Monthly Archives: June 2008

Bama and Coke, Back Again. Coca-Cola, too.

This is disappointing.

Pepsi signs above Legion Field were always that extra mark of the beast sealing Bama’s deal with the devil (Pepsi is aligned with the devil, Coke with the Lord and Auburn always with Coke and the Lord)… and that they served that stingless syrup at Bryant-Denny was more evidence that they played girl ball. The world was perfect.

But now I’ve lost at least one outlet for my disdain. And yet I take comfort in knowing that though switching to the better brand is obviously a good thing for them, mojo-wise, it can hardly do much until they actually get a better coach. That is, I doubt we’ll be seeing any Bama / Coca-Cola version of the Florida / Gatorade commercials any time soon. [By the way, guess which of the four teams that Florida didn’t beat in that heralded first-year spell under Gatorade poured them their biggest loss ? This guy… 28-17. Not that I’m a Powerade man, even though it’s Coke-owned. I mean, I drink it, but Gatorade is obviously more classic. Brand-loyalty is a complicated lover. I mean, Mt. Dew is Pepsi-owned, but it’s OK, same for Sunkist I think, though I associate it more with Coke.}

But of course, I gain another outlet, as I must take drastic issue with Ian Rapoport’s insane lede:

“Once again, Alabama football fans can enjoy the same beverage coach Paul “Bear” Bryant helped make famous.”

I suppose… I hope… that this is simply gotta-make-deadline pandering: the same Alabama fans who think that the terrorists attacked on Sept. 11 because it was/is Bear Bryant’s birthday — oh, and they’re out there; Finebaum had one on as a guest a few years back, a real Bama luminary no less — probably do think that Bear Bryant was integral in making Coke the most recognized brand in the world.* The terrorists were probably Pepsi drinkers, so yeah… I mean, they probably were.

The other note-worthy aspect of this month old news is, as The Auburner points out, its relative ironic timing to the incident bookending the latest Auburn-on-Bama shoppenfreude {please link and credit — new term for rivalry-specific Photoshopped e-meme — hmmm, maybe BumperLink would also be good. BumperFlickr? Punnier, not quite accurate}.

*[Speaking of Coke history, I swear I’ve got a scan from an old 1950s Plainsman that recounts Toomer’s Drugs as the first place Coke was sold on tap. I can’t find it right now, but until I do, here’s something that at least kinda backs me up, though he says they sold the first bottle, scroll down…]

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Real St. Nick

Village Mall Santa Claus impersonator of 12 years hitches 13 hour ambulance ride from Indiana just so he can die back in Alabama, calls Auburn “God’s country.”

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“Knowing Jimmy like I know him…”

After the arrest for dealing cocaine, after the revelation of his violation of NCAA eligibility requirements by incorporating his football persona into the marketing of his pit bull operation, the hidden track to the increasingly sordid Jimmy Johns affair could possibly be the status of his relationship to Lee Thomas, the Tuscaloosa resident who described himself to reporters as John’s “caretaker” and who reportedly posted his $120,000 bail.

The running theory on several message boards is that Lee Thomas is Dr. Lee Thomas, a Tuscaloosa surgeon and 1984 gradate of the University of Alabama School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. (Technically at UAB, but still).

At first, the image painted by Gentry Estes

“He knows he messed up,” said family friend Lee Thomas, slowly smoking a cigarette after exiting the jail. “He’s not sad at all. He wasn’t crying or anything like that. … He just got mixed up with the wrong crowd.”

… didn’t jive with my image of a surgeon (right, the cigarette, but why also would a college-educated “friend of the family” indicate to a reporter that Johns has no remorse for what “he messed up.”)

But the ability to drop $120,000 on bail money does jive with that image (and it’s Tuscaloosa we’re talking about).

Estes also quoted Thomas as saying:

“They got the phone call from me,” Thomas said. “When you’re in bed sleeping after being up all night and you’ve got your own family and somebody’s beating on your door at 7 o’clock in the morning and telling you you’ve got to go check on Jimmy, how would you feel? I don’t work for Jimmy for money. I work for Jimmy because it’s not often you see a young black player come through here and take people by storm like he done. He just got mixed up with the wrong crowd.”

Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes and I’ve come back to lead a nice life. He’s a young boy and he’s going to come back. Knowing Jimmy like I know him, he knows he made a mistake.

One description being built from the details slowly coming to light about Johns’ life is that of loner. Estes himself describes him as as a loner and certainly Bama fans would want to imagine him as such — if no one on the team knew what he was doing… in the football complex parking lot… lesser the chance of arrest #11 happening before July.

But one can’t help but wonder: if “caretaker” Lee Thomas did post his Johns’ bail, and if “caretaker” Lee Thomas is indeed Lee Thomas, M.D. — and I have no idea if he is — how is it that a wealthy Tuscaloosa surgeon with ties to the University is $120,000 worth of palsy with a reportedly semi-renowned Tuscaloosa coke dealer / Crimson Tide football player?

Like, how do you know Jimmy?

[Special thanks to “Jap Throat.”]

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Tired of Seeing Overpriced Dogs with Poor Qualities?

“Hi Jimmy, are they treating you well? Um… well look, real quick… we need your password.”

I heard it mentioned by a caller yesterday on Finebaum, but misunderstood; I thought “The Linebacker Bullies” was the name of Jimmy Johns’ cartel or something, and couldn’t find anything about it.

But leave it to the investigative champion of the blAUgosphere to find it and tap it for that extra “aww, hell.”

Could John’s arrest turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the Alabama program? If everything Will points out is true, that is, if Johns’ website, undetected by Bama compliance police since March, was in violation of NCAA eligibility regulations, it would seem so… at least in the long run.

UPDATE: As of 4:20 — yeah, that’s right — jimmyjohnspitbulls.com, “Home of the Linebacker Bullies,” has been officially removed. Gentleman, start your screen caps…

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Auburn’s First National Press?

1897 Auburn team photo, coach John Heisman, far right.

The first national press Auburn received almost has to have been the stand-alone team photo I found in a June 16, 1897 edition of Harper’s Weekly, likely the result of Dr. George Petrie’s tireless P.R. efforts. Petrie was Auburn’s first football coach and the father of the sport in Alabama. According to a new biography, Petrie had even asked Harper’s to cover Auburn’s first football game against Georgia. They declined but added “we would be glad to have you send… a line or two regarding your interstate football game.” They promised more coverage in the future. They lived up their word, at least a little bit.

However, if this quaint little blurb from the same issue represents their attitude toward southern football five years later … it’s no wonder they were, as Mike Jernigan puts it, less than accommodating.

Southerners: “…opposed to athletics.”

I wonder who the “All-Alabama eleven” were…

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Well, I’ll tell ya’ Eee-Lah…

After a game, I huff as fast as I can up Bragg Ave. to get to my car — I park at the end of Sanders Street. I open the door and jam the key in and crank it up and find the station — I do that even before the cigar. I mean, I’ll get the Auburn stats and the locker room “you know, I mean, we just came out to play” quotes later. What I won’t get later is the comically mouth-dropping, love-to-hate-it drivel of Eee-Lah and Snake. You can’t relive that stuff on the internet, that’s in the moment, and it’s my second favorite part of football Saturdays, seriously.

And it’s art! I mean, I’ve heard Kenny Stabler say, in that full-tilt crazy-haired twang, and in all seriousness, that everyone knows that rain always helps the visiting team. It was like, fifteen years ago or something, I was in the car as a kid listening, hoping they’d lose, and they were on their way early in the first quarter, to Mississippi State I think. It was a home game and it was barely sprinkling and that’s what ol’ Snake Stabler said to explain it — rain helps the visiting team, everyone knows that! And oh man, did anyone hear when Joe Namath popped in the booth for a few hours during last year’s Tennessee broadcast? A-R-T.

So while I feel for the citizenry of south Alabama, I’m thankful that keeping Snake as co-pilot is now the fashionable thing. Early on though, it wasn’t. When it was hot off the press, Finebaum was pouring it on like nothing I’ve ever heard from him. It was actually really funny, but it was harsh. For reasons both of ego and it’s-the-right-thing decency, he was trying to set the tone for what Bama administrators would have to respond to. He was gone, fired, finished! And he probably would have been had Paul not suddenly changed his tune. Ah, but thank goodness Paul’s leg tingleth still for Saban, who’s resounding endorsement of Stabler – “he’s a great ambassador for the University” – he quoted in his latest column, a column unbelievingly, flip-floppingly headlined “Crimson Tide should stand by Stabler.”

…’cause three DUI’s be damned — I don’t want to lose my tradition and it’s looking like Bama doesn’t want to lose theirs. Finebaum obviously doesn’t want to lose his, either.

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Bo Knew Diddley

Bo Diddley died today.

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