Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Dear Jeffrey Toobin:

You recently told Larry Wilmore that you now find yourself regretful about your role in pushing a "false equivalence" between Hillary Clinton's actions and those of Donald Trump during Big Media's coverage of the 2016 US presidential race.


There's just one thing:

You're too freakin' late!  

The whole problem is that you, your buddies at CNN, and counterparts at America's other newsgathering television networks pushed this "false equivalence" to begin with.

After all, Jeffrey, you work for Jeff Zucker...the same man who, when he headed up NBC Entertainment, helped Trump's The Apprentice get on the air in the first place.

You people were so smitten over the prospect of one of your medium's biggest stars landing the most talked-about job in politics that you failed to see the danger signs...such as his studying Adolf Hitler's speeches for ideas on how to handle things.

By telling your viewers that Clinton- one of the most politically-experienced major-party nominees in a long, long time- is just as wretched as Trump, you helped usher in a period where, when Trump, Pence, McConnell, Ryan, and Co. are through doing their damage to this country's government, we won't have a constitutional republic anymore...let alone a shot at a real democracy.

You helped usher in a time where America's now the laughingstock of Planet Earth.


Instead of going for truth, you folks in Big Media wasted the 6-15-2015/11-8-2016 period going strictly for ratings...and you consistently think the way to get those good-looking Nielsen numbers is to portray every US political campaign as a horse race.

The way I see it, we stopped having presidencies on 1-20-2017.

Instead, we've got an emperor/king/dictator/premier/generalissimo. 

I hope you're happy, Jeffrey.   


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Are you ready?

Well, here they are...the 24 teams, top seed to bottom, that would've made the 2017 NCAA Division 1-A football playoffs had the NCAA decided to stage such an event:

1. Central Florida (12-0; AAC champ)/2. Georgia (12-1; SEC champ)/3. Oklahoma (12-1; Big 12 champ)/4. Clemson (12-1; ACC champ)/5. Wisconsin (12-1; Big Ten at-large)/6. Alabama (11-1; SEC at-large)/7. Ohio State (11-2; Big Ten champ)/8. Toledo (11-2; MAC champ)

9. Penn State (10-2; Big Ten at-large)/10. USC (11-2; Pac-12 champ)/11. Washington (10-2; Pac-12 at-large)/12. Miami (FL) (10-2; ACC at-large)/13. San Diego State (10-2; Mountain West at-large)/14. Troy (10-2; Sun Belt champ)/15. Memphis (10-2; AAC at-large)/16. Boise State (10-3; Mountain West champ)

17. Auburn (10-3; SEC at-large)/18. TCU (10-3; Big 12 at-large)/19. Florida Atlantic (10-3; Conference USA champ)/20. South Florida (9-2; AAC at-large)/21. Notre Dame (9-3; independent at-large)/22. Michigan State (9-3; Big Ten at-large)/23. Oklahoma State (9-3; Big 12 at-large)/24. Washington State (9-3; Pac-12 at-large)

All the won-lost records you see don't include the bowl games.

Can't wait to play these games (I'll be using Lance Haffner Games' 3-in-1 Football again)...and when they're all done and a new champion is crowned (unless Penn State repeats!), I'll get the scores and highlights posted.

I'm Jim Boston...thanks for reading this blog! 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Please give this man a chance!

Well, it finally happened.

That's right: The one thing University of Nebraska-Lincoln football fans (okay, Nebraskans in general) had been on their knees begging for almost all season long.

University of Central Florida head football coach Scott Andrew Frost is coming back to Lincoln to take the same job from Mike soon as the Knights get through taking on Auburn in the 1-1-2018 Peach Bowl.

Maybe he's the savior the average Nebraskan's been looking for ever since Tom Osborne hung up his own whistle after the 1997 campaign...the one where Frost (at that time Big Red's starting quarterback) and teammates won the final ESPN-USA Today Division 1-A football poll (AKA coaches' poll).

That season's final Associated Press 1-A football survey went to Michigan. 

Coming into this season's Peach Bowl, the Wood River, NE native (he'll blow out 43 candles three days after the bowl game in Atlanta, GA) has logged a mark of 18-7 at the Orlando, FL school.

And ever since his hiring became official on 12-2-2017, Frost (a man who played in the NFL from 1998 to 2003; he was a defensive back for the New York Jets, Cleveland Browns, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers) has been calling for unity. 

His first news conference upon getting hired at UNL was packed; lots of former and current Huskers attended, as did plenty of current and former UNL officials...including Osborne. 

One telling thing SAF said was: "I know what I'm getting myself into."

I sincerely hope rank-and-file Nebraskans do, too. 

At one time or another, the previous seven (or more) UNL head football coaches have faced citizen calls for the pink slip...beginning with Bill Jennings (1918-2002), who had the job from 1957 to 1961, only to go 15-34-1 in the Star City. 

People from Scottsbluff to North Platte to Kearney to Grand Island to Lincoln to right here in Omaha had called for the head of the legendary Bob Devaney (1915-1997), who went 136-30-7 overall (101-20-2 with Nebraska, his gig from 1962 to 1972).

They wanted Frank Solich (Osborne's successor who's now Ohio's head football coach) out. They called for Bill Callahan's firing. They wanted Bo Pelini to get shown the door. 

And, of course, they just got through calling for Riley's head. (He went 19-19 with the Cornhuskers.)

Yep...they even, at one time, decided that Osborne wasn't good enough as Devaney's successor

All Tom did was log a 255-49-3 record...all of that at UNL (for the fifth-best winning percentage of all time, .836).

With that in mind, how long will it take for disgruntled Nebraskans (not just gridiron lovers) to say it's time for Frost to go? 

Every team there is has its ups and downs.

Nebraska football is no exception.

I just hope people around here will give Scott a chance to show the magic he gave UCF football fans.

And yes, it's going to take time.

This son of husband-and-wife high school football coaches (Larry and Carol) has the time...and that's what counts. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Just desserts?

I read this on the Internet yesterday:

"Matt Lauer fired from Today for sexual harassment" 

I couldn't believe it.

I'm still, to this very day, thinking about his role in helping to create the garbage going on at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. (Do you remember the MSNBC special he hosted last year, where Lauer threw hardball questions at Hillary Rodham Clinton, then turned around and gave softball inquiries to Donald Trump...a man who spent eleven years on Matt's main network, NBC?)

Late this past Tuesday, NBC News Chief Andrew Lack told the 59-year-old New York City native to clean out his desk. And as soon as Today came on yesterday morning, coanchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb gave viewers the news about Lauer's firing.

Lauer threw two decades as show cohost down the drain.

One of Lauer's colleagues turned in a detailed complaint against his inappropriate sexual behavior, and it triggered a serious review by Lack and his colleagues. 

It all stemmed from an incident the colleague reported took place in 2014, when NBC and most of the other Comcast networks were showing the 2014 Winter Olympics (held in Sochi, Russia). 

Lauer's victim reported this to NBC's human resources department this past Monday; the next day, he got the pink slip.

Two years before the Sochi incident, Katie Couric (who cohosted Today from 1991 to 2006) was interviewed on Bravo's Watch What Happens. 

Host Andy Cohen asked Couric to describe Lauer's "most annoying trait."

Couric's reply: "He pinches me on the [posterior] a lot." 

'Nuff said. 

From what I've read, it's not so surprising that Lauer would help deliver a proven sexual predator to the very top of American politics. 

Compared to what just happened with Lauer, it's going to be very hard to remove Trump from the most talked-about political office there is...but we really need to be up to it. 

Some of this information came from Jen Hayden's 11-29-2017 Daily Kos article about Matt's removal from the job he's best known for. (Jen, many, many, many thanks!)  

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Just got to thinking...

Just got a few thoughts rolling in my mind right, here goes:

*Quite a few people who've been sending letters to the Omaha World-Herald to protest the NFL players who are taking a knee during the playing/singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" have been asking those athletes to protest "on their own time." (Maybe such letters have also shown up in your city's newspaper or newspapers, too.)

Say those NFLers went on to confine their grievances over America's longstanding history of injustice to "their own time."

Once the word got out, how do you think the people attacking the NFL players following in Colin Kaepernick's footsteps would react?

I'll bet you the same way they are right now. 

*One of the biggest myths out there in sports is that today's NFL players don't get involved in their communities.

You'd be surprised to find that many (if not most) of the players on the league's 32 teams are involved, in some way or another, in community it through foundations or through some other kind of charitable work.

*I read yesterday that NBC's and MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell blew out 71 candles. 

And I still can't help but think about Mitchell's role (as well as that of so many other Big Media journalists) in handing the Big Prize to a man who, from 2004 to 2015, hosted NBC's most famous stunt show (okay, reality show). 

Last year, as Donald Trump sought the Big Prize, viewers of the news programs Mitchell appeared on (as host or as a guest) got the impression that the New Rochelle, NY native didn't "want to cover the Clintons anymore."

Well now, special prosecutor (and former FBI director) Robert Mueller is spearheading an investigation of the Trump-Putin connection that- let's face it- helped take 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue out of the Democratic Party's grip. 

Heads are rolling right now...especially that of Trump's first campaign manager, Paul Manafort. 

With that in mind, does the birthday dinner Mitchell enjoyed yesterday leave a bad taste in her mouth now? 

Speaking of taste...hope you're enjoying today's Halloween candy! See you later! 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

America's greatest living

77 years ago this past Sunday, a special concert took place at the California Coliseum in San Francisco, CA. 

On Tuesday, 9-24-1940, America's top living composers and lyricists gathered together and entertained the audience in the City by the Bay.

*Albert Von Tilzer did his "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

*L. Wolfe Gilbert performed his anthem, "Waiting for the Robert E. Lee."

*Jerome Kern played his own "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" before guiding Tony Martin for "All the Things You Are."

*Carrie Jacobs Bond went to the piano to accompany singer Alan Linquist as he warbled her "A Perfect Day."

*George M. Cohan offered his "Over There," among other tunes in a medley of his big ones.

*And Irving Berlin wrapped up the festivities with his "God Bless America."

The whole thing was actually a two-part event put on by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (that's right, good ol' ASCAP). The event's title: "Cavalcade of Music: Those Who Make America's Music." 

In what was billed as "the most notable assemblage of artists and composers ever gathered on one stage," thousands at the California Coliseum heard and saw over forty ASCAP members do their thing. 

During the first half of the event (the afternoon session), the crowd heard American classical music. The evening session- what turned out to be the payoff half- went to this country's contributions to popular music. 

That night, Berlin, Bond, Cohan, Gilbert, Kern, and Von Tilzer were joined by the likes of Harold Arlen, Harry Armstrong, Shelton Brooks, Hoagy Carmichael, Walter Donaldson, W.C. Handy, Billy Hill, Joe Howard, Ralph Rainiger, Sigmund Romberg, and Leo say nothing of the team of Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby.  

Back on 7-9-2017, toward the end of the Ragtime to Riches Festival workshop about Bond, the 9-24-1940 festivities got a mention...and the question eventually came up:

"If they were going to put on a concert like this today, with America's greatest living composers, who would show up?" 

Well, first of all, HBO or MTV or Showtime would be most likely to televise the event. (The 1940 soiree wasn't on radio...and we're lucky to have a recording of the whole concert because ASCAP commissioned a San Fran firm, Photo and Sound, Inc., to put the entire shebang on twelve 16" two-sided discs, playable at 33-1/3 RPM at a time when consumers were eight years away from being able to buy records at that speed.) 

Second, the producers would probably have to rent out New York City's Radio City Music Hall, Los Angeles' Dolby Theater, or Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to hold the event. 

Third, you're darn right you'll be able to get on your computer or smartphone or device of some kind and stream the show live.

Of course, it'd be televised live and in prime time. (Bet you they'd need three hours.) 

They'd need three hours- at least that long- for the following tunesmiths:

*Burt Bacharach

*Neil Diamond

*Bob Dylan

*The twosome of Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers

*Sheldon Harnick

*Another duo- James "Jimmy Jam" Harris and Terry Lewis

*Jerry Herman

*The team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland

*Rupert Holmes

*Billy Joel

*John Kander

*Carole King

*Robert Lopez (of "Frozen" fame)

*The duo of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil

*Alan Menken

*Lin-Manuel Miranda

*Willie Nelson

*Dolly Parton

*William "Smokey" Robinson

*Steven Schwartz

*Neil Sedaka

*Marc Shaiman (he did the music to Broadway's "Hairspray")

*Paul Simon

*Valerie Simpson

*Stephen Sondheim

*Barrett Strong (Norman Whitfield's old songwriting partner)

*Diane Warren

*Jim Webb

*Frank Wildhorn (helped bring "Victor/Victoria" to Broadway)

*John Williams

*Stevie Wonder 

The bulk of this list was mined from the 2017 World Almanac and Book of Facts. 

With that in mind, who would you add to this list? Which of these songwriters would you like to remove from the list?

What if you wanted to internationalize the list...and bring in living legends like Benny Andersson (of ABBA fame), Paul Anka, Bjork, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Bernie Taupin, Keith Richards, Rod Temperton, and Bjorn Ulvaeus (also of ABBA), just to name a few? 

Could a special featuring America's greatest currently-living composers even hit today's TV screens? 

Let me know what you think. 

I'm Jim Boston...thanks for reading this blog!


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Donald, have you ever read the Constitution in your life?

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b***h off the field right now. Out! He's fired. He's fired!'" 

-Donald Trump at a recent special-election rally in Alabama 

With Puerto Rico in a gigantic mess because of Hurricane Maria, among other huge issues, the head of the American people finds it more important to denigrate National Football League players who've taken a knee during the singing/playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" to protest bigotry, racism, and police brutality right here on these shores.

Vintage Trump.


Trump was in the Heart of Dixie on 9-23-2017 to help Luther Strange, the Republican who inherited- and is trying to keep- the US Senate seat that Jeff Sessions gave up to become this country's attorney general (or top shyster, now that Sessions has the top spot in the Justice Department). 

All the former host of NBC's The Apprentice did was unleash the biggest day of protest in NFL history. 

19 of the league's 32 squads participated in protests of some kind or another; in total, 200 players took a knee or sat down during what the late George Carlin called the world's only national anthem that mentions rockets and bombs.

And three entire teams- including the Pittsburgh Steelers- wouldn't even come out of the locker room for our national tune.  

This time, some team owners (one of them was Washington's Daniel Snyder) joined those protesting players in solidarity. 

Now if one- just one- of those team magnates would just sign the man who brought taking a knee during Francis Scott Key's claim to fame to football...

Right now, a lot of those teams are off to terrible starts on the gridiron. Week 3 of the 2017 NFL campaign is in the books, and the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants (a playoff team last season), San Francisco 49ers, and Los Angeles Chargers [yep...they moved back to Tinseltown (their 1960 home as one of eight original American Football League teams) after spending the 1961-2016 period in San Diego] are still winless. 

Seven more- the New York Jets, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, Arizona Cardinals, and Seattle Seahawks (another 2016 playoff squad)- are 1-2-0 right now.

Maybe one of them could use a Colin Kaepernick...even as a second-stringer or third-stringer, if not as a starter.

All the former University of Nevada star was doing, starting with the NFL's 2016 preseason, was calling attention to racism and police brutality here in these fifty states.

He wasn't disrespecting the national anthem or the flag the song praises.

And the Constitution's First Amendment guarantees Kaepernick and America's other 321 million citizens the same right to take a knee, sit down, sprawl on the floor, etc., etc. to protest injustice.

Check this out:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech (emphasis mine), or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 

If you've got a copy of the 2017 World Almanac and Book of Facts, crack open Page 511. You'll find the above paragraph. 

Maybe that'd be something Trump can somehow get up the courage to do. 

Oh, by the way, football isn't the only sport where players at any level you can name are taking knees in protest.

This past weekend, Bruce Maxwell of baseball's Oakland A's became that sport's first player to protest by kneeling during "The Star-Spangled Banner." 

If Trump and other Republicans found out about Maxwell's feat, how would they react?

How about you? 

If kneeling while someone sings his or her heart out prior to the beginning of a sports event doesn't cut it for you, what's a better way to protest injustice from sea to shining sea (and then some)?