by John Walters

Starting Five


It’s a slow newsday, and we’re feeling even slower, so here’s an incredible photo of a climber in Tasmania taken by Krystle Wright for National Geographic.

Wright seems somewhat of an adventurer herself

How’d she do it? Easy, as this paragraph from the story explains:

(Wright) drove to the [Tasman] peninsula, hiked two hours on a trail, rappelled a 330-foot cliff, tied a rope around her waist, jumped into the ocean, swam across the channel, and climbed up the other side. Clipping herself into a harness, she hung from a tightrope as Smith-​Gobat scrambled up the Totem Pole. At the “blue hour”—around 5:30 p.m.—Wright radioed the drone operator. When a flash from the drone overhead illuminated the rock, she pressed the shutter.

Wasn’t It Really 11 Angry Men?

Last night for the first time we watched the 1957 classic, 12 Angry Men, starring Henry Fonda (left) and Lee J. Cobb (knife). Outstanding jury room drama even if the title is somewhat of a misnomer. Fonda’s character never loses his sh*t, though Cobb’s does and often.

If you’ve never seen, the film also stars a pair of young Jacks, Klugman and Warden, as well as the actor whom I’m convinced was the template for Don Draper, Robert Webber.

Webber or Draper?

A couple other thoughts: 1) Watching this film in the age of Trump, it’s pretty transparent as to which jurors would be wearing MAGA hats outside court. It’s crazy to consider this film was made more than 60 years ago and that the stereotypes translate so readily to 2019. 2) By the characters he portrayed, Fonda was Hollywood’s indomitable original Social Justice Warrior: here, as Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath and then, if you’re not convinced, as our future 16th president in The Young Mr. Lincoln. 3) Cobb was something of a one-note character actor, but only because he was so convincing as the corrupted bully: here, as the labor boss in On The Waterfront and as the gangster produce distributor in Thieves’ Highway.

Cobb. Is it just me or do you see a middle-aged Jason Segel?

One more note on Cobb: He was the first actor to play Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Death Of A Salesman that your English teacher assigned in high school but you only maybe read.

Manitoba Manhunt (Trail Grows Cold)

So now there’s a report of a possible sighting of the (allegedly) murderous duo in eastern Ontario, which is a long, long way from northwest British Columbia or northern Manitoba. Are they doing a Thelma & Louise in reverse and is the RCMP completely back at square one?

No credit card usage. No mobile phone use. Two weeks on the run for a pair of ex-Walmart employees. Beavis and Butthead are pummeling the Canadian Mounties. How?

Sand Castle*

*The judges will also accept, “Here’s Mud In Your Eye!”

In Djenne, Mali, in the Sahara Desert, you will find the largest mud brick structure on the planet. Each year the local residents work together to rebuild and refortify the Grand Mosque, which stands about 60 feet high.

I found this story on, which is so much better for your brain than

Job Opening In South Bend

Earlier today our good friend Pete Sampson tweeted out that Notre Dame’s football sports information director, Michael Bertsch, was exiting South Bend for a similar gig with the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s difficult to fault Bertschy, a good-natured and highly competent individual, for going pro. Bertschy’s predecessor at Notre Dame, Brian Hardin, is now the athletic director at Drake University in Iowa.

We mention all of this because 40 years ago—yes, 40!—Tim Bourret was a senior at Notre Dame working in the sports information office under the school’s legendary man who staffed that job for decades, Roger Valdiserri. A job was opening up in the office but Roger told Tim that he was going to hire a young man named John Heisler who was a year or two ahead of him in experience. Roger helped Tim get an interview at Clemson.

It all worked out well for everyone involved. Heisler—”Heiss”—had a four-decade career at Notre Dame that only ended last winter. He was the consummate professional who only allowed you to see his wry sense of humor if you got to know him well. Bourret thrived at Clemson, bought a nice home on a golf course, also was their hoops broadcaster, and only retired a year ago. In our business both men are universally respected and very well-liked.

So that’s the thing. Maybe you hire someone younger, but it wouldn’t be the worst idea if Notre Dame offered Bourret or Heisler a senior consultant gig now that Bertsch is making his exodus. Then again, they both now live in warmer climes (Heisler is at UCF) and I doubt they’d give up the lives they’ve worked long and hard to earn.

2 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. In your continuing classic movie education, if you haven’t seen the following yet, put them on your list. They’re not necessarily the best movies of all time, but essential viewing (of an era & of movie star “royalty”) :

    Call Northside 777
    Mortal Storm
    The Man Who Came to Dinner
    Now, Voyager
    Bringing Up Baby
    Arsenic & Old Lace (Cary Grant is a scream)

    By the way, is there a personal fave movie that you stop & watch whenever you happen to be clicking around the TV dial? Probably didn’t win any major awards but you love it? EXCLUDING Shawshank, any of the Godfathers, & Field of Dreams (puhleeze, it’s as if men of a certain age have only ever seen 4 freakin films!).

    I have a few but of movies from the last 30 years, it’s Last of The Mohicans, starring Daniel Day Lewis & Madeleine Stowe. LOVE this movie! Every time I happen to see it, no matter where how far along, I click & watch. And not just because DDL is, er, hot in this movie for the 1st & last time (I think). I love the film’s location (Blue Ridge mountains of VA standing in for the Adirondacks), the musical score, the chemistry between DDL & Stowe, some great dialogue, & most of all the combo of history, action & romance! 🙂 So, what’s yours?

    • Thank you, Susie B., and I’ll be on the lookout. I’ve seen Bringing Up Baby and Now, Voyager but not the rest.

      You forgot Saving Private Ryan, Pulp Fiction and Almost Famous among the guy movies we’ve all seen (and love). I’ll add Casablanca (cliche but true), The Thin Man, An Affair To Remember, The Bridge On The River Kwai as well as No Country For Old Men. Re-watched Inglorious Basterds again the other night which is a little nutty in parts but the opening interrogation scene and the German pub scene are simply unbeatable.

      There’s really too many others to name, but to name a few: The Breakfast Club, Broadcast News, Young Frankenstein (“Woof!”). I’m sure an hour or so from now I’ll remember one I should have earlier.

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