End Of Year/New Year’s Bad Boy Trash Talk

It is yet another end of the year. On a weekend, that, with the New Year holiday, will stretch out. So this will likely be the Trash Talk post that takes us through all that.

Speaking of an end of the year compendium, do go read Alex Pareene’s on the Huff Po. It is pretty spectacular.

Before we get to football, let us get to some historical level of skiing by Mikaela Shiffrin. Lindsay Vonn, appropriately, has the love and attention of the public attuned to skiing, but Mikaela Shiffrin deserves the same amount. If not more. What she has done, and is doing, is beyond remarkable.

Mikaela Shiffrin became the most successful female slalom skier in the 52-year history of the World Cup by winning the final race of 2018 on Saturday.
Only Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark has won more World Cup slaloms. He claimed victory in 40 events between 1974 and 1987.

By winning Saturday, Shiffrin also became the first skier, male or female, to win 15 World Cup races in a calendar year, moving one victory past men’s overall champion Marcel Hirscher of Austria, who has won 14 times in 2018.

Ms. Shiffren is only 23. She has quite a game changing future ahead of her.

Give Ms. Shiffrin a little attention. These are world class and historical level feats she pulls off every day.

Back to football. The games come up as this – First, there are the critical BCS games: Notable to this blog, the Gators and Wolverines are about to tangle in the Chik-fil-A Peach Bowl. This is literally Marcy versus Jim thing, will either one of them weigh in?

Later, of course, are the BCS semi-final games. First up is Oklahoma versus Bama. Oklahoma has an offense that only a team like Alabama might contain. I think the Crimson Tide rolls on, but it is no given, because Kyler Murray is scary good. In the other semi-final, Clemson, who would have been a heavy favorite against a Notre Dame team that arguably should not even be here, has three players suspended at the last minute. The most prominent of which is on defense, Clemson’s offense will be okay. Is that enough? Probably, but if you want to bet an upset, this could be it.

Off to the pros: The Colts at Titans is literally a play in game. The winner goes to the playoffs and the loser goes home. Captain Andrew Luck seems healthier than Marcus Mariotta. It is really hard to discount the extremely plucky Titans. But the Colts seem to have found some magic in the second half of the season. So, against some instincts, I will take the Colts to win even in Tennessee, though I am no where near sure of that. The next most winner take it game is Bears at the Vikings. Bears trying to find a way to a first round bye, and Vikes looking to clinch a wild card spot in the playoffs. The Bears sure look like the better team at this moment, but it is in Minnesota, not Soldier Field, so this looks to be a really interesting tossup.

Raiders are at Chefs. Chucky had a nice little PR spot with that win over the Donkos on the MNF closer for the year, but it is pretty hard to see them winning in KC. Chargers at Broncos is a far harder call. The Bolts look to be a far better, and healthier, team right now. If the Iggles beat the Skins, and the Vikes lose to Da Bears, Nick Foles and the Eagles slip back into the playoffs, as improbable as it may be.

Lastly, and curiously, maybe most interesting, is the Brownies at the Ravens. The once Cleveland Browns versus the now Cleveland Browns. With the playoff hopes of the old Brownies,and now Ravens, on the line. This is simply precious. And, in case you have not been watching, Baker Mayfield and the Browns have been on a roll. This should be an incredible game, irrespective of how it plays out.

This post has music from some lads from Liverpool. Bad Boy is one of their more under appreciated tracks. Behave yourselves!

128 replies
      • BobCon says:

        I love how Patricia leans so heavily on his Belichick lineage, when BB was so serious about timeliness that he axed Terry Glenn for being late too often.

        I also can’t help but be amused by the pseudoscientific psychological testing teams make draftees go through, and yet they seem unable to screen for the most jarring personality defects in head coaches.

        Patricia is clearly unsuited for the demands of the job for many more reasons than the chronic lateness, but you know they would never have dreamed of asking him to go through even a minimal version of the screening done to draft prospects.

  1. Jockobadger says:

    bmaz – What about my beloved Huskies v. Ohio St? I’d feel a lot better about it if Coach Petersen would go with our best QB instead of J. Browning. I bet we win anyway.

    What about my Seahawks also?

    Pareene piece is great. My first lp was Revolver. Thanks much for curating the comments.


  2. Jenny says:

    bmaz – thank you.  Beatles are the BEST!!!  Thanks for recognizing Mikaela Shiffrin as the SUPERB skier she is.  Only 23 years old and so much more to ski.

    Happy New Year!!! 2019 Another Space Odyssey is just around the corner.  Keep your safety belts on.

    • bmaz says:

      Mikaela Shiffrin is just insanely good. People who really know skiing saw her coming long ago, but she has exceeded even that. It is astounding what she is consistently doing. She deserves all the accolades, and more.

      • Ken Muldrew says:

        If it wasn’t for Schiffrin, I would genuinely wonder if I might see another skier as good as Vonn in my lifetime. Let’s hope Schiffrin is able to avoid the killer knee injuries so common to ski racing.

  3. BobCon says:

    I’m glad Pareene included Bari Weiss because I get a laugh every time one of her members of “the intellectual dark web” says another moronic, racist, elitist, classist thing.

    Her job at the NY Times is just another example of how the management at the Times is the worst.To borrow a rephrasing, never have so few done so little with so much.

    • Jenny says:

      oldoilfieldhand – HeeHee.  The Galactic Federation is exempt from the Trump shutdown.  They are in a galaxy far far away – The Milky Way and ready to show up for the big event.  Get ready to party at the Cantina with some unique energy entities from the 5th Dimension.  May the Force Be with You.

      Aquarius – Let the Sunshine In https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPK7ZF6jfJE

  4. punaise says:

    As an East Bay resident (and mostly-boycotter of football due to concussions, domestic violence blind eye, college scandals, and Kaepernick’s treatment) I say:

    “Good riddance, Raiders.”


    The piece on restoring the French monarchy was just implausible enough to be amusing…

    • P J Evans says:

      I’ve been ignoring them since Al Davis moved them out of Oakland the first time. (I was also told by my parents about his prior behavior, basically stealing the team from Valle.)

  5. Charlie says:

    Hey bmaz, thanks for the memory. I was living and breathing Beatlemania when I heard this on a juke box in a Wimpy Bar where we northern lads and lasses hung out on a Saturday night back in ‘65.

    • bmaz says:

      The later multi layered sound they ended up so famous for was spectacular. But the original raw Beatles really was too, and I think it is too often neglected.

      • TooLoose LeTruck says:

        I agree w/ you completely about the early Beatles…

        (Btw… recent lurker, first time poster…)

        I read once that the Beatles recorded their first album in one session, no overdubbing, and the record was basically their stage set at that point…

        I also read that they did something like 1,400 performances in a 6 year period, which figures out to nearly 240 gigs a year.

        While I like listening to the later Beatles recordings, I prefer watching the earlier stuff… when you look at them in doing a song in Help, they’re all smiles and looking at each other… by the time they get to Abbey Road, they’re no longer smiling and they’ve turned their backs on each other…

        So many of the bands I used to follow – Allman Brothers, The Band, the Beatles – learned their craft touring endless, playing night after night in front of live audiences…



        • bmaz says:

          Very much so. I wish I had seen the Beatles, but never did, even as a kid. Have seen McCartney and Wings, Ringo and his All Starrs, and even Harrison once long ago. But never caught Lennon or the actual Beatles. And that will always be a hole that cannot be filled.

          Also, welcome to comments, and please join in often with us

          • TooLoose LeTruck says:

            Thank you both for the welcome and I will be back…

            I discovered Empty Wheel sometime in the last 2 months or so… I think someone commenting in a twitter thread I was reading linked to an article here so I came by to check the place out and I like it here…

            Very smart community of commenters!

  6. Bay State Librul says:

    Thank you for the Beatles.
    My wife bought me a book of the John Lennon stamps for Christmas.

      • Maximum says:

        Don’t know if John Lennon stamps are available at your local PO, but they ARE available at the USPS site on-line.  Hurry to order them, because the price for “Forever” stamps goes up from $.50 to $.55 in mid-January.  [You have to pay about $1 for delivery.]

  7. Rapier says:

    I live in Michigan but am but from the Chicago area so am a Bear fan and don’t care about college ball because I don’t care about ND. That said I try to support the Lions but they are cursed. For one brief moment this year, despite the horrendous opening game which was a sure give away that Patricia was a disaster, I thought the curse was broken, Not so. I suggest all Lions fans just cue up this game every Sunday and see the only great Lions game in most everyone’s lifetime. Barry getting 2000 yard and the Lions making the playoffs before 80 thousand in the Silverdome. It’s really worth watching beginning to end.(The player hurt late in the game, Reggie Brown, almost died on the field with spinal cord damage, but recovered to have full use of his limbs. Yes, permanent paralysis and death on the field are Lions things)
    As to the Bears I sense a win.

    • Eureka says:

      As to the Bears I sense a win.

      Music to my ears.

      4:25pm Sunday, It’s Football Time for PHILADELPHIA (as I invoke and reappropriate the ghost voice of John Ward).

  8. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Don’t care for the NFL because I am against the Department of Defense attempt to purchase patriotism. Inner city and rural youth from low income families are being slaughtered on the battlefield to provide an unending source of income for the MIC, and much more slowly on the football fields to provide distraction for the masses.

    Think the US government should tax the NCAA and require the Football for Profit Universities and Colleges to set up a fund to pay injured players a subsidy for life. Old football injuries do not heal, they metastasize into painful, lifelong, debilitating and in some cases crippling deficiencies.

    Also believe the same schools should be required to provide a fund equal to the amount paid to coaches, athletic directors and alumni fundraisers to be distributed equally among the players. After all, it’s a team effort, amirite?


  9. Watson says:

    The NBA has a well-established department for dispensing discipline, and a track record of penalizing hate speech (e.g. Joachim Noah, Kobe Bryant, and Rajon Rondo). It should have fined LeBron James for his offensive Instagram post and comments about Jews. Since it didn’t, LeBron should reconsider his protestations of innocence and pay a voluntary fine.

  10. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Lady in my life was a big LSU fan and Les Miles aficionado because her nephew was on the LSU Drum Line when the Tigers won the SEC and Nat’l Championships (He played the quints). I admit to admiring Les Miles, although I never was able to fully grasp his seeming inability to remember the number of time outs allotted per half or tell time on digital clocks.

    One Saturday during her “Don’t bother me, I’m watching the Tigers” time slot, I pointed out something to her that she and so many other collegiate football fans seem to consistently overlook, and it made an impression on her.

    First, look closely at the players on the field, then check out the fans in the grandstands. Notice any differences? Unless you’re watching Southern and Grambling play, the scarcity of black people in the stands compared to the majority of black people on the field (excluding coaches and referees of course) stands out in stark contrast. The same comparison is germane to collegiate basketball courts. Racism, inequality, college athletics for profit? You be the judge? But leave discussions of LeBron James to people who know him and those who have walked his path.

    • bmaz says:

      Sadly, this is not new. It has been a long while now, but when I was a kid, always went to ASU games, and went to the Suns very early. Later had Suns season tix back in their real heyday, both before, during and after Barkley. The arena, but for the floor where the players were, was almost all white. And that is something that truly sucks. I don’t know that it is racist so much as simply socio-economic (which conveys racism in its own right).

  11. Peterr says:

    I laughed my head off when I read about the inaugural First Responder Bowl. From Tom Ley at Deadspin:

    We all had this day circled on our calendars, because this is the day that Boston College and Boise State were set to meet in the big game—the one we’ve all been waiting for, the one that kept us awake last night: the First Responder Bowl. I regret to inform you that the First Responder Bowl has been canceled. . . .

    Click through for a hilarious recounting of the event via Twitter.

    • Kokuanani says:

      Ed, even more satisfying than boycotting the Irish was seeing them get pounded by Clemson.  I love Ireland, but hate ND.

      Kokuanani –>Mauimom

        • Kokuanani says:

          Yup. Kokuanani is the name of one of my [departed] dogs.

          PS, I just tried to leave you a message above about John Lennon stamps. You can get them at the USPS site.  Buy now because price for “Forever” stamps goes up from $.50 to $.55 in a couple of weeks.  You’ll pay an additional $1 for them to send them to you.

          • bmaz says:

            Was that the big furry black one? Got your response and ordered some Lennon stamps as well as some absolutely gorgeous Joshua Tree stamps. Thank you!

            • Kokuanani says:

              No, Kokuanani was the first of my four to die over the last three years.  The black furry one was Kela, who just died two weeks ago.  After 38 years of various numbers of chows, we now have none.

              • bmaz says:

                Ooof, very sorry to hear about that. Kiki is still with us, but is getting pretty slow at age 13. And does not necessarily enjoy the new Labradoodle pup we brought in the house. And the Doodle is the first non-Samoyed I/we have had in 35 years

  12. Eureka says:

    As long as it’s story time, would any of the Pats fans or Bradyphiles like to take a break from buffing their nails (strike that) tell me what Tom Brady eats/doesn’t eat? I heard he excludes nightshades to avoid inflammation. Has he shared more than that snippet of detail that gets repeated?

    • Alan says:

      He authored a book (which I haven’t read).


      He’s also said a lot in interviews, but I haven’t paid much attention cause he lost me on the nightshade part, so I’m not much help.  Google could probably find a lot.

      Some of his training methods have a lot of merit (like trying to keep muscles long and resilient), but some has none (like avoiding nightshade foods and trying to maintain an alkaline diet).

      • Eureka says:

        I think I heard the nightshade part in or subsequent to an interview he gave for the book- that’s the detail that got around.  Hadn’t heard the alkaline part.  I guess one could monitor test strips, or just eat lots of fruits and vegetables anyway (which I understand to be mainly how such folks get themselves to be ‘alkaline’).

        Thanks- I didn’t know if anyone had read the book and (so) had a gestalt of his approach to such things.

  13. P J Evans says:

    Brady might be one of those people who’s sensitive, if not actually allergic, to nightshades. I’ve heard of people who are. Full of alkaloids, those.

    • Alan says:

      > Brady might be one of those people who’s sensitive, if not actually allergic, to nightshades

      Possibly Brady is allergic or sensitive to some foods, but the idea of avoiding all nightshades is bunk.  I’m sensitive to many yeasts but you don’t hear me telling everyone to avoid all beer, wine, bread and cheese, and not eat fruit because it can have yeast growing on the skin.

      > Full of alkaloids, those.

      Not really.  Some can, but rarely the one’s we eat, the parts we eat, or the condition they are in when we eat them.  For example, tomato leaves and stems and unripe green tomatoes contain undesirable alkaloids, but a ripe tomato contains almost none.  Avoiding tomatoes in particular is just silly.  And there are many non-nightshade plants that contain alkaloids, such as some berries, but no one is trying to avoid them.

      P.S., Wash your fruit before you eat it, then by all means, please do enjoy.

      • Jockobadger says:

        Well, we all know Brady’s allergic to properly inflated footballs. At least us bitter ‘Hawks fans do, damn it. Kidding. He’s right up there with Bart Starr and the Snake.  Maybe on top, God h lp me.

  14. Willis Warren says:

    Since football is slightly less savage than conservative media, and since this is an open forum for shit talking, Dinesh is posting this “pedophile was the victim of disinformation” shit


    This is hilarious because conservatives are trying to argue that online disinformation campaigns can render elections illegitimate.  I’m fucking serious.


    • Eureka says:

      I’m so happy you posted this- I was on a Genesis (& Collins) kick a couple weeks ago and never got back this far.

      • punaise says:

        I pretty much fell off the Genesis bandwagon when Peter Gabriel left, but they did go on to greater commercial success with Collins.

        He was a top notch drummer – check out his frenetic jazz fudion work with Brand X.

        • quebecois says:

          Aisle of Plenty is a wonderful song.  Selling is a masterpiece,  Gabriel was the best kind of weirdo out there.  Bonne Année!  As for the Trash Talk part of this thread, Watched highlights of the whole F1 season.  Hamilton and Merc were quite good, Vettel and Ferrari screwed it up badly.  Here’s to another indifferent year in F1!


        • Eureka says:

          Thanks for the tip on Brand X- I will check it out. It was the hypnotic-y percussion I was after in my recent jag.  Sounds like this takes it to a different tempo/vibe.

          I always liked Gabriel as well (I used to play the flute), though lately was more into hearing e.g. Jeux Sans Frontieres.

          • punaise says:

            (previous reply disappeared into the void)

            A little bit of Brand X goes a long way. Check out Unorthodox Behavior…

              • Eureka says:

                That’s so funny- that was the title that caught my eyeballs on first search.  Listening again now; had started playing it yesterday and -especially in the middle- it sounded SanFran Bay area ish to me (which made no sense to me).  Now starting over with attention, building from the start.

                • punaise says:

                  so you picked up on that nuanced sampling of “Dock of the Bay” too?

                  Just kidding. I’ll have time give back and listen to it as well.

                    • Eureka says:

                      I enjoyed these both, punaise- and delightful is a great way to describe Cinema Show.

                      Understated is (also) the word- the usual image of Collins’ drumming is that part where he bangs out the end of In the Air Tonight (which I also like, but different).

                      Drums are such drivers… you can always spot a (distracted) drummer out in the publics by what their fingertips are tapping on a tabletop or their knees.  Or the phantom foot pedal(s), lol.

                      (and re 101a reply re Nuclear Burn- I just rechecked it, was the end of the first third ~ 4:25 plus and minus where I was hearing that)

                    • Eureka says:

                      (dashing back in to beat geological time)  re drummer spotting, by happy accident I saw this clip of Collins (lower left screen) doing a much more exaggerated version of what I meant, as he sits watching his son drum (it’s clearer as 1:30 mark approaches, and after.  And of course he is enjoying a show, not distracted from some tedium).  Later in the clip, they hand-drum together.  I wish I could have seen this show, we are losing time left with the olds…

                    • punaise says:

                      Interesting father-son thing with the Collins gents – thanks. I had no idea this was around. As a drummer of sorts (quite amateur) I get that fidgety tap-along instinct. The cajons (literally: boxes) they play on are fun – elemental percussion (and much more portable than a full drum kit).

                      I’m not really picking up the SF Bay Area vibe you mentioned above, unless vaguely through some Carlos Santana channel during the era he collaborated with John McLaughlin, etc.

  15. Ed Walker says:

    Watching the Irish wasn’t much fun. I thought they could score on Clemson, but no.

    Back to the boycott.

      • Trent says:

        The two best teams played a few weeks ago.   This 4 team playoff is a beauty contest to maximize Nielsen ratings.  It’s obviously not the 4 best teams as CFP mandate insists.  Yeah, I’m pissed.  Go Dawgs!

  16. e.a.f. says:

    Great news on the skiing. its always fun to watch. Football, is totally another thing. Don’t know why a bunch of people want to watch a bunch of men chase a ball around a field. Doing dishes is more entertaining, for me at least.

  17. Alan says:


    The alkaline diet is bunk, too. Your body maintains a very narrow pH range and diet will have little affect unless it’s extremely out of whack, like way too much protein or lactose (which can make your body more acidic) or getting dehydrated or allowing your electrolytes to become unbalanced (which can make your body more alkaline). Your stomach itself has a very low pH, and it is supposed to have a very low pH, so eating foods that are themselves alkaline is not that good for you and your digestion. In fact, acidic foods are better for your digestion. I generally drink carbonated water with meals (which is fairly acidic, and only about 2 cents per liter using my home brew 5 lb CO2 tank) because it helps my digestion. Diet is the one area where I think TB12 is pretty much out-to-lunch, but some of his other training concepts are solid.

    • P J Evans says:

      All the people selling “alkaline water”, too. (IMO, all those fancy waters are just water with added ingredients that should be looked upon as flavorings.)

    • Eureka says:

      Yes, I know of the alkaline diet’s bunkness.  I was making a quip about same by saying ~ they could just eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (as opposed to the whole test strip business, as per their beliefs about their diet).
      Since I asked a question that may tap on Pandora’s boxes for some, I’ll add that IMO rather than ‘diets,’ Alice Waters/Michael Pollan- type generalities are the better ‘proscriptives,’ besides what works for each individual and family circumstance.
      Also, I have since taken ‘Tom Brady diet’ on a spin round duckduckgo, and see that truckloads of Pandora’s boxes have been dumped, reverse run over, and left with their contents splatting the roads.

  18. Jockobadger says:

    Thanks bmaz. Reply button not working.

    PLEASE, Dogs, please, crush those swine from “The” Ohio State University. What’s with the “The”? Even my dentist insists on it. JHC


  19. DrFunguy says:

    Will no one think of the World Junior Hockey Championships?
    I thought you’d never ask.
    USA is getting schooled by Sweden (3-0 in the second period). Its embarrassing.

  20. oldoilfieldhand says:

    Nick Saban may be the highest paid coach in college football history, but he is sorely lacking as a role model. His temper tantrum, screaming obscenities at Alabama players for making mistakes in an emotionally charged atmosphere and throwing his headset, during a nationally televised BCS game, was deplorable. Alabama should have been penalized for his unsportsmanlike conduct and Saban should have been ejected from the game. The man is an ass!

  21. janinsanfran says:

    To encounter a new young ski champion who is helping invent the sport of Women’s Nordic Combined at the World Cup level, check out Tara Geraghty-Moats, a working class girl from rural Vermont. (Full disclosure, she’s a sort-of niece — but hey, she’s really that good at her sport.)

    Thanks to all who write and comment here. Been following EW off and on since TNH.

  22. scribe says:

    “Well, I’m on time for this meeting,” said Matt Patricia.


    Just like my Stillers are rolling into the playoffs.

    Running across the motion picture screen in my mind, the “synchronize watches” scene from Animal House, where Patricia winds up being  Bluto, his watch about 5 1/2 hours off.

    As I said to EW last week in the background after the Stillers game, TPTB having been too lazy, or hung over, to put up a trash thread for what turned out to be probably the most important weekend of the NFL season, when hopes and dreams of all the years came crashing down like so many Christmas ornaments shattering as the cat (or 2 y/o child) climbed the tree in pursuit of a shiny object:  “So much for that season.”

    If TPTB here are going to imbibe before posting the trash then forget to post and pass out in the gutter, please consider this from my last week’s draft, where I had a great bit of dialog to work off, re kids in the likker cabinet, from last night’s (i.e., 12/23) Avengers:

    Scene:  Catherine Gale’s flat, Steele there, dapper, imbibing.  Gale enters carrying shopping bag – probably groceries.
    Steed:  “Oh, hello Mrs. Gale.  I’ve been unraveling the intricacies of your drinks cabinet.  Really some excellent sherry.”
    Gale:  “Well, since you’ve gotten that far, why don’t you pour me one.”
    Steed:  “How silly of me.  Of course.

    It’s one thing to pillage the host’s likker cabinet.  It’s another – and very genteel – to share the proceeds with the host.  Takes panache.

    Speaking of Panache, we have the Browns and the Crows going at it.  (Old joke:  “Q.  What’s the difference between a crow and a raven?  A:  $500 and a day in court.”  Explanation:  It’s legal to hunt crows in season, but ravens have no season and are not legal to hunt.)  The Browns need to win, and the Stillers, too, if the Stillers are to make the playoffs.  My antipathy toward the Ravens stems from their recent history with the Stillers;  Pittsburgh does not have “purple week” in its locker room and practice session for nothing.  OTOH, the Browns have been so pitiful for so long that it’s kind of hard to work up any antipathy for them.  It’ll come, for sure, as they keep improving.

    Speaking for myself, I am so disgusted with the turn of this Stillers’ season that if they come up short and do not make the playoffs, I’ll be ok with that.  Hard to believe I just wrote that, but I did.  And I meant it.  I can see them losing on a missed FG or PAT or something.  As you may have noticed, they put their placekicker, Boswell, on IR the other day.  A guy who was Mr. Reliable last year and got a big contract, then gagged on the document all season long.  The team did not describe the nature of his IR-landing injury but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s become a head case and they wanted to spare him the indignity of having that revealed to the world.

    It could be worse.  Super Bowl winning Steelers kicker Jeff Reed, he of a platinum-blond dye job, terminated his career in a real head-case kind of way, in a Sheetz men’s room beating to death a wall-mounted towel dispenser for not having any towels.  https://www.post-gazette.com/local/neighborhoods/2009/02/15/Steelers-Reed-cited-in-Sheetz-incident/stories/200902150179  It might just be a kicker thing.  It made Reed legendary.  Boswell, also a legend, but not nearly so liked.

    I saw the debate over Biebs’ diet.  Mr. Alkaline and all that.  His Svengali and diet coach, now known around Foxboro as Yoko Guerrero, tells him what to eat, what to drink, when to take a dump, whatever.  The wardrobe remains Giselle’s bailiwick.  Regardless of what Cheatin’ Bill thinks or says about all the other stuff Biebs engages in, Yoko Guerrero knows better than to cross the wardrobe line.  I hear the Patsies homers are scheming out the way for them to land in the #1 seed.  That sense of entitlement just never goes away.  Given the weird way things have spooled out this year, it wouldn’t surprise me if it comes to pass.  Seems like King Roger the Clown might put it in the category of “make-up calls” to the Krafts.

    I’m not going to engage in speculation about which coaches will find themselves fired tomorrow morning (or tonight – why wait?), but I think it a given the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS  will have to find themselves a new coach come morning regardless of how well they play the Cheaters today.

    If you think the calls – like the Joe Haden pass interference call on that 4th down play last week (changing the game from Steelers taking over at midfield to Saints 1st and goal at the 1) – are bad now, wait until the sports-betting industrial complex really gets going.  That one play – and one wretchedly wrong call – changed both the entire complexion of that game and of the playoffs.  God only knows how much money can be moved, in one direction or another, by a call like that.  And one of the great truths of human nature remains:  if there’s a big pile of money, someone’s going to find a way to grab some of it.”  You likely all recall the NBA game-fixing scandal of a few years ago, where a crooked ref made out pretty well.  As I recall it, he was the only one who went to prison, and the scandal and corruption sank quietly and quickly below the waves.  Just wait – the NFL’s will come, be worse, and be even more assiduously covered up.  I just have to wonder what the Rooneys did to Goodell to get New York that wound.  It’s been bad call after bad call all year, going back to Jesse James touchdown catch last year and before, and most of them have hurt the Steelers badly.

    I trust the Football Gods will, somehow, make this right.

    Noting something with disgust, on the further decline of American civilization.  The other morning I wandered across a PBS program about Mark Twain, telling the story of his 1860s trip to the Holy Land and the writing of Innocents Abroad.  Not having a copy of that book and not remembering having read it, I went yesterday to my local chain bookstore to buy one.  On the positive, after wandering the store  for a half-hour looking unsuccessfully and finally giving in to asking a clerk and getting the clerk’s attention, I did not get a blank-faced “Who?” when I mentioned Clemens’ pen name.  On the negative, and after I explained it’s Innocents Abroad, and not Innocence Abroad, while “it’s in our system” (which I took to mean they know it exists), “it’s not in the store.  We can back-order it for you but it’ll take a couple weeks or so”.

    Amish romances?  (The real Amish say they make fine fire-starting materials for their woodstoves, BTW.)  Yup.  Aliens seized me for medical experiments first-person reports.  Got them in spades.  More kinds of cookbooks – hundreds – pitching one diet or another?  (How is it that the people on the covers of these cookbooks, with few exceptions, are all model-thin?  Do they eat their food, or do they swallow it then toss it back?  Inquiring minds want to know.)  Aisles of them.

    Some of the world’s best literature?  “We can back-order it for you!”, says Perky Sparkles, clerk 3rd class.

    Fer Chrissake.

    The beauty of my Stillers not making the playoffs is that I can put my attention to the No Fun League in a box on a shelf next to the box of ashes of my late, lamented setter, and leave them there all winter and until next summer.  The sad part is that it will give TPTB here less incentive to rise from their stupor and post the occasional trash thread during the other sports seasons, and wallow instead – to no effect as to anyone other than EW and her magnificent reporting –  in the mire that surrounds Washington.  In case you hadn’t noticed, folks, except for EW’s calls, they’re not taking your calls.

    Happy New Year.

    • P J Evans says:

      “Innocents Abroad” – Project Gutenberg has it. Not dead-tree format, but you can certainly get it. (I have accounts with a local indy bookstore and with Powell’s, as well as one of the e-book sellers. If I can afford it, great….)

      • scribe says:

        Thanks, but I’m a cranky old-school book-user and -lover.  I believe in pulp, ink and all that goes with it.

        Thing about books is I can be interrupted, put my bookmark at my place, set the book down and come back later, sometimes months later, and pick up where I left off.  Can’t do that on the computer.

        • P J Evans says:

          Actually, you can do that. I can open e-books and they’ll be right where I left off. It may depend on the software – but I know that Calibre will allow me to bookmark pages. (Free! Works well! Reads epubs, but – won’t allow me to keep them in separate directories, which is how I like to organize my collection.)

          • Alan says:

            I use Cool Reader and FBReader for Windows.  Not a heavy user tho, so I couldn’t tell you much about them.

        • Peterr says:

          I’m with you, scribe. Santa brought me a t-shirt that says “It’s not hoarding if it’s books.” It will come in handy when my shirt from Monticello with the Jefferson quote “I cannot live without books” (spoken when his last box of books shipped out when he was forced to sell them to pay his debts) is dirty.


    • Peterr says:

      “Ready-to-fill” pot pie shells on a buffet line?

      Sorry, but this is an abomination. You gotta fill the shells, cover with more dough and bake it. This is nothing but an edible bowl kind of thing.

      Not that there’s anything wrong with an edible bowl filled with meat and veggies and gravy. It might be wonderfully delicious. Just don’t call it a pot pie.

      • scribe says:

        I’m not exactly sure what they’re serving.  Reason being, in the Dutch Country of Eastern PA (across the river from Phillipsburg, NJ where this restaurant is located) there are two distinct kinds of dishes called “pot pie”.  One is what most people think of when they hear that name:  a two-crust pie filled with a rich, savory stew of meat, vegetables, potatoes and gravy, glorious gravy.  The other is basically the same meat stew but served over, around and through large, handmade, hand rolled and hand cut egg noodles.  I’m talking noodles that are on the order of 3 inches square.

        Either one is superb winter fare.  Filling, warm, tasty, loads of glorious gravy, and did I say filling?

        So, I suppose a visit and report from someone local to this place is in order to see exactly what they’re putting on the pot pie bar.

        • Eureka says:

          handmade, hand rolled and hand cut egg noodles.  I’m talking noodles that are on the order of 3 inches square.

          I’ve never had the handmade ones, but even the packaged Bot Boi egg noodles are meaty and awesome.  My favorite, and you have to go to the right store.

          My lifeplans include making such things.  Also, crackers.  Apparently easy enough to do all those things homemade.

    • Eureka says:

      Sorry, scribe- there but for the grace of assistance go I.

      (And well technically you’ve still got the SNF tie option…)

      I saw Tomlin trending on twitter last weekend…Steelers Fury busted loose.

  23. Eureka says:

    Too many words —> wordless.
    Fireworks in the neighborhood tonight (people are nutty about fireworks around here anyway).

    Fly, Eagles, Fly! Cheers to koolmoe and to any Eagles fans, lurkers.

    • Eureka says:

      Season turning point, as far as I’m concerned.  They broke it down, then rebuilt on the Fly.  And then Foles:

      Eureka says:
      November 25, 2018 at 8:48 pm

      I could not be more pleased that the Eagles pulled out of that (a/any) spiral.  And I don’t care that it was just the Gints.  Last week, I took Malcolm Jenkins’ helmet spike as a sign of the apocalypse.  Apparently it was more a sign that he was done, and was going to lead.  Simplify the D (under these circumstances!) and get control.  The win is more for self-determination than anything.  Yeah there is the Saquon Question, but I don’t think that explains the whole tale of the tape 2nd half.

      Fly, Eagles, fly!  Loon, Eureka, loon!

      *While I am looning, I do hope Nicky Six is staying sharp.   Lots about Wentz, including the wincing knee, has me wondering if we might see Foles again.

    • bmaz says:

      I was actually rooting hard for the Bears and Iggles today. Foles is a good kid, and I am glad you all are back in the playoffs.

  24. Alan says:

    My agenda for the next 36 days:

    Jan 5 Texans beat Colts

    Jan 12 Chiefs lose to Chargers or Ravens

    Jan 13 Patriots beat Texans in Foxboro

    Jan 20 Patriots beat Chargers or Ravens in Foxboro

    Feb 4 Patriots win Super Bowl LIII


    • Alan says:

      I don’t care what happens in the NFC–whatever team shows up to play on Feb 4, I want the Patriots to beat them ;-)

      • Eureka says:

        You made it clear with your AFC bracket outcomes that you didn’t care what happened in NFC ;) Enjoy the rest, get that sleep… and may the 4th be with you.

    • Eureka says:

      Also, the O is for Optimistic, Open and never shut, and the N is for Never forget:
      New England Patriots on Twitter: “We never thought we’d say this in 2018, but… Thanks Nick Foles! #StNick… ”

      Adding a visual link for my lyricism (see timestamp ~ 1:30 of this clip), which may be obscure but to the memories of those who would recall the 2018 opening theme.


      Good luck everyone- all in good fun.  And the happiest 2019 all can muster!

  25. scribe says:

    To make the record clear:  Antonio Brown did not play yesterday because he was benched.
    He was not hurt (enough – he could have easily played through whatever it was).

    NB: Consensus (and leaks from players) are that the Stillers’ discombobulated non-scoring offense in the first half was the product of the whole offense being upset over the A. Brown mess.

    Early in the week Brown threw a football at Ben during practice (Pissed off about something), blew off practices and mandatory meetings last week ( for some of them he was in the building but didn’t go to the meeting) and skipped the walkthrough Saturday, showed up Sunday thinking he was going to play, got benched, pouted on the sidelines for the first half, then left at halftime.

     Compare, e.g., now-ex-Cheatertown Cheater Malcom Butler in SB LII

     And then there’s this:  accurate.

     Tomlin must go, but he won’t.

  26. P J Evans says:

    If ew wants Canada to adopt all the states that are partly north of Canada – that’s a lot of states! (Some points in Canada are south of the northern line of CA and NV, which is 42N.)

    • punaise says:

      heh, I had to look that up. Maybe just a smidgen of Canada – the part that dips into Lake Erie?

      I’m more familiar with the Maritmes, whence hails our son-in-law (PEI, Nova Scotia) – not even very northerly by Canada standards…

      • P J Evans says:

        Yup – that teeny bit. It should be enough…. (I doubt that Washington and Oregon would object. The people in “Jefferson” might, but they’re clueless.)

  27. Tom says:

    Just noticed over the last week or so that some TV commentators are using the word “lambaste” but pronouncing the second syllable with a short “a”, as “bast” not “baste”.     Just like the word “persuade” has almost entirely disappeared and has been replaced by “convince”, even though there is a definite distinction in meaning between the two verbs, at least in my opinion.    Also strange to hear journalists speak of people being “injured” in combat rather than “wounded”.    Almost seems an attempt at a euphemism.    Just a few passing observations …

    • Alan says:

      According to the internets, lambast is also an acceptable spelling and I’ve always pronounced it with a short “a”.  Here’s the OED entry:

      lambaste, v.


      Also 9 lambust, lambast.

      [? f. lam v. + baste v.]

      a.a trans. To beat, thrash. colloq.

      1637 I. Jones & Davenant Brit. Tri. 18 Stand off a while and see how Ile lambaste him.    1678 J. Phillips Tavernier’s Trav. i. viii. 52 Otherwise they would be fin’d, and lambasted with a good Cudgel.    1837 Haliburton Clockm. i. xxiii, I am six foot six in my stockin feet, by gum, and can lambaste any two of you in no time.    1877 N.W. Linc. Gloss., Lambaste, to beat.

      b.b fig. To scold, castigate.

      1886 Harper’s Mag. July 321/2 With an avalanche of facts, sarcasm and ridicule‥a more complete lambasting and more vigorous and thorough roasting than Wise gave Bontelle was never known.    1891 Kipling Light that Failed viii. 151, I only gave him his riding-orders to—to lambast you on general principles for not producing work that will last.    1930 Times 13 Jan. 14/4 Mr. Maxton was heard to say, ‘Mr. Chairman.‥ It has been said that you were going to “lambast” me at this conference.’    1938 J. Rice Somers Inheritance i. iv. 29 His sermons got down to the bed-rock‥even if they‥failed to lambaste wickedness with quite the fury it deserved.    1947 People 22 June 4/2 So he has castigated America for daring to interfere in Palestine, and now he lambasts Russia for meddling in the affairs of the little countries.    1951 Oxf. Dict. Nursery Rhymes 28 Halliwell struck a saner note (1842) but greedily copied down as facts any theories related to him, and though he lambasted Ker, he was not above speculation himself.    1956 Jrnl. Educ. July 304 Having myself been lambasted more than once by the Italicists because I dared to qualify my praise of their handwriting.    1958 Times 16 Oct. 8/5 To this lambasting Dr. Rowse was all smiles and soothing words.    1967 Boston Globe 20 May 2/2 He lambasted teaching techniques, saying they have become ‘a disciplinary practice’.    1969 N. Hare in A. Chapman New Black Voices (1972) 428 They lambasted the ultradevotion of many black intellectuals to jazz music.    1972 Newsweek 10 Jan. 19/1 If the economy should stay sour, the alternative script called for Mr. Nixon to lambaste the labour bosses.

      Hence lamˈbasting vbl. n.

      1694 Motteux Rabelais iv. xii. 48 If they were long without a tight Lambasting.    1867 Smyth Sailor’s Word-bk., Lambusting, a starting with a rope’s end.

  28. Tom says:

    Alan: Thanks for your Reply. I checked with my concise OED before I posted my first comment and it only gave “lambaste” with a long ‘a’ as a pronunciation, which is all I’ve ever heard all my life. After reading your Reply, however, I checked with my big, ol’ Merriam Webster (2,662 pages – picked it up at a yard sale) and sure enough, found “lambast” as an alternate spelling with a short ‘a’ in the second syllable. Always glad to learn something new! A few years ago, for example, I was grateful when someone told me that the proper expression is “with regard to”, not “with regards to”, which I had been mistakenly saying for years.

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