Michael B. Duff

Lubbock's answer to a question no one asked

Archive for October 2009

Fan takes on Mike Leach at Fatlittlegirlfriend.com

I just got back from visiting Fatlittlegirlfriend.com.

You have to be careful, visiting an address like that. I’ll admit that I winced a bit as I typed it in, like I was anticipating a punch to the face.

But it really is a site about Mike Leach and his infamous “fat little girlfriends” quote from last week.


Written by Michael B. Duff

October 30, 2009 at 19:53

Posted in Columns


I just got back from visiting Fatlittlegirlfriend.com.

You have to be careful, visiting an address like that. I’ll admit that I winced a bit as I typed it in, like I was anticipating a punch to the face.

But it really is a site about Mike Leach and his infamous “fat little girlfriends” quote from last week. A Web marketing guru named John-Michael Oswalt grabbed the domain name and put up a 10-second video clip of Leach offending the entire female population of Lubbock, Texas.

You can see local reaction in the comment section of Don Williams’ story, Leach not apologizing to ‘fat little girlfriends’. The majority of commenters (mostly men) are defending Leach, basically saying that a coach has to say provocative things like that and talk to players “on their level” to get their attention.

Women are outraged, of course. In 2009, “fat” is about the worst insult you can use on a woman. Leach didn’t create this problem, or the society that spawned it, but he’s leveraging the stereotype for all it’s worth, trying to shock his guys into paying attention.

I don’t really like or understand football, but I love football fans. I love the Texas Tech spirit, the kind of energy and enthusiasm you see in Raider Alley; the shared joy of a victory and the awesome power of fan participation, as they turned the stadium pink and joined the fight against breast cancer.

These fans are smart, angry and organized. And make no mistake, it’s women who do all the work. When I heard Leach’s quote last week, my first reaction was not anger, but anticipation. Tech fans have an awesome ability to turn insults into catch phrases, and I couldn’t wait to see what they did with this.

I even came up with a few T-shirt ideas, although John-Michael Oswalt beat me to it. I wanted to see the Tech women rise to the challenge and shove this back in Leach’s face. I imagined thousands of angry sorority girls wearing shirts that read, “Does this look fat to you?” Their boyfriends could wear the same slogan, with an arrow pointing to the right.

Or maybe they could try and take the word back, like so many minority groups have done. Would women let their boyfriends wear shirts that said, “She’s hot, she’s fat, and she’s mine?”

Probably safer to use JMO’s slogan, “Wreck ’em Tech, proud home of the Fat Little Girlfriend.”

I was hoping for a formal response from the cheerleaders, but any cheer that started with “Give me an F” would probably end badly.

I was disturbed by Leach’s comment, not just because it was insulting, but because I was afraid women would take him seriously. I thought his comment was unfair because lying to men is a girlfriend’s job. Can you imagine a world where women told men the truth about everything? Where women honestly told men what they thought of their mental and physical capabilities? Our entire society would break down! Athletics, academia, commerce — the whole system would grind to a halt!

In a world where women told the truth about everything men would lose, not only their motivation to work, but their very will to live! Knowing when to lie is the most important part of any relationship. I can understand Leach wanting his players to pay attention. Football coaches, like battlefield generals, have to be firmly in touch with reality. It’s the coach’s job to tell the truth and prepare his players for the worst.

But you need more than fear and strategy to win football games. You also need hope, optimism and the will to fight, even when your spirits are low and you’ve just lost a game you were supposed to win. Knowledge of how to win comes from the coach, but the will to win comes from girlfriends. A coach who keeps his players in touch with reality may be worth $300,000 a year, but a girlfriend who knows how to lie is worth her weight in gold.

So, even if I don’t understand football, I will be watching closely as Tech fans rally to help their team beat Kansas. Good luck as you “Wreck them” or “gun them up” or whatever it is you people do.

Written by Michael B. Duff

October 29, 2009 at 10:26

Posted in Best Of, Humor

Terms of Service reminder

We’ve got a couple folks in the comment section upset today because we’re removing references to unsubstantiated rumors about Gov. Rick Perry.

These comments are being removed because they violate our terms of service in a couple different ways.

First, “You agree not to post, email, or otherwise make available content that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, pornographic, libelous, or invasive of another’s privacy…”

It also conflicts with this section: “You agree not to post, email, or otherwise make available content that harasses, degrades, intimidates or is hateful toward an individual or group of individuals on the basis of religion, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, age, or disability;”

And by posting these comments over and over again, they violated another item: “You agree not to post, email, or otherwise make available content that disrupts the normal flow of dialogue with an excessive number of messages (flooding attack) to the Service, or that otherwise negatively affects other users’ ability to use the Service.”

This action has nothing to do with politics or party affiliation, just a violation of Terms of Service.

Written by Michael B. Duff

October 27, 2009 at 14:02

Posted in Culture

Facebook won’t kill your marriage, but keeping secrets might

Last week I shared excerpts from comments I got on an old blog post called “Facebook offers faster ways to ruin your marriage.”

The comments on that article are an outpouring of misery from random people all over the country who blame Facebook, in whole or in part, for the dissolution of their marriages.

These folks might be able to trade e-mail addresses and start a support group online, but they won’t get much sympathy here in Lubbock.


Written by Michael B. Duff

October 23, 2009 at 20:16

Posted in Columns

Lubbock Online publishing delay

We apologize for the delay in publishing the online edition of the Avalanche-Journal today. Verizon had a major network outage overnight and it’s disrupted our connection to our corporate servers.

We’ve got a small army of technicians working on it and we’ll get the stories updated as soon as things come back on line.

Written by Michael B. Duff

October 23, 2009 at 09:39

Posted in Culture

This is a job for Mythbusters

The minute that kid was found safe Adam Savage turned to his wife and said, “Oh god, Jamie’s gonna strap me to a balloon. If the producers call, tell them I’m sick.”

And here’s a quote from @MikeNelson on Twitter: “Science literacy matters: No one in #balloonboy story did the easy calculation to show that a 10-ft. balloon can’t lift a 60-80 lb kid!”

Meanwhile, back at the studio:

“How many Mylar balloons do we have in the shop?”

“Twelve, sir!”

“We’ll need more! And get me 50 garden gnomes filled with sand!”

Written by Michael B. Duff

October 16, 2009 at 07:53

Posted in Science, TV, Twitter

Expensive perks suffer as the recession hits Google

In 2004, Google was the coolest place on Earth.

Google became famous for providing outlandish perks to its employees — free food, free haircuts, a wide-ranging shuttle bus service — even free massages for overworked programmers.

Originally, these perks were justified as a way to enhance productivity. If someone from the company is doing your dry cleaning for you, you’ve got one less reason to leave the office — one more reason to keep your butt glued to an ergonomic chair, whipping up the Next Big Thing at your workstation.

Google’s most famous perk was its food, an astounding variety of gourmet dishes served in cafes scattered all over the Mountain View campus, all made from fresh local ingredients.

Here’s a typical meal served in a Google cafe, photographed and cataloged by an employee on a Google food Flickr stream: quinoa pasta with arabacia sauce, mustard greens, mushrooms and topped with shredded cheese; tomato and pesto on toast; spinach salad with black ruce and nuts; yellow green beans; veggie gumbo — washed down with Calistoga mineral water and a wheat grass shot.

Just type “google food blog” into the search engine of your choice and be prepared to get hungry. Notice that this isn’t just good food, not just gourmet food, it is (ostensibly) healthy food, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Michael B. Duff

October 8, 2009 at 16:23

Posted in Columns, Google

iTunes for books?

appletablet500Remember a couple months ago when I wished someone would create iTunes for books?

Looks like the iTunes interface for books may be…iTunes.

Gizmodo suggests that Apple is in talks with publishers McGraw Hill and Oberlin Press about possibly selling textbooks through iTunes.

So what’s the missing ingredient that will make this strategy work? The Apple tablet — a magnificent collection of vaporware promises right now — could bring us a true multimedia reading experience.

Imagine a textbook that includes audio, video, animation and live updated text. Imagine 30,000 Tech students liberated from their backpacks.

Imagine a new kind of magazine, designed specifically for a touch screen.

Done right (high resolution text will be key) a tablet computer could become an ubiquitous multimedia delivery platform. We might even end up with 21st century video phones.

Written by Michael B. Duff

October 2, 2009 at 15:30

Posted in Apple

The week everybody banned Twitter

This was the week that everybody banned Twitter.

Mike Leach made headlines Monday, instituting a no-Twitter policy after Brandon Carter and Marlon Williams used Twitter accounts to complain about the team.

Corporations and media organizations across the country are struggling with the issue as social media chips away at their power structures and threatens to compromise their public image.

ESPN has clamped down on its employees, allowing only “official” ESPN-sanctioned use of social media tools.

But Rob King, ESPN.com editor-in-chief, doesn’t want anyone to call it a ban. He told Sports Business Daily, “The word ‘ban’ suggests that we’re not letting employees engage on these platforms at all … and that could not be further from the truth. We want to uphold the same editorial standards for reporting something, regardless of the medium.”

The Washington Post has also cracked down on its reporters this week, implementing a policy that has New Media critics shaking their heads. The policy was implemented after Raju Narisetti, one of the Post’s managing editors, posted two (rather innocuous) political opinions on his Twitter account.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Michael B. Duff

October 2, 2009 at 10:39

Posted in Best Of, Columns, Twitter