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WEEKLY WHINE

Schmilblick Patrol: Tom O’Connor

Edvard: Hello! Hi everyone! Hi there! Hey, welcome to GoobNet’s Adventures of the Schmilblick Patrol, where what you know could help you win great prizes, or consign you to punishments that everyone else will enjoy. We’re ready to get going, so it’s time to meet today’s participant. He’s the director of athletics at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, USA, where he’s led upgrades to every athletic venue that the school has. He’s been the AD at three other colleges, before which he spent four years coaching college basketball. Ladies and gentlemen, here’s today’s participant, the chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, Mr Tom O’Connor!

Tom: Hi Edvard.

Edvard: Welcome, Tom. It’s a pleasure to have you.

Tom: Well, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Edvard: Great. Ready to meet our patrollers?

Tom: Sure.

Edvard: Good. We’ve got Paul from Milwaukee, WI, USA.

Paul: Hi.

Edvard: Chamita from Santander, Spain.

Chamita: Hello.

Edvard: And Ashantae from Alexandria, VA, USA.

Ashantae: Hi.

Edvard: Great to have you all here. And Tom, what is your Schmilblick today?

Tom: My Schmilblick is: Why this weekend’s Detroit and Houston regionals in the Division I men’s basketball tournament have the courts on elevated platforms.

Edvard: Why the courts – wait, the courts are on elevated platforms?

Tom: Yes, they are.

Edvard: Why?

Tom: Well, that – heeeey!

Edvard: Almost got you, didn’t I?

Tom: You almost did.

Edvard: It would have been a very short programme. But no, that’s a good Schmilblick. We’ll see if our patrollers can figure it out. If they do, they’ll win tickets to the 2009 Final Four in Detroit, MI, USA, where they’ll be able to see the first Final Four to be played on an elevated court like that. But if they can’t identify your Schmilblick in eighteen questions, Tom, you’ll win tickets to Paul’s annual office pool tournament, the first to be played in a coworker’s home rather than a dirty, smoke filled pool hall. So Tom, are you ready to go?

Tom: I am.

Edvard: Patrollers, are you ready?

Chamita: I am.

Paul: Yeah!

Ashantae: Yeah.

Edvard: Well then, let’s go on patrol! Paul, we go to you first.

Paul: Hi Tom.

Tom: Hi Paul.

Paul: Tom, are these regionals being held in football stadiums?

Tom: Yes, they are.

Edvard: An interesting idea, Paul. That’s one down and seventeen to go now as we await your first question, Chamita.

Chamita: Tom, is the court elevated by more than a metre?

Tom: No, it isn’t.

Edvard: You’re not saying how high it is elevated. Good.

Tom: Well, they told me backstage, don’t volunteer anything. Make them figure it out for themselves.

Edvard: They told you that? That’s good, I guess. Our guys backstage are taking initiative, or something. In any case, though, that’s two down and sixteen to go. And before we get our next question, we’ll take some time to meet our patrollers. Ashantae, hi.

Ashantae: Hi Edvard.

Edvard: You’re from Alexandria, VA.

Ashantae: Yes.

Edvard: Not far from DC, is it?

Ashantae: Not far at all, Edvard.

Edvard: And what do you do there in Alexandria?

Ashantae: Well, I work in DC.

Edvard: Okay. Fine. What do you do there in DC?

Ashantae: I publish an internal newsletter for a government organisation.

Edvard: Can you tell us which organisation?

Ashantae: I don’t know if I can say it.

Edvard: Just blink it in Morse code, then.

[Pause.]

Edvard: Wait, was that a dash or a dot? No, can you just go ahead and say it, and then we’ll bleep it out if we have to?

Ashantae: Okay. I write the [bleep] for the [bleep].

[Note: After this taping, US Vice President Dick Cheney contacted the programme and requested that the names of the newsletter and of the government organisation be redacted from this programme.]

Edvard: Great. Well, let’s have your first question.

Ashantae: Okay. Tom, do the elevated courts make the games more [bleep]?

Tom: Yes, I think so.

Edvard: Good. Well, that’s three down and fifteen to go. Paul, hi.

Paul: Hi Edvard.

Edvard: I understand that you’re a corporate travel manager for a major trucking firm.

Paul: Right.

Edvard: You manage travel for employees?

Paul: Right again.

Edvard: Couldn’t they just travel in the trucks?

Paul: Edvard, I hear that joke way too many times.

Edvard: Okay, sorry. Why don’t you just give us your next question?

Paul: Sure. Tom, do the elevated courts allow you to fit more fans into the stadiums?

Tom: Um, nnnnno.

Edvard: It doesn’t directly increase the seating capacity?

Tom: Not directly, no.

Edvard: Not directly. Okay. That’s four down, fourteen to go. Chamita, hi.

Chamita: Hi Edvard.

Edvard: You don’t have a job right now.

Chamita: No. I completed university last summer, I took a few months off, and I am now looking for work.

Edvard: Would you like to work with Ashantae at the [bleep]?

Chamita: I think I would like to work with her, but I think I would not like to work at the [bleep].

Edvard: So what university did you graduate from?

Chamita: Universidad de Cantabria. I obtained a degree in European history.

Edvard: Fascinating. Well, you can now ask your next question.

Chamita: Tom, does the elevated court improve the views of the spectators?

Tom: Yes, it does.

Edvard: But that’s not your Schmilblick.

Tom: It is not, no.

Edvard: Okay. That takes us to five down and thirteen to go, and it takes us over to you, Ashantae. Let’s have your second question.

Ashantae: Tom, if the courts were not elevated, would they be placed directly on the [bleep]?

Tom: Yes. We would have placed the courts directly on the [bleep].

Edvard: Well, that has happened before, has it not? In previous years when games were played in American football stadiums, the court was immediately on the [bleep]?

Tom: Yes, that’s right.

Edvard: Okay. Well, that’s six down and twelve to go. Paul?

Paul: Tom, are there any advertisements on the sides of the platform?

Tom: No, there are not.

Edvard: Well, that’s another good –

Tom: Although that’s a good idea.

Edvard: No it isn’t. That takes us to seven down and eleven to go. Chamita, back over to you.

Chamita: Would you ever use an elevated court in a basketball arena as opposed to a larger American football arena?

Tom: We have no current plans to do so, no.

Edvard: No current plans. Okay. That is eight down and ten to go. Ashantae, we go back to you.

Ashantae: Tom, does [bleep]ing the court lead to more [bleep]?

Tom: Not normally, no.

Edvard: Interesting. We have now reached nine down and nine to go. We are halfway through our patrollers’ interrogation of Mr Tom O’Connor, whose Schmilblick today is why the NCAA is shifting to elevated court surfaces for certain regional finals at this year’s Division I men’s basketball tournament. Paul, you have the next question.

Paul: Is a court platform corporation paying the NCAA for the use of its product?

Edvard: Well, I wasn’t expecting that. Tom, are these platforms making paid appearances?

Tom: The company is not paying us, no.

Edvard: Okay. That is ten down and eight to go. Chamita, what will you ask?

Chamita: Do the players’ footsteps or the basketball’s bounces sound cooler on an elevated court?

Tom: I would have to say yes, they do.

Edvard: That isn’t your Schmilblick, either.

Tom: It isn’t my Schmilblick.

Edvard: Okay. Eleven down and seven to go. Ashantae?

Ashantae: Okay. Tom, do [bleep] and [bleep] help [bleep] in [bleeeeeeeeeep]?

Tom: I would have to say [bleep].

Edvard: Well, that’s very [bleep]. We have now reached twelve down and six to go. Each patroller gets only two more questions. Paul, let’s have your fifth question.

Paul: Okay. Does the elevated court allow you to put people and things underneath the court and then lift them through trap doors, like in the Roman Colosseum?

Tom: Yes. And that’s my Schmilblick.

Edvard: It is?

Tom: Yes.

Edvard: So what people and things will be lifted through the trap doors?

Tom: We’re just going to keep a few surprises, if you don’t mind.

Edvard: All will be revealed soon?

Tom: That’s right. You’ll see what we have up our sleeves at next year’s Final Four.

Edvard: Well, that’s awfully convenient, because our patrollers guessed your Schmilblick in only thirteen queries, and that means they’ve won a trip to the 2009 Final Four in Detroit, MI, USA. Congratulations, patrollers. And thanks to everyone for joining us today at GoobNet’s Adventures of the Schmilblick Patrol. I’m Edvard van de Kamp, wishing you good tidings and better Schmilblicks. So long, everyone!

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