Thursday, January 31, 2013

Stauskas: A Romance of Many Dimensions

Chapter 16. How the Stranger Vainly Endeavoured to Reveal to Me in Words the Mysteries of Spaceland

From dreams I proceed to facts.

It was the last day of the first month of the 2013th year of our era. The patterning of the rain had long ago announced nightfall; and I was sitting in the company of my wife, musing on the events of the past and the prospects of the coming months, the coming year, the coming Tournament.

Straightway I became conscious of a Presence in the arena, and a chilling breath thrilled through my very being. Looking around in every direction I could see nothing; yet still I FELT a Presence, and shivered as the cold whisper came again. I started up. There was nothing; and I resumed my seat, again exclaiming, "The boy is a fool, I say; a Two-Point Shot can have no meaning in Basketball." At once there came a distinctly audible reply, "The boy is not a fool; and a Two-Point Shot has an obvious Basketball meaning."

Desperate with fear, I rushed forward to the Stranger with an unceremonious, "You must permit me, Sir—" and felt him. There was not the trace of an angle, not the slightest roughness or inequality: never in my life had I met with a more perfect Circle. He remained motionless while I walked around him, beginning from his eye and returning to it again. Circular he was throughout, a perfectly satisfactory Circle; there could not be a doubt of it. Then followed a dialogue, which I will endeavour to set down as near as I can recollect it, omitting only some of my profuse apologies—for I was covered with shame and humiliation that I, a Square, should have been guilty of the impertinence of feeling a Circle. It was commenced by the Stranger with some impatience at the lengthiness of my introductory process.

Stranger: Have you felt me enough by this time? Are you not introduced to me yet?

I: Sir, excuse my awkwardness, which arises not from ignorance, but from a little surprise and nervousness. Would my Lordship deign to satisfy the curiosity of one who would gladly know whence his Visitor came?

Stranger: From Space, from Space, Sir: whence else?

I: Pardon me, my Lord, but is not your Lordship already in Space, your Lordship and his humble servant, even at this moment?

Stranger: Pooh! What do you know of Space? Define Space.

I: Space, my Lord, is the ability to make Three-Point Shots, infinitely prolonged.

Stranger: Exactly: you see you do not even know what Space is. You think it is of One Dimension only; but I have come to announce to you More: three-point shots, backdoor cuts, assists, and stout defense.
Via MGoBlog, Obviously.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sidebar Additions: Introducing the Borges-O-Meter

First off, your thorough analysis of tonight's basketball game: Michigan is better at basketball than Northwestern.

We've made a couple of additions to the blog sidebar. We've added links to our most popular Michigan-related quizzes on Sporcle, including our infamous "Sparty, No!" quiz.

Also, now that Al Borges has the personnel in place to run his desired pro-style offense, we're introducing the "Borges-O-Meter" to measure fan satisfaction on a scale from 1 to 10. Since we're nerds, each level corresponds to an appropriate short story by Jorge Luis Borges.

Here's a handy-dandy animated GIF of the Borges-O-Meter and a table of the associated stories:

10Tlön, Uqbar, Orbus Tertiusotherworldly
9Funes the Memoriousunforgettable
8The Alephcapable of anything
7The Garden of Forking Pathscunning
6The Lottery of Babylonfortunate
5On Exactitude in Scienceprecise
4Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixotepredictable
3The Library of Babelbaffling
2The Diskone-dimensional
1The Gospel According to Markhousefire

With the return of Taylor Lewan and the successful recruitment of Derrick Green, we're bumping the Borges-O-Meter up to a 6 (The Lottery of Babylon, fortunate). This is up two spots from its post-Outback Bowl rating of 4 (Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote, predictable).

In deference to Charlie Blockham, the Borges-O-Meter is, and always will be, in Aachen typeface.

Update! Following MGoBlog's suggestion, we have swapped levels 5 and 6. So The Lottery of Babylon is now Level 5 and now the current state of the Borges-O-Meter.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

In which Craig is entitled to a victory lap

Monday, January 14, 2013

HOCKEYBEAR thought real friends would have stayed

1/11/2013 – Alaska 5, Michigan 4 – 7-8-4, 5-7-3-1 CCHA
1/12/2013 – Alaska 4, Michigan 1 – 8-8-4, 6-7-3-1 CCHA
1/13/2013 – Michigan 53, Ohio State 56 – 16-1, 3-1 Big Ten

Photo by Paul McCarthy via


Primeval forces of destruction like me do not usually have Twitter accounts. HOCKEYBEAR remembers many æons ago in Internet time, when there was something of a fad among commenter trolls that they weren't really "trolling," they were engaging in a "sociological experiment." Of course, I scoff at this notion — these so-called experimenters did not collect the required informed consent forms, did not follow the principles set forth in the Declaration of Helsinki, and did not publish their results in any peer-reviewed publications. However, the term came to mind as HOCKEYBEAR watched the Michigan fanbase melt down this weekend, and it wasn't the good kind of meltdown that destroys evil planets.

HOCKEYBEAR finds foot-ball and basket-hockey to be inferior to ice hockey, but I support Michigan in their endeavors in those sporting competitions because the human I force to write tweets for me supports Michigan in those sports. My human found it most strange that I required him to root for my Nanooks and against the Wolverines this past weekend. However, small humans of Michigan, he recommends you try it sometime. Pick a team that's not a huge rival that you're somewhat partial towards — for some of the posters on this most excellent blog, this team could be EMU, or Oklahoma, or Missouri — and don't just wish them well when they're not playing your Wolverines. Root for them to beat your team and see what it's like to be an outsider looking at how Michigan fans behave. HOCKEYBEAR was sometimes impressed, but sometimes I was also very, very ENRAGED.

Michigan fans expect a lot from their teams and are right to be disappointed by this weekend's hockey and basket-ball defeats. Michigan fans are lucky to have some of the most educated and well-reasoned blogs and forums of the Internet, and I am IMPRESSED at how well you self-police against the infinity of human stupidity. Even HOCKEYBEAR has problems policing that. It is good to have high expectations and demand that athletes that represent your school be the leaders and best. HOCKEYBEAR expects this of the Nanooks; HOCKEYBEAR expects it of every school, really.

I am going to quote what I wrote in my hockey series preview on Yost Built: "I am INFURIATED that the Michigan 'faithful' are so willing to abandon their team during a down season, by which they mean a season where the Wolverines might not make the tournament that my 'nooks have made ONCE."

It is one thing to be disappointed when your team doesn't meet expectations. It is another thing to abandon them and disrespect them and write things like "What a shame it would be to waste time on these [delete] [revise] [delete again] fellows when the basketball team is such a joy." This is especially true when your team is not a professional team. Support your team through thick and thin. You are lucky that most of your times are good times. You are disappointed because your foot-ball team went 8-5. You are frustrated that your hockey team might not make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1990. You are upset because your basket-ball team lost for the first team all season. (How quickly you forget that it wasn't that long ago that you were very happy that your basket-ball team won the NIT.)

Friday, January 04, 2013

HOCKEYBEAR's Guide to Campus Destruction VII: University of Michigan, South Campus

Greetings once again, small creatures of the University of Michigan! HOCKEYBEAR can only assume that's what the acronym scUM stands for -- I probably should have asked someone at Michigan State or Ohio State before I destroyed their campuses.

Anyway, the day of reckoning you've feared since the CCHA schedule was released is at hand! The mighty HOCKEYBEAR, leading my indomitable team of Alaska Nanooks, is heading to Yost Ice Arena for the ultimate conference showdown. And I'm going to be making a few changes when I get there.

Before getting into those changes, I must tell you an AMAZING HOCKEYBEAR FACT! Did you know I can change my size at will? It's true! You can see it my famous intro videos. Here, I'm large enough to dwarf an icebreaker:

But one cut later, I'm small enough to fit in an F-16 cockpit. A little bit later, I'm back to normal space polar bear size, skating comfortably on the Carlson Center ice:

If necessary, HOCKEYBEAR can also shrink in size as well. You may think that, in this still from my 2011-12 season video, I'm standing on a giant hockey puck:

That's not true. I miniaturized myself and was standing on top of a regulation three-inch diameter puck. Saved UAF thousands in set construction.

My ability to change size extends to objects I'm touching when I expand or contract. Because you scUM have been so respectful to HOCKEYBEAR over the past several years, I will use my powers less to destroy your athletic campus and more to renovate it. Don't worry, destruction fans: there will be lots of collateral damage.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


There is no way I am featuring a picture of the gawdawful uniforms that adidas and Dave Brandon put Michigan in today.
(Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Endings are difficult.  Arthur Miller famously once said "If I see an ending, I can work backwards."  But now, on the day meant to signify new beginnings, Michigan has one, in part by ending one of the most fascinating, mercurial, and maddening chapters in Michigan football history, the Denard Robinson era.

The oddest thing about today is I'm not even that mad.  Like, not even close.  I figured with the suspensions that Michigan was going to get blown out of the water by the Gamecocks as if they have loaded up the cannons on the Raymond James Stadium pirate ship and fired a broadside.  Early on, it looked like that was going to be the script for the day, with the depleted secondary getting gashed for huge plays by South Carolina, and a punt return touchdown by Ace Sanders.  But, as they had done all year, somehow Michigan was only down 21-13 at the half and they had a chance.  A scoreless third quarter for the Michigan defense, coupled with a field goal and a touchdown (with a failed two point conversion) and Michigan had its first lead of the day.  Carolina jumped back into the lead, only to see Michigan stake themselves back to a slim one point lead on Jeremy Gallon's second TD catch of the day.  So you need a hold, you need a stop, not letting the Gamecocks get in to field goal position.  But missed tackles, missed opportunities, and the next thing you know, Spurrier digs deep into the Fun 'n' Gun archives, pulled up four verts, and as Mike Leach famously said, well, it gets the prom queen.  Touchdown Gamecocks, and Michigan's one last chance was a batted Devin Gardner pass from behind, a fitting cap to a somewhat frustrating season.

But you know, I've come to accept that this happens.  This is what happens when you have holes in your depth from a previous regime, when you face a difficult road schedule, when you have gaps on your lines.  You can outscheme, you can maximize your talent, and sometimes, you can pull off miracles.  But you cannot expect miracles, less they become less miraculous.  But what I love about college football is as much about the flaws as it is about perfection.  Denard Robinson was never the greatest pure passing quarterback, but when I think back about him, I'm not going to remember the shaky passes off the back foot, I'm going to remember the bursts, the cuts, the way he slaps the turf every time he gets tackled, as if he believed in his mind he was just one quick cut away from breaking it for another touchdown.  But yes, there were flaws, and we can spend time pondering whether the coaches should have reevaluated the talent situation back in the spring.  But that's hindsight and it gets you nowhere.  You can make every case every which way about what could have been, what might have been, but in the end, 8-5, losses to the two national title game participants, an undefeated Ohio State team, and very good Nebraska and South Carolina teams.

So I'm not sure when I look back on 2012 if I'm going to remember the losses, because the wins gave us a couple of amazing moments.  Brendan Gibbons making good on the Drew Dileo "the threat" catch to end the losing streak to Michigan State for Win 900.  The improbable Roy Roundtree catch to set up the tie that led to Michigan's eventual win over Northwestern.  The smile on Al Wistert's face when he got an ovation for the Legends jersey that will be the #11 of the Wistert brothers.  Denard making two Ohio State players hit him simultaneously from the left and right and keep on chugging for a touchdown.  It doesn't mean that I'm happy with this season.  It's more about choosing to see the positives while acknowledging, but not dwelling upon, the flaws.

So we see the Denard era begin to take on the sepia tones of the past, the Jordan Kovacs era become part of the larger tapestry of 132 other teams of Michigan football.  April will bring us spring practice, and more questions.  August will bring us fall camp and some answers.  And on August 31, Michigan will face Central Michigan at the Big House for the start of Team 134's time in the spotlight.  There will be great moments, there will be cringes, there will be highs and lows, and a lot of in between.  But thank you Team 133.  I don't think this year was what you wanted it to be, but it doesn't mean that it wasn't something we'll remember.