IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Friday, 8/30

Starting Five

1. This is Your Brain on Football

To be honest, I never quite got that ad. Wouldn’t “scrambled” be a superior metaphor to “sunny side up?”


The NFL settles its case with its 18,000 retired players, agreeing to hand over the sum of $765 million plus legal costs but admitting no wrongdoing in terms of failing to disclose traumatic brain injury (TBI) research.

The league’s TV contracts with Fox, CBS and NBC alone (before you even mention DirecTV or ESPN) between now and 2022 are worth more than $27 billion. While $765 million is not quite a parking ticket, it’s the kind of penalty that an HSBC got: It sounds like a lot of money to us minions, but in terms of big business, it’s a number that will not leave a scar.

As opposed to traumatic brain injuries, that research has now shown can lead to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and severe depression or dementia. No one need protect players from playing a game that they want to play AS LONG AS THEY ARE ARMED WITH AS MUCH AVAILABLE INFORMATION AS POSSIBLE. Let’s face it, most would still play the game, anyway.

The scandalous aspect of this is that the nine-figure sum is tantamount to hush money. If the NFL really cares about its players’ well-being, it would be candid and transparent about head injuries, and to hell with the fiscal reperconcussions.

2. Great Scott!

With one foot in the grave, and one foot on the pedal, I was born a Rebel.

Trailing by three with 90 seconds to play and 75 yards from pay dirt, what do you do? Hand the ball off to Jeff Scott on a sweep left is what you do! Mississippi’s five-foot-seven tailback went 75 yards, untouched due to a nifty cutback along the Rebel sideline, to score the game-winner in a wild one at Vanderbilt. The Commodores had just converted a fourth-and-18 two plays earlier, and then scored a 40-yard TD on blown Rebel coverage, to take the lead. Ole Miss frosh phenoms Robert Nkemdiche (“That’s a maaaaaaan, baby!”) at defensive end and Laquon Treadwell (9 catches, 82 yards) at wide receiver are as good as advertised. And quarterback Bo Wallace appears to be reprising the role of “Sunshine” from Remember the Titans. I expect at least one 5,000-word testament on the Rebs this autumn from Ole Miss alum and Oxford resident Wright Thompson.

Also, for the record, Joe Tessitore, Vanderbilt walk-on punter Taylor Hudson is probably an outstanding student and an even better person (he was, after all, his high school’s prom king), but he is not “studying neurosurgery.” That is, unless he is in medical school. In fact, unless he is a neurosurgery resident. Hudson is an undergrad, so he’s simply a dedicated pre-med who aspires to be accepted to med school. Let’s not oversell it.

3. U.S. Military Set to Launch Missile Strike on…Pfizer?

Curiously enough, United Nations weapons inspectors would only need to traipse six blocks to Pfizer’s World HQ on E. 42nd St.

For what it’s worth, approximately 6,570 American women per year (and the number is larger among men) die due to a prescription drug overdose. That figure has quintupled in the past decade. Oh, and Americans’ account for 80% of the world’s pain medication (at this point I should note that Bryant Gumbel has not hijacked this post) because, let’s face it, surviving in Pakistan or Sierra Leone is just tra-la-la. So if you want to talk chemical weapons

The brushback on this is that the Syrian government knowingly murdered its own people by dropping deadly gas on them. And of course that is inexcusable. But if more than 10,000 people per annum are dying stateside due to what is nominally a remedy, then isn’t that remedy a little bonkers? And how many Americans die per year due to marijuana usage? Far, far (if not infinitesimally) less. But then, the prescription drug lobby is far more powerful than Seth Rogen and James Franco. For now, at least.

4. Derek Carr’s Wild Ride

FSU scored 52 points and yet its leading rusher had 30 yards. So, yeah, Carr was running on fumes at the end.


Okay, I wasn’t watching Rutgers at Fresno State, either. But we should have been. The Bulldogs outlasted the Scarlet Knights in overtime, 52-51, as Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr (yes, the younger brother of former No. 1 overall NFL draft pick David Carr) went 52 of 73 for 456 yards and five touchdowns (he’s our wayyyyy early frontrunner for the Red Grange Award). Earlier this month Carr had to rush his newborn son to the hospital with a life-threatening digestive tract problem.
Here’s a terrific profile on Carr, a senior, by David White, in The New York Times. Here’s Carr on his Manziel-like (minus the stats and accolades) freshman year in The Valley: “I was out running around, living the life. Everyone wanted to hang out with the Next Big Thing, and I soaked it up like an idiot. I want to go back and punch that guy in the face.”       

5. Does Anyone Remember Baseball?

Terrific matinee in Detroit yesterday afternoon, though few seemed to notice. The Oakland A’s were after a four-game sweep of the A.L. Central-leading Tigers at Comerica. Tiger starter Max Scherzer was after his 20th win against just one loss. Both Oakland and Scherzer were denied. Mad Max left after five innings with his team trailing 6-1, but Oakland surrendered a two-out, three run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to Torii Hunter to lose 7-6. Detroit trailed 6-3 to start when the inning began.

The Bank

Okay, here’s the concept. We are going to open with a fictional $1,000 and play one college football game per week. Oh, and we’re not going to print any of that b.s. “for entertainment purposes only” the way most sportswriters do. Go ahead and gamble: it may be illegal (in most states) but it’s not immoral. If it is, then bathe in the knowledge that you’re far from alone as a sinner.

Anyway, our first wager: we’ll put $50 on Alabama minus-21 against Virginia Tech. The No. 1 Tide face an unranked Hokies squad that is both young and banged up. Frankly, the spread surprises us and maybe somebody knows something, but we’ll stick with Nick Saban, who’s probably annoyed that he has to play this game since it totally messes up his recruiting schedule.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Thursday, 8/29

Starting Five

1. Texas Misstep

Now this looks like a guy who’d happily sign hundreds of autographs for one stranger in a hotel room and refuse payment.

King Solomon can rest easy.

O.J. Simpson was not convicted on one of the two murder charges against him.

But Johnny Manziel, by being suspended for one half of Saturday’s game against Rice, was.

Let’s walk this through, as if we were all summer interns at the law firm of Lightfoot, Franklin & White (or, more appropriately, Dewey, Cheatham and Howe).

1) Multiple collectibles brokers, including Florida-based memorabilia dealer Drew Tieman, inform ESPN that they had Manziel sign hundreds of items for them last winter for a “five figure flat fee”, but each of them stop short of even going Gen. Stomtonovich, refusing both to appear on camera and refusing to provide testimony to the NCAA. (And so the question you ask yourself is, Why did they come forward in the first place?)

2) Johnny Football denies accepting any money for autographs. Period.

3) The NCAA visits with Manziel last Sunday at his home in College Station for, as they say in those parts, “a spell.” Like, six hours. Presumably, based on yesterday’s outcome, he performed better than a young Edward Norton in “Primal Fear.”

“C-c-c-c-c-c-c-can you prove I t-t-t-t-t-took the money?”

4) Yesterday the NCAA and Texas A$M perform the intercollegiate athletics justice version of a reacharound. Based on a suggestion by the NCAA, the Aggies suspended Manziel for one half for Saturday’s game against Rice. Manziel is not being suspended for accepting money for signing hundreds, if not thousands, of items for men he barely knew. No, he is being suspended for an “inadvertent violation” of Bylaws and, for failing to do more to prevent the use of his likeness for resale. Heyyyyyy! Only Texas A$M and the NC2A are allowed to do that.

Personally, I feel that the Owls should be given the choice whether to suspend Manziel for the first half or defer to the second half, but no one ever listens to me. Manziel must also address his teammates –seriously–regarding lessons learned (“Never, ever, EVER, deposit large sums of money in your bank account and never, ever, EVER, accept payment in the form of a check. We cool, bitches?”). If those conditions are met, Manziel will be reinstated for the second half. Is there some form of reinstatement ceremony involving a robed Mark Emmert and a slaughtered goat, or vice versa, that must occur in the locker room, I wonder?

5) So let’s do the math here:

1) The NCAA is unable to uncover evidence that Manziel took cash, which is what they were most concerned about.

2) Manziel claims innocence, but A$M still accepts the 2A’s suggestion of a feckless half-game penalty.

3) In other words, all parties involved have agreed to, for now, accept the fable that Manziel DID sign hundreds if not thousands of articles but that he did so pro bono. If I am the NCAA, I am asking — and I am sure they did — what was your motive for signing all of these items?

4) And that, my friends, is where the bullsh_t –and every Texan worth his ten-gallon hat is familiar with that– begins to run knee deep. Because Johnny Manziel most likely cannot provide a plausible, credible answer to that question. So while the NCAA may be unable to win its case against the Heisman Trophy winner, the court of public opinion finds it extremely unlikely that Manziel simply stroked that pen for an hour or so out of altruism. You go to motive, and you find Manziel’s tale a tall one. But what Johnny wants, what the Aggies want, and what the NCAA wants, is for Manziel to play September 14 versus Alabama. And that’s going to happen.

The lesson: All parties involved have compromised values –they’re willing to say one thing while doing another–so why should any of us be surprised that they settled upon a compromised penalty?

Unless one of those collectibles brokers chooses to sing to the NCAA. And you wonder what type of cash incentive one of those guys might ask for in order to keep quiet. It’s just a wild thought.

(UPDATE: Yesterday, on the same day that Texas A&M announced that Manziel would be suspended for 30 minutes, the school announced that “seating options for the 2015 season of the Redeveloped (sic) Kyle Field are sold out.” There are, apparently, quite a few sellouts in College Station these days).

2. Yes, As a Matter of Fact, We Are Ready For Some (non-English Premier League) Football.

The Sgt. Barnes of the FBS: “I am reality.”

College football season returns, bringing with it a chorus of full-throated rancor and an end to obnoxious tweets informing us all how many days until its arrival.

North Carolina visits Jadeveon Clowney and South Carolina tonight at 6 p.m. (warning: the Tar Heels can score), while the next incarnation of Clowney, No. 1 overall recruit Robert Nkemdiche, makes his debut for Ole Miss at 9:15 p.m. at Vander-rape. Conclude your evening –start your Friday –with As The Lane Turns as USC visits Hawaii. The subplot here is the two former and frosty USC offensive coordinators, Norm Chow and Lane Kiffin, going up against one another. USC will be without Silas Redd, which should give its underclassmen a distinct advantage in the case of another halftime intrasquad locker room brawl.

And welcome back to you two, too, Katherine and Dee Dee.

3. With Apologies to Chris Huston…

This season we are officially –we really mean it this time — launching our improvement upon the Heisman Trophy, which we have J-dubbed, “The Red Grange Award.”

Our thinking:

1) While the Heisman Trophy is supposed to be awarded, by definition, to “the most outstanding player in college football”, that definition has been corrupted more than the use of “literally.” Literally, in fact. Too many entities, particularly ESPN College Game Day, exert too much undue influence on who should win and use parameters such as a team’s record, etc., or statistical bias.

2) The Heisman, a players’ award, is named after a man, John W. Heisman, whose principle mark on the game was as a coach. Moreover, if you had to provide one nugget on Heisman for his Wikipedia entry, the first thing you’d note is that he was the winning coach in the most lopsided college football game in history: Georgia Tech 222, Cumberland 0. So, you know, why him?

3) Red Grange himself, for two reasons. With apologies to Jim Thorpe, and even George Gipp, Grange was the first superstar in college football. On October 18, 1924, Grange’s Illinois squad hosted Michigan. The Wolverines had not lost in 18 games and during that two-plus year span had allowed all of 32 points. Less than two points per game for 18 games.

And so, on what was the first day that football was played in Memorial Stadium, Grange returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. He scored three more first-quarter touchdowns on runs of 67, 56 and 44 yards. The Galloping Ghost, as he came to be known, would return another kickoff for a score in what would be a 39-14 Illini romp. In effect, Grange was responsible for 30 points against a defense that had allowed a sum of 32 in the previous 2 1/2 seasons.


Helmet sticker, fo’ sure.

(The Wolverines, by the way, would allow just 24 points in their next 17 games, 16 of which were victories. It wasn’t as if Grange exposed a soft defense. He was just the irresistible force that overcome the otherwise immovable object).

Second, Grange transcended college football (and can you think of another time that has happened? Hint: Go back to Item No. 1), even making the cover of Time magazine. He signed with the Chicago Bears one day after his last college game (rushing for 237 yards in an upset of  Penn) for $100,000 and went on a 19-game barnstorming tour immediately after. I mean, Red Grange looks at Johnny Football and laughs, saying, “Son, it’s ALL been done.”

4) Red Grange sounds a lot like “Red Rain”, which is a very cool Peter Gabriel song and the first track of “So”, so that’s another reason.

5) No one in college football has ever had a cooler nickname. No one. The Galloping Ghost. You can’t beat that.

6) The term “grange” refers to an association of farmers, and that’s about as college football-y as it gets.

And so that is why we here at Medium Happy will bequeath –and we so love to bequeath –a Red Grange Award after all the schools play 12 games this year (we never use the term “regular season” in college football since it remains, for one more season, a misnomer). It will be given to “the most outstanding player in college football who best embodies the on-field accomplishments of its namesake” and it will be given without favor in terms of a player’s position, year in school, or team’s record. In other word, absent all the prejudices that have so compromised the Heisman Trophy.

And we’ve even got a Red Grange Watch List. Are you ready for it? It’s….EVERYBODY. Any player suiting up for an FBS school is currently on our Red Grange Award watch list. We don’t even have a list of five favorites, because no one has played a down of the 2013 season yet. Novel idea, we know.

We’ll provide weekly updates on which players had the most Grange-worthy performances.

4. More Manziel (Again, if ESPN Can Do It, Why Can’t We?)

A namesake chronology of the Aggie QB in eight easy Johnnies:

August, 2012: Johnny Manziel, as fans in College Station wonder how a redshirt freshman QB is going to fill the shoes of Ryan Tannehill.

September-November, 2012: Johnny Football, as Manziel posts a record-breaking season and a road upset of top-ranked Alabama, establishing himself rightly as a legend.

Winter, 2013: Johnny Cash, as Manziel poses with a fistful of dollars after a solid night at the casino. There may have been some other lucrative opportunities around this time, though there is “zero evidence of such.

Spring Break, 2013: Johnny Dangerously, as Manziel, who is underage, is photographed often going HAM on spring break. “My mother accused me of going HAM once… ONCE!”

June, 2013: Johnny Bye Bye, as Manziel is sent home from the Manning Passing Academy.

Early August, 2013: Johnny Rotten, as ESPN alleges that Manziel accepted a five-figure fee to sign autographs, hence putting his season (and ESPN’s and CBS’s Saturday programming) in jeopardy.

Late August, 2013: Johnny Bench, as A&M agrees to sit Manziel for the first half of Saturday’s Rice game.

Later August, 2013: Johnny Come Lately, as Manziel enters the contest in the second half. The Aggies will likely already be up by three touchdowns, anyway.

Spring, 2014: Johnny Paycheck, as Manziel leaves school early and is selected in the NFL draft, though where is at this moment anyone’s guess.

5. Summer Train Wreck Round-Up

Spain, August 2


New York City, August 19 to ?



Rolling Stone Keeps Kicking Everyone’s Ass

The legendary music magazine (“All The News That Fits”) scores its second Boston-based journalistic coup in as many months with the most detailed story on the last (free) days of Aaron Hernandez yet. Its’ title: “The Gangster in the Huddle.” But unlike the Boston bomber, the former New England Patriot tight end did not score the cover.

It’s nice to see the rest of the magazine catch up with the Pulitzer-caliber work of Matt Taibbi, who has been exposing corruption on Wall Street and in Washington, D.C., for years.

Remote Patrol

North Carolina at South Carolina

ESPN 6 p.m.

Welcome back to the OBC!

All of the deserved attention that young Mr. Clowney has received may have overshadowed the fact that the Gamecocks have put together consecutive 11-2 seasons. It’s too bad (for us, not for him) that tailback Giovani Bernard left Chapel Hill early, because he was one of the premier talents in the FBS, but our loss is “Hard Knocks'” (and the Cincinnati Bengals’) gain. The Heels have a prolific passer in Bryn Renner, so this kickoff game to the 2013 season may be interesting for awhile. I’d like a halftime feature on what Stephen Garcia is doing these days, please.



IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Wednesday, 8/28

Starting Five

An abbreviated IAH! today, as the crack MH staff has an unpaid autograph signing session to which it must attend.

1. Johnny Drama

Simpler times: Manziel only had to concern himself with keeping defensive foes off his back.



Vince’s big brother does not believe that Johnny’s bananas.










Yo, Vince, this is just like the time you shot Medellin and everyone in Hollywood turned on you. How quickly they forgot Aquaman and all the money you made them. You were box-office gold that opening weekend, and that was with a major power outage across the country. Or maybe it’s like that time when we were hurting for cash so you agreed to sing at that girl’s Sweet 16 birthday party. I’m not letting you go out like this. Not my bro!

2. Syria, Syriana

Damon: “You’re exporting oil and not improving your nation’s infrastructure? Fine, as long as you’re not fracking.”

Do you remember Syriana? It’s the Matt Damon film in which he lectures someone above his pay grade about a nation’s military and political buffoonishness without having to share the screen with the Affleck brothers. There may be a better film that tackles the Middle East and the conflicts that the State Dept. has in balancing foreign policy with our addiction to oil, but I have not seen it. Terrific film. Anyway, we’re probably going to launch a missile strike against Syria tomorrow (I’ll wait until Adam Schefter or Brett McMurphy reports this before I fully believe it), because its government went all Operation Genoa against its own people last week, reportedly killing more than a thousand citizens via chemical attack.

I’m naïve, so help me out here. Like, at least 100,000 Syrians have died in that country’s civil war in the past two-plus years. Why is it suddenly so egregious and inhumane that 1,300 or so Syrians have died via a chemical weapons strike? Wasn’t the entire affair beyond egregious and inhumane a year ago?

One last thing to note: Steve Jobs’ biological father is Syrian. Abdulfattah Jindali, who was forbidden from marrying Jobs’ American-born mother (she gave him up for adoption) is now in his early 80s and the general manager of the Boomtown casino outside of Reno. No kidding.

3. This Is Why You Never Bet On Baseball

Kershaw, like fellow fireballers Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens, is Texas-bred.

Recently the Los Angeles Dodgers tore off 18 wins in a 20-game stretch. Their only two losses came when they handed the ball to Clayton Kershaw, whose 1.72 ERA entering last night’s game versus the Lowly (why bother with Chicago) Cubs would be the NL’s  lowest, if the season was over, since Greg Maddux’s 1.63 in 1995. Oh, and the Cubs had lost eight straight to the Dodgers.

So what happens? The last-place Cubs, losers of six of their past seven, touch Kershaw for two runs and bounce him in the sixth inning, his shortest outing since April 23. Kershaw gets the L.

4. More Manziel (Hey, If ESPN Can Revisit Him Every Seven Minutes, Why Can’t I?)

Jeff Spicoli: Was not even INVITED to the Manning Passing Academy.

–When I think of how the NCAA’s surprise (at least to us) Sunday visit to Manziel went down, this is what I think of. (“What [Jordan] Jefferson was saying was, Hey! You know, we left this England Baton Rouge place ’cause it was bogus; so if we don’t get some cool rules ourselves – pronto – we’ll just be bogus too! Get it?”)

–Texas A&M is within its bounds to tell the media what its players and coaches won’t discuss, but the media is within its bounds to make every question about Johnny Manziel, if for no other reason than to make a point. Alan Cannon cannot rescind the 1st Amendment. Only Rick Perry can do that.

–The band Living Colour devised ESPN’s current playlist nearly a quarter-century ago: “Cult of Personality.” It’s why we get LeBron, Manziel, Tebow, A-Rod, RG III, Lather, Rinse, Repeat, Ad Nauseam. Stan Verrett actually segued from a Manziel story to teases on Tebow and RG III this morning by drolly noting, “We never talk about these guys.”

–The Nineties band Nada Surf has gotten no credit (outside of this space, as far as I know) for coining the term, “Johnny Football.” (“And if you see Johnny Football Hero in the hall, tell him he played a great game…”). Lots of sound advice here.

–ESPN launched the Longhorn Network on August 26, 2011 (or, one day before Mack Brown’s 60th birthday). Since that date two quarterbacks who play for schools located in Texas have won the Heisman Trophy (RG III and Manziel), though neither played for the Longhorns. And three Texas-based universities have had at least one 10-win season: Baylor, Texas A&M and TCU. The Longhorns have not. I don’t know; I find it kind of funny.

5. A Short History of ‘Dream’

Less than 50 years later, the U.S. elected its first black president? Are we there yet? No. Closer? Much closer.

August 28, 1963: Martin Luther King, Jr., delivers his landmark “I Have A Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial. The speech itself commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, which proclaimed the freedom of all slaves in the 10 states in rebellion.

September 18, 1965: “I Dream of Jeannie” makes it network television debut. Our star, played by belly-baring babe Barbara Eden, refers to the man who took her away from her home land as “Master.” Hmmm.

Jeannie: Madison Avenue’s paragon of housewifery.

June 27, 1973: Aerosmith releases “Dream On“, the Boston-based band’s first hit (though it peaked at 59)

October, 1986: Lionel Richie declares that “I had a dream, I had an awesome dream” in “Say You, Say Me.”

September 29, 1992: The Cranberries release “Dreams”, an all-time rock yodeling classic.


IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Tuesday,8/27

Starting Five

1. Harvey. Danger.

Ligaments connect bone to bone.

He’s not sick, but he’s not well. New York Mess ace Matt Harvey, 24, who has only been in The Show for 13 months but has already started an All-Star Game, was diagnosed with a partial tear in his ulnar collateral ligament (Rex Ryan is not to blame; nor is Howard Jones, though that reference is a little bit more obscure). Harvey may need Tommy John surgery, which is not to be confused with Tommy Tune surgery (removal of one of your two left feet) or Tommy Rees surgery (implant of a 5-star quarterback, except that the implant fails to take and you are condemned to revert to the mean).

The recovery time on Tommy John surgery is approximately 12 months. Maybe someone needs to develop a procedure in which the rehab time is cut in half. Call it Adrian Peterson surgery.

This is Matt Harvey’s girlfriend. But if he can’t pitch until next summer, weeeeeeelllllllllll……..

Let’s point out that Harvey’s predecessor as Mess’ staff ace, R.A. Dickey, was born WITHOUT an ulnar collateral ligament. And he won the Cy Young Award last season.

2. Winner by KO

He’s baaaaaaack

Keith Theodore Olbermann returned to ESPN television after a 16-year absence last night and began with, “As I was saying…” The 54 year-old anchor never mentioned Tim Tebow, LeBron James or Johnny Manziel, but he did mention his grade-school teacher who recently passed. He did not retract the Genoa story, either.

Let posterity note that the first guest was Jason Whitlock and that he stated, “That’s why I like, I hate to say it, Deadspin. We need someone to watch the watchers.” Sure, but who will watch the watchers’ watchers?

3. Darwin Man Becomes Darwin Award Candidate

Salties: Seriously, not photo-shopped. They’re that big.

A long time ago I visited the remote northern Australian outpost of Darwin, which is located on the Indian Ocean. On the ride from the airport to our hotel I asked the cabbie if I should be afraid of Great White sharks in the waters off the coast. “Nay, there aren’t any Great Whites in the waters here, mate,” he answered. “The saltwater crocs would eat them.”

It’s an actress named Linda and a deep throat is involved, but it’s not what you think.

Suffice it to say that I learned to develop a healthy fear of saltwater crocs and that I, like most Aussies, would never venture into a Northern Territory tributary for a swim (Linda Kozlowski was lucky to escape, and she was just squatting near the shore in Crocodile Dundee). Particularly not anywhere near Darwin, which has the world’s highest density of said prehistoric reptiles. Alas, a local Darwin man, Sean Cole, did just that at a 30th birthday party recently and was snatched by a 16-foot long croc. As my old friend James Parziale used to say, “He gone.”

4. Six Hours? Really?

Manziel is the Verbal Kint of the 2013 season, and it hasn’t even started yet.

According to Travis Haney of ESPN, the NCAA spent six hours with Johnny Manziel in College Station on Sunday, which can only mean one thing: he was smoking a brisket. You’ve really got to slow-cook to maximize flavor, after all. I’ve already mentioned two of Texas’ most sacred cows in this item, by the way.

NCAA: “Johnny, did you take money to sign autographs?”
JM: “No.”
NCAA: “But did you accept cash?”
JM: “No.”

NCAA: “If you did get paid, don’t say anythinnnnnng– NOW!”
JM: “I’m talking. See, I’m talking.”

NCAA: “Who is Keyser Soze?
JM: “Guys, can I go back to playing Madden?

ESPN has already purchased the rights to further Manziel inquisitions and will launch the Johnny Football Network in spring of 2014.

5. Flori-Duh!

Welcome back, friend. It has been too long. We have two for you…

The first, thanks to Deadspin, involves a wing-eating contest, a pantsing, and a punch to the face, all of which appears to have taken place in Jacksonville.

Meanwhile in Fort Walton Beach, a 37 year-old man was arrested for exposing himself and masturbating while rotating 36 degrees (oops, we meant 360; thanks, G.A.) outside of a convenience circles. In gay circles, we believe, this maneuver is known as an “Anderson Cooper 360.”


Syria, Not Genoa

Aaron Sorkin creates a season-long story line on The Newsroom about the possibility that the U.S. dropped Sarin gas during a POW extraction in Afghanistan, and it’s compelling stuff. During the week when the plot comes to a head, reports out of Damascus appear to indicate that the government of Syria staged a chemical attack on its own citizens that may have left 1,300 dead.

Ebony and Ivory…Suits

For the record, Robin Thicke sang “Blurred Lines” at the VMAs while wearing a suit whose horizontal lines of black and white were clearly delineated. Our friend Jones (that’s three this week!) notes that The Hamburglar may be missing a suit from his wardrobe. Me, I’m going with Beetlejuice.

Getting twerked by a quarter pounder with cheese?






The Annotated Newsroom: Shot Clock Difficulties

In which Jerry Dantana meets his own Little Big Horn and Mrs. Lansing uses the term “hizzy”.

As always, we endeavor to both find and explain every pop culture and historical morsel that Master Sorkin drops in the latest episode. This one was replete with them.

1. “Other than the cooked tape, Mrs. Lincoln, were there any holes in the story?”

ACN counsel Rebecca Halliday (Marcia Gay Harden) asks Don Keefer (Thomas Sadoski) what else was wrong with their Genoa report other than the fact that Jerry Dantana doctored the interview. The line is a reference to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln at the Ford Theater while viewing Our American Cousin, and the well-known joke, “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?”

You use that line whenever you are trying to make the point that one event overshadows all others related to that event whose own effects are relatively negligible. In that sense, Halliday’s use of this line is improper since she is agreeing with Keefer.

2. “Are you one of the Andrews Sisters?”

“But when his number came up, well he was caught in the draft. He’s in the Army now, blowing reveille…”

Dantana, in Red Team Meeting III, disses Don by using this line, in effect calling him naïve. The Andrews Sisters, a musical trio of siblings, were a huge hit on USO Tours during World War II. Best known for “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”

3. “As Alfred Adler once said, ‘It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.'”

Will McAvoy quotes Adler, an Austrian medical doctor (1870-1937) whose chief contribution to mankind was identifying the “inferiority complex“, during his opening comments of the special report on Genoa. Thanks a lot, Doc.

4. “The California Golden Bears are hosting the UCLA Bruins…”

Except that Cal would not be hosting UCLA on Sunday night, September 9. The two Pac-12 schools would meet nearly one month later, on October 6. Our research indicates, and we are basing it upon the 14-14 score on the screen and the iso on Cal coach Jeff Tedford, that this footage would have come from the October 16, 2004 meeting between the two. Why Sorkin used this footage is beyond me.

5. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

Welcome back, McCotter

Hamlet’s two friends, or so he originally believed them to be, in the eponymous Shakespeare classic. The two are sycophants as well as traitors. Don references them to attack the pretentious and what he believes to be disingenuous nature of the resignation announcement of congressman Thaddeus McCotter (the name itself should have provided a clue) last year. The announcement, in part, reads:

“The recent event’s totality of calumnies, indignities and deceits have weighed most heavily upon my family. Thus, acutely aware one cannot rebuild their hearth of home amongst the ruins of their U.S. House office, for the sake of my loved ones I must “strike another match, go start anew” by embracing the promotion back from public servant to sovereign citizen.”

6. “Keys to Mordor…Dumbledore”


McKenzie, wondering aloud to Slumdog whether the Pentagon’s official response to the Genoa report is buried in some secret internet portal, references both The Hobbit trilogy and the Harry Potter series. Mordor is the dwelling place of Sauron, the dark lord of Middle Earth, while Albus Dumbledore is the headmaster of Hogwarts. Only a geek like Slumdog would know that.

7. “Those are ‘I Love Lucy’ numbers.”

So the Pentagon would be Ricky and News Night would be Lucy, correct? “You got some ‘splainin’ to do.”

Will is over the moon at the fantastic ratings that the Genoa special received via the overnights. During its six-season run, from 1951-1957, the sitcom finished first in the ratings four times, second once and third once. It never did WORSE than a 43.7 share, meaning 43.7% of the households with a TV in America were tuned to it. Of course, it probably killed Sorkin not to dub in “Those are ‘Sharknado’ numbers, but then that would have been an anachronism.

8. “Matlock?”

Oh, Andy.

Maggie is asked to name another lawyer and this is her quickest quip? Somewhere Atticus Finch and Ally McBeal weep. Besides, nobody below the age of 55 has ever seen that program.

9. “At some point at Little Big Horn, I’ll bet Custer led a unanimous vote that said, “I still think we can win.”

To clarify, the Arapahoe, Cheyenne and Lakota did NOT use Sarin.

Sloan Sabbith (Olivia Munn) references the Battle of Little Big Horn, one of the true Epic Fails in U.S. military history. Her point: Once the horse is out of the barn, no leader is really soliciting an underling’s opinion. The leader is soliciting your loyalty.

10. “Shawshank”

Sloan tells Don that he would fare poorly in prison but that she would “thrive” because, like Andy Dufresne, she has skills that would be valuable to the inmate population and the warden: she could invest their money and do their taxes. Sure, but whose poster would Sloan hang on her cell wall? Alan Greenspan’s?

11. “There was a deer on the Merritt Parkway.”

Oh, deer. We must be on the Merritt.

I don’t pretend to know every road way in America, but my two favorites by far are the Merritt Parkway, which runs parallel to I-95 in southwestern Connecticut and allows only cars, and the Natchez-Trace Parkway, which runs through Tennessee and Mississippi.

12. “You need to talk to Deep Throat.”

Not only does Will reference “All The President’s Men” and the clandestine rendezvous between Bog Woodward and his  Watergate source, but then Charlie travels to Washington, D.C., to meet his own personal DT in a parking garage. That’s exactly the same type of structure where Woodward met DT, when he was advised to “follow the money.”

13. Claudette Colvin, Giuseppe Zangara, and the Challenger tragedy

Zangara, being led to his execution by electric chair. No lie, his last words reportedly were, “Pusha da button.”


Hell, it’s gotten to the point where Sorkin is now annotating his own references in the episode itself. I’d expound on these cultural/historical references, but Sorkin has already gone through the trouble of having McAvoy, his mouthpiece, do so. Sorkin’s point: History often turns on what seems an insignificant variable. An aside: the reason Zangara was standing on a wobbly chair when he fired the shot intended for FDR? He was only five feet tall.

14. “Skyfall”

I can’t even remember if I’m supposed to be James Bond or Mikael Blomkvist

Mrs. Lansing attends a gala at the Museum of Modern Art in hopes of meeting the film’s star, Daniel Craig. This was the hottest movie of last autumn. It should be noted that Jane Fonda was never a Bond girl, though she certainly could have been.

15. “Sherlock Holmes it…”

Mrs. Lansing uses Holmes as a verb, suggesting to Mac that even a genius sleuth might have been unable to unearth Dantana’s dastardly deed before the show aired.




IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Monday, 8/26

Starting Five

1. Twerk-Offs and Talents

Ho. Hum.

The MTV VMAs were staged in Brooklyn last night, and the media web sites are informing us that everyone is talking about Miley Cyrus’ duet with Robin Thicke, and how she “twerked” him. Although very few people are talking about it, because MTV stopped caring about music about nine seconds after Kurt Cobain put a bullet through his head and it’s worth noting that Notre Dame has returned to relevance in its own seminal niche sooner than MTV has.

Also, the music sucked. So there’s that.

When you don’t have an incredible song, or an unforgettable hook or melody (granted, Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” is above average), you resort to impersonating Madonna and attempting to “SHOCK” the world with raciness. Because the object of the game is no longer to be an artist but rather to be the lead story on the following night’s “Extra!”

Darlene Love (foreground) singing “Lean On Me” with Jo Lawry, Judith Hill and Lisa Fischer.

On Saturday night the chick and I saw “20 Feet From Stardom”, which is a documentary about the most talented backup singers in the history of rock-and-roll and pop music. Merry Clayton, whose vocals on “Gimme Shelter” will outlive every performer at last night’s VMAs, for example. Also, Darlene Love and Lisa Fischer, whose voices are just out of this world. Do yourself a favor and devote 90 minutes of your life to watching this doc.

Talent may not trump hype in the moment, but it will always outlast it.

And I’ll add both Miley and Robin are the offspring of celebrity dads. They may have talent, but they were born on third base. The women I mentioned above, they hit a triple on an 0-2 count.

2. Japan Wins the Little League World Series

Unlike its big brother, the Little League World Series actually demonstrates truth in advertising.

In what was a tense battle, the International champs from Tokyo defeated the U.S. champs from Chula Vista (a suburb of San Diego that lies equidistant, 7 miles, between it and the border of Mexico) 6-4. It was Japan’s third Little League World Series title in the past four years.

3. Jerry Dantana Should’ve Paid More Attention to His College Hoops Team

Dantana: Now producing the noon newscast at KTVU.

Over at Atlantis Cable News, the clock runs out on Jerry Dantana –and the season-long story arc is resolved and revealed –as the Genoa producer’s unethical doctoring of an interview is exposed —as correctly predicted here one week ago — via the college basketball game in the background. Allow me to go McMac on Aaron Sorkin by exposing the fact that there is no way in hell that Will McAvoy could have been watching a UCLA-Cal football game on Sunday, September 9 of last year. First of all, the two Pac-12 schools have never played on a Sunday and last year’s game occurred on October 6.

If you dissect the footage, Will is watching a game between the Bruins and Golden Bears in which 1) the uniforms would suggest the game is being played in Berkeley and 2) the score is tied 14-14. Diligent investigation by our Medium Happy staff (I am both the white team and the red team) shows that the last time such an event occurred was on October 16, 2004. So either Sorkin just recklessly tossed in some game footage without a care as to whether someone would red-check it or Will was watching a game from nearly eight years earlier that he had taped.

We’ll have more on The Newsroom later, most likely in a separate post.

4. Head Over Wheels

Breaking the Law, Breaking the Law! (thanks, Butthead)

Will Power is Australian.

Scott Dixon is a Kiwi.

And yesterday, in Sonoma, they may have been involved in some Down Under-handed chicanery.

Yesterday the two Indy Car rivals had quite the run-in at the scenic Sonoma Grand Prix in the wine country of northern California. Dixon was leading with 15 laps remaining, and Power was in second, when both drivers entered pit row for a quick tire change. Power’s spot was located directly in front of Dixon’s.

Dixon, the leader, entered pit lane first but as you can see Power cuts him off, causing Dixon to come to a stop before fully being in his rightful place. Then a member of Power’s pit crew, Travis Law, can be seen carrying Power’s tire behind Power’s car with all the nonchalance, as our friend Jones says, “of a guy carrying a bag of groceries home from Trader Joe’s.”

Was Law attempting to block Dixon, whose crew had him ready to depart pit row before Power’s did. Dixon certainly thought so, as he sped out and clipped Law, sending him, the tire, and another Power pit crew member sprawling.

Dixon received a one-lap penalty and finished far off the pace. Power won.

Do you think Law knew exactly what he was doing here? Watch the tape and decide. The announcers side with Dixon.

5. Yes, But are the Kardashians Keeping Up With Lamar Odom?

Lamar and Khloe have a lot of baggage.

Reports out of Los Angeles, via TMZ (go ahead and laugh, but they’ve broken many a story that turned out to be true) that former Los Angeles Laker and recent Los Angeles Clipper Lamar Odom has gone missing for three days and is on a cocaine binge. If my wife was Khloe Kardashian that would be enough to make me go AWOL, too (although having Bruce Jenner as your father-in-law and Kanye West as your brother-in-law would be pretty cool), but this appears serious. Odom is a free agent, living in southern California and apparently abusing substances. Is his next stop a visit to North Korea?


For the record, Daft Punk did not perform at the VMAs. So what was all that Colbert Report hub-bub about?


Million Dollar Mistake

Last night a New York Powerball lottery ticket worth $1 million expired before anyone came forward with said ticket to claim the prize. If you have a vague recollection of being at the Playland Market in Rye, N.Y., on August 25 of 2012, and a similarly vague notion of having bought a lottery ticket but of forgetting which cargo shorts you were wearing, well, it’s best if you just forget all of that now. We should note, by the way, that Rye is a very affluent suburb of New York City. Most of its denizens don’t need the seven figs as much as the rest of the state’s residents. The unclaimed prize now returns to the prize pool.


Remote Patrol

Chelsea at Manchester United

NBC Sports Network 3 p.m.

Wayne Rooney of Man U. (in red)

Eight of the last nine English Barclays Premier League championships have been won either by The Blues of Chelsea (3x) or the Red Devils of Manchester United (5x). This afternoon they meet at Old Trafford. Portuguese-born Jose Mourinho, who most recently managed Real Madrid, is back for a second stint as manager of Chelsea, whom he earlier led to two of those three championships.



IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Friday, August 23

Starting Five

1. Woke Up, It Was a Chelsea Morning Manning…

Manning later admitted that he has an extensive butterfly collection and drives an unmarked white van with no windows.


U.S. Army private Bradley Manning may have leaked hundreds of thousands of classified and sensitive military documents to WikiLeaks, but apparently he kept the wildest secret to himself. “I am Chelsea Manning. I am female,” Manning disclosed yesterday via a statement read on the Today show. One day earlier Manning, 25, had been convicted on 20 counts that ranged from espionage to theft and sentenced to up to 35 years in military prison at Fort Leavenworth.

Why do I believe Manning is sincere about this startling confession? Because we know that chicks just cannot keep secrets.

2. Bryant Gumbel Shouted Out, “Who Killed the Kennedys?” When After All It Was You and Me

Damn straight, Bryant Gumbel. During his closing remarks for “HBO’s Real Sports” last night (and I’m not sure whether or not Gumbel wrote the copy himself), the often-pretentious host informed America that we are all a bunch of hypocrites for condemning Alex Rodriguez.

Gumbel: He’s such a pill sometimes.

“…what I don’t understand are the expressions of shock and outrage over his alleged drug use because, frankly, this country’s crazy about drugs.

Modern Americans reach for a drug for any and everything – for problems real and imagined. It’s why we consume more pills than any nation on earth and why TV ads are relentlessly selling us Xarelto, Abilify, Stelara, Prodaxa, and dozens of other drugs we never ever guessed we supposedly needed.

Americans are only about five percent of the world’s population yet we take 80% of the world’s painkillers and a whopping 99% of the world’s Vicodin. We have four million kids on Ritalin, 22-million women on antidepressants, over 30-million adults on sleeping pills, 32 million on Statins, 45 million on another drug I can’t even begin to pronounce. The list goes on and on…”

Does that excuse A-Rod for cheating? No. But when more Americans die annually due to prescription drugs than illegal drugs, well, maybe A-Rod isn’t the only one looking for the easy way out.

Of course, what I don’t understand is how Gumbel continues to look as young as he does at the age of 64? What artificial means to retard the aging process is he using?

3. Tesla Guy


Today, in Part 2 of our series titled “Highly Successful, Forty-ish White Guys Who Attended Stanford at Least for One Day and Have Lived in Africa at Some Point”, (Part 1 was Richard Engel), we meet billionaire Elon Musk. The native South African, who now lives in Bel Air (Beverly Hills’ swankier neighbor), Musk is the mastermind behind Tesla Motors, the electric sedans that are wildly popular with the $150,000 per annum-and-above crowd.

Musk earned degrees in both economics and physics from the University of Pennsylvania before matriculating at Stanford to work on a Ph.D. in applied physics. He quit that program after two days but, hey, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs never finished college, either.

Tesla founded PayPal, cashed in his lottery ticket, and has since turned his attention to becoming the Steve Jobs of transportation. He recently proposed the HyperLoop, the high-speed tube that would ferry passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco in just 30 minutes via a cushion of air, in much the same way that tubes are sent when you use the drive-thru of your bank.

But Tesla, well, this may be the invention for which Musk is forever remembered. An electric car that is both stylish and swift, Tesla’s stock has risen more than 400% in just the past year. Keep an eye on it. And keep an eye on Musk. He has the scent of money and genius.

Finally, in case you are wondering, Why Tesla, the name is an homage to brilliant inventor and “mad scientist” Nikola Tesla (1886-1943), a Serbian-born American immigrant who was a pioneer in the fields of electrical engineering, radio, X-rays, etc. Tesla made a fortune from his patents but spent most of his adult life living in New York City hotels.

Oh, and because who knows when I’ll ever get another opportunity to do this, Musk’s vehicle is the greatest thing to happen to the name Tesla since this OMD tune from the height of the New Wave era.

4. People Suck…Everywhere

So I’m scouring CNN’s home page this morning and I come across one headline that reads “Teens Beat WWII Vet To Death” and “Journalist Gang-Raped in Mumbai” and I think that I don’t care as much to read about the Lakers’ new “Hollywood Nights” uniforms, although I do wonder if their into music will be courtesy of Bob Seger. Anyway, the World War II vet was a Spokane, Wash., resident named Delbert Benton, he was 88, and his murder appeared to be a random act of violence, most likely because the only thing worse than some teenagers these days are their parents (or, more often than not, their grandparents). Wait, did that make me sound old or simply like LZ Granderson?

5. Brian Wilson Returns: Closes Out Victory, Announces He’s Still Tinkering with “Smile.”

Don’t Worry, Baby: L.A. held a six-run lead when Wilson entered in the 9th inning.

Not-ThatBrian Wilson returned to a big league hill for the first time since April 12, 2012, pitching one inning of scoreless relief for Not-That-California N.L. Franchise as the Los Angeles Dodgers shut out the Miami Marlins, 6-0. Wilson, who when last seen was arguably the N.L.’s most dominant, and swarthy, closer with the San Francisco Giants, struck out two and allowed a two-out double. Wilson closed out another peerless start by Clayton Kershaw, who tossed eight scoreless innings and reduced his MLB-best ERA to 1.72 (the next best is Matt Harvey’s 2.25; those two are also Nos. 1 and 2 in WHIP, at 0.86 and 0.89, respectively).

Smile, by the way, was started by the Beach Boys’ brain in 1966 and eventually released in 2004. It’s the Chinese Democracy of the 50-and-over crowd. Although Wilson waited another seven years to release more material from the Smile Sessions. I’m sure he’s still rewriting lyrics to it this morning.


Did The Newsroom’s season-long story line just take place in the suburbs of Damascus, Syria? Reportedly 1,300 dead due to a chemical weapons attack. Let’s NOT send Jerry Dantana to investigate.

The Yankees: Now 5-0 since the Ryan Dempster beaning. David Ortiz is correct.


You’d be tired, too, if you had to block Stephon Tuitt every day in practice.

Notre Dame names offensive tackle Zack Martin, who has started 39 consecutive games for the Fighting Irish, a team captain for the second year in a row. They couldn’t have promoted him to major? (Under the radar and bigger-than-it-appears Irish news: ND lost defensive lineman Tony Springmann for the year due to a knee injury. This, coupled with the Eddie Vanderdoes-or-doesn’t-he? defection, makes the Irish thin on the D-line. Springmann actually was a terrific backup last season and easily had the squad’s best red beard.

Springmann: Will miss season and report directly to “Duck Dynasty”.

So apparently ESPN asked to have its name taken off a joint venture with Frontline on a doc about the NFL and concussions. I’ll pretend to care for as long as the NFL pretends to care about concussions. Football is violent. Helmets and fast, furious, powerful men will always lead to debilitating injuries. Just ask Dustin Keller. If you really want to control injuries, stop playing football after the age of about 13. Otherwise, please lower the soapbox.

Still, can’t you just hear Bill Simmons discussing this issue with J-Bug and Uncle Sal on a podcast? “What I wanted to say about the Frontline/ESPN partnership is –” (podcast goes silent while a brief power outage takes place in central Connecticut and, curiously and concurrently, and AC-currently, in Santa Monica).


Every time someone says, “Wanker”, drink.

I do believe that The New York Times enjoyed “The World’s End”, but since it failed to provide a letter grade, a numeric grade in the range between 0 and 100, or a requisite number of stars, how am I to know? Confound you, Gray Lady!!!! On another note, if this film isnt’ the best argument yet as to why cinemas should have beer sales, I don’t know what is (okay, that’s false: I wanted to drink to forget that I was watching “Conspiracy Theory” in the midst of that film).


The chancellor at Texas A$M, the inaptly named John Sharp, accuses ESPN of “Hype journalism” in the wake of its Johnny Manziel reportage while Tim Tebow’s dad looks over, laughs, and says, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” Sharp is our frontrunner for this year’s E. Gordon Gee Award for principled leadership in higher education.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Thursday, August 22

Starting Five

1. (Until My Birthday) College Football Lives Here

Does the Savannah River separate the dreamers from the contenders? We’ll know by September 10.

Everybody talkin’ ’bout Alabama-A$M, but that’s not until September 14 — and Roll Tide will have two weeks to prepare after opening with Virginia Tech (the Aggies meet Sam Houston State the week before, so that’s a push). Ohio State is a leviathan, but the Buckeyes’ lone scare through four games will be a visit to Berkeley (a scare, that is, if they were to encounter Naked Guy, but he committed suicide a few years back).

Hence, the epicenter of college football during its opening two weekends will be the Chik-Fil-A (although I’ve always thought Bojangles deserved more hype) Triangle that is formed by the loci of Athens, Ga., Clemson, S.C. and Columbia, S.C. Georgia, South Carolina and Clemson all currently reside between spaces 5-8 in both the USA Today and AP polls. Better yet, the Bulldogs face both the Tigers and Gamecocks in the season’s first two weeks (this, my friends, is how national championships should be decided: meaningful teams playing meaningful games long before December).

August 31, 8 p.m., ABC (“You are looking live….”): Georgia at Clemson

Sept. 7, 4:30 p.m., ESPN: South Carolina at Georgia

The Gamecocks and Tigers will meet in their Palmetto State showdown on Nov. 30

All three have national championship potential.

It’s almost here….

All three have at least one Heisman Trophy candidate (the Dawgs may have two): Quarterback Aaron Murray and tailback Todd Gurley for Georgia; wide receiver/returner Sammy Watkins for Clemson; and defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (nice piece by Greg Bishop of the New York Times) for S.C.

It’s REM versus Creed (their lead guitarist is a Clemson alum) versus Hootie and the Blowfish. It’s ground zero for college football’s first two Saturdays. It’s the Beautiful South, and there’s no place you’d rather be between August 31 and Sept. 7.

2. Misuta 4,000

There it goes: Ichiro slaps an opposite-field single for No. 4,000

Ichiro Suzuki slaps an opposite-field single off Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey for his 4,000th career hit in Japan’s Pacific League and the Major Leagues combined. Since arriving in the U.S. in 2001 at age 27, Suzuki has recorded 2,722 hits with the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees. He had 1,278 with the Orix Blue Wave.

Only two players have ever hit more: Pete Rose (4,256) and Ty Cobb (4,191). That all three men had an even number of letters in both their first and last names is telling (no, it isn’t, but it’s kind of cool). What is telling is that all three men were contact hitters. They were not –Suzuki is not –free swingers.

I’m always amazed that no one copies the unique style of Suzuki, who is still so spry at 39. To watch him bat is to watch Dali paint (although I doubt Salvador would’ve allowed 35,000 people to watch him paint while chanting his name). No one does it the way he does. His swing is more reminiscent of a two-handed Federer backhand than it is, say, Ted Williams. Ichiro waits for the ball to meet his bat and then places it. He lets the pitch’s velocity do all the work in terms of how far the ball will travel.

Ichiro had an MLB-record 262 hits in 2004, and had at least 200 hits in each of his first 10 MLB seasons. No one else ever put together 10 consecutive seasons like that, and only Rose amassed that many 200-hit years over the course of his career. If you want to call Ichiro the greatest hitter of all time, you have a solid argument.

The Yankees may not even be a playoff team this season, but they currently have two Hall of Famers on the roster who do their jobs like no one else before them have quite done: Ichiro and Mo Rivera. That’s almost worth the non-bleacher seats price of admission. Almost.

Worth Noting:

A) Alfonso Soriano, who belted the game-winning two-run homer for the Yanks in the 8th, also began his pro career in Japan (Hiroshima Carp…I wouldn’t eat one of those if I were you, for various reasons) and had two hits there.

B) Infielder Jayson Nix, who was the back-page tabloid cover boy (“New York Nix”) on Wednesday after being Tuesday’s hero, was hit by a Dickey pitch and suffered a season-ending injury to his hand (broken). That R.A. Dickey’s 80 mph “heat” can end your season is indicative of the injury-plagued year the Yankees have endured.

C) Granted, it’s a modest four-game win streak, but the Yanks have not lost since Ryan Dempster beaned A-Rod on Sunday night.

3. The Tourist, The Bike Messenger, The Cabbie, The Syndicated TV Star/Physician, the Pizza Truck Owner (and His Supermodel Girlfriend), and the Plumber (a.k.a. “My Left Foot Left”)


As legendary New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams would write, “Only in New York, kids, only in New York.”

On Tuesday, shortly before noon and just outside the steakateria, a cabbie from Bangladesh and a bike messenger started playing Turn 3 at Daytona on Sixth Avenue in the heart of Rockefeller Center. The cabbie aggressively turned left onto 49th Street, striking both the cyclist then jumping the curb and hitting 23 year-old British tourist Sian Green, whose left foot was severed.

That’s when things got interesting.

David Justino, a plumber, rushed over and fashioned his Carhartt belt as a tourniquet.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, who was passing by with a group of students, stopped to adjust the tourniquet and deliver first aid.

Oz and Justino; Green (far right)

Matt Crespo, who operates a pizza truck (food trucks are WAY popular in midtown Manhattan) and who just happened to be there with his legitimate supermodel girlfriend, Heide Lindgren, grabbed the severed foot and placed it in a cooler — a cooler from the same hot dog vendor who only minutes earlier had sold Green the hot dog that she was enjoying when the taxi plowed into her.

Lindgren’s beau may have saved Green’s foot.

So, let’s see: Don’t eat carp from Hiroshima and avoid hot dogs sold on Sixth Avenue this week.

4. What If Baseball Had NOT Suspended Ryan Dempster?

As Red Sox Nation wonders whether Dempster’s diabolical act incited the Yanks to a postseason run.

Sometimes you should just allow fate to take care of matters. Had baseball waited a week to decide Dempster’s fate, he would be pitching this weekend when the Red Sox visited the Los Angeles Dodgers. That is, when Boston played in a National League ballpark, meaning that Demptser would come to bat. That the opponent would be the Dodgers, whose manager, Don Mattingly, is one of the most beloved Yankees of all time, would make it that much more intriguing (by the way, a Dodgers-Red Sox World Series, especially in light of last year’s trade, would rawk!).

Does any Major League pitcher want to bean Dempster for his “I, The Jury” moment last Sunday night at A-Rod’s expense? Probably not.

Would Mattingly “recommend” one of his pitcher do so? Again, unlikely.

Still, just to have the moment when Dempster strode to the plate, and the pregnant feeling inside the stadium that, hey, here’s an American League pitcher who could get his comeuppance (justice, some might call it) for thinking it was his role to punish A-Rod.

Alas, it is not to be. Dempster is already serving his five-game suspension –which, in actuality, is no suspension — and will likely pitch next Tuesday at Fenway versus the Orioles. And, yes, the irony of Dempster serving his suspension before A-Rod serves his…we get it.

5) NBC Set To Launch Do Something It Already Did Seven Years Ago

Faris shares a laugh with fellow Michigan native Jerome Bettis

Yesterday NBC announced that it would be doing a live Notre Dame pre-game show from inside Notre Dame Stadium this season, which is cool (and long overdue). Liam McHugh, who is the network’s best on-air hire in quite some time, will host and be joined by two former players with no connection to the Fighting Irish: Heisman Trophy winner Doug Flutie of Boston College and Hines Ward of Georgia (and, of course, the Pittsburgh Steelers).

I’d just like to add that the blueprint for this show was the “Vonage Notre Dame Pregame Show”, which ran as a webcast on from 2006-2008. Paula Faris (above) was our incandescent host and I was the closest thing we had to a co-host. Paula referred to me as “The Professor” and when I was not seated in the chair in which you see Bettis, guests included Lou Holtz, Regis Philbin, Mike Golic and others.

We did both a pre-game show and a post-game wrap, by the way, and all seven people who watched it on the web appeared to enjoy it.

Paula was, and remains, eminently suited to such a broadcast and while she has moved on up to a national presence at ABC, this is where she belongs: hosting a show and letting her personality and intelligence come to the fore.

BQQB commandeers the desk after his final home game.

A few notes: Paula is a Michigan native and, while not a UM alum, an avowed Wolverine fan. It was a cruel torture for her to have to cover the Irish, a torture alleviated somewhat by a terrible 2007 ND season (3-9) and an underwhelming 2008 campaign… One of the more memorable interviews occurred between Paula and Jeff Samardiza’s dad, on senior day in 2006, when the elder Samardzija veered near Joe Namath/Suzy Kolber territory. I doubt that video exists, but it was funny; Paula handled it like a pro… on that same afternoon, as the Irish moved to 10-1 heading into the next week’s showdown at USC, quarterback Brady Quinn actually jumped up onto our anchor desk (Paula and I were preparing for the postgame show) and began leading the student section in a “BEAT SC!” cheer. I had an uncomfortably close view of BQQB’s derriere… and, finally, I’ll never forget Paula and I doing a post-game show not during the season after she had her first child, a daughter. The infant missed her mom and was beginning to get fidgety, and Paula’s wonderful husband, John, was at a loss. So our colleague, Alex Flanagan, approached and did the nanny thing while we did the show. When the mother of your child is Paula Faris and the woman holding that child is Alex Flanagan, you’ve pretty much got the world beat.


If those three Oklahoma teens think they were bored last week, wait until they see what the rest of their lives has in store for them. Tragic and mind-numbingly stupid.


Kudos to Andy Gray of SI for noting Wilt Chamberlain’s 77th birthday yesterday and providing this photo with the caption, “Here (Wilt) is in fourth grade. Can you spot him?”

Molly Ringwald tweets, after a three-week hiatus from Twitter, “I’m back. What did I miss?” and Jason Gay of The Wall Street Journal comes back over the top with, “Nothing. Jake’s still outside the church with the red Porsche.” And that’s why Jason Gay is one of my favorite follows. (that’s two Jason Gay mentions in as many days, veering dangerously close to Gareth Bale territory).


Toma’s brief stay with the Cards comes to an end.

The Arizona Cardinals cut former Notre Dame wideout and undrafted free agent Robby Toma. All the 5-10 Hawaiian does is catch everything thrown his way, and often with one hand. If things work out, the Patriots will sign him and turn Toma into the next Wes Welker/Danny Woodhead/Danny Amendola. If things don’t work out, he may just return home to Oahu. Either way, it’s good to be Robby Toma.


Shayne Skov: He’s STILL there? Our 2013 Carlos Huerta Award favorite (a.k.a. the Van Wilder Award)

Team to love this season? Stanford. The Cardinal lost two games all last season, neither of which it should have: they blew a 13-3 lead at Washington on a Thursday night (NEVER pick the higher-ranked team, playing on the road, on a Thursday night ESPN game) and their overtime loss at Notre Dame was a disputed matter of inches. Stanford QB Kevin Hogan returns after the Andrew Luck Hangover Season, and its marquee opponents –UCLA, Oregon and Notre Dame — all visit the Alto of Palo. The toughest road contest is at USC, which two years ago was a classic –and could be again this season.

The Cardinal meet the Hunger Factor, too. Watch out for them.


IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Wednesday, August 21

Starting Five

1. Our Man in the Fertile Crescent

Engel: Taking the road less traveled, and that road may be littered with IEDs.

This is Richard Engel, who should turn 40 years old next month (Sept. 16), God –and Allah–willing.

Engel was raised on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. His father worked at Goldman Sachs and Engel, despite his dyslexia, attended Stanford University. By all rights he should either be working at a Silicon Valley start-up or at a consulting agency such as McKinsey & Co.

Instead, upon graduation from Stanford in 1996, Engel moved to Cairo because he sensed that the Middle East was where the next wave of meaningful international events were taking place (oh, and because Don broke up with him and Jim was in New Hampshire canoodling with Grace Gummer). Anyway, Engel had no job prospects and did not speak Arabic, but he was a man on a mission.

Today, Engel is NBC’s chief foreign correspondent and the most trusted –if not the only American — name in Middle East reportage. He bases himself in the Middle East (Beirut) and is never more than a few hours away from filing a live report from the scene of the action. This week he is in Cairo. Last December he was kidnapped for five days while covering the civil war in Syria.

The next time a reporter whines about having to cover a game in Starkville (granted, it’s no Athens), I hope he or she considers what someone like Engel does every day.

2. The Madding Crowd Goes Wild

“This Mario Balotelli guy, he sounds bonkos. He is! He’s bonkos!

Caught the second episode of “Crowd Goes Wild”, Fox Sports 1’s 5 p.m. show that stars Regis Philbin and Hey, there, Georgie Girl!

Quick thoughts: The co-hostess, England’s Georgie Thompson is star material and another valid argument for all of us to learn to speak with a British accent (we would just sound smarter). Georgie is what the Brits would call “a television presenter”, and she is truly the show’s de facto host. Regis, who is 82, spent too much time telling us about the agents with whom he dines and at one point asked panelist Jason Gay where Yasiel Puig came from. Regis needs to put down that copy of Variety and pick up a copy of Sports Illustrated.
As for Jason Gay (no, that’s not a question about an NBA player)? One of the quickest twits (i.e., Twitter wits) out there, but I’m not certain that the Wall Street Journal sports columnist transitions well to TV. He has the sort of wrecked voice that recalls a young Owen Meany.

Thompson: Look at those teeth. She can’t be British!

Former NFL player Trevor Pryce is actually well-informed and well-spoken. The surreal moment for me –and a moment funnier than anything that “Crowd’s” own Krusty the Clown, Michael Kosta, could cook up — was when Pryce gave a detailed and accurate bio of Italian striker Mario Balotelli (currently gracing the cover of SI), about whom I’m sure Regis was thinking, Didn’t Gelman and I eat at his trattoria last week? Gelman! Where’s Gelman?!? Georgie, where’s Gelman!

If ever an athlete was going to appear on the cover of SI walking on water, I thought for sure it would be Tim Tebow.



3. Chris Huston, alias “The Heisman Pundit”, Has a Passing Fancy

Miller would be the second Buckeye quarterback in the past decade to win the Heisman, and the second not named Terrelle Pryor.


Our friend Chris Huston, who is as passionate about the Heisman Trophy as we are about John Oliver, released his Preseason Heisman Watch yesterday, listing the top 10 college football players whom he envisions to be viable candidates. The decade (we’re going with the secondary definition here, as in “decade of the rosary”) have one thing in common: all are quarterbacks.

Yes, 10 quarterbacks. In Huston’s defense (and this may be the last time you see the words “Huston” and “defense” in the same sentence), 11 of the 13 Heisman Trophy winners this millennium have been quarterbacks. Curiously, none of Huston’s top ten are quarterbacks who play in Texas, though the last three Heisman Trophy winners all played at least one year of college ball in the Lone Star State (Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, Johnny Manziel).

Huston’s No. 1, which is also ours: Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller.

Not on the H-Pundit’s list, however, are three players we are enchanted by: South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Clemson Do-Everything-Guy Sammy Watkins, and Georgia tailback Todd “Hurley” Gurley. If you are looking for dark horses…

4. Honey and the Beis…

Don’t smirk: Jill Arrington would’ve worn this outfit on camera in a heartbeat.

Our friends at The Big Lead (look at us, with so many friends!) report that Fox’s lead NFL and MLB play-by-play man, Joe Buck, 44, is now squiring around NFL Network reporter Michelle Beadle Beisner, 36. The former Denver Broncos cheerleader does not speak with a British accent, but she should. Tim McCarver chaperones all the dates, we believe. Beisner, avid sports blog readers will recall, was first introduced to us six years ago by A.J. Daulerio, and I’ll let the link (“lemme know“) tell the rest of the story. If Daulerio, who like Beisner was completely unknown before that post, was not off pulling a Dave Chappelle at the moment, I’m sure he’d have something to opine about their relationship and concomitant sexual congress. Also, if Buck were to wed Beisner, he’d be roaming into Clay Travis territory (and Clay is now a Fox colleague). Finally, if you’re scoring at home, both Beisner and former Monday Night Football sideline reporter Lisa Guerrero were previously NFL cheerleaders. Something to think about, ladies, as you polish those applications to Medill.

Was this item catty enough for you? Not catty enough? Too catty, like Calico-catty? You tell us.

5. Question: How is Manila like Detroit?

If this were the U.S., the only things above the water line would be the greens on the back nine.

Yes, they’re both underwater. Half of the capital of the Philippine capital is currently below the water level, due to heavy rains, which begs two questions: 1) When will the floods recede? 2) Why is it Philippines with a “P” but Filipinos with an “F?” I’ve always wondered that.


Todays’ All-Aptly Named Team inductee is Oakland A’s reliever Sean Doolittle. Last night Doolittle entered in the eighth inning with a 2-run lead and promptly surrendered four runs without recording an out in Oakland’s 7-4 defeat. He also sabotaged a terrific seven innings by our All-Oxymoron Teamer, Sunny Gray.


One of the better stories of the first weekend of college football (just eight days away) will be Sam Rogers. A freshman at Virginia Tech, the five-foot-ten Rogers walked on to the football team and yesterday was named the Hokies’ starter by coach Frank “I’m the Longest Tenured Head Coach in the FBS” Beamer. Rogers will be able to ease into the role as Va. Tech opens a week from Saturday versus defending national champion Alabama.


The Christopher Lane murder  in Oklahoma is simply tragic and it completely makes no sense. That said, as an avid runner, I’ve long told friends and family that I feel far safer running in New York City than I do most anyplace else. One reason: Every place else has more teenagers who are either out driving cars or just being bored idiots. The Lane story is beyond the pale, but I’ve had teens drive past me while running and toss bottles at me. Beavis and Butthead do, unfortunately, exist.

For what it’s worth, Yasiel Puig took a lot of heat for reportedly saying, “(Bleep) the media” yesterday. Meanwhile, Jeff Pearlman, a well-educated sports writer who was raised in the United States, was praised (by some) for posting this entry on his blog on Sunday that had, I believe, nine “F___ You’s.” So can someone please help me out here?

So, Elijah Hood, a four-star running back, decided not to wait until after he had signed with Notre Dame, or finished his freshman season, and decommitted from the institution –to which he had committed last April –yesterday. Verbal commits are the football version of “engaged to be engaged.” Hood has plenty of months to decide where he wants to attend, and in the meantime we’ll mention that he sounds a lot like the actor who played Frodo Baggins, whose best friend was Samwise, who was played by the same actor who portrayed Rudy, who attended Notre Dame, all of which means nothing.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING! Tuesday, August 20

Starting Five

1. Blonde Ambition

Marissa Mayer of Yahoo! strikes an unlikely CEO pose. Please don’t get any ideas, Lloyd Blankfein.

That’s superwoman Marissa Mayer, wife/mom/striking beauty/and Chief Executive Officer of one of the world’s most innovative companies, Yahoo!, posing for her 3,000-word profile in this month’s Vogue. Strike a pose, indeed. Here’s the piece, by Jacob Weisberg, on the 38 year-old Silicon Valley titan, who confesses to preferring even numbers (me, too! I can divide any check in my head in the time it takes me to walk from table back to the computer, five credit cards or less, as long as it’s an even number). We are so much alike, you and I, Marissa!

2. What Lies Beneath

Sunday’s “Breaking Bad” was a series of one-on-one confrontations between the Schraders and the Whites interrupted by some subterranean shenanigans and an enormous black man enjoying a mound of cash as a mattress.

Some people hide their cash under a mattress, while others make it their mattress.

For those not keeping score, the verbal bouts were, in order of appearance:

Hank Schrader vs. sister-in-law Skyler White (Skyler wins by TKO)

Skyler White vs. sister Marie Schrader (Marie, via a slap to the face)

Marie Schrader vs. husband Hank Schrader (Hank wins, which will ultimately be his loss)

Skyler White vs. husband Walter White (Skyler wins, shows that she too can be a criminal mastermind).

What else?  Jesse Pinkman is now in custody after his Red Hot Chili Peppers catharsis (“Give it away, give it away, give it away now!”). And Lydia has given new meaning to “terminate all employees immediately.”

It was a good episode for fans of GPS tracking and subterranean subterfuge. Hank has buried all the evidence, as well as the family fortune, somewhere in the vast New Mexico high desert and saved the coordinates on a lottery ticket –you’d think he’d have learned his lesson about hiding incriminating evidence in plain sight. Also, having lived in New Mexico and felt that hard earth, there is no way Brock Lesnar, much less a middle-aged, cancer-addled White, digs that hole that deep in one day. Not happening.

As for Lydia, she visits the underground meth lab (a buried bus or motor home), deems it has failed inspection, and the next thing you know a massacre takes place up on terra firma. Lending new meaning to “terminate all employees immediately.” (wait, I already used that joke).

I think we all know this much: Hank cannot defeat Walter, or Jesse, in a battle of wits. He’s that cop who isn’t smart enough to think like a criminal. I’ll take Walter minus the points from here on out. Here are Sepinwall’s thoughts.

3. The Race Across The Sky

Peak performers: Leadville’s participants can gaze upon stunning vistas.

I’m more than a week late on this, but I did not want August to pass without a mention of the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race. It’s an out-and-back race, launching in Leadville, Colo. (50 miles each way) and contested across the crests of the Rocky Mountains. On August 10 Leadville staged its 20th annual race, and both the men’s and women’s champions shattered the existing course records. Alban Lakata of Austria defended his title and crossed the finish line in six hours, four minutes and one second, shaving more than 12 minutes off the existing mark (6:16:37).

In the female division, Sally Bigham of England sliced 11 minutes off the existing record, finishing in 7:17:01, and earning her first title.

Trail Rider: Bigham getting after it.

You may recall that Lance Armstrong first raced Leadville in 2008, finishing second to six-time champion David Wiens. The following year Armstrong won and set a then-course record of 6:28. He is now banned from competing there, of course.

There is also a Leadville 100 trail race (running) that was contested this weekend. Leadville, by bike or foot, should be on your Bucket List if you are a triathlete.

4. Lastros Update: They Went To 11

We want Elmore to play all nine positions now.

The Texas Rangers, who scored 15 runs in Saturday’s win against Seattle, post 11 runs in the third inning of last night’s pummelization of Houston. Eleven runs, and the Rangers did not hit a triple or a home run (for the record: six singles, one double, three walks and two errors). In the eighth inning, with the Astros trailing 16-5, catcher Jake Elmore moved to pitcher and hurled a 1-2-3 inning. Elmore, who made his Major League debut at catcher (Elmore ordinarily is an infielder) four innings earlier, became just the 14 player in MLB history to both catch and pitch in the same game. He was also the only one of the four Astro pitchers to toss a scoreless frame.

So I got to thinking: If you’re the Lastros, 30.5 games out of first place, why not commit to having Elmore play a different position each inning for a nine-inning game at Minute Maid Park? You can promote the heck out of this. In case you are wondering, Elmore would not be the first player to perform this feat: It was previously done twice in 2000 (Scott Sheldon, Texas, and Shane Halter, Detroit) once in 1968 by Cesar Tovar (Minnesota) and originally in 1965 by Bert Campaneris (Oakland).

By the way, Campy’s stunt was the brainchild of legendary A’s owner Charles O. Finley. He promoted it as “Campy Campaneris Night” as the A’s were in the final throes of a 103-loss season (great minds, etc.). Campy’s night, Sept. 8, 1965:

1st inning: SS

2nd inning: 2B, one assist

3rd inning: 3B

4th inning: LF, put-out

5th inning: CF, put-out

6th inning: RF, error

7th inning: 1B, put-out

8th inning: P, allows one hit, two BBs, one run. More importantly, he pitched ambidextrously.

9th inning: C, With score tied and men on first and third, the Angels attempt a double steal. On toss back to home plate, the runner barreled into Campy, who held onto the ball for the out. Campaneris had to leave the game, though, with a shoulder injury and the Angels would win in the 13th inning.

See, we all learned something.

5. Art by A.J.


My buddy A.J., who is just 22 (I’m his friend when circumstances allow me to not have to be his father figure)  has designs on being Hollywood’s next Ryan Gosling. Or Derek Cianfrance (that’s the director of “Blue Valentine” and “The Place Beyond the Pines”, who actually lives in A.J.’s Brooklyn ‘hood and whom, of course, A.J. has approached and introduced himself to.

A.J., by the way, is fearless. He has in the past introduced himself to Mark Cuban and Eric Chavez, at different times, at the same Upper West Side saloon. Cuban and A.J. would hang out for an entire evening, whisking around New York City with some female accompaniment in a rented sedan. When A.J. Burnett was traded from the Yankees to the Pirates, Chavez actually mistakenly sent my A.J. a text asking how he was doing. I solved the riddle for A.J. as to what that was about. A.J. once even approached Ann Hathaway at a coffee shop off 14th Street and inquired, “How’s the” career going?” (“Good,” she replied. “How’s yours?”).

He’s fearless. He’s not always tactful. But that’s part of A.J.’s charm.

Anyway, lower on A.J.’s list of interests is painting, although to my untrained eye he has some serious skills. He brush-worked the above piece in about four hours on a recent evening, and there’s more like this that I’d like to highlight. So, yes, now Medium Happy is an art gallery of sorts. If you like this piece, let me know. You can be the first on your block to own an A.J.


Vampire Die-aries

It says here “Vampires should not remain outdoors during daylight ho— OWWWWW!!!”

On the season finale of “True Blood” (we jumped off the bus after Godric’s self-immolation back in Season 2), actor Alexander Skarsgard, i.e. Peter Northman, meets a buck-naked, full-frontal fiery end while relaxing on a lounge chair and doing some light reading atop a snowy peak in Sweden. In case you did not know, Skarsgard’s dad, Stellen, is the dude who played the supercilious professor in “Good Will Hunting.”

Yes, it’s “Nordics on Lounge Chairs” theme day at Medium Happy.


After Sunday night’s bean brawl in Boston, Alex Rodriguez, who is currently appealing a 211-game suspension for his involvement with the Biogenesis lab, was asked if he thought Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster, who plunked him, should be suspended. A-Rod smiled and said, “I’m the wrong guy to ask about a suspension. Holy mackerel.” What a rare, honest, and hilarious moment from him.

Earlier, during that same game, as a 9th inning appearance by Mariano Rivera loomed and Alfonso Soriano was at bat, ESPN’s Curt Schilling harked back to Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, a game in which all three men played a significant role. Schilling recalled that after Soriano hit a home run off him in the top of the 8th to put the Yankees ahead, 2-1, the first thing he noticed was Rivera warming up in the bullpen (I’ll throw the challenge flag on that).

“And I’m thinking, I’ve just lost the World Series,” Schilling said, “because Mariano Rivera doesn’t blow saves in October.”

Maybe not — remember, this was before the epic Yanks-Sawx series of 2004 — but just to correct Schilling, that game took place on November 4.


It’s a good question, so let’s ask it: Why isn’t Ryan Braun taking anywhere near as much heat for fraudulently defaming an innocent man as an anti-Semite as Riley Cooper has for using the N-word? I’ll take a stab at it: 1) We have Cooper’s slur on video, which is always more powerful and 2) the N-word trumps “anti-Semite.”

It was odd to read the “anti-Semite” news on ESPN’s scroll Sunday night, then flip to “Breaking Bad” and watch the Artist Formerly Known as Dr. Timothy Watley, DDS, who once recklessly labeled Jerry as an “anti-Dentite.”


Tuned in to Fox Sports 1’s premier of “Fox Football Daily” and within 30 seconds Jay Glazer felt the need to interrupt host Curt Menefee and tell us that Brian Urlacher cheats at golf. “He once put Vaseline on my steering wheel,” Glazer told us, which one can only hope was not a double entendre.

I missed “Crowd Goes Wild”, hosted by Methuselah, but I’ll try to catch it today. I’m a huge fan of Jason Gay’s tweets –and columns –but transitioning to television? We’ll see.



Oscar Pistorius indicted. The further away we get from the night of Reeva Steenkamp’s death, the more prepostorius Oscar’s alibi sounds, no?