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Yore Movie Swells: Tasty Love Triangles and Bad Triangle Art In Celluloid Cinema

4 Jun

The Movie Love Triangle

The number three (3): It’s not just holy (Trinity), the tres is a basic element in life’s periodic table of circumstance. It’s found almost as often as carbon, chlorophyll and car chase scenes. Alot more fun than the number one but without all that pressure that can come with two.

What has three sides, fills with equal parts love, hate and confusion, shakes-out quicker than you can say Jack Robinson but takes an hour to drink in its full, rich flavor? A bad banana daiquiri? Take another swig. It’s the movie love triangle!

There’s something about having three of whatever it is that makes it a force to reckon with, the third adding balance when two gets a bit wobbly (The Quiet American (58 / 02)) or necessary tension to give the ride more spring (Kelly + Reynolds + O’Connor (Singin’ In the Rain (52)).

Some notable trios:

A good place to start is the nursery rhymes in the Three Little Pigs, Three Blind Mice and Goldie Locks and the Three Bears;

The bejeweled triple crowns in baseball and horse-racing;

Three strike (MLB – 1888) and three strike rules (crime convictions = life jail);

Early 20th century trio of bear Cubs in Joe Tinker (SS), Johnny Evers (2B) and Frank Chance (1B) (hot-corner Harry Steinfeldt forever in the shadow) who were the tar & nails that held their champion-ship together;

Memorable NHL scoring threesomes in the Punch (40s Habs Toe Blake, Elmer Lach and Maurice “Rocket” Richard), the Production (post-WW2 Red Wings in Gordie Howe, Frank Mahovlich and Alex Delvecchio) and Party lines (80s Blackhawks Al Secord, Dennis Savard and Steve Larmer);

Famous film trios The Three Musketeers (35), The Three Stooges (34), Paradise for Three (38) the Three Amigos (86 (ugh)), “Tuco” – “Blondie” & “Angel-eyes (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (66))” and The French Line with gorgeous Jane Russell, handsome Gilbert Roland and dedicated Arthur Hunnicutt (1954).

The New England championship triumvirate in current quarterback Tom Brady, head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft.

Pop music loved the tres: The Three Degrees, Three Dog Night, songs “Knock Three Times“ and “♫ once, twice…three times a lady ♫.”

The big three Allied powers in WW2: Soviets, British and Yanks;

Our constitution-based government works its check and balance through the three branches of judiciary, legislative and executive powers.

There were the three bucks (4-6 pointers?) that showed-up in our backyard last summer just for a brief look-see.

And the tastiest lunchtime triad ever served up in the hot dog (uncured), bean soup & potato chips (mustard & pickle preferred, paper napkin a must).

The pointed passion circle is not as certain as death and taxes in life’s journey but it’s definitely in the top five, “definitely!”

A cinema staple since before the Swingline® started holding it all together, the love triangle fastens fans to their seats as sure as drama and mad-cap adventure, its popularity from the fact that the tricky triad holds a chapter in most biographies, whether you knew it or not (gulp).

But it’s on the silver screen where the crowded state of affairs takes on a curious, usually pretty interesting aura of angst.

The Hollywood pros in front and behind the camera can make almost anything look glamorous, from bad deeds (Bonnie and Clyde (67)) to something as simple as turning down bed sheets in prelude to a lustful encounter (This Sporting Life (63)). So why wouldn’t the love triangle translate too?

They began in the silents and ran strong well into the 1960s providing plots and pushing viewers to pick a side. By the polyester period (70s) the triangle had, for the most part, been shelved with the occasional re-appearance (Working Girl (88) / Titanic (97) / Amores Perros (00)), for old times sake (?).

The listing herein is not exhaustive of movie love triangles by any means, but examples of some of the worst, the best and how in spite of a terrible triangle a good time can still be had by viewers.

Three points to keep in mind: 1) There are good and there are bad L/Ts. Geometric juxtaposition is no guarantee for a good watch, unless Seiko’s keeping time; 2) The bad are not necessarily bad movies, in fact, some are good enough to keep you glued, with the tacky triad usually stemming from non-believability and a normally strong male lead (Lancaster, Mitchum, Garfield, etc.) written as a sap, and 3) Not all three sides need be of the human species, for included here is a big ape, Alien pods and even something as intangible as duty, the tangible kind found in the “Bushwood Country Club” pool (Caddyshack (80)).

The Bad Triangle

Baby Doll (56): Either kiss her (“Doll”) or cut her free, “Archie,“ but why you never gave “Silva” a swift kick in the pants I never understood.

Casablanca (42): Neck n’ neck with Citizen Kane to take vintage cinema’s Over-rated Cup (contemporary field is crowded) which explains why two of its three (+Bogart) leads in Paul Henreid and Ingrid Bergman never bought the hype. That she’d end up at his café to cheat on her Nazi-pursued husband is about as believable as Rita Hayworth a blonde (The Lady From Shanghai (47)).

Champion (49): Real-to-life in its portrayal of how brash boys (Douglas) always get the girl over the nice guys (Kennedy), buy a really, really bad boxing and babes movie. Was first big hit for film giants Stanley Kramer and Kirk while Ruth looks splendid in her white, one-piece swimsuit. And any pre-development shots of the California Pacific coast are always way, way cool.

Cleopatra (34 / 63): Don’t trust me, go ahead and watch. Pack a lunch (4h+).

Criss Cross (49): Only the marvelous mood-setting L.A. locales (Bunker Hill district, downtown, etc.) were believable.

East of Eden (55): All’s hunky-dory between “Abra (Harris)” and “Aron (Davalos)” who props his odd-ball brother “Caleb (Dean),” the later who turns their world upside down with wartime profiteering, stealing the girl’s heart, driving the jilted into the War to cause their father’s stroke. One bad triangle.

Gilda (46): Top tune (“Put the Blame On Mame”), copper Calleia at his best, Ford (fists) and Macready (cane) impress in the clutch but like Casablanca (42), former flames reuniting where they do is complete balderdash, this time down Argentina way, then add in Hayworth’s kooky choice in Nazi-sympathizer spouse (“Mundson”), all make this L/T…T/L (totally limp).

Holiday Affair (49): Cute film with judge Harry Morgan snapping off wisecracks like fireworks. A good Ajax scrub for bad-boy toker Bob Mitchum. But single-Mom Leigh dumping oxymoronic likable lawyer and long-time suitor Wendell Corey (“Carl”) for fly-by-seat-of-his-hobo-pants “Steve?” C’mon, “Connie!”

Humoresque (47): After she (Crawford) finally wins his heart and he (Garfield) finally makes up his mind, she takes the long walk into the sea of love.

It Came From Beneath the Sea (55): Shameless display of flirt and emasculation. Only wish the NMO (normal man out) Curtis (“John”) had taken the short, chain-smoking smart-ass Tobey character (“Pete”) and Howard Hughes’ girlfriend (?) Faith Domergue (“Les”) and clunked their heads together at close. So awkward even Ray Harryhausen’s typical top-tier SMA couldn’t save this bad boy…girl.

Out of the Past (47): This one is a love rectangle (square) where Jane Greer (“Moffat”) had allure in spades but like Burt Lancaster in The Killers (46) when the love-sick “Swede” practically commits suicide in letting tough guys Charles McGraw and William Conrad (“bright boy”) blow uncontested into his room to empty their revolvers, Robert Mitchum (“Bailey”) too plays the super sap.

Pal Joey (57): Even Sinatra’s voice can’t fuel this clunker.

Red Dust (32) (Mogambo (53)): Gable never runs out but adulteresses in both (Astor – Kelly) are so poorly scripted you wonder why they bothered.

Sabrina: (54) Paramount tabbed “terrific triangle” but usually sharp-as-a-tack Holden is scripted an idiot and Bogart’s bored until final smackdown.

Sleepless in Seattle (93): After respective hits When Sally Met Harry (89) and Big (88), Hanks and Ryan’s likeability ratings were higher than the Empire State Building, even as this triangulated affair (+ Bill Pullman) is too cute, too much kid (Malinger) and constitutes two too many remakes of a grand original, Love Affair (39) (See also; An Affair to Remember (57)).

Song of India (49): Triangle makes some sense (Sabu > Gail < Bey) but its resolution and laughter in final scene is preposterous…and cold.

Sunset Boulevard (50): Triangle again is believable enough (Swanson > Holden < Olson) but Bill’s bail on “Norma,” she not just a pretty face, is bogus.

The Cat People (42): French beauty Simone Simon can get catty but new hubbie Kent Smith (“Oliver Reed”) turns wolf with ‘friend’ “Alice (Randolph)” before honeymoon ends, leading this viewer hoping the feline feasts.

The Graduate (69): Mommie Dearest and vampish motives aside, “Benjamin (Hoffman)” was in clover with the “Mrs. (Bancroft)” but then got greedy to graze in posted pasture (Ross) to turn pathetic post-grad.

The Las Vegas Story: A marriage on the brink (Price + Russell) pushed over by an ex-lover (Mature) who investigates the husband. Guess who wins?

The Pace that Thrills (52): Vintage, daring motorcycle footage in neato-keeno but once again the bad boy (Williams) gets the gal (Carla Balenda).

The Painted Veil (34): Nice ending but Brent’s advances on Garbo feel forced. A build up to the love from happenstance would‘ve worked fine.

The Philadelphia Story (40): Kate’s not that likeable, harebrained haughty we loved so in Bringing Up Baby (38). She’s the other kind.

The Postman Always Rings Twice (46): Garfield plays out of his typical, strong, savvy persona into another unbelievable L/T super sucker for a fairly typical, scheming blonde (Turner). The ‘Crime Never Pay’s’ road-sign is posted early and makes for a long, painful drive (113m) on Sleeper Highway.

Two Guys From Milwaukee (46): Fun movie turns uncomfortable when once likable “Prince Henry (Dennis Morgan)” turns hound-dog (cad), made worse when the lady on point, Joan Leslie (“Connie”), proves full o’ fickle.

Vanessa, Her Love Story (35): Early talkie where the odd man out (Krueger) goes insane, then dies. That’s one sure way to break a triangle (ugh).

The Good Triangle

Amores Perros (00 / Mexican): Octavio y Susana y Ramiro.

An American Tragedy (31) (A Place In the Sun (52)): Triangulations are quite effective. In #1, Sydney’s smile, and other assets, captures your heart like the dark-haired radiance, among other assets, of rich girl Liz who “wow(s)” in #2 version. But on the whole, both drag out and sink themselves with identically absurd (prejudicial) courtroom boat re-enactments.

Black Narcissus (47): Nepalian nun noir.

Born Yesterday (50)

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (69)

Creature From the Black Lagoon (54): Another monster angle but this time a square that includes gill-man (x2). Though friendship replaced love, triangle took shape when Peter Benchley and Steve Spielberg turned Creature into Jaws (75).

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (88): Love (Caine) > con (Headly) < lust (Martin)

Doctor Zhivago (65): Ubiquitous “Yuri” is everywhere. Never know whose wife he’ll turn up in. First you admire, then hate him, cry and finally smile.

Fallen Angel (45)

Flowing Gold (40)

Gaslight (44)

Gone With the Wind (39): First you think of the greatest love triangle in cinema history (“Rhett > “Scarlett“ < “Ashley”), and you’d be right, then you remember big-eyed, big-hearted Melanie and the love rectangle (square) takes shape.

Great Day In the Morning (56): Love rectangle

Homecoming (48): Gutsy Gable, Turner and Baxter but Hodiak steals the show.

I Can Get It For You Wholesale (51)

I Know Where I’m Going! (45)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (56): Most Pro-McCarthy (anti-Red) films were awkward & obvious (Dan diss on “faith”) but IOTBS is a masterpiece of metaphor & emotion with an ending all can embrace: Kevin > Dana < Pods.

It Happened One Night (34)

King Kong (33): Cabot > Wray < Kong

Knife in the Water (62 / Polish): Triangle like only Polanski could forge.

Love Affair (39)

Miller’s Crossing (90)

Mr. & Mrs. Smith (41)

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (48): Husband, wife and lawyer.

Norma Rae (79)

Rain Man (88): “Charlie” > “Raymond” < “Dr. Bruner”

Raw Deal (48): Marsha Hunt, Claire Trevor and Dennis O’Keefe star.

Roman Holiday (53): Anglo-Roman fairytale (D.Trumbo) of checked and triangular love: Anne, Joe and Duty

Scarlet Street (45): “Lazy Legs” messed with the wrong bank clerk who had heart of an artist (Ed) but still had a Little Caesar (31) inside (Ouch!).

Song of Love (47)

Spartacus (60): “Spartacus” and “Varinia” and “Crassus”

Sudden Fear (52): Joan still rode crest of the wave churned up by Mildred Pierce (45), proving equal to the challenge anted-up by slinky Gloria.

The Best Years of Our Lives (46): Nobody ever scored on the rebound (“Marie” > “Fred” > “Peg”) like “Captain Fred.” And I don’t care that it’s just a movie, that closing scene with Dana and Teresa pulled together like magnets is pure love.

The Big Country (58): “Jim” and “Julie” didn’t know it, but they were squaring-off with “Pat” and “Steve” just after they did the “deed”…for “Old Muddy.”

The Big Sky (52)

The Blot (21 / silent)

The Earrings of Madame de… (53): Surname excluded to protect the innocent.

The Kid from Texas (39)

The Macomber Affair (47): Tale of a troubled twosome on African hunt with a guide in the middle. Self-discovery comes at the highest price while question of intent remains as open with Hemingway as it did with Theo Dreiser.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (62)

The Man With the Golden Arm (55): Sinatra’s best as under-rated Eleanor bravely plays the part that no dishy dame wanted.

The Night of the Iguana (64): Maybe the most psychologically instructive and then ultimately heartfelt love triangle in cinema history.

The Pope of Greenwich Village: “Paulie” > “Charlie” < “Diane”

The Red Shoes (48): One a troubled triangle of personal love (“Boris” > “Vicky” < “Julian”), inter-locking with a 2nd that, for a time, formed a perfect triad of artistic expression in dance, composition and production. TRS is in that larger-than-admitted group of movies (100 +/-) in consideration for greatest all-time.

The Seventh Veil (45): Not surprising that the sensuous, soft Ann Todd (“Francesca”) could command a pentagon of love.

The Sheepman (58)

The Spy In Black (39)

The Third Man (49): “Holly” > “Anna” < “Harry”

Trader Horn (31)

Witness (85)

Working Girl (88): Two triangles for Melanie Griffith and Harrison Ford, one each for Sigourney Weaver and Alec Baldwin, I think. At this point I’m getting a little geometrically opposed, if you know what I mean.

Steven Keys
Photo credit: JamesCVanTrees, 1922, Mitchell-camera, wc.cca; pizza-triangles, 4.5.15, sunny-mama, wc; three-deer-illuminated, Haifa, German-colony, wc, Yuval-Y, 12.18.10, CC-GFDL; Cleopatra, 1963, 20CF, wc, R.Harrison-E.Taylor; Sabrina, 1954, Paramount, W.Holden-A.Hepburn, wc; DoctorZhivago, 1965, O.Shariff-J.Christie, wc, F.Young, MGM; ScarletStreet, cop-E.Robinson-J.Bennett, wc, UP, 1945; TheRedShoes, Ballerinailina, 1948, wc.cca, TheArchers, ADA; popcorn, T.Bresson, wc.cca, 6.15.16
Posted: 5.25.17, re-post 6.4 @ 6:36pm (photo) EST; Copyright © 2017

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Bonnie and Clyde Ambushed Again, No Badges or Bullets But Bad Manners at Academy Gala

17 Mar

If you think the 89th Academy Awards snafu, Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway being handed Best Actress envelope by staffers to announce and present the Best Picture award at the recent gala, was an accident as purported, I’m gonna’ guess there’s a good chance you’re comfortable too with the following conjectures:

1) Lee Harvey Oswald, double-agent with “Maggies drawers” and friend of clandestines Clay Shaw, David Ferrie, bag-man Jack Ruby and the FBI, fired off five shots in 3.5 seconds with one of the worst bolt-action rifles in history, ordered in the mail, aimed through a live oak in November from the Texas School Book Depository to assassinate President Kennedy;

2) A man named Shakspeare (no ‘e’ after ‘k’ spelled 3 ways), son of a Stratford-on-Avon glove-maker, with no public library or apparent capers to fortify his inspiration with the relevant nomenclature (“slang”) filling the voluminous literary product, wrote what most consider to be the greatest compilation of works in this planet’s history and yet by will devised a mere bowl and a sword but made no mention of the manuscripts likely most dear to its author’s heart;

3) Scientists, farmers, fire-fighters, polar ice-cap watchers, coastal residents and other folks in weather-affected livelihoods from around the world are blowing smoke when they red-flag a global-warming they’ve seen first-hand for years;

So how’d you do? Still a believer?

Innocent mishaps do happen but not in the Academy presentation they don’t, not with the Big presentation. In Jackson Pollock speak, “I deny the accident.” Why Mr. Beatty, who later expressed an awareness upon opening the envelope that he’d been handed the wrong card but proceeded to hand it to Dunaway without whisper of explanation is a curious bumble on his part. Age (b. 3.30.37 (79))?

Recently deceased movie expert and much beloved Robert Osborne (TCM) could attest to the fact that there have been errors committed in the AA’s long history, as when Sammy Davis Jr. was handed a wrong card on a music awarding in 1964. But none so serious in this most climactic of moments when the Best Picture Oscar® is announced and the statuette handed to the winner. It’s the high-point of the celebration and the biggest trophy in the bunch.

It’s a well vetted process that for near ninety years going back to the silents has prided itself on a meticulous production to avoid just that dreaded appearance of ineptitude, confusion and takesie backsies we saw in February, not to mention a loss of trust. I will not believe that that standard is not, for most, still in place.

But what’s the motive for one or more, and it’d likely be more (Where’s the fun doing it alone (ugh)?), to recklessly or intentionally throw a monkey-wrench into the works? Jealousy, childish, simple-minded jealousy may‘ve been the culprit.

And what does one do with cold envy? If you’re a snake, you don’t bury it, you find expression for it in skullduggery (See; Hamlet) by making two titans of the industry in Faye and Warren look bad. That they’re old, comparatively speaking, would make the theoretical dirty deed all that more satisfying to the doer(s) who, post-play, would smirk like the Grinch after his Whoville haul-away. Tee-hee.

Today, resentment for anything that is well established, be it a person’s advanced age and concomitant accomplishments, or time-tested traditions, even those that work, especially those that work, is at its apex.

It’s an arrogant mindset that has corporate backing: Out with the old, in with the new, change, change, change, unless of course it’s a helpful myth (See; Above). Don’t eat your young, heavens no, eat your Grandparents, instead. And that, even as everyone’s parade is headed to seniorhood, whether they get there or not.

‘How could they have done it, set them up, it’s so cold, so…dishonest?’ Yup.

I’d imagine it could’ve been accomplished quite easily by any number of people in the Academy or PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) chain-of-custody, made easier by the fact that organizers, while always guarding against flaws in the production through miscommunication and lethargy, were oblivious to even the possibility of one or more of their people intentionally gumming up the works.

Organizers wouldn’t have seen it coming this time but they’ll be on alert now with stepped-up monitoring in preparation and handling of announcement-cards.

Dishonesty and devious minds, they’re as old as Neanderthal short-changing Cro-Magnon in the first trade, ‘club for clams (‘Don’t give him all those, look at his forehead for crying out loud!’).’ But when too many of our leaders and celebrities seem to care not in the least what example they set, corruption grows rampant.

It’s not hard to find a story on corruption or greed today, they’re everywhere: Politics (S.Korea), schools (cheating), business (Volkswagen), media (fake news), the Marines (nude photos).

Sport is my usual theme and there the bad news is almost a daily line:

Olympian Ryan Lochte fabricates a false robbery report to Brazilian police and receives less than a year (10m) suspension from competitive swimming;

Ongoing PED use spans across the sport spectacle. It’s buoyed by enablers and apologists like HOF-voters who, where former baseball star Iván Rodríguez is concerned, enshrined the 13-time gold glove winning catcher in 2017, his first year of eligibility, even as the Puerto Rico native was named in former Texas Rangers’ teammate Jose Canseco’s watershed book, Juiced (05), as a user of performance enhancers with Jose claiming to’ve personally injected Iván (See also PED debate; Olympic swimmers Milorad Cavic v. Michael Phelps);

Michael Sam using an announcement on his sexual orientation as a means to draw attention and maybe preference for the approaching NFL draft;

Notre Dame Heisman hopeful, LB Manti Te’o concocts a story of a non-existent girlfriend who is, of all things, dying from cancer and today rosters in the NFL;

Maybe not NBA players so much as the draft-dingy junior media who encourage the prospect of tanking, and receive monetary compensation to write as much;

— — —

We had streakers in my youth (♫ The Streak (‘74) ♫). Call is spontaneous, kooky, a bit shocking but all in good fun. Today, those nudists have grandkids who take part in flash mobs to try to intimidate and frighten.

Don’t expect more shenanigans at the Academy Awards in the near future. Nobody wants pandemonium. Strike that, MOST don’t want pandemonium.

But if I’m over fifty-five and work in the movies, I wouldn’t plan on ever attending the big ceremony ever again, not until someone come’s clean or gets called on that red carpet. And then I’m not forgetting how Maureen O’Hara was treated.

And dilly-dally on that issue shouldn’t forestall the decision to find another new host for the 2018 AA and let Jimmy Kimmel focus on his talk show, or better yet, get back to what he’s best at, Crank Yank(ing). At least “Special Ed,” “Birchum” and “Gladys” were all real, god love ‘em.

Steven Keys
Photo credit: Oscar® statuette, wc.cca, 1951, Kon-Tiki, V.Atanassova; W.Beatty, wc, A.Light, 3.26.90; Oscars®, I.Hayes, Enterprise, Shaft, 4.22.72, wc; Oscars®, Bjork-Swan, 2001, Marjan-Pejoski, C.D.Riccio, wc; Oscars®, T.Hanks, 1989, wc, Light; Oscars®, wc, Hopper-Bigelow, 2.28.11, AA83, C.Lazo, Army; D.Taylor, wc, 1967, Bonnie&Clyde, WB-7A
Posted: 3.17.17 @ 1:10pm, edit 11:17; Copyright © 2017

NFL16 Cherry Picks W4: Presidents, Field Generals & Super Chiefs

28 Sep

One down, two to go. Phew!

With the first presidential debate of Election 2016 now in the books* and media spin-cycle on full-tilt, this NFL fan got to thinking about the prestigious prize Dollar Don and Capital Hill are both eyeing, the Commander-in-Chief job (adjustable hat included), and then what it takes once you’ve been voted the reins of leadership to make it a memorable tenure.

This phase in the Oval Office Chase is a little like the playoffs in sport: The TV camera test for the candidates is a whole ‘nother season, with both contenders starting over at 0-0.

On a gaffe (Ford, “No Soviet domination of E.Europe,” Carter using Amy as a “nuclear arms” standard (76), Dukakis playing opossum in failing to dress-down question-poser Bernard Shaw (CNN) for needlessly making Mike’s wife Kitty part of a crass death penalty hypo (“raped and murdered“) (‘88) and Papa Bush checking his watch (‘92)), a lead in the polls can evaporate faster than a fat NFL lead at the half (Swing Time), just as the candidate who tosses a tight, talking spiral for TD can make-up a poll deficit quicker than Tom Brady finds pay-dirt.

ford-851k-wc-grfl-1933-umFootball forensics aside, an NFL quarterback won’t bear near, nor near beer, the burdens of our Chief Executive, to be sure. He is, however, often referred to as a field general, empowered to muster his offensive troops in a Ulysses S. Grant-like forward-thrusting campaign to gain territory and vanquish an opponent. That’s the plan, anyway.

On the other hand, it’s also fair to say that while Presidents can sadly suffer the greatest of physical harm (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, JFK (JV squad Harvard), Reagan wounded), rarely, if ever, must they bear the weight of a 200+ lbs, muscled-out, charging defender landing on his person as does Joe Quarterback.

In truth, QBs and CICs are pretty much worlds apart in the duties department. They do, however, have one thing in common: As Big Kahunas, both get the credit in victory, nearly all the blame in a loss.

So with that as backdrop, it’s a champion time to honor all those who bear lonely burden of leadership, in whatever endeavor, but here in particular, today’s top NFL field generals teamed with our nation’s finest Presidents over these past 240, both who’ve supped the champagne yet most certainly “suffer(ed) the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (Hamlet (de Vere)).”

Note: No QBRs have been referenced (I can read a stat-line) and no greenhorns considered (R -> 2y). As in politics, top candidates must be vetted and the highs & lows assessed with a dispassionate eye in order to gain a substantive read.

America’s Best Signal-Callers

brady-8-28-9-k-allison-wc-cca-2m-dc1) Tom Brady: New England Patriots, pocket-passer;

FDR: The only Commander-in-Chief besides the Cherry-chopper who could’ve been king (4x), his economic vision (New Deal) prescribed emergency medicine in seriously Depressed times, taking federal policy beyond simply feeding the greed, then he and his wife Eleanor undertook to save the world (WW2);

2) Ben Roethlisberger: Pittsburgh Steelers, mobile-PP;

Lincoln: Made the union whole, more human and gave his life in the process;

3) Aaron Rodgers: Green Bay Packers, mobile-PP

Washington: Iconic leader who led world’s first revolt against Imperium slavery since Spartacus (d.71 BC), gave the new office stature and nation a good start;

4) Drew Brees: New Orleans Saints, pocket-passer

Jackson: Old Hickory was the first non-elitist President who fought Indians, British invaders, banker thugs and brought the people and democracy to DC;

wilson-edithbolling-galt-wc-11m-6-1920-harrisewing-loc5) Eli Manning: New York Giants, pocket-passer

Wilson: Professor President (1856 – 24) with steely resolve to make America a world leader in war (WW1) and peace (LoN), whose 2nd wife Edith (Ellen) co-ruled after his stroke (1919) making her unofficially the first female U.S. President (1872 – 61);

6) Joe Flacco: Baltimore Ravens, pocket-passer

JFK: He saved planet Earth (CMC (’62)) and then lost his life in the risky battle against entrenched power;

7) Russell Wilson: Seattle Seahawks, mobile-manager

Cleveland: Should’ve been first 3-term Prez, designing the template for modern-era “government of the people, by the people, for the people;”

8) Phil Rivers: San Diego Chargers, pocket-passer

Jefferson: Crafty Purchase (Lou.) doubled nation’s size decades after he drafted America’s Declaration of Independence (‘76) and our first public college (UV);

lbj-fdr-allred-5-12-37-wc-259k-nara9) Alex Smith: Kansas City Chiefs, manager-PP

LBJ: Mis-policy in foreign war (Vietnam) did not derail efforts of this legislative juggernaut in making civil rights reality and honoring America’s seniors;

10) Matt Ryan: Atlanta Falcons, pocket-passer

Polk: Pragmatic, fiscally sound and productive, James was Mr. Manifest Destiny, adding thirteen (13) States in whole or part to America’s family of stars. Worn to the bone, he died 3 months post-term;

11) Andy Dalton: Cincinnati Bengals, pocket-passer

Truman: Plain-talking, former farmer, WWI major, haberdasher and pianist (Bacall) proved critics & premature press-men (Chicago Tribune, etc.) wrong with a strong, spirited & common sense administration;

12) Tony Romo: Dallas Cowboys, pocket-passer

Teddy: “Big Stick” policy boosts US clout, trust-bust sent checks monopoly-greed and initiates our national parks system. Celebrity turned progressive;

teddy-wc-loc-thmRounding Out Top 15

13) Cam Newton: Carolina, run-QB / James Madison;
14) Carson Palmer: Arizona, PP / Andrew Johnson;
15) Andrew Luck: Colts, mobile-PP / William McKinley

 

cherries-ripe-chirak-wc-605k-6-24-7Cherry Picks Week 4: “Nothing to fear but fear itself”

Miami (1-2) @ Cincy (1-2): 9.29 NFLN 8:25: Bengals win
Seattle (2-1) @ NY Jets (1-2): 10.2 Fox 1:00: ‘Hawks win
Bills (1-2) @ New England (3-0): CBS 1:00: Patriots win
Carolina Panthers (1-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (2-1) (GTW): Panthers win
Oakland Raiders (2-1) @ Baltimore Ravens (3-0) (GTW): Ravens win
Denver Broncos (3-0) @ Tampa Bay Bucs (1-2): CBS 4:05: Buccaneers win
Los Angeles Rams (2-1) @ Arizona Cards (1-2) (GTW): Fox 4:25: AZ wins
New Orleans Saints (0-3) @ San Diego Chargers (1-2): Fox 4:25: Saints win
Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) @ Pittsburgh (2-1) (GTW): NBC 8:30: Steelers win
NYG (2-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (3-0) (GTW): 10.3 ESPN 8:30: Giants win

Record: 14 – 17

* No clear winner from Monday night’s dialectic (WU in STL), though, there was little debate in the contest directly South in the Big Easy (ATL 45-32). But as Ms. Clinton, pre-debate poll leader, former White House decorator (1992-00) and of a much lengthier political résumé than her veritable newcomer opponent in Mr. Trump, her failure to deliver a haymaker of sorts might give the Don the win on points. But there are more rounds to go and whomever claims victory in this first foray had better not rest on their laurels and come out swinging-with-style in the next. Like NFL16, it’s still anyone’s fight to win or lose, i.e., wide open.

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL Hunch Line
Photo credits: G.Cleveland, wc.cca, 1903, Library-of-Congress, F.Gutekunst; G.Ford, wc, GRFL, 1933, UM; T.Brady, wc, 8.28.9, K.Allison, DC; W.Wilson, Edith-Bolling-Galt-Wilson, wc, Harris&Ewing, 6.1920; Edith-Bolling-Galt-Wilson, First-Lady, 1915-21, wc, LoC; FDR-Allred-LBJ, wc, 5.12.37, NARA; T. Roosevelt, wc, LoC; cherries-ripe, wc, Chirak, 6.24.7; NFL-symbol, wikiproject
Posted: 9.27.16 @ 9:22pm, edit @ 11:38 EST; Copyright © 2016

NFL16: Red-Doggin’ the Media’s Roger Goodell Ruse

1 Aug

Ensconced in Boom

He’s become the whipping-boy of nearly every online editor & scribe in the land, a terrain now populated with more apps, acronyms (sabrmetrics), video & mock drafts than you can shake a latté stir-stick at, or, put another way, than there are sleazy storylines in a Taboola – Outbrain booby box that blight the bottom of every endless page.

Who‘s the poor chap? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, that’s who.

With the 2016-17 kickoff slated for early September (9.8), matching February finalists Carolina and Denver, the Jamestown, New York native and Paul Tagliabue successor (‘06) will embark on his 2nd decade at the helm of America’s most popular & profitable wingding value (1920), not including vacation – conference destinations (Las Vegas / Chicago) and gastro-addictions (sugar).

.........Clifford.reddog.4.1.6.DoD.thm.wcAnyone who fancies him / herself to be that hip, happening kinda’ sportswriter, the one who loathes greedy owners but imagines a special kinship with the jocks as if in another life they’re more likely to be a 1st-round draft choice slingin’ TDs than hangin’ out on the yacht with the blue bloods, rags on Roger with a regularity rivaling today’s Pavlovian hand-held habits.

Which is funny because most of the higher paid scribes in pursuit of that journalism B.A. probably pledged on the same Greek row as did most of those money-maniacal NFL owners. Oh well, who’s always consistent anyway?

When that idea well runs dry, when you’ve already posted your position and all-time greatest rankings for the week or when you just want to release some pent-up frustration, not to worry, there’s always good ol’ smiling Roger Goodell to “kick around” in your column.

So why all the hate for just another rich guy, one of the 2% who run the world and keep us gerbils running on that consumer treadmill?

Maybe because Roger’s standing in the way, i.e., the friends (RG) of my enemies (Snyder) are my enemies, you might say.

Most of the griping on Goodell, which invariably leads to the feeble claim his job is in jeopardy and what a fine replacement so-n-so would make, is illusory, likely a ruse to cover the real purpose: Get a new Commissioner, check-mate Dan Snyder and get his beloved Redskins motif bounced outta’ the League.

A kooky call? The best heist is always an inside job.

Business As Usual

Nobody really expected that the NFL would make a determination on whether or not Peyton Manning actually used PEDs that were reported last fall to have been subject of a home delivered parcel to his wife Ashley a few years back.

.........Manning.wc.thm.3.1.13.Sgt.B.Peterson.USO.USMCUnless the lordly one had been giving blood samples in a testing protocol at the time of the package’s believed arrival (nyet) and that every molecule of said PED supply was tagged, tracked and accounted for, there was no possible way for any inquiry to make a sustainable determination, fact finding or certain conclusion on whether Pey-Dirt did or did not in fact partake in the prohibited performance enhancers his wife was reported to have received by mail.

That the Manning household did or did not receive the package in question was easy enough to establish by parcel company records which questioning (under oath?) could verify. But the usage question, i.e., who, how much and when, if such package was accepted, would necessarily remain open-ended, a dark cloud hanging overhead the SB50’s winning QB.

So when the League released statement earlier this week (7.27) clearing Peyton, claiming to’ve concluded, found that Manning did not use subject PEDs, it threw most of us for a loss, throwing a flag on the play.

On that day Roger finally does hang up his Commissioner’s key, this funny finding will rank near the top as one of his poorest calls and should rightly earn him a small, swift kick in the shin (figuratively speaking) like the one little Kurt Russell gave Elvis Presley (It Happened At the World’s Fair (‘63)). Ouch!

.......package.emojione.12.21.15.wc.thmThe special handling shown Peyton, Broncos & GM John ‘I ain’t playing in Baltimore’ Elway and the League (SB validation), in opposite of a just but max penalty meted-out in Deflategate, smacks of favoritism, standard dilution and no small amount of arrogance for thinking fans would swallow the ‘strange brew.’

Should this awkward result and curious Commissioning work a black mark on Goodell‘s record? As it would’ve been nearly impossible, were Peyton to have in fact engaged the suspected PED supply, that any evidence of their use could’ve been obtained (short of a Manning admission), NFL’s silly extension of that state to a finding of innocence speaks more to misguided policy than corruption. If we fired everyone for making a bad call, 90% of the nation’s jobs would come open within the week.

65 Clifford Red Dog Trap

Because last May’s Washington Post poll (90% of aboriginal Americans are not offended by Redskins’ motif, < 10% answered yes) has not swayed the bully bunch to the side of public opinion, even as that revelation makes any sort of vote seem likely to just amplify its findings, and then that the legal process can only end up in one place (SC) where its current moderate but conservative-leaning majority bodes well for Dan Snyder’s embattled trademark, it’s now imperative for the anti-Redskins side to create a turnover.

When the PC playbook flops (nobody likes a bully) what’s the Coach to do? Call the old red dog (blitz), that’s what, and take out the QB. Hello, Roger.

.......Clifford.reddog.wc.WH-L.Bush.4.9.7.S.Craighead.thmThe media mantra to oust Goodell actually began taking discernable shape in 2012 (See; Nike NFL) and might just be masquerading under a different banner as another ‘means to an end’ to get that Redskins logo retired.

Readers might say (I‘m an optimist), ‘Stevo, c’mon, remember Bountygate, the Rice – Palmer incident and Deflategate? Those are the reasons why Roger Goodell is in bad with most everybody.’ Wrong.

I remember the 2010 NFCC, subject for Bountygate. Still cringe at the over-unders Saints defenders laid on Brett Favre, the most exciting QB since Namath & Staubach laced ‘em up, the 2d ambush perpetrated post-Warner the week prior. In truth, most ‘everybody’ was fine with the bans Goodell handed those sorry Saints in question, excepting the homers and a federal jurist, of course.

The knockout punch Rice put on fiancée Palmer in 2014, it’s etched in the mind, thanks to the sleazoids at TMZ whose video drop inflamed the story to a state where Roger, who hit no one, took more flak than the crook. And while I’m on the topic, why does SAS’y still have his job (“don’t provoke”)? Right, it’s Disney.

And if there was an 11th Commandment it could’ve read like this: Thou shalt not impede an on-going investigation, even if thy sandals hurt or the sheep & sand are driving you crazy. Tom Terrific destroyed his cell phone in the Deflategate audit. Not so terrific. Penalty fits the misdeed. Besides, real Pats fans aren’t losing sleep. They know Tom benefits from the extended R&R (18y).

.......Silver.11.21.14.K.Allison.wc.thmbThe dubious effort to remove Roger stands about as much chance of success as the Vikings’ new US Bank Stadium does of going the entire 2016-17 season without a glitch. Why make the lines simple and construction cool (outdoors) when you can complicate it and beg for problems? Ask the rich guy (Zygi Wilf).

One can’t really think a Commissioner should be treasured anyway, unless one has just ‘fallen off’ that proverbial ‘turnip truck,’ or favors an asylum, so to speak, one that’s run by the trustees (players).

As for the NBA Commissioner, the standard is gold, not Silver.

Ousting an owner in dementia (Sterling) whose babble is secretly taped in-home and moving an All Star game that pulls in about as many viewers as Lone Ranger re-runs from a State whose political majority has gone “extreme,” well, those aren’t exactly tough calls. Add in what appears a lack of concern over the dicey co-mingle of sport & gambling and you’ve got nearly no standard at all.

Back to Roger.

They don’t pay the man enough. Big money must be great ($40M) but you can’t take it with you. Oxidative stress is America’s #1 health concern.

Other jobs are stressful but even the President of the United States, with all the important hats the Chief Executive must wear, does not suffer the vilification from press and army of anonymous trolls as does this Commissioner.

But Raja’s got some backers:

......Nooyi.wc.1.23.8.thm.Davos.WEF1) Owners: Roger’s been so good for the Big Wheels, growing buyers & revenue sources, that he’s moved into Rozelle territory, the man who made the NFL America’s #2 religion and the only one showing a growth spurt;

2) Fans: Put aside grudge-holders (NE, NO, etc.) and online nasty-boys and 9 of 10 fans (all genders) are practically jumping outta’ their skin for September kickoff. That’s called customer satisfaction;

3) Sponsors: Their resilience in face of anti-Redskins flash-mob has been nothing short of amazing. Usually as skittish as a major sportswriter, the Suits & Skirts (Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo)) have backed Dan & Roger to the goal-line, show no sign of buckling and have absolutely no interest in validating a racist logo.

And the players, their opinion on Goodell will turn on who asks the question, how it’s framed, respondent’s length of NFL tenure and assurance of anonymity.

NFLPA members are naturally suspicious of those sitting across the table in CBA negotiation. But they’re no dummies and make their choices, i.e., assumption of risk (concussion) for big benefits incurred. Most appreciate the challenges RG faces in his many duties, including DD greeter and disciplinarian who must enforce rules to ensure NFL viability and their own job success as rosterees.

The red-dog tactic will not take down Roger Goodell. He’s got a stout offensive line and even with a furious on-rush he won’t rabbit. No run-QB, Goodell’s a mobile-manager who matriculates with the best of ‘em and likely will remain under center, suffering the “slings and arrows” of a petulant and perfidious press as long as he enjoys suiting up for the action.

......NFL-symbol.wikiproject.6kbSteven Keys
NFL HunchLine
Photo Credit: R.Goodell, wc.cca, 8.30.12, SSG-T.Wade, USMA; Clifford-RedDog, wc.cca, 4.1.6, DoD; P.Manning, USO-USMC, wc.cca, 3.1.13, Sgt-B.Peterson; package, emojione-project, wc.cca, 12.21.15; Clifford-RedDog, WH-L.Bush, 4.9.7, S.Craighead; A.Silver, wc.cca, 11.21.14, K.Allison; I.Nooyi, wc.cca, PepsiCo, 1.23.8, Davos, WEF; NFL-Wikiproject.
Posted: 8.1.16 @ 10:53am, edit @ 4:45 EST; Copyright © 2016

NBA.F16: Awesome v. Epic As Cavs & Wars’ Worlds Collide

1 Jun

Mind v. Matter

Dandy dust-ups from the past century:

Ford v. Chevy: In a car culture these titans owned the road

Hamburger v. hot dog: Battle over barbecue taste buds never ends

Edison (DC) v. Tesla (AC): Geniuses wrestle for the right to light.

Crawford v. Davis: Golden age film greats fight for fans hearts & minds

Lakers v. Celtics: Early, often and coast-to-coast, their war made the NBA

Mantle v. Mays: In the hero-era, their images held sway over card collectors

The Beatles v. Elvis: British invaders, the mop-top lads moved Mr. Swivel out

Pepsi-Cola v. Coca Cola: Begins brand loyalty but this one can get out of hand;

Catsup v. ketchup: Speech style stirred debate until Hunts® bailed on the Cat.

Tastes great! v. Less filing!: Same vats (Miller) but campaign kept its head.

The Simpsons v. Family Guy: “Brian” alone makes this cartoon call easy as pie.

NBA.F16 features a collision in basketball styles and celebrity cults that is sure to rank among the best in entertainment annals.

........James.K.Allison.wc.thm.11.21.14With tip-off set for 9pm Thursday nite (6.2) at Oracle in Oakland, defending champ Golden State Warriors takes on a familiar foe from 2015 Finale, the Cleveland Cavaliers, as Warriors seek a cherry-on-top for a record 73 win season while the Cavaliers try again to deliver a first Larry O‘Brien title trophy to the Forest City.

Two faces decorate the marquee for this dollar donnybrook: Reigning MVP (2) Steve Curry v. 4-time winner LeBron James, both smooth customers and maybe the two hottest commercial commodities across these Consumer States of America (CSA).

Curry, coach Steve Kerr and the Warriors are darlings of the young set, their older siblings in journalism, Disney (ESPN) and not a small number of the ladies who may happen to drop in. Kerr’s Krew rely heavily upon the 3-pt shot, a tack heretofore unseen on Assc’n stage. When they’re turning the tres they set records and wow the crowd, but when they lay bricks the scaffolding can all come down.

Warriors best defense? The mind-game. Not the cruel kind, but in by-product.

It’s just one way in which 3-pt’er (’79) has gradually altered the game of b-ball: Inside action shifts to the high-post, less physicality even for mountain-sized men, 90s trend down in defense continues as tres-defenders opt-out in the risk-benefit balance and swings in momentum that can be seismic (GSW @ OKC G6).

To the last change, it’s not just an extra point the tres tacks on, it’s the psychological impact on the opposition that can demoralize and alter game plan. That’s not necessarily based on rational thought of the opposition but then in a sport where emotions run the gamut, who’s always rational? Coaches, captains try to fend off the heebie-jeebies but the current design of game can make it difficult, especially in final few.

.......Curry.3.2.11.wc.K.Allison.thmbCurry, Thompson, Draymond Green, Kerr and the rest of GSW must be commended for exploiting a shot that when made in bushels has, with a Freudian-like finesse, worked inside the heads of opponents. It can emotionally stifle a foes’ momentum, drain confidence while enunciating their own speech-in-swishery (Klay’s 3-pt mark), often running up the bill late in the session: Mind over matter.

In the other corner, the Cavs are, of course, led by Lego® LeBron, a team he, with owner Gilbert, built to their specs, though, 5th-year-point-guard-who-plays-like-shooting-guard Kyrie Irving does his best to pile points and tug the spotlight.

Earlier greats like Mikan, Russell, Cousy & Havlicek, Chamberlain & West, Big-O & Kareem, Magic, Bird, Jordan & Pippen, Shag, Kobe and Duncan, all sold the NBA product with lots o’ wins and titles galore, but no player has so completely embraced, mastered the role of corporate player as has Mr. James.

Still the favorite of most fans, young & old alike, LeBron guided his teams to enough Finals (6) and hoisted sufficient O’Briens (2) to legitimize his pitch to the public but carries himself with a dignity wrapped in a calm – cool -collected demeanor that should make him the envy of every marketing Cufflink in the land.

The crystal-ball reads pretty clear on this series.

Both squads are near full strength for this rematch of 2015 Final, Cleveland this time having services of their high paid, multi-skilled big-man-with-the-soft-shooting-touch in Love who exited early in 2015 playoffs. He, like his counterpart in Curry are both managing recent injuries that, if inflamed, could alter plans.

.......James.Love.Irving.wc.E.Drost.thm.10.1.14How to fend off the injury bug? Player regimen in nutrient supplementation at this point in the journey, including the Bs, ashwagandha, alpha lipoic acid, CoQ10, D3 and magnesium, all help with the blues, bruises, bones and boost. Then there are offerings to the Sporting Gods. Herbs & beer are tradition. Can’t be too careful.

On defense, you don’t get this far without knowing its value and how to employ it, at least most of the time, anyway, and then both benches are well stocked with capable talent but won’t make the starters too nervy.

Cleveland balances better on scoring, hold an edge on the boards and while Warriors are fleeter-of-feet they don’t utilize it to full advantage, often pulling up on the perimeter to launch the T-bombs (3-pt). Wars are slightly more proficient at the charity-stripe (.764 (.748)) and than can play big in close contests.

Warriors Keys

Prolific shooters in Curry & Thompson keep firing away, working through slumps that may befall. And having a back-up plan at the ready when the 3s start rattling the rim and ♫ clang clang clang ♫ like a San Fran trolley would be wise. Didn’t see one in the WC. Easier said than done but necessity’s the father of invention.

Cavaliers Keys

Avoid vesting heavily in 3-pt’er even as they’ve a panache (“25”), not let Golden showers of 3s (bad for sure but you gotta’ laugh) set their minds to worry, give ’em the Freudian slip, so to speak, utilize Kevin to his full potential (sure) to consistently impose their real strength: Power, in drive and rebound: Matter-a-fact-in-your-face, so to speak.

.......James.wc.4.27.8.K.Allison.thmThat’s where James mellow-mode, a corporate winner and fine with lesser foes, must give way to a controlled aggression in the Finals to put fear into hearts of men, not just those in blue & yellow but co-workers who need their minds set right too. Leadership, they call it.

Big shots (The Beatles) can afford big risks (♫ Getting Better ♫), Mr. James. Think of it in these terms, LeBron, “the (risk) you take is equal to the (market impact) you make.” Cha-ching!

Many in sportology will vacillate by keying on different players to rise to the occasion as the series evolves, hoping the roll comes up 7-11. I don’t play that game. The stars will perform and the support staff with shine depending on the circumstance (foes), their mood and level of moxie. That’s sport.

Who wins this NBA16 championship bout? Cavaliers most likely.

The interlude Cleveland’s enjoyed after dispatching Toronto with relative ease (4-2) can work a determent in dulling an edge, throwing a rhythm. That’s how it plays in football and rounders not infrequently. But in a sport like b-ball where the pace is grueling (soccer) and the post-season gauntlet runs long (NHL), more time off before a title round can heal wounds and re-charge draining batteries.

Rest gives an edge to the Forest City folk over a weary Warriors bunch who compiled 73 RS wins only to be pushed to 7G by a determined OKC bunch and escape by the “hair on their chinny chin chin(s).” Plus, the Ohioans should weather better those sure-to-come 3-point barrages than did the Thunder, possessing the men & methods to counter-punch on that point. At least that’s the arsenal it appears Cavs’ head coach Tyronn Lue n’ staff have at the ready.

.....straight_shooter.thmbSteven Keys
Straight-Shooter
Photo credits: S.Curry, wc.cca, 4.6.14, N.Salzman; L.James, wc, K.Allison, 11.21.14; Curry, wc, K.Allison, 3.2.11; Love-Irving-James, wc, 10.1.14, E.Drost; James, wc, 4.27.8, K.Allison; Straight-Shooter, produce-label.
Posted: 6.1.16 @ 11:56am; Copyright © 2016

NFL16: History of the Decline & Fall of the Cowboys’ Empire?

27 Apr

Some’ll read this title and say, ‘Au contraire, Steven, the Dallas Cowboys are far from decline (the rise part, that’s implied (See; Gibbon)), they’re NFL’s most valuable commodity.’ In other words, ‘you’re a certifiable loon, Mr. Keys.’

The ‘loon’ line would be way off-base most days but when talking strictly dollars & cents they’d be right on-point.

Forbes last year valued Jerry Jones’ football enterprise at approximately $4 billion, twice the League average (Google). That’s alot of loot and alot of rise.

But there’s more than one way to catalog a cow.

...........Cowboys.cheer.7.16.11.wc.D.Wertman.thmFrom this viewing vaquero’s vantage point the gridiron guys from Dallas are in steady, uninterrupted decline, looking ‘all hat and no cattle’ as the sun sets on one frustrating, unfulfilled season after another, their last NFC championship coming in 1996 (v GB) on way to their most recent NFL title in SB30 (v PIT).

And the Cowboys roundup still somehow manages to pull off the America’s Team thing. Like “Shane” said, “the brand sticks.” Pray tell, why?

Uniforms & logo are classic cool and Jones has shown good sense to steadfastly refuse any aspirations to change by kids at Nike who seem expert at messing up a good thing (See; Browns, TB, etc.). Plus, nobody really cares about the AT tag anymore. Belichick & Brady don‘t and Packers’ fans want it too much.

But the long-running futility that’s displayed on the Arlington, Texas field renamed AT&T Stadium (‘14) is a major drag and hardly befitting of a franchise that had became the standard of success in American sport ever since Mickey Mantle hung up his spikes (‘68) and Bill Russell called it a career (‘69).

..........Jones.12.7.15.K.Allison.wc.thmMurchisons & friends (Hawn, Wynne, Lee) gave it life (1960), firm of Schramm, Brandt & Landry gave Cowboys form, early-QB Eddie LeBaron made it fun, All-Pros Don Perkins, Mel Renfro and “Dandy” Don Meredith made it close (Ice Bowl) and Roger “The Dodger” Staubach, Bob Lilly, Ray Wright, Chuck Howley & Dan Reeves got the 1st brass ring (‘71). Then Drew Pearson, Tony Dorsett and Randy White helped hand Tom and Dallas their 2d NFL title (‘78) and Jerry Jones, Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer worked the mental maneuvers to resurrect the glory in the 90s with 3 rings in 4.

Since Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin hoisted their last Lombardi 20 years ago (1996) the Cowboys have made the post-season but eight times and have not been close to a Super Bowl without having played in nary one NFC championship contest.

Twenty years is a long drought for any team but for the Cowboys crowd it must feel like the well’s run dry for a thirst that’ll never be quenched. Gulp.

And the worst of it is that charismatic Jerry who bought the club in ’89 from the giving arms of the RTC who’d intervened as then owner “Bum” Bright was neck deep in the savings & loan scandal, doesn’t seem all too concerned with Cowboys plight, apparently content with the trophies on his mantel, AT&T rental fees and the resounding cash-register ring he savors with every quarterly report.

..........Romo.10.13.10.bigcatsliar.wc.thmbWhen the ’Boys looked to be turning the corner onto Contender Alley back in 2014-15, compiling a RS mark of 12-4 and only exiting playoffs after a gut-wrenching defeat to longtime nemesis Green Bay in the divisional (26-21) (THAT was a catch, and one heck-of-a-catch at that (D.Bryant)!), they lost their run game in the off-season bidding wars when 1500+ man DeMarco Murray chased the bigger bucks (PHI) only to flounder in Philly and then stat-star but oft-injured, long-time Dallas QB Tony Romo (‘06) went down with a clavicle break in W4 as the club limped to 4-12 in 2015.

Tony’s a topper in the pocket and his jersey number surely retired one day but has the luck of a may-fly and crunch-credentials that are somewhat questionable (2-4 PS). He just turned 36 (4.21) and is nearing the end of a long, notable trail.

Because there’s a dearth of pro-style, proven QBs in NFL ranks and Draft16 will have to, in Gomer Pyle speak, “surprise, surprise,” to help alleviate that sorry state, Romo still carries a premium and has full support of Jones, as he should.

But while Cowboys are beginning to re-establish their trademark defense with key team ranks ending upward in middle-of-the-pack in 2015 (#16 papg (23.4) / #17 yapg 9348)), All-Pros Jason Witten, Dez Bryant and Romo are no spring chickens and the ‘need-list’ in Big D is longer than a…chuckwagon chow-line at Chisholm Trail’s close.

.........RomanLegion.wc.StoriadItalia.1979.Mainz.tmDrafts are largely exercises in ephemeralia so don’t expect big reversal of last season’s 4-12 to a 2014 result. Boosting Dallas’ and every team’s chances is that the present state of (quality) competition in the NFL is probably at its lowest ebb in decades (See last season’s flops: ATL, NO, DET, MIA, SD, BAL, CHI, NYG, PHI, etc.) (See Also: NBA16) and anything is possible in NFL16-17.

Though Barbarians are massing at the borders there’s still time for Jerry Jones to put Dallas’ house in order and set ‘em again on that path to glory.

Unless he wants to go down in Texas football lore as the Romulus Augustulus of Cowboys’ empire, he serving as the last Western Roman emperor when the Vandals & Visigoths swarmed Rome (476 AD), he best turn his major attention away from the cha-ching ($) and back to turning this thing around but quick.

“Rome wudn’t burnt in a day (B.Hopkins, American Graffiti (‘75))” but when it was it wudn’t pretty and all the statues came tumbling down. Gasp!

.....macroecono.lamcasinoroyal.2011.wcSteven Keys
MacroSport
Photo credits: Cowboys.helmet, wc, 5.16.8, Dukeha; Cowboys.Cheer, wc, 7.16.11, D.Wertman; J.Jones, wc, 12.7.15, K.Allison; T.Romo, 10.13.10, bigcatsliar, wc; Barbarians.Rome, wc.cca, 19c, EV.Luminais, BAL; Roman.Legion, wc, Mainz, StoriadItalia, 1979; macroecono, lamcasinoroyal, wc.cca, 2011.
Posted: 4.27.16 @ 4:09pm; Copyright © 2016

NFL16: London Calling, Best Pack a Toothbrush & extra Jim-Jams, Mate

16 Apr

Word came down recently from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell that the League is still desirous of and actively perusing the prospect of assembling a franchise for London Town, England (“Roger Goodell: ‘Realistic’ Possibility” / 4.5.16 / CBS.com / J.Breech). The schematics, so to speak, are being drawn for review and an owners vote sounds a likelihood in the not too distant future.

When speaking at a Jaguars’ ticket holder hoedown in early April the National’s top cufflink-in-management was queried about where the issue stood in terms of development and decision to plant an NFL team in the land of fish n’ chips.

Roger stated it in pretty plain speak, laced with some specifics and sufficient non-committal: “I actually believe that a franchise in London is realistic.” The two keys according to Goodell: “Competitive(ness)” and “logistics.”

.....toothbrush.paste.wc.thegreenj.9.6.8.thmSomething tells me once logistics get ironed-out (travel (Brits expect extended stay), scheduling, conversions (metric), language barrier (sed-jo͞oəl (schedule)), etc.) the competitive issue will find resolution as well.

Securing a viable and committed investment group goes a long way to satisfying performance potential of a planned franchise. If it comes to fruition, like any expansion club, London will be given ample time and then some to find its winning way with the added challenges they‘d surely face.

Two issues likely not to be discussed, not in public, anyway:

1) Oil to Burn?

Why now, to propose this distant addition to the NFL family in a call that flies in the face of a depleting worldwide energy reserve (don’t let the price plunge fool you), a problem looming large even as most everyone is hiding heads in the sand? With no major shelf discovery in 45 years, a squeeze on oil-shale that red-flags trouble, an ever rising demand (China, etc.) and nearly no movement on the alternative front (hydrogen, solar), less travel aught be the norm.

......Goodell.8.30.12.wc.thmb.SSG.T.Wade.USMA2) Mexico City

You can figure why Canada has not been a place for NFL expansion as it has with pro baseball and basketball. No real good comes from trying to topple the Canadian Football League (‘58). No such issue in the land of Moctezuma. Maybe it’s Mexico’s vast soccer set-up and love of baseball that precludes the possibility of NFL presence but it’s hard to imagine a franchise could not succeed South of the border. No hablan inglese?

Nevertheless, and thank heavens for ‘nevertheless,’ the idea of any city outside North America joining NFL ranks is a tantalizing thought, especially as the design is taking shape in the capital of the world-spanning British Commonwealth upon which the “sun never sets (Xerxes I).”

♫ Everybody wants to rule the world ♫ but will settle for wanting everybody else to want what they want. An affirmation of ideals as it were. I like football and like it when others join in the fun. Not exactly altruistic but human enough.

I can’t speak for our colonial forebearers, early adversary (1776 & 1812) and since long-time Anglo-American ally from across the Atlantic, but it seems a serious segment of the British consumer public is responding to the NFL presence at Wembley Stadium these past dozen years. Otherwise the League would not be feeling as chipper as it does about the prospect of a permanent presence in the land of Ivanhoe, the Virgin Queen and the Sex Pistols.

......SexPistols.wc.Riksarkivet.1977.TrondheimOne of America’s most notable contemporary pop culture contacts with London comes by way of HBO host John Oliver. John’s not so much a comedian as he is a testy traffic-cop on trends, some of which most certainly do need an accounting (greed). But Benny Hill, he ain’t, and that’s a bloody shame.

Birmingham-born John boarded the recently crafted anti-Redskins bandwagon (2012) as a critic of NFL’s 80-yr old moniker, making it unlikely he’d be among that group of Onslowians who are receptive to London joining the NFL club. “Onslow,” the lovable & lounging Geoffrey Hughes character (d.2012) on the 90s hit TV and long-time PBS syndicated series Keeping Up Appearances, was seen to sport a Packers shirt and personified UK’s version of ‘(Jeremy) Six-Pack.’

Oh for those racy days of when “Mrs. Slocombe (Mollie Sugden)” and junior staffer “Mr. Lucas (Trevor Bannister)” traded barbs at “Grace Brothers” department store (Are You Being Served (1972-85)) (before the politically correct bullies like Oliver were building shopping malls-in-the-minds), selling discounted (cheap?) laughs on bawdy display to a consumer public that had discriminating taste but was rarely imperious.

Count me with Judy Garland (“Esther Smith (Meet Me In St. Louis (‘44))”): “If there’s anything I hate, loathe, despise and abominate it’s a bully.” Hear, hear!

Once it’s in the hopper (London locale), next big question is, what to name the NFL’s hottest new prospect now that the Rams are back in the City of Angels?

......spank.VanityFair.thm.wc.6.6.1903Far be it for me to tell Britannia, that small but clouty cluster of islands & cliffs jutting out from that last major oil deposit discovery in the North Sea (’70), one that gave birth to Shake-a-Spear (de Vere) and Dickens, Newton and Darwin, Mick Jagger and Petula Clark, who for near 300 years ruled the Seven Seas, imprinted their language on every major consumer good and diplomatic dossier on the globe and have “150 magazines devoted to spanking (“Dr. Fiscus (St. Elsewhere)”),” what logo they should choose to adorn their NFL uniforms, if & when awarded said team.

But with a history background, decades of experience in the gridiron game (a word the Limey‘s will need work into their lexicon) by viewership and fun play, and descending from a parentage vested in the commercial art and advertising fields, I feel well qualified to advise on the subject, take it or leave it.

Forget-About-Its

The musings will start with the expecteds like monarchs (NFL Europe & WLAF), knights (of the Roundtable (Sir)) and probably wrap-up with the king of the jungle, the long traditional symbol in England, the lion. All terrific: Strong, relevant and about as common and non-inspirational as eagles and toothy mammals this side of the pond.

Possibilities

Montys

Not the “Full” kind like in the hit movie (‘97) but as in Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery, England’s most decorated and distinguished commander on land during WWII. “Monty” was winner of the decisive desert battles against Italian and German forces (Rommel) at both Alam el Halfa & El Alamein (2d), the Italian invasion and European theatre closing Battle of the Bulge (‘44). This one’d take moxie but then Nashville’s NHL franchise is called the Predators, so there’s that.

Admirals (Drakes)

.....Drake.bowl.wc.thm.J.Boehm.LobsterthermidorThere are the Admirals of Milwaukee (AHL) and Norfolk Admirals of the Eastern Coast Hockey League but the British admirals that ruled the liquefied waterways shaped the course of history and made Rule, Britannia! the song of the seas. Nelsons (Horatio (Vice – Trafalgar)), maybe not, but the Drakes might sail. Not in reference of the Canadian rapper, not necessarily, but Sir Francis Drake (Vice) who after lowering his privateer flag went on to scuttle the Spanish Armada (1587 (Cadiz)) and foil it’s invasion (’88): Raiders, Buccaneers & Drakes, aye, matey!

Dukes

A British title more suited to Walter Camp football than Sir (knight), “Duke” was nickname of our most famous movie cowboy (J.Wayne) and is currently burned onto the official NFL game ball (Wilson®), a tradition that began in 1941 at behest of Bears’ owner / coach Halas to honor Giants’ owner Tim Mara’s son, Wellington “the Duke” Mara who himself was named after Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, most renowned for his victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo (1815). No hazard in choosing the Dukes design.

Champion!

Post-war, outside the realm of science (TV (Baird), jets (Whittle), computers, economics (Keynes), fibre, physics, internet (Berners-Lee), lava lamp (Walker)), no persons, event, creation of British origin has had more impact on these United States than their greatest export, The Beatles. More than symbol of an era, their music and personas set the standard, sometimes went way-out & wild but were always in control.

The four ‘mop-top’ lads from Liverpool dominated the scene in the 60s and individually stayed relevant into the 80s. But their influence went beyond music even before they became social advocates. The hair, cloths, manner, it all worked into the cultural and commercial fabric, Sinatra / Elvis fans aside.

.....JFK.stamp.5.29.64.FBEP.tmUnpretentious (John only stated a truth: “bigger than Jesus (‘66)”), ever evolving, innovating, setting trends and never following, The Beatles were the quintessential non-conformists, a way that can exact the highest price (11.22.63), though, the foursome would freely discuss the strong influence American blues and early rock n’ roll had on their music. I sometimes marvel that any other music made it onto the radio, making The Kinks, The Seekers, Peter Paul & Mary, Spanky & Our Gang, Dionne Warwick, Herman’s Hermits, The Guess Who, Simon & Garfunkel, The Fifth Dimension, Burt Bacharach and the like, that much more amazing.

From their Hamburg days to the slim suits set by betters Epstein & Martin, Misters Lennon, McCartney, Harrison & Starr would lead the British Invasion in 1962 (Love Me Do), landing by air in a ‘64 campaign of music, money & merriment. From 1963 until their break-up in ‘70 they reeled off #1 hits like nobody‘s business to help a still grieving America (JFK) find comfort in a rocking new beat that both energized and waxed poetic. Through their transformations from leather jackets to chicken-slacks to hippie-hair, no other English good or services compares to their body of work and cultural impact.

Churchill inspired on USA tour post-WWII but Great Britain never had goodwill ambassadors quite like The Beatles, likely never will again. After comment controversy, fired mostly by organized Christian conservatives, their kids and hate-groups (Ku Klux Klan) in US South, the big band conducted their diplomacy almost exclusively in studio record and interviews but the sway held swag and the sounds still resonated with music lovers, media and corporate keens.

.....Lennon.wc.1969.thm.R.KerwoodAnd though resented by some music lovers in later generations for their talent, success, visceral vibes and ♫ feelings ♫ that are largely lacking from their own toe-tappers and angry rappers, the foursome’s relevance will last as long as humans make music or beam their broadcasts to worlds beyond.

Because of that it is a word / image in reference to The Beatles and their large legacy that should adorn the helmets and all appurtenant for any English entrant into the NFL field of frolic. Anything else would seem, so-so.

Their hint-on-helmet would also be the coolest thing since John Lennon worked distortion into the opening of “♫ I Feel Fine (‘64) ♫,” which was the coolest thing since Judy Garland sang “♫ clang, clang, clang went the trolley ♫.”

How then would The Beatles translate into the commercial design?

To the colors and logo the possibilities are many. And that’s for another day.

On the team name, your instinct has you pursuing Beatles vast library of songs hoping to find a perfect fit. You won’t, not for a football moniker. And then the copyright question comes into play. Some are fun to consider, impractical as they be: Day Trippers, Rocky Raccoons, Yellow Submarines, Nowhere Men, Eleanor (Rugbies), Revolutions, Paperback Writers, Walruses, Mean Mr. Mustards.

......Beatles.heads.thm.2.7.64.JFK.LOCThe name: London Beats

The band’s name itself is reference to the new ‘beat’ sound of the late 1950s and early 60s. Add in the football meanings and it works the triple entendre, i.e. beating / besting (there’s a pun, Pete) your opponent in score and into a bloody pulp, figuratively speaking, of course.

There is an Anglo-American band of some prominence by the name LondonBeat who scored a #1 pop hit in 1991 with “I‘ve Been Thinking About You,” and were the NFL – London group interested in the Beats name, might have a British copyright claim on the tag (See; patent lawyer (US), solicitor / barrister (UK)). Even if not, it’s likely contact would be in order and handshakes made.

.....macroecono.lamcasinoroyal.2011.wcSteven Keys
MacroSport
Photo credits: London-bus, wc, 6.26.12, BH.Spier; Toothbrush, wc, thegreenj, 9.6.8; Goodell, wc, 8.30.12, SSG.T.Wade, USMA; SexPistols, Riksarkivet, wc, 1977; Spanking, wc, VanityFair, wc, 6.6.1903; FrancisDrake-bowling, J.Boehm, Lobsterthermidor, wc; JFK-stamp, 5.29.64, wc; Lennon-guitar, 1969, R.Kerwood, wc; The-Beatles, wc, 2.7.64, JFK-NYC-UPI, wc; Macroecono-lamcasinoroyal, 2011, wc.
Posted: 4.16.16 @ 7:34pm, edit 4.17 @ 12:58am; Copyright © 2016