Holiday Ramblings

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, sports fans and members of the draft resistance! (And thanks for the patience with the 60’s stream-of-consciousness reference). That’s the way all columns are penned here at Bird’s Banter. Sit down. Face the computer. Type. Who knows what pithy profundities will avail themselves. I don’t, as I am only pawn in game of life. Break out the beans! Mongo is with us.

As you have, possibly, noted, the scribe has been low on inspiration here as of late, and the blogs have been few and far between (the devil and the deep blue sea). Apathy had begun to seep in and take hold. And then? Boom! The Christmas Spirit began to open avenues of joy, hope, peace and love and the Auburn Tigers made, IMHO, a home run hire in newly installed head football coach, Bryan Harsin.

And we are OFF!!!!!!

My beloved Tigers have found a winner. An intense, focused, driven, tough, humble man of passion and integrity. And win the Tigers will. Immediately. The cupboard is nowhere near bare. Everyone returns on the starting offense and the defense has many key components returning. Most assuredly, there are areas that need to be shored up in personnel. I trust that these concerns will be addressed and that the new head coach, and soon to be staff, will recruit with great agressiveness. I do not expect Auburn to win every game, but I can assure you that it will play with ferocity and purpose and make you proud every time they take the field.

War Damn Eagle!

Christmas. It has truly been a most blessed holiday season. I can feel a renewed sense of inspiration and purpose on a daily basis. 2020. What can one say? What a challenge! There is no need to reiterate the many pitfalls and disasters of the past year. They have been plentiful and often cruel. With the help of God and The Grateful Dead, I have survived a prostate scare/biopsy, an abnormal ECG and a positive echo stress test leading to a heart cath, recurring bladder infections, double hernia surgery and COVID-19. 2021 is in clear view and I can feel myself turning the corner and embracing her with open arms. I hope and pray that is the case with each and every one of you.

Peace on earth and good will to all men, women and children across the globe.

What’s been happening in the world of music, sports, politics, et al?

You know the Auburn story. Alabama is on the verge of playing for, yet another, National Championship, as is Clemson. I do think those two will meet in the title game. Kentucky has the worst record of all SEC teams in men’s basketball. Pitchers and catchers report in the not-too-distant future and things are looking good for the Atlanta Braves. The World Series? Finally? Who knows.

Bob Dylan sold his music catalog. Let that sink in a minute.

He has also gotten into the wine business. “Planet Waves 2002, a blend of Montepulciano and Merlot, pairs the legendary singer with Antonio Terri,” From Wine Spectator. Truth is stranger than fiction.

Hopefully, we will once again have live music in 2021. I feel strongly that we will. I could use a good “ass kicking” from Gov’t Mule and a dose of Dead and Company.

America will have a new president and a female VP. And I will leave it at that. We do not get into the black hole of politics on Bird’s Banter. We do touch on religion occasionally. There is a deep sense of spiritual hunger out there and, in here, from my point of view. One day at a time, an AA mantra, and a great way to live for all of us. As Ray Wylie Hubbard states, “And the days I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, well, I have really good days.”

Entertainment. We enjoyed both Flight Attendant, on HBO, and Hillbilly Elegy, on Netflix. The Undoing, with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant was also very good and quite intense, as were the aforementioned titles. Something lighter, maybe? Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee is hilarious.

In books, I completed all of Michael Connelly’s catalog this year, after beginning it in 2019. I loved every one of them. His latest, The Law Of Innocence, was excellent. It was the sixth installment of the Lincoln Lawyer series. I also read the first three novels of the Tana French Dublin Murders series. Brilliant writing and true hand wringing, heart pounding thrillers. Read a couple of more books on The Grateful Dead. My hunger for all things Dead is insatiable. The Good Ol’ Grateful Deadcast if glorious if one is so inclined. The reissues of their classic albums, Workingman’s Dead and American Beauty are sublime.

What else? Ah! 2021 begins with a feast of football games on New Years Day. It begins with the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (Cincinnati vs. Georgia), followed by the Citrus Bowl, pitting Auburn against Northwestern, more on that in a moment. Next come the College Football Playoff semifinals. First, Alabama plays Notre Dame. The last game of the day has Clemson and Ohio State locking horns. Oh yeah!

Back to the Citrus Bowl. Auburn needs to win this game. I do hope much of the enthusiasm and intensity of our new head coach wears off on the team. Kevin Steele will coach the team along with our 2020 staff, They will have to be hitting on all eight as Northwestern will be chomping at the bit to topple an SEC team and Pat Fitzgerald WILL have them rarin’ and ready. You can count on that. The Wildcats play excellent defense and I expect a low scoring game. Once more with feeling, Tigers. Auburn 23, Northwestern 21.

Y’all continue to have a wonderful holiday season! Be safe out there and be sure to always love your neighbor as yourself.

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