Starting Five

The NFL would probably find a way to outlaw this play based on the principle that “it creates unfettered joy.”

1. Trust Fall

Watch this video of a fake punt that occurred in the second quarter of Miami’s 41-20 win over Arkansas State last Saturday. This took place in the second quarter, the Red Wolves trailing 20-7. As you can plainly see, it’s 4th-and-5 from the Hurricane 40.

The ball is snapped back to the punter, Luke Ferguson (unseen), and your eyes attempt to follow the ball, which leaves the screen. And so the first time you watch the video you may miss the Arkansas State player who folds his arms across his chest and performs a trust fall.

A few observations:

1). I cannot tell his number, though it seems to be a single digit. I don’t know who he is (Update: Medium Happy intern Jacob Anstey believes the player is Charleston Girley, who is now our second-favorite Girley Man in college football) {Updated Update: Apparently, the player in question was Booker “I Don’t Even Read Her” Mays}

2) If the Miami defense was paying attention, they’d notice that he was technically an interior lineman. You can only have four men in the backfield, and the Red Wolves already have four –the punter, the two up-backs, and the man in motion. That’s why the player is lined up on the line of scrimmage and is hence an ineligible receiver since only the last player on either side of the center who lines up on the line is an eligible receiver. So the Miami linebacker, Thurston Armbrister, should not even be covering him. Work on that, Al Golden.

3. People are calling this “the worst fake punt ever.” I hope I never think like they do. I love the imagination that went into this. Clearly, the trust-fall dude is meant as a distraction. It’s how magicians pull tricks or how crimes get pulled off by con men: Get the victim’s eyes and thoughts on something away from the primary action. I LOVE the offensive coordinator/coach (Walt Bell?) who devised this play.

4) reason people are criticizing the play, I think, is two-fold: 1) It’s different and 2) It didn’t work. But I think the reason it didn’t work –and I cannot wait to hear what Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson says– is that the punter was supposed to throw to the player in motion who went on the wheel route, but the punter geeked out, panicked, and just tossed it to the wrong side of the field. That’s my theory. We’ll find out later.

5) Finally, behind all the lovable goofiness of the play (at least for me), we have what should be a targeting penalty and an automatic ejection. Watch how Armbrister goes head-hunting on the player. I believe this is the reason the targeting rule was created, and the fact that it has been misapplied almost universally since is no reason NOT to employ it here. I hope the ACC looks at this play and punishes Armbrister. This wasn’t a football play; this was all about taking someone out.

2. “AD, DA. DA, AD”

I don’t think this is why God invented trees

Yes, I just went “Uma, Oprah” on all of this.

So, sorry, but here’s my hard-line thought: Adrian Peterson and “parenting” don’t belong in the same sentence, because a parent is someone who wakes up in the same home as his children. And while I understand that we live in a modern world of divorces and single parents and second marriages, a terrific parent does everything he or she can do to remain in the same town as his children. And it’s not as if finances are a problem in AD’s case.

He apparently has five to seven children by four women. I’m not sure on the details. I’m not sure if he is sure on the details. Let’s be honest here: Adrian Peterson is a man who do what he do because he is more interested in satisfying his carnal desires. And because there are laws and stuff, he must pay child support. Otherwise, good luck with that, ladies.

If you are going to become a parent–and I am not–then your kids become your priority. Because it’s your job not to send awful adults out into society. You must do everything possible to prevent this, and that means love and time and structure and, yes, discipline. I know a lot of parents, both married and divorced. I don’t know a single negligent mom; I do know some dads who are doing C+ jobs at best.

It all goes back to the Wisdom of Rust Cohle: “The kids are the only things that matter, Maggie. They’re the only reason for this whole man-woman drama.”

When it’s all said and done, I’m not so bothered by the fact that AD beat his child as I am that he is not actually being a father to them day in and day out. He’s taking almost zero responsibility for the lives that he has created. That’s what’s despicable.

3. Adulthood: It’s Always Been Dead

Scott’s essay did not reference a single African-American in pop culture, though I think we can agree this guy had some adulthood issues.

So maybe because it was written by a culture maven and because it appeared in the New York Times, and perhaps because it references Huck Finn and some artsy-fartsy intellectual literary critics, lots of people have been praising this A.O. Scott essay on the “Death of Adulthood.”

However, Scott undercuts his own argument by referencing men such as Ben Franklin (and what about Henry the VIIIth? Or even Hamlet? Caligula?). Men have been refusing to grow up for centuries, if not millennia.

Coach Taylor: Now there was a a MAN

You can cite shows such as Mad Men, The Sopranos and Breaking Bad and say that men are refusing to be adults (though I’d argue Walter White, in particular, was inspired to perform his deeds, at least at first, because he wanted to better support his wife and son). And wasn’t the entire previous half season of Mad Men about Don Draper’s realization of his role as dad, which all began the season before with his Hershey’s pitch epiphany? Either way, I can throw Friday Night Lights right back in his face. Did he forget that show? Or was it just conveniently omitted because it didn’t fit his narrative.

Finally, how do you write 4,000 words taking down male maturity in modern pop culture and never once reference Entourage?

4. A Nack For Writing

Most writers are less engaging in person. Bill Nack does not at all fit that scouting report.

Today on, my favorite SI writer of them all, at least in terms of pathos-laden prose, William “Bill” Nack gets some play. And if you have the time, read his bonus piece (that’s what we called them;  now the kids refer to it as “long form”) on Bob Kalsu, an NFL player who died while on active duty in Vietnam (his is the only name of a U.S. professional athlete on the Vietnam wall.

The interview with Ted Keith, whose father, Larry was a terrific writerand then an editor (and quite the engaging personality) at the magazine for decades, is illuminating. One moment that is not included, and it’s one of the many reasons I’ll always love Bill (besides the fact he can pronounce the final paragraph of The Great Gatsby in both English and Spanish and will happily do so on command), is a meeting that took place with all the writers before the Christmas party in 2000. AOL had just acquired Time-Warner and hence, SI, and some publishing boob was brought in to tell us how this brave new world was going to work for all of us.

And Bill just raised his hand and politely asked, “So how many of us are going to be laid off?”

 5. She’s Dowd-y

This should be the cover of next month’s Southern Living

So allow me to pile on and, as others have done, note that Ann Dowd is not only the actress who plays the leader of the Guilty Remnant in The Leftovers, but was also the sad sack girlfriend of the Yellow King whom we first meet in the season finale of True Detective. Since she’s been killed off in the former, perhaps HBO will bring her back as the replacement for Peter Gregory on Silicon Valley. Or she can become Selina Meyers’ new BFF on Veep.



9 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. I’ve printed our the Scott essay but won’t be able to read until tonight. However, when gathering the pages together to staple, my eyes did alight on the top paragraph of pg 9 & am wondering whether the following is the impetus of your negative critique – he writes “the gloomy-man, angry-man, antihero dramas that too many critics reflexively identify as quality television – …Game of Thrones, True Detective,…The Newsroom”. Um, ouch?

    Anyhoo, if the guy equates the demise of patriarchy with the “death of ADULTHOOD”, please warn me now.

    BTW, I’ve said this before & will undoubtedly say it again, but HOW do you read & watch everything that you do? Even if you only had ONE job? After much contemplation, I’ve decided on two likely scenarios – 1) you have clones OR 2) your ever growing coterie of smart & funny friends are given daily “assignments” & they report back to you every morning with single paragraph synopsis, for which you take credit. So, President jdubs, what’s next? 🙂

    Speaking of the presidency, are you watching the Roosevelt miniseries on PBS? It’s great. TR (delightfully & accurately described as a “steam engine in trousers”) reminds me a bit of you – the man wrote over 150,000 letters (in addition to several books) and read 1-3 books EVERY day. If the man was brought back to life today, he’d be furious at this modern age (far too wussified for him), but he sure was something. I couldn’t help myself & checked the Wikipedia entry today about TR (he hated the name ‘Teddy’) & read that while campaigning during the 1912 election (I think it was then), he was shot before giving a speech. He apparently was confident that even though he was bleeding, the bullet didn’t hit anything “important” & he went on to give a 90 speech. He started by telling the audience that he’d been shot but it took more than that to “kill a bull moose”. The guy was far from perfect (especially with 21st century eyes/attitudes), but wow, how do you top THAT?

  2. Don’t be hating on A.O. Scott for his exceptional way with words.
    (Those initials stand for Absolutely Outstanding, by the way.)

    If you really wanted to pick nits, you might note that Peter Pan
    never enters his discourse.

    “He was a poet; and they are never exactly grown-up.” –J.M. Barrie

  3. You could have also referenced multiple emmy award winner Modern Family regarding adults who have grown up and care about their kids.

  4. That’s a 90 MINUTE speech that TR gave after he was shot. Damn fingers. Yeah, it’s all THEIR fault.

    Do you really own BA & are you going to buy into BABA? Any insights on “black sheep” of this market (ahem)? I am a small, teeeeeny investor so actual IPOs are over my head until after they shake out & even then, I’ve not been that successful. I bought stock in a company (GAME) after its share price had dropped by half after the IPO. I then bought a little more after it dropped another 25%. I’m in the green, but the share price is only a bit over where I 1st bought in & still nowhere near its IPO price.

    I will be riding Alibaba though, thru my small ownership of YHOO (my 2nd-ever stock purchase back in Nov 2008 at $9/share & yes, I’ve done an “MM” there – alright, alright, alright).

    And I’ve sort of lost track, but do you own GPRO or were you going to buy some but have not yet?

    I ALMOST bought into TWTR when it fell under $29 awhile back but my limit order was for $27.75 & it never got there. Do you still own TWTR?

    BTW, I read today that 314 Americans have over $200 million (each) in their IRAs. Congrats! 🙂

  5. To your queries, Susie B., I do own GPRO (since $39) and TWTR (since $31). Don’t own BA but should’ve bought a year ago. I will buy BABA, at least some, on Friday.

  6. Keep an eye on NFLX. They are currently rolling out a new streaming network in Europe. From I’ve been perusing, they are really accommodating the preferences of the different culture.

    If you don’t own a premiere tech stock (FB, TWTR, etc…) right now, I’d hold off on placing a purchase order. BABA is going to go nuts on Friday, probably closing around $100. I think it will be safe to hold off until next week to see how the market regroups (remember Scotland and the Fed).

    Why wait for BABA? Well, I think many investors will become irrational and jump at the bait on the first day, skyrocketing the price. It may never settle back down at its IPO price, but it will correct itself sooner rather than later.

    Don’t jump into uncharted waters before others break in.

  7. I read the Scott piece last night; you SHOULD have warned me. Yes, the man is a skilled writer but this piece is a FAIL. His premise is a fail (demise of patriarchy = death of “adulthood”, oh, but he REALLY means MALE adulthood) & even worse, he fails to prove the premise at all. But, how could it be otherwise, as NOwhere in the piece does HE actually define “adulthood”. The closest we get is his mentioning one of his referenced literary critics who views marriage & courtship as the “grown-up themes” of the “mature” novel. As for his apparently unrealized personal sexism, over the 1st 7 pages, every time he mentions “adulthood”, it is strictly about the male. Then he finally throws in a mention that current pop music/ singers & much of popular culture are feminist-based (if not in name). The few current ‘female’ TV shows he references (none ever viewed by me) in no way illustrated yet alone proved females were also now shirking his still undefined “adulthood”.

    And then his final paragraph – where he fails once again as he doesn’t conclude with anything – so, are we to be concerned with this “death of adulthood”? Try to change it? WHAT WAS HIS POINT?

    I do agree that far too much (for my personal taste) of “popular culture” the past 10-20 years or so has been too enamored with & boringly depicts (in one movie after another) the seeming unending hijinks of 30-40-50 year old males attempting to be obnoxiously “forever young” (or just forever obnoxious). However, if marriage is a necessary component of “adulthood”, I guess that means the ages-old Catholic church is just a bastion & organization of over-age frat-boys encased in marble. Now THAT is a premise I’d like explored.

  8. And thanks jdubs for the financial update. May ALL your investments be 10-baggers. (A Motley Fool term for making 10 times or more on your invested money). 🙂

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