IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

In the five games since Kevin Durant was lost, Curry has scored 33, 36, 37, 36 and 37 points

Championship Mode

Once again the Warriors fall behind at Portland by at least 17 in the first half, and once again behind Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and some fabulous offensive rebounding by role players, they reel in the Blazers and win.

The Dubs are returning to the NBA Finals for a fifth consecutive time, something no NBA squad has done since the 1960s Celtics (the ESPN SportsCenter graphic decided to only go back 50 years and thus did not include Bill Russell & Co. because as we all know sports were not a thing before ESPN existed…or at least they often like to think so).

Leonard led the Blazers in points and boards (12) as Bill Walton watched from the Blazer sideline

Meyers Leonard of Portland scored a career-high (as in the NBA AND college) 30 points. Make of that what you will.

Disaster Guru

This is Craig Mazin. He’s the creator, writer and executive producer behind HBO’s Chenobyl. If you’re wondering how a kid from Brooklyn comes by being an expert on natural disasters and meltdowns, you should know that Mazin was also the freshman year roommate of Ted Cruz at Princeton.

Remember the dude who kept tweeting about Cruz before the 2016 presidential election informing people what a clown Cruz is? That was Mazin.

Not Out Of His Depth

Sorry, Sports Twitter, but the most impressive “deep dive” of 2019 will belong not to some writer from The Ringer or Wright Thompson, but to Victor Vescovo, above. The Dallas native, 53, recently set the world record for the deepest dive in maritime history, piloting his submersible to a depth of 10,298 feet in the Mariana Trench.

Vescovo has previously summited Mount Everest. The resume on the private-equity titan/multimillionaire: Stanford, MIT grad school, Harvard business school. Yes, but has he ever assumed the loan debt for an entire graduating class?

Farewell To A Legend

A farewell to Formula One racing champion Niki Lauda, a three-time F1 series champ and the only man ever to do it racing both for Ferrari and McLaren. Lauda passed away yesterday at the age of 70.

If you’ve never seen the Ron Howard film Rush, about Lauda’s return to the sport after a fiery crash in 1976 nearly killed him and severely burned him, well, it may be Opie Cunningham’s best film. Worth knowing: Lauda won the F1 season series title in 1975 and 1977, or in the years directly before and after the crash.

Below, a favorite scene that aptly illustrates the way Lauda thought.

Twister The Night Away

There may be nothing more visually spectacular in nature than a tornado, deadly as they are. More than 20 touched down yesterday in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Missouri. Also, and perhaps related, the period between April 2018 and April 2019 was the wettest on record in some East Coast cities such as Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

****

*Gotta truncate this; the restaurant world never rests.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

First, an overturned finish and then a jockeys horse. I really like what the show runners are doing with this season of Triple Crown.

Starting Five

Revenge Of The Nerds*

*The judges will accept “All Bran” but not “How The Westeros Was Won”

After all the swords and sex, maesters and mendacity, dragons and Dothraki, Boltons and Barratheons and incest and incendiaries, turns out no one actually gets to sit on the Iron Throne. Benioff and Weiss handed control of the Seven Six Kingdoms to a cripple and a dwarf. Perhaps there’s a message in all of that.

A dog’s journey

We were totally satisfied with the finale, loved the insertion of humor in the first cabinet meeting (as well as the commentary on democracy when Samwell had the temerity to suggest it). Loved that Arya is now an explorer (“What’s west of Westeros?”), that Sansa is Queen of the North, and that Jon quickly surmised that there’s no reason to have a Night’s Watch when there are no creatures north of the wall to fear (his greatest love was a Wilding; perhaps he’ll meet another).

Our watch has ended. Thank you, GOT.

The Kings In The West

We’re not here to say whether the Golden State Warriors are better or worse without Kevin Durant (arguably the best player in the NBA), we’ll just remind you that they’re 30-1 without him when Steph Curry plays and that they’ve now won four straight playoff games in his absence (and closed out a fifth).

“Like a wrecking ball…”

Watching the Dubs quickly and surgically erase an 18-point deficit in Portland Saturday night, we were reminded to the vintage Dubs of 2015 who moved the ball beautifully and played tenacious defense. Last week Charles Barkley declared that Golden State cannot win the NBA Finals without Durant. They’ll be more formidable with KD, but Sir Charles is flat-out wrong. The core Dubs—Curry, Klay Thompson and particularly Draymond Green—are playing with a renewed sense of purpose. They can smell it, and with or without KD they’re going to do it.

The question is whether they’ll lose another game.

Speaker of the Morehouse

Billionaire Robert B. Smith, who happens to be the richest African-American with a net worth of some $5 billion, was the commencement speaker at Morehouse College this weekend and he has laid down the gauntlet for every graduation speaker anywhere forever. Smith, a self-made man who attended Cornell and then earned an MBA from Columbia, pledged to pay off the student loans of all 400 of Morehouse’s 2019 grads.

Meanwhile at Taylor University in Indiana, dozens of graduating seniors walked out of commencement exercises as Vice President Mike Pence stood up to speak (maybe they thought it was a Colts game?). That’s the second time in three years students in Indiana, the state where Pence was governor, have walked out on his commencement speech.

Yes, But Donald & Co. Are Singing “We Are The Champions”

The 44th season of Saturday Night Live could not end without the cast (and Alec Baldwin and Robert DeNiro) taking one last shot at the president. They wrote a parody to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” and we only include it here because if you actually pay attention to the lyrics (He’s throwing stones and he lives in a big glass house/He’s cheating on every spouse), it’s very well done.

Also, less than 24 hours after the season finale, it was announced that Colin Jost and Scarlett Johanssen (JoJo?) will be married. Now what’s Michael Che going to do?

Will Roder: Iowa’s 2,800-Meter State Champ

Roder (left): “Stop Me Now!”

Someone—not us, Ruth—once said that Iowa is an acronym for “Idiots Out Walking Around” and last weekend at Drake Stadium at the state high school track meet, no one did anything to disabuse us of that notion.

In the Class IA Boys 3,200-meter final, an eight-lap race, a meet official mistakenly rang the bell signifying the final, or “bell lap,” after only six laps. Will Roder of LeMars Geylen Catholic High responded as one of Pavlov’s dogs might, sprinting that seventh lap to wha he assumed was the finish. Meanwhile Joe Anderson of George-Little Rock, a runner who can count to eight, recognized the error and continued apace.

After seven laps Anderson just kept running and was the first runner to complete the assigned 3,200-meter distance, doing so in 9:56.45. The meet officials huddled to decide what to do and guess what? They gave the championship to Roder. This is just, I dunno, colossally stupid, no?

We need to make Scott Van Pelt aware of this.

Anderson has already announced that he will not run the Belmont Stakes…

Remote Patrol

Chernobyl

9 p.m. HBO

What Drogon and Dany did to King’s Landing in the land of make-believe, a team of incompetent Russian nuclear engineers nearly did to all of Europe in 1986. If you’ve missed the first two episodes, catch up. Chernobyl is utterly compelling and we have to wonder if this event is what gave Matt Groening the inspiration for where Homer Simpson would work.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Steph went full Night King on the Blazers

Favoring Curry

Between Steph’s game-high 37 points, Seth’s career playoff-best 16 points off the bench, and an in-game interview with parents Dell and Sonya, last night’s highly entertaining Game 2 featured more Curry than an Indian restaurant (I chose not to tweet this because we live in highly ratio’d times).


Moments after Seth buried a go-ahead three in the final minute. It’s not that Mom and Pop have a favorite son, but rather it was refreshing to see kid brother knock one down. By the way, why name your only two children names that sound nearly identical?

Dubs go on a 14-3 spree to end game, overcome the majesty that is Meyers Leonard, and pull out Game 2, 114-111. It’s 2-0 now. Fans of the series blame the show runners for not letting the Blazers win.

Last Bang

The ironic thing about the Big Bang Theory—the scientific concept, not sitcom—is that it is ever ongoing. The CBS show only lasted 12 seasons. The BBT was always amusing, but given that most of us (me, too) stopped paying attention to what was on prime-time network television more than a decade ago, it was more like being Norwich City: the best team in the England’s second-best league.

We don’t know what happened in last night’s series finale but we imagine that Sheldon got off a “Bazinga!” or two. We feel as if this show is the most science—the only science—that many adults in the land have willingly exposed themselves to in the past dozen years.

A Star Is Zorn

Two weeks ago in Charleston, South Carolina, The Citadel held commencement exercises. This year’s graduation was unlike any that the military school has undertaken since it was founded in 1842 (a great year for the founding of schools!) as it was the first to feature a female regimental commander. That post, appointed by the school’s faculty leadership, is akin to being the student body’s team captain, and it went to Sarah Zorn, a native South Carolinian whose mother died when she was 16 and moved in with an aunt.

Zorn, 22, is now a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army and The New York Times did a terrific photo essay of her in today’s edition (this is going to be a conundrum for some friends of ours who love the military but loathe The New York Times).

Back, But Not On Track

Erstwhile high school running sensation Mary Cain is now 23. On Sunday, in a cold and steady rain in Central Park, the Bronxville native ran her first race in 2 1/2 years—and won. Cain, who now lives in the East Village (not known as a haven for serious runners, but it’s a great spot to find cheap ramen and dive bars), ran and won the Japan 4-Miler in Central Park in a time of, as you see above, about 21:50.

Records that Cain still holds, for high schoolers: 800 meters, 1,000 meters, 3,000 meters and 2 miles. She set records in the 1,500 and 5,000 that have since been broken. The Runner’s World article does not say what else Cain, who attended Fordham, is doing with her time now.

I Stan, You Stan, We All Stan For Kyrgyzstan!

There are no shortage of -stans in the area south of Russia and west of China: Uzbeki-, Paki-, Afghani-, Kazakh-, Turkmeni- and even Tajiki-. But the most unpronounceable, and arguably the most beautiful, is Kyrgzystan. And how cool will you look later this summer when you tell your friends, “I just got back from Krygzystan!” and they’re like, “Is that even a place?”

Interested? Then watch this 22-minute film by Jenny Tough, who has a pretty interesting website. And I have no idea if that’s her real name. But it’s nice to know there are people out there like this.

Music 101

Mr. Rock and Roll

We always thought these were super-precociously wise and insightful lyrics from such a young musician. Scottish singer-songwriter Amy MacDonald was only 19 or 20 when she penned this hit that went to No. 12 on the UK chart in 2007. It’ll long outlive her, which is a testament to her.

Remote Patrol

Game Of Thrones

Sunday 9 p.m. HBO

“It’s more like 400 million chest X-rays, your grace”

When an explosion in Building 4 of the Harrenhal Nuclear Plant blows the reactor to bits and sends radioactive graphite spewing everywhere as Uranium-235 forms into a giant cloud above, all of Westeros becomes an apocalyptic hellscape. Or at least it will unless Jared Harris, Emily Watson and Peter Dinklage can use their massive crania to solve the problem and end the threat. This, my friends, will be the final episode of GOT. Either that or I’ve been watching too much HBO this month.


IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Every person who even suggested on Twitter yesterday that Zion could return to Duke next season instead of playing for New Orleans (because he has yet to sign an agent) will not earn in their lifetime what Zion will make next year playing for the Pelicans.

Starting Five

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey

Feeble Position*

*The judges will also accept “Crazy In Alabama,” or “The Crimson Letter”

Alabama governor Kay Ivey signs into law a bill that bans abortions “at every stage of pregnancy and criminalizes the procedure for doctors, who could be charged with felonies and face up to 99 years in prison. It includes an exception for cases when the mother’s life is at serious risk, but not for cases of rape or incest.”

The game plan is simple. Right now progressive types could be upset by the bill, but they could simply cross state lines and have an abortion. Instead, someone’s going to sue Alabama (which is exactly what anti-abortion activists are hoping for) and then if the case goes all the way to the Supreme Court, Roe V. Wade could be overturned and there will be no federal protection for pro-choice types. And now you see why Brett Kavanaugh happened.

The legislator who drew up the bill was asked why he did not leave exceptions for rape or incest and replied, “Why not go all the way?” Isn’t it ironic?

Iran, Iran So Far Away

One cannot help thinking that for septuagenarians such as John Bolton and Donald Trump (men who found a way to avoid serving in Vietnam, by the way), the one score they’d like to settle before dying is the humiliation Iran served up to the U.S.A. in the late 1970s with the Iran Hostage Crisis (444 days of confinement for some 50 Americans….who, let’s remember, all lived).

Or maybe they just want a distraction. Or a W. Or justification for all that money ( > $700 billion) that is spent on defense every year. Whatever, the White House is suddenly intrigued by aerial photos of missiles that were loaded upon small boats in the Persian Gulf apparently by Iranian paramilitary forces.

Or, seen another way, Iranians are supposed to be cool with a foreign navy whose capitol is located 6,000 miles away sailing warships on its doorstep.

Buck Lopez


In what may have been his finest hour as an NBA player, 11-year veteran Brook Lopez scores a team-high 20 points as Milwaukee takes a 1-0 lead on Toronto. I’m sorry. Don’t ask me to “Fear The Deer” or get revved up for a “Raptor Rapture.” The Eastern Conference finals is a battle to see who gets to lose 4-1 (at best) to Golden State in June.

You know why the Dubs celebrated with such naked joy in Houston last Friday night? Because that, they understood, was the real NBA Finals.

Related, while watching the end of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid last night on TCM: How come no one ever makes “Easterns?”

Moves Like Jagger

One month after a heart-valve replacement procedure, 75 year-old Mick Jagger is prepping to preen again. The No Filter (But One Valve) Tour, which was supposed to begin in April, is now set to launch on June 21 in Chicago. The lesson for doubters? She’ll never break, never break, never break, never break/ This heart of Stone.

Eighty-Six Happiness


*A new feature in which we periodically and pedantically provide rules for being either a better diner or a better server.

Lesson No. 1: Never, ever, ever, I mean never, when out with a group pay your bill partly with credit cards and partly with cash. Ever. Thank you.

Why not, you ask? Say the bill is $200 and there are four of you. Two decide to pay credit cards and two pay cash. Let’s say, just for argument’s sake, you all decided to split the bill evenly so that each of you is paying $50.

Here’s what happens 9 times out of 10. The two people throw down $50 each and the other two tell you to put $50 on their cards. You run the cards and you know what happens after that? The people who paid cash do not think to add a tip while the two who paid with their cards put 15% on their $50 dollars. So on a $200 table the table winds up tipping $15 dollars, or 7.5%. We see this happen all the time. Don’t be those diners, please. Thank you.

Reserves

Eddie Collins

Hall Pass

In which each day we hypothetically induct two baseball players per year in to Cooperstown, thereby eliminating the fat.

1937…

Grover Cleveland Alexander, P

1911-1930, Phillies et al

“Old Pete” won 28 games as a rookie (a modern-day record that still holds) and is No. 3 all-time in Wins with 373. In the midst of his brilliant career, Alexander spent 1918 serving in World War I in France as a field artillery sergeant and was exposed to mustard gas.

Eddie Collins, 2b

1906-1930, Philadelphia Athletics, Chicago White Sox

A Columbia grad, Collins is 8th all-time in Stolen Bases with 741, 10th all-time in Hits with 3,315 and 12th all-time in Triples with 187. He won six World Series as a member of the A’s and White Sox.


Charter: Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner

1939: Cy Young, Tris Speaker

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right


If you have the time, this is really something. I don’t know if it’s sad or hilarious or what, but props to Steve Harvey. He earned his pay today. SNL and Kenan Thompson could not have improved on it.

Starting Five

ZioNOLA

The NBA has never had a team based in Mississippi, but The Magnolia State is now the epicenter of the league. The New Orleans Pelicans landed the No. 1 pick in Tuesday night’s draft lottery, presumably Zion Williamson, while the Memphis Grizzlies nabbed the No. 2 pick, most likely Zion’s erstwhile AAU teammate, Ja Morant.

The Knicks, Suns and Cavs, who all had the top chance (14%) for the No. 1 pick, will pick 3rd, 5th and 6th, respectively. Soon after neither New York nor Los Angeles failed to at a chance to land one of the two most heralded players in the draft, our sarcastic friend Brian Hamilton sent out this tweet:

Alas, one man’s satire is another cable sports network jockey’s Flaming Hot Take:

But at least it got noticed, right, Jason?


Here’s what is intriguing: What if Anthony Davis, who still has two years remaining on his contract, continues to adamantly refuse to play for the Pelicans? Where does he go? What will New Orleans want in return? If the Lakers wanna deal, I’d trade AD for the No. 4 pick AND Kyle Kuzma. Nothing less.

Sale Finds No Purchase*


*The judges will also accept “Not For Sale”

Before Tuesday, no Major League pitcher had ever struck out more than 16 batters through the first seven innings of a game. Then Chris Sale took the mound for the Red Socks at Fenway (he’s not the most historic Boston southpaw featured in today’s issue of MH). The lanky left whiffed 17 Rockies on Tuesday but left after the seventh inning, which eliminated any chance Sale might have to equal or top the MLB record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game (20, set by two men, one of them former Red Socks ace Roger Clemens at Fenway).

Alas, Sale got 17Ks and left with a 3-2 lead after seven (and 108 pitches), but he did not get the W. The Socks lost 5-4 in 11 innings, their first defeat in five games.

By the way, Sale began the season 0-5 and was horrible. In his last three starts he’s pitched 21 innings, allowed 3 runs and struck out 41. Yes, 41 in 21 innings. And walked just one. One is also the number of Wins he has in those three starts.

Tim Conway

Before there was Saturday Night Live in 1975, there was The Carol Burnett Show on Saturday nights on CBS. And while it was humor in prime-time that was safe for the family, there was nothing lame about the comic sketches that the eponymous host put on with the help of Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence and the man whom most considered the essential ingredient, Tim Conway.

Conway, who passed away yesterday at 85, was like Robert Newhart (whose sitcom directly preceded The Carol Burnett Show on Saturday evenings on CBS) a master of understatement. His characters were beta types, but they were always effortlessly funny. No better way to express it other than to show it.



Appalachian Fail


This is James L. Jordan, who last weekend on the Appalachian Trail fatally stabbed one hiker, 43 year-old Ronald Sanchez. He also stabbed Sanchez’s female companion but she will survive. This was in southwestern Virginia. Jordan had been behaving erratically on the famed trail for awhile and regulars had posted warnings about him, even bought him a bus ticket out of the area.

But Did You Laugh?

This photo of Holocaust victim Anne Frank appears in the current issue of the Harvard Lampoon, which is notorious and renowned for being tactless and irreverent and often very funny. Its alums are the people responsible for stuff like Animal House, Caddyshack and really, Saturday Night Live.

Is it in poor taste? Of course. Is it funny? You decide. The magazine’s student editors were pressured to and ultimately did issue a public apology. It’s sort of incredible to think that Mel Brooks was able to make The Producers less than 25 years after D-Day.

Reserves

Do you know this man? He has baseball’s lowest career ERA of any lefty who pitched after 1911.

Hall Pass

A couple of nights ago we found ourselves in The Emerald Inn (some things never change, Steve). A man about 10 years older than us began peppering us with baseball opinions (“The game was better in the Eighties and Nineties” [um, no] and then he began a merciless barrage of “Should this guy be in the Hall of Fame?” Some of the names he tossed out: Dale Murphy, Jack Morris, Al Oliver (Al Oliver?!?!) and Dave Parker.

Anyway, I began to realize here were two me at a bar all alone who had lapsed into a meaningless conversation and I wondered, Am I Cliff or am I Norm? Also, we were about 5 stools apart but I wasn’t about to move closer; the effect being that other poor bastards were tortured with this chatter. I quickly paid for my beer and left, not wanting to make any more enemies than I already have.

All of which is to say that on this very blog we tackled the Baseball Hall of Fame issue five years earlier. The first point being that you cannot, in our minds, decide who should or should not be in the Hall of Fame if you have an elasticity in terms of how many people may be inducted in a given year. Our thought: keep it super-exclusive so that it truly means something to be sent to the Hall.

For instance, our new friend Mike suggested that, in terms of numbers, 2,500 hits and a .300 average should be a baseline. Then he recommended Bernie Williams (2,336 hits, .297 average) be inducted. I said, “You’ve already lowered your lower bar.”

“Yeah,” my new friend said, “but he’s close.”

“So induct him into the Hall of Close To the Hall Of Fame,” I said.



The annual batting title should be named in this man’s honor…

We thought, especially for anyone new to the blog, that we’d re-run (this is all a way of us doing less work, like a Seinfeld compilation episode) our series in which we re-induct the Baseball Hall of Fame. The proviso is that we begin with the five charter members in 1938—Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson –and then work from there, beginning in 1939. As with the actual Hall of Fame, a player (and we will only vote on players) is not eligible until he’s been retired for five seasons.

Our first ballot…

Cy Young, P

1890-1911, 5 teams, among them the St. Louis Perfectos

Most wins (yes, and losses) all-time with a record of 511-316. Cy was short for “Cyclone”, the original nickname of Denton True Young.

Tris Speaker, OF

1907-1928; four teams, among them the Boston Red Sox

“The Grey Eagle” is still baseball’s all-time leader in doubles (792) and outfield assists, and has the sixth-highest batting average (.345) of all time.

*****

A reminder: If you’re looking for something to watch on the streaming services and have yet to find Chernobyl (HBO), we HIGHLY recommend it. Like us, you probably don’t know much more beyond the fact that it was in the former Soviet Union (not in Russia, but in Ukraine, actually) and that it was the worst nuclear disaster in history. The way it has played out through two episodes, it feels like a John Le Carre thriller and we just know Jared Harris will get a Best Actor Emmy nomination, if not the win.

Music 101

I Wanna Make It With You

That’s Bread performing on The Midnight Special. Throw a Pet Rock at your Lava Lamp, kids, cuz it doesn’t get much more Seventies than this. For one week in late August of 1970 this was the No. 1 song on the Billboard charts, sandwiched between more famous No. 1’s “Close To You” by the Carpenters and “War” by Edwin Starr. It’s not often you find Bread in the middle of a sandwich.

Remote Patrol

Live From The PGA Championship

9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Golf Channel

It has actually been 13 years since the rest of the PGA Tour had a shot at Tiger Woods in the same calendar year after he has won a major. That major was the 2006 British Open in Merseyside, England, and the following one was the…PGA Championship held in Medinah, Illinois. And who won that? Tiger Woods.

Now they get a shot at newly crowned Masters champ Woods just one month after Augusta. We like that golf has moved up what had been its fourth major to May so that we get one per month, April to July. By August sports is too drunk with football to pay attention.



IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters


Appetite For Destruction*

*The judges will also accept “Cinder Ella”

Last night on HBO I watched “The Game Revealed: The Bells,” a 17-minute behind-the-scenes how-to on the making of the penultimate episode of Game Of Thrones. It left me humbled and in awe. The sheer scale of the undertaking of this episode, from basically recreating King’s Landing (i.e. Dubrovnik) on a Belfast backlot to the 650 extras to lighting 22 stunt men on fire in one scene, to the tedium of filming CleganeBowl and simply creating space on that stairwell (also built specially for this one scene) to place cameras, to all the work the actors had to do with green screens and yet make it look authentic, well, it’s fair to say that this may have been the most ambitious and arduous episode of television ever attempted.

Now, true, as a viewer, you are not obligated to approve of an episode based solely on its budget or the effort required to make it. Still, as we sit on our collective asses funneling salty snacks and alcohol down our gobs on Sunday nights, I feel we might sound a little less like spoiled children if we actually knew the colossal headache that creating this show must have been for Benioff & Weiss. It’s a little like parenting. You never really can appreciate how massive and unappreciated a job it is until you become one yourself. But maybe we can at least try.

All that said, let’s get to Twitter’s major beef with “The Bells,” which seems to be either 1) Daenerys’ “heel turn” or 2) the very fact that she committed mass murder when it was unnecessary. I don’t get it (the criticism, that is), and I’ll defend her, from a story-telling perspective.

First, Dany is her father’s daughter. The Mad King, Aerys Targaryen, planned to burn King’s Landing and its inhabitants before he was assassinated by Jaime Lannister. She’s a Targaryen. She’s not Jimmy Carter.

Second, this is a woman who was raised, at least militarily, with the Dothraki. They are known for being outstanding and ruthless warriors, the Westerosi version of Genghis Khan’s mongol hordes. Whatever your views as a Judeo-Christian viewer of the show may be, they are not shared by the Mother of Dragons.

Third, as I was reminded by @AuburnElvis yesterday, this conversation (below) between Olenna Tyrell and Dany at the end of last season. Recall, it was Olenna who successfully murdered a previous malevolent ruler of Westeros, Joffrey, and who got away with it. And here it is Olenna giving Dany the best military advice she’d ever receive, certainly better than anything Tyrion or Varys gave her: “Be a dragon.”

Finally, over the course of Season 5 we have seen Dany detour away from her own wishes in order to save the North (losing two dragons in the process), then losing the love of her life to a 23AndMe technicality, then losing her most trusted advisor (Jorah) and her closest female friend (Missandrei). She feels alone and betrayed (which she was) and all she really has left is her sweet ride (Drogon) and her own indomitable will.

So yes, and as the show’s creators acknowledge, Dany goes full Dresden on King’s Landing. Was it absolutely necessary? Of course not, but then neither was Dresden. That World War II bombing, by Allied air assault (including U.S. planes) resulted in the deaths, by fire, of more than 22,000 German civilians. Dresden was not an attack on important Nazi industry or rail lines or anything of the sort. The bombing of Dresden was a huge “F___ You” aimed at Germany, a release of a couple of years of frustration and vengeance for all the pain and suffering that Great Britain, specifically London, had endured.

Dresden wasn’t necessary. But it was cathartic—even if it was mass murder on a grand scale.

In Game Of Thrones, specifically “The Bells,” we have the unique scenario of a medieval battle with 20th-century aviation, via Drogon, thrown in. Benioff & Weiss had the unique opportunity, and responsibility, to create a 14th-century battleground while adding 20th century destruction, and tactics. Hence Dany launches her attack on the Iron Fleet by flying right out of the sun, which is what Japanese kamikaze fighters in the Pacific did in World War II and was also a popular tactic in World War I dogfights over France.

Was it a little inconceivable that Dany and Drogon were able to take out all the Scorpions, both in the Iron Fleet and mounted on the walls of King’s Landing, based on that opening gambit, without a single scratch? Sure it was. Was it a little inconceivable that the Millennium Falcon survived Darth Vader’s entire armada of TIE fighters plus an asteroid field? Uh huh.

As an avid fan and viewer, you’re welcome to feel any way you want about the episode. And even the final season. I’m with Scott Van Pelt on all this. I appreciate the monumental amount of work that went into making this final season, possibly unlike anything in television history. More than that, though, I appreciate that you have to tie up a plethora of story lines and that some may not be dealt with in a more brisk manner. I spend six days a week watching three cooks magically prepare dozens of meals for satisfied customers simultaneously; I realize what they’re doing and what I do when I cook for myself are not to be compared and also that they don’t get the chance to drink a glass of Pinot Noir and check the Yankee game while doing so.

Finally, I keep hearing how dissatisfied fans are with the ending of GOT. Here’s a helpful reminder: IT HASN’T ENDED YET. Let it at least finish first before you decide you didn’t like the finish. In short, please try to avoid being the worst example of everything that is wrong with Twitter. I know that you can.

Finis

Sure, this works, and it only took an afternoon to install

A word or two more on television endings, by the way. In my experience the show most impervious to criticism, at least on Sports Twitter, is Breaking Bad.

While I loved the series, too, and have watched it start-to-finish twice, I’d argue that Vince Gilligan wussed out on the ending. The perfect ending to that series should have taken place out in the desert, about 20 minutes into the third-to-last episode, “Ozymandias.” Hank has just been killed, Jesse has just been discovered by the gang, and Walter has had to reveal the hiding place for all of his money in exchange for his life. He gets to walk out, strolling past the khakis he’d lost in the pilot episode, and leave with nothing else but his life and the eternal guilt of being responsible for the death of his brother-in-law. A bleak ending, but a fitting one.

Instead, we get the escape to New Hampshire, followed by the miraculous getaway without explanation (the car keys drop into his hand, there’s a police car in his rearview mirror, then voila, the next thing you know he’s in Santa Fe). I’ve always liked to think that Walter White died in that car and the remainder of the series, that final episode, is simply a posthumous dream sequence.

If it is not a dream, then the most wanted criminal in America somehow returns to Albuquerque undetected, visits his wife at her home in broad daylight, then rigs up a semi-automatic weapon in the trunk of his car in a single afternoon as if he’s Macgyver. Never mind that the gang allows him to drive his own vehicle right up in front of their home and park it the way he sees fit, that the angle on the machine gun firing into the home just happens to be perfect, that he and Jesse are allowed to have a face-to-face, which gives Walter the opportunity to warn Jesse that the bullets are about to fire, that Walter was able to keep the firing device in his hands even after being frisked….you get the picture.

Gilligan sketched the perfect closing scene, but then he reached for more. He didn’t need to.

The final episode of Breaking Bad was simply audience wish-fulfillment from a show runner who opted not to end the series as mercilesssly as he’d ended most characters’ stories in the series. But it isn’t just Breaking Bad. Mad Men had to duct-tape a final season together that, because its stars had gotten to be too successful and had too many side projects going, meant that we never got a face-to-face scene between Don Draper and any significant co-stars for the final three or four episodes. The Wires entire final season was an epic letdown.

It’s funny. The Sopranos was the first classic show on HBO, the forebear to all the terrific programming on Netflix, AMC and HBO that has followed. And its creator, David Chase, may not have been able to anticipate the impact social media would have on how audiences hive-minded their opinions on shows and their endings, but the manner in which he chose to end his show was both genius and prescient.

Chase ended The Sopranos abruptly and without explanation. Fans can attempt to decipher the final scene as much as they want, but there’s absolutely nothing definitive about it. It’s almost as if Chase was thumbing his nose at Twitter before Twitter even existed, in effect saying, “You can’t criticize something if you don’t actually know what you saw.”

In hindsight, and having read all of the criticism about GOT the past two days, a genius move by Chase, the man who started it all.

Music 101

Mouth Almighty

In the summer of 1983 Elvis Costello and the Attractions released their seventh album in a six-year span. Punch The Clock may not be his masterpiece, but it did produce his first Top 40 hit. This isn’t it, by the way. But we’ve always felt this tune deserved more frequent spins.

Remote Patrol

NBA Draft Lottery

8:30 p.m. ESPN

Cleveland, New York and Phoenix all have the same 14% shot of landing Zion Williamson the No. 1 overall pick. Chicago is next at 12.5% and then Atlanta at 10.5%, etc. The point being, Zion to the Manhattan is not a certainty (except with the conspiracy theorists). Some folks will tell you that Zion may not be all that and personally, we hope our sons land Ja Morant.

Our biggest concern with Zion, and this was the topic of a convo we had with a sporty sports guy the other night, is length. He’s not a stretchy-type guy like, say teammates R.J. Barrett or Cam Reddish, which is what NBA teams crave now. He’s more of a bull-in-a-china-shop type like Larry Johnson. It’s still impossible not to love his energy, his charisma and his legitimate talent. He’s a total gamer. You take him first, is our final verdict, and worry about the rest later.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

The King In The North

We did not watch too much of the Sixers-Raptors series, but it turns out you didn’t have to. The last 5 seconds were the entire story, as Kawhi Leonard, with the score knotted 90-90, took a falling away 20-footer from the right corner that went bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, through as the clock expired.


Bring on the Bucks!

The Kings From The North

As soon as Aguero struck this shot to even the score, it felt over in Brighton

Much like Daenerys’ Targaryen’s army, Manchester City came down from northern England to the coastal southern city of Brighton on Sunday to claim the throne of the English Premier League. Up only one point ahead of Liverpool when the final day of the season began, Man City fell behind 1-0 on a corner kick at Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday morning (here in the States).

Fans of the Reds, who were up 1-0 on Wolverhampton at the time, were ecstatic. Only 83 seconds later, though, the Sky Blues evened the score 1-1 and then put through three more goals to take the Premiership for the second consecutive year (and fourth in eight) by a points total of 98 (to Liverpool’s 97, the third-highest point total in Premier League history).

Manchester native Noel Gallagher and manager Pep Guardiola celebrate

Man City may be the Yankees or Dodgers, in terms of payroll, but give Pep Guardiola’s side credit. In order to maintain the crown, they had to win outright their final 14 matches. And they did. After all, they’re our wonderwall.

Happy Mother Of Dragons Day


In the penultimate episode of Game Of Thrones, Daenerys redefines what it means to go “scorched earth.” Meanwhile, half of Twitter seemed upset that she’d keep her starters in that late in the fourth quarter with such a sizable lead. But, as our friend Cecil Hurt explained, you gotta impress the voters.

Other thoughts:

–For the twincest duo of Cersei and Jaime Lannister, it all started in a turreted tower in Winterfell and ended in a dungeon in King’s Landing. Fitting. Though we still don’t quite understand how Jaime walked away from being stabbed twice in the torso (but yes, begging believability in this series is something of a fool’s errand).

–We are probably a day or two away from a King’s Landing truther claiming that dragon fire doesn’t destroy Red Keep bricks and that it was all a conspiracy.

–The Hound’s final scene with Arya was for us, the highlight of the episode. For anyone who grew up in a house with tough love, you knew for awhile now that Sandor Clegane was one of the good guys.

–We loved Cersei’s little “I’m just gonna scooch on past this little sibling rivalry move” just prior to the start of CleganeBowl.

–Don’t understand why fans were taken aback by Daenerys’ actions (like father, like daughter). She’d listened to their soft takes, particularly Tyrion and Jon Snow, for awhile now and all it had gotten her was a dead dragon and a headless closest female friend. And in a sense, she was absolutely right: “Mercy is our strength. The mercy that future generations won’t have to put up with [Cersei].” She’s not here to win the popular vote, or even the electoral college. She’s here to fix what’s been broken for centuries. In the words of Bruce, “Let the broken hearts stand as the price you gotta pay.”

–Although it would be fun to see Sansa take the evidence of Daenerys committing mass murder with Drogon and use it as an appeal to the rest of the people: “Lock her up.”

–For us, this sets up a Stark vs. Daenerys ending with Jon Snow hopelessly caught in the middle. So what happens? Does Daenerys simply take the South and yield the North to Sansa? Does Jon become the messianic martyr? Does Arya avenge him, or does she kill Daenerys before her Dothraki have the chance to take out Jon? Is Tyrion charred for treason, a la Varys? One thing you gotta think: That white horse and its symbolism didn’t just show up at the end of this episode for no good reason.

White Lightning

The young man on the right in the “Jesuit” singlet is high school senior Matthew Boling of Houston. On Saturday, in the Texas 6A state track meet, Boling ran the fastest boys prep 100-meter legal time ever recorded: 10.13. This less than one month after he’d run the fastest wind-aided 100-meter high school time (9.98 seconds) ever.

Boling basically already has world-class, Olympic finals speed at the age of 18. He also pulled off quite an anchor leg in the boys 4 x 400 relay final and won the long jump. He’s headed to Georgia on scholarship and you should be hearing a lot more about him.

Nurse Wretched

Some mass murderers don’t even need a pet dragon

From The New York Times, the story of a German nurse , Niels Hogel, who may have used his position to end the lives of some 300 patients. And a suggestion that perhaps Germans’ worship of authority figures allowed him to continue his murderous behavior than far longer than he should have (as if we’re so easy on whistle-blowers here).

We did appreciate the shade thrown at Hitler and Himmler and Goebbels without actually mentioning their names, as they wrote that Hogel “may be the most prolific serial killer in the history of peacetime Germany.”

Music 101

Give A Little Bit

Roger Hodgson was just 19 years old when he wrote this song in 1969, but didn’t offer it up to the band he co-founded, Supertramp, until 1976. It became the band’s first international hit. In the late Seventies, the British prog rock group had more than half a dozen chart hits. This is our favorite, probably due to the jangly 12-string acoustic guitars.

Remote Patrol

Chernobyl

9 p.m. HBO

It’s strange to have a hero in a nuclear disaster film, particularly one based on actual events, but that’s who Valery Legasov (Jared Harris) was. As a viewer, if you watched the first episode, you already know Legasov’s fate and while we do consider his actions heroic, we do not approve of leaving your kitty cat an orphan and only what looks like 3 days of available food. Bad! Bad Legasov!



IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Sixers, Blazers, Force Game 7s: But How Will This Affect LeBron and The Lakers?!?!?!?

Had ample time to tune in to a pair of ESPN chat-fests yesterday: ATH and PTI (with Tony on one, Tony-free on the other). Then I tuned in to one segment of “NBA Countdown” (can no longer stomach Beadle). In the time I watched the ESPN hosts talked more about the L.A. Lakers, who did not make the playoffs, than any of the four teams who were playing last night.

And of course Tottenham’s incredible comeback versus Ajax never even was a topic on the first two shows.

Toodle-loo, Ty Lue

But as long as we’re here, the Lakers were blasted on the three ESPN shows for showing disrespect to Tyronn Lue (a former Laker player if I remember correctly) by not handing him a five-year deal. We get it, but on the other hand let’s not pretend Lue is anything more than LeBron’s coaching valet. When LeBron goes, L.A. will want nothing to do with Lue. And he won’t stay five years.

We advocated in this space three months ago that the best-case for the Lakers is to trade LeBron while he remains high value. They’re never getting out of the conference semis at this point, not with the emerging talent in Denver and Dallas (have you forgotten that Kristaps joins Luka next autumn) and the reigning talent in Golden State and Houston.

As they say in Hollywood, scrap the picture and let’s get a fresh script. I don’t actually know if they say that, but I do have two Hollywood friends who semi-regularly read this column and perhaps they can correct me.

For Womb The Bell Tolls

Alabama: The House passed a bill last week that would criminalize abortion and that doctors could face up to 99 years of jail time if convicted.

Georgia, Mississippi, Ohio: Pass “fetal heartbeat” bills, which prohibits abortions past the sixth week of pregnancy.

It’s really simple: Human life is sacrosanct from the moment of conception right up to the point where it’s a matter of that life versus my gun.

Philly Is Phor Phoodies

The James Beard Awards, the Oscars for restaurants, were announced earlier this week. Best Restaurant went to Zahav, a Phladelphia bistro not far from Penn’s Landing that specializes in Israeli cuisine. “Zahav” in Hebrew means gold, but I feel bad even insulting your intelligence by typing that. I’d call Zahav the mecca of Philly’s culinary scene, but that might be in poor taste.

For those of us in the real world (!), Best New Restaurant went to Frenchette in New York City (which, I presume, is not Israeli). But I still like my Chinese/Cuban joint on 78th and Broadway. It’s always crowded and the waiters have been there since Koch was mayor.

Milo Vs. Tyrone


Last week we noted that ’40s Hollywood leading man Walter Pidgeon bore a striking resemblance to 21st century TV star Jon Hamm. Well, we’ve got another pair of cross-century screen doppelgängers for you: Tyrone Power and Milo Ventimiglia.

We loved Milo as Jess from Gilmore Girls. You may know him better as Jack, the dad who survives Vietnam service only to die in a house fire in This Is Us.

Power is an actor you may know better as a name than for his films—start with Nightmare Alley or The Mark of Zorro—but you may be interested to learn that during World War II he was a pilot. Power had enlisted in the Marine Corps and during the Battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa he flew cargo missions, dropping off supplies and picking up wounded.

Like Clark Gable, Power had an affair with Lana Turner and also like Gable, he had a son born shortly after he died. Power died suddenly, at the age of 44, on location in Spain.

Music 101

West End Girls

On this day in 1986 this song from London’s Pet Shop Boys went to No. 1 on the charts. The synth-pop duo took their cue about class pressure from T.S. Eliot’s poem The Waste Land, which we never quite appreciated in high school. But then it’s high school: there’s so much you won’t appreciate about it for decades.

Remote Patrol

Yankees at Rays

7 p.m. YES (or MLB Network)

Whaat? It’s still just early May, but two of the most impressive young pitchers this season have been New York’s Domingo German and Tampa Bay’s Tyler Glasnow. The lanky 6’2″ German, slotted as a reliever out of spring training until the injury to ace Luis Severino, shares the Major League Wins lead (6-1) and has a 2.35 ERA and an impressive 0.89 WHIP. Glasnow, a 6’8″ hurler who also has 6 wins (and no losses), entered the season with a 4-16 career mark. He leads all of baseball in ERA at 1.47.

Tampa Bay leads the Yanks by 1 1/2 games in the A.L. East race.


Chernobyl By The Potomac

by Wendell Barnhouse

Less than a minute into the first episode of the HBO mini-series “Chernobyl,” these chilling words were uttered by the actor Jared Harris, playing Valery Legasov:

“What is the cost of lying? … The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all. What can we do then? What else is left but to abandon even the hope of truth and content ourselves instead with stories.”

Legasov was a leading nuclear scientist who helped build the Soviet Union’s power-generating nuclear reactors. He also knew of the dangers and shoddy designs, the lack of oversight and inadequate preparation for emergencies.

When the Chernobyl disaster occurred in April of 1986, Soviet officials were more concerned about saving face than saving lives. The seriousness of the situation was glossed over with “nothing to see here, citizens, move along.” The State ignored the potential for a core melt down that would have become a Hiroshima/Nagasaki conflagration.

Legasov turned whistle-blower and recorded his version of the events. The cassette tapes were sent to the BBC and thus the Soviet Union’s initial mitigation of the disaster’s consequences were exposed. Miraculously and thankfully, the death toll was “only” in the thousands, not tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or millions.

HBO’s presentation is, of course, a mini-series “based on actual events.” There are actors, a script, drama and conversations that “represent” what was actually said but are not verbatim. Still, were this a book, it would be non-fiction.

In last Monday night’s premiere, as the Soviet officials lied (even to themselves), the genesis of Legasov’s opening words became obvious. And ominous. What happened over 30 years ago to our top foreign adversary is what is currently happening in the United States.

Your Humble Scribe admits that he spends way too much time with the laptop on his lap and the Twitter function open. That means that YHS observes the daily blathering that goes on regarding our Tweet King. The “president,” the dishonorable Donald J. Trump, can claim in less than 240 characters that his first two years have been the most successful in presidential history while also bitching that the Mueller investigation has “stollen” two years from his four-year term.

With over 10,000 false statements – OK, lies – since his inauguration, Trump has sullied and stained this nation’s highest office. That should be expected from a con man who has cheated, bullied and concealed his entire adult life.

We should all expect politicians to not tell the truth. That’s what being a politician means. What we should demand is that politicians not lie.

There is a massive difference.

There can be debate and difference of opinions on policy. There should be no debate or difference of opinions on facts.

The Mueller Report was clear regarding Russian interference with and influence on the 2016 presidential election. William Barr, the Attorney General (lawyer for America, supposedly), lied and disputed that finding. Lying to Congress – to the elected representatives of the citizens – is no big deal with no consequences.

In the summer of 2016, the FBI and other intelligence agencies became aware of Russian meddling. President Obama met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and sought a bi-partisan announcement about the threat. McConnell refused. Without McConnell’s support, Obama decided it would appear politically motivated if he made the announcement alone.

On the Senate floor Tuesday, McConnell blamed Obama. “Maybe stronger leadership would have left the Kremlin less emboldened. Maybe tampering with our democracy wouldn’t have seemed so very tempting.”

While Robert Mueller followed “the rule of law” in declining to indict a sitting president (despite enough evidence to charge with obstruction), the Trump/GOP strategy is now to claim the entire investigation was a Deep State conspiracy. They claim that the FBI investigating Russian influence was actually “spying” on the Trump campaign.

“Well that’s not the term I would use,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said this week. “Lots of people have different colloquial phrases. I believe that the FBI is engaged in investigative activity and part of investigative activity includes surveillance.”

Lying now includes word-parsing. “Surveillance” to uncover criminal behavior is now “spying.” And never mind that to surveil an alleged guilty party also means surveilling the alleged innocent party.

Mueller following the “rule of law” appears quaint and naïve. Now that he has been “totally absolved,” every day the Tweet King edges closer and closer to dictatorship.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin broke the law regarding Trump’s tax returns. Barr lied to Congress. Trump is blocking lawful subpoenas to prevent key witnesses from testifying to House committees.

Short of Mueller dropping a bomb when/if he testifies or the House starting impeachment proceedings, there will be no stopping the stonewalling, the tap dancing and the lying.

Eric Levitz summed things up in a New York Magazine article last month. Here is a key section of that story:

“If there is no bipartisan consensus against allowing Republican presidents to flout the law, then what good is bipartisan consensus? Why should Democrats be compelled to forever and always give the GOP input on making laws when the two parties do not even share a commitment to the rule of law? … Congressional Democrats’ fatalism about impeachment — and their reverence for institutional norms and the ideal of bipartisanship — are irreconcilable.”

Is it worse to lie to the American people? Or lie to themselves?

Chernobyl helped lead to the downfall of the Soviet Union. Mr. Gorbachev tore down that wall. The Red Threat went away. No more domino theories about communism, no more bomb shelters or hiding under desks.

Nature, though, abhors a vacuum. As do former super power countries. The Communist Party was replaced by the Mob. The Godfather (Vladimi Putin) has declared a cyber war that we’re basically ignoring because no blood has been spilled. Putin’s puppet is the Tweet King, who laughs at the rule of law, wipes his ass with the Constitution and thrills his rallies with tales of infanticide and the sun rising in the West.

In the first episode of Chernobyl, Harris as Legasov closes his whistle blowing tape with the cynicism born of decades of watching his superiors lie in the face of obvious truth.

“They’ll deny it of course. They always do.”

Editor’s Note: As always, I’m truly grateful to Wendell for volunteering his talents and time. Also, a good book regarding his “nature abhors a vacuum” line and Russia’s false glasnost is Once Upon A Time In Russia by Ben Mezrich. Finally, we also watched the Chernobyl episode recap and while we concur that it was a good idea to lead with Legasov’s death, the Mad Men fan in us was jarred by the sight of Jared Harris hanging himself yet again.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

There’s no film we wouldn’t watch 24 hours straight if $1 million were waiting for us at the end of the movie marathon. You?

Starting Five

Lucas Moura!

If Tottenham were not dead at halftime of yesterday’s second leg of their Champions League semi at Ajax, then you would have needed a trained health-care professional to detect a pulse. Down 2-0 in the match and 3-0 in aggregate goals, Spurs needed nothing less than 3 unanswered second-half goals on a foreign—literally—pitch to advance to the final in Madrid.

Then, faster than you can say, “Come On You Spurs!” they got it. Off the leg of one man: their 26 year-old right wing Lucas Moura. The brazen Brazilian scored goals in the 55th and 59th minute to tie the match, but Hot Spurs still trailed in aggregate. Then, in stoppage time he squeezed through a brilliant strike, stunning two Ajax defenders and the keeper by not placing the ball but by striking it as it came rolling to him.

(Noted two-time NBA MVP and Spurs supporter Steve Nash had quite the visceral reaction to Moura’s third goal)

Let’s reflect a moment on the May Hem we’ve just witnessed from Champions League the past 48 hours. Barcelona, arguably the best team in the world, squandered a 3-0 aggregate lead after one match to fall 4-0 at Liverpool (and 4-3 aggregate_). Ajax forfeited a 3-0 aggregate advantage after 1 1/2 matches to fall, via Away Goals, 3-3, to Tottenham. The Champions League will have its first All-England final since 2008, and neither club may be this year’s Premier League champion (if Man City holds on this Sunday).

Brilliant!

Ladies And Gentleman, Your 2015 Golden State Warriors!

Four years ago, the Dubs won the first of three NBA championships in four seasons with a starting five of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut. Their top two reserves were Andre Iguodala (the MVP of that NBA Finals even though Sweet Pea truly deserved the award) and Shaun Livingston.

Guess what? After last night’s pyrrhic win at Oracle, in which the Dubs likely lost Super Duper Star Kevin Durant to a strained right calf for the remainder of this postseason, that 2015 championship squad (minus Barnes) is going to have to find their old magic. KD was averaging an otherworldly 35 ppg while shooting above the mythical 40/50/90 line this postseason. You don’t just replace that.

However, as you witnessed last night, Golden State’s core trio of Curry, Klay and Draymond can and must step up their games to take one of the final two from Houston. And yes, this somewhat mirrors last season’s CP3 injury in the fifth game, the difference being that KD is a far superior player. To anyone.

(No Kevin, but they still have Kevon)

Can Golden State advance? And if so, how do they stop Nikola Jokic with a faded Bogut?

(Kind of a big deal. Nobody, not even TNT, caught it.)

Last thing that needs to be said, and both us and Tim Legler said it last night : Golden State does not win Game 5 without the contributions of Kevon Looney, who could probably tell you all the different ways one is able to serve shrimp as an edible dish.

L.A. Guns*

*The judges note that any allusion to an ’80s hair-metal band in that hed is purely intentional

No, this is not the opening scene from the next Bruce Willis film. In Holmby Hills, the ultra-exclusive neighborhood within Beverly Hills, LAPD and the ATF seized an arsenal of weapons were seized yesterday. Reportedly they were not only being stored there, but also sold and shipped from and perhaps even assembled or manufactured.

The stories we read did not release the name of the person (s) whose property had more than 1,000 weapons, many of them assault-type rifles and Browning machine guns. Nor did the stories note that this is the same extremely wealthy area where you’ll find the Playboy Mansion, or that it’s just a very short bike ride east of the campus of UCLA.

Kind of odd that no suspect’s name has been released yet. Even if it’s not a celebrity, it’s someone with a lot of wealth. And a lot of power, perhaps. Firepower, definitely.

Fail Blazer

You planned on spending next week partying in Ibiza, but your private equity firm has a meeting to restructure (insert name of beloved American brand whose stock price is disappointing its board members, even though the quality of the product has not suffered, here), so you’ll have to do a pass-through in the board room and hence can only make it to Amagansett this weekend. Sucks to be you.

You board the Blade chopper at the 34th Street pier with a copy of Barron’s under your left arm and two bottles of Chateau Minuty in your carry-on (babe magnet). Forget anything?

Yes, my good sir, you have! Nothing says “Jay Gatsby” in the summer of 2019 quite like the Beach Blazer (only $325) from Marko Andrus. To Marko’s credit, he’s not a designer but just a swell (and a web developer) who realized he wanted something to don that dried you off like a towel but that you could wear for a post-beach glass of Aperol Spritz at 75 Main in Southampton. He’s already manufactured 10,000 of these bad boys and has a marketing deal with Dos Equis.

This is an article of clothing that Kramer would’ve eventually gotten around to designing if Seinfeld had remained on a a few seasons more. In fact, he sort of wore one around that entire Hamptons episode, no?

L’Orange

Above, that’s Frenchman Jean Jacques-Savin, 72, who built and skippered this giant orange barrel you see. On December 26, Boxing Day (hey, that’s British, not French), Savin set off from the Canary Islands. Traveling at roughly 2 miles per hour (or 1.7 knots per hour), Savin made it to the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Eustatius last week. That’s a 2,900-mile plus voyage.

Savin traveled solo and fed himself largely off fish he caught, though he did pack some foie gras (really). And a bottle of wine. Naturally.

Music 101

This Is The Time

Billy Joel turns 70 today.

Remote Patrol

Chernobyl

HBO Now/Go

“That’s not supposed to happen, is it?”

Bummed about the fact that one million species are near extinction, our government is more hopelessly corrupt than it has ever been, and Kevin Durant may miss the rest of the playoffs? Cheer up! It could be worse. Watch this 10-part series on HBO, the cable channel’s most apocalyptic show of the season not featuring Euron Greyjoy.