This week’s NFL scores

The Bears are much better than I thought. They scored 38 in the first half against a fairly respectable team!

The Rams looked great again and are now the only 4-0 team. (The Chiefs can join them tomorrow.) The Rams’ QB Jared Goff had a “perfect” QB rating of 158.3 on the strength of 465 yards and 5 TDs.

One personal note. My home state of New York has three football teams. You’d think maybe one of them would be at least mediocre, but no-o-o-o-o-o. All three of them are 1-3.

The winning teams will be division champs. The losing teams will have to play each other in another one-game showdown!

One of these four solid teams – the one that loses two games in a row – will not make it to the division series.

Yelich did not get his triple crown. In the final stats, he led the league in batting average, missed by one in homers, missed by two in RBI. So close!

HOWEVER, as two commenters reminded me, the division playoff game is considered part of the regular season, so Yelich will get one more shot at a big game for all the marbles. (His chief competitors, Baez, Story and Arenado, will also get an additional game.)

Thanks for the reminder guys. I can still remember a year from my childhood when Ernie Banks lost the NL homer crown because Eddie Mathews got to play in a playoff. In those days the NL used a three-game tie-breaker and Eddie hit his final homer in the last of those three games (a 12-inning thriller), thus beating Mr. Cub by one dinger.

J.D. Martinez had a similar result in the AL: first in RBI, second in average, second in HR. (And he’s not even the best hitter on his own team! Mookie Betts beat him in OPS, 1.078 to 1.031. Quite a 1-2 punch!)

Neither Betts nor Martinez led the league in OPS. That was, as usual, the amazing Mike Trout, who has now won that category in three of the past four seasons.


In short, Kanye was Kanye, or should I say he was Ye. He dressed as a giant Perrier bottle; later wore a MAGA hat. After the show he was even wilder, according to the article. Apparently he  ranted freestyle about anything that came to his mind, including his love for President Trump.

Say what you want, but you can’t deny that Ye is a unique character who always engages the audience. People may not like him, but they notice him and talk about him. In that regard, he’s a lot like Trump himself.

“Endangered species can be saved if they’re eaten.”

At last, somebody who supports my restaurant! A professional economist! Never mind that this economist looks suspiciously like a Bond villain, I feel he’s truly wise and a great humanitarian, as am I.

At Scoopy’s Politically Incorrect restaurant, our most popular entree is a juicy manatee steak. Before you dig in to the main course, I recommend the spotted owl wings – Buffalo-style, of course.

And by that I mean that the sauce is made from real bison!

Unlike the Native Americans, we do NOT use every part of the buffalo. We use only the flanks to make our sauce, then dump the gigantic, stinking carcass out of town, near the interstate.

When I wrote about the prime directive, two people e-mailed me to ask about the other movie rules I used to write about. Thanks for asking.  As a man who has probably seen more bad movies than anyone else in history, I don’t know the first thing about making good movies, but I think I can tell you everything you need to know to avoid making a really bad one:

The Prime Directive. If you are filming a movie that will get you an R rating for violence and language, load up on breasts.  You can’t get an NC-17 just for breasts (Dancing at the Blue Iguana has breasts non-stop, wall-to-wall, and is rated R), so if you add breasts you will still get an R rating.  As Johnny Cochrane might have said, “If the R is for V, the knockers are free.”

The Alma Mahler rule. If you are going to film a story about real people, that does not absolve you from the requirement to make the movie entertaining. Movies are movies, not history lessons. Alma Mahler was a fascinating woman, but that is no guarantee that your biopic will be as fascinating unless it has some good reason to exist on its own. You have to make it good enough so that people will like it even if they think the characters are fictional.

Sub-rule: You may as well make it entertaining, because we know it’s not going to be true. All movies based on true stories are full of lies and fabrications. There are many reasons for this. One is that we don’t want people to be the way they really were, but rather the way we want them to be, so documentaries and historical films are really about the filmmaker, not the subject. Another is that people are too complicated, and too much happens to them in a lifetime, to summarize in 100 minutes. If you have to make a historical movie, choose an interesting event in someone’s life, not the entire life.

Sub-rule 2: At least do some homework. There is no historical personage named Brandi of Equitaine, and if there were, she would not have dotted her “i’s”with little hearts.

The Ian Fleming rule. Your bad guys must kill the good guys immediately if (a) it is necessary to their evil plot, and (b) they have the opportunity. They must not tie them up to kill later or, worse yet, tie them up so they can tell them the plot.

The definition rule. The words “horror” and “comedy” have certain definitions. A horror movie is supposed to be scary, and a comedy is supposed to be funny. If you make an erotic thriller, it must be (at minimum) either erotic or thrilling. Preferably both.

The comedy heirarchy rule. As you look for your comedy model, the farther you go down the heirarchy, the less likely is the comedy to be funny. Model your comedy after the top of the heirarchy, not the bottom. The Allen heirarchy is: Early Woody, Steve, Late Woody, Fred, Tim, Marty, Krista. The Marx heirarchy of comedy is as follows: Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Karl, Gummo, Zeppo. I’ve never actually seen Gummo. I just assume he’d have to be funnier than Zeppo, since even Erasmus of Rotterdam and the prophet Jeremiah were funnier than Zeppo. Possibly he was funnier than Karl as well.

The Dudley Moore rule. Sometimes it’s just a generation thing, and can’t be explained. Make movies for your generation, rather than copying the past. Look, if you’re 25 years old, I can’t explain to you why anyone ever thought Dudley Moore was funny. Nobody knows. When you’re my age, let’s hear you explain Colin Quinn to your kids, wise guy.

The John Cleese Rule. There is no John Cleese rule.

The Kieslowski rule. Were you thinking of having them wake up and it was all a dream? Or maybe part of a mysterious double life that can’t be explained? Don’t even contemplate it unless you are a famous Polish auteur with a last name beginning with K.

The Interview with a Blade Runner rule. Thinking of making a vampire movie narrated in voice-over? That’s the first step toward a rewarding career in the fast food industry.

The Marquez rule. I know they give all kinds of important prizes to people who write Magical Realism. Now that I’ve admitted that, if you write a gritty John Steinbeck piece for an hour and a half, and then in the last ten minutes the hero escapes his life by sprouting wings and flying away from the cannery, or if the hero makes the evil slave-driving boss into a nice man by cooking him a meal salted with the workers’ tears, I’ll have to send your home address to Hannibal Lecter.

The Ben Affleck rule. Not everyone has to agree. For example, I think that Ben Affleck’s acting  “sucks,” but others disagree. Some feel that he “blows,” others that he “bites,” and there are some radical thinkers who think that he “munches.” It’s OK to hold these other opinions. This freedom to disagree is the basis of democracy.

The body doubles rule. “Scale” actresses don’t get body doubles, because that costs double – scale for the actress, scale for the double – and that defeats the purpose of hiring a scale actress in the first place. Needless to say, instead of paying two scales, hire another scale actress willing to do the nudity. Believe me, there are thousands to choose from.

The “Captain Corelli” rule. A resurrection is an indication of a bad movie, whether it involves Jesus, zombies, or people presumed dead. There has never been a good movie with more than one resurrection.

The “Rules of Engagement” rule. Don’t give us those “whatever happened to them after the story” word captions before the closing credits unless they are necessary. How might they be necessary? (A) If it’s a comedy, and the fate of the characters is a good laugh. (B) If they are real people, and you can tell us what their lives were like before or after the story we just saw. But don’t give us more imaginary tidbits about imaginary people. If it’s worth including, include it. If it isn’t worth including, it isn’t worth mentioning either.

The “Lost World” rule. Creatures in movies which move faster than the creatures they pursue must catch them in the proper amount of time. People run about 20 feet per second. Cheetahs cover about 100 feet per second. Therefore, if a Cheetah is 20 feet behind you, it will catch you in a quarter of a second.

The “Frankenstein” rule. Creatures in movies which move slower than the creatures they pursue must lose them appropriately. You run about 20 feet per second. A guy lumbering along with his knees locked will cover about three feet per second. Therefore, if he chases you for five minutes, he will be a mile away, and you can safely stop at a pub for a pint and a smoke, because it takes him about half an hour to cover a mile.

The “Nightbreed” rule (aka the Prime Directive of Fantasy/Horror). A grotesque, heavily made-up creature, glimpsed fleetingly in the shadows, can be intensely frightening. A long close-up of the same creature will probably start to provoke giggles.

The MPD/amnesia rule. Don’t use multiple personality disorder or amnesia to explain otherwise inexplicable plot twists. Don’t have the murderer try to frame someone with multiple personality disorder or amnesia.

The obvious rule. A word to the dumb – I shouldn’t have had to mention this, but no EVIL TWINS or EVIL DWARVES, and especially no cases where the twin we think is the good one is really the evil one.

The instant genius rule. Children who begin a movie presumed to be mute or retarded should not end the movie chattier than Katie Couric and smarter than Steven Hawking. If they do have some kind of realistic breakthrough, they should not die tragically immediately afterward.

The Gilbert Roland rule. It is not possible to make a good movie where the good guy is deep diving and the bad guy is operating the air line.

The Chabrol rule. It is not possible to make a good movie where the good guy has to drive a car down a winding mountain road, and the bad guy is his brake-and-steering mechanic.

The McCloud rule. No renegade cops. Let me guess what’s in your script. He’s a good cop, but he doesn’t always play by the rules, he doesn’t stay within his budget, and he doesn’t like to fill out his paperwork. Sometimes his lieutenant has to chew him out for going too far over the line, breaking too many rules, and destroying too much property to bring in that mass murderer, but then the boss winks and says, “Good work, McCloud”

The catch-all rule. Scoopy will add, subtract or modify rules whenever the hell he pleases. There may even be a John Cleese rule someday, although I doubt it. There is a greater chance that I will write a script where the vampire wakes up and it was all a dream induced by a serum prepared by his evil twin, who is currently a renegade cop.

College pigskin round-up

The top six teams all won, but Ohio State escaped with a rally (against another top ten team), and Clemson had trouble with unranked Syracuse

#8 Notre Dame crushed #7 Stanford, 38-17.

The two items above represent double good news for Notre Dame. They want the Orange to seem very strong, because they will play Syracuse later in the year. If they can destroy them while staying undefeated, they will have staked a solid claim to make the college playoffs …

… and lose to Alabama by 40

but still …

#9 Penn State barely lost to #4 Ohio State

Kentucky (#17) won again, proving they are no fluke with a solid win over South Carolina.

#22 Duke lost, but nobody with any sense though Duke belonged in the top 25 to begin with. I reckon they will lose several more before the season ends.

The rest of the week went more or less according to script.

Claudette Colbert in The Sign of the Cross (1934)

Because there was no nudity in American productions for some three decades, including the pre-teen years for us early baby boomers, most people don’t realize that there was some nudity in Hollywood in the early talkies.

There were censorship standards set way back in the silent era, established as early as 1922, but the original rules were voluntary and thus often ignored. The so-called “Hays Code,” an elaborately detailed production code consisting of rules for what could and could not be portrayed on screen, was formalized in 1930, but originally lacked any teeth for enforcement.

The voluntary compliance (wink-wink!) era came to an end in 1934 when the American Catholic Church announced the creation of the Legion of Decency, which encouraged the production of moral films and promptly condemned any film with an immoral message or content. The Legion’s activism hit the film industry in two vulnerable areas. First, the Legion threatened to boycott objectionable films, which went directly for the purse strings. Second, the Legion threatened to lobby the federal government for official censorship. The industry’s leaders saw the handwriting on that wall. They knew the Legion could exert a powerful influence over politicians, and they realized that self-censorship was a far more attractive alternative to draconian government interference, so they created a formal procedure to administer the code. All films released after July 1, 1934, had to get script approval before production could begin, and each film was later required to obtain a “seal of approval.” Failure to comply resulted in a $25,000 fine for the studio, and a distribution ban upon the non-compliant film. Joseph Breen, new head of the Production Code Administration (which later became the MPAA), was assigned to oversee the process.

The Production Code basically kept nudity out of American movies for approximately the next thirty years. The Legion did not begin to lose its grip on Hollywood until the early sixties when an unfinished 1962 film, Something’s Got to Give, was to have taken on the Code by featuring a skinny dip from Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn’s death temporarily scotched the snake of mainstream nudity, but other films soon took up the baton. Cleopatra featured a modest look at Liz Taylor’s bum in 1963, and The Pawnbroker managed to sneak fairly substantial nudity into arthouse theaters in 1964 despite a “condemned” rating from the Legion. Despite these efforts and a rapidly liberalizing culture in the mid sixties, it was not until 1968 that the Production Code was officially replaced with the first version of the current rating system.

But that’s a story for another day. Today’s tale concerns not post-Code nudity, but the bit of flesh that snuck in here and there between the adoption of the toothless Code in 1930 and its acquisition of teeth in July of 1934, a period representing four years of leftover 1920s hedonism. There were the notorious Fay Wray scenes in King Kong (1933), Myrna Loy’s bath in The Barbarian (1933), full frontal and rear underwater nudity from Maureen O’Sullivan’s body double in Tarzan and his Mate (1934), Hedy Lamarr’s notorious frontal nude scenes and breast close-ups in the Czech-made Ecstasy (1932), Delores Del Rio’s shapely bum in Bird of Paradise (1932), and Claudette Colbert’s breasts in The Sign of the Cross (1932), as portrayed in the link above.

Yelich had another big game, with two dingers. If he has another one tomorrow, he has a chance to win the first triple crown in the National League in more than 80 years! The last guy to do it was “Ducky” Medwick in 1937. (It has been more common in the AL, where there have been six post-Medwick triple crowns including one in 2012.)

As of now, with one game remaining, here are the stats:

Batting Average: he has it locked.

Homers: he’s tied for the lead

RBI: he’s two behind the leader.

He will definitely play tomorrow because the game is important to the Brewers, who are deadlocked with the Cubs, with one game to play.

It’s hard to believe the Marlins let this guy go. They drafted him, developed him through the majors and minors for eight years, then traded him to get prospects and keep payroll low.

And now it seems that he’ll be the league MVP.

And the Marlins have the worst record in the league.

Being a Marlin fan must be one of the most frustrating things in sports. They do this all the time. Yelich was the fourth key starter traded by the Marlins under their new CEO Derek Jeter. They also dumped last year’s MVP (home run king Giancarlo Stanton), plus speedy stolen base king Dee Gordon and an all-star left fielder in Marcell Ozuna (whose triple crown numbers last year were better than Yelich’s this year). Yeah, that’s right. In Stanton, Yelich and Ozuna, they dumped their entire outfield. And not just any outfield, but arguably the best in the majors.

This is not something that began under Jeter. The Marlins have done this for decades. After their World Series win in 1997, they basically jettisoned the entire team and lost 108 games the very next year.

Another interesting thing to watch tomorrow in the NL:

Although the five playoff teams have been determined, two of the three division champions have not! The Brewers and Cubs are tied in their division, and the Rockies and Dodgers are tied in theirs. They will be trying their best tomorrow. Nobody wants to be a “wild card” team, because that requires a one-game playoff to make the REAL post-season.

The teams do not play one another, so it is possible that both division races may result in ties. If that happens, there is a one-game playoff between the deadlocked teams. The loser (or losers, if both divisions end in a tie) will then face a second one-game playoff with the other wild card team.