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Gronks and Donks Trash Talk Bonanza!

Been a huge week of activity, from the shutdown/default can down the road kicking, to new FISC apologia, to the stunning announcement of a new media venture. So, a lot of stuff, so to speak. Also, my retained palm tree trimmers think my palm trees are too unruly and nasty for their “talents”. Say what you will, the last item is really troubling.

Anyhoo, I hear there are sports afoot this weekend. Let us start with the lead on the title of this post, the Gronk. The Gronk is back baybee! And that means we must celebrate the return of the Gronk jesus. Since those nasty Patriots up and cut Baby Jesus. Brady has basically been pulling shit out of his ass with Julian Edelman and a cast of nobodies. Smurf Amendola still out and proving exactly how valuable Wes Welker really was (hey, even Giselle must want him back by now), but with Gronk back, maybe, just maybe, the Pats can still take the Jets, Jets, Jets. I think they can make Rex suck on Gronk’s toes!

Okay. On to the other NFL games and things of note. Apparently Adrian Foster of the hapless Houston Texans has decided NOW is the time to market his football career via an IPO stock offering. Gosh, I am no Goldman Scrotum Sacks level genius business expert, but maybe when your team sucks ass so bad you are turning to, effectively, your taxi squad quarterback, and the local fans think that is the only possible excitement in sight…maybe you are not an IPO genius. Just saying. And i say this with all love and due respect for our long time friend and matey, teh Gulf Coast Pirate. Arrrrrr, don’t but that there stock matey!

The Iggles will ride Nick Foles again with Michael Vick on the injury bench. Foles was down in the hated Old Pueblo of the Arizona Wildcats for 2.5 years, so I know him well. Kid has a great arm, and lots of natural talent. Never read off coverages so good, and is nowhere near the “mobile” quarterback Chip Kelly relishes. That said, he may well have NFL level talent, but as far as I have ever seen, it is as more of a classic drop back QB. We shall see. I actually think Matt Barkley is a better leader, but who knows what Kelly will do in Philly. If you ask me, Kelly’s QB is not yet on the Eagles.

In memoriam, last rites must be given to Bad Eli and the Lost Gents of The Meadowlands. On a far happier note, HUGE congratulations to our good friend Pachacutec who was able to finally get married thanks to the rapidly un-bigoting of these here United States. I have never been more happy for a betrothed couple. Salute! Unfortunately, the Giants will still suck this year; though there may be a wedding wedding gift from the Vikings if Adrian Peterson is not so pissed and charged up he rambles for 350 yards.

Oh yeah, Gronks at Jets is actually a game. I know the Mistress of the Distressed Song will be along to carp about how Pretty Tom and his band of Edelmans can not POSSIBLY beat Rex Toesuck and the Jets, but I don’t buy it. The Tom and Gronk Show is more fabulous. In other Big Mitten news, the Kittehs should put the Bungles in the litter. Browns are a semi-real deal, but not in Lambeau. Bears and Skins are a pick em. Chefs look to have home cooking. Oh, yeah, about those Donkos in the title of this post. Peyton going back to Indianapolis. Irsay trying to get in Peyton’s giant head. Who will win that? Um, think I will take Peyton’s big head and the Donkos over Irsay’s idiocy. Luck is a keeper, but not this time. Enjoy the Donkos (okay jackasses) in the Canyon music attached hereto.

In the Semi-Pro league, Florida State versus Clemson is by far the class of the offering. Game is prime time and in Clemson’s Death Valley home. Still, I am hard pressed to not pick the Seminoles and their wonder child QB Jamels Winston in an upset. Really tough call; Tajh Boyd is pretty much the match, more experienced, and at home. I have bad misgivings about this, but have a hunch the ‘Noles are on a roll. The Washington huskies are going to be the final straw for the ASU Sun Devils. Game is at Frank Kush Field, but i won’t be there. Huskies are good; Sun Devils an anomaly. Pick em.

As I write and post this, it looks like the Cardinals are cleaning out the Bums, 6-0 in the 5th. for good in Busch Stadium. Bye bye Bums, that pissing in the DBack’s pool was bad karma for you. Who couldda knowd? The Sawx are up 3-2, and have the last two games of the ALCS at home in Fenway. Still, the Tiger’s pitching is a problem. Tigers are coming with Scherzer and Verlander in games 6 and 7. Bad ass stuff there. Sawx counter with Buchholz and Lackey respectively. Not the star glitz of the Tigers’ pitching aces, but not bad at all. In Fenway, if the Sawx can’t win one of the two, they don’t deserve the pennant.

There you go. Let your hair down and trash this post with all your swerve and verve.

On Chris Hayes & America’s Fallen Heroes

I will admit I was watching the F1 Grand Prix de Monaco this morning and not Up With Chris Hayes on MSNBC. It turns out I missed some controversy. I was referred to the matter by Doug Mataconis of Outside the Beltway. Mataconis argued that it seemed like the wrong tone for Memorial Day.

The key quote from the article Doug cited, which was from Mediate, quoted Hayes where he says he feels:

…uncomfortable, about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. Um, and, I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism, you know, hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers, and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.

Chris Hayes is a young and very smart talent in the progressive media, and his show has been a beyond rare breath of fresh air generally in what is the pitiful morass of cable news programming. Hayes quickly showed why by referring critics to the video at right, which does indeed present a much fuller and more nuanced take on the issue. As Jeremy Scahill noted, Hayes is being mauled for taking such a deeper and more nuanced look at the issue of praise for war. I agree wholeheartedly with Jeremy.

But, still, I have some, granted also nuanced, qualms.

Contrast Hayes tact with that of Olivier Knox of Yahoo News on Friday:

Memorial Day Weekend: My thoughts inevitably drift to visits to the Normandy Beaches. More moving each passing year. Merci.

When I was a kid, it was hard to appreciate the “full measure of devotion.” Also my French grandparents hadn’t fully briefed me.

There is a palpable difference in tone between the initial takes of Knox and Hayes. While I originally instinctively gravitated toward the Knox take, the more I chew on it, I think Scahill has a point, and the more I think my knee jerk reaction to Hayes was a bit too reflexive and shallow. Here is why.

It is a generational thing to some extent, and the wider the age gap in people reacting to this, the generally wider the potential for adverse reaction. That, of course, is not totally the crux of the biscuit (as Frank Zappa would say), but I think it may be a large part of it.

Chris Hayes touched on a critical and under appreciated point: there is far too much cheerleading for war propagated through obligatory honor of the souls the powers that be send to fight the wars. It does cloud and mask the reality of what is transpiring on the greater moral and humanitarian stage, and does so very much to the detriment of society and the relevant discussion. That is just a fact in my book.

By the same token, the older voices among us, even those of us who grew up with the mess that was Vietnam, still grew up in the halo years of WW II, with the remnants of WW I that preceded it. When I think of Memorial Day, it is under a mental framework cast in those terms, that was still the framework conveyed in the 60’s and, even if lesser, still in the 70’s and 80’s. Vietnam was the aberration, not the norm, for a very long time when considering war and “war heroes”.

And that was me, a kid who mercifully avoided the draft and never served. I think the feelings could, and may well be, even stronger among those who did serve or, like Olivier Knox, who have land and families free today because of the last devotion expended on the beaches of Normandy or Okinawa.

To an older generation, and the differently situated, Memorial Day exists to honor true heroes. American soldiers who died so that you, me, Chris Hayes and everyone else may all have the discussions we do. The fact they gave what they did allows that. And, yes, they ARE heroes.

It is indeed a complex dynamic. Could Chris Hayes have exercised a bit more rhetorical discretion; no question. And he would be wise to not paint it quite as much as he does so primarily in terms of Afghanistan and, presumably, if not mentioned, Iraq (leaving aside Yemen and our other, um, areas of interest/conflict); there is a much larger and older framework, as Hayes himself cogently noted in his lead in.

But move beyond the patina of insensitivity, and Chris Hayes was quite right. We need desperately to unhinge the valor of our troops from the moral squalor of our leaders. Memorial Day may be a touchy time to hear that, but it needs to be said.

[Notice of Erratum: I would like to make quite clear that I do not think Chris Hayes and Olivier Knox are at any odds here; not at all. I simply found their initial takes demonstrative of the greater depth of the issue and discussion here, and illustrative of the point. Thanks to my friend Olivier for pointing that out]