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January 25, 2010

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In other news, I stepped up to brown belt in Tae Kwon Do last week, which means I might make black belt right around the time I hit the half-century mark.

Not that any of that is truly important, but I like to have some kind of measure of proficiency, and in this school you don't progress unless you've demonstrated proficiency.

This kind of goes along with the "Have we got contact" title, and I'm a little annoyed that I didn't do something with that connection in the main post. Ah, hindsight.

Others have remarked about this at TIO, but what's with the long-form Slart lately?

Are you on vacation?

In the process of earning your brown belt, did an opponent kick you in the head, somehow re-stimulating the blogging/dopamine section of your cortex?

A new brand of coffee?

Massachusetts ran over the cat that had your tongue?

Whatever it is, keep it up.

Last time I got a brisk, cracking kick to the head was a bit over a year ago. "Cracking", just about literally; I think it cracked some bones in my face.

Head protection is somehow shaped so that a roundhouse kick to the eye/nose region is almost completely free to land unhindered. I had to wear a faceguard for a while after that, just to let things heal up.

I couldn't tell you what's changed, if anything. Whatever it is, it's bound to change again. I'm going to fight in a national competition this summer, so you might see a return to the more taciturn Slarti, of a sudden.

I'm not sure which would be worse: fighting in the 40-49 lightweight division, and having to shed nearly 20 pounds to get there, or fighting in the 40-49 heavy division, and having to face some 6'8" behemoth.

Leg kicks are not permitted, unfortunately.

The history book was written by a professor emeritus at West Georgia University.
The last history instructor at the school that I heard of was Newt Gingrich.

It's a very good book, in my humble & limited opinion, the Gingrich association notwithstanding.

Oops, I'd only have to crank off 10 lbs to move to the light division. I could do that without a lot of trouble.

Did you know that until The Sound of Music, no one ever served schnitzel with noodles? Traditionally, schnitzel is served with potatoes - fried or boiled (or potato salad). In South America, so I have heard, the imported schnitzel is served with white rice, salted brown beans, or tomato sauce + melted cheese. But not noodles.

People will now serve schnitzel with noodles. But only because it rhymes with crisp apple streudels.

Also with boodles, doodles, oodles, poodles.

So it could be worse.

Oh, I'm sure some hausfrau who was short on potatoes anticipated The Sound of Music by a few years. "Never" is a stretch. Anyway, got a good recipe for schnitzel? Haven't had good schnitzel since my college days, in the UP, when you could get it at the Harbor Haus.

You went to Tech? I was born at Tech.

Yup, "Where Houghton gets to look at Hancock, and Hancock has to look at Houghton" ;) Walked across that bridge twice a day, because my apartment was in Hancock.

Oops, I'd only have to crank off 10 lbs to move to the light division. I could do that without a lot of trouble.

If you know how to do that without a lot of trouble you have a fortune waiting for you in the weight-loss business.

Where's your entrepreneurial spirit?

If you know how to do that without a lot of trouble you have a fortune waiting for you in the weight-loss business.

Anyone knows how to lose 10 pounds without a lot of trouble: go on a 1200 calories a day diet for a fortnight.

The fortunes are made by schills who can convince a wannabe loser that their just-above-starvation-level diet is different from all the other diets.

That the 10 pounds lost will come back again double after the loser has gone off the diet is a fact not mentioned by anyone in the diet industry.

Anyone who doesn't pay attention to anything in the diet industry knows how to lose 10 pounds over three months with a bit of thought: eat a little bit less, exercise a little bit more.

Anyone who doesn't pay attention to anything in the diet industry knows how to lose 10 pounds over three months with a bit of thought: eat a little bit less, exercise a little bit more.

Sure, that works.

Other things that work are changing your eating habits. It's all well and good to say "eat less", but a lot of people simply won't do that, just as a lot of people will do the 90-days-same-as-cash deal, and wind up paying interest because they just weren't paying attention.

I think there's actually something to the diet-gimmick industry that works: simplicity and consistency. Eat nothing but X, and you can lose weight. Why? Because if you really do that, you're not eating a few hundred fat calories a day by snacking on potato chips. My diet is actually kind of a gimmick-diet: I eat small meals in between breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I always eat the same thing. Dinner and lunch are always the same, too, only larger portions. I premeasure everything I eat so that I know exactly how many calories I'm eating, and I only eat three things: raw baby carrots, raw sugar snap peas, and chicken breast. All of my meals have 25-50 grams of protein in them, and the rest of the calories mostly carbs.

I'm probably missing out on some key nutrients by doing that, but I never do that for very long. I'm not doing it now, for instance, which is why I'm bumping up against 200 lbs instead of the low 190s.

I've lost 6 lbs in a couple of weeks, just by changing what I eat, and how often. Six small meals a day instead of three big ones works wonders.

It also helps that I can burn several hundred calories an hour, sparring.

The comment about liberal japonicus reminds me of an incident many years ago at a science fiction convention in Wichita. It seemed at that time that there was a veritable plague of hotels ignoring room blocks and putting airline personnel, who are very jealous of their attempts to sleep, in the middle of a room block of people who are staying up partying until 3 AM or in some cases all night long. So...a group of us had left one floor and gone to the floor the consuite (hospitality suite for the convention for those unfamiliar with the jargon) was on. The hotel, in a fit of extreme madness, had actually put some pilots in rooms between the elevators and the consuite. A pilot threw open the door and jumped the first guy he saw in order to scream out his demand that we be quiet. He happened to attack a guy carrying a sword who also was a karate black belt who just looked him straight in the eye and calmly told him to get off. After a second or two to realize how many people there were around to help enforce the request the pilot did so. He was informed he ought to bitch at the hotel that was dumb enough to put him in the moddle of our room block.

Well, slarti, that will work, but it doesn't actually sound like much of a seller. Forget what I said. Stick to engineering.

I managed to get from 250 to 200 by creating a "diet muffin" that was nutritionally complete, and eating nothing but for most of a year. The key was that I knew how many of them I could eat in a day.

Portion creep is easier to control when you're dealing with integers instead of real numbers. ;)

[[Portion creep is easier to control when you're dealing with integers instead of real numbers. ;)]]

It's even easier with imaginary numbers! What's the square root of -5 carrots?

I've been doing a series of puzzles about Haiti -- mostly art.

Today's book: I, Claudius.

Well, it's Wednesday. The State of the Union -- what will surely be billed as the most important 1 hour or so of the Obama Presidency -- commences in roughly 18 hours.

Short Sale Obama will give a good speech and receive rave reviews, except not from right-wing Republicans and Tea Bagging Independents and Republicans.

More even-handed Independents -- including new-found Independents, such as this progressive populist -- will summon Clara Peller from the grave to ask, "Where's the beef?"


And I will wonder why my former fellow Democrats are so in love with Short Sale Obama's oratory skills.

Good speeches don't always translate into good policy.

So we learned -- many of us, painfully -- in 2009.

When I think of Short Sale Obama and this White House, I am reminded of this passage from the Book of Romans: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."

More long-form Slarti!

More Slarti-introduced Open Threads!

I, too, found myself rooting for Brett Favre in the closing minutes of regulation Sunday. He's a diva, a drama queen. But he's 40 and grizzled, just 7 years younger than I and a whole lot more gray. And he was leading the Vikings to a somewhat improbable NFC championship, on the road, to cap off an improbable season.

One problem: Favre's old bugaboo -- the untimely interception -- ruined all of that.

What in the hell was he thinking?

Some say he should have run the ball and picked up 5 easy yards, thus giving the Vikings a chance for a game-winning field goal in regulation.

But those folks haven't paid attention to 20 years of dynamic Brett Favre football -- he never runs the football.

Oh, he scrambles. And he throws on the run, probably as better as any quarterback who has ever played the position. But he does not run the football. He scampers and shakes off defenders, but always, always, he throws the ball -- always, good or bad, he makes a play with that one-of-a-kind right arm of his.

And this one -- a stupid mistake for a quarterback of 20 seasons -- fell right into the hands of Terry Porter, the New Orleans cornerback. Talented Sidney Rice, who became a Pro Bowl receiver thanks to one season of Farve's encouragement, opportunism and confidence, was behind Porter -- in no position to make the catch. But Favre, trusting in Rice, the kid he helped make a Pro Bowl receiver, zeroed in on him and him alone and cost the Vikings a trip to the Super Bowl, even though he was largely the reason they were in such a position to get there. Visante Shiancoe, the talented tight end who, under Farve's leadership and encouragement,caught 11 touchdowns, four more from the year before when Farve was a New York Jet, was open in the right flat.

Farve, showing why he is no Peyton Manning, did not see that and, instead, focused on the well-covered Rice.

Interception.

I thought the Vikes lost the game on the confusion that ensued right before that. Third down, in a position to run the ball just a few more yards and give their reliable kicker, Ryan Longwell, a 45-48-yard field-goal attempt inside a dome, the Vikings were flummoxed. They called a timeout. I have little doubt Favre was lobbying to throw the ball. I have little doubt the coaches wanted to play it safe and run the ball. Confusion ensued. A 12-men-on-the-field penalty -- uncalled for, and unheard of, in a championship game -- was the result. Playing it safe was no longer an option: The game was in Favre's hands, and he did not deliver, having lost his fifth straight NFC championship game appearance.

Great, great talent.

Lots of guts.

Unbelievable durability.

But not possessing the savvy of a John Unitas, Joe Montana or Peyton Manning, my Holy Trinity of quarterbacks who would never make such a mistake.

Fwiw, and since we got to see two of them play on Sunday, my Top 5 quarterbacks of all time:

1. Montana.

2. Manning.

3. Unitas.

4. Elway.

5. Tie -- Brady, Bradshaw, Favre.

Yes, to my wife's dismay during the months from September through January, football is my favorite sport.

The bedtimeforbonzo Super Bowl pick:

Colts 42, Saints 38.

Definitely won't be a game for defensive-minded purists.

Now where's my damn Lunesta. Oh, right, it's on my desk with the rest of the unfilled prescriptions, thanks to that freaking, absurd $60 co-pay.

The oil spill at the Texas port unleashed "just" 450,000 gallons on the environment and innocent wildlife.

As the last paragraph of Slarti's CNN link points out: "The biggest oil spill in U.S. history occurred in 1989 when the Exxon Valdez ran aground on a reef in the Gulf of Alaska, resulting in the spill of 11 million gallons of crude."

And Exxon has yet to make good on their post-Valdez promises 21 years later.

If you haven't already, boycott Exxon!

The Alaskan wildlife has suffered far too long.

Thanks to former Gov. Palin's Wild, Wild West ways, and the Cowboy politicians who followed Sarah Rogue, wolves, magnificent wolves, have been hunted down and destroyed during helicopter shoots.

Helicopter shoots, long our national pastime.

And weak-kneed President Obama has done nothing -- nothing -- to putting these awesome creatures back on the Endangered Species List.

What an ineffectual, poor excuse of a Democratic prez.

Or, as this week's Newsweek cover story puts it:

"The Inspiration Gap"

Subhead:

"How The Trailblazer of 2008 Became The Stymied President of 2010"


Bonus points for those, without using Wiki, who know how "stymied" became part of our lexicon, a fascinating story behind the word's history.

I prefer last week's Economist cover story, entitled:

"Time To Get Tough"

The Great Pretender may not have read it, but I hope one of President Obama's flaks -- maybe Axelrod? -- in the West Wing did and passed along some good advice.


As far as Axelrods go, my favorite will always be the one and only Pete Axelrod, who always kept my father entertained.

Nobody's flak, he.

Nor fool.

Only one week to go until the final-season premiere episode of "Lost."

Can't wait.

Although it will be hard-pressed to match the drama and pure sinisterism of Monday night's season-three opener of "Damages," a show which leaves no character damaged -- and I do mean damaged.

Glenn Close's plays her lead character, Patty Hewes, as the biggest bitch to ever grace the small screen.

And I mean that as a compliment.

At heart, I've always thought "Lost" in all its weirdness and confusion tries to send us a hopeful message, the antithesis of Ms. Close's downbeat, backstabbing "Damages" -- but two truly great dramas jsut the same.


Only one week to go until the final-season premiere episode of "Lost."

Can't wait.

Although it will be hard-pressed to match the drama and pure sinisterism of Monday night's season-three opener of "Damages," a show which leaves no character undamaged.

Glenn Close's plays her lead character, Patty Hewes, as the biggest bitch to ever grace the small screen.

And I mean that as a compliment.

At heart, I've always thought "Lost" in all its weirdness and confusion tries to send us a hopeful message, the antithesis of Ms. Close's downbeat, backstabbing "Damages" -- but two truly great dramas jsut the same.

And this Rose Byrne, the nemesis/protege of Close's antihero, is a revelation.

Also kudos to the producers for the show's inventive casting, this year featuring Martin Short as a scumbag lawyer and Lily Tomlin as a mysterious, (as-yet) hard-to-figure, world-weary and disgraced socialite.


BTFB:

How do you know the wildlife are innocent?

Given the abuse they take, they must be guilty of something. I'm sure I can find some cracker white Dixie Republican officeholder to explain to you that the wolves are stray animals and probably Jewish.

Obama should put a stop to shooting the wolves from helicopters, including sending out the Air Force to shoot down Sarah Death Palin's helicopter.

Then watch the attacks begin from the allegedly human wolves in the Republiqaedacan Party, the NRA, Exxon, and Gordon Liddy (thesis subject: would the history of the scourge of reality TV and filth right-wing talk shows been "stymied", at least, if the poor security guard at the Watergate had been carrying and shot the five thieves right then and there and then tracked Liddy to his lair across the street and killed that traitorous, small-dicked eff, too) under cover of the Supreme Court- approved onslaught of Super Bowl ads on behalf of the "Citizen Sheep for the Preservation of Blood-stained Tundra and anti-Commie Values"..... why by the time they're done, the American people will rise up and demand that Sarah Palin be permitted to fly single-hulled super oil tankers over Alaska and spill oil sludge directly on the wolves ... and by the way, could ya raise our co-pays too because if you think the wildlife have it bad, think of the health insurers' endangered profit margins.

Like you, btfb, I'm frustrated too, but I'm hoping spending freezes and other Republican policies acquiesced to by the oddly serene Obama send the economy into a big double dip, employment gets to 17% or so, and then we skip the faux left-wing populism and go directly to an armed, lethal tax revolt that leads to Republicans being hung publicly in Washington (perhaps after some experimental waterboarding to settle that issue, too), and if a few Democrats ' feet get too far off the ground, too, tough, because what was the point of being told all these years by Frank Luntz that we're Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot, if you can't have the fun those guys had in their lives?

What did a wolf ever do to Sarah Palin?

That's what I'd like to know.

That's what I'd like to know.

These were my companions going forth by night--
Now come I to whistle them the ending of the fight.
Word they gave me overhead of quarry newly slain,
Word I gave them underfoot of buck upon the plain.
Here’s an end of every trail--they shall not speak again!

They that called the hunting-cry--they that followed fast--
They that bade the sambhur wheel, or pinned him as he passed--
They that lagged behind the scent--they that ran before,
They that shunned the level horn--they that overbore.
Here’s an end of every trail--they shall not follow more.

These were my companions. Pity ’twas they died!
Now come I to comfort them that knew them in their pride.
Tattered flank and sunken eye, open mouth and red,
Locked and lank and lone they lie, the dead upon their dead.
Here’s an end of every trail--and here my hosts are fed.

Bonus points for those, without using Wiki, who know how "stymied" became part of our lexicon, a fascinating story behind the word's history.

Does it have anything to do with The Little Rascals (aka "Our Gang")?

stymie, from the Online Etymology Dictionary:

stymie 1834, (n.), "condition in which an opponent's golf ball blocks the hole," perhaps from Scottish stymie "person who sees poorly," from stime "the least bit" (c.1300), of uncertain origin (Icelandic cognate skima is attested from c.1685). The verb, in golf, is from 1857; general sense of "block, hinder, thwart" is from 1902.

Great word.

Thanks for the kind words, BTFB. This book I'm reading is really, really engaging. A couple of observations:

1) I'm beginning to realize that most of our history is just a series of blunders, and most of what good fortune we've enjoyed is due to the other guys blundering more, or bigger. By extension, it's possible that much of what we think of is bad fortune was us blundering more, or bigger, than the other guys.

2) There was this President that liked to surround himself with yes-men and hatchet-men. Oppose him at your peril. Drawing parallels between the two Georges always seemed laughable to me, until I saw that there actually were some similarities.

Spouting randoms stuff now, as is my wont:

This is my favorite video right now. Instructional rap didn't sound like a good idea, but it's funny, at least to this dweeb.

"Like you, btfb, I'm frustrated too, but I'm hoping spending freezes and other Republican policies acquiesced to by the oddly serene Obama send the economy into a big double dip . . ."

Barry Obama . . .

Closet Republican.

Think about it. Among other things, he gushes when talking about Ronald Reagan . . .

And from where I sit and live and work, that double-dip recession does not seem so remote.

Which is depressing.

It would be very, very painful, and disastrous.

The only double dip I want to hear about is when ordering ice cream.

Vanilla, please.

When it comes to ice cream, I'm boring. But I think nothing beats a good vanilla ice cream with those black vanilla beans in it.

Last night, on the way home from work, I stopped at Rite Aid, and since I could not
afford to pay for either my Lunesta or Effexor or Simvastin or Klonopin prescriptions, I could not resist the sale on Edy's ice cream -- two 1.5 quarts for $7. I took a walk on the wild side, got rebellious and bought two 1.5 quarts (and what the hell is up with a 1.5 quart -- don't things just come in pints and quarts and gallons any more?) of Neopolitan (they were out of the vanilla).

". . . employment gets to 17% or so . . ."

Of course, the so-called "real" unemployment figure is already at 17 percent.


" . . . perhaps after some experimental waterboarding to settle that issue, too . . ."

Give it time.

President Obama might backtrack on his waterboarding stance before you know it.

---

Ah, a "Litte Rascals" reference.

Now that's classic TV.

Happened upon "The Three Stooges" one Sunday morning a few months back, and even my 11-year-old diagnosed that these guys were comic geniuses -- although he still prefers "SpongeBob."

Sad they died penniless.

SpongeBob, with all that Nickelodean and rerun revenue and a better-negotiated contract, won't. Neither will his buddy Patrick.

Actually, there was a Depression-era racehorse called "Stymie."

So good was he that, once he got a lead, his opponents Did Not Stand A Chance.

They were stymied.

So famous was the horse that the word became part of the language.

Cool.

Horseracing -- saved by the existence of slot machines in casinos, but overshadowed by them, too -- was huge those days.

Neopolitan (they were out of the vanilla)

I'm thinking of Homer Simpson yelling to Marge, after eating only the chocolate third of the Neopolitan ice cream, "Marge, we need more strawberry-vanilla-chocolate ice cream!" (or something reasonalbly close to that)

Instructional rap didn't sound like a good idea

Update: oh, no.

Does it have anything to do with The Little Rascals (aka "Our Gang")?

"It might choke an Artie, but it ain't gonna choke a Stymie!"

Children are wise, and will not eat a vegetable that looks like a hedgehog.

It's not until you're an adult that someone can talk you into it.

Barry Obama . . .

Closet Republican.

I figured him for this generation's Eisenhower, but now I think he may be on track to be this generation's Hoover.

I'm tempted to say that he needs to give up the dream of trying to make friends across the aisle. Follow your instincts, Obama, and let them come to you!

But then I wonder if maybe following his instincts is what he's doing now.

I'm looking for the folks who are going to move the Overton window back my way. I don't think Obama's that guy.

We could have done worse, and in context I doubt we could have done any better.

True dat.

But that's pretty weak beer.

I figured him for this generation's Eisenhower, but now I think he may be on track to be this generation's Hoover.

While we're going old school on the TV tip:

Boy the way Glen Miller played Songs that made the hit parade. Guys like us we had it made, Those were the days.

And you knew who you were then,
Girls were girls and men were men,
Mister we could use a man
Like Herbert Hoover again.

Didn't need no welfare state,
Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee our old LaSalle ran great.
Those were the days

Those lyrics could start a few fires around here, aye?

"So famous was the horse that the word became part of the language."

My apologies to Slarti, who noted the word was, of course, already part of the language.

Should have written:

"So famous was the horse that the word (his name) became part of the lexicon."

Reading the etymology Slarti provided, I imagine the owners who named him may have had Scottish roots.

P.S. Great poem, Jes.

Those lyrics could start a few fires around here, aye?

Absolutely. The LaSalle was one of the most unreliable automobiles ever to roll off a production line.

Ok, I just made that up.

Colts 42, Saints 38.

We definitely have touchdown, then?

"Follow your instincts, Obama, and let them come to you!"

What was that classic line from Field of Dreams?

"If you build it, they will come."

---

"But then I wonder if maybe following his instincts is what he's doing now."

I've gone from wondering that to thinking that is so.

---

"We could have done worse, and in context I doubt we could have done any better."

I certainly agree about the first year.

After a full year of McCain-Palin -- I'm sure Thullen could riff on this better than I -- we'd all be in a coma by now. Our fates would be like those poor wolves in Alaska, not to mention the polar bears whose habitat is melting away (even though Palin the Scholar would tell you global warming does not exist).

But, as a diehard Hillary supporter from the primaries, I do think we could have done better and often wonder how things would be different if the electorate had made a different kind of history -- voting in the first woman prez.

We'd might not be much better off -- after all, whoever took over was inheriting a mess that was eight years in the making -- but I do believe HRC would have been better, and better is better. I do believe she would have brought a better brand of competence to the job and a bigger set of balls, which I mean as a compliment to the woman I had hoped would be first female president.

Now I wonder how long it will be before a woman occupies the Oval Office, not counting Monica Lewinsky.

After watching what HRC went through in the primaries, I see a woman will get special grilling and, at times, unseemly and silly evaluations from the 24/7 media. Did she cry or just tear up? Is she too emotional for the job? Why did she change her hairstyle? What's with the pantsuits?

And for all of the talk that HRC broke the glass ceiling, I wonder if the later emergence of Palin, her insipid Facebooking and the like -- all the lipstick-on-a-pig crap -- patched up that ceiling.

Then again, we saw a black president sooner than I thought we would in my lifetime.

So you never know.


"Boy the way Glen Miller played Songs that made the hit parade. Guys like us we had it made, Those were the days.
And you knew who you were then,
Girls were girls and men were men,
Mister we could use a man
Like Herbert Hoover again.

Didn't need no welfare state,
Everybody pulled his weight.
Gee our old LaSalle ran great.
Those were the days"


---


"All in the Family" -- my favorite all-time sitcom.

And even though it was a satire, it depicted real life much, much better than today's shows.

I wonder if the Norman Lear classic would get made today.

Probably HBO or Showtime would pick it up -- but certainly not the nets, which have given us such content-free, mindless crap like five nights of Jay Leno at 10 p.m.

Actually, this being a Wednesday -- although it will be preempted by the State of the Union tonight since it airs at 9 p.m. EST -- I recommend "Modern Family," the best sitcom I have seen in years and one that usually produces three or four laugh-out-loud moments an episode.

While not trailblazing like "All in the Family," this show will surely cheer you up, or make a good mood a better one, and I can't think of a better compliment for a sitcom.

"Colts 42, Saints 38.


"We definitely have touchdown, then?"


Slarti, hairshirthedonist, Eric, others:

What sort of score do you envision? And who do you see winning?

(Also, since it's been debated a lot during these playoffs, and even more after Sunday's epic fail, although that may be harsh, since many mortal quarterbacks would not even have been still standing at that point in the game, where do you rank Favre in your personal Top 5?)

As I stated, I see the Colts winning largely because Mr. Manning is Mr. Clutch.


I'd give the Saints two advantages -- they have the better running game, but this is all going to be about passing, anyway, and New Orleans head coach Sean Payton is, to my mind, the best playcaller in the game today, by a lot, but Manning basically calling his own plays kind of wipes out that edge.

The Saints do have another edge of sorts, seeming to be a team of destiny.

For me, this game is win-win.

Should definitely be entertaining and, since I am a Manning fan, I would be fine with a Colts win. But I would love to see the Saints pull it off since it wasn't that long ago they were the Aints of paperbag lore and all that. Plus, New Orleans deserves a Super Bowl winner -- and you know it would throw one hell of a party.

P.S. Great poem, Jes.

Thanks. I always say, if you're going to quote, quote the best: and if you haven't got time to find the best, quote Kipling. ;-)

"All in the Family" -- my favorite all-time sitcom.

Not for nothing, but Archie Bunker *was* my grandfather.

The blue collar day job, the row house in Queens, the special chair, the cigar, the mangled English, the irascible crankiness, the kinda blinkered worldview.

Great guy, although he did once threaten to hang me up by my handle. He was having me on, but it scared the hell out of me, once I figured out what he was talking about.

He never had a LaSalle, but my uncles did have a Ford with a rumble seat.

Jes, what poem was that? It was great.

What sort of score do you envision? And who do you see winning?

(Also, since it's been debated a lot during these playoffs, and even more after Sunday's epic fail, although that may be harsh, since many mortal quarterbacks would not even have been still standing at that point in the game, where do you rank Favre in your personal Top 5?)

I see the Colts pulling away and taking control (as usual) later in the game, so 38-27 Colts.

I would rank Favre close to the top as far as guys I like to watch (i.e. entertaining), but lower strictly in terms of being good. He'd be behind Marino in the latter ranking. (What can I say? My mom's half Italian.)

Mister we could use a man
Like Herbert Hoover again.

Now that I think about it, how old was Archie supposed to be? Would he have any actual memory of the Hoover presidency?


"Not for nothing, but Archie Bunker *was* my grandfather.

"The blue collar day job, the row house in Queens, the special chair, the cigar, the mangled English, the irascible crankiness, the kinda blinkered worldview."

I suspect a lot of us have grandfathers and uncles who have/had a lot, or little, Archie Bunker in them.

Those debates he would have with Meathead at the kitchen table were classic and, I imagine, played similarly across many tables across the country.

Poor Meathead.

Archie always cracked me up.

Hard to single out one episode, but the Sammy Davis Jr. episode -- unusual, because unlike today's shows, "All in the Family," did very little stunt-casting and relied on its own merits -- was a gut-buster.

Also I loved the episode where Archie was trapped in the cellar, drunk, and talking to God, then hearing the voice at the end of the episode, then realizing it was coming from a black guy. God was Black!

Or when Archie, needing a transplant or something, received blood from a black guy -- to his chagrin?

Carroll O'Connor's expressions of bemusement, confusion and slow burns were priceless.

And poor Edith, what a loving and loyal wife.


And not for nothing, but I have my own special chair, always have, even when I was a bachelor well into my 30s.

When we have guests, I kindly point them toward the direction of our lovely, leather, and comfortable couch, lol.

My son feels mighty special when he sits in Dad's special chair. Maybe he'll have his own someday -- or maybe he'll be more progressive than his old man.

CoCo, bless her soul, always got a free pass, even though my wife hates it when the dogs (well, now it's "dog," singular, 14-year-old Hamilton's snoring away on the den sofa as I type) hop up on the furniture. But I'd let CoCo get away with just about anything.

My Dad, who died way too young at 56 after a hard life as an ironworker, never much talked politics, but since we were both Democrats and pro-union, we were in (unstated) agreement on most issues. We did, however, almost always disagree on any sports topic, which I never quite understood.

Ironically, Dad -- who I truly, truly wish were alive to be Danny's grandpop (their engineering/scientific brains, unlike mine, are so alike, and he would be very proud) -- never had his own special chair. However, he'd be all kinds of mad if dinner was not on the table, hot and ready, the moment he got in the door, which was far too demanding of Mom since, usually, he could often be counted on coming home an hour or two or three late, and drunk, when, in most cases, he'd just pass out on the couch anyway.

Dad was an Oldsmobile man.

Always had nice ones, too.

Huge cars. I remember this blue convertible with a white top. Just awesome. And a two-door car that was bigger than today's four-doors.

---

"I would rank Favre close to the top as far as guys I like to watch (i.e. entertaining), but lower strictly in terms of being good. He'd be behind Marino in the latter ranking. (What can I say? My mom's half Italian.)"

I put Favre at 5, and no better, because of his tendency to make mistakes in big games. Too many forced throws over 20 years. Yet that same wondrous ability to make something out of nothing is what makes him great, too.

Marino was my Dad's favorite quarterback.

We are Italian-American, too, but he loved to watch Marino play on account of his lightning-quick release, which dazzled him week after week, saying it was the best he had seen since Fouts, who was his other favorite, and Unitas before that.

Dad liked traditional pocker passers. I just think having never won a Super Bowl despite all of those great career numbers prevents Marino from being Top 5. Fwiw, my favorite quarterback to watch was the great Elway, who, unlike Favre, got smarter over time but still maintained his gunslinging ways.

P.S. If he were alive today, I wonder what Archie would think of President Obama.

I seem to remember that Archie was proud to tell Sammy Davis that he had "black blood" in him, so perhaps he was becoming more progressive over time.

But I doubt it.

Unitas
Starr
Tittle
Baugh
Manning, Archie
Manning, Peyton
Marino
Elway
Lamonica
Tarkenton
Jurgenson
Bradshaw
Staubach
Fouts
Favre
Montana
Brady
Kelly
Anderson, Ken

Archie would have been 45-50 years old in the show, which means little Archibald would have been maybe 5 to 10 years old during the Hoover Presidency.

Old enough to notice his parent's suffering, but not old enough to doubt his father's blaming the Jewish bankers and the uppity Negros for America' predicament.

He never became old enough.

Little did he know about the born-again Protestant, Lutheran, and Calvinist quant bankers.

Ipso fatso, life was a "mentrual" show for Archie.

Hey, Meathead, "menstrual" is the woid yer lookin for ovah heah.


"Old enough to notice his parent's suffering, but not old enough to doubt his father's blaming the Jewish bankers and the uppity Negros for America's predicament."

Spot on, as most usually, Thullen.

Didn't somebody of consequence, like the Senate Majority Leader, just refer to President Obama as an uppity Negro, or something to that effect?

Prior to that, I think the last time I heard someone use that particular antiquated "N" word was probably Archie Bunker himself.

Sharp mind, that Harry Reid.

---

Good list, Marty.


Good thing, like Prez Clinton and many presidents before him, President Obama got a dog.

President Obama ain't getting much love these days -- even from African-Americans, who gave him more than 90 percent of the black vote.

Actor Danny Glover: "I don't see anything different" between Obama and George W. Bush on foreign policy."

Regarding Obama accepting Harry Reid's apology, Georgetown scholar Michael Eric Dyson said the president runs "from race like a black man runs from a cop."

Ouch.

Princeton professor Cornel West: "Even with your foot on the brake, there are too many precious brothers and sisters under the bus. Where is the talk about poverty? We've got to protect him and respect him, but we've also go to corect him if the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. is going to stay alive."

Mr. Obama is apparently in need of some Magic.

Archie Bunker was, according to Wikipedia, 50 years old in 1974, which would have made him 9 at the end of Hoover's term.

Not really Lasalle-driving age, except in certain parts of the deep South.

"Clinton could do it blindfolded and hanging upside down."

A good line.

A good, well-written read from Jacob Weisberg.

Now I am going to follow Hamilton's lead and take a nap before Danny gets home from school and it is time to quiz him on his vocabulary words for his weekly Thursday test . . .

I was having a nice, peaceful day off, then I had to go check the mail and open the Delmarva Power bill: $351.04.

Not as bad as last month's $440, but $331.03 shy of what I have in the checking account.

At least the bill informed me: "Effective January 9, 2010, the average bill will increase by approximately 1 percent due to a change in the RARM (whatever the f--- that is) component of electric supply rates."

To which I say to DP&L: "Effective today, you can kiss my boney white ass. Per usual these days, I will wait until you send me the lovely past-due bill dressed in pink."

"Those Were the Days" was written specifically for All in the Family, so it's sort of fictitious. But, in the reality of the show, given the lyrics, it must have been written several years after Hoover's term. So I'd say it's fair to assume it was a song popular when Archie was a young man (again, in the reality of the show), thus his love of singing it at the piano with Edith, whom he may have been just dating when the song was a hit. It all makes perfect sense if you think about it.

"Unitas
Starr
Tittle
Baugh
Manning, Archie
Manning, Peyton
Marino
Elway
Lamonica
Tarkenton
Jurgenson
Bradshaw
Staubach
Fouts
Favre
Montana
Brady
Kelly
Anderson, Ken"

Marty:

Early in his career, but if Ken Anderson is on that list, I think Big Ben Roethlisberger must be included.

And Ken Stabler.

Maybe even the late (tragically so) Steve McNair. I always loved watching him play. Real gritty.

And how about Bob Griese?

And, without a doubt: Troy Aikman.

And Steve Young.

And Warren Moon.

Drew Brees?

Kurt Warner, definitely.

And even though I am a Philadelphia Eagles fan, I am not biased -- because his inconsistency and quirky leadership style infuriates me to no end -- Donovan McNabb should not be overlooked. I mean, look at his resume: I believe he has been to five NFC championship games (to Farve's six).

And Randall Cunningham -- whose thrilling brand of football and freakish skills made me enjoy watching him more than McNabb, but who does not have nearly McNabb's winning record -- put up some pretty impressive career numbers, both in the passing and rushing departments.


"Early in his career, but if Ken Anderson is on that list, I think Big Ben Roethlisberger must be included.

And Ken Stabler.

Maybe even the late (tragically so) Steve McNair. I always loved watching him play. Real gritty.

And how about Bob Griese?

And, without a doubt: Troy Aikman.

And Steve Young.

And Warren Moon.

Drew Brees?

Kurt Warner, definitely."

Ignoring Cunningham (I loved watching him play) and McNabb (long independent rant on him being overrated)

While composing the list I was struggling to remember Stabler, should have been in the top 8 or 9.

I don't count a lot of current QB's because they just aren't as good, because they just don't run the offense. It is comparing someone who only has to do half the job. Note that the bottom of my list is the guys who kind of did both but not as much. Peyton Manning is higher for that reason. Griese is in the bottom group with Aikman, although I think Grieses coach was better than he was. Young and Moon are the next step down, IMHO.

After about the first ten or so I grant any order changes by anyone as probably as valid.

Dude, have mercy on a Raider fan and don't treat Stabler like a stepchild ;)

Marty,

I think your point about today's quarterbacks not calling their own plays is a good one -- and one of the many reasons I value Peyton Manning so much. (Btw, playing in the shadow of his big brother -- imagine how that must be all your life, I think Eli is no slouch, and improving each year.)

Meanwhile, every time I want to criticize McNabb, I should think of all the slop, sorry Eric, EM has had to watch since Gannon retired.

I mean, the Raiders are a franchise rich in history, and rich in history at the quarterback position -- Lamonica, Stabler, Plunkett -- and, geez, look at what they have now.

What do they do next year?

You can only start over so many times, but I don't think they have much choice.

Good to see they kept Cable. I thought that coach had them playing good football throughout the season, especially at the end -- heck, they ran roughshod over the NFC East.

After prodding Slart to post, I end up spacing out, ironically because I have to give a 90 minute talk about a foreigner's view of Japanese budo, and I've been trying to make sure I'm not completely making stuff up.

At any rate, I also love the long form bedtime, and the question about old-time quarterbacks and calling their own plays that he and Marty tackle is one that interests me greatly.

To get at it obliquely, while my adopted Saints are finally seeing what life looks like from the top (sorry, the Bum Phillips era saints could only imagine these rarified heights) my beloved Redskins are crawling, yet again, out of a hole that seems as deep as the Marinas trench. And I have to think of that HoF coach, Gibbs, coming back to the Redskins and, well, just not being able to make a difference his second time around. When you have a coach of that calibre coming back and not being able to have success says something about how much more complex the game has become. Perhaps this is the view from overseas, which is like being in a time capsule, where I figure out how to watch the Saints a bit on cable and feel like I am observing some sort of parallel earth.

So, any thoughts on how much the game has changed?

So, any thoughts on how much the game has changed?

I sometimes watch old games on the NFL network or ESPN Classic. When you get back into the Eighties or earlier, the players seem, with the exceptions of some of the all-pro guys, far more like regular people in terms of athleticism. The game just looks slower and sloppier to me. Very few players have the physiques that today's players do. And the offenses seem so vanilla by comparison.

When you consider the name-brand schemes that have either come and gone (Run and Shoot) since then, leaving some remnants, or have come to stay (West Coast), you can see how play books have gotten so fat.

A friend of mine and I got into a discussion of the average intelligence of NFL players relative to the general population, and we both concluded, contrary to the dumb jock stereotype, that NFL players were smarter on average than the general population. Moving the curve the most, in our estimations, were quarterbacks, offensive linemen and linebackers. The amount of information they have to know, recognize and process in short order is pretty daunting. I don't know if that's a difference between the modern game and the game of old, but it's something.

Jes, what poem was that? It was great.

Kipling on the Republican National convention of 2012, when Sarah Palin comes to the floor with a homemade handwritten speech and winks at the assembly, expecting to be applauded in as the Republican candidate for President.

...after the fighting has died down, the flesh-eating scavenger birds fly over and eat the remains.

(It's one of the poems from the Second Jungle Book.)

Thanks Jes!

FWIW, and not that it matters either way, but I just don't get the appeal of football. There just seems to be something fundamentally lunk-headed about it. It seems like playing a low-grade and not particularly thoughtful form of chess using sides of beef as the pieces.

Oddly, perhaps, I enjoy watching a good boxing match.

Chacun au son gout.

Thanks, lj.

Re: "And I have to think of that HoF coach, Gibbs, coming back to the Redskins and, well, just not being able to make a difference his second time around. When you have a coach of that calibre coming back and not being able to have success says something about how much more complex the game has become. Perhaps this is the view from overseas, which is like being in a time capsule, where I figure out how to watch the Saints a bit on cable and feel like I am observing some sort of parallel earth."

Actually, that view from overseas is not that much different than the one I have, although I can see how it would feel like observing from a parallel universe for you over there.

I mean, if Gibbs could not turn around the once-mighty Redskins, I wonder if Mike Shanahan, a future Hall of Fame coach in his own right, will be able to perform that task.

Ownership is a big part of the problem, meddling.

But they just keep throwing good money after bad, lots of it, and also they keep making bad draft picks. It wouldn't hurt if they get a top-notch Pro Bowl quarterback. At a certain point, I guess you have to give up on strong-armed Jason Campbell.

And another thing. Having covered the sport for almost 20 years in a different life, on the high school, college and pro levels, it seems to me that NFL coaches -- and more and more, these college gurus -- make it out to be much more complex and mysterious than it is. As they say, it ain't rocket science.

That's why I liked Buddy Ryan so much and enjoyed watching his son, Rex, turn around the Jets this season.

Keep it simple, stupid.

The most dominant team I have seen during my lifetime -- I was too young to truly appreciate the 1970s Steel Curtain Steelers, although having gone to college in Pittsburgh, 1980-84, I can tell you I don't think any city holds any team(s) in higher regard -- was the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s, the Cowboys of Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Charles Haley and Darren Woodson.

They kept it simple and won and won and won.

So did those Steelers.

While I understand how Bill Walsh acquired the "genius" label and he had a brilliant football mind, those 49ers were always a little too highfalutin for my tastes.

After all, it's football.

As russell said, "There just seems to be something fundamentally lunk-headed about it. It seems like playing a low-grade and not particularly thoughtful form of chess using sides of beef as the pieces."

Which, come to think of it, as a charter member of lunk-headedness, is why I enjoy it so.

And those Bum Phillips Saints -- heck, just Bum Phillips! -- were a treat.

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