by John Walters
Tweet du Jour
— ABC News (@ABC) May 22, 2018
Hyper Lynx (p.s. Nature is AMAZING)
The Great Banks Robbery
Maybe it happened so long ago that you do not recall: 10 years ago this September began a massive Wall Street downward spiral that was precipitated by the naked greed of mortgage companies and BIG BANKS with the complicit acquiescence of federal regulators. It was the worst financial event since the Great Depression and it caused a few of us to become adept at asking “May I take your order?” while the very men who lit the fire took a $20 billion helping hand from Uncle Sam.
Oh, the bankers were very contrite but no one lost their home in Amagansett or Bridgehampton. Heavens, no. In the wake of this awful event Congress passed Dodd Frank, a measure aimed at protecting investment banks from their avarice, Andrew Ross Sorkin wrote Too Big To Fail, and American filmgoers got one fantastic, shoulda-won-Best-Picture film, The Big Short (based on the book by Michael Lewis).
And then a funny thing happened. The economy took off, the Dow Jones nearly QUADRUPLED in value (read that again), Sorkin created a popular Showtime series called Billions that basks in the glow of the post-subprime trough of wealth and only yesterday stories came out showing that U.S. banks had recorded record quarterly profits for the first quarter of 2018.
But also yesterday: news that Congress will soon pass the repeal of most of Dodd-Frank and that President MAGA will sign it. With Wall Street, too much is never enough. The Big Short II should be a good movie, though.
2. This Isn’t Basketball
While much of Twitter was agog over Draymond Green being rejected on a dunk by the rim or by the fact that Kevin Durant passed up a final shot and the chance to be the hero, this scribe once more found himself turning away from Rockets-Dubs after every few plays because once again the quality of play just sucked.
The players don’t suck; they’re phenomenally gifted. The NBA has never seen more talented shooters or more sublime physical specimens than it now has. But they travel on nearly every play. They hold each other (off-ball defending) on nearly every play. Screeners behave like offensive tackles, moving defenders out of the way (I noticed screeners holding their forearms up at throat level last night). Dribblers palm the ball on nearly every play.
Props to The Big Lead’s Bobby Burack for calling out the fact that the NBA has become a cult of personality and that the emperor is actually wearing no jersey right now, but it’s about more than the blowout scores in these playoffs or the incessantly childish MJ vs. LeBron debates. It’s about the fact that what we’re seeing out there right now only bares a passing resemblance to basketball.
Back in the Seventies, when we were growing up and before political correctness was discovered, we LOVED basketball. We’d play every single afternoon and if there was no one to play with, we’d play an entire full court game ourselves at a local church, pretending to be all 10 of the NBA stars on the court (and we knew all of them). We could go from mimicking Jamal Wilkes bizarre jumper to doing Kareem’s sky hook.
James Harden with the rare feat of casually traveling after catching the pass AND after he picks up his dribblepic.twitter.com/4tOBcwZ8Q1
— Jason McIntyre (@jasonrmcintyre) May 23, 2018
During that same time, when we saw people playing basketball in the manner you’re watching right now, holding on defense or taking extra steps, we called it “Jungle Ball.” Go ahead and tsk tsk us, but it was the Seventies. Still, that was the term and it was meant in a derogatory fashion as if to say, “If you cannot play the game the right way…” (and sure, you may interpret that as, “If you cannot play the game the white way…”, but nowhere does it say that just because you can dunk means you can also defend your opponent as if you’re a linebacker).
Anyway, last October we had the chance to interview the NBA’s new (2nd year) President of League Operations, Bryon Spruell (a fellow Domer and a former Notre Dame team captain in football) for a profile on his life. At the end of the interview we asked him point blank, “Will you PLEASE do something about calling traveling?” He smiled and said they were working on it.
They’re not working hard enough on it. And yes, the NBA is very popular with the male 18-34 demo, and maybe they don’t care that they’re losing people like me. But they are.
One last note: A few seasons ago the Warriors ushered in the most beautiful style of offensive hoops we’d ever seen. The best since Magic started passing the ball around like a wizard in the early Eighties. And our theory is that gradually the NBA figured out that the only way to slow the Warriors down was to hold them as they made their cuts or slid off screens. This grab-ass defense is the league’s response to Golden State’s unstoppable offense. And the refs are just too unwilling to whistle a foul on every play.
3. False Flag Operation
The NFL is actually mulling a rule change that would make it a 15-yard penalty, to be imposed on the kickoff, for a team whose members kneel during the national anthem. We assume Roger Goodell and his Wealthy Old White Zombies Association (WOWZA) believe this would be an offensive penalty.
In related news, Johnny Manziel signed a free agent contract with a CFL team while Colin Kaepernick is probably still working out at Chelsea Piers.
Okay, we’ve already editorialized way too much this morning, but here’s the thing about old, rich billionaires: it’s not enough to get their way, they have to thumb everyone who dares oppose them into submission (hello, Iraq War), even when that face-down-position-knee-to-the-neck hold they put on you works to their own detriment. If they had just let this go the “movement” would have quickly subsided.
Dear @nflcommish –
How many yards will each team be assessed for every cheerleader who is sexually harassed or paid less than minimum wage?
(Former @RamsNFL Cheerleader & Former @AtlantaFalcons & @Patriots Entertainment Director & Cheerleader Choreographer) https://t.co/yyxhXY19p5
— Lisa Guerrero 💃🏽 (@4lisaguerrero) May 23, 2018
But, by drawing this line in the sand, by telling players that we will not only control what you do, but how you behave in our luxurious stadiums (paid for by taxpayer money), they’ve simply given the fire more oxygen. They’re almost daring the players to revolt against them in order to show them who’s boss. Have they seen the Planet of the Apes films? Don’t they know how this ends?
Here’s hoping players from both teams take a knee, and that a prominent quarterback or two, even a coach, joins them. Taking a knee, in this environment, is the best way to say that you love this country, because it is an homage to the very civil disobedience against unscrupulous authoritarian rule on which this very country was founded.
White people have such a short memory. Sad!
4. When Metaphors Show Up On Your Lawn
Outside the White House, a sink hole.
5. When Shera Met Donald
The problem with President Trump is that, among other things, he keeps cutting himself with Occam’s Razor. Which of these two scenarios is more probable/plausible:
A) California billionaire Elliott Broidy impregnates a former Playboy playmate, Shera Bechard, and pays her off to keep silent and to get an abortion, but instead of simply doing that, he has the money wired to her through a New York-based fixer of zero repute and pays her $1.6 million in eight $200,000 installments because no one knows who she is and no one knows who he is, and no one cares, so he’d want to keep this quiet, or….
B) California billionaire Elliott Broidy has a deal contingent with a pair of Middle East countries that could net him more than $600 million if he can demonstrate to them that he has Donald Trump’s ear. And just one day before he meets with Donald Trump (December 2, 2017) to close that deal, the president’s fixer offers him a tit-for-tat (“Sure, we’ll work with you, but you gotta take the fall if news of this payout to Shera Bechard ever goes public”).
Considering Trump’s well-known penchant for adultery and porn stars or Playmates, we’re going to go with Option B. As laid out here.
Released in 1975, this song was written by Stevie Nicks in a living room in Aspen, Colorado, as she looked out at the Rocky Mountains (Is that why it sounds so much like a John Denver tune?) and contemplated whether she should return to school or keep scuffing at this musical partnership she had formed with guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. The duo soon after joined Fleetwood Mac, put this song on their first album together (Fleetwood Mac) and after nine albums that did little, that album produced three Top 20 singles—none of which were this song.
The Thin Man
8 p.m. TCM
Every TV or film whodunnit comedy featuring a his-and-her sleuthing team—Moonlighting, Hart To Hart, Castle, etc.—they all took their cue from this fantastic 1934 film starring William Powell and Myrna Loy. You’ll see a lot of Roger Sterling (to be clear, John Slattery borrowed from Powell) in Powell’s portrayal of Nick Charles (this is a man who in real life was married to Carole Lombard and later engaged to Jean Harlow, two of the three or four most beautiful actresses of the ’30s [we did not forget you, Marlene Dietrich]). This film is effortlessly witty and fun, plus a decent mystery, and if you look closely, you’ll see the tall, dashing actor who would later play The Joker on the Sixties Batman TV series.