In full disclosure, I did not follow college basketball like I have years ago. For example, I used to be able to tell you the top 10 or 15 players in NCAA basketball. Today, the only All Americans or top draft picks I know about are the Purdue center, Edey and the Alabama forward, Miller, who just got in trouble. My NCAA picks (below) are basically wild hunches based on only a cursory study or familiarity of the teams. I am picking Purdue to win at all even though I have only seen a few of their games. Two of the games were against Rutgers. Rutgers beat Purdue in the regular season and barely lost to them in the Big 10 tournament.
Speaking of Rutgers, I was one of those people who were a bit disappointed that they did not make the NCAA tournament. However, I can’t feel too bad for Rutgers today. Last night, as the number 1 seed, and playing in their gym, they lost to Hofstra in the first round of the NIT. Rutgers did not exactly bolster their objection into not getting into the field of 64 or 68.
No Big Five team (Villanova, Saint Joe’s, Temple, Penn and La Salle) made it into the NCAA tournament. This was the first time since 1977 that a Philadelphia-based school failed to play in the tournament. Penn actually came the closest to playing in the tournament with their semifinal game in the Ivy League tournament against Princeton, which they lost. Not sure that any team will play in next year’s tournament either…
I have not seen a lot of Big Five teams play. However the two best players in the Big Five for this year are Jordan Dingle for Penn and Erik Reynolds for St Joe’s. I’m not sure that either of those players or NBA caliber or will be drafted. However they impressed me more than Cam Whitmore of Villanova who probably will be picked early this year in the year’s NBA draft.
One of the best ideas that I have read on Twitter of all places is that Dawn Staley should replace Aaron McKee as head coach of Temple’s men’s basketball team. If any woman could succeed in coaching men’s basketball at a major college level, it is Dawn Staley. It would be nice to see her back coaching in Philadelphia!
If this book had just been about Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan football program, I would have enjoyed it. However the author also extended this book to commentary about politics, religion and our national culture. Unlike some others, I enjoyed and appreciated the author’s forays into those topics. I have to admit a certain sympathy for Jim Harbaugh. Despite all the money that he is being paid, he can never satisfy the rabid desires of a typical Michigan football fan. And by the critiques and scorn that I read and see on various sports venues, Harbaugh cannot satisfy many critical commentators as to his worth.
Lord knows that many football coaches at major universities are way over paid. And one bad season can have them looking for new work quickly. Just note the unrealistic expectations at Nebraska from the Athletic Director and its football fans.
This is an excellent read if you are a college football fan or even if you are not. You don’t have to be a football fan to see how crazy college football is. For the past few years, Michigan has been Ground Zero for much of this craziness. I highly recommend this book… Excellent narrative… Cogent commentary on college sports in general.
I am late for making 2023 predictions but this is mainly a fun exercise as no one is very good at figuring out the future. Based on my mediocre abilities to pick winners in my NFL pool, the reader should not expect great foresight here either.
Neither Joe Biden nor Donald Trump will run for president in 2024.
The leading candidates as 2024 Presidential nominees will be Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida (who will be helped by vaccination scandal, see below) and Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Michigan.
President Joe Biden will pardon Donald Trump in the fall of 2023 as a result of multiple convictions against Trump. Biden will say that the pardons were initiated “to promote national healing and unity.” The pardon and subsequent agreements not to imprison Trump and members of his family will be a result of negotiations and agreements between the Department of Justice, the New York Attorney General, the Atlanta Attorney General and Trump’s attorney team. Disgraced, Trump will fade from public view.
Melania Trump will divorce Donald Trump.
In retaliation for the conviction and imprisonment of January 6 conspirators, a devastating domestic terroristic attack will occur and kill thousands of US citizens.
Vladimir Putin will suffer a “health issue” mid year and negotiations between Russia and Ukraine will begin in mid 2023.
Photo by Virgil Cayasa
The Phillies will finish as a wildcard team in 2023 but they will not make it to the World Series.
The Eagles will make it to the NFC championship game against the 49ers and will lose due to key injuries in the offensive line and defensive secondary.
Tom Brady announces retirement after Tampa Bay loss in NFL playoffs.
The 76ers will lose in the second round of the NBA playoffs. 4 games to 1. This will be James Harden’s last season with the team. Joel Embid will request a trade at the end of the season. Doc Rivers gets fired.
The Dow will finish at 36000 on 12/31/23; NYSE at 4300.
Twitter files bankruptcy.
Scandal and controversy regarding the rollout, safety and efficacy of the various Covid vaccinations.
Frenzy will occur when an UFO sighting is witnessed by thousands and documented through video and radar.
No progress in finding treatment or prevention of Alzheimer’s.
Sorry Neil Young…but not only love can break your heart. 💔 (Disappointment can)
Even when a singer or musician dies, their music and songs are their cryogenic legacies keeping them alive.
Despite getting much older, the shadow of the young shy boy I once was still walks besides me…
Age I feel when I play pickleball: 35. Age I feel when I stop playing pickleball: 69.
Most people have two versions of their life story. The first version is the highly edited story they wish to communicate to friends, associates and family. The second version is the unedited story they occasionally retrieve and reflect by and for themselves.
As one ages in the party of life, one may feel like an uninvited guest… events and conversation swirl around and not with you as you blend into the tapestry as a monochromatic spectator.
Maybe the best advice for marriage that I have read: “Choose a wife rather by your ear than your eye.” (English proverb)
What quickened my pulse (1972): thump-thump of bouncing basketball on a court What quickens my pulse (2022): thwack and pop of pickleball hitting a paddle.
When having to choose between an old movie or TV show that I viewed and really enjoyed or a promising new movie or TV show that I might enjoy, I usually opt for the former.
Stupidity continues to spread faster than omicron in this country. Stupidity offers many variants and there is no proven vaccine, not even a high dose of education.
NFL = WWE In professional wrestling, Vince McMahon largely directs which wrestler (or entertainer) will “go over” and win. Now we are hearing allegations that owners of pro football teams in Miami and Cleveland have directed their coaches to lose games in order to improve their positions in upcoming drafts. pro wrestling is defined as “entertainment” as the outcomes are scripted and pre-determined. Is pro football different?
If you are a sports bettor, do you worry less about the performance of a team’s Quarterback or focus more on the competitive mindset and financial status of the team owner?
2022 China Winter Olympics Game = 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics Game These Olympics weren’t so much sports events as propaganda displays for the promotions of Messrs. Hitler and Xi. The screams of repressed Jews and Muslim Uighurs are drowned out by the cheers and applause for the athletes.
Stock market is largely driven by narratives (agree with Professor Bob Shiller) less on fundamentals, data and financial results. For many companies, the role of the CFO has taken a back seat to the Director of Communications and Media.
Observations that I have read and found worthy of sharing…
Having been retired for about three years, I look back on my “career” in various positions as defining a job as an inconvenient interruption between weekends. Phil from Philadelphia (comment on NYT article Public Displays of Resignation: Saying ‘I Quit’ Loud and Proud)
“To keep Trump and his epigones away from high office, it isn’t enough to have the moral high ground. It’s like something Adlai Stevenson supposedly said once when a voter told him that every thinking person was on his side. “I’m afraid that won’t do,” he replied. “I need a majority.” Democracy needs a majority.” (Bret Stephens NYT Covid 3.0, Biden 2.0 and Trump Number …1/10/22)
I am a voracious reader. This year I have read 64 books so far and I will probably read another 2-3 books by year end. I tend to be picky as to what I read and I am somewhat reluctant to recommend books to others given my “eclectic” tastes. Over 80% of what I read is non-fiction though I did recommend two fiction books that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Here are my Top 10 books of 2021 and two extra recommendations..
I have read many of the Trump presidency books. I find that the one written by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa is the best. Peril also covers the candidacy and early administration of Joe Biden and the comparison between the Trump and Biden administration is compelling. I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J. Trump’s Catastrophic Final Year by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker is also excellent and the title is self explanatory as to the story within the book. Most of the book details Trump’s failure with managing the Covid pandemic.
1940: FDR, Wilkie, Lindbergh, Hitler—the Election Amid the Storm by Susan Dunn documents the leadership, judgment and foresight of Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the year before we entered World War II. Many Americans wished to remain isolationist and did not want to support Great Britain even as its cities were attacked by German bombers. Wendell Wilkie was the unsuccessful Republican candidate for President in 1940. Wilkie ran an unconventional campaign but unlike many Republicans today accepted the results of the election and supported FDR’s policies about the impending war.
Corruption, bad judgment, mismanagement, suicides, deviant behavior, treachery and Donald Trump, all this and more in Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction. This is a business book that reads like a novel, a huge international bank plagued by scandals.
If you are an Eagles fan, you will thoroughly enjoy Ray Didinger’s Finished Business. Lots of great stories about players, owners and coaches. If you are a basketball fan, Three Ring Circus by Jeff Pearlman about the Los Angeles Lakers team from 1996-2004 is very entertaining and provides some great insights into the rocky relationship between Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Amazing how a very dysfunctional team was so successful. For baseball fans, October 1964 by David Halberstam is a bit of a dated book but an excellent read. It covered the 1964 seasons of the New York Yankees (with Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Yoga Berra) and the St Louis Cardinals (Bob Gibson, Tim McCarver, Stan Musial). Interesting personal portraits of many of the players were provided. Phillies fans, take note, the Phillies collapse towards the National League pennant is documented!
Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher about a crotchety, sarcastic Creative Writing teacher Jason Fitger was very funny. I would keep my wife awake with my laughter as I read the book in bed. Maybe the Fitger character reminded me of someone else who did not suffer fools gladly in his corporate life? I enjoyed the adventurous tales of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday in Epitaph by Mary Doria Russell. Interesting stories of the Wild West beyond the fight at the OK Corral.
The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, a Temptation, and the Longest Night of the Second World War by Malcolm Gladwell was an uncomfortable story. It detailed the thinking and strategies about how to close the wars against the Germans and the Japanese. There were two lines of thought. One was to bomb military and manufacturing targets primarily. Second, bomb population centers and destroy the morale of citizens. The decision on whether to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki also created moral dilemmas.
The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win by Maria Konnikova is primarily a story about a woman learning to play poker and also compete (and win) in big money tournaments. The bigger picture contains the lessons that she learns about psychology, luck, focus, risk and control that are useful as to how we conduct our lives, careers, finances and relationships.
Two extra recommendations:
Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America by Ijeoma Oluo (Title is self explanatory. I did not agree with some of her analysis but this book was very well presented and written.)
Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service by Carol Leonnig. Eye opening expose about the management and performance of the Secret Service. Interesting anecdotes about some of our Presidents and their interactions with the Secret Service.
The more rabid the sports fan, the less rational the woman or man.
I have a personal abhorrence to all of the ads on the Internet, commercial television and other media promoting gambling websites. Online gambling is nicotine for sports fans.
NFL ratings are up 17% this season. The increased ratings are attributed to early attractive matchups plus fans back in the stands. I would add that increased interest in sports gambling has also supported a ratings boost. All the pregame shows feature betting odds and discussions about points spreads and over/under totals.
Success in most college sports is not won on the court or football field but in living rooms of recruited high school students.
Stephen A Smith : sports commentary = Tucker Carlson : political commentary
Not very many sports commentators that I would stop and listen to but I’d stop for Tony Kornheiser and Ray Didinger who have my respect for their candor, research and insight.
Very few professional athletes leave “while on top.” Rocky Marciano, John Elway and Peyton Manning come to mind. Most athletes, like too many boxers, stay too long. Muhammed Ali, Willie Mays and Joe Louis are three of the most tragic athletes who stayed too long.
I am a huge fan of Roger Federer. I admire him not only for his achievements and talents playing tennis but the class that he exhibits off the court as well.
I’m showing my age but I miss the voices, personalities and announcing of old time football announcers like Chris Schenkel, Ray Scott, Keith Jackson, Curt Gowdy, Pat Summerall and Lindsey Nelson. Many football announcers and analysts today are just “white noise” while watching a game.
As an 8 year old third grader I remembered coming home from school and turning on my black and white TV about 61 years ago to see Bill Mazeroski hit a walk off home run to win the World Series for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
A shower of passing thoughts and thunderous ruminations…
With apologies to Rodney, five jobs where you don’t get any respect:
Eagles football coach
Governor of a largely populated state
New host of Jeopardy
44th U.S. President
Summer is coming to a close. I won’t miss the heat, the humidity or the mosquitos. I will miss the early dawn sunrises and the late dusk sundowns.
On deeper reflection, I have lived through 70 summers, how many summers do I have left to enjoy?
The French showed more resistance in 1940 to the German invasion of their country than the anti-vaxxers have demonstrated to the invasion of covid in the United States.
Long running TV Talk Show in the 1960’s and 70’s that would not last 13 weeks today: Dick Cavett.(That’s no reflection on Cavett, it’s a reflection of our culture and the limited sophistication and education of today’s audiences).
RIP Markie Post. She was a beautiful distraction on one of my favorite comedies in the 1980s, Night Court.
Celebrity whose death affected me the most? John Lennon
Current Five Overrated Sports People and Events
The Process (not Embiid but the tanking by the 76ers)
Sports Talk Shows (worst show is Undisputed with Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharp)
While I enjoyed the Gold medal victories of the U.S. Men and Women’s Basketball Teams in the Olympics, I became a fan of the 3 on 3 Women’s Basketball competition (also won by the U.S.)
Two late Summer 2021 Book Recommendations:
The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis
The Bomber Mafia: A Dream, A Temptation and The Longest Night of the Second World War by Malcolm Gladwell
Another 1970 high school classmate passed away recently. My class had 481 students. Based on what I know, approximately 10% of my class has passed away in the 50 years since graduation. Given our stage in life now, it’s possible that 50% of us will die within the next 10 years.
Health, opportunity and time. The older we are, the less certain and smaller window to take advantage of them.
With possible apologies to W.C. Fields, I’d rather be living in Philadelphia than anywhere in Florida.