IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

A buddy of mine, a sports fan, upon seeing Woodland on TV on Saturday: “He looks like my high school gym teacher who yelled at me for not trying hard enough.”

Woodland Thrills

Some dude the casual sports fan had never heard of but who has 80% of Tiger Woods’ last name, in order, in his, won the U.S. Open. Gary Woodland, former Washburn University hoopster, shot 13-under to become the St. Louis Blue/Toronto Raptors of sports in this unusual week.

(In which our friend Alan Shipnuck enters the Humblebrag Hall Of Fame)

Why Woodland’s win will stand out: 1) He did it at Pebble Beach (was it sunny at all there this weekend?) and 2) He ended it with like a 45-foot putt (he had two more strokes to play with and still win at the time) on the 18th.

Coughin’ Corner Kicks

ABC touted its’ Sunday night special as “30 Uninterrupted Hours with President Trump,” and insofar as any American would want to watch this feature on Father’s Day, you figure the reason would be for a glimpse of his character. You know, find me the real man behind the blue blazer and red tie and combover.

And there it was, on full display, in what we imagine Trump considered a throwaway moment that would never make it out of the edit bay.

Down Goes Frazier!


Two things happened to New York Yankee outfielder Clint Frazier yesterday: 1) He batted cleanup as the Yanks knocked the Sox around, 10-3, in Chicago and 2) he was later sent down to AAA to make room for Edwin Encarnacion.

Why the Yankees, who already have two 50-homer guys on the roster who will be returning to the lineup within the next 10 days, acquired the leading home-run hitter in the American League on Saturday would initially seem to make no sense. It’s like the Saudis trading for sand. What do we call a team that now has five dudes with at least 40-homer potential (Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Encarnacion, Luke Voit and Gary Sanchez): Mass Murderers’ Row?


Encarnacion’s home-run trot involving miming walking a parrot around the bases. Really.

All we can say is that like the Lord, Brian Cashman works in mysterious ways. Everyone’s guess is that 1) Encarnacion cost the Yankees basically nothing as the Mariners are holding a fire sale, so why not and 2) Cashman is packaging some of his plethora of young talent to acquire what the Yanks really need if they are going to compete with Houston and L.A. in October, a staff ace.

Look for any or all of these names to be packaged for a trade: Frazier, Greg Bird, Mike Tauchmann, Miguel Andujar and Gio Urshela. The Yankees duct-tape spring allowed other scouts to see what some of these youngsters can do in The Show and there’s no way the Bombers can keep all of these position players (happy).

Three more thoughts: this is Brett Gardner‘s final season in the Bronx, but they’ll keep him this season as he’s the unofficial team captain and 2) If I’m Clint Frazier, I’m wondering why I was sent down as opposed to designating recently acquired Kendrys Morales for assignment, but the guess is that the Yanks plan to move me. We hope not—Frazier has a bright future and Encarnacion is 36—but it all depends on what arm the Yanks can acquire, and 3) most every Yankee at-bat will now end in either a strikeout, walk or home run.

L.A.D.*

*The judges will also accept, “What Can Brow Do For You?”

Meet the new Supervillains, Susie B! (good suggestion, Jacob). Remember when the league’s MVP decided to toss off his Central Time Zone team and sign with a talent-rich squad in California? And remember how angry one of our readers became?

Well, Anthony Davis is not quite the league MVP, but he’s close and he threw a long enough hissy fit that the Pelicans traded him to be Sweet Pea’s newest teammate. Now, what happens if Kawhi joins the Lakers, as well, which could very well happen in the next few weeks? Thoughts, Susie B?

As for New Orleans, they’ll land the first and fourth picks in Thursday’s draft now as well as Laker Youth such as Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram. We would’ve held out for Kyle Kuzma if we were the Gulls and taken one fewer, or even two fewer players (Kuzma plus the No. 4 would’ve been our ask), but the Lakers were able to keep KK.

Zion just learning that LaVar Ball gonna be at a lot of the games…

Of course the Pelicans will select Zion with the No. 1 pick (has he already been made grand marshal of the 2020 Mardi Gras parade?), but whom to select with No. 4, where the talent dropoff begins? We don’t know and judging from the lack of consensus on the mock drafts, neither does anyone else.

“I need a Herro/I’m holding on for a Herro at the end of the night/And he’s gotta be strong/And he’s gotta shoot long/and he can’t just go to his right!”

We’re not huge De’Andre Hunter fans; and he’s basically the same size as Zion. We love Tyler Herro (6’6″, Kentucky) as a poor man’s Klay Thompson (a man we shouted from the rooftops for someone to draft when he came out; the Dubs listened) and we also love the Gonzagans, Brandon Clarke and Rui Hachiamura, as well as UNC’s Nassir Little. But what the Pelicans will desperately need is an outside shooter to stretch defenses, which is why we’d go agains the grain some and pick Herro.

The Yogi Berra Travel Guide

Skip Santorini, says the NYT, and try Tinos instead. We’ll be happy if we can just make it to Montauk one day this summer. #ServerLife

According to The New York Times, your favorite European destination (e.g. Barcelona, Amsterdam, Florence) has now become Sardi’s: “No one goes there any more, it’s too crowded.” Or, for you millennials, Coachella.

Anyway, the Times offers up six same-nation alternatives to those three places as well as for Prague, Santorini and Dubrovnik. We’d also like to see the Times do the same for the U.S.A. “Instead of Chicago, why not Milwaukee?” Or, “Forget New York City; there’s a new haven and it’s called New Haven!”

Paint Misbehavin’

*A new feature in which we learn about paintings! The title, like most art work, remains a work in progress.

Nighthawks

By Edward Hopper, 1942. The American artist put this on display soon after completing it and the Art Institute of Chicago bought it for $3,000 at auction, where it has remained ever since. One of the most famous works of the 20th century bought for next to nothing. If the Art Institute were to put it up for auction today they could probably buy an entire new museum in the Loop with the proceeds.

By the way, no one is having more than coffee. Not even a milkshake. How’s that poor counter jockey supposed to feed his family?

Remote Patrol

WWC: Germany vs. Russia

Noon Fox

The president will be pulled in both directions if he tunes in. He’s of German descent, but now wholly devoted to the Russkies. The deciding factor will be which squad has the more striking striker, we feel.

It’s “RSA,” the Republic of South Africa. In our best Emily Litella, “Never mind.”

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Happy 73rd birthday to our very own Prince of Whales!

Starting Five

Toronto Rapture

The Raptors were very good, and for Golden State injuries to two of their future Hall of Famers were just too much to overcome. Late in the third quarter of last night’s Game 6, it really looked as if the Splash Brothers & Co. would actually force a Father’s Day Game 7. Then Klay Thompson took a pass on a fast break, soared for a dunk, and was fouled by Danny Green as he went to the rim.

The Warriors confirmed this a.m. that Thompson has a torn ACL in his left knee. Damn.

Not a dirty play, but a dangerous one, and Klay may have seriously hurt his left knee. No one knew quite yet, but there was no way Warrior brass was going to be the fall guy for a second fallen HOFer whom they hope to re-sign this offseason. Dubs fans, you’ll always have the first quarter of Game 5 as a glimpse of what might have been.

Thanks to Brian Kearney for alerting us to this.

As for Toronto, the city in which the first NBA game was played in 1946 located in the country that gave us the game’s inventor, a landmark moment. And yet Kawhi Leonard, the man who made it possible, may turn out to be a one-year rental. When the native southern Californian said after the game that “they” can build on this, meaning Toronto, that was telling.

Last thing: Echoing Doug Gottlieb, we love Kerr, love Curry, love the Dubs, but we don’t quite get that final play for the Dubs. You don’t need a three—you’re only down one—and you don’t need to rush it. That play was ill-fated from the highly difficult inbound pass that nearly sailed out of bounds. The Dubs had time to create. Would’ve liked to see them try.

“With KD and Klay out, Steph needs to take next season off!”

Bummer Dude

It’s wonderful when sports can surprise you. Flipping back and forth between Game 6 and the Yankees-White Sox last night, and we learn that the Sox have a closer named Aaron Bummer. Literally, “A. Bummer” when he rings you up or shuts you down. Bummer struck out D.J. LeMahieu to end the game and pick up the save as Chicago, which had trailed 4-0, won 5-4.

Bummer grew up in Peoria, Arizona, which is home to the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners for spring training.

Sarah Slanders Slips Out

One of President Trump’s chief gaslighters, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, is exiting the White House and returning to the Great Smoky Eyes Mountains Arkansas. Sanders will mostly be remembered for all the White House press conferences she did not hold as the White House Press Secretary, but also for being made extraneous by Twitter.

In lieu of an official replacement, Trump asks that you just tune into Sean Hannity’s show weeknights at 8 p.m. on Fox News.

Oman, Now You’ve Done It

*The judges will also accept “Will The Ship Hit The Fan?”

Was the “Iranian attack” of two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman more Wag The Dog, more Syriana, or a little of both? Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a man who shrugged off the butchering of Jamal Khashoggi with “hey, these things happen,” says that the U.S. has evidence that Iran was behind it.

Meanwhile, Iran says it is not responsible. Meanwhile, the Japanese owner of one of the two tankers reports that the crew of his ship say that it was hit by a flying object, not a mine. “There is zero possibility that they were torpedoes.”


Whom do you believe when neither Iran nor this administration has an ounce of credibility? And who gains more by these sabotage attacks? And what if it were simply a rogue actor (Osama bin Dabo?) simply hoping to stir sh*t up? Either way, we don’t know why Iran would want to punch the U.S. in the nose unless Russia or China is putting them up to it.

Fortunately, cooler heads in Washington, D.C., will likely prevail. There’s no way America would ever be provoked into an unnecessary war in the Middle East in the 21st century. We’re so beyond that.

The Wealthy Widows of The Plaza Hotel

Manhattan skyline before the steel-and-glass abominations took over


You cannot get much more Sunday Times than this: The Plaza Hotel, inarguably the crown jewel of Manhattan lodging (and scene of the final scene of The Way We Were and a pivotal early scene from North By Northwest); a collection of eccentric wealthy dowager tenants; and the hotel’s owner and erstwhile resident, Donald J. Trump. A good read, this.

Music 101

You Need To Calm Down

You probably have hangnails older than this Taylor Swift song, which “dropped” last night on the YouTube and likely elsewhere. I think M.I.A., who released “Paper Planes,” a decade or so ago, may want to sue for royalties on this one.

Remote Patrol

Fox Father’s Day

Women’s World Cup: USA vs Chile

Noon Fox

U.S. Open Final Round

2:30 p.m. Fox

Julie Ertz, whose husband won a Super Bowl less than two years ago, hopes to help the USA to the World Cup title

Paris to Pebble Beach. Not a bad journey to take without changing the channel. We’ll be out slinging drinks and burgers, but if you’re a dad and your family loves you, they may just let you park it on Fox all day.



IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Ending The Season On A Blue Note

On January 7 the St. Louis Blues had the lowest point total of any team in the NHL. On June 12th the Blues hoisted their first Stanley Cup, despite losing two games at home in the finals to the Bruins by five and four goals, respectively. The Blues were founded in 1967.

Odd. The Bruins and Blues combined to lose Games 5, 6 and at home. St. Louis clinched it last night with an anti-climactic 4-1 win. Boston did not score until there were less than three minutes remaining. And so the city of Boston must sate itself with only two, not three, pro sports championships in the past nine months.

Joke-l Yokel

Beloved Clemson football coach/sweetheart yokel Dabo Swinney made an interesting comment during an appearance on a Sirius XM radio show earlier this offseason (we have been unable to pinpoint the exact time or who the show’s hosts were). Referring to how he has gone from being a favorite son in Alabama (where he was a walk-on wide receiver) to a nemesis, Swinney said:

“I think it was all fun and games early on. It was ‘Aww, isn’t that sweet?’ and all that stuff. I don’t know about walls, but I am kinda like Osama Bin Dabo,” Swinney said with a laugh. “I have to navigate my way through the caves and back channels to make my way through Alabama these days. They aren’t as happy to see me.”

We get what he’s saying, and maybe that’s a joke you make while having beers with friends, but when you’re the $92 million man/head football coach of a two-time national champion, you’ve got to be held accountable for that comment. Remember, Dabo also had the lack of self-awareness to say that if they paid player he might as well go coach in the NFL, which is odd since he’s earning nearly eight figures per year now (from his school; he’s over eight figures per year when you add on the garnishes).

Is Dabo college football’s Donald? Should we be taking him “figuratively and not literally?” Will it be awkward for Kirk Herbstreit, who now has two freshman preferred walk-on sons on the Tiger roster, to continue defending Dabo from his Saturdais (we’re coining that term)? And wouldn’t Brian Kelly be publicly crucified in the A Block of every ESPN SportsCenter for a 24-hour news cycle, at least, had he said that about the 9/11 mastermind?

Barry’s “Pine Barrens” Episode

The more we catch of HBO’s Barry (we’re halfway through Season 2), the more we see it as derivative of Breaking Bad. And that’s not really a knock.

The similarities: Our protaganist is leading a double life, one half of it that needs to remain secret since although he (still) sees himself as a good guy, or is at least grappling with it, he commits heinous acts. His activities are not just criminal in nature, but felonious and murderous. He’s reached the point where he’s killing in order to maintain his charade. And he’s deluding himself into thinking that he’ll be able to walk away from this if he makes just one (more) big score/hit.

Also, whereas Walter White had Jesse, Barry has Fuches. And while Walter was the mentor and Barry is the protege (i.e., roles reversed), there’s still that love/hate symbiotic relationship, partnership, you’re-the-only-person-who-really-knows-me aspect to it.

However, whereas Breaking Bad was mostly a drama with comic elements, Barry is exactly the inverse: a comedy with dramatic elements. And there’s no walking that back, even if they were to try. Which I don’t think they are.

As close as it comes to Breaking Bad, the series takes a Sopranos detour during one episode of Season 2, “Ronny/Lily.” In this episode, which is highly reminiscent of “Pine Barrens,” most of the cast is never seen. Two of our characters find themselves in an unfamiliar place, up against a formidable and new opponent who seems to be nearly immortal. There is a tension that builds because we never switch to another subplot or story arc. The story stays with these same folks all the way through and, just like “Pine Barrens,” it ends somewhat unresolved.

Where is that girl? And is she going to return, or just haunt his dreams for the rest of the series? If you don’t know what we’re talking about, we suggest you give Barry a watch. It’s good.

After typing this, I Googled to see if I was the only one who had this perspective. Of course not. And yes, Bill Hader both wrote and directed this episode. Can you imagine being a schlub in the writers’ room and here the series star turns in the best script the show has seen yet?

Ironman Deaths

Not one but two competitors at a half-Ironman in Madison, Wisconsin, died during the swim portion of the event. For the uninitiated, a half-Ironman, or “70.3”, encompasses a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run. Add up the distances and you get 70.3 miles. Also, and this is worth noting, the swim comes first.

Last weekend in Madison, Todd Mahoney, 38, and Michael McCullouch, 61, both died during the swim portion of the race. We’ve only done one Olympic-distance triathlon, but we’ve never quite understood why triathlon officials continue to use the swim as the race’s first event. We understand the thinking that the water is most dangerous (see beginning of this paragraph) and that you want entrants at their most rested for it, but the downside with everyone entering water at once (even with a staged start, many enter water at once) is that there’s chaos in the water. It’s somewhat akin to watching piranhas fight over a lost pig.

This may have had nothing to do with the two triathletes’ deaths. But we’d be much in favor of starting a tri with the bike, then move to the swim, then finish with the run.

Also, we thought this was an interesting comment by Madison’s mayor, Satya Rhodes-Conway, after the event: “My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the two athletes who died while competing in the Half Iron Man on Sunday.” Like, she had to add that “Half” in there just to throw a little shade.

Who Are Ryu?

In five of the past eight seasons, the National League ERA leader has been Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In fact, Kershaw is the only starting pitcher still alive whose career ERA is in the top 30 all-time in baseball. The only other pitcher among all still alive also in the top 30 is former Yankee closer Mariano Rivera, who was the first unanimously voted in Hall of Famer (last winter).

Babe Ruth, it should be noted, has a lower career ERA (2.28) than Kershaw’s 2.41.

This season finds the Los Angeles lefty somewhat returning to Earth with a 3.00 ERA, but another starter on the Dodger staff, Hyun-Jin Ryu, is on the verge of an historic season. Rye’s 1.36 ERA is the lowest in baseball and the South Korean native also has a 9-1 record, but that’s somewhat besides the point given LA’s talented lineup.

Ryu, 32, who missed all of 2015 and pitched only one game in 2016 due to labrum surgery and shoulder issues, is currently the best pitcher in baseball. Yes, it’s only late spring in a regular season that extends outward to early autumn, but you have to go back 101 years, to Walter Johnson’s epic 1918 season (CORRECTION: “go back 61 years, to Bob Gibson’s epic 1968 season”…and yes, I’m somewhat disturbed realizing I was alive in 1968 and it’s closer to 1918 than it is to the present) when he posted a 1.27 ERA (and a 23-13 record) to find a pitcher who finished a season with a lower ERA than the one Ryu has now.

And we cannot help but wonder why Ryu hasn’t garnered more attention, other than the fact that most sportswriters/media cannot converse with him without the help of a translator.

Remote Patrol

NBA Finals

Game 6: Raptors at Warriors

9 p.m. ABC

So yesterday I spent a few moments thinking about how I blew the headline two days ago on Kevin Durant’s injury, how it should have been “Achilles’ Last Stand.” Some of you may recognize that as the title of a Led Zeppelin tune that weighed in at 10 1/2 minutes and, despite being a favorite of guitarist Jimmy Page’s, is included on arguably the band’s worst album, Presence, from 1976.

I mention this because in high school I had a classmate (we spent four years in the same Latin class) who was an editor of our school paper, The Roundup, who got his jollies by slipping in the titles of Led Zeppelin songs into the paper’s headlines “No Quarter In The First Quarter” is one I recall, when our football team was taken behind the woodshed early against an opposing team quarterbacked by future Notre Dame utility stud Steve Belles.

Anyway, I lost track of this classmate for years, and then suddenly you know what? He was the EDITOR-IN-CHIEF of Maxim magazine. His name is Keith Blanchard. True story. And while that has nothing to do with tonight’s Game 6, the final Warrior contest at Oracle Arena, I thought you might find it interesting.





IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

This simply cannot be improved upon

Starting Five

Morgan, Flair Child*

*The judges will also accept “Bad Thai”

The Sports Illustrated cover curse does not, apparently, extend to swimsuit models as Alex Morgan ties (Thais?) a World Cup record, women’s or men’s, with five goals in Team U.S.A.’s 13-0 defenestration of Thailand.

I mean, she’s no Ronaldo, but not bad…

No team, men or women, had ever scored 13 goals in one match and none had ever scored 10 in one half, as the U.S. ladies did in the second half. No, they have nothing for which and nobody to whom they need to apologize. It was soccer at the very highest level for their gender. If you can’t handle that, go watch old episodes of The Honeymooners.

Hard Knocks

Speaking of the magic number 13 and records, two nights ago at Citizens’ Bank Park the Diamondbacks and Phillies combined for a Major League-record 13 home runs in one game. The first three D-Back hitters all slugged long balls—and the Phils never even blinked about keeping their starter, Jerad Eickhoff, in.

The Minnesota Twins, who probably have no one in their lineup that will ever end up in Cooperstown, are ahead of the Yankees’ record pace from last season for the most home runs hit in one season (267). Last night the Atlanta Braves hit four solo home runs in the second inning off the Pirates’ Chris Archer, who also stayed in the game.

At least Archer looked good giving up all those blasts

Okay, yes, the balls are somewhat juiced. But the batters are stronger, the pitchers throw harder, and the geeks have figured out that it’s smarter to play all-or-nothing ball (long ball or whiff) than it is to “make contact,” which is what your Little League coach emphasized. But he’s coaching Little League and not looking at a max deal in the nine-figure range, yo.

Jon Stews

Some people talk the talk, but former Daily Show host Jon Stewart has spent years advocating on behalf of police, firemen and other first-responders who answered the call on 9/11 and have been forgotten, in terms of health-care issues directly brought on by their work on that day and the months after. Yesterday he was back on Capitol Hill and he took it to Congress the way he once took it to Tucker Carlson and Paul Beglia on Crossfire (there’s a reason that show no longer exists).

When you have truth and righteousness on your side, when you have clarity of purpose and are inherently articulate, you don’t lose arguments to fools and puppets. Jon Stewart exemplifies this over and over again.

Someone tweeted it and I had to wonder: What if Jon Stewart announced tomorrow that he was running for president? How high up in Democratic polling would he rise? I mean, the guy who IS president probably wouldn’t have the job if he hadn’t had his own puffed-up reality show, so why not Stewart, who actually knows how to speak and immerses himself in understanding issues about which he cares?

If you want the details about which House Judiciary subcommittee members were no-shows, read this. Just know that “meeting with their constituents” is usually just meeting with big donors and/or lobbyists. Folks like you and I don’t get face time with Congress members.

He Said, Xi Said

Obviously, this makes it legit

Nobody ignites a forest fire, then threatens to withhold the water, then shows up with the water just as your home is about to be engulfed in flames, then tries to take a victory lap for saving your home (and you owe it all to him) quite like Donald Trump. Remember two weeks ago when he threatened the 5% tariff against Mexico unless they tightened up on illegal immigration and said he’d raise it 5% each month, and recall how we said this was all a gigantic bluff?

What happened? At the 11th hour Trump announced he and Mexico had made an agreement, the details of which were not revealed, but Trump did hold up a white envelope before the media today (which probably was his third and final notice from Hustler that his subscription was in danger of being canceled) and claimed the details of said agreement were therein.

We don’t doubt that Trump’s threat may have gotten the Mexicans to awake from their siestas (racially insensitive of us?) and at least pledge to take a harder stance on the issue. We also don’t doubt that this was largely kabuki with two goals in mind: 1) appease his Mexicans-hating base and 2) get people to stop talking about Mueller.

Next up is China (“Gyna”) and President Xi. Trump has threatened tariffs against the Chinese, too, but they don’t scare so easy. The next showdown is June 28-29 at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan. Trump has pledged more tariffs on Gyna if Xi does not meet with him face to face. More kabuki. If Xi meets him, even if nothing is resolved, Trump will take a victory lap for making Xi his dog. But if Xi does not meet with him, Trump will just move the line in the sand further back. Or he’ll find a way to blame big tech for all of it.

Did You See Nuguse?*

*The judges acknowledge that it’s actually pronounced “Na-goose”

Last weekend in Austin Notre Dame sophomore Yared Nuguse ran an unforgettable final 100 meter in the men’s 1500 meter final to capture the school’s first national championship in that prestigious event (the so-called “metric mile”) since 1926 (Charles Judge). You can skip up to the 1:50-mark of the video.

The most satisfying part of this race is that Nuguse finished in a virtual tie with the Michigan State runner (he won by 3/1000s of a second) but Notre Dame gets to claim the national championship. Some things never change.

Eighty-Six Happiness

Took this order yesterday: “I’ll have the Greek salad. No feta. No olives. Add chicken. Add avocado. Chopped…and I’ll have the dressing on the side. And a Diet Coke. No ice.”

Meg Ryan ruined restaurants for the rest of us.

Music 101

Runaway

In the summer of 1969, Jefferson Airplane was one of the headline acts at Woodstock. A decade later, they’d amped up the turbo power to become Jefferson Starship and were playing more radio-friendly California-style hits. This tune was all over FM airwaves in the summer and fall of 1978. It rose to No. 12 on the Billboard charts.

Remote Patrol

Women’s World Cup Doubleheader

Germany vs Spain

Noon Fox

France vs Norway

3 p.m. Fox

Germany’s Julia Simic

In the most recent FIFA rankings, these four European sides are ranked 2nd, 13th, 4th and 12th respectively. Plus, that Fox set in front of the Eiffel Tower is hella cool and Rob Stone’s probably going to say something to upset Female Twitter, so stay tuned.



IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Game 5

Quick thoughts from a fan who must get to work soon…

–Before we do the 21st-century-social-media thing of missing the forest for the trees by worrying more about whom to blame than just being appreciative and grateful for what we witnessed (and I’ll be guilty of this in a few minutes myself), can we please state for the record what an epic Game 5 that was. Heroes, fallen heroes, even a goat (who’s also a Nurse). This is the stuff of Homeric poetry. Game reminded me of Game 5 of the 1997 Finals (which took place 22 years ago today), the Jordan Flu Game, which Chicago had no business winning in Salt Lake City but did because they were reigning champs, they had that mettle, and they simply absolutely needed to win it so they found a way. Goddamn, that was an epic contest.

Before the Splash Brothers, there was Michael and Scottie. And hey, who is that dude in the background?

–Warriors: Has a team ever been more aptly named? Down 6 on the road with three minutes left versus a franchise seeking its first NBA (IBA? Toronto is in another nation, after all), and the Dubs step up. The Splash Brothers demonstrate once more why they are legends, as Steph Curry and Klay Thompson bury three threes without a miss in a two-minute span. It’s what they absolutely had to do to win, and they did it.

This is the shot Kawhi took to win Game 7. Don’t tell me he should’ve passed last night.

–Kawhi. Ka-WHY???? I don’t care if a Klay-Iguodala double-team was staring him in the face, or if this was a “smart” basketball play. You’re up 3-1 in the NBA Finals and at home, and you’re down one point with a last-shot opportunity. It’s HOUSE MONEY. You take the shot.

You’re Kawhi Freakin’ Leonard. This has been your postseason. This is your MOMENT. Drive to the hoop and draw the foul or pull up and shoot somehow over or around the double team. If I’m WE THE NORTH, I want YOU taking that shot. Excuse me, does anyone remember the Game 7 dagger against Philly? Don’t give me this “It was a smart basketball play” b.s.

–Kevin. Again, the heart of a Warrior, but the tendon of Achilles (a Trojan). KD came out after sitting out 33 days and he came out with zero rust. Took three threes right off the bat and buried all three. Wasn’t laboring. This wasn’t a Kevon Looney situation.

In hindsight, did the strained calf likely accelerate whatever happened with his Achilles. Probably. But the docs cleared him. He wanted to play. He looked good, really good. The history of sport is littered with athletes who gutted it out and have since been hailed as heroic entities for their “grit.” Recent example: No way Julian Edelman should’ve remained in Super Bowl 49 after the hit he took near midfield versus the Seahawks, but he defied concussion protocol, returned to the field and caught the championship-winning touchdown pass from Tom Brady.

If Julian Edelman has dementia in 15 years or commits suicide, will the revisionist “Julian Edelman Should’ve Never Played At The End of Super Bowl XLIX” columns come out? It was a risk, KD took it, and he and the Warriors (and the Knicks) got burned. But to suggest AFTER THE FACT that he shouldn’t have played when you have no medical expertise and you saw what he was doing in that first quarter is the height of Monday morning quarterbacking. It’s sad.

And to be clear, I don’t blame Dan Wolken, with whom I worked for two years, here. If you saw when he tweeted this link out, you know that he had to have written this during the game that he attended. My guess is the last thing he wanted to do during a thrilling, epic Game was to have his nose in his laptop. Odds are that an editor called/texted and suggested this. Maybe not, but that’s my guess. Either way it’s a craven column in which Dan acknowledges early there are a ton of “caveats,” which I interpreted as Dan’s signal to those paying attention that even he knows this essay is a desperate plea for clicks. He’s better than this, though I don’t know that his newspaper is. Those “caveats” should’ve been enough for any writer or editor to acknowledge, Yeah, we don’t know enough: anyone can take this potshot after the fact.

–KD’s injury will reverberate around the NBA for at least a year, though. ESPN reports this morning that league sources believe Durant has an Achilles tear, which means that the man who will be an unrestricted free agent in three weeks will likely be sitting out all of next season. He’ll be 32 years old when he suits up again, most likely. Obviously the Warriors owe him a big deal if he chooses to return to them and my guess is they’d make it right by him, financially.

On the other hand, what does KD do? No team is going to sign you to a one-year deal while you sit out, so other than the Warriors you’d be signing with a franchise that may look quite different by the time you actually take the court for them. Does KD feel used by the Dubs, or might the odyssey they’ve all been through together, particularly if Golden State wins the next two games, create an even stronger bond? We’ll see. I do believe there are two coaches who are head-and-shoulders above everyone else in the NBA when it comes to overall quality as people and mentors and tacticians, and Steve Kerr is one of them. Stay tuned…

–Nick Nurse committed an unforgivable icing transgression in a country where they know from icing penalties. Sure, it wasn’t hockey, but there’s no excuse for icing your own team late in a closeout game at home. The Raptors were in the midst of what, a 10-0 or 10-2 run, they’re up 103-97 after Iguodala misses a 15-footer and Kylr Lowry grabs the ball and they have the ball in the front court.

And Nurse calls a timeout. And then, inexplicably, calls a second timeout before the Raptors take the floor. This is Bond-villain-level inexplicable stupidity (which was called out by Scott Evil to his dad in the first Austin Powers film). You have your nemesis right where you want him, on the chopping block, and you put down the ax. WHYYYY???? Nurse can mansplain this much as he wants (“wanted to give my players a rest”), but it was the Warriors who were physically and emotionally gassed. You could see it.

And Nurse inexplicably went Auric Goldfinger and gave the Warriors a reprieve. It’s a completely inexplicable and unforgivable insertion of a coach’s ego into a game. I don’t know what the next two games will bring, but if the Raptors never get closer to a championship than a 6-point lead at home with 3 minutes to play, then yes, blame Nick Nurse. Unless there’s some information that he feels uncomfortable disclosing because it would be embarrassing to a player of his, that was a colossal, all-timer coaching blunder.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Papi Shot

The good news is that David Ortiz is going to be okay. The three-time World Series champion and figurative Yankee killer was seated with friends at an outdoor bar in the Dominican Republic last night when a motorbike rider idled up behind him and shot him from behind. To go from being in the DR to desperately needing a Dr. in an instant.

Rocker Star

Vanderbilt freshmen pitcher Kumar Rocker, the son of erstwhile Auburn Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy Award winner Tracy Rocker, pitched an unbelievable gem this weekend in the NCAA regionals. Rocker, 6’4″, struck out 19 Duke batters AND pitched a no-hitter as Vandy won , 3-0.

It was a no-hitter statistically, if not literally. Rocker hit a Blue Devil batter with a pitch in the head in the first inning. Anyway, time always chases dow irony, as once again there is a pitcher named Rocker in the South making news.

Barry’s Baldy

It is not long into a discussion about HBO’s Barry before someone in it notes, “You know who my favorite character is? NoHo Hank.”

Played by Boston-born actor Anthony Carrigan, who has alopecia areata (which causes hair loss everywhere, including the eyebrows), Hank was supposed to be a one-off character who was simply too charming and funny to cast aside. He’s a Chechen henchman played, by Carrigan, as a full-on metrosexual whose relentlessly sweet and positive disposition makes him an ill fit for the profession (Chechen Mafia) in which he finds himself. He’s a gangster with the heart of a florist.

For those of us who are not too far into Season 2, Carrigan has a complicated relationship with the eponymous star of the series, played by Bill Hader. There are times when it’s a murderous relationship, times when they’ve saved one another’s lives. Hader has said that it’s difficult for him to make eye contact with Carrigan during their scenes for fear that he will break and start laughing. Easy to see why.

Hadestown Owns The Tonys

Just half a block east of Hell’s Kitchen, a musical named Hadestown has received more buzz this past year than anything else on Broadway. Let’s not devolve into hyperbole: it’s not Hamiltonian buzz, or even Dear Evan Hansen buzz, but most thespian types have considered it the best show on Broadway in a season lacking luster…or rap musicals about men whose faces appear on currency.

Last night at the Tony Awards Hadestown cleaned up, winning eight Tonys, including Best Musical. Andre de Shields (above), won his first Tony (Best Featured Actor in a Musical) at the age of 73 for his role in the show, which is an adaptation of an ancient Greek myth (there are no original stories).

Other winners: Bryan Cranston for Best Actor in a Leading Role in a Play (Network), Ali Stroker, who is wheelchair-bound, for Best Featured Actress in a Musical (Oklahoma!), and to The Ferryman (Best Play).

Luke’s Win

It was not quite two years ago when Luke Winn laid the groundwork for one of the better prospective SI “Where Are They Now?” pieces. As you know, departing SI is nothing new these days (just check out the masthead of The Athletic, I mean, if there were a masthead), but Winn is the only person we know who jumped to the other side.

Let’s get this clear: there’s not a ton of respect by sports organizations, pro or Division I, for most sportswriters. But if you read the exhaustively researched college hoops pieces Winn would write for SI.com, pieces that were often heavy on analytics with illustrations, you can see why an outfit such as the Toronto Raptors might offer him a job.

And so far, how has that worked out for both the Raptors and Winn? I’m a little surprised that none of my (former?) colleagues have picked up on this story, but then again I’m not.

I didn’t know Luke too well when I worked there, but I can tell you (and I won’t embarrass him further by explaining how or why) that he’s one of the good guys. It’s nice to see someone like him achieve this level of success.

Reserves

Clay Hellion

On Sunday Rafael Nadal made it an even dozen, winning his 12th French Open with a four-set victory over Swiss challenger Dominic Thiem. There are now only four other men—Roger Federer, Pete Sampras, Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson—who have as many overall Grand Slam titles as Rafa has French Opens.

The Spaniard, 33, now has 18 overall Grand Slam titles, second only to Federer, who has 20. Federer has eight Wimbledon titles, which is the next-most titles at one Grand Slam that any man has after Rafa. Now imagine if Rafa or Federer had never picked up a racket. The other man would likely have that many more Grand Slams. It’s bizarre, and it is never mentioned enough, how the two most prolific Grand Slam champions in men’s tennis history basically overlapped careers for more than a decade, in their respective primes (and that’s excluding Djokovic, who has 15 Grand Slams, in third behind those two, and just a year younger than Nadal).

Finally, and I’ve said this before, but it’s rather odd that arguably the greatest men’s soccer player (Cristiano Ronaldo) and greatest men’s tennis player ever were born within 16 months of one another on islands off the coast of the Iberian peninsula (respectively, Madeira and Manorca). Also, Ronaldo played yesterday in leading Portugal past the Netherlands in the semis of the UEFA Nations League.

Music 101

Sweet Lady Mary

Search videos of Faces from the early ’70s and in just about every one of them Rod Stewart looks completely soused. The band’s two highest-profile members, Stewart and lead guitarist Ronnie Wood, were both refugees from the Jeff Beck Group who would later go on to even bigger things, as you know.

Remote Patrol

NBA Finals: Game 5

9 p.m. ABC

It’s not exactly “K.D. and the Sunshine Band,” but the Warriors may be as close to full strength as they have been in more than one month. That may not be enough to stop this dinosaur dyamo, though.

Forty-nine years ago Willis Reed limped onto the court for Game 7, and though he only scored two baskets (including the Knicks’ first bucket), he is forever credited with saving that series for the bockers, who beat a Lakers squad with Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West. What you should also know is that Walt Frazier led the Knicks with 36 points that night in an era before the three-point shot.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

The beauty of the modern Republican Party is that they have absolutely no shame.

Starting Five

French Toast

Judging by Tennis Twitter, world domination is a binary battle between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who are playing right now in the French Open semis as we type. But what about Novak Djokovic, who is vying to win his fourth consecutive Grand Slam tournament (a non-calendar sweep)?

You know how many men have won four consecutive Grand Slams in the past 50 years, since Rod Laver did so in 1969? One, Djokovic, who did so in 2015-2016. Now he’s two matches away from doing so again.

Grand Slam titles and age: Federer, 20, 37. Nadal, 17, 33. Djokovic, 15, 32.

Stay tuned.

Shamburger?

Count us as dubious, but after the closing bell yesterday the company Beyond Meat reported quarterly earnings for the first time since going public last month. The company is only losing $4.75 per share, which the Street interpreted as good news, and so the stock soared after hours from around $100 per share to $126 per share.

We’re skeptics. To us Beyond Meat (BYND) is the FitBit of fast food. Perhaps we’re wrong.

For a company that does not use real animals in its burgers, it sure is a live stock…

I’ll show myself out.

D-Day (Continued)

There were a plethora of impactful photos or statements pertaining to yesterday’s D-Day anniversary on Twitter, but this one, for us, stood out. It illustrates the lives-per-yard cost of the invasion, how it was necessary to literally throw as many men possible at the Germans until they either were overrun or ran out of ordnance.

If you do the math here, Sgt. Major Blatnik’s unit lost 514 men in order to gain 500 yards in 24 hours. That was more than half of his total troops, but that’s what was required that fateful day.

9,388 crosses at the Normandy Cemetery

We only hear the survivors talk about D-Day (for obvious reasons), and so it never quite resonates the way it should what exactly the human cost was. Because the people who paid the dearest price, young men with their entire lives ahead of them for the most part, are not able to tell us.

Baller Guru*

*The judges know there must be a better hed out there and will even grudgingly accept “Dollars And Sense”

When our friend Richard Deitsch (who has his own Wikipedia page!) does his weekly roundup of he Best Stories of the Week in his media column for The Athletic, we imagine he’ll include this one. It’s all about Joe McLean, a former mid-Nineties hoopster at the University of Arizona who came within an eyelash of making the Sacramento Kings, then learned about finances, and now is the finance guru for dozens of NBA, NFL and MLB clients.

Gordon is one of McLean’s top-earner clients

McLean, who stands 6’6″, absolutely insists that his clients put away 60% of earnings for the future. He not only manages their money, but he also cares for who does their lawns or how to renovate their homes, etc. He says the absolute bane of his existence is his clients’ obsession with cars.

McLean and his small team take a 1% commission on salary earned (or less if the client earns more than $50 million) and clients include Klay Thompson, Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vukevic. He’s not an agent; he’s more like a financial conscience. Great story by Devin Gordon in the NYT.

Michael Coal*

*Every once in awhile the judges toss a bone to fans of The Mod Squad

For his next trick, Michael Bloomberg, the septuagenarian New York billionaire who never had to declare bankruptcy and never took a $1 million “loan” from his pops, wants to rid the United States of anthracite.

Yesterday Bloomberg’s foundation announced that he will donate $500 million to “a new campaign to close every coal-fired power plant in the United States and halt the growth of natural gas.” Bloomberg’s campaign is called Beyond Carbon (“beyond” is quite the popular New Age-y word these days, eh?) and in a political environment where environmental regulations are being done away with at a catastrophic pace, Bloomberg has decided, quite right, that someone must stand up to the folks in Washington whose heads are stuck in the sand.

“We’re in a race against time with climate change, and yet there is virtually no hope of bold federal action on this issue for at least another two years,” Mr. Bloomberg’s statement said. “Mother Nature is not waiting on our political calendar, and neither can we.”

Coal: It’s not clean and it’s not beautiful. It served its purpose, much like the Pony Express once did. But it just doesn’t belong in the 21st Century.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Forgotten Man

On this, the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion on the shores of northern France, we thought we’d pay homage to a man whose name we have not heard uttered much, if at all, this week: Dwight D. Eisenhower.

We pay tribute to Ike for two reasons. First, as you know, he was the top American military person overseeing the invasion. The West Point grad (who had played on the football team: he was injured and on the sidelines for the famous 35-13 loss to Notre Dame on November 1, 1913, the game that spring-boarded the latter school to legendary status) had the responsibility and accountability for the greatest invasion mankind had ever seen resting on his shoulders. He knew that thousands of American and British soldiers would die; what he did not know was whether the invasion would succeed and how would such carnage have played with countless mothers and fathers back home had it been repelled?

The second reason to praise Ike is because, in January of 1961, three days before he would yield his presidency to John F. Kennedy, he gave a speech that gains in importance and relevance every single day. Ike, the greatest American war hero of the 20th century, sat before the entire nation and warned of the dawn of the “military industrial complex.”

An excerpt:

The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite. 

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system — ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

Think about that. Ike was THE symbol of American military strength, and he used his final bully pulpit moment in American life to warn the nation: Don’t let the tail wag the dog.

Last night we watched a little the sycoph-antics between President Trump and Piers Morgan. We watched as Morgan gently pushed him about not serving in Vietnam and how Trump whined about how far away it was and how no one had ever heard of it. Notice how he didn’t say, “Oh, but those bone spurs were so painful!”

So you have the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces tacitly admitting that he’d skirted military duty but then adding that “I’ve made up for it. I gave $700 billion to the military last year.”

First, he did not give that money to the military; U.S. taxpayers did. Second, it’s okay if you avoided Vietnam. Thousands of privileged Americans did; but maybe someone with a little more courage should be leading today’s servicemen. Finally, as you may know, nine times as much money in our national budget goes to the military as it goes to education, even though no nation has come close to threatening a concerted attack on our shores in more than 100 years.

Ike was right. But is anybody listening? In Washington, alas, no. And when you realize that it wasn’t just some libtard snowflake dove warning about the MIC, but rather the greatest American military leader of World War II, and still those words fell on deaf ears, well, that’s rather depressing.

Kawhi Karma

Two years ago this spring, Kawhi Leonard saw his postseason run—and for all intents and purposes, Spurs fans saw the Gregg Popovich era end—when Golden State big man Zaza Pachulia slid under Kawhi’s feet as he attempted a corner three. Yes, it was a dirty play. Players of that caliber know exactly what they’re doing.

Last night Kawhi returned to Oracle (for just the second time since that injury) and the Raptors owned an injury-depleted Warriors squad in Game 3. Takeaways: Stephen Curry can go for 50 (he went for 47) but without help and minus Kevon Looney down low, the Warriors are in serious trouble. Particularly if the Raptors are shooting 44.7% from beyond the arc as they were last night.

Another team, another Gasol, another time

It’s easy to forget: in the final two games of the 2017 Finals, the only Finals the Dubs have lost the past four seasons, Golden State did not have both Andrew Bogut AND Draymond Green on the court in the final two games. The latter missed Game 6 (suspension) and the former Game 7 (injury). The only true way to take out the Dubs right now is with the help of injuries, and the Raptors, who are enjoying excellent health, now have the upper hand.

We still think the Dubs can go down 3-1 and still win this thing IF both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are in the lineup for Games 5-7. Friday is a crapshoot because how much different will those two be 48 hours after Game 3? But Game 5 is Monday, which by then should be enough time. Looney is out for the series, and that is a much bigger loss than stat heads might appreciate. He’s been their low-post enforcer and offensive board man, and Boogie Cousins right now can’t jump over a penny.

Game 4 is gonna be very interesting.

Shallow Or Smart?

Instead of writing a commencement speech, Bismarck (N.D.) High School senior Trish Helgeson rewrote the lyrics to “Shallow” and it helps that she has a stellar voice. Related: we interviewed comic John Mulaney once, and he told us that he always used to get out of writing reports by requesting to perform a skit instead, and then he and his friends would basically do a Gilligan’s Island or similar sitcom set piece but just rewrite it with enough of the class material inside to get away with it. Genius.

Speaking of outstanding high school seniors from the Upper Midwest, congratulations to Minneapolis’ own Molly McCollow (whose parents read/write this blog on occasion). Last night she scored the winning goal for Edina High School as they defeated Eagan for the state championship in Ultimate Frisbee. For the record, there are more than 100 UF prep teams in Minnesota, so it’s quite legit.

Just Desserts

Few things signal “Summer Is Here!” in Manhattan better than our annual ice cream truck wars. Who can forget three summers ago when renegade soft-serve purveyor New York Ice Cream took on inveterate sprinkle king Mr. Softee? Then came Master Softee, a virtual rip-off, who changed one letter but not the logo.

Now comes the Terrible Tow of 2019. In midtown trucks park illegally (for brief spells) in order to sell their irresistible frozen confections and when ticketed, they just ignore it. Yesterday the city, citing more than 22,500 unpaid parking tickets an $4.5 million in unpaid fines, towed 34 trucks who represent the following companies:

Candie Land Ice Cream Inc.

Ice Boyz.

Ice Mania.

Twirly Twirl Ice Inc.

Twist Ice Cream Inc.

Very Berry Ice Inc.

Notice that Mr. Softee, the king of the vanilla and swirl jungle, is not in there. Are they heeding the law or above it? Either way, this is great news for you if you own a brick-and-mortar soft-serve shop.

Swept Away

It is prettier than Everest, no?

MH has fallen a few days behind in its “Untimely Deaths, Nature-Related” coverage, so let’s catch up. In India eight climbers who were attempting to summit a 25,000-foot non-Everest peak, Nanda Devi, that isn’t so crowded perished when an avalanche swept right through their camp site. Downer.

Here in the States, a 35 year-old mother of two died when she slipped as she reached for a branch while exploring Eagle Falls near Lake Tahoe. Initially, newspapers, both local (Los Angeles Times) and national (USA Today), reported that she had slipped while attempting to take photos.

Later, her younger brother did an interview for television for the express purpose of disputing those reports. About his sister having died for a photo.

 “The whole reason why I’m doing this with you guys is to clear up the articles, they were really disturbing. It really made Stephanie sound like she was a young girl who was just trying to take a selfie and fell off a cliff. Stephanie didn’t even have her phone on her when she fell. She was trying to enjoy the moment which is something she was a big advocate of…”

Thoughts, Susie B?

Reserves

Ada Girl

Norway’s Ada Hegerberg, 23, is the world’s greatest female soccer player. She has a trophy to prove it. When FIFA handed out its inaugural Ballon d’Or for females last year, Hegerberg was the recipient.

The Women’s World Cup begins this weekend in France and Hegerberg will not take part. She is not injured. Yes, Norway is competing. She is not banned. Hegerberg, who plays professionally in France (Lyon), has chosen not to play as a protest against the giant gulf between how men and women are treated for their participation on national teams.

Kind of a big deal. And a bad look for the sport. You can argue that she should be using her prominence to serve as an ambassador for the sport. She’d probably counter that that is just what she is doing.

Music 101

Twenty Four Hours A Day

The actual life story of David Cassidy, one of the great teen idols (along with Ricky Nelson, John Travolta and Jason Priestley/Luke Perry) of ever, is fascinating. The son of actors Jack Cassidy and Evelyn Ward (whose ancestors had helped found Newark; a dubious achievement), Cassidy was raised mostly by his grandparents in West Orange, N.J. His parents divorced but did not tell David for two years and then Jack married Shirley Jones, a huge star in her own right (Oklahoma!, The Music Man). So yes, Keith Partridge’s mom was actually his real-life step-mom.

Remote Patrol

The Longest Day

8 p.m. TCM

Mitchum

Before there was Saving Private Ryan, there was this 1962 epic starring a boatload of A-list Hollywood talent: Henry Fonda, John Wayne, Richard Burton, Robert Mitchum, Sean Connery, Robert Wagner, Peter Lawford, Eddie Albert, Rod Steiger and George Segal, to name a few. Some of these men, such as Fonda and Albert, had seen active combat duty in WW2. Wayne, who made a second living out of playing hard-nosed WW2 officer types, had avoided military service.

Also, actual German actors portraying the Nazi officers and making them seem far more human and empathetic than most films ever do: their leader, it turns out, was a delusional tyrant given to fits of pique. Imagine that!


IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Father’s Day came early…

Starting Five

If only the Bruins’ football defense could tackle like this…

Bruins, Walk-Off Champs

In a game that likely drew the interest of Troy Aikman, UCLA defeated Oklahoma 5-4 on Kinsley Washington’s walk-off flare to left in the bottom seventh of the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City. Jacqui Prober slid home a microsecond before the tag (we’re going to pick nits here, but maybe the Sooner left fielder should’ve sped up and dove at that one?)

The Sooners had tied the score in the top of the seventh (games go 7 innings) when Shay Knighten hit a two-out, nobody-on home run over the left-center field wall against National Player of the Year Rachel Garcia.

Bubba jacked one in the first

This was the Bruins’ 13th national championship on the distaff diamond. Also, we fell compelled to add that UCLA has a player named Bubba Nickles and that she hit a home run last night.

Anniversary Summer Is Upon Us

Would this vehicle technically be a Lame Impala?

You’re going to be hearing about a plethora of meaningful anniversaries in pop culture and modern history this year, beginning tomorrow. We thought we’d jot down a helpful list for you (as you’ll see, a whole lot happened during the summer of 1969; someone should have commemorated it with a song, I mean a decent song):

Tomorrow: the 75th anniversary of D-Day

June 28th: the 50th anniversary of the raid at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village (it’s still a functioning bar) that was the shot heard ’round the world in the LGBT movement.

July 14th: 50th anniversary of the release of Easy Rider, an indie film written by and starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper (who directed) at a cost of $400,000 that would go on to earn $60 million at the box office. It also marked the film debut of an actor who earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his relatively minor role: Jack Nicholson.

July 18th: 50th anniversary of Chappaquiddick incident on Martha’s Vineyard.

Oddly enough, no kidding, the final episode of the original Star Trek series had aired about six weeks earlier

July 20th: 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

August 9-10: 50th anniversary of the Manson family murders

August 15-18: 50th anniversary of Woodstock (what a wild week that must have been, but news did not travel as fast then and the Manson family murders didn’t really hit the East Coast with such rapid force the way, say, the O.J. murders would a quarter-century later. We’ll ask our I-Remember-The-Sixties correspondent, Susie B., to confirm).

October 9: 100th anniversary of the Chicago White Sox losing the World Series in Game 8. Baseball punished the franchise, apparently, by forcing its best player, Joe Jackson, to play without shoes.

November 6: 150th anniversary of the first college football game, between Rutgers and Princeton, in central New Jersey. It also marks the last meaningful college football game played in the state.

The Wounded Warriors Project

Kevin Durant is out for Game 3. Kevon Looney is out for the rest of the series. Klay Thompson is iffy for Game 3. The defending champs may have to MacGyver themselves a championship over the Raptors—and remember, they still need three more wins.

Use Your Delusion

Asked during his joint press conference with departing British PM Theresa May about the protests that accompanied his arrival in London, President Donald Trump replied, “We left the prime minister, the Queen, the Royal family, there were thousands of people in the streets cheering. And even coming over today, there were thousands of people cheering, and then I heard that they were protesting.”

“I said ‘Where are the protests? I don’t see any protests,” Trump doubled down. “I did see a small protest today when I came, very small, so a lot of it is fake news, I hate to say.”

As Trump was spewing these lies, NBC had its most intrepid and trusted correspondent on any continent, Richard Engel, fact-checking the president live. Engel gave Trump the benefit of the doubt, calling him “delusional,” but I’d say call him what he is: a liar.

George Orwell’s words from 1984 rung true yet again yesterday: “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

Darwin Massacre

Shocker: the shooter was a white dude with self-esteem issues

It is a measure of the vast difference between the USA and Australia—it’s almost as if there’s a vast ocean between the two countries—that when a man opens up on strangers with a pump-action shotgun and murders four people, it’s front-page news across the continent and referred to everywhere as a “massacre.”

The murders took place in Darwin, a city on the northern coast (we’ve been) and this should make you stand up and take notice as a Yank. It was the WORST spree shooting Down Under since the infamous Port Arthur massacre in 1996, where 35 people were killed. That event compelled Australia to enact strict gun-control laws. Do such laws work, though? Again, this week’s “massacre” of FOUR people was the nation’s worst such event in 23 years. You decide.

Reserves

Before this moment fades into the ether…Every morning on CNBC, just before 9 a.m., the network teases its 9 a.m. show, “Squawk On The Street,” by bringing on Jim Cramer for a minute or so of informal chatter with the “Squawk Box” crew. This normally entails a convo with Joe Kernen, who like Cramer has been a CNBC’er for two-plus decades.

Kernen, who is an avowed Trump-er and takes private phone calls from the president, respects Cramer because after all Jim is a juggernaut in terms of both his financial and media success and, okay, has an undergrad and law degree from Harvard. It’s difficult to say how Cramer, who on-air tries to view everything not from an ideological prism but rather a markets-based one, feels about Kernen. He pays him due respect on air if, for no other reason, than Kernen’s senior status. But, like viewers, Cramer is aware just how far up Trump’s cavity Kernen has climbed.

So during yesterday’s chat Kernen asked Cramer about the fact that major tech stocks (Amazon, Apple, Facebook) were plummeting and what it has to do with Trump’s tariff war with China. And this all has been a lead-up to a classic Cramer answer, a toss of major shade at Kernen while getting bonus points for using one of POTUS’ favorite terms.

“It’s their own fault,” Cramer said. “Apple and Amazon should’ve hired more Republicans. But that’s not how they do things. They hire the best people.”

And Kernen just stared into the camera, holding his best poker face. It was good TV. Wish I had it to show you.

Music 101

Mickey

Before she became a one-hit wonder with this release that went to No. 1 in the U.S., Canada and Australia in 1981/1982, Toni Basil had a small role (during the New Orleans cemetery acid trip scene) as a prostitute in the iconic 1969 film Easy Rider. And before that—this shouldn’t surprise you—she was a high school cheerleader in Las Vegas. She was in her late 30s when this song/video came out.

Remote Patrol

NBA Finals, Game 3

9 p.m. ABC

We’re still waiting for Kevin Durant’s Willis Reed moment. Not tonight.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

You Boettcher!

When news leaked Monday morning that James Holzhauer had finally lost on Jeopardy!, our first thought was, Those damn eight smarty pants from the National Spelling Bee have struck again! Wrong.

The person who unseated Holzhauer after 32 consecutive victories and $2,464,216 in winnings was Emma Boettcher, a 27 year-old librarian, also from Chicago. Boettcher has been a home viewer for years who would record her scores and even fashioned her own buzzer (nerd).

Holzhauer exits only about $56,000 shy of Ken Jennings’ record from 2004, an achievement that took Jennings more than twice as many games (74) to amass.

The Final Jeopardy! answer was “Who is Kit Marlowe?” (foremost Elizabethan playwright). Both got it correct, but Boettcher was ahead and wagered more.

Royals


How would you caption this photo? Does anyone look happy here? Is Queen Elizabeth II wondering why she had to live this long? Is Donald about to play a concerto? Is this what meeting the in-laws is like?

Radioactive

HBO aired the finale of Chernobyl, a show that massively succeeded on the premium cable channel despite having not one sex scene or anyone ever using the “F-word.” There was brief nudity, but only of male miners digging au naturale because of the heat.

We won’t spoil it for you (we’re no Dan Steinberg), other than to say that our hero, Andrey Legasov (Jared Harris) chooses a Sydney Carton-like fate straight out of A Tale Of Two Cities. He makes the hero’s choice.

Two lines from last night’s finale stuck out for us, and remember that the series was created and written by Craig Mazin, who roomed with Ted Cruz freshman year at Princeton and was hyper-aware that he was writing this series in the Age of Trump:

“Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth. Sooner or later, that debt is paid.”

“To be a scientist is to be naive. We are so focused on our search for truth we fail to consider how few actually want us to find it.”

This was an incredible, and just-the-proper-length, series. Based on actual events.

Window Seats For All

The good news is that Dutch airline KLM is funding the development of this futuristic V-shaped plane that will apparently be 20% more fuel-efficient. The bad news is that it really is “futuristic” as they don’t expect it to be operational and in service before 2040.

The “Flying V” was the brainchild of Justus Benad, a student at the Berlin Technical Institute at the time. It really is hype, as the kids say, and reminds us of one of those wing suits. We propose the back middle area of the module be made into a cocktail bar/lounge area. That’s our contribution to aeronautics.

Rodley

This is our friend Rodley, one of our favorite servers and one of the best employees ever at the cookoutateria (he is now an IT specialist).

Music 101

Take Me Home

There was no bigger solo artist in the early Eighties than Lionel Ritchie, but he yielded that crown in the mid-Eighties to the former drummer of Genesis. There were flashier music acts, there were more iconic figures (Prince, Madonna, etc.), but no one ruled radio quite like Phil Collins. The British former child-actor went on a Beatlesque run, recording SEVEN No. 1 hits. This was not one of them (it peaked at No. 7), but you gotta love the audacity of thinking, Oh, sure, I’ll use my world tour as a backdrop to shoot a video.

Remote Patrol

Barry

HBO

We don’t want to oversell this comedy starring Bill Hader and now in its second season, but it’s solid. The bumbling Chechens remind us of Colonel Klink and Sergeant Schultz and any series whose No. 2 character is played by the always-working Stephen Root is going to have a lot going for it. Look for the subtle dig at Ted Danson’s fake coif from Cheers in the second episode.