IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Forget that David Bowie may be the coolest person who’s ever lived. That he simply looks like the coolest person who ever lived. Here’s more evidence of what an absolute genius he was. How insightful and progressive. And yet, even he smoked cigarettes.

Starting Five

Unprecedented To Unpresidented

There have been three impeachment proceedings in my life. Let’s begin with the second first. A sitting president turned Oval Office into his own libertine Oral Office and he got caught. That was the crux of it. A bad husband, sure, and not at all professional in no matter the office, but as a citizen, I’d rather not have a sexually repressed president. So, yeah, shame shame shame, however…

Richard Nixon oversaw a break-in of the Democratic headquarters before the 1972 election. Before the 1968 election, he persuaded the Vietnamese not to make peace so that he’d have a better chance of winning. That latter maneuver probably cost 1,000s of young American men their lives. And even in 1972, with Watergate, it was a failed attempt at dirty dealings and there was a whistleblower, of sorts (Deep Throat), who was never identified. At least not for another quarter century.

BOOM! Roasted!

Which brings us to Wednesday’s live impeachment hearings. The Republicans tried their damnedest to kill the messenger, first demanding to know who that messenger is. Then they tried to describe all the testimony as hearsay, never mind that if the top officials in the White House would actually testify on the record that problem would be eliminated.

We thought it was illuminating to hear Bill Taylor and George Kent speak. Taylor graduated fifth in his class at West Point (of 800) and of all the postings he might’ve been able to take, he chose infantry. And saw combat in Vietnam. Kent is a second-generation foreign service whose father graduated from the Naval Academy.

This family has one more person of integrity than the Trump family (two if you count George Michael)

These are, sorry Mr. President, “the best people.” And with the revelation of the overheard phone call between Trump and Gordon Sondland, who was at a restaurant in Ukraine at the time, it becomes more and more evident that the Trumps are simply the Bluths from Arrested Development.

For weeks Trump and his cronies demanded transparency from the impeachment inquiry. Yesterday they got it and then claimed they didn’t even watch. Richard Nixon resigned under pressure because a few Republican leaders in the Senate, such as Barry Goldwater, told him that the evidence regarding his failed crime was unimpeachable. And thus he was. And so it was time to give up the gig.

The Trump strategy has been to say, We’re not covering it up. Here’s exactly what we did and though you say it fits the textbook definition of a crime, we’re going to sit here and say it isn’t. And our cronies are going to back us. Black is white and up is down. Try and stop us.

That’s where we are.

Kap Space

So this is weird. Out of nowhere, after two-plus years of pretending that Colin Kaepernick does not exist while signing carpet salesman such as Matt McGloin, Wes Lunt and Cooper Rush (here’s a nearly complete list), the NFL called Kaep (or “Kap”) on Monday and told him to be at a workout in Atlanta this Saturday.

Not a team. The NFL. What teams will be there to watch Kap work out? The NFL will not say.

If this were a crime film, you’d see this as the set-up where the good guy is lured to the bad guys’ hideout knowing it’s an ambush, but what choice does he have if he wants to rescue Virginia Mayo?

It’s hard to imagine anything more disingenuous, but maybe someone at the league offices decided they wanted to clear the deck of the lingering “blackball” tag, so here’s your tryout, kid. Now don’t say we never gave you a second chance.

I used to work out at Chelsea Piers, where Kap works out (or was working out a year ago). I’d see him in the locker room in the morning. Never spoke to him, kept a respectful distance. And he kept to himself, but was always respectful to any of us geezers who did want to say hi or wish him luck.

For us, the most hypocritical aspect of all of this is how the NFL (and other pro sports leagues, and even major college institutions) drape themselves in the flag and have a boner for the military. For us, at least, patriotism is religion. Practice it with modesty. Most of us like someone who lives to Christian ideals but who wants a Bible-thumper on their doorstep.

Same, with me, for patriotism. Fourth of July? Great. Veterans Day and Memorial Day? Great. A flag the size of a football field? Why? A military flyover that literally crosses right above a 13-story mosaic of Jesus Christ, the “Prince of Peace?” That’s garbage.

There’s one, only one person, in the NFL who is qualified to pass judgment on the Colin Kaepernick issue. It’s a fellow northern California native named Pat Tillman. But he no longer can. My guess, from what I’ve read and seen of Tillman’s life, is that no one would be more in his camp than PT 42.

Defenseless Player


This is targeting with intent to execute. Wow. This defensive player from Toledo may not only have to sit out the next game but also submit to an interview from the duo from Mindhunter. Wow.

Ol’ Man Rivers, Young Man Rivers

Context doesn’t really matter here. All that matters is that Austin Rivers is prompting the referees to T up his father, Doc, and that eventually the zebras do. And then Austin claps in salute of their decision.

It’s still only mid-November.

Five Films: 1955

Nobody played bad as good as Robert Mitchum, who was in real life completely unlike his screen persona

Before we delve into what a ridiculously and gloriously deep year this is, a few words about my old friend Mark Beech. When almost all of us at SI were single and in our thirties, Mark and I were close friends. We used to worry that Mark would never get married because, although he’s 6’2″ and bears a striking resemblance to Christian Bale, he happily spent many free hours in his apartment watching TCM (a fastidiously clean apartment, I might add; Mark’s a West Point grad whose home still could pass a surprise inspection 15 years after leaving the post).

It was Beech, more than any other person, who stoked my interest in classic films in general and TCM in particular. We soon launched an annual winter film festival, called “Johndance,” that Mark put more time and effort into (as in deciding which films to bring) than possibly any story he was working on at the time.

In Year 1 or 2 of Johndance, Beech brought one of the films on today’s list (it stars Robert Mitchum). The good news is that Beech was too solid a guy to remain single forever, and he married a lovely woman who worked in SI’s PR department and they now have two children. We want to thank him for being the spiritual inspiration behind this daily list.

  1. To Catch A Thief: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly and Monte Carlo in a wonderful suspense drama with a little romance thrown in. Two people this beautiful sharing the same scenes should almost be illegal. Night Of The Hunter: A movie well before its time, almost too dark for the “Happy Days” era. Mitchum is chilling and fantastic, and it plays out like a grim fairy tale in black-and-white (“Children…child-reeeen“) 3. Marty The top film on this list is romantic fantasy, sublimely gorgeous people cavorting in a surreal paradise. This Best Picture winner is at the other end of the spectrum, as a burly Bronx bachelor named Ernest Borgnine and a homely lass from another outer borough find each other with not a touch of glamour. 4. Mister Roberts Henry Fonda, Jimmy Cagney and Jack Lemmon in a war film that’s part comedy and part not at all. With no combat scenes. “Captain, it is I, Ensign Pulver, and I just threw your stinkin’ palm tree overboard. Now what’s all this about no movie tonight?” Lemmon would win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. 5. Oklahoma! (Susie B. gonna put me on BLAST for not picking Guys and Dolls. If I’d picked Guys and Dolls she’d have me on BLAST for not picking this one) A young Shirley Jones with Rod Steiger and Eddie Albert and arguably the greatest title song in musical history.

This year is TOO deep. We’ve never seen the two iconic James Dean films from this year, Rebel Without A Cause and East of Eden, so we did not include them. We’ve seen and LOVE The Seven Year Itch (Marilyn Monroe at her most comedic and curvy) but wouldn’t supplant any other film on this list. Films we want to see: The Man From Laramie, Bad Day At Black Rock and Rififi. We also almost put Lady And The Tramp in our top five. The spaghetti scene alone makes it worthy.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

This is the best thing to appear on ESPN before 7 p.m. on a weekday, perhaps ever.

Starting Five

Impeach Tree City

The impeachment hearings go public today and I really don’t know what that means. I do know that one of Trump’s three junior bulldogs in the House, Jim Jordan (the other two being Matt Gaetz and Devin Nunes), has been added to the impeachment inquiry in order to sow seeds of chaos and disruption. Don’t be surprised if Jordan breaks out a chant of “Attica! Attica! Attica!”

Anyway, it’s the first impeachment hearings of this century and today’s witnesses on live TV will be Bill Taylor and George Kent. On Friday we get Marie Yovanovitch.

Bars in the nation’s capitol are opening early today so that patrons can watch the hearings on live TV. You gotta imagine one or more establishments will be serving Supboena Coladas.

On Full Blastros

1919: Black Sox Scandal

2019: Houston Astros

Some things never change.

Former Houston Astros pitcher Mike Fiers is one of four people who tells The Athletic that in 2017, when he was with the club, the Astros used a sophisticated process to steal signs. A camera positioned in the outfield, coupled with a banging noise to tell hitters if a changeup or fastball was coming, tipped pitches for Astro hitters.

You may recall that the Astros won the World Series in 2017. They also had MLB’s best home record last season, 60-21.

“That’s not playing the game the right way,” says Fiers, 35, who warned subsequent pitching staffs on which he played, Oakland and Detroit, that the Astros were doing the game dirty.

This isn’t the NCAA, of course. Major League Baseball won’t force Houston to vacate its World Series victory. What I’d do if I were Rob Manfred is this: 1. a major fine, in the area of $5 million 2. forfeited draft picks and 3. start the Astros 8 games back in the A.L. West next season. No matter how many games they win, they must finish 9 games ahead of the second-place A.L. West team in order to win the division.

If I’m the Astros, I blame it all on Brandon Taubman.

Aces High

It’s almost impossible to get hyped about college hoops before even Thanksgiving week, but let’s note that the unranked Evansville Purple Aces walked into Rupp Arena last night and took down No. 1 Kentucky, 67-64. Better, Evansville is coached by Walter McCarty, a former star player for the Wildcats in their mid-Nineties Rick Pitino glory years.

McCarty, a starter on the 1996 national championship team for Kentucky, is in his second season in Evansville (southern Indiana). Last year the Aces went 11-21 and they were picked to finish eighth in the Missouri Valley Conference this season.

What the Aces’ win really means is that now every coach of a decided underdog can point to them as his team prepares to play a prohibitive favorite and say that 1. it’s possible and 2. look how much fun it is if you are able to pull it off.

Extra points for doing it on the favorite’s home floor.

Ohio Player

The Bobcats lost to Western Michigan on ESPN (or ESPN2, don’t quote me) on TV last night, but did they? Really? That’s Hagen Meservy, a 6’3″, 300-pound offensive lineman doing a distractionary cartwheel on a pass play. That got completed.

Five Films: 1954

It was the Fifties, which meant you could be a middle-aged dude in a one-bedroom apartment hanging out in your pajamas and Grace Kelly would find you divine. Not complaining, just observing.

Another episode of “It was a very good year.”

  1. Rear Window Once you get past the part about 25 year-old Grace Kelly pining for 46 year-old Jimmy Stewart to settle down, this is Hitchcock’s first (but not last) great film about voyeurism. 2. On The Waterfront “I coulda been somebody. I coulda been a contender. Instead of a bum. Which is what I am.” Future Hitchcock favorite Eva Marie-Saint in a breakout role, for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar; Marlon Brando at his finest. Lots of modern-day parallels in the struggle. Best Picture winner. The irony here is that this is a film about doing what’s right made in the midst of the McCarthy era and yet directed by Elia Kazan, who named names and put people on blacklists (and he won Best Director) 3. Sabrina So light, so airy, but so much fun. Audrey Hepburn is the chauffeur’s daughter on a north shore of Long Island estate where two adult brothers, played by Humphrey Bogart and William Holden, vie for her hand. Bogey is 54 and she’s 25 (in real life, making Rear Window positively modest by comparison) 4. Dial M For Murder Suspenseful, classic Hitchcock, once again with Grace Kelly aboard. Both of these Hitchcock films take place almost entirely in one room. And yet still extremely compelling. 5. A Star Is Born This is the best version in our eyes, as Judy Garland is even better than she was in The Wizard Of Oz. She was robbed of the Oscar by Grace Kelly (in Grace’s third-best film of the year, The Country Girl, that no one ever talks about now) and she may have never gotten over it. Can’t blame her.

We came very close to adding Godzilla, the original. It spawned not just the Godzilla franchise but one can argue the mega-blockbuster film franchise. Also worth noting this year: The Creature From the Black Lagoon, a classic B-movie horror film as well as The Seven Samurai, another Akira Kurosawa classic. We’ve never seen it, but its American remake is basically The Magnificent Seven.

Reserves

Don Cherry, fired yesterday or Monday by SportsNet, appears on the most racist white nationalist network he can find to mansplain his actions. Bold move, Cotton.

At least he got what I’d tried to advise, post hoc. Don’t begin a rant with “You people.” But of course his logic was flawed. Cherry says he should have said “Everybody” instead of “You people.” You know why he didn’t? Because he doesn’t see it as an “everybody” problem. He sees it as a “you people” problem. And that’s sort of why he’s out of a job today.

****

A couple things on the latest CFB Playoff rankings: 1. First time all 25 schools appeared in a different slot than previous week’s rankings (“Row the boat Ski-U-Mah Go Gophers!”), 2. First time a No. 1 won and still dropped (and that No. 1 won 73-14, by the way). 3. Georgia is No. 4 and Alabama is No. 5; if Georgia loses in the SEC title game and Bama wins out, are we looking at an LSU-Alabama rematch, shades of 2011? Or would a 12-1 Oregon or a 13-0 Baylor (just play along, please) have enough juice to unseat them?

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Nobody’s Perfect

Despite the play above the Seahawks beat the 49ers in overtime, 27-24, in San Francisco Santa Clara. With the loss, the Niners drop to 8-1. There are no unbeatens left in the NFL, which I think means that Alabama has renewed hope to make the college football playoff.

Bubble Screen-Worthy

Too bad I did not see this until Monday. A small moment that will go viral because it’s so genuine. I’ve never met Marty Smith but he didn’t have to do this. And it obviously made a world of difference to this young reporter. After a long, long day in Tuscaloosa Smith still had time to make someone else’s. Fantastic.

Another Dominant Russell In S.F.

Remember when the Lakers selected D’Angelo Russell with the 2nd overall pick in the draft and he never seemed to blossom and then they traded him to the Nets. Remember when the Warriors picked up Russell last summer as sort of a salve for the losses of Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson this season and figured he’d at least help Stephen Curry carry the load for what looked to be around a .500 season?

In Russell’s first four games with the Dubs, all of which he shared the backcourt with Curry, the 6’4″ guard from Ohio State averaged 16.3 ppg. Then Curry broke his left hand and Steve Kerr handed the keys to Russell.

In the four games since Russell has averaged 36.3 points including a 52-point effort in last Friday night’s overtime loss at Minnesota. Last night he put up 33 in a loss to Utah. The Dubs have lost all four of these games and they’re going to lose many, many more. But Russell may wind up leading the league in scoring and becoming the West Coast James Harden, circa 2015.

He’s the most dominant Russell to play in San Francisco since Bill.

Billionaires (Cont.)

Bill Gates deserves everything he’s earned. He started from scratch and changed the world.


“Are you a socialist?” he was asked.

“No,” he replied. “I just think that if you have 100 people and 100 potatoes that it’s somewhat unconscionable for one person in the community to have 99 of them and leave the other potato to be split among the other 99 people.”

“But what if,” asked the interrogator, “if that one person has worked HARDER than the other 99 people combined?”

Ah, and here is the fallacy with the very, very, very wealthy (and worse, with the wealthy who aspire to put a few “very’s” in front of their wealth): being wealthy has a lot to do with working hard, but it also has a little something to do with what career you chose. The hardest-working teachers and cops and firemen and soldiers, all of whom are indispensable to a functioning society (bloggers and sportswriters, not so much), will never be very wealthy. It’s not happening.

And so you say, “Well, if they’d worked harder maybe they could have been in private equity or become a doctor or lawyer, etc.” Maybe. Maybe that’s not the career they (or yes, I) wanted.

But the question here isn’t whether someone in a middle- or lower-class career deserves to have someone in a better career, making five to ten times their salary, having the latter carry their load (answer: of course not). And that’s what I consistently find incredible about people I encounter who do much better than the average American (than I) being so vociferous in their defense of BILLIONAIRES.

(You may recall that last week I seemed to defend billionaires here; my argument is that I don’t believe there should be a cap on income; on the other hand, well, let me explain below…).

Having someone who earns $500,000 to $1 million per year defend billionaires to the average American (like me) is like having a squirrel tell a mouse why they shouldn’t have a problem with an elephant. Or a blue whale. In terms of size.

Look. It’s not about wealth; it’s about scale. And I think that so many Americans have a very difficult time truly appreciating that scale. So allow me to provide this analogy. If you’ve ever run a 10-K, that’s 10,000 meters. One meter is roughly the distance of one stride when you’re running. So, if you are someone who earns $100,000 per year, which is a pretty decent salary in the United States, you have taken one step in this 10-K race whereas the billionaire has already arrived at the finish line. Your one step in the 10-K is equivalent to the entire 10-K, in relation to income disparity.

Now, couple that with the fact that last year for the very first time billionaires paid a lower percentage of income tax (23%) than did average Americans (28%) for the first time in U.S. history, and the lowest percentage since income tax was created here, and well, you’ve got the seeds of a populist uprising.

We know what Jesus said about being rich, but I don’t think even Jesus was talking about the relative wealth of billionaires. Again, if you earn $1 million per year, bully for you. You earn 10x as much as someone with a decent job making $100,000. You also earn 1/1,000th of a billionaire. So why do you think of yourself as being more like a billionaire than that $100,000 per year earner?

Finally, there are roughly 750 Major League Baseball players when you consider 30 teams and 25-man rosters. There are just over 600 billionaires in the U.S.A. That’s how rare it is. So again, why do so many Americans align themselves with them? Just because you hit a home run for your Zog Sports softball team doesn’t mean you’re Juan Soto, ya’ know?

Five Films: 1953

How do you say “ingenue” in Italian?
  1. Roman Holiday Gregory Peck falls for an AWOL princess played by Audrey Hepburn in her captivating screen debut, for which she won the Oscar 2. From Here To Eternity Frank Sinatra, Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Donna Reed and Montgomery Clift. A steamy soap opera set amongst the days leading up to the invasion of Pearl Harbor. Ol’ Blue Eyes won a statuette in a supporting role but Clift is the heart of the film. 3. Stalag 17 William Holden had quite a career going for himself in the Fifties (Sunset Boulevard, Sabrina, Bridge on The River Kwai and this) and won the Oscar for this German POW flick 4. Shane A simple Western allegory with one of the more memorable lines in filmdom (“Come back, Shane”) 5. White The Big Heat Susie B. will give me hell for not including Bandwagon or even Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, but this is classic film noir starring Glenn Ford. And we’d also highly recommend another noir gem, less known, titled Pickup On South Street.

Reserves

–In The New York Times, fired Deadspin Editor-In-Chief Barry Petcheskey writes an Op-Ed titled “I Was Fired From Deadspin For Refusing To Stick To Sports.”

–In Canada, SportsNet fires Don Cherry. Never begin a patriotic rant with “You people…”

–Beloved former NBC executive (you rarely see those words strung together) Rick Ludwin passes away. He was the exec who staked his meager budget on early episodes of Seinfeld when no one else believed in the show. Go to the Twitter feeds of John Mulaney and Ken Tremendous to read wonderful vignettes about him. It’s nice to be nice.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Broadway Jeaux

The name Joe has a terrific bloodline among quarterbacks. There was Joe Namath, of course. And Joe Montana. Now here comes LSU’s Joe Burrow, who led the Tigers to victory at Alabama on Saturday, 46-41.

Few programs ever acquire the veneer of invincibility, particularly at home, that the Crimson Tide have this decade. Miami did in the late Eighties up to the mid-Nineties, winning 47 in a row at the Orange Bowl. The Tide had won 31 in a row at Bryant-Denny Stadium before LSU, which had lost eight straight to the Tide since 2011, came to town.

Led by Burrow, the Ohio State transfer who would throw for 393 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, the Tigers roared to a 33-13 halftime lead. When the Tide surged, twice, in the fourth quarter to bring themselves within one score, Burrow twice answered immediately with touchdown drives.

Is Nick Saban’s reign over? Not yet. But Burrow, who is second in the nation in both passing yardage per game and touchdown passes, is now the Heisman frontrunner. And he’s got LSU first or second in the playoff selection committee rankings this week.

Super In Seattle

For many, Sunday’s biggest football game took place in Seattle (the Seahawks were idle) as the Sounders defeated Toronto FC to win the MLS Cup.

Playing in front of nearly 70,000 rabid fans at Century Link Field, the Sounders defeated Toronto 3-1 to win their second MLS Cup of the past four years. These two teams have now met in three of the past four MLS Cup finals.

“I Only Have Eyes For You”

Traitor or patriot? In her new book All Due Respect (awful title), former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley writes that fellow Trump Cabinet members Rex Tillerson (Secretary of State) and General John Kelly (Chief of Staff) worked to undermine the president: “Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren’t being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country … It was their decisions, not the president’s, that were in the best interests of America, they said. The president didn’t know what he was doing.

Haley resisted.

In this interview with Norah O’Donnell on CBS Sunday Morning, Haley basically uses the logic that Well, yeah, the mob boss ordered the hit but it was never carried out, so what’s the problem?

O’Donnell has now famously failed to ask follow-up questions on two big interviews. Here, when Haley says, “The American people should decide this; why do we have a bunch of people in Congress making this decision?” the natural response from an interviewer should have been, “Because it’s part of the Constitution, dummy. Do you not adhere to the Constitution (never mind that no Republicans were making this argument 20 years ago)?”

A few years back, during the Ray Rice kerfuffle, O’Donnell sat Roger Goodell down, who confided that once they saw the tape of Rice hitting his girlfriend, things changed. O’Donnell never asked him why he needed to see a tape when the evidence of her beating, and Rice owning up to it, were already in play.

O’Donnell is extremely presentable and very pretty (in a but-she-looks-smart-enough-to-have-graduated-from-Columbia way). But if the average-looking person handled big interviews the way she does, that person would not be the anchor of the CBS Evening News.

Meanwhile, I had a fairly heated discussion with an old college friend a year ago about the Kelly/Mattis conundrum. I said that anyone working for the president who does not believe in his policies or values, etc., should resign (never mind that they were idiots for taking the positions in the first place). He said that they were heroic, trying to save the country from within by protecting us against Trump.

I think we were both right. Of course Kelly was trying to do exactly what my friend says, but why put a band-aid on top of a giant festering sore? Moreover, now he comes off bad on both sides. The Trumpers hate him for trying to undermine their Orange Overlord while people like myself see him as someone who was providing cover to a corrupt and venal man.

You can’t solve a problem by attempting to cover it up. Be transparent. And stand up for your values. Kelly and Tillerson did not; they thought they could push a Republican agenda while working for Trump and push back on his radical agenda at the same time. Can’t serve two masters. Nope. So now they look bad to both sides.

Never align with Trump: You’ll eventually come out looking bad in the end. With all due respect.

Five Books For Veterans Day

Thank you to all the veterans of the Armed Forces who sacrificed in all sorts of ways in defense of this country and its freedoms. Although I’m not sure if we need tanks protecting us from immigrants in Queens…

And I’ll make the same point I always have: nothing protects Americans quite like the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. We should really have a day of remembrance for them.

Anyway, I always enjoy reading books about World War II because I believe it was America’s (and Great Britain’s) finest hour. Here are three that Phyllis and I read in 2019 and two others from the past that I’d also recommend:

With The Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa, by E.B. Sledge

Much of this book showed up in the HBO series The Pacific. Besides it being a near-miracle that Sledge survived these two campaigns, his reportage of his memoir is detailed and grisly. This is suffering.

The Jersey Boys, by Sally Mott Freeman

A first-time author, Freeman writes about the World War II odysseys of her father and two uncles. This will surely become a series on HBO or some other streaming service. Incredible stuff.

Operation Mincemeat, by Ben Macintyre

A truly incredible, almost comical, story about how the Allies planted a corpse with fictitious battle plans behind enemy lines and how the Germans bought it hook, line and sinker. And it’s all true.

Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

The book is so much more powerful than the film.

Flags Of Our Fathers, by James Bradley

A completely unvarnished account of Iwo Jima. Once again, war is hell.

Five Films: 1952

  1. Singin’ In The Rain Inexplicably, what’s now regarded by many as the greatest movie musical ever and is ranked No. 7 on AFI’s “Greatest 100 Films” list, did not receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture (or Best Actor or Best Actress). Not only is this Gene Kelly/Donald O’Connor/Debbie Reynolds (she was only 19) flick wildly entertaining, it’s also smart and colorful and nostalgic. The first MGM talkie, The Broadway Melody, used snippets of the song in 1929 and would win Best Picture. The song would be performed onscreen by MGM legends Jimmy Durante (1932) and Judy Garland (1940), so the title itself is a tribute to Hollywood’s transition to talkies. Also, Donald O’Connor’s “Make ‘Em Laugh” is maybe the funniest dance number ever choreographed. 2. High Noon Gary Cooper is the sheriff who must stand up to the bad guys while Grace Kelly attempts to avoid going from wife to widow in record time. John Wayne hated this film and dubbed it “un-American.” A lot of people say it as an allegory for McCarthyism, which it was. Cooper was the lone guy who’d stand up to black-listings and the cowed townspeople were Americans who were afraid to stand up to McCarthyism. Wayne, as the then president of the Motion Picture Association (MPA) helped have the film’s writer, Carl Foreman, black-listed. 3. The Quiet Man John Wayne not in a western, but in Ireland, where he heroically (?) drags the lovely Maureen O’Hara across neighbor’s farms to return her to her brother 4. The Greatest Show On Earth Cecil B. DeMille directs, it wins Best Picture 5. Clash By Night Slight film noir, more like dude hooks up with his best friend’s girl. But it stars some heavyweights in Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Ryan and Marilyn Monroe.

Reserves

The New York Times has an editorial on billionaires this morning, per our conversation last week…

The Cowboys had likely already blown this game versus the Vikings, but they ordered their return man to fair catch this punt before the play trailing 28-24 with :17 left. He probably returns it at least 20 yards if he fields it.

Et Tu, Canada?

You know, when you begin a rant with “You people…” it’s not going to go well.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Toxic nepotism. Please make these two go away…

Starting Five

Open Mike

Reports are that a(other) billionaire New Yorker who grew up in Queens is planning to run for president in 2020: former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg.

When the news broke last night, it only took a few moments for the “OK, B(l)oom(b)er(g)” meme to kick off. Myself, I’m all for it. I wish he would have run in 2016. As this city’s mayor, Bloomberg improved the greatest city in North America in innumerable ways. And he did it without attempting to be a demagogue or a social cause. He just rolled up his sleeves and did the work.

After the disaster and embarrassment and corruption of Donald Trump, there are worse things to be than a pragmatist with an incomparable track record. I Like Mike.

Billionaire Bashing

You see, Baker Mayfield, this guy DOES deserve to wear a handlebar mustache

This seems to be the new popular pastime on Twitter. And as a potential billionaire, we at MH take offense…

Seriously, though, let’s begin with the fundamentals (I used to assume that everyone knew the fundamentals, then Joey Galloway said on live TV last weekend that 72 divided by 2 is 34 so now, not so much anymore): a billion dollars is $1 million times one thousand. Most of us would be overjoyed to have $1 million. Now multiply that by 1,000.

Okay, so in 2010 there were 404 billionaires in the U.S.A. Today there are 607 billionaires in the U.S., according to U.S. News, an increase of just more than 50%. Something is happening that is accelerating the rate of growth of wealth among the .05% while the rest of us continue to wallow in the mire.

Is this fundamentally unethical? Is someone to “blame?” Is there any reason those who have less should be openly hostile to those who have so, so much more? I dunno.

With a net worth north of $111 billion, Jeff Bezos is the world’s wealthiest man (related: he did it himself; also related: a full head of hair is priceless)

I’m of the opinion that the government has rarely demonstrated any responsibility when it comes to spending our tax dollars so I’d rather see billionaires be philanthropic of their own accord (the Bill Gates model) as opposed to overly taxing them. I also feel that if I had that much money I’d feel somewhat guilty knowing how many people suffer day in and day out while I have so much more than I’ll ever need. I’d like to think there’d be an empathy factor. Finally, I’m of the opinion that many (I’m not sure if I’d say most, but many) billionaires are truly exceptional people (save those who inherited their wealth) who at some point in their lives demonstrated an exceptional talent in one area of skill or had a truly revolutionary idea that helped change the world (granted, for better or worse).

But right now, on social media, a lot of the backlash towards billionaires sounds to me like sour grapes. It would be great if tomorrow every person worth even just $1 billion announced they were giving away half their wealth to improve a school district or buy the New York Jets. And some have or do, because you can still get by on $500 million. But simply leeching off billionaires as a society as if they are to blame for what you do not have, something about that seems a little off and, well, whiny to me.

Okay, Susie B., pull the ripcord…

The Bama Bowl

The latest “Game of the Century”, to take place Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa, is not. Not even with a president in attendance. It’s No. 2 LSU vs. No. 3 Alabama and many intelligent people have noted that if you’re going to put Penn State (4) above Clemson (5), then why not put both ahead of Alabama…particularly when both Clemson and Alabama have the same toughest foe/best win to date: Texas A&M.

Dig: The Tide have beaten LSU eight straight times since losing the touchdown-deprived “Game of the Century” to the Tigers in November of 2011, 9-6. It’s pretty unwise to bet against them most of the time and Nick Saban, except when attempting game-winning field goals from beyond his kicker’s range, is pretty tough to beat.

It’s early, of course, and so much can happen but we believe that the loser of this showdown between 8-0 squads will not advance to the playoff. If Oregon or Utah win out or if Oklahoma wins out, we think they’ll be a more attractive option to the playoff committee than a second SEC team who already lost its biggest game of the year to an SEC team. Would Vegas favor Alabama or LSU over Oregon, Utah and Oklahoma. Probably, yes. Does that mean that’s how the playoff should work? For us, no.

So it’s not the Game of the Century, but it’s most likely a knockout game. How effective will Tua Tagovailoa be? We don’t know.

Meanwhile, BREAKING NEWS: Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, whom many (raises hand) consider to be the most outstanding player in college football, will sit out tomorrow’s game versus Maryland. Young may be facing an indefinite suspension beyond Saturday due to something that occurred in 2018. Remember, the Buckeyes are currently No. 1 in the SelCom rankings.

Story unraveling by the minute. Stay tuned.

The annual preemptive retirement of an All-World Ohio State defensive end (Nick Bosa last season, now this): a tradition like no other.

Debt Relief

Watching this you can’t help but wonder if Rhys thinks to himself, If only I attended a more expensive college.

Five Films: 1951

No, A Streetcar… did not make the cut because I don’t remember enjoying myself much watching it. A Place In The Sun came thisclose as did The Day The Earth Stood Still and Cinderella (we haven’t really done right by animation or Abbott & Costello films thus far; apologies).

Ava Gardner wearing your mom’s drapes
  1. The African Queen Strangers On A Boat (See No. 3) It took until 1951 for Hollywood to finally say, “Hey, he’s the greatest living actor and she’s the greatest living actress—let’s put them in a film together.” This is an African adventure as well as one long and well-scripted metaphor. “Oh, Mister Allnut…” 2. An American In Paris Gene Kelly’s signature film and introducing Leslie Caron as the lover interest/dance partner. Man, did he have all of the tools. Best Picture winner. 3. Strangers On A Train One of Hitchcock’s weirdest, with a premise so simple and yet so dark. Robert Walker as Bruno is wonderfully creepy and psychotic and today we’d probably suggest he’s also gay 4. Ace In The Hole Billy Wilder’s savage takedown of tabloid mass media stars Kirk Douglas as a disgraced big-city reporter out to find redemption 5. Showboat Ava Gardner in the role that Lena Horne was born to play, but there are few, if any, better title tunes: maybe only Julie Andrews’ opener in a later film outdoes this one and even then I’m not so sure.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

NBA officiating has gotten truly lax, but still not yet this lax. We wonder if Bledsoe did this on a dare.

Starting Five

Massacre In Mexico

What happened?

It appears to be something out of an episode of Breaking Bad. In northern Mexico, along the north-south border of the states Chihuahua and Sonora (the boundary roughly coincides with that between Arizona and New Mexico), a convoy of three sport-utility vehicles carrying Mormon women and children was traveling in a remote area.

Now, unfortunately for them, a shootout between two rival gangs had taken place not long before and nearby. And there’s a good chance that one of the gangs identified this caravan of SUVs as carrying members of the other gang. So the caravan came under attack.

Six children and three women, all members of the same family (we might refer you to read Under The Banner Of Heaven at this point), were killed. At least four children were permitted to flee, which suggests the gunmen may have realized their mistake and for some reason showed mercy. The vehicle above appears to have incinerated from a gunshot that struck the gas tank.

The important thing is that nothing will change. Drugs will still be trafficked illegally, the cartels will continue to exist, the DEA will fight a losing battle, your local stoner or cokehead will not consider him- or herself part of the problem (nor will pols who continue to demonize these drugs but not opioids or hard liquor), and innocents will be caught in the crossfire. Hooray, capitalism!

Cole-Powered Tar Heels

Last night North Carolina freshman guard Cole Anthony, the son of former NBA’er Greg, scored 34 points in his college debut as the Heels ran away from Notre Dame in the second half and won by 11. That mark, 34 points, is the most ever by a UNC freshman in his debut. This at a school whose alumni include Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Sam Perkins, Bobby Jones, Vince Carter, Tyler Hansbrough, Jerry Stackhouse, Billy Cunningham and Phil Ford.

We watched the second half. The 6’3″ Anthony, who grew up in New York and attended high school in Queens, didn’t look so much like an unstoppable force as he did a dude who can bury the open jumper and has lots of energy (he also finished with a team-high 11 boards). Pops was in the house to watch.

“OK, Boomer”

Here’s where the “OK, Boomer” phenomenon began. Green party MP Chloe Swarbrick was speaking in the New Zealand parliament about a zero-carbon emissions rate when at least one of her middle-aged colleagues began heckling her. She immediately cut him down with this comment.

(I assume it’s a him. C’mon.)

Mary Cain’s Odyssey

We’ve always liked Mary Cain, since we first wrote a piece on her when she was in high school back in 2012. We liked that her name was two cosmically polar opposite figures from the New and Old Testament, respectively. We liked that though she never quite looked the part, she was the fastest American teen female middle-distance runner since another Mary, Mary Decker. Cain set high school records in the 1,000, 1,500, 3,000, 2-mile and 5,000, most of which she still holds. And we liked that she was highly intelligent—a straight-A student— and had an ebullient personality.

Then it all changed. Instead of signing with any college she might’ve wanted, the Bronxville, N.Y., native, the daughter of a physician, signed a professional contract with Nike and moved 2,900 miles west to Portland to train under Alberto Salazar. It all went horribly south from there and Cain never discussed the details of how or why.

Until now.

In a video opinion piece in The New York Times, Cain discusses what happened to her once she fell under the tutelage of Nike Oregon Project czar Alberto Salazar (who has been banned from the sport for 4 years). I always thought it was a mistake for Cain to bypass college. She was built for the college environment, athletically, academically and culturally. It’s a small tragedy that she bypassed it. It’s a crime what Salazar and Nike did to her.

Five Films: 1950

Hello, Norma Jean

It was a very good year. In fact, TCM’s Eddie Mueller suggests it was every bit as good as 1939. We’ll leave you to judge.

  1. All About Eve: Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night. This Bette Davis classic, with a cameo from a very young Marilyn Monroe, crackles with the best dialogue since Casablanca (written and directed by Joe Mankiewicz, Ben’s great-uncle). 2. Sunset Boulevard: Like the film ahead of it, another dark-side-of-Hollywood tale with yet another unforgettable line (“Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my closeup“) 3. The Asphalt Jungle John Huston directed this nourish thriller; think Ocean’s 11 set not in Vegas and not for fun. Another Marilyn Monroe at-the-outset-of-her-va-va-voom-dom movie. 4. Rashomon: We had this Akira Kurosawa classic DVR’ed and watched it last night in order to avoid, um, reader harassment. So, yeah, it’s a film school essential and the film that inspired the Academy to begin handing out Best Foreign Picture Oscars. 5. Annie, Get Your Gun: A musical based on a terrific song by Squeeze that would come out about 35 years later. No?

*****

Eighty-Six Happiness note: We served Kenneth Langone, co-founder of Home Depot yesterday. Very down-to-earth guy. You’re wondering: he tipped well. Not exorbitant, but well.

*****

Good line from Seth Meyers’ comedy special: “I’m not Jewish but given my name and how I look and behave, I’m Jewish enough. In fact, that’s the only religion where you can sort of be thought to have assimilated by other factors. That’s also why it’s the only religion that ends in “-ish.”

Music 101

Falling Slowly

This is precisely the moment you know you’re going to fall in love with the film Once. That’s Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. From 2007. The tune would deservedly win the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Remote Patrol

Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders

8 p.m. Fox

I won’t be watching, but you may want to. In which one franchise that foolishly relocated to Los Angeles faces another that once made the same mistake, only to relocate back to its original California city home, only to then decide to pack up and re-relocate to Las Vegas before long. And they’re both going to be wearing obnoxious color-rush uniforms. Idontcare.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Lev And Let Die

In the past 48 hours everyone’s first or second favorite Ukrainian henchman, Lev Parnas, is cooperating with impeachment investigators. So you have to wonder how many hours or days it will be before Lev “hangs himself” in jail. Meanwhile, ABC correspondent Amy Robach, who is married to Andrew Shue (the cute but dumb one from Melrose Place) was caught on a hot mic basically saying that Jeffrey Epstein was murdered.

I agree with you, Amy.

Finally, Gordon Sondland, the Trump donor from Oregon with no foreign affairs experience who was then thrust into the role of ambassador to the European Union and put in charge of affairs with Ukraine, which is NOT in the European Union, but follow along, kids, this is The Worst Wing, after all…even he, EVEN HE, is turning against Trump.

In testimony to the impeachment inquiry, Sondland admitted that he recognized Trump’s maneuver with Ukraine to be “illegal” and always assumed it was a quid pro quo offer.

Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham has decided to put his head in the sand and told reporters that he will refuse to read the testimony. One can see that Graham, his fellow Republicans in Congress and a helluva whole lot of Americans brandishing red baseball caps simply refuse to shave with Occam’s Razor (i.e., the simplest solution is usually the correct one, i.e, either everyone is making up tales about Trump, or you know, Trump is).

Clemson’s On The ROY Bus

The initial College Football Playoff rankings were released last night, and they’re essentially meaningless, since the top four teams—Ohio State, LSU, Alabama and Penn State—are already set up as semifinal games this month. That is, LSU visits Bama on Saturday and Ohio State hosts the Nittany Lions on Nov. 23rd.

The minor surprise is that defending national champ Clemson, which has scored at least 52 points in four of its eight wins, is fifth. The Tigers have the 65th-toughest schedule in the land, however, and it’s not about to get more difficult. If Dabo’s Demons continue on to 13-0, they’ll be in. But playing Wofford AND Charlotte won’t earn you any respect.

La La Lanes

Oh, and my quasi-hometown of Phoenix is making the same error. And why is this happening? Because developers gonna develop (and there’s big money in it for both them and the pols who okay the zoning) and then they need a way to accommodate the influx.

This is why I hope everyone visits the Hamptons at least once in their lives. Those city fathers flat-out refuse to expand the main road beyond one lane in either direction. The result is massive traffic snarls on weekends but also it’s an impetus for many to stay away, and that keeps everything there manageable. It’s not just a coincidence that these are some of the wealthiest people in the U.S.A. They know what’s up. And how to handle it.

And Now A Word About Executive Pay…

Yesterday morning I saw a quote from hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones, who was speaking at the Greenwich Economic Forum: “How many employees do we have not making a living wage relative to what I’m paying the CEO? Hopefully we begin asking that in every damn boardroom.”

Before proceeding, let’s just put it out there that Jones himself is a billionaire.

Anyway, I sent this quote out into a group chat with some old friends who know my feelings about executive pay. And basically, they are this: Yes, the CEO should make the greatest wage at a company, but unless he’s the guy who actually founded the company or invented the product, there’s no reason for him to be earning between 50 to 100x that of the average employee salary.

Anyway, I sent that quote out and one response, from an entrepreneur who is a self-made success, was, “Maybe I’m just becoming cynical, but it sounds like Paul Tudor Jones may be considering a future in politics.”

Maybe, but it also sounds as if Jones is onto something ethical, too. I imagine when Abraham Lincoln proposed freeing the slaves that a few detractors pointed out that he would be able to count on the black vote going forward.

LeBron is the product, not the CEO

Another respondent, well aware of my being a sportswriter, used the old “How do you justify paying athletes so much?” argument, which is incredibly lame, a straw man, and also shows a fundamental lack of understanding. Getting past what pro athletes actually earn for a moment, the analogy between LeBron James and a CEO is inherently flawed because LeBron is not the CEO, he is THE PRODUCT. LeBron, or any pro athlete, is analagous to the Tesla, not to Elon Musk; to the Popeye’s chicken sandwich, not the CEO of Popeye’s.

No one buys a ticket to a Laker game because of Jeannie Buss. They buy one because of LeBron (and Anthony Davis). So that analogy is flawed.

Yet another friend, who operates a small business that would not exist without his expertise (which he acquired through four years of strenuous graduate school studies), said of executive pay, “It’s just the system.” Sounds like the title of a Bruce Hornsby song I remember, and you may remember what that song dealt with.

Now, let’s say that the CEO of a publicly traded company earns $5 million annually (most earn much more) and that the average salary among employees is $50,0000. That means he earns 100x the average. I proposed to my friend that if he earns $500,000 annually he certainly could not propose to his small staff that they each earn $5,000 (also a 100x difference) per annum or he’d have no more staff.

So what is the difference here? Scale. The large company makes a lot more revenue so they can still do the 100:1 ratio, but here’s the important thing: what the company is paying its average staffers isn’t exactly a fair wage, it’s the very lowest they can pay them without these workers saying “Take this job and shove it.”

And there are some very sinister ramifications to such a wage. First, the staffers have little ability to save money and thus create a better life for themselves in the future. Second, if they are married it means that both parents will likely have to work, which means that the development of the children will also suffer.

But mostly, there’s simply no justification to that salary. McDonald’s fired its CEO, Steve Easterbrook, this week due to a “consensual” relationship with an underling at the company. Is Easterbrook’s dismissal going to affect your decision to visit the drive-thru for a quarter pounder this week? Nope. But if LeBron left the Lakers, that would probably impact attendance or ticket prices.

CEOs should be rich. Sure. But just how rich? It’s flat-out unethical to be paying one man a king’s ransom while thousands of others are being paid a wage that allows them to barely scrape by. And let’s not pretend that the only people who might know how to run a business are grads of Wharton or Harvard MBA. If you think that, you may want to watch The Wire.

Even I, a dumb sports journalist, did okay with my one major entrepreneurial experience. I put in less than $20,000 of my own money to self-publish a book and through a little ingenuity and common sense made better than a ten-fold return. Running a business is simply good common sense and a lot of hard work and attention to detail. The idea that someone in that position deserves to be paid 100x that of the people who actually make the widgets is asinine. And arrogant.

Five Films: 1949

  1. White Heat It’s Jimmy Cagney, see, and he’s a tough guy, see, he’s a gangster, and he’s gonna plug you coppers full of lead. With Virginia “Hold The” Mayo. 2. Adams’ Rib: Comic classic with Tracy and Hepburn as spouses and lawyers. One of their best together.
  2. 3. On The Town Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra on shore leave again this time in New York, New York (a helluva town, the Bronx is up and he Battery’s down, the people ride in a hole in the ground) 4. She Wore A Yellow Ribbon John Wayne directed by John Ford in Monument Valley. And a love triangle. 5. In The Good Ol’ Summertime Judy Garland and Van Johnson in a musical remake of The Shop Around The Corner which would later be You’ve Got Mail. That baby in the final shot is Liza Minnelli.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Sweet Home

The president intends to travel to Tuscaloosa to watch No. 1 LSU play at No. 2 Alabama on Saturday afternoon and if you are wondering why, remember where this photo was taken in 2015. Donald Trump was booed at the World Series in Washington, D.C., and he was booed at a UFC in Madison Square Garden last Saturday, but he likely won’t achieve the sports boo trifecta when he visits Bryant-Denny Stadium.

Now here’s something to chew on, when considering Tuberville’s tweet. The former Auburn coach would likely concede that “the liberals up north” are more educated while emphasizing that the SEC has much better football. And he’d be right.

But the SEC only has the best college football programs in America because it takes advantage of being in the backyard of the richest crop of football talent in America: namely young, rural, under-educated African-Americans. Now what would happen on Saturday if every African-American player on both Alabama and LSU opted to sit out of the game in protest of Donald Trump’s presence? Suddenly you’d have something looking very much like Northwestern at Rutgers.

And what would that do to MAGA-merica’s inflated image of itself, built on college football prowess and yet actually on the sweat and labor, mostly, of young men whom it would want nothing to do with in any setting outside of Saturday afternoon or evening? The aura, in other words, in which MAGA-football enjoys enveloping itself is really a false narrative.

It won’t happen, but what if it did?

Cat-Life Stadium

A rogue kitty scampered across the field at Met-Life Stadium during the Cowboys-Giants game last night, marking the first intriguing moment in Monday Night Football since the introduction of the Boogermobile. You have to wonder how many fantasy teams the cat finds itself on this morning. Also, can it play quarterback for the Jets?

I Like To Rock

This is the one-ton “Wizard Rock,” which sits in Arizona’s Prescott National Forest off State Route 89. Last week it mysteriously vanished (or someone with a crane and a big ass truck took it) and then yesterday it magically reappeared. And that’s today’s lost-and-found mineral news.

He Who Rips Others Also Rips…

The biggest controversy is sports radio yesterday: Did WFAN’s Mike Francesa fart on-air? The alleged gas passing takes place at about :18 here. You be the judge.

The fun part is that The Daily News quickly turned around a story on the incident and then, once apprised of it, Francesa devoted about five minutes in denial of such. This is PEAK sports radio, folks.

Is this our second “To Air Is Human” item in as many days?

Sun-sational Start

First, the Phoenix Suns whiffed by passing on Luka Doncic in favor of Deandre Ayton last year (Ayton’s good; Doncic will be a Hall of Famer). Then they fired their coach. Then they traded down and passed on the likes of Coby White in favor of his teammate Cameron Johnson (again, a good player but a lesser talent). Then Ayton was suspended for 25 games for use of a diuretic.

All bad, right? Wrong. First-year coach Monte Williams has a team of one legit All-Star, Devin Booker, and a cast of cast-offs at 5-2 after they defeated the previously unbeaten Philadelphia 76ers (minus Joel Embiid) last night. The Suns also have already beaten the Los Angeles Clippers, too.

Williams has the Suns believing

Booker had 40 last night and his supporting cast includes Kelly Oubre, Ricky Rubio, Frank Kaminsky, Aron Baynes and Dario Saric. And yet Williams has this group playing together. I don’t understand it, either. But the Suns just went three games over .500 for the first time since in more than four seasons.

Next up? The Eastern Conference-leading (now that Suns knocked off Philly) Miami Heat on Thursday.

By the way, Booker has already gone over 6,000 points in his career and he’s still only 23 years old.

Five Films: 1948

Jane Wyman in Johnny Belinda
  1. Key Largo: Bogey, Bacall and a very dapper and evil Edward G., as opposed to Eugene, Robinson. 2. Johnny Belinda: A deaf girl, a rape, and a Nova Scotian fishing village. The exterior landscape shots underscore the ravaged wilderness that is inherent in the tale. Unforgettable 3. The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre: More Bogey and of course, “Badges? We don’t need no stinking’ badges!” 4. Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House: Myrna Loy finally got sick of playing William Powell’s wife and trades him in for Cary Grant. Upgrade (but not by much). 5. Rope: There are three, by our count, Hitchcock films that take place almost entirely inside one apartment. This was the first. The others? Dial M For Murder and Rear Window.

Music 101

Late For The Sky

The title track from Jackson Browne‘s 1974 album that has been hailed “a masterpiece” by many (though casual fans will recognize no songs on the album). And this give us an excuse to add Bruce Springsteen inducting Browne into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (“Meanwhile, Jackson is drawing more women than an Indigo Girls show”). As good as Bruce is at everything else he does, he’s the best Hall of Fame induction speaker.

Remote Patrol

College Football Selection Show

9 p.m. ESPN

Clemson may be 4th in tonight’s rankings, but the Dynamite Dabos are the prohibitive favorite among these four to be in the playoff

Preceded by Kansas versus Duke in a sterile NBA arena setting (7 p.m., MSG), this will be kinda fun and yet we all know the big match-ups remain on the horizon. LSU, Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson will be in the top four in some order, then Penn State will be fifth. The Tigers and Tide will meet this week and then the Nittany Lions will visit Columbus on Nov. 23 (Penn State also visits 8-0 Minnesota this weekend; who knows, maybe the Fighting Flecks will surprise us).

When the dust from those two (3) games settles, you’ll likely have the winners of those two games, plus Clemson and the loser of the Tiger-Tide matchup in the Top 4. But Bama must still travel to Auburn and Ohio State to Ann Arbor and if you don’t think an upset will happen in either game, you must be new to the sport.

Then there’s conference championship game weekend. The season’s just getting started, really.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Tyreek Hill is basically at a dead stop at the 40 and his teammate 10 yards ahead when he begins chasing him. And now you see why so many teams are able to overlook his off-field “issues.”

Starting Five

Passing The Torch

Two potentially landmark games this past weekend—time will tell—in the NBA and NFL that saw a next-generation star challenge the greatest player of his generation. In the NBA, Luke Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks took LeBron James and the Lakers to overtime before succumbing. In the NFL, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens completely outplayed Tom Brady and the Patriots and handed them their first “L” in nine games. Only the 49ers remain unbeaten.

(Dude on the left was taken with the first pick in the first round and dude on the right was taken with the last pick of the first round. Scouting!)

The lines from the hoops game were both triple-double. Luka went 31, 13 and 15 while LeBron went 39, 12 and 16. Sounds as if both were amped for this one.

Has Michigan Found Its Mojo?

We still hate the white road trousers, though

As we printed in “The Bubble Screen”, and I quote: “It was a weekend for fans of Justin Timberlake as the top three ranked teams went “bye bye bye” and “College GameDay” made its first pilgrimage to J.T.’s hometown of Memphis. Florida got jobbed on a crucial video review miss while Georgia fans said, “Cry me a river.” And is Jim Harbaugh bringing sexyback to Michigan football in time for November showdowns in Ann Arbor versus Michigan State and Ohio State?

So let’s talk Michigan. At halftime in Happy Valley two weeks ago the Wolverines trailed 21-7 and it looked as if their whole season, if not Jim Harbaugh’s tenure, was headed sideways. Since then MGoBlue has outscored opponents 97-28 and while they lost that Penn State game, found themselves. They’ve crushed Notre Dame and Maryland on consecutive Saturdays.

What’s coming up? Home games in Ann Arbor versus Michigan State and the team we feel is the best in the land, Ohio State. Harbaugh is 0-4 against Ohio State and the Wolverines are 1-14 versus Ohio State since 2003. Is The Game suddenly looking like it might be a close one (last year the Buckeyes walloped the Wolverines in Columbus, 62-39)

You Deserve A Break Today

McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook is stepping down after admitting a “consensual” relationship with a fellow McDonald’s employee. There is now a sign outside Easterbrook’s home that reads “Over 1 Served.”

To Air Is Human

This is the smog situation in New Delhi, India, right now. When we spent a month in Beijing in 2008, we often saw days like this (and it depressed the hell out of us, I gotta say). India and China are the two most populated nations in the world. Any questions?

Conan The Destroyer

We’ll say it: It’s refreshing to see someone named Conan be funny again.

Five Films: 1947

  1. The Bishop’s Wife: Set in London, Cary Grant is an angel who’s come down from heaven to inspire a minister (David Niven) and help his lovely but neglected wife (Loretta Young). A Christmas classic. 2. Out Of The Past Fantastic film noir starring Robert Mitchum (as a good guy with a shady past!), Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas 3. Black Narcissus We’ve never seen but it stars Deborah Kerr as a nun (most of her characters possessed this quality) and takes place in the Himalayas 4. Miracle On 34th Street Another Christmas classic. 5. Gentleman’s Agreement The year’s Best Picture winner starring Gregory Peck and dealing with anti-Semitism on a social class level. Was this the original “woke” film?

Music 101

Rhinestone Cowboy

There’s been a load of compromisin’/On the road to my horizon/But I’m gonna be where the lights are shining on me...

Is there an artist in the music business who cannot relate to that lyric? Glen Campbell had a monster hit with this song in 1975, and deservedly so. It hit No. 1 on both the pop and country charts. The tune was written a year earlier by Larry Weiss, who did not have much success with it. Campbell heard it while on tour in Australia and decided to learn it. Weiss, by the way, would later perform the theme song for “Who’s The Boss?”

Meanwhile, if you go see Bruce Springsteen’s new film, Western Stars, he covers it at the end of the film. Beyond symbolic. We changed our mind and decided to put it below. You can feel the years of experience in every word the Boss spits out.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Here it comes

November Wane

Baseball’s over. October’s over. Bike-riding (a daily staple of both our lives and commute) weather is nearly over. Halloween’s over. And now they want us to turn our clocks back this weekend??? It’s simply cruel and inhuman.

What’s App?

On Halloween night the team with “BU” on its helmets remained undefeated

A pair of undefeated and ranked college football teams from the Group of 5, Appalachian State and Baylor, had a prime-time showcase last night. Both faltered. App State flat-out lost, at home, to Georgia Southern, 24-21. The Mountaineers trailed 24- 7 heading into the fourth quarter before making it close.

In Waco Baylor held on to beat undefeated West Virginia, 17-14, in a nip-and-tuck battle. The Bears move to 8-0 but still have Oklahoma and Texas, albeit both at home, in front of them. What’s it all mean? The New Year’s Six bowl slot is opening up for SMU (if the Ponies win at Memphis in prime time tomorrow night) or for the G5 team we feel is most worthy, providing they win out, Cincinnati.

“Florida Man”

Like you, I suppose, I’ve got no problem with a an early onstage dementia septuagenarian New Yorker taking up residency in Florida and golfing his remaining days away. It’s just weird when they’re also the president.

Mr. Trump officially changed his state of residency from New York to Florida, which is kind of odd since most Americans know that his permanent address is in Washington, D.C. Don’t you have to officially spend six months of the year in the Sunshine State to receive the tax break from the IRS? Is he going to go for that? Someone help us.

To officially be a “Florida Man,” however, Mr. Trump must be involved in incidents that involve: 1. an alligator or reptile of some sort 2. partial or full nudity 3. meth and 4. a strip club or Hooters. We’ll hang up and wait.

And Now A Halloween Word From Katie McCollow

Five Films: 1946

Now we’re talking. The war is over, both in Europe and the Pacific, and another monster year emerges.

  1. The Best Years Of Our Lives: I love this film, which won seven Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Fredric March) and Best Supporting Actor (Harold Russell), more each passing year. Think that Dana Andrews deserved Best Actor every bit as much as March and Teresa Wright a Supporting Actress nod. And more Hoagy Carmichael, too. 2. It’s A Wonderful Life: Perfect schmaltz from Frank Capra, starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. 3. Gilda Glenn Ford and the real-life Jessica Rabbit, Rita Hayworth, in a toxic co-dependent relationship in South America. Put the blame on Mame, indeed. 4. Notorious: Another Hitchcock film starring a trio of all-timers: Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant and Claude Rains. A spy film with a love triangle woven within. 5. My Darling Clementine: A western directed by John Ford, which is like a country song sung by Johnny Cash. Starring Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp and generally regarded as one of the best, if not THE best, westerns that does not include John Wayne.