[Editor's Note: Today we're honored to have a guest-written entry from Robert Marshall, who recently went curling with fellow Chicago reader James Huening. -- PL]
By Robert “RPM” Marshall
James “JTH” Huening and I went to the Chicago Curling Club on November 1st as part of their “learn to curl” program. The place was more or less like a country club. There was a lounge with a bar, and the locker room had fancy-pants stuff for your hair and liquids to gargle. There was also tons of great artwork with a curling theme, like this sculpture above the mantle.
And then there was the American Curling History Museum, curated by this gin-swilling fellow named Jim, who was a right proper bully gent. The museum mostly housed pins, but it had lots of cool artifacts too, like this teapot in the shape of a curling stone. Plus there were lots of great trophies that could make the hockey hall of fame jealous (some are shown on this page), and betwixt the museum and the bar was a really great curling-style schuffleboard game, complete with mini-stones.
After we finished casing the place, it was time to watch a short movie about extreme curling. Sort of a combination of this and this (keeping in mind that everyone outside of the curling cult knows the little message at the end of this clip). From there we stretched and headed out to the ice for some tutorials and strategy talks. That’s me on the right, with a few hair-control devices in place to keep my mop manageable. There was one guy on my team who not only didn’t appreciate my barrettes (go figure) but he also really sucked up to the teacher and requested fancy brooms while I, and I believe James too, opted for wood. Did I mention the ice featured a really cool clock?
Once the instructions were out of the way, it was time to throw a couple of “ends.” An end is when both teams throws eight stones (two by each player from the “hack” over the “hog line” aiming for the “button” at the center of the “house”). James was essentially his team’s captain (“lead” or “skip”), as illustrated here by the lady under the Canadian flag holding out her arm, which tells the curler which spin or curl to put on the stone, and where to aim. I was a lowly sweeper, which was quite the cardio workout, and I swear it’s true.
Now I don’t mean to brag (read: I totally mean to brag), but I happened to throw a stone that landed square on the button with nary a sweep. Notice how the ladies chasing it down are not sweeping. Of course, it was later knocked out by one of my teammates, but that’s okay (read: that’s not at all okay).
After our two “ends,” we retired to the lounge for our free Labbatts, which we followed with another free Labbatts provided by a Russian couple on James’s team not using their drink tickets, which we chased with a Labbatts bought for us by the club president who was recruiting both of us, but especially James, to join the cult. I have to say, as much fun as it was, it was very cult-esque, kind of like that table hockey league I played in. So cult = mostly good.
Let us now turn our attention to the Uni Watch portion of our program. Now, if you’ve follwed James’s posts in the comments section, I’m sure you have noticed that he’s a real swell fellow, but he must have woken up with a bee in his bonnet that day, and ready to start a fight — check this out. Can you believe it!? To the untrained eye it’s a nice kit, but let’s take a closer look at that hat. It’s a wool tweed herringbone worn by the IRISH, for the cornmother’s sake. And we were curling, a Scottish/Canadian sport. What gaul (sic)!!! He should have gone tam and kilt. I mean really, was he trying to get us kicked out of the joint with his tomfoolery? It was sooooo embarrassing.
Fortunately, one of us had it together and dressed with the dignity the sport requires. The sweater, I am embarrassed to say, I stitched for like eight hours (or until 5am) the night before. In addition to the tiger on the front, it had this on the back (translation: “Free Fighting / Wrestling Curling Club”) in glittered black felt.
So James, by virtue of being associated with me, was off the hook with the cult members who were shooting cartoon darts out of their eyes at his total fashion blunder Irish messabout. I swear, you can’t take him anywhere.
The best four minutes you’ll spend today: Paul here. The full Dock Ellis video clip, produced by No Mas, is now available. Do yourself a favor and watch it right now:
How great is that? (Answer: Very, very great.)
In case you hadn’t noticed: Page 2 got a big redesign this week, and the revised format includes a new Page 2 Blog, to which I posted a small contribution yesterday afternoon (it’s not perma-linked, so I can’t link directly to it, but it’s the one headlined “Spying on Roy Williams”). We’re all being encouraged to contributie to this new P2 blog, so I’ll probably have my fair share of stuff there. How will that affect this site? Here are some divisions of content I’ve been considering:
In actuality, the P2 blog shouldn’t have any affect on us here, except that I might occasionally take an item that would have ended up in the Ticker, expand on it a bit, and run it on P2. I’ll try to notify you when that happens, probably via this thingie.
Oh, and speaking of tech thingies, Johnny Ek whispered four magic words in my ear yesterday: “Uni Watch iPhone app.” Not a reality yet, but he’s working on it.
Coming soon: Uni Watch cattle-ranching uniforms: Thanks for all the positive feedback on yesterday’s beefsteak entry. Many of you inquired about beefsteak lore, beefsteak protocol, how you can throw your own beefsteak, etc. If you want to educate yourself on the topic, I strongly recommend two articles: The first and (by far the most important) is Joseph Mitchell’s seminal 1938 New Yorker piece, “All You Can Hold for Five Bucks,” which you can download as a PDF here. And at the risk of mooing my own horn, I think you’ll find my New York Times article+video about the North Jersey beefsteak scene instructive as well.
Several of you also inquired about meat-centric cookbooks. Personally, I lean heavily on The Complete Meat Cookbook, The River Cottage Meat Book, Charcuterie, The Whole Beast, Serious Barbecue, and probably a few others that are escaping me at the moment (I could check my kitchen bookshelf, but that would entail walking 15 entire feet, so forget it). That should be enough to get you started, yes? Yes.
FYI: The site will be down from about 2am-4am eastern Sunday, while our web host performs some basic server maintenance.
Uni Watch News Ticker: The Avs have finally unveiled their alternate jersey, which looks just like I said it would (i.e., really bad) more than two months ago. … Awesome set of new pin-up illos from Rob Ullman. … “I was watching some of the new Battlestar Galactica series, which has a subplot about a sports team that ends up turning into a group of resistance fighters,” says Ed Hahn. “The team is the Caprica Buccaneers, and they have a logo. Also, one of the warm-ups from the series was up for sale on eBay Canada.” … Marty Turco discusses his new mask in this video clip (with thanks to William Banowsky). … Okay, so you knew Ron Guidry was nicknamed “Gator,” but did you know he had a little Izod alligator on his spikes? (Nice find by Thomas Huppé.) … How great would it be to play for a team called the Sheetrocks? (Great find, Kirsten.) … New World Cup kit for Russia. … Dylan Houser has designed a shoe collection for Puma, inspired by the 700 level at Veterans Stadium. Further details in this video clip. … Oh man, how cool is this! And no green dot on the back, I’m guessing (big thanks to Zak Kalina). … You know how college football teams sometimes have multiple players wearing the same uni number? That’s a real drag for at least one beat writer (with thanks to Nicholas Roznovsky). … “Happened to catch that Jane Lynch’s character on Glee sometimes wears an Adidas track suit with the logo on the back covered by patches,” notes Dan Cichalski. I mentioned that to Kirsten, who said Lynch’s track suit branding was recently discussed in this All Things Considered interview. “She [Lynch] said they’re slowing switching to Nike,” says Kirsten, “because Fox is big on Nike, or something to that effect. It comes up at the 2:00 mark in the interview.” Faaaaascinating. … Hahahaha, everyone laughed at Jay Cutler last night because he
threw a shitload of interceptions wore a cap with the outdated NFL logo (good catch by Chuck Pearson). … Mother lode of contributions from Jeremy Brahm, including new logos for the 2011 Men’s Team Handball World Championships (pretty awesome, right?), the BJ League [basketball] All-Star Game, and the JBL All-Star Game, plus a basketball facemask that looks more like a bad Halloween costume. … And wait, more from Jeremy! “The Saitama Broncos of the BJ League have pickles on their uniform. Actually it is a Japanese eggplant — this is their sponsor. They also have a player whose NOB is a singular T.” … Scandalous news out of the Bronx, where it turns out that Yogi Berra’s retired 8 is upside-down, as you can cearly see by comparing it to Bill Dickey’s 8. Quick, fire the entire staff! … Remember that article from yesterday about eliminating football helmets altogether? Turns out that we could do that and still maintain the game’s visual integrity (with thanks to Russell Goutierez). … Lebron James says he’s going to change his uni number. … Even by the usual standards of corporate douchebaggery, this story really takes the biscuit. Please, Mr. Really Big Asteroid, just plow right into the planet already — we’re ready. Fuck, we’re overdue.
One last reminder: Assuming Mr. Really Big Asteroid takes a few days to process requests (I hear he’s a busy fella), I’ll look forward to seeing lots of you at the Uni Watch party on Sunday, 2:30pm, at Sheep Station. But once the party’s over, Mr. Asteroid, fire away.