by John Walters

Starting Five

To Sirs With Love

We’re devoting an entire item to Brit birthday boys –and knights — Sir Anthony Hopkins (78) and Sir Ben Kingsley. Besides sharing today as a birthday, and both being septuagenarians, and both being knights, and both also being Oscar winners as Best Actor, they’ve also done something astonishing: been just as brilliant playing horrific but charming villains as well as princes of peace.

Kingsley as Don Logan in Sexy Beast

In 1992 Hopkins won an Academy Award, of course, for portraying Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. But he also played St. Paul in a TV miniseries for CBS in 1981, Peter and Paul (or, as I liked to call it, Poor Man, Poor Man). Kingsley won an Oscar for playing Gandhi (a lawyer by trade) in the eponymous 1982 film, but he steals every scene he is in playing the sadistic and hostile Don Logan in the 2001 movie, Sexy Beast.

Both Silence of the Lambs and Gandhi also won Best Picture at the Oscars.

2. It’s Always Sully In Philadelphia

Cosby: Nobody’s laughing

One day after the Eagles fire coach Chip Kelly, erstwhile Philly favorite son Bill Cosby is arraigned on charges of aggravated indecent assault. For all the dozens of women who have accused Dr. Huxtable of practicing bad medicine, this marks, I believe, his first arrest. As for the case in question, the statute of limitations was coming up on it next month, at the 12-year mark.

Stay tuned, I guess. Cosby made bail, but he surrendered his passport.

3. “What A Time To Be Alive!”

The Michigan Surrender Cobra. Spotted far too often this autumn…

The Year in Sports, Part I, Part 2, and Part C. By yours (why do they add “truly?”).

4. Jimbo Divorces Bimbo?*

Happier days

*I’m already sorry about that hed, but there’s nothing to be done about it now.

One day before Florida State meets Houston in the Peach Bowl, Seminole coach Jimbo Fisher’s divorce from his wife Candi is finalized. Proceedings moved ahead quickly once Jimbo’s attorneys made it clear that they were planning to depose Taylor Jacobs, a former University of Florida and NFL wideout.

To be fair, FSU Twitter and Gator websites have been all over this for the past six months….

Jacobs is now a personal trainer living in Tallahassee. In fact, he was Candi Fisher’s personal trainer. If you are good at math, I’ll let you do the rest of the addition.

And that’s not all!

If the rumored Jimbo & Candi & Taylor love triangle ain’t enough for you, here are 47 more Flori-Duh stories from 2015, compiled by the good folks at Esquire. My favorites are April 13, May 25, July 1 and November 1 and 9, but they’re all good.

5. Reggis Ball So Hard

Is it really “R Ball” Reggis, or is it just “YouR Ball” now?

Auburn defeated Memphis in the Birmingham Bowl, 31-10, last night, but Memphis Tiger 5th-year senior Reggis Ball had two interceptions. After the game Ball approached the Auburn sideline and attempted to snatch two Auburn Tiger footballs as keepsakes –the staff had been warned; apparently he’s done this before.

There was a scuffle. Ball, the younger brother of former Georgia Tech QB Reggie Ball, got away with one football. Then he signed it and posted a photo of it on Instagram. Memphis dismissed Ball from the team immediately, even though he’s a fifth-year senior so there weren’t all that many team activities remaining for him.

Update: “Sources” tell us the ball Reggis pilfered was a kicking team ball, not an actual game ball. Oh.

Music 101

Baby Blue

“Guess I got what I deserved…”

The closing song for the series Breaking Bad, by Badfinger, was written more than 30 years earlier, but it was spot-on perfect for this moment. Walter White finds a scant measure of redemption on his 52nd birthday, setting up a trust fund for his family, poisoning Lydia, giving Skyler the GPS coordinates for Hank’s grave, and liberating Jesse Pinkman. He meets death alone, inside a functioning meth lab, with the hint of a smile on his face.

And yes, that is Kenny Rogers introducing the British band. The song reached No. 14 on the Billboard charts in 1972. You may know them better for their Beatles-esque tune “Day After Day.” Lead singer Pete Ham would hang himself three years later.

Remote Patrol

College Football Playoff

ESPN & ESPN 2 4 p.m.

Clemson’s DeShaun Watson has more versatile talents than Microsoft’s Watson

Will the most dramatic dropped ball be the one in Times Square (this would be a more intriguing question if Brent Musburger were calling one of the games)? Clemson and Oklahoma at 4 p.m. from Miami Gardens, followed by Michigan State and Alabama at 8 p.m. from Arlington. By the way, Brent and Jesse Palmer are calling the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day. That’ll be fun.




by John Walters

A Medium Happy 40th to Tiger Woods, the Dorian Gray of sports.

And a Medium Happy 31st to that other guy, what’s-his-name….

Starting Five

Camelot Lost: This was Tiger and Elin around his 30th birthday…

1. Fooooore!-ty

Recapping our top story, Tiger Woods turns 40 today (cue Cinderella’s “Don’t Know What You Got [Til It’s Gone]”). What do you get the man who once had everything (and nearly everyone?).

In the decade between 1999 and 2008, Woods won 13 majors, or more than one per year (we’re good with math). He was married to one of the world’s most beautiful women –and later we would learn that she was pretty dang intelligent, too– he was worth hundreds of millions, and he had two healthy children.

Tiger had it all; but it wasn’t enough. It never is for the the world’s uber-overachievers (see: Lance Armstrong, Alexander the Great, etc). So often one’s greatest strength is also the source of one’s greatest weakness. Oh, well, 5,000-word cautionary tale think pieces should be the order of the day today.

Woods had won 14 majors by the age of 32, in June of 2008. But there he still stands, four behind Jack Nicklaus. Will he catch the Golden Bear? It’s unlikely, but time heals most wounds. I wouldn’t put it beyond him that he’ll win at least one more.

Here is with a “40 for 40” on Tiger’s life.

2. Goodbye, Mr. Chip

Did Kelly ever smile in Philadelphia?

Chip Kelly is out in Philly. I envision owner Jeff Lurie hoisting a four-figure placard that includes Shady McCoy, Riley Cooper, Donald Trump pointing a finger, and a noose.

What a fractious Eagles termination. Rumor has it that Glenn Frey wanted Kelly out when he refused to sing “Take It To The Limit” in concert. Meanwhile, Marcus Mariota in Nashville needs a head coach.

3. Welcome to the Desert!

When they were young/And their love/Was an open door…

The headliner at Coachella this April? Guns ‘n’ Roses, featuring the original lineup. GnR is finally, at long last, off RnR. The last time Axl Rose and Slash shared a stage together was on July 17, 1993 in Buenos Aires. Man, what a long, long time of missed opportunity. Coachella will take place on successive weekends this spring, April 15-17 and April 22-24.

The band is reportedly also negotiating to play a summer stadium tour and asking $3 million per show (not from each ticket holder, mind you). They’ll get it, too.

Funny: Slash played in a band with Scott Weiland. Then Weiland ODs. Two weeks later G’nR decide to reunite. Also, this tour could set a record for band mates who hate each other reuniting for exclusively mercenary purposes, breaking the mark set by the Eagles.

4. Swim Tragedy

Ramadan apparently blacked out, and no one noticed

A bizarre tragedy over the weekend involved a swimmer at Dartmouth and an unorthodox workout. Tate Ramsden, a 21 year-old junior on the Big Green swim team, was doing an extended workout at a YMCA aquatic center. He was apparently 4,000 yards into his workout and working on a set where he would attempt to swim 100 yards underwater, which is extremely difficult. And Ramadan just never came up. He drowned.

5. Star Wars: The Farce Awakens

I’m still waiting for the Spacebars sequel. May the Schwartz be with you!

So I will begin with the bold font disclaimer that I have yet to see the new Star Wars film, and that I have no desire to do so. Keep that in mind.

Nevertheless, I’m hearing that the plot is nearly a carbon copy of the original 1977 film. In other words, J.J. Abrams was shrewd enough not to mess with the formula, but he just packaged it in a new container hoping that kids wouldn’t know the difference and that adults wouldn’t care. More than $1 billion later in less than two weeks, is he wrong?

It’s like Abrams is performing “Dani California” and hoping that not too many people recognize that it’s Tom Petty’s “Mary Jane’s Last Dance.”

Music 101

Crystal Blue Persuasion

As you may have guessed by now, the theme of this week’s tunes are songs that were used in Breaking Bad. This cool vibe Tommy James & The Shondells hit from 1968 came into play at the brightest moment for Heisenberg’s gang: Gus Fring is gone, business is booming internationally, and Hank is both alive and still clueless. Vince Gilligan’s show was always the antithesis to “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” and no moment (pun alert) crystallizes that maxim more than this one. For a brief moment, it looked as if Walt and Skyler were going to get away with it and cash in big, as if Jesse would live happily ever after, and as if Drew Sharp would not be shot as a child by Todd but instead grow up to be an AP poll voter!

As an added bonus to you, the home viewer, here are the first two songs from this week with their Breaking Bad montages:

On A Clear Day, by The Peddlers…

Windy, by The Association. The actress who played the heroin-addled hooker, Wendy, is named Julia Minesci. A full-time casino dealer (try counting cards on her, Walt), Minesci did not get into acting until she was fifty, and she has completed the Hawaii Ironman six times.

Remote Patrol

Holiday Bowl: USC vs Wisconsin

ESPN 10:30 p.m.

Freshman Ronald Jones is the next great Trojan tailback

Don’t think of it as Tier 2 bowl game between yet another underachieving Trojan squad and a Badger team that should’ve beaten Iowa; think of it as the season finale of “Pac-12 After Sark.”


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 56th to the lovely Patricia Clarkson, UWS neighbor and avatar of independent films made in the NYC area

Starting Five

Couch, his blond hair dyed, violated the terms of his probation. His beer pong days are likely behind him.

1. This Isn’t Zihuatanejo, And You Are No Andy Dufresne

Adolescent affluenza mass murderer (four lives) Ethan Couch is captured, along with his mom, Tonya Couch, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. So is this more Shawshank Redemption or is it more Y Tu Mama, Tambien? The Texas teen, now 18, faces extradition home and, possibly, to quote another film, one that deals with unlikely lawbreakers, Office Space, a “pound me in the ass” prison.

2. Peyton’s Place 

I don’t know who is telling the truth, and neither do you. Here’s whose opinion means nothing to me: any sports agent (Leigh Sternberg appeared on CNBC this morning to discuss it) and any ex-NFL player appearing on ESPN or any other network.

Here’s the things: Peyton Manning is as unassailable a brand as Lance Armstrong once was, as O.J. Simpson once was.

–He admitted that he visited the Guyer Institute, has received treatment there and gotten medication from them.

–He acknowledged, or at least did not deny, that his wife Ashley may have had HGH shipments sent to their home in her name.

–The Al Jazeera report never goes further than saying that the HGH was shipped to Peyton’s place. It implies certain things, and you and I may infer certain things.

Peyton Manning, who was recovering from possible career-ending neck surgery at the time in question, may be telling the truth. Most sports fans would like to believe that he is. But Peyton is a big boy. If he is “disgusted” that a report linking HGH shipments to the home of the most marketable player in the NFL has surfaced, but is unable to deny the verity of the report itself, then he needs an infusion of Reality Serum. His wife’s medical privacy is inviolable, sure, but he can’t pretend that these circumstances don’t open him up to a barrage of questions.

3. 10 Best List (First of Many, You May Assume)

Veni, Vidi & Vinci

Roberta Vinci. Jalen Watts-Jackson. Holly Holm. Joey Bautista. They were just some of the prime figures in the 10 Most Unforgettable Sports Moments of 2015. Warning: I’m totally and shamelessly cross-promoting, and possibly even cross-pollinating, here.

4. 1000X Club

Still the most valuable Amazon we have encountered

This morning shares of Amazon (AMZN) vaulted $18 per, to an all-time high of $694. That means that for the first time, AMZN is selling at more than 1,000 times earnings (the P/E). In terms even I can understand, think of a lemonade stand that earns $200 a year and then you are able to value that lemonade stand at $200,000. Because that’s what’s happening.

If AAPL stock, which sells at 12x earnings at $108 per share, had the same valuation, they’d be asking more than $9,000 per share.

Related: Get ready for a sequel to The Big Short starring a clean-pated Kevin Spacey as Jeff Bezos.

5. The Road’s Closed, Bitch!

Interstate 40 in New Mexico, a favorite thoroughfare of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman as they drove the Crystal Ship out to To’hajiilee to cook, was closed over the weekend east of Albuquerque, past Tucumcari, into the Texas panhandle and even parts of Oklahoma due to the winter storm.

If you’re familiar with that part of the American southwest, when I-40 is shut down, all traffic is halted.


Music 101


Think about the glut of musical talent that was filling the airwaves in the mid-Sixties (the Beatles, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and the Supremes, just to name a few), and then consider that The Association placed two songs at No. 1 on the Billboard chart in that era. This, their second, owned the top spot in July of 1967. It was written not by any member of the six-man band, but rather by a woman, Ruthann Friedman, who was just 23 at the time.

p.s. There’s a theme to this week’s tunes. If you haven’t gotten it yet, it should become fairly clear tomorrow.

Remote Patrol


TCM 8 p.m.

Zank heavens/For little gurrrrls…” That is the extent of my knowledge of this 1958 musical, but it did win NINE Oscars, including Best Picture, so someone must have done something right. Although, in the “To Catch a Predator” world in which we now sadly live, can you find a creepier set of lyrics?  Zualors!

Other things on TV include the Kennedy Center Honors on CBS at 9 (Carole King gets her star on the Washington Mall, or something like that), Pitch Perfect on ABC Family at 8, and Baylor (minus just about everyone you’d want to see) versus North Carolina in the “We Wish We Had Seth Russell Athletic Bowl” on ESPN at 5:30 p.m.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 34th to Sienna Miller….

Starting Five

Where was Tom Brady?

1. “Wanna Kick?”*

The Patriots and Jets were tied 20-20 when Bill Belichick A) did not send the smartest and  most charming player in team history out for the overtime coin toss and B) apparently told the players that he did send out that, should the Pats win the toss, they wanted to kick off.

The conversation between referee Clete Blakeman and Pats special teams captain Matthew Slater went thusly:
Blakeman: “Heads is the call.”

Blakeman: “It is heads.”

Blakeman: “You want to kick?”

Slater: “We want to kick, that way.”

Slater: “Hey, we won. Don’t we get to choose?”

Blakeman (mic off): “You elected to kick.”

I don’t know why Blakeman led the witness as he did, and I don’t know if Belichick is simply covering for Slater. Assume that he is not. Is it wiser to hope that you stuff the Jets on their first possession, so that you only need a field goal to win, or is it wiser to begin overtime with the ball in the hands of arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history, who has the most dominant skill-position player in the league (Gronk) currently at his disposal?

Pats lose, while the Jets win their fifth in a row and now only need to beat ex-coach Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills next Sunday to make the playoffs.

*The judges will also accept “20-20 Hindsight”

2. 10-5, Good Buddies

The Chiefs have won nine in a row.

The Jets have won five in a row.

The Vikings –remember how upset Adrian Peterson was that he’d be returning to the Twin Cities this season– have won their last two games by at least three touchdowns. And AD leads the league in rushing.

All three teams, who once were supposedly a mess in September (Geno Smith/Alex Smith and 1-5/AD’s unhappiness), are 10-5, and at least two of them have clinched playoff positions. It’s like the teams from Super Bowls III and/or IV just want to be there for SB L (even though no one is calling it that).

A reminder that we can all learn a lot from the Zen Master. Particularly in the breathless, myopic era of Twitter.

3. Elliott Mess

Flanked by Sam Champion and Matt Ginnella (formerly of SI, as well, and now with the Golf Channel)

We’ve all been waiting for the other shoe to drop with our talented friend Josh Elliott for quite some time. His marriage to the Peacock (NBC) went little better than those bethrothals between 30 Rock and Michelle Beadle and Jamie Horowitz.

It was noteworthy that Josh’s most visible moments on Twitter this year were for his wedding to WABC news anchor Liz Cho and at his appearance for the 40th anniversary of Good Morning, America (where, professionally, he seemed truly happy).

I’ve wanted to know what’s up for more than a year, but I didn’t want to put Josh in an awkward position. You could just tell that NBC wasn’t working out, and if he’s bowing out just six months before the Summer Olympics, well, they did not have him in their plans.

Does Josh head to Fox Sports and Los Angeles for a working reunion with Horowitz? And does that mean he’s going to rob us New Yorkers of Cho!?!? Nooooo!!! What ever happens, the MH staff wishes him the best.

4. And That’s Why They Call It The Sun Bowl

Blizzard conditions in El Paso as Miami met Washington State in full-on Pullman weather for the Sun Bowl. The Hurricanes have now played two Sun Bowls in ice or snowy conditions in the past five years –and lost both games — and played a Micron PC Computers Bowl in Boise on New Year’s Eve, 2006, in 19-degree temps (I was there; ouch). The Canes are the only team in America who consistently go bowling in the worst weather that they’ll see all season.

Oh, and whose idea was it to attempt a halfback option pass on the decisive drive (ending in an INT)? I’d say that was as bad as an idea as going topless in your Urban Sombrero to this game, but at least this dude got to cozy up to Allie LaForce.

The Cougs won, 20-14.

5. Full Moon Fervor

Santa did not need Rudolph to guide his sleigh that night….

For the first time in 38 years, we had a full moon on Christmas. Some people want to make it the Sportsman of the Year.

Music 101

On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever)

We’re going to do another Theme Week, but I’m not going to disclose what that theme is just yet. Take a couple of days and see if you can figure it out on your own. This song was originally written in 1929 for a musical titled “Berkeley Square,” then was reincarnated in 1965 for a musical with the same title as the song. Numerous performers (Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Shirley Bassey, Robert Goulet, etc.  <– If you watch/listen to just one of those, make it Bassey; she’s excellent) have covered it; this version is from The Peddlers and was released in 1968.

Remote Patrol

The Exorcist

Sundance 9 p.m.

I only had nightmares for 3 consecutive nights after seeing this film as a boy.

Is this 1973 classic the scariest horror film ever made? Let’s say that it was a true head-turner. The first horror movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars, it actually was nominated for 10 overall and won two. Linda Blair’s career peaked here, and that’s Jason Patric’s dad, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jason Miller (That Championship Season) as the priest.


by John Walters

“I seem to recognize/His face/Haunting, familiar yet/I can’t seem to place it…” A Medium Happy 51st to Eddie Vedder!

Starting Five

1. Festivus? Giddyup!

The “Airing of the Grievances.” The “Feats of Strength.” And of course, the Festivus pole. It’s a Festivus for the rest of us, and it happens today. And let me tell you, “I GOT A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH YOU PEOPLE!”

Problem No. 1: The commercialization of Festivus! What ever happened to simply griping, lifting large objects, and gathering around an aluminum pole. Wasn’t that enough?

And is there a War on Festivus? Is nothing not sacred, sacred?

2. Everything’s Coming Up Rosie

The movie will be Aussome

Meet Don Tillman (Body Mass Index: 25). Don is a genetics prof at a prestigious university in Melbourne who, nearing age 40, decides that it is time to reproduce and have a life partner. Don is fastidious, precise, schedule-oriented, and highly intelligent, and so he creates The Wife Project, a 16-page questionnaire to weed out unworthy applicants.

Of course, Don’s plan goes awry. Imagine Sheldon Cooper of The Big Bang Theory accidentally happening upon, perhaps literally, a red-headed step child (I’m not sure who will play her in the film; Jennifer Lawrence had the role, then dropped out;)

. You can reduce this book, Samson’s debut novel, to a “RomCom,” but it’s so clever and witty, hilarious and warm, and its commitment to the main character’s, um, eccentricity, is so deep, that it’s far superior to that. One of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in a long, long time. My thanks to ardent MH reader An Inconvenient Ruth for suggesting I read it.

3. Bad Beats: The Ultimate

The Bahamas Bowl had the same type of fan frenzy as a Thursday afternoon freshman football game.

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the worst bad beat I know of. If you’ve got a worse one, Scott Van Pelt, I wanna hear it:

The 2014 Bahamas Bowl. Western Kentucky, minus 2, versus Central Michigan. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Hilltoppers (WKU) leads 49-14. 49-14!! Steve Levy, Lou and Mark May are talking about how they’re going to hop planes and get home in time for the end of Christmas eve. WKU is up by 35 and only has to win by 2. Deck the halls, baby! Deck the freakin’ halls!

Then CMU scores. And scores again. And again. Four touchdowns! Suddenly it’s 49-42, but all WKU has to do is run out the clock. I forget why they don’t: incomplete pass? Someone ran out of bounds? I forget.

Anyway, CMU gets the ball back for ONE. FINAL. PLAY. But they’re on their own 25 yard-line. No chance, right? Nope. CMU throws a Hail Mary pass, does a few laterals, and scores on the game’s final play. It’s 49-48.

And still, as bad as that is, if CMU just kicks the PAT and sends it to overtime, you still have at 50/50 shot of winning your bet if you took WKU. But, NOOOOO! (Belushi voice). CMU goes for 2, so either way you lose. To add insult to injury, CMU fails on the 2-point conversion, so WKU, the team you took to win by at least 2, gets the win but doesn’t cover.

Find me a worse bad beat than that, SVP.

4. Tranches and Collateralized Derivatives: A Hollywood Story

Today marks the theatrical release of The Big Short, an adaptation of the Michael Lewis book that tells the complex story of the sub-prime mortgage housing crisis that ultimately crippled the American economy in a highly entertaining way. How? Because Lewis focused on a few iconoclast rebels, outliers who saw an opportunity by betting, heavily, against the establishment that was so corrupt and full of avarice.

It’s an underdog story, and a thrilling one at that. One of the best books I’ve ever read, and one that will make you both furious and ecstatic (for these rebels) at the same time. It’s a lot like Star Wars: a rebel alliance takes on the Death Star (Wall Street) and wins, even though the planet ultimately is destroyed. And with a cast that includes Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Christian Bale and Brad Pitt, I’m not betting against this film. Go see it.

5. Drone Attack!

Hirscher almost became a victim of a different type of avalanche

I’m not a fan of drones. And here’s why. This is skier Marcel Hirscher, who was nearly struck by a camera drone while competing in a World Cup race in Italy yesterday. Skiing downhill at ridiculous speed should be hairy enough without objects from above falling on you. Hirscher, by the way, finished second. You can watch the video here.

*The Medium Happy staff is taking the rest of the week off to recover from tonight’s non-demoninational, utterly secular holiday party. We’ll see you back here on Monday. Peace on Earth, Good Will Hunting toward mendicants.

Music 101

All Right Now

In mid-1970 the English band Free released this song, which had to be the year’s most recognizable hard-rock guitar riff not played by Jimmy Page. The lead singer, Paul Rodgers, would later team with Page when the two played in The Firm in the mid-Eighties. This song is as early ’70’s rock as it gets.

Remote Patrol

A Christmas Carol

2:30 p.m AMC

George C. Scott is Ebenezer Scrooge in this 1984 adaptation of the Dickens classic. Some of my favorite childhood memories are watching a Christmas special in the middle of the afternoon in those last days before Christmas. These are the best days (some of my other favorite childhood memories involve giving kids wedgies and farting contests so, you know). Related: You never meet anyone named Ebenezer these days.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 70th to Diane Sawyer (It’s “Sexy Septuagenarians Week” in the MH birthday department)

Starting Five

4 to 6 inches of snow fell in Spokane yesterday

1. Will This Winter Ever End???

Skiers, rejoice. Parts of the Sierras in California received TWO FEET of snow yesterday. Resorts in northern California are reporting 96-98% capacity. It’g going to be a white Christmas in the Pacific Northwest and northern California.

2. The Nation’s Leading Scorer Is < 6′



Daniel scored 39 against William & Mary

Thi is James Daniel III, a 5’11” junior for the Howard University Bison. Daniel, from Hampton, Va., leads all scorers in Division I by averaging 29.3 points per game. Daniel has already had five games north of 30 points this season.

You can catch Howard live if you are in New York City next week (at Columbia –and not the Philippines– on Dec. 28) or in Honolulu over New Year’s (at Hawaii, Jan. 2)

3. Did He Try ‘The Move’?

On this season of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, one of Jerry Seinfeld’s guests will be a guy who has spent plenty of time in front of an open mic, and often in front of a more hostile room than The Comedy Cellar.

The vehicle was a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray and both men took turns driving it around the White House portico. Coffee was slurped in the White House basement. As Kramer would say, “Oh, YEAH!”

4. Maxim’s New Maxim

Alessandra Ambrosio, catching up on tan lines and headlines

In February Maxim brought in Kate Lanphear to be its new editor-in-chief. Then, in October, Lanphear was fired. Glenn O’Brian, formerly of GQ, was brought in to succeed her and this is his first cover. The Victoria’s Secret model, Ambrosio, is posed atop a hotel in Monte Carlo. Lad mags are going the full 007.

5. Sorry, Not Sorry

Fey: Take me…ore leave me.

Tina Fey: We did an ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ episode and the Internet was in a whirlwind, calling it ‘racist,’ but my new goal is not to explain jokes….

“”I feel like we put so much effort into writing and crafting everything, they need to speak for themselves. There’s a real culture of demanding apologies, and I’m opting out of that.”

Thank you.

A friend of mine takes the view that no one should bring harm into the world, and for that reason Fey should listen to her critics. I understand where she is coming from, but to me nothing is more nefarious than suppressing someone’s right to express themselves. No matter who finds it offensive. Besides, usually nothing is more offensive than the truth.

If you don’t like what someone is saying? Don’t listen. Or, speak up with an opposing view. Easy.

Music 101

Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)

If you listened to yesterday’s tune (“Beach Baby,” by First Class), take note: the lead singer on that song, Tony Burrows, is also the lead singer on this one. The hastily assembled band, Edison Lighthouse, was basically formed in order to lip-synch this tune on Top of the Pops. Burrows was a session singer who fronted both bands just for these tunes. This is back when 45s and hit singles were a far bigger deal than they are today. The song hit No. 1 in the UK for five weeks in early 1970, and No. 5 here in the States. This is a very Hollies-type song, which is probably why I have a weak spot for it.

Remote Patrol

The Year: 2015

9 p.m. ABC

April’s earthquake in Nepal claimed nearly 9,000 lives

The promo reads “The most iconic and memorable moments of 2015 are recalled.” Something tells me that the producers are going to need to make a last-minute addition. Isn’t that right, Miss Colombia?



by John Walters

A Medium Happy 77th to Jane Fonda, who is now older than her dad was when they filmed On Golden Pond. A little hard to believe.

On Golden Pond was released in 1981. Henry was 76. Related: Do aerobics and get yourself a good plastic surgeon.

Starting Five

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown…for 2 minutes” –Shakespeare?

1. Miss Alternate Universe

Steve Harvey is discovering the hard way that not EVERYTHING that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Harvey announced the first runner-up, Miss Colombia, as the winner in last night’s Miss Universe pageant. Harvey quickly tweeted out an apology to “Miss Phillippians” and “Miss Columbia,” which did not make things that much better.

Note: About 20 minutes before the fateful flub, Harvey joked that he was going to go backstage during a commercial break and “tip something back.” Imagine if he did. HIU: Hosting Under the Influence.

The last time someone screwed with Colombia in an international competition in the southwestern U.S., it ended rather badly (Escobar was later murdered back in Colombia as revenge).

We feel for Steve. When you have to go in front of an audience of 1 billion people and say you messed up, I mean, only Pete Carroll knows what that’s like….and maybe John Travolta

All I know is that these two women’s families competing on The Family Feud, hosted by Harvey, needs to happen soon.

Also, note well: for the second and last –because it was the last night of autumn– time this autumn, a Harvey performed well on a Sunday night but maybe shouldn’t have been allowed to finish.

2. What the Hell, Odell?

The new trailer for “Concussion,” opening on December 25

The Giants’ Odell Beckham totally cheap-shots the Panthers’ Josh Norman in what was a chippy contest throughout. Beckham dropped a sure TD pass in the first half when he was fully behind the secondary, too.

New York trailed 28-7 35-7 at one point but came back to tie the game in the final two minutes (on a Beckham TD catch), but then Carolina kicked a game-winning field goal as time expired.

The Giants have now lost two home games this year on last-second field goals to the two teams with the best records in their respective conferences, New England and Carolina.

3. Bitches Back

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler returned to co-host Saturday Night Live, and their presence could be felt in the writing. Particularly strong: “Meet Your Second Wife,” sketch in which three husbands are introduced to the young (younger, and youngest) females whom they will one day leave their current wives for…

It was only nearly 52 years ago that Sir Paul performed in NYC for the first time, 3 blocks up and 2 blocks over.

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were the musical guest, and Sir Paul McCartney decided to join them for the closing number, “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.” Because, well, why not? We’re all going to be dead some day so why the hell not?

4. Brent Would

That’s the answer.

The question is, “Who, with BYU losing 35-0 to Holy War rival Utah just 10 minutes into the Las Vegas Bowl, say, ‘I feel sorry for my Mormon friends at BYU: they don’t drink?” Love you, Brent Musburger. You’re the best college football announcer on TV. Don’t ever change.

Incidentally, between the GOP debate, Vegas Bowl (the Utes hung on to win, 35-28), Miss Alternate Universe, and the woman who plowed her car into a crowd of pedestrians, it was quite a wild week in Sin City.

5. Feel the Bernie

Can anyone who looks this much like Doc from “Back to the Future” become president?

The third Democratic debate was held at St. Anselm’s College, which is no relation to St. Elmo’s Fire, in New Hampshire. Personally, I love what Bernie Sanders had to say. Martin O’Malley looks like a president, Hillary Clinton is most likely to be the president, but of these three, I’d say Bernie would make the best president. And he’d be the first candidate to run a schmear campaign.

Truly: Sure, we’ve never had a female president before. But we’ve never had a Jewish one, either.

Music 101 

Beach Baby

Remember that scene in Season 3 of Breaking Bad when Jesse Pinkman shows Walter White the crystal meth he’s cooked using Walter’s formula, and Walter, feeling somewhat threatened by how exact of a replica Jesse has made, says, “Frankly, I’m embarrassed for you?” I’m wondering what Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys thought of this 1974 hit by the British band The First Class. The song reached No. 4 on the charts stateside, and was their only hit.

Remote Patrol

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

TCM 8 p.m.

But square cut or pear-shaped/These rocks don’t lose their shape/Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” Marilyn Monroe. Jane Russell. 1953. It’s peak Hollywood, in many ways. The films were rarely socially important, but they sure were a lot of fun.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 52nd to Brad Pitt, who may have been at his Redford-ian best in A River Runs Through It

Starting Five

1. “Is That a Light Saber Under Your Robe Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?”

That movie was released at midnight. Are you going to see it because you really, really loved Star Wars or because everyone else is? Are we rubber-necking films now? The original Star Wars was terrific, introducing the best movie villain since the Wicked Witch of the West. The follow-up, The Empire Strikes Back, was even better, introducing Lando Calrissian’s smoove moves and allowing us to use the terms Colt 45 Malt Liquor and Cloud City in the same sentence.

The next four films in the franchise were a hot mess. Hey, nothing against seeing the film. Me, I’m still hoping to see those Spotlight action figures under the tree on Christmas morning.

2. Troll Plaza

Yesterday it was drizzly and bleak in New York City, and that was the best part of Martin Shkreli’s No Good, Very Bad Day. The Ethan Couch of pharmaceutical company CEO’s was arrested for securities fraud, had to pay out $5 million bail (I don’t know why the judge did not set bail at 5,000 times the normal securities fraud bail bond rate; his or her lost opportunity), and then got trolled and good by New York FBI Twitter.

Just to explain the joke, last year Wu-Tang Clan had the ingenious idea to produce an album and only make one copy, selling it to the highest bidder, who could then do anything that he or she liked with it, except profit off it. That bidder was Shkreli, who spent $2 million on it. Total vanity purchase. He could have bought out Bleecker Bob’s Records entire inventory for that sum.

3. Mike D’Antoni? Oh!

Buy it for the the collector’s item cover gaffe, and then read the story inside by Brain Hamilton

As someone who fact-checked at Sports Illustrated in the early Nineties and who would scan the name “Krzyzewski” at least half a dozen times before signing off on it, I have empathy for whatever poor schlub signed off on this and is taking the heat today.

Also, at least once a week I get autocorrected from Dalvin Cook to Calvin Cook, from Jahlil Okafor to Kahlil Okafor, so again, I feel there payne.

For the record, going forward:

Mark Dantonio: Sparty coach

Mike D’Antoni: (Sixers’) Hoops coach

San Antonio Spurs: Hoops team

“Did you ever spell it ‘Nic Sabin?’ Didn’t think so.”

My Antonia; Willa Cather Book

Marc Antony: Caesar buddy, Cleopatra paramour-or-less

Marc Anthony: Caesar salad eater, J. Lo paramour-or-less

4. Prandini’s Honor

Prandini is from Clovis, Calif.

Oregon’s Jenna Prandini wins the Bowerman Award (named after legendary former Duck coach and inspiration behind Nike Bill Bowerman), which is the Heisman of track and field. Prandini was the NCAA Indoor champion in the long jump and Outdoors in the 100 meters. She also finished second at the NCAA championships in the 200 and long jump. Prandini’s dad, Carlo, was her high school principal.

As a Florida Gator, Dendy is somewhat of a leapin’ lizard

Prandini’s Oregon teammate, three-time NCAA X-Country champion Edward Cheserek, who also swept the 5,000 and 10,000 titles Outdoors, did NOT win the male Bowerman. Instead, Marquis Dendy of Florida, a human kangaroo who won four NCAA titles this year (long jump and triple jump, both Indoors and Outdoors) did.

5. St. Louis or Los Angeles? Why Not Billings?

Why can’t the NFL be more like this any more?

The Rams played what might be their final game in St. Louis last night. As a child of the Seventies, I never warmed to the Rams playing in a dome in middle America. I remember the Los Angeles Rams, and that is where the franchise may be set to return.

But it got me to thinking: Is there a more rabid fan base than Green Bay’s? And is there a smaller metropolitan area in any of the four major American pro sports than Green Bay, Wisconsin? I don’t think so.

Billings: A lovely setting for an NFL franchise

So, rams are actually bighorn sheep. And bighorn sheep are most populous –in fact, they only exist here in the USA– in the Rocky Mountain region. And this is a region that has one NFL franchise (the Broncos) spread across five to six states (Idaho, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming andNew Mexico; even Utah). Would it not be marketing genius to place an NFL franchise in Billings, instantly making it the biggest thing in that region? Also, this would become the NFL’s new de facto cult team.

Honestly, this is what I would do: the Billings Bighorns. Donald Trump isn’t the only guy who wants to make America great again. I do, too.

Music 101

Little T & A

The staff at MH arrived at this point in today’s blog and realized we hadn’t talked Rolling Stone Hall of Fame snubs yet (it’s not the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; it’s the What Jann Wenner Wants, Jann Wenner Gets Hall of Fame). We’ll take it up next week. For now, let’s wish Keith Richards a Medium Happy 72nd birthday (we all took the Under on that). Keith actually performed this on his 38th birthday. I saw the Stones about a week earlier than this night in Tempe.

Keith’s lovely wife, Patti Hansen. He recruits better than Will Muschamp.

Remote Patrol

D3 Football National Championship: Mount Union vs. St. Thomas

7 p.m. ESPNU

The Purple Raiders take aim at their 12th national title in the past 22 years tonight.

In this corner, Mount Union, the most successful college football team at any level the past quarter century, with ELEVEN national championships since 1993. In that corner, St. Thomas, which has a dynamic young coach in Glenn Caruso and the Cleated Cleric, Jordan Roberts.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy Birthday to Pope Francis, who turns 79. This is not Pope Francis. It is Canadian actress Katheryn Winnick, who turns 38 today.

Starting Five

Yellen also announced that she is Yoda’s older sister

1.Old Yellen

The Federal Reserve Bank raised interest rates for the first time since June 2006 yesterday, but we just couldn’t get over the fact that someone stole the marble rye from Fed chairperson Janet Yellen. The rate was raised from nearly 0% interest, which is what most of you have in this item, to just over 0.25% interest.

The Fed lowered the interest rate (good bad for your savings account, bad good for your lending rate) (there’s a 50% chance I knew that) to nearly zero in December of 2008 as unemployment reached 10%. It is now at 5%. Which is, you know, better. So, with a healthier economy, the Fed decided we could put another 25-pound weight on either side of the bar. Something like that.

Stocks responded very positively in the last hour of trading. Why? When someone threatens to rip off a band-aid for a year, there’s actually a sense of relief when they finally do.

2. The Martin Chronicles


Remember Martin Shkreli, the young hedge funder who looks a little too much like the kid from Harold and Maude, bought a pharmaceutical company, raised the price of an HIV drug by 5,000% and then did the Joey Bosa shrug when asked if he cared that the price hike might cost lots of people their lives?

See? I’m not crazy.

Well, Martin, 32, was arrested this morning on charges of securities fraud. You are shocked as well, aren’t you? Prosecutors are charging him with taking stock out of a biotech firm that he started in 2011 to pay off other business debts. In other words, of running a shell game.

If I’m Shkreli’s attorney, we are totally going with the affluenza defense.

3. Wam-bach Bye

Wambach was last seen under a pile of hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s

Granted, hers was not quite as abrupt and unexpected a retirement as Bo Ryan’s the day before, but USWNT legend Abby Wambach retired after last night’s friendly with China in New Orleans. The U.S. lost, 1-0, which ended a 104-game unbeaten streak on U.S. soil, even if in this case it is soil that is running out into the Gulf of Mexico.

Wambach, 35, departs the pitch with 184 career goals in international play, or 26 more than the next-best player. She will always be remembered for the header she scored with scant seconds remaining  in the 2011 Women’s World Cup, off a wonderful pass from Megan Rapinoe, with the U.S. trailing Brazil 2-1 in the 122nd minute. The goal saved the Yanks’ bacon (and just as much, if not more, credit goes to Rapinoe)

4. Kyle, Kyler, Kylest

Kyle Allen: “You da Man(ziel)…”

December 9: Texas A&M sophomore backup quarterback Kyle Allen, who had started much of his freshman season, announces that he will transfer. Allen grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, and may be headed back to the desert.

Yesterday: Texas A&M freshman starting quarterback Kyler Murray, who took Allen’s job, is rumored to also be considered transferring out of College Station.

Kyler Murray: “No, you da Man(riel)…”

Yesterday a website announced that Kyle Field, the Aggies’ home turf, would also be transferring from Texas A&M (rim shot, please).

So now we know that A&M does not stand for “Allen & Murray,” amirite?

The deeper issue here is why two passers who have both been starters as frosh, neither of whom is even a junior yet, would be so quick to make an exodus from Texodus (A&M). You can understand why Allen would. He’s got two years of eligibility remaining and he just lost his job to someone younger than he. But why would Murray leave? That’s an intriguing question. And what does it say about head coach Kevin Sumlin?

5. That is Some Infinity Pool U Got There

It’s just like the Love Boat without all that needless sailing from port to port…

This is the Frying Pan Tower, located 34 miles off the coast of North Carolina. A former Coast Guard station, it now serves as a (last) resort for folks who love to fish but aren’t all that much into golf. The cost: $498 for three days and two nights.

Quick history lesson: The FPT had served as a quasi-lighthouse and rest station (it is surrounded by shoals and ships would run aground) until the early part of this century, when GPS made it obsolete. A software engineer, Richard Neal, won a sealed-bid auction held by the government for the tower for $85,000 (Neal was the lone bidder, so in that sense he overpaid). Now the joint is his.

Music 101

The Great Big No

I’ll admit it. I rode The Lemonheads bandwagon in the early ’90s. Lead singer Evan Dando had a cool name, cooler hair and even better songs. This was the opening track from the Boston band’s second album. They vanished after this.

Remote Patrol

Thunder at Cavs

8 p.m. TNT

Susie B. preferred that we put a photo of LeBron here, but she’s too cool to comment now. 🙂

The NBA’s two most exciting players outside of the Bay Area are LeBron James and Russell Westbrook. Kevin Durant isn’t the worst third banana.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy Birthday (34) to Krysten Ritter, who was utterly beguiling in two of our favorite alliterative shows: Gilmore Girls and Breaking Bad.

Starting Five

1. Exile in Whoville

That Ted Geisel, alias Dr. Seuss, was a subversive genius. He ostensibly gave us a short Christmas film with mad rhymes, a funny song, and an ugly green villain. But actually he gave us a parable about how a society never allows a hostile interloper to compel it to compromise its values.

The folks in Whoville were robbed of their Christmas items, but not their Christmas cheer. Why? Because they understood what Christmas is all about: peace on Earth, good will toward men, and far better deals on items after December 25 (our dad used to annually offer us far more toys if we just staged Christmas a few days later; we never took him up on it; we were dopes).

Ditch Day in LA

Anyway, someone emails an anonymous threat to the LA Unified School District yesterday and instantly the LAUSD closes down all 900 of its public schools, keeping 640,000 students at home (no snow days in LA, but “credible threat” days). The “terrorists” are not aiming to kill every last American; they’re aiming to put us into a panic that is wildly disproportionate to the the threat that they may pose. Yesterday, they won. And they weren’t even the ones who emailed the threat.

Not only was the threat a hoax, but it was also sent to school officials in New York who dismissed it as “outlandish.” California congressman Brad Sherman (D) said, “There isn’t a single person on the street who could not have written this. Every person in Nebraska could have written this.”

We get it: southern California is on edge after San Bernardino. But any loser with an agenda can spout off a few verses of the Koran and then go on a killing spree. Charles Manson was a “terrorist,” by that definition. Panic is their real weapon.

2. Cirque El Jerk du Soleil

This may have been the most sensible person to appear on a stage in Las Vegas last night

Top moments from last night’s 5th Republican debate of 2015 (the one political event for which Marco Rubio has perfect attendance), staged in Las Vegas:

Rance Preibus: GOP chairman, world czar of a post-apocalyptic planet in a sci-fi thriller, or anatomical name for a naughty body part? You decide.

Donald Trump: Advises killing innocent family members of Muslim terrorists. Um, that’s a war crime.

Ted Cruz: Advises carpet-bombing ISIS strongholds. Um, that’s also a war crime. Revises it to “targeted carpet-bombing,” which is like calling for a specified random drawing. Granted, the entire concept of “war crime” may be oxymoronic (or redundant; you know what I mean), but still…

I’m sorry. The answer we were looking for is, “Who is Joseph McCarthy?”

Ben Carson, M.D.: When not coughing, made an astute observation that Middle East has been a hot mess for thousands of years and for us to assume we’re going to fix it with a few bombs and shiny medals is “relatively foolish.” Smartest thing said all night. Of course no one seconded it.

Jeb Bush: Tells Donald, “You’re not going to insult your way to the presidency.” Trump thinks, Maybe not, but I’ll come closer to it than you will.

Trump: Said he wished “we had the 4 to 5 trillion dollars” that was spent on the Iraq War back to spend domestically. Also the smartest thing said all night. Carly Fiorina accused him of parroting Obama. Yes, but so what? He’s right. Of course Donald did not come back at her. It’s worse to agree with Obama than to be wrong, of course.

“And also with you….”

John Kasich: May become our first flppered president.

–Everyone: Anxious to punch Putin in the nose.

Me, I thought Wolf Blitzer came out on top. There was a lot of Obama-bashing and Dana Bash’ing.

3. Star Wars: Fury Road

Tatooine soccer moms?

A classic adventure film from the Seventies that at least partly takes place in a post-apocalyptic desert gets a fresh coat of paint in 2015. But it does not have Charlize Theron, so how awesome can it be?

Charlize: Hand Solo

I’m not as fired up to see Luke, Han, Chewie and the robots whose names remind me of IRS forms that I forgot to fill out as most people, but I do think Carl Quintanilla of CNBC tweeted out sage advice: If you’re going to see the new Star Wars film, which opens Friday, do NOT read any review. Just walk into the theater, light saber in hand, blind to the plot.

By the way, if the Fed raises interest rates on the day that the Force Awakens film is released, that would be some high irony.

4. The Missing Couch*

The side effects of “affluenza” are advanced stages of douchebaggery and a tendency to vanish

*The judges concede that this would have been a decent Hardy Boys title for their college years.

You may remember Ethan Couch as the Texas teen who in June of 2013 stole beer from Wal-Mart with his buddies, then drunkenly (three times the legal limit) plowed his flatbed truck into four people who were fixing a flat on the side of an interstate, killing all of them. Or you may remember him as the punk whose parents hired a psychologist to testify that he suffered from “affluenza,” also known as “spoiled brat-itis.”

You may remember that instead of 10 years (or more) in prison, Couch got 10 years’ probation. You may remember that a video of Couch apparently playing beer pong, thus breaking one part of his probation, surfaced earlier this month. Well, now Couch and his mom are missing. It’s like Thelma & Louise, except Thelma would be played by Anthony Michael Hall. Stay tuned.

5. Bo’s Buh Bye

This Bo has never been spotted inside State Street Brats

Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan, 67, who took the Badgers all the way to the NCAA championship game last April, retires effective immediately. My guess is that he was worried about having to face Monmouth in the opening weekend of the NCAAs. Barry Alvarez will coach the Badger basketball team for the rest of the season (won’t he?).

In his final five seasons at Wisconsin-Platteville in the late ’90s, Bo went 136-8 and won three Division III national championships

Our Top 5 “Bo’s”:

  1. Jackson
  2. Derek
  3. Diddley
  4. Ryan
  5. Duke

Not making the cut: Bo Flex, Bo Pelini, Bo Wallace, Bo Peep, Bo Ko Haram

Music 101

Ride Captain Ride

Our first family dog was named Captain, and we got him less than a year after this song by The Blues Image was released. I think there may have been a correlation. Then again, my dad was a big Star Trek fan, so….

Remote Patrol

On The Town

TCM 9 p.m.

Fleet Week was never the same after this….

I’m tempted to point you in the direction of the Eighties classic The Princess Bride (CMT, 9 p.m.), but you’ve probably already seen that, so I suggest you take a peek at this 1949 classic starring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra (your response being, of course, “As you wish.”). This film provides any tourist an introduction to New York, New York (“a helluva town/The Bronx is up/And the Battery’s down/The people ride in a hole in the ground“…. all still true).