Starting Five

The NFL has put these two in charge of inflating the footballs at Super Bowl XLIX

1. PSI: Foxboro*

(The judges will also accept ‘Tomfoolery’)

Bill Belichick came off as more believable than Tom Brady yesterday. Re-read that sentence.

On ESPN afterward, former NFL quarterback Mark Brunell flatly stated, “I just didn’t believe what Tom Brady had to say.”

Brady said “balls” a lot. There’s a gay porn film that you could entirely dub over with Brady quotes from this presser. But you’ll have to go ask someone else for a copy. I mean, I already lent out my copy of Ryan Fitzpatrick to Markazi.

Brady also said, “This isn’t ISIS.” He’s right, but you know, what is?

Also, the ever-witty Cecil Hurt mused that it’s a shame Air Supply won’t be the Super Bowl XLIX halftime act.

2. Film Nerd Item

Forgetting Infinite Jest

The Sundance Film Festival: one of those things I hope to do right after I purchase that pair of snakeskin cowboy boots (or cowboy-skin cowboy boots; I’m not picky), summit Kilminjaro and be one of ESPN’s “Backgammon Insiders.” Anyway, it began yesterday in the town with the two common nouns name and ends on Super Bowl Sunday. Here’s five films among many that you are permitted to “highly anticipate”:

5) Last Days in the Desert….Ewan McGregor as Jesus Christ

4) Z for Zachariah….A post-apocalyptic world where the only survivors are Margot Robbie, Chris Pine and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Did someone just say, “Menage a trois plus biracial?”

3) The End of the Tour— Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace, during a five-day interview with Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky, played by Jesse Eisenberg, whom I already think was the kid who played William Miller in Almost Famous even though he wasn’t. The article never actually ran, but Lipsky turned the notes into a book. Take that, Ben Fong-Torres!

2) Digging for Fire — Anna Kendrick and Sam Rockwell. I’m in.

1) Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck — The first authorized biopic on the King of Grunge. If you’re keeping score, that’s our third messianic figure on this list.

 3. This Saudi, He’s Outie

Despite being one of the world’s wealthiest men, the “Abullah” never caught on as a facial hair look

King Abdullah bin Abulaziz al Saud, the king of Saudi Arabia, has died at the age of 90. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter of oil, is No. 1 in oil reserves, and is also No. 1 in homegrown men who actively took part in 9/11, not that we ever pointed the finger at them (maybe because of those other two things that Saudi Arabia is No. 1 in).

Oh, well. All accounts seem to portray Abdullah, who took the throne just 10 years ago but had actively been running the nation since 1996 (still, not until after his 70th birthday), as a good egg who championed a moderate Arab nation.

4. Hkakabo Razi

Tigers. Poisonous snakes. Ethnic rebels. And a 19,000-foot summit. And you feel good about yourself because you found the short line at Whole Foods. Here’s National Geographic with a mesmerizing story about a team of climbers scaling Myanmar’s tallest peak.

5. The Circle Is Real

Spartz: Highly intelligent and successful….but is there any soul beneath?

If you’ve read David Eggers’ The Circle, then you know it’s a dystopian novel about a Google-like company where quality and vitality are not just related: they are identical.

Meet Emerson Spartz, a 27 year-old alumnus of (I’m sorry to say) Notre Dame who, as this New Yorker profile calls him, is “the king of clickbait.” It’s an ominous and somewhat terrifying profile by Andrew Marantz, but then he and I are “old media.’

“A beautiful book?” says Spatz, who was raised in LaPorte, Ind. “I don’t even know what that means.”

Miss Universe Update

Ohhhh, Canada

That’s Miss Canada, Chanel Beckenlehner, wearing quite the inspired costume in a prelim at Miss Universe (there are prelims?). Anyway, my first thought was: High sticking!

Remote Patrol

Real Time with Bill Maher

HBO 10 p.m.

Agree or disagree, Maher’s show offers far more intriguing policy talk than the Sunday morning network shows. Somehow, I imagine they’ll find a way to discuss Ballghazi, too.


3 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. I just read some of your tweets & well, did Charles Pierce dump your sister once upon a time? Steal your lunch money when you were 7? Cheat you in cards? Take a job away from you? Ooof, prettee harsh there, jdubs. I’m mystified at your response (he makes some good points, does some witty writing*), however it also clarified DEFLATEGATE for me immediately.

    Sure, “breaking the rules” is bad. The NFL’s footballs are supposed (by the RULEbook) to be 12.5 – 13.5 psi & they were found to be 2 pounds under at Halftime & the suspect balls were switched out. Our football-crazed nation wailed in semi-unison : “HOW did it happen?! WHO did it?! SOMEbody’s gotta pay!” Well then, let’s ride the guilty varmint outta town on the rail!

    Rules are rules, gotta play by the rules, right? Well, if this particular rule was of such tantamount importance, why is the rulebook’s penalty for the tampering of footballs only $25,000? And more importantly, why wasn’t the Super Bowl win VACATED by the team whose QB has stated more than once in the past 2 years that he PAID $7500 to “adjust” the footballs he would be playing with in his big game? Is there a Statue of Limitations on the (sucks in breath) “INTEGRITY OF THE GAME”?

    Your tweets about Pierce has pushed me thru the fog – I do NOT care who did it; it was done. A penalty must be paid : Tom Brady must sit for the 1st quarter of the Super Bowl. Does not matter if HE took the air out (“who let the air out, woof, woof?!”) of the footballs or instructed someone to do so, the Pats’ footballs were “illegal” for the 1st half of the AFC championship game & the sitting of their future HOF QB in the their NEXT game, the Super Bowl is the, er, “pound of pigskin” that needs to be extracted. So let it be said, so let it be done. NEXT!

    On to Arizona!

    * “To chronicle their heroes, the ancient Greeks had Homer. We have sports talk radio. This says nothing good about Western civilization.”

    * “…the journalism of moral frenzy”.

    * “Part of Brady’s softened, perplexed demeanor had to be attributed to the fact that, earlier on Thursday, his head coach had tied him to the cowcatcher of a runaway train”.

    If I didn’t know better, I’d say YOU had written the above 3 statements. They are EXCELLENT! Precise! Funny!

    Ok, ok, maybe calling the USA a “nation of infantilized yahoos” is a bridge too far (or a ‘pound’ too much?), but after witnessing however many “twitter wars” & “social media meltdowns”, would you ‘testify’ differently?

  2. 🙂 🙂 Why yes, Susie b, there is a “STATUE of Limitations” & it’s in the warehouse next to Jo Pa’s. Ahem, apparently, the 3rd “t” in STATUTE is missing in my comment above. What happened?! WHO did it? Was it the bad weather conditions? I’ll make like the NFL & “investigate”. Good thing I won’t need to ask myself any questions. 😉

  3. Mr. Walters’ Newsweek publication from today (1/23/2015) showed him trying to coin a new “cutesy” name for the football scandal: “Ballghazi.” I almost choked on my lunch. Is he kidding? How much of a bubble are you in, man? The scandal/events you’re alluding to with this mashup name COST AMERICAN LIVES! Arguing over who deserves/doesn’t deserve to be in the Super Bowl is in NO WAY related. At the end of the day, this sport is just a game, you’re falling into the trap I see time and time again with sports journalists trying to elevate their importance– and I dare say, major league sports’ importance– in the world… Maybe it’s because I’m lucky enough to work in healthcare, but I can wake up each morning actually knowing I’m contributing to society… for you, I guess you’re just trying to overcompensate for your doubts on the matter!

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