1. Four of the nine Best Picture nominees are historical films, each of which transpires in a different century. That must be a first. From Les Miserables (18th century) to Lincoln (19th) to Argo (20th) to Zero Dark Thirty (21st). We haven’t even come close to having seen all the films, or even half of them and thus only feel confident stating that Samuel L. Jackson deserved a Best Supporting Actor nod for his brief, brilliant and infuriating (it was the A.J. Daulerio Gawker tenure of performances) role in Django Unchained.
2. Shooting it from Cascade Range
The three most intriguing (only intriguing?) basketball of last night all transpired in the Pacific Northwest. In Eugene the Ducks ended No. 4 Arizona’s undefeated season (actually, Colorado did that more than one week ago but the refs jobbed ‘em) by hitting more tree throws in a 70-66 win. A few hours north on I-5, in Portland, the Trail Blazers handed the Miami Heat their fifth loss in eight games in a 92-90 thriller. And almost simultaneously, about seven hours north and east (in what is actually closer to the Bitterroot Range, but throw us a bone here, will you?), No. 9 Gonzaga outlasted Saint Mary’s, which still boasts Matthew Dellevadova, 83-78. The Zags were led by a 30-point effort from seven-footer Kelly Olynyk, who is the frontrunner for this year’s Adam Morrison Award, which is bequeathed to the West Coast Conference player whose quirkiness most intrigues and inspires the national media to write glowing profiles on them. Previous winners include Omar Samhan, Blake Stepp and, okay, Steve Nash. Meanwhile, farther down the Pacific Coast…
3. … How has THIS STORY escaped the national media and the lens of the morning shows (Or, if it has, how did we miss it)? Father. Desert Storm veteran. Fifty year-old junior college basketball player. And, yes, female. All of those terms apply to six-foot-eight Gabrielle Ludwig.
4. Moving on, from a tall transsexual basketball player to a short transdivisional NFL player. Trindon Holliday, who at five-foot-six is the shortest player in the NFL, has the opportunity to become the first individual in league history to experience an undefeated, 19-game season. Holliday returned kicks and punts for the Houston Texans for the first five games of the season, during which time they went 5-0. As Deadspin reports, the Texans then cut Holliday and with good reason: they had the NFL’s worst kick return average at the time.
The very next week Holliday was a member of the Denver Broncos, which had lost the previous Sunday. Since Holliday changed helmets, Denver is 11-0 (Houston lost the week after it cut Holliday). While Denver finished the season 30th in kickoff returns and 31st in punt returns, who’s going to argue with the power of a 66-inch good luck charm that is impervious to defeat? Holliday! It could be so nice.
5. Icereal? Jeruslalom?
It’s snowing in the Holy Land. The worst storm to hit Jerusalem in more than a decade paralyzes traffic, forces school cancellations, and allows locals to be like the rest of the world and discuss the weather for once. Now pardon us while we go searching for our ski mosque.
Flock of Ravens or Murder of Crows?
As Ray Lewis prepares for what could be his final NFL game this weekend in Denver, someone at the USA Today had the temerity to wonder if we should interrupt the tossing of bouquets to resurrect the question of his involvement in the murder of two men on the night of Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta in 2000. “You want to talk to me about something that happened 13 years ago right now?” an annoyed sounding Lewis asked when confronted by USA Today last week. Well, yes. Because there is no statute of limitations on murder.
Gregg Doyel chimed in on this topic this morning but he only once does a quick drive-by past the only salient point. That is, it’s not whether or not Lewis murdered the two men. It’s that, if he knew who did — and THAT I believe he always has — it’s tantamount to committing the act to not supply authorities with that knowledge. Ray Lewis was wearing a white suit on the night of the murders and that suit was never found. “Luuuucy, you got some ‘splainin’ to do.”
At Gawker, A.J. Daulerio is out as editor-in-chief.
Today’s Webb gem: Katherine tweets, “It’s official…shooting with Sports Illustrated.” Does that mean she’s headed out to the gun range with Chris Mannix or that perhaps she is a late edition to next month’s swimsuit issue (the shoots ordinarily take place during September and October)? Webb deleted the tweet soon after. Oh, Kat, you are one p.r. savvy Auburn alum, girl.
Too Big To Jail? HSBC is getting away with what is tantamout to treason, but nobody seems to care. The Justice Department fined the banking giant $1.9 billion instead of indicting and prosecuting the banking giant because doing so would be too costly, it concluded (so, yes, HSBC is the Ray Lewis of banks). Sure, it’s a record fine, and it seems like a lot until you realize that it represents 0.27% of the entire TARP bailout that you and I paid such banks only a few years ago. The greatest threat to a thriving republic is not financial bankruptcy but moral bankruptcy. Just ask Caligula and Nero.