IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Happy 54th birthday to the President… although, how do we KNOW it’s his 54th birthday? Has anyone seen a birth certificate?

Starting Five

That’s the third cycle of Beltre’s career, tied for the most in Major League history.

1. Beltre’s Belt Way

Is hitting for the cycle an anomaly or an indicator of greatness? Some of the greatest hitters in the game’s lore never hit for the cycle, among them Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Barry Bonds, Pete Rose and Derek Jeter.

And yet a disproportionate number of men who have hit for the cycle are Hall of Famers. Between 1911 and 1960, by my count, 48 of the 95 cycles were hit by future Hall of Famers. In one glorious stretch in 1937, the two men who hit cycles closest to one another were Lou Gehrig and Joe DiMaggio.

Anyway, Adrian Beltre of the Rangers went for his third career cycle last night in Arlington versus the Astros. He hit a 2-run triple in the first (getting the difficult hit out of the way first), a double in the second, a single in the third, and a 419-foot home run in the bottom of the fifth.

Beltre finished 4 for 5 with 3 RBI in Texas’ 12-9 win. He becomes the fourth player in Major League history to hit for three cycles in his career (John Reilly, Bob Meusel, Babe Herman), but the first to do so since 1933. Which is, ya’ know, 82 years ago.

2. Money, It IS The Shoes!*

$15 million-plus per year for 13 years to wear one brand of shoes? How valuable will this contract be if the Rockets never advance to the NBA Finals?

*The judges will also accept “Happy Feet” and “My Adidas”

Reportedly, adidas is offering Houston Rocket guard James Harden $200 million over 13 years. Harden, 25, was the runner-up for the league MVP award last year (the players voted it to him, though). Harden’s chief talent is drawing fouls and growing facial hair.

Harden’s contract with the Rockets calls for him to make about $50 million over the next three seasons, so his adidas deal, if he signs it, would be in the same ballpark of $15-16 million per year.

3. Summer of….Hate

The moment of the fatal stabbing

Is it just me (or is it Twitter) or is everyone in the world a little angrier — and more violent toward one another — than usual? Above, a radical orthodox man stabs a 16 year-old girl taking part in a gay pride march in Jerusalem. She died from this wound a few days later.

I count four guns in this photo, if you include the one on his t-shirt.

Here, a man peacefully protesting the Confederate flag at Stone Mountain, Georgia, encounters a pro-Confederacy advocate armed with a pistol and a semiautomatic rifle. Two cops on hand, and neither has drawn their weapon yet in this photo.

Oh, and two men were shot in the parking lot outside the PNC Bank Center in New Jersey last night following a J. Cole rap show. According to a witness, they were speaking to a woman, making remarks about her body, and a third man stepped out of nowhere and shot them. Both are in critical condition (Am I a terrible person if I admit that I don’t really feel bad for these two?).

I think Mister Señor Love Daddy had it right 26 years ago when he advised, “Whoa. Y’all take a chill. You got to cool that shit off. And that’s the double-truth, Ruth.”

4. Miss Worlds

Besides the world records, Ledecky has perfected the “Water Bosa.”

Get ready for U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky at next summer’s Olympics (thankfully, she will be swimming in a pool in Rio, not in the water outside). You’ll remember that as a 15 year-old at the London Games Ledecky won gold in the 800-m freestyle.

Yesterday at the World Swimming Championships in Kazan, Russia, Ledecky broke her own world record in the 1500-m freestyle. The six-footer, who will matriculate at Stanford next month (I think), now holds the world records in the 400-, 800- and 1500- meter freestyle. She’s got quite the Ironman career in front of her someday.

5. Adios, MotherFOXers

This photo has absolutely nothing to do with the story below. We learn a lot by reading The Big Lead.

Did you really think Jon Stewart was about to go gently into that good night? On the first night of his final week as host of The Daily Show, Stewart lit into his longtime nemeses, seeing their hypocrisy allegation and raising it. Here’s the video.

Music 101

Radiation Vibe

You may know Fountains of Wayne for “Stacy’s Mom,” but I love them for this earlier tune.  Just two nice boys who attended Williams College (I had to mention this before Dick Quinn wrote me a note to tell me that).

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Great Dane (-ish ancestry). Taylor Swift’s BFF, Karlie Kloss, turns 23 today.

Starting Five

1. Creature Feature

I love that the Empire State Building did this on Saturday night. Easily the largest animals to be associated with the grand edifice since King Kong. And I’m praying they meet a better fate.

Cecil.

All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful,

The Lord God made them all*

(and even if you don’t believe in ‘He’, they are the masterpieces of evolution. They need our protection. If you want to help, this is the site that Jimmy Kimmel mentioned for the organization, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit.)

2. 0:34

Rousey: “Say hello to my little friend.”

That’s how long it took Ronda Rousey to dispose of, well, I can’t remember her name, but that’s sort of the point, in Brazil on Saturday night in UFC 190. And that has been one of Rousey’s more interminable bouts. She’s Mike Tyson, reborn and with a sports bra.

The Pacquiao to Rousey’s Mayweather is Cris “Cyborg” Justino, who is Brazilian and attended Saturday night’s bout. The problem is that Cyborg fights for another label and at a weight class of 145 pounds to Rousey’s 135. ”

“I fight in the UFC, in the 135-pound division,” Rousey said after Saturday’s win. “(Cyborg)  can fight at 145 pumped full of steroids [she tested positive four years ago]or she can make the weight just like everybody else without them.”

Them’s…fightin’ words.

3. Tex-Mets

That Duda can rake

It’s August and both the Mess (tied) and Yankees are in first place? Who saw this coming?

The Mets, despited having the lowest run total in the majors, swept the Nats at Citi Field this weekend and so people in that borough are seeing waves of folks riding the 7 train now even before Serena Williams arrives later this month. Jacob deGrom (who autocorrects to “legroom”) and Noah Syndegaard are studs and suddenly I have an urge to shop at IKEA…or attend a weekday matinee game with Don Draper and Freddie Rumsen.

Meanwhile, Mark Teixeira smote his 29th home run and 74th RBI in a 12-3 win at Chicago yesterday. The Yanks went 6-4 on a 10-game road trip that concluded on Sunday and are 59-45. Tex, whom I thought was way over the hill, is now 3rd in homers and 2nd in RBI.

4. “Danger, Wil Robinson!”

HitchBOT will not be headed west.

This weekend in Philadelphia, the purported City of Brotherly Love, HitchBOT, everyone’s favorite itinerant robot, was beheaded (so THAT is where Walter Palmer has been hiding himself). HitchBOT is a robot that hitchhikes across countries –last summer it made its way across Canada– testing the good will of motorists.

“Sometimes bad things happen to good robots,” said one scientist affiliated with the HitchBOT project.

 

5. Anectodal Recall

People see you havin’ fun/Just a lying in the sun…. Shep, TCOB.

I had been meaning to see Supermensch, the Mike Myers-directed documentary on superagent Shep Gordon, ever since it was released in 2014. I finally did this weekend on Netflix.

Fantastic.

I don’t want to ruin a single anecdote for you — they’re tremendous — but do know that Shep, whose principal client, original client and best friend is Alice Cooper, crosses paths with Cary Grant, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Sharon Stone, Groucho Marx, Anne Murray and Teddy Pendergrass, not to mention that he is also responsible for memorable scenes in both Wayne’s World and Almost Famous.

Highly recommend it.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!!

by John Walters

Happy 31st, Kevin Pittsnoggle! And a happy day to Pittsnoggles everywhere.

Starting Five

1. “Mullah Omar, MH 370….”

“Things that disappeared more than a year ago and were discovered yesterday!”

“Correct!”

A piece of wing debris was found yesterday washed up on Reunion Island, which is an island off the coast of Madagascar, which is an island off the coast of Africa, which is– “gotta take some time do the things we never had…”

Anyway, investigators suspect it could be from Flight MH370, which disappeared in March of 2014 with 239 humans aboard. None of them, presumably, were Taliban leader Mullah Omar, who appears to have died in 2013.

2. Oh, no, no Bo

Bo Jackson is one of the best college RBs of all time, but he wasn’t even the best 34 in the SEC in the ’80s.

Yesterday SI.now put out a fantastic gallery of the best college football players of all time by number, and I knew it was legit the moment I opened it up and No. 1 was Anthony Carter of Michigan. He’s pre-ESPN (actually, played right at the advent of ESPN, 1979-82), pre-web, but Carter was an unstoppable college wideout who left school as the Wolverines’ all-time leading receiver.

Moore wins. No QB ever won more college games than Kellen, who won 50.

Difficult omissions? Bo Jackson is the toughest, but I agree with Herschel Walker as the best 34. He may be the best college football player I ever saw. Billy Sims was also an electrifying tailback, but no one is displacing Earl Campbell at 20. Matt Leinart got the nod at No. 11, and he was an outstanding college QB, but sentimentally I wanted to see that number go to another lefty, Boise State’s Kellen Moore, who finished his career with a 50-3 record.

3. How It Began

If you like Seinfeld (the show, the comic, yada yada yada), here are two treats I came across. First, this one-hour documentary on how the show started first came out in 2004, but I’d never seen or heard about it ’til Tuesday (hush, hush). It’s engrossing, and shows that the alchemy that made it work was the good cop/bad cop roles that Jerry and Larry David played with the NBC brass.

Second, this is from the opening season of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. It’s Jerry hanging out with Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks at Reiner’s home. There’s no one like Mel Brooks.

4. Teaching Center

This is just brilliant from Key & Peele, if you have yet to see it. “She was traded for a head librarian and two lunch ladies to be named later.” Obviously, a salary dump. I want to live on this planet.

5. Like a Rolling Stone: How Does It Feel?

Christie Brinkley reacts to Chevy Chase’s dadbod. (Will Dana falls under the males 50-or-above rule). Also, Vacation turned 32 yesterday.

Today the film The End of the Tour premieres (I’ve seen it; it’s very good not great). It centers around Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky tailing David Foster Wallace on the last five days of his book tour. The irony, and not mentioned in the film: the story never ran in RS. 

Today, also, RS managing editor Will Dana announced that he is leaving. Or, being pushed out after the UVA rape story scandal (it was fiction), for which the mag is now being sued. Or was it because they put Kim Kardashian on the cover.

In all moments such as these, I always ask myself the same question: “What would Ben Fong-Torres do?”

Music 101

Mr. Blue Sky

Perhaps if lead singer Jeff Lynne did not look so much like a Muppet, ELO (The Electric Light Orchestra) would have been even more popular. In many ways they were every bit as creative and inventive as Pink Floyd or Queen, but they never hit that top rung. They were more in that Blue Oyster Cult and Supertramp class. Hey, they’re all very rich. Who am I to say?

Read Something!

Who needs “Remote Patrol” when summer television is this awful? I miss you, Roger Sterling! Here’s The Boys in the Boat, which everyone seems to love and which will be  a big movie someday soon.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Happy 52nd, Alexandra Paul. Talk about living the role: Paul (“Stephanie Holden”) is a certified EMT and regularly does open-water ocean swims of more than 10 miles.

Starting Five

“Would I lie to you/Would I lie to you, honey/Now would I say something that wasn’t true/I’m asking you, sugar, would I lie-ie-ie to you”

1. Suspension of Disbelief of Tom Brady

“The Gronk ate my phone!” is what he should have pleaded. Tom Brady destroys his cell phone on March 6, the very day was to meet with NFL investigators. Roger Goodell says, “See you on October 18 at Lucas Oil Stadium.”

It’ll be a monster weekend of football in the Hoosier State: USC at Notre Dame on October 17, followed by the Patriots at the Colts, the team they deflated against. It’s also the peak weekend of leaf-peeping season in Indiana for my money, not that I have much.

Meanwhile, Tom Brady is doubling down on that honest-face-aw-shucks routine. In fact, he’s all in. We either all owe him a huge apology or he’s a psychopath, at this point.

2. Thank You, Jimmy

In order to kill Cecil, guides lured him out of his protective area, then shined a spotlight on him so that Palmer could shoot him with a crossbow. Cecil lived/suffered 40 more hours before they shot him, skinned him, and took the head. Dr. Palmer, you’re a Grade-A asshole.

So much anger here over the Cecil the Lion murder — I can’t think of anything more evil than killing innocent animals for your personal pleasure, but that’s me — and then Jimmy Kimmel does this wonderful thing on TV last night. Watch as he gets a little choked up at the end of it.

Please boycott Walter Palmer’s dentistry office in Bloomington, Minn. And if you see him at the Caribou Coffee there, please spill your hot coffee on him. I would.

3. Rule No. 7…

Texeira had no hits, no RBI, while Didi Gregorius (above), the weakest hitter in their lineup, had 4 hits and 3 RBI, the most of anyone last night.

…which states, “At any given baseball game you’re likely to see something that’s never happened before.”

I’m not sure if what happened last night in the Yankees-Rangers game in Arlington had never occurred before, but it was rare. Texas led 5-0 after one, and then the Yankees exploded for 11 runs in the top of the 2nd before winning, 21-5.

What I found most curious is that every starter in the Yankee lineup save for one had both a hit and an RBI. The one Yankee who had neither was Mark Teixeira, who is currently in the Top 5 in the A.L. in both home runs (24, tied with A-Rod) and RBI (65).

Notes: It was the Yankees’ second win in the past four days after trailing 5-0. Also, the Rangers did not have a hit after their five-run first.

4. Mother, May I Sleep With Danger II

If only fellow serial killer Wayne Palmer had met the same fate…

Man pays for an escort in West Virginia (just an aside: anyone want to hazard a guess on the quality of escorting services in West Virginia? But I digress…) that he found on Backpages.com. The man, Neal Falls, a 45 year-old white drifter (white drifters are the worst, I think the past week has plainly established) shows up at her residence, she opens the door, and he says, “Live or die?” 

She gets away, he begins to strangle her and as he does, he puts the gun down. She reaches for it, grabs it, and fatally shoots him.

And now it turns out that he may have been a serial killer.

How is this story not exploding everywhere? The big question, besides how many women he may have killed, is whether Lifetime grabs this or if it goes to big-screen theatrical release.

5. Twitter Twister

Paul has been a vegan since age 14 and has twice done the Hawaii Ironman. She gets a second photo.

Great product/service, poor management. That’s Twitter, which reported second-quarter earnings yesterday. It’s an open secret that the company is up for sale, and when that happens the stock price should soar at least 10%. But it was wise to avoid it of late, as it’s a wildcard in terms of the fickle nature of investors.

To wit, Twitter (TWTR) actually beat earnings estimates and briefly soared more than 6% in after hours trading (from $36.54 to about $39, but then it did a complete 180 and is now down more than 10% from its closing price in pre-market trading, at $32.46).

Someone will buy Twitter, and soon. It’s too good and too simple a product/service to not be a success. I’d definitely buy it if dips below $30. Maybe even dip the toes in at $32.

Music 101

You Take Me Up

A lot of good songs on the Thompson Twins’ 1984 album, Into The Gap, including the title song. “Doctor,  Doctor” and “Hold Me Now” were the hits, but this one is my favorite. This song reached No. 2 in the UK, but only 44 in the USA, because the Brits have better taste than we do. And I chose this band today because I may be meeting a pair of sisters named Thompson tonight (not twins, though) who appear on your TV screen.

Remote Patrol

I checked. Seriously, there’s nothing on. Go outside and look at the stars. Get some exercise. Play a fierce game of Connect Four. Do NOT turn on the television.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Happy 72nd to the dude on the far right, “Dollar” Bill Bradley

Starting Five

As a matter of fact, it is hot enough for them…

1. Sun’s Out, Fun’s Out

The “world’s toughest footrace,” the annual Badwater 135 in California, begins today tonight. Originally conceived as a race between the lowest (the Badwater Basin in Death Valley, 282 feet below sea level) and highest (Mount Whitney, 14, 505 feet above) points in the contiguous United States, the course is now slightly modified to end at the trail head to the latter.

It’s less about winning Badwater, where temps can attain 120 degrees, than it is surviving it. Last year’s race only had 97 entrants, 14 of whom did not finish (14.4%). The winning male usually comes in at just under 24 hours for the 135-mile run, while the last finisher takes about twice that long to complete the point-to-point course.

The race was first staged in 1977 but began as an annual footrace in 1987. Last year federal park officials banned the racers from starting the race inside Death Valley due to safety concerns, but this year the race will return there under the condition that the race begins after sundown —the most extreme heat in the race is at the start.

2. Do You Know This Man?

His name is Darren Arbet. You may still not know him. He’d be a great candidate for What’s My Line? if that show still existed.

He’s the longest-tenured professional football coach in the U.S.A., having held his job even longer than the New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick has held his. He’s one three championships to Belichick’s four (which would be three if Seattle had just RUN THE DAMN BALL!). Anyway, Arbet, 52, is the coach of the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League, who are currently 15-1 and in good position to win a fourth ArenaBowl under him come August.

3. Missing Chum(s)

The hull

A pair of 14 year-old Floridians, Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, bought $100 worth of fuel, took out their boat reportedly in hopes of sailing to the Bahamas, and then went missing. This CNN story is all kinds of weird. First, check out the first person quoted in the piece.

Second, this sentence, after their 19-foot boat was discovered, upside down, 67 nautical miles (even Rob Konrad can’t swim that far) off the Florida coast: “The discovery of the capsized boat, he said, means the missing teens could be in a more dire situation than officials feared.”

Ya think?

4. Bulls, Bears…Pandas?

“Don’t blame me, I held onto my BABA stock”

What do you call it when the Chinese stock market experiences a huge sell-off, as happened yesterday and today? A panda market (If they sell off quickly, is it a Panda Express?[note: Panda Express does not offer actual panda meat; what a gyp]). Shanghai’s market had a huge sell-off on Monday, as stocks there plunged 8.5%, the worst drop in eight years.

Wait a minute. Aren’t they supposed to be communist? I don’t understand anything.

5. Animal Farmer

Stewart will Dolittle in retirement

Apparently, Jon Stewart does a Q & A with his audience before each taping of The Daily Show and at a recent one, he was asked about a parcel of land he bought in New Jersey which he plans to use as an animal sanctuary (the Rahway State Prison?). Stewart confirmed that this is true. In the words of his friend/contemporary Tina Fey, “I want to go to there.”

Music 101

Carry On Wayward Son

You don’t hear much about them now, and they’ll never get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but in the mid- to late-Seventies Kansas was every ounce as big as Boston or Rush or Journey, their arena-rock brethren. This tune, their breakout hit, along with “Dust In The Wind” and to a lesser extent, “Point of Know Return,” was all over the FM dial (also: Leftoverture had a cool album cover, too) (Noted: this band loved puns and portmanteaus).

See: He’s a lefty

By the way, as I listen to this again, I have to ask: how many bands besides Led Zeppelin have the sheer audacity to put the masturbatory guitar solo at the top of the song? You go, Kansas!

Remote Patrol

The Bomb

PBS 8 p.m.

Radiation Vibe

With so many metaphorical bombs airing in these dog days of summer, why not capture some new and thought-provoking material from your Public Broadcasting System? This doc is the story of nuclear weapons, which I’ve never understood why people find them scary. You’ll never feel it. It’ll be like being Tony Soprano in that final moment of The Sopranos. Here. Gone. Whoosh.

Added benefit: If you wander past TV set as a family member is watching it, you can say, “Isn’t that show the bomb!” and then do an “Ooooh, snap!” or something.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Happy 45th birthday to a great Dane, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (does this mean Cersei is also 45 today?)

also…

Happy 31st to Taylor Schilling, but….

Starting Five

1. A-Rod Turns 40

I don’t know if “Happy” is the proper greeting but, okay, sure, “Happy 40th Birthday” to Alex Rodriguez. I’d call the Yankee DH polarizing, but I’m not so certain there are too many people inhabiting the pole opposite the one that has long found him disingenuous.

And yet, A-Rod smote three home runs on Saturday night as the Yankees came back from a 5-0 deficit at Minnesota to beat the Twins, 8-5. This season he is batting .277 and has 58 RBI and 23 HRs in his return from a season-long suspension. Not quite his MVP-caliber seasons, but he definitely is playing at or near All-Star caliber. He can still hit, he just cannot slide.

Rodriguez still hits as if he is 25, although he slides (this from last Wednesday) like he is 75.

On the all-time lists, Rodriguez is NINTH in Runs Scored, FOURTH in Home Runs, FOURTH in RBI and FIRST in Grand Slams. Does all this just mean he will one day be the greatest player since Pete Rose to not be admitted into Cooperstown?

2. “The Suspect Reportedly Answered the Door Naked, Missing His Eyeball and With a Severed Arm”

It seems as if a few lines were already crossed

Yes, but at least he had the courtesy to open the door. 

The wife, Trina Heisch, 49, of Phoenix, was found decapitated. The husband, the alleged suspect then cut off his own arm and gouged out his eye.

You’ll be surprised to learn that the two met at a mental health facility.

3. A Tale of Two Incomes (and one Homepage)

These two stories are each currently, simultaneously, on the CNN home page:

A) “$6.9 Million Will Be Hard on Family, NBAer Says.” That’s Josh Smith discussing his new, lower salary. He’s actually signed for $1.5 million this year, but the Pistons still owe him $5.4 million. Related: Josh Smith has always been kind of jerk.

B) http://money.cnn.com/2015/07/24/investing/antoine-walker-nba-bankruptcy/index.html?iid=ob_homepage_deskrecommended_pool&iid=obnetwork, a piece on how Antoine Walker blew all the money he made in the NBA.

4. “This Is Water”

The movie about David Foster Wallace, The End of the Tour, will be released Friday (it is NOT a biopic, per se; it’s kind of a road movie). I’d recommend the movie. But what I really want to recommend is this commencement speech he gave at Kenyon College in 2005. Go ahead, take 22 minutes and enlighten yourself (further).

5. Great Performances: Steve Railsback as Charles Manson in Helter Skelter

Railsback’s physical resemblance to Manson was uncanny, but he also seemed to inhabit his soul. If he has one.

Last week I watched Helter Skelter, a 1976 TV movie that was so, so, so much better than its ilk of the time, about the Manson Family slayings in Los Angeles in 1969. I hadn’t seen it since it first appeared on TV and scared the bejesus out of me (I still don’t understand why/how my parents allowed us to view it; wasn’t there a Happy Days or MacMillan and Wife episode on that evening?)

Anyway, watching it again, I was blowed away by just how devastatingly authentic Steve Railsback was in the role of Manson. I don’t know how he did not win the Emmy that year (he didn’t). I also don’t know how he did not move on to much greater things. Rails back reportedly spent two hours alone in a closet every day for months while preparing for the role. I hope that was in preparation for the role.

You can watch the entire movie right here. It’s very well done, especially for a mid-1970s TV film. Do me a favor and just watch the opening scene to experience how good Railsback, who studied under Lee Strasberg in NYC, really is.

Music 101

Hip Hop Hooray

I was in a coffee shop yesterday morning, completely populated by white folk, and this tune came on, and we all got our ghetto on. Pathetic, I know. But this 1993 tune from Naughty by Nature has always been one of my favorite rap songs, if not my very favorite (admittedly, it’s a short list for me). Warning: NSFP.

Remote Patrol

Yankees at Rangers

ESPN 8 p.m.

Did you know that the Yankees have the 4th-best record in baseball at 55-42, behind only the Cardinals, Royals and Pirates? I did not see this. Yes, it’s A-Rod’s 40th but another former Ranger, Mark Teixeira, is leading the Yankee surge with 24 homers and 65 RBI, both Top 5 in the A.L. NYY is second in team batting in the A.L., while Tex is in the midst of his best season since he finished as MVP runner-up in 2009.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Happy 64th to Lynda Carter, who was always “well-suited” to play Wonder Woman

Starting Five

It’s also Torrie Wilson’s 40th birthday…and she is kind of an Amazon…besides, her right leg is recreating an Amazon chart in the past day

1. Speaking of Amazon(s)

Not to get all Pelle Almqvist on you (“Hate To Say I Told You So”), but Amazon (AMZN) reported earnings after the bell yesterday, crushed it, and is now up TWENTY PERCENT in pre-market trading this morning.

Again, your typical hedge fund manager will promised you a 5-7% return on the year. Amazon just made you three to four times that in one day (it made founder and CEO Jeff Bezos $7 billion, yesterday alone)…if you listened to me on Monday or to this headline on the CNBC homepage just yesterday or to the reports from earlier this week that Amazon will be the America’s largest retailer by 2017.

Sure, not everything is as much of a sure thing as we/I sometimes suspect (hello, Apple), but Amazon’s promise of a good report and a spike in its stock price looked solid. And yet the stock fell as much as $12 per share yesterday as investors mulled over whether to pull the trigger or not — there were fears that the price would fall just as much as it has since risen.

The result? Amazon closed at $482 yesterday, a drop of $6 per share but it has since risen as much as $106 (21%) in after hours and pre-market trading to $588. That’s a spike you’d be happy to get for any stock, or for your entire portfolio, for the entire year.

2. Will We Ever Learn?

I know, I know…guns don’t kill people, fingers do (imagine how many fewer people would be able to shoot you dead if those people did not possess index fingers or thumbs). And your right to bear arms is right there at No. 2 in the Bill of Rights, which was created by men in 1791, which was also a time when you would find no electricity, cars, bikinis, football, baseball, basketball, flying machines, internet, Kit Kats (I’m basically just enumerating my favorite things) Mach 3 razors or Seinfeld reruns.

Or repeating-round weaponry.

I’m going to assume that the Founders never envisioned this

Like most clean-minded people, I think, I’m not against repealing the 2nd Amendment. I’m for instilling it with some 21st-century common sense. One thing I do know: every person I hear digging in against this view has never found themselves in a movie theater or an Army recruiting center or a Luby’s or a grade school or a high school or a post office and then suddenly had their lives snuffed out by a bullet for no good reason.

It’s sad that Kurt Eichenwald at Newsweek had to write this cover story just last week, centering around the Aurora, Colo. movie theater gun man, and that then just last night another movie theater massacre would occur in Lafayette, La.

3. Is Danny Noonan Available?

Australian golfer Robert Allenby has four PGA Tour wins since turning pro in 1991. Four is also the number of caddies who have walked off the course in the middle of a round while working for him. The latest was Mick Middlemo, who left in the midst of the Canadian Open. 

You can read the details here. I’d tell you more, but I don’t really (want to) understand golf so well.

4. I’d Start Cardale Jones

He’s a man

A year or two ago, when then 3rd-string THE Ohio State University quarterback Cardale Jones famously tweeted or said (who remembers? who cares?), “We’re not here to play school, we’re here to play football,” I tossed him off in my mind as a highly candid, if not exceptionally bright, young man.

I was wrong.

As this exchange on Twitter yesterday illustrates, Jones is highly intelligent and his candor is straight outta the Muhammad Ali school. Oh, he also got tossed in to the starting role last December and only led the Buckeyes to wins over Wisconsin (ahem, 59-0) in the B1G Championship Game, then Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, and then Oregon for the national championship. And make no mistake: Jones was no passenger on that fighter jet. He was the pilot.

5. The B.S. Report on HBO

Simmons and HBO in their first official press conference. Does this mean Bernie Goldberg will sing “Zou Bizou?”

You can be a HUGE fan of Bill Simmons (I am) and still question the wisdom of his new marriage to HBO. That doesn’t make you a “hater.” It just means that you are a discerning assessor of talent and where it belongs. It’s what Simmons’ manager and/or agents are or should be doing for him, and they’re surely not BS haters.

“Ol’ blue eyes is back.” Simmons’ “My Way” tour continues at HBO

Me, I love Simmons but I wonder if HBO is the best landing pad for him. He IS the voice of  a sports generation, no doubt, but that voice works ideally on live blogs, mailbags and, from what I hear, podcasts. He’s okay on television, but he’s no Michael Davies and Roger Bennett (and, yes, I do know how they got their TV/web start).

Wouldn’t it have been better for all if Simmons and Skipper had just sang “Father Abraham” and made up? (We are all Bobby in this scenario, by the way)

Simmons is jumping into the deep end, where REAL broadcasting talent resides, names such as John Oliver, Bill Maher and Bryant Gumbel. None of these guys just woke up one day and decided that they wanted to be on TV. Bob Costas had a sports and culture program on HBO, and it was actually very good, but even that ended.

To me this all feels a little like Don Draper’s breakup with Betty — they were actually very good together, as self-absorbed as both of them could be (watch the episode where, now divorced, they visit Bobby at sleepaway camp) — in which Betty is ESPN, and his too-quick marriage to Megan Calvet, which is more about wanting it to be right than it being right.

Yeah, I’m sticking with that analogy. Look at that, using pop culture figures to create a metaphor for something in sports. Now who would’ve thought of that?

Music 101

My Kinda Lover

Rocker Billy Squier was HUGE in my sophomore year of high school. I was never a fan of his biggest hit (“Stroke”) but I found myself turning it up in the carpool home from Brophy Prep to Mesa when this tune came on the radio.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

“Longstanding Canadian game show host who turns 75 today….”

It’s All Happening!

Would you be able to survive a Trump attack?

1. Trumpnado!

We always knew the Trump was lethal, but in the Summer of ’15 we learned just how much. Mexicans, POWS, Lindsey Graham. No one is safe! Do not dip your toe in the political waters. Is it safe to run for president yet?

2. 93,226

Unofficially, the most people ever to see a soccer match at the Rose Bowl in which no one revealed a sports bra

Does Los Angeles want pro football? Well, yes, if it does not include helmets and shoulder pads (or Roger Goodell). More than 90,000 jammed the Rose Bowl last night to watch the world’s greatest professional team, F.C. Barcelona, square off against the MLS’ Los Angeles Galaxy.

(Sure, but a lot of them were probably Latinos, so not “real” Americans). Barca, the current La Liga and UEFA Champions League champions, won 2-1 and Luis Suarez (the biter) scored.

This Saturday Barca plays Manchester United (Wayne Rooney) in Santa Clara and then next Tuesday they face Chelsea (the EPL side, not the former –and future?– president’s daughter) in Washington, D.C.

Of all the European acts touring the U.S. this summer, Barca is the one most in its prime.

The sad thing? The world’s premier player, Lionel Messi, did not make the trip. Which is a lot like seeing U2 without Bono.

3. Welcome to Baltimore!

The Orioles game has been postponed

This could be a downtown view of Baltimore…or Boston…or New York City… in 100 years and, let’s face it, in most cases that would be an improvement. Dr. James Hansen, the former top scientist at NASA and now an adjunct professor at Columbia, has just published a paper (with 16 co-authors…geez, I only needed seven on The Same River Twice) that projects sea levels will rise 10 feet in the next 50 years.

We conclude that continued high emissions will make multi-meter sea level rise practically unavoidable and likely to occur this century,” Hansen and his co-authors wrote. Something to think about as you climb into your Dodge Ram pickup this morning.

We’ve all been warned. We’ll all ignore — and then shout at someone, “How did you let this happen?!?”

Your grandchildren will enjoy summering at the beach in Allentown, I just know it.

As this map suggests, we’re all moving to Omaha…

4. Infinite Jester

I had a chance to catch a screening of the new film about the late author David Foster Wallace, The End of the Tour, last night. If you’re nerdish about writers and the interviewing process — the story revolves around the few days that a Rolling Stone writer who receives no counsel from Lester Bangs spends with Wallace on a book tour — then you may enjoy this. There are no Marvel characters or The Rock or even anything that is fast or furious.

As a reporter, I enjoyed watching the “faux” relationship between Wallace, played sublimely by Jason Segel, and writer David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg). When you are sent out to profile a subject, it is by definition a person who is greater than, or has done more with his life, than you have. So it is inherently a relationship between unequals. The more gracious interview subjects, as Wallace was here, recognize that fact and do not exploit it. But many do.

In the end, Lipsky comes off as a much worse person than Bill Miller ever did, though, to Lipsky’s credit, he is the one who chronicled all of this, so he acknowledges it. Good stuff.

By the way, the attractive blonde in the film is Sting’s daughter, Mickey Sumner.

And here is a clip of David Foster Wallace appearing on Charlie Rose in 1997, so you can glimpse some of his essence.

5. Wedding Crasher

(I’m sorry for this headine, and at the same time I’m not)

The plane’s fuselage was deep in the bush, no photos. And there are no pics of the pilot. But this is his friend, whose name is Klondike Hughes. I couldn’t resist.

Last weekend Michael Zagula, 54, of Trapper Creek, Ala., decided to do a flyover of his daughter’s wedding reception. It did not turn out so well.

Music 101 

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

In our continuing series — “How White People Usurp African Music” — we present one of the most spectacular poachings not involving white rhinos. The song was originally penned in the 1920s by Solomon Linda, a South African singer of Zulu heritage, under the title “Mbube” (“lion” in Zulu), then it was covered by a whole bunch of people, and then the English doo woo group The Tokens added some lyrics in English and took it to No. 1 in the United States in 1961.

My personal rendition, dedicated to my roomie, is “The Kitty Sleeps Tonight (and This Morning and This Afternoon)”

 Remote Patrol

Sharknado 3

SyFy 9 p.m.

I’d have more faith in President Cuban if he could hold on to free agents and CEOs…

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Happy 116th birthday to Mariel Hemingway’s grandpa.

Starting Five

It turns out X=7. Always. Who knew? 

1. Mathletes!

The International Mathematical Olympiad was staged last week — you probably watched in on NBC — and for the first time in 21 years, the USA won.  (Thanks a lot, Obama).

*Also note: no girls on the team.

Congratulations to Shyam Narayanan, David Stoner, Ryan Alweiss, Michael Kural, and the Liu tandem, Yang and Allen. Also, to coach Po-Shen Loh, who would have been a great name for a 70’s soul outfit. Your MIT acceptance letters are in the mail, gentleman. Now you may go back to hacking the server.

2. Goodbye Time

This will be the most popular topic of conversation at your local Cracker Barrel or Stuckey’s (Do they still have Stuckey’s?) this morning.

Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert are getting a divorce. Those pained smooches at Country Music Awards shows were getting more and more uncomfortable to watch. And I’m not even talking about their manufactured affection. I’m talking about he’s 6’5″ and she’s 5’4″.

Sources tell MH that he’ll get Christina Aguilera in the settlement and she’ll get Adam Levine.

3. Tut Tut, Putt Putt

Ty Webb would have buried that putt, but he only measures himself against other golfers by height, so what would it matter?

Here’s what I noticed: Jordan Spieth had a quite sinkable putt, especially for a dude who has already won two majors this year, on 17. But he got a case of the yips and missed it.

One hole later is playing partner, Jason Day, had a more difficult putt. Day’s day was done, he knew that the best he could finish was third. So, with no pressure on him, Day sank the harder putt. That’s golf.

Some people think Spieth’s four-putt double bogey on the 8th hole yesterday cost him The Open and a shot at a grand slam. I say it was his Under Armour fleece. Who wears a fleece during a sporting event? You know who? NOT the Green Bay Packers!

Zach Johnson won the British Open. Nobody’s happy about it.

4. Florid-Duh* (Special Ursine Edition)

Rule No. 32: Let sleeping bears lie.

We’ve all been there. You walk into a garage, not necessarily your own, and you spot a 20-pound bag of dry dog food. So, of course, you eat all of it. And it’s hot outside. And humid. So you need a nap. And then someone snaps an embarrassing photo of you and writes a story about it that goes viral (and why do they need to mention your color, i.e. “black bear?” Haven’t we gotten past that in America?) while someone else coins the term, “Florida Bear.”

5. The Protege

That’s Becky Hammon, former WNBA player and current assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs. She just coached the Spurs’ summer league team to the Las Vegas league championship.

It was a humbling experience for all of us,” championship game MVP Jonathan Simmons told NBATV of playing for Hammon. “I really love her, and I’ve only known her a couple days. She’s a real cool coach. She’s a player coach. That’s something we all like.”

Even when he is breaking barriers, Gregg Popovich cannot be stopped. Well done, SAS.

Music 101

Gloria

When I saw U2 on Sunday night at MSG, they played this 1981 release as their second song. “This is a song we don’t play enough,” Bono announced, and I agree. They don’t look like this any more, but they still sound like this (highly underrated: The Edge’s backing vocals). If you have a chance. go see U2. Even better than the real thing.

 

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Julianne Hough turns 27. She’s beautiful but I’m loathe to share any spicy gossip with her. Why? Because she can’t keep a Seacrest.

Starting Five

The driver of the red truck actually ran from the scene into the woods, but was soon captured.

1. Relative Dangers

The internet exploded after this video of Mick Fanning being inspected by a shark surfaced (as did the shark… “surfaced,” that is; not “exploded.” What do you think this is, Jaws?). Anyway, I get the fascination, but not the concern.

On the same day that Fanning “survived” the shark attack in South Africa — arguably the best thing that has ever happened to pro surfing — four young women were killed in Long Island when the limo they were riding in was broadsided by an allegedly drunk driver. The irony being that the women were on a wine tour of the North Fork of Long Island and had hired the limo so that no one would be put in a position of driving while impaired.

Brian Kilmeade of FOX News, who actually gets paid to opine on air, wondered why we can’t “clear the waters” of sharks — at least where surfing competitions are held — so that no people will be harmed.

ZERO Americans died from shark attacks in the continental USA in the past two years. Four women died in Long Island on Saturday due to a drunk driver attack — and arguably bad judgment by the limo driver. The point isn’t that sharks and drunk drivers are connected. It’s that the relative fear over sharks is so irrational while the relative apathy toward drunk driving is so jarring. But I guess it’s easier for us to see monsters that we do not ourselves become.

2. “Do You Know Who I Am? I’m Moe Greene!”

R.I.P. to Alex Rocca, 79, who played Moe “There’s No ‘Eye’ in” Greene in The Godfather. This scene not only includes Al Pacino and Robert Duvall, but two of the best character actors you’ll ever see: Rocca and John Cazale as Fredo Corleone.

Moe Greene never played defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers. I felt that I should add that.

3. Holding On For a Hero

The item is about Trump, but it’s also Giselle’s birthday and both I and Trump would rather look at a photo of her.

 

I think Donald Trump confused “hero” with “winner.” They’re not the same.

Then again, Donald owned the news cycle on Sunday and if it weren’t for a certain shark, he’d have it all to himself. Trump may not have much character — a five-time deferment even opining on someone else’s Vietnam service is laughable — but he certainly is one helluva character. He’s crazy like a (that thing atop his head).

4. “Duck Season?” “Wabbit Season?” “Earnings Season!”

Gordon says Hi

The economy is relatively healthy (sorry if you don’t have a job; sorrier if you have two), China and Greece fears have subsided, and lots of companies are announcing quarterly earnings in the second half of July.

You heard me mention Netflix last week — up 26% in just one week leading up to earnings announcement. Google rose 30% in the week or so leading up to and including its earnings.

Both stocks have returned slightly back to earth today, but both have done very well in the past fortnight. And it’s not as if either was a dark horse entering the month.

As my friend Eric says, “Buy on the promise, sell on the news.”

How does this help you? Apple (AAPL) reports tomorrow, as does GoPro (GPRO) and Chipotle (CMG). Amazon (AMZN) reports after the bell on Thursday. My guess is that all four will be up at least 10% dating from their lowest point a week ago through at least two days after earnings. And that’s a conservative estimate.

Do your own research. But I’m rolling the dice with Apple and Amazon.

5. Putting the “O” in Dodger

Greinke’s wife, Emily, whom he met in high school, is a former Miss Daytona Beach and former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. Yes, I am totally and unapologetically TBL’ing it today.

Orel Hershiser: 59 consecutive scoreless innings in 1988.

Don Drysdale: 58 consecutive scoreless innings in 1968.

And now Zack Greinke, who is at 43 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings.

All three, Los Angeles Dodgers.

Grinch’s next start is Friday against the New York Mets, who have the NL’s lowest batting average and have scored its fewest runs. Yesterday the Mets were 1 for 25 with RISP before  scoring the winning runs in an 18-inning affair at St. Louis, albeit versus baseball’s best team.

I see the Mets scoring off Greinke in the first 3 innings, probably with their pitcher getting the RBI.

Music 101

Betcha By Golly, Wow

They don’t get enough credit today, but The Stylistics were Philly R&B in the early Seventies. This song made it to No. 3 on the Billboard chart.