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Speaking Of . . .

On this date in Yankees history: Roger Maris earns 1961 AL MVP | Bronx Pinstripes | BronxPinstripes.com

Since Aaron Judge is taking his sweet time in his quest to become the Bronx Boss of Bash, it threw off my weekend Rundown plan. Which is plenty fine since I haven’t penned one of these speakeasies in a lukewarm minute. So even when the big fella doesn’t get it done? He still gets it done!

Speaking Of . . . getting it done, the aforementioned Judge crushed it this year, and I’m not even talking about the diamond business in this instance. Nah, what 99 did for Derek Rodriguez ain’t gonna show up in any box score, and that’s because it’s much more important than any baseball game.

Rodriguez was the nine-year old Yankees fan who missed out on a Judge homer the last time the Yankees were in Toronto. Until he didn’t, thanks to Blue Jays fan Mike Lanzillotta, who caught the ball and then handed it to the kid. After which both of them got to meet Judge. How can you not love that?

You could say Judge had 99 reasons and a pitch wasn’t one.

Adam Levine & Tom Brady: Lakers Bros! | Adam Levine, Tom Brady | Just Jared

Speaking Of . . . pitches, I have one for any of the eleven million streaming services out there who love petty faces. I’m pairing up the newly separated Tom Brady and the newly found out (as if we didn’t know) creep Adam Levine in a NYC brownstone for bastard bachelors. The show will have a twenty-eight minute running time, twenty-four minutes of which will be filled with preening memes. The other four minutes will possess vacuous verbiage that will no doubt set civilization back at least a hundred minutes. The working title is Unlikeable You

Nancy Pelosi booed during surprise appearance at NYC music festival, videos appear to show | Fox Business

Speaking Of . . . Unlikeable, Nancy Pelosi made a surprise appearance at the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park over the weekend. A lot less surprising was her getting booed off the stage. My daughter was in attendance and she called it the most interesting part of a lackluster event.

I'm not convinced we've wasted enough time on this | Work humor, Workplace humor, Work memes

Speaking Of . . . Lackluster events, the Super Bowl halftime show was supposed to feature Taylor Swift. And I for one wasn’t about to bother with that mess. Welp, those plans fell through and now Rihanna will star in the two-hour motion picture. And okay, I’m still not gonna bother, but I’m glad it’s not Taylor Swift just the same.

FDA Warns Against Making Viral NyQuil Chicken Recipe

Speaking Of . . . bad medicine, the FDA issued a warning recently against basting your chicken in Nyquil. This was in response to a five year old stunt found on the internets in which some kids were achieving maximum dosages in their hot meals. And I swear to Jesus, if Albert Einstein and Darwin were still kicking, Al would be getting busy on a bomb that would end this madness and Charlie would be rooting him on.

Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel's leadership style, Dolphins beat Bills - Sports Illustrated

Speaking Of . . . rooting, you didn’t think I was going to go through an entire post without mentioning the first place and(!) undefeated Miami Dolphins, did you? They overcame a literal ass kicking punt and total domination by Buffalo on the stat sheet and they paid the Bills! Now they’re sitting in the football penthouse as they mark a Super Bowl date with the Philadelphia Eagles. And the only thing that could stop this from happening would be an asteroid crashing into earth.

What time will NASA's DART spacecraft hit an asteroid on Sept. 26? | Space

Speaking Of . . . asteroids crashing into earth, NASA conducted a test last night by actually t-boning one of these fuckers. NASA crashed its DART spacecraft (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) into a hurtling hunk of space burning love called Dimorphos at speeds in excess of 14,000 mph. Which sounds like your average Tuesday on a Florida highway.

NASA insists their Hollywood stunt was simply a test and I believe them, because I always believe what government agencies tell me. And hey, I know it sounds ridiculous to believe that the Eagles and Dolphins meeting for all the chips on the table might portend such a cataclysmic event. And I don’t actually believe it  . . . because that’s just . . . silly.

Right?

From the Archives: Top 5 Heroes Of The Week

Imma dish up a brand spanking new Rundown this weekend, but I thought it would be kitschy fun to dig into the old treasure chest today. I found one of the very first of the Heroes/Rundown series. I hope you enjoy this blast from the past.

Remember the old Rolling Stone double issues that used to take a week to read? And longer than that if it was summer and you were perpetually high? Welp, that’s this week’s Heroes installment. You’ll notice I’ve tucked some news squibs in between the Big Five. It’s just me, tinkering.

Now let’s get on with it.

Romaine-tic Comedy- Country music singer Miranda Lambert (Should I stop there? Is that enough of a punchline? No . . you sure? Okay, I’ll continue . . ) is bringing a whole new meaning to her salad days. And believe me, I ain’t dressing this up.

Lambert made headlines (again) for all the wrong reasons (again) when she dumped her salad on a woman who was provoking her. The lap dance tantrum happened at a Nashville steakhouse where Lambert was dining with friends and family. And it just makes me sad.

Once upon a time, country music’s preferred method of payment when it came to altercations were baseball bats and whiskey bottles. Now . . it’s lettuce and cherry tomatoes with julienne carrots in a balsamic vinaigrette (speculative editorializing). The legends of country music didn’t even know what the fuck a salad was! The current generation of stars has weaponized it.

Ted Cruz wants to use El Chapo fortune to fund border wall. Because our government has never, ever used blood money before . . .

Ice Cold Stove- Two of the biggest stars in the game- Bryce Harper and Manny Machado- remain unsigned. Pitchers and catchers time has arrived, and these two big ticket items of the hot stove league remain on the shelf. Which says everything about the blah quality of the league. Call it collusion by the owners or call it a deluded MLBPA but the bottom line is the game is suffering from an alarming lack of sizzle lately.

Cancel out collusion, because offers have been made and stupid contracts (See the Nationals signing of Corbin) have been inked. As for the player’s union, they’ve got to pipe down on any claims of owner conspiracy, what with the average MLB salary sitting at a cool 4 mil a year. They need to get their shit straight for sure but worrying about their players getting paid would be the wrong pony to ride. Listen, owners see players like JD Martinez of the Red Sox kicking ass at a fraction of what Harper/Machado were asking for. They want bang over bloat, and I don’t blame them.

But the MLB has got to do something about this hot stove of theirs, which has gotten its ass kicked by the NFL and NBA trading deadlines and signing periods over the last calendar season. Baseball used to own its off-season but that is no longer the case. Where have you gone Reggie Jackson? . . .

Grammys

The Grammys- Who. Fucking. Cares.

I ain’t got much to say about an awards show I haven’t watched in forever, but what I do have to say isn’t pleasant. And yet . . it’s a hell of a lot more pleasant than what these peeps are dealing. Reading up on the postscripts to the show is akin to checking up on the first grade choir. It’s a bunch of musical talent wrapped in elementary school clothes. They snipe, they curse and they hate on each other with Styrofoam vitriol; which means to say, it’s marshmallow four lettered banter delivered up by musical brats who couldn’t hold Prince’s luggage.

And this isn’t some old dude pissing on the music of the day, because there’s plenty of new stuff I dig on. And I also happen to believe we should leave Cardi B alone when it comes to that Tom Petty gaffe. Truth be told, there are times when I have to think about which Beatles are left . . and I am guilty of not knowing whether Steven Tyler was dead or alive (He’s alive). Nah, Cardi B is a kid who ain’t down with yesterday’s music, and that’s no crime. But the way her peers trashed her after she won for best rap album is just sad. And proof that I ain’t missing anything by skipping this show.

Kylie Jenner is into condom artTo paraphrase the great Andy Warhol, in the future everyone will be famous for three and a half minutes . . . 

Sarah Sanders Stars in ‘God Squad’-White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says that God wanted Donald Trump to win in 2016. And a quarter of Fox News poll respondents agree with her. In another Heroes first, I’ve linked to a Fox News poll for shits and giggles. If you insist on sending me hate mail, please forward it here. Rather than doing a post-oped, Imma dish up a semi-fictional rendering of how this might have gone down.

Somewhere in Malibu . . . 

The phone rings. 

“Challo?”

“God, hey . . it’s Lucifer,”

“Hey Lu . . what’s going down?” God chuckles.

“You remember anything about last night?” Lucifer asks.

“Well . . I remember we were playing poker. Moses was bragging about his Red Sea vacation . . Noah was telling fish tales . . and then Lot brought the Patron and we all started doing shots and . . .”

“You went all in when I said you had to elect Trump if you lost your pot,” Lucifer informs him.

“Prove it,” God demands.

His phone chimes to life with a text message containing a video link of him losing the bet with his arch-nemesis.

“Jesus!”

“Yeah Pop?” Jesus says as he moves into the living room to grab his sandals.

“No, not you. Umm, where you going?” God asks.

“Me and Jerry Garcia are gonna work on the van,” Jesus says excitedly.

“What about that job interview you have at Lowes?” God asks.

“That’s manana, and don’t worry . . I’ll pass the drug test this time. Gotta go old man, peace out . ..”

“Lu . . you still there?”

“That kid can’t hold down a job to save his life,” Lucifer says.

“Preaching to the choir, Lu. But hey . . you can’t hold me to this Trump thing,” God says.

“You bet your cloud surfing ass I’m gonna hold you to it,”

“I gotta say, this is low . . even for you,”

“Tuesday, November 8th, Boss. Mark the date,” Lucifer says before hanging up.

If you insist on sending me hate mail for this sacrilegious skit, please forward it here.

Bob Ross Flash Mob- Seriously, that sentence is enough to put a smile on my face. But it gets better. Thanks to middle school art teacher Brady Sloane of Abilene, Texas . . it gets a lot better. Textbook smarts get you in the door, but outside the box thinking opens the doors you never knew existed. And Sloane, supplied. She noticed how her students were stressing over their work load in advanced placement classes and so she organized a cool little activity in which they would all don Bob Ross costumes as they painted.

Sloane used monies from a fundraiser to buy the paints and then her students helped her make the costumes. And this story is just so damned peach on top of my Heroes cake, that Imma stamp it in place of my usual musical spill.

Zen is what real winning looks like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill Gates slams AOC’s 70 percent tax plan? No. Shit. 

Do You Believe In Miracles?! Well, Not Really . . But Humor Me

Dolphins vs. Ravens: Twitter reactions from Miami's Week 2 win

Sometimes, it’s better not to ask questions.

I asked myself if maybe it was time to put my annual “State of the Dolphins” post on ice, so as to spare myself the disappointment of yet another campaign full of empty promises. But why should I deny my loyal readers the chance to join me for the undertow party? So I said to myself . . . Self? Just write the damn thing. 

It was deep into the third quarter of the Dolphins game in Baltimore on Sunday when I realized just how much I suck as a sports fan. My beloved Fins were getting clobbered 35-14 and the Ravens were killing more grass than an unemployed pothead. Two games in and I was throwing in the towel; the one Rocky should have thrown in Rocky III. Down by three touchdowns, it was time to call in FEMA and start making excuses for next week’s loss . . I mean game (I mean loss) against the Bills. And then the thought ran through my head . . .

Waddle is tearing it up! 

Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle is so good, it doesn’t seem possible that he’s ours. He wasn’t our first choice, which makes the fact he’s ours that much sweeter. Anyways, that’s not why I was so excited about the game Waddle was having in Baltimore. Nope. I was pumped because he’s on my fantasy league team. I knew it wasn’t right to feel so good about a loss, but hey! It’s the kid’s fault!

That groan you just heard is Vince Lombardi crapping in his dead pants.

Tua Tagovailoa, Miami Dolphins: How to fix your NFL quarterback.

Heading to the fourth quarter, Miami found itself trailing by twenty-one points with Tua Tagovailoa at the helm. Now don’t get me wrong, this Tua fellow is an outstanding individual by all accounts. But here’s the thing. I don’t want my quarterback to be an exemplary individual with scruples for miles. I want my quarterback to be an asshole. Which is why I was coo when we tried to bandito Tom Brady. You put that dude in a phone booth at winning time and go pend your patent.

Heading into Year Three of Tua, the Dolphins have been just fine. Sort of the way a Buick or a hand-knit sweater vest or Nilla Wafers are just fine. It doesn’t help when Justin Herbert- the guy we passed on in the draft- is the best QB not named Mahomes or Kelly . . . even with fractured ribs. Miami’s Coulda Closet of QB’s includes everyone from Herbert to Brady to Watson. Even Baker Fucking Mayfield snuck into our rumor pile for a minute, and he’s more Mickey Spillane character than franchise quarterback.

As for the game, it was the fates complying as Miami ran their dime store offense down the field for a less than giddy yup to make it Baltimore 35 Miami 21 with enough time left for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens to hang a Fifty Burger on the board. I was okay with my team having thrown a punch, I was more okay with Waddle leading my make believe team to the promised land.

And then . . . Baltimore 35 Miami 28.

A career best four touchdown passes for Tua and now my (real) team was counter punching the hell out of a lost afternoon. And then they had the ball back yet again, and im had decided to amscray from the possible. But no . . . of course not . . because there was plenty of time left for us to fuck it up in some Hitchcockian horror story . . . hold on . . what?

Baltimore 35 Miami 35.

When Justin Tucker hit a bomb to give the Ravens a three point lead, I breathed a sigh of relief because I hadn’t actually lost consciousness after all. But I wasn’t expecting what came next to, yanno . . come next. In fact, if I had to make a top five list of shit that I thought was going to happen in Baltimore on Sunday afternoon, it would have gone like this.

1) Giselle purchases the Dolphins and announces that Tom Brady will never get to visit.
2) Lamar Jackson scores on a 101 yard run. Which isn’t even possible.
3) Miami HC Mike McDaniel is arrested for stealing actor Jamie Kennedy’s identity.
4) Jimmy Hoffa’s remains are found in the end zone. By Geraldo.
5) Anything other than . . . .

Miami 42 Baltimore 35 . . with Waddle cradling the go ahead score for my real team and my make believe team.

Both!

From the ashes to the top of the heap in fifteen minutes and somewhere, Warhol was smiling. When it went final, I was left to wonder how they’re going to break my heart before the dealing’s done. Maybe the wake up call is next week when they take on a Bills team that is playing as if they stole Superman’s identity.

And I don’t care, because I will be Sebastian to their Mia(mi) if they’re going to be this damned interesting.

Mike McDaniel's path to Dolphins started with a lost hat

The new football boss Mike McDaniel wasn’t our first choice either. And the Boy Genius circa Yale University and the NFC Champion 49ers would say fuck it if you asked him how much that matters right now. No, seriously. That was the play he called with the Dolphins down seven late in the game. The “Fuck It” play was actually in the playbook, and it called for all offensive personnel to line up on one side so’s Tyreek Hill could win his matchup on the other.

Who knows? Maybe Miami hot-wired a road trip from Miami proper to January. Because none of these dudes was at the top of our wish list and yet, they dollar billed a penny opera ending into the kind of comeback dub that just might have playoff games calling on the back nine.

Jesus, this feels like a heist film penned by Zack Syder: Tua as the afterthought point man and Waddle as the chip on his shoulder weapons expert. McDaniel is the wanna be white rapper whose side hustle as a safecracker allows him the chance to strike it rich. And they’ll have to go through the mafia in Buffalo, the syndicate in Kansas City and maybe even that hot shot gunslinger on the left coast if they want to get to the desert. You can’t tell me Hollywood wouldn’t dig that script.

I’m liking it my damn self.

The Rundown

Anthony Varvaro, former MLB pitcher killed en route to work 9/11 post, was a hero to Staten Island - silive.com

Another week, another holler.

This week has me attempting to fuse some ELO blue sky to the Monk’s midnight indigo, which is what happens every time my brain returns from its Hoboken getaway. All the same, Imma be righteous in my rundown of the things that scratched my lottery winning itch, in an extra credit kind of way. Think amble with a James Brown chaser and you’re onto something.

The above capture is my Heroes of the Week! hat tip to a young man who was taken from us much too soon. Anthony Varvaro lived the kind of life Pete Hamill used to write into classic love letters about the human condition. The thirty-seven year old worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; this after having lived a major league dream across three cities and six seasons. He was a relief pitcher for the Mariners, Braves and Red Sox in his other life, a champion in the one that followed.

His arm carried him from St. John’s University to the Show, after which he cashed in his chips to make the kind of difference our better angels get fat on. Varvaro was killed in a car crash on his way to work at the September 11th memorial ceremony in Manhattan. As if the day hasn’t taken enough, it took one more.

His was a short lived gift to those of us who want the good stories to matter more than all the rest. Because while his book went short, his chapters prevailed upon us with passages that stick. We will remember how he devoted his life to the service of others. And how his dreams were of a better world for this generation and all the ones to follow. His method involved that most time tested blueprint for big dreams: One that requires rolled up sleeves, a humble heart and a soul with a full tank. And I like to imagine Varvaro is stretching his legs in the Milky Way right about now.

We were simply borrowing him.

Marco’s “Best Quote of the Week!” belongs to journeyman QB Geno Smith. The guy has called more places home than a long haul trucker. But he’s still one of only 1,696 men to earn an NFL paycheck, so he’s doing plenty right. And his quote after leading the Seattle Seahawks to a W on Monday Night Football is the kind of genius Oscar Wilde used to marry on the regular. I might have to put Geno on my fantasy league team for literary sake alone.

Aaron Judge belts 56th, 57th homers as Yankees beat Red Sox

I had to Judge it for a third week in a row here at the Rundown, seeing as how Kyrie Irving scored two straight buckets worth of episodes back when we were doing our bi-ness as Heroes . As interesting as I find that knucklehead, I’m in the market for a new King. There’s a dude who is currently working at 161st Street in the Bronx who fits this bill, to the tune of 57 Big Macs with plenty of menu left to be read. 61 ties Aaron Judge with Yankees legend Roger Maris while 62 paves a new parking space in Yankees- and MLB- lore. This is page turning stuff, especially considering he’s also hot on the heels of a Triple Crown season. So now the question becomes, can Judge make it four straight appearances next week on the Rundown?

Stay tuned . . . .

House of the Dragon: Aegon's Catspaw Dagger Is Even More Important Than We Thought - IGN

I wasn’t gonna do it until I did it. No, no, no . . I’m not talking about some primo OG Kush. In this instance, I’m talking about the newest Game of Thrones remedy now streaming on HBO. The storyline in House of the Dragon is a couple hundred years in the rear view of the seven kingdoms of GOT, and it follows the Targaryen dynasty into all manner of debauchery and dragons. The cast is Valyrian steel and the story turns my page just fine, because it ain’t surfing on the coattails of the show that made it go.

It’s how you prequel.

Where to watch the late Queen's funeral in London: best viewing points and public screens

Queen Elizabeth’s passing last week at the age of ninety-six at Balmoral Castle in the UK marked the end of an era. And what an era it was. Her seventy years on the throne marks the longest reign of any British monarch ever and the only one most of us have ever known. She was Queen for 15 British Prime Ministers, which means she met with the sublime of Winston Churchill to the ridiculous of Boris Johnson. She wasn’t a policy maker, but she was in the loop on all things England.

A thirty-eight minute cortege on Wednesday saw the Queen’s coffin travel from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall. The unease of that crown, even in an age where the weight is mostly symbolic in nature, now passes to the son, King Charles III.

Uvalde High School Teams Wins First Football Game Since Shooting

The Uvalde High School football team is 2-0 after winning its home opener 34-28 in a come from behind thriller last weekend. For this small Texas town with a population of 16,000, good outcomes are hard earned these days.

Uvalde was the scene of an unimaginable horror on May 24 when twenty-one people- nineteen students and two teachers- were gunned down at Robb Elementary School. The students lost in the rampage ranged in age from 9 to 11 years old. And just writing that sentence makes my hands shake.

The Coyotes winning a couple of football games inside the first breaths of autumn doesn’t change what came before. But for a night, it was something good happening inside an age where madness wins too far too often. It was a coming together for all the right reasons. It was kids being able to be, well . . kids. It was smiles and cheers and hugs and it was knowing. Knowing how important it is for the living to tell the stories of those twenty-one souls whose tomorrows never came. And maybe it’s more important than we know, to tell those stories until our lights no longer shine.

I have to wonder if maybe, just maybe, there was something happening from somewhere else to here when the Uvalde high school team won its first game of the season at the end of August by a score of twenty-one to thirteen. You can chalk those twenty-one points up to coincidence if you like.

I never will.

 

 

In The Year of Monsters and Saints

This element opens a lightbox image gallery - A large plaque in Memorial Hall reads, “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.” The quote from Virgil’s epic poem The Aeneid is surrounded by 2,983 individual blue tiles that comprise "Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning,” an installation by Spencer Finch. Every square is a unique shade of blue, reflecting the artist's attempt to remember the color of the sky on the morning of 9/11 and commemorating the victims of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993.

We all remember it differently.

Every single one of us who lived through September 11th carries a unique recollection of that day and the days that followed. Every story is written as a solo act, a voice in spotlighted thought fueled by the intensely personal effects that comprise our individual memories. These fingerprints lifted from our brains get pressed into the stories that breathe life back into the moments long since gone.

The artist Spencer Fitch solved the muddled enterprise of our collective brains on that Tuesday morning by creating a mosaic of cascading tiles whose possibilities run the gamut; from the heavens promised in those hours before hell was unleashed to the fear and hopelessness we walked through once the moments began spiraling into a murderous opera. He was commissioned by The National September 11 Memorial Museum and his work is comprised of 2,983 sheets of Fabriano Italian paper representing the victims of the 2001 and 1993 World Trade Center attacks.

So many of the stories we summon from that day begin with the prelude of a masterpiece playing out in the skies above. The sweeping plains danced cloudless as we went about our daily routines while monsters set about in stealth to rob us of the tomorrows we were busy taking for granted. Fitch’s testimonial reminds us that the sky didn’t belong to a single shade of blue on that morning but to a roaming blush of forever in its keep.

His work is titled Trying To Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning and it speaks to our collective remembrance of a day we will never forget. In the year of monsters and saints, these tiles belong to the heavens and to the hell and to all of the in between. It’s the sculpture of wounds that never heal and resiliency that never quits. It speaks to stars that were undermined by monsters and to the light provided by all the many saints who rushed in to steal what was left of us back from the darkness.

These tiles behave in much the same way as our memories; each one of them spilling its resonance into a dimensionality that remembers it all so differently and so very much the same. Each time we think back on the spiraling hours of that morning, we do so with the understanding that our lives belong to the quiet anarchy of the fates.

Twenty-one years does not change a thing for those of us who remember the day. Our faces still get flush with rain as we recall those shipwrecks in the sky. We still lose our breath as we share the memories of a day that ran away from us before it could find its legs. We still wince at how it was all replaced by a menacing eve whose midnight stirred inside of us like vespers dipped in mercury. We tell the stories of a sky transformed and the fall that went stillborn as the winter feasted. And it still feels as if the spring will never come as we get lost inside those moments all over again.

In my mind, I can feel the serene embrace of that plush roam of a sky that wrapped itself around us before getting lost to madness. When I close my eyes, I’m walking inside the morning that arrived too early and left too soon. And when I tell the stories of that day and month and year, I still mourn all the things we lost in the fire.

In the year of monsters and saints.

The “Catch ’22” NFL Season Preview (See what I did there?)

The Funniest & Most Awkward NFL Photos Ever Taken

Another NFL season is going longhand, so Imma provide some expert analysis on what to expect. And before you give me shit for calling myself an NFL expert, have you watched a football talk show recently? It’s like watching kindergartners recite Macbeth, only much less adorable.

When thinking up ideas for this post, I tossed with sharing my fantasy football experience. But you guys don’t want any part of that and neither do I. And I figure it makes little sense to prognosticate on the pigskin when my football knowledge can fit into Bethany Frankel’s bikini. Instead, I’ll stream the consciousness out of this fucker and hope for the best.

Let’s hit it! . . .

The Rams Super Bowl win in Los Angeles was the second time in as many years that a team hoisted the Lombardi trophy in its own stadium, with Tom Brady and the Bucs having turned the trick the season prior. In the first fifty-four years of the big game, not a single home team won it in their crib. So thank God for the Cardinals, who will return us to the old normal since they ain’t getting close to Glendale in February without tickets. If you have a beef with my expert opinion, please lodge your complaint here.

The Creme de la Creme of the league this year? Imma give you the top five:

Buffalo Bills: In a couple months, the temps in Orchard Park will be colder than Melania Trump’s diary, so for the love of all things Scott Norwood, let these people dream!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: For exactly nineteen seconds, I was actually feeling sorry for Tom Brady, what with all that unhappy wife goss that’s been harshing his football mellow? But then I realized that feeling sorry for Tom Brady is a bigger sin than watching a Netflix reality show on Sunday.

Green Bay Packers: Aaron Rodgers is the smartest guy in the room. According to Aaron Rodgers. But he’s a great player and he’s the QB on my fantasy league team so I’m rooting for the dude.

Kansas City Chiefs: We’re looking at a solid decade’s worth of the Chiefs being in the title conversation with Mahomes under center. You’ll know their window has closed when he starts going bald. Which will be a depressing day in Kansas City, and for men everywhere.

Los Angeles Rams: Outside of Cincinnati, I’m hard pressed to find someone who hates these guys. If they win it again, that’ll change.

So now that I’ve got the top five Vegas favorites accounted for, I think you would probably sleep like a baby if you were to place a wager on the sixth highest ranked club. Because the Los Angeles Chargers are my choice to win it all in the desert next February. I utilized the Porpoiserean Theorem in order to reach this conclusion.

It goes like this . . .

a

The Miami Dolphins passed on Justin Herbert in the 2020 NFL Draft, allowing the Chargers to grab him one pick later. In his first two seasons, Herbert has thrown for more yards and more touchdowns than any quarterback in NFL history. Of fucking course.

b

The Miami Dolphins have also swiped left on Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Joe Flacco since the turn of the millennium. Those guys have combined to win ten rings while the Dolphins were busy scheduling tee-times.

c

Being passed over by the Dolphins is the football gods way of saying “You’re welcome!”.

NFL Memes (@NFL_Memes) / Twitter

In the AFC, I expect the following to happen . . .

The Cincinnati Bengals were an offensive line away from winning it all last year thanks to Joe Burrow, but Super Bowl hangovers for the runners up is a thing and I know this to be true because I read the science. And they have a mosh pit of talented rivals to contend with in the Ravens, Jaguars, Raiders, Dolphins, Broncos and Colts. You know what happens in a mosh pit? Nothing good.

  • Did you know? . . .Drug lord Pablo Escobar built his own prison? Which sounds super impressive until you consider that the Cleveland Browns do that every season.
  • Did you also know? . . . The league produces “Super Bowl Champions” merch for both teams before the game is even played? Then they ship the losing team’s duds overseas. Which means that in some remote village on the other side of the world, they tell stories about the greatest football team of all the time . . the Buffalo Bills.
  • Oh, and here’s one more . . . Brett Favre’s first NFL completion was to himself.

Meanwhile, in the NFC . . .

Everyone is chatting up the Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers. Which means some other team is going to be representing the conference. The ‘some other team’ list is less inspiring than a QVC flash sale. We have the Eagles, Cardinals, Panthers, Saints, Vikings and Cowboys and If I’m being honest, I don’t see any of them making it to February.

The Cowboys bill themselves as ‘America’s Team’ which makes them the football equivalent of that MAGA hat. The Lions are like the EV people who insist that everyone has to be on board with them even though it makes little sense. The Falcons are too liberal and the Seahawks are too conservative . . . and I just won a bet that I could tuck politics into this post and get away with it. Woohoo!

Of course, no NFC representative means that Fox Sports will have to use a holographic roster for the Super Bowl. This could work out really well if they can get Rob Lowe to take a break from brushing his hair so he can play QB. Jamie Foxx as diva receiver feels totally right. Jeff Bridges as the ornery old coach trying to score that elusive ring before the lights go out?

Sold!

 

 

 

The Rundown

An aerial view of more than a dozen hot-air balloons preparing to launch

Wait a minute . . . it’s September?

I knew my pal Linds B was onto something when she complained that time wasn’t real! I betcha Elon Musk has something to do with the stolen minutes of a summer that feels as if it spent most of its time in the sauna. But since he’ll be President in six years, he’s already covering his tracks for the leadup so it’ll remain a mystery.

The above capture is courtesy of The Atlantic and it shows a hot-air balloon launch in Goreme Historical National Park in central Turkey. It brings to mind a quote from Seneca, whose philosophical witticisms would’ve scored him plenty of hot dates on today’s streaming banshees.

“There is no easy way from the earth to the stars”

Hunter S. Thompson approved that message.

Heat Miser & Snow Miser: The Year Without a Santa Claus - See the song and get the lyrics! (1974) - Click Americana

Is 45 still up to something? We are currently sitting on 2,123 days in which this guy has been up to something, so pardon me if I’m tuning him out this week. The thought of jumping back in with a rant about his do-si-do with the DOJ gives me indigestion. Or maybe it’s the McRib I still haven’t digested from 2014. It’s probably both.

In other political news . . .

  • Sarah Palin lost her bid for Alaska’s lone Congressional seat. Her political career may be history while Mary Peltola made history by becoming the first native Alaskan to serve as a lawmaker for the state. Some pundits say this may be a danger sign for the GOP but since these peeps change their minds like the weather, I’ll check back in five minutes.
  • Texas governor Greg Abbott has spent $13 million busing migrants to New York and Washington D.C.. Lemme see if I have this right. He’s spending dollars on the penny to provide free transportation to peeps who were not likely to stay in Texas anyway. And that’s not a ‘big government’ move?

What Is Aaron Judge Worth? - SI Kids: Sports News for Kids, Kids Games and More

Aaron Judge is sitting on 51 home runs with a month’s worth of baseball yet to be played. The goal is 61 or better and regardless of whether he crosses that majestic threshold, all Judge really needs to concern himself with is staying out of the doctor’s office. Because he’s going to a score an “I told you so!” contract, somewhere.

In sports . . .

  • Serena is giving US Open fans one final thrill before she exits stage left and . . .whatever. She’s just the latest all time great whose act has worn thin with this reporter. What? I have to play nice? Since when?
  • The Broncos will be paying incoming star QB Russell Wilson $165 million guaranteed. It’s interesting to note that two-time Super Bowl champion and Hall of Famer John Elway made $45 million over the course of his entire Broncos career.

Browns Fan & His Son Go Viral w/ 'F*** Them H**s' Sign in Support of Deshaun Watson

  • For those of you who think #MeToo is just bum rushing the male population into oblivion, check out this photograph. It shows an ass-hat father teaching his son all the wrong lessons. And he ain’t alone. Not by a longshot.
  • I checked out the podcast The Longest Game this week and if you’re a baseball fan, go there. It’s the story about how the Pawtucket Red Sox and Rochester Red Wings made history when they engaged in an epic eight and a half hour contest that went 33 innings and still stands as the longest professional baseball game ever played. If you love Norman Rockwell and W.P. Kinsella, you’ll be crushing.

Global Drought Could Impact More Than 75% of World Population by 2050: UN Report | Earth.Org

Hey man, I’m not that guy who screams “Holy Moses!” when it comes to all the many cracks in the foundation of Mother Earth. But with global droughts and dying rivers and lakes becoming ever more prevalent, Moses wouldn’t have had nearly as much luck parting the waters with his 5 iron. All this dry aging has contributed to something called “Zombie Ice”, where the undead ice becomes, in effect, a weapon of mass destruction in rising sea levels. Yikes.

Why Mikhail Gorbachev is a cautionary tale for the United States

Mikhail Gorbachev passed away this week at the age of 91, leaving behind a world he tried his best to change for the better.

He was 54 when he became the general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party in 1985, and it was apparent early on that his tenure would be a departure from previous Soviet rulers. His reforms won him acclaim here in the states but the reception in his own country was always much more complicated than that. And in the end, his vision went the way of all great dreams.

There just wasn’t enough time.

150,000 tomatoes were lost this week in an accident on Interstate 80 in Vacaville, California. A member of the California Highway Patrol said his team was playing ketchup for hours after a semi crashed into the median, leaving onlookers red faced. “Whether you call them to-may-toes or to-mah-toes, this is a crushing turn of events for pasta lovers everywhere.” All may not be lost however, as Dominoes is reportedly interested in purchasing the leftovers.

So You Want To Be An Outlaw: From The Archives

I was digging through the archives when I found this puppy from when I was blogging over at Drinks Well With Others and figured why not? Editors Note: I take zero responsibility in the event you were to use this post in the commission of a crime. But if said crime is successful and you wish to donate to my 2028 presidential run, let’s talk!

Wanted poster

The idea of being on the run is interesting as all get out when Harrison Ford is doing the running. Steve McQueen dressed it up just fine too, what with his super charged vehicles from a time when Motor City was the Roman Empire of kick ass growl.

Personally, I couldn’t pull it off. Being an outlaw and a cat owner are mutually exclusive undertakings. And besides, hygiene is a big deal with me. I’d go bat shit crazy wondering where- and more importantly, when my next shower was coming.

Most Americans would be outlaws (my opinion) if not for the obvious pitfalls that come with the job. While getting shot at makes you feel tough, this feeling is mitigated by the idea that yanno, you might actually get shot. And being arrested is an incredibly traumatic experience, even for those with plenty of experience- like pro athletes. If you survive the ordeal, there’s trial, prison and if you’re really lucky, a Walmart greeters job waiting for you on the other side.

This isn’t to say there aren’t some nice perks to being an outlaw. Like, you don’t have to floss, or take out the trash, or worry about bills. And you won’t have to sweat jury duty ever again. Although you might have to sweat a jury trial, which is just as painful.

Outlaw Do’s

-Punch A-Rod in the face
-Go Robin Hood . . in 5G
-Sleep with Kathy Griffin
-YouTube the hell out of yourself

If you really have your heart set on being an outlaw, go strong. High profile is preferable to hiding out in fleabag hotels, eating microwave pizza and ending up a blurb in the police log of your local paper. As a high profile outlaw, your ass is gazpacho when the fuzz catches up with you, but this is preferable to what your ass will become if you went to prison.

Outlaw Don’ts 

-Apologize for punching A-Rod
-Text. Outlaws don’t do anything that may involve an lol
-Eat ice cream. The frilly flavors, the spoons . . no
-Say ‘Woo hoo!’ or ‘Yee haw!’

Inside the living daylights, you’re going to have a fan base that would make the Dallas Cowboys envious since Americans love a rebel who gives the establishment a mucho gusto middle finger. Be forewarned, this love is short lived. On Monday you’re gonna be captivating. On Wednesday they’re gonna raise a toast to you . . and on Friday night? Let’s just say your name is gonna be all the rage nine months hence. But come Sunday morning, they’ll be saying “Why the fuck haven’t they killed this guy yet!?” Yes, your existence will be akin to a creme filled donut; loved into hate, precipitously like that.

Cars . . .

eleanor-shelby-gt500-1967-6

Minivans and electric cars need not apply. The great thing about being an outlaw is that if you don’t own a cool ride, you can just steal one. You’re an outlaw! Go American and you will go lead story on Fox News. While not the coolest network, it is the most watched. A few outlaw must haves include the Stingray Corvette, Pontiac Firebird or the baddest girl at the bad ass ball . . the ’67 Shelby GT 500. Giddy? Meet up.

Clothes . . .

No suit and tie. Remember, you’re a rebel. And besides, you don’t have time to waste at the dry cleaners. No bolo ties or cowboy hats since it makes you look like you’re trying too hard. No sneakers or baseball caps since it makes you look like you’re not trying hard enough. Go with long sleeved collared shirts, solid colors. Take it down a button or two since you don’t want to look like a Mormon but no more than that since you don’t want to look like Burt Reynolds either. Jeans are the best bet but slacks are plenty fine, as long as you don’t try Dockers, in which case you deserve to be shot.

Places you don’t want to be caught dead in . . .

-Outside the Today Show
-Fast food drive thru’s
-Applebees
-A Mets game
-Any place that sells yogurt
-Build-A-Bear Workshop
-JC Penney (They sell Dockers)
-Chuck Norris’s lunchbox

Places you want to be caught dead in . . .

A saloon is very Clint Eastwood. A garish Miami mansion is very Tony Montana. And if you’re delusional enough to believe you will have a choice in where the Feds are going to cap your ass, read on.

Your best bet is a movie theater. Dillinger was the Rembrandt of fugitives, he just knew. Make your final destination an Art Deco joint, not one of those big box movie malls. As far as movie fare is concerned, Westerns and documentaries work just fine. No shoot ’em ups or car chase flicks since that’s redundant. Romance is a great way to go out, as long as Nicholas Sparks didn’t write it and Vince Vaughn didn’t star in it.

Well, that’s it. Best of luck to you when the rubber hits the road. And remember, you’re not alone in this. Even though you really, really are. Unless you were able to recruit a sidekick, in which case . . . HIGH FIVE! And color me envious. Shit, I can’t even get my friends to help me move.

Godspeed.

The Rundown

Aaron Judge Hit 4 Home Runs in 2 Days to Break the Rookie Record

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge is sitting on 46 home runs for the season and his pursuit of the MLB single season record of 61 home runs in a season- set by Roger Maris in 1961- is still a thing. He would need to go on a hot streak to surpass Maris, but at least he’s not playing with Monopoly money the way Bonds, McGwire and Sosa did back in the Age of Bud. Judge has been the lone bright spot for the Bombers since the team woke up from its magic carpet ride last month and started playing like the Kansas City Royals. Those solid World Series prospects have taken a sad turn but at least Judge is still giving Bombers fans something to get excited about. And so what if all it means is that he’s auditioning for the Los Angeles Dodgers, it still counts.

This early edition of the Rundown will be the last episode of August and I pushed it up so as to provide an extra day with which to reply to any comments before I D.B. Cooper the hell out of town until next weekend. I’ll be back ‘live’ in September with more of the good, the blah and the gravy.

As for the last Rundown of summer, let’s get to it!

Biden signs massive climate and health care legislation | AP News

Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act this week. The bill aims to lower prescription drug costs, address global warming, raise taxes on billion dollar corporations, reduce the federal deficit and bring back the McDonalds fried apple pie. And okay, I made up that last one about Mickey D’s bringing back my favorite fast food item ever. Even if it is well past time.

The President called the sweeping bill a win for the American people and a loss for special interests. He also took a jab at Republicans by pointing out that not a single one crossed the aisle to side with him on this. Add to this a backdrop where Trump is divulging the names of the FBI agents who conducted the raid on his crib . . . while Liz Cheney attempts to steel Americans against the violent reprisals from Trump Nation during her concession speech in the Wyoming House seat race . . while DeSantis plays like Little Finger down in Tallahassee.

If you thought the mid-terms were going to be contentious before, just you wait . . .

Barbecue Pork Sandwich With Reese's Peanut Butter Cups Goes Viral

Marco’s Hell No! of the week goes to the Kansas City Royals, whose horrid performance on the field has seeped into their concessions now. The above menu item was rolled out by the team and while I am down for the mad science of menu mashups, this creation has frenched my fries.

The new BBQ Reese’s sandwich starts with pulled pork being strangled in a bath of barbecue sauce (Strike one!), followed by bacon bits (Strike two!) and finished, literally, with crumbled Reese’s peanut butter cups (You’re out!).

Keanon Lowe, Oregon coach, takes gun, hugs would-be shooter in video

Let’s hope Disney is gonna make good on its plans to make a movie about Keanon Lowe’s heroic efforts to thwart a school shooting back in 2019. Parkrose High School student Angel Diaz had grown so despondent that he intended to shoot himself in front of his classmates. And if you’re of the opinion that compassion has gone out of style, check out this simple exchange that helped prevent a tragedy that day.

“Nobody cares about me,” A sobbing Angel Diaz told Lowe.

“I care about you,” Lowe told him. “That’s why I’m here. I’m here to save you. I got you, buddy.”

Lowe lost his job at Parkrose in the year of Covid, but ever the survivor, he’s bounced back just fine; he wrote a book and he’s currently working on Scott Frost’s Nebraska Cornhuskers staff. His story is one that needs to get told and shared and remembered. Get this done Disney!

Sarah Palin is back? Well, in typical Palin fashion, she’s kind of maybe sort of almost but not entirely back. She’ll be taking part in a special election in her bid to nab Alaska’s one House seat, and if you ask me, I’ve missed Tina Fey so I’m kinda torn on this whole thing.

I’ve included a multiple choice quiz for the occasion. All you have to do is pick out the Sarah Palin gem from the four possible choices below. Good luck!

A) “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a nuke is a good guy with a nuke”.
B) “‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!’
C) “Polls? Nah . . . They’re for strippers and cross-country skiers,”
D) “Only dead fish go with the flow,”

The answer of course, is all of them.

Two large bears interact in an open-air enclosure.

Marco’s Hell Yes! of the week goes to the good people of Kyiv who are saving bears in the war-torn region of Ukraine. Natalia Popova and the animal protection organization UA Animals have already sent 200 of these magnificent creatures abroad while relocating 100 more west of the city. I’ll leave it to the writer and naturalist Henry Beston to ride this baby home.

The creatures with whom we share the planet and whom, in our arrogance, we wrongly patronize for being lesser forms, they are not brethren, they are not underlings, they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the Earth.

Ship salvagers find message in bottle, return it to family of late son

Brian Dahl was eleven years old when he wrote a letter to the future. The sixth-grader from Oxford, Mississippi had mailed the letter inside a bottle as part of a class project. It was during a field trip that the kids launched their words and thoughts into the Talahatchie River. Brian remembered to say “Please” and “Thank you” to the recipient of his message in a bottle back in 1989.

Fast forward to 2022 when Billy Mitchell, a salvage worker in Vicksburg, some 200 miles north of Oxford, happened upon Brian’s message wrapped in a green bottle.  “I always look for stuff that’s unique — driftwood or anything . .” Little did he know that his find would turn into a lot more than anything.

Mitchell and his boss Brad Babb got to work in an attempt to find the author. They had their work cut out for them. Most of the letter had been destroyed so they reconstructed the remaining life in it with precious care: They stayed after work and they called local school districts and then they posted an image of the message and its contents on the company’s Facebook page.

That’s how the Dahl family was reunited with their son Brian, who passed away at the age of 29. Eric, wife Melanie and son Chris made the trek to Vicksburg to meet the people who had discovered the thirty-three year old message. And then Brian’s family shared stories of the man they knew with the people who had re-introduced them to the boy they loved.

A special meeting of new friends, made possible by a boy with a huge heart. One last hello, delivered from the grasp of oblivion to the future he never got to see but one he most certainly has touched, with words that never stopped breathing and a love that never stopped swimming. Billy Mitchell believes the note is proof that Brian is still here, keeping watch.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

 

 

We Never See It Coming

Back in the last breaths of the twentieth century, America met its future self.

The idea hit me like a Ball-peen hammer in a Mary Jane roll as I watched a documentary called Trainwreck: Woodstock ’99 on Netflix recently. It’s a three-part saga/doc/horror story about the failed third installment of the Woodstock Music Festival which took place in late summer of 1999.

The monster-piece theater known as Woodstock ’99 was supposed to be the generational equivalent of its predecessor. I guess? The original had served as graduation day for baby boomers intent on leaving behind a decade of tumult with three days of peace, love and a hard pass on hygiene. For one long, glorious weekend in 1969, America’s youth were able to zeitgeist the fuck out of their generational identity, with a residual patina that only grew more iconic with each passing decade. The fraternal order of long-haired freaky people shed their fringe at that musical binge. By the ’80’s, their mainstream was showing as the counter culture that once took on the establishment, became them.

There are times when history should be accorded a fresh coat of paint, and on the face of it, a Woodstock concert to close out the millennium was inspired.  Problem was, it was toting thirty years worth of the devil’s own luck into a three day getaway in upstate New York. The other problem was that it wasn’t held inside the plush rolling hills of a small farm but on fields of concrete that belonged to a former Air Force Base, in 100 degree temps. Oh, and it featured a bottomless cup of rage music. And did I mention how only months earlier, America had entered the Columbine Era, where all life’s problems are solved with threats and violence?

It begged the question: What could go right?

Michael Lang’s attempt to make America groovy again was nothing more than a shell game, selling sunlight in the middle of summer. It was obvious the man had long since traded in his bellbottoms for the bottom line of a wholly corporate venture dressed in great music. He got lucky the first time around, when a peaceful storming of the gates forced him to turn Woodstock into a free concert on the fly. And while he got soaked in the moment, he recouped his money and then some over time as a result of the legendary festival.

By 1994, Lang was ready to cash in on the Woodstock franchise by sticking a price tag on everything. His cash grab got some play in the national newspapers but Woodstock ’94 was by most accounts, a huge success. This gave Lang and his pals all the springboard they would need for a trilogy in Rome, New York.

The attendees of Woodstock ’99, along with the generation it represented, are approaching middle age now. And from the looks of it, they’re carrying the souvenirs of Rome with them. Because there is a huge segment of their population that is every bit as pissed off and disconnected as they were almost a quarter of a century ago. And what’s worse, they’ve got friends of every age, race, color, creed and political affiliation.

They exist inside an age where debate and dialogue have been replaced with vitriolic shouting matches. Consensus has been lost to the cult of personality, where each side has been conned into believing in hashtags and celebrity politicians at the expense of unity. Rights are no longer a dynamic of commonality but rather, a con perpetrated by special interest groups and power hungry individuals. Movements have become branded efforts, devoid of soul and compassion.

We never saw it coming back when Rome was burning in that Air Force parking lot inside the last breaths of the millennium. We never imagined our allegiances could become so fractured, but that’s what happens when a nation stops taking on the challenges to its union collectively and starts taking sides instead.

Fast forward to the present, where the vacuum at the highest reaches of our political system has led to a disgraced ruler who hangs on to his power through fear while his opponents stumble in spite of the huge target he has provided them. He wins his crowd over with raging anthems while enraging his opponents into a lather until the whole damn country is one big mosh pit.

His place in the national consciousness is either portent for another implausible run or the blueprint for some future candidate who also doesn’t give a fig about democracy. Because if we keep barreling down this highway, sooner or later that seat in the high castle is going to be compromised to such a degree that all the Founding Fathers won’t be able to put it back together again.

It’s how Rome fell.

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