought

I had one thought after reading Lynn Henning's list of favorites to join the Big Ten: I think I would be physically ill if Nebraska joined the Big Ten.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Let me tell you a story.

Not all that long ago, Hollywood executives saw that DVD sales were dropping, so they were making less money. Straining their pea-size brains they cast about for an answer. The fact that they were making horrendous movies that no one would want to buy was quickly passed over. "Netflix!" they cried. Netflix and its competitors must be stopping those dopey consumers (that's us) from buying DVDs. So they hatched a plan to delay the release of many of the major films to the various rental services and punish them if they bought copies elsewhere, assuming the dopey consumer (us again) would buy more crappy movies on DVD because we just couldn't wait a few extra weeks to see them. Sherlock Holmes was one of those movies.

So, four weeks later, I have Sherlock Holmes at home (Quick review: Good, not great, surprisingly British.). The disc proceeds to show at least 10 previews for new movies or DVD releases. All unskippable. Probably 10 minutes of time, possibly more. Of course you can still fast forward at 64x, so it goes by quickly, but that time is still wasted. Now my first response is to unleash a gang of hungry badgers on the executives of Warner Home Video, but I don't have the time to catch badgers. I could swear of buying Warner Home Video products, but it's not like I was going to buy Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. So instead, the next time I think about buying a DVD, I'll think back to those 20 seconds wasted while waiting to start Holmes, and I'll do what I did then: Skip it.

Comic Cover of the Week: Fantastic Four #578

Monday, April 26, 2010

Take It From Me (Live)

Mark V

Now You Know

What I've learned in the past three days:

1. Alternate uniforms add buzz to rivalry games.

2. Athletes make school decisions based on how the uniforms look.

3. Sports fans were confused about who "State" was.

4. People had trouble identifying MSU because all of the uniforms didn't match.

5. What the athletes think is the most important.

6. Athletes were lacking a sense of mission or purpose before they got new jerseys.

7. The block-S logo was confusing.

8. "Swagger" comes from a new jersey.

Another Thought

Another thought sparked by, but not necessarily completely on, the MSU uniform change. Tradition is more important in college football than any other American sport, maybe any other sport period. You can pretty neatly divide up NCAA teams by classic uniforms vs. "cool" uniforms. For example, in the Big Ten there's Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State (the undisputed king of conservative uniforms) vs. Minnesota, Northwestern, and now MSU. Nationally speaking, you have the likes of Alabama, Texas, LSU, and USC vs. Oregon, Virginia Tech, Miami, and Florida (who used to be solidly in the other camp).

Obviously, having a classic uniform doesn't make you a good team. 'Bama didn't win the championship just because they kept simple uniforms around. But they do say something about how the institution thinks of itself. And how the fans view it. Keeping a uniform around means keeping a commitment to your history and having pride in it, or at least being willing to own it. So a team like Texas doesn't reinvent itself, Texas is Texas, take it or leave it.

Teams that constantly change uniforms destroy that consistency and connection. Or, if you're Oregon or VT, the uniforms seem to be an end in themselves, forget supporting tradition or building a legacy, let's just provoke reactions from people. And maybe we can sell some merchandise.

Even for a team like Michigan State that has a long history with significant highs (6 national championships) but a long period of mediocrity, I think it's better to stick with the classics, otherwise it seems like you're trying to brush history under the rug instead of owning it and moving forward.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Brand Identity, One More Time

One more set of thoughts on MSU's new "brand identity", probably the last for a while:

1. Here's the press release that has some explanations of program.

2. A quote:

Michigan State University has a rich athletic and academic history. To keep these traditions alive, historically relevant marks that connect to the school and Spartan history have been utilized. Combined with contemporary typography, the new concept creates a cohesive identity program that not only respects the traditions of the university, but looks ahead to the promise of a great future.

That's crap. Historically relevant wasn't a factor, they just picked whatever they liked and came up with some rationale for keeping it.

3. There's a grain of truth in this brand identity stuff, but it's 90% marketing people trying to justify their existence. If an athletic team wants to build an identity, they need to win. The rest is just window dressing.

4. The explanation for bronze: "Symbolically represents strength and integrity, and was used as a material in Spartan armor." Sure, but that doesn't explain why they picked a clashing, totally new color to use in the uniforms. I will blame every single thing that goes wrong this season on that color. Missed a tackle? "Needs more bronze." Bad call? "More bronze."

5. The new font takes "inspiration from Greek architecture and the Spartan ethos of simplicity and strength."

Greek architecture? Whatever, this is about a new font that Nike has a copyright on so no one else can use it.

6. The MSU shield logo they made up sucks. And it's mostly bronze.

7. There's some talk that the all-green jersey may be the alternate. If that's the case, it's incandescently stupid.

8. Haven't seen a good picture of the helmet yet, but apparently there's a stripe, but it's tapered. I'll withhold judgment until I see a better picture, but I don't think that it will work.

9. I'm trying to figure out the over/under on these uniforms. One year? Three years?

10. A little time to get used to these uniforms is not making them any better.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

More Brand Identity

I'll probably post more on this later, but when reading the article on the new brand and uniforms in The State News, I was a bit taken aback by this comment regarding the logo controversy from Hollis:

It would have been naïve of me not to take those comments into consideration. But (the MSU community) better be receptive to change because I want to win and I want to win on levels that we haven't before. Sometimes you have to shake the trees to have something like that fall out.

The proposed logo change made me think it was pretty likely that ego was a large part of this rebranding. Now I'm sure Hollis is an arrogant jackass.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Old School

My mother just found this picture:


That's the number of bowls the NCAA approved for the next four years. Cue the complaining about too many bowls. As always, my answer: shut up. You cannot have too much college football, especially in December.

New Uniforms

MSU unveiled its new "brand and identity" program today; you can see all the photos here. The basketball uniforms don't look to have changed much, so this is all about the new football uniforms:

A few thoughts:

1. I don't love the new font, but I think I like it on the numbers. It's only okay on the lettering.

2. I miss the all-white uniforms. They really should have these available.

3. I do like the overall design of the green shoulder/white shoulder uniforms. In fact, I drew a concept that was fairly similar back in '03:

4. All of the uniforms should have shoulder numbers.

5. I miss the "State" wordmark.

6. There's green stripes on the side/back of the pants that are pretty lame, but I don't think Nike can make a football uniform without random stripes these days.

7. These are definitely better than the '02 "gladiator" uniforms.

8. Good call on not using green pants.

9. I am afraid that this is going to start MSU on a cycle of changing uniforms every few years. These are nice enough, but not so great that I expect them to be around in ten years.

Draft Day

So I forgot about the draft last night, even though I had read about it that morning. I suppose that means I'm not a fan of the new format. I am a fan of the picks the Lions made last night though. It's hard to think of a way to do better than coming out with Ndamukong Suh and Jahvid Best at the end of the night.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More on Salt

An observation from the Washington Examiner on the same subject I posted about the other day:

But that hasn't been working fast enough to suit the first lady and others in the obesity crusade. And by limiting sodium contents, the goal is to make junk food less tasty and, by extension, less delicious compared with the organic, locally grown rhubarb you're supposed to be chomping.

You just can't be trusted to choose your own diet.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

... from my cold dead hands.

According to The Washington Post, via Ramesh Ponnuru at the Corner, the FDA has decided you eat too much salt and you need to be saved from yourself, so it plans to regulate the amount of salt that can be used in processed food. But don't worry, they plan to phase limits in over ten years, so you won't notice it right away, you'll just end up with a vague feeling that somehow everything used to taste better. So, will people put up with this? I don't think I'm alone is saying you can pry my salt shaker from my cold, dead hands.


Here's a pic of the volcano (How do Icelandic kids ever learn how to spell?) that's been in the news:

More here. Hat tip: Jonah Goldberg at The Corner.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Boise State is replacing their blue field with... a blue field. Apparently the current one is causing glare that irritates fans. No word on the irritation caused to the rest of the nation by Boise State having a BLUE FIELD. Seriously, if the NCAA is in a rule-making mood, they need to make a rule that says everyone has to have a green field.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Durrell Summers Will Return

You never know what to expect in a college basketball season, but my anticipation for next season has increased exponentially now that Durrell Summers and Kalin Lucas will be back. A factoid the News adds (that unfortunately probably doesn't mean anything): "The last time a pair of Michigan State standouts chose to stay in school instead of turning pro, the school won a national championship."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Rules

The NCAA is making some changes to the rules for the 2011 football season, according to ESPN:

1. No more messages on your eye black. I can see where this could have potentially been heading towards trouble, but it does kind of seem like it's a parting shot at Tebow.

2. No wedge blocking on kickoffs. I'm not sure I like this much, but it brings the rules in line with the NFL, so I guess I can't say much against it.

3. Taunting will be assessed as a spot of the foul penalty. High-stepping into the end zone will mean you never get there. I'm warming to the idea, but the NCAA needs to make sure the officials have clear guidelines for what is and isn't taunting. If a major team loses a game because of a cheap taunting call, the fans and media are going to go ballistic.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Comic Cover of the Week: Daredevil #506

Since it's a little slow around here, a new feature to entertain myself: my favorite cover frome the week's comic releases. This week, Daredevil #506.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


How good is Jimmy Clausen? Mel Kiper Jr. has him as #4 overall on the Big Board and the highest-rated QB. Scout Inc. has him at #37 and the second-highest QB behind Sam Bradford. ESPN: The Advertising Pamphlet just featured a long article about how perfect a spiral Clausen can throw and how great his mechanics are, which was certainly fascinating from a physics standpoint. Notre Dame was 6-6, but Clausen was dealing with an injury most of the year. So, franchise QB or not? Physics aside, I'm guessing not.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Amazing Play

I heard this play on the radio yesterday, but that really didn't do it justice:

Red Dead Redemption

Thursday, April 01, 2010


So, how do you revive a dead possum? Link courtesy of The Goldberg File.