Stifle, Edith!

, images All in the Family, the best and most impactful situation comedy ever, debuted on CBS on this date in 1971..

  • Archie, Edith, Gloria and Meathead Mike, to say nothing of George and Louise Jefferson, remain indelible American characters from Norman Lear’s landmark program that masterfully blended comedy, drama, farce, poignancy and controversy the likes of which the country had never seen. The shows were most often performed like plays on one-set stages, usually the Bunkers’ living room, from which Archie would pontificate from his arm chair and long-suffering wife Edith would patiently abide beside him. I don’t know if it’s still running anywhere regularly, but the show holds up amazingly. Here’s evidence, the great clip of Archie doing an everyman’s response to a TV editorial on gun control. Enjoy.
  • So much elite talent on display during last night’s college championship football game won 45-40 by Alabama over Clemson. The speed all over the field was stunning. Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson impressed along the lines of what Michael Vick did in that ’99 championship game against Florida State in New Orleans, also in a losing effort. Jaw-dropping stuff. Many, many NFL players on those two rosters.
  •  The game matched the hype. But can’t it start earlier, please? Yeah, I know it can’t . . .
  • So what I think is, Lady Gaga was trying to lift Leonardo DiCaprio’s wallet, is what I think. Check out the casual brushing across the back. Am I right?
  • gettyimages-504599674Many tweeps criticizing Ciara for the “inappropriate” dress in which she sang the national anthem before Monday night’s  game. Really? In a sport where cheerleaders are encouraged to pop out all over? Please.




  • Bill Foster, the former Duke basketball coach from the ’70s who died this week, grew up one town over from me outside Philly. I had no idea. He somehow must not have been on my parents’ radar; they alerted me to pretty much anybody who was close to famous way back in that day. For instance, they went to high school with Carter Merbreier, ”Captain Noah” in the long-running syndicated kids’ show. They were proud of that.captnoahark

Bet you never heard of Carter or the Captain. That’s OK. If Kangaroo wasn’t your last name, I’m not sure how relevant your kids’ captaincy really was.

Monday ramble

Today in 1908, President Roosevelt — affectionately known as Teddy — declared the Grand Canyon a national monument. The big, gaping chasm still awaits my first glimpse, other than as seen from a plane at 30,000 feet. I gotta do something about filling that hole in my travel resume . . .

  • Picked all four NFL winners over the weekend, to some fun but absolutely no profit. If I heard this right, it’s the first time all four visiting teams won on wild-card weekend. Of course, Seattle had to rally like crazy and then lucked out when Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh gagged a 27-yarder at the wire after kicking three earlier field goals in the sub-zero chill. The drama (and pressure) of sports, man. It gets in your head, no matter if you’re an All-Pro (as Walsh was as a rookie in 2012) or what. Walsh is a fourth-year kicker out of Georgia. He’s been there before. But still . . . His irony is that the Vikings wouldn’t have been in position to win Sunday without him, and then they ultimately couldn’t win with him. Life’s a bitch. He’ll bounce back, I reckon, but the thud of a season going bust like that is consuming and surreal.
  • Favorite meme I saw re Walsh’s kick:
    harvey 1









  • I didn’t see this, but former Vikings coach Bud Grant, who’s 88, doffed his jacket and went to midfield for the ceremonial coin toss in a polo shirt. That’s awesome, assuming he isn’t dead today from that whole macho exhibition. Grant famously never let his teams use sideline heaters. Back in the day, coaches usually didn’t allow water breaks even in summer practices, either. Nutty. I’m thinking Teddy Roosevelt wouldn’t let his riding party bring canteens on their moose hunts or whatever. I’ll have to look that up.
  • David Bowie, dead at 69. I wasn’t a big fan, even though he was huuuge in Philly when I was growing up, but I did appreciate his longevity, the respect he enjoyed from his peers and followers, and his flaming independence. There is a vocals-only recording out there of Bowie and Freddie Mercury making “Under Pressure” — actually, it’s right here. It’s pretty impressive, I gotta say. The weirdest “Little Drummer Boy” duet tandem in history (Bowie and Bing Crosby in 1977, which also actually is pretty good) can commence its heavenly encore. Hmm, maybe I liked David Bowie more than I knew.
  • Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes. Meh. Oy vey with the award shows. So tedious and self-important. And anyway, when did they become extreme celebrity roasts of very questionable taste? Talk about jumped sharks . . .
  • Seriously, Jordan Spieth, who only won a record $22 million on the PGA Tour last year, is Tiger Woods without the crazy father and Supreme Being complex. When Spieth doesn’t win a tournament – hell, when he simply mishits a shot slightly or misses a putt – it is stunning. The 22-year-old Texan rolled to an eight-shot victory Sunday in Maui over a field of last year’s tournament winners. It’s unbelievable to think, but incredible talents like Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson are in danger of becoming to Spieth what Ernie Els (and others) was to Woods – great foils dwarfed by a daunting shadow.
  • It’s taken me a while to come around on this, but I’m with you people now. Sean Penn is just a loon. An annoying one at that.
  • Tonight, Alabama beats Clemson. Nick Saban, winner of four previous college football championships, gets his one for the thumb. Ring, that is. Saban once made a Miami Dolphin cry. He’s a baaaad man.






Friday comin’ down . . .

On Jan. 8, 1963, Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” which was already about 450 years old, went on public display in the United States (in Washington, D.C.) for the first time. That  was something to smile about, right?


  • China and its dysfunctional economy, which I guess is contributing to the Wall Street tank, is starting to piss me off.  Alas, a billion Chinese don’t care about the bottom line of my 401(k).
  •  Speaking of tanking — no, not the 76ers – how’s that Chipotle stock working out for you? Oy vey, Chipotle.
  • TrumpTrumpTrumpTrump . . . Driving last night, I caught some of the candidate’s appearance/rally/performance in Vermont on the radio. The WWE or Maury – is there still a Maury? — in their prime wished they staged such spectacle. As usual, not a word about policy or anything related to being president. Just protesters being bum-rushed out of the building and Trump taunting them to many hoots and hollers. Watching slack-jawed, the media swoon as an inexplicable American phenomenon rolls on.
  • Finished Making a Murderer(!) Thank you for not spoiling my binge, and there will be no spoilers here from me. I can say, without offense, that it is a fascinating look through the criminal-justice window.
  • Jackson Browne, tonight in Virginia Beach. No, he didn’t die after the 1980s, smart guy. He’s a master musician and songwriter, tours a lot, still in very fine voice. Saw him a couple of years ago, a solo show, at Christopher Newport. He’s not mailing anything in.
  • I would expect Bishop Sullivan High to almost instantly create a powerhouse football program, which evidently is its intent by hiring coach Chris Scott away from Ocean Lakes High. Absent zoning restrictions, good players will flock there from across the area for Scott’s expertise and, more paramount to parents and kids, his recruiting connections. And the school offers financial aid. If football’s what you’re about, Sullivan will be the place to go, and quickly.
  • Heard Andrea Mitchell, who has worked for years around the world’s most powerful people, go all fan-girl while interviewing retired soccer player Abby Wambach via remote earlier at lunch. What is it about sports figures that quickens the hearts of even grizzled – no offense, Andrea – news vets? Do not get.
  • Next movie up: “The Big Short.” Didn’t read the Michael Lewis book, though, and my friend Brendan suggests my life is less than it should be because of it.
  • Odd, and completely infantile, dustup online and even on Morning Joe about ODU coach Jeff Jones, unbeknownst, vigorously tucking in on camera and then shaking hands with somebody with the said hand with which he tucked. Come on, you people. The 24/7, cameras-everywhere, everybody-has-a-hot-or-snarky-take culture strikes again.
  • Good luck to Debbie Harmison White, the communications senior associate athletic director at Old Dominion, who announced her retirement this coming June. Thirty-six years in the books. Quite the career. Thanks for the personal friendship and professional courtesies. Best wishes from here.



Thursday Thoughts


A year ago, two Al-Qaeda terrorists killed 11 people and injured 11 others in the Charlie Hedbo attack in Paris. Pray for peace. And on that note . . .

  • One and half more episodes of Making a Murderer to get through on Netflix before I can get up to speed on what’s going on with that case. And also get back to getting more sleep.
  • I’m not crazy about Jimmy Fallon’s gushing, Labrador-puppy style as Tonight Show host, but I enjoy pretty much every clip from his show that strays into my attention span. He’s an incredible mimic, as we know, the latest evidence being this effort as Mick Jagger last night. (The other guy in this clip is Billy Joel.)
  • Which reminds me, I have made no effort beyond his first week to see what Steven Colbert is doing on CBS. That surprises me because I thought I was a big fan. But there’s that sleep goal I mentioned above. And I just don’t make the effort to dig up clips of what he’s doing over there.
  • Congratulations to Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza for being voted into baseball’s Hall of Fame. Griffey got a record 99.3 percent of the vote. Deservedly. The two sluggers got out of the ‘roid era relatively unscathed, although there was always chatter about Piazza for various reasons. Supposedly he also enjoyed show tunes. That’s a joke. Here’s another “joke.” Piazza was drafted in the 62nd round – 62nd! – of the 1988 draft out of Miami-Dade College, as a favor from Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda to Piazza’s father, his childhood buddy outside Philadelphia. Lasorda is Piazza’s godfather. Piazza was the 1,390th player selected out of 1,433. He turned into the best-hitting catcher of all time -.308 average, 427 home runs. Great story.
  • I got to see Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey Jr. play outfield together live one time, in Seattle in 1990. I think it’s cool just tossing a lacrosse ball back and forth out front with my college kid. We won’t be in the majors for quite a while yet. Some forms of life take place on extremely different planes, don’t they?
  • Well, coach Sean Payton’s staying with the Saints. I thought he would. No soup for you, Iggles.
  • You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to pick all four visiting teams to win this weekend’s NFL wildcard playoff games. Chiefs beat the Texans; Steelers win at Cincinnati; Seahawks take out the Vikings; Packers come to FedEx Field to beat Washington. Hey, how wrong can I be?
  • Whew, I got a Powerball reprieve. Was out last night, but forgot to purchase my winning ticket. But none of you losers won! It’s up to $675 million for Saturday. I am shopping for islands as we speak.
  • Throwback Thursday! Send me embarrassing high-school photos for me to laugh at during lunch. Thanks!







The Daily (or when I think of it) Ramble


Tuesday, the first week of January 2016. Hard to believe, just in general. My disconnected thoughts o’ the morning:

* Good on Virginia Tech, knocking off those U.Va. hoopsters in Blacksburg. As always, it’s just damn hard to win on the road in college buckets. Anybody ever tell you that?

* Didn’t see it, though. Nor the Kansas-Oklahoma 3-OT palooza. Why? I get to that . . .

* I thought “Concussion” was pretty good. It’s a talker for sure. Will Smith isn’t holding on to the side of any jets during takeoff, if you get me. But I thought he was believable, and the true story compelling.

* As for the Star Wars, saw it with the kids. Entertaining enough, I suppose. The kids had to brief me on the whos and whats of the series, but that was fine. The world can have the Star Wars. I am at peace with my disinterest.

* Just started Making a Murderer on Netflix. Watched the first two of the 10 episodes last night. (a-ha!) It’s all the rage. If you spoil it for me, I may murder you.

* I am disheartened on the regular by some of the writing that comes out of college sports-publicity offices. 101 Class: The team as a unit is an “it,” not a “they.” As in “Midwestern State won its third game in a row.” And don’t get me started on dangling modifiers.

* My baby girl in San Francisco just moved into a new house in the famous Haight. The “Grateful Dead House,” as noted on Google Maps, is down the street. There’s something Smithsonian about that to me.

* The Eagles fire their coach Chip Kelly, who by all accounts has the people skills of a prune, but he’s an innovative football wonk (it appears). Bill Belichick seems to answer to that same description. Is Kelly another Belichick? There are GMs and owners who will still want to pay large money to find out, as in the second shoe has yet to drop on Kelly. What a country.

* Our little band’s fantasy golf season starts this week, to continue through the fall. Make your jokes. But it’s a lot of fun for people (like we five) who pay attention to the PGA Tour, the small weekly wager focuses our interest, and  I enjoy recapping and razzing the weekly “drama” for the boyz in my Monday flounder-mail. So there.

* Bonus points to you if you get that above passing reference to fan mail from some “flounder.”

* Didn’t do the Movember thing. But Dry January sounds like a good idea.

* Have a great day D. XO