We’ve never had a jones for January, much less a January Jones (Who do you think we are, Jason Sudeikis?). Happy to bid the month goodbye, as we are sure Lance Armstrong, Manti Te’o and the marketing team behind “Movie 43″ are as well. On to February…
1. Lefty Shoots 60 in Scottsdale
Former Arizona State golfer Phil Mickelson, who knows a little about waist management, narrowly misses shooting a 59 in the opening round of the Waste Management Open in Scottsdale. Lefty’s penultimate shot rimmed out, giving him a 60. Mickelson described himself, good-naturedly, as “mortified” by how the shot lipped out, but we would have gone with “taxed.”
2. Caleb Moore Dies
The 25 year-old X-Games competitor dies one week after failing to land this somersault aboard a snowmobile in Aspen. So, yes, snowmobiles were not designed for mid-air somersaults. (Pardon me here while I go on a rant about human nature….). When I was a boy and Evel Knievel was the coolest thang, we kids in Middletown, N.J., would construct dirt ramps and then launch from them on our bikes. The natural inclination was to keep building the ramp taller until some of us began wussing out or, as happened with Pat Ryan, someone broke an arm.
Testosterone. As long as there are men, and there is testosterone (and deer antler spray), there will be a place for danger in sports. What Caleb Moore was attempting was really no different than what Ed Reed or Michael Crabtree will be doing on Sunday — in the most-watched television event of the year. The only difference is that Moore, the first fatality in the 18-year history of the X-Games, suffered one colossal blow whereas NFL players endure a series of hits over the course of their careers.
Roger Goodell should stop talking about making the NFL less dangerous, just like ESPN should stop putting out intelligence-insulting statements following the death of a dude who propels himself upside down in mid-air strapped to a 450-pound snowmobile about how they will “conduct a thorough review of freestyle snowmobiling events and adopt any appropriate changes.”
Unless the gang in Bristol know something about gravity that we do not, there’s no way to take the element of mortal danger or at least permanent paralysis out of the X-Games. And that’s fine by me. I’m not the one getting big air above the half-pipe and neither are you. To quote a famous mantra from “The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training”, “Let them play.”
ESPN showed this crash five times within the moment it happened. The color commentator probably had no idea how accurate he was at the time when he said, “That is just about the worst thing you can imagine happening…”
Meanwhile, present and past NFL players: You know it’s a dangerous sport. The NFL doesn’t owe you anything BEYOND THIS POINT. Past players, sure, give them a cut. But any current NFL player who believes it is the league’s responsibility to protect him from permanent disability needs to have his head examined (wait, did I really just type that?).
3. 30 Rock Signs Off
Was Tina Fey’s sitcom brilliant or just exceedingly clever? Fey was raised in my era, in the era of classic sitcoms such as M*A*S*H, All in The Family, The Odd Couple and The Mary Tyler Moore Show. While 30 Rock may have contained more clever lines than those four combined (and Rolling Stone has compiled a nice little gallery of them), I never felt that I had to watch this show. Beneath every sitcom, even Seinfeld, there has to be a small undercurrent of gravitas. I never felt that with 30 Rock.
Sure, just hearing the terms “Werewolf Barmitzvah“, “Hot Box” and “Beeper Salesman” induce a smile, but I never cared about these characters the way I did Oscar and Felix, Archie and Edith, or even Hawkeye and Radar. 30 Rock, and it was the best network sitcom of the past seven years, was more of a smirk-com. It was a 22-minute one-liner delivery sytem, not unlike the way bacon is simply a salt-delivery system.
4. How long until Mr. Ed becomes the spokesequine for Burger King?
5. The Dallas Mavericks are hosed at the end of consecutive Western Conference road games and coach Rick Carlisle says, “I’m disappointed and I’m very concerned. Concerned about what’s happening at the end of games with officials. I can only be honest.”
Jason London, a.k.a. Randall “Pink” Floyd, arrested in Scottsdale, Ariz., after an altercation at the Martini Grille. Reportedly defecates in the backseat of the police car — on the eve of the Waste Management Open. Niiiiiiice. UPDATE: Coach Conrad says London can play quarterback next season if he signs a document promising not to poop in squad cars or hang out with Wooderson.
Another round of layoffs at Time, Inc., where 6% of the staff (approximately 480 people) will soon be let go. When did journalism become The Hunger Games? Oh, right, when the internet arrived.
Each day this month we’ll highlight a different beer. Today we’ll start with an obvious choice, but it’s my favorite go-to beer: Stella Artois. First brewed in Leuven, Belgium, in 1926, Stella is known as “Wife Beater” in the UK becausse excessive consumption of it leads to violent behavior (as opposed to excessive consumption of other beers?).
Kelly Olynyk of Gonzaga is an Oscar Robertston Trophy finalist. Like last year’s winner (Anthony Davis, Kentucky), Olynyk started out as a point guard and then had a huge growth spurt in high school (seven inches in one year). Also like Davis, he did not play college basketball the previous year — Olynyk red-shirted because, frankly, last season the seven-footer just was not very skilled. Now, despite looking like the love child of Randall Floyd and Mitch Kramer, he’s a lottery pick. Nice story on him here by Bud Withers of The Seattle Times.