“It’s hard to answer that right now,” Stroud said, … “I know where I come from in college, if you don’t win it all, then it’s kind of a fail. So that’s kind of the mindset I have.”

CJ Stroud not ready to call the season a success Go Buckeyes.

The big kid submitted a user form in Google Maps to rename one of the alleys in the neighborhood after him. Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing “Nacho Cheese Road.” Personally “Lane” or “Walk” would have been better, but alas. Can’t win ‘em all.

Now playing 🎵 O.P.P. - Naughty By Nature - ★★★★★

Playing the jams on the local radio this morning.

This lawsuit is one of many the NCAA is currently facing on multiple fronts, and … All of it is part of the NCAA’s ongoing quest for an antitrust exemption from Congress

DOJ joins antitrust suit against NCAA

The incredible shrinking podcast industry | Semafor

Apple has quietly tightened its reporting of how many people listen to podcasts, sending shock waves through an embattled audio industry … Apple wrote in a blog post, … had begun switching off automatic downloads for users who haven’t listened to five episodes of a show in the last two weeks.

Toughest mom in the US, full stop.

When Alaska flight 1282 blew open, a mom went into ‘go mode’ to protect her son | The Seattle Times

I saw this story making the round on the various Socials. A boy was in the window seat immediately in front of the door plug that was pulled out of the Alaska Airlines Flight 1282…

As the outrush of air subsided, Faye was gripped with a fear that another panel might pop out in their row. There was no such panel, but she didn’t know that. She tried shouting to her seatmate that they had to move, to get out of those seats.

With the noise of the air outside and with masks on, the seatmate couldn’t hear her.

At that point, “things had stopped flying out. I could see that his bag was on the floor,” Faye said. “I realized the pressure is now no longer such that we are risking getting pulled out by getting out of our seats.”

Faye said she took off her mask so her seatmate could hear her and said “on the count of three I’m going to unbuckle him. We’re going to pull him out.”

Until then, Faye had seen no flight attendant. As they unbuckled, she reached up and pushed the call button.

A flight attendant came to their row. “I saw the shock on her face,” Faye said. “I remember thinking she didn’t know there was a hole in this plane” until that moment.

As they got up, Faye threw her son’s bag into the aisle.

The flight attendant helped them find new seats. The boy was placed in a middle seat about four rows ahead of row 25 and on the other side of the plane from the hole. Faye and her seatmate were seated together eight to 10 rows ahead of him.

Faye said the passengers around her in that forward row had no idea about the hole in the plane until she told them.

Incredible story. Absolutely bonkers.

Ladies and gentlemen, Three.

📷 credit: the wife. See also, one year ago today.

Welp. One of the big kids is up with croup.

The Three Factions of American Culture (Substack)

The macroculture, it must be emphasized, is nowhere near collapse. I think it will transmogrify, not vanish. But it’s no longer growing. It’s the microculture that is expanding, often explosively.

This is not a value judgement, merely an expression of bare fact.

How Football Works: Introducing the keeper-back (The Athletic) ⚽️

Good stuff from The Athletic, especially for casual soccer fans such as myself.

The culture/media war of 2024 has already been won (Ted Gioia)

In other words, legacy media is collapsing at the very moment that alternative platforms are booming. I’m doubling my audience in 2023 (up more than 120% year-on-year), but the Stripe numbers indicate that this is happening everywhere in the alt culture. … I hear every day from people asking me to share what I’ve learned from running a successful Substack. But the folks approaching me are all involved in new media platforms. I never get asked a single question about Substack from mainstream media people (although they are always asking me to contribute). They obviously believe that they have nothing to learn from the microculture.

🗞️ Tension Between Micro Culture and Macroculture. This is easily among the post important things I’ve on this in recent memory and well worth your time.

Nick Saban. 🏈

(That’s it. That’s the post.)

Breakfast of champions. 📷

A child’s hands waits for syrup on her frozen waffle

The discussion on Tangents and Footnotes for the first week of War and Peace is terrific. I like this pace of reading. I hope I can keep it up. 📚

Slept in (to 6am), but it’s still dark and quiet while I drink coffee and collect thoughts for next week. Spring semester begins on Monday. ☕️

Terrible news out of Japan, especially the loss of life from their Coast Guard. It’s a miracle the passengers on the commercial flight were all evacuated safely.

Short and simple, New Year’s Day hike with the kids (Gaia GPS)

Currently reading: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy 📚

Part of the year-long book club with Footnotes and Tangents on Substack.

Tamalada: making my first tamales ever

I recently inspired by Adriana Maestas on Twitter/X to reclaim tradition. She linked to an excellent essay in the LA Times by Natalia Molina on the tradition of the “tamalada” (tamale making party). I’ve never made tamales, even though the tradition runs deep in my family.

In my family, the women make them usually the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This is not a “that’s woman’s work” thing wherein the men think they are above it. Rather, men are explicitly excluded. Some of my fondest memories of my late-Uncle Ted as a child are from when, banned from the kitchen and living room, he and I (and my older cousins) would watch college football. He explained the sport to me (and in part bears the blame/credit for my incurable obsession with collegiate sports).

As I got older, I never made tamales myself. My mom would FedEx a batch to me, wherever I was. During my “tech school” with the Air Force in ‘98, I shared a few tamales with friends from North Dakota, Ohio and elsewhere who had never even heard the word “tamale” let along tried one. In college, and graduate school, my batch of tamales arrived usually in time to be the perfect comfort food during finals and paper-writing crunches.

Fast forward, it’s 2023. My Tia who has always been the lead on the family tamalada is more or less retired, my sister and cousins (the ladies) are hit and miss with organizing, and I live out of state; on top of that, my mom had a “tiny” stoke this year. She’s doing great but in no condition to be planning and prepping what is a very extensive process.

So when Adriana posted Molina’s essay in the LA Times, we started a convo (usual for us); and agreed to shoot for making our first go by New Year’s. I committed to this weekend and prepped as best I could. Here’s how it went.

Masa. I opted for store bought. As much as hand-made masa is the gold standard, my immediate aims were to simply “not fail”. I followed Rick Bayless as the rough starting point. It’s a “small batch” and, truth be told, I couldn’t find a batch of masa small enough. So I had to go with what was on offer at the local Mexican grocery.

A photo of of a shopping cart full of tamales supplies, including 8 pounds of masa.

My oldest helped. He’s become quite the sous chef this year. Despite his challenges at school and his ADHD, he’s earnest, thoughtful, and full of life.

Young boy de-seeding guajillo chiles

Young boy pouring red sauce into cooking pot

Filling. Sticking with the simple and straight forward, I went with red chile. Plenty of recipes to follow. Where I erred is that our oven is not precise. At 30-years old (or more), lower temperatures can be tricky. It took twice as long to braise the pork such that it shredded properly. The unexpected delay led to some foreseeable heartache from the littles.

toddler crying because the tamales are not yet ready

Note Bene. I have no idea why this photo displays upside down on the blog. It’s right-side up in my photos app.

Toddler girl looking at dad while he makes tamales

Finally, we got all we needed to make the tamales. Once we did, the process sped up significantly. My oldest helped me make the tamales by spreading the masa and placing the chile into the tamal before steaming. This is a straightforward but very technical process. The place where most go wrong (and I did) is not spreading the masa thin enough. When looking at corn husks with masa spread too thin, the masa breaks. Adding a bit of water to the store bought helps it stay “connected” while spreading.

Dad trying to spread tamale masa onto a corn husk

Even still, the masa spread on the husks thicker than I wanted. I would have preferred a thinner layer to fit more meat in the tamal. Since the masa will expand when cooking I knew this would be an issue. But we cannot let perfection be the enemy of the good.

Baking sheet full of tamales

Two tamales cooling off after cooking in the steamer

After that, it is just a simple matter of steaming them properly. 45 minutes in our Instant Pot and a few minutes to rest. The results were… well, nearly perfect. The kiddos devoured the remaining tamales even before I could eat two of them and FaceTime my mom to share what I accomplished.

Young boy giving a thumbs up for the tamales

We’re making more tomorrow and definitely I’ll try it a few more times before the 2024 holiday season so that my technique is better.