by John Walters

Starting Five

Crazy Rich Caucasians

At this weekend’s CPAC—Chronically Paranoid And Christian—they desecrated the legacy of John McCain, pushed the flag into the MeToo movement, warned that the Democrats are here to take away your newborns and hamburgers, and a dude who earns $5,000,000 annually proselytizing for gun rights fulminated about elitists while standing in a room where firearms were prohibited.

Also, President Trump spoke for two hours and 20 minutes, uninterrupted, a feat that has inspired us to coin a new term: filibluster.

2. Mulaney Mastery

If he’s not the best John to appear on SNL since Belushi, he’s certainly the best John who once lived in Chicago and has a seven-letter surname to appear on SNL since Belushi. John Mulaney, erstwhile SNL writer and rising comic, returned to guest-host for the second time and not coincidentally it was the strongest SNL by far of the season. What makes that assertion more bizarre is that the cold open and Weekend Update were relatively weak.

The skits, though, were vintage early SNL stuff (we’re talking late Seventies). And Mulaney made them sizzle. Our four favorites: 1) What’s That Name?, which took SNL’s overused game-show sketch concept but put a hilarious spin on it (Mulaney’s long-time partner in comedy from SNL, Bill Hader, played the host; this sketch had been cut in 2011 back when Mulaney was a writer), 2) To Have And Have Not, with Kate McKinnon as Lauren Bacall and Mulaney as Bogey, 3) The Wedding Dance, which cannot be appreciated enough for the choreography Mulaney had to get down in just a week’s time, and 4) Bodega Of Love, which was music theater-geek heaven that cribbed parody tunes from Willy Wonka, Little Shop of Horrors and Rent.

It’s funny. When Mulaney auditioned for SNL a decade or so ago, Lorne Michaels saw that he was smart and witty but they did not think of him as a performer. They slotted him as a writer. It would seem, as Mulaney lives in NYC and is married, that all would benefit if they begged him to return as a Tina Fey-like head writer/performer, no?

3. C’mon, Get Happy!

Speaking at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston (the Davos for sneaker heads) this weekend, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said, “A lot of players are unhappy.”

He’s right, of course. Anthony Davis? Not happy. LeBron James? Not happy. Kyrie Irving? Not happy and for the second time in as many years pundits are saying how it’s right for the perennial All-Star and his current team to divorce.

The average—AVERAGE—NBA player salary is more than $7 million per year. The average height of an NBA player is, we’re guessing here, 6’5″ to 6’6″. NBA players don’t have as long a season as MLB players and are not subject to the brutal and potentially catastrophic collisions that NFL players are. Moreover, their work uniform is basically what you and I had to remember to bring to school for 4th-grade gym class.

“A lot of players are unhappy.”

There’s a lot going on here, and Silver put part of the blame on anxiety caused by social media (pro tip: that’s not going away any time soon, guys). The lesson, which we learned long ago, is easy, and it’s about grass not being greener elsewhere. The happiest people are those who, regardless of money or height or teammates, those who wake up and decide that they’re going to make the place they’re at the best place it can be.

And if you can lure Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins, that ain’t bad, either.

4. Here’s The Beef

That’s former Ole Miss wideout D.K. Metcalf, whose 1.63% body fat on a 6’3″, 228-pound frame had NFL scouts and pundits agog in Indianapolis this weekend (never mind that Notre Dame wideout Miles Boykin is essentially the same size, just an inch taller, and comparatively posted the same numbers as Metcalf in all the drills—better in some, slightly worse in others). Anyway, Metcalf probably weight-roomed himself into a first-round pick, if not first-half of first round.

Our deal: For the second consecutive year, the best player in the NFL draft has a first name that begins with Q. Last year it was Quenton Nelson, whom the Colts took at No. 6 and who started immediately and made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Barring injury, Nelson is a sure-fire Hall of Famer.

Quinnen is your top pick. Or should be.

This year it’s Alabama interior defensive lineman Quinnen Williams, who had the fastest 40 time for a 300-pounder in 13 seasons. And he’s a beast on the field. Word out of Indy is that new Cardinal head coach Kliff Kingsbury is going to draft Kyler Murray (all 5’10” of him) with the No. 1 overall pick, and we like the Heisman winner, but what a colossal mistake that would be. You’ve got a shot at what may be an even better version of Aaron Donald and a second-year quarterback who was taken in the top ten last year. The Cardinals are going to screw this up, aren’t they?

5. Deadly In Alabama

Tornadoes sweep across Alabama, killing 23 in one county, Lee, on Sunday. It’s the deadliest tornado day in the U.S. in five years.

6 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. Funniest thing I’ve read all YEAR (ok, the year is only 2 months old, but still) : that NBA PLAYERS are “unhappy”. LOL! What about the viewers’ unhappiness? I HAVE A LIST! I am EXTREMELY UNHAPPY that the NBA allowed Durant to join the team that had JUST set the new season-wins record & that oh, had won the championship the year before & was in the Finals again that season & that already employed the current & back-back MVP of the league. I’m unhappy that LBJ betrayed his own words & joined a team that would do NOTHING BUT HURT HIS “LEGACY” (plus, I’m sick to death of that blasted word!). Tell me, WHY would the GOAT (or GOAT#2) join a team that ALREADY has a looooong history of championships & HOFers? You’d just be ONE MORE in a long line & if you DON’T somehow get their greedy/obnoxious fans another championship, you will be trashed for the rest of your career. This is what’s called not just a risky but a BAD investment!

    And speaking of MONEY, I’m LIVID at the salaries of not just NBA players but those in the other “big 3” American pro sports (& international soccer) too. It’s hard to believe but back in the 70s & 80s I argued that pro-athletes were NOT paid enough! And I’m not blaming the players, the entire sports business has gone insane – the greedy owners, the MULTIMILLION DOLLAR g’damn arenas & stadiums that barely last 3 decades before being declared “old” & “must be replaced” (at TAXPAYERS’ EXPENSE!) , the ticket prices, the parking prices, & the INSANE costs of TV rights which is largely responsible for cable bills quintupling in less than 21 years. If I was Empress of the Sports Universe (you have your fantasies, I have mine…) I’d cut the cost/prices/salaries of everything in those sports by HALF tomorrow! Of course, this insane rise in expense & limiting WHO can actually watch in person (don’t even get me started on the arena/stadium “BOXES”) is reflective of the growing inequality of our society at large & it will KILL THE SPORTS if left to continue unabated. If the average person can not watch in person OR even on TV, they will eventually stop buying all their merchandise crap & most of all, caring about the sports. The sports will also stop inspiring the young as they won’t be able to watch. Pretty soon, your base of available athletes will plummet in quality & quantity. All brought on by the “more, more, more” mentality. Hey jdubs, you can’t stand the “obese”, I’m surprised you’re not angry at the GLUTTONY of this “business” & the people in it.

    • Susie B’s coming in hot!

      Now, Susie B., I have not animosity toward the obese. I just don’t want to subsidize an unhealthy lifestyle. Go ahead and weight whatever you like.

      As for your sports pique, I rarely (like, once a year, most) pay to attend a sporting event. And that’s at a time when I almost never cover anything any more, either. I’m completely turned off by the prices. The last time I paid for a Yankees ticket it was to see Clayton Kershaw pitch a weekday matinee game and I think my ticket cost $22.

      Of course, big-time sports don’t care that much because TV is where the real money’s at. And they’ve flirted with making it pay-per-view but I think deep down, at least now, they realize that could be the overreach that turns the (Roll) Tide. My feeling is that we’re near peak-sports bubble, which is not to say Americans are all of a sudden going to start reading books or taking music lessons or do anything to actually improve themselves. Only that I don’t think viewership will grow DOMESTICALLY. The NFL and NBA are now hunting overseas.

  2. “The happiest people are those who, regardless of money or height or teammates, those who wake up and decide that they’re going to make the place they’re at the best place it can be.”

    This is why we come back everyday, JW. Thanks for writing this today.

    In a world that can be brutally cold to those less fortunate, I’m thankful that I was born into a loving family that has supported me no matter what I’ve done. I’m thankful that I have a house over my head tonight and a place to call my own. Many aren’t afforded those luxuries. I think we all can remind ourselves that (thumbs pointed back at me) more often.

    • Oh Jacob, why is it that when *I* want to “kumbaya”, you don’t & vice versa? Sigh. Anyhoo, last night I read something that stated an income of just $4000/year (yes, 4 THOUSAND, not 40!) puts one among the wealthiest of the world’s population. You read that & go “WHOA! I’m rich & a greedy/oblivious “ugly American” not to be ever so grateful”, yadda yadda. And of course, this is also why so many in the world hate us (or just want what we have). And Americans SHOULD feel grateful that we live in this place at this time. However, just 50 years ago, one didn’t go BANKRUPT when dealing with a medical issue that was COVERERD BY INSURANCE. One didn’t put themselves so deep into the debt hole ($100k-$300k) trying to attain a college education that some will NEVER be extricated from. In this country at this time, MONEY can literally make the difference whether you live or you die. JUST like a “3rd world” country. Ironic, no?

      Back in the 70s I saw this disaster flick (they were all the rage back then – take a disaster, throw in some current stars & some has-been stars & stir) called ‘The Towering Inferno”. Oh yeah, cheesy. But it made a HUGE impact on me at the time because I couldn’t stop thinking how we ALL need to be so grateful every minute of every day that we aren’t faced with certain tragic painful death & who cares who has the fanciest clothes/car/house, etc, etc when the fire has eaten thru the stairwell & is coming for YOU, it doesn’t care if you have a million bucks in the bank. The thing I discovered is that it’s largely unfeasible to be on “high alert/lucky to be alive/ain’t life wonderful!” 24/7. In fact, I’d say it’s humanly impossible unless the person is sitting on the pointy top of Maslow’s pyramid &/or generously uses pharmaceuticals. 😉

      • Jacob, in case you didn’t know, “The Towering Inferno” was a film in which O.J. Simpson was the hero. What a time to be alive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *