IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

 

Tweet du Jour

Hot dog? No more.

Starting Five

President Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Melania, Rudy

From Here To Uranus

Yesterday President Trump called for the establishment of a sixth branch of the military, which he has dubbed Space Force. “When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space,” said Trump. “We must have American dominance in space.”


You gotta remember, the only two things Donald Trump cares about are women and real estate. If he can’t f*ck it, then he wants to own it.

2. Tony Reali-ty Check

In the closing moments of yesterday’s Around The Horn, host Tony Reali discussed the personal pain of losing a child in child birth. The video speaks for itself. Well said. Reali had been off the show all last week and now we know why.

3. The Artois of the Deal

The first series of World Cup matches will end today and what we know is that northern Europe passed its first test. If your country is located along the  North or Baltic Seas, you’re happy. Winners thus far, sporting a 1-0 mark in the Group Stage: Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Russia and Sweden.

The irony of this, of course, is that northern European sides are 6-1, not 6-0. The lone loser? Tourney favorite and defending World Cup champion Germany.

Citizen Kane

For our Euro, the most impressive squad of that sextet and of the tournament thus far is Belgium, who took down Panama 3-0 yesterday. The Belgians face Tunisia on Saturday and then catch England later next week. The Limeys won in stoppage time yesterday when a Harry Kane header off a corner kick, his second goal of the match, broke a 1-1 draw in the 92nd minute.

4. Nielsen Ratings

White House Chief Prevaricator Sarah Huckabee Sanders didn’t feel like talking to the press about “kids in cages” (I feel confident this will be the central plot of “Coco Dos”) so she sent up Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen up there to do it for her.

Quick background on Nielsen: Florida-born, Georgetown-educated (then UVA law), both parents were Army doctors, never married, no kids (which means she must either be gay or a blogger). Anyway, I read the entire transcript and, sorry, kids, I’m on her side.

5. Power Powell Couple

Maurica

In a Pacific Northwest coup, the University of Washington has hired Oregon track coaches Andy and Maurica Powell to oversee their track and field program. After 13 years in Eugene, the couple will head the 6-7 hours north on I-5 to Seattle. Maurica has been named Director of Track & Field and Cross Country. Her spouse, Andy, has been named Head Coach of Track & Field and Cross Country.

We imagine the couple will figure out the division of labor between themselves. Both Powells grew up in Massachusetts and then headed west to run track at Stanford under Vin Lananna. When Vin left The Farm to head to Eugene in 2005, he took the two recent grads with him. There as associate head coaches, they oversaw the distance runners.

Andy Powell

. Oregon, with harriers such as Galen Rupp and Edward Cheserek and Matthew Centrowitz having trained under the Powells, has been by far the most successful track and field and cross-country program in the nation the past dozen or so years.

 

Music 101

Under The Bridge

When did rock groups stop writing classics? I don’t know, but it was AFTER this Red Hot Chili Peppers tune was released in 1992, back when MTV still mattered (the first Real World was the beginning of the end of MTV and the advent of reality TV). We don’t think we’ve EVER been able to listen to this song on the car stereo without singing along (at a disturbingly high volume and low pitch at the end of the song….it isn’t pretty).

The song, which was buried on Blood Sugar Sex Magik as the 11th track, is the band’s most successful single (No. 2 on the Billboard charts)

Remote Patrol

World Cup

Russia vs. Egypt 

2 p.m. Fox

Gotta go to Mo!

One country inspired the Pyramid Scheme. The other inspired Russian Roulette. You make the call. The Egyptians get back Mo Salah, who led the Premier League in scoring this year and took Liverpool to the Champions League final, where he was taken down on a dirty tackle and injured his shoulder. They need the win after a late loss to Uruguay last Friday.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet du Jour

Starting Five

Hirving Lozano scored the match’s lone goal….

1. Mexicult!

In the first weekend of World Cup play, South American powerhouses Argentina and Brazil could only manage draws against Euro upstarts Iceland (at 335,000 citizens, the tiniest nation ever to play in the World Cup) and Switzerland. Meanwhile, defending champion Germany lost 1-0 to Mexico. Ronaldo scored a hat trick as Portugal gained a draw against finalist favorite Spain and Russia leads the tourney in goal differential thus far in plus-5.

…and it triggered a “seismic event” in Mexico City, which knows a thing or two about them.

The biggest takeaway, with not all first round of games yet played, is the underwhelming play of the overdogs: Spain, Argentina, Germany and Brazil. But there are still two more matches for each of them in group stage.

2. New York Phil-harmonic

Who won the 118th U.S. Open? Who cares! Look what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday afternoon on the 13th hole during the third round. Anyone who has golfed even a little is able to understand this urge, and that it overtook one of the premier duffers of the past two decades, well, there’s a universal relatability to all of it.

We imagine Brooks Koepka will ring the bell at the Dow and be on a talk show or two. And he did become the first repeat U.S. Open champ since Curtis Strange in 1989. But on a course in which no one, not even Koepka, shot par all weekend, Phil stole the Open with this move.

We love it not because he broke the rule but because it was a spontaneous, instinctive act. Isn’t that why you fell in love with sports as a kid? Now if only he’d have buried that putt….

3. Meanwhile, Back At Shinnecock

We guess we were just wondering how necessary this story was. We’re almost annoyed with ourselves for giving it any more attention. The set-up: Dustin Johnson was the leader heading into Sunday and he’s married to Paulina Gretzky, who may have invented the Instagram bikini shot and is Wayne’s daughter.

She was out on the course, watching the final hole on Sunday with two friends and standing close to Koepka’s dad. When Justin holed in (he’d finish 3rd), Gretzky and her friends whooped and one of them asked, “Did Justin just win?”

The writer of the story is unable to identify who asked, but who cares? She’s a wife who, unlike almost all of us, is not watching it on TV with Fox graphics, but is just out on the course. At least she’s there. These are the kind of stories that slovenly sportswriters who’ve never gotten a date with any of the hot girls file because the 15 year-old in them is still upset.

4. The Daily Harrumph: Crossing A Line

Do we really want to wade into this border mess? Okay. Sure.

The administration crossed an imaginary line (of public outrage) when it became apparent that it was separating children from their parents who were being detained for illegally crossing a figurative line (the U.S.-Mexico border).

Now, we will cop to this first and foremost: I am not a parent. But, just to be clear here, a few things to know: 1) I grew up in a border state (Arizona), 2) my dad was part of the Dept. of Corrections (yes, he had to work for Sheriff Joe) for nearly two full decades and 3) I currently work with a number of Mexican-Americans, many of whom are my closest friends (and while you can’t say that without sounding like, “Some of my best friends are black people,” the point is this: I doubt there’s another sportswriter in America, even a part-time one like I currently am, who works more closely with and has more Mexican-American friends than I do).

So, with all that said, I’ll say this: Not all illegal immigrants are MS-13 members but neither are they all doe-eyed dreamers. You can respect and admire their desire to give their families better lives, but do not for one moment think that most of them have not figured out that their best bet, their only bet, to gaining access to the U.S. is to cross the border illegally and then cry, “ASYLUM!”

They’re smart people. And they’re gaming the system. One thing my dear departed Dad taught us, without saying so in so many words, is to be a little skeptical. Not cynical, but to have a healthy dose of skepticism. And while I have plenty of skepticism about the Trump administration’s true motives here (red meat to their white nationalist base), I’m also skeptical of people who casually ignore that the pre-existing policy provided huge incentives for people to illegally immigrate here and that they’re shrewd enough to exploit it. Trump is absolutely right when he calls it “catch and release.” The worst penalty right now is you’re no worse off than if you never tried to cross the border and you’ll just do it again the first chance you get.

(This does not make you, an alien, a bad person. It just makes you a recidivist offender.)

So as a government your options are to either change the system or figure out a way to curb the influx. If it’s between what’s currently happening and a “Wall,” I’ll take this 21 times out of 2o. First of all, stop with the Nazi Germany references. No one’s being taken away from their dads and moms forever, no one is being killed, no one is being targeted for genocide and extermination.

These adults really are breaking the law, they are well aware that they are breaking the law, and they’re counting on a soft immigration policy to get away with it. Quite simply, the empire is striking back. And while no one likes to think of a suffering child, I don’t know why you reward bad behavior that is incentivized because of the very soft rules on ILLEGAL immigration we currently have.

You want more people from Latin American countries to be able to live in the U.S.A.? Fine. Change the law. But please don’t drone on and on about how the president does not respect the rule of law when it suits your purpose and then conveniently forget about law when it comes to this.

This has nothing to do with the character of the people who want to live here. Demonizing them (MS-13) is wrong, but so is beatifying them. It’s not about that. It’s about whether you believe the U.S. has a responsibility to its own citizens, its taxpayers, that trumps (pun unintended, but also, intended) the dreams of millions of people who WANT to live here and, unlike people in AFRICA or ASIA, are able to get here by foot. Because one of those sides will have to pay a price, at least short-term.


(This, for me, is where Trump blows it and is clearly only trying to be a fear-monger to aging white Americans, etc. Portraying them as gang members is not only inaccurate—are all white male teens school shooters?—but also beside the point.)

It’s funny how quickly liberals forget their adherence to law and the Constitution at the sight of a child crying. Yes, it’s awful. But it’s not what you base policy upon.

p.s. My great-uncle was put on a ship in Italy by his family and sent to the New World all alone. He was about 10 years old. After 2-3 weeks, maybe even a month, at sea, he landed at Ellis Island. No one from the extended family who was supposed to meet him there showed up, so they shipped him back to Italy. He spent probably 6 weeks on a boat at sea, back and forth, on a voyage all by himself. He’d eventually make it here and he turned out fine. Not equating his odyssey with what’s currently going on, but also trying to point out that the kids being detained probably don’t have gluten allergies and don’t throw a tantrum when they don’t get to play three hours of CandyCrush per day.

5. Early Steve Carell

We were searching for a good example of improv this weekend and came across this long ago sketch involving Steve Carell. The actress, whom we don’t know, is fantastic. ‘nuf said. Enjoy.

Music 101 

Good Vibrations

How do you follow up the most transcendent American rock and roll album (Pet Sounds) ever released? You follow it up with a masterpiece that skyrockets to No. 1 in the U.S.A. and UK in the fall of ’67 (a pretty decent era for music) and, at 90 hours in the studio, was the costliest and most time-intensive single to that point ever produced. Architect Brian Wilson could have included this on Pet Sounds, but chose it instead as “B” side to a single. Even geniuses can be too smart for their own good (remember that, Susie B.). Wilson was inspired to write this tune after learning about how dogs respond to good and bad vibrations that other creatures emit.

If, like us, you’re sort of a B.B. groupie, this archival footage is pretty cool…

Remote Patrol

World Cup

11 a.m. Belgium vs. Panama

2 p.m. Tunisia vs. England

Put on your Hazards

Jump back! What’s that sound? It’s Eden Hazard taking on the Panamanians, followed by Harry Kane and the Limeys taking on Tunisia. Belgium is the smart sleeper pick to advance to the final.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet du Jour


The next thing you know, the club pro woke up in Oz…

Editor’s Note: There’s more than the usual rancor today in “Another Day of Trump,” and we just need to say, “Pass.” We’re not up for it today. If you want to deal with ICE, the IG report, the Playboy White House reporter, Trump saluting a North Korean general, etc., feel free. In the Comments. 

(Okay, just one….)

Starting Five

Russian Undressing

In an opening World Cup match between the countries of Osama bin Laden and Vladimir Putin (talk about a Group of Death), Russia depantsed Saudi Arabia 5-0. We thought the Russkies, up 3-0 as extra time began, would start Stalin but instead they powered ahead for two more goals. And FIFA wants to expand the tourney from 32 to 48 teams? Russia hadn’t even WON a single friendly heading into yesterday’s opening match.

2. We Solve The Border Problem

We’re kind of kidding here, but then again we’re kind of not (and you don’t have a better solution, anyway): So we were watching some judge approve the AT&T-Time Warner deal earlier this week, and we didn’t really have anything compelling to say about it, but then we were watching yesterday’s bizarre scene in the White House press room and we thought, That’s it! A vertical merger!

If AT&T can take over Time-Warner in a mutually beneficial merger, one that rescues Time-Warner from, as Mike Tyson might say, “Bolivian,” why shouldn’t the USA take over most of Central America? Dig….

–We take over Mexico and Guatemala (we’ll let Belize decide if it would like to join the team). Suddenly Mexicans and Guatemalans don’t need to flee their countries because, hey, there’s an Arby’s and a Chipotle and a Starbucks and a Loews cinema and an honest, if brutal, police force right in town.

–Look how much tinier the border is (I’d toyed with taking over every nation before Panama, as the Canal is a natural, if man-made, border). The U.S.-Mexico border is nearly 2,000 miles long. The Guatemala-Honduras border is only about 300 miles long.

–Look at all that coast line you can now purchase. On either side. You’re welcome.

–Much easier for the U.S. to qualify for the 2020 World Cup.

–NBA, NFL and MLB teams in Mexico City within 10 years, if not sooner.

–The citizens of Mexico and Guatemala will not be eligible to vote in a U.S. election until 2024 (this is the only way the Republicans will go for it).

–If you’re unemployed in the 50 states, you can probably move to Mexico or Guatemala and get a job as back-of-the-house kitchen staff. Turnabout is fair play.

Oh, you say, Mexico and Guatemala would never go for it. Tough. It’s like, Dude, your kid keeps coming over our house to eat dinner because you never feed him. So I’m sorry, we’re just going to adopt him. And who on this hemisphere would stop us anyway? It’s not an invasion, it’s an annexation. We’re just vertically integrating, literally from a latitudinal standpoint.

3. Wind Hampton

At Shinnecock in South Hampton, the skies were blue but the winds were blustery, and the world’s top golfers suffered for it on Day 1 of the U.S. Open. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the former a three-time champion, shot 7-over par. Adam Scott, 8-over. Allison Stokke’s fiance, Rickie Fowler, shot 6-over.

However, the world’s current No. 1, Dustin Johnson, is in the lead at 2-under. Gretzkys are great.

4. Happy Baby Daddy’s Day!

The real world is increasingly swarming The Onion and simply devouring it, as if reality is The Blob. The latest example: Target was selling Baby Daddy cards in the run-up to Father’s Day, which is Sunday. And then some P.C. folks decided it was racially insensitive,  instead of what it actually is, which is hilarious and sadly, too apropos.

So Target apologized and pulled the card from 900 stores. WHY?!?!?! If Chris Tucker released a film titled “BabyDaddy” tonight, it would be the top-rated movie at your local Magic Johnson theaters. But it’s wrong if Target does it? I was really hoping to buy five of these cards, then sit in Starbucks (or as I now call it, “Poop Here Free”) without buying anything and write notes in each of them.

The weird thing about these cards. Sure, you can purchase one, but getting the correct address for its intended recipient, that’s the difficult part.

5. Ring Of The Lords

With the summer solstice approaching, everyone on your block will be heading to Stonehenge in England (or 42nd Street in Manhattan) to witness the incredible views that are enhanced by man-made edifices. But you don’t have to be like everyone else. You can head to the Orkney Islands, which are just off the northern coast of the Scottish mainland, to bear witness at the Ring of Brodgar (which, c’mon, will satisfy that Game of Thrones jones that’s been building up inside for a year and won’t be sated for another).

The ring is a Neolithic construction, which means that it was erected at least 7,000 years ago. Which means you (probably) won’t find the word “TRUMP” atop any of the stones.

Music 101

Disco Inferno

Feel your pulse right now, then hit “Play” on the video and take it again in two minutes. In 1976 The Trammps released this to limited success, the song inspired by the early blockbuster film The Towering Inferno (O.J. Simpson saves a cat; no, really). When it was included on the MASSIVE Saturday Night Fever soundtrack a year later, the song went to No. 4. That’s Jimmy Ellis on lead vocals: Burn that mother down!

Remote Patrol

World Cup

Portugal vs. Spain

2 p.m. Fox

“No pick! No pick! It was just a scratch!”

Iberian throw down in a Siberian land! Portugal has Cristiano Ronaldo, of course, who actually was raised on an island in the Atlantic, Madeira, that is closer to Morocco (but is part of Portugal). The Spaniards are a favorite to advance to the final, even though they fired their manager, Julen Lopetegui, earlier this week because he took the Real Madrid job. Real Madrid’s top player? Ronaldo.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet du Jour


Starting Five

From Russia With Glove

The World Cup begins today! In just an hour or so, in fact. Thirty-two nations, none of them us. Even if the host nation is Russia, this event is a tribute to global community on Donald’s 72nd birthday, of all days (We did not forget to wish you, “Birthday,” Donald).

Viking Quest! We’re rooting for Iceland and its 335,000 citizens. Smallest nation to ever qualify for the World Cup.

Go ahead and read Roger Bennett’s World Cup guide for Clueless Fans/Americans from last weekend’s NYT.

2. When Life Hands You Yemen…

Move over, Syria. Step aside, Rwanda. Whatchugot, Somalia? The World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis of 2018 is Yemen, where a civil war has been raging for some time. On one side you have rebels backed by Iran. On another you have the incumbent regime, which has drawn direct air and ground support from Saudi Arabia, which is backed by the U.S.A.

What could possibly go wrong? A recent assault by Saudi forces on the port city of Al Hudaydah has made it impossible to deliver food and supplies to millions Yemenis (Yemen may be Arab land, but it is not arable land). And you may ask, What does any of this have to do with whom LeBron will play for next season?, and that’s fine, but a century ago your great (great) grandparents were wondering what the assassination of an Austrian prince had to do with Ty Cobb batting .400? And then look what happened…

Reportedly, eight million of Yemen’s 28 million people are at risk of starvation (“Ya ate sand?”*). This story will catch you up on the details.

*Raising Arizona

3. MAGA? No, Gaga

Recently caught the trailer for A Star Is Born, a film that has only been made three times before (1937, starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March; 1954, starring Judy Garland and James Mason; 1976, starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson). This version due out in October, stars Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, who will also direct. It looks solid and if nothing else, Gaga will be performing at the Oscars next winter.

Not for nothing, but Cooper, 43, is an alumnus of Georgetown, which also produced Nick Kroll, 40, (starring in Operation Finale, out later this year) and comics John Mulaney, 37, Jim Gaffigan and Mike Birbiglia. Who needs a school of Foreign Service when you’re an entertainment factory?

Another Georgetown alum? Paul Manafort.

But if you just CANNOT wait for a feel-good music film about a man and a woman, Nick Offerman is starring in a nice little indie about a father-daughter band called Hearts Beat Loud. It’s currently playing in selected cities (“Please pray that your city is selected” *) and also includes Ted Danson, Toni Collette and Blythe Danner.

We love movies about bands or wannabe bands. Here’s a quick list from just the past dozen or so years if you’re just getting started: Once, Sing Street, Whiplash, Begin Again, Crazy Heart. Not a dud in the group.

*Letterman

4. The Mark of Zero

On Tuesday, May 1st, the New York Mets were 17-9. The Mets were coming off an off day and the day before that they’d blasted the San Diego Padres, 14-2.

Since the calendar turned from April to May the Mets are 11-27. They have been shut out six times (in just six weeks). They have scored two or fewer runs in 21 of those 38 games. The injury to power hitter Yoenis Cespedes (“a Cespedes for the rest of us”), out since mid-May, has certainly played a huge role in the power outage.

Meanwhile, in Jacob de From (1.01 WHIP) the Mets have the second-best pitcher in the National League (behind Max Scherzer) and a top 10 arm in Noah Syndegaard (1.18 WHIP). The pitching overall has been outstanding. The signature game of this wretched run came on June 3rd, when Met pitching struck out Cubs hitters 24 times but the Mets still lost in 14 innings, 7-1.

So what do the Mets do? Do they fold with two aces? Trade one? There’s a team across the Long Island Sound with a surplus of bats who are in need of a No. 2 starter. Hmmm.

5. Turtle Beach

Yesterday a tweep (@NoFunJim) apprised of the stock price for the company Turtle Beach (ticker symbol: HEAR), a San Diego-based company that makes headsets. Shares of HEAR have soared in the past year as its headphones have become the earmuffs of choice for players of fortnite.

How much? On June 14, 2017, shares of HEAR opened at $2.96. Today, HEAR should open at around $23.35. That’s a jump of eight times. Just yesterday shares rose nearly 13%. Is it too late? We don’t think so. We dipped  in yesterday up to our ankles.

Music 101

Passionate Kisses

This song is so easy, so lyrical, so well-written, it should not surprise you in the least that it was written by Lucinda Williams (in 1988). Four years later Mary Chapin Carpenter  made it a hit. I’m sure Lucinda wonders why…

Remote Patrol

World Cup, Day 1

Russia vs Saudi Arabia

11 a.m. Telemundo, FOX

One country assassinates pesky journalists. The other assassinates women who get raped by their brothers. No wonder Donald Trump, whose birthday is today, is such a Yuge fan!

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet du Jour


It’s impossible to both support Trump and avoid being a hypocrite, nearly on a daily basis. What was Obama’s sin? Oh yes, he was (50%) African-American (you’ll have to tap Schlapp’s link).

Starting Five

N.A. Place Will Do

This week, Russia, in four years, the scalding hot desert of Qatar, and in eight years the USA. FIFA, the organizers of the World Cup, recognize a grifter and a strong man dictator when they see one. As hosts, the USA is guaranteed to place its team into the tournament, which by then may have 68 teams and four play-in games in Dayton.

Officially, the 2026 World Cup will come to North America, as both Canada and Mexico will also host games (do they also get a free pass?), but from the quarters on, it’ll be held inside the states. Canada and Mexico will each host 10 matches, and the USA 60. The final will be staged at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey, and by then Emperor Trump will be well into his third term. He may even release a few journalists from prison to cover the event.

(Our best hope in 2026)

The North American trio outdistanced Morocco in the voting, 134-65, which would be the score if the USA played Germany right now (with us on the short side).

2. Raging Bull vs. Raging Bullsh*tter

So, yes, in a prime-time CBS broadcast of the Tony Awards Sunday night, Robert De Niro crossed the line when he said, twice, while introducing Bruce Springsteen, “F*** Trump!” Maybe he thought they were the Tony Montana Awards?

And so you know it was all the President could do to have to wait until his summit with L’il Kim was over to come back at Travis Bickle with a tweet. Alas, in blasting the Oscar-winning actor for having a low IQ, Trump misused the word “too” (he went with “to”) in the very same sentence.* When it comes to Ivy League grad presidents, I do believe we’ve been asking the wrong one for his transcripts.

*Your courageous and forthright POTUS has since deleted this tweet and had someone else grammatically correct it, without of course acknowledging the error or the irony.

3. In What State (Okay, “Commonwealth,” Smart Guy) Were The Salem Witch Trials Held Again?

Okay, this is freaky, and we wonder if Arnav Kapur isn’t a witch….

Remember when you’d jokingly ask the proctor at the beginning of the final exam, “Will this be open mind?” (okay, we would; we were NOT cool…nothing’s changed). Well, now you can mean it.

4. Nature Always Finds A Way

We salute you, St. Paul Raccoon (he’s fine and has been released to the wild), Mr. Squirrel and New York Bear family. We really do.

By the way, some bloggers whom we won’t mention by name get their rocks off by mentioning whenever an animal KILLS a human. The first thing to know is that unlike humans, animals only kill in order to eat or protect their turf, i.e. their young. The second is that it is we who have invaded their terrain, not vice versa. The hubris of people who don’t have any contact with nature is the first step in the downfall of mankind.


5. The Alaska Bowl

What ESPN or Fox (or even NBC) producer would not want to use this beauty shot?

If I were an attention-seeking, globe-trotting FBS football coach (Jim Harbaugh) with a taste for being the first to plant flags both literal and figurative, I’d want my program to be the first to play in states that have never hosted a game between TWO FBS schools. My guess is that the following states have never hosted such a game (zero research done on this, zero f***s given; I just went Arnav Kapur on my research):

Delaware

Maine

New Hampshire

Vermont

Rhode Island

Montana

South Dakota

North Dakota

aaaaaaaaand…..

Alaska

(some would also claim New Jersey, but you know….)

Anyway, the locale that would garner the most attention by far, we think, would be Alaska. So we’ve scouted locations and believe 4,500-seat Anchorage Football Stadium, located in The Last Frontier’s most populous city, would be the ideal site. If I ran ESPN college football, this would be my second BIG IDEA.

Yale Bowl is heavenly, or if you want to pull out your Ivy League thesaurus, ethereal.

My first BIG IDEA would be the annual Kickoff Classic at the 61,446-seat Yale Bowl in New Haven, which is the spiritual and ancestral home of big-time college football due to Bulldog player and later coach Walter Camp, probably the single-most influential person in the history of the game.

Back to Alaska. So you only have 4,500 seats. Who cares? You’ll always be the first (one of two) schools who ever played in the nation’s LARGEST state. There’s no substitute for being first. I can see Notre Dame vs. Navy here. You? Or Notre Dame-Washington.

Music 101

Streets Of Laredo

Also known as the “Cowboy’s Lament,” this song dates back more than 100 years. Most country artists have covered it, so we left it to Marty Robbins and Johnny Cash to give you a shared rendition. Our favorite version, though, comes from a fantastic early ’70s sports movie that cribs a lyric from it as its title: Bang The Drum Slowly.

Remote Patrol

A Fistful of Dollars

8 p.m. TCM

The seminal Spaghetti western, directed in 1964 by Sergio Leone (who did not speak English) and starring, in his first leading role, Clint Eastwood (who did not speak much). Followed this evening by the latter two films in the “Dollars Trilogy,” For A Few Dollars More (10 p.m.) and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (midnight). These are the films, set in the American west but shot in Italy and Spain, that catapulted Clint to American stardom.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet du Jour

Starting Five

Mission Kim Possible

The question is, Why did Kim Jong Un consent to meeting with Donald Trump and my best answer is that he just wanted to meet a bonafide, cartoon-character TV star from the United States. Same reason he’s friends with Dennis Rodman.

Would Kim ever give up his nukes? Nooooooooooooooo. Would we be doing this dance with NoKo if we believed he had no intention of giving up his nukes? Nooooooooooooo. This is like a blind date in which she thinks he’s rich and he thinks she’s easy and they’re both about to be very disappointed.

But I could be wrong….


One last thing: When Fox News “slipped” and referred to both men as “the two dictators,” they sort of got it right. And this may be another reason Kim met Trump. The world’s strongmen (Kim, Putin, Xi) recognize the breed and may see this as an opportunity to undermine the U.S. It’s like, We’re no longer dealing with the U.S.A., we’re dealing with a wannabe tyrant who just happens to have the keys to the car. Maybe we can appeal to his ego and help damage their democracy in the process.

For the record, Trump agreed to give up military exercises with South Korea in the region and remove U.S. troops while Kim agreed to give up smoking next month. Or something like that.

2. Shohei, Can UCL?

How do you pronounce “Tommy John Surgery” in Japanese? California Angels (shaddup!) pitcher/designated hitter/rookie phenom Shohei Ohtani already may need TJS and it’s not even Flag Day yet. Wow.

Ohtani is 23. Stephen Strasburg. Matt Harvey. Ohtani. Why does baseball keep eating its young?

Ohtani, who has a Grade 2 sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament, may not return until 2020 (How do we get Trump to sprain his UCL?). He leaves with a .289 batting average and a 3.10 ERA (4-1 record).

3. Bode’s Grief

This is shattering. The 19 month-old daughter of retired U.S. skier Bode Miller and his wife, Morgan, drowned on Saturday. How does this happen? How as a family do you recover?

The Millers were attending a party at a neighbor’s on Saturday when daughter Emeline wound up in the pool. Efforts to resuscitate her were fruitless. “We are beyond devastated,” Bode wrote on Instagram. “Never in a million years did we think we would experience a pain like this. Her love, her light, her spirit will never be forgotten. Our little girl loved life and lived it to its fullest everyday.”

Being a parent is an incredibly tough job. We wouldn’t know, but man, you let your guard down for two minutes and your entire life changes.

4. Bye Bye, Bond Girl

Eunice Grayson, known better to James Bond fans as Sylvia Trench, has died at the age of 90. The First Bond Girl appeared in two of his films, Dr. No and From Russia With Love. In the former film 007 meets her at a card game and utters for the first time the immortal words, “Bond. James Bond.”

There is no news on how exactly Grayson passed from these mortal coils, but suffice it so say she was not dipped in liquid gold.

5. As Close As We’ll Ever Come To Summiting Mount Everest

Thanks to Outside magazine for putting Everest: The Summit Climb, a film by Elia Saikaly, on its website. This is gobsmacking, no?

Reserves


This is like a “Focus On What’s Truly Important” inspirational poster in video form.

 

Music 101

Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile)

So many bands, performers, acts seem tied to a particular period in time (Creedence Clearwater Revival, the late ’60s; Duran Duran, the early ’80s), but Van the Man just kept releasing great track after great track that seem untethered to any particular pop culture wave. This one, from St. Dominick’s Preview, was released in 1972. It was recorded in the Bay Area.

Remote Patrol

On The Town

8 p.m. TCM

New York, New York/A helluva town/The rent is up and the F train is down/The people think DeBlasio’s a clown/New York, New York/It’s a helluva towwwwwwwn!

Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra at their very best.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet du Jour

Starting Five

Ellis never gave up and should probably head out on a corporate inspirational speaking tour immediately after graduation

Dominance And Resilience

Two races late Saturday afternoon on opposite coasts. The one you know about, the one you more than likely watched, involved Justify, starting from the post position and leading wire-to-wire at the Belmont Stakes. Justify becomes the second horse in four years to win the Triple Crown and the first, we believe, to have done so without having raced as a two year-old. The Bob Baffert-trained horse becomes the 13th Triple Crown winner overall.

Though we appreciated Justify’s unchallenged excellence, it didn’t really move us. Maybe because we couldn’t really relate to being the most talented and simply being smart enough not to get in your own way.

The racer we could relate to was Kendall Ellis of USC, who took off from the last position in the women’s 4 x 400 relay at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene. A little set-up: heading into the 4 x 400, the final event, Georgia had 52 points, Stanford 51 and USC 43. You get 10 points for first place, so USC’s only chance was to win the race (the Dawgs and Cardinal did not advance to the final in this event so neither had a chance to add to its total score).

USC’s anchor leg handoff was clumsy and Ellis, a senior from Pembroke Pines, Fla., was going to have to fight through traffic if she were to have any chance. A quick note about Ellis: she graduated high school with a 4.7 GPA and was a four-time Florida state champion in the 400. She also graduated USC in the spring of 2017 with a business degree. She’s a grad student.

So, after the botched handoff, Ellis is in fourth place. Go to 2:20 on the video and watch the final lap. Listen to ESPN’s male announcer (John Anderson? Dwight Stones? I think it’s the former, who is a former high jumper at Missouri) say with certainty, “There’s no way [Purdue loses] unless she drops the baton. Purdue’s going to win this…” just 100 meters from the finish.

Final note: this was LAST YEAR’s women’s 4 x 400 race. Look who finished in 2nd place. Ellis didn’t just come back from 4th place on Saturday. She came all the way back from 2017.

2. Alex and Anthony

As many of us devoted at least a few Saturday and Sunday moments to muse on what could lead CNN’s Anthony Bourdain to take his own life, the Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin seemed to have the best weekend of his. Ovi tossed out the first pitch at the Nationals game, did a keg stand somewhere else, did push-ups in a D.C. fountain, and barbecued while singing “We Are The Champions” at the top of his lungs.

Ovi, understandably, was seizing the day, which is something Bourdain, via his two travel shows (first, No Reservations on the Travel Channel and later Parts Unknown on CNN), seemed to be encouraging us all to do. Perhaps that’s what makes the 61 year-old New Jersey native’s suicide so incomprehensible: Bourdain seemed to have a greater appetite for life and empathy for his fellow man than anyone on television.

If and when CNN re-airs it, watch the tribute to Bourdain that ran on Sunday night (extra, EXTRA props to the CNN producers who likely spent all weekend in an edit bay to make the show possible). Bourdain was no mere sybarite, getting to go to places we’ll never go to, eating foods we may not eat, having conversations we’ll never have and basking in the glory of his good fortune. No, if that was his schtick, we’d have never been drawn in.

Bourdain was an honest and empathetic travel guide. He was blunt and he opened a vein in describing his experiences to us. He was raw. He was genuine. Not only did he never take it for granted, but he approached his job as if he were both missionary and teacher. The difference is that whereas most missionaries bring their culture to a foreign land, his job was to bring that foreign land to us. He was the pilgrim, but we were the beneficiaries.

And how does all of that tie in to Ovi? Well, if you’re reading this, I can promise you that you’re never going to win a Stanley Cup. But you don’t have to in order to approach any weekend as Ovi did this past one. You’re alive. And there’s so much to do and see. You’re lucky. Don’t ever forget it.

And that does not make us understand Bourdain’s death any better. We may have more thoughts on that later this week. But at least he showed us not only what it is to live, but also to understand that most people all over the globe are remarkably similar: we are not our world leaders, or our military. We are a community. If you watch the CNN special, you’ll notice that Bourdain did not shy away from visiting dangerous places (Myanmar, Iran, Tripoli) and he’d always ask common citizens the same question: “Are you hopeful?”

3. Nadal’s House

The Spaniard, Rafael Nadal, wins his 11th French Open title, this time in straight sets. Beyond their 30th birthdays Nadal, 32, and Roger Federer, 36, seem more intent than ever  on putting the “Most Grand Slam titles” mark forever out of reach. Between the two of them they’ve claimed the last six Grand Slams—three apiece—dating back to the beginning of 2017.

Does Novak have a prayer of catching Rafi or Roger?

Federer now has 20 Grand Slams and Nadal 17 (Pete Sampras retired more than a decade ago with the then all-time most of 14). While it once seemed that Novak Djokovic, still only 31, would pass both of them as he won 6 of 8 Grand Slams between 2014 and 2016, the Swiss and the Spaniard are not going quietly into that good night. And it has now been two full year, eight Grand Slam events, since Djokovic has hoisted a cup.

Where does this end and who finishes on top? We’re going to go with Nadal, who has four years on Federer and basically owns Roland Garros (11 titles in Paris in the past 14 years).

4. Blame Canada

We don’t speak German, but we have to imagine Angela Merkel is at least thinking, You’re a buffoon.

If this weekend’s G-7 Summit in Quebec City were a party, Donald Trump was the guest who arrived unfashionably late, wondered why his friend who’d previously slipped the date rape drug into the drinks of sisters of other party goers wasn’t allowed to attend, and then left early, after which he insulted the affable host.


America First!


5. Hand-icapped

The first self-inflicted wound was punching the white board after Game 1. The second was wearing the cast after Game 4. Now the spin is that Ol’ Sweet Pea, who was able to go 9 days without his hand injury being revealed but unable to do so for one final hour after his team had been swept, only wore the cast to the post-series presser because news had begun to leak about the injury.

So how did that news exactly “leak?” Who leaked it? And why would that news compel you to wear the cast, which comes off as nothing less than a plea for sympathy and absolution. We know you’re great. We know the Cavs couldn’t have won without you (or with you). We know you didn’t have enough help. But now you need us to know that you were hurt the final three games and, oh, by the way, whose fault is that?

Not a good look. He’s an all-timer, but his career is speckled with moments (“The Decision,” “The Supporting Cast”) that make you wonder if he ever understood what being part of a team is all about. As one friend of ours aptly stated it yesterday, “He’s the Millennial Jordan.”

Reserves


Homophobia AND a grammatical error! It’s a MAGA two-fer!

Music 101

Singapore

Tom Waits, the lead track from his acclaimed 1985 album, Rain Dogs. Seemed rather appropriate for today. Thanks, Cecil.

Remote Patrol

The Staircase

Netflix

Did novelist Michael Peterson murder his wife, Kathleen, or did she simply fall down the staircase at the family home? And wasn’t it more than a coincidence that family friend Elizabeth Raitliff died 18 years earlier…at the bottom of a staircase? This is being hailed as the “Making A Murderer” of 2018.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet du Jour

Starting Five

Parts Unknown

Chef, author and noted master of global peregrinations Anthony Bourdain has apparently committed suicide. This comes as a shock as Bourdain, 61, appeared not only to have a fantastic life but came off as the ultimate guy with whom you’d want to have a beer. Bourdain seemed…grounded.

Women of a certain age found him dreamy while men envied that he was the Most Interesting Man In the World. Bourdain was also a self-professed recovering heroin and cocaine addict.

You never know…

Capital Times

The Washington Capitals have finally done it. The Caps beat the Golden Knights 4-3 in Las Vegas last night in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals. At the end of 13 seasons and 1,124 games, Alex Ovechkin, who did score one goal last night, can finally hoist the Stanley Cup. It is also Washington’s first championship in its 44-year history.

3. Fast Times At Hayward Field

In the NCAA women’s 10,000 meter championship last night, six runners broke the 30 year-old meet record of 32:28.57. Kansas’ Sharon Lokedi (above) broke the tape in 32:09.20. The other record-breakers but runners-up were Dorcas Wasike (Louisville), Karissa Schweizer (Missouri), Alice Wright (New Mexico), Charlotte Taylor (San Francisco) and Anna Rohrer (Notre Dame).

Meanwhile at the Bislett Games in Oslo, someone forgot to adjust one of the hurdles in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase and kept it at the men’s height, a six-inch difference. Chaos ensued. From LetsRun.com: “Jamaica’s Aisha Praught, the 2018 Commonwealth Games champ, ended up just running into the barrier and coming to a complete stop before using her hands to help herself get over,” and, “America’s world champ Emma Coburn got over the barrier without problems but she immediately started gesturing to the stands to try to let people know about the gaffe.”

Emma gestures….

Oddly, the officials did not stop the race and re-start it but simply corrected the error in the midst of the race and kept it official. Friend of The Blog Emma Coburn finished second.

4. No Wonder This Horse Always Turns Left

Justify, who will likely win all three races in the slop, is a verifiable rainmaker

Tomorrow is the Belmont Stakes and Justify, starting from the first post, is favored to win the Triple Crown, which would make him the second horse to do so in the past four years. Now comes a story from the New York Times that the horse is partly owned (15%) “by a secretive entity that.. will remain out of the spotlight because it vigorously avoids any public attention. It is a company controlled by top employees of the billionaire investor George Soros.”

5. World’s Highest Bungee Jump

If merely strolling across the Glass Bottom Bridge in Zhiangjiajie, China, was not enough for you, beginning in August you will be able to bungee jump from it. That will make it the world’s highest bungee jump (853 feet). For comparison’s sake, that is the equivalent to almost four times the height of jumping from the roadway of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The cable car at Zhiangjiajie is also pretty insane, something out of Avatar

Zhiangjiajie is in central China, inland, about a 2-hour flight from Hong Kong….if you go.

Music 101

Breaking Us In Two

Our love for Joe Jackson knows no fetters. A musical genius and a hopeless romantic. “Steppin’ Out” was the single from this 1982 album, but Side 2 features this and “A Slow Song,” both melancholy classics.

Remote Patrol

Game 4: Dubs at Cavs

9 p.m. ABC

Will it go five? Nope. Where will LeBron play next?

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

1. The Man Show

We can wonder why Ty Lue never doubled Kevin Durant (43 points on 15-23 shooting) in the second half or why he hasn’t played Rodney Hood (15 points on 7 of 11 shooting in his first significant minutes last night) more, but the larger epiphany of the 2018 NBA Finals is that Golden State has three players who on any given evening can be THE MAN and Cleveland only has one. And that it’s impossible to fathom how much more mental energy that drains from LeBron James game after game as opposed to the succor it provides KD, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

After Game 2 the dolts at ESPN’s postgame show were discussing how Curry (nine threes) had wrapped up the Finals MVP award. Then after KD’s performance, capped by that ridiculous, stone-cold 30-footer in the final minute, they were handing it to KD. Watch, Klay will explode for 35 in Friday night’s Game 4. The point is, Steph can have an off night (1 for 15 in the game’s first 46 minutes and 0-9 from beyond the arc before finishing 3 of 16 with one made three) in one game and he’s got two teammates who can spell him in the scoring area, not to mention a talented supporting cast who know their roles.

LeBron does not have that luxury. And when, in the final two minutes, he passes off to Tristan Thompson instead of keeping it himself and at least trying to draw the foul, he will be criticized. And should be, to a point. He knows the deal: He’s got to put this squad on his broad shoulders. If you’re gonna lose, LeBron, lose with the ball in your hands. But you’re going to lose, anyway. You’re simply outnumbered.

2. Judge and Jury


We watched this unfold as it was happening last night and it was glorious, and props to Scott Van Pelt with leading off his show with it as “The Best Thing I Saw Today.” Yankees at Blue Jays. Score knotted at 0-0 in the top of the 13th when Aaron Judge comes to the plate with one on and one out.

First, some backstory…

In a makeup doubleheader in Detroit on Monday, Judge had to have had the worst day in his young career. He went o-9 with eight strikeouts. Manager Aaron Boone gave him Tuesday’s game in Toronto off. When he comes to the plate in the 13th he’s 0-4 with a walk.

Meanwhile, up in the right-center mezzanine level there’s a boy, we’ll guess about 12, who’s seated with his parents and another person (aunt?). During batting practice Judge had lofted a JudgeBomb into their tiny area of seats so they already had that souvenir. During every Judge at-bat the Yankee broadcast would put the camera on him because he alone would stand holding an “All Rise” sign with a silhouette of a gavel. His unabashed devotion was both infectious and nostalgic, because all of us at one point in our lives had that innocent love of sports, worship of an athlete.

And by the 13th, as Yankee broadcasters Ryan Ruocco and Ken Singleton were noting, not only did his arms look heavy but so did his eyelids. So when Judge bombed a two-strike pitch into the left-center bleachers for the go-ahead (and ultimately, winning runs), well, it was special. As Singleton warmly noted, “That’s a lifetime memory right there.”

And if you’re too cynical to appreciate that, then what’s left?

3. “Where’s My Mom?”


Watch this come-from-behind win in the final 200 meters of the NCAA men’s 10,000 meter championship yesterday from Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. That’s fifth-year Michigan senior Ben Flanagan with the epic kick on the track that Steve Prefontaine made famous in the final race of his collegiate career. Afterwards, his first words are the hed of this item.

4. The World’s Highest Post Office

Yes, it’s about exactly what the title says: the Hikkim Post Office in northern India is located 14,567 feet above sea level, nearly three miles high. It is officially the highest post office on earth.

These are the types of stories I’d pitch at Newsweek and an editor would lift up one curious eyebrow and then agree only on the condition that I paid for most of the travel myself (which I would). Print journalism is a terrible get-rich-quick scheme.

5. Who Moved My Commander Of Cheese

Tough day for the president in the curdled milk department, as Kellyanne Conway mistakenly (or was it?) referred to him as the “Commander Of Cheese” and Wisconsin’s own Paul Ryan backed Trey Gowdy’s assertion that President Trump is full of it on the FBI “spy” allegation. When you’ve even lost Paul Ryan…

Luckily, some of the best and most decent men in America, such as Rudy Giuliani and Sean Hannity, are still on Trump’s side. Personally, we think Kellyanne was just a little hangry during the interview. Get that woman a Snickers.

Reserves

The semi-annual Munk Debates, held in Toronto, were created 10 years ago with the idea of bringing two people with polar-opposite views together in a public forum and allowing them to engage in old fashioned rhetorical swashbuckling. It’s like “First Take” only it’s about things that really matter and it’s actually entertaining.

Past participants have included Malcolm Gladwell, Tony Blair, Christopher Hitchens, Maureen Dowd, Laura Ingraham, etc. The other night British comedian Stephen Fry took on jackass-of-all-trades Jordan Peterson and the topic was political correctness. If you have the time and the will, watch it above.

Music 101

Everything Is Beautiful

In the summer of 1970 this song, written, composed and performed by Ray Stevens, hit No. 1 for two weeks. It was the emotional salve that a country scarred from the Sixties needed. The children’s chorus at the beginning is from the Oak Hill Elementary School in Nashville, two of whose members were Stevens’ daughters.

Remote Patrol

The Wizard of Oz

8 p.m. TCM

Stanley Cup: Game 5, Caps at Golden Knights

8 p.m. NBC

NCAA Track & Field Outdoor Championships

7 p.m. ESPN2

Ovi, Oz and Ostrander all in the same night?

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

74 years ago today: the proudest American day of the 20th century.

Starting Five

Patrio-Odd

It’s only strange that you don’t know the lyrics to “God Bless America,” a song that only has 28 different words, if you’re the President of the United States and you specifically commissioned an event to celebrate how much more of a patriot you are than the Philadelphia Eagles. Also, the New York Yankees, who are geographically the closest team to Trump Tower, have been playing this song during the seventh inning stretch every game the past 16-plus years. Every. Game.

2. Kate Spade Commits Suicide

A New York-based top-shelf name in fashion for more than two decades, Kate Spade apparently hung herself in her Park Avenue apartment yesterday. Spade, the sister-in-law of comic David Spade, was 55.

Along with Donna Karan and Marc Jacobs and Tory Burch, Spade, who made her fortune in women’s purses, was a contemporary New York fashion icon. Not bad for a graduate of Arizona State who in college had worked at a biker bar. She leaves behind a 13 year-old daughter, to whom she wrote a note before hanging herself in her bedroom.

3. Spew Many

Guatemala’s aptly named Fuego volcano has claimed the lives of at least 75 people with as many as 200 missing since it began erupting on Sunday. Fuego sent ash and smoke as much as six miles skyward and then, well, it all fell back down to earth.

The ash and lava swept down the mountain at speeds that would overtake the fastest human runner and no warnings had been given prior. Entire villages were swept under what is known as the “pyroclastic flow,” a mixture of hot gas and volcanic matter.

4. Noe Surrender

University of Toledo senior Janelle Noe will be competing at the NCAA Track and Field Championships this weekend and it’s not trite to say that it is a minor miracle that she will even be on the starting line.

On January 15, 2016, Noe attended an off-campus house party where a male teammate, Christopher Housel, walked around with air freshener, a bottle of Everclear and a match and, well, things turned out badly    (that rare tale of a dude acting like a jerk and scarring  a woman for life). Housel was sentenced to four months in jail and community service in a burn unit. Noe was burned over 50% of her body.

Last weekend Noe, who cannot be exposed very long to the sun, qualified in Tampa to partake in the 1,500 meter event this weekend in Eugene with a 4:16. She won’t be expected to win, but if Eugene brings its not-unusual overcast skies to the day and Noe runs a time she is happy with, no one will feel more triumphant. Nor should they.

5. Kyler Can Do It All

A few notes on Kyler Murray, the 5’10” Texas A&M transfer who will succeed Baker Mayfield at OU this fall and who was the ninth overall player chosen in the MLB draft by the Oakland A’s earlier this week:

–His pop was a quarterback at Texas A&M from 1983-86, but somehow he decided to make an exodus from College Station and head to Norman (Kevin Sumlin is like a human breeding ground for QB transfers).

–In high school in Allen, Texas, Murray led his team to a perfect 42-0 record over three seasons and a trio of state championships. He threw for more than 10,000 yards and rushed for more than 4,000.

–He is the first high school athlete to be chosen to play in both the Under Armour High School All-American football and baseball games.

–This will actually be Murray’s third season in Norman. He was a backup for the Aggies as a frosh in 2015, then he sat out during his transfer year in 2016, then backed up Baker last season.

–An outfielder, this spring he hit .296 with 13 doubles but struck out twice as many times (56) and he walked (28), which is troubling.

–He’s playing football this fall, which will give him a chance to go up against coaches Lane Kiffin (Florida Atlantic) and Chip Kelly (UCLA) in his first two starts.

Reserves

How did we miss this? And look who’s seated in the front row. Why didn’t this happen between Rory and Logan????

Music 101

The Rainbow Connection

We’ve run this song in this space before, but never the duet between Kermit the Frog and Debbie Harry (who never gets enough credit for the clarity and power of her vocals) on The Muppet Show. People ask why we don’t get shows or songs like this any more, and I don’t have the answer, but it’s a valid question and maybe as a culture, we’ve passed our creative peak.

Remote Patrol

Dubs at Cavs, Game 3

9 p.m. ABC

James, Beard

I’m not ready to count LeBron & Co. out yet, and neither should you be. The Dubs do NOT want this to turn into a Best of 3 series. This is like one of those classic sports movies where the hero must hit a nadir before he mounts his unlikely comeback. Stay tuned.