IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Get Out, Mrs. Bear!

Tsunaminations*

*The judges will also accept “The Shape Of Water”

As Tuesday opens, the big stories are a monster tsunami possibly bearing down on Alaska following a 7.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast and the Oscar nominations bearing down on Hollywood. The winner in both instances is GET OUT!

2. Early Predictions (Should Win and Will Win)

Best Actress

  • Sally Hawkins, The Shape Of Water
  • Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
  • Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
  • Meryl Streep, The Post

Should Win: Meryl Streep or Saoirse Ronan

Will Win: Frances McDormand (UGHH!!!!)

Best Actor

  • Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
  • Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
  • Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
  • Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
  • Denzel Washington, Roman J Israel, Esq

Should Win: Daniel Day-Lewis

Will Win: Gary Oldman

*We haven’t seen Call Me By Your Name, but maybe the kid pulls off a surprise.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Mary J Blige, Mudbound
  • Allison Janney, I, Tonya
  • Lesley Manville, Phantom Thread
  • Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
  • Octavia Spencer, The Shape of Water

Should Win: Laurie Metcalf

Will Win: Allison Janney

Best Supporting Actor

  • Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
  • Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
  • Richard Jenkins, The Shape Of Water
  • Christopher Plummer, All the Money in the World
  • Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Should Win: Willem Dafoe?

Will Win: Sam Rockwell

Best Animated Picture

CoCo 

Surest thing at the Oscars, and it deserves it. Should’ve been a Best Picture nom.

Best Picture

  • Call Me By Your Name
  • Darkest Hour
  • Dunkirk
  • Get Out
  • Lady Bird
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Post
  • The Shape of Water
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Should Win: Get Out 

Will Win: Three Billboards

3. From Shutdown To Shut Up

Alas, it’s Miller Time

A 32 year-old white supremacist whose entire approach to humanity is modeled after that nervous Martin Short character on Saturday Night Live, Nathan Thurm, back in the Eighties is shaping national policy.

We don’t understand the entire story, admittedly, but Stephen Miller appears to have held the government hostage by telling the Dems, “Look, if you want child health care then you are going to have to vote for THE WALL.” And the Dems caved. A reminder that Miller associated with Richard Spencer while an undergrad at (David) Duke University and worked for Jeff Sessions a few years back. America used to laugh at people like this. Sad!

4. In Plane View*

*The judges will reluctantly accept “Marilyn Hartman, Marilyn Hartman”

This 66 year-old Illinois woman, Marilyn Hartman, looks more Downton Abbey than Homeland, but it turns out she’s potentially quite lethal. Potentially.

Last week Hartman slipped past security at O’Hare Airport and flew to London, where customs officials detained her. She has previously flown from San Jose to Los Angeles and Minneapolis to Jacksonville without a ticket. Arrest her? Why, she should be giving TED talks.

5. CNN’s Second-Generation Tubers

You already know that Anderson Cooper is the son of Gloria Vanderbilt, and you probably also know that Chris Cuomo is the son of former New York City mayor Mario Cuomo (and current New York governor Andrew Cuomo). Did you know that CNN White House correspondent Pamela Brown is the daughter of erstwhile CBS NFL Today uberbabe Phyllis George (and former Kentucky governor John Y. Brown)? Well, she is.

Ask your parents: Phyllis George was the original Erin Andrews.

 

Music 101

Psycho Killer

Smarter than most, eccentric and slightly aloof: the Talking Heads were the psycho killer of bands. This song was written in 1974 but became their breakout hit in 1977 (relatively speaking, as it peaked at 92 on the Billboard chart), a time when the Zodiac and the Son of Sam were still on loose and Charles Manson had only been imprisoned a few years earlier. Related: We may be watching too much Mindhunter of late.

Remote Patrol

No. 5 Kansas at No. 12 Oklahoma

7 p.m. ESPN

If you have yet to watch Trae Young, who leads all of Division I in both Scoring (30.5 per game) and Assists (9.7 per), here’s your chance. OU is going to have the nation’s Heisman winner and Naismith winner this academic year. The Jayhawks won the Big 12 outright or tied for it in the regular season 13 consecutive years.

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Love Is All Around

Even the New England Patriots knew they had no business beating the Jaguars (Jag-wires?) in the AFC Championship Game. Gronk left the game in the second quarter as birds chirped around his head, 40 year-old Tom Brady had 12 stitches in his throwing hand, and both coordinators, Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia (above), are headed to greener pastures.

This is probably the 1,000th time Robert Kraft has told Brady, “I wish you were my son”

Then Dion Lewis fumbled at the end of a double pass play after a gain of 22 yards. Myles Jack stripped him of the ball. Jags led 20-10, early fourth quarter, with the ball. They could’ve put the Patriots away right then, pretty much put the dynasty to bed.

They failed. If you have to point to one play, point to Brady converting a 3rd-and-18 when New England trailed 20-10 (that’s the same score Alabama trailed Georgia by in the 4th quarter of the NCG). Belichick and Brady will make their eighth Super Bowl appearance together. It’s as if Brady looked at the young Jags and barked, “The **** out of the way!”

And yes, even the zebras, who flagged New England ONCE yesterday, seemed in awe of this franchise.

2. Is Nate Silver Meaningless? (Spoiler Alert: Yes)

 

 Yesterday afternoon, after the New England Patriots scored a 4th quarter touchdown, self-proclaimed and ESPN-annointed probability guru Nate Silver posted the above tweet. I immediately, as is my habit, ripped it as meaningless (I guess I could’ve called it Fake News, but we’re all tired of it). Then one of Silver’s minions, an analytics dude, called me “innumerate.”

Here’s my point: the assumption that the factors that lead one to determine that the Jags, with a 20-17 lead at Foxborough in the 4th quarter of the AFC Championship game against Brady and Belichick, the assumption that any analytics prior to that moment are predictive of that moment, are absolute—how can I put it quantitatively?—horse sh*t.

Amendola’s go-ahead/winning TD catch was somewhat improbable, too, if you have NOT been watching New England the pas 17 seasons

The sport games, they involve people and emotions and certain teams reacting certain ways at certain moments. Moreover, unlike say a weather pattern or flipping a coin 100 times, the variables to this game are unique: they have never occurred before and will never occur again. To discount those variables and instead use cold analytics from, say, every NFL game the past 10 seasons when the visiting team held a 3-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, is to be so obtuse as to how sports work as to be a willful idiot.

New England won, of course, thereby “defying” Nate’s probability odds. But so what? That doesn’t make the outcome of the next game New England plays with high stakes any more or less likely. Because the conditions will not be anywhere near the same.

3. March-a, March-a, March-a

Sacramento

As females far and wide took to the streets Saturday for the second annual Women’s March, the curious coincidence of it being the first day of the government shutdown made everything just that much more poignant.

Meanwhile, the president was either being obtuse (there’s that word again) or simply trolling all the ladies:

 

 

But at least he was “working hard” at his desk (notice all the paperwork and the high-tech gadgets):

“Where’s the TV? Where’s the clicker?”

4. Too Heil A Price

At the famed Barrett-Jackson auto show in Scottsdale this weekend, a 1939 Mercedes-Benz 770K Grosser Offener Tourenwagen that once served as the official vehicle for Adolf Hitler was put up for auction.

Someone bid $7 million for it, but that price failed to meet the undisclosed minimum that the seller had set for it. Had the car sold, the seller had promised that 10% of the proceeds would go to a Jewish human-rights organization. When sheikhs are spending $450 million for paintings, $7 million for the Fuhrer’s ride is a little low. You’ve got to bid more than that, Mr. Miller.

5. Sixty Shades of Gray

This report from the BBC was startling: Moscow, Russia, received a total of six minutes of sunshine for the entire month of December, 2017. Imagine that: If yo went to take a dump at the wrong moment you missed the only available sunlight of the entire month. Above, I imagine, is one of the brighter moments of last month.

Reserves

 

Yes, but did Schefty undergo concussion protocol?

***

Manchester City has lost since we wrote about them being undefeated in EPL play earlier this month, but down in Spain F.C. Barcelona remains undefeated in La Liga. Barca is 17-3-0 after a 5-0 win at Real Betis.

****

“I am Kristen Bell, and I am a narcissist” was the host’s best line from last night’s SAG awards. Three Billboards cleaned up again (Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Ensemble Cast) and please someone tell me that this film makes any sense to them. One example: the ex-military dude, whom we will later find out could not possibly be the suspect, enters the grieving mother’s curio shop and throws a cup at her head when he’s not the murderer and in fact doesn’t even live in that town??? That makes any sense, why? And this is like the 17th-most implausible thing that happens in this movie….

Music 101

In The Light

This haunting Led Zeppelin tune from 1975’s Physical Graffiti was used, nearly in full, to overlap the final five minutes of the first season of Netflix’s Mindhunter. If you’ve seen the show, this songs will stay with you for awhile.

Remote Patrol

Mindhunter

Netflix

Kemper (middle) with the real-life FBI agents who inspired the book and series

Finished Season 1 and you MUST watch. A few reasons: the interview with Richard Speck, the final scene with Ed Kemper in the ICU unit, the interview with the Georgia tree trimmer/murderer, Anna Torv, and last but not least, the sense of foreboding every time the words “PARK CITY, KANSAS” appear onscreen.

This video is a good intro/companion to the series, if you’ve yet to watch.

The Bitcoin Tease

by John Walters

Today, Friday, January 19, is the final day you can purchase Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) at its current value. At the moment that is $1,818. On Monday the company will do a 91-for-1 (don’t ask about the 91 thing) stock split, meaning that if you own one share today, you will own 91 on Monday.

Is it worth it?

I’m only including this item—and separately from IAH!—so that you’re armed with knowledge. A year ago today GBTC was selling for $118 per share, which means that it’s value is up more than 15 times in the past year. That’s almost unheard of. If you put $10,000 down on GBTC on January 19, 2017, that would now be worth $154,000.

However, a month ago yesterday GBTC was selling at an all-time high of $3,485 per share, which means that its value has nearly halved in just the past month. Which way will the stock go now that its per share price (about $20 per share come Monday) will be so much more accessible to the home investor? We’ll see.

I’m not telling you what to do here. Just advising that the game’s taking place.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

1. Flake News, Fake News, Fox News and The Post

The Washington Post made Senator Jeff Flake’s (R-Arizona) Tuesday speech very easy to digest right here, but one line stands out for me: “It bears noting that so fraught with malice was the phrase ‘enemy of the people,’ [used by Donald Trump last year in reference to the press] that even Nikita Khrushchev forbade its use, telling the Soviet Communist Party that the phrase had been introduced by Stalin for the purpose of “annihilating such individuals.”

Of course Fox News shredded Flake for using that line, telling its viewers that Flake compared Trump to Stalin and noting that the latter was responsible for the deaths of 20 million people. That’s what’s known as a straw man argument.

Meanwhile, Trump “handed out” his Fake News awards via Twitter the following night. After singling out CNN and a few others, he did his media-tailored version of “and some of them, I assume, are good people,” by noting that there were “many great reporters I respect,” (all of whom work at Fox, one assumes).

The Supreme Court voted in favor of the 1st Amendment, 6-3

Meanwhile, last night I saw The Post, in which a thin-skinned president gets so upset with a newspaper printing the truth that he bans them from being inside the White House, only to have that same newspaper end his presidency two years later. There’s a line in the film, tossed in as an aside near the end, in which someone says, “If a president can’t keep secrets, how can he effectively govern?”

George Orwell said it best, and Flake referenced this lien in his speech, ““The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.”

2. Sea Ya Later

According to NASA, which is not known as a liberal faction, the five warmest years on record (since we started recording stats, which are for losers, in 1880) have all taken place since 1880. Warm years mean melting ice, which mean higher sea levels, which means bad news for the Bangladeshi island of Kutubdia, which may soon no longer exist.

3. President Rump

At 239 pounds (listed), Donald Trump is the third-heaviest president in U.S. history behind (and there’s a lot of it) William Howard Taft and Grover Cleveland (who was president twice). Taft, who served from 1909-1913 weighed as much as 340 pounds, though he did go on a diet in office and lost 60 pounds. He died at the age of 72.

Cleveland, who served from 1885-1889 and 1893-1897 (he is our 22nd and 24th president), weighed in the 240-280 range. He died at the age of 71.

Taft, as both prez and then later Chief Justice, was likely closer to a stable genius

Trump is 71 and will turn 72 in June, on Flag Day. He supplants as the third-heaviest president in U.S. history a man named Bill Clinton.

Taft was a pretty impressive dude, by the way, as he was also Chief Justice of the Supreme Court after leaving the White House. He is the only man ever to hold both jobs.

4. Stats Are For Losers

Allen could be one of the few people who’s ever worn brown in both college in the NFL as the primary uniform color

Yes, but if the Cleveland Browns are not losers, Mr. Kiper, then who is. Yesterday Mel Kiper, Jr., fueled the quietest of sports days by proclaiming Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen his No. 1 overall pick in his first (of a few) 2018 NFL Mock Drafts.

Responding to skepticism on ESPN’s SportsCenter, Kiper said, “Stats are for losers; the guy won,” before placing Allen ahead of Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph (QBs all).

The Cowboys did go 16-11 in Allen’s two seasons as a starter, which is better than the 6-18 they want the previous two years. Then again, all the dudes named there had superior numbers than Allen last year and all except Rosen won more.

Allen’s size is mouth-wateringly appealing for NFL GMs—6’5″, 240—but last season he had the exact same TD/INT numbers (16 and 6) as Notre Dame’s Brandon Wimbush and against far inferior competition. Will he now be drafted by the Browns to supplant the dude Wimbush succeeded, DeShone Kizer?

5. Tennys, Anyone? 

At the Australian Open, unseeded American Tennys Sandgren took down 2016 U.S. Open champ Stan Wawrinka in straight sets to advance to the Round of 32. As his Wikipedia page states, “Although Tennys Sandgren is a tennis player from Tennessee, he is actually named after his great-grandfather who did not play tennis and was not from Tennessee.”

Music 101

Der Kommisar

Peak New Wave? For this early ’80s high school punk, it was 1982-83, when this song hit the top of the charts in six European and Asian countries as performed by Falco (above), then was covered in English by After The Fire and went to No. 5 in the USA.

A Word, Please

Avuncular (adj)

Relating to an uncle 

 

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Canadians are the best…

 

Starting Five

1. At Ease With Aziz?*

*The judges will not accept “Master Of Nuns”

Nearly 40 years ago there was a highly progressive and controversial sitcom (what’s a sitcom?) on TV that was titled Three’s Company (Why was it controversial? Because a man lived with two females, even though it was completely platonic). Even though I watched it as a tween, I’ve never forgotten the scene in which Janet and Chrissy (or was it one of the post-Chrissy blondes?) are discussing bad dates. Janet says, “Why can’t men understand that ‘NO!’ means ‘No’?….(waits a beat)….Except when it doesn’t?”

Granted, that line was probably written by a man. I don’t know.

All of which is to say that I’m not ready to place Aziz Ansari in the class of Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey. The mating dance among singles is highly complex and while you sit in your cubicle judging Ansari for his behavior on a date, it’s not after midnight and alcohol isn’t involved at your desk and as soon as we get to signing consent forms and asking for a verbal yes on dates as if we’re asking if we have permission to intubate your loved one (I didn’t even think of the symbolic parallel before I typed that), we’re heading down a miserable path.

And that’s all I have to say about that…for now.

2. The Beatles Begged You To Do This 50 Years Ago!

The most intriguing news of today thus far to us is that Great Britain has appointed a Minister for Loneliness. Tracey Crouch, above, has been put in charge of forming a ministry for the estimated 9 to 11 million people in the U.K. who feel lonely. Is this what Brexit hath wrought?

First house call, of course, should be to one Eleanor Rigby….

3. Amazon Finalists

“You want me to move to Newark?!?”

This morning Amazon, playing this up for all its worth, released its list of 20 finalist cities for its second major base of operations. We shall now proceed to the evening gown competition.

In case you were wondering, the island of Themyscira did not make the list but the island of Manhattan has. Or at least New York City, so perhaps Long Island?

Here is the complete list. Expect Amazon to set up its second facility in the Eastern time zone:
Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Indianapolis, IN; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Montgomery County, MD; Nashville, TN; Newark, NJ; New York City, NY; Northern Virginia, VA; Philadelphia, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Raleigh, NC; Toronto ON; and Washington D.C.

4. Larsen-y

This is Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen, 57, who when his cryptocurrency soared to a value of $3.84 on January 4 found himself to be, on paper at least (notes the irony of talking about the net worth of a crypto-billionaire using the words “on paper”), wealthier than Mark Zuckerberg. Larsen was worth $59.9 billion.

But yesterday Ripple (XRP) plunged to a value of $1.13, meaning that Larsen had lost $44 billion of his net value (and how does anyone expect to get by in Silicon Valley on $15 billion, right?). The good news for Larsen is that this morning Ripple is up 69% to $1.84. And you say trading cryptocurrencies aren’t fun? Let’s listen to what another billionaire, T. Boone Pickens, had to say about them yesterday:

 

By the way, GBTC is up 12% this morning. Crypto is a roller-coaster. If you don’t have the stomach for it, go ride the tea cups…

5. Jo Jo White

White’s and Walt Frazier’s battles were intense

My favorite basketball team was, is and likely always will be the 1972-1973 New York Knicks. Every great team needs a nemesis, and for those Knicks it was the Boston Celtics, who were led by forward John Havlicek, center Dave Cowens and point guard Jo Jo White. A Hall of Famer who played at Kansas, White died yesterday at the age of 71.

A seven-time All-Star, the 6’3″ White never led the NBA in any stats, but he was smart and tenacious and just a true pain in the ass, and I mean that as a compliment. The Knicks won in seven games in the Eastern Conference finals that season, winning Game 7 at the Boston Garden, something that just did not happen back then.

White versus the Suns

Three years later, White would not only play in the famous triple-overtime NBA Finals win versus another favorite team of mine, the ’76 Suns, but if you check out the stat sheet from that contest he was the game’s leading scorer (33 points) and led in assists (9) He played 60 minutes that night. White would be named MVP of the 1976 NBA Finals.

White also played in 488 consecutive games for the Celtics and was a key part of two NBA championship teams.

Reserves

We couldn’t move on until we at least noted the following….

Mekhi Brown, the Alabama special teams stud who went after a Tide assistant coach on the sidelines during the national championship game, has left Tuscaloosa and plans to enroll at Tennessee State, where coach-punching is already a thing, as you may recall…

–Mel Kiper, Jr., released his first NFL mock draft and has the Browns selecting Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen No. 1 overall, the Giants taking Josh Rosen and the Broncos, at No. 5, selecting Sam Darnold. If the Browns take Allen they’ll be laughed out of the hemisphere, by the way.

The truly smart picks in this draft are Saquon Barkley, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Quenton Nelson. Guaranteed future Pro Bowlers. Gua-RON-teed.

–A woman named Kirstjen Nielsen, the most Nordic-sounding named Secretary of Homeland Security we’ve ever had, claimed under oath that she was unaware if Norway is a predominantly white country. Really. Really. On today’s episode of The Worst Wing….

Music 101

She Sells Sanctuary

Lead singer Ian Astbury has never become a household name, unless you live with a post-punk/heavy-metal-goth sibling, but The Cult was one of the hardest-rocking bands in the Eighties and certainly the hardest-rocking outfit from England. This 1985 face-melter with the classic opening riff gave bands like The Church a few ideas for later on.

Remote Patrol

Mindhunter

Netflix

Reviewers are calling this “Netflix’s most binge-worthy original series yet,” and having fallen down a four-episode rabbit hole last night/this morning, I agree. The true story of the two FBI agents who basically invented psychological criminal profiling, the series is thus far highly engrossing without ever being gross. And I never even knew about Edmund Kemper, California’s highly intelligent, 6’9″, 270-pound “Coed Killer,” who speaks to the Feds and is still alive today. Show runner David Fincher, who directed Zodiac, directs this with a similar feel. Excellent.

Yes, but would it make a good musical?

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

1. Seoul Brothers*

*The judges will also accept “KoKo” and “Kim Jong-Unprecedented”

In a 38th-unparalleled move, the bickering nations of North Korea and South Korea announced that they will field a joint women’s ice-hockey team and march as one delegation under a unified Korean flag at the Pyeongchang Olympics next month. Who thaw that coming?

2. Let’s Get Physical

Congratulations to President Trump, who after a half-century as an adult standing 6’2″ has, as of yesterday according to the results of his physical, grown an inch to 6’3″ as a 71 year-old man. I guess the Oval Office truly does add stature. In related news, the Fake News Awards are scheduled to be held today.

Trump is also generously listed at 239 pounds, which as one tweep noted, could set off a “girther” issue.

3. Bitcoin Bust?

What did Margot Robbie say about “sub-prime?”

MH’s stock pick for 2018, Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), is down 17% this morning, as the Monday morning quarterbacks come to feast on its carcass. Full disclosure, we own one (1) share of GBTC right now.

Are Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies being exposed as a fraud/scam/pyramid scheme, or is this just a monstrous swing of the pendulum, abetted by the words of the Oracle of Omaha last week? We’ll see.

Worth noting that most crypto experts predicted that bitcoin would suffer huge pullbacks in 2018 before ultimately doubling in price above $40,000. One Bitcoin is as we type this currently worth $9,503, down from $14,000-plus just last week.

Our advice (feel free to assess it at the value of which you are paying for it): Jump in to GBTC if/when it dips below $1,200 and in the meantime, take a close look at our new favorite stocks, Boeing (BA) and VMWare (VMW).

4. Tragedy In Pullman

Hilinski (3), a redshirt sophomore from Claremont, Calif, was 21. He was expected to be Wazzu’s starter in 2018.

Less than one month after completing 39 of 50 passes in Washington State’ Holiday Bowl loss to Michigan State, Cougar quarterback Tyler Hilinski apparently commits suicide in his Pullman apartment. Hilinski, a backup who started in place of Luke Falk for the Cougars’ bowl game, was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head. The sophomore from Claremont, Calif., left a suicide note.

5. He Actually WAS Awesome

I came across this comedy act for “Britain’s Got Talent” and like you, was prepared to be disappointed by “Johnny Awsum,” but like the judges, was pleasantly surprised. It’s dated, but who cares? It’s great.

Music 101

Short Skirt/Long Jacket

“With fingernails that shine like justice…” and “She’s touring the facility/And picking up slack...” This slice of Cake wasn’t for everybody, as their official video was happy to illustrate, but this 2001 tune from the Sacramento-based band is one of the smarter tunes of the 21st century.

Remote Patrol

Fake News Awards

Time & Channel TBA

First they were supposed to take place about 10 days ago. Then they were delayed. Now they may not happen. I hope the first award is given to Donald Trump for promising that he had proof that his predecessor was not born in Hawaii.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Vendela: Imagine what she could contribute to America

Viking Quest*

*The judges will also accept, “You Go Norway And I’ll Go Mine”

Today’s weird thought: A majority of the Minnesota Vikings’ roster, and I’m assuming here (I haven’t line-itemed this), is comprised of African-Americans who, by (Trump’s) definition, hail from “shithole” countries. And yet these players represent a team whose mascot is a historical figure, hailing from what is present-day Norway, whose main claim to fame is that of being foreign invaders and rapists.

Or, as the inimitable Josh Brown put it…

 

Just your typical Norseman….

2. Many Happy Returns

All in one day, Clemson All-American defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, Stanford’s Heisman runner-up Bryce Love, and Notre Dame’s leading tackle Te’Von Coney, all announce that they will return for their senior seasons.

One more year

Wilkins has been to the college football playoff three times in three years and will be part of a Tiger D-line that returns three All-Americans. Coney did not start until Notre Dame’s sixth game but led all Irish tacklers by at least 24 tackles and was the leading tackler in bowl season, with 17 in the Citrus Bowl. Irish nose tackle Jerry Tillery will also return (as will Drue Tranquill).

The middle of the field is now Coney Island

As for Bryce Love, we’d NEVER presume to tell a college kid what he should do with the Stay in School or Go Pro choice, but we will offer up these notes: 1) no position takes more abuse than running back and 2) no Power 5 coach we know of seems more blithely unconcerned about keeping a hurt player out of a game than David Shaw. The good news is that Love could actually win the Heisman next season and proceed directly to medical school if he desires.

3. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Capitalism

As we look back on MLK Day (What did you shoot, Donald?…No, really?), you might want to remember that the Rev. Dr. King had some blunt thoughts not just about race but about capitalism. Two of our favorites:

“[Capitalism] started out with a noble and high motive… but like most human systems it fell victim to the very thing it was revolting against. So today capitalism has out-lived its usefulness.”

And…

“We must recognize that we can’t solve our problem now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power… this means a revolution of values and other things. We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together… you can’t really get rid of one without getting rid of the others… the whole structure of American life must be changed. America is a hypocritical nation and [we] must put [our] own house in order.”

For the record, I was an avowed capitalist until I saw what happened in 2008 and 2009. That’s when the nation’s staunchest capitalists, investment banks, suddenly became socialist when their own businesses failed (failures that they themselves incited). In a true capitalism system, those banks would have gone out of business and someone else would have come in to fill the vacuum. After all, capitalist theory espouses that where there is a market for a good, someone will come in to create that good.

So what we learned in 2008-2009 is not that America believes in capitalism, but that it believes in white power institutionalism. And you’re either in that small circle or you’re f****ed. American capitalism, the sub-prime mortgage crisis proved beyond a doubt, is a charade.

Trump golfed on MLK Day. His golf outings alone have cost American taxpayers $50 million this year and it still hasn’t been an entire year yet

And so Dr. King knew all of this. And militarism is just an excuse to keep the majority of the populace afraid and uneducated, because stupid Americans make fantastic patriots. Meanwhile, imagine if the military budget was reduced by just 1/10th (we’d still be by far the most militarized nation on earth) and that we created STARTING salaries for teachers at $100,000.

And some moron is going to say, “Well, they’re not worth that much,” but they sure would be soon, because as soon as that’s the starting salary for teachers, then you’re going to get a much, much, much more competitive job market. In fact, it’ll be like trying to get into law school or even medical school. And with that more competitive job market we’d get a higher overall class of teachers and in a decade or two a better-educated populace.

But if you’re already white and already economically in control, why the hell would you want that, right? Do I sound angry? I am.

Meanwhile, check out this site….

4.  Locker Room Squawk

Apparently, the Rockets and Clippers got ensconced in some type of postgame locker room  fiasco that was definitely not the most fitting tribute to the memory of Dr. King and nonviolent resistance. A friendly reminder that it is January in the NBA and the players are nearly as bored as you are (the Clippers won by 11 as Lou Williams put up 31 as the weirdest sports renaissance of the NBA season continues).

Meanwhile in Cleveland, the Warriors shut down the Fighting Sweet Peas, outscoring them by 17 in the second half to cruise home with a 10-point win. Golden State has won 7 of 8 from their three-time NBA Finals nemesis.

5. Doctor Evil

Nothing to add here, just watch…

Larry Nassar was employed by the Michigan State athletic department…

 

Music 101

Linger

That voice. That soft, haunting, sorrowful Irish voice. Dolores O’Riordan and the Cranberries crashed onto FM radio and the MTV in 1993 and there was no mistaking her gift. The song went to No. 8 in the U.S. and remained on the charts for 24 weeks, nearly six full months. In the last days when MTV truly mattered as a vehicle for music, the Cranberries were one of the channel’s bigger mainstays. O’Riordan died unexpectedly at the age of 46 in London yesterday.

Remote Patrol

Australian Open

9:30 p.m. ESPN

Winter’s great annual sports escape, live from Melbourne.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

1. Can You Diggs It?*

*The judges will also accept “Feeling Minnesota” but not “Minnesota Miracle”

You saw it. Case Keenum to Stefon Diggs for 61 yards and the win as New Orleans rookie safety Marcus Williams almost inexplicably whiffs on the play. As Fox announcer Troy Aikman aptly put it, “I’m not sure what he was thinking,” and our only guess is he was afraid that he’d arrived too early and get a DPI. Weirdly, Williams made an interception on pretty much the same route in the third quarter.

(Minnesotans know what it’s like to be on the other end of this)

Minnesota Miracle? Fine. For those of us who were kids and remember the pandemonium of Terry Bradshaw to Franco Harris in Pittsburgh or Roger Staubach to Drew Pearson in Minnesota, this moment joins them. Unlike those two, though, this was the last play of the game. So it’s almost more like Tua Tagovailoa to DaVonte Smith.

Good for you, Minnesota. When it’s 0 degrees outside, you deserve at least this much. Will you be back in this stadium in three weeks? We’ll see.

2. Huddle Up!

At the Houston 1/2 Marathon, Notre Dame alum Molly Huddle runs a 1:07:25 to break the American record for women. Great job!

In related news, this Notre Dame alum, a few years Huddle’s senior, ran a 1:41 in the 1/2 at the Phoenix Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon yesterday. And earned a free Michelob Ultra. So wins all around.

3. Project Runway

In Turkey, all 162 passengers plus the crew survive when a Pegasus Airlines flight slides off an icy runway and over a cliff, nearly plunging into the Black Seas. Was this the weekend’s more inconceivable crash or was the one in the next item?

4. Vin Diesel Was Nowhere To Be Found

In Santa Ana, California, a vehicle carrying two people and probably going at an unsafe rate of speed crashes into the second floor of a dentist’s office and creates its own Farmers Insurance commercial (“We know a few things because we’ve seen a few things”). No one was injured because the crash occurred at 5:30 a.m., but you’re going to have to postpone that root canal. This reminds me, Bullitt was on over the weekend if you’ve never seen it.

5. Goodnight, Keith Jackson

On Friday night, The Voice of College Football, Keith Jackson, passed away at the age of 89. Here’s my tribute to him in The Athletic

Reserves

The late Notre Dame president Fr. Ted Hesburgh with MLK

The New York Times has a special tribute waiting for Donald Trump on the occasion of his first Martin Luther King Day in office.

Music 101

Shiny Happy People

For many, this REM tune off 1991’s Out Of Time is when the Athens-based band jumped the shark. Not me. I love it. Just the sequence of vocals from Mike Mills to the B-52’s Kate Pierson to Michael Stipe makes it perfect. Even if comedian Denis Leary famously ranted, “I want the shiny people over here, and the happy people over here, okay, I represent the angry, gun-toting, meat-eating people.”

Remote Patrol

Warriors vs. Cavs

8 p.m. TNT

We run this pic of Sweet Pea in hopes that when Susie B. gets to 40-bagger status on AMZN, she’ll hit up our PayPal account

The second and final regular-season matchup between the two franchises who’ve embargoed the NBA Finals since 2015. Every Hot Take Artiste you know will be watching and taking notes.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Sh*thead

On today’s episode of The Worst Wing

He is not the first president to use salty language. Most if not all have.

He is not the first president to be racist. And Andrew Jackson is likely not the only other one.

What he is, though, in the 21st century, is a man who fundamentally does not understand What Makes America Great. I live in a city which has Little Italy, Chinatown, and hundreds of Irish bars. There is no Little Switzerland. There’s a reason for that.

 

(Above: A non-denial denial and a classic lesson learned from Roy Cohn. He never actually denies saying “shitholes,” he says, “This was not the language used.” In other words, he’ll never address it specifically.)

In the late 19th century Ireland and Italy were shitholes and there’s a good chance that if you are reading this that you descended from immigrants of one of those two nations. On Wednesday night a Mexican waiter gave me outstanding service. On Thursday a highly helpful first-generation African drove me to the airport. That’s what makes America great.

 

This column from The Chicago Tribune is what I’m trying to say….

By the way, how perfect is this: Eight years ago today, on January 12, 2010, an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 struck Haiti, killing more than 100,000 people. Happy anniversary from Donald Trump.

2.Is This Jordan Also A HOF’er?

While he has never gotten as many endorsement opps as former teammate Chris Paul and chronically DL’ed teammate Blake Griffin (appearing occasionally as a sidekick, a hoops Andre the Giant), DeAndre Jordan has been the most consistent Clipper of the past half-decade. In the past five years Jordan has finished first or second in the NBA every year in Total Rebounds and FG % (granted, most of his shots are dunks or put-backs; so what?) .

Jordan, who has only been chosen to play in one All-Star Game (breaking: the West is crowded with talent), has led the NBA in FG % every one of the past five years and is currently in second place behind Clint Capela of Houston. He currently leads the NBA in Total Rebounds, which would be his third of the past five seasons leading in that stat (finishing 2nd the other two times).

If the 6’11” former Texas A&M player, who injured himself dunking last night, keeps this up another five years, he should be given serious consideration for a spot in Springfield, no? Mark Cuban and I cannot be the only two people outside of Staples Center who appreciate his value, can we?

3. Tyler The Creator

This is John Tyler. He was the 10th president of the United States (1841-1845) and was born in 1790.

Tyler may not have been a prolific president, but he was prolific. He fathered 15 children with two wives before he expired in 1862. One of his progeny, Lyon Tyler, was born in 1853. Lyon had six children with two wives, two of whom were born in the 1920s: Lyon, Jr., born in 1924 when his pop was 71 and Harrison, born in 1928 when dad was 75.

Lyon did some layin’ late in life

Both Lyon, Jr., and Harrison are still living, ages 93 and 89.

Lyon Tyler was a genealogist, by the way, and the president of William & Mary College from 1888-1919.

4. The Streak Dies With The Streaker

On July 31 last summer Linda Evans, a 68 year-old Ohio woman who had run every day since 1980, was struck and killed by a driver under the influence of drugs while out on a 12-mile run. Evans, a retired school teacher, died on impact. It was 9 a.m. What was the driver, 32 year-old Jon Coffman, doing DUI at that hour of the  morning?

Evans in the Seventies with her husband, Gary, at marathons

Evans, who ran 13,563 consecutive days and was an avid marathoner, is being remembered with this profile in Runners’ World. Worth a read.

5. Sager Saga Sadder

You remember Craig Sager‘s son and namesake, who admirably filled in for his pop as he was undergoing cancer treatments, don’t you? He seems like a great young man, and he probably is. Sadly, he tweeted this last night as rumors about his well-liked late dad and a certain will have been floating around of late.

 

Here’s a more in-depth look

Music 101

Guantanamera

In September of 1966 an American vocal group, the Sandpipers,  did a cover of the most famous Cuban folk song ever written and took it to No. 9 on the Billboard charts. The group had originally called themselves the Four Seasons, but then they became of another vocal group from New Jersey that seemed to be having a little more success.

Remote Patrol

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction

Netflix

No, Paul, just Dave as he sits down with the 44th president of the United States for an extended interview in front of a live interview.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

1. Lou-nacy

The most 1970s named player in the NBA, Lou Williams, torches Golden State for a career-high 50 points as the Clippers win 125-106 in Oakland. Williams, a 12-year pro who never attended college, scored 27 in the third quarter. He was 8 for 16 from beyond the arc as the Clips outscored the Dubs, who were without the world’s best backcourt, by 23 points in the second half.

Meanwhile, Durant Durant passed the 20,000 career-point mark (second-youngest after Sweet Pea) while putting down 40 himself.

2. Racial Slur-pee*

*The judges will not accept “ICE, ICE, Baby,” they just won’t

All of us at one time or another have visited a 7-11 to pick up ice. But who among us has had ICE pick us up at a 7-11?

Yesterday ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents swept through some 100 7-11’s in 17 states telling owners to produce valid employment records for their employees showing either that they are citizens or have a valid green card. Does the Dollar Store sell Slim Jims, I wonder?

3. She’s The Yuan

Yesterday The New York Times introduced the most envied and itinerant print journalist in the world for 2018. Jada Yuan, a 39 year-old Chinese-American (checks box) female (checks box) from northern New Mexico who lives in Brooklyn (checks box) and has a B.A. in history from Yale (checks three boxes), won the gig. She’ll travel to all of the NYT’s “52 Places To Go” this year—as soon as she dumps her boyfriend. Or girlfriend. Whatever.

Us? Jealous? C’mon!

4. The Manchester Scene

Raheem Sterling leads Man City with 14 goals

Now that we’ve got Alabama-Georgia out of our systems, it’s time to turn our attention to another level of football: the English Premier League, where first-place Manchester City is undefeated after 22 games (20-0-2). The Sky Blues have a chance to become only the second EPL club to go undefeated through a 38-match season, as Arsenal did so in 2003-04.

The difference is that the Gunners finished 26-0-12, so nearly half their matches ended in draws. Man City is on pace to finish with quite a few more wins (three points) and fewer draws (one point), but there’s still a long way to go.

The Sky Blues have been dominant: they have the league’s top three assist men and its third- and fourth-leading scorers, none of whom overlap.

5. Collusion vs. Illusion

Remember a few weeks back when we noted that in Donald Trump’s impromptu interview with a NYT reporter he used the term “no collusion” 16 times in a span of about 10 minutes? Yesterday he answered ONE question in a White House presser and used the same term seven times.

 

It’s not a lie if you believe it, Jerry.

Reserves

On Monday Viking tight end Kyle Rudolph paid for 250 pounds of ribs to be brought in to feed teammates and staffers at the team’s Edina complex. He also included a note of thanks to all the equipment staff and trainers. Total Domer.

****

Lights Out at the Tech Show

Black Lights Matter

Your first blast of non-Trump irony in 2018, as a blackout hits the massive Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Music 101

Superstar

The song had already been a hit for a few artists before siblings Karen and Richard Carpenter, a.k.a. The Carpenters, recorded their cover that shot to No. 2 in late summer of 1971 (Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May” kept it out of the top perch; those were the days, kids). Richard actually heard Bette Midler sing it on a late-night talk show and thought he and his sis could do it up even better. He was right.

Remote Patrol

Bringing Up Baby

6 p.m. TCM

Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn starred together in three comedies between 1938 and 1949—Holiday, The Philadelphia Story, and this, the screwballiest of them all. An heiress, a stolen dinosaur bone, and a house-trained leopard all figure into the plot.