Weekly summary:

Oh, you can call me a crotchety old cynic, but I’m not buying the ranking of Coastal Carolina as the 15th best team in the nation. 15th? I do think, however, that if they joined the 14-team SEC, they would rank 15th in the conference. (OK, maybe it would be close against Vanderbilt for that coveted #14 spot.)

Good on the Aggies, beating Alabama with a FG in the final play. The computer geeks still rank ‘Bama #2 in the land.

After curb-stomping LSU, Kentucky has started to get some respect for their 6-0 record in what is traditionally the toughest conference in the country. Of course that could all end next week when they go on the road to take on the #1 Georgia Bulldogs. Sagarin’s computer says Georgia is 16-21 points better.

The annual Rutgers watch: you may have noticed that they started 3-0 this year, including an overwhelming 61-14 win in the season opener. (A good time to re-evaluate your program: you lose to Rutgers by 47 points.) Unfortunately for them, they could not schedule games against division three women’s chess teams forever, and they lost all three of their conference games. In all fairness, all three of those losses were to top-20 teams, so as much as I hate to lose my favorite whipping-boy, it appears that Rutgers is now respectable. I might actually have to learn their team nickname and stop calling them the Rutgers Hornsbys or the Rutgers Andhammersteins.


The Jets and Giants continue to embarrass New York, with a 2-8 combined record. It could be worse. The Lions and Jaguars haven’t won any games at all, in a general embarrassment to large cats everywhere. (Although the Bengals and Panthers are respectable at 3-2 apiece.)

Mahomes is looking like a mere mortal this year. The team has been plagued by turnovers, and are in last place in their division. To be fair, their schedule has been a real bear. Their three losses were to the Chargers, Ravens and Bills, who have a combined record of 12-3 and are all in first place in their divisions. Their next three games are against teams with losing records, so they could conceivably get up to 5-3 before they have another major challenge against the Pack.

Tom Brady passed for more than 400 yards with 5 TDs and is now leading the league in passing yardage. The old codger said he might play until he’s 50, and I’m starting to think he might actually do it. Given his unwillingness to retire and his elderly, brittle bones, his ability to make that goal will hinge on exactly when he dies on the job. Amazingly, he is not the oldest man ever to start an NFL game at quarterback. Steve DeBerg was 44 years and 279 days old when he started for the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 25, 1998. Brady will not pass that age until May 10, 2022, so he can’t set the record until next year’s season opener.

To be fair, Brady is the oldest starting quarterback who was any good. Deberg was 9-for-20 that day, for 117 yards and no TDs in a 28-3 loss. And it’s not like he was saddled with a poor team. The Falcons were tremendous that year. The starting QB, Chris Chandler, was 13-1 and led the team to the Superb Owl. So it wasn’t the team that sucked, just DeBerg. (Deberg had retired five years earlier, but was re-activated as a back-up QB.)

Between them, the Brown and Chargers scored 41 points in the fourth quarter in a real shoot-out. The Browns managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by allowing 26 points in that quarter, which looked like something out of a Big 12 game.

Inside the weird, wild and controversial 13th inning of Rays-Red Sox ALDS Game 3.”

Thanks to a bizarre facet of the ever-arcane baseball rules, a Sox outfielder was rewarded for fucking up. If he had controlled the ball, a run would have scored, but because he booted it over the fence unintentionally, the runners were entitled to just two bases from the time of the pitch. The umpiring crew got the call right, but it’s a strange situation and a tough break for the Rays, who are now eliminated.

Here is the play in detail:

Max Scherzer must be wondering what the hell he has to do to get a W.

He pitched 7 innings, give up only three hits, struck out ten, and handed the ball over to his relievers who were even more brilliant, allowing nothing at all. Unfortunately for the Dodgers’ pitchers, the Dodgers’ batters kinda took the day off, so Evan Longoria’s solo homer held up for a 1-0 Giants victory.

You probably already know this, but Kiké Hernandez had the game of a lifetime on Friday (and kept it going Saturday).

He had five hits, including three doubles and a homer. That tied the record for most hits in a post-season game, and made him the only member of the franchise ever to slash four extra-base hits in a post-season game. The Red Sox had a total of 20 hits in that game.

Kiké followed up that game with three hits, including another homer, on Saturday, giving him seven consecutive hits overall. He then capped his series by delivering the walk-off blow to eliminate the Rays on Monday.

“On June 7, 2021, NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew closer to Jupiter’s ice-encrusted moon Ganymede than any spacecraft in more than two decades. Less than a day later, Juno made its 34th flyby of Jupiter. This animation provides a “starship captain” point of view of each flyby. For both worlds, JunoCam images were orthographically projected onto a digital sphere and used to create the flyby animation. Synthetic frames were added to provide views of approach and departure for both Ganymede and Jupiter.”

She was topless in three scenes, all incredibly dark. I’m absolutely all-in for Jessica Chastain nudity. I think she’s gorgeous and talented. That said, I’d be in even more than all, somewhere around 137%, if the DP on this show would pop down to Home Depot and pick up a few light bulbs.

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Scene 2 (main image as seen, inset enhanced)

Scene 3 (brightened)

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Halle Berry is nude in her directorial debut Bruised. Near the beginning of the film, Halle has a sex scene but we only see partial butt from the side. Then near the end of the film, Halle shows brief breasts during a lesbian sex scene with Sheila Atim.

Bruised will be on Netflix on November 24. Note that we saw this film over a year ago so there may have been edits since then.”

Halle was about 53 when this was lensed.

Illusions Perdues (“Lost Illusions”) is a new adaptation of a typically prolix Balzac work. Balzac was a literary giant. If you want to know what France was like in the second quarter of the 19th century, he is your go-to source. But he was not known for being succinct or for sticking to the point. In the course of a relatively short life (he died at 50 or so), he wrote approximately a bazillion words. His works make the efforts of Turgenev and Herman Melville seem as sparse and economical as a Hemingway short story. The book is filled with digressions, and is interrupted by the separate literary efforts of one of the characters, a poet. None of those poems were written by Balzac, but by several of his literary colleagues. In other words, as an emperor is supposed to have said to his court composer, “Too many notes, mister Mozart.”

I guess there are two sides to that coin.

Here’s how an Amazon reviewer describes the book (or books – it can be published in one volume or three):

“Lost Illusions is a long and sometimes tedious novel about a young poet from the provinces.”

Here’s how Goodreads describes the same work:

“Balzac’s Lost Illusions is a massive literary undertaking, and an attempt to delve deep into the world of humanity with all its great deeds and basest desires.”

So its massive scope is either a reflection of great depth or excess verbosity, and Balzac was either an encyclopedic chronicler of his times or a guy who just couldn’t shut the fuck up.

Probably both.

Gustave Flaubert probably summed up Balzac’s strengths and weaknesses as well as anyone. He was filled with effusive praise for Balzac’s unsparing portrayal of society, while at the same time deploring his tedious prose. Flaubert once wrote of Balzac: “What a man he would have been had he known how to write!” (Quoted by Graham Robb in “Balzac: A Biography.”)

Anyway, the filmmakers managed to condense this sweeping story into a good movie of normal length, and it included some nice nudity by Salome Dewaels.

Salome Dewaels in Lost Illusions