Oct 312014

momMy mother:

  • Ordered mustard, pickle, and onion on her hamburger without exception. (So she loved Krystals.)
  • Was a stewardess for Northwest Airlines and living in Minnesota when she and Dad married.
  • Liked and introduced me to peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches.
  • Was addicted to, at one time or another, NyQuil and Neo-Synephrine.
  • Loved the ritual of an Episcopalian service. Grace in Anniston was my first church, and I vividly remember kneeling, standing, and sitting with her.
  • Strongly preferred white lights to colored lights at Christmastime.
  • Always had the iconic 6 1/2 oz. Coca-Cola bottle when we would eat at the Golden Rule BBQ.
  • Owned a 1969 Chevrolet Brookwood named Herkimer, a 1977 Buick Estate Wagon named Osnoggle, a 1978 Chevrolet Caprice Classic named Rosemary, and a 1992 Honda Accord named Camellia.
  • Never saw a Star Wars movie.
  • Hated for anyone to touch her head.
  • Howled to near-breathlessness at that stupid singing mounted fish.
  • Didn’t trust people with what she judged to be thin lips.
  • Stole from doctor’s examination rooms regularly and shamelessly. I see I told that one already some time ago.
  • Once played ZAFTIG to crush my last hopes in a Scrabble game.
  • Worried about my spiritual health when I came for a few days at Christmas and she saw The Fountainhead on my nightstand.
  • Batted .200 on husbands.
  • Remained the greeting voice on her widower’s answering machine a full seven years after she died.
  • Finally figured out that she could keep her furniture store salesperson peers from stealing her lighter if it was a pink Bic jr.
  • Thought that calling soft drinks “bellywashes” would temper my consumption of them.
  • Once knocked over a traffic pylon with Osnoggle solely for the amusement of her children.
  • Pretended to like my first fiancée.
  • Pretended to dislike my second fiancée (and wife).
  • Had ridiculously skinny legs. She used to tell of a high school classmate who would tease “don’t step in any Coke bottles, Russell.”
  • Went through a brief but intense CB radio period. Her handle was Sugar.
  • Adored the little colored plastic animals Sonic used to put on top of their milkshakes.
  • Would exclaim “well, fuck me runnin’!” when others might have said “well, I’ll be!” or “how about that!”
  • Missed meeting two grandsons who would have given her tremendous pleasure, and vice versa.
  • Has my love now and forever. I miss you, Mom.
 Posted by at 1:20 am
Oct 302014
  • Couldn’t tell you the last time I sat and watched a baseball game. I watched almost all of Game 7 last night. Sorry, Royals. I was your fan for three hours. Maybe that’s what did you in.
  • My bottle of my friend Jason’s smoked red moruga hot sauce has gotten half again as hot since I bought it. The flavor is so good that I want to use it on and in lots of things, but I’m using smaller and smaller drops!
  • Relatedly, Scott Roberts has substantially updated the best Scoville heat unit (SHU) scale on the web. Check it out.
  • I like the Matthew McConaughey Lincoln spots. I do. I liked the first one the first time I saw it. I think it’s an artistically solid effort to do something different with a car commercial.
  • Of course, my preferred narrative is Auburn deals Ole Miss its second SEC loss this weekend and Alabama wins out. An Auburn fan has a steeper mountain right now. They need the same two losses from Mississippi State that we need from Ole Miss—only Mississippi State doesn’t have any losses yet.
  • Quick, name an iconic rock band named after a sex toy! Steely Dan took its name from the Steely Dan III—a dildo in William S. Burroughs’ 1959 novel Naked Lunch.
  • We just might need the heat by Saturday night. Won’t need it long—high of 60 forecast for Sunday—but a cool Friday, a cold Friday night, and a cooler Saturday might be enough to run it for a few hours.
 Posted by at 7:00 am
Oct 282014

cfpAs soon as Alabama dropped the Ole Miss game, and assuming Alabama righted the ship, Alabama needed Ole Miss to lose twice. LSU helpfully hung one on the Rebels last week.

But with Alabama coalescing, we’re starting to hear whispers that a second Ole Miss loss may not be necessary; that even if Alabama doesn’t win the West, but wins out, it’ll get in the bracket on the strength of having closed with wins over LSU, Mississippi State, and Auburn.

I don’t believe that, and you shouldn’t either.

There are just too many one-loss Power 5 teams right now, and too few remaining opportunities for enough of them to lose again. The current non-SEC, non-FSU one-loss teams that could plausibly win out: Oregon, Notre Dame, Michigan State, TCU, Kansas State, Baylor, Ohio State, Arizona, Arizona State, Nebraska, and Utah.

(East Carolina has one loss and may win out, but their one current loss is likely fatal, as it would be for most non-Power-5 teams. Marshall hasn’t lost, but won’t get in. And I’m assuming Duke will perish in the ACC championship game, if not before.)

Now there’s still some carnage to come. The current gaggle of one-loss teams will shrink considerably, because a lot of them still have to play each other. All of the following games are on deck:

  • Oregon vs. Utah
  • Michigan State vs. Ohio State
  • Notre Dame vs. Arizona State
  • TCU vs. Kansas State
  • Baylor vs. Kansas State

Then, championship games will prune the list further. Nebraska could win out its regular schedule and have only 1 loss, but then it must play the Michigan State/Ohio State winner. So another 2-loss team is guaranteed from that group. Same story with Oregon—win out, but then it must play (probably) Arizona or Arizona State. So the Pac-12 championship will probably produce another 2-loss team.

Fast-forward to the actual brink. It’s the morning of December 7, and Ole Miss didn’t lose again in the regular season. Florida State will get a slot. The SEC champion (which cannot be Alabama without that second Ole Miss loss) will get a slot. There are two more, and the following hopefuls:

  • Alabama (11-1)
  • Michigan State (12-1)
  • Notre Dame (11-1)
  • Oregon (12-1)
  • TCU (11-1)

There are three conference champions in the list. Two of them won a conference championship game. Are you seriously telling me Alabama gets the nod over three of these teams?

Folks, absolutely no one outside the South thought the Alabama-LSU national title game was a good thing. I’m delighted Alabama got in, and I’m delighted they won. But do you remember all of the furious anti-SEC politicking ahead of the final polls? Do you remember that Oklahoma State was a hair’s width from jumping Alabama and getting in, despite a ridiculous loss to hapless Iowa State?

The committee—the grand, new way, not the bad old BCS—is simply not going to run a philosophical repeat of 2011 in its first outing. Alabama must have that second Ole Miss loss. The first of two realistic chances for it is this weekend.

Crimson Nation, it’s time to gird up and be Auburn fans.

 Posted by at 7:13 am
Oct 262014


  • …didn’t know anything about popular music. He never knew anything about what I was listening to, and he didn’t even reliably follow his own favorites, like Billy Joel and Neil Diamond. I understand it now.
  • …would try to fix some cheap something-or-other instead of replacing it. He would sit and fuss with low-quality crap trying to squeeze some more life out of it, rather than just getting another one. I understand it now.
  • …couldn’t remember everything he ever said to me. He would say something in a casual moment about something he’d like to do with me, or a view he had, and then he’d be surprised by what he said when I brought it up months later. I understand it now.
  • …complained about electricity usage. He would make quite a big deal of it when I left the TV or a light on. Griped about the thermostat too. Never got it. I understand it now.
  • …was tired when I wasn’t. He’d go right to sleep sitting on the couch. I understand it now.
 Posted by at 8:50 pm
Oct 242014

ihatetennesseeActually I think the state itself is pretty great. But I hate the Tennessee Volunteers.

I haven’t always. In fact, they used to be my second-favorite team. I was 11 years old in the fall of 1982. It was the first football season that my parents were divorced, and we were spending a fair bit of time at my dad’s friend Reani’s house. Reani had a big UT print on the wall of his basement, next to the pool table. He was from Cleveland, Tennessee and a Vol fan of moderate intensity.

That year Tennessee sputtered out of the gate. They started 1-2 and were 3-3-1 headed into November. I started pulling for them to make a bowl game, and they did (though they lost it). I adopted them to some degree that fall, and kept them for a long time.

I can remember seeing some pre-game footage of the team taking the field at Neyland Stadium to warm up. They ran out, and Johnny Majors followed, walking, all by himself, as cool as a bottle of Absolut that’s been in the freezer all week. I want to say he had a hand in a pocket of his slacks, though my memory may have added that detail. The place just roared.

Of course I never pulled for Tennessee over Alabama, and some kid named Peyton Manning reliably made the Third Saturday in October hard to deal with for a few years. Seems he also sang “We Own Alabama” to the tune of “Sweet Home Alabama” with the student section after the final time he beat us.

Yeah, I didn’t much care for that.

And I really didn’t care for the fact that after that game, it would be another five years before we won the Tennessee game. When this guy I worked with started leaving me an orange on my keyboard the Monday after Tennessee beat Alabama, and enjoyed so much that he was able to do it year after year, I jettisoned any residual affection I had for the Volunteers.

Today, as I type, at Alabama Coach Saban is 7-0 vs. Tennessee, by an average score of Alabama 36, Tennessee 11. I fully expect him to make it 8-0 tomorrow. I’d like him to run it to 15-0 or 16-0 by the time we lose him to Lake Burton.

That will be long enough for a Tennessee freshman to have no memory at all of ever defeating Alabama.

 Posted by at 11:29 am
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