Sunday, May 4, 2008

52 52 52 Week #11: The District of Columbia - El Concludano

In which I examine crappy local sports journalism on a state district by state district basis, progressing through the states districts in terms of an alphabetical ordering of the heights of their tallest points. Because I can.

Quick linguistic note: by a complete stroke of randomness, my nonsense word "concludano" up there turns out to be the - deep breath - third person plural imperative of the Italian verb "concludere." So it means "[You all] conclude!" You know, like as an order. Which almost makes sense in context. Of course, pairing it with the Spanish word "el" renders it as complete gibberish. Still, I almost discovered I was, unbeknownst to myself, secretly fluent in Italian. Oh well.

So, as has been seen in our previous two posts, I have potentially offended the LGBT community and, um, the Moonies. No, I'm not exactly proud of myself, but at least I have to admit I'm not too afraid of reprisals. But maybe that's just because both of these groups pale in comparison with my final ill-conceived target: Kissing Suzy Kolber.

You remember when I said this triple post "hopefully will be a really good way to suck up to all those DC-based sports bloggers"? Yeah, throw that out the window. But then, I'm just following their own directive. Who can forget their sage words in their Websites We’d Like To See Experience Permanent Tech Support Problems Mock Draft:

But let’s face it, we bloggy and webby folks tend to suck each other’s dicks quite a bit. We all get rather pissy at all the back-slappy folks in the MSM for always pallin’ around like a bunch of fruits, but we tend to be just as guilty of such cronyism on occasion.

So I think I've got a bit of license here. But how can I mock KSK, when all I know how to do is make fun of mainstream media stuff? (I can also write shamelessly masturbatory posts and underwhelming skits.) If only there was somebody among the KSK staff who also wrote for a major media outlet, preferably (for the purposes of this DC-themed entry) The Washington Post. If only...

But no, there's nobody. But what if I expanded that to someone who until very recently wrote for a major media outlet, preferably The Washington Post?


Admittedly, I don't really know all that much about this guy or the rest of the KSK set. His real name is apparently Michael Tunison, but I believe he blogs under the name of Pittsburgh Parrot (he's the guy on the right, I think). He's joined by all of his blogging friends: Big Daddy Balls, Punte Pinte, Flubber, Colonel Cavern, and everyone's favorite, Insolent Minority.

But I'm not really here to talk about Parrot or whatever his name is. I'm here to discuss Mr. Tunison, and that isn't necessarily the easiest task. After all, in his own words, "I excel at writing about racist shoes and lost dogs", which aren't traditionally topics of discussion at Fire Everybody (for as long as Djmmm's around, at least). So what then?

All hope seemed lost, until I found this tucked away in the bowels of the WaPo archive:

Gamers Strive to Be The Last Man Sitting
Marathon in Rockville Tests Screen Stamina

by Michael Tunison

Eh, close enough.

Before I go on, I can't help but remember a certain clip from The Daily Show. It was on the night that Second Lady Lynne Cheney had agreed to come on, which led to one of the most awkward ten minutes of television I've ever seen. Before she came on, though, Jon Stewart took the opportunity to do another edition of his popular series revealing the Vice President's bizarre, Orwellian secrecy, "You Don't Know Dick." Except, this time, there were a few...changes:

Huh...don't know why that would occur to me. Anyway, away we go...

The legendary long-distance runner Bill Rodgers observed, "The marathon can humble you."

If you'd like to get more of that special, Bill Rodgers brand of insight, feel free to Ask Bill at his website. I bet he's got some fantastic thoughts on roofing.

A similar conclusion was reached by video game enthusiasts who slogged their way through this weekend's Game-A-Thon in Rockville.

That's so true! Those two things are equivalent! No, I mean, for serious! (I have made such a huge fucking mistake by doing this.)

Beginning at 5 p.m. Friday at X3O Emerging Technologies' Gaming Center, 27 gamers, selected at random from roughly 1,500 applicants, took up the challenge of playing a video game, any video game, for as long as possible -- until they physically could not, or nodded off, or just gave up.

Those fucking quitters in category three. C3ers, I call 'em, and you can bet your ass that's meant as a pejorative. Also, while we're here, what game would you play for as long as you possibly could? I've got to go with FreeCell. I'm better at Minesweeper, but FreeCell doesn't piss me off as much when I lose. Any other game would be way too complex for me by around hour ten, and I include Spider Solitaire in that statement.

As of late last night, 16 of them were still going at it.

So this is an article about eleven quitters. I bet those non-16 dudes just had to go home and blog or something. Fucking losers.

At stake was the highly sought Xbox 360 gaming console, to be awarded to the last two gamers left playing -- a premium version to the winner and a stock version to the runner-up --

I was really hoping for some sort of Solomon-esque judgment where they cut the Xbox in half. That would've been fucking sweet. Also, great writing, Mr. Tunison. You're awesome.

According to the event's rules, a gamer had to be constantly playing a video game or surfing the Web to stay in the contest can stay in the contest by surfing the Web mindlessly for hours on end? Where I'm from, that's called "Thursday." Also, "Tuesday." Really, all the days of the week. I'm getting a little less impressed, I have to say. But at least the sterling prose of Mr. Tunison is papering over the faults of these lackluster gamers.

though not necessarily at the same computer or television in the store

Really? I thought this was supposed to be a test of endurance.

so they weren't always sedentary.

That actually may have been the only punishing part of the whole contest. If gamers are anything like bloggers - and I'm pretty sure they are - standing up was the greatest torture. I mean, why the hell did we even negotiate the ceasefire with gravity if we're just going to keep standing up?

Contestants were allowed 10-minute breaks every hour to use the bathroom or go outside.

Going...outside? Sorry, I sort of understood that first word - I think it has something to do with movement - but this "outside" you speak of confuses and scares me.

That Michael Tunison...he's expanding my horizons!

Cell phones were prohibited, but instant messaging was fair game.

Oh for fuck's sake. How the hell is that meant to be challenging?

Store employees interrogated the players in an attempt to make sure they weren't using illegal stimulants, although caffeinated soda and Red Bull were being sold at the front desk.

So do you think they were allowed to use cocaine? And by that, I do mean this...

...but mostly this...

Someone might want to check on that dog.

The lads -- and it was all men despite the organizers' assertion that some women were selected but neglected to show -- were certainly confident at the outset.

Well, of course they were confident. They were lads.

They offered lofty estimates of the amount of time they could stay glued to their games. Brett Chavis, 14 -- wearing a red shirt that read, "I'm out of bed and dressed. What more do you want?" -- said that, based on prior experience, he'd be good for a few solid days.

OK, that guy sounds like a total douche. Of course, considering this was written in January 2006, he's likely now transformed from some weakling 14-year-old douche into a burly, muscular 16-year-old douche who could beat me up with nary a thought. You know what kid? How about I just mail you my wallet now? Will that work? Good! We cool? Great! Pleasure doing business.

What a nice young man...but not as nice as that Michael Tunison!

Roy Singer, 17, of Rockville boasted his limit was 4 1/2 days.

Neither lasted 24 hours.

As they themselves would most likely say...PWNED! Wow, I feel like such a douche right now. Better turn to some of that sweet, sweet Tunison prose! It's like a Tunison fish sandwich, in that's it's refreshing and hopefully has minimal dolphin content!

When reminded of an Associated Press story about a 28-year-old South Korean man who dropped dead in August after a 49-hour nonstop stretch of playing computer games at an Internet cafe, Adam Engh, 17, a senior at McLean High School, said the man was probably just weak.

How many chicks do you think Adam Engh nailed? A million? Two million? Either way, it's not nearly enough for a dude that manly and cool. Feelings just evaporate when he comes lumbering by. He's so mysterious...and no woman can tame him!

Also, for the record, the guy who died was playing Starcraft. Starcraft is most definitely not for the weak, Adam.

By the way, you know who I like? Michael Tunison.

Johnny Chavarria, 24, of Kensington was on a couch playing the World War II-themed Call of Duty 2 when the game flashed a quote from the Roman poet Persius: "He conquers who endures." Chavarria considered it a positive sign.

At that point, Johnny Chavarria was diagnosed as clinically insane.

As Friday wore into Saturday, however, the participants' confidence began to ebb as gaming fatigue set in.

"This is so boring," Yair Guterman, 17, carped to a neighboring gamer eight hours in. "It's fun to be here for maybe three hours, but this is so boring."

Wow, it's like all the quotes and anecdotes were selected to undercut the impressiveness of these gamers' feats. Almost as though, as though, I don't the writer didn't really give a shit about this stupid assignment. But no, that's impossible. Not Michael Tunison! NOT MICHAEL TUNISON!!! If cynicism got him, who'll be next?

The gamers started to size up one another.

Please lead to gamer porn, please lead to gamer porn, please lead to gamer porn...

Robert Fraker, 17, a senior at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, motioned toward Chavarria and said, sotto voce, "He looks tired, man. Look at his eyes."

Whoo! I got my wish! I knew Michael Tunison wouldn't let me down!

At 2:30 a.m., the girlfriend of Xerxes Jarquin marched into the gamers' sanctum to claim her beau, and off they went minutes later, disqualifying Jarquin. Love, 1; gaming, 0.

There are two things I don't believe about that:

1. Anybody has a name as awesome as Xerxes Jarquin.
2. Any gamer has a girlfriend.

Of course, if said gamer did have a name of the caliber of Xerxes Jarquin, then he'd be cool enough to have a girlfriend, but if he's a gamer that's impossible, but his name...shit, I just caught myself in a logical paradox. Thank goodness I'm not a computer on Star Trek.

By noon yesterday, the tired groaning of gamers was as ubiquitous as the cracking of virtual artillery, the revving of driving simulators and the canned crowd roar of electronic sports games. The desire to get some shut-eye was trumping that of attaining an Xbox.

Man, that room needs an infusion. An infusion of something loud, something rambunctious, something THAT WILL NOT BE DENIED. I won't steal another dude's schtick, but just imagine if the door were to open dangerously quickly and a certain Chargers quarterback were to enter. That'd wake up those lazy gamers...with hilarious results! (Laugh-tastic too.)

Not that much interest was expressed in keeping the system even if a steely gamer could take one home. With few exceptions, the gamers spoke of plans to sell their bounty on the Internet to collect what they speculated would be a minimum of $600 for the gaming system of the moment. Jonathan Chandler, 19, of Gaithersburg said his girlfriend recently sold an Xbox 360 on eBay for $900.

Man, doesn't capitalism fucking ruin every charming human interest piece about gamers playing for way, way too long in order to win an Xbox? Way to undercut Michael Tunison's themes of human perseverance, Jonathan Chandler. Or as you're better known, Jonathan DOUCHE!!!

It was the lure of that potential payoff, even more so than a chance of victory, that motivated gamers such as Fraker.

"I guess the money would mean more to me than the accomplishment. In the end, I didn't sacrifice much. I stayed up for a day or two and got $600 out of it," Fraker said hypothetically. "What would you do if something offered you $600 for two days' work? Sounds like a good deal to me."

I'd kill a man, that's what I'd do. And by "kill a man", I of course mean venerate that most wonderful of writers, Michael Tunison. No prose is too complimentary for a writer such as he!

Long live Pittsburgh Parrot!

I didn't wuss out, did I?

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