Hope everyone survived the 4th and enjoyed your holiday weekend!  Now that I’m growing older, I have come to grips that I’ve had an on again,off again relationship with the family of fireworks. For starters, never really was crazy about them as a kid—it seemed you’ve seen one fireworks show, you’ve seen them all ?!! I don’t mind watching Animal House or Stripes 50 times but the same ole same ole Fireworks show just doesn’t have the same effect?

As an adult, I simply despise them. Fireworks in my neighborhood have no curfew, keep my kids up all night and turn me into one big Ebenezer on our country’s birthday. I love the parade’s during the day, the cookouts in the afternoon but simply dread the endless noise at night. While I love leftovers on Thanksgiving—I dread them on the 4th—that would be those fireworks they fire for the days and days and yeah days after the big holiday. Man, I sound like an old geezer!

Fireworks to me are one of our country’s most overrated institutions. Along with Lane Kiffin, Jim Rome, Adam Sandler’s movies ,Dancing with the Stars and the McRib—I just don’t have time for any of the above. So all together America—let’s sit down and light our last sparkler while checking out this week’s display in the Naborhood. As  always thanks for your time and check out our Trivia question below to win one of two prizes from our latest sponsor, Sports Illustrated.

MEYER MADNESS: Global Warming? Blame Urban Meyer.The Sequester–gotta be his fault too. Urban Meyer is taking a beating of late in what’s supposed to be the dog days of college football. It made me think —-has any coach as successful as Urban ever been this unpopular in his old stomping grounds?

I get it— Aaron Hernandez’s recent murder arrest has more than magnified the 31 arrests under Meyer’s watch at Florida–a ridiculous number indeed but isn’t this old news? Ben Tobias, a spokesman for the Gainesville Police department said Meyer once paid a visit and told the officers not to give his guys preferential treatment—-nice gesture but clearly that’s not nearly enough to satisfy the coaches critics who now don’t just include the Seminole fans.  I agree he should be criticized but to say he is to blame for Hernandez’s alleged act of murder is absurd. While Meyer’s legacy won’t be remembered as a disciplinarian — is it fair to leave it at that?

Sure the Urbanator hit the brakes on the recruiting trail his last few years in Gainesville leaving the cupboard quite bare for  Will Muschamp, but it could have been worse folks.  For example, how about a number of big name and accomplished coaches who had major missteps yet haven’t amassed Meyer’s current hate level–Urban didn’t pull a Jim Tressel and leave the program in NCAA trouble?  He didn’t turn in a Pete Carroll and bolt to the pro’s? Sure his exit was bizarre and remains quite suspicious but is that grounds for all of this anger from many Gator fans still wearing hats and shirts honoring all the success of the Urban era? Meyer surely wasn’t a Saint but should his sins make the Gator Nation forget about 2 National Titles, 2 SEC Titles and 65 wins in only 6 years without any violations? I say learn from the bad but always appreciate the good of the Meyer era which at its zenith, amazingly still never made him the most popular coach on campus.

Even in good times, Meyer was second fiddle to Steve Spurrier despite the fact the head ball coach left the orange and blue for the NFL and then South Carolina of all places?? But Spurrier was considered a “true” Gator while Urban always seemed to be an outsider, even during the best of times. Now he appears to be public enemy #1 and would it be out of line to say Ron Zook might beat him out in a popularity contest these days? Good thing they didn’t build a Saban like statue in Gainesville after Meyer’s 2 rings–would hate to see what that would look like today.

THE ROCKET MAN: There are a lot of tough jobs out there but I’ll give you one of the most challenging— How would you like to be the  person selling Dwight Howard a car? a house? heck working the drive thru with this guy would be difficult. No doubt, the big man has had loads of trouble making big decisions over the past four years.

In this egomaniac’s honor, ESPN should have held “The Indecision” and made Dwight’s latest free agent bonanza a mini series. Jim Gray could have made more money but it would have just added to the fervor of the NBA’s biggest villain. I’ll give Howard this—he made his best decision in years by getting away from LA and going to the Rockets. The Lakers are old and Houston has a better supporting cast. Dwight still remains a phony to me and many others and his image makeover will be much tougher than Lebron’s and so will his chances of winning an NBA Title—stay tuned.

WHILE WE’RE YOUNG??!!”:  Rodney Dangerfield and golf only made sense in the movies. The two entities are as different as Tiger Woods and Fuzzy Zoeller. That’s what made the USGA’s recent campaign “While we are Young??!” quite the surprising creation. The phrase stems of course from the classic movie, Caddyshack where Dangerfield’s character Al Czervik loved taunting Ted Knight’s unforgettable  Judge Smails to hit the ball “Let’s go—while we are Young!!” was one of the movies’s countless quotable catch phrases. I’m still partial to “My buddy Wang–no offense” but I don’t see the USGA touching that one….

In a revealing recent article in the USA Today by Gary Mihoces, Rodney’s wife Joan Dangerfield says her  late husband didn’t play golf and didn’t understand why anybody would want to spend all day on the course. Even though the movie jumpstarted Rodney’s movie career , Joan Dangerfield says her husband gave up a bigger gig in Vegas that would have paid him more money than Caddyshack.

While Dangerfield went at it with Judge Smails on the big screen, off of it apparently Chevy Chase got on Rodney’s nerves during the shooting of the film in the way he delivered his lines. Interesting tidbits from an article which said Rodney didn’t regret taking the role though and was flattered that its Tiger’s favorite movie. It makes sense in the end Rodney didn’t like golf—the two just don’t seem to have much in common…

THE HOTTEST DOG/TRIVIA QUESTION: A lot of guys can throw touchdown passes, hit home runs and win gold medals. There is only one Joey Chestnut  though. For my money the hot dog carnivore is America’s top athlete. My wife and kids are grossed out by his appetite and can’t stomach his competitions, but I watch in pure awe. Who on this planet can eat as many hot dogs as my man Joey—the answer is none, nunca, nobody. Chestnut is the undisputed champion without peer and brought in 1.15 million viewers this year as well.

He dethroned King Kobayashi whom hasn’t competed at Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest in four years. The man they call “Jaws” though dominates his sport like no other and is versatile claiming titles in tamale, pastrami and ice cream showdowns as well!!!! Don’t see the pastrami title being a made for TV event though?

Chestnut set his own personal record this year which brings us to this—Can you give me the number of  hot dogs he ate in this year’s record breaking performance at Coney Island in the span of only 10 minutes?????  I will give my first TWO correct answers the brand new Sports Illustrated for Kids Big Book of Who Football —a great read for any young football fan who loves the sport. Email me your answer through the “give us your feedback” link on the right side of this page.The two winners bring home a nice prize for an up and coming sports fan.

HARDLY A LEMON: Fitting on the same week we treat lovers hail the return of Twinkies to our grocery aisle, I have another American classic for you. Big fan of Dairy Queen–c’mon who isn’t??? Love taking my girls there after school every Friday where I have become a Blizzard connoisseur. Big fan of the Butterfingers and Cookies & Cream offerings but I have a new favorite for you. I highly recommend the brand new Lemon Meringue Blizzard! Its a tremendous combo of lemons complimented by chopped up crust. I promise you’ll love it–for a limited time only….Dairy Queen should be a future sponsor—are you listening????

GOOD READ: Over the 4th weekend, I finished off a great book: “The Unwinding“-An Inner History of the New America by George Packer. I first heard about it from a Joe Klein column in Time Magazine and highly recommend it. Its a bipartisan look at how our country started “unwinding” beginning in the early 1980’s but with examples in the 70’s as well. It  provides several case studies to back up its premise. The book follows four central figures–Dean Price, the son of tobacco farmers,Tammy Thomas, a factory worker from Youngstown Ohio, Jeff Connaughton, a Washington insider and Peter Thiel a Silicon Valley billionaire. Different backgrounds who share different struggles that illustrate the wide ranging problems our country has faced the past three decades.

Another interesting part of the book is its in depth profile of the Tampa Bay area and how the real estate boom among other issues has made my current residence one of the country’s most troubled cities. Its not flattering to Joe Biden, Wall Street or the likes of Newt Gingrich–a portrayal of how this country has fallen off the tracks but it concludes with a great success story of survival and perseverance which should give us all hope—check it out!

NOBODY ASKED ME BUT…. Cleaning out your garage is always an interesting experience. I say that because I haven’t done it in awhile but after doing it recently, I felt like I was in a time machine. Its amazing the things you find, the several things you throw away and the countless things you thought you lost? For the first time in years, I looked at high school yearbooks, boxes I set aside from prior jobs and all the pictures of my girls when they were merely babies. At the end of the day, it was a good feeling to get something done I have been putting off for months, if not years but its also a reminder of many of the  great memories from my past that I haven’t thought about in years.

Talk about killing two birds with one stone. I crossed a big “honey do” off my list and it didn’t feel like work –not a bad combo.

EXTRA POINT: College Football season is getting closer folks and how about this nugget from our  friends at the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame. They tell me that 12 new college football teams will take the field for the first time this season—including a record number of nine schools entering the NCAA in 2013. Its the gift that keeps on giving–see you next week as we blog from Birmingham at SEC Media Days !!!



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