by John Walters

Beano Cook was born 84 years ago today. As game week is here, it feels right to remember him….

Starting Five

Remembering you left your phone charger back at the hotel. Damn!

1. The Daily Harrumph: League of Denali*

*The judges will also accept “Fit of Peak”

So, are POTUS’ opponents making a mountain out of a molehill (that, as you can see above, is clearly not a mole hill), or is he simply trolling FOX News to new, um, heights by renaming America’s tallest mountain Denali (it does happen to sit in Denali National Park) and relieving it of its former name, Mount McKinley?

And, oh God, what does Sarah Palin think of all this?

McKinley: “Well, it IS good go to be in the news again, but I’m the second guy over 50 to have his photo in MH today and we aren’t even to the 2nd item yet. What gives?”

Well, here’s all that I know: this week POTUS will become the first sitting U.S. president  to visit the Arctic in hopes of showing those of us overly concerned with our Fantasy drafts and whom Taylor Swift will next invite on stage that climate change is very real. As a nod toward that, he’s formally changing the name of the 20,230-foot peak to Denali, the indigenous Athabascan name that most Alaskans have long called it, and away from the name of the third U.S. president to be assassinated.

I’m sure all the usual people will find a reason to decry this move (Obama hates white people), and all the other usual people will find a reason to substantiate it (this is the name Alaskans have long called it). There’s nothing like hearing a bunch of folks who’ve never been somewhere and have no intention of ever going argue about what that place’s name should be.

2. Van-tastic*

Precious Time may be slipping away, but (Cara) Van knows how to enjoy it….

*The judges will also accept anything better you can throw at them

To celebrate his 70th birthday, Van Morrison came home. To Belfast. He played two shows on Cyprus Avenue, the street he immortalized in song on his 1968 classic album, Astral Weeks. See, that’s the big difference between Morrison and his Irish counterpart, Bono. His streets DO have names.

Bono signaling how many billion he would like to be worth….

Speaking of Bono, it was announced that he is now a billionaire and the world’s richest pop star (What about Dr. Dre? Or is he not “pop”?). Six years ago Bono’s investment group   — yes, you read that correctly —Elevation Partners, purchased a 2.3% share of Facebook for $86 million. Its current valuation is $1.5 billion (he is more than Dublin down on that bet),

Facebook has made Bono more scratch in the past six years than all of U2’s album sales and touring have in 35-plus years. If he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for, it’s only because he’s searching in all the wrong places.

3. Reaper Concussions*

Wait a second… Is THIS the film we’re talking about?

*The judges will not accept League of Denial or League of Denali

The movie Concussion will be released on Christmas day. Sports Illustrated had EXCLUSIVE footage of the trailer for at least three hours yesterday (a moratorium that I’m not sure other websites even honored but, hey, ask forgiveness not permission, right?).

I don’t think that this is a scene from the movie, either. I could be wrong. I often am.

The NFL reminds me a lot of Lucky Strike in 1960. It knows its brand is wildly popular even though it also brings about an earlier grave for far too many who play it. Roger Goodell needs to just walk into that pitch meeting with Sterling Cooper and hear someone tell them to stop denying it or apologizing for it. “The NFL: It’s Toasted!”

People still smoke. And people will continue to play football (just like people continue to sit in the upper deck of Turner Field, even though that can also be dangerous).

4. Zibby

I’ve attended many games at Notre Dame Stadium. It was never louder there than at this moment, Zibby’s punt return. The play that showed Notre Dame could compete with USC’s naut of jugger.

A tremendous read on former Notre Dame safety Tom Zbikowski by Mike Vorel of the South Bend Tribune. A couple of personal memories: on my first trip to Notre Dame as an employee of NBC Sports, during the summer of 2006, I was asked to bring along a younger colleague (a good guy, he’d worked with me at SI on Campus).

So, we have somewhat unfettered access to ND players as we are NBC, and this is also Brian Hardin’s first summer as the football SID. And so I am off interviewing Darius Walker and the younger guy is talking to Zibby. And his first few questions are all about what bars Zibby visits during the summer in South Bend. And suddenly there’s a commotion and I think if it weren’t a media member, boxer Zibby would have KO’d him.

Instead, Hardin intervened, I tried to play diplomat, and it was all very awkward for awhile. Thinking back, my colleague had probed a point that even he didn’t know how sensitive Zibby was about it.

Zibby was perhaps not the most gifted player of the Charlie Weis era (Kyle Rudolph? Michael Floyd?), but he’s probably the favorite. Plays such as this helped. And I like what Jason McIntyre added here.

Another friend, Tim Ring, did some research this week and came up with this stat. Tom Zbikowski, 7 career touchdowns in college (two each at least by fumble, INT, and punt return). Charles Woodson, 1997 Heisman winner, 4 career TDS.

Zibby, by the way, should have had 8. His best TD came on an interception return-double lateral right before halftime versus Stanford in 2007 (when both programs were crap), but I believe Trevor Laws was penalized for a personal foul trailing the play. The Pac-12 refs that day, man were they crap.

5. Grange Award!!!

Grange, a former Illini, on Tim Beckman: “What an a-hole.”

Finally, we know you’ve been waiting….here’s our Red Grange Award Watch List. Are you ready? Are you seated? Our Watch List is….EVERYBODY. You should watch every college football player, or at least consider all of them potential winners at this stage. But here are five of my favorites:

1. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia

2. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State (yes, I realize he is not playing at Va. Tech).

3. Trevon Boykin, QB, TCU (honestly, I don’t think he’ll win, but everyone else does, and I’m weak and a follower, as you all know)

For this year’s Grange Award, I’m Chubb-thumping…

4. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (but will he still be as good having to wear a full jersey?)

5. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford (America loves a great white hope RB and Heisman voters love a guy who shines in a season finale versus Notre Dame).

My preseason pick? Well he’s a Nick (ba ba bow wow) Chubb!

Music 101

September Morn

Why not begin the greatest month of the year with a little Neil Diamond schmaltz? The 1979 mont peaked at No. 17 and became the Brooklyn native’s 30th Top 40 hit. Neil OWNED the 1970s.

Remote Patrol

Hollywood Game Night

NBC 10 p.m.

You only have so many precious minutes on this earth. Go ahead and spend 60 of them watching this heaping, flaming pile of crap (or almost anything else the networks currently air in prime time). I am beginning to think that a while ago the heads of programming at ABC, CBS and NBC made a bet amongst each other as to just how bored (and boring) Americans are and who could air the most inane, useless piece of garbage and still persuade people to watch.


8 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. Our mutual twitter follow and my friend Matt says the Bono story is B as in B S as in S. That net worth figure assumes Bono is the only investor (highly highly doubtful) and more important doesn’t address the crap investments Elevation made (see Forbes Media sale in 7/18/14 NYTimes).

    Every day is a Beautiful Day for Bono but not quite that rich.

  2. So, you’re saying you’re a “Chubb(y) chaser” now?

    I was clicking around on the TV last night & stopped on one of those ‘Buying in Alaska’ shows just as this young couple opened the back door of property#2 & spread out before them was a picture-postcard view of Mt Denali. Pret-tee impressive & just damn pretty too. Would *I* want to actually live there? Who can’t even stand winter in the ‘Old Line State’? HAHAHA. I’m obsessed with house/real estate TV shows & you name it, I’ve watched it. I’ve been viewing the various Alaska house-hunting shows for about the past 3 years. Here’s the thing- about 95% of them are taped in the summer months. Can’t IMAGINE why. 😉

    Question – what % of everything you know about various athletes/sports have you actually been able to write about? 60%? 30? Er, 10? I assume this is probably true of most longtime sports media types, but do YOU regard this as just an occupational hazard (i.e. to keep said occupation) or a public deception? I’m not criticizing, just wondering. I do get so tired when athletes (current & former) & media shrill that the “pubic just doesn’t understand or know about” the… locker room, the unity vs constant competition of a sports team, the work & sacrifice of all involved over years, the lifestyle & its dangers, etc, etc. That whole “you can’t handle the truth!’ philosophy is on its last legs don’t you think? The public knows only what it’s been told/seen for themselves. Should they be criticized/ridiculed for ignorance when the information is intentionally kept from them? Is the reason why so many in the media become bitter cynics because of what they know or what they can’t tell?

    Anyhoo, I bet your ‘untold’ stories are better than Bono’s. So, can you hurry up & become independently wealthy from YOUR investments (i.e. no longer need to work for corporate media) so you can spill some to us? 🙂

  3. Would you have accepted: McKinley Assassinated Again?

    I find it ironic that a guy with no TV does a remote patrol column. Also, Ink Master is a better choice at 10 pm

  4. On the whole Mountain/Molehill deal …

    Will people really stop calling it Mount McKinley? I mean, people in Chicago still call the Willis Tower the Sears Tower (and it’s supposedly being sold and renamed again, so no way in hell are they going to start calling it Willis).

    Also, there’s a whole movement of people who don’t follow the corporate sponsor names of their favorite sports venue. For example, this from Uni Watch ( with T-Shirts saying “I still call it Comiskey,” “I still call it Mile High,” etc.

    People will call it whatever they want. It’s not as if during the course of a normal conversation I said, “I know a guy who climbed Mount McKinley” and the person I was talking to wouldn’t know exactly what I was talking about.

    Just like with the sports stadiums, some people will call it Mt. McKinley (i.e. Mile High Stadium, Comiskey) and some people will (and apparently have been all along) call it Denali (i.e. Sports Authority Field at Mile High, U.S. Cellular Field).

    What I don’t understand (and I admittedly haven’t read much on the topic) is why change the name at all? Seems like a giant waste of money – think of all the signs, maps, text books, etc. that will need to be reprinted? Or, maybe it’s just a micro-stimulus plan from the great people in D.C.

  5. Micah, you make a good point. As do you, Susie B., on the entire sexism ( I mentioned Lolo to Deitsch back on Sunday) AND Carter sitches.

    I hear they’re going to re-rename Mount Mckinley as Caitlyn….

  6. Hey, speaking of investments, how are yours doing these days? I love the stock market, but man, the past year & especially the last 2 weeks has been, hmm, do you know the song “SEESAW”? Pretty much describes my current investing ‘relationship’ –

    “Sometimes you tell me you gon be my sweet candy man
    And then sometimes, baby, I never know where I stand
    You lift me up when I’m on the ground
    But as soon as I get on the top you send me tumbling down

    Now your love is like a seesaw
    Your love is like a seesaw, baby
    Your love is like a seesaw
    Goin’ up, down, all around, it’s like a seesaw”

    Did you ever invest in BABA? TWTR? If you hadn’t yet, aren’t you happy? If you had, my condolences but I’m pretty sure that one of my picks of 2013 makes any red of yours pale in comparison. Heck, Moses himself couldn’t part the sea of red on my SD “return”. On the plus side, it makes all my other beat-up energy stocks look spunky by comparison.

    I’ve had BABA & TWTR on my watchlist for quite some time but my interested buy prices had been far below the stock prices. At least until last week. Then they both zoomed past. If they fall back there again, I might be tempted to dip a toe. What say you?

  7. To answer your stock questions, Susie B., I’ll try not to provide stock answers:

    BABA, got in on IPO day, sold at about $110, haven’t flirted with it since. But maybe I should now that it is at $65.

    TWTR, got in at the $40s, sold at $50s. Didn’t get in again until it hit $29. So I’m a little down now, but I think it’ll go up. Maybe not Facebook-level up, but up….

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