by John Walters

Feliz Cumpleanos, Aylin Mujica!

Starting Five

“Highway to the danger zone…”

1. Turkey Shoot*

*The judges will also accept, “Cold, Turkey” and “Land Baste Weaponry”

Dig: During Thanksgiving week all of your turkey news should be a lower-cased “t.” Instead, Turkey shoots down a Russian fighter jet because it claims that it warned the pilot 10 times that he was flying over Turkish air space and that he ignored the warnings (or perhaps he didn’t speak Turkish?). That’s called “Putin your planes where they don’t belong.”

Rule No. 83: “Never play chicken in Turkey.”

Related: Russia now claims it was flying not in Turkey but in Turducken. Sounds acceptable. And like a former Soviet republic, no?

2. Ches King

Ches: Threepeat after me!

For the third consecutive year, Oregon’s Edward Cheserek wins the NCAA Men’s Outdoor Cross Country championship (if there’s an Indoor Cross Country championship, it should take place entirely in Tom Brady’s California mansion). Cheserek crossed the tape for the 10K in 28:45, nearly 26 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. That is kind of sick.

Two men had previously won three individual NCAA XC individual titles, but they did so over a 4-year span: Henry Rono of Washington State (1976, ’77 and ’79) and the immortal Steve Prefontaine (who obviously was not) of Oregon (1970, ’71 and ’73).

Cheserek and Rono were Kenyan-born. Pre was from Coos Bay, Oregon.

Rice, who barely stood 5’5″, was known as “Little Dynamo.” He later gave birth to a son named Tony who led Notre Dame to a national title in football (wait; I’m going to fact-check that one)

Incidentally, Molly Seidel of Notre Dame won the women’s race. No other Notre Dame female had even won an individual title, but Greg Rice of Notre Dame won a pair of titles in 1937 and ’39. Rice never competed in the Olympics due to World War II, but he was a five-time champion in the 5,000 meters in the USATF championships and once won 65 races in a row over a three-year span. Not bad.

3. The Shot Seen ’round the World

Today marks the 52nd anniversary of the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald. The man who took this photograph, Bob Jackson, would win the Pulitzer Prize for this. Before snapping this photo, Jackson felt like a failure because two days earlier he was six cars behind JFK when the first shot rang out. The problem? Jackson was between rolls of film in his camera.

According to this story, Jackson actually looked up to the Texas Book Depository after hearing the second and third shots and saw a rifle being pulled inside, but had no way to take a photo of it. If he had, think of all the gained man-hours from the dearth of conspiracy theories.

The man in the cowboy hat, Jim Leavelle, was a homicide detective who was in the 13th year of a 25-year career with the Dallas P.D. He is still alive at the age of 95 years (so is Jackson, by the way; he’s 82).

4. The Daily Harrumph! Mom’s Basement Tapes

Spencer Hall: The early years

In this corner: The 20th century, hard-copy, hard deadlines, writing to a specific word count, a travel budget, “Your credentials will be at will call,” and hand-to-hand combat journalism.

And in that corner: Millennials, the internet, “I filed this story 20 minutes ago, why isn’t it on the home page yet?”, writing “for exposure” (read: no pay), hot takes, “Why do you need to travel? The game’s on TV,” a lack of accountability with the people you write about, and a very poor career choice (if you ever hope to own a home car or start a family — unless your wife has a good job).

Who’s right in the entire Wilbon vs. The New Mean Bloggers debate? Both of them, of course. Wilson (and Tony) have a point that young writers think they should be able to fly before they learn how to walk, and those two started by working beats. On the other hand, the jobs, they are sparse, and the internet does not care about quality or proof-reading or even objectivity, it only cares about page views. I mean, “Is Joe Flacco a elite quarterback?”

5. T-Swizzle Stick

At the risk of the PC Police coming down on me and hard for body shaming, isn’t our favorite pop starlet looking a little thin? (If I were crass, I’d write, “There’s a ‘Blank Space’ and it’s inside your stomach.” Fortunately, I’m not crass.).

I’m worried about Taylor. Please give yourself some time off and get healthier. Lecture over.

Music 101

Whenever God Shines His Light

I’ve already posted a Van Morrison tune here before, but some artists bear repeating. This is yet another Van the man song that would be just as welcome in a house of worship. Nothing like an Irishman with a strong sense of spirituality. This 1989 tune never made it to the Billboard charts; it’s just too damn good for such a secular rating.

Remote Patrol

LoLakers at Warriors

TNT 10:30 p.m.

Kobe, Curry. Curry, Kobe. Do you realize that four of the major characters in this game –those two, plus Klay Thompson and Luke Walton — are all 2nd-generation NBAers? Some day everyone in the NBA will be the progeny of an NBA player. It’ll be an entirely different sub-species.



by John Walters

Miley Cyrus turns 23!

Starting Five

1. Cam-Demonium

Granted, I always hoped that the Carolina Panthers would rechristen themselves the Charlotte Raes (“Mr. Drummond!”), but here they are even more perfect than the New England Patriots (10-0 to 9-0, at least for a few more hours) on the week of Thanksgiving. Cam Newton has entered his prime, Jonathan Stewart is a beast at running back (not having to do a nightly TV show as well has allowed him to focus), and let’s face it, almost the entire rest of the NFC has taken the season off.

The Panthers are at Dallas on Thanksgiving Day, which is going to be fun. The Cowboys have won 1 in a row after losing seven straight, and yet still are just two games out of first place in the NFC East. Tony Romo will be behind center for the non-Texan Texans.

2. Sime-Plicity

Sime (left) had never lost to Bobby Morrow (right) before an injury cost him a shot at the ’56 Olympics. Morrow went on to win the 100, 200, and 4×100 relay and be named SI’s “Sportsman of the Year”

That’s Christian McCaffrey’s grandfather (and Ed McCaffrey’s father-in-law0, Dave Sime, on the left. In 1960 he won the silver medal in the men’s 100 meters at the Rome Olympics and should have taken gold running the anchor leg in the men’s 4 x 100, but two of his teammates had a handoff outside the zone.

Even though ESPN did not mention CM in its Top 5 last Thursday night, he should be headed to NYC as a Heisman finalist.

At Duke Sime played baseball and football as well and in 2001 he was named Duke’s Outstanding Athlete of the 20th Century (take that, Christian Laettner). Sime then went on to become a leading ophthalmologist who was the Miami Dolphin team doctor. His grandson had 389 all-purpose yards versus Cal on Saturday night.

Here’s my story on the two of them in Newsweek.

3. Reports of Glenn’s Death Are Greatly Exasperated

Talk about a dumpster fire…

So Glenn, whom we last saw three episodes prior, apparently survived being flat on the ground, surrounded by zombies, and lying prone beneath a friend whose own innards were being devoured by the walkers on The Walking Dead. Ooooooooooooookay, sure.

Show runner Scott Gimple and his creative team went too far with this one, and now they have a show that is itself a zombie: meandering around aimlessly, with no soul. I did not see Talking Dead, but I do wonder how host Chris Hardwick (Happy 44th Birthday, by the way!) handled this abomination.

4. Her Heart Will Go On

At the American Music Awards, Taylor Swift grabs more hardware (“Blank Space” over “Uptown Funk” for Single of the Year is the greatest of travesties), but Celine Dion garners all of the attention by paying tribute to the victims of the Paris attacks with a song by Edith Piaf, Hymme a L’Amour.

5. Air Guitar Hero

Sure, maybe the 4th spot in the College Football Playoff still goes through the state of Oklahoma –we’ll see — but how about Michigan State? Playing without its starting quarterback on the road, Sparty upset the defending national champions when kicker Michael Geiger nailed the game-winning field goal from 41 yards out last time expired.

Loved the old school Big Ten final score: 17-14. Loved that Urban Meyer chose not to look as Geiger, a Toledo native, attempted the GWFG, but instead turned his back and looked toward the stands. Loved that Geiger sprinted downfield, windmilling it the entire way. Eddie Van Halen would be proud.

And yes, I think Michigan State is more deserving of being in the Top 4 currently than Iowa, what with wins at Columbus and Ann Arbor while having beaten Oregon at home. Their lone defeat came on a verrrrrry sketchy call in Lincoln. Not that it really matters, as The Fighting Dantonios will meet Iowa in two weeks and we can settle it there (unless the Hawkeyes boink at Nebraska themselves this weekend).

My Top 4 as of TODAY: 1. Alabama 2. Clemson 3. Michigan State 4. Oklahoma. Irish jussssst out of that 4th spot. Have looked  moribund past two weeks.

Music 101

I’d Really Love To See You Tonight

This 1976 tune by England Dan & John Ford Coley reached No. 2 on the Billboard chart and No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Dan Fogelberg still cannot believe that he did not write or perform this (but he didn’t). The duo performed the tune on James at 16 (great show, by the way), and they shoe-horned it in by saying that England Dan was the uncle of one of the two characters. What Evs.

Remote Patrol

Bills at Patriots

ESPN 8 p.m.

Sammy Watkins has lived up to the hype

New England attempts to improve to 10-0 versus Rex Ryan and the Bills, who are better this season but still just thrilled to be a part of Monday Night Football. 


by John Walters

Happy 59th, Bo Derek!

Starting Five

Golden State, like Curry (40 points last night), is in top form

1. The Fun Bunch

Trailing by 23 points in the 2nd quarter, the Golden State Warriors go on a game-ending 22-5 run at Staples Center to dismiss the Clippers. They’re now 13-0 with a home game versus Chicago (winners of 4 in a row), a trip to Denver, and then a home game versus the LOLakers in the way of becoming the first team to start 16-0.

Golden State are the most universally loved winners since that dude who kept calling his wife “principessa”

And we’re all in love with them. They’re in that Roberto Benigni stage with us, just before and after his Oscar win. And see, Roberto did it well. He never attempted to improve upon that. Life is Beautiful Due? I don’t think so.

Interim GSW coach Luke Walton, who has NEVER been a head coach anywhere, is now 13-0 in relief of Steve Kerr. That’s going to look good on his resume.

2. ISIS Gets Served

This is Andrew Neil of the BBC, eloquently opening his show with a Tale of the Tape, France versus ISIS.

When it comes to Islamic jihadist terrorists barking “Allah Akbar,” I always revert to Uncle Ruslan’s line about his two nephews in Boston when asked what motivated them to bomb the finish area of the Boston Marathon: “They’re losers.”

Mais non! Brigitte Bardot fails to make the cut for Neil’s rant

An entire culture who realizes that civilization has passed them by has two choices: 1) roll up the sleeves of your thawb and catch up, or 2) throw rocks at the winners (while availing yourselves of all the modern luxuries they’ve created and you did not).

We need to talk about security in terms of protecting ourselves from ISIS. But we also need to talk about insecurity, which is the genesis of their hatred. They’re losers.

3. Heismanology Between the Lines

Navy’s Keenan Reynolds has scored an NCAA career-record 81 rushing TDs. Why not invite him to the Heisman presentation as a finalist?

Last night I got home and parked myself on the couch, anxious and excited for the kickoff of East Carolina (the 51st state) at Central Florida (the state of disarray, at 0-10), but first Adnan, Joey and Danny needed to chat about Heisman favorites. Their top 5, if I recall correctly: Baker Mayfield, DeShaun Watson, Ezekiel Elliott, Derrick Henry and in last place was, I believe, you know, the guy who was indisputably the greatest college football player in the nation just a month ago, Leonard Fournette.

I think they had Mayfield No. 1. I like Baker Mayfield. I LOVE his story (and you should, to0). But this is why, at times, I don’t like certain aspects of ESPN: because they trick you into thinking they’re practicing honest, unbiased sports journalism, and then you are compelled to remember that at the end of the day they are a television station that needs to  hit its numbers.

Baker Mayfield was splashed all over the screen. That may be because TCU is at Oklahoma in prime time on ABC on Saturday (and because FOX has the more intriguing Big 12 matchup, Baylor at Oklahoma State). And then three of those four other guys play for teams that ESPN believes — hopes? I don’t know — will make the College Football Playoff, which it also will televise.

Cook wears defenders as capes

Dalvin Cook, running back, Florida State. Arguably the best offensive player in the country.

Christian McCaffrey, running back/KR/PR, Stanford: The Vanilla Reggie Bush.

Carl Nassib, defensive end, Penn State. Leads the nation in Sacks and Tackles for Loss.

Cook was an afterthought and the other two were not even mentioned. ESPN does so many things so well; and then it attempts to frame a conversation so that it dovetails with its broadcast goals and it all feels a little sleazy.

4. Non-Philadelphia 7’6″ers

Ndiaye, left, and Fall, right, are both 7’6″

This photo should go directly to the Naismith Hall of Fame because except for a tip-off between Yao Ming and Shawn Bradley (updated: Manute Bol and Gheorge Muresan), this would be the tallest tip off in history. Mamadou Ndiaye, left, of UC Irvine jumped center against Tacko Fall of Central Florida two nights ago.

Both men are 7’6″. By the way, they whiffed on the tip, which is why maybe THIS photo is the one you send to Springfield.

The Anteaters won, 61-60, to improve to 3-0. The line on both gentlemen:

Fall: 27 minutes, 6 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks.

Ndiaye: 19 minutes (foul trouble), 5 points, 2 rebounds.

Philadelphia should have to draft at least one, if not both, of them.

5. George-ous

That’s Katie George, senior volleyball player at Louisville…

And that’s Katie George, model and reigning Miss Kentucky….

And that, too, is Katie George, a reporter at WLKY (yes, it’s all the same person).

And this, above, is Phyllis George, who is a former Miss Texas, a former Miss America and is THE GODMOTHER of all women in on-air sports. In the Seventies she brought all the steam to the CBS pre-game shows and she and Brent used to flirt shamelessly on TV as Irv Cross just looked on and flashed the pre-Tom Jackson “What am I doing here with these people?” face.

Oh, and Phyllis George went on to marry the governor of Kentucky….but they are no relation.

Music 101

Uptown Funk

The AMA’s are on Sunday. I think this tune, which has been viewed more than one BILLION times on YouTube, should win for Best Song.

Remote Patrol


American Music Awards

ABC 8 p.m.

Tune in to see Taylor Swift and also to see how old and out of touch you are…..


by John Walters

Model Lindsay Ellingson turns 31, reminding us of a famous line from Potsie upon seeing nude Pygmies in a National Geographic: “I’d love to see HER in a cashmere sweater!”

Starting Five

1. Andre the Giant Rebounder

Perhaps we need to stop saying, “Don’t forget about Andre Drummond.” The Pistons’ fourth-year low-post player is averaging 19.1 points and 18.9 rebounds per game. And though we are only a dozen or so games in, we’ll note that the last player to average more boards than that over the course of a season was Wilt Chamberlain in 1971-72. The last one to average even 16 per game over an entire season was a former Piston, Dennis Rodman of the Bulls, in 1996-97.

Drummond was selected 9th overall by Detroit in 212.

2. Like What Through a Who?

You have to love that November SEC bye week FCS opponent week. It sure does loosen up the coaches. Here’s Nick Saban cautioning the local media not to take Charleston Southern, which is 9-1 after all, lightly.

It gets really salty at about the 1:00 mark (reminder: it was an innocent enough question), but just so you have the quote, Coach Saban says, “I don’t think you remember Georgia Southern…and they run through our ass like shit through a tin horn, man.”

My favorite reaction to this came from longtime Tide chronicler Cecil Hurt, who opined, “That’s it. Georgia Southern should just put that quote on the cover of its 2016 media guide.” Spencer Hall noted, correctly, that Coach has such a natural comfort with casual profanity.

3. The Fighting Sous Chefs?

Wonderful article in the New York Times about how intercollegiate athletics is now a thing at the Culinary Institute of America. This is a sportswriter’s (and editor’s) dream. The campus is located just 90 minutes or so up the Hudson River line (yes, that’s an actual thing, Billy Joel fans), the athletes will be extremely approachable and friendly, and you get to toss in a bouillabaisse of bad puns and cooking metaphors (while making sure you spell bouillabaisse properly).

By the way, the mascot name is the Steels, which are tools for sharpening knives. Keep this story idea on a low flame.  Add salt.

4. The Warren Report

Warren Beatty, the Sixties’ answer to Jake Gyllenhaal, right down to the actress sister

For decades no one knew exactly whom Carly Simon was singing when she crooned, “You’re so vain/You probably think this song is about you.” I’ll admit, I occasionally put down my trusty brush long enough to wonder if it were about me, but then I remembered I was six years old when she released it in 1972.

For years people thought it might have been about her ex, James Taylor. Turns out, and Carly just confirmed it, that it was about arguably the vainest man in Hollywood…. Ta-Da!….Warren Beatty.

The two had a fling. So, you can rest easy tonight, Burt Reynolds.

By the way….great song, no?

5. “I’ll Take ‘Petulant Podcast Pundits’ for $400, Alex”

Klosterman has now interviewed Taylor Swift and Tom Brady in the past three months.

“This best-selling sports-and-pop-culture author recently interviewed Tom Brady for GQ magazine and peppered him with a dozen consecutive questions about DeflateGate, all of which Super Pat politely declined to answer.”

Who is, Chuck Klosterman?


I’ll take ‘Petulant Podcast Pundits’ for $600.

“This one-man sports empire got a chance to sit down with the President of the United States of America for one hour, also for GQ, but then got a little pissy when his former employer wrote an item about the interview, provided a link and mentioned GQ, but not him. He tweeted, ‘Stay classy, ESPN.'”

Who is, Bill Simmons?

Music 101

Bottle Rocket

I bought The Go! Team disc “Thunder Lightning Strike” after reading a glowing review in Rolling Stone. This 2004 tune illustrates the power of sampling (uses “Soul Time” by Shirley Ellis). My favorite part of the tune comes at about 1:22 and continues for the next 20 seconds or so.

Remote Patrol

Warriors at Clippers

TNT 10:30 p.m.

We’re all in love with Stephen Curry. And we should be. GSW is 12-0, leads the NBA in scoring at 33.7 points per game, and does mash-ups of songs from Frozen with his adorable wife. Even his “This is SportsCenter” ad with dad and brother is cool.


by John Walters

Happy 47th to Hansel…or John Beckwith….or Owen Wilson

Starting Five

This is reality now in Paris

1. City of F(r)ight

So here’s your toxic mixture: 1) An enemy whose combatants clearly don’t care whether they live or die, 2) a society that espouses freedom and thus allows its citizens to move about freely, to gather in large groups to attend concerts, sporting events, etc. and 3) a free and uncensored media that will not only provide your acts of terror all the attention you want, but will thrive on the ratings they provide.

Former CBS correspondent John Miller, who once interviewed Osama Bin Laden face to face (pre-9/11) and who now works in counterterrorism for the NYPD, said this to Charlie Rose last night: “The terrorists after 9/11 tried to out-do one another. They tried to do something more spectacular. With Charlie Hebdo and now Paris, they’ve finally figured it out: bullets and simple bombs can wreak havoc and paralyze a city with fear. They finally got it: Keep it simple, stupid.”

Last night Paris police and security forces took down 7 terrorists just a mile from Stade de France, killing two.

Meanwhile, the United States remains the softest of targets with lax gun laws and a frothing-at-the-mic cable news media. And I understand that taking in refugees is the Christian thing to do, but then Jesus probably didn’t ever lay out $598 billion in a year for military defense spending, either. Jesus probably didn’t order an atomic bomb to be dropped over Nagasaki.

Yesterday a favorite sports journalist of mine chided the governor Massachusetts on Twitter for not wanting to accept Syrian refugees. “Is someone going to tell the governor of Massachusetts the story of Massachusetts?” he tweeted. And I thought: Maybe he already knows it: within two generations all of the Native Americans who welcomed the Pilgrims were either murdered or moved off their lands.

And while that wouldn’t happen here with Syrian refugees, governors are correct to at least question why taking in refugees is the solution, as opposed to repatriating them in their own home land.

ADDENDUM (Two post-shower thoughts): 1) The son of a Syrian immigrant created what is now the largest-cap company in the world, Apple. So, yeah, it’s never THAT simple of an equation. 2) In times of national defense strife, America must always remember that its two greatest allies are the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.

2. Latvian Legend

It’s early in his career, but so starved are New Yorkers for hoops hope that we’ve already embraced Kristaps Porzingis as  the next…well….Jeremy Lin. The 20 year-old Latvian had 29 points and 11 boards last night as the Bockers of Knick improved to 6-6 with a defeat of Lin’s Hornets.

Remember last June when Carmelo Anthony reportedly told a teammate on the night the Knicks selected Porzingis fourth overall, “We have to wait three years for this guy?” Turns out it was more like three weeks.

3. “Labissiere!” “Labissiere!”*

Passing would be advised here

*The judges will also accept “The Skal’s The Limit”

Did you not enjoy listening to Dan Schulman say the Kentucky freshman freak’s name over and over again last night? I felt as if I were at a Truffaut film festival (related: I’ve never attended a Truffaut film festival).

Labissiere only scored 7 points in 13 minutes of action before fouling out, but with that wingspan and those springs, look out world. The Haitian Sensation is going to be an SEC nightmare. No. 2 Kentucky beat Duke, 74-63.

4. No Change At The Top

Desmond King and the Hawkeyes have yet to pierce the top 4, but all they gotta do is win out and they’re in

Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame remained the top four teams in the Selection Committee’s opinion. The next three, in order: Iowa, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.

Here at MH we want to to provide you with the upsets most likely to happen between now and December 6, in the order of likelihood. Here goes: 1) Florida loses to Florida State, 2) Notre Dame loses at Stanford 3) Oklahoma State loses to Oklahoma 4) Ohio State loses at Michigan 5) Iowa loses at Nebraska 6) Clemson loses to North Carolina in the ACC title game 7) Oklahoma State loses to Baylor 8) Ohio State loses to Michigan State 9) Alabama loses at Auburn 10) Ohio State loses to Iowa in B1G championship game.

5. Simmons Meets POTUS (Again)

Simmons and Obama had actually met before, here when TSG was at ESPN

Last month Bill Simmons sat down with Barack Obama and asked surprisingly few sports questions during a one-hour interview for GQ. Near the end of their chat, though, the guy who attended undergrad in Boston attempted to cajole the world leader who attended law school in Boston to take a shot at a man who earns more (and may wield more influence) than the two of them combined: Roger Goodell.

“You’re not going to drag me into your fights, man,” said the Prez. “Come on—I’ve got enough fights of my own. [laughs] This is between you and Roger.”

Music 101

Get Together

“Everybody get together/Try to beat the Minnesota Vikings right now…”

In 1967 The Youngbloods wrote one of the most enduring and emblematic songs of the Sixties peace movement. Then they went on to star at defensive end and outside linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams. It was a truly amazing time in America. This song peaked at only No. 62 in ’67 — I know, crazy– but made the Top 5 after re-release two years later. Maybe people began taking its simple message more seriously then.

Remote Patrol

Western Michigan at Northern Illinois

ESPN2 8 p.m.

Rod Carey: Only his record is as sexy as Fleck’s

In which media darling P.J. Fleck (WMU) gets his ass handed to him by relatively underrated Rod Carey (NIU), who is 30-8 in his third season with the Huskies. It’s MACtion, and NIU holds the inside slot for the MAC Championship game because they beat Holy Toledo –who won the Maumee Dearest Classic last night against Bowling Green last night — a week ago.






by John Walters

Happy 71st Birthday to a woman who sparkled in the Seventies, Lauren Hutton!

Starting Five

ISIS shows its support for Movember

1. Sorry, Tom Petty: Apparently, You DO Have To Live Like a Refugee

Hey, kids, lets play “Yes, But Maybe…” about ISIS, a.k.a. “Daesh,” (<– The Arabic acronym, which they loathe….hey, that’s a slur!), shall we?

First….Yes, the United States of America has that statue (a gift from France!) in New York Harbor that reads “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free…” And, yes, it is unconstitutional for all of those states to refuse entry to the Syrian refugees….

But maybe creating Syrian refugees and then disseminating them into Western culture is exactly Daesh’s strategy. And not just because it’s trying to smuggle its own operatives into your hometown, but maybe more so because it’s hoping Syrians will grow up there, feel disenfranchised, and then join their crusade from the comforts of your home town. Using the internet, it’s pretty easy to turn disenfranchised, angry young people to your nihilistic cause, no? So maybe the Syrian refugee crisis is not just an unfortunate offshoot of the war, but it’s also part of the enemy’s strategy, taking advantage of the kindness and generosity of this country.

Second, YES, it sounds good to be a Lindsay Graham or a FOX News war hawk and stump for “boots on the ground” in Syria or blowing Raqqa back to the Middle Ages –although most ISIS-friendly haunts are already there….

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS’ class president and sergeant at arms

But maybe what those people fail to see is that we are NOT battling a finite number of people in a finite space. Maybe our presence, or our indiscriminate bombings of places without ever being seen by the locals as more than bombs from the sky, induces more angry, hopeless young men to join ISIS. And not just in Syria, but anywhere. Because they feel the anger and hatred of white westerners and that testosterone kicks in and they join the one crusade that claims to speak for them.

There’s a sort of World War Z calculus going on, then. By failing to cure the disease — which is hopelessness of an entire generation, mostly — we’re helping to create more zombies.

Syria: When your entire country is a sandlot…

Finally, and this is just an observation, have you ever wondered if there’s a correlation between the hostility and intractable mindsets these Arabs have and their climate and ecosystem? In short, do you think they’d all behave this way if they were just surrounded by a few more….trees? I know it sounds dumb, but I’ve been to Yuma, Arizona. It’s got that same hopeless topography. I think I might go a little nutso, too, if that was all I ever saw.

Also, at some point during this weekend (and during attacks past), did it not occur to you –admit it, it did — how much more carnage you would have been able to cause? How bumbling and incompetent ISIS is? I mean, they sent 3 dudes with explosives to Stade France, to a packed stadium, and killed a grand total of one person. They’re evil and they’re bullies, but they’re far less competent than your average El Chapo. Just noting it….

Not for nothing, and all of this is tragic, but measure the outcry of 129 people, mostly French, in Paris last Friday as opposed to the 229 dead from the plane that exploded over the Sinai peninsula. I’m not accusing anyone of latent racism. I think the video, photos and images from Paris are more vivid and hence have a more visceral effect, no?

I don’t see any easy answers here. I do think the one advantage ISIS has over us, or at least some of our loudest barkers, is that they know and understand their enemy. And it informs their strategy. I still don’t think that we’re very good at that. Finally, when the press/GOP hammers POTUS for failing on ISIS, that sounds fairly naive to me: it’s not the government’s job to apprise you of all the plots they foil, of all the preemptive measures that have worked. Doing that would only compromise further missions AND scare people here at home. I kinda felt as if Obama was itching to tell his detractors yesterday, “Scoreboard! Scoreboard!” which is not to say that U.S. policy is flawless, but which is to remind you that we’ve had no real ISIS attacks on our own soil.

There are no easy answers to this one. I welcome your observations…

2.  Daesh-Cam

Carnage at the Bata clan

A few decent stories/reports about Daesh and/or the Paris Attacks, and you should totally follow @parisvictims on Twitter:

A story in The Guardian from a former ISIS captive, Nicolas Henin

Here’s 60 Minutes on the Paris attacks….

Here’s a piece from the BBC on how the massacre at the Bataclan went down….

3. Good Luck, Charlie*

So you’re saying that you’re sick?

*The judges will also accept “Sorry Charlie”

Charlie Sheen goes on Today to promote his new disease, the HIV virus. His doctor , Robert Huizenga, tells Matt Lauer that he has “an undetectable level of the virus” in his blood. The doc also tells Lauer that Sheen “does not have AIDS.”

Also, the doctor says there is “an incredibly low” chance that Charlie will infect you via “protected sex” but that your brain is still at risk if you watch more than one episode of “Two and a Half Men.” Sheen says he’s no longer doing drugs, but that he’s still drinking.

Matt tells Charlie, “You should stop drinking.”

Sheen reveals that he has known for four years that he is HIV positive. So, yes, here come the lawsuits. Or, more accurately, as Sheen tells Lauer, “all the shakedowns.” Sheen says that he is paid out “upwards of ten million dollars.”

What I did not hear asked: Whether Charlie’s “tiger blood” rampage of a few years back and his wild rage against Chuck Lorre, his exodus from the show, had anything to do with him receiving this diagnosis.

4. The Texas Campsite Massacre*


*It’s just all happy news this morning, no?

Six people, one of them a 6 year-old, are murdered last weekend at a campsite on their own land in Texas. A neighbor, William Hudson, 33, who owned a much larger parcel of land adjacent to the property, is the prime suspect. Perhaps he was suffering from a severe and deranged case of “Get Offa My Lawn.”

The murderous shots rang out between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. One person at the camp site escaped and hid, a relative, who was able to explain what happened.

5. Grange Award Update

At 6-3, 240 pounds, Henry is an express train of pain

As with the Heisman Trophy, our Grange Award field remains wide open. We still like Leonard Fournette of LSU, but the sophomore may be better suited to win a Poor Timing Award: just 31 yards rushing in a loss at Bama and another sub-par game last week against Arkansas (is LF hurt?).

Others to consider: Christian McCaffrey (still leads the nation in all-purpose yards, by a large margin) of Stanford, quarterback Matt Johnson of Bowling Green (leads nation in TD passes with 36 and has only tossed 4 picks, and is second in passing yardage per game), and beast-like running backs Dalvin Cook of Florida State (2nd in rushing) and Derrick Henry of Alabama, who is fourth.

Also, Baker Mayfield, the Manziel-ian QB out of of Oklahoma. Or how about Penn State defensive end Carl Nassib, a former walk-on who leads the nation in Sacks and Tackles for Loss? We’ll also keep Navy QB Keenan Reynolds in the hunt (most career rushing TDs) and our favorite punter from Wake Forest, Alexander Kinal, who set the NCAA record for most career punts, which brought a tear to the eye, versus Notre Dame last weekend.

For the serious candidates, this is your mandate: 1) perform well and 2) don’t be involved with another loss. Do that and your chances for either award remain viable.


Music 101

Shimmy Low

This Pittsburgh band, The Clarks, never made it B-I-G, but our friend Billy “Day of Yore” Hubbell introduced me to it back in 2004 and I’ve always like it. I’m not even sure that it even made the charts, but it’s just a good mid-tempo, meat-and-potatoes rock song.

Remote Patrol

Duke vs Kentucky

ESPN 7:30 p.m.

Skal Walker

It only took seven months, but they finally got the 2015 NCAA championship game right…right? Remember when Kentucky came within 2 games of becoming the first team to go undefeated since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers? Remember when Grayson Allen became the sleeper star of Duke’s Final Four? Allen is back, while Kentucky’s next Philaelphia 76er future No. 1 overall draft pick low-post stud is a young man from Haiti named Skal Labissiere.


by John Walters

Happy 22nd to SNL’s “resident young person,” Pete Davidson.

Starting Five


On one side, you have a culture that builds stuff like the Arc de Triomphe. On the other, you have people who try to tear it down. Now, we’ve all attended kindergarten and we know who the latter types are: insecure little shits who resent the achievers for being superior to them.

The law of entropy says that it is easier to tear something down than it is to erect it — true — but that’s why ISIS is on that side. Because they simply lack the humanity and intelligence to achieve greatness. They’d rather slaughter a goat, a feat of human engineering that was mastered long before Socrates or even Solomon was born.

More decent people will die. There may even be an attack like this on U.S. soil. But ISIS will never win. Nihilism is a really tough sell on a broad stage.

The attacks left 129 dead and almost as many critically injured

Here’s John Oliver on Friday’s attacks in Paris, offering “a premium moment of cable profanity”…



2. Giant Killers (In The Regular Season)

We’ve seen this face before

Crank up the Alcoa Fantastic Finishes news reel, as New England defeats the Giants, 27-26. On a last-minute drive that included a dropped interception and a fourth-and-10 conversion (not to mention a previous Giants drive that ended in a go-ahead field goal after Odell Beckham was unable to hold onto a TD pass), the Pats won when Stephen Gostkowski nailed a 54-yard field goal with :06 left. That was his 30th consecutive successful field goal attempt, which is pretty much about the rate that Bill Belichick deems “acceptable.”

So, the Giants lose a heartbreaker to the Pats in the regular season. That’s happened twice before and both times, when the two teams met again in the Super Bowl, Eli Manning and the Giants celebrated.

3. The Carotid Kid*

The kick de grace

Rule No. 94 (lifted from The Princess Bride): “Never fight a land war in Asia.” Vietnam. Buster Douglas. And now, Holly Holm. Okay, and sure, it was Australia, but it’s the far side of the Pacific, so we’re hoping Ronda Rousey would have learned from history. Holm, of Sandia Heights, New Mexico, takes out the most unstoppable force in sport with a left-foot roundhouse to the neck.

I had help with that one

4. Night of SNL

Two stand-out sketches on SNL on Saturday, and I’ll leave it for you to decide how much either of them had to do with Missouri or Yale:

The first was “Black Jeopardy,” and by the way, Kenan Thompson was a stud in both of them.

Alison: “I just feel like whatever I do, I can’t win.”

Thompson: “That’s the blackest thing you’ve said all night.”

The second was called High School Theater, and, well, watch

5. Mother of Mudders

It’s all glamour

Whoops, she did it again. Amelia Boone of Chicago northern California wins her third World’s Toughest Mudder –women’s division — and places 10th overall in Las Vegas. The leggy lawyer ( <– trying out my New York Post writing app) completed 75 miles in 24 hours. The next closest female, Sara Knight, completed 70 miles in that time span.

Music 101

Heads Carolina, Tails California

Where to reside, oh, where to reside? Jo Dee Messina asked this musical question back in 1996 (answer: Nashville).

Remote Patrol

The Comeback Kid


I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s 61 minutes of John Mulaney stand-up, and I’m sure that only 61 of those 61 minutes will be funnier than his failed eponymous sitcom that ran on FOX. We have no abash when it comes to rooting for Mulaney. I’m sure this is great (it made its debut last Friday).


by John Walters


“And those children that you spit on/As they try to change their world…”

If you follow me on Twitter (or if you don’t, and have a life), you know I’ve been utterly preoccupied with the events in Columbia this week. And it’s left me bewildered. I just watched a doc on Kent State a week ago. I rooted for the family in Sounder (chill out, it’s a joke…but I did). I like to think I’m not an old guy who just hates change.

That’s not for me to judge.

I’ve been bewildered at how much people think all existing rules or truths should be sacrificed as long as people don’t feel threatened or offended. I’ve been bewildered that the most trenchant voice arguing on my side of things is Jason Whitlock. I’ve been bewildered that the same black people, some of them very public, who’ve been ripping me have not a word to say about what Whitlock is writing, at least not publicly.

It feels as if this week we exchanged equality for mequality: the only thing that’s fair is that I get my way.

It feels as if there must be more to this. Money, perhaps. Did Mizzou suddenly become MORE racist once students’ health care and abortion-clinics privileges got cut? I wonder.

I’m quite comfortable with how I treat everyone, regardless of race, creed, bra size, etc. What this week seemed to say to me, with a loud voice, is that if you are white, here are the ground rules: You either agree completely with what any black person says pertaining to racism, or you are racist. There is no middle ground. Just as Ellen DeGeneres said in February of 2014: “Either ’12 Years a Slave’ wins Best Oscar, or you’re all racist.”

I’ve had plenty of discussions with black people on Twitter this week. One of my favorites just ended. After he’d failed on every logical argument and was forced to acknowledge that Chancellor Loftin’s appeasement of Jonathan Butler actually came before the Homecoming parade, he left me with this:

“FACT:You’re butt hurt cause the minority rose up and accomplished something huge.

get a hankie and cry it out. Inaction will not be tolerated any further. Anyone can be taken down. New times my friend.”

I’ve also been called a “wing nut asshole” and an “arrogant prick” by the same people who are fighting for the right not to be offended by defamatory speech. Lots of great irony this week.

I don’t know where this ends. I do know that it doesn’t end in my life time. It may never end in the history of this country.

It’s like, Yes, slavery was awful. Also, yes, most of the white people you direct your anger to come from families who immigrated to the USA after slavery ended. But I guess we still get that white privilege card.

Slavery on this continent is the product of the white man. So, too, is the democracy and republic that is the USA. Which is why, as horrible as slavery was, and nobody disputes that, there aren’t many people eager to leaver this place. Besides, we have the most evolved spectator sports.

I don’t know what else to say. There have been so many injustices that black people have had to deal with and still do. There are also some stories that are a little more nuanced than that (hello, Michael Brown).

I hope Missouri becomes a more enlightened campus. I also wonder what the body count will be on the South Side of Chicago this weekend. It’s a crazy world.

Music 101

For Your Eyes Only

Schmaltzy early ’80s tune, sure, but Sheena Easton was as lovely as any Bond girl. And, like Sean Connery (who is not 007 in this film) she is a great Scot. The song reached Top 5 in the U.S. Note: Blondie wrote a song of the same name hoping it would be selected as the theme, but no dice.

Remote Patrol

No. 12 Oklahoma at No. 6 Baylor

ABC 8 p.m.

Corey Coleman leads the nation in TD receptions (20) and receiving yardage per game

The CFB rankings explode wide open if the unbeaten Bears fail to hold serve tonight in Waco. And they have Oklahoma State in Stillwater next week. That’s a tough two-fer before meeting TCU. The Sooners are the first team with a winning record Baylor has met all season. Meanwhile, use “Last Channel” to hit FOX and Oregon at No. 7 Stanford. The Ducks have won three straight.


by John Walters

Happy 35th to Ryan Gosling!

and also on this date in 1929, America’s princess was born…

Starting Five

These little piggies went to rebellion

1. Feelings > Facts

Missouri student body prez Payton Head posts on Facebook that the KKK is on campus and that he is “working with” the National Guard, neither of which is true. He later sends out a post apologizing for the “misinformation,” explaining that he was reacting to rumors about the KKK being on campus (from whom? can you tell us who told you that?) but not explaining about the National Guard, because how can there be misinformation about a group you are working with when you are not exactly doing so?

Meanwhile, media reports that Melissa Click has resigned, although all she resigned from was an honorary post with the journalism school, and not from her actual gig.

Sieg heil, Melissa. Sieg heil.

Jonathan Butler sends out a list of DEMANDS — not requests — beginning with a demand that the president of Missouri’s university system apologize for his “white privilege.” Sure, as soon as Butler apologizes for his family having a net worth of more than $10 million (I’m low-balling that).

Facts no longer matter, of course, because a millennial has taken umbrage, and when that happens (and I have personal family history with this), cities must be torched and lives destroyed. This is a little about race. It’s a lot more about a generation that has been coddled and indulged and led to believe that their sh*t — whether they turn it into a poop swastika or not — doesn’t stink.

It does.

2. Down and Out in Sacramento….Again

California’s divorce rate is about to go up

I’m wondering who will be out of the NBA first — Kobe Bryant or George Karl? The Mamba has sat out the past 2 games with a bad back but I’m sure he cannot wait to rejoin his 1-7 team and improve upon that 32.0% field-goal shooting pace. I’ll be surprised if Kobe doesn’t hang it up before the new year.

Meanwhile in the state capitol, DeMarcus Cousins –six seasons, no playoff appearances — is feuding with new coach George Karl. The latter may be a little bit old school — he is a direct branch off the Dean Smith coaching tree — but do you really want to tune a guy out just nine games (2-7) into the season?

On Monday Cousins lit into his coach with a profanity-laced tirade after a loss to the Spurs, but because he used no racial slurs Karl had no right to feel bad about it, of course, and so Cousins wasn’t even suspended (Karl wanted to, but GM Vlade Divac overruled him). George Karl is about to become that other Mizzou professor, the one who resigned when he realized that it’s a crime to make children feel bad.

(I think I’m sort of letting you know how I feel about this issue, no?)

3. Infanticide > Abortion

Leave it to @PFTCommenter to ask the most existential question of the presidential race thus far: Knowing that GOP candidate Ben Carson is both pro-life but yet believes in killing Baby Hitler, he fashioned the Catchiest-22 question imaginable: “Would you abort Baby Hitler?”

It was a classic question that challenged Dr. Carson to prioritizes his values on the fly, and now we know the answer.

4. Where are the Pats?

Maybe next year, guys

Yesterday Sports Illustrated unveiled its 12 finalists for Sportsman of the Year (they’ve already made their choice, if they still go through the process the way that they used to). Not included in that dozen is the best team in the NFL, a team that is 11-0 in this calendar year including a Super Bowl victory, their fourth under  the same coach and quarterback.

Don’t you find that…curious? I mean, there’s no more popular sport in America than the National Football League (“You’re taking on a league that owns a day of the week”) and it’s not like SI hasn’t awarded teams or franchises the honor before.

I’m not even saying that the New England Patriots deserve to win (I’d give it to Serena Williams, but my guess it that they’ll give it to a four-legged equine creature); it’s just sort of funny that New England failed to crack the Top 12, no?

The complete absence of the Pats is in a way damning of the way they operate, no?

5. Where In The World?

Yesterday’s Answer: Flaming Cliffs, Mongolia

Music 101

You Only Live Twice

The only song to both open a James Bond film and end an episode (and in fact, a season) of Mad Men. That’s Nancy Sinatra, daughter of Ol’ Blue Eyes, singing this haunting 1967 title hit.

Remote Patrol

Warriors at Wolves

TNT 8 p.m. 

You know me. You heard me. Time and time…AND TIME…again I begged the Cleveland Cavs not to trade away the first pick (i.e., Andrew Wiggins) for Kevin Love before last season. And by that I mean, I tried to beg LeBron James. But he….didn’t…listen! And so now Andrew Wiggins is the NBA’s most exciting player under age 24 (yes, I know who Anthony Davis is) and his Wolves get a chance tonight at being the first team to take down the Warriors, Come Out and Play this season (9-0).


by John Walters

Happy 23rd birthday, Alena Shishkova!

Starting Five

Sophomore MLB Josey Jewell is Iowa’s leading tackler. The only other offer he got was from Northern Iowa.

1. Offense or Defense?

Maybe the Big 12 and Big Ten should have a round robin tournament. Last night the second CFP Rankings were released. Here’s your teams, with B1G in bold and BIG 12 IN CAPS:

1. Clemson

2. Alabama

3. Ohio State

4. Notre Dame

5. Iowa


7. Stanford


9. lsu

10. Utah

11. Florida


13. Michigan State

14. Michigan

15 TCU

Corey Coleman of Baylor leads the nation in TD catches (20) and receiving ypg (147) but it won’t matter unless Baylor goes 3-0 the rest of the way.

So, basically, the B1G’s top two unbeatens are both ahead of the Big 12’s top two unbeatens. Now, note that the Big 12 has four schools in the Top 7 in the nation in SCORING OFFENSE, including the Top 3: Baylor, TCU and Oklahoma.

Meanwhile, the B1G has four of the Top 8 teams in the nation in Scoring Defense, including the Top 2: Michigan and Wisconsin. Ohio State is No. 6 and Iowa is No. 8. Jeff Long and the committee can say whatever they want, but clearly they appear to value stout defense above explosive offense (so do I, by the way). But that’s what is driving their rankings.

2. U Can’t Handle the Poop!

One news outlet claims that the offending image is actually a year old and may not come from the Mizzou campus

Did the Mizzou Poop Swastika actually happen? Now comes evidence that it is a hoax. People will say, “Even if it is a hoax, that doesn’t excuse racism?” No, it doesn’t excuse rape or genocide, either, but what does that have to do with the price of eggs?

And, by the way, what does a poop swastika have to do with being solely African-American? And didn’t anyone ever live in a men’s dorm? I’m pretty sure I came across more than a few Poop Peace Signs and Poop Escher Prints in college.

3. “But How Am I Supposed to Win My $$$ Back?”

DraftKings and FanDuel are gambling (and grammatically incorrect).
The New York Stock Exchange is investing.

Carry on.

4. Nice Guy Finishes First

It’s also Demi Moore’s 53rd birthday. She used to date Ashton Kutcher before he decided to shack up with a woman who looks exactly like Demi’s daughter.

Joe McKeehen, 25, who was the chip leader throughout the final rounds of the WSOP and who seems like a genuinely nice guy even if he looks a little too much like an adult version of the kid from Two and a Half Men, wins the big pot — and the coveted bracelet—at the Main Event. A cool $7.6 million, with no attitude.

On the final hand, McKeehen held an A-10 when his opponent went all in with a pair of fours. McKeehen caught a 10 on the flop and the rest was legalized gambling-in-Nevada history.

Meanwhile in California, someone bought a lottery ticket at a 7-11 in Chatsworth in early August that turned out to be a $63 million winner. The problem is, they have yet to claim their prize. If no one does so by February 4, it becomes the largest unclaimed lottery prize in history. Was this you, Markazi???

5. Where In The World?

Yesterday: Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland

Music 101

Live and Let Die

Paul McCartney and Wings performed the title track — key change! — from the 1973 Bond film starring Roger Moore. When you’ve got a job to do/You’ve got to do it well/You’ve got to give the other fella/Helllllllllll! The tune made it all the way to No. 2 on the Billboard charts, the highest-charting Bond theme to that point.

Remote Patrol

The Longest Day 


There’s James Bond leading the charge

This 1962 film, which won 2 Oscars and was nominated for three others, is the perfect complement to Saving Private Ryan and a great idea for Veterans Day. It tells the story of D-Day from both the Allied and German side, and its special effects, considering the time, are outstanding (even if no one seems to bleed when they get shot). As for star power, how’s this: Sean Connery, Robert Mitchum, John Wayne, Robert Wagner, Henry Fonda, Paul Anka, Richard Beymer, Roddy McDowall and Fabian.