2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 5

football-introducing-the-science_1Thank God we don’t do this for money. Last week I was a putrid 1-4, while Zach fared slightly better at 2-3. I knew I was taking some chances, and unfortunately they didn’t pan out in my favor. At any rate, my pre-season Top 4 of Clemson, Oklahoma, Alabama, & Ohio St. still looks atleast ¾ solid, with Oklahoma being the lone disappointment at this stage. Conversely my Super Bowl pick of Arizona vs. Kansas City doesn’t look so profound thus far, although it is early in the season. There are lots of good games this week, and I pondered doing some bonus picks, if for no other reason than to try to get back on an even keel. However ultimately I decided against that idea…for now.

My Season:  9-13

Z’s Season:   8-14

 

 

 

 

Stanford       at        Washington (-3)

Stanford got by UCLA last week to improve to 3-0. They are firmly entrenched in the Top 10, and RB/WR Christian McCaffrey looks to be in a two manStanford-Logo-Tree Heisman race with Houston QB Lamar Jackson. The Huskies aren’t too shabby themselves, standing at 4-0, although their schedule hasn’t been all that tough. That all changes this week. This is a rare Friday night gem on ESPN, and since I have a rare Friday night off from work I’m looking forward to watching. Washington is getting the requisite home field bump, but I’m not buying it. I think Stanford is a better team and McCaffrey needs to make a statement to take some of the focus off of Jackson. Zach isn’t all that impressed with Stanford and would like to see the home team get the victory, but his head is guiding him toward the underdogs.

My Pick:        Stanford

Z’s Pick:         Stanford

 

 

Northwestern        at        Iowa (-13)

Northwestern_WildcatsThese two teams are in an uphill battle to win their division of the Big Ten (which has 14 teams). But since a collapse by iowaWisconsin and/or Nebraska isn’t that far-fetched this is an important game with possible conference title implications. Iowa was thought by many to be a possible Top 10 team coming into the season, but an inexplicable loss to 1-AA North Dakota St….at home…has given everybody pause. Meanwhile the unpredictable Wildcats are 1-3, with surprising losses to Western Michigan & Illinois St. derailing their season right out of the gate. A Northwestern victory would certainly be unexpected, but I’m not sure it’d be totally shocking. Do I expect that to happen?? No. However I do think it is very possible that the underdogs stay within ten points. Conversely, Zach believes that Iowa will run away with an easy win in the second half.

My Pick:        Northwestern

Z’s Pick:         Iowa

 

 

Oklahoma (-3.5)    at        TCU

oklahomaThe Sooners were my pre-season #2, but two early losses to Houston & Ohio St….nothing to be ashamed of…have imploded any TCU Cool Logoplayoff aspirations. I did not have the Horned Frogs in my Top 25, but they have gotten off to a solid 3-1 start. It says a lot that Oklahoma is favored on the road, and I have no reason to disagree with that assessment. Zach, on the other hand, likes the home team to prevail.

My Pick:        Oklahoma

Z’s Pick:         TCU

 

 

Louisville (-1.5)      at        Clemson

clemsonThe Cardinals have obliterated perennial national title contender Florida St. and my alma mater, the Marshall Thundering Louisville_Cardinals3Herd, in successive weeks. Almost everybody has jumped on their bandwagon. Yet I just can’t seem to commit to the idea of them being totally legit. Clemson was my pre-season #1, but due to a weak early schedule and a season opener in which Auburn had an opportunity to pull off the upset in the waning seconds before failing to execute many have eased off the hype machine. Don’t worry Clemson…I’m still with you. I just cannot fathom Louisville going into Death Valley and winning this game. Zach is all in on Cardinals’ QB Lamar Jackson. He sees Louisville as a serious playoff contender and thinks they win this game by atleast two TDs.

My Pick:        Clemson

Z’s Pick:         Louisville

 

 

Indianapolis (-2.5)             vs.       Jacksonville

I picked the Colts to win their division, thinking that last season’s 8-8 record was just a bump in the road due to some injuries sustained by QB Indianapolis_Colts_HelmetAndrew Luck. What I failed to consider was that those injuries were a result of a mediocre offensive line, an issue that Indianapolis hasn’t really fixed. Indy comes into this game 1-2, while the Jaguars, who everyone thought was showing signs of improvement, are off to a terrible 0-3 start. The good news for both teams is that Texans’ sack master JJ Watt is out for the season with continued back problems, so Houston doesn’t seem so intimidating now. Which second-rate team will win a pedestrian division?? Stay tuned. This game is being played in London and begins at 9am Sunday morning here in the eastern U.S. Fortunately for clergyman everywhere it’s not one that most will feel the urge to skip church to watch. I am loyal to a fault when it comes to my pre-season choices, so I’m not abandoning the Colts’ ship just yet. Zach concurs.

My Pick:        Indianapolis

Z’s Pick:         Indianapolis

Winning & Musing…..Volume 5.16

I’ve been trying to avoid making The Manofesto too sporty, but this time of year it is really difficult. For you sports fans out there this isn’t an issue, but I know not everyone falls into that category.

 

 

 

 

 

Pittsburgh_Pirates2The baseball season is winding to a conclusion and my Pittsburgh Pirates aren’t going to make it into the playoffs. The slight decline wasn’t completely unexpected, and after two decades of losing I can’t hardly complain about three straight playoff appearances followed by a season where the team isn’t mathematically eliminated until deep into September. Having said all that, I wouldn’t be opposed to some changes. I’m not sure that general manager Neil Huntington is the right man for the job at this point, and as great of a guy as he seems to be I think maybe manager Clint Hurdle needs to be politely shown the door. Kudos to those men for bringing back our Pirates from the abyss of interminable futility, but it seems as if they’ve taken the team as far as they can. Much like Moses observing the land of milk & honey from Mount Nebo I suspect that when the Pirates finally make it to the Promised Land of the World Series Hurdle & Huntington will be watching from afar.

 

 

As predicted FoxSports 1 has new acquisition Skip Bayless starring in a replica of First Take, his old ESPN show. I haven’t undactually watched a single episode and have no plans to do so, but I did check out a couple of clips online. The new program, called Undisputed, pairs Bayless with former NFL tight end Shannon Sharpe, which makes me laugh. Honestly, one really needs subtitles to make sense of anything Sharpe says. He is not a good fit for television. I am quite sure that Bayless & Sharpe try to top each other with outlandish & controversial opinions, and I suppose some people enjoy that shtick. I’m just not one of them. As maddeningly leftist as ESPN can oftentimes be it is clear that FS1 isn’t on the same level and will remain a second tier channel as long as they continue to make desperation moves such as hiring blowhards like Bayless and fellow Bristol refugee Colin Cowherd.

 

 

arnieA fat guy in a wheelchair would probably be considered by most to be an unlikely golf fan, but from a young age my father instilled in me an abiding fondness for the game. By the time I got into it though Arnold Palmer had long since moved onto the Senior Tour before retiring altogether a decade ago. However, way before the world got to know Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, & Jordan Spieth I was hearing stories and learning about Palmer. It helped that he became a pitchman for various products and an ambassador for the game, therefore never really disappearing from the pop culture consciousness. He, Jack Nicklaus, & Tom Watson were the first golfers that I became a fan of, even though I am too young to have seen many of their greatest moments. Most of the time death is a sad & tragic event, and fans of golf will undoubtedly miss ol’ Arnie, but in his 87 years on the planet the man certainly made an impact and created unforgettable memories, and we can’t be too sad about that.

 

 

Early thoughts on the NFL season:

  • Eagles’ rookie QB Carson Wentz looks like the real deal. I wish I would have drafted him in my fantasy dynasty league.
  • In my season preview I pondered whether or not RGIII would rejuvenate his career in Cleveland. Now I feel stupid for even asking the question.
  • Who will be the first coach to lose his job?? Rex Ryan (Buffalo)?? Gus Bradley (Jacksonville)?? Mike McCoy (San Diego)?? nfl-footballJay Gruden (Washington)??
  • I was way wrong about the Minnesota Vikings. The desperation trade for QB Sam Bradford after losing starter Teddy Bridgewater in the pre-season was a masterstroke. Even after noted child abuser Adrian Peterson went down with a knee injury the Vikings haven’t missed a beat. Their defense has been amazing. This team looks like a legit Super Bowl contender.
  • As much as I hate the New England Patriots I have to give credit where credit is due. It doesn’t seem to matter who plays quarterback…the team just keeps right on rolling. Belichick is an evil genius. Oftentimes I emphasize the evil part of that equation, but I’d be remiss not to give a respectful tip o’ the cap to the genius part.

 

 

marvI’ve expressed my opinion on the whole Colin Kaepernick anthem protest thing already, but let me just add a thought. What is more troubling than the hoopla itself is the fact that these types of demonstrations are spreading to college & pro football and other sports altogether. Suddenly it is cool & fashionable to disrespect our flag & the national anthem. It doesn’t help that the media has run the story into the ground and somehow made Kaepernick into a trailblazing hero. The whole thing makes me sad.

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 4

kickoff_footballThe mediocrity continues. Zach & I both went 2-3 last week. He correctly predicted Louisville’s destruction of Florida St., an outcome I still can’t wrap my mind around, while the Buckeyes of Ohio St. didn’t let me down. I’m stunned that the L.A. Rams actually won and that Minnesota somehow beat Green Bay in the first game in the Vikings new stadium. The NFL season is difficult to figure out just yet, but we have seen injuries take their toll and some young stars begin to emerge. Half of the teams in my pre-season college Top 10 have already lost a game. If I were getting paid to do this I’d have a lot of explaining to do, but thankfully we’re just having some fun.

My Season:     8-9

Z’s Season:     6-11

 

 

 

 

 

Florida      at      Tennessee (-6.5)

tennessee_volunteers_football_iphone_wallpaperThe Volunteers are very quietly hovering just outside the Top 10 with a 3-0 record and victories over…well…nobody in florida gators imageparticular, unless you want to give them kudos for beating Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway a couple of weeks ago. The Gators are also 3-0, in the Top 20, and haven’t really played anyone, but their defense has only allowed 14 points thru three games, and that’s impressive no matter what kind of cupcakes a team has beaten up on. Having said that, we cannot overlook the fact that their starting QB is injured. The good thing is that Florida’s backup signal caller is a graduate transfer who started 11 games in four seasons at Purdue, so that is atleast better than some 18 year old freshman being thrown into his first taste of bigtime college football in front of 100k fans on the road. Did you know that Florida has won this matchup 11 straight times?? Can they make it 12?? Ehhhhh…I don’t think so. Tennessee quarterback Josh Dobbs is a real talent who will be playing on Sundays in the not-so-distant future, and I think he is the difference. This will be a close one, but I think Tennessee covers the points. Conversely, Zach isn’t sold on Tennessee…at all. He thinks the Gators will win easily.

My Pick:     Tennessee

Z’s Pick:     Florida

 

 

Stanford (-3)      at      UCLA

ucla_bruins2The talking heads are really pushing Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey as a leading Heisman contender and I have no reason to photo.stanfordtreeargue. In two games McCaffrey, a hybrid RB/WR, has over 400 total yards and four TDs, and both victories were against solid competition. Stanford doesn’t blow the doors off of anything, but they get the job done. Meanwhile, the Bruins are 2-1 after the season opening overtime loss to Texas A&M. UCLA doesn’t even get the respect of a home field advantage, and I think that might be a mistake. For no reason in particular I’m going to venture out on a limb and predict the upset. Afterall, with my record what do I have to lose, right?? Zach is riding the Heisman hype and thinks Stanford will win by a touchdown.

My Pick:     UCLA

Z’s Pick:     Stanford

 

 

Penn St.    at      Michigan (-19)

I chose this game simply because of the challenging point spread. I have no doubt that the Wolverines will win, especially in The Big House. They have penn-state-logocruised to a 3-0 record and are probably glad to get into the conference schedule. The Nittany Lions are still alternately worshiping and fighting against the ghost of Joe Paterno, which atleast gives the talking heads something to yap about, but on the field they are 2-1, with a close loss to in-state rival Pitt balanced out by a close win over in-state rival Temple. I’m going to roll the dice again by predicting that Michigan will win but it’ll be a little closer than the folks in Vegas seem to think. Probably something along the lines of 42-24. Surprisingly Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Penn St.

Z’s Pick:     Penn St.

 

 

 

Arkansas  at      Texas A&M (-6)

I feel like the Razorbacks are a team that gets lost in the shuffle amongst the glitz & glamor of the SEC. I suppose that’s understandable given that theyarkansas-razorback-logo haven’t even sniffed ten wins since 2011. However thus far they are 3-0, including a triple OT win over highly regarded TCU. The Aggies are also 3-0, with solid victories over UCLA & Auburn. I must be in a gambling mood because I’m leaning toward another upset. I think this might come down to a last second field goal or something similar, meaning it’s possible that A&M could win the game but not cover the points. Zach thinks A&M is…scrappy. However he too is picking the upset.

My Pick:     Arkansas

Z’s Pick:     Arkansas

 

 

 

Houston (-2.5)   at      New England

houston-texans-mobile-wallpaperThis is really interesting. It isn’t often that you see the Patriots as underdogs at home. However Lil Tommy is still on Fidel Goodell patriotsimposed home confinement for tampering with his balls, and things got worse when backup Jimmy Garoppolo’s shoulder was injured last weekend. So now third string QB Jacoby Brissett, a rookie from NC State chosen in the 3rd round of the NFL Draft, steps up to the plate (I love me some mixed metaphors). The talking heads don’t seem to be all that concerned about the situation, which is confusing to me. Either Tom Brady is the best quarterback that’s ever graced a gridiron, or Bill Belichick is a mastermind with the combined coaching prowess of Vince Lombardi, Knute Rockne, & Mr. Miyagi who could lead the Patriots to the Super Bowl with the love child of Uncle Rico & Jamarcus Russell behind center…you can’t have it both ways. I tend to lean toward the latter since I think there are atleast a dozen legendary quarterbacks better than Brady, but there’s no denying that New England can never be counted out. If they were playing Cleveland or the Rams or Miami this week I’d probably be persuaded toward the Pats despite the QB situation. However, the 2-0 Texans have looked pretty darn good so far and have emerged as the clear favorites in the AFC South. The point spread is almost nothing, and I think Houston covers easily. Zach likes Houston’s defense, but like so many others he trusts Belichick’s particular brand of magic (which oftentimes looks an awful lot like cheating in my opinion).

My Pick:     Houston

Z’s Pick:     New England

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 3

football_goalFirst things first. Last week both Zach and I went 2-3. We would’ve done better if the Bengals would’ve score another couple of points or if Texas Tech had played anything resembling defense. At any rate we move on. The college schedule is a little more appetizing this week, and atleast we now have some evidence on which to base NFL picks, so I am hoping we improve our accuracy from now on.

My Season:     6-6

Z’s Season:     4-8

 

 

 

 

 

 

Florida St. (-2.5)           at      Louisville
Florida_State_SeminolesThe Seminoles are 2-0 but haven’t really been tested yet. The Cardinals are also 2-0 but haven’t played anyone. This is a matchup of Louisville-Cardinalstwo Top 10 teams and Louisville has the home field, but I think they are probably overrated. I don’t believe Florida St. will have any problems winning easily. Conversely, Zach really likes Louisville’s big play QB and thinks he’ll get the job done in a shootout.

My Pick:     Florida State

Z’s Pick:     Louisville

 

 

Michigan St.                at      Notre Dame (-7.5)

A year ago this was a marquee matchup, and while it is still interesting I don’t think anyone will deny that neither team is as good as they were in Michigan_State_Spartans2015. The Spartans have only played one game, beating Furman by just two TDs. The Irish are 1-1 and have the home field. Despite that fact I’m going to pick the upset. I think it’ll be a tight game decided in the final five minutes. Zach agrees that Michigan St. will win, although he believes they’ll put a 17 point beatdown on Notre Dame. I’d be okay with that.

My Pick:     Michigan State

Z’s Pick:     Michigan State

 

 

Ohio St.     (-2)             at      Oklahoma

Ohio_State_BuckeyesThe Sooners are still slapping themselves upside the head trying to figure out what went wrong in the season opening loss to oklahomaHouston. They rebounded by beating up a speck of dust last week but that means nothing. Meanwhile, after losing half their team to the NFL Draft, the Buckeyes look like they haven’t missed a beat, although they haven’t played an opponent worthy of their best effort yet. That all changes this week. If it were just about any other team I might pick the upset, but I don’t believe Urban Meyer will allow Ohio St. to let their foot off the gas. As a matter of fact they might actually play better against good competition. Zach has an irrational animosity toward Ohio St. that clouds his judgment.

My Pick:     Ohio State

Z’s Pick:     Oklahoma

 

 

Seattle                at                LA Rams

I can’t find odds for this game, but does it really matter?? The Seahawks can, should, & will win easily. Zach concurs.seattle-seahawks1

My Pick:     Seattle

Z’s Pick:     Seattle

 

 

Green Bay (-2.5)                   at      Minnesota

Both teams are off to a 1-0 start, with the Vikings having defeated the Titans on the road and the Packers squeaking by the Jags, also on the road. This Green_Bay_Packers_Helmetis the Sunday night game on NBC and will be the inaugural game played in Minnesota’s fancy new stadium. I had pretty much given up on the Vikes after QB Teddy Bridgewater was lost for the season to a knee injury, but their defense bailed them out in the season opener. It’s just a matter of time before newly acquired Sam Bradford replaces journeyman Shaun Hill behind center, but I’m not sure that is all that much of a confidence booster. As much as I’d love to see Minnesota christen their new digs with a victory I’d be shocked if it actually happened. Zach agrees.

My Pick:     Green Bay

Z’s Pick:     Green Bay

TAGS Episode Guide: Ranking (Not Quite) Every Episode of One of America’s Most Beloved TV Shows…Part 3

Welcome back. If you haven’t done so please go back and peruse Parts 1 and 2.

 

bestLooking back TAGS had an impressive lineup of guests & bit players that would go on to have nicholsonnotable careers. That list includes James Best (Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane on the Dukes of Hazzard), comedian Don Rickles, Jerry Van Dyke (Coach), Gavin MacCleod (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Love Boat), Barbara Eden (I Dream of Jeannie), Denver Pyle (Uncle Jesse on The Dukes of Hazzard), Bill Bixby (The Incredible Hulk), legendary movie stars Jack Nicholson & George Kennedy, Jack Albertson (Chico & The Man), Morgan Brittany (Dallas), Richard Bull (Nels Oleson on Little House on the Prairie), William Christopher (Father Mulcahey on MASH), Jackie Coogan (Uncle Fester on The Addams Family), Ellen Corby (The Waltons), Bob Denver (Gilligan’s Island, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis), Buddy Ebsen be(Jed Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies), Jamie Farr (Klinger on MASH), Ann Morgan Guilbert (The mccNanny, Grumpier Old Men), Pat Hingle (Batman), Alan Hale Jr. (The Skipper on Gilligan’s Island), Howard Hesseman (Dr. Johnny Fever on WKRP in Cincinnati), Larry Clovis (Hogan’s Heroes), Allan Melvin (Sam the Butcher on The Brady Bunch), actor/director Rob Reiner (Meathead on All in the Family), and Lee Van Cleef (The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly).

 

Now on with the countdown.

 

 

 

 

100   The New Housekeeper (S1E1)

Technically the concept for TAGS was introduced in a February 1960 episode of Make Room For Daddy, aka The Danny Thomas Show. However thishousekeeper is the first standalone episode of the show. The powers-that-be must’ve been on their game…the show premiered just 8 months after the pilot. We meet Sheriff Taylor and his son Opie as they are celebrating the wedding of their housekeeper Rose. Because Rose is moving out of town with her new husband Andy’s Aunt Bea comes back to Mayberry from Morgantown, WV (the real life hometown of Don Knotts) to take care of Andy & Opie. It is implied that Aunt Bea is from Mayberry but had spent a few years in West Virginia. Six year old Opie is very attached to Rose, who presumably took care of him since he was a baby, so he doesn’t quite warm up to Aunt Bea at first. However when Aunt Bea attempts to leave because she can see the boy is unhappy he begs her to stay. This is a great introduction to the core characters…Andy, Opie, Aunt Bea, & Barney…and it gets better from there.

 

 

 

99     The Rivals         (S3E28)

Opie has a crush on a classmate, but she just isn’t that into him. When Thelma Lou tries lift Opie’s spirits the boy starts crushing on her and Barney feels left out in the cold. Classic Barney, and great father/son stuff between Andy & Opie. A very sweet episode.

 

 

98     Aunt Bea’s Brief Encounter (S2E9)

Aunt Bea becomes enamored with Mr. Wheeler, an itinerant handyman who stops by to help her with some rosebushes. Upon finding out that the wheelerman lives in his truck Andy & Aunt Bea ask him to stay with them for a bit and do some work around the house, but he keeps weaseling out of doing any actual work. After a comment from the mailman about Mr. Wheeler’s soft hands Andy becomes suspicious and finds out the “handyman” is just a freeloader that takes advantage of kindhearted women like Aunt Bea. Andy manages to scare off the scoundrel and all is well.

 

 

97     Bringing Up Opie       (S1E32)

Concerned about negative influences on Opie’s behavior Aunt Bea talks Andy into restricting Opie’s visits to the jail. The boy quickly becomes bored in the afternoon hours after school and wanders off only to fall asleep in the back of a truck that drives off away from Mayberry. There are some heartwarming father/son moments between Andy & Opie, and that’s always a good thing.

 

 

96         Three’s a Crowd (S2E27)

Andy decides to court lovely county nurse Mary Simpson. However every time he is alone with her Barney shows up and obliviously interjects himself simpsoninto the situation. When Andy finally explains things to Barney (in a nicer way than anyone else in the world probably would) the overzealous deputy jumps to the conclusion that the sheriff is about to become engaged. Hilarity ensues. This is the second & final appearance of Nurse Mary. The actress is absolutely beautiful and it’s a shame she & the character disappeared without a trace just like a couple other ladies that Andy dated.

 

 

95     Divorce, Mountain Style    (S4E25)

Charlene Darling wanders down from the hills seeking to divorce her husband Dud. Of course with The Darlings nothing is ever simple or normal, so a barneyhorse1divorce in their world entails some sort of weird hillbilly ritual, which is really funny. In the midst of this craziness Charlene…who has been sweet on Andy since the moment she met him…decides she’s wants to marry the sheriff. Fortunately Andy & Barney find a way to “curse” the union and scare Charlene away. That curse involves Barney dressing in black and riding a horse at midnight…or something like that. It’s hysterically entertaining stuff. There’s no Opie or Aunt Bea in this episode, but that’s alright. Charlene is a real looker and might have been a good match for Andy, but that possibility was never seriously explored. Bob Denver portrays Dud, replacing the actor who’d played the character on two previous occasions. Denver had just spent four seasons playing beatnik Maynard G. Krebs on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, and a few months later would begin a three year tour as the titular character on Gilligan’s Island.

 

 

94     Goodbye, Sheriff Taylor    (S5E10)

When Andy goes to Raleigh to interview for a detective job he makes Barney acting Sheriff. Barney deputizes Otis & Goober, and chaos quickly ensues. At the end of the day Barney realizes that “sheriffin’” is far different than “deputyin’”, and Andy decides to stay in Mayberry. Ironically at the end of the season it would be Barney moving to Raleigh to become a detective.

 

 

93     The Manicurist (S2E16)

A young & beautiful manicurist sets up a space in Floyd’s barber shop. The men of Mayberry are a little wary of her presence at first, but quickly warm edenup to her, upsetting their wives in the process. The manicurist is portrayed by Barbara Eden, who would begin her belly-baring gig on I Dream of Jeannie a few years later. This episode marks the final appearance of Mayor Pike, as the actor passed on before the show aired. It is also the last of a half dozen appearances by town hypochondriac Emma Watson.

 

 

92     One-Punch Opie (S3E14)

Opie figures out that the new kid in town is a menace who isn’t worth the trouble. When Opie stands up to him the bully runs off like a coward. The mixture of comedy from Barney and classic father/son stuff from Andy & Opie is the kind of balancing act that makes TAGS great.

 

 

91     Bailey’s Bad Boy (S2E15)

Why is it that people think they can speed thru Mayberry?? And why does everyone who gets caught doing so have to make things so difficult on poor bixbyAndy?? In this case the perp is a spoiled young man from an affluent family who arrogantly thinks his Daddy will come to his rescue. After Andy takes him fishing and to Sunday dinner at his house the young punk begins to soften a bit, especially after observing the sheriff do some parenting with Opie. There is some really funny stuff in this episode from Otis, and of course the father/son relationship between Andy & Opie is one of the foundations of the whole series. The arrogant speeder is portrayed by Bill Bixby, who would go on to sustained success in three different shows… My Favorite Martian, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, & The Incredible Hulk.

 

 

90     Andy and Opie – Bachelors       (S3E4)

Aunt Bea goes out of town to visit a relative. While she’s away Andy’s girlfriend Peggy McMillan steps up to take care of he & Opie. Peggy is a nurse just like a previous Andy paramour…Mary Simpson. Maybe Andy likes sponge baths or something. Anyway, Floyd gets into Andy’s head, convincing him that Peggy is trying to push her way into the Taylor household and trick Andy into proposing. Andy really seems to be afraid of commitment…perhaps because others are always trying to shove him into one. There’s a really sweet scene with Andy playing guitar & singing on the front porch with Peggy while Opie listens. We never saw Helen Crump do that. Poor little Opie seems to crave a mother’s attention. Darn shame Andy made him wait so long and passed up such splendid candidates.

 

 

89     Andy and Barney in the Big City (S2E25)

This episode is a rarity in that it is set almost entirely outside of Mayberry. Andy & Barney travel to Raleigh to try to get more funds for their bigcitydepartment. Barney proceeds to get involved in tracking down a jewel thief at the hotel. Of course being Barney he pegs the wrong guy (the house detective in fact) for the crime, and it’s up to Andy to set things right. Classic Barney. Hardcore purists might have an issue with the lack of Mayberry-ness, but I’m okay with it since it doesn’t occur often.

 

 

88     The Luck of Newton Munroe      (S5E29)

A fast-talking traveling salesman comes to Mayberry. Unfortunately everything he sells turns out to be a hunk of junk. Andy takes pity on the young ricklesman and asks him to paint his house, with hilarious results. The salesman is portrayed by comedian Don Rickles, who guest starred on a ton of TV shows in the 60’s, as well as doing movies like Kelly’s Heroes and several “Beach” films starring Frankie Avalon & Annette Funicello, all while headlining shows in Vegas and hanging out with Frank Sinatra.

 

 

87     Class Reunion (S3E19)

Andy & Barney attend their 20 year high school reunion and Andy meets up with an old girlfriend. There is definite chemistry peggymccayandygbetween the two, but while Andy’s heart is in Mayberry his lady friend has left small town life in the rear view mirror, which proves to be an insurmountable obstacle. This episode aired in 1963, and it is indicated that Andy & Barney graduated in 1945, so the math doesn’t quite add up. Sharp eyed viewers of soap opera Days of Our Lives will recognize Andy’s gal pal as being portrayed by actress Peggy McCay. McCay has played matriarch Caroline Brady on DOOL for over three decades.

 

 

86     Barney Fife, Realtor (S5E16)

Barney takes on a second job as a real estate agent. He soon convinces Andy to look into purchasing a bigger house while concurrently selling his own. Opie hilariously spills the beans to prospective buyers about work that needs done on the Taylor homestead, because of course his Paw has taught him all about being honest. Similarly, the house that Andy is interested in has its own issues. At the end of the day everyone decides to stay put where they are, and Barney’s second career seems to end just as quickly as it began.

 

 

85     The Big House (S3E32)

Barney & Gomer are in charge of guarding two criminals while Andy is out catching the other two members of their gang. The twosome are inept on kennedyan individual basis, and together they are hysterically incompetent. The prisoners keep escaping, but Andy keeps bringing them back before they get too far. George Kennedy makes a brief appearance as a state police detective, four years before he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Cool Hand Luke.

 

 

84     Briscoe Declares for Aunt Bea  (S4E5)

Briscoe Darling becomes enamored of Aunt Bea, but when she resists his advances he kidnaps her. Andy comes up with the idea of Aunt Bea trying to force Briscoe to clean up his act and become more civilized. The ploy works, as he gets mad at Aunt Bea and promptly ends the “relationship”. This is the only time we see the Briscoes without Charlene.

 

 

83     Andy and the New Mayor  (S3E3)

Less than a year after the final appearance of Mayor Pike there’s a new head official in Mayberry. Mayor Roy Stoner is uptight & demanding, and he mayor12clashes with Andy because of the sheriff’s easygoing way of handling situations. In this case the mayor becomes angry when Andy temporarily releases a prisoner so that he can go tend to his farm, with the promise that he’ll return in three days. When the man doesn’t return on time Mayor Stoner goes in search of him, with the kind of hilarious conclusion only TAGS can provide.

 

 

82            Barney and Thelma Lou, Phfftt    (S4E30)

While giving Thelma Lou a ride to Mount Pilot Gomer lets slip an offhand comment that Barney made about having Thelma Lou “in my hip pocket”. Naturally this upsets Thelma Lou, who then decides to use clueless Gomer to make our favorite deputy jealous. Gomer enlists Andy’s help to extract himself from the situation, and as usual Sheriff Taylor straightens out the chaos. No Opie or Aunt Bea in this episode, but that’s okay.

 

 

81            Andy’s Rich Girlfriend (S3E2)

Andy Taylor had a few girlfriends in the first few seasons of TAGS, but by far my favorite is nurse Peggy McMillan. She was portrayed by actress joanna_moore_13Joanna Moore, who would go on to become the wife of Ryan O’Neal and the mother of Tatum O’Neal. In this episode we are introduced to Peggy as she & Andy go on a double date with Barney & Thelma Lou. When Andy finds out Peggy comes from a wealthy family Barney gets in his head and convinces him that Peggy is out of his league. Andy begins avoiding Peggy which leads to an argument. Thankfully the two eventually kiss & make up. Perhaps the relationship might have worked out if other people would’ve stopped sticking their nose where it didn’t belong.

 

 

80     Barney’s Sidecar       (S4E16)

Sensing a need for more patrols to catch speeders Barney buys a motorcycle…complete with sidecar…at an army surplus auction. Barney really gets sidecarinto it, even donning goggles & a leather jacket, but the townsfolk in Mayberry just laugh at him. He also overdoes it with the speed trap, pulling boxtrucks over for going only 5mph over the limit (flexibility they’ve always been given to get over a nearby hill), and ticks off everybody in town with his overzealous enthusiasm with his new toy. Andy cleverly figures out a way to convince Barney that the bike is an historic artifact and gets him to donate it to a museum.

 

 

79     The Mayberry Band (S3E8)

The Mayberry town band wants to go to Raleigh for a statewide competition. The only problem is they’re horrible. Mayor Stoner refuses to let the group participate and embarrass Mayberry, but with a little help from Freddy Fleet & His Band with a Beat Andy is able to convince the Mayor to fund the trip. Freddy Fleet was known as Bobby Fleet on two previous TAGS appearances, and writers affiliated with the show later admitted that the continuity error was simply a mistake. The character was portrayed by three different actors, adding to the confusion.

 

78     The Clubmen (S2E10)

Andy’s fishing buddy from Raleigh invites the sheriff up to the capitol city to hobnob with snooty members of The Esquire Club. Andy gets permission to bring Barney along. Unfortunately Barney tries a little too hard to make himself seem sophisticated, in the process coming across as a buffoon. A few days later Andy is extended an invitation for membership, but he politely turns it down when Barney is rejected. There is a really funny scene at the beginning when Andy catches Barney napping in the courthouse and Barney tries to play it off. Don Knotts always did some of his best acting with his expressive face and bulging eyes.

 

 

77     The Shoplifters          (S4E21)

When Ben Weaver reports that things have been coming up missing from his store Barney decides to investigate. In one hilarious scene Mr. Weaver shoplifterand Barney mistakenly hunt each other down late at night in the store while the security guard sleeps thru almost the whole thing. When that idea doesn’t work Barney decides to go undercover as a store mannequin, with hilarious results. In the end Barney does end up catching the perp…with an assist from Andy. A different, much younger, actor portrays Mr. Weaver due to the death of the performer who’d played the character in three previous episodes. A better writer would’ve specified the character here to be Ben Weaver Jr., but continuity wasn’t a strong suit of the folks in charge of TAGS.

 

 

76     Andy and Opie, Housekeepers (S1E23)

Aunt Bea jumps on Andy & Opie for being slobs, and then she is called way to help out a sick relative in Mt. Pilot for a few days. Andy & Opie are determined to keep the house tidy in Aunt Bea’s absence but fail miserably. They hurry to clean it up before she returns, but then Andy decides that Aunt Bea might feel unneeded so they mess it up again. However while the boys are on their way to pick up Aunt Bea at the bus station Clara Edwards (called Bertha Edwards in what is her inaugural appearance) decides to pop in and clean the house for them. When the Taylors return they’re all surprised at how clean the living room is, but Opie has enough time to mess up his room again and Andy trashes the kitchen to spare Aunt Bea’s feelings. When Aunt Bea says the house looked like a pigpen when she got home Miss Edwards is hilariously offended. Opie is adorable in this episode.

 

 

 

 

 

This seems like a good place for another break. Stay tuned.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 10.16

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

 

 

 

 

kCommentary about NFL players would usually appear in the Winning & Musing feature, but recent events surrounding 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and others who have joined his “protest” are bigger than sports. I have no issue with Kaepernick or anybody else sitting, kneeling, or doing whatever they wish during the playing of the national anthem, as they are well within their Constitutional rights to act however they want. Proponents of Constitutional principles who use the ol’ “America…love it or leave it” card are, in this case, contradicting themselves. Having said that, it is not a course of action that I would choose. I think the act is disrespectful and the stated purpose idiotic. It is clear to me that there are certain segments of society for whom no amount of “equality” or “fairness” will ever be good enough. Utopia is a myth. Our civilization will never be perfect. There are always going to be problems & injustices, but what matters is how we deal with issues. I prefer to address a situation and come up with practical solutions. Others choose to wallow in victimhood and engage in meaningless exhibitions of symbolic rage. It should be obvious which course of action is more effective.

 

 

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not much of a hero. I don’t really enjoy rescuing people who don’t have their stuff together in the midst of a constantly chaotic life. I’d rather just do my thing and not be bothered. That doesn’t mean that I mind helping those in need. There IS a difference.

 

 

Have you ever wondered what the differences are between ice cream, gelato, sorbet, & sherbet?? Well never fear, I am here to educate as well as entertain…..

*Ice cream is made from milk, cream, sugar, & egg yolks. A traditional base consists of tempered egg yolks in milk, cooking the gelatomixture until it develops a thick consistency. It is atleast 10% milk fat and churned at a high speed to create a light and airy texture.

*Gelato (the Italian word for ice cream) has more milk & less cream, and is churned at a much slower speed, resulting in a lower fat content and a creamier texture.

*Sherbet is a fruit-based dessert and typically contains about 1 or 2% milk fat.

*Sorbet is a dairy-free alternative made with fruit juice/purée and sugar.

And now you know. Personally I LOVE gelato but don’t care all that much for sherbet. I’m not sure I’ve ever had sorbet.

 

 

Call me old-fashioned, but I think one should wait until the divorce is final before flaunting a new relationship on social media.

 

 

ojAs predicted FX’s miniseries The People vs. OJ Simpson scored a plethora of Emmy nominations, including acting nods for Cuba Gooding Jr., Sarah Paulson, & Courtney B. Vance. The rest of the nominations indicate just how little television I watch these days. I’ve never seen a single episode of apparently highly regarded shows like Game of Thrones, Better Call Saul, Downton Abbey, Homeland, House of Cards, Mr. Robot, The Americans, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, & Blackish. And I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. I couldn’t possibly care less.

2016 Pigskin Picks of Profundity…..Week 2

cfoot2The NFL season is officially underway, and for the purposes of these picks the timing couldn’t be better. After a stellar opening week schedule the college lineup falls off dramatically, with a gimmicky Tennesee-Virginia Tech matchup at Bristol Motor Speedway getting most of the attention. Despite that fact we’ll forge ahead. Neither of us began the season as well as we’d hoped, with Zach going 2-5 and myself limping to a 4-3 record in Week 1. The trick to all of this is picking the right upsets, and neither of us chose Houston over Oklahoma or Wisconsin over LSU. Both of us did get Texas over Notre Dame right, but that is small comfort in light of the overall results. At any rate, we move forward as the season now gets into full swing. As a summer kind of guy it pains me to admit it, but autumn has arrived. Thankfully football makes the transition much easier.

 

 

 

 

Texas Tech       at      Arizona St. (-3.5)

The Red Raiders are 1-0 after beating up on 1-AA Stephen F. Austin last week, while the Sun Devils began the season with a 4th quarter surge to beat Texas-Tech-260x300small fish Northern Arizona. Virtually nothing can be learned from those wins, so we’re kind of flying blind on this one. This is another one of those late games that I’ll miss because of my job, which makes me want to find a new job. Arizona St. has the home field advantage, but The Voices are telling me to go against the grain and pick the upset. Zach concurs.

My Pick:     Texas Tech

Z’s Pick:     Texas Tech

 

 

Virginia               at      Oregon (-24)

The Cavaliers beat in-state “rival” Richmond in Week 1, while the Ducks knocked the snot out of some school called UC-Davis, which is about 15 miles vacavoutside of Sacramento. Again, no real intel is to be gained from such meaningless games. The interesting thing here is the 3TD+ spread. I am always a bit uncomfortable with such large margins, yet am always impressed by how accurate the oddsmakers tend to be. Oregon will probably win easily, and I am sure it’ll be by about three TDs…but I’m going to roll the dice and say the Virginia will keep it just close enough to cover. Zach agrees because he forsees Oregon having their scrubs in during the second half and taking their foot off the gas.

My Pick:     Virginia

Z’s Pick:     Virginia

 

 

NY Giants          at      Dallas (-1)

Giants LogoThe Cowboys begin life without Tony Romo, atleast for now…although it’s really nothing new since it seems like Romo hasdallas-cowboys-logo2 been injured a lot the last couple of years. The difference this time is that rookie Dak Prescott, a rookie 4th round pick from Mississippi St., is filling in. Whether or not that is a good thing is the unknown factor. Prescott apparently had body parts of Dallas fans all tingly in the pre-season, but we all know that the real thing is much different. The Giants have a new head coach and a lot of unknowns as well, but we do know QB Eli Manning pretty well. He’s decent enough, but he’s no Peyton. Anyway, Dallas has the nominal home field advantage, but it is essentially a pick ‘em. I think the Giants defense will smell blood in the water and give the rookie a memorable welcome to the NFL. Conversely, Zach believes in young Prescott and doesn’t think Romo will be missed all that much.

My Pick:     NY Giants

Z’s Pick:     Dallas

 

 

New England    at      Arizona (-6)

nflarizonacardinalsThe Patriots are without Tom Brady for a few weeks for reasons with which we are all familiar. The Cardinals are a popular Deflated Footballpick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl and they have the home field advantage. I have no doubt that New England will win their division and make a decent run at another title, but I don’t believe that their season will get off to a successful start. Zach, on the other hand, believes that this will come down to coaching and that the Pats will do enough to get the job done.

My Pick:     Arizona

Z’s Pick:     New England

 

 

Cincinnati (-2.5)           at      NY Jets

We may look back at this game a few months from now and realize that it had playoff implications. The Jets probably aren’t winning their division, Cincinnati_Bengals_Helmetbut they should be in the thick of the wildcard conversation when December rolls around. The Bengals might have a little better chance to win their division, but could also be forced to rely on snagging a wildcard spot. I am not enamored with New York’s QB situation. Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t decide to return until the end of July, and Jets’ fans spent the first 2/3 of summer awaiting his decision as if he is the second coming of Johnny Unitas, which is laughable. Meanwhile, Cincinnati has become surprisingly stable. It’s amazing what can happen when half the team isn’t in jail. As much as it pains me to do it I have to pick the favorites. Zach agrees, noting that the Bengals’ defense tips things in their favor.

My Pick:     Cincinnati

Z’s Pick:     Cincinnati