COMMENT: 10 Things you didn't know about Baylor

Friday, November 6, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 8:46 p.m. CST, Sunday, November 8, 2009
San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Singletary once had 34 tackles in a game during his college career at Baylor

COLUMBIA — It's been fun, folks. It really has. And that's exactly what makes this so hard.

At 1:12 p.m. CDT on Wednesday, the 10 things was handed its death sentence. We always knew it would happen. We just didn't know that it would come so soon. But it's too late. The robots are here.

We have seen evil's true face, and its name is Stats Monkey.

Stats Monkey is a computer program being developed at Northwestern University that takes a game's box score and play-by-play and creates a text story capturing the dynamic of the game and highlighting the key plays and players. The scariest part? These stories aren't that terrible.

John Templon, one of the merciless tyrants working on this thing, claims that the goal of the program isn't to phase out sports writers.

"There's no way that our program will replace the really good sports stories," he said.

Well thanks, John! If we were any good at writing really good sports stories that would be "oh so comforting." There's just one problem: add a couple of input boxes for "funny coaching rant" and "obscure wildlife law" jokes and we'd be about as relevant as eight-tracks and leisure suits.

We're not sure what the name would be. "Ten things Monkey" seems sort of redundant. But Templon was nice enough to remind us that he and his band of pillagers are on their way. They already have a system that writes comics.

"Bad humor could be duplicated by a computer," Templon said.

Well ... crap.

And on that note here's a somber 10 things you didn't know about Baylor:

10. Baylor's first live bear mascot, Ted, was donated to the school by local businessman Herbert E. Mayr in 1917. Mayr won the bear in a poker game from the 107th Engineers battalion. Our question is, how far in the hole did these engineers have to be to bet a bear? And more importantly, what made Mayr agree to this? What kind of people have readily accessible bears? Was the bear present? We want answers!

9. The author of "Silence of the Lambs," Thomas Harris, attended Baylor. We're not too surprised by this. From everything we've heard about Waco, Texas, the fact that someone who lived there would come up with a character like "Buffalo Bill" seems pretty reasonable. It puts the lotion on its skin!

8. According to several lists country singer Willie Nelson is affiliated with Baylor. These lists don't distinguish the people who graduated from the people who didn't. Luckily, we're pretty sure we know what side of things Willie's on.

7. Starting Baylor quarterback Nick Florence ranked second in his graduating class of 467 at South Garland High School and scored more than 1,200 on his first attempt at the SAT. Those smarts (along with Robert Griffin's torn ACL) are probably part of the reason that the freshman has gotten his shot with the Bears this season. But back in the spring, that playing time seemed a little more elusive. Florence started the season as the team's third string quarterback, and on our first trip to Baylor's Web site, Florence's picture was mysteriously missing from his page. Poor guy.

6. Jessica Simpson spent part of her childhood in Waco, Texas. When we found out about that, Baylor's recent football woes started making a little more sense. It's been a few years since she's been there, but don't think that matters in her ability to sabotage a football team. Take a look at Dallas Cowboys quarterback and former boyfriend Tony Romo's playoff stat line against the Giants the week after his little Mexican getaway with Jessica. That's a hex with the power to last.

5. The NoZe Brotherhood is a secret society at Baylor that has been around since 1924 and has become famous for its pranks and antics on campus. In the mid-1960s, the society's members were forced to disguise themselves because of a fallout with the Baylor administration after a series of acts of vandalism that included painting the campus bridge pink and allegedly performing an act of arson on said bridge. Currently, the society is back in the good graces of the administration, but if you ask us, that's just asking for disaster. Fool me once, shame on you, start lighting massive structures on fire, shame on me.

4. The Official Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum is in Waco, Texas. While looking over the list of its members we noticed one glaring omission: Chuck Norris. We understand that "Walker, Texas Ranger" is a fictional television program, but last we checked Chuck Norris transcends alternate realities. According to, Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one bird.

3. The NoZe Brotherhood has been putting out its satirical publication "The Rope" for 54 years. Last time we bring these guys up, we promise. We only mention The Rope because one of its issues contains a "Top 10 Things to Do in Waco," and to know that our work here at the 10 things is influencing people is what keeps us going. A few of their 10 things: 5. Throw stuff off the suspension bridge; 2. Scour the streets for a good party (this could take a while); and 1. LEAVE TOWN! Ladies and gentlemen — Waco, Texas!

2. Former Chicago Bears linebacker Mike Singletary once had 34 tackles in a game during his college career at Baylor. More recently Singletary has made it into the news for some of his antics as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, which include kicking a top 10 draft pick off the sideline in the middle of the game and dropping his pants at halftime to make a point to his team. In the interest of full disclosure, we love Mike Singletary. The whole pants-dropping thing doesn't bother us one bit. He could punch a puppy during halftime and somehow, some way, we'd find a way to spin it as a brilliant motivational ploy.

1. Dr Pepper was started in 1885 in Waco, Texas, and is the oldest major soft drink in the world. We've always been pretty big Dr Pepper addicts, so when one of our 27 interns came back with that news for the 10 things, we were pretty excited. But then we found out that the Dr was created by a pharmacist named Charles Alderton in a corner drug store in Waco. That makes sense. We knew we liked Dr Pepper a little too much.


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kate November 6, 2009 | 6:40 p.m.

First of all, thanks for giving a double shout-out to the NOZE brothers.
Secondly, there is a tribute to Chuck Norris within the Texas Rangers museum. He may not be a member, but he has a presence :)

(Report Comment)
Andy Carpenter November 7, 2009 | 4:55 p.m.

Leisure suits will be relevant again. Just you wait.

(Report Comment)
ollie mayr June 17, 2010 | 9:34 p.m.

Herbert E. Mayr was my Grandfather. He was known as "Big Herb" around Waco in those days. I remember hearing all the stories from my Dad growing up. He actually kept the bear until he got too big for a pet. The Bear tore up the backseat of his new Ford and that's when he dicided to give him up. The bear was re-named by Baylor when they got him, as my Grandfathers name for him was Little Poo Poo. His story went "I had to give up Little Poo Poo after he tore up my Ford and started making Big Poo Poo". "Big Herb" was a saloon and gambling hall owner, so when he donated the Bear he did it in the name of the 107th army engineers who he'd won the bear from. Gotta love old family history like that!

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