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Spurs at Heat Game 2 Live Blog

by Bill Hubbell

It’s do or die for the Heat tonight, if you lose the first two at home you are d-o-n-e. Done. Blah, Blah, Blah….

Tonight’s game, like game one, counts as one game. If the Heat win the series is tied. If the Spurs win they’re up 2-0, nothing more, nothing less. The talking heads are about to come on and tell you otherwise, they’ll try to dazzle you with a few parlor tricks and tell you tales of “code reds”…. they even might try to cut into a few officers….

Forget it. I butchered that quote too. Anyway, there’s a game in Miami tonight and the winner is one game closer to winning four times. Would it surprise anyone if the Spurs won tonight and the Heat won two in San Antonio? No, it wouldn’t, so let’s keep a little perspective tonight.

I read somewhere that everyone over the age of 40 wants the Spurs to win and everyone under 30 wants the Heat to win. People in their 30′s are too busy wondering what the hell they’re going to do with their lives to care. No, I’ve misremembered John’s quote, I’m sure people in their 30′s want someone to win.

I’m well into my 40′s and I want the Spurs for all the same reasons most people do. I don’t hate Lebron, but the Heat are certainly a contrived bunch. They seem to be able to live with that, so whatever.

My favorite player in the series is Kawhi Leonard, who we got to know quite well at the Mountain West Sports Network while he played at San Diego State. Great kid, great back story. He probably should have been drafted a lot higher than 15th two years ago. Right now he might go 3rd in a re-draft behind only Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson. Yes, everything is situational, by Kawhi bats fourth on a fantastic team and has acquitted himself quite well.

Speaking of the 2011 draft, someone please rescue Jimmer from Sacramento. Mark my words, he’ll be better than ok at some point, but never in Sacramento. There couldn’t have been a worse spot for him to land. I can’t imagine Tyreke Evans and Muzzy Cousins are thinking they have to get that Fredette kid more shots. Flip Saunders, are you listening? The kid can shoot.

images-1 DownloadedFile

The pre-game show is starting now.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! 5/6

Starting Five

“Chaos is not a pit; chaos is a ladder” — Littlefinger, a.k.a. Lord Baelish, to Varys, in “Game of Thrones”

Lord Baelish: The Roger Sterling of Westeros

1. Oh, he is cunning, that Littlefinger. He is full of cun. In the latest episode of “Game of Thrones”, Lord Baelish gives Varys a tutorial on how to make a power-play when one does not actually possess power. Meanwhile, a dwarf is being paired with a teenage orphan while an incestuous queen is due to be betrothed to a “sword swallower, through and through.” Is this King’s Landing or Knot’s Landing?

Sansa and Theon would make a great couple, no? Sure, they’re step-siblings, but since when has that ever stopped love in Westeros?

 

Two more thoughts:

1) Foods that should be on Jaime Lannister’s menu: chicken wings and soup. Foods that should not be on Jaime Lannister’s menu: over-stuffed sammiches and sushi.

2) It was funny to listen to Tywin Lannister and Lady Olenna negotiate the marriages between their children while using their sexual pecaddillos as trump cards. Were you like me? Were you thinking, Okay, you may be post-menopausal, Lady Olenna, and you may have a little difficulty with your sword these days, Tywin, but it is you two kids who should be wed just so that you’ll have someone to hit the early-bird specials with at the King’s Landing Denny’s.

 

2. Mayweather Report
May weather at Churchill Downs Saturday: soggy. Mayweather in Las Vegas on Saturday night: once again, insuperable. In Louisville the pre-race favorite, Orb (as our faithful friend, An Inconvenient Ruth, noted, “He must have a dyslexic twin named ‘Bro’”), won a rain-saturated Kentucky Derby, the 139 edition, on Saturday afternoon. Was his father a mudder? Was his mother a mudder?

Horse racing: where gambling is suddenly not taboo.

Later that evening at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Floyd Mayweather, who works as many days out of the year as Santa Claus, dominated Robert Guerrero in a 12-round decision to move his career record to 44 wins, 0 losses. After the exhibition Mayweather, who was wearing a baseball cap, praised Guerrero’s effort and said, “I take my hat off to him.” Although he actually did not doff his cap.

Floyd’s cap reads “The Money Team.” The ring is his ATM.

3. Gareth Bale

Before Orb was making hay and Floyd was throwing haymakers on Saturday, we were shouting, “Hey, Bale!” at the TV as Tottenham Hotspur were battling Southampton on the pitch. The match was scoreless in the 86th minute when Gareth Bale, who by the time the World Cup rolls around next year in Brazil will probably be recognized as the world’s greatest player, slammed home a screamer from just outside the penalty box. The Welshman has the rugged good looks and the powerful leg of a man who, in a previous era, would already be dating a Spice Girl or three. Tottenham, which is currently in fourth place in the EPL (a Top Four spot ensures qualification for the next season’s UEFA Champions League), meets fellow Top-Four club Chelsea on Wednesday. Stay tuned…

His winning strike: The jury is not out on Bale.

 

(I just realized that this entire post, to this point, could have been written by Adam Duerson. All it needs is a mention of RAGBRAI and a competitive-eating contest).

4. A “New Rules” closing rant in which Bill Maher declares that we are not fighting a War On Terror, but rather a “War Against Losers.” When you think about it, the Shoe bomber failed to light his show, the underwear bomber succeeded only in lighting his genitals, and the Times Square Bomber locked himself out of his vehicle. And the Tsarnaev brothers never had a getaway plan, much less an idea that, you know, chances are there might be a few video surveillance cameras on Boylston Street. Not to diminish the deaths or maimings of anyone in Boston – a homicide is a homicide is a homicide –but Adam Lanza killed more Americans than all of the aforementioned “enemy combatants” combined. In fact, more NATO servicemen (seven) died in Afghanistan on Saturday.

Martin Richard

 

One more question: Why do news sites show photos of Dzhokhar that make him look like a sweet-eyed stoner as opposed to a mug shot? Is there a mug shot? Why haven’t we seen it? Meanwhile, Boston affiliate WCVB had a really cool idea: a photo gallery of the victims.

5. Finally, a marriage that Don Draper can live with.
SCDP weds CGC and, yes, I noticed that this was the second time this season that Don Draper took up residence at a hotel bar alone at night, was happened upon not be a leggy female but instead by a man, and then found himself as part of a wedding party the following morning.

Roger Sterling: His Chevy chase pays off. Oh, he’s a closer, alright.

Suddenly things are looking brighter for Don –and maybe even Peggy –but beware the blooms of May, 1968. Robert Kennedy’s assassination is probably going to be a focal point of the next episode and with his death comes a pall that will hang over America until either Ronald Reagan is elected (1980) or the Starland Vocal Band releases “Afternoon Delight.” (1976). I’ll allow you to be the judge.

P.S. My guess is that the Chevy is either a Chevelle or a new-model Corvette.

 

Shortened post, as the steakateria beckons. My apologies. As always the Medium Happy Tip Jar accepting doughnations on PayPal at sameriver@hotmail.com. Thank you!

 

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! 5/3

Starting Five

“Our player hit him, but 61 is the one to blame.”

–Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean, on the ugly hit that left Montreal’s Lars Eller facedown in his own pool of blood in Game 1 of their playoff series. Eller, reaching for a pass from defenseman Raphael Diaz near his own blue line, took a blindside check to the face from Ottawa’s Eric Gyrba. He was likely out cold before he even face-planted to the ice, which is quite the unforgiving surface.

1. “I don’t think it is really serious.” These were the words of Bangladeshi Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Mahith in response to the “accident” that has now claimed more than 500 lives in Bangladesh. As you know, an illegally constructed factory collapsed, killing hundreds of workers inside. “It’s an accident,” said Abdul Mahith of the deadliest garment-factory event in history. “It happens everywhere.”

Will the shirt hit the fan?

 

2. Germans to invade London — this time minus the Luftwaffe.

We neglected to mention yesterday that it will be an all-Deutschland Champions League Final on May 25 inside Wembley Stadium, as long-time Bavarian power Bayern Munich (“SCHWEINSTEIGER!”) meets fellow Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund. The two clubs actually play a league match tomorrow, though Bayern has already won the league and Borussia clinched second.  It has been five years since two clubs from the same country (Manchester United and Chelsea, both from the UK) met in a Champions League Final.

Bastian Schweinsteiger: We think this is what Hitler had in mind…

3. Portland Trail Blazer guard Damian Lillard, the sixth overall selection in last June’s NBA Draft, is the unanimous choice for Rookie of the Year (only three previous players — Blake Griffin, David Robinson and Ralph Sampson — were unanimous winners). See how much better Portland does on draft day when the Blazers do NOT have the No. 1 or 2 overall pick (um, Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan in 1984 and Greg Oden over Kevin Durant in 2007)? The six-foot-three Weber State product, who predicted he’d win this award before he was drafted last summer, played all 82 games, led all rookies in scoring (19 ppg), assists (6.5) and minutes (38.6) while breaking Stephen Curry’s record for threes by a rookie (185 to 166).

He tried to warn you

 

4. I think in the world of Twitter I would type something like, “This 10,000 times” in introducing this link. I wish I had written this myself because what Stephen Marche has done here in describing the crusade of Louis C.K. is pull his “Nail On the Head” hammer out of his toolbox and use it to perfection (“Louis C.K. is on a clandestine mission to make America a better place, and his values are surprisingly traditional once you get past the cum jokes.”)

Riffs such as “Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy” and “Of Course, But Maybe” belong in the Comedy Hall of Fame. Is there a Comedy Hall of Fame (I’m glad you asked)? And if there is, does it have a two-drink minimum?

5. That southern California wildfire has consumed more than 10,000 acres in Ventura County (and quite likely Gavin Smith’s hidden corpse, not to put too fine a point on it) in the past few days.

Earth, Air, Fire, Water. The four classical elements.

Reserves

“Kill all the lawyers.” Well, except maybe this one. A Portland lawyer/guitarist performs a good deed for a local septuagenarian ax man whom he has never even met (I’d still kill most of the lawyers; although I think we could kill all of the consultants first, no?)

Americanos

My favorite under-the-radar band, Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, invades Manhattan on Saturday (but I’ll be busy steakateria’ing, alas). If you live here, check them out at B.B. King’s. Or wait until Roger visits a venue near you. The only artist I’ve ever seen who has as solid a relationship with his fans live is Bruce Springsteen. And, if you buy the Tempe, Ariz., native a shot of Don Julio during the show, he’ll down it. Here are two songs to get you started: “Maybe We Should Fall In Love” and “Switchblade.” And here’s a full acoustic set that illustrates the bond between the band and its denizens.

Alice and Roger. Two Valley of the Sun boys who made good musically (and now you can add Nate Reuss of fun. to that list)

Welcome back, Apple. Just two weeks after a first quarter earnings report sent the stock from $405 down to $385 per share (which was ridiculous since the P/E ratio was below 9), it has rebounded by more than 10%. As I type this shares of AAPL are at $452. Meanwhile, a certain steakateria that had its IPO last August is already up more than 50% and was recently upgraded from “Outperform” to “Strong Buy” (jump to the 4:46 mark). This despite a questionable hire it made last September.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones tops 15,000 for the first time in history and unemployment dips to a four-year low of 7.5%. I blame Obama.

The St. Louis Cardinals get 12 base hits, all singles, in a 6-5 win at Milwaukee (it was like the Teenage Dream or Bad of games for the Cards’ lineup) . All of the Cards’ six runs came with two outs in the third inning. We’ll spend all summer ignoring the Cardinals again until they win the World Series in October. After all, it’s their turn this season, isn’t it?

Black in the Saddle

An African-American jockey, Kevin Krigger, will have the mount on Goldencents, the three year-old that is partially owned by Rick Pitino, in tomorrow’s Kentucky Derby. Oddly enough, while a black jockey has not won the Run for the Roses since 1902 (Krigger is only the second black jockey to even participate in the race since 1921), 15 of the first 28 Derby winners were ridden by black jockeys. And, in the inaugural Derby back in 1875, 13 of the 15 entries were ridden by African-American jockeys.

And while we wish no ill will towards any horse (or jockey), we do wonder what will happen if Goldencents breaks a foreleg tomorrow. Will ESPN choose not to re-air it because it is too gruesome? Or does that only apply to humans under Pitino’s stewardship?

Nichols Nauseates

Is it just me or did Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeaux look as if he wanted to throw up when TNT’s Rachel Nichols asked him between the third and fourth quarters about Nate Robinson’s nausea? Robinson still scored 18 points, but the Bulls lost and we’re headed for a Game 7.

Nate Robinson: Chucker AND upchucker

R.I.P., “Messiah of Sex”

John Williamson has died. No, not the former New Jersey Net. The pioneer of the sexual revolution (and here I thought it was Elvis Presley).

REMOTE PATROL

666 and 6

ESPN and ESPN2, 7 p.m.

For the first time in 10 years, as ESPN’s Neil Everett reports, four Game 6′s will be played on the same day. Indiana at Atlanta and New York at Boston and Indiana at Atlanta tip off the evening, followed by Oklahoma City at Houston and Los Angeles at Memphis. Only one team, the Grizzlies, has the chance to close out the series at home. Boston and Houston are both attempting to become the first team in league history to overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series.

James Harden makes universal sign for “3-0 Deficit”

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IT’S ALL HAPPENING! 5/2

Steakateria-shortened post this a.m.

Deja vu for the cities of Boston and New York?

 Starting Five

1. Celtics 92, Knicks 86

Boston and then infamously squander it. No NBA team has ever rebounded from a 3-0 deficit to win a series. I remember reading a similar stat in baseball nine years ago.

2. Sportsgrid managing editor Eric Goldschein pens an insightful, intelligent essay on Chris Broussard’s “right to be an idiot.” Oh, and in case you were wondering, Broussard is married to a gastroenterologist.

To be fair, I once won a game of hangman because I spelled “rhythm” with 2 “y’s” and insisted I was correct.

3. Three friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev may have taken loyalty to a criminal level. A federal affidavit alleges that they removed a backpack with empty fireworks cases from his dorm room because “they did not want Tsarnaev to get into trouble.” Do they realize he didn’t tee-pee the U Mass-Dartmouth quad here? That this act killed three people and maimed dozens more?

Azamat Tazhayakov, Diaz Kadyrbayev, and Tsarnaev. (Robel Phillipos, not pictured).

4. “And They’re Off…Watching the Most Exciting Two Minutes on Sports on TV”

Saturday’s Kentucky Derby will have no press box, as Churchill Downs has completely eliminated it for this year’s race and — you guessed it — transformed the area into luxury boxes for the well-heeled. Oh, and I hear that the horses are not giving interviews, either.

5. And then the situation…elevated
The world’s highest-altitude fracas ever may have taken place last Saturday at 23,000 feet, as Sherpas and European climbers engaged in a battle while scaling Mount Everest. According to the Sherpas — and who wouldn’t believe a Sherpa? — the Euros recklessly climbed past them and dislodged ice chunks that fell in their direction. The Sherpas then allegedly told the climbers that if they were not gone in one hour “they would all be killed.” From there it was literally a slippery slope before the situation devolved into fisticuffs.

“Listen: I said ‘Norgay’, not ‘you’re gay.’”

By Tuesday both sides had calmed down and even written a peace treaty to one another. I can only guess that they are all now relaxing and perhaps even sharing a beer back at The Abominable Snowmansion.

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Sam “May Day” Malone, 5/1

Starting Five

1. April Baseball Redux: Two Lone Star State hurlers at opposite end of the spectrum. Yu Darvish of Texas, who came within one out of a perfect game in his first start, is 5-1, leads the Majors in strikeouts (58), and has allowed just one home run in 38.2 innings. Phil Humber of Houston, who did toss a perfect game last spring, is now 0-6 with a Major League-worst 7.58 ERA after last night’s 7-4 defeat in the Bronx. Humber becomes just the second pitcher in the modern era to have an 0-6 April, but in his defense he entered the game getting the least run support — 1.14 runs per game — of any full-time starter in baseball.

Humbled Humber (for all you dual Roto/Nabokov fans)

Oh, and I projected that the New York Yankees would be six games under .500 at the end of April. Instead, they are six games over .500 despite five of their eight full-time fielders being on the disabled list.

The most surprising player of April? Perhaps it is Tampa Bay pitcher Matt Moore. The Rays’ 23 year-old is 5-0 with an A.L.-best 1.13 ERA and has not allowed a run in his last 15 innings, although he has yet to pitch a complete game. Then again, maybe it’s Atlanta Brave catcher Evan Gattis who, as profiled by Bob Nightengale of USA Today, has taken the most compelling journey to The Show since R.A. Dickey. My favorite part of the piece is learning that there is a hostel in Taos, N.M., known as The Abominable Snowmansion.

I have Yeti to visit.

2. Moos-worthy

Former Stanford and WNBA player Carolyn Moos tells CNN’s Piers Morgan that she dated fellow Cardinal alum Jason Collins for eight years before they called off their engagement in 2009. Is the surprise that Moos, who is six-foot-five, only learned that Collins is gay last weekend or is it that they dated for eight years without getting married. Eight years! Eight!

According to WNBA Reference.com, Moos played a total of six career minutes and missed her only field goal attempt as a member of the Miami Sol. Collins has played 12 seasons, 14,802 minutes and scored 2,596 points.

If Moos had premarital sex during those eight years, then according to Chris Broussard she is not a Christian

3. Speaking of people named Collins and sex…

CSN reporter Susannah Collins reports that the Chicago Blackhawks had “such a tremendous amount of sex” during the season. Collins may have stepped over the blue line –she meant to say “success” — but either term is accurate.

Oh, Susannah

4. Yes, it is the first day of May and in northern Colorado they are expecting two inches of snow to fall per hour.

5. Have you ever attended a concert at a basketball arena –or worse, football stadium — and thought, I’d rather have heard that band at a pure music venue? The gang at Rolling Stone has compiled a list of the “20 Best Big Rooms” in America.

The 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. Don’t judge a book by its cover band.

 

Reserves

Loyal reader @Okerland wonders, If Chris Broussard believes that homosexuality, adultery and premarital sex is “walking an open rebellion to God“, then isn’t he basically saying that not only Jason Collins, but perhaps every single NBA player he covers is doing so? And is not a Christian, no matter what they profess (checks Utah Jazz roster to see if John Stockton is still in the NBA. No? Okay, then what I just said).

Catching up from Monday night: Yes, the Angels’ Josh Hamilton went 0-fer-8 in Los Angeles of Anaheim’s 19-inning defeat in Oakland. Hamilton is now batting .204 and has struck out 32 times, or as many times as both Adam Dunn and Rick Ankiel.

NBA Playoffs: Wake me when the second round begins, or whenever TNT cuts to Atlanta.

The New York Post headline, I imagine, would be “CARNE-AGE”.

I attended a St. Paul Saints game in 2004 in which they held a sit-up contest during the entire third inning. The joke was that the two dudes, one positioned atop each dugout, were so into winning that they didn’t realize the joke wasn’t about the contest, but that they’d actually keep doing sit-ups for an entire inning. When the inning ended, neither young man could stand up straight. Anyway, the Saints are planning to stage an umpire-less game on May 11. If you want to read an enjoyable book about a season with baseball’s most entertaining franchise, I recommend Slouching Toward Fargo by Neal Karlen. Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for some minor-league franchise to adopt my “Entirely Clockwise Contest” in which baserunners go from home to 3rd to 2nd to 1st to home.

Just another Saints promotion

At least 401 people perished in that factory collapse in Bangladesh, where clothing that is sold in American stores such as J.C. Penney and Dress Barn is manufactured. The building’s owner, Mohammed Sahel Rana, 38, had permission to construct a five-story building but instead added three additional floors illegally. Cracks appeared in the edifice one day before its collapse and police ordered it to be evacuated. Rana assured tenants it was safe and factory managers ordered workers to enter the premises.

REMOTE PATROL

The Breakfast Club, with story notes

AMC 8 p.m.

I believe this is already the second time TBC has earned a Remote Patrol nod, but I don’t care, Claire. Besides, tonight’s version includes story notes, which is AMC’s film answer to VH-1′s “Pop-Up Videos.” By the way, John Hughes, who wrote and directed the film, flunked out of creative writing at the University of Arizona. In the immortal emote of the Freak (Ally Sheedy), “Ha!”

Demented and sad…but sociable.

 

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The Film Room with Chris Corbellini: The Place Beyond the Pines

 

Our Chris Corbellini is a cross between Roger Ebert and Bobby Hebert: His love of cinema is only matched by his ardor for the NFL. Here is his review of the Ryan Gosling/Bradley Cooper vehicle in which the two men share all of one scene together — and barely that.

There’s a line of thinking in film that if you have two characters standing with their flags firmly planted on polar ends of the story — good versus corrupt, corrupt versus worse, prom queen versus band geek, Christopher Walken vs. Dennis Hopper – then these two principals must meet someplace.  Maybe a diner. Or a World War I trench. Or a raised ranch home on a leafy street. From the initial point of contact you wonder: What are they going to finally DO to each other? What happens after? The makers of “The Place Beyond the Pines” embrace that line of thinking, and that embrace holds and holds, tighter and tighter, until the movie runs out of breath.

Too much. Too much epilogue. Check your watch too much. “Pines” weaves two mood pieces together confidently and boldly, and then wants you to hang in there for thirds. It kick-starts with Ryan Gosling, and he toys with the first-half of the movie like the switchblade in his fingers in the opening scene. It finishes with Bradley Cooper in a moment of triumph and competing for an ending with another generation entirely.

Still, watching two well-made films unspool for the price of one ticket is not a bad thing, especially since the director, Derek Cianfrance, and his writers clearly adore other well-made films. Pop culture references and movie homages slip out from time to time, and an argument can be made that Gosling’s Handsome Luke is a stand-in for Steve McQueen from “The Great Escape.” On the bike, life is one big wheelie no matter how grim the setting. Off the bike life becomes complicated, but instinct still drives. At one point I wondered if the movie was going to have Gosling bounce a tennis ball off something until he formulates a plan, just like McQueen did in “Escape”… and then he literally did so.

The flick also boasts an impressive, Goodfellas-esque tracking shot of Handsome Luke – sinewy with body art like a ransom note of words cut out of magazines – weaving his way through the blinking lights of a carnival before he rides his motorcycle in, around and up a metal ball of death. Afterward he spots the Eva Mendes character, easily the prettiest waitress in all of Schenectady N.Y. (the diner she works in would have been a lot busier than this movie suggests), and judging by the body language alone there’s a lot of history between them. Body language that leads to having a kid. Once Luke sees his infant son, he decides his world-class riding skills would be useful to rob banks. As a result of his actions, Mendes comes face to ugly mug with an actual actor from “Goodfellas,” Ray Liotta, who enters the second act like a spitting cobra, and Cooper.

Cooper and Gosling do indeed meet as well, and it is not for me to say what happens. I’ll only mention that I went to see the movie twice to confirm the sequence of events. It’s a credit to the filmmaker’s shot selection and his sound editors that the viewer really doesn’t know one of the biggest movie stars on the planet is actually involved in a high-speed pursuit until the high-speed portion of the pursuit is over.  There’s a genuine “oh sh-t, it’s him. I was wondering where he was” moment.

The movie then … tips.

Taken as a whole “Pines” has something to say about the lower and upper classes of small-town America. Cooper is a cop with the Triple Crown of rich kid entitlements: Smarts, a law degree, and a daddy with a lot of political pull.  Over a stiff drink in the family dining room the father says “there’s a way out of this,” and that’s exactly how it plays out. It should have ended how it played out. The third act involves the fateful meeting of the sons, and there are no teenage actors alive that can yank this slow-burn story away from the two male leads and bring it to the finish line in a satisfying way – even if guns, drugs and a sweet-looking motorcycle is involved.

You can see the talent behind the camera. Gosling and Cooper are entering the primes of their careers and well-known character actors fill out the lineup card, so the director is on the rise in his industry. Perhaps the best endorsement of Cianfrance’s work here comes from a performer on the soundtrack – Bruce Springsteen. The Boss loaned out “Dancing in the Dark” for one sequence – a rare moment of levity in a tale of dark places. The Jersey legend once loaned out a song to a production I was involved in with one caveat: he must see and approve how the picture is edited to his music exactly. I was told he does that with each film he considers. Springsteen must have enjoyed the sliver he saw in this case. No surprise. There’s a lot to like here. It just kept going, so sure you’d stick around, and it wore me out.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! 4/30

1. “Come out! Come out! Whoever you are!”

– Former Washington Wizard and 12-year NBA veteran Jason Collins, 34, becomes the first athlete in one of the three (sorry, hockey) major American sports to openly profess his homosexuality. So, if you had Robin Lopez, Brook Lopez or Jarron Collins in the “Which Seven-Footer Who Attended Stanford and Has A Twin Brother Will Be the First to Profess that He is Homosexual” pool, you lose.

Brittney Griner came out a week or two ago and was Soup Nazi’d by SI: “No Cover for You!”

 

– Fortunately, we live in an era in which most fans and media (most, not all) absorbed the new with a shrug of the shoulders and a, “So, the Jets cut Tebow?” For those of us who have close friends who are homosexual, there is no scarlet letter associated with being gay (and if there were, I don’t know if it would be an “H” or a “G” or an “L”). Truth: In my first year in NYC, both of my male roommates would come out of the closet; hey, I have that affect on men. Anyway…).

– The author of the piece is Franz Lidz, who is one of the true all-time characters in the history of SI writers. In the 1990s Franz and Steve Rushin would team up to write Sunday Styles pieces for the New York Times in which they’d attempt to outpun one another. This particular piece, which looking back was likely the inspiration for the Appellation Trail that appears at the top of this blog, is pure pun-ishment and a lesson in the old adage, “If you’re going to step over the line, you may as well take a Beamonesque leap.” It includes the line, “This puzzling film is a sort of Rubik’s Kubrick in which Kubrick’s Rubric is Confuse the Viewer.”

– 2013 has been sort of a Coming Out party, no? Earlier this year sports columnist Chuck Culpepper ventured outside the closet. Earlier this month Brittney Griner did so as well. Now Collins. Who will be the first SportsCenter anchor to do so? The first NFL player? The first NASCAR driver? And maybe that’s the point. If so many people do happen to be gay, could it be that maybe homosexuality is NOT unnatural? Or at least no more unnatural than monogamy, which seems to take a hit with every new issue of US Weekly (which is not to be confused with Boo Weekley)? I’m just asking…

Yep, he’s Gay.

 

– Kudos to SI, which has been on a hot streak with its covers ever since posing Bryce Harper on the Capitol mall in Washington, D.C. The Tiger Woods cover was a classic, as was the cover from the Boston Marathon. Even last week’s Kevin Durant cover, which accentuated the fact that, no thank you, Joe Jackson, he does not want to be your number two, was effective. And now this.

(by the way, I really miss the work of Joe Jackson. “It’s Different For Girls”  appears on his Live album in three different versions –acoustic, a cappella and original recipe — and each version is better than the other. The years have not upheld the legacy that JJ deserves, IMO).

2. This Dove ad. Simple. Effective. And goosebumpy. “In all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity,” said Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, whose name was not. Still, this ad illustrates that adage to perfection.

3. Comedian/social observer Jerry Seinfeld turns 59 and celebrates his birthday with the obligatory “star-studded bash” at an Italian restaurant. We diehard acolytes of his sitcom knew that he would not celebrate at a Chinese restaurant or Mendy’s or a soup stand. And, though we hoped he’d dine at Elaine’s, that bistro went out of business recently. All that’s left to wonder is whether Kenny Bania snared an invite.

4. Flori-Duh: Thanks to Andy Staples, a Sunshine State native and proud resident, for posting this link on Twitter. You’ve got public nakedness and gibberish, which are like two of the dozen holy tenets of any Florida-based story worthy of this segment (others include “stripper”, “alligator”, “domestic dispute”, etc.).

5. So, yes, the New York Jets released (and never has that verb been more pregnant with all of its implications) Tim Tebow. On the same day that Jason Collins revealed that he was gay and ESPN’s Chris Broussard stated on national television that to “live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly premarital sex between heterosexuals” is “walking in open rebellion to God and Jesus Christ.” It’s funny, isn’t it, how little you ever hear Tebow, the most publicly devout Christian in pro sports –if not in all of American public life — judging others in any way, shape or form? For me, that is the MOST Christian thing about Tebow. As for Broussard, he appeared on “Outside the Lines” with LZ Granderson, an openly gay columnist, who noted that “I would love to not have premarital sex, but in this country I’m not allowed to get married.”

The Passion of the Tebow: Stay tuned for further developments.

 

Reserves

Game of Thrones: I’ll spare you an exhaustive recap (here’s one you may read) and leave you with a few observations, such as this line from Lady Olenna (Dame Diana Rigg), who asks the Master of Coin, our erstwhile flirty and Falstaffian friend Tyrion Lannister, “What good is the word ‘extravagant’ if it can’t be used to describe a royal wedding?” Myself, I often describe non-lavish affairs simply as “vaganzas”… also, I’m sure Chris Broussard and I were not the only two who got the baptismal symbolism going on in the scene with Kingslayer and Lady Brienne… By the way, Lady Brienne: As my friend Jeff Bradley would say, “That was full back-al nudity”…. By the way, how many bare asses appeared in this episode? My count is four….My mom reads this blog, so I will have nothing to say about Jon Snow… So Robb Stark cut off someone else’s head to spite himself?… I was hoping when Danys told Grey Worm that he could choose a new name that he would choose “Kunta Kinte.” (If you don’t get that, you’re probably under 40 years old)… I’m fairly bored with the Stannis story line. You?… Don’t you hate it when your dad orders you to marry someone?

 

How do you turn on the jets in this hot tub?

 

Sacramento keeps the Kings, while Seattle has its leash yanked yet again by the NBA. If this list is to be believed, the Seattle metropolitan area is larger than NINE other U.S. metropolitan areas in the Top 30 alone that also have NBA franchises. Toss in the fact that Seattle is the only NBA market since 1959 to have lost an NBA franchise that won an NBA championship, and I’d say the land of Kurt Cobain and Frasier Crane has a legitimate gripe. I’ll be over at the Café Nervosa with Niles mulling this fact all day.

The Emerald City remains an NBA pariah, while Orlando, Charlotte, Memphis and New Orleans all have teams.

 

One of the true legends of country music –some would say THE patriarch of the genre –died over the weekend. George Jones. I don’t profess to be an expert on the man or his music, but even I’m a fan of this classic.

 

Embodying honky-tonk ’70s cool.

FYI: Carlos Santana is leading the Major Leagues in batting with a .386 average. Oye como va!

Atlanta Brave outfielder Justin Upton has hit 12 home runs. The same number as the Miami Marlins.

Remote Patrol

Game 5, Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets

TNT 8 p.m.

Will the most entertaining first-round series end tonight in the Mile High City? Or can the Nuggets, trailing three games to one, force Game 6? The Warriors were 3-18 without All-Star forward David Lee during the regular season since Lee had joined the team, but they are now 3-0 without him (hip flexor; out for rest of playoffs) in the past week. We love George Karl and the Manimal, Kenneth Faried, but we salivate at the prospect of a Spurs-Warriors series in the second round. That series would include key players from four different continents (Australia, North America, South America and Europe).

 

 

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! 4/29

Starting Five

1. Don’t feel bad, Joan, I Couldn’t See Paul Newman, Either

Thoughts (and prayers?) on last night’s episode of “Mad Men”, which revolved around the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.:

– “And as soon as they build the 2nd Ave. subway line, this place will quadruple in value.” HA! Great line by Matthew Weiner and his writers, as the year was 1968. It’s now 2013 and the city has only just gotten around to, in the past three years, constructing that line. The Upper East Side has a strict line of demarcation, by the way. If you live west of Lexington Ave. –some would say Park Ave. — you are the upperest of crusts. If you live east of it (3rd, 2nd, 1st, York), you have the Manhattan apartment equivalent of obstructed view seats. East of 1st Ave? You almost need to take a bus just to get to a subway line.

– The guest shot by William Mapother was brilliant (I’ll never forget the words of Tecumseh now). Mapother, whose cousin is Tom Cruise, was a classmate of this blogger’s in college. Ranking the top five Notre Dame Class of ’88ers, I’ll go with:

Sparks: From blue books to The Notebook

 

Browne: Does this skinny suit make me look…?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Nicholas Sparks (member of school track team).

2. Heisman Trophy-winner Tim Brown (member of football team).

3. Non-Heisman Trophy-winner-but-famed-skinny-suit-designer Thom Browne (member of school swim team).

4. William Mapother.

5. Dean Kramer (close friend who somehow has managed to work for the same employer — the U.S. Dept. of Treasury — since one month after we graduated)

Awkward Hug Week: Joan and Dawn; Peggy and her secretary; Henry and Peggy; Don and his son, Bobby, at least when Don puts his arm around the lad’s seat rest (and yet, there’s a shimmer of “That boy’s got a future in advertising” pride in Don’s eyes when his son displays enough insight to tell the black usher that “people go to the movies when they’re sad.”).

– Great idea to interject “Planet of the Apes” into the episode with MLK, Jr. When you think about the racial unrest running rampant in 1968 and the release of this film, which is a thinly disguised allegory of the white-black dynamic in the United States and a possible future “overthrow” by the former slave class, well, I would have enjoyed reading Roger Ebert’s review of that film. What? You say that I can? I love you, internet (Ebert: “It is not great, or significant, or profound.” I beg to differ).

General Irko: Well-versed in the art of gorilla warfare

I’m a little younger than Bobby Draper, and I don’t think that my mom had banned us from TV for one week, but my dad did take my brother and me to a Charlton Heston film in the early 1970s that also took place in the future and also had a surprise reveal at the end of the film. Any idea what that film was, and what the famous line from it is? (Don’t you all go running to IMDB right away).*

– A “Planet of the Apes” aside. The climactic scene reveals the upper torso and head of the Statue of Liberty, but I am almost certain that it was filmed at Point Dume, just north of Malibu, Calif. Point Dume is a highly picturesque spot that has provided the backdrop for many a TV or movie scene, but I consider this one from PotA its most iconic.

– Finally, Roger Sterling (John Slattery) is my favorite “Mad Men” character and he has been criminally under-utilized so far this season. And yet, in the few scenes Slattery has had this season, he’s made the most of them. “He could really talk,” says Roger as his way of broaching the assassination of MLK on the day after it took place (which would have been Friday,  April 5). “I thought that would save him.”

– Here is ABC’s “Special Report” from the night of MLK’s assassination. The internet: incredible.

And yes, the U2 song has always had it incorrect. MLK was murdered at around 6 p.m., and not “early morning, April 4.”

* The film was Soylent Green (1973) and the line was, “It’s people. Soylent Green is made out of people.”

2. Hot Spurs: San Antonio 4, Los Angeles 0

My pal Arash Markazi reported that the Lakers actually handed out white towels to denizens of the Staples Center before Game 4. L to the OL (yes, I am aware that the Lakers traditionally wear white at home on Sundays, but still). The story, at least from Disney, has been LA’s first-round elimination and Kobe Bryant’s uncertain future, but as Charles Barkley said on TNT, “The Spurs are the best organization in the NBA.” Amen.

“Hit the road, Jack, and don’t you come back no more no more no more no more.”

It’s not even surprising to those of us who follow the hoop that while San Antonio won its two home games by an average of 11.5 points, it won the two games at Staples by an average of 26 points. This is a coldly professional team, one in which players who might die on the vine on other benches suddenly step in and become valuable contributors. No one will ever confuse LA’s defense with that of the ’89 Pistons, but what I constantly marveled at yesterday was how many easy buckets the Spurs scored. And not just by their starters. The Spurs provide a clinic in passing in the halfcourt, while the Lakers looked like a bad version of the And-1 Tour.

Kudos to the TNT producer who ran the shot of the front row of Staples Center being almost entirely vacated with one minute remaining in the Lakers’ final game of the season. One picture said it all.

It’s looking like San Antonio versus Golden State in the next round. That could be the most entertaining series of the entire NBA playoffs, Finals included.

3. “How do you like my new entrance music?”

President Barack Obama (’44…not to be confused with Jackie Robinson’s “42″, though the parallels are obvious) takes the podium at the White House Correspondents Dinner to the strains of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” (which, let’s face it, is fitting for him) and jabs, “Rush Limbaugh warned you about this. Second term, baby.”

Here’s video of his entire speech. And if you don’t watch the entire speech, at least click onto this link that shows the “real” photo of Barack Obama skeet-shooting. As he tells the audience, “The one you saw was photo-shopped. We felt we had to tone it down a bit.”

Too many good lines to include here on my own, so just read this roundup. Still, I’ll mention how Conan O’Brien compared news media to a high school cafeteria: “Fox is the jocks; MSNBC is the nerds; bloggers are the goths; NPR is the table for kids with peanut allergies; Al Jazeera is the weird foreign exchange student nobody talks to — and print media, I didn’t forget you: You’re the poor kid who died sophomore year in a car crash. Cheer up, we dedicate the yearbook to you.”

4. Hot Spur: The Prince of Wales

Welshman Gareth Bale, 23, wins both the Professional Football Player of the Year Award and the PFA Young Player of the Year Award. The forward for the Tottenham Hot Spurs. Bale, who has 19 goals, is the third-leading goal scorer in the English Premier League or, if you prefer, the 2nd-leading scorer among players who have yet to bite someone (we’re looking at you, Luis Suarez). The overall leading scorer, with 25 goals, is Robin Van Persie of Manchester United). Bale now becomes the second-most renowned Gareth that the UK has produced this millennium, after Gareth Keenan, the assistant general manager at Wernham Hogg (“No, that’s assistant TO the general manager.”)

Gareth Bale

Gareth Keenan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Michael Jordan ties the knot.

MJ married his girlfriend of five years, Yvette Prieto, at the Bear’s Club in Florida. We actually attended a wedding there two years ago, but our wedding did not include the “largest wedding tent in history.” The 40,000-square foot tent is actually larger by 5,000 feet than Jordan’s home. Immediately after the ceremony Cirque de Soleil set up shop there for the next six months (my backup joke was, “After the ceremony Charles Barkley wore the tent home as a blazer.”)

MJ’s nuptials set attendance records for a Charlotte Bobcats-related event.

 

 

 

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! 4/26

“We’ve had enough Bushes” — Barbara Bush, when asked whether she’d like to see her son, Jeb, run for president. She did preface that comment by saying that Jeb was the best-qualified Bush (so as to make sure she alienated all the Bush men in one quote. Well done!)

In the mid-90s, Gavin Rossdale and friends filled the Bush void between 41 and 43.

Starting Five

1. Three offensive tackles are chosen among the first four picks in the NFL draft and author Michael Lewis quietly says to himself, ‘Ch-ching!” Eric Fisher (Central Michigan), Luke Joeckel (Texas A&M) and Lane Johnson (Oklahoma) are picks 1,2 and 4. Picks 3, 5 and 6 are all defensive ends — Dion Jordan (Oregon), Ziggy Ansah (BYU) and Barkevious Mingo (LSU) – which proves a commonly held theory that defensive linemen have more unorthodox parents than offensive linemen.

The Chiefs used the No. 1 pick on a player who was formerly an All-State honorable mention player at Stoney Creek H.S. in Michigan.

So maybe the camera should be focusing on the “edge” all game than following the football. That is, apparently, where the game is won or lost.

Five of the top ten picks were first-team All-Americans last season, which may mean that the scribes and the scouts are generally in agreement (Fisher, the No. 1 overall selection, was a 3rd-team All-American). Not one running back was chosen and only one quarterback, E.J. Manuel of Florida State, was selected, even though Jon Gruden absolutely cannot stand his sleeves. Manuel was not even chosen first-team QB in his own conference (Tajh Boyd of Clemson was) and his selection by Buffalo at No. 17 is an even bigger surprise since the Bills’ new coach, Doug Marrone, just arrived from Syracuse where he coached draft-eligible quarterback Ryan Nassib.

 

2. Biggest NAMES (not necessarily best players) still available today, for the 2nd Round and beyond. These are the names that college football fans know better than almost all of the names from Round 1: CB Tyrann Mathieu of LSU, QB Geno Smith of West Virginia, QB Matt Barkley of USC, QB Landry Jones of Oklahoma,  LB Manti Te’o of Notre Dame (who won the Lott Trophy, Maxwell Award, Bednarik Award, Walter Camp Trophy, Butkus Award, Lombardi Award and Bronko Nagurski Award…. but dated a phantom), QB Denard Robinson of Michigan, QB Collin Klein of Kansas State, LB Arthur Brown of Kansas State, WR Keenan Allen (“his brother is the quarterback”) of Cal, CB and 2012 Thorpe Award Winner Johnthan Banks of Mississippi State.

In fact, only three men who won a major college football award last season were selected last night: Outland Trophy winner Joeckel, Paul Hornung Award winner Tavon Austin of West Virginia (8th, St. Louis) and John Mackey Award winner Tyler Eifert of Notre Dame (21st, Cincinnati).

FYI: Nine different college football players made a national or regional cover of Sports Illustrated last fall. None were drafted last night (Klein, Mathieu, De’Anthony Thomas of Oregon, who is still in school, Robinson, Barkley, Te’o, Jones, Smith,  and Katherine Webb’s beau, who is also still in school)

Small but speedy Tavon Austin: We can already hear Berman doing a “whoop-whoop” during a Sunday Blitz package in which Austin could go all the way.

3. Outrageously compelling first-person account of last Thursday night’s car-jacking in Boston that eventually led to the capture of the Boston bombers. “Danny” is one brave, brave soul.

4. David Letterman meets A.J. Clemente ( a few nights ago). Dave: “And I know the folks in Bismarck were on the edge of their chair wanting to know the results of the London Marathon.” As usual, Dave cuts to the salient point that no one has yet made.

5. Tomorrow night is the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner, a.k.a. The Nerd Prom. Conan O’Brien, who last hosted in 1995, will emcee. The Washington Post compiled five memorable moments from the WHCD — you can straight to No. 3. I still think Seth Meyers’ set in 2011 was as good as anyone’s. “Donald Trump often appears on Fox, which is ironic, because a fox often appears on Donald Trump’s head.” And: “What can I say about Joe Biden that hasn’t already been said incorrectly by Joe Biden?”

I’ll take either Seth or either Jimmy when it comes to late-night host potential.

 

Reserves

So, apparently there is a television program called “Duck Dynasty” on A&E and on Wednesdsay night, for its season finale, it drew 9.6 million viewers. I’d have watched it but I spent most of the evening channel-surfing for “House of Cards.”

 

Duck Dynasty: Not brought to you tonight by the Gillette Pro Glide Styler.

A few days ago Tyrann Mathieu announced, via Twitter, that he’d be hosting an after-party on Thursday night after his first-round selection in the NFL draft. The only two problems with that? Mathieu was not selected and he does not turn 21 until May 13th, whereas the party was due to be held at the SL Club, a dance club in NYC’s Meatpacking district. Hmm.

David Letterman: “Today is ‘National Take Your Children to Work Day’. I brought in my kids –Tina, Nancy and Frank, Jr.” Paul guffaws, the audience furrows its brow, and Dave grins with an air of satisfaction as he says, “I know. It never works, but we do it, anyway.” (Dave is referencing the Sinatra kids, by the way).

More Letterman: ” ‘Stooge of the Night’, brought to you by Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. Face it, life’s too short for a Single Eagle steak!” Why didn’t I think of that???

Even more Letterman, on yesterday’s opening of the Bush Presidential Library: “They have a section dedicated to weapons of mass destruction…but nobody can find it.”

Please join me in raising Hazardous Duty Pay funds for the ESPN makeup artist whose job it was to work with the coifs of Chris Berman and Mel Kiper, Jr., last night. Even Jon Gruden’s blond locks are starting to look a little thin. And there’s full-bodied Adam Schefter, just itching for his chance to join the big desk next April.

What, hunh? Half-Pint married the dude from Thirtysomething? What are the odds on two redheads getting wed, by the way?

Ray Allen buries five threes to give him 322 for his career in the postseason, passing Reggie Miller for the all-time NBA record in Miami’s Game 3 victory in Milwaukee. And Stephen Curry makes a mental note of it.

Remote Patrol

Game 3: Spurs at Lakers

ESPN 10:30 p.m.

This will be fascinating. It’s all on Dwight Howard’s shoulders at Staples Center, as a Laker team that may well be without its top four guards must face the league’s most consistently consistent team. Lose tonight and the series is over for all intents and purposes. No word yet on whether Mike D’Antoni will activate Arash Markazi in time for tip-off. Also, in case you’re interested (speaking of leading men types), Jon Hamm appears on Late Show with David Letterman.

 

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! 4/25

Starting Four (In Honor of The Big Lewandowski)

Early steak morning, so this will be brief. Sorry.

1. Hey, Did You Happen To See The Most Beautiful Girl In The World?

Well, People magazine thinks it did and thinks that it is Gwyneth Paltrow. Seriously. Comely? Yes. Pulchritudinous? We suppose. But you can bet this morning Sophia Vegara, Diana Kruger and Julianna Hough (among others) are phoning –or firing –their agents. Heck, Gwynnie has not even been asked to appear on “Splash!”.

2. Deutschlansd Uber Alles!

Spain has ruled soccer since 200 (Euro Cup winners that summer, World Cup champions in 2010, Messi/Ronaldo, etc.) but in the last two days a pair of clubs from Germany have outscored the world’s two premier clubs, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, by a combined score or 8-1. Yesterday Robert Lewandowski scored four goals to lead Borussia Dortmund over Real Madrid, 4-1. It’s almost a lock that Dortmund and Bayern Munich, which defeated FC Barcelona 4-0 on Tuesday, will meet in an all-German Champions League final in May.

If you ever find yourself in a German pub in a Tarantino film with an SS agent, that is the proper way to signify “four more beers.”

3. “Close the window; I feel a draft.”

The NFL Draft commences tonight –just one block north of the steakateria. Last night at said steakateria we spoke to a representative from an AFC team who described the draft as “99% boring and 1% terror.” Did you know, by the way, that team reps simply print the name of their pick on a card and hand it to an NFL rep, who then hands it to Roger Goodell? What if you spell the name wrong by one letter and there is another pick in the draft with that name? See, this is why it is wise to name your child Barkevious Mingo. Here is one of our favorite scribes, Matt Taibbi, on “Decoding the NFL Draft.”

 

Mingo! Mingo! Mingo!

4. I have not yet read this Grantland story on the Iditarod, but I will. Why? Because from a design perspective, it’s the most beautiful story I’ve ever come across on the internet. If MH conformed to such high aesthetic qualities, we’d have at least three different people who commented on our entries.

 

 

5.