Football Thoughts the Week of November 25

Posted in Sports - football, mostly, Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on December 6, 2019

The Dallas Cowboys got embarrassed at home by the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving Day, over whom they were a 6 ½ point favorite. The Bills wiped up the floor with them. I am sick to death of the Cowboys. I’m sick of their underperforming players, sick of their incompetent coaching staff and sick of their owner/general manager/media hog. I am also sick of hearing about Dallas’ vaunted offensive line. I see other teams’ lines keeping our defenders off their quarterback, but I see Dak Prescott running for his life consistently.  And when Prescott gets pressured, he too frequently coughs up the ball or throws a pick.

The Cowboys are still favored statistically to win the NFL East Division. (As Mark Twain said, there are lies, damned lies and statistics.) I don’t see how anybody who has watched this team play could think so. The Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas’ rival for the Division title, has a much easier schedule than the Cowboys, and I don’t think the Cowboys are finished losing yet. It could all be over before Dallas plays the Iggles in Philadelphia in a few weeks.

The only silver lining in this sorry season is that I think Jerry Jones must fire Jason Garrett now. It is no longer tenable to keep any of these sorry coaches and still say you are interested in winning another Super Bowl. Jones is fond of saying he owns and team and gets to make the decisions, but he still must show his face in town and presently he does that at the risk of being made fun of in public. But what good coach would work for Jones?

Shame on this whole damn organization.

My beloved Oklahoma Sooners handled the Oklahoma State Aggies with relative ease, as I expected. As I have opined previously, I don’t worry about OSU anymore. In recent years, they have had the best teams they have ever had, or ever will have, and we have been able to beat them. They’re not going to beat us with what they are producing now.

That said, OU won the game in their typical, less than ideal fashion: superb offense, though with less than perfect play calling, and mediocre defense. In fairness to the Grinch, the defense is playing with more spirit and aggression, but they still can’t tackle worth a damn. I stopped counting the times a Sooner was in position to make the play and whiffed on the tackle.

Thinking about this weekend, I’m not particularly worried about Baylor either. We beat them without Cee Dee Lamb during the regular season, in a game when Jalen Hurts had the worst half of his football career. Neither of these is going to be the case in the Championship game. I feel bullish.

Which brings us to the prospects for making the playoffs, which I still think is a long shot, but no longer out of the question. Things continue to fall into place, but will it be enough? Assuming everything else follows the chalk (upsets are not out of the question for some higher ranked teams, but I’m not counting on it), if Oregon upsets Utah, I think we’re in. If Utah beats Oregon, it will be a beauty contest between them and Oklahoma. I don’t know how that may work out. OU will have played and beaten more, higher ranked teams than Utah has faced, but maybe the committee will want a new face in the playoff mix. OU is still the more interesting option, though.

Thoughts on Events the Week of November 25

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on December 5, 2019

Our president befriends more war criminals: Trump pardoned three war criminals within our own military. This shouldn’t surprise us, though it should disgust us more than it seems to be doing. Trump pardons, or at least excuses, war criminals all the time: Putin, Erdogan, Duterte, Kim, and so on. Nevertheless, to pardon a member of the U.S. military who had his picture taken standing over the corpse of a prisoner, whom he likely killed, and who was found guilty of this in a military court, is a particularly odious low.

This all started with President George W. Bush (still our worst president, though Trump is closing the gap), when his regime endorsed torture of prisoners. Trump’s pardoning of our own war criminals was the inevitable next step down that rabbit hole, and I suspect it is only going to get worse.

Complicity: I’ve never understood why Trump’s base adheres to him so tightly, though I have some theories. I can understand on one level why Republican politicians cling to Trump. They’re afraid of that base. But the job of legislators is not just to follow but to lead, and no Republicans save Trump are leading, only following. Not a single Republican legislator anywhere near an election has expressed any reservation about where Trump is leading them. On the contrary.

To be so blatantly and willfully blasé in the face of such obvious criminal behavior is to be complicit in it. We can’t throw the entire Republican Party in jail, but we can throw Republican legislators out of office. I predict this will happen more and more for a while. Republicans are going to pay a heavy price for what is going on now, and for a long time, I think.

Facts: Senator Moynihan famously said that everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. But that has proven not to be quite true. Many people seem to be willing to accept “alternative facts,” which aren’t facts at all, and pretend they are. A brazen example occurred when Trump urged Republicans to provide their own transcript of his phone call with Zelensky of Ukraine. There is no such thing as an alternate transcript. A transcript is a transcript, not an interpretation. There can be only one of them. What Trump is doing is urging his supporters to muddy the waters by making stuff up. This is merely more obstruction.

MBA candidates learn early on in graduate school that there is a strong correlation between objective information and quality of decisions. Without agreement to facts, it is almost impossible to get anything done in Congress. Oh, wait! Congress isn’t getting a damn thing done.

California’s War on Pot Churches: California is cracking down on churches who are trying to evade the recreational pot laws by forming a church and calling pot a “sacrament.” I’m impatient with religion in any form. Fortunately for religions, freedom of religion is prescribed in the Constitution and I am sympathetic to the Constitution, so overall, I support people in their religious practices almost absolutely.

But no right is absolute. There are exceptions, the clearest example being Justice Holmes’ regarding freedom of speech that it does not permit someone to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Some things simply violate common sense and public safety.

Pot churches defy common sense, but that’s not the main issue. The issue is license. I am in favor of regulating marijuana distribution through licensed dispensaries because it helps ensure quality control and tax revenue. So, I support marijuana churches (if anyone is stupid enough to believe such nonsense), but I would insist the church to get its “sacrament” materials from a licensed dispensary.

That said, there must be a dispensary available where it may be obtained. I’m surprised that there are communities that ban pot, which authority I assume was written into the state law. That’s a pity, because it only encourages unlicensed pot, which evades taxes and may not be safe. There will always be a black market; it’s human nature. But I would damn sure make marijuana churches buy licensed pot, even if they must drive a little farther to get it. It may be inconvenient, but not compared to being nailed to a cross.

Worst State:  No state can hold a candle to Kansas so long as Mike Pompeo is on stage, pimping for Trump, lying to Congress, and generally being a pathetic pig part.

Thoughts on Events the Week of November 18

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on November 27, 2019

Impeachment Inquiry: I didn’t watch the testimony on television because it’s more efficient (and slightly less nauseating) to get a recap on the news at the end of the day. But Wednesday, I drove to Phoenix and back, so I listened to the testimony of Ambassador Gordon Sondland on the car radio. Here are my impressions.

First, there can no longer be any question that bribery, or extortion, or quid pro quo, whatever you want to call it, occurred, and that President Trump wanted it and directed it. Sondland testified to this and said everybody, including Pompeo, Mulvaney, Perry, and Bolton were “in the loop.” (Of all of these, Bolton seems to have been against it.)

A crime occurred. The only important question remaining is what Congress will do with this certainty.

Second, Representative Nunes is a moron. I tried to follow his interrogation of Sondland (it was really more of a rant) but found it impossible. I couldn’t follow his statements or understand his points, and in any case, they were mostly about something that happened back in 2016, which I couldn’t follow either, and which had nothing to do with the topic. But what I did understand was lies and fantasies. I know it, you know it, he knows it, everybody knows it, whether we choose to admit it or not.

Third, the difference between the Democratic counselor and the Republican counselor is the difference between cheese and chalk, as the British say. The former was clear and penetrating in his questioning and the later was lost in his own notes and incoherent, and occasionally brought out testimony detrimental to his client, which I think in legal circles is something to be avoided.

Finally, based on the testimony of the last two days, this impeachment thing, or some other inglorious end of the Trump presidency, is looking more likely.

But my saddest takeaway from the hearings is the loss of so many dedicated, intelligent public servants who have been pushed out of their careers for partisan political pettiness. What was it said about El Cid? Such a noble vassal. How unfortunate he has such an unworthy liege.

Other investigations: Washington has descended into pure farce, and malicious farce at that. Democrats are now investigating Nunes and Giuliani and may soon be investigating Pompeo. Republicans are investigating the Bidens and may soon be investigating any Democrat running for president. You are nobody in Washington unless you are investigating somebody, or being investigated, or now both. Our political parties seem to be eagerly engaged in mutually assured destruction, and they’re taking the rest of us down with them. This is not a good thing.

Partisanship has become so extreme, divisive and vicious that it can no longer be called “polarization.” It has become a civil war, with the Constitution in the crossfire. In Civil wars, the rule of law goes out the window, which seems to be happening here. It is most certainly being challenged.

Many commentators say our institutions are holding, but I’m not so sure. The Legislative branch is less than productive. (The Senate hasn’t been functioning properly for two decades.) The Executive branch is waging war on the other two branches and is winning on many fronts, and the Judicial branch has become another partisan political branch. Responsible public servants are being run off or are quitting or are just not joining, and it is hard to find much competence, let alone courage, among the elected or appointed political actors. Frankly, I find it discouraging.

DACA: I fear that the so called Dreamers – undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. by their parents at a young age and who have lived here most of their lives and consider themselves American citizens- will lose the protections given them by President Obama by executive order, which President Trump wants to rescind, and so will be at risk of being deported. The Supreme Court heard arguments in the case this week, and it’s expected they will rule in Trump’s favor, odious as the result could be.

Actually, though sadly, I think the Supreme Court would be deciding correctly in ruling Trump may overturn the Obama order, because that’s what it is, only an executive order and not a law. (I certainly hope that the next Democratic president will overturn all of Trump’s overturns.) Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, but I play one on my blog.

When the Dreamers first came on our radar, there was bipartisan support for letting them stay here, but the bill, which Obama would have signed, faltered, due to rising xenophobia and the rabid desire by Moscow Mitch not to give Obama anything that could be interpreted as a legislative “win,” regardless of merit. What a horse part!

I don’t know what this may portend for the Dreamers. I guess it’s possible Congress might protect them somehow, but I wouldn’t count on it. On the other hand, the idea of throwing three quarters a million or more Dreamers out of the country unceremoniously may have so bad a look that even Republicans may not want to be party to it. I’m sure it would drive more suburban woman away from the Republican Party in the next election, not to mention the handful of Hispanics who might still be thinking of voting for Trump.

The Constitution and common judicial sense: The California State Supreme Court knocked down proposed legislation to require President Trump to release his tax returns before being allowed on the ballot in California. This suit was correctly decided. The Constitution prescribes the requirements for president, and no state has the authority to amendment them. Come on, guys. Stop acting like children and work on something meaningful and within your authority. You make governance look frivolous with this kind of stuff and governance looks stupid enough as it is.

Worst State(s): Kansas and South Carolina seem to be in an all-out contest to see which can insinuate the slimiest specimens into the D.C. swamp. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina was already in the swamp that Trump said he would clean up, but instead Trump added a myriad more odious reptiles into it, such as Mike Pompeo from Kansas.

Graham is the biggest hypocrite in politics, which is really saying something in an occupation where hypocrisy is the norm, and Pompeo is a pathologically political pig part. He makes Lady Macbeth look like a saint.

Graham seems destined to live out his life being a disgrace to the Senate since South Carolina voters keep sending him there. (Mick Mulvaney, Acting Chief of Staff and professional pig part, is from South Carolina too.) Pompeo, who used to be a Congressman from Kansas, is said to have plans to crawl out of the swamp to run for Senate there so he can return to the swamp and stink up the place some more. (Wouldn’t it be lovely if Kansas rejected him due to his betrayal of office at State?)

Both states are free to make their own choices for Senator, and both get what they richly deserve, which this week includes an equal share of the worst state cup for their respective states. You other worst states need to step it up if you want to retrain your status. I’m thinking of throwing one of you out and adding Tennessee.

Thoughts on Football the week of November 18

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on November 27, 2019

Everything that needed to go right for my beloved Oklahoma Sooners this weekend did, except for the play of the Sooners themselves against TCU. The teams that need to keep winning to give OU a shot at the playoffs did, and one of the teams ranked above them – Oregon – got upset. OU will move up at least one place in the polls. Against TCU, OU had a chance to wow the judges, but failed. Instead, they showed their same old stuff: fascinating offense and defective defense (though they showed better spirit and effort on defense for a half), with the frustrating result of letting an inferior opponent hang around.

It is amazing to me how spectacular OU’s offense can be. Equally amazing is how easy it is for this team to lose focus and struggle to regain it. A single three and out, the result of some questionable offensive play calling, and the whole team, including the coaching, went into a deep spiral for a period and a half.

I know it is blasphemy to criticize the offensive genius of Lincoln Riley, but on occasion, he violates what to me are sacred rules, articulated by Norv Turner, my all-time favorite offensive coordinator, which I sum up this way: be unpredictable on first down. If you have success on first down, stay with it. If you are second and 9ish, run the ball to close the gap in order to make third down more manageable. If you are second down and more than nine, throw the ball. Above all, if something is working, stay with it until the opponent can stop it, which means something else will be open. Riley does not always do this, and he takes long shots at times that are to me inappropriate, as was done on that three and out that caused OU to unravel.

OU still has a tough road game against OSU, but this doesn’t worry me much. OU played OSU two or three times recently when OSU had much better teams than their current one (the best they will ever have) and OU always managed to win, even on the road. The Big XII championship game is now set between the Sooners and Baylor, and this one doesn’t worry me at all. OU beat Baylor in the regular season when Jalen Hurts had the worst half of his career and OU was without Cee Dee Lamb. Hurts will never have another disastrous half like that again and Lamb is back. Still, I don’t think this team is going to get to the playoffs. There is too much ugly to overcome and too many decent competitors (almost all of which OU could beat) ahead of them.

Speaking of ugly, Texas, inexplicably to me, has regressed badly this year. I expected them to be much better, and I thought Sam Ehlinger would be a serious Heisman candidate. I was sure we would be playing them in the conference championship game again this year, but the Longhorns have been severely humbled. I’m delighted, of course, but surprised.

The Dallas Cowboys played the New England Patriots Sunday night. It was a game between a good team and a pretender. Dallas is the pretender, as becomes obvious every time they play a good team. One might argue that, given the closeness of the game and Dallas’ holding New England to 13 points, that they played well enough to win, but they didn’t. Dallas screwed up early, the Pats took the lead early, and that was it.

The reason Dallas couldn’t win is its coaching deficiency, which was completely exposed, again. Jason Garrett is flat out an inferior coach and it is obvious to everyone, just not painfully obvious enough to Jerry Jones. Garrett literally took the chance to win this game away from his team.

I no longer believe Dallas will make the playoffs. The Philadelphia Eagles have a very easy schedule the rest of the way, similar to the one that got Dallas off to a 3-0 start, and banged up as the Eagles are, should overtake Dallas for the Division title. Dallas has no chance at a wild card spot.

This being said, historically, the Cowboys have benefited from their traditional Thanksgiving  Day game. Playing at home on a short week gives them significant advantages. If they can beat the Buffalo Bills Thursday, it may give them an opportunity to right the ship. But if they lose this game, they are truly toast.

The deterioration of the refereeing was also vividly on display in this game, and elsewhere at collage and the pro games. Dallas was penalized twice for “kicking.” Kicking is rarely called in the NFL, but I have seen kicking and the two penalties were nothing like kicking. Interestingly, Troy Aikman, the color commentator on this broadcast crew, said the same thing, and he even got into it with the “rules expert.” Aikman was exactly right. So, it has come to this: even the rules experts don’t know what the hell they are talking about anymore. What a mess!

Two more idle thoughts: Tyrone Smith may be at the end of his illustrious career and Amari Cooper was not whole for this game.

Baker Mayfield is figuring out the NFL, as I knew he would, and his talent and natural leadership skills are beginning to bring the Cleveland Browns back on track. Sadly, he suffers from the same bad coaching problem as the Cowboys, but he has more of what it takes to overcome it.

Again speaking of ugly, the 49ers put some whoop ass on the Green Bay Packers Sunday night. I think we are seeing a major changing of the quarterback guard.

Midweek football thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on November 21, 2019

The NFL is a copycat league. When a team is successful with a new idea, or a retread one, other teams begin to copy it. Note the current universal popularity of the back-shoulder pass. (I am old enough to remember when the shotgun formation was introduced, and Tom Landry was adamant that the Dallas Cowboys would not use it. But the shotgun had benefits and it wasn’t long before Roger Staubach was backing away from under center on plays Landry devised.)

Currently, the league seems to be trending toward running quarterbacks after a long period of emphasis on pocket passers. (This shift seems a little odd to me, because the rules seem to favor the passing game so much. It’s almost impossible for defensive backs to cover receivers these days. Pass interference seems to be called if a defensive back so much as frowns at a receiver, and the penalties are onerous. One day, opposing quarterback and defensive back captains will shake hands at the coin toss and a referee will throw a flag.)

This new infatuation with running quarterbacks seems to have been inspired by their success in the college game. Colleges have produced a lot of them recently, such as Desean Watson, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray, who are tearing it up in the pros now. (Murray would be tearing it up even more if his team didn’t stink on ice.) Texas’ Ehlinger and OU’s Hurts, among others, will likely be doing the same in the pros soon.

Ironically, the trend to running quarterbacks is also prima facie evidence that the treatment of Colin Kaepernick is flat-out racism perpetuated by the NFL owners, who are basically a pack of conservative pasty white guys. When he was playing, Kaepernick was by far the best running quarterback in the game. He stuck out among NFL quarterbacks, the rest of whom, apart from Aaron Rodgers, looked like they were mired in concrete comparatively. Being the prostitutes they are, who will play wife beaters if they are talented enough on the football field, teams should be climbing over each other to sign Kaepernick, but they are not. Shame on them.

Another current trend is “The Spin,” where runners and receivers spin around upon contact, rather than zig and zag as they used to. There is some logic in this. A lot of defensive backs and safeties are poor tacklers these days. They try to use their shoulders to knock runners over rather than wrapping them up with their arms. The offenses have noticed this and have started spinning. If the defensive backs aren’t using their arms, when the runner spins, there are no arms on either side to stop him.  

Thoughts on Events the Week of November 11

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on November 20, 2019

Turkey: While many government officials were trying to preserve our democratic institutions, President Trump was feting Turkish authoritarian Yip-Yap Erdogan and all but French kissed him in public. In return, Yip-Yap thanked Trump for letting him murder our Kurdish allies.

Mad Hatter Hawk John Bolton said he could not see a reason Trump would help Yip-Yap. But there is an obvious reason: Russia told Trump to. Of course, there is the possibility that Trump was just confused and thought Yip-Yap was the “turkey king” and not the president of a country and hoped to charm him out of a free one for his Thanksgiving dinner.

Guilty on all counts: Another of Trump’s lying buddies, Roger Stone, is going to prison for doing a whole lot of lying to people you may not lie to. Lying is one of the things Trump and Stone have in common, which may be why they have hung together for so long. Stone will now go to jail for a long time or be pardoned, which I am not expecting, because it will look so bad. But if Stone isn’t pardoned, perhaps he may try to shave something off his sentence by telling the truth to the people you may not lie to for a change.

Marie Yovanovich: President Trump smeared this former ambassador to Ukraine before she was recalled for doing her job too well and getting in the way of his attempt to bribe and corrupt Ukrainian president Zelensky. As Yovanovich was testifying about this before Congress, Trump smeared her again in real time, which sent his Republican ass kissers into stunned, gulping silence. I am pretty sure it is impeachable.

Trump apparently considers his power over ambassadors to be absolute. He said he has the “absolute right” to appoint them. That’s not true. He has the absolute right to nominate them, but the Senate must approve them, so the right to appoint them, absolute or otherwise, doesn’t really exist with him. Somebody please give the man a copy of the Constitution.

Freedom of Speech: In a similar misunderstanding of the Constitution, Trump says he has freedom of speech like everyone else. Well, he is right about this. Setting aside the responsibility a president may have to use his speech wisely, Trump does have freedom of speech just like everyone else. But the freedom of speech is not absolute. Just ask Oliver Wendall Holmes. There are certain things one cannot do with that freedom, such as cry “Fire!” in a crowded theater, or intimidate witnesses, which Trump surely did when he smeared Yovanovich as she was testifying. (Maybe there’s a copy of the Constitution in the prison library.)

Was Barr genuflecting, or what?: To close out this sorry weekly saga, Attorney General William Barr got down on his knees for Trump again and told an audience that the Democrat’s impeachment inquiry undermines “voter intent.” This laughable statement fails on many levels, including the fact that Clinton got north of three million more votes than Trump in the presidential election. That is undermined “voter intent.” Poor choice of words, there, Barr.

Worst State: I’m giving it to Kansas this week and again because Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is from there, was previously an elected official from there, and Kansas should be ashamed of itself. Pompeo has been a disgrace to the State Department, to the extent he has been present at all. He has done little or nothing to fulfill his responsibilities there, because he has committed himself to doing Trump’s bidding and to hell with his department.

Thoughts on Football the week of November 11

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on November 20, 2019

I watch the Cleveland Browns because Baker Mayfield is their young, Heisman Trophy winning quarterback. I thought they could beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, and on one level they did, but on another level they lost big time, because during the last eight seconds of the game,  Myles Garrett #95, the Browns’ best defensive player, committed perhaps the most egregious foul in NFL history. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, though close.

Garrett tore the helmet off Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph and hit him in the head with it. This is a serious NFL no-no, dangerous, and bad press for the NFL, which is something you don’t want to be the subject of with the front office. The NFL fined both teams a quarter of a million dollars immediately for letting such a thing happen, and suspended Garrett indefinitely. In the end, three players were ejected and suspended for different periods of time. Bear in mind that when a player is suspended, he doesn’t get paid for whatever games he misses, whatever his contract.

(Rudolph is not a completely blameless party. He was pretty aggressive with Garrett after what I thought was a clean tackle – about the only thing “clean” that happened. – but there’s a vas deferens between what Rudolph did and what Garrett did.)

Basically, the NFL told Garrett, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you to let you know when you can come back into the league, but it’s not going to be anytime soon, and certainly not in 2019.” So, just as they were getting on a roll, the Browns lost their best defensive player for the season and probably into the next, and another player or two for a game or two. Not helpful for a team that needs all the help it can get.

As I see it, Garrett is going to be hearing from the NFL office, if and when they are ready to talk to him, he could hear from the police and possibly the district attorney, he could hear from Rudolph’s lawyer regarding a civil suit for assault, and worst of all, all three suspended players are going to hear from their wives (I don’t know if they are even married) about how they pissed away various sized fortunes the wives were planning to spend on a manicure and a new house. It’s not going to be pretty, and they, especially Garrett, deserve it richly.

It’s worth noting that the Browns were already the most penalized team in the NFL by a margin. They have no discipline, which is due to inexcusably bad coaching. Freddie Kitchens has no business being a head coach, and his being hired shows inadequacy throughout the entire organization.

What then to think about my beloved University of Oklahoma Sooners after their dramatic come from behind victory over undefeated Baylor? Not much, I’m sorry to say. Same old, same old. Championship caliber offense, capable of winning any game, a Junior Varsity defense, capable of losing any game, an inexplicable loss to some woefully inferior opponent each season, a Heisman Trophy level quarterback who can do amazing things and could win the trophy and go first in the draft. Frankly, I’m sick to death of it. The previous two seasons, the Sooners were able to get into the playoffs with this mix, but I’m not sure it will happen this year. There may be too many teams ahead of them.

All that said, it was a remarkable, record setting come from behind victory on the road against an undefeated team with OU’s best receiver on the bench with a concussion. It was a tale of two halves. The first when the wheels came off the Sooner Schooner metaphorically, and the second Hurts couldn’t watch. He turned his back to the field. A coach or friend put his hand on Hurts’ shoulder and gave it a squeeze to let him know that the kick was good. After the game, Hurts was interviewed and even then, his demeanor was the same. He told the sideline interviewer that he dug his team into a deep hole and couldn’t let them see him lose his cool so he could get them out. When asked what now, he said he was going to enjoy the win for 24 hours and then get ready for the next game. And he did! Right after the interview, he ran to the end zone laughing and shouting and shaking hands with fans and having a good time. Today, I’m thinking he’s preparing hard for next week’s game. He deserves the Heisman. Wouldn’t that be something? Three in a row for OU.

Should OU play Baylor for the Big XII Championship, I will not worry about that game at all. We beat them at home, there’s no way Hurts is going to have such a disastrous start again, and by then, we will have Cee Dee Lamb back. Baylor, or anyone else we play, will be toast.

Iowa State beat Texas in a close game. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t pay much attention to this game, but a widow lady neighbor went to Iowa State and I feel a little sorry for her that ISU has played hard this year only to lose four close games, including to Oklahoma, so I was happy for her. Texas seems to have taken a step back this year, much of it due to injuries, I think. But their quarterback, Sam Ehlinger, who came into the season an early Heisman candidate, and about whom I worried, seems to be having a down year.

The Dallas Cowboys beat the Detroit Lions on the road, as they should have since the Lions’ starting quarterback, Matthew Stafford, was out of the game. The Lions played the Cowboys just like Minnesota did: stop Zeke Elliott and take their chances with this rest. This week, Dak Prescott stepped up and met that challenge. He played very well.

I don’t know what this win means, except the Philadelphia Eagles lost to the New England Patriots (never bet against Tom Brady), so Dallas is a game up on them in their division, but they’re not out of the woods yet. The only way the Cowboys can get to the playoffs is by winning the division (they don’t have a chance as a wild card team), so they may make it now, but they have some tough games ahead. We’ll see.

Thoughts about Football the week of November 4

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on November 16, 2019

Wake up little Susie: The Dallas Cowboys played well enough to win but didn’t. The Minnesota Vikings played well enough to win and did. What was the difference? Well, it would have helped if Dallas had shown up for the first quarter instead of sleeping through it, as they seem to do in almost every game. Their first two possessions were anemic. If I remember correctly, each comprised one first down and then a three and out. On the Vikings’ possessions following each of those, they went through the Cowboys’ defense like fecal matter through the proverbial holiday fowl, with the result Dallas was down 14-0 before they answered the alarm. But that wasn’t the whole story. The Cowboys, when they woke, clawed back into the game. 

Sudden thought: Perhaps the Cowboys’ habitual slow starts occur because the coach’s pre-game pep talk puts the players to sleep. Garrett is a singularly uninspiring coach.

The Vikings had the right game plan: stop Zeke Elliot at all costs and take their chances with the rest. It was a smart plan, and it worked. Elliot had fewer than 45 yards. The Cowboys had the intelligent response, too. When they couldn’t get Zeke going against a loaded box, they passed heavily. Dak Prescott threw for more than 300 yards, and his receivers played well. Dallas’ defense played well overall, I thought, but needed to play better. Minnesota did well against them on the road.

With all that said, Dallas had a good chance to win the game at the end and completely blew it. With about a minute to go and Dallas at first and goal, the wunderkind offensive coordinator ran Zeke two times without result, which begs the question: if the run isn’t working and the pass is, why run instead of pass? Answer: the wunderkind, is a mediocre coaching mind, just like his head coach, else why would he be working there. (On the last desperate Dallas down, Dak through a pass that was doomed before it left his hand.)

We must infer that Dallas is, in fact, the middle of the pack team we all hoped it wouldn’t be this season but were afraid it would. This will continue until Jerry Jones swallows his gigantic ego and, if it doesn’t choke him to death, hire a competent coach and let him coach.

I had drafted a whole lot of good stuff about my beloved Oklahoma Sooners’ pathetic play against Iowa State, and some other games, but I deleted it accidentally, and I was too busy (read lazy) to redraft it.

Thoughts on Events the Week of November 4

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on November 11, 2019

Elections: Moscow Mitch woke up Wednesday morning with a Democratic governor in his blood red home state. What, he must be wondering, are the implications of what happened to an unpopular Republican candidate even in Kentucky, and what that might portend for other Republican politicians in other red states, even himself? Moscow Mitch wants to hang onto the Republican majority in the Senate, and suddenly that majority may be more at risk that he thought. It will be interesting to see in what direction he will go from here.

Will he rush to confirm as many more unqualified judges as he can before it’s too late? Or, will he decide maybe it’s time to sit down with Democrats and try to get something done that voters, beyond the red neck, ignorant, xenophobic, bigoted bozos who follow Trump blindly, might appreciate? My guess is he’s in too deep to change course now. Plus, he’s a prick.

That said about Moscow Mitch, it may not be the same for some other Republican Senators. We might see a course correction by some vulnerable ones, such as Collins or Murkowski or Gardner. Frankly, I think it is too late for them. Memories are not that short, and they have all made some odious votes in genuflection to Trump. (I am particularly hopeful we’ll have seen the last of Collins after 2020. She talks like a moderate but ultimately always votes like a right-wing nut.)

What I’m more curious to see is if some other Republican Senators are in for an unpleasant surprise. I’m feeling a little giddy over this week’s election results. I’ll come down to earth soon enough. But still, I can’t help wondering: What would, say, John Cornyn like to do after public service?

Gordon Sondland: suddenly realized, after reading other witnesses’ testimony, that he is in deep prosecutorial doo doo for lying to Congress under oath, a crime for which he could go to jail and for which Democrats would prosecute him in a heartbeat, and that he cannot buy his way out of for a million dollars. Suddenly, his memory was “refreshed” and he changed his testimony to the truth, which now corroborates what many other witnesses have testified to, namely that Trump was extorting Ukrainian president Zelensky for personal political profit and contrary to our national interest.

This is precisely why prosecutors – and in this case Democrats on House committees – take testimony individually and privately first, so that witnesses will not know what other witnesses have said and thus cannot coordinate their lies, which increases their incentive to tell the truth. For as we have seen, Trump supporters without such incentives will lie like rugs.

On a deliciously related matter, President Trump denounced Democrats for planning to hold public hearings this coming week. Seems like only yesterday that Trump’s Congressional ass kissers were denouncing Democrats for holding their initial hearings in closed session, demanding public ones. (As a matter of fact, it was only yesterday.) Which type of hearings are they complaining about, public or private? Republicans may be forgiven for wondering what the hell is going on and what they should do or say about it. They may also be ridiculed for their lying, hypocrisy and mendacity.

Tinkle: There’s a sweet fairytale that every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings. In a like manner, I suspect that every time Trump speaks vulgar, contemptuous smears about people in public – scum, enemy of the people, corrupt, fake news, Pocahontas, jerks, low life, etc. – a suburban female voter decides to vote for a Democrat next time.

Republicans put Ohio Republican Representative Jim Jordan on House Intelligence Committee: They did this because Jordan is a particularly fierce defender of President Trump, even more so than current Committeeman Devin Nunes, who, while also a fierce defender of Trump in the face of the indefensible, is a moron.

By delicious coincidence, this change in the Republican members on the committee occurred the same week that a second person – a college wrestling referee – said he reported sexual misconduct involving a former doctor for Ohio State’s wrestling program to Jordan when Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State. Jordan took no action and the abuse continued. (OSU acknowledges the abuse occurred, and a lawsuit is underway.)

This explains why Jordan is such a supporter of Trump. They have something in common; Both are down with sexual misconduct. And, it’s understandable why Trump would want such a kindred spirit defending him. So, to help cover for Trump in the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry, the Republicans are supplementing the moron with an outhouse rat.

The worst state: Well, it can’t be Oklahoma this week, because they announced they released almost 500 prisoners who were incarcerated for petty crimes, which would get you jailed in Oklahoma, especially if you are a minority, but no more. Oklahoma has reduced many such crimes to below misdemeanors, which means others won’t be jailed for them as well. With the second highest incarceration rate per capita among states, Oklahoma still has a long way to go to crawl out of the middle ages, but they are working on it.

Besides, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham’s odious behavior overwhelmed all other bad behavior in any other worst state this week, when he announced that he will not even read the transcripts of witnesses in the House impeachment inquiry. This is determined ignorance, which is the worst kind. I certainly don’t expect Graham to vote for impeachment of Trump. The president’s ass tastes too sweet and that’s where his lips are permanently placed. Still, I’m surprised he would admit that. It puts his mendacity on display vividly. South Carolina, you get the cup, because, well, you deserve it for electing this horse part.

Football Thoughts the Week of October 28

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on November 6, 2019

I watched the Arizona Cardinals v San Francisco 49ers game. The 49ers are excellent this season, but surprisingly, Arizona gave them a good game, before losing 23-20. I say surprisingly, because the Cardinals are a truly terrible team, but they played hard and sometimes well, in this game.

Though there is controversy about it, which there shouldn’t be, the Cardinals have their quarterback in Kyler Murray, if they can keep him alive. But he won’t be for long if they don’t get a line to protect him. Murray had defenders in his face on almost every play almost before he could take the snap. The Cardinal offensive line is, how do I say this delicately? Porous? Nonexistent? Stinks on ice? That’s it.

The Cardinals play with no discipline whatsoever, which is a coaching problem. I had the sound turned down, so I can’t be positively sure of this, but I think they had two series where every play resulted in a penalty – holding or false start. It was like that movie Groundhog’s Day. Run a play, get a penalty, move back, start over.

On this night, the head coach coached the Cardinals out of a possible win with poor calls, including calling time out just as his defense stopped a 4th and goal attempt. This gave the 49ers another chance, which they cashed in for a touchdown. The Cardinals, sorry as they are, deserve better. Kingsbury is not an NFL caliber coach. Hell, he wasn’t even a good college level coach, and here he is coaching the Cardinals, who, until they get a new coach and an offensive line, among other things, isn’t going to be NFL caliber either.

Apropos of nothing, the worst NFL game I ever saw was between the Cardinals and the 49ers several years ago. It was unimaginably bad play by both teams.

The Cleveland Browns in their loss to the Denver Broncos, in a game they might have won, were almost a mirror image of the Cardinals, except that Baker Mayfield isn’t playing as well as Murray right now. He’s being even more poorly coached. The head coach and offensive coordinator for Cleveland are a worse combination than the Cardinals’ comparable duo. They both should go at the end of the season, but now would be better, before they ruin their quarterback. Kitchens was a disastrous decision, which speaks to the caliber of the of the entire organization. The offensive line could be replaced with cardboard cutouts and do as well. Mayfield has two outstanding receivers. He should pass to one of the other of them on every passing play. Forget the other receivers. Put the ball in the hands of your best players. Cleveland has good offensive players, but their head coach hasn’t a clue how to use them.

I am sick to death of my Dallas Cowboys. It’s hard to pull for such a bunch of underachievers. They have loads of talent, but sometimes play like bums. They let the woeful New York Giants hang around until the last quarter before pulling away, which is not only dangerous, but inexcusable for a team as good as Dallas, on paper. And their loss to the New York Jets earlier was even worse. How could this team play like that and somebody not get fired? Bill Belichick would have fired some of them at halftime.

I am beginning to think that those who consider Dak Prescott a middle of the pack NFL quarterback may be right, though I have rated him in the top third or even higher in the past. He had a lot of errant throws in the Giants game, and his three most successful passes in terms of yards and points were all thrown low and had to be scooped up near the ground by the receivers. (Dak did have one perfectly place ball to Amari Cooper that which went for a touchdown, which is what is likely to happen when you hit a good receiver in stride.)

This is all to do with coaching. The Cowboys don’t have any. And it goes deeper than just the head coach, though it starts there. Any competent head coach would clean out the cupboard. They’re all contaminated from working in that unprofessional environment. I wouldn’t keep a single one of them.

The deterioration of refereeing is even worse than I have been saying previously. Judging by the Cowboys game, the refs can’t even tell the difference between false starts and encroachment anymore. Worse, against Dallas, #71 started three fights and the refs flagged a Cowboy after each one.

One more rant and then I’m done. I think there should be a third passing category in addition to complete or incomplete, which is Drops, as when a quarterback gets the ball to a catchable place and the receiver doesn’t come up with it. I’m sure coaches consider drops when they evaluate receivers. We should too.