Must’ve been a sale on navy fabric dye lately, as the Broncos, Rams, and Texans all went solid-blue yesterday. Not my favorite look for any of them, but whaddaya gonna do. Aside from that, a minor helmet decal tear incurred by Pats linebacker Rob Ninkovich, and the Steelers once again going bumblebee (which I still love), it was a very uni-uneventful day around the league yesterday.
So let’s look back to Saturday night, when something fairly major took place involving Louisiana-Lafayette. Everyone knew the Cajuns were planning a blackout, but I don’t think anyone knew they were planning this (if you’re reading this on a mobile device or are having trouble with the embedded slideshow, click here):
Whatever you think of it, it’s impressive that they got permission to do it. I mean, those front numbers are so tiny (smaller, I think, than the ones Nebraska and Wisconsin used earlier this year) and are positioned so high that they’re almost TV numbers. And instead of using a big chest letter, like Nebraska and Wisconsin did, they used a big chest symbol. It’s really more akin to what we think of as a hockey jersey than a football jersey.
If the NCAA is okay with this, it opens up a whole new frontier in football jersey design, because the chest is suddenly a blank canvas. I love the possibilities that this presents, although I fear that it will result in an aesthetic race to the bottom, not to the top.
Oh, and the Cajuns also introduced something new — FLOB. That’s French lesson on back. Good to see that tedious clichés can work in other languages. Meanwhile, what’s with the lowercase lettering?
As for the rest of Saturday’s college action, you should start with Phil and Terry’s coverage from yesterday’s post. Once you’re done with that, here are a few additional items:
• Lots of bullshit G.I. Joe-isms — including socks! — for Georgia Tech.
• Central Michigan wore a new combo: gold over maroon. Not bad.
• Georgia Southern defensive back Valdon Cooper suffered a seriously gruesome-looking finger injury. If you have a weak stomach, don’t click here.
(My thanks to all contributors, including Jimmy Couto, Tom M., Dave Rawkowski, and Britton Thomas.)
As you’ve no doubt heard, the Hostess snack cake brand is going belly-up. Or at least that’s the situation for now — it’s a safe bet that the brand, or at least its core products, will be purchased off the scrap heap by another company. Still, like so many other people, I found myself feeling a bit nostalgic upon hearing the Hostess bankruptcy news on Friday, so here are a few thoughts.
I used to love Hostess products. As a kid, I happily spent my milk money on Hostess CupCakes, Twinkies, and Suzy-Q’s. In my 20s and early 30s, I’d show up at friends’ dinner parties with an assortment of Hostess products and some ice cream, which I would use to create what was then my signature dessert: junk food à la mode. Always a hit.
Back when I was writing about the details of consumer culture in the mid-1990s, I wrote a piece about Hostess CupCakes that garnered some attention. Here’s the crux of it:
I’ve got a bone to pick with the folks at Hostess. The spongy cake, the endearingly synthetic frosting, and the injection-pumped filling are fine, and the ingredients listing still functions nicely as a junior-college chemistry lesson, but my favorite part of eating Hostess CupCakes has always been removing the cakes from the cardboard base on which they sit and then running my finger along the piece of cardboard, thereby salvaging the pastry residue that inevitably sticks there. A informal poll of acquaintances reveals that I am far from the only CupCake consumer to have savored the joys of the finger swipe, a consideration that apparently eluded the folks at Hostess when they recently replaced the cardboard base with a very unsatisfying pre-molded plastic tray.
Fortunately, as I went on to explain, Twinkies and Suzy-Q’s were still being packaged on the little sheet of cardboard, so I could still salvage their residue via the finger swipe.
This analysis, which I originally wrote for the alt-weekly New York Press and then reprinted in my zine Beer Frame: The Journal of Inconspicuous Consumption, apparently struck a chord with a lot of people — so many people, in fact, that I found myself discussing the finer points of Twinkie and CupCake packaging on The Conan O’Brien Show in 1996. That was a bit of a trip.
I can’t remember the last time I purchased a Hostess product, although I suspect it was close to 10 years ago. Part of it is that my tastes have changed, but I also feel like these products haven’t aged well as cultural icons. They feel more aligned with the 20th century. As if to reinforce this point, the packaging now touts the products as “Snack Classics” — a tacit admission of their contemporary irrelevance. It’s one thing to inspire nostalgia, but once you’re actively trading on nostalgia, you’re pretty much acknowledging that the world has passed you by and that you’ve become a museum piece.
A more 21st-century approach to Hostess products is to reverse-engineer them. There are tons of recipes on the web for this, and I’ve tried a few of them. Even have my own Twinkie mold pan, although I’ve only used it once. Maybe it’s time to use it again.
I don’t know you: There’s this guy I used to know. We met in the late 1980s, when I was a fan of his band and he was a fan of my zine. In the 1990s, we became friends — not super-close friends, but good enough to have attended each other’s birthday parties, good enough for him to have been in my home multiple times, good enough for him and his then-galpal to have come over to my then-galpal’s house so we could all watch Iron Chef (original Japanese version, natch), that kind of thing. By the early 2000s, we had drifted — not due to any animus, but just because friends sometimes drift apart. It happens.
This guy I used to know is now married to an exceedingly wealthy woman. There is nothing wrong with being married to an exceedingly wealthy woman (or, for that matter, with being an exceedingly wealthy woman). It is one of my fondest hopes to marry an exceedingly wealthy woman myself at some point.
If and when I’m fortunate enough to do that, I hope I have the good sense not to agree to facilitate the writing of a noxious lifestyle article about my fabulously accessorized home that rubs my wealth under everyone’s nose in a way that makes me look like some sort of nouveau riche asswipe. And even if I somehow agree to do that, I reallyreallyreally hope I have the basic decency not to do it while other people in my city are still dealing with the loss of electricity, heat, and even their entire homes in the wake of the most catastrophic storm to hit the region in a few generations.
The guy I used to know apparently has no such compunctions.
Show & Tell update: Photos and stories from the latest installment of Show & Tell are up now on the Show & Tell web site. And for those who are into such things, this latest round-up includes a pretty good shot of me with my cast and sling.
Uni Watch News Ticker: A few updates regarding the Cardinals’ newly announced uniform changes: Yes, the insignia on the new Saturday retro jersey is indeed chain-stitched; yes, the home and road jerseys will still be chain-stitched as well; yes, they’ll still be wearing their Sunday alternate cap; yes, the navy cap will still be a road alternate option (the primary road cap will now be red), but there’s no specific protocol yet as to when the navy cap will be worn. I got all of this, and much more, from team president Bill DeWitt, who I interviewed on Friday. Full transcript soon. … You wanna see a real rivalry jersey? Check this out. That’s Lafayette wearing the “Beat Lehigh” design (from Alex Putelo). … Rasheed Wallace wore his headband with the NBA logo upside-down the other night (screen shot by Ben Marciniak). … Here’s a pregame tour of the Notre Dame football locker room (from Warren Junium). … “I have watched Missouri basketball for 40 years,” says Jason Walker. “The Tigers have always worn white or gold at home, until Friday night, when the team wore black against Nicholls State.” … Here are the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series paint scheme changes (from Adam Jackson). … I love the Bills’ new blue pants but hate that they’ve been pairing them with blue-topped socks. But now John Pasucci points out that several players in Thurday night’s game were wearing white-topped socks. Or at least that’s how it looked — I think at least some of them were actually wearing white tights, the upper-calf area of which was exposed when they didn’t pull their blue-topped socks all the way up. … Torii Hunter, newly signed by the Tigers, wanted to buy his usual No. 48 from Rick Porcello, but Porcello asked him to donate the cash to Hurricane Sandy relief instead. Good on both of them. Porcello will now wear No. 21, which he wore in high school (from Leo Strawn). … The Italian volleyball team Andreoli Latina has some seriously ugly uniforms. “Ouch,” says Jeremy Brahm. … Gavin Orobko is about to start creating a custom table hockey game modeled after the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. “I’m buying an old broken game I found on Kijiji,” he says. “The ice surface will have MTS Centre graphics on it, which I took from a layout I found on Frozen Faceoff. I’ll send updates as I work on the project. It should be done in three months.” … Here’s an article about the guy who submitted the winning name for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre baseball team (from Art Savokinas). … The Reading Phillies are now the Reading Fightin Phils. I kinda love that the new mascot character is an ostrich and especially love that the ostrich looks like a hairy-legged guy in drag; I kinda hate the new team name and especially hate how there’s no apostrophe at the end of “Fightin” (from Kurt Esposito). … Here’s an article about what happened to the football from the Immaculate Reception (from Will Leslie). … Back on Oct. 30, I ran those photos of that amazing 1939 Fresno State uniform and invited readers to submit some modern concepts based on that design. Unfortunately, I broke my arm the next day and never got around to revisiting that topic until now. Several readers did submit concepts, which you can see here. The readers’ names are shown in the file names. … Under Armour founder Kevin Plank is lobbying Maryland’s Board of Regents to move the school from the ACC to the Big 10 (from Rex Henry). … “The Pirates released their 2013 promotional schedule over the weekend,” says Brian Young. “If you look at June 16, the giveaway is a replica Sunday alternate cap. Also, Aug. 4 is a replica Sunday alternate jersey. To me, this implies there is a new jersey in the near future, since the Bucs don’t currently have a Sunday alternate. Very interesting.” … Lots of photos of the uniforms that are supposedly for the Army/Navy game have been circulating.
No idea how legit any of them are, although that Navy helmet looks stupid enough to be the real deal. Navy photos now confirmed as legit. “Army is using black on black and is utilizing military maps from the Battle of the Bulge (I think) as a pattern on the undersleeves, numbers, and the helmet stripe,” says William De Los Santos. … Jose Reyes is breathing Ethier (from Marc Bauche). … Arizona will be wearing solid red, including a red helmet, this weekend (from Kenny Abbey). … Marc Mandin found these Packers Matryoshka dolls an antiques store here in Griffin, Georgia (here’s the rear view). “The local high school team, the Griffin Bears, wears the same color combo and logo,” says Marc. … Notre Dame’s women’s basketball team went G.I. Jane yesterday, but here’s the beauty part: Prior to the game, Irish player Natalie Achonwa was honored for being part of the Canadian Olympic team. And what did they give her to wear for this occasion? An American flag-desecration shirt. “I assume they shook her hand and said, ‘Congratulations, Natalie, you have made Canada very proud — now please go out there and show these fans how proud you are of the USA,’” says Dylan PH Fernandez. When are these idiots going to realize that “Look at me!” patriotism is a sucker’s game? … The presumed deal between the Marlins and Blue Jays — widely reported but not yet formally approved by the commissioner’s office — has created a fascinating uniform situation for an Arizona Fall League player (big thanks to Jeremy Kelly).