by John Walters

Starting Five

Serving Notice

With a career-defining triumph at Wimbledon over Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic serves notice that when it’s all over, he very well may retire with the most Grand Slam championships. Djokovic, 32, became the first man since 1948 at Wimbledon to overcome a championship point—the greatest men’s champion of all time, thus far, Federer, had two against him—and recover to win it all at the All England.

The Serbian server wins his 16th Grand Slam in the longest Wimbledon final ever: 7-6, 1-6, 7-6, 4-6, 13-12 (7-3), a match that took 4 hours and 57 minutes. Federer, 37, has 20; Nadal, 33, has 18. All three men have at least one Grand Slam titles in all four of the Grand Slam events. This is tennis’ holy trinity.

Woody’s Wimbledon Weekend

Worth noting: Our little restaurant had an overwhelming majority of Federer fans, as we guess most did in the U.S.A. It’s not that folks don’t like Novak, but that Federer is so good and so gracious. He was humorous and respectful in defeat, and he’ll always be NUMBER ONE in the hearts of most tennis fans, both casual and intense.

Monaco Mile Miracle

It had been 23 years since someone had broken the women’s mile record so, yeah, Sifan Hassan‘s 4:12.33 in Monaco on Friday night is kind of a big deal. Hassan, of the Netherlands and coached by Alberto Salazar (uh oh!), ran a 2:08 first half, which means she did a negative split, running a 2:04 over the last two laps. More impressively, there was nobody giving her any type of challenge on the last lap. No one to push her.

Salazar has been openly accused by some big names in track (Kara Goucher, Dathan Ritzenhein) of blood doping his runners. It’s a noteworthy record; we just may never know, as with so many track feats of the past 40 years, whether or not it’s legit.

Angels In The Outfield—And Infield

Friday evening’s Mariners-Angels game, the first one in Anaheim since the death of Angel pitcher Tyler Skaggs, may compel you to rethink your religious convictions. Or lack thereof.

Yes, the Angels, each and every last one of them wearing a Skaggs 45 jersey, scored 7 runs in the first inning and 13 runs in the game. Skaggs’ birthday was July 13, or 7/13. Yes, two Angel pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter in the 13-0 win. And for us, most eerie of all, the last time a combined no-hitter had been thrown in the big leagues in the state of California was July 13, 1991: the very date Skaggs was born, in California.

And of course, what’s the name of this team? The Angels. I can see your halo (halo, halo)/I can see your halo (halo, halo)/ I can see your halo (halo, halo)/Oooh ooh ooh.

Prognosis Negative!

One of the hidden treasures of being a rabid Turner Classic Movies fan is being exposed to a pop culture nugget you never knew existed. On Friday night we were watching Dark Victory, from 1939, because 1) we’re not cool, 2) we’d never seen it and 3) it stars both Bette Davis and Humphrey Bogart, both of whom are without argument Top 3 all-time movie stars in their respective genders (note: there’s a kiss between them late in the film that is totally awkward, though the plot kind of calls for it to be…there are few Hollywood kisses, though, that have ever had that kind of star power behind them…Gable and Leigh; Tracy and Hepburn; Grant and Kelly come to mind).

Anyway, we digress. The key turning point in the film happens when Davis, playing a young New York socialite who has had brain surgery and believes she is fully healed, discovers her medical file (she has fallen in love with her surgeon and they are planning to move to Vermont, hence his office is askew). As you’ll see from the clip above, two words are heavily emphasized in this scene: “Prognosis Negative.”

As any Seinfeld fan knows, Prognosis Negative was one of the many made-up films that the gang went to see during the course of the series (e.g. Rochelle, Rochelle; The Muted Heart; and of course, Death Blow). We have no idea if Larry David is enough of an old movies fan to have seen Dark Victory, but you have to wonder. Watching this scene from the vantage point of being a Seinfeld fanatic who only knew of the term from the sitcom, I felt almost as if I were being punked. Your thoughts?

“Go Back!”

Yes, it’s getting tiresome chronicling the president’s always boorish and often outright racist behavior. And yes, you have to wonder just how much of that tweet was motivated by a desire to get “Jeffrey Epstein” out of the top of most news scrolls. But here it was on Sunday morning:

Of course, three of the four Congresswomen to whom Trump is referring, all of whom are darker-skinned than the typical MAGA fan, were born in the United States. They are the 2019 version of “the Mexican judge.”

The irony, for us, is that Trump’s family is from Germany. There hasn’t been another country in the past 100 years that has been more “totally broken” than Germany. Why didn’t Fred Trump go back and “fix” Deutschland in the 1930s?

We will say this for President Trump, and any president in the recent past and going forward: The southern border is a no-win issue. As ugly as Trump’s tactics have been—the cages and facilities and familial separations are part of the strategy to deter border crossings—it’s just as distasteful to listen to Democrats bemoan this “constitutional crisis” and that constitutional crisis and this law and that law that the GOP no longer obeys, but when it comes to illegal immigration all of a sudden they get a virulent case of the feels.

You can have empathy and compassion for anyone wanting to come to America to have a better life. You can, at the same time, respect the laws and have even more empathy (at least I do) for those who are attempting to do so legally. And I write this as someone who every single day works with people of Latin descent who have come to this country using each of those avenues. These are my friends. I don’t blame a single one of them for doing what they have done. But I also recognize that it’s not legal and we’re supposedly a nation of laws.

So which way do you want to have it, Dems?

Last thing: What a day yesterday might have been if ICE decided to raid those businesses or those homes (many in the Hamptons, Westchester and Fairfield Counties) where illegal immigrants are paid off the books and apprehended not the migrants but their employers who are knowingly fertilizing this situation. Isn’t it always a better nab to catch the drug dealer than the casual pothead? So how come you don’t go after the people paying the undocumented workers off the books? If your aim is really to stem the tide of illegal immigration, as opposed to turning brown people into an easy mark for undereducated, lower-middle class white folk for political gain, then cut off the source of their income….by putting rich white people in jail for employing them.

Of course that’ll never happen. Because it’s not really about that. It’s about finding someone else to blame.

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