Frank N. Stein

1. Gone Ghoul

Katie’s right. Halloween…Thanksgiving…Christmas. How do you not love this time of year? I’ll say this, though, having lived part of my life in the Arizona desert and parts in the Midwest and Welcome to New York City. This holiday stretch is so much more awesome in lands of four seasons and leaf-peeping, etc. It’s as much better than any place such as Florida, Texas, Arizona or Southern California as the following three months (January, February, March) are that much worse.

Except for Texas. Which always kinda blows.

ANYWAY…Random Halloween thoughts: It is cool that a team with Halloween colors wins the World Series this week (We’ll see you again in 2016, San Fran)…my experience, and only because I don’t wear Sexy Nurse Costumes, is that most Halloween costumes are detrimental to one’s peripheral vision. I’m glad the lawyers haven’t yet figured out a way to litigate us straight out of the fun of this date…If you’re a household, be the household that serves up Snicker’s, Nestle’s Crunch, Three Musketeers or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups…You HAVE to wear a costume. You cannot, as my big brother’s friends used to do when they got to their teenage years, just knock on people’s doors with a pillow sack in your hands. That makes you a panhandler, which, okay, may technically be a “costume,” but at least wear some home-fashioned cardboard shoes…

Sorry, Florida. We have this right now…You’ll win come January.

How to Make a Scary Movie:

1) Make it in black-and-white.

2) Never actually show splatter. The threat of something terrible happening is always scarier than the actuality of it happening.

3) Fog. (Humidity isn’t really that scary on its own)

“The next act is late. Can you just vamp for a bit, Bela?”

4) Cast Bela Lugosi or Boris Karloff.

2. Cansu Usta

Cansu (pronounced “John-Sue”) is a net-wrecker.

I know: It looks as if you’re looking at your Scrabble pieces, but it’s actually the name of a freshman female soccer player who scored 36 goals in just 16 games this season. Usta, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, lives in the Bay Ridge section of Brooklyn and shares a bedroom with her two younger sisters. Every day she has a 50-minute one-way commute by subway to the campus of St. Joseph’s College in Brooklyn.

But, once she arrives, Usta does nothing but score goals. She’s had a pair of six-goal games (double hat tricks?) for her Division III school. A five-goal game. A pair of three-goal games. I have yet to see her play a game in person, and it was funny that on the day I went to watch her practice earlier this week the field that the Bears were using had no goals. “Yeah,” the SID told me later, “we were hoping you wouldn’t notice that.”

No male or female, Division I, II or III has scored more goals than Usta. If she were to continue this pace, she’s shatter the NCAA career goals mark for men (137) or women (135).

3. They’re In

Nice uniforms, though, Cards. I’d keep these as your primary unis going forward.

When Florida State tight end Once Upon a Midnight Dreary/As I Pondered Nick O’Leary pulled that suplex move on the Louisville defender who intercepted Jameis Winston’s pass, it was a symbolic gesture. It was Tomahawk Nation telling all of its critics, this one included, that they don’t care about all the investigations or barbs because guess what: Florida State is taking one of those four playoff dance cards.

FSU trailed 21-0 late in the second quarter last night to the Fighting Bobby Petrinos in Louisville and if you look at their schedule, this game was their last real test. And so what do they do but outscore the Cardinals, with The Greatest looking on, 42-10 the rest of the way.

The Seminoles do not leave Florida again until the ACC Championship game in Charlotte. They have Virginia in Tallahassee, then head down to play The U, then Boston College and The UF back in Doak Campbell. Will this November be quieter than last November? Will it matter? The Noles are going to the playoff. Deal with it.

4. Flori-Duh: Wheelie Poppin’ Daddies

When he passes you on the interstate, just remember, He’ll be dead soon.

Florida man pops wheelies on motorsickle on I-95 north of Miami to impress female motorist, loses control, crashes into light pole, sails over retaining wall onto street below and dies. You never disappoint us with your imagination, Florida.

In the latest statistics revealed, 2012, there were 425 motorcycle fatalities in Florida alone. Nationally, 4,957 motorcyclists were killed in 2012. Which is kinda worse than that whole Ebola scare. Maybe there should be a Harley Davidson scare?

5. No, It’s “Gor-DON”

This dude could never have scored on an inside-the-park home run.

Okay. There’s no way you send Alex Gordon, who was already looking a little tired by the time he arrived at 3rd base, on Wednesday night. Why do people even debate this? Easy. Just think of the craziness of it: two outs, bottom of the ninth, Game 7 of the World Series, and you potentially score the game-tying run on an inside-the-park (error-aided) home run!?!?!

We’d have had to create an entirely new Level of Rule 27-dom for that one (for the newbies: Rule 27 dictates that in any baseball game there’s the chance to witness something you’ve never before seen, or even conjured).

Here’s the more intriguing wrinkle to me than Gordon going and beating the cut-off throw to the plate, which only happens if the Giants sub in 50-Cent at shortstop: Gordon runs and is ruled safe because Buster Posey is blocking the plate. And so what we’d have is not only Rule 27 but also a Great Moment in Irony, since the rule about blocking the plate was a direct result of the horrific knee injury Posey himself suffered a few years back. Now THAT I would have loved to see.

The other reason we –or Royals fans cannot let this go? Because, like with most tantalizingly torturous sports moments, there are so many what ifs as well as bizarre moments:

–WHAT IF Gordon had flown out of the box instead of watching the path of the ball?

–WHAT IF Juan Perez had bobbled the ball a second time?

–WHAT IF it had been one of K.C.’s speedsters, Lo Cain or Jarred Dyson, who had hit that same ball?

–WHAT IF Gregor Blanco had kept charging and dived? Might he have caught it and made arguably the greatest final out in World Series history?

And then there’s the fun stuff: Madison Bumgarner raising his arm in victory as Posey runs toward the mound. Too soon, fellas. Blanco’s boner. Perez, in the most critical moment of his career, taking his eye off the ball as he goes to pick it up and booting it with his hand.

Great drama. You couldn’t have scripted it any better.

Buuuut….anyone who watched the A’s-Royals wild card game knew that the following batter, Salvador Perez, is unable to lay off bad pitches. And yet, he did have the game-winner against the A’s in extra innings. So if you were Ned Yost, what would you have done?


His next move? Owner of a Williamsburg bicycle shop/farm-to-market bistro

Did not get to this earlier in the week, but arrogant hipster farm-to-market cannibal butcher Gareth got his just desserts (and it wasn’t someone’s hamstring) on Walking Dead. Now we must debate which is your less favorite Gareth, him or the assistant (to the) regional manager at Wernham Hogg, Gareth Keenan?

Brave vet of the Territorial Army…



I love Dave. I love Taylor. I love that they love each other. Here’s their Smitten-fest from earlier this week.


LAKE Effects: The EKG-like chart of one stock, Lakeland Industries, maker of Haz-mat suits, during this Ebola-crazed month:

October 6: $8.50

October 13: $29.40

October 29: $11.35

October 30: $16.10



Shoot, Kobe, Shoot! My advice to the Black Mamba for the 2014-15 season. And now that serial chucker Russell Westbrook is out 4-6 weeks, the early lead for the scoring title is within his grasp.

Remote Patrol

Night of the Living Dead

TCM 8 p.m.

“We know you’re home, and we want some candy!”

Lots of scary offerings on this evening (Halloween, Silence of the Lambs, Amityville Horror, The Shining, Michael Feinstein at the Rainbow Room), but let’s go with this 1968 indie that did more with less. This is the film that kicked off the zombie phenomenon and it’s also, seen another way, the worst invasion of trick-or-treaters ever.

Okerland’s Opinions

Now that John is recording podcasts with Bruce Feldman, he no longer has time to write blogs so he lets me continue to write.   I think he figured that since I lived in the Bay Area, I could give an accurate account of #OrangeOctober. I either followed most games on my phone or on radio.  Plus, I’m a bitter Mess fan.

(For those wondering, I did the drop today)



Ha, Kershaw probably gets a Tesla for the Cy Young.

Behind the left arm of NLCS and World Series MVP, Madison Bumgarner, the San Francisco Giants won their third title in five years and the talk of a Gianasty has begun in the Bay Area.

It was probably the best game of the series, as everything hung in the balance the last 5 innings. Would the Giants add an insurance run? Would the Royals solve Madison? (A leadoff single meant maybe but then the Royals ground game was grounded and nothing seemed to materialize until the 9th).

Bumgarner pitched 21 innings in the WS and allowed 1 run. His fellow starting pitchers of Jake Peavy, Tim Hudson and Ryan (Vogey) Vogelsong went a combined 16.1 innings and allowed 18 runs in 5 other starts.

Two things about the Gordon hit with 2 outs in the 9th:

1. Posey and Bum thought the ball would be caught. Watch Posey, he ran to the mound to celebrate.
2. Gordon went too slow out of the box thinking the ball would either be caught or drop in for a base hit. I don’t think he ever turned the jets on. I still would have had him make a wide turn at third and force a throw. Perez wasn’t hitting Bum.

Now I have to listen to more Giants crap for the next year.


What all the Patricia Ryan’s in Tallahassee will be wearing tomorrow.

A week after The Pick or Illegal Blocking or Touching a FSU player (btw, touching a FSU female student with force isn’t illegal at FSU) ruined ND’s undefeated season, we have another week of ref controversy.

First, THE Ohio State wins a game because replay broke and they couldn’t wait. Then, Auburn uses two players with the same number at the same time. Then, Utah wins using the Pick play. (If you’re a ND fan, all that’s left is a touchdown called back b/c of a blade of grass moving).

Plus, we have Mike Pereira opining that a higher power is deciding key SEC replays.

People think that if we do away with conference refs things will be fixed, but I’d like to say I doubt it. Look at college basketball: they did away with conference refs and yet the same refs are always doing ACC, AAC, Big East, etc. games and rarely will you see Karl Hess do a Pac-12 or Mountain West game. Based on schedule and familiararity, refs don’t leave the comfort of their area.

In college football, the same will happen. The home team is responsible for the refs and the conference assigns them. Is the SEC going to have a west coast crew come do Bama-LSU to show fairness when they have 7 crews of guys they know and trust? I doubt it.


On Tuesday, the initial College Football Playoff Rankings came out and within seconds OUTRAGE!!! hit message boards and social media. Yes, three SEC West teams are in the top 4 (4 in the top 6), but how many fans realize they all play each other in the next month? No one had any idea had the committee would act, but I’m still puzzled on Ty’s selection to the group. The man was a volunteer golf coach a year ago, it’s not like he’s doing anything football-related (he didn’t do anything football related at ND either).

The big test for the group comes next Tuesday when Auburn or Ole Miss has two losses. Does Auburn stay above 1 loss teams because they lost to the #1 and #3 teams? Does Ole Miss drop far enough?

Then on Nov. 8 there are at least 4 games featuring CFP teams: ND vs. ASU, Bama vs. LSU, Oregon vs. Utah and Kansas State vs. TCU. Depending on the outcomes, then the real outrage begins.

As far as ND goes, I thought 10 was too low, but they haven’t beat anyone ranked in the top 25 and since MSU beat Nebraska they are going to be ahead of the Irish no matter how bad MSU looked against Oregon. Now the Irish need to win and to win big over Navy, ASU, Northwestern and USC.


One game into the Derek Fisher era and one blowout. Knicks fans will defend Phil and say the previous group destroyed the cap space which limited what he could do. I’ll say the Knicks stunk in the preseason and we should have let Melo walk and started all over. Melo will never work in this system because he’s too selfish of a player. Look how long he’s been in NY and what marquee free agent has wanted to join the Knicks in that time frame? None. JR Smith should have never been give a contract extension but ownership thought JR turned a corner.

What member of the Jackson family coaching tree had success? Sometimes it’s ok to disrespect the family.


You named me what?

At this time next week if all goes according to plan, my wife and I will be into our second go-round with an infant. She barely sleeps now and my toddler wakes me up at 5:15 every day so lack of sleep won’t be a problem. Naming the second kid has been more of the issue.

Our first kid just happens to share his name with a WS MVP (We’re trendsetters who aren’t Giants fans). So when we found out about kid #2 (We went on Maury, home tests are so passe) the name search began. People guessed we would stick with a President theme so that got thrown out, then we would throw out names and look at how popular they were because heaven forbid we not be seen as copycats.

We asked our kid and he suggested Treestump because of a funny episode of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Anything ND related was vetoed and we couldn’t do Shea because almost every Mets fan does Shea. I suggested Mookie, also vetoed.

When our little girl is born next week, she’ll have a name (no, John, it’s not Oscar) and then in 18 years she’ll change it if she wants.

BTW, first kid we were ready weeks in advance. Second kid, we’re barely ready to go to hospital.


– Another major announcement from Apple CEO Tim Cook today “iGay”

– This guy is running for mayor of Oakland.  If I will have time next week, I’ll explain how the Oakland election works. If you like the way the media votes on football teams, you’ll love this.

– Based on protests around here regarding Happy Meals and Plastic Bag, I am shocked these people couldn’t get more signatures.

Well, New Girl Sure Isn’t Happening. Again.


By Katie

The homestretch.

This week I bid adieu to my favorite month. It’s a very sad time for me and I don’t know how I’m going to handle it…thanks, thanks you guys. You can send the checks directly to me.

It is a small comfort to me, the knowledge that the month after this one is also pretty awesome, and the month after that is gaaaaaaah I love the holidays so much I take it back this isn’t my favorite month they’re all my favorites sooooo much good stuff to look forward to!

it’s a pretty good time of year


Unless you have Ebola (there it is). Which I’m to understand is now in NYC, so for sure John has it.

If he doesn’t, why does it smell so bad in here? Anyway, I promised you Halloweeny stuff all month and the problem is, my mind has skipped forward to Christmas. Must. Focus.

I spent a lot of time at the library when I was a kid. It was right across the street from our little school, and it was the perfect place to kill an hour before whatever sports or vaudevillian type-show practice was happening back at the gym (there were always vaudevillian type shows being put on, and the adults of the parish always got all the good parts. I’m not bitter about it, though, it’s fine that now that I am an adult, they don’t do it anymore. I said it’s fine).

Work hard sweetheart, someday you’ll be the headliner…or not.


It was the most awesome library–right out of a movie. Looked like a mini-Hogwarts, had a children’s floor and a grown-up floor, both with fireplaces and deep leather furniture. It’s still there, and it’s still adorable–the problem is, it no longer has any books in it.

Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration–if you’re a fan of David Baldacci or Elizabeth Berg (no judgement! I admire and envy them both and someday hope to be the only offering at the local library) you’re in luck, but if you want anything other than those, you have to go elsewhere.

My ritual was, go over to the drugstore and charge a candy bar to my parent’s account, then go to the library and sneak After Darks (see: last week) into the bathroom while I ate it.*

*the candy-bar portion of this ritual was short-lived; it ended the day my dad got the bill. But at least I wasn’t shoplifting them, as my friend Tara and I had one packet of peanut m&m’s from the grocery store in first grade. We felt so terrible about it we buried them in the snow instead of eating them, and we had to wait an entire year to confess that sin at our first reconciliation. That’s some heavy baggage for two little girls to carry for that long, folks. We were seven, and by the time we knelt before that priest we could’ve easily passed for nine.  

In October, I always rounded up the absolute limit of Halloween books I was allowed to check out and hogged them for as long as possible. My favorite was called, simply, Halloween., with a period like that, and if I’m remembering correctly, the cover was plain except for that word, with a spooky owl behind it. I don’t know who wrote it, and over the years,  I have looked high and low for that book with no luck.

No, not because I want it–I have it. Still. I just don’t know where it is, and I never returned it. What do you suppose the fine is on a library book that is 36 years overdue?

That’s not even my record, kids. I checked this book:

out in kindergarten, and it is sitting on the ottoman in front of me, right now. For the first, I don’t know, five years or so that I had it, the sight of it would fill me with guilt and dread. It’s like when you don’t know a person’s name that you know you should know, and then so much time passes that you can’t possibly ask anymore, you know? This book is 40 years overdue.

You: Hang on…you waited a year to confess stealing some m&m’s you didn’t even eat,  but you not only never copped to the stolen book, you still have it??

What can I say? People are complicated.

But the best Halloween book of all time is this one:

and it wasn’t stolen from any library, we owned it, and I loved it. I think this book is what got me interested in pen-and-ink art. A few years ago, my sister found a copy of it on a vintage book site and sent it to me. I never give her anything. Well, I gave her quite a few robust scrubbings with a hairbrush while she was trying to sleep over the years, but I doubt she’d thank me for that.

Here’s another old favorite:

 Starting Five

1. Dear Mr. Watterson

Watched this on Netflix last weekend. Fantastic. If you were a fan of Calvin and Hobbes, and you were because how could you not have been, you must watch it. If you are a fan of cartoon art, which I am (and the movie addresses the misconception of cartooning and comic art as “low art”, an attitude that has chapped my hide since my black-turtleneck wearin’ art school days)  you are in for an extra treat–this movie made me want to go visit this place. 

2. Boyish Girl Interrupted

That is the name of Tig Notaro’s touring comedy show, which I had the great pleasure of seeing last Wednesday night. I came out an even bigger fan than I was going in, and I was a pretty big fan. I love her. Watching her live was honestly like hanging out with your super funny friend in your living room, and she doesn’t work blue–not that I mind that, I don’t–but I do kind of think it takes an extra dollop of talent and chutzpa not to, these days. Watch her videos and buy her cd’s, because she deserves your devotion.

The best part is, my gal pals and I got our picture taken with her after the show–and in it, Ms. Notaro has a look on her face that clearly says, “I can’t believe the crap I have to endure to make a buck”, which I love, understand and admire.


You better buy a t-shirt for this

That sliver of face next to her is me. I cut myself out because not only does my hair look predictably terrible, I am wearing a sweater that looks like my grandmother’s tablecloth. Why did I not notice its horribleness until I was out in public in it? But at least I have an idiotic, super-fan smile plastered across my wine-soaked face.

You: I knew your grandmother to be a woman of taste and refinement. She would never have had a tablecloth that heinous. 

Never mind. Look at Tig!  She looks so thrilled. I hope she keeps in touch. Why, why won’t you be my friend, Tig Notaro??


3. Donuts On A String

Deserves to be elevated to the number one Halloween party game, ahead of  bobbing for apples. Bobbing for apples is the worst. Not really, I mean I love it because it’s good old-fashioned Halloween fun, but let’s be honest, it’s pretty gross. Once a couple of kids have had their turns, the water is nothing but washed-off clown makeup and snot.

If you’re going to do it with any type of conviction, you have to submerge your entire head in the other participants’ effluvium and trap an apple against the bottom.  Oh, sure, some priss always tries to gently nab a stem in their teeth, but that never works. Never. If you have a story of it working, you might as well save it because it is a lie.   

My daughter just read what I wrote and said, “You always go off on such tangents. Your tangents have tangents. How do you ever get anything done?”

She has known me 19 years. She knows I don’t ever get anything done. She doesn’t even have a name yet. 

Donuts on a string–in case you aren’t hip to it, you play it thusly: Many donuts, preferably powdered sugar because they best lend themselves to comedic shenanigans, are hung on strings, or in our case, one big string  which was then secured across the kitchen.  The participants get onto their knees, under a donut, with their hands behind their backs–you cannot use your hands.  A judge yells “GO” and the first person to completely eat and swallow their donut wins.

Choking hazard or rollicking good time? Why not both?

It’s a good idea to know the Heimlich maneuver if you are going to play this game. You’re going to need it. It is hilarious. 

4. I Hope You People Are Happy

I know you all love sports, and I love sports insofar as sports keep the Imperial Poobah employed and keep you coming back to Medium Happy day after day,  but I have not been able to watch New Girl or The Mindy Project for two weeks because of the World Series.  I am not whining, I’m simply pointing out the unfairness of the universe and the fact that everyone is against me.

And finally, my very last number five of October (drumroll)….

5. This Ad I Found On Craigslist

Looking for a Midget or two 

compensation: Negotiable

Looking for a “little person” midget or dwarf to pose with our family for a family photo. All you need to do is show up in nice clothes, and pose with our family in various shots. We will be more than happy to offer fair transportation cost and pay for your time. This will be fun!

 Dear Sir or Madam,

It is so heartwarming to know that out there is a family committed to teaching their children about (and delighting their friends with) “midget humor”. I would be honored to be a part of your family photo, and I will sleep well at night knowing that I was part of such a noble cause. Name the time and the date, and I will show up in nice clothes and a fairly priced invoice.

Oh—I’m 5’5”. Will that be OK? I have problematic hair, so that could be funny.



The actual library where you cannot find Muffel and Plums. Or much else.



Starting Five

You have to love a guy who has “Sr.” on his jersey…

1. Spear Review

New York’s hottest new nightclub is…Tallahassee-hee-hee-hee! This place has EVERYTHING: pregnant baby mamas, six-day loaner scooters, drug deals gone bad, an ex-Marine named ‘Shooter,’  a Jimbo Fisher denial, possible domestic abuse, MTV’s Dane Cortese, pilfered prawns (or at least their cousins), vulgar internet memes, a drug dealer named ‘Gutta,’ half-game suspensions, half-assed detective work, a Heisman Trophy and the nation’s longest winning streak…”

More like Armbook, amirite?

Nice reportage by Greg Schlabach and Brett McMurphy, by the way (though I suspect Brett’s precociously gifted daughter did most of the heavy lifting).

Soon to be borrowed by Bo Bo Wilson


And now, a poem by Not-William Karlos Williams:

So much depends


The Tallahassee 

po po



In the midst of

an undefeated season

2. Non-Indianapolis Colt

The Redskins should totally sign free agent Jordan Shipley this week (is he still married to Claire Shipley?)

Everyone’s favorite reincarnated version of Ricky Schroeder, Colt McCoy, finally showed traces of his long lost Longhorn self last night in Washington’s overtime upset of  the Dallas Cowboys. Can a Major Applewhite return be far behind?

McCoy, nominally the Redskins’ 3rd-string QB, played a poised game–even if his pa occasionally became frustrated with his clock management– completing 25 of 30 passes for 299 yards. Although the Redskins’ MVP may have been the Dallas play-caller who suspiciously avoided using DeMarco Murray (19 carries, 141 yards) at the two most critical moments of the game for the Cowboys.

“No means ‘No’!” Even in Espanol, ESPN Deportes guy.

Still, if I were Jerry Jones, now that Tony Romo has taken yet another shot to the back (and then took a cortisone shot to the back), I would’ve sworn in Lone Star native McCoy (could there be a better name for a Dallas Cowboy than Colt McCoy?) as the new Cowboy QB before he even boarded the plane out of Dallas.

3. Who Needs a Man When U Have Manhattan?

Don’t know if you’d heard, but Taylor Swift is now dating New York City (until NYC cheats on her with Kiesza). Five things Miss 1989 must do before New Yorkers can even begin to think accepting her as one of us:

1) Switch trains (and I mean relocating to another platform) in the Times Square subway station between either 8-10 a.m. or 5-7 p.m. on a weekday.

2) Survive New Year’s Day to April Fool’s Day with no more than two weeks away to the Caribbean.

3) Wait patiently in your apartment for the cable guy, who will be there between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. (which means 3:51 p.m.)

4) Fly out of LaGuardia. Commercial.

T-Swizzle must visit this “famous hot doggery.” I’ll be happy to escort her.

5) Order either two slices (and don’t smudge off the grease with a napkin) or two Gray’s Papaya hot dogs between midnight and 6 a.m. Alcohol should’ve been previously involved.

4. Death in Johannesburg

Meyiwa was 27

Earlier this week, Senzo Meyiwa, the goalkeeper and team captain of South Africa’s national soccer team, was shot to death during an in-home robbery attempt in the home of his girlfriend. Seven people were inside the home when two gunmen brazenly entered and demanded cellphones and wallets. When Meyiwa went to defend his girlfriend, who had a gun pointed at her head, he was shot dead in cold blood.

How bad is it in South Africa? Between April 2013 and March 2014 more than 17,000 people were killed. That’s 46 people per day.

5. NBA-Watch

The Phoenix Suns now have 2/3 as many dragons as Daenerys Targaryen

The NBA season officially tips off tonight. Here’s a nice Buzzfeed-style NBA Preview from plus an overwhelming one from that’ll take you longer to pore over than if you were to read every story Richard Deitsch linked on Media Circus. Some predictions for you…

MVP: LeBron

Leading Scorer: Stephen Curry

Most Improved Player: Anthony Davis

Rookie of the Year: Doug McDermott (hey, why not?)

Most Dragics: Phoenix, which will have both Goran and Zoran (plus the Morris twins)

NBA Finals: Cavaliers-Spurs

Remote Patrol

Game 6, World Series

FOX 8 p.m.

Every time you hear the name “Don Denkinger” this evening, drink.



Starting Five

Smash ’em in the Face!

1. Rouge et Or

The above photo is a fairly symbolic representation of what the Rouge et Or (“Red and Gold”) of Laval University have been doing to its gridiron competition the past 15 or so years. On Friday night the Quebec City, Canada-based university won its 25th straight game, defeating McGill, 53-14.

Since 1999, Laval has won eight Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Football championships, a.k.a., Canadian national championships. The Rouge et Or have also currently won 69 straight home games. The program, which we featured in Newsweek, has only been in existence since 1996.

The home field of the most successful team, the past 3 years, in the U.S.A.

Also worth noting: the North Dakota State Bison of the FCS (which stands for, “Not as Much Money”) won their 32nd straight game on Saturday, a 47-7 win at South Dakota. The Bison have the longest college win streak south of the border.

The Rouge et Or have won three national championships in the  past four seasons, while the Bison have won three in the past three. Perhaps they should play. Their weather is roughly the same.

2. MadBum

There should definitely be a “Drink Responsibly” PSA in MadBum’s future.

The San Francisco Giants’ Madison Bumgarner may soon be chugging an entire case of Budweiser (Bumweiser?). Last night the Hickory, N.C., native pitched a complete-game shutout win in Game 5 of the World Series, giving him a 2-o record in this Fall Classic with a line of 16 innings pitched and one earned run.

Tack those two games on to Bumgarner’s one start in each of the Giants’ previous World Series of the past half-decade, in which he went 2-0 and allowed no runs in 15 innings, and you get a World Series pitching line of 4-0, 31 innings pitched, one earned run, for an ERA of 0.29.

Simply put, no one with more than 25 innings pitched in World Series history has a lower ERA. MadBum has been a better than average pitcher the past two seasons –sub-.3.00 ERA and a record of 31-19 but he turns it up in October. Simply put, MadBum pitches in the World Series the way Clayton Kershaw should pitch in the postseason.

3. Sack Dancing with the Stars

I’ve sack-danced and I can’t get up…

Forget concussions. Well, if you have a concussion, you probably already have forgotten the previous sentence. Anyway, forget them. The latest injury scourge is terpsichorean post-sack demonstrations, as yesterday the Chicago Bears’ Lamarr Houston suffered a season-ending knee injury after sacking Patriot quarterback Tom Brady Jimmy Garoppolo with the Bears leading trailing by 25 points.

Nice move, Lamarr.

As you know, the Detroit Lions’ Stephen Tulloch was lost for the season last month after a similar performance. The common element here is defensive linemen Midwesterners dancing. It needs to stop.

Also, should their teams be on the hook for paying them? Doesn’t seem fair to the team that a dude gets paid for being an idiot (this is where the “players are always right even when they’re wrong” crowd would lob verbal ripe fruit at me on Twitter).

Meanwhile, this is just another reason why J.J. Watt should be the leader for NFL MVP this season. Yesterday Watt sacked Titan QB Zach Mettenberger and mimed taking a selfie of the moment.

4. The Others

It’s not that I dislike Oregon or feel the Ducks are not a good team. One of my good friends was a longtime Duck SID and how can anyone not root for Marcus Mariota (even if he does sound like a major commercial agriculture firm)?

It’s just that, has anyone noticed that there are three other Pac-12 teams who, like Oregon, have one loss? Two of those schools, Arizona State and Utah, have, like Oregon, beaten a pair of Top 25 teams. The third, Arizona, has only one win against a Top 25 team but it was against Oregon. In Eugene.

This is the classic name-brand example. If you, or the AP voters, did not know the names of the schools, you’d likely rank at least one of these schools ahead of the Ducks. Arizona’s only loss, after all, came at home on a missed last-second field goal from a highly convertible distance.

It’s not that this cannot be fixed. One from this trio will likely play the Ducks in the Pac-12 title game. It’s just funny that the Ducks are No. 5 while the Wildcats, Sun Devils and Utes are Nos. 14, 15 and 18, respectively.

Finally, here’s “No Pick, Part Deux.” Utah’s game-winning touchdown pass versus the Trojans had some alarming similarities to a flagged game-winning TD from the previous Saturday.

5. More Noise, Please

A four-week suspension means that Klemko is currently on MMQB’s “Taxi Squad.”

I read my old colleague Richard Deitsch’s “Media Circus” on every week because it’s informed and you can tell just how much work he puts into it. It’s Luke Winn-level dedication. I don’t click on every last link because, hey, I may not have much of a life to lead, but I do have somewhat of a life to lead.

Still, two bones to pick with today’s edition. First, how do you write 800 or so words on Sage Steele, the latest incarnation of NBA Countdown, and the tense relationship between Steele and Bill Simmons without including a link to this clip, which tells the whole story of their relationship in less than 30 seconds? Is this a situation in which RD doesn’t want to piss off Norby so that he’ll continue to have access to ESPN personalities?

Second, I’m sorry, but if you’re going to devote an entire podcast to MMQB writer Robert Klemko’s experiences in Ferguson, Mo., last August, including Klemko’s assertion of being wrongfully detained by police (he is African-American), then you need to at least have a line about him being rightfully arrested by police in Chicago last weekend after allegedly behaving like a jackass  –not to mention a “cabjacker.

I understand why RD probably cannot do this. But that’s exactly why readers have flocked to sites such as The Big Lead, Deadspin, Awful Announcing and, in the case of AARP-aged University of Maryland and LeBron James fans, Medium Happy. We have no lords that need favoring.

If you’re going to do a media column, great. If you’re going to call out people in the media for being incompetent or just plain contemptuous (Colin Cowherd, Clay Travis, etc.), great. But if you utterly ignore when your own media monolith is the story, you lose me. It’s no better than the ESPN Pravda that you occasionally cite.

(And there goes any slim chance of RD including a link to my Laval story in next week’s “Media Circus.”)


This is the Bugs I remember from “Wabbit Twouble” and “The Hare-Brained Hypnotist”

1. What’s Up, Doc?

Hare Restoration*
(that headline, submitted by Greg Auman, is just so much better)

On Monday international film star Bugs Bunny arrived at an awards event in Hollywood (he could’ve been at Pismo Beach!) looking nothing like his former self. Pundits, bloggers and media who were there on the red carpet could not help but notice the radical transformations in Bugs’ face.

True, Bugs has not appeared in films since promoting the release of Space Jam in 1996, but really, do we believe this was just the natural aging process? Bugs was coy about his radically altered face, saying, “Myehhh, I’m glad people think I look different, Doc. It’s a product of my happier, healthier life. Also, it’s not wabbit season.”

Here’s the thing, people: put aside the vapid celebrity gossip shows or tabloids. They’re always going to be moronic. For the average person to not notice and perhaps even remark on the fact that a world-wide celebrity, one whose face IS Bugs’ brand, has changed so much that one no longer even recognizes him, is not a crime. Nor should it be condemned or be an excuse for some (usually female) columnist to chastise us for demanding rabbits to conform to unrealistic standards of beauty.


1) It’s usually middle-aged, female editors who run the very magazines that promote those unrealistic, air-brushed images of lollipop dolls with big boobs.

Cosmo editor Joanna Coles with cover model Emily Ratajkowski earlier this week.

2) If Bugs Bunny had just said, Yeah, I had plastic facial surgery instead of playing coy, it would have ended the matter.

3) Bugs can do whatever he wants to his face; and human beings, who notice things, are allowed to notice it.

4) The hidden issue here? What is inferred with plastic surgery. If Elmer Fudd –or Belinda Carlisle–were to lose a lot of weight through proper diet and exercise, the women’s gabfest talk shows would publicly praise him. He might even get a People magazine cover. That, too, is a radical alteration of one’s appearance. But this is different. Because, like it or not, it implies that Bugs wasn’t comfortable with his appearance; that perhaps he was insecure. Which is a sign of weakness or instability. Which people find unattractive.

The Go Go’s extra adipose was Gone Gone by the time this photo was taken

5) Here’s Russell Brand, whom I love, remarking on Bugs’ facial modification and the hysteria. While he’s correct, perhaps, to pillory all the vapid rubes discussing Bugs, his use of non-human entities (apple, polar ice caps and Baghdad) (6:44)to illustrated how things change over the course of 10 years (“time has an impact on matter”) is irrelevant. The only example that applies is another human face. And Brand threw in his because he knew a halfway intelligent (I’m a third of the way) person would point that out. But did you notice that when Brand showed a photo of himself from 10 years ago that it was obvious that, well, it was Russell Brand? Maybe he should’ve shown fat and skinny Jonah Hill instead?

2. Kobe’s Back/Steve’s Back/LA’s Back-Court

A recent preseason game may be the last we see of this duo

It appears that we’ve seen the last of the Lakers’ Hall of Fame back court of two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and one-time NBA MVP (but five-time world champion) Kobe Bryant. Nash’s lingering back issues will mean that the listed-at-six-foot-three (but more like 6-1 1/2) point guard will miss the entire 2104-2015 season. Nash would be 41 when he returns; if he returns.

So now we’ll get to see a lot more of Kobe and Jeremy Lin, which could be fun, actually.

As for our Canadian friend,  there’s a melancholia knowing that one of the league’s best people, arguably its most selfless player and a true leader, will retire never even having had a taste of an NBA Finals. Nash will go down not only as one of the best teammates and smartest men to ever play in the NBA as well as one of its most unlikely success stories, but he should also be remembered as the greatest NBA player to never appear in an NBA Finals. Nash led the league in assists six different seasons (not including the year in which he had his most assists, 898, in 2007-08), was the quarterback of those wildly entertaining “Seven Seconds or Less” Phoenix Suns teams, and I believe will retire having come as close as anyone in NBA history to achieve a .40-.50-.90 (40% from beyond the arc, 50% in field goals, 90% from the line; Nash’s numbers are 42.8%, 49% and 90.4%).

He’s also No. 3 all-time in Assist (10,335), just one ahead of Mark Jackson, which just has to kill Mark Jackson (that’s what you get for passing the ball to Gerald Wilkins).

Nash also imagined and directed what may be the coolest video in NBA history…

3. Sergeant-At-Armed

Cirillo loved and rescued pooches, which makes him even cooler to us than if he were just Canadian (which is usually cool enough in itself.)

The 24 year-old Canadian reserved solider, Nathan Cirillo, who was shot and killed on Wednesday while guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was carrying a rifle. But only for ceremonial purposes. Those weapons contain no rounds of ammunition, which rendered Cirillo helpless when the stupid gunman attacked (I imagine I could have come up with something more inflammatory and vulgar than “stupid gunman,” but you get the point).

Vickers, moments after firing the three shots that killed the gunman

However, the 58 year-old Sergeant-at-Arms, Kevin Vickers (is there a vicar named Kevin Sergeant-at-Arms? This is what keeps me up at night…this and old episodes of The Newsroom). was toting a pistol and probably saved a few lives by shooting the gunman dead in the halls of Parliament. Good shot, too, since the gunman was wearing body armor.

Vickers, deservedly, got a standing ovation in the House of Commons yesterday in Ottawa. And that’s great. But maybe if you’re going to ask a young man to don a uniform and carry a rifle, to be both a symbol of military security and to be a target, maybe you give him some ammunition. Next time.

4. Mulch Ado About Nothing?

Would you punch these guys?

(The judges will also accept Greg Auman’s “Taxi Squad Confessions,” but only because it’s better)

The Denver Broncos cut safety John Boyett, a member of the team’s taxi squad, after he punched a taxi driver (after having been sent home from a bar for threatening a bartender) and then hid in a pile of mulch from the police. Medium Happy’s crack legal team has investigated the matter and learned that there is nothing overtly illegal about concealing oneself in a pile of leaves–particularly if one is taking part in The Hunger Games.

“Goodnight, John Boyett.” “Goodnight, Mary Ellenett.” “Goodnight, Grampa-ett.”

The Broncos were the second team to cut Boyett, a former Oregon Duck, after an intoxicated encounter with the police. Last year he had a similar run-in with police in Indianapolis Colts, at which time he told them, “You can’t arrest me; I’m a Colt.” (Or was that Jim Irsay?). They did and Boyett was released the next day.

Meanwhile, earlier this week Robert Klemko, a writer for SI and MMQB who not only punched a cabby but commandeered his vehicle, was arrested. SI has suspended him for four weeks. So the NFL is tougher on cabby assault than Sports Illustrated? Got it.

5. Pride Rock

(The judges will also accept “Girls on Film”)

Do these guys know they have a game versus the Falcons on Sunday at Wembley?

This photo earned Mike Nichols (not the dad of Rachel Nichols, but wouldn’t that have been cool?) the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award. The lions are slumbering on a rock outcropping on the Serengeti Plain –at first look, at least to me, it appeared to be an ocean in the background, but it’s just an ocean of plains.

Bad news? Two of these females were killed not long afterward when they ventured onto land outside of the park (Rule No. 9: When it comes to animals, too many people suck.)

Okerland’s Opinions


In our continuing “Contributors More Talented Than The Imperial Poobah” series, here’s Gene, Gene the Blogging Machine, a.ka. @Okerland, a.ka. is a palindrome. Anyway, I’ll be back tomorrow with plenty to say about Renee Zellweger’s about-face face…. J.W.

1. Ref-erendum: Stick Together

She’ll call you for an Offensive Pass

Four days later and “The Pick” is still being discussed (not to be confused with Seinfeld’s The Pick, he just had an itch).  Thanks to different angles, the country is split on this. At this point, my anger has subsided and my viewpoint is this: The ref was told to look for it, he did, he saw it, he called it.  The call becomes moot if ND can’t win out since I don’t think a 1-loss ND team to someone other than FSU gets in.

But I do have issues with how the ACC handled the explanation.

Here is the Director of Officials explaining the call.

Note he never breaks down the play, he just explains what was called and why it was called. He essentially read the rule book.  I have a feeling that Doug didn’t agree with the call or had no idea who the call was on, and didn’t want to make the ref look foolish in front of a screen.

As much crap as Mike Pereira gets, he always uses video evidence to illustrate his point. I think the ACC dropped the ball here but someone had to explain why that flag was thrown.

To complicate matters, they’ve switched who the call was on again and said they missed a removed helmet call.  That’s not going to incite the Irish fans even more, is it?

BTW, the missed helmet call is big but I can give a pass since with all the confusion, the ND sideline had no chance to point it out and I have no idea how long the kid kept his helmet off.

Lastly, we will see how the ACC punishes this crew by what games they work the rest of the year.  Conferences can’t defend a call and then bash officials, they just move them to a lower profile game.

2. Think Blue

We’re two weeks away from Breast Cancer Awareness Month ending and thus no more pink uniforms in football. The reasoning for the pink uniforms was not only to bring awareness but to get the female demographic to watch the NFL.

Women’s sports will do Pink themed games too, but in an effort to attract more male viewers why not a Blue or Purple themed game?  What’s the worst that could happen, attendance doesn’t change?

3. Best of 5

A moose-take for whomever sits behind him?

Two games into the Fall Classic (if the ratings get any lower, eventually it will be shown live on ESPN Classic) and we’re knotted at 1.  The Royals had won 11 straight playoff games and the Giants had won 15 of 17 postseason games entering Tuesday night.  The last time the Giants lost a game where either team could be eliminated was 2003.

Both teams did what the media wondered: “Could the Royals bounce back from a loss?” and “Could the Giants lose a World Series game?” The answer to both was yes.

I didn’t expect any high scoring games  but we’ve had two thus far.  And Game 2 showed that if the Giants can’t take the lead before the 7th, the Royals lock down bullpen will more than likely keep them off the board.

My heart says the Royals will win, but unless they are bathing in garlic and holding silver bullets (Billy Butler did win a Silver Slugger award in 2012 though), I can’t see the Giants losing this Series.

Biggest storyline in SF: Why Timmy (Lincecum) didn’t pitch in Game 1? (Members of the media fought on twitter) and Timmy’s health after stellar Game 2 performance.

Fact that may only interest me: The Giants get a split in KC, they are guaranteed to play all their home playoff dates. Talk about a sweet revenue.

Possible game 5 prop bet: What’s higher: (Madison) Bumgarner K’s or celebratory beers?

4. What is Reality?

I’m a fan of Reality TV but not real housewives, the Kardashians or stuff like that.  I like the fixer up shows: Bar Rescue, Restaurant Impossible, Love it or List it.

The problem with these shows is that after they become more mainstream, the show changes from being entertaining to the star trying to live up to expectations. Take Bar Rescue for example.  The show now follows a format: crappy bar shows how crappy they are, Jon Taffer comes in and mugs for camera, yells Shut it Down and goes berzerk to show he means business. They do a stress test (when is the last time 100 people walked into a bar at the same time) which further proves they are incompetent but thanks to Taffer’s hard work and remodeling the place becomes a success again.

He’s had a decent success rate, but there’s a reason these places called Taffer: they don’t know how to run a business so they will be successful for a first few months after the remodeling but then things revert back to normal.

I also think some bar owners go on the show to keep a free remodeling and publicity and I am shocked how these people go in so much debt.

Two reality secrets:

  1. Taffer has the theme before he arrives on the scene.
  2. The Love it or List it Producers film both reactions and chose the decision they like best for tv.

btw, what’s the deal with the Property Brothers?  why do they still live together? 

5. You’ve Got Mail

#TBT to the 90s

Like most sports fans I’m superstitious, during the the 2012 title run I wore the same clothes each week. I even wore them to the game (they didn’t help). During the Pitt game, I sat in the same catcher stance for the 4th Q and OT (It worked!).

One of the people in my neighborhood has an ND mailbox, ND flag and ND license plate. I’ve never met the people there but before the Michigan game this year i left a note in the mailbox “MICHIGAN SUCKS”. ND won and each week since then I’ve left a note about Michigan sucking for fear that not leaving a note would result in a ND loss.

Well I left a note last Friday but thanks to the Back Judge, ND lost and thus the letter is not a key to ND victory.  So I ask the loyal MH readers two questions:

  1. Do I keep leaving notes?
  2. Do I finally reveal that I’ve been leaving notes?

Need a last minute costume idea?

Put on a UNC shirt, print out a diploma and tell people you’re an alum

Of Spiders and Midwestern Dinners

By Katie


I for one, like the redecorating around here—so austere, so tasteful. Kind of McSweeney’s-esque but without all the dumb content.

Just kidding! Seriously McSweeney’s, just kidding.

I admit, when I first saw it I was like “HACKED! HACKED AGAIN! HAAAAAAACKED” and then I ran outside, dropped to my knees and raised my arms up to the heavens as the tears came down. Why….whyyyyy…

But then I read that thing that Jacob wrote and I was fine. Good job Jacob, I love the new look!

I’m just starting Twin Peaks on Netflix as I write this; I’ve never seen it and I’ve been told it’s right in my wheelhouse, so I’m excited but also kind of distracted. Which pretty much describes every moment that I am awake.

So the deal was, when I was a kid, we had to eat a real meal before the bacchanal of trick-or-treating started. My mother was, and is, a phenomenal creator of meals worth all the ceremony of hand-washing and grace-saying and table setting, but on Halloween, c’mon– we were champing at the bit to get out in the field, so she cut us a break and fed us something easy and quick like weenie beanies or spaghettio hotdish.

It’s better for you than candy! It is.


A break for her, too—are you kidding me? Now that I am a person in charge of feeding other people, I cannot believe the meals she made for us on a nightly basis.

Case in point—tonight I made her sweet and sour chicken. It takes a while, kids, and it dirties up every surface and every pan in the kitchen and makes the whole house stink for days. I can only imagine what it does to my insides.

I’ve tried tamping down the “terrible for you” quotient; I’ve tried not breading it, I’ve tried baking it instead of frying it, and it’s just not the same.

Tonight we threw caution and years of our lives to the wind and rocked it old-school. I’m headachy now and very soon an Ebola-type (you didn’t think I would get through this entire post without mentioning Ebola, did you?) situation will occur in my bathroom, but it was worth every bite.

Earlier though, as I was standing at the stove, frying breaded chicken and reflecting on my life, I couldn’t help but think of my mom, making this absurdly complicated, messy meal for eleven people–at least ten of which were guaranteed to want seconds. Lots of times mom would barely eat once we sat down at the table.

“I’m sick of looking at it,” she’d say when questioned. I’m pretty sure she meant the food, not the brood. Best not to dig too deeply. 

Back to Halloween.

The hours after school and between dinner were a whirlwind of pumpkin carving and costume procuring–kids running from house to house, scrounging through each family’s belongings to try and find something, anything, that could pass for a costume. The lower the sun got, the more frantic we became. Loooottt of ghosts back then, friends, ghosts and hobos.

If you were really lucky you had an older brother who worked construction or played football or something, or a journalist dad who traveled a lot and had a strange collection of accessories—good luck sneaking them out of his office, though. (Did I ever tell you the story about how on “wacky hat day” at school, my eight-year-old self snuck what I thought was a real cute beret with a cute little star on it, only to have the war-veteran gym teacher explain to me in a shaky voice that it was official issue Viet Kong? No? I thought for sure I had.)

For some weird reason, one year we had three store-bought costumes. I have no idea where they came from—someone must’ve given them to my mom, and we found them crammed in the bottom drawer of the dresser on the back porch.

There was a Frankenstein, a Dracula –both primo, grade A, top-tier monsters– and a vague, female spook; a white mask with a flame of red hair and a white gown with a scary jack-o-lantern on it.

Billy and Andy immediately grabbed Frankenstein and Dracula, leaving me with the lame, nobody-knows-what-this-is-supposed-to-be costume.

My sister Margy told me it was something called Pumkin Lady, and she rolled around on the ground, tripping people and breaking their necks.

Huh. I still wore it, it was store-bought, after all—but I knew it was b.s.

Starting Five

1. Paris And The Giant Butt Plug

Nope, not the much anticipated sequel to James and the Giant Peach—oh that it were.

It’s a sculpture, entitled “Tree”, by American artist Paul McCarthy. It was erected, loud and proud, in the Place Vendome in Paris last week.

It’s a tree. Where you deposit it is entirely up to you. Alternately, “Timberrrrrr!”


Apparently those who know contemporary art know McCarthy does things like this—makes big, silly, obvious sculptures and pretends they’re something else, so one has to wonder why anyone is surprised when his artwork causes a ruckus.

Perhaps that’s the point? Maybe he’s just seeing if he can continue getting artsy types to fund his work no matter how ridonk it is.

It’s gone now—vandals deflated it in the night—and when it was first revealed, apparently someone in the crowd slapped the artist and ran off. That sounds so French, doesn’t it?

hahw dah yeww! I can hardly eet mah baguette!


French Philistine: “Zees ees not a tree, it ees ze buttplug! I know becazz mah waahfe hahzz a large colleczion of zem! I slap you in zee name of France!”

Paul McCarthy, rubbing the reddish spot on his gently molested cheek: “My plan worked. Again.”

McCarthy is reportedly hard at work on his next piece, a three-story inflatable sausage tentatively titled, “Not a Dildo”.

2. Oscar De La Renta Gets On the List Twice

John already covered this yesterday, but I’m doing it again. Why? Here’s why:

I’ll put that up against “Tree” any day of the week.


I love  beautiful art, whether it’s a painting, a comic book, a butt plug or a ballgown, and Mr. De La Renta was one of the very best. I cannot and probably never will be able to afford couture, but I am a great appreciator of it.

And when I was a kid, I used to check fashion magazines out of the library and draw the dresses. I usually tried to slip a few issues of After Dark (not for the articles, either!) into my pile as well, but I always got caught. A story for another day.

Are you sure your mom said this was OK?

3. Killer Bananas

The last thing you’d expect to find lurking in your bananas is a creature whose Greek scientific name means “murderess.”

But that’s exactly what one London family found after a grocery delivery from the Waitrose supermarket chain, the Daily Mail reports. The family patriarch (known only as “Tim”) was unloading the groceries when he spied the venomous Brazilian wandering spider—the world’s most dangerous arachnid, LiveScience reports—and panicked, dropping the bananas into a bowl and trapping the spider by one of its legs.

My favorite part of this story is “known only as Tim”. Why so cagey, Tim?

Is it because you don’t want that spider’s family to find you? Well it will, Tim. You can count on that.

You’re on my list, “Tim”.


4. It Doesn’t Make Sense

Toys ‘R Us is selling Breaking Bad action figures, and a Florida mom is petitioning to have them removed from store shelves. I have to agree with her; why are there action figures for a show that never had any actual action? Oh, snap.

Guaranteed 50% more entertaining than the show!

5. Questionable Study of the Week

According to a Hungarian study, those born in the summer tend to be moody bastards and those born the winter tend to be lovable and easy going. To support this claim, the article I read about it included this picture, with this caption:


Christian Bale was born in winter time and therefore tends to be even-keeled.

Wait, what??

Those Hungarians. Always misreading the signals.

Finally, I am very excited to tell you that I am going to see the fantastically fabulous Tig Notaro tomorrow night! Full review next week.


Starting Five

The death toll is at 39

1. Death in the Himalayas

Your next Outside magazine cover story –has Jon Krakauer already been deployed?– will come directly from the popular Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, where recent snowfall, flash floods and avalanches have claimed the lives of 39 hikers. None of the casualties thus far are Americans, which may be why you have not heard all that much about it.

October is by far the most heavily trafficked month on the popular circuit of high-altitude trails, when about 30% of the year’s total of 90,000 or so trekkers cross the 17,769-foot Thorong La Pass. The Circuit ranges from 100 to 145 miles in length and is far more accessible to the average REI shopper than, say, an Everest trek. More than 300 hikers needed to be rescued in the last week and the death toll may climb.

2. Welcome Back, Neo

Shane Falco. Johnny Utah. Neo. Bill (or was it Ted? It was Ted). It’s been a quarter century since Keanu Reeves entered our lives (what ever became of Alex Winter, a.k.a, Bill, by the way?) as a high school slacker and he’s had every bit as successful a career, minus the Oscar love, of that other ’80s high school slacker, Sean Penn.

Reeves is back in John Wick, a vigilante flick set in New York City, and it’s been receiving uncommonly stellar reviews. Rotten Tomatoes has given it a 100%, which makes me think that the easy grader has been put in charge of the site this week. Wick’s thirst for revenge is whetted after a Russian hit man kills his dog (and man, I can get behind that. You come after my kitty cat, I’m going ISIS on your ass…or some other part of you).

Keanu turned 50 last month, by the way. Is this the part where I tell you he’s older than Wilfred Brimley was when they made Cocoon (and maybe the point is that Mr. Brimley just didn’t take very good care of himself?). Personally, I’ve always wondered about the people who write the screenplays for Keanu Reeves films. Here’s how I imagine their conversations with directors go:

Writer: In this scene, I gave Keanu a three-sentence monologue.

Director: Too many words.

Writer: One sentence?

Director: Too many words.

Writer: How about if he says–

Director: Too many words.

3. Bulls on Parade

Our friends at Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Inc. staged a first-ever event on the sand at Huntington Beach this weekend. Bushwacker attended only as an ambassador, though, and I imagine he was somewhat put off by the proximity of the event to the Black Bull Chop House.

Matt Triplett, a 23 year-old from Columbia Falls, Mont., was your winner. Is it good to be a bull rider from a town with “Falls” in its name? You wouldn’t think so. Now it’s on to the World Finals in Las Vegas this week, where Bushwacker will make his last ride. The bucks stop here (I’ve used this line before, but hey, I like it).

4. Who Are You Mourning?

His funeral should have a runway, not an aisle

Boxing Fashion lost an icon yesterday as legendary middleweight designer Oscar de la Hoya Renta died. He was 41 82.

5. You Win, Morgan Spurlock

Should that arrow be pointing down?

Ten years after the release of Super Size Me, an entertaining documentary in which our director/star ingests nothing but McDonald’s food for an entire month, McD’s announces quarterly earnings in which its profits plummet 30%. Downsize Me?


You knew it would be only a matter of time before dejected Notre Dame fans started going Zapruder film on that fourth-and-3 play. My two favorite versions are this (notice how he uses “freakin'” and “friggin'”, instead of the true vulgarity; that’s such a Domer move) one and this frame-by-frame “smoking gun” clip.

My two cents: if Notre Dame decides to run this play again, in a game-deciding moment, here’s what I’d have Will Fuller and C.J. Prosise do (taking cue from a previous ACC game this season). By the way, watch that video and notice how the announcers don’t seem to notice what makes the play unique.

Remote Patrol

World Series: Game 1

Giants at Royals

FOX 8 p.m.

Will we tune in for the anomaly of seeing Kansas City in the World Series? Or is FOX going to get killed in the ratings? Interesting trivia to share with your pals: Ned Yost, born and raised in Eureka, Calif., is a former taxidermist. Bruce Bochy, born in France, was a high school teammate of SNL alum Darrell Hammond. Go ahead and run with that, Erin Andrews.



1. “No Pick! No Pick!”

Will have more to opine on this later —oh, we bet you will–but a few thoughts:

1. Wrong of me to chastise anyone for whining about such a controversial and cataclysmic ref”s flag so soon after the incident. That is on me.

2. If you could possibly look at this play again for the first time –which, of course, is impossible–you’d see two Irish receivers appearing to create massive obstruction to Florida State’s defensive backs. If you go back and look at it a second or 85th time, if you go full-bore Zapruder film on the play, then yeah, you see one DB literally holding C.J. Prosise at the line and you also notice that the Seminole secondary was utterly dazed and confused and would have never prevented the TD, anyway. But on first viewing…which again, you can no longer ever do, I’m not sure if you see all that.

And, yes, you can point out the missing helmet on the FSU player right after or the fact that the ref who flagged the OPI is the same human who ejected Stephon Tuitt last season –you’re not incorrect– but all of it adds up to, “So what?” The Irish had first and goal from the 9 with about :40 to play and were unable to take care of business. Shades of the 2009 USC loss. Score earlier and all of the controversy vanishes. On the road, versus the defending national champion, leave no doubt.

This much I feel confident about: Had Florida State scored the game-winner on that exact same play, with no flag, the message boards at would be lighting up with complaints about the non-call.

3. This was possibly the best game Notre Dame has played since the 1993 tilt with these same Seminoles. Why? Because unlike the Bush Push Classic of 2005, Notre Dame took on a Top 3 team and manhandled it on the line of scrimmage while also matching it athlete for athlete. It took the very best effort of the reigning Heisman Trophy winner to take down the Irish on Saturday night.

4. Heading into that fateful play, the Irish had already preserved their unbeaten season with not one but two unlikely 4th-and-long conversions: 4th-and-11 versus Stanford and 4th-and-18 moments earlier. You can only put yourselves in those positions so many times. As Brian Kelly said, “You have to knock out the champion.” Correct. You have to leave no doubt.

Winston may be the game’s most notorious player, but after that 15-16 second half, he also deserves to be right back atop the Heisman race.

5. Everything the Irish still hope to achieve, short of an undefeated season, remains within their grasp. Win out and it’ll be difficult to make a case against them being the most deserving one-loss team remaining. Only Georgia or Alabama, in my opinion, would have as solid an argument.

6. SEC Knockout Games that will help the Irish: Auburn-Georgia, Mississippi State-Alabama, Mississippi State-Ole Miss, Auburn-Alabama. You know at least one SEC team is in the playoff. Any one-loss SEC team will also have a valid argument. If you are a fan of Notre Dame or Oregon or the Ohio State-Michigan State winner, you want Mississippi State to win out.

7. Notre Dame is great television. Opposing fans may hate to admit it, but like the Seventies Dallas Cowboys, the Irish don’t know how to play drama-free games any more. The Selection Committee may not consciously consider that, but there’s no one involved with the Playoff who loves money who won’t want Notre Dame if the Irish finish 11-1.

8. So, I was kinda wrong about Texas A&M. The Medium Happy 8, as it stands: Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Florida State, Alabama, Notre Dame, Oregon, Auburn, TCU.

9. October 18 now stands for: The Galloping Ghost’s five-touchdown day versus Michigan (1924), “Outlined against a blue-gray October sky (1924), Keith Jackson’s birthday (1928), and The Pick (2014).

Schmidt had 9 tackles and an INT in biggest game of his life. Is Irish’s leading tackler. Perhaps ND should retroactively pay his first two years of school.

10. Corey Robinson became a star on Saturday night. If you are a Notre Dame fan, you’re proud to have your school represented by players such as Robinson, Joe Schmidt (did you know that he is a former walk-on?), Jaylon Smith, Max Redfield, Everett Golson, Sheldon Day, Cam McDaniel (another helmet-losing play in a prime-time nationally televised game…Nice!), etc.

The Irish lost the game Saturday night in Tallahassee, but there’s no telling how many future recruiting battles they won.

11. Brian Kelly said everything right both on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. If you are a Notre Dame fan or alum, you want him to be crabby and a little bit defiant. Reggie Bush won Twitter on Saturday night by tweeting, “Wow, not sure about that call” and “Hate to see a game decided by that.” Yes, Irish fans, a ref buried his flag when he should’ve tossed one nine years and three days earlier, which cost you a victory against a defending national champ with a long win streak and now you were burned in exactly the opposite way (shades of the 1989 versus 1993 rationale for the Irish not finishing No. 1). Yes, you’re right. But that won’t change anything. Gotsta move on.

12. I love that Jimbo Fisher gave Jameis the “humble pie” talk and that not 30 minutes later Jameis said that he was thinking, when the Irish apparently scored the go-ahead TD with :17 left, that “they left too much time on the clock.” Never change, Jameis. At least not on the football field. This is who you are in shoulder pads and a helmet, and look how far it has gotten you.

Okay, this is all I have right now. I am in Quebec and will have more later if possible. Merci beaucoup to Jacob Anstey for rolling up his sleeves this weekend and making the site look like someone actually cares about its aesthetic appeal. Great job, JA.