by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Jag Off(ense)

The NFL at last has a quarterback folk hero who may save the league from itself (and the Jaguars from Jalen Ramsey). Gardner Minshew, the East Carolina transfer who almost wound up as Alabama’s third-string QB last season as a grad transfer but instead trekked to Pullman, Wash., where he led the FBS in passing before becoming a 6th-round pick, led the Jags to their first win of the season last night in his first NFL start.

If you loved the 1970s, you’d love Minshew, who’s a bit North Dallas Forty meets Smokey and the Bandit. America and ESPN won’t be able to get enough of him but thankfully he’s in Jacksonville, where the media rarely ventures. Let’s hope the mustachioed Minshew buys himself a muscle car real soon and that everyone hopping over each other to do the next in-depth profile of him catches mono.

We will take a personal pat on the back and remind you we warned you about Minshew making an NFL roster a month ago. Meanwhile, last night’s Jags’ win provided a moment for Tom Brady, the face of the league to commit his most subversive act of his entire career (that he will admit to):


Tom’s right, you know. The NFL, and CFB, are over-obsessed with penalties thus far in September, particularly with QB hits. Flags on rough but not illegal (at least up until this season) hits on QBs cost Denver its game on Sunday and nearly cost Tulane its win against Houston last night. And it cost Jets DB Jamal Adams $21,000 for a clean hit on Monday night.

Speaking of the J-E-T-S, they also have a dude making his first NFL start this week who played under Mike Leach at Washington State: Luke Falk (above). The problem is he’s playing in Foxboro against Brady and the Pats. If for any reason he miraculously leads the Jets to victory, he’ll deserve to become a folk hero, at least locally.

“Yankees Clinch! Thuuuuuuuuh Yankees Clinch! (The A.L. East)

The New York Yankees, once George Constanza’s employer but never Jerry’s favored NYC franchise, clinch the A.L. East in typical 2019 fashion: the Yanks beat the Angels 9-1 thanks to four home runs, three of which were hit by players who were not in the Opening Day lineup: D.J. LeMahieu, Cameron Maybin and Clint Frazier.

(28 being the next number in terms of World Series the Yankees would win)

Aaron Boone becomes the first manager in MLB history to win at least 100 games in each of his first two seasons (Wowwww). And the Yanks win the A.L. East for the first time since 2012.

New York is currently 1/2 game behind Houston for the best record in the American League. It’s a mixed-bag outcome. The loser of that race gets an easier first-round opponent (Minnesota, most likely, as opposed to a surging Cleveland or Oakland, again most likely) but then cedes home-field advantage in the ALCS.

19th Nervous Meltdown

Okay, this encounter between the former mayor of New York City and the son of a former governor of New York (and brother of the current governor of New York) was rambling and unfocused the first half, as Chris Cuomo allowed Rudy Giuliani to fulminate at length. But near the end, you get to the “You’re damn right I ordered the ‘Code Red’!” moment.

Cuomo asks Rudy if he asked the Ukrainians to investigate Joe Biden. Rudy says no. Less than a minute later Rudy admits that he did, as the president’s lawyer, ask Ukraine to investigate Biden. Then when Cuomo pounces on the inconsistency, which there is obviously video evidence of now, Rudy returns to flatly denying it. The things you are hearing, and the things you are seeing, do not believe them. That is the Trump mantra.

Follow The Bouncing Bianna*

*The judges will also accept “Amanpour One Out For Bianna”

This morning CNN announced the hiring of Bianna Golodryga, who it felt as if just five minutes ago was co-anchoring CBS This Morning (not a terrible gig) and who not too long before that was a weekend co-anchor at Good Morning America where she looked way too much like fellow GMAer Paula Faris’ kid sister. It was like Single White Female meets Network.

Julia Boorstein, based in L.A., probably gets stopped and asked is she’s Jessica Chastain daily

We’ve long thought that Bianna and CNBC’s Julia Boorstein are two of the more underutilized talents in the news biz: they both have star potential. Golodryga was born in Moldova and her parents emigrated to the U.S. when she was an infant, settling in Houston. She graduated from the University of Texas (“Hook ’em”) and is fluent in Russian and, just for good measure, Romanian. It appears as if CNN is grooming her to be the next Christianne Amanpour, but then CNN doesn’t really send correspondents anywhere anymore, do they? Unless they’re named Anderson Cooper?

Tulane, TuPlays, TuMuch

This went for 18 yards

You’re Tulane. You’ve been irrelevant at least since the days of Shaun King (the quarterback, not the confused SJW) or maybe even 1931, when you went to the Rose Bowl and lost to USC.

So now you get a Thursday night matchup versus Houston on your own field and more importantly, on ESPN. And you’re quickly down 28-7. But you battle back to score 24 unanswered. Then Houston kicks a tying field goal in the final minute.

Are you playing for overtime? NOOOOOOOO! This is YOUR moment on the national stage, playa. Shoot your shot. And that’s exactly what Green Wave coach Willie Fritz did. With two plays:

  1. A fake victory formation play in the final :18 that allows an 18-yard gain up to midfield and gets the crowd stoked that something bigger is about to come:

2. Next up, a pass that was probably intended to set up the Green Wave (never mind the blue unis) for a game-winning field goal but instead went to the hizzy. And that’s an assistant coach’s son who just transferred in from Oklahoma State scoring it.

Tom Brady, THIS is what you should be watching on Thursday evenings (unless you’re watching your wife, which most males would be happy to do).

Meanwhile, Hello boys and girls, can you spell “harbinger?” I knew that you could.

Music 101

Touch And Go

Panorama was The Cars’ third album and their first relative dud, but we still like this song. Let’s end the week as it began, with a tribute to Ric Ocasek.

Remote Patrol

Utah at USC

9 p.m. FS1

Tune in at 8 p.m. as Reggie Bush returns to the Coliseum with the Fox studio crew (and the Trojan loyalists chant “We want Urban!” to his partner). This is Clay Helton’s last stand. If the Utes dispose of USC–would be their second loss to a Beehive State school in six days—then someone will drive Helton to LAX and fire him on the tarmac.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

(Close) The Book Of Eli?

Did anyone expect Eli Manning to play 16 seasons in the NFL, all of them until this one as the starter? Or for him to win not one but two Super Bowl MVP awards.

The New York Giants demoted their veteran quarterback on Tuesday in favor of rookie Daniel Jones. Perhaps the most telling stat of Manning’s star-crossed career is that after 232 starts, the team’s record in those games is 116-116. He’s not a Hall of Famer in our eyes, but in those two postseasons when the G-men needed him most, he more than showed up. And he may have completed the most incredible pass in Super Bowl history which, for all the acrobatics of David Tyree on the other end, never happens if Manning does not somehow magically escape the clutches of a New England pass rusher.

Manning’s always been a good dude. So he took the demotion with grace. How long before he joins big brother and Brad Paisley in those Nationwide ads is anyone’s guess.


In this morning’s New York Times, an entire article is devoted to this photo from Monday’s Corey Lewandowski circus. The story is titled “This Picture Tells You Everything You Need To Know About Impeachment” . In it writer Nicholas Fandos likens photographer Doug Mills’ shot to “a Renaissance painting.” Read it if you like.

We didn’t pay attention to Monday’s proceedings. It was just another incident of Democrats behaving like William H. Macy’s character in Boogie Nights when he sees what’s happening in the alley behind the party with his wife. And as for Jerry Nadler, he reminds me of the guy in line at Zabar’s who mildly protests when you cut in front of him but then does nothing more than say “Sheesh!” to the old lady standing next to him.

This Justin

For the record: We don’t care.

But this does mean that Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau can forget about auditioning for Saturday Night Live.

To Infinity—And Beyond!”

This could make for quite an interesting game of Marco Polo.

In London, plans are underway to construct a 360-degree infinity pool at the top of a 55-story hotel. The pool’s center will be glass-bottomed.

You may ask yourself, How do I get here? (Thanks, David Byrne). A spiral staircase leading from below will provide access, and much like a submarine surfacing, the staircase will rise and protrude through the surface when someone wants to access the 600,000-liter pool.

Great. Because if there’s one thing with which we’ve always associated London, it’s outdoor swimming.

Half Time

In Copenhagen last weekend, Kenyan distance runner Geoffrey Kamworor sets a new world record in the half-marathon: 58:01. The previous mark, set one year ago, was 58:18. A seventeen-second drop is quite a discount.

Kamworor, who won the 2017 New York City Marathon, has won three world championships at the 13.1 mile distance. And this is a reminder that the half-marathon should be an official Olympic event. It would be a crowd pleaser that could be run on the streets of the host city at the midway point of the Olympic Games. Easy Peezy, as they say.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Don’t Come Back, Shane

Less than two weeks before his debut as a new comic on Saturday Night Live, Shane Gillis is fired by Lorne Michaels. Just too many racial slurs. Wow.

I’ve never heard Gillis’ act, but comedy is supposed to be pretty simple. If the audience laughs, you’re doing your job. If not, then go find another line of work. Gotta wonder if SNL will even cover this situation in the season premiere.

We’re not gonna explore the whole “Cancel Culture” movement, but it might’ve been funny if SNL kept Gillis around just long enough to invite Lesley Jones to return one last time and have her go Mogambo on his ass.

Closer Meets Loser

Resisting the urge to proclaim, “Look at my Panamanian!”, President Donald Trump bestowed the Medal of Freedom on former Yankee closer Mariano Rivera Monday. Mo was the first baseball player in MLB history to be unanimously voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame; Trump is the fifth president to lose the popular vote but still be elected president.

Trump said that Rivera began his career “in 1955” but by now you know that the president doesn’t really mean what he says unless he means what he says and it’s up to you to recognize the difference.

Pardon The Catharsis

Here’s Mike Greenberg‘s “I’m Mad As Hell And I’m Not Gonna Take It Any More!” moment, with a huge assist from Marcus Spears (why are former LSU defensive linemen so good on TV?). It’s so refreshing to get actual animus from an ESPN talking head, as opposed to what Screamin’ A does daily.

Is it just me or did this moment both remind you of that scene from Network but also the scene from The Green Mile in which Michael Clarke Duncan’s character gives Tom Hanks’ character a big ol’ hug and takes away all the pain?

A Yaz Goes Deep At Fenway

For those of us who remember the Seventies (and those of you who recall the Sixties…we see you, Susie B.!), there was no player more synonymous with the Boston Red Sox than Carl Yastrzemski. Yaz, now 80, remains ninth on the all-time Hits list with 3,419. Among Red Sox lifers, only Ted Williams was a better hitter (though military service kept him from compiling more base knocks).

So here comes Mike Yastrzemski last night, the grandson who’s a rookie for the San Francisco Giants, making his debut at Fenway Park last night in a late September game in an otherwise lost season for Red Sox fans. And what does he do? Gives fans of both clubs something to cheer about.

The Giants won 7-6 in 15 innings with Yaz, batting leadoff, going 2 for 7.

“The Hottest Spot In New York IS”

A few years ago at Newsweek our brilliant cubicle mate Alex Nazaryan pitched and then produced a piece on New York City hotel bars. We admired the temerity: visit swanky cocktail bars in Manhattan hotels and have the magazine underwrite all in the name of journalism. Genius, Alex!

We feel that our old friend, now covering politics for Yahoo!, may need to revisit his piece and add a new wrinkle: Department store bars. Above is Le Chalet, located on the 8th floor of Sak’s Fifth Avenue, which sits right across the street from Rockefeller Center. Basically, it has the view of 30 Rock that you see at the opening of 30 Rock.

If you find yourself on the 8th floor—designer women’s shoes, mostly—you may have to do a lap or two before you discover the discreet entrance to Le Chalet, which opened in February. There’s also an outdoor terrace.

And Nordstrom is opening a shop on Broadway and 58th that will also have a bar. Look, this is simple math: middle-aged women of means who think nothing of posting a four- or five-figure shopping tab are certainly not against a glass of rose or chardonnay.

Music 101

Call Me

Contrary to popular belief, the booty call was invented in the Sixties. Here’s Donna Loren performing it on Milton Berle’s variety show in 1966, but the song was originally recorded by Petula Clark one year earlier. It’s been covered by dozens of artists, but the version you may know best is by Chris Montez. If you suddenly feel you’re in the Pan Am airport lounge in 1966, well, you may be right.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Bye Bye Love

They were just another band out of Boston. But they weren’t Boston. Nor were they Aerosmith. The city by the bay—Massachusetts Bay, that is—produced a trio of iconic rock bands in the mid-to-late Seventies: the aforementioned pair and our favorite of the trio, The Cars.

On Sunday night the founder and quasi-lead singer of that band, Ric Ocasek, was found dead in his Gramercy Park apartment home. Ocasek, a towering and Tim Burtonesque figure at 6’4″, was 75.

A year before his death Ocasek split from his longtime model-wife, Paulina Porizkova, and also saw the long-overdue induction of The Cars into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, where he’d gone to high school.

For us, we consider The Cars’ eponymous debut album perhaps THE most playable album, beginning to end, we’ve ever listened to. It’s pretty much perfect. We can still remember where we were the first time we heard “Bye Bye Love”: in the western Arizona desert, on a Thanksgiving morning drive to Disneyland when we were 13. That song is our favorite from Ocasek’s band (even if Benjamin Orr is the lead singer on it). God bless The Cars, god bless Ric Ocasek.

One Ticket To…

  • Dude’s holding a cigarette on his debut album cover. The end was written long ago.

We thought we’d give Eddie Money (nee Eddie Mahoney of Levittown, Long Island) his own item. Money, whose career peak nearly overlapped that of The Cars—mid-to-late Seventies to mid-Eighties—died Friday at the age of 70 from complications due to esophageal cancer. He’d been a longtime smoker.

Always a solo act, Money had a couple big radio hits early on (“Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets To Paradise”), started out in the family business: he became a New York City cop as his dad and grandpa were/had been. But he left the force and ultimately moved to the Bay Area during the Summer of Love. He supported himself by selling bell bottoms.

(For the kids, that’s Ronnie Spector, original doo-wop girl, and this is Late Night with David Letterman at its peak, 1986)

Three things we particularly love about Money: 1) when everyone thought he was over, by a long period of time, he conjured a hit that drew on his early teen years as a doo-wop singer, “Take Me Home Tonight.” Not only is it infectiously catchy and fun, but it became a staple of MTV in 1986. 2) He never quite looked cool on stage but he always looked like he was trying, and 3) In HBO’s The Kominsky Method last year, he had a cameo as himself playing in an Eddie Money cover band at a casino for tax purposes (give the writer who thought of that conceit a gold star).

Fired Up

Sideline heaters in the NFL have come quite a long way…

Meanwhile in Denver, in the final minute, THIS was flagged as unnecessary roughness and likely altered the outcome of the Bears-Broncos games. Somewhere Y.A. Tittle is howling.

NBC’s Why? Cam

So prepared was NBC for viewer and Twitter “overreaction” to their new technological innovation, the “Sideline Sky Cam,” that they came out with a preemptive mansplaining piece about it on this weekend. Also, you have to love the “Here To Stay” aspect of the headline. I’m sure Josef Stalin would approve of the authoritarian nature of that. It’s not, “a new view we’re trying out,” it’s “get used to it, kids, you have no say in the matter.”

So why even bother writing the persuasive piece, Rob Hyland? You don’t care what we think, anyway.

This play is a textbook example of why, for us, it’s a fail. The player coming in motion from the bottom of your screen, Avery Davis, will take the shovel pass and turn left upfield. The camera, with such a tight angle on the LOS, almost completely loses him. And then, near the end of the play, the shot is so tight on him that you don’t get much of a sense as to how much Davis beep! beep!’ed his way past the Lobo secondary.

As a replay angle, it has its merits. But you know, football and basketball are perfect for television because the field of play conforms to your television: they’re all rectangular. Give us the panoramic shot so that we can see what’s going on and there’s no need to move the camera DURING THE PLAY. Our eyes will figure it out. We’ve only been doing this our entire lives.

Meanwhile, we’ll refer to this as the Chicago Sky Cam, showing how that WNBA team lost a playoff game to the Las Vegas Aces on a final-seconds turnover. Love it.

Thank You For Vaping

Here’s the difference between OxyContin and vaping: no one ever pretended that the latter was good for you. If you ask us, there should never be any prohibitions on vaping because Americans of high school age and up should have the right to A) look as douchey as they possibly can and B) slowly kill themselves while doing it. I mean, even if vaping were not bad for your health, if you cannot see how much of a douche you look like as you sit at a table with your friends and then clandestinely move your fist to your mouth with your vape stuck tucked into your palm so that you can do a quick puff (I so relish catching these D-bags doing so at the cookoutateria and explaining in a voice all their friends can hear that you cannot vape here), then you sorta deserve what’s coming to you.

It’s all part of the freedom mandate. Give me liberty AND give me death.

As for OxyContin, whose manufacturer Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy today as a hedge against the mass class-action suit being filed against it, no mercy. They were selling their product as a painkiller designed as therapy when actually the highly addictive drug is responsible for probably more deaths annually than guns. F them and F the entire Sackler family, which an NY AG investigation found last week had wired up to $1 billion in transfers to other entities they control, and financial institutions, to hide it from plaintiffs and to post a lower balance sheet when the attorneys come calling. That’s straight-up Donnie Trump gangsta’ism.

Remote Patrol

Browns at Jets

8 p.m. ESPN

We mention tonight’s Monday Night Football matchup only because it’s the 50th season of MNF and these two franchises met in the inaugural matchup on September 21, 1970. Since then they’ve combined to win…(checks notes)…zero Super Bowls.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Retweeting myself but I’m in a self-indulgent mood this morning…

Starting Five

Mass Debaters*

*The judges will also accept “Say It Ain’t Joe”

We didn’t watch—again— but everything we read from Twitter informs us that the Democratic party and its denizens/tweeps still conforms to the same rules that they allegedly are so up in arms about. Joe Biden, the older white guy with the best pedigree, doesn’t actually need to have the best performance at a debate in order to have “done just enough” to maintain his supposed lead among the Dems. Where have we heard that type of rationalizing before besides just about every corporate board room in America?

Related: Was having an interesting conversation last night with a cookoutateria coworker last night who just returned from a month in France. His mother lives there full-time and he is a dual citizen. He says that many French want “Frexit” and are concerned about the mass migration of foreigners (read: Africa, Middle East) into France. France is a socialist country where people pay very high taxes but where college and health care are free. And unemployment, especially among the working class, is high.

My friend says that native French are worried about immigrants taking their jobs and also about how they will continue to be able to support such socialist systems with the infusion of so many newcomers. I honestly don’t know if these fears are valid or not; only passing on that the USA is not the only major Western country dealing with this.

As I’ve said before, and I’ll repeat now: I’m not a Republican or Democrat. I’m a Sports Values Party member (SVP!). What does that mean? That I conform to two principles, which are fundamental aspects in sports: 1) the same rules should apply to all and 2) Outcomes should be merit-based (i.e., if you perform better on the field/court, you win; and if you don’t, you lose).

(Beto is the Obama of the 2020 race; but America may not be ready to return to such a political figure right now)

Looking ahead, all I see is a crowded field of semi-socialists and no one with the charisma or dynamic charm (or at least no one who the most powerful members of the party will allow to step up and out: i.e. Beto, Pete, Liz) to take out Trump. Biden or Bernie? Well, if you’re a Never Trumper you’ll vote for a burlap sack of rice over the incumbent (and it will likely have a tariff on it), but if the stock market is where it is today (near a record-high) and it there’s no war or major world crisis, I really do think it’s going to be tough to knock out the Donald.

We’ll see. But all I see is a bunch of soft middleweights who claim they want to take on the school bully. Where’s Nick Saban when you need him?

Black Out

Gregory Cheadle, who was famously singled out by then-candidate Donald Trump as “my African-American” during a 2016 campaign stop in California, is now denouncing the GOP. Speaking to PBS NewsHour last night, Cheadle said he is tired of the Republican party pursuing a “pro-white” agenda and using African-Americans as “political pawns.”

Really? You don’t say?

President Trump took the news gracefully, as is his nature, and told Cheadle he still loved the work he did in Hotel Rwanda. Also assured him that he will not be black-listed if he attempts to stay at a Trump property. Which is nice.

Send In The Clown

Even Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the geniuses who created The Office, never considered this story arc. An employee at an Auckland, New Zealand, ad agency knew that he was going to be terminated. So when he was called in for his redundancy meeting, he was accompanied by an…emotional support clown.

During the meeting the clown blew up balloons and made animal figures out of them. And then when the paperwork was produced for the necessary signatures, the clown mimed crying. This scene has to be better than anything that ad agency has ever produced, no?

To Air Is Human

Who knew that the climate change debate would extend to the visitors’ locker room at Texas. LSU coach Ed Orgeron, who earlier this week said that his team dressed in stifling heat beneath Darrel K. Royal Stadium in Austin due to a dearth of air-conditioning, was yesterday confronted with something worse than burnt-orange truthers. He was met with Texas-produced air-conditioning data.

The Longhorns produced spreadsheet after spreadsheet detailing the locker room temp before the game (68 F) and after (72-73 F). This makes the Longhorns the first team in the Big 12 to run the Spreadsheet Offense. Our work here is done.

Breaking Away Turns 40

If you’ve never seen Breaking Away, which celebrated its 40th anniversary of its release date yesterday, do yourself a favor and go. It’s a perfect film.

Funny, and poignant. And that cast. Dennis Quaid‘s breakout role. Daniel Stern, who would go on to voice the Kevin Arnold adult narrator character in The Wonder Years and be the hapless villain in the Home Alone films. Jackie Earle Haley, who was already an icon for kids my age having played Kelly Leak in The Bad News Bears films. And then Dennis Christopher, who would never have a role anywhere close to this one again, but who deserved at least a nomination for Best Actor at the Oscars.

A group of working-class kids from Bloomington, Indiana, dealing with growing up and growing apart? Handled with humor, pathos and lots of Italian.

Also, if you think about it, three fantastic sports movies based in Indiana were released in a 15-year period: This, Hoosiers and Rudy. And for me at least, that’s the same order I’d rank them.


by John Walters

Starting Five

T. Boone Checks Out

Thomas Boones Pickens,, Jr., better known as T. Boone Pickens, dies at the age of 91. Pickens was the “Oracle of Oil,” a megabillionaire, who had attend ed Texas A&M on a hoops scholarship, gotten injured, lost the scholarship, and then transferred to Oklahoma A&M (State). He would become synonymous with college donors, as he was to the Cowboys what Phil Knight is to Oregon. The football stadium is named after him.

Just Iffy*

*The judges will also accept “Neigh It Ain’t So”

According to a report in The New York Times, 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify failed a drug test in April of that year, after winning the Santa Anita Derby, but nothing was ever done about it.

Oh, yes, a second drug test was taken for the banned substance scopolamine, and its results confirmed the first finding—three days after the Kentucky Derby. Then the California Horse Racing Board sat on its hands until August 23rd before finally deciding to simply dismiss the case.

So apparently horses can also get white male privilege, as long as they win the Triple Crown.

Smash Fest

With nearly three weeks remaining in the baseball season, Major League Baseball set a record for home runs hit in one season last night. In Baltimore Jonathan Villar hit a three-run homer off Caleb Ferguson of the Dodgers in the 7th inning, the 6,106th home run walloped in 2019.

The previous mark of 6,105 was set in 2017. Before that, the mark had been set in 2000. It’s funny that an Oriole smote that shot since Baltimore has allowed an MLB-record 280 home runs this season.

We don’t know if this is or will be a record, but there are currently 40 MLB players who have hit at least 30 home runs this season. By season’s end there may be as many as 50 who reach that standard. Here is a list of what the annual leaders hit.

Is Super Earth Inhabitable?

Scientists have concluded that K2-18b, by far the least sexiest name for a plant ever, may have water vapor and would be able to support human life (so there’s a chance we can destroy another celestial body. Yay!). The exoplanet, which is eight times the mass of Earth and a mere 110 light years from our planet (if you avoid rush-hour traffic), supposedly was observed to have the signature data for water, hydrogen and helium. Scientists also believe they observed a community theater troupe, but will need to do more testing.

Heeeeeeres’ Johnny!

Our comic fave John Mulaney is on the cover of October’s issue of Esquire, which his parents will find funny since they are both lawyers. Here’s the cover story.

We were all aboard the Mulaney Hype Train a full five years ago. We remember sitting with him in a coffee shop on a cold April day in Greenwich Village and assuring him that someday, yes, he would be a guest on “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.” He seemed doubtful, dubious at best. He’s obviously come a lot further. He’s a good and hyper-intelligent and super-funny dude, and he probably owes at least 101% of that to his parents .


by John Walters

Starting Five

John’s Boltin’

Did National Security Advisor John Bolton resign or was he fired? I guess it depends on whose word you take. Oh, wait, one of those guys is Donald Trump? Then I’ll take the other guy’s word.

Word on the street is that President Trump is considering either Dr. Strangelove or General Irko from Planet of the Apes to fill the vacant position. Or Tucker Carlson. You never really know.

“He’s a great general. People are saying he’s the greatest general. Even if he is from another planet.”

Yelich, Youch!

Bad news out of Sud City, as Milwaukee Brewer super-duperstar Christian Yelich fractures his kneecap after fouling a pitch off it. He’s out for the remainder of the season and his chances for a repeat NL MVP trophy are now at risk. Yelich, 27, retires for 2019 with 44 home runs, 97 RBI and a .329 batting average.

Austin Power Outage?

LSU’s Coach Ed Orgeron, who may best be described as the unholy matrimony between Marvel Comics’ Thing and an alligator, alleges that there was no air-conditioning in the visitors’ locker room for the LSU-Texas game Saturday night. Also, that the bath towels were unscented and the body wash was actually also the conditioner (happens a lot at my gym, too, Coach O).

Coach O., speaking to reporters Monday, said that LSU had been tipped off about the lack of A/C (it was 95 degrees at kickoff) by the Longhorns’ previous opponent, Louisiana Tech. So LSU brought their own fans. But when Texas heard about that, it placed the fans in the upper deck of Darrell K Royal Stadium.

Sioux Falls Nearly Does

Here’s a scary term for you: Midnight Tornado (unless it’s the name of my newly formed thrash-metal band, which it is). Two tornados struck Sioux Falls, South Dakota, around midnight last night which made us think a few things: 1) Will we ever get to Sioux Falls, S.D., in our lifetime? 2) How come you never hear about tornados that strike after dark? Are they like Big Ten football games? 3) If it weren’t for social media, could a tornado strike Sioux Falls and level it without anyone outside Sioux Falls knowing about it? 4) Isn’t “Sioux” a cool word and how indebted are we to Native Americans for having cooler words than ours? (Apache and Seminole and Cherokee, all cool words).

Why Not Minot?

The play of last week in college football took place in Duluth, Minnesota, as Cory Carignan of Division II Minot State returned a kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown versus Minnesota-Duluth. Of course this only happened because Carignan, a freshman from Arvada, Calif., initially fumbled the kickoff.

The Beavers would lose, 52-7. This, then, was their only score in their season opener.

Music 101

Rain King

I will always, as the kids say, “stan” for August And Everything After, Counting Crows‘ heavily lauded and even more loudly despised debut album. In between all the Rolling Stone critics decrying the band ripping off Van Morrison and others (because they’re the first band to be derivative?) are some terrific songs. The problem, for me, was always that they released “Mr. Jones” as the first single when there are at least five tunes as good or better on the album: “Anna Begins,” “Round Here,” “Murder Of One,” “Sullivan Street” and our favorite, this one. It still comes on at our restaurant and every time I hear it, I still enjoy that mandolin-melting-into-guitar opening. And finish: “Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah/I ammmmm the Rain King/Yeaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh.”

Remote Patrol

The Great Dictator

4 p.m. TCM

12 Angry Men

8 p.m. TCM

Two classics in one night, as Turner earns the “C” in its name. In the first, Charlie Chaplin, in his first true “talkie,” from 1940, as a Jewish barber who just happens to bear a striking resemblance to a certain ruthless anti-Semitic dictator based on someone you know. Remember, this was released in 1940 when the U.S.A. and Germany were still formally at peace.

Funny thing about Chaplin. He’s not known for it, because you only see him in costume/disguise, but he actually was quite handsome. He had leading man looks. See for yourself:

The latter film, from 1957, puts a dozen men in one room and somehow results in a compelling drama. It’s all about the power of persuasion and the hopeful belief that when faced with the truth, that men may be able to overcome their own deeply held beliefs/prejudices. Watch and observe the final holdouts and tell me if they don’t remind you of any present-day types.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five


The WNBA gets lost in the sports shuffle because, let’s face it, it has really never caught on as a pro league even though it’s been around nearly two dozen years. Women’s soccer captured the nation’s imagination greater back in June; women’s hoops only approaches that when Geno goes off on some poor (poorly coached) team.

Anyway, here’s Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics, who this season became the first female (joining the likes of Steve Nash and Larry Bird) to compile a 40-50-90 season: 40% from beyond the arc, 50% from the field, 90% from the free throw line.

The 6’5″ forward, who turned 30 last week, shot 43% from beyond the arc, 51.5% from the field and a ridiculous 97.4% from the line. Because Delle Donne turned down UConn (at the very last minute) and chose to stay close to home and play at Delaware (she has one sibling and he she is special needs), Delle Donne entered the WNBA without the Taurasi-an fanfare to which she was somewhat entitled. But she’s beginning to make up for it. This is a truly remarkable achievement.


“See you in Septemberrrr”

They’re teammates now. Potential roomies. Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, Gisele Bundchen and whatever two random shorties happen to be occupying ABs bed. And you want to watch The Bachelorette? Or Edge NFL Matchup? Good grief.

Incidentally, we LOVE this. It’s everything you’ve ever needed to describe Bill Belichick in 8 seconds or less.


Cole fanned 15 Ms on Sunday

We’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen—and no one will—that the Astros remain the best team in baseball, primarily because they still have Justin Verlander (and Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke) and you don’t. In the last two games, versus the often hapless Seattle Mariners and the not-hapless Oakland A’s, the Astros have won 21-1 and 15-0, respectively. That’s a two-game, 48-hours, 36-1 explosion.

This on top of Verlander’s no-hitter the previous weekend.

The de facto World Series will most likely be played between the Yankees and Astro next month. The official World Series will be an after-dinner decaf almond milk cappucino.

Summer Fall

Ants Marching

It happened again. Rule No. 1. At our favorite jelly-legs national park spot, Half Dome at Yosemite. A young woman from Lake Havasu City, Arizona, was climbing the cables last week when she slipped and fell, oh, about 500 feet, to her death.

Look at that. People do this every summer. I wussed out (sorry to have squandered someone else’s lottery slot). I’m not ashamed.

The cables were erected in 1919. In 2010 the permit system was established to limit the number of climbers. No word on how the hiker, 29 year-old Danielle Burnett, came to meet her mortal fate other than that she fell and didn’t stop until 500 feet later.

Half Dome is one of, if not THE, most impressive geological formations in North America. Definitely see it. Definitely hike as far as the folks in the picture above. If you decide to go to the top, best of luck. I’ll wait right here.


Pardon The Interruption: Gotta run to talk to the redoubtable Ralph Russo for his podcast. Today, 9-10-19, is my first palindromic birthday. Thrilled.


And we’re back…

Track Jenny Rules Again

She did it again. Jenny Simpson won her SEVENTH CONSECUTIVE Fifth Avenue Mile this weekend and did so in a course-record 4:16.10.

You could make a solid argument that, outside of this blog and, Simpson is the most unheralded-relative-to-her-feats athlete in the U.S.A. this past decade.

Simply put, Simpson, a three-time Olympian, has been the best American miler for roughly a decade. She’s the only American female to win a medal in the Olympic 1500 (the metric mile; she won bronze in Rio) EVER. Since the race became an Olympic women’s even in 1972. And Simpson really is a super person, kind and honest and humble and hard-working. We’re just here to give her the love she deserves.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Winner Winner

A classic in Queens as 6’6″ Russian Daniil Medvedev, persona non grata in New York a week ago after trolling the U.S. Open crowd, won them all over in a five-set final for the ages. Related: Medvedev lost to Rafael Nadal but who really cares?

The digits: 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4.

Medvedev nearly lost in straight sets, but rallied to force a fourth set and then a fifth. Then, down 5-2 in the fifth set, he nearly broke serve twice to force a 5-5 draw but then Nadal, 209-1 in his career when winning the first two sets of a five-set match, did what he do.

Nadal now has 19 career grand slams, just one behind Roger Federer, 38, and a torch passing seems inexorable. For Medvedev, 23, it was the breakout moment for a funny and charismatic future champion.

She Brought Her ‘Eh’ Game*

*The judges will also accept “Casa Bianca”

One night earlier in Flushing, 19 year-old Bianca Andreescu of Canada (by way of Romania) upset Serena Williams in straight sets in the U.S. Open women’s final. Andreescu becomes the first Canadian, male or female, ever to win a Grand Slam singles title, and the first person in the 139-year history of the U.S. Open to win the title in her main-draw debut.

A year ago, Andreescu said she was “at home, sitting on my butt” during the Open. Serena Williams, meanwhile, loser a fourth consecutive Grand Slam final since reaching 23 in her career. She remains one behind Margaret Court on the all-time list.

As for Andreescu, the daughter of Romanian immigrants who fled to Canada a quarter century earlier with nothing more than what they had in their suitcases, she was asked if it was more difficult to grow up in Canada as the daughter of immigrants. ““Definitely not,” she said. “No, Canada is such an amazing country. It’s so multi-cultural. I had no trouble growing up having Romanian parents whatsoever. That’s why I love my country so, so much.”

Is USC An Awakening Giant?

And a child shall lead them…

Those of you us putting USC on life support after quarterback J.T. Daniels was lost for the season in the first half of the first game due to a torn ACL, who saw them narrowly escape Fresno State, who watched as they fell behind 17-3 to Stanford at the Mausoleum on Saturday night…we were wrong.

The Trojans went on a 42-3 run to end the contest, boat-racing the Cardinal back to Palo Alto. True frosh QB Kedon Slovis of Scottsdale, the newly installed pilot of USC’s “Heir Raid” Offense, has completed 82.9% of his passes. There’s only one quarterback in FBS with as high a completion rate after two games: MH Red Grange frontrunner Jalen Hurts of Oklahoma.

If USC can tackle BYU in Provo on Saturday (the Cougs may be feeling some momentum after a Lazarus-like win in Knoxville), then upset No. 11 Utah on a Friday night in L.A. (what they did to Wazzu last season) and then beat an overrated U-Dub in Seattle, well, then they’d come to South Bend in mid-October 5-0. It could happen. Never thought we’d be saying that 9 days earlier.

Jackson’s Five

In the most impressive display of the NFL’s opening Sunday, second-year Raven quarterback Lamar Jackson throws five touchdown passes as Baltimore drowns Miami, 59-10. Jackson was one of two NFL QBs yesterday who finished with a perfect 158.3 passer rating (the other being Dallas’ Dak Prescott), though as Fox’s Troy Aikman wondered aloud, and we agree, how can it be perfect if the QB throws even one incompletion (Jackson threw three).

We’re going off on a tangent here, but this is just another example of common sense versus analytics. The analytics guys will tell you that you don’t understand how passer rating works, while the common sense guys (raises hand!) will reply that you don’t understand the meaning of perfect. If something is perfect, by definition it cannot be improved upon. And if you go 17 of 20 passing, as Jackson did, then it can be improved upon. Which is not to say it wasn’t fantastic.

Also worth noting: Rookie Gardner Minshew, in relief of Nick Foles (broken clavicle, will miss at least 10 games), completed his first 13 NFL passes and finished 22 of 25 in a defeat. This is going to derail his grad assistant coaching career for at least a season, we suspect.


This one has Tom Rinaldi written all over it, and for once I cannot blame him. For a “College Colors” theme day at Altamonte School in Florida, a young student decided to represent his favorite team, the Tennessee Volunteers. But he did not own any official gear, so he made his own T-shirt.

Of course, his classmates bullied him, partly because of the homemade shirt and partly, let’s be honest, because he’s a Tennessee fan living in Florida. But the boy’s teacher went all Facebook in support of him, word got out to the Tennessee athletic department, and now the school has an officially licensed T-shirt based on his design (if you’re looking to buy me a birthday present, Susie B.).

My guess is that the school will soon run out of its official supply. But I wonder if any of the proceeds are going to the boy. Finally, this story ends perfectly in 12 to 14 years when the kids grows up to be a five-star quarterback in Florida but signs with Tennessee. Hope I’m around to see that.

Music 101

You Still Believe In Me

No sound better fit its place and time than the Beach Boys‘ with the southern California coastline of the Sixties. Just another ethereal, melancholy Brian Wilson classic from arguably the greatest pop-rock album ever made. Instruments played on this track include a harpsichord, timpani, clarinet and bicycle horn. They also plucked piano strings with a bobby pin.

Remote Patrol

Set Free


No, this is not Malcolm Gladwell

When John Mulaney sends out a tweet saying that a comedy special is “above and beyond,” we are more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Simon Amstell, 39, is a British comedian and Brits are funnier than we are (unless you’re from Minnesota, which puts you somewhere in between).


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

WUT?!? Don’t they know the first move is to remove the tats?

Starting Five


He’s Antonio! He’s not your dog!

I don’t even know—or care—what the latest Raider nonsense with Antonio Brown actually is. See, kids, not caring about the NFL is good for you.

10-3, Good Buddy

Speaking of which, the Packers defeated the Bears 10-3 in blizzard-like conditions in Soldier Field. The wind was wailing, snow falling diagonally, and hence you can appreciate why both teams could only manage a total of one touchdown and two field goals.

The game’s leading rusher, someone named Aaron Jones, finished with 39 yards on 13 carries. There was reportedly a “game-winning punt.” Lordy. Is it Saturday yet?

Pray For Alabama

Last September, or was it two Septembers ago, it was Puerto Rico that was bludgeoned by a hurricane and the media (bad!) barely covered it. This time it’s Alabama, a land from which I’ve seen zero windbreakers-on-the-ground reports in the wake of Dorian’s destruction. What is WRONG with you people?

Fortunately we have a president who has shown that he will not abandon these Alabamians, no matter what their race or creed. Courage.

Downtown Montgomery, this a.m.

Meanwhile, the Crimson Tide will go ahead with their game versus New Mexico State in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. Sure, some folks will see this as insensitive, with all the downed power lines and flooded-out barbecue joints and such, but we can’t let Mother Nature slow us down.

Casting Abroad

You may view the trailer for the soon-to-be-released film Bombshell and think about what a pig Roger Ailes was. And you’d be right. But can we also take a moment to note that the three major roles went to a pair of Australian women (Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie) and a South African (Charlize Theron)? And they’re all playing American blondes.

What in the good name of Farrah Fawcett (and Grace Kelly) is happening here? Why isn’t the U.S. of A. producing quality blonde bombshell actresses any more? (Obama’s fault, obs). Saoirse Ronan? Irish. ScarJo? Long Island, and not even a real blonde. How are we supposed to Make America Great Again when our greatest blonde actress (Emma Stone) dyes her hair auburn???

Meet Kamuysaurus japonicus

Scientists have discovered the remains of a 72 million year-old dinosaur in Japan. Its name: Kamuysaursu japonicas. The duck-billed dino is not the first of its kind and seems unlikely to displace another dinosaur as the island nation’s most popular giant lizard…