IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Texas Brain Slaw Massacre

In Lubbock, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announces—to cheers—that Texas will 100% allow all businesses to reopen next Wednesday and that masks are no longer required anywhere. If the bitter cold, massive power outages and $17,000 energy bills weren’t enough for Texans, now Abbott is quadrupling down.

Why? Two reasons. First, short-term gratification is a hallmark of the ignorant, and ignorance is a hallmark of being a Trump era Republican. Second, when it all goes south (Padre Island) and Texas begins to spike up in coronavirus cases and deaths, they’ll just use that data to say that Joe Biden is not an effective president.

Mississippi is following Texas’ lead and doing the same, by the way.

This young nurse, Brittany Smart, seems genuine and intelligent, etc. She’s also prettier than anyone on Grey’s Anatomy or New Amsterdam or The Good Doctor. One part of me wonders if a Cuomo, of all people, should be seeking out pulchritudinous young women for an appearance when there are thousands of people doing the same job. The other part of me thinks, Well, that’s television.

Does The Ref Realize This Game Is On TNT?

In Los Angeles, the Phoenix Suns defeat the Lakers in Staples for the first time since 2017 (the Suns now have the NBA’s 2nd-best record, behind only Utah). But midway through the third quarter, a referee gives Suns star Devin Booker a pair of technicals in a matter of seconds. The latter, simply for the way Booker bounced the ball back to him. Insane. And petulant.

The Lakers were without Kyle Kuzma and Anthony Davis. But the Suns played most of the fourth quarter without their three marquee stars: Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton. The zebra’ing in this game left a lot to be desired.

On TNT’s postgame show, Dwyane Wade asked a basketball question: How are we now defending the pick-and-roll. Analyst Candace Parker could have given a doctoral thesis on this topic while Shaq was still struggling to get into his blazer.

Wreck On The Highway

In Imperial, Calif., east of San Diego and just north of the Mexico border, 13 people die when a gravel truck T-bones an SUV carrying 27 (!) passengers.

I’ve got assumptions.*

*Early reports: Officials are investigating a human smuggling operation. Were Trump still prez, he’d tap the gravel truck driver for a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Curious Josh

Gee, it’s not often you hear Republican pols use big words such as “metadata” and “geolocator.” Makes you wonder why they are being so specific about minutiae of an investigation. Don’t most R’s simply say stuff like “they believed the election was stolen” and “the president didn’t incite this” or even “It was AntiFa in disguise.” Hmm. Interesting.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

(Yeah, this isn’t creepy at all)

Cuomo-Erotic

(Cockney accent): ‘ello, Guvnor!

Show me a woman in the work force and I’ll show you someone who almost certainly has dealt with sexual harassment on the job. It’s rather interesting to me, though, that I’m as likely to find a woman my age with little sympathy for the women accusing New York governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment as I am to find those who want him to apologize and go away.

The feeling on the behalf of the former is, if I am not mansplaining it too much, I had to deal with it and now you put on your Big Girl blouse and find a tactful way to extract yourself from the situation.

My main problem with that line of thinking? He’s not Herb Tarlek and you’re not Bailey Quarters or Jennifer Marlowe. In other words, you’re not co-workers, veritable equals. He’s your BOSS and one of the most powerful men in America. You’re not on equal footing and if you in any way rebuff him or stand up to him you could be throwing your career away.

Dig, if Cuomo actually waited until he was alone in his office to ask his young female staffer if she’d ever been with an older man, that’s downright creepy and certainly a non-physical pass. Now, sure, a quick-witted lass might have said, “No, they’re so LETHARGIC and WRINKLY. Blech!” But that’s asking a lot of a millennial in a tight spot.

I’m not here to cancel everything. I just want more women and less Viagra in leadership roles.

Watt’s UP!

Superhero-armed J.J. Watt, who is currently no worse than the second-best defensive end in his family, signs with the Arizona Cardinals for two years and $31 million. Watt, who will turn 32 later this month, is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and a one-time Saturday Night Live host.

As a past-his-prime male J.W. who relocated to Arizona last March to bask in a few more moments of glory (and sunshine), I feel seen.

Welcome, J.J.

“I Am Not Throwing Away My Shot!”*

*The judges will not accept “Vaccine Waters”

Did you hear who got the vaccine? Secretly? Donald and Melania Trump. Back in January. Maybe this is why he was unable to walk down to the Capitol with the “Stop the Steal” mob he incited that day—he didn’t want to lose his place in line for his shot.

Funny how he never mentioned this.

In Harm’s Way

Watching Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious (1946; Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains…that’s two Casablanca alums paired with Hollywood’s ultimate leading man) last night and struck by a funny thought. People always say that Hitchcock had a fetish for blondes; perhaps, though, his greater fetish was for sending in women to do the truly dirty work.

In Notorious Bergman, much like Eva Marie-Saint in North By Northwest, is working as an American spy whose job it is, in part, to seduce and bed the object of U.S. surveillance. In Rear Window and Psycho, Grace Kelly and Vea Miles, respectively, literally enter the killers’ lair and put their lives in peril in a search for the truth (specifically, the body of a dead female).

(and Cary Grant ALWAYS gets the girl)

Sure, beautiful women meet gruesome deaths (Vertigo, Psycho) or near to it (Dial M For Murder, North By Northwest, The Birds) in Hitchcock films, and I’m sure I’m missing a few here, but it’s funny that rarely is the man ever asked to put himself in danger. Women are, for Hitchcock, mostly instruments to be used.

Press “Paws”

Lived with a cat for 18 years and never realized why he didn’t quite walk like a doggy. This explains it. And with all the dust in my apartment, it should have been easy to pick up on it simply by checking the footprints on the floor.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

The Vile And The Vials

Over the weekend the self-parody that is the Republican Party held its greatest mass gathering since the January 6 insurrection, CPAC. And let’s be clear, the people who attended CPAC have only one problem with the events of January 6: that it wasn’t successful. One gets the feeling that if the mongers of power had any idea how close the rabble came to overthrowing democracy with such a scattershot plan, they might have aided and abetted more beforehand.

And again, as a Notre Dame alum please let me reiterate how ashamed I am to share an alma mater with Matt Schlapp. Avowed white-haired white supremacist.

At CPAC you had a rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner that was more disrespectful than kneeling and you had Ted Cruz mocking his own trip to Cancun (as if he is in on the joke when Texans died due to governmental negligence) and you had Donald Trump repeating The Big Lie.

Meanwhile, now it’s Monday and we have the best news on the vaccines that we’ve had since the pandemic began, in terms of J&J’s vaccine being ready to go and the possibility that everyone who wants to be inoculated will be by early summer.

It’s Monday, March 1st. Or what was February 29 a year ago. When the first known U.S. casualty of the pandemic died. We’re at more than half a million deaths later. In one year. It’s funny (funny strange, Joe Pesci) that Donald Trump spoke at CPAC on the one-year anniversary of his infamous declaration that “the coronavirus will disappear, it’ll be like a miracle.”

An example of CPAC hypocrisy? Here’s right wing media pundit Pete Hegseth, talking about how “real Americans” (read: white ones) don’t get caught up in “esoteric” Ivy League stuff. You know what kind of people use the term esoteric? Ivy League types. Which Hegseth is: he has degrees from both Princeton and Harvard.

Smart guy. Smart enough to know how to manipulate an audience of racist buffoons. Hegseth, by the way, is on his third marriage (just like 46!) after an affair with a producer on his show led to a pregnancy and a baby (See! He DOES have family values; he didn’t force her to have an abortion).

Rest In Peace, Big Lou

Nose tackle Louis Nix was found dead over the weekend. Last December Nix had been shot during an attempted robbery and had survived. Not sure what transpired between then and the past week, when he went missing. The gregarious, always smiling big man played three seasons in the NFL. He was 29.

Nix made an impact on everyone he met. His smile lit up every room.

Breaking Up*

*The judges will not accept “High On Crack”

This weekend a piece of the Brunt Ice Shelf 20 times the size of Manhattan broke off from Antarctica. Irreconcilable differences or yet another harbinger of global warming? How many harbingers do we need, by the way?

Ted Talk

Not having Amazon Prime, I have yet to see Ted Lasso, but between Jason Sudeikis and all the solid buzz I ventured onto YouTube to see what I could see. Having found these two clips, I now see what all the hullaballoo is about. That’s “To Build A Home,” a 2007 song by The Cinematic Orchestra, that this YouTuber (Katie) used to for her wonderful edit of Season 1.* **

*Also, I’m told that F-bomb is the only time Ted swears in the entire first season, which gives it far more impact.

**I promise, If you watch the above clip once, you’ll watch it at least twice. You’ve been warned.

Can’t wait to see this series. This homemade trailer above gives me chills. Imagine what the series will do. Invite us over and I’ll bring the tea and finger sandwiches.

Also, Sudeikis won a Golden Globe last night for Best Actor in a Comedy (or Musical?) Series. Well deserved from the little we’ve seen.

The Banish Inquisition

“New Rules” has always been the strongest part of Bill Maher’ Real Time on HBO, particularly when he really cares about the topic. For the second week in a row (last week, “Not In It Together” ), he hits it out of the park and onto Lansdowne Street.

People DO have the right to be offensive. You have the right to be offended. You have the right to boycott their business if they are powerful people like the My Pillow guy. Or to no longer be their friend if that’s who they were to you. You DO NOT have the right to force them to lose their jobs for saying something with which you do not agree. It’s one thing if it’s sexual harassment or an actual illegal act. But for plain being a rube? Nope. Sorry.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

“I Am The Lord Thy God, Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me”

Pretty sure I read that in a book some where.

Of course, I might have been holding the Bible upside down at the time.

Washington Monuments

Michigan defeated Iowa last night in a battle of Top Ten Big Ten squads, and by a large margin, 79-57. The Wolverines are now 17-1 (loss at Wisconsin last month) and could land the No. 1 overall seed ahead of Gonzaga, which remained unbeaten last night.

But that’s only part of the story. The Wolverines’ 7’1″ freshman center, Hunter Dickinson, outplayed his 6’11” senior counterpart on the Hawkeyes, Luke Garza. Dickinson finished with 14 and eight while Garza, who entered as the nation’s leading scorer, ended with 16 and four. What’s noteworthy is that both players hail from within miles of each other and were part of the same AAU squad, Team Takeover.

They’re old friends. Dickinson is from Alexandria, just across the Potomac from D.C., while Garza literally grew up inside D.C.

Michigan has two top ten victories (at Ohio State, versus Iowa) in the past five days. First-year coach Juwan Howard is everyone’s Coach of the Year.

This Family Has Already Sewn Up ‘Christmas Card Of The Year’ Award

There’s a better photo than this, but we are unable to upload it at present. You can try here.

Anyway, the back story: because North Korea had closed its borders due to the pandemic, Russian diplomats there found themselves somewhat trapped (North Koreans can relate). Eight of them found a creative means to depart the country, using a hand-pushed rail car, something I thought only existed in old episodes of F-Troop or The Beverly Hillbillies.

The Russian ministry said that the journey by railcar was the only possible way to cross the border. Also, it makes for a wonderful photo op. And now you know that Russia borders North Korea, too.

Note: I had to look this up. Russia actually borders North Korea to the EAST of China, even though most of Russia is to the WEST of China. Related: Russia is massive.

Basketball, I Don’t Even Know You Any More

This is the new NBA. Denver trails by two in the closing seconds and has a 3-on-1 fast break. In the world I grew up in the ball handler would dribble to the free throw line, the two wings would flare to either side and he’d most likely hit the open wing with a pass for an easy layup (or dunk). Now the score is tied and we head to overtime.

But that’s not how things are done in the NBA any more. Here the point man picks up his dribble outside the arc (note: LeBron can do this and still dunk without being called for traveling) and the two wing men flare out beyond the arc on the right. No one wants the easy two. They’re coached NOT to take it.

Yes, my man gets a wide open three to win the game, but he misses the 23-footer. Nuggets lose, at home, instead of forcing overtime. Is this smart basketball? You be the judge.

Daveheart

Came across this old SNL clip that’s pretty funny. Do you realize that all at the same time SNL had among its male cast Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis, Will Forte, Fred Armisen and Bobby Moynihan. Not a weak link among them. Also Kate McKinnon and Kristen Wiig. And I’m sure plenty of people were writing/saying that SNL sucked and wasn’t funny any more. That’s an outstanding cast (related: Moynihan’s “Drunk Uncle” basically was the forerunner of MAGA and a hilarious character0.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Woods, Errant Driver

In golf parlance, woods and drivers are synonymous: clubs used to strike tee shots. One of the many ironies (irons, another category of golf club, which is not the same as a golf club, which is why golf lingo is so confusing to the unbaptized) of Tiger Woods’ near-catastrophic Tuesday morning auto crash is that he is a Woods whose most potent weapon in golf was his driving ability (long off the tee) but whose most infamous episodes off the course have all involved poor driving.

But this is all kabuki. The takeaway from Woods’ horrific no-other-vehicles-involved roll-over auto accident is that he’ll likely never golf competitively again. Hopefully, for he and his family, he’ll be able to walk without a limp. Woods suffered comminuted (multiple) and open (bone breaks skin) involving his tibia and fibula, the two major bones between the knee and ankle, in his right leg.

This just two days after speaking on TV to CBS’ Jim Nantz about his potential return for the Masters following yet another back surgery.

He’s alive. And that’s good (who needed a Kobe comparison 13 months later, in the same general area?). And if it’s disrespectful to speculate about his golf future, it’s not irrelevant. Woods won 14 majors by the time he was 32 (Jack Nicklaus, with 18, holds the record). He was lapping the field in terms of Who’s the greatest golfer of all time?

Woods is now 45 and that total is 15.

Nicklaus won his 18th and last major at Augusta, in 1986, at age 46. Tiger may never approach the tee in a major again. At least not as a competitor.

Thank You, Coronavirus?

As we ease into the Bidency, to fewer presidential tweets and to a Commander-In-Chief who expresses empathy (even for people who are not political allies), it is important to remember something: the coronavirus, while already taking more than 500,000 American lives in less than a year, may have saved democracy.

Over-dramatic? Hyperbole? I don’t think so.

I was listening to Kara Swisher’s podcast, “Sway,” in which she interviewed Sacha Baron Cohen. He was discussing the reason behind his now well-known speech to the Anti-Defamation League in 2019:

Baron Cohen told Swisher that he decided to accept the award from the ADL and to give the speech (as himself and not in character) because it was one year away from the presidential election “and I saw that Trump was going to win.”

And he probably was. What changed, and what SBC could not have foreseen, was the coronavirus (an act of God, as the Christian Right might refer to it, except for the fact that they wanted Trump to win). If you think of the coronavirus as the nuclear bomb in the war against American Fascism, then maybe we can think of all those souls who perished as the foot soldiers who gave their lives for the cause.

And if you want to extend the metaphor, you may remember that the men who gave America the atomic bomb were German emigres horrified by Hitler and Nazism. Well, in the same way that the Axis powers were ultimately undone by their own practices (read how Hitler had given strict orders not to be awakened on the morning of the D-Day invasion, and who was going to upset Der Fuhrer?), Donald Trump could have made the fight against the virus his most heroic moment. Instead, he handled it as immaturely and irresponsibly (in other words, completely in character) as possible, and we see what happened.

Does Joe Biden or any Democrat win the election without the virus? I don’t think so.

There’s an entire other item that could be written about how sad it is that it took a pandemic to unseat Trump—what is WRONG with Americans?—but we’ll save that for another day. The good news is that he’s gone. While so many Americans died needlessly, none of them died in vain.

It’s Okay To Say, ‘I Don’t Know’

Here’s Clay Travis one year and one day ago going near-Trish Regan on the coronavirus. Listen, you don’t get to be a multi-millionaire sports blogger/gambling “expert”/social media bully/T-shirt salesman by telling your audience, “I don’t know.”

What will make you millions is to take the words of Winston Churchill and put it into practice toward your own mercenary ends: “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on.” After all, that strategy continues to work for Donald Trump.

So it’s left to poor folks like myself to hold onto the receipts and remind people how hubristic and irresponsible someone like Travis is. And he don’t care because it’s time for him to give you his “bet the mortgage” March Madness picks.

Curb Your McCarthyism*

*Kevin or Joe? (Answer: Does it matter?)

GameStop/GameStart

Two things on Reddit/Wall Street Bets/Robinhood/”stonks!” and crypto:

  1. First, on Tuesday afternoon I checked the GameStop (GME) stock price because I realized I hadn’t given it a thought in about a week. It was around $41. Then yesterday GameStop announced that CFO Jim Bell would resign effective March 28 (taking a $2.8 million severance). And what happened? Shares of GME went from $41 yesterday to $160 as of the open this morning. That’s not bad.
  2. Yesterday I was finishing up at my minimum-wage gig and was all alone in my department when a regular customer approached. Now, picture a dude about my age but 6’6″ who looks eerily similar to Lon Chaney, Jr. He always seems like a nice dude but a little socially awkward (not unlike your scribe). Anyway, his first words to me are, “Do you know anything about Bitcoin?” Before long he’s talking to me about crypto and XRP and the lawsuit with the SEC and Wyoming being the leading state for crypto transactions and I realize he doesn’t even have a shopping cart. The only item in his hand is a Starbucks cup. And I think to myself, If this gentleman is that well-versed in crypto, is the future already here? Or, is he a nut case and am I a nut case and should we both just be planting tulips?

The Maher The Merrier

I understand that a lot of people don’t like Bill Maher and I think I understand why, and it’s not just because he is so militantly atheistic: it’s because he’s intellectually smug (often I’m guilty of same flaw, minus any reason to back it up). Bill Maher is basically a non-affable version of John Oliver (maybe he should try a British accent). But above, well, I agree with EVERY LAST THING he says. Not just about “gig economy” and “side hustle” but how pols promote FAMILY above everything. As Maher says, If you wanna be part of a family or raise a family, that’s great. You do you. But there’s no law that says family is paramount to the individual. This tired trope of family (and military) above all is just one more way some pols try ti exercise control over us. And it works with those who don’t think too deeply. But it’s all authoritarian. And that’s all I have to say about that.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

From Texas To Taxes

Last week’s big Republican mess was Texas; this week it’ll be taxes, as in the Supreme Court has blocked Donald Trump’s last stand to hide his tax returns from us (Didn’t the New York Times venture under this kimono a year or so ago, anyway?).

Dig: it don’t matter. Those of us who already knew Trump is a charlatan and a crook will simply see the receipts. Those who will never accept that he is will simply find a way to blame someone else for joining the witch hunt. The circle will never be squared, kids. He’ll just go from playing the invulnerable card to the victim card.

The act, it is tired.

What a great weekend for CPAC to be holding its convention, by the way. Fortunately, so many GOP members suffer from memory loss so the events of the past, well, forever, won’t haunt them.

500K

As the USA crossed the 500,000 deaths from COVID-19 threshold, the former guy took to a statement (that I won’t link to) whining about “headhunting” prosecutors and repeating the fallacy that just because he received the most votes of anyone ever to lose a presidential election that he should be the winner.

Never mind that, as many have noted, that’s more deaths in less than one year than the U.S. suffered in World Wars I and II and Vietnam combined. The point here is that Donald Trump and other Republicans who no longer are in power are the truly aggrieved.

As far as this site goes, I’ll try to ignore the histrionics and general douchebaggery of folks such as Trump and Cruz and Hawley and even Meghan McCain, etc., as much as possible. Why give them any more oxygen? Let Merrick Garland and history take care of them.

From Putin To Poochin’

If America had simply installed a Sock Monkey puppet as its 46th president, let’s face it, that would have been an upgrade from “the former guy.” But thus far, one month in, Joe Biden is pretty much pitching, at worst, a shutout.

He doesn’t tweet. He doesn’t ridicule. He doesn’t golf. He doesn’t leave Washington D.C. to stage pep rallies (so how do we even know if he’s doing a good job?!?).

And, we get dogs. Big, shepherd-y type WOOF! WOOF! dogs.

Even though this isn’t a Biden pup, it’s still a big doggy. I’m here for this.

My Name Is Luka

There was a time when the leading scorer in Division I hoops was a veritable star. At the very least a lottery pick. And a future Hall of Famer.

Some of the men who’ve led D-I in scoring over the years:

Oscar Robertson (three consecutive years, 1958-60), Rick Barry (1965), Pete Maravich (also 3 years, 1968-70), Glenn Robinson (1994) and Stephen Curry (2009).

But just as often as not you get, particularly in the past 40 years, a Greg Guy or a Tyler Harvey.

This year’s scoring leader is a legit NBA player, playing on a legit FBS-school squad that’s ranked in the top ten: His name? Luka Garza, Iowa’s 6’11” SENIOR center who is averaging 24.7 points per game.

Garza is from the D.C. area and he even looks like a 1940s comic book super hero. A throwback. It remains to be seen what he’ll do during March Madness, or next season in the NBA.

Was This Actually On Jeopardy?

I hope so.

In case you don’t know…

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Francis Ford Coppola knew a long time ago what Gary Bettman and the NHL discovered this weekend: Lake Tahoe is among the most scenic backdrops in all of the U.S.A. (it’s featured in much of The Godfather II).

For the second consecutive weekend a major American sporting event was delayed for hours due to a weather malfunction. Last week it was thunderstorms pushing the Daytona 500 to the 9-hour mark. On Saturday the NHL’s outdoor game between the Colorado Avalanche and the Las Vegas Knights was put into abeyance for more than eight hours due to sun… I’m melting! I’m melting!

Who won? Mother Nature, two weekends in a row.

Mama Said Knock You Out

Seldom, if ever, will you see a more sudden and devastating knockout than what transpired on Saturday night in Las Vegas. That’s Oscar Valdez putting countryman Miguel Berchelt on the canvas to win the WBC Junior Lightweight title. Who knew 130-pounders could pack such a punch?

Hasta mañana, Miguel.

Crushing Cruz

SNL’s Aidy Bryant has long lived in the shadow of her female contemporaries, Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong, but last weekend she stole the show in the cold open. Her Ted Cruz was perfect, and a special shout-out to wardrobe and make-up. The braided ‘do was the chef’s kiss the cold open needed.

(Not SNL, but an even funnier own)

Also worth noting: 1) Pete Davidson’s Andrew Cuomo is solid and 2) Chloe Fineman can hold her own in any skit. She’s a keeper.

Davidson, on “Weekend Update,” on living with his mom: “My mom’s a lot like Saturday Night Live: no matter what I do wrong, they won’t get rid of me.”

Owl Be Seeing You

This is Caleb Pendleton, a freshman catcher for the Florida Atlantic Owls. On Saturday night Pendleton, 6’2″, of Jensen Beach, Fla., smote now one but TWO grand slams. In his collegiate debut. In the same inning. In his first two collegiate at-bats (versus UCF in a 20-15 win). Batting eighth.

Where do you go from here? Besides north in the batting order.

Gonzo

I had not previously made the connection between Anthony Gonzalez, the Republican congressman from Ohio who voted to impeach Trump and who also held the Robinhood CEO’s feet to the flames in a congressional hearing last week, and Anthony Gonzalez, former Ohio State standout wide receiver who later played with the Indianapolis Colts.

Same dude.

Gonzalez was part of a Buckeye squad that featured Heisman Trophy winning QB Troy Smith and fellow wideouts Santonio Holmes and Ted Ginn, Jr. He would be a first-round pick for the Colts, for whom he played five seasons. He’s still only 37 and was just reelected.

The MAGAs now loathe him. But he’s on his way up.

Also, had LeBron James chosen to play college football for the Buckeyes, they would have started together on the same unit (with LJ at tight end). Neither is sticking to sports.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Yes We Cancun

If you’ve ever dunked on 7-foot rims, you know what more than half of America is doing to Texas senator Ted Cruz this morning. And rightfully so.

As someone tweeted, “So Ted Cruz wants to cross the border in order to have better living conditions for his children?”

Not that most of us ever thought he was worth a turd’s farthing, but this week Cruz abandoned any pretense of leadership in his state as it went through its worst crisis in decades, then kept changing his story—before cameras—as to why he traveled to Cancun, even as neighbors and airline travel sleuths came forward with receipts.

Don’t speak. Don’t. Speak. Dontspeak.

Ga Ga Over Gonzaga

Kispert

Yo! While almost no one was noticing, Gonzaga is now 21-0. The Zags beat quasi-rival St. Mary’s last night 87-65 in Spokane behind senior forward Corey Kispert’s 20 points, which is right around his average.

The Zags have four starters who average in double figures (Kispert’s 19.2 is best) and two from outside the U.S.: Canada and France. That’s been about standard for them during Mark Few’s incredible run at Bing Crosby’s alma mater.

In nearly 22 seasons as the Zags’ head coach, Few is 619-124 (.833). The worst record his Zags have compiled in the past 10 years is 28-8, and that team made the Sweet 16.

Gongaza was 31-2 when last season was canceled in March. They’d have likely been a No. 1 seed last March. This March they’ll be the No. 1 overall seed.

Ignite Fever

We were checking out an NBA mock draft (in researching the above item) and noticed that three players from one team were in one site’s projected first round. Notice I said “one team,” not “one school.” Why? Because that team is the Walnut Creek-based G League Ignite.*

Why the Ignite put G League in their name flummoxes us, as they’re the only G League team that does so. It would be like one team calling themselves the NBA Celtics.

Ignite’s top draft prospects: 6’8″ Jonathan Kuminga (of the Congo, above), 6’5″ Jalen Green and 6’5″ Daishin Nix (all 18). The first two are projected Top 10 picks. What’s curious is that Ignite, coached by former Laker Brian Shaw, are only 4-2.

The G League’s top team at the moment? The 5-0 Delaware Blue Coasts. Delaware’s having quite a 2021 thus far.

Orient Expressionism

I’d watch out for slide tackle on the near sidelines.

Some managers throw their players under a bus. This one has a rail chance to be unique.

Dolly Lama

America’s greatest secular saint? It may well be Dolly Parton, who has given us all robust (!) lessons on a live well-lived for five decades now. That she also wrote country classic such as “Jolene” is almost besides the point.

So when the Tennessee state legislature proposed erecting a statue of its favorite daughter—if nothing else, it would be a tremendous source of shade—Dolly politely declined in signature fashion.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Friday Night Pilot Lights

It’s easy to have empathy for the people of Texas during this historic deep freeze, but it’s no less difficult to wonder if perhaps this isn’t, from a governmental standpoint (and who elects the officials in Texas but its people?), a righteous comeuppance.

By standing alone and scoffing at regulations while standing behind that insipid call to arms—”Don’t Mess With Texas”—the Lone Star State was just begging Lord Baby Jesus to illuminate the folly of human arrogance blended with ignorance.

And so here we are. The Lone Star State is in a deep freeze with no power and even less leadership. Hook ’em.

Porcine Provacateur Perishes

Rush Limbaugh, smoker and Oxy addict, dies from lung cancer at age 70. Good riddance.

Limbaugh can rightly be hailed as the patriarch of Trumpism. The architect of White Supremacy meets White Victimhood. His radio show, which launched in June of 1990, laid the template for Fox News and right-wing AM radio and later Donald Trump himself.

Unabashedly bigoted and misogynistic, Limbaugh plumbed a vein of fearful and angry (and often under-educated) white Americans who felt threatened that the Reagan Era was under assault. You want to know where party over country began? Wherever Rush appeared on your A.M. dial.

I’ll never forget the time Limbaugh appeared on Letterman. He was both charming and ultra-conservatively mean, and Dave played the role of genial host, gently ribbing him. Finally, Limbaugh went off on a white power soliloquy and when he finally came to a stop, Dave waited a beat. Then Dave asked, “Do you ever wonder if you’re just full of hot gas?”

Tatis A Lot Of Money

The San Diego Padres ain’t no dummies. They see a brilliant future in 22 year-old shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., and so locked him up with a 14-year, $340 million contract. That seems like a lot of money now—it is, averaging out to $24 million annually—but 10 years from now it may seem like a steal (at which time the team will probably renegotiate).

There’s no more up-and-coming squad in baseball than the Padres. And Tatis is the cornerstone of it all. Look out for the Air Friars!

Texas Turtle Trauma

For all the mercenary malevolence of its elected officials such as Gov. Abbott, Senator Ted Cruz and our former Dept. of Energy head Rick Perry (a former Texas gov. and a Trump appointee), there are plenty of decent people in Texas. Let’s begin with the volunteers who are rescuing thousands of sea turtles near Padre Island who without their aid would have frozen to death.

When sea turtles’ temps drop to a certain level, they literally cannot move. They are in danger of drowning. Rescuers have literally been picking them up and bringing them to an indoor shelter to heat up, saving the lives of many.

Ted Fled

Other than the fact that he’s unlikeable, without integrity and possessed of no courage, I don’t understand what people have against Senator Ted Cruz. So what if millions of Texans are without power and many will literally freeze to death; Cruz has a family, including an “ugly wife”, to think of and when a few business class seats open up on a flight from Houston to Cancun, who is he not to book them?

Acropolis Wow

There’s snow in Athens and Arabia, too. Climate change. It’s here. Were you waiting for it to send you a Change of Address card? This is what it looks like.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Look, Pa, It’s A Metaphor!

Ah, the sweet smell of karma…

James And The Giant Peach Basket

The Phoenix Suns were 6-0 on a 7-game home stand and led the Brooklyn Nets, playing without Kevin Durant or James Harden, by 20-plus in the third quarter. They’d already put up 75 first-half points.

You know what comes next.

James Harden got involved. The three-time NBA scoring leader finished with 38 points, leading the Nets to an epic 128-124 comeback win in the Valley. The Nets scored the game’s final 10 points and outscored Phoenix 74-49 in the latter half. Even though Sun guard Chris Paul was incredible in the fourth quarter, burying three after three (and finishing with 29), it felt inevitable most of the way that BROOKLYN would overcome.

Nets at Lakers, Thursday. This is the Finals that ESPN is dreaming of.

Texas Two-Face

So Texas wanted energy independence. It got it. Now in the face of the worst winter cold snap in decades, millions of Texans are freezing (many to death) because of massive power outage. The state’s Republican pols, from the governor on down are blaming false scapegoats such as the “Green New Deal” (it has never been voted on) or frozen wind turbines (which, on the best of days, would supply less than 12% of the state’s power).

This is 21st-century Republicanism at its finest: be the cause of your own demise while blaming a Democrat-preferred option that isn’t even part of the situation.

and this…

and this…

Sorry, I’m Not Home Right Now, I’m Walking Into Spider Webs, But Leave A Message And I’ll Call You Baaaaack

and then there’s advanced arts…

Don’t Think Of It As Another Deluge Of Snow; Think Of It As Another Heaping Of White Supremacy

If MTV’s “Real World” Confessional had a political filter, here’s a fine template.

Here’s Lindsey Graham appearing on Hannity and saying OUT LOUD what most of us have known for years: without the racists and the zombie-like evangelicals (that’s a Venn diagram that largely overlaps, granted), the Republican party as currently constituted would never have enough votes to overtake the Dems.

Translation: They may be Deplorables, but they’re ours. So we must continue to court them.

Apparently it never occurs to Graham or Mitch or others that if the GOP could simply embrace conservatively fiscal ideals while also being inclusive to all colors, sexual orientations and creeds that they might actually have something. Nah. Let’s just continue to play the “good people on both sides” card.

..and this from Lindsey Graham:

Coffee Cake (or Lasagna) Where I Live, But Same