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Inside 3k's brain - July 16th

The good Army decided I could take two weeks off in the middle of a war to go home so that I might grope the wife, make noises at the baby and work on reestablishing a respectable tolerance for alcohol. The first two? Done and done. The last of the three, well, definitely a work in progress, but damn if I'm not giving it a sincere effort.

So, with brown liq lubricating my brain, here's a triad of thoughts competing for my focus:

- Backing up the back: how to spell Steven Jackson

- Filling the gaps: some dry spell polling for TST

- Fall flat, mallrat: The end of malls in America

How am I going to work pictures of Olivia Munn into this? Time shall tell, friend.

Why the Rams never needed Unga

Despite some recent eagerness here at TST to jump on BYU product Harvey Unga out of the supplemental draft, the Bears ended up pulling the trigger on him. Personally, I never saw the need. WIth Darby, Ogbonnaya, and perhaps Keith Toston on the roster backing up AxJax to open the season, what are we really missing out on? Unga's best trait, arguably, is his pass-catching ability, something our trio of backups aren't without. And yes, he's got a much bigger frame, and thus power, than any of the aforementioned three. But what situations are we looking to spell Jackson on?

I would argue that looking for a goalline or 3rd & short back to keep Jackson fresh is a mistake. You'd be hard pressed to find a better running back in those situations than Steven Jackson. To me, the best opportunity to give him a break is on first and second down, especially after the offense has picked up a new series. If that's the case, then Unga never makes sense anyway.

This season is (unfortunately) another season to appraise. By 2011, Spags will be on a legitimate hot seat, needing to push the Rams toward a .500 season to keep the heat off of his back. This season, however, is another year to feel out guys like Ogbonnaya, Laurent Robinson, Brandon Gibson, Gary Gibson, and any rookie not named Bradford or Saffold. With that being the case, Darby's candle is almost out, Ogbonnaya has to prove he can be a useful piece on a depth chart, and Toston has to stay in the NFL. Still, to suggest a supplemental rhinoceros of a back would have been some huge addition that the Rams desperately needed is silly. Bob Saget silly.

Offseason sensibilities

I'm gonna throw some random polls out throughout the next couple weeks just to get a sense of the community on some things. Of course, some will be Rams-related. And without question, some will be absolutely random; I am me, after all.

So if you feel so inclined, hit me up in the comments with your expanded response to today's poll. The reality is, this community is only as useful, informative, fun, and Olivia Munn-level sexy as we all make it out to be. So what is it you're hoping to see when you head to TST? And yes, this is how I fit Olivia Munn into this. You're welcome.


Malls, balls

It's been a while since I went into a shopping mall. I've been to the department store on occasion to pick up a shirt or something like that from time to time, but into the world of Spencers Gifts. Hot Topics and Auntie Anne's pretzels? It's been years. Yesterday, I made my way back to the world of Brodie and T.S. Quint. Needless to say, I hadn't missed much.

Still, amid, the puberty-stricken youths and semi-vigorous seniors looking to get in a good walk, I began to wonder how much longer the mall as we know it will last. Sure, the businesses malls are built on (the multimegasuperuberplex movie theaters, the department stores, Mrs. Fields Cookies, etc.) are likely to stay around, but I just don't see much value in the mall design as society continues to transfer economic tiers out of the tangible world and into the virtual one. Sure, there's a culture there for the teens looking to escape Mom and Dad and the classic stereotypical shopping females among us, but that culture would just move over to the next "mall" or whatever it ends up being called.

One could argue the original "malls" were the souks and bazaars of the Middle East, like the al-Hamidiyah in Damascus. Unlike modern malls, though, those old centers had more than just retail stores, including things like mosques and banks. More important, they weren't designed as such, but developed as entrepreneurs saw how much traffic was gravitating toward a single area in the downtown areas of large cities and looked to capitalize on the density of potential customers. After WWII, Victor Gruen helped spread the idea of fully enclosed buildings that would house large numbers of stores, restaurants and other monetary sinkholes well away from downtowns. The design, and more specifically, the concept of the mall has remained intact since.

With so much commerce moving away from the mall and onto the computer, how much longer can the mall as a concept last? How much longer do teens clamor to have their parents drop them off at _____ Mills? It would make sense to me that soon enough, they'll just head online to do the same things they do at a mall. I may be off on this one, but I just don't see the viability in malls beyond a decade or so. Help me see why I'm wrong on this one.

Aight, TSTers. I might be sparse over the next couple of days, but I'll try to drop by when I can. Holler.