by John Walters
Tweet Me Right
— ABC News (@ABC) November 27, 2018
A natural occurrence that is also a depiction of the Trump presidency as soon as the Mueller report is released.
1. Liar, Liar
If you have children, boys or girls, you are doing them a disservice if you do not, some time after their fifth birthday party but before they move out of the house, sit them down to watch both The Godfather and The Godfather II. Life lessons abound (you should also teach them to play chess and poker; just a suggestion).
Anyway, the latest news about Paul Manafort continuously lying to special prosecutor Robert Mueller reminds us of the Frank Pentangeli situation in The Godfather II. There Pentangeli sits in jail. He knows he’s dead if he ever steps outside, if he cooperates with the Congressional subcommittee. And he knows that maybe his family is in some danger if he talks. There’s really nothing left to do but throw a small party, step into a hot bath, and slit your wrists.
Manafort, after taking the plea deal, continued to lie. Numerous times. Mueller likely has so much info that Manafort never realized that it was easy to catch him in those lies. Manafort can’t walk because the Russians will take care of him if he talks. So he’ll return to jail for life and maybe just pull a Pentangeli.
Or maybe Trump will pardon him. And the country will spiral even further downward.
And yes, if you’re paying attention this morning, the latest report is of a secret meeting in the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2016 between Manafort and Julian Assange. No collusion?
2. Oh Man, Look At Those Cavemen Go!
Yesterday NASA successfully landed its InSight robot on the surface of Mars (and Russia is already working hard to refute this) to study whether or not the fourth planet will be able to sustain Elon Musk.
This is the eighth landing of a probe on Mars. InSight will immediately begin mining for Bitcoin to see whether cryptocurrency may be more sustainable on the fourth planet out from the sun.
Let’s weigh in on the upcoming weekend of college football, in which No. 1 Alabama will face No. 4 Georgia at roughly 4 p.m. (SEC title game), preceded by presumably No. 5 Oklahoma versus Texas (Big 12 Title game) at noon and followed by presumably No. 6 Ohio State versus (stifled chuckle) Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship contest.
Let’s presume Alabama wins. Georgia should present the Tide with its stiffest test yet, but the team to come within 20 points of Bama has yet to appear this season. The Dawgs will present the most difficult matchup, but for the sake of argument let’s says Alabama prevails, likely knocking the How ’bout Thems from the playoff daguerrotype.
So…the Sooners play the Longhorns from Arlington in a game that kicks off at 11 a.m. local time. Kyler Murray and Hollywood Brown and the boys not only must win, but they’re going to set the bar. How much can they win by?
Because, at 8 p.m., Ohio State is going to run all over Northwestern. This is shaping up to resemble that 59-0 wipeout of Wisconsin back in 2014 when a lot of pundits, entering the day, did not believe one-loss Ohio State belonged in the playoff conversation and then they waxed Wiscy and went on to win the national championship.
OU may very well win by three touchdowns versus Texas, but it’s as if they’re having to go first in a three-point shooting contest. They’ll put up a number and our bet is that, at least in terms of margin of victory, OSU will double that number. You wanna win 49-28, OU? Great. OSU’s gonna win 49-7.
If Michigan went on a 10-game Revenge Tour, then Ohio State is in the second leg of their How Urban Got His Groove Back Tour, and our thought is that the committee will be more impressed by them.
We get it: OU and OSU will both be 12-1, the Buckeyes will have the far worse comparable loss, OU has been ranked ahead of them most of the season, yada yada yada. But the SelCom has eyes. They saw what the Buckeyes did to No. 4 Michigan in the ‘shoe on Saturday and it’ll likely be a more complete win this Saturday. And here’s what they’ll say (and they’ll be right): Ohio State has a much higher ceiling, when playing their best, than Oklahoma does. If the two teams were to play right now (we know OU beat them last year), the Buckeyes would be favored.
Fair? Who decides what’s fair here—they each have one loss. We just think OU’s a highly entertaining team with a porous defense while OSU, when playing their best, can beat anyone with the exception of Alabama.
The Sooners will win. The Buckeyes will blow the doors off Northwestern, maybe the fourth-best Big Ten team. Recency Bias is real. We’ve seen this movie before, four years ago. The Buckeyes get the fourth spot.
And yes, if only Maryland QB Tyrrell Pigrome had thrown an accurate 2-point conversion pass, the Sooners would be in.
4. Holiday Inn Expression
It was Sunday evening and we’d just finished our weekly chore for The Athletic. Time for a movie, to decompress, and Holiday Inn was on the TCM. We’d never seen it. Why not watch? (And if you’re wondering, the film was released in 1942 and the motel chain began 10 years later; they took the name from this film).
It’s a Christmas movie, a jaunty musical starring Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby. La la la….And then THIS scene happened, and we wuz all woke and stuff. It’s intrinsic to the plot: Crosby is trying to hide his co-star, played by Marjorie Reynolds, from Astaire, who has come to see that night’s performance in search of her. So he decides to do the entire act, for all of the performers, in black face.
Again, it was 1942. You could never get away with this now. And we don’t think anyone should try to tear down this statue. If you want to call it racist, we’re not here to disabuse you of that feeling. Taking offense is a relative matter. It’s, in our minds, more evolved to appreciate that times change and in 1942 this was not considered racist. Certainly a star of the magnitude of Bing Crosby would not risk his stature by doing something he considered racist.
It’s where this country was at this time, that one of its most beloved stars could do an entire scene in blackface and no one cared. Of course, at the time Americans had bigger problems on their minds (the Japs and Jerrys). Meanwhile, if this film airs again, it has one of the best dance numbers you’ll ever seen and it has Bing singing “White Christmas.” It’s a classic.
5. The Tragedy of Johnny Bright
When this series of photos recorded the tragic, gruesome end of African-American Johnny Bright’s college career in a game against Okla St., he was on his way to winning Heisman – 10 yrs before Ernie Davis. It is the only Pulitzer Prize ever awarded for coverage of a football game pic.twitter.com/AWXX6Ct4as
— Sports by Brooks (@SportsbyBrooks) October 3, 2018
We’re thrilled to see Brooks Melchior, alias @SportsByBrooks, return to Twitter, after an absence of five years. It appears he must’ve been on that same flight from NBC’s “Manifest.”
Anyway, judging from his tweets he has disappeared deep into the archives of college football dating all the way back to November 6, 1869 (Reminder: next year is the sesquicentennial of college football), with an emphasis on the criminally underexposed role of the African-American in the game.
The above photos tell the story of Drake quarterback Johnny Bright, who on October 20, 1951, had his jaw broken on this play by Oklahoma A&M defensive tackle Wilbanks Smith. Bright came into the game leading the nation in total offense, but a prominent black player had never taken the field in Stillwater. This was the third, and worst, cheap shot of the game Bright absorbed.
A few plays later Bright tossed a 61-yard TD pass, but A&M (now State) would win the game. Bright went on to a career in the CFL and is now in the CFL Hall of Fame. We never knew about this before yesterday.
The fourth song from Nirvana‘s earth-shaking 1991 album, Nevermind, is “Breed.” If the lifeblood of rock and roll is youthful angst and energy, then no one ever pumped more blood into its music than Nirvana did. No one. As we’ve mentioned here before, we were lucky enough to see the band on this tour, standing on the side of the stage. So the next time you hear us complain about anything, please slap us around.
Making a Murderer, Season 2
We devoured the original installment voraciously, watched nearly the entire 10 episodes in two nights. A friend suggested we check out Season 2, in which famed Chicago attorney Kathleen Zellner, who has gotten 17 prior convictions overturned, agrees to take on Steven Avery’s case.