Saturday, December 31, 2016

Gator: Jackets Sting Cats

Not surprised with Tech's Gator Bowl win today. Kentucky's coach Stoops kept getting madder and madder, and things would keep going Tech's way.

After the early strip sack touchdown return, the end of the second quarter was fun. Wildcats go for it on fourth down deep in Tech territory. Jackets hold, the three plays later go for it themselves on fourth down backed up inside the 20 yard line. Huge gamble, but Tech converted.

Justin Thomas proceeded to drive the offense 94 yards for a touchdown. Then Tech got the ball back and converted a first down with one second left in the half. Stoops' protest was denied - and two precious seconds were added to the clock. Harrison Butker promptly drilled a 53 yard field goal, making the score 20-3 at the half.

Even when Tech's punt was blocked, Kentucky couldn't make anything of it. A piling on penalty immediately pushed the Wildcats back 15 yards. Another missed opportunity.

Tech's offense really didn't get going until the second half. Three times Thomas hit receivers in their hands, only to see the ball dropped. In the first half the Wildcats stuffed the fullback dive up the middle, but in the second half Paul Johnson kept calling the play over and over, forcing Kentucky to stop the play. They never did.

With all the penalties and challenges and commercials, I wondered if the game would finish before the 3 pm Peach Bowl kickoff. Not sure if ESPN cut down on TV timeouts to get the game over quickly, but the game ended before 2:30.

While Thomas was his usual efficient self, and the defense rose to the occasion, today's game ball went to the offensive mastermind: Paul Johnson.

Tech's light gold jerseys and white helmets contrasted nicely with Kentucky's blue, but the Jackets have become like every other team: you never know what they're going to look like from week to week.

The announcers were pleasant - even the usually obnoxious Ron Franklin. The sideline reporter was overzealous, demonstrating the Tech center's four point stance.

The Tech win brings out the usual slew of braggarts, though beating the Kentucky Wildcats isn't exactly that much of an achievement. Still, for the Jackets to rebound from last year's disappointing season to win nine games as well as a decent bowl game is nice. But with Justin Thomas graduating, new challenges await next year. 

Sad that the Jacksonville tourism board's advertisement featured yoga, but nothing about the city's Christian heritage.

Also not surprised that LSU shut down flash-in-the-pan Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson. Ron Franklin said what I had previously written, that Jackson's decline in play since the end of October, and Deshaun Watson's excellent play down the stretch and in the ACC Championship game, had earned Watson Franklin's Heisman vote.

Basketball: GT beat UNC today. UNC Charlotte gave away bobbleheads today, in the likeness of their head coach: Mark Price.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Liberty: Dawgs Edge Frogs

The first half was painful to watch. Eason is terrible - 110 of his 164 passing yards came on two plays: mostly yards after the catch by McKenzie and Michel. He got worse as the season wore on. What bothers me is how he presents himself: the long hair, the arms folded pose. Will he ever improve?  Jeff Schultz thinks so.

Offensive coordinator Jim Chaney blamed himself. Will he be replaced? REM's Mike Mills wasn't impressed either. Think what Paul Johnson could do with Chubb, Michel, McKenzie, Godwin, and the number one QB coming out of high school.

Chubb and Michel announce they aren't going pro, then UGA gives the ball to a different RB. Hope Chubb and Michel don't change their mind.
Not sure it was a good idea for the diminutive Isaiah McKenzie to turn pro. We shall see.

Nice fake field goal. Didn't realize until just now that regular holder Eason had been replaced by backup QB Ramsey. Had holder Ramsey pitched to the kicker, Rodrigo Blankenship would've run it into the end zone. In the first half Blankenship's tackle on a long kickoff return saved a touchdown.

When Rodrigo's 53 yard attempt wobbled left, the internet threw the popular kicker under the bus. Of course none of know exactly what happened. There was no replay. Could've been a bad hold or tipped at the line of scrimmage. After the play Coach Smart greeted Blankenship and patted him on the back. In the second half Rodrigo was perfect.

Bad tackling by UGA all day. Not a fan of either announcer. The color man made it his responsibility to point out every UGA penalty and incorrect defense alignment. The play by play woman kept repeating the same storylines: "Chubb and Michel are coming back next year" but failed to add analysis as the game wore on.

Young Thomas Gilbert's Facebook account was quiet Saturday. Not sure why.

Georgia Tech to wear white helmets and pants, and gold jerseys. Kentucky to wear blue helmets and jerseys, so it will be a color on color game.

Special thanks to for posting articles on all my talking points.

FSU's early domination of mighty Michigan in the Orange Bowl bodes well for underdog Clemson against heavily-favored Ohio State.

Thursday, December 29, 2016


Read in my Michael Jordan book that MJ was the first player in NBA history to record 200 steals and 100 blocked shots in the same season. Amazing.

Did a little research - MJ did it again the very next season. The next year Hakeem Olajuwon did it, then the year after that Scottie Pippen did it. Those are the only four times it's happened, and Jordan did it twice.

86-87 236 125 MJ
87-88 259 131 MJ
88-89 213 282 HO
89-90 211 101 SP
00-00 177 052 LBJ
00-00 137 093 LBJ
00-00 181 067 KB
00-00 173 106 DW

Note LeBron James and Kobe Bryant's best two seasons above. Also Dwayne Wade's. many young whippersnappers think Lebron is better than Michael, without checking the facts. Many think Jordan was a scorer, but his stats prove he was a better all-around player than Lebron or Kobe, and of course a better scorer than Magic or Larry.

1072  38.3 .497 .835  6.2 5.3 2.3 0.8 30.1 15 2514 893 MJ
1014  38.9 .498 .743  7.2 6.9 1.7 0.8 27.1 14 1695 787 LBJ
1346  36.1 .447 .837  5.2 4.7 1.4 0.5 25.0 20 1944 640 KB
0906  36.7 .520 .848  7.2 11. 1.9 0.4 19.5 13 1724 374 EMJ
0897  38.4 .496 .886  10. 6.3 1.7 0.8 24.3 13 1556 755 LB

So Kobe played five more seasons than MJ, but still finished with fewer steals and blocks.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Boogered Up

The SEC Network's Booger McFarland is at it again - perhaps to make up for his outlandish prediction that South Carolina's quarterback would outplay All-American Deshaun Watson (he didn't: Clemson won 59-0).

Now McFarland has reversed field, proclaiming that Clemson's offense is "way more explosive" than Alabama's. Guess he thinks no one is fact-checking him. While "explosive" is a word up to interpretation, Alabama scored more points than Clemson this year.

Bama scored more than 47 points seven times. Clemson only four times.

Bama scored less than 30 points only once. Clemson three times.

Granted Alabama's defense did a lot of scoring themselves.

Perhaps McFarland has a personal vendetta against Clemson. Earlier this year he was personally offended by Dabo's comments on social injustice. 

While I comment McFarland for speaking out on social issues, there are other times he just needs to keep his mouth shut.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Cool Things

Cool TV spaceships and other stuff:

The Flying Sub: Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
Spindrift: Land of the Giants
Shuttlecraft: Star Trek
USS Enterprise: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Lost in Space
The Rockhopper: 3-2-1 Penguins
The Weinermobile
The Monkeemobile
The Batmobile
The Banana Buggy: The Banana Splits
MLB Bullpen Cart
Mariners Bullpen Cart:
NFL Helmet Cart
This Braves car is parked at the office next to mine.
Honda CR-Z
But never the bus from The Partridge Family. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

TV Shows I've Liked

A Different World (sitcom)
ABC's In Concert (music) Don Kershner
All in the Family (sitcom) Carroll O'Connor
American Bandstand (music) Dick Clark
American Idol (music) Simon Cowell
Atlanta Eats (talk) Steak Shapiro

The Banana Splits (kids)
Batman (action)
Baywatch (action) David Hasslehoff
Beakman's World (kids)
Beverly Hillbillies (sitcom) Donna Dixon
Big Bang Theory (sitcom)
Blackish (sitcom)
Blue's Clues (kids)
Brady Bunch (sitcom) Florence Henderson
Bugs Bunny (cartoon) Mel Blanc
Burn Notice (action)

Captain Kangaroo (kids)
The Drew Carey Show (sitcom)
Cheers (sitcom) Woody Harrelson George Wendt
Comedians in Cars Drinking Coffee (talk) Jerry Seinfeld
Conan (talk)
The Cosby Show (sitcom) Malcom Jamal Warner

Daktari (kids)
Dallas (drama) Larry Hagman
The Dating Game (game) Jim Lang
Davy and Goliath (kids)
Degrassi Junior High (kids)
Designated Survivor (drama)
Designing Women (sitcom)
Dragnet (drama) Jack Webb
Duck Dynasty (reality) Willie Robertson

Everyone Loves Raymond (sitcom)

Family Affair (sitcom) Brian Keith, Sebastian Cabot
Fantasy Island (drama) Ricardo Monteban
Fixer Upper (reality)
The Flintstones (cartoon)
The Flying Nun (sitcom) Sally Field
Full House (sitcom) Bob Saget

Gentle Ben (drama)
Gilligan's Island (sitcom) Bob Denver, Alan Hale
Good Eats (reality)
The Good Witch (drama)
Green Acres (sitcom) Zsa Zsa Gabor
The Green Lantern (action)
The Andy Griffith Show (sitcom) Jim Nabors
The Gong Show (game) Chuck Barris

Hart to Hart (drama)
Hawaii 5-0 (action)
Hill Street Blues (drama) Daniel J Travante
Home Improvement (sitcom) Tim Allen
House of Cards (drama)

I Dream of Jeanie (drama) Larry Hagman
iCarly (sitcom)

JAG (drama)
Jeopardy (game) Alec Trebeck
Junkin with Val & Dave (reality)

Craig Kilborn (talk)
Land of the Giants (action)
Lassie (drama)
Last Man Standing (sitcom) Tim Allen Nancy Travis
Late Night with David Letterman (talk)
Leave it to Beaver (sitcom) Jerry Mathers Tony Dow
Let's Make a Deal (game) Monte Hall
Leverage (drama)
Little Joe (drama)
Looney Tunes (cartoon) Mel Blanc
Lost in Space (drama)
Love American Style (sitcom)
The Love Boat (drama)

Mad Men (drama)
Dean Martin's Celebrity Roast (comedy)
Mary Tyler Moore Show (sitcom) Ed Asner
MASH (sitcom) Alan Alda
Match Game (game) Gene Rayburn
McHale's Navy (sitcom) Ernest Borgnine
The Middle (sitcom)
Modern Family (sitcom)
Monday Night Football (sports) Howard Cosell
Monk (drama)
The Monkees (sitcom) Davy Jones Peter Tork

NBA Inside Stuff (sports) Willow Bay Ahmad Rashad
NBC's MLB Game of the Week (sports) Tony Kubek Joe Garagiola
NFL on CBS (sports) Brent Musberger Irv Cross Phyllis George
NFL Network's Top Ten (sports)
Jimmy Neutron (cartoon)
Newhart (sitcom)
The Bob Newhart Show (sitcom) Suzanne Pleashett
Newlywed Game (game)

Orange is the New Black (drama)
Overhaulin (reality)

The Partridge Family (sitcom) David Cassidy Shirley Jones
Petticoat Junction (sitcom)
The Phantom (cartoon)
Phineas and Ferb (cartoon)
Police Squad (sitcom) Leslie Neilson
The Popeye Club (kids) Officer Don
The Price is Right (game) Bob Barker
Psych (drama)
HR Puffinstuff (kids)

Johnny Quest (cartoon)

Road Runner (cartoon)
The Pepper Rodgers Show (sports)
Room 222 (sitcom) Karen Valentine
Roseanne (sitcom)
Rowan & Martin's Laugh In (sitcom)

Sam and Cat (sitcom)
Sarah (sitcom) Geena Davis
Saturday Night Live (variety)
Sea Hunt (drama)
Second Noah (drama)
Seinfeld (sitcom) Jason Alexander Wayne Knight
The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour (variety)
Spiderman (cartoon)
Sponge Bob Square Pants (cartoon)
Square Pegs (sitcom) Sarah Jessica Parker
Star Trek (drama) William Shatner Leonard Nimoy
Star Trek Next Generation (drama) Patrick Stewart
The Ed Sullivan Show (variety)
Survivor (reality) Jeff Probst
The Superstars (sports) Howard Cosell Frank Gifford

Timeless (drama)
Thomas the Tank Engine (kids) Ringo Starr
The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson (talk)
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (talk)
The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (talk)
Trading Spaces (reality)
Truth or Consequences (game) Bob Barker
Two and a Half Men (sitcom) Charlie Sheen

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (sitcom)

The Dick Van Dyke Show (sitcom)
Veggie Tales (cartoon)
Victorious (sitcom)
The Voice (music) Blake Shelton
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (drama)

The Weakest Link (game)
The West Wing (drama) Martin Sheen Rob Lowe
Wheel of Fortune (game) Vanna White Pat Sajak
The White Shadow (drama)
Who Wants to be a Millionaire (game) Regis Philbin
Wide World of Sports
Wonderful World of Disney (drama)

$1.98 Beauty Pageant (game)
24 (action)
321 Penguins (cartoon)

Sunday, December 25, 2016

2016 Letter

We hope you and your family has a most wonderful Christmas this year. Us Murphy’s had a very good and memorable 2016.
Our year started out with a bang: Will and Mary-Clayton were married on January 9th. The bride could not have been more beautiful, and the service was intimate and special. It was a wonderful weekend being together with friends and family.
After a short honeymoon trip to Destin, the newlyweds drove west for Mary-Clayton’s last semester at the University of Oklahoma. She sang the national anthem at an Oklahoma Thunder game and starred in the production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. Ceil and Matthew rode out with MC’s mom to see her performance. While in Norman Will worked two jobs: practicing physical therapy by day and valet parking at an exclusive Oklahoma City steak house by night. In May both Will and MC were featured on our subdivision’s graduation sign.
After MC’s May graduation the couple moved to Augusta, where Will started Physician’s Assistant school. MC teaches dance and works full time at a church. They adopted a puppy, who befriended our Barney and proceeded to grow and grow and grow. In October we attended Will’s white coat ceremony. After Christmas Will travels to Peru on a medical mission.
Anna served as a bridesmaid for MC in January, and again in October for her best friend Brittany. This summer Anna served as a counselor at Camp Highland, then moved straight from Ellijay to Athens to begin her sophomore year. She’s living in her sorority house, and taking the freshmen girls under her wing both there and as a small group leader next door at the Wesley Foundation. Anna went camping several times and attended football games in the fall. Her excellent work helped her gain acceptance into the UGA School of Graphic Design.
Matthew turned 18 and got his first car, a classic 1996 Buick Park Avenue. He plays guitar and sings for his band, the Swim Moms, who played several performances around metro Atlanta. Matthew still attends Legacy Community Academy, and attends student activities at church. He just started working at the Whole Foods Market in East Cobb.
Ceil continues to teach art to kindergarteners at Legacy and work in the office at Veritas. She took an on-line art class from an instructor from Australia, with classmates who live all around the world. Ceil also sews and bakes and made as many trips to Athens as possible. She co-hosted a bridal shower for Brittany.
Dave had a busy year at work this year, but found time to write a little, complete another Peachtree Road Race, and hang out at Braves games downtown and in Gwinnett and Rome. He attended the Masters, played a little golf, sold on eBay, attended hot stove baseball meetings during the winter months, and even toured the SunTrust Park construction site.
We made it back to North Myrtle Beach this year, and visited our parents in Jefferson and Macon. Thanksgiving will be remembered for the three F’s: fine food, fellowship, and the small fire in the oven that smoked up the house and blessed us with a visit from the fire department. Barney successfully kept us safe from all the local squirrels this year, as well as from all the dogs being walked past our house (and on TV).
We hope you had as great a year. It is our wish for you and yours to have a special Christmas season, and a most happy new year.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Highest Paid?

My mom texted me, asking who the highest paid players were in baseball, basketball, and football. As if I knew. She must've lost a bet or had an argument before Sunday School whether it was ARod, Matt Ryan, Tiger, or Kobe with the most money. Or Mom misplaced her Money issue of ESPN the Magazine. Think she was being purposely vague about why she needed this information. Nonetheless, here's my report:

The highest paid players in baseball, basketball, and football:

Baseball: $32.8 million: Clayton Kershaw (LA Dodgers pitcher - above).
Basketball: $25.6 million: James Harden (Houston Rockets) and Al Horford (Boston Celtics - above)

Football: $44.5 million: Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens QB)
Football: $44.1 million: Tom Brady (New England Patriots QB)

These players have the highest contracts for the current season. Other players may have long term contracts for more overall money. Some have money deferred, with payments spread out over a longer time period. Others have contracts with smaller salaries for several years, then a larger balloon payment at the big. Large signing bonuses paid up front are usually averaged out over the life of the contract when reporting a player's annual salary.

Who is the highest paid is more a function of who signed the most recent contract (Horford). The best player may have an older contract, or may be positioning themselves for a larger contract down the road. A few players accept less money so the team can sign other good players (Brady, Lebron James).

These amounts only represent the salaries the player receives from the team. They do not include outside revenue from endorsements and league marketing deals. Tom Brady's salary may be slightly lower than Joe Flacco's, but Brady probably makes much more in endorsements than Flacco. Harden makes more in endorsements than Horford.

So "highest paid" means different things, and changes based on how it is defined. Highest paid changes from year to year – even from month to month.

Contracts are complicated and constantly changing. For this and other reasons I rarely pay attention to such matters.

When a contract expires factors into the team's personnel decisions. Whether a player will stay with any one team is based not only on his ability but also his age, length of current contract, whether the team has his replacement lined up, how much the team is paying other players, and how much of a jerk the player's agent is.

For 2017 the Braves signed two aging pitchers to one-year contracts, knowing they have several young pitchers who could be ready in 2018. Many fair-weather fans ignorantly complain, not understanding the team's long term plan.

NOTE: Mom had seen a headline about a soccer player making $88 million - but unlike the numbers above, includes endorsements.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Bowl Picks: Part Two

Pinstripe: #30 Pitt beats #43 Northwestern
Russell Athletic: #20 Miami beats #22 West Virginia
Foster Farms: #60 Indiana loses to #28 Utah
Texas: #26 Texas A&M loses to #23 Kansas State
Birmingham: having lost their head coach, #27 South Florida still beats #85 South Carolina

Belk: #25 Virginia Tech beats #45 Arkansas
Alamo: #19 Oklahoma State loses to #10 Colorado
Liberty: #44 TCU beats hapless #51 Georgia
Sun: #38 North Carolina loses to #17 Stanford. Another big day for the forgotten one: Christian McCaffrey.
Music City: #37 Tennessee loses to #33 Nebraska
Arizona: #121 South Alabama loses to #57 Air Force
Orange: #11 FSU loses to #3 Michigan.
Citrus: #12 LSU beats #16 Louisville. Lamar Jackson flounders.

TaxSlayer: #61 Kentucky loses to #40 Georgia Tech. Wildcats can’t solve Paul Johnson’s riddles.
Peach: #1 Alabama beats #4 Washington
Fiesta: #5 Clemson loses to #2 Ohio State. Many think Clemson to be the only team with a chance of beating Bama.
Outback: #18 Iowa beats #29 Florida
Cotton: #7 Wisconsin beats #15 Western Michigan. Could be an upset: Western Michigan will arrive hungry and ready. The Badgers will have to be on top of their game to not be embarrassed.
Rose: #6 Penn State beats #8 Southern Cal
Sugar: #9 Oklahoma beats #14 Auburn. Mayfield shines.
Championship Game: #1 Alabama beats #2 Ohio State

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Happy Holidays

I’m not the only one dismayed at the Happy Holidays sentiment. I imagine most cashiers who wish me this do so because they are required to. WWJD? I don’t think Jesus would reply with a spiteful “Merry Christmas.” This whole mess has made me appreciate when someone says Merry Christmas to me. I certainly make sure my Christmas card says Merry Christmas and not Happy Holidays. Not sure why people go crazy with the outdoor decorations. I do appreciate seeing a nativity scene in someone’s yard. Lots of people go overboard on the Halloween decorations as well.

I had to closely re-read Denison’s column. He backed up what he said with scripture, but really didn’t take a stance except to say that Christians should seek guidance from the Holy Spirit: So, how should we approach the "Merry Christmas" debate? Here's my advice: Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how he wants to use your words and witness in engaging non-believers today. Ask for the sensitivity to respect the beliefs of others while stating your beliefs clearly and boldly. If the Spirit leads you to wish someone a Merry Christmas, do so with sincerity and grace. If he leads you to defer, be sure you do so only out of sensitivity to them and not from a lack of commitment on your part. Here's the larger lesson behind this simple subject: We are called to be Jesus' witness in the power of the Spirit every moment of every day (Acts 1:8).
Denison does say: Requiring Christians to say "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" feels to many believers like a depreciation of their Savior and their faith. If we should avoid offending non-believers, why is it acceptable to offend believers?

RAMS: Former RB Eric Dickerson was miffed Jeff Fisher turned down his request for sideline passes for his entourage. Now reports are calling Dickerson one of the “greatest Rams ever.” Certainly the most talented Ram RB that I can remember, though he may have been outgained by a longer-tenured back like Lawrence McCutchen. But based on his nomadic and tempestuous career, as a Ram Dickerson remains a tick below Merlin Olsen and Deacon Jones.

BOWLS: I am hearing a lot about loyalty (or the lack of it) every time the subject is brought up. I agree, the players should play. Perhaps that says something about football being too brutal of a sport if a player skipping one game can make a difference. But coaches aren’t loyal. The Houston coach left to coach Texas. Seems like even the players understand when another teammate quits to go pro.

Does this mean seniors will stop playing in bowl games as well? You know the priorities of the Tennessee running back who left the team because he wasn’t happy. He wears his priority on his jersey – number one. That’s a number that should be banned.  

Why they have bowls:
1. Programming for ESPN
2. Tourism dollars for the city, hotels, and restaurants.
3. Extra practice time for the teams.
4. Another game the fans can attend/watch.

UGA has more 4 and 5 star recruits (19 or 23 signees) than the rest of the SEC combined.

Shopped Friday night and Saturday night at the Avalon. Late Friday ate at PURE in Roswell. Was just OK. C enjoyed her meal but doesn’t want to go back.

Saturday housework all day. C cooked Mexican for me, Anna, and A’s friend. A and friend had parties both Fri and Sat pm. M worked Fri and Sun. He had a sleepover band practice Fri pm.

See the end of the Celebration Bowl? Grambling up 10-3. NC Central scores to make it 10-9. The player who scored exited the end zone and was out of bounds, then he took off his helmet – drawing a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty. 35 yard PAT was blocked. NC Central attempts an onside kick and recovers, but half the team was offsides. Game over.

See the game in the snow? North Alabama kept trying to run fancy plays, lots of passes. Not good in a blizzard. NW Missouri kept it simple. NWM is in Maryville, MO. As a boy my dad used to sneak into the stadium to watch their games.  

C, A, and drive drove thru heavy rain to Macon for Christmas dinner with parents, sister, brother, niece, etc. – eleven in all. Lots of chitter chatter – kind of overwhelming at times. One person would be talking and someone else would just start talking at the same time. At one point there were ten people at the table and there were four separate conversations going on. But it was a good time. Got back home at 9:30 pm.

Monday: Jimmy Johns sandwich for lunch. Worked past six. Soup and salad. C and A watched Pride & Prejudice.

Tuesday: W&MC came over for supper: spaghetti and salad. They took C to Whole Foods, then went to a Christmas party at the Normans. We had to dog-sit.
W&MC spent the night at her grandmother’s, since we don’t have an extra double bed. Their dog Okie wanted to spend the night in our bed with Barney, so I got less sleep than normal. Two big dogs with a total weight of 150 pounds. Got ready for work and went downstairs in socks. Okie had left us a big surprise in the hallway that I almost stepped in. Had to take care of that, plus an emergency at work, and something wasn’t dry so I had to change plans.
Wednesday: Jimmy Johns sub for today’s LONG 2 hour lunch meeting.
Small Group party was good. Arrived at 7:20 and stayed until 9:45. Lots of food. 27 attended – 5 families. Played well in ping pong and Atari football, but lost my fussball game. Afterwards W&MC drove to Cartersville, taking Okie. Barney was so tired that he slept downstairs. When I got up he went upstairs, but didn’t hop in bed. Hopefully he’s ok. May just be tired.

Just found out M has to work Christmas Eve, until 7:30.

After compiling a list of movies a few weeks ago, now I’m working on a list of TV shows I’ve liked over the years.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Fall 2016 Reading List

The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home, by Dan Ariely.

The 14th Colony (Cotton Malone #11), by Steve Berry.  

Inferno, by Dan Brown. I’d read this before, but wanted to read it again before the movie came out. The book contains so much more detail than the movie can address.

Quiet Strength: the Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life, by Tony Dungy.

Blink: the Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell.

The Rogue Lawyer, by John Grisham

Islands in the Stream, by Ernest Hemingway.

Michael Jordan: the Life , by Roland Lazenby. Details I’d never known before. MJ was named North Carolina’s player of the year at the age of 12 – in baseball. An all-region outfielder as a junior, but far from a MLB prospect.

The Four Loves, by CS Lewis. Read by the author.

Keep It Pithy: Useful Observations in a Tough World, by Bill O’Reilly.

Killing Patton: the Strange Death of World War II’s Most Audacious General, by Bill O’Reilly

The Closer: My Story, by Mariano Rivera. Excellent.

Iron Horse: Lou Gehrig in his Time, by Ray Robinson.

The Auschwitz Escape, by Joel C Rosenberg. I didn’t finish.

The First Hostage (JB Collins #2), by Joel C Rosenberg.

Tales From the Dugout: the Greatest True Baseball Stories Ever Told, by Mike Shannon (not the former Cardinal). Good stories, most of which I’d never heard. Not sure “greatest” is accurate.

The Innocents Abroad: Or, The New Pilgrims’ Progress, by Mark Twain. Loved it.

Hitler: A Short Biography, by A.N. Wilson.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Fournette < Herschel 2

This past week the announcement was made with little fanfare: LSU running back Leonard Fournette’s career as a collegian had come to an end. Instead of helping his team win the bowl game, Fournette would begin preparations for the NFL draft. For the past three seasons Fournette had been compared to many great backs from the past, like Herschel Walker.
Almost exactly 34 years ago a similar announcement was made with great fanfare: Walker became the first junior to leave college early, signing a record deal with the New Jersey Generals of the USFL - a team that would eventually be bought by an investor named Donald Trump.  

Like most, Fournette failed to come close to Walker’s incredible three year college numbers. Note their three-year career totals below, compared with those of Christian McCaffrey, Nick Chubb, Todd Gurley, and Bo Jackson’s four year total.  
5259 49 26 0243 03 0247 00 5749 52 HW
3922 21 99 1206 10 1859 02 6987 50 CM
3830 40 41 0526 01 0625 01 4835 49 LF
3282 28 27 0331 04 0000 00 3613 32 NC
4303 43 26 0272 02 0317 00 4892 45 BJ (4 yr)
3285 36 65 0615 06 0422 02 4322 44 TG
This year Fournette was slowed by injuries, yet another reason for the junior to go pro. But beware: while many young running backs shine as NFL rookies (see Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott), sustained success isn’t quite as easy. Like many high draft picks, Gurley plays for a losing team – the lowly Rams.  
Leonard Fournette
0843 08 15 146 0 625 1 1468 16
1953 22 19 253 1 000 0 2206 23
1034 10 07 127 0 000 0 1161 10
3830 40 41 526 1 625 1 4835 49
Stanford’s McCaffrey quietly out-produced Fournette, gaining over 2000 more yards. In the past two seasons McCaffrey outgained Fournette 6191 to 3367. McCaffrey’s record-breaking sophomore season, surpassing the single-season totals of Barry Sanders, will go unrewarded.
Many will question whether McCaffrey can have a productive pro career, but many smaller players have succeeded in the NFL. Like every other player, much of his success will be determined by which team selects him. Rare are the players who shine on losing teams. Examples include Calvin Johnson, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, and Herschel Walker.
Perhaps McCaffrey’s size will cause him to be picked later on in the draft, allowing him to be chosen be a more successful team. He’d be a perfect fit for a team like the Patriots – or the Falcons.       

Christian McCaffrey
0300 00 17 0251 02 0245 0 0796 19
2019 08 45 0645 05 1200 2 3864 15
1603 13 37 0310 03 0414 0 2327 16
3922 21 99 1206 10 1859 2 6987 50
Walker rushed for almost 1500 more yards than Fournette and 1400 more than McCaffrey. Herschel’s totals do not include his three bowl games. Back in the early 80’s teams played one fewer regular season games than today.  
Herschel Walker
1616 15 07 070 0 119 0 1805 15
1891 18 14 084 2 092 0 2067 20
1752 16 05 089 1 036 0 1877 17
5259 49 26 243 3 247 0 5749 52
Unlike Fournette and McCaffrey, Georgia’s Nick Chubb will return next year for his senior season. Should he have a monster year he could possibly break Herschel’s school record for most rushing yards, despite (1) getting off to a slow start as a freshman, (2) missing over half his sophomore season with an injury, and (3) a disappointing junior season. But with Sony Michel also returning, Walker’s record is probably safe.  
Nick Chubb
1547 14 18 213 2 000 0 1760 16
0747 07 04 032 1 000 0 0779 08
0988 07 05 086 1 000 0 1074 08
3282 28 27 331 4 000 0 3613 32
With just a decent year Chubb should be able to better Bo Jackson’s four year totals, which were almost one thousand yards shy of Walker’s totals for three seasons. Next week in the Independence Bowl Chubb should pass Todd Gurley for second place in career rushing yards at Georgia.
4303 43 26 272 2 317 0 4892 45 BJ
3285 36 65 615 6 422 2 4322 44 TG
While I wish Fournette and McCaffrey well – they are so fun to watch – it is highly unlikely they will come close gaining as many professional yards as Walker. After setting the college rushing records for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, Herschel gained over 7000 yards in his three years in the USFL, then added over 18,000 yards in the NFL – retired second all-time in combined yards in NFL history (and first among all professionals).