by John Walters

A Medium Happy 73rd to Joe Pesci. Yes, you do amuse us.

Starting Five

Stewart and Auriemma are in the midst of his greatest run at UConn

1. The Ultimate 1%’ers

Since the start of Breanna Stewart’s sophomore season in Storrs, she and Geno Auriemma have lost fewer than one percent of their games. Connecticut, with last night’s 12-point win at No. 2 South Carolina, is now 101-1 in the past two-plus years. The Huskies’ lone loss during the streak came at Stanford, by 2 points, in overtime, in mid-November of 2014.

They’ve now won 60 in a row, all by at least 10 points, and are gunning for their fourth consecutive NCAA championship. In all of sports, no one is more devastatingly dominant than U Conn. The question becomes, Why can’t women’s basketball ever seem to catch up?

2. Four on Four

Yield for Hield

So I was watching Texas at Oklahoma last night (nice shot, Buddy Hield) and it occurred to me once again that the entire game of basketball in the half-court set is about spacing. Part of the problem/reason is that players are so tall, so long and so fast these days and that the court was designed 125 years ago, when anyone over 6’3″ was considered tall.

Okay, so I doubt an entire league or association is going to vote next week to turn the game into a four-on-four deal, although I believe the game would be more entertaining. But then I thought, Why wouldn’t a coach just occasionally keep one of his defenders back under his own basket? This would force the offense to consider keeping a player at least back at mid court—unless they want to surrender a cherry-pick basket, especially if they miss their shot—and that would essentially turn the game into a four on four.

Now, you say, well this would give the offense a 5 on 4 advantage. True. And even if it didn’t, why would the defense want to create a 4 on 4 situation? Answer: It wouldn’t, but if both teams employed this method, we’d get the game we deserve.

Meanwhile, I wonder why a coach wouldn’t just try this once a game, the way a team tries a flea flicker or halfback option pass once a game? You wouldn’t do it just once? Turns out, I’m told, the owner of the Sacramento Kings, Vivek Ranadive, pitched this to coach George Karl last season. To no avail. It looks as if Karl will be fired this week. So, you know….why not give it a shot now?

3. Come at me Bro (And Emily Did)

“The bad news, ladies, is that I only brought two Chick-Fil-A sammiches and there’s three of us, sooooo……”

For some reason unbeknownst to me, the producers of The Bachelor chose to hold last night’s episode in the midst of a hurricane in the Bahamas. I mean, nobody looked as if they were having any fun.

Would you really be at all surprised to discover that Emily is the Evil Twin?

And then they announced that there’d be a 2 on 1 date (as opposed to 4 on 4), a win-or-go-home scenario, and then placed the show’s two most compelling characters, Emily and Olivia, on the date. This is the equivalent of having Duke and Kentucky meet (in a year, unlike this year, when Duke and Ky. are good) in the Sweet 16.

Anyway,  Olivia was all “Come at me, bro” but then when Ben saw Emily in her skimpy outfit, well, I didn’t even have the volume on, but between Emily’s figure and Olivia’s control-freak craziness, it was only a matter of time before our Peter Brady doppelgänger figured it out.

Now the show’s problem becomes, Where do you go from here? You’ve knocked out the Joker halfway through the movie. Gotham City is saved. Now what?
Meanwhile, final note on Emily: Ben really couldn’t tell her apart from her twin sister, Haley, so he goes on a date with the two of them and takes them to their mom’s house (it turns out that mom is Paula Dean! Who knew?). Anyway, Ben sits down with Mom and basically asks, “So give me the scouting report on your daughters.” Mom does and Ben picks Emily. Assuming that anyone even cares about winning this silly contest, isn’t Haley giving Mom the side eye for the next three months? Thanks a lot, Mom. I guess we know who you’d pick.

4. Run, Michael, Run (See Michael Run?)

Mike Mulls (was not the name of the bassist of REM)

As the New Hampshire primary is held today, word comes down that former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is nearly as old as Bernie Sanders and who is wealthier than Donald Trump, is seriously weighing joining the race. “I find the level of discourse and discussion distressingly banal and an outrage and an insult to the voters,” Bloomberg, who turns 74 on Valentine’s Day, told the Financial Times. As soon as most of the candidates locate a dictionary, they’re going to decipher Bloomberg’s quote and return fire.

C’mon, Michael, run! You’re never going to be this young again, and we need you’re cold, pragmatic approach, should we say, your “New York values,” in these troubling times.

5. Shouldn’t They Be Using Retrievers?

What’s next? Wimbledog?

This was SO obvious: Anyone who has ever taken both a dog and a tennis ball to a local park for a game of fetch understands that using doggies for ball boys, as they are doing at the Argentina Open, is a fabulous idea. I don’t know what they’re doing about the slobber on the balls, but we can worry about that later.

Music 101

So Far Away

In 1971 Carole King released Tapestry and became the first female songwriter mega-star. The album spent 15 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard charts and spawned five legitimate all-time hits (“I Feel The Earth Move,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “It’s Too Late,” “You Make Me Feel (Like A Natural Woman)” and this one. King, who turns 74 today, is of course most revered for writing and singing the theme song for Gilmore Girls.

Remote Patrol

The People Vs. O.J. Simpson

10 p.m. FX

A few other things you may want to watch: No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, who beat Providence in Chicago last week (FS1, 8:30 p.m.) or Houston at Golden State (TNT, 10:30 p.m.) for obvious reasons. This series started hot last week—everyone is perfectly cast except, ironically, the Juice—and I wonder if it can maintain its momentum once it gets bogged down in court. When we left our anti-hero last week, he was getting into a white Bronco with A.C. Cowlings.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 75th to….Santa Claus? Nope, that’s actually Nick Nolte, who was once People mag’s “Sexiest Man Alive.”

Starting Five

Super Bowl Zzzz

Six turnovers. 15 punts. 18 penalties. 25 failed third-down conversions. If Super Bowl XLIX was 100 yards, Super Bowl 50 barely made it beyond its own 35 yard-line. Someone had the headline “The Old Man and the D.” Can’t improve upon that.

Von Miller: Appetite for Disruption


Von Miller and Denver’s defense was spectacular. As were Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Bruno Mars. Everything else was meh.

2. Cam-demonium

Good times

Judge Smails:
It’s easy to grin/When your ship comes in/And you’ve got the stock market beat/But the man who’s worthwhile/Is the man who can smile/When his pants are too tight in the seat.

Proverbs 16:18

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before the fall.

Lots of blather about Cam Newton, again, last night and this morning. You can act any way you want to act. Likewise, people are free to REACT to your actions in any way they see fit.

Me, I made the error of inviting Twitter to explore the possibility that while some of the critiques of Mr. Newton may be a product of racial bias, that many of them may just be about thinking his behavior was immature. And, no, I don’t have the numbers on how many are one or the other.

Cam brought a “Never Say Dive” attitude to SB 50

The problem I have with all of this is that as soon as you wade into this quagmire, if you are white, you get called out on your “white privilege.” And here is what the other side—and not only do I hesitate to call them that, but I must impress upon you that the other side consists of people of all colors, not just people of color—may fail to understand. When you attack someone for exploring the issue simply based upon their color, all you do is encourage people to not broach the topic, because they’d rather not be labeled a racist simply for bringing up race. You’re not winning any people over to your side. You’re simply creating more people who silently seethe at you until someone like Donald Trump comes along and galvanizes all of them with code words like “Take our country back” or “Make America great again.”

Mars attacks! It was nice to see at least one mobile quarterback be well protected by his line last night.

You want to have an honest discussion about race? Argue the points. Don’t be prejudiced against someone making the point and condemn them out of hand for the color of their skin. After all, isn’t that the very injustice you are railing against in the first place?

Back to Cam. He can behave however he pleases. I’m not trying to change him. Did you see  Jason McIntyre posting Russell Wilson’s postgame presser from Super Bowl XLIX? I happen to think there’s a qualitative difference between the two quarterbacks’ pressers. If you don’t, that’s fine. That’s your opinion and you’re welcome to it. I don’t believe it’s a white trait to think that Wilson handled this moment with more grace. But that’s me.

3. Alice Doesn’t Live (Here) Anymore

Denham, not in denim

Granted, I don’t pore over New York Times obits as assiduously as my colleague, Richard Deitsch (I really admire this about him; truly), but this one on 89 year-old Alice Denham is fantastic. She moved to NYC in the early Fifties with aspirations of being a writer and soon found that men well, kind of noticed her. She knew everybody, and she knew every body.

Flashing the come, hither look. Who is Hither?

4. Bern Your Enthusiasm

My favorite SNL skit of the weekend combines Bernie Sanders in Iowa with a typical Larry David-Curb style situation. Cecily Strong hits it out of the park as Susie Essman. Waiting for next week when Jay Pharoah stars in Curb Your Benthusiasm.

5. Seven-Minute History of Sports In Film

James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Adam Devine and Zac Efron do a great job here. Just the costume changes alone are worthy of awe.

Music 101

My Shot

I haven’t seen the musical Hamilton yet (perhaps after the Medium Happy IPO) but friends and family have turned me on to the soundtrack, a hip-hop re-telling of the man who might’ve become one of our first U.S. presidents if he hadn’t gotten into a duel over a girl.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, who was born in the Inwood section of Manhattan (upper, above the GWB), is the genius behind the show and plays the title character. This is the show-stopper, the third song in.

Remote Patrol

The Bachelor

8 p.m. 10 p.m.

Crazy. Beautiful. Yes, Olivia is both, but she’s much more of the former. Yeah, I know the entire show is audience manipulation and perhaps Olivia is just savvy enough to know that she’ll have  longer fame shelf life if she puts on this act, but it is connvincing. Psst, Ben: Pick the twin. You’ll always have a back-up if it goes south…


by John Walters

“My heroes have always been Cowboys/And they still are, it seems…” A Medium Happy 74th to Roger Staubach, my childhood athletic hero.

Starting Five

What’s the over/under on how many times in his life Martin Shkreli has been told to “wipe that sh**-eating grin off your face?”

1. The Martin Chronicles*

The judges will also accept “Shkreli Vanilli.”

Pharmaceutical magnate/extremely rare record collector Martin Shkreli, who is both a 1%er and a 5,000%er, appeared before a Senate subcommittee hearing yesterday. I don’t think he embarrassed himself anywhere near as badly as Congressman Trey Gowdy, who tried to get cute with him by asking the correct pronunciation of his name, and then chiding Shkreli that, see, you are capable of answering questions…

However, I hope Shkreli listened to Rep. Elijah Cummings, though I doubt that he did. This was solid advice, that surely will appear in the ABC miniseries “Shkreli,” next winter.

But he probably did not listen, as this tweet Shkreli sent out moments after appearing before the subcommittee suggests:

I’m a free-market advocate, but when is the last time you rooted so hard for karma to rise up and put its tentacles into someone?

2. The Binks Job

The only person in this video who did not demean himself or herself is the guy thrusting his pelvis into the face of the “reporter.” If you see the video from earlier in this scene, Julie Stewart-Binks is giving Gronk the “Do Me” look something fierce.

I understand that he’s Gronk, he’s just a playful, seemingly lobotomized Hall of Fame tight end/sex toy. I’m sure he’s actually much, much smarter (a 21st century Terry Bradshaw in that way). But how great that this happened on NFL Women’s Summit day? And how curious that none of the women we normally hear waving pom moms for the Ya-Ya Sisterhood of Professionalism condemned this, or that the usual gaggle of feminist media pundits who ceaselessly remind us that every woman is great and heroic were silent?

Something tells me that Cam Newton doing this to, say, Michelle Tafoya, would not go down as easily.

3. Quarterback-ish

It’s Cam Newtown’s world now, and we just live in it.

The video embedded here speaks for itself. Great job by Trevor Noah and The Daily Show writers untangling the racism nontroversy that the media has been attempting to create the past fortnight.

By the way, this was on Colbert last night. Also, very, very good.

4. Cranedemonium

At least one known dead so far

A light snow fell this morning in New York City and, oh yes, so did this monster-sized crane in TriBeCa. Ouch. Usually when something this big collapses and crashes below Canal Street, it’s the New York Stock Exchange.

5. Johnny Bye Bye

Manziel spent two troubled seasons in the NFL, wrapped around one offseason in rehab. “You blew it!” Cop Land quote here.

Last night Johnny Manziel’s ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, made it public that Manziel struck her repeatedly and threatened to kill her (what’s with all the anger, people?). This morning Manziel’s agent dropped him. The domestic battery allegations could keep Manziel out of the NFL for good. As far as former Heisman winners go, it’s not quite O.J.-level ignominy, but it’s worse than Reggie Bush.

On the other hand, if you click the title of this item, you get to hear a good song. Also, Manziel may leave football before CTE gets him, so there’s that.

Music 101


“You’re a shining star
No matter who you are
Shining bright to see
What you could truly be…”

Maurice White, the founder of 70’s super-funk and horn band Earth, Wind & Fire, passed away at the age of 74 in Los Angeles yesterday. White had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. The lyrics above are from another EW&F tune, “Shining Star,” but I’m going with their most popular hit here. I used to work with a very white and Midwestern writer at SI, an insanely talented writer, and it was always so incongruent with the rest of his upbringing that he was such a huge fan of Earth, Wind & Fire. But he was. And still is. And why not?

Remote Patrol

Saturday Night Live

11:30 p.m.

David will surely reprise his Bernie Sanders to Kate McKinnon’s Hillary Clinton.

We all know what’s on Sunday, but Saturday night’s alright for viewing: At 7 p.m. on ESPN, you have No. 2 North Carolina at Notre Dame. At 8 p.m. on ABC, you’ve got the Republican debate in New Hampshire (“You down with GOP? Yeah, you know me!“), and the gloves are going to be off. At 9 p.m. on ESPN, you’ve got OKC, with the league’s 3rd-best best record, at Golden State, who are 45-4 and 22-0 at home. And then finally, there is Larry David come home in full triumph as the host of Saturday Night Live. I think he’ll get his sketches on this time around.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 68th to Cortez High School’s own Vincent Furnier, better known as Alice Cooper. This is your monthly suggestion to watch Supermensch on NetFlix. Phenomenal.

Starting Five

This time, Dreyfuss played the big fish.

Feel The Bern*

The judges will also accept “Weakened at Bernie’s,” “Madoff Money,” “Sit On It, Ponzi,” “The Big Schwartz,” and of course, the always popular “He Madoff With Our Money.”

For the second night in a row (O.J.), television treated us to the first installment of a miniseries about a latter-day monster (here, we are making the incredible leap of faith that The Juice did it….A HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!). In terms of style and cinematography, the two-part miniseries starring Richard Dreyfuss as Bernie Madoff and Blythe Danner as Ruth Madoff isn’t earth-shattering, but it is intensely watchable, if only to see how lax the SEC! SEC! was.

Billion Dollar Babies indeed. The real Madoff.

If it weren’t for one rogue vigilante, played by Frank Whaley of “Pulp Fiction” fame (“Check out the big brain on Brad,” indeed), Madoff might still be bilking people.

Dig: Madoff accepted people’s money, created false balance sheets to make them believe that they were doing well, and then just hoped he’d die before enough people all wanted to cash in at once. It was brilliant. But he was no worse than the a-holes on Wall Street, especially at Goldman Sachs, who advised clients to buy collateralized debt options while they were shorting them. That’s like telling someone to go left at the fork in the road as you  are planting IEDs in that fork.

2. Will Y’All Stop Kidnapping George Clooney, Please?

How many movies will open this month in which George Clooney is kidnapped? So far the count is at two. Heres’s the trailer for Hail, Caesar, a capital-Z Zany Comedy by the Coen Brothers:

And then at the other end of the spectrum you have the Occupy Wall Street-Revenge Porn fantasy Money Monster, in which Clooney plays a Jim Cramer-like figure who is taken hostage by a young man who wants some answers as to why he lost all his money in the subprime-mortgage crisis (short answer: because people who earn $30K a year think they can afford, or at least belong in, $500K homes, and no mortgage company was going to tell them they were wrong, and the government wasn’t doing its job to police it).

I don’t think this will have as many laughs. Oh, it also has Julia Roberts and a song from Bruce Springsteen. Trivia note: When I was in college, a guy back in Phoenix, Joseph Billy Gwin, took our beloved local CBS anchor, Bill Close, hostage on air. Gwen had a gun. The standoff lasted for about 5 hours and Close was a total pro throughout. The man eventually surrendered but it was (pulls off sunglasses)…a Close call.

3. “Please Clap”

An immediate family member of two former United States presidents, Jeb Bush seems like a decent enough guy. He’s just not a charismatic leader. Here’s his entire failed presidential campaign in 34 seconds.

4. Ann Arboretum

Just Derek Jeter and Tom Brady chilling with Jim Harbaugh in Ann Arbor on Signing Day. It was an Ann Arboretum.

National Signing Day was pretty much a snooze, in terms of surprises. Rashan Gary, as expected, chose Michigan. Ben Davis, who grew up in Gordo, Ala., just up the road from Tuscaloosa, where his dad played in college, chose Alabama. All of Notre Dame’s 23 verbal commitments signed with Notre Dame. And the one five-star from Fresno they hoped to get, Caleb Kelly, did not choose the Irish.

It was all either very familiar or very expected.

Meanwhile, the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank reported that 90 of the 94 brains of former NFL players that they studied showed signs of CTE. So well above 90%.

5. “Bad News On the Doorstep…”

The last known photo of Holly was taken by a 15 year-old girl.

We were remiss yesterday here at MH—sometimes the culture page editor walks in drunk and I just have to send her home—in noting that it was the 57th anniversary of the death of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper, who along with their pilot, 21 year-old Roger Peterson, perished shortly after takeoff from an airport in Clear Lake, Iowa, en route to Fargo, N.D.

Of course, their deaths were the inspiration for, 12 years later, Don McLean’s classic song, “American Pie.” McLean would have been a 13 year-old then, a.k.a. a “lonely teenage broncin’ buck/With a pink carnation and a pickup truck…”

Up above is the last photo taken of Holly, performing at the Surf ballroom in Clear Lake on the night of February 2nd. The photo was taken by 15 year-old Mary Gerber.

A few items worth noting (I think most, if not all, of these are true):

–Holly was only 22 years old when he died.

–One of his biggest hits was “That’ll Be The Day,” which as you likely know, ends with the line, “That’ll be the da-a-ay, when I die!”

–The Beatles were so enamored of Holly’s talent (very similar musical style early in their career) that they named their band in homage to Holly’s backup band, the Crickets.

–Gerber and her brother drove home to Walters, Minn., after the concert. Well, at least they intended to. Her brother lost control of the vehicle and ran off into a ditch. They were unharmed, but had to walk home, probably because their smartphones died.

–Gerber returned to the Surf ballroom for a 50th anniversary commemoration of the three fallen performers. I believe it was her first time back.

–Waylon Jennings was supposed to ride in the plane, as you probably know, but gave up his seat to the Big Bopper. Another band member lost his seat in a coin toss to Valens. They’d all been riding on a tour bus during this tour 3-week tour and Holly was sick of the cold, all-night rides, which is why he hired a plane.


Music 101

Don’t Let Me Get Me

Pink is one of those artists I rarely think about and then when I do I think, “Oh yeah, Pink. She’s cool.” Is it only coincidence that Pink and Tina fey are both from Philly? They seem to have the same approach to life and people, no? This was the second song of her debut album and reached No. 8 on the Billboard chart in 2002

Remote Patrol

30 for 30: The ’85 Bears

ESPN 9 p.m.

It was like this—often.

A good friend recently named his first child, a girl, Bear (UPDATE: the friend’s child is a boy; big, if true. Now what do I do with this pink onesie?), and it was in some way connected to this franchise. I’ve never seen an NFL defense that even comes close to approaching the ’85 Bears. They’d have ended Leo DiCaprio. And I’ll never understand why Mike Ditka, with a gift touchdown to hand out late in the Super Bowl, let William Perry score it and not Walter Payton. I may be wrong, but I think these Bears were the last team to lose just one game and then win the Super Bowl. You’re up, Cam-olina.



by John Walters

A Medium Happy 66th to Morgan Fairchild, who was always vixen to do something bad.

Starting Five

Darden, Cochran, O.J., Shapiro

1. Acquittin’ Time

If you’re over 35 years old, you remember the players in the O.J. Simpson trial the way you remember the cast of Saved By The Bell or Beverly Hills: 90210. You remember the leads—O.J., Marcia Clark, Christopher Darden, Johnny Cochran, Robert Shapiro, Mark Fuhrman—and you remember the minor characters—Kato Kaelin, Judge Ito, A.C. Cowlings and Robert Kardashian, who probably sired all of the “Keeping Up With” cast, but then again, who knows?

Anyway, last night was the first of FX”s 10 installments of The People Vs. O.J. Simpson and they got it right. It’s not True Detective in its cinematography or lyrical script, but they’re not doing Sharknado camp here. They’re doing they’re best to tell the story. Reminds me of another made-for-TV movie about the most famous L.A. murders prior to those of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman, the Tate-LaBianca murders committed by the Manson Family. That 1974 film, Helter Skelter, is downright chilling.

The main difference between the two films? Steve Railsback became Charles Manson. It was scary. We all love Cuba Gooding, Jr., but he’s just not O.J. I don’t know who could play O.J., but Rod Tidwell just doesn’t look physically imposing enough.

Here’s Sepinwall’s review….

2. Final Four Gone Conclusion?

With Coach K. back home ailing, Grayson Allen led the Blue Devils to a win at Georgia Tech

Wisconsin is 13-9.

Duke and Kentucky, who played in last April’s national championship game, are each 16-6.

Only Michigan State, at 19-4, resembles a team that could return to the Final Four this season, although in the Big Ten both Iowa and Indiana look better lately.

Anyway, it’s quite the wide open season. That’s what one-and-done has done. It’s impossible to have superior talent AND experience now. But it’ll be nice to have some fresh faces receiving No. 1 seeds.

3. Tom Brady, Derek Jeter and Ric Flair Walk into a ‘bor

The Captain meets Captain Comeback

This was a stroke of genius by Captain Come-Back-To-Ann-Arbor. He’s turned National Signing Day into New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in Ann Arbor. Granted, the guests of honor, the signees (Rashan Gary?), will not be there, but maybe in future years they will be. Other guests at the invite-only event will be Lou Holtz, Jim Leyland and Desmond Howard. The event will be live-streamed on Jeter’s site, The Players Tribune.

To get all these celebs to leave the Caribbean, California or Florida in the first week of February to be at Michigan is a feat in itself. Whoever is pulling the strings behind Harbaugh’s P.R. machine is doing a great job.

4. Giraffe Manor

My cubicle neighbor, Douglas Main, has a terrific piece on a reserve outside of Nairobi that  raises Rothschild giraffes (unlike some other sports-pop culture blogs out there, the editors at Medium Happy are all about protecting wildlife, which is why we don’t run crazy Animal-attacks-man stories that fail to acknowledge that the man was probably in the animal’s habitat—animals, the picture above notwithstanding, rarely do home invasions—or that, you know, people kill animals every day in order to eat but we’re just protected from seeing the slaughterhouses up close.

5. 11.22.63

I still have not read the Stephen King novel about the John F. Kennedy assassination, but the trailer for the 8-episode mini series, which will air on Hulu beginning on President’s Day (!), is out. The film stars James Franco as Jake Epping, a teacher who is going to attempt to travel back in time to change the past (and hopefully, rescue Aron Ralston from a tight spot in Utah before he must chop off his own arm). Rod Serling would  ask for royalties on this plot (Spoiler Alert: something tells me that fate has it in for our well-intentioned teacher).

Come to think of it, this is Franco’s second big feature film whose title is mostly numbers.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, If you have Hulu and you have a spot on the couch, I’d love to Costanza the flick so invite me over for President’s Day.

Music 101

China Grove

Somehow the Fraternal Order of Doobage, a.k.a. the Doobie Brothers, are not yet in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And they were even considering Janet Jackson this year before this group?!? Are they high—because we know the Doobies were. With this song, Black Water, Long Train Running, and Listen to the Music, the Doobies defined early to mid-70s American rock. Few bands permeated the radio as much as this group from northern California. Off the top of my head, only the Eagles got more airplay. The Doobies sold more than 40 million albums. They must have been doing something right, Jann Wenner. Oh oh, listen to the music.

Remote Patrol

The Third Man

TCM 10 p.m.

I’ve only seen this 1949 film noir classic set in post-war Vienna once, but Rotten Tomatoes rates it as the second-best movie of all time. So that means it’s ahead of at least one of the Dumb and Dumber films. It stars Joseph Cotten, who is no relation to Cotton-Eyed Joe.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 62nd to Christie Brinkley. Did you kick that scamp John Mellencamp to the curb yet?

Starting Five

Olivia is so batshit crazy, I’m ready for her to finish no worse than 3rd in the New Hampshire primary.

1. Caucus Interruptus

Caucuses, The Bachelor, Media Night, WWE. There was so much stupid in America last night and I loved every moment of it. What a wonderful, time-capsule night in American television and social media. Quick notes, thoughts:

–Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton finish in dead heat in Iowa Caucus Democratic version, prompting a tweet that “Bernie’s just happy that the votes were evenly distributed.” That’s gold, Jerry.

–Olivia from The Bachelor should now be known as “My Crazy (n)Ex(t)-Girlfriend.” I actually like how clueless Ben appears to be about her and how he seems genuinely concerned when the other chicks in the henhouse begin clucking about her.

Mina Kimes on Twitter about the Lauren, who confesses to Ben on camera that her beau of five years had been cheating on her with multiple women: “I was cheated on and it was awful” – every contestant on , a show where one man dates multiple women.

Ted Cruz wins the GOP primary. Hey, vote for whomever you like, but I’m still waiting for the first truly honest moment from this guy. It’s like I’m waiting for him to appear on Oprah and confess that he just wants to join La Cage aux Folles. I mean, this girl doesn’t want him around her, and she’s his daughter. That’s telling.

Get away! Ewwww!

Donald Trump finishes 2nd and half the world retweets a tweet of his, the quote from Walter Hagen in which he says, “No one ever remembers who finishes second.”

Marco Rubio finishes 3rd and acts as if he won. Because he kinda did. Marco knows that as long as he refrains from saying anything as polarizing as Donald and Ted Cruz inevitably will, he can win the GOP nomination. He’s younger, he’s less alienating, and his wife is a former Miami Dolphin cheerleader, for lawd’s sake. He’s drafting off these two right now, just waiting for the bell lap. Rubio doesn’t really have a job, he didn’t attend an Ivy League school (first prez since Reagan, if he wins), and all he says is, “We’re going to take our country back.” And that may just be enough to win for someone who resembles a cast member from Telenovela.

–Meanwhile on TCM, Lawrence of Arabia was showing. It’s a film about a white guy and an Arab who are strangers but nevertheless form an alliance, and a friendship, for the cause of righteousness. I think the GOP has an X-rating on this film.

–Nothing much to say about NFL “Opening Night” (formerly Media Day) or the WWE. But I’m sure Cam-olina will be the lead topic on First Ache.

2. Maui Owie

That’s pro surfer Tom Dosland, falling about 40 feet during a wipeout on Jaws in Maui last Wednesday. Crazy stuff. Here’s the video. Dosland survived with little more than a sore neck. Nothing more needs to be said than that surfers are insane.

3. Must-CTE(V)

Actually, NBC aired Thursday night football more than 20 years ago…

The NFL last night announced that it was expanding its Thursday night package (looser trousers will do that) by adding two games per season, upping the total from eight to 10 in the next two seasons. Also, those games will be split evenly by CBS and NBC.

You hear coaches and players whine constantly about how it’s not prudent to play two games within four days of each other, but I guess that little CTE scare is over. Also, there’s a way the NFL can do it so that Thursday night games, for teams, follow their bye weeks. In fact, that’s what your bye week should be predicated upon: you don’t play the Sunday before that Thursday night game. So how come the NFL won’t do it? $$$$$$$$$.

4. They’re Literally On Thin Ice

Two teens in Peterborough, Ontario, have quite a story to tell at the Tim Horton’s this week, as they took a ride on an ice floe and then defiantly mocked onlookers and the police who tried to help them. To me the most shocking part of this story is, There are rude Canadians

5. SAG What?!?

Idris Elba left double-fisted. He’s really terrific in “Beasts Of No Nation.” if you have not yet seen it.

Winter in the Northeast can be pretty bleak (not as bleak as Canada, but still bleak). We look forward to a few Sunday evenings to hold us over until Game of Thrones or Better Call Saul return: the Golden Globes, the Super Bowl, the Emmys, the Oscars and my personal favorite (because they booze it up so much), the SAG Awards.

These all take place on SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!
But then this weekend the SAGs go ahead and air on a Saturday night, and nobody told me (thanks, Katie), and so now I’ve gone and missed them. Really? I live all year for the “I’m an actor” intro and now I have more than 51 weeks to wait until it returns? Anyway, here’s 11 moments from the show that I (we?) missed.

Music 101 

Crash Into Me

Kurt Cobain put a bullet in his head (or did Courteney?) and pretty much killed rock and roll for the remainder of the Nineties (with apologies to Radiohead). Dave Matthews Band was perhaps the best of the suitable-for-Friends rock that permeated the Earth’s surface post-Nirvana, and this is their best song. It’s hypnotic and voyeuristic at the same time.

This performance, quite bizarrely, took place on September 11, 1999 at Continental Airlines arena, not that far across the river from lower Manhattan. Two years to the date before…

Remote Patrol

The Sting

TCM 8 p.m.

This month, Oscar month, is the one month of the year that you really need to have TCM. Paul Newman and Robert Redford team up for a second film here, and this time it does not end in a guns a’ blazin’ suicidal shootout in Bolivia. Classic film.



by John Walters

A Medium Happy 22nd to Harry Styles, whose hairline is headed in one direction….

Starting Five

Scott (right). Exit laughing.

1. Great Scott!

From Arizona Coyotes goon to fan-voted NHL All-Star captain to St. John’s (Newfoundland) IceCaps player to NHL pariah to NHL All-Star Game MVP. Wow. Quite a January for John Scott, who scored 2 goals in yesterday’s NHL All-Star Game, and totally stole the thunder from this month’s other two All-Star Games (psst, Roger: Have fans vote in Ray Rice next time)

2. Oboe, You Don’t

Rodrigo (Bernal) takes the orchestra to a field trip in the ‘hood. Is this conduct unbecoming of a conductor?

Finally caught a few episodes of Mozart in the Jungle (which is set in the concrete jungle of New York City). It’s Whiplash with a symphony, except that the conductor, Rodgrigo, played by fiery Gabria Garcia Bernal, is this messianic Mr. Keating type (“O Captain, My Captain!”) with more of a sweetness. I understand why he won the Golden Globe, and it’s worth catching a few episodes.

Lola Kirke play Hailey, an oboe trying desperately not to become a hobo.

3. Suns of Anarchy (Cont.)

Hornacek never had a chance with these Suns of Anarchy

Six weeks ago, on December 23, Phoenix Sun forward Markieff Morris threw a towel in coach Jeff Hornacek’s face during a loss to Denver. After the game a Suns assistant pulled aside owner Robert Sarver and GM Ryan McDonough and told them the Suns had to get rid of Morris or else the coaches would lose the team, as in its respect.

Sarver and McDonough did not listen. Since that night, when the Suns were 12-19, they have gone 2-16, including two losses to Philadelphia. Yes. And that coach, plus another assistant, and now Hornacek—as of last night—have all been fired. The Suns have only been this shameful before in the late ’80s, when half the team was doing more drugs than Scott Weiland.

4. Gary, Indiana, Michigan

Gary describing how much mail he has received from recruiters.

Maybe the northwestern Indiana city should change its state status, now that it seems imminent that the nation’s No. 1 football recruit, defensive tackle Rashan Gary of Paramus (NJ) Catholic, appears headed to Ann Arbor.

Gary, a 6’4″, 287-pound youth whom everyone rates a 5-star, has been quite the fickle recruit. A couple visits to Michigan, where his friend Jabrill Peppers play and where his former coach Chris Partridge is now the linebackers coach (that was convenient), but just over the weekend. Also, Michael Dwumfour, a lineman from DePaul Catholic in N.J. who has been Gary’s friend since 6th grade, also plans on signing with the Wolverines.

Gary will announce his choice at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, from ESPN’s Bristol, Conn., headquarters. If it is anyone but Michigan, Jim Harbaugh’s khaki’s will self-immolate on the spot.

5. This Is Not the Men’s Magazine Whose Editor Announced He’s Stepping Down

That would be Esquire, where David Granger, the editor-in-chief since 1997, announced he’s leaving on Friday, with no detailed plans. But this is GQ, where two of the world’s sexist Spanish types (he’s Portuguese, she’s Brazilian) convened for a cover shoot. Note to self: Soltero (i.e. Spanish Bachelor) would be a good show.

Music 101

Joy To The World

Jeremiah was a bullfrog!” And with that the American rock band Three Dog Night had a No. 1 hit in 1971. The song was not written by the band but rather by Hoyt Axton, whose mother Mae Axton co-wrote “Heartbreak Hotel,” which had been Elvis Presley’s first number-one hit. Mae and Hoyt are the first (only?) mother and son to have each written a Billboard No. 1. Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea/Joy to you and me.

Remote Patrol

And The Oscar Goes To…

TCM 8 p.m.

Lawrence of Arabia

TCM 10 p.m.

Shariff don’t like it/Rock the casbah/rock the casbah….

Let’s begin with the latter. Arguably the most beautiful film ever shot, with the striking Peter O’Toole in all his blue-eyed glory. It’s an epic, and it’s a classic (although the final  hour drags some). Still, up until the intermission—at least for me—it is mesmerizing. The first Middle Eastern Western. Warm up with the 2-hour anthology show, a behind-the-scenes look at Oscar. It’s a repeat, but well worth any film nerd’s time.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 46th to Roller Girl herself, Heather Graham.

Starting Five

JFK, Abe, Teddy, George and FDR watching Donald before heading out to see “Hamilton”

1. Iowa Cauircus

The leading Republican candidate in the room last night led with his version of Costanza’s “jerk store” bit and it landed with a thud: “Let me say: I’m a maniac. And everyone on this stage is stupid, fat, and ugly. And Ben, you’re a terrible surgeon.”

You watch the clowns on this stage and you think, this is for the presidency of the United States? This is like having Andrew Dice Clay host the Oscars. “Hillary dillary doc….OHHHHHH!”

320 damn million people in this country, and we can’t produce one genuinely estimable person to run for president. It may be time to return to an enlightened despot era. I sad, “Enlightened,’ Donald.

2. “My God”

Forgot, until yesterday afternoon, that it was the 30th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster. Two videos for you. The first is the network coverage on NBC, I believe. The shuttle breaks apart at just after the 2:00 mark. That’s above.

Below is….

…unedited footage of friends and family of the six astronauts and of the teacher on board, Christa McAuliffe, watching in horror as the explosion occurs. According to a detailed story that came out a year or so afterward, it is most likely that the crew not only survived the blast but were conscious for the 90 seconds or so before their capsule struck the water in the Atlantic Ocean.

3. The A-Team (for “Ammon”) Meets Reality

Never let a bunch of amateurs play cops and robbers against the real thing. Here’s fool footage of Ammon Bundy’s goons trying to outrace law enforcement on an Oregon highway. It does not end well for them. Go to the 9-minute mark if you want (before that it’s just a high speed chase, a stop, and then the vehicle takes off again in a mad dash, oblivious to the fact that a road block has been set up for them around a corner. As Bugs Bunny would say, “What a bunch of maroons.”

4. Bedeviled

Note: This is why swimming is my go-to exercise.

I mean, I get it, but why are you wasting Michael Phelps joining the Curtain of Distraction during an 18-point blowout of the Oregon State Woolly Mammoths, ASU?

5. Amazon’s Not Amazin’ (At Moment)

The new Wonder Woman has eschewed primary colors

In stock news, Amazon (AMZN), which a little more than a month ago was literally selling at 1,000 times P/E (by comparison, Apple, which is cheap, sells at 10 times P/E), announced its fourth quarter earnings after the bell yesterday afternoon.

The stock had opened at $583, then rose nearly 9%, or $52, to $635 in anticipation of favorable news. Instead, the company announced earnings of $1 per share against analysts’ expectations of $1.50 per share. That’s a HUUUUGE, Trumpian HUUUUUGE miss. So the stock got slammed in after hours trading, down $68 or more than 10%, to $568.

So now it’s selling closer to 900x earnings. Still wildly inflated, but I’d jump in today, especially if it falls below $550 in the first hour. I’ll definitely buy one share.

In other stock news, Xerox is splitting into two companies. Xerox has finally copied itself.

Music 101

The Love Boat

“Set a course for adventure/Your mind on a new romance/And love won’t hurt any more…”  It probably will. It always does. The only people who hurt you are the ones who tell you that they love you, but anyway, let vocalist Jack Jones and the lyrics of Paul Williams sail you away from reality for an hour, as they did on Saturday nights at 9 p.m. for a generation of us.

Remote Patrol


No. 1 Oklahoma at LSU

5 p.m. ESPN

Sixer (and Sun) mantras: “Yield for Hield” and “Slummin’ for Simmons”

A big promotion to whoever scheduled this non-conference game for the Super Bowl bye weekend. You’ve got the top-ranked Sooners (17-2), and possible POY Buddy Hield, in Baton Rouge to face other potential POY Ben Simmons and the Tigers (13-7). Both of these dudes are going in the Top 5 next June, and one of them may be No. 1. LSU desperately needs this game for its tourney resume, and remember (Dick) Friedman’s First Law of Athletics: There are no home upsets in college basketball. 


by John Walters

A Medium Hawkeye 80th to Alan Alda. Should we celebrate at Rosie’s or just don our finest bathrobes and head over to The Swamp?

Starting Five

Raonic is Canadian by way of Montenegro

1.”Another Game for Milos!!!”

This is Milos Raonic, who earlier today or later today (I just never know with the Aussie Open) did meet or will meet Any Murray in the semis of the Australian Open. I guess I should be informing you that Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer in four sets in the semis, but it’s just that I desperately want Milos to advance to the finals so that we can all relive this Seinfeld moment…

Too good.

Anyway, if you’re wondering, Federer owns 17 Grand Slam singles titles, most ever. Djokovic has 10, on his way to 11. Fed is 34 and Novak is 28. Fed only won one more Grand Slam singles title after his 28th birthday, primarily because of the presence of Djokovic. The difference here, at least right now, is that I don’t see any young Novak Djokovic killer on the horizon. Maybe one exists. We’ll see.

2. Super Bowl C Notes

An actual Week 1 Super Bowl 50 story that was more than a list. Incredible.

My good friend Adam Duerson, NFL editor at Sports Illustrated and chronically afflicted RAGBRAI participant, suggested to the facile-minded Steve Rushin that he “report” on Super Bowl 100. The result is the most entertaining sports story in some time, as Rushin imagines an NFL future with female kickers (Rae Gal), life coaches-in-headsets (O.G. Willikens), a wide receiver named Lynnswann Davis and a Spanish club, AFC Barcelona, with a quarterback named Jaoa Montana.

This is the marriage of a great idea (by Duerson) and a wonderfully imaginative writer (Rushin). Somewhere a Bleacher Report slide show on Premier League WAGs will draw 10 times as many page views, but this is the world we live in.

Steve (and I) will be 99 years old when Super Bowl 100 happens. I’m betting on us both being around to see it. But I’m kinda hoping we’ll both be around not to see it.

3. Friending Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg’s company reported 4th quarter earnings last night. It has a 52% increase in revenue and a 66% increase in advertising over 4th quarter from the year before. The stock jumped 12% to $106 after the opening bell this morning.

More people than ever are spending more time than ever on Facebook (meanwhile, also yesterday, CNBC aired a segment asking, “Is Twitter too difficult to use?”). In related news, the Doomsday Clock just moved one minute closer to midnight.

4. Semi-Tough

Wondering why there isn’t a Flying Irish One…..

In an effort to impress/seduce/sign five-star wide receiver Demetris Robertson of Savannah, Ga., Notre Dame pulled up to his Savannah, Ga., home in its equipment trailer this morning. Wake up the echoes? Woke up the neighbors.

The addition of Robertson would give Notre Dame a fuller house of wideouts, if not a Fuller house.

This is cool and all, and Robertson would be the highest-rated player the Irish would land, but for their sake I hope they drive this rig over to Ben Davis’s home in Gordo, Ala., before returning north to South Bend.

5. Pants, Porn, Perish

Was it good for you?

This is the vehicle of 58 year-old Clifford Ray Jones of Detroit, who is an early Darwin Award favorite after dying in a single-car accident at 3:30 a.m. over the weekend. Mr. Jones was watching porn while driving pantsless on Interstate 75, possibly operating a hands-free device, so to speak, when he lost control of his vehicle.

In a way, Jones is like the rest of us: he put on a porn flick and didn’t watch until the end.

Music 101

Good Times

So many Seventies sitcom theme songs for shows set in contemporary times that addressed the character’s (or characters’), um, situations in life: All In The Family, Mary Tyler Moore, The Jeffersons, Welcome Back, KotterLaverne & Shirley, Alice, Lotsa Luck, One Day At A Time and WKRP In Cincinnati all fit this model. But I’ve chosen a song from the first solely African-American sitcom I can remember that, unlike Sanford and Son, actually had lyrics. In an era when Motown and Philly Soul was flourishing, this uptempo tune was, dare I say it, Dy-No-Mite!

Remote Patrol

GOP Debate

9 p.m. Fox News Channel

If Kelly weren’t so damn annoying, Donald would probably ask her out.

It was Joan Rivers who turned “Can we talk?” into a catchphrase, but it is the rest of the GOP field who have been thinking that since Donald Trump first stepped to the podium last August. That’s when Megyn Kelly asked him about his misogynistic quotes, a question that so offended the Donald that, long story short, he has vowed not to appear in tonight’s Fox-sponsored debate. So in a sense, Kelly has already won tonight’s debate.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 37th to our favorite AWOL wife, Rosamund Pike. Shame on Ben for inciting Pike’s pique.

Starting Five

It was this kind of mismatch

1. (Blake) Griffin Done (For Now)

First of all, let’s agree that being the equipment manager for an NBA team is so much easier than being one for an NFL or MLB team. Football equipment managers are right below auto mechanics, or have you never had to use a screwdriver to adjust a helmet or shoulder pads on the fly?

Anyway, we still don’t know what the argument was about, but Korean vehicle pitchman/Clipper Blake Griffin is going to miss four to six weeks after fracturing the fourth metatarsal (“No, I never have metatarsal”) by punching Clipper assistant equipment manager Matias Testi in the face. It happened outside a restaurant in Toronto. Funny, no one is saying how long Testi will be out.

By the way, Griffin already was out with a partially torn quad. But the Clippers are in fourth place in the West, so no one’s been paying much attention to them. They’re actually the 4th-most interesting team in California this season.

2. The Admirable

Robinson’s platform? Make Notre Dame great again! “We don’t win any more…on the road against Top 10 opponents!”

Yesterday, the Notre Dame Observer reported that senior-to-be wide receiver Corey Robinson, son of David Robinson, The Admiral, is running for student body president. I assume he’s doing this in order to put it on his transcript so that he will be able to get accepted to a prestigious college.

A little bit? Oh yeah, more than a little bit.

Anyway, Corey has always come off as an erudite gridder. Talented musician, well-spoken, catches tough balls in the corner (remember the TD versus USC last October? Not easy). He even physically resembles the younger version of another president we know of.

Election day in South Bend is February 10. If elected, Robinson would become the first student body president in Notre Dame history to have caught a game-winning touchdown pass versus Florida State.

3. Mammoth Discovery

Does this mean the song “Tusk” really belongs to Oregon State and not USC?

Yesterday, in the most blatant display yet that God would like to see Oregon State change its mascot name from beavers, construction workers found bones from a woolly mammoth beneath the end zone of Reser Stadium in Corvallis.

The Oregon State Mammoths? I like it.

Bison and camel bones—yes, camel—were also excavated. The bones were believed to be 10,000 years old.

4. Tyler Sash: CTE

Sash, here at Iowa, won a Super Bowl with the Giants

Yesterday it was revealed that former Iowa Hawkeye and New York Giant Tyler Sash, who died last September 8 at the age of 27 of an accidental overdose of pain medications, had an unusually advanced stage of CTE in his brain at the time of his death.

Sash was cut by the Giants in 2013 after what was at least his fifth concussion. If you ever had the chance to watch Sash, a safety and punt returner, play, then you remember he was a cage rattler. Tyler Sash gave his life for football. Pure and simple.

5. Abe Vigoda

So I’m sitting here feeling old realizing that I’m nearly the same age Abe Vigoda was when he appeared as Sal Tessio in The Godfather. Vigoda, who most New Yorkers that have lived here awhile saw on the street at least once (he was as easy a find as Tony Bennett or Beth Ostrovsky), passed away at the age of 94 yesterday. “Tom, can you get me off the hook, for old time’s sake?” “Can’t do it, Sal.”

To those of us who grew up in the Seventies, Vigoda was also Detective Fish on Barney Miller (and later, Fish). But he may be just as famous for having outlived everyone’s expectations of his mortality, over and over and over again. When you think about it, he was only in his fifties when he appeared in those sitcoms.

It’s morbid, but we’re at the point where we may need to begin ranking January celebrity deaths: Bowie, Rickman, Frey, Haggerty, Vigoda. At least four of them will make the Oscars death montage next month.

Music 101

The Muppet Show

It’s the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational theme song ever written! Decades before “meta-” became part of our vernacular, The Muppets performed just such a song to open their show, one that included audience participation (“Why don’t you get things started?”)

Remote Patrol

Djokovic vs. Federer

ESPN 9 p.m.

May the best hair win….

Roger Federer, 34, and Novak Djokovic, 28, have each won 22 matches against the other in their careers. But Djokovic has won their last three Grand Slam matches and has clearly overtaken the Splendid Swiss, and everyone else, in tennis.

Tonight they meet in the Australian Open semis. Federer owns 17 Grand Slams, the most of anyone, and Djokovic 10. But the Serbian has won four of the past five Aussie Opens. And he still has at least five good years ahead of him.