Archive for November, 2019

First off, let’s get this out of the way – I don’t like Pumpkin Pie. Never will, and you can’t make me. For this I am resolute and unapologetic. Also, and this may be shocking to many, I’m not crazy about turkey. That said, there are many a Thanksgiving dish I do savor, hence my 2019 Thanksgiving Dinner Power Rankings. Remember kids, before you get all up in arms and whatnot these are simply my personal preferences, so chillax. I also realize some of these are actually sides and not traditional Thanksgiving fare but it’s my website so I can do what I want. Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up . . .

10. Honey Glazed Ham

Big ham guy here, but it has to be honey glazed. Nothing like a good glazin’ of honey, amirite? Scrumptious.

9. Garlic Butter Cheesy Crescent Rolls

Yep. And butter those suckers up like a boss. Can’t have too much butter, heart attacks be damned.

8. Baklava

Can a Greek dish like Baklava be considered a Thanksgiving dish? Damn straight it can, because it’s delicious. Love that flaky phyllo pastry, man.

7. Oyster Stuffing

I know, I know. I don’t like turkey but I like stuffing. I’m a complex individual. Deal with it. PS- Must use Old Bay in the recipe. I learned this from someone who can actually cook.

6. Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Love. It. Something about that garlic and parmesan mix that I love. On a related note, I can’t handle chunky mashed potatoes. Blech.

5. Deviled Eggs

My sister Sara makes some killer deviled eggs that are unsurpassed. A holiday staple.

4. Sausage Rolls with Worcestershire Sauce

So damn good. Heaven with a touch of tangy crispiness.

3. Garlic Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms

Aw man. Add some cream cheese, black pepper and some other stuff and go to town on those bad boys. T-a-s-t-y.

2. Bacon Wrapped Spicy Meatballs

Let’s see . . . spicy? Check. Meatballs? Check. Bacon? Hell yes. Gimme those small ones that you pick up with a toothpick and I may down 20 in a single sitting.

And #1 is  . . . Sharp Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese 

Because of course it is. To not like Mac ‘n’ Cheese is downright un-American, man. I’m a bit of a cheese snob, and I’ll take freshly grated cheese over packaged grated cheese all day, every way. Anywho, you simply can’t go wrong with this cheesy bowl of goodness.

Aaaand I’ve made myself hungry again. Catch y’all later.

Can’t argue with Ohio. Love me some stuffed mushrooms, man. This is according to Google.

 

Good list, good list. I can’t really complain. EXCEPT, I’d like to have seen the one I posted below the first video included.

Uh, yeah. This one. Wait for #1.

Bill Walton was my favorite college basketball player ever, period. In the 1973 National Championship game he went 21 for 22 from the field enroute to scoring 44-points as UCLA beat Memphis State 87-66 for its seventh consecutive title and 75th win in a row. Unreal. He was also amazing in the pros until injuries cut his career short. In the 1977 NBA Finals he had 20 points and 23 rebounds in the clinching Game 6 victory. In the Finals, Walton averaged 18.5 points, 19.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.0 steals and 3.7 blocks. Walton was named the 1977 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player. That said, he is now known as a bit of a flake, for good reason. Check out Bill in all his glorious zaniness below:

Click here for the recipe. Thank you and goodnight.

PS- You’re welcome.

Over the past few years I’ve posted some of my thoughts regarding coaching, so since basketball season is ready to commence I thought I’d combine them into one compilation. Remember that these are just my personal opinions and nothing more.

THE TRUTH ABOUT COACHING

When I first began coaching over 30-years ago, a lot was different.coaching-1

Everything was sort of black and white for me then, and there has since been a lot more grays. How did that happen? Experience, I guess.

I’ve always loved kids, ever since the first day I set foot in that classroom at Greenfield Middle School back in 1984. Not once did I regret the profession I chose. But teaching and coaching, although similar in a lot of ways, can also be very different. Students are there because the have to be, players are there largely because they want to be.

You have to encourage kids in both the classroom and on the basketball court, and you have to push them as well. However, coaching takes place in a much more public forum.

In the beginning, I’m sure part of the reason I coached was ego driven. It was a way to replace my playing days, a way to compete in front of a crowd. There was that initial thrill of working the sidelines as the fans cheered for your team.

Over time, that changes.

I learned the game from a lot of old school, in-your-face style coaches, great coaches like Rick VanMatre at Greenfield McClain, Gary Williams at the University of Maryland and Bob Huggins at the University of Cincinnati and now West Virginia. By the way, I just checked and those three have a winning percentage of almost .700. That’s 7 of every 10 games they coached. Pretty damn good. I’m not nearly the coach any of those guys are, not by a long shot, but I’ve sure learned a lot from all of them.

You know one of the most important things I learned in my 30+ years of coaching? It’s that kids can handle anything if they know you care about them. Seems simple but it’s true. If they know you love them they don’t take the criticism personally. They know you’re trying to help them.

Quick note – People aren’t completely rational when their relatives are involved, and they shouldn’t be. You can’t take it personally when mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles criticize you. Love is blind, man, and it’s OK.

And as a young coach, if you feel like you’re going through a bad time or being criticized unjustly, go talk to another coach. They’ll top your story every time. We’ve all been there, buddy. Many times. It’s all a part of the game, and it’s all a part of coaching.

I’ve seen guys who thought they wanted to coach start and not last more than a few years, mainly because of the pressures that come with the job.

Of the 33-years I coached, only 13 of them were as a high school basketball coach. I spent time as a coach at the Junior High, JV, Little League, and AAU levels. I’ve also spent a zillion hours as a college camp coach and scout, and I’ve been the international coach of a team from the Caribbean on the beautiful island called Montserrat.

And as coaching has brought me to all these places, to college campuses and incredibly exotic locations like the one in the Caribbean, I’ve also seen the game save lives. I’ve seen basketball take kids from the inner-city to the bright lights, and I’ve seen it literally give young players a reason to live.

That’s not an exaggeration, believe me. I’ve seen basketball save lives.

Being allowed to coach is a gift, one of the greatest you can be given. And you know why? Because as great as all the wins are (and I’ve been on both sides, believe me), that’s not what ultimately makes it all worthwhile.

Ultimately, it’s about relationships.

It’s about developing relationships with your players, because that’s what lasts and that’s what matters. Sure, you remember the big wins, the upsets where you won a big game you weren’t supposed to win. You remember those trips to The Convo, the ultimate goal for teams from our area. But what is lasting, what is important, are the relationships. In comparison, the victories don’t mean so much.

Not really.

I’ve loved every player I ever coached, and I hope they know that. How could I not after everything I put them through? How could I not after they stuck with me through it all, through the tough practices, through the blood and sweat and tears, through all the wins and the losses?

Think about it. What would bring you more satisfaction and fulfillment, winning a District Championship or having a former player ask you to be the Godfather to his son?

No contest, man. And it’s not even close.

SOME THOUGHTS ON COACHING

I’ve been a coach for over 30-years now and have experienced just about everything the game can throw at you, a lot of it good and a little of it bad. Honestly, I’d say that my experiences in coaching have been 99.9% positive and I mean that sincerely.

And if I’ve said this once I’ve said it a thousand times: Since I began coaching, kids haven’t changed. Not a bit. However, something has changed, and that is parenting.

Years ago parents let the teacher or coach make decisions and they backed them nearly 100% of the time. Today? Not so much. A lot of parents want to jump in and save their child from any type of adversity, not understanding that letting their kid deal with most of their problems on his/her own is what builds character.

NEWSFLASH: Mom won’t be there to save you when you’re 28-years old and your boss rips you for being late for work. Then again, I’m guessing a lot of these kids will still be living at home, so maybe she’ll try.

But hey, I’ve been lucky enough to have some unbelievably great, supportive parents over the years and I appreciate them more than they’ll ever know. The parents I’ve had since I’ve returned to high school coaching a few years ago have been remarkably supportive. Over the years, however, there have been a few . . .

One year I had a mom rip into me after a game, infuriated that I wouldn’t let her son shoot 3-pointers. Then the following conversation ensued:

Mom: “Why won’t you let Billy shoot the ball! He’s open all the time! Let him shoot it!”

Me: “Uh, you know why he’s open, right? The other team wants him to shoot it.”

Yeah, that didn’t go over too well. When irrational people are faced with logic it’s sometimes hard for them to handle, trust me.

One year I had a parent tell me that I played favorites, and she was a little surprised when I agreed with her 100%.

“You mean you admit to playing favorites?”

“Of course. It’s my job to pick my favorites. And my favorites are the guys who work the hardest and smartest and do what I ask them to do. My favorites are the players that can help us be the most successful.”

Trust me, I’ve rarely known a coach that didn’t put the guys that he thought were his best players on the floor. Most coaches wouldn’t play their own son if they had better players to put out there. To think otherwise is ridiculous.

Another common refrain I’ve heard over the years is this:

“Tommy’s thinking about quitting. He’s not having fun.”

Sigh. Listen up, folks. As Coach Norman Dale said in the movie Hoosiers:

“My practices aren’t designed for your enjoyment.”

Amen.

See, the fun part comes when your hard work pays off and you winThat’s the fun part. Oh, you can have a little fun at practice but if that’s all you do you’ll never achieve that ultimate satisfaction. Oh sure, practice will be fun, but when you play an actual game? Not so much.

That’s not too hard to understand now, is it?

I always tell my guys that you can’t take anything I say personally at practice or games. I may be angry at the way you’re playing, but I’m not angry at you. I love my players. How could I not after the way I push and prod them while they hang in there, listen, and keep working towards getting better?

Players almost always get it. Parents usually do, but not always.

So thanks to those parents who understand, those who know that most coaches really do have their player’s best interests at heart, and that we really do care about them.

Because we do. Promise.

A FEW (MORE) THOUGHTS ON COACHING

Over the years I’ve written a few articles about coaching and my opinions and outlook on various aspects of it. Among these were two called The Truth About Coaching and Some Thoughts On Coaching.

As many of you know I’m not coaching this year so I’ve had the opportunity to watch games and practices all over Southern Ohio, and as I watch thoughts inevitably come to mind. When that happens I jot down some notes with the idea that when I gathered enough I’d publish another article.

Keep in mind I’m not critiquing any coach in particular, and just because I believe what you’re about to read doesn’t mean it’s necessarily correct.

It’s just my personal opinion, kids. Chillax.

Bottom line, times have changed and kids have changed. Actually, parenting has changed and as a result kids have changed. It’s w-a-a-a-y different than it was when I began coaching all the way back in the Fall of 1983. If I tried to coach in 2015 the way I coached in 1991 I wouldn’t have lasted as long as I did, trust me.

As I’ve said many times before on this site and when I speak to teams, coaching is about relationships. That’s always been the case to some extent but it’s exponentially more important today. There has to be some sort of a relationship between player and coach. Your players have to believe in you. As Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, “Coaching is 90% creating an environment and 10% strategy.”

That is 100% true.

Some coaches believe that showing compassion for their players is a sign of weakness, as if they’re giving up some essential part of their power as leader of the team. The fact is that yelling and berating without compassion will get old really quickly with today’s athlete, and at some point the coach will lose the team.

The ironic part of all this, of course, is that if your players know you love them you can yell at them all you want because they know you’re coming from a good place.

So showing compassion is not a weakness, but a strength.

Another thing I’ve noticed while attending games is that coaches, especially at the smaller schools, are successful when they adjust to their talent. Some coaches have their “systems” or style they like and expect their players to fit into it regardless. Here’s the deal – you can’t recruit players at a small school.  So, you have to adjust and run an offense and defense that fits your team’s abilities and strengths.

Over my last 4-years of coaching I had a very talented 6′-11″, 305 pound center. It wouldn’t have been real bright of me to run a fast break and beat him down the floor just because I liked a running style, right? Therefore we mostly (but not always) walked it up and ran our offense through him. Defensively we mostly played a zone where we kept our big man guarding the rim while our guards got out and pressured the perimeter. Hey, you have the luxury of getting out and pressuring when you have a rim protector backing you up.

My point is that just because you, as a coach, like running and pressing doesn’t mean you can – set your ego aside and do what works best for your team.

And that whole “hey, we do what we do and don’t worry about our opponents” argument is about as dumb as it gets. Of course you have to adjust to your opponents. To not is a path to failure.

College, and some high schools, are different because you can recruit or have the numbers to pick and choose your team. At small schools that’s just not possible,

Collegiately it can go both ways. A coach like Bob Huggins at West Virginia or Jim Boeheim at Syracuse recruit their players to fit their system. Same for the majority of college coaches. On the other hand, guys at the really elite programs like Coach K at Duke, Coach Cal at Kentucky or Coach Self at Kansas grab the best players available and adjust their offense and defense accordingly.

But at small high schools? As I mentioned, you have to set your ego and your favorite style aside and play the hand your dealt.

And hell, there are a thousand different ways to coach. Bobby Knight and Jim Valvano were as opposite as night and day but both won National Championships. Be yourself, man.

Finally, if there’s one thing I learned over the years it’s that the best coaches never, ever stop learning. The day you think you know everything is the day to quit. The game, and the players, are constantly changing and coaches have to change with it.

If you don’t, the game will soon pass you by.

PS- As I’ve mentioned before, many of the basic philosophies of coaching – developing relationships, being able to communicate, and more – apply to teaching as well as coaching. They’re closely related.

PPS- One more thing. Team success depends on many variables like team chemistry, injuries, players getting sick, interfering administrators, etc. Bottom line, they’re all a part of sports. Using them as an excuse will only give your team an excuse to fail. As the great Bill Parcells once said, “You are what your record says you are.” 

Magical, really.

So noted pompous asshat Elon Musk unveiled his new bulletproof Tesla Cybertruck yesterday and it didn’t go well. It looks like something a 3rd grader would draw, I know of no self-respecting driver of trucks who would be seen in this monstrosity, and, uh, it ain’t bulletproof. Check it out.

Can’t you just picture a farmer you know pulling up to the local diner in this beauty?

Thank you and goodnight.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup graham crackers crumbs
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • cups white chocolate, melted
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • sprinkles for garnish
Instructions
  1. Line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, graham cracker crumbs, maple syrup and salt. Using a whisk or hand mixer, mix ingredients until smooth and fully incorporated.

  2. Using a small cookie scoop, form mixture into balls and place on prepared baking sheet.

  3. In a medium bowl, combine melted white chocolate and coconut oil and stir until smooth. Dip peanut butter balls in white chocolate and place on cooling rack (excess chocolate will drop off).

  4. Top with sprinkles, then refrigerate until set, about 10 minutes.

A man by the name of Cody Bondarchuk has posted the following on the Twitter machine:

From Cody Bondarchuk’s Twitter account:

Cody Bondarchuk
@codybondarchuk
“I worked at McDonald’s for two and a half years and I put 11 nuggets in almost every 10-piece I ever made.”

7:27 PM · Nov 15, 2019Twitter for iPhone

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new American hero and his name is Cody Bondarchuk. 11-McNuggets per order over a  2 1/2 year period adds up to about $1,600 worth of McNuggets that this Man-God has bestowed upon humanity. I can think of few other humans who have given back to the community like Cody Bondarchuk has. God bless you my man. God bless you.

Interesting.

For readers of Shoe: Untied that are from areas other than Southern Ohio, the mascot of the local school where I taught and coached for many years is a Bearcat. I actually wrote about our mascot in a blog entitled The Origin of the Bearcats and the Black & Gold. However, do any of you know what a Bearcat actually is? Let’s take a gander . . .

An actual Bearcat is a glorious creature. It has a body like a small bear and a tail like a monkey, not even kidding. It’s scientific name is Binturong, which is cool but not nearly as cool as Bearcat. They have long, low, stocky bodies covered with coarse, shaggy black fur tipped in gray, so they sometimes appear speckled. Long ear tufts protrude from their small, rounded ears. Just look at that guy on the right. Their faces have slightly lighter fur and stiff, white whiskers that can reach up to 8-inches long. They grow to be about 6-feet long including the tail and weigh between 25 and 50 pounds.

Binturongs live in the dense tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia and are not often spotted in the wild. They’re currently classified as vulnerable, with populations declining more than 30% over the past 30 years. The main threats to binturongs are habitat destruction, hunting, and the wildlife trade, and that’s just sad. Save the Binturong, man!

Their secretive nature has kept many aspects of their behavior hidden until recently, but my crack staff here at Shoe: Untied has unearthed some fascinating nuggets for your perusal. Read on for my list of facts that make the Bearcats a weird, awesome and wonderful animal . . .

1. Although the Binturong is also known as the Bearcat, it’s not closely related to bears or cats. The Binturong belongs to the Viverridae family, an ancient group of small to medium sized mammals found only in the eastern hemisphere. A bunch of them live in Vietnam.

2. The meaning of the word Binturong is unknown. The language it was derived from is now extinct. That means it goes waaaaay back.

3. Binturongs are in the order Carnivora, but they mostly eat fruit. In the wild, they eat a varied diet which can include carrion, eggs, plant shoots and leaves, small invertebrates, fish, birds, small mammals, and fruits like the strangler fig. In captivity, a Binturong could enjoy dog food, leaf-eater biscuits, ground meat, carrots, yams, tomatoes, apples, bananas, and their favorite, grapes.

4. They smell like buttered popcorn. True story. Like other members of the Viverridae family, the Binturong has scent glands, which are located just under its tail. As it moves about, the Binturong drags its tail, marking branches and foliage in its territory. To humans, the smell is reminiscent of buttered popcorn, but to other Binturongs it communicates that the area is occupied and they should move along. It can also help male and female Binturongs find each other when they want to mate. Cool.

5. Binturongs make lots of noises to communicate. A happy Binturong will chuckle (seriously), but an irritated one will utter a high-pitched wail or growl fiercely, sort of like Monica, a girl I dated in college. On the prowl, it may periodically produce a series of low grunts or a hissing sound made by expelling air through its partially opened lips, also reminiscent of Monica. A female Binturong in the mood for love will purr. Again . . . never mind.

6. Binturongs live high in the forest canopy and rarely come down to the ground. They are excellent climbers, moving slowly and cautiously through tree branches, aided by strong feet with semi-retractable claws. Their hind legs can even rotate backwards so their claws still have a good grip when climbing down a tree head-first. Due to their large size, Binturongs cannot leap between trees; they must climb down to the ground to move from one tree to another. Binturongs even sleep high in tree branches, curling up with their heads tucked under their tails.

7. They have prehensile tails. The Binturong is the only Old World mammal and one of only two carnivores (the other is the kinkajou) with a prehensile tail. Its tail is almost as long as its body and acts like another limb when climbing. At the tip of the tail is a leathery patch for extra traction when gripping branches. The binturong’s tail might be its most important climbing tool. Even when sleeping, its tail is anchored securely around a branch.

8. They walk like bears. Binturongs walk flat-footed, like bears and you and I. This results in an ambling, side-to-side gait. A strut if you will. Bearcats are cool.

9. Females can delay implantation of an embryo. Binturongs mate throughout the year, yet most births occur between January and March. Scientists think this means Binturongs are one of the approximately 100 mammal species capable of delayed implantation. Say whu-u-u-u-u-t? This allows them to mate whenever they encounter a male, but time the birth of their young to a season with favorable environmental conditions. Bearcats can control when they give birth. That’s wild, man.

10. Binturongs have a special relationship with the strangler fig. Binturongs play an important role in their rainforest habitats by spreading the seeds from the fruits they eat in their droppings. This is especially true for seeds of the strangler fig, which cannot germinate without assistance. The Binturong is one of only two known animals with digestive enzymes capable of softening the tough outer covering of the fig’s seeds. This special relationship makes the Binturong a keystone species in the rainforest ecosystem.

And finally, get this – Bearcats have 5 toes. This means all those paws you see on our school’s walls, shirts and other logos are wrong. The paw prints actually look this:

We need to fix this. It’s not too late, people!

Check out that Chevrotain, man. Just as cute as a button. They’re also known as a Mouse-Deer, which is adorable as hell. The Chevrotain is so elusive that scientists had long feared it was extinct after none had been photographed for decades. But as The Washington Post reports, the first images taken of the mammal in nearly 30-years prove that the species is still alive in the woods of Vietnam. The little guy is about the same size as a rabbit and is the smallest hoofed animal on Earth. Long live the Mouse-Deer, man. Anywho, Chevrotain.

Check it out, man. The greenhouse keeps the regular house at a comfortable 60 degrees year-around. And during the warmest parts of the summer, the glass roof automatically opens up when it hits a certain temperature to let the heat out so it doesn’t get too hot. Since they built a glass ceiling, they no longer needed a roof. So, they removed it to create a large deck for sunbathing, reading, gardening, entertaining with friends, or just hanging out. Plus, they grow all the food they need right there in the greenhouse. As if having free heat wasn’t enough, the owners have also installed a rainwater collection system for free water and a composting toilet system that provides free fertilizer for their plants. Also, the plants that thrive in their home return the favor by cleaning the air and providing more oxygen.

Genius!

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ARBY’S APOLOGIZES FOR “SHOCKING” SIGN

When Christine Hemsworth brought her children to a local Arby’s for dinner, she was shocked to discover that some of her little ones might not always be welcome at the family friendly chain.

On Oct. 6, Hemsworth stopped by the meaty sandwich chain for a bite to eat with three of her kids, one of whom is a toddler, she told TODAY Food. Hemsworth, who is from Princeton, Minnesota, visited an Arby’s in the neighboring town of Elk River, which is about 20 minutes away. As she was entering, she saw a surprising notice posted to the door.

“Only well behaved Children who can keep their food on their trays and their bottoms on their seats are welcome. If you can’t do this you will be asked to leave,” the sign read.

“I’m not a complainer — I’m really not,” she told TODAY. “But this just didn’t sit well with me. The manager could have addressed the message to people individually, not assigned it to the general public.”

That night, Hemsworth posted the story to her Facebook page and by 9 a.m. the next morning it had garnered about 330 shares. She then deleted it.

After learning of the franchise’s actions, Arby’s issued a statement apologizing: “We recognize the language on this sign was insensitive. We removed it quickly, and have disciplined the manager and team working at the restaurant. It does not reflect our company values and the family-friendly environment we aim to provide in all of our restaurants.”.

Just one quick question – WHAT IS THE PROBLEM HERE? This is “shocking”? “Insensitive”? I’m dyin’ over here. So it’s too much to ask to keep your kids in their seats and not running around like hooligans while you’re trying to enjoy your delicious Smokehouse Brisket and Loaded Curly Fries? Good Lord, man. I know Arby’s isn’t exactly fine dining but people shouldn’t expect to be hounded by demon urchins from hell whilst supping either. Gimme a break, man. Lighten’ up America!

PS- It’s so sad that Arby’s backed down so quickly and apologized. Feel free to let your children have food fights and act disrespectfully everyone! Here’s a preview!

Dave Grohl, the greatest rock star alive, went on The Street recently and proceeded to burn the neighborhood down with a song that was quite possibly the greatest ever written. With Elmo and Big Bird helping Dave on vocals, this beat will have you repeating that chorus for days. Listen to this burner and try not to tap your foot. You can’t.  Truly a rock classic.

PS- Elmo is shredding on the axe, man. And Big Bird is playing a tamborine the size of an extra latge pizza.

I was talking to a friend recently about my fascination with abandoned places. I’ve alway been interested in them. Even as a little kid I’d stare at old farmhouses, trees growing up around and through them, forgotten in the mists of time. At one time these places were built with a pupose and possibly love, and for whatever reason they were just left to rot, untouched and unsaved. I always wondered why that happened. Anyway, here are 30 photos of places that were, for whatever reason, abandoned. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

PS – I’ve posted a couple of these before, but they’re worth a repost.

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Yeah, I probably disagree with about half of these. I realize that “iconic” doesn’t mean “best” but come on. In my opinion they were about 3 for 10 in the 90s. Still, a fun video. Enjoy and give me your thoughts.

No biggie, just a Beluga Whale playing fetch like the damn family Golden Retriever. Now explain to me how this doesn’t require reasoning and rational thought. Anyhoo, that’s a Beluga Whale playing fetch, kids.

Sometimes the narrator makes a video substantially better. This is one such video.

Good boy Monster. Good boy.

Oh for the love of God this is all we need right now, a Man-Fish swimming around in China. And if there’s one there’s more, kids. That’s just science. What’s next? Pig-Faced Chimpanzees? Horse-Faced Gerbils? The mind reels, man. If I was swimming and that Koi-Beast rolled up beside me I’d die on the spot. Holy Hell that’s horrifying.

PS- Don’t tell me those are just markings on that fish. That’s a damn demon face and you know it.

PPS- China’s been on a roll lately, amirite? Must be the a nuclear plant leak or something over there.

Are you kidding me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Do the Japanese know how to hold a Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament or do they not? Holy Hello Kitty man, this video gave me chills. This tournament makes the Super Bowl or March Madness look like a chess tournament. I’m telling you that you could cut the tension with a knife pair of scissors. The Japanese, man. Producing spectacles like you read about.

PS- My crack staff here at Shoe: Untied did some research and found that these competitors are treated like rock stars in Japan, as they should be.

Yep. There they are.

Newsweek: A colony of up to 1-million Cannibal Ants trapped in a nuclear bunker for years have escaped, scientists in Poland have said.

The ants, which had no food source other than their dead nestmates, were first discovered in 2013 were found to be solely made up of worker ants meaning they could not reproduce—how their numbers grew so large was a mystery.

The team, led by Wojciech Czechowski, from the Museum and Institute of Zoology and the Polish Academy of Sciences, were carrying out a survey of bats living in an abandoned Soviet nuclear bunker when they came across the wood ants living in an ammunition bunker where nuclear weapons were once kept. The ants had no access to the outside world and appeared to have come from a nest above that was positioned over a ventilation pipe. When the ants fell down the pipe, they were entombed in the bunker.

However, after returning to the site two years later, scientists found the colony was not only still there, but that it had grown in numbers. This was despite there being no obvious food source, no heat and no light. A population estimate suggested there were at least 1-million ants living in the bunker.

In 2016, scientists found the colony was still there and the team set out to analyze its behavior. They installed a boardwalk that led to another ventilation pipe that the ants could use to escape the bunker. A year later, they returned to the site to find the colony had almost completely vanished. The team inspected the corpses that had been left behind and found bite marks and holes, mostly in the abdomen. This, they said, was evidence that the ants were eating their deceased nestmates in order to survive.

As far as I’m concerned Wojciech Czechowski of the Museum and Institute of Zoology and the Polish Academy of Sciences can go straight to hell. “Hey, check it out! A million Cannibal Ants trapped in a bunker! Let’s let them out!” Good God man. You had them right where you wanted them. Shoulda taken a flamethrower to those cannibals and called it a day. But nooooo. Now those things are going to spread from Poland to lay waste to Germany, swarm France, make one of those cool ant Living Rafts and land in Virginia Beach by New Year’s. Bottom line we’re all doomed thanks to our boy Wojciech. Sad really. Enjoy your next 7-weeks everyone. Happy Holidays!

This was a tough one. There have been so many great sports movies. That said, I whittled my list to 18, with several Honorable Mentions. Let us proceed . . .

Brian’s Song – I absolutely loved this TV movie, and I vividly recall watching it with my father in our living room back in 1971. When Billy Dee Williams (as Gale Sayers) made that speech I was in tears. Great, great movie. Factoid: Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo were the first interracial teammates in the history of the National Football League.

Caddyshack

Well der. Of course Caddyshack makes the list. Here’s my favorite scene. Anyone who’s ever played golf has beard this epic line when trying to make a big putt. “Noonan!”

Breaking Away

A largely forgotten classic. It’s an amazing little movie about a bike race in Indiana. Here’s the climactic finale. Victory for the Cutters!

When We Were Kings

When We Were Kings is a 1996 Oscar-winning documentary film about the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” heavyweight championship match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. The fight was held in Zaire in 1974. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, and for good reason. Ali was incredible. Here’s the trailer:

 

Field of Dreams

Just a mystical, dream-like movie. One of a kind really. My favorite favorite quote was from Archie Graham: “We just don’t recognize life’s most significant moments while they’re happening. Back then I thought, ‘Well, there’ll be other days’. I didn’t realize that that was the only day.”

Miracle

Ah, the film about the greatest upset in the history of sports, the USA hockey team’s victory over the mighty U.S.S.R. A highlight was Coach Herb Brooks and his pregame speech, delivered by Kurt Russell. It still gives me chills.

 

The Longest Yard (1974)

In my opinion the original was much better than the recent Adam Sandler remake. Hey, it had Burt Reynolds, what more could you ask for?

 

Rudy

Yeah, yeah, he may have been offsides on that play. I don’t care. When Rudy gets in that game after years of paying his dues it brings a tear to my eye every damn time. Every. Damn. Time.

The Karate Kid

“Sweep the leg.” Yeah, we all thought Danny LaRusso was finished when Johnny Lawrence just about broke his leg. Not so fast, Cobra Kai . . .

 

Happy Gilmore

Any movie that has Adam Sandler getting pummeled by Bob Barker is alright by me. “The price is wrong, bitch.”

The Sandlot

Just an All-American classic that gave us the line, “You’re killin’ me Smalls.” Love it.

Secretariat

If this final scene doesn’t get to you you have no heart.

“It’s impossible. No horse can take this pace.” 

“Let him run, Ronnie. LET HIM RUN!”

We Are Marshall

The incredible movie about the plane crash that took the lives of every Marshall football player and coach on the team in 1970. The administration didn’t want to continue the program, but the students did. This is one helluva scene:

Rocky

I couldn’t have a list of favorite sports movies without Rocky, now could I? “Adrian! ADRIAN!”

Bonus video from Rocky II when Adrian wakes up. “Win.”

 

Hoosiers

My favorite sports movie, hands down. Based on a true story, it’s about the time Indiana’s tiny Hickory High knocked off giant Muncie Central in the State Championship game thanks to a last second shot by Jimmy Chitwood. Best line? “I’ll make it.”

Teen Wolf

Well, der. A wolfman playing basketball? Sure. Warning: Contains some of the worst basketball playing these eyes have seen.

Major League

With Charlie Sheen as Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn, this movie was destined for greatness. Behold . . .

Honorable Mention:

Eight Men Out, He Got Game, The Replacements, Remember the Titans, Bang the Drum Slowly, The Natural, Raging Bull, Any Given Sunday, Tin Cup, The Wrestler, Pride of the Yankees, Ali, Invincible, Coach Carter, Blue Chips, Slap Shot, White Men Can’t Jump, Friday Night Lights, Foxcatcher, Chariots of Fire, Seabiscuit, Bull Durham, Hoop Dreams


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