Medium Happy Reconstruction

Hello, all! Jacob here. The Imperial Poobah (a.k.a. John) is off crowdfunding this weekend (does that mean a raise? Yeaaah!), meaning I will be playing around with the layout of Medium Happy. If you are like me, I miss the old, subtle theme that was associated with this site. It was so perfect. Well, since the hackers did their hacking, we have all been forced to deal with the new theme. Not so cool.

OK — now the point of this post: Medium Happy is not being hacked this weekend. If you see a different layout at different hours of the day, that’s just me reconstructing the site. If you have any suggestions or ideas, comments are always welcome.

Have a great weekend, loyal MH readers! And a happy (belated) birthday to Phyllis!



1. Polo Grounds Crew

Travis Ishawaka (Travis?) hits a walk-off home run to propel the San Francisco Giants into the World Series with a series-clinching win against the St. Louis Cardinals. Of course: since 2010 the National League representatives in the Fall Classic have been San Francisco, St. Louis, San Francisco, St. Louis and now San Francisco next year. You’re due in a year, Redbirds.

By the way, in three of those five seasons the Giants or Cards entered the postseason with the fourth-best record among Senior Circuit teams. Remember in late September, it was the Giants who were the last team to qualify for the playoffs in the N.L. while the Kansas City Royals trailed by four runs entering the 8th inning of the wild card game.

Exactly how much do those 162 games mean? The Giants and Royals are a combined 16-2 in the postseason.

And yes, Ishakawa’s pennant-clinching home run brought back memories (at least memories of seeing the footage) of Bobby Thomson’s 1951 blast in the Polo Grounds (even though the Giants were reportedly stealing signs, though, so what? Come up with better signs!). Two of my uncles were at that game (one was a great uncle; the other was a Great uncle).

It’s true: Thomson’s blast launched the American Revolution. (Check out how that left field wall fades out toward center)

Ah, yes, the Polo Grounds. Which 90 years ago tomorrow hosted the Notre Dame-Army game that provided us with Grantland Rice’s lede, which today most editors would’ve cut because it did not provide the final score.

2. Minstrel Cycle

So, the past couple of years, Arizona State has scheduled “blackout games” (unlike Roger Goodell’s) in which the Sun Devils wear black and the school’s students have been encouraged to dress like Vidal Sassoon hair stylists. And, of course, because it’s ASU, some students have taken it too far and worn black face to the games. This has been taking place since at least 2011, as you can see above.

So, in a move designed to curb the behavior but also unintentionally bringing unwanted recognition to the school (can’t we just click our heels and repeat “Pat Tillman” three times and it’ll all go away), ASU has publicly warned fans to not wear black face paint to football games (the Sun Devils had a “blackout game” versus UCLA on Thursday night, Sept. 25, which then morphed into a “blowout game” when the Bruins put a 62-27 hurtin’ on them).

“Did you hear me!?! Take that face paint–ohhh….never mind.”

Because, you know, Arizona wouldn’t want to suddenly garner a reputation as a less than racially enlightened state. These fans in face paint could give the state a black eye unwanted negative publicity.

3. A Panoply of Penelope

Cruz, from Spain, turned 40 this year, so this will be her sexy decade.

So Esquire named Penelope Cruz as its “Sexiest Woman Alive” and I’ll admit that the above photo is a compelling argument. Meanwhile, let’s not forget the world’s other noteworthy Penelopes:

Penelope Pitstop: Baby, you can drive my car.

Penelope Pitstop, who had a thing for fast cars and cartoonish love interests…

“I was named ‘Sexiest Woman Alive or Dead’ so…”

Penelope from SNL, the queen of one-upmanship

I must confess: Half the reason I did this was because I know Greg Auman will spend the next five minutes attempting to think of other Penelopes.

4. Signature Win

Bart feels Jameis’ pain

It’s up to 2,000 signed items attributed to Jameis Winston, many of them authenticated one right after the other –meaning they were most likely turned in by one person –and yet Jimbo Fisher and Florida State don’t want to know a thing about a potential NCAA violation until after the 2014 season.

Yesterday Christine Brennan of USA Today referred to the school as “Jameis State”, and she’s correct. As I told Jack Arute and Gino Torretta on Tuesday –I may have run into them at the men’s room at Chipotle– what we have here is a 30-pound tail wagging a one-pound dog.”

As a college football fan and as a Notre Dame alum, I want Jameis to play. I want the Irish to win or lose taking FSU’s best shot, and I want FSU to live down to the standards we all know it has set for itself: as a school and a community that puts winning above integrity. Don’t go changin’ on us now….

5. Do The Right Thing, 2014

Please stand clear of the closing doors…and try not to kill one another

A crowded subway car in Manhattan, after 10 p.m.

In a corner seat that would normally seat two people, an amply-sized man is taking up the entire seat and speaking very loudly to no one in particular. No one seems to be paying much attention.

The train stops. A woman boards, announces she is homeless, hungry, yada yada yada…

The large man speaks up: “When you’re done, why don’t you share half with me? And why don’t you hit up these white people down here? Ohhhh, no, they don’t have any money. Bernie Madoff! Bernie Madoff! He made off with $62 million. Their lives are ruined.”

One of the white people stares up at an ad near the top of the car.

“See, they won’t say anything! Oh, no. White people would rather die than be seen as rude.”

At this point, a young, fit man who is neither black nor Caucasian approaches the portly man. The young man is wearing black leather boots that run all the way up to his knees.

“Sir, why don’t you be quiet? You’re being rude. People are just trying to go home.”

“OHHH! I’m being rude? I’M being rude! Listen, you white people don’t have no cause to–”

“Sir, I’m not white.”

“What’s that?”

“I’m not white. I’m American Indian.”

“Are you black?”


“Then you’re white!”

At this point, our young Native American turns to the white man who is seated. “Sir, I’m sorry, most New Yorkers are not like this.”

I’ve lived here for 25 years!!!!!!!

At this point the black man points to the white man and says, “Look at him! That’s not even his own hair!”

And that was by far the most offensive thing directed at me.

At this point I felt it necessary to tell him that 1) Indeed, it is my hair (I may have invited him to muss it up, which wasn’t wise) and that 2) so far he was the only one on the train who had said anything racist.

“My people have a right to kill you,” he said.

At which point another black man in this corner of the subway car loudly declared, “How about them Cowboys?”

Aaaaaaaaaand, scene.

 Remote Patrol

Notre Dame at Florida State

ABC 8 p.m.

FSU’s Rashad Greene is an easy dude to like, and not just because he learned how to catch passes by watching Ethan Hawke in ‘Boyhood’

Alas, your loyal correspondent may not even be able to watch the game. He’ll be in a place that may not even have American network television (not sure yet). So please watch for me and if you don’t see any snarky tweets, you’ll know why. Enjoy.




Starting Five

Like Sophia, Phyllis traces her roots to southern Italy

1. Phyllis!

“Mom, will you hear my Latin?”

In high school, as you may know, the key to academic success is memorization (or sitting behind the smart kid). I did well in high school because I learned how to distill most subjects into memorization, and I knew that I hadn’t truly memorized something until I could recite it blindly in front of my mom.

So on most weekday afternoons between 1980-1984, my mom would arrive home from work as the best damn legal secretary in the state of Arizona and some time before or after she prepared dinner for a family of five, she would “hear” my Latin homework (we both enjoyed the Latin declension for “thousand,” which has a mellifluous ring: “mille, mille, mille, mille, mille/milia, milium, milibus, milia, milibus”) or my Western Civ or my Biology. Anything in which memorization was called for.

One Sunday, in October of my freshman year at this extremely difficult Jesuit high school where I knew no one and where I was sure I was in way over my head, I  had to construct a map that took in many elements of the Old Testament: the path of the Exodus, the Fertile Crescent, the 12 Tribes of Israel, etc. I’m not very artistic (I’m not at all artistic) and this seemed doomed to failure because 1) I can’t draw and 2) it seemed that a lot of the tangible elements would overlap one another and just look messy.

Dear God: Why could you not have made the Holy Land bigger?

(I almost forgot: This was a Sunday in October and I am sure I was missing Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys, which was killing me. We spent all dang day on this map, Phyllis and I.)

The map was for my 8 a.m. freshman “Salvation History” class, taught by Fr. James LaCasse, S.J., who would turn out to be the toughest (i.e., best) teacher I ever had. Fr. LaCasse, a Jesuit priest, was so tough that he was on the ski patrol at Sunrise Ski Resort in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona, but he only skied in cargo shorts. Anyway, it was my mom , who never attended college, who had the genius idea to laminate the map with clear plastic sheets so that it would have layers.  And so that’s what we did.

That Monday both of Fr. LaCasse’s classes turned in their maps, nearly 60 students.  And my map was the only layered map. Two weeks later, when he finished grading all of our maps, my map —our map-– was the only one that earned an “A.” The next semester, when we did New Testament maps, everyone poached Phyllis’ patented laminate idea.

I know what you’re thinking: Katie’s childhood stories are funnier.

Anyway, that, um, map quest was the first sign I had that I may not grow up to be a complete failure (says a guy with a blog. Ha!). And I mention it because today is a very special day around the Medium Happy offices because it is Phyllis’ birthday. And she’s just the best person I know.

It was way more intricate than this. That map had the potential to be a mess o’ potamia! HEY-O!

My dad, who passed away two years ago, used to call my mom “Sophia” because of her resemblance to fellow southern Italian ancestry beauty Sophia Loren. Now, I’m not ready to go that far. I’m not ready to say that Sophia Loren is THAT beautiful. But she’s pretty striking.

And I know that every morning Phyllis/Sophia wakes up around 5 a.m. and waits to read this blog. There’s no greater reason I do it (Katie’s just in it for the money, on the other hand). So today, Item 1 is a humongous…


to Phyllis/Sophia. And I’m not sure where that map is, Mom, but wherever it is, I’m sure you’ll get around to cleaning it at some point this week.

 So, yes, the moral of this story is that I’m a complete fraud and that Phyllis is the brains behind the operation. Which everyone in my family already knew.

2. More of This Guy

Great anecdote from the book Live from New York, by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller. It’s just after season one of Saturday Night Live, the summer of ’76, and the show’s bandleader, Paul Shaffer, is given a shot at hosting a summer variety show. Variety shows are things that used to air on TV back when TV executives thought it was incumbent upon people who appeared in the boob tube to be talented.

Anyway, the pilot airs and it bombs. A few of Shaffer’s friends, SNL cast members, are watching the show at someone’s beach house. Chevy Chase places a call to Shaffer. “Paul, I just wanted you to know we all still love you and respect you,” Chase says.

Then Chase acts as if he’s been interrupted. “What’s that?” he says, loud enough for Shaffer to hear him. “Oh. Paul, we all still love you.”

I’m reminded of that story as I read or see so many of us cheering for John Mulaney right now. To this point, and it’s only two episodes in, mind you, his eponymous sitcom does not measure up to his talents. My two cents: he’s not being himself. Not yet. He’s being too innocent and self-conscious.

So here’s a terrific segment called “Ask a Grown Man” that Mulaney did earlier this week for a site called Rookie in which he basically just answered questions of confused teens. And it’s far more intriguing than the sitcom because this is the real John Mulaney (minus all the funny). I can’t wait until this guy shows up on TV, and I have a feeling that he eventually will.

We love Mulaney. We only want copious meats and cheeses and the best fruits of the vine for him.

3. Me-OW!

Not a fan of BS

This tweet from the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy last night. Guess which Boston-bred columnist earns more per annum.

4. Two QBs

It’s not too late, Norby.

It was a terrific chart someone posted yesterday. The two winningest active quarterbacks in college football are Jameis Winston of Florida State (19-0, 1.000) and Everett Golson of Notre Dame (16-1, .941), and we add the caveat that yes, there’s a lot more to do with winning than quarterback play and that certainly Winston has played a greater role in his team’s wins, especially in his first season as a starter, than Golson has.

Still, it’s a great stat for this week.

Jameis should surely get a cut of the proceeds here…

Earlier today Kirk Herbstreit appeared on SportsCenter and declared that Winston and Golson are “the two best starting quarterbacks in the entire country.” And while I normally agree with everything Herbie says, here I must invoke the good name of Col. Sherman T. Potter and declare, “Poppycock!”

I mean, they’re both terrific, but Oregon’s Marcus Mariota has thrown 17 TDs without an interception while Golson has committed nine turnovers and a pair of pick-sixes in the past three games.

When Tony Rice used to fumble, Lou Holtz made him carry a football to classes. Don’t know if BK is doing that with Everett Golson this week.

Some great disparities between Jameis and Everett: One, talent-wise, is a Top 10 NFL pick though I’m not sure where he’ll be taken next June. The other, I don’t even know if he’ll go pro after this season (Malik Zaire’s shoulders just slumped). Also, Everett sacrificed a semester of school and an entire season, 13 games, because he cheated on a final exam. Which is justice.

Winston has sat out a total of one game the past two seasons, and even that was originally just for a half, and even that game he suited up for. You know the litany of charges, I won’t repeat them here. Golson and Notre Dame players are not perfect (“Frozen Five”). The difference between the two schools is that one polices itself, almost to a fault (vacating wins?) while another has dudes like Jameis and Jesus “BoBo” Wilson (“BoBo” is short for “Bodaciously Borrowed”) and a coach who says, “There was no victim so there is no crime.”

5. Kiffin’s Krimson Korner

So, someone at Tosh.O pays attention to college football –and perhaps someone noticed the uncanny resemblance between Lane Kiffin and Daniel Tosh. I do wonder how long those Layla Kiffin auditions lasted.

Our man in eastern Tennessee, Wes Rucker, posited that Tosh could probably run for governor of Tennessee and win this week. Just noticed that’s like the second reference to the Vols this week on this blog. I don’t even know you any more, Medium Happy.

Remote Patrol

 Game 5, NLCS

Cardinals at Giants

20-game winner Adam Wainwright takes hill for STL. 20-game winners or their leagues’ highest Win total guys this postseason are a combined 1-5.

Every 29 years the Kansas City Royals get into the World Series, but is it also written that they have to face St. Louis? Just to change things up, I’m kind of rooting for a San Fran win tonight so we’ll get an SF-KC World Series. I imagine baseball writers who enjoy collecting frequent flier miles are, too. By the way, I’m enjoying Jeff Passan’s baseball columns the past month. Terrific work. (that was my obligatory Richard Deitsch-like note of today’s blog. With love, RD)






In keeping with our “October is Ebola Awareness Month” theme, I will now share with you the story of my first make-out party, which rightly and scarily coincides with our  “Halloween Stories, Every Wednesday This Month” theme.

ebola wants you to turn that frown upside down!

It was 1978. I was in fourth grade and had made friends with a girl in the fifth grade, which was pretty much like winning the lottery.

She was a new student to my tiny Catholic school–she came over from the public school down the street.

Public school kids terrified me.

I had to walk past their playground every day to get to mine. The taunting! My God, the taunting.

Those kids knew words I didn’t know.

OK, that’s not  true, I knew the words and used them liberally, thanks to a little something in our kitchen called the ‘Stupid/Shut-up Jar.’

My mom converted an empty peanut-butter jar into a depository in which we had to pay a quarter every time we called each other stupid or told each other to shut-up, her absolute pet-peeve. We took that thing and ran with it, scrounging everywhere we could for loose change to buy ourselves some swears.

So, fine, we were potty-mouths, but still. Those public school kids wore Toughskins, for God’s sake.

What you don’t see is who they’re chasing

I know what you’re probably thinking: “What does this have to do with Ebola or Halloween? And don’t you have like 900 older siblings? Didn’t they protect you at all? Are you ever going to write about sports??”

It has to do with Ebola in a roundabout way because it’s momentarily keeping your mind off your looming, hideous demise (but can we agree, blessedly quick? If I were the Ebola PR person, that’s the tack I’d take–It’s horrible, but quick).  The Halloween aspect will become apparent, and no, no sports. I thought I’d made myself clear about that.

As for my siblings…

In theory me, two of my brothers and their neighborhood friend/basically adopted brother were supposed to walk to school together, but more often than not I got distracted by something (the irresistible urge to hop upon the stone balustrade of the neighbor’s patio and belt out a few show-tunes comes to mind–how I longed to be a Von Trapp–as does the need to see how many hand-lengths it was across the weird gravestone-looking hitching post planted in the boulevard, every single day) and they needed to move on without me, lest they be marked tardy. I had sooooo many tardies…so very many.

My point is, my slight-to-moderate OCD tendencies made me a “difficult” walking-to-school companion, not to mention a deliciously meaty, black-watch plaid-wrapped chew toy for the junkyard dogs on that public-school playground. Thank God they were penned in by a tall chain-link fence.

No wait, that isn’t my point. Back to my fifth grade friend– she was the coolest, and she invited me to her Halloween party.

She met me at her door dressed in pigtails (the ‘high-atop the head’ kind, the kind that say “I am an anime prostitute”), short-shorts and a bib, holding a blanket and sucking a pacifier.

“I’m a little girl,” she said.

You’re confused, right? Tell me about it. 

Isn’t my costume scawwee?

I was a ghost; white sheet, white face paint, black ghoulish eyes. You know, because it was a children’s Halloween party.  We walked into her living room, lit only by glow-sticks and a mirror ball. No parents were in sight; her teenaged sister was leading the festivities. I saw shadowy figures. Are those…boys? Oh dear God, there are boys in here. 

But that, m’friends, was just the tip of the iceberg. Another girl,  dolled up as a comely Pocahontas and who I recognized as one of the snarling jackals from the playground, threw me a glow-stick and informed me I was to dance with the boy who held it’s match, behind me.

I turned to face a red-faced kid dressed in his baseball uniform with a look on his face that said very clearly that he was not interested in dancing with me. I think he might’ve even groused “I have to dance with that?” but I’m not sure, since the flood of shame and mortification rushing in my ears may have drowned it out.

“Kiss, you guys!” The nurse hollered, and with that she turned to her dance partner and they embarked on some grade-A muckling. Baseball boy turned on his heel and walked away. I turned to my friend and said I didn’t feel good.

You want me to do what, with who??

My mom came and got me about ten minutes later, and I do believe that if she is reading this right now, it is the first time she has ever heard the true story of that night.

I never did subscribe to the “sexy Halloween costume” thing,  not even later when it was slightly less disturbing. When I was about twenty, my girlfriend and I dressed as a scantily-clad Peter Pan and Yul Brynner, respectively. Guess which one I was?

It was a mash-up Yul, too–I had the bald wig/braid combo from The Ten Commandments and the silk pajamas and pointy shoes from The King and I. Surprisingly, it got me zero action.

I bet you’d like to buy me a drink.

Starting Five

1. My Favorite Halloween Candy

Kit Kats. Hands down. Anyone who disagrees with me is dead wrong. I love most of the mini-chocolate bar offerings, but Kit Kats are the perfect combination of crispy, creamy and just unsatisfying enough to ensure you eat 10,000 of them. 

Worst is by far, candy corn. Candy corn is awful. It’s even worse than the homemade peanut-butter-and-coffee-grounds granola balls wrapped in cellophane the local hippie gives out. It tastes like if ear wax and sugar had a baby.  The only thing more offensive than the way it tastes is the way it looks. Off-puttingly bright, cartoon candy.

The good news is, you won’t poop for a week!

2. Belgium’s New Minister of Health

Is Maggie De Block:

Some of us like candy corn

There’s been some blow-back at her appointment;  some folks say she’s not a good choice for the job because, um…well, it seems that…mmm…she’s not quite… credible.

She’s hit back by saying “‘I know I’m not a model but you have to see what’s inside, not the packaging,” which, in my opinion, would also make her a poor choice for minister of snappy comebacks.

Here’s the thing though, Mags, it is about the packaging, if we’re talking about health. The packaging we all carry our beautiful, flawed, fried-chicken craving  souls around in, and how we take care of it.

Now, if she’d been appointed “Minister of Beauty” or “Minister of Being a Smart Doctor”(she’s an M.D.) and people were remarking on her size, I’d say lay off.

Maybe the plan is, she does a health-kick type thing and asks the country (which has a 47% obesity rate) to join her in her efforts.  That would be cool, like “If I can do it, you can too!”

3. This Halloween-centric Ad I Found On Craigslist

Shopping Help Needed

I got a invited to a weird halloween party and need some help. The party has some rules:

1) Men have to wear women’s costumes and vice versa

2) You have to have someone of the opposite sex who isn’t attending pick out the costume. Very little input from me is allowed.

This isn’t normally my thing but I have heard the party is a ton of fun so I am looking for a woman to help pick out a costume.

It would work like this:

We’d meet at one of those costume superstores. You’d pick out some costumes for me to try on.  We’d see how they look and you’d pick one.

If you are interested in weird, fun jobs, let me know.

Tell me how to contact you and what times you might be available as well as what you would charge for 1-2 hours.

Dear Serial Killer,

Kudos to you for resisting the urge to come right out and write “If you’re interested in being murdered and found in a dirty public bathroom wearing a Winnie-the-Pooh costume, please respond.”

Good Luck with your project!

Your friend,


4. Amal Alamudin Changes Her Name

To Amal Clooney

You guys, this is so weird…I just changed my name to Amal Clooney, too. 

5. Happy 20th Anniversary, Pulp Fiction

It was twenty years ago yesterday that Pulp Fiction hit the big screen. I must be the only person on the planet who does not like this movie.

I don’t get it. I tried to sit through it again to see if I could see what everyone else sees, and I didn’t get it again.

Cool people get it, Katie

Until next week, compadres..


Stop thinking about Ebola!

Stop thinking about Ebola!



Starting Five

New York’s most eligible execrable bachelor thought I did such a great job last week, he’s letting me, @okerland, write again.  Always happy to talk on Twitter or in the Comments…

Marcus Dupree had a Gurley way about him and never even made it to the NFL


Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy…

All we’re highly drafted RBs who played under football royalty that is Nick Saban. We all drooled at their talent and thought about the days when they would take the NFL over by storm. Scouts thought so highly of them, they were all first round picks.

Four years later and many would say that none of them have lived up to the hype and promise during their Alabama days. What’s happened? Was it Saban’s system, Alabama’s talent level compared to other teams or did Saban work these guys so hard that they don’t have any energy left? (If one was to check how many of Bama’s 1st round picks have done in NFL, you’ll see many haven’t fared that well).

But the problem isn’t just at Bama. LaMichael James, Tre Mason and a host of other stud CFB running backs can’t find their way in the NFL. These are guys who were basically untouchable in college and now the only thing they’re touching is the bench.

A friend of mine told me that brains is what separates those who make the NFL and those that don’t. Everyone at the next level has virtually the same speed and if you don’t, you work real hard (or take PEDs) and you’ll find a roster spot.

I mention all this in relation to Todd Gurley, the Georgia running back recently suspended for autographs. At least two people on Twitter (@IDtheMike & @abrandt) have suggested that maybe Gurley did this on purpose to give his body a rest and to start preparing for draft.

The shelf life of a RB is fairly short in respect to other positions. Look at Adrian Peterson, the Vikings won’t publicly admit it, but his production has gone down and if they get out of that contract they will.

If Gurley withdraws, his agent can front him money while he works out at one of the numerous combine camps across the country. He rests, gets stronger, learns about the NFL and then after 2-3 strong years in the league gets paid (No one said NFL coaches are smart)

Could this become a trend in college? We have to wait and see how it turns out for Gurley. Everyone thought HS BB players would flee to Europe to speed up their draft clock. It hasn’t turned out that great for those that did.

*The judges would have also accepted, “Gurley, Interrupted.”


Of course he’s good with wood. He’s a Carpenter.

The Royals and Cardinals were last in their respective leagues in home runs this year and both made the playoffs using pitching and timely hitting. (Ask a Cardinals fan and they’ll tell you how the Cards play the greatest brand of baseball this side of Abner Doubleday.) (Ed Note: Not to be confused with Albus Dumbledore, though why would you?)

Two games into each LCS, and it’s as if both teams visited the same vitamin shop (or is it Shoppe) that McGwire did many moons ago (btw, McGwire hit 70 HRs in 98, the Cards barely have over 100 this year). Every time I turn on a game, another Royal or Cardinal is going deep. And they aren’t those lazy fly balls to the short porch at Yankee Stadium, these are blasts. On Sunday night a pair of Cards, Matt Adams and Kolton Wong, swung and I said “That’s gone” (I also say that’s gone when watching games at a stadium because I have such high hopes for the Mess).

It’s as if Yost and Matheny had their teams work on fundamental hitting all season and then once the playoffs started said go ahead swing away. (Sort of like Miyagi in KK2 teaching Daniel that Bone Dance and how to dodge a flying crane).

On a side note, pitchers get a chance to warm up but how come catchers can’t go down to bullpen to practice blocking balls, etc? Probably would have helped Tony Cruz last night.


I’m a Rocky Top alum, I can’t say proud one because I really don’t live and die with the teams like I do with ND, but I got a free education there so I can’t complain.

The last 5 or so years have been laughable there. Fulmer got forced out, Lane came in and lit dumpster fire after dumpster fire, a lawyer with very little coaching experience got the job and is now replaced by Butch Jones who found a loophole to bring in 500 freshmen last year (could be slight exaggeration)….Athletic Departments were combined (I could write for days on how crazy this was) … Senior employees were pushed out …. Senior employees sued for being pushed out … The Pat Summitt drama, etc.

And then this weekend it got weirder. Two months ago, Tennessee hired a new track coach from Penn State (I don’t know why JJ got fired, because as I said I don’t care that much). Coach comes in and two weeks into practice cuts 6 freshmen. Now it isn’t rare for a new coach to get rid of freshmen but that usually happens at the end of the season with a wink and a nudge, not before the season begins.

What makes this story even stranger is that one of the kids cut was recruited by the new coach at her old school. Essentially, the coach thought the runner was good enough for Penn State but not good enough for Tennessee.

Now that Deadspin has picked up the story, it will become mainstream and Bilas will jump on his soapbox (a short soapbox for he has a small vertical) and the issue will be fixed.

My problem in this and the Simmons case in Alabama is why don’t ADs step up right away and try to defuse situation? Especially at UT where the AD has been under heat for 5 years and counting now. It’s as if not one AD ever took a PR class.


Fantasy Football has taken over our viewing of games on Thursday, Sunday and Monday. Crap my team’s losing, oh but Shady McCoy torched ‘em for 150 yards and 2 TDS? awesome, I’ll win my fantasy league this week.

I have no issue with Fantasy Football, I play in 4 leagues (two I care about, two I don’t), but I am baffled by the people who live and die by it. By people who tweet experts about who to start in this league or that league. That you need to be told who to add to your roster.

The guys I play fantasy football with aren’t diehard players, but they stay up to date with the league. Rarely has a week gone by where a player ESPN suggested I pick up was still available. I’d love to find a league like this.

Number two pet peeve is when ESPN will post projected stats for that week. My first year playing, I got sucked in and went with the guy projected to get the higher numbers. After 16 weeks of wanting to curse ESPN, I started going with my gut. I started winning.

i’ve always wanted to run a simulation to see if playing all of ESPN’s suggestions would help you win the league. I don’t think it would.

Last year, I drafted 4/5s of the Bears offense knowing that with Trestman’s offensive background, the Bears would score and why not get double points everytime Cutler through a TD? I made it to the Championship game. You think Matthew Berry would approve that approach?


CSI: Tallahassee or CSI: South Bend? Or, both.

This week ND plays Florida State in Tallahassee and much will center around Winston’s legal troubles, including the sexual assault case that the school has finally decided to hold a disciplinary hearing.

ND fans like most fans are on red alert to mock FSU for their handling of the allegations and they have a point. FSU sat around and did nothing until the media grabbed a hold of it and even over a year later, a disciplinary hearing has finally been scheduled.

My only issue with ND fans attacking FSU over this is that five years ago ND football had their own sexual assault issue. In that instance, the player never missed practice or a game and wasn’t interviewed until 15 days after the incident. Unfortunately his victim took her own life and the case was hard to pursue so no formal charges were ever brought.

Now yes there was an investigation but unlike at FSU, very few people knew the name of the player who was charged with sexual assault. You don’t think life would be a living hell for Kelly each week if he had to answer questions about said player? And yes, said player kept his nose clean for the rest of his time at ND.

FSU has plenty to mock regarding its handling of Winston, the kid has had enough strikes against him and they seem to believe his word is more important than anything else.

But as the saying goes, those in “glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”


Starting Five

The Fighting Irish will not have the best player whose name begins with an “O'” on Saturday. That’s Nick O’Leary, who looks like the grandson of The Most Interesting Man in the World, as opposed to Jack Nicklaus’

1. Here It Comes

Considering that top-ranked Florida State is playing a school named in honor of the Virgin Mother (*), Seminole quarterback Jameis Winston’s table-top declaration of a few weeks’ back is even more inflammatory.

Unbeaten (6-0) and fifth-ranked (too high, IMO) Notre Dame visits Tallahassee on Saturday for the first time since 2002, when the Irish entered Doak Campbell Stadium with a 7-0 record and a No. 6 ranking. The Noles came in at No. 11 and the Irish came away with a decisive 34-24 win…before forgetting to show up the next week against Boston College.

Anyway, more people will compare this contest to the one in South Bend in 1993, when FSU was No. 1 and the Irish were No. 2. Notre Dame won that game, too, 31-24, and they also lost at home to Boston College the following week.

Which may be why the Irish wisely scheduled “Bye” for next Saturday.

I should note that of the two programs, it is Florida State and not Notre Dame that can boast the Rhodes Scholar (Myron “Honor” Rolle). I’ll also note, as I did on Twitter this a.m., that a perusal of the 2012 (most recent) grad rates of the Top 5 schools yields the following:
1. Mississippi State, 62% 2. Florida State, 56%, 3. Ole Miss, 54% 4. Baylor, 62% 5. Notre Dame, 97%.

Should that even matter when assessing college football programs? You decide.

* There are many who consider this as factual as Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

2. The Bucks Stop Here

Only once in 61 outs on the PBR circuit has Bushwacker been ridden for a qualified (8 seconds) ride.

That’s Bushwacker, the greatest bucking bull there ever was. He retires soon, in Las Vegas, at the Pro Bull Riders World Finals later this month. I wrote a story on him and the sport in general for this week’s Newsweek.

One item that failed to make the story but that I’d love to note here: In PBR they have a red button –it’s an actual red button, and it never got a dinner– near the exit area for the riders. If anyone –the rider himself or one of the other riders–believes that the four judges erred, for example, they failed to see that the rider did in fact remain aboard the bull for eight seconds, they may press that button. It’s the equivalent to the NFL’s challenge flag.

But here is where it gets interesting. Again, anyone involved with the event (not fans or media, obviously) may press that red button. And if they’re right, yes, the call gets overturned. But if they’re WRONG…they must pay a $500 fine. How awesome is that? Can we get that for the NFL and MLB?

By the way, a shout-out to the PBR P.R. peeps Hillary Herskowitz, who doggedly pursued me to pursue this story, and Jordan Johnson, who is the first P.R. person I’ve ever run across who also sang the National Anthem –and killed it– at the event. Great people, both.

3. You’re Meat

Last night’s Season 5 premiere gave us the boxcar willies.

“You’re either the cattle or you’re the butcher,” was the theme of last night’s Season 5 premiere of The Walking Dead. If, like me, you tried watching this while flipping between Mulaney, where they discussed the episiotomy (“I’ll tear her a new one”), you probably were not in the mood to be carnivorous for awhile.

A few thoughts: 1) How much better a show would TWD be if it had Game of Thrones’ budget? We’re five seasons in and production values/locations suggest the budget is slightly larger than that of Blair Witch Project. Yes, the zombies rock, but basically it’s a bunch of protagonists wandering in the woods trying to avoid danger. Imagine if they could take us other places –Are there zombie cows roaming the Great Plains, for example? 2) Lauren Cohan’s wardrobe suggests she ain’t missing many yoga classes. She keeps getting more toned, and the outfits more skimpy, with each season. 3) At a certain point, Did you not think to yourself, We all better hope cows never develop opposable thumbs, l because they are going to be rightfully pissed. The only non-vegetarian they may spare is Temple Grandin. 4) Mulaney was better this week, but his best work of the weekend was helping out (writing entirely?) the return sketch for Stephon on SNL. The “doorman who high-fives children of divorce” line was classic. 5) I’d argue the funnier former SNL writer on air last night was Conan O’Brien, who killed on Talking Dead. He compared the supervisor at Terminus to an annoying hipster Starbucks manager. 6) The best sketch on SNL last Saturday was this. Find the truth and keep it simple and you have funny.

Remember: Mulaney’s kid sis is now an SNL writer. He’s still intimately involved with the show. Okay, I’ll shut up about Mulaney now.

4. No Limits in Austin

Charlie Strong instantly booted 9 bands from this lineup for violation of unspecified team rules.

The festival, which took place the past two weekends in Texas’ state capital, is called “Austin City Limits” after the greatest show in the history of PBS. But look at all those bands. If you were unable to find a hotel room, I think I know why.

5. Cover Me

Talib, the force behind Denver’s “(Cover the) Spread Defense”

The Denver Broncos’ Aqib Talib is not only good at covering wide receivers; he’s excellent at covering favorites. Denver was a 10-point favorite at the Jets yesterday and had a 7-point lead and the ball with less than :90 to play. The Jets were out of timeouts. Somewhat curiously, Denver passed incomplete on third down from near midfield where a run would’ve meant they’d be punting the ball to Rex Ryan (in his final season as Jet coach) and his team with about :20 to play.

Instead, Denver passes incomplete. The Jets get a well-punted ball at their own 3 with about a minute to play. On first down, Geno Smith is sacked, almost for a safety (9 points), but the refs down the ball at the one-foot line. On the following play Smith tosses a pick to Talib, who falls down near the 30, but is not touched, so he gets up and returns it for a TD. Broncos 31, Jets 17.

Apparently, a certain well-known boxer is an even bigger Aqib Talib fan this morning.


Starting Five

Clearly, there’s no interest in Gurley as a marketable commodity at the college level

1. The Daily Harrumph: Gone Gurley

It’s not about vilifying a college athlete whose value to his school, to CBS and ESPN, to Mike Slive and the SEC, and to Nike, is worth millions if not ten times that for taking a little money under the table for his autograph. Really, it isn’t.

It’s about someone who, by donning the uniform and in particular donning the captain’s “C” is making it clear that he wants to participate in this game. And, like any game, it has rules. And you don’t get to a la carte the rules.

So Todd Gurley, our preseason and midseason favorite for The Grange Award, will now sit out the Missouri game if not more. The good news is, there’s no character clause for the Grange. The bad news is, I’ve got to hear athletes’ rights-without-conditions pundits wax profound the next few days. That’s fine, I’m sure they’re even more sick of listening to me.

I do have one more item to add, though: Did you ever notice that as soon as a privilege is extended to someone, it isn’t long before they consider it an inalienable right? I found it amusing this morning when Phillip Daniels, father of Frozen Fiver DaVaris Daniels, weighed in on players’ rights by tweeting: “Not saying college athletes need to be paid like the professional athletes but give them something or at least let them use their brand!”

So what will I do with a free weekend in Athens?

You can make that argument. You can also argue that Notre Dame is saving Phillip Daniels $200,000 by offering his son the opportunity to receive an education at a Top 20 academic institution. And maybe, just maybe, Mr. Daniels could see it within himself to give his son a few dollars’ spending money seeing as how much money his son, in conjunction with Notre Dame, is saving him.

Aye, but there’s the rub. Big-time football players have been getting full-ride scholarships for so long that many of them don’t even consider it a privilege. Or a huge financial windfall. Maybe they or their parents don’t even value what that degree means. I don’t know. I’m just the guy who will be the pain in the ass (shocker) reminding people to walk it back when they say college athletes deserve to get paid.

2. You’re Screwed, Marshall

The Utes went 12-0 in 2008 and were denied a shot at the national championship. It turns out a “playoff” would have screwed them just the same.

For years I heard how unfair the BCS was and it was often cited, by paid college football pundits who were clearly in favor of a playoff (because not a few of them are also hopelessly in love with March Madness and feel that college football would be better off imitating that model), that schools such as Utah in 2004 (11-0) or Boise State in 2006 (12-0) or TCU in 2010 (12-0), etc., were being unfairly marginalized by the BCS.

How, the pundits wondered, could you purport to have a fair system of determining a champion if you exclude an undefeated team from the championship game? To which I always replied, “You’re right. No unbeaten should be excluded and in such years, and only in such years, when we have that situation, there should be a four-team playoff.”

Well, guess what happened. A four-team playoff came about –not because of anything I said, but rather because John Skipper and Mike Slive and Larry Scott and a few very other POWERFUL men associated with college football’s windfall saw the value in adding two extra meaningful games in January. Voila!

And so the next step was to sell it to the audience as, “We hear your plea.”

And then yesterday, in Dallas, a few of the more respected names in college football punditry and reportage gathered and, per the Playoff Selection Committee, were tasked to choose a playoff four from the 2008 season. And so these men and woman (ESPN’s Heather Dinich) gathered and chose a final four: Florida, Oklahoma, Texas (which earlier in the season beat Oklahoma) and USC.

Four fantastic, worthy teams. Each of which had one defeat before bowl season. The 2008 season was one of the best in recent memory (Michael Crabtree’s TD catch, anyone?) and you can make a valid argument that those were the four best teams.

But what about Utah? The Utes were 12-0. They got slighted, then were given a lovely parting gift of playing Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, and promptly rolled Tide.

But yesterday’s Mock Selection Committee, composed entirely of media who would not be predisposed to lean toward the Power Five (while the actual Selection Committee will be), still chose to exclude Utah. So, I mean, what’s the point? Other than having a playoff for playoff’s sake.

And so here sits 5-0 Marshall, and I hope the Thundering Herd know that winning the next seven or eight games in a row still won’t get them to the final four. But they can enjoy reading all the wonderful and enlightening pieces that were written explaining to us what a tough job the Selection Committee will have.

Instead of spending six hours on this, the Mock Selection Committee would’ve been better served sharpening knives and learning how to split hairs. Because that’s what this is going to come down to, anyway. There’s no objective means to separate four from five. All we do know for sure is that the oligarchy will be preserved, and none of the writers who attended yesterday’s session, at least to my knowledge, have shared that truth with us.

By the way, have you noticed how much more ornery I am lately? I have. I have, like, at least 36% more orn than I normally do. I’m not sure why. Perhaps I should consult a physician if this orn last for more than four hours.

3. Worlds Apart

Even Willy Wonka is trolling Journey? How about “Stone In Love” or “Still They Ride” or “Girl Can’t Help It?”

So the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, a.k.a. Jann Wenner’s personal totem of inflated self-importance, released a list of 15 acts that were nominated for induction into the Hall for 2015. Some of those acts are worthy (Lou Reed without a doubt; same for Kraftwerk and The Spinners), but none of those acts are Journey, a band that committed the heinous crime of never being cool while recording a number of infectiously popular hits.

Rock-and-roll is supposed to be a refuge for the freaks and geeks, the outcasts (and Outkast) and even the losers (get lucky sometimes). But the folks at Rolling Stone, i.e. Wenner, have long seemed to have a stick up their asses if any band seemed not to be authentic enough for their tastes.

Also not nominated….again. Damone is still trying to unload a pair of tickets to Friday’s concert

There are Journey songs that I loathe (“Separate Ways”) come to mind. But you can’t just totally treat a band that wrote “Don’t Stop Believin'” and “Stone In Love” (this may be my favorite video…Can I nominate these dudes, Jann?) as if they are the 2008 Utah football team, can you? Pardon me while I ask the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Mock Selection Committee.

4. Subway Showtime

You board the L train in Williamsburg at the Bedford stop bound for Manhattan or at First Avenue in Manhattan headed in the opposite direction. Either way, there’s a decent amount of time between stops as your train literally travels beneath the East River. Which makes you a rapt audience.


Three to four to even five young men, usually black, spring from nowhere and in a cheery voice announce, “Showtime! Showtime! Showtime!” One of them produces a boom box and clicks it on. And the next thing you know, the rails of the car become a jungle gym.

For what it’s worth, I attempted the grab-the-top bars-and-flip maneuver successfully last night. There may have been alcohol involved.

Chris Rock used to say that every father’s duty was to keep his daughter “off the pole.” He never said anything about sons.

5. Off the Hooks

Who was I talking to recently about Jan Hooks? I said that in my opinion she was the prettiest female cast member in Saturday Night Live history. Anyway, Hooks, 57, passed away last night. She was a strong female cast member –if not a Cecily Strong female cast member–who did her best work when the excellent Phil Hartman, who also left the mortal stage far too soon, was in a scene with her.


Starting Five

Actually, yes, we ARE ready to play ‘The Feud.’

1. Fleetwood Mac Attack

If not the best-selling album of all time, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours must be the best-selling misspelled album of all time. The legendary 1977 record has sold more than 45 million copies, but the coed quintet had not toured live with all five members since 1998, as Christine McVie (who sings lead on such classics as “Don’t Stop” and “You Make Loving Fun”) had retired to the English countryside.\

I always liked McVie. To draw an analogy from another musical remnant of that era, WKRP in Cincinnati, I always saw her as the Bailey to Stevie Nicks’ Jennifer. Anyway, Fleetwood Mac launched a U.S. tour, I believe, earlier this week at Madison Square Garden.

Bailey, would you like to play Quarters?

How do I know FM (has there ever been another band played as much on FM whose initials are FM?) are pros? Look at this tour schedule. They tackle the northeast in autumn, when it’s still pretty, then they head west as the weather deteriorates. You’re no idiot, Lindsay Buckingham.

This morning the band played four songs on Today (“The Chain”, “Little Lies,” “Gypsy,” and “Go Your Own Way”) and I stood in the crowd with a couple of family members to watch. (When my niece phoned her grandma, a.k.a. Phyllis, and told her we weren’t wearing jackets, there was an audible gasp; in her mind it’s always 31 degrees and muggy, as in someone’s about to mug you, in NYC).

Pro tip for next time: You can watch the band rehearse at around 6 a.m. and then not have to stand with as many people later. Also, the songs are not performed live. Each song was performed a few minutes earlier than it actually aired. “The Chain,” for example, aired at about 8:20 a.m. but the band played it at 7:52 a.m. I may be the only one who cares about such minutiae.

2. Nontroversy Alert

Stauskas is definitely flasthing the twin “W’s” here

You ever notice how white people who have the least exposure to other ethnicities on a daily basis are the most up in arms when someone makes a racial comment –which is not the same as a racist comment? Yesterday ESPN’s Colin Cowherd said the following:

“By the way, African-American men do not watch hockey. I have seen the numbers. I can tell you every sport who watches it. Even among men. Racial differences. Ethnicity differences. African-American men don’t watch hockey. They do watch at a higher percentage basketball. It’s OK. Neither is good, neither is bad. It’s OK.”

Regardless of what you may think of Cowherd, he’s correct in a general sense. Can I find a black man who loves the NHL besides P.K. Subban’s dad? Yes. But, from a demographic sense, is Cowherd accurate here? Yes. So why are some people so upset.

Also, on Sunday night Sacramento King rookie guard Nik Stauskas –who is not only white, he’s Canadian— said, “”I understand that I’m a rookie and I’m white, so people (i.e., opposing players) are going to attack me at all times. Just coming out there in the game, I felt it right away.”

Apparently, this bothered some people. Because some people, who didn’t grow up playing in AAU leagues against mostly black competition, and in D-I hoops against mostly black competition, understands the racial dynamics of big-time basketball less than Chauncey does in his ivory tower.

Children, please. Or maybe Stauskas was just reacting to these comments by Jason Whitlock. 

3. Stephen & Harry & Lloyd

I like this. On November 7 comes the release of The Theory of Everything, which is the story of the life of physicist Stephen Hawking, who wrote a bestseller that no one has ever read from start to finish (except perhaps my work station neighbor, Alex Nazaryan).

One week later, November 14, comes Dumb and Dumber To with Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels reprising their roles as Lloyd and Harry.

My guess is that the latter will earn more at the box office while the former will be nominated, if not win, Best Oscar. It’s the Tropic Thunder theory of “Never go full retard” on display. TToE is sort of  A Beautiful Mind meets Good Will Hunting meets The Sessions, and what Oscar voter will be able to resist that?

Still, wouldn’t this be a terrific double feature?

4. Who Needs Air?

Wouldn’t it be ironic if THIS were the antidote to Ebola?

It was The Hollies who sang, “All I need is the air that I breathe” (they also sang this, which we’ve featured on MH before; and this; the Hollies may be the MH house band), a song whose melody may or may not have been pilfered by Radiohead a few decades later.

So what? Well, yesterday the Center for Disease Control admitted that, you know, maybe that deadly virus known as Ebola is an airborne virus. Which means, like, um, it’s not just contracted by having sex with chimpanzees. So you can catch Ebola even if you’re not monkeying around (thank you, thank you).

Well, have fun with that medical profession. A person enters the ER with Ebola-like symptoms and Dr. RosenRosen and Nurse Ratchet are just supposed to treat him? Yeah, nobody panic.

NBC News has hired Debbie Downer as its new Chief Medical Correspondent

October: it’s Ebola Awareness month, even if you never intended it to be.

5. Mountain, Biker

“I must have made a wrong turn somewhere”

That’s mountain biker Danny McCaskill, a native of the magical Isle of Skye in Scotland, a the precipice of well, everything, on his native isle. This video is beyond Paul Carr level of mind-blowing. Most of us would be too afraid to walk the spots McCaskill cycles here. Can this win an Oscar? Shouldn’t it? Here’s an interview with the director, Stu Thomson.

The video has received 12 million views since it went on-line. If only McCaskill had capped off his two-wheeled climb to the top with a Harlem Shake.


It’s Coming…

No, not Ebola, you sillies! That’s here already. I mean Halloween. And the decorations are up here in fly-over country, where we have a major Halloween jones–and we like to keep the flavor vintage.

Seriously, how beautiful is this?






That’s what Halloween should look like.

Almost as good as the covers of these early 20th-century festivity manuals are the suggestions inside: sailing walnut boats! Apple paring charms! How to make lanterns and the ever-creepy cellar stairs test! 

Love it. 

Back in the seventies, rumor had it that crazy Charles Manson-types took the opportunity that was Halloween to put razor blades in apples and straight pins in the mini-candy bars with the express purpose of murdering children (even if it was true, jokes on you, Charles Manson–every apple handed out was immediately lobbed back through your front window). Because of this, one year my parents forbade me to trick-or-treat, but  allowed me to have a party instead.

I invited the seven other girls in my class over to my house, which as luck would have it, was a big old victorian that spooked up nicely after sundown, and we bobbed for apples, ate donuts off a string and had ourselves a good old time. Everything was going swimmingly until my mother called us  into the dining room for the fake “trick or treat” -ing portion of the evening.

My mom had instructed each of my guests to bring a bag of mini-candy, and each bag was laid open on the dining room table. We girls then walked around the table, picking from the bags until they were empty. But apparently 50 candy bars (but in only seven varieties!) each wasn’t enough.

“So when are we going trick-or-treating?” The girl dressed as a laundry basket asked.

“Yeah, we should go soon, my mom is going to be here at nine,” said the dalmation.

“No, you guys, we, um. That was the trick-or-treating. We did it here,” I said nervously.

You don’t know terror until you’re an eleven -year old girl being stared down by your contemporaries, who believe you have screwed them out of trick-or-treats.

I know what you’re thinking; “Hey, this is just like on the Charlie Brown Halloween special when Sally stays all night with Linus in the pumpkin patch!”

Yes–just like that, only there were seven Sallys, and none of them had a crush on me.

My mother saw the blood in the water and had mercy–she let us go around one block, saving the night and saving me from a winter of pariah-dom and probably an eating disorder.

I digress. It’s getting late and your boss is probably wondering where your TPS report is, so without further ado, here is your

Starting Five

1. The Greatest Event in Television History

Yes, please

Back in 2012, Adam Scott and his wife Naomi created this ridiculously funny series of specials for Adult Swim.  I just got hip to it on Amazon a couple of nights ago–so if you’ve already watched all four of them and discussed them at length,  I was going to say  “my apologies” for boring you with something you know all about, but then I realized I’m not really sorry and if there’s one thing I like to do, it’s keep it real. Unless it’s my hair, and you can all be thankful for that.

So this show–hysterical. Adam Scott basically got a bunch of his famous, funny friends like Paul Rudd, Jon Hamm, Kathryn Hahn and Amy Poehler together and shot four documentaries about the makings of several Hollywood specials, like a shot-for-shot remake of the opening sequence of the hit eighties TV show Simon and Simon.

Wouldn’t it be so great to have a creative outlet with your friends, where you could just jack around for your own amusement and maybe the amusement of others? I mean that would be so fun, wouldn’t it…um…ahem. 

It’s $1.99 per 15 minute episode on Amazon, which is kind of spendy until you consider a ticket to a first-run movie is roughly $11,000 dollars (depending where you live–I understand in NYC it’s more like $12,000? Here in the heartland it’s holding steady at 11)  and you have to drive to the theater and let’s be honest, you always say you’re going to stop off at Walgreen’s and buy m&m’s, but you always end up buying them at the concessions counter for another 4,000.

Short story long, it’s an entertainment bargain–of course, you could also watch all the episodes on Youtube for free.

I’ve never been great with money.

A dramatic re-enactment of me, realizing I could’ve watched it on Youtube for free

2. Blood Moon

Happened this morning, apparently one in a series of four in a row, which hasn’t happened since 1967. This has some people worrying it’s the end of days and others saying “Hey, that hasn’t happened since 1967. Huh.”

I personally think it just means a lunar eclipse occurred, though I do think it’s fun to read everyone’s theories. But if I’m wrong and the rapture is coming, I’ll totally admit I was wrong, right here, next Wednesday. Oh wait, this blog won’t be here!  Either way, everyone wins. 

This guy says the end is near. Apparently so are the donuts.


3. American Horror Story: Freak Show

Hooray! It’s back!

Starts tonight, and I am jazzed, kids.

Last year’s season Coven was my favorite–not only was it a rollicking good time watching Jessica Lange and Angela Basset see who could chew the most scenery,  it was aesthetically the most beautiful. The costumes, the sets–everything was a visual treat.

If you’ve never watched and you think it’ll be too scary for you, it’s not.

I hate scary movies. Hate them. Being scared is a very unpleasant sensation to me and I don’t understand why anyone would want to feel that way.

Last summer a girlfriend and I tried to watch The Conjuring, even though we’d both been told it was terrifying.

So why did we do it? I have no idea. Well no, that’s not true, I mean we’d also heard it was really good, a high-quality horror movie the likes of which haven’t been seen in a while, and I guess I personally forgot how much I hate being scared. I don’t know. Anyway, we got about 45 minutes in before we turned it off, and I still barely slept a wink that night.

You know what it is? It’s devil stuff. Anything to do with the devil and I’m out. I alluded to my Exorcist experience a few weeks ago, and I guess now is as good a time as any to tell you about that…

I was six. That movie had just come out and Gene Shalit was reviewing it on The Today Show, and I walked into the kitchen just as he showed the clip of Linda Blair jackknifing on her bed. I felt all the blood drain out of my body and I literally froze in my tracks.

You didn’t really think I was going to put up a picture from The Exorcist, did you?

My class went to the library on a field trip to watch a movie (which is really the best part of this story–we had to leave the school and go to a library to watch a movie about lions) and as soon as the librarian turned off the lights, I wet my pants. My mom had to come pick me up.  She thought I was sick, so she…put me to bed, alone, in the middle of the day.


I didn’t sleep for the next six years. I am not making that up. I would lie in my bed at night, testing my voice to see if it was growly and making sure I was still in contact with the mattress and not levitating. To make things worse, my bedroom looked out onto a bookcase where The Exorcist sat on the top shelf in all it’s evil glory! Daring me to shut my eyes.

It got to be a family joke–every night the ten of us (my younger sister wasn’t born yet) would kneel down in front of a picture of Jesus to say our prayers, and after our “God Bless”-es my siblings tagged on a “and please let Katie not get Possessed.”

Short story long, American Horror Story is about as scary as Scooby Doo.

4. Beer Goggles Are Real

This is so ground-breaking, I really should’ve lead with it. A study conducted in Great Britain, according to Women’s Health, says that women who are boozing rate faces as more attractive than their sober counterparts.

I would like funding for some of my studies–I’m curious about whether its true if I make a face it will stay that way, or if I eat nothing but cookies for a week will I get fatter, or how many episodes of Parenthood will I have to watch before I actually go insane.

I figure I’ll need about a million dollars.

5. Mulaney

Oh, hon. No.

The adorable John Mulaney’s new show, Mulaney, debuted on Fox this week, and it was rough. 

He’s like if your little brother were a stuffed animal. He’s that cute.

I really didn’t want it to be. I am rooting for this kid! Why our own beloved Grand Poobah wrote an awesome piece about this awesome kid here. We want you to come out on top, Mulaney! We know you can do it.

You can do it, John Mulaney! This ethnically diverse group of office workers believes in you and so do I!

Well. Maybe it’ll get better. Check out his standup, amigos, because it is fantastic.

Louis C.K. had a terrible first show on HBO a few years back, remember Lucky Louie? It was seriously awful. And now he’s got Louie. All is not lost. I’ll keep watching, and hoping….

For “while there’s life, there is hope”… 

Word up, trailer for that new Seven Hawking movie. 

Hey, isn’t that the kid from that other movie? The one about the singing French peasants?

On that inspirational note, until next time–

Your friend,




Starting Five

“I love advertising because I love lying…”

1. “Having Said That…”

Remember when everyone simply assumed that Larry David was the mean one of the duo and that Jerry Seinfeld was so unfailingly nice (“How could anybody not like you?”). Well, maybe Jerry was always just as “mean,” and maybe what mean really means is honest. Which does not always sit well with people, especially when the arrows of candor are pointed at them.

So here’s Seinfeld accepting a Clio award on October 1 and then absolutely eviscerating the chosen profession of his audience. The only other place you’ll find commentary both this candid and caustic right now is on Last Week Tonight. I’m glad for Jerry that he is enjoying semi-retirement; but we need his voice.

A sample of his speech: “I think spending your life trying to dupe innocent people out of hard-won earnings to buy useless, low-quality, misrepresented items and services is an excellent use of your energy.” 

And they cheered. Classic!

2. The Kid Stays In the Picture

Coltrane and Hawke: Same time, next year?

Props to Ellar Coltrane, who spent more time start-to-finish working on a film (Boyhood) than Tom Cruise did for Eyes Wide Shut. The film’s second half is so much better than its first half, and Ethan Hawke, whom you go into the film expecting to be the typical deadbeat dad, may be the most likable and just plain decent character. He explodes all your preconceptions.

As you know, the film was shot over 12 years, at about two weeks per year. The filmmaker, native  Texan Richard Linklater, never overtly informs the audience about time passages, so it’s fun to watch how Coltrane’s Mason ages, via changes in hair style and a rapid growth spurt.

Coltane and Hawke: The film’s best scenes occur when it’s just the two of them.

The final scene takes place in Big Bend National Park, and I loved it because you have to think, as my friend Chris Corbellini noted in his MH review, that Linklater began the project all those years ago with this final scene in mind. One reason it struck a chord with me is that perhaps my favorite movie –definitely my favorite sleeper film–is Fandango, which is also an entirely-in-Texas film whose climactic scene also takes place in Big Bend. The only difference is that in Boyhood, the characters are in their first day at college, while in Fandango they’ve just graduated.

But, the themes are nearly identical. I know that Linklater is roughly my age and that he is a lover of all things film and Texas, so this correlation cannot be coincidence. Can it?

3. Something About Sports…

America, for your own safety, would you please stop trying to fake-punt versus Miami? Thank you…

I wrote like, what, 2,000 words this morning on the previous weekend in college football. So as soon as it’s posted on I will link to it here. Thanks. In the mean time, enjoy this clip that will exorcise the ghosts of Joel Williams and Derek Brown, former Irish tight ends who were not as successful at the end of games in that very same corner.

4. Reverend Camden!?!

I know what you’re thinking: Where’s his left hand?

This is sad.

TMZ had reportedly obtained ($$$$) audio of actor Stephen Collins confessing to his estranged wife, actress Faye Grant, that he molested and exposed himself to at least three young girls.

I will confess that I didn’t watch Seventh Heaven without wondering whether, at the time, Jessica Biel was 18. Oh, like you’re going to judge me. I always thought it would’ve been cool if the Camdens had relocated to Starrs Hollow. I think Jess and Mary Camden would’ve made a rockin’ couple.

5. Flash, But Not In the Pan

What a terrific food server he’d make

The critics appear to be agog over The Flash, the new CW series about the world’s fastest man, according to D.C. Comics. The Flash was my favorite superhero as a boy because I didn’t want to root for the big favorites and I appreciate promptness, which it would seem The Flash would have down.

Anyway, please watch it. Our man Barry Allen/The Flash, the man with the lightning bolt on his suit, is played by Grant Gustin, who used to be on Glee as Sebastian. And one of his mentors, Harrison Wells, is played by our friend Tom Cavanagh, who is too good of an actor to have been away from the screen for this long. Tom suffers from Austin Murphyism, a dreaded condition in which one never ages and remains eternally fit. It’s dreadful.

Please tune in: The CW, 8 p.m. (Yaaaaaayyyyyy).

Remote Patrol

Dodgers at Cardinals

Game 4, NLDS

Fox Sports 1         5 p.m.

The most celebrated Carpenter since Karen (you thought I was going to go with Joseph?)

Are the Cardinals really going to usher out the Dodgers, and quite unceremoniously, for the second consecutive year? Yasiel Puig, who tripled and scored LA’s only run last night but who has also struck out seven times in the past two games, has been benched. Clayton Kershaw, who for the first time in 68 starts failed to hold a lead when staked to four runs (the Dodgers led 6-1 entering the 6th inning in Game 1), will start on three days’ rest. And St. Louis’ Matt Carpenter, the All-Scrappy Player poster boy player of the 2014 postseason thus far, has homered in three consecutive games.

Nothing in the Dodgers’ makeup the past two seasons suggests they’ll rise to the occasion today. If you remember last year’s NLCS between the two, the Cards ambushed Kershaw for seven runs in four innings, his worst outing of the season, in the Game 6 clincher in St. Louis. This smells similar.

And yet in Kershaw the Dodgers have the best (regular season) starter since Bob Gibson or Sandy Koufax on the mound for them.  He just happens to be 0-3 with a 7.23 ERA lifetime as a starter in the NLDS.

Red state. Blue State. White ball. Color me intrigued.