Thursday, November 5, 2009

Game Preview: Iowa

Going into Kinnick, the Wildcats have a tall task ahead of them. Iowa is ranked #4 in the country and undefeated, with a convincing win over Penn State. On the other hand, Iowa have not exactly been a juggernaut schything though the opposition. The fact that Iowa remains undefeated despite their close wins to mediocre, unranked, and extraordinarily unranked teams remains a remarkable feat of overcoming sloppiness, showing killer instinct, and posessing luck and ingenuity.

Using Trojan Corn, an ancient Iowan tactic highlighting
the cunning, unconventional battle plan that allowed
the Iowans to fill Des Moines with the pillaged
artifacts of the Middle West's most cherished treasures

The game may be the biggest of the season for the Wildcats. With only one home game remaining against an underrated Wisconsin team, Northwestern has to play like its bowl chances are on the line in every game. Beating Iowa would set Northwestern up for another bowl appearance and gain some momentum from displacing the Big Ten's top team, a team which has incidentally developed a bit of bad blood-- not quite Sharks vs. Jets, but more like the Sharks versus a different ethnic gang that they're not afraid to pull the switchblade combs out on. Otherwise, the hope of the season rests on beating an abysmal Illinois team for the first Land of Lincoln Trophy or face watching Zook smash it to smithereens before ripping off his track suit to reveal either a skintight buckskin suit or a tatooed facsimile thereof and reclaiming the Sweet Sioux in the name of all past and future Zook.

Kneel before Zook


What Northwestern needs is a transcendant statement game, taking it over and making it its own. The musical equivalent of the takeover probably comes from Stan Getz's classic Captain Marvel album from 1972 that's completely dominated not by the venerable Getz, but by pianist Chick Corea. Corea, who is perhaps best known now for thanking L. Ron Hubbard in his liner notes and looking as much like Chief Wiggum as an actual human being can, composed all of the tunes (except a cover of Billy Strayhorn's Lush Life), and put together a the beginnings of his first iteration of Return to Forever.

Chick Corea from his newest double-album
Book 'em Lou: One Count of Being a Bear,
and One Count of Being an Accessory to
Being a Bear

Return to Forever quickly changed in the 1970s from a Brazilian-tinged fusion outfit to an out and out arena rock outlet with songs about wizards and album art developed from the same studio that painted rides for traveling carnivals that made the pitiful dragon ride sort of look vaguely fearsome.

It would take a team of quantum theorists dozens of pounds of goatee, clipboards, and
medium sized hadron colliders decades to somehow puzzle out an equation on how what
is going on on the right somehow contributed to the album to the left


While very actively not commenting on college football, BYCTOM has been equally neglectful on the rest of the Chicago sports scene, including the forgettable and mediocre Chicago Bears and the promising Bulls who let an inspiring opening-night win over the Spurs get overshadowed by a loss on the road to last year's conference rival Celtics. It was an disappointing loss for the Bulls who finally had to contend with international chin model Kevin Garnett, whose suit-based chest-pounding and jaw jutting vacillated between distateful and transcendantly distasteful, a phenomenon perhaps best exemplified by the decision to have John Lithgow speak the King's English with nary a comment from another character during the entirety of Cliffhanger, even managing to throw out an acceptably Shakespearan "AAAAUUUGGGH" as he plummets into a cliff while trapped in a non-functional helicopter.

The only way that Garnett can thrust his chin out further is
if it were to split open and a stalk with another, smaller
chin comes shooting out of the aperture

Another aficionado of the chin jut is no other than a young Joseph Stalin, here seen mean muggin' in the back center of his class photo back when he was known as Soso Djugashvili the choirboy.

This photo has been run solely to attract people who have
been simultaneously google searching for the phrases
"Joseph Stalin" and "mean muggin'"

Stalin's progression from son of the town drunk to the Bolsheviks' preeminent bank robber, extortionist, and eventual confidant to Lenin is told brilliantly in Simon Sebag Montefiore's Young Stalin. Montefiore, who already wrote the Stalin in power tome In the Court of the Red Tsar confidently reconstructs the dictator's young life by unearthing sources that had somehow remained hidden in dusty Georgian archives to survive the purges, although Montefiore is a bit showy with this information, revealing each new manuscript with the same subtlety as a carnival barker revealing never before seen freak show acts such as a bearded lady that also wrestles bears (the actual footnotes are amazingly not part of the paperback edition although they are available at Montefiore's website).

Montefiore constructs a vivid world of crime and revolution around the young Soso, who also went by aliases including Soselo (under which he published poems), Koba, Oddball Osip, The Priest, and Pockmarked Oska (Stalin, like Lenin, only stuck with his final name because it is what his best-known work became published under, which is a shame because we could have had an iron-fisted dictator running around named "Joe Pox" which would have perhaps taken an infintessimal amount of sting out of forced collectivization). Even in his early 20s, Stalin was a driven, ruthless operator. The following occurred during Siberian exile in 1915:

At a boozy dinner, Kamenev asked everyone round the table to declare their greatest pleasure in life. Some cited women, others earnestly replied that it was the progress of dialictical materialism towards the workers' paradise. Then Stalin answered: "My greatest pleasure is to choose one's victim, prepare one's plans minutely, slake an implacable vengeance, and then go to bed. There is nothing sweeter in the world."
I only hope there was an elderly fantasy Mongolian there to agree with him.


Iowa will be looking for vengeance for last year against the Wildcats as the last thing Iowa fans want to see will be Northwestern ruining their perfect season and hearing the lamentation of the Iowa women. Northwestern can use a bit of chin-jutting swagger or at the very least, the swagger that comes from wearing a southwestern themed rug as an article of clothing. And hopefully, when the dust clears in Iowa City, Northwestern fans can settle in their yurts and determine what is best in life.


Bob said...

Great Conan reference. You could have thrown in something about the "riddle of steel" and Stalin, "the man of steel."

Unknown said...

Anxiuosly awaiting the post victory post.

Maria said...