2017 NFL Draft Trash Talk

This was “supposed” to be a far better post than you are going to get. But I have had a couple of tough days in court, and this is what you are gonna get! Sorry!

Locally, the question is what will the Cardinals do? Carson Palmer will return for 2017 and, assuming healthy, he is really pretty good. Not inconceivable he plays in 2018 too, zoo a rook may get 1-2 years seasoning from a very good film study and preparation QB. Local chatter is Bruce Arians and Steve Kiem quietly are dying to take Patrick Mahomes from Texas A+M and groom him. Kid has Brett Favre, seriously, potential as to arm strength and play making capabilities. He also has Favre’s gunslinger recklessness. Frankly, I like him and think, if available, the Cards should take him with the 13th pick and hope Palmer can school him up, ala Aaron Rodgers with the original gunslinger, for two years before he takes control. I would also think Davis Webb, with a big frame and big arm, and who grew up as a coach’s son, would be pretty attractive.

Okay, as to other teams, I was FORCED into being a Patriots fan, not by the lady of the house Marcy, but by the jackass of the world (other than Trump and whatever gel headed midget is running North Korea currently), Roger Goodell and Deflategate. As the last Super Bowl proved, in stunning fashion, Bill Bel, Tom Brady and the Pats are still here. They arguably have already won the offseason by incredibly shrewd free agent dealings, but they don’t have a ton of high draft slots.

As to the rest of the teams – I think, despite the attempts at misdirection, Cleveland will take Myles Garrett at number one. Is that the right choice? Eh, I dunno, but it is probably a safer bet than Mitch Trubitsky, who has started a grand total of 13 games in a weak college football conference. Will the Brownies use a few of their famously accumulated draft picks to move up and take both Garrett and Trubitsky? Now that is a good question.

Where will the other QB’s go? Deshaun Watson, DeShone Kizer, Patrick Mahomes and my favorite sleeper…..Davis Webb of Cal? That will be fascinating to watch.

Where will Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook go? Dalvin Cook, as great as Fournette looks, may actually project better into the pros because of his pass catching and ability to make space on the fuel happen in an instant. Ezekial Emanuel to the Cowboys last year showed just how fundamentally a great dual purpose running back can still alter the game.

Besides Garrett, on defense, Reuben Foster, even if a bit of damaged goods, seems like the real deal for a linebacker. The kid out of Temple though, Hasson Reddick, is a HUGE sleeper. Watch out for this guy for a loooong time to come.

All right, gotta fly for now. Enjoy the draft, and chip in before, during and after. Listen, the NFL is all about money, so how about a song about the original Money Honey. We just passed, a couple of weeks ago, the 16 year anniversary of Joey Ramone’s death. Where the fuck did the time go? It, seriously, seems like yesterday. So, here are the Ramones with “Maria Bartiromo”. If this doesn’t light you up, you might be dead already. And, yeah, Maria thought it was awesome too. Keep on keeping on folks.

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.

Super Bowl 2017 Trash Talk

Here we are at the end of another NFL season. And the biggest sports day of the year. As you can see in the title, I have given up on the league’s insistence on Roman numeral designators. We are not in Rome, and they make my head hurt after a while. We are past that while.

The Falcons and the Patriots in Houston. It has, from all appearances, been a fantastic week in Houston, the city has really shined. I am not surprised, Houston has been an under appreciated gem as to municipal government competence and civic activity for quite a while now. And a great town for a wide diversity of excellent food!

A couple of news and notes: Matt Ryan was named the NFL MVP last night, beating out Tom Brady by far more than he should have, but still a fair choice. On a local note, Larry Fitzgerald was made the co-recipient of the Man of the Year Award with Eli Manning. Spidey Fitz is incredible, both here in Phoenix and back in his original home of Minnesota. Well deserved. Also, Kurt Warner was named to the Hall of Fame. Any man that can get both the Cardinals and Rams to the Super Bowl absolutely belongs in the Hall of Fame. Here is a complete list of all the NFL honors announced last night.

As to the game itself, it is quite clear that the politicization from the abject racism and bigotry of Trump, and especially his Muslim ban, are going to spill into the spotlight. Given the publicity platform of an event like the Super Bowl, that is not surprising, but it is stunning as to how much it seems to be so this year. Things are not normal in the US anymore, even if the old “normal” had its warts.

But today’s game is being broadcast by the right wing bastion of Rupert Murdoch’s FOX network. And they are, predictably, censoring the paid advertising content they will show. The video at the top was a 90 second spot that Lumber 84 was desirous of paying full freight for a 90 second ad that bills out at about $5 million per 30 seconds. Would FOX take that money from Lumber 84 for one of the most beautifully produced ads you will ever see? Nope, too “controversial” for the assholes at Fox. Guess they figured their nutjob boy Trump might be watching. Selective censorship.

Interestingly, FOX apparently will air a similarly themed ad from Anheuser Busch, an advertising juggernaut that they cannot risk pissing off. That ad is to the right. Why is it less objectionable than the Lumber 84 spot? Basically because Busch has real ad buying power and Lumber 84 does not. The AB ad is great too, but the complete craven hypocrisy of FOX is on full display here. Can’t have too much advertising space that might upset Dear Leader Donald! I mean, shit, he might lash out in an incoherent tweet!

Alright, to the game. As always, the actual football has been micro-analyzed endlessly for the last two weeks, so I do not have a ton of analysis to add. The focus seems to have been more slanted to the two teams’ offensive capabilities. I will say, I think that is wrong. Both offenses are relatively healthy and potent (except Falcons’ star center Alex Mack will play with a small fracture in his fibula). A decent team matchup rundown from the AP is here.

Instead, I think, as it turns out is usually the case, defense will decide the winner. The Pats have a deceptively decent defense, and, as also is usually the case, they have really gelled down the stretch. The game’s outcome will be decided by how well New England’s defense plays. I have no idea who will win, but I hope it is the Patriots so that the odious Roger Goodell has to hand the trophy to Bob Kraft and Tom Bady.

That is it folks. Eat some food, drink some beer and spirits, and have a ball.

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.

NFL Championship Sunday Trash Talk

As exciting as the Women’s March was yesterday, and it was stunningly awesome to behold, today we have football. And not just any football, it is Championship Sunday.

First up is Green Bay at Atlanta. The Pack has been on such a roll of late that it is hard to bet against them. But Atlanta has to be favored. They are at home and Matt Ryan has also been on a Rodgers like spree himself. The Falcons also have a better running game. But what really makes the difference is just how banged up Green Bay’s receiving and defensive back corps are. They are running on fumes in both. From the Journal-Sentinel:

Barring any setbacks during pregame workouts, receivers Jordy Nelson (broken ribs), Davante Adams (ankle) and Geronimo Allison (hamstring), and safety Morgan Burnett (thigh) are going to be available, according to a league source. Nelson, Adams, Allison and Burnett all remained questionable after practice Saturday, which means they have a 1 percent to 50 percent chance of playing.

The Packers made one change to their injury report after their Saturday morning practice, listing running back Christine Michael questionable with a back injury.

How bad is it? The Cheese just elevated rookie Max McCaffrey from the practice squad just in case, and he has never played in a real NFL game. Also, Clay Matthews has not been quite the same since suffering a shoulder injury a while back, though he is fully playing. When you get down to it, I just think the Falcons will score slightly more than the Pack, but should be fun to watch. Now if the Pack defense really puts on a game, then all bets are off.

Some healthy scoring and a close game might be on store for Pittsburgh at New England too, though it is doubtful it will be the kind of shootout the first game promises. Big Ben and Tom Brady. Brady is 9-2 against the Steelers and has blistered them in the process. But, as Fox Sports points out, Brady has been rather pedestrian in AFC Championship games:

In 10 appearances in the AFC title game, Brady has a 76.3 passer rating, 12 TDs and 12 INTs. That’s more like Brock Osweiler than Tom Brady.

And for all the talk of Ben, Bell and Brown as an offensive juggernaut, it has been the Steelers defense that has them to this point. The Pittsburgh offense managed just 18 points on 6 field goals last week against the Chefs. But the defense, once again led by the seemingly ageless James Harrison, was tough as nails.

I can’t find a way to bet against the Pats, especially at Foxborough, but this could be a hell of a game. I look for Brady to put up enough points to take this one, and it also should not be forgotten that the Pats are much better than people think at running back, between Blount and Dion Lewis both at full speed.

UPDATE: The Steelers were rousted by someone pulling the fire alarm in their hotel as they slept. Authorities have released a forensic sketch of the suspect, and it is attached to the right.

And there you have it. Music today is a brand new song, “Shine” by Pat Benatar done specially for the Women’s March and in support of related causes. It is really pretty kick ass, give it a try.

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.

2017 Divisional Playoff Weekend Trash Talk

Thank you to Marcy for handling Trash Talk last weekend. That was one hell of a NCAA Championship game between Clemson and Alabama. I was at the 1997 Rose Bowl, which I thought previously was the greatest college football championship game I had ever seen, whether live or on television, and I think the last second Clemson win eclipses that pretty easily. Wow.

But now we are into week two of the NFL playoffs, and there are four games on tap. First up is Seattle at Atlanta. On the surface, this seems like a great game and you would have to think the Squawk’s savvy and playoff experience winning games is every bit the match for Atlanta, and their history of losing them. I don’t think so this year. Something is deferent about these dirty birds. I’ll take Matt Ryan and his crew today.

The night game for Saturday is the Texans at the Pats. I am not sure this is the total mismatch a lot of the national sports media are making it out to be, because the Houston defense has really grown and coalesced since early in the season. Yes, Bill Bel and the boys waxed them early in the year, even with Jacoby Brissett at QB. Houston is better now. But that ain’t enough, irrespective of the final score, just cannot see the Pats not moving on.

First up Sunday is, now thanks to heavy weather in KC, the game that was supposed to be the late Sunday featured NBC game, the Packers at Cowboys. I honestly don’t know what to think about this one. Both the Cheese and Boys have serviceable, and at times good, defenses. But neither are world beating; slight edge to the Cowboys because the Pack secondary is being manned by a few Game may well come down to the QB’s, as NFL games usually do. As good as Dak Prescott has been, that edge goes to Mr. Rodgers, who has been on a roll of all time historic proportion lately. But, if Prescott avoids turnovers and Elliott gets going on the ground, that can keep Rodgers off the field. In Lambeau, I’d take the Pack easy, In Big D, I dunno. No clue what turns out, a serious pick em in my book.

The new finale is Scribe’s Steelers in KC to face the Chefs. The weather has been so foul that the NFL moved the game time. What kind of bad weather can this be? Thanks to Peterr, we have the official forecast:

PERIODS OF SIGNIFICANT ICING ARE LIKELY ACROSS THE AREA THIS WEEKEND…STARTING FRIDAY MORNING ACROSS AREAS MAINLY SOUTH OF HIGHWAY 50 AND SPREADING NORTHWARD THROUGH THE AFTERNOON AND EVENING. PERIODS OF FREEZING RAIN WILL CONTINUE THROUGH SUNDAY EVENING ACROSS NORTHERN MISSOURI. THE MOST SIGNIFICANT ICING IS EXPECTED SATURDAY NIGHT INTO SUNDAY MORNING.

ICE STORM WARNING NOW IN EFFECT FROM NOON FRIDAY TO MIDNIGHT CST SUNDAY NIGHT…

* TIMING…LIGHT PRECIPITATION WILL BEGIN FRIDAY AFTERNOON… WITH PERIODS OF FREEZING RAIN THROUGH SUNDAY AFTERNOON OR EVENING.

* ICE ACCUMULATIONS…TOTAL ICE ACCUMULATIONS DURING THE MULTI-DAY PERIOD OF ONE-QUARTER TO THREE-QUARTERS OF AN INCH.

* MAIN IMPACT…MAJOR IMPACTS TO TRAVEL ARE LIKELY AS ICE ACCUMULATES ON AREA ROADWAYS. BRIDGES AND OVERPASSES WILL BE MOST SUSCEPTIBLE TO ICE ACCRETION. ICE ACCUMULATION ON TREES AND POWERLINES MAY RESULT IN SCATTERED POWER OUTAGES.

Gulp, that doesn’t sound good! But presumably the game goes on anyway, even if at a new time. Like Houston/NE and GB/Dallas, this is another rematch of an in season game. Early in the year, the Chefs were blown out by the Stillers, at Heinz Field. (Thanks for the editing Peterr!) Lot of people think KC can, and will win at home against the AFC North Champs. Not me. Big Ben, Bell and Brown are healthy and clicking in synch better than they ever have. That is saying something. KC is a great team, and Andy Reid is a seriously underrated great coach. But that is not enough with the way Pittsburgh is rolling right now. And Harrison, Bud Dupree and the Steel Curtain, while maybe not what that name once implied, are still pretty damn good, and playing well together. Stillers move on.

So, that is it for now. Have a GREAT Martin Luther King weekend and holiday folks. And, may I point out that John Lewis is an American hero for all ages, and Donald Trump is a worthless piece of shit.Music this weekend by Stanley Clarke, Al Di Meola and Chick Corea, i.e. Return To Forever.

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.

Worthless College Football and Meaningless NFL Week 17

Welp, here we are. Thanks to a giant jerk like Mark Emmert, and his likewise toadies in the NCAA, college bowl games have been made meaningless so that a doped up, fake, “final four” can occupy two of the four biggest “bowl games” and a third can, impliedly, produce a so called “champion”.

What a joke. it is a bastardization of everything that was ever good about college football. Like a glory whoring Donald Trump, ESPN sucks all the oxygen out of the entire endeavor, and in so doing, makes it all impossible to care about. What a shitshow. Alabama beat Washington, and, as we speak, Clemson is up 10-0 on the Urban Meyer Criminal Dockets, errr, Buckeyes here in Phoenix. The Big Toaster, that is regularly crazy for Cardinals games, look deader than a doornail. Sad!

Whatever. It is really hard to care. The only thing I hope for is that Mark Emmert finishes his life in prison for his sins. And has Roger Goodell as a forever eternity cell mate. Now that would be “justice”.

Okay, on to the pros.

The, by a light year, best week 17 NFL game is between the Green Bay Cheese Packers and the Deetroit Kittehs. The game is in Motown. It is for the NFC Norske Division Championship. May even get the attention of Ms. Wheeler. Fatty Matty versus the Discount Doublecheck. Not in Lambeau, but in the home of Joe Louis’ fist. I am picking the…..Kittehs!

Other than Pats at Dolfish, there are really not even any other games that matter, and that is only for the guarantee of home field advantage in the AFC. Guess you could put Raiders at Donkos and Chefs at Bolts in there, but it seems like fake news to try. Also, too, Tony Romo may play. Yey.

Music this week is by Chicago Transit Authority. Apparently CNN is doing some doc-u-thingy about the band. You can laugh now, but in their early heyday, Chicago kicked serious ass. I can still remember where I was the split second I heard Terry Kath had died. Yeah, he was really that good of a guitar player. Chicago went on to have a lot of chart topping hits after Terry Kath, but they were never the same again. Look at his guitar playing on 25x6x4. Incredible.

Happy new years.

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.

Christmas 2016 Trash Talk

Welp, here we are at the end of yet another year at the Emptywheel blog. As I said at Thanksgiving, we all – me, Marcy, Jim, Rayne, Ed and Roving Reporter Rosalind – thank you. It has been a tumultuous election year, and one that would appear to pale in comparison to the year ahead with a narcissistic ignorant twitting idiot as our President. Exciting times!

No Christmas Eve here goes by without a remembrance of our long time and dear friend Mary Perdue, who passed away on this day five years ago. There was many a late night that Mary and I were the only ones up at The Next Hurrah and Emptywheel at Firedoglake and hours of conversation, some on blog, some off occurred. She was really special, and I know I speak for all the contributors, we really miss her.

Here at Emptywheel, she was just Mary; and she was so much more than a simple obituary can convey. She was funny, kind, and, most of all, razor sharp in analysis of extremely complex issues surrounding torture, indefinite detention, international human rights, illegal wiretapping and executive branch overreach. Mary had a steel trap index in her mind for even obscure torture and rendition cases and facts. To the day she died, Mary was one of the very few people commenting in America that remembered, and would never miss a chance to point out, how the children and extended families of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Aafia Siddiqui were used and/or disappeared by the US as pawns in our immoral torture in the name of the so called “war on terror”. Mary’s dissection of Jack Goldsmith terrorist detention policy, complete with with a comparison to the Ox Bow Incident, was a thing of passion and beauty.

One of Mary’s favorite, and most important, hobby horses was the seminal case of Ex Parte Milligan, on which she beat the drum loudly long before the critical 2008 decision in Boumediene v. Bush and the 2009 release of the torture memos. She was, as usual, right. Here she is taking John Yoo apart at the seams over his intellectual duplicity regarding Ex Parte Milligan. And then there was Mary’s three part opus on the history and meaning of Ex Parte Milligan (Parts One, Two and Three), which is one of the best primers anywhere on the case that has finally come back into renewed significance in the critical issues of the war on terror. Mary played a part in keeping that significance alive, and in the discussion mix, until it took hold again.

Thanks Mary, you are truly missed.

Okay, on to the football. Because I am so tardy the games are about to start!

The Eagles already beat the Giants. And it was not a cheap win, Carson Went and the Eagles looked solid. In other Pennsylvania news, I miss Scribe and his Steelers love. But all is not well in Stillers land, Terry Bradshaw is bad mouthing Mike Tomlin and, the current Steelers, apparently. Guess a Super Bowl win and constant competitiveness is not enough for Bradshaw. Just for that, I will take the Stillers over the Ravens in the first of the two Sunday games (on NFL Network only, apparently). In the second Sunday game, kind of hate to say it, but I think the Chefs will do some home cooking on the Donkos, likely eliminating Denver from the playoff picture unfortunately. Wonder who will be Denver’s QB next year? Lot of people think Romo, but I would not be shocked at all to see Elway stick with Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch for the future. We shall see! I’d really like to see the Lions make the playoffs, but I do not think they will advance that cause in the Big D against the Cowboys. Dallas and Detroit is the last MNF game of the year.

The rest of the games are today, Christmas Eve. A rare full Saturday slate. I dunno why, but I think the Bills will circle those wagons and beat the Fish, if for no other reason than Bills fans pregame by cooking tater tots on car engines. Panthers may do better, but can’t score enough to stop the Dirty Birds from Atlanta. Skins get their mojo back over the hapless Bears. The Brownies get their only shot to avoid a winless season today against the Bolts. I don’t think so, take the Bolts. Vikings at the Cheese? Nope, Mr. Rodgers is on a roll, Pack it in Vikes. Titans over the Jags. Jets Jets Jets go to Foxborough. Nope to that too, although it is good to see Todd Bowles will be coaching after a medical scare.

Colts at Raiders may be a lot better game than their records would suggest. That is a pickem, with a possible Colts upset. Bucs at Saints, I will take the Aints in an upset. Niners at Rams? Who cares (sorry JoeSixPack). Cardinals at Squawks is another mostly who cares game. Do the Cards have any dignity left at this point? Is this the penultimate game for Larry Fitzgerald? Not sure as to the former, I do not think so as to the latter. Lastly, Bungles at Texans. I’ll take the Texans. I really liked Tom Savage coming out of college, thought he had a hell of an arm and a LOT of upside. I think he may be the real deal. Texans roll.

It has been a wild year, thanks again for spending it with us. Next year looks to be even wilder with a Trumpalo Presidency roiling an already unstable world. But never fear, Morning Will Come. And that is the Trash music of the week, by Spirit.

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.

Trash Talk – Week 15

I started on several versions of Trash Talk only in order to make it all less political. Trash will not always be non-political, but I will try. Kind of.

So, Eagles cannot play with the Ravens today. Maybe next year, but not today. Who cares about the Browns and Bills? The Cheese will be playing Da Bears is the “Coldest Game In Chicago History”. Supposedly. Cheese is good cold, Bears hibernate. Jaguars/Texans is pretty much a who cares thing, much like Browns and Bills. Sorry Houstonian friends! But it is what it is.

Colts at Vikes may, curiously, be worth paying attention to. Colts have done better lately, but still are effectively the JV squad without Andrew Luck. Vikes are exactly the Colts, but with a better defense and no Luck. Exciting!

Steelers will beat the Bengals from all rights and appearances. Wish Scribe would still come around to chat about such things. Also, think Pittsburgh is a team that is scarily coming together late in the season, and needs to be paid heed to.

Saints and Cardinals are playing in the “who gives a flying fuck bowl”. 49ers and Falcons are too, but the Dirty Birds think they are contenders. So did Marlon Brando.

The best game, hands down, this week is Patriots at Broncos. If you follow Pats and Donks beat writers, and I do, there has been a TON written about this game. All brilliant of course, from both sides. I am not so brilliant, but, having seen them in action, not sure how Donks can score enough points to overcome the Pats worst. But TB12 and Bill Bell are NOT so good in Mile High. So, I have no confidence in my pick. If I had to bet real money, it would still be on Brady and Bill Bell. Sorry about that.

If the Raiders cannot beat the Chargers in their once and (maybe not) future home, then the Rayduhs are pretenders. I think the Silver and Black are, kind of, for real. Enough that they will not lose to the Bolts anyway.

Music today by BOC, with OD’d On Life Itself.

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.

SOS Trash Talk, College and Pro

So, having been completely bullied into this by our own beloved Roving Reporter, the one and only Rosalind, here we go.

Okay, the most “urgent” thing this weekend is the conference championships and seeding in the NCAA. Yes, the football playoff thing, the latest variation anyway, is supremely important. Or not. As much as the “final four” seem to be already identified, and as much as all the little Junior Nate Silver’s on ESPN and Fox try to dilly dally differently, it all seems rather set, save for a truly unexpected upset, and the Pac-12 seems the only real shot at that.

Starts tonight with Washington versus CU. A while back I was a graduate student at Boulder. They could barely beat Drake, much less a college with a real football team. I loved CU games, they were all in the daytime, which was new to me coming from ASU, and they had copious liquor on sale in the stadium, also new to me. Their team was shit. Literally lost to Drake. Who subsequently disbanded their football team, as I recall, because it was horrible. The football games were a riot at Folsom Field, even if the Buffs always lost.

Fast forward to where we are tonight. Washington and CU are tied at 7 in the second quarter. I buy a tough Husky win, but we shall see.

And, onward we go to the other conference championship games, to the extent they matter when the decision is in the hands of experts like – wait a minute WHAT THE HELL – genuine war criminals like Condi Rice. And, no, the current Trump fondness for other genuine war criminals like Henry Kissinger does not help my mood at being reminded of Condi Rice.

Okay, sorry, Washington is now clobbering Colorado, and I am guilty of having been watching that instead of cartaging the Trash.

So, in the “other”, bowl games past the PAC, which appears over, here are some predictions and results:

Western Michigan joined Alabama as the only notable undefeated team in college football. Listen, WMU may not be the Crimson Tide, but don’t sleep on what they have done this year, it is a great story.

In the Bedlam game, Oklahoma State and the Boomer Sooners are both 9-2 and on a bit of a roll. Oklahoma looks to be the better bet, but it is hard to bet on a Bob Stoops team when anything is on the line. Don’t feel good, but will take the Cowboys in an upset.

Baylor versus West Virginia…seriously, who cares? Actually, I do. Because of the jackass perfidy of Art Briles and Ken Starr, screw Baylor. That supposedly religious institution can rot for what they have done over many years.

Florida v. Alabama is…sorry Jim White…as big a mismatch as it looks like. Love to be wrong on that one!! Hard to see how Virginia Tech can knock off Clemson, and I do not think they will, but that seems to be the only possible upset in Saturday’s games. Wisconsin at Penn State is also nowhere near clear, but likely does not matter for the playoff grouping. The totally amazing thing is that neither Ohio State nor Harbaugh’s Khaki whiners are in the actual B1G championship game, in spite of both inveterate historical Rose Bowl game losers dominating the inane discussion on ESPN in the last week.

So, it is over and the Huskies of Washington have dispatched the surprisingly pesky and bullish Buffaloes of Colorado. Saturday ought be great!

In the Pros: Gronk is down. That is a HUGE deal for the Pats. Maybe not Brady gone level, but close. Gronk, in games and situations when it counts, is THE go to, cannot be dealt with guy, for Tom Brady and the Patriots. Martellus Bennett will be there, but is far from perfectly healthy too. The Pats, along with the Rayduhs, are still the class of the AFC. Pittsburgh can still be scary in the playoffs, but they really do not seem to be themselves this year. Injuries suck when they overcome good teams.

In the NFC, I made a joke yesterday to Marcy that the Packers were coming for the Kittehs. It was taken more seriously than I intended, but that may be an indication of how unaccustomed the Lions are to being in the lead. I actually have always kind of liked Fatty Matty Stafford, and he is better than you think, but he is not Aaron Rodgers. The NFC Norske is, along with the NFC East, the fascinating division to watch down the stretch. Seattle may challenge for the actual Championship berth in the Super Bowl, but until then, there is a great battle going on in the East and Norske. And do NOT sleep on Lemon Sucking Face Eli Manning, he and the Gents are quietly having one of those kind of years.

In the AFC pros, the Chefs at the Dirty Birds ought be interesting. In an actual playoff game, I’d be inclined to take the Chefs to cook, but this weekend and through end of the regular season, I’ll take the Falcons.

Lions at Saints, Gents at Stillers, Bucs at Bolts are all you could hope for. I’ll take the Kittehs (but am NOT sure about this, the Second Line is strong in NOLA), Stillers and Bolts respectively. No, I do not think the Pats will have an issue with the Rams, even without Gronk, nor do I think the Raiders will have a problem with the Bills in the Black Hole.

Welp, that is it for this weekend’s Trash. Nico Rosberg SHOCKED THE WORLD by announcing his retirement from F1 Circus so quickly after his Drivers’ Championship for Mercedes. Honestly, I was almost as stunned as everybody else. Kind of. But also remember Nico’s father, Kiki, obtusely mentioned the possibility before the Abu Dhabi finale. Either way, it is what it is and Nico looks comfortably retired. I say put Alonso in the other Mercedes so that a truly great driver can eat Lewis Hamilton’s whiny ass. Verstappen would work too, but, really, Alonso is still the best driver in the Circus, and deserves to go out with equipment as good as he is. Music by Aerosmith, Get Your Wings on.

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.

Post Turkey Trash Talk

Welp, I am still wearing sweat pants because I am not sure any other pants fit again yet. Hope you all had a lot of good food, fun and family over the last few days too. So, how about some abbreviated Trash to round out the weekend?

First on the agenda, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the stunningly beautiful Yas Marina Circuit. The race has been in the can for about three hours now, but holy crap, what a race! Hamilton won, with Nico Rosberg finishing second, thus assuring Rosberg the Driver’s Championship for 2016. But what a race! Verstappen made another wild and incredible charge from the back of the pack all the way up to P3, before Sebastian Vettel made his own incredible and electrifying charge to overtake Verstappen and nearly catch up Rosberg. Hamilton was a jerk and intentionally drove slow in front hoping to screw his teammate Robsberg into getting passed by Vettel and Verstappen, which then would have given the championship to Hamilton. The racing and intrigue were edge of your seat thrilling the whole race. What a finish to the F1 season.

The Buckeyes beat Michigan in overtime yesterday in a hell of a game. Harbaugh may be right that his team got jobbed by the refs. USC easily beat Notre Dame, and may truly be one of the four best teams in the country right now, though they will never make the playoff series. Colorado beat Utah, and will play Washington for the Pac-12 championship. That should be a fun game. The SEC championship will pit Jim White’s improbable Gators against the goliath that is Alabama. Good luck Gators!

In the NFL, we have already been through the Thanksgiving Day slate so we will move on to the games left on the schedule. Cardinals are at the Falcons in an early game that merits watching. I think the Cards are dead, we shall see. Bolts at Texans could be interesting. Bolts are a little flaky, but so are the Texans, could be a great game. Patriots are at the Jets. Hard to see anything but a Pats win, but Brady and Gronk are both banged up, so you never know. The two night games are the really decent ones. SNF has the Chefs at the Broncos, both sporting 7-3 records. Now THAT is a game to look forward to. MNF has the Packers at the Eagles. Neither team tearing it up right now, but the game seems like an even matchup where anything could happen, and the two QB’s are worth watching.

So, that is it for today’s games. Enjoy the rest of the weekend. Time for some leftover pie!

Bmaz is a rather large saguaro cactus in the Southwestern Sonoran desert. A lover of the Constitution, law, family, sports, food and spirits. As you might imagine, a bit prickly occasionally. Bmaz has attended all three state universities in Arizona, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from Arizona State University, and with significant post-graduate work (in physics and organic chemistry, go figure) at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Arizona. Married, with both a lovely child and a giant Sasquatch dog. Bmaz has been a participant on the internet since the early 2000’s, including active participation in the precursor to Emptywheel, The Next Hurrah. Formally joined the Emptywheel blog as an original contributing member at its founding in 2007. Bmaz grew up around politics, education, sports and, most significantly, cars; notably around Formula One racing and Concours de Elegance automobile restoration and showing. Currently lives in the Cactus Patch with his lovely wife and beast of a dog, and practices both criminal and civil trial law.

Gratitude

Sorry I’ve been absent for the last week.

While I was in Brussels my mother had a fall — the first really serious one after 16 years of a Parkinson’s diagnosis. She’s okay, but she and her housing community decided it marked a good time to move her into assisted living.

Mr. EW and I spent all week in southeast Pennsylvania with my brothers working towards moving my mother out of the apartment she has lived in for 6 years. We sorted through the better part of the lifetime of pictures and heirlooms and books and keepsakes she has acquired in her life — mom’s Girl Scout sash, my brother’s first grade assignment, the tablecloth my great-grandmother made, the turkey platter mom made 40 years ago.

It brought a special kind of reflection to this holiday of gratitude. Thanks, most of all, for all my mom has given me over my life — the intangible things, the education, the comfort, the advantages. In the year ahead, in the face of the challenges we face as a country, I aim to redouble my efforts to repay to society the gifts I’ve been given.

Thanks to Rayne and bmaz and Ed and everyone else for keeping the likker cabinet flowing all week. And thanks to our readers for joining in the conversation.

As always on Thanksgiving, I like to remember those (not all in Michigan, this year, on account of the travel) who contributed to our feast. I told a woman at mom’s community that I had brought a turkey from Michigan; she sniffed, “oh, do they make turkeys better out there?” But when we served it, everyone agreed the care that Jill and Mary put in makes for a better tasting bird. The bacon on top of the turkey this year came from a Lancaster-based pork company, Clyde Weavers.

Because I forgot my cookbooks, I made a different pumpkin pie recipe this year. The pumpkin came from an older Michigan farmer who does just a wide variety of squashes and eggplants (he brings his grandson to market most days). I had steamed the pumpkin and ground the spices before I left. For those who followed on Twitter, I did use some leftover Five Spice powder (with added ginger) for one of the pies, and it worked great. The flour came from a farm about an hour from here. They had been selling their own self-ground flour some years ago, but then stopped; this year the daughter and her husband showed up to market one day with the same great organic wheat flour as I had gotten years earlier. I like the way the nuttiness of the wheat compliments the pumpkin. My sister-in-law, who couldn’t make the trip, sent several pies from Picasso pastry in Syracuse, and the pecan pie was quite welcome.

We also brought Verterra wines — a couple of Pinot Noirs — from MI, which was a good things as there was a “glitch” at the state stores in SE PA on Wednesday.

We’ve got a tough haul in front of us. Let’s remember all the gifts and benefits we bring to that challenge.

 

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.