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!
Dead Flowers On Kentucky Derby Day
Hi there Trash Talk fans and fannettes, we are back. Personally, I think opening up B1G and SEC football is a declaration of pandemic war on society, especially in some seriously at high risk areas without the ICU resources to cover in a mass problem. Led by Trump, however, this seems to be the clarion call dopes cannot refuse.
Is it the move of voices like Trump, the flailing NCAA athletic departments, or the craven interests of Insta Sports betting interests like Fan Duel and Draft Kings who are desperate to make money now because their precarious and sick corporate lives depend on it? Don’t sleep on the latter, and pay attention as to the ever increasing Insta Sports Betting commercials soak up ad time on ESPN (and their chief shill, Mike Greenberg) and other sports channels. It is a full on push, and they cannot wait for the pandemic to end if they are to take over the gaming world. ESPN is all in on this garbage. Why? Because it is big advertising bucks, and money is their business. It is that simple.
Okay, on to the actual sports. First, today is, improbably, Kentucky Derby Day. As my family originally came from Kentucky before the cactus patch, the Derby is something special. Always has been and always will be. The Derby in September, without the people and hats in the stands, seems wrong. But the horses deserve to run in their time, so okay. F1, and even Indy, have proved that closed circuit courses with fast action are still compelling on TV. Frankly, so too has the NBA and NHL “bubbles”. So, it will still be interesting to see the Kentucky Derby.
One of our early partners and contributors here at Emptywheel, and even before the formal formation of the Emptywheel blog, was Mary. Mary lives on in our recollections and history, and her family, but will be forever known as the one that put horses in our bailiwick. Something Emptywheel Roving Reporter took to ground. So, when horses are up, the memory of Mary is as well. Today is an improbable, and weird day, for the Derby. But let it be run, for the horses. From CBS:
Though the NFL and Kentucky Derby are never mentioned in the same sentence, 2020 has been anything but usual. Even though the 2020 Kentucky Derby will go off Saturday, Sept. 5 on the brink of Week 1 in the NFL, all eyes will be on Churchill Downs, where 16 of the top three-year-old horses will load up for the 146th Run for the Roses. Tiz the Law won the Belmont Stakes earlier this summer and is aiming to become just the 14th horse in history to win the Triple Crown and the first since Justify two years ago.
There is also the NBA, and the “embubblement” is working far better than thought possible. The games are great down the stretch.
NFL football, surprisingly, seems not far off. There is no more fascinating and competitive division than the NFC South. Couple of years ago that would have been shocking, now it is a fact. Bruce Arians, Brady and the Bucs are the most interesting story in the NFL this year. Can they really live up to that interest? I dunno about that. What a division to have to deal with, it is imposing. We shall see.
F1 is back again this weekend. Monza. There are a lot of famous historical races. Monza is very much at the top. This is not a normal year, and the front of the field has been more boring than ever in history by my eye. There is actually pretty decent racing behind the front markers and midfield. I will watch, but do not have much hopes for Monza being the nail biting theater it once was.
As summer starts to wane, today’s music will be by the Loving Spoonful. It was almost Donavan with images of the great Sue Lyon, but I think I already did that years ago. So, let’s have a good weekend folks. Rock on and chat about anything. Also, of course, Dead Flowers for Kentucky Derby Day, because there will be few Derby Days here without that.
The Emptywheel Fabulous Car Blog! Formula One and Car Flicks
So, we shall take a brief respite from the fabulous music blog this weekend to bring you a fabulous car blog. Off to the races!
There has been a shake up in the F1 force. And man is it palpable. By the end of the last circus, it was quite clear that management at Ferrari had come to consider young Charles Leclerc as their number one driver, over four time World Champ and presumptive number one, Sebastian Vettel. It was no secret on the paddock from the people I still talk to. Vettel knew it, Leclerc knew it, everyone knew it. It has so come to pass. The 2020 season driver stables were already set, and they will continue as such. But for the 2021 season, which is now well less than a year away, big changes are afoot.
Vettel is out at Ferrari, and Carlos Sainz is in. Sainz is very, very good, and his family has a rich history in motorsports. He is commonly viewed as a very good pilot, but one hampered by less than first order equipment, and I think that is right. Sainz will have that kind of car now. He and Leclerc will make for a great, and energized young team. That is something Ferrari is not usually known for, but this is a great move, and one for the times at hand. Sainz is leaving McLaren, who is poised to replace him for 2021 with Daniel Ricciardo. This is also a great move for McLaren, who sign up a true number one driver, with numerous F1 wins and podiums, to pair with the still quite young, but promising, Lando Norris. Take note: for 2021, McLaren starts getting Mercedes engines to pair with their already ridiculously good chassis. Don’t sleep on McLaren.
Where do the rest of the chips fall? Now there is the great unknown. Vettel is a four time champ, can he find a home at all? Sebastian can still drive, you would think so, but that is up in the air. Do Hamilton and Bottas stay as a team for 2021? My guess is yes, but that is also a question. The F1 season was supposed to kick off in March with the Australian, but the Covid thing put the kibosh on that. It is tentatively scheduled to start with Austria in seven weeks, maybe for two races, and then Siverstone with two races. They are desperate to get at least a fifteen race schedule in, if possible. And will there be fans in the stands? Initially, it looks like no, but stay tunes.
Okay, since not everybody knows F1 as well, we are tossing in car movies for this weekend. There are a litany of great ones. You know what you have seen and appreciated over the years. I am going to throw out a few of my favorites just to get the ball rolling. They are by no means exhaustive, and not necessarily in a perfectly ranked order.
Grand Prix _ John Frankenheimer’s 1966 opus is the gold standard. It is a tad long, but the characters gritty and the performances beyond fantastic across the board. The driving scenes are some of the best ever, as well as John’s innovative use of split screen, a legendary move.
Vanishing Point – From 1971, and calling it a cult classic is not giving it enough credit. Spectacular and haunting in a myriad of ways.
They Drive By Night – Directed by Raoul Walsh and starring George Raft, Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan and Ida Lupino. It is both a driving movie and film noir, both at their best. Fantastic.
Two Lane Blacktop – This movie is great. The genius is obvious. Really, you have to see it, and while James Taylor is surprisingly good, keep your eye on Warren Oates, in a legendary performance. Duel from the same year, generally considered to be Steven Spielberg’s first full movie. is very good, but Two Lane Blacktop is better.
It Happened One Night – There has to be room for at least one comedy here, and this is it. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert are simply perfect, as is the story. Capra and Cohn at their best. Walter Connolly darn near stole the show.
Some honorable mentions in no particular order: Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry, Thelma and Louise, Used Cars (Kurt Russell and Jack Warden were fantastic. A real sleeper, even if a low budget one), Baby Driver (seriously great and a must watch).
Okay folks, rip this joint with your thoughts!
Too Roger Stoned Trash Talk
As you may have heard, Roger Stone was convicted on all counts yesterday. Marcy’s post is here. A jury still deliberating on a Thursday is one thing, but they like to get the fuck out of Dodge by a Friday afternoon, and this one did. Predictable.
Not necessarily shocked they rendered verdicts of guilty on all counts, but do think Judge Amy Berman Jackson may give serious consideration to a post trial motion, at least as to the witness tampering verdict. It takes a lot for an honest trial judge, and ABJ is certainly that, to overturn a jury verdict, and I really doubt she does here. But think she will look hard at, at a minimum, the witness tampering evidence. We shall see.
Okay, what counts in the college ranks this weekend? Indiana has been on a serious roll of late, and this week plays Penn State. If the Hoosiers can beat PSU, they are for real, but not gonna bet on that. I still don’t think the Michigan Harbaugs are real, but they will likely beat an uncharacteristically off Sparty. Texas may run into a Brock Purdy buzz saw at Iowa State. Purdy is from right here in the Cactus Patch, and he is really good. The Dawgs of UGA at Auburn may be the best game of the day, with a soft nod to Oklahoma at Baylor.
In the Pros, there was a bit of a kerfuffle Thursday night, while beating the Steelerts, Cleveland’s Myles Garrett stripped the Steeler’s QB Mason Rudolph’s helmet and beat him on the head with it. Garrett has been suspended for the rest of the year, at least, maybe longer under the “indefinitely” designation. That is proper. But, too, TV twatwaffles like CNN’s Michael Smerconish are putting out public polls as to whether Garrett should also be criminally prosecuted. What the “public” thinks does not mean squat, this is a decision for professional prosecutors, not television audiences.
I am really looking forward to the matchup of Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson as the Texans visit Baltimore. These are transcendent talents, and it is hard to root against either one, but I’ll tai the Ravens at home. Dallas at Detroit probably depends on if Matt Stafford plays over his clear back injury, but even is so the ‘Boys are likely the safer pick. Jags at Colts is a pick em, but Jacoby Brissett looks to be back which favors Indianapolis. Who would have guessed we would see the Wagon Circling Bills at 7-3 after ten games, but they are likely to be so after a visit to Miami. Jets at Skins for the lulz. The best game is, obviously, New England at Philly in a replay of Super Bowl LII. Both teams come off a bye. Never bet against Bill Bel, but, damn, this could be epic. And it ought be on prime time instead of the crack ass placing of the Bears at Rams for SNF and Chiefs at Bolts for MNF.
This, for all the promise going into it, has been a boring and tepid Formula One season. Let it end, please. But Sunday is the Brazilian Grand Prix, a historically significant race, even if this year does not shape up for one. Only AbuDhabi remains after that on the schedule, thankfully.
Music this week is from Robin Trower and one of the truly great overall rock albums of all time, Bridge of Sighs. This is the studio cut, although I can attest it was even better live. Rock on.
ADDENDUM: Yearrgh, I screwed up and did not address Earl’s (and undoubtedly Ed Walker’s) game of Notre Dame and Navy. Early on, I thought the Irish were actually back with a great team. They proved that false with a loss to the Georgia Dawgs (a seriously good team by the way) and then to a sketchy Michigan team and barely eking out wins over what should have been far outmanned teams like USC and West Virginia at home in South Bend. Today the Wolverweenies play the Midshipmen of Navy. Also, again, in their South Bend home. Do the Irish ever have the balls to play a difficult opponent outside of their own stadium, unless forced to do so? Go Navy!
Rubber Biscuit Trash Talk
Eh, late start here. Been tied up on Twitter reading and discussing the FOIA doc dump obtained and published by Jason Leopold and Anthont Cormier of Buzzfeed. Check Marcy’s Twitter feed and other posts here for that, it is….something. Somehow or another in the process we got off on Blues Brothers lyrics, so that is today’s music.
Hate to say it, but Harbaugh and the Wolverweenies have their groove back. After flattening a good Notre Dame team last week, they are killing Maryland today. Number 8 Georgia at number 6 Florida looks to be one hell of a game. Earlier in the year, the Dawgs would have been an easy pick, but not now, and not at the Swamp (Grrr, I buggered that up, game is in Jacksonville, of course, and not the Swamp). New grandfather Jim will likely weigh in. Utah and Washington should be a good Pac-12 game, but it is in Seattle so, despite the Utes’ number 9 ranking, don’t sleep on the Huskies. Same goes for Oregon at USC Trojan land. In the meantime, everybody awaits LSU at Alabama next week.
In the pros, the Niners beat Arizona in a surprisingly close game Thursday night. If Pat Peterson had not had an atrocious game for the Cardinals may well have won that game. Oh well, the Niners move on undefeated. The Vikings at Chefs may be good. Cousins is on a roll and Mahomes, if he plays, is still slightly hobbled. That is a pick em. The Jets at the Fins is a laugher. The obvious best game of the week is Patriots at Ravens. The Ravens are good, and they are at home. Lamar Jackson is exactly the kind of QB that give the Pats fits, and the Baltimore defense is outstanding, still. Not going to bet against Bill Bel and Brady, but this is a real test, and in the primetime of SNF.
That’s it for this week folks, hoop it up.
Clemson Up Huge; People Losing Their Shit Over A Kicker
Trash talk is late. I had some serious home maintenance issues here in the Cactus Patch, other distracting things, and a bunch of dopes that thought references to Louise Mensch and her band of crackpots might be fair content on this blog. Let’s reinforce one immutable concept: If you are referring to Louise Mensch, or any related endeavor, stop. Full stop.
Eh well, back to the footballs….Oh, hey, the Natinals stunned the favored Cards behind Anibal Sanchez last night. It was indeed a stunner. Game Two of the NLCS is ongoing in St. Louis and the Natinals are, improbably, up yet again.
In the collegiate ranks, Oklahoma edged Texas in a game not really living up to the “Red River” thing. But a win is a win. Michigan finally scored a few points and won, while the Dawgs of UGA fell short. Ooof. Wisconsin and Clemson rolling despite the carping of people over field goal kickers. People, if you have dozens of points of lead, your field goal kickers are irrelevant. Florida at LSU is clearly the game of the day. It is in Baton Rouge though, and that may be a problem for the Gators as LSU has a functioning quarterback. If the Gators win down there, they are truly legit. Penn State and Iowa may be interesting on a lesser scale.
In the Pros, it is also a huge week. Pats beat the Gents in a throwaway game on Thursday night. The Houston Texans is a matchup of two truly exciting QB’s from the 2017 draft, Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. I’ll take Mahomes at home. Skins at Fins…which team will be the biggest loser? Dallas at Jets and Steelers at Bolts might be interesting in some other year, but not this one.
Lions at Pack in Lambeau is far more interesting. I think Matt Stafford and the Kittehs are better than they are being given credit for, as is the Green Bay defense. The question is whether Aaron Rodgers and the Pack offense really shows up. That never used to be a question.
Music this weekend by Rod the Mod. Also look for a young, pre-Stones, Woody on guitar.
Packers At Bears – The NFL Sun Comes Out Again Trash Talk
Trash Talk is back baybee! The NFL season starts for real tonight with the first game of the league’s centennial season. And, proving that even Roger Goodell and the NFL can occasionally get something right, the season starts with the Packers at the Bears. On Soldier field. Now that is a start to the season.
Honestly, the Bears are at home, and are probably, overall, the far better team. But the Cheesers have that Rodgers guy. If Green Bay’s O-Line can hold, they have a chance. If not, they don’t. It is pretty much that simple. Even a couple of Khalil Mackers to Aaron Rodgers will slow the Cheese train down. But, either way, it is one hell of a season opener.
There are a myriad of additional games on tap for Saturday in the college ranks, and Sunday, in the pro ranks. Not to mention the timeless speed of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Last weekend at Spa was a sensational race at, perhaps, the most beautiful circuit on the Circus calendar. Monza is not far behind, even if it is not the same as it once was with the feared steep banking.
So, Saturday is a big day here at Casa de bmaz as our daughter is coming home in the afternoon after six months on work assignment in India. We are extremely excited, but will try to get some more content up in the morning. If not, now you know why. The NFL sun is coming out starting tonight at Soldier Field. So the official Trash Talk season opening music is Sun King by The Cult. It is one truly kick ass song. Let’s rock and roll peoples!
The [Andrew] Luck Of The Draw
It seems as if both Marcy and Jim White (where has that guy been lately?) are harshing on me for some Trash Talk. So, off we go!
The Florida Gators seem to have won a football game. Over other Florida men, the crossfire Hurricanes. Of Miami. That was Mr. White’s concern.
Marcy wants me to talk about the Patrick Chung case. I will likely come back to that later, when there is more information available. Like departmental reports and search warrant affidavits (if there are any!). For the meantime, there are serious questions as to the propriety of the actions of the Belknap County, of New Hampshire, officials in entering Chung’s house, not to mention searching it without belief there was a suspect inside and ongoing crime being committed. It is, for now at least, hard to see how they could have thought that. We shall see, but there are some serious questions needing to be asked and answered on this one.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck announced Saturday night he was retiring, and for a moment he couldn’t breathe. He was crying. He was catching his breath and apologizing.
Luck was booed off the field Saturday night when the Colts played the Chicago Bears in the third preseason game, the news of his retirement breaking on Twitter during the second half. The fans who stuck around, they booed Luck off the field. And he heard it.
Even so, Luck sounded like a man at peace, a man who has stared into the abyss and turned away. Football, once his favorite hobby, the source of such childlike joy, had become his dark place. He said he had been thinking about retiring for about 10 days, calling it “a moment of clarity” when the idea finally started to take shape. He said he’d been tired.
“I feel exhausted,” he said, sounding very much that, “and quite tired.”
This is stunning. And it changes the AFC calculus dramatically. Good for Andrew Luck. He has always seemed like a cerebral chap, and if he thinks it is time to move on, then it is time to move on. That is truly gutsy though.
So, there are two musical selections today. The first is, in honor of Andrew Luck, The Luck Of The Draw by the incomparable Bonnie Raitt. Along with early (think Derek And The Dominoes era) Eric Clapton, and Lowell George of Little Feat, Bonnie is as kick ass of a slide guitar player as I have ever seen in my life. She is so good.
And, the second is the Stones. They are still Rolling.
And in just over 24 hours from now, Mrs. bmaz and I are going to be visiting with the Glimmer Twins, and the other Stones. Because if the Stones are in town, you go. And they are not some over the hill geriatric second level casino act, they still absolutely kill. The attached video is from 2006. A tour I saw, though here as opposed to at Copacabana Beach with half a million people in Rio. I wish I had flown down to Rio. Because, damn, that looked like some serious fun.
Manafort Plea Agreement Weekend Trash Talk
Okay, this post will have nothing to do with Manafort’s plea. But this is the big weekend after the Friday of Manafort, and Trash must be talked. This will be a bit of truncated Trash because , well, I am tired after an early morning yesterday and then spending the rest of the day, and much of the night, trying to settle a couple of things as to the day job.
As to the Joes: I dunno, most of the college games this week look uninteresting. Can Florida State regain their footing and beat Syracuse in the Cuse Dome? You would think so, but FSU has stunk it up so bad to date that you have to wonder. I guess the Irish can handle Vandy at home, but you never know. BYU at Wisconsin could be a lot tougher game than the Badgers want. Probably most think LSU at Auburn is the early game of the day, but Boise State at Oklahoma State may be it. Ohio State may run into a buzz saw visiting TCU deep in the heart of Texas. USC at Texas is getting big buildup, but not sure it is deserved. Washington at Utah may be another curious game. Rice Stadium is not always particularly hospitable (though it sure was when I was there with the Stones in 1994!). Locally, and late, we will be watching ASU at San Diego State. The Devils somehow, miraculously, beat Michigan State last weekend. Can they make it to 3-0 tonight against the Aztecs? I will not bet on that.
As to the The Pros: Cinci already beat the Ravens, and did so rather convincingly. That is surprising. Cleveland is undefeated for the first time in forever, but don’t think they can win a shootout with Brees and the Saints in NOLA. The Chargers will kill Buffalo, which is just seriously bad. The Chefs at Steelers should be interesting. Still no Laveon Bell for the Stillers, but James Connor kicked ass last week. I’ll take the Stillers, but young Mahomes and the Chefs offense look like the real deal.
Miami at the suddenly explosive Jets Jets Jets looks fascinating. I think the Sammy and the Jets keep it going at home. Vikings at the Cheeseheads will be interesting IF Rodgers and Adams are on the frozen tundra at home. If not, then Kirk Cousins gonna win that game. Cardinals going to get humiliated for a second week in a row against the Rams in LA. The Cards billed this as the Year of New Hope, instead is the year of nope.
New England Pats at Jacksonville could be highly entertaining. Brady and the boys were not really in synch last week in a win against the Texans. He hooked up well with Gronk and Dorsett, but the whole effort, especially the run game, looked suspect. The Jags may be without Leonard Founette, but their defense is almost as good and bit as Jalen Ramsey’s mouth. Seattle at Bears is a tossup.
F1: Not a lot of comment from me on the circus this week. They are in Singapore at the Marina Bay Circuit for the famous night race. Personally, I find the night race on the heavily cemented in pit at Marina Bay kind of flakey, but they run it nevertheless. The starting grid is Hamilton, Verstappen, Vettel, Bottas and Raikkonen in P1 through P5 respectively. Not easy to pass at Marina Bay, so take your cues from the starting grid.
And, with that, we are off! Also, last week a new commenter by the name of “Bill” suggested a Canadian band called The Big Wreck. I said I would check them out, I did, and they are indeed quite good. Do check them out. So they are this weekend’s music. We are a full service blog here at Emptywheel!
Baku, Belichick and the NFL Draft
Okay, it has been a while since we had a real Trash Talk. So here we go. Not a particularly deep one, but between the NFL Draft, which has been pretty interesting, and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, it seemed like a decent opportunity for one of our off season points to talk a little sports trash.
First up, Baku. Frankly, Azerbaijan has made significant and important strides since the breakup of the USSR. While I am not totally comfortable with the support that a continuing Grand Prix provides, it is nowhere near as troublesome as F1 bucking up truly oppressive and evil middle eastern nations like Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. At any rate, it is what it is, and the street course in Baku is truly beautiful. Extremely so. It does not, however, allow many opportunities for overtaking and passing.
Starting grid position is at a premium, and Vettel of Ferrari and Hamilton of Mercedes are on the front row. Kimi Raikkonen was on pace to be the pole sitter through early sectors in Q3, but had a blip. Was amazing driving to pull his butt out of it without shunting his car into a wall, but the time blip cost him dearly and he will start in P7. The race looks to be very promising, even if a tad processional, especially at the front. Alonso, seems slow, and could not even get his McLaren out of Q1.
Now the NFL draft. Rounds 1-3 are in the books. Many teams seem to have done quite well for themselves, including the Brownies and Jets. I figure I will totally jinx the local Cards by saying this, but I think their first round to move up and get Josh Rosen, the best pure, and pro style ready QB in the draft, was wonderful. They followed up by getting a fantastic long term answer at slot receiver, local Scottsdale prep product, later of Texas A+M, in Christian Kirk. Very much a Julian Edelman/Danny Amendola kind of talent, but maybe slightly faster and shiftier. Oh, and the Cards’ next pick will, seriously, be announced by a dude standing on a corner in Winslow Arizona.
You cannot really rate a draft class until it is over, but, so far, the Cards are having a very good year. And, for Scribe, I think it is extremely notable that the Steelers maneuvered to select Mason Rudolph. Groomed right, Rudolph is very much a Big Ben clone successor. Will need the grooming, but sure looks like a great value pick, and with incredible upside, to me. And Pittsburgh did not stretch to get him, at all, either.
As to the Belichick angle, the Pats have been all over the board moving around and trading up and down repetitively. The national sportswriters seem to be joking that it is so much that nobody will ever know the real value of the Jimmy G trade with San Francisco late last year, because it is all too confusing. That may be true! Belichick loves to obscure things. My question is whether Bill Bel will take Richmond QB Kyle Lauletta with the fifth pick in the fourth round if he is there, and he may well be. The Pats seem like they are going to take a QB somewhere, even if just for camp fodder. Lauletta seems like a real prospect though, and a perfect flyer for the Patriots. We shall see.
Alright Wheel nuts, let loose with your draft, F1 and general sports and other thoughts. Let’s let our hair down and have some fun. Music by Pink Floyd from Obscured By Clouds, one of the great under appreciated albums ever, for Floyd and in general. So, bring some chatter about your NFL team, what they have accomplished in the offseason and draft, and about F1.