IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

PCH: Uphill Running

The Starting Five

Now starring in “Horrible Bosses 3”

Somebody To Shove

Just before a NATO photo op, President Donald Trump realizes that AMERICA FIRST!!!!! is in peril and pulls a Frank Constanza on Montenegro prime minister Dusko Markovic, who seems to have recovered nicely from his underwhelming career with the Detroit Pistons.

Habits become character and character becomes destiny. It’s all right here.

2. “It Was 50 Years Ago Today….”

….Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play. Yes, the album that Rolling Stone calls ” the most important rock & roll album ever made” and lists No. 1 on its “500 Greatest Albums” list turns 50 years old today. At Newsweek, we ranked all 13 songs, Zach Schoenfeld, Ryan Bort and I. For what it’s worth, my five favorite songs on it:

A Day In the Life

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

She’s Leaving Home

Getting Better

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Two incredible facts you may not know: 1) As great as this rebuttal to Pet Sounds is (I mean, lots of music experts agree with Rolling Stone‘s assessment), it should have been even better. The first song that the Beatles wrote for it, Strawberry Fields Forever, their label, EMI, liked so much that they pressured the band to release it as a single while the band was still working on the album. The B-side? Penny Lane. Those two classics could have been, should have been, on this album but were not. 2) Paul McCartney wrote She’s Leaving Home after reading about a 17 year-old girl from a good family with good grades who had just vanished. Turns out the girl, Melanie Coe, had actually met the band as a teen dancer on Ready Steady Go! (the British American Bandstand) and at the time of the song’s release was hiding out at the home of her girlfriend who just happened to be married to legendary Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. And now you know…the rest of the story.

3. Amazons Rule The World

In one week Wonder Woman will make its world premiere and most likely be the top-grossing film of the weekend (the kids may be excited about Gal Godot in the lead role, but I’m all about Robin Wright as the age-appropriate aunt of Princess Diana).

You’ve come a long way, Princess Buttercup

But as far as ranking Amazons, I’ll take the company over the princess from DC Comics fame. Yesterday shares of Amazon (AMZN) were up nearly 2% as the stock reached an all-time high of $998. The $1,000 mark could be eclipsed today…not bad for a company that celebrated the 20th anniversary of its IPO 11 days ago, when the stock first sold for $18 per share. In 2004 General Electric had the world’s largest market cap and Amazon was not in the top 10. Today Amazon is ranked 4th in market cap (behind Apple, Google and Microsoft) and has almost double GE’s maket cap.

Amazon is on its way to ruling (or ruining) the world. Either way, you should own it.

4. LeBron Beats Celtics, Hot Takers Anxious To Declare Him Better Than Jordan While Leaving Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Out Of The Conversation Entirely

Is LeBron James “chasing” Michael Jordan? Should two men whose primes came roughly two decades apart even be compared?

James is taking his team to a seventh consecutive NBA Finals, which Jordan never did. Jordan’s teams went 6-0 in the Finals, and never even needed a seventh game. James’s teams are 3-3 in the NBA Finals.

James has scored more points in the postseason than Jordan, thanks to last night’s 35-point effort. He now has 5,995 to MJ’s 5,987. But then again, it took LBJ 33 more games to do so. If you go by scoring average in the playoffs, Jordan remains the all-time leader (33.45 points per game) while LBJ is fifth at 28.28 ppg.

Jordan just found out that a bunch of millennials only know him as a meme

For me it comes down to how many time MJ made crucial plays, especially buckets, in the final minute of a game. He did it OVER and OVER and OVER again, from UNC to “The Shot” versus Ehlo to his final bucket in a Chicago Bulls uniform over Craig Ehlo. But I like to think we’re all self-aware enough to recognize that most fans under 40 are going to go with LeBron and most over 40 are going with Jordan. It’s who was the stud during your 20s and maybe 30s that you identify with most.

Not taking away a single thing from LBJ, but if forced to choose, for me, it’s no contest: Michael.

5. Gianforte’s Apology

Kudos, for the most part, to newly elected Montana congressman Greg Gianforte for his apology after winning his seat in the House last night. He took responsibility for his actions the previous night against both Ben Jacobs and the Fox News team. But a few things that we shouldn’t forget:

  1. When he says “That isn’t me,” he’s wrong. That IS him because that is what he did. It’s not all of him all of the time, but what you do is who you are. Not what you say you are about.
  2. The fanboys who were clapping for him or telling him “And you’re forgiven” need to just, and I hate to invoke LaVar Ball, “Stay in yo’ lane.” It’s not for you to forgive him. Respectful silence would have been appropriate there. But people are dolts.
  3. This never had to happen. Not just the violence, but the fact that Gianforte’s people put out a false story over what transpired which, let’s face it, they would NEVER have retracted had it not been for the audio or the Fox News team serving as multiple eyewitnesses. And let’s face it: THIS WAS FOX. You can’t slander a victim by calling him a “liberal journalist” and then call a team of conservative journalists liars for backing up his story. You’re going to lose that battle every damn time.

Music 101

Back Stabbers

They smile at your face/All the time they wanna take your place….

This album of the same name by the Philly soul group The O’Jays ended with all-time great tune “Love Train,” but this track, the title track, shot to No. 1 in September of 1972. The group had been together 14 years before they finally hit it big with these two songs.

Remote Patrol

Indianapolis 500

Noon ABC

When I was a kid, this was actually one of the biggest sports events of the year. Top five? Top three? Times have changed, but it’s still a cool event. Your mileage may vary. Seven different former winners will take the starting line, as will Formula One god Fernando Alonso. The pace car driver? Negan, from The Walking Dead.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

PCH: Isaiah Must Go

Melania, Donald, the Vatican. Nothing to add here, just an incredible photo

Starting Five

1. The GOP Goes WWE

A Congressional race in Montana, with an election this morning because the state gets one new seat in the House of Representatives, and Republican candidate Greg Gianforte gets upset when Ben Jacobs, a reporter from The Guardian, shoves a tape recorder in his face. This from a Fox News (Fox!) reporter who witnessed it first-hand in Bozeman, Montana, last night:

“At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, “I’m sick and tired of this!”

 

Have you been to Montana? I have, a few times. This incident will not hurt Gianforte’s chances of winning there. He may be arrested for assault, but he’ll still win the vote.

Meanwhile, the WWE SummerSlam this August has an intriguing new character.

Joking aside, notice how the Gianoforte campaign statement labeled Jacobs as a “liberal journalist.” As if that matters. And there was nothing in Jacobs’ question that was partisan, by the way. Notice how Trump has treated the media the past two years, or how Steve Bannon called them the “worst enemy” of the American public, or  the Florida lawmaker who last week joked that he’d like to aim a machine gun at the press. You reap what you sow

2. Manchester, United

Man U.’s two goals were scored by a Frenchman (Paul Pogba, right) and an Armenian

Two days after the horrific blast in Manchester claimed 22 lives, Manchester United won the UEFA Europa League final 2-0 over Ajax in Stockholm, Sweden. The Europa League is the not-quite-as-good-a-finish-the-previous-year-as-the-guys-who-made-the-Champions-League-tournament tournament. Still, it was a cathartic moment for the club and the city.

 

“I want to  dedicate the trophy to the victims,” Man U. midfielder Ander Herrera told reporters after Wednesday’s victory. “This is just football but what happened on Monday was horrible. We want peace in the world and respect. This happened in Manchester but everywhere we have to be a united world to fight for peace and to have no more attacks.”

3. The Remarkable Death and Life of John Shields

Give yourself some time to read this story. It’s about a defrocked Catholic priest, originally from New York, who found a life and purpose on Vancouver Island. Two months ago, while terminally ill, he decided to throw himself a wake before he died.

I’ve always thought about what a wasted effort funerals and wakes are. My own dad would have loved to have seen all the family and friends and to have heard what so many people said about him during his wake and funeral (“Oh, but he did….”). We’ll never know. Good for you, John Shields.

4. Lastros and Rockies! Baseball Is Terrified

Charlie Blackmon leads all of baseball with 42 RBI

The top two teams in the American and National League, respectively, with nearly one-third of the season complete are the Houston Lastros (31-16) and the Colorado Rockies (31-17). The Astros’ top hitter thus far is Marwin Gonzalez and the Rockies’ is Charlie Blackmon, and you’re probably not even sure if I made those names up. I didn’t. Meanwhile, the two clubs that played in last autumn’s thrilling World Series, Chicago and Cleveland, are 24-21.

Related: It’s early. I’ll chill.

5. Sean of the Dead

Things usually happen in threes, so could we really be just days away from Fox News’ entire prime-time lineup of just one year ago (Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly and Sean Hannity) all being gone? Kelly left late last year for NBC News, O’Reilly was fired and now Hannity is finding sponsors pulling ads from his show over his “investigation” into the murder of Seth Rich, whose own parents have begged him to stop floating his conspiracy theory.

Handy claims he is under attack from “liberal fascism.” It’s called free speech, Sean. The same principle that allows you to spout whatever you do for millions and millions of dollars each year.

Reserves

Season 7: Bring Mittens

The Game Of Thrones promo trailer is out. The series’ seventh season kicks off in mid-July and there will be but seven episodes.

Music 101

Slow Song

Do you want to own a great album/CD? Buy Joe Jackson Live: 1980-86. I’ve been listening to it since 1989 and I’m still not even close to sick of it. Jackson just released his first album of new material in seven years, Fast Forward, and begins touring in support of it next week.

Remote Patrol

Game 5: Cavs at Celtics

8 p.m. TNT

Who cares about the game? Tune in to see if Sir Charles and Shaq throw down….

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

PCH (non-mudslide edition): Cash Me Outside

Starting Five

PCH: Big Sur Face

Didn’t The Rock just make a joke about this during the opening monologue on Saturday Night Live four days ago? A massive mudslide near Big Sur in northern California (everything north of Malibu is northern California for some people) cuts off the Pacific Coast Highway and now how will Don Draper ever get back to New York City???

According to news reports, the hillside gave way late Saturday night in an area known as Mud Creek (there’s your first clue) and buried Highway 1 under 40 feet of dirt and rock, changing the coastline immediately. Kinda cool, but imagine if you were driving there at that moment and witnessed it. Whoooaaaaaaaa.

Roger, Over and Out (No Moore)

Nobody did it better. Sean Connery did it just as well, you may argue, but Roger Moore, who passed away yesterday at the age of 89, took 007 and made him more suave, more charming and definitely more of a lady killer. Connery’s James Bond was more physically imposing and masculine. Moore’s was more, well, British.

For example…

 

Finally…

3. “Can We Take This Beef Off The Grill?”

Before this is all over, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift will team up to release the most downloaded song of all time. Cut to 9:29 of the clip (and if you leave before 11:18, you’re missing the big payoff)

You know how I feel about T-Swizzle, but Katy Perry’s spunk is irresistible and listen to her hit the high notes on “Firework.” James Corden can get along with anyone, by the way. He personifies “host.”

4.  Audacity and Pope

“So, about your new budget…”

The Trump met The Pope while back in Washington, D.C., former CIA Director John Brennan testified before a Congressional committee that last summer “I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign.”

Later, director of national intelligence Dan Coats and the chief of the National Security Agency, Admiral Michael Rogers testified that in late March Trump asked each of them to make public statements saying there was no evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

In related news, Do  I need to draw you a picture?

5. Meet the Nodosaur

He’s 110 million years old, Canadian, 18 feet long, nearly 3,000 pounds and a vegan. Meet the nodosaur, whose nearly pristinely preserved remains were found by a man named Shawn Funk who was operating an excavator for Suncor near Fort McMurray, Alberta. I’m guessing he was a close cousin to the ankylosaurus.

Reserves

Yes, Susie B., I know that Sweet Pea’s team trailed by 10 at halftime and came back to win. Cash me outside on the NBA until the beginning of June. 

This dude gets it…

 

 

Music 101

Run and Run

“Love My Way” was the breakout hit that brought Psychedelic Furs (simply “The Furs” to us) to America’s attention in the fall of 1982, but this tune, which immediately followed it on the album Forever Now, was the harder jam. Would that we could get The Furs and The Church, their Australian doppelgängers, to tour together.

Remote Patrol

I really don’t feel comfortable recommending anything this evening. Why don’t you go out for a beer with an old friend?

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

PCH: Robo Oh No

The Starting Five

Terror In Manchester

An explosive device, believed to have been set off by a suicide bomber, explodes outside of Manchester Arena in northern England just after an Ariana Grande concert. Initial reports say that 22 are dead and 59 are injured. The world is full of messed up people.

Yes, it could easily happen here. But you may as well try and prevent clouds. Live your life and, to quote Bono, “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”

2. Touch My Ball!

This is either a new NBC prime time game show starring Howie Mandel or a still from Austin Powers 4: The Orgasmic Orb of the Apocalypse. Actually, it is Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia and U.S. President Donald Trump officially “activating” Saudi Arabia’s Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (do visit the women’s equality wing!).

Meanwhile, commerce secretary Wilbur Ross noted on CNBC that “there was not a single hint of a protester anywhere [in Saudi Arabia] during the whole time we were there, not one guy with a bad placard.”

When CNBC host Becky Quick pointed out, without being so graphic, that protesters in Saudi Arabia typically find themselves disconnected from their heads, all Ross could say was, “In theory that may be true.”

What else matters, Wilbur?

3. Pittsburgh Penguins Vs. Tennessee Tuxedos?

Someone phone Professor Whoopee! The Nashville Predators, who have lost just one game in Bridgestone Arena during the NHL playoffs, are on to the Stanley Cup finals, where they are likely to meet the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins, who smoked Ottawa 7-1 on Sunday afternoon to go up 3-2 in the Eastern Conference.

This is the finals we all wanted, no? Hockey’s hottest team versus its reigning champion.

4. A Farewell To King

Oregon’s Edward Cheserek, he of the 17 NCAA titles, including three individual national championships in FOUR different events, is done as an amateur. A lower back injury will keep him out of this week’s Western Regionals, which is a qualifying meet for the NCAA Outdoor Championships that will be held on Cheserek’s home turf, Hayward Field in Eugene (one of my favorite places in the USA).

The Kenyan native, who emigrated to the States seven years ago, is still waiting upon his U.S. citizenship. Considering that he won 17 of 21 NCAA finals that he entered and also last winter set a new collegiate mile record (3:52.01), don’t you want him on our team?

Here’s a terrific feature on King Ches from The New York Times.

5. Never Rest Up Everest

Ultrarunner and alpine enthusiast Kilian Jornet just set a new record for the fastest ascent up the world’s highest mountain, Everest, by summiting it in 26 hours. The 29 year-old Spaniard eschewed oxygen and fixed ropes and clambered up the world’s tallest mountain’s North Face, from base camp (17,600 feet) to the peak (29,029 feet), as if it were a hill of dirt at a construction site. This may be the world’s fittest human being.

Music 101

Take A Picture

In the late 1990s we got a profundity of American bands that seemed poised to maybe perhaps hopefully seemed poised to take the baton from grunge and carry us forward (Third Eye Blind, Sublime, Goo Goo Dolls, Foo Fighters, Collective Soul and these guys, Filter) into the next century. Most of them had a hit or two, but none of them with the possible exception of FF really, REALLY, attained the summit that bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Guns ‘n Roses did. But I really did love this song.

Remote Patrol

Game 4: Boston at Cleveland

8:30 p.m. TNT

Of course Cleveland is going to blow the Celtics out by 40-plus again tonight. But, I mean, what if they lose? Then it would be best of three with two in Boston. Does Marcus Smart have another 27-point game in him? I doubt it. And I’m sure LeBron isn’t going to put up a mere 11 again.

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Donald of Arabia

Remember when candidate Donald Trump said, “We have a problem in this country; it’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one.” (Sept. 17, 2015)

Or when he said, “I wonder if President Obama would have attended the funeral of Justice Scalia if it were held in a Mosque? Very sad that he did not go!” (Feb. 20, 2016)

Or when he told Anderson Cooper, ““I think Islam hates us. There’s something there that — there’s a tremendous hatred there. There’s a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it. There’s an unbelievable hatred of us.” (March 20, 2016)

 

Is he bowing or squatting?

That guy never got on the plane to Riyadh. During his weekend with the world’s largest oil-producing nation, Trump signed a $350 billion defense deal with Saudi Arabia, dangled an olive branch and sounded Obaamaesque (“This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects or different civilizations. This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people, all in the name of religion, people that want to protect life and want to protect their religion. This is a battle between good and evil”) and even called on other Arab leaders to isolate Iran because Iranian extremists were responsible for taking down the World Trade Center.

This would be a great place for a Trump casino

Wait, no. That’s not right. Nineteen of the 20 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Which was the first country Trump chose to visit as President of the United States. With all those other countries out there. Did I mention that Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest producer of oil?

2. Irish Go

Notre Dame Stadium, home to the world’s most famous walk-on (“Rudy! Rudy!”) on Sunday became home to a walk-out, as dozens of members of the Class of 2017 exited commencement exercises as Vice President Mike Pence stood up to speak. Been a tough year for these seniors inside that stadium: Michigan State, Duke, Stanford and Virginia Tech, and then you’ve got to end it with Mike Pence?

 

3. I’m Only Huma

Get the Soul Cycle membership/subscription ready! Huma Abedin is cutting Anthony Weiner loose. S’about time, girl! On Friday the former Congressman man from New York, a.k.a. Carlos Danger, pleaded guilty to federal obscenity charges and he’ll be going away for awhile. That same day Huma filed for divorce. Snap!

4. Mad Scientists

Buried in the final half hour of the final Saturday Night Live episode of the season was perhaps their most daring skit in years: they tried to make the audience laugh at child molestation. Honestly, until the White Castle veer off at the end (maybe the writers just didn’t have a good idea to end the skit? Maybe White Castle actually underwrote it?), this sketch was truly inspired. The Rock was fantastically understated and sold his part so well.

The premise: a conference of evil scientists vying for most evil invention of the year. After that? You’ll have to watch.

5. The Judge: Overruled!

Is Aaron Judge going to be an All-Star starter in the American League outfield as a rookie? He leads the majors in home runs (15), is tied with Mike Trout in WAR (2.9) and then yesterday in New York’s 3-2 win against Tampa Bay he makes a catch like this. Get ready for greatness, Lloyd.

Music 101

If We Were Vampires

Is Jason Isbell the Southern Springsteen? I dunno, but lots of SEC fans on my Twitter feed love him. His wife Amanda Shires provides the harmonies on this new track about the ephemeral quality of love and life itself.

Remote Patrol

Better Call Saul

10 p.m. AMC

Last week’s show was a reset of sorts after the dramatic courtroom episode. But it was also the first time Jimmy McGill referred to himself as “Saul Goodman” since moving to Albuquerque and passing the bar. Also, things are getting more tense between Gus and Hector. The temperatures are starting to rise and certain relationships (Jimmy and Kim, Hector and Nacho, Gus and Hector) and the pot is about to boil over.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

PCH (We’ve already turned “Please Click Here” into an acronym)

 

Starting Five

Superunknown Rock Star

Why did Chris Cornell, lead singer of Soundgarden, hang himself after Wednesday night’s show in Detroit? No one knows for sure, but Cornell, 52, provided some clues during the show at the historic Fox Theater. 

“I feel bad for the next city,” Cornell told the audience. And during the encore, he inserted lyrics from Led Zeppelins’ “In My Time of Dying” into the Soundgarden tune “Slaves and Bulldozers.” He knew. An hour or two later, Cornell was dead.

I invite you to put the earbuds in, tap the volume as high as it can possibly go, and taste the robust flavor of “My Wave” from the 1994 classic Superunknown.

2. Ailes No Longer Ailing

And then there was the death of the Jabba the Hut of American media, Roger Ailes. The man who created the Fox News monolith, a man whom Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone called “the Christopher Columbus of hate” died yesterday at the age of 77. Ailes once told an interviewer, “I created a TV network for people 55 to dead.”

Mission accomplished. And it’s nice to see you’ve reached the end of that sentence.

3. All Your Eggs In One Basquiat

I once attended a party at the home of this man (as bloggers make for wonderful party guests) and overheard someone gush, “OH! You have a Basquiat!” I was certain it was probably some French toilet innovation.

Turns out it was a painting by the Brooklyn-born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27 in 1988. Last night the above painting by the neo-impressionist (of course I had to look that up) sold at auction for $110.5 million, the highest price that a piece by an American artist has ever fetched. It was purchased by a Japanese art collector and entrepreneur.

4. Farewell, Drunk Uncle

After nine seasons Bobby Moynihan will make his final appearance on Saturday Night Live tomorrow. In the last five years or so, his “Drunk Uncle” character (“You know what state I’m in? Denial.”) was the funniest recurring bit on “Weekend Update” outside of Kate McKinnon’s Russian peasant. Also, Moynihan co-wrote the David S. Pumpkins sketch, which goes down as a Top-10 all-timer. He’s headed to Hollywood, where he’ll co-star in a sitcom on CBS called “Me, Myself & I.”

5. The Flying Dutchman*

*The judges will also accept, “This Is Your Majesty Speaking”

Well, this is rather disturbing. The King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, recently revealed that he’d flown as a co-pilot on KLM (a.k.a. Royal Dutch Airlines) for two decades or so. The monarch, who flew twice monthly, did so to decompress. In the words of Tom Petty, “It’s good to be king.”

Sir Winston Churchill was a pilot, but he was never known to have flown commercially.

Reserves

Endline, Sideline, Fraulein

Germany’s top-tier league, the Bundesliga, has just installed its first female referee. Next season Bibiana Steinhaus, who looks as if she could play the role of a villainous femme fatale in a Bond film, will be doling out yellow and red cards to the likes of Arjen Robben and Thomas Lewandowski.

Music 101

Hunger Strike

We’ve probably already run this song in this space, but it’s the tune that introduced its writer and co-lead singer, along with Eddie Vedder, to the MTV generation. A classic and the song that pretty much raised the curtain on grunge.

Remote Patrol

Wizard of Lies

Saturday

8 p.m. HBO 

Two mega-stars in the twilights of their careers, Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, portray Bernie and Ruth Madoff in this made-for-HBO production. Kids, Pfeiffer was the Charlize Theron of the 1980s and early ’90s. It’s kind of a nice book-ender for De Niro, who broke into the business playing NYC characters who knew how to make a buck the wrong way in both Mean Streets (Martin Scorcese) and The Godfather 2 (Francis Ford Coppola). Barry Levinson, another heavy hitter, directs here. Here’s the NYT review.

Or you could tune into Showtime Now and catch up on Billions.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Please Click Here

Because it’s the 21st century and nothing else matters in journalism….

Starting Five

Another Day Of Trump:

Coast Guard Meets Boast Lard

Speaking at the commencement exercises at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., the 45th President of the United States said, “Look at the way I have been treated lately, especially by the media. No politician in history (Wait, he’s a politician now), and I say this with great…surety (it actually is a word) , has been treated worse or more unfairly (You need to get with Julius Caesar, Abraham Lincoln and Selina Meyer) . You can’t let them get you down, you can’t let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams (“Street light people, whoa-oh-ohhhhhh!”).”

2. Get On With It Already

James scored 38, while Kevin Love put in 32

The Cavs beat the Celtics 117-104 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, so now they and the Dubs are a combined 19-0 this postseason. Just get a room already, you two. For me there was only one play in the Eastern Conference playoffs, and that was that Cleveland fast break against the Raptors in Game 1 when Kyrie Irving drove toward the hoop like a bat out of hell and ricocheted the ball off the glass hard (without looking back) knowing that LeBron would be trailing to slam it home. That play signified how Cleveland has ravaged the East since LeBron’s return.

Why has anyone even bothered watching these game? I mean, I guess Cleveland or Golden State may lose one game before the NBA Finals, but it almost seems impure if they do (Cleveland won’t; Golden State may).

3. Looking Good

Meet Megan Good, who is great. She has a 36-1 record at Jason McIntyre’s alma mater, James Madison. Good leads the nation in wins and also has the nation’s second-best ERA, 0.48, for the 50-6 Dukes. They’re headed to Waco this weekend to play in a regional in the Women’s College World Series.

Good has been great for a while now. Her record as a freshman was 29-3, as a sophomore 32-3, and now 36-1. That’s a 97-7 record and the Sidney, Va., native has never had higher than a 1.00 ERA.

How good is Good? She also leads JMU in batting average (.399), home runs (12) and RBI (57).

4. The Moors Murders

In the early 1960s Ian Brady and his girlfriend, Myra Hindley, went on a cruel and cunning murdering rampage outside of Manchester, England. They lured and then killed, often using sexual assault and torture, five young people and then buried them out in the Moors. Brady died at the age of 79 on Monday, which is why this story has resurfaced this week (I’d never heard of it).

Hinkley died in 2002. Both were found guilty in the late 1960s (after Brady’s brother-in-law went to police) and were sentenced to life imprisonment. If you’ve ever been up in the Yorkshire moors, you know that it’s a very lonely and spooky place. Stories such as this one only accentuate that.

5. Follow The Bouncing Ball

It kinda feels as if Robert Mueller should also look into impeaching LaVar Ball. I only watched this very quickly this afternoon. On a second viewing, no one looks good here. Colin Cowherd doesn’t support his co-host; Kristine Leahy is a little too combative right from the beginning; and LaVar Ball comes off as the misogynistic bully I suppose he probably is.

 

 

Music 101

White Wedding

Punk and New Wave met at an all-night rave, hooked up, and nine months later Billy Idol was born. When this song with its dominant bass line made its debut in 1982, Idol shot right to MTV super-duper stardom. The song hit No. 36 on the charts, but it was ubiquitous on the MTV and on every “Modern Rock” FM station in existence.

Remote Patrol

Godzilla, King of the Monsters

9:45 p.m. TCM

I’m not proud of this, but at one time in my young life my three greatest heroes were Roger Staubach, Richard Petty and Godzilla. And maybe not in that order. This is the 1956 version with Raymond Burr (the original all-Japanese version was released two years earlier).

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

 

Please Click Here

A new feature of MH where we ask (beseech, implore) you to click where it says and then you are more then free to return to your regularly scheduled procrastinating and browsing. Dig: We don’t have pop-up ads or a paywall; Can you do us this one solid? Gracias!

 

If you’ve recently been laid off from your national sports site and want to keep your batting eye sharp, have you considered writing for Medium Happy? Our operators are standing by.

Starting Five

Memo Random

The problem with Donald Trump (just one?) is that he doesn’t see things from the perspective of a person who has ever had to adhere to the law (which he hasn’t), but rather from the perspective of a mob boss. People aren’t either “criminals” or “law-abiding citizens,” they are “bad guys” or “good guys.” And what determines if you’re a bad guy or a good guy is if you don’t or do bend to Donald’s will. Easy, right?

This isn’t a terrible quality in a mob boss or a gang leader, but it is a dangerous trait in a man who raises his right hand, places his left on a Bible, and swears to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Different respected sources (The New York Times, NBC News) confirm that former FBI Director James Comey wrote a memo after a conversation with Trump on the day after General Michael Flynn resigned back in February in which the president said, “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

As he wakes up this morning, or tweets overnight, my guess is that Donald Trump, not unlike Nathan Jessup, does not even see what he did wrong. But he just leaned on the director of the FBI to halt an investigation of a man who may have worked with the Russians and on top of that may have been doing that at the direct behest of Trump or people who work for Trump.

Between this and the previous day’s bombshell from the Washington Post in which it was divulged that Trump compromised an Israeli spy embedded with ISIS by giving away a secret shared by Israel to the Russians (the day after he fired Comey last week), it is, as one tweep said, “as if the New York Times and Washington Post are engaged in a slam-dunk contest.”

2. Celtic Uprising

The Boston Celtics will host Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals tonight (because they finished with the best record in the East) and will have the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft next month. The Los Angeles Lakers will pick second. Nice to see these historically humble, small-market franchises finally get a leg up in the world.

The Celtics have had a terrific season under Brad Stevens, but I don’t believe this crew as currently constructed has the goods to win an NBA championship (they are a respectable 4-7 versus Cleveland and Golden State the past two seasons). Even with next year’s No. 1 overall pick. We’ll see.

Is Lonzo Ball the premier player in this draft? Shhhhh.

How does this shake out?, is the fun part. Does Boston select the presumptive No. 1 overall choice, 6’4″ guard Markelle Fultz out of Washington? Do they take or threaten to take Lonzo Ball (I’m not sure he isn’t the better choice) just to induce the Lakers to trade up a spot? Do they trade down a few spots to, say, Phoenix (who landed the fourth pick when they finished with the second-worst record), where Josh Jackson or De’Aaron Fox or Lauri Markkanen will still be waiting because they don’t want to take the ball out of Isaiah Thomas’ hands? Is Thomas, who is 5’9″ and 28, part of the Celtics’ future?

3. The Quick Brown Fox and Other Mock Draft Thoughts

As a Suns fan, I won’t mind if they pick the quick brown Fox over Josh Jackson at No. 4

The most intriguing mock draft I’ve seen at this early stage belongs to Reid Forgrave of CBS Sports, who has the Celtics taking Duke’s Jayson Tatum (they need a talented 4 more than a gifted guard), the Suns picking 6’4″ guard De’Aaron Fox at No. 4 (everyone’s favorite “sleeper” only in the sense that they think he could wind up being ROY) even though they don’t need a guard (much less another guard from Kentucky; this would give them FIVE), and the Pistons taking Luke Kennard at No. 12.

Why is Dillon Brooks off everyone’s radar?

Pondering: 1) I love Kennard’s game, too. He’ll never be the centerpiece of a franchise, but he’s the kind of glue guy all championship-caliber teams like to have. 2) Dillon Brooks, who was named Pac-12 POY over Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball, was not on any of the four mock drafts I perused. What did he do, kneel for the national anthem? 3) Caleb Swanigan, Big Ten POY, was only on one mock draft board; hey, he’s an undersized low-post banger; it’s usually NBA fool’s gold with rare exceptions, and I like him, too. 4) De’Aaron Fox is only 6’0″, but I agree he may be the most dynamic player in this draft. I like his star potential. 5) For much of the first two months of the college season, we heard how Villanova’s Josh Hart was a leading national POY candidate. Now he’s a late first-round pick? Potential steal for someone?

4. The Most Dramatic Moment In Golden State’s 136-100 Game 2 Win Against San Antonio…

 

5. So You’re Not Feeling Minnesota?

Sara Groenewegen, a native of British Columbia, has a 30-2 record and a .59 ERA. She pitched a no-hitter last weekend.

The top-ranked softball team in the nation according to the NCAA Coaches Poll? Minnesota, which has an astounding 54-3 record. The Golden Gophers also went 16-3 against teams in the 64-team NCAA tournament AND, as you might imagine due to their locale, played more road games than home games and won 38 of the former (they lost 2 games at No. 8 Washington and one at Illinois). The GGs were 16-0 at home and have a 25-game win streak.

As far as RPI goes, Minnesota was ranked No. 11. The GGs have the nation’s 2nd-best team ERA and 3rd-best batting average. This team can play.

Freshman backstop Kendyl Lindaman is batting .438 and has 20 home runs, both top 10 in the nation

Why am I telling you this? Because Minnesota, the No. 1 team by coaches’ ranking with that gaudy 54-3 record, did not in the NCAA eyes merit one of 16 sites to host a 4-team regional. Hence, they’ll be on the road in Tuscaloosa this weekend. And if they get out of that, they’ll face the winner of the Gainesville regional: Florida is the NCAA’s top overall seed.

The NCAA needs a dose of Robert De Niro lecturing Sly Stallone in Cop Land: “You BLEW it!”

Music 101

Senses Working Overtime

There’s a little Talking Heads,  a little Modern English, and maybe even a touch of Thompson Twins in XTC. The band formed in 1972 but didn’t hit it big until a decade later with this tune, a top 10 hit in their native England. I never knew this: the band abruptly stopped touring in April of 1982 due to lead singer Andy Partridge‘s overwhelming stage fright. If you saw them in San Diego on April 3, 1982 (you and Bill Miller; they were “incendiary!”), you saw their last live show.

Remote Patrol

NBA Tipoff

8 p.m. TNT

Game 1: Cavs at Celtics

8:30 p.m. TNT

Lord knows they’re trying—they’re always trying—but the difference in quality between ESPN’s pregame show and TNT’s is, well, like watching the Dubs against any team without Kawhi Leonard. Anyway, I won’t be watching TV tonight and if I were, I’d be watching Apocalypto (BBC 9 p.m.), but seeing as how we’re trying to lure Susie B. as our angel investor, I’ll post this as the RP choice and even include a photo of Sweet Pea (is she the only human who refers to him as that?)

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Olynyk

Kelly Hero*

*That’s for all you fans of WWII films starring Clint Eastwood and Don Rickles

The Celtics move to 22-8 all-time in Game 7s, including 19-4 at home, as they beat the Wiz (I thought “Nobody beats The Wiz!”) 115-105. Seven-footer Kelly Olynyk came off the bench to score 26 points, including 12 during a key three-minute stretch in the fourth quarter.

Boston hosts the Cavs in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals tomorrow night. Lotsa luck.

2. Terry Time

Chelsea, which has already clinched the Premier League championship, defeats lowly Watford 4-3 to tie the BPL record for most wins in one season (29) with one game remaining, this weekend. 22-year veteran John Terry, who if the Blues are sort of the Yankees of English soccer would be a combo of Derek Jeter and A-Rod, gets his first start of the season and scores Chelsea’s first goal. But then he misplays a header that allows a Watford goal. He also dislikes my use of the present tense here. Anyway, Terry will likely retire after Sunday’s game versus Sunderland.

3. McMaster of None*

*a.k.a. Another Day of Trump

*a.k.a. “We Live In A World That Has Walls (Except on the Mexican border)

Another week, another admission from Trump that the truth that he had his White House minions deny the night before is the truth. This time it comes off the Washington Post story last night (Marty Baron is the Theo Epstein of newspapering) that alleged Trump shared highly classified information first given to us by an ally during his meeting with the Russians last week in the Oval Office.

 

The White House had H.R. McMaster & H.R. Pufnstuf issue a denial of a non-event (the dreaded “non-denial denial” from Watergate) outside the White House last night just minutes after the WaPo story broke. But now Trump is saying that what WaPo said is essentially true. Legally, POTUS does have the right to divulge anything he wants, including the nuclear codes, to the Russians. From an operational standpoint, though, he is endangering lives.

Anyway, now we know why laptops were banned on incoming flights to the U.S.A. ISIS always has to ruin everyone’s good time.

4. To Hill (And Not Back) 

*The judges will also accept, “Steep It Up”

Remember when Kate Bush recorded “Running Up That Hill?” (I do because I’m old). Well, the folks at Red Bull have now turned it into a series of races across the northern hemisphere (Asia, Europe, North America) called the Red Bull 400. Why is this ingenious? Because ski slopes are widely dormant during the summer time and now suddenly they have a function.

Sunday’s race, seen above, took place in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The full schedule is here. 

By the way, this is a subtle demonstration of Rule No. 1: Gravity always wins.

5. 2 Broke Girls Too Broke To Fix

After six seasons, CBS is finally putting the kibosh on Two Broke Girls. Or, as my friend Mark Bechtel called it, Two Broke Girls and A Pizza Place. This was basically Two’s Company (Kat Dennings as Janet, Beth Behrs as Chrissy) and my guess is as many men watched it with the sound off as on.

Music 101

Three Marlenas

Not unlike fellow mid-90s rockers The Gin Blossoms, The Wallflowers put out one fantastic album—and that was it. Lead singer Jakob Dylan had the right look, the right voice and certainly the right lineage, but he just didn’t have the gift for following up an auspicious debut breakthrough album. No shame in that. Most musicians never even get that far. This tune, the fourth single off Bringing Down The Horse, peaked at No. 41 in October of 1997.

Remote Patrol

Game 2: Spurs and Warriors

9 p.m. ESPN

Watch out, Zaza! Or, more likely, Steph. San Antonio will be without Kawhi Leonard tonight, and the Dubs are not Houston. This could get ugly in the direction of Golden State, but don’t be surprised if some Spur’s foot lands beneath a Warrior attempting a three.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Mother Of All Comebacks*

*The judges will also accept “Zaza Goodbye”

Down by 25 with just under 8 minutes left in the 3rd quarter of Game 1 on Mother’s Day, the Golden State Warriors mount an incredible comeback thanks mainly to Zaza Pachulia.

What did Zaza do? He inadvertently stepped under the foot of Spur star Kawhi Leonard on a three-point attempt, causing a twisted ankle (if you’ve had that happen to you, you know how painful it is). I don’t think he did it on purpose, but it changed the game and it altered the series.

The Spurs led 78-55 when Leonard went out. By the end of the quarter, they only led by 9. Also, they would shoot 0-7 from beyond the arc after Leonard, who scored 26 points in a little more than one half, departed.

Stephen Curry finished with 40 for the Dubs, who are now 46-4 in games that Steve Kerr does NOT coach in the past two years. The Dubs move to 9-0 on the postseason.

No. 2, Derek Jeter, No. 2

Listen to Derek Jeter’s speech as the Yankees retire his number, during which he admits he just happened to be standing along the first base line in Oakland that day in 2001 because he thought he spotted Neve Campbell behind the visitors dugout…and reveals that he always harbored a secret ambition to be traded to the San Diego Padres.

And if you truly cannot get enough…

 

3. Black-to-Black Miss USAs From D.C.

For the second year in a row, an African-American government employee representing the District of Columbia wins the Miss USA pageant. Kara McCullough, a scientist at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, succeeds Deshauna Barber, a logistics commander in the U.S. Army.

McCullough did not catch viewers eyes as much as she did their ears when asked if healthcare is a right or a privilege. She answered that it is a privilege and that the goal should be to get more people working so that they can have access to health care. And with that she was invited over to the South Lawn for a beer party.

4. Trump and Spicey: Lame

The Spicey-Trump kiss on SNL was aimed not so much at making Americans laugh (the sketch wasn’t funny and the set-up—that Spicer would travel to New York City to find his boss—had no basis in reality) as it was to infuriate the president and Flyover America. Neither Trump skit (this and the cold open) was very funny and each had the lead actor flubbing his/her lines.

Per usual this season, the show’s highlight were the Colin Jost-Michael Che jokes on “Weekend Update.” Amazon Silver Echo, with the “Uh Huh” mode, was the funniest bit on the show.

5. I’m Sure Those Off-Shore Nuclear Bomb Tests In No Way Played A Role In This

Look at the dude in the background for comparison’s sake

In Indonesia, the remains of a massive sea creature of unknown provenance (but thought to be a squid) wash up on a beach.

Music 101 

Long Train Running

Were the Doobie Brothers one of, if not THE, first American jam bands? The pre-Michael McDonald Doobs were a truly original, of-the-Seventies outfits with legendary hits: this song appears on The Captain and Me directly in front of “China Grove”: that’s quite a two-fer.

Remote Patrol

Better Call Saul

10 p.m. AMC

What is the fallout of Chuck and Jimmy’s “You can’t handle the truth!” moment last week? We had not a whiff of Mike Ehrmentraut or Gus Fring last week, so expect to see much more of them tonight?