Monday, February 8, 2010


Surely you are familiar with the Top 40 song “AINTS” NO MO’. It was recorded by Stinkin’ Stephen And The Naked Emperors and it goes like this:

Hokey-Smoke! What an entertaining Super Bowl that was last night. Of course, they’re always most enjoyable when the team I’m rooting for wins, but regardless of who has won and who has lost, we have been treated to some really spectacular Super Bowls over the last decade or so. And the XLIVth was yet another super Super Bowl. In this one, the New Orleans Saints beat the favored Indianapolis Colts 31-17 – a game much closer than the score indicates.

The previous Sunday, my brother Nappy and I had gone over to the house of my friend The Great L.C. and while we were there, L.C. showed me a few old black and white photos he has of New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton when Sean was maybe ten years old. You see, in their young boyhoods, L.C. and Sean both lived in the same Philadelphia area neighborhood and played together as little kids.

One photo showed little Sean Payton pounding a nail into a piece of wood. I joked that the caption for that photo should be “Sean Payton hammering out a Super Bowl game plan.”

Speaking of Super Bowl game plans, I went from cursing Payton to bowing before him in the span of about 30 minutes last night:

Shortly before the end of the second quarter, with the Saints trailing only slightly and in possession of the ball on the Colts’ 1 or 2 yard line, Payton ran a play on 4th down, going for the touchdown rather than taking the easy 3-point field goal. “Dumb! Dumb! Dumb!” I yelled at my TV screen. Unless your team is well behind in a game and you’re running out of chances to stage a comeback, you ALWAYS, ALWAYS take the all-but-guaranteed points by kicking the field goal. It was way too early in the game and the Saints were way too far from “desperation time” to be taking a chance going for the touchdown. The field goal was as much a “Gimme” as you’ll ever see on a football field.

As the Saints were lining up to go for the ill-advised and ill-fated touchdown attempt, I yelled, “Only a friend of L.C.’s would do something this stupid!” Momentarily forgetting that I myself am one of L.C.’s friends.

Well, the Saints didn’t make the touchdown and turned the ball over. As luck would have it, the Colts couldn’t move the ball and had to punt, resulting anyway in an eventual field goal for the Saints just before the first half ended. But the Saints were just darned fortunate that it worked out that way, and in an important game like the Super Bowl, you’re a fool if you’re going to count on good fortune smiling on you.

So, I was pretty mad at Sean Payton during The Who’s embarrassing halftime performance. (Oh, come on Pete Townshend! Nobody wants to see an old, grizzled grandpa Rock star with a scarf on his balding head and a guitar in his wrinkled hands. Now if The Who had come out on stage with the aid of walkers and wheelchairs and played ‘My Generation’ – “Hope I die before I get old!” – that would have been a truly classic, hilarious, and forever memorable moment. But I guess old rockers just have too much ego and too little humor to make fun of themselves in such a "super" way.)

Anyway, all of my disgust with Sean Payton evaporated the moment I saw his team pull that onside kick to begin the second half. When I saw that ball gently punched up into the air off the kicker’s foot, my jaw fell open, just like 100 million other jaws around the world fell open. Of course, for the players on the Indianapolis Colts the reaction must have been even more extreme. I imagine their jaws fell open and then their brains spilled out of their open mouths and slid down the front of their jerseys.

I generally try to avoid using this type of phraseology – much too crude for my tastes – but in this case, it’s the only adequate way of describing it: That surprising onside kick the Saints pulled on the Colts to start the third quarter was the ballsiest play-calling I’ve ever seen. Getting away with it in a Super Bowl, no less, only hightens the magnitude and shock and awe of it all. Anyone who says they weren’t stunned by it is blatantly lying!

Even as the players were still in a dogpile and fighting for possession of the football, I told brother Nappy, “No matter how this turns out – even if the Colts wind up with the ball – I will never second-guess Payton for this move. It was brilliant! No matter what, it was pure genius!”

Well, when the Saints emerged with the ball, I’ll bet half of the Indianapolis Colts knew they were destined to lose this game.

As it turned out, the Saints drove down the field for a touchdown, and the Colts, on their next possession, did the same. The less astute football fans will come away thinking that the onside kick then wasn’t a significant factor. WRONG! Don’t forget that the Saints wound up with one more possession in the game that they wouldn’t have had otherwise, and the Colts had one less possession than they ought to have had because it was stolen away from them. That’s HUGE! In technical football terminology that is what’s known as “The Ol’ Double Whammy.”

So, 30 minutes after I was cussing out Saints head coach Sean Payton, I was calling him a genius. Football’s fickle.

Then later in the game, my jaw fell open for the second time. Going for a 2-point conversion, Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw to Lance Moore near the right sideline. It appeared for all the world to see that Moore had not been able to catch the ball beyond the goal line. But the first time I saw the overhead slow-motion replay I knew that the officials’ call would be challenged and overturned.

Lance Moore’s catch was the second greatest display of athleticism I have ever seen in a Super Bowl. Watch the video clip linked at the bottom of this Blog Bit and try to understand the presence of mind, body control, and arm and hand strength it requires to make a play like this! I could hardly believe what I had seen and I told my brother, “This is why professional football players must be considered some of the greatest athletes in the world.” Let’s see a Serena Williams do THIS!

But of course, the New Orleans Saints didn’t win this football game all by themselves. I want my credit for giving them a big assist. For one thing, I made sure my Miami Dolphins sun screen was displayed in my truck’s windshield prior to kickoff. (It’s a long story; maybe I’ll tell it some day.) Also, before the game, I played ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’ by New Orleans-born Jazzman Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, and I played ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’ by New Orleans-born Jazzman Louis Prima, and I also cranked up Van Morrison’s song ‘All Saints Day.’ So, I did my part, too!

Well, anyway, let’s not argue about who did the most to win Super Bowl XLIV for the Saints. It doesn’t matter whether it was me, or Brees, or Payton, or Moore, or that bloke Porter who intercepted the ball from Peyton Manning late in the game. The bottom line is that the right team won.

My heartiest congratulations to New Orleans fans everywhere. YOUR SAINTS AIN’T “AINTS” NO MO’!

The “B” or “flip side” of this hit single is called MR. TOAD’S WILD, DRUNKEN RIDE and it goes like this:

In late December or early January, while my Brother was in his bathroom taking a quick, five-minute shower, I borrowed his cell phone camera to take a picture for a Blog Bit I planned to post here at ‘Stuffs.’ I photographed a bottle of Grand Marnier before a background of flames and titled the shot “Grand Marnier: Devil’s Drink” and later posted it in a Blog installment I called ‘Yakkin’ With Rock Stars Nils ‘N’ Norman.’

After Nappy completed his shower, I handed him his cell phone and asked him to send the image to our computer. He looked at the picture and asked, “How’d you do that?” He knew that I had somehow arranged it in just five minutes and he also knew that I had not built a fire in our fireplace.

Here’s how it was done so quickly:

Back in 1990, my then-girlfriend went to Disneyland and spent a day filming all of my favorite rides and locations, thus creating a souvenir video customized for me personally. This she later presented to me as a gift. Well, I loved it then and I love it still – especially since I now live in Airheadzona and will probably never step within the gates of The Magic Kingdom again.

One thing she shot for me was the entire ‘Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride’ attraction; she managed to get every part of the interior ride on film.

So, wanting to create a hellish atmosphere for my Grand Marnier photograph, I set up a small stepstool in front of my television screen; then I covered the stepstool with my Mother’s old J. Peterman Company bright red “Winter Silence” nightshirt (a gift from me to her in 2003). And lastly, I placed the Grand Marnier bottle on top of the draped stepstool, put my Disneyland souvenir video into the player and did a freeze-frame at the point during the Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride attraction when the guest's car rumbles through Mr. Toad’s own private hell. And voila! - Grand Marnier in the Devil’s Domain!

Look closely at the photograph and you will detect a kind of moire effect in the flames because they aren’t really flames at all; they’re a Disneyland special effect being displayed on a TV screen.

If nothing else, blogging forces me to try to think somewhat creatively at times, and it has taught me the truth of the great old maxim, “Where there's a hell, there's a way!”

Ukulelely Yours,

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.


Most Athletic Play In Super Bowl History

2nd Most Athletic Play In Super Bowl History


arlee bird said...

I didn't watch the Bowl, but I did stop in for the half-time show and the first thing that hit me was "wow look how old Roger and Pete look". Then I looked at myself in the mirror--wow talkin' 'bout my generation".

Mr.Toad's wild ride is so cool. It impressed me when I rode it as a kid back in 1961 or so and when I went back in 1992 I still loved it--one of the best rides at Disneyland.


Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Yup, rLEE-b, it is indeed one of the best. Not my favorite but certainly it occupies a respectable place on my "Best Of The Magic Kingdom" list.

It also happens to be based on my second favorite children's book of all time. Some people say, "I'll wait for the movie to come out." Some people say, "I'll wait for the ride to be created." I say, "Read the book!" (Even if it IS fiction;o)

~ Stephen
<"As a dog returns to his own vomit,
so a fool repeats his folly."
~ Proverbs 26:11>

DiscConnected said...

Truth be told, Stephen, I was watching the SUperbowl with L.C. and even he said, "Only I would be stupid enough to go for it rather than take the three points."

Of course, after the opening second half, he said "pretty ballsy move."

Can I say ballsy on your blog?

From Fourth (Avenue) and Berman to Bourbon Street, collecting a Lombardi trophy on the way! Not a bad career for Mr. Payton.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

>>[Can I say ballsy on your blog?]<<

NO! Only I can say "ballsy" on my Blog.

But it looks like you got away with it anyway.

~ "Lonesome Dogg" Stephen