Bernese Mountain Dog Diplomacy
Also, a Grammy-winning crossover pop sensation, and the forbidden romance that can only come from fighting terrorism in an elite federal unit
STICK TO DOGS
Last week, we celebrated Bród Higgins, a faithful and devoted servant of Irish President Michael Higgins. Bród is a Bernese Mountain Dog, and Bród is a very, very, very good boy who greeted Princess Kate (or Duchess or whatever we call her) by sitting on her feet and demanding attention.
If you’re not aware, that is the highest honor a Berner can give.
As it turns out, Bród is a well-known socializer. This weekend, no fewer than a dozen people sent me a clip from this event, where Higgins was hosting an International Women’s Day event. The scene is immaculate: beautiful singing, a room full of luminaries, a most convivial atmosphere celebrating the women in our lives.
The one thing missing, of course, was God’s Gift To Women himself, Bród. And sure enough, he showed up, sniffed a few hands and greeted a few people, then upon finding his master—who, again, is the President of a whole entire country—and splayed himself at his side, demanding (and receiving) big Berner belly rubs.
There’s something wonderfully disarming about a friendly dog. No pretense, no defense mechanisms, no preconception about the type of person that, ahem, we do or don’t like.
Most dogs have no concept of this struggle.
That might be Síoda leaning on Meghan. Either way, the joy on Meghan’s face is impossible to fake, even for an actress. Berners are programmed to lean on us, and in turn we’re programmed to love it. It’s in our nature.
It should go without saying, but please continue sending me Bród videos whenever he injects himself into geopolitical situations. You shouldn’t even have to ask if I’ve seen it already—even I have, the answer is “yes and I want to see it again right now.”
STICK TO SPORTS
I’d like to share with you tonight’s Wikipedia rabbit hole. And if you need a hook, I’ll just say it starts with very bad Iowa State basketball and ends up in terrorism-fighting federal agents’ “passionate and forbidden romance.”
This already sounds like a setup for a long joke, so I want to assure you now that every word to come is true.
So! Iowa State men’s basketball is very, very bad this season. You hate to see it. The Cyclones begin the Big 12 tournament with a 12-19 (5-13) record, good for sole possession of next-to-last place in the conference. Go Iowa Awesome cohort RossWB noted that the inevitable conference tourney loss would make ISU’s 20th on tbumbhe season. Twenty losses. That’s as many as two tens. And that’s terrible.
Ross wondered if 20 losses would be an ISU men’s basketball record for a season. Gosh, you’d hope so, right? Turns out, not a record at all—according to Wikipedia, in 1976, the Cyclones bumbled their way to a 3-24 record. THREE AND TWENTY-FOUR! Do you know how difficult it is for a major-conference varsity basketball to tip off 27 times and win just threeeeeee games?
According to Wikipedia, the coach at the time was Ken Trickey. As you can imagine, he was immediately replaced after winning three whole-ass games in an entire season. Nothing else about this man is remarkable.
According to Wikipedia, Trickey was replaced as Iowa State men’s head coach by Lynn Nance, and here, reader, is where it’s imperative that you buckle up.
Nance was not successful at Iowa State, logging a 40-59 (16-21) record before resigning midseason in 1980. He found more success at D-II Central Missouri State, winning a national championship, yadda yadda… wait, what’s this?
Aside from his career as a coach, Nance also served as a special agent for the FBI, as well as working as an assistant director for the NCAA. Nance drew upon his experience as an FBI agent to write a novel titled Bridger: Deadly Peril.
What. What. What. W h a t .
According to Amazon, the book IS available for purchase, and jeeeeesus christ, the promotional blurb makes Threat Level Midnight look like a C-SPAN documentary:
Outcries over failures of intelligence and investigative agencies following 9/11 trigger demands for reform. Former FBI Assistant Director Ted Bridger, whose earlier warnings of terrorist threats fell on deaf ears, answers the call and creates a new unit: FIST—Federal Investigative and Strategic Team. FIST consists of elite agents from FBI, CIA, Secret Service, DIA, and NSA. Using sophisticated investigative techniques and weaponry, the new unit pursues terrorists from New York to Seattle and into mountain forests of the Ozarks and Idaho. Pressure to succeed combines with intrigue and action, placing men and women of FIST in deadly peril. Release for the agents comes in many forms—including passionate and forbidden romance.
Reader, I have spent the last hour howling, and I have already ordered my copy. Updates in the weeks to come.
Make sure you don’t miss any updates about the romantic FIST agents! Sign up today!
STICK TO MUSIC
Few people know that the 2000 Grammy-winning Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals was a little ditty called “Smooth” by Carlos Santana, featuring Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20.
This song is so good. Guys, it’s not even worth arguing at this point. I’m not sure how well we can truly get along if you can’t get behind Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20, alternating between a cowboy hat and a silk dragon shirt depending on if he’s inside or out (the hat is for inside, obviously), belting out a Latin pop banger with THE Carlos Santana shredding next to him, all on an East Harlem block where bras appear to be illegal.
Literally what is there not to like?
STICK TO SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION
Luka Garza, aka the Peacock, aka Garzilla, took home Big Ten Player of the Year honors Monday evening. Over at home base, Ross cites his gaudy stats, which only got better as the pressure increased:
But let's go back to the scoring for a moment because Garza's incredible ability to put the ball in the basket this season is definitely the primary reason that he was named Player of the Year. That 23.9 ppg average? It's actually weighed down by Garza's non-conference exploits. In league play -- again playing in the toughest league in the country, while facing the fifth-toughest schedule in the nation, and dealing with a non-stop parade of quality big men -- Garza's scoring average rose to 26.2 ppg, the highest conference scoring average for a Big Ten player since 1994.
STICK TO AFFIRMATIONS
Thanks for joining me today. We’ll always end on a kind word.
This weekend marked the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, the unofficial beginning of spring. This morning might have been rough, but we’re rewarded with an extra hour of sun in the evening for the next seven months.
Some vestiges of winter may hang around over the next few weeks, but if we’ve gotten this far, we’ve done the hard work of surviving winter already. It is a chore, an endurance. And you did it. I hope you’ve had a chance to feel the warm sunshine on your face, or that it’ll shine on you soon. By god, you’ve earned it.