Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Football Fandom vs. The English Language

It's early August, NFL teams are still in training camp and I'm already sick of the overbearing football coverage (thank you Brett Favre for stealing Shark Week's thunder by announcing... nothing).

Even more frustrating will be the consistent abuses of language and the lexicon of completely made up words we'll be inundated with once the games start. Here is some of my favorite creative vocabulary I've been hearing lately from the talking heads who announce the sport:


Though it's actually a part of a car, or a derivative of a function, football announcers always use "differential" to mean "difference." Of course, people will say that the official definition of 'differential' now includes 'difference,' so the two words are technically synonymous, but why alter the definition of 'differential' to accommodate these folks when there's the perfectly good word 'difference' sitting right there unused?

And yes, you can point out that I'm a hypocrite because I used 'people' instead of 'persons' but that's an argument I will vigorously refudiate.


Another word falling into the technically-correct-but-annoying category is "defensed," as in "that play was well defensed." I don't know what football announcers have against the verb "defend" or why they feel "well-defended" doesn't sound as good as "well-defensed" but hearing conjugations of "defense" is to me like hearing a fork on a chalkboard.

Space=the open field, or what was once called "the flat"

Then there's the baffling use of the word 'space.' Watch any football game for a few minutes and you'll hear an announcer say something like "they need to get the ball to him in space," or "he's very dangerous out in space." These announcers were probably kids in the 70's when everything was better in space: Josey and the Pussycats in Space, Pigs in Space, etc.

But what they mean is the open field, like, the runner needs 'space' around him to execute a play (that's a great insight on the part of the announcers, by the way, saying that a player will do better when a defender [sorry, a defenser] isn't all up in his grill).

Many times this open field they're talking about is specifically the area toward the sidelines within a few yards of the line of scrimmage, an area that used to be called "the flat." I don't know what happened to "the flat" but we used to use it all the time back in the day. Short passes were called "flat routes" because when you drew them on paper they were shorter, or flatter than longer patterns. Pitches, laterals, sweeps, were all designed for "the flat." Maybe they opted for "space" over "flat" because "flat space" doesn't have enough gravity.

That's the best astrophysics pun you will read all day.

Chippy=irritable, fractious, testy

This word apparently comes from Canada and the world of ice hockey, which means it has absolutely no place in American football. It means fractious, and it's meant to describe when tempers get flared and players get more combative and start to scuffle. But it just sounds dumb, doesn't it? "They're getting a little chippy out there" or "this game is starting to get chippy" doesn't quite capture the feeling of watching 300-pound dudes about to tear each others heads off.

Now, I understand that when announcing a game that's watched by millions of teenage boys you can't really use the word "testy," and "fractious" sounds a little bookish and snooty, but there's got to be something better than a word that also means prostitute or a fish and chips shop. "Touchy"? "Ornery"? "Quarrelsome"? "Obstreperous"?

O.K. these aren't much better, so I'll make a deal: I'll give Dan Dierdorf a season's worth of saying "chippy" if he says "obstreperous" just once.

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Concert Film Excitement

The Tell Your Friends! Concert Film shows this past Tuesday were a ton of fun, and if you weren't able to get to Brooklyn to see it live keep an eye out for the DVD which will hopefully be available by the end of the year. Woot! Concert film!

The lineup was a true representation of people who came up in New York's alternative comedy scene, with Leo Allen, Christian Finnegan, Kristen Schall & Kurt Braunohler, Liam McEneaney, me and more. It was also great to work with our director, Victor Varnado, who's a good friend and great comedian in his own right. His previous concert film project, The Awkward Comedy Show, aired on Comedy Central and looked amazing.

Thanks to everyone that made it to the shows and I'll post any info on when and where it will hit t.v. and be available on DVD so you too can enjoy the big little show from the lower east side.

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sincerely flattered by the Boondocks?

The plot of tomorrow's new episode of The Boondocks on Adult Swim has the kids doing a candy-selling fundraiser that becomes very much like the drug trade. Hmmm.... where have I heard that before?

The Boondocks:

Find more videos like this on The Spill Movie Community

Me doing Pushing Band Candy:

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

I just lost over 3,000 fans!

Well, the lunkheads at facebook changed their site again and now instead of people being a "fan" of the official Rob Paravonian page they now simply "like" the Rob Paravonian page. And the people and things I was once a "fan" of I now, according to facebook, merely like. How lame is that?

Being a fan of something is more than hitting the like button, it's actually being involved in it. If I'm a fan of a band I don't just like them, I'm going to try to see them when they're in town, I'm going to check out their new video when it's posted online, I want to know when their new album is coming out. I don't just like them, I like like them.

So now, instead of having a group of fans that I think may be interested when I post a new video or something, facebook tells me that a bunch of people "like" me, in the same way they "like" someone's status update or a picture of a lol cat.

So thanks, facebook. I was once a comedian who felt like he had people interested in his work and now I'm a f#$%ing Lol Cat. I can haz audience?

To the many folks that were once my facebook fans, I miss you!

Lol Cats are freakin' funny, though.

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Saturday, April 03, 2010

My previous CD now available online!

To celebrate the online re-release of Living it Down, the CD I released in 2001, here's a link to one of the CD's more popular tracks--Particle Board--from my performance on Comedy Central's Premium Blend of that same year.

The CD is now available at CD Baby, in physical and digital form, and soon it will be up at iTunes, Amazon, and various other digital outlets. Check it out, and enjoy the video with me not only in a suit but sporting a bit more hair than usual. And a sparkly guitar! Oooh, sparkle...

Rob Paravonian - Particle Board Song
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dang, first weather cancellation in years

Last night, when I had to cancel my show at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, I realized it was my first weather-related cancellation in almost 15 years. I guess my luck had to run out eventually. Two years ago I had dozens of shows in the northern plains and was able to out-maneuver storms or just plain get lucky that they hit on non-travel days. I drove to Dennison, Ohio, a day early to beat an ice storm, and I even made it safely through a blizzard in Wisconsin to play at a school that had canceled classes.

I was beginning to think I was invincible weather-wise! Which is why this storm has been especially humbling. Lehigh is only 90-some-odd miles away from Brooklyn so I should have been able to borrow a snowmobile (snow machine for my Canadian friends) to get there, or retro-fit my Civic with some skis or something. But no, 14" of snow in central New Jersey has ruined my 15-year streak of making it to my shows.

And I don't even have a good stuck-in-a-blizzard storm. I'm just sitting here in my apartment cooking up frozen pizzas and waiting for it to stop snowing (over a foot here in Brooklyn). At least the last time I couldn't make a show I was stuck in my car for 14 hours underneath a freeway overpass in central South Dakota...

...there's the view from my windshield. It even made the cover of my first full CD which I entitled "Don't Crowd The Plow" in honor of the event. I don't think I'll get a cool title out of this storm. "Unplanned Frozen Pizza Party?" "Brooklyn Igloo Pizzafest" I got nothin'!!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Children's Video off to a fast start!

I just posted a new video for the album version of the Children's Song and in just a couple of days it's gotten over 15,000 views! That's the fastest start of any video I've posted, even the Pachelbel Rant, which took a couple of weeks to get its first 10,000 views. So thanks to everyone who's watched it and passed it along to their friends!

It's always interesting to find out where these things end up. My sister sent me a link to the website of the local CW station in Dallas/Fort Worth because they had posted the video there! Pretty cool.

And mad thanks to Jennifer Spragg who played the frazzled and overworked mom in the video. She's a hilarious actor and writer I know from working with the New York sketch group Spurn.

And for extra fun, check out the comments section for a discussion of my lousy accent. In the live version of the song I tell people I'm going to be doing a bad British accent, but without the disclaimer in the new video people have taken it upon themselves to discuss the topic at length. You just never know what people are going to fixate on.

Happy February and such!

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