It's April. It's Friday. And there's still no college football in sight. That's a problem, but I'm confident we'll make it through if we just stick together. Thus I present this week's iteration of Free Form Friday, the stream of consciousness rant designed to ease you into your weekend. Think of it as the Pabst's Blue Ribbon of open comment threads: probably not the best on the intertubes, but not a bad value for the price and 38% composed of the pure hipster irony your casual acquaintenances wouldn't understand.
First, a little mood music. When it's Friday and I'm not sure what to post in this space, it's an even money bet that a current or former member of the DBT's will be involved. That's just how things work around here.
Speaking of love, I will be incredibly glad when England's Prince William and Kate Middleton finally tie the knot and remove their smiling visages from my television screen for a while. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against them per se. I'm sure they're both wonderful people so far as overentitled aristocrats are concerned. But I'm given to understand that my various ancestors were willing on more than one occasion to get on a leaky boat bound for a place they'd never even seen before in order to escape the rule of people like the Windsors. In order to do that, one has to be pretty desperate. And the fact that my ancestors were that desperate to escape their subjugation means two things to me: 1) the British Empire was not a happy place for people like me once upon a time, and 2) I am exercising a wholly acceptable form of ancestor worship when I write that one of the reasons my forebears got on those leaky boats was so that their descendents could live in a land where it is not only not our duty to care that a queen's grandson is getting married, but where it is our right to actively and aggressively not give a crap.
We assiduously avoid political discussion on these pages, but I've come to realize that it is this same streak of Scots-Irish blood that caused me to not give a tinker's cuss when President Bush some years ago shook the Queen's hand rather than bowing to her. Despite where you come down on his other policies (and really, I don't want to hear where that is because, again, no partisan politics) I found this to be a very American gesture of egalitarianism. Because she's not my queen. I seem to recall us having some sort of armed hostilities over this issue in the distant past which settled this question. She's a very proper and reserved grandmother who was quite lucky to have the right mother and father. Good for her. Good for her grandson. And thank goodness he's not getting married during football season because if that wedding preempted the Nick Saban Show a privately outfitted navy of crimson-hulled destroyers would likely set out from Mobile within the hour. Such acts of war cannot be allowed to pass.
I'm also glad I'm not a Dodgers fan. In case you missed it, owner Frank McCourt has been relieved of managerial duties after driving the team's finances into the ground like a meth-addled orangutan behind the wheel of a cement mixer. If I were a LaLa Land baseball fan I don't know that I'd feel a lot better about Bud Selig riding in on a white horse, either. Because that didn't work out so well for Montreal baseball fans (all 7 of them). Of course, MLB isn't giving up on the Los Angeles market like they did on Quebec. They simply can't. It's the biggest market in the West. It's Tinseltown. And the Dodgers are Jackie Robinson and Fernando and Kirk Gibson's homer and a lot of other moments central to baseball's identity. But it's funny to me that the New York Mets and L.A. Dodgers, situated in the 2 markets with the greatest built-in advantages in professional sports, just can't get it right.
This stands as further proof that a truly dedicated team of idiots can foul up any situation given the proper time and tools. It's also made me question my longtime belief that professional sports franchises should not be owned by business enterprises looking to turn a profit (here's looking at you while holding sharp, serrated objects in each hand, Liberty Media and Atlanta Spirit, LLC). Rather, I've always believed that sports franchises do much better when they become the money pit hobbies of benevolent dictator billionaires like Mark Cuban, Ted Turner and George Steinbrenner. Sure, those kind of folks may turn a profit. But if they lose a little money and win a world championship they're content with it. So are the fans. When however the benevolent dictator goes malevolent things can sure go downhill in a hurry, can't they?
Speaking of malevolent jackasses running pro sports teams, the NFL Draft is coming up on April 28th, and SB Nation (including Dawg Sports) is all over the thing like Lane Kiffin on a 12 year old quarterback prodigy. Ryan Mallett, former quarterback prodigy and scooter/scantron afficianado, has been busy diffusing rumors that he blew off a meeting with Carolina Panthers officials after going one too many rounds with Jose Cuervo. I for one find it interesting that everyone seems so concerned with Mallett's alleged character issues when the only blemish on his legal record is a single public intoxication charge from 2009. Only in the NFL can being a sloppy drunk college kid be considered an employment disqualifier, while allegations of laptop theft, academic cheating and acceptance of cash money while an amateur athlete make you "a go-getter." I predict that Mallett will end up being someone's franchise quarterback for the next decade. Believe me, if Brett Favre could sober up long enough to win a Super Bowl Ryan Mallett can as well.
Of course it could be worse. Mallett could be TCU quarterback Andy Dalton trying to deal with the one NFL coach who apparently believes that it may be tough to be a redheaded quarterback in the NFL. No matter who the guy was, I guarantee you Dalton's won more football games than he has in the past 2 seasons. Perhaps we should be asking whether morons who honestly contemplate what hair color has to do with winning football games can suceed in the NFL.
Last week's first installment of the Manly Movie Mashup drew a scad of excellent suggestions and drove home the truth that, if I had it to do over again, I would have limited myself to 50 movies rather than 21. But a deal's a deal, so on with the next 3 selections. Feel free to poo-poo or laud these choices in the comments, or again nominate the film of your choice:
- Caddyshack. For sheer quotability I'm fairly certain that no movie in American cinematic history can match the zany tale of goings on at Bushwood Country Club. And there's Cindy Morgan as Lacey Underall. A command performance.
- Goodfellas. It's not the only mob movie on this list, but it's one of the best. Joe Pesci's depiction of mobster Thomas DeSimone is both complex and entertaining, and I think probably the performance of his career. Best line: "Paulie may have moved slow, but it was only because Paulie didn't have to move for anybody."
- Casablanca. I don't care if Umberto Eco thinks it's a mediocre film. Casablanca was literally made up on the fly, with the next installment of the screenplay sometimes written only days before being set to film. This stands as definitive proof that a movie doesn't have to be well made to turn out well. It's also right up there with movies like Gone With The Wind, 12 Angry Men and To Kill A Mockingbird among those stories that every American should be familiar with as a simple matter of cultural literacy.
Have a safe and happy Easter weekend, try not to commit to Will Muschamp, don't buy any royal wedding tickets off EBay and . . .