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Greg Veis, YouTube Hunter: The NFL's most punitive punishers

Included among the various oddities of a childhood spent in Pacific Palisades, California, are as follows: 1) Michael Keaton was my flag football coach; 2) I was big enough to start on the offensive line of said flag football team. At 75 pounds, 11 years old, I was hardly an imposing member of the line, nor was I so much a serviceable one -- fear of physical contact being a poor attribute in a lineman -- but the experience instilled in me a deep sympathy for the least appreciated position players in team sports. Here are these hulks of men, taking relentless punishment, recognizing that their hearts will give out years before they should -- and although they make far more money than they did 15 years ago (left tackles are only out-salaried by quarterbacks now, actually), they're barely respected for it. Do you know the names of all the starting o-linemen on your favorite team? Right. But over the past week, we have been reminded by excerpts of upcoming books and by the forced removal of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Chris Simms' spleen that linemen are, in fact, germane to football success. So next time you're watching Football Night in America, don't forget who's setting up those Manning-to-Harrison connections or creating those giant holes for Tomlinison to snake through.

Now that we've internalized that very, very important lesson, I would be doing a terrible disservice by screening YouTube footage of sweet offensive line play. (Why? Because it's boring, and Jon Gruden and Bill Belichick probably don't read a lot of mentalfloss.com.) So I'm going to show you what happens when blocking goes wrong. Or when a receiver gets led a little too far down the middle by a pass. Or when the demons of deepest hell come to inhabit a safety's corpus. A pancake block may be impressive, but in terms of sheer entertainment value, does it match this?

POW! It doesn't, huh? Don Beebe backflipping on his head, Earl Campbell bulldozing suckas... this stuff is YouTube gold. Here's another hard-hitting highlight video, this time with non-Semitic rappers earning the musical honors:

KABLAM! I am frothing at the mouth. I am not kidding. I have detected froth. Now watch Lawrence Taylor end Joe Theisman's career (wait for the reverse angle):

WHAMO! And to end this bloodfest, I bring you unabashed visual hagiographies of my two favorite defensive players: Taylor and Ronnie Lott. Key things to look for...in LT's: Bill Parcell's full head of dark hair, the unbelievable one-handed sack at the 3:45 mark...and in Ronnie Lott's: everything; there's never been a nastier safety in the history of the game.

PS: Special shout-out to YouTube Hunter reader Simon who sent in this Japanese game show clip to the comments section two weeks ago...

That very footage was projected on the big screen at last night's Flaming Lips show, conferring everlasting coolness upon him and his family. Congratulations on being cool, Simon. Let us know how that works out for you.

PPS:
In case you're wondering, the only thing I remember about Michael Keaton is that he always smelled good. A very fragrant man.

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9 Things You Should Keep in Mind Around Someone Observing Ramadan
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To mark the ninth (and most holy) month in the Islamic calendar, Muslims around the world observe Ramadan. Often compared to Lent in Christianity and Yom Kippur in Judaism, Ramadan is all about restraint. For one month, Muslims observing Ramadan fast during the day and then feast at night.

By abstaining from food and water (as well as sex, smoking, fighting, etc.) during daylight, Muslims strive to practice discipline, instill gratitude for what they have, and draw closer to Allah. To be respectful and not annoy observers, here are nine things you should never say or do to someone observing Ramadan.

1. DON'T JOKE ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS.

A traditional iftar meal.
A traditional iftar meal.
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Although it might be tempting to joke about Ramadan being a good excuse to lose weight, it is a time for spiritual reflection and is a serious matter. Observers undertake the challenge of fasting for religious and spiritual reasons rather than aesthetic ones. And, once the sun sets each night, many Muslims prepare a hearty iftar (the meal that breaks the fast) of dates, curries, rice dishes, and other delicious foods. The suhoor (the pre-dawn meal) is often fresh fruit, bread, cheese, and dishes that are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. So the idea of a cleanse is pretty far from their minds.

2. DON'T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS.

An Indian Muslim student recites from the Quran in a classroom during the holy month of Ramadan.
NOAH SEELAM, AFP/Getty Images

There are approximately 1.8 billion Muslims around the world, but not all of them observe Ramadan the same way. Although most observant Muslims fast for Ramadan, don't assume that every Muslim you meet has the same methods, traditions, and attitudes towards fasting. For some, Ramadan is more about prayer, reading the Qur'an, and performing acts of charity than merely about forgoing food and drink. And for those who may be exempted from the daily fasting, such as pregnant or nursing women, the elderly, or those with various health conditions, they might not appreciate the reminder from nosey busy-bodies that they aren't participating in the traditional way.

3. SAY "RAMADAN MUBARAK" INSTEAD OF "HAPPY RAMADAN."

A sign which reads
A sign which reads "Ramadan Kareem" in Arabic is seen pictured in front of the Burj Khalifa in downtown Dubai.
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Rather than wishing someone a happy Ramadan, being more thoughtful with your choice of words can show that you understand and respect the sanctity of their holy month. Saying "Ramadan Mubarak" or "Ramadan Kareem" are the traditional ways to impart warm wishes—they both convey the generosity and blessings associated with the month. The actual party comes after Ramadan, when Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr, an up to three-day festival that involves plenty of food, time with family, and gifts.

4. DON'T BE A FOOD PUSHER.

Muslim woman saying no to an apple.
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Even if the idea of not eating or drinking all day might be unfathomable to you, don't push food onto anyone observing Ramadan. While fasting all day for a month can cause mild fatigue, dehydration, and dizziness, don't try to convince participating Muslims to eat or drink something—they are fully aware of any side effects they may feel throughout the day. Instead, be respectful of their decision to fast and offer to lend a hand with something like chores, errands, or anything unrelated to food.

5. ACCEPT THAT WATER ISN'T ON THE MENU.

Dates and a glass of water.
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Muslims who observe Ramadan don't sip any liquids during daytime. No water, coffee, tea, or juice. Zilch. Going without water is even harder than going without food, so be aware of the struggle and accept it. It's all part of the sacrifice and self-discipline inherent in Ramadan.

6. RESPECT PEOPLE'S PRIVACY.

Pregnant woman doing yoga.
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Some Muslims choose not to fast during Ramadan for medical or other personal reasons, and they may not appreciate being badgered with questions about why they may be eating or drinking rather than fasting. Children and the elderly generally don't fast all day, and people who are sick are exempt from fasting. Other conditions that preclude fasting during Ramadan are pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menstruation (although, if possible, people generally make up the days later).

7. BE MINDFUL OF ENERGY LEVELS.

Woman running on the beach.
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Eschewing food and drink for hours at a time can cause lethargy, so be aware that Muslims observing Ramadan may be more tired than usual. Your Muslim friends and coworkers don't stop working for an entire month, but they may tweak their schedules to allow for more rest. They may also stay indoors more (to prevent overheating) and avoid unnecessary physical activity to conserve energy. So, don't be offended if they aren't down for a pick-up game of basketball or soccer. We can't all be elite athletes.

8. DON'T OBSESS OVER FOOD AND HUNGER.

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One of the worst things you can do to someone on a new diet is to obsess over all the cheeseburgers, pizza, and cupcakes they can't have. Similarly, most Muslims observing Ramadan don't want to have in-depth conversations about all the food and beverages they're avoiding. So, be mindful that you don't become the constant reminder of how many hours are left until sundown—just as you shouldn't joke about weight loss, you shouldn't call attention to any hunger pangs.

9. DON'T BE AFRAID TO EAT YOUR OWN FOOD.

Coworkers discussing a project on couches.
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Although it's nice to avoid talking about food in front of a fasting Muslim, don't be afraid to eat your own food as you normally would. Seeing other people eating and drinking isn't offensive—Muslims believe that Ramadan is all about sacrifice and self-discipline, and they're aware that not everyone participates. However, perhaps try to avoid scheduling lunch meetings or afternoon barbecues with your Muslim colleagues and friends. Any of those can surely wait until after Ramadan ends.

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