Twice the reruns in half the time!

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Once upon a time, they called it the Blockbuster Bowl. However, corporate America being fickle and football bowl committees being greedy, it has since been sponsored by Carquest, MicronPC, Mazda, Champs Sports, Russell Athletic, Camping World, and Cheez-It (which had previously sponsored a different bowl now sponsored by the mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate). In 2023, the new tenant is Pop-Tarts. What makes the Pop-Tarts Bowl significant isn't the string of consumer product sponsor changes but its weird connection to America's real favorite pastime: eating.

A few years ago, Duke's Mayonnaise bought the rights to turn the annual Continental Tire / Meineke Car Care / Belk Bowl into the Duke's Mayo Bowl. Duke's big, attention-getting decision was to replace the bucket of Gatorade traditionally dumped on the head of the winning coach with a giant jar of mayonnaise. It's exactly as gross as it sounds. When I see it, all I can think is, "Oh, those poor eggs!" (For the record, I never think, "Oh, those poor gators!" Gators got it coming.)

Pop Tarts saw Duke's made-for-TikTok moment and raised. Their mascot this year is a Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tart which emerged at midfield in a giant toaster. Throughout the game, the Pop-Tart posed for photos with children, danced with cheerleaders, and made finger guns at the officials. Then, when the game was over, he climbed back in his toaster only to slide out of a slot in the side... where the winning team ate him.

[To be clear, the players ate a giant Pop-Tart decorated to look identical to the mascot. At least I really, really hope that's what happened. I'd link here to a video of the event in question, but that's exactly what Kellogg's wants me to do.]

I'll be the first to admit that I like both football and Pop-Tarts as much as the next red-blooded American. (My favorite is Brown Sugar and Cinnamon, but the box in my pantry is Frosted Cherry because they are very marginally less malnutritious.) And I regularly eat barbecue at restaurants with smiling pig mascots on their napkins. But if you spend four quarters giving your mascot a personality, I'm not okay with putting it in the oven and eating it, even if you claim "it wants it" — that's a mental illness, Kellogg's! I'm a red-blooded American, not a fairy tale witch in a gingerbread house.

Eat up kids. And clean your plate. Ethiopia is full of starving cannibals.

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Zombie deer disease epidemic spreads in Yellowstone as scientists raise fears it may jump to humans

Dr Cory Anderson recently earned his doctorate studying with Osterholm, focusing on pathways of CWD transmission. “We’re dealing with a disease that is invariably fatal, incurable and highly contagious. Baked into the worry is that we don’t have an effective easy way to eradicate it, neither from the animals it infects nor the environment it contaminates.”

Once an environment is infected, the pathogen is extremely hard to eradicate. It can persist for years in dirt or on surfaces, and scientists report it is resistant to disinfectants, formaldehyde, radiation and incineration at 600C (1,100F).

Great. The deer have turned to biological weapons and suicide missions. Is there no atrocity they won't commit? I saw we nuke them all now before it's too late for all of us.

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As she was getting ready for bed, Mom said, "You never told me what you thought of the thermometer I gave you."

"What thermometer?" I asked.

"The one I gave you for Christmas."

"You didn't give me any thermometer for Christmas," I insisted.


It was at this point that she realized that although her direct guidance had led to gifts for me with other people's names on the labels, she hadn't given me anything from herself. So hours after the annual family gathering had ended, she went into her closet and emerged with this new stack of gifts just for me.

It was like having two Christmases, the second including a fancy new meat thermometer, which, for the record, I think is very nice.

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117/2283. Navy Blue and Gold (1937)
Robert Young and Jimmy Stewart portray Navy football players in this movie, but the director didn't seem to understand how the sport was actually played. The climactic sequence of events in which (SPOILER) Navy comes back and wins the big game is impossible in the game of football, even in 1937. (After a score, the non-scoring team receives the following kickoff.)

118/2284. Curious Caterer: Fatal Vows (2023)
As is usually the case, the solution here was obvious from the structure; motivation is explained only after all other suspects have been eliminated. If this was a real crime... nevermind. No crimes are committed like this. I don't watch these Hallmark Mysteries for their verisimilitude.

119/2285. Akeelah and the Bee (2006)
As much as I love the annual Scripps Spelling Bee, I had never seen this, a movie in which learning to spell makes the entire world better. Of course I loved it.

120/2286. The Bad Sleep Well (1960)
Akira Kurosawa's film noir tale of betrayal and revenge, with an underlying theme of how even a righteous crusade against greed can bring its own kind of corruption, is very, very good. It never quite goes where I expected. Kurosawa so rarely disappoints.

121/2287. Butterfield 8 (1960)
Yet another Elizabeth Taylor movie I didn't like. In fact, I'm hard-pressed to understand why anyone would like this film. I have to assume that its repudiation of the repressive sexual culture and forced conformity of the 1950s made it titillating viewing in its day, but its day should have long passed by now. Ick.

122/2288. Coraline (2009)
A dark fairy tale in the style I've come to expect from Neil Gaiman (with extra Roald Dahl flair for good measure). Very well done.

More to come.

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Week one of this college football season, I told friend Randy that we should go the National Championship Game if his team, Florida State, ended up playing mine, Georgia. Well, we got half of that.

Randy didn't want to spend the time or money it would take to get us to the Orange Bowl (which is understandable since he's dealing with family medical issues), so we compromised instead on the Camellia Bowl played in the Cramton Bowl stadium in Montgomery, Alabama, where we saw the Northern Illinois University Huskies defeat the Arkansas State Red Wolves 21-19.

Maybe it didn't have the weight of an SEC vs ACC contest, but I can't argue with the price or location. We even had great seats. Well, pretty good seats, anyway. The banner in front of us did block our view of the near sideline, as you can see in this screenshot of us from the ESPN broadcast. I have helpfully illustrated the best looking Georgia fan in the stadium.

Look, Ma! I'm on TV!

Last year in Birmingham, we were very cold in the evening air. This year, we were very warm in the midday sun. As much as I dislike the cold, I also dislike noon kickoffs that require 9AM departures. Maybe next year the time and temperature will be just right.

Highlights of the experience include the Arkansas State crowd booing when the PA announcer suggested everyone should get COVID boosters, Randy's calling a fake field goal prior to the snap (by the position of the kicker), and Randy's recognition that the late game onside kick attempt was doomed to failure (by the position of the kicker). That Randy sure knows his kicking game.

Speaking of kicking, Randy also had a lot to say about the Camellia Bowl Queen who played football on her high school football team. Her position? Kicker.

Arkansas State 19, Northern Illinois 21

I'm glad we went, and I already wonder where we'll go next year.

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Who's to say what 'good' is, anyway?

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From the A Hero Dies A Thousand Deaths Department:

In 1942, the Red Bee died fighting Nazis.

In 2021, the Red Bee was reborn.

In 2023, the Red Bee died fighting Nazis.

Worker bees only live, like, 6 weeks, so none of them even knew the guy
Peacemaker Tries Hard #6, December 2023

What else can be said other than... that guy really hates Nazis.

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It's easy to mistake your own decline for the decline of civilization.

—Johann Hari, author of Stolen Focus, on some talk show

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Sometimes I feel like the people inside my television are from an alternate dimension talking directly to me....

One for the money

Two for the show

Three to get ready

Now throw, cat, throw!
from Late Night with Seth Meyers, December 12, 2023, via

The joke here is that Amber doesn't understand how football works, but even ignorant fools recognize that Dan Marino is the greatest to ever play the game. Respect!

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To be continued...


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