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Denver American Indian Festival attracts thousands with goal of keeping culture, tradition alive



Denver American Indian Festival attracts thousands with goal of keeping culture, tradition alive

The Denver-made soaps for sale at one of the tables at the 8th annual Denver American Indian Festival were infused with essential oils and scents like powwow dirt, tipi campfire and sweetgrass soap — ingredients sourced from Native and Indigenous people across the U.S. for Colorado’s first Native American soap company.

Lakota Body Care owners connected with other American Indian people at the festival Saturday and Sunday, and also educated those who were willing to listen. The event at Riverdale Regional Park and Fairgrounds in Adams County included traditional American Indian dances, musical performances and food. Vendors sold artwork, jewelry and other handmade products, while other booths provided historical information and resources.

“Because of colonization and the genocide of our ancestors, that is the reason we work hard and keep our culture and tradition alive, to take up space in this land that was supposed to be ours,” co-owner Akalei Brown said. “People think we don’t exist anymore.”

Brown, who is of Taos Pueblo and Kanaka-Maoil (Native Hawaiian) heritage, runs the business with her husband and 9-year-old daughter. It was the young girl’s idea to start making the soaps.

“I do it for everybody, for the family, to feel strong and proud,” Haleakala Brown said of the work she does with her parents.

Akalei Brown said she is one generation removed from Indian boarding schools — where the U.S. government forcibly took Native children from their homes to these schools to “assimilate” them.

Her parents took them to powwows and rodeos, but she wanted to ensure that more of their culture survived and was passed down to other generations.

Rebecca Slezak, The Denver Post

Audience members dance with the Seven Falls Indian Dancers during the friendship circle dance at Denver American Indian Festival in Brighton, Colorado on Sept. 25, 2021.


Denver election 2021: Who should appoint the city’s independent police watchdog?



Denver election 2021: Who should appoint the city’s independent police watchdog?

Denver has been operating without a dedicated, independent police watchdog since January

And while a committee is searching for candidates who could fill the permanent independent monitor job full-time, voters on Nov. 2 will get to decide who appoints independent monitors in the future — the mayor or the volunteer Citizen Oversight Board. 

Referred Question 2G asks voters to approve a few changes to the way the city’s Office of the Independent Monitor works.

The monitor is tasked with investigating alleged misconduct by Denver police officers and sheriff’s deputies; recommending policy changes to the Department of Public Safety; and looking into incidents like how police handled the George Floyd protests in 2020.   

If 2G is approved, not only would the oversight board be in charge of appointing future monitors — contingent on a City Council confirmation vote — but the monitor’s office also would be allowed to hire outside legal counsel. Staff members in the office would be reclassified from at-will employees that can be fired without cause to career service workers with more insulation from potential retaliatory firings. 

“The monitor and that office’s ability to do their job depends on independence,” Denver City Councilwoman and 2H supporter Jamie Torres said. “What we want to do is maintain trust in that office and provide distance from political bodies whether it’s the mayor’s office or our own.” 

The oversight board, created in 2004 and added to the city charter by voters in 2016, has nine members; four are picked by the mayor, four by the council and one jointly. 

Torres is part of the search committee waiting to interview monitor candidates. She said 2G is not the byproduct of events like the protests but lots of public input.

“We’ve heard these things not just recently but for years,” she said. “It’s about time.” 

There is no organized opposition to 2G, and no one submitted comments against the measure in time to be included in the city’s ballot guide. 

Mayor Michael Hancock said he is neutral on the measure. He viewed his appointment role as taking recommendations for the search committee and making a final choice. It comes down to the committee identifying good candidates, he said.

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Week 5 NFL Picks: Buffalo, Kansas City meet in re-match of last year’s AFC title game



6 NFL playoff teams show no panic in Week 2, avoid 0-2 starts

Game of the week

Buffalo at Kansas City

Here’s hoping this Sunday night’s game is better than last Sunday night’s Tampa Bay-New England snooze-fest. The Chiefs are a 2 1/2-point favorite and quarterback Patrick Mahomes already has 14 touchdown passes. He’ll throw two to win this AFC title game re-match.

Chiefs 24, Bills 20

Lock of the week

Philadelphia at Carolina

Too bad Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (leading rusher and 101.1 passer rating) can’t play QB. Philadelphia has allowed 83 points in the last two games and Carolina, a four-point favorite, will cruise to 4-1 with a convincing victory even if injured tailback Christian McCaffrey remains out.

Panthers 34, Eagles 14

Upset of the week

N.Y. Jets vs. Atlanta

The NFL returns to London for this Falcons “home” game. The Jets are a three-point underdog, but enter after last week’s overtime win over Tennessee. Receiver Corey Davis has proved to be an astute free-agent signing — he has three touchdowns and is averaging 16.1 yards per catch.

Jets 20, Falcons 17

Dylan Buell, Getty Images

Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals warms up against the Jacksonville Jaguars before an NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium on Sept. 30, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Around the AFC: Measuring-stick game for Cincinnati against Green Bay

Reid makes history. Kansas City ended a rare two-game losing streak by throttling Philadelphia last week, allowing coach Andy Reid to make history. Reid, 63, became the first NFL coach to win 100 games with two franchises. He was 140-102-1 (including playoffs) with the Eagles from 1999-2012 (0-1 in Super Bowl) and is 100-45 with the Chiefs (1-1 in Super Bowl), who hired him in January 2013 shortly after he was fired by Philadelphia. Most impressive about Reid’s track record is his teams have had a losing record only three times (none in Kansas City) and have won 11 division titles.

Jaguars in disarray. It was a long week for embattled Jacksonville coach Urban Meyer and it had nothing to do with his team’s 0-4 record. After the Jaguars’ loss at Cincinnati, Meyer didn’t fly back with the team to Florida, opting to stay in Ohio to visit family. Owner Shad Khan should have fired Meyer for cause for turning his back on his players. Meyer said general manager Trent Baalke knew about him not flying back. If true, Baalke should also be fired. The Jaguars host Tennessee on Sunday, followed by a trip to London to host Miami.

Bengals’ measuring stick. Cincinnati is 3-1, but its wins have been over Minnesota (1-3), Pittsburgh (1-3) and Jacksonville (0-4). The Bengals host Green Bay on Sunday, a chance to show they should be considered an AFC wild-card contender. Quarterback Joe Burrow has been terrific so far, posting a 113.8 passer rating and he has picked up with rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who is averaging 17.5 yards per catch (tied for fourth) and has four touchdowns (tied for second).

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields passes ...

David Banks, The Associated Press

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields passes during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, in Chicago.

Around the NFC: Justin Fields Era starts for Chicago against Las Vegas

Panthers aggressive. Carolina has traded for two first-round cornerbacks in the past month. The Panthers, after losing rookie Jaycee Horn (foot), acquired C.J. Henderson, a second-year player, from Jacksonville, and followed that by giving up a sixth-round pick to New England for Stephon Gilmore. The Panthers are going for it, either the NFC South title if Tampa Bay falters or a wild-card spot. Gilmore, who is from the region, is a free agent next March, but the Panthers could conceivably re-sign him because Horn and Henderson are on their affordable rookie contracts. Good job by general manager Scott Fitterer and coach Matt Rhule.

Cardinals flying. We keep waiting for Arizona to stub its collective big toe, but it hasn’t happened yet. The Cardinals are the NFL’s lone unbeaten at 4-0 (their best start in 47 years) and host San Francisco on Sunday. The Kliff Kingsbury-called/Kyler Murray-quarterbacked offense leads the league in yards (440.5) and points (35.0) per game. They have scored at least 30 points and gained at least 400 yards in their four games. Only Oakland (2002), New England (’07) and the Broncos (’13) achieved that. All lost in the Super Bowl.

Fields takes over. Chicago coach Matt Nagy stopped fiddling around and named rookie Justin Fields his starting quarterback. He was 11-of-17 passing for 209 yards (no touchdowns) in last week’s win over Detroit. Here’s hoping the Bears’ infrastructure is solid enough to keep Fields from getting battered. He has already been sacked 12 times. “Not just the last week or two, this whole entire time, we’ve seen incremental growth,” Nagy said. “This isn’t something that happened just right away. He’s earned it. He’s worked hard.” The Bears (2-2) play Sunday at Las Vegas (3-1).

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Chambers: NHL season begins as Olympic dreams simmer



Chambers: NHL season begins as Olympic dreams simmer

The  Avalanche is preparing for the season while also thinking about playing against each other in February.

As many as eight, maybe nine Avs could represent their countries at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in February. Two have already been selected when all teams disclosed their top-three picks last week. Left-wing Gabe Landeskog was in Sweden’s trio and right Mikko Rantanen is in Finland’s threesome.

“It’s a big honor to represent your county. Look forward to it,” Landeskog said Friday. “Everybody who has been named to these Olympic rosters would probably say the same — your focus right now is on your team and starting the (NHL) season off the right way. And then maybe as the plane is about to leave for Beijing, you’re kind of shifting that focus. As of now, it’s all about the Avalanche.”

Barring injuries, center Nathan MacKinnon and defenseman Cale Makar will be named to Team Canada in January. Defensemen Devon Toews also has a chance to make that team, and defenseman Sam Girard is a longshot. Wingers Andre Burakovsky (Sweden) and Valeri Nichushkin (Russia) might get selected, along with goalie Pavel Francouz (Czech Republic).

“A lot of guys are hitting their prime,” Landeskog said of his Avalanche teammates in position to play in the Olympics eight years after the last time NHLers were allowed to. “We were young back in 2014 and obviously 2018 didn’t happen.”

Having eight Olympians from one NHL team would be impressive. But it’s far from the most by the Avs. They had a club-record and NHL-high 11 players at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Defenseman John-Michael Liles represented the United States, and center Joe Sakic and defenseman Rob Blake played for Canada. Team Finland had forward Antti Laaksonen and defenseman Ossi Vaananen, and Slovakia had goalie Peter Budaj and forward Marek Svatos. Goalies David Aebischer and Vitaly Kolesnik played for Switzerland and Kazakhstan, respectively. Winger Milan Hejduk represented the Czech Republic and defenseman Karlis Skrastins skated for Latvia.

Four years earlier, the Avs had nine players on the 2002 Olympic rosters in Salt Lake City. And in 1998 — the first year the NHL sent players to the games — Colorado had 10 players plus coach Marc Crawford (Canada).

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Grading the Week: Has Karl Dorrell era with CU Buffs hit rock bottom? Or is there more to this hopeless abyss?



Grading the Week: Has Karl Dorrell era with CU Buffs hit rock bottom? Or is there more to this hopeless abyss?

Get out your magnifying glass. It’s time to look for a ray of hope in the CU Buffs football program.

Searching … searching … searching … Found it!

The Buffs aren’t playing this Saturday — which means we all (players included) get a temporary reprieve from having to endure this train wreck in real time.

Karl Dorrell era — D+

Yes, that’s where we’re at less than two years into the Karl Dorrell era.

CU football has become unsightly, the bloom is off the Dorrell rose, and the Grading the Week staff is starting to wonder if the Buffs head coach is in over his head. Ever since rallying the Buffs to a 4-0 start to begin the bizarre COVID-shortened 2020 season, things have gone from bad, to worse, to bleak over the past 10 months.

The bad: CU getting slobber-knocked by Texas in the Alamo Bowl — then barring players from speaking to reporters.

The worse: Squandering a golden opportunity for a program-changing win victory Texas A&M — then calling out a member of the CU football press corps for having the gall to predict a 5-7 season for the Buffs.

The bleak: The A&M loss opening the floodgates to three straight blowout losses — a run that included just three touchdowns combined — culminating with a frustrated Dorrell pushing aside the camera of a 9News reporter in the wake of last Saturday’s 37-14 de-pantsing at the hands of the USC Trojans.

That the camera incident came just two weeks after Dorrell declined his postgame interview with KOA in the wake of the 30-0 Minnesota “beatdown” — a highly unusual move for a standing CU head coach — only added an exclamation point to the idea Dorrell is a poor loser.

As if things weren’t bad enough, one of Dorrell’s players was charged with assault in an incident that allegedly occurred less than 24 hours after his team fell to 1-4.

All we need now is for a quarterback to enter the transfer portal and our “College Football Program in Complete Disarray” bingo card will be a winner. (And given the way Drew Carter has inexplicably been denied snaps as Brendon Lewis struggles, we’re not ruling anything out.)

Of course, Dorrell’s Buffs still have time to turn this thing around.

The Arizona Wildcats, who last won a game Oct. 5, 2019 (against, you guessed it, the CU Buffs), are set to visit Folsom Field next week. Win that, and Dorrell can at least revel in the fact that his team isn’t the worst of a very bad Pac-12 Conference.

Lose it, and he’ll be pining for the days when a reporter covering his team actually thought it could win five games.

Dick Monfort — D-

Speaking of hopeless, how about the latest happenings over in LoDo?

Few things say “dark and depressing” quite like Rockies owner Dick Monfort promoting from within.

It’s not that we think Bill Schmidt is a particularly bad hire as general manager. His signings of slugger C.J. Cron and starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela to sensible contracts earlier this week indicate he might even be a good one.

But if there’s anything that’s become apparent during the past few years with the Rockies, it’s that they could really use a fresh perspective at 20th and Blake. Hiring in-house for the two biggest front office jobs — Schmidt as GM and Greg Feasel as team president — doesn’t exactly accomplish that.

We’re three decades into Mile High baseball, and Colorado still hasn’t won an NL West title.

Call us crazy, but we think that might be an indication the status quo isn’t working.

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Has Bol Bol’s Nuggets career turned a corner? “It takes a village”



Has Bol Bol’s Nuggets career turned a corner? “It takes a village”

Bol Bol’s reclamation began with an admission.

Entering his third season and having barely made a dent with the Nuggets, Bol didn’t wallow in the fact that he was buried on the depth chart. He didn’t bemoan the lack of chances head Michael Malone had granted him over the past two seasons. Instead, beginning with the team’s training camp in San Diego, the unicorn-like prospect who’d gotten stuck in those traps before acknowledged his shortcomings.

Having been praised for his attitude and work ethic to start camp, Bol conceded he hadn’t helped himself upon arriving in the NBA in 2019.

“I feel like this is something I could’ve been doing even though it’s my third year,” Bol said. “I’m glad that I’m figuring it out now, earlier than even later.”

Bol’s potential — on display throughout the early portion of preseason in games against the Clippers and Warriors — is still as tantalizing as it was when the Nuggets drafted the 7-foot-3 center. There’s the shot-blocking (not to mention the innumerable shots altered), the long-limbed rebounding and the ball skills.

Midway through the fourth quarter against the Clippers, Bol corralled a deflection, and rather than outlet to either of his two guards, galloped up the floor, planted at the 3-point line, dribbled behind his back, paused, then glided toward the hoop where he kissed the ball off the backboard for a bucket. Most 7-footers in the NBA couldn’t perform half of the spellbinding sequence. And yet that’s in Bol’s arsenal, waiting to be unleashed.

“The big thing for Bol is that, for most of his minutes, he really played hard and competed,” Malone said. “That’s a starting point for me.”

Bol finished with 11 points, five rebounds and five blocks in the Nuggets’ preseason opener. Having led the team far and away in blocks, Malone said he thought Bol could’ve swatted a few more. Two nights later in San Francisco, Bol tallied two more blocks.

According to Malone, the Nuggets were dead-last in the NBA last season in terms of contested shots. It leaves one to wonder whether Bol could make a meaningful impact on a team that a) doesn’t have a traditional backup center and b) had the worst rim protection in the league last season.

The only way to answer that question is to know whether Bol’s effort the past two weeks represents sustainable change or amounts to a blip on the radar. Asked how difficult it is to maintain that level of engagement when the minutes and the opportunities to play aren’t there, Bol said what the organization has wanted to hear for two seasons.

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Literary pick of the week: Twin Cities Book Festival returns — in person



Literary pick of the week: Twin Cities Book Festival returns — in person

Twin Cities Book Festival, one of the biggest gatherings of book lovers in the state, celebrates its 20th anniversary with everyone returning in person to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16. Presented by Rain Taxi Review, the festival is free, and there is plenty of free parking at the fairgrounds.

New this year is the Minnesota Author Mashup, during which nearly 50 authors will have three minutes to present their new books on the official TCBF “soapbox.”

There will also be a new way to meet favorite authors at interactive walk-up stations where they will teach attendees something from their new books. Their topics range from cracking codes and drawing vampires to up-close magic and running demonstrations.

Among the writers are Joshua Jay (“How Magicians Think”), Terry Virts (“How to Astronaut: An Insider’s Guide to Leaving Planet Earth”), Melissa Corley Carter (“Running the World: Memoirs from the Seven Continents”), Kate Hannigan, middle-grade books that empower girls (“Cape,” “Mask” and “Boots”), Tracy Richardson, young adult  (“Catalyst”), Heather Demetrios (“Code Name Badass: The True Story of Virginia Hall”), and graphic novelist Madeline McGrane (“The Accursed Vampire”).

Poet/songwriter and educator Brian Laidlaw will host the Adaptation Station, at which he will turn your favorite poem or your own work into a song. His latest album, “This Aster: Adaptations of Emilie Nelligan,” will debut at the festival.

Author talks and readings, although somewhat curtailed this year because of COVID concerns, include the poetry keynote reading by Iranian poet and scholar Kaveh Akbar; the young adult keynote with Angeline Boulley, author of the bestselling “Firekeeper’s Daughter”; novelist, poet and essayist Kazim Ali; former Minnesotan Diane Glancy, poet and fiction writer; and comics creators Bill Campbell and Matt Madden.

There will be book launch readings by Minnesotans Margaret Hasse, Robert Hedin and James Lenfestey.

For readers who like to prowl, the Book Fair will feature more than 100 publishers, literary organizations, book dealers and authors at booths in the Progress Center as well as a used book and record sale.

There was also a virtual element to this year’s festival, beginning Sept. 16 with Mary Roach in conversation with Erik Larson. Subsequent discussions were by Tongo Eisen-Martin and Crystal Wilkinson, poet laureates East and West; Lemony Snicket; former Minnesotan Gary Paulsen and others. All are archived and available for viewing. Go to

Still to come are virtual appearances of Cuban American writer and translator Achy Obejas and poet Philip B. Williams, winner of Kate Tufts discovery and Lambda Literary awards at  5:30 p.m. Oct. 12; Douglas Wolk (“All of the Marvels”), 5:30 p.m. Oct. 13, and Kate DiCamillo with illustrator Sophie Blackall in conversation with Ann Patchett about their new middle-grade novel “The Beatryce Prophecy.”

Information about the entire festival is at

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Dear Abby: Ready to cut off assistance



Danny V ‘s Thursday Pickorama

Dear Abby: I have a long-distance friend I met online 10 years ago. I took pity on her because she was nearly destitute, and I have been helping her pay her bills. She’s visited me a number of times, and I care about her a lot. However, her constant requests for money are starting to make me uncomfortable. (She can’t work for health reasons, and there’s a major scarcity of social services or competent care in her Rust Belt locality.)

I do not want to continue enabling her. I have tried suggesting she move closer to her sister, seek better care, etc., but she doesn’t have the motivation. I have a hard time saying “no” to people. I got married recently, and I don’t want this situation to negatively affect my relationship with my wife.

In my friend’s current emotional state, I’m afraid if I end my friendship with her, she’ll never recover from the emotional trauma. She even tattooed my name on her wrist so she’d see it every time she wanted to cut herself, like she used to do before we met. What should I do?

— Tied to Her

Dear Tied: Start researching assertiveness training programs for yourself, because you sorely need more help than I can give you in one column. Discuss this with your wife for additional emotional support, because you are right — continuing to give your online friend financial help WILL destroy your marriage. After that, tell this needy woman you won’t be sending her more money, and that you do not want her to contact you until she has moved closer to her sister so she can find the help she needs. Do not feel guilty for doing this. You have been extraordinarily generous to have let this go on for a decade.

Dear Abby: My husband and I have good friends who winter every year in another state, halfway across the country. For years they asked us to come for a visit. Last winter, we were vacationing about six hours from where they were staying. We called and asked if they were available and if it would be convenient for us to come for three days. They assured us they had no commitments and would love for us to come, which we did.

In the early morning of the third day, they announced they had been invited to go to a ballgame with a friend and would be leaving almost immediately, adding it was an hour’s drive away and they would be gone all day and returning early evening. They said we were welcome to “just hang out” and wait for them to return. We said we would head home the same time they left for the ballgame. I was stunned and felt they were incredibly rude. Am I overly sensitive, or was this an acceptable way to treat guests?

— Taken Aback in a Cold State

Dear Taken Aback: I agree that it was rude. Your friends had a choice, to fulfill their duties as gracious hosts, or be selfish and go to the game. By choosing the latter, they damaged a longtime friendship. I can see why you were “taken aback.”

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at

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Mastrodonato: Red Sox have a Chris Sale problem and a Tanner Houck solution



Mastrodonato: Red Sox have a Chris Sale problem and a Tanner Houck solution

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Red Sox have a Chris Sale problem.

And they have a Tanner Houck solution.

There was nothing competitive about what Sale brought to the table in Game 2 of the American League Division Series on Friday night, when the Red Sox had to dig themselves out of a hole to eventually steamroll the Rays in a 14-6 victory.

But after what they saw from Sale, who put them in a 5-2 defect after an awful first inning, the Red Sox will have to examine whether or not they can continue using him as a starter this postseason.

Asked what happened to the Rays offense after they scored five on Sale in the first and then went quiet, Rays manager Kevin Cash put it simply.

“What happened was Tanner Houck,” Cash said. “He was really tough.”

And the problem with Sale?

“I think command,” Sox manager Alex Cora said. “That’s it.”

Cora defended Sale unflinchingly and insisted Sale would continue to be important this postseason.

“Hey man, we count on this guy,” Cora said. “He is going to be a big part of what we’re trying to accomplish and we’ll get him right. We’ll get him right.”

Sale was struggling to do anything with his fastball, which averaged 94 mph on the night. He had no command of the pitch, which didn’t generate a single swing-and-miss on the 13 of them he threw. One of them was an 0-2 fastball to Jordan Luplow a few inches above the zone and outside, but Luplow looked like he knew it was coming and walloped it over the left-field fence for a grand slam.

On the Fox broadcast, Hall of Famer John Smoltz questioned the pitch selection, given Luplow hits fastballs much better than breaking balls and Sale was in an advantage count. But Cora said he thought it was a good pitch.

“That was above the strike zone,” Cora said. “Sometimes teams, they gameplay on people and they do a good job with it. That 0-2 pitch was above the zone and he got it.”

Sale’s slider was OK, as he struck out Brandon Lowe and Mike Zunino on a couple of them, but without a good fastball, and with a changeup that hasn’t been effective all year, Sale is starting to look like a one-pitch pitcher.

He lasted just one inning before Cora decided to pull the plug and turn it over to his bullpen. The reality is that Sale hasn’t looked himself at all this year.

A lot of pitchers struggle to regain command after Tommy John surgery, though many also return throwing harder than they did before, largely because their shoulders get so strong during the process of rebuilding strength.

“The surgery doesn’t make you better,” Tommy John told me a few years back. “The person makes themselves better.”

Sale’s average velocity of 93 mph this year is the same it was in 2019, when he pitched through a shoulder injury, and 2 mph less than he was throwing in 2018.

Asked if Sale has hit a wall, physically, Cora said, “I don’t think so. I don’t believe so.”

The velocity is less of an issue than the command and effectiveness of his pitches, which the Red Sox have to expect will come back with more time and work. The question is how much patience to have with Sale this postseason, and what the best way to use him will be going forward.

Enter Houck, who has looked about as good as any pitcher in the big leagues over last two years, but especially the last two weeks.

His last start was against the Nationals last Saturday, when he threw five perfect innings with eight strikeouts on just 53 pitches. He added a perfect inning with two strikeouts against the Yankees in Tuesday’s Wild Card Game. And he started Friday’s game with three perfect innings, giving him 27 consecutive outs with 15 strikeouts that would’ve totaled a perfect game.

Look up the advanced metrics and Houck is in the top-20% of the league in most of them, including whiff rate, strikeout rate and average exit velocity.

All the while he’s continued to develop a third pitch in a split-finger fastball that’s acting like a changeup. He’s essentially the right-handed version of Sale, but a better one.

“Tonight was a great example of the repertoire that I’ve been working on really since I got drafted,” he said. “I immediately when I first got drafted, I had the four-seam fastball. I added the split a little more recently. I’ve gone through a few grip changes as well with the slider.

“It’s truly a surreal night of being able to actually put things fully together.”

And the most common thing Houck’s teammates and coaches have to say about him is that he doesn’t panic.

“I had a little butterflies at first, but once I got out there and threw my warmup pitches, I was pretty comfortable,” he said. “I live for those moments where you’re in a different stadium, people yelling at you, all that stuff. I love that environment.”

In the last week, when Houck has pitched with the season on the line three different times, he’s allowed just one run in 11 innings while holding opponents to two hits.

“The game is constantly evolving and I’m constantly evolving,” Houck said. “Everyone is. It’s a matter of showing up and sometimes you just got to shut your mouth and open the ears and just listen to the guys that have been there and done that. That’s one thing I think is the best part of this team is we have endless amount of guys with multiple years of service time that I can lean on and ask questions.”

Nathan Eovaldi will pitch Game 3 on Sunday and Nick Pivetta is likely to start Game 4 on Monday while Houck rests after his long outing on Friday. But if there’s a Game 5 in Tampa next Wednesday, the Red Sox will have to consider going straight to Houck rather than giving Sale another shot.

Given Sale only threw 30 pitches Friday and 62 pitches last Sunday, he should be well-rested to pitch out of relief in either of the games at Fenway Park, if the Sox wanted to see him air it out in a one-inning stint instead.

With time, Sale should return to form, as most pitchers do when coming back from Tommy John surgery in the modern era.

But it’s the postseason. The Red Sox don’t have time. They need results. And Houck is getting them.

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Rodney Crowell’s brush with global amnesia



Rodney Crowell’s brush with global amnesia

Country great Rodney Crowell has seldom seen a life experience that he couldn’t turn into a song. And that includes a truly unsettling experience that he had a year ago this week.

Crowell was having a normal day when his memory suddenly went missing for four hours, a condition known as transient global amnesia. Within days of his recovery he’d recorded “Transient Global Amnesia Blues” — a poetic, almost psychedelic song that was the first single from his current album “Triage.” He’ll draw from the new album as well as his long back catalog when he plays City Winery for an afternoon show on Sunday.

“It was a psychedelic experience,” he said in a Zoom call this week. “I remember that it was October 9th, John Lennon’s birthday. I have no memory of those four and a half hours, but one thing I recognized was, ‘Ooh man, my brain is so scrambled that I’d better put this to good use.’ I asked my wife if she could bring my notebook to the hospital, because I needed it. I was thinking, ‘I don’t know this brain that’s in my head right now.’

“Normally I edit everything I write, but in this case the song was telling me, ‘Get out of my way, I’m coming in.’ Two days later I recorded it, and that feeling of disappearing from the face of the earth, and then coming back and still being me — that feeling was still with me. I hope I never have another episode of transient global amnesia, but if I knew I could come back and get another song, I might even volunteer.”

This is of course a long way from the songs that put Crowell on the charts in the ’80s. His biggest hit, the 1988 album “Diamonds & Dirt,” produced five No. 1 country singles, the most on any album to that time. He and country radio have long since separated, but he’s got no regrets.

“When I was younger, my natural instinct was to write the broad stroke love song that’s more boy-and-girl relatable. ‘After All This Time,’ ‘Couldn’t Leave You If I Tried,’ all those hit songs were more commercially viable. As I’ve aged, my sensibilities have become more singular, and I think I wisely chose not to go against that. So the songs became more about my spiritual process, or trying to tell stories about love and acceptance, rather than that really easy to identify ‘I love you, you don’t love me.’

“I ask a lot more of the audience that follows me now than I did then,” he said. “What I ask is, ‘Come and follow me down this singular path, I’m going to do my best to report back to you how I feel, and I hope that resonates.’ But if they need some broad strokes on relationships, I won’t be there. I’m on my third marriage now, and it’s the successful one. So I could make something up, but I don’t think that would be a very good use of my time.”

It’s no surprise that Crowell feels the need to reach deeper at age 71. “People might hear this album and think ‘Well, Rodney’s gotten a little bit philosophical.’ But from where I stand, time is more compressed than it was 20 years ago, I don’t have that much left. So that requires an assessment of who I am, where I’m going, and whether anything I do means anything. And my job was to make the language so grounded that even if you didn’t agree with me philosophically, at least you couldn’t fault me for not writing it well.”

The last song on the album, “This Body Isn’t All There is to Who I Am,” is explicitly about mortality. But it also ends with the words “Not yet,” which seems a way of closing on an upbeat. “Actually,” he said, “That was just my way of saying, ‘Get real.’ ”


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Grasso’s Garage: S-Class Mercedes is top shelf luxury



Grasso’s Garage: S-Class Mercedes is top shelf luxury

The finest luxury money can buy is always top shelf.

Let’s be honest, right … I have driven over 300 cars with various models and packages. From the lowest of the low, to the top of the top. Every manufacturer has its niche, consumer base and options to make their vehicle unique to their clientele. Well, when a chart-topper pulls into Grasso’s Garage, it’s all the craze, because we get to enjoy the best of the best for a whole week. Hey Mercedes, congrats, this time, it’s you and that beautiful


Giving credit where credit is due, Mercedes always finds a way to be ahead of the competition and exceed the consumers’ expectations. Not only are they noticeable from afar, but Mercedes always seem to be one step ahead of the competition. With that being said, we recognize the S-class as just that, with its endless style, options and fine accoutrements. On our weeklong drive of an Anthracite Blue S580, we were impressed, and consider this the best money can buy. Yeah, I know, I have driven some unbelievable vehicles recently from a Rolls Royce Ghost and a Bentley Flying Spur with price tags exceeding $300K, but for the $116,000 base price, this trumps them all.

I mention bang for your buck a lot as I feel it is important readers get a lot for what they pay for. In this case, it is just that, a huge bang for a huge buck. At 496 horsepower and 516 lb.-ft. of torque, this almost 5,000-pound vehicle goes from zero to 60 mph in 4 seconds flat. Its 4.0-liter Bi-Turbo engine with EQ+ boost, is smooth, powerful and like riding down the road on your couch. It is that comfortable, in fact it is so comfortable, Mercedes provides pillow-like additions to the top of the head rest for that extra neck comfort everyone enjoys.

The augmented reality heads-up display, and heated and cooled seats, in a phenomenally good-looking Silver Grey Nappa Leather interior was just the norm for the S580, while AMG line exterior 21-inch V-spoke wheels really sealed the deal for me in the exterior appearance category.

In the large luxury sedan market, there is nothing better for the price than the S-class Mercedes. If I was in the market for such a phenomenal vehicle, this, without question, would be in Grasso’s personal collection and is on a par or if not better, with those top-dollar previously reviewed ones.

Calling all executives, you heard it here first!


Mercedes S580

MSRP: $116,300

As tested: $142,640

MPG: 17 city, 25 highway, 22.2 as tested


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