Robert Novak (1931-2009) : The fall of the “Prince of Darkness.”

Robert Novak hangin with the homeboys.

Robert Novak hangin' with the homeboys.

Robert Novak, the pugnacious Washington political writer and pundit died Monday following a bout with brain cancer.   The ” Prince of Darkness” tag was both the title of Novak’s memoir and a nod to his tough-minded, in your face style of reporting.  Novak  was a hardcore conservative who didn’t give a damn who disliked him.

As a print journalist, I found Robert Novak to be an intelligent, savvy, well-informed and authoritative writer.

But when he went on to do television he learned to condense complicated issues into pithy 30 second soundbites. He dumbed down his message to fit the format and limits of the talking head.

As a talking head on Crossfire, The McLaughlin Group and other programs, I thought he was an inflamed asshole. Before there was Bill O’ Reilly or Sean Hannity, there was Novak, the Prince of Darkness.

In print Novak was deep. On the boob tube he was a dick. But he had to be. Like wrestling, that was the role he was cast in.

Like Novak, I’ve appeared on television and radio and given my opinion on issues that are too complex to adequately explain in 30 seconds, but I’ve done it.  I know most people who try to provide their insights on television provided more heat then light and the superficial triumphs over the substantial.   Unlike Novak, nobody has ever written me any big checks for a truncated opinion.
My father once said he’d love to catch Novak in a dark alley with a baseball bat. I would have loved to bat clean up. Novak came off a right-wing prick on television and he knew it, but the gig paid too well for him not to.

I learned to ignore Novak on television and just read his column instead. Rarely would I agree with with him, but he did an excellent job of presenting the conservative side of the argument.

As a journalist, I think Robert Novak was damned good at his job.   As a talking head he was part of the problem of the journalist-as-celebrity and that has been poisonous to the profession.

Not that Novak would give a damn.

Brett Favre: The Bitch is Back

Theres no crying in football--BITCH!

There's no crying in football--BITCH!

Like herpes, there’s no getting rid of Brett Favre.

Motivated by money ($12 million for one season) and a hard-on against the Green Bay Packers that finally got tired of his act and got rid of him, he’s back in the NFL as the new starting quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings.

There are two things I wish for:  the first is for Favre to keep playing long enough that he and Terrell Owens become teammates.  Then you’ll have the two most arrogant and selfish players in the league on the same team.  The second is for a linebacker to come barreling in on a blindside blitz and blow him up.   Just totally drill his sorry ass.

Does that sounds vicious?  I’m sorry, but not really.   I am so sick of seeing Favre, hearing about Favre and being exposed to 24-7 news coverage of Favre on ESPN.  I’m sick of this punk’s lies.  Sick of his need for the spotlight.  Sick of seeing him run yet another team into the ground.

Last season as a New York Jet, Favre threw 22 touchdowns which sounds impressive until you add the 22 interceptions he also threw including four that were returned for touchdowns.

The Favre groupies and brown nosers will probably be humping their pillows tonight with happiness at the thought of their unshaven hero dragging his butt out on the artificial turf of the Metrodome for  one last shot at glory.   But this egomaniac turns 40 in October and he doesn’t handle the pass rush as nimbly as he once did.

Preview of coming attractions...

Preview of coming attractions...

For all those Viking fans booking  on Orbitz  for a trip to the Super Bowl, slow your roll.  Look at that beard/not beard that Favre is sporting and you’ll see a lot of gray in that thatch.   This is the Brett Favre of  2009, not 1999 .  He’s older.  He’s slower and he’s not among the Top 10 quarterbacks any longer.

The thinking is Favre will fatten up on the Browns, Lions on the road and 49ers at homein the first three games and then in Game Four he gets his first shot at the team he hates, The Green Bay Packers when they come for a visit on October 5.   It’s a Monday night game on ESPN and you can smell the hype already.   ESPN will be looking at game  for huge ratings and great expectations.

I’ll be waiting for that blitz coming from the blind side.

Meanwhile, all you suckers in Minnesota dreaming of glory now that the unshaven Jesus of football has come to town remember this:

Brett Favre is the NFL career leader in touchdown passes (464).

And interceptions. (310)