IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Oops.

Starting Five

The Me Tua Movement

We’re not going to re-litigate the Tua Tagovailoa “Why Was He Even In There?” debate here. We’ve already had our say at The Athletic and people whose opinions we respect (Fowler, Herbie, Corso) all agree with us. The fact that Nick Saban is the best college football coach of this generation does not mean that he’s always right. And just because people say “If he had to do it again, he wouldn’t change a thing” doesn’t mean he’s right. Only that he’s stubborn.

But let’s move on. Here are some sobering facts about Tua: He’ll turn 22 in March and he’s probably about 5’11 to 6 feet tall. He’s already had tightrope surgery on both ankles and now also hip displacement surgery. If he was ever going to be the next Russell Wilson or Kyler Murray, I’d think that the ceiling on his potential has to have been quite lowered. Whether you want to say he’s injury-prone or simply that it’s the way he plays football, he’s already suffered three major injuries while playing behind one of the most talented offensive lines in college football against competition that is undoubtedly not as fast or aggressive as what he’d be facing in the NFL.

I truly hope for his sake that he does not try and come back in time for the 2020 NFL season. I hope he gives his body a full year to rehab. Knowing him and his family’s makeup, particularly his father, I don’t see that happening. But I hope.

Meanwhile, if I were an NFL team, there’s no way on Earth I’d expend a first-round draft pick on him. Too many questions, in terms of his long-term durability. Great kid, great athlete, uncannily accurate passer. But at his height he’s only an NFL starter if he can prove elusive, and I just don’t think he’s going to be so after all of these surgeries at such a young age.

So Alabama’s new starting quarterback the rest of the season is Mac Jones. And do you know who his backup is? A freshman named Taulia Tagovailoa.

The Golden State Killer

This will soon be an 8-part HBO series, too.

In our never-ending quest to be freaked out as we read late at night alone in our apartment, Michelle McNamara’s true-crime bestseller I’ll Be Gone In The Dark is definitely one of those tomes that will make you get out of bed and re-confirm that all the doors (or, “door”) are locked and that no one is hiding in the closets (that’s because they’re hiding in the tub!).

If you haven’t read the book or don’t know the story, McNamara was the wife of comedian Patton Oswalt (and also a Chicago-reared Notre Dame alum). She became obsessed with true crime as a teen through a personal event (which she relates in the book) and spent the last 12 or so years of her life tracking the elusive “East Area Rapist” and “Original Night Stalker,” whom she re-dubbed the Golden State Killer.

Oswalt and McNamara

As infamous as the Zodiac may have been, this elusive criminal murdered more than 10 people and raped more than 50 during a crime spree that ran between 1976-1986 from Sacramento, where it all originated, to as far south as Dana Point and Irvine in Orange County.

The GSK’s final victim may have been, indirectly, McNamara herself. She died in her sleep, only 46 years old, in April of 2016 with her book only half-completed. She’d been on a cocktail of Xanax, Adderall and fentanyl and had unhealthy sleeping hours and an undiagnosed heart condition. Oswalt hired two researchers to finish the book—she was an outstanding writer—and two years later, in April of 2018 and thanks to DNA evidence, the suspect, Joseph James DeAngelo, then 72 years old, was apprehended.

What’s interesting to us is that for all the thousands of man-hours that McNamara and detectives spent on this case, for the theories about his ethnicity or his possible job(s) and lots of other factors, he really fit none of them. While his case has yet to go to trial, the DNA evidence is very, very strong. And yet this man was married and raised a family. Bizarre.

It’s a very fast and compelling read. But again, you may want to double-check the locks on your doors. Real-life monsters do exist.

The Longest Yardstick

In the little we’ve been able to see about the Colin Kaepernick deal, we were surprised to see as many big names in sports media (Screamin’ A., Rick Reilly, both PTI guys and Pablo Torre) at least partially blame him for what went down last weekend with the NFL. Last night we texted back and forth with another sports media personality (won’t name them) who, like us, is somewhat confounded by their level of obtuseness.

Now you know that the term “obtuse” was famously used in The Shawshank Redemption, but it’s two other prison films, both from the 1970s, that resonate with us in relation to this situation: The Longest Yard and The Jericho Mile. In one our protagonist is an NFL quarterback and in the other an Olympic miler hopeful. In both they are dealing with a powerful and corrupt establishment (in the former it’s the prison guards and in the latter it’s the white prison gang, led by Brian Dennehy) who continue to put demands on them in order to show who’s in control as our athlete simply wants to participate as an athlete. Anyway, I found both comparisons useful.

Granted, I’m sure it wasn’t the most diplomatic of decisions to wear a “KUNTA KINTE” t-shirt to the event (I laughed, though). But when people argue that “he doesn’t really want to play football,” it’s such a cop-out. He’s been keeping himself in excellent shape for more than 1,000 days waiting for an opportunity. And then the NFL provides this bogus one and he still jumps at the chance. And then they change the game (with that surprise waiver with the new language, plus the condition that no media be allowed in so that the NFL can control the message) at the last minute and he balks and somehow this is his fault?

Seriously don’t get it.

As Dan LeBatard said yesterday, and I’m paraphrasing, “After all of this, now the NFL wants him to kneel.” And he won’t.

I doubt Kaep will ever take another snap in the NFL. I’m more than certain that for a league that values his position more than any, he’s better than at least the players currently on rosters. What else needs to be asked?

Never Throw Wood

I believe previously in this space I’ve told you about our charming resident homeless fella, Carl. He resides daily on the median at Broadway and 79th Street, a handsome and lean African-American male who stands about 6’3″ or so. And I believe I shared how in the past year or so he’s taken on a female companion, whom a few of us have dubbed “Mrs. Carl.”

So imagine my surprise this weekend when our esteemed and highly local publication, the West Side Rag*, reported that a “Homeless Women Threw Wood At A 70 Year-Old Woman” and hit her in the head. If you read the story—and check out our local precinct’s Twitter feed for the mug shot—you’ll learn that the elderly woman attempted to intervene during one of Carl and Mrs. Carl’s many domestic disputes (a domestic dispute minus a domicile, but whatevs) and that Mrs. Carl then allegedly “threw wood” at her.

(*The West Side Rag is also reporting that a coyote was spotted in Central Park on Saturday evening. Photo included. I love it.)

In the story, the block of wood is shown and, “only in New York, kids,” the word “DONATE” is etched onto it.

The police note that they’ve charged Mrs. Carl with “felony assault.” The elderly woman is doing fine, by the way. At first I worried about the ramifications of all this, and then I thought, It’s late November and it’s getting cold: Mrs. Carl just threw wood into a situation where she’s going to get a bed, shelter, and three square meals a day. Who’s the criminal genius now?

Five Films: 1958

Let the record show that this is not the same Allison Hayes who covers Notre Dame and Big Ten football. She can’t be more than 5’7″, 5’8″ tops.
  1. Touch Of Evil Charlton Heston, Jewish just two years ago, is now half-Mexican. What range! Janet Leigh runs into trouble alone in a motel room in the desert (for the first, but not last, time). Orson Welles is little seen but sinister 2. Auntie Mame Susie B. probably wanted Gigi here, but any movie that gives us “Upsen Downs” and “Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death” is above that in our rankings 3. Gigi Finally saw this last year. He’s rich and handsome. She’s young and beautiful. And the theme song is a pedophile’s anthem. What’s not to love? 4. Vertigo Creepy Jimmy Stewart loses his girlfriend and then wants to start all over with a brunette version. With the city of San Francisco in a major supporting role. 5. The Blob Because young and earnest Steve McQueen as a teen is just so winning, although if we were ranking by title or movie poster nothing beats Attack Of The 50-Foot Woman.

Predicting Susie B’s pickings of nit: Where’s South Pacific? Or A Night To Remember? Never seen ’em, though I’ve seen the musical live and I’ve seen Titanic, so I’m sort of aware of both stories.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

To think of how much Michael Bay would have spent to get this as the opening shot of a movie…

Starting Five

Colin’s Cowed Herd

We’re not going to delve into all of the details of Colin Kaepernick’s Saturday workout in Atlanta. We do find it ironic that in a city where les than two centuries ago black men were put on stage and auctioned off to the highest bidder that a man was told by the NFL to be at a certain place at a certain time, and given all of two hours to decide whether or not that suited him (just four days before the stated event), and that still he showed up only to be presented with a waiver to be signed that would grant the league indemnity against him should he file any future lawsuit concerning collusion.

It’s difficult not to think that this is the only reason the NFL went ahead with this charade.

A couple of other reasons: 1. Roger Goodell’s new business partner, Shawn Carter (you may know him as Jay-Z) was feeling push back from the community about being a sellout, which he is, so he foolishly thought that this dog-and-pony show would take the heat off. 2. A few teams may actually be interested in Kaepernick but they were afraid, as individual franchises, as to how their fan bases would react, so they reasoned that there’s strength in numbers. If the entire league attends a Kaepernick workout, then no one franchise is more woke than the others.

Kap moved the workout from the Falcons facility to a high school field when he realized the NFL wasn’t going to give media the access he wanted them to have, including video footage. He doesn’t trust them. And why should he? And they don’t trust that the man who wears a Kunta Kinte T-shirt (“Roots,” kids; look it up) to an open tryout is going to be a good Stepin Fetchit. Which he won’t.

I don’t think Kap will ever appear in another NFL game. But he will be remembered long after most current players are dead and buried.

Seems Like Old Times

LeBron and Kobe shared a laugh at last night’s game seated next to a dude who thought cargo shorts would be a good look for the front row

Yes, the NBA season is not even a month old yet, but if you look at the standings you’ll note that the Boston Celtics (10-2) and Los Angeles Lakers (11-2) have the best records in the East and West, respectively. If Commissioner Silver had known it was gonna be like this, he’d have scheduled these two to meet on Christmas day.

Oh, by the way, guess who has the NBA’s worst record (and it’s about to get even worse with the injury to D’Angelo Russell)? That’s right, Susie B., the Golden State Warriors (2-12).

Finally, we’ll note that we’re all still awaiting for the debut of the most anticipated player in years, Zion Williamson.

Google Flat-Earth

We had to laugh at this CNN headline this morning: “The flat-Earth conspiracy is spreading around the globe.” Of course, if the Earth were actually flat, wouldn’t it be spreading across the globe?

I’m actually thankful for flat-Earthers. They remind me that as dumb as you think human beings might be, many are actually far dumber. Most of us fail to appreciate just how little sense many human beings have: if they can’t see it with their own eyes, they simply don’t believe it (unless it has to do with religion, and then they’ll believe anything).

That’s My Domer!

We’ll leave aside the argument as to whether Indianapolis Colt (and former Notre Dame) guard Quenton Nelson, moonlighting as a fullback, actually scored a touchdown here. The keg stand end zone celebration is epic. It’s really the only thing the NFL does better than college football, allow celebrations of this type.

Five Films: 1957

  1. The Bridge On The River Kwai The first of David Lean’s three epic masterpieces, and of the three, the tightest story from beginning to end. Sir Alec Guinness and William Holden are brilliant in the tale of a Japanese POW camp in Burma (or about) populated with British soldiers where the mission is to build a bridge only to blow it up. “Madness!” Just like war. Deserving winner of the Best Picture Oscar 2. An Affair To Remember The best opening banter scene in film-dom (or at least right up there with The Thin Man series) and we’ve had a crush on Deborah Kerr from the first time we saw it. 3. 12 Angry Men A study in the power of persuasion and reason, of using humility and intellect to sway the minds of men, starring Henry Fonda. The first of two films on today’s list that is a must-see for any student of the political landscape of the past four years. 4. Sweet Smell Of Success Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis star in a film about (yet another) sleazy journalist. 5. A Face In The Crowd Starring Andy Griffith as a country bumpkin with charisma and a minister’s power of rhetoric who is transformed into a media celebrity and then a demagogue. One envisions a young Donald Trump taking notes. Also starring a young Lee Remick, who in those days was a carnal princess 5.

Note: One of my favorite things about poring over annual film lists for this item is discovering connections to things I never knew. For example, in 1957 there was a film titled What’s Opera, Doc? and now I’m wondering what came first, this or the Bugs Bunny catchphrase (“What’s up, Doc?”). Also, this is the year that gave us Zero Hour, starring Dana Andrews, which is basically the playing-it-straight template for the 1980 comedy classic Airplane!

Music 101

Sweetness

The catalog of Mesa, Arizona’s, Jimmy Eat World is not very deep, but the songs at the surface are incredible. The energy and angst of youth personified. The best Phoenix area-based band this side of Gin Blossoms and Roger Clyne.

Remote Patrol

The Crown

Season 3, Netflix

We have yet to view it, but we’re including this as a public service to Phyllis, who loves the show. Pardon me for a moment (Mom, it’s a different actress playing Queen Elizabeth this season, but you may recall her from the series Broadchurch and from that dreadful film I took you to see last Christmas about the weird queen from another era; remember, you have the Netflix on your lap top and the password is already entered; just click; enjoy!)

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Brown Out

What is the purpose of all this football and why does it have to always extend into the time when 60 Minutes is supposed to start? a non-sports-viewing friend wondered recently.

“Football,” I replied, “is simply the surrogate to man’s primal need to defend his turf or to acquire someone else’s, which all goes back to being able to eat and then find a suitable mate so as to sustain the species. It’s truly a small sacrifice on your part if 60 Minutes begins 11 minutes late.”

When we talk about football, or all sports, what we are doing is using it as a prism to discuss human behavior or values. Mary Cain’s editorial last week about being trained by Alberto Salazar was not primarily about her Olympic aspirations; Colin Kaepernick’s workout this Saturday is not primarily about which team he will sign with. And last night’s Steelers-Browns game is hardly about who won or lost.

“This is something that will follow him the rest of his career,” former NFL offensive lineman Damien Woody told Scott Van Pelt on the midnight SportsCenter last night. “It’s criminal.”

What Woody was referring to, if you had already gone to sleep, was the play above in the final seconds of the Browns-Steelers contest in Cleveland. Myles Garrett of Cleveland went from trying to take down Pittsburgh’s Mason Rudolph as he released a screen pass to trying to take off his head.

What exactly was going on there? Garrett will likely be suspended the remainder of the season. His teammate, Larry Ogunjobi, along with Pittsburgh’s Maurkice Pouncey, will also be suspended, albeit for a shorter period of time.

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Marie Yo’

Pizzazzgate moves to Day 3 of the public hearings as former U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and guy-who-overheard-Gordon-Sondland’s-phone-call David Holmes are set to provide testimony. Today, as compared to yesterday, is an LSU-Bama and Penn State-Minnesota Saturday afternoon as compared to a Clemson-N.C State and Notre Dame-Duke Saturday night.

California Shootin’

Two students, one a boy and another a girl, are murdered at Saugus High School in the far northeastern reaches of San Fernando Valley yesterday in California. By a classmate on his 16th birthday. Yet another school shooting.

Three off-duty police officers had just dropped off their kids at the school and rushed back when they heard the shots and saw students fleeing. The suspect had already turned the gun on himself by the time they entered the quad, but did administer first aid.

This morning on CNBC Andrew Ross Sorkin discussed legislation being brought forth, legislation that his campaign of articles in The New York Times helped bring about, that would have banks track irregular movements of money in relation to gun purchases. Of course Joe Kernen pushed back and called this Sorkin’s—he used these words— “pet cause.”

You could see Sorkin’s hair on fire. I”ve never seen him so exasperated on TV. If the clip comes up somewhere, I’ll post it. So far, no.

T.Hanks

A piece worth reading from The New York Times on how calling Tom Hanks an “Everyman” is something of a disservice. His starring role as Fred Rogers opens this weekend.

Genius Bar (Who’s At Least A Decade Away From A Bar)

This is Laurent Simons of Belgium. He’s nine years old and about to graduate Eindhoven University of Technology with a degree in electrical engineering. He also has a cool haircut. But he couldn’t make the basketball team.

We always notice that these prepubescent academic prodigies never major in liberal studies. Just an observation.

Five Films: 1956

The closing shot to end all closing shots, an elegy to the Wild West
  1. The Searchers If this isn’t the best Western (it is), it’s certainly the best John Wayne Western. It’s also the most scenically arresting one. The scene that always gets me: the terror on the women’s faces inside the cabin when they realized they’re surrounded by Indians and there’s no escape 2. The Ten Commandments Jesus may be the more important biblical figure (unless you’re Jewish), but Moses is definitely the biblical behemoth of cinema thanks to Charlton Heston’s portrayal (and who looked more Jewish than Charlton Heston?). That’s Edward G. Robinson as the devious slave trader and Anne Baxter—the same woman who played Eve in All About Eve—as the seductive Egyptian princess. 3. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers One of the smartest allegories ever made; again, it’s set in the midst of the McCarthy era. It’s just as timely today, if not more so (I thought I knew those people) 4. Giant Before there was There Will Be Blood, there was this grandiose epic starring a beguiling Elizabeth Taylor, a stoic Rock Hudson and an unharnessed James Dean (the film was released after his death). It doesn’t quite measure up to its Gone With The Wind-y aspirations, but still a must-see. 5. High Society Have you heard/It’s in the stars/Next July we collide with Mars. For the party scene alone and this duet between Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, this makes the list. Grace Kelly in her latest “I’m in love with my father” role (he’s 56, she’s 27) as we’re supposed to believe she’s already divorced from the Crusty Crooner and is now about to be won over by him again (this is The Philadelphia Story re-set as a musical in Newport, Rhode Island).

Just missed: Forbidden Planet Leslie Nielsen as the commander of a ship that lands on a planet with a lone survivor from a previous mission. It’s the forerunner for Star Trek, basically, and it’s fun to see Lt. Frank Drebin in his serious leading man days.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Forget that David Bowie may be the coolest person who’s ever lived. That he simply looks like the coolest person who ever lived. Here’s more evidence of what an absolute genius he was. How insightful and progressive. And yet, even he smoked cigarettes.

Starting Five

Unprecedented To Unpresidented

There have been three impeachment proceedings in my life. Let’s begin with the second first. A sitting president turned Oval Office into his own libertine Oral Office and he got caught. That was the crux of it. A bad husband, sure, and not at all professional in no matter the office, but as a citizen, I’d rather not have a sexually repressed president. So, yeah, shame shame shame, however…

Richard Nixon oversaw a break-in of the Democratic headquarters before the 1972 election. Before the 1968 election, he persuaded the Vietnamese not to make peace so that he’d have a better chance of winning. That latter maneuver probably cost 1,000s of young American men their lives. And even in 1972, with Watergate, it was a failed attempt at dirty dealings and there was a whistleblower, of sorts (Deep Throat), who was never identified. At least not for another quarter century.

BOOM! Roasted!

Which brings us to Wednesday’s live impeachment hearings. The Republicans tried their damnedest to kill the messenger, first demanding to know who that messenger is. Then they tried to describe all the testimony as hearsay, never mind that if the top officials in the White House would actually testify on the record that problem would be eliminated.

We thought it was illuminating to hear Bill Taylor and George Kent speak. Taylor graduated fifth in his class at West Point (of 800) and of all the postings he might’ve been able to take, he chose infantry. And saw combat in Vietnam. Kent is a second-generation foreign service whose father graduated from the Naval Academy.

This family has one more person of integrity than the Trump family (two if you count George Michael)

These are, sorry Mr. President, “the best people.” And with the revelation of the overheard phone call between Trump and Gordon Sondland, who was at a restaurant in Ukraine at the time, it becomes more and more evident that the Trumps are simply the Bluths from Arrested Development.

For weeks Trump and his cronies demanded transparency from the impeachment inquiry. Yesterday they got it and then claimed they didn’t even watch. Richard Nixon resigned under pressure because a few Republican leaders in the Senate, such as Barry Goldwater, told him that the evidence regarding his failed crime was unimpeachable. And thus he was. And so it was time to give up the gig.

The Trump strategy has been to say, We’re not covering it up. Here’s exactly what we did and though you say it fits the textbook definition of a crime, we’re going to sit here and say it isn’t. And our cronies are going to back us. Black is white and up is down. Try and stop us.

That’s where we are.

Kap Space

So this is weird. Out of nowhere, after two-plus years of pretending that Colin Kaepernick does not exist while signing carpet salesman such as Matt McGloin, Wes Lunt and Cooper Rush (here’s a nearly complete list), the NFL called Kaep (or “Kap”) on Monday and told him to be at a workout in Atlanta this Saturday.

Not a team. The NFL. What teams will be there to watch Kap work out? The NFL will not say.

If this were a crime film, you’d see this as the set-up where the good guy is lured to the bad guys’ hideout knowing it’s an ambush, but what choice does he have if he wants to rescue Virginia Mayo?

It’s hard to imagine anything more disingenuous, but maybe someone at the league offices decided they wanted to clear the deck of the lingering “blackball” tag, so here’s your tryout, kid. Now don’t say we never gave you a second chance.

I used to work out at Chelsea Piers, where Kap works out (or was working out a year ago). I’d see him in the locker room in the morning. Never spoke to him, kept a respectful distance. And he kept to himself, but was always respectful to any of us geezers who did want to say hi or wish him luck.

For us, the most hypocritical aspect of all of this is how the NFL (and other pro sports leagues, and even major college institutions) drape themselves in the flag and have a boner for the military. For us, at least, patriotism is religion. Practice it with modesty. Most of us like someone who lives to Christian ideals but who wants a Bible-thumper on their doorstep.

Same, with me, for patriotism. Fourth of July? Great. Veterans Day and Memorial Day? Great. A flag the size of a football field? Why? A military flyover that literally crosses right above a 13-story mosaic of Jesus Christ, the “Prince of Peace?” That’s garbage.

There’s one, only one person, in the NFL who is qualified to pass judgment on the Colin Kaepernick issue. It’s a fellow northern California native named Pat Tillman. But he no longer can. My guess, from what I’ve read and seen of Tillman’s life, is that no one would be more in his camp than PT 42.

Defenseless Player


This is targeting with intent to execute. Wow. This defensive player from Toledo may not only have to sit out the next game but also submit to an interview from the duo from Mindhunter. Wow.

Ol’ Man Rivers, Young Man Rivers

Context doesn’t really matter here. All that matters is that Austin Rivers is prompting the referees to T up his father, Doc, and that eventually the zebras do. And then Austin claps in salute of their decision.

It’s still only mid-November.

Five Films: 1955

Nobody played bad as good as Robert Mitchum, who was in real life completely unlike his screen persona

Before we delve into what a ridiculously and gloriously deep year this is, a few words about my old friend Mark Beech. When almost all of us at SI were single and in our thirties, Mark and I were close friends. We used to worry that Mark would never get married because, although he’s 6’2″ and bears a striking resemblance to Christian Bale, he happily spent many free hours in his apartment watching TCM (a fastidiously clean apartment, I might add; Mark’s a West Point grad whose home still could pass a surprise inspection 15 years after leaving the post).

It was Beech, more than any other person, who stoked my interest in classic films in general and TCM in particular. We soon launched an annual winter film festival, called “Johndance,” that Mark put more time and effort into (as in deciding which films to bring) than possibly any story he was working on at the time.

In Year 1 or 2 of Johndance, Beech brought one of the films on today’s list (it stars Robert Mitchum). The good news is that Beech was too solid a guy to remain single forever, and he married a lovely woman who worked in SI’s PR department and they now have two children. We want to thank him for being the spiritual inspiration behind this daily list.

  1. To Catch A Thief: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly and Monte Carlo in a wonderful suspense drama with a little romance thrown in. Two people this beautiful sharing the same scenes should almost be illegal. Night Of The Hunter: A movie well before its time, almost too dark for the “Happy Days” era. Mitchum is chilling and fantastic, and it plays out like a grim fairy tale in black-and-white (“Children…child-reeeen“) 3. Marty The top film on this list is romantic fantasy, sublimely gorgeous people cavorting in a surreal paradise. This Best Picture winner is at the other end of the spectrum, as a burly Bronx bachelor named Ernest Borgnine and a homely lass from another outer borough find each other with not a touch of glamour. 4. Mister Roberts Henry Fonda, Jimmy Cagney and Jack Lemmon in a war film that’s part comedy and part not at all. With no combat scenes. “Captain, it is I, Ensign Pulver, and I just threw your stinkin’ palm tree overboard. Now what’s all this about no movie tonight?” Lemmon would win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. 5. Oklahoma! (Susie B. gonna put me on BLAST for not picking Guys and Dolls. If I’d picked Guys and Dolls she’d have me on BLAST for not picking this one) A young Shirley Jones with Rod Steiger and Eddie Albert and arguably the greatest title song in musical history.

This year is TOO deep. We’ve never seen the two iconic James Dean films from this year, Rebel Without A Cause and East of Eden, so we did not include them. We’ve seen and LOVE The Seven Year Itch (Marilyn Monroe at her most comedic and curvy) but wouldn’t supplant any other film on this list. Films we want to see: The Man From Laramie, Bad Day At Black Rock and Rififi. We also almost put Lady And The Tramp in our top five. The spaghetti scene alone makes it worthy.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

This is the best thing to appear on ESPN before 7 p.m. on a weekday, perhaps ever.

Starting Five

Impeach Tree City

The impeachment hearings go public today and I really don’t know what that means. I do know that one of Trump’s three junior bulldogs in the House, Jim Jordan (the other two being Matt Gaetz and Devin Nunes), has been added to the impeachment inquiry in order to sow seeds of chaos and disruption. Don’t be surprised if Jordan breaks out a chant of “Attica! Attica! Attica!”

Anyway, it’s the first impeachment hearings of this century and today’s witnesses on live TV will be Bill Taylor and George Kent. On Friday we get Marie Yovanovitch.

Bars in the nation’s capitol are opening early today so that patrons can watch the hearings on live TV. You gotta imagine one or more establishments will be serving Supboena Coladas.

On Full Blastros

1919: Black Sox Scandal

2019: Houston Astros

Some things never change.

Former Houston Astros pitcher Mike Fiers is one of four people who tells The Athletic that in 2017, when he was with the club, the Astros used a sophisticated process to steal signs. A camera positioned in the outfield, coupled with a banging noise to tell hitters if a changeup or fastball was coming, tipped pitches for Astro hitters.

You may recall that the Astros won the World Series in 2017. They also had MLB’s best home record last season, 60-21.

“That’s not playing the game the right way,” says Fiers, 35, who warned subsequent pitching staffs on which he played, Oakland and Detroit, that the Astros were doing the game dirty.

This isn’t the NCAA, of course. Major League Baseball won’t force Houston to vacate its World Series victory. What I’d do if I were Rob Manfred is this: 1. a major fine, in the area of $5 million 2. forfeited draft picks and 3. start the Astros 8 games back in the A.L. West next season. No matter how many games they win, they must finish 9 games ahead of the second-place A.L. West team in order to win the division.

If I’m the Astros, I blame it all on Brandon Taubman.

Aces High

It’s almost impossible to get hyped about college hoops before even Thanksgiving week, but let’s note that the unranked Evansville Purple Aces walked into Rupp Arena last night and took down No. 1 Kentucky, 67-64. Better, Evansville is coached by Walter McCarty, a former star player for the Wildcats in their mid-Nineties Rick Pitino glory years.

McCarty, a starter on the 1996 national championship team for Kentucky, is in his second season in Evansville (southern Indiana). Last year the Aces went 11-21 and they were picked to finish eighth in the Missouri Valley Conference this season.

What the Aces’ win really means is that now every coach of a decided underdog can point to them as his team prepares to play a prohibitive favorite and say that 1. it’s possible and 2. look how much fun it is if you are able to pull it off.

Extra points for doing it on the favorite’s home floor.

Ohio Player

The Bobcats lost to Western Michigan on ESPN (or ESPN2, don’t quote me) on TV last night, but did they? Really? That’s Hagen Meservy, a 6’3″, 300-pound offensive lineman doing a distractionary cartwheel on a pass play. That got completed.

Five Films: 1954

It was the Fifties, which meant you could be a middle-aged dude in a one-bedroom apartment hanging out in your pajamas and Grace Kelly would find you divine. Not complaining, just observing.

Another episode of “It was a very good year.”

  1. Rear Window Once you get past the part about 25 year-old Grace Kelly pining for 46 year-old Jimmy Stewart to settle down, this is Hitchcock’s first (but not last) great film about voyeurism. 2. On The Waterfront “I coulda been somebody. I coulda been a contender. Instead of a bum. Which is what I am.” Future Hitchcock favorite Eva Marie-Saint in a breakout role, for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar; Marlon Brando at his finest. Lots of modern-day parallels in the struggle. Best Picture winner. The irony here is that this is a film about doing what’s right made in the midst of the McCarthy era and yet directed by Elia Kazan, who named names and put people on blacklists (and he won Best Director) 3. Sabrina So light, so airy, but so much fun. Audrey Hepburn is the chauffeur’s daughter on a north shore of Long Island estate where two adult brothers, played by Humphrey Bogart and William Holden, vie for her hand. Bogey is 54 and she’s 25 (in real life, making Rear Window positively modest by comparison) 4. Dial M For Murder Suspenseful, classic Hitchcock, once again with Grace Kelly aboard. Both of these Hitchcock films take place almost entirely in one room. And yet still extremely compelling. 5. A Star Is Born This is the best version in our eyes, as Judy Garland is even better than she was in The Wizard Of Oz. She was robbed of the Oscar by Grace Kelly (in Grace’s third-best film of the year, The Country Girl, that no one ever talks about now) and she may have never gotten over it. Can’t blame her.

We came very close to adding Godzilla, the original. It spawned not just the Godzilla franchise but one can argue the mega-blockbuster film franchise. Also worth noting this year: The Creature From the Black Lagoon, a classic B-movie horror film as well as The Seven Samurai, another Akira Kurosawa classic. We’ve never seen it, but its American remake is basically The Magnificent Seven.

Reserves

Don Cherry, fired yesterday or Monday by SportsNet, appears on the most racist white nationalist network he can find to mansplain his actions. Bold move, Cotton.

At least he got what I’d tried to advise, post hoc. Don’t begin a rant with “You people.” But of course his logic was flawed. Cherry says he should have said “Everybody” instead of “You people.” You know why he didn’t? Because he doesn’t see it as an “everybody” problem. He sees it as a “you people” problem. And that’s sort of why he’s out of a job today.

****

A couple things on the latest CFB Playoff rankings: 1. First time all 25 schools appeared in a different slot than previous week’s rankings (“Row the boat Ski-U-Mah Go Gophers!”), 2. First time a No. 1 won and still dropped (and that No. 1 won 73-14, by the way). 3. Georgia is No. 4 and Alabama is No. 5; if Georgia loses in the SEC title game and Bama wins out, are we looking at an LSU-Alabama rematch, shades of 2011? Or would a 12-1 Oregon or a 13-0 Baylor (just play along, please) have enough juice to unseat them?

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Nobody’s Perfect

Despite the play above the Seahawks beat the 49ers in overtime, 27-24, in San Francisco Santa Clara. With the loss, the Niners drop to 8-1. There are no unbeatens left in the NFL, which I think means that Alabama has renewed hope to make the college football playoff.

Bubble Screen-Worthy

Too bad I did not see this until Monday. A small moment that will go viral because it’s so genuine. I’ve never met Marty Smith but he didn’t have to do this. And it obviously made a world of difference to this young reporter. After a long, long day in Tuscaloosa Smith still had time to make someone else’s. Fantastic.

Another Dominant Russell In S.F.

Remember when the Lakers selected D’Angelo Russell with the 2nd overall pick in the draft and he never seemed to blossom and then they traded him to the Nets. Remember when the Warriors picked up Russell last summer as sort of a salve for the losses of Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson this season and figured he’d at least help Stephen Curry carry the load for what looked to be around a .500 season?

In Russell’s first four games with the Dubs, all of which he shared the backcourt with Curry, the 6’4″ guard from Ohio State averaged 16.3 ppg. Then Curry broke his left hand and Steve Kerr handed the keys to Russell.

In the four games since Russell has averaged 36.3 points including a 52-point effort in last Friday night’s overtime loss at Minnesota. Last night he put up 33 in a loss to Utah. The Dubs have lost all four of these games and they’re going to lose many, many more. But Russell may wind up leading the league in scoring and becoming the West Coast James Harden, circa 2015.

He’s the most dominant Russell to play in San Francisco since Bill.

Billionaires (Cont.)

Bill Gates deserves everything he’s earned. He started from scratch and changed the world.


“Are you a socialist?” he was asked.

“No,” he replied. “I just think that if you have 100 people and 100 potatoes that it’s somewhat unconscionable for one person in the community to have 99 of them and leave the other potato to be split among the other 99 people.”

“But what if,” asked the interrogator, “if that one person has worked HARDER than the other 99 people combined?”

Ah, and here is the fallacy with the very, very, very wealthy (and worse, with the wealthy who aspire to put a few “very’s” in front of their wealth): being wealthy has a lot to do with working hard, but it also has a little something to do with what career you chose. The hardest-working teachers and cops and firemen and soldiers, all of whom are indispensable to a functioning society (bloggers and sportswriters, not so much), will never be very wealthy. It’s not happening.

And so you say, “Well, if they’d worked harder maybe they could have been in private equity or become a doctor or lawyer, etc.” Maybe. Maybe that’s not the career they (or yes, I) wanted.

But the question here isn’t whether someone in a middle- or lower-class career deserves to have someone in a better career, making five to ten times their salary, having the latter carry their load (answer: of course not). And that’s what I consistently find incredible about people I encounter who do much better than the average American (than I) being so vociferous in their defense of BILLIONAIRES.

(You may recall that last week I seemed to defend billionaires here; my argument is that I don’t believe there should be a cap on income; on the other hand, well, let me explain below…).

Having someone who earns $500,000 to $1 million per year defend billionaires to the average American (like me) is like having a squirrel tell a mouse why they shouldn’t have a problem with an elephant. Or a blue whale. In terms of size.

Look. It’s not about wealth; it’s about scale. And I think that so many Americans have a very difficult time truly appreciating that scale. So allow me to provide this analogy. If you’ve ever run a 10-K, that’s 10,000 meters. One meter is roughly the distance of one stride when you’re running. So, if you are someone who earns $100,000 per year, which is a pretty decent salary in the United States, you have taken one step in this 10-K race whereas the billionaire has already arrived at the finish line. Your one step in the 10-K is equivalent to the entire 10-K, in relation to income disparity.

Now, couple that with the fact that last year for the very first time billionaires paid a lower percentage of income tax (23%) than did average Americans (28%) for the first time in U.S. history, and the lowest percentage since income tax was created here, and well, you’ve got the seeds of a populist uprising.

We know what Jesus said about being rich, but I don’t think even Jesus was talking about the relative wealth of billionaires. Again, if you earn $1 million per year, bully for you. You earn 10x as much as someone with a decent job making $100,000. You also earn 1/1,000th of a billionaire. So why do you think of yourself as being more like a billionaire than that $100,000 per year earner?

Finally, there are roughly 750 Major League Baseball players when you consider 30 teams and 25-man rosters. There are just over 600 billionaires in the U.S.A. That’s how rare it is. So again, why do so many Americans align themselves with them? Just because you hit a home run for your Zog Sports softball team doesn’t mean you’re Juan Soto, ya’ know?

Five Films: 1953

How do you say “ingenue” in Italian?
  1. Roman Holiday Gregory Peck falls for an AWOL princess played by Audrey Hepburn in her captivating screen debut, for which she won the Oscar 2. From Here To Eternity Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed and Montgomery Clift. A steamy soap opera set amongst the days leading up to the invasion of Pearl Harbor. Ol’ Blue Eyes won a statuette in a supporting role but Clift is the heart of the film. 3. Stalag 17 William Holden had quite a career going for himself in the Fifties (Sunset Boulevard, Sabrina, Bridge on The River Kwai and this) and won the Oscar for this German POW flick 4. Shane A simple Western allegory with one of the more memorable lines in filmdom (“Come back, Shane”) 5. White The Big Heat Susie B. will give me hell for not including Bandwagon or even Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, but this is classic film noir starring Glenn Ford. And we’d also highly recommend another noir gem, less known, titled Pickup On South Street.

Reserves

–In The New York Times, fired Deadspin Editor-In-Chief Barry Petcheskey writes an Op-Ed titled “I Was Fired From Deadspin For Refusing To Stick To Sports.”

–In Canada, SportsNet fires Don Cherry. Never begin a patriotic rant with “You people…”

–Beloved former NBC executive (you rarely see those words strung together) Rick Ludwin passes away. He was the exec who staked his meager budget on early episodes of Seinfeld when no one else believed in the show. Go to the Twitter feeds of John Mulaney and Ken Tremendous to read wonderful vignettes about him. It’s nice to be nice.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Broadway Jeaux

The name Joe has a terrific bloodline among quarterbacks. There was Joe Namath, of course. And Joe Montana. Now here comes LSU’s Joe Burrow, who led the Tigers to victory at Alabama on Saturday, 46-41.

Few programs ever acquire the veneer of invincibility, particularly at home, that the Crimson Tide have this decade. Miami did in the late Eighties up to the mid-Nineties, winning 47 in a row at the Orange Bowl. The Tide had won 31 in a row at Bryant-Denny Stadium before LSU, which had lost eight straight to the Tide since 2011, came to town.

Led by Burrow, the Ohio State transfer who would throw for 393 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, the Tigers roared to a 33-13 halftime lead. When the Tide surged, twice, in the fourth quarter to bring themselves within one score, Burrow twice answered immediately with touchdown drives.

Is Nick Saban’s reign over? Not yet. But Burrow, who is second in the nation in both passing yardage per game and touchdown passes, is now the Heisman frontrunner. And he’s got LSU first or second in the playoff selection committee rankings this week.

Super In Seattle

For many, Sunday’s biggest football game took place in Seattle (the Seahawks were idle) as the Sounders defeated Toronto FC to win the MLS Cup.

Playing in front of nearly 70,000 rabid fans at Century Link Field, the Sounders defeated Toronto 3-1 to win their second MLS Cup of the past four years. These two teams have now met in three of the past four MLS Cup finals.

“I Only Have Eyes For You”

Traitor or patriot? In her new book All Due Respect (awful title), former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley writes that fellow Trump Cabinet members Rex Tillerson (Secretary of State) and General John Kelly (Chief of Staff) worked to undermine the president: “Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country … It was their decisions, not the president’s, that were in the best interests of America, they said. The president didn’t know what he was doing.

Haley resisted.

In this interview with Norah O’Donnell on CBS Sunday Morning, Haley basically uses the logic that Well, yeah, the mob boss ordered the hit but it was never carried out, so what’s the problem?

O’Donnell has now famously failed to ask follow-up questions on two big interviews. Here, when Haley says, “The American people should decide this; why do we have a bunch of people in Congress making this decision?” the natural response from an interviewer should have been, “Because it’s part of the Constitution, dummy. Do you not adhere to the Constitution (never mind that no Republicans were making this argument 20 years ago)?”

A few years back, during the Ray Rice kerfuffle, O’Donnell sat Roger Goodell down, who confided that once they saw the tape of Rice hitting his girlfriend, things changed. O’Donnell never asked him why he needed to see a tape when the evidence of her beating, and Rice owning up to it, were already in play.

O’Donnell is extremely presentable and very pretty (in a but-she-looks-smart-enough-to-have-graduated-from-Columbia way). But if the average-looking person handled big interviews the way she does, that person would not be the anchor of the CBS Evening News.

Meanwhile, I had a fairly heated discussion with an old college friend a year ago about the Kelly/Mattis conundrum. I said that anyone working for the president who does not believe in his policies or values, etc., should resign (never mind that they were idiots for taking the positions in the first place). He said that they were heroic, trying to save the country from within by protecting us against Trump.

I think we were both right. Of course Kelly was trying to do exactly what my friend says, but why put a band-aid on top of a giant festering sore? Moreover, now he comes off bad on both sides. The Trumpers hate him for trying to undermine their Orange Overlord while people like myself see him as someone who was providing cover to a corrupt and venal man.

You can’t solve a problem by attempting to cover it up. Be transparent. And stand up for your values. Kelly and Tillerson did not; they thought they could push a Republican agenda while working for Trump and push back on his radical agenda at the same time. Can’t serve two masters. Nope. So now they look bad to both sides.

Never align with Trump: You’ll eventually come out looking bad in the end. With all due respect.

Five Books For Veterans Day

Thank you to all the veterans of the Armed Forces who sacrificed in all sorts of ways in defense of this country and its freedoms. Although I’m not sure if we need tanks protecting us from immigrants in Queens…

And I’ll make the same point I always have: nothing protects Americans quite like the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. We should really have a day of remembrance for them.

Anyway, I always enjoy reading books about World War II because I believe it was America’s (and Great Britain’s) finest hour. Here are three that Phyllis and I read in 2019 and two others from the past that I’d also recommend:

With The Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa, by E.B. Sledge

Much of this book showed up in the HBO series The Pacific. Besides it being a near-miracle that Sledge survived these two campaigns, his reportage of his memoir is detailed and grisly. This is suffering.

The Jersey Boys, by Sally Mott Freeman

A first-time author, Freeman writes about the World War II odysseys of her father and two uncles. This will surely become a series on HBO or some other streaming service. Incredible stuff.

Operation Mincemeat, by Ben Macintyre

A truly incredible, almost comical, story about how the Allies planted a corpse with fictitious battle plans behind enemy lines and how the Germans bought it hook, line and sinker. And it’s all true.

Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

The book is so much more powerful than the film.

Flags Of Our Fathers, by James Bradley

A completely unvarnished account of Iwo Jima. Once again, war is hell.

Five Films: 1952

  1. Singin’ In The Rain Inexplicably, what’s now regarded by many as the greatest movie musical ever and is ranked No. 7 on AFI’s “Greatest 100 Films” list, did not receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture (or Best Actor or Best Actress). Not only is this Gene Kelly/Donald O’Connor/Debbie Reynolds (she was only 19) flick wildly entertaining, it’s also smart and colorful and nostalgic. The first MGM talkie, The Broadway Melody, used snippets of the song in 1929 and would win Best Picture. The song would be performed onscreen by MGM legends Jimmy Durante (1932) and Judy Garland (1940), so the title itself is a tribute to Hollywood’s transition to talkies. Also, Donald O’Connor’s “Make ‘Em Laugh” is maybe the funniest dance number ever choreographed. 2. High Noon Gary Cooper is the sheriff who must stand up to the bad guys while Grace Kelly attempts to avoid going from wife to widow in record time. John Wayne hated this film and dubbed it “un-American.” A lot of people say it as an allegory for McCarthyism, which it was. Cooper was the lone guy who’d stand up to black-listings and the cowed townspeople were Americans who were afraid to stand up to McCarthyism. Wayne, as the then president of the Motion Picture Association (MPA) helped have the film’s writer, Carl Foreman, black-listed. 3. The Quiet Man John Wayne not in a western, but in Ireland, where he heroically (?) drags the lovely Maureen O’Hara across neighbor’s farms to return her to her brother 4. The Greatest Show On Earth Cecil B. DeMille directs, it wins Best Picture 5. Clash By Night Slight film noir, more like dude hooks up with his best friend’s girl. But it stars some heavyweights in Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Ryan and Marilyn Monroe.

Reserves

The New York Times has an editorial on billionaires this morning, per our conversation last week…

The Cowboys had likely already blown this game versus the Vikings, but they ordered their return man to fair catch this punt before the play trailing 28-24 with :17 left. He probably returns it at least 20 yards if he fields it.

Et Tu, Canada?

You know, when you begin a rant with “You people…” it’s not going to go well.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Toxic nepotism. Please make these two go away…

Starting Five

Open Mike

Reports are that a(other) billionaire New Yorker who grew up in Queens is planning to run for president in 2020: former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg.

When the news broke last night, it only took a few moments for the “OK, B(l)oom(b)er(g)” meme to kick off. Myself, I’m all for it. I wish he would have run in 2016. As this city’s mayor, Bloomberg improved the greatest city in North America in innumerable ways. And he did it without attempting to be a demagogue or a social cause. He just rolled up his sleeves and did the work.

After the disaster and embarrassment and corruption of Donald Trump, there are worse things to be than a pragmatist with an incomparable track record. I Like Mike.

Billionaire Bashing

You see, Baker Mayfield, this guy DOES deserve to wear a handlebar mustache

This seems to be the new popular pastime on Twitter. And as a potential billionaire, we at MH take offense…

Seriously, though, let’s begin with the fundamentals (I used to assume that everyone knew the fundamentals, then Joey Galloway said on live TV last weekend that 72 divided by 2 is 34 so now, not so much anymore): a billion dollars is $1 million times one thousand. Most of us would be overjoyed to have $1 million. Now multiply that by 1,000.

Okay, so in 2010 there were 404 billionaires in the U.S.A. Today there are 607 billionaires in the U.S., according to U.S. News, an increase of just more than 50%. Something is happening that is accelerating the rate of growth of wealth among the .05% while the rest of us continue to wallow in the mire.

Is this fundamentally unethical? Is someone to “blame?” Is there any reason those who have less should be openly hostile to those who have so, so much more? I dunno.

With a net worth north of $111 billion, Jeff Bezos is the world’s wealthiest man (related: he did it himself; also related: a full head of hair is priceless)

I’m of the opinion that the government has rarely demonstrated any responsibility when it comes to spending our tax dollars so I’d rather see billionaires be philanthropic of their own accord (the Bill Gates model) as opposed to overly taxing them. I also feel that if I had that much money I’d feel somewhat guilty knowing how many people suffer day in and day out while I have so much more than I’ll ever need. I’d like to think there’d be an empathy factor. Finally, I’m of the opinion that many (I’m not sure if I’d say most, but many) billionaires are truly exceptional people (save those who inherited their wealth) who at some point in their lives demonstrated an exceptional talent in one area of skill or had a truly revolutionary idea that helped change the world (granted, for better or worse).

But right now, on social media, a lot of the backlash towards billionaires sounds to me like sour grapes. It would be great if tomorrow every person worth even just $1 billion announced they were giving away half their wealth to improve a school district or buy the New York Jets. And some have or do, because you can still get by on $500 million. But simply leeching off billionaires as a society as if they are to blame for what you do not have, something about that seems a little off and, well, whiny to me.

Okay, Susie B., pull the ripcord…

The Bama Bowl

The latest “Game of the Century”, to take place Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa, is not. Not even with a president in attendance. It’s No. 2 LSU vs. No. 3 Alabama and many intelligent people have noted that if you’re going to put Penn State (4) above Clemson (5), then why not put both ahead of Alabama…particularly when both Clemson and Alabama have the same toughest foe/best win to date: Texas A&M.

Dig: The Tide have beaten LSU eight straight times since losing the touchdown-deprived “Game of the Century” to the Tigers in November of 2011, 9-6. It’s pretty unwise to bet against them most of the time and Nick Saban, except when attempting game-winning field goals from beyond his kicker’s range, is pretty tough to beat.

It’s early, of course, and so much can happen but we believe that the loser of this showdown between 8-0 squads will not advance to the playoff. If Oregon or Utah win out or if Oklahoma wins out, we think they’ll be a more attractive option to the playoff committee than a second SEC team who already lost its biggest game of the year to an SEC team. Would Vegas favor Alabama or LSU over Oregon, Utah and Oklahoma. Probably, yes. Does that mean that’s how the playoff should work? For us, no.

So it’s not the Game of the Century, but it’s most likely a knockout game. How effective will Tua Tagovailoa be? We don’t know.

Meanwhile, BREAKING NEWS: Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, whom many (raises hand) consider to be the most outstanding player in college football, will sit out tomorrow’s game versus Maryland. Young may be facing an indefinite suspension beyond Saturday due to something that occurred in 2018. Remember, the Buckeyes are currently No. 1 in the SelCom rankings.

Story unraveling by the minute. Stay tuned.

The annual preemptive retirement of an All-World Ohio State defensive end (Nick Bosa last season, now this): a tradition like no other.

Debt Relief

Watching this you can’t help but wonder if Rhys thinks to himself, If only I attended a more expensive college.

Five Films: 1951

No, A Streetcar… did not make the cut because I don’t remember enjoying myself much watching it. A Place In The Sun came thisclose as did The Day The Earth Stood Still and Cinderella (we haven’t really done right by animation or Abbott & Costello films thus far; apologies).

Ava Gardner wearing your mom’s drapes
  1. The African Queen Strangers On A Boat (See No. 3) It took until 1951 for Hollywood to finally say, “Hey, he’s the greatest living actor and she’s the greatest living actress—let’s put them in a film together.” This is an African adventure as well as one long and well-scripted metaphor. “Oh, Mister Allnut…” 2. An American In Paris Gene Kelly’s signature film and introducing Leslie Caron as the lover interest/dance partner. Man, did he have all of the tools. Best Picture winner. 3. Strangers On A Train One of Hitchcock’s weirdest, with a premise so simple and yet so dark. Robert Walker as Bruno is wonderfully creepy and psychotic and today we’d probably suggest he’s also gay 4. Ace In The Hole Billy Wilder’s savage takedown of tabloid mass media stars Kirk Douglas as a disgraced big-city reporter out to find redemption 5. Showboat Ava Gardner in the role that Lena Horne was born to play, but there are few, if any, better title tunes: maybe only Julie Andrews’ opener in a later film outdoes this one and even then I’m not so sure.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

NBA officiating has gotten truly lax, but still not yet this lax. We wonder if Bledsoe did this on a dare.

Starting Five

Massacre In Mexico

What happened?

It appears to be something out of an episode of Breaking Bad. In northern Mexico, along the north-south border of the states Chihuahua and Sonora (the boundary roughly coincides with that between Arizona and New Mexico), a convoy of three sport-utility vehicles carrying Mormon women and children was traveling in a remote area.

Now, unfortunately for them, a shootout between two rival gangs had taken place not long before and nearby. And there’s a good chance that one of the gangs identified this caravan of SUVs as carrying members of the other gang. So the caravan came under attack.

Six children and three women, all members of the same family (we might refer you to read Under The Banner Of Heaven at this point), were killed. At least four children were permitted to flee, which suggests the gunmen may have realized their mistake and for some reason showed mercy. The vehicle above appears to have incinerated from a gunshot that struck the gas tank.

The important thing is that nothing will change. Drugs will still be trafficked illegally, the cartels will continue to exist, the DEA will fight a losing battle, your local stoner or cokehead will not consider him- or herself part of the problem (nor will pols who continue to demonize these drugs but not opioids or hard liquor), and innocents will be caught in the crossfire. Hooray, capitalism!

Cole-Powered Tar Heels

Last night North Carolina freshman guard Cole Anthony, the son of former NBA’er Greg, scored 34 points in his college debut as the Heels ran away from Notre Dame in the second half and won by 11. That mark, 34 points, is the most ever by a UNC freshman in his debut. This at a school whose alumni include Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Sam Perkins, Bobby Jones, Vince Carter, Tyler Hansbrough, Jerry Stackhouse, Billy Cunningham and Phil Ford.

We watched the second half. The 6’3″ Anthony, who grew up in New York and attended high school in Queens, didn’t look so much like an unstoppable force as he did a dude who can bury the open jumper and has lots of energy (he also finished with a team-high 11 boards). Pops was in the house to watch.

“OK, Boomer”

Here’s where the “OK, Boomer” phenomenon began. Green party MP Chloe Swarbrick was speaking in the New Zealand parliament about a zero-carbon emissions rate when at least one of her middle-aged colleagues began heckling her. She immediately cut him down with this comment.

(I assume it’s a him. C’mon.)

Mary Cain’s Odyssey

We’ve always liked Mary Cain, since we first wrote a piece on her when she was in high school back in 2012. We liked that her name was two cosmically polar opposite figures from the New and Old Testament, respectively. We liked that though she never quite looked the part, she was the fastest American teen female middle-distance runner since another Mary, Mary Decker. Cain set high school records in the 1,000, 1,500, 3,000, 2-mile and 5,000, most of which she still holds. And we liked that she was highly intelligent—a straight-A student— and had an ebullient personality.

Then it all changed. Instead of signing with any college she might’ve wanted, the Bronxville, N.Y., native, the daughter of a physician, signed a professional contract with Nike and moved 2,900 miles west to Portland to train under Alberto Salazar. It all went horribly south from there and Cain never discussed the details of how or why.

Until now.

In a video opinion piece in The New York Times, Cain discusses what happened to her once she fell under the tutelage of Nike Oregon Project czar Alberto Salazar (who has been banned from the sport for 4 years). I always thought it was a mistake for Cain to bypass college. She was built for the college environment, athletically, academically and culturally. It’s a small tragedy that she bypassed it. It’s a crime what Salazar and Nike did to her.

Five Films: 1950

Hello, Norma Jean

It was a very good year. In fact, TCM’s Eddie Mueller suggests it was every bit as good as 1939. We’ll leave you to judge.

  1. All About Eve: Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night. This Bette Davis classic, with a cameo from a very young Marilyn Monroe, crackles with the best dialogue since Casablanca (written and directed by Joe Mankiewicz, Ben’s great-uncle). 2. Sunset Boulevard: Like the film ahead of it, another dark-side-of-Hollywood tale with yet another unforgettable line (“Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup“) 3. The Asphalt Jungle John Huston directed this nourish thriller; think Ocean’s 11 set not in Vegas and not for fun. Another Marilyn Monroe at-the-outset-of-her-va-va-voom-dom movie. 4. Rashomon: We had this Akira Kurosawa classic DVR’ed and watched it last night in order to avoid, um, reader harassment. So, yeah, it’s a film school essential and the film that inspired the Academy to begin handing out Best Foreign Picture Oscars. 5. Annie, Get Your Gun: A musical based on a terrific song by Squeeze that would come out about 35 years later. No?

*****

Eighty-Six Happiness note: We served Kenneth Langone, co-founder of Home Depot yesterday. Very down-to-earth guy. You’re wondering: he tipped well. Not exorbitant, but well.

*****

Good line from Seth Meyers’ comedy special: “I’m not Jewish but given my name and how I look and behave, I’m Jewish enough. In fact, that’s the only religion where you can sort of be thought to have assimilated by other factors. That’s also why it’s the only religion that ends in “-ish.”

Music 101

Falling Slowly

This is precisely the moment you know you’re going to fall in love with the film Once. That’s Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. From 2007. The tune would deservedly win the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Remote Patrol

Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders

8 p.m. Fox

I won’t be watching, but you may want to. In which one franchise that foolishly relocated to Los Angeles faces another that once made the same mistake, only to relocate back to its original California city home, only to then decide to pack up and re-relocate to Las Vegas before long. And they’re both going to be wearing obnoxious color-rush uniforms. Idontcare.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Lev And Let Die

In the past 48 hours everyone’s first or second favorite Ukrainian henchman, Lev Parnas, is cooperating with impeachment investigators. So you have to wonder how many hours or days it will be before Lev “hangs himself” in jail. Meanwhile, ABC correspondent Amy Robach, who is married to Andrew Shue (the cute but dumb one from Melrose Place) was caught on a hot mic basically saying that Jeffrey Epstein was murdered.

I agree with you, Amy.

Finally, Gordon Sondland, the Trump donor from Oregon with no foreign affairs experience who was then thrust into the role of ambassador to the European Union and put in charge of affairs with Ukraine, which is NOT in the European Union, but follow along, kids, this is The Worst Wing, after all…even he, EVEN HE, is turning against Trump.

In testimony to the impeachment inquiry, Sondland admitted that he recognized Trump’s maneuver with Ukraine to be “illegal” and always assumed it was a quid pro quo offer.

Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham has decided to put his head in the sand and told reporters that he will refuse to read the testimony. One can see that Graham, his fellow Republicans in Congress and a helluva whole lot of Americans brandishing red baseball caps simply refuse to shave with Occam’s Razor (i.e., the simplest solution is usually the correct one, i.e, either everyone is making up tales about Trump, or you know, Trump is).

Clemson’s On The ROY Bus

The initial College Football Playoff rankings were released last night, and they’re essentially meaningless, since the top four teams—Ohio State, LSU, Alabama and Penn State—are already set up as semifinal games this month. That is, LSU visits Bama on Saturday and Ohio State hosts the Nittany Lions on Nov. 23rd.

The minor surprise is that defending national champ Clemson, which has scored at least 52 points in four of its eight wins, is fifth. The Tigers have the 65th-toughest schedule in the land, however, and it’s not about to get more difficult. If Dabo’s Demons continue on to 13-0, they’ll be in. But playing Wofford AND Charlotte won’t earn you any respect.

La La Lanes

Oh, and my quasi-hometown of Phoenix is making the same error. And why is this happening? Because developers gonna develop (and there’s big money in it for both them and the pols who okay the zoning) and then they need a way to accommodate the influx.

This is why I hope everyone visits the Hamptons at least once in their lives. Those city fathers flat-out refuse to expand the main road beyond one lane in either direction. The result is massive traffic snarls on weekends but also it’s an impetus for many to stay away, and that keeps everything there manageable. It’s not just a coincidence that these are some of the wealthiest people in the U.S.A. They know what’s up. And how to handle it.

And Now A Word About Executive Pay…

Yesterday morning I saw a quote from hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones, who was speaking at the Greenwich Economic Forum: “How many employees do we have not making a living wage relative to what I’m paying the CEO? Hopefully we begin asking that in every damn boardroom.”

Before proceeding, let’s just put it out there that Jones himself is a billionaire.

Anyway, I sent this quote out into a group chat with some old friends who know my feelings about executive pay. And basically, they are this: Yes, the CEO should make the greatest wage at a company, but unless he’s the guy who actually founded the company or invented the product, there’s no reason for him to be earning between 50 to 100x that of the average employee salary.

Anyway, I sent that quote out and one response, from an entrepreneur who is a self-made success, was, “Maybe I’m just becoming cynical, but it sounds like Paul Tudor Jones may be considering a future in politics.”

Maybe, but it also sounds as if Jones is onto something ethical, too. I imagine when Abraham Lincoln proposed freeing the slaves that a few detractors pointed out that he would be able to count on the black vote going forward.

LeBron is the product, not the CEO

Another respondent, well aware of my being a sportswriter, used the old “How do you justify paying athletes so much?” argument, which is incredibly lame, a straw man, and also shows a fundamental lack of understanding. Getting past what pro athletes actually earn for a moment, the analogy between LeBron James and a CEO is inherently flawed because LeBron is not the CEO, he is THE PRODUCT. LeBron, or any pro athlete, is analagous to the Tesla, not to Elon Musk; to the Popeye’s chicken sandwich, not the CEO of Popeye’s.

No one buys a ticket to a Laker game because of Jeannie Buss. They buy one because of LeBron (and Anthony Davis). So that analogy is flawed.

Yet another friend, who operates a small business that would not exist without his expertise (which he acquired through four years of strenuous graduate school studies), said of executive pay, “It’s just the system.” Sounds like the title of a Bruce Hornsby song I remember, and you may remember what that song dealt with.

Now, let’s say that the CEO of a publicly traded company earns $5 million annually (most earn much more) and that the average salary among employees is $50,0000. That means he earns 100x the average. I proposed to my friend that if he earns $500,000 annually he certainly could not propose to his small staff that they each earn $5,000 (also a 100x difference) per annum or he’d have no more staff.

So what is the difference here? Scale. The large company makes a lot more revenue so they can still do the 100:1 ratio, but here’s the important thing: what the company is paying its average staffers isn’t exactly a fair wage, it’s the very lowest they can pay them without these workers saying “Take this job and shove it.”

And there are some very sinister ramifications to such a wage. First, the staffers have little ability to save money and thus create a better life for themselves in the future. Second, if they are married it means that both parents will likely have to work, which means that the development of the children will also suffer.

But mostly, there’s simply no justification to that salary. McDonald’s fired its CEO, Steve Easterbrook, this week due to a “consensual” relationship with an underling at the company. Is Easterbrook’s dismissal going to affect your decision to visit the drive-thru for a quarter pounder this week? Nope. But if LeBron left the Lakers, that would probably impact attendance or ticket prices.

CEOs should be rich. Sure. But just how rich? It’s flat-out unethical to be paying one man a king’s ransom while thousands of others are being paid a wage that allows them to barely scrape by. And let’s not pretend that the only people who might know how to run a business are grads of Wharton or Harvard MBA. If you think that, you may want to watch The Wire.

Even I, a dumb sports journalist, did okay with my one major entrepreneurial experience. I put in less than $20,000 of my own money to self-publish a book and through a little ingenuity and common sense made better than a ten-fold return. Running a business is simply good common sense and a lot of hard work and attention to detail. The idea that someone in that position deserves to be paid 100x that of the people who actually make the widgets is asinine. And arrogant.

Five Films: 1949

  1. White Heat It’s Jimmy Cagney, see, and he’s a tough guy, see, he’s a gangster, and he’s gonna plug you coppers full of lead. With Virginia “Hold The” Mayo. 2. Adams’ Rib: Comic classic with Tracy and Hepburn as spouses and lawyers. One of their best together.
  2. 3. On The Town Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra on shore leave again this time in New York, New York (a helluva town, the Bronx is up and he Battery’s down, the people ride in a hole in the ground) 4. She Wore A Yellow Ribbon John Wayne directed by John Ford in Monument Valley. And a love triangle. 5. In The Good Ol’ Summertime Judy Garland and Van Johnson in a musical remake of The Shop Around The Corner which would later be You’ve Got Mail. That baby in the final shot is Liza Minnelli.