by John Walters

Starting Five

The Russians Are Not Coming, The Russians Are Not Coming!*

*The judges will also accept “IOC You Later”

In an unprecedented move, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) banned Russia from taking part in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. No Russian anthem will be played, no Russian flag will fly, and the few Russian athletes who will be allowed to take part must wear a neutral color (we suggest beige).

Adelina Sotnikova won gold in Sochi in Ladies’ Figure Skating

This is the IOC’s punishment for the systematic doping that has been a state-sponsored part of Russia’s Olympic movement for years. In case you were wondering, Russia finished 5th, 6th and 5th in overall medal count in the 2014, 2010 and 2006 Winter Games, respectively.

Remember that Russia will be hosting the World Cup next summer, and South Korea is in Group F. It wasn’t South Korea’s call, this ban, but I still expect their players may have difficulty getting showers with hot water.

2. Jerusalem

Over the weekend the film Wag The Dog had a 20th anniversary screening (it got a little contentious, as host John Oliver grilled Dustin Hoffman about sexual harassment allegations related to him). Then on Tuesday Donald Trump, taking a page from the film’s playbook, announced that the United States was formally recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Brave? Bold? Courageous? Or cunning? Distracting? Machiavellian? While Jews and hard-right Christians applaud the announcement that the U.S. will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to the Holy City, Arabs and Muslims have called for “three days of rage.” It’s a maneuver that nobody appeared to need—no U.S. president has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’ s capital since the Israelis took over the city in 1967.

One opponent of the move said, “I cannot keep quiet about my deep worry about the situation that has been created in the last few days.” That opponent? Pope Francis.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was more blunt, and dramatic, saying this move would be “plunging the region and the world into a fire with no end in sight.”

Does Donald Trump actually care about “solving” a religious battle that predates Jesus, or is there a part of him that hopes to instigate terrorist attacks, which will then strengthen his hand about a Muslim ban and a potential military engagement in the Middle East. Donald Trump is not about peace. He’s about victory.

And, oh, doesn’t this maneuver, and the possibility of Muslim acts of defiance in retaliation, sweep Robert Mueller’s investigation off the front pages.

3. Queen Bae and Colin K.

At the Sports Illustrated awards bacchanalia last night (did our invitation get lost in the mail, Chris?), Colin Kaepernick received the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, and that honor was completely validated by the fact that Beyonce served as the presenter.

Part of Kaepernick’s speech: “I say this as a person who receives credit for using my platform to protest systemic oppression, racialized injustice and and the dire consequences of anti-blackness in America: I accept this award not for myself, but on behalf of the people. Because if it were not for my love of the people, I would not have protested. And if it was not for the support from the people, I would not be on this stage today.”

4. Califirenia

Another month, another fire raging out of control in the Golden State. This one in Ventura County, northwest of Los Angeles, between Malibu and Santa Barbara.

I’d be lying if I said I cared half as much about the structures being burned than I do about the wilderness habitat being destroyed. That’s precious land for animals. More than 50,000 acres have been burned, and the only thing stunting this inferno’s growth is firefighters and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

Still, these pictures are incredible, eh? You have to marvel at the courage of the firefighters, and also of the photographers taking these shots.

5. The MH Art Corner

Denis Lebecq

Over the summer we found ourselves spending a day in Carmel, California, and we stepped into an art gallery, the Galerie Rue Toulouse, that had some truly dramatic paintings. So if you ever find yourself in that corner of the country with a half-hour to kill or a few thousand dollars to spend, we highly recommend it.

Marc Clauzade

The Galerie Rue Toulouse…


I’m going through Mad Men again. It’s my all-time favorite show (“Duck, Crab. Crab, Duck.”)


Music 101

Midnight at The Oasis

The early Seventies were so confusing for us animal-loving kids attached to AM radio. “Put your camel to bed,” but does it bunk next to the horse with no name? Or the horse named Wildfire? Maria Muldaur‘s 1973 hit peaked at No. 6 on the charts and had no part in all in inspiring the Gallagher brothers to name their band what they did some 20 or so years later.

Remote Patrol

Super Troopers

8 p.m. IFC

One of the funniest meow films of this meow millennium stars a bunch of no-names from the meow Broken Lizard comedy troupe meow portraying staties in Vermont. If’ you’ve never watched, get yourself a liter cola, do not say the word “shenanigans” and enjoy. FARVA!

4 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. Re: Gambling and the “experts” that claim it is merely gambling….

    It is nice to spout buzz words, but can you at least define what “gambling” is? Risk? Uncertainty? Speculation?

    CNBC has built a network around speculation. Why does anyone need to watch CNBC from opening bell to closing bell? Does it really matter if stock X increases or decreases some % on a daily basis? Isn’t investing a long-term game? Is it not the goal to find a company or asset that you believe has value?

    If you discredit Bitcoin and its price increase, then you should discredit the entire system. You can debate the merits of exponential growth, but why do tech IPOs explode for the first month of trading and then normalize? You can just make the argument that Bitcoin’s growth is working on a larger continuum. If stock A has a good product and leadership team and you believe there is value in the price it is trading at, you buy it. When you think it is overvalued, you sell it.

    With Bitcoin, one must ask themselves, “Is there value in this asset?” Just because you don’t find value in it, don’t claim it is gambling. The future is unknown. EVERYTHING IS UNCERTAIN.

  2. The Russians actually “WON” the 2014Winter Olympic medal count with 33 UNTIL the IOC FINALLY started stripping the medals just a few weeks-months ago. So far, 11 have been stripped. In 2010, the Russians were “embarrassed” & “outraged” that they only won 3 Golds at Vancouver & thus Project “We Will Pee till it Hurts!” (er, my title) commenced.

    As for “banning” the “Russians” – HAH! Almost all except those who have already gotten nabbed for doping are pretty much eligible. They just can’t wear their usually fashion-criminal Russian outfits & listen to the Russian anthem which is actually a “win” for viewers/listeners everywhere & maybe even the Russian athletes themselves. And don’t forget the $15 million FINE the Russian Olympic Committee has to pay. Ooh boy, THAT’s a deterrent right there – hey Vlad, just shake your pants pockets or go through the sofa cushions of one of your many dacha & there you have it. ARE THEY SERIOUS?! How many times has the media shouted for the past 6 YEARS that the Russians “spent” $51 BILLION on Sochi? (Which irritates me to no end because the BULK was not spent on the venues at all). And they’re handed a PALTRY $15 MILLION “fine” for trying to DESTROY everything the Olympics is SUPPOSED to stand for & who still REFUSE to acknowledge what they did & REFUSED to cooperate by not handing over required lab data & have STILL not fixed their anti-doping procedures as they were INSTRUCTED to do in early-2016?

    PEDs have been & unfortunately still are used by various individual athletes of almost every country but the large majority of those nabbed in the RE-TESTING of the Beijing & London Olympics test samples are almost ALL Russian or from ex-Soviet countries. In other words, they’ve been CHEATING THEIR ASSES OFF FOR DECADES. And NOW we finally have inside information from the Russian who RAN the most recent doping/cover-scheme & this is all the IOC will do?

    Ring-ring, ring-ring
    “Hey Vlad, it’s your Tommy-boy, your boychkin. Listen, we got a problem over here. I’ve been dragging my feet for over 2 years now (just like we discussed) but the evidence detailing your STATE-RUN doping is overwhelming & keeps being corroborated by one investigator after another & sure, I looked the other way when your country refused to cooperate with the investigation & wouldn’t hand over all that lab data but then ANOTHER whistle-blower/”traitor” went behind your back & gave it to us anyway, so now I HAVE to “punish you” or I may actually lose my super-cushy job & we just canNOT have that! How about I come out all stern & bluster on about how the Olympic ideals are under threat & state we will “ban” Russia BUT your athletes can STILL compete! You’re still be able to rack up medals which EVERYONE will know was “really” won by Russia. Oh & I have to fine you some amount, to show we REALLY mean “business” on this pesky anti-doping thing, how’s $15 million? Yeah, yeah, “15” instead of “51”, MILLION instead of BILLION, isn’t that a hoot? Just don’t forget my Swiss bank account# & we’ll put this little faux-pas to rest. Dasvidaniya!”

    • Wait, wait, it gets “better” – the athletes from Russia will wear uniforms bearing the name “Olympic Athlete from RUSSIA” (caps emphasis mine). And in the colors of red, white & blue; the colors of the RUSSIAN flag but hey, they won’t reaaallly be representing “Russia”. Snicker, snicker, guffaw. Ole Vlad & Tommy-Boy are laughin’ their asses off.

      NO RUSSIAN athlete should be allowed to compete in this Olympics & the FEE for getting back in ANY future Games is $1 BILLION (which is to be used solely for worldwide anti-doping research & testing) . Plus, all anti-doping tests of Russian athletes will be run by an outside organization that Russia will have to fund, for at least the next 3 years. AND ALL tainted medals of doped Russian medalists of 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 are to be stripped & re-allocated promptly. THIS is the just punishment. Which the thoroughly corrupt ass-kissing IOC would never do. And thus, the charade continues.

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