by John Walters
Two of the all-time great wits were born on this day. In 1835, Samuel Clemens, a.k.a., Mark Twain, who wrote a few decent 19th-century novels and was the Bill Murray of the 19th century.
And in 1874, Winston Churchill, who is Medium Happy’s choice as “Greatest Dude of the 20th Century,”
1.The Kobe Desert
Our man the Mamba, Kobe Bryant, announces via The
Ghostwriters Players Tribune that he will retire at the end of the season. Why not sooner? The greatest backcourt player since Michael Jordan should retire, well, immediately.
At age 37, Kobe has 17 All-Star Game appearances, five championship rings. an 81-point game (2nd-best all-time; the only other player in the top five games is Wilt), two All-Star Game MVPs, one league MVP, and 32,670 points, more than everybody except Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone, neither of whom he will catch.
This season, however, he is last in both FG % and 3-point FG % among qualified players. That’s a bad look.
Kobe can do whatever he wants, of course. And there’s $23 million to be earned. Or thereabouts. He can do what he wants. I hope he retires before New Year’s Day. He deserves better than this.
2. Don’t Geaux! *
*The judges will also accept “More of Les”
So Les Miles will stay in Baton Rouge. The Tigers were, after all, No. 2 in the nation with the Heisman front runner (Leonard Fournette) when this month began. It was fun listening to the ESPNers chide LSU’s president and athletic director for how they were leaving The Hat “twisting in the wind” all week. You’d almost think Richard Sandomir was going to tweet out that LSU had dismissed Les at 7:10 a.m.
3. Irish Heartbreak (Cont.)
2015: Notre Dame, 10-1, loses on a 45-yard game-winning field goal by Stanford as time expires.
Add this to the list that already includes….
2014: Irish, 6-0, lose at undefeated Florida State when offensive pass interference is called on the game-winning touchdown pass in the final minute, nullifying it.
2005: Irish, 4-1, fall to defending national champion and No. 1 USC on the Bush Push in the final seconds. They failed when USC converted a 4th-and-9 earlier in that drive.
1993: Irish, 10-0 and No. 1, rally back from 38-17 fourth-quarter deficit versus Boston College to take 39-38 lead in final minute only to lose on David Gordon’s 47-yard field goal.
I met my friend Moose, who is Canadian, in 2004. She soon became a devoted Notre Dame fan. Moose has survived three different bouts with cancer in her life, but I’m pretty sure that it’s Notre Dame football that will kill her.
Not that the Irish were one of the four best teams, and not that they were going to make the College Football Playoff (my opinion) with Oklahoma winning by 31 at Oklahoma State last night. But Notre Dame hadn’t won at Stanford since 2007 and when you go up with :30 remaining, that should be good enough.
Related: The Irish scored on 1st down. If only they’d have wasted another down or two.
Anyway, in a 48-quarter season, Notre Dame was without its No. 1 nose tackle, Jarron Jones, for all 48 quarters; without its No. 1 running back, Taurean Folston, for 47 quarters; without its No. 1 tight end, Durham Smythe, for 43 quarters. Without its starting quarterback, Malik Zaire, for 41 quarters. And so on.
The point? Irish fans can be disappointed, but 10-2 is outstanding considering how many players this team lost, and again, lost by a total of 4 points to a pair of Top 10 teams on the road.
Then again, here’s a tweet from last night, from the photographer who shot the iconic Cam McDaniel photo two seasons ago: “Butt wipe Brian Kelly says ND is 2 plays away from being the #1 team in the US. Yeah if u actually played somebody worth a crap, dbag”
3. (A No Longer) Perfect Storm
The Patriots forsook the advice of Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and headed directly into the Flemish Cap. Or something like that. Up 21-7 early in the fourth quarter against the Denver Brock O’s ( <–credit goes to Rick Reilly for that), the 10-0 Pats allowed 17 points, lost Gronk, and then lost the game in overtime, 30-24.
Meanwhile, the rest of us learned the term “Excess Timeout” and how it works, which apparently was something Bill “What The F**K” Belichick did not even understand.
Earlier in Seattle, CBS’ Jim Nantz had his own “What the F**k” moment on a disputed Cam Chancellor interception. Nantz and Phil Simms appealed to New York and veteran ref Mike Carrey, who first provided as abstruse an explanation as you’ll ever hear (Simms, incredulously: “I’ve never heard that before”), which turned out not to jibe with what the replay official in Seattle ruled.
With that Nantz, voicing the frustration of a nation, delivered a brief polemic about the current nature of 1) NFL replay and 2) what constitutes a catch, basically asking, “If Mike Carrey doesn’t understand the rules, who should?” It was beautiful to see the normally unflappable Nantz so peeved.
4. There Goes the Neighborhood
On the midseason finale of The Walking Dead, the herd are able to push over a giant retaining wall through sheer mass and persistence, invading Alexandria (which always seemed like a rather dull paradise to me, anyway), but then have trouble overcoming a couch positioned at the bottom of a stairway of a 2-story home. As with so many other WD moments this season, the audience is left saying, “Riiiiiigggghhhhhht.”
As Sepinwall writes, “The show has dug itself a deep credibility hole.” Yup. That, or it just has run out of stories to tell.
5. Return of the Jeddah (Tower)
Plans have been finalized in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to construct the world’s tallest building (the editors at MH are always suckers for “world’s tallest building” stories). The plan is to erect the Jeddah Tower, formerly known as the Kingdom Tower, to a height of 1 kilometer, or 3,280 feet. Or 252 floors. That’s more than 2 1/2 times the height of the Empire State Building and 437 times the height of Mamadou Ndiaye.
The building is 26 stories completed, but the contractor was just able to secure $2.3 billion in loans to complete the project. Now, if he’s anything like contractors we’ve come across, he’ll sit on his tush for a few years as the homeowner asks, “So when are you going to get to work on that 252-story building I’m paying you to build?”
Jeddah is located along the Red Sea. You have to love how folks who live in the cradle of the Old Testament keep reprising Old Testament stories. And it’s funny: Why, in a land that is so vast and unpopulated do men feel the need to erect structures that are so tall? Are they attempting to compensate for something?
First-ballot inductees into the One-Hit Wonder Hall of Fame and One-Letter Band Hall of Fame, M, released this proto-New Wave hit in 1980. It’s a catchy refrain, though: “London, New York, Paris, Munich, everybody talk about…Pop Muzik!” Related: only one of those cities has failed to host a Summer Olympics.
This song, which hit No. 3 in the States and which some would classify as “poop music,” benefited from coming out just as MTV was launching and starved for videos.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
ABC 9 p.m.
Okay, sure, I’m a little nonplussed (I am utterly without plus) that this is airing in November, but it is a classic. Youngsters combat male-pattern baldness and teachers who don’t speak English in an effort to find the true meaning of Christmas. Not brought to you by Starbucks.