by John Walters

Starting Five

Granted, these are some nutty throwback uni

1. Golden Statement

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

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

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

Maybe just shut up and play defense?

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

“You Warriors are good. Real good.”

The best.”

 2. Play Brawl!

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

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

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

3. Calbuco!

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

4. Jamie, FOX

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

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

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

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

5. Amazon, Amazin’

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

Dubs: Yeah, yeah, whatever.

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

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


Music 101

Hold On

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

Remote Patrol

Late Show

CBS 11:35 p.m.

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

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


by John Walters

Starting Five

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

1. Duda, Who Stole My Car? 

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

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

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

2. Buenos Diaw

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

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

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

Louis-Dreyfuss, Schumer, Fey and Arquette


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

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

4. Kurt’s Last Song

Nirvana, following their morning run

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

5. Guardians of the Gala (see?)

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

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

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

Really?!? As what!?!

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


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

Aaaand, Scene.

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

Music 101

O-o-h Child

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

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

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

Remote Patrol

Jimmy Kimmel Live

ABC 11:30 p.m.

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


by John Walters

Starting Five

1. LeBron James Is Awesome!*

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

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

*Susie B.-sponsored post

2. New York Citi

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

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

3. Oz, The Great and Powerful

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

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

4. You Deserve a Break Today*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Their City of Ruins

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

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


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

Music 101

Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough

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

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

Remote Patrol

Game 2: Spurs at Clippers

TNT 10:30 p.m.

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

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


by John Walters

Starting Five

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

1. U(S)A!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay, so who’s the stylist?

3. EGOT Does Not Equal GoT

Helen Hayes, the first female EGOT winner

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

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

4. The Price is (Bleep)

“Always Be Closing…with Aroldis Chapman!”

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

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

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

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

Music 101

And When I Die

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

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

Remote Patrol

Paris St. Germain at F.C. Barcelona

FS1  2:45 p.m.

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

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


by John Walters

Starting Five

Smart enough not to grow a mustache.

1. Anagram: Handsome –> Don Shame

Allow me to take up the defense of Don Draper. When Johnny Mathis tells him, “You don’t have any character; you’re just handsome,” I thought, Well, he’s half-right. Don has his flaws –one very serious one– but time and again in this episode he’s doing the right thing. He’s actually very zen.

As my TV-viewing host and friend, Chris C (THANKS!). noted,  it was the Beautiful People episode of Mad Men. Lots of Don, Joan and Betty. Also, wondering if Matt Weiner will really kill off his son in Vietnam. We’ll likely never learn.

Great close last night. “Now we just have to find a place for you,” Don hears as the camera fades out and he stands in the hallway looking into his empty future.

2. Harmonic Emergence

Segal (top, middle) dazzled the crowd of 2,800 on hand

Attended the International Championships of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCAs) at the Beacon Theater on Saturday. The winners, for the fourth time: the SoCal Vocals from USC –although a shout-out to Baylor’s VirtuOSO troop, whose rendition of Uptown Funk was the night’s biggest crowd-pleaser.

The SoCal Vocals shrewdly showcased a beautiful, vibrant brunette female vocalist whose name I believe is Nikki Segal. She had a terrific voice and an even more captivating stage presence. Bigger things ahead for this one.

3. Mad Matrimony

Everyone favorite (or least favorite) Wall Street pundit, the perpetually frenetic Jim Cramer, gets married (even though some of his buddies reportedly warned, “Don’t buy! Don’t buy!”). Cramer, 60, wed 49 year-old Lisa Detwiler, 49, of the Corcoran Group, a real-estate firm. It is the second marriage for both, so they’re diversifying.

4. “That’s a Really Big ‘Shoe”

Only 7 schools of 125 or so averaged as much attendance last season as the Buckeyes got for their spring scrimmage. THE OSU did lead the nation in attendance last season.

Nearly 100,000 braved idyllic April weather in Columbus on Saturday afternoon to watch defending national college football champion Ohio State face…Ohio State. The Scarlet & Gray Spring Game. Announced attendance inside Ohio Stadium, alias The ‘shoe: 99,391 at $5 per person (mostly). That’s a school record. And that was with Braxton Miller, Ezekiel Elliott and others not even suiting up.

There’s nothing the hell to do in Ohio.

5. No Safe Harbor

A typical refugee vessel. There is no Lido deck. The all-night buffet is you.

An estimated 700 Libyan migrants drown in the Mediterranean when their ship capsizes. Not to be confused with the 12 Christians who were thrown overboard and drowned last week by their fellow fleeing Muslim passengers. We have a lot less to complain about than most of the world (not that it stops us from doing so).

Music 101 

Hands Across the Sea

I did not mean to hurt you/You took me by surprise/There is still a chance if we just close our eyes

There were more successful New Wave bands than Modern English, but there was no one who was both Newer and Wavier: their look, their sound, their band name and their big hit (Melt With You, the signature song of the era) all embodied the period. You may think of them as a one-hit wonder, but I always thought this tune, which feels a littl Thompson Twins-ish, deserved more love. A much-belated shout-out to the acoustic guitarist I came across in Jacksonville in 1995 playing this tune at a beach bar. I haven’t forgotten, dude.

Remote Patrol

Game 2: Pelicans at Warriors

TNT 10:30 p.m.

Curry & Kerr. Is there a Currier? A Kerriest?

Golden State is 40-2 at Oracle Arena this season. Good luck, Anthony Davis (35 points in Game 1)


by John Walters

Starting Five

“Laura Rutledge, come on down! You’re the next contestant on ‘The Sideline is Right’ “

1. When the Britt Hits the Fan

As I tweeted earlier, it’s kind of ironic that Britt McHenry was interviewing hockey players,  many of who never attended college and are missing their front teeth, this week.

So I’m going to assume that McHenry won’t be putting this on her demo reel?

Some folks tweeted that she in no way deserves to be fired, that you can’t can someone just because they say awful things. Maybe not, but she’s not Ken from Accounting. McHenry is a television personality. Part of her job is having the audience like her. And now the audience has seen that behind that pretty face was an ugly person. At least in that moment.

A one-week suspension isn’t long enough. It would be better for her if they suspended her for a month. Hell, Ballghazi went away. Why not this?

2. A Reminder…

Granted, it’s a long season and if Anthony Davis misses this shot, who knows what unfolds afterward in a different fashion for both teams? Still, the Pelicans beat the Thunder out for the 8th spot in the West despite having the same record (45-37), meaning they won the tiebreaker. So what happens if Davis doesn’t hit this crazy buzzer-beater?

And, yes, the score was tied at the time. So they’d have gone to overtime. Davis on the night: 41 points, 10 boards.*

*Read comment below by our friend Okerland for a great Paul Harvey nugget on this….

3. Cub Scouts…

…love rookie Kris Bryant. In fact, all scouts do. Today the Cubbies called up the rookie phenom slugger from Las Vegas.

Last season in the minors, Bryant his .325 with 43 home runs. This spring in the Cactus League, the six-foot-five, 23 year-old batted .425 with nine home runs. The Cubbies kept him in minor league ball the minimum 12 days, which means they’ll get to have hime an extra season before he may file for free agency. Don’t think Scott Boras will forget that.

Still, the drought is at 107 years. Money aside (if that’s possible), what player wouldn’t want to be a part of the history of bringing the North Side a World Series title?

4. The Ultimate Walk-Off

Model Giselle Bundchen, the Olivia Munn of the AFC, makes her last strut up and down the catwalk yesterday at the Sao Paolo Fashion Show. Bundchen, 34, is a mother of two. Bundchen, who is Brazilian except that she’s really German, has been walking runways at fashion shows since age 14.

5. Shame On Us

This is the world’s last male northern white rhino, now under 24 hour guard. Notice the one soldier stroking it as if to caress. There are a few female white rhinos. Let’s pray for a comeback.

Asshole poachers kill the rhino for its horn so that asshole people can use it for supposed medicinal value. Guess where rhinos live? Africa. Guess where terrorist organizations thrive? Africa? Guess what terrorist organizations want/need/crave? Funding, by any means possible.

If I had the money, I’d build ranches for endangered animals. All things wise and wonderful/All creatures great and small/All things bright and beautiful/The Lord God made them all.*

*Even if you’re an atheist, you get the gist.

Music 101

Happy Together

Me and you/And you and me/No matter how they toss the dice/It had to be

The Turtles, a No. 1 Billboard hit, 1967. This song knocked the Beatles’ Penny Lane from No. 1, spent three weeks there, then got bumped by Frank and Nancy Sinatra. Those were the days, kids.

Remote Patrol

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

Spurs at Clippers, Game 1

10:30 p.m. TNT

Kawhi: I guess I’ll just have to DVR Veep

So Adam Silver puts the first game of the most intriguing first-round playoff series directly up against Mad Men and Veep/Last Week Tonight? This is NOT cool. Not cool. Gonna be quite a testy series.


by John Walters

Starting Five

Russell, Athletic


1. Requiem for a Heavyweight

On the final night of the season, Russell Westbrook scores 37 points (34 in the first half), grabs 8 rebounds and  dishes out 7 assists as the Thunder beat the T-Wolves by 25, But that and OKC’s 45-37 record isn’t enough at the Pelican West beat San Antonio to claim the 8th spot.

Westbrook finishes with a scoring title (28.1 ppt), something teammate Kevin Durant claimed a year ago, and 11 triple doubles, the most of anyone in 26 years, when Michael Jordan had 15 in 1989. It would’ve been 12 had he not sat out the entire 4th quarter once it was apparent OKC had no chance for the postseason.

If you’re looking for one play that symbolizes what Westbrook did this season for a team that lost two of its integral starters, this is it.

2. Guilty

Life without parole for Aaron Hernandez, who caught 175 passes in his first three NFL seasons with the Patriots and would’ve starred in February’s Super Bowl had he stuck around. Hernandez caught a touchdown pass in Super Bowl XLVI, which makes him the first man to score a Super Bowl touchdown AND be convicted of first-degree murder.

And, remember, AH still has a double-murder trial ahead of him.

I’ve always thought that Hernandez believed (or discovered) that Lloyd was talking to people about that double homicide whom he shouldn’t have spoken to, and decided to silence him. Can’t prove; just my hunch.

What a waste. 

3. NetFlix Soars

Look at you, Princess Buttercup! (as a fellow 48 year-old, I can tell you kids that this shape is possible if you just live right)

With no small thanks to actors Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, Netflix (stock symbol NFLX, as if it’s an X-rated version of the NFL, which is already an X-rated version of itself) boomed after its earning report yesterday, scaling 12% higher, or $58, after hours.

If you had gotten into Netflix back in July, 2012 –when Dan Wolken and I spoke about doing so, but DIDN’T BECAUSE WE ARE IDIOTS!– you could’ve had it for $60 per share. That was right when Frank and Claire Underwood laid the cornerstone for House of Cards.

Now? Now NFLX is at $533 per share. Beware, though. The stock itself may be a house of cards, as Netflix has had three straight quarters of negative cash flow. That is, beware the bubble.

Stock I’ve done well with lately? GoGo Internet (GOGO), which is up 50% since January.

4. Coachella Fitzgerald

St. Vincent. Coming to a place where people recognize stardom near you

Here’s Rolling Stone’s 40 Best Things We Saw at Coachella” review…until the Washington Post releases a scathing report saying that 37 of them never happened.

Something about inviting hundreds of thousands of people to party in a desert in the middle of a state that has a SERIOUS water problem is amusing.

5. Peak Peak

“Picacho” means Peak in Spanish….

Above you, Picacho Peak, which anyone who has ever made the drive from Phoenix to Tucson, or vice versa, is quite familiar with. I wrote a little story about how yesterday was the 153rd anniversary of a Civil War battle that took place here. Truly. And it was the western-most battle of the Civil War.

My first ride along I-10 past Picacho was in August of 1978 as my dad and I were driving my cousin back to school at the U of A. Almost all of the trip was nothing but desert, but my dad said to me, “Some day everything between Phoenix and Tucson will be houses and people and it’ll be more like one huge metropolis.”

Sadly, that premonition looms closer to reality 37 years later.

Music 101

Hearts on Fire

“I been achin’ from desire/Her blood’s running like a raging river/And her heart’s on fire”

If you’ve seen the Eagles documentary, you certainly remember the anecdote in which Randy Meisner refuses to sing Take It To the Limit onstage and Glenn Frey rips him a new one for not giving the people what they paid for. Meisner had a voice as golden as California, but his personality just couldn’t compete with the egos of Messrs. Frey and Henley. Here’s his first solo effort, a simple upbeat rock tune from 1980 –yes, this shirt and hairstyle were in back then.

Remote Patrol


History 10 p.m.

We’ll sack Paris tonight, and then in a few hundred years our descendants will walk the runways there.

One of my closest friends forever and ever, Smoron, devours this show. And he’s a smart dude. So even though I have yet to watch it, I’m going to recommend it. It’s kind of like the Wildings coming south of the Wall, no? In tonight’s new episode, the Nordics launch an all-out assault on Paris. Viewer discretion: there may be some pillaging.



by John Walters

Starting Five

Yep, yep, yep

1.  The War on…War

So, yeah, it’s Tax Day. My accountant told me a story –I haven’t verified it–that there was once a scam in which IRS agents were changing the checks from “IRS” to “MRS” and cashing them, which is why they now ask you write them out to “U.S. Treasury.” I ain’t sure about that.

Anyway, here’s where our dollars go. Does every nation need to spend some money on defense? Sure. But at a certain point you realize three things: 1) They’re selling you fear, 2) The boys from South Park had it correct: “Team America: World Police” and 3) It’s a business.

2. It’s Not Dire, Wolves

One of these dudes better learn to love Minneapolis. Meanwhile, the T-Wolves will have consecutive No. 1 overall picks on their roster, something Cleveland could’ve had

Tonight is the final night of the NBA season. Minnesota has the league’s worst record at 16-65, while the Knocks are 17-64. But the T-Wolves host the Thunder, who desperately need to win, so they’ll probably retain the worst record and thus the highest probability of landing the first pick.

Two thoughts: 1) Would the Knicks still land that first pick and would folks wonder if that had been fixed and 2) Does it matter? Most people –but not me–believe that Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor, who are both post players, are the 1-2 picks. I’m not certain who has the higher ceiling, but here’s what I do know…

1. The T-Wolves don’t need any more wings. They need a post player or a game-changer at point guard. Trade the pick or add yet another raw piece to a raw but talented pick? 2) The Knicks will be tempted to pick KAT or Okafor, but you’re putting a 19-year old into the toughest media market in the nation (and the cops here wield a mean baton) while failing to address fact that it’s a league where your game changer is a guy who operates from the wing. I foresee a lot of dumb moves by the Knocks.

3. Coach of the Year

Looks like Darrin Stephens, coaches like Samantha Stephens

Golden State Warrior coach Steve Kerr will have led his team to either 65 or 66 wins in his debut season, which is prit-tee, prit-tee good. Atlanta Hawk coach Mike Budenholzer has shockingly led his team to the best record in the East, which may be even more impressive. Both men are proteges of Gregg Popovich, whose Spurs will finish with the league’s 3rd-best record, after those two, so maybe Pop should be the NBA’s Coach of the Year.

But my vote would go to Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics. Remember when people wondered if he’d be able to handle the transition from Hickory High to the NBA’s most storied franchise? Well, with a roster held together with duct tape, the Celtics are about to make the playoffs.

Seriously, whom do they have? The Celts traded away their best player, Rajon Rondo. Their leading scorer is Isaiah Thomas –how can any Celtic fan over age 40 even root for a guy with that name?– and the rest of their lineup is peppered with B-list players at best (Avery Bradley, Brandon Bass). And yet Boston may finish 40-42 and face the Cavaliers, whom they beat by 39 points on Sunday.

Granted, Cleveland didn’t care, but how does that team lose by 39 to anyone? And how does Boston beat anyone by 39? Stephens led Butler to a pair of Final Fours. How much more unthinkable would it be to take down LeBron & Co. in the first round (the answer: somewhat more, but still…)?

4. Mighty Like a Rose

Kate appears to be in ship shape

That’s everyone’s favorite disaster-at-sea survivor, Rose Kate Winslet, on the cover of InStyle. Has the Brit actress ever looked better? I go all the way back with Kate to the Aussie film Heavenly Creatures, and well, yes. By the way, Kate’s third husband is named Ned Rocknroll, so put another dime in the jukebox, baby.

5. Pitch Count

It’s April 15, which means that numerically, at least, we’re one month away from the May 15 premiere of Pitch Perfect 2, which is my most anticipated film of the summer season. Bumper, Fat Amy, Aubrey, Chloe and Beca can’t get here soon enough. Trailer, please!


Music 101

Both Sides, Now

So many things I would’ve done/But clouds got in my way…”

Even when I first heard the Judy Collins version of this song at the age of four in 1970, I knew it was the saddest, most poignant tune I might ever hear. Joni Mitchell wrote it in 1967 and performed it, too, but Collins –the Judy in CSN’s “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”–scored a bigger hit with it as a single in 1968. Rolling Stone ranked it 171st on its list of 500 Greatest Songs. I’d put it higher (and demote some of that Jimi Hendrix crap). :)

This is the tune that kicked in at the end of Mad Men’s sixth season, as Don Draper shepherded his kids to his boyhood home. And, as Joyce Carol Oates wrote earlier today, that was really the last scene in the series.

Remote Patrol

Champions League: Paris-St. Germain at FC Barcelona

FOX Sports 1 2:30 p.m.

Merci, Messi

Did you see the bender Lionel Messi hit last weekend? Today his Barca squad hosts PSG, who took down Premier League leaders Chelsea in the Round of 16 and boast Zlatan Ibrahimovic, in the first leg of their quarterfinal home-and-home.




by John Walters


Starting Five

The Confederacy formally surrendered less than one week earlier

1. The Greatest

On this day, 150 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated (he was shot on the night of the 14th and formally pronounced dead on the 15th). The six-foot-four native of Kentucky is for my money –and that money would be $5 bills and pennies–the greatest Commander in Chief the country has ever had.

It’s not even simply about the ethics of ending slavery. It’s about seeing a practice that was short-term profitable (for Southern land owners and for all who purchased their products) but long-term toxic and taking whatever steps necessary to stop it. Who in politics has the balls to do that these days?

Notice: slavery ended, and people didn’t stop buying cotton, etc.

2. Aloha Means “This Better Be Good”

“Hey, you went to a Catholic high school (Xavier Prep) and I went to a Catholic college (Georgetown). Cool.”

Thanks to Cameron Crowe, we have Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Say Anything, Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous. Okay, also Vanilla Sky and Elizabethtown, which I never saw. Have you seen We Bought a Zoo? It’s actually better than you’d think. I hadn’t realized he’d done it until after I watched it. It had enough Crowe-ish touches.

Anyway, his new film is Aloha and it has quite the cast: Bradley Cooper (so, “American Aloha?”), Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams (Wedding Crashers reunion!), Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Alec Baldwin, Danny McBride and Jay Baruchel. And, as my good friend Chris Corbellini notes, the prettiest cast member of all: Hawaii.

The plot revolves around pilots and redemption, so it’s a little bit Airplane!, a little bit Magnum, P.I. How can this possibly fail? Here’s hoping there’s a Larry Beil cameo.

p.s. The song in the trailer  is Rocks by Imagine Dragons.

3. Her Many

Rausging was born just five years after Hitler died. She’ll be great help on history papers.

This lady is causing quite a, um, furor. This is Annegret Raunigk, a 65 year-old Berlin elementary school teacher who is already a mother of 13. And now she just traveled to Ukraine for a procedure in which she was artificially inseminated. Raunigk is expecting quadruplets. Currently, her oldest child is 44 and her youngest is nein!

4. Capped in Phillips

I mean, when Christian Peter isn’t even the worst person on your team…

Former Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips, who at one time was the baddest and best running back in college football, is suspected of killing his cellmate, Damion Soward, in a California prison. When Phillips was a sophomore for the Huskers, he was charged with assault and vandalism in November dating back to an incident that happened the previous March. But the trial was delayed until after Nebraska faced Oklahoma and then played (and won) its first national championship under Tom Osborne and no, this story doesn’t sound familiar at all to me, either. Why? Does it to you?

5. The “O” Is Implied

Or as Andrew Dice Clay would pronounce it, “Marco Rubi…OH!”

Yesterday, Florida senator Marco Rubio (R), who sometimes finds the need to slake his thirst at inopportune moments, announced that he was running for president. So what better time to inform you that there is a male actor who does gay porn named Marco Rubi?

Music 101

Call Me

Call me/On the line/Call me, call me/Any, any time

Before there was Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe, there was Deborah Harry and Blondie leaving no ambiguity about what she expected at all. Released in 1980, this was Blondie’s breakout hit as it spent six weeks at No. 1 back when people cared about that. Looks like a supermodel; sings like a rock star. Why don’t they make Deborah Harry types any more?

By the way, Ms. Harry was somewhat passive aggressive when it came to Alexander Graham Bell’s invention. In one tune she is ordering someone to “Call Me” and yet in another she entreats, “Don’t Leave Me Hanging on the Telephone.” Women!


Remote Patrol

Real Madrid at Atletico Madrid

FOX Sports 1 2:30 p.m.

This UEFA Champions League quarterfinal (first leg) is a rematch of last spring’s Champions League final. In that contest between the two Madrid-based clubs, Atletico led 1-0 after 90 minutes, but then Real scored an equalizer in the third minute of stoppage time. In extra time, Real won 4-1. Heartbreaker for the canines of under.


by John Walters


Starting Five

1. Spieth Easy*

*The judges are also happy to accept “A Performance That Spieths for Itself,” “Jordan Rules,” “Jordan, Heir,’ ‘Augusta and Everything After,” and “Tiger Popped A Bone…er?” Basically, they’d accept anything.

Like some Americans, we care about golf two weekends a year: in April and in July (the British, just because we like the word “gorse”.) But even a casual fan has to be in awe of Jordan Spieth, a native Texan who at age 21 shot an Augusta National record-tying 18-under over four rounds to claim the green jacket.

Spieth attended Jesuit High in Dallas, the same school that produced that Oklahoma frat dude who sings racially insensitive tunes. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods claims to have performed field surgery on his own wrist during Sunday’s final round. So there’s that.

And Phil Mickelson finishes 2nd for the 10th time in a major. Or, as Ricky Bobby might say, “Last.”

2. Bitch is Back…

As soon as this wake is over, I’ll go kidnap some Dalmatians….

First of all, thanks to frequent MH contributor Chris Corbellini and his lovely lady, Hillary, for allowing me to Constanza at their apartment to watch the season premieres of Game of Thrones and Veep (sorry, Silicon Valley, you’re okay but not in their class).

There was a moment when Prince Can’t-Get-a-Pizza-in-Indiana is offering platitudes of sorrow to Cersei over her father’s death (Old Blue Eyes) and the camera just focuses in on the Lady Lannister’s unabashed look of utter contempt. And I just blurted out, “I love her.” And then about 30 seconds later she walks past a wine tray and stops just long enough to grab a fresh glass. Classic Cersei.

My other two favorite moments: Varys’ pep talk to Tyrion, which might as well be the first ad of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Also, when Daenerys’ lover (I’ll catch up to the names in a week or two) urges her to reinstate the fighting pits, which sounded like a PSA for the National Football League. Loved that.

But, honestly, the entire series of Looking had less male nudity than Sunday night’s premiere.

Has even more power than Cersei (or so she thinks)

Also, per usual, Veep was fantastic. No show fills in more mean per minute. And nothing is out of bounds. “There’s a theory that Reagan paid Hinckley to do it because he wanted to spend two weeks in bed.”

3. …Speaking of Hillary

Yes, but will she be able to salvage her Families First program?

Remember when Tina Fey returned to SNL during the 2012 Democratic primary season to stump for Bill Clinton’s wife and ended with the tag line, “Bitch is the new black?”

Well, Hillary Clinton formally announced that she was running on Sunday. As a road racing enthusiast, I loved the dual coincidences that Mrs. Clinton announced this on the day of the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler, which begins and ends just south of the White House (in the shadow of the Washington Monument) and draws about 2,500 runners, and that she did so on the same day that Selina Meyer moved into the Oval Office on Veep.

4. From Down Under to Six Feet Under

These lads, now 60ish, now require prescription blue pills in order to shake you all night long

Playing its first live gig in six years, AC/DC invaded Coachella on Friday night and to at least one reviewer from the Los Angeles Times, seemed to redefine the term “anachromism.” Angus and Malcolm Young and the lads were  thisclose to a Spinal Tap tribute band. I’ll have more Coachella reviews as soon as the DJs reboot their computers.

5. Jimmy & Jerry

At some point here, they should have staged an Unbroken reenactment

Caught this episode of Seinfeld taking Jimmy Fallon out on his Boston Whaler for Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. I love this series more and more with each passing episode. Are you like me? Do you notice that although Jerry is the host, he has the more compelling things to say in just about every episode? “This is angles,” says Fallon as they attempt to back the Range Rover hauling the vessel into a U-turn. “This is geometry.”

“Yes, it is angles and geometry,” Seinfeld agrees. “So is comedy. Comedy is all about geometry. Remember those geometry proofs you did in high school? That’s comedy. Begin with an absurd premise, then prove it step by step.”

And he’s still performing, even as recently as this weekend in Boston (no Whaler).

Irony Alert: The show is sponsored by Acura, but I’m fairly certain Jerry has never driven an Acura in the show.

Music 101

Grace Kelly

“I try to be like Grace Kelly/But all her looks were too sad/So I try a little Freddie/I’ve gone identity mad.”

Sorry, Adam Lambert, but no one does a better Freddie Mercury impersonation than Mika. Like the late Queen singer, whom Mika references in this 2007 tune, Mika is partly British and partly Persian (specifically, in his case, Lebanese) and plays piano. And he has the bicurious swagger down cold..