by John Walters
Tweet Me Right
I mean, that’s just one of the loveliest sports photos ever taken. The question is, Is it closer to Seurat or Monet?
Black Hole, Son!
Is this a black hole located 53 million light years from Earth, or is it what you see when you close your eyes and rub them really hard? Both! Whoa. Macro-universe meets micro-universe.
This is Katie Bouman, who took the iconic photo and will never have to buy her own beer at a Comic-con convention again.
Last weekend Jennifer Kupcho (above) won the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur tournament at the famed Georgia golf course. Kupcho, a senior at Wake Forest and the reigning NCAA individual champion, shot a minus-10 for the four-round tournament, the first two rounds of which were played on another course in the same town.
This was the first competitive women’s tournament ever played at Augusta (at least the final two rounds, for the 30
babes women who made the cut), a haven of male chauvinism that only begrudgingly began admitting female members seven years ago.
Kupcho’s landmark achievement promoted Yahoo! Sports Dan Wetzel to wonder, “Should Augusta National Hold A Women’s Masters?” But of course it should. I mean, now that they’ve gone through the trouble of installing lady’s tees, might as well, right?
Augusta And Everything After, or “How The Facts Can Get In The Way Of A Sympathetic Narrative”
Read this story by New Jersey Advance Media’s Steve Politi when you get a chance. Politi, a highly regarded columnist (I don’t personally know him), details the “harrowing tale” of Clayton Baker, a dude who was taken on an excursion to The Masters in 2012, attempted to steal some sand from the 10th hole, and was arrested.
I guess my first question is, Why do we need to read about a story that’s seven years old? The second, after reading about how Baker’s “reputation was so ravaged” was, I’ve never heard of him nor have 90% of your readers, I imagine, so why would he consent to be interviewed for this story if he was so worried about his reputation?
As I read the story, two thoughts became clear: 1) Sure, Augusta’s leadership and policies are draconian and out of touch with the modern world, but is there anyone who follows golf who wasn’t already aware of that? and 2) Here’s another well-heeled white guy who’s butt-hurt that the rules actually apply to him, too.
The facts of the tale are interesting, even if seven years is quite a long time to wait before sharing a rather insignificant story. More illuminating to us, though, is the sympathetic slant Politi takes. I don’t feel sorry for Baker one bit. He got what he deserved. And the only reason he “lost $20,000” is because those are the stakes he was already playing with. If you (or your friend) can afford to put up a $4,500 security deposit on a badge just to attend a golf tournament, well, WHITE PEOPLE PROBLEMS.
But then no one documents or agonizes over WPP quite like sportswriters, who often share with us their own harrowing experiences of delayed flights, rental car or hotel room exigencies, or even not getting an ideal seat at a sporting event, all of the above which they are not even paying for. Oh, the travails!
And finally, Clayton, maybe you should be embarrassed about being so bad at vandalism/skulduggery. It’s like that scene from In Bruges where Ralph Fiennes informs the thief that if he let a victim disarm him and shoot his eye out with a blank using the thief’s own gun, you get what you deserve for being just that incompetent. Great scene, by the way.
(Go to the 2-minute mark)
Harmony And Discord
Last night we stumbled upon this YouTube video detailing the strange four-part saga of David Letterman and bizarre auteur Harmony Korine, the precocious but odd and troubled mind behind Kids, Gummo and Spring Breakers.
Korine may be a near-genius, but he’s also something of a punk. You can tell he’s just having a go at Letterman with this Emo Phillips act through the first two interviews, but Dave is on to him. And quick. By the third interview you can see that he’s got to be strung out and Dave, short of calling him out, says, “I’m going to say something I’ve never said to a guest in 17 years of hosting this show: As soon as this is over go back to the hotel and take a hot shower.”
Korine’s fourth appearance never quite happened, and when Korine’s friend James Franco appears on Late Show to promote Spring Breakers, the two of them finally hash out why Korine was banned from the show for life. The beauty of this to us is that Dave didn’t broach the topic. Franco sort of pushed the issue and shared that Korine is a good friend. At last Dave, prompted to confirm Franco’s version of the story, reveals the truth. If you don’t know the tale, I won’t ruin it for you. But it’s worth waiting for.
Is Bitcoin Back?
Everyone’s favorite 17th century tulip (or Baker Mayfield) appears to be making a comeback. On February 6th the price of Bitcoin was $3,366 and a share of Greyscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC), the easiest way to purchase Bitcoin as a stock (we own this, since mid-February) was $3.66.
Today? Bitcoin is $5,306, a 58% leap in just a little more than two months, while GBTC closed at $7.32, which is EXACTLY a 100% leap in the same period. Prit-tee, prit-tee good.
By comparison, in the second half of 2017, when Bitcoin mania saw its price soar from $1,055 on January 4 to $16,776 on December 13, ownerhip of this cryptocurrency offered the prospect of life-changing wealth. Particularly if you had been in before 2017 and were living in your parents’ basement.
The traditionalists were mocking Bitcoin by the beginning of 2018 and denouncing Bitcoin as a classic bubble if not an outright fraud. So the choice is yours: As Bitcoin appears to be significantly climbing for the first time since its meteoric rise of 2017, do you jump in? Or do you watch from the sidelines with a scolding glare?
Throw out the fundamentals and the Buffet-like analysis here. It’s a cult stock. It’s black or red at the roulette table. It’s a Journey lyric: Some’ll win/some’ll lose/some are born to sing the blues…
Run And Run
Go on, tell Mary/Go on, tell Jane/Go on, tell Superman/Tell Lois Lane. Love The Psychedelic Furs, the band who epitomize the most exciting and exotic aspects of New Wave for a generation of us who were weaned on it in high school. Richard Butler’s haunting voice hints of rules that we might want to break as long as we don’t break curfew.
Bassist Tim Butler, Richard’s brother, explains the band’s origin: ” “I was about 17 years old and my brother Richard and I were sitting around discussing music one night, and he asked me if I wanted to form a band. I told him I couldn’t play anything. He said ‘what do you want to play?’ I told him, ‘bass,’ to which he replied ‘then, buy a bass and we’ll form a band.’ Needless to say I did, we did, and here I am.”
All epic journeys begin with a first step.
The band never had a Top 25 hit, but John Hughes and more than a few trench coat-clad teens (we even had an invasion of them in my Phoenix high school, where the climate did not make such garments necessary) knew what was up.
3:10 To Yuma
8 p.m. TCM
Van Heflin is the undisputed king of the weary rancher who may be in over his head with the gunslingers of the wild, wild west but is not about to sacrifice his integrity. His character in this 1957 film and in the classic Shane is essentially the same dude: a homesteader trying to simply raise his family and survive who gets caught up in the swirling events of outlaws and duels in the sun. He’s got to make a choice between keeping his word or taking the easy way out, but really there’s no choice: there’s never a good reason to travel to Yuma (trust us on this one).