Monthly Archives: September 2021

NFL 2021: The Falcons push the Giants off the table

You know, the way cats push things off tables.

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I watched the last four minutes of the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the New York Giants today.  Neither team won their first two games of the regular season, so a victory in the third game would be a moral and statistical boon.  I tuned into Fox right after the Falcons tied the score 14 to 14 with a touchdown (thanks to tight end Lee Smith) with just over four minutes left in the fourth quarter.  The Falcons won this one with a field goal at the very end of the quarter.  17 to 14.  Final score.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

NFL 2021: The Buccaneers aluminum foil the Falcons

When I saw that the Atlanta Falcons were going up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today, I thought to myself, “What’s the point?  Tom Brady is just going to let the other team put as many points as they feel like in the first half of the game and then pull out a can of TD-arse in the middle of the third quarter.”  The game didn’t unfold quite like that, but it might as well have.  Tampa Bay was always in the lead, but by the bottom of the third quarter, the Falcons had narrowed the score gap down to 28 to 25 (on account of running back Cordarrelle Patterson’s touchdown and Matt Ryan’s leap into the end zone during a two-point conversion attempt).

The fourth quarter revealed Tom Brady’s modus operandi in offensiveness, which is to consider the opponent’s scoring as a challenge and then respond with a TD (courtesy of wide receiver Chris Godwin), bringing his team’s lead to 35 to 25.  What began as a hypothetically still winnable game for the Falcons soon turned unrealistic as the Buccaneers’ defense spat out back-to-back interceptions-for-touchdowns (thanks to safety Mike Edwards).  Final score 48 to 25.

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Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

A Dusting of Grass and Sand

Was it delerium
that set in
when Gretchen slid
into second base?

The softball went aloft
as the pitcher wound
an arm back,
slingshot into the heart
of the midday sun.

Her hands,
her face,
her knees
I’d have wept to see
such pretty things
dirtied by grass and sand,
but I was in the press box
nursing a sore hand.

That’s what you get
when you handwrite letters
instead of voice-to-text memos,
but I guess in the end
it makes no difference
what I see or don’t see.

Gretchen only likes to slide
into second base
when she doesn’t believe
her team can lose
and not because
she’s so good at it.

— yiqi 18 September 2021 6:58 pm

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I don’t know why this poem came to me when I was watching/listening to this Chinese drama.

NFL 2021: The Eagles sour candy the Falcons

When was the last time the Atlanta Falcons did not start the first quarter with great momentum and excellent game-play offensively and defensively only to stumble (even when no sacks or interceptions occur), lose energy traction, and steadily spiral into a score deficit by the middle of the third quarter that could not realistically be overcome?

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The Philadelphia Eagles were in Atlanta today and sure showed the Falcons which team’s new head coach could sleep a bit more restfully tonight.  The Eagles’ head coach Nick Sirianni may or may not have deliberately saved his players’ best athletic moves for the second half of the game, whereas the Falcons’ head coach Arthur Smith was undoubtedly hoping that in the first game of the regular season (played at home no less), that the Falcons would break their aforementioned pattern of starting off strong and progressing with lukewarm outcomes.

The first two quarters of the game demonstrated that each team had the offensive and defensive chops to keep the game-play exciting (nevermind all the penalties in the second quarter), but by the middle of the third quarter, it became evident that an Eagles fan would be having a much better time watching the rest of the game.  Two Falcons field goals were all that Atlanta fans had to grasp onto while Philadelphia fans could pride themselves in four touchdowns (courtesy of wide receiver Devonta Smith, tight end Dallas Goedert, running back Kenneth Gainwell, wide receiver Jalen Reagor) and a two-point conversion (thanks to running back Miles Sanders).  With a minute or so left in the fourth quarter, the Eagles put up a field goal.  32 to 6.  Final score.

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

The game was televised on Fox.  I very much liked the illustrated player portraits that appeared at various points throughout the game.  Will I be watching the Falcons next week?  Ne ne sais pas, c’est possible.

The upside for both teams after week one is that Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts knows he has a good athletic rapport with his teammates and Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan knows where and how he must improve with his.  It is preferable in a competitive sports environment to strive to be better than it is to endeavor to maintain a certain level of performance, right?

I concur, Darius the Great Deserves Better

I picked up Adib Khorram‘s Darius the Great Is Not Okay a year ago and read it over mid-summer.  The sequel, Darius the Great Deserves Better, came out in hardback a year ago and the paperback a few weeks ago.  I adored the first book, not only for its Bette Davis reference, but also in the way it presented the subjectivity of its title character.  Even when the “ums” became tiresome to read, I still liked Darius and felt really bad for how his classmates treated him.

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Not Okay follows Darius and his family’s trip to Iran to visit Darius’s mother’s family, Deserves Better continues with the story after they’ve returned home to Oregon.  Darius goes from awkward, self-embarrassed to less awkward, but still a little self-embarrassed.  His “ums” decrease a tad — some of them are replaced with “that’s normal, right?”

Although the first book has better writing overall and addresses the topic of self-identity and multi-culturalism very well, the second book is more “fun” to read because there are more opportunities to separate from the interiority of the main character.  The reader can identify with his troubles without being in his head, even though he is the narrator.  There are also more provocations to talk at the book, at the characters, to say things like, “Because Darius, you like ____.”  And yet, some of the conversations between the characters, whether it’s Darius and his parents or Darius and his friends, pulsate with advice column material.  It’s as though the author came across an high school lit mag with the theme of “how to talk about XYZ with your family and friends.”

This assessment originates from the mind of someone who used Windows 3.1 on the first family computer.  If I were in junior high or high school right now, or even college, would my reception of these two books be different?

Fun fact: I read Randy Ribay‘s Patron Saints of Nothing after finishing Not Okay and waiting for Deserves Better on paperback to be released, and when I got my hands on the latter finally, I kept thinking about Randy Ribay’s book.  Both of the Darius books together generates the same emotional response as Patron Saints of Nothing in their exploration of coming-of-age narratives and themes around family dynamics and ethnic heritages.  Would their protagonists be friends?  Hmmm.