IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Despite injuring his hammy in the first half, Chris Paul scored a game-high 27 points that included 5 of 6 from beyond the arc, and the last baskets of both the third and fourth quarters (the latter being the game-winner with :01 left)

1. That Paul Can Ball!

How do you dethrone the defending NBA champions in the first round of the playoffs? For one, shoot 8 of 14 from beyond the arc in the second half. The Spurs and Clippers played a classic Game 7 in L.A., with both teams scoring 54 points in the second half. Chronologically, this was the undercard of Saturday’s sports bacchanalia to Mayweather-Pacquiao. But, truly, it was the main event. Clippers 111, Spurs 109.

2. May Weather > Mayweather

Chuck & Reggie: Halfway to punch-drunk. (I’d watch a reality series of these two hanging out)

A highly anticipated championship bout took place in Las Vegas on Saturday evening and the only people who were KO’d were Rachel Nichols and Michelle Beadle (except, of course, they were not the only media who had their credentials yanked….just the only ones you heard about on Twitter). Martin Rogers of USA Today also had his pass pulled.

It was a snoozefest. Honestly, I’ve seen more punches land in a Royals game.

3. The New York Matts!

Harvey and the first-place Mets have New Yorkers rushing to Flushing….

Tommy John Surgery survivor Matt Harvey improves to 5-0, baseball’s best record, with Friday’s 4-0 shutout of the Nats….The Lastros have won 10 straight and have the American League’s best record (18-7)….The Yankees sweep a series with the Red Sox for the first time since the notorious three-day, five-game sweep at Fenway Park in 2006. Pinstripe closer Adam Warren has yet to allow a run in 10 appearances, and he even got David Ortiz out to close Sunday night’s game with bases loaded and the Sawx trailing by three in the bottom of the ninth, which is the David Ortiz-iest moment that you can conjure.

In short: WHAT is happening?!?

If you’re looking for familiar: It’s an odd-numbered year and the St. Louis Cardinals have MLB’s best record. The Cards advanced to the World Series in 2011 (won) and 2013 (lost).

4. High Fidel-ity

I would not pitch him inside if I were you, comrade.

Cuba has a Catch-22 problem.

The island country is poor.

It has an invaluable natural resource: baseball talent.

It loses that talent through illegal means to the USA and because it has no business dealings with Uncle Sam, is unable to tax any of the 10s of millions of dollars it otherwise might be able to.

And, finally, it is philosophically opposed to doing business with us capitalist pigs.

My piece in Newsweek (hopefully, the link to this will work).

5. “I’ve Never Been Black”

Orange is the new Buck

Leave it to Baltimore Oriole manager Buck Showalter to be one of the few (the only?) white people to have something sensible and sage to say about the riots and upheaval in his team’s town last week. Showalter is asked the question from what I believe is an African-American member of the media (I’m judging that by the sound of his voice; does that make me racist?).

Music 101

Check It Out

Future generations/Ridin’ on the highways that we built/I hope they have a better understanding

Attending college in Indiana in the mid-Eighties, we got a steady diet of John Mellencamp on the radio. I’ve always considered this the quintessential Mellencamp/Back Home Again song, even though there are a lot of viable candidates: “Small Town,” “Minutes to Memories” and “Pink Houses.”

Remote Patrol

David Letterman: A Life on Television

CBS 9:30 p.m.

“This is only an exhibition, it’s not a competition. Please: no wagering.”

“From the home office in Wahoo, Nebraska….”

“They pelted us with rocks and garbage.”

“It’s more funs than humans should be allowed to have.”

“How about a lovely beverage?”

“Will it float?”

“Trump or monkey?”

My guess is that in one household in Fairfield County, Connecticut, the TV will not be tuned into this program tonight. Also, if you stay up later, Dave’s guests tonight are President Barack Obama and Will Ferrell. Not a bad green room….

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Goodell: If you want me to pronounce your name correctly, be here in person when I call it.

1. Marcus Mariato?

You have very few responsibilities as commish, Roger Goodell. Number one, find a way to make potentially embarrassing scandals disappear by disappearing yourself after the Super Bowl. Number two, never mention the letters “C,” “T”, and “E” in that order. And number three, on the opening night of the NFL draft, be able to pronounce the names of at least the top five picks correctly.

Instead, we got “Marcus Mariato.” The Titans thought they were drafting a Hawaiian, but it turns out they were drafting a paisan.

p.s. My high school friends refer to me as “Walker” because Fr. Camille Prat called out my name as “Walker” on the first day of class and I didn’t correct him, so he called me “Walker” for the entire semester.

2. The Bucks Flop Here

And Dunleavy buried the three….

In three of the four quarters in Game 6 between the Bulls and Bucks, Chicago outscored Milwaukee by at least 14 points. The final: 120-66, a 54-point smashing that included the above play in which the Bucks’ Giannis Don’t-Ask-Me-To-Spell-His-Last-Name showed great closing speed in knocking Mike Dunleavy out of bounds. To be fair to Giannis, Dunleavy shoved him down at the other end of the court at the start of this play.

It wasn’t the worst playoff loss in NBA history — Minneapolis once beat St. Louis 133-75 — but that was in 1956 and the visiting team was the loser (no one one the Lakers had more than 19, by the way). As far as I know, that was the worst loss by the home team in NBA playoff history.

3. Another Draft (Item), Bartender!

Cleveland, Brown.

I think I saw an ESPN article touting the “Impact Players” who still remained after Round 1. Just for the record:

Tom Brady…..6th round

Richard Sherman….5th round

Antonio Brown….6th round (led NFL in receptions last year)

Julian Edelman….7th round (9 catches in Super Bowl XLIX, including game-winning TD)

Funny, Jameis. But will the No. 1 overall pick be this draft’s deadliest catch?

And already this photo has been deleted. So there’s your first “Famous Jameis” moment with the Bucs. No. 2: He referred to the city of “Tampa Bay.” We’re working on it.

4. Midnight Special

Seven of the past bouts in Las Vegas involving Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather have started after midnight EST (or EDT, I can never remember). Only one has started before 11:40 p.m. Game 7 of the Spurs-Clippers will tip off at 8 p.m. ET. And the Kentucky Derby post-time, where favorite American Pharaoh will start from the 17th position, from where no horse (or squirrel) has ever won, is 6:34 p.m.

Quickly: American Pharaoh: “Horse or Bradley Cooper film?”

Adjust your imbibing accordingly.

5. Whelp, Yelp!

If you’ve worked at a restaurant in the past five years (raises hand….raises both), then you probably loathe Yelp! When I served (my country) at the steakateria, our manager, Scott, would read Yelp! reviews at pre-shift nearly daily.

Anyway, yesterday was a good day for people who still believe we should make things as opposed to “services.” Both Yelp! (YELP) and LinkedIn (LNKD) got killed on earnings reports, each losing more than 20% of their stock value. Here, here! And….give ‘em hell, Elon Musk! We need more people like you.

Just a note that in today’s TBL Round-Up, Mike Cardillo gives the Florida Sun-Sentinel props for using the term FloriDUH. Mr. Cardillo must not be a reader of MH (hurt feelings). We’ve been using that term for nearly three years.

Music 101

Black Star

Blame it on the black star/Blame it on the falling sky/Blame it on the satellite that beams me home

Before playlists, there were albums. Bands wrote 8 to 14 songs with the idea that you’d put the disc into the player and be done for the next 45 minutes to an hour. One of my favorite of the post-vinyl era is The Bends by Radiohead (I know: the cool kids will cite Kid A or OK Computer) (Really: click that last link). This song is not the most celebrated (Fake Plastic Trees, High ‘n Dry), but I absolutely love it.

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

 

Starting Five

1. Baltimore-or-Less

And the strangest part of it was, it was “Chris Davis Bat Day.” Orioles win, 8-2.

2. Twilight-weights

The two met last winter at a Miami Heat game: “You’ve got the brains. I’ve got the looks. Let’s make lots of money.”

Manny Pacquiao is 36 years old.

Floyd Mayweather is 38 years old.

My story in Newsweek.

3. Chelsea, Handlers

Chelsea’s glow-in-the-dark kits were too much for Leicester

Chelsea scored a come-from-behind win yesterday at Leicester and are now one win away from securing the Premier League title this season. The Londoners will hoist whatever BPL  winners hoist for the first time in five years if they defeat Crystal Palace –not a strip joint, though it should be– on Sunday at Stamford Bridge.

Watch this coup de grace goal in the 83rd minute by Ramires.

4. Trading Places (the easy lazy headline to use here)

I missed this last week — because I’m currently without a working TV — but Jerry Seinfeld appeared on Late Show and Dave handed him the keys to the desk.

5. M(ay)ock Draft

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock only does one mock draft. Which is all you should do. He revealed it yesterday.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

A lightning round edition, as we have an early work day out west….

Starting Five

1. Err Jordan

“No tip! No tip!” (a Seinfeld reference on Jerry’s 61st birthday). DeAndre Jordan goal tends in the game’s crucial play, while Blake Griffin briefly — and catastrophically — forgets the Clippers’ nickname: Lob City. Spurs up 3-2.

2. $einfeld

Streaming service Hulu purchases rights to stream all 180 episodes of Seinfeld for $1 million per episode. That’s a better deal than driving empties to Michigan for the extra deposit money.

3. Like Rain on Your Wedding Day

On the day that Twitter was to report its quarterly earnings after the bell, a software company that searches for data on the web finds the underwhelming report an hour early and releases it. TWTR stock was going to plunge either way, but this way they lost 18% of its value before the trading floor closed. Isn’t it ironic: Twitter upended by news that was put out there in social media before they wanted it out there?

4. Riot Girl

A mom in Baltimore, a Baltimom,  is already close to being Time’s Man of the Year for giving her son what-for for taking part in the Baltimore riots.

5. Step Moms

These are (just a portion of) the Santa Monica Steps, which you’ll find at the northern end of 4th Street. This was part of my workout yesterday. Lots of yoga moms there. Probably would’ve been more difficult if I had run up the stairs. Maybe next time.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

1. Baltimore

Previously on The Wire….

Protests erupted in Baltimore yesterday in the wake of the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died within 45 minutes of being taken into police custody on April 12. In the words of the immortal Al Czervik, “So what? So…let’s dance!”

2. The Real Housewives of Kings Landing

“I wish we had some wine for you. It’s a bit early in the day for us.” Oh, Margaery, I hope you enjoyed that line, because you are going to pay for it. Cersei is still the Queen Bee. Andy Greenwald’s typically marvelous recap is here.

3. Indonesia: Not Messing Around

The Bali Nine, as they’re known

Nine prisoners are scheduled to face a firing squad in Indonesia today for attempting to smuggle eight kilograms of heroin from Bali to Australia in 2005. The shooters will stand just 5 meters away from the death row prisoners. I wouldn’t expect any Pulp Fiction-type miracle of missed shots.

4. The Firstros?

Jose Altuve, batting .325, waves goodbye to the cellar

Because I have no idea how long this will last: the Houston Astros, long celebrated here and deservedly so as the Lastros, are in first place in the American League West (13-6). The Firstros are one of the rare A.L. West squads who have assiduously avoided putting Justin Josh Hamilton on their roster, and it’s working for them.

Another-Texas-City Keuchel is 2-0 with a 0.62 ERA in four quality starts.

5. The XX Games

Jenner during his 1976 gold-medal winning decathlon competition

I am strong (Strong!)

I am invincible (Invincible!)

I am woman!

It’s cool that Bruce Jenner sat down with Diane Sawyer of ABC and spoke for TWO HOURS about his transgender situation. It’s astounding that, on a Friday evening, 17 million Americans tuned in to watch. Somewhere Dwight Stones is wondering what he needs to do to draw that much attention.

Honestly, if you were looking to wager back in 1976 which US Olympic track and field gold medalist would eventually do a gender change, I think the surer money would be on Dwight. And look at SI, putting a track star on the cover! Those were the days.

Music 101

There She Goes

She calls my name/Pulls my train/No one else could heal my pain

Four lads from Liverpool recorded one of the best pop songs of all time, and none of them were named Ringo. In 1990 The La’s burst onto the scene with tons of promise, but then mercurial lead singer/writer/genius Lee Mavers pulled the plug on the entire operation. I love this band –so does Mike Myers: every time he has appeared on Letterman since this song came out, including last month, this has been his play-on music.

What The La’s copped so well from the Beatles was the ability to write simple, catchy pop songs. Here’s one you’ve probably never heard that fills that order, “I Am The Key.”

Remote Patrol

Game 5: Spurs at Clippers

TNT 10:30 p.m.

This just in: the Spurs have activated Robert Horry and Bruce Bowen for tonight’s game at Staples Center….

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Currently the count is 3,600 dead. That number will rise.

1, Nepal

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake, the worst in 80 years, strikes north of Katmandu and devastates the country of 27 million. Aftershocks measuring 6.7 and another registering 5.1 in India also strike. At least 18 climbers on Mount Everest perish due to concomitant avalanches.

In the coming days, mudslides, dysentery, disease, and more suffering.

2. Strong & True

She may not be co-anchoring “Weekend Update” anymore, but Cecily Strong upgraded her Saturday night comedy game by hosting the White House Correspondents Dinner. Not known as a stand-up, Strong had some wicked good lines (the Aaron Shock picture show dragged, though).

POTUS was no slouch, either. Best prez? Worst prez? I’d go with funniest prez, at least in a very long while.

Her two Strong-est lines: “President Obama, your hair is so white now that it can talk back to the police.” And, “Next season, Sarah Koenig (host of Serial), pick someone who definitely did it. Like Amanda Knox (sotto voce: “Her DNA is on the knife”).

Strong will need to adjust to wearing the same uniform more than once in the same season in the NFL

It’s a strong week to be named Strong. First, Cecily, and as Bruce Feldman predicts –and I fully concur — Arizona State wideout Jaelen Strong was a men among boys last autumn (just ask Southern Cal) and will rise up the draft board.

3. Boston Slammed Crowder

Up by 19 in the second half in Game 4 of a series they were leading 3-0, the Cavaliers’ J.R. Smith cheap shots Boston’s Jae Crowder (after Kendrick Perkins had earlier done the same) and earns an ejection. Probably a Game 1 suspension for the subsequent series versus the Bulls. And, J.R. does this on the anniversary of another time he was suspended. You can take the punk out of New York, but you can’t take the punk out of the punk….

4. The $6 Million At-Bat

In the first inning of last night’s 6-4 victory against the No Mas Mess, Alex Rodriguez hit a home run. A cheapie. It bounced off the top of the wall in right-center field, which is already a short porch, and into the stands. Still, that’s career home run 659.

A-Rod’s next will be his 660th (counting, yay!), which will tie him with Willie Mays for fourth place on the all-time list and instantly trigger a $6 million bonus due him from the Yankees. So, yes, a lot of those blasts were clouted when A-Rod was being injected, and the Yanks are contesting the bonus, but it’s not as if the Pinstripes did not realize what Alex was up to. So it’s hard to feel too sorry for them.

The Bombers appear to have no plans in place to celebrate A-Rod’s milestone blast –as prayers that he hits it on the road appear to be going unanswered — and when he was asked about a fete for his feat, he simply said, “I don’t have a marketing degree.”

 5. Amazing Amelia (Addendum)

Rodeo Beach: It’s too bad the course is not scenic

One of this site’s unintended but proud duties is to chronicle the continued feats of Chicago attorney Amelia Boone, whose will exceeds her remarkable talent. The World’s Toughest Mudder, you may recall, tore her medial meniscus and suffered a tibial fracture early last autumn. Six weeks later, she won a Tough Mudder event in Las Vegas.

Less than two months after that Boone, who never fancied herself a runner per se, won a 15-mile Xterra run near Fountain Hills, Ariz. on Super Bowl Sunday.  Six weeks after that, she completed the Georgia Death Race, a 68-mile wilderness run. And this weekend she finished first among females –and 3rd overall — at the Rodeo Beach Rumble just north of San Francisco.

Do you know how difficult it is to train as a runner in Chicago in the winter, this winter? While slaving away at a prestigious law firm? Look at the quote, taken from a case, that she has posted at the top of her blog, Race Ipsa Loquitur: “The timorous may stay at home.”

Music 101

Sloop John B

So hoist up the John B. sail/See how the main sail sets/Call for the captain ashore/Let me go home

Did the “California sound” exist before the Beach Boys did? Debatable. The Wilson brothers et al. took this from a West Indian folk song, rearranged it with their trademark ethereal harmonies, and included it on one of the greatest pieces of vinyl ever pressed, Pet Sounds. The song was released as a single in spring of 1966, a very good year, and rose to No. 3 in the U.S. an No. 2 in the U.K. in  1967.

Remote Patrol

Game 7: Islanders at Capitals

NBC Sports 7:30 p.m.

Who will win Game 7 of this Stanley Cup playoffs first-round series? Who cares: the real question is, Who will win Game 8?

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Granted, these are some nutty throwback uni

1. Golden Statement

Pelicans by 1 after one, 26-25: Warriors, come out and play….”

Pelicans by 11 at halftime, 63-52: “Warriors, come out and play-ay!”

Pelicans by 20 after three, 89-69: “Warriors, come out to PLAY!”

Maybe just shut up and play defense?

Golden State outscores New Orleans by 20 in the fourth quarter and wins 123-119 in overtime as Stephen Curry scores 40 points. GS up 3-0 as the legends of Steve & Stephen, Kerr & Curry, continue to grow.

“You Warriors are good. Real good.”

The best.”

 2. Play Brawl!

Then again, the Royals are 12-4, which is the best record in the American League. Put ‘em up, put ‘em up!

Where can we buy tickets to the Mayweather-Royals bout? Or maybe just Pacquiao-Ventura? In three of Yordano Ventura’s four starts for Kansas City this young season, a benches-clearing contretemps has occurred, including in last night’s game at Chicago. Simmer down. Simmer down, now!

Meanwhile, the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight tix went on sale yesterday and all 14,000 of them were gone in 60 seconds. I do hope the bout is fast and furious. Some 1,100 of those ducats, not for public sale, were sold at $10,000 per ticket. The true heavy hitters will be in the front rows at the MGM Grand.

3. Calbuco!

Gee, I have no idea why ancient peoples, with no idea how science works, witnessed sights such as this and decided that God was punishing them. Anyway, click here for a score of photos of the first eruption of the Calbuco in Chile, in 42 years. See, Calbuco, this is what happens when you keep things pent up inside for too long. Serenity now, insanity later.

4. Jamie, FOX

This photo of Rosie Huntingon-Whitely appears here because she is a fox, which is a 1979 term for hottie.

You recall Jamie Horowitz? The programming whiz at ESPN who is mostly responsible/to blame for many of the shows we despise so much (First Take, Sports Nation). People watch those shows and Horowitz brokered that into a prime gig at NBC, which lasted all of 10 weeks (read this Vanity Fair piece).

Now the Williams Amherst College alum has been named FOX Sports National Networks President, which is another way of saying, “You’re Almost, But Not Quite, Eric Shanks.” I know Jamie a little. A little. The feeling I’ve always gotten is that when he’s not reading The Prince by Machiavelli, he’s reading The Art of War by Sun-Tzu.

Horowitz is scheduled to return to his alma mater appear at Williams College on April 30 to hand out the Frank Deford Award to some deserving Eph undergrad.

5. Amazon, Amazin’

My friend Mary Pat, spouse of one of my closest friends on earth and certainly my dearest friend in McHenry County, Ill., Smoron, last week: “I’m thinking of buying some Amazon stock before next week’s earnings report. I think it’ll be good news.”

Dubs: Yeah, yeah, whatever.

Amazon (AMZN) reported after the bell last night and the stock is up 12% in pre-market trading this morning. What was I saying earlier this week?!?

Oh, and the Apple Watch goes on sale today. That little-known equity is up nearly 5% this week, which makes Tim Cook “happy.” It’s not rocket surgery.

 

Music 101

Hold On

This sounds like a good song…for me to POOP on! I only say that because the band behind this Seventies Arena Rock standard is Triumph. If you ever wondered if This Is Spinal Tap was inspired by real-life bands, well, this Canadian power-chord trio certainly qualifies. Triumph is to Rush as Seger is to Springsteen. The song reached No. 38 on the Billboard charts in 1979.

Remote Patrol

Late Show

CBS 11:35 p.m.

Seinfeld, Duchovny, Dave, most likely in the early 90s

We are less than one month away from the final show (tears, shredding of garments, self-immolation to follow) and tonight’s guest is the legendary Jerry Seinfeld. Don’t watch if you don’t feel like it. For me, this is personal. My two heroes, and it’s probably the final appearance for Jerry, who’s been making the scene on this program since the 1980s.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

The 6’4″ first baseman is batting .347 in this nascent season

1. Duda, Who Stole My Car? 

The New York Mets –not Mess–make it 10 in a row with a second straight conquest of the Braavos (“Valar Morghulis“) at Citi Field. Lucas Duda drove in the game-winning run in the 8th.

Most of these wins have come without David Wright. At 12-3, the Mets have baseball’s best record as today’s first pitch is at 1:10 p.m. The last and only time the Mets opened 13-3? In 1986, the last year they won the World Series.

p.s. The Yanks have taken 2 of the first 3 from Detroit, which has the A.L’s best record, in Motown.

2. Buenos Diaw

A late steal by Boris Diaw (who was once tres chubby) forces overtime in L.A. and the Spurs steal one on the road in overtime. Spurs-Clips now at one game apiece with the reminder that if this goes seven, Game 7 will be on the night of Saturday, May 2, the same evening as Mayweather-Pacquiao. 

3. Yes, But Is She Still *#%$-able?

Hello, Irony. In the same week that People magazine anoints a 50 year-old actress, Sandra Bullock, the World’s Most Beautiful Woman, Amy Schumer does a bit with a trio of over-40 actresses about no longer being, in Hollywood’s eyes, suitable for mattressing.

Louis-Dreyfuss, Schumer, Fey and Arquette

 

If you haven’t seen the bit, from the season premiere of Inside Amy Schumer, here it is (but don’t show Phyllis!).

p.s. You can’t win everything, Taylor.

4. Kurt’s Last Song

Nirvana, following their morning run

Nirvana played its final gig on March 1, 1994, at an airplane hangar in Munich, Germany. Kurt Cobain’s voice was in horrible shape, as he was suffering from both bronchitis and laryngitis (and heroin?). Anyway, Rolling Stone has audio of the final song the band played together in public, Heart-Shaped Box. As you’ll learn if you read the item –or if you keep reading here — the band opened the show with a sarcastic version of The Cars’ My Best Friend’s Girl (I’d like to hear that).

5. Guardians of the Gala (see?)

Amy Schumer pranks Kanye, who’s always up for a good joke, especially if it’s at his expense

JW, where were you Tuesday night? We couldn’t find you.

Oh, you know, I attended the Time 100 Gala at Lincoln Center.

Really?!? As what!?!

Well, my gym is in the 2nd basement of the building. So, I mean, I was there.

Cool.

I mean, I totally deserved to be there. It’s cool. I’m attending the Newsweek 200 Gala next week. We’re going to block out a few picnic benches on Stone Street and grab some pizza from Adrienne’s. I think Amy Schumer would enjoy it more, anyway.

Aaaand, Scene.

So, yes, Nerd Season officially began this week with the Time 100 Gala. Up next is the White House Correspondents Dinner, where Will MacAvoy will be served a subpoena, followed by Anna Wintour’s annual shakedown of the fashion industry, better known as the Met Gala. 

Music 101

O-o-h Child

Someday, child, we’ll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun….

Believe it or not, in the summer of 1970 there was a group of five African-American siblings from the Chicago area who scored a Top 10 hit with an absolute classic and they weren’t the Jackson Five (who hailed from nearby Gary, Ind.). No, this was The Five Stairsteps, and even though their vocals aren’t quite up to the Jacksons’ standards, this tune stands the test of time. It’s been covered more than 20 times.

Here’s the band performing lip-synch-live on Soul Train. Any time you get to see Don Cornelius is a good time….

Remote Patrol

Jimmy Kimmel Live

ABC 11:30 p.m.

Why am I touting this? Because Earth, Wind & Fire are performing with Chicago. That’s a lot of brass. This pairing of Chicago-based horn sections is only about 40 years late, but hey, who’s counting?

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

1. LeBron James Is Awesome!*

The Cleveland Cavaliers went up 2-0 in their opening round series against the Boston Celtics, who despite having no talented players taller than 5’9″, would probably beat five of the teams in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Anyway, a headband-free LeBron James scored 30 points and teamed up with Kryie Irving to score the Cavs’ final 28 in the 99-91 victory (Boston has beaten the spread in both games, FYI).

James also had nine rebounds, seven assists, two blocks, spent halftime in Baltimore marching with protesters, and killed him a b’ar when he was only three.

*Susie B.-sponsored post

2. New York Citi

Kevin Plawecki, a 1st-round pick from Purdue, made his Major League debut at catcher last night and had 2 hits. Travis d’Arnaud suddenly feels a lot better.

Derek Jeter retires and passes the wand to Flushing, as the New York Mets stretch their glorious start at their ballpark, Citi Field, to 8-0 with a 7-1 defeat of the Braves. The Mets are 11-3 and have now won 9 straight –11 in a row, back in 1990, a streak chronicled in Sports Illustrated at the time by a young Steve Rushin– and have done so without David Wright, who tweaked a hammy last night. Jonathon Niese, the Mets’ fourth starter, pitched shutout ball into the 7th inning.
Watch out for the Mets. Seriously. Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and Bartolo Colon are 8-1 and have respective WHIPs of 1.14, 1.00 and 0.80

3. Oz, The Great and Powerful

This Oz(zy) once sang about needing to see his “Rock ‘n Roll Doctor,” but it probably wasn’t our Dr. Oz

So, on the opening day of May sweeps, Dr. Oz will address on his syndicated talk show the 10 doctors, as opposed to the four out of five doctors, who want him to resign from his position at Columbia Medical School. I agree that Oz should stop making claims that he can give patients a heart, a brain…courage. Other than that, I just wish he’d stop sending me “Fat Burner” emails. PLEASE, Doc.

4. You Deserve a Break Today*

“C’mon, baby, light my fire/C’mon, baby, light my fire/Try to set the night on fire/Try to set the night on fi-URRRR!”

I hear people saying –some directly to me– that this final half-season of Mad Men is lazy, unfocused (“just like you, JW!”), that it’s not as funny now that Belushi and Murray left. But I’m still enjoying it. Why I loved Sunday’s episode:

–Was that an ode to a show of that era, Love, American Style, with the two strange romantic arcs: Joan and the retiree (he was straight outta Love Boat central casting, by the way) and Monotone Glenn and Betty going all The Graduate on us? I was really hoping for a fadeout view of Betty reclining on a chaise with mutton-chopped Glenn in the shot farther away but viewed through her bent leg.

“Mrs. Draper, are you trying to seduce me?”

–The scene with Don and Peggy? That’s a time-capsule scene for that pair. You can feel the tension. She enters annoyed, then becomes sincere, then exits pissed. “Why don’t you tell me your dreams so I can shit all over them?” Classic.

–And then there’s Mathis. It’s like this, Johnny. No one intentionally walks a guy who has to bunt to get on base, you know? Anyhoo, I love reading Mark Lisanti’s “Mad Men Power Rankings” almost as much as I enjoy Mad Men. I’m going to miss both.

*The catchphrase from 1970 that Peggy will NOT come up with, which will haunt her forever. It was named the No. 1 ad jingle of the CENTURY by Advertising Age.

5. Their City of Ruins

“Iraq burns; its fate will forever remain on our conscience,” so reads the story’s last line.

Remember the Iraq War (no, not the Gulf War)? There were a few so-so films (Jarhead, Three Kings, Courage Under FireIn The Valley of Elah) and one or two excellent ones (The Hurt Locker, American Sniper), and then we pretty much left? Well, the country is a dumpster fire these days –and perhaps it always was. I’m going Deitsch on you here and recommending this story in Rolling Stone, by Matthieu Aikins, from last month titled “Baghdad on the Brink.” 

*****

p.s. from yesterday: On the date I wrote about how awesome Under Armour stock is, it tumbled more than 5%. I have a certain touch.

Music 101

Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough

Keep on with the force/Don’t stop/Don’t stop ’til you get enough

The first track from Michael Jackson’s first post-pubescent solo album, Off The Wall, igniting the fuse of  the brightest solo pop career in music history. Written and recorded by the King of Pop, this was his first No. 1 hit in seven years (Ben, 1972, an ode to a rat) and the first of 10 No. 1 hits he’d have (not including duets). It also earned him his first Grammy. The pre- and post-pubescent Jackson are essentially two different people (and artists) and this, in a sense, was Michael’s coming-out party.

Remote Patrol

Game 2: Spurs at Clippers

TNT 10:30 p.m.

The new star on Team Epcot actually grew up not very far from Staples Center

Sign in the Los Angeles Clipper locker room: “We Don’t Lose To Virgin Islander, Argentine, French, Italian, Brazilian, Kiwi or Australian Players.” I want San Antonio to win, but I want Michelle Beadle to sit down and shut up. It’s a conundrum.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

This is not even a paid ad. We are doing it ALL WRONG at MH.

1. U(S)A!

The sports footwear and clothing company, Under Armour, reports earnings today. Under Armour (UA) is trying very hard to be the 21st century Nike, and thus far you cannot dismiss the Maryland-based company and its charismatic founder, Kevin Plank.

Here’s the thing, though, and why I’m leading with a stock story. Some of the most oft-mentioned brands of the past year or so have soared 100% 50% or more in value over that period.

Think about this: millionaires hand their money to hedge fund managers, who routinely promise an annual return of less than 10% in return for you handing them a minimum of $1 million (sometimes I specialize my stories specifically for An Inconvenient Ruth). Anyway, sure, great, but you haven’t had to be a genius or an alum of Goldman Sachs to find big returns in stocks the past couple of years. Look at the trendy names, invest in them, and just sit back and watch. To wit:

NetFlix (NFLX)….. Last April 21: $349 Today: $567 Up 62%

Apple (AAPL)….  Last April 21: $75 Today: $128  Up 71%

Chipotle (CGM)….Last April 21: $522 Today: $686 Up 31%

Under Armour (UA)….Last April 21: $53.50 Today: $84.76 Up: 58%

The question, of course, may be, Are their runs up finished? Perhaps. Under Armour, as I said, reports after the bell today (this is where I’m obligated to tell you I own UA stock, so hell yes I’m biased). The important thing I’ve learned, though, is to be less of a trader and more of an investor. Buy good companies and just walk away for awhile.

2. Headey, Lamar Make Magazine Covers (“That’s Headley! No, Wait a Minute, It’s Not. My Bad.”)

Lena Headey– that’s Queen Mother Cersei to you–on the cover of More, because they can’t come right out and call it Cougar

Lena Headey, who is pregnant, will not reveal the name of the father. Art imitates life sometimes. And then Kendrick Lamar made the cover of the Rolling Stone (when you cannot personally identify one song by someone on the cover of RS, you’re officially old. That’s me.)

Okay, so who’s the stylist?

3. EGOT Does Not Equal GoT

Helen Hayes, the first female EGOT winner

I discovered this while reading a(nother) dry and funny Stephen Douglas post in The Big Lead, this one dealing with Michelle Beadle’s Spurs fandom (Can we all agree that Beadle has become juuuuuuuuuust a little too full of herself? No? Well, whatever…). Anyway, it’s called EGOT, and it stands for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony, and refers to people who have won all four.

Only 12 people have done it, including Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks and Whoopi Goldberg (yes, Whoopi Goldberg). The latest, and youngest, member of the club is Robert Lopez, a talented lyricist and writer who co-created The Book of Mormon and Avenue Q, as well as writing songs for Frozen. Lopez is 40 and he may or may not have twin brothers who are taking part in the NBA playoffs.

4. The Price is (Bleep)

“Always Be Closing…with Aroldis Chapman!”

I went to a pre-game manager’s presser and Glengarry, Glen Ross broke out. Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price, in a pre-game meeting with reporters (standard), unleashes the F-word 77 times in five minutes. I have to admit, I was shocked: I thought Sparky Anderson was still managing the Reds. Also, who’s the guy who counted the number of F-words and how long did that take? “Are you sure it’s 77, Skip, because I got 75.” “Okay, let’s start over.”

5. That Item in Which The World Showers Taylor Swift with Love and Adulation Again (and Kanye Is Not Allowed in the Building)

MH has exceeded its use of Taylor Swift pics already for 2015 (and it isn’t even May), so please enjoy this photo of Stormile Swift (who recently won the Stromilestone Award)

That girl wins the Milestone Awards at the ACMs on Sunday night. Mom gives the introductory speech in which she reveals that Taylor wrote her breakout hit, Love Story, in one hour after her parents told her that they strongly disapproved of a boy (“and rightfully so!).

Music 101

And When I Die

This 1968 tune, as recorded by Blood, Sweat & Tears (that’s 1960s for “Chicago”), reached No. 2 on the Billboard charts, but the real story here is Laura Nyro. The songwriter, who also penned Wedding Bell Blues (“Bill, I love you so/And I always will…”) wrote this uplifting tune about death in 1966 when she was just 17, and then sold it to The Mamas & The Papas for $5,000. Then two years later BS&T recorded it.

The lead singer with the strong, rich, raspy voice is David Clayton-Thomas, and his story is right out of Inside Llewyn Davis. Barely surviving on handouts in New York City in the Sixties, he was singing at a Greenwich Village club one night when Judy Collins saw him. She told her friends, who were looking for a lead singer in their band about him, and the next thing you know he was singing lead for BS&T. And then the first album they did together sold 10 million copies. It’s just…that…easy.

Remote Patrol

Paris St. Germain at F.C. Barcelona

FS1  2:45 p.m.

Thomas Muller leads Bayern, as he led Germany to the World Cup last summer. But will we even see him today?

With apologies to the dudes at FOX Sports, who do a splendid job of covering the footy, they’re airing the wrong game. Yes, Lionel Messi is the greatest artist to work in Spain since Picasso, but Barca is at home and already have a 2-goal lead heading into the 2nd leg of the quarterfinal. Meanwhile in Munich, Bayern must rebound from a 2-goal deficit as it hosts surprising FC Porto. For much of the winter, Bayern Munich looked like the best club team in the world. Injuries have ravaged them, however, but the UEFA Champions League final will be played in Berlin. Germany’s glorious year of soccer uber alles is at risk.