WestFest All Ireland Donkey Derby Trash

Okay, our prickly friend out in the desert claims that he can’t put up the trash thread this weekend. Something about work (uh-huh) and an invitation to go tailgating (more believable). And I’m thrilled to get the opportunity, because this weekend features one of the most awesome sporting events of all time, the long-awaited appearance of Lynch’s Gang in the WestFest All Ireland Donkey Derby. Behold the greatness:

[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8N_-sVnyWCc’]

We bring you nothing but the best here at Emptywheel. And with our head blogger holding dual citizenship in the US and Ireland, how can we not bring you a YouTube featuring a live donkey inside an Irish bar with a drunk Irishman hugging the donkey while shouting incoherently? Almost as good as “With a Neck Like a Jockey’s Bollocks” Trash. I am forever indebted to Iona Craig for tweeting a link to this video earlier in the week.

I can guarantee you that my Gators will not embarrass themselves with another loss this weekend. They have a bye this week and definitely need time to regroup after their horrible outing against Miami. I have no idea how Will Muschamp has taken an offensive coordinator (Brent Pease) who was among the best in the country when he was with the Smurf Team and got him to produce an offense that is a predictable yawner that never puts downfield pressure on the defense. Maybe we’ll get lucky and Texas will dangle big bucks to bring Muschamp back to Austin after they fire Mack Brown.

Among the teams without byes this week, the premier game is Alabama visiting Texas A&M with some revenge on their minds. Johnny Football had quite the off-season and got himself the huge slap on the wrists from the NCAA of missing the first half of the first game after he was caught signing thousands of items for sports memorabilia vendors. But that puts Johnny in the family mold; it turns out that he comes from a multi-generational family of grifters. Somehow, with credentials like that, you have to expect that he and Sarah Palin will team up at some time in the future.

But when the game gets started, I don’t expect it to be nearly as close as the pundits are predicting. A&M has put up pitiful numbers for their defense so far this year, giving up tons of yards and points to mediocre opponents. ‘Bama’s offensive line struggled a bit against VaTech, but don’t look for the Aggies to provide any resistance to Bama’s run game. Heck, Bama will also complete some long passes, so look for this game to pretty much over by halftime.

Elsewhere, Marcy’s Wolvereenies have Zip (that’s an Akron joke) for competition, so don’t bother watching that one.The game bmaz will be attending could be pretty good, with his Forkers taking on a B1G Badger team. That should be a very close and entertaining game. Look for the Forkers to pull it out late. And even though we SEC types get roundly criticized in these here parts for scheduling cupcake teams early in the season, I would be remiss not to point out that Peterr’s Fightin’ Journalists are whopping 30 and a half point favorites over Western Michigan.

And now some words from the head blogger:

Apparently Jim and bmaz figured they’d make me write the Old-and-Pro part of this post just to make me write about what a horrid display was put on last night by the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets versus Tom Brady and one 5’9″ receiver, Julian Edelman. I mean, sure, there were other receivers suited up for the Pats, but they mostly just dropped the ball. Over and over and over. Thankfully, the Pats D is not so bad as it has been of late, and they were able to hold off an improving Geno Smith (who threw 3 picks, but at least, unlike Sanchez’, they were mostly pretty, albeit underthrown, picks) for an ugly win.

Speaking of D, that’s what the game between my Kitties and bmaz’s Cardinals is going to be about. Because both teams have had great D of late, both teams now feature a decent QB with an elite receiver (though Spidey Fitz has an ouchy hammy). It’ll just be a question of which team gets to the QB more. Ultimately, though, I’m gonna predict a Kittie win in the desert, based on Reggie Bush (who had a better game than Adrian Peterson last week). It’s not just me who noted how much Bush improves the Kitties: the best all purpose back ever thinks the Kitties could win the NFC North if he stays healthy.

Elsewhere in the NFC West, this year’s most watched rivalry kicks off between the Niners and the Squawks. I love watching both of these teams. But I’m gonna pick the Niners — not because Kap will play better than Wilson, not because their D will out-hit the Squawk’s D, but because Niners have already figured out that you win with Anquan Boldin.

Which brings us finally to the game of the week, Manning Bowl in the Meadowlands. A guy who tied an NFL record for TD passes last week (yeah, I still think he’ll look noodle-armed by the end of the year) against a guy who looked like shit (but almost pulled out a win anyway). If this game were later in the year — and Jason Pierre Paul had more time to heal and Peyton’s arm had more time to burn out — I’d give it to the home team. But not this weekend. Eek. Peyton for the win.

70 replies
  1. rosalind says:

    thank you, jim, for making me re-live a traumatic childhood memory. as we weren’t allowed to have normal pets one of our first was…a donkey. a donkey who one day decided my long blonde hair looked like hay, so what the hey, and started chomping away. i had to jump through the window of our old 55 Chevy to make my escape.

    and go Niners!!

  2. scribe says:

    The real reason BMAz is chapped and doubtless looking for the keys to the likker cabinet, a road trip, or both, is that, per The 506 and King Roger the Clown’s Scheduling Knaves, he’s blacked out for the Manning Bowl.

    I have substantial concern about my Stillers and do not expect a win against Cincy. If nothing else, look for Silverback Harrison to take out his anger – something he carries in abundance – not by letting King Roger burn without pissing on him, but rather to beat up on the team that gave him the back of its hand last spring. The Stillers’ O-line bears a striking resemblence to my kitchen sieve and that was before Pouncey got his annual injury out of the way last week with a blown-out knee that will sideline him. The Stillers’ D is similarly hobbled by injury.

  3. emptywheel says:

    @scribe: You know, I was gonna dedicate a paragraph to that game. While I still expect the Ravens to be strong this year, I suspect this game will mark a changing of the guards in the AFC N, bc the Stillers are poised for a no-good season. And I hadn’t even thought about Silverback.

    Luckily, you’re pretty reliable to do it yourself.

  4. Bay State Librul says:

    Charlie Pierce’s way with words

    “The New England Patriots and New York Jets perpetrated a football game last night that gave me post-concussion syndrome because I kept banging my head on the coffee table to stay awake. Giving Tom Brady this receiving corps is like handing Van Cliburn a fking band-saw. But the Jets? Oh dear, do the Jets ever suck”

  5. Bay State Librul says:


    Do you think the Yankees will be dealt the “Wild Card”

    The hunt continues…..

    “The Yankees are the true wild cards of the five-team scrum for one remaining playoff spot in the junior circuit. We know that the Red Sox, Tigers, A’s, and Rangers are going to be in the playoffs. We are pretty sure that the amazing Red Sox are going to have home field throughout October. We know that one wild-card team will be the second-place team in the AL West — either Oakland or (probably) Texas. That leaves Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Kansas City, and You Know Who as the fifth and final team” Dan Shaughnessy

  6. emptywheel says:

    @Bay State Librul: Any hints on where BillBel plans to come up with a third receiver? Even assuming Gronk comes back full strength, even assuming Amendola can stay healthy 50% of the time, you still need a third receiver to run this O (Edelman will be in slot for the 50% of the time Amendola is not healthy). What happened to Sudfeld (NewGronk)? When are these pre-pubescent kids going to learn to catch under pressure?

  7. Jim White says:

    @Bay State Librul: Uhm. No. It is not at all guaranteed that the second place AL West team gets the top (or even the second) wildcard slot. After last night’s games, the Rays are only one game back of the Rangers. The Rangers are hosting the red-hot West-leading A’s while the Rays are visiting a terrible Minnesota club whom they have now beaten for 10 straight games going back to last year. And on Monday, the Rangers come to St. Pete for a four game series with the Rays. There is a very good chance the Rays could extend the rapid decline the Rangers have shown and that both the Rays and Cleveland or New York could pass the Rangers, too, leaving them out of the postseason altogether.

  8. scribe says:

    @Bay State Librul:

    Do you think the Yankees will be dealt the “Wild Card”

    The hunt continues…..

    “The Yankees are the true wild cards of the five-team scrum for one remaining playoff spot in the junior circuit. … That leaves Baltimore, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Kansas City, and You Know Who as the fifth and final team” Dan Shaughnessy


    To quote Jeter, over a decade ago: “No. Not this team.”

    To be brief, they’ve tried really, really hard in the face of catastrophic injuries and Used Car Bud trying his damnedest to get A-Dog and run him out of the game and to break down the greatness of the Yankees. In the latter, he has been aided immeasurably by the greed of Randy Levine and lack of a winning spirit and killer instinct in the Heirs of Steinbrenner. That they are even in the playoff hunt is truly amazing. Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman deserve the credit for making the most of a bad situation.

    But, last night’s game sums it up: they gave up an early lead, struggled to tie (shortly thereafter I dozed off) and lost on a grand slam coughed up by the bullpen. In so doing, they lost a game to TB. They’ll come close, but the best they are likely to get is a one-game
    play-in, which they’ll lose in similar fashion.

    It’s a real shame to see Mariano and Pettite go out this way, but there it is.

  9. scribe says:

    @emptywheel: I dunno whether you meant that as a compliment, but I’ll consider it as such.

    The long and the short of the Stillers’ O is (a) their offensive coordinator sucks and, (b) they have had a long-standing problem with selecting, drafting, developing, maintaining and retaining their O-line. I don’t often take sides in little bitch-slap fights between players and coaches but, this time, I will: Ben’s right. This O-ccordinator is f’g clueless.

    As to the O-line, I’d like to say it’s the Rooneys’ fault, but I dunno how much day-to-day involvement they have with the team. They seem more interested in their gaming enterprises and occasionally trying to run for office. The O-line’s failures lie more strongly on Tomlin’s shoulders – he keeps the coach employed and he gets his say on who they pick, sign and play. The real danger to the team is not that Ben will get sacked, but rather that Ben will get hurt badly. Moreover, the years the Stillers piss away with a bad to mediocre O-line and, consequently, bad O are years off Ben’s career that cannot be recouped.

    That they keep picking RBs who fumble is just another disgusting feature.

    I’m not ready to go the full Fire Tomlin, but the O-line coach and the O-line evaluators need to be shaken up, and the O-coordinator probably needs to go.

  10. scribe says:

    @emptywheel: I told you, they picked up a journeyman TE named Mulligan last week. He was on the field. You musta thought I was playing on you with his name. Since I’m too cheap to have the No Fun League network, I didn’t see the game. But, this guy’s good enough to play in the league. If Biebs doesn’t give him a chance or doesn’t recognize the Skills Of Welker And Gronk are not universal, even in league-capable players, so Biebs better dial back his expectations (at least until they get a chance to come up to speed), we’ll see a lot more sideline scream-fests.

  11. bmaz says:

    @emptywheel: Donte Stallworth is very serviceable and he is just sitting around waiting for a call.

    I previously mentioned Plaxico, kind of as a joke. But seriously Plax or TO would be a hell of an improvement over what they got.

  12. JohnT says:

    B1G whatever and Pac 12

    I think UCLA v Nebraska is gonna be good. Brett Hundley is the real deal and I think Jim Mora found his place. The best team in SoCal cruises to a win

    THE Ohio State ex sweatervests v Cal, I think is gonna be competitive for the first half and maybe into the 4th quarter. The Bears finally (!!!) have a QB, in Jared Goff and good WR’s and RB’s, and the Bears have had a decent defense for awhile. Last year, in Columbus, it took a late 4th quarter scoring drive for the ex sweatervests to win 35-28. It’ll be closer than what the spread says (-16) and not because of the bay area scenery or any smoke that might be wafting down from Tightwad hill. I think it’ll be closer than people think because the Bears are better than people think they are

    Course I’m not a psychic and I might be totally wrong

  13. Peterr says:


    The Fighting Journalists have earned that pointspread, but putting the beatdown on two rather serious teams in weeks one and two, despite a number of key injuries to players who are now healthy.

  14. Peterr says:

    Here in KC, the Chefs are running a big commercial to get the town fired up about Sunday’s game when the Iggles come to town.

    It stars a fan at a tailgate in his red Chefs attire, standing over a barbeque grill (of course), proclaiming his pride in his team. Toward the end, a voice off-screen asks “What’s on the grill?”

    “Eagle” says the Chef, who then realizes this might sound bad, if not illegal. “But not a bald eagle! I’m a patriot.” He pauses, then realizes another potential problem. “But I’m not a New England Patriot . . .”

    No luck in finding video of it, but I’ll keep an eye out.

  15. scribe says:

    @bmaz: And I told you Plexiglas is (a) under contract to the Stillers and (b) on IR.

    TO, OTOH, is just sitting around running his mouth. If he’s keeping himself in game shape, maybe. But I doubt Cheatin’ Bill wants to take him back for another round.

  16. Bay State Librul says:


    The third receiver is Wes Welker?

    Boston Sports radio talk is abuzz with the conundrum… Brady throws right, rookie ends break left…
    Brady is pissed with himself, the rookies, and Patriot management for
    floating Welker cuz he pissed off BillyBoy…
    Brady will never admit it but he’s sending smoke signals to the world.
    They have ten days to pull of a coup….

  17. Bay State Librul says:

    @Jim White:
    True, I guess the schedule may favor the Rays. What’s up with
    Maddon, chopping on popcorn during the game with the Red Sox last week?
    It looked bizarre….

  18. Bay State Librul says:

    If you playing with the odds-makers, Tampa has a 72.1% chance of making the playoffs

    American League East

    Red Sox
    90 59 .569 97.5 64.5 100.0% 0.0% 100.0% 100.0% 13.3% 0.0% 0.0%
    Tampa Bay
    80 66 .558 88.9 73.1 0.0% 72.1% 72.1% 38.4% 4.4% 5.4% 5.1%
    New York
    79 69 .469 85.8 76.2 0.0% 11.9% 11.9% 5.1% 0.2% -4.8% 3.9%
    78 69 .506 85.1 76.9 0.0% 5.4% 5.4% 2.6% 0.2% 1.6% -6.5%
    Blue Jays
    67 80 .464 73.8 88.2 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 0.0% 0.0%

  19. Peterr says:

    @JohnT: That would be the defense that the Fighting Journalists hung 44 points on two weeks ago?

    I’m guessing OSU watched more than a bit of film from that game.

  20. Bay State Librul says:


    The end game from the Boston Globe

    •Kenbrell Thompkins is a work in progress. The rookie receiver needs time to get on the same page with Tom Brady, who has continued to throw the ball in his direction (17 targets) despite a number of mistakes in the first two games.

    •Aaron Dobson, who has played only one game, has the breakaway speed that the Patriots have been seeking since Randy Moss was kicked out of town. But he has the same issues as Thompkins, not consistently on the same page. He needs more time to develop chemistry. And as he admits himself, there are no excuses for his drops.

    •While we were concerned over the offensive line and the competition at right guard, the Patriots have picked right back up where they left in 2012 with the same starting quintet. Dan Connolly is back at right guard after fending off Marcus Cannon, who has been substituting in at tackle when the Patriots utilize Nate Solder as a blocking tight end. Which leads to another point …

    •As the team strings along week to week with Rob Gronkowski on the mend, it has managed to skate through the first two weeks of the season with Michael Hoomanawanui at tight end and Solder helping on occasion. Matthew Mulligan has also contributed. But it’s clear that the team doesn’t favor Hoomanawanui in the primary blocking tight end role when Solder and Cannon are both in the game. Mulligan, for his part, may not be completely up to speed with only a little more than a week on the roster.

    •Julian Edelman just may be the team’s top receiver in 2013. After two games, he has 20 catches on 27 targets. He was targeted 18 times on Thursday with Danny Amendola out of the mix and nine times in Week 1 alongside Amendola. Surely those targets will drop once both Amendola, reportedly out up to six weeks, and Rob Gronkowski return. But if Edelman can remain healthy, he could find himself shattering his contract incentives, reportedly earning an extra $250,000 if he has 70 or more receptions. He’s on pace for 160. Again, small sample size.

    •It took all of one week for Danny Amendola to miss some time after aggravating a groin injury. He has now missed 21 of 34 regular season games since 2011 with various injuries. According to a report by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, he could possibly miss five more games. We had wondered about Amendola’s durability. It didn’t take long for it to become an issue

  21. emptywheel says:

    @Bay State Librul: Argh. Not good.

    No mention of Sudfeld, either, who looked great in pre-season and could at least fill part of the hole left by Gronk until he’s back.

    But you cannot have a 5’9″ WR as your lead receiver (not even Wes) and expect to win in this league.

  22. bmaz says:

    For early slot, I can only watch Bolts/Iggles. For late game, only Cards/Kitties. No Manning Bowl, No Packers/Skins. Phoenix TV sucks.

  23. Bay State Librul says:

    Latest from Boston.com

    Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola has torn adductor muscles in his hip and has gotten conflicting reports from doctors as to whether or not he also has a sports hernia, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports is reporting.

    Amendola is seeking another opinion on the sports hernia today. If diagnosed with the injury, Amendola will need surgery and will be out three to four weeks. Amendola missed Thursday night’s win over the Jets due to injury. He appeared to suffer, or at least aggravate, his injury or injuries in a Week 1 victory over the Bills. Amendola had 10 receptions for 104 yards in the game

  24. rosalind says:

    w00t!!!! the US boat just won another America’s Cup race! they finally replaced their tactician who’d made one bonehead move after another with brit Ben Ainslie, made some tweaks to the boat, and have new life in the series.

    and to the naysayers bagging on the event, tell that to the ecstatic hotel operators & restaurant owners enjoying the cash infusion from tourists come in from all over the world for the event, as well as Bay Area peeps flocking down to the waterfront.

    and the Kiwis are one fun-loving, goofy bunch of folk who walk around proudly with plastic kiwi birds atop their heads.

  25. JohnT says:

    @rosalind: How long does it last? I mean, how many more weeks, or days?

    I wanna go down there for the races. But I’ll have to figure out where to park in the city, or use BART. I don’t know where in the east bay I’d have to drive to, to get on

  26. rosalind says:

    @JohnT: the Kiwi’s took the second race today, so they could actually wrap up the series on Tuesday. They only need two more wins. Race times are 1:15pm and 2:15pm.

    If you take BART over, get off at the first downtown Station then jump on the Streetcar (the stops are kind of in the middle of Market street) and take it down to the waterfront and get off near Pier 27/29. This is the America’s Cup Park, free to the public. Has exhibits, shops, food, bars, and video screens that will show the races. This side of the course will give you a good view of a lot of the racing, and the finish. You can find a spot along the waterfront to watch from.

    Or you can take the streecar farther down the waterfront to its last stop before it heads back downtown, and walk about 20 minutes to the Marina Green. This is where the America’s Cup Village is, also with food/beverages/shops and video screens. There is public viewing here all along the waterfront in front of the grandstands where ticketholders sit. If you really want exercise you walk farther west, loop around to the Yacht Clubs and continue on to the Jetty. From here you will get a fantastic view of the start, and the middle of the race. You won’t see much of the action of the right side of the course, or any of the finish.

    If by some miracle the US boat holds off the Kiwis on the Tuesday & Thursday races, there will be races again on Saturday & Sunday.

    Warning: due to the size and instability of the boats they have had to institute strict wind limits. So if the wind is too high for the conditions, the races can by called off at the last minute.


  27. emptywheel says:

    The bad news: Larry Fitz’ hammy is acting up so he’s not playing.

    The good news: cameras giving us close up on Larry Fitz’s butt.

  28. emptywheel says:

    @bmaz: Where was this enthusiastic bmaz when I noted the Cards beat the Pack in the pre-season?

    Arians man. Colts struggling. Cards coming together. Damn fine coach.

  29. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: When things really matter (as in, when money is involved), Bidwell’s birds get very tight. They have a long ingrained history in this.

  30. Peterr says:

    @bmaz: I believe we noted the same thing last night @39.

    But “I am dong”? You might want to improve your grammar, for the sake of your “work.”

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