When the history of movies and/or entertainment is compiled, today will be remembered. This is the day that a future Oscar-winning Best Picture, Roma, made its premiere not at a Loews or an AMC or even at an Alamo Draft House, but rather on your computer or TV streaming service.
Director Alfonso Cuaron‘s black-and-white nostalgia peek at Mexico in the 1970s, universally acclaimed as a “masterpiece,” is now streaming on Netflix. You can literally wake up, reach for your laptop and watch an Oscar-worthy film before you put on pants today (not that we’re doing that…..NOOOOOOOO….nooooo…..we’re waiting until it’s night time).
2. Billy, GOAT
If you don’t know who Billy Eichner is or quite get his manic energy with “Billy On The Street”, here’s an excellent introductory video guest-starring Lin-Manuel Miranda. For you out-of-towners, Eichner does almost all of this schtick in the sweet-spot area between Union Square and Washington Square Park. Union Square is the REAL Times Square for us New Yorkers. It’s where we hang. The rest of ‘y’all can have Tickle Me, Elmo and Times Square to yourselves.
Our favorite lines: “YOU MIGHT WANNA DECIDE THAT BEORE YOU GO TO VIETNAM!” and “IT’S LIKE PITBULL IF PITBULL WENT TO VASSAR!”
You have to wonder what his batting average on these encounters is. How many does he do in proportion to how many make air?
3. Screamin’ A Dope Call
Bloviator Extreme and Master Charlatan Screamin’ A. Smith, who does know his hoops and just pretends about everything else (and how is he different than any other sports talk radio host in that regard?), goes on air yesterday morning and comes off as combo of “Second-Hand News Guy” and “Drunk Uncle.” Bobby Moynihan would be proud.
First, he notes that he’s looking for big things from Spencer Ware. Kellerman: “Spencer Ware is out.”
Then he mentions Hunter Henry (hasn’t played all season) and Derrick Johnson (no longer on team). The look on Tedy Bruschi‘s face is just begging for the credits theme music from Curb Your Enthusiasm. SAS makes so many personnel errors that you almost overlook that he says, “San Diego Chargers,” though we all hope for that, no?
At least the Charger social media crew had some fun with it…
What the dude says in that video is correct: “In fairness to Screamin’ A, he’s probably being asked to do too many things at ESPN.” And that’s true. And I’ll never understand why. But I’m not his target demo.
The headline reads, “Lion Steals Video Camera, Records Journey,” and step aside Alfonso Cuaron, because he’s your 2019 Best Picture Oscar winner. Maybe Best Documentary? As we imagine it, our protagonist/director embarks on an incredible journey of vengeance as he travels to the strange and faraway land of Minneapolis, Minnesota, to avenge the death of Cecil by tearing Dr. Wayne Palmer to shreds.
Think “The Revenant” meets “Lassie Come Home.” We’ll see it every day and twice on Sundays.
5. When You Realize Austin Powers Didn’t Go Far Enough
Nancy Wilson—jazz, not Heart—passed away today at the age of 81. Listen to the lyrics of this song and it sounds as if it could have been re-titled “The Ballad of Betty Draper.” This song, Wilson’s debut single (a cover) was released in 1960 when she was 23 and proved so successful that she released five albums in the next three years. You can imagine this song being played in every cocktail lounge in every big city in America circa 1960.
We agree with Jimmy here (whom we once served sides to as he dined at Del Frisco’s but he has no idea who we are so how would he have known?). But yeah, this was a moment that if you watched it live, as we did, you just had to say, “Wow.”
Three years. Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen was sentenced yesterday to three years in prison. It’s still technically autumn and the Long Island lawyer has become Trump’s latest fall guy.
Cohen, 52, was sentenced for what the judge called “a veritable smorgasbord” of crimes, the highest profile of which were paying off Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, at the direction of his boss, so that their stories of committing adultery with said boss would not become news during the 2016 presidential election.
Remember, Cohen copped to doing all of this. Trump, despite photo evidence of him with both women, continues to insist the payments were merely private transactions.
What does it all mean? Yesterday, the courts and justice and the ideals of the Founding Fathers prevailed. For at least one day during the toxic Trump term, truth was truth.
2. Surviving A Survivalist
The hype is real. We finished Educated, Tara Westover‘s (above) memoir of growing up the youngest child of a survivalist, junkyard-owning father and an herbalist-midwife mother on the side of a mountain in southern Idaho, in little more than one day. It’s made every “Best Books of 2018” list you can find, and now we understand why.
Westover’s upbringing excluded school and traditional medicine and she did not have a birth certificate until she was nine. She’s pretty certain her birthday is in the last week of September. With a bipolar, fundamentalist father and a sociopathic sadistic older brother, it’s a minor miracle Westover ever got herself off Buck’s Peak and into an ACT testing site.
When Westover enrolled at Brigham Young University, she thought Europe was a country and had never heard of Martin Luther King, Jr. Early in her freshman year she raised her hand in a Western Civ lecture because she did not understand a word in a photo caption. The word was “Holocaust.”
But Westover is every bit the survivor that her survivalist pop is. Within 10 years of walking into BYU, she had earned a doctorate in history from Cambridge and spent a year doing a fellowship at Harvard. There’s a lot more going on here, including the bizarre fate of her parents. This is part Dickensian novel, part Running With Scissors, part Under The Banner of Heaven.
Westover’s story has a universal theme: At what point does loyalty to family compel us to betray ourselves? And do some of us simply choose the former because it’s less harrowing?
3. Raptor Rapture
You don’t beat the No. 1 team in the East while wearing symbols from the Far East
On the second night of a back-to-back, minus the best player on their team (the best in the Eastern Conference), the Toronto Raptors strutted into Oracle Arena and bitch-slapped the defending champion Golden State Warriors for 48 minutes. This less than two weeks after Toronto had beaten the Dubs in overtime at home.
The 113-93 final score was a stunner, as was the fact that Stephen Curry was held to 10 points.
It’s also why Toronto resident Richard Deitsch tweeted, “Never gamble.”
4. Your Masciarelli Is Running
The latest female teen running prodigy to capture the fascination of MH’s editorial staff? Sydney Masciarelli of Marianapolis Prep in rural Connecticut (tucked far in the northeastern corner of the state where it meets with Massachusetts and Rhode Island). The 15 year-old sophomore, in her FIRST SEASON of competitive running, just won the Foot Locker National Championships in San Diego (above), which annually pits the best prep middle-distance runners against one another.
The 5’10” Masciarelli was more renowned as a hoops phenom (and is playing in the shadow of Geno and the Huskies) but now she is following in the grand tradition of MH faves Mary Cain, Allie Ostrander and Katelyn Tuohy. To our knowledge Masciarelli and Tuohy have yet to meet in a race, but that should hopefully happen soon.
At Foot Locker, Masciarelli outdistanced well-known Katelyn Hart by 7/10ths of a second, recording the fastest time (17:00.3) since 2010 in an epic finish.
5. Black Hole Suns?
Robert Sarver, the only sports owner who could make Arizonans long for the days of Bill Bidwill, yesterday threatened that he might move the franchise, born in the desert 50 years ago, to either Las Vegas or Seattle. Do it, Robert. Go ahead. You were born and raised in Arizona. Move the Suns. Just know you can never come back here without being treated as if you’re Ted Cruz at a Beltway bistro.
Tearing a page out of Aerosmith’s “How To Persevere As An Aging Testosterone-Filled Party Rock Band” playbook, Cheap Trick recorded a highly appealing power ballad about 10 years after their peak and saw it chart at NUMBER ONE in the summer of ’88. The band from Rockford, Illinois, did not write the tune (a pair of British songwriters did), but it probably paid for everyone’s new home. They would have never played this song at Budokhan, I will tell you that.
The best concert T-shirt of our youth
Consider the period, though. Summer, ’88. Hair Metal was at its peak and Robin Xander and the boys probably felt, Hell, we invented this sh*t. And then Hair Metal bands realized you could RAWK but if you really wanted to do well on the charts and the MTV, also release ONE lovely power ballad (“Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” anyone?). So the Dream Police said, Thanks, we’ll poach that idea from you. And while you may not want to wear your vintage Cheap Trick concert T-shirt while listening to this, and while Mike Damone may not be thrilled with this concept, this was as successful a power ballad from a hair-metal band as there was.
Chargers at Chiefs
8 p.m. Fox
We don’t think we’ve ever watched a Thursday night NFL game not on Thanksgiving, but the last time the Chiefs played a team from L.A. on a week night the contest was pret-tee, pret-tee good. We won’t watch, but you may want to.
Poor Mike Pence. As President Trump scolds Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi for not funding his border wall (We thought the Mexi—never mind) and threatens to not only shut down the government but insists on taking credit for that, the Veep goes full-Lloyd Braun. Festivus can’t come soon enough this year.
His name is Ed Foley, and he’s the interim coach at Temple, which will take part in the Independence Bowl on December 27 versus Duke. So he flies down to the Port du Shreve for a rubber-chicken lunch speaking engagement and damned if he doesn’t do an impersonation of Matt Foley (Chris Farley), who famously lived in a van down by the river.
Long lost twins? You decide.
3. Alabama, Sweet Home-and-Home?
Seven years ago, the last time Alabama played an OOC game on their opponents’ turf
College football’s pre-Christmas early signing period (the best idea it’s had in a few years), now in its second year, is December 19-21. For the third time in four years, Alabama appears to have signed the No. 1 class.
And that’s good for Bama. The Tide are the top program in the nation and as Clemson’s Dabo Swinney (who’s helmed the second-best program in the country the past four years) says, “The rest of us are on the ROY (Rest Of Y’all) bus.” There’s no debate here: Nick Saban has built college football’s flagship program of the past decade as the Tide chase their sixth national championship since 2009.
So wouldn’t it be great, somewhat for them but more so for the sport, if the Tide demonstrated a little leadership and scheduled better OOC opponents? Alabama plays 8 SEC games and four OOC (Out-Of-Conference) games per season. Here’s what the Tide does with one-third of its schedule every season, dating back seven years (or four national championships) ago…
Since September 10, 2011, when Alabama defeated No. 23 Penn State 27-11 in State College, here’s what they’ve done:
–Played 30 OOC games and finished with a record of 30-0.
–Of those 30 games, 23 have been played on campus in Tuscaloosa. The remaining seven have been played at a neutral site, either in Arlington, Texas, Atlanta or Orlando. The Dallas Metroplex, a 9-hourish drive from Birmingham, is by far the farthest the Tide have ventured OOC. Alabama has played zero OOC games at an opponent’s on-campus stadium.
–Of those 30 opponents, seven have been from Power 5 programs. Each of those opponents, from No. 3 Florida State in 2017 to No. 20 Wisconsin in 2015, have been met in the season-opener (read: max preparation time) at a neutral site.
–Of those 30 opponents, four have been FCS schools. The remaining 19 have been Group of Five programs.
The Bama apologists who litter my Twitter will say, “So what? It’s obviously working for them.” And it is. But it’s not working for the good of the sport.
And, yeah, I’ll get political here. President Trump only does rallies in states where he won the popular vote in 2016. States such as West Virginia or Pennsylvania or Mississippi. But the country as a whole is much larger and most of us don’t live in those states. He’s doing what’s good for him, not what’s good for the nation.
We’ll never argue with Bama’s excellence. We just would love it if they were a little less parochial. Outside of the bowls and the playoff, they haven’t ventured beyond the South since 2011. And Bama fans (and Greg Sankey and ESPN) may not want to hear this, but this type of scheduling means they’ll remain a regional brand. Yes, those of us on the coasts appreciate their talent, but contrast the Tide with ’80s and ’90s Miami, who ventured anywhere and everywhere (Ann Arbor, Seattle, South Bend, Norman) to take on the biggest challengers. That’s how The U became The U.
Miami was Mike Tyson. Alabama is Floyd Mayweather, doing the least he has to do to retain his crown. There’s nothing admirable in that and it’s not healthy for the sport.
To the Tide’s credit, they’ve announced future home-and-home series with Texas (022-2023) and Notre Dame (2028-2029). Will Nick Saban even be around for the Longhorns? For us this is the only blemish on his time in Tuscaloosa. His flat-out unwillingness to travel to another school’s campus. You’ve got all the best talent, Nick. Why not put it to the test?
4. Bowlen For Dollars
Longtime Denver Bronco owner Pat Bowlen is suffering from Alzheimer’s, leaving the future leadership of his successful franchise in flux. Arguably the leading contender to (metaphor alert!) take the reins of the Broncos is daughter Beth Bowlen Wallace, 48, who earned a law degree two years ago.
But as this New York Times story stipulates, it isn’t that simple. Bowlen, who bought the franchise in 1984, established a three-person trust to determine who should be the next controlling owner to run the Broncos and stipulated that it did not have to be one of his seven children from two marriages.
Complicating matters for Beth, her half-sister (from marriage No. 2) Brittany Bowlen is about 20 years younger, earned a degree in finance from Notre Dame with a 3.8 GPA and followed that up with an MBA from Duke, and SHE wants to run the team. She’s also worked at NFL HQ and for McKinsey.
5. Duff Stuff
We just finished former Guns ‘n Roses bassist Duff McKagan‘s a-year-in-the-life memoir How To Be A Man (And Other Illusions), about his 50th year on the planet and you know, even if he’d never co-written “Welcome To The Jungle” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” we’d still consider him an incredibly cool dude with whom to hang.
Anyway, reading is cool because it allows you to connect so many dots. Here’s a vignette we found fascinating. A Seattle native and resident, McKagan is a recovering addict (his pancreas burst when he was 30 and he asked the nurse to let him die) and a huge Seahawks fan. So when the Seahawks advanced to the Super Bowl in 2014 in New Jersey, he and two pals (one from Seattle band Alice In Chains) made the trek east. McKagan would turn 50 three days after the Birds destroyed the Broncos.
So McKagan is sharing this story of fandom and casually mentions that he and his friends had use of an apartment in the West Village and then we ascertain, Oh, I think I know where this story is going. Sure enough, and though McKagan never mentions him by name, the trio ran into actor Philip Seymour Hoffman three times on the final day of his life.
The first time, they just nodded hello and one of them noted that they’d heard PSH had recently, after two decades of living clean, fallen off. Then they saw him early that evening as they were headed out to a Foo Fighters concert and it clearly looked as if he was trying to score drugs. The last time they saw him, on the sidewalk right next to their apartment, was as they were returning home, after 1 a.m. McKagan said he thought of inviting PSH in to their place for a pot of coffee and just to chat, knowing what he was up to. Because they’d all been in that figurative place before; but they also knew an addict only gets sober if he or she wants to.
They opted not to reach out to him. Less than 10 hours later, Hoffman was dead.
A note: McKagan never mentions PSH by name and says he doesn’t want to out another member of the “fraternity.” He doesn’t stipulate if he means the addict fraternity or the celebrity fraternity, but it’s more than clear to whom he’s referring.
All of this aside, it’s a terrific book. McKagan is basically a suburban husband and father of two daughters (one of whom is making her own way in the rock world) and, quite admirably, enrolled at Seattle University AFTER the monster success of GnR and earned his college degree. Super-cool dude who gets it.
Ace Of Spades
If Beavis & Butthead had a house band, it would probably be Motorhead. Founded by Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, a former roadie for Jimi Hendrix, the British trio became indistinguishable from the term “heavy metal” and sold more than 15 million albums. Lemmy was the real deal, a hard-living Brit with big mutton chops who spent the last 25 years of his life in Los Angeles, most recently living in an apartment just two blocks from his favorite Hollywood haunt, the Rainbow Bar & Grill. He died in 2016 at age 70.
This song, arguably the band’s best-known, was released in 1980 at the dawn of the MTV age.
Raptors at Warriors
10:30 p.m. ESPN
Didn’t these two just play one another? Yes, less than two weeks ago (Nov. 29) and the Raptors won in overtime in Toronto (no Steph, no Draymond). Guess the NBA schedule dudes underestimated the Canadians, as not only are they putting this potential NBA Finals showdown on the second night of a back-to-back for Toronto (weirdly, the Raptors are 5-0 on the second nights of back-to-backs this season), but it’s December 12 and this is the last time these two will meet unless/until June.
The Raptors (22-7) have the league’s best record, while the Dubs are second in the West and have won four in a row since Curry’s return. Kawhi Leonard sat out last night’s 24-point win at the Clips, but he should be back for this one. Kyle Lowry leads the NBA in assists.
The remains of Icelandic mountaineers Kristinn Rúnarsson and Þorsteinn Guðjónsson have been found 30 years after the pair went missing in the Himalayas. Steve Aisthorpe, 55, a Scot, had been climbing with them in October of 1988, scaling Pumori, a 23,494-foot peak, when he fell ill. He told them to go on ahead.
And no one ever saw them again, until last month, when an American climber located their remains at the foot of a glacier.
2. May Delay
Life was so much simpler when Hugh Grant was P.M.
Facing a vote on Brexit in parliament and having lost political support from within her own party, Prime Minister Theresa Mayannounced that she was postponing the vote (Postpone the vote, a certain tweep living on Pennsylvania Ave. reads. Genius!).
What’s going to happen? Will Great Britain divorce the European Union? Will Jon Snow marry his sister or aunt or whatever she is? Will Manchester City Win the Premier League (at least that we can bank on)?
3. Harry Potter and the Eight Year-Old Girl
Currently showing at the New York Historical Society, an exhibit about Harry Potter. Because why not? Among the plethora of items of wizardry and literature is a note scribbled by eight year-old Alice Newton back in the mid-1990s. At the time eight publishers had rejected J.K. Rowling‘s manuscript, but Alice’s dad, who ran a publishing house, decided to bring it home for his daughter to read.
She did so and then wrote this note: “Reading this made me feel warm inside. I certainly think any eight/nine year-old would enjoy this.” Dad bought the manuscript and the rest is history. Alice may be the most critically important Newton the UK has produced since Isaac.
4. Let It Bee
Pray for the Mantis…
The Insect Apocalypse is upon us, declares this story from The New York Times Magazine. That’s bad news for the rest of us. Read on if you dare. Am I buggin’ ya? I didn’t mean to bug ya.’ Okay, Edge, play the blues…
5. Nun Cents
What with all the buggery revelations from their male brethren, Catholic priests, two SoCal sisters figured who would miss a half million dollars? Sister Mary Kreuper and Sister Lana Chang, who taught at St. James Catholic School in Torrance, embezzled approximately $500,000 to feed their gambling, er, habit over the past decade.
Kreuper was actually the school’s principal for 29 years. Have both sisters gone to confession? What’s the penance, in terms of Hail Marys, one must say in order to atone? And why doesn’t the story we read inform us as to how successful or unsuccessful they were?
Punk Rock Girl
Is it punk to have your song get heavy rotation on the MTV? Philadelphia punk rockers The Dead Milkmen faced this existential crisis in 1988.
8 p.m. TCM
John Ford’s classic western that served as the template for so many others to follow. Released in 1939 and starring John Wayne in his breakout role as the Ringo Kid, it’s also the first Ford film to use Monument Valley as a backdrop.
“Democrats can’t find a Smocking Gun tying the Trump campaign to Russia after James Comey’s testimony. No Smocking Gun…No Collusion.” @FoxNews That’s because there was NO COLLUSION. So now the Dems go to a simple private transaction, wrongly call it a campaign contribution,…
Twice! Twice with the “smocking.” He really is illiterate, isn’t he?
*Props to tweep @YahooSchwab who came up with “Drake Relay”
Rule No. 69: Never have Rob Gronkowski play safety if the feared Hail Mary pass cannot make it to the end zone. The Dolphins defeat the Patriots on a last-second 69-yard touchdown play that features two laterals, ending up in the capable arms and legs of Kenyan Drake for the final 50 yards or so.
The hook and ladder – a play that only worked in sports movies and Friday Night Lights until December 9, 2018, when it suddenly became the most unstoppable play in the NFL.
First of all, Bill, it’s the “hook and lateral.” Second, it’s worked in big moments at least twice before, most famously in A) the 2007 Fiesta Bowl on a play that sent the game into overtime…
…and also in the 1982 AFC divisional playoffs, an overtime game between the San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins in the Orange Bowl that many of us consider the best NFL playoff game we’ve ever seen. That’s Don Criqui on the call.
True story on that Fiesta Bowl: I was there, it was my third bowl game in as many nights. The first was the 2006 Insight Bowl from Sun Devil Stadium on December 30th, when Texas Tech overcame a 31-point second-half deficit to beat Minnesota and oust Glen Mason from his job (when Minnesota pushed the lead to 38-7 midway through the 3rd, more of us in the press box were consumed with footage just released of Saddam Hussein being hanged). The next night was the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, played in 19-degree weather (some of us were issued blankets if our “press box seat” was located out doors, which mine was). Then this game the next night in Glendale. What a time to be alive!
2. The MeTua Movement
You kind of knew Tua Tagovailoa wasn’t winning when the rep from the Heisman Trust, Vasili Krishnamurti, couldn’t even properly pronounce his name. It’s weird because for at least two-thirds of the season, it felt as if Tua’s name was already etched on the 2018 Heisman Trophy. What happened?
The SEC Championship Game, in which Tua performed poorly. Go back to Alabama’s first offensive drive. If Tua hits Henry Ruggs on the slant-in pattern on 1st-and-goal from the 6, the Tide takes a 7-0 lead and, more importantly, he doesn’t get sacked on the following play and suffer the high ankle sprain that hindered him the rest of the game. Tua is renowned for his accuracy and this was one play where his pass was just a footstep behind, and it probably cost him more than we all realized in the moment.
Nobody—outside of Alabama—watched Alabama games. They were all over after the first quarter. Boring. By contrast, Kyler took part in a number of thrilling games (both Texas tussles, Bedlam, WVU and even Army) that kept viewers glued.
Tua’s mark of excellence is his precision; Kyler’s is his dual-threat skills. A wild scramble in OU’s season opener, plus long TD runs in the Red River Shootout and at West Virginia had that backyard football game aspect to it that make for oft-replayed highlights.
Kylar simply had better numbers in two more all-important stats: Yards Per Attempt and QB Rating, in which he led the country in both. That mattered.
Bama Fatigue. We know who won the Heisman last year, but there’s just too much Bama all the time for too many of us. And Tua would’ve made Nick Saban’s third in a decade. It may be just us, but we really don’t believe the “Kyler Knows” campaign, borrowing from a 30-ish year-old Bo Jackson Nike campaign, made much of a difference. But that may be our bad for giving voters more credit than they deserve.
3. How ’bout Them Raiders!
Amari Cooper, who only a month or so earlier was an Oakland Raider, catches three touchdown passes after the start of the fourth quarter as the Cowboys outlast the Eagles in overtime, 29-23.
Had the defending Super Bowl champs won, they’d be tied with Dallas atop the division at a middling 7-6. Instead, the Cowboys are 8-5 and Philly dips to 6-7 and has to win its final three to even have a chance to make the playoffs.
Philly rookie tight end Dallas Goedert, a former walk-on at South Dakota State, had one fourth-quarter TD catch and it should have been two. His growed-up-man 75-yard TD grab was called back for the most pussy-footed OPI you’ll ever seen. On the next play a Cowboy lineman was flagged for tackling Eagle QB Carson Wentz around the feet, even though the Dallas lineman was already laying on the ground when he made the tackle.
I really do hate this league.
4. Go Now
This morning’s Washington Post puts together a comprehensive trail of White House exoduses, beginning with Attorney General Sally Yates on January 30, 2017 and ending with the most recent, Chief of Staff John Kelly as of Friday.
She’s still here
If you’re scoring at home, approximately three dozen high-profile “all the best people” types have either resigned or been fired since Trump took office 22 months ago. What have we learned? If Kellyanne Conway ever appears on a season of Survivor, do NOT bet against her.
If FBS is all about SEC and Clemson hegemony, then FCS is all about Nordic conquest. The campuses of all four schools in this month’s FCS semi-finals—Eastern Washington, Maine, North Dakota State and South Dakota State—are located above 44 degrees latitude, which may not mean a lot to you until we tell you that means they’re all located north of Portland, Maine. All located north of Toronto.
The Red Sea, in Cheney
NDSU will host SDSU inside the FargoDome while EWU will host Maine in Cheney, just a few miles southeast of Pullman, with the game to be played on their red carpet that’ll make your eyes bleed. If you’re wondering about the Black Bears, they traveled to Weber State in northern Utah this past weekend, then returned home to Orono, then will travel all the way back to the Spokane area for Friday night’s game.
That’s more than 8,000 miles in one week. How many points is jet lag worth?
It Ain’t Me, Babe
Bob Dylan wrote and recorded this song in 1964, but Johnny Cash and June Carter may have perfected it a year later. Three years after Cash and Carter recorded it, and countless times after they’d performed it live onstage, they married, in 1968.
Dylan wrote the song as a message to his girlfriend, Suze Rotolo, who had appeared with him on the cover of his previous album.
Vikings at Seahawks
8 p.m. ESPN
If the season ended today—and why can’t it?— these two would be the NFC wildcard representatives.
Sweeping statement alert: Pro football is no longer a downfield game.
Forget Delta Airlines. The dump off is the only way to fly in the league. It’s about the running backs chipping, then slipping through the middle, and when the QB can’t find anyone else in 1.81 seconds, he dumps the ball off to the guy with his hands in the air.
Yes sir, yes ma’am, it’s all about the screens and dump passes now. High percentage, vanilla, easy-like-a-Prom-Date throws. Just watch this week, with playoff positioning at stake out there in all that December frost. Risk is a four-letter cuss word to a playoff contender. No, better to safely plop a 4-yarder to a talented back, and let him scamper off with it. Happens every minute of an NFL Sunday.
And yes, sure, I have angered the football gods by writing that, and in retaliation I expect at least a dozen 50+ yard touchdown passes in Week 14. But once I finally come out of hiding, right before the start of playoffs, I will revisit my dump-off theory by digging into the numbers of the playoff teams, to see if my eyeballs aren’t lying to me. Scouts will tell you it’s easy to pick up a back in later rounds and even in the undrafted free agent market each year, but still, runner-receivers like Todd Gurley, Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley and The Ghost of Le’Veon Bell are changing the game as this is being written. That I’m sure of.
As always, home team in caps, with William Hill odds. I also added some percentages to correspond with the winners I picked – they represent the calculations made by The Quant Edge that those teams will cover the Vegas line. Full disclosure: I work at TQE as an advisor.
NY Giants (-3) over WASHINGTON (63.1%)
Big injury news here: OBJ is out with a quad injury. Related: My spider senses started tingling.
He was limited in practice on Friday, but the Giants downplayed it and it seemed like a non-issue. Odell even made headlines earlier in the week about ruining another team’s season. So, how did it all break bad? Why aren’t the beat writers being snarky about it? What happened?
Something’s up. Did Odell try bad peyote while on a wave runner with an Instagram model down in the Keys … and then told the Giants he hurt himself while getting treatment on his groin? WTF, OBJ? Is it that serious? The G-Men were starting to find a rhythm offensively.
Regardless, the Giants are facing Mark Sanchez. That defense will bottle up Adrian Peterson — who as a thirtysomething is pumping those legs like John Riggins 2.0 — and then let Mark get jumpy, which he is prone to do even behind the best of o-lines. That’s enough for a win by a TD.
Cincinnati (+14.5) covers vs. LA CHARGERS (60.5%)
What in the name of Dan Fouts and all that’s holy is this Vegas line all about? The Chargers win this one at home, of course. But even without A.J. Green, Cincy should move the ball and keep it within two scores. I see Giovani Bernard and Joe Mixon having big days catching dump-offs — that play *is* the offense of 2018. But again, LA should win it by a score or so, get to 10 wins before Christmas, and no one in Los Angeles will give a sh-t.
Put ‘em back in San Diego, NFL (Editor’s Note: Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! It’s okay to admit you made a mistake; build a new stadium, too!) Announcers still say, “San Diego Chargers” by mistake, I still write San Diego Chargers by mistake, and besides, Philip Rivers commutes every damn day from SD, and he has eight kids that must toss him a “Why weren’t you at my soccer game?” guilt locker every time he gets home. Let’s pretend the LA Chargers didn’t happen. Think of Papa Philip.
KANSAS CITY (-6.5) over Baltimore (50.8%)
The Chiefs have scored 40, 45, 30, 37, 26, 51 and 40 points over their last seven contests (a 38.4 average). I love what the Ravens have done with Lamar Jackson amidst their three-game win streak, but they don’t have the firepower to stay with the Chiefs at Arrowhead. There’s a contrarian take here – with jackass Kareem Hunt out of the picture that offense is not nearly as dominant, and the Ravens D is ranked third in DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. But I’m not overthinking this one. Mahomes will move on up in the NFL MVP race if he smashes here.
Carolina (-1) over CLEVELAND (59.2%)
Nah. Nope. No upset. The Panthers can still secure an NFC wild-card berth, and McCaffrey is the NFL’s best fantasy player, the most fun to watch, and a Hall of Famer at reminding you how old you are, because you watched his dad Ed play an eye-blink ago.
Don’t you wish you had witnessed this as it happened? And how relieved must he have been…
Three years later, and just two days before this year’s presentation, Derrick Henry creates his Heisman Moment. And, oh wow! The Tennessee Titans back took the handoff in his own end zone—the line of scrimmage was the 1—and went around left end 99 yards, but not before tossing aside a trio of Jax Jags as if they were rag dolls. Watch:
That’s the Play of the Year in the NFL and it actually begs to be scored by some vintage NFL Films music. If we knew how, we’d do it. Henry added TD runs of 3, 16 and 54 yards and rushed for 238 yards as Tennessee’s Heisman House backfield played up to form.
2. Hart’s War
While we looked away from the Oscars overnight, an episode of Black Mirrorapparently broke out. Hart had accepted the gig as Oscars host two days ago, then someone with some free time unearthed tweets of his from two-thousand-and-freakin’-nine where he joked about how he didn’t want his newborn son to be gay (flash: he’s a comedian) and suddenly he was being ordered to apologize and he’d be forgiven.
To Hart’s credit (at least in our view), he said, Nope, no thanks. I’m not hosting. I’ve apologized for this before and I’m not about to endure another public flogging just to satisfy the internet trolls.
In one Instagram post Hart, who is on tour in Australia, said, “The reason why I passed is because I’ve addressed this several times. I’m not going to continue to go back and tap into the days of old when I’ve moved on and I’m in a completely different space in my life.”
Here’s hoping the Academy and a bunch of influential actor and producer types reach out to Hart and tell him they want him there. The golden rule of comedy is not to not offend; it’s to make people laugh. Hart is good at the latter.
3. Paradise Lost
It happened 77 years ago today: the attack on Pearl Harbor on the U.S. territory of Hawaii, claiming 2,403 lives. It happened on a Sunday morning, shortly after 7 a.m. I don’t have anything else to add, other than that it was probably the deadliest day in U.S. military history until D-Day, two and a half years later.
4. Lance A Lot
Former Tour de France six-time champion and then non-champion or whatever Lance Armstrong undertook a charm offensive of sorts this week. We haven’t listened to all the interviews, but this one with Andrew Ross Sorkin of CNBC informs us that Armstrong invested $100,000 early in Uber and has now probably made at least 100 or 300 times on his investment. “It saved our family,” Armstrong told Sorkin.
It’s funny. A man who rose to international fame and acclaim for riding a bike making a fortune on a business based on ferrying people around in automobiles.
We hesitate to refer to any group of people cohabitating in Japan as a “nuclear family” (too soon), but the four adults and two children who share a common space in the film Shoplifterssure do seem like a family unit. That’s all we really want to say about this film that won the Palme D’Or at Cannes (I think that means it’s the world’s best soccer player?) last May.
We saw it yesterday afternoon at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which feels like the kind of cinema where Gene and Roger could argue about movies for hours. If you live in New York or ever visit, we recommend you see a movie here. Warning: they don’t show Marvel Comics movies.
This is a film with a lot of depth, a slow reveal, and characters you’ll really come to care about. It’ll stay with you.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and president Donald Trump have reportedly stopped speaking, and we’ve watched enough episodes of The West Wing to know that either Kelly is about to have a heart attack or resign. We never understood why he stayed in this post as long as he has. And don’t tell us he was sacrificing himself to save the country. Transparency is far more noble than aiding and abetting.
Anyway, sounds as if he may be gone as soon as today or some time next week. Get out while you can still do so on your own terms, General Kelly.
Something’s Got A Hold On Me
There’s only one Etta James (I mean, how many Ettas have you ever met?). Born in 1938 to a single, 14 year-old mother, James believed that her father was legendary billiards player Minnesota Fats. Really. She died in 2012.
Warriors at Bucks
9:30 p.m. ESPN
Giannis. KD. Steph. Klay. Donte. This would be a very sexy NBA Finals.
While putting together this morning’s blog at a Starbucks, this MH staffer looked down at a crowded table and noticed his beverage was missing. After a few furtive glances and gestures by the staffer, a lady seated next to him fessed up: “I thought that was mine and drank from it, then returned it to the counter because it’s not what I ordered.” She got us another one, but said, “I was hoping you wouldn’t notice.”
Only in New York, kids. Only in New York.
The Gang’s All Here
If you’ve never attended a funeral or wedding where there was someone you distinctly meant to avoid, you probably will some day. It’s nice to know that even those who’ve occupied the highest office in the land—or their spouses—had to deal with the same thing Wednesday at George H.W. Bush‘s funeral.
President Trump and President Obama greet each other for the first time since Inauguration Day at Bush 41 State funeral. pic.twitter.com/DAaFA57rQp
Not in the shot and to the right of Hillary: The 39th president, Jimmy Carter, and his wife, Roslyn. They’re going to outlive everyone, aren’t they?
Here’s Jon Meacham‘s eulogy. Thirteen-plus minutes well-spent.
2. Unwelcome To The Jungle
A two and a half-hour theatrical production set inside an Afghani restaurant situated in the midst of a Middle Eastern refugee camp located in Calais, France. Sound entertaining? The Jungle, which won five-star reviews in London (the play was first performed in the camp itself, which French officials have since bulldozed, has just come ashore here in the U.S.
The Jungle, from above
It’s not a musical, so it won’t garner Hamilton-level love, but trust us, you will be hearing a lot about this show. It has an energy to it similar to what the original cast did with Rent.
3. Arresting Development
“We’re taking it up a notch!”
In Canada Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Chinese tech giant Huawei and the daughter of its founder, is arrested and faces extradition to the United States. Forget last Saturday night’s kumbaya-meets-bok choy dinner in Buenos Aires.
The charges are not being released, but the funny part is that Meng was actually apprehended in Vancouver last Saturday, at about the same time the dinner was taking place. Shades of The Godfatherbaptismal scene, no? Settling family debts.
The MH staff wants to go on record to say that no matter our distaste for 45 the person, we support the tough tactics with China. If you’re ever going to go after them, you do so when the economy is at its most robust. And they’re not exactly playing fair, either.
Meanwhile, if you are an American businessman, especially a somewhat visible one, you may not want to travel to China for awhile.
4. This Camel’s Back
Two years ago, Campbell’s 5’9″ guard Chris Clemons finished second in the nation in scoring (25.1 ppg). Last season, as a junior, he finished fourth (24.9), which included a career-high 51-point game. Thus far this season, he’s leading the nation at 31.4 ppg.
It’s early, of course, but the tiny Fighting Camel can score. At this level. What will happen to him next June? Will any NBA take a flier on the next Isaiah Thomas (who was already the next Isaiah Thomas?).
You won’t see his name on any NBA mock draft lists. Overlooked or over-achieving?
5. Emissions Impossible*
*The judges will also accept “C-uh-O2”
Yesterday scientists projected that global emissions of carbon dioxideare proceeding at a record pace. After flat-lining from 2014 to 2016, emissions of CO2 rose 1.6% last year and 2.7% this year. This will lead to the ice caps melting, to seas rising, to tens of millions of humans being forced to relocate (and we’re sure that will go peacefully) and to the extinction of numerous species (alas, not ours, not soon enough).
Anyway, it may be time to move to the Northwest Territories. What’s the job prospects for moderately talented bloggers in that part of the world?
Summer, Highland Falls
Is this the most beautiful Billy Joel song? I won’t fight you on it if you think so. I won’t fight you on it if you don’t think so, either. I’m too old to fight. Or to do kamikaze shots after midnight. Where were we again? See, that’s how old I am, I can’t even retain my train of thought. This is off Joel’s fourth studio album, Turnstiles (the album cover above is from the Astor Place station of the 4/6 train), which was released in 1976. His next album would be the monster that propelled him to international stardom. Who gets four albums any more with a record company that will have the patience to bank on you that the fifth will be the breakthrough?
By “this site” I’m referring to Twitter, naturally.
Wheelchair-bound Bob Dole, an erstwhile American senator and GOP presidential candidate, stands up at the age of 95 to pay tribute to the late George H.W. Bush. In the Capitol Rotunda.
2. Jersey Bro Blaze
You may have read about the family of four in Colts Neck, N.J., that were murdered and their house set on fire. On November 20 Keith and Jennifer Kaneiro and their two children were murdered and then their mansion, located in the same town where Bruce Springsteen resides (and just two towns over from our hometown), was set ablaze.
Turns out the killer appears to be Paul Kaneiro, 51, Keith’s older brother by one year. Paul allegedly shot his brother on the front lawn in the wee hours of the morning, then went inside and killed his wife and stabbed the two children to death. Then he set fire to his own house in Ocean Township, N.J., perhaps hoping the cops would think the family itself was being targeted.
The two brothers, sons of an immigrant from Spain who moved the family to Brooklyn, made their small fortunes in computer installments and consulting in the early ’90s. They were prime examples of hard-working, first-generation Americans with some ingenuity. Somewhere along the lines, it appears, the siblings had a falling out.
3. Kevin Up
Remember a couple years ago when Chris Rock hosted the Oscars and joked that, even with all the “Oscars So White” furor he felt obliged to accept the gig because he couldn’t have Kevin Hart taking every comedy role in Hollywood? Well, guess who’s up this year? Yup, the diminutive funny man.
We believe Hart will be terrific and inoffensive. We think Kevin Spacey would’ve been a bolder choice and would surely have drawn more viewers.
4. No Answers In Hoover
Autopsy results for E.J. Bradford, Jr., the young man who died in the Hoover, Ala. mall shooting event on Thanksgiving night, show that he was shot three times in the back by a police officer. In the back.
Bradford was armed at the time and the gun was visible but he was reportedly helping other patrons get to safety. What happens when a good guy with a gun emerges in a situation where there’s a bad guy with a gun. If he’s black, he becomes a target for a white good guy with a gun.
At the press conference, Bradford called the officer who fatally shot his son “a coward.” And that he may be. But the officer saw a young black male who fit the description of the shooter with a gun and was literally triggered. It was impulsive and rash, and obviously a fatal mistake. The officer certainly thought he was saving lives. Did he warn Bradford to put down his weapon? We’ll find out.
Either way, the “good guy with a gun” myth propagated by the NRA and others is just that.
5. Not All Trolls Are Found On Twitter
Meet the forest trolls of Denmark. Dani artist Thomas Dambo has “hidden” six giant trolls in forests in the area surrounding Copenhagen. Dambo only used discarded wood from saw mills and lumber yards. Nine year-old me cannot wait to visit.
It’s nice to see trolling being taken back off the internet, where it always belonged.
One day after the Powell boost, the Dow Jones plummets 799 points. It was so bad that right in the middle of the week the stock market is taking today off. It’s as if Wall Street needed to enter the concussion protocol tent.*
*This cannot be helping Susie B.’s mood….
Flowers of Guatemala
At their peak, which was just BEFORE they released their biggest-selling album to date, Document, REM was able to toss off a song like this as a throwaway and it was still lovelier and more unique than anything anyone else at the time was doing (with the exception of Peter Gabriel). This is off their fourth studio album, Life’s Rich Pageant, released in 1986. It is as REM-y as an REM song gets.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
We don’t have Amazon (checks pockets; nope, still not rich) TV, but we have friends who do and they love this show that travels back in time to a New York City where a nice Jewish girl from the Bronx can attempt to be a stand-up comedian. Season 2 has just dropped, and this is from the same team who brought you Gilmore Girls, but you probably already knew that.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, 54 and weary of beating Michigan year after year after year, announces that he will retire after the Rose Bowl. Is it for good this time or will he take a few years’ sabbatical and return. Consider: When Nick Saban was this age, he was coaching the Miami Dolphins.
Ryan Day will take over in Columbus.
2. And The Grange Goes To…
A number of special performers and performances in the college football this season. We love that Gardner Minshew was a dad-bod, mustache’d over-the-hill QB who looked like someone’s older brother from Dazed And Confused and then turned around and led the nation in passing yards per game. Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams is an absolute beast. West Virginia wide receiver David Sills didn’t make the Biletnikoff Award finalists list, but we loved how he always seemed to make the big catches when it mattered (he’s going o make some NFL offensive coordinator very happy). Clemson’s D-line is very impressive, but as individuals they cancel one another out.
You know the Heisman finalists and they’re all worthy but for our money the player who should win the Heisman and who will win the Grange is Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. Stats-wise, Murray leads the nation in QB Rating and Yards Per Attempt and is second only to Minshew in Total Offense. He is simply no fair one-on-one in the open field, as he demonstrated at West Virginia two weekends ago.
Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Baker Mayfield, played the same position at the same school and like Murray, led the nation in QB Rating and Yards Per Attempt. But here’s the thing: Murray’s numbers in both stats are better than Baker’s. And this is his first, and only, season starting. Also, his Total Offense numbers are 38 yards per game higher.
Kyler Murray, your 2018 Red Grange Award winner….
3. The Circle Is Complete
Newly appointed Washington Redskins quarterback Mark Sanchez, most infamous for his 2012 butt fumble while with the New York Jets, recovers a fumble with his derriere in last night’s MNF loss to the Eagles.
In football there are tight ends and split ends, but Sanchez will forever be associated with rear ends.
4. Parts Unknown?
We finally got around to reading Kitchen Confidential earlier this year, Anthony Bourdain‘s memoir about life in back of the house at New York City restaurants. It fully delivered. So we can’t wait to read what one of our favorite writers, Drew Magary, is able to whip up about Bourdain when interviewing some of his oldest and closest friends and colleagues for GQ.
Bourdain hung himself in June in France at the age of 61, which is an absolute shame.
5. We’ve Seen One Of These
The TV Guide Channel site released a list of the “25 Best TV Shows of 2018” and we’ve only seen one of them (No. 4). Are we not watching enough TV? How else are wasting spending our time?
Twenty-five years ago Perry Farrell’s “pet” project, Porno For Pyros, released this song with the prescient lyric: “My friend says we’re like the dinosaurs only we are doing ourselves in much faster than they ever did…”
10:15 p.m. TCM
Not to be confused with Proud Boys Town, which would be an a different movie altogether (“Which would be a different movie“). From 1938, starring Spencer Tracy as the tough but fair Fr. Flanagan and Mickey Rooney as the hooligan.