by John Walters
In the midst of a particularly hectic shift at the Cookoutateria Sunday (gorgeous weather) in which your author had to cover an ungodly three sections (18 tables) for a few hours, crankiness may have set in. We came across a table of two couples, and one of the men in the group had the book Too Big To Fail in front of him. “I know how that book ends and it isn’t good,” I said. “We all lose our jobs and have to work in restaurants.”
Live From New Bork
We all figured that Saturday Night Live would lead with Brett Kavanaugh as its cold open for its season premiere, but did anyone guess that Matt Damon would play the less-than-purest jurist? That Harvard-Yale rivalry never really ends, does it?
“I’m usually an optimist; I’m usually a ‘keg is half-full’ kind of guy…”
The cold open went roughly 13 minutes, which has to be near-record length in the show’s history.
Of course, the Weekend Update duo got involved as well. Colin Jost and Michael Che teed off on the SCOTUS confirmation hearings, with Jost getting off the most memorable line, as it pertained to Rachel Mitchell: “If you’re not the right person to ask questions at a Senate hearing, maybe you’re not the right person to be a Senator.”
Che: “I don’t know if Mr. Kavanaugh actually has a history of sexual assault of if he actually has a drinking problem, but I do know that he might. And you shouldn’t be on the Supreme Court if you might. You shouldn’t be on the People’s Court if you might.”
As we watched Damon spew out a credible Kavanaugh having had less than 48 hours to prepare, we couldn’t help but think of Good Will Hunting and the motley crew with whom our title character ran in that film (two of whom, besides Damon, have gone on to win Oscars). Will Hunting’s P.J. and Tobin and Squi were also delinquents to a degree, but here’s the funny thing about those adolescents: given access to a female, all of them were respectful.
2. Kavanaugh Karnival Kontinues
Okay, now what?
Both CNN and NBC News are reporting that the White House is limiting the scope of the one-week FBI investigation into the Kavanaugh allegations, which the White House and President Trump vehemently deny (does this sound familiar, or meta?). Anyway, given the track record with truth of both sides, I know which way I’m leaning.
We get it: This isn’t supposed to be a deep-sea fishing expedition. On the other hand, why the urgent need for alacrity? Could it be that the Repubs are frightened they won’t get a confirmation before the November 6 midterms, after which they might lose the Senate, after which they might not get the judge they want, after which they might not have a 5-4 conservative majority on the bench, after which certain influential judgments about presidential pardoning power may not go the way that President Trump wants?
Could that be it?
— Phyllis Reffo (@phyllisreffo) October 1, 2018
Meanwhile, this exchange between Scott Pelley of 60 Minutes and Senator Jeff Flake needs to be brought up again before the Kavanugh vote, if there is a Kavanaugh vote:
The FBI background investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Judge Kavanaugh is supposed to be complete by next Friday. A vote in the full Senate is likely to be scheduled soon after. pic.twitter.com/TDWq1lhpML
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 1, 2018
Pelley: “If Judge Kavanaugh is shown to have lied to the committee, nomination’s over?”
Flake: “Oh yes. I would think so.”
Devil’s Triangle is a lie. Renate Alumnius (sic) is a lie. Those are just two.
Here’s what we see happening, if indeed the FBI is being handcuffed by the White House: the Washington Post, The New York Times, The New Yorker and who knows who else out-investigates them. The evidence is too outrageous and too credible to ignore: remember, Christine Blasey Ford went from a WaPo story to testifying in front of 21 U.S. Senators.
At some point either Kavanaugh will withdraw himself, Trump will withdraw the nomination (if Flake and another GOP Senator let him know they won’t vote “Yes) to save face, or, and this is where it gets sad, the GOP will just ram him through, anyway.
3. Brain-Eating Amoeba Week?
A New Jersey surfer visited a water park in Waco, Texas, where he apparently contracted a brain-eating amoeba that eventually led to his death. Fabrizio Stabile, 29, of Ventnor, N.J., began suffering from crippling headaches upon his return from the Lone Star State. The extra cruel part of his death—and this not only feels like an episode of House, but as a New Jersey resident, he might’ve been sent to Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital….if TV and real-life overlapped—is that diagnosticians at last figured out the cause of Stabile’s symptoms…one day before he died.
How crazy is that? One American surfer killed by a shark in the month of September, one American surfer killed by a one-celled organism in the same month.
4. Shades of ’88
Stanford-Notre Dame was still a one-score game five minutes into the fourth quarter, but the final score of 38-17 is more indicative of how much better the Fighting Irish played. Five weeks into the season, the Irish are peaking (and yes, we know they lost their best player from the NFL’s perspective, right guard Alex Bars, for the season due to a torn ACL and MCL) and are 5-0.
The switch to Ian Book has been an unqualified success (we do remember suggesting Brian Kelly do this nearly three weeks earlier). He’s simply a better all-around quarterback than Brandon Wimbush: far more accurate of a passer, and far less prone to making negative plays. The rest of the offense has no first-rounders, but it’s deep and full of reliable players (even Alize Mack has become semi-reliable). The punter and kicker are both seniors, four-year starters, and again, reliable.
And then there’s the defense. Much like the last Irish national championship squad, it has no one superstar but playmakers all over the field (Julian Love, Alohi Gilman, Jerry Tillery, Julian Okwara, Te’Von Coney, Drue Tranquill, Khalid Kareem, etc.). It’s funny, Notre Dame’s highest-rated defensive recruit of teh past three years, defensive end Daelin Hayes, is a solid starter but we doubt he’d make anyone’s Top 5 on this defense.
Does it mean the Irish can win the national championship? No, but we very much like their chances to make the playoff. We like the hungry attitude that has emerged the past two weeks. The attention to detail. The sure tackling. The improved rushing attack. All of it.
Just a note to keep in the back of your mind: Before the season opener against Michigan, the Irish invited the 1988 national championship team to take the field and form a tunnel for this year’s team to run through as they took the field. More than 60 players from that team showed up.
More than 800 perish in Southeast Asia after an earthquake creates another tsunami. The video is both awe-inspiring and disturbing, no? Nature is so powerful and had no sense of being sinister, and yet it can unleash such deadly fury.
All those late 1990s bands—were they all the same band? Fuel, Tonic, Candlebox, Nickleback, Third Eye Blind, Goo Goo Dolls, Creed, etc? This 2000 song reached No. 30 on the Billboard chart, and was the band’s highest-charting song.
Brewers at Cubs
1 p.m. ESPN
Rockies at Dodgers
4 p.m. ESPN
The Rockies have been baseball’s hottest team the past two weeks while Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich, the presumptive NL MVP, the game’s hottest hitter. We like both visiting teams to take down the establishment powers today. It’s a double day of Doubleday’s game to launch your October, the year’s best sports month. And here’s the weird part: All four of these teams will still make the playoffs. The losers meet in the NL wildcard win-or-go-home game on Tuesday.
Also, for what it’s worth, on an afternoon that will feel like you’re playing hookey, one game will take place at Wrigley Field and the other will have a pitcher named Buehler (close enough).