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Friday Vid

A special playlist to come later today.

“Love is Alive” – Gary Wright
Mr. Wright died this week. Contrary to popular belief, he was not a one-hit-wonder: he had three songs that cracked the top 20. By every measure except for one, this was his biggest hit. Like “Dream Weaver,” it peaked at #2 on the Hot 100. It remained on the chart seven weeks longer than “Dream Weaver,” and finished #9 in the 1976 year-end countdown to #37 for “Dream Weaver.” It’s also a much better song.

But “Dream Weaver” got a second life when it was used in Wayne’s World and that’s what people remember.

RIP to Gary.

NFL Predictions

As I skimmed the site’s archives over the summer, I realized I’ve gotten away from the half-assed NFL predictions that used to be a staple this time of year. That is mostly because I was busy with kid sports and the beginning of the NFL season often snuck up on me. And because I loathe how the NFL offseason dominates sports media and largely tune it out, not checking back in until the games begin.

Both to honor the heritage of this site and because I listened to a few NFL preview pods this week, I’m going to jump back in and offer some extra half-assed NFL predictions.



Lots of people seem down on the Bills after their struggles to match the hype they entered last season with. I’m going to chalk a lot of that, along with their early playoff exit, to injuries. Plus I don’t trust the other teams in the division. Buffalo


Maybe the best and most intriguing division in the game. One injury to a key player could tip the entire thing. Since I’m a partial Bengals homer now, I’m going with Joe Burrow and his crew. Cincinnati


Ugh. The Colts should really suck this year. Every preview I’ve either listened to or read, though, suggests that at least Anthony Richardson is going to be interesting enough to watch their games. He’s going to have amazing moments and look completely overwhelmed at times. Often within the same drive. I suppose the question is whether the organization can shake its recent dysfunction and build around him as he (hopefully) turns into a star, or is he destined to be a Must Watch QB stranded on a terrible team his entire career?

As for the division, both Tennessee and Jacksonville have strong selling points. Culture in Nashville, youth in Jax. Yet both teams have huge holes that have some people squinting and suggesting that if the Colts can protect Richardson, bring back Jonathan Taylor in week five, and keep the defense healthy, they could actually steal the division. Yikes. I like Trevor Lawrence’s potential the most, so I’ll take Jacksonville.


Kansas City until Mahomes can’t throw.

Wild Cards

There are a lot of good teams in the AFC. But once you get past the top three, they all have serious questions. Can Tua stay healthy? Is Aaron Rodgers washed up or revitalized? Can the Ravens still stop people? Was that late season-run by the Steelers legit? Can Sean Payton really fix the Broncos? What new ways will the Chargers find to squander their potential? I’ll take Pittsburgh and New York.

Oh, wait, I just remembered there are three Wild Card teams now. Shit. Throw in San Diego just because their eventual loss will be highly entertaining.



If Washington were better, this would match the AFC North for overall strength. Lots of people are jumping on the Cowboys’ bandwagon, but I can’t possibly trust that franchise not to fuck it up somehow. Philadelphia was clearly the best team in the NFC last year. No reason they won’t win the division again this year.


All the love for the Lions is cute. Get back to me when they’ve won a meaningful game. I think Minnesota holds off Green Bay.


Man, what is it with the South divisions? They both suck. New Orleans I guess?


The Niners are a weird team, man. They might have the best, most complete roster in the game. With one glaring exception: quarterback. They always seem to have a couple huge injuries, too. I still trust them more than I trust Geno Smith to repeat last year’s performance. San Francisco

Wild Cards

Dallas, New York, and Green Bay



Buffalo over New York
Pittsburgh over Jacksonville
Cincinnati over San Diego

Kansas City over Pittsburgh
Cincinnati over Buffalo

Kansas City over Cincinnati


Dallas over New Orleans
New York over Green Bay
San Francisco over Minnesota

Philadelphia over Dallas
San Francisco over New York

San Francisco over Philadelphia

Super Bowl

Niners get another chance at the Chiefs. Their defense slows Mahomes down, but when forced to play the entire game with some quarterback they signed in November – Carson Wentz!?!? – they can’t put any points on the board. Kansas City 24, San Francisco 9, and the Chiefs officially enter dynasty territory.

As always, never, ever take use these to make actual bets.

Labor Day Weekend Notes

It wasn’t that long ago when Labor Day weekends were big, involved deals for us. When we were lake house owners, that would always be the last blowout of the year. Lots of friends or family down for two final days of floating, swimming, boating and fun.

We’ve backed off that pace quite a bit and these weekends are much more laid back. We did have some friends over Sunday evening. I spent about 10 hours smoking a pork shoulder which turned out well. I may have had a beer or two too many, though, and Monday morning was a struggle. Sadly that “beer or two too many” limit comes a lot quicker than it used to.

Here’s what else went on during our final weekend of the summer.

HS Football

It was a PERFECT night for football as Class 6A #6 Cathedral pounded #9 Penn 35–6 Friday. The Irish were up 35–0 at halftime and all the starters sat out the second half. The fourth or fifth string let in a long, impressive touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to ruin the shutout.

This is homecoming week with big rival, Class 3A #1 Bishop Chatard on the schedule.

KU Football

My first point, one I will repeat next week, is that playing a college football game on a Friday night is generally stupid. When you are a program that has struggled to be successful and generate fan interest for over a decade, it is super dumb. So big thumbs down to KU for deciding to play the first two games of the season on Friday nights. Sounds like they had a decent crowd last week, but I bet playing on the night when almost every high school in the state was also playing cost them a few thousand more asses in the seats.

I didn’t get to check the score until halftime of the CHS game, when it was tied at 7-all late in the first quarter. That alone confirmed that Jalon Daniels was not playing.

I was able to listen to the first drive of the second half – a KU touchdown – and then watch the rest of the second half. Obviously I was the key as the team shook off some inconsistent play and did what you’re supposed to do to FCS teams. It was just a few years back when KU was losing these games, so a 31-point win without the starting QB was just fine.

As I only saw part of the game, I won’t offer any assessments.

College Football

OK, we all owe Deion an apology, right? I mean all of you who doubted him. Because I, of course, did not. I believed he would turn Colorado around immediately. Never had a single question.

It was good to have a full slate of games, even if I spent four hours of the day in the car between here and Cincinnati. More on that in a moment…

Auto Update

My appointment to get an estimate on the girls’ car was last Thursday. My big fear was that they would need to open the back tailgate to assess the damage, not be able to get it shut, and we would lose the car because of that.

Turns out that shouldn’t have been my worry.

They crawled underneath the vehicle, looked for about five minutes, and told me the impact bar was compromised and the car was no longer drivable if we wanted insurance to cover the repairs.


I already got an initial estimate but the car is supposed to be disassembled today for a full inspection, so I guess we’ll see. Turns out the other kid’s family’s insurance company uses the same body shop as one of their preferred vendors, so hopefully no issues getting payment hammered out. The shop told me Mazda parts aren’t too difficult to find, and ballparked it at 2–3 weeks for repairs.

All that means I’m back on the school driving grind for awhile. The only bonus to that is I get to sleep an extra half hour since I don’t have to wake C up as early as when she drives.

A Weekend Visitor

As for that trip to Cincinnati, last Wednesday M texted us and said she had looked at her schedule of sorority events and realized this was the last weekend she had a chance to come home for awhile. The catch was that while she did not have a ticket to the Bearcats’ season opener Saturday, she did want to hang around for “tailgating and fun,” which I thought was a hilarious way to put it. She asked if we could pick her up late afternoon to bring her back for a quick visit. We didn’t have anything on our calendar, so we said of course.

I drove down and picked her up around 5:00. I checked the UC score when I parked and they were up on Eastern Kentucky something like 45–7 just before halftime. It was very hot in Cincinnati and people were already streaming out of the stadium to return to tailgates or just get out of the sun with the game firmly in control.

Long-time readers with great memories may recall the years I picked M up from CYO camp, when she would talk nonstop for the entire 90-minute drive home telling me every detail of her week away. This time she had three weeks of material and talked the entire two hours home. I didn’t mind.

She seems to be doing well. Classes aren’t too hard. She and her roommate are getting along great. She really likes the girls in her sorority. She’s made a co-ed friend group in the dorm.

The only bummer was she found a fraudulent charge on her debit card a week ago. Fortunately it was for only $2.00 and the bank reimbursed her. Glad she has learned the lesson that it’s a good idea to check your account frequently before a single bad charge can turn into a bunch of them that wipe out her balance. She’s been able to manage between Venmo and the balance on her Bearcat Card. Hopefully her new debit card will arrive this week.

Friends who have already been through this will likely agree with me, but one of the greatest sounds you will ever hear as a parent is when your college student comes home and she and her siblings are all upstairs, screaming and laughing together.

She saw one friend while she was home, did some laundry, took some naps, and hung out with us. Pretty low key.

S took her back on Monday afternoon. It was a quick but good visit.

As of now we aren’t scheduled to see her again until Family Weekend in late October, although I may go down for a football game earlier in October.

August Media

Movies, Shows, etc

Step Brothers
I had the joy of introducing this to S, who had never seen it before. Not sure she totally got it. Then again, I don’t know if I did, either, the first time I saw it. A delight for me, though. It also made me look up and re-read this piece. Unadulterated Joy: An Oral History of ‘Step Brothers’


Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy
Perhaps the height of Will Ferrell silliness.


This has been in rotation on cable lately, and I’ve caught parts of it three different times. It probably makes me laugh harder than the two movies above. The fact that our girls are old enough to wander by and watch for a bit makes it a little uncomfortable for me, though.


Strapped (Spring Training)
For the latest edition of No Laying Up’s budget travel series, the boys went to Arizona during baseball spring training season. All kinds of baseball goodies mixed in with the golf. This season doesn’t quite hit as well as others, but it is never a bad way to spend 90 minutes or so.


Pearl Jam – 1991–08–23 Seattle, WA
This is pretty awesome. A PJ concert from less than a week before they released their first album. Every song sounds awesome. They were locked in from day one. I wonder what happened to that dude in front of the cameraman with the weird tick where he kept shaking his head. Hope he’s doing alright.


Destination NBA: A G League Odyssey
This was really interesting. Especially the older guys who have been hanging around awhile. I don’t remember Gabe York from college at all, but that dude is a stud. I had checked out on the Pacers by the time he got his late-season call up last spring. Always fascinating to see athletes like him, who absolutely destroy at the level just below the highest level, but for one reason or another, can never make it in the bigs.


Bill Lawrence made some adjustments to his Thoughtful Comedy slider, brought in some terrific actors and collaborators (Jessica Williams is a revelation), and cranked out yet another fantastic show. Funnier than Ted Lasso and often as touching. I laughed as much watching this as any show in recent memory. Pretty much every one of the main actors is outstanding. You know Brett Goldstein is involved thanks to the liberal use of the word fuck. An excellent way to spend five hours of your life.


John Mulaney: Baby J
I didn’t find this as hilarious as his previous stand up shows. Not sure if that was because most of it is about his stint in rehab, and the intervention that led to that. Some of the humor seemed a little forced and uncomfortable.


Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
Not your average D&D adaptation. This hits most of the touch points of the genre, but remains loose and silly. Not quite a send-up of fantasy movies, although it can border on that at times. Seems like a movie that can delight both fantasy fans and those who normally wouldn’t be drawn to the genre.


The Bear, seasons one and two
S had not watched this at all, so I gladly binged both seasons again with her. Loved them both again. As with any re-watch, it was fun to pick up on little nuggets I missed the first time, or assess episodes slightly differently knowing what comes next. “Forks” is still my favorite, but I did like “Fishes” a little more than I did the first time. And Carmy is still a putz for fucking things up with Claire.

A, A

Shorts, YouTubes, etc

The Bear’s Ebon Moss-Bachrach knows exactly how Ayo Edebiri used to cut her onions
Moss-Bachrach seems very different from the character he plays. Which I guess is the job, right?

Why Pac-Man won
This went directions I did not expect. Also a good reminder of how crazily popular Pac-Man was for a long time. I think it was the summer I turned 12 pretty much every gift I got had a Pac-Man tie in.

Life as the Last Fire Lookout
Some amazing footage in this piece.

David Letterman Was in on Andy Kaufman’s Outrageous Bits
Andy Kaufman and Jerry Lawler on Letterman Full
Joaquin Phoenix’s Infamous Appearance With Dave
One day I fell into a rabbit hole of famous Letterman appearances. Time well spent.

Bob Barker’s Letterman Top 10 Lists
This was shared a lot after Barker’s death.

8000 runs: a love letter to running
Brief Beau Miles bullshit is better than no Beau Miles bullshit.
A weekend away after the hardest year of my life
Then he shared this, which both explains why he’s been less active this year and is a beautiful love letter to his wife.

Why US Malls Are Dying (And Why European Malls Aren’t)
I’m no economist or urban planner, so I have no idea if his arguments are valid or not. He misses a key point that plagues one of our local malls: people getting shot there every couple of months. That kind of puts a damper on cruising for babes like Linda Barrett at the food court. If you’re 17, of course. I don’t cruise the food court for babes anymore. That would be weird.

Perfect Carrier Landing: Step-by-Step BREAKDOWN
I got sucked into a bunch of this guy’s videos one night.

The White Stripes – From the Basement
I miss the White Stripes.

DIRT Episode 5 — Ireland
Like pretty much anything filmed in Ireland, this is amazing. We have some relatives that were just over there. It is high on my list.

Sample Breakdown: The Most Iconic Hip-Hop Sample of Every Year (1973–2023)
The is amazing, even if I knew very few of the songs from recent years.

The Better Boarding Method Airlines Won’t Use
I don’t fly a ton, but I’ve seen a lot of stupid shit when boarding planes over the years. Pretty much every system will suck because people either don’t understand it, pretend to not understand it, or simply choose to ignore it. As always, people are the worst.

Announcers Getting Angry
Announcers Getting Angry | Part 2
Some of these are great.

Max Homa vs. Tom Kim | The Titleist One Club Challenge with No Laying Up
I love stuff like this, especially when it is high level golfers like these guys and they can show off both their imagination and their skill level.

Open Season: Neil’s Week At The Open Championship
I’m not really a camper, so camping out in cold, rainy England to be closer to the course where the Open is being played sounds truly awful.

The 2023 Barkley Marathons Documentary
I will never not be fascinated by the Barkley Marathons.

How to Correctly Load your Dishwasher…
This fits nicely with my recent Old Man Tendencies post. Some of these suggestions fit with my methods, some run counter to mine, and a couple were brand new to me.

What it’s like for an Army Paratrooper to step into the air over a drop zone
True story: when I was like 12, 13, I really wanted to be in the Army. Not sure if I specifically wanted to be a paratrooper but I would imagine it was on the list. Very glad I never truly explored that career path, as I’m guessing my fear of heights would have been a problem.

Wendy Breaks Down Her Most Iconic Guitar Parts and Her New Rig!
I can’t play guitar, so much of this is far too technical and sounds like people speaking a foreign language. But it’s worth it to hear Wendy Melvoin play her guitar lines from “Purple Rain.” Stuff like this also makes me respect musicians even more. It’s one thing to come up with a cool song. It’s another thing to navigate all this technology to help make the output match the sounds they hear in their heads. The number of possibilities seems staggering. It also helps me understand why it takes Adam Granduciel years to record new War on Drugs albums.

How Vinyl Records Are Made (feat. Third Man Records)
Super cool. At first I thought the lacquer cutting process had to be done for every album pressed. Then I realized that’s just where the master that vinyl will be pressed from is made.

Friday Football Notes

A rare Friday post about something other than music promoted by the beginning of college football and an interesting night at a high school game earlier this week.

KU Football

I was thinking last night that there have been very few falls in my life when KU fans were genuinely excited about the coming football season. I’m talking about the excitement that comes with the chance for a really good season, not just “Hey, if everything breaks right, we might win six games this year!” excitement.

As best as I can recall, 1992, 2007, 2008, and 2009 were the only years that the Jayhawk faithful could great the coming season with honest-to-goodness optimism.

After last year’s 6–7 season, with almost the entire offense back, the 2023 season has joined that list.

And then this morning I woke up at 5:15 to take L to basketball, opened up Twitter while she was getting ready, and the first message I see says that Jalon Daniels’ back injury continues to bother him and a few “insiders” do not expect him to play in tonight’s season opener.

Just freaking great.

I guess we’ll find out later today whether those rumors are true, but nothing about them is good. Daniels has labored all month in practice with some kind of back issue. If he can’t play next week against Illinois, and beyond that, or can’t be close to 100%, all those fun expectations for this season get tossed aside.

I was reluctant to be too optimistic about this season simply because of Daniels’ health. He has been injured every season he’s been at KU. It seemed to be asking a lot for him to get through the next 12–13 games unscathed. If you told me he would play this entire season, I think KU has a realistic chance to win eight games, perhaps more if the defense can find a way to be even halfway decent.

But if he’s already battling a lingering injury before the season starts? Throw out any hopes for an upper-division Big 12 finish and second-consecutive bowl game. Jason Bean is a nice backup, and KU fans should be very thankful he changed his mind and decided to return.[1] He’s not a quarterback that will get you through the non-con at 3–0 and then find a way to win 3–5 games in the Big 12, though.

Once again the Football Gods decide to kick KU fans in the shins. It’s not fair to Daniels that so much of the program’s success will be determined by his health. It is our truth, though. Lance Leipold and his staff are excellent at developing talent. Maybe they have the program far enough along where they can still be in just about every game whether JD plays or not. A lifetime of mediocre-to-bad football has me conditioned to expect the worst.


I’m reluctant to make a call on wins with JD’s status unclear. I listened to a KU pod this week where they threw out a few hypotheticals that were kind of fun.

Would you rather KU win nine games and play in a legit bowl game but lose Leipold at the end of this season, or win just four games and keep Lance? I’m 100% take the wins.

Would you rather beat Kansas State or Texas? This one is tricky. K-State is the smart answer. Texas is leaving the Big 12 and we’ve never really thought we could play on their level. K-State has proven that you can create a winner in the state of Kansas and are the model KU should follow: smart recruiting with great coaching. Plus a loss to KU might knock KSU out of the Big 12 title chase.

But…I’m going to Austin for the Texas game. It would be pretty dope to see KU get its second-straight win in Austin as the Longhorns depart for the SEC.

Mind says K-State, heart says Texas.

The third hypothetical was the most unrealistic: would you rather Jalon Daniels be a Heisman finalist (they may have even said win it) or KU make it to the college football playoff? Both seem extremely far-fetched, and that’s even before we knew of Daniels’ status for tonight. I would lean towards the CFP. But one of the hosts pointed out how Robert Griffin winning the Heisman was a massive moment in the growth of Baylor football. I get that, but I still would take the team success with a super cool QB who just missed making the trip to New York as a Heisman finalist.

Freshman Ball

Monday L asked me to take her to the Cathedral freshman B game against Carmel so she could stand on the sideline and take pictures. She had fun and got some good shots. Find her on Instagram if you’d like to see some samples.

Since this was a B game and both teams had played on Saturday, I believe they rested most of their freshmen starters, or rotated them into positions they don’t normally play. As you would expect, the game was rather ragged, with Carmel grabbing a 13–12 win, the difference being they were 1–2 on PATs while the Irish were 0–2.

My big takeaway was that you have to be a very patient person to coach freshmen. I reached out to a friend of mine who coached for a few years after he got out of college and his response was, “I am a very patient person. But coaching freshmen almost killed me.”

There were kids standing around on the sideline when they’re supposed to be in the game. Guys lining up in the wrong spots. Running the wrong plays. Players just flat fumbling the ball when no defender is within ten feet of them. Holding on every play. So many false starts or offsides calls.

Here’s a sequence that summed up the game: Cathedral had a beautiful drive that got them into the red zone late in the first half, fueled by about 65 yards of rushing by the quarterback. Then they had holding on four straight plays, a false start, and a personal foul. Next thing you know they are punting from their own side of the field and the punter lets the snap go right through his hands. Carmel covered, scored about four plays later, and hit what became the game-winning extra point.

Again, these were freshmen, mostly playing out of position or who don’t normally get into games, so I give them lots of leeway.

Since there weren’t a lot of people in the stands it was easy to hear the coaches. In warmups I heard one of them scream at one of L’s middle school classmates, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING, BEN RICHARDS?!?!”[2]

While the offense was running through their warm up sequence the head coach screamed at the quarterback who was indecisive on an option-read play “ACT LIKE A QUARTERBACK AND MAKE A PLAY!” Same kid who ran the play to perfection three times on that doomed drive in the game, so I guess he was paying attention.

My favorite coaching moment came in the fourth quarter. All the kids who are usually starters but being held out were acting like your normal, bored 14–15 year old kid. They were dancing, talking to people in the stands, and throwing balls on the sideline. In general not paying attention to the game.

The Irish forced a turnover with 4:00 left and were trying to drive down to take the lead and these kids were still throwing a ball around. It whizzed by a coach’s head. He turned around, intercepted the next toss, heaved it into the stands, and screamed at them, “THIS ISN’T FREAKING MIDDLE SCHOOL. KNOCK IT OFF AND PAY ATTENTION!”

I laughed out loud.

My other favorite part of the game was the mom who was sitting near me. Her kid was the quarterback. She was intense and involved, but I’m not sure she knew much about football. Every time he got tackled she would yell at the refs, “Hey! Get them off him!”

The very best moment, though, was when Cathedral got the ball down to the one yard line. Her son is probably 5’7”. She yelled down to him, “JUST JUMP OVER THEM!!”

I liked her enthusiasm but that seemed misguided. Fortunately he didn’t listen to her and snuck it in under the linemen. She made several other very unorthodox suggestions.

She also thought a PAT that was five yards short and wide was good. I just realized that she may have been drinking.

Anyway, I’m glad I was just there to watch casually and could laugh at all the silliness rather than get worked up by it.

  1. Fun fact: KU’s third and fourth string quarterbacks are both from the Indianapolis area!  ↩
  2. I’ve changed his name to protect his innocence.  ↩

Friday Playlist

“Labor Day” – The Dead Milkmen
How old do you have to be to get this song? Happy holiday!

“Truck” – illuminati hotties
This song is about mortality and whether or not heaven exists. Which is great. To me it hits as a late summer song for days when lounging in the pool has become routine but you’re not quite ready for fall to arrive.

“Alone Again” – Split System
These dudes sound like a punkier version of Jet. There is no connection between the bands – other than both being Australian – but I realized Jet has been around long enough that you could make the math work for the guys in Split System being their kids. Which is kind of weird.

“Stutter” – Elastica
I often reference Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist and how I enjoy its combination of brand new songs and older ones. This was in my playlist last week. At first listen I thought, “Holy shit, Elastica still has it! They even make the song sound like it’s from the 90s.” Then I checked and it is, in fact, from their debut big album, released in 1995. Oh well. Good to know there was more to that LP than just “Connection.”

“Goodbye to Music” – Flyying Colours
Our second Aussie act of the week. This gorgeous track is about FC songwriter Brodie Brümmer coming to terms with the damage he has done to his hearing in years as a professional musician, and how he has to give up the guilt associated with that to live a normal life. Kind of deep.

“Wondered” – The Hazmats
I had to triple check that this was new and not something from the mid-to-late eighties college music scene.

“Summer’s Over” – Jordana, TV Girl
I mean not officially, but basically. At least it will be next Tuesday when we get through another holiday weekend.

“Suspect Device” – Stiff Little Fingers
I heard this the other day for the first time in quite awhile. Northern Ireland’s answer to The Clash, SLF wrote strident songs inspired by The Troubles that were as powerful as anything else from that first wave of punk. This performance is from a 30th anniversary show in 2008. Also fun to check out a performance from the song’s first year of life.

Reader’s Notebook, 8/30/23

Rememberings – Sinéad O’Connor
After O’Connor’s death, there were many references to her autobiography, most of which came with the comment that it was a fantastic read.

Those recommendations were right on.

This is one of the best musician autobiographies I’ve ever read. It’s frank, funny, and frightening although also incomplete. O’Connor admits that a long stretch of her life after that tumultuous period in 1990–91 is lost to her. Which is a shame, because she is often shockingly honest about other parts of her life, and it would have been fascinating to read how she dealt with the years when much of the western world thought she was the embodiment of evil. Alas, I can understand why she was either unable or unwilling to dive deeply into those years.

Much of the book is laugh-out-loud funny, though. Especially when she writes as she talks. For example, she made no secret that she enjoyed having sex with a variety of men over the years. She wrote that people thought she was a “hooer” because of her number of relationships. Every time she used that word, she spelled it that way. It made me laugh every time.

She also mentioned that there was a man she was in love with because he was so beautiful and kind, but that he was “…as gay as Christmas” and nothing ever happened. I laughed for awhile after that line.

That humor balances out the truly terrible moments in her life, which she writes about just as openly as the funny moments. It is truly a shame the world turned its back on Sinéad, and not just because we lost having her voice be part of popular music.

Crook Manifesto – Colson Whitehead
The follow-up to Whitehead’s excellent Harlem Shuffle, it again follows Harlem furniture salesman Ray Carney. He has gone legit, turning his back on the fencing career that supplemented his regular income as he climbed into the middle class of Black New York. When his daughter begs him for tickets to see the Jackson 5 at Madison Square Garden in 1971, he calls up his old police contact, knowing he’ll have a line on admission to the sold-out show. That call soon has Carney chin-deep in the crooked world again.

The book follows a similar path to Harlem Shuffle, just updated for era and with a few more twists. What makes it great is Whitehead’s writing. There aren’t many better crafters of fiction around these days. His words constantly delight. There are so many sly little turns of phrase that I missed at first glance, then had to back up and re-read when they struck me moments later. A fine story written with amazing skill.

The Guest – Emma Cline
From my casual scanning of the web, people either love or hate this book. And I totally get why it pushes people either way.

Alex is an escort who has turned a New York City client into a summer-long relationship. Through a series of dumb choices on her part, he kicks her out of his beach home the week before Labor Day. All she has is a bag of clothes he bought her – even the bag was a gift – a few hundred dollars in her account, a glitchy phone, and a train ticket back to the city. A place she does not want to return to lest the guy she stole drugs and money from earlier in the year find her and exact his revenge.

She believes if she can just survive the week, she can show up at her former lover’s Labor Day party, all will be forgiven, and she can get settle back into the comfortable existence she had been enjoying.

Naturally that week goes off the rails quickly and often.

The split regarding this book is all about how people feel about Alex. Some view her as a survivor, a woman who ended up on a difficult path and is forced to reckon with a world that is hostile to her. Others view her as a grifter who uses people in endless ways to get what she wants no matter how much wreckage she leaves in her wake.

I did not like Alex at all. I think she is selfish and cruel. But I was also all-in on her journey. Not that I wanted her to find happiness or tranquility necessarily. I wanted to see how bad her predicament got along the way and how the story would eventually resolve. While I viewed Alex as an awful person, I did admire her instinct for self preservation, even if her choices led to even bigger problems down the road. In a better person that could be an amazing gift. In Alex it just made for an engaging novel that I couldn’t put down.

Tuesday Links

This is kind of a weird piece. I would put passing on Breaking Bad or Arrested Development’s disastrous fourth season in the same category as the networks calling Florida for Al Gore in 2000. And I’m not sure the numbers next to some of these match their significance. It is a pop culture list, though, and you all know how I love those.

The 50 Worst Decisions in TV History

Does the world need a fairly academic accounting of the making of Anchorman? Probably not. I would have rather this be a more humorous look inside one of the funniest movies ever. I still enjoyed it despite the extremely dry tone.

‘Let’s Let the Squirrel Out of the Bag’ On the Anchorman set, improv-comedy masters had the freedom to reimagine the film one line at a time.

With the US Open starting, it’s the perfect moment for this profile of the last American man to win a Grand Slam. Which still seems nuts – 20 years ago! – even having lived through the Federer-Nadal-Djokovic era.

Andy Roddick’s Open Era

We’ll wrap it up with two posts about regionalism in the US.

Midwesterners love to complain about East Coast Bias. Often rightly so. But here’s an area where the East, specifically the North East, gets something 100% correct.

‘Back to school’ means anytime from late July to after Labor Day, depending on where in the U.S. you live

Fascinating stuff here. Growing up we were a solid 6:00 for Dinner family. You watched Tom Brokaw, then you ate. In our early years together, S and I usually ate around 7:00. But once we had kids that turned into 5:00. As they got older that bumped back to 6:00, which had been pretty steady until the past year, when I’ve tried to nudge it more towards 6:30. Looks like we fit right in the window for “normal” across the US.

When is Dinner, By State

Weekend Notes

Not the most exciting weekend of the year. I feel obligated to share the minor doings anyway, since that’s kind of our thing here.

HS Football

Number two Cathedral went west of town to Brownsburg, where they went 1–1 last year, to face the #5 Bulldogs. Last August CHS fell behind 21–0 before making a furious comeback that fell short, losing 42–35.

This year they started better – although they gave up an 80 yard TD pass on the first defensive possession of the game – and led 17–14 late in the second quarter.

But a BHS touchdown just before the half gave them the lead, they added 17 unanswered points in the third quarter, and won 45–31.

Not a great night for the Irish. The defense gave up too many big plays, the receivers dropped a lot of balls, and the quarterback threw two interceptions which made his over 400 yards of total offense kind of moot.

L went to the game. She said it was miserable. Like most games in the area, the start was pushed back to 7:30 to give the kids some break from the heat. Not sure it mattered all that much.

College Football

This week zero thing is dumb. If there are going to be games, there should be GAMES. Not the tease of Navy-Notre Dame and then a bunch of crap teams playing. Oh, I guess USC played, but since it was on the Pac–12 network no one saw it. Which explains why half of that conference is fleeing for other leagues.

I watched a chunk of the Notre Dame game. Gorgeous stadium in Dublin. Be nice if they painted the sidelines so they were visible. I wondered what the cost was to fly the football team, its support staff, and the entire band to Ireland and put them up for a few days. I’m sure NBC and Guinness handled some of those expenses.

My big takeaway from the game was questioning whether they had Irish people who know nothing about football operating the cameras. Multiple times after the snap, the main camera would follow a receiver who was racing down the field while the ball was still in the backfield. Weird and distracting. At least this wasn’t a close or important game.


We survived our week of heat. It ended up being less than intense than predicted, only because each morning was cloudy and breezy, and held the heat back a few hours. But each afternoon was pretty blistering, especially Thursday and Friday. I believe our heat index was near 120 both days. Turns out I’m glad I don’t have one-to-three girls playing kickball on asphalt parking lots this year. Our pool got as warm as 93°, which is right on the edge of miserable.

The heat broke Friday night, though, and Saturday and Sunday were terrific days for sitting around the pool. It was in the 80s Saturday, high 70s Sunday, and the humidity had faded by Sunday morning. As I type this Monday morning it is 58°. It looks like we have 4–5 days of super nice weather before the heat builds again next weekend.

Friday Playlist

“Make It Work” – Swiss Banks
Holy Smiths tribute! Or is it an Interpol tribute? The vocals are straight out of the Morrissey school. But musically, this song is way closer to Interpol than The Smiths. Interesting combination. I think it works.

“Different Now” – Courtney Barnett covering Chastity Belt
It’s been awhile since I’ve enjoyed one of Barnett’s new songs. It took a cover to get me back on board. It still has that Barnett minimalism in the music, but I appreciate it taking her a different direction lyrically.

“the slab” – Slowdive
It is still a little crazy these Shoegaze legends went away for over 20 years, then came back making music as good as anything from their early days. After another six-year hiatus, they are returning with LP #5.

“Melancholy Molly” – Seablite
There’s definitely some ’90s Shoegaze in this San Francisco band’s sound, although it leans way more towards Lush than Slowdive.

“20 Years and a Nickel” – Hiss Golden Messenger
MC Taylor’s ode to music and how, after 25 years in the business, perfection remains elusive.

“Dig Your Hips” – THE BOBBY LEES
Insert GIF of Beavis and Butthead banging their heads and yelling “YES! YES!”

“august” – Taylor Swift
Man summer goes by fast.

“Complete Control” – The Clash
Joe Strummer would have turned 71 this past Monday. To honor him, perhaps the most Strummer song from the Clash’s catalog: a song complaining that their record company released a song the band didn’t want released.

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