Kendrick Lamar turns 27, while Tupac Shakur (left) would’ve turned 44






Starting Five

1. Chi-Normous

The Blackhawks ground the Lightning 2-0 in Game 6 to claim the Stanley Cup, their third of the past six years. An Original Six team hoists the trophy, the realm is saved.

2. Living In The Limelight

After 41 years as a highly popular prog rock band (with an intensely loyal following), the Canadian trio Rush at last make the cover of the Rolling Stone. There’s (the scantest) hope for you yet, Journey.

I wonder whether this speech at the long-overdue Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction two years ago, an entity whose strings are pulled by RS founder Jann Wenner, had anything to do with it. Or whether Jann realized it may finally be time to appeal to his mag’s aging demo.

3. Take, Take Me Home

(to Africa)

Park anywhere you like, sir

The stunt promos keep coming. Last week on the date of the release of Orange is the New Black on Netflix, the Rachel Dolezal kerfuffle broke out. This past weekend, as Jura$$ic World opened globally, a flood in the country of Georgia led to the mass escape of animals from the zoo in Tbiliisi.

Fleas fled. Lambs are on the lam. Governor Andrew Cuomo felt compelled to tell the public that “the animals could be next door or they could be in Mexico.”

Honestly, though, it’s an awful situation, as a prized white lion was shot in the head for no good reason and six wolves were also exterminated. One zoo worker, Guliko Chitadze, who only last month lost an arm in an attack by a tiger, perished in the flood. Side note: It’s difficult to swim with one arm.

4. Dipsea Doodle

Pilcher, a retired financier (good work if you can get it), crosses the finish line at Stinson Beach

The Dipsea a 7.2-mile running race that began in 1905 in the hills north of San Francisco  and is the oldest trail-running race in America, was won on Sunday by 58 year-old Brian Pilcher. A former winner of the race in 2009, Pilcher did not have the fastest time, but the race is staggered so that the very old and very young are given incremental head starts based on their ages. This is, after all, a liberal bastion of the USA.

Pitcher, from nearby Ross, Calif., started with nearly an 11-minute head start ahead of the fastert runners, which is about a 2-mile head start for men of that pace.

5. Wherefore Whitlock?

The smuggest of mugs

On Friday afternoon ESPN made it two-for-two this spring on deposing editors-in-chief of its spawned Los Angeles-based sites, announcing that Jason Whitlock would not be in any way involved with The Undefeated, a black-centric site (that is yet to launch) that was tailor-made for him.

Ooooookay. So now ESPN is simply spending a lot of money on a man who alienates people wherever he goes and suffers from a grave condition of megalomania. What next? Whitlock is intelligent; his problem is that he’s keenly unaware of the fact that others are, too. Doctors refer to is at Mariotti Syndrome.

This pummeling in Deadspin a month or so back didn’t help….

Music 101

Bad Reputation

Suddenly I’m on the street/Seven years disappeared below my feet

Not the Joan Jett version — this is early ’90s troubadour Freedy Johnston. It appears at the end at the end of long-forgotten gem of a film from that era called Kicking and Screaming, which is so much better than the Will Ferrell film of the same title.

Remote Patrol 

Game 6: Dubs at Cavs

ABC 9 p.m.

Do us this one solid, John Skipper: Whenever the series ends, either tonight or Friday, bring Bill Simmons onto the set and allow him to say, “Can I talk now? It’s been like, five and a half weeks!”


The Magna Carta turns 800 years old today. It’s not so important what card you get it for its birthday, it’s just real important that you sign it. If you are keeping score, Magna Carta Holy Grail turns 2 on July 4.

Starting Five

“I’m glad the end of the world’s working out well for somebody,” he told Samwell. Yes, but not for you, Jon Snow.

1. Snow Fall

The judges will also accept “Et Tu, Olly?”, “Arya Kidding Me?” “Keeping Up With the Sands”, “That Dragon is Draggin’.” 

Revenge, served colder than the average temperature of Hardhome, was the main dish on the Season 5 finale of Game of Thrones.

Arya avenged the death of Silvio (from Season 1).

Brienne avenged the death of Renly Baratheon.

The Sands avenged the death of Oberyn Martell.

Alliser, Olly, and other members of the Night’s Watch avenged all the slights, real or imagined, that they feel took place because of Lord Jon Snow.

Cersei Lannister: Naked Launch

Meanwhile, a show that has long been known for being brutal to young women may have had its cruelest episode yet: Arya is inflicted with blindness; the Lannister daughter is fatally poisoned just as she is beginning to look as if she has a future in runway modeling; Sansa may have Butch & Sundance’d to her death off the walls of Winterfell — or maybe the snow, small “s”, broke her fall; Daenerys can’t get her dragon to start and is captured by the Dothraki; Stannis’ wife hangs herself; and Cersei — gasp! — has to endure a haircut without a glass of wine (honestly, that Walk of Shame would’ve been so much more glorious if she’d been toting a pair of stiletto’s and a Starbucks coffee.

Sepinwall’s review.…and Greenwald’s recap.

2. To Cav and To Cav Not

LeBron went for 40, 14 and 11, but even Drew Carey had a better supporting cast.

After three close games to begin the NBA Finals, the Cavs lose their second in a row by at least 13 points. The Warriors went small, which behooves them, and then so did the Cavs, who are not as well-hooved when they do so.

Timofey Mozgov has been Cleveland’s second-best player. He scored 28 in Game 4. He got 9 minutes of play and scored 0 points in Game 5. You take him out for J.R. Smith, but J.R. Smith plays every game as if it’s a Tuesday night in November in Milwaukee. He just never amps up his game.

I don’t know what Cleveland’s answer should be. I hear Michael Jordan is feeling frisky again. Sign MJ for Game 6?

3. Ches King

These Ducks don’t waddle. Cheserek broke the tape but Oregon finished 1-2-3 in the 5,000 and won the team outdoor championship.

Oregon sophomore Edward Cheserek wins the Men’s 5,000 at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene. In just four semesters, King Ches, a native of Kenya who attended high school in Newark, has already won EIGHT individual NCAA titles.

2013 Cross Country National Champion

2014 Cross Country National Champion

2014 Indoor 3000 N.C.

2014 Indoor 5000 NC

2014 Outdoor 10,000 NC

2015 Indoor Mile NC

2015 Indoor Distance Medley Relay NC

2015 Outdoor 5,000 NC

At a school that gave the track world both Steve Prefontaine and the Nike brand, Cheserek is neck and neck in terms of legacy.

4. “Break a Leg,” They Said, And Dave Grohl Did

An epic set by Grohl and the FF

I’m a big Dave Grohl fan even if I think Foo Fighters are no more than a solid B+ band. Anyway, who cares what you think, JW? On Saturday night the Fighters of Foo were playing a gig in Goteborg, Sweden when the former Nirvana drummer tripped and fell offstage and broke his leg.

No one could have handled it any better, though. Grohl spoke to the crowd, promised him that he’d return and that the band would finish the set (this is the man who promised, “I’ll stick around…I’ll stick around” after all) after he visited the hospital, and then did exactly that, playing from a chair.

I wonder if the “Get Well Soon” card from Letterman has already arrived…

5. Dano, Meet Dino

“To the sounds of old T. Rex….” thank you, Roger Daltrey.

Last week’s love for an intelligent, lovingly made film (Love & Mercy) gets trounced in cold-blooded fashion by the oversized reptiles of Jurassic World. The sequel had a prehistoric opening weekend at the box office ($511.8 million globally, only $2.8 million shy of The Avengers).


Bryce Dallas Howard, whose dad used to go fishing with Sheriff Andy Taylor, is on to bigger creatures (and I don’t just mean Chris Pratt)

Opie Cunningham’s daughter did okay for herself on this gig.

Music 101 

Ask The Lonely

When you’re feeling love’s not fair/You just ask the lonely/When you’re lost in deep despair/You just ask the lonely

Hate on Journey all you want — I did when I was in high school and the band was at its zenith — but they were a hit machine that created a bunch of “Turn it up” while driving in your car hits. This is one of them. The video is worth watching just for all of Steve Perry’s catastrophic hair and costume choices. A world-class voice in some serious need of fashion and dance move advice.

Remote Patrol

Stanley Cup: Game 6

NBC 8 p.m.

I think we need a Game 7, don’t you?


by John Walters

Happy Birthday (34), Adriana Lima, a Brazilian beauty with the capital of Peru as a surname.

Starting Five

1. Head Games

I’m just wondering, Susie B., if LeBron had been wearing the headband, might all of this have turned out differently?

2. OITNBeyotches!

It’s nice to see a different Taylor S. (Schilling) on the cover of the Rolling Stone. With her Orange Is The New Black-ish co-star, Laura Prepon. Although aren’t most of the cast members of OITNB African-American? Where them women at? Did they escape with Richard Matt and David Sweat?

Meanwhile, perfect timing on that Rachel Dolezal story, eh?

3. The Molly Trolley

Seidel became the first Notre Dame woman to win an NCAA individual track championship

A bizarre race in the women’s 10,000 meter final at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene last night. With four laps remaining defending champ Emma Bates of Boise State, who was at the head of the pack, put in her kick. Bates opened up a 40 meter, or nearly eight-second, lead.

Then she bonked. Within one lap Bates, whose coach had advised her to run a killer lap with four to go, lost the lead to Molly Seidel of Notre Dame, who never relinquished it. Seidel, a junior from Hartland, Wis., would break the tape in 33.18:37, winning by seven seconds herself.

One of my closest friends in the world ran XC for Notre Dame (he was a teammate  of Nicholas Sparks) and was infamous for punching anyone who cut him off in the back. He made XC and track a contact sport. Today, I offer this item up to him in tribute.

*Because I didn’t want to write the 5 millionth Little Richard-related hed for this first name.

4. Stepping Down…

When Murdoch does one day expire, I expect his last word to be “Rosebud.”

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo (TWTR stock rises 3% on the news this morning), effective July 1, and FOX CEO and founder Rupert Murdoch, whose age requires carbon dating (he’s 84). On the day Costolo announced he’d be returning to Casterly Rock, Twitter announced it would put no limit on Direct Messages, which will facilitate the exchanges between myself and Mr. Murdoch.

In an age when Mark Zuckerberg took Facebook to a 400% jump since its low of $18-ish and Reed Hastings was able to lead Netflix to a leap of 1,000% since its low of $60-ish, Twitter’s stock price has actually fallen.

5. Tennessee, Anyone? 

Opening Act, Don Draper, who will teach the world to sing in perfect harmony….

The 14th annual Bonnaroo Music & Arts fest began yesterday in Manchester, Tenn. I’d go but at this age the only time I want to wait in line for a Port-a-John is if I’m wearing a bib number and running shorts.

Headliners: Alabama Shakes, Kendrick Lamar, Tears for Fears (for m-m-my generation), Mumford and Sons, My Morning Jacket, Florence and the Machine, Robert Plant and the curtain closer will be Billy Joel. Is there anyone out there still excited to see Billy Joel? I like his songs, but I’ve got to say, “Man, what are you doing here?”

Music 101

When Will I See You Again

Hoooh/Hahhhh/Hahhhhh/Hoooooh/Precious Moments

You can’t do 70s Philly soul, as it was known, any better than The Three Degrees did this. I grew up on a diet of performances such as this on the Mike Douglas Show, so you have no right to judge me, okay? This song actually climbed to No. 2 on the Billboard chart and hit No. 1 on the adult contemporary chart. Somewhere between the Supremes and En Vogue….


Remote Patrol

USA vs. Sweden

ESPN 8 p.m.

Sweden’s Jessica Landstrom, performing an illegal move

The U.S. Women, for all the adulation they receive (you’re welcome, says Brandi Chastain) last won the quadrennial World Cup in 1999. Tonight they face Sweden, who have just as many Maxim cover-ready performers on their roster and are ranked fifth in the world (USA is No. 2 behind Germany).


by John Walters

D! Happy 33rd birthday to the best women’s basketball player I ever saw…

Starting Five

Wood’s goal in the 88th minute gave the U.S. Men their first ever win in Germany. Die Mannschaft, Die!

1. Wood, You Believe?

Quite a fortnight for United States soccer: take down Sepp Blatter and his evil minions; the men win a pair of friendlies on the home pitches of Netherlands and reigning World Cup champion Germany; and the women win the first match of their World Cup. Take a bow, soccer moms. Take. A. Bow.

If she hadn’t taken control of the car pool back in 2005, where would US soccer be?

Yesterday in Cologne there would be no after-saves (!) for the Deutsch, as Team USA, led by their German coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, recovered from an early 1-0 deficit to vanquish the hosts. Mario Goetze, who is somebody that I used to know, scored the opener in the 12th minute for Die Mannschaft, but then Jeff Bradley’s Nephew lofted a beautiful lead pass to the sublimely named Mix Diskerud (yes, he’s on our side), who scooted in the equalizer in the 41st minute.

Then in the 87th minute Wood, a 22 year-old Hawaiian who last Friday night scored the game-winner in the 90th minute of USA’s 4-3 win over Oranje (say it ain’t so, Dodgy Flapper!), fielded a pass outside the penalty box, swiveled, and booted a seeing-eye strike past the German goalkeeper, who is now working in a shipyard in Hamburg.

Wood bypassed college and has actually lived and played in Germany since 2007

Pretty good week for Bobby Wood. Two game-winninng goals on the home pitches of two of the world’s more venerable soccer powers. And he was a sub in both matches. Watch the video here while listening to it in Deutsch.

2. New York Post-Mortem

The best NY Post hed ever. My runner-up would be: “Wacko Jacko Backo,” about the return of Michael Jackson

The man who gave the world this headline in 1983, Vinnie Musetto, died at the age of 74 on Tuesday. Here’s a very entertaining (especially if you are in the biz) tale surrounding the creation of that hed (an editor questions whether or not it is in fact a topless bar and Musetto, echoing the thoughts and aspirations of quipsters the world over, retorts, “It’s gotta be a topless bar! This is the greatest [bleeping’] headline of my career”).

Almost as a tribute to Musetto’s legacy, Tuesday was also the day that most of us began to see the above hed from the East Oregonian, “northeastern Oregon’s largest regional newspaper since 1875.” I only wish that Venditte’s first name were Gil, because then you could make a claim that this was true.

3. It’s About….Time

Ironically, it’s the Warriors who have the cavalier attitude and the Cavaliers who are playing like Warriors.

LeBron James is 30 years old and playing in his fifth straight NBA Finals. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are all at least three years his junior and making their NBA Finals debut. While I can’t fault for one moment Curry’s effort in this series, it’s clear that what I tweeted on Friday has thus far come to pass: the intangibles have taken over.

LeBron, who is averaging 40 points per game this series, just wants it that much more and he has infused at least three of his teammates, none of whom are American — Timofey Mozgov (Russia), Tristan Thompson (Canada) and Matthew Dellavedova (Australia) — with that same sense of urgency.

Then again, we are only three games in and all three games have been within a point or tied in the final minute. No one is choking here. Two fantastic teams playing a fantastic series thus far.

As I said Friday, the loss of Irving actually provides LeBron with a once-in-a-career opportunity. Win these Finals and you have a permanent SHUT UP! card to hand every remaining (foolish) critic. It’s too bad LBJ won Sportsman of the Year in 2012, because this is the year in which he may truly deserve it.

4. Safe  –and Yet Also In Danger — at Home

“Hi-YAA!” Miss Piggy couldn’t have done it any better than Crosby

Elbow Room: In the Texas 4A state final last week, Huffman defeated Needville (neighboring town of Wantville) 6-4. But the real story was the not one but two subtle elbow shivers that Needville catcher Megan Crosby delivered to Huffman players as they were coming in to score at home. The umpires missed both of them. Video here.

Update: Crosby will skate on the Blackhawks third line for the remainder of the Stanley Cup finals.

5. Raising — and Re-Raising — The Bar


The NCAA Track & Field Outdoor Championships commence today yesterday from Track Town, U.S.A. (Eugene), and the big story should be pole vaulters Sandi Morris (left) and Demi Payne (below). Morris and Payne between them, this year alone, have accounted for the NINE HIGHEST INDOOR VAULTS in NCAA history and have also EACH reset the OUTDOOR NCAA record — TWICE.

They’re pretty amazing young women and both will be high on NBC’s radar next summer. Morris is the reigning NCAA Indoor champ while Payne’s vault of 15-7 indoors last winter is the highest vault, indoors or outdoors, that any collegian has ever done. I cannot wait until the real sport blogs discover this pair. In the meantime, here’s Sandi’s blog (click for the title alone) and my story in Newsweek should be up very soon. Prelims are tonight, finals on Saturday. Tune in to ESPN or ESPNU.


Music 101

Pumped Up Kicks

All the other kids with the pumped-up kicks/Better run, better run/Outrun my bullets

It’s rare to hear a perfectly crafted pop song this millennium. Even rarer to hear one that references a 1990s footwear product. But Mark Foster and his band, Foster the People, created just that in 2011 as this catchy tune made it all the way to No. 3 on the Billboard chart. Foster, for years a struggling commercial jingles writer, crafted the catchiest melody of his career and then kept it for himself.

Remote Patrol

Game 4: Warriors at Cavs

ABC 9 p.m.

David Lee played as many minutes in Games 1 and 2 as David Lee Roth, but his 13 breakout minutes in Game 3 showed Steve Kerr that he has a Warrior who is a warrior.

If the Cavs win, it’s over. If the Warriors win, we’ve got a series. Go Warriors! This series is too delicious to want it to go anything less than 7. Besides, I’m wide open the rest of this month.


by John Walters

Starting Five

1. Merrell Noden

Memories of Merrell Noden, a former writer at Sports Illustrated who passed on May 31  from cancer at the age of 58, I believe…. the first thing to know about Merrell is that he was a kind soul. I’ll get to the fact that in high school at the Lawrenceville (N.J.) School he ran a 4:11 mile, that he graduated magna cum laude from Princeton, that he played guitar in a rock band, that he was a conscientious and erudite writer.

But mostly Merrell was part of a generation of SI writers/employees that included Jack McCallum, Alexander Wolff, Austin Murphy, Richard O’Brien, Damian Slattery, Bill Nack, Steve Wulf, Bambi Wulf, Greg Kelly, Richard Demak, Kelli Anderson and Steve Rushin who were not just incredibly gifted people, but real MEN (and WOMEN). They were characters who had character.

As I said, Merrell was kind. You’d walk into SI and he’d be sitting in Richard O’Brien’s office, or Jack McCallum’s or Greg Kelly’s or Richard Demak’s (Rushin’s was too minuscule, though Merrell occasionally squeezed his six-foot-three frame in there; Steve is almost 6’5″ so it was like peering into a clown car). One or more of the above would also be within and they’d be having some spirited conversation about sports, but just as likely about literature or movies or politics. The melody never wavered: escalating voices, interruptions, and then a quip (from McCallum or Rushin, ordinarily) that led to laughter. Verse, chorus, verse, ad infinitum.

You’d pass by, completely in over your head, but Merrell would ask how you were doing. He’d be genuinely inquisitive.

I was a dedicated runner at the time, training for my first marathon, and Merrell, who was possessed of god-like running talent that was incongruent with his 6-foot-3 (thereabouts) frame, would ask me how my training was going. But he’d take it further than that. He’d give me training tips. Then, he’d take me out on long runs, 10- to 15-milers on the weekends. We weren’t close friends — I was the most in-over-his-head figure at the Time-Life Building since Peggy Olson, and he was a respected name on the masthead. None of that ever mattered to Merrell.

Merrell was kind, but he was animated and opinionated. And uncompromising in his values. I loved that about him. You’d hear him arguing with the fellows above all the time, but there was never any hostility in his or their voices. Rancor? Yes. Fulmination? Of course. But there was always genuine comity, and Merrell’s innate decency had a lot to do with that.

Shortly before I arrived at SI, two writers who were about Merrell’s age got into an actual fist fight during a “friendly” basketball game during a staff outing in Paradise Valley, Arizona. It became legendary within the halls of the 18th floor, dubbed by one pithy colleague as both “The Fracas in the Cactus” and “The Maricopa Ropa Dopa.” Merrell was a regular in SI hoops games, and he might have argued a call — he definitely would’ve — but there was something in his spirit that was too warm to ever get into a fight. At least as far as I ever witnessed.

Merrell wrote primarily about track and field at a time when the sport was beginning its long spiral downward from having garnered front-of-the-book coverage (thank you, Ben Johnson). He’d cover the Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden and I’d be the reporter who would tag along, gathering quotes where I could, but mostly just observing Merrell and learning. I was a track geek and thus constantly in awe of how some of the sport’s great figures at the time (Ray Flynn, PattiSue Plummer, etc.) would converse with Merrell with such mutual respect. Marty Liquori, another Garden State native who’d actually been the third U.S. high school boy to break the 4-minute mile and was seven years his senior, spoke to Merrell as if they had a weekly poker game together.

Merrell would often sprinkle his prose with a quote from Shakespeare (“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown” appeared in the first story I’d fact-checked) and having been a pre-med in college, I as often as not failed to recognize them. These were pre-Google days, kids. You couldn’t just type the words into the search bar. You could spend hours going through Bartlett’s quotations or you could search out the most empathetic and intelligent co-worker available for help, which was always Richard O’Brien. That Rich, a Yale grad who like Merrell came with absolutely no Ivy League airs, was probably Merrell’s best friend (he delivered the eulogy) is no surprise.

One of my favorite things about having known Merrell was witnessing the way he’d gape at the myriad raw talents of our friend and colleague, Steve Rushin. It wasn’t just that Steve was the most precociously talented writer not just on the staff but probably in the history of the magazine. It was that Steve did everything well. Steve, who is at least 6 foot 4, went running with Merrell once and the former 4:11 miler was astounded that with no running background Steve could be that fast.

Suddenly, Merrell took to becoming Steve’s Salazar. Coaching him on his first New York City Marathon. You could see, and be amused by the fact, that this was so much more important to Merrell than it actually was to Steve. With a minimal amount of training, Steve turned in a 3:01 in his marathon debut. Merrell was gob-smacked.

Theirs was a special friendship. Steve was on his way to being a rock star at SI, and Merrell was not on that track, but there was never an ounce of professional jealousy from the former to the latter. Rather, Merrell was almost like a big brother to Steve and Steve was a gracious enough soul to appreciate what a friend he had in Merrell.

Steve, like Merrell, was always down-to-earth. Like Merrell, he was also always open to a spirited debate, preferably after midnight at The Emerald Inn on Columbus Avenue. It was always fun to share a booth with those two men — every argument only incited more laughter and more pints — except for the fact that those booths were not built to accommodate humans north of six-feet in height.

I’m sure I’m forgetting many wonderful anecdotes about Merrell, who is survived by his wife, Eva, and their children, Miranda and Sam. There are so many people at SI who were closer to him than I was and any number of them could do a superior job to the one I am doing here.

But I just smile every time I think of him. There was wit and there was intelligence and there was a ferocity of spirit to Merrell, but there was nothing snarky or mean-spirited or cheap (and he was smart enough to use more descriptive adjectives than those). I wonder when the wunder kids at Deadspin or Buzzfeed pass if anyone will ever say such a thing about how they approached their jobs and treated their colleagues.

Merrill Noden was a true prince among men at a time when Sports Illustrated had a bountiful supply of them. He is gone too soon, but everyone who knew him is enriched for having had that privilege.


by John Walters

Wishing a happy birthday to Michael J. Fox, but wishing a happy birthday to Natalie Portman, too, which is sort of a portmanteau…

Starting Five

1. Peer Amid Scheme

The horse that wrecked autocorrect, American Pharoah, wins the Belmont Stakes and in so doing becomes the first thoroughbred since Affirmed in 1978 to capture the Triple Crown… a fact that the three year-old himself is completely oblivious to, despite the reams of copy produced by breathless scribes this weekend hailing this achievement.

It’s not that I don’t like the spectacle of the Triple Crown. I’m just nauseated by the hagiography of it all. It’s a horse that has no idea that there is any connection between this trio of spring jaunts nor that there is a decades-long drought associated with his achievement. I noticed nobody used their purple prose function to talk about Helwan, the four year-old colt who went down in the fourth race and had to be euthanized…

American Pharoah, here being whipped (don’t worry; he likes it) was not one of the 10 horses to die while racing at Belmont this spring. Do not let your children go into horse racing.

I”m not against horse racing. I’m against horse manure. On Saturday a Canadian friend of mine approached just before post time.

C: “So tell me about this Triple Crown thing.”
Me: “Well, it’s these three races in the spring time at three different tracks and if the same three year-old wins all three, that’s a big deal.”
C: “How come?”
Me: “Because that’s the way they’ve been doing it for nearly a hundred years.”

C: “Yes, but how come it’s a big deal.”

Me: “Because a bunch of two-legged creatures decided it was.”

We’ll always have this gem from The State, which sort of sums up how I feel about all the atavistic Gatsby-era hoo ha associated with this phenomenon. Is it cool that this happened for the first time in 37 years? Sure. Are we celebrating ourselves more than we are the horse? Yes, because the horse has no idea what it accomplished.

2. Tilda Swinton 2, Australia 1

Loved her in Michael Clayton…

The USA opens Women’s World Cup play with a 3-1 defeat of the Sheilas in Winnipeg.

Relaxing at home in Scotland…

3. Dad’-baughed

To quote a tweet from @MarkEnnis : “And what are you wearing, Jim from Ann Arbor?” “Uh, khakis.”

Perfect neologism/portmanteau and an equally well-executed column by Tom Fornelli, whose “Topless College Football Coach Power Rankings” yesterday was a bottomless pith of fun. Loved his No. 1, but had to wonder where was Mike Gundy? He’s a man, he’s 48, and he probably doffs his shirt.

Against my better judgement, I did Google “Topless Mark Mangino”

And we can all say a prayer of thanks that Mark Mangino is no longer a head coach.

4. Cavs lead Warriors, 1-1

The Los Angeles Lakers always had more talent than the Boston Celtics, but the reasons the Celtics at least took one of their three classic 1980s series from them is because 1) the Celtics almost always had the best player on the court (Larry Bird) and 2) Boston had a few more guys who understood their roles (although I’d be remiss in not stating that Michael Cooper of the Lakers NEVER gets enough love in these discussions).

The Cavs have twice taken GSW to overtime in Oakland in the first two games of the NBA Finals thanks to 1) having the best player on the court (LBJ) and 2) having role players who are doing more: Tristan Thompson, Timofey Mozgov Cocktail, and Matthew “It Ain’t Ova til’ It’s” Dellavedova.

Sure, they’re going to miss Kyrie Irving. But LeBron’s favorite play in this series has been backing Night of the Iguodala down and then dishing to a full speed Mozgov, whose way no one on GSW wants to get into. And I don’t blame them.

And yes, I was the guy on Friday reminding tweeps that the Cavs could win this series as people told me it would be a GSW sweep.

Meanwhile, let’s play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon (thx to Tom Sullivan): Bacon in Crazy, Stupid Love with Marisa Tomei…who is in Trainwreck this summer with LeBron James…who is a teammate of Kevin Love…who is a nephew of Mike Love…who is a cousin and bandmate of Brian Wilson.

5. Dano What You Got Til It’s Gone

Love and Mercy: It’s like the Entourage movie if Vincent Chase actually suffered for his art.

Saw Love & Mercy and loved it. Well, let me put it this way: I LOVED the Sixties era version of it and liked the Eighties era version. Even though Paul Giammati was pig vomit-reprehensible as Dr. Eugene Landy and even though Elizabeth Banks was outstanding as Melinda Ledbetter and even though John Cusack was terrific in a nuanced performance, Paul Dano as a young Brian Wilson just went to a place (“In My Room,” perhaps?) that most actors can never get to. Oscar nomination for sure. Oscar win? It’s still early and I wouldn’t count Chewbacca out later this year.

Remote Patrol

Game 3: Warriors at Cavs

ABC 9 p.m.

Do you favor Curry?

It was Game 3 of the 1991 Finals, Bulls at the Forum, in which Michael Jordan wrested the legacy of champion away from Magic Johnson and the Lakers. Not that Magic’s Lakers weren’t magnificent, but they were gunning for their sixth title in the Magic era and the Bulls were in search of their first. The series was tied 1-1. Chicago won that game on the road and the confidence level disparity after that was a wide, wide gulf. The Bulls easily closed out the final two games of the series, all in L.A.

Does Steph Curry have that gear in him? Different era, different teams, different casts, I know. It’s a loose comparison at best.


No time for MH today. Sorry. Susie B., don’t take it personally. You know I was the one on Friday telling everyone who said the series was over that they were simpletons. It’s amazing that for as much as people watch sports, they mostly still fail to factor in the effect that incentive has on teams’ performances. Don’t fall prey to the Nate Silver world, people. It’s a calculus of ignorance for the greater things in life.


by John Walters

Hands up if you want to wish John Carlos (R) (June 5) and Tommie Smith (L) (June 6) happy birthdays. They turn 70 and 71 this weekend.

Starting Five

Feat of Klay meets Feet of Clay. My work is done here.

1. Hey Now, Heyyyy Now, Don’t Dream It’s Over

Game 1 of the NBA Finals: Did KI become KIA (and I’m not talking about a car that Blake Griffin hawks)?

Yes, LeBron James was magnificent in the 108-100 overtime loss: 44 points, eight rebounds, six assists. And yes, I’m allowed to point out (ducks as Susie B. tosses a shoe his way) that King James might’ve taken a better shot at the end of regulation. Why did he pull a Harden: you drive to the hoop all night, creating havoc, being able to dish for a Mozgov Cocktail or get a foul call, and then when winning time comes, you settle for a fallaway jumper from beyond the arc? WHY!?!?

(I’m sure we’ll get an answer in the Comments section…)

Cleveland outplayed Golden State most of the night, and Stephen Curry was merely mortal (26 points — the real MVP was “Night of the Iguodala”), but GSW still wins. Now 5-0 as a franchise in Finals games since moving to Oakland.

LeBron James, now 11-17 in NBA Finals games. Michael Jordan, 24-11. Brought to you by “Don’t Shoot The Messenger” productions.

Anyway, it felt like the series was over because of the way Kyrie Irving limped off court during overtime after making that game-saving block against Curry in the final :30 of regulation. Irving is still only 23 and the Cavs have $80 million invested in him over the next five years. If you watched the San Antonio game a few months ago, you understand just how brilliant a player Irving — the 2014 All-Star Game MVP — can be.

You don’t want to mess with his knees long-term. Of course, this series will only run until August, so you wonder if he’ll be healed by then. If it were me, I’d sit him. At least through the next game. Start Matthew Dellavedova, count on him to take out at least two Warrior starters with his “spirited play,” and that’ll even things up.

2. Blatt, Blatter, Blattest

This is going to make a wonderful profile pic for his page

In a week in which Cleveland Cavalier coach LeBron James David Blatt and FIFA president Sepp Blatter have been in the news, the editorial staff here at MH — I refer to them simply as “The Danettes” — have been picking their brains to determine what sports figure is the “Blattest.” And what actually that term implies.

And we still don’t know, but we are going to single out Marine Corps vet George Hood, 57, above, as the Blattest man alive this week for setting a new world record in planking (5 hours, 15 minutes, 15 seconds…. and thereby crushing our personal best of nine seconds). That’s some awesome endurance. Hood is like a machine. Almost like a…fort.

Hood dedicated his effort to, and raised money for, the Semper Fi Fund, which helps wounded vets, which is very cool.

3. Brodacious

Vince, Drama, Turtle and E. show up on Ellen and play “I Never.” Also, we learn that Jerry Ferrara worked at a Boston Market in the neighborhood and was Employee of the Month seven times.

4. The Mountains Win Again*

“Damn! I just remembered I locked my keys in the van.”

Only 19 years after the fact, the story of the 1996 tragedy on Mount Everest, so chillingly (pun intended; they always are with me) told by Jon Krakauer in his best-selling book, Into Thin Air, comes to the big screen. Starring Josh Brolin, Robin Wright (schwing!) Jake Gyllenhaal and featuring many scenes of Keira Knightley talking into a phone (“AC-ting! Thank you!”).

Set for a mid-September release. Seems like an IMAX-worthy film, no?

Here’s the trailer. Little-known fact: Filmed entirely in Toronto.

*If this tune does not make the soundtrack, I don’t know anything.

5. AP Ranking

Two good-looking thorobreds (I have no idea if that makes any equine sense): American Pharoah and Josh Elliott

Well, if American Pharoah wins the Triple Crown tomorrow, he’ll be No. 1, no? That’s all I got. Go read the always terrific and never unprepared Tim Layden at SI if you want to know more. All I really know about horse racing is that the athletes are three years old and that the one trainer anyone cares about will either be played by John Slattery or Don Johnson in the movie, and that writers are compelled to try to find a new angle on his story every year, which seems almost as tiring as it is tiresome.

Also, if I know SI, and if I know their horsey editor, somehow the mag will find a way — and it should — to have the great William Nack pen a column about the historical signifiance of it all.

And remember, kids: Secretariat was not the last horse to win the Triple Crown. It only feels that way (Affirmed, in 1978; Alydar may be the greatest runner-up of all time, with apologies to Stockton & Malone).

Music 101 

7 Stars

Besides appearing on The Colbert Report a couple of times, The Apples in Stereo, a quasi-psychedelic outfit from Denver, have never found the national acclaim that at least I feel they’re worthy of. This tune is from 2007 off their New Magnetic Wonder CD. I don’t think it ever charted, but I’m a fan.

Remote Patrol


UEFA Champions League Final: FC Barcelona vs. Juventus

FOX 2 p.m. (pre-show; kickoff at 2;45 after all the Heineken ads)

Messi, Suarez and Neymar, the South American troika, take on some nasty Italians.

Belmont Stakes

NBC 4:30 p.m. (pre-show; post time is almost two hours later)

I’ve always wondered if Aqueduct even stages races on this day…..




by John Walters

Happy “Bar-thday” to Bar Refaeli, who turns 30 today. Also, happy “35th” birthday (whatevs) to a GFOB, Moose, who is one of our Top 10 favorite Canadians.

Starting Five

E.-nough alreadsy

1. A Farewell to Bros

The film version of Entourage opens this weekend, and my next-door cubicle neighbor, Alex Nazaryan, did not have the kindest words to unleash upon it. In fact, Alex wrote an entire brobituary in which he referenced dadbod, Natty Ice, DMB, Swingers, A&F, man spreading, lacrosse and d-bags.

You can actually feel Alex’s contempt seeping into your fingers.

As the titular (and self-proclaimed) head of the Johntourage, I can only tell you that I’ve moved on to craft beers, GoT recaps, and European football, bra.

2.Jerry and Elaine Together Again? GET! OUT!

“That’s MY move.”

The season premiere of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is up on the web, as host Jerry Seinfeld squires the comedienne formerly known as Elaine Benes (and now just as beloved, even if she’s passed her last believable day, as President Selina Meyer) in a 1964 Astin Martin. Jerry takes Elaine out for a cup of cappucino and they drive past Hillary Swank (cameo, her best work in years). The java is too cold and Elaine volunteers to return them and suddenly we’re back at Moe’s Coffee Shop.

“He’s now calling me an asshole behind my back,” says Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

“That’s the proper way to call someone an asshole,” retorts Jerry. “Behind their back.”

To paraphrase Cosmo Kramer, “That’s funnier than anything any current sitcom has in its act.”

This is fun to watch. The genuine affection between the two is palpable throughout. And by the way, who said there are no second acts in American life (oh yeah, it was F. Scott; well, he was wrong about that)?

3. But Was It a Lannister Lion?

There’s an episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show that many consider that sitcom’s supreme effort –and a few folks consider to be the best sitcom episode ever — that revolves around the untimely death of Chuckles the Clown. Here’s the money scene.

Notice how Mary finds it impossible to control her giggles as the mood is somber, but then when the preacher inviters her to laugh out loud, she breaks down crying?

Where are you going with this, JDub? Great question. I’m not exactly sure. But when I read yesterday that the woman who was mauled to death by the lion in Johannesburg –everyone in the car had their windows down, which is strictly forbidden in the park, and now they know why — was an Emmy-award winning special effects editor for Game of Thrones, the hed above was my first thought.

Call me immature.

I’m really sorry for the woman’s family and everyone who cared about her that she died at the age of 29. Worse, she was in Africa reportedly on an anti-poaching mission, a cause that’s dear to my heart. The best thing any of us can do, I think, after we flush the bad jokes out of our systems (or at least me, mine) is to send a check to an agency working to end poaching in Africa. These animals are far too wonderful to lose. In Tanzania, for example, 60% of the elephant population has been lost to poachers in the past 5 years. That was the most depressing news I’ll hear all week.

4. Gators Repeat

Florida won its second straight Women’s Softball World Series last night, defeating Michigan 4-1. USA Softball Player of the Year Lauren Haeger shut down the Wolverines whose star pitcher, Haylie Wagner, gave up 3 first-inning runs after going 20 scoreless innings in the WWS.

5. Being John Malkovich Brian Wilson

Next up for Cusack? “Love & Mercy Street”, the Peter Gabriel biopic.

The only film I’m actually really looking forward to seeing in the next week or two is Spy Love & Mercy, the story of the Beach Boys genius Brian Wilson. It stars Paul “Book ’em” Dano as the Pet Sounds era Brian Wilson, and John Cusack as the sad-sack, anti-depressant addled Brian Wilson.

While Dano somewhat looks like the young Brian Wilson, Cusack bears almost no physical resemblance to him (okay, they both have two eyes and a mouth and both own beach houses) and the filmmakers seemed not to care in the least. It’s like when Chevy Chase used to play Gerald Ford on SNL. Anyway, the biopic has gotten solid reviews across the board and at the very least, you’re listening to some of the most ethereally beautiful music ever recorded for 100 or so minutes, no?

Dennis was only 39 when he died.

You know who’d be a great biopic character? Brian’s little brother, Dennis. The Beach Boy drummer — the only band member who actually surfed — was playing in the band when they’d already hit international status at the age of 16. He was also the studliest member of the group. And the one that Charles Manson befriended.

Can you imagine being the coolest thing in California at age 16 in the early Sixties? Wow.

Music 101

I Believe In A Thing Called Love

Are you ‘aving a laugh? One of the better goofs in rock & roll history is this song by The Darkness, a band that will never be accused of taking itself too seriously. But Lord, the hook here is actually infectious. This ode to ’70s glam rock, released in 2003, hit No. 2 on the UK singles charts. Permission to land? Granted (“guitar!”)


Remote Patrol

Game 1: Cavs at Warriors

ABC 9 p.m.

I was hoping that TNT would have the series so that they might invite Bill Simmons on Inside The NBA. No such luck. How far have we come in one year? This was B.S. just one year ago at the Finals in Miami.





by John Walters

“She’s with Leather (Tuscadero)”…Happy 65th birthday, Suzi Quatro

Starting Five

Exit, Stage Right (or is it Stage Left? I can never remember how they do that. Katie, a little help?)

1. Sepp-tic Removal*

Friday: “I am the president of everybody!”

Tuesday: He is the president of nobody.

Sepp Blatter, now in his 17th year as head of FIFA, declares a need for “profound reform” and “deep-rooted structural change” within that same body. But he doesn’t seem to see a causal connection here. It’s not a lie if you believe it, Jerry.

Blatter resigned. The same day that ESPN’s Bob Ley re-signed. Hashmarks are important.

Blatter resigned on the same day that world No. 2 Roger Federer was ousted from the French Open, which puts a new wrinkle in “Swiss Timing.”

If you read just one story today (besides mine) concerning the KerFIFAl, read this one.

*The judges are accepting numerous nominees, from “S. Blatter” to “Blatter Removal” to “The Gall of Blatter” to “Sepp’in Out”

2. How You Doin’?*

Gallo made his MLB debut on the same date — June 2 — that Lou Gehrig replaced Wally Pipp. Gehrig would also die on June 2, 16 years later, in 1941

With Adrian Beltre on the DL, 21 year-old Joey Gallo is called up and goes 3 for 4, including a 430-foot smash off Jeff Samardzija in the 3rd inning. Gallo finished the night against the Chicago White Sox with a double and a single as well and four RBI.

Can we agree right here that “Joey” is a terrific sports name? Perhaps not quite as good as “Barkevious,” but still pretty good.

Gallo and Bryce Harper were actually teammates in Little League in Las Vegas. Props to the mom or dad who took this photo. And how did that team do?

If Joey Gallo continues to play with such aplomb, the city of Arlington may name a street after him. They’ll call it Joey Gallo Way (and to think I’m not talented enough to be one of Katie Nolan’s 14 writers!).

*Please tell me you saw what I did there….

3. The Wonder Of It All

Dean Potter climbing Heaven, with no net or rope. Half Dome lingers in the background.

As noted yesterday, I’m drawn to people who live before they die. And I’m equally drawn to those who understand that as inhabitants of earth, we’re renters, not buyers.

Dining room view from the Fogo Island Inn

Zita Cobb, who created the Fogo Island Inn to help preserve a sublime island community in Newfoundland (story in Newsweek).

Dean Potter, who may have seemed a little bonkers to you, but who felt a kinship with the wilderness and fearlessly found ways to connect with it before he ultimately died on May 16th in Yosemite National Park (my story in Newsweek is here).

Timothy Treadwell, a.k.a., Grizzly Man, whom you may think was far more bonkers. And while I agree to an extent, it’s worth nothing that Treadwell did last TWELVE summers living among brown bears in Alaska where most would’ve given him 12 minutes. And, I’m a fan of anyone who fights for wild animals and exposes poachers.

Wipe out here and death is a distinct possibility

And finally, Laird Hamilton, who is hailed as a surf god and sex god, but who really is no less out there than the other two men I just mentioned. Hamilton routinely surfs waves that are 25 to 50 feet tall (read The Wave by Susan Casey; highly recommended). That’s tantamount to suicide, too. You may argue that Hamilton is skilled, arguably the world’s best big wave surfer. Well, Potter was the world’s greatest climber and Treadwell probably the world’s best ursine survivalist.

In the end, I don’t care that any of them don’t conform to what most of us consider normal. I feel confident saying that none of them would trade their lives for ours. We all die of natural causes. It’s how we live that matters. And there really is no blueprint.

4. Come Hull or High Water

More than 400 dead

In China a violent storm causes a cruise ship, the Eastern Star, to quickly capsize in the Yangtze River. More than 450 passengers were aboard and most died.

5. New Girl

Caitlyn Jenner: Vanity. Fair?

Leave it to Jon Stewart to put Bruce Jenner’s transformation to Caitlyn Jenner, and the media’s coverage of it, in proper perspective.

Music 101

Radio Radio

They say you better listen to the voice of reason/But they don’t give you any choice because they say it’s treason

He usurped the King of Rock ‘n Roll’s first name and Buddy Holly’s look, and yet Elvis Costello was dauntingly original, and wrote brilliant lyrics. Weird. Here he is in 1979 before he got into writing ballads for romcoms (Notting Hill) in the Nineties.

Remote Patrol

Stanley Cup finals, Game 1

Blackhawks at Lightning

NBC 8 p.m.

Prime-time, network hockey. There’s hope for us all yet.



TCM 9:30 p.m.

Jessica Rabbit ain’t got nothing on you, girl

Rita Hayworth. This is what all the fuss was about. Ask Andy Dufresne.