IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

A personal note up top: Yesterday we staged our penultimate private party of the season at the Cookoutateria and I don’t mind sharing with you the name of the company who rented out our space: Component Assembly. I tell you this because it’s a contractor company—they worked on the Freedom Tower—privately owned, that specializes in carpentry.

Almost all of the 250 guests on a bright, sunny autumn afternoon were carpenters, men (and a few women) in well-work construction boots and bright orange or lime green hooded sweatshirts. More African-American or Hispanic than white, overall. And I mention this because we host dozens of parties in the summer, working with private equity firms, law firms, major banks, advertising agencies and accounting firms. 

And this, from a bartender’s perspective, is what I can share with you: nobody but nobody even comes within a mile of tipping as well as these blue-collar laborers do. No one. One dude pulled out a $20, momentarily asked for change, then just said, “Keep it.” 

At the end of the party the owner of the company gathered us around and sprayed anywhere from a $50 to a benjamin to each of us who worked the party. That just doesn’t happen at our place. Ever. So a shout-out to Component Assembly but also to people who work with their hands, who are part of the real labor force. The only other party we worked this summer where guests were as generous and also generally seemed to be having as much fun was when we hosted the NYPD. 

Make of these observations what you will….

Tweet Me Right


Matt, we need this as our bedroom wall. Also, it’s fall break at ND so this is the only way any students are going to see this…

Starting Five

The Price, Finally, Is Right (Even Though He’s A Lefty)

Lanky lefty David Price, whose $250 million deal has long dwarfed his postseason stature—his teams were 0-11 in postseason games he’d started before Game 5 of the ALCS last night—at long last came through. Six innings, no runs, no walks and nine strikeouts as the Red Sox shushed the Astros and once again celebrated a series win on another team’s mound.

Final score: 4-1, and Mookie Betts made a catch near the very same spot where he’d failed to make a catch (but did record the out, thanks to Cowboy Joe) the night before.

The Sawx will host Games 1 and 2 of the Fall Classic in Fenway beginning Tuesday.

2. From The Land to La La Land

First of all, why are the Lakers wearing their home yellows on the road? How long has this been going on?….Second, if Josh Hart can come off the bench and score 20, how much longer is Lonzo Ball going to be in the rotation?….The LeBrakers lost 128-119 at Portland last night. Sweet Pea had 26 and 12 but the team shot only 7 of 30 from beyond the arc, which is why the Warriors are guffawing at this morning’s shoot around in Utah…meanwhile, we did not know this but maybe you did: it was Portland’s 18th consecutive win in their home opener and their 16th consecutive defeat of the Lakers. Wow.

3. Well, They’re Comin’ (Yes, They’re Comin’) To Your Ci-TAY!!!!

No, this is NOT the starting line of the Tegucigalpa Marathon.

 

College GameDay to Pullman? That’s kinda big news, but what about caravan of 2,000 to 4,000 Hondurans making their way to the U.S. border? No, this blog has not been hijacked by Dinesh D’Souza, it’s really happening.

The reasons these immigrants/refugees provide as to why they are making this 1,000 to 1,700-mile trek (without even being awarded a T-shirt or medal) are not surprising: 1) A better life for their families, 2) To find work, 3) To escape gangs and 4) To scare the crap out of Mitch Mconnell.

No shoes, no shirt, but cell phone service

This is going to be interesting. Remember when it was just a swarm of killer bees that Americans feared would be heading our way from Mexico? Any president, from Obama to Trump, would be compelled to take drastic action to curb this.

I’ll repeat our MH solution to this entire conundrum: The U.S. should just “invade” these Central American nations economically. Forget NAFTA. Forget the U.N. If this many people from your country want to live in our country, then we’re taking over your country. Oh, you have lovely beaches on both the Caribbean and Pacific? Even better.

4. When You Leave Even Pat Kiernan Speechless


New Yorkers know Pat Kiernan as the mild-mannered morning host of New York 1, the city’s go-to all-day news channel that we all inevitably find because it’s literally Channel 1 (no such channel ever appeared on our TVs when we were kids, an eternal source of confusion). If you watch Kiernan enough, you know that his greatest skill is being universally palatable, that he is inoffensive to the nth degree as he spends the mornings usually poring over our local papers and synthesizing the stories for the viewer.

Pat literally reads you the morning news, like a better-looking version of your own spouse sitting across the breakfast nook table as you’re drinking coffee. So the fact that even he was bothered by this, in the same week that the news of the Jamal Khashoggi murder got nastier, tells you something.

 

5. Roma Conquers

Okay, so Hurricane Cooper-Ga Ga came and passed, leaving in its path of celluloid destruction a Best Original Song Oscar fave and definitely a Best Actor nomination for the star/director/writer, but most of us agree that it’s a good, not transcendent, film.

And now here comes Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambien) with a film, set in Mexico City in the 1970s and shot in black and white, that critics are rushing to see as if they were northward-bound Hondurans.

It’s the perfect critical backlash flick for A Star Is Born, and critics are tossing around the word “masterpiece,” which almost definitely means it won’t be playing at the Chattanooga multiplex any time soon. But in select cities, and with select critics, this will be a fave. And the question will become whether it belongs on the Best Picture or Best Foreign Picture list.

Tell me something, girl.

Music 101

Peg

Liner Notes: Released as a single in 1978 off the band’s Aja album, this Steely Dan song spent 19 weeks on the Billboard charts, peaking at No. 11…the band went through six studio musicians before finally finding a seventh, Jay Graydon, who played the guitar solo to their satisfaction…the song has long been surmised to be about Peg Entwhistle, a Broadway star who leapt to her death from the Hollywood sign shortly before her first talkie film was released in 1932…the surviving member of the band, Donald Fagen, is playing as Steely Dan for the next two weeks not far from MH headquarters (5 blocks)

Entwhistle was only 24 when she took her own life. For the curious, she jumped from the “H”

Remote Patrol

Dodgers at Brewers

NLCS Game 6

8 p.m. FS1

Joe Buck does not have many days off this time of year. From the NFL booth on Sundays to four Dodger-Brewer games this week, and possibly a fifth on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Brew Crew is waiting for Christian Yelich (.150 batting average in the postseason) to hit like the MVP that he is.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Betts, Bens and Bradley, Jr.

The Red Sox are the best team in baseball because they have the best outfield in baseball, and last night’s Game 4 in Houston demonstrated why. Jackie Bradley, Jr., one day after smoking a grand slam, hit a three-run jack. Presumptive MVP Mookie Betts (already the Mookie of the Year) pegged Tony Kemp on what should have been a leadoff double in the eighth inning, and then left fielder Andrew Benentendi, with the bases loaded of Astros and only up 8-6, made a diving catch to end the game.

If Benentendi misses, the Astros at least tie it up, have a great shot of tying the series, and won’t have Craig Kimbrel for today’s Game 5. They won’t now, but it doesn’t matter as much.

It’s the second Game 4 in as many series in which Kimbrel loaded the bases in the ninth and he Red Sox escaped by the narrowest of margins. They’re charmed, but they’re also really good.

The ball is just above his glove. Note how the three closest fans have their eyes closed.

About that Jose Altuve two-run homer that became an out in the first inning, three points: 1) What exactly are the fans supposed to do in that situation? It’s not as if they reached their hands far past the wall, if at all? 2) It seems cruel, in that situation, to call Altuve out. The catch by Betts there is hardly a presumed certainty, it would have have to be a fabulous play, and 3) on the TBS postgame show, a great point: it’s Joe West who immediately called interference; back at the the review center in Chelsea, might the anonymous replay ump feel a little intimidated about the prospect of overturning a Joe West call, i.e., are umps just as worried about their own jobs as the rest of us?

2. This Seems Rather Incriminating

As the White House gives Saudi Arabia a few more days to put a digestible lie together conduct its investigation, the free press is way out in front of both, as expected. Here’s a photo of Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, an aide to Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), walking into the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul. Not the time stamp: Tuesday, October 2, the day Jamal Khoshaggi also walked in and was never seen again.

And above is a triptych of MAM traveling the world with MBS just this year. Note how he stays out of photo op range but within keeping-an-eye-on-him distance. He’s one of his more trusted, if not most trusted, security men.

If this were an actual court of law, the defense would already be plea-bargaining to simply get life imprisonment. But this is Donald Trump’s White House, where the only things that matter or are treated with respect are money and authoritarianism. The Saudis have as much of both as they have oil stockpiled.

Khashoggi, with Apple watch that may have recorded his murder in sharper focus

At the end of the day, this is going to be Trump using his powers of Implausible Deniability to say that they buy the Saudis’ alibi, then some poor Saudi sucker will be hanged or beheaded, the $110 billion arms deal will remain intact, and as a world power the United States is now on the same ethical plane as Russia or China. And you may argue, But we always were and that may be true, but at least in the past when we were caught with our pants around our ankles we hustled to pull them back up.

Not under this White House. Truly sad, particularly when journalist, abetted by Turkish officials, paint such a vivid and gruesome picture of what took place in the Saudi consulate that afternoon.

3. Some 41

A 41 year-old starting at guard in the NBA?!? That’s Vinsanity!

After the NBA’s widespread opening night, no number was more relevant than 41: that’s the number of points Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets scored in a one-point loss to Milwaukee and it’s also the age of Vincent Carter, who started in the Atlanta Hawks’ backcourt along with 20 year-old Trae Young (we still can’t believe Atlanta took him).

Elsewhere, Devin Booker scored 19 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter as the Suns ran away from the Mavericks. Top overall pick Deandre Ayton looked terrific with 18 points in his debut and this Suns fan of 40 years has no idea how to deal with a team that has a potentially dominant center.

4. Making A Murderer, Season 2

In the northwest Wisconsin town of Barron, 13 year-old Jayme Closs‘ parents are shot dead in their home on Monday morning and then their tween goes missing. Steven Avery, serving a life sentence hundreds of miles down state, says, “Don’t look at me.”

James Closs, 56, and his wife Denise, 46, were murdered some time after midnight Monday morning. Police received a cryptic 911 cell phone call  from the house at 1 a.m. in which no one spoke, but a disturbance was heard (was that Jayme or a parent surreptitiously dialing?). Deputies arrived at the home 4 minutes later but no living beings were there and no vehicles were in the immediate area.

A neighbor said he heard two shots shortly after 12:30 a.m. Police are not saying from whom the call came but are saying that they are “100% certain” that Jayme is still alive.

There is no known motive.

5. Rainbow Warrior

Why are there so many songs by this Rainbow/And what’s on the other side?
We don’t know Randy Rainbow‘s backstory, his real name or if he’s ever sung on Broadway (or inside Marie’s Crisis Cafe in the West Village). All we know is that he’s uber-sassy, his lyrics are hot fire and that he must be the demon spawn of Liza Minelli and Pee Wee Herman.

UPDATE: Here, you can do the work on Randy’s backstory.

Reserves

Jail? No, this man deserves his own ad campaign. Dilly Dilly!


*****

Meanwhile, during the Mavs-Suns game last night, ESPN’s Dave Pasch casually dropped that Klay Thompson will be the College GameDay celebrity picker for the show’s relatively historic visit to Pullman on Saturday. That info had not yet been released and College GameDay often likes to keep that a secret. Particularly this weekend. Wheels Up, head down, Dave.

Music 101

While You See A Chance

Not unlike Jefferson Airplane/Starship, Steve Winwood went from late Sixties rock icon to early Eighties pop star. For anyone who was alive and into music in 1981, the instrumental opening of this tune is an eight-foot wave of nostalgia. This was one of the former Spencer Davis Group, Traffic and Blind Faith vocalist’s biggest solo hits, peaking at No. 8 that spring. Yes, the video is god-awful.

Remote Patrol

Red Sox at Astros

ALCS Game 5

8 p.m. TBS

Every time we hear “Jackie Bradley, Jr.,” we think “Jackie Rogers, Jr.” And the latter is more photogenic.

Joe Buck and John Smoltz are the better booth duo (don’t mistake us, I like Brian Anderson and Ron Darling, too), but this is the better series. It’s the de facto World Series (now watch the Dodgers go ahead and win it all).

Stanford at Arizona State

9 p.m. ESPN

And this is why October is the greatest sports month, and that was before the NBA moved up opening night two weeks. The Cardinal under David Shaw, in his eighth season in Palo Alto, have never lost three consecutive games. That mark is on the line tonight in Tempe, as week night Pac-12 After Dark mayhem awaits. Bryce Love, who last played on September 29 and has already missed two full games this season, should start.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right


What always fascinates me about GOP leaders is how they get all the little things wrong. It’s how you treat people in the trivial, every day moments that provides the window to your political soul, or lack thereof.

Starting Five

Bollinger laid out to rob Lo Cain of a leadoff base hit in the 10th or 11th inning (frankly, we forget)

Feat of Clay’s Son

We’re old enough to remember Clay Bellinger (as is FS1’s Tom Verducci, who covered him on those Yankee teams), the backup Yankee shortstop who in four Major League seasons won two World Series rings (and nearly a third in 2001). Last night in extra innings his son Cody—a proud alum of Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton High, as is Ryan Fitzpatrick, as are a number of other solid jocks—, the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, made a tremendous catch in right field and later knocked in the game-winning run in the bottom of the 13th inning at Dodger Stadium.

Clay. His son now plays with a Clay who’ll pitch tonight.

We stayed up for the entire extra innings, which went past 2 a.m. here, which is why there may be more than the usual number of typos here today.

2. Spoiler Alert

In his just-published tome, Brief Answers To the Big Questions, the late internationally acclaimed physicist Stephen Hawking writes, “There is no God. No one directs the universe (Didn’t Don Draper say pretty much the exact same thing  in Season 1 of Mad Men?).”

The MH staff has not seen a copy of Hawking’s book yet, but we imagine other sentences in the tome read, “Of course O.J. did it. Duh!” and “The Sopranos went home and ate f*cking ziti because it was taking too long for their meals to arrive.”

Hawking died last March and is either feeling pretty sheepish about what he wrote or is not feeling a thing because he no longer exists in any form.

3. Pompeo and Circumstances

So the White House dispatches Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia post haste for this photo op with Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Behind the scenes, I imagine Pompeo giving MBS the business: “Dude, why did you have to be so sloppy? We have people who do this sort of thing all the time (in fact, some of them are in Yemen right now) and make it look like an accident.

“Now CNN and MSNBC are going to spend the next three weeks on this and we only just wrapped our latest ‘Implausible Deniability’ Tour two weeks ago with Brett Kavanaugh. How often do you think we can play the same tunes before the audience becomes restless?”

Meanwhile, MBS is going to designate a ‘rogue general’ as its scapegoat, and you know what happens to goats in that part of the world? It’s the small-letters “goat” not the Michael Jordan “GOAT” of the USA.

Just wondering: When the entire world is aware  that you are formulating your alibi in real time and just waiting for you to release it as you go over and over again whether or not it will pass the bullsh*t test (it won’t), isn’t that alibi compromised from the git go?

And yes, it’s more than a little ridiculous that the murder of one Washington Post journalist is receiving this much attention when the Saudis have been responsible for at least 50,000 deaths in Yemen this year (maybe that’s why MBS thought he could do this with impunity), but that’s just the way the world works. You put a face on something (hello, Cecil the Lion) and suddenly it’s a lot easier for the masses to care.

4. Jackpot-o-Lantern

Yes, we succumbed and purchased $10 worth of Mega Millions tickets last night, to no avail. The good news is that nobody won, which means that by Friday night’s drawing the amount will certainly have set a new record. Estimates have it at $868 million, or a cash lump sum of nearly $500 million (if we win, we’re investing it all in cannabis companies).

There’s also a Powerball drawing tonight, which is up to $345 million.

We read one good analogy that will help you get your head around how slim your chances are of winning: Try to pick a single second in the span of 10 years. Correctly picking that one second is like holding the winning ticket.

So you’re saying there’s a chance?

Message to our employer: If we win either drawing, we’ll still write The Bubble Screen this weekend. Promise.

5. Hold Your Fire*

*The judges are still mulling “Mass of Weapons Destruction”

While the misadventures of the Proud Boys may have cast New York City in an unfavorable light last weekend, it was also a weekend without a single recorded shooting. Not one. Not bad for a metropolitan area of 8.6 million people. That’s the first time in at least 25 years Gotham has gone an entire weekend without a single shooting.*

As we told our parents for decades, we feel far safer in New York City than we do back home in Arizona. One reason: young people here do not drive.

*NYC’s data base for shootings only dates back to 1993, so the streak may extend longer back than that. As you may know, the city was a far more dangerous place before 1993 than it’s been since. We like to think our soothing presence has mollified the Apple’s more hostile elements.

Music 101

All Mixed Up

Do the fans at this 1978 show by The Cars have any idea how lucky they are? (No, how could they?). Is the late Benjamin Orr the most under-appreciated lead vocalist of the rock era? (Yes) How talented is Greg Hawkes, playing not just the sax and organ on the same song, but at a few junctures (4:00 mark) at the same time? (Very)

Remote Patrol

The Walking Dead

8:30 p.m. TCM

The description of this 1936 film rom the listing: A wrongfully executed ex-con comes back to life as a white-haired, monster-faced zombie who haunts graveyards while seeking revenge on the conspirators who framed him.

Mavericks at Suns

10:30 p.m. ESPN

Luka Doncic and DeAndre Ayton make their NBA debuts. Kind of excited for both.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Happy Birthday to PHYLLIS, the site’s most loyal reader! We wouldn’t be here without her. Lasagna culinary artist, die-hard Notre Dame fan, laundry aficionado and 4 a.m. internet surfer. She’s the best. If you see her today, wish her a Happy Birthday (or simply do so in the comments section below).

Starting Five

What Happens When You Bring a Coroner AND A Bonesaw To An “Interrogation?”*

**

*The judges will haltingly accept “The Turkish Bonesaw Massacre”

**The judges will belatedly accept “Jive. Turkey”

This latest Trump operetta played out in a single day. In the morning the president was telling us that he’d been on the phone with the Saudi king who “strongly denied” any involvement with the death/disappearance of U.S. resident and Saudi dissident Jamal Kashoggi, the journalist gadfly (and if Brett Kavanaugh taught us anything, it’s that a Strong Denial is more important than a plausible one). Trump himself proposed the “rogue killers” defense without ever bothering to explain how they’d be able to walk in and then out of the Saudi consulate undetected.

Not long after a cleaning crew—seriously— entered the Saudi consulate just a few hours before Turkish investigators were allowed inside to comb the scene. Mr. Wolf operates a multinational?

By day’s end here the Saudis were working on the “interrogation gone wrong” alibi without explaining why anyone would need to bring a bonesaw to a questioning much less why you’d want to dismember someone who died during an interrogation.


But, as Donald Trump told Leslie Stahl during that 60 Minutes interview, “Boeing….Lockheed….that’s a lot of jobs.” Justice is one thing, unemployed American workers who wear red baseball caps is another.

2. Crown Prince, Crown Prince

Jared Kushner may be the only person whom sharks look at and think, “Man, those eyes. There’s no soul behind them.”

So how’s this going to go down? Apparently, the White House woke up yesterday morning and realized Khashoggi’s murder was an actual problem, so they decided to do what they always do: send heart-attack-waiting-to-happen Mike Pompeo overseas to save the day.

The plan will work this way: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a man who in just the past year is fomenting a blockade against Yemen that may result in the greatest famine of the past century (and millions dead) and who has jailed billionaires in his own land, basically holding them for ransom until they pay for their freedom, is only going to cop to Khashoggi’s death if 1) it is sold as accidental and 2) it is made to appear that he was unaware of what was taking place.

Saudi Arabia was the first nation Trump visited as president

No one with a lucid mind or who’s never fantasized about attending a Trump rally will buy this crap, but it won’t matter. Trump will sell it, will use the old “he’s a great man, one of the greatest, people say” b.s. and it will provide him cover to keep the $110 billion in arms contracts alive.

Meanwhile, Jared Kushner—you know, the dude worth $324 million who hasn’t paid taxes the past eight years, that guy—and the the Saudi prince are very chummy.

None of this is a John LeCarre novel. I wish it were.

I do think it’s time, however, that we all go back and watch Syriana again and appreciate just how insightful and prophetic a film it was.

3. Rodgers and Heart

He did it again. That’s the second Sunday- or Monday Night Football game in this young season in which the Packers, at Lambeau Field, trailed a garbage NFC squad (“But the Bears are in first place—” SHADDDUP!) in the fourth quarter and won, thanks to All-State marketing executive Aaron Rodgers. The Packer passer tossed for 425 yards and led Green Bay on a game-winning 90-yard drive for the winning field goal for Redemption Refugee Mason Crosby.

Not noted strongly enough by Joe Tess, Witten and Booger: that third down holding penalty on Richard Sherman that kept the drive alive. The Niners sacked Rodgers on third down and 15 or so, and the veteran committed a punk-ass hold, effectively blowing the game for the 1-5 Niners.

Booger: Craneman

And, yes, it’s beyond obvious that Booger is the No. 2 guy and Jason Witten, right now, is in way over his head. We know what you were thinking, Norby: Witten is a Cowboy, a future Hall of Famer, a red-state icon, the kind of guy who in real life resembles that dude in the baseball ads who takes his daughter to the game and then stands up when they ask for military vets to be recognized. He’s the package, outside, but he just isn’t charismatic as a voice.

ESPN knows it, too. They’re looking for a graceful way out of this. For now, though, Booger remains in the crane (which may be the best vantage point for him, as it’s a unique concept). But right now Witten is like having a a second back in the backfield on 3rd-and-16.

4. Paul Allen

Co-founder of Microsoft, former owner of the Trailblazers (and he certainly was one) and current owner of the Seahawks, erstwhile Washington State student, man who achieved a perfect 1600 on his SATs and Seattle native Paul Allen died of cancer at the age of 65. He was reportedly worth $20 billion and from all accounts, one of the good guys.

That’s too young to exit the stage, particularly when you have that much money to play with. Like his high school friend, Bill Gates, Allen dropped out of college. In 1975 they formed Microsoft and essentially changed the world. Trailblazer, indeed.

The weirdest thing: Allen, with all that wealth, never married and apparently was not gay. The less this writer says about that, the better.

5.  The Great Western Loop

If this map proves anything, it’s that Nevada is a vast wasteland. Southern Utah, on the other hand, we highly recommend.

As this article on OutsideOnline.com states, “Thank her or blame her, Cheryl Strayed and her mega-popular book Wild have turned thru-hiking into a mainstream national pastime…”As backpacking has become more popular, it became inevitable that hikers would seek a trail that had not yet been blazed by Reese Witherspoon and others.

Enter the Great Western Loop Trail, a 6,875-mile passage that is actually a combination of five other trails sewn together. The GWL encompasses nine states, 12 national parks and 75 wilderness areas and thus far only one human, Andrew Skurka, a professional backpacker (? Who pays him?), has completed the trek. It took him 208 days.

Looking at our calendar, we may have some down time coming up. Who wants to join us?

Music 101

Love In The First Degree

This October 1981 release from Alabama was the band’s fifth straight No. 1 country hit and its biggest crossover hit, peaking at No. 5 on the Billboard chart. It was all over A.M. radio that autumn and I know because our carpool driver to my high school only listened to KOY.  I’m not sure the double-necked guitar was absolutely necessary on this tune, are you?

Remote Patrol

Red Sox-Astros

ALCS Game 3

5 p.m. TBS

Brewers-Dodgers

NLCS Game 4

9 p.m. FS1

Alex Bregman’s OBP this postseason is a ridonk .708

This may be our last doubleheader of the season. The corner-office TV execs are praying for Boston-L.A., while we’re hoping for an all-Central Time Zone World Series.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

This would be your SI cover because of the symbolism of the Georgia player falling flat on his face. Class dismissed.

Top Ten Tumult

It’s mid-October and top-ten ranked schools are falling like cabinet members leaves. Within a 45-minute span early Saturday night, the 0:00 struck in Baton Rouge, Ames and State College, ending the unbeaten seasons of No. 2 Georgia and No. 6 West Virginia and knocking No. 8 Penn State out of the playoff picture with its second defeat.

You think they were happy in Ames?

The culprits, respectively: LSU and Iowa State, who both were at home, and Michigan State, which got its biggest win in a few years on the road. Sparty has an opportunity to knock off its second Top 10 foe in as many weeks when Michigan visits East Lansing on Saturday.

Also, No. 5 (now No. 4) Notre Dame narrowly escaped from three-touchdown underdog Pitt at home.

2. Frost-bitten

Chicago issued a frost advisory last Thursday, and that was besides the looming arrival of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and coach Scott Frost to Evanston for a Saturday noon contest with Northwestern. You remember Frost, the coach who took UCF from 0-12 to 13-0 in just two seasons.

Well, in his first season back at his alma mater (refusing to heed the warnings of Steely Dan), Frost had been humbled with an 0-5 start. But Nebraska had never started 0-6 in any of its previous 128 seasons and after kicking a field goal to go up 31-21 with 5:41 to play, it didn’t look as if it would this season.

Long story short: The Purple Kitties scored 10 points to force overtime, then kicked a game-winning field goal to send Frost to an 0-6 start. No coach was a hotter commodity last December and deservedly so. And Frost will succeed in Lincoln. But this year the “N” on the helmet stands for nadir.

3. Boston Powers


(This man is paid millions annually for bloviating his opinions)

On Sunday evening in eastern Massachusetts, the Red Sox staved off (no one ever staves on, have you noticed?) the Houston Astros to square the ALCS at 1-1. Meanwhile, 25 miles south the Patriots won a tennis match with the Chiefs, 43-40, on a short field goal as time expired, knocking Kansas City from the ranks of the unbeaten (but I still see a path for them to get to the playoff).

The Sox and ‘stros are baseball’s two best teams. This is unofficially the World Series. The Pats and Chiefs are the AFC’s two best teams (the Rams are the NFL’s best). A pretty good night for Boston sports fans, but then it’s been a pretty decent millennium for them. And remember, now that LeBron has pulled his latest exodus (that’s three if you’re keeping score in Maryland, Susie B.), the Celtics will be favored in the East.


(This 75-yard TD catch tied the game 40-40 with just over 3 minutes to play, but that was too much time for the Pats. Note the Bud Light: Dilly Dilly!)

Question: Where will Tom Brady go down on the list of greatest Boston sports legends? Obviously in the top five, but is he number one? You figure it’s he, Larry Bird, Ted Williams, Bill Russell, David Ortiz and Bobby Orr. My guess is the ranking would go as follows: Brady, Russell, Williams, Bird, two-way tie. Your thoughts?

4. The Six Mistakes Of Man

Cicero: “SPQR or bust!”

We came across this last week and have been meaning to get it on the blog. So the Roman orator and philosopher Cicero (his greatness was such that they named a lower-middle class Chicago suburb after him), who lived in the century before Jesus was born, once spoke of the “six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century.”

They are:

            1. Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;

           2.Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;

                        3. Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;

               4. Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
5. Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
6. Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do.

Again, this was more than 2,000 years ago. Still relevant today, though.

5. Donald, Mitch: THIS Is What A Mob Looks Like

So here’s the next step in Fascism: angry white males jumping liberals and violently attacking them. If you don’t live in New York City, understand: this is the Upper East Side, just off Park Avenue in the low 8o’s. This is a very, very nice neighborhood.

The backstory, as you may know, is that Gavin McInnis, the leader of a neo-Nazi group called The Proud Boys, was speaking at the Metropolitan Republican Club on Friday evening. Protesters showed up. And then the violence began. Police made no arrests at the scene.

Remember that Seinfeld episode where George was mistaken for a white supremacist? It was funny then. Now it’s real.

Reserves

By the way, while hunting down that previous video, we found this one. “NO SOUP FOR YOU!”

Music 101

Your Time Is Gonna Come

This Led Zeppelin track from 1969 leads off Side 2 of their eponymous debut album. It starts off with an organ solo that puts the listener in the third pew of 9 a.m. Sunday mass, and then it segues into Robert Plant’s vocals and the song’s title on refrain. Is that a a warning or a promise?

Remote Patrol

The Exorcist

8 p.m. AMC

I’m sorry, Michael Myers and Leatherface, but Regan McNeil (Linda Blair) was the scariest movie character of the 1970s. The Exorcist, or as we like to call it, The Linda Blair Witch Project, was responsible for our first sleepless night since after I stopped wearing a diaper.

Brewers-Dodgers

NLCS Game 3

7:30 p.m. FS1

Twilight baseball from Chavez Ravine….

 

CHRIS PICKS! WEEK SIX!

by Chris Corbellini

Week 6 Picks: Put this in the team suggestion box …

It may not happen this week, it may not happen this season, it may not happen ever, but at some point, shouldn’t an NFL defensive coordinator try a 4-3 defense without the “3” part of the alignment … and just field all defensive backs?

That thought no doubt ticked off all of the linebackers out there. Current of former, you know who you are. Nobody makes plays like you. That is the nature of the linebacker position: To inflict pain. To dislodge things. To make the prom queen cry. To set the tempo to 11 and hit through ballcarriers as if they were looking past them to a point in the distance. Linebackers don’t just do the dirty work, they are the dirty. If someone suggested an all-safety or all-corner alignment to Dick Butkus, that someone would’ve been thrown through a window and then paid the team fine on Dick’s behalf.  If someone had ever suggested it to Ray Lewis, Ray may have called for a team exorcism to rid that man of his demons.

Much respect to the Backers. To the Sams. To the Mikes. To the Wills. OK? I want to put that out there.

So, why am I suggesting changing what’s always been? Why wake all the grizzly bears?

Well, the thought of a no-linebacker defense on every down occurred to me as rookie running back Saquon Barkley single-handedly tore up the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles on Thursday night. It was if the Giants and Barkley were in two different games: The rest of the G-Men belly-flopped into a shallow kiddie pool of mediocrity and lost their game, while Barkley won every battle and one-on-one challenge the Eagles threw at him in another. In open space, no Eagles linebacker stood a chance.

So why not cover the open spaces with a guy just as fast as Barkley? Why not choose closing speed and ball-hawking skills, above all?

Yes, Todd Gurley won the Rams-Seahawks game last week between the tackles (with 3 TDs), but that is a rarity for him. Gurley’s version of a handoff is often a dump-off. So is Alvin Kamara’s. So is James White’s. Christian McCaffrey, too. Perhaps talents like Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig, both boasting 1,000-1,000 seasons, were just ahead of their time. Every dump-off I see now I think it: runner-receivers, or more precisely receiver-runners, are the new NFL.

Barkley, Kamara, White, and McCaffrey are all in the top 30 in receptions this season. Barkley, Kamara, Gurley, Zeke Elliott, Melvin Gordon, James Conner, and McCaffrey are in the top 15 of all-purpose yardage, too. I envision more running backs joining them in both categories by season’s end. So, why not field your top two pass rushers at the ends, two 330-pound lane cloggers at the tackles, and then get creative at LB, putting fearless defensive backs like Tyrann Mathieu and Earl Thomas in those spots, and fielding the usual starters at corner and safety. All the men who can’t be out-run in open space.

If you have that type of talent, why not build around it?

Now, you certainly can’t pull off such an alignment for an entire season. I’m not suggesting the zone blitz here. Just last week, for example, the Atlanta Falcons and their quick/slender linebackers were bullied by rhino James Conner and the Steelers. But an All-DB 4-3 defense could fluster a team that relies on a receiver-runner. Why not give it a shot for a series. See if it sticks.

It’ll be cool when Belichick tries it someday, in an AFC divisional game or something.

Onto the picks. Home team in caps, with William Hill odds (as of Friday afternoon)

TEXANS (-10) over Bills

DeAndre Hopkins’ long catch in OT last week will stay with these Texans for months to come. The offense now has the confidence that comes with beating a desperate opponent, on the road, and that defense is officially in hunting mode. At 2-3, they are not out of this. So, hey, you know, good to see you, Buffalo. Be sure to visit the gift shop at GB International and get yourself something nice on the flight back to rebuilding town.

I’m playing “House of the Rising Sun” as I type this, and set to such a doomsday tune, it’s easy for me to envision Houston’s D putting one QB after another in a hurt freezer the rest of the year. In montage format, naturally. Just one Watt/Clowney sack after the next, all Scorsese-like (Related: I used to edit football highlights to music for a living, and I still think this way, though I am no Scorsese). The Texans D have not played to their potential yet, and can’t cover tight ends, but … the hurt is coming. This week.

Bears (-3.5) over DOLPHINS

I’m still a little awestruck by the game film of Chicago’s 48-10 hammering of Tampa Bay in Week 4. Even if the line had been -6.5, I would have considered it. Maybe Vegas just accounted for the South Beach Flu … an affliction that can be wildly contagious amongst pro athletes.

Clubs or no, the Bears defense leads the league in sacks per game (ooh, analytics!), and just enjoyed a fun little bye week, likely spending that free time high-fiving each other for landing Khalil Mack. Meanwhile, the Dolphins o-line is a hot mess. Starting left guard Josh Sitton and center Daniel Kilgore are out for the year, and offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil (concussion) is not a certainty to play on Sunday.

While watching the film I really liked the way this Bears D was ready to pounce, pre-snap. They looked hungry. I’d then stay on Mack when the ball actually was snapped, only to marvel at someone else making a killer play against the Bucs. OK, OK, I see you, Chicago.

PACKERS (-9.5) over 49ers

The Packers are an especially-f-cking-weird 2-2-1, and yeah, they want to not look that weird anymore. They want the coaching staff to not be second-guessed on every series, and to not have fans and experts believe they are an Aaron Rodgers solo act.

A resounding win at Lambeau on Monday Night Football could do it.

I want to see what Mike Pettine’s defense has in store for the 49ers this week. Behind the scenes he’s your classic defensive wise-ass, needling star offensive players whenever he can and pushing buttons across the organization whenever he can, even amongst his coaches (OK, especially amongst his coaches). Playing lighter and fiercer is a tricky thing to pull off, but I’ve seen Pettine do it with the New York Jets.  So, what will Pettine ask of his defense this week against a short-handed Niners offense? Will he ask for a Pick-6 of C.J. Beathard? A shutout? Will he throw some money behind those asks? It’s certainly in play. The entire franchise wants to look decisive in front of all of those stock-holders.

Steelers (+2) over BENGALS
I wanted to go Falcons here (-3 vs. Bucs), but that match-up is far more intriguing for fantasy purposes. No, I’m trying to get Big Ben’s turnovers on the road out of my head (Cleveland in Week 1 springs to mind), and focus on the positives in life … like Conner gnashing between the tackles, and Antonio Brown’s 47-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter last week.

This one could be a 10-7 final, with the announcers playing along with that “Who would have guessed this with all these playmakers!” explanation point at the finish — a result that’ll make you shake your head when they see each other again in the playoffs, because it’ll be a pick-‘em, with one play ultimately deciding it either way. My gut tells me Conner will be that difference-maker in Cinci this time, but just barely. According to Pro Football Focus, the Bengals rank 26th against running backs in the pass game.

Hmmm. Maybe Cincinnati should try fielding an DB-heavy 4-3 alignment …

Last week: 1-3

Season: 5-12

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

1. The Kanye West Wing

You’re telling us that’s the same dude who once quipped on national television, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people?” Now he’s hugging it out in the Oval Office with Donald Trump, dropping mother*cker bombs on camera, and mansplaining why he voted the way he did in 2016?

Quoth Kanye: “I love Hillary. I love everyone, right? But the campaign ‘I’m with her’ just didn’t make me feel, as a guy that didn’t get to see my dad all the time, like a guy that could play catch with his son. There was something about putting this hat on that made me feel like Superman.”

Narrator: Superman doesn’t wear a hat. Also, he’s an undocumented immigrant who would never be allowed to play the French Open in that outfit.

Anyway, it was surreal and utterly inappropriate would be funny if not so tragic and as we’ve been saying since the beginning, Another Day of Trump.

By the way, while this charade was playing out in the Oval Office, the Senate was ramming 15 more male Trump-appointed judges down our throats and the Dems were complicit because in return the GOP said if they did so everyone could return to their districts three weeks early. You get your money for nothing/And your chicks for free...

2. Mousey Tongue

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science (we were wait-listed there) recently announced that they were able to use embryonic stem cells and genetic engineering to produce live offspring from two female mice. We have no idea what the second mouse was needed for but it’s been 33 years since we studied for our college genetics final exam, so we’re a bit rusty on the particulars.

Leave it to the Chinese to be the vanguard of asexual reproduction.

Researchers are now attempting to build the world’s smallest operational Subaru for this non-traditional family, who at press time were resting comfortably and watching The Kids Are All Right.

3. From Rage To Riches

From Rags To Bitches

Someone bought the domain name BrettKavanaugh.com and made it a site for survivors of sexual assault. So now when you Google the new Supreme Court justice’s name, this will pop up. After we saw this, curiosity took hold of us and we searched to see if the domain ClayTravis.com had yet been claimed by someone. It has not.

4. Then: Nigerian Prince; Now: Tanzanian Billionaire

Things are getting Tanzanier in Africa, where the nation’s only billionaire, and the continent’s youngest, Mohammed Dewji, was abducted as he was about to enter a gym in Dar Es Salaam for a workout. Dewji, 43, has a reported worth of $1.5 billion and owns Mohammed Enterprises, which is a conglomerate of businesses in a number of sectors.

If you receive an email today from a Tanzanian billionaire asking you to donate to his ransom, it may actually be real.

5. This Justin: Will Oregon Runner Cause Nike’s Stock To Tank, Too?


Just one month after making Colin Kaepernick its poster boy, Nike went ahead and surprised Oregon distance runner Justin Gallegos, who suffers from cerebral palsy, with a contract. This,we assume, will render him ineligible?

For the record, Gallegos is part of Oregon’s non-varsity running club. Nike signed him to a three-year deal. He recently ran a half-marathon in 2:03, which is damn good. We just watched the video and now this room needs dusting.

Reserves

Welcome to your crime scene. Torture room for one?

Turkish officials have audio and video evidence (in short, they’ve met the Melania Test) of Jamal Khashoggi being tortured and then executed inside the Saudi consulate. Sources said the 15 assassins (talk about, ahem, overkill) also brought a bonesaw with them for purposes of dismemberment, the better to depart with Khashoggi’s corpse in an inconspicuous manner.

So we’ve got a nation that murders a journalist inside its own consulate, was the birthplace of 18 of the 19 9/11 hijackers, is currently using our weaponry to starve out the nation of Yemen, and was also the very first country President Trump visited? Sounds about right, but then $110 billion arm deals are nothing to sneeze at.

*****

We liked this idea from Max Kellerman. The Giants have two sterling position-player talents in Odell Beckham (just re-signed) and Saquon Barkley and a 37 year-old stiff at quarterback in Eli Manning. Colin Kaepernick lives in New York City and is actually not unpopular here. Sign him. Put him in practice sessions. See what he has left in the tank. The local media and fans certainly would not crucify you. What do you have to lose, G-Men?

Music 101 

True Colors

Before she was just another old lady waiting with me on the corner of 79th and Broadway for the light to change, Cyndi Lauper was an ’80s pop star with a unique and enchanting voice. Not quite as powerful as Annie Lennox, mind you, but she was quirky and genuine and this was one of her bona fide hits.

Remote Patrol

SUNDAY NIGHT

Sundays With Alec Baldwin

10 p.m. Sunday

I’m trying to picture the pitch meeting.

“So you’re just gonna…talk?”

“Yes.”

“And no one’s going to sing?”

“Or dance.”

“And no one’s going to hook up or have an immunity challenge?”

We’re just…talking.”

SUNDAY

8 p.m.

Chiefs at Patriots

Meet the new boss. Pat Mahomes and the 5-0 Chiefs aren’t the first AFC franchise that came after Tom Brady and the Pats’ fiefdom, but he’s not as young as he used to be and it may finally be time. Or is it?

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

*Before you read this, why not read something funny? Go to “A Message From Katie” (it’s just over there to the right…See it?….Look at you owning the internet) and click. Thanks!

Starting Five

Tragic Mike

The Florida Klanhandle transformed into Desolation Row yesterday as Hurricane Michael came ashore with its 155 m.p.h. winds laying waste to a 200-mile swath of the Gulf Coast. The loss of life was minimal (two souls) but countless pairs of air-brushed sleeveless T-shirts have been lost or irreparably soiled.

Climate change isn’t God reaching His hand through the clouds like an animated Monty Python bumper. No, it’s a storm like Michael so soon after Florence, it’s Connecticut experiencing a record number of 80-plus degree days (such as yesterday). Here in the northeast, seasons are fast becoming Summer, Indian Summer, Winter, Rain, repeat.

But, you know, it’s too soon to talk about climate change right after such a devastating storm…

Michael did pose an inconvenience of sorts for our 45th president, who wanted to express concern and all but wasn’t about to pass on the ego boost that a White Power Rally provides him. So here’s what he did. First, he tweeted this (which, okay, no one expects him to fly to Panama City and use a T-shirt cannon to shoot paper towels into people’s homes, but the fact is he literally was NOT with them)


and then of course he boards Air Force One and flies to Erie to feed off the hostility of his followers toward those who have nothing to do with the fact that they’re losers….

2. Seeing Red

The stock market took a precipitous plunge yesterday, more than 832 points (or 3.2%), its greatest one-day loss since February 8…which no one really remembers because the DOW has been so upwardly trending since then. Is it a blip or is it a trend?

Well, when we began typing this morning the DOW’s implied open was -300 or so and now it’s at -138. We think it’s a correction and President Donald “The Fed has gone crazy” Trump blames it on the Federal Reserve and its raising of interest rates.

To all our clients at Walker Capital and to my colleagues at the Cookoutateria who texted in a panic last night, read these words of wisdom from the NYT.

3. The Butler Did It

Of trades and tirades…

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler, who has been requesting a trade the past three weeks, went full mic drop on his team yesterday after showing up for the first time this preseason. Butler rounded up a supporting cast of third-stringers and whipped, repeatedly, the first-string squad that included former overall first picks Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.

During the scrimmages, Butler cussed out the team’s GM and coach and told them how badly they need him (they already knew this, which is why they don’t want to trade him). Then he just walked out of the gym, leaving everyone’s jaws agape.

Okay, so Butler has gone from 30th overall pick in 2011 to one of the league’s most dynamic players. And now he’s a diva. We get it. We just don’t understand the logic. How do you go from “You need to trade me” to “You need me?” Or is it just that he’s pissed that he’s not paid as much as Towns and Wiggins?

Here’s what we like about Butler, who as you can see even looks a little bit like Michael Jordan (and started out with the Bulls): He’s honest. He’s also a competitor, as opposed to just an AAU stud. For all their young talent, the T-Wolves don’t have an Alpha Wolf if he’s not there.

4. Katie’s Boner

If everyone believes the sun revolves around the earth, there’s not much upside to being Galileo. If you live long enough, you’ll learn that it’s not necessarily a good thing to have more experience and knowledge than a millennial if all the other millennials are as ignorant as he or she. Now I’m not trying to pick on millennials…okay, maybe I am to a degree.

Here’s Bill Simmons appearing on his friend Katie Nolan’s ESPN show recently, and being a good sport about going back to defend himself in terms of past TV clips (Why didn’t they show the Sage Steele clip from the 2013 NBA Finals, we wonder?). Anyway, at one point (the 2-minute mark) she chides him about using the word “boner” on PTI and he tells her that while it gave him a vicarious thrill to use that double entendre on TV, also reminds her that it is a famous sports term dating back a century.

“Wait, people say ‘boner’ to just mean mistakes?” Nolan asks. “I’d never heard that.”

“You know, Merkle’s Boner?” Simmons asks, and then provides vague and not exactly historically accurate details about Fred Merkle (it was the 1908 World Series, not 1912, but   probably only Bob Costas and Keith Olbermann would know that off the top of their heads).

As we think about it, we’re trying to imagine Merkle’s Boner (a baserunning blunder in which he got himself forced out at 2nd as a teammate was scoring what could’ve been the game-winning run) in replay-review world.

What’s funny is the blank stare that Nolan gives Simmons. Like, “Whatevs, Bill.” But he’s not in the wrong here. She is, for being the host of a sports show and having no idea what Merkle’s Boner is. And okay, we can forgive that, but it’s the look she gives him as if to say, “You’re nuts” instead of being humble enough to appreciate that Bill Simmons probably has a better historical sports mind than she does. Maybe she could actually learn something here.

Now, the typical millennial response to this might be, “What do you expect? I wasn’t alive back then.” But guess what? Neither was Bill Simmons. Neither was I, but I know what Merkle’s Boner is.

So, yeah, millennials are awful. And they don’t read enough because they’re too busy posting selfies on Instagram. And I’m joking but I’m also not.

5. Olivia’s Odyssey

Dollars to doughnuts that Nuzzi’s looks probably enticed Trump to call her into the office. But she’s also a very smart cookie.

This story from Olivia Nuzzi of New York magazine about her bizarre visit to the Oval Office a few days ago is just wild. She’s called in to meet with President Trump about a story she’s working on that Chief of Staff General John Kelly’s job is in jeopardy and next thing you know she’s being full-court pressed by Trump, Mike Pompeo and Mike Pence among others.

Reserves

Before we forget, this performance from Flight of the Conchords on Late Show recently. It’s good to have the band back together.

***

Also, if you want to read an excellent celebrity un-profile, this piece from Taffy Brodesser-Akner on Bradley Cooper in The New York Times is wonderful.

Music 101

Girlfriend

1991, Matthew Sweet, and one of the earliest uses of anime in a rock video. The Nebraska native had moved to Athens, Georgia, in the early Eighties to attend college and be part of that burgeoning music scene that included B-52s and REM. His success came later and lesser than theirs, but this breakout hit still went to No. 10 on the charts.

Remote Patrol

His Girl Friday 

8 p.m. TCM

This 1940 comedy marks the second time in as many years that Cary Grant played a character who successfully woos his ex-wife back (The other film? The Philadelphia Story). Was that a thing back then?

 

A MESSAGE FROM KATIE!

by Katie McCollow

Hello friends! Isn’t it exciting that Medium Happy is turning 50? Where have the years gone?

Obviously I’m joking- we all know Medium Happy has yet to complete a trip around the sun (or publish any actual recipes, which I think we can all agree is highly confusing)-I’m the one who turned 50, and what better way to commemorate this milestone than share with you the dread I feel at having lived half a century, yet am still no closer to meeting Zac Efron?

I know what you’re thinking; “She couldn’t possibly be 50, she doesn’t write a day over 32!” and that is so sweet of you, really. Turning 50 is such a relief, to be honest- I’m totally going to embrace hearing “You write great for your age.”

My actual birthday was a few days ago. I asked my mother, “Can you believe you have a child who’s 50?!” and she reminded me that I’m the eighth of her nine children. I only tell you that so you know that compared to all of my siblings except one, I’m actually very, very young.

I’m not one of those people who feels melancholy about getting older, especially now, when there’s so much other stuff to feel melancholy about. Is it cognitive dissonance or menopause keeping me in a constant state of emotional whiplash? One calls for hormone therapy, the other, hardcore pharmaceuticals. Either way, these days I get a disturbing thrill from chewing stale Gummi Bears and then counting my teeth.

So how did I spend the big day, you ask? Well it was beautiful outside, and beautiful days have been in short supply this year where I live- I feel like I can count on one hand the days the sun has shone this fall, so I went for a run. As I was leaving, my husband, wracked with bronchitis, was attempting to use the last of his limited oxygen supply to blow up a giant, gold number 50, making me wonder if my birthday surprise would be widowhood. He lived, the balloons still festoon my front windows, and all is well.

He rallied enough to take me to do one of my favorite things later that night, sing karaoke. I have no explanation why it’s one of my favorite things, since it never goes well. I’m about as good at karaoke as I am at ordering off a menu. Hmm, steak, chicken, pork…oooh what’s that you say, tonight’s special is duck tartare? Sounds repulsive! Make it a double!

If I were to stick to my wheelhouse at karaoke, I’d choose something like, say, Happy Birthday. That’s not even true- my real wheelhouse, singing-wise, would be to not participate, but if Instagram has taught me anything, it’s that we’re supposed to do things that scare us.

Does Instagram really know what it’s talking about? Why should I do things that scare me? Why am I supposed to ‘breathe through it and let it go’? Is everyone I meet really fighting a battle I know nothing about? Insty insists I ‘Don’t sit on my ideas, stand by them’- what about that duck tartare idea that made me throw up for two days? But then my jeans fit for 10 minutes on the third say, so I guess it did make sense. Fine, Instagram, you win. For now.

Where was I? Oh yes, karaoke. My logical mind says just say no, but the part of me that loves it when you look screams Bohemian Rhapsody!! Impossible to sing, and cripplingly long! Why should I be the only one suffering? As Ellen Griswold says, “It’s Christmas, and we’re all in misery.” OK FINE. We all know the part of me that loves when you look is the whole part, and none of my mind is logical. Must you rub it in??

Enough with the birthday talk. I’m sure it’s obvious to all you smart people that it is but a red herring to keep from talking about the latest elephant in the room that’s stampeding through this country and tearing (what’s left of it) apart.

I’ll warn you right now- I hold an unpopular opinion on this latest shriek-fest, and every time anyone, even a supposed “loved one”, asks me about it and I speak my truth, they look at me like I’ve morphed into an Orc, take me out of their contact list and block me off their social media before I’ve even had a chance to swallow my muffin. And that was not a euphemism, although you will find a reference to it in my high school year book.

I’m talking of course, about the new A Star is Born.

It was OK.

I didn’t hate it! But let’s get real, there was not an easier mark in that theater than me, me who loves nothing more than a doomed love story with a great soundtrack. I sat down, settled in with my Kleenex and waited in giddy anticipation for the waterworks to start.

Still waiting.

The good news: Bradley Cooper does a spectacular Sam Elliot impersonation. Also good news: the insomnia that’s plagued me since April is cured.

If you don’t know the story, stop reading (although I’m pretty sure most of you clicked off at the mention of menopause) because I’m going to reveal the whole plot right now. And if you don’t know the story, why don’t you? This is like the 47th iteration of this thing, and it’s a classic. Not knowing the story is like not knowing Darth Vader is Luke’s dad at this point. (Aaaaand there go the rest of you.)

Spoiler Alert: In the pool scene, Jackson Maine is actually in the shallow end. I mean…

So Bradley Cooper plays this grizzled old musician who’s super famous. He’s an unkempt drunk and looks like he smells awful. One night after a show, he goes to a bar and falls hard for Lady Gaga, a chanteuse with eyebrows made of hockey tape. Possibly duct tape, but I’m from Minnesota.

Bradley Cooper: Mraw mraw mrawwww mmmble

Lady Gaga: You’ve earned my trust so I’ll sing in this parking lot late at night! WAAAAAAAAAAHHHH (her voice causes a hurricane, but everyone lives because of paper towels)

Bradley Cooper: Mrawwww mraww mrawwwww braaaap less make out slurp slurp ima make you famuzz brrrhhhh

Lady Gaga: This stage is so big and scary I’ll cover my eyes and hopefully my voice can shake the foundation WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH (it does)

Bradley Cooper: Mraw mraw mraw bppppphttttt

Lady Gaga: I’m famous now so my hair is light orange!

Bradley Cooper: mrah mrah less ge murried yer n ugly sellout ahmm deaf

Lady Gaga: Drunkard!

Bradley Cooper: psssssssssssssssssss

He cleans up his act and swims in a pool, she cancels a tour and then there’s a sad part and a big number at the end. There’s also lots of dull shots inside the seventies-era dental office they call home, and Sam Elliot (oh- he plays Bradley Cooper’s brother) says the F word about a million times. And about halfway through it you say way louder than you meant to, “Omigod is that Andrew Dice Clay?”

B-. It’s this year’s Dunkirk or the year before’s La La Land. It’ll probably win a boatload of awards, and I’ll remain the cheese standing alone. But life is not all mediocre movies, friends, so here’s a list of-

Five Books that are fun to read in October

5. Dracula– I have a really cool version, with super creepy illustrations. Now, when I say I ‘read’ this, what I mean is, I crank “Before the Summer Ends” on an hours long loop and sing along at top volume until my vocal cords bleed. I don’t listen to the rest of the soundtrack because it’s garbage.

4. The Haunting of Hill House– The best kind of scary- the psychological kind. I’m looking forward to watching the Netflix version of this, mostly so I can marvel at how great Carla Gugino looks.

3. The Liner Notes of the special edition of The Greatest Showman. Always the right choice, no matter the month. And again, the thought of never meeting Zac Efron terrifies.

2. Wuthering Heights– OK, you caught me- I bucked tradition and didn’t read it this year, opting instead for Agnes Grey, which I’d never read because I didn’t even know it existed until I went to the library to check out Wuthering Heights. Have I been italicizing too much? It feels like maybe too much. Anyway I’m not going to read two Bronte sister books back to back. It’s gloomy outside but c’mon.

That’s the whole list. Five books in a month? I don’t have that kind of time, you sillies. Until we meet again, I hope you all have a very Happy Halloween!

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

“I pledge allegiance/To the pu**y grabber…”

1. In Haley, Ex-Haley

Yet another cabinet member, United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, submits her resignation. But in the West Wing it’s all peaches and cream and how-’bout-a photo op? What gives?

Theories: 1) She got tired of Jon Bolton‘s creepy mustache and Mike Pompeo‘s perpetually I’ve-had-too-much-for-lunch girth. Plus, they’re serious hardliners where she is more of an eyeliner. 2) She and her husband wanna make a little more bread. They’ve never earned more than $270,000 a year combined (I’m sure Donald has a few thoughts about that, spouse-wise) or 3) Haley is positioning herself to take Lindsay Graham‘s vacant South Carolina senate seat when Donald appoints him attorney general to replace Jeff Sessions.

We’ll see.

Whatever, Haley only informed her staff of the exodus a few hours before meeting Trump later Tuesday morning (just after he finished watching Fox & Friends and cartoons). So it was an either abrupt or carefully guarded decision.

2. Stanton Stinks (Don’t Talk To Us, We’re Grieving)!

Another walk of shame for G-Rod

Is it too soon to dub him G-Rod? The Yankees trailed 4-1 to the Red Sox in an elimination game heading to the bottom of the ninth in the Bronx last night. The leadoff hitter, Aaron Judge, walked. The next batter, Didi Gregorius, singled. No outs and the tying run, Giancarlo Stanton, comes to the plate.

To that point Stanton had four singles in the series (two during a 16-1 rout on Monday) and five strikeouts in 17 at-bats. No extra-base hits, no RBI. The man whom the Yankees have invested an MLB-record $325 million through 2028 predictably struck out, but it wasn’t the K itself, it’s how he did it. The last two strikes Stanton swung out were low and away, far outside the zone.

It says a lot that the next batter, Luke Voit, who’s in his second season, was able to work a walk against the Sox’ Craig Kimbrel, one of the game’s premier closers (while Stanton was not). Then Neil Walker, another batter more clutch than Stanton, was hit by the first pitch, forcing in a run.

Gary Sanchez, who wouldn’t shorten his swing to save his mother’s life, flied out to the warning track, bringing in one more run. Then Gleyber Torres hit a two-strike slow roller to third and was thrown out by inches, ending the game and the Yankees’ season.

We say this as longtime Yankee fans: it’s a cheap thrill watching a team set a Major League home run record (267) during the season but utterly unable to put wood on the ball when it matters. In two games in the Bronx the Yankees failed to hit a home run (we don’t know how often that happened during the season, but it was rare for a team that averaged more than 1.5 per game).

Only Angel Hernandez (three overturned calls in Game 3) had a worse series than Stanton. The Cuban native has filed a discrimination grievance with MLB; is that why he keeps getting to work playoff games?

Also, mock the “clutch gene” theory all you want, but in his first season in New York it’s clear that Stanton wants no part of big moments. Like Jason Giambi and A-Rod before him, he’s great at hitting 450-foot blasts when the Yanks are up or down five runs, but in key moments? New York sent seven men to the plate in the ninth inning and only their most expensive player whiffed…again, on two obvious balls.

Players such as George Springer of the Astros or Christian Yelich of the Brewers, here are guys who make contact and also have power. In the offseason we hope Stanton either visits an optometrist or learns how to lay off high heat and low in-the-dirt sliders. For now, though, he’s what our dad would call “a stiff.” I can’t stomach another 10 seasons of this; I’m too old for that. It’s almost enough (almost) to make me a Mets fan.

Thank you for letting me vent. Sports therapists’ hourly rates are too expensive.

3. Michael: Would You Like An Upgrade?

Yesterday Michael was an unassuming Category 1 storm with 90 m.p.h. winds just minding its business at Starbucks. This morning it’s a Category 4 hurricane that is about to hit the Florida panhandle with the potential to be the nastiest October hurricane since StatCast began tracking exit velocity and launch angles (sorry, we’re just not ready to let the Yankees’ season be over yet). Anyway, seriously, it could be the worst October hurricane in U.S. history.

Also, this just in from your favorite Super-Pac or GOP politician or email-forwarding relative: climate change is not real. But you do have to wonder, why does dear Baby Jesus keep taking aim at red states so often with His magnificent tempests?

4. The Rear Window-ing of Jamal Khashoggi

The last moments Jamal Khashoggi was seen alive

If you’ve ever seen the Alfred Hitchcock classic Rear Window, you know that once you murder someone inside a building with only one exit, the hard part is removing the body. So where is Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who entered his nation’s consulate in Istanbul last week and never emerged? And was a 15-man assassination team really necessary? How many people do you need?

Also, will the Trump White House just dole out lame platitudes about wanting answers until hopefully a domestic mass shooting or kneeling NFL player wipes this story from the front page? After, you’ve got a Muslim journalist (two strikes) versus an evil, oil-producing monarchy (three pluses). Whose side do you think President Spray Tan is on?

5. Swift Voting >>>> Swift Boating*

*The judges will also accept “Pop Rock—But No Longer Country—The Vote”

Popette Taylor Swift won another Artist of the Year AMA last night and encouraged viewers and the audience to get out and vote (two days earlier she’d finally broken her political silence and said she’d be supporting two Tennessee Democrats; it’s a wonder someone didn’t hurl a copy of Republicans Buy Sneakers, Too at her).

Through serendipitous timing, Kanye West was too busy having lunch at the White House (really) to march onstage and interrupt T-Swizzle’s acceptance/suffrage speech.

Music 101

The Edge of Glory

Just a couple of native New Yorkers in a studio grinding, trying to make a living. Lady Ga Ga appeared on Howard Stern 11 years ago and what comes across, undeniably, is her superlative talent (she’s only 21 years old here). MH had a staff outing last night to see A Star Is Born (why waste two nights in a row watching the Yanks lose at home to the Red Sox?) and this performance becomes more impactful. Why? Because not unlike Jackson Maine, we prefer the stripped-down Stephanie Germanotta, with that one in 100,000 million voice and the piano chops, to the platinum-haired, dancer-adorned Ga Ga.

Remote Patrol

Warriors at Lakers

10:30 p.m. ESPN

It’s only preseason, but this is the first time LeLakers will face the Warriors. We’re hoping Steve “I don’t want to be here, anyway” Kerr gets himself tossed in the first half.