The Day The Music Died In F1

This is not to detract from a few other similar dates, Von Trips and Senna come to mind (see here for background on Von Trips at the Italian at Monza and Senna at the closely related venue of Imola).

They are dark days, but bookend maybe the greatest loss in F1, that of Jim Clark, on April 7, 1968. Fifty years ago today. At Hockenheim. I was reminded of this this morning by the great Paul Henri Cahier.

It is fascinating how, now, when discussions of “the greatest driver ever” militate towards people like Hamilton and Schumacher, excellent drivers both, but with ridiculous relative equipment advantages, both, in their era of dominance. Too short of shrift is given to the lions of a different, more competitive, age like Jim Clark.

So, on the eve of the Bahrain Grand Prix, a beautiful location, but a shit show that F1 and Ecclestone should have never agreed to or tolerated for human rights reasons, raise a toast to Jim Clark. The man won two World Championships AND the 1965 Indianapolis 500. That is something you will never see again, and he was special.

Down Under F1 Trash Talk

Welp, we have not had a Trash Talk thread here in a while. Since the Super Bowl by my guess. So, maybe it is time, and consider this an open thread because I know not all share the historical love of Formula One that this blog does.

The Circus season is about to open. As usual lately, it will be in Albert Park in Melbourne. And it is a fair and fast circuit to open the season with. Last year provided a shocker with Vettel and Ferrari taking the opening win. The rest of the season devolved into another Hamilton coronation though. Sadly. All things racing are better with better competition.

So this year, coverage of the Circus moves from NBCSN, which was abominable, back to ESPN from whence it came long ago. Personally, I loved Leigh Diffey, Steve Matchett and David Hobbs. But other than that, the always changing, and unpredictably located coverage by NBC was shit. As was their babbling and unctuous on scene pit row “reporter” Will Buxton, who is distressingly still present on the Sky feed ESPN uses. Can we swap Buxton for Leigh Diffey somehow?

ESPN may be doing it on the cheap, but they are doing so by utilizing a far superior European feed. Frankly, I am good with that, so far, so much the better. And we are not even into qualifying yet.

Okay, off we go for qualifying. We shall see that out before I post this, but the race, like The Dude, will have to abide.

And Qualy is off! The start of the season is always pretty exciting. Albert Park is a good spot, but not necessarily one of the classic circuits in F1. Probably a little warmer there than ideal, but still a decent track.

Wow. Just wow. The difference in the feed from the NBCSN years, as well as Fox/Speed, is like night and day. Incredibly superior. Hamilton takes pole, but Raikkonen and Vettel are in P2 and P3, with the Red Bulls of Verstappen and Ricciardo right behind.

Sadly Fernando Alonso in the McLaren starts out the season once again out of the top ten in qualifying. Couldn’t even make it into Q3. At some point he will no longer have it, and that day is quickly approaching, but Alonso is not done yet and the fact he is not in competitive equipment is a tragedy in the Circus. Put Fernando in Botas’ seat and Hamilton might pucker. But that is not happening, which is a sad thing for F1 fans.

So, we are off with a new season of Trash. It will be inconsistent until football really starts again, but will pop up every now and then. This weekend’s music is by Jimmy Barnes, a great Aussie import (for the Australian GP) that never got enough cred here in the states. In this clip, with Joe Bonamassa, but it is totally a Jimmy Barnes song (and it is awesome). Give it a listen, it is pretty great. Other than that, keep rolling, we have a long way to go yet.

What Jackie Wallace Said, And Less Important Super Bowl 52 Trash Talk

Here we all are, at the end of yet another NFL, and other, football season. Like parting,the Super Bowl is always such sweet sorrow. It is the ultimate American football game, and yet it is also the end. Sure, there is the pretentious and ever petulant star driven NBA, and, sure, pitchers and catchers are reporting within days for those who think the boys of summer really belong in the pre-spring.

But, this weekend, is the Super Bowl. Even in an insanely Arctic like location as the 6º stupidity of Minneapolis, it is the biggest event there is. Sure, Goodell and the @NFL needs to encourage every franchise city to rape their taxpayers for a publicly funded stadium, but placing the biggest event in American sports in insanely inhospitable locations is a craven price to pay and play.

Enough of that though. It is now Super Bowl weekend. Eagles and Patriots. There are a ton of compelling stories athletically.

Yet none of them stack up. None even hold a candle, to the story that NOLA photojournalist Ted Jackson published today about Jackie Wallace:

One foot in front of the other, the hulking old man trudged up the ramp to the Pontchartrain Expressway. A cold wind stiffened his face, so he bundled tighter and kept walking. His decision was made. A life full of accolades and praise meant nothing to him now. A man who was once the pride of his New Orleans hometown, his St. Augustine alma mater and his 7th Ward family and friends was undone. He was on his way to die.

The man was tired. In his 63 years, he had run with the gods and slept with the devil. Living low and getting high had become as routine as taking a breath. A hideous disease was eating his insides. He was an alcoholic, and he also craved crack cocaine. He was tired of fighting. He was tired of playing the game.
He crossed the last exit ramp and continued walking the pavement toward the top of the bridge. He dodged cars as they took the ramp. No one seemed to notice the ragged man walking to his suicide. If they did notice, they didn’t stop to help.

Only a half-mile more and it would all be over. One hundred and 50 feet below, the powerful currents of the Mississippi River would swallow his soul and his wretched life. He dodged another car. But why did it matter? Getting hit by a car would serve his purposes just as well as jumping.

How did it come to this? This was long after Jackie had turned his life around, or so we both thought.

Jackie Wallace played in three Super Bowls. He was not just a good player, but a great one. Yet Ted Jackson found him in a fetal position underneath a bridge in New Orleans. Yes, there was a heartwarming redemption story:

But the best was yet to come. Three years later, I sat working at my desk writing photo captions for some run-of-the-mill story. Above my desk, a large glass wall separated the photo lab from the newsroom. As I worked, I was startled by a sharp rap on the glass. I looked up to see Jackie Wallace’s 6-foot, 3-inch frame towering over me, dressed in a three-piece suit with his arms stretched as wide as he was tall.
Beaming with his gap-tooth grin, he exclaimed, “Do you believe in miracles?”

But, no, it did not end there. It went very dark. These are the NFL stories none of us want to hear. But their presence and message are all to clear. Let them whisper in your ear. Please, I implore you, read Ted Jackson’s account on Jackie Wallace. It will rip your guts out, and you will be better for that.

For Act II, I want to point out a seriously awesome contribution from my friend Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Inquirer titled, and legitimately so, “I nearly quit watching the NFL. The humanity of Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long brought me back”:

For Chris Long’s former high school football coach John Blake, there is one moment — and one image — that really showed the world what the Eagles defensive end is all about. And it wasn’t Long’s headline-grabbing announcement that he’d donate all his 2017 game paychecks to worthwhile causes, including two scholarships to send underprivileged kids to his Charlottesville, Va., alma mater, the St. Anne’s-Belfield School.

It was the preseason game back in August when the 10-year NFL veteran stood up for the national anthem and — in a gesture of solidarity and support — put his arm around his teammate Malcolm Jenkins, who was raising his fist to protest racial injustice in America. It was no little thing, as Long became the most visible white supporter of the protests that have roiled pro football for the last two seasons.

“What Chris was trying to do, basically, was to say that we need to listen — he’s got a point, all of these guys who are doing this are doing this for a reason,” said Blake, still head coach at the Virginia prep school. It was a brave political statement around the time when no less than the president of the United States was berating any athlete who protested during the anthem as a “son of a bitch,” but that arm-wrap also set the stage for all the giving-back good deeds that Jenkins, Long, and, increasingly. their Eagles teammates did in the Philadelphia community in the days that followed.

It does not end there. Will Bunch’s discussion of what Malcolm Jenkins of the Eagles has done, and how he has conducted himself, is even better.

While Jenkins drew flak from some for raising his fist during the anthem, he was also forging close ties with the Philadelphia Police Department, not just meeting with top brass but riding around with rank-and-file officers to learn how cops and the communities they serve can develop better trust — a real-world strategy for reducing shootings by police. While some angry fans, with Donald Trump’s hateful “son of a bitch” rant burning in their ears, chortled that protesting black athletes didn’t even know what they were protesting for, Jenkins made a mockery of that ignorant claim. He was busy writing a searing series on criminal justice in the Philadelphia Citizen, traveling to Harrisburg to lobby lawmakers on “Clean Slate” legislation to wipe clean the records of low-level nonviolent offenders, urging sweeping reform of the broken bail system, and calling on Pennsylvania to release inmates given life-without-parole sentences as juveniles. One such ex-offender who did win his freedom recently, Kempis Songster, will be in the stands at the Super Bowl — because Jenkins paid his way to get there.

Seriously, go read it.

Okay, enough for the emotional moralizing. Though I think it is a more than decent time and platform to do so on and from. Let’s get down to the Wild Night:

Lot of people yak about the high holy commercials. Save for a couple (Hi early Apple!) I think they are WAY overrated. So, let us talk for a moment about the halftime shows. As Vulture does with many bands and things, they have drilled down to an all time ranking of Super Bowl halftime shows.

Honestly, I take issue with a LOT of their rankings. There are two I do not, however. The first is their top rank for Prince in 2007. In the driving rain, Prince was beyond awesome. That was indeed the best.

The second best, however, to me was Diana Ross at Super Bowl XXX which Vulture has at only number 6. I will have to admit, I am far from impartial as that was at Sun Devil Stadium and I was there about fifteen rows up from the floor. Diana was unreal, and the helicopter thing was simply insane. Were the acoustics etc. perfect? Nope. But Diana Ross owned the place. I wish I could describe it, but I can’t do better than that. It was more memorable than the game, and remains so to this day (Aikman and Cowboys beat Neil O’Donnell and the Steelers in a fair, but not that close game).

So, the Pats are taking on the Eagles. Who wins? For all those saying it is a slam dunk, remember, the Pats never win by much or clearly in Super Bowls. They may be the dynasty they are, but the margin in the Super Bowls, whether they win or lose (Hi Eli!) is always small, at best. This looks to be another one of those. Nick Foles is better than people give him credit for, and, AGAIN, if Doug Peterson turns Foles lose and lets him rip, this may be a far different game than most people and oddsmakers think. I see it as a pick em 24 hours ahead of time. Enjoy!

Okay, in the musical selections for this week, I may have substituted Jackie Wilson for Jackie Wallace. The joy with which Van Morrison plays on Jackie Wilson and Wild Night seem right for the joy Jackie Wallace played with in his prime. Let’s remember that, and think of Jackie and all the aging stars of our youth. They brought great joy then, time to give back that appreciation. Enjoy the Super Bowl one and all.

Under Tom’s Thumb Conference Championship Trash Talk 2018

Here we are in the penultimate weekend of the professional football season for 2017-2018. The final four. And, usually, a far better weekend of football than that of the Super Bowl.

The early game is Jacksonville at New England. There has been a lot of chatter about this one. Started with chatter about the Jag’s awesome defense and D-Line ability to get to and rattle Brady. And, to be fair, Brady is nowhere near his usual self if you can really put the wood to him. But then things went bonkers with news of the injury to Tom’s thumb. Hand. Whatever. If Betty Grable had “Million dollar Legs”, you have to wonder what Brady’s right hand is worth. Word is, however, after not doing much in practice Thursday, he back at it on Friday and looking good. Pats are favorites by 7.5, and that seems about right. The Jag’s defense sure seems to be everything advertised. Calais Campbell was panned as costing way too much for Jax to pick up off the Cardinals in free agency. All he has done is have an all-world season and be in contention for defensive player of the year. Jalen Ramsey is almost as good as his mouth says he is. So, the defensive edge goes to the Jags. But Tom Brady, bum thumb or no, just has way more savvy and mojo in big games than Blake Bortles does. The fact that Pats killer Tom Coughlin is with Jacksonville now gives serious pause. But as appealing as it seems, no way to bet against New England.

The late game is Vikes at Eagles in Philly. Hey, a lot of folks thought this game would be Atlanta at Saints. The number one seeded Eagles were even home dogs against Atlanta, but they won a hard fought game. Same for the Vikes, who literally needed the “Minneapolis Miracle” in the last second to emerge. But emerge they did. And now they are favorites by 3.5 over the, yet again, home dog Eagles. Not long ago, Nick Foles and Case Keenum were both on the Rams. Now they are squaring off in the NFC Championship game. Keenum is on a far more, and better, roll than Foles. My prescription is same as last week for Philly…take the shackles off and let Foles rip. You are going to either win or die, might as well let him play. They did not really do that last week and still managed to eek out a win. Maybe their defense is that good, we shall see. I’ll take the Vikes though.

Okay, that is it, let er rip. Music is, obviously, by the Stones. If you have super vision, and look close enough, maybe you can spot me just left of center stage, about ten to fifteen people back. It was a hell of a beautiful day.

Divisional Playoffs 2018

Four more games, two today, two tomorrow. Win or go home. All the platitudes. I have been spending a great deal of my time the last week with the porcelain god in the bathroom, and nearly all of it the last 24 hours. Also have a pretty important little trip have to make here early this morning, so one and all please feel free to fill in background and predictions on the games.

First up for Saturday is Atlanta at Philadelphia. The weather will be freezing cold, and temp expected to keep dropping during the game. Atlanta is a southern dome team with not much, uh, exposure to such conditions. That heavily favors the Eagles, and their superior defense, who are. But the Falcons have Matt Ryan at QB and the Iggles are stuck with backup Nick Foles. A great kid, who can be pretty good on occasion, but Foles is no Matt Ryan. The trendy pickers seem to all be taking the Falcons. And I will too. Philly needs to open up their offense and see if Foles can’t get on a run. Again, he is capable of that streakiness. But if they go conservative, they are toast. Play to win the game.

Late game Saturday is Tennessee at Patriots. More cold weather will be in store in Foxborough. Keep them balls inflated boys! Seems like every year that the Pats are the Saturday night game in Divisional week. Go figure. Marcus Mariota is young, talented and mobile. The kind of QB that can give New England fits. The Pats’ secondary has really come along nicely since the start of the year. So, really, this will come down to the ability of their D-Line to pressure and contain Mariota. James Harrison should get significant opportunity to help them out in that regard. The Titans are a nice story, and look like a team growing a solid core for the future. Hard to see them slaying the Pats tonight though. Also, how can a team win a history on their team name like this?? (c/o our wonderful friend @StephStradley)

Early game Sunday is Jacksonville at Steelers. This could be a great defensive struggle….or not. I tend to think not. Pittsburgh defense may not be what the Jag’s currently is, but it is not bad at all. And it is just really hard to see how the Jags are going to produce enough offense to keep up with Big Be and the Bumblebee Boys. In fairness, the passing game may be more check offs and mid range stuff if Antonio Brown is hobbled or out. But I expect Brown to suit up and do fine. This is Pittsburgh and the playoffs dammit, not some meaningless late season game. The Steelers are itching to get back to the Patriots in Foxborough, and I think they are going to get their wish.

Last game standing will be Saints at Vikings. Vikes are 4 point faves at home. Seems about right I guess. That said, this is the one game that truly looks like a pickem to me. Case Keenum and the Vikes have been quietly excellent on offense, and scoring plenty of points this year. And the Minnesota defense is fantastic. Saints are a little up and down this year, but did seems strong down the stretch for the most part. The Nawlins defense is quite improved over what they have suffered for many years. But it is not on the level of the Vikings. If the Saints are going to win this, and there is a path for that to happen, will have to be by Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara running wild. Hey, it could happen, but not putting hard money on it.

Okay fans and fannys, that is it. Hoop it up. Music this week is by Stevie Nicks playing with Bob Welch and his band. May be the best version of Gold Dust Woman around. For some reason, and never seen this before , the video is not interacting well with our blog. So here is the link. It is worth a watch.

Wildcard Weekend 2017

The regular season is finally over, and after a horrible schedule of boring games to close it out last weekend, we are on to the playoffs. Playoffs?!?! Yeah, here were for Wildcard Weekend 2017, and it is on to the games:

First up is Tennessee at the KC Chefs. The knee jerk is to say the Titans don’t have enough scoring potential to keep cooking with the Chefs. But KC has lost every home playoff game in the supposed ultimate home advantage of Arrowhead Stadium in the last 24 years (seriously, the last win there, the Chiefs had a QB by the name of Joe Montana). That is not good. KC also has some injury issues, especially as to returners, and will likely have to use star receiver Tyreek Hill in the fraught return game. Titans have their own injury problems with starting RB DeMarco Murray out with an MCL sprain. But they still have Derrick Henry, who is very good, but may be overworked. Injury problems at CB too for the Titans. You will be shocked to hear that the game will come down to which QB protects the ball better and gets yardage downfield, but Smith has Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce for that. Hey, Aaron Rodgers he is not, but I will take the experience and calm of KC’s Alex Smith over young and talented, but sometimes erratic, Marcus Mariota.

Late game for Saturday is Falcons at Rams. There are a lot of smart people, for one Mike Wilbon, thinking the edge here goes to the Dirty Birds because of their, and their quarterback’s, superior experience in the playoffs. I don’t know that that is wrong. By the same token, nothing seems false about the Rams. They already had a great defense, with true studs like Aaron Donald etc. The turnaround this year was the offense, and if Jared Goff gets past the original early game jitters, they are really solid on that side of the ball too. Todd Gurley is the serious beast we all thought he would be coming out of Georgia. Goff has bee steady, and at times spectacular. And, while there is no Julio Jones on their roster, the trio of Robert Woods, Sammy Watkins and Cooper Kupp gives Goff solid targets across his read. I have no real reason why, but will go out on a limb and take the Rams, even if I do not feel good about it.

Early game Sunday is Buffal at Jacksonville. The Marrone Bow, because Jax coach Doug Marrone walked out on the Bills and landed as the current coach of the Jaguars after a stint as OC. The Jags also have Tom Coughlin in the front office, but he seems to be quite involved in the field work too. The combo has worked for the Jags. Blake Bortles has even looked like an upper half NFL QB lately. The Bills are a great story getting back into the playoffs (not since 1999) – finally – after a long drought. But they did it by the thinnest of reeds in tie breakers. Frankly, I think the Chargers would have been a harder out at this point. But here the Bills are. Shady McCoy looks like he will play for the Bills, but his ankle clearly is not in optimum condition. And the Jacksonville defense, led by the awesome Calais Campbell, is quite stout. I’ll take the Jags, Bortles and Leonard Fournette here, plus, of course, they are at home.

Last game is the Sunday late game of Carolina at Saints. Fittingly, it is last in the Saturday queue, because it is probably the best and most intriguing game. Both teams have experience in the playoffs. Cam Newton versus Drew Brees, two vastly different, but awesome QB’s. Nawlins won both head to head match ups this year in the NFC South. And, no, I do not buy that “you can’t win three games in a season against the same team” baloney. It may or may not be true, but it is a trope that came out of ACC basketball, not the NFL. The Saints defense is MUCH improved. Drew Brees is still Drew Breeeees. And he has a young and ridiculously dynamic running back in Alvin Kamara. Kamara may well be on the field in kick return situations too. I think this is too much for the Panthers, especially in the Superdome. Great game though.

Okay, there you have it. You all have good stuff to say, let it rip in comments. Music this weekend is by Willie Nelson. Willie is fucking great, and I went to see him again last Wednesday night. My wife had never seen him before, and her eyes were opened. Yes, it is not just his voice, but his guitar playing too. Really great. Have a great weekend folks.

End Of The Regular Season Road Trash

Welp, with this weekend, we have reached the end of the road for the regular season in the NFL and the NCAA, with only playoffs in the former and the BCS Championship game left in the latter.

It is still early out here in the west, and I have some very important duties duties to do this morning in regards to selecting our new puppy, so this will be a brief stub as a placeholder for this that want to start talking trash. I mean, hey who knows, there might be people interested in the Taxslayer Bowl (Louisville/Mississippi State) and the Liberty Bowl (Iowa State/Memphis), both of which start well before I will be back. As I have mentioned before, Memphis is really fun to watch.

I will fill in some more post content later. And……..

Okay, back now. There are only two huge bowl games left before the BCS playoffs. First up is the Fiesta Bowl here at Cardinals joint early afternoon. Pits Washington versus Penn State, both teams coming in at 10-2. This really should be a great game, both have solid defenses and both can be extremely explosive on offense. I’ll root for the Huskies, but give slight edge to Nittany Lions. Then there is the Orange Bowl tonight with Wisconsin v. Miami. Wisconsin is tough and they grind. But Miami, if they get their groove back is more explosive and this is a home game for them. That is a pick em in my eyes, but oddsmakers have Wisconsin by 6. That is probably right.

On New Year’s Day, there are five games. Michigan/South Carolina in Outback Bowl and Notre Dame/LSU in the Citrus Bowl look like yawners. But UCF versus Auburn in the Chik-fil-A Peach Bowl could be pretty good. Then there are the two BCS semifinals. First up is Georgia v. Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. As good as Georgia is on offense, Oklahoma is even better, but the reverse holds on defense, where the Bulldogs only allow 13 points a game. Spread is currently 2.5, but I don’t buy it. Straight up pick-em. In the late game, it is yet another rematch of Alabama and Clemson in the Sugar Bowl. Very even on both sides of the ball. Clemson, even when they lost two years ago to Bama, played them neck and neck, which no one does. Last year they won. They are not afraid of the Tide, and I will give them a slight edge.

On to the Pros: Cardinals at Seattle is always a bloodbath. Cards have won three out of the last four up there though. Squawks still have shot at playoffs and are probably far more motivated. Niners at Rams is interesting as SF is on a roll with Jimmy G and the Rams are resting up. I’ll actual;ly take SF there. Jets at Pats and Browns at Steelers only interesting to see if either of the two top seeds screw up and lose. Steelers resting key players, but then again it is only the Brownies. Lastly, there is nothing playoff wise in play, but Packers at Lions is always a good game lately. Green Bay has Hundley, Kittehs have Matt Stafford, I’ll take the Kittehs.

Since it is a road post, I thought some road music from Bob Dylan would be in order. Behold the incomparable “On the Road Again” set to scenes from the classic movie of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Rock and roll it.

Modern Lovers Christmas Trash

Happy Holidays! Or are we mandated to call it “Merry Christmas” in the Trump Age?

Your local blogger may have a hard time understanding the new dynamics. This bullshit issue is symptomatic of the national condition currently. It is contrived, and it is asinine.

But whatever your process, Happy Holidays.

Now on to the games:

Let us start off with the Vikes at Cheese. This would normally be a laugher, but not this year. I favor the Vikes, because, hey, who would not. But, still, they are the Packers and this is the Frozen Tundra. Were Aaron Rodgers on the field, this goes the other way. Ravens at home versus the Colts? Nope, take the Ravens.

Cleveland at Bears ought to be interesting to see who is more…well, who will win. I will take the Kittehs over the Bungles. And Rams over the Titans. By the way, courtesy of our friend Steph Stradley, did you know the Titans Are Named After Inbred, Defeated Child Eaters?

New Orleans at Falcons seems noteworthy. There is actually something at play there. Cannot take the Dirty Birds in a game like this, if only because they are not home. And the Superdome is home for Drew Brees and the Saints.

Phish at Chefs may be pretty interesting. Miami is far better than they looked, including Cutler, and KC still good, but far more vulnerable than thought. This will be a really good game.

I just do not see how anybody gets excited about the rest. That is a short and succinct trash on a Saturday morning. Do your best and tell me all that I missed!

Nothing Is Easy Stand Up Trash Talk

All the hibernating troll things rearing their ugly heads and popping up lately somehow caused me to go back to very old Tull. So, fault me if you want, but we will start and end there this weekend. Nothing is easy.

If you never saw the traveling minstrel circus that was Jethro Tull live in the 70’s, you really missed something. I was already thinking about this before talking to one of our mates here with a wife who is an accomplished flautist. We will get to football in a moment, but the lead today is going to be music.

Back to Tull. I am old. I have seen most everybody. Jethro Tull was ridiculously incredible. And, yet, not an act that even I think about regularly. Go figure. That in spite of how good Ian Anderson was, and even more Martin Barre on guitar. Their talent was insane, and the rest of the band was close if not equal. It is one thing to hear their music, but like Pink Floyd, seeing it play out in front of you live is better than you could possibly hope for or imagine. No way to really describe it. Alright, we will start off with a cut from Stand Up. Then we shall see where we end up.

Okay, college football is dormant still. Unless you live near Tempe Arizona, where the Herm Edwards project is turning out to be an even bigger cock-up joke than people like me thought it was from moment one. Seriously, ASU and their brain trust of Ray Anderson, are making Pee Wee Herman look like Vince Lombardi. I have never been more embarrassed for ASU football in my life. Never.

As to the Pros, Denver blistered Da Bears in a yawner Thursday night. Brock Osweiller is still the best quarterback on the Donkos, and that is a problem for them.

Today – Saturday! – we have two games. Bears at Kittehs is first up. Lions are seriously hurt with injuries. But not enough to lose to the Bears. Chargers at Chiefs is second up to bat. Not THAT is a game. Chefs are a better team, but I like Rivers and the Bolts here.

On Sunday, and it may not ultimately matter, but the Dolphins at Bills might be pretty interesting. Personally, I really care and will be focused on the return of Aaron Rodgers in Carolina against a seemingly resurgent Panthers and Cam Newton. Even if the Pack wins out, I am not sure they get into the playoffs at this point. May suck, but that is how it is.

There are only two games that have real national interest. Scribe will love this, but the most critical one is absolutely Pats at Steelers. If you just read history, you take Bill Bel, Brady and the boys every time. I don’t think so right now. The Stillers just have too much jam at home tomorrow. Now, assuming the Pats return there for the playoffs, that is quite another thing. But tomorrow, I like Steel City.

The other is Rams at Seattle. The Rams have been both consistent and resilient this year. Nobody predicted that. I admire what they have done. They are for real. But, man, it is crunch time and this is in Seattle. That is brutal. I’ll take the Squawks. Cards at Skins might be interesting to watch, even if not of any significance.

And so we close with more Tull. Again, a seriously incredible act over a very long time. If you never got the opportunity to see them back in the day, go google a U-Tube of one of the old concerts and watch it. Was great. And Martin Barre remains one of the greatest under appreciated guitarists in rock history. And, today, a little love for flautists, some of whom are quite important here. Get the lead out, and get the roll on.

A Decade Of Trash

Basketball, whether pro or college, does not really start until the first of the year. College football, sand the Army?Navy game – Go Navy! – is done until bowl season really starts, baseball and F1 are off and, so, we are left with the NFL.

And a retrospective of Trash Talk over the last decade. So, I will, once again, make the ask. There are many modalities, but the overall effort needs you and your support:

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So, please, we almost never make an ask, but we are now, if you can, help us out: Support Emptywheel

Okay, that being said, let us take a look back at a decade of Trash Talk. May or may not be in any particular order:

ITALIAN GRAND PRIX 1961-2011: MONZA, DEATH OF VON TRIPS & A YANKEE CHAMPION

This one is my favorite in a bittersweet way. Phil Hill was a friend, and frankly, a bit of a mentor in my life. He enjoyed a large life as a world champion in Formula One and at Le Mans, and an even bigger one as a husband, father and restorer of magnificent antique cars.

ZENYATTA! AN LA WOMAN RUNS FOR THE ROSES & HISTORY

I was around, even if young, when Secretariat blowup the Triple Crown. There has never been a horse like that to this date. Never. But there was a filly who was pretty much the equivalent….Zenyatta. There have been great female horses, but none like Zenyatta. Our own Roving Reporter, Rosalind, went to cover Zenyatta’s historic run at the Lady Secret’s Stakes at Hollywood Park. It was magnificent.

WAVELAND AND THE NORTH SIDE, SWEET HOME CHICAGO

The lovable loser Cubbies won the World Series. And Obama joined Mick Jagger, BB King and Buddy Guy for Sweet Home Chicago. It really doesn’t get any better than that.

SUPER BOWL 43 TRASH TALK: THE RED & THE BLACK

Okay, it is likely the only time the Arizona Cardinals will ever sniff the Super Bowl. And even with Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald ripping it up, Pittsburgh won. Barely, but a win is a win, and a loss is a loss. Great BOC music though.

WITH A NECK LIKE A JOCKEY’S BOLLOCKS TRASH TALK

Sorry, I just love the title to this one. And you get to see me wearing a cheesehead!

ESPN IS GUTLESS, CHRIS MORTENSON HAS TINY DEFLATED BALLS AND OTHER DEFLATEGATE TRASH TALK

Like John McCain, I feel bad that Chris Mortenson is now in compromised health. But he has never atoned for the things he has done. In this case, he almost single handedly started “Deflategate” with a completely false report, and has never had the decency to admit his false reportage.

BACON, BOOBS & A BLOWJOB: ALL STAR TRASH TALK

I am sorry. I feel bad. But the title was just too good.

THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE BO MERLOT EMPIRE

Charles Woodson is not walking through that door again. My favorite football memory ever is ASU trouncing the Wolverweenies in the Rose Bowl. I was there, and was a glorious day what with the pounding of both Jim Harbaugh and Bo Schemberhler. Also, the great Mose Allison supplies some music.

SUPER BOWL SEX TRAFFICKING TRASH TALK

The hype and bullshit around an actual Super Bowl coming to your town is bonkers. I’ve been through three of them. But there is an underside to it all too.

THE SHAME OF FORMULA ONE IN BAHRAIN

This was a short post. I did not say nearly enough about the state of human rights in the Middle East. But I did try to make a point that F1 should not foster abusive nation states that refuse to respect such rights. One day, I will come back to this.

The things we have done is this weekend’s music. If you ever get a chance to see The Killers, go. Do it. I have seen most of the big bands live at one time or another, and The Killers are very far up on the ladder. There is also a bit of link rot in some of the above posts. I fixed some of it, but not all.

As the Killers intone, you gotta hold on. Irrespective of where you are geographically or mentally in life. Thank you for participation, and thank you for support.