Phillip Thompson

Crime Fiction writer

Now that the New Year’s festivities are done and, as of last night, college football season is over, the part of the year I refer to as “the Dark Ages” has begun. It’s that period when the days are short, football season is over (well, college football anyway), baseball season hasn’t begun, and it’s still too cold to fire up the grill. On the bright side, it’s less than a month until pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

You’d think that, as a writer, I’d enjoy this time of year – I could put all that down time and cabin fever to good use by holing up somewhere and banging away on a keyboard.

Yeah, right.

Granted, it is a good time to write, especially this winter. “Deep Blood” is finished and currently under consideration by a publisher, and already I’m  — as the great Bob Bausch would say – “inventing some people, putting them in a situation and seeing what happens.”

If you followed my advice and read “The Booze Rumor” in the inaugural issue of the Veterans Writing Project’s literary journal, The Review, you already know who Moonpie Jones and Flip Wilson are. I already put them in a situation and watched what happened; now, I think it’s time for Flip Wilson to go it alone for a while.

justified-fx-premiere_20110325043645Meanwhile, since it is cold outside, I’ll be taking advantage of being indoors and catching up on movies and TV shows and seeing the new ones. And at the very top of that list is Justified, the best TV show on the air. Don’t believe me? Check out Elmore Leonard’s great tale of hillbilly mayhem tonight on FX.

The "D" is silent.

The “D” is silent.

Already caught Django: Unchained. No spoilers here, but if you’re a Tarantino fan, you won’t be disappointed. Also saw Skyfall, which was the first Bond movie I’d seen in the theater in a few years. I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon and call it the best Bond ever, but it’s a very Bondy film and very, very satisfying. It’s got something for all Bond fans, whether you like the classic Bond, the original (written) Bond, or the way the story has evolved in the movies over the years.  Next up are Gangster Squad (the trailer reminds me a lot of Mulholland Falls) and Zero Dark Thirty. That should get me to spring training.

More on the end of college football. The SEC’s dominance could not have been more personified than in Alabama’s utter destruction of Notre Dame last night. This isn’t a sports blog, so I won’t dive into the stats, but watching that ‘Bama team last night reminded me of the Bear Bryant Alabama teams of my youth: astonishingly dominant, honed to perfection, skilled at every position and deep on the bench.  I don’t know if that game means the BCS system is hopelessly hosed (though I think it’s seen better days) or if Notre Dame was just unprepared for such a game after years away from the top of the college football pyramid. But one thing is for certain: the best football team in the country is Alabama.

For me, the Ole Miss grad, I was just happy to see one of the most remarkable turnarounds I’ve ever seen for a football team. New coach Hugh Freeze (Mississippi native) took a dismantled, dispirited, dysfunctional 2-10 colossal mess of a team and only managed to win 7 games, including a bowl game over a team that very nearly beat Notre Dame (ok, maybe after last night, that doesn’t mean quite as much as it did before), and the Egg Bowl against the agricultural and mechanical college in Starkville.  Against Alabama, the Rebels actually became the first team all year to take a lead over them (albeit for only 15 seconds) and, arguably, played them better than Notre Dame did. Had Texas A&M (who did beat Alabama) down in the 4th quarter until their inexperience exposed them and gave A&M the upper hand, a trait that showed up again against LSU and Vanderbilt. Still, I’ll take a winning season, the Egg Bowl trophy and a bowl victory any day. Even if the #1 recruit in the country doesn’t come to Ole Miss to play with his big brother.

Now, if only the Dodgers can get their act together …

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