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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Jackie humanizes Jackie Kennedy...and Natalie Portman

We all thought we knew Jackie Kennedy, which is to say we thought there wasn't much TO know; that what we did know, the surface stuff, the basic biographical information, the fact that she remained dignified in the face of tragedy and went on to have a second life as the wife of Aristotle Onassis...we thought that was just about the whole picture. Jackie wants us to know there was more to Jackie than just the image of Jackie and it succeeds in this venture, more-or-less. Jackie made me for the first time in my white male life really consider Jackie as more than Jack Kennedy's sort-of-awkward, plastic-looking, much-admired-for-possibly-unworthy-reasons first lady, and I came away thinking okay, Jackie was quite the dame after all. Jackie had dimensions that went beyond her role as the smiling White House hostess, the haunting grainy figure crawling out of the Lincoln in the Zapruder film, the occasionally-talked-about tabloid celebrity going on with her life in spite of everything. Jackie was a living breathing person capable of flaming out like the rest of us, capable of going on a solo booze-pills-and-cigarettes bender, capable of having a looking-in-the-mirror is-that-really-me moment. Good for her. Congrats.

But at the end of the day, so what? Not to be harsh but...if that's all Jackie is, an attempt at plucking Jackie from the realm of myth and making her human-sized, turning her around, letting us see how she hurt and suffered and still managed to rise above it all and give her beloved-but-flawed husband a send-off worthy of the Camelot of his (and presumably our) dreams...okay, great. It doesn't exactly ring the bell in a big way but I got it. Mission accomplished.

Maybe Jackie is best viewed as a star vehicle for Natalie Portman, the perfect chance for Portman to break free of her movie-star-over-actress reputation and show serious chops. Portman's performance makes you want to say things like: she hits all the notes, she's pitch-perfect in every scene, she nails it. If Jackie forces us to look at Jackie in a new light, so too does it force us to look at Portman in a new light. Portman has always seemed a little bit uptight, a little bit posh, a little bit distant and patrician...just like Jackie. Portman as an actress has never seemed to give of herself very much but in this performance she seems to unleash some of her own thoughts and feelings about stuff Jackie also had to put up with: what it means to live in the public eye, to be scrutinized and taken apart and sometimes brutalized by strangers. Portman can relate to Jackie on an intimate, personal level and she seems to inject this inside-dope into her performance, giving her Jackie a sardonic edge. Jackie is skilled at the art of manipulating her public image, and no doubt Portman has developed similar skills in her years as a movie star.  Portman becomes Jackie partly by becoming probably more HERSELF than she ever has been on film. She's freed up by this role much the same way DiCaprio was by playing a version of himself in Wolf of Wall Street. Maybe Portman will never get another role to which she is so ideally-suited. In that case, it's good that she knocked it out of the park, blasted it into the bleachers, parked it in the cheap seats etc.,

Portman's performance is achieved largely in close-up, and director Pablo Larrain likes HOLDING his close-ups, so there's nowhere for his actress to hide. If Portman didn't have the ability to string emotions together, conveying each mental state precisely and clearly, she would be dead. If you watch this movie and still think Portman can't act...then you don't know anything about acting. Which isn't to say I now think Portman is on the same level as Cate Blanchett or someone like that. This is clearly a case of an actor being wired into the brain of a character on some uncanny level, of performer and role meeting at some magical deeply-sympathetic nexus. By being willing to zoom in on Portman's face and FORCING her to give her all, Larrain wrings out of her a level of performance that I doubt she'll ever achieve again. She's not somebody who can range all over the place like Blanchett, find the truth in just about any role, but in this role Portman found a place to get a foothold and she just rattles off great scene after great scene.

Shout-outs also to screenwriter Noah Oppenheimer for crafting a compelling non-linear narrative that "breaks the rules" of biopics and delivers the real goods; Greta Gerwig for standing behind Portman AND Jackie and infusing the film with her particular never-less-than-marvelous brand of warm humanity; John Hurt for bringing his A-game as the priest; the art department, the make-up and costume and hair people, cinematographer Stephane Fontaine for composing the amazing Bergman-like close-ups. Oscars all around. Puzzled looks for Peter Sarsgaard for his flat, unmemorable Bobby Kennedy and for the little kids who played JFK Jr. They would have been better off using a CG JFK Jr.

Question I had coming out of the movie: In Errol Morris' Fog of War, Bob McNamara claims he picked the spot at Arlington National Cemetery where Kennedy was buried, but in Jackie, Jackie clearly picks out the spot herself with no input from McNamara. Bob McNamara is no longer alive so he can't gripe about this apparent bending of the truth to suit the narrative of Jackie taking 100% charge of the funeral arrangements. Or maybe McNamara lied about helping her pick the spot? We'll probably never know.

Top 10 dumb things Vikings fans believed in 2016

Vikings fans fell for a lot of media-and-team-fueled bullshit in 2016.


10. Blair Walsh just needed to get his confidence back.

9. Adrian Peterson had one more great season left in him.

8. Laquon Treadwell would be ready to contribute in year one (though some of us saw his bad year coming).

7. Anthony Barr would only get better.

6. Sharrif Floyd would stay healthy.

5. Mike Zimmer knows how to push all the right buttons.

4. Terence Newman is a great veteran leader.

3. Jerick McKinnon would have a breakout season.

2. Norv Turner leaving would give the offense a boost.

And the no. 1 dumb thing Vikings fans believed in 2016...

1. Rick Spielman's brilliant offseason moves improved the offensive line.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Was Rogue One a stealth attempt at killing Star Wars nostalgia forever?

After watching Rogue One, I never ever ever want to see the Death Star again. I never want to see those green lasers merging into the single green super-laser. I never want to see a Stormtrooper or a TIE Fighter or an X-Wing or Y-Wing or any other kind of -Wing. I sure as fuck never want to see another Star Destroyer. I've had it up to here with those flying pizza slices. Even the sound effects started to get on my nerves after awhile. I NEVER want to hear another voice filtered through that particular Stormtrooper-sounding filter again, that thin walkie-talkie sound that seemed so cool and science-fictiony in 1977 but now just sounds thin and walkie-talkie-ish. Hey, it's almost like THE SHIT THAT SEEMED COOL IN 1977 NOW SEEMS KIND OF DATED AND LAME.

Which brings us to Darth Vader. SPOILER ALERT: Darth Vader appears in three scenes in Rogue One. In one spectacularly dumb scene Ben Mendelsohn's becaped Krennic visits Vader at his gigantic castle that spouts streams of lava (Darth Vader as you know was created by being burned up in lava; the guy has a weird sense of humor I guess, like Alice Cooper when he danced on-stage with whiskey bottles after kicking booze). In this scene we see Vader floating in a healing tank like the one used to revive Luke after he got mauled by The Abominable Snowman in Empire. Those healing tanks don't work so well on massive lava burns and amputations, because Vader still needs his Vader suit to live. It's meant to be a huge oh-my-motherfucking-God moment when Vader walks out to meet Krennic, but the moment is all wrong from the start. The second Vader appears...you don't gasp or hold your breath or think “Holy shit Darth Vader” you just sort of chuckle. Chuckle at Darth Vader? How did things go so wrong?

The problem with Vader points up the problem with the whole movie: the stuff beamed in from 1977 so old school Star Wars fans can have their ejaculatory moments clashes so hard with the newly-conceived material that it just ruins the whole thing. The old stuff feels SO OLD AND LAME when it shows up in the middle of this visually arresting, punchy 2016 outer space war movie. You can't HELP but chuckle at the sight of Darth Vader who in this movie isn't menacing or scary at all but just seems like a tall guy in a goofy costume making Darth Vader noises and talking in a James Earl Jones voice. Vader showing up in this movie is like if the lizard guy Kirk fought in the old Star Trek show suddenly popped up in one of the new Trek movies and it was the same costume. For real. It would be EXACTLY THE SAME AS A DUDE IN A RUBBER SUIT SHOWING UP IN A 2016 MOVIE. Because that's what it is. That's not Darth Vader up there, it's a guy in a Darth Vader suit. Cosplay belongs on the street outside the theater, not IN the movie.

The nostalgia elements are so TERRIBLE in this movie, so downright hilariously ill-conceived and ill-executed, that you almost wonder if this stuff wasn't made shitty on purpose. Seriously though. “But why would they ruin their own movie?” you ask. Well I have a conspiracy theory on that. What if Gareth Edwards and company were so resentful of being forced to shoehorn nostalgia elements into their film that they deliberately made those elements cheesy and lame as a demonstration of how idiotic nostalgia has become? What if their actual goal was to, by ruining their own film, teach a lesson in how you don't need nostalgia to create a good film? Okay okay, I admit, this is a stretch. Of course they wouldn't want to ruin their own movie. And of course it would be giving the studio brass too much credit to believe they would learn ANY lesson here at all. As long as the movie makes money, it's all good to the guys in the suits, and this movie was ALWAYS going to make money. The question – and this question is sort of unanswerable – is how much money the movie WOULD have made WITHOUT the cheap callbacks to the original Star Wars? Would the film have lost steam with fanboys and not picked up their repeat business had it failed at catering to their fantasies? We can speculate but it's useless. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is what I saw with my own eyes and what I saw was a movie that could have been really tight and compelling drama if not for the stupid stupid shit it kept shoveling into my face on the assumption that my brain was not capable of absorbing something actually new and not-directly-connected to the original Star Wars universe.

The nostalgia is extra-annoying here because it seems wholly unnecessary. The film really could have stood on its own without Vader and Tarkin, the constant fetishistic shots of the Death Star (gorgeous as they may be), and the Star Destroyers and the rebel ships and the totally useless cameos by C3PO and R2D2 and other more-obscure characters. Cut all that shit out, eject the over-the-top silly space battles, tighten the whole thing up and you have yourself a perfectly good Star Wars Expanded Universe action movie. Sure, the new characters aren't especially memorable but what difference does that make when SPOILERS they're going to die in the end anyway? And maybe the characters WOULD be memorable if they'd been given more time to establish their relationships. The Force Awakens is jammed full of stuff too, including nostalgia, but it still has time to make its characters feel real, still allows itself smaller, more intimate scenes. In just a couple short moments, you get the sense that Rey and Han really do feel for each other. You get a genuine sense of what a broken dude Kylo Ren is. You actually feel the friendship – or whatever it is – between Finn and Poe. It doesn't take much but you have to know how to slow the movie down and get those moments in and in Rogue One there's no time in between the hammer-hits on the nostalgia button. And maybe Gareth Edwards just isn't all that good with quiet moments.

Edwards is good with action – better than J.J. Abrams – and a lot of the ground-based action stuff in Rogue One is really first-rate, exciting, clearly shot-and-edited, technologically top-of-the-line. And then there are the outer space battle scenes which are frenzied and tiresome and video-game-ish in the worst way. Was the outer space stuff part of Edwards' initial conception or was it foisted on him by the studio? How much of this movie is a reflection of Edwards' vision and how much is studio-mandated hooey? I want to believe ALL the extraneous stuff came about by studio edict, and that Edwards included it against his will. I want to believe there's another cut of Rogue One floating around somewhere that doesn't have Vader, Tarkin, SPOILER Leia, the droids from the originals, tons of X-Wing/Y-Wing/Star Destroyer crap, the lame scenes at the end that tie the movie literally and limply and POINTLESSLY together with the opening of A New Hope...any of that pure fan-service stuff. Maybe someday a good human will make their own cut of Rogue One along the lines of the fan edits of the Special Editions that remove all the superfluous junk Lucas added later. Rogue One The Theatrical Edition is its own Special Edition. It needs to be made less special. It needs to be pulled out of the asses of fanboys, hosed off and re-displayed in its proper form.

I almost wish Rogue One had tanked. Perhaps its failure would have served as a clear signal to the suits that nostalgia doesn't work. But I guess the joke's on me. The box office returns show that nostalgia DOES work. Now I feel like half-robot Forest Whitaker sucking on a Frank Booth gas-mask and just wanting to get it over with.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Should the Vikings consider trading Anthony Barr in the offseason?

Mike Zimmer somewhat cleared up the mystery of what the hell has happened to Anthony Barr this season. And to be honest, I now think a lot less of Anthony Barr (via St. Paul Pioneer-Press):


Pro Bowl selections were announced this week and Anthony Barr’s name was nowhere to be found.
The Vikings linebacker made his first Pro Bowl last year and seemed a good bet to return, but his follow-up season has been a real downer.
Barr was rated by Pro Football Focus as the No. 2 overall linebacker in the NFL last season, and the top outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme. This season, he’s ranked No. 85 overall.

“Anthony sometimes has a tendency to coast a little bit,’’ head coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday. “And I think when he cuts it loose a little bit more, I think that’s when you see him making the explosive plays and kind of the wild plays.’’

Zimmer said he, defensive coordinator George Edwards and linebackers coach Adam Zimmer have talked to the three-year veteran about that issue.


The Vikings drafted Barr no. 9 overall two years ago. He showed lots of promise his rookie season, then blossomed in year two. And in year three? He's dogcrap. Some of his regression is down to injury, no doubt. Early in the season especially Barr was a bit banged up. But Zimmer's remarks make it clear that injury alone is not to blame for Barr plummeting in year three. Clearly, Anthony Barr started thinking A LOT of himself after making the Pro Bowl and took his foot off the pedal improvement-wise and we see the results. Instead of taking the next step in year three, he stopped working, stopped WANTING IT, and slid backward.

Zimmer obviously wants Barr to work harder, but is Barr the kind of guy who will take that criticism to heart and actually work harder or will he become a pouty bitch a la Jamie Collins. I bring Collins up for a reason. HE is another guy who has all the talent in the world but clearly does not want to work on his game. What did Bill Belichick do when it became clear Collins did not have the world-class attitude to go along with his world-class talent? Traded his ass away. Belichick is not a guy who plays around with bad-attitude players. With Belichick the program is ALWAYS bigger than the individual player. Doesn't matter how good that player is supposed to be, if Belichick doesn't want him around, he won't be around.

Not for a second do I actually think the Vikings would entertain trading Anthony Barr, but I still pose the question: should the Vikings consider trading Anthony Barr? Should Minnesota take a page out of the New England playbook and, placing PROGRAM over PLAYER, dangle Barr out there and see what they can get?

If Barr really is a low-effort guy, a bad-attitude guy, a potential problem guy, then definitely the Vikings should explore all avenues. The player must always come second to the program. Bill Belichick knows this and it's about time Rick Spielman learned it. And applied that approach to ALL the players on the roster, including that guy who wears #28.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Harley Quinn was the best thing about 2016

Yeah 2016 sucked but it still gave us Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. And for that we are eternally grateful (even if Suicide Squad as a whole blew bowling-ball-sized chunks).

 

Beating the Packers wouldn't mean shit

So what if the Vikings go into Lambeau this weekend and beat the Packers? So what if they beat Green Bay and damage their playoff chances beyond repair? So what if they crush Aaron Rodgers' face into the frozen tundra until he cries for his girlfriend to come save him with her X-Men karate moves? So what if they take a giant piss on the hopes and dreams of Packer fans who think this is their year? So what if they SPOIL everything for Green Bay and their whining bitch-baby fans?

So what Captain Munnerlyn?
If THAT'S how players need to think in order to motivate themselves, then we can tell why this team has gone straight in the toilet. Who cares what this win or loss means to the OTHER team even if that team is your rival? What happened to going out and doing your job? This team is a mess mentally and I don't know how it happened. Must have something to do with Zimmer's approach. Zimmer needs to get these guys' heads right, forget letting outside stuff get in there. Who cares where the Packers are in the standings? Who cares if the coach is in the hospital with his eye gouged out? Who cares if the creaky old broken-down running back has returned from his latest catastrophic injury? Sure, there are great players who perform amazing feats when emotionally aroused beyond what is normal. Brett Favre comes to mind as one example. But guess what? Most players are not great players. Most players are at their best when on an even-keel emotionally. The Vikings are way too up-and-down. This team reminds me of the Vikings under Mike Tice when it seemed everyone was on a roller coaster. I almost miss Mr. Taciturn Leslie Frazier.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

10 worst acts in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

10.Black Sabbath

Okay but ponderous hard-rock band on their own, but their legacy is tainted thanks to what they spawned: the entire odious heavy meatball genre.

9. Bob Seger

Truck commercial jingle composer, sub-Springsteen, even sub-Mellencamp.

8. Genesis

Decent prog-rockers de-evolve into tedious popsters.

7. Green Day

Initially adorable, singing their little pop-punk songs about masturbation, but grew more tedious in proportion with their sonic-thematic ambition (The anti-Who, in other words).

6. Hall and Oates

Lukewarm Philly pop-duo rides post-career nostalgia wave to unaccountable success. Re-assessed way too far upward. The Ishtar of '80s hit-makers.

5. Guns N Roses

The last gasp of cock-rock, died with hair metal at the bloody hands of Kurt Cobain and his suicidal hooky hard-Pixies-ism. Fuck all their progenitors too, especially Aerosmith.

4. The Eagles

Fuck. The. Fucking. Eagles. Fuck. Don. Henley. Fuck. Hotel. California. I've got your peaceful easy feeling right here.

3. Rush

Rock music for people who think rock music can be philosophical. In other words, idiots.

2. Journey

Nickelback and Matchbox 20 now have hope of one day being respected. The go-to band for filmmakers seeking cheaply ironic "uplift."

1. Billy Joel

I wish he would drunkenly crash his car again, and die this time.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Dear Adrian Peterson, please get out

Dear Adrian Peterson,

Thanks for the memories dude, but please get the fuck out.

Adrian, it's time for you to pack up your shit and go.

It's time for you to take your giant ego, ram it in a suitcase the size of a shipping container and hit the road.

Answer me this one before you leave AD: what were you trying to prove by playing on Sunday?

That you could be the first running back ever to come back from a torn meniscus in the same season? Good for you! You proved it!

So, you're the first running back to come back from that injury. Do they hand out rings for that? Is there a trophy you can put somewhere in the giant house you bought with the money the Vikings gave you for helping them win zero Super Bowls?

Good fumble by the way. You were just trying way too hard again weren't you Adrian?

Trying way too hard to remind everyone how much you suck at ball security.

Yeah I know Adrian, the whole thing isn't your fault. YOU didn't tell Rick Spielman to ignore offensive line in the draft.

It ain't your fault the Vikings have failed in their search for a franchise quarterback.

Trust me, nobody laments the Vikings' lack of a franchise quarterback more than the fans. If only the Vikings HAD a quarterback on the level of a Derek Carr or a Dak Prescott, or hell, even a Matthew Stafford...if they had had a quarterback like that for the last five years, they wouldn't have needed to place so much faith in a steadily-declining running back with ball security issues and other outside-football issues.

Oh, about those outside-football issues: remember how you missed almost an entire season because you beat your kid and when you came back the majority of fans still stood behind you?

And you still put the team and the fanbase through an idiotic offseason drama just so you could squeeze a few more millions in guaranteed money out of the Vikings?

Yeah I know, you did what you had to do.

Too bad the fans didn't do what they had to do: reject you.

Too bad the team didn't do what it had to do: cut you. And then turn around and spend all that saved cap space on some offensive linemen and defensive backs and wide receivers.

And maybe even a viable young backup quarterback, someone the team would have faith in if/when the starter got hurt.

Hopefully Rick Spielman has learned his lesson after watching you once again fumble in a big spot.

Adrian Peterson is not someone you can count on in a big game. He is not the kind of player who carries a team on his back. He is selfish.

So, hit the road Adrian. Go find some other team willing to give you a bunch of money to play for yourself. Maybe the Browns!

Cowboys don't want you anymore, now that they have Ezekiel Elliott.

Packers? They have Ty Montgomery. Maybe Detroit will pick you up! So you can get revenge on the evil Vikings for finally refusing to give in to you.

It really burns my ass thinking of how little the Vikings have gotten in return for their MASSIVE investment in Peterson. It ain't just about the money either. What else have the Vikings sacrificed in the name of Peterson?

They sacrificed a bunch of respect by standing beside him after he was exposed as a child-beater. They allowed the whole franchise to become a laughing stock by participating in that farce of an offseason stare-down two years ago.

The Vikings have allowed themselves to be held hostage by Peterson's ego, believing that without Peterson, they couldn't win.

Bad thinking. Time to right the wrong and let the big-headed, fumbling running back go.

Wise up Spielman. And bye bye Adrian.

Thanks for giving us some thrills along the way. And zero Lombardis.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Vikings' season of misfortune comes to fitting end against Colts

It's over. Stick a pitchfork in the Vikings' hopes of making a playoff run. The 2016 season is officially a failure. The Vikings' playoff hopes died not with a bang but a whimper today in toasty-warm US Bank Stadium. The weather outside was frightful and the Vikings' play against Indianapolis was equally so. The Vikings' lack of discipline and smarts was downright horrifying. If one play perfectly summed up the Vikings' day it was Linval Joseph's boneheaded attempt to vault the long-snapper on a kick, a move that resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for roughing the center. That was just one of the many ways the Vikings shot themselves in the foot Sunday. By the time the game was over that foot was little more than a bloody stump.

As expected, Adrian Peterson made no difference for the Vikings Sunday. His triumphant return may have fired up the fans and his teammates but that fire lasted exactly as long as it took the Indianapolis Colts to establish themselves as the dominant team. Indy looked like the better-coached team on Sunday, which is scary. They looked like the smarter team. The Vikings' defensive line picked a terrible day to check out mentally. Where was the fearsome pass rush? And where was Adrian Peterson, Hall of Fame running back? Peterson made his presence felt only in a negative way, fumbling with the Vikings driving for a score that might have revived their hopes. With Indy taking a commanding lead, Peterson became a spectator. The Vikings mounted no kind of comeback in the second half and walked off the field 7-7 and dunzo as a contender. Finished. Dead.

The Vikings now face the prospect of dragging themselves through the final two weeks of the season. What kind of effort will they give? Will they at least play with a little pride as the clock winds down on this death-march of a season or will they pack it in altogether and get their asses thumped in the final two games. Minnesota travels to Green Bay next week with a chance to play spoiler, but will their heads even be in the game? Will Adrian Peterson play? Frankly, who cares if he plays? If I were Adrian I would look out for no. 1 and sit out the rest of the year. If I were the Vikings I would take the decision out of Peterson's hands by deactivating him for the final two games. All we can hope for now is that this team shows some character the last two weeks, and doesn't get blown out of the water. On Sunday they showed very little intensity, very little intelligence, very little fortitude. And got thumped by a team that frankly isn't that good. Horrible, bullshit performance by Minnesota today. Just inexcusably awful.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Born Yesterday serves as an anti-Trump escapist screwball civics lesson

Superficially a late-screwball about a smarter-than-she-sounds former chorus girl getting the Henry Higgins treatment from a more-everyman-than-he-seems journalist, and using her new-found self-awareness to turn the tables on her blusteringly misogynistic super-capitalist ignoramus fiance, Born Yesterday is actually Hollywood's greatest civics lesson. Unburdened by Capraesque curdled self-righteousness, it far surpasses Mr. Smith Goes to Washington as something to awaken the well-informed thoughtful patriot in us all. And goodness knows we could use some awakening at the dawning of the Age of Trump.

George Cukor, by never seeming to place the emphasis anywhere in particular, places the emphasis exactly where it needs to be and proves himself a far greater champion of right than that old fraud Capra. Plot-wise, Born Yesterday is basically It Happened One Night: Cool hunky guy helps clueless woman find and thereby free herself, making her into an acceptable mate (this also happens to be the plot of Titanic, except Gable and Bill Holden were both far more effective as hunks than Fetfusface DiCaprio). BY tweaks the Capra formula in two important ways: the broad-chested Working Class Hero is now a glasses-wearing reporter with a decidedly Marxist bent (who still knows about baseball because No Homo) and the clueless high-society dame is now a brassy-sassy low-rent chick whose innate, beaten-down intelligence is allowed to manifest only when she's opening up a can of whup-ass on her brayingly sexist Tony Soprano-cum-Donald Trump junkyard magnate future husband at gin rummy.

The movie's shining glory is the idea that, just by learning some vocabulary words and reading a little Tom Paine, even the ditziest most materialistic piece-of-mere-tail can become woke-as-fuck. In my weakly allegorical reading, Billie (Judy Holliday, utterly wonderful) is America circa 2016 and her slappy would-be-husband, junkyard dog Harry (Broderick Crawford, in full unloveable lunk mode), is Trumpism. At one point Billie, awakened to the power of big words, shrieks at Harry that he's a Fascist. "She knows I'm from New Jersey," Harry later complains. Trump is from Queens but it comes to the same thing.

Harry wears his self-made-man status on his sleeve, as does Trump, though Harry's is at least passingly authentic. Both are utter crooks who will do anything to turn a dollar, including lean on spineless sell-out Congressmen, screw over people they allegedly love and threaten at the drop of a hat to unleash thuggish violence. Harry falls short of deserving the Fascist label only because he's not yet bought his way into that sphere, but shows he's ready for that league by going Charles Foster Kane on Billie's new library (Cukor stops short of having him literally burn the books).

Harry is Trump before he figured out how to cut out the middle man by actually becoming president. Would if there had been a Billie to stop Trump in his tracks. Trump is smarter than Harry in at least one way: he never made the (plot-convenient) mistake of tricking his woman into owning his crimes, creating cover for himself and, unwittingly, leverage for her in the event she ever woke up and became empowered by Good Words and Big Ideas. And The Donald has thus far had the good luck/sense never to fall in love with someone who had the potential to shake awake and view him for what he is: a bully and a creep and a lowlife criminal. Not that narcissist Trump is capable of really loving anyone.

They don't teach civics in school anymore, and God knows no Hollywood comedy of today would dare be as unabashedly, stridently, necessarily teachy as Born Yesterday. And that's too bad because we could all use the lesson. Yes it's cheesy when Billie reads the words off the walls of the Jefferson Memorial and turns into a wide-eyed child seeing the world for the first time...it's amazingly, brilliantly, restoratively cheesy. Because the movie isn't sentimentalizing the dumb shit that patriots usually sentimentalize, isn't resorting to emotional chicanery like that asshole Capra. It's simply reminding us that, holy fuck, those old words were pretty good words and it might help to remember them now-and-then.

Born Yesterday invites us to get down on our knees in front of the Founding Fathers, and even if that's problematic for us in our more-enlightened era where we can't see past their baggage...well, maybe do it for a second anyway, and then think about the guy we just elected king and wonder how in the shit it got to this point. And then watch Billie wake all the way up and, having endured one-too-many slaps in the face, awesomely tell Harry-Trump-FascismItself to "drop dead." How many slaps will it take to wake Trump-era America up? And when we do wake up will we possess the same tactical shrewdness as gin rummy champ Billie?

Maybe Judy Holliday's performance is a tad too studied - she played Billie for four years on Broadway ahead of this performance, so it would be a miracle if she didn't seem studied - but it remains marvelous, expertly modulated, deft and legitimately affecting. For a clinic in how to drive home a great line, watch Holliday in the scene when she comes down to give Harry the brush-off, the way she inches toward pathetic before dropping her "drop dead." Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci...name a tough-guy actor; none of them ever delivered a better "fuck off." William Holden need only be handsome and breezily smart, Broderick Crawford coarsely pathetic, while Holliday does all the real work. Forget Hillary, Billie Dawn (as in the first light of day, the glow that vanquishes the darkness) is the heroine we need.

Today is Angel Olsen Makes Everything Better Saturday

Friday, December 16, 2016

Why do fans still believe in Adrian Peterson?

Great news! Adrian Peterson says he will play Sunday against Indianapolis. Vegas noticed, changing the line from Minnesota -4 to Minnesota -5. That's the effect Adrian Peterson's name has on gamblers. The NAME has a similar effect on many Vikings fans. They hear "Adrian Peterson is playing" and immediately believe all the Vikings' offensive ills will be cured!

But will the Vikings' offensive ills be cured? This is what I wrote awhile back:

"Viking fans look at Peterson as a potential savior. Would Peterson give the offense the boost necessary to propel Minnesota to the playoffs? The odds are against it. 

It would likely take Peterson a couple of weeks to work himself back into full game-shape. The clock would likely run out on the Vikings' season before Peterson had a chance to really get back to form.

There's also the problem of working him into an offense that under Pat Shurmur has evolved somewhat away from the scheme Norv Turner was trying to run.

Peterson never looked in sync with the Vikings' shotgun looks. But with Sam Bradford in there and the offensive line struggling in pass protection, the Vikes have become largely a shotgun, get-the-ball-out-as-fast-as-possible offense.

Are the Vikings going to scrap - or at least dial back - the shotgun just to accommodate Peterson? Are they going to bring back Norv's deep drops and play-action?

The blocking isn't suddenly going to improve just because Peterson is back.

If lack of running back talent were the Vikings' ONLY problem, I would feel much more confident about Peterson returning and kick-starting the offense.

But the offense has a lot of other problems too. And Peterson's return might in some ways actually cause that unit to regress."

Is Adrian Peterson going to pick the Vikings up on his back and carry them into the postseason like he did in 2012? Fans fantasize about this happening, but I wouldn't bank on it. 2016 Peterson is NOT 2012 Peterson. Peterson's last good game happened December 27, 2015 - almost a year ago - when he put up 104 yards against a then-dismal Giants team. In the three weeks leading up to that game, he put up 18 yards, 69  yards and 63 yards. All below-average performances by his standards. In the final regular season game of 2015 he ran for just 67. In the playoff game against Seattle he ran for 45 on 23 attempts with a key fumble. In his two games this year, he ran for 31 and 19. Dominating numbers these are not.

"Okay sure," you're thinking. "But this is AD we're talking about. He's going to be FIRED UP. He wants to PROVE THE DOUBTERS WRONG. He's going to go BEAST MODE ON INDIANAPOLIS. He is going to SHUT UP ALL THE HATERS." Wonderful hype, that is. And that's ALL it is. Look at the evidence and there's very little reason to believe Peterson has it in him to make much of an impact for the Vikings over the last three weeks of the season.

"Well at least he's better than Matt Asiata," some of you might say. Not saying a lot though, is it? And frankly, in pass protection, Asiata IS much better than Peterson. And Asiata most of the time is a guy you can count on not fumbling (not so much last week, but usually).

Let's extend this whole thing back even further. How often has Adrian Peterson shown up in big games? Okay, late 2012 he had a huge game against the Packers to put the Vikes in the postseason. I'll give you that one. But outside of that? He gave the Vikes ZILCH against Seattle last year. He gave the Vikes VERY LITTLE in the playoff game against the Packers in 2012. He fumbled in the NFC title game in 2009. Is Adrian Peterson a big-game player? Is he a guy who rises to the occasion when the lights are brightest? Frankly...no. He's a guy who tends to wilt under the pressure. When I think of Peterson in big games, I think of fumbles. I think of underwhelming performances. I think of fizzle not sizzle. Why should this Sunday be any different?

Good news for AD: If he has a bad game, at least he has the built-in excuses of a terrible offensive line and an offensive coordinator who doesn't know how to call running plays. The same fans who are looking for AD to go BEAST MODE ON INDY will be quick to forgive him if he fails. Some fans will never get past their infatuation with the former Face of the Franchise. Guess what? Peterson may be the most popular Viking of the past decade, but he's never delivered much when it mattered. That's a sorry fact that many fans don't want to face.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Jennifer Lawrence is going through a career crisis

The bloom is off the rose for Jennifer Lawrence. The cheese has fallen off the cracker. Pick your metaphor. Jennifer Lawrence is in the midst of her first major crisis. It all started when she picked on that reporter. Then things got really got bad when Ariana Grande absolutely destroyed her on SNL. Is there a single person in the world who still buys Lawrence's "gawky-normal-girl-who-happens-to-be-famous" act? She seemed SO adorable, with the falling down and the talking shit about herself on TV and admitting to wearing Spanx and the rest of it. She seemed so...down-to-earth. So...just like the rest of us.

We fell for it. Some of us fell for it HARD. But when she berated that reporter in public, that was the first crack. And then Grande hit Lawrence hard with her impersonation and the whole facade broke and fell away. I haven't looked at Lawrence the same way since Grande annihilated her. That was the moment for me. There was no going back.

But if Lawrence's image was starting to take a battering, at least she still had her career to fall back on. Even if she was a phony and a fake and a fraud playing up a fabricated image, she still had the work. And the box office numbers. And the trophies.

Yeah...and then Passengers happened. The early reviews on Lawrence's new epic-sci-fi vehicle have been UGLY. Brutal.



It's not like Lawrence is OVER after one misstep of course. But this is a pretty major stumble if these reviews are any indication. We'll see how the box office is but with THIS many bad reviews, AND the movie being naturally handicapped by coming out a few days after Rogue One...well, the numbers could be ugly too. Those of us who have grown tired of Lawrence may be forgiven if we are somewhat rooting for this movie to tank. Maybe if she gets humbled a little bit, gets knocked off her high horse, taken down a peg...nah she'll probably still walk around like queen shit of turd mountain. HOW did I ever get taken in by this phony? Blondes, man.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Do you think Bob Dylan is unworthy of the Nobel Prize? He might agree with you.

Bob Dylan never comes right out and says what he means. That's just the kind of guy he is. His whole career, willful obscurity his been his thing.

Read Bob's letter to the Nobel prize committee, keeping in mind his propensity to weave riddles. And tell me what you think Bob is REALLY saying. And afterward I'll tell you what I think Bob is saying.
Good evening, everyone. I extend my warmest greetings to the members of the Swedish Academy and to all of the other distinguished guests in attendance tonight.
I'm sorry I can't be with you in person, but please know that I am most definitely with you in spirit and honored to be receiving such a prestigious prize. Being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature is something I never could have imagined or seen coming. From an early age, I've been familiar with and reading and absorbing the works of those who were deemed worthy of such a distinction: Kipling, Shaw, Thomas Mann, Pearl Buck, Albert Camus, Hemingway. These giants of literature whose works are taught in the schoolroom, housed in libraries around the world and spoken of in reverent tones have always made a deep impression. That I now join the names on such a list is truly beyond words.
I don't know if these men and women ever thought of the Nobel honor for themselves, but I suppose that anyone writing a book, or a poem, or a play anywhere in the world might harbor that secret dream deep down inside. It's probably buried so deep that they don't even know it's there.
If someone had ever told me that I had the slightest chance of winning the Nobel Prize, I would have to think that I'd have about the same odds as standing on the moon. In fact, during the year I was born and for a few years after, there wasn't anyone in the world who was considered good enough to win this Nobel Prize. So, I recognize that I am in very rare company, to say the least.
I was out on the road when I received this surprising news, and it took me more than a few minutes to properly process it. I began to think about William Shakespeare, the great literary figure. I would reckon he thought of himself as a dramatist. The thought that he was writing literature couldn't have entered his head. His words were written for the stage. Meant to be spoken not read. When he was writing Hamlet, I'm sure he was thinking about a lot of different things: "Who're the right actors for these roles?" "How should this be staged?" "Do I really want to set this in Denmark?" His creative vision and ambitions were no doubt at the forefront of his mind, but there were also more mundane matters to consider and deal with. "Is the financing in place?" "Are there enough good seats for my patrons?" "Where am I going to get a human skull?" I would bet that the farthest thing from Shakespeare's mind was the question "Is this literature?"
When I started writing songs as a teenager, and even as I started to achieve some renown for my abilities, my aspirations for these songs only went so far. I thought they could be heard in coffee houses or bars, maybe later in places like Carnegie Hall, the London Palladium. If I was really dreaming big, maybe I could imagine getting to make a record and then hearing my songs on the radio. That was really the big prize in my mind. Making records and hearing your songs on the radio meant that you were reaching a big audience and that you might get to keep doing what you had set out to do.
Well, I've been doing what I set out to do for a long time, now. I've made dozens of records and played thousands of concerts all around the world. But it's my songs that are at the vital center of almost everything I do. They seemed to have found a place in the lives of many people throughout many different cultures and I'm grateful for that.
But there's one thing I must say. As a performer I've played for 50,000 people and I've played for 50 people and I can tell you that it is harder to play for 50 people. 50,000 people have a singular persona, not so with 50. Each person has an individual, separate identity, a world unto themselves. They can perceive things more clearly. Your honesty and how it relates to the depth of your talent is tried. The fact that the Nobel committee is so small is not lost on me.
But, like Shakespeare, I too am often occupied with the pursuit of my creative endeavors and dealing with all aspects of life's mundane matters. "Who are the best musicians for these songs?" "Am I recording in the right studio?" "Is this song in the right key?" Some things never change, even in 400 years.
Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, "Are my songs literature?"
So, I do thank the Swedish Academy, both for taking the time to consider that very question, and, ultimately, for providing such a wonderful answer.
My best wishes to you all,
Bob Dylan

A lot of humility and graciousness there. And also a hint of sheepishness? To me there's MORE than a hint of sheepishness lurking around in Dylan's words. There's almost a sense of...could I call it embarrassment? Dylan listing the great writers he now shares the top of the mountain with COULD be taken as a sign of immodesty, but I think that's backward. What Dylan is really saying to me is this: "I'm not worthy to be placed among the greats. No really. I'm not WORTHY. And frankly I'm a little embarrassed that you Nobel guys hung this on me. The people who are criticizing you for choosing me? They might have a point dude. I'M NO CAMUS."  The key line is this one: "Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, 'Are my songs literature?' So, I do thank the Swedish Academy, both for taking the time to consider that very question, and, ultimately, for providing such a wonderful answer." Translation: "I appreciate the honor but let's be honest man...my stuff really ain't literature. And you guys should probably KNOW that."

I bet Dylan really really wishes someone else had been given the prize. THAT'S why he didn't respond immediately when they tried to contact him. THAT'S why he didn't show up to collect the prize. Dylan doesn't think he's literature. He doesn't think he deserves this prize. And frankly he's a little annoyed that those fucking Swedes hung this shit around his neck. He just wants to write his songs and play his tunes and keep on trucking until Jesus finally calls him. He doesn't need no prizes man.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Donald Trump meets with insane Kanye West

Kanye West just got out of the hospital after experiencing some kind of psychotic episode. And now he's hanging out with Donald Trump. Nothing more needs to be said.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Cordarrelle Patterson will be back next year, take it to the bank

The Vikings before the season declined to pick up wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson's fifth-year option. That move sent a message to Patterson: Get better or get the hell out.

Patterson seemed to receive the message. He seemed to become more committed to improving as a player. His statements to the press at least indicated that he was taking his job more seriously.

Talk is cheaper than shit though and Patterson still had to prove it on the field.

Fans and media had reason to be skeptical after watching Patterson slowly go to shit in years two and three. Guess what? The Patterson doubters, myself included, were wrong.

Patterson DID mean it when he said he was serious about getting better.

Patterson's offseason work DID make a difference.

This year, Patterson has been an overall asset for the Vikings. His return work is still strong; he has made strides as an overall special teams player, becoming a good gunner; and he's shown up as a wide receiver.

Sunday against Jacksonville, Patterson made a huge first-down reception late in the game to help the Vikings secure their all-important seventh win of the year.

Cordarrelle Patterson is a guy you can now sometimes rely on (okay he still occasionally pulls boners like getting flagged for lining up wrong but nobody's perfect after all)!

What does this mean for Patterson's future with the Vikings?

Going into the season it seemed unlikely that Minnesota would entertain bringing Patterson back. But now I think you can 100% bank on Patterson returning at least for one more season.

Patterson has earned one more shot with Minnesota, and Rick Spielman will be more-than-happy to give Patterson that shot.

Spielman actually has more on-the-line here than Patterson when you think about it.

Spielman was the guy who rolled the dice on Patterson in the draft, giving up multiple picks in order to get the then-raw-as-fuck Tennessee receiver.

Spielman's gamble was ballsy and it actually started paying off when Patterson burst on the scene his rookie year. But then the Vikings fired Leslie Frazier and Bill Musgrave and brought in Mike Zimmer and Patterson-unfriendly Norv Turner and Cordarrelle went right in the shitter.

Patterson didn't seem committed to getting better in years two and three and he became a total non-factor on offense. Spielman's gamble began to look like a very ill-advised bullshit one indeed.

But now Spielman gets a chance to vindicate himself. Patterson's arrow is pointing skyward. Spielman will want to bring Patterson back for 2017 in hopes that he will progress even further.

If Patterson finally becomes a more-than-viable offensive threat, Spielman's draft-day gamble will look like a brilliant roll of the dice.

With Patterson, there's still a chance for Spielman to add a check to his "smart move" column.

Enough such checks and we might even forgive The Rickster for holding on to Blair Walsh too long.

Maybe.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Matt Asiata is the worst running back in history (not really but it sure feels like it)

The Vikings survived their game with the Jaguars and moved to 7-6, and are still in the Wild Card playoff hunt in the NFC.

No thanks to Matt Asiata who, pardon me, fucking sucks elephant nads.

I am so sick of watching Matt Asiata jam himself into the middle of the line and get nothing. I am sick of watching him catch dump-off passes on third down, turn up the field and get tackled several yards short of the first down.

Matt Asiata is always coming up just a little bit short. Over the course of the season, all those little bits add up to a lot of irritation.

Today against Jacksonville Asiata ran 11 times for 37 yards, a dismal 3.4 yards-per-carry average. That 3.4 was actually BETTER THAN his season average of 3.3 yards-per-carry.

Asiata did have one big run, a 23-yarder that helped set the Vikings up in the red zone, for which I thank him.

And then later on that same drive he fumbled at the goal line. The only thing worse than regular Matt Asiata is fumbling Matt Asiata.

Here were Asiata's runs outside of the 23-yarder:

Up-the-middle for one yard
Up-the-middle for five yards
Right for no gain
Left for no gain
Up-the-middle for four yards
Up-the-middle for one yard and a touchdown (yay!)
Up-the-middle for no gain
Up-the-middle for no gain and a fumble
Up-the-middle for no gain
Right for three yards

Such production!

And that's pretty much been Asiata all year. Unfortunately, Asiata is all the Vikings have at running back.

Jerick McKinnon, I'm sorry, is a non-factor.

Blame this all on the offensive line if you want. Blame it on Pat Shurmur for his play-calling.

Fact is, Matt Asiata should not be out there. I don't care if he's a good pass blocker. I'm sick of watching him come up short.



Thursday, December 8, 2016

Martin Scorsese movies, ranked (pre-Silence)

1. Taxi Driver
2. Goodfellas
3. The Wolf of Wall Street
4. Mean Streets
5. Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
6. The Last Waltz
7. The Last Temptation of Christ
8. Raging Bull
9. Bringing Out the Dead
10. The King of Comedy
11. The Departed
12. Cape Fear
13. After Hours
14. The Aviator
15. The Color of Money
16. Gangs of New York
17. The Age of Innocence
18. Casino
19. Kundun
20. Hugo
21. New York, New York
22. Boxcar Bertha
23. Shutter Island
24. Who's That Knocking At My Door

Vikings will lose to Jacksonville, season will be over

The Minnesota Vikings are still technically in the playoff hunt and technically can help themselves this weekend by beating the Jacksonville Jaguars.

But the Vikings aren't going to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The pathetic-ass 2-10 Jaguars, playing at home this weekend, are going to rally themselves and stick it to the fading Vikings.

The Jaguars have a good defense, and that defense will utterly stymie the Vikes' horrific offense.

The Vikings' defense is very good as well - just look at last week's Dallas game - but so what?

The Vikings' D alone hasn't been enough. The team has still lost 6 of its last 7. That's going to become 7 of its last 8.

Why so pessimistic?

Several reasons: No running game. No pass protection. Sam Bradford banged up.

Even worse, the team is playing without the discipline they showed last year and during their five-game winning streak to start the season.

What happened to this team mentally? Why are they suddenly so mistake-prone?

Maybe it is simply a case of guys trying to do too much. Last week's "win for Zimmer" mantra to me was evidence that some players have not truly absorbed Zimmer's all-business message.

Players shouldn't worry about looking around for extra motivation. They should just focus on doing their jobs. Hasn't that been Zimmer's message all along?

When the Vikings were good, it was because they were executing. Everyone was doing their job.

Until the Vikings get back to that place where everyone is focused mentally, where everyone is doing exactly what is asked of him and isn't trying to play the hero/win it for the coach, the Vikings will continue struggling.

The Vikings aren't good enough right now to be considered a lock against any team, even the lowly Jaguars.

Fans thinking this weekend's game will be a cakewalk are fooling themselves.

The Vikings are sputtering and I fully expect them to lay an egg in Jacksonville. At 6-7, their season will be over.

And then the autopsy can begin. It won't be pretty.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Emma Watson = boring

I get why a lot of dudes have a thing for Emma Watson. I feel you dudes. The freckles. The nice-girl-with-a-touch-of-dirty vibe. The hair. I GET it on that primal dude-bro fantasy-girl level. The semi-strident feminist thing even sort of contributes to the whole package. Gives her a little hint of substance. A little alluring touch of depth. She's NOT a featherhead.

All that being said...why does the sight of Emma Watson in a trailer make my brain immediately say "This movie will be boring and Emma Watson will be boring in it?" Why doesn't Watson really ENGAGE me as a performer? Why doesn't her obvious sex appeal, enhanced as it is by more than a hint of intelligence, translate into that genuine movie star flash, that electricity that great stars give off?

The very presence of Greta Gerwig in a movie makes that movie immediately 100% more interesting. Ditto Parker Posey. Ditto classic-era (pre harpy-stage) Faye Dunaway. Ditto Cate Blanchett times 1000. Emma Watson? She's nice to look at but on-screen, to me, registers as blandly likeable AT BEST. At worst she puts my brain to sleep.

Maybe it's the roles she chooses. She's always playing it safe. Protecting the brand. Not stretching herself. She needs to hook up with a director who can bring her out, take her outside her comfort zone, allow her to unleash herself. Lars Von Trier? Not this high-sheen Skittles-colored techno-thriller pablum. The freckles though.


Monday, December 5, 2016

Kangaroos: fuck 'em

I'm glad this Adam Sandler-looking guy punched this kangaroo in the face. Kangaroos are ridiculous. ALL marsupials are so pretentious. "We're mammals but we keep our young in pouches." Get over yourselves marsupials. Kangaroos. Koalas. All those fuckers. Fuck all of them. Pouches? Hipster fucks.

 

The reaction of the kangaroo is hilarious. He's like "Did that just happen? Did that dude just punch me? Yo, DID YOU SEE THAT? That dude just PUNCHED me. In the FACE. Fuck, man." Hop away fucker. Hop away back to your fellow hipster marsupial pouch-having dicks. Kangaroos are BY FAR the most hateable of animals. They're WORSE than raccoons. Well okay, maybe not WORSE than raccoons. But at least as bad. Anyway, all raccoons and kangaroos should be rounded up, put on a spaceship and shot into the sun. Fry fuckers.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A list of slang terms for penis via Rabelais

Need a new slang term for "penis?" Rabelais catalogued some brilliant ones in his book "Gargantua" published in 1534. Try some of these out for size the next time you need a dick nickname!

pillicock
fiddle-diddle
staff of love
tickle-gizzard
gentle-titler
sugar-plum
kingo
old rowley
touch-trap
flap dowdle
branch of coral
placket-racket
Cyprian sceptre (my personal favorite)
tit-bit
bob-lady
my Roger
cockatoo
nimble-wimble
bush-beater (haha)
claw-buttock
eves-dropper
pick-lock
pioneer (???)
bully-ruffin
smell-smock
trouble-gusset
lusty live sausage
crimson chitterlin
rump-splitter
shove-devil
down right to it
stiff and stout
in and to
at her again
coney-borrow-ferret
wily-by-guiley
pretty rogue

Today is Angel Olsen Makes Everything Better Saturday

Friday, December 2, 2016

Adam Thielen didn't need to win it for Zimmer, he just needed to do his job

Adam Thielen's fumble was arguably THE key moment of last night's Vikings-Cowboys game, a game the Vikings wound up losing 17-15. On that fumble, two things: One, LEAVE ADAM THIELEN THE FUCK ALONE YOU FUCKING TROLLS. Two, it's cool that Thielen is owning up to his mistake. That being said, this quote from him probably explains WHY he fumbled in the first place. Guys trying to do too much has been a big issue for the Vikings this year. Had Thielen REALLY wanted to show that he has absorbed Zimmer's philosophy, had he truly been committed to winning it for Zimmer in a way that Zimmer would have appreciated, he would not have been in the mind-set where he was trying to win it for anyone. He would have just done his job. In other words, not fumbled. Don't win it for Zim guys, win it cause that's the point of playing.

The refs blew the call on the Vikings' last play and it's not okay

The Vikings got hosed against Dallas.

The Vikes were robbed of a chance to complete a two-point conversion that would have tied the game with a few seconds left in regulation, sending it to overtime.

Sam Bradford was hit on the head by a Dallas defender...clearly, plainly, obviously. The play should have been flagged under the NFL's normally stringent protect-the-quarterback policy.

It wasn't called.

The ball sailed high and the Vikings missed the conversion and failed in a subsequent onside kick attempt and that was the ballgame.

A flag is thrown on that kind of play about 90% of the time but for whatever reason the refs decided not to call this one.

Flat-out missed it.

No excuse. The refs fucked the Vikings. Normally complaining about the refs is weak but in this case it's justified.

Incompetent officiating cost the Vikings a chance at the comeback victory that might have turned their whole season around.

Fuck the refs.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Vikings are going to get curb-stomped by Dallas

I never like to say any team has NO shot against another team, cause any given Sunday, but...tonight the Vikings have NO fucking shot against Dallas.

Dallas is playing too well and the Vikings are in too much disarray. These teams are so far apart it's frightening.

The Vikings will NOT be able to stop NFL MVP Ezekiel Elliott. They will NOT be able to mount any running game against Dallas. They will NOT fulfill Sam Bradford's plan to go deep.

The Vikings' offense is too much of a mess right now. And Dallas is rolling too hard.

This game sets up as a nightmare for Minnesota. One of those awful slow-mo nightmares that leaves you sweating and shaking and crying for your mommy.

And don't cling to "they'll win it for Zim."

Whatever emotional boost they get from wanting to win for Zim, who will miss tonight's game as he undergoes surgery to repair a detached retina, won't last beyond the early stages of the game.

They'll probably be down 14-0 by the end of the first quarter. Dallas is going to walk all over them.

This is a simple case of an irresistible force coming up against a very movable object.

Dallas will win this game by three touchdowns at least.

It could even be worse than that.

The Vikings simply do not have the firepower to stay with a team like Dallas.

The Cowboys are the class of the NFL this year and they will show it in Minnesota.

Tonight's Vikings-Cowboys game will be a visual nightmare

Thursday Night Football was already terrible, so what did the NFL do? Introduced color rush uniforms. Tonight the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings, two classic teams with a long and storied history of epic matchups, will take the field wearing jerseys that can only be described as crimes against humanity. Mike Zimmer is LUCKY he is undergoing surgery to repair a detached retina and won't be able to watch tonight's game. Thank goodness for radio.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sam Bradford trade was right move, so shut up

Second-guessing the Sam Bradford trade has become a thing lately.

The argument goes that the Vikings should not have sacrificed a first-round pick to get Bradford because Bradford ended up not being the Vikings' offensive savior.

Hindsight is 20/20!

Fact is, the Vikings after Teddy Bridgewater's injury had no choice but to mortgage their future in order to bring in Bradford.

You don't get that many chances to make a run and the Vikings believed - and most pundits agreed with this assessment if you remember - that this was their year.

They believed they had the O-line thing figured out. They believed they had the defense. They believed they had the offensive weapons in place.

For various reasons, some of the above beliefs turned out to be false. Maybe they should not have been so confident about their O-line, but the point is, they thought what they thought and made the trade accordingly.

Their rationale was sound, proceeding from the assumptions they were obviously making (and many fans were making the same assumptions if you remember).

Has it worked out exactly the way the Vikings hoped? No.

Would it be nice to have back that first-round pick? Yeah.

But Rick Spielman did what he had to do. Now he has to figure out some way to rebuild the offensive line without possessing a first-round pick in 2017.

If Rick is really as great a GM as some people think, he'll figure something out.

If not...the Vikings will get a new GM.

If Spielman does end up being fired, there will be a long list of moves and non-moves to dissect as part of the post-mortem.

The Bradford trade will not be listed among Spielman's worst decisions.

Laquon Treadwell is not like Bernard Berrian...

Bernard Berrian could RUN.

Monday, November 28, 2016

I hope Laquon Treadwell is more than just talk

Laquon Treadwell hasn't done jack shit for the Vikings on the field this year.

But he still has his confidence if his quote in the St. Paul Pioneer-Press is any indication:

[Sam] Bradford, the Minnesota quarterback, said after that game the Vikings need more big plays and on Sunday he called for more shots downfield. Could Treadwell help in that regard?

“Absolutely, of course,’’ Treadwell said. “I can make plays, give them more in the rhythm with the offense. I’ll make plays.’’

HE IS A PART OF THE RHYTHM NATION.

But seriously, here's what I want Laquon Treadwell to do:

First I want him to shut the fuck up about what he's gonna do.

Then I want him to go out and do something.

Anything.

Sorry but I'm past the point now where I'm willing to give Treadwell a total pass JUST cause he's a rookie.

I'm not saying he should be putting up monster numbers. But he should at least be contributing by now.

Treadwell can't control everything that happens on the field. It's not all his fault that he hasn't done anything as of yet.

You know what he can control? The bullshit that comes out of his mouth.

Adam Thielen didn't have to tell people what he was gonna do. He just worked and got better and now he's a legit #2 wide receiver.

Treadwell, at least by virtue of his draft position, is supposed to have a lot more ability than Adam Thielen. If he wants that ability to translate into production? He needs to work his ass off.

And needs to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Sharrif Floyd should not figure into Vikings' future plans

It was cool for a minute to believe Sharrif Floyd could develop into the next Kevin Williams, but it's become painfully apparent that this dream will never come true.

Injuries have totally derailed Floyd's career and I don't see it getting back on track in the near future if ever.

Floyd has indeed shown flashes of dominance when he's been able to stay healthy. Flashes of the player many thought he could become when the Vikings took him in the first round out of Florida.

WHEN HE'S BEEN ABLE TO STAY HEALTHY.

This year, he hasn't been anywhere near healthy. He hasn't been in the same TIME ZONE as healthy.

Floyd has played in only one game this year thanks to ongoing knee problems, knee problems that a few weeks ago led to arthorscopic surgery, and is unlikely to play Thursday when the Vikings host the Cowboys.

Without Floyd, the Vikings' defensive line has been good but inconsistent. What would that D-line look like with Floyd in there, playing up to his potential and above all STAYING HEALTHY.

We will never find out, because Floyd will never stay healthy.

The 2016 season looks like a lost one for Sharrif Floyd (and looks increasingly like a lost one for the Vikings as a whole).

The Vikings picked up Floyd's fifth-year option but are under no obligation to keep him in 2017. If they do keep him, they will have to pay him $6.75 million for one year.

$6.75 million for a 3-tech who can't stay on the field? No fucking thanks.

Time to write Sharrif Floyd out of the script and pursue a 3-tech who stays on the field and contributes.

Friday, November 25, 2016

The public doesn't have opinions, only moods



From On Revolution by Hannah Arendt:

Opinions are formed in a process of open discussion and public debate, and where no opportunity for the forming of opinions exists, there may be moods - moods of the masses and moods of individuals, the latter no less fickle and unreliable than the former - but no opinion.

Adrian Peterson should just stay away

Adrian Peterson is hoping to return to the field for the Vikings in mid-December. This according to a report from ESPN.

Why is AD pushing himself to return so quickly? Ben Goessling suggests that Peterson is motivated to get back this year because the Super Bowl is in Houston and he'd love to win a championship in his home state of Texas.

My somewhat more cynical take: Peterson knows the Vikings may cut him to save money and if he does get cut he wants to be in position to negotiate a lucrative new contract somewhere.

If he comes back and runs well, teams will feel safer throwing money at him.

Viking fans look at Peterson as a potential savior. Would Peterson give the offense the boost necessary to propel Minnesota to the playoffs?

The odds are against it.

It would likely take Peterson a couple of weeks to work himself back into full game-shape. The clock would likely run out on the Vikings' season before Peterson had a chance to really get back to form.

There's also the problem of working him into an offense that under Pat Shurmur has evolved somewhat away from the scheme Norv Turner was trying to run.

Peterson never looked in sync with the Vikings' shotgun looks. But with Sam Bradford in there and the offensive line struggling in pass protection, the Vikes have become largely a shotgun, get-the-ball-out-as-fast-as-possible offense.

Are the Vikings going to scrap - or at least dial back - the shotgun just to accommodate Peterson? Are they going to bring back Norv's deep drops and play-action?

The blocking isn't suddenly going to improve just because Peterson is back.

If lack of running back talent were the Vikings' ONLY problem, I would feel much more confident about Peterson returning and kick-starting the offense.

But the offense has a lot of other problems too. And Peterson's return might in some ways actually cause that unit to regress.

Had Peterson not gotten hurt, I have no doubt the Vikings' offense would be better than it is. And it's likely Norv Turner would still be the OC.

But the continuity has been broken and the scheme has been shifted. Mixing Peterson into the new, evolving offense might do more harm than good.

Peterson would love to prove that he can make this comeback, pick the team up and carry it into the playoffs.

But it's more likely that, in typical Peterson fashion, he would fumble away his chance at redemption.

Peterson should focus on next year. He's no savior.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Vikings can still make a playoff run but probably won't

The Vikings are not technically out of it at 6-5. Technically, they could still make a run, finish 10-6 and if not win the division - a very distant prospect after today's loss to Detroit - then snag a Wild Card.

But let's be real: that's not going to happen. THIS team with THIS offense is not putting together enough wins to make the postseason.

Things looked pretty dismal Thursday. Sam Bradford was limited to dink-and-dunk passes all day thanks to the O-line. Without Stefon Diggs on the field the Vikings were unable to get any big plays.

Things got even worse when both Joe Berger and Jeremiah Sirles went out with injury. Willie Fucking Beavers was playing right tackle by the end of the game.

The defense played okay most of the game but had some breakdowns late and let Detroit tie it. And then Sam Bradford threw a terrible pick trying to a force a ball into Adam Thielen - the only receiver Bradford apparently trusts outside of Diggs - and Detroit turned that into the game-winning field goal.

The team that slogged through Thursday's loss is not a playoff team. It's maybe 8-8. Next week's game vs. Dallas could be a slaughter.

To me, 2016 is already a lost season. The Vikings need to do some major soul-searching in the offseason. And they need to find people who can block and run the ball. They need to seriously upgrade their O-line and their running back corps. And find another safety because Andrew Sendejo...pew.

Thanksgiving can blow me

I wish I could think of something pithy to say about Thanksgiving.

I wish I could concoct some devastatingly witty Thanksgiving take-down.

I wish I could gather my thoughts about Thanksgiving and express them in a form that would fully convey my disdain for the entire notion of the holiday.

But this morning I would rather jab myself in the eyes with sharpened sticks than write. Or think. Or feel.

So this is all I got:

Thanksgiving can blow me.

Enjoy your turkey, turkeys!


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The one unforgivable thing Rick Spielman did this year...

There are a LOT of things you can rip Rick Spielman on this year. But so what, right? ALL GMs make bad moves. And good moves. Overall Spielman has been a good GM for the Vikes. More good moves than bad. Right?

For me though there is one thing Spielman did this year that is hard to just shrug off:

Going into the draft, the Vikings had made all the significant moves they were going to make to shore up their offensive line.

They had already picked up Alex Boone and Andre Smith. They had already settled on Matt Kalil as the starting left tackle. They probably already knew that they wouldn't be holding on to John Sullivan. They had already settled on Brandon Fusco as their right guard.

And of course they had already replaced Jeff Davidson with Tony Sparano.

They had already addressed their issues on the offensive line. As far as fans were concerned. And apparently, as far as Rick Spielman was concerned.

So when the draft came along, Spielman was convinced that the Vikings DIDN'T need to spend a high pick on an offensive lineman.

Spielman believed the team already had enough depth on the line. How convinced was Spielman of this "fact?"

He went receiver/cornerback in the first two rounds then spent a fourth-rounder on a lineman everyone believed was a project.

Think about that though: Spielman was SO SURE the line was sufficiently shored-up, he felt comfortable using a pick on a guy he KNEW would not be able to contribute this year.

Not only did fans buy into the idea that the Vikings' O-line was fixed, Spielman did too.

He bought into it so thoroughly that he didn't cover himself by picking up extra insurance in the draft.

At the very least, Spielman could have made some trades and gotten back into the third and taken a lineman who was closer to being ready than Willie Beavers.

It bugs me that Spielman didn't at least see the need for more insurance. He actually thought the Vikings had made enough moves.

It's true that Spielman could not have anticipated the rash of injuries that hit the offensive line. But you don't pick up insurance because you KNOW things are going to go wrong.

It's called insurance for a reason.

The Vikings had a chance to beef up their offensive line depth in the draft and didn't do it. They figured they had enough.

They didn't have enough.

I should hope that next year Spielman will finally realize he needs to spend some of his precious draft picks on linemen.  And not sixth rounders either.

No more waiting for the fourth and taking a guy who is one-to-two years away from even being viable as a backup.

Spielman fucked up, pure and simple.

Fuck Golden Tate

Tomorrow the Vikings play the Lions with first-place in the NFC North on the line but frankly screw all that division lead crap. I honestly don't even care that much if the Vikings win the game. It's not like Minnesota is going to go make a Super Bowl run this year. If they miss the playoffs? So what. Let the Lions win the game and take command of the division. I don't care. I just want to see Golden Tate get fucked the fuck up. Legal hit or illegal hit. I want someone to take that cocksucker's head off. You know what I truly wish? That the Vikings could get Percy Harvin for one game, make him a DB and tell him to blow Tate the fuck up. Order Percy to break Tate's spine. Too bad Percy is on the Bills (if he hasn't retired again by now; I lose track). That's okay, Harrison Smith can get the job done. You know it's at least in the back of the players' minds to give Tate SOMETHING for that asinine leap when he scored the winning touchdown in the last game. You KNOW Andy Sendejo would LOVE to pulverize Tate. Sendejo loves pulverizing people, especially his own teammates. For once it would be nice if Sendejo could focus his destructive energies on an opposing player. I don't care who does it, I just want to see Golden Tate laid out. I want to see him broken in half. I want them to have to take his dismembered body parts off the field in several garbage bags. I want GUTS spilled. I want EYEBALLS POPPED OUT like in Any Given Sunday. I want carnage. I want Golden Taint to fucking die on the turf. I'm serious. KILL that piece of fucking shit.

Scientology going soft?

Why isn't Leah Remini face down in a river right now? When did Scientology turn into an organization of pussies? Was a time when Miscavige and his thugs would have DISAPPEARED this woman. Not anymore. Now they let people run around talking ALL KINDS OF SHIT, threatening lawsuits, exposing the dark secrets of the church. L. Ron Hubbard is on his eternal Scientology planet (or whatever those dumb assholes believe in) somewhere vomiting bile over this. He founded this AMAZING LOAD OF BULLSHIT, this stupendously devious machine for blackmailing closeted homosexual idiots, and these people are going to let Leah Remini bring it down? Leah fucking Remini??? It's like the Catholic church in De Medici times folded the tent because some half-retard nun fled the convent and started screaming about the pope being a baby-fucker. CRUCIFY this woman Scientologists. Slap her in an iron maiden. Send Tom Cruise to go JACK REACHER on her ass. Man up, Hubbard-fuckers.

Justin Bieber is punk rock

Bieber punching his Spanish fan in the face is the most punk rock move I've seen from a pop star in forever. Knowing that there's still SOMEONE out there willing to uphold the punk rock ethos, willing to take the flag from Johnny Rotten, Henry Rollins, Iggy Pop and the like, it just warms the cockles of my heart. Next time somebody tries to get handsy with you Bieber? Jump out of the car, grab that fucker and give him the business. You seen Bieber lately? Dude is RIPPED. Barcelona no-respect-for-personal-space guy is lucky he only ended up with a bloody lip. Bieber could have UTTERLY DESTROYED HIM. Punk rock lives kids, and it lives in Justin Bieber. Don't let his pussy-ass music fool you. Dude is the reincarnation of Joe Strummer. Now if we could just get Bieber interested in politics and shit. We need to RADICALIZE Bieber. We need to WEAPONIZE Bieber. Somebody introduce this kid to MIA.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Vikings fall on right side of fine line for once

The Vikings on Sunday found a winning formula:

ONE 100-yard interception return TD from Xavier Rhodes.

ONE 104-yard kick return TD from Cordarrelle Patterson.

No turnovers until a late fumble by Sam Bradford.

A high-accuracy, low-risk passing day from Bradford. 71% completion rate but only 6.04 yards-per-attempt, Bradford's second-lowest yards-per-attempt average on the season.

Success in short-yardage situations, including a 2-yard TD run by Matt Asiata.

ENOUGH production from receivers not named Stefon Diggs.

A good pass rush and fewer blown plays on the back end.

It worked for one day against a mediocre Cardinals team.

But is success sustainable via this formula?

Only if you think the Vikings' defense and special teams can continue coming up with big plays.

It's a fine line the Vikings walk. On Sunday they landed on the right side of that fine line.

It's REALLY easy to land on the wrong side of that fine line, as we saw during the losing streak.

If the Vikes want to build on yesterday, they must find big plays from their offense.

That means - deep breath Dan - getting Cordarrelle Patterson more involved.

As for the running game...look back at the winning formula above and note that the running backs are not mentioned except for Asiata's touchdown.

Jerick McKinnon's 44-yards-on-16-rushes day was NOT impressive.

McKinnon also had only one reception for negative-three yards.

LEGIT WEAPON.

If the Vikings need to keep following yesterday's formula, they'll close out 2-4 and miss the playoffs.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Vikings fans need to reframe

You're stressed out by the Vikings' four-game losing streak. Don't worry, I can help you deal with that.

Before you go reaching for the bottle, try a little reframing.

Instead of thinking of the streak as a horrible, on-going, slow-motion catastrophe, think of it as the prelude to an eventual resurgence.

Think of it as the reload before the final glorious volley!

Don't think that the defense has regressed or that Mike Zimmer's scheme has been "figured out" by offensive coordinators.

Instead look at the defense's struggles as a necessary "learning experience." Zimmer hasn't been figured out, he's just being challenged.

Being challenged is how geniuses become even greater geniuses!

Losing helps a team overcome complacency, stagnation, lethargy.

Don't look at the lack of a running game as something alarming and unfixable. Instead, remind yourself that the team has changed offensive coordinators and shuffled the offensive line and is naturally going to need a period of adjustment.

Tell yourself that Jerick McKinnon has the talent to be a legit weapon!

Don't get too crazy when the Vikings struggle to push the ball downfield. They have downfield weapons and a QB who has more than enough arm to hit deep passes! They just need to incorporate more of those looks as they go along!

And when the offensive line starts looking like a leaky dam and Sam Bradford is getting destroyed and running backs are getting corralled in the backfield and there is NOTHING going on downfield because there isn't time for those plays to develop?

That one's easy: "The O-line just needs to stay healthy and get a chance to gel."

With just a little reframing, you can start to have a good feeling about the Vikings' future! Try it!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Stefon Diggs will get shut down by Patrick Peterson

Patrick Peterson will be shadowing Stefon Diggs all day for Arizona, says Cardinals coach Bruce Arians.

A very sound strategy indeed!

Diggs has been great this year but I think he's going to have a tough day against Peterson.

Last year Peterson totally shut Diggs down. With all due respect to Diggs, I expect a repeat of last year's game.

With Diggs getting taken out of the game by Peterson, other Vikings receivers are going to have to step up big time.

Cordarrelle Patterson could be huge this week for Minnesota. I NEVER thought I'd type those words.

I have to give it up to Patterson, he's proven that he can be a viable receiver for the Vikings.

One of these weeks Patterson is going to bust out. OH MY GOD I CAN'T BELIEVE I JUST SAID THAT.

Adam Thielen will also be important for the Vikes this week. It would be nice to see Charles Johnson get involved as well but...well, I ain't holding my breath.

Maybe Laquon Treadwell will even be active for this game and get a chance to make an impact.

We can hope!

All this is probably moot though, since the Vikings can't mount any kind of running game in support of their more-than-adequate passing game.

FUCK I wish the Vikings had drafted Derrick Henry.


Nature is not a Disney movie


Awwwww, so CUTE.

Or maybe NOT so cute (via Gizmodo):

Remember that heartwarming video from a few days ago showing a dog as it was being petted by a giant polar bear? In a twist that comes as a surprise to no one, a polar bear had to be immobilized last week after it killed and ate a dog from the same sled pack. 
Brian Ladoon, who runs the 5 Dog Sanctuary in Churchill, Manitoba, told CBC News that he spotted nine bears near the area where he keeps his dogs chained up, and that one of these bears killed and ate one of his dogs. “That was the only day we didn’t feed the fucking bears, the only night we didn’t put anything out,” he exclaimed.
As Timothy Treadwell once found out the hard hard hard way, nature is not a Disney movie.

Nature is hard and cruel and awful.

Nature is dog-eat-dog. Or sometimes polar-bear-eat-dog.

So remember, the next time you see a heartwarming video of a polar bear petting a dog, don't be fooled.

That polar bear ain't trying to be friends with the dog. He's sizing up the dog. He's figuring out if the dog could possibly be food.

And if a polar bear ever starts adorably sniffing around you? He ain't looking for a new human companion.

He's deciding if he can take you. And he definitely can take you. He will eat every part of your body and shit you out.

Wild animals: Not our friends.

Kanye West has a good reason to support Trump

Kanye West upset a bunch of people by saying in concert he would have voted for Trump.

Kanye's reasoning? No clue.

We can easily imagine Kanye's motives for supporting Trump though.

It goes like this:

Kanye is rich. Trump is the candidate of rich people.

Kanye identifies with the guy who is dazzled by gold, who bones models, who is purely ego-driven.

Kanye basically IS Trump. If Trump had real talent.

So, there's no reason to be surprised. Outside of the racial thing, Kanye and Trump have soooo much in common.

Kanye is just sticking up for one of his own.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Blair Walsh never had it so good

Where will Blair Walsh land?

What will happen when Walsh lands wherever he lands?

I understand if some Vikings fans answer: Who cares?

I want to move on from Walsh too, but I wish to make one last point before that happens: Blair Walsh doesn't appreciate how easy he had it in Minnesota.

Walsh may feel he was treated unfairly by media and fans. But he wasn't.

Walsh was treated VERY well by Minnesota fans. Lots of fanbases would have absolutely obliterated Walsh after the Seattle miss.

Imagine how Philly fans would have reacted. Or Chicago fans. Or New York fans.

Sure, Walsh got shit from some Vikings fans. But nowhere near as much shit as he would have gotten in a lot of other places.

Vikings fans are some of the most forgiving in all the NFL. The fanbase at large had more-or-less let Walsh off the hook within a few weeks of the Seattle game.

And if Vikings fans are pussy cats, the media members covering the Vikings are outright wimps.

The Twin Cities media contingent is one of the softest and least-confrontational in the country. It was hilarious when Blair Walsh lashed out at those wussies.

Walsh behaved like a guy who was beset on all sides by frothing, blood-thirsty jackals. They're not jackals, they're puppy dogs.

Where will Walsh end up? For his sake, I hope he doesn't land in a city where the media really go after you.

He better not end up in New York or New England or Philly. Or he will be toast.

Blair Walsh may not realize it today but he had it EASY in Minnesota. He was babied in Minnesota.

He won't be babied like that anywhere else.