The Juice

get it out of my head

It was oddly unsettling. When I was traveling across New York State, anticipating the April 8 eclipse with my best friend from college, the subject of O J Simpson, The Juice, came up.

I could not remember why, but MAK noted that he had seen a boxy white vehicle that perhaps reminded him of a Ford Bronco involved in the slow-speed highway chase after Simpson was supposed to surrender to police.

So he asked if Simpson was out of jail. I was fairly sure that he was, which proved to be accurate. He was “released from prison in 2017 after serving about nine years of a 33-year sentence for a kidnapping and armed robbery in Las Vegas.”

As I noted, in 2016, I watched O.J.: Made in America,  “a sprawling five-part documentary on the cable sports network ESPN,” which I still recommend. It’s still on ESPN and available on other platforms as well.

After I watched the series, I  wrote: ” I concluded that 1) O.J. likely did the murders but that 2) the prosecution did not make its case due to the tremendous efforts of the defense team and some of the rulings of Judge Lance Ito.” The most angry I ever saw a mild-manned work colleague was when the not guilty verdict, watched by an estimated 95 million people, was announced.

So it was weird that a person whom I hadn’t even thought about in over six years until that trip died four days later of prostate cancer, the same disease that killed my father and which basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is currently fighting. 

Who are we?

On the trip, I said that the murder trial told a lot about America in terms of race, celebrity, media, and the justice system. Interestingly, Med Page Today touched on some of those in its story: “The public was mesmerized by his ‘trial of the century’ on live TV. His case sparked debates on race, gender, domestic abuse, celebrity justice, and police misconduct.”

Of course, there were countless comments after Simpson’s death. Caitlyn Jenner, “who married Kris Jenner shortly after the Kardashian matriarch’s divorce from Robert Kardashian, who was Simpson’s defense attorney during the murder trial, was among the first to react on social media. ‘Good Riddance #OJSimpson,’ she tweeted.”

I was more interested in the response by Ron Goldman’s family. They called Simpson’s death “a mixed bag of complicated emotions” tied to the civil case Nicole Brown Simpson and Goldman’s families filed in part to direct the proceeds of Simpson’s sort of confessional, If I Did It. They did not receive all they were due in the judgment. And the executor of Simpson’s willl says he’ll ‘do everything’ to ensure Goldman family gets ‘zero’ from the estate.

I’ve now purged the topic from my head. Probably. 

Rooting interest for Super Bowl LVIII

At Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas

I’m gauging my rooting interest for Super Bowl LVIII. Now that the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions are not in contention, I have to recalibrate.


For the NFC, there’s the San Francisco 49ers. The team has won five Super Bowls. But they’ve won none since the end of the 1994 season, losing after 2012 and 2019, the latter to the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-20. If the 49ers win, they’ll tie the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots with six.  I liked the team in the Joe Montana and Steve Young years.


My parents visited San Francisco in the late 1960s for my father’s business trip, which they enjoyed, in no small part because of this incident.   My sister Leslie and I went there in the late 1980s and enjoyed the place. And my favorite baseball player was stationed in centerfield there for several years.


For the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs have been in the Super Bowl for four of the last five years, winning two after 2019 and 2022,  so they are the reigning champions after beating the Philadelphia Eagles, 38-35.

My singular pull toward the Chiefs involves the guano-crazy theories about a billionaire singer dating a Chiefs player.


“Theories about Ms. Swift are prevalent online, but suggestions about what her political motivations are, in terms of her relationship with the N.F.L., were promoted last month by the Fox News political commentator Jesse Watters.


“‘Have you ever wondered why or how she blew up like this?’ Mr. Watters said during a broadcast. ‘Well, around four years ago, the Pentagon psychological operations unit floated turning Taylor Swift into an asset during a NATO meeting.'”


From Newsnation: “On Newsmax, a conservative news network, one host took the Taylor Swift chatter to the level of obsession, decrying what he termed the ‘idolatry’ surrounding her and claiming it is sinful. Meanwhile, on One America News Network, host Alison Steinberg labeled Swift’s relationship with [Travis] Kelce a psychological operation (psyop), characterizing the entire spectacle as ‘bread and circuses on steroids.'”


The Hill notes: “Vivek Ramaswamy, a former presidential candidate who has thrown his support behind Trump, is perhaps the most high-profile Republican to go after the singer so far, stoking theories that the NFL is rigging football games for Swift’s Kansas City beau as Democrats look for her endorsement.” Former Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus called such talk “a powder keg of stupidity.”
Yes, there are TS experts.

On Politico, Swift expert Brian Donovan explains in detail why the political right is targeting a rich, heteronormative pop star. “I think there is a cyclical reaction happening where we saw with the Barbie movie and with the Eras Tour, a kind of woman-centered cultural aesthetic take hold of the American imagination. And I think there’s a ton of backlash to that driven by real basic sexism and misogyny…


“I think what irritates conservatives the most is that this attractive, talented, wholesome, white, successful, Christian, self-made billionaire woman is somehow not on their side. I guess that’s because she is also intelligent.”


Oh, and she just made Grammy history with her fourth Album of the Year win. Maybe George Soros arranged that.


So my loyalties are split. Root for the team that hasn’t won the Super Bowl in three decades, or hope the other team wins and watch a certain segment of the population go insane.

Documentary review: Kelce

New Heights

After I had read that Philadelphia Eagles and NFL All-Pro center Jason Kelce was contemplating retiring from (American) football after the 2023-2024 season, I watched the Amazon film Kelce. It has become the most-watched documentary on Prime Video.

“Jason Kelce started documenting what he thought was his final year in the NFL “(2022-2023). “Instead, the film intimately captures the most epic year in Jason and Travis’s life.”

The viewer gets a detailed view of Jason’s life. His wife, Kylie, tells about their online meeting and strange first date.

During the offseason, Jason notes how beat up his body was. When he was a young man, his body bounced back quickly. Still, as an old man of 35 or so, with numerous broken and bruised body parts, he wonders whether he can recover well enough to play the game at an elite level.

And he is being paid a lot of money, an estimated $14 million in his 12th season, more than any offensive lineman in the NFL. Jason and Kylie have two young daughters, and he wants to be physically able to play with them. Then Kylie discovers she’s pregnant with their third child, due about two weeks after the Super Bowl.

What will Jason do if he retires? Real estate, farming? He asks some retired Eagles brethren, some of whom thrived while others struggled to find something nearly as rewarding.

Then, the brothers were offered the opportunity to “host the popular New Heights podcast with high-profile sponsors.” Jason has also appeared in various commercials.


Travis said something his older brother thought was BS, that once you win the Super Bowl and then lose the big game, your desire to win it again becomes even greater. Jason and the Eagles won the February 2018 matchup with the New England Patriots, 41-33. Travis and his Kansas City Chiefs beat the 49ers 31-20 in February 2020 but, a year later, fell to the Tampa Bay Bucs 31-9.

The Eagles and the Chiefs met at the Super Bowl in February 2023. This matchup, brother versus brother, made their mom, Donna, an instant celebrity. The movie was more interesting than I expected, given that the outcome of that last game was well-known.

Things that bug me a little

very LOUD

After going to NYC, I started pondering a few things that bug me a little. Maybe a bit more than a little. I’m listing from most to least annoying.

Motorized bicycles are a hassle to avoid in Albany, especially the lunkheads, who insist on riding on the sidewalk.  But in Manhattan, they ride in the designated lanes, yet often don’t yield to pedestrians, ignoring traffic signals.

As someone who has been going to the City since 1971, I have found that car drivers have been, in the main, more aware of pedestrians. I had to scowl at only one car, and naturally, it was a taxi driver turning left and heading toward me as I was in the middle of the walkway.

Snow removal is something I excel at. Before I went to church on January 7, I shoveled the walk. The WHOLE walk. Then, just before dark, I shoveled again. There was a dusting the next morning, which I planned to get to, but the sun took care of it.

On the 9th, the absentee landlord for the property next door, Tick, and his long-suffering wife were trying to clear that sidewalk, which had mainly turned to ice by then. Not that he asked my opinion, but he might be better served to engage one of the tenants to shovel for a monetary consideration. Heck, I’d do it myself if he paid me enough.

Bathroom etiquette

I put the toilet seats down. There’s a sign in the all-access bathroom at my church asking people to lower the seat, yet twice in 2024, the seat was up. When I grew up, I was in a household with three females and one other male.  I live with two females currently.

A few years ago, I mentioned this topic to a guy who was quite perturbed. He gave me a diatribe about how women are liberated. “Why should men have to touch the filthy toilet seat?” I had no pithy response, so I just walked away. And I still put the seat down, but don’t tell him.

Hands-free cell phones bug me because the person walking down the street yakking is often very LOUD. That said, sometimes, it’s entertaining. One guy seemed to be pumping himself up when he said, “I’m ready to take on whatever they think I can do.” Another guy muttered,  “I don’t know what the f*** they’re talking about.” A woman was delighted to share, “I  was kind of lying telling people that Disney is involved.”

The photo, BTW, is one in a series of failed attempts to take a decent picture of the moon with my phone. I sort of like it because it looks like the moon lit the porch.

Pigskin conversation

On the other hand, I enjoyed this conversation immensely. On January 14, my wife and I ate dinner at a local Italian restaurant for our lunaversary. A television showed the Green Bay Packers playing at the Dallas Cowboys. The Pack was leading 27-0 until the ‘boys scored a touchdown just before the half.

I told my wife, ” I hate the Cowboys.” The woman at the next table, dining with her husband, said, “I can’t help but overhear what you said. I hate the Cowboys, too.”

While eating and watching the game during the second half at our respective tables, we discovered that our fathers and we were all New York Giants fans. She had one sister, and growing up, they both watched the games on Sundays with their dad. Since her family lived in Delaware County, NY, adjacent to Broome County, where my hometown of Binghamton is, we all watched the games on WNBF-TV, Channel 12, the CBS affiliate that carried the games locally.

I know a great deal about this person, including the fact that she is two years younger than me, except for her name. It was fun for us to do a running commentary of the game. At one point, I noted that Dallas, then down by 24 with about 20 minutes left, could tie the game if they scored three touchdowns AND two-point conversations. Fortunately, GB beat DAL 48-32. Our spouses were very patient. 

Jan. rambling: power and the glory

Until The End Of The World

The Corruption of the Evangelical Movement, the Weekly Sift review of Tim Alberta’s The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory.

The effect of abortion bans on women’s health, a preview of a program running on Hulu.

See How 2023 Shattered Records to Become the Hottest Year. Month after month, global temperatures didn’t just break records; they surpassed them by far. This year could be even warmer.
History is not a feel-good story.
Renaissance fairs and the Red Scare

Stealing Jokes Is Taboo, So Why Do Comedians Keep Doing It?

Julie Newmar documentary

A Parliament of Owls and a Murder of Crows: How Groups of Birds Got Their Names

The Jay Thomas story about the Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore

Now I Know: The Problem with Free Pizza and The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders and These Pigs Don’t Fly, But They Are Flags


Hail and Farewell (CBS Sunday Morning 12/31/2023)

My wife’s uncle on her mother’s side, Glenn Olin, and her aunt on her father’s side, Portia Bush, both died in January 2024.

Tom Shales, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Washington Post Critic, Dies at 79

Glynis Johns, Who Played Mrs. Banks in ‘Mary Poppins,’ Dies at 100. I watched a show called Glynis, which ran for 13 episodes in 1963.

David Soul: Starsky & Hutch actor dies aged 80

The 1890 US census was destroyed 103 years ago. Here’s what survived.

NFL ‘Sunday Ticket’ At Stake As Court Clears Way For Major Antitrust Trial. A jury trial, which could significantly impact the market for NFL games, is set to start on Feb. 22. Damages are estimated at $6.1 billion.

NFL: Saturday, Jan. 20 – I’m rooting for the visitors

AFC — No. 4 Houston at No. 1 Baltimore 4:30 p.m. (ESPN, ABC)

NFC — No. 7 Green Bay at No. 1 San Francisco, 8 p.m. (FOX)

NFL: Sunday, Jan. 21 – I’m rooting for the home teams

Game 9: NFC — No. 4 Tampa Bay at No. 3 Detroit, 3 p.m. (NBC)

Game 10: AFC — No. 3 Kansas City at No. 2 Buffalo, 6:30 p.m. (CBS)

Bhutan: In the mountains of the world’s most remote country, baseball takes hold


Until The End Of The World – U2

Samba Em Comun – Peter Sprague, featuring Sinne Eeg

On The Beautiful Blue Danube, followed by the Radetzy March. Vienna Philharmonic.

It’s Been A Long Long Day – Radka Toneff, a Paul Simon cover 

Coverville 1472: The Jimmy Page Cover Story

Nothing Really Matters – Madonna

Carmen Suite – Rodion Shchedrin

Red Flags – Brittany Howard

Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again – Bob Dylan

Rainbow Connection dubbed into Japanese

Tomorrow Never Knows – The Beatles

The Covered Man – David Soul 

Midnight Special– CCR

Don’t Give Up On Us  – David Soul 

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