Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mental In-Box Time! A Little of This, A Little of That

Cleaning out the Mental In-Box on a Saturday morning.....

  • I finally caught up with the Tom Cruise movie, "Jack Reacher", on DVD this week.  It's an okay movie, not great, not awful, but of all the movies filmed in the City of Pittsburgh in recent years, this one showcases Pittsburgh like no other.  The opening sequence over the titles alone is spectacular.
  • Much ado was made over the selection of Cruise to play Reacher.  Too short, said the multitude of fans of the Lee Child novels.  I say, fuhgeddabout it!  Cruise may be a screwball in his personal life, but he is undeniably a good actor, so I thought he was fine in the role.
  • That said, I am not reader of Child's Reacher novels.  I think I read one of them.  Perhaps I'd react the same way if the "wrong" actor was selected to play Lucas Davenport or Alex Delaware.
  • Final note on Tom Cruise.  He is starting to look his age (he's 51).  Time to stop being the boyish charmer and look for more character roles.
  • Through the magic of Facebook, I was able this week to see and catch up with an old grade school and high school buddy, Bill Tarrant.  I had literally not seen Bill since we graduated from Central over forty years ago, and it was terrific experience catching up. As you can see below, Bill (that's him in the middle) joined Jim Scuilli and me for a mini-reunion of St. Phil's Class of '65 and Central Class of '69.  Later that night, Bill and I took in the Pirates game and then closed the bar at the Priory Hotel on the North Side.  It was pretty cool day.
  • Bill is a journalist for Reuters and has lived in Malaysia and Singapore for much of the past thirty or so years.  His is a fascinating story, but it is his story to tell and not mine, so I will leave it at that.  i will say though, that Bill is as up-to-date and current on the Pirates, Steelers, and all around Pittsburgh scene as anyone I know.
  • While running through the TV clicker before going to bed last night, I happened upon the last two plus minutes of a football game between Kansas State and North Dakota State and figured, what the hell, I'd watch until the end, in which North Dakota State pulled off the big upset.  More to the point is that these two plus minutes of game time took about twenty-five minutes of real time to play.  During times out, Fox Sports 1 would jam in three or four commercials.  That, my friends, is how college conferences are signing multi-billion dollar TV deals.
  • By all accounts, Robert Griffin III seems to be a decent guy, and he is undeniably charismatic.  That said, this little pissing contest he seems to be conducting with Coach Mike Shanahan is really getting tiresome.  One of the many life lessons taught to me by my Dad is that "everybody has a boss", and RG III hasn't seemed to grasp that. Unfortunately, in the world of sports, it is the "boss" that usually loses in these things.
  • Not that Mike Shananhan is an exceptionally sympathetic guy, you understand.
  • The fact the Tim Tebow might be on the verge of being cut by New England, after failing in New York, makes that Steelers playoff loss to Denver two years ago all the more galling, doesn't it?
  • The Pirates. Tied for first place with 28 games left to play.  This is what we have wanted for the last twenty years, right?  Win or lose, these games have been and will continue to be exciting, nerve wracking, heartbreaking, maddening, euphoric.  I wouldn't trade it for anything right about now.
  • I have gone on record of declaring a moratorium on the Neal Huntington Bashing for obvious reasons (not the least being the trade he pulled off this week for Marlon Byrd and John Buck), but I did hear him on his radio show last week, and he still can come off as being terribly condescending to the Pirates fan base, also know as his PAYING CUSTOMERS.  Somebody in the Bucco PR office should give him some coaching.
  • I took my own recent DVR Alert Advice and watched "The Wild Bunch" yesterday.  This 1969 western by director Sam Peckinpaugh was considered ground breaking when it was released, mainly because of it's amazingly realistic violence, and the stark and unromantic depiction of aging outlaws in the days when the "old west" were pretty much coming to a close.  It was all of that, to be sure, but to be honest, I wasn't all that crazy about the movie.  I wanted to see William Holden as one of the aging outlaw, and he didn't disappoint.  
  • Two other observations about actors who were in "The Wild Bunch".  No actor could play "evil" as well as Ernest Borgnine, and no actor could play "loony" quite like Strother Martin.
  • The $765 million settlement by the NFL upon the plaintiffs in the class action "concussion lawsuit" was, sadly, a tremendous victory for the NFL owners.  This comes out to little more than $150,000 per plaintiff, and it will be paid out over twenty years.  Pure chump change for the NFL, who will no doubt reward Czar Roger with a huge bonus and/or raise because of it.
  • Still, I believe that this suit will continue to have far reaching effects that will change the game of football as we know it.  It may not happen for twenty or thirty years, but I think one day the game will be a fundamentally changed one than the one we know today.
  • A lawyer friend of mine has postulated that sooner or later some lawyer is going to win some major lawsuit against a school district over a serious football injury, and when that happens, school districts will be dropping football left and right.
  • Still think it can't happen?  Consider that in the middle part of the 20th Century, pretty much in my lifetime, and certainly in my parents' lifetime, perhaps the biggest sport in America, after baseball, was boxing, which is pretty much a niche sport today.
  • OK, all that said, call me a hypocrite, but I am looking forward to the start of football, real football and not practice games, this weekend.  Some college games on the menu today, and I will be at Heinz Field on Monday for Pitt's Inaugural Game in the ACC.  Can't wait.
  • The NFL starts next week, and I will reveal The Grandstander's thoughts on what lies ahead for the Steelers by mid-week.
Enjoy the Long Weekend, everybody!!

1 comment:

  1. I may be a sicko, but I think Pitt may keep it close with the Seminoles. The co-ed sports' issue came up again. A couple of parent sharks are going to Harrisburg, so you're right on about sports and lawsuits, Bob. And do you believe that they're still some Catholic grade schools playing competitive football? They have major bullseyes on their backs.