IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Maye Madness*

*The judges acknowledge that this is almost too easy. They’d have accepted “Luke What You’ve Done!” and “Maye Daye! Maye Daye!”

Twenty-five years ago tomorrow, Christian Laettner of Duke buried a shot as time expired to sink Kentucky on a Sunday in the Elite Eight. Yesterday, different white dude, different Carolina team, and a less dramatic shot, but Luke Maye of North Carolina ended Kentucky’s run to the Final Four with an 18-footer with 00.3 on the clock.

Actually, the final sequence was more reminiscent of last year’s national championship game, except this time the Tar Heels played the role of Villanova. Kentucky’s Malik Monk hit a tough three-pointer (his second in the final :40) to tie the score at 73-73, then Carolina’s Theo Pinson dribbled down court and fed the ball to the trailer, Maye, who calmly buried the shot.

The '92 game was better, but Sunday's certainly was memorable, once the refs got out of the way

The ’92 game was better, but Sunday’s certainly was memorable, once the refs got out of the way

Maye, a 6’8″ sophomore from Huntersville, N.C., did not start but did finish with 17 points and geneticists claim that both of his parents had the clutch gene.

So the Final Four is set: two schools from the Carolinas, two from the Pacific Northwest, two No. 1 seeds, and two schools that have won it all as long as 1939 and as recently as 2009: North Carolina, South Carolina, Gonzaga, Oregon.

So am I gonna get paid, Jason?

2. “America Held Hostage” by Sean Hannity

In 1979, when the Americans were taken hostage at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, ABC’s Ted Koppel became the nation’s most trusted news man. Relatively unknown before the hostage crisis began, Koppel came on the air after local news each night to apprise the country of what was transpiring pertaining only to Iran. They named the show Nightline.

It’s still on today. If you want to credit Koppel and Nightline with being the progenitor of cable news, I’d go there, too. The thing about Koppel: he was serious, he was terse, he was objective, but he’d occasionally slip in a dose of his extremely dry sense of humor.

Fast forward 38 years, and here’s Fox News’ Sean Hannity interviewing Koppel, universally respected, and here’s Koppell telling Hannity, “I think you’re bad for America.”

(We know Hannity is bad for America.)

Each night the days since the hostages had been taken would flash on the screen. Occasionally you'll hear people my age saying something like,

Each night the days since the hostages had been taken would flash on the screen. Occasionally you’ll hear people my age saying something like, “Day 14 of the hostage crisis” as pertaining to any bad situation, and this is why

Worth noting; Ted Koppel was born in England in 1940 after his Jewish parents fled Germany to escape the Nazis. I’d think Koppel is even more sensitive than the average person to nationalism and bigotry, but hey, try telling Hannity that.

Notice, here, that Hannity interrupts the 77 year-old Koppel and the older newsman has to ask him to let him finish his sentence. Sad!

Here’s the money quote (in all caps, so nobody misses it): “YOU HAVE ATTRACTED PEOPLE WHO THINK THAT IDEOLOGY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN FACTS.”

(I’d go further; he’s not “attracted” them so much as he’s promoted that concept)

3. Another Day of Trump (Day 67)

I don’t have a problem with the president playing golf on the weekend (okay, 13 rounds in 66 days may be excessive; who does he think he is, Mark Mulvoy?), but it tells you something about both him and Fox News that this tweet is sent out while elsewhere….

 

and…

It’s so easy. It’s so f****n’ easy!

 

 Meanwhile in Huntington Beach, it’s “Welcome To The O.C., Bitch!”

 

4. The Magnolia State Is Doing Great

The reigning College World Series champion is Coastal Carolina, which is located in Conway, South Carolina.

The reigning college football national champion is Clemson, which is located in Clemson, South Carolina.

And now the University of South Carolina becomes, as far as we can discern, the first school from the Magnolia State to even make the Final Four.

Has one state ever claimed national champions in baseball, football and basketball at the Division I level simultaneously? I’ll invite you to check, but the last time I spotted was 1972 (California), when USC won the national championship in baseball and football and UCLA won it in basketball.

5. To Nome Is To Love Him*

If their smartphones are like mine, the battery will go dead in about 3 minutes in that weather

If their smartphones are like mine, the battery will go dead in about 3 minutes in that weather

*The judges will also accept “Mitch Madness”

We’re way late on this, but 57 year-old Mitch Seavey won the Iditarod Sled Dog Race about 12 days ago, becoming the oldest winner in the race’s history while also finishing in record time. Seavey, who previously won the Iditarod in 2004 and 2013, broke the record of Dallas Seavey, a true son of a Mitch, who set it last year.

Mitch finished in 8 days, 3 hours and 40 minutes. The trail is nearly 1,000 miles.

Mitch and Dallas have now each won three Iditarod races. Mitch is the oldest person ever to win it, Dallas the youngest. Mitch’s dad—Dallas’ granddad— Dan competed in the inaugural Iditarod in 1973.

Music 101

Heavydirtysoul

I’ve had access to wheels the past few weeks, which means more radio listening, which means I’ve heard this December 2016 song by Twenty One Pilots quite a bit. In the age of YouTube, I don’t think it really matters how high a song charts (well, it may to the record company and artist) as opposed to how many times the song is downloaded. This tune has already been downloaded more than 21 MILLION times.

Remote Patrol

Women’s Elite Eight

Oregon vs. UConn

7 p.m. ESPN

Gabby Williams

Gabby Williams

Can the Ducks advance to the Final Four in both men’s and women’s hoops? Probably not, as the Fighting Genos have won 110 in a row, but why not tune in? Also, the Cavs are at the Spurs at 8 p.m. on the TNT. Tune in to see who rests!

Three And Out

by Michael DePaoli

DONALD 

An original poem by Michael DePaoli, with props to William Blake

Donald, Donald, burning bright 

Grabs the pu**y in the night,

What immortal hand or Thigh, 

Could turn you into Russian spy? 

In what distant deeps or skies,

Burnt the fire of all your lies? 

From what swamp dare he aspire? 

I hope they tapped your Tower wire,

Your face looks like an orangutan fart,

Twisting the sinews of your black heart,

Many hearts will stop their beat, 

With the healthcare spending you deplete, 

Billions for a useless wall? Are you insane? 

In what furnace did you fry your brain? 

What the anvil? You discriminatory asp,

Unconstitutional is the power you grasp,

At the immigrants you throw your spears, 

You get turned on by poor people’s tears,

You have a fondness for golden shower pee.

Did he who made the Lamb make thee? 

Donald, Donald, burning bright, 

Grabs the pu**y in the night,

What immortal hand or Thigh, 

Could turn you into a Russian spy? 

(If you might like this poem, please buy my eBook: Read More Poetry. No, I do not care whether you might actually read it, just buy it, and often.)

ARE YOU HIGH? 

This is a real conversation with a twenty-something restaurant server in Scottsdale, Arizona:

MD: Why do you like Trump?

S: I just do. 

MD: Did you graduate college?

S: No.

MD: Do you smoke pot?

S: Yes. How did you know? 

MD: How often do you get high?

S: All the time. 

TRUMPCARE 

Trump held a press conference to blame the Democrats for the failure of Trumpcare to win approval in the House. The Trumpcare bill was pulled before a vote.

The real problem here is that Trump was elected under his promise that he would repeal Obamacare and replace the existing health care law with a new plan that would provide better health insurance that would cover everyone.

Trump lied. Trump was elected under false pretenses. Trump never had such new a plan.

The Trumpcare plan that the Republicans did champion (after years of complaining about Obamacare) was a terrible thing that would have eliminated health insurance for millions of Americans, and it would have caused higher premiums for less insurance.

Thank you, James Madison, the primary creator of our Constitution. Your system of government is still working for the people.

The Weakened Edition

by John Walters

Starting Five

Fox On The Run? Sweet!

Kentucky freshman point guard De’Aaron Fox scored 39 points in the Wildcats’ win over UCLA in Memphis in the Sweet 16 last night. They’ve been letting freshman ball (as opposed to a a freshman, Ball) since 1972-73 in the NCAA tournament, and no frosh has ever scored more points in one game than than the quick, brown Fox. The 6’4″ point guard  from New Orleans with the Sideshow Bob ‘do is pure electricity. Is he a Top 5 draft pick now?

“Sit down girl, I think I love ya’ No, get up girl Show me what you can do!”

2. Speaking of Kentucky Guards Who Can Score…

I'm looking at this pic and thinking, Geez, Leandro Barbosa is back with the Suns?!? Dude owns a time machine.

I’m looking at this pic and thinking, Geez, Leandro Barbosa is back with the Suns?!? Dude owns a time machine.

The Phoenix Suns lost their seventh consecutive game last night, but they don’t really care because coach Earl Watson gave them something else on which to focus: getting second-year guard Devin Booker (whom MH mistakenly predicted would be an All-Star this season) a ton of points. Booker, 6’6″, scored 70 in the Suns’ 130-120 loss at Boston last night,

Booker, 20, played 45 minutes, put up 40 shots overall (the team as a whole hoisted 86) and 11 of the Suns’ 19 threes. He was 24 of 26 from the FT line and scored 28 points in the fourth quarter alone. Only five players have ever scored more points in a single game than Booker did last night—Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, David Robinson, David Thompson and Elgin Baylor—and all except Thompson, the original “Sky Walker” whose career was cut short by injuries—are in the Hall of Fame. Booker becomes the only player since Kobe, who scored 81 in 2006, to hit the 70-mark in the past 22 years.

3. A Garden Variety Classic

Chiozza drains a teardrop 23-footer for the win

Chiozza drains a teardrop 23-footer for the win

It was a three-dud night in the Sweet 16 and looking to be an oh-fer in terms of captivating games when Florida went on a 16-3 run against Wisconsin midway through the second half at Madison Square Garden to open up a 12-point lead. Then Wiscy clawed back.

Memorable plays: 1) Zak Showalter‘s running three-pointers, followed by his Discount Double-Check move to Aaron Rodgers, who was seated nearby, to force OT,  2) In overtime, Baby Barry’s come-from-behind block on Khalil Iverson that kept Wiscy from opening up a four-point lead with :34 left, and 3) Chris Chiozza’s length-of-court drive ending with a running three-pointer buzzer beater as time expired. Best last five minutes or so of the tourney.

4. “Talk About…”

 

I don’t know his name yet, but this SI Kids reporter just asked, first word to last, as good a question as you’ll ever hear in a post-game setting. Kudos to South Carolina’s Frank Martin for acknowledging that.

An aside: When I was in my mid-twenties a kid in junior high begged to come to SI’s offices and hang out for a day to see how we did things. Our excellent Chief of Reporters, Bambi Wulf, set him up with Tim Crothers and myself. The kid’s name? Tyler Kepner. He now covers MLB for The New York Times.

5. TrumpCare Flatlines*

*Another Day Of Trump: Day 65

I don’t have the answers to health care. From a pure supply-and-demand standpoint, I kinda feel like we have a surplus of humanity anyway and I welcome the zombie apocalypse as long as there’s still good barbecue.

But from a pure political standpoint, what a glorious mess for the Trump administration. Obama had a lot of dudes on the Hill agains him in his first term, and he STILL got the ACA passed. Trump has now been in office 64 days, made two major offensives (outside of his weekend trips to Mar-A-Lago), the Muslim Ban and WealthCare, and has lost bigly on both of them.

This is not what “winning so much you’ll be sick of winning” looks like.

 

 

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five 

Walton was one of three leading scorers last night with the ball in his hands on a game-winning or tying possession at the end who was unable to close the deal.

Walton was one of three leading scorers last night with the ball in his hands on a game-winning or tying possession at the end who was unable to close the deal.

X’ed Men

In the final four minutes Xavier comes from eight down against Arizona and goes on a 12-2 run to end the game and win by two. We’ll have at least one Catholic school in the Final Four for the second straight year and we will have, for only the sixth time, a regional final between two schools who have never been to a Final Four:

 

 Three of Thursday’s four games came down to a game-winning or game-tying possession. Michigan’s Derrick Walton and Arizona’s Allonzo Trier missed potential game-winning threes while West Virginia’s Jevon Carter never got a chance to get his off.

Walton, Trier and Carter were their teams’ leading scorers last night.

2. Murray State

I don’t want to take credit for putting this together first: @SportsCenter noted that it’s been a fantastic sports year for American treasure Bill Murray. These are good times for Murray, Santori times.

 

Last November Murray’s beloved Chicago Cubs won the World Series and now his adopted college team, Xavier, is onto the Elite Eight (Murray’s son, Luke, is a Xavier assistant coach, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice). Can the Musketeers make it to the Final Four? Is this what the Dalai Lama meant when he told Carl Spackler that on his death bed he’d achieve total consciousness? Is Xavier baby-stepping on the road to the Final Four?

3. Phoenix Sons 

At the age of 23, Len was the Suns' oldest starter

At the age of 23, Len was the Suns’ oldest starter

The Suns lost their sixth in a row last night (keeping pace with the Lakers, who have also lost six straight) by falling 126-98 to the NBA’s worst team, the Boo-klynettes. But that isn’t why anyone will remember this game. What made that game historic was the Suns’ starting five:

Marquese Chriss: 19

Derrick Jones, Jr.: 20

Alex Len: 23

Devin Booker: 20

Tyler Ulis: 21

The Suns put the youngest starting five in NBA history on the floor, according to Elias Sports Bureau. That’s funny, since the team’s namesake is the oldest piece of known matter in the galaxy. 60% of the starting five isn’t old enough to drink. Also, the Suns lost by 28 to the worst team in the league, so there’s that.

4. High Nunes

Nunez appears to be the latest link in the Circle of Scum

Nunez appears to be the latest link in the Circle of Scum

*Another Day of Trump (Day 64)

*The judges will also accept “The Devin Made Me Do It” 

The newest member of The Worst Wing (All Trumps except Melania and possibly Barron; Steve Bannon; Sean Spicer; Kellyanne Conway; Mitch McConnell; Reince Priebus; Stephen Miller: Paul Ryan; Jeff Sessions; Rex “My Wife Made Me Do It” Tillerson; Paul Manafort; and of course, Vladimir Putin) is California Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Reprobate).

 

Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee investigating alleged ties between the Trump team and Russia, apologized yesterday (!) for taking information that he supposedly has acquired about the investigation to the White House and informing them about it. “Is that bad?”

 

Then Nunes refused to say if other information he has received that is exculpatory came directly from the White House itself and also suddenly became very protective about anonymous sources. “We want people to come forward,” Nunes said without a trace of irony, because that’s how this administration works.

Meanwhile, last night I caught the end of the original, 1956 version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. You can FF to about 1:50 and tell me if you’ve seen a better illustration in film of those of us who’ve been warning against Trump for nearly two years:

5. It’s A Bluth White House

America gets a glimpse of Donald's

America gets a glimpse of Donald’s “O” face….

Major props to Dan Diamond, or @ddiamond, of Politico who some time while you and I were sleeping sussed out that the entire Trump administration is that episode of Arrested Development titled “The One Where They Build a House.”

 

I won’t reproduce all of Diamond’s tweets here, but the one above launches a 10-tweet storm that eerily and hilariously ties the Bluths to the Trumps and maybe, just maybe, as one @ reply suggested, G.O.B was always meant to represent GOP. Go find his feed from about 12 hours ago (just after 11 p.m. East Coast time) and read the tweets. It’s sad, hilarious and eerie.

Look, America, it's the megalomaniacal, delusional son of a shady real-estate developer!

Look, America, it’s the megalomaniacal, delusional son of a shady real-estate developer!

Even if Trump bankrupts America, financially, ethically and physically, remember, there’s money in that banana stand.

Music 101

Eight Miles High

Few bands epitomized the mid-Sixties counterculture sound better than The Byrds, and this 1966 song is considered to be the genesis of psychedelic rock. It was banned by many stations because of connotations to drug use (note the title), which may be why, although it is a timeless classic, it never reached Top 10 on the charts.

Remote Patrol

Night of Classics

The Godfather

7 p.m. AMC

The Wizard of Oz

8 p.m. TCM

East Regional 

North Carolina-Butler followed by Kentucky-UCLA

7 p.m. CBS

“Now who’s being naive, Kate?” If for some ungodly reason, you’ve never seen The Godfather, correct that tonight. It may be the best American film. Period. Then you can tune in to see the two schools that have won more national championships (19 combined) than anyone else, the Wildcats and Bruins. Good stuff.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Flag-waving Trump supporters can take pride in a pitcher descended from slaves leading the USA to the championship (as Ben Carson reminds us that slaves are immigrants, too).

Flag-waving Trump supporters can take pride in a pitcher descended from slaves leading the USA to the championship (as Ben Carson reminds us that slaves are immigrants, too).

Stroman Argument

For the first time in four tries, the U.S.A. won the World Baseball Classic last night, delivering an 8-0 silencing of Puerto Rico (take that, Bernardo!). Starter Marcus Stroman who stands just 5’8″, gave up just one hit in six-plus innings in Dodger Stadium and Ian Kinsler started things off with a two-run homer. It was Puerto Rico’s first loss in the tournament (they’d beaten the Americans in pool play) in eight games.

Does this bode well for the Yankees’ season?

2. London, New York Attacks 

A fanatic, a car and three innocent victims in London yesterday. The 52 year-old drove his car along Westminster Bridge, striking pedestrians (one of them a man from Utah, Kurt Cochran, who was visiting with his wife to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary), then got out and fatally stabbed an unarmed policeman. He was later shot dead.

Caughman, right, meeting Wyclef Jean

Caughman, right, meeting Wyclef Jean

Meanwhile in New York City, a 28 year-old white supremacist took a bus from Maryland to New York, and probably only wandered a block or two before fatally stabbing 66 year-old Timothy Caughman specifically because he was black. The murderer was apprehended and here’s hoping he’s put in the general population at Riker’s Island for a month.

 

This morning President Trump tweeted his condolences to one of the two families. You couldn’t have it illustrated more clearly what he and his administration are all about.

3. Another Day Of Trump (Day 63)*

*I’d been toying with the idea of making ‘Another Day of Trump’ a daily item, and then Susie B’s imploring made it a done deal. Here’s hoping we won’t have to take this into the triple digits. P.S. It’s too exhausting to document everything vile Trump and his minions do each day, so pardon me if I just cherry pick on that.

In an interview with Time magazine out today, President Trump runs through every conceivable excuse as to why his lies are fine, even using this reason as his bottom line: “I can’t be doing so badly because I’m president, and you’re not. You know?”

We know.

4. You Go, Norway! (And I’ll Go Mine)

This is what Norwegians consider

This is what Norwegians consider “urban blight”

A recent report by the United Nations ranked Norway number one in terms of happiness. So that makes the Scandinavian nation the happiest place on earth, no? Sorry, Walt.

Having visited Norway and spent more than a week there, I get it. Beautiful scenery, even more beautiful people, and all the lutefisk you can devour. Although the stat geeks may take issue with its Strength of Schedule. Denmark is now No. 2. Basically, if you don’t visit Scandinavia at least once in your life, you’re doing it all wrong.

5. Ruminations on Janet Leigh, Robert Mitchum

Janet Leigh and an otherwise 100% vacant motel in the desert: What could possibly go right?

Janet Leigh and an otherwise 100% vacant motel in the desert: What could possibly go right?

I’ve nearly overdosed on TCM this week and here are two observations (with apologies to all you serious connoisseurs of cinema out there):

A) In her two most famous films, Touch of Evil and Psycho, lovely Janet Leigh finds herself imperiled in an off-the-beaten-path motel in the American southwest that is 100% vacant when she arrives. The films were made just two years apart, and each time Leigh confronts a creepy innkeeper (Dennis Weaver and later Tony Perkins). In the first film Leigh is drugged (heroin, reefer) but survives while in the second, well, you can take a stab at what befalls her.

Mitchum agrees to a strip search before Martin Balsam and Gregory Peck. He's been lifting.

Mitchum agrees to a strip search before Martin Balsam and Gregory Peck. He’s been lifting.

B) In two of his more notorious roles, in the films Night Of The Hunter and Touch Of Evil, Robert Mitchum plays a savage and cunning murderer who pursues children along a river. For the record, those tributaries appear to be the Ohio river and the Cape Fear river.

The Birds: Tippi was trippy

The Birds: Tippi was trippy

C) One more thing: Watching Psycho and The Birds in the same week informs you that Alfred Hitchcock had a thing about overbearing mothers of adult men who find insanely attractive blondes showing up on their doorstep. At least Jessica Tandy’s character was alive.

p.s. If anyone at TCM reads this and is still looking for someone to fill the void left by Robert Osborne‘s recent passing, well, I could never fill his shoes, but I’m more than happy to do a few stand-up intros for you.

 

Music 101

Same Drugs

At the risk of sounding like the middle-aged white guy I am, I LOVED this performance by Chance The Rapper on the SNL recently because I was expecting a rapper (you know, the name) and what I got instead was the reincarnation of Stevie Wonder. I knew nothing about his music—I’d heard the name—but Mr. The Rapper blew me away with his talent. This song and performance would have fit just as seamlessly on the first season of SNL in 1975 as it did last month.

There’s a sweetness to Chance, who’s only 23 and will be one of the headliners at Lollapalooza this August in his native Chicago.  Consider me a fan.

Remote Patrol

Sweet 16 Games

7 p.m. CBS

Michigan-Oregon followed by Kansas-Purdue

7:30 p.m. TBS 

Gonzaga-West Virginia followed by Arizona-Xavier

Caleb Swanigan, Human Sweatbomb

Caleb Swanigan, Human Sweatbomb

We’ve ridden the Wolverines this far, we’re not abandoning Project Runway tonight. One of the other higher seeds will lose tonight and if I had to pick (and I don’t, but I will), I’d say it will be Gonzaga.

Three And Out

by Michael DePaoli

TRUMP IS NOT A CONSPIRACY THEORIST

Please stop insulting all those great conspiracy theories by labeling the pathologically lying Trump as a conspiracy theorist. It is just wrong to impugn the theorist paddlers. Trump is a liar. He does not espouse theories, he just makes stuff up in his head and falsely represents the facts.

Trump did not have a “theory” about Obama wiretapping Trump Tower. Instead, Trump was just being a big liar. Then, to compound his own lie, Trump sent out Sean Spicer to lie about the British, and he sent out Kellyanne Conway to lie about microwave ovens.

There is a huge difference between conspiracy theories and Trump lies.

When you agree upon a common nucleus of facts, and then you postulate a different (minority) interpretation of those facts, you are a conspiracy theorist. Thus, in the book “Is Shakespeare Dead?” the great writer Mark Twain was a conspiracy theorist because he was postulating a minority theory that maybe there was never a man named Shakespeare and therefore the Bard could not be dead. This effort by Mark Twain is commendable, because taking the time to question imperfect conclusions helps our society advance and learn. It is part of progress. Throughout history, society has benefitted by great minds examining the established explanations from different perspectives.

That is not what Trump is doing. He is not trying to figure something out from a different perspective. Trump is just fundamentally dishonest.

So please, you journalists at Mother Jones, Huffington Post, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, CNN, etc., stop calling Trump a conspiracy theorist! (Ed. Note: Thank you for not throwing MH under this large bus)

THE TOM BRADY JERSEY, MEDIA, MEXICO

As if Trump’s warfare against the media and Mexico were not hot enough, already, it was revealed that Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jersey was allegedly stolen by a Mexican tabloid media executive.

UCONN WOMEN 

The score was 28 to 11 at the end of the first quarter. The final score was 94-64. But, the game was not that close. UCONN women’s basketball dynasty continues with their victory over Syracuse in a rematch of last year’s final. The UCONN women enter the Sweet 16 in the tournament, yet again.

The UCONN women’s basketball team dynasty is one of the greatest of all time, of any sport. But, at the sports bar in Scottsdale, Arizona I had to ask for the game to be shown.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

1. Magic Ball, a.k.a Race To The Bottom

With each UCLA victory in the NCAA tourney (and even before), more and more people use the word “transcendent” to describe the game of Bruin freshman Lonzo Ball. Meanwhile, fellow Pac-12 freshman Markelle Fultz is being called the No. 1 pick in June’s draft, but nobody besides scouts and people in flannel shirts have seen him play. There’s no sizzle there.

So here’s what intrigues me: 1) If you have the first pick in the draft, are you really going to take a guard from a Pac-12 team that couldn’t even make the NCAA tourney over a guard from a Pac-12 team who is the main reason that team is leading the nation in scoring, assists AND field-goal percentage, who has a much higher sizzle factor, and who may simply be better? 2) Here are the three worst teams in the NBA: Brooklyn Nets (14-56; their pick goes to Boston), L.A. Lakers (20-51) and Phoenix Suns (22-49). Is there any way that Ball, who grew up not too far from L.A. and who would be a rock star for a dynastic franchise looking to reboot, does not end up at the Staples Center for 43 games a season? Here are the NBA Draft Lottery odds:

  1. 250 combinations, 25.0% chance of receiving the #1 pick
  2. 199 combinations, 19.9% chance
  3. 156 combinations, 15.6% chance
  4. 119 combinations, 11.9% chance
  5. 88 combinations, 8.8% chance
  6. 63 combinations, 6.3% chance
  7. 43 combinations, 4.3% chance
  8. 28 combinations, 2.8% chance
  9. 17 combinations, 1.7% chance
  10. 11 combinations, 1.1% chance
  11. 8 combinations, 0.8% chance
  12. 7 combinations, 0.7% chance
  13. 6 combinations, 0.6% chance
  14. 5 combinations, 0.5% chance

    Josh Jackson should be in Phoenix next weekend and then next season.

    Josh Jackson should be in Phoenix next weekend and then for good next season.

It seems to make the most sense that the Lakers win the lottery with their 19.9% chance and (Psst, Rob Pelinka: Don’t overthink your first real move as GM) and take Ball, which will incite an 18,000-word Bill Simmons column about how Adam Silver rigged the lottery, in which case the name Patrick Ewing will surface. I’d love to see the Nets/Celtics actually win the lottery with their best odds and take Ball, which would be almost as satisfying as actually beating the Lakers in the NBA Finals.

Either way, I just know my Suns won’t be landing Ball. We’ll be happy with Josh Jackson at 3,

2. “STELLA! STELLA!!!!!!!!”

Someone didn’t do their high school English assignment 25 years ago and it cost him $1,600. Then again, I think I saw A Streetcar Naked Desire on Cinemax a number of years ago.

3. The Cranky Sports Guy

The downward spiral continues. Yesterday Bill Simmons, millionaire, complained on Twitter about a former writer at Grantland, Jonah Keri, stealing his bit and using it for other sites. Technically, sure, he has a point, but I’m not sure a Trade Value column poaching is the hill you want to die on here. You have to understand that it’s not as if you’re Tom Petty and the Red Hot Chili Peppers stole your riff to “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.” It’s a sports column and it’s not as if Keri ended the column by writing, “Yep, these are my readers.”

If you’re wondering why Simmons simply didn’t privately contact Keri about his gripe, well 1) I don’t know, either or 2) maybe he did. Either way, the fact that Keri acknowledged Simmons in his column for sorta creating the idea should’ve been enough. No?

The thing of it is, 47 year-old Bill Simmons has become the type of self-absorbed media monster that 27 year-old Bill Simmons would have really enjoyed taking the piss out of. And he would have been hilarious doing it. Tweets such as this have a Butterfly Effect: Simmons tweets this and 3 dozen people back in Bristol nod their heads and say, “I told you so.”

4. So Long, Gong

Barris was 87

Barris was 87

Somewhere in America this conversation is taking place right now:

“Did you hear that Chuck Barris died?”

“No, Chuck Berry died.”

“No, Chuck Barris.
    “Berry. The musician.
“No, The Gong Show host.”

“Berry.

Barris.”

“Berry!”

Bar–GONG!”

Kids, you’re both correct.

Anyway, they both died within the past four days. Weird. Barris hosted The Gong Show, which was a savagely cruel talent show/game show that aired in the mid-Seventies in which the acts could be “Gong’ed” off stage if they were awful enough (and they often were). If David Letterman has a favorite game show, my guess is this one is it. It was like the antecedent to Stupid Human Tricks, and Barris was the perfect, unhinged but amicable, host for it.

(Why don’t people have this much fun on TV any more? And why do they take themselves so seriously now?)

You may also have seen the biopic on him starring Sam Rockwell, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, in which Barris claimed to have been an assassin for the CIA. I don’t know if we can verify that, but Barris did help create The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game and wrote the pop hit “Palisades Park.”

Barris will be buried next to the Tomb of the Unknown Comic.

p.s. MH sensors would only allow us to show you this video via link….

5. Burp Ease

I came across this story in Runner’s World in which the author did three sets of 10 burpees for 15 days and noticed a change in her energy and fitness level (the story quotes Dr. Jordan Metzl, whom I’ve met a few times and is probably better than any doctor I know in terms of getting his name in fitness publications; who’s his P.R. person?).

Anyway, burpees truly are a great way to measure how UNFIT you are and if you don’t believe me, go ahead and do a set of 10 of them right now. Did you know that they were invented by a then physiology grad student at Columbia Teachers College (NYC) in 1939 named Royal H. Burpee (I just learned that).

I highly recommend even just adding one set of 10 (to start) to your daily routine and see if you notice a difference after a month. And if you’re not sure how to do a burpee, here’s FOMH Amelia Boone to demonstrate:

Music 101

It’s Time

Once in awhile the MH staffers pick a song that’s not of legal drinking age. This one from Imagine Dragons was released in 2012 and is one their bigger hits. I wish I didn’t hate this band’s name.

Remote Patrol

March Malice Doubleheader

TCM

1:45 p.m. What Ever Happened To Baby Jane

8 p.m. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

If you are watching

If you are watching “The Feud” on FX, this is the film around which it is centered

You’ve got Joan Crawford and Bette Davis in the opener and Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne in the nightcap. On AFI’s list of Greatest Movie Stars, Davis is No. 2 and Crawford No. 10 among women, while Stewart is No. 3 and the Duke No. 13 among men.

West Coasters and night owls: At 12:15 a.m. EST and 9:15 p.m. PST on TMC, it’s a genuine classic, Touch of Evil, a 1958 film noir starring Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh and Orson Welles (written and directed by Orson). Also, you get another creepy scene involving Leigh and a bizarre innkeeper, this one played by Dennis Weaver. If you’re up or out west, highly recommend. TMC is hitting it out of the park the past fortnight.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

1. Lying Donald Trump

It took the Director of the FBI, James Comey, to state under oath not directly that Donald Trump is a liar, but that nothing that he has tweeted in connection to being wiretapped is true. If there is one thing anyone paying attention should have learned by now, it’s that the truth is to Donald Trump what a speed limit is to those of us who have ever tried to drive more than 300 miles in one day.

Would I lie to you (ohhhhh, yeah),

Would I lie to you, honey (oh no no no),

Now would I tweet something that wasn’t true?

I’m asking you, sugar, would I lie-ie-ie to you?

The more we see of him in the Oval Office, the more Trump reminds us of only one other leader of a nation in the world today:

Finally, how often do you hear “White House sextuples down” and not think it’s a juicy story involving Bill Clinton?

 

2. Connecticut’s Other Team

Quinnipiac's quixotic quest quontinues

Quinnipiac’s quixotic quest quontinues

Yes, the UConn Huskies breezed past Syracuse by 30 points in the second round (pssst: the same two teams played for the national championship last April and the Huskies won that one by 31), but another Nutmeg State squad won last night in the women’s NCAA tourney. The Quinnipiac Bobcats, a 12-seed, stunned 4-seed Miami in Coral Gables last night, 85-78. Quinnipiac took down 5-seed Marquette on Saturday.

Quinnipiac is in the Stockton bracket, and would not meet its in-state neighbor until the national championship game if if got that far.

In other news, Tennessee failed to reach the Sweet 16 for only the second time, losing to Louisville. Kelsey Plum of U-Dub scored 38 to give her the NCAA single-season scoring record (1,080; she’s already the NCAA’s career scoring leader) as the Huskies put down Oklahoma. Finally, every 1, 2 and 3 seed in the women’s tourney but for one school: Duke, which was a 2-seed and lost to 10-seed Oregon by nine.

Bad weekend for Duke hoops.

3. Tapper Meets Maher

In case you missed this from Friday night, Jake Tapper of CNN has raised his profile greatly in the past three months. Here’s a smart conversation with Bill Maher from last Friday night…

4. Dwight Clark Has ALS

Tough news: Former San Francisco wide receiver Dwight Clark, 60, announced that he has ALS, which is incurable and a particularly cruel and debilitating disease. Because of the moment above, though, Clark is an immortal.

5. Hustle & Flow

 

 You have to love the complete absence of chalance shown by this potential drowning victim. His car may be seconds away from being washed downstream with him in it, but he does not exit the vehicle until he is sure he is able to find his cell phone. As our friend @AuburnElvis suggested, “He needed to check his brackets.”

Music 101

Where The Bands Are

The Boss is a prolific songwriter, and some of Bruce Springsteen‘s better tunes never even made it onto his studio albums. This one, written in 1979, should have made it onto The River, but instead had to wait nearly 20 years to be included on his four-disc outtakes release, Tracks. Reading Born To Run, his 2016 memoir, you get the overwhelming sense that all Bruce ever really wanted to do was just play gigs. A dive in Asbury Park. A roller rink in Neptune. The Super Bowl. Makes no difference. As he says to the fans in another live version of this song on YouTube, “I wanna be where the fans are.”

Love how this version begins with him singing the first verse a cappella. No one will ever accuse Bruce of having a heavenly voice, but there sure is a life’s worth of texture there.

Remote Patrol

Double Indemnity

8 p.m. TCM


It’s “March Malice” week on my favorite cable channel, so why not take in this 1944 Billy Wilder classic that basically set the template for Los Angeles film noir. Starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck, it was nominated for seven Oscars but received none.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

The Crying Games*

*The judges will also accept “March Meme-ness”

After a desultory first round (no losers in the top 4 seeds, only 3 games decided by 2 or fewer points, no buzzer beaters), the tourney kicked into a higher gear over the weekend:

–No. 1 seed and defending champion Villanova lost to Wisconsin.

Caleb Swanigan of Purdue was both an inspiration and a perspiration.

Joel Berry Carroll of UNC used good pad level and a non-call by a ref to help UNC go on a game-ending 12-0 run to hold off Arkansas.

 

 (Stew’s a Northwestern alum)

–Michigan, a.k.a. Project Runway, continued its magical run by upsetting No. 2 Louisville, 73-69.

 

–And Gonzaga nearly squandered all of a 20-point lead to hold off Northwestern. Yes, it was basket interference but no, Chris Collins, you can’t take three steps onto the court and get in a ref’s face as play continues. Besides, it wasn’t even that ref’s call to make. Just because you sat NEXT to Coach K doesn’t mean you can behave like Coach K. Not yet. Refs blew it, sure, but as a head coach you can’t cost your kids 2 points that late in a game. Four-point swing there (score was 73-68 when Pardon went up for dunk), from potentially 73-70 to 75-68. And yes, Northwestern kid, we don’t blame you for that reaction. But you’re only 12. The head ball coach needs to know better.

Gonzaga's 7-foot, 320-pound Przemek Karnowski:

Gonzaga’s 7-foot, 320-pound Przemek Karnowski: “Hodor! Hodor! Hodor!”

2. Whistle Blowers

 There were 48 meaningful games between Thursday at 12:15 p.m.  and Sunday at 11 p.m., so yeah, there are going to be some poor calls by the refs and, yeah, they’re going to be hyper-exaggerated because every game is do-or-die. Having said that (and you know what Seinfeld says about “Having said that….”),

…there were some obvious poor calls (Gonzaga’s goal tend and Joel Berry’s three yards and a cloud of dust, not to mention the tipped shot by the Tar Heel defender that the refs reviewed and still got wrong). Meanwhile, dudes take two steps after dribbling on drives to the hoop and no one calls a travel.

If you’re like me, you want the games to be called correctly, you don’t want refs to reward players for playing out of control, and you want the game to have a flow. Oh, and you don’t want every last thing reviewed because there’s no better way to rob the last 2 minutes of a game of its natural rhythm. Is that so difficult?

3. More Wisdom From Geno

I always enjoy watching people’s preconceptions (i.e. misconceptions) about Geno Auriemma undergo a transformation. This was from over the weekend. Here he is talking about “body language,” and I’m not talking about the Queen album song.

Geno gets it. He always has.

4. Here Come The Conways

Remember just a week or two ago when the Kellyanne Conway train had run off the rails? Now she’s being profiled in New York magazine (my pull quote from Olivia Nuzzi’s story:  “Anybody who pretends I’m not smart or not credible, it’s like, ‘Excuse me, I’ve spoken 1.2 million words on TV, okay?,’ ” Conway told me before the Flynn mishap. “You wanna focus on two here and two there, it’s on you, you’re a fucking miserable person, P.S., just whoever you are.”) and her husband, George, is up for a job with the Department of Justice (psst: I think he’s got a legitimate shot of landing it.

5. Bye, Bye Breslin

Breslin passed away this weekend at the age of 88

Breslin passed away this weekend at the age of 88

In New York City in the Sixties and Seventies Jimmy Breslin was a legend. Even people who didn’t know how to read knew who the New York Daily News columnist was. Breslin epitomized New York of that era: he was loud, he was unkempt, he was in poor shape, he was obnoxious, he was provocative, he was angry, and he was smart.

One of his better quotes: ““Rage is the only quality which has kept me, or anybody I have ever studied, writing columns for newspapers.”

I thought about all the people on Twitter who have told me I’ve gone off the deep end about Trump in the past 20 months and I thought, Exactly. Rage stirs passion, which is why I’ll never apologize for not seeming rational about Trump. What I do wonder is why anyone would be dispassionate about him.

Music 101

No Particular Place To Go

On Saturday night Chuck Berry died at the age of 90, and there are a whole lot of people who know more about rock-and-roll than your intrepid correspondent who consider him the father of rock-and-roll. Yes, there were a few predecessors (Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson), but Marty McFly never appropriated any of their hits (“Johnnie B. Goode”). This was not his first hit (“Maybellene”) but you can see a lot of Berry’s personality in this live performance. If you want to read more on Berry, here’s a piece by The New York Times. 

Remote Patrol

Warriors at Thunder

8 p.m. TNT

Mommie Dearest

Mommie Dearest

Will everyone rest again? If you’ve overindulged in hoops the past four days, may I suggest Psycho on TCM, also at 8 p.m.?

Designated Survivor: Day 4

I’m through (unofficially) to the fourth round with my Gonzaga pick yesterday (after West Virginia on Thursday and Oregon on Friday). My Sunday pick? Baylor.

As for the actual players, we are down to just two (sorry, Lorraine W.; we don’t see a Friday pick).

Pick Day 4 in the Comments and thanks for playing….

 

Gene B: Gonzaga, Kansas, Florida State

Fawn L: Butler, Oregon, Gonzaga

Jim O: Duke, Oregon ?

James D.: Gonzaga ?

Brian R.: Florida State, Baylor ?

Sean S.: Purdue, Baylor, Gonzaga, 

Brian C.: Virginia, Baylor, ?

Jeff P: Butler, Oregon, Florida State

Ruth R.: Iowa State, Creighton

Jacob: A: Virginia, SMU

Susie B.: Maryland

Michael Z: Vanderbilt