Holiday Ramblings (Tuesday)

We’re not going to do a Nooner this week, for lots of reasons.

The first reason is pretty obvious – it’s the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and not much ever happens during that week. So taking a week off from doing the Nooner while we retool what it’ll look like next year (because the layout and graphics are going to change, and hopefully you guys will see the new look as an improvement).

But second, we’ve gotten some feedback that some of our readers are having trouble getting recent posts on the site to pull up. We’ve got somebody working on that at present and it should be fixed shortly, but in the meantime I’d rather not be pouring a bunch of content on the site and then teasing people with it on the Nooner when they won’t be able to see it. Seems kinda mean.

Third is laziness. I’m brain-dead at this point, and I know Tom is as well (and Oscar is pretty much always that way). We need at least a semi-vacation around here. So putting enough stuff on the site to drive a Nooner every day this week isn’t gonna happen. Time to recharge the batteries a little.

And fourth, I’d rather just do one smorgasbord post a day this week and then go off and pursue recreation. Which is what this post is for today.

So with all that said, I offer this stuff…

1. BREES AND TEBOW

Most of this NFL season the top story has been Tom Tebow and what he’s accomplished since the Broncos let him take over as their starting quarterback. Tebow’s a nice story, but the real shame is that Drew Brees hasn’t gotten his due. That’s probably going to change now that this has happened…

Dan Marino’s record stood for 27 years before Brees broke it last night with a game to go – meaning by the time he’s done Drew will probably have the new mark upwards of 5,400 yards before it’s all said and done.

Will that mark stand for 27 years as Marino’s did? Probably not. After all, Brees himself almost broke it back in 2008, and Tom Brady is on Brees’ heels this year. And with folks like Brady and Aaron Rodgers around, the record isn’t safe. Hell, it’s not even safe from Brees; after all, Jimmy Graham is just getting started as a star receiver in this league and it’s not like the skill players on this team are getting old.

Brees is in contract negotiations with the Saints. They’ll re-sign him; the question is how they can do it without forking so much cash over to him that there isn’t any for his teammates. So if that’s successful he might well be able to take a whack at 5,500 yards. Or even maybe 6,000.

But the thing about this isn’t so much the football accomplishment as the guy who created it.

Back to Tebow – he’s a cultural sensation more than a football one. Tebow isn’t particularly a good quarterback, though over time he may well become one. What he is, though, is a high-character guy and a great leader, and his religiosity contributes mightily to that. The public has picked up on it and that’s part of the buzz he’s generated. Another part of that buzz is a backlash against the same godless-commie media people who exist in sports journalism as they do in the regular press; at a time when Islam is given more deference than Christianity and somehow a creche is a threat to public order at Christmas time, lots of folks are in no mood to put up with criticism of a guy who unapologetically bends his knee and thanks the Lord for his success on the field.

But while Tebow is a cultural sensation, Brees ought to be.

Brees has little to apologize for where spirituality is concerned. He’s a Catholic, placing him within the “acceptable” mainstream of American Christianity, and while he doesn’t affect a devout character to his public persona you can tell by his works off the field – if not by evidence on it – that he’s following the Good Book. Brees is one of the most visible players on the New Orleans charity scene; he’s constantly doing stuff like this…


Tebow, of course, does a great deal of charity work as well – his mentoring of sick kids is outstanding in itself.

The point being that Brees is on the same side of the cultural battle as Tebow is – he’s not some post-modern antihero like the Terrell Owenses or Adrian Petersons who can’t stop saying stupid or offensive things and who fail miserably at being role models for our youth.

But Brees might even be a better role model than Tebow.

Why? Because while Tebow is a good guy who might well become good at his job, Brees is a good guy who is elite at his job. And not only that, Brees has overcome a ton of adversity to end up that way.

The general rule is that if you’re not at least 6’2″, you’re not going to be a good NFL quarterback. Rodgers and Brady are 6’4″, and so is Peyton Manning. Brees is barely 6’0″, if that. He’s overcome it.

He’s also overcome questions about the health of his shoulder, which were the reasons behind the Chargers letting Brees get away as a free agent (they drafted Philip Rivers in 2006 thinking Brees’ future was dim) and the reasons Nick Saban made the stupidest decision of his life in not signing Brees as his quarterback in Miami. Brees ended up a Saint instead, which as it happened was the best thing that could have happened to him since it put him together with Sean Payton in the most prolific quarterback-coach partnership in NFL history.

Brees has also dealt with trouble in his personal life. His mother, with whom he’d become estranged after he chose not to hire her as his agent seven years ago, committed suicide last year. Most people don’t know about that.

He’s overcome. He’s been focused and dedicated to his life’s work, and he’s also enhanced his community. And he’s done it this year amid remarkably little hype. That’s likely to change now that he broke the record, and that’s a good thing. Brees shouldn’t just be the NFL’s Most Valuable Player this year, he ought to get all the Sportsman of the Year accolades as well.

We’re fortunate beyond appreciation to have somebody like this in Louisiana, and he’s an inspiration to all of us to be the best we can be in both our professional lives and within our communities.

2. THE CLERK PUNCHES OUT

And then there’s this…

That’s one busted-up nose, for sure.

It might not have been the smartest thing on earth for the clerk to cold-cock an armed robber, but he’s a hero for having done so.

Criminologists tell us that crime is dropping as a result of there being less males between 15 and 25 around. More folks willing to fight back against criminals might help the crime rate to drop as well – knowing that trying to rob somebody is a good way to get the hell beaten out of you is probably a better deterrent than jail is.

3. BOND HAS IT RIGHT

Love this guy.

Actor Daniel Craig put on a display of straight-talk that might have endeared him to voters had he been on the campaign trail, telling Men’s Journal that politicians are “sh**heads” who “stab you in the f**king back.”

“Politicians are sh*theads,” he said in an interview that appears in the January edition of the magazine, which is on newsstands now. “That’s how they become politicians, even the good ones. We’re actors, we’re artists, we’re very nice to each other. They’ll turn around and stab you in the f**cking back.”

Craig said that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair had done unprecedented outreach to celebrities, but that he had turned off to the idea.

“Tony Blair started it much more than anybody’s ever done. ‘Go and have tea at 10 Downing Street’,” he said. “…You immediately are aligning yourself with a political party.”

The “James Bond” and “Girl With A Dragon Tattoo” actor said that he doesn’t have the grasp of knowledge to articulately speak on politics, unlike fellow actor George Clooney.

“George has his finger on the political pulse, and he’s one of those guys who can get up and talk, and I don’t have that,” Craig said. “If someone shoves a microphone in your face and says, ‘Explain yourself,’ you have to have a 100 percent understanding of why you’re doing it, and unless you’re 100 percent, don’t f**king do it, leave it alone, let your work speak for itself.”

Craig also talks about what’s it’s like to be under a microscope because of his celebrity.

“I’m not a politician – you don’t need to know everything about me, you don’t get to see my tax returns,” he says. “If you sell yourself and give yourself up and share your innermost secrets, don’t be surprised when that bites you in the end.”

I have no particular hope that Craig is a conservative, but anybody who recognizes that politicians generally speaking are an unsavory crowd is assumedly less likely to advocate surrendering wealth and freedom for them to control. But it’s particularly refreshing to see an actor admit “hey, don’t ask me about politics; I don’t know anything about it.”

Haven’t seen The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo yet. But – and this is heresy – I like Craig as Bond as much as I like Sean Connery; he’s got the same bad-ass-hardened-killer persona Connery did, and that’s what James Bond ought to have going for him.

Not to mention Daniel Craig is the guy in Defiance, and that’s a sensational flick. He’s also the lead in Layer Cake, which is one of the best movies you’ve never heard of.

4. FINALLY, WE HAVE THIS…

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