[Photo: Jose Chavez via Unsplash]

Trash Talk: Here for ‘The Big Game’

Okay, I promised I’d put up a Trash Talk post for The Big Game. Here it is, have at it.

What Big Game, you might ask. Yeah, I made that mistake last week.

I must be slipping a cog because a Michigander like myself should have remembered University of Michigan Wolverines plays its Big Ten rival Ohio State University Buckeyes today.

Most of the hardware stores in this state are probably rather quiet right now. Their usual denizens are likely parked in front of the tube in their favorite sports bar if not their den, if not out in the woods watching on their mobile device while choking out the final weekend of firearm deer season.

They’ve just kicked off. If you want to watch the number 3 ranked team U-M meeting the number two team OSU, you’ll find them on Fox.

Big question going into this game — at least for Michiganders: is running back Blake Corum recovered from last weekend’s injury to his left knee?

~ ~ ~

Let’s switch gears to the NFL —

— You Green Bay Packers haters must be tickled at the season-ending suspension of rookie lineman Sean Rhyan for performance enhancing drugs. Personally, I can’t understand why someone with so much going for them would fuck up like this so early into their career with a professional team. He’s played only one game for the Packers.

— Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones just happened to be watching an effort to harass Black students to prevent them from entering the North Little Rock High School they attended with Jones. A photo surfaced this week in which Jones appears within arm’s length of the harassed students. He was just 14 or 15 years old and it was just a coincidence he was there in that photo watching the harassment Jones expects us to believe. We’re also supposed to give him some credit for having been punished by his high school team for being anywhere near this conflict in which he just stood there.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith expects to likewise cut Jones, who has profited immensely from so many Black bodies working for him for years, some slack because Jones hasn’t deserved the heat he’s received this week.

Yeah, well those six Black students didn’t deserve the harassment in that 60-odd-year-old photo, the harassment they surely received before that photo, or the discrimination they’ve endured because of structural racism since then.

Smith will continue to benefit from his access journalism and Jones, who has never hired a Black coach, will continue to enjoy his billions.

~ ~ ~

Fucking FIFA. I will be so glad when this atrocity is over.

— “Bonesaw” bin Salman gifted each of Saudi Arabia’s players a Rolls Royce Phantom after their win over Argentina this past Tuesday. Seems on brand awarding a fossil-fueled fossil to a team representing a fossil fuel-producing fossil in a fossil fuel-producer’s futbol series.

— U.S. Men’s National Team tied England 0-0 in yesterday’s Group B match. We’re supposed to be amazed by this. Should we be? I don’t know; I thought the U.S. had a better team but what do I know being a failed soccer mom (failed meaning my youngest played soccer but didn’t enjoy it enough to stay with OR I didn’t nag them enough to stay with it).

— So far World Cup hasn’t crashed the bird app — so far.

~ ~ ~

I don’t really understand Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) let alone the appeal.

Isn’t this just a use-whatever-works-to-bash-your-opponents, a kind of free-for-all ball-free contact sport?

Whatever it is, apparently women can do it, too, and this week’s big women in MMA match saw an undefeated fighter brought down for the first time in the four years the Professional Fighters’ League has been in existence.

Former judo Olympian Kayla Harrison lost to Laura Pacheco in a unanimous decision. This was the third time the pair have met with Harrison coming out on top the first two times.

I wonder how much Harrison’s insta-family has affected her training along with the pandemic having cut into the PFL’s schedule. Harrison’s stepfather died suddenly in 2020 leaving behind an 8-year-old and a 2-year-old, for both of whom Harrison took custody. It’s a lot to add to a person’s plate.

~ ~ ~

Okay, that’s enough from me. There’s roughly nine minutes left in The Big Game and the teams are fairly well matched. The score now is 31-20 with Michigan leading; I wouldn’t bet against Ohio coming from behind.

Tell us what other sportsing you’re watching this weekend.

Trash Talk: Dead on the Field

I didn’t think anyone would miss my Trash Talk, but lo and behold, someone actually did.

Yeah, I’m surprised, too, because I’m not a sportser whether on a field or in the woods or on the water.

I do take some sick pleasure in sportsers’ pain, though.

Don’t tell my kid but I laughed my butt off when they complained in all caps it was COLD in the woods during their week of deer hunting.

You wanted this, kid. You knew going into the woods it’s cold, the hours are long, and venison is not a sure thing. You really have to enjoy nature and solitude.

The stories that come out of these hunting trips will last for years, though, and they’ll be buffed up and hauled out over every family gathering. They’ll last far longer than the venison sausage exchanged for a week’s worth of dogsitting.

Can’t wait to hear the tales during our next family gathering during the holiday season.

~ ~ ~

Today was the first Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup match. Ecuador met host Qatar and kicked their asses 2-0.

It’s the least that could happen after so many workers died building Qatar’s field, stadium, and other amenities for its participation in and hosting of FIFA’s World Cup.

Someone calculated the estimated number of hours of play expected in this World Cup series against the total number of workers’ deaths since Qatar was awarded this series in 2010, arriving at a figure of one dead worker for every 64 minutes of play.

Nobody needs futbol that badly.

FIFA’s president also set the tone for this series with an hour-long rant:

FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s extraordinary tirade against Western critics of the controversial tournament in an explosive hour-long monologue is still making headlines around the world. Human rights groups described it as “crass” and an “insult” to migrant workers.

Infantino, the boss of world soccer’s governing body, looked on glumly as he addressed hundreds of journalists in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, and started the news conference with a near hour-long speech, during which he accused Western critics of hypocrisy and racism.

Sure, sure…just because the colonialist west built itself on the backs of enslaved people and occupied indigenous lands, they’re not entitled to grow the fuck up and demand better especially from a sport which has been ridiculously corrupt?

The topper: no beer allowed because it’s a Muslim country and alcohol is forbidden.

I get it, your country, your rules, but those dead workers deserved better. The least they merit is a memorial toast if you’re in reach of alcohol while committing to a global standard for workers’ safety.

It wasn’t just alcohol but kosher food which was banned. Not exactly welcoming to all the people of the Middle East.

I’m not looking forward to the rest of this series.

Wonder how Twitter handled the match; I have no idea because I haven’t been over there. Probably not badly given the largest number of Twitter users are in the U.S. and Japan.

~ ~ ~

Speaking of Twitter, was Kyrie Irving ever suspended or banned from social media platforms?

I see he’s apologizing now for his bullshit anti-Semitic speech. Wonder if that’s about the National Basketball Association’s 8-game suspension alone, or if it’s about Irving’s access to media.

The Brooklyn Nets guard has been cleared to play and will start Sunday night against the Memphis Grizzlies. It will mark his first game since he was suspended Nov. 3 for “harmful impact of his conduct” relating to social media posts around a book and movie that contained antisemitic ideas.

With Twitter’s Musk relying on a poll outcome manufactured by the trolls/bots he derided, Twitter’s allowed both Trump and Kanye West back on and both committed their share of hate speech.

And look, there he is on Twitter, no mention of his hate speech, though.

Which means it’s not Twitter access spurring Irving to offer his questionable mea culpa.

~ ~ ~

What the actual. Detroit’s kitties won their third straight game today, this time over the New York Giants with a final score of 31-18 at the Giants’ field.

Jamaal Williams scored three touchdowns for the Lions.

Anything is possible, huh?

Bmaz wondered earlier in the week where Buffalo was going to play if at all given the record-breaking snow storm expected which was supposed to drop six feet of snow.

Since the Lions were in Giants’ Meadowlands MetLife stadium in New Jersey, the Buffalo Bills played in Detroit’s covered Ford Field stadium, located less than a three-hour drive from Cleveland.

Detroit was on the wrong side of a Great Lake for the weather system which dropped snow on the west side of Michigan and New York state – conveniently for Buffalo, since the team won 31-23 over the Cleveland Browns.

Looks like it was a good time even if it wasn’t at home.

~ ~ ~

This post’s title “Dead on the Field” is derived from a riddle:

Dead on the field lie ten soldiers in white, felled by three eyes, black as night.

Offer your solution to this riddle below in comments.

Treat this as an open thread.

Trash Talk: It’s All Over But The Screaming

Golf widow here again. My seasonal widowhood has come to the end of the road.

It’s the last weekend of the golf season here in this bit of the Midwest. The final round is underway now. Hereforth the not-so-retired retiree will be home until golf’s pre-season begins next April.

Or until firearm deer season begins on November 15.

Or the pre-season preparation of deer camp over the weekend before the season begins.

In other words I have a very narrow window of opportunity to get honey-do tasks accomplished over the next five days, and even that has been shortened by a previous commitment to replace brakes and repair an A/C system on my son’s car.

As soon as I finish publishing this post I will be assembling all the tools and supplies needed for a whirlwind of chores. Let’s hope four days is enough time to get them all done.

What’s on your fall chore list?

~ ~ ~

Another season has come to an end, the boys of summer can go home: Houston Astros beat the Philadelphia Phillies last night. The final score was 4-1 in the sixth and last game of the Major League Baseball Championship series, with the Astros achieving best of seven games with four games to Phillies’ two.

There will be a lot of discussion about Phillies’ manager Rob Thomson’s sixth inning decision to pull pitcher Zack Wheeler and replace him with Jose Alvarado while the bases were full.

Astro’s Yordan Alvarez batted a home run on Alvarado and that was the entire ball game.

Wheeler’s made polite politic noises about Thomson’s decision but surely he must be gutted.

Feels like we should all be a bit more inured to lousy management decisions by now.

~ ~ ~

In NFL news, Miami Dolphins are currently up 28-25 against the Chicago Bears. Cooler weather isn’t deterring them.

This bit of reporting from CBS Sports made me snort:

Miami’s two-game winning streak can directly be tied to the return of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as the Dolphins have wins against the Pittsburgh Steelers and at the Detroit Lions in his first two games back in action. He leads the NFL in passing yards per attempt (9.0) and passer rating (112.7) with the Dolphins amassing 2,340 passing yards this season, the most in the NFL. He’ll be going up against the NFL’s fifth-ranked pass defense in Chicago that allows only 188 passing yards per game.

It’s great that Tagovailoa has apparently recovered from his gawdawful injuries, but the last two games were against an AFC North team with a 2-6 record and an NFC North team with a 1-6 record. The latter – the Detroit Lions – really? Who couldn’t beat them?

~ ~ ~

Yikes – this Major League Soccer 2022 MLS Cup final yesterday between Los Angeles Football Club and Philadelphia Union was something.

I shudder each time I’ve watched this.

The final came down to a shootout in which Crepeau’s substitute John McCarthy managed three saves.

~ ~ ~

After WNBA player Brittney Griner’s appeal was denied by a Russian court on October 25, the U.S. Embassy attempted to visit her.

They were able to check on her condition on November 3. She’s holding up as best she can all things considered.

I wonder how much Griner and the welfare of the other detained American Paul Whelan factored into the new report the Biden administration’s request that Ukraine remain open to negotiation.

It had better not have come about because of House Democratic progressives’ sloppy approach to this subject this summer.

Treat this as an open thread.

Trash Talk: Begin with the End in Mind

Golf widow here, once again enjoying a calm sunny Sunday afternoon left to my own devices. The leaves are nearly all fallen and blow away, the migratory birds have taken flight leaving only the hardiest yet to make the seasonal trek. Winter is definitely coming.

Not to go all Stephen Covey on you, but I began this post yesterday with its end in mind.

“When I buy a new book, I always read the last page first, that way in case I die before I finish, I know how it ends. That, my friend, is a dark side.”
Nora Ephron, When Harry Met Sally

Sports in the fall is a seasonal trek, too. We’re nearly done with the boys of summer, deep into football weather, thinking about sharpening our skates and waxing our skis.

Along the way we’ll find end of stories. If we’re lucky and aware, we’ll find the seeds of beginnings.

~ ~ ~

It was quiet last evening as I predicted when Michigan State University’s Spartans met University of Michigan’s Wolverines on U-M’s turf.

As expected, U-M won 29-7 over MSU.

But not expected was the poor sportsmanship after the game, still being investigated by police and the Big 10 conference commissioner. Wolverine’s defensive back Ja’Den McBurrows and another unnamed player were roughed up in a tunnel or hallway after the game when players left the stadium.

There’s video on social media of the fracas. MSU players should not have made any contact with U-M players.

While MSU players should not have lost their cool and should have displayed more sportsmanship, the host team should not have allowed contact between the two teams after the game. The hosts should have allowed the guest team off the field first before heading to their respective locker room.

Let’s hope this is a learning opportunity which reduces the chances of future clashes between teams with intense rivalries – say, ahead of the meeting between number 4 ranked U-M and number 1 ranked Ohio State on Thanksgiving weekend?

~ ~ ~

The boys of summer in their ruin have now been reduced to the Houston Astros and the Philadelphia Phillies, tied up in the World Series at 1-1.

Next game in the series is tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. ET.

I can’t help cracking up about the drama sports journalists drum up over these two teams meeting to fight for the title of World’s Best after nearly half a year and hundreds of games have simply worn all teams down to the two which can execute most competently with greatest consistency.

After the series ends whether five games or more, it will be back to chopping wood, carrying water.

~ ~ ~

Speaking of drama, NFL fans have surely gotten their fill this week of celebrity news about Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ quarterback Tom Brady and his divorce from ex-wife and model Gisele Bündchen.

I’m not a fan but I’ve had quite enough, thanks, and inside just hours. My social media feed was inundated with the news Bündchen had filed in the morning and then swamped again when the judge signed the order.

It’s amazing how quickly this was turned around. Sure, they did a lot of the pre-work made easier with the ability to pay for good lawyers, but the couple must have wanted out very badly.

I feel for their kids. They may have access to adequate therapy to help them through this, but it will never fully resolve why their dad bemoaned not being around from August through January for family birthdays and holidays then did a 180-degree turnaround on retirement and went back to work.

What’s really annoying: all this media-whipped hullabaloo about an athlete worth $330 million and his wife who’s worth $400 million, and no one asking what the American public should take away from this situation after it took possession of our media.

Professional football is socially-acceptable violence; it can cause traumatic injuries including paralysis and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) which can deeply affect players’ lives. The risk of injury was a major concern for Bündchen who didn’t want Brady to continue the risk to himself when he had little if nothing left to prove to his peers.

We’re watching a Senate race now in which one candidate, Herschel Walker, shows hallmarks of long-term CTE which may have hurt his kindred, legitimate and illegitimate, thanks to his tendency to violence and poor decision making. Georgia voters may inflict this on the public if they don’t re-elect their current senator.

High school football has already begun transitioning from contact to flag in some parts of the country to reduce the risk of injuries to minors. It’s not enough though, when we see college athletes acting out violently as with the Michigan State Spartans. We can call it unsportsmanlike conduct, but the conduct may have roots in CTE these young people have already experienced.

The roots go wider and deeper, though. It’s in our refusal to demand a sea change in football, our continued incentives for reporting stories like Brady’s divorce and Walker’s erratic behavior as a candidate as just celebrity gossip or horse race political reporting.

~ ~ ~

I began writing this post after a close friend’s father passed away yesterday morning.

Their father was a fixture in my school system for nearly all their career. Everybody who grew up here between the 1960s and 1980s knows the family because they either had him or his spouse as teachers and guides, and their kids as classmates.

I can’t think of a local high school football game or civic parade I’ve attended here when he wasn’t driving his convertible with his golden retriever for company.

We often ribbed him about the cute blonde in the passenger seat who accompanied him to so many sporting events before reaching over to pet the well-mannered pup.

Over the years when I’ve thought of school sports I’ve thought of him and how he always encouraged the kids in the school system, showing his support by being engaged in the community.

If I recall, Marcy may have run into him at a Michigan Democratic Party event in Michigan we both attended. Even then he talked up what I did for the local party like I was a rock star. But he did that for so many kids in the community even as they became adults with kids of their own.

He was what good sports is about, the positive affect engagement as a group can have on a community. Individuals acting with an end in mind can realize this constructive bonding.

We’re going to miss him and his kind of cheerleading.

This door has closed, an end has been met. It’s up to us to find the open window and the new beginning.

Treat this as an open thread.

Trash Talk: Kiss My Ash

Hey. Golf widow again, counting down the remaining weekends to the end of the season. Three more to go including this weekend.

It’s quiet here, past peak color. Our first hard frost this past week has done its work on the remaining holdouts – every tree has taken on a golden cast.

Sadly, the lawn loves this weather. The undead golfer came home long enough to cut the grass yesterday between his last round and the long 19th hole. (What a pity.) He’s counting down the weeks as well to the end of grass cutting season – four or five more to go, just in time for Thanksgiving and the end of firearm deer season.

So much to count down these days, including the mid-term elections — 15 days remaining.

~ ~ ~

Bye week for Michigan college football. No, not University of Michigan but BOTH of Michigan’s Big 10 schools were off this week.

I avoided the hardware store yesterday because it was surely packed considering the lack of Michigan college football on television.

States with names beginning with “O” did well yesterday:

Ohio State 54-10 over Iowa
Oklahoma State 41-34 over Texas
Oregon 45-30 over UCLA

I can’t help it – the logic of following certain teams makes as much sense as picking them by the first letter of their name. At least if they’re in your backyard it makes some sense to hope they do well because winning may bring students and revenue to your state.

And yet we place far too much emphasis on sports, especially football, at universities. University of Minnesota avoided a strike by its service workers this week after a tentative three-year agreement was reached yesterday. Terms haven’t yet been published and are subject to ratification.

What’s galling about the situation: service workers weren’t paid a living wage yet the university’s head coach for its football team is the highest paid public employee in Minnesota.

Fleck’s increase in salary of $350,000 annually bumps him from the 24th highest paid coach in the country, and the 8th highest in the Big Ten before, to tied for the 17th highest paid in college football and tied for the 5th highest in the Big Ten going forward. He has the same $5 million dollar salary as fellow Big Ten coaches Kirk Ferentz and Scott Frost. It’s an additional $2.45 million over the course of the contract, so essentially it’s a new 7-year deal worth $35.00 million dollars.

[source: 247sports.com]

How many service workers could have been bumped to a living wage with the $350,000 Coach Fleck received as a raise?

Our country is arguing over tuition loan forgiveness while 40 states’ highest paid public employees are paid millions to coach sports.

[Map: Highest Paid State Employees, July 2022 via Kiiky]

Last year for the first time the highest paid state employees across all 50 states were coaches. I suspect the map above may be out of date.

In a nutshell, our priorities are fucked up.

~ ~ ~

Major League Baseball took over my Twitter timeline again last night — or I should say, New York Yankees’ fans filled my feed with cries of frustration.

The Yankees have until 7:07 this evening to shake off the doldrums before they meet the Astros again. I’m hedging my bets and doing something offline.

Philadelphia Phillies beat the San Diego Padres last night 10-6, bringing them a game away from winning the National League. The next game in the Phillies-Padres series begins in about an hour.

The one interesting bit of baseball news I read this week — I acknowledge I’m not much of a baseball fan — was about the change in baseball bats over the last two decades.

My entire neighborhood had to switch to maple trees from ash when it was developed nearly 20 years ago, and yet it never dawned on me the same reason for this change also affected baseball.

The same reason I can’t bring firewood from the Upper Peninsula to the Lower or the reverse also affects baseball.

The emerald ash borer has chewed up so many ash tree baseball has moved toward maple bats. Maple, though, is not the same as ash being a much more dense wood, which means some players’ distance and loft may be affected.

Two good pieces worth reading:

Baseball History Is No Longer Written With Ash Bats, by Zach Schonbrun-NYT

How an Invasive Insect Destroyed the Louisville Slugger Forest, by Tanner Garrity-InsideHook

The former is more focused on the trees, the latter on baseball. They’re a nice complement to each other.

~ ~ ~

An American teenager landed his sport’s most elusive move this week. 17-year-old Ilia Malinin took the gold at the Skate America competition after landing a quadruple axel.

Keep an eye on this guy. He is absolutely amazing, Olympic caliber material.

~ ~ ~

This is an open thread with an emphasis on sports. Have at it while I go outside and take advantage of our unexpectedly warm October weather to get some yard work done.

Trash Talk: Not Exactly Favre-nügen

[NB: Check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

Yes, I am a widow.

I’ve been a golf widow since the first week of April when the grass was greening but still too short to cut, but long enough to bear the weight of golfers.

I am now widowed twice over because said golfer hangs in the clubhouse after 18 holes to watch every sport on all the big screens lining the clubhouse walls.

At least I have a month to plan the golfer’s resurrection after the last golf outing the first week of November.

Damn it. I forgot about deer season. I guess I have two months of planning woodworking and painting projects to keep him busy until the cycle begins again next April.

~ ~ ~

Last weekend when the widow-maker spouse came home from watching post-golf football he was far too happy. He launched into a paean to the Detroit Lions. I pissed him off by replying, “You mean the perpetual losing Lions?”

“But they won!” he sputtered.

Two games does not a season make. I know better than to get my hopes up this early.

Apparently the sputterer is not alone: 2 analysts are already talking playoffs for Detroit Lions

The Lions may be up 14-0 as I type this but I am still not ready to believe.

~ ~ ~

I doubt I will see the sputtering undead golfer before the end of the Tampa Bay-Green Bay game which begins at 4:25 p.m. ET. Plenty of time to figure out what to serve for dinner to a guy who’s fallen deeply into the 19th hole.

Give me Aaron Rogers over Tom Brady and the non-profit, community-owned team versus the corporate team.

I won’t bother to argue the relative merits of either team; in truth the Green Bay Packers are a family favorite because of a family member who lives in Milwaukee area and is a superfan of the Pack. We’re really rooting for them to have a good Sunday.

~ ~ ~

Last but not least, that POS Brett Favre and his bullshit corruption, insisting on redirecting welfare money to university sports. He doesn’t have the morals to fess up to the public and do right by the state of Mississippi.

Remember the college admissions scandal, particularly that surrounding actor Lori Loughlin and her spouse who paid bribes to get their two daughters admitted to the University of Southern California as members of the rowing team though neither student ever rowed? Loughlin and her spouse were arrested, prosecuted, and served time; Loughlin also paid tuition for other students as amends.

But Favre pressed state officials to use Mississippi welfare funds to build a volleyball facility for his daughter to use at his alma mater…and nothing.

Or at least nothing has happened to Favre, while former head of Mississippi Department of Human Services, John Davis, pled guilty to federal and state charges related to misuse of funds including those on behalf of Favre.

It’s not as if there weren’t text messages released which show Favre knew the misallocation was wrong.

One might even come away thinking Favre conspired to launder the money

The capper on all of this has been the ridiculous amount of attention the sports media sector paid to another sports ‘scandal’ this week, when Boston Celtics’ head coach Ime Udoka admitted to engaging in a consensual relationship with an employee working for the same team, resulting in a season-long suspension for Udoka.

Favre’s corruption received much less attention in comparison.

Meanwhile people outside the state ask why Mississippi’s capital city, Jackson, has such tremendous problems with its water system.

Can’t imagine why.

~ ~ ~

Just a head’s up that this thread will be an overflow catch-all this week, assuming we don’t have too many other posts between now and the scheduled House January 6 Committee hearing on the 28th.

You might want to bookmark this for all non-hearing chatter.

Happy Holidays From The Emptywheel Blog: A Year To Remember, A Year To Forget And An Open Forum For Cooking, Trash And Other Talk

What a long strange trip 2021 has been. January 6 is still less than a year ago. Joe Biden’s Presidency is only eleven months old. The DOJ and 1/6 Committee are working away nicely on an unprecedented case that is multitudes more complicated and difficult than most all seem to comprehend (although we have been warning of that here from the start). So, as we reach this tumultuous Christmas and New Years’ season, amid the sudden (but quite predictable in spite of anything Biden and Harris say) emergence of Omicron, let’s chill a bit and take stock of it all.

First off, and I used to do this yearly on or about Christmas Eve, a remembrance of our dearly departed friend and colleague, Mary. Mary Perdue was not just a colleague, but a friend to both me, Marcy and most all of our contributors here. Mary left us on Christmas Eve 2011. Our long time regulars know this story, but there are a lot of new people here that should know, because this is the epitome of who we are at Emptywheel and what we have done and stood for from our beginning. I used to copy and repost the entire in memoriam, but will just link today for brevity. If you are new here, check it out.

Okay, on to the food! Because Mrs. bmaz is Italian at root, we always have, like at Thanksgiving, ridiculously awesome homemade spaghetti, meatballs, sausage and sauce instead of the traditional turkey and fixings. We will again. As much as I hate pumpkin pie, our daughter simply loves it, so there will be that too. That will be Christmas Day though, for Christmas Eve, probably steak, or homemade pizza, in the Ooni pizza oven. So, what are all of you eating, from where, and how? Marcy taught me long ago to seek out local and fresh ingredients, whether meat, vegetables or other, and we try to do that. Holiday food is fun!

And, now, for a bit of Trash Talk. Last night the Titans beat the 49ers and all but clinched a playoff spot and division title. Niners are still alive, but a little wounded. The Saturday game of Colts at Cardinals has all kinds of playoff implications. Both would likely still make the playoffs, but the seeding is absolutely critical. The other Christmas Day game of Cleveland at Green Bay is kind of a throwaway, hard to see the banged up and sinking Brownies going the Pack a game at Lambeau. There are too many permutations after the Sunday slate is played to go through here, but ESPN has a nice synopsis.

There is so much more going on, and let’s talk about it. In closing, I’d just like to say thank you for being part of this community, it means everything to all of us here. So, to all of you and yours, have the happiest of holidays and New Year.

This year’s holiday music is “Don’t Shoot Me Santa Claus” by the incomparable Killers. It is really a great tune. I do suggest you click on the full screen button to embiggen it.

And for Eureka, Scribe and all our Pennsylvania friends:

Pressure Drop Trash Talk

Lot of stuff in the last couple of days, and things that have people hot and bothered. So, let’s chill it out a bit with some late trash talk.

First off, a bit of credit to Fernando Alonso, who finished on the podium in Qatar for the first time in a long time. The Spaniard is still one of the fastest and best drivers in F1, the problem has long been his quality of equipment. So, that is fantastic.

In the college ranks, too many B1G teams, hi Ohio State and Michigan, won yesterday, as did those darned Domers. The Pac-12 truly sucks, and ASU is in serious need of a new head football coach and athletic director. The Cincinnati Bearcats truly deserve to be in the CFB Playoffs, and if they are not let fire engulf the entire NCAA.

In the pros, the Patriots seem to have reloaded with Mac Jones a lot faster than expected, though they are doing it against not the best competition. Their next four games are tough though, so we shall see. The Packers at Vikings may be the most interesting game of the day given that Kyler Murray seems unlikely to play as the Cards are in Seattle. Bengals at Rayduhs looks pretty interesting, though both a little flimsy right now. Lot of people taking the Cowboys over the Chefs, not sure about that. I will go with the Chefs with the game in KC. If Big Ben plays, and it looks like he will, Scribe’s Stillers at the Bolts looks to be an excellent SNF game.

That’s it. Trash this joint immediately. Music by Toots. Currently, Mrs. bmaz is playing Here Comes The Sun on her newish piano, the summer heat has broken, and I hope life is as good for every one of you.

Rocky Racoon, NFL, NCAA and F1 Trash Talk

Okay, the big news at Casa de Bmaz is that a full blown giant raccoon has taken up residence somewhere in our front. We have always had families of little ground squirrels living in some of our cactus patches, but this thing is huge. Our 92 pound Doodle, MissCue, has discovered it and is close to breaking through the front window to get to it. We, of course, call our new friend Rocky. It is pretty amusing so long as giant doodle doesn’t break through the window.

Some excellent NFL games this weekend. The Rams already clobbered the SeaSquaks, and Seattle has lost Russell Wilson in the process from a hideous middle finger injury on his throwing hand. But, wait, there’s more! The Cardinals, shockingly the only unbeaten team left in the league, travel to face the San Jose 49ers, who will be without Jimmy G already. Young Trey Lance takes over, and it could be a very interesting game.Pack goes to the Bungles, but Cinci is starting to maybe gel for once. Denver at Steelers is interesting. Steelers are flailing a bit, and if Bridgewater plays, this could be a great game, as could Cleveland at the Bolts. Then there is the Sunday Night game on NBC, the Buffalo Wagon Circlers at the Chiefs. The Chiefa have struggled, but think I’ll take the Chefs with some home cooking.

In the junior pro football league, which is all that the NCAA is after adoption of the NIL insanity, The Sun Devils dispatched the Trees of Stanford in the PAC-12 after dark game in Tempe. If you don’t watch PAC-12 after Dark, you are missing out, it is usually very good. The best game today is arguably number 4 Penn State at number 3 Iowa. Go Hawkeyes! LSU at Kentucky could be a real sleeper, but nobody ever made money betting on Kentucky Football. Same for the ND Domers at West Virginia. Georgia at Auburn looks interesting, but I’ll take the Dawgs.

That leaves F1 of the major sports. Hamilton is on pole, but has a ten place grid penalty, so will start eleventh. Verstappen will start in P2 alongside Hamilton’s Merc teammate, Bottas.There are not a lot of great passing opportunities in Istanbul, so we shall see how the race plays out. This has turned into a pretty interesting F1 season.

In other sports, the WNBA playoffs have been simply spectacular. Last night, the Phoenix Mercury beat out the Las Vegas Aces, in Vegas, behind timeless performances by Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner. Griner has a last second block that sealed it with less than a second to go. Really good stuff. The Mercury will face Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot and the Chicago Sky in the finals.

Also, too, the MLB playoffs are ongoing. Jim Whie’s Tampa Bay Rays looked to be world beaters until the Sawx lit them up toward the end of the game, and now the series is tied up. Giants beat the Dodgers in their first playoff meeting ever.

So, there is the sporting scene. It has been a while since we have done Trash Talk, so let your hair down and chat it up about anything. Today’s music is All Along The Watchtower. Most people think it is a Hendrix song, but it originally is a Bob Dylan song. And if you have never seen Dylan play it electrified, you are in for a treat, and it also includes Highway 61. Rock this joint.

There Is Going To Be A Game Tonight

Some former New England Patriot QB is going back to Foxbvorough. No, it is not Jacoby Brissett. It’s the other guy.

Gronk is out with fractured ribs, which really sucks. But Antonio Brown is back from Covid, the Bucs are not without weapons on offense.

The football talkers are all gabbing about hoe Bill Bel will know how to defend Brady. And that may be true. But having had the opportunity to watch Bruce Arians a few years, he can game plan on offense pretty well too.

It will be interesting to watch.

The Cinci Bearcats took out the Domers, UK beat Florida and ASU trashed UCLA.

Weird week, and have at anything and everything.

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