This site is no longer updated. Please visit PBH2 directly or other PBH Network sites like All That Is Interesting, ProseBeforeHos, Runt of the Web, PBH2 Video Before It's Viral, or Alligator Sunglasses.

To An Athlete Dying Old

Maybe it is because he’s lean, mean, and lets his weapon do the talking. Or maybe it is because TBS used to play all the Western movies on repeat. But whatever it is, I’ve always thought of Chipper Jones as the Clint Eastwood of baseball.

Clint Eastwood said goodbye to the West in the Oscar-winning “Unforgiven”. His skin is leathered over after years under the searing Western sun. His morals shot after decades of gunfights (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoAPKt7kbD0) . The Man With No Name is just another weathered cowboy. “I'm just a fella now,” he reflects. “I ain't no different than anyone else no more.”

Major league baseball is nearly as cruel. A breaking-down Chipper Jones is bidding a wistful farewell to the game. Chipper confessed after 16 years wrangling pitchers and the New York Mets, “we all know where I’m leaning.” But Chipper doesn’t want your pity. He doesn’t want to be a distraction, and the last thing he wants is a farewell tour.

The son of the South is an old 38 now. He was never a perfect man, but now the battle-scars are really showing. His mythical bat speed ain’t what it used to be. His creaky hip aches chronically. His feet, leaden. Chipper doesn’t crush home runs anymore. He takes his walks or sprays Texas leaguers just over the second baseman’s head.

But just when you think he’s done. Just when you think Chipper’s gone to the well one too many times, he laces a two-run gapper to left-field. Chipper trots into second, un-Velcroes his batting gloves, and cracks that crooked grin of his. And fathers across the South look over at their sons and say, there goes the greatest third basemen who ever lived.



*****


This is the west, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. -- The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Chipper Jones was always MY ATHLETE. His bat helped fuel the Atlanta Braves to an unprecedented 14 straight division titles, or Kindergarten through my Sophomore year of college. He’s the one younger, chubbier me used to muddy my Nikes imitating in the backyard Georgia clay. The scowl. The gnashing bubble gum. The signature toe-tap. The swing of beauty. (Warning: Results may vary.)

Younger Chipper Jones copy-catted the 1970s Los Angeles Dodgers’ swings in his Florida backyard.: Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, then he’d switch to the other side of the plate for the left-handed hitters. And that’s the other thing. Chipper Jones is a switch hitter. Third baseman Mike Schmidt hit more homeruns. George Brett had the higher batting average (and pine tar). But Chipper Jones is the best switch hitter in the history of the game after a fella named Mickey Mantle.

Now, it’s true. Chicks dig the long ball:



But you’d fall in love with Chipper Jones’ game. He’s never mashed Ruthian home run blasts. Instead, he is a rare blend of discipline and power. A career .300 batting average/.400 OBP/.500 slugging kind of guy. In translation, ladies, he has great eyes, power, and knows a thing or two about getting to first. The sexiest part about the back of his baseball card isn’t the World Series title, the MVP trophy, or the string of .300, 30 home run, 100 RBI seasons. It’s that he’s spent his entire career with the Atlanta Braves.

In the age of free agency and $300 million contracts, Chipper’s loyalty is an anachronism. He could have bailed when the going got tough in Atlanta. But he just reworked his contract so the team could afford more payroll flexibility. Now, in the twilight of his sparkling Hall of Fame career, Chipper’s ready to renegotiate his deal to give millions BACK to the Braves so the small-market team can have more cash in the war chest to win, even if it’s without him.

Maybe the greatest accolade of all is Chipper Jones is the anti-ARod. Alex Rodriguez couldn’t win a ring with the hand he has dealt. So he jumped ship to the Rangers and took steroids for three years. He couldn’t win there either so he switched teams and even his fielding position. He finally won his ring (albeit, in Derek Jeter’s shadow), but he’ll always be a juicer nomad who chased the money out of town. His records will always end with an Asterisk.

In the age of steroids, perhaps the greatest compliment is Chipper aged the way stars are supposed to age. 38 year olds don’t crush titanic blasts deep into the seats (see: Bonds, Barry). They don’t whip crackling 96 MPH fastballs down the pike (Clemens, Roger). They lose a step. They fall asleep in the clubhouse during games (Griffey Jr., Ken).

With the exception of Evander Holyfield, we can never tell champions of the game when to hang them up. For every Brett Favre career year at age 40, there are a dozen more cautionary tales. In the 1970s, Willie Mays looked pitiful stumbling around Shea’s outfield. In the 2000s, Michael Jordan looked strange and human balling in a Wizards jersey. Nowadays, twenty-something nobodies are dusting Lance Armstrong in Texas road-races. Yet, we can’t say anything. They earned the right to play as long as they wanted. And there’s a certain ephemeral beauty in it. These all-time greats reigned over the game for so long finally get their comeuppances at the hands of Father Time.

Chipper, on the other hand, is leaving on his own time. Sure, he could squeeze out 3-4 more seasons for an outside shot at 500 HRs, but he’s got too much pride. His bust in Cooperstown is already measured.

*****


Clint Eastwood is arguably an even better director than actor. Likewise, Jones may be an even craftier marketer. His real name is Larry, but he renamed himself Chipper because he figured a guy named Larry Jones could never be famous. Chipper named one of his sons Shea in honor of the favorite demolition derby—the Mets’ old stadium. Now this whole season when he should be ticking off his lasts—last walk-off home run, Wrigley Field trip, and (hopefully) playoffs—he’s thinking about all the firsts he’s missing with his four youngsters back home.

And maybe, just maybe, one of them will grow into a Braves jersey and make Mets fans groan: not again.

The Disturbed Simpsons

Lisa I Will Hold A Grill Party

I Am A Caring Father Homer

   

Krusty is Krazy Cartoon

Disturbed Flanders Comic

DeLorean Back To The Future Limousine?

Back to the Future Limousine

Confessions of a Social Media Hit Man

A “friend” is a wanted man by the KFC. And it’s all because of this commercial:



It smacks more of Dave Chappelle than the Colonel, but it is an actual KFC ad that ran in Australia. The “friend” thought the ad would ruffle feathers with more politically-correct American circles. He posted it on Facebook and Twitter and went to bed.

The Huffington Post picked it up first, then the New York press, then the world. By the time he woke up, some 300,000 people (roughly the population of Pittsburgh) had watched it. And they were none too pleased with KFC. KFC responded with a written statement the next day:

“We excuse for some interpretation of the ad as it was not meant to breach anyone. It is a light-hearted meaning to the West Amerindic cricket group … The ad was reproduced online in the US … where we are told a culturally-based classify exists, directive to the inaccurate declaration of racism.” [via DailyWorldBuzz]


The statement did little to pacify outrage American audiences. It just made them angrier. So KFC pulled the ad—two days later, and a half million dollars in PR damage control costs poorer.

*****


Media is broken. Sliced up, TiVo’d beyond repair. And the tragedy is media companies did it to themselves. The problem is they gave us consumers content whenever we wanted, wherever we wanted. And it was a crossing of the pixilated Rubicon. We’re never going back.

We buy 99 cent singles on iTunes rather than CDs with 15 songs we don’t want. (If we buy songs at all…) Weekly album sales are at their lowest levels since Nixon. We tell “30 Rock” or “Family Guy” when we want to watch them, not vice versa.

Let’s face it, us Generation Y’ers, Echo Baby Boomers, Millenials, whatever you want to call us, you can call us cheap. We don’t do paid online content. And those annoying banner ads drive us away faster than you can say University of Phoenix. The $31+ billion dollar question is: how do you monetize online videos? The answer is: no one knows yet, but Hulu comes the closest.

We are OK with video ads, not for bulldogs riding skateboards, but polished 23 minute episodes of “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” or “Glee”. No one really watches more than a grainy clip or two of user generated content. We eat up our field-reporter fails though—from grape-stomping to going ghetto:



*****


THE INTERNET’S DIRTY LITTLE SECRET (Beside Chatroulette)

The Internet is a digital Athenian democracy, vaulting billions across the globe into the same digital Agora. It is a streaming marketplace of ideas that levels the playing field between the haves and have-nots. Nearly everyone can tap into the globe’s digital pulse of news, opinions, and viral videos. The Internet does not discriminate against class, race, sex, and faith. All you need is a modem connection for all human knowledge at your fingertips.

Except the Internet isn’t really a democracy at all. It’s an oligarchy chaired by Internet “Power Users”. They are the trusted social-media chieftains of Facebook, Twitter, Digg and lesser social media tribes, whose word and links are law to their millions of followers. They are the select few who dictate what goes viral and what falls flat. They vote early and often, pushing their stories to the top.

In the age of incredibly shrinking media, Internet traffic is as good as gold. So rather than fight these social media warriors, companies quietly hire them. Firms lavish these mercenaries with cushy “Director of Online Marketing” or “Social Media Advisors” independent contracts. The salaries aren’t there yet, but the perks that are legendary. Free trips to Europe, weekends in Vegas and everything is comped in the rarefied air of Pantheon “Power Users”.

So who are these “Power Users” exactly? In the US, they tend to be 20- or 30-something dudes, liberal, and hilarious drinking buddies. (You would be too if you spent all day, every day, sifting through the funniest the Interwebs has to offer.) They work from their apartments, love that they don’t have to get dressed in the morning, and reach at least 50k people by lunch. “Power Users” spend most of the day pushing their clients’ stories on gchat in between torrented “Planet Earth” or “Dexter” episodes. Armed with a Slingbox or some other free video software, they are ever-ready to rip off the “next Susan Boyle” video for millions of views and Internet immortality:

Calvin & Jobs

Calvin and Steve Jobs Comic

       

Tourists Ruin Everything

Tourists At Leaning Tower Of Pisa

Talking About Gen Y!

Generation Y is sick, yo! We’re 70 million Americans strong, born between 1981 and 1992, and always have the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ back:



Ahhh Generation Y! Our best days start (and end) with Fruity Pebbles. Two 25 year old guys—LeBron “King” James and Mark “Thief” Zuckerberg—are the co-valedictorians of our class. We’re allergic to voicemail, addicted to texting, and checked Facebook twice in the time it took to read this sentence. And studios, if your action flicks don’t have at least three explosions, you’ll be lucky to get an illegal download from us guys. If that.

*****


We were first dubbed “Generation Y” in a 1993 editorial to distinguish us from Generation X (born between 1972 and 1980). It’s only fitting the piece ran in an “Ad Age” publication, because we are the most marketed-to-and-researched generation of all time. The problem is “Generation Y” is a dreadful name: a) it’s not original, b) it’s not clever, and c) it’s dead wrong.

You see, we are nothing like our Generation X brethren. Generation X grew up on MTV and is a little darker. And can you really blame them? Their childhood coincided with their parents’ 1970s Me Decade hedonism. Their best video game was Atari (1977).

No, Generation Y admires its grandparents the most, a.k.a. The Greatest Generation. It’s not hard to see why. Our grandparents were born into the Roaring 1920s. They languished through the Great Depression before years of war overseas battling Jew-hating madmen. Sound vaguely familiar?

But there are two glaring differences:

1) Our grandparents were more hardcore. When my grandfather was my age, he survived a kamikaze attack in the South Pacific and spent three days on a lifeboat alone with a gashing neck. (I go to the gym Thursdays. Sometimes…)

Ornery critics sneer that us Generation Y’ers are soft. That we were pampered too much as kids. We’ve been called the “Trophy Kids” because we were raised hearing “no one loses”. The Clint Eastwoods of the world have a point. When I was six years, I went an entire soccer season without even touching the ball in a game—even though I was starting midfielder. Yet I still won a trophy for “Team Spirit”. At youth swim meets, the winner got the blue ribbon, but even the fat kid who finished two minutes later got a maroon-colored ribbon just for finishing. (Trust me, I’ve got at least three collecting dust in an attic somewhere thanks to the 25 meter butterfly.)

I can tell my Dad worries that we take HBO’s “Entourage” too seriously. That we think fame and money will just happen. The reality is we don’t look like Vince (even though we’re already better actors), and we are facing years of hard work and “learning the craft”.

2) We got the sweetest toys ever. Our grandparents’ blockbuster new game growing up was … Monopoly (1935). Meanwhile, Generation Y has enjoyed the fruits and Apple of the exponential part of the technology curve. We’ve gone from blowing on “Super Mario 2” Nintendo cartridges to make them to work, to “The Sims”, to “Avatar” in 15 years.

However, this is not to say we were spared by the retail-ideas-so-dumb-they-are-brilliant department. Our aunts and uncles had the Pet Rock. We have the Snuggie:

snuggie wtf is this

Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt may have made the most prescient quote about our generation. The “Angels In The Outfield” kid turned brooding thespian noted, “This generation is going to blow away every generation ever. Because we're the first ones with the Internet.” And as Social media and wine expert Gary Vaynerchuk pointed out, “The Internet is 15 years old. It hasn't even had sex yet.” (Unless it is European.)

In translation, Mom, don’t even think about taking “World of Warcraft” away from us:



Generation Y is closing in on a quarter-century, and we’ve already seen our fair share of drama. Our “there is no Santa Claus” moment happened after Bill Clinton looked us in the eye and denied he had “sexual relations with that woman” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiIP_KDQmXs) Learning Mark McGwire’s 1998 record homerun chase was fueled not by hard work but steroids was our “there is no Tooth Fairy” epiphany. Columbine was our more fatal Kent State. September 11th, our Pearl Harbor. No WMD’s in Iraq was our generation’s Watergate. The ultimate tragedy is 4,402 (and counting) of America’s bravest didn’t die after Nixon’s cover-up.

We see Barack Obama as one of us. He’s the cool professor. Obama’s rousing rhetoric, not being George W. Bush, and social media prowess awakened Generation Y’s sleepy political activism during the 2008 presidential campaign. We joined his Facebook group, donated money, and showed up at the polls in record numbers.

Once Obama got elected, however, we hit the snooze button again:



We still love Obama but disillusionment is starting to creep in. Change may be coming, but it’s glacially slow. Remember the iconic “Hope” poster that was a clarion call for fresh thinking? It was donated to a museum by a pair of lobbyists.

Obama Hope and Change

Deep down, we’re starting to think we missed the peak of the American Empire by 40 years. We quietly fear Afghanistan, “the graveyard of Empires”, is our Vietnam. Domestically, 15 months of filibustering and partisan infighting over health care reform reminded us why we hated politics in the first place. We don’t understand why “don’t ask, don’t tell” is still an issue. And don’t even get us started on Arizona:

no illegals no burritos

Grown-ups I talk to are befuddled as to why we aren’t angrier. My Dad emails me gloomy Wall Street Journal articles enumerating the mountains of debt his Baby Boomers are putting on our tab. My dad laments that unpaid interns are conquering the world. He’s not alone. Economists whisper that, thanks to the protracted Great Recession, we are showing the symptoms of another Lost Generation. My school Dean Glenn Hubbard worries about Generation Y’s perniciously high unemployment rates (over 16% for 24-year-olds). He fears for twenty-somethings two years out of work can become virtually a “life-sentence”.

Despite all of the turmoil, us Generation Y’ers are still a bubbly bunch. Maybe we’re na├»ve. Maybe YouTube keeps us happy. Or maybe it’s that the world has doubted American generations since our Founding Fathers. And never before has the world seen a generation with our tolerance, creativity, and innovation. It won’t be easy. But I have no doubt we have the vitality and ambition to become the Sweetest Generation. And perhaps one day our grandchildren will marvel at our achievements against tall odds. Even if they never get our love for the “Jersey Shore.”

The Real Story Behind Bros Icing Bros

Ladies, I apologize in advance.

Hopefully you laughed a little during the bomb also known as Sex & The City 2. Because with the July arrival of the LeBron Sweepstakes, the World Cup, and the return of Jersey Shore (in Miami this time), the Summer of 2010 is poised to become the Summer of Bro-dom. And the official drink of the Summer of Bro-Dom is (unfortunately) Smirnoff Ice.

*****


There are certain Internet fads you wish you could fast-forward life until they are over. RickRolling was especially painful. The Hitler Hates The Jonas Brothers / The Minnesota Vikings memes, while hilarious, are thankfully on their last legs.

The latest, and by far, the vilest of the Internet memes is Bros Icing Bros. The game is simple. If a friend surprises you with a Smirnoff Ice, you “got iced.” By rule, you must get down on one knee and chug it. To be clear, there are no winners here. You simply have to drink more Smirnoff Ices you never wanted to drink in the first place. Trust me, no bro is happier after a Smirnoff Ice than he was before it. Yet by a quirk of fate, Smirnoff is rewarded for making such a dreadful libation. You could always quit playing, but that’s the move of a Faux-Bro (See also: Rodriguez, Alex).

As the august Teddy Broosevelt explained:

Bros Icing Bros Etiquette and Rules


From those twin pillars of Bro-dom justice, the rules diverge based on apartment and cruelty of roommates. At the Rivergate apartment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the game has unfortunately taken on more of a guerrilla war tone. The fridge is the only Holy Land. Beyond that, all’s fair in love and icing. Smirnoff Ices are hidden, not just presented. Any pile of laundry or especially chubby cat could be “landmined” with a lurking Smirnoff Ice. You can be iced whenever. No time, too early (see: 7:13 AM last Monday). No event (final exam, wedding, investor meeting), too important.

My roommate, let’s call him Uncle Benny, works in Private Equity. I am in school. It’s a veritable New York Yankees vs. Kansas City Royals match-up, and Uncle Benny has a George Steinbrennerian desire to win no matter the price. When I got back from a long day of classes Tuesday, I checked the deli downstairs and saw all the six-packs of Smirnoff Ice were sold out. I could only sigh. Uncle Benny had been shopping, again.

I live in fear. The left pocket of my favorite pair of jeans is now forever molded to the shape of a Smirnoff bottle. Security often stops me while leaving Duane Reade or Chipotle until they see the suspicious bulge is a lukewarm bottle of malt-liquor and realize not even shop-lifters would stoop so low. I carry a Smirnoff Ice on me at all times. Even when I go run. Make that, especially when I go run.

It gets worse. As New Yorkers can attest, the past two weeks have been excruciatingly hot. Keep in mind these “Ices” typically sit around in boiling Manhattan apartments for days on end. So what’s it like to drink a four day old, warm Smirnoff Ice? It’s perhaps most aptly described by the following clip from “Anchorman”:



*****


Bros Icing Bros is not a campaign by Smirnoff Ice. Smirnoff’s marketing team only wishes it could be so clever. Instead, Bros Icing Bros was the brainchild of a couple meatheads at the fratiest of all Southern colleges: The College of Charleston (Think: walking, talking J-Crew magazine with a Southern accent).

The frat boys set up a website BrosIcingBros.com, where users can upload pictures of the more spectacular ices. They posted a couple icing videos on Youtube and Facebook. From there, Bros Icing Bros spilled up the East Coast before hitting the New York City epicenter. Investment bankers especially got a kick out of it. An icing was recently reported at Goldman Sachs.

Typically Internet memes fizzle out within weeks. What’s worrisome is Bros Icing Bros is only escalating. Social media expert Sandy Smallens believes, “We're gonna see more of this. Now that everything can be delivered through digital media, what's the last authentic thing? Spontaneous experience.” The frat boys, Smallens said, are at the vanguard of the next phase in social media: real life. Smallens believes memes such as Icing Bros will become more potent in the future because they build a feedback loop between Internet you and real world you.

In translation, it took a while but frat boys finally figured out the social media game. Meatheads could always ruin your day off-line, now they can do it online as well. Smallens believes corporations will now follow suit.

In translation, don’t forget your ice block, bro!

32 Teams, 32 Murals By ESPN

In anticipation of the soon arriving 2010 FIFA World Cup, ESPN released 32 murals for each team/country in the World Cup:









































































Via PBH: ESPN’s 2010 FIFA World Cup Murals For 32 Nations