Is It Wednesday Already?

Hello, good readers of Medium Happy! If you stopped by here earlier today, you saw something different than what is here now–before, it was all dull text and no pictures and  now, it’s dull text with pictures added! How fun. Here’s the loophole: I was told Wednesdays, but I wasn’t told how many times on Wednesday. You see? I’m exploiting the lack of fine print, and it feels good.

I still haven’t figured out how to make the fonts bigger or bolder or anything, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Even if it had been, it probably didn’t have a blog.

1. The Emmys

Ahh, the Emmys…that time of year when a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love… That’s not right. Is it? No. I don’t know. All I know is, we’re still talking about the Emmys, two days late and a dollar short. Plus John pretty much covered everything already. Also I completely agree with everything Susie B. says in her comment on John’s post, except for the part about Matthew McConaughey looking unattractive. I love the new, scrawny Matthew. I don’t know why—I certainly don’t like the way zero body fat looks on Juliana Margulies, who is so, so pretty but she’s starting to actually look see-through.

Julie Bowen and I love to not go out to eat together!
Julie Bowen and I love to not go out to eat together!

 

I thought Seth Meyers was a good host. Gentle, non-offensive humor, very Ellen-esque, which works for me on a Monday night–which he poked fun of in his monologue—a Monday night in August? Yeah, it was weird. A weird bookend to a day that started with me sending my children off to school. Huh?? Summer vacay is supposed to last another week.

Don’t you hate when people say ‘vacay’?

Back when I was a kid, my family’s tradition was to have blueberry coffee cake (should that be capitalized?) on the first day of school, one of two days of the year my mom made it—the other was the day we had to get the sailboat out of the lake, usually mid-October when it was freezing, and the mast always found its way to the bottom of the lake and my dad would curse under his breath and one year my brother Joey whipped a spoon at my head from across the kitchen like he was competing in the million-dollar arm competition and it left a mark… and the only good thing about that day was the coffee cake, m’friends. Wheww.

One year, my brother Andy requested it for his birthday dessert instead of real cake (calm down, coffe-cake enthusiasts! I know it’s ‘real cake’—and you know exactly what I was talking about, so don’t act like you don’t)  but Andy was always doing stuff like that. One year he asked for Nut Goodies, for crying out loud. That Andy.

Anyway, I have continued the first-day-of-school coffee cake tradition with my own children.

The G** D*** mast is at the bottom of the G** D*** lake again
The G** D*** mast is at the bottom of the G** D*** lake again, G** D*****

There is something very wrong with baking a blueberry coffee cake on a sweltering summer night. Why, why are my kids going back to school when its 90 degrees outside?

Someone is getting kicked out of office for this.

Ha! Just kidding. I mean they might be, but not on my account, because I don’t vote. The reason is simple: I know my vote doesn’t count. If it did, you can bet your sweet ass that Breaking Bad would not have won Best Drama again.

Boom! There it is; that’s the thing I’m going to say that will make you all turn against me.

We were never with you.

Touche.

Breaking Bad was a fine show. A good show, even. But I was bored kind of a lot, like way more than would seem appropriate while watching a show widely touted as the greatest television drama of all time. If my Emmy vote counted, Gilmore Girls would win every year until the end of time.

Hmmm, what else? I can hardly remember all the way back to Monday. Oh, Matthew McConaughey again –I think it would’ve been fun if he’d won for True Detective, what with his Oscar win in January and all. According to red carpet host Billy Bush, that would’ve made him the first actor to win an Academy Award and an Emmy in the same year since George C. Scott in 1865. That’s not the correct year, but I forgot what year it actually was and I’m too lazy to Google it.

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you’ll never top me, McConaughey! Never.

 

Julia Louis-Dreyfus was the most beautiful woman of the night, yes, even more beautiful that Julia Roberts was with her new blonde hair and legs-for-days dress.

But Julia #1 has what, almost ten years on Julia #2? Plus she’s just so damn funny, and I swear it looks like she doesn’t even have any botox. Speaking of botox, I was very relieved to see that Billy Crystal has calmed down and allowed his face to push the reset button. He looked good and his tribute to Robin Williams was seriously lovely.

Other than that, I was very pleased that Sherlock, the actual greatest thing to ever grace a television, won three awards. Disappointed that Martin Freeman and Benjawhoo Cumberbindle weren’t there to accept their awards, but the fact that they won almost felt like a personal victory, so much do me and mine love that show.

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This is how excited we get to watch Sherlock

That was by far the shortest and dullest post-award-show wrap-up I have ever written, but what can I say? It was on a Monday, and it was six months ago.

I’m sorry, kids, I’m very tired and not yet used to getting five hours less sleep because I have to get up and get my kids to school in the morning, plus I’m a little out of sorts for two reasons:

A)   My new phone ( Windows! Weird!) auto-corrects everything I text into Spanish, and

B)   The painting I’m working on isn’t going well.

After working on it for many hours yesterday, what was supposed to be a portrait of a beautiful young woman instead looks like a portrait of a horrible scary witch.

Moving on.

2. Charlize Theron is the Wisest Woman I’ve Ever Known

She says that getting old is great because with age comes wisdom. Think about that, you guys. I think she might be on to something.

Plus the way she said it: “It’s ironic that we’ve built the beauty world around 20-year-olds, when they have no f—kin’ concept about wisdom, what life is about, having a few relationships below [their] belt and feeling hardships, to grow into [their] skin and feel confident within [themselves] and to feel the value of who [they] are, not because of a man or because of something like that.” 

I read that and I was like “Did Oscar Wilde come back from the dead?”

Why say in ten words what you could say in 127?
Why say in ten pithy words what you could say in 127 confusing ones?

Just kidding, I didn’t really think that. For starters, I doubt Oscar Wilde would’ve touched Sean Penn with seven-foot salad tongs. Sorry Charlize, I’m giving you a hard time. In another few years, you’ll understand why.

3. This is Where I Leave You

I’m very excited about this movie, opening September 19. First of all, I loved the book and have loved all of Jonathan Tropper’s books. He’s one of my favorite writers.

Secondly, it stars Jason Bateman, always a good sign, and the rest of the cast looks A+, too. Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Jane Fonda…I am now going to mention Jason Bateman and Jane Fonda in all of my posts for the next two months, otherwise I might not win the world series. And that is a perfect segue to…

4. Something About Sports

I have to play in a kickball game tonight. Jaysus. The last time I tried to play kickball, I nearly broke my foot.

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Me, later on tonight

Thank you for reading, my dearies! I am sorry there is no number five, but I have to get back into my studio and resume my battle with that scary witch painting. Siiigh. I hate it when the painting wins.

Love,

Katie

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

Starting Five

Did you find the Emmys Boron?

1. The Heisenberg Certainty Principle

Outstanding Drama (Breaking Bad). Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama (Bryan Cranston) Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama (Anna Gunn). Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama (Aaron Paul). Outstanding Writer in a Drama (Moira Walley-Beckett).

It looks like Walter White won, after all. And then when you add the smooch with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, a big fat middle finger to all those anti-dentites out there. Well played, Sneaky Pete.

Dr. Watley, I declare!

Hey, you know me. I think True Detective is the bee’s knees.* And Game of Thrones and Mad Men, are to me, also both better than Breaking Bad. But none of those three shows had a show hosted by Chris Hardwick that immediately followed them, and none of them bowed out after last season. Next year it’ll be Don Draper’s turn, like it or not.

*I’m consciously endeavoring to employ more Katie McCollow-approved phrases in my repertoire.

2. The Leftovers…

Three of these actors are multi-millionaires. The other is still waiting for the film version of “Mango” to be greenlit.

…is what every actor or series nominated against either Breaking Bad or a previous winner were left to scrounge for last night. Has an awards show ever been so guilty of being a repeat before? You want to see the Guilty Remnant? It’s the people who vote for Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates and Modern Family without even having watched TV all year.

Although, to be fair, I do believe Kathy Bates won for “Best Proprietor of an Upstate New York B&B.”

True Detective’s casting director deserved an Emmy for finding a phethora of brilliant character actors, among them Carter

I’ve said it before, but Brad Carter as Charlie Lange in just two scenes of “True Detective” deserved an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor. And Veep is the funniest show on television.

The second season of True Detective should revolve around two partners investigating why and how Modern Family always wins Best Comedy.

3. …and The Leftovers

“Are you a good guy?” “No–but my dad is.”

It only took eight episodes, but The Leftovers finally provided us with a compelling hour of television, start to finish. Chronologically, Sunday night’s episode would come first in the series. I understand why they waited so long to hand it to us –we needed to build up an emotional investment into the characters–but the show’s creators nearly slow-played their hand to cancellation.

Officer Kevin Garvey had a wonderful life –and a nicer home– but felt trapped. Wife Laurie wears makeup and can even speak but knows something is up. Daughter Jill is a dream child, while older son Tom stepped out of an Abercrombie & Fitch shopping bag just long enough to come home. And Grandpa has short hair and isn’t crazy–though he looks better long-haired and crazy. Oh, and Nora Durst is a loving mother whose husband is a deadbeat.

Jill Garvey (Margaret Qualley), who will go from presenting science fair experiments to being one (the fridge). The actress’ mom? Andie McDowell (I didn’t, either)

The final three minutes of Sunday’s episode was magical. Great tension as we got to be voyeurs, to see that life was actually taking place, messy as it is, just as that moment on October 13, 2011, happened. Sure, there were hints: the crack in the wall a the Garvey’s home, the crack in the coffee mug, the blown manhole cover, the car-full of middle-aged future GRers stopping to ask Kevin if he was ready.

Knowing what we knew what was about to happen, and that the characters were oblivious to it, amped the tension. Great stuff.

Now where do you go?

An aside: Has there ever been an HBO show with a greater disproportional display of male to female toplessness?

4. A Hole in England*

There are more than a few Brits who wish that this hole had appeared beneath Stamford Bridge

This sinkhole, located in County Durham in the far northeast of England, has gone from nothing to massive in just a week. Apparently, it’s located above an old lead mine. I see a BBC show coming out of this: Littler Britain.

The English are renowned for their bottomless pith. But now a bottomless pit?

*As opposed to A-hole in England, in which case we’d have placed a photo of Chelsea captain John Terry. 

5. Gregg Allman, Brother

Did the New York Times overstep its bounds by describing Michael Brown, who was laid to rest on Monday, as “no angel?” You can decide for yourself. On one hand, as many have pointed out, there “are no angels” among the living (seriously, you’ve never met Phyllis if you believe that).

On the other, as the news seems to have been tilted –before all the facts of the incident are fully known –that Brown was an innocent victim of an over-aggressive law enforcement officer –and there seems to be little outrage in the media, per se, over that characterization– I happen to think it’s a valid point.

It seems, if Brown were a living person, that this description would not be offensive but closer to accurate. Although I think the convenience store footage already told us that (it’s not the theft of the Swisher Sweets that is the troubling part, by the way; it’s the bullying and shoving of a clerk just trying to make a living). But, since Brown has been killed by a police officer’s bullets, many see the “no angel” line as the NYT trying to say that Brown might have deserved it.

Which, of course, is an opinion you’re welcome to have. But it’s not journalism’s job to spare anyone’s feelings. It’s journalism’s job to pile you with facts. And, in the context of the NYT story, I didn’t see where the “no angel” line was out of bounds. Your mileage may vary.

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

Starting Five

Somewhere a baton twirler is missing a costume

1. Bey Watch

The VMA’s aired on MTV last night, even though they should probably stream live on YouTube these days. When is the last time you tuned in to MTV to see a music video? (Answer: When is the last time I tuned in to MTV, period?)?

First, I want you to make a visit to Rihanna…

You do have to hand it to the VMAs, though. Instead of the standard girl-on-girl kiss as a play at shock value, they went with an attempted murder on the eve of the telecast. Someone pumped six shots into Suge Knight in what apparently was an attempted hit on either Chris Brown or Justin Bieber. We always knew that Suge was the world’s biggest gangsta, but now he just went Vito Corleone on the world, surviving six bullet wounds. The last person you want to be right now is the guy who failed on this hit. Suge has a few friends in the joint.

That linked LA Times article, by the way, notes that club goers at 10AK, as gunshots rang out, were “sent screaming and shouting into the streets with their hands in the air.” No mention, though, of whether or not they seemed to care.

2. The Mountain Wins Again*

Oberyn Martell finished a distant second, we presume

You may know him as The Mountain, or Gregor Clegane, or the Hound’s cruel older brother, but his parents know him as Hafthor Bjornsson. Last week the Icelandic (and Westeros) giant, 6-9 and 400 pounds, was crowned Europe’s Strongest Man.  The Toronto Sun cheekily noted that “no horses were hurt during this competition.”

*Should all five items employ lame ’90s references today? I’m still debating…

3. Walking on Broken Glass

The above photo was taken by a GFoMH, David Duncan, who besides being an old college friend is also the owner of Silver Oak Cellars. Life is not always a cabernet, as the weekend’s earthquake in Napa Valley proved, but David and his wonderful physcian wife, Kari (yet another Class of ’88 Domer) will rebound. Please support their return–you didn’t really want that Chilean red, anyway.

4. Tax Day

Punk’d meets punctured

No two words strike more fear into America than these: “Triathlon Vandals.” A national scourge. At the Steamboat (Colo.) Triathlon, staged earlier this month, hundreds of tacks were found strewn across Highway 131, causing 28 flat tires (fortunately, triathletes are renowned for their easy manner and que-sera attitude toward life, so nobody got their triathlon suit in a bunch). What’s next? Piranhas in the lake? Vinegar at the marathon water stations?

5. Black or White

We’ve come a long way since Irv Cross (whom I always liked)

Our friend Richard Deitsch –really, he is our friend– posed this question on Twitter: “What is the ceiling for an African-American sports host?” to introduce a Q&A he did with ESPN’s Michael “Not A.” Smith and Jemele Hill. Another friend, who is an on-air media person and may not want his name used, responded thusly, “Oh, I don’t know, hosting The NFL Today (James Brown), or the NCAA Tournament studio show on CBS  (Greg Gumbel) or NBA Countdown on ABC (Sage Steele), or Real Sports on HBO (Bryant Gumbel) or FOX NFL Sunday (Curt Menefee) or being the lead college football team for FOX (Gus Johnson and Charles Davis)…or co-hosting Live! with Kelly & Michael (Michael Strahan) or co-hosting Good Morning America on ABC (Robin Roberts and Strahan) or CBS This Morning (Gayle King) or…I’m sorry, what was the question again?”

Remote Patrol

Emmy Awards

NBC 8 p.m.

I don’t own a TV. I’ll be home contemplating the moment in the garden…

Time really is a flat circle. The Emmys, which usually take place on a Sunday evening in September, air on a Monday evening in August. Expect tributes to Don Pardo and Robin Williams, but not to the Yellow King or Todd’s uncle. If you miss the show, we’ll have a recap here tomorrow and you’ll probably get the real dirt from Ryantology.net.

 

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IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

Starting Five

In this SI cover from a year ago, Balotelli is seen standing on water, arms outstretched in crucifixion mode.

1. Bad Boy Toys

(The judges will also accept, “We’re going down to Liverpool to do nothing…”)

Last season Liverpool had a wonderful problem on its hands: Luis Suarez. The Uruguayan striker-biter led the EPL in goals scored by a wide margin despite being sidelined for five matches due to a suspension (re: cannibalism).

Suarez scored 31 goals in 33 games and was the consensus Premier League Player of the Year as Liverpool finished second and qualified for Champions League play. Then he bit someone else, in a World Cup defeat, against Italy, in a match in which Mario Balotelli (like Suarez, one of the five best strikers in the world when he’s on) played.

Suarez was suspended from soccer for like, I dunno, you look it up, a long time. So Liverpool sold him to F.C. Barcelona, where he will now team up with Lionel Messi –so arguably the world’s two top footballers on the same side.

Are Suarez and Balotelli big deals? Do you know how often soccer players make the cover of SI?

And so Liverpool, which is right near the summit when it comes to world’s wealthiest football teams, has gone and purchased Balotelli from A.C. Milan. Mario was the world’s most notorious footballer before Suarez acquired a taste for human flesh. This should be interesting.

FWIW, Balotelli spent a few seasons with Manchester City, which is only an hour east of Liverpool, so he’s familiar with the region.

2. One of These Will Finish Fourth

“You’re the smartest man I’ve ever met, and you’re too dumb to see they made up their minds we were going to win Best Drama nine months ago”

The Emmys will air on Monday night…your host is Seth Meyers and I’m truly hoping for cameos from Stefon and Olya Povlatsky. But here’s the thing, kids. How loaded is the Best Drama category?

Game of Thrones

Mad Men

Breaking Bad

True Detective

House of Cards

Downton Abbey

Roger Sterling does not care that you didn’t nominate him for Best Supporting Actor…he just wants to know where the bar is located

I’ve never watched the final two, but look at those top four. None of them deserves to finish in second place, much less third or fourth (for this reason, I’m 98% certain that Downton Abbey will win).

What will happen? I believe True Detective should win, but I think voters will punish it for hubris. You would’ve won Best Mini-Series in a slam-dunk, but you had to be pushy. Tough luck, Rust Cohle. Besides, none of us have ever even auditioned for Nick What’s-His-Name. Game of Thrones is excellent, but voters will not want to admit to loving it (Lena Headey will probably get stiffed on Best Supporting Actress in a Drama as well, though she deserves it).

Timothy C. Simons, who plays Jonah Ryan, wuz robbed by not garnering a Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy nom. And if “Veep” doesn’t win Best Comedy, the Emmys are dead to me.

Which would bring it down to a pair of AMC dramas, Mad Men or Breaking Bad. Both outstanding. Mad Men is about as genius as it gets, but Breaking Bad has bowed out, and everyone loved it, too. BB will win this year and then MM, whose final season is coming up, will win next year, as a way for the voters to say thank you.

Worth noting: Walking Dead not nominated, nor did it deserve to be. Also, none of the six nominees come from network television.

3. Awkward Silence?

Mark it down: Austin Kryszczuk will play Major League Baseball…and probably before I learn to spell his name without having to look it up

Not sure if you’ve heard, but America still has a few problems with racism. Fortunately, we’ve got the Little League World Series to take our minds off the troubles in Ferguson. Let’s see who’s playing tomorrow for the U.S. championship. Here we go…lemme see…oh, here….it’s Mountain Ridge Little League out of Las Vegas, reperesenting the West, versus Jackie Robinson West Little League out of Chicago, representing the Midwest….says here that Mountain Ridge’s team is entirely made up of white players, while Jackie Robinson’s is entirely made up of African-American players.

The kids from Mountain West are named as if their parents’ favorite show was Saved By the Bell (and maybe it was): Austin, Dallan, Brennan, Zach, etc. The closer for Jackie Robinson West is named Marquis.

Wondering if the gang at ESPN will make any mention of this…

4. This Interview

Lemon never backed down to Kweli. I give him the win here.

You decide for yourself. Contrary to the Daily News headline, this is not a “disastrous” interview at all; it’s illuminating for what it reveals without even attempting to: the simmering-below-the-surface temper, the heightened concern about being “disrespected.” True confession, and this will not surprise you: I own no Taleb Kweli albums.

And, so you have it, here’s Bill O’Reilly of FOX News having returned from vacation (Bridge Hampton? East Hampton? Wainscott?) and unleashing some furor on the coverage of this story. Regardless of your opinion of FOX News, he’s mostly on-target here.

5. Sam Smith=Tom Petty

Right down to the same number of letters in the first and last names…

Sam Smith: Never covered the Chicago Bulls in MJ’s heyday

Well, I won’t back down

No I won’t back down

Won’t you stay with me

Cuz you’re all I need

You can stand me up at the gates of Hell,

But I won’t back down

This ain’t love, it’s clear to see

But, darling, stay with me…

Tom Petty: Is used to musicians plagiarizing his chord processions. Remember Dani California?

Something Must Be Happening

Thank you, Katie, for yesterday’s edition of Medium Happy: Unplugged, although I still don’t understand why you chose so many Meat Puppets covers. Oh, well. Am I the only one who searched for the trailer of Peace, Love and Misunderstanding only to find a naked Alice Cooper strutting about?

Starting Five

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1. Remember Her Mane

Found myself seated on a hill beyond the right-center field wall for last night’s game between Taney Little League of Philadelphia and Mountain Ridge of Las Vegas. Love Mo’Ne Davis, but last night she was going up against the Yankees (not New York, but from The Bad News Bears) and I do believe Vic Morrow was coaching them. Worth noting: it was possible to visit Komodo dragons at Reptiland, just 15 miles south of Williamsport, and then watch the Taney Dragons play at Lamade Stadium last night. So that’s cool.

At Reptiland, the tenant wonders how a Longhorn skull found its way into his dwelling.

2. Pardo the Interruption

I’ve got Will Ferrell narrowly edging Eddie Murphy in the final

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live –even though the season premiere is, what, like six weeks away–Grantland seeded the entire cast, from 1975 to 2014, March Madness-style (slap in the face to Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her husband, Brad Hall, whose bubbles burst; that or they’re in the Dayton regional) I’m impressed by the care taken in the seeding. For example, as funny as he is, Chris Rock was not that good on SNL. The 12 seed fits him. And while it’s difficult to imagine Chris Farley as a 4 seed in his own bracket, the other three seeds –Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman and Mike Myers–were very, very strong on the show.

Your No. 1 seeds? Eddie Murphy, Carvey, Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig. The easiest regional is the most recent (“Digital Kids”), while the first two eras (Adam Sandler, for example, is a 5-seed) are loaded.

3. Something About Sports

I like this heading. Thanks, Katie. Maybe we’ll just keep this.

Altuve and teammate Chris Carter, who is bigger

The shortest player in Major League Baseball is Jose Altuve of the Houston No-Longer-Lastros. Altuve stands five-feet-five. He also is currently leading the big leagues in both Batting Average (.336) and Hits (175). When is the last time baseball’s shortest player led in either category? I don’t know, but neither Freddie Patek (also 5’5″) nor Eddie Gaedel (3’7″) ever did.

Gaedel retired and founded a blog called Small Happy, the success of which suffered due to the internet being decades away from its debut

4. Great Moments…

…in the Ice Bucket Challenge before it even existed.

Jennifer Beals in Flashdance:

Bill Parcells, courtesy of Harry Carson, at the Super Bowl:

Julie Andrews, prepping for a scene in The Sound of Music...

…and Varys Targaryen, with an assist from Khal Drogo (thanks to MIB for the reminder)

5. Shake vs. Snake

Anaconda: One female artist’s response to “Baby Got Back”

I’m not savvy enough about the music biz to understand why Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift would each release much-hyped music videos within days of one another during the dying days of summer. Only smart enough to know that they’re wholly unlike one another. If you haven’t seen them, here’s Minaj’s “Anaconda” (NSFP) and Swift’s “Shake It Off.”

Cutie, with no booty.

Nothing’s Really Happening

People often ask me, “Katie, how come when you guest write at Medium Happy, you don’t follow the “Starting Five” format? And by people, I mean no one, and by often, I mean never. But the answer, my friends, is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Truthfully, whenever I write here, I usually have to spend the next couple of days avoiding angry phone calls from John, wanting to know “how I knew the password” or some such nonsense.

Everyone knows the password, John. Everyone.

Carrying on…oh, and I should tell you–there are no pictures or large fonts or anything fun like that today, because I don’t know how to make those things happen. My apologies, for that and, well, all of it really.

Starting Five

1.  Jane Fonda Looks Amazing

Which is literally the only good thing I can say about the movie Peace, Love and Misunderstanding, which I just watched on Netflix. I’ve been trying to live more frugally this week since school is starting soon and the children need pencils, so instead of blowing 1.29 at the Red Box, I’ve been sticking to the already-paid-for Netflix streaming offerings, which are not great (not counting the documentaries—they are all great).

Anyway, Jane plays this old hippie grandma who never shuts up about how great Woodstock was, Catherine Keener is her uptight daughter who wears utilitarian dresses and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, best known as the dead husband from Weeds, plays the love interest. Now, some of you may be crying foul, that Jeffrey Dean Morgan is actually best known as the dead boyfriend from Grey’s Anatomy or the dead guy from Supernatural, and you might be right. The point is, he had the good sense to die on all of those shows. No such luck here—instead of dying he sleeps with Catherine Keener, and then we find out he also slept with Jane Fonda, and then we puke out all our popcorn. And then everyone realizes that we’re all just human and love is all you need. I would argue a good script also comes in handy.

The night before last, I watched Safe Haven, starring Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel. That was also terrible, but I have to admit I kind of liked it and if I come across it on cable this January, I’ll watch it again. She plays a girl on the run, he plays a widower, they meet and fall in love and there are cute kids and beach montages and rustic houses and adorable vintage bicycles and Julianne and Josh are both spectacularly attractive, and the scenery was nice. Heck, let’s call it like it is—three more viewings and it’ll probably be my favorite movie.

And finally, three nights ago I watched the Spectacular Now, starring Shailene Woodley and some kid who reminded me of a young, doughy Vince Vaughn. Or I guess I could just say a young Vince Vaughn. It was very after-school-specially-lots of teen alcoholism and growing and learning. Bleh.

2)   I Don’t Care That Robin Williams Died

OMIGOD NOT REALLY! I’m not the devil. I just wanted to see if anyone was actually reading. Plus I wanted to take some of the heat off John for hating on the ice-bucket challenge. Now I see it was a terrible mistake. (You: I’ll tell you what was a terrible mistake! You writing for Medium Happy!) Please send all hate mail to John.

3)   Something About Sports

By and large I believe this is considered a sports blog, so here goes: umm….OK, apparently someone called Bubba Watson is sorry for behaving badly at the PGA Golf tournament a few weeks ago. I guess he refused to participate in the long drive contest, swore a bunch and treated his caddy like the dirt on his cleat. Here’s what Bubba had to say by way of apology:

“If you look at the bigger picture, not competing in the Long Drive Contest was the first mistake. When you look at just me as an individual, that was the selfish part, because I didn’t agree with it but there’s a lot of things that I don’t agree with that I do.”

Uh, what?

He goes on to say he’s not so bad, because after all he did give his umbrella to someone who needed it.

Can I stop pretending I follow sports now?

4)   Governor Rick Perry Turns Himself In

Just kidding! Number four is really Jason Bateman. Last week I watched two back-to-back Bateman offerings and loved them both: The Longest Week and Bad Words.

The Longest Week was an unexpected delight- it felt like a mash-up of Woody Allen, Whit Stillman and Wes Anderson (something the director winks at in a moment toward the end) -smart, quirky and chock full of dry, hilarious dialogue and narration, not to mention it looked completely awesome. I swear I could watch it again with the sound off and enjoy it just as much.

Jason Bateman plays the heir to a hotel fortune who has never had a real job. He gets cut off when his parents get divorced and neither one wants to pay for his upkeep. He moves in with his best friend, played by Billy Crudup, who is aging very well and is extremely funny. Billy Crudup is in love with Olivia Wilde, and he stupidly introduces Jason Bateman to her. Jason Bateman and Olivia Wilde fall in love, Billy Crudup gets mad, Olivia Wilde finds out Jason Bateman is actually a jobless, clueless nitwit and she dumps him. In the span of one week. That’s pretty much the whole story—but it’s told so well! And everyone and everything is so beautiful! Watch it.

In Bad Words, which Jason Bateman also directs, he plays a mean man who exploits a loophole so he can compete in the national spelling bee circuit. Everyone hates him, but not half as much as he hates them. The stuff that comes out of his mouth–well, let me just say you shouldn’t drink hot tea while you watch it. It’s funny, kids, really funny—and then it becomes touching, and then everything makes sense and we realize he’s not mean, he’s just on a mission and the mission makes sense.

5)   This Ad I Just Found On Craigslist:

50 Shades of Fun

compensation: Varies

Interviewing today for an office assistant position. After staring at the stack of resumes, an interesting thought popped into my head. What if there was a woman out there who can do this job and a little more for her boss? ;) If this is something you might be interested in please send your resume and a picture in your reply. Like I said, interviews are taking place today and if your open to the idea this will guarantee you an interview today! Hope to hear from you soon!

My reply:

Dear Sir,

 I appreciate someone who is human enough to admit he gets bored at work and lets his mind wander off. I myself often have odd thoughts when faced with mundane tasks, like sometimes when I’m supposed to be filing invoices, I wonder what it would be like to watch a man slowly die of arsenic poisoning or what a brick to the temple really sounds like. Ha ha! Perhaps great minds think alike? Please let me know what time we can set up that interview. I couldn’t attach a picture, because I am wanted in Montana.

 Best Regards,

 Katie McCollow

 

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

Starting Five

1. “I Call Shotgu–uh, Never Mind!”

Last night Captain Ron appeared on CNN at around 1 a.m . Eastern time and in the midst of answering questions posed him by Don Lemon and Jake Tapper, invited them to hang out with him tomorrow (this) evening. You’ve never seen two cable news guys so excited. I’d love to see Anderson Cooper big-time them on this and demand to be air-dropped into Ferguson for this ride-along.

Meanwhile, a white photographer was tear-gassed and he became CNN’s top story for 20 minutes. He told Lemon, who asked him if he’d ever witnessed anything like this, that, yeah, he had because he’s from Albuquerque…where police have killed 26 people the past four years. Including this guy. And this guy. Gus Fring is impressed.

Of course, they’re standing behind a white line

And I loved when Lemon asked the freelance photographer if he was going to go to the hospital. The photog shot him a “Child, please” look as if to say, “Hospitals are for you corporate types with health care. I’ll just rub some dirt on it.”

That’s Errol Barnett, not Erin Burnett.

Also last night: CNN went to its London studios for late-night coverage, where Rosemary Church wondered aloud why police in Ferguson would not “perhaps use, water cannons?” And watch the look that co-host Errol Barnett, a man whom I am convinced was constructed in a secret lab to be the Africanized version of Anderson Cooper, reacts.

I hope someone shows Rosemary this video before she returns to air.

He really wants a Liter-O-Cola!

We still don’t know exactly how it went down between Michael Brown and Darren Wilson. What I do feel pretty confident saying, though, is that the police seem to prefer bullying to building bonds through civil discourse. It’s as if they’ve all seen Super Troopers and modeled themselves after Farva.

Finally, this is hilarious and oh so Fox News.

2.  Notre Dame’s Conundrum

Not the best lab partner

Yes, I’m a proud Notre Dame alumnus. I’m proud that I attended a school that excels on the athletic field –it won the Capital One Cup for overall athletic excellence in Men’s Sports this past school year–and in the classroom, where it is currently ranked No. 17 in U.S. News & World Report.

But, having spent four years there as a student and many autumns there since, I also know this: the football players are no more representative of the overall academic prestige of the student body as my friends in Dillon Hall and I were representative of the football players’ gridiron prowess.

Sure, he’s a cardiologist now–but he was also the kicker (and a damn reliable one)

To say that a Notre Dame football player is a typical Notre Dame student in the classroom is to say that I belonged on the two-deep because I passed Emil Hofman’s General Chemistry class (although I did catch a pass Steve Beurlein threw me at the end of practice one day; my roommate was a student manager and got me in).

Yes, I know –not believe, know–that as an institution Notre Dame does the right thing. But I also know that it opens the door for the investigation (no one has been found guilty of any wrongdoing) when it admits young men, almost all of whom are of good character, into a school where the course load is often over their heads.

“Mama said knock you…”

Still, this video by 120 Sports is frighteningly cynical. If I’m to extrapolate Ro Parrish’s thoughts here, then recruits may be scared off of attending Oklahoma simply because they now know they can’t put a bitch in her place when she gets out of line. Sure, it seemed that OU would be fine with that when it accepted Dorial Green-Beckham, but now that it suspended Joe Mixon for the season, well…

3. “Tell Him What He’s Won!”

“It’s Saturday Night Live, with….”

The inimitable Don Pardo, the greatest unseen voice of my childhood next to Mel Blanc, passed away yesterday at the age of 96. It was Pardo who told contestants on games shows such as Jeopardy! and The Price is Right what they had won, and it was Pardo who did the roll call at the opening of Saturday Night Live from day one in 1975 all the way to last May (he missed one year of 39).

Pardo actually joined NBC in 1944–at at time when World War II was still undecided.

Besides the near four decades of introducing SNL each week, Pardo is also a legitimate part of U.S. history. It was he who provided the first NBC News bulletin after JFK’s assassination.

Don Pardo leaves us at the age of 96. But he will receive some lovely parting gifts.

4. Our Tillery?

He won’t pancake you. He’ll Jerry-mander you.

The young man on the left, Jerry Tillery, is rather large. He stands six-foot-seven, 317 pounds and is beginning his senior year at highly renowned (at least for football) Evangel Christian in Ruston, La. This photo may provide better evidence of his size differential to other players his age.

What I love about Tillery is that he’s kind of a nerd. The Notre Dame verbal commit –and I know, that means zilch — has a 4.0 GPA. But, he was spotted last spring taking in the LSU Spring Game. A change of heart. “To be honest, I didn’t go down to Baton Rouge for the spring game,” Tillery told a newspaper. “I was there for the state literary test.”

5.  Johnny, Are You Queer?

It’s actually third down, Johnny, not first

I’m with Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead on this: don’t get your panties in a bunch over JFF giving the MF to the Team Whose Name Cannot Be Mentioned. They laughed, after all.

And, as the Oscar Wilde of American sportswriting, Jason Gay, wondered, “Um isn’t making people pay for preseason tickets also kind of an obscene gesture?”

The problem for the Browns is this: How much do you want your QB, whose not the next Peyton Manning, being Topic No. 1 on First Ache and PTI and ATH and The View? How much noise is worth this? Isn’t that what eventually made Tim Tebow quartbacka non grata?

Let Johnny be Johnny? Okay. But it’s beginning to suffocate the league. I mean, wasn’t Michael Sam supposed to be the distraction?

******

Finally, I am overjoyed to announce that we’ve secured the services, one day per week for as long as she doesn’t grow bored of it, of the utterly fabulous Katie McCollow to steer the MH ship. Katie’s pretty much my favorite humorist. Please, everyone, shower her with welcomes tomorrow and tell her that her hair looks nice.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

Honestly, there’s too much happening. We’ll do what we can to cover it.

Starting Five

It’s all for a good cause

1. Ice Bucket List Challenge

When did donating money to a good cause become a blatant act of self-promotion? I get it: celebrities dousing themselves in a bucket of ice water draws attention. Which raises awareness. Which spikes donations.

But it feels as if we’ve crossed the Rubicon on this. Now it’s more like, “Well, if you don’t let someone videotape yourself being self-icing a bro, you want people to die of ALS. And you’re just mean.”

Larry David covered this ground –brilliantly– in a terrific episode of “Curb…” with Ted Danson. 

My dream? Someone issues Meadowlark Lemon the Ice Bucket Challenge and then he allows someone to toss a bucket of confetti over his head.

2. Ferguson

Captain Ron (left) meets with protesters

A few thoughts on the Ferguson crisis, some of which you may not like:

1) There are two sides to every story, and I’m not even certain we’ve heard one of them yet. To quote Fr. John Jenkins of Notre Dame, who was speaking about another matter entirely, the rush to judgment here may be “premature.” What I do know is that we don’t know. And that this eyewitness account is only going to upset some people more.

Officer Darren Wilson

2) It’s been three days, and I still don’t know anything more about Darren Wilson other than he is a six-year veteran of the Ferguson P.D. and that he is 28. Where did he grow up? Where did he attend high school? College, yes or no? Married? Kids? Anything in his background to point to his having a short fuse or problems with minorities?

3. Of course no one deserves to die because they stole a pack of Swisher Sweets. And of course it’s coarse for the police to release that “DVD extra” as they grudgingly release Wilson’s name. But you know what? It IS slightly relevant. Why? Because it goes to Michael Brown’s state of mind when he was confronted by a police cruiser not long afterward. The photo of Michael Brown lying dead in the street is ugly because the entire situation is awful. But maybe a little patience is in order here.

4. I’m more than a little over the embedded media practicing the “Look at us” journalism. This isn’t Selma. Sorry. A young man was shot down in midday on a street by a policeman. We still don’t know all of the extenuating circumstances. Getting yourself arrested or tear-gassed doesn’t make you a better journalist. It makes you a voyeur. What happened to Wes Lowery of the Washington Post last week–that was real news. Everything since has felt like a battle for attention.

5. No, I’m not “blaming the victim” when I point out that in a town that is two-thirds African-American only 12% of the African-Americans voted in the last election*. The point is that towns operate best when their leadership is representative of the general population.  If 35 of Ferguson’s 53 police officers were African-American, as opposed to three of the 53, my guess is that the Michael Brown tragedy is very unlikely to happen. Statistically alone, the chances would’ve been two out of three that the cop who came across him would’ve been black and would’ve handled it better.

*I’m told the 12% figure is for the entire town, not just African-American voters. Still, two-thirds of Ferguson IS African-American.

6. I’m sorry, Dorin Johnson, but you lost me. You went on the cable news shows and gave your account of the shooting without ever mentioning what you’d been involved in less than half an hour earlier. You surrendered the moral high ground. So I’m a little more skeptical of how the police cruiser’s car door just accidentally got pushed back in when Officer Wilson opened it –you described it as an accident.

7. Is everything that folks, from Bill Maher to John Oliver, are saying about the militarization of police forces true? Sure. In fact, as follower Jim Leahy reminds us, The Andy Griffith Show covered this ground more than 50 years ago. Do the Ferguson PD have a PhD in incompetence when it comes to handling the aftermath of Brown’s killing? Certainly. Will that photo of the Fallujah Invasion cops pointing their weapons at an unarmed black person as a mailbox in the background has the words “F___ the Police” haunt this town and this era of law enforcement for a long, long time? Yes.

But does any of that directly impact the evidence of Michael Brown’s killing? No. Time will tell.

8. A few African-Americans who follow –followed?–me on Twitter said that Captain Ron Johnson is a “puppet.” I found that a little sad. To me he’s pulling heroic duty, stepping into a racial gulf and trying to soothe a situation before anyone else needlessly dies.

3. Football Returns: Size the Day!

Jason Gay of WSJ likened this moment to “Armstrong walking on the moon.”

The opening weekend of the Barclays Premier League saw the NBC debut of the Men in Blazers, (listen to how often Rebecca Lowe giggles off-camera) a pair of awesome no-look, heel-touch assists (for Liverpool and Manchester City) and an awesome fan penalty kick that the keeper, much to my delight, still felt the need to save. Love that.

Last week –and we all saw this coming back in June– the Michael and Rog visited GFOP Seth Meyers.

Also, worth noting:

Steven Naismith                                                                       Stephen A. Smith

 

 

 

 

Rebecca Lowe                                                                                                              Rebecca Lobo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Story Arc of a Diver

Windle already has a gold-medal smile

Meet Jordan Windle, a 15 year-old Cambodian native who was orphaned before his first birthday and then adopted by a gay American man, Jerry Windle. Who is now married. Yesterday Windle convincingly won the U.S. Men’s Diving 10-Meter platform championships and he is now a legitimate medal threat in Brazil. I cannot wait to tell Ann Coulter!

Jerry and Jordan have already written a book about their lives, in fact.

5. Nice Mug

Grudging Admiration. Extra credit for making the T-shirt orange

This is Robert Burt, 19, of Pittsfield, Maine. The charge: Driving under the influence and operating a vehicle without a license.

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

STARTING FIVE

There’s a new sheriff in town

1. From Guns to Radar Guns

Remember that scene in Hoosiers where Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) kindly informs the townie to hand him the basketball and that his help will no longer be needed? That’s kind of what took place yesterday in Ferguson, Mo., as Governor Jay Nixon announced that the Missouri Highway Patrol would, at least for the time being, replace the local police.

Some interesting info on Ferguson first and the militarization of police departments in general:

First, in 1970 Ferguson was 99% white and 1% African-American. Today it is 29% white and 67% African-American. However, 50 of the 53 police officers in the department are white, as is the police chief. You decide how that plays into the fact that 85% of the people arrested are black.

One suggestion going forward: If you’re not actually a minority, exploit that. There should be more blacks on the police force and in local government. They have the numbers to make that happen. That would effect change.

Second, and I got this off CNN while the TV was on “Mute” (although my remote also has a “Moot” button), but it said that militarized equipment given to police departments in the USA totaled $1 million in 1990. Last year it totaled $450 million. Thanks, Osama Bin Laden. Nothing like good old-fashioned unwarranted panic to stoke the profits of the MIC.

2. Another Bronx Beauty

The former Betty Joan Perske landed her first role, opposite Bogey, at the age of 20

Like Phyllis, Lauren Bacall was born in the Bronx and then married a dark and handsome fella who made his few words count. Unlike Phyllis, she was 20 and he was 45 when they wed –and her husband, Humphrey Bogart, was already married.

Bacall was more than just a pretty face. She played characters who were a little salty, who possessed just enough cynicism to be challenging without being crass. “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve?” she tells Bogart in To Have and Have Not. “You just put your lips together and…blow.”

(Although, technically, that’s bad information. You sort of pucker your lips and blow. This is why I was  not allowed on the set. That and my parents were at least a dozen years away from meeting.)

Here she is in 1952 giving marriage advice to Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable in How To Marry a Millionaire.

3. Hurry-Up Offense

Kyle Wilson said he joined Tinder because he “didn’t want anything too easy,” which is like moving to Chicago for the climate

Tinder is to Match.com what Chip Kelly is to Nick Saban. More plays with less time in between each one. So it’s sort of funny to learn that some of the New York Jets are using the speed-dating app while embedded (hello!) at training camp in upstate New York.

Two thoughts: 1) “Love” is not what these Jets are looking for, and 2) The ladies of the Finger Lakes region are thinking, Oh, sure, now that Tebow and Sanchize are gone, NOW they discover TInder.

4. Football! Football! Football!

Medium Happy’s pick for national champion. Show me a team that came close, is hungry, and has one of the nation’s top 3 QBs.

Here’s Sports Illustrated’s preseason Top 25 and The Big Lead’s Top 50 football players –as penned by Tyler Duffy (“Go Blue!”), which may have something to do with that dude at No. 50 (and no one from a school about 4 hours to the southwest being on the list). But, you can kinda see that.

You can always quibble with such lists –I’d have included Arizona State’s Taylor Kelly and Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith –but there are no egregious omissions.

This list, though, of the “50 Best College Towns,” is indefensible. Austin, Tex., arguably the best college town in the country is not included. And Athens and Eugene, both of which are in my top 10 (and most others’), fail to crack the top 35.

5. Great Jones

C’mon, who does he look like? A l’il bit, as Robert DeNiro might say, a l’il bit. Hint: He’s from Chicago and wears No. 23 (but only because that’s the uniform that fit). This is Pierce Jones of the Jackie Robinson West All-Stars out of Chicago. Yesterday he jacked three home runs and a triple –in the first four innings–as his team won their LLWS opener, 12-2.

And then you have Mo’Ne Davis, the female flamethrower out of Taney Little League in Philadelphia (the local favorite). There are eight U.S. teams in the 16-team bracket in Williamsport, and while Mo’Ne and Pierce are not immediately on one another’s schedule, they could wind up meeting in either the winners’ or losers’ bracket in a few days.

 

 

IT’S STILL HAPPENING!

We’re back!

Here’s what happened: On Friday evening, as I left my weekly manicure and was phoning Ubercar for a ride to the heliport, I decided to visit Medium Happy to see if we’d reached our typical daily total of 100 comments yet. Instead, I got nothing. The site had vanished faster than Nora Durst’s family.*

And so I did what I normally do in moments of technological panic. I hurled epithets and phoned Tim “Oak” O’Connor, the genius who originally spoon-fed this site to me. Oak devoted a good portion of the next few days to correcting the problem while neglecting his son, “Acorn Oak,” a choice that will likely result in said offspring not being accepted into a reputable or even accredited college. As it turned out, our left axle was busted and the cam-shaft was also not firing properly (I have no idea if cam-shafts fire). So, thanks, Oak, for coming to my rescue. If I had any real skills, I’d offer those in exchange, but really, this is all I know how to do. And juggling. So, if you ever need a juggler.

For a while there, it looked as if the suffix to “Where in the World…” was “…did all my blog entries go?”

Anyway, I don’t know whom The Guilty Remnant is on this hacking episode, only that there are too many viable suspects to list. Also, I sort of enjoyed the three-day holiday, I’ll be honest. But we’re back. And we (air hug) missed (air smooch) you, too!

*What?!? A “The Leftovers” reference? Two of them?!? Really? 

1. Robin Good

Back when “working on a desktop” had an entirely different meaning…

So much may be said –and, as my brother notes, too much already has been (“Seed,” he tells me, “you must remind people how awful Popeye was”) — about Robin Williams, so I’ll just add three notes here: 1) this Golden Globes acceptance speech, in which he received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement,  perfectly epitomizes him in my mind. Why? Because there are a few moments of genius, just as many that have true warmth, and then there’s a few jokes that you just wish he’d edited out. The kind that make you squirm a little. In a 60 Minutes profile done on him in the 1980s, Williams even said that there were times where his brain wanted to pull him aside and ask, “Why did you just say that?”

I mean, sure, I’ll linger on Dead Poets Society and Good Will Hunting if they’re on, but does anyone stop what they’re doing to watch Jumanji? Hook? Patch Adams?

2) In the late spring of 1989, Dead Poets Society was released. At the time I was dealing with a very similar quandary that the character Neil was facing. In retrospect you understand that Neil’s choice between medical school and the arts, of those two alternatives, either was better than suicide. Fortunately, I didn’t have access to a gun and, much like my hero Rust Cohle, I lacked the constitution for suicide.

His best role

The dual irony here? Mr. Keating could not prevent Neil’s suicide –some at Welton Academy would say he precipitated it– and then Williams himself committed suicide. Also, that the actor portraying Neil –Robert Sean Leonard–grew up to stay employed as an actor whose biggest role, and he was very convincing, was as a physician.

3) This anecdote, courtesy of Norm Macdonald, is worth a read. I call this “the Vinny Klunk Act” after a childhood buddy who rescued me in a moment of terror and panic  (although we may need to update it as the “Tim O’Connor Act.”). People who perform deeds like this, well, they are all too few.

2. Put Your Hands in the Air/Like You Just Do Care

Hands Above America\

That’s some crazy stuff that’s going on in Ferguson, South Africa. I thought they’d outlawed aparthe–what? Ferguson, Missouri?

Even if you go to the far right and assume, if you choose, that Michael Brown was insolent to the policeman, why is a police cruiser pulling up to two young men at noon on a Saturday and is a cop invoking the F-word to tell them to walk on the sidewalk? Why are police dressing in camouflage gear like failed Army Rangers wannabes? Why is Michael Brown, who should be in the first week of college classes today, dead?

I think we know who we really need to be afraid of

HBO’s Bill Maher was quite prescient on Michael Brown’s needless murder when, back on July 22nd, he ended his “New Rules” segment with a monologue titled “Blitzkrieg Cop.” Watch the whole thing, but here’s the gist of it, “Once you start dressing and equipping people like an occupying army, they start acting like one.”

“Don’t shoot me, either,” says Touchdown Jesus. “And can you bring back my grass?”

There are definitely moments when we need the police to use force, sometimes deadly force. Most of the time, though, good community police work simply involves keeping the peace…which involves relating to people at the same level. And a sense of humor.

My dad, an 18-year sheriff’s deputy, once had to break up a racial riot at a jail between two minority groups. He and fellow officers quelled he melee (he’d never use those words) and then he shouted, “I don’t give a damn what color you are. To me, you’re all green!”

My dad waited a beat. Then he said, “Now, I want the dark green guys on this side of the room and the light green guys on that side of the room.”

They all cracked up laughing. That was effective law enforcement.

Andy and Barney would’ve handled this better…

And I’m not sure if this is the best or worst possible weekend to release a film titled Let’s Be Cops, but I’m thinking it’s the latter.

Finally, take a look at this incredible photo essay by Scott Olson, who has taken the shot of the year.

3. Where There’s Smoke…

In Tony Stewart’s defense: Sprint cars are an entirely different animal than stock cars, and you actually use the throttle to steer….Kevin Ward, Jr., should have never left his vehicle and definitely should have never walked toward Stewart’s vehicle…the track is poorly lit on the backstretch, Ward was wearing a black suit and helmet, and this was dirt, not pavement.

On the other hand: Tony Stewart was by far the most skilled driver on the track that night at Canandaigua Motorsporks Park….the fact that Stewart-Haas Racing competition director Greg Zipadelli would even utter “Business as usual” following Ward’s death is indicative of how callous Stewart is. Zipadelli doesn’t say that unless his team’s prized driver has adamantly stated that he is driving on Sunday and Zipadelli does not recant unless someone higher up in NASCAR gets on the phone and asks, “What in the wide world of sports do you think you’re doing?!?”…Four other cars eluded Ward, Jr.; granted, he walked directly toward Stewart’s car, but probably only Stewart knows how much time he had to avoid the young man…If you’re the Ontario County District Attorney, I don’t see why you at least do not seek an indictment on manslaughter in the second degree. The only question here would be whether Stewart was “aware of and consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk.” As far as that issue is concerned, how can anyone involved say that it is resolved with 100% certainty.

Not one to lose his cool on the track

You know what I haven’t heard a lot of in the aftermath of Ward’s death? A slew of NASCAR drivers stepping up and saying what a great guy Tony Stewart is, how he would never intend to bully or harm anyone on the track. The silence is telling.

Is Stewart guilty of second-degree manslaughter? I don’t know. But I don’t understand how anyone is able to say for sure that he is innocent at this moment.

4. “From the Crap Part of Stamford…”

How’d they become network TV stars? Blame it on Rio.

This had to happen. Michael Davies and Roger Bennett, a.k.a. the Men in Blazers, were just too entertaining and far too British (I know, that’s redundant) on their ESPN World Cup podcasts and appearances to just disappear into the woodwork of an MLS season. The duo, both of whom now reside in New York (Davies has citizenship; I believe Rog is still waiting) belonged on a stage where they could opine on the EPL, and that meant NBC, which has the rights.

Because, let’s face it, compared to the EPL or La Liga, the MLS is tiny bananas. 

(Someone I know very well called for this to happen back in late June.)

So, I don’t know how exactly they worked it out with Grantland, but Sam Flood & Co. threw some money at them and now MIB will be part of NBC’s “sokkuh” coverage. And I do hope they find a way to lasso Ted, er, Lasso to regularly appear. Pro tip for Michael and Rog: Just tell Sam how much you love hockey every time you see him and all will be fine. Also, wear lots of Michigan Wolverine gear. #Courage

p.s. For me, this was the performance that took their act to a new plateau, from which they’ll never descend.

5. Coming Up on the SEC Network

And tune in next week for “Honey Badger, I Shrunk the Kids”

The SEC Network, ESPN’s latest foray into world domination, makes its debut today. A programming guide:

10:00 a.m. Wuerffel House: In which a former Florida quarterback samples the South’s finest fare.

10:30 a.m. My Three Sunseris: Watch as a heralded and well-paid assistant coach raises his lads who play football at different schools.

11:00-11:01 a.m. The Vanderbilt Minute

11:01 a.m.-1 p.m. SEC Network Original Movie: Sumlin Wicked This Way Comes

1 p.m.-2 p.m. Cosmos with Les Miles: Watch as a distinguished SEC coach attempts to explain uncharted mysteries of the universe such as the Northeast, Midwest, and any place west of Dallas.