November 30, 2020 / by 

 

Thanksgiving Day Cheer

Okay, the football gods did not smile on fans today. Texans at Lions and Washington Football Team at Cowboys is about the worst schedule the NFL could put up. There was a Steelers and Ravens game for the night slot that would have been interesting, but, alas, it was rescheduled to Sunday because of the Coronavirus. Blecch.

But, hey, there is a lot else to be thankful for. Especially here, thanks to all of you. And so we are thankful for all of you!

Also food. Mrs. bmaz is cooking up some great grub, and I know there is some awesome looking stuffing, some turkey (not the turducken I requested, but it will be fine). That, and that some part of it involves some of my personal stash of bacon from Zingermans (thanks Marcy!), is about all I really know. There is Blueberry Crumb Pie from the Rock Springs Cafe (as good of pies as you will ever taste), and vanilla bean ice cream. Some nice red wine, and that will do it.

What are you folks eating and thinking about? Have at it! Music today is the classic Wasted Words by the Allmans. Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving folks. May you have a joyous one, and stay safe.


Goodbye Earl Trump

“Well, the weeks went by and spring turned to summer
And summer faded into fall
And it turns out he was a missing person
who nobody missed at all”

Listen, this has been really over since mid Wednesday morning. Am not sure how long The Arizona Republic has called this race, but pretty sure it has been at least a day or more. Even if the drama happy cable networks won’t acknowledge it.

But even MSNBC and CNN are chiming. So, it is really over. Goodbye Earl Trump!

Some good college football on today. ASU at USC starts it off. Houston at Cinci could be interesting. Best game could be Gators at the UGA. But the oxygen in the room goes to…..Clemson at The Golden Domers. Having Taylor Lawrence out puts a large dent in this, bet Clemson can still put up a fight.

I’ll be back in a bit with the pros.

The Chicks with Goodbye Earl.


Last Trash Talk Before The Election

Welp, we have almost made it to November 3. As I type this, there are less than 72 hours to the opening of the polls for Election Day. The long national nightmare will be very far from over, irrespective of which candidate wins. But, and this is important, the relentless onslaught of annoying campaign commercials, mailers in your mail box and robocalls calls and texts will be over, and that will be a huge relief. I don’t trust the polls, especially the national ones. State polls are a far better indicator, but even those are fraught these days, but they are far more important because the electoral college is what really matters, and that is state by state. Polling is hard now. The saw about cell phones skewing polling is really true. Some people, including me, won’t answer them for rando callers. It also skews more urban. So, who knows what the ground will look like on Wednesday November 4, we shall see!

There is one other bit of unfortunate news, Sir Sean Connery has passed. Here is a great obituary from the BBC. Everybody knows the various Bond movies, and they were all great in their own way. I’d like to focus on some of his many other notable roles. He won an Oscar for The Untouchables. But his work was every bit as spectacular in The Wind And The Lion and Hunt For Red October, not to mention as John Mason in The Rock (a fantastic flick). And let’s not forget his portrayal of William von Baskerville in The Name of The Rose, also spectacular. What are your favorite roles and lines, here is a list? RIP Mr. Connery.

On to the games. In the NCAA, there are not a ton of really promising matchups. Texas at Oklahoma State could be one. OSU is pretty solid, and has a very decent defense. Watch out for OSU this year. Most of the national focus is on Ohio State at Penn State. Clearly the Buckeyes have to be favored, but you never know against PSU at home. Boston College is at Death Valley to play Clemson, who will be without star QB Taylor Lawrence because of a positive Covid test. I will still take the Tigers, but no Lawrence is a big wrinkle.

In the Pros, all eyes are on Scribe’s Steelers at Baltimore, and that is a tossup. If they get any contain whatsoever on Jackson, which is not easy, I’d pick the Steelers. But that is a huge if with the reigning MVP. Saints at Bears looks pretty interesting, as does Niners at Squawks. The SNF game is Dallas at Eagles. Ugh. MNF has Tampa Bay at Giants. That also looks to be an ugh.

Lastly, F1. This weekend is the “Emilia Romagna Grand Prix”. No, I do not know exactly what “Emilia Romagna” is, that is new to me. It apparently is a region of Italy with Bologna as the capital. What I do know, however, is that this marks the return of F1 to the Imola Circuit, also known as the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, the home of the former San Marino Grand Prix. It has not hosted F1 since 2007, there have been many renovations and upgrades in the meantime. The circuit looked quite fast in qualifying, where Bottas nudged out Hamilton and Verstappen for pole. Pierre Gasly did a great job to place P4 on the grid. The two McLarens placed P9 and P10, continuing their resurgence. Should be fun.

Okay, that’s it for today. Kind of a traditional Presidential election thing around here, music is Elected by Alice. Go out and vote. Biden is not perfect, no candidate ever is, but he is light years better than Trump. Cast yer ballots, mine is already in!


Ten Days To Go Trash Talk

Yesterday was the Scaramucci point; i.e. eleven days to go. Now it is ten, and it all is getting to be overwhelming. A perfect time for some Trash, as Trash was always about giving a release from the daily drudgery. Off we go!

Am still of the opinion that trying to play college football during the pandemic was a bad idea. But playing they are. In that regard, let’s talk about Wisconsin, who put on a show last night. Once we discussed the new whiz kid on the Badgers’ block, and it was Russell Wilson. He turned out to be all that, at Wisconsin and then in the NFL. But last night was ridiculous. First time redshirt freshman starter Graham Mertz merely completed 20 of 21 passes for 248 yards and five touchdowns in the Badgers’ 45-7 win. That is pretty good.

In the pros, after a Covid announcement by the Raiders, the NFL and NBC suddenly flexed the SNF game to Seahawks at Cardinal, purporting it to be to address Covid concerns. That is a joke. If Covid were the meter, you would give the Raiders more time, even if hours to comply and play. Just hazarding a guess here, but maybe the NFL and NBC figured Russell Wilson versus Kyler Murray was a better game and draw, and did not have potential to be cancelled at the last minute. If so, that was pretty much a smart play.

The Bucs at Vegas is still a must watch if available to you. Steelers at Titans is still the real game of the day. I’d normally take the Steelers with Big Ben back to normal. Would not bet a cent on it though, the Titans, Vrabel and Tannehill, are on a fair roll, and then there is Derrick Henry. This will be a fun game. Look too to Bears at Rams. Seems kind of ho hum, but is an important game.

This weekend is also the Portuguese Grand Prix. Now it has been a while since there was a Portugese, but there is a real history. Of course the Mercs of Hamilton and Bootas have to be favored. It is kind of a crazy looking circuit for the new iteration of F1 though. Could be interesting!

Today’s music is by Bruce. When he says no surrender, he means it. Listen to him, think about the time old message, and GO VOTE to make sure the Trump Train leaves the station. Enjoy Bruce at his rocking best.


Tuscaloosa Gets The Birmingham Blues

Part of the lack of consistent Trash has been aversion to NCAA “opening”, knowing what would happen. The NFL pros had/have a shot, but even that has not been easy. Colleges? Anybody that has spent time on a college campus knew that would be a tough pull. So…..

Nick Saban is a Trumpian hero that magically slays the Covid and can coach the most important thing in the world, a belligerent SEC game. What a jerk. That said, UGA at Bama is close to a national championship game as you will get prior to any supposed BCS Championship.

Bill Bel had an interesting start to his coaching career. He was always that guy, and it is interesting reading.

As to the Pros, they are holding on. Barely. The Tennessee Titans has a huge COVID scare that seems to be slightly smaller than first advertised. The Titans are actually a pretty well run organization, so that is not surprising. But what a warning shot, along with Cam Newton and Gilmore in Boston. Playing football, with giant team roster numbers, and even bigger administrative staffs, was always going to be harder than the NBA, NHL or even MLB.

The AFC alone lost steals the day Sunday. I’ll take the Pats over the Donkos in Gillette, but that is not overly easy, Baker and the Brownies in Pittsburgh is the game to really watch. Green Bay at Tampa Bay is the other one to watch. Whether you are a fan or not, that is two of the best QBs ever tilting at each other.

Okay, a story about the Trash music attached hereto. Long ago, I went to a Charlie Daniels Band concert in Phoenix. It was really good. So, one of my first summers in Santa Monica, I was just kind of driving around. Drove by the Civic Center and saw that the CDB was playing. So found a place to park and bought a ticket. It was absolutely great, as the CDB was back then. Later, I had an opportunity to talk to Daniels via email. He was stunningly smart, even if we disagreed about most everything. His politics were not mine, but he was great. This was before even Twitter. RIP Mr. Daniels. The Birmingham Blues are close enough to Tuscaloosa. So is Caballo Diablo.


What A Week Trash Talk

Since the period where there was no sports to trash talk about, and this turned into a music blog, it has been hard to get back into the normal trash groove. Let’s try to get back to it, because everything else is botched up.

The NBA has actually been pretty good in their bubble, but not that many are watching as normally would. Ditto for the NHL and MLB. For all the clamor to get sports “open” from all kinds of preening politicians, maybe that is okay. Sports are great, but there is a problem going on in the world.

The NFL is also back, and initially without much drama. That worm has turned. The Tennessee Titans had a full on Trump White House like outbreak. The Saints had a scare that, so far, seems to have abated. But then, as they were preparing to make the already perilous trip to Arrowhead to meet the Chiefs, the Patriots’ Cam Newton has tested positive for Covid. That’s a problem, both for the Pats and the league. The first three weeks went quite well, but the inevitable has arrived. The Covid has arrived, and not just as to the Trump crew. King Roger (h/t Scribe) we have a problem. It is sad in a way, because Newton’s reclamation in New England was one of the really good stories in the NFL so far.

On a more somber note, Bob Gibson has passed. He was simply one of the best athletes in history. He did not just star in baseball, but was also a Harlem Globetrotter. If he had played in the NBA instead of MLB, he might have rivaled Elgin Baylor. He was that good. But MLB it was, and what a career. Read this great story.

Here is the Gibson stat line from just 1968. Keep in mind, this is just ONE season.

.112 ERA
34 Starts
28 Complete Games
13 Shutouts

Yep, that is pretty good.

Music today by Johnny Rivers. No, he did not write all his songs. But neither did Elvis. Johnny Rivers was great. With a hat tip to the Dodge City Cowboy Band.


NFL Sunday Trash Talk

I mostly boycotted NCAA football yesterday, and got busy with an absolutely insane F1 race from Italy. It is the Tuscan Grand Prix, celebrating Ferrari’s 1000th F1 race. But is is a shit cookie cutter circuit, and the course is WAY too narrow. It is nuts, eight cars have already crashed out, and there has been safety cars out and two, TWO full red flag suspensions of the race.

Anyway, after the Chefs cooked and BBQ’d the Texans on Thursday, today brings a full slate of games.Brady and the Bucs have a very tough opener with the Saints. Probably can’t win it, but we will start to see how they are going to look. Cards are choking on the Santa Clara air to play the 49ers.

Eh, it is a new year for everybody. Discuss!


The Fabulous Emptywheel Music Blog: Setting The Scene

Okay, alright, enough of that live music stuff. This weekend, off another suggestion by Emptywheel Roving Reporter Rosalind, let’s do music documentaries! These are her remarks:

Music Documentaries (NOT films of live concerts). In 2019 there were several docs I watched that hit the music EW demographic sweet spot, including:

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice
David Crosby: Remember My Name
Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind
Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool
Boy Howdy: The CREEM Magazine Story
Mr. Jimmy – story of a Japanese guitar player who takes his Jimmy Page hero-worship to a whole nother level
Echo In The Canyon – Laurel Canyon music scene, 1/2 OK interviews w/various musicians, 1/2 self-indulgent concert featuring Jakob Dylan performing boring versions of the originals.

The Gordon Lightfoot and Miles Davis docs are ones I would never have thought to seek out and sparked a whole new level of appreciation for the two. The footage of their early musical lives is really something.

Rock on.

The Linda Ronstadt one is truly fabulous. I’ll have to look for the Gordon Lightfoot one, but have always loved him. Heard Carefree Highway long ago, and that sits awfully special to people here that actually drive on the Carefree Highway (yes, it really exists).

I’d like to add one music documentary to Rosalind’s list: Super Duper Alice Cooper. It is truly fantastic. You may think “eh, I dunno, that’s crazy”, but it is really good and, I think, available streaming online. And, yes all crazy, but those were the times back then, it “was” crazy.

Also, because this will invariably morph into the greatest music documentaries ever, let me throw in a couple of Scorsese classics: The Last Waltz and Shine The Light.

So have at it, whether music, the NFL draft or whatever. This weekend’s scene setting music is…..You Set The Scene by the incomparable Arthur Lee and Love.


Arrrr Matey, There Be A New Bucco In The Bay

Marcy is penning all kinds of smart posts today, go read them. But as this is now a sports and music blog, I have an incredibly important update.

The Gronk is back! And he is going to join Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.

The Patriots have agreed to trade Rob Gronkowski to the Buccaneers, pending a physical, in a deal that reunites the retired tight end with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.

Gronkowski’s agent Drew Rosenhaus confirmed Tuesday to ESPN’s Adam Schefter that his client was traded to the Buccaneers.

“Pending the physical, Rob has agreed to play for Tampa this season,” Rosenhaus told Schefter. “He will honor his current contract at this time.”‬

Gronkowski, who turns 31 next month, has one year and $9 million remaining on his current deal with the Patriots. New England will receive a fourth-round draft pick while the Buccaneers also receive a seventh-round pick in the trade, a source told Schefter.

Gronkowski already has taken his physical in Boston with a neutral physician, a source told Schefter, and is awaiting the official results. One source added to Schefter that he believes Gronkowski passed “with flying colors.”

Most Receiving TDs From Tom Brady

The 78 touchdowns Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski connected on were the most in the NFL from 2010 to 2018. They are also twice as many as Brady has thrown to any other player.

PLAYER TDS
Rob Gronkowski 78
Randy Moss 39
Julian Edelman 36
Wes Welker 34

Tampa Bay was the only place that Gronkowski was willing to play, a league source told Schefter. The Boston Herald first reported Tuesday that Gronkowski asked the Patriots to trade him to the Bucs.

This is exciting. At a time when there is no live sports news, this is huge. It would be huge even if there were not a lockdown on live sports. And, please keep in mind that the coach of the Bucs is Bruce Arians. Few here short of Scribe probably know exactly what that means. I do, because Arians was the gruff and engaging coach of the Cardinals for several years before his short lived retirement.

Arians lives by the motto of “No Risk It, No Biscuit”. In short, he believes in taking the top off and opening up the entire field. Neither Brady nor Gronk have ever had that, and they are made for it. TB12 will have a few more interceptions, and he and Gronk will have a hell of a lot of fun. The Buc’s wideouts, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, were already seriously fantastic. Tampa did not even have to give up tight end OJ Howard (though, with Gronk on board, they likely will for even more help. Watch for it).

This is an absolute steal. Bill Bel needed the salary cap room desperately, but, still, this is a steal. A fourth rounder for as good of a tight end as ever played? And the Bucs get a seventh rounder thrown in too? Jeebus.

We have no idea if, when or how the NFL will return to play. But when they do, Tampa Bay is going to be seriously fun to watch.


Super Bowl LIV: Who Will Party With The Lombardi

Super Bowl Sunday this year is a special day? How so you ask?

How’s this for a calendrical trifecta: Sunday is Super Bowl Sunday. And it’s Groundhog Day. And it’s a rare eight-digit palindrome when written as 02/02/2020 — the only one of its kind this century.

A palindrome, as you might know, is a sequence that reads the same forward as it does backward.

Apparently the only palindrome in recent memory. But also Groundhog Day too (when will that inanity give way)? If you want to add some other calendar stuff on, 2020 is also a leap year.

We will get to the last NFL game of the season in a minute, but first a couple of quick things.

First, in the middle of the night last night, there was a stunning Women’s Final in the Australian Open. Barely 21 year old American Sophia Kenin, who slayed media darling Coco Gauff in the fourth round, and then world number one Ash Barty in the semi-finals, in straight sets, was also victorious over two time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza. And she did it with quite a bit of aplomb. Lost the first set, and then took over. Kenin may be around a while, get used to the name. And, if you can catch a replay of the match, do it. The announcers universally thought a star was being born, and they might well be right. It was something.

While Kenin was a breath of fresh air early this morning (the Aussies are in a far different time zone), last night was the first Lakers game after the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli and Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester and Payton Chester and pilot Ara Zobayan. The Staples Center was purple and blue, and, given the obvious emotional difficulty, it was all beautiful. LA and the Lakers got it right. The videos are out there, take a look. The tributes, music, and sometimes combination (the cello guy during the video tribute was spectacular).

Okay, on to the Super Bowl we go. There are, as always, a lot of weird “proposition bets”. I don’t really get into that, but here are a bunch of, um, interesting ones. The current overall Vegas line is vacillating between 1 – 1.5 points, with that historically slim line in favor of Kansas City.

So, what’s the deal? Lol, I dunno. But, in the long run, balance and defense wins. KC has the more explosive offense, but that is partially because they have had to rely on it, and Mahomes, so often to climb out of holes. On the other hand, they have been able to do so, and especially impressively so in the playoffs. The 49ers are different though. The SF defense starts with that they basically only rush the front four to create the havoc they do. Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead are relentless and really good. and with Richard Sherman and Mosely patrolling the secondary, the Niners are extremely solid.

The Chefs, however, while having a winning defense are nowhere near as consistently solid as SF. Frank Clark is not a beloved character in the NFL, but he is extremely good as a pressure point. Chris Jones and Tyrann Mathieu are first team all pro worthy types in the secondary. Honeybadger was here in Arizona his first few years and, when healthy, which he is now, he is a big play game changer of special talent. And as good of a player as he really is, he has grown up to be an even better person. This is a great piece in the WaPo on Tyrann:

For all the new plans and pieces, Kansas City’s defensive transformation began with the player teammates still love to call the Honey Badger. Mathieu is a storm of calculated mayhem, a worker bee who wakes up at 5:45 each morning and a heat-seeking missile who can line up or strike from anywhere on the field. He has changed the Chiefs in elemental ways with his all-pro performance and his mere presence.

“He’s a special person,” Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach said. “It’s really hard to explain the power someone like that has unless you’re actually in the building. . . . You have to get talent. You have to build a deep roster. You need corners, and you need rushers. Until you get a catalyst, it’s hard. You need that one guy that will make everything go. He’s certainly that guy. To have him on our team has meant everything to us.”

Again, what do I think? First off, what I think is beyond irrelevant anywhere but here. Secondly, I am a dope. So, given those caveats, here we go. Honeybadger can sit and snipe on Jimmy G enough, or the Niners O-Line gives Jimmy G the time that San Francisco’s D-Line does not afford Mahomes. I have no real idea, but with betting no real money, I think….think….The balance on the Niners is better and wins. No, I do not feel good ab out that pick.

As a parting note, today’s music is Heart playing Stairway To Heaven at the Kennedy Center for the remaining members of Zep, assorted dignitaries and President and First Lady Barack and Michelle Obama. To say it is stunning is a gigantic understatement. I had never seen it before last night, when I stumbled on it by accident. WOW. Shared it with numerous friends and the universal reaction was still WOW. It is that good, especially when the choir/chorale kicks in. It is soooo good. Check it out. I was almost lifetime tired of Stairway to Heaven before I saw this, and was immediately mesmerized. Yeah, it is that incredible. And if you want full screen, just click to embiggen it.

Rock and roll, and enjoy the Super Bowl!

Copyright © 2020 emptywheel. All rights reserved.
Originally Posted @ https://www.emptywheel.net/football/