IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Taylor-Made For Impeachment

I’m just a Bill,

Yes, I’m only a Bill,

Testifying up on Capitol Hill,

But I’m a 50-year public servant

And I kept meticulous notes

And when the Senate reads my statement

Then we’ll get the impeachment votes

And they’ll put it in a public box,

Yes, I hope and pray that they will,

But today I am still just a Bill…

Forget the nine-plus hours of answering questions from the impeachment inquiry. Ukraine ambassador Bill Taylor, a Vietnam veteran (apparently it was not inconvenient for him to serve) who has a half-century in public service, laid down a 15-page opening statement that nails Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence and Bill Sondland dead to rights.

It’s all over but the shouting now. Seriously.

Nats Ding Cole*

*Don’t credit us for that headline; credit The Houston Chronicle, which is running it this morning.

The Nationals, who’ve now won like, what, seven consecutive games or something, were unintimidated by Astro starter Gerrit Cole, who had won 16 consecutive starts and had last lost a game on May 22nd.

Speaking of May 22nd, on that day the Nats were 19-30 and would lose again the following day before mounting the long uphill charge that would lead them to a 5-4 Game 1 win in Houston.

Notes: 1. Ryan Zimmerman connected on a two-out solo home runs for the Nats in the second. It was the first home run in World Series history by a Nationals player and it was hit by the first player the Nats selected in the draft, 15 years ago (give the dude who made that call a raise). Also, it was the first home run in World Series history struck by a player whose surname begins with a Z. 2) Juan Soto, who turns 21 on Friday, had a home run, double and single after striking out in his first at-bat. “I’m not gonna lie, my legs were shaking my first time up,” Soto told Ken Rosenthal afterward 3) Late in the game Fox’s Joe Buck noted that the Astros pitching staff is comprised entirely of righties and then informed the audience that the last time a World Series staff had not a single southpaw was 1903. What Buck did not add, yet should have, is that 1903 was also the very first World Series.

The 1903 World Series, by the way, featured pitcher Cy Young of the victorious Boston Americans and outfielder Honus Wagner for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Americans won 5 games to 3. Also of note is that Pittsburgh’s Exposition Park used a rope to hold back outfield spectators and it was ruled that if a ball rolled under the rope and into the crowd it would be a ground-rule triple. There were 17 ground-rule triples hit in the four games at Exposition Park.

Miami Heat

Four flight attendants for American Airlines were arrested at Miami International Airport yesterday primarily because one of them is a terrible crook. When a customs agent asked Carlos Aberto Munoz-Moyano how much cash he had on him, he initially replied, “$100,” then got nervous and told the truth: $9,000.

Customs agents quickly rounded up other flight attendants on the same flight from Chile and found more than $22,000 of spending money on them. If you’ve spent any time around flight attendants, you know this isn’t casual walking-around-money for them. So they’re most likely drug mules, no? Carrying not the supply but the payment?

The next time you fly American international, ask your flight attendant if he or she has change for $10,000.

The Battle Of L.A. Begins

kWh put up a game-high 30 in a game that had a classic ’70s NBA feel and look

On the NBA’s opening night, the Clippers outlasted the Lakers 112-102. Never mind that two of the top five players on the squads—the Clippers’ Paul George and the Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma—were injured and unavailable. And even with that LeBron James, age 36, may have been the third-best player on the court after teammate Anthony Davis and Clipper Kawhi Leonard.

Also, new Laker acquisition Danny Green had 28 points. Keep an eye on the seasoned pro who, as you may recall, was Kawhi’s teammate in Toronto last season.

Horror In The U.K.

A trailer was found in Grays, England (about 25 or so miles east of London along the Thames) with 39 dead bodies in it. The truck is from Bulgaria and it entered the U.K. through Wales on October 19th. The driver is a 25 year-old from Northern Ireland. Seems what we have here is human smuggling gone awry.

Between this, Bill Taylor and the American Airlines item, it’s incredible what takes place every day that most people will never find out about. Only occasionally when something goes wrong or someone says something they’re not supposed to does the skulduggery get exposed. Conclusion: I’m living an extremely boring life.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Lost in N.J.

New York Jest

If you thought the Jets could never get a worse performance out of a USC-drafted quarterback than the Butt Fumble drama of 2012, think again. Last night, against the same New England Patriots that inflicted Mark Sanchez’s infamy on Thanksgiving night seven years earlier, 2nd-year quarterback Sam Darnold tossed four interceptions. He finished 11 of 32 passing.

The Jets lost 33-0 and Darnold’s QBR was 0.7. By comparison Tom Brady’s was 79.1. The Pats move to 7-0, although three of those victories are against tenants of Met-Life Stadium. Still, we think that Belichick and Brady are on a quest to avenge the 2008 season, which finished one victory shy of perfection. Is this the year?

Nothingburger

The State Department statement was released Friday afternoon in hopes that it would be buried and it mostly was. But here it is: in a nine-page unclassified report that was completed last month and was three years in the making/investigating, the State Department has concluded that “while the use of the system for official business increased the risk of compromising classified information, there was no systemic or deliberate mishandling of classified information.”

In other words, Hillary’s private email server and those 33,000 emails that President Trump railed on endlessly about during the 2016 campaign were a big nothing. Now that we’ve put that to res—wait, what? He’s still railing about them? Even last night?

Um, yes. Apparently the State Dept. is now also committing Fake News, at least in the mind of Our Great Leader.

By the way, this is the same woman who sat for an 11-hour Congressional hearing about Benghazi where, again, it was ultimately found that she did no wrong. No matter how many times Congress, the GOP and many of the public try to burn this witch at the stake, the flames never seem to rise. I wonder why.

Pelican Rest

The NBA season kicks off this evening, but it will do so without everyone’s favorite bull-in-a-china-shop, Zion Williamson. The most heralded rookie in years will miss 6 to 8 weeks due to surgery on a torn meniscus.

The season is tipping off with two games this evening, the first being New Orleans at NBA champ Toronto. But Kawhi is now a Clipper and Zion is recuperating. The question every NBA fan is asking is, Does Zion’s go-hard-to-the-rim, Rex Burkhead style of hoops put his longevity at risk. He’s only 19 years old, after all.

Salzburg But Not Williamsburg?

The MH staff has visited Salzburg; it’s nice

The Lonely Planet has just released its Top 10 Cities to visit in 2020 and no, Brooklyn is not one of them. Here’s the list:

–Salzburg, Austria

–Washington, D.C.

–Cairo, Egypt

–Galway, Ireland

–Bonn, Germany

–La Paz, Bolivia

Kochi, India

–Vancouver, Canada

–Dubai, UAE

–Denver, Colorado

Then again, what do they know?

At The Movies


We’ve all heard that 1939 was the very best year for films, but then Eddie Mueller (TCM’s Noir Alley host) decided to stir the pot and say 1950 was best. And we’re no experts, but we do like films, so we’ve decided to grade years the way we do college football conferences: not by the totality of a year’s films, but by assessing the best from that year (i.e., the Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Auburn and Florida of a year).

Toward that end, and beginning with 1939 itself, we’re going to do a daily list of our five favorite films from a given year (now don’t go jumping ahead years on us, Susie B.). We won’t claim that these are the five objective best of any year, just the five we’d see (again). Your mileage may vary and you will be welcome to tell us one we’ve missed.

We’ll begin with 1939, the year that many experts believe was the zenith of the studio system in Hollywood. It’s hard to argue with the results (we may go back earlier in the decade later, but not yet):

  1. The Wizard Of Oz (a true original with an incredible story and perhaps also a subtle political message, given the year, of the joys of isolationism), 2) Gone With The Wind (overrated in our mind, as far as story goes, but the cinematography is outstanding), 3) Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (a reminder that all the corruption you see now was on hand in D.C. 80 years ago; Jimmy Smith deserved an Oscar but lost it to George Donat, arguably Oscar’s first major screw-up) 4) Ninotchka (Greta Garbo and Melvyn Douglas in a smart and comic love story involving Communists in Paris) 5) Stagecoach (considered the original Western, with John Wayne in his breakout role under the direction of John Ford)

Most years won’t require this, but these films also deserve mention and were just off the list: Goodbye, Mr. Chips; Dark Victory; The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Charles Boyer also deserved the Oscar for Best Actor, perhaps even more than Stewart).

Music 101

Baby, Let Me Follow You Down

When the American Bard plugged in at the Royal Albert Hall in May of 1966, shouts of “Judas!” emanated from the audience. How dare the king of folk music go electric! But we love this version of Bob Dylan‘s classic (which he did not write, as he acknowledges), the crunchy guitars. And if you want to compare, here’s the acoustic original.

Remote Patrol

Lakers at Clippers (or whatever)

10:30 p.m. TNT

Let the turf war over the freeways of L.A. commence. LeBron and Anthony Davis versus Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are the headliners. Keep your eyes on Laker Kyle Kuzma, a budding superstar entering his third season. These two are the NBA preseason favorites to win it all according to Vegas.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Bring On The Nastros

Our guy D.J. LeMahieu ended an heroic 10-pitch at-bat in the top of the 9th inning with an opposite field two-run game-tying homer. Then in the bottom of the 9th with two-outs Yankee closer Aroldis Chapman gave up a home run to Jose Altuve to end the season.

Aaron Judge called the season a “complete failure” and he’s correct. And hopefully the Yankees will learn and move on from Edwin Encarnacion and Giancarlo Stanton (impossible, I know) and maybe even Gary Sanchez. Also, they need an ace on the mound.

Nats-Astros will at least give us outstanding pitching match-ups with Gerrit Cole vs. Max Scherzer followed by Justin Verlander vs. Stephen Strasburg.

Champaign Nirvana

One of the better sports photos of the year

This is what NFL types will never understand about college football: Illinois has no shot at “the playoffs” but who cares? On Saturday a bunch of 18-22 year-olds overcame being 30.5-point underdogs and beat No. 6 Wisconsin thanks to a last-second game-winning 39-yard field goal by the dude above (James McCourt). Illinois trailed by 9 points with under 6 minutes to play but then a TD followed by an interception at midfield gave them the chance they needed.

Illini coach Lovie Smith is an easy dude to love and no one on the Illinois team will ever forget what they did and overcame Saturday. And that’s why Saturday rules.

Pompous Pompeo

With so many blustering and deceitful egos to choose from (Mick Mulvaney, the president, Stephen Miller, etc.), no one in the Trump administration comes off as more imperious and pompous and if-these-cameras-were-off-I’d-choke-you-out than Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. I truly wonder why he ever sits for a single interview.

Above, Pompeo sits with News4 pro Nancy Amons out of Nashville. Go to the end of the interview. You can just see the rage seething just below the surface.

Meanwhile, as many have said since Mick Mulvaney’s presser last Thursday, no three words better describe the Trump administration’s cavalier attitude toward democracy, toward the rule of law, toward ethics and toward the Constitution than “GET OVER IT.” It should be Trump’s 2020 campaign slogan if he is still in office. “GET OVER IT.” We’re going to do whatever it takes to remain in power, to make sure America wins, to keep rich men in white power. Get over it.

Was It The ROY Bus, Though?

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney likes to joke that for years Alabama rode in one vehicle and the rest of college football rode in the “Rest Of Y’all” or ROY Bus. On Saturday Tiger defensive back Andrew Booth had to ride a bus home after the team’s 45-10 win at Louisville, a 450-mile journey.

Booth was kept off the team plane as punishment for throwing this punch, above. He news ejected from the game and Swinney opted to give him some good ol’ fashioned discipline by making him ride the team bus home.

Where The Buffalo Roam

I mean, it’s a start. Good to see.

Music 101

Now You See It

We were watching the 1942 film This Gun’s For Hire (TCM’s “Noir Alley” pick) late Saturday/early Sunday and came across this little Veronica Lake number in the midst of the movie. Lake was only 4’11” and like her co-star in this film, Alan Ladd, would die at the age of 50. Lake battled alcoholism and in her later years worked as a waitress in a cocktail lounge in midtown Manhattan (note: we are not alcoholics and are over 50) under an assumed name.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Funny, but where were you when it mattered?

Also a must-view:

Starting Five

Houston Spanks Yanks

Broadway legend Kelli O’Hara sang the national anthem before Game 4 at Yankee Stadium last night. That was pretty much the highlight of our evening as we sat in Section 207. Once again the Bombers loaded the bases in the first inning and, as with Game 3, could not take advantage. The Yankees are 0-13 with runners in scoring position, either last night or the last two games or something like that.

Timely hitting, from Game 2 late through the next two games, has been the difference in the ALCS. Houston, which won 8-3 last night on the strength of two three-run homers and four Yankee errors, can end it tonight.

Mick’s Message*

Mulvaney revealing just how much integrity is in this administration
  • The judges will also accept “Quid Pro Quotable”

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, speaking in a televised press conference, made the most LeBron-ian statement of the week when he said, “Did [President Trump] also mention to me in passing the corruption related to the D.N.C. server? Absolutely. No question about that. That’s why we held up the money.”

So, quid pro quo?

Later in the day, of course, Mulvaney said that the Fake News Media had misconstrued what he had said (by airing what he had said) and that “there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election.”

C.C. Ya Later

Back to the Yankee debacle, we did see C.C. Sabathia enter the game in the top of the eighth and record two outs before apparently straining something. The large lefty took one more practice throw off the mound and then departed the game, his face in his glove, knowing that was likely the final pitch of his professional career.

This from national baseball writer Tim Brown examines the impact of this changing of the guard:

More Jive Turkey

The two Mike Ps, Pence and Pompeo, traveled to Turkey because apparently President Trump’s letter (“Don’t be a fool!”) failed to have the desired impact on Turkish president Erdogan. So they went over and in person gave away the store.

So, if you’re scoring at home, Russia benefits, Assad benefits, blowhard American businessman with a hotel in Turkey benefits, ISIS benefits, and Turkey benefits. Kurds lose. Oh, and the G7 Summit that is to be held in the U.S. next June has now been scheduled to be held at a Donald Trump resort in Florida because who doesn’t love to spend June in south Florida? Oh, and that’s a direct violation of the Emoluments Clause, but who has time to enforce the Constitution any more?

So basically, the Turks agreed not to fire on the Kurds for 120 hours. After which time they will, to use Trump’s words, “clean out the area,” which is ethnic cleansing, which is a nice way to say genocide, which is a nice way to say slaughter. There is no negotiation. The United States basically got involved to give the Kurds time to get their money out of the ATM before the Turks mug them.

These are the same people who helped the USA in its fight against ISIS and Al Qaeda and lost more than 10,000 people doing so. You know what happened the last time the US left a major area after it had allied with the locals and then just deserted them? It’s called Afghanistan.

Chief Sitting Bullsh–

Kansas City Chief QB and active NFL Most Valuable Player Pat Mahomes dislocated his kneecap on a quarterback sneak against the Broncos last night. He’ll miss six weeks. The league office is pissed because there isn’t a defensive player they can eject, or suspend for the rest of the season, due to the injury. They are mulling making any contact with a quarterback illegal, though.

Last year it was two-time MVP Aaron Rodgers (2011 and 2014) being lost part of the season due to injury. Now it’s Mahomes. The State Farm Agent Curse may be real.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Stand-Up Gal

Moving from left to right, that would be Truth to Power. Look at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi standing up to president Donald Trump in the Roosevelt Room (I watched The West Wing, too, ya know) and telling him, “With you all roads lead to Putin.”

Look at the three men immediately to Trump’s right, one of them the Secretary of State and another the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all three staring laser beams into the papers before them. They’re embarrassed for him. They’re embarrassed to be there. We’re embarrassed as Americans.

The best part about this photo, of course, is that Trump tweeted it out as an attack against an upset and emotional woman. Of course, like so many of Trump’s master plans, it backfired.

You Can’t Jive Turkey

To be fair, you may have written a letter. The difference is that it was during third period Bio sophomore year and it was sent to Suzy Schmotz, imploring her to rethink the fact that she dumped you yesterday. And even then you were not so hysterical as to refer to her as “the devil.”

Again, we are only seeing this letter because the White House, and not The Onion, released it. And you have to appreciate that these are the types of missives he’s been sending out to foreign leaders for 1,000 days (today is the first 1,000 days of his presidency).

Okay, so let me be sober for a moment. Here’s how I think Trump sees the world and his presidency. He looks at it as if America gave him the mandate to be its CEO. And he’s not into diplomacy or leadership or the Constitution so much as he is into making deals. And many of those deals, most, are designed to financially benefit him and his family.

(That translator is you and I)

In Trump’s mind, as long as the Dow Jones Index and S&P are headed north and as long as Americans are safe, then everything else he does is fair game. And no one has the right to question it. So if he wants to “make deals” with Putin and Saudi Arabia and even Turkey on the side, deals that enrich him or benefit him, then that’s his right as America’s CEO. And if he wants to spend 310 days out of his first 1,000 on a Trump property then, again, that’s his right.

It isn’t, of course. But that’s the way he sees it.

Elijah Cummings Dead at 68

Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings, who represented a district in Maryland since 1996, one that the president recently referred to as “infested,” has died. Of course now that he’s passed the president is playing nice again. It’s the John McCain rope-a-dope revisited.

Cummings’ home was robbed earlier this year and Trump mocked him for it. Earlier Trump had referred to the city of Baltimore as being “infested.”

Sure, It’s Easy To Be A Great Interview When They Don’t Ask You About China

Whitney Houston? We Have A Problem

Beautiful, gifted, charismatic. She was a vocal Julia Roberts–until she met Bobby Brown.

There are few institutions which we’d like to hold in higher esteem but actually hold so little for than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (also on that list, the post-1973 New York Knicks). Earlier this week the R&R HoF released its 2021 nominees and here are just a few of the problems I have with their list:

DMB, Soundgarden, the Doobie Brothers, Thin Lizzy, Whitney Houston, Motörhead, The Notorious B.I.G., Pat Benatar are the first time nominees. NIN, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, MC5, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Judas Priest and Todd Rundgren are also on the ballot once again.

–First, and I believe this should be the standard for all major HoFs, no more than two individuals should be inducted in any one year. That’s the limit. It’s the hard that makes it great. The lower you set the bar, the more of a disservice you do to everyone who has already made it. I don’t see MC5 and the Beatles belonging under the same roof, sorry.

All I want is to have a peace of mind. And I won’t until this band is inducted.

–Second, once again, where is Boston? You’ve got 16 nominees, some of which are more my cup of tea than others (and yours, too) and none for a band whose songs continue to be played regularly on radio more than 40 years later? At this point Mumford and Sons will be inducted before they will.

–Third, and this is a big one: If you’re going to consider inducting Whitney Houston, who was a major pop star and had a few monster hits but was of all things NOT a rocker, then you have to explain to me how Barry Manilow is not already an inductee. Whitney Houston had 11 No. 1 hits; Manilow had 13. And this is totally subjective, partly a product of my age and maybe even my ethnicity, if you like, but Manilow’s songs will remain far longer in the public consciousness than most of Houston’s. One of her three top hits (“I Will Always Love You”) is actually a Dolly Parton anthem, re-made.

In the end, it’s silly for me to be upset by such things. I know it. But then again, what’s more important than rock ‘n roll? Not much, I’d argue.

As to the list above, going by the “only 2 rule,” it’s the Doobie Brothers and, if you want to go by impact, then yes, Whitney Houston. I like Soundgarden and Pat Benatar, too, but there’s no way either band should even be sniffing the front door of that institution.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Up Shildt’s Creek

Yes, the Nationals swept the Cardinals to reach the World Series for the first time in their franchise’s history with a 7-4 win last night. But also, maybe there’s some karmic retribution for Card manager Mike Shildt‘s speech that followed the Cards’ series-clinching win against the Atlanta Braves last week. Geez, Mike. Do you chew tobacco with that mouth?

Anyway, there will be a World Series in Washington, D.C., for the first time since 1934. Also, today is Bryce Harper’s 27th birthday.

12 Angry Dems

This new NBA expansion team looks awful

Only watched a moment or two last night, but these Democratic “debates” feel more like a liberal arts core course I was required to take in in college where we’d have to spent the entire year discussing “issues” and philosophical theme. Enough already. Send the dozen of them on a 5-hour hike or do some feats of strength competitions. We’d find out just as much about them, probably more.

And who’s this Tom Steyer guy? Does a billiionaire who’s never previously run for office really believe he can be elected president???

Carrie Nation

The 1976 horror classic Carrie was on last night and we’d never seen it, so we stuck around for the final hour. Here’s a few bits of tid we found:

–This was the first Stephen King book that was turned into a film. How much was a then unknown King paid for the rights to his novel? $2,500. Brian DePalma bought the rights and directed.

–During the slow dance scene Carrie (Sissy Spacek) bumps heads with Tommy (William Katt) and apologizes. Tommy replies, “No harm…no foul.” So people have been saying that for more than 40 years.

–The cast. Incredible. Sissy Spacek would be nominated for an Oscar for this role and five years later would win one for Coal Miner’s Daughter. Betty Buckley, who plays the well-intentioned teacher, would win a Tony Award for Cats in 1983. William Katt would go on to play the title role in Pippin on Broadway and then of course become The Greatest American Hero.

John Travolta, the knucklehead boyfriend of the sinister teen played by Nancy Allen would go on to be John Travolta (he was already starring in Welcome Back, Kotter at the time). Allen would marry DePalma. Amy Irving, who plays Allen’s friend and Katt’s girlfriend, would go on to an Oscar nomination. Piper Laurie, who plays Carrie’s mom, has been nominated for an Oscar in three different decades, including in this film.

Spacek and Buckley are both native Texans

But it’s Spacek who holds the film together. Is there a better performance by an actor or actress in a horror film? And is this the horror film that jump-started the next wave of teen-based horror movies? Think about it: Halloween (1978), When A Stranger Calls (1979), Friday The 13th (1980) and He Knows You’re Alone (1980).

Hollywood saw Carrie and immediately put more teen horror flicks into production, it would seem.

The Tide Was Out

Nick taking a skeptical view of The Athletic’s list, but privately is giddy about it.

We are offering no ancillary commentary on this, simply noting that our part-time employer The Athletic released its “Midseason 2019 College Football All-American Team” on Tuesday and there’s something (Alabama) missing (Roll Tide!) from the first (“PAWWWWWWWL!”) unit. Whatever the opposite of Rat Poison is, Nick Saban’s program just got served a heaping helping of it.

Of course, part of the problem is that Alabama has such a surfeit of talent, particularly on offense this season, that they cancel one another out from a statistical standpoint. Neither wideouts Jerry Jeudy or DaVonta Smith are in the top 10 in terms of receptions partly because the other is on the field. And then there’s Henry Ruggs. Last Saturday Jaylen Waddle, considered the Tide’s fourth-best received scored on a play in which he made Texas A&M’s defense look as if they were playing in molasses (no one laid a hand on him). When you’re fourth-best receiver is a cheat code, that’s just not fair.

We still think Alabama or Ohio State is the best team in the nation (the Buckeyes landed three players on The Athletic’s first team) and if they were to meet on Saturday, we’d give the edge to the Tide due to the big game experience of both Tua Tagovailoa and Nick Saban relative to their Buckeye counterparts.

Two more notes: 1) Only one Clemson player, linebacker Isaiah Simmons, made the first team and 2) I played no role in compiling this list (obviously, I would’ve insisted a few Michigan players, particularly quarterback Shea Patterson, be named to the first team).

Springsteen And Springer

Look at these two guys. Above, that’s George Springer of the Houston Astros, who is an outstanding outfielder and one of the more personable ballplayers out there. You can tell because he’s the guy that Fox always tries to interview. Springer, 30, is from (“hard hittin'”) New Britain, Connecticut, and played his college ball at UConn (which is insane because it doesn’t get above 60 degrees there until mid-May).

And here is a young Bruce Springsteen, who is now 70. The same first six letters of the surname, the same East coast upbringing, the same ridiculous talent in their crafts, and the same charming smile. Am I crazy or is there a somewhat uncanny resemblance between the two?

In case you’re wondering, Springer is Panamanian and Puerto Rican. Bruce is Italian and Irish. There’s no good explanation, relative to their heritages, for either man’s last name.

And Finally…

A Very Happy Birthday to ‘Mama Dubs,’ alias ‘Phyllis,’ alias ‘Mom’ this morning. Her coffee cake and lasagna remain unsurpassed in western annals of cuisine, and no one wields a broom or mop with more flair. She is the Inigo Montoya of domestic cleaning devices.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

What the….? It’s not as if someone was Broccoli Rabe’d.

Starting Five

LeBron To Morey: “Shut Up And General Manage”

Here’s what LeBron James said before the Lakers’ preseason game against the Warriors last night:

Our favorite part: “I believe [Morey] wasn’t educated on the situation at hand.”

Not sure how LeBron is able to glean this from Morey’s seven-word since-deleted tweet: “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.”

So then LeBron revved up the Twitter machine to do the ol’ “Wuh I Meant Wuz” thing…

and…

I’m pretty sure LeBron had Colin Kaepernick’s back when he took a knee, a gesture that also had ramifications, particularly financial ones, not only for himself but for his pro sports league at large. It’s okay to be woke about racism but Morey “could have waited a week” if he wanted to make a statement about the supression of freedom by the world’s most powerful authoritarian regime. Ooooooookay, LBJ.

Meanwhile, our good friend Tim Ring crafted a statement that LeBron could’ve/should’ve used instead of what he said, tweeted. It’s so easy. And we’re still working on Tim to launch a Ring Tones podcast.

Six Flags Over Met-Life Stadium (and Lambeau Field, etc.)

On Sunday night we turned on the CBS hoping to see a few moments of 60 Minutes but, alas there was still an NFL game on the tube: Cowboys at Jets. Okay, that’s an interesting matchup, I thought, of two of my favorite childhood teams who rarely play. So I watched. The Cowboys were trying to mount a game-winning drive.

To say the drive was abetted by penalties would be an understatement. On six consecutive plays a flag was thrown, and not all against one team. Finally Tony Romo said what every viewer was thinking: “I just want to see one play without a flag.”

Welcome to the NFL in 2019, where cameras exposed missed calls more than ever, where referees are well aware of that, where action on the field is subject to further review, and where almost every player is taught to hold or do whatever it takes to gain advantage (the old, “If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin'” maxim).

It’s not as if all of these penalties, or at least most of them, weren’t being committed at nearly the same rate decades ago. It’s that the ability to see them by cameras has improved, which has put the zebras on higher alert, which means that more than ever NFL games are being litigated as opposed to played.

(A Lambeau Leapin’ zebra?)

Apparently the same thing happened last night at Lambeau Field with two hands-to-the-face flags against Detroit Lion defensive end Tre Flowers essentially costing his team the game. I can’t watch. I’ll tune in for the playoffs, but only because it’s January and I probably won’t be at my private sex island in the Caribbean like some New Yorkers.

Chris Hayes Goes All In

Here’s MSNBC’s Chris Hayes vying to be the next Shepherd Smith. Hayes begins by noting the moral void inherent in powerful institutions doing their best to suppress the truth (because it will affect the bottom line), be it the NBA last week or Republican congressmen in regards to the president’s behavior. Then he quickly moves on to how NBC executives who are attempting to discredit former NBC correspondent Ronan Farrow‘s reporting on their lackluster response to Matt Lauer’s sexual predations, which was an aftershock of Farrow’s reporting on Harvey Weinstein.

Hayes, who is going out on a very shaky professional limb here, details how Fannon worked on the Weinstein story for 7 months for NBC, how NBC refused to air it, how he then walked out and published the story in The New Yorker a week or two later, how the story not only won him a Pulitzer Prize but also jump-started the MeToo Movement while also landing Weinstein in jail and effectively ending his career (and his attacks on females).

Young Blue Eyes: Ronan Farrow has a law degree from Yale, is a Rhodes Scholar, and is worth $12 million. One of the few journalists who can literally afford to take on the establishment. Do not mess with Frank’s son.

“Of course there’s a reason it took so long for the true on Weinstein to be told…and that’s because time and again the path of least resistance, for those in power, was to not cross Weinstein and his powerful friends and army of lawyers.” You can sub in “cross Trump” and “cross China” here.

Chris Hayes told the truth and in so doing spit in his bosses’ eyes last night on their eyes. I’d say “All In” is, at last, a fitting name for his show. We’ll see how much longer it remains on air, though.

National News

Remember when the Washington Nationals were unable to re-sign the bedrock of their franchise, The Natural, Bryce Harper, last winter? What ever became of that woeful, misbegotten franchise? Oh yeah. They beat the best regular-season club in the National League, the Dodgers, in an NLDS series and now have won three straight versus the St. Louis Cardinals while allowing a total of one run in those three games.

Strasburg is 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA

We are all in for an Acela Express World Series between the Yankees and Nats, by the way. And as for Harper, he’s doing alright with the Phillies: 35 home runs and 114 RBI this season while being slated to earn $318 MILLION over the next dozen years. Still, the Ewing Theory extends to baseball and it’s wild to think that Stephen Strasburg (seven innings, 12 Ks, no earned runs in last night’s win) is going to play in a World Series game before Harper does.

A Farewell To The Cookoutateria

One of these clowns is your author

Yesterday, a gloriously sunny and warm mid-October day here, marked the final day of the season for the Cookoutateria (a.k.a. “The Boat Basin Cafe”). It was also the final day of what will be at least three or four years, as the city is closing the area in which it is housed to completely renovate the W. 79th Street traffic circle (situated directly above).

I haven’t worked there much the past six weeks or so, but I wanted to stop by and pay my respects. This is a picture of one of the few other staffers who has worked there almost as long as I did. This is Ubaldo, a busser, whose English is as poor as my Spanish and yet who has for years been one of my closest friends there. “Hola, Papi” is how we greeted each other each day, and with a close hug.

If there’s anything I know as to why we were such good work friends, it’s because I think we both admired the other’s work ethic. Too, after I was finished bartending a private party, I might have occasionally slipped Ubaldo a can of cerveza for him to enjoy after his shift.

Highly doubt I’ll ever put in another shift at the Cookoutateria (at least I hope not), but I’m eternally grateful for the people I met and for the awareness it awoke in me. And working outside under sunny skies along the Hudson River in shorts and a T-shirt was never a bad gig.

Music 101

That Voice Again

There were only eight songs on Peter Gabriel’s outstanding 1986 album, So, a true masterpiece. Of those eight, at least five if not six received more airplay than this track, which closes the first side of the album (if you have it on vinyl). We love the haunting tone. This was somehow never released as a single. Maybe they should release it now.

Remote Patrol

Game 3: Astros at Yankees

4 p.m. FS1

Check that time! Baseball in the gloaming, and it’s going to be a lovely sunny day here in NYC. Gerrit Cole, the most dominant pitcher in baseball the past four months, brings the heat for the Astros.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Sub-2:00

In Vienna, Olympic marathon gold medalist Eliud Kipchoge runs the time above to become the first human to break the 2-hour mark for a marathon, a.k.a. 26.2 miles. However, and it is a big however, the Kenyan’s time will not be officially recognized as he ran with a rotating wave of pacesetters in a race whose sole reason for happening was to break the 2-hour mark.

Kipchoge had run a similar race two years earlier in Italy, on a track, and missed the two-hour mark by 25 seconds. It’s an asterisk record.

Meanwhile In Chicago

In Sunday’s Chicago Marathon, an actual race, Kipchoge’s countrywoman Brigid Kosgei ran a 2:14:04, under legitimate conditions, to set a new world record for women in the 26.2-mile event by more than one minute. Kosgei, 25, broke Paula Radcliffe’s 16 year-old record by 81 seconds.

Meanwhile, two of banned coach Alberto Salazar’s runners—Galen Rupp and female Jordan Hasay—dropped out in the midst of running the Chicago Marathon. Both ran for the Nike Oregon Project, which Salazar headed and which over the weekend Nike announced that it is disbanding. Mo Farah, arguably the greatest runner in Salazar’s stable, finished in eighth place, running the slowest marathon of his career.

Shep Quits

Longtime Fox News anchor Shepherd Smith abruptly announced that he was leaving the network at the end of his Friday afternoon broadcast. No one quite knows for sure the reasons behind Smith’s exodus, but no on-air talent at Fox has been more critical of Donald Trump since he took office.

For a few years now, this Shepherd has been more of a lone wolf at Fox, not only sparring with the president but also with the network’s sunshine boy, Sean Hannity. Guess he finally got sick of it.

Perfect Parody From SNL

Actor David Harbour from Stranger Things was the host on SNL this week and you could tell that the cast loved him. Harbour, a Shakespearian actor with quite the zest for performing, could easily be a regular on the show. One of the best bits he was involved was this tone-perfect parody of the Joker trailer. Watch.

Two more observations from Saturday: 1) Pete Davidson, above, looks, well, a little strung out. You keep thinking he’s going to go Chris Farley before his 28th birthday (he’s 25) and 2) Bowen Yang, the show’s first Asian cast member, is a keeper. Not sure if he’s a star in the making, but he’s definitely going to be a workhorse in the rotation.

Moose News

In honor of one of MH’s oldest readers, we present this update on her namesake in Wyoming. It’s mating season for moose and I guess there’s a good happy hour at this strip mall. Do not order the Moscow Mule.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Dunk you very much. There’s four moments here where Liz nails it, and notice the comic timing. She waits for the cheering to subside before delivering the coup de grace, “…assuming you can find one.” Probably a set-up question, but still, beautiful.

Also, catching this late but well worth your 2-plus minutes if you have not seen it…

Starting Five

Clean, Beautiful Cole

A few things to know about Houston Astros starter Gerrit Cole, who stuck out 10 last night as the Blastros beat the Rays, 6-1, to advance to the ALCS:

–Since May 22 he is 18–0 in 24 starts.

–He has struck out at least 10 batters in every game for the past 11 games, a Major League record.

–Last night his streak of recording at least one strikeout in an inning reached 73 innings before finally ending. That’s the longest such streak since at least 1961—as far as Elias could trace back—and the next best mark is only 40 innings, by Pedro Martinez.

–Combined with his 15 strikeouts in Game 2 of the ALDS, the 6’4″ right-hander from the mean streets of Newport Beach, Calif., whiffed 25 batters in consecutive playoff games. Only one man has ever struck out more in consecutive postseason games: Bob Gibson (27) of the Cardinals in 1968.

Either Cole (20-5, led the league in strikeouts [326] and ERA [2.50] and was second in WHIP, [0.89]) or teammate Justin Verlander (21-6, led in WHIP [0.80] and was second in striketous [320] and second in ERA [2.58] will win the Cy Young, which is why the ALCS may hinge on the fact that the Rays extended the Astros to five games, meaning neither will pitch Game 1 and even if Verlander does pitch Game 2, on Sunday, it’ll be on short rest.

Wonders: After a win, do the Astros dine at Mastro’s?

Thug Shots

You are looking at Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, Russian-born clients of Rudy Giuliani. Yesterday the pair were arrested at Dulles Airport as they had one-way tickets to Frankfurt. They are accused of breaking several campaign finance laws, including setting up phony companies in which to funnel money to Republican candidates, money that originated from an unknown Russian investor. They also allegedly introduced Giuliani to Ukrainian officials who suggested they push the Biden-corruption angle.

Besides being clients of Giuliani, the pair had their bail agreement ($1 million) negotiated by Paul Manafort’s attorney. President Donald Trump says that he does not know them which, well, of course.

This is paint-by-numbers stuff at this stage. Manafort, now in prison, was the original conduit to the Russian agenda. When he went away, Rudy replaced him. The game all along has been to funnel Russian money to Republican super-PACs and candidates via shell companies or third parties such as the NRA. FOLLOW THE MONEY.

Republicans pols, who consider liberals and/or Democrats the greatest threat to their U.S.A., have no problem accepting cash from Russians if it will keep them in power. And kow-tow’ing to them. And using Putin’s KGB methods to remain in power.

And here’s Don Jr. with the both of them

This is treason. If you want to hang some of these men, it’s not the worst idea.

Trump, yesterday afternoon before heading to a rally in Minneapolis:

Rudy, that bus ahead is the one you’re about to be thrown under.

Shame, Shame For Ol’ Notre Dame

We love our alma mater, tis true, but this is shameful: Attorney General William Barr, who could be going to prison within a year or may be resigning even sooner, is scheduled to speak at the University of Notre Dame Law School today. That’s bad juju, Irish, particularly on the eve of the USC game.

Here’s hoping a “Lock him up!” chant is started by a few spirited 1Ls.

By the way, since Ronald Reagan, every U.S. president has given a commencement speech at least once at Notre Dame. Donald Trump has not yet been invited—Mike Pence delivered it in 2017.

Mystic Achievement

We don’t have much to say about the Washington Mystics winning their first WNBA title after 22 seasons in the league other than Good job. League MVP Elena Delle Donne beats the state of Connecticut again, as the Mystics take down the Sun in five games (Delle Donne famously committed to UConn and then withdrew her first week on campus in the summer, likely costing the Huskies at least two national championships). Delle Donne played the series with three herniated discs in her back. And a broken nose.

It’s the first Washington, D.C., pro sports championship since the Capitals two years ago.

Mercedes Rule

We were strolling past the Mercedes dealership on 11th Avenue the other day when we noticed, in the showroom, this 2020 Mercedes AMG GT C Coupe. Sticker price of just $150,900. As soon as that Bitcoin play comes in, we’re purchasing one of these. We’ll even take you for a spin, Susie B.

Music 101

Alive

The first time we heard Pearl Jam’s breakout tune, in September of 1991, we just knew it. You did too, right? It’s not exactly a toe-tapper, more of a foot-stomper. This is the song, and the opening guitar riff, that started it all.

Remote Patrol

Nationals at Cardinals

8 p.m. TBS

A fine appetizer for tomorrow’s incredible day of sports ball: Oklahoma-Texas, Penn State at Iowa, Alabama at Texas A&M, USC at Notre Dame, Florida at LSU, Yankees-Astros. Crazy.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Who’s Your Yadi?

Rule No. 7 (In any baseball game you have a chance of seeing something you’ve never seen before) was in full effect last night as the Cardinals put up a 10-run first that included one sacrifice bunt and zero home runs. The series was over before the Braves ever got to bat.

St. Louis wins Game 5 13-1 in a contest in which they were out-homered by Atlanta, 1-0.

Defeat of Clay

In a first-ballot Hall of Fame career, Los Angeles Dodger pitcher has never given up back-to-back home runs on consecutive pitches—in the regular season. He’s now done it twice in October as he allowed back-to-back blasts to Washington’s top hitters, Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto. The Nats tied the game 3-3 on those bombs and then used a Howie Kendrick grand slam in the 10th to win 7-3 and advance.

Meanwhile, anyone remember when Bryce Harper’s departure was supposed to leave the Nats mediocre? Also, another Rule No. 7 moment as in the bottom of the first Joc Pederson hit a ball through the outfield fence (an opening in the chain link fence).

By the way, the Nats are now 3-0 this postseason in their navy-blue tops. Manager Davey Martinez: “I’m not superstitious. I’m just a little stitious.”

There’s An App For That

Given a rare prime-time TV appearance, Appalachian State moves to 5-0 with a 17-7 win at Louisiana. The Mountaineers are now 16-2 the past two seasons, the lone defeats being at Georgia Southern and in overtime at Penn State. A note on first-year coach Eli Drinkwitz, 36: he never played college football but was the student body president at Arkansas Tech.

The Mountaineers have a decent shot of being the Group of Five school that plays in a New Year’s Six bowl.

Pence-ive Reply

This is what “I Want Not To Be Here” looks like from a compromised politician whose sole role is to defend his crooked boss.

Give Her The Turnover Chain

Speaking of dumb crooks, check out this amazing turnover in a foiled robbery at a hotel in Kentucky….