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Erskine: In Defense of Taylor and Travis

Welcome to October and “the moments that seem like cinnamon,” as a pal put it recently.
“Forrest” is the pal’s name, and he seems like a storybook character. And what a great name for someone like that, who has a feel for harvest moons and acorns underfoot … all the treasures of fall.
I suppose I gush too much over October, just as I gush too much over baseball and grandchildren and golden actresses from the ’70s.
Obviously, I’m a bit of a lost soul, tripped up by my own thoughts. Most days I’m pulled this way and that by basic impulse and the childhood indulgences that I’ve never completely shed.
Snickers bars for one. Candy apples for another. Clean tackles, down around the knees … lord, I love those best of all.
We wrap our arms around autumn the way great linebackers wrap up tailbacks. October is there, and then it’s gone. As with children, best to over-hug it a bit. Pull on a sweater and go kick through some leaves.
By the way, know who looks super good in a sweater? Well, me of course. But Taylor Swift too, our eternal teenager, a storybook character in her own right.
Americans are nuts for arrested development. Elvis never grew up, nor Marilyn, nor Michael. All our passions have a chronic dewiness to them.
Still, I’m not sure I understand all the backlash over Taylor Swift and her new boyfriend, the football player Travis Kelce.
To recap: Miss Swift, who has never married and probably never will — determined as she is to date every eligible man in America, of which there are maybe dozens — has set her gunsights on this Mr. Kelce, who performs weekly for the Kansas City Chiefs.
More succinctly, she has wrapped him up and shouldered him to the turf.
Reminds me a lot of Butkus, actually.
Miss Swift has been showing up to her new boyfriend’s games, creating another social media tsunami.
Me, I find that refreshing. For the longest time, we were obsessed over vaccines and face masks and who should use which bathrooms. Now it’s this NFL Romeo and Juliet story we’re obsessing over.
Anyway, Michaelangelo once explained that he would see angels in a block of marble and carved till he set them free.
So it is with Miss Swift, a noted mezzo-soprano whose latest pop hit is this Kelce dude. Big strapping lad, bit of a Bozo — though aren’t we all? Certainly likeable enough. And he is now dating America’s sweetheart, who seems to be made of cinnamon and apples.
Can you imagine how supportive his teammates must be? Not a sneer nor a negative word. That’s the way locker rooms roll.
So why the backlash? I’m no Swiftie. But did you know that she is 11 times bigger than the next biggest performer in the world? Her recent tour rivaled Beatlemania for mania and general mayhem.
At the NFL games, she smiles her chipmunk smile and seems to rejoice in the moment, as she should, given all the happiness she seems to deliver to 12-year-old girls and their mamas.
Evidently, she works very hard, is terrifically generous to charity, stays clear of drugs and two-faced politicians. As she left the Kelce family suite, she even paused to throw away her cups and other trash.
Hey Smartacus, did you see that?

Hey Puddles, meet America’s ageless sweetheart, who seems to be made of cinnamon.

Look, here’s what I know about love: absolutely nothing.
OK, for sure I love love.
I love salmon season on the Columbia. I love chowdah thick with cream, and the way Suzanne wears autumn (like a Hermes scarf).
I love sports mascots, particularly the one they call “Puddles,” a giant duck with a razor-sharp sense of irreverence.
Puddles for President!
Puddles really should be the next big cartoon creature. He would be bigger tha n Snoopy or the Simpsons. His holiday special would rival “The Messiah.”
Have you seen Puddles roar out of the tunnel on a Harley before an Oregon game?
Listen, my dreams are many, and I can’t share most of them … they’re too tender for a mainstream audience.
For the record, I also dream a lot about chowdah.
But I also dream that Taylor Swift will one day date the mascot known as Puddles, then eventually write a heartbreak song about it, though you’ll be able to read between the lines that she still has real feelings for him in the condos of her bulbous blond heart.
At sold-out concerts, young girls (and their dads) will cry when she performs it.
Can you think of a better name for a weepy love song?
“And now,” she’d say, “a new love song that just dropped this week. It’s called ‘Puddles.’”

Please join co-author Steve Searles and me at {pages} a bookstore in Manhattan Beach on Friday for a chat and a signing of our new book “What the Bears Know” (which just dropped this week). The event starts at 7 p.m. For tickets and info, please go to

First published Oct. 5-7 in Outlook Newspapers.


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