introducing: fireside chats

>> 10.27.2009

Warning: Heavy “Meta” content!  Do not inhale, consume or expose to eyes if you are easily bored. 

In school, I had a torrid affair with the written word.  Often, I’d get called out in class--even hit by the teacher!—for reading, instead of paying attention to the lesson.  Similarly, I loved to write.  I’d read books on writing and write stories and read more and write more.  Every once in a while, I’d even take the very serious step of thinking about submitting something for publication. 

I’m not sure what happened, but when I went to college, that torrid affair turned tepid.  I had to read and write, often, for school—but hey, there’s this new Internet thing, and golly gosh WOW this thing is wicked sweet!  My passion for long-form reading and writing became an addiction to quick-hit forums, message boards and what would eventually come to be called "blogs".  Instantly sharing my hobbies and passions and feelings with thousands of others, all over the world; spouting off about Lions vs. Vikings, malt vs. hops, full manual vs. dual-clutch automatic . . .

This blog was a way to focus all of that manic energy.  To capture all of that Web browsing, forum trawling, article reading, and message board posting, and turn it into a constructive, creative long-term project.  To harness the thousands of ephemeral words I’d have broadcasted into the void, ground them, and build them them into something that will stand tall for ever after; something that I can point to with pride.

Moreover, it was a way to sharpen my tools, to hone my craft, to polish my skills.  I wanted to quit being “a guy who used to want to write”, and start being a writer.  I have no delusions that I can do this as well as the folks who do it for a living—but from the feedback you folks have been so kind to give me, I’m at least making it worth your while.  For that, I’m thrilled.

That all having been said . . . some of the most valuable stuff here happens when I use the Web as something greater than a Massively Multiplayer Online Typewriter: charts to organize numbers, pictures to bring description to life, and video to transubstantiate chalk into football.  In recognition of that, I’ve decided to take the next step.

I’ve been invited to join Fan Vs. Fan, a site where sports bloggers debate with one another a la Around the Horn or PTI.  Topics are discussed via 60-second video clips, and voting determines the winner.  It’s an awesome opportunity to hoist my blue torch and carry it into battle, fighting the good fight for Lions fans everywhere—moreover, it sounds like a hell of a lot of fun.  However, it won’t stop there.

I'm going to begin producing a series of video clips, using the power of moving picture and sound to tell stories, do analysis, and generally be entertaining. Because I don't do anything fast or easy, I'm not just going to fire up a webcam and go.  Instead, I'm setting up a little "studio" area in my basement, brushing up on video editing, and getting a quote on fixing the auto-focus on my DV minicam.

While brainstorming about this idea, a very dim bulb flickered in the rickety attic of my mind: “fireside chats”.  In 1933, with the nation mired in a wicked recession triggered by a finance market collapse (sound familiar?), FDR came up with a brilliant idea: winning mass support for his recovery plans with a national radio broadcast.  Using unadorned language and strong, descriptive imagery, FDR’s populist “fireside chats” were incredibly popular--and effective.  Over the ensuing seventy-five years, the weekly radio address became such a fundamental part of the political landscape that Americans now ignore it entirely.  Did you know President Obama now gives a weekly YouTube address?

It's in that spirit that I'll be producing these clips: bringing intelligent, dedicated, hopeful Lions fandom to the masses, by the glow of the burning blue flame.  In the meantime, check out Fan Vs. Fan, have some fun, and get ready for what I hope will be only mildly horribly embarrassing video of me.


Pacer,  October 28, 2009 at 11:18 PM  

Ty-good luck with your new venture. It will be interesting to follow. If you need any help or ideas-can't imagine what, because you seem to cover them all, give your readers a shout and maybe they can chip in. How do you find the time?

Relative to your article on Watchtower, I typed a rather long epistle that for some reason I could not post so I'll give you a recap.

It's almost impossible for a "fan" to be objective, even one with all the resources that you have and write about. Your idea to sort of "split' the analysis into 2 seems to me a good one.
For example, Your Watchtower comparisons are excellent as they take into account matching up head coaches and/or co-ordinators. However your idea of peronnel matchups should be better able to take into account individual,on-field situations, particularly injuries.

I was one that thought a 5-11 season was about the best the Lions could do this year, particularly given the 1st 6 games in the schedule. However, watching how the Lions played the Saints (as well as anybody really) and the Vikings and Steelers, I truly believe if the Lions had the normal amount of injuries they may have made it to 7-9. The list of injuries is long, beginning in camp, let alone pre and regular season to date. Since the Lions don't have depth, except with the interior linebackers the injuries have really hurt. That has to be part of the analysis. I have long believed that the NFL is all about injuries and the salary cap, coaching and then talent-in that order. The second part of your WatchTower equation should augment the coaching analysis.

Have fun with it. Good Luck.

Anonymous,  October 29, 2009 at 1:00 PM  

I require a week 8 watchtower...

A Lion in ViQueen territory,  October 29, 2009 at 2:19 PM  

Manual transmission...

Should be neat. Be careful, though. There is something to the phrase "A face built for radio." Just don't scare us away. Maybe you could enlist someone like the gal on FOX's pre-game show on Sundays.

Ty,  October 29, 2009 at 4:53 PM  


I definitely thought the Lions had an honest crack at 7-9, if everyone stayed healthy. In fact, I predicted it that's what they'd do! However, I admitted when doing so that it was probably as good as the Lions could expect--and some of the "weak sisters" in the back half of the schedule (like Cincy and San Fran) turned out to be more than what I thought they were. I thought getting to 6+ wins hinged on winning two games before the bye--and I truly believe that with Stafford and Megatron in there at 100%, the Lions would have done just that.

You're right that the Lions, moreso than most teams, could ill afford injuries, especially on defense--and then guess what? The injury bug bit all over the D. Of course, Stafford and Megatron are the foundation of the team, and they were missing too. Even the scrubs being counted on to start--like Jason Hunter--started to drop, too.

I think it's going to be very, very interesting to see how much better this team is with all of the little nicks and bruises healed up.


PS--thanks for all the kind words!

Ty,  October 29, 2009 at 4:54 PM  


Workin' on it. I was felled by a truly evil sickness two days ago (H1N1?), and am just now getting back to being human. With luck, it'll go up late tonight, and if not, then tomorrow for sure.


Ty,  October 29, 2009 at 5:01 PM  

Lion in ViQueen territory--

Agreed on all but hops. Unlike most beer freaks, I love a really malty brew. I certainly don't MIND hops, but there's nothing like a hearty doppelbock.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit nervous about the camera thing, but I don't think I'm TOO repulsive. Maybe I'll have my wife do it--or maybe I'll just put my kids on camera, tell them to be cute, and voice over their antics.


DetFan1979,  October 30, 2009 at 7:44 AM  

If you want some company, I'm just around the corner and ready to look ridiculous right along with you if you want to make it a joint venture in true PTI (maybe Laurel and Hardy?) style.

Hope you get to feeling better - that same flu made a run through the DF79 household as well.

great thoughts Pacer! I said 5-11 to 7-9 depending on injures -- which meant 6-10 was the "final answer" and I'm sticking with it. Lions can go .500 to end the season if Stafford and CJ stay healthy.

A Lion in ViQueen territory,  October 30, 2009 at 2:55 PM  

MLive had an article that said CJ was questionable for the game on Sunday.

1. We could sure use him to set the tone for the post-bye part of our season.
2. He's my top WR in fantasy. So who do I start? Eddie Royal or Roy Williams?

I like the kids idea - maybe think like the E*trade commercials.

And Nothing beats a good Guinness because Guinness is good for you.

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