Starting Five

1. Justice, Once Blind, Is Now Also Tone-Deaf and Dumb

Not the new logo for New Orleans’ NBA franchise, in case you were wondering.

Meet Halliburton. Here is a ginormous wing of the Military Industrial Complex, who once had a CEO who later became a United States vice president. Recently Halliburton plead guilty to not only using the incorrect cement to plug the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that released 200 MILLION gallons of petroleum-based effluent into the Gulf of Mexico, but also of destroying tapes of the tests that were conducted with that cement beforehand –showing it was faulty.

Incompetence and destruction of evidence on about as massive a scale as one might imagine.

The sentence: A $200,000 fine, or roughly one-sixth of Peter King’s annual salary. Not that he does not earn it.

To Halliburton’s credit (three words I never expected to type), the corporation subsequently donated $55 million to fish and wildlife conservation. It’s as if even they were embarrassed by that penalty. Two hundred K is probably their monthly dining budget at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse in Houston, where they are based.

If only this were a promotional poster for “Multiracial Gay Couples In The Military.”

Meet Bradley Manning, who starred in none of the “Hangover” films, by the way. This week Manning, a five-foot-two U.S. Army private, was convicted on 17 of 22 charges concerning his having leaked reams of classified government information concerning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the Colonel’s eleven herbs and spices (turns out it’s 10 herbs and just one spice! Who knew?).


While no one is downplaying the gravity of Manning’s actions, the people who are not downplaying it more than anyone else reside in the Justice Dept., which could send Manning away to prison for 136 years. The good news is, by that time, the effects of the BP oil spill in 2010 may finally be behind us.

Tangentially, here’s a thought –as Edward Snowden reads the Manning verdict and decides to put up curtains in his corner of Terminal D at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. Earlier this week the U.S. government also rejected an amendment that would make it mandatory that the NSA only spy on the phone records of people currently under investigation (as one congressman who was in favor of the amendment stated, quoting Benjamin Franklin, “Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserver neither.” But, I mean, Ben Franklin, what did HE know?)

So what if he’s dead (or was Spitzeresque in his pursuit of the fairer sex)? Maybe we should be listening to this guy.

So, that amendment was rejected. Apparently, proponents of unadulterated domestic surveillance such as President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and pulchritudinous patriot Michele Bachman Turner Overdrive argue that by skirting the Fourth Amendment the government has foiled at least 50 international terror plots.


But here’s my question: In the continued pursuit of security at the expense of the United States Constitution, might our wise leaders in Washington be creating a new generation of domestic terrorists? Or anarchists? Americans who believe that their government has trampled upon their rights to such an extent that they are going to take justice into their own hands? I know, it sounds crazy. What American would ever launch an attack on the United States?

2. The Notre Dame-USC of Major League Baseball

Nicholson: You can take the boy out of Neptune, N.J., but you can’t…


Last night the New York Yankees visited Dodger Stadium for the first time since 2010. Did anyone care? Well, Jack Nicholson, Jay Z, Ice Cube, Mel Brooks and NBA stars Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul were just some of the celebrities in attendance.

Let’s note that the Dodgers and Yankees have met eleven times in the World Series (New York leads, 9-2), more than any other two franchises. That they inhabit the two largest metropolises in the United States. That the Dodgers and Yankees once shared a city for a longer period of time than the Yankees and Mets (or Dodgers and Angels) have.

All of which is to say that fans would be better-served by seeing these two franchises meet for a series annually, as opposed to being exposed to six games between the Yanks and New York Mets annually.

The Yankees and Red Sox may be baseball’s fiercest rivalry, its Alabama-Auburn or Michigan-Ohio State. But Yankees-Dodgers is its Notre Dame-USC. Two glamour brands with polar opposite fan bases who have more of an infatuation than a genuine hatred for one another. Let’s make it an annual thing.

3. Shea Allen Goes Champ Kind…and Pays For It

Shea Allen: Soon to be co-anchoring KTVU’s midday broadcast (bra-less!) with A.J. Clemente.

Last Friday Shea Allen, a reporter at WAAY-TV in Huntsville, Ala., had a very bad idea. Allen’s idea was to post an entry on her “personal blog” entitled “No Apologies: Confessions of a Red-Headed Reporter.” Soon after posting such items as “I’m frightened of old people and I refuse to do stories involving them or the places they reside” and “I’ve taken naps in the news car.”

In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy, Shea, “Maybe you need to sit the next couple of plays out.”

Because television/webcast/web media grows increasingly insipid, some observers are choosing to focus on the fact that Allen was fired for admitting that she often appeared bra-less on TV. I’d like to think that Allen was fired for being absolutely clueless.

Just because something is posted on one’s personal blog does not mean that every earthling with access to the internet –just a few billion souls — is unable to read it. The test for what one should write on social media, be it this blog or Twitter, is, Would you stand up at the 50-yard line of a packed Bryant-Denny Stadium and read those words into a microphone? If not, just don’t write it/post it.

Also, if you want to see how terrible media has gotten, watch this interview with Nancy Redd from “The Huffington Post” in which she is actually sympathetic to Allen’s situation. Also, the reporter uses the phrase “When the door’s knocking, you better answer it.”

Shea Allen is about to learn that a lot fewer people care about what she has to write on her blog now that she’s just another unemployed member of the media. WAAY was her forum, and she failed to respect that privilege. Another one bites the dust…

4. Texas A&M Tragedy

Paying the ultimate price for a lesson learned.

A single-car accident in a remote area of northern New Mexico (one can claim that all of northern New Mexico is a remote area, of course) has claimed the lives of Texas A&M redshirt freshman defensive tackle Polo Manukainiu and two others. The three friends, all from Euless, Texas, died after the vehicle began to drift off the road and then the driver, who survived, over-corrected the steering wheel, according to New Mexico State Police.

Ominously, and reminiscent of Declan Sullivan’s final tweet, Manukainiu’s final tweet read “22-hour drive back to Texas on no sleep –oh my.”

If in fact this is the tale of a driver falling asleep at the wheel, it sadly is a college football tragedy with which I am familiar.

5. The Oliver Twist

Actually, Jon, you may want to look over your shoulder.

Have any staffers at The Daily Show posted a photograph of Wally Pipp on Jon Stewart’s door yet? And have we passed the point at which that would be funny? Stewart’s understudy, John Oliver, has been tearing it up through the first half of his three-month run as replacement host. While we enlisted in Oliver’s Army immediately, it seems other members of the media are finally beginning to notice.

Last night’s opening segment was yet another brilliant spectacle for the goofy, cheeky Brit, whose jubilant tone is a stark departure from Stewart’s. What will Comedy Central do with Oliver when Stewart returns? They’ve unearthed a gem, and you know where unearthed gems do not remain? Underground. Not for long.


As someone on Twitter –either Matt Goldich or Pour Me Coffee, I’m sorry I don’t remember — noted, “Fruitvale Station” stars Michael B. Jordan and Kevin Durand. It’s the NBA legend typo cast.


The NCAA has ruled in favor of incoming UCLA five-star defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes in his appeal to be released from his National Letter of Intent obligations in regards to Notre Dame. Translation: Vanderdoes will not have to sacrifice a year of eligibility and may suit up for the Bruins this autumn. There may be more to this than meets the eye, Domers, so as soon as I have more information I will share it. But, in terms of contractual obligations and penalties, the Irish may actually be at fault here. More news to come…


My new favorite ESPN reporter is Chris Hassel, who has gamely made the three-minute drive from headquarters of the Worldwide Leader in Bristol to Pine Lake, also in Bristol, to provide us with live stand-ups as the police search this body of water for one of Aaron Hernandez’s guns. I cannot wait until they dredge the lake and find Brett Haber.





Starting Five

1. Seems Like Old Times

Soriano in the 2003 World Series…











Whoever wrote “You can’t go home again” (Thomas Wolfe) never watched a baseball game. After all, every batter who scores starts and finishes there.

…and celebrating a home run on Sunday with The Captain.

Alfonso Soriano is also proving Wolfe’s maxim wrong. On Sunday the erstwhile New York Yankee had a walk-off single (and earlier in the game, a home run) to lead the Yanks to a 6-5 defeat of the Tampa Bay non-demonic Rays. Derek Jeter –The Captain — also hit a home run off the first pitch he saw after his latest return from the Disabled List.

Here is the remarkable aspect: Derek Jeter, Alfonso Soriano and Mariano Rivera (who pitched the 9th inning and got the win) all appeared on the same Yankee lineup card for the first time since Game 6 of the 2003 World Series, which they lost to the Florida Marlins. That was October 25, 2003, or roughly nine years and nine months ago. And if was Hideki Matsui Bobblehead Day, as the retired Japanese star also returned and donned pinstripes for a pregame ceremony.

And last night, the cleanup hitter for that 2003 Yankee squad, Jason Giambi, hit a walk-off home run for the Cleveland Indians. Giambi, 42, is the oldest player in MLB history to hit a walk-off home run.

Summer of 42: Giambi’s age

2. “Who Am I To Judge That Person?”

The pope, before takeoff, informing passengers that he cannot accept cash, only credit cards, for all alcoholic drinks.



Those seven words, uttered by Pope Francis on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Rome this weekend, were the most memorable uttered by a pope since John Paul I got his first look at the Vatican apartment and cried, “If this is poverty, I can’t wait to see chastity.”

Okay, maybe JPI did not say that. That’s just what KTVU reported.

Anyway, the most brazen follow-up in journalism history might have taken place if one of the papal press horde had asked Francis if he himself were gay, but who wants to be thrown from a plane that is 35,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean?

Good for Pope Francis for what he said. With an inordinate percentage of Catholic clergy being homosexual, it seemed foolish and hypocritical for the Catholic Church to be so hard-lined against it.

3. Are You Good With Tape and Cardboard Boxes?


Dude, may I borrow your masking tape?

Amazon announced yesterday that it is hiring 7,000 new employees. You have to love a country in which one of the most successful companies of the past 15 years manufactures almost nothing (outside the Kindle) itself.

4. Glorious Goodwood…

… is not a film that you will find on “HBO After Dark” but rather, as all Brits know, the highlight of the English horseracing season. And it begins today at the Goodwood Race Course in West Sussex, England, which sits along the English Channel. Goodwood is known as the most beautiful race course in England, but that is not what makes it peculiar. What makes it peculiar, at least to us colonists, is that the course is a six-furlong straightaway.

5. In Case You’re Thinking of Crossing Between Panama and Costa Rica

And the Rio Sixaola below is home to crocodiles and snakes.

This old railroad bridge is also an international border between Costa Rica and Panama. The planks are loose, too. And if an 18-wheeler happens to be crossing while you are, well, just lean against the fence.




Day of Yore, July 29

July 29, 1983: National Lampoon’s Vacation

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July 29, 1988: Cocktail

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Say what you want about the 1980’s, but it had to be the greatest decade of all time for summer movies. The two R-rated movies above are summer movie classics, “Vacation” the family on-the-road Hall of Fame comedy that had Chevy Chase at his peak, Randy Quaid acting out his future, Michael Anthony Hall beginning a Shia Labouf like tear, Jane Krakowski getting her first credit, Christie Brinkley playing herself and a creepy young farmer kid asking, “you ever bop your baloney?” And it gave us a song that everyone now associates with their own family summer vacations. And John Candy. It spawned one classic sequal and a few terrible ones.

“Cocktail” is a movie that’s just as good with the sound down as up. Tom Cruise is having fun and when Tom Cruise is having fun (in movies, not on Oprah), we’re all having fun. There was a cry for Matthew McConaughey to get a supporting nod last year for “Magic Mike,” and he was good, but Cruise in “Rock of Ages” was just at another level of “I’m so freaking sweet that you can’t take it”. “Cocktail” is one of the best bad movies ever made, with beautiful people, awesome locations and good tunes. The fact that bartenders tried to do that shit around the country was one of the most embarrassing “80’s things” of the decade. Worse than Zubas. But if this doesn’t look fun, move to Russia.

— Bill Hubbell



The Annotated “Newsroom”

In which we attempt to identify and expound upon all the pop culture references from the latest episode of “The Newsroom” one day later. Here we take on last night’s “Willie Pete”, the third –and best, thus far — episode of the season. Great work by Grace Gummer (Meryl Streep’s progeny) and also by the woman playing Romney’s press attache, who you may recognize as Ari Gold’s paramour-or-less from “Entourage”.

We’re walking and talking…

1. “Go Corporal Klinger faster than you could put on a yellow taffeta picnic dress…”

Try wearing that to a Toledo Mud Hens game…

Our hero Will MacAvoy (Jeff Daniels), in calling out the cowardice of those who would boo a gay serviceman in Iraq but who would be afraid to serve themselves, references Corporal Maxwell Klinger (Jamie Farr) of M*A*S*H, prime-time’s first cross-dresser (p.m. upate: My bad. Milton Berle was prime-time’s first cross-dresser. How did I miss that?) . Klinger donned women’s clothing in hopes of being granted a Section 8, a discharge based upon the fact that he was nuts. Poor Max. If only he had known that all he needed to do was make out with Frank Burns

2. “We’re like made men, we’re like Joe Pesci in ‘Goodfellas’…”

Sonny Corleone: This is what happens when you do not use EZ-Pass.

Will proceeds directly from a walk-and-talk with McKenzie in the episode’s second scene to a banter sparring fest with his boss, Charlie (Sam Waterston), in the third. Charlie references three notorious characters from the three most popular gangster films of all time (Joe Pesci’s Tommy DeVito in “Goodfellas”, James Caan’s Sonny Corleone in “The Godfather”, and Al Pacino’s Tony Montana in “Scarface”) and each time Will —who is Sorkin, gently correcting our errors– notes that all three of those characters met a bloody, violent end. “Have you seen any of these movies?”

Note: both Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino appeared in two of those three films.

3. “Was Don Quixote de La Mancha done with his mission to civilize?”

“Yeah, he died of being crazy.”

Spoiler alert! Thanks a lot, Charlie, for giving away the end of The Man of La Mancha. You really are the Sancho (Sancho Panza) in this relationship, which is exactly how Sorkin has cast you: the loyal but sardonic sidekick. Sorkin has overtly used the title character of this book –and the musical version of Miguel Cervantes’ work –as the model for MacAvoy’s mission. Which means that it is the impetus for Sorkin’s mission. See, he doesn’t just want to be Matthew Weiner, creating the best dramatic series of the 21st century. He also wants to be making us “an inch nicer.”

4. “You can fire the shot heard ’round the world…”

Oh yeah, and they did not refer to them as “walk-offs” back then. Do you see anyone walking?

Here Will embarks on his quixotic quest to persuade gossip columnist Nina Howard (Hope Davis) to NOT run a juicy iten on why he did not appear in ACN’s 9/11 10-year anniversary special. He is either alluding to the first musket blast from the Battle of Lexington and Concord in April, 1776, or Bobby Thomson’s pennant-winning three-run home run for the New York Giants versus the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951 at the Polo Grounds. The Giants trailed 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth in the deciding contest of a three-game playoff series to decide the pennant. Thomson’s blast off Dodger reliever Ralph Branca with one out provided the winning margin. Thomson would later say: “It was the best thing that ever happened to me. It may have been the best thing that ever happened to anybody.”


A) New York actually trailed Brooklyn in the National League race — there were no divisions and the pennant winner proceeded directly to the World Series — by 13 1/2 games in mid-August before finishing 37-7 to tie Da Bums and force the three-game playoff.

B) The Giants literally crossed the Harlem River to meet their foe for the World Series, the New York Yankees (the two stadiums were within walking distance) but would lose in seven games, blowing a 3-1 series lead.

C) Thomson was born in Glasgow, Scotland. He had eight 20 home run seasons in a pre-PED era and made three All-Star teams.

D) The aforementioned game, which took place on October 3, was the first major sporting event televised coast to coast.

E) As noted, Thomson hit his epic shot to left field with one out. Had he struck out, the batter waiting in the on-deck circle was Willie Mays.

F) In the words of Cate Blanchett, “Wikipedia is a useful tool.”

G) This is not to be confused with “The Gar Heard ’round the World” (my coinage) from the 1976 NBA Finals.

H) We still think Will was discussing the launch of the American Revolution.  The phrase itself originated in a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson titled “The Concord Hymn.”


5. “What The World Needs Now is Love”

Will enlists a pianist to play Burt Bacharach’s 1965 classic about healing while wooing Nina. Wooing her not to print her scoop, that is. You could think of it as the title track/salve for the 1960s. Originally recorded by Jackie DeShannon, it has been covered by more than 100 artists (I prefer Dionne Warwick’s version). Also in 1965 Bacharach married Angie Dickinson, who was the hottest piece in Hollywood at the time. It was a good year for Burt Bacharach.

Angie Dickinson: If The Big Lead existed in the Sixties, they would’ve run this pic in The Roundup.

You may only remember the song from “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery”, in which Austin deploys Bacharach himself to perform it from the back of an open-aired limo as he and Vanessa Kensington parade down the Las Vegas Strip. However, those of you who are fans of Danish Zodiac porn comedy (you know who you are) may remember hearing it in I Jomfruens tegn.

6. “Mean Girls… Heathers” “Lord of the Flies.”

You may be more popular, but I will go on to make out with Ryan Gosling. Advantage, me.

As Will and Nina discuss gossip and civility, he tosses out two films about high school females being bitchy to one another. The first starred Winona Ryder and the latter starred Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams. I was waiting for a “Bring It On” reference myself. Nina counters with a male analogue, “Lord of the Flies”, although that really does not fit. Will begins to correct her, but then realizes that here discretion is the better part of valor. Nice move, Don.

7. “I’m gonna own somebody/There’s gonna be a heartache tonight…”

Will interrupts the daily staff pitch meeting to ask, “Who the $%#* leaked the story to Nina Howard?” In so doing he references a 1979 song by The Eagles that surely no one on the staff would know…if they even know who The Eagles are.

8. “We all got pregnant by reading Lady Chatterly’s Lover.”

A 1928 D.H. Lawrence novel that was the “Fifty Shades of Grey” of its era.

9. “It happens in every road movie. Bing Crosby and Bob Hope…Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin.. and you can be Dorothy Lamour.”

Jim, Grace Gummer and Drunk, Fat Guy (“Tequila!”) are sitting around a bar after a day of covering the Romney campaign when Drunk, Gat Guy suggests that Jim let down his guard some. “Road” movies have always been popular (“Midnight Run” celebrated its 25th anniversary last week), but the genre’s paragon are the seven Crosby and Hope films from 1940 to 1962 (Road to Morocco, Road to Zanzibar, etc.). You know what another terrific “road” film was? Dumb and Dumber, though I cannot seem to remember who starred in it.

Dorothy Lamour played the paraLamour-or-less (yes, I’m going to that pitch more than Mo goes to the cutter) of the two men, strictly PG. That was what the sarong reference.

10. “Find me an informed member of the Pajama Party…”

1964: What the world needs now, is lust, sweet lust…

McKenzie sure does know a lot of old American references for a Brit. Or maybe she’s just Canadian. Anyway, this is a condescending reference to Occupy Wall Street in which she is equating them to the gang of vapid youths from a 1964 beach party film.

11. “Will: We ride.”

I’m pretty sure this is another Don Quixote reference.

12. “They need us! Okay, who’s with me?”

Heeyyyyyyy, maybe just maybe it is JIM who is playing the role of Don Quixote de La Mancha. The scene on the bus in which Jim asks for volunteers to revolt is very reminiscent of the “O Captain! My Captain!” scene at the conclusion of Dead Poets’ Society, which I am sure that Sorkin wishes he had written.

And suddenly, as Jim, Gummer and Fat, Drunk Guy are booted from the bus, we have our “Road” movie.



Starting Five

1. The Tragedy of A-Rod

Alex Rodriguez, and the grin that hides the pain.

Robinson Cano takes cuts at pitches that his father throws at the 2013 All-Star Game Home Run Derby.

Derek Jeter’s father –and mother– attend more games at Yankee Stadium than many Little League parents do as well.

And then there is Alex Rodriguez, a third member of the New York Yankee infield the past few years who should have been a Hall of Famer (and a first-ballot Hall of Famer, at that), who has never had a relationship with his father. It shows in how A-Rod is constantly trying to win our approval while never confessing to any of his myriad sins, baseball and otherwise. Rodriguez has a pathological need to demonstrate to us that he is not at fault, or that he is doing the right thing, that he is perfect.

And as the evidence consistently piles up at him that he is far from it –whether the New York Post splashes a photo of him entering an elevator with a buxom blonde while he was still married, or if MLB pummels him with Biogenesis evidence — Rodriguez still refuses to face the music.

Refuses to acknowledge: I cheated. Because who will love him if he does that? I’m just a poor boy/Nobody loves me. )He’s just a poor boy/From a poor fa-mi-ly.)

It’s a sad tale.

Arizona Diamondback pitcher Patrick Corbin, just 23, is 12-1 in his first full season in the majors.

Dodger rookier Yasiel Puig is a beast.

The Pittsburgh Pirates don’t suck!

And all we talk about this season is Alex Rodriguez, who has yet to have an at-bat. Because we don’t watch sports, we watch PEOPLE playing sports. And A-Rod is the ultimate Shakespearian tragedy writ large on a diamond.

Bob Nightengale of the USA Today says A-Rod will never wear pinstripes again, an assertion I’ve been making since last winter. And I still believe it after the events of the past 24 hours. The Yanks, by pushing back his rehab assignment to at least August 1, are buying time for MLB to suspend him.

2. John Oliver is NOT Boron Us

John Oliver: The true English prince of the Summer of ’13

Last night’s episode of The Daily Show — my only MUST WATCH program — featured a blistering opening segment about, I’m sorry, the bullshit that Goldman Sachs is perpetrating. In brief, GS owns aluminum storage warehouses and it also has the ability to bet vast sums of money on commodities futures. Do you see where that may be a conflict-of-interest? If you do not, then watch the segment.

Also, if you ever wondered how intellectually dishonest Fox News can be, their business analyst, Charlie Gasparino (a frequent guest at the steakateria who treats the staff with respect) claims on-air to not be able to understand the skullduggery that GS is pulling.

Geez, this is classic, classic stuff. I’d invite Oliver and his serfs to send this in as their Emmys reel, but they’ve done half a dozen pieces this solid in his brief interregnum. Brief, but glorious.

Also, my man Jeff Bradley’s big brother, Bob, the soccer coach of the Egyptian national team, makes an appearance later.

3. The Young and The Penniless

“Glory days, they will pass you by…” (that’s your author just off Young’s left wrist band)


The shameful aspect of Vince Young being bankrupt isn’t the fact that only seven years earlier he signed a contract that guaranteed him $26 million. The shameful aspect is that on top of that he took out a $1.7 million loan.

And now the former Texas quarterback, one of the best players (if not THE best) to not win a Heisman Trophy in the past decade, is flat-broke. And must auction off most of his stuff.

4. “At the Pope-a, Pope-a-cabana, the hottest priest south of Havana…”

Waves of people meet waves of water. I’ll take the ocean minus the points.

How can you not love Pope Francis? This pontiff knows how to party, throwing a massive, well, mass at Copacabana Beach in Brazil. Let’s continue this tour with stops in Cabo, Manhattan Beach and an Ash Wednesday service amidst the flotsam of empties on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

Impressive, but let’s see the replica of St. Peter’s Cathedral.

Francis: The pope who’s dope!


5. Blood on the Tracks

Garzon: Going off the rails on a crazy train.

In the words of another man with a thick Spanish accent, the driver of the high-speed train (KTVU is identifying him as “Speedy Gonzalez”) that crashed in Spain, claiming 78 lives, “has some ‘splainin’ to do.”

It seems that the driver, whose actual name is Francisco Jose Garzon de Amoboasted on Facebook of the excessive speeds at which he enjoyed driving his choo choo.

“Facebook: the rope that lets you hang yourself.” (That should be it’s new motto.)



Starting Five

1. Jim Delany Does John Galt

And he’s not even running for mayor of New York City…

Yesterday Jim Delany took the podium at the conclusion of Big Ten media days and delivered the rhetorical equivalent of a Purdue-Illinois game. The Big Ten commish spoke for more than 23 meandering minutes and put a pack of reporters, likely already woozy from having just inhaled (a free) lunch, dangerously close to slumber.

Texas congresswoman Wendy Davis wonders if Delany is not long-winded.

One of the points that Delany broached, and has been promoting for some time now, is a “cost of attendance” stipend. The idea being that full-scholarship athletes would receive $3,000 to $6,000 per year as a cost-of-living allowance. Which is another term for “salary”, although you’d never hear Delany use that word.

Full-scholarship football players at big-time universities already receive the following:

Free tuition.

Free room and board.

Free books and often preferred status in registering for classes.

Free gear, from shoes to sweats to T-shirts. It may not be Hollister –although there’s no reason Hollister cannot strike a sponsorship deal with, say, UCLA– but most NCAA athletes do not seem to mind being clad in Nike or Adidas or Under Armour.

Free and highly attentive tutoring. THE Ohio State University, for example, has 21 (quick, Buckeye players: Is that less or more than two dozen?) “experienced and committed staff members” whose role it is to provide academic support.


This is Sammy Watkins of Clemson. He may be the most exciting player in the state of South Carolina, which is saying something.

Intangible perks that most college students can only dream of: girls, access to privileges at local restaurants and saloons, free tickets to home games, girls, rock-star status on campus, golf carts (when they are injured), favor with those who hustle trees (if they themselves are not the ones hustling trees), and girls.


Meanwhile, the average student who graduates with a four-year college degree finds himself or herself looking at a debt of $26,600, which is likely close to their entire first-year salary out of college, assuming they don’t tack on more debt by choosing to attend grad school.

Is the disparity between what big-time football schools earn off their players and what players receive (the above) the fiscal equivalent of an unbalanced line? Hell, yes. But are “student-athletes” already being paid? Of course. Anyone who believes that further giving football players, for example, $4,000 per year in cash will end the Oliver Twist-ian requests for “More, please”, well, I’d like to introduce you to every kid (every person?) who ever lived.

And I’d like some of those neon-yellow kicks that Oregon players get.

And once you break that seal, overtly paying payers to play, then it just becomes an annual issue of negotiating how much.

It does NOT have to be as Draconian as you may think I am being. My suggestions, some of which to Delany’s credit he echoed yesterday:

1) If a school sells a jersey with a player’s number or name or likeness on it, be it in the campus bookstore or to EA Sports, that player will receive a tiny percentage of that revenue (we can discuss the amount later). The player receives that money in a trust, which will be given him upon his graduation from college.

2) A player who finds himself in both decent academic and disciplinary standing within that school will be provided as much time as he needs to complete his undergraduate degree.

3) A player who graduates cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude is eligible for either a financial reward or a grant that goes toward his graduate education.

4) A player who is below the poverty line may be offered, by the school(s) recruiting him, a second non-athletic scholarship to be used by a sibling (or parent) who is academically qualified to attend that school.

That’s a start. More can be done. As Delany (a commish whose surname sort of encompasses two of the most successful football programs in the history of the sport, Yale and ND) also mentioned, there needs to be a greater de-emphasis on the year-round time suck of being a college football player (hello, Dan Hawkins).

Recognizing the disparity between what big-time football schools earn and what rights its laborers should have is the right thing to do. Simply throwing cash at young men who already have unbelievable access to privilege and favor is the NCAA equivalent of the parent who buys his/her child another toy to stop them from whining. It’s not about the need for the toy; it’s about the guilt about failing as a parent in the first place.

2. Spain Rail Tragedy


This is awful. At least 78 people die in northern Spain as a high-speed train derails while curving around a bend. This raw video shows you the accident unfold in Santiago de Compostela in the northwest part of the Iberian peninsula.

3. He’s With Leathers

If Weiner wins the mayoral election, can we rename it “Eww! York City?”

New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner may have some serious ideas about the issues facing New Yorkers –Is it possible to make Citi Bikes lighter, for example? — but as long as he is sexting 23 year-old women with real names such as Sydney Leathers, do any of his bona fides matter? Weiner’s paramour-or-less first reached out to Carlos Danger (Weiner’s nom de selfie) after he resigned from his congressional seat.

Carlos Danger: And YOU want to be my latex salesman?


You might say that Carlos Danger is not unlike the narrator in the song “Flagpole Sitta”  (you have my permission to TURN IT UP!) by the late-Nineties rock group Harvey Danger: “I’m not sick/But I’m not well/And I’m so hot/Cause I’m in hell…”


Harvey Danger

4. Mosc-Ow! on the Hudson

Moment of Impact: Met baserunner Eric Young snaps Brave pitcher Tim Hudson’s ankle.

Freak play at Citi Field. In the eighth inning New York Mess batter Eric Young hits a hard grounder to Brave first baseman Freddie Freeman (who is white; we just want to mention that because surely he’s a member of the Reggie Cleveland All-Stars), who fails to field it cleanly. Brave pitcher Tim Hudson, 38, who owns a career record of 205-111, goes to cover the bag. Hudson steps on top of the bag just a split-second before Young’s right foot descends upon the same intended spot. Snap!

Hudson, who struck out nine and picked up the win, suffered a right ankle fracture and is done for the season. The Yankees responded by immediately placing Derek Jeter on the 30-day disabled list.

5. Edward Snowden now starring in The Terminal 2

Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) spent nine months inside JFK Airport in the 2004 film The Terminal.

So, Edward Snowden, who has spent the last five weeks inside Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow, still has a long way to go. Fortunately, there is this thing known as Russian literature, which is quite time-consuming. We hear that Snowden’s attorney has brought him some books to help pass the time. There should be a BoDog bet on whether Snowden will depart the airport or  finish Anna Karenina first.


O’Leary in his Bishop Dwyer high school days. Not really pertinent, but how do we NOT run this photo?

The video is two months old, but the news was just released yesterday. Florida State tight end Nick O’Leary, who, yes, is Jack Nicklaus’ grandson and who first gained notoriety by making an obscene gesture at the end of a nationally televised high school football game inside Ohio Stadium –and being suspended for it; thanks, ESPN cameras! — was involved in a scary motorcycle crash.

No idea how fast he was traveling at the time.

O’Leary somehow walked away from this accident, so give it your best shots, ACC safeties.

If you’re scoring at home, Jason Sudeikis is…

1) leaving Saturday Night Live

2) not leaving Olivia Wilde

Not making this up: Wilde’s actual surname is Cockburn.

Sudeikis confirmed the former news during an appearance last night on Late Show with David Letterman. Credit Dave for responding to the news with, “Now, do they know that? I mean, have you run this by someone?”

One of Sudeikis’ more memorable moments on SNL, as The Devil.

It was the right time for Sudeikis to depart, as Bill Hader and Fred Armisen –and by the end of 2013, Seth Meyers– are all making exoduses as well. That’s his era. Sudeikis certainly seemed like a prodigal son at SNL the past year or two, though.

Sorority Girl News

Still working as an unpaid intern at ACN

A bit of tid on the comely young woman who plays “Sorority Girl” on “The Newsroom”, who initially gained fame on the series by standing up, in the pilot, and asking Will MacAvoy (Jeff Daniels), “Can you say why America is the greatest country in the world?”

She is in fact, not American.

The actress, Riley Voelkel, is actually from Calgary, Alberta (and initially had a non-speaking role in another Aaron Sorkin vehicle, “The Social Network”). Yes, it has come to this: America is even out-sourcing its All-American looking coeds. If you want a young lady who looks like the classic All-American girl, go to Canada. As Pamela Anderson says, “Hell, I knew that twenty years ago.”

CJ: Go ahead and make your “rescue cans” joke.


The Film Room with Chris Corbellini: THE WAY WAY BACK

The Boy of Summer: The Way Way Back

by Chris Corbellini

Full disclosure: One of the first images in “The Way Way Back” is a cutaway of a street sign that says “Welcome to Wareham — Home of Water Wizz Park,” and at that moment I jerked in my seat the way your knee jerks after a doctor taps it with a reflex hammer. It was the first time in my movie-going life a coming-of-age story unspooled exactly where I came of age. It was a bizarre and surprising feeling, but most welcome. As such, I spent portions of “Back” guessing and recognizing the filming locations (mostly Onset, Massachusetts) while I should have been concentrating on the drama.
If movie trailers are an accurate depiction of contemporary American life, then males are never more hilariously awkward than in their virginal mid-teens, and females never more so than when they are in their mid-30s, single, and coping with an impending marriage of a younger sister.  Movie previews a year from now will tell us so, five years from now, and onward. Perhaps those are the audiences Hollywood is trying to attract. Or perhaps those are the painful years audiences of all ages empathize with. For the purposes of this review, let’s deal with the boys.  The thirty-somethings and forty-somethings are having a blast in “The Way Way Back,” an amiable drama-comedy about a 14-year-old dealing with mom’s boorish boyfriend and the pretty, perfectly age-appropriate blondie one house down the street.
Said street is spectacular to look at in a New England-y way, and as one of the wiser supporting characters points out, “there’s a beach in your backyard.” It’s a stretch of summer homes where for a few weeks everyone knows each other, tans together, drinks beers together, and possibly more shenanigans. The new boyfriend (Steve Carell) has a family place in that spot, and as the group drives toward their intended destination he asks the awkward boy, Duncan, to rate himself from 1-10. The poor kid (Liam James) begrudgingly plays along and says he’s a 6. Carell’s character, the smarmiest guy he’s ever played, retorts with “I think you’re a 3.”

Steve Carrell aficionados will note this is both his second film with Collette and second that takes place in the Cape Cod region.

That exchange, uttered from the angle of a rear-view mirror, sets the tone for the teen: Get on board, or be left behind. He chooses left behind. While everyone else is enjoying boat trips and margaritas in the first half of the film, Duncan sort of bounces and drifts like tumbleweed from the beach to the breakfast table to the street to the dinner table. The girl next door (AnnaSophia Robb, from “The Carrie Diaries”) understands those sad eyes and mopey posture better than most, given her own broken home experiences, and so he admits to her he wants to live with his father, now building a life in San Diego. Alas, the boyfriend inevitably reveals at a boozy beach party the ugly truth — that daddy doesn’t want him.  This all transpires on lovely summer evenings, and I wondered if anyone else ever noticed that when movie characters are talking profoundly near the ocean there’s never any wind.
Act 1 is very afterschool special, but the filmmakers had a weapon stashed away for Act 2: a water park filmed lovingly at the real-life Water Wizz Park in Wareham, the gateway town to Cape Cod. Here Duncan meets the Sam Rockwell character, Owen, who is a half-assed manager to a funky crew of park employees. Duncan is promptly hired and finds a place for himself.

“No, I’ve never seen ‘Adventureland’. What’s it about?”

Rockwell is known for chewing up every frame of the scenery, and he’s perfect as the guy who looks so cool during the touristy season, all the while hiding the hardships of living in a tourist town in winter with that same humor. Better, he even admits to Duncan what happens to the cool townie when winter hits -– a confession you rarely catch in actual life.  His girlfriend, a co-worker played by former “Saturday Night Live” star Maya Rudolph, drills a few classic lines herself.
But Rockwell and Rudolph are only bystanders to the best moment in “Back:” when Duncan must convince some park goers to stop dancing at the water park for money (think the performers at NYC’s Washington Square Park). Something unexpected occurs — instead of the dancers grousing about it, they ask the kid to show them his own moves, and miracle of miracles, Duncan obliges and the crowd slurps it up. With help Duncan finishes with a breakdance head-spin (lensed terrifically from an upside-down angle, so we feel it), and afterward, amidst the applause, our boy relaxes his shoulders and smiles. So does the movie.

James (L) and Rockwell.

At this point the main character (and the audience) doesn’t want to bike back home, but he must because there’s a worried mother in the mix, played by Toni Collette. She’s underused a bit but still outstanding. Like in “Little Miss Sunshine”, Collette is a natural around the dinner and living room tables, and adds some extra seasoning to throwaway lines like “dinner’s almost ready.” I had no problem with Carell and Collette as a couple here after they played brother and sister in “Sunshine,” because these are completely different personalities with almost-terminal problems in their relationship. As the son’s spirits lift, the mother’s mood sags.
But like mothers do, how can she stay low for long when her kid finally seems so happy? In the finale the young lead looked like an otter, his t-shirt soaking wet, his face sun-kissed and pleasant. This is as it should be during a vacation stay: Enjoy it all and make a big splash at the end of the waterslide. One of the directors, Nat Faxon, is from the area and plays a lifeguard in the picture. Maybe he was a lifeguard there for real at 14, or a spot someplace nearby.   Faxon and his co-director, Jim Rash (who has a funny part as well, as a park employee who sells swim trunks), were coming off an Oscar win for adapted screenplay for the surf-and-sand drama “The Descendants,” and probably had a credit line to make one personal picture. Maybe “Back,” shot in Faxon’s old backyard, was that passion play. If so, he made a movie with a PG-13 pitch just right to watch on a rainy day in a beach town.
Indeed, some conversations on summer nights, where the weathered wood of a porch meets the sand, stick with you forever.  Back in the summer of 2010, at the end of a Fourth of July weekend, I drove through Wareham — again, the setting of the movie — to visit a street where I spent my own vacations over 20 years earlier.  When I stepped out of the car the locals happily came out to greet me. This wasn’t a surprise — they were friendly to me as a kid, after all. But what I didn’t expect was how they anticipated my arrival. They explained that summer after summer, July after July, once-young visitors came back older and grayer, sometimes with their own kids, if only for a long moment. The neighborhood has been inviting my generation back for years. It was just my turn. Put that in a movie trailer.


Starting Five

1. Welcome to Weinerville


Erstwhile U.S. congressman Anthony Weiner, a.k.a. “Carlos Danger” (apparently, unlike Austin Powers, “Danger” is his last name), is once again in hot water –as wieners often find themselves before being put between a bun. See, Weiner has decided that he has paid for his sexual misadventures enough and wants to resume a career in public service (also known as “Spitzering“). In fact, he wants to become the mayor of the greatest city in the world.

And then earlier this week the gossip site The Dirty (“Scottsdale! Representin’!”) posted details of on-line correspondence between Weiner and other females that occurred after his inglorious exodus from politics. So, there’s that. Weiner is defiantly forging ahead because, let’s face it, Michael Bloomberg cannot live forever –although he certainly could afford to– and David Wright does not want the job.

Nick Gilronan: He’s no Geraldo.

Speaking of Weiners/wieners, remember a month or so ago when we reported that a Brooklyn saloon, the Kings County Bar, was going to stage a contest to find Brooklyn’s smallest wiener. Well, that happened and Nick Gilronan, 27, who happens to work at a UPS store –yes, he handles small packages for a living — won.

And Gilronan has our vote for mayor. He’s already won one more election than Anthony Weiner will in the next year.

2. Sharknado-esque

The beach at Recife, which has seen 10 fatal shark attacks since 1992.

If you’re thinking, There just have not been enough brutal videos of human carnage emanating from Brazil this summer, well, we have just the item for you. In what sounds like the cruelest “Baywatch” plot twist of all time, an 18 year-old female swimmer was fatally attacked by a bull shark as lifeguards were rescuing her from drowning. The woman, Bruna Gobbi, was struggling in rough waves on the beach in Recife when lifeguards, one riding a waverunner, came to her rescue. Just at that moment the shark took a bite out of one of her lower legs and the surrounding water turned red.

That’s the difference between bull sharks and humpbacked whales. The former don’t miss. And if you don’t think bull sharks mean business, watch this video.

3. Gainesville D.A. Pooch Punts Antonio Morrison Case

Soon after police put Morrison in a four-point stance

Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison will not be serving any time in the kennel following his arrest for barking at a police dog. State attorney Bill Cervone told the Associated Press that the “dismissal is based on the lack of evidence to warrant much less legally sustain those charges, and the complete inappropriateness of pursing court action against Morrison, or anyone else, under the circumstances involved.”

It’s only July and the Gators already have a leg up on the Dawgs.

To Morrison’s credit, he never appears violent or belligerent in the music video. At worst he seems bemused and surprised. Kind of like when my manager at the steakateria told me he was firing me for forgetting to wipe the steam arm of the cappuccino machine. Really?! Really!?! Really?

Things could have gone much worse for Morrison. After all, he could have come across a neighborhood watchman as opposed to Gainesville’s Finest. Or the RIPD. Either way, let’s take a moment to appreciate Morrison’s sartorial statement. He is wearing a T-shirt that reads “Hustle Trees”, which is slang for “sell marijuana.” I’m sure not a single NFL GM will take note of that (they will all take note of that).

4. “I Want To Break Free”

The chameleon-like Sacha Baron Cohen (Ali G., Borat, The Dictator) has dropped out of portraying late Queen front man Freddie Mercury for an eponymous biopic due to creative differences with the band’s surviving members. That is SUCH a diva rock-star move.

Why can’t we give love one more chance? Why can’t we give love just one more chance? Why can’t we give love, give love, give love, give love, give love….

SBC had actually enlisted writer Peter Morgan to work on the script and make it, in his opinion, less PG in terms of Mercury’s flamboyantly gay lifestyle. Morgan won an Oscar for his script for The Queen.

“Oh, baby! Can’t do this to me, baby. Just gotta get out, just getta get right outta here.”

5. Lightning A-Rod

Two of the Big Apple’s more respected and veteran baseball writers took opposite stances on A-Rod in the past few days. It’s rare to see writers who have known each other, what, a quarter-century, do this. Joel Sherman penned a column for Sunday’s New York Post in which he visited the Yankee third baseman in the wilds of Triple A ball and came away with an “exclusive interview” about how Rodriguez continues to toil for the same reason Kevin Costner did, even though Kelly Preston had left him for John Travolta (wait, what?).

Maybe that’s why Sherman got the exclusive. Suuuuh-mooch!

Sherman’s column inspired Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record, who has only been covering the MLB in NYC since Fernando Valenzuela’s rookie year, to not-in-so-many-words call, “Bullshit.” Klapisch was respectful to his peer, but he asked the question, “How does A-Rod’s passion (for playing baseball) square with using steroids?”

And does A-Rod love baseball enough to come clean about his steroid use?
Klapisch reminds us of another former Yankee slugger/former MVP/steroid cheat, Jason Giambi who, like A-Rod, once tendered an eight-figure deal from the Yankees. Giambi is now earning $750,000 as a 42 year-old benchwarmer for the Cleveland Indians. Would A-Rod ever go that far to prove his love for baseball, Klapisch wonders?


“After a Thoreau Search Near Walden Pond…”

Bulger: Basically, the Jack Nicholson character from “The Departed”.

One of our favorite, and most reliable, news sources, The Onion, with breaking news on the Whitey Bulger trial in Boston.

Yet Another Gem From John Oliver

This first aired a week ago but it’s worth it. John Oliver, who has been a rock star as Jon Stewart’s summer replacement at The Daily Show, on both the George Zimmerman verdict and the state of Florida (“Just because you’re shaped like a combination of a gun and a #$%* doesn’t mean you have to act like one…”). Our favorite moment, and this is why shows such as The Daily Show –and certain snarky blogs –exist, is to point out ironies that our more respected news media should have noticed the first time, is when George Zimmerman’s brother expresses fear (start at 3:26) that his exonerated sibling may now be a target (“There are people who would want to take the law into their own hands as they perceive it or, you know, be vigilantes in some sense…”) to Piers Morgan.


Also worth noting: Later during that same telecast, Oliver interviews Aaron Sorkin, creator of “The Newsroom”. The show loses power just before the interview is to commence, so they must do the interview with handhelds. Yes, it’s a scene like something you’d see from Will MacAvoy and McKenzie McHale.

It gets better.

The two men are seated in director’s chairs and at one point Oliver drops his cheat sheet with questions and facts about Sorkin. But both men pretend not to notice. Then, later in the interview, just as Sorkin is make a point about how he did NOT create his series “to show the professionals like you how it’s done” (1:45), someone off-camera hands the slip of paper back to Oliver. Both men laugh at the irony while never directly mentioning it. For a seasoned screenwriter such as Sorkin, it must be humbling to be reminded that reality is always incredible than fiction.


“Wikipedia is quite useful…”

Let’s talk about dingoes!

The lovely and luminous Cate Blanchett, who apparently knocks it out of the park in Woody Allen’s new film, Blue Jasmine (Corbellini, get on it!), stopped by Late Show with David Letterman on Monday night. And I don’t know if you want to blame it on aging, or being flustered by Blanchett’s beauty and wit, but Dave seemed a little dense. After his fourth or fifth boiler-plate question about Australia, her home land, and that region of the planet (Former Penal colony? Tasmania? New Zealand? Marsupials?), a pleasantly frustrated Blanchett finally rebuked him (7:50 mark) with the above quote. That seemed to wake him up some.



This video may be proof that we actually did not “hunt the dodo into extinction.” Stay classy, CNN. That’s CNN International anchor Jonathan Mann, who is now the best friend of every staffer at KTVU.


Starting Five

1. It’s a Boy-al!

The London sky last night.

All of England was pulling for Duchess Kate yesterday, while her physician at St. Mary’s Hospital was telling her, “Push!” Kate gave birth, as reports said, “to a baby boy”, though as someone wondered on Twitter, isn’t the word “baby” rather extraneous here? That cheeky tabloid, The Sun, renamed itself for the day.

There are now three potential male HRH’s alive –Prince Charles, Prince William, and The Prince Formerly Known as Fetus. Speculation is that the name will be George or James, and that you may rule out North and Barkevious.

Aunt Pippa. Future babysitter.


The youngest male to ascend to throne of England, in case you were wondering: Henry VI, who did so at the age of nine months in 1423. For multiple reasons, then, he never sang, “Oh, I just can’t wait to be king!”

You’d expect Kate to be a stay-at-castle mom, and for William, the father, to become the next reigning monarch in England. After all, his grandmother, who currently has the gig, is 87. Who does she think she is? Vin Scully?

2. Braun is Gone

Braun will be stripped of his yellow jersey…for the remainder of the 2013 season.

Milwaukee Brewer slugger Ryan Braun, the “Hebrew Hammer” and winner of the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player award, has been suspended for the rest of this season due to “violations of the Basic Agreement and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.”

Braun skated by on a technicality last season –thanks, FedEx–but Major League Baseball apparently assembled enough information to compel him to step down without a fight. He’ll cede about $3.25 million in salary. Last year Braun defiantly denied ever using PEDs. Yesterday he admitted, “I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes.”

Although this was not one of them.

With Braun shelved, Milwaukee native and baseball commissioner Bud Selig can now turn his attention to investigating Bob Uecker. I mean, look at this guy. He’s 78!

Jussssssst a bit outside the line of decency.


3. Carlos Hyde Will Likely Miss Ohio State’s Key Games Versus Buffalo and San Diego State

This actually is a wall in the Buckeye locker room. Maybe if they made the words bigger?

Things Ohio State football has beaten this summer so far: Cancer and, allegedly, women.

Starting running back Carlos Hyde, a senior who rushed for 970 yards last season, was “suspended indefinitely” after he was named a “person of interest” in an assault at Sugar Bar 2 in Columbus early Sunday morning. Why can’t B1G players just bark at dogs (“S-E-C!” S-E-C!”). Whether Hyde actually struck the female or, as video may suggest, simply patted her on the cheek after she struck him (and what did you SAY, Carlos?), is still being investigated.

Roby’s arrest is the reason football powers schedule patsies in September. It’s suspension season.

Teammate Bradley Roby, an All-American cornerback who is a likely top ten draft pbick next spring, was arrested in Bloomington, Ind., that same evening. Roby was charged with misdemeanor battery after an altercation at Dunkirk Bar. At this point all we know is that Roby has been scratched from attending next week’s Big Ten media days in Chicago, which is actually a reward, not a punishment.

4. Another Banking Failure

July 22: Both Netflix stock and Adam Silberman plunged. But they’ll both recover.

Adam Silberman, 47, a Wall Street banker and president of Solas Investments, attempted to leap to his death yesterday from his 7th-story apartment. According to Silberman’s wife, Monique Ender Silberman, Adam was distraught over constant battles with their building’s coop board over the family’s three French poodles. We’ve all been there.

Anyway, a second-story awning broke Silberman’s fall and he survived. Apparently, both stocks and Silberman can plummet and rebound.

5. Jahar

I read the news today, oh boy. Okay, not the news but I did read the Rolling Stone cover story on the Boston Bomber by Janet Reitman. I urge you to read it and decide if you agree with some of the larger points being made about the brothers and their descent into being dissidents. One quote that really struck me, from Tom Neer, an analyst at the Soufan Group, a strategic consulting agency: “A person is angry, and he needs an explanation for that angst. Projecting blame is a defense mechanism. Rather than say, ‘I’m lost, I’ve got a problem’, it’s much easier to find a convenient enemy or scapegoat. The justification comes later.”

The Mass. State Trooper who released this photo without authorization was suspended.


The older brother was a stay-at-home dad who’d just had his housing welfare cut (that evil America! How dare they stop giving me handouts!) while the younger brother was a stoner who was flunking out of a college that he was largely paying for on his own. Yes, there were family problems, but who doesn’t have them? Instead of facing their problems –character is how you react to the bad times — they opted to blame the country that provided them freedom. Kinda the way miserable adults blame their functional and loving parents for all their problems, yaar?

Or, as Uncle Ruslan so aptly put it, “Because they’re losers.”

Meanwhile, Massachusetts State Trooper Sean Murphy (I know. A cop in Boston named Sean Murphy?) released the above photo and others to Boston magazine as a rebuttal to the RS cover.

“I hope that the people who see these images will know that this was real. It was as real as it gets,” Boston magazine quoted Sgt. Murphy as saying. “This guy is evil. This is the real Boston bomber. Not someone fluffed and buffed for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.”


Louis CK on The Daily Show. You even have to ruminate about clicking this? Louie on appearing in the upcoming Woody Allen film: “That’s all I wanted to do, was to meet him before he died.”

This is Nina Agdal, 21, and there’s absolutely no reason for her to be appearing in this space at this time. She’s a great Dane.

Six Flags at Half Mast?

The good news for Six Flags corporation? Yesterday it reported record earnings for the first half of 2013. Yayyyy!

The bad news for Six Flags? Over the weekend a 52 year-old woman, Rosy Esparza, fell out of one of its rollercoasters and, as we’ve been reporting since the inception of this blog, gravity won. Booo!

The good news for Six Flags? They have $100 million in liability insurance coverage so go ahead, Esparza clan, bring your best suit forward. It’s what they refer to as “an insured loss.”

The Annotated “Newsroom”: Episode 2

If there’s one thing that the second episode of “The Newsroom” taught us, it’s that bars in New Hampshire and New York have not updated their playlists since 1982. We get “Take It On The Run” by REO Speedwagon (1981), “Hold The Line” by Toto (1979), “Head Games” by Foreigner (1979) and Willie Nelson’s incomparable version of “You Were Always on My Mind” (1982). Is Aaron Sorkin exposing his personal preference or is he trying to tell us something?

Sorority Girl: Sorkin’s latest ingénue. I see her hooking up with Slumdog and going off in search of Bigfoot together.

1. “How long does it take New Yorkers to stop giving people shit over a mistake?”
     “Ask A-Rod.”

Zing! Jerry Dantana –and is his surname a reference to Robert Urich’s “Vega$” character?– asks McKenzie McHale the morning after the Cyrus question mark West ellipses debacle. A great line for a New Yorker to say, even if she’s a Brit expat.

2. Sylvia Plath

Sloane and Maggie decide to take the 7 train to Queensboro Plaza to hunt down the blogger/YouTuber who exposed Maggie’s ridiculous rant. Sloane drops the name of the Pulitzer Prize-winning confessional poetess. This scene is one of the most unbelievable in Sorkindom, as no news anchor would ever be seen on the 7 train unless, and only unless, he or she were headed to a Mets game or the U.S. Open.

3. Salvador Dali mask/Guy Fawkes mask

“You’re lookin’ swell, Dali/I can tell, Dali/You’re still growin’ — wait, what?”

Two of the MM’s (McKenzie Minions… my coinage) debate the type of mask they are seeing during the arrests at the “Occupy Wall Street” rally. The female calls it a Salvador Dali mask, while the male corrects her and informs her that it is a Guy Fawkes mask, which sends me to Google to search “Guy Fawkes.” Do you think it is a coincidence that within the first minute of Season 2 Sorkin sets up a moment in which Will MacAvoy calls out an attorney for searching a term he just used on Google? I don’t. That’s Sorkin saying that he is MacAvoy and all of us are the attorney and that, well, he just knows things. “Some people call it a gift; I call it a burden.”

5. “John Dillinger said that the problem with living outside the law is that you no longer have the protection of it.”

“That doesn’t sound like Dillinger.”

From now on let’s attribute all famous quotes to Dillinger. “John Dillinger once said, ‘One small step for man…”

Will gets the first line, and Charlie gets the second in this battle of “I’m not an Actual New York City prosecutor, but I’ve played one on TV”. My Google search informs me that Charlie is correct. Apparently it was Truman Capote, most of who’s crimes were fashion-related, actually said this. So now we know.

John Dillinger was shot and killed while leaving a theater in Chicago. The movie he had seen, which is ironic considering the show to which we are devoting this annotation, was Manhattan Melodrama.




Starting Five

1. Triumph and Triomphe

Relax. Those are French fighter jets flying over Paris.

The biggest sports stories on a mid-summer Sunday took place overseas. In Muirfield, Scotland, Phil Mickelson shot a final round 66 to win the British Open, his fifth major. Lefty won his first Claret Jug hard on the shores of the Firth of Forth, which is either a body of water or a Monty Python sketch (it also reminds us that people with a lisp cannot properly pronounce “lisp”, which just seems mean-spirited).

On the south side of Hadrian’s Wall, and then across the English Channel, Chris Froome 28, won the 100th staging of the Tour de France. Froome, who was born in Kenya and raised in South Africa but is technically British, led the Peloton through the Palace of Versailles — someone has a major mopping job to do this morning -and then the streets of Paris at sunset, which is a departure for the famed race.

In two years they will all be riding Citi Bikes.

Froome eagerly answered all PED questions and, in a reference to previous Tour champions whose victories have since been stripped (e.g., Lance Armstrong, Floyd Landis, Alberto Contador, etc.), promised, “This is one yellow jersey that will stand the test of time.” Or, the drug test of time. We’ll see.

Andrew Talansky of Banner Elk, N.C., finished 10th and was the top American finisher. He will probably never sit down for an interview with Oprah.

Lefty has won five majors in the past nine years, while Tiger has won six. Lefty had won zero before 2004, Tiger had eight.

Mickelson won $1.4 million. Froome pocketed 450,000 Euros, which is about $550,000. He also did this, which is cool.

Next year’s British Open will be held in Liverpool, England (Fab Foursomes, anyone? Hello?). Next year’s Tour de France’s first three stages will also be held in England, commencing in Leeds.

2. Woofers and Tweeters

On Saturday night University of Florida linebacker Antonio Morrison was arrested for barking at a police dog. This led to a misdemeanor charge and an explosion on Twitter by college football scribes who are trying to survive the doldrums of July.

Greg Auman, a Florida alum and college football writer for the Tampa Bay Times –and faithful friend and reader — tweeted, “I heard they were moving (Morrison) to rover this fall.”

To which Spencer Hall, the genius behinds EDSBS and also a Florida alum, tweeted, “GODDAMNIT!” (presumably because Auman beat him to the punch line).

Then Andy Staples, a Sports Illustrated college football writer and yet another Florida alum (and former Gator player), also joined the conversation. At one point Auman tweeted to both of them, “(Florida coaching staff) will just keep him on a short leash from here on out.”

Florida has announced that Morrison will be suspended for at least two games and will be required to remain at least 20 yards away from UGA IX at all times during the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

3. Another Continent, Another Tour

RAGBAI: The Iowa Cycling Confederacy.

As the 100th Tour de France was closing on Sunday in Paris, the 41st annual RAGBRAI was commencing in Council Bluffs, Iowa. RAGBRAI (an acronym for “Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa”, as in Des Moines Register) is exactly what the name promises. No one keeps score. Just a caravan of tens of thousands of cycling –and fun–enthusiasts pedaling their merry way across the Hawkeye State.

This year, for the first time in 16 years, RAGBRAI will stop in Des Moines along its 406-mile route. Bands play every night, and this year’s lineup is an ode to ’90s bands and includes Live, Everclear and Filter. Hey, wasn’t Pearl Jam just in Chicago last Friday night (ironically, the band’s forthcoming album is titled “Lightning Bolt”)? They should hop on for a night? Either them or noted cycling enthusiast Dave Matthews.

Vedder at Wrigley Field three nights ago. Granted, this pic could be from any year since 1991.

4. The Annotated “The Newsroom”

Season 2’s promo pic: Will’s tie flies, while Jim’s is limp. Where’s Reese and Sorority Girl?


So this was an idea I hatched last year and still hope to do to its full effect. After each episode of The Newsroom I’d like to provide annotations so that all of us can catch/review/comment on Aaron Sorkin’s Sorkiness. To view any Sorkin show is to know that he loves to drop his favorite lines quickly, often while another character is talking over them. Sometimes he gives them to actors with thick British accents so that we deliberately miss them. Of course, Sorkin is the dude with the most expensive wrist watch who enjoys telling you what time it is a little too much. Still, for all the haterade showers he endures, I’ll happily watch. No, it’s not Mad Men or Breaking Bad, but The Newsroom is, at least for me, intensely enjoyable. So here are the annotations –and it’s hardly comprehensive — from the first two episodes of Season 2.
Season Premiere

1. “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”

We see this on the screen before we see any character this season, as Will MacAvoy is being deposed. It’s a line from Shakespeare’s “Henry the Sixth” (which, we should note, is not the sixth in a series of Shakespearian plays about a guy named Henry)

2. Genoa

Sorkin feels compelled to educate us –here is where he is at his most infuriating –that Genoa is not only not Geneva (a city in Switzerland famous for its conventions), but that it is also a city in Italy, a type of salami and also a headsail on a boat. This will be continued in the second episode. In the context of The Newsroom, it is also the codename for an alleged US military black op.

3. “Otherwise, we’ll stay with Sandy”

This is Sorkin’s biggest clue to us, the viewers, that the deposition is taking place last October, while the events that are being discussed in the deposition occurred one year earlier.

4. “She looks like the girl with the dragon tattoo.”

ACN lawyer lady –played by Marcia Gay Harden — notes Margaret Jordan’s spiked ‘do and makes a reference to Stieg Larsson’s Swedish heroine, which would have a higher Q rating back in October of 2012 than it does now.

5. “At Benihana with my kids”

People still dine at Benihana? Really?

6. “7 a.m. waking up in the morning/Gotta be fresh” and “Partying partying yeah!/Partying partying woo!”

This is my favorite Sorkin pop culture reference-drop of the season thus far. As Will bides his time at the anchor desk during a commercial break (oblivious to the fact that things have gone FUBAR in the control room), he is singing Rebecca Black’s annoyingly infectious “Friday.” Again, this would have been big in August of 2011. The song and the artist are never mentioned by name.

7. “Of Thee I Sing”

MacAvoy commands Sorority Girl, now his intern as well as his pet project, to return in five minutes with the five Broadway shows that have won Pulitzers. She only has an opportunity to name this one before he cuts her off. I’m sure it’s hardly a coincidence that the show, a George and Ira Gershwin musical, was a lampoon of American politics.

8. “Cats and kittens, grab your mittens…”

This entire scene, in which Will and McKenzie do the Harry-and-Sally after-midnight-in-Manhattan phone banter thing, is an ode to overnight FM radio in general and deceased WNEW-FM deejay Alison Steele in particular. Steele, who died of stomach cancer in 1995 at age 58, was a pioneering overnight deejay in NYC whose on-air sobriquet was “The Nightbird.”  The song is “Into the Mystic” by Van Morrison, off his 1970 album “Moondance”, which does not have a single bad song.

9. “Ben Franklin. Nailed it.”

Don, who we all hated at the launch of the series but who grows cooler with each episode, has some fun at the expense of American education when Sloane Sabbith notes that 75 % of Oklahoma students don’t know who the first U.S. president was. Of course it was Alexander Hamilton.

10. Roger Daltrey/You Better, You Better, You Bet/Pete Townshend

“Know British rock” versus “No British rock.” Another –for some–infuriating Sorkinism in which he uses a pop culture staple as a theme for a scene. Here, it’s The Who’s “You Better, You Better, You Bet” off 1981’s “Face Dances”, their final solid album. Will uses the theme of the song — an unquenchable thirst for love — to express his relationship with his audience, while failing to appreciate that it also defines his and Mac’s relationship.

Say what you will about Daltrey, but the opening of this song is one of the most identifiable in ’80s rock. Townshend, who wrote the song, is a genius when it comes to lyrics and riffs. Duh. It was during this same period when Townshend, for a solo album, wrote “Let My Love Open The Door” which, if The Who had recorded it, would belong on their Greatest Hits album.

11. “Our ‘Pentagon Papers'”

Classified documents that the New York Times published in 1971 that showed beyond a doubt that the Lyndon Johnson administration had systematically lied to the American public about Vietnam.

You know what? This went a little long. I’ll do Episode 2 tomorrow. Stay tuned.

5. Summer Stunt Deaths (Continued):

Precarious? How?

A woman in Arlington, Texas, falls to her death from a roller coaster. Rosy Esparza falls to her death while riding the Texas Giant at Six Flags over Texas and now there’s a report that she may have asked an attendant if her bar was secure before leaving the station. That’s a massive lawsuit you smell.



–Just a note that Matt Harvey of the Mets beat Cliff Lee of the Phillies yesterday. As @stumptherob noted on Twitter, that’s “two-thirds of an assassination.” (Lee, Harvey)

–That reviled Rolling Stone cover boy turns 20 today. No, not Bieber. Recommended reading: Boston native, RS reporter and near-Chechen terror victim Matt Taibbi’s blog on the controversial cover.