Archive for October, 2018

Cheeps and Chirps for Oct. 31, 2018

October 31, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 31, 2018

 

Chirping from the hip.

• Politics, Supreme Court edition

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Homecoming heartbreak: WSU Cougars snatch a dramatic 41-38 victory on the Farm

October 29, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 29, 2018

A 42-yard Blake Mazza field goal with 19 seconds remaining lifted Washington State to a 41-38 victory over Stanford in the Cardinal’s homecoming game late Saturday afternoon.

WSU’s third straight victory over Stanford moved the streaking Cougars to 7-1 overall and 4-1 in the Pac-12. In losing consecutive games at Stanford Stadium for only the second time under head coach David Shaw, the Cardinal fell to 5-3 (3-2).

The Cougars trailed by two touchdowns, 28-14, after K.J. Costello threw a one-yard touchdown pass to sophomore fullback Houston Heimuli with 1:04 remaining in the second quarter. But WSU roared back; after recording a 23-yard Mazza field goal to close out the half, they went on to outscore Stanford 24-10 following intermission.

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Bad-Ugly-Good: Taking stock of 5-2 Stanford

October 26, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 26, 2018

After having lunch with a friend in Northern Virginia, I wrapped up an eight-day trip by driving back to Durham on Thursday, Oct. 18. Since it was late in the afternoon when I arrived and I wanted to get in some exercise, after hurriedly unloading my car I headed back out and hit the pavement. Ultimately, I walked more than 3.5 miles before coming back home to shower, groom myself and dress in Cardinal apparel.

I’d hoped to get in a little bit of pinball action before the football game, but the walk and doing some overdue shaving ate up most of the time available to me before kickoff.

I headed down to my usual Durham Stanford-watching spot but left before the final gun because the place was nearly empty and preparing to close. However, when ‪ASU‬ scored a fourth-quarter touchdown with several minutes remaining in the contest, I realized that I needed to get to a television. I wound up at the same establishment where I’d watched the Cardinal’s disastrous loss to Washington State in 2016. Fortunately, this time the result was much happier for me and other Stanford faithful.

• The Bad

Stanford netted 127 rushing yards on 43 carries against the Sun Devils, which works out to a hair less than 3.0 yards per attempt. Remarkably, for a team that returned the nation’s second-leading rusher and four-fifths of its starting offensive line, this was only slightly worse than the Cardinal’s season-long average of nearly 3.1 yards per carry.

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Cardinal outlasts ‪ASU‬, 20-13, on Thursday night

October 25, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 25, 2018

Stanford scored two third-quarter touchdowns and did just enough in the fourth quarter to get past a scrappy Arizona State team last Thursday night in Tempe.

Fans hoping to see the Cardinal put together a consistently solid 60 minutes of play probably came away disappointed from the nationally televised matchup; still, the conference road victory broke a two-game losing streak for coach David Shaw’s club. Stanford, now 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the Pac-12, has a chance to seize control of the conference’s Northern Division with consecutive games against Washington State (6-1, 3-1 in league) and Washington (6-2, 4-1) staring this weekend.

To get to that point, however, Stanford had to erase a first-quarter deficit — its sixth in seven games this year — and survive a shaky string of offensive series over the final 17 minutes of its bout with ‪ASU‬ (3-4, 1-3).

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Vignette: Lunch, itch, polo shirt

October 20, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 20, 2018

One afternoon this summer, I was having lunch with my Parental Unit in a restaurant in a mall near PU’s home. I was wearing one of my favorite shirts, a sky-blue cotton Land’s End polo. And something was bothering me. Specifically, something was irritating a patch of skin on my chest.

I kept looking down and tugging at the neck of the shirt, but the sensation persisted.

Eventually, I inspected the inside of the shirt, in the area where the buttons fasten. I felt goofy doing so, since the spot where we were sitting was visible to all sorts of passers-by in the mall, but the sharp prickly feeling was just too bothersome to let go without any investigation. Alas, I failed to identify whatever was provoking the itch. Perhaps it was all in my head?

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Damien Chazelle’s ‘First Man’ offers a frosty portrayal of a pilot’s historic journey to the moon

October 15, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 15, 2018

First Man, director Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to his acclaimed 2016 feature film La La Land, documents how Neil Armstrong progressed from being one of a handful of test pilots pushing past Earth’s atmosphere to the first individual to set foot on another celestial body.

The movie serves as a sequel of sorts to The Right Stuff, writer-director Philip Kaufman’s adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s 1979 book about America’s first astronauts. Indeed, Chazelle’s movie was adapted (by screenwriter Josh Singer, a co-author of The Post) from a 2005 authorized biography of the same title by Auburn University space historian James R. Hansen.

Kaufman began his movie with Chuck Yeager’s breaking the sound barrier in 1947 and ended roughly 15 years later as NASA approaches the end of Project Mercury, the first crewed American orbital missions. Chazelle and Singer start their story in the early 1960s, literally seconds before Armstrong embarks on a hazardous suborbital flight in an X-15 rocket plane and a few months before the civilian test pilot is selected for Gemini, NASA’s second set of crewed missions.

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Bad-Ugly-Good: Taking stock of 4-2 Stanford

October 14, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 14, 2018

I spent the weekend of the Utah-Stanford football clash participating in a two-day Scrabble tournament in Wilmington, N.C. (More on that in future posts!) Come kickoff time, I was prowling Wilmington’s downtown entertainment district, seeking a good place to watch the game. I wound up at a wonderful bar called Rebellion, which I stayed at until late in the third quarter.

Once I’d finished walking back to my hotel and taking the elevator up to my room and figuring out how to turn on the television and tune into the game just in time to see Stanford rally late in the third quarter.

Unfortunately, that rally wilted in the final period…

• The Bad

After the game, I tweeted a screenshot showing the game’s team statistics on which three clusters of numbers were circled in red. My accompanying caption was “Statistically speaking: Yikes, double yikes and triple yikes.”

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Utah humbles Stanford, 40-21

October 13, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 13, 2018

Stanford played its worst game of 2018 last Saturday in a 40-19 home loss to the Utah Utes.

Although the Cardinal’s 38-17 road loss at Notre Dame the previous weekend was by a larger margin, the team’s second defeat may have been more demoralizing. For one thing, it happened at home; for another, it was probably the squad’s all-around worst performance. It was as if coach David Shaw’s gridders took the worst elements from their uninspired first half at Oregon and their fourth-quarter collapse against the Fighting Irish and amplified them.

The contest’s first play from scrimmage was promising: junior quarterback K.J. Costello threw to senior wideout J.J. Arcega-Whiteside for 15 yards. But the drive stalled there, and Stanford punted. Utah soon did the same.

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Bad-Ugly-Good: Taking stock of 4-1 Stanford

October 6, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 6, 2018

Last Saturday’s football-watching took place in Durham with my pal Jim, but at Tyler’s Taproom rather than at our usual spot. I may have been thinking of Stanford’s 2010 visit to Notre Dame, a game that the Cardinal won as I watched in that establishment. At any rate…

• The Bad

Well, there are a lot of candidates for this category this week. But let’s zero in on one thing: Third down.

The Cardinal offense converted only three of 13 third downs. Partly as a result, the Stanford defense had to spend more than 34 minutes on the field.

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Dominant Irish fourth quarter sparks a 38-17 Notre Dame victory

October 5, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 5, 2018

The late American comedian is supposed to have once said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” When Notre Dame hosted Stanford last Saturday evening in a primetime battle of top-10-ranked unbeaten teams, both teams had plenty of chances to grab a win. Unfortunately for the road team, the Fighting Irish not only built a door but charged through it during a lopsided fourth quarter that saw Stanford repeatedly drop lumber on its toes and hammer its own hapless fingers and thumbs.

The Cardinal opened the game with a three-and-out that saw them gain no yards. The Irish drove 20 plays in response but saw running back Tony Jones Jr. turned away with one yard to go on third and fourth downs at the Stanford 47-yard line.

The ensuing play was a seven-yard Bryce Love run, his first gain after being held to no yards on two carries. But Stanford couldn’t convert third and 2 and had to punt.

After two opportunities to put their mark on their game, the Cardinal offense had come up empty twice.

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Cheeps and Chirps for Oct. 1, 2018

October 1, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 1, 2018

Chirp shots from the peanut gallery.

• Politics

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