It’s Friday, and it’s Christmas. Hope your day is going well.
Let’s get to it.
1. A look at Army football in year two under Jeff Monken (Scout.Com)
Rich Ellerson's staff did a pretty solid job coaching the team and winning a bowl game in his five years while setting many rushing records. After three straight losing seasons it was clear that Ellerson and his staff wasn’t getting it done on the recruiting front. A change was needed. Ellerson hadn't had an [sic] good recruiting class since 2011 R-day at West Point featuring the 2010 USMAPS class. After that season Ellerson’s last three football classes suffered attrition and at some positions, like the defensive line, just lacked talent. This year’s senior cupboard left by Ellerson was rather bare for Monken. The senior class had its best players on offensive line and just one quality skill position player in cornerback Chris Carnegie due to all the attrition. It explains why Monken's huge freshman class had at least 16 players appear on the depth chart and see varsity time.
Also in this article: USMAPS football beat NAPS head-to-head this year. That hasn’t happened since 2011. Scout.Com still feels that Navy is winning the recruiting battle, but the margin has closed significantly. For the time being, it looks like O-Line recruiting is Army’s biggest shortcoming.
2. The Dirty Truth Behind Trump’s Success? (Slate)
What if Trump’s racism attracts supporters? What if his bigotry is the point?
Uh… yeah. I think that’s obvious. The author does, too, as he reveals a little further down:
There is no question that Trump has run the most unapologetically racist and nativist campaign since George Wallace made his first national play in 1964. And, like Wallace before him, it’s been successful, drawing tens of thousands of people to massive rallies across the country. Trump probes their fears, excites their passions, and gives them voice in a way they love and understand. “We have losers. We have people that are morally corrupt. We have people that are selling this country down the drain,” Trump declares.
These voters may feel anxious about their economic status. But they also hold racial and cultural resentments. They’re worried about their futures and they dislike immigrants, Muslims, and blacks.
The mall argues that it should be allowed to forbid protests on its own (private) property and that its retailers' business would be adversely affected by the disruption a protest would create. Protesters say they will move forward with the planned event regardless of how the judge in the case rules and that the demand to announce its cancellation is an infringement on their right to free speech. (They also point out that the Mall of America receives significant taxpayer funding and thus might be fairly considered a public place, though the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled against a litigant who made a similar argument in 1996.)
Why in Hell does the Mall of America get taxpayer funding?
4. The 25 Best Comics and Graphic Novels of 2015 (Mental Floss)
By Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr
There is probably no more important or influential comic that DC has put out this year than Batgirl. When the new creative team of Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr took over in late 2014, their lighter, more fun approach to the title was a breath of fresh air among the increasingly dark and brutal superhero comics the company has been putting out.
Aimed at a female audience that DC never seemed to make comics for, the success of this title sparked an awakening for the publisher, leading to a new initiative in 2015 to introduce more books of a similar ilk (see Black Canary, Prez). The more “cartoony” visual style of this comic is also something DC has shied away from in the past, but it works great for this character. They took a chance by giving unknown young artist Babs Tarr a shot on this book, and she is now well on her way to becoming a superstar.
I read the first hardcover collection this week courtesy of the Fairfield Library and thought it was terrific. I don’t know that I would necessarily call the work “light,” though. It isn’t grim and gritty, either, but it’s definitely got a realistic take on what a college-aged superhero might get up to and the attendant problems that this might involve. It even gets serious at times, including a realistic depiction of the impact of vigilantism on police and the local community, as well as some strong callbacks to The Killing Joke—with all the psychic trauma that this implies. That’s all well outside the box for mainstream comics, but it is by no means easy or simplistic.
5. 5E Adventure Review—Christmas with the Orcs: The Red Man Comes! (Merric’s Musings)
Christmas with the Orcs absolutely delights me; showing what fun you can have with the game when you’re willing to expand its boundaries. I highly recommend you have a look at this free adventure.
|The Red Man|
This was a five-star review of my work from MerricB, an increasingly influential RPG blogger / reviewer from Australia. Needless to say, I was psyched to see my work written up so strongly.
It’s Christmas Day, and can you believe it? There is not one damned football game all day long. What a travesty! What did the men of America get for Christmas this year? Jack shit, at least as far as football is concerned.
Tomorrow’s got a decent slate of games, thankfully. It starts with a slate of bowl games:
- St. Petersburg Bowl: Connecticut vs. Marshall (11 a.m. on ESPN)
- Hyundai Sun Bowl: Miami vs. Washington State (2 p.m. on CBS)
- Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl: Washington vs. Southern Miss (2:20 p.m. on ESPN)
- New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Indiana vs. Duke (3:30 p.m. on ABC)
- Camping World Independence Bowl: Tulsa vs. Virginia Tech (5:45 p.m. on ESPN)
- Foster Farms Bowl: UCLA vs. Nebraska (9:15 p.m. on ESPN)
I’m gonna watch Connecticut vs. Marshall and Indiana vs. Duke, and I may try to keep an eye on Southern Miss, but I won’t really care about the Heart of Dallas bowl unless Duke lays an egg in Yankee Stadium. I keep telling myself I’m gonna go to the Pinstripe Bowl one of these years, and this would’ve been a good year to go considering the weather forecast, but it never registers in time to make me actually buy tickets. It’ll be interesting to see how many Duke and Indiana fans make it to the game.
If the NFL is more your speed, Saturday night features Washington at Philadelphia. Kickoff for that one is at 8:25 pm.
One more game that may be worth mentioning is the Military Bowl, featuring Pittsburgh at Navy. Yes, Navy’s bowl game is actually a home game this season, which has got to be a disappointment all things considered. If you must watch Keenan Reynolds in his final performance, kickoff is at 2:30 on ESPN.
That’s all I’ve got.
Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!