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Okay, it’s All That and a Bag of Mail time. Let’s all take a deep breath and get ready for the weekend. We’ve got a great mailbag this week so I’m not going to spend a ton of time on the introduction here. Our beaver pelt trader of the week is the guys who put together the below clip mixing the logic of a spelling bee with the current BCS system. I think y’all are going to love it. Almost as much as you loved Tommy Tuberville’s Texas Tech introduction video.
But, first, as you can see above, that is me at the age of 12. In bright yellow Duck Head shorts and a Duck Head University shirt. At Disney World. This is what happens when your mom and one of your advertisers get together without your knowledge. Duck Head knows that every single one of you born in the South wore Duck Head back in the day. That’s why if you can find a photo of yourself in Duck Head clothing and you post it on their Facebook wall here you can win $500 in product. I get to judge the best/worst photo.
Get cracking though, the contest only runs for ten days.
And if you can’t find any humiliating photos, head to duckhead.com and put in the code claytravis for 25% off anything in stock.
Without further ado, let’s dive in to chin jobs, Curb Your Enthusiasm, to cover a game or not cover a game, Bruce Feldman, and what it’s like to be the cause of a toddler cursing.
But first, the spelling bee video.
Jennifer B. writes:
“Clay, is it just me or has Jay Cutler gotten a chin job? He always had a drooping chin and now he doesn’t.
Not that you’re a chin expert, but have you noticed this too?
I know he might be in better shape, but usually if you have a double chin you can’t lose the double chin just by getting in better shape.
At first I thought this was ridiculous. Then three of you emailed about this. Granted, you might have all known each other and just conspired to take over the mailbag, but three is enought to investigate.
So I went to the photo gallery of Titans-Bears and compared Jay Culter when he signed with the Bears with Jay Cutler now.
Here is Cutler when he joined the Bears:
Here is Cutler playing against the Titans a couple of weeks ago.
I’m no doctor, but there seems to be a clear difference here.
Throw in the fact that Cutler was dating Kristin Cavallari and living the Hollywood lifestyle where plastic surgery is nothing and this gets even more likely.
There have to be better photos, but I spent 45 minutes looking for recent Jay Cutler face photos on NFL preseason galleries and I have to go take a shower now.
Also, and I’m not making this up, I tried to save one close-up photo of Jay Cutler and it’s now the wallpaper on my computer screen. It’s Cutler in a fishing cap. I’m such a tech loser that I haven’t even figured out how to change it yet.
Here’s a pic of my computer screen, pray for me.
But the chin looks different here too, right?
I know, this is what I deserve for researching Jay Cutler’s chin job.
Derek L. writes:
I thought you would find this exchange with ESPN customer support interesting. The whole Bruce Feldman fiasco was a last straw for me, but the truth is their product just isn’t very good anymore. I used to regularly visit espn.com multiple times a day to see what new articles have been posted. Since joining Twitter, I only visit their website when a writer I respect tweets out a link to his article, and rarely do I peruse the site beyond that article. This is true for most sports sites now days, but especially espn. I am sure I’m not the only one whose habits has changed in that manner.
Here are my emails to ESPN customer service about Bruce Feldman:
July of 2011:
To Whom It May Concern,
Bruce Feldman is one of the very few reasons that I have continued my Insider membership over the last few years. I find the actions of ESPN over the last few days to be completely irresponsible. If Bruce Feldman is not reinstated with a public apology by the end of business today, I will be canceling my membership.
ESPN responds that same day:
Thanks for contacting ESPN.
There was never any suspension or any other form of disciplinary action. We took the time to review his upcoming work assignments in light of the book to which he contributed and will manage any conflicts or other issues as needed. Bruce has resumed his assignments.
ESPN Viewer Response”
Derek emailed ESPN back after Bruce’s Dan Patrick appearance:
“To Whom it May Concern:
Since it is now clear that you were not honest with me during our previous exchange, I have decided to cancel my ESPN Insider/Magazine subscription. I find it disheartening that ESPN is willing to blatantly lie to long-time paying customers. As I previously mentioned, Bruce Feldman’s insight on college football is one of the few reasons that I have maintained my subscription over the years. Frankly, the Magazine has never been very good and now ESPN.com provides minimal value.”
ESPN responds anew:
Yeah, nothing yet.
Chris O. writes:
I’ll definitely try, but I’m really torn on how much to travel for the site. I want to do really big games like LSU-Oregon, Alabama-Auburn, the SEC title game, the BCS title game, games like that, but I’ve also been on the road all fall for the past five years and I’m not sure what the payoff for OKTC is of me going to one game a week as opposed to watching ten.
If you’re employed by a major media outlet and you’re only supposed to write about one game that makes sense, but I’m not sure how much more entertaining my columns are from the actual games vs. just watching a ton of games on television and writing about them from home.
And for those of you who have forgotten about the OKTC manifesto, the goal is to be as entertaining as possible. That can be funny, that can be smart, it can be anything so long as we’re trying to do it better, and differently, than the “mainstream” coverage. Although even using the term “mainstream media” is incredibly antiquated. OKTC has a bigger sports audience than 90% of newspapers already. With Twitter, Facebook, and y’all spreading the links, we’re pretty much as mainstream as anyone else already. (Just with a bunch more typos. And dick jokes).
To cover the games or not cover the games is actually a big decision in sports journalism today. The dirty little secret of the press box is that 95% of what comes out of the press box looks the exact same. It’s been this way for a long time, but in the past it just wasn’t as noticeable. In an Internet age it’s readily apparent when you compare different websites. Sure, the coverage is slanted to the home team, but it’s really pretty damn similar. Sports information passes out the same stats to all of us, everyone is there to here the same quotes from the coaches, they give you the anecdotes about the last time (insert factoid here) happened. There isn’t very much creativity or originality.
I do like to ask questions at press conferences, but you typically can’t get more than one in. And the vast majority of the questions are so specific, clearly being asked by someone who has to write about say — the pass rush on third down — that the rest of us just sit there and groan over questions like that. I understand that’s the job, but I’m much more interested in questions that anyone could use in settings like that.
For instance, at LSU-Oregon I asked Les Miles if his team should be ranked number one in the nation. It’s not an earth-shattering question, but it’s one that gives a storyline to a ton of people.
I also use you guys on Twitter as my eyes and ears in situations like that. Last year y’all Tweeted me — and sent the video link — of Les Miles eating grass during the Alabama game. I was there and I asked Les Miles about it in the post-game press conference. His answer to my question went viral, every SEC fan knows that Les Miles eats grass now. Would anyone else have asked that question? Probably not. Would I have known to ask that question if Twitter didn’t exist? Probably not.
So it’s a tough decision. If you’re at a game that ends up with a great story line and you can get a quote like that, it pays off. If you’re at a game like I was last year — Miami-Florida State — that turns into a laugher, you sit there cursing over the fact that you’re not watching the games that matter.
Throw in the fact that the vast majority of fans are watching the television broadcast at home — at least 40 to 1 watch on TV– and if you aren’t bringing people a sense of the environment or something that the fan at home in front of the television can’t see, what’s the point of being on the road anymore?
I think about this a lot for the radio show when it comes to Tennessee Titans games. I think it makes our radio show better if I watch the game on TV so I’m seeing and hearing the same thing the rest of y’all see and hear. Does being in the press box for the NFL make sense when everyone there immediately Tweets out what the coaches say after the game?
Anyway, this is just an interesting question for OKTC and other sites all over the country. I haven’t even talked about the travel cost. And to be honest that’s probably the number one concern of most editors. OKTC is doing well enough already that I can go anywhere in the world and cover a sporting event. Now the question is: when is it worth the time and effort. and does that time and effort pay off with better content than I could get by staying at home.
Having said all that, I’ll be watching games all day Saturday and then going to a massive game: Vanderbilt vs. UConn. I’ll be watching games at Jed’s, a new sports bar on 28th Avenue across the street from Vandy. Swing by and say hi.
I’ll also be home next weekend, but then I’ll be back on the road for September 24th.
The truth is, the vast majority of y’all probably won’t even notice where I’ve been when you visit the site, but it’s still a fascinating question that lots of media companies are trying to resolve.
Jamie P. writes:
I hated you when I thought you were single. Then I found out you had a wife and two kids. If they live with you, you can’t be that bad, right?…Also, I really wanted to know how your son’s monster pee-pee joke ended too, but don’t tell your wife.
My son’s monster pee-pee joke elicited more emails than just about anything I’ve written this week.
Y’all loved it.
So here’s another good Fox story.
I’ve told this on the radio, but I haven’t written it.
My wife worked as a guidance counselor up until this summer — by the way, thanks to y’all supporting the site and radio show she doesn’t have to work anymore and both boys get to drive her crazy all day long — so I was in charge of getting both boys up and off to day care on my own.
That’s a three year old and a six-month old. Just me. For six months I had them both every morning. Get them up, get them changed and dressed, feed them, it was like a two-minute drill every morning in my house. I only lost it once, when I couldn’t get the bottle to stop leaking and both boys were throwing fits. If I’d been on a bridge I might have jumped off. Instead I just threw the bottle across the wall, it banged off the wall, split into three pieces and both boys just sat there stunned into silence.
A month later my wife found a rubber bottle nipple under the sofa and said, “How did this get here?”
We were always late.
And I had to drive across downtown Nashville to the day care. (By the way, our day care was very middle class. Yet it still cost more than college tuition for each boy. Seriously, I could have had both of them at UT and saved money. I have no idea how people afford day care. I’d vote for anyone for President who ran on the affordable day care platform).
So every day we’d get stuck behind someone driving slow or not moving, I’d curse. “F’ing damn it,” I’d say. Only I’d drop the F-bomb. (At this point I should also add that my three-year old always insisted that we listen to his nursery rhymes on the way to day care.) So, anyway, Fox never reacted to the cursing with me and I just assumed he wasn’t paying attention or couldn’t hear.
Then came spring break.
His mom was off school and she took him to play school.
The women already know where this is heading, right?
She got stuck in traffic behind someone who wasn’t moving and without fail, my three-year old said, “F’ing damn it.”
My wife was shocked. She said he was so cute cursing — he beamed when he said it — that she couldn’t even keep a straight face.
“What did you say?” she asked.
“F’ing damn it,” Fox said, smiling sweetly as soon as he said it.
“We don’t say that,” she said, “those are bad words. Where did you hear that?”
And that’s when Fox threw me under the bus. “Daddy says f’ing damn it when we’re stuck in traffic, but the light isn’t red.”
Kid’s a genius, that’s completely true. He cursed appropriately!
So I was actually kind of proud of him. But my wife wasn’t proud of me. Eventually I convinced him’ that he’d misheard me, what daddy was really saying was, “Flipping doggies.”
He still says flipping doggies occasionally when we’re stuck in traffic.
Jordan C. writes:
I am a huge Curb Your Enthusiasm fan and was taken aback by this past Sunday’s episode (The Car Periscope). In this episode, Larry and Jeff drive around in a car with a periscope. However, Cosmo Kramer came up with this idea in the episode of Seinfeld entitled “The Invitations.” I was just wondering what your opinion of Larry David expanding on small jokes from Seinfeld on Curb is?
Here’s the Seinfeld clip:
Prior to your email I didn’t remember this scene from Seinfeld.
Since you have to assume that Larry David came up with the car periscope idea, why isn’t it permissible for him to unpack it further?
Also, I’m biased here because I’m not sure there is any man alive I would rather meet than Larry David, but the joke was expanded on and made funnier. A throwaway line became a central focus. Just another reason why every Seinfeld episode featuring Larry David was a work of art.
Plus, if you assume that everything that happened in either show is a exaggerated approximation of David’s own life, how can you restrict his ability to build on a joke he created? Most funny writers just recreate the same jokes over and over again, David is a cornucopia of originality. And here he’s expanded on the joke he created in a funny way.
Did you have any issue with him redoing the Seinfeld finale last year? Wasn’t that just a redone joke, performed better?
Here’s an opinion that drives Seinfeld fans crazy — I think Curb is the superior show.
The mailbag is now brought to you by Counsel on Call, which is one of the best legal companies in the country.
I’ll tell you why. Because when I was writing Dixieland Delight I needed a way to make a living as a lawyer while still taking the risk of going on the road to write a book that hadn’t been sold to any publisher. That’s a terrifying decision to make because most lawyers don’t have any schedule flexibility and most of us don’t have the financial wherewithal to quit the law cold turkey.
So how could I write the book and still have money to live on? Counsel on Call was the answer.
I had to write this book. So I took the risk and Counsel on Call provided me the safety net. I knew if the book idea bombed, or my CBS column tanked, I could always practice law with them while continuing to pursue my harebrained writing career. And while I was writing the book I was still practicing law.
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