by John Walters

Starting Five

Have they not yet invented cargo shorts in Russia?

Leaders On Holiday*

*The judges will reluctantly accept “Topless Tsar”

Vladimir Putin is spending his time off shirtless, outdoors and in Siberia. Donald Trump is spending his (thus far) on Twitter, indoors and in New Jersey.


Siberia. New Jersey. Siberia. New Jersey.

2. Snakes Alive!

This python perished after it attempted to eat an alligator and burst. It was like a scene out of a Monty…wait for it…Python film

Don’t know if you know this, but south Florida is now brimming with Burmese pythons. The serpents are not indigenous to the area, but the latitude is nearly the same as their home base in Asia and, to the dismay of many other local species, including your pet terrier, the vipers are thriving.

Yes, this is Florida. If you tee shot lands in the tall grass, we advise taking a drop.

Snake hunts are now a common thing in the Florida Keys and Everglades, with the python posse bagging $8.10 an hour and as much as $300 per snake. It almost makes you wonder if these snake searchers would be induced to raise their own pythons to keep the gig going longer.

3. Colin > Christian, No?

At least his hair is not controversial

Yesterday the New York Jets! Jets! Jets! 2016 second-round pick, quarterback Christian Hackenberg, was booted from the field after twice failing to break the huddle correctly during seven-on-seven drills. Hey, it’s not as if he was punched in the face by a teammate, but it’s still not a good look for a guy whose only job it is to play quarterback (it’s not as if he’s fitting this in after classes, etc.).

There is simply no validity to the argument that Kaep is not in the league based purely on skills/talent, as the play of Hackenberg and Sunday’s signing of Jay Cutler demonstrate.

Hackenberg seems like a decent dude, but seeing as he plays for the Jets, and as he completes too many passes to reporters based on the sidelines, he’s become a target (perhaps one he could actually hit) for media types who wonder how badly a QB has to play before some owner gives Colin Kaepernick, a dude who actually led a team to a Super Bowl five years ago, a chance.


Besides, it’s always fun to remind Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead how high he was on Hack.

4. Sam-demonium

Look, Sam Darnold is a very, very good quarterback. He may even win the Heisman Trophy this season. Then again, the USC redshirt sophomore may not.

“Sam Darnold is boring.” —Jeff Pearlman, Bleacher Report (that’s the lede to his profile)

Last January Darnold threw for 453 yards, five touchdown passes and led the Trojans back from a 14-point fourth quarter deficit against Penn State for a 52-49 win in the sexiest Rose Bowl since January 2, 2006 (Texas-USC). And sure, it was nice to see a team that opened the year with a 52-6 loss against defending national champion Alabama and started out 1-3 right the ship. The Trojans have now won nine in a row and Darnold is the face of the renaissance.

Remember this dude? He actually won the Heisman last season.

USC is on a very, very short list (Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Ohio  State, Alabama) that fans nationwide will always care about. Love or hate. And so it’s not that surprising that Sports Illustrated and Bleacher Report and the Los Angeles Times have ALREADY come out with huge features on Darnold.

Here’s the problem: his story isn’t all that incredible. He’s a SoCal beach kid with good, solid middle-class parents. But that hasn’t stopped everyone from writing about a QB who was 9th in passing efficiency, 13th in TD passes and 36th in passing yards last season. Where are the features on Penn State’s Saquon Barkley, who rushed for 194 yards in that Rose Bowl and is no less a legit Heisman Trophy candidate. Or on USC linebacker Cameron Smith, who in MH’s opinion is a better player, position for position?

Smith is, in MH’s opinion, USC’s best player position-for-position

I guess the question becomes, If writers agree that Darnold is not the world’s most compelling main character, and if his numbers are terrific but he’s not exactly Jake Browning (another Pac-12 QB with better numbers who actually led his team to the CFB playoff last year), then why the plethora of Darnold pieces? Is USC just Notre Dame’ing its way into your feed? Do writers feel more comfortable talking to a white kid from The O.C. than, say, Lamar Jackson? Has anyone written a piece on Toledo’s Logan Woodside, who led the nation in passing TDs last season and was second behind only Baker Mayfield (another dude whose story is far more intriguing than Darnold’s) last year in passing efficiency?

PLEASE! Stop bombarding us with Logan Woodside features.

Dig: as a Notre Dame alum this MH staffer should be the last one to call out any school/player for garnering too much attention in August. Granted. I’m just wondering if those ND/USC presesason profiles are just a product of intellectual laziness on the part of editors/writers? Or if it’s shameless clickbait? Or, likely, a little of both.

5. Google Gaggle

Less popular at Google than Action Jack Barker is at Hooli

Last week James Damore, a Google engineer and a former child prodigy in chess from Illinois, wrote a 10-page manifesto (emphasis on that first syllable), an internal memo. You can read it in full here.

On Monday afternoon, Damore was fired. While many of Damore’s opinions were unpopular and some downright false, perpetuating stereotypes against females that have been proven over and over again (Did this dude not see Hidden Figures???), it is a little ironic that he was fired for, in essence, demonstrating a diversity of opinion. Which was sort of the point of this entire exercise.

Does Damore have a case against his employer? Well, his First Amendment rights, as you know, do not extend to what Google must put up with from an employee. Did Google do the right thing? My answer: No. Let him work there and if he’s doing his job well and treating co-workers with respect, that’s really all that matters. Allow him to be a misogynist if he must–at least he’s out in the open about it. As this article shows, Damore is far from alone in Silicon Valley.


The MH staff discovered Mount Marathon five years ago (back when we wrote for Fox’s The Daily). Outside magazine discovered “The World’s Toughest 5-K” this month. Thanks, guys. Now it’s going to be that much more difficult to get in.

Music 101

Dance The Night Away

The first single from Van Halen II was the band’s first Top 20 hit, and though Diamond Dave, Michael Anthony and the Van Halen sibs did not want it to be the band’s first single off the 1979 album, the record label overruled them. The tune is just too fun to ignore.

A Word, Please

preternatural (adj)

beyond what is normal or natural

6 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. Damore wasn’t fired for “demonstrating a diversity of opinion.” He was fired for distributing a memo company wide that included false statements about the abilities of women, specifically his co-workers. The memo enraged countless employees, and permitting Damore to stay would have would likely have lost Google many of them, not to mention affected its ability to hire going forward. Allow him to keep his job “if he’s doing his job well and treating co-workers with respect?” He’s not doing either. “Allow him to be a misogynist if he must–at least he’s out in the open about it.”?? If he is in any position of authority, being a “misogynist” — that is, treating women differently on the basis of their gender — is illegal workplace discrimination.

    • Is/was he in a position of authority? Was he in management? If so, that’s a different story. If he’s an engineer, then being a misogynist is not, IMO, a fireable offense. Every action has a reaction, and Google had a chance to react to this behavior by 1) strongly condemning it, 2) demonstrating that it allows employees to have opinions no matter how unpopular, 3) giving fellow co-workers an opportunity to react to Damore’s memo in words and deeds.

      All Google did yesterday was tell employees to keep their politically incorrect opinions to themselves. Which is dumb.

      • I couldn’t disagree with you more. This guy’s views are not “politically incorrect.” They are sexist. What do you think “misogyny” is? It’s considering women to be lesser people. And he doesn’t just think it, he declared it company-wide. He said that biological causes and differences between men and women may explain why women are not equally represented “in tech and leadership;” that women have less openness toward ideas, that women are worse at “negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading;” that women have higher anxiety and lower stress tolerance; and that people are “generally biased towards protecting females” because women are less “biologically disposable.”

        People lose their jobs for making sexist or racist remarks every day. You don’t keep them to demonstrate that allow employees to have opinions that are unpopular; you fire them because they consider some their co-workers to be inferior based on their sex or race; because you want a environment that condemns that thinking; because permitting a person like that to stay implies to the workforce that you have a level of tolerance for these views; and because you want your female workers (and males, for that matter), to know that sexist attitudes and behavior are unacceptable.

        To chalk this up as another blow for political correctness is ridiculous. Yes, every action has a reaction. You reveal yourself as discriminatory toward your co-workers, you get fired.

  2. Does this mean we’re not getting a Sam Darnold Grange Award watchlist feature? I mean, that’s why I show up everyday…

  3. Jen-ny! Jen-ny! Jen-ny! Come on jdubs, Jenny Simpson got the Silver in last night’s 1500 at the World Championships & no mention? It was AWESOME! It didn’t look good for our girl, coming down the back stretch, but she never gave up & surged to ALMOST taking the whole thing! Absolutely thrilled for her.

    I do feel badly for the Brit Laura Muir, nipped at the line by someone I do NOT believe should be “allowed to compete in these championships”. Sound familiar? However, if there, I would NOT boo Semenya (or others similar), in the race or on the medal stand. This is the fault of the IAAF. However, the more I see of these ‘athletes’ in elite competition, the angrier I am becoming. It is the SAME as doping! (Did you see the scientific report as few months ago stating that the heightened levels of testosterone is these individuals DO give them “UNFAIR athletic advantage”? My not-as-learned but succinct response was & is – “NO SHIT, SHERLOCK!”).

    You’ve probably written this but I either missed it or plum forgot – WHO is your ‘Christian McCaffrey’ of the upcoming CFB season?

    Also, if your job over the next 5 months was to cover ND football, you would have NO problem with their recent media “commandments”? Please explain.

  4. JW –

    Would love to read anything from you on any of these “under the radar”/”under-reported” college footballers. Will it show up on MH?

    Also – are you going to join those guys over at I wish I had a profitable publication. You’d be my first call. And that’s not B.S. I honestly don’t agree with about half the stuff you write, but it’s (mostly) well thought out (and written).

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