Tag Archives: football

Jared Allen has a few things to say about his mullet

By which I mean he likes to party. With two R’s.

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Your brain changes the game

It was a tough sports weekend for the house of Pax. Not only did the Giants get creamed by New Orleans, but the Yankees and Phillies took several steps closer to playing in the biggest asshole douchebag fuckface World Series of all time.

On top of all that, Steven Hauschka — the official placekicker of Pax Arcana — missed a 44-yard field goal that would have sent the Minnesota Favrekings home with their first loss of the season.


I root for Hauschka because we both attended the same college — the Central Vermont Institute for Advanced Tomfoolery and Maple Syrupry. So I was heartbroken when he — our only NFL player ever — just missed the chance to humiliate Brett Favre in front of millions.

He’s a young kid, though, so he’ll bounce back. Assuming, of course, he can use his brain to convince his eyes that they’re wrong about where the goalposts are.

According to Wired, new research shows that missed field goal kicks actually change a person’s perception of the dimension of the goal posts:

In a study of 23 non-football athletes who each kicked 10 field goals, researchers found that players’ performance directly affected their perception of the size of the goal: After a series of missed kicks, athletes perceived the post to be taller and more narrow than before, while successful kicks made the post appear larger-than-life.

While this might appear to be a “no duh” result, the study may alter the way scientists perceive perception itself. Until now, scientists pretty much separated the processes of receiving visual input and interpreting that input. But if the study subjects genuinely reported different perceptions based on the past performance of field goal kicking, that means the input and interpretation are more closely tied than believed:

According to visual perception researcher Maggie Shiffrar of Rutgers University, who was not involved in the research, Witt’s conclusions are troubling to many scientists because they suggest that computer studies of perception might not be a reflection of reality.

“If Witt is right that what we see depends upon what we can do, then it logically follows that many of us have spent our lives studying perception in the WRONG WAY,” Shiffrar wrote in an e-mail. “In the vast majority of studies conducted in my lab, for example, observers view displays on a flat computer screen and make simple, dichotomous judgments about their perceptions of those displays. Thus, subjects in my studies don’t do anything other than push a button. The results of Witt’s studies suggest that the results that I’ve collected and the corresponding theoretical conclusions that I’ve drawn won’t generalize to perception in the real world. In the real world, people look at objects so that they can do something with those objects.”

It seems true — people do look at objects so that they can do something with those objects. And so finally, after all these years, science explains why slutty girls are hotter.

Missed Kicks Make Brain See Smaller Goal Post [Wired]

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Friday Random 10: Giants Stadium Edition

These should be good times for Giants fans like myself. The squad is 3-0 (thanks to a pretty weak schedule, but still) and in good shape to extend that streak agains the Chiefs this weekend (yay schedule!).


Unfortunately for the 17 of us Giants fans in the Boston area, we’ve only been able to catch glimpses of the squad thus far. In fact the only Giants game that’s been on regular TV (no, I’m not buying some dumbass package from FiOS) around here was the Monday night win against Dallas (suck it, Jerry Jones!).

Now, I know what you’re thinking (stop using parentheses — they’re a crutch for lazy writers). So, OK, fine.

Anyway, for the past few years the Giants were on TV all the time. Why the change? Well, to be frank, it’s because the networks have stopped automatically elevating the Patriots to national telecasts. Every year the networks pick the top two or three teams before the season and foist them into the prime nighttime slots. In 2007, the Pats seemingly played exclusively on Sunday and Monday nights. This year the Pats have been relegated mostly to Sunday afternoons, which means the TV stations show them instead of my G-men in the event of overlap.

Things could be worse (I could go back to using parentheses every sentence). I do like watching the Pats, and wish them success this season. In fact, I wouldn’t even mind if they went the entire season without a(nother) loss, destroying the competition with an unheard-of combination of offensive wizardry and defensive master planning. As long as they lost the Super Bowl. To the Giants. Again.

The songs:

Try a Little Tenderness — Otis Redding
99 Problems — Jay-Z and Danger Mouse
You Still Believe in Me — The Beach Boys
Head Rolls Off — Frightened Rabbit
New York — Sex Pistols
Pistol Dreams — The Tallest Man on Earth
Is This Love? — The Fireman
The Debtor — Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
Stars of Leo — M. Ward
Psycho Killer — Talking Heads

Bonus video:

Wrecking Ball — Bruce Springsteen (Live at Giants Stadium)

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.

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Who’s not the boss?


Pax Arcana

On occasion, I like to poke fun at Slate for being an endlessly flowing fountain of sweaty contrarianism and pathetic weenieism. But I also like to give credit where it is due.

But mostly I like to shit on Slate for retardery like this overflowing crock pot of unicorn AIDS.

To sum it up, Bruce Springsteen “fan” Stephen Metcalf laments last night’s Super Bowl halftime show because the Boss decided against bringing the entire fucking country back to the reality that a bunch of Wall Street fuckfaces blew our 401(k)’s on houses in Sun Valley and $87,000 rugs:

The national mood is sober bordering on a galloping panic. Lively as he was, I wouldn’t say the Boss did much to either banish or capture it.


There is a lot to be shat upon in this article, but at its core Metcalf’s entire argument boils down to the same irritating trope that insecure music assholes of every genre and generation employ — that the music was better before all you losers found out about it. Then he goes into postmodernism and just BEGS you to punch him in the face:

Springsteen concerts, when I first attended, were Atlantic Coast joy fests for a small community of like-minded fans. To discover that many other people share a taste for something oddball is a source of true shelter from the agglomerating powers of the mass. A Postmodernist would scoff and say nothing has changed, that Springsteen was always only merchandise. True, but in every possible way, Springsteen holds himself out as a force against such Postmodernist sophistication—on behalf of meaning, sincerity, and authenticity! As media outlets reported, the field seats for the halftime show were filled with paid extras, a crowd of “excited fans,” as the cattle call put it, to be seen dancing and clapping by the real audience, the 90 million sitting at home. I’m glad that my oddball favorite from middle school has become a zillionaire and a living legend. But watching him play the Super Bowl, I couldn’t help saying back to my flat screen, “Is there anyone alive in there?”

I don’t know exactly how old Stephen Metcalf is, but I wonder if he was in middle school sewing his “oddball” oats when this Time Magazine cover (1975) dubbed Bruce Springsteen “Rock’s New Sensation.” Because man, nothing says “small community of like-minded fans” like finding your new favorite on the cover of America’s best-known news weekly.


We should also note that the short bio of Metcalf at the bottom of the Slate article says Metcalf “is working on a book about the 1980s.” He’s used the same bio at least since 2001, as evidenced by this piece about Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

Hurry up and finish that book already, Stephen! I bet it’s going to be fucking awesome!

He Should Have Played “The Wrestler” [Slate]

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Hows about some Springsteen nuts in your mouth?

Pax Arcana


Easily the highlight of the Super Bowl.


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Friday Random 10: Eyeballs Edition

Pax Arcana


More than any other player, Larry Fitzgerald is the reason the Arizona Cardinals are hosting the NFC championship game this weekend. His ability to haul down passes in traffic and turn wildly thrown ducks into touchdowns are the primary force behind the apparent rejuvenation of Kurt Warner.

Fitzgerald is so good, in fact, that even after the Cards lost fellow receiver Anquan Boldin — himself a remarkable talent — Fitzgerald STILL found himself wide open against the heavy favorite Carolina Panthers last week.

But you knew all that. What you didn’t know is why he’s so good.

Fitzgerald isn’t particularly big, fast, or strong compared to other NFL receivers. What he does have, according to this article in the Wall Street Journal, is an optometrist grandfather who worked his eyeballs until they were the best they could be:

Mr. Fitzgerald may have a clear advantage in this area. When he was young, his grandfather, Robert Johnson, the founder of a optometry clinic in Chicago, set out to make sure his grandson had “visual dominance” — at first because he was having trouble in school. From the time Mr. Fitzgerald was in first grade, during summer visits, Mr. Johnson would take him to the clinic and have him stand on balance beams and wobbly boards while doing complicated hand-eye drills. By the time his grandson was 12 and emerging as an athlete, Dr. Johnson tailored many of these exercises to athletics. To improve the boy’s precision, control, spatial judgment and rhythm, for instance, Dr. Johnson would hang a painted ball from the ceiling and have him try to hit the colored dots on the ball with the matching colored stripes on a rolling pin.

My childhood athletic training also involved a rolling pin and colored balls. Unfortunately no one ever wants to play Nutsack Cricket with me anymore.

The songs:

The Spark — The Flaming Lips
I Can’t Help Myself — The Four Tops
Verse Chorus Verse — Nirvana
Sea Go — The Gang
Backwards Walk — Frightened Rabbit
Rhythm and Soul — Spoon
Clean the Clock — Blue Giant
Song for a Winter’s Night — Sarah McLachlan
Resurrection Fern — Iron & Wine
Expecting — The White Stripes

Bonus audio track:

Jerry Springer — The Asskickers

Bonus video:

Second Chance — Liam Finn (Live)

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.


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Friday Random 10: Beast Mode Edition

Pax Arcana

With all appropriate deference to Marshawn Lynch — originator of the concept and Father Scott man-crush — and the lads over at PIAB, I can think of no better phrase to sum up my hopes for the Giants this weekend than the following:


71465375AB004_Houston_TexanMore to the point, this game (and every game the Giants play from this point until he retires or explodes) depends on Brandon Jacobs turning on BEAST MODE and trampling the defense like a combination of Godzilla and Iron Man.

Much was made of the Eagles’ triumph over the defending Super Bowl champs last month, but let’s all remember that the birds took control of that game only after Jacobs left with a knee injury in the third quarter (he was on pace for 104 yards at the time).

It’s also worth remembering that while the Eagles have played much better of late than early in the year, they spent most of that time beating up on depleted or downright awful teams. The victory over the Giants was substantial, but then they beat a terrible Cleveland team, lost to a terrible Washington team, annihilated a talented but utterly incompetent Dallas team, and barely squeaked by the Vikings — possibly the worst-coached, worst-quarterbacked, worst special teams team in the playoffs — in the first round. I’m not saying they’re not good. I’m saying they haven’t proved anything yet.

That said, every Giants fan is nervous about this game. The Giants and Eagles always play down to the wire, even when one is clearly the better team. It’s been like this since Buddy Ryan was on the Eagles sideline and Ray Handley coached the Giants (cold shiver).

If you need me on Sunday, I’ll be clutching my Ron Dayne jersey and possibly launching half-empty beers around my apartment.

The songs:

Don’t Get It — Lil Wayne
Eli, the Barrow Boy — The Decemberists
La Denegracion — The Bowerbirds
Conquest — The White Stripes
Jesus Don’t Want Me For a Sunbeam — Nirvana
Roll the Credits — Peter, Bjorn and John
Guest Room — The National
Thorn in my Pride — The Black Crowes
As Tears Go By — The Rolling Stones
Someone’s in the Wolf — Queens of the Stone Age

Bonus audio track:

Been a Drill — The Heligoats

Bonus video:

Pop Lie — Okkervil River (Live on Letterman)

The Rules: The Friday Random 10 is exactly that — random. We open up our iTunes, set the thing on shuffle, and listen to 10 songs. We are not permitted to skip any out of embarrassment or fear of redundancy. Commenters are encouraged to post their own.


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