Starting Five

1. We should all be watching, when we get the chance, Creighton’s Doug McDermott. The six-foot-eight junior from Ames, Iowa (“Ames High Aims High”….seriously, that’s the school’s motto) is averaging 23.9 points for the No. 21 Bluejays. Last night McDermott, whose father, Greg, is Creighton’s coach, had 29 points and 10 boards in a 91-77 win against No Longer Directional Missouri State. ESPN’s Jay Williams calls McDermott “the best player in the country.” Surely he is the best college basketball player to play for his pop since Pete Maravich, no?

Yes, this native Iowan-turned-Bluejay is Korveresque

2. Loss Angeles blows a 13-point, fourth quarter lead at Phoenix in Steve Nash’s return to the Valley of the Sun. Nash had just two assists as the Lakers now defer to Kobe as the point/points guard in their halfcourt offense –and, seriously, L.A. has no transition game, so that’s about it. In LA’s last four games, Kobe has 48 assists while Nash, who is No. 5 all time on the career assists list, has 14.


LA is not Nash-ville

For us, there was a telling moment late in the first quarter as the camera panned LA’s bench. There was Nash, doing what he always does when he is not in the game, sitting on the floor and staring intently at the court. Behind him, seated on a chair, center Dwight Howard was looking off to his left, away from the court, and talking to someone who was seated in the stands. Told us all we needed to know about L.A.’s dysfunction.

3. Final episode of 30 Rock, the best network sitcom of this millennium, airs tonight. This will always be our favorite scene.

4. On The Daily Show, correspondent Al Madrigal reports from Hispanic Room/His Panic Room. The moment of beauty is when Madrigal shows data that show the length of grudges (using a unit measurement of generations) by ethnicity. No. 1? Italian, followed by Irish, followed by Hispanic. “A Hispanic grudge lasts four generations,” says Madrigal. “The good news is, a Hispanic generation lasts only seven years.”

5. The New York Post reports that Dan Marino fathered a love child (why do they use that term? Isn’t “lust child” more accurate?) with a CBS staffer back in 2005. Marino will only appear on air during Super Bowl pre-game festivities for four hours on Sunday, so he probably will not have time to address this topic. By the way, the story broke on the date of Marino’s 28th wedding anniversary. Nice touch, NY Post. And, Dan? Ray Lewis thanks you.



Starting Five

1. A-Rod, A-Roid, A-Void

The New York Yankees are looking into voiding the remainder of Alex Rodriguez’s contract after a Miami New Times story implicates him in PED use. The Yanks could save $114 million over the next five years if that were to happen, although they would need to begin searching for a hitter with the unique talent for sending infield pop-ups to the ionosphere with bases loaded in the ninth inning.

It’s unlikely that the Balmers Bombers will be able to void much, if any, of A-Rod’s deal, which is sad, because I’d love to see them use the money to bring back Wilhelm and Costanza.

As an aside, World’s Cleverest Man Steve Rushin, acknowledging that the story reports that deer antler is a source of testosterone, tweets, “Who has superhuman endurance and easy access to deer antler? Say it ain’t so, Santa.”

2. “Warriors, Come Out and Play-yay!”

Our favorite NBA team, in a post Steve Nash-with-the-Suns planet, is the Golden State Warriors. Last night in Cleveland the Oakland-based squad won their second road game in less than 36 hours, 108-95. The victory is more impressive than it sounds, as starters Stephen Curry, Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut all sat out. Feat of Klay Thompson scored a career-high 32 points. Good, young nucleus on this small-market squad. I cannot wait to see how the referees screw them when they face either L.A. team, OKC or San Antonio in the playoffs.

Shooting at the walls of heartache –bang bang!– I am the Warrior!

3. Great editor, great friend and even better human search engine Barry Werner informs us that the Charlotte Checkers of the American Hockey League (AHL) have a defenseman named Michal Jordan. In Charlotte. We are more thrilled with the fact that Jordan hails from the Czech Republic, making him a Czech Checker. In case you wondered, he stands six-foot-one, 195 pounds, so Jordan is no chubby Checker.

4. Do you remember Mamadou Ndiaye? We wrote about the seven-foot-five high school center last January for The Daily. Now a senior at Brethren Christian Academy in Huntington Beach, Calif., Ndiaye is still nonchalantly scoring around 24 points and grabbing 10 boards per game against small-school prep competition. Last night, though, the Senegalese native scored 45 points (on 22 of 26 shooting) and grabbed 15 rebounds in a 76-55 defeat of Oxford Academy.


Get used to seeing a little more of UC-Irvine on television next season

Anyway, last November Ndiaye signed a letter of intent with UC-Irvine, which will allow him to remain close to his adoptive parents (who to this point have shielded him from the media). Oddly enough, Ndiaye signed with the Anteaters on the day after they lost by one point in overtime at UCLA, a game that could have been secured as a huge upset for the program if a starter hadn’t missed two free throws in the final 22 seconds of regulation. Of course, signing Ndiaye (Georgetown was a strong contender for his services) may ultimately be the greater upset.

5. We caught a little of the embarrassing banter between Stuart Scott, Merrill Hoge and Trent Dilfer on last night’s ESPN SportsCenter in the wake of the Ray Lewis controversy/nontroversy at media day. In a post-Lance Armstrong-confesses world, the fact that neither Lewis or Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome would go any further than “Ray NEVER tested positive for PEDs” is not a good enough answer to the Sports Illustrated story that alleges he used them after his biceps tear earlier this season.

“Why would Sports Illustrated come out with that story on Tuesday of Super Bowl week?” asked Hoge, a question that should’ve immediately led to NFL doctors administering a CTE scan on him (and, yes, we know that they’re only normally done post-mortem…that’s kind of our point).

If Ray Lewis wants to be insulted by such a question, that’s his prerogative. He’s either telling the truth or he isn’t and professional athletes long ago lost the benefit of the doubt when it comes to PEDs. That Scott, Hoge and Dilfer gave absolutely zero credence to the allegations, that they all failed to address whether there is the potential for truth in the story or even acknowledge that, you know, Lewis isn’t actually a pillar of integrity when it comes to providing substantive answers to accusations, probably gave Bob Ley a migraine.

Scott, who happens to be president of the Stuart Scott Fan Club, in fact turned from the issue and instead informed us that someone had the temerity to ask Lewis a question about passing gas in the Ravens’ locker room. As if that query were as silly and extraneous as the PED question.

Awful, awful journalism, ESPN. Embarrassing, really.


Starting Five


1. Houston Rockets 125, Utah Jazz 80

–The worst moment for Jazz since Dave Brubeck died.

–Worst home loss in Utah Jazz history. The Jazz actually trailed by 50 points, 125-75, before a five-point outburst in the game’s final 20 seconds.

–The Rockets were delayed by a blizzard in western Colorado and were unable to take off from the airport in Denver. So much for that being a detriment.

–Utah was undefeated at the Delta Center in January (6-0) prior to the contest.

–Jeremy Lin had time the night before to attend the Sundance Film Festival and attend the screening of “Linsanity.” Then he shot five for five in the game.

Gordon Hayward did not play for the Jazz.

— Former Utah Ute great Wataru Misaka, who is 89, attended the game. Misaka, a 5-7 point guard, was the first Asian player in NBA history (1947-48 New York Knicks) and before that led the Utes to the NCAA championship in 1944. Misaka is of Japanese descent. Think about that for a moment. A Japanese-American basketball player leading a school to the NCAA championship at the height of World War II in the Pacific theater. I smell a movie…

2. Beginning Tuesday, Apple will sell a new  iPad4 that has 128 gigabytes of memory as opposed to the current model, which has 64. So the iPad4 is doubing in memory size from 64 to 128 gigs, or as I call it, Boeheiming.

3. On The Daily Show, Samantha Bee absolutely kills it in this report (“Women’s War Daily”) on females in combat.  Our favorite moments are when Sam snaps her fingers to create a black-and-white Mayberry universe and when she’s chowing down on the Ben & Jerry’s. Author Kingsley Browne’s quote will live in infamy and guarantee that he never gets laid by anyone under the age of senile: “Girls become women by getting older; boys become men by accomplishing something.” Then again, with a name like Kingsley Browne, how could the author being interviewed NOT be a troglodyte?

Bee, not afraid

Remember the scene in “Broadcast News” when Jack Nicholson, as the network anchor, smiles at the end of Holly Hunter’s piece as a sign of his approval? Watch Jon Stewart’s reaction when the camera returns to him after Bee’s piece. He is obviously pleased. 4. David Letterman on Dr. Phil interviewing Ronaiah Tuiasosopo: “You have a guy pretending to be a girlfriend talking to a guy pretending to be a doctor.” That’s gold, Jerry! 5. So, if we have our facts straight, both the Boy Scouts of America and the Toronto Raptors are open to accepting Gays?  

Unfortunately, Rudy is too old to be a Boy Scout. Age discrimination!


Skylar Diggins scores 33 points as Notre Dame defeats Tennessee in Knoxville. Not only was it the Irish’s first win at Tennessee, but in the past three weeks Notre Dame has beaten both UConn and the Lady Vols on the road. No team had done that in the same season since 1980, pre-Geno. The times, they are a changin’…

Media moves: Chris Cuomo is headed from ABC to CNN (by the transitive property, I’ve dated Chris Cuomo). Joe Posnanski is headed from Sports on Earth to NBC Sports (by no property and on no property have I ever dated Joe Posnanski).

By the way, we forgot to mention that unranked Villanova defeated a pair of schools ranked in the top five last week (No. 5 Louisville and No. 3 Syracuse) while unranked LaSalle defeated a tandem of top 20 opponents (No. 9 Butler and No. 19 VCU). Solid week for Philadelphia college hoops.

Today’s impertinent thought: Speaking of college basketball rankings, how quaint. Why does anyone bother ranking teams when 68 teams are invited to compete in March Madness? Here’s an idea that might add some actual drama to the months of December, January and February college hoops as opposed to it being the longest preseason in sports: Reduce the tournament size to 32 teams.

I know, I know, we all love the frenzy of the first two days of the tourney. However, nobody is able to view all the games with as many as four taking place simultaneously. In a 32-team field, the first round would run from Thursday to Sunday, with four games taking place each day. Each site would have a doubleheader.

For those of you who bark about the 250 0r schools who’d no longer have a chance to compete in the NCAA tournament, well, I’m sorry. You can split Division I into two divisions (as occurs in football) while leaving open the possibility of relegation for schools or entire divisions that are on the border.

The point is, rankings woud suddenly matter. The regular season would suddenly matter. And since a No. 16 seed has still never beaten a No. 1 seed in about three decades of play, I’m not all that concerned about the final teams no longer getting their “shot.” They’ve had shot after shot after shot. Just because you include them on the bracket doesn’t mean they are actually competing in the tournament.

Tiger Woods the year’s inaugural PGA Tour event while (we belatedly report) Novak Djokovic wins the Australian Open. It’s somewhat reassuring when the premier players in their sport win. Novak Djokovic, by the way: very handsome man. We can say that.

Granted, this is not Novak’s best look


Terrific interview this morning between Matt Lauer and Al Gore on Today. The former veep was positively poetic in describing the inarguable realities of climate change: “Every day is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation on the news.” A serendipitous quip there, since Today had just done a report on epic flooding that is waterlogging Queensland, Australia.

Gore did fumble in his defense of the sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera. Lauer noted that Gore made $100 million on the deal and that Al Jazeera is funded by the government of Qatar, which gets almost all of its money via oil. “Isn’t that hypocritical?” Lauer asked. “I see your point,” said Gore, who is always unfailingly polite (and that may have cost him the 2000 election), “but I don’t agree with it. Al Jazeera has done solid reporting on climate change.”

Sorry, Al. Not good enough. The judges were looking for, “I see your point, but money trumps everything.”


Bob Costas, talking the “gun culture” on The Daily Show: “Guns are glorified in hip-hop culture. Some 70% of the players in the NFL are African-American. Not all of them are influenced by that part of the culture, but guns are glorified.” Because you just can’t go out and say, “It’s black people’s fault.”

Earlier in the interview Costas noted, in relation to gun culture, that Sly Stallone has a movie out entitled “Bullet to the Head”, leading Stewart to swiftly quip, “Well, when you’ve already thrown momma from the train…”

Letterman on Manti Te’o: “It’s not like he’s at West Undershirt, Wyoming. It’s Notre Dame.” Don’t know where Dave pulled that term out from, but we like it. Dave did err by saying a few times that Manti “dated” this woman for four years. Not exactly. Rob Burnett, if you’re reading this, I’m available for fact-checking at The Late Show.


The New York Daily News has an “exclusive” report of Tim Tebow training in Paradise Valley, Arizona. A Jet becomes a snowbird. And kudos to the reporter who talked his editor into giving him a few days in Arizona away from NYC in late January. Well done, my friend.

Day of Yore, January 28

“We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and “slipped the surly bonds of earth” to “touch the face of God.””– Ronald Reagan

It was today in 1986, at 11:38 am, that the space shuttle “Challenger” disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, just 73 seconds into it’s flight, killing all seven on board, the only time the U.S. has lost lives in space. The Challenger disaster was being watched by a national television audience as it had a teacher, Christa McAuliffe on board.

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“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.” — Jane Austen

“Pride and Prejudice” was first published today in the United Kingdom in 1813. The novel follows the travails of Elizabeth Bennett in her search for self. Along the way Ms. Bennett tackles manners, education, upbringing and marriage. It is one of the most beloved novels ever written. The two pictures are from different adaptations, but the two played their respective parts the best.

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Elvis Presley made his first ever television appearance tonight in 1956, singing “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Heartbreak Hotel” on CBS’ “Dorsey Brothers Show”. There was no outrage over his appearance, that would come later when he performed on Milton Berle and Steve Allen’s shows.



Tonight in 1995, 27-year old production assistant for “Entertainment Tonight” was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for his homemade movie, “The Brothers McMullen.”


Coming off a 1-10-1 season, the Green Bay Packers today in 1959 hired Vince Lombardi, who’d been an assistant with the New York Giants. Just two years later, Lombardi’s Packers would defeat the Giants to win the NFL Championship. Lombardi would win five titles, including the first two Super Bowls.


Happy Birthdays go out to Sarah McLachlan (45) and Gaslight Anthem lead singer Brian Fallon (33). Their top fives (and I would take Fallon’s top 60 over any McLachlan song):


  1. Building a Mystery
  2. I Will Remember You (the theme song from “Brothers McMullen”)
  3. Adia
  4. Possession
  5. Angel


  1. Stay Lucky
  2. We Came to Dance
  3. Here’s Looking At You, Kid
  4. The ’59 Sound
  5. Great Expectations

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— Bill Hubbell


Posted in: 365 |


Starting Five

1. Ron-D’oh!

     Boston Celtic point guard Rajon Rondo, who was leading the league in assists and was voted as a starter in next month’s All-Star Game, will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. Items:

      A. That’s the second year in a row that the Eastern Conference All-Star starter at point guard suffers a season-ending ACL tear (2012, Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls).

Rondo suffered the injury in Friday’s double-OT loss at Atlanta

      B. Pretty crummy month to be a sports fan in Boston, eh?

     C. Rondo’s replacement will likely be Kyrie Irving. The second-year player for the Cleveland Cavs, who is still not old enough to legally imbibe spirits, has averaged 35.6 points per in his last three outings, all Cav wins.

      D. Where do the Celtics send Kevin Garnett and/or Paul Pierce? I like the latter to the Lakers (he’s an L.A. native) and the former to the Knicks, since he and ‘Melo have some conversing to do.

2. Okay, honestly, if someone was unfrozen after a 20-year spell and you asked him, “Which of these is a golf course and which is a golfer — Tiger Woods and Torrey Pines?”  wouldn’t the correct answer occur about 50% of the time? Woods is on the cusp of winning his 8th event at Torrey Pines later today, as Sunday’s final round was suspended by darkness, as opposed to being suspended by The Darkness which, let’s face it, would be rockin’… (“Touchin’ you-ooo-ooo, touchin’ meeee-eeee-eee!”).

Don’t you foresee a huge year ahead, a year of redemption and rebirth, for Woods? I  have him winning two majors (at least!), remarrying Elin and starting a family band (and none of us are invited!). But here’s the thing, and how delicious would this be…. Tiger and Elin remarry after Tiger puts his pawprint on that $350 million fidelity prenup Elin is reportedly waving in his face.

Then, as soon as they walk back down the aisle after the vows, someone hands Elin an Entenmann’s Marshmallow Iced Devil’s Food Cake –and a fork– and she commences chowing down. And chowing down. She takes it to new levels of gluttony, leaving that  obese diner in the restaurant in Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life” (“I couldn’t eat another bite…”) in her wake.

Elin could take the term “have your cake and eat it, too” to previously unseen limits

Elin becomes….wait for it…. The Biggest Gainer.  And Tiger will just have to sit there and take it because it’ll cost him $350 VERY LARGE should he go chasing companionship elsewhere. I already have the title for this film when it is eventually released: Silver Linings Payback. Admittedly, because one of the two main characters is a Tiger, I did strongly consider the title Life of Pie.

3. When Billionaires Attack

      Billionaire hedge fund managers Carl Icahn and Bill Ackman engaged in a world-class pissing match during CNBC’s “Halftime” show on Friday. It began one day earlier when Icahn appeared on Bloomberg and ripped Ackman for shorting Herbalife. On Friday Ackman appeared on Halftime (via phone) with Scott Wapner (Rainman’s favorite TV business reporter) and called Icahn a hypocrite, saying that he himself has shorted positions in the past.

That’s when the real fun began. Icahn phoned in to CNBC and called Ackman a “crybaby” and a “loser” and basically, as the kids say, “lost his #$*&.” Every monitor on every Wall Street trading desk — not to mention at every hedge fund — quickly turned up the volume. Listen in to Ackman Icahn Overdrive.

It’s like Phyllis Walters says: “All the money in the world cannot buy you class.” Okay, Phyllis Walters does not actually say that, but she does say, “They think WHO they are”, which is pretty much the same thing.

4. At the SAG Awards, Maggie Smith fails to win in two categories — but as a 78 year-old actress, she has her own SAG issues. Argo takes home “Best Cast in a Motion Picture”, which is wonderfully ironic since Argo is a film in which many of the characters are portraying cast members in a film that is a hoax. It’s kind of the Lennay Kekua of films.

Dick Van Dyke was given a Lifetime Achievement Award but, disappointingly, his speech was coherent and he failed to declare that he was single.

Jessica Chastain, who looks like movie starlets used to look, which is to say like Jessica Rabbit.


5. FLORI-DUH: It’s a story in which the headline itself contains the words “Naked” “Poop” and “Masturbate.” Just when you think you’ve read the most Flori-duh story ever, a new one comes along to top it. Thank you, Sunshine State!


Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun Times wants to save you$12, and his review of Movie 43 may just do that. Our favorite line: “…whenever a Gerard Butler or a Johnny Knoxville or a Jason Sudeikis or an Uma Thurman became available and/or were blackmailed, (producer Peter) Farrelly would bring in a director, and they’d shoot a scene. Unfortunately, the shooting was never fatal.”

This is easily the worst-looking half-court shot for dough we have ever seen that actually went in. The man who made the shot, Michael Drysch, won $75,000 (before taxes will knock that sum down to $50-something thousand). We love that LeBron James tackles him after he connects, but we wonder if LeBron tackles Kwame Brown after every shot he makes…. see, cuz

Today’s newphemism: Cemetery equals Eternity Ward.

A week or so ago we told you about Northern Illinois’ men’s hoops team, which scored just five points in the first half versus Dayton last month. Last Saturday? The Huskies bottomed that with a four-point first half versus Eastern Michigan. NIU shot just 1 of 33 from beyond the arc, which begs the question, at what point do they realize they might want to stop chucking up three-pointers?

Let history note that it was Daveon Balls who made NIU’s lone three, with 2:05 remaining. It was the Huskies’ 33rd and final three attempt on the day (quit when you’re behind). Let history also note that LeBron did not tackle him afterward.

Grapevine, Texas: “Teen’s Birthday Party Ends in Murder-Suicide” . True. This was also the working plot for “Sixteen Candles” until a last-minute rewrite (not true).

Baylor’s six-foot-eight Brittney Griner establishes a new NCAA record, men or women, for career blocked shots with 665. As impressive as that figure is, Darren Rovell has blocked far more people on Twitter.

What do these two have in common?

Our first crush, Olivia Newton-John, opens a Wellness Center in Scottsdale, Ariz. We’ll send $5 to the first person who walks in and tells the desk attendant, “I’ve got chills. They’re multiplying!”

“Tell me more, tell me more, about your mud baths and kale sundae”

You know who is a fantastic interviewer? Cat Greenleaf of Talk Stoop. She asks sharp, curious questions. You know what Cat does that so many attractive female interviewers do not? She L-I-S-T-E-N-S. Here she is with Michael Imperioli from The Sopranos.

On his wonderful blog Roger Ebert posted these candid and revealing outtakes from his Siskel & Ebert days. You get to see Roger at his most brilliant, arrogant and pedantic, while Gene reminds us so much of our good friend and former SI colleague Marty Burns (also a Chicago guy) that it’s uncomfortable. When Siskel calls Ebert an “asshole”, I hear “jag-off.”


IT’S ALL HAPPENING! “That’s &$*% Matt Damon Hosting” edition, 1/25

Starting Five

1. If you never saw the 1983 film “The King of Comedy”, you should. It’s terrific. Robert Deniro kidnaps a talk show host (played by Jerry Lewis), then demands as his ransom the first guest spot on a broadcast. Jimmy Kimmel Live took that idea to a reality extreme last night, as the host was duct-taped to a chair and gagged with his own tie. Who stepped in to host: Matt Damon! (as Kimmel sat about 20 feet upstage).

Damon hijacked the program, and the idea was executed to perfection. Sheryl Crow stepped in as teh bandleader and debuted a song (“I don’t know if I’d do this if Jimmy were hosting, but for you…”).  Guillermo was replaced by Andy Garcia. Kimmel’s ex, Sarah Silverman, took part in the prank as well, sitting on the couch and explaining to Damon what it was like to date Kimmel for five years (“It’s like when you eat one of those street vendor hot dogs and afterward think, Why did I let that thing inside of me?”).


It’s not quite Oceans 11, but it’ll do.


Kimmel’s regular array of B-list guests were replaced by  by Nicole Kidman, Demi Moore, Reese Witherspoon (who brought booze), Gary Oldman, John Krasinski and his wife, Emily Blunt.

Inspired idea, carried off to perfection. And all we kept thinking was, Jay Leno could never pull this off without it seeming phony. The thing about Kimmel is, these people really are his friends. As for Dave, it was telling that we switched over to a repeat of recent vintage in which he tells Denzel Washington, “I can’t figure out why we’re not better friends” and Denzel repeats, “Well, that’s up to you, Dave.”  Letterman could be Kimmel in the celeb buddies dept. if he ever wanted to be. But to this point in his life, he’s been famously reclusive. Maybe he is beginning to figure out that he DOES belong with that crowd, at least in an “Am I good enough?” way.

2. Manti Te’o appears on Katie Couric and we agree 100% with Gregg Doyel: “Make. It. Stop.” We feel a little like Jerry Seinfeld when he is asked if Timothy Watley’s jokes offend him as a Jew and he replies, “No, they offend me as a comedian.” We’re (and “we’re” is obviously “I’m”) offended not as a fellow Domer but as a fellow former Dillon Hall resident. Is it a coincidence that Manti moved off campus senior year and then all of this stuff began happening?

Whether he is complicit or just plain painfully naive (and, then, just duplicitous enough to make people question his true motives), Te’o might’ve been saved if he’d remained around classmates who might’ve counseled him (and by “counseled him”, I mean “teased him unmercifully”) during this time. Back in the pre-cellphone days in Dillon, you knew the guy who had the Hometown Honey because he sat in the hallway outside his door (as far as the phone cord would stretch) talking to his girl late at night as his roomie tried to study or sleep or watch Letterman.

But this is what happens when everyone has a cell phone and lives off-campus. There’s no one around to tell you what a fool  you are being. Technology… BAH!

A week ago we said that we’d ask Te’o if he is gay, because it goes to motive and is hence relevant. Apparently, Katie agreed, as she did ask. Manti’s reply: “No.”

3. Don’t ever change, Carl Pavano. Don’t. Ever. Change.

4. We need to say this, and not just because we’ve lost our shirt (and trousers) on AAPL in the past few months. Yes, the company’s future is not as bright and rosy –or at least at this moment it does not appear so– as it was five months ago. But here’s the thing. Apple, which is now down 1% over the past 12 months (it was up more than 40% for the year just four months ago), sells at just ten times earnings. That means the following (please correct me if I’m wrong): If you divide the total revenue of Apple by its number of shares, each share should have a value of around $45. But it’s selling at $450.

Meanwhile, Netflix (NFLX) is up 77% for the year but it trades at 583 times earnings. Amazon (AMZN) is up 49% for the year but it trades at 3,700 times earnings. 3,700 TIMES!

So, yes, Apple has had some bad press lately. And here are the respective stock prices of the three companies as I type this:

AAPL:  $440

NFLX: $167

AMZN: $282

Granted, a huge aspect of a stock’s price is what investors believe the company will do in the future (industry term: guidance). However, a huge misunderstanding among Average Joe investors is that Apple is expensive. It’s not. If AAPL sold at the same multiple (i.e., “times earnings”) as even Netflix, a single share would cost $26,235. If it sold at Amazon’s multiple, a single share would cost $166,500. Now THAT is expensive.

The point is this: a stock’s price is not an ABSOLUTE value, while a stock’s price relative to its multiple is. That’s the more salient way to compare one stock’s value to another.

5. So, our colleague on, Bill Hubbell, is a wonderful (albeit reclusive) friend for many reasons, one of them being that he sends friends “Best of (Year)” discs each year. And not just one. A single year may fill up as many as 20 discs. In truth, anything we know about pop music since 2005 is directly related to Billy’s “Best of…” discs. So we thought it might be a good idea to begin sharing the songs that he sends us, at least our favorites, with you. Today’s choice is a country tune by Lee Brice, from 2012, titled “Hard To Love.” And we think that Tom Petty may want to contact Mr. Brice about that opening riff and consider asking for a share of the royalties, as it sounds conspicuously similar to the lead-in to “Learning to Fly.”

Day of Yore, January 24

Today in 1976 “Kojak” won the Golden Globe for best Television Drama. It beat out the following: “Baretta,” “Police Story,” “Columbo,” and “Petrocelli”.  Excuse me, but those are all five the exact same show. Okay, Petrocelli was a lawyer, and the show had guest turns from both Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford (pre Star Wars), but still.

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Today in 1981, Mike Bossy became just the second NHLer to score 50 goals in the first 50 games of the season, tying Rocket Richard’s mark. Wayne Gretzky would demolish that record the very next season, getting to 50 in just 39 games.


“Prefontaine,” the first of two theatrical releases on the life of distance runner Steve Prefontaine, came out today in 1997. It was good, but not as good as the other one, “Without Limits.”



Happy Birthdays to Mary Lou Retton (45) and Neil Diamond (72). Neil’s top 10:

  1. Sweet Caroline
  2. Cherry Cherry (watch this clip, the guy is an all time great)
  3. I Am… I Said
  4. Forever In Blue Jeans
  5. Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show
  6. Cracklin’ Rosie
  7. Shilo
  8. Beautiful Noise
  9. Play Me
  10. September Morn

— Bill Hubbell

Posted in: 365 |


Starting Five

1. The Loss Angeles Lakers lose their seventh consecutive road game, this time at Memphis. LA is now 2-10 since New Year’s Eve and would have to win eight straight simply to find themselves in the final playoff qualifying spot in the Western Conference, all other things being equal. You watch the Lakers and you wonder if Dwight Howard is the NBA’s version of Alex Rodriguez.

“No pick! But, please, Dwight, set a pick.”

Yesterday the Lakers had an air-the-grievances meeting before the team shootarouand and by post-game the media knew that it had happened. That seemed to irk Pau Gasol, and rightly so. Portions of his comments: “I don’t know how that got out…our family should be tight. If it’s not tight, then there are cracks and the situation just keeps getting worse until at some point it will explode.”

The Lakers do look old. Perhaps they should tape a cheetah to their backs.

Laker coach Mike D’Antoni put it best, considering his lineup has at least three future Hall of Famers and two NBA MVPs: “We’ve got an All-Star team out there. Have you ever watched an All-Star game? It’s God awful, because everybody gets the ball, they go one-on-one and then they play no defense. That’s our team. That’s us. We’re an All-Star team and we haven’t learned there’s a pecking order.”

Meanwhile, the “other” team in California you should be watching is the Golden State Warriors. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee: now that’s a BASE upon which you can build. Players who know their roles and perform them (for example, they like passing the ball). In the past three days the Warriors (26-15) have taken down both the Clippers and Thunder, who just happen to have the two of the three best records in the NBA. Damn, it’s good to be a sports fan in the Bay Area right about now, is it not? 

Curry still has time during games to entertain children by making duck silhouettes.

2. The nation’s top-ranked basktball team, Duke, travels south to Miami and loses by 27 points to the Hurricanes. That’s one less point than the nation’s top-ranked football team lost by in Miami Gardens earlier this month. Meanwhile, LaSalle upsets No. 9 Butler in Philadelphia, 54-53, thanks to a coast-to-coast bucket by Ramon Galloway with 2.7 seconds remaining. It marked the first time the Explorers (good name) had beaten a top-ten opponent since 1980.

Yes, it’s STILL possible to watch a top-10 college hoops squad play in a gym that’s, well, a gym. Crazy.

3. Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gets the Nathan Jesup treatment on Capitol Hill from a group of men who, let’s face it, don’t have have the balls she has. Senator Rand Paul informed Clinton that had he been president, he would have fired her over Benghazi. Clearly, Mrs. Clinton should have shot back, “Well, I guess we’ll never have to worry about that hypothetical becoming reality.” Lots of blame to go around here, but there seems also to be a wee little bit of partisan piling on taking place as well.

4. The U.S. military will announce today that females in the military will be permitted to have combat roles. (Plug in your own sexist remark here). If this means Kathyrn Bigelow’s next film will have Kate Upton in a starring role, would that be so bad?

5. How ’bout them Apples? The world’s wealthiest company sees its stock price plummet about 6% in after-hours trading after its quarterly earnings report. Apple (AAPL) actually beat the Street estimate on earnings-per-share but the computer giant lowered its guidance and that made investors nervous. Our take: remember those people who would tell you that the Beatles (a band who, by the way, recorded on a label known as Apple Records back when Steve Jobs was still cleaning out his garage) were overrated just to be contrarian? That’s kind of where we are with Apple now. The Beatles were not overrated and Samsung is still nowhere near Apple as a brand. But everyone was beginning to tire of hearing how great Apple is and all it took was a small chink in the armor (Apple Maps!) to set off this narrative.

Meanwhile, Netflix (NFLX) soared more than 35% in after-hours trading simply by providing a quarterly report in which it did not lose money. The Street expected the movie/TV rental company to lose 13 cents per share but instead it earned 13 cents per share (golf clap). A brief look back: In July of 2011 NFLX was nearing a $300 per share stock price when it announced a change in how it would bill customers. Bad idea. The stock went all Felix Baumgartner, falling all the way to $52 per share last August. This morning it’ll probably open at $144 per share or better.

This is where you need to apply the Blood, Sweat & Tears aphorism to investing: “What goes up, must come down…ride a painted pony let the spinning wheel turn.”

By the way, you could do a lot worse than purchasing Blood, Sweat & Tears Greatest Hits. Tim Cook suggests you buy it on iTunes.


Manti Te’o Fauxmance Update: The New York Daily News reports that the “woman” whom Manti was speaking with all those hours was actually Ronaiah Tuiasosopo in falsetto. And it gets funnier/more embarrassing, if this is true…. Te’o’s interview with Katie Couric will air today. January Thursdays are all about taped confessionals with female talk show hosts. I’ll be appearing on Ellen next Thursday (anything to escape this NYC winter0.


Starting Five

1. Brrrrrrrrrrr. That’s all I have to say about that. I don’t want Mark Twain looking askance at me from beyond the grave.

2. Former Hollywood Squares celebrity defeats Serena Williams at the Australian Open. Wait, what? Oh. Sloane Stephens, not Shadoe Stevens. Stephens, 19, is the daughter of former New England Patriot running back John Stephens, who died in an auto accident three years ago (Stephens was actually the NFL’s Rookie of the Year in 1988) . Her mother, Sybil Smith, was an All-American swimmer at Boston University. In fact, she was the first female African-American All-American swimmer in D-I history. Sloane lived up to mom’s legacy in Melbourne by becoming the first American tennis player younger than Serena to defeat Serena. In fairnesss to Williams, 31, she was up 2-0 in the second set, having already won the first, when she appeared to have tweaked her back.


Hey, Nineteen! Stephens, still an adolescent, slays Serena.


As an aside, we have to ask: Is watching that brilliant midsummer Australian sunshine good or bad for our January Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD)? Or does it just make us all want to hop a flight to Down Under?

3. Manti Te’o Fauxmance Update

 — Longtime Notre Dame beat writer (and, full disclosure, Notre Dame alumnus) Tim Prister scolds Deadspin for taking their outstanding investigation one step too far –and for failing to ever attempt to contact the man(ti) at the center of the storm.

–The Cleveland Cavaliers debuted a “Manti Te’o Kiss Cam” at Quicken Loans Arena last night, showing dudes seated next to empty seats on the Jumbo-tron. Well done, Cleveland. Well done.

4. Speaking of the Cavaliers… Kyrie Irving dropped 40 points on the Boston Celtics last night as Cleveland added to New England’s awful sports week in a 95-90 win. The Celtics, who still have three potential Hall of Famers in their starting lineup (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo) have now lost four in a row, the last two at struggling Detroit and Cleveland. This is a squad, alas, that understands and perhaps embodies the term Rust Belt. The Celtics are 20-21.

One reason Boston is struggling: Paul Pierce blows lately. Pierce is shooting 18 of 58 (31%) during the skid.

As for Irving, he became the first player to drop 40 against the Celtics in the past two seasons. The second-year point guard is averaging nearly 24 points and six assists per game for an 11-32 team. Does he deserve a spot on the All-Star roster (the Celtics’ Rondo will deservedly start at PG).

Hot in Cleveland. Irving goes for 40 versus the Celtics.

“If you look at the point guards in the Eastern Conference, name one that’s having a better season,” says Cavs coach Byron Scott. “I’ll wait.”

5. “From Seneca to Selma to Stonewall…” was the takeaway phrase from Barack Obama’s inaugural speech. The 44th president (Hey, 44 was also Hank Aaron’s number) of the United States invoked women’s rights, African-American rights and gay rights –the last a nod to an iconic West Village bar — in one alliterative phrase. As Jon Stewart intoned on last night’s The Daily Show: “I believe it’s the first time a president has name-checked a gay bar at his inauguration since Rutherford B. Hayes reminisced about working at ‘The Loaded Musket.'”


We are going to give the new Jeffery Ross show on Comedy Central, “The Burn”, a chance. This, after all, is the man who had the greatest takedown in Comedy Central Roast history (our mom reads this, so we’ll spare the details except to say that it involved Bea Arthur and an anatomical part that Ms. Arthur most likely did not possess).

Last night Mr. Ross discussed a man who recently died on a New York City subway when he attempted to take a dump while riding between two cars. “I can only assume that he was on the No. 2 train,” Ross quipped.

Apple (AAPL) reports earnings after the bell today. Both Google (GOOG) and McDonald’s (MCD) have beaten the Street estimates in the past 24 hours. Clearly, the key to vitality in the equities markets is to just have Wall Street put very low expectations on quarterly earnings. Is that too much to ask?


Apologies for the late post. Steak waits for no one.


Starting Five

1. Manti Te’o will do his Armstronging with Katie Couric, thank you very much. Couric has a hard news background (“Manti, what newspapers do you read?”), but chalk this up as another stop on the Bad Advice Tour. Couric and Te’o share a spokesperson, and certainly there is a conflict of interest no matter how much Katie doth protest. Jeremy Schaap was the proper move and if anything Manti should take a second dose of JS, this time on camera.  Just the fact that he’s speaking with a female whose current show is more suited to the Lifetime crowd (“Mother, May I Not Sleep With, But At Least Conduct an Online Romance With, Danger?”) will only result in the masses linking his and Lance’s stories together more. Or did you not see Saturday Night Live‘s cold open?

2. Moving onto other Domer Heisman Trophy finalists/winners in the news, Tim Brown suggests that his Oakland Raider coach, Bill Callahan, sabotaged the Silver & Black’s last Super Bowl appearance by changing the offensive game plan three days before meeting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. What’s next? Did Callahan buy Barret Robbins his first round of beers on the eve of the game, too? What’s even stranger is that Jerry Rice, Brown’s teammate on that Raider squad in 2002, is backing Brown. This is the greatest wideout of all time and another who is a probable future Hall of Famer with more than 1,000 career receptions. Still, why would a coach lead a team all the way to the most important game on Earth outside of the World Cup final (you heard me!) and then not care who won? Right about now Notre Dame –which is losing its sports information director, Brian Hardin, at month’s end — could use another of its Heisman brethren, Paul Hornung, to drop trou in public or be caught with a Playboy centerfold (perhaps the one Ditka had a crush on?!?). Anything to take the heat off.

3. So that’s Eddie Money (given name: Eddie Mahoney) in those “Two Tickets to Paradise” ads for GEICO. When you get into your forties (arthritic hand raised), you forget that everyone does not have your frame of reference pop-culturally. Eddie, 63, who now resembles an ugly old woman from Hempstead, was once quite the rocker. Our favorite tune of his came out in the mid-Eighties and was MTV gold. Just as this ad is a call-back to an era of a quarter-century ago, that tune is, too. Ronnie Spector’s part is culled from her famous early Sixties classic tune, “Be My Baby.” We give Ronnie indignant props (like mad props, only more intense) because it takes one helluva woman to be married to Phil Spector and survive.

Are those those two tickets to paradise by the dashboard light? (Shut up, Meatloaf!)

4. So, yeah, Obama’s inaugural address. Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you.

5. Great Britains’ Prince Harry (third in line to the throne) says that he has killed Taliban members and credits his fondness for video games and X-Box with making him such a deadly shot from the cockpit of a helicopter. Somewhere that LaPierre dude from the NRA is pointing toward England and saying, “See? See?”


We remember Colin Kaepernick when he played at Nevada. Superb athlete but never close to being THIS jacked. It’s funny how whatever football teams Jim Harbaugh coaches, his players go from soft (do you remember 2006 Stanford?) to JACKED!


We don’t care much for tats, but those are some badass tats.