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Back in the Saddle

I’m back. Miss me?

This was the sixth year in a row that I’ve disengaged from the site for most of the month of August (insert repeated mega-thanks to Phil for keeping the ship running smoothly in my absence). It’s not a full-on vacation, because I still have to do ESPN work, including the one-two punch of the pro and college football season previews, which are two of my biggest columns of the year. But taking a break from the daily grind of the blog lets me recharge my batteries a bit and, at least theoretically, frees me up to cross a few things off of my “to do” list.

I say “theoretically” because experience has shown that I’m not always so good at crossing things off that list during my August blog break. You go out for a few beers with friends, you see a few movies, you take a few naps, and before you know it the month is gone. With that in mind, I set more modest goals for myself this year. How’d I do? Let’s take a look at the list I created for myself:

1. Get new eyeglasses. It had been nearly two years since my last eye exam, so I went and got my eyes checked and got a new prescription (similar to but slightly stronger than the last one). I thought I’d singled out the new frames that I wanted, but then I attended a wedding and decided I really liked the groom’s frames, which, as it turns out, aren’t carried by any of my local shops. So I’ve mail-ordered a pair, which is slated to arrive on Wednesday. Then I’ll get the new lenses. So while I haven’t crossed this one off the list yet, it should be taken care of in another week or so. Check.

2. Get a new tattoo. This wasn’t actually on the initial list, but then I was at an early-August party with lots of people who had very nice tats, and I thought, “That’s what I should do during August break — get some new ink.” The thing is, I’ve been wanting to get a new tat for years now, but no design has really grabbed me. So while I tinkered with a few concepts (something bowling-related, a butchery chart, maybe an old toaster [that’s was actually Phil’s idea, and a good one]), I didn’t feel passionate enough about any of them to pull the trigger. Dang. Whiff.

3. Get a bird feeder. Obviously, something as simple as strolling over to the local hardware store and picking up a bird feeder isn’t the kind of thing that should require an August break to take care of. But somehow this became one of those tasks I kept putting off, so it went on the August list. Finally took care of it this past weekend, and now there’s a very nice feeder hanging on my kitchen fire escape. The cats are gonna fucking go nuts, which of course is the whole point. Check.

4. Grown-up stuff. I’ve been meaning to set up a living will and a healthcare proxy, and I figured August would be the time to take care of them. Instead, August turned out to be the time when I completely ignored them. Please don’t bother telling me how easy and important this stuff is — I already know, and one reason I’m telling you this is to publicly shame myself into dealing with it. Which I will do. Honest. Whiff.

5. Do some non-sports writing. My non-sports projects — Permanent Record, My Pet Troll, etc. — have been dormant lately, and that’s been bugging me, so I wanted to spend some time on writing that had nothing to do with uniforms or sports. As you may have seen, I did get one thing done — a design article about these little plastic chips embedded in the asphalt throughout the streets of New York and Boston. I’m working on another article for that same website and hope to be doing stuff for them pretty regularly, so that’s a positive. I also came up with the idea for a potential new project that I’m kind of excited about (more on that later). Still, I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t do any PermaRec or My Pet Troll work. Check-ish.

6. Do something nice for my mom. My mom and her best friend, Marcia, have known each other since first grade, when they were growing up in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights, which is just a few neighborhoods over from where I now live. They have a very special bond, but both of them are now 90 years old and can no longer travel on their own, so for the past eight years their friendship has been restricted to phone calls. I thought they should have a chance to see each other at least one more time, so on Aug. 10 I drove Mom up to Maine, where Marcia now lives, for a visit. Here they are (that’s Mom on the left, Marcia on the right; click to enlarge):

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A lot of things could have gone wrong with this trip. The traffic could’ve sucked, the weather could’ve sucked, being locked in a car with Mom for extended periods and then sharing a hotel room with her could’ve sucked, and so on. But none of that happened — it was all a breeze. And even if those things had happened, it would’ve been worth it, because seeing these two women reconnecting — each of them clearly starved for the other’s company — was very, very special. They recalled shared experiences from the 1930s and ’40s like they’d happened yesterday, and they also discussed current developments in art, music, and world events with a mutual ease that basically said, “I can speak in shorthand because you understand me and I understand you.” It was a really something to see, and I felt privileged to witness it. Best of all, it was fun and exciting for Mom, who at this stage of her life doesn’t often get to have much fun or excitement. I’m really happy to have provided that for her, even if only for a few days. Check and double-check.

And there you have it — thanks for listening. On Tuesday we’ll get back to normal Uni Watch content. Meanwhile, enjoy the holiday today (or, if you have to work, please accept my thanks for keeping the world spinning while the rest of us get to enjoy a day off). See you back here tomorrow.

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Baseball News: Here’s an article on a guy with a truly massive jersey collection (from Douglas Ford). ”¦ This is pretty good: a list of teams that have worn throwback uniforms from a city other than their own. … Hmmm, what does Jake Peavy have written on his underbrim? (Good spot, Phil.) … Royals pitcher James Shields was wearing his throwback stirrups backwards on Saturday night (from Blair Riffel). … In a related items, compare Shields’s relatively low-cut stirrups to the super-high-cut pair worn by teammate Norichika Aoki. That’s surprising for a throwback game — usually everyone is issued the same cut.

College Football News: We’ve all seen plenty of memorial helmet decals, but Troy’s memorial for Jadarius Garner, first mentioned on the site yesterday by webmaster John Ekdahl, might be the first one I’ve seen that’s shaped like a jersey. … Just what the world’s been waiting for: Arkansas Razorbacks orthodontic braces. … Chris Perrenot notes that at least one of Navy’s helmets on Saturday had some striping issues. “Also,” he says, “I have never seen such a huge logo on a football.” … Uni number malfunction on Saturday for Georgia Southern FB Nardo Govan (from Sean Halstead). … Excellent spot by Kevin Brown, who writes: “Watching the Notre Dame game Saturday afternoon and saw an ad promoting next week’s ND/Michigan game. Apparently NBC or Under Armour changed the logo in the tunnel that leads out onto the field from the game footage from two years ago.” Douchebags. … Arkansas State has added a memorial decal for Markel Owens and Barry Weyer. Wonder if there are any non-Christians on the team, and how they feel about wearing that. ”¦ Another memorial: Colgate is wearing a “72” decal for former teammate Brian Crockett (from Ryan Dowgin). ”¦ At first I thought this Clemson player was wearing a Russell Athletic base layer beneath his Nike jersey on Saturday, but that’s actually the logo on his Russell shoulder pads (good spot by Drew Mastin). ”¦ Number font inconsistency for Tennessee-Martin: a pair of defensive backs with two different “2”s (good one from eagle-eyed Lee David Wilds). … Two FCS teams — Incarnate Word and Sacramento State — went color-vs.-color on Saturday (from Chris Mycoskie). ”¦ Might just be the lighting, but has Michigan’s helmet and numbers always been two different shades of maize? (As noted by Jim McCormick.) ”¦ Tennessee has added a tri-star logo helmet decal. ”¦ Sam Houston State debuted new uniforms on Saturday. “First time they’ve worn blue pants in at least 20 years,” says Chris Mycoskie. ”¦ Here’s what Miami will be wearing against Louisville today. ”¦ Check this out: The brick facing you see at Baylor’s new stadium isn’t real (from Matt Shevin). ”¦ Cal has added a California state flag helmet decal (from John Furstenthal). … Several readers noted that Oregon’s uniforms on Saturday didn’t quite match what they wore in the Alamo Bowl. Also, what’s the deal with that vertical stroke running through some of the numerals?

Grab Bag: New uni set for the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL (from Adam Walter). ”¦ Here’s an old Columbus Blue Jackets prototype. … The football team for Collinsville High in Illinois unveiled new uniforms with gradient numbers. “Their play-by-play announcer complained that the numbers were very difficult to read from the booth,” says Tom Hunter. ”¦ Very interesting article on new materials being used to make sneakers. ”¦ Ralph Lauren is introducing “smart shirts” at the U.S. Open (from Tommy Turner). ”¦ “Aussie rules football playoffs start this weekend,” says Kerry Hudson. “Port Adelaide will host Richmond. As the home team, Port should be able to wear their home uni, which is mostly black. However, Richmond, whose home uni is also mostly black, does not possess a suitable clash strip (their clash strip is still mostly black, only with a bit more yellow). At first Port was going to wear their white clash strip, which they weren’t happy about, but now the league has told them that they can wear their heritage jersey (as opposed to clash jersey). The only catch? whether the jerseys can be produced in time.”

39 comments to Back in the Saddle

  • The Jeff | September 1, 2014 at 8:24 am |

    Might just be the lighting, but has Michigan’s helmet and numbers always been two different shades of maize?

    Helmet decals are often darker than their corresponding jersey components. While mildly annoying, this is nothing new.

    • skott | September 1, 2014 at 11:02 am |

      Michigan helmets are actually the same shells used by the Green Bay Packers, painted blue. So the yellow is actually not Michigan Maize.
      And just because as an alumnus it drives me nuts, our numbers aren’t Maize any more either. Maize was trademarked by Nike, so now our numbers are Sun. So lame.

      • Kub | September 1, 2014 at 12:45 pm |

        Yup, I came here to post this. UM is now SUN and Blue,

        • Brendan Burke | September 1, 2014 at 5:08 pm |

          If Nike were to sue UM for using the name “maize”, the lawsuit would be laughed out of court.

      • terriblehuman | September 1, 2014 at 8:56 pm |

        Maize was trademarked by Nike

        Can we stop repeating this bullshit? Under most circumstances, companies cannot trademark colors. There are exceptions that prove the rule, i.e. UPS trademarking the use of brown in shipping, but Nike would not be able to do that, since yellow isn’t something that’s exclusively associated with Nike.

        Nike has trademarked the name “Varsity Maize” for a color, but that wouldn’t prevent Adidas from keeping the color the same, or calling it “maize”. It’s more likely that Adidas either can’t or won’t recreate the traditional Michigan yellow without changing their production technique.

        But the whole “Nike trademarked maize” business comes from a single student paper article, with nothing to verify it.

  • DonS | September 1, 2014 at 8:37 am |

    Creeped out a bit by the guy with the massive jersey collection. He needs help. Quickly. No one should live like that.

    • The Jeff | September 1, 2014 at 8:51 am |

      Yeah… that guy is definitely a hoarder. At least he’s somewhat organized, so he probably won’t end up in a reality TV show on A&E.

  • Connie DC | September 1, 2014 at 8:37 am |

    You’re right, Paul: Phil’s toaster tat is a good candidate.

    • Jim Vilk | September 1, 2014 at 2:11 pm |

      I see you as more of a waffle iron man.

  • Ryan7 | September 1, 2014 at 8:48 am |

    “Also, what’s the deal with that vertical stroke running through some of the numerals (oregon)”

    Part of Nike’s new Mach speed template. Designed with the shoulder pads in mind. ‘Bama and Ohio State are the only other schools with the template.

    • jc | September 1, 2014 at 2:06 pm |

      Was coming here to say the same thing. Looks like the outline of the numbers plus the new jersey template created an odd effect.

    • James Burke | September 1, 2014 at 2:28 pm |

      Also illegal by NCAA rules. Numbers have to be a solid color, remember?

  • Oakville Endive | September 1, 2014 at 8:49 am |

    No 6 trumps everything else by a good margin. No 4 I’ve whiffed a few times myself on that.

  • DJ | September 1, 2014 at 9:07 am |

    Apparently NBC or Under Armour changed the logo in the tunnel that leads out onto the field from the game footage from two years ago.”

    And it wasn’t even an Adidas logo that was replaced; it was another ND monogram.

  • Greg B. | September 1, 2014 at 9:08 am |

    Two thumbs up on what you did for your mom and her friend.

    Good for you, Paul.

    • Name redacted | September 1, 2014 at 11:18 am |

      Seconded.

      • Jim Vilk | September 1, 2014 at 1:49 pm |

        Thirded.

        • DenverGregg | September 1, 2014 at 4:09 pm |

          The very best thing I’ve seen on Uni-Watch.

        • Paul Lukas | September 1, 2014 at 8:32 pm |

          Thanks, guys — appreciated.

    • Judy | September 2, 2014 at 12:55 pm |

      I’m a day late on this, but if all you had done all summer was drive your mom up to Maine to visit her friend, it would’ve been a summer well spent. Good on you for making that happen and for understanding what it would mean for the two of them.

  • Steve | September 1, 2014 at 9:18 am |

    I don’t care enough to look for more images, but the vertical line on the Oregon jersey looks like it is made by a gap in the materials that make up the shoulder pads.

  • Omar Jalife | September 1, 2014 at 10:08 am |

    I’m totally disappointed. For all the pictures this site links to and not one is linking to the new eyeglasses you’ll be wearing or the tattoo designs you were considering. Not even a picture of the birdfeeder.
    Just kidding, glad to have you back and congrats to Phil for filling in

  • Thresh8 | September 1, 2014 at 10:43 am |

    I had no idea our beloved host “took the ink”.

    Maybe we UniWatchers should hold a binding vote on what tattoo Paul will. That’ll never fail.

    • neeko | September 1, 2014 at 10:45 am |

      youre not a uniwatcher if you didn’t know that

    • KC | September 2, 2014 at 10:20 am |

      I vote: a purple uni of some sort.

  • quiet seattle | September 1, 2014 at 10:51 am |

    Just curious, Paul. What kind of birds have been drawn to the feeder? Or haven’t they discovered it yet?

    • Paul Lukas | September 1, 2014 at 11:05 am |

      No activity yet. But I’m expecting mostly sparrows and pigeons, plus the occasional cardinal and blue jay — that’s what we have around here.

      • Jim Vilk | September 1, 2014 at 1:53 pm |

        Sunflower seeds will bring more cardinals, and if you get chickadees, those too. If you buy that mixed stuff, the sparrows will throw a lot of the millet on the ground.

  • MJ | September 1, 2014 at 11:09 am |

    The line through the Oregon unis is actually a seam in the fabric. Ya know, to make a Duck .01 faster than he would have been in a more traditional cut. It likely only affects players wearing single digits.

    • Lendel | September 1, 2014 at 11:32 am |

      I looked at some more pics of the game and it showed on most jerseys. However I couldn’t see it on players who had numbers in the 20s, 30s, 50s, and 90s.

  • Anonymous | September 1, 2014 at 11:36 am |

    I don’t know if this has been mentioned elsewhere or not, but is there a reason why there hasn’t been a Sunday Morning Uni Watch or equivalent for this opening weekend? No breakdowns of each college game’s combos, no top 5+1, so on and so forth?

    • Paul Lukas | September 1, 2014 at 11:58 am |

      Will start next weekend. Phil wanted (and deserved) a break after covering for me all month.

      • Anonymous | September 1, 2014 at 1:20 pm |

        Cool, looking forward to it in that case.

  • Eric | September 1, 2014 at 12:52 pm |

    “Tonight on ‘Hoarders,’ a man with an enormous jersey collection..”

  • Ty | September 1, 2014 at 1:21 pm |

    It just astounds me that ANY major leaguer would manage to wear stirrups backwards. Truly an example of the cluelessness of today’s ball player.

  • Matt D (the other one) | September 1, 2014 at 8:15 pm |

    Anyone else watching this Oregon v. Cincy football game?

  • Graham Clayton | September 2, 2014 at 7:18 am |

    I’m looking forward to Port Adelaide wearing the “prison stripes” this weekend!