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Disco Duck Revisited


GORDONVILLE — I know it’s hard to believe, given that I’m the handsome-but-aging devil I am today, that there was once a time when I was the the ugly kid at the Junior High — or Bar/Bat Mitzvah or overnight camp — dance (record hops, as they were called).

There was no moment more sad than hearing Donna Summer’s “Last Dance,” signaling the end of the night, and me and the other dorks still standing by the punch bowl.

After scoring big in fifth grade with the ladies, the steady decline began in sixth and only got worse from there with buck and crooked death and Brillo pad hair. By the end of high school, I suppose I was sneaky cute and it was fifth grade all over again by college (girls not being into messed-up older guys helped).

What does this memory of my Disco Duck years have to do with my latest NFL Mock Draft? Everything, actually.

My latest public Eagles-only 7-round mock, unlike others, included trades. The computer offered me some, and I offered it some.

And, like those dances of yore, I met with a lot of rejections in my offers.

Example: In the first round, I offered the Houston Texans — not exactly beauty queens themselves — the 18th overall pick and a third for the 13th overall pick (Cincinnati corner Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner was still on the board) and a sixth. The answer? A flat no.

And so it went.

Here it goes the Mock Draft, with trades, hot off the presses:

Round 1

Pick 15: George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue (6-4, 270)

Notes: A lot was made of Michigan’s David Ojabo not having a ton of football experience and his ultimate upside, even before his injury. Karlaftis was born in Greece and grew up playing water polo before moving to he US and taking up football in high school. Translation: He is already good, and is still going to get better. I really didn’t like him at first, but he has grown on me.

Then came a trade offer from the Detroit Lions, who were asking for the 18th and 101st picks in exchange for No. 32 and 34. I accepted.

Pick 32: Kenyon Green, OG, Texas A&M (6-4, 325)

Notes: Brandon Brooks is gone, and I’m just not sold on Isaac Seumalo right now being the guy, especially at his salary. Green, at worst, could either start by next season or could be ready by midseason if and when Seumalo gets hurt again.

Round 2

Pick 34: Christian Watson, WR, North Dakota State 6-4, 210)

Notes: Passed on the chance to get some wideouts in the first round, instead settling on more sexy picks, and Watson may end up being the best receiver in the draft when it is all said and done. He began the draft process as a Day 3 dark horse and has raised his own stock at every turn. He checks all the boxes for the Birds, in terms of size and his ability to also double as a return man.

Pick 51: Troy Andersen, LB, Montana State (6-4, 240)

Notes: If you like Leighton Vander Esch, despite the uniform he wears, you will love this Swiss Army Knife. Andersen may just be limited to special teams early on while being phased into the defense, but it will be worth the wait. And don’t be shocked, in the interim, if he gets in some snaps on offense on gadget plays.

Round 3

Pick 83: Trey McBride, TE, Colorado State (6-3, 250)

Notes: I have a long list of Day 3 tight ends that I was going to refer to when the time was right, but I was pleasantly surprised to still see my No. 1 tight end still on the board. With all due disrespect to J.J. Arecega-Whiteside, who allegedly converting from receiver to tight end, it was a no-brainer.

Round 4

Pick 134: J.T. Woods, S, Baylor (6-2, 190)

Notes: Like the McBride selection, the value here was too good to pass up, even with some corners on the board. I’m just not sold on the current safeties as anything more than flotation devices. He has improved his stock slightly — from, say, the latter part of Day 3 — by allaying some fears about man coverage in postseason poking and prodding. He is one of the faster safeties in the draft.

Round 5

Pick 154: Dameon Pierce, RB, Florida (5-9, 215)

Notes: I’m still not sure why Jordan Howard was so quickly jettisoned, and I mourn his loss from the roster. Pierce, though, brings some of the same qualities with his compact frame. I’m reminded of the “Weeble Wobble But They Don’t Fall Down” toys of the 1970s.

Pick 166: Tyquan Thornton, WR, Baylor (6-2, 180)

Notes: The kid is 6-2 with 33-inch arms and runs a 4.2 40. He is only 180 pounds and is raw and doesn’t always catch the ball, or double catches it, meaning we could be looking at another John Hightower. Or not. Worth the pick here.

Pick 173: Aqeel Glass, QB, Alabama A&M (6-4, 235)

Notes: Nowhere near ready to play meaningful regular season snaps for a year or two, but the raw tools make him an upgrade at the No. 3 spot on the depth chart.

Round 6

The Eagles currently don’t have a 6th having the swap of picks with the Saints, but I was able to fix that by actually asking a girl to dance and getting a “yes.”

The Patriots accepted a fifth next year for a sixth this year. Seems a steep price, but this draft is deep and the Eagles are awash in picks next year.

Pick 200: Dawson Deaton, C, Texas Tech (6-5, 305)

Notes: He is a former defensive lineman and will bring an attack mentality to Jeff Stoutland’s classroom.

UPDATE: Nate Herbig just resigned with the Eagles, so Deaton is not needed.

NEW PICK 200: Tayland Humphrey, DT, Louisiana (6-5, 350)

Notes: “Big Saucy” will need some refinement, but you can’t teach size, and he has it.

Round 7

Pick 237: Velus Jones, WR, Tennessee (5-11, 200)

Notes: A third receiver seems a bit much, but we just need to trust the board here and go value. Jones lacks some size/speed stuff but plays the right way, grading out as an excellent blocker, and brings needed return skills (as a Plan B for Watson).

Summary: I left the dance with only admiring San Diego State punter Matt Araiza from afar. This means either an undrafted punter (Penn State’s Jordan Stout), or a veteran journeymen fringe guy, to battle it out with incumbent Arryn Siposs,who tailed off horribly last year. I took no corners in a year loaded with them, meaning either a return of someone Steve Nelson (now with Texans) or the younger guys – Zech McPherson, Tay Gowan, Kary Vincent, etc. — battling it out. But fear not, this is not the last dance. I shall return,

The Race To Save America

McGrath Turtle


GORDONVILLE — If Amy McGrath were running for public office in more liberal parts of the country, she would only be able to keep a straight face by a being a right of center Republican.

Sane-minded Republicans, the few that have yet to be tarred and feathered for thinking for themselves, will eat up her unprecedented military service. Free of bone spurs, McGrath flew 89 combat missions during her 20 years in the Marines, breaking the that branch’s gender barrier.

Heavily decorated for her service, Lt. Col McGrath, a Naval Academy graduate, then entered politics – as a Democrat – in 2017 (even though her husband is a Republican).

Her stances on key issues – like supporting the second amendment with some baby steps with background checks — place put her firmly into the center lane, where she is careful not to make a dangerous move, lest she commit career suicide in home state of Kentucky.

Concerning your president (not mine), McGrath has stated: “I want to do what’s best for Kentucky,” adding she will support him when he has good ideas. “To me it’s not about your political party, it’s not about wearing a red jersey or blue jersey.”

In a state where it would be a shock if a referendum on going back to white and colored water fountains would not shock me, she has to walk that tightrope like a Wallenda.

She accepts climate change as fact, but with a keen eye toward what substantial legislation would mean for the coal regions of eastern Kentucky.

Not to be confused with Bernie Sanders, she is firmly behind Obamacare as is and against free college tuition.

And yet, Amy McGrath is my favorite politician right now.

Of her combat missions, what she faces now may be her most important.

With no more need to donate my $27 to the Sanders campaign for mugs and bumper stickers, I may just send some that way.

And, if you want to save the Union, you should feel the same.

She is running for senate in Kentucky against none other than Mitch McConnell, who struggles for a 20 percent approval rating nationally but is around 50 percent in the home state he rarely even graces with his presence (and allows for eastern Kentucky to remain in squalor while overwhelmingly grabbing votes there).

Your president (not mine) can’t help the fact that he is who he is, as we all knew he was who was before too many of you (not me) gave a sociopath his ultimate playroom.

It is his enablers, both in the House (before the 2018 midterms) and still in the Senate, that have collectively failed to give him his rabies vaccine.

Some know better, speaking in hushed tones under condition anonymity about how they’d like to vote for sanity, if they only could, on draconian policies.

But they fear retribution so much that they follow the lead of McConnell, the Senate majority leader, who would probably block aid to starving kittens if his lord and master – not to mention special interest groups – told him so.

I have engaged with many other concerned lefties about other contests — from Arizona and Colorado to Maine and Iowa — that could help tilt the Senate back to a place of sanity and humanity.

McGrath is currently being given a 45 percent chance of winning, suggesting a waste of money and effort, as compared to those. I get it, but the whole landscape could continue to change with what is going on currently with the coronavirus and the economy.

My argument with throwing unmitigated support behind McGrath is that a victory, seen as difficult but not impossible, would kill the proverbial two birds with one stone.

It would knock McConnell off his perch of power, and send his butt bhome.

The fact that she has built a nice war chest already, which is driving McConnell bonkers, shows that I am not alone.

Why is this so important?

Let’s recount the ways, using the book “Un-Trumping America: A Plan to make America a Democracy Again” by Dan Pfeiffer, the cohost of the podcast “Pod Save America.”

Quickly establishing that your president (not mine) is nothing but a petulant child who can’t help himself, he begins getting to root of the matter, with the scourge he calls “McConnellism” by page 13.

It boils down, as he breaks it down, to a cultural Civil War between Yes We Can vs. Because We Can.

In his position of power, he led blockades against President Barack Obama without showing any willingness to compromise, as he lone stated agenda was for him to be a single-term president

As much as the Russians and the poor timing of James Comey, he set the table for your president (not mine) to place our democracy in peril.

McConnell does nothing because it is or is not the right thing to do in his mind. That would mean he has a belief system and a moral compass in the first place.

He will hold up a stop sign simply because he can.

Pfeiffer flat-out dubs McConnell as “the worst person in American politics.”

And that’s saying something, since we have the worst president in modern American history in the Oval Office.

So here we are, with Amy McGrath.  Her bid to unseat McConnell, and turn McConnellism to ash, may be just as important – if not more so – than the presidential race.

She’s all we have, and the best we can hope for in a state like Kentucky, so let’s do all we can to make it happen.



Philadelphia Freedom




GORDONVILLE — I’m as “Philly” as it gets – right down to an accent so thick that people in out-of-town elevators nail my hometown just from a sliver of small talk.

Even though I call the ‘burbs home these days, not much has changed.

My movie would be called “Straight Outta Cottman Avenue.”

I’m cheese steaks with cheese whiz. I’m soft pretzels with mustard. I eat hoagies, not subs. I’m Temple, not Penn State.

When “Rocky” won best picture in 1976, it felt as if a Philly team had won a championship.

When Live Aid was at old JFK stadium in 1985, my civic pride was so strong that I even endured a four-song set by Duran Duran and remained respectful.

When the Eagles rip my heart out on a Sunday, I go through a 24-hour mourning process with all the stages of grief.

I’ll criticize my brethren for pelting Santa Claus with snow balls, not to mention other such transgressions that perpetuate stereotypes, but I’ll pounce twice as hard on you if you are criticize us from some Ivory Tower (especially with a British accent).

I’ll choose fight over flight. I’m a Broad Street Bully.

And my heart is on my sleeve that barely fits over the chip on my shoulder.

I also always took great pride in Philadelphia’s storied history. When you talk about democracy and freedom and all that theoretically good stuff, this is where was born.

My class trips were short trips — to places like Independence Hall and Valley Forge.

So it was with great consternation that the Democratic Party, my party of choice, chose my beloved City of Brotherly – and sometimes tough – Love, as the place where Democracy would go home to die when the convention comes here in a few months.

How so?

Here is how so.

It is a personal core belief — and should be one with anyone engaged in the process (whether Democrat, Republican, Independent or something else) – that the dysfunctional presidential primary process should never be one where the winners are chosen before the starting gun sounds.

And while the Republican Party seemingly opened up the front door of a funny farm and let the first 14-16 whackos to climb onto a clown car and run for president, it is a better way to go than putting one horse in the starting gate and calling it a day.

But that’s the stunt that the Democrats tried to pull with Hillary Clinton, the former first lady and secretary of state.

And unless you have an incumbent running for re-election, it is completely unacceptable on many levels, particularly for someone like myself who almost always votes.

Was I really going to be faced with the prospect of having no choice by the time Pennsylvania’s primary rolled around?

Was it going to be the same for those in state after us?

How un-Democratic can the Democrats get?

Add in the fact that the media talking heads were trying to brainwash us into believing that we were on a collision course with a Bush-Clinton election, and you had to wonder aloud about how much we ever really cut the umbilical cord from the British Empire – and its concept of royal families — that we broke away from when all that Philadelphia Freedom stuff went down.

While Jeb Bush seemed to be the least zany of his royal clan, it was flanked by too many loudmouths to gain traction and his campaign failed.

How would it go down on the supposed enlightened side of the spectrum?

Instead of letting Clinton waltz, unopposed, some hats were thrown into the ring.

One was from Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont not afraid to tout the Democratic Socialism that makes other countries, mostly in Europe (i.e. Denmark, Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, and Germany) tick with a healthier pulse rate than that of our own.

I first saw Sanders years ago, when he was a guest on “Real Time With Bill Maher.” I was buying was he was selling, picking up what he was putting down.

It was around the time of the 2007 birth of my daughter, and some of my conservative friends were telling me that this major life event would make see the world more like in their “I-me-mine” way. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The truth, my truth, was that Sanders had a vision of a country – and a world — where I would want Sofia to grow up.

Inside my head, Voice A asked Voice B – in my “Philly accent” – if it were possible if Sanders could ever be president. While they both chuckled, Voice C – the voice of reason – said it would be nice, but highly unlikely.

So when Sanders entered the race, it was more about proving a point. The mainstream media sneered and dismissed it as a lark, but I saw the key role he could play in rectifying a flawed process (and hopefully hang in long enough that there was still democracy, i.e. a choice, when it came time to vote in most states).

I hoped he could push Clinton – in many ways, no different than the type of moderate Republican one has to visit next to dinosaurs on a class trip to the Franklin Institute – out of her middle-of-the-road box. Sanders could get Clinton, who I vigorously supported in print during the 2008 primary process, flustered enough to go on record in debates and interviews.

The fact that it happened doesn’t make me Nostradamus. It just makes me quite satisfied that the system, while badly broken, can be fixed. Not in this election, but down the road. And we have Sanders to thank.

How did it happen?

Knowing he had to real chance of winning as a seventysomething far-left independent without pockets lined with SuperPAC money – and J-J-Jewish, no less – to do what politicians (at least the ones who are not egomaniacal sociopaths appealing to base of voters with an average brain of 2.43 cells) and say what he means and mean what he says.

At the least, as a quirky candidate, he could take advantage of the quirky process and show well in the quirky state of Iowa. That would put him on the map enough to have a good chance of winning in New Hampshire, which borders Vermont, and create a catapult effect.

And that it did, with a strange and unlikely ally for me – Millennials and bright-eyed college students.

The Clinton campaign, in what has become a nauseating sense of entitlement about claiming the nomination, never saw him coming. Seemingly blindsided, her claws came out. Clearly, Hillary had to resent emptying her coffers in the primary process to stave off what we dismissed as a boutique candidacy that wouldn’t last past the first four contests.

The mainstream media tried to do its part by declaring the race – the same horse race they bank on lasting as long possible – as over whenever she won a key race (even if it was a virtual tie) and dismissing any Sanders win as an optical illusion that won’t change anything in the long run.

And, in the end, it won’t – at least in terms of who gets the nomination.

And they will be quick to brand Sanders as the “loser,” but that’s the absolute last thing he will be after chasing her to the finish line after she got such an unfair head start – just with name value, the SuperPAC dough and inherent media bias.

Like Rocky Balboa, who realized just before his bout with heavyweight champion Apollo Creed that winning was going to be next to impossible, Sanders has done the next best thing. He stunned Clinton, knocking her down in the first round. He had her on the ropes in the 15th, cracking her ribs with body blows.

He took a beating in a lot of the rounds in between, but he plodded away – winning over the common folk — and went the distance.

And you don’t get more “Philly” – or Democratic – than that.