I had to go to my seventh grader’s open house. If you don’t have children (and honestly, why would you), an open house is when parents are invited into school on an otherwise normal school day to sit in on classes and observe your kid in the act of LEARNING GOOD. I live in an overcrowded school district, so you can imagine what happens when 2,000 parents all converge on an already packed school on a random-ass Monday morning. Parking was a rumor. The hallways were a fire hazard. I staggered up to the door after a mile walk from my car and joined the line of parents lumbering in. I grabbed a floor plan to the school and still managed to get lost anyway. If you think middle school is awkward for teens, I assure you that it’s somehow even more awkward for their folks.
Finally, I walked into my kid’s chorus class. I stood along the back wall as my kid filed in alongside her friends. She turned around and gave me a charity smile before she resumed giggling with her classmates, offering me a reasonable facsimile of what her day probably looks like when I’m not watching. The teacher walked in and the kids kept yammering on, as they tend to do. He dicked around on his computer for a second and made small talk with some of the kids before he took his seat at the piano and started banging away. He asked the kids to sit up straight and they complied. They were still gossiping though, so he cried out STOP TALKING and led them in a series of vocal exercises.
Sing AHHHHHH AH AHHHHHH AH AH AH AH AH AHHHHHHHHHHHHH
AHHHHHH AH AHHHHHH AH AH AH AH AH AHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Sing OHHHHH OH OHHHHH OH OH OH OH OH OHHHHHHHHHHH
OHHHHH OH OHHHHH OH OH OH OH OH OHHHHHHHHHHH
I sang along with the class as their chatter melted and the notes got clearer. The teacher asked them to sing with a thin O for a mouth, to make the singing sharper. Every day, in every town, teachers have to battle through a thick wall of adolescent cynicism before they can get kids to dial in and listen. And sometimes, that means making the kids go:
OHHHHH OH OHHHHH OH OH OH OH OH OHHHHHHHHHHH
I remembered all this. I remembered exactly how this all felt back when I was in middle school. I remembered the nervous giggles. I remembered the antiseptic classroom. I remembered my teacher buoyantly leading us through seemingly nonsensical warm-ups: “My mama makes me mash my M and MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMs, etc.” I remembered my teen defense mechanisms kicking in for every choir class, going along with the warm-ups while the rest of my body language was screaming THIS IS SO STUPID. And, of course, I remembered the secret joy of hearing all our voices coalesce in real time as we sung together in unison, and on key. Now here I was at the back of a classroom, singing along like a suitably embarrassing dad, and relishing that warm-up moment: that entry point in any activity where people slowly go from fucking around to being serious.
I forgot how much I enjoyed that little ritual. I loved football warm-ups, too. I loved putting on all the pads and walking out to the field with my cleats tapping the asphalt, playing catch and talking about dirty shit with other guys, before coach blew his whistle and we got into formation for formal warm-ups: stretches, burpees, calisthenics, all that shit. I can tell you that I definitely did NOT stretch properly back then, but warm-ups weren’t necessarily for ensuring muscular pliability. They were for getting psyched the fuck up.
If you’re like me, you enjoy the build-up to football as much as football itself, if not more so. There’s a lot of promise in a warm-up. You get to savor the sight and the smell of the field for a brief moment, and you get to do it on your terms, before some asshole coach barges in and starts ordering you around. You get think about the practice or game ahead, and you get to visualize all the shit you hope happens (which never ended up happening for me because I sucked), and all the potential spoils of victory coming your way. Those are fun things to visualize. Sometimes it’s fun to get ahead of yourself. You can see NFL players relishing their warm-up time when they’re out on the field, too. There’s no pressure, there’s just free time to work and to think nice thoughts and to practice one-handed catches.
A warm-up is the process of conjuring anticipation, of making it tangible. I secretly love every warm-up in every form. I love dopey football stretches. I love doing goofy choir scales. I love hearing a symphony warm up. It gets me EVERY time. You could open every single movie with a string section warming up under a black screen and it would improve every movie by a solid five percent. I even love tune-ups before a rock concert, when the guitar tech comes out and checks levels and mashes a few chords and screams CHECK TWO CHECK TWO, trying my patience and building up my excitement in equal measure. I love hors d’oeuvres more than dinner! NO ONE DENIES THIS.
I don’t warm up for things anymore, mostly due to time constraints and general laziness. There’s an entire billon-dollar industry out there for teaching middle-aged strivers how to warm up for their job or for their day through the power of yoga, or through meditation, or through prayer, or through daily affirmations, or through a bunch of New Age, Tom Brady–esque garbage. I don’t subscribe to many of these methods, because I have a hard time convincing myself that every day is an Event, Harbaugh-style. It’s doubly hard when every day now feels like a goddamn nightmare. But I am still grateful for those rare times when I can identify the small moment before the bigger moment, when the busy voices die down and the instruments well up, and the conductor taps his little music stand before raising his arm and bringing life to attention. I hope I never get tired of that.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Packers at Patriots: I don’t know what excuse Mike McCarthy will have not to use Aaron Jones all the time now, but I’m sure he’ll come up with something. The Packers will trail by four at the end of this game and Beav will call four straight tight end jet sweeps.
By the way, while everyone is still rightly bitching about the Green Zone, I’d just like to note that I do appreciate the new GOOD FROM X DISTANCE graphic that NBC puts up on field goal attempts. Announcers used to just guess that shit and be like “That would’ve been good from 90!” I’m glad NBC is providing a definite answer. Now all they gotta do is improve the NBCeeit cam so that every close-up doesn’t look like a gif from 2008.
Rams at Saints: I don’t know what exactly has caused this uptick in midseason trades. All I know is that it’s fucking awesome. During the NBA season, I have to sit there while basketbloggers finger themselves over the trade deadlines and manually retweet Woj at one another 700 times in the span of four days. Well guess what, basketball? Turns out FOOTBAW can execute craven fire sales involving mid-level players, too! HOW YOU LIKE THAT SHIT?! Now I get to jump up and down and bukkake the world with emoji and go WHOA THIS DANTE FOWLER TRADE CHANGES EVERYTHING! Feels good. I hope a bunch more teams give up halfway through next season, too. It’s refreshing.
Steelers at Ravens: The other day I caught my daughter doing her homework and watching Netflix all at the same time. I was outraged. That is so disrespectful to both her work AND to Netflix. I know Netflix churns out a lot of garbage, but she was watching The Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina. Do you know how hard Kiernan Shipka worked on that show, girl? And you have the NERVE to watch it on your phone while doing math? Sally Draper would roll over in her damn grave. Kids today, man.
Chargers at Seahawks
Titans at Cowboys: I will be IN Nashville Monday night watching this with you, all my favorite Tennesseans. My eating itinerary is already set. Before I take the stage for our live Deadcast, my goal is to weigh 350 pounds plus. I think I can do it. Fried chicken skin is an appetizer in that town.
By the way, they ditched the giant monitor on the Boogermobile because it blocked everyone’s view, and yet they’re STILL gonna have Booger McFarland put-put around the field in a glorified Rascal for the duration of every MNF telecast. They cut to him in the fucking scooter every 10 minutes! It’s fucking bizarre. Booger has some decent things to say but all of that gets lost in the fact that he’s marooned on some goddamn bucket truck wearing a bad hat.
Falcons at Skins: What happened at Maryland this week is documented proof that there’s nothing people in higher education, among other institutions, enjoy more than committee-ing shit to death in order to justify making horrible, horrible decisions, and to diffuse blame FOR those decisions. You can committee away your humanity so easily, it’s frightening. This is especially true when your committee includes deep thinkers like Doug Williams and Bonnie Bernstein. The whole thing is a fucking disgrace.
By the way, it’s nice to watch Adrian Peterson flash a bit of his old form, but it’s also EXTREMELY awkward, given that he’s doing it for the most despicable franchise in sports, and given that he’s probably a shitty guy. He’s gonna win Comeback Player of the Year and I’m gonna go shower in liquid nitrogen when it happens.
I definitely picked him up in fantasy at the start of the season, though. No regrets.
Lions at Vikings: I went to Five Below last week and I don’t think I’ve really appreciated Five Below enough. As a dad, I believe that everything should cost five dollars. Lo and behold, here’s a store that abides by that directive. I bought a new phone case, a football, AND the home edition of Family Feud. That’s good value, AND I didn’t have to stoop to hitting up a Dollar General! Why not make the whole COUNTRY out of Five Below?
Bucs at Panthers: By the way, I got that new phone case to replace one I’d had for two years. Let me tell you, it’s a real moment when you take the old cover off and find two years worth of mancheese everywhere. It’s like I wiped my ass with that poor phone. Horrifying. I’d forgotten what the phone even LOOKED like when I bought it. Took me five minutes and a lot of Windex to spiff it back up. Then I snapped on the new case and felt like a fancy boy.
Chiefs at Browns: This is Gregg Williams’s debut as interim head coach of the Browns and I swear to God if he so much as touches a hair on Patrick Mahomes’s head I will fucking END him. Roger Goodell should step in. He should keep Williams strapped to a table wearing a fucking Lecter mask for the duration of this.
This is clearly a man who would order his linebackers to shiv the most exciting player in football. Get him away from my precious lad!
Texans at Broncos
Bears at Bills: The last time I was in Chicago, I had goat chili at this place and lemme tell you something: goat chili is the truth. I’m gonna start looking more into goat. Gonna go to a goat farm and bring home a kid carcass and toss that shit in a cauldron. Then I will drink MEHHHHHEHEHEHEHEH-ny beers. Huh? Huh? Hey, where are you going? I didn’t mean it.
Anyway, Nathan Peterman is gonna throw 50,000,000 picks in this game. I’m excited.
Raiders at Niners: Holy shit BURN IT.
Jets at Dolphins
Pregame Song That Makes Me Want To Run Through A Goddamn Brick Wall
“Live Like There’s No Tomorrow,” by Ill Niño! From Joshua:
Not only is it an epic lead track from a ridiculously epic album, but the music video is a car doing donuts slo-mo in the desert, mixed with a bunch of extreme sports shots, all cut with the group rocking out in the desert on top of where the aforementioned car was doing the aforementioned donuts. Also, two percussionists. Always a good thing.
There’s a distinctive butt rock element to this song, but I’m gonna let it slide because FAT DRUMMER. Look at the fat drummer! That guy fucking WAILS. Every drummer should be fat. I’m sick of these wiry, skinny drummers. Beef these boys up and get them behind the kit. Also, there’s a separate bongo player. Who knew a metal band needed bongos? THESE GUYS DID.
Gregg Easterbrook Memorial Haughty Dipshit Of The Week
This is a truly shitty time in history, which is why it’s more important than EVER that the Washington Post run not one, but TWO op-eds about how everything is actually everyone’s fault on the same day. Let’s start with this opus from Tom DeLay cosplayer Marc Theissen:
Our descent into vitriol began long before Trump — and Democrats are culpable too
Jesus fucking Christ. Eat the biggest handful of wet shit possible, buddy.
Barack Obama set the tone for his 2008 campaign against John McCain when he declared, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”
IT WAS A METAPHOR. IT WAS A FUCKING METAPHOR, YOU MEATBRAINED TWAT. Trump is sending literal men with guns to the border. He wants to ARM RABBIS. He likes real guns, not proverbial ones. But yeah, let’s blame this all on notorious violent mobster Barack Obama.
When Trump took office, Democrats abandoned their role as the “opposition” and declared themselves “the resistance.”
Hmmm. “Resistance.” I wonder how a dictionary might define such a term…
Look up “resistance” in the Oxford dictionary…
FINALLY, someone looked it up.
…and you’ll see the definition “the use of force or violence to oppose someone or something.”
ZOMG! You really cracked the code there, fella. The whole terrible scheme is out in the open now. Those people who want to keep their civil rights sure are being NASTY about it!
Democrats were dragging us into the political gutter long before Trump came along. If they think Americans elected a Frankenstein’s monster, they are Dr. Frankenstein.
Enough of this shit-for-brains. Here’s the other false equivalence hack WaPo trotted out yesterday, Megan “Fartle” McArdle:
Trump seems to enjoy dictator cosplay. But he’s no fascist.
Of course he’s not a fascist to YOU, you fartsniffing bag of shit. You’re sitting pretty no matter who Trump fucks over. I’m not saying I think he’s a fascist, I just think that fascists think he’s a fascist. But please, by all means, tell me about how calling the President a fascist is the REAL fascism.
I don’t really expect any better from Trump. But I retain rather higher hopes for conservatives.
Have you lived at sea for the past 50 years?
So, no, friends, I’m not arguing that Trump is Hitler, or even Hitler Lite.
I’m not your friend. You should be fired.
One can dislike the president’s unpleasantly evocative phraseology without thinking the dark night of fascism must therefore be almost upon us.
Children are in prisons. Right now. This very second. They got kindergartners going up in front of judges, you stupid asshole. Someone should draw a dick on Jeff Bezos’s scalp while he’s sleeping.
Cryptkeeper Al Davis Lock Of The Week: Chiefs -8
“EEEEEEEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE! Hope you had a good BALL-oween, precious kiddies! I hope no ghosts haunted any of your MAHOMES! That would really TyREEK of tragedy! I just hope your HILL-dren ate a lot of ANDY! EEEEEEEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE!
“As for CLEAVE-land, I really hate to see any coach get the AXE. But maybe BOO Jackson wasn’t… CUT out for it! Tough luck for you, John GORE-sey!”
2018 Cryptkeeper record: 4-3-1
Fantasy Player Who Deserves To Die A Slow, Painful Death
It’s Jimmy Graham, who has scored a grand total of once this season. Just like Gronk, he’s never gonna return to full form. Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz are the only reliable tight ends left in fantasy and the rest are SHIT! Do you know who the third highest scoring tight end in fantasy is this year? It’s Eric fucking Ebron. That guy can’t even catch! I was told tight ends were the future of this league and now they’re useless. I’m sick of them.
Bad Local Commercial Of The Week!
Mr. Submarine! Okay, I know I asked for only current shitty local ads, but I’ll make an exception for this 1989 masterpiece. From Joel:
This is the motherfucking gold standard: Scottie Pippen in a commercial for Mr. Submarine. Features include:
-A sub flying through the Chicago skyline
-Pippen making Brett Favre look like Laurence Olivier with his delivery of “Ladies, let’s have a party.” Leading to...
-A 100% chance of a threesome on the floor of the gym the second the mustachioed crew left the scene
-Pippen sitting with junk wide open
-Pippen dunking a submarine sandwich
AND he’s dunking it on a silver hoop! They couldn’t even find a proper orange one for that shot. Also, please note the not-so-special effects they used to have a six-foot sub stand up on the screen. It makes Marvel movies look like PUKE. Then Scottie and the ladies munch on the sub right there on floor of the gym, like a bunch of fucking hobos. It’s beautiful.
Fire This Asshole!
Is there anything more exciting than a coach losing his job? All year long, we’ll keep track of which coaches will almost certainly get fired at year’s end or sooner. And now, your potential 2018 chopping block:
Hue Jackson – FIRED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(*potential midseason firing)
Given that NFL coaches are now routinely pillaging from college playbooks, I’ll be interested to see if teams decide to give colleges coaches another shot. I could definitely see the Browns getting rejected by Lincoln Riley and then offering Urban Meyer $40 million and a basket of skull clots meds to come flame out in the pros. That would be highly enjoyable.
Great Moments In Grandpa History
Here’s Alex with a story I call GEEZER GARDENS:
My grandfather was a WWII Navy vet who went to work for a defense contractor doing logistics after the war. Big fan of discipline and attention to detail. After he retired, he became head of the condo board in his community of 30-40 townhouses. We would go to my grandparents’ house and he would take me with him to “walk the perimeter” and inspect the job being done by the landscapers he had contracted to maintain the lawns, trees, and gardens of the development. He kept careful notes that he referred to when chewing out the owner of the landscape company for doing shoddy work.
One day when I was 11 or 12, I was playing basketball at the community hoop and the head landscaper walked up, slipped me $20 and asked me to do whatever I could to help him out when my grandfather was doing his rounds. Being a greedy little shit, I agreed, and tried to hide stray piles of sticks left in the middle of yards and unswept piles of grass on walkways as we walked around. Because I was a preteen moron, I did not hide this well, and was forced to explain what I was doing and why. My grandfather was devastated, not at my betrayal (he was a staunch capitalist and respected the hustle), but because getting out of his weekly ass chewings was only worth $20 to the landscaper. I’m pretty sure he went with a different company the next year so he could instill a proper level of fear into the landscapers.
Nothing worse than a backseat landscaper.
Gametime Snack Of The Week
Nerds! Who doesn’t love the taste of sour fish tank gravel, I ask you? My kids shit their pants when they get a hold of Nerds. They eat them one at a time, which is psychotic, and they suck on them to make them last, which is even MORE psychotic. My kids will save candy like it’s a retirement fund.
Gametime Cheap Beer Of The Week
PRESTIGE! From the shores of Haiti comes this worldwide pissbrew. John explains:
I found Prestige, the pride of Haiti (although brewed in Holland), in Jersey City NJ. Tastes watery but goes down easy and helps watching the Pats cruise to another SB a little easier.
A little easier, eh? YOU GO TO HELL, JOHN. For real though, I would drink that beer. Anyone who turns down a beer named Prestige must be REAL fancy. Let’s see what the terminally insufferable reviewers at Beer Yelp think of it:
…Zip lacing, no nose that I can pick up, except perhaps some sugary adjuncts…
…Adjuncts throughout the nose, creamed corn anyone? The flavor is as corny as the aroma with a mildly astringent bite in the middle…
…Mouthfeel: Thin body, highly carbon, minimal aftertaste and pleasant…
…Pours a light golden color with big white head. Head falls slowly leaving minimal lace…
Minimal Lace will be my next band name.
Jim Tomsula’s Lifehack Of The Week!
“Everyone is saying caravan this, caravan that. I say leave those people alone, okay? That’s not a REAL caravan. I was in the Great Caravan of ’86, all right? We had chuck wagons, cars, trucks, wheelbarrows, push carts, hand carts, very old bicycles, cabooses, mopeds towing other mopeds, tractors, parade floats, people riding other people, rickshaws, batshaws, wheelchairs without wheels, you name it. That caravan went from Augusta, Maine to Santiago, Chile in just 12 short years. I was only stabbed four times. It was a great trip. That’s where I met Okeechobee Buck. He was one of the guys who stabbed me, but he turned out to be a true friend. That’s caravanning for you. I ate a monkey in a diaper.”
Sunday Afternoon Movie Of The Week For Browns Fans
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. You know who’s not unattractive? Rebecca Ferguson. EXTREMELY not unattractive. They could have made this whole movie out of the yellow dress sequence and I wouldn’t have complained. I look forward to seeing Rebecca Ferguson in an action movie where her romantic counterpart is NOT a sexless milk droid with a middle tooth.
Gratuitous Simpsons Quote
“It all happened at the beginning of that turbulent decade known as the ‘80's. Those were idealistic days... The candidacy of John Anderson. The rise of Supertramp. It was an exciting time to be young.”
Enjoy the games, everyone.