Wednesday, November 28, 2007

FBO: 'Adopts Jake Plummer for Promoting FBO's Newly Adopted Sport: Handball'

This year when Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer learned he was being traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- by the way, both teams who sold out 'sissy' uniforms (Bucs' tangerine, Bronc's orange for 'tougher' charcoal/navy blue unis -- Jake said 'nah, I'm retiring instead.' With years of leg under him, it shocked many.

News came out today of Jake's new profession -- and one that the Failed Bands of Oklahoma heartedly promotes: handball.

Handball was brought to the United States from Irish immigrants. One, Phil Casey, built the first US handball court in 1882, and by the early 1900s south Brooklyn -- where the FBO offices are semi-permanently based -- became the HQ. Today, you say many handball courts around New York, and surprisingly they're usually in use.

Jake told the Denver Post that 'he got out [of the world's most successful sports league' because I wanted to play handball and I wanted to do other things.'

Handball is a game that involves slapping a ball with your hand against a free-standing wall.

Jake Plummer is formally adopted as the FBO Choice Athlete of 2007-2008.

Handball is formally adopted as the FBO Sport.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Monday, November 26, 2007

FBO: 'Loser of the Week Dies'

One of the FBO's key prodigal sons - - is dying out, falling to the bulk of sports-related sites out there. The last Loser of the Week column may or may not appear there, so we're publishing it here for your enjoyment.


Seeing a #1 Tigers fall and another Tigers vault to #1 got me to thinking. Why do 'rebel states' have such a fondness for sharing mascots? The SEC is the only conference with matching team names, happening not twice, but four times: Georgia and Miss State Bulldogs, Auburn and LSU Tigers. Tigers, meanwhile, are also found playing in Johnny Reb locales of Memphis and Missouri. Funny, considering no where else in this division-one nation went with 'tiger' when mascot-browsing. And then little Lousiana Tech, hoping to dig out a cult fan base in an already football-flooded south, up and decided 'Bulldogs' was a winner. Sacre bleu!

Considering everyone's furious at the BCS, and that 'Bama coach Nick Saban is likening the gridiron woes to terrorist attacks and WWII bombing disasters, maybe next year college football should just go ahead and re-stage the football-equivalent of the Civil War? We could draw up teams into three massive conferences:

* Union Forces Conference (UFC)
* Confederate States of America Conference (CSAC)
* Other Teams Conference (OTC)

UFC teams would be from states that fought to preserve the union, CSAC former Confederate states, and the rest grouped in their own also-ran mega-conference. Hence: West Virginia, Penn State, UConn, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Rutgers are UFC teams; LSU, Missouri, Clemson, Texas and Middle Tennessee State are CSAC teams; USC, Oklahoma, Boise State, UNLV and BYU are OTC teams.

Teams would play their exisiting schedules — in terms of existing conferences — but seasons would end with a four-team playoff within each conference, as determined by a BCS-stolen computer/human ratings system. The respective Union and Confederate champions would play alternately in Richmond or DC for the ugly Sears crystal national championship. The OTC would have no shot at a 'national championship.'

It's an idea anyway.

Meanwhile, alas, more bad coaching has sent the Loser of the Week (LoW) offices into another rage. The result is the print-out cheat sheet above: the LoW How-to-Run-Out-the-Clock Guidebook.

The culprit this time is the now-resigned Texas A&M coach* Dennis Franchione. Sure he went out a 'winner' -- topping Mack 'Mr Football' Brown's Texas Longhorns for the second-year-in-a-row. But lost in the knee-deep hoopla, and the near fourth-quarter rally by Texas, was some damn dumb coaching. Up by eight points at midfield with 2:00 remaining, Texas A&M had a 1st and 10, and Texas had no timeouts. Instead of running out the clock (safely), Fran picked up-the-middle running plays with unnecessary hand-offs to the Javorskie 'Water Boy Hater' Lane and QB-keepers charging head-first up the helmet-clanging middle. The game was already over, Fran just didn't know it. The call gave Texas defensive lineman several swats of the ball to get the ball and play for OT. Didn't happen, but don't think it can't: Texas got ahead of mighty UCF earlier in the season with a late-game fumble, not to mention that wild 'Bama fumble that gave LSU the final lead a couple weeks ago.

The overdue 'guidebook' above tells how much time you can kill just by kneeling, assuming time outs remaining by the opponent -- and that the quarterback doesn't kneel the ball out of bounds. I've estimated (very conservatively) that each down is worth 0:33 minimum (with 0:25 on the play clock about eight seconds for the play and for refs to set the ball). Again, minimum. (Hesitating in the backfield, or getting up slowly to delay the refs from setting the ball can easily milk 0:45 per play.)

Now on to actual losing.

Remember that part of Citizen Kane, after accepting his parties bid for governor, Charles Foster Kane left the theater with wife in arm and posed smiling for photographers? That photo marked the peak of his life. In the car afterwards, his wife leaves him, and a sex scandal leaked to the press hours later ends his campaign (snarkily using that glory-moment photo). All the promise, hope and glory, in the end, led to failure. That's a bit how the crazy 2007 season is for a host of overachievers, I fear. Teams that we should feel good about, even if they came up short: Connecticut, South Florida, Kansas, Rutgers, Virginia, Boston College, Hawaii (they'll lose next week, I bet), Kentucky...

Kansas were outmatched by an impressive Missouri, who -- by the way -- is historically the greatest underachiever state school in football (as determined by a ratio of lack of championship/contender performance, plus proximous metropolitan cities to recruit -- St Louis and Kansas City — and no fellow in-state rival to worry about). But Kansas didn't quit -- that is, other than the final kick-off (see Penalty Box). QB Reesing seemed 'starstruck' to borrow Brent Musberger's words for much of the game, yet still the team managed to keep Missouri's potent O out of the end zone their last two possessions, and racked up their 28 points in the final 20 minutes to come close to a shocking come-back. Instead of celebrating a 11-1 Kansas regular season, many fans yelled 'exposed!' to the Mangino Upstarts who staged, by far, the most successful Kansas football team history we'll ever see.

Often overlooked in the group of 2007 Overachievers, Virginia got lost under the radar all year after losing their first game to flip-offing Wyoming. Imagine that they hadn't lost that one till the last of the season? They would have been a top five team falling a couple weeks ago to lowly North Carolina State. Still in the BCS hunt on Saturday, Virginia fell to Virginia Tech.

These teams have made college football even more interesting. And they play with the spirit that is everything we at the Loser of the Week side of the stands cherish.

Kansas coaches. A noble season, yet Kansas' coaching staff get a week in the penalty box for not kicking an onside kick with 0:12 remaining and down by eight, right after Missouri tackled Reesing in the endzone for a safety. Mucus-o-phile Chase Daniel raised a lone finger from his nose to the crowd, but it was not over. The only difference, per the rules, of a 'free kick' after a safety and a regular 'free kick' at the start of a half or after a score is position on the field. Kansas had a chance for a last possession, and a 75-yard heave-ho, lateral-aganza. Why didn't they do it? (Nothing in the rules forbids an onsides kick after a safety; I checked.) Mangino, we love you, but welcome to the box.

Notre Dame/Stanford refs.
When are we going to protect college players from helmet-to-helmet collisions, like the one that knocked the Stanford QB out of the game? As called for here a week ago, stricter penalties (eg ejections) would cut back on these sorts of plays.

* and resigned newsletter publisher (D Franchione)

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

FBO: 'Bans Nielsen Ratings & Puts Polls on Watchlist'

A recent article in the New Yorker by Malcolm Gladwell discussed how some criminal cases turn to detectives who look at the aspects of a crime scene -- or in the case of serial killers, any messages left behind (notes, defecation) -- and 'profile' the criminal based on a few identifiers. It recounts a brilliant job one profile made to locate the 'Con Edison bomber' of the 1940s and 1950s, then knocked the legs from under it by mentioning 'about 2%' of these profiles turn up accurate. And in the end most of the profilings are akin to the same hokey-pokey readings you might get from a Fortune Teller.

This leads to Nielsen Ratings. Advertising revenues, and the existence of TV programs like the critically loved Arrested Development, depend on this enigmatic, mysterious rating system. Did you know that, currently, Nielsen ranks TV shows based on just 12,000 homes in (only) the ten biggest cities nationwide, representing 35,000 people? Meaning that one 'Nielsen viewer' has 8600 Americans on their back -- quite a burden.

The ratings are based on tabulations by 'people meters' (on TVs without TiVo, missing a huge new way people watch TV) and supposedly are consistent with ethnic breakdowns in population percentages. By 2011, Nielsen is hoping to expand to 37,000 homes.

Considering there are 109 million households with TVs in the USA, is even 37,000 enough -- particularly when concentrated in the most urban locations?

No. Nothing takes in account of regional differences, it would seem. Take a show like Friday Night Lights, which triumphs accented small-town football players in West Texas -- something that might make a dent on TVs in Dallas, but less so in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. Critics love the show, but audiences don't seem to be showing up -- or are they?

Twenty percent of Americans live outside cities -- not a lot. But America's top ten cities account for about 8% of the national population. Life in a city of two million is a LOT different than life in Birmingham -- does Nielsen cover that? What if, oh, NASCAR appeals to rural areas, the south, and many cities under the population of 250,000 -- will that be missed completely by Niel's little list?

What's more, if you try to find out such -- even the list of cities with people's meters, it's hard to find. Articles in places like The New York Times, even, don't list the top-heavy cities with a voice.

Questions to be answered.

Meanwhile, the FBO bans the Nielsen Ratings system, and puts all national polls -- far more important as an influencer in elections -- on the FBO watch list.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

* Affluent neighborhood of north Chicago

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

FBO: 'FBO-induced column attacks the hypocrisy'

College football's hate-filled flaws told to

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

FBO: 'Writers are mad -- Should we care?'

The FAILED BANDS OF OKLAHOMA has long held a ban on movie sequels, movie bio-pics and movie remakes -- as the cynical reasoning in Hollywood is that the public can stomach a more expensive slice of the familiar than just the polite nibblings of something new, more creative and original.

Inspired by the FBO ban, writers in Hollywood are taking to the streets to protest payment for network shows -- mostly affecting soap operas and late-night shows like David Letterman.

Problem is they're missing the target. Movie studios are watching it all in protected isolation, as if from an air-conditioned press box with free gin-and-tonics and vegan casseroles.

We ask the striking writers to re-direct their efforts to studio execs who are churing out remakes (eg 3:10 to Yuma), sequels (Saw 4, Fantastic Four) and bio-pics (upcoming Mandella starring Morgo Freeman, Dali starring Alvin Pacino).

Meanwhile, note this strike has nothing to do with the NBC writer's union, which includes the show The Office, a remake of a BBC original. Fans may have noticed how the US version was slow-to-start this season, with awkward/forced misfiring jokes (eg the fictional animal Michael Scott imagines in a drawn-out joke in the opener). The FBO has no inside information on this (yet), but privately wonders whether new lesser-paid writers are trying to replicate the success of past seasons -- but not 'getting the job done' to quote Tony Banks, keyboardist of Genesis, who recently regrouped to stage a Tour of the Familiar.

We'll keep an eye out -- and weigh potential bans -- on NBC and television in general. So far, FBO's ban does not affect television OTHER than the show Lost, which still owes us an apology.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Monday, November 05, 2007

FBO: 'Announcing Panhandle Marathon/Concert'


When you watch a marathon, as a viewer, it's one of the rare events where the very best comes quick, and the long, drawn-out race gets worse and worse in quality the longer you watch. In other words the bulk of the event is dedicated to losers. The FBO likes that. Yesterday at the New York City Marathon, along residential streets of Fort Greene, Brooklyn, we saw bands and DJs set up alongside leafy residential streets of Fort Greene to cheer on runners in 'Italy uniforms,' wearing mascots, wigs and regular ol' running gear. Many of the spectators got into the act, holding flags for their national brethren, pom-poms or signs that say things like 'McCurty To the Limit.'

The FBO, thus, is revising its Failed Bands of Oklahoma Panhandle Concert plans as the Failed Bands of Oklahoma Oklahoma Panhandle Marathon Concert. It will start two miles south of Hooker, Oklahoma, head 16 miles southwest into Guymon, then continue 10 more miles to Panhandle State University campus in Goodwell.

Marathon road-side events planned:

Mile 1: Rich Trott & Palace Family Steakhouse
Mile 7: Cinder Biscuits/The Cant
Mile 12: Tall Tales
Mile 16: Soul Shaker
Mile 22: Asylum
Mile 26: Magic Show at Panhandle State University Campus

More photographic evidence of musicians alongside the NYC Marathon:

The marathon is tentatively schedule for mid May.

In other news, the FBO-induced blog 'Loser of the Week' tackles Florida's university naming scheme on today.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, November 01, 2007

FBO: 'FBO Member #001 Flashback'

TALL TALES made a few videos in its earliest incarnation. This whipsnap -- directed and edited and posted by Jim March 22 Gibbons of Oklahoma City -- dates from the fabled third album Crime in a Bucket (1990).

It starts with a 'slowed down' version (a bit over the top to be honest) of 'Viking,' a song from the TT's first album Tall Tales then goes into 'Hell-Bound & Tied,' a song that was soon discarded from live sets for reasons unknown. The band offers no apologies, even still, for the costume changes.

Other Tall Tales' videos include 'This Song's Not About Love' and 'Ways to Stay' by award-winning Jenks native Mike Lynch, and a hilarious jumpsuit take of 'Suicidal Muppets.'

A video for 'UFO', from the recent album Pot Pie, is in the works.

FBO Admin
Mobile/Semi-Permanent HQ -- Brooklyn, NY