by John Walters

Starting Five

Alex Morgan, Sepp Blatter, and a French actor who was once considered tres sexy (about 2,00 croq monsieurs ago)

1. Fee, FIFA, Foe, Fumble

Last week: U.S. soccer goddess Alex Morgan reveals that FIFA president Sepp Blatter had “no idea who I was” when this picture was taken and she was one of three women up for the World Player of the Year Award.

This week: the U.S. sends out an indictment that leads Swiss officials to raid FIFA’s offices and arrest six high-ranking members of FIFA (but not Blatter) on charges of corruption, racketeering and, I assume, flopping.

The 2018 World Cup is scheduled for Russia. The 2022 World Cup is scheduled for Qatar. Here’s hoping at least the latter Blatter venue is scrapped.

2. Dewey Defeats Harden

The Cavs overcame the cover jinx last night. And the Warriors probably will do the same tonight.

Before either conference finals series is put to bed, SI puts Cleveland’s LeBron James and the Warriors (see: bold print) on its cover for this week. This could be the first SI cover jinx in my memory that jinxed a team before it even played in the series SI was touting.

A motivator for the cover, besides the fact that LeBron sells on the newsstand, is that senior editor Mark Bechtel is from Cleveland and senior writer Chris Ballard hails from the East Bay.

Meanwhile, a senior editor who oversees hockey is probably wondering what more exactly the NHL has to do this spring to make the cover.

3. The Oakland E’s

Take cover in the first five rows: Marcus Semien leads the majors in Errors with 17. The A’s have committed 50 Errors, while the next worst team in baseball has committed 40.

If you’re taking stock, the Oakland A’s no longer have….

A.) Yoenis Cespedes.

B) Jon Lester, who was the reason they jettisoned Cespedes

C) The best record in baseball, as they did last July 31 (66-41) but rather now have the worst in the American League (17-31).

As Cespedes, now with the Detroit Tigers, said earlier this week, ” (Former A’s pitching coach Ariel) Prieto would tell me Oakland is a place where they develop players, then let them go.

“Then, why operate?” asked Cespedes. “Don’t they want to win a championship?”

I believe I’ve heard someone wonder that before

The funny thing is, Oakland’s pitching and hitting is in the top third in baseball. Its fielding, however, is A’trocious, as the A’s have committed 50 errors, or 25% more than the next-worst ball club, which has committed 40.

Every game in Oakland is a giveaway day.

4.  Comic-Car

Jerry. Elaine. Coffee. “Don’t you two realize you belong together!?!”

“If they were really doughnut holes, wouldn’t the bag be empty?”

That’s gold, Jerry!

The sixth season of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee premieres soon, with guests Jim Carrey, Stephen Colbert, Julia Loui-Dreyfus, Steve Harvey, Bill Maher and the next Jon Stewart, whatever his name is. Here’s the teaser/trailer.

I think we all know what the series finale will be: a fiery crash involving our host and the chairman of Crackle, Dick Corcoran.

5. Lettermania

A new recurring item in which we pay tribute to Dave. You got a problem with that?

Here’s Howard Stern on Late Night in October of 1984. Probably his second appearance.

Also, intern Caroline Schaper, 22, wrote two of the final 10 jokes for the final Top 10 List. If you look at her Twitter feed, you can sense a sharp sense of humor…

Music 101

One Hand In My Pocket

I’m high but I’m grounded/I’m sane but I’m overwhelmed/I’m lost but I’m hopeful, baby

In the summer of 1995 Jagged Little Pill exploded on radio (and on the MTV), making an international star of 21 year-old Canadian Alanis Morissette and practically kick-starting the Lilith Fair era. The first hit, You Oughta Know, was a nasty kiss-off to Joey from Full House (really) and the third hit, Ironic, got everyone debating on the true meaning of the word –no it’s NOT like rain on your wedding day. Thank God Twitter was not around at the time.

The second hit, Hand In My Pocket, was always my favorite. Also, its lyrics actually featured multiple examples of irony. Isn’t THAT ironic?

Remote Patrol

Game 6: Ducks at Blackhawks

NBC Sports 8 p.m.

Citizen Kane: tonight on NBC Sports

Granted, this will likely go into overtime — there have already been six OT periods in the first five games. So feel free to watch Game 5 of the Rockets-Warriors first (ESPN, 9 p.m., or 6 p.m. locally at tipoff — enjoy that rush hour traffic, GSW fans) or the Airplane! marathon on Encore!


by John Walters

Starting Five

1. Hero Takes a Fall

Which is the most provocative “Steph Curry Goes Ass-Over-Teakettle” photo? Is it the one above? Or is it this one? Okay, this one certainly has more of an air of panic to it because you can see Steph’s expression….

Or how about this one? I refer to this as the “Sully Sullenberger” photo: “Brace for impact.”

Curry wasn’t too much of  factor after this — cut to shot of him running in a hallway in the bowels of the Toyota Center — and the Rocketx extended the series to a fifth game.

2.Toews of Glory (see, cuz you pronounce it “Taze”)

Toews (19) attempted and buried the shot from here….

Anaheim led 3-0 and the Honda Center (Honda Center, Toyota Center) after one period. The Western Conference final series was tied 2-2 and both of Chicago’s wins have come in overtime.

So what happens? The Blackhawks trail 4-2 with less than 4 minutes to play. Then Jonathan Toews scores to make it 4-3. A little over a minute later, he scores again on the hockey equivalent of shooting it from the corner and banking it off the backboard. I still don’t understand how that puck went into the net.

So, overtime. Blackhawks win? Nope. Anaheims scores :45 in to to up 3-2. That was the sixth overtime session in five games this series, though.

3. Honorary Dr. Lou

Former Notre Dame coach and certifiable living legend (as a public speaker of course) Lou Holtz received an honorary doctorate from Steubenville University, not far from his place of birth, Follansbee W. Va., and then he addressed the graduates. A Lou Holtz speech will have a few old (but good) lines, but it’s still a good listen. My favorite: “They called it ‘Catholics vs. Convicts.’ I didn’t like that. Because not everyone on our team was Catholic.”

4. House of Plane*

And suddenly it was a pent-house

*The judges will also accept “Air BnB”

A bouncy house with three kids aboard in Fort Lauderdale makes a brief, unscheduled flight to a slightly more western section of Fort Lauderdale. There were a few broken arms, but nothing worse. I think most kids would say, “Do it again! Do it again!”

5. Cersei’s Unhappy Hour

What time is happy hour in prison?

Everyone’s favorite diabolical and incestuous queen mother, Cersei, is imprisoned on Sunday’s Game of Thrones (making it an incarceration hat trick for the Lannister kids). Although I imagine she feels that any place that does not serve Prosecco is prison enough.

Rising: Tyrion, Ser Jorah, Jon Snow (even if he does know nothing)

Falling: Cersei, Bronn, Sansa

Cersei (played brilliantly by Lena Headey) has long been the Don Draper of GoT: do we love to hate her or hate to love her? Sure, she’s flawed –and, okay, far more ruthless than Dick Whitman — but something within her still makes me feel empathy. There are days when I even wish I were related to her.

A review of Sunday night’s episode by Andy Greenwald of Grantland….

Music 101

The Tracks of My Tears

So take a good look at my face/You know my smile seems out of place/If you get closer it’s easy to trace/The tracks of my tears.

(A few) Motown acts of note:

The O’Jays: a 3-man vocal group.

The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles: 4-man vocal groups. (Diana Ross & The Supremes, a four-woman vocal group.

The Spinners, The Temptations, the Jackson Five: 5-man vocal groups.

Very similar templates, just different numbers of members.

Back in the Sixties, when scoring a Top 5 hit on the Billboard chart was akin to winning the SEC West, this all-time classic rose as high as No. 16. That’s it. It also made a wonderful cameo in the 1986 Best Picture winner, Platoon. There’s a future Best Actor winner in that scene, too, but you’ll have to find him.

Remote Patrol

Game 4: Hawks at Cavs

TNT 8:30 p.m.

Someone on Twitter wrote the caption, “Jesse Pinkman and Walter White.” Yup.

All offseason long, I’ve worked behind the scenes to enlist TNT to create a Susie B.-cam for Cavs games. They’ve told me, “No dice, as long as she continues to refer to him as ‘Sweet Pea.'” I can respect that. It was a nice run, Atlanta. There will be some lovely parting gifts for you.


by John Walters

Starting Five

Did the Hawks really expect to win with Mike Scott attempting a pair of 26-footers in overtime (“That’s what she said”)?

1. Cavs Overcome LeBron’s 23 Missed Shots To Beat Hawks

Cleveland’s recidivist Cavalier, LeBron James, missed 23 shots — hmm, 23….where have I heard that number before in relation to the Eastern Conference finals? — but the Cavs were able to outlast the Predatory Avians Species in overtime, 114-111. LBJ did score 37 points, grab 18 rebounds and dish out 13 assists.

So the Cavs and Warriors are both up 3-0….that’s going to make Adam Silver’s nuptials this coming weekend go that much smoother.

2. Festival Time Across the Pond

Sunset over Norwich….

The first big summer festival in Europe took place over the weekend in Norwich, England. BBC Radio’s Big Weekend drew a 2-day lineup that included (Saturday) Florence and the Machines, Fall Out Boy, Muse and David Guetta and (Sunday) Imagine Dragons Taylor Swift and Foo Fighters, who closed this show, too.

This was also the last weekend of Premier League play. It’s as if the powers above needed to have something ready to sate the masses who were on the cusp of football withdrawal.

Drama? About an hour before T-Swizzle took the stage, London native Rita Ora performed. Ora’s ex, Calvin Harris is A) Swift’s current boyfriend (TRUE) and B) A former defensive back for the Dallas Cowboys in the Seventies (FALSE). Ora took a mild swipe at Harris (who will be lucky to make it through the summer with Swift, predicts I) but the only Bad Blood was Swift’s song, which she would later include in her set.

Here’s her set in total. Nice sunset at about 20:00. WARNING: I’m beginning to be over Taylor’s entire boyfriend drama. It’s almost as tiresome as my entire girlfriend drama. Almost.

p.s. Her songwriting is regressing and becoming increasingly self-absorbed. There, I said it.

 3. The Dean of Daring

Potter working with no nets, no ropes, in Yosemite…

I didn’t know much about Dean Potter when I learned of his death last week during a BASE jump in Yosemite National Park. We’ll all have to wait for the inevitable 24-page Jon Krakauer story to come, to be followed by the best-selling Krakauer book, to be followed by the Krakauer film, but Potter wast truly an original. And truly fearless.

Watch this 2006 ascent of Heaven in Yosemite, the first free-solo climb of this face ever made. This “freebase” jump from Switzerland will also rattle your cage some. Potter’s mantra with freebasing, in which you free climb with a parachute so that when/if you fall you’ll be okay was “Fly or Die.” Last week he got the latter.

4. Pop Culture Leftovers from Last Week*

Dave. Back home again, in Indiana

David Letterman taped his final show on Wednesday, May 20th. But, as you know, Late Show ordinarily ran Monday through Friday. Why did Dave cut short his final week? Was it because he wanted to get to the Indianapolis 500 early? Or was he all too aware that his hero, Johnny Carson, aired his final Tonight Show on May 22, 1992? In other words, had Letterman’s final show aired last Friday, it would have been 23 years to the date after Carson’s. And would Dave have wanted to appear that presumptuous?

Note: Carson was 66 when he retired; Letterman, 68.

Mad Men: On at least three of the final seven episodes of this half season, the last scene is of Don Draper all by himself (I can’t account for the other three, which I haven’t seen). That’s no accident. In the final scene of the series, Don is not alone. He is sitting in the lotus position, in the midst of a multi-cultural, multi-racial, coed meditation group. Notice, what are they doing? Singing, in perfect harmony….

*Heat at 350 degrees for half an hour, then serve.

5. Melisandre the Giant

On Game of Thrones, Melisandre wants to sacrifice the daughter of her king/lover to the Lord of Light. Ehhh, wouldn’t you rather just have a new leather bodice? Oh, it’s easy to root against Carice Van Houten’s character, but face it, you’d take her to the prom if she wanted you to.

Music 101

Happy Days/Get Happy

The Judy Garland Show (CBS) lasted just one season and 26 stormy episodes in 1963-64, but that’s what happens when you go up against Bonanza’s time slot. And yet, this duet between the host and a young Barbra Streisand is legen — wait for it, later CBS show catchphrase –dary. This show was taped on October 4, 1963, and aired two days later. Six weeks later, happy days would be gone for a long, long time…

Remote Patrol

Game 4: Warriors at Rockets

ESPN 9 p.m.

As ESPN2 runs a marathon of “30 for 30″ counter programming, ESPN will be running the Stephen Curry Show, which could mean, as it did on Saturday evening, “30 for 40.”


by John Walters

Apologies for not posting earlier. After the exoduses (exodi?) of Don and Dave (we are in Year 1 A.D., “After Dave”), I required a day of mourning. Or at least a morning of mourning, since I was in a daze all morning. And when did Steve Rushin hijack the blog? Anyway, I’m back, a little bit sadder and a little bit older…but aren’t we all?

Starting Five

Show 6,028

1. A Long Dave’s Journey Into Night

Dave bids us “thank you, and good night” and with that, after 33 years of never intruding upon our time before 11:30 p.m., he is gone. Here’s my write-up on the finale and here’s an outstanding and information-packed piece by former Late Night/Late Show staffer Daniel Kellison (“Ringo doesn’t count”) for Grantland.

If you missed the final Top 10 list, here it is. Jim Carrey and Julia Louis-Dreyfus got the best lines.

And this is why I love Jim Carrey….

By the way, Dave’s retirement was the ONE thing that inspired Bill Simmons to break his social media silence, as he posted a “Thank You” photo of Dave and Paul on Instagram yesterday.

2. When You Say Bud

Bud’s actually more comfortable fishing and hunting than he is talking football….

Spent last Saturday at the Bloomington, Minn., home of Bud Grant, a day I will never forget. What a legend. Bud’s 88 and still eagle-eye sharp and lucid and I bet he could still take the Vikings to the playoffs this season if he accepted the gig tomorrow. As you may or may not know, he’s also the only man ever to play in both the NBA and the NFL.

3. James Addiction

Steph Curry, 33 points. James Harden, 38 points. The Warriors win by one when Houston fails to get off a shot on its final possession. Maybe it’s just me, but it felt like the first time all quarter (the only quarter I watched was the fourth) when Harden didn’t drive to the hoop.

He pulled up at the arc, got double-teamed by the Freres du Splash, dished to an open Dwight Howard, only he was himself above the arc (“like a fish needs a bicycle…”), passed back to Harden, who was then guarded by the Smother Brothers. No shot.

Golden State up, 2-0. But Houston can hang with ’em. Hoping this goes 7.

4. Portraits by Katie

So, I was able to invade the home of spend some time with Mike and Katie McCollow last weekend in Minneapolis. If they gave out Kennedy Center honors for personality, those two would be honorees. Anyway, Katie is the epitome of the idiom (“epidiome?”) “more talent in her one little finger…”

This is a portrait she did of her youngest child, Molly. She does them for anyone (for a price, of course). Visit to learn more. And if you tell Katie that you learned about her site by reading this blog, she’ll knock a dollar off the price (won’t you, Katie?)

5. Will These Ruins Soon Be In Ruins?

Apparently, ISIS has taken control of the Syrian city of Palmyra, and while you probably were not headed to Syria on holiday this year (good thinking, you), it is possible that these dudes who put the “-hate” in caliphate could destroy the ancient ruins. It feels as if ISIS will not be satisfied until the entire planet looks like a vacant lot in Odessa, Texas, which, if you’ve been there, you know what I’m talking about….

Music 101

Hate To Say I Told You

Do you remember the turn of the century? Garage rock made a brief and stunning comeback thanks to White Stripes, The Vines, The Strokes and this band from Sweden, The Hives. The lead singer was “Howlin'” Pelle Almvqvist and the album was titled Veni, Vidi, Vicious. Yes, they were Julius Caesar’s favorite band. Too bad we never heard from them again on this side of the North Sea….


Remote Patrol

(We’re just going to leave this space empty for a few days)


by John Walters

Starting Five

The suspects are from five different gangs, but now they all wear the same colors…

 1. Sons of Sons of Anarchy

Nine dead and 192 arrested after five biker gangs basically reenact the network affiliate melee from Anchorman at a Twin Peaks breastaurant in Waco, Texas. Don’t fear, David Koresh: your record still stands.

Some women who look like this will soon be unemployed….

Word is, the entire fracas started over a parking spot in the mens’ room (the parking spot wasn’t in the men’s room, silly) and much of the fighting took place inside,

2. @POTUS Arrives

So, apparently, the president of the United States got his own Twitter account on Monday and began tweeting. This is a real thing. “Hello, Twitter, it’s Barack. Six years in and they’re finally giving me my own account.” 

Granted, it’s not, “Watson, come here” but it is a landmark moment in politics and communication. I’m assuming that @realDonaldTrump has already blocked him.

Cue Sean Hannity wondering why the Commander in Chief is wasting his time on social media instead of defeating ISIS.

 3. What’s Next? “Norman D Invasion” for Oklahoma Football?

Behold , today’s Daily Harrumph. While I completely understand the furor (wanted to be sure I spelled that word correctly) over the production and sale of this T-shirt by Under Armour — a company whose very name commodifies sports as combat — why is this any worse than a college team donning “Pro Combat” gear before a game? Or camouflage unis?

Doesn’t all of it have the same effect: trivializing war?

4. Sylvan Sunday Splendor

Spent part of Sunday afternoon tramping around the 1,137-acre Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, which is probably a lot like what heaven looks like, if there is one. Thought for the day: Go outside and play. Feel cold. Feel hot. Feel exhausted. Feel a little bit scared. Feel lost. Just…feel.

We live in an age where people think that easier and more comfortable is better. Occasionally, yes. But as a highest goal in all things, it’s a terrible life strategy.

5. 12 Angry Men, One Funny Schumer

If you missed this, Amy Schumer rounded up a sausage-fest of talent to shoot a 12 Angry Men parody in black-and-white. The accused? Schumer. The case? Whether or not Schumer is hot enough to be on basic cable TV. The episode-long bit featured Dennis Quaid, Jeff Goldblum, Paul Giammatti (excellent as usual, doing his Pig Vomit mien) John Hawkes, Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell) and Nick DePaolo, the last one truly playing it straight and dramatic (and furious). If nothing else, the bit introduced the term “reasonable chub” into the lexicon.

Warning: NSFP.

Music 101

Get Together

You hold the key to love and fear/All in your trembling hand/Just one key unlocks them both/It’s there at your command

Before they were a pair of starters on some terrific Los Angeles Ram defenses* of the early 1970s, The Youngbloods reached No. 5 on the Billboard charts in 1969 with this tune. They’d originally released it two years earlier and it never climbed higher than 62. Who can figure taste? This remains one of the signature songs of the Sixties.

Talking Jack and Jim Youngblood, of course. Not really musicians. Nor relatives. The former was a seven-time All-Pro, though, and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The latter was pretty damn good himself.

Remote Patrol

Late Show

CBS 11:35 p.m.

Surprise. What did you expect? The show’s finale is tomorrow night — Helen Slater takes Dave to an encounter group — but tonight is the final show with a guest and of course it’s the same man who was there with Dave from the very beginning: Bill Murray. One of the many things I love about Dave is that he appreciates Murray as much as he does, and obviously the feeling is mutual.

And if you missed Norm Macdonald’s send-off to Dave on Friday night, here it is.


by John Walters

Starting Five

1. Ommmm, I God

Quick thoughts on the Mad Men finale….

— Six phone calls, two of them person-to-person. I counted Don-Sally, Don-Betty, Peggy-Joan, Joan-client, Don-Peggy, Peggy-Stan. I understand that sometimes this can’t be avoided within the plot, but a surfeit of calls made me want to hang up on the finale. When you’ve got actors as talented as Jon Hamm and Elisabeth Moss, you put ’em in a room together and watch them make sparks.

— Brief Mad Men series finale review: “Joan snorts coke, Don saves Coke.”

The dude on the left was actually once married to Elisabeth Moss (Peggy)

— When Stephanie greets Don in California, she says, “What are you doing here?” Was this another episode of SNL’s “The Californians?”

I sure hope Don breaks the land-speed record inside the Colosseum….

— The hunky red-headed dude who wanted to chase the land-speed record? That’s Spencer Treat Clark, whom you may remember as Lucius from The Gladiator (was also the boy who got kidnapped in Mystic River).

–I loved Meredith’s final scene: “I translated your speech into pig Latin.” Roger: “That was a joke.” I think this will be the beginning of Alan Sepinwall’s review…(Update: Yup, it was).

–Yes, that was Helen Slater, a.k.a. Supergirl, to those of us over 40. Still hot. Don, stay at the ashram and try out a few yoga poses with Helen. May I suggest, “Downward Don?” That’s your best gambit.

–Speaking of that retreat center, am I the only one whose mind immediately went to Paul Rudd and Steve Carell dancing to Age of Aquarius?

— Roger and Marie Calvert are perfect for one another. I just wanted him to pull out an Addams Family reference and say, “Morticia, you spoke French.” Gomez Addams was a thing at the time.

— The total unknown who was given that monologue in the series’ final five minutes? Well, he was intentionally forgettable. And yet, that monologue was as moving as any pitch Don Draper ever gave to a prospective client. The difference was that, as Don had always said, the key to advertising is “happiness” whereas this pitch was emptiness. And that the man described himself as an item on a shelf in a refrigerator… he was simply an unwanted consumer item.

Also, I love how Matthew Weiner wrote in the first guy to speak and then gave us the pause. We all expected Don to get up and confess next — so did Supergirl — but then Weiner threw us that curve.

Betty: Forever smoking, hot.

— That final scene with Sally and Betty in the kitchen is haunting, especially to anyone who has ever lost a parent.

— The Don-Peggy phone call. My favorite moment. It reminded me of the time when Radar O’Reilly gave Hawkeye the what-for. Favorite moment-within-the-moment? When Peggy lowers her voice and says, “Don. Listen to me. What did you ever do that was so bad?”

— The “When Stan Met Peggy” phone call. Who let Nora Ephron into the writers’ room?

— The final scene. First, genius to end with a close-up of Don’s face. It was always THAT FACE that made life both so easy and difficult for Don. That face closed more sales, both in the boardroom and the bedroom, than Don’s words ever did. An iconic final moment.

Second, I guess there’s no ambiguity to it, is there? Don’s catharsis at the seminar leads to an inner harmony, which leads to the epiphany on the cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, which leads to him dreaming up the campaign for Coca-Cola, one of the greatest ad campaigns of all time. There were moments of foreshadowing earlier in the episode — Joan snorting coke and Peggy asking, “Don’t you want to work on Coke?” — as well as all season long.

Aw, sugar sugar….

The final irony? Mad Men began with Don saving his firm by saving the Lucky Strike account, by advertising for cigarettes. But, 55 years later, we know that while BIG SODA is not AS bad as BIG TOBACCO, it’s almost as bad. Soda is the cigarettes of our generation. Some day your kids will tell their friends, “Yeah, my dad (or mom) drank pop” with the same pitying look we display when we tell our friends that our parents smoked.

As for the song choice, well, we kind of nailed it….

 2. Confetti-cini Alfredo

This was the scene after the Houston Rockets won Game 7 of the NBA Finals Western Conerence finals a second round playoff series at the Toyota Center. Go nuts, kids.

Our republic is doomed.

3. Day of Yore

On this date 69 years ago Reggie Jackson was born, 45 years ago Tina Fey was born, and 35 years ago Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis hanged himself. Also on this date, 50 years ago, the fathomably talented Bill Hubbell, MH’s DoY scribe, was born. Happy birthday, Bill.

4. Rule No. 1

Potter: Until he died, he really lived….

What’s Rule No. 1, kids? That’s right “Gravity always wins.”

Legendary climber and BASE jumper Dean Potter, 43, died while attempting an aerial descent from Taft Point in Yosemite National Park… which prohibits such acts of derring do. Also dead, 29 year-old Graham Hunt.

5. Louie, Louie

Comedian Louis C.K. hosted the season finale for the 40th season of Saturday Night Live. For his opening monologue C.K. did a set that touched upon “mild racism,” the Israel-Palestine conflict, and child molestation. It’s hilarious to watch and listen to how he loses the audience on the third topic. I kinda feel that it was almost done on a dare, like that time on Seinfeld when Jerry had to open for Kenny Bania and just decided to bomb as badly as possible.


by John Walters

Yesterday was 5, 15, 15, a perfectly palindromic day. Sorry I missed you. But, you know, the Cavs had played one night before and life’s more fun when I am frustrating Susie B. Please enjoy this edition of Medium Tardy.

Starting Five

Don, looking Draper-y

1. The Last Don

“Everything was good. Now everything was bad. I knew I’d pay for this.”

That’s Peggy Olson, who hooks up with Abe for the first time only to come into work the following Monday to learn that Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce has lost the Lucky Strike account. But that’s life (that’s what people say).

Having spent more than half my career based out of the same Time-Life Building as SCDP,  I have found myself catching parts of the Mad Men marathon (AMC) and thinking of this essential truth: Life is a constant battle of ups and downs, personally and professionally. Sometimes you are your best — and/or only advocate — and sometimes you are your own worst enemy (Please tell me why my car is in the front yard…). Sometimes others are your greatest ally (Peggy) or your worst nemesis (usually, Pete).

The biggest difference is there’s a lot less Scotch in my (and, I assume, your) life.

2. “Take One Last Look”

As the final scene of Mad Men would have fittingly been Don at that bus stop outside Alva, Oklahoma, last Sunday night (finally at peace, waiting to board a bus to his next chapter), this brand new Tom Waits tune from Thursday night could have worked as the final moment from Letterman. Earlier in the show, Waits sat on the couch and was quite funny, talking about people in Manhattan who wait in long lines for lunch salads (“I felt embarrassed for them, to be honest”) and about wanting to attend a rally to “free the Glutens.”

Dave, taking the James Corden route

That interview was enhanced by the fact that George Clooney was handcuffed to Letterman and listening in, but Clooney was only seen in profile.

3. One Seeds Hold

DeMarre Carroll scored 25 points in the Hawks’ closeout win and will likely draw LeBron James in the EC Finals.

Both Atlanta and Golden State found themselves trailing in their respective series, to Washington and Memphis, two games to one, a week ago. Both then finished off their opponents with three straight victories. It was a lot hairier for the Hawks, who needed seven games in the opening round to slip past the Brooklyn Nyets. Atlanta won the final three games versus the Wizards by a total of nine points.

So it’s 1 versus 2 (Cleveland) in the East and it could be 1 vs. 2 (Houston, who hosts the Clips in Game 7) out West, but I see the Clippers advancing in Houston in a rare Game 7 matinee.

4. Mad Men? No, Mad Max

And he doesn’t have “accident forgiveness.”* *the judges will also accept, “Halt and catch fire.”

Two years ago Tom Hardy starred in a film titled Locke, whose plot revolved around him driving non-stop from Birmingham to London (it would have made an even better film if that Birmingham were the Alabama one, not the English one). Now he’s back in another starring vehicle in a quasi-reprise of the original 1979 Mad Max film.

Charlize (right). There really are not enough shower facilities at Coachella

I haven’t yet seen Mad Max: Fury Road, but the critics are agog. Seriously: agog. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 98%. Meanwhile, there are reports that the film is being boycotted by “men’s rights activists.” There are men’s rights activists? Man-child, please.

5. Soooeeey, Sandi!

It has been awhile since the inter webs went full-on bonkers about a female collegiate (or prep) pole vaulter (Jason, you are losing your touch). This is Sandi Morris of Arkansas, the reigning NCAA Indoor Champ who just emerged as the SEC champion in that event yesterday. On to the NCAA Outdoors in Eugene (no better place to stage ’em, every year) from June 10-13. By then I do believe her inter webs fame will be fully BLOWED UP (a little credit to the kid, here, please) and she’ll be an ESPN or FOX sideline reporter by 2018.

Music 101

We’ve Only Just Begun

So many roads to choose/We’ll start out walkin’ and learn to run

I was searching for songs from 1971 that could work as the curtain-closing tune for Mad Men tomorrow night. So many good songs. American Pie, arguably THE signature tune of American pop, is an obvious choice. There are other classics such as Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, John Lennon’s Imagine (I mean, what a year), Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord and Carole King’s It’s Too Late. But I’m going to guess Matt Weiner, if he even stays in 1971, strays a little from the obvious. And so I’m going to go with this tune from The Carpenters, We’ve Only Just Begun (even if it was actually released in August of 1970). It hit No. 2 on the Billboard charts

p.s. Okay, I think Weiner will go with American Pie. Those rights won’t be cheap.

Remote Patrol

Mad Men Marathon & Finale

AMC Now ’til 10 p.m., Sunday

Good morning, yesterday/You wake up/And time has slipped away… AMC is slaying me with that promo using the Paul Anka song from my youth. I’ve wanted to go out and purchase a Kodak camera at least half a dozen times in the past few days. This is our final partners meeting with Don, Roger, Pete, Joan (and Peggy). I have absolutely no clue as to what will happen in the final, other than Matt Weiner left the door open for a jump forward into the future or to focus on just one character. As much as I’ll miss them, we really have no pressing reason to see Roger, Peggy, Joan, Pete or Betty again. Oh, and in a list of the top 50 Mad Men characters from last week, Rolling Stone put Pete at 14th –he’s no lower than 5th, at the very least — and didn’t even include Bob Benson. What do I think of that list? “Not great, Bob.”


by John Walters

No, it’s not true that I deliberately refrained from posting on Wednesday just to spite Susie B.’s ardor for LeBrontosaurus. Then again, if we were searching for motive… In truth, I was traveling — and not to the one state I have yet to visit (Alaska).

Starting Five

1. Buffon!

A young Peter Gabriel? A slightly melancholy version of Top Gun’s  Pete Mitchell after winning a game of beach volleyball? No, that’s Juventus goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon celebrating after his side held Real Madrid to a draw yesterday in Madrid in the Champions League semis, which means the Serie A club will advance to the final in Berlin.

Most of us (myself included) were thinking we’d be seeing El Clasico (i.e., Spanish sides Barcelona versus Real Madrid) being played out in the Champions League final for the first time…and that would’ve been cool because the two greatest goal scorers in the tournament’s history, Lionel Messi (Barca) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), are tied at 77 goals apiece. Alas…

p.s. Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale is tracing out a very Alex Rodriguez-like story arc to his career, and that’s not a compliment.

2. Washington Weak in Review

This photo is actually from Friday night’s overtime win, but, you know, same difference…

Alex Ovechkin guaranteed a Game 7 win after the Capitals blew a 3-1 series lead. But the New Yorkers won in overtime. It was their second overtime win on the brink of elimination in the series and their 14th consecutive playoff game that was decided by one goal. As they say in hockey, “On to Tampa…”

Meanwhile, the Wizards lost Game 5 in Atlanta, 82-81, on a buzzer-beater by Tito Al Horford.

3. The Blindsided

This is where a photo of John Skipper would go if he were below 50 or George Clooney….

Give ESPN skipper John Skipper this much credit: At ESPN’s upfronts he was upfront about the fact that he never contacted Bill Simmons before allowing word to get out that The Sports Guy would not be retained.

And then Skipper went all Corleone by saying, “It was business.” It may have been business, but Skipper made it quite personal by telling Richard Sandomir of The New York Times the news before Simmons ever found out –it was 7:21 a.m. on the West Coast. He is the Skipper, but Simmons is no longer his Li’l Buddy….

To quote a Bostonian whom Simmons has long revered ( <–!), Will Hunting, “How do you like them apples?”

4. Does “Letterman” Rhyme With Hannukkah?

For his final appearance on Late Show, Adam Sandler resurrected that sweet, sincere, witty part of himself that disappeared in the late Nineties, and penned a fine tribute to the host (“and nobody makes my mother wetter than…”). Well done.

5. Head Over Helio

Castroneves walked away from this accident, while at least three soccer players had to be carried off the pitch today for being pinched

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, and one-time Dancing With The Stars champion Helio Castroneves nearly made The Brickyard a graveyard on Wednesday afternoon. Helio was traveling 219 m.p.h. when his car hit the wall, hydroplaned and went airborne like a massive paper airplane. Watch the video and remember that he walked away from this.

Music 101 

Sex Machine, etc.

Last night on Letterman, Dave brought his sidekick of 33 years, Paul Shafer, over to talk tunes. When asked to give his greatest musician whom he had ever worked with, Shaffer mentioned the Godfather of Soul and this appearance from the show’s first year. And what ever became of Carmine Polazzo?

Remote Patrol

Late Show

CBS 11:35 p.m.

I wouldn’t be shocked if Matt Damon or Brad Pitt do a walk-on during Clooney’s appearance

Only one more week of this, so thank you for indulging me (not that you have a choice). Your guests are George Clooney and Tom Waits “for no one”.

Last night on the program, Julia Roberts put it succinctly and accurately: “I love you, and I thank you for all the joy and the laughs and the intelligence you have brought us for 33 years.”



by John Walters

Starting Five

You can spend those five weeks off looking at that fourth Super Bowl ring, Tom.

1. TOM: Time Off Man*

The penalty: a four-game suspension for Tom Brady, a $1 million fine for the Patriots (courtesy of Dr. Evil), and a first-round draft pick lost next season. Also, the team and all of its fans must look up the word “recalcitrant” in the dictionary.

Brady will return on October 18, when the New England Patriots visit…the Indianapolis Colts! Isn’t life grand?

*The judges will also accept “P.S.I. Love You”

2. Mike & Molly Meets Mike & Mike to Form Mike & Mike & Molly


Here’s salt in your wounds, Bill Simmons. ESPN, in promoting its bland, is moving Mike & Mike to Times Square and attaching a third host, Molly Qerim of the NFL Network. Asking a hot 20-something 30 year-old gal from Los Angeles to move to Manhattan and hang out with a couple of middle-aged guys sounds like a sitcom, I just can’t remember which.

Tons of laughs! Wait, I don’t get it….

Ah, but here’s the rub. Quorum grew up in New Haven, Conn., and graduated from Quinnipiac, which is right in Bristol’s back yard. She’s coming home.

Letterman departs, these two enter. This Week’s Sign that the Apocalypse….

Mike & Mike & Molly, or 3M, will begin airing form NYC on February 8. Unless a massive tsunami strikes Manhattan first.

3. 30 for Thirtysomething

Will ESPN — or perhaps Grantland? — ever make a short film about the seminal dramedy? One can…Hope.

I like ESPN, really. Some of my favorite people I deal with in the media, such as Josh “Demented and Sad, But Social” Krulewitz, Mac Nwulu, Mike Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuumes, Dave Nagle, Chris LaPlaca, Mike Soltys, Kerri Potts, yada yada yada….work there.

BUT… I’m always on the lookout for when ESPN is being insidious. When they are less than forthcoming. For example, if you are going to call yourselves the WWL and then create a documentary series, 30 for 30, about the greatest stories in sports –and, granted, it’s usually outstanding — maybe it’s time to recognize that sports preexisted the advent of ESPN in 1979.

ESPN just announced its newest 30 for 30 projects, and once again all the topics — Tyson vs. Holyfield, the Buffalo Bills, Pete Carroll — post-date the formation of ESPN. Granted, there have been a couple of pre-1979 topics, but the figure is disproportionately low. (by the way, “The U” came in at No. 25 on this list; who was doing the ranking, the editors of Rolling Stone?)

There are some absolutely fascinating stories that pre-exist the disco era. Here’s hoping ESPN delves further into them.

4. Dave, Don and Howard

Be gentle with the Gentile. Don Rickles and Howard Stern took turns ripping Letterman and the state of Montana last night. It was the sincerest tribute they could pay him.

5. “Obama, Dakota. Dakota, Obama.”

POTUS completes the list, visiting South Dakota, the one state that he had not sojourned to during his presidency (I’ve got 49 down, but am hoping to make it to 50 before turning 50). Obama becomes the fourth president to visit all 50 states, and the first one to do so who was not born in any of them.

Music 101

Wild Horses

Faith has been broken/Tears must be cried/Let’s do some living/After we die

Denoting a best Rolling Stones song is as specious an idea as claiming that there is a world’s most beautiful woman. Rather, just revel in all the greatness. This western-tinged ballad is one of my all-time favorites, off the 1971 album Sticky Fingers, and yet another tune that is at least tangentially about Marianne Faithfull.

Remote Patrol

Barca at Bayern 

FOX Sports 1 2:45 p.m.

Neymar. The Boy from Brazil invades Munich.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, NBA playoffs. Bayern needs to outscore Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar and the gang by at least 4 goals today in Munich if it hopes to advance to the Champions League final on June 6 in the Motherland. Good luck. Barcelona has outscored its last seven opponents, Bayern included, by a 25-0 score.