Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Stinging Bite of the Newspaper Smackdown

Rick Neuheisel made some waves earlier this week by taking out a full-page ad laying the smackdown to cross-town rivals USC.

Needless to say, we here at the House Rock Built admire the chutzpah of throwing down the gauntlet, particularly in doing so in such an old-timey fashion. Seriously, newspapers? In an age of television and radio and, ahem, blogs and such, taking out a newspaper to send a message is recklessly old-school. By god, I don't even think Pete Carroll even reads the newspaper. It would be much more effective to send a message via, I dunno, facebook or Twitter or some shit.

Mission accomplished, thousands of dollars saved.

Not surprisingly, Neuheisel isn't the first coach to take to the press for local trash talk, although there has been a pretty big layoff between the last prominent newspaper ad, when the 1889 Rutgers football team dropped the gauntlet on intrastate rivals Princeton. Sadly, Rutgers dropped its next 13 meetings against Princeton, which goes to show the dangers of hubris.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Rogue Bigfoot Hunters Trap and Kill Leprechaun in Northern Indiana

SOUTH BEND - Hot off the heels of their recent capture of Bigfoot in northern Georgia, soldiers of fortune-cum-cryptozoologists Rick Dyer and Matt Whitton made good on their promise to hunt down and bring to justice a veritable who's who of mythical creatures ranging from Sasquatch to the Loch Ness Monster by bagging one of the world's most elusive and intriguing cryptoids, the leprechaun.

In a dramatic outdoor press conference outside of South Bend, IN, the infamous duo posed with their latest prey, stuffed quite ingloriously into a ramshackle freezer. The specimen, a diminutive, five-foot, five-inch bearded hominid with puffy red cheeks and a snappy green suit and cap, appeared quite convincing to the amateur and professional leprechaun enthusiasts in the crowd, although more skeptical cryptozoologists are awaiting further scientific testing on the remains before jumping to any conclusions.

"After thoroughly researching the mythology of the leprechaun and interviewing scores of eyewitnesses, we were able to sketch out a ten-mile range that we suspected comprised the leprechaun's habitat," Whitton remarked, clicking briskly through a PowerPoint presentation for the media on hand. "We noticed an abnormally large of sightings focused around the South Bend and Mishawaka area in Indiana, clustered mainly around an old, ivy-covered region nestled between two lakes that the locals call 'Notra Dayme'. The village folk warned us that it was a mysterious place full of strange religious intrigue full of great peril, but we persevered on into the uncharted areas and saw our stakeout through."

Whitton described spotting the bizarre, tiny magical humanoid creature in the very early hours of Saturday morning staggering out of a local drinking establishment, and the brief but harrowing firefight that ensued. In the end, magic or no magic, the pixie was no match for Whitton and Dyer's arsenal of modified assault rifles and body armor.

Noted cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, editor of, responded with cautious hope about the veracity of the find. "While most contemporary experts on leprechauns felt that their habitat was limited to the hilly Irish countryside or, as some offshoot schools of thought have suggested, Mobile, Alabama, it's easy to see a migratory pattern that would place it in that region of Indiana."

Preliminary DNA tests on some samples from the corpse have been inconclusive, but further analysis will continue.

When asked what's next for the intrepid hunters, Dyer hinted that they are hot on the trail of a very bizarre half-human, half-orange cryptoid that has haunted the wilderness of upstate New York for nearly half a century. "We're closing in on him fast," he remarked, then added with a sly wink, "Don't be surprised if we're calling another press conference reaaaal soon."

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Cyber T-Shirt Cannon: Strike While the Iron is Red and Inflamed

Think fungal infections ravaging through a football team's loins is funny? Your goddamned right you do! Maybe it's time you make a statement with this fashionable shirt from the House Rock Built's gift shop. It's all the rage, you know.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Historical Primer on College Football Training Camp Outbreaks

Allright, you snickerpusses. Go ahead and have a laugh at the expense of the inflamed groins of Southern Cal's football team. As hard-working, decent football fans who love wang jokes, you're entitled to titter at the misfortunes of the Trojans, who are currently in the midst of a virulent outbreak of jock itch that has consumed fully 25 percent of the team. But before you get too out of control judging USC on this comical scene ripped straight from the pages of Revenge of the Nerds (or, if you're into that whole divine retribution thing, The Ten Commandments), keep in mind that college football has battled with infectious diseases since the very first days of the sport.

Naturally, when you combine several dozen sweaty strapping ballplayers in a low-on-personal-space community like a football training camp, you're creating a very loving environment for scores of creepy crawlies and pathogens to perpetuate their parasitic lifestyles unencumbered. And while USC might be the butt (or groin, if you will) of immature jokes today, they are not the first and certainly won't be the last team to battle microbial pandemics during training camp. A brief historical primer on the top moments in Training Camp Epidemiology:

  • 1993, University of Georgia. Jumping Frenchman of Maine Syndrome. In what was otherwise an unspectacular season for the Ray Goff's Bulldogs, the early weeks of August provided a great amount of excitement when recurrences of Jumping Frenchman of Maine Syndrome scorched through training camp. The administration did their best to cover up the outbreak, but as the disease, which hadn't been observed on such a scale since George Miller Berard's 1878 discovery, spread into double digits, a quarantine unit from the CDC was called down to investigate and monitor the situation. Their findings indicated there was no risk for further contamination outside of the camp, and in time the outbreak petered out without any documented fatalities.

  • 1981, University of Notre Dame. Dr. Strangelove Syndrome.
    Hopes were running high in South Bend as new coach Gerry Faust stepped on campus, but things took a chilling turn for the worst on a hot day during training camp when Faust's left hand began acting entirely on its own free will. While the training staff initially brushed it off as a result of the stress of taking on one of college football's most demanding jobs, things took a turn for the drastic when two days later, future star tight end Mark Bavaro came down with identical symptoms. Two days later, a ten year old girl in South Bend and an incorrigible boarder collie from Mishawaka named Scraps were stricken, and the town was immediately placed under quarantine. For two agonizing weeks, national guard troops barricaded off the greater South Bend area while harried CDC directors briefed President Ronald Reagan about his heart-wrenching options should the disease break through the quarantine.

    Fortunately, the disease was stopped in its tracks during the quarantine, and the barricade was lifted in northwest Indiana. While there were no human fatalities, Scraps did perish in a tragic accident attributed to his free-minded paw. An animated movie documenting his heroic struggle during the dark days of the quarantine come out in 1985, to almost universally negative reviews.

  • 1951, Colorado State University. Severe Hiccups.
    A case of chronic hiccups tore through Fort Collins in 1951, striking down nearly 2,000 students and faculty for nearly two months. With the entire coaching staff and nearly all of the players in the throes of agonizing hiccups, coach Bob Davis had little choice the first three games of the season, derailing a promising season for the Rams.

  • 1888, Cornell. Koro
    While on its surface, the idea of an entire football team being stricken with Genital Retraction Syndrome seems hilarious, the epidemic and resulting Penis Panic that arose from Ithaca in 1888 is anything but funny. While widespread panics about genital theft is almost only found in the more remote areas of Southeast Asia and Africa, it sprung onto the scene in upstate New York with a vengeance in August of 1888, washing over the entire college and surrounding town in a matter of weeks. In a frenzy, many separate gangs of vigilantes took to the streets the bring to justice the alleged "penis-snatchers", and in a terrifying span of 72 hours, 14 suspected genitalnappers were gunned down, bludgeoned, or strung up in town square. Even more lives were lost as the overmatched police tried to disperse the mobs. Terrified and outmatched, the local law enforcement deserted en masse and left the city to the scraggly groups of bandits who continued their purge of witches for the next several months.

    Almost all records are lost from this lawless period, so it's impossible to come up with an estimate on the amount of carnage. In the autumn of 1888, refugees cautiously returned to the city with police and military escorts, and found, to their shock, a very calm and collected populace who had no memory of any violence occurring. After extinguishing a few fires in burnt-out buildings downtown, the refugees returned and normalcy returned to Ithaca. The Big Red even returned to action on the field, playing their opening game on October 28 against Palmyra High School, which they easily won, 26-0.

So there you have it, a quick primer on training camp outbreaks. So judge not, House Rock Built readers, for it's anyone's guess which campus will be the next victim. In the meantime, stay vigilant and do what I do to stay healthy: wash your hands in boiling bleach ten times a day.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What You Sippin' On?

There's just not enough to write about these days, but the tension in the air is palpable. The season is nigh approaching, and thoughts start turning to lazy Saturday mornings, frenzied afternoon bacchanals, and hangovers that start almost immediately following the game and last through Sunday. We've been finding ourselves more and more at our local drinking establishments pondering the delicious value added of enjoying our favorite beverages in both sun and shade. We've even been coming up with some new concoctions we feel would bring the added elements of both refreshment and surprise to any tailgater.

Of course, this is where we say "You know how your favorite popular team is like this hilarious beverage?" Nay. Form your own conclusions.

So, college football boozehounds, what you sippin' on?

Tucker Max Death Mix

The gold standard and slightly cliched energy beverage guaranteed to take years off of your life. We know this and we still dont care. Mix 2 cans of Red Bull, one fifth of Everclear, and 32oz of the traditional yellow Gatorade chilled over ice for this trip to irrational exuberance. Personally, we're not saying we've already stolen the local McDonald's Orange Bowl to facilitate such a beverage...but we're not NOT saying it either.

Rum and Ice

On the other side of the boozing spectrum, we're also stocking up on quality depressants as well. Might as well prepare for the worst too, right? When the stark reality of your alma mater posting another lackluster season hits you in the face like a 3 month long bitch slap, you'll be glad you prepared. Rum. Ice. The combination of drunken poet kings, the utterly hopeless, and the generally deadbeat alike.

Red Moco Cooler!

The crazy half-brother of exuberance, irrational binge drinking. We're planning all sorts of ways to kick back like a senile Southern gentleman, but we doff our box social caps to the most recent creation of Dr. Rusty Venture. Kahlua, Hershey's syrup, and a dash of Red Kool-Aid! That.....sounds......HORRIBLE! Horrible indeed. For the thoroughly confused genteel boozer.

Purple Drank

The obligatory roll slower of the bunch. Specifically recommended for large, once-prominent, fan bases to resign themselves to the fate of interminable mediocrity. Grab some promethazine and jolly ranchers as you mix yourselves a tall glass of acceptance. Remarkably enough, the purple color is more than appropriate.


Finally, we would be remiss to leave out our favorite pregame activity, bearhunting. The Baron as we affectionately call it (along with Das Bearmeister, Der Bearhunterr, and NO! GOD NO!) is a tasty Bavarian treat for all seasons when properly chilled. The lovely carrying case is also built into the wicker handle, always ensuring that the meady liquer is always close by. Be warned, in large enough doses, bearhunting is the realest shit ever.

What about the rest of our loyal readers? We're sure the dozens of you all over the world have your own pregame preferences. No reason to keep secrets. We're all friends here.

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Those Rigmas Can Party

This is our first thought when we see Jimmy Clausen and company rocking the red satin jackets. Unfortunately, we couldn't find any references to this particular Zack Morris adventure, so please accept this file photo of the raddest dude in all of Bayside. Getting back to this so-called damning evidence. Certain things must be addressed with regards to the photos objectivity. The photo is clearly the genuine article for a number of reasons. Its clearly broad daylight, and there is nothing better to do in South Bend during the day than play arbitrary drinking games. Yet, the hosts of this party have at least 2 football players in attendance but are only able to get the one pair of ladies to attend. Anyone who argues there are scores of comely lasses out of the frame will be called a fucking liar to the face. Cups table and costumes=sausage party. The word on the street was that this was an official instance of a BeerLympics, and that usually involves a bunch of dudes getting sloppy drunk before the pizza gets delivered. We have yet to confirm which PGA tournament was viewed in concordance with the day's events, but smart money's on The Open. Right before the young lads' ResLife tribunals, we have to hire Dennis Haskins to give them some sort of life-lesson/pep talk type product (methinks Bob Golic would be more appropriate --fightinamish). Please recommend some talking points to pass along to the boys, but remember than TV's Dennis Haskins must follow the official policies of Your message must be polite, courteous and non-offensive or it will be ignored and replaced by one in which the celebrity simply wishes your client well.

Stay Classy, Mr. B.
PS. Beat Valley.
Irishoutider, formerly the kid at the FireMarkMay compound, is back in the blogosphere and repping his set for the HRB. Back like cooked crack.

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Constructive Summer

The smell of fresh-cut grass, the mournful whine of police sirens racing after football players fleeing a bar brawl, and the fragrant aroma of mold being blasted out of a long-unused cooler combined with vomit from two-a-days. Football season is near, and there's nowhere to hide from it.

The House Rock Built has had a very constructive summer vacation from blogging. Needless to say, we were all in the need for a little bit of a breather after a soul-crushing year of pigskin in 2007, and The House was no exception. Between growing some mutton chops, recording some tunes, and blasting off to Hong Kong and Thailand for a few weeks to soul-search/feed tigers/father a child with a local/lose hundreds of dollars playing Sic-Bo, the batteries are just about fully recharged. We're locked and loaded for 2008, come hell or high water.

In addition to being back in business, The House Rock Built made some off-season deals that will, with any luck, increase the quality and quantity of content for you to gobble up. In a landmark deal, The House has acquired the services of The Kid from Fire Mark May, a hard-throwing righty whose rise from blogosphere neophyte to award-winning cult icon in a mere year of blogging captured the imagination of a nation. Needless to say, it wasn't cheap, as I had to ship Trev Alberts a carton of Newports, a conditional sixth round draft pick, and release the bodies of three of his recently-killed soldiers. As you'd expect, the exchange took place, like nearly all nefarious dealings do, on a runway of an abandoned airport in The Gambia.

The first known picture of The Kid.

The Kid will be blogging here under the moniker "irishoutsider", so you can probably expect the amount of zany, off-the-wall goofiness to roughly double, depending on work levels and alcohol intake. Cultivating hobbies and relationships are fine and dandy eight months out of the year, but once training camp comes, it's time to kick both to the curb, strap on your beer funnel helmet, and dive feet-first into the churning chumbucket that is the 2008 college football season. Gentlemen, start your engines.


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