by John Walters

BREAKING: Attorney general Jeff Sessions moves to eliminate marijuana safeguards for states where it is legal: “When they get high, we go low.”

Starting Five

Michael Wolff, who launched the most potent attack yet on the Trump presidency….

Wolff: Blitzer*

*The judges will also accept “You’re Fired and Fury’ed” 

A journalistic bomb cyclone dropped on The Worst Wing yesterday as excerpts from reporter Michael Wolff’s forthcoming book (January 9th; see cover below) were published in New York magazine. You should read it for yourself (hyperlink above), but the overwhelming sense is that this was also a confederacy of liars, fools and grifters and that yes,  the recriminations of folks such as your truly were always justified.

Moreover, since the report appeared yesterday, you’ve not heard a peep from one of its primary sources, Steve Bannon. The silence speaks volumes, as if to say what you are reading is true. The only defense of Team Trump is to deny it all, the way Roy Moore denied it all, the way Trump previously denied the sexual harassment claims of 19 women.

Part of the beauty of all this is that somehow Wolff got Worst Wing access that no one else in the print media was able to obtain, plopped himself on a couch there daily, and just absorbed the infighting and backstabbing and the president and his team were either so incompetent or disorganized or vainglorious that no one took notice or at least appreciated the damage that he had the potential to wreak. They do now.

Meanwhile, this was not in the magazine excerpt but pulled from the galleys. Wow.


Meanwhile, I imagine President Trump will be handing a special trophy to Mr. Wolff at Monday’s first annual Fake News Awards, which will be must-see TV.

2. Sager Saga

This is not a story arc from Dallas or Falcon Crest, but real life involving a recently deceased former sideline reporter. It appears peacock-festooned blazer wearer Craig Sager was a little parsimonious with the fortune, leaving it all to his second wife, the former Luv-a-Bull cheerleader, Stacy Strebel, whom he met and began dating while he was still married to his first wife.

And now all the dirty laundry is airing. What would Coach Pop say? Here’s his adult daughter from his first marriage, Kacy Sager, shedding light on the drama.


3. Kelly Kelly Kelly Kelly Kelly K-E-Double L-Y!

The most prolific ‘baller in college hoops this season? Based on class, it may not be Trae Young of Oklahoma (who leads Division I men in both scoring, 29.6 per game, and assists, 10.7) but Kelly Williams of Division III Randolph-Macon. Like Young, Williams is a freshman but is taller at 6’3″. Through 11 games the North Carolina native leads D-3 in scoring (25.2) AND in rebounding, averaging a remarkable 19.5 boards per game. Perhaps she should be playing Division I?

In a defeat last night, Williams put up 38 points and 18 rebounds. The previous game she went for 22 and 22 for the Yellow Jackets.

Howard is 5’11” so his 52 (5, 1+1) is fitting

Unrelated, but Marquette’s Markus Howard put up 52 in an overtime win at Providence. Even more impressive, perhaps Grambling State’s Shakyla Hill recorded the first quadruple-double in women’s D-I college hoops in 25 years—15 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals—in a 93-71 win over Alabama State. The 10th assist came on a three-pointer in the closing seconds.

4. The Ripple Effect

There’s always something new, and there’s (almost) always a bull market somewhere. Two months ago I was pleading with you to look into Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) and with good reason: it’s up nearly 300% since then. However, as I was doing that the sharper millennials, many of them who work at Wall Street firms, were putting money into Ripple (XRP), which at the time was a penny stock.

Ripple is a cryptocurrency that is put out by a San Francisco-based company and is recognized and used by major banks such as Santander and Bank of America. You could have purchased a share of Ripple on Friday, November 3 for 20 cents. Today that share of Ripple sells for $3.60. That’s an 18 times markup in two months. Had you put down $10,000 on Ripple just after Halloween it would already be worth $180,000 (I did not).

The main problem with Ripple, outside of your ingrained fears about cryptocurrency, is that you just can’t purchase XRP via Schwab or E-Trade. First you have to register with a digital exchange such as Coinbase, then once there buy actual bitcoin, then once having done that use another digital exchange to swap it for Ripple.

And from personal experience, I found that it takes a few days after making a Bitcoin purchase for it to be processed. As many as five business days, during which time the price of Ripple may double (as I’ve watched with frustration this week). Buying Ripple is convoluted and inconvenient, but if you believe this bubble has a ways to go before bursting, it may be worth the exploration.

5. Get Out Sins

If you enjoyed Get Out as much as we did—it’ll probably win a Golden Globe for Best Picture, Musical or Comedy come Sunday night, then you may like this video showing all the technical or logical sins the Jordan Peele’s breakout hit made.



Bomb Cyclone: Trust The Process



Tip from a server (me) after having watched a dude step up to a cafe bar yesterday and ask the bartender to plug in his phone behind the bar, then constantly admonish him to keep an eye on it to make sure it’s charging while ordering a total of one cappuccino over half an hour: PLEASE DON’T DO THIS.

I’m recommending this not because it’s an impossible task for restaurant workers, but because it makes you look like a spoiled child. If a restaurant/diner/bar/Starbucks has an outlet that is within reach, go ahead and plug in your device yourself. Be aware that it is nobody’s job at the restaurant to worry about the power available in your device or whether or not that device is in peril of being snatched. If there is no outlet within reach, don’t bother anyone at the restaurant. They’ve got a job to do and providing good service only extends to your dining experience: would you like us to address your envelopes and maybe pick up some dry cleaning, too?

Most of you travel by car: your vehicle should have a charger, no? We all get into those moments where we need battery power and God help us if our phone isn’t available for half an hour, but if you are really in a bind, find an outlet yourself. Thanks.


Was there ever an SNL “Jeopardy” moment that was even this funny?


We finished and we can’t stress enough how delightful and smart and charming and insightful this novel is. Author Amor Towles creates a wonderful tale of adaptation, sort of The Shawshank Redemption in a luxury hotel with a touch of Casablanca thrown in. Here’s just one bon mot we circled to remember (this may just inspire us to join a book club, but probably not for the long term):

Showing a sense of personal restraint that was almost out of character, the Count had restricted himself to two succinct pieces of paternal advice: The first was that if one did not master one’s circumstances, one was bound to be mastered by them; and the second was Montaigne’s maxim that the surest sign of wisdom is constant cheerfulness.”

Don’t worry about who Montaigne is. Think instead of the best people that you know. They likely conform to these two traits (then think of the man occupying the White House). It’s an estimable way to be, and perhaps a goal for all of us in 2018.

Music 101

Use Somebody

In early 2009 Kings Of Leon owned rock and roll and for good reason. This song would earn a Grammy for Record of the Year and Best Rock Performance for the Nashville-based Followill family (three brothers and a cousin). Lead singer Caleb Followill’s haunting voice never sounded better.

Remote Patrol

Warriors at Rockets

8 p.m. TNT

U.S. Speed Skating Trials

6:30 p.m. NBC Spots Net

U.S. Figure Skating Championships

8:30 p.m. NBC Sports Net

How better to survive a bomb cyclone than with an avalanche of sports television? This is likely a preview of the Western Conference finals between the 30-8 Dubs and the 27-9 Rockets. The Warriors are on the second night of a Texas two-step, having beaten the Mavs on a Stephen Curry three at the buzzer last night.



3 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. I enjoyed this edition of “For Whom the Bell Towles”. That said, my fellow Book Wormettes were not as en-Amor-ed with the book as you were. I think we chose it because someone in our group knew the author.

    My favorite book from the past year was “The Forty Rules of Love” by Elif Shafak. She’s a Turkish author who tells the backstory of Rumi in Kingsolverian-style, weaving the past and the present into a tale that even explains the origin of the whirling dervish. Speaking of whirling dervishes, beware the bomb cyclone. I hear it’s a perfect day for snow angels and snowmen.

  2. I’m gobsmacked at your disdain of “Three Billboards”. I thought it was spectacular. Frances McDormand should win another Oscar, Sam Rockwell will be nominated (seems to be between he and Willem Dafoe) and Woody should get nominated too (probably won’t). The movie itself will be nominated, but I expect there to be too much backlash that it’s racist (Rockwell’s character) for it to win. (I certainly buy the argument that his character’s redemptive arc was a little too tidy, but this isn’t peak television, we only have two hours!)
    It felt like the very best of the Coen brothers to me (and I think they’d agree, as Joel apparently told his wife she HAD to take the part).
    I thought it was brilliantly written by Martin McDonagh (“In Bruges”, “Seven Psychopaths”, and one of the most acclaimed playwrites alive. Although if you argued that there is no such thing not named Miranda, I’d sadly concede the point.)
    I’m not going out on much of a limb when I say I think this script paid great homage to Flannery O’Connor (the billboard salesman is reading O’Conner’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” when McDormand’s character enters).
    The review on Roger Ebert’s site (glowing) cited O’Connor’s line, “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it” and said it could be the tag line for the movie. Correct. (Yes, I realize I just whiffed on a chance to have site and cited back-to-back.) Horrific things happen that completely destroy people. People are empathetic to a point…. but the world just keeps on spinning (please get over it so we can all be comfortable again).
    Two other lines from that particular O’Connor letter resonate throughout the movie. The first, (the letter was written in 1955), could more easily be ascribed to our current planet: “Right now the whole world seems to be going through a dark night of the soul.” Do you think?
    I’m willing to bet that McDonagh borrowed another line from that letter when forming Rockwell’s character: “I believe and the Church teaches that God is as present in the idiot boy as in the genius.” (O’Connor was a devout Catholic.)
    I don’t know, obviously art is subjective, but I looked at the billboards as sort of Twitteresque, and when you post something volatile on Twitter, you know damn well the trolls are going to come out (or so I’ve heard).
    The police brutality was over the top. But was it really? (And is it surprising at all that he set the story in Missouri?)
    I thought the blend of anger, remorse, revenge and humor was extraordinary. If nothing else, the scene where Woody coughs blood onto McDormand, causing her pissed off veneer to drop, if just for a second, was the most effecting moment in a movie all year.
    93% from the critics on Rotten Tomatoes and 87% from the audience. Awards abound.
    The Atlantic– “Three Billboards Is an Absolute Marvel”– “One of the best films of the year”
    Variety– ““Three Billboards” may play, during awards season, as a kindred spirit to “Manchester by the Sea,” yet that movie was a masterpiece of dramatic realism. This one is more like a quirky emotional puzzle put together by a trickster poet.”
    Maybe you were just movied out for the week? Worst of the year???

    • I loved “In Bruges” and I know I’m in the minority, but I really thought it was an overly contrived and utterly unbelievable story. About as heavy-handed as moviemaking gets. I’m happy to not have company in this opinion and I appreciate your note. Just felt that, not unlike Manchester-by-the-Sea, it was the way Hollywood views “real America” and it is very far from real America.

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