by John Walters

Starting Five

A Picture of Dorian: Gray Skies

Dorian is cutting a swath through the Caribbean and is set to make landfall in Florida on Monday as a Category 4 storm. It’s at times such as this that I feel compelled to point out that the highest point in Florida is Britton Hill in the state’s panhandle, and that is only 345 feet above sea level. That’s less than the elevation of a football field, end zones included, if it was stacked up vertically.

115 yards. That’s the highest point in the nation’s third-most populous state as climate change bears down on the planet this century. Should be fun. Miami Subs will one day be known as Miami Sub-marine.

Aquino Es Aqui, No?*

*The judges will haltingly accept “Aristides Development”

On August 1st the Aristides Aquino, a 6’4″, 220-pounder whose prodigious home runs had already earned him the nickname “The Punisher” in AAA ball, was sent up the river. The Ohio River.

Aquino was not heading to jail, but from the AAA Louisville Bats to the Cincinnati Reds. Just 30 days later, the Louisville Slugger has set a Major League record for home runs in one month by a rookie, with 14 (What took you so long, Cincy?).

It’s been a record-breaking summer for heat and a record-breaking month for homers. The Yankees have hit 70 home runs this month with two games remaining, and that breaks the team record for one month by a margin of 12. And then there’s Aquino, the Dominican Republic native who now has the N.L. rookie record for a month. Also, Aquino hit 13 home runs in his first 100 career plate appearances, which is the most of any player in the history of the game.

That’s So Raven

The Baltimore Ravens won last night. Again. That’s 17 consecutive wins for the purple-and-black dating back to the final game of the 2015 season. Exhibition season, that is.

Yes, the Ravens have won 17 consecutive preseason games, which must be recognized in the Dubious Achievements Hall of Fame (memo to Esquire: bring back the Dubious Achievement Awards; it was the best thing ever).

As far as longest-ever NFL win streaks, the Patriots won 21 in a row (2003-2004), the Packers 19 (2010-2011) and seven clubs have won 18 in a row. All regular season. Since this current Ravens preseason W streak began with the last game of the 2015 exhibition season, the Ravens have appeared in one playoff game, which they lost.

Death Of An Iconic Figure

You recognize the figure, or at least the suit and hat, but not the name. The man on the left is James Leavelle, a former Dallas detective who was leading Lee Harvey Oswald out of City Hall and to the county jail when Jack Ruby fatefully, and fatally, intervened.

Leavelle, nearly 56 years since standing inches away from the path of the bullet that killed Oswald, died yesterday at the age of 99. In that famous image, he is handcuffed to Oswald for, ironically, safekeeping.

A native Texan, Leavelle was present at two of the most infamous moments the American 20th century. He was there for the JFK assassination, initially interviewing Oswald about the murder of Officer J.D. Tippit until it was realized Oswald was the prime suspect in a much bigger murder case. He was also aboard the U.S.S. Whitney, a destroyer tender, about two miles from Pearl Harbor during the attack on December 7, 1941.

Cary Grant-Style

Humphrey Bogart. Spencer Tracy. John Wayne. Clark Gable. Jimmy Stewart. Okay, George Clooney or even Brad Pitt. There are spectacular actors (Henry Fonda, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson) and then there are MOVIE STARS, and I’m not sure anyone I’ve yet mentioned in this paragraph better fit that term, in all that it meant, than Cary Grant.

Two nights ago I was watching a Grant film I’d never before seen, The Bishop’s Wife (1947), in which he plays angel named Dudley who’s come down to restore luster to a sagging marriage. Grant’s Dudley is possessed of an easy charm, self-assured without being arrogant or obnoxious. He is never rude, never foul-mouthed or ill-tempered. There is a grace to him, a joy in enjoying the moment and never truly letting circumstances get the better of his good nature.

Sure, but he’s playing an angel. Then I realized that pretty much every one of his characters is angelic. In films of his that I’ve seen—this one, The Philadelphia Story, To Catch A Thief, North By Northwest, Holiday, His Girl Friday, Bringing Up Baby, and perhaps my favorite, An Affair To Remember—he’s always the same charmed man, usually, okay living a charmed life—and always better than his circumstances.

And this isn’t about his personal life. And maybe it’s a little pie-in-the-sky. But wouldn’t it be great if more of us, particularly more of us males, tried every day to be a little more like a Cary Grant character? A little good humor. Style. Manners. Who knows, maybe the Saville Row suits will just follow.

2 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. LOVE Cary Grant. He was the definition of “debonair”. Plus, funny! How many actors can so seamlessly move from physical comedy to drama to ‘verbal comedy’ to romance to action & back again? He could do it ALL. I’ve not seen most of his very early movies (1932-35) so I don’t know if he was able to do this throughout his career or something he learned from the early days. Plus, I think his youth as an acrobat lent his movement during his adult years a certain self-assured ‘rhythm’ & grace which is entrancing to watch.

    Since you’ve not experienced having a personal house built (I don’t think), you may not get as big a kick out of Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House as those of us that have, but I’m tellin’ ya, it’s both an ‘educational warning’ & a fall-down funny comedy. In fact, we homebuyer/builders laugh till we cry. I 1st saw it (as a teen I think) long before I had my current house built & thought it was funny THEN, but after? LOL, I can barely watch now without guffawing all the way thru it.

    I am glad to see my ‘missing in action’ comment was tracked down yesterday. I must say I do NOT like this new ‘system’ or whatever it is. Not your fault, I know, just expressing an opinion.

    Hey, did you like what I called utility stocks yesterday? The “storm windows” of stock investing? I’d never read or heard that before, it’s allll mine & it tickles me as I’ve FINALLY described something in a way that nails it, like YOU do ALL the time! I have to admit, when I mentioned yesterday why I think you could have kept TERP, the encroaching hurricane was in the back of my mind & voila! 🙂

    And not to be too greedy, but will you be writing up your pre-season CFB thoughts soon? I’m not sure what teams I’ll be watching let alone rooting for this year & was hoping you could shed some light.

    Have a happy & SAFE holiday to all at MH.

    Oh, guess what! Guess who shares a ‘birthday’ with Medium Happy? FLYBABE! When MH turned 7, Caeleb Dressel turned 23. I’m expecting “big things” from both next year. 🙂

  2. That Cary Grant sidewalk photo is something to behold! It’s even ‘bespoke’ as the Instagram crowd would say. I’ve been blessed to know and love at least three earth angels so far on my journey in life. They are the ones (with barely-perceptible wings) that can pull you out of a tailspin at a moment’s notice. My earth angels remain tethered to terra firma, but they also possess an invisible thread that ties them to more ethereal heights.

    Have a charmed Labor Day weekend!

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