Author: DB (Page 2 of 320)

Colts Talk: WTF?!?!

What’s going on with the Colts right now is so strange I had to take a day off, cut the grass, and think about it before I put any thoughts into a text file.[1]

Quick refresher if you’re not up to date on your NFL news:
The Colts have had their standard terrible start to the season. They benched quarterback Matt Ryan, allegedly for the remainder of the season, two weeks ago in favor of Sam Ehlinger, a sixth-round draft pick who began the year as the third-string QB. That didn’t help. Following the first loss with Ehlinger the Colts fired their offensive coordinator. Then Monday, after one of the ugliest losses in franchise history, the team fired head coach Frank Reich and announced that former Colt Jeff Saturday would take over as interim coach.

Those are the basics. Let’s dive into some details.

The Colts have long prided themselves on being a rational organization. Owner Jim Irsay is often in the news, and works actively with the front office, but has a reputation for hiring good people and letting them do their jobs. Not too long ago there was an article about how he has made pains to be a very different owner than his father, Robert, was. Robert Irsay was infamous for being drunk, shooting off his mouth, forcing bad decisions on the front office, and, of course, sneaking the team out of Baltimore in the middle of the night. Jim has a dark, complicated personal history. But in recent years has been one of the most vocal owners of any sports franchise in pushing for mental health support for athletes in particular and the wider population in general. Until Monday, he had never fired a coach during the season.

But this cycle of events would indicate that those placid days may be over.

There are completely legitimate reasons for firing Reich. He was brought in as an offensive guru and the offense has sucked this year. He’s shown a reluctance to call out players or bench guys who aren’t performing. In recent weeks he has seemed more resigned to his fate than fired up to change the Colts’ path.

That said, why now? Why fire him when the issues have more to due with personnel than scheme? When Irsay and general manager Chris Ballard have – allegedly – overruled Reich on several roster decisions over the past couple years.

Reich was a deadman walking, but it felt like he deserved better than getting shitcanned in November.

The real issue was bringing in Jeff Saturday as the interim coach. Saturday is a local hero because of his feel-good story – undrafted and out of football to perennial All Pro and Super Bowl champion – and general “good dude” vibes. But the man has never coached in the NFL. He’s never been a coordinator, a position coach, or even an on-field advisor. To be fair, he’s not a complete newbie to coaching. He has coached three years of high school football. HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL.

Jesus.

There are about a million reasons why bringing Saturday in is the wrong move. Number one on that list is that the Colts already had two former NFL head coaches on staff, along with another who had been a head coach in the CFL and a fourth who has been a head coach/coordinator in college. Whoever takes on the interim coach role is a placeholder, charged with stabilizing a team in chaos and attempting to salvage the season. How do you not take someone who has run practices, made roster decisions, called plays, and been in the midst of the frenzy of a game with grown men instead of kids who just got their drivers licenses?

Hell, if you want a tie back to the franchise’s glory days, Reggie Wayne is already the wide receivers coach. Give him the job.

The Colts are desperate but this seems way off every desperation chart I’ve ever seen.

Worse, it’s a sign that the entire franchise has lost its way. The Colts have been pretty steady for last 20+ years. That will happen when you have Peyton Manning and then Andrew Luck as your quarterbacks for the better part of two decades. But since Luck’s surprise retirement – which came because the team couldn’t protect his body or psyche – they’ve been searching. Often in the wrong places.

Ballard has been insistent that he wouldn’t chase a young quarterback and let him take his lumps to develop because the team was “close to winning” and out of a public fear that failure would cost him his job.

After five years of floundering, though, that is the only reasonable path to take. Scrap everything, start over, with the first step being finding that young quarterback they can build around. Yes, there are big risks involved in that process if you don’t luck into the right draft pick in the right year. That strategy also comes with the opportunity to get out of this cycle of mediocrity the team has been in since Luck retired.

Which, if the franchise really understands that and is committed to it, might be the only justification for bringing Saturday in. He understands what the players are going through. He will respect them and their effort and do what he can to protect them. He’s not here to win the AFC South but to soothe egos and focus the ire of the media and fans away from the guys on the field. Then in January the team can start cleaning house, make new choices for leadership, and do whatever it takes to get the next long-term quarterback on the roster.

Based on how decisions have been made over the past year or so, Irsay doesn’t deserve that much credit and I don’t expect a return to rational, thoughtful, informed, intelligent decisions about the future of the franchise. Hiring Jeff Saturday might be the nadir; I’m not convinced that the Colts know how to begin the climb out of that hole.


  1. That’s my casual way of mentioning that I did my annual mowing of the lawn yesterday. Each fall I have to borrow a mower from a relative or neighbor and make a run around the house to chop up the leaves and shorten the grass before winter hits. I timed it just right this year as today is the final warm day before a shock of early winter hits tomorrow. Spending nearly two hours to just do the half of the yard that is close to the house is also an annual reminder that every dollar we pay to have to mowed for us during the growing season is worth it.  ↩

Kid Hoops

A lot of youth basketball last week. I’ll try not to stretch this out too long, but you know how I get when I am typing about hoops.


L’s St P’s team visited the undefeated, first place squad last Tuesday night. St B’s was 5–0 and their closest game was an eleven-point win. Their average margin of victory was 21. They are coached by a former NFL player and they are from the south side of Indy, so we figured they would be tough.

St B’s jumped out to an 11–2 lead pretty quickly. We made a couple runs but couldn’t get within a single possession. Most of the game the margin bounced between six and nine points. St B’s wasn’t doing anything special. They were just playing very sound basketball and getting open shots inside while our girls were struggling to find any looks. We rebounded the hell out of the ball – it was our best rebounding game ever – but all-too-often would turn the ball over immediately after the rebound.

Still, we were down just 21–16 going into the fourth quarter, already in the bonus, and actually shooting free throws well. Our coaches had adjusted the defense at halftime and we were packing the lane, forcing St B’s to shoot from outside. They rewarded us by chucking brick after brick.

We just couldn’t put together enough consecutive stops-and-scores to get over the hump. We were again down by nine late before we made our customary run, only to run out of time. We got a defensive rebound, L came roaring up the court and drained a long two with two seconds left to cut it to two. We fouled immediately, they missed their free throw, but our half-court attempt came up woefully short.

Damn.


Saturday we had two games with the Cathedral team. They were supposed to practice Friday, but too many girls had the flu and it was cancelled. We were also missing three girls Saturday because of CYO games. To fill in, the coach brought three girls up from the B team.

In game one you could tell we were a team that hadn’t practiced in two weeks and had subs on the roster. Bad effort, terrible offense, no communication, and people getting lost on defense. We were down nine at the half. And for some reason our girls, who had two subs, looked more tired than their opponents, who were playing with just five.

The coaches spent halftime coming up with some new plays and we used them to get L two quick layups. We trimmed the lead down to two at one point but could never get it any closer, losing by eight.

Game two was one we had been looking forward to for a couple weeks. We were matched against a team coached by L’s AAU coach and which featured four of her AAU teammates with their middle school classmates. A couple other girls from the travel team came to watch. I had been texting with the AAU coach all week, getting my excuses in early about the illness, lack of practice, etc. We all thought it was fun and games.

And then his girls came out and curb-stomped us.

Remember all those games early this fall when the AAU team couldn’t hit a 3? Those same girls hit five 3’s in the first half, along with just about everything else they threw up. We were down something like 22 at halftime. The lead was well over 30 for most of the second half but we got it down to a respectable, gulp, 26 at the final buzzer.

The only upside was L scored 10 and had some nice moves. One of her travel teammates watching from the stands got video of her making a sweet Euro-step to score on one of her other AAU friends.

L was embarrassed by the result. And she was mad that her team kind of stinks. I told her she needs to calm down and give the team a chance to get the entire roster together, to get some practices under their belts, and give the coaches an opportunity to figure out some kind of functioning offense. It would also be nice if they learned to play team defense instead of standing and watching when a teammate gets beat. But, again, that’s all about practice time together. I also reminded her the Cathedral coaches will watch her effort and attitude and those impressions can help or hurt her the next few years.


Sunday was the final CYO game of the regular season. We played St L, a school that we generally beat one year, lose to the next. We were due for an L and St L was 5–1 coming in to our 3–3.

We destroyed those chicks.

It was 9–2 after one, 17–6 at halftime, 26–6 after three, and 44–11 at the final buzzer. L and her best friend both scored 12, so they were fired up to each have outscored St L on their own.

This was an especially satisfying win. St L has a girl I’ve written about before who is a bit of a head case. She shoved one of our players last year. We heard she got a technical at a game earlier this year for intentionally elbowing someone. St L also has some very obnoxious parents.[1] Their coach is kind of a douche. L’s best friend’s grandfather coached against that guy 30 years ago and they still do not get along. The game was at Chatard high school, and after the game the grandfather was offering to pay L’s high school tuition if she went there instead of Cathedral. The Chatard varsity coach ran the clock, and came over to ask L, “Don’t you love shooting on these rims?!?! Don’t you want to go to school here?!?!” Laughter all around, although L shook her head no.[2]

One of our coaches texted later in the evening saying that she heard St L was missing their point guard, who is very good. My response, “She’s not 33 points good.”

St L’s might have been missing their lead guard, but our girls would have beaten every team they’ve played this season Sunday. It was the best game, by far, any of our St P’s teams has ever played. Great defense. Patient on offense. Decent on the boards and at the line. L pushing the tempo. Her buddy scoring down low. Hell, we shot over 35% from the field, which has never happened. It was a lot of fun to watch.

We ended the regular season 4–3, in fourth place. We lost to the first place team by 2, beat one of the second place teams by 33, and had a lead on the other second place team in the final minute. We also had the bad luck of losing our first game of the year to a team who lost their best player, who dropped 20 on us, after that game and hasn’t won since.

Now they get a week to prepare for a rematch with St B in the first round of the tournament. Because, you know, you can never seed a tournament in Indiana…🙄


  1. One of them complained about us to the CYO office last year after the big girl shoved our player.  ↩
  2. Humble brag: he’s been low-key recruiting her all year. It’s not just because he likes her and sees potential in her. That class is really small at all schools and talent is hard to come by, so he’s trying his hardest to get as many north side girls as he can.  ↩

Weekend Notes

An unexpectedly long weekend. And not just because of the time change.


Flu

Both M and C got the flu and stayed home Thursday and Friday. They tested negative for Covid and had all the classic flu symptoms. I don’t think either has ever had the true flu before, and were a little overwhelmed by how it kicks your ass. They were still dragging a bit on Sunday but trending back towards normal.

L had Thursday off for parent-teacher conferences, and we were already scheduled to get our flu shots that day.[1] Seemed like tricky timing but we both appear to have avoided catching anything from her sisters. Fingers crossed…


FNL

Friday was, likely, the last ridiculously warm day here. It was pushing 80 in the afternoon and utterly delightful.

As it was so nice out and the Cathedral game was on TV, we sat on the back porch and watched the Irish win their sectional championship game.

Next week is regionals, which brings a trip out to Brownsburg, where the Irish lost their only game of the season. Brownsburg just shellacked both teams in their sectional so my confidence is low.


Weather

This really might have been the greatest fall I can recall. We had a few cool weeks early on, but it’s mostly been warm and dry. I think we’ve had rain three times in the last two months.

Saturday we had some showers blow through then crazy winds for hours and hours. Our power blinked a couple times. We know some folks who still didn’t have their power back on Monday morning.

This week still looks warm, although about 10 degrees cooler than last week, peaking in the mid–60s. The furnace has been off for two weeks but will likely kick on a few mornings. Next weekend is when it looks like we’ll have the first “Oh crap, winter is close!” set of days. I actually saw a low in the teens about a week out.


KU Football

YES! SIX WINS, BITCHES! SHITTY BOWL GAME HERE WE COME!

L, of course, had basketball Saturday afternoon. But we made it home in time to see most of the KU-Oklahoma State game. I could not believe that the Jayhawks were a one-point favorite by kickoff. Wasn’t it just two weeks ago that OSU were the Big 12 favorites? I know they had several injuries to important players, but so has KU.

I guess Vegas knew what they were doing with that line.

The game was never really in doubt. When we got home KU was up 7–0. I believe the margin never got below seven again as the Jayhawks rolled to a 21-point win and bowl eligibility.

As great as the beginning of this year was, I was having a hard time buying into this team getting a sixth win. A lot of it was Jalon Daniels going out to injury. His replacement, Jason Bean, has a lot of talent, but that talent always feels unharnessed. Plus he’s prone to making big mistakes in big moments.

But Bean was fantastic on Saturday, playing a nearly perfect game. Props to that guy, who could have easily left KU after last year knowing Daniels was the likely starter this year. Bean barely got on the field the first few weeks, and even when he did was often used as a decoy rather than an actual playmaker. While his first three games as a starter this year were erratic, he kept KU in every game. His 74-yard TD run Saturday was a beautiful moment of catharsis. And his visible emotions after the game were terrific.

Devin Neal was a beast, and dropped one of the greatest performances in KU history. When he committed to KU, I had to wonder if he was really as good as his recruiting profile claimed. Maybe he just racked up those gaudy stats because he was playing in Kansas. Maybe KU was the only school he had a chance to play at from day one, and that’s why he took their offer.

He’s a straight-up stud, though and proved that on Saturday.

I was also having a hard time believing the sixth win would come just because of all the scar tissue that remains from the past 14 years of KU football. So many Saturdays sitting at a soccer field or a cross country course or in a gym and checking the KU score, knowing it would be bad but hoping that maybe they would surprise me, and then seeing they were losing to a crappy team by three touchdowns in the first quarter. There was rarely a reason to turn the game on when I got home. Those five-straight wins to start this year were fun, and Lance Leipold clearly has the program pointed in the right direction. But there was no way we were going to beat one of Oklahoma, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Texas, or Kansas State, right? Not with a backup QB who is limited, not without our most physical running back, not without our top cornerback, not without our best pass rusher. KU is better but there still isn’t the margin of error built into the roster to make up for that many injuries.

Yet they’ve done it. And now who is to say they won’t be able to grab a seventh win somewhere between now and the end of the season?

I saw one bowl preview list Sunday (why do they do those things now when there is so much football to be played?) and it predicted that KU would play Missouri in the Liberty Bowl. What a way to return to the postseason!


Colts

I’m so glad I only caught a few minutes of the Colts’ putrid performance in Foxborough. Blow up this team and start over. They stink.


Kid Hoops

We had a lot of kid hoops over the past week. So much that I’ll share those notes in a different post. I will provide this teaser: we had one of the most stressful games of year, one of the most embarrassing games of the year, and the best performance of the year. More on all that tomorrow.


Christmas Shows on TV

WHY THE FUCK WERE SO MANY CHRISTMAS SHOWS AND MOVIES ON TV THIS WEEKEND? IT’S NOT EVEN ELECTION DAY, PEOPLE. CHILL.


  1. I got second Covid booster as well. She was Covid positive about a month back so gets to avoid that jab a little longer.  ↩

Sunday Links

A few links have stacked up, and I have a few posts lined up for the coming week, so might as well share them on a Sunday. Most of these are music-related, which seems ideal for a weekend.


Tennessee’s win over Alabama was spectacular.[1] The images of the orange-clad Volunteer fans taking over the field after the winning field goal sailed through the uprights will be one of the lasting images of this college football season. Alex Kirshner on why games like this are so great.

Validation in college football doesn’t reallycome from winning national titles. It can’t, or fans of 115 or so teams would have nothing to care about year after year. Instead, it comes from two things: beating the team you hate the most, and having the time of your life with your friends.

Tennessee Over Alabama Is Why God Invented College Football


A good piece about the anniversary of Stevie Wonder’s Talking Book album.

MACY GRAY (musician, released her own remake of “Talking Book” in 2012): The album is like “Goodfellas.” Every time you watch it, you see something different, you know? There’s all these little details, and you’ll hear it once and you listen to it again, or you’ll hear it in different speakers and something will pop out that you didn’t hear in your car.

Stevie Wonder’s ‘Talking Book’ at 50


Holy shit! The Verge’s Nilay Patel sets Elon Musk straight following his purchase of Twitter.

What I mean is that you are now the King of Twitter, and people think that you, personally, are responsible for everything that happens on Twitter now. It also turns out that absolute monarchs usually get murdered when shit goes sideways.

Welcome to Hell, Elon


Revolver has been my favorite Beatles album since I really started listening to their music with fresh ears about 20 years ago. A new box set features remastered tracks along with demos, outtakes, and other audio mementos from the album’s recording. Here is the LA Times’ look at the updated release.

“…Bowie famously would change genres for each album. The Beatles seemed to do it within an album.”

The Beatles at their ‘peak’: A new box set sheds light on the making of ‘Revolver’

And this piece gets a little more into the technology behind the remixes, and some of the questions that arise because of it.

How Peter Jackson Broke Up the Beatles And used AI to make Revolver better than ever.


I’ve spent bits of this year reading a book that is heavy on music theory. I’m (finally) getting close to finishing it, so I’ll share more about it in an upcoming Reader’s Notebook post.

This article reminded me of that book, although taken to the next level. One commenter nailed how I felt after finished it: “I didn’t understand most of it, but I really liked reading it.”

For all the cultural baggage it carries, “Africa” is a truly innovative, masterfully crafted piece of music (which is saying something given that it’s not even the best song on the album!). Yet we so often see the song reduced to droll memes, or dismissed simply as a superficially dramatic (albeit catchy) pop tune. As famous as the song has become, it seems most people really don’t appreciate the brilliance of its musical architecture. But make no mistake: It is brilliant.

A Composer Breaks Down The Music Theory Behind Toto’s “Africa”


I love that there are still a few mysteries like this, relics from the Cold War era when technology wasn’t as advanced and it was much harder to identify strange signals in the ether.

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for the last three-and-a-half decades, it’s been broadcasting a dull, monotonous tone. Every few seconds it’s joined by a second sound, like some ghostly ship sounding its foghorn. Then the drone continues .

The ghostly radio station that no one claims to run


  1. Although some of the big-picture significance – for Tennessee at least – was rendered moot by their loss to Georgia this weekend.  ↩

Friday Playlist

“How Far We’ve Come” – The Big Pink
This big, positive track is a good thing to listen to in the heart of the political season. There’s a lot going wrong in the world, and I tend to think we’re heading a very bad direction in so many different aspects of life. But in other ways, we’ve really come a long way. Silver linings and whatnot…

“The Politics of Dancing” – Re-Flex
I heard this on the way to school this morning and it also seemed appropriate. Everything else is political these days. Dancing might as well be, too.

“Where’s The One?” – Congotronics International
If dancing/music is going to be political, this is the kind of political music I want. People from various backgrounds coming together to make insanely great music. You can read a little more about this collective here.

“Flip It” – Bleached
One of the few surviving acts from that early 2010s Girl Garage Pop movement. I wish the Dum Dum Girls were still around, but this isn’t too bad of a placeholder.

“Bad Thing” – Miya Folick
One critic said this song sounds like something Angel Olsen would have done had she veered towards shimmery pop rather than the quasi-country/Dusty Springfield lane she carved out on her last album. I don’t know if Folick has Olsen’s pure vocal talent, but she’s pretty good and this song is terrific.

“I Can’t Live Without My Radio” – LL Cool J
I’m assuming Monday was our last-ever Halloween with trick or treating kids. L went as an 80s/90s rapper. On our way to her friend’s house, I played this track to help get her into character. She didn’t enjoy it as much as I did.

This “performance” is great. I guess it is easier to disguise lip-syncing with singers than rappers, and that explains the lack of closeups of LL? I always admired LL’s stage presence. It’s pretty much the same moves over-and-over, but his stalking of the stage and massive voice made the rather limited dancing feel right.

College Hoops Thoughts

Your defending national champion Kansas Jayhawks play their first exhibition game tonight. Seems like some hoop thoughts are in order.


KU and the NCAA

The saga continues its glacial slide towards a resolution.

Wednesday KU announced that it was imposing various penalties, ranging from Bill Self and Kurtis Townsend being suspended for four games (reflecting an NCAA mandate for being found guilty of a Level 1 violation), to recruiting limitations, to reducing scholarships. A lot of people found it strange that KU did this on a Wednesday, the day before the first exhibition game, when any final verdict from the NCAA’s IARP group isn’t expected until after this season ends.

I think we figured out some of the explanation for the timing on Thursday, when the IARP’s ruling in the Louisville case was released. The minor penalties that UL received make KU’s self-imposed consequences seem pretty solid. KU’s statement said that the self-imposed penalties were implemented in consultation with the NCAA and IARP. Throw in the IARP’s statement that they believed that the Adidas agents were acting indecently and looking to promote the Adidas brand rather than the Louisville brand, and KU fans have to be letting out a massive sigh of relief.

Maybe I’ll be proven to be super, duper wrong, but I would expect when the IARP finally releases its final report on the KU investigation, there won’t be any additional, major punishment.[1] It seems, based on their comments in their rulings on North Carolina State, Memphis, and Louisville that they believe the FBI and federal jury more than their NCAA bosses, and aren’t going to punish schools for being a part of a mess the NCAA helped to create.


Expanding the Tournament

Dumb.

I think the way this is being framed for the public is very interesting. While coaches from Power 5 schools have tread rather lightly around the subject – it seems like they are cautiously interested but don’t want to go too far out on a limb – we are hearing more strongly from mid-major coaches. They often use the word “opportunity” in their arguments for expanding the NCAA tournament beyond its current 68 teams.

Don’t fall for it.

The whole reason for this expansion is to protect Power 5 schools as their home conferences get bigger and bigger. Coaches and athletic directors are realizing that if they are playing in leagues filled with 16, 18, eventually 20 teams, it’s going to be harder to get a team that goes 8–12 in conference play into the tournament. Expanding the tournament is all about making sure the Big 10 and SEC can still get three-quarters of their teams into the Big Dance after they expand.

Ironically I think expanding the Power 5 conferences will open up more spots in the current tournament for Mid Majors, as those schools that go 25–3 but lose in their conference tournament will look a lot better compared to a crappy Penn State team that went 15–15 and got blasted in the Big 10.

Oh and it’s about money. It’s always about money.


NIL

I think I promised an NIL-focused post all summer. I wrote drafts at least four times, but each time I would sit down to go through it again, there had been some huge NIL development that rendered some of my words pointless.

So rather than break down the entire system I’ll share my over-arching thought about how NIL has affected college athletics.

That thought is this is exactly what the NCAA deserves. The organization stuck to the immoral argument that colleges are free to profit directly off the name and image likenesses of their players without giving over any of that cash to the actual athletes for decades. Michigan could make a bundle selling Chris Webber jerseys, but he could never see a dime of that because college athletics are “amateur” sports. Never mind that anyone who has been to an AAU tournament in the past 30 years knows that the players who fill most Power 5 basketball rosters haven’t been amateurs for years. UCLA could get a healthy portion of the payout from EA Sports for its players appearing in EA games, but Ed O’Bannon could not be compensated for his picture being on the cover of the game.

O’Bannon’s argument in his lawsuit against the NCAA was purely about these issues: if a school sells a jersey with a player’s number on it, that player should see some of the profits. If NCAA athletes names are used in a video game, they should get some of the money the developers paid to the NCAA/institutions.

If the NCAA had just caved on this point, even slightly, it would have saved itself two decades of legal expenses, attention from Congress, and the intervention of state legislatures. Instead, they dug in their heels until the Supreme Court unanimously ruled against them and state legislatures began enacting their own protections for athletes’ NIL rights, rights that varied from state-to-state.

The result is a system with zero oversight and, basically, zero rules. At least initially. Most schools have set up some kind of collective that funnels money to its players. Billionaire donors are shoveling out money just to get kids to sign with their alma maters.

This is not what NIL was supposed to be about. It was supposed to be about kids getting a portion of jersey sales, a slice of the money video game developers paid out, and the right to appear in ads and make some money.

I honestly think we would have avoided the Wild West system we have now had the NCAA not been so ridiculously intransigent. Instead they are busy trying to cram the toothpaste back into the tube as their power weakens.

The NCAA’s days are numbered; it is an outdate, out-of-touch organization that has no interest of changing with the times. They have no one but themselves to blame either for their demise, or for the mess that NIL has become.


Actual KU Hoops

We’ll get a proper Jayhawk Talk post after they play some real games. I’m excited to see them play tonight. I imagine it will be less stressful than the last time I watched them play.

As always there are a lot of questions about the team. Can Gradey Dick live up to the hype and become a big-time contributor from day one? Can one of the freshmen bigs, or Zach Clemence, be effective inside on either end of the court? Can Jalen Wilson take his game to the next level? Can Kevin McCullar rediscover the shooting stroke that he lost after getting injured last year? McCullar and DaJuan Harris will make for an awesome defensive pair. Can the rest of the team match their level of play? Will there be enough outside shooting? What players will transfer out after this year?[2]

I think the Jayhawks may look uglier than normal for the first two months of the season as they try to answer these, and other questions. I expect a lot of games in the low 60’s. There is plenty of upside and the biggest question is can all those little questions be answered in a way that raises the ceiling for this squad?

KU has a chance to be very good this year. They could also struggle to score all year and end up going only 20–10 or something. I don’t know if National Champions good is on the table. But not many thought that was possible last year, either, so you never know.


  1. There are rumors that Bill Self may get a tournament ban this coming year. I wish I had tracked all the rumors that have popped up around the case over the past five-plus years.  ↩
  2. Evergreen question in college sports these days.  ↩

October Media

A light month thanks to reading The Stand and being out-of-town for a week.


Movies, Series, Shows

Halloween Baking Championship
I have two episodes left, so no final grade yet. Interesting that the baker that seemed to be clearly the best took herself out of the competition early by taking an unnecessary risk.

Incomplete

The Patient
I watched the first two episodes of this one night and then never got back to it. I’m not sure if I’ll go back or not.

Incomplete

Seinfeld, The Office
When I did watch TV last month and I wasn’t watching sports, I watched a ton of reruns of these shows. A’s all around, obviously.


Shorts, YouTubes, Etc

Cathedral Traverse
No big deal, just some dudes casually climbing some ridiculously steep and jagged rocks.

All Quiet on the Western Front | Official Teaser
I might watch this when it comes out.

Hávamál
Amazing surfing in Norway? Who knew? And who knew there are surfers who did tricks like skateboarders on top of gnarly waves? Clearly lots of people knew, just not me.

Is Apollo 11’s Lunar Module Still In Orbit Around The Moon 52 Years Later?
Pretty sure I’ve watched this before. Doesn’t make it any less cool.

SIX MINUTES OF WAR (One-Take WW2 Short Film)
Lord help me. Watch a couple World War II videos and soon they start taking over your feed.

The Making of Arrested Development was a Sh*t Show
A great, 20-minute look at all the things that kept Arrested Development from getting the due it deserved during its original run.

Best Unscripted Moments – The Office
My monthly Office video.

Bob Mould talks about Hoover Dam song
One night I fell into a Sugar/Bob Mould hole on Spotify. I looked at a few Mould-related pieces on YouTube and this was the only one I watched all the way through.

Pearl Jam Is Like a Great Sports Dynasty
The analogy here seems like a stretch to me, but I still watched it.

I Watched Top Gun: Maverick in 0.25x Speed and Here’s What I Found
A few interesting tidbits in here, but also a couple of factual errors and then several things that I’m not sure needed to be explained.

I went on TV and gave away presents made from junk wood
Beau Miles, taking his bullshit to the masses!

What Happened To ‘80s R&B Group Guy?
I will watch anything about Guy. I made the mistake of watching the Aaron Hall video referenced late in this. A total disaster that changed the way I look at him. I did laugh at one comment under the Hall interview that said it set Black people back 60 years.

Mt. Saint Helens from space! Before and after eruption – 1973 to 2019
I’m a sucker for stuff about Mt. Saint Helens.

WWII Rescue Buoys – Secret ‘Floating Hotels’ of the English Channel
These seem kind of crazy.

DC Trip Notes

I had a really good week in Washington, D.C. with L and her classmates. It wasn’t all great, but we avoided the major issues that often plague these trips.

We did A LOT. I took some notes along the way, but I think the best way to share the experience is just to list everywhere we went and add a thought or two as necessary.

Monday: Flew into Baltimore and drove directly to Arlington National Cemetery. We got to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A humbling visit that I think the adults appreciated more than the kids.
Dinner at the Pentagon City Mall (kids ate fast food, adults popped into a proper restaurant).
Then a nighttime, walking tour of some of the monuments and memorials including the World War II and Korean War memorials, Lincoln and Washington monuments.

Tuesday: Breakfast at 6:00 before heading to the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception for 8:00 mass. Props to the priest for knocking it out in 34 minutes.
The kids took a longer tour of the church site while their math teacher and I snuck out to get coffee and hang out on our own.
From there it was back to the national mall for the Vietnam and Albert Einstein memorials.
After lunch the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, which was incredibly moving. I don’t know what made me angrier: confronting the reality of the Holocaust, or knowing as the survivors and perpetrators die off, it gets easier for the lunatics out there to claim the Holocaust either didn’t happen or was exaggerated. We are doomed.
Next out to Mt. Vernon. Not sure what got into the boys, but most of them were total idiots at Mt. Vernon. They asked THE DUMBEST questions of our poor guides. One of many “I’m happy I’m a girl dad” moments. There were several other school groups on the site as well. One group was from the south (based on accents and Clemson shirts several wore) and had a bunch of kids wearing gear celebrating our last president. When a few kids in that group asked their teachers if they could visit the slave cemetery, they were told no. I thought that was very interesting for a variety of reasons.
Following dinner we made a stop and the national harbor and then a walking ghost tour of Alexandria.

Wednesday: A quick photo outside the White House first thing, before the crowds grew.
Then we had a tour of the US Capital followed by a visit to the Library of Congress.
We took the metro a couple stops to near the Washington Monument. The kids ate lunch at food trucks and then scattered at the various Smithsonian museums for most of the afternoon. The parents took a longer lunch at a restaurant.
That evening we drove back into Maryland for dinner at Medieval Times. Which was a lot mentally when you are on day three of a trip. A lot of the adults were looking at each other asking “What the fuck!?!” It took awhile to get into it, but our knight won the final battle so it all worked out.

Thursday: After checking out of the hotel we went to the zoo. We saw the pandas which was about the only thing we can’t see at our zoo here in Indy. Oh, we did see an electric eel get fed her lunch, which wasn’t as cool as I hoped because she didn’t shock it, just yanked it off the hook the handler put in the water.
Another food truck lunch on the National Mall. President Biden graced us by flying over as we ate, which I thought was a nice touch. Pretty crazy to see blocks of streets shut down as police and other emergency vehicles cordoned everything off and multiple helicopters roared in before Marine One descended upon the White House.
After lunch was the National Museum of African American History and Culture. This was L’s favorite stop of the trip, and I loved it too. I could have spent a lot longer here. The slavery section was obviously incredibly emotional. That section of the museum stretches from the beginning of the slave trade in the Americas to Obama’s inauguration. I couldn’t help but think that was fitting since this country began to drift backwards into lunacy in the years after Obama was elected.
Finally we bused out to Dulles to go to the Air & Space museum. Seeing stuff like the Enola Gay, numerous fighter jets, and the space shuttle Discovery was pretty cool.
It was a two hour drive in traffic back to the Baltimore airport and a late flight home. L and I got to our house a little after 1:00 AM.

All this was exhausting, which I think is the point. I was in the midst of one of my insomnia battles which did not help. Wednesday my body finally reset and I was able to fully recharge. Those first couple days were a little rough, though. Even with all my working out, my calves were still barking after the first day of walking.

Fortunately we had nearly perfect weather the entire week. It sprinkled on us once briefly, but otherwise was in the 60s, generally cloudy, and pleasant.

As I said, we had some issues with the boys. I unloaded on the same kid three times. He’s just an asshole and I wasn’t going to tolerate it. He’s lucky he didn’t get sent home because he violated the curfew rules at least one night.

Other than that, the kids were well-behaved. We didn’t have any big incidents. L’s class is so small we could all get on one bus comfortably (St P’s usually has a boy bus and girl bus). Our driver was excellent. M’s 8th grade year they had major issues with one of their drivers.[1] And last year’s class had the bad luck of being in a hotel that couldn’t handle a bunch of middle schoolers and the water literally stopped working one night.

We stayed in Alexandria in a nice Westin. Apparently it was quite a bit pricier than where they stayed last year, but the water worked! There was another school group staying there from Lodi, CA.[2] They were checking out Wednesday morning. I’m assuming they were hitting another east coast city, because that’s a long way to fly for just two days.

My roommate was a friend of mine who also has three daughters. M matches up with his middle daughter – they are still super close despite going to different high schools – so we’ve been friends for 13 years.

One weird thing other parents also commented on: we were constantly turned around or confused about directions. Which seems weird since we all have smartphones and many of us have Apple Watches with compasses in them. I think it was because we were all in the middle of the bus and you can only see what’s out your windows. You never get a real sense for where you are headed or what cardinal direction that is.

The Capital building was in the midst of a major exterior renovation. But there were also repairs still being done from the January 6 attacks. Motherfuckers.

This was my first time in Washington, D.C. It’s amazing how there is so much to do and see in such a relatively small area. We just scratched the surface. There were several areas I would have loved to spend more time in, but I won’t complain about cramming so much into a four-day visit.

Some pictures to close.


  1. I can’t imagine driving a bus in DC.  ↩
  2. This was another Catholic school, and they attended Mass with us. The hotel didn’t clearly mark which group’s breakfast was which, so each morning there were people wandering into the wrong room.  ↩

Weekend Notes

Friday

L had the day off after our DC trip (more to come on that tomorrow), although I still had to get up and take C to school. Why did I have to take her? M was on her senior retreat Tuesday through Friday.

Friday evening was the welcome home ceremony for the seniors. That was interesting, as all the kids (40-some) had to stand up and say something about their experience. A few of the speeches were super emotional. Some were funny. But most were about how good the week was, how they connected with people they didn’t know well before, etc.

This stretched out long enough that I didn’t have any interest in going to Cathedral’s football sectional opener against Lawrence North, who had a really talented young quarterback but not much else. M did run home then head back to the game. It was a tense one. CHS was down 10 in the first half, jumped ahead by 10 in the third quarter, but only led by two with LN driving late before they forced a fumble and got a late score to win by nine. Survive and advance, I guess.


Kid Hoops

L had two CYO games this weekend.

Saturday they played St S, a team they torched in a preseason scrimmage back in August. L and her best friend both scored about 20 points in that game. We knew St S was missing a girl or two that day. This game was not a repeat of that scrimmage.

You could tell our girls hadn’t played or practiced in nearly two weeks. It took a long time to get comfortable on either end, we had two players get three fouls in the first half, and once the girls remembered the plays, they were ice cold from the field. We were down six at half, 12 at the end of three. Not looking good.

We started pressing and trapping in the fourth quarter and the girls ripped off a 13–0 run to steal the win. L played like crap on offense – she had six points on about 3–12 from the field, 0–3 from the line – but she had two steals, forced two more turnovers, and a couple of assists in that run. The win moved our record to 3–1.

Worth noting that this was the first week that her game(s) did not coincide with a KU football game. KU being on a bye week made that easy. But, naturally, this game was played at 9:00 AM, when it did not interfere with any college football games. Next week her games will again fall in the exact time KU is playing.

Sunday we faced a team that was 2–2, St O. Based on scores, I expected a close game. We got that.

St O just killed us on the boards and grabbing loose balls. While we were one-and-done on the offensive end, they were getting 3–4 chances on each possession. It felt like we were down 5–7 the entire game. But we got it to three late and L hit a 3 from the top of the key to tie it. Seconds later she stole the ball at mid-court and got fouled on her layup attempt. She hit one of two free throws to give us the lead.

They came down and hit a shot to re-take the lead. On the next possession L had a great look from behind the arc that rimmed out. St O knocked down a few free throws and we lost 32–28. L finished with a team-high 10. The coaches and I were lamenting our inability to grab any loose ball afterward.

Tuesday we play the undefeated, first place team. Hoping we can keep that one close.


Colts

The team that can’t get out of their own way. During the week they benched Matt Ryan and elevated Sam Ehlinger as the starting QB. Ehlinger only fumbled once and didn’t throw any interceptions Sunday, so that was an improvement over Ryan. He wasn’t all that special otherwise, though. His fumble came at a key moment, as did Jonathan Taylor’s later in the game. This team LOVES to give the ball away deep in the other team’s territory.

Indy native and Cathedral alum Terry McLaurin made a fantastic catch on an under-thrown ball that setup the winning touchdown for the Commanders. At least Carson Wentz wasn’t the winning QB.

It is starting to feel inevitable that the Colts coaching staff and front office will be cleaned out after this season. I think Frank Reich is a good coach, if perhaps too reluctant to move away from under-performing players. Chris Ballard has done a lot right as general manager. But this team should be better than its record, and some key moves the past three years have failed to deliver expected results. The pass that Reich and Ballard got for Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement can’t cover their failures anymore.


Pacers

Who knew the Pacers might be the best team in the city when the calendar flipped to November?

My interest in the NBA has been increasing lately, mostly because I found a few good podcasts that I’ve added to my gym playlist. I really figured this would be a lost year for the Pacers. They are trying to rebuild, they seem perpetually bit by the injury bug, pretty much everyone knows that Buddy Hield and Myles Turner will be traded at some point, and any minor injuries will be used as excuses to shut players down in March in order to squeeze out every loss possible to increase their lottery odds.

The Pacers swept a road back-to-back over the weekend, including an embarrassing (for the Nets) win in Brooklyn Saturday. Rookie Bennedict Mathurin seems like the real fucking deal, dropping 32 on the Nets and averaging 21 a game coming off the bench. After losing an important game to the Spurs – another team expected to be deep in the lottery next spring – the Pacers have won three of five. Through seven games the Pacers have the same record as the Warriors. They need to stop winning!

I’m sure this team success won’t last. But at least with Mathurin and Tyrese Haliburton and a few other young guys the team is fun to watch. I hope they won’t regret these early wins when lottery time rolls around. They need the maximum number of ping pong balls in the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes.

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