by John Walters

Let’s fiddle a Medium Happy Birthday tune to Nero (born on this date in 37 A.D.), whose 14-year reign was a bust.

Starting Five

Thanks a lot, Serena, for usurping my Christmas card idea…

Game of Thrones

As Medium Happy espoused for months, Serena Williams, who won three Grand Slams and and went 53-3 in singles matches in 2015, wins SI”s Sportsperson of the Year (in related news, a seed growing on a protozoan was named Sporesperson of the Year). Serena’s victory spawned something called Horse Twitter, which spawned an awkward debate about whether Serena was objectifying herself (if you guessed, “written by a MAWG: Middle-Aged White Guy,” you win), which led to an ugly debate about who-you-think-you-is-telling-Serena-she-is-objectifying-herself, which led to SI throwing its hands up in the air and saying, “Fine. Next year we’ll just give the award to LeBron so you’ll all shut up.”

(There was less spawning in the Sporesperson balloting).

“Cancel my subscription! Oh, and bring back Norman Chad!”

I’m waiting to hear what Mister Ed Sheeran has to say about American Pharoah being snubbed, but seeing as how he’s sworn off social media, I may be waiting awhile. Meanwhile, what’s the overlap, you think, between Horse Twitter aficionados and Trump voters? Will Donald name American Pharoah as his running mate, or does he sound too Muslim? Chin up, AP: Secretariat did not win SOTY, either (Jackie Stewart did; I know, right?.

Better or worse than King Joffrey?

Serena becomes the first African-American woman to win SI’s coveted amphora solely in one year (Judi Brown King was one of seven winners in 1987) and the first to pose for the cover of SI seated on a throne since Roger Goodell.

2. Winter Is Coming Is Winter Coming?

Granted, it is still technically autumn for one more week, but it already reached 68 degrees here in the Big Apple today. Baby, it’s warm outside. November was one of the warmest months on record across the Eastern U.S., and December appears to be headed in the same direction. I’m renaming Sansa Starks’ hometown as “IndianSummerFell.”

3. Tragedy in Argentina

Everyone aboard perished

In Argentina, a bus carrying 43 policia plunges off a bridge and into a ravine, landing on its roof and killing everyone aboard. The bus was the second of three in a convoy, and at the moment it is not known what sent it off course. The accident occurred in clear weather and dry conditions.

4. Monday Night TV: Odell & Adele

Was this even Odell Beckham’s best catch of the season? I’d still go with the one he made at Washington last month? I do know this: he’s currently the greatest Beckham in sport. Odell had two TD receptions and 166 yards receiving in the Giants’ win last night.

Odell & the G-Men beat the Dolphins last night, and will probably back into the playoffs and beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl again and then we’ll all have to scratch our heads again about whether Eli Manning is the worst elite quarterback of all time.

Adele’s last name is Adkins. Her middle name is not “Danger.”

Meanwhile, Adele’s late November concert at Radio City Music Hall aired on NBC, an ideal anglophilic lead-in to Men In Blazers on NBC Sports Net. Adele comes off as the perfect date to bring to a wedding: she’ll have a second glass of champagne thank you, and more than one bite of cake, and she’ll be sweating it out on the dance floor…when she’s no singing.

5. Howard, You Must Be Sirius

Howard’s wife, and my UWS neighbor, Beth Ostrovsky. And you wonder why he isn’t so cranky any more.

The King of All Media re-ups with satellite radio for 12 years.

Incidentally, this was the stock price of Sirius (SIRI) in late January of 2009, when the market was at its bottom: 10 cents. The stock price of SIRI at the open today is $4.18. That’s better than a 4,000% mark-up in six years. And that concludes today’s episode of “Great Stock Opportunities That JW Pondered But Did Not Pull The Trigger On” (too many episodes to recall).

Music 101


In late 1997, you either thought this single from one-hit wonder Chumbawumba was either the most annoying or most infectious single you’ve ever heard. Likely, both. The tune hit No. 1 in every country where people hear the word “punter” and don’t think of Ray Guy first: Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, Italy.And No. 6 here. Nike offered the band $1 million to use this song for the 1998 World Cup and “it took the band 30 seconds to say, ‘No.'”

Remote Patrol

Galaxy Quest

BBC America 8 p.m.

“Never give up! Never surrender!” A smart, goofy film that is equal parts satire and sci-fi suspense thriller. Tim Allen has never been better, and Alan Rickman seems genuinely tickled to not be playing a heavy. If ever there were a movie whose plot you can picture being involved in an “elevator pitch,” this is it. Often this movie borders on brilliant, and even crosses over into that space, the final frontier.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy Birthday to the world’s first peerless prognosticator, Nostradamus (now age 512)

Starting Five

1. Will I Am

Ron Burgundy himself returned to Studio 8-H to kick of Saturday Night Live this weekend. If you have yet to see it, what are you reading me for? Click away.

2. Beasts of the Southern –and Northern Wild

Henry leads the nation in rushing yards per game, and the NCAA is all messed up since they count postseason stats, which means some teams will play as many as 15 games, others as few as 12.

In New York City, punishing running back Derrick Henry of Alabama wins the Heisman Trophy at the end of a television show that was only 90 minutes long (I blacked out for a bit and dreamt that Eddie George was going to star in a Broadway musical).

The toughest priest running back since Priest Holmes.

Meanwhile in St. Paul, our man Jordan Roberts, the beast who’s studying to be a priest, ran all over Linfield’s defense to the tune of 256 yards and 3 TDs as St. Thomas rolled, 38-17, and advanced to the Division III national championship game to face Mt. Union.

Also this weekend, SB Nation handed out the inaugural Piesman Trophy. Congratulations, Ashton Henderson. What’s left after that?

3. Symmetry

Drayman Green has been the Warriors’ glue guy….

We take this brief pause, almost 1/3 of the way through the NBA regular season, to note that the Golden State Warriors are now 24-1 and the Philadelphia 76ers, who are basically importing the Phoenix Suns front office (first, Jerry Colangelo and soon perhaps, Mike D’Antoni) , are 1-24.

How cool is that?

No other NBA team has ever begun a season 24-1 (GSW, as you know, finally lost on Saturday night in Milwaukee, on the back end of a back-to-back on the road). Three teams, however, have started out 24-2, the most recent of them being the 2008-09 Boston Celtics.

Only one NBA team has ever started a season as poorly as these Sixers have done: the 1970-71 Cleveland Cavaliers began that season 1-27. They finished with a record of 15-67 and would draft Austin Carr of Notre Dame the following summer.

Undrafted rookie T.J. McConnell, whose aunt is Suzie McConnell_Seri (legendary hoopster at Penn State), has been a rare unexpected bright spot in a Philly autumn full of blight spots…

By the way, that Cleveland team was coached by Bill Fitch, who would later lead the Bird-era Celtics to their first NBA title of the ’80s. Also of note, that Cavs team had a rookie forward by the name of Larry Mikan. Yes, he was George’s son, and that would be his only season in the NBA.

4. Rule No. 1 (Again)*

Nkemdiche is a force of nature, but not as omnipotet of one as gravity is.

*Loyal readers of Medium Happy — both of you– know that Rule No. 1 is “Gravity always wins.”

On Saturday night Robert Nkemdiche, arguably the most devastating defensive player in next spring’s NFL draft, fell one story off a hotel balcony in Atlanta. That’s one way to celebrate the conclusion of finals week at the University of Mississippi. Nkemdiche, a 6’5″, 293-pound human Zamboni, is an Atlanta native.

Nkemdiche should be okay, although the incidents leading up to his fall are redolent of Josh Shaw’s famed “jump into the pool to save my nephew from drowning.” Nkemdiche apparently broke through a window at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, walked 5 yards, climbed over a wall, and then fell 15 feet. So either Nkemdiche as partying too hard — marijuana was found in the room — or competing in a Spartan Race.

Last May Nkemdiche tweeted the following: “As above so below, who actually made the term ‘gravity’ is that really the term?” To which yours truly, being the acerbic ass that I can be, replied, “Jump from 3rd story, see what happens. Stand on ground, try to jump up to 3rd story. See what happens. So, premise is false.”

I never really thought Robert would field-test my suggestion. Anyway, we can all just look forward to when Nkemdiche explains this incident to coach Harbaugh on one of those ESPN pre-draft specials in the spring, no?

5. Cherries on Top

Josh King helped propel sport’s greatest underdog franchise to another unlikely win, its second in an 8-day span.

On Saturday in the Premier League, AFC Bournemouth took down Manchester United, 2-1. Only seven days earlier the Cherries took down defending Premier League champs Chelsea, 1-0.

According to Forbes, Man U is the world’s 5th wealthiest pro sports franchise, and Chelsea the 31st. They’re two of the three most valuable in the BPL. In the past 11 years, Chelsea (4) and Manchester United (5) have combined to win nine of the 11 championships at the highest level of English football.

Bournemouth, meanwhile, was a lower division team just last year and in 2008 was forced into bankruptcy with debts of some $7 million. The Cherries, whose “stadium” holds 11,000 fans, are now in 14th place (out of 20 clubs), ahead of Chelsea. If they can finish about 18th place, not only will they avoid relegation but they will be party to the BPL’s massive new TV contract at year’s end. If you’re a fan of the little guy, this is the best sports story in quite some time.

Music 101

High Hopes

We failed to give Frank Sinatra‘s 100th birthday its proper due on Saturday, so we’ll begin to make amends today. This simple little song is the embodiment of its theme: it wound up becoming a hit single for Ol’ Blue Eyes, won the Academy Award in 1960 for Best Original Song, and then became the theme for a young, dashing presidential candidate named John F. Kennedy.

Remote Patrol

Adele Live from New York City

NBC 10 p.m.

Dude, you’re getting Adele. So NBC will air two hours of The Voice leading up to one hour of the world’s most popular canary warbling onstage at Radio City Music Hall. The actual show was staged about two weeks ago, right around Thanksgiving. This was her first concert in four years.



by John Walters

A Medium Happy Birthday, to Love Boat All-Star Donna Mills. She’s 75 (Really?!?)

Starting Five

Former Notre Dame teammates Michael Floyd and Kyle Rudolph (Vikes) combined for 11 catches and a TD last night. How did Charlie Weis go 6-6 with these two and an NFL QB?

1. It’s In The Cards

You may remember an NFC wild card game last January in which the Carolina Panthers hosted, and defeated, an Arizona Cardinals team whose quarterback was Ryan Lindley. The Panthers held the Cards to 78 yards on offense — for the entire game — in a 27-16 win.

This year the Panthers (12-0) and Cardinals (11-2, after last night’s 23-20 win against the Vikings) are the class of the NFC. If they meet again, it will be in the NFC Championship Game and we are still not certain where that will be.

By the way, as of now the Packers and Seahawks, last year’s NFC Championship Game combatants –remember that?– are slated to meet in a wild card game.

2. “It Was a Dark and Court-Stormy Night…”

Peterson has a broken bone or two to pick with Iowa State’s administration over how security was handled in Ames.

In what was a memorable game between Iowa and Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, the Cyclones’ come-from-behind 83-82 win over the Hawkeyes is overshadowed by a post-game court-storming in which Des Moines Register columnist Randy Peterson suffered fractures to the tibia and fibula.

Peterson may have to red-shirt this NCAA hoops season….

The quotes from first-year Iowa State coach Steve Prohm (as well as from the athletic director) could have been a little more empathetic. As opposed to pathetic. I love that Peterson, who handled the massive injury with courage and aplomb (he actually tweeted out, “Ouch!”) was still wearing his press credential when they wheeled him into surgery.

3. Man Hoverboard!

Don’t Halt and Catch Fire: Overboard knockoffs are a ‘hot’ item.

A spokesperson for Hoverboard, Joalene Joveletter, appears on CNBC to explain that the hot Christmas item is not the one that’s been combusting spontaneously. Those are Hoverboard knock-offs. My recommendation for Hoverboard, whose items start at $599, is to put a label on the side of the box that reads, “From Ages 10 to Douche.”

Meanwhile, in London, where Hoverboards and their ilk are banned from being ridden on public pavement, a 15 year-old riding one crashed into a bus last night and died.

4. Moose on Safari

Our friend Moose, whose natural habitat is a couch in Toronto, is heading to Africa for a two-week safari, which led us to mull all the ways a visitor to the so-called Dark Continent can perish. I mean, not necessarily Moose, but you know, anyone….might perish in Africa. So here we are placing some odds on how a visitor to Africa (again, not necessarily Moose) might perish in Africa:


10:1….. Black Mamba bite

15:1…..Red Ants

22:1…..Wildebeest stampede


36:1….Big Cat

38:1….Laughing Hyena

40:1….Poaching (Also Sunnyside-Up’ing, Over-Easy’ing, Frittata’ing)

44:1….Taciturn Hyena

50:1….Trip and go over Victoria Falls

500:1….Trip and go over Victoria Principal

60:1…..Abducted by Boko Haram

600:1…Abducted by Procul Harum

800:1…. Conked on the top of the head by a Coke bottle falling from the sky when she (or anyone) wanders onto the set of the remake of The Gods Must Be Crazy.

2,000:1…Has tawdry affair with James McAvoy, Forrest Whitaker finds out, and it doesn’t go well (“I AM the king!”)

Your suggestions as to how someone, but not necessarily Moose, of course, might perish in Africa are welcome.

5. Duane Reade All About It

Victoria’s Secret angel Candace Swanepoel has absolutely nothing to do with the anecdote you are about to read…

If you live in New York City — and you probably don’t– you’ve noticed the proliferation of Duane Reade convenience markets –at the expense of the lovely, independently owned neighborhood bodega– over the past decade or so (I mean, will a Duane Reade make you a meatball sub at 1 a.m. while you are buying toilet paper? I think not).

Anyway, I don’t love Duane Reade, but they are convenient and nearly as ubiquitous as Starbuck’s. But they’re annoying. Yesterday I shopped there and was paying with cash when the clerk kindly directed me to press a button on the credit card do-hickey thing if I did NOT want to donate money to a charity.


“Please press that button if you do not want to donate to City Harvest.”

“I’m just buying Gatorade and pretzels (and the latest issue of Glamour, but don’t tell anyone).”

“Okay, sir,” she says, patiently. “Then just press that ‘Do Not Donate’ button.”

“I’m paying with cash.”

“I can’t complete the transaction unless you press that button.”

Okay, so yeah, I can be THAT guy. And I saw Falling Down and thought Michael Douglas’s character wasn’t actually all that wacko. So now I have to ask myself, am I going to be difficult just to be difficult or am I going to stand here and take a stand for mankind, and does this nice young lady care one way or the other?

Well, I’m sorry,” I say, “I refuse to press that button. Not because I don’t believe in City Harvest (so just donate, then, J Dub!), but because I don’t believe in this subtle form of corporate manipulation.”

So we’re standing there. And then I realize that this nice young woman, who will never want to see me again, is not permitted to press the button. So the two of us have to wait until a manager comes over, gives me the stink eye, and presses the button.

And, yeah, I’m sorry for being difficult. But I’m doing it for all of us.

I think I’m going to return to Duane Reade today. With a hammer. And when I am directed to press the button….well….

Music 101

Elderly Women Behind the Counter in a Small Town

Some of the songs Pearl Jam wrote when its members were in their 20s showcased an insight and wisdom far beyond their years. This song, as wistful as they come, exemplifies that. There’s no more beautiful Pearl Jam song… Hearts and thoughts they fade/Faaaade away

Remote Patrol

Lakers at Spurs

ESPN 9:30 p.m.

The Spurs beat the Sixers by 51 earlier this week as Pop rested Timmy and Kawhi. What will happen tonight against the LOLakers? I’m either going to watch this or a boa constrictor devour a lab mouse. Not sure which.


by John Walters

Tell Sloan I said, “What up?” Oh, and Happy Birthday (38)!

Starting Five

The Cleated Cleric

Nobody in college football this season — not Derrick Henry, not Dalvin Cook, not even Christian McCaffrey — has more rushing touchdowns than Jordan Roberts of Division III, St. Thomas, who has scored 29 in 12 games. Roberts, a junior who transferred in from South Dakota last winter, also has 1,701 rushing yards for the Tommies, who are hosting a Division III national semi-final versus Linfield (also 12-0) on Saturday.

Roberts also happens to be a seminarian at St. John Vianney Seminary, having converted to Catholicism two years ago. My story in Newsweek is here. Also, Roberts’s coach, Glenn Caruso (84-13 at St. Thomas) is an absolute trip. Wonderful guy. He has a personality that will succeed on any stage.

2. Grizzly Maulings

If there were an “Alcoa ‘Fantastic Finishes'” in the NBA, the Memphis Grizzlies would have the entire week dedicated to them. On Sunday the Grizz broke a 93-93 deadlock with the Phoenix Suns by scoring on an inbounds alley oops pass to Jeff Green with 0:8 seconds left for the dunk and win.

Last night Memphis trailed Detroit 92-90 with scant seconds remaining when Matt Barnes grabbed a rebound, eschewed the timeout call, dribbled to half court, and chucked in a three-pointer with 1.1 seconds left. Detroit still got a chance to shoot a desperation game-winner –after calling a timeout–but it missed.

So, Matt Barnes? Dope or genius. Well, it worked, so for one night he’s a genius.

Also, Barnes’s desperation heave took place in Auburn Hills, Mich., just six days after Aaron Rodgers’s Hail Mary. A tough life for Detroit sports fans gets even more miserable…

3. Post Route

You’ve already seen this, but apparently now the NFL has fined Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown $11,576 for wearing a fanny pack during a football game. I think I have that correct, no?

4. Plumes of Noms

Spotlight, a tale of sexy white journalists (what else is new?)

Yesterday, the SAG Awards nominations.
This morning, the Golden Globe nominations.

p.s. These two Sunday night programs are about the only thing each year that get me through January.

5. No Words Necessary (soon to be abbreviated to “No Words”)

This is one of the better New Yorker cartoons I’ve seen in awhile.

Music 101

Hunger Strike

Not technically a Pearl Jam song, as it was written by Chris Cornell of Soundgarden. The team rebranded themselves as Temple of the Dog to record this tune as a tribute to the late Andrew Wood, the lead singer of Mother Love Bone, two of whose members had been future Pearl Jammers Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard. Wood, Cornell’s roomie, had  overdosed on heroin (the signature disease of grunge). Four Pearl Jam members are part of the band, though, and Eddie Vedder’s vocals are a perfect contrast to Chris Cornell’s. This could be the best Pearl Jam song, if not best grunge tune (and video), of the entire era.

p.s. The video and song slightly pre-date Ten, so it was big before Pearl Jam was.

Remote Patrol

Knicks at Kings

TNT 10:30 p.m.

Cousins: Still not in jail, Clay Travis.

I love that TNT is going to make Charles Barkley stay up until 1 a.m. to watch these two teams play. Then again, if you have yet to see Kristaps Porzingis, a.k.a., “Three Six Latvia,” enjoy. Have the Kings and DeMarcus Cousins ever been on TNT? Probably, I just don’t remember the last time.




Remote Patrol


by John Walters

Happy 62nd to one of the best actors to have never won an Oscar, John Malkovich.

Starting Five

Tomkins died of hypothermia in Chile….I mean, my 4th-grade level humor is aroused

1. Now If The Co-Founder of Patagonia Were To Die on the North Face of a Mountain, Then, Mind Blown*

Kids, back in the day — in fact, even earlier than that, in the dawn — Esquire magazine at this time of year put out its annual “Dubious Achievement Awards,” which was only the greatest thing in magazinery every year. And well, if the co-founder of North Face were to die in a kayaking accident in Patagonia, as 72 year-old Douglas Tomkins did yesterday, then that item would have made their list and of DA’s and the headline would have been something like the above.

Hey, sorry that the man died (“Thoughts and prayers…”). On the other hand, he lived a long and fruitful life and his death personified what his company promoted, and he’ll probably get a nice write-up in Outside magazine, so things could be worse.

*Props to Gene for making this connection first….

2. (Sprained) Feat of Klay

Yes, he sprained his ankle at the end of last night’s game. X-rays were negative.

Remember a few years ago when I tweeted that Klay Thompson would be the first player I’d select in the 2011 draft? No? (Related: I was also a big fan of Curry, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green; Mr. McIntyre over at TBL told me I liked Green way too much). Well, I did.

Anyway, Klay may not be the best Golden State Warrior guard whose dad played in the NBA (and is now a team’s radio analyst), but last night he scored 39 points as Golden State moved to 23-0 with a 131-123 win at Indiana. The Warriors led by 28 after three quarters.

Since we turned the page on the calendar, Thompson is averaging 27 points per game in December (Steph is averaging 35.3 ppg on this trip, but he’s Steph). Klay may not be the other All-Star starter in the backcourt — Russell Westbrook deserves to be — but he will definitely be on the squad.

3. Flori-Duh: Alligator Invokes Stand Your Marsh Law

A couple of days late, but Florida man is a burglar, hides in swamp to evade cops, is ALLEGEDLY killed by an 11-foot alligator. So we had 1) white-trash Floridian 2) felony crime 3) alligator or reptile. All we were missing for the full quintet was 4) a stripper and or illicit sex and 5) psychotropic drugs.

I hope the gator has a good attorney….

4. The Audacity of Hoop

When I was at Sports Illustrated, there was one gentleman who simply knew and wrote college basketball better than anyone: Alexander Wolff. The Princeton alum had many unique talents, arguably the most formidable of which is that he was a humble and, in fact, not even condescending, alumnus of Princeton.

Alex would have been everyone’s favorite English prof had he chosen that route; instead he spent years writing the game stories of NCAA hoops finals, which was the most arduous task –due to the tight Monday night deadline– at SI.

A lot of the web-era college hoops fanatics may be unfamiliar with Alex, and that’s too bad. He’s a genuinely hoops-addled journalist (so much so that he even invested in a minor-league basketball team, the Frost Heaves, in his adopted home of Vermont) who has an artist’s touch on the keyboard. Anyway, Alex has a book out all about basketball and our 44th president, The Audacity of Hoop, and I plan on reading it (as soon as I finish the Twilight series).

5. Oh, That’s Good

Today’s New York Daily News cover.

Music 101

Better Man

Pearl Jam has never been much into releasing songs as singles, which explains why their only Top 10 hit is “Last Kiss,” which is a cover of a Sixties tune. This may be their most played song on the radio, though, and it’s arguably the only commercially viable tune from Vitalogy (and, like “Release,” it was buried down on the 11th track). Here Eddie is performing the classic on Late Show during Letterman’s final week last May.

Remote Patrol

Sinatra Sings

TCM 8 p.m. 

The Chairman of the Board, or as I like to call him, The Doobie Doobie Doo Brother, performs “Strangers in the Night,” “Come Fly With Me,” and “My Way,” among others. Not live. Followed at 9:15 p.m. by From Here to Eternity. Get your Frank on!


by John Walters

Happy 62nd, Kim Basinger! The very definition of “Hot mess”

Starting Five

1. Well, He IS German

Republic presidential candidate Donald Trump proposes prohibiting ALL Muslims from entering the United States “until we figure this thing out.” If we do that, this is what we may wind up getting…

And how did that work out for the Americans…?

In Trump’s defense, he has a point: If you can’t think of another continent where the local inhabitants would have served themselves better by prohibiting a religious group from landing on its shores, well, you’re probably already standing on it.

2. U Toujours (Tout le Monde’s a Stage)

Last night Bono continued his campaign to be the world’s coolest human since Jesus, as he and U2 welcomed the Eagles of Death Metal onto the stage in Paris. The two bands hooked up to play Patti Smith’s People Have The Power just three weeks and three days after the attack at the Bataclan. That’s Jesse Hughes in the white suit, lead vocals (that’s Bono in the black suit, backing vocals, but you already knew that).

So, up yours, ISIS.

3. Nespresso of Love

Bobby Moynihan had one of his better shows on Saturday Night Live last weekend, reprising his “Second Hand News” guy, Anthony Crispino, on “Weekend Update,” this time joined by “Third Hand News” guy, Ryan Gosling. But this bit with Taran Killam, aping those strange George Clooney-Danny Devito ads for Nespreso, is fantastic.

4. The Bournemouth Identity

You probably missed this on Saturday — I did– what with all the college football, but in the Premier League, last year’s champions, Chelsea, lost at home to AFC Bournemouth, a team whose pitch seats 11,000 fans and who only a year ago were in the second, or Championship, division of English soccer. Like AAA baseball here.

The Cherries won 1-0 on a gaol scored in the 82nd minute by a player, Glenn Murray, who had only checked into the game two minutes earlier. Beating the defending league champions –and a club who had won the Champions League only three years earlier — is quite an achievement for a club who barely was on the radar five years ago. Chelsea is having an awful season (they are in 14th place; Bournemouth was in 18th), but this is still remarkable.

5. Onsides, Offsides (etc.)

So, wait…have any ACC refs been suspended over the miscarriage of justice on North Carolina’s final onsides kick? And why was that not reversed? And how do you quell the cries of weirdos –like me– who suggest that nobody, from John Skipper at ESPN to ACC der kommissar John Swofford, wanted to see the Tar Heels win and so somebody had the refs go Buffalo Wild Wings on it all? Am I suggesting that’s what happened? No. But with Carolina trailing only 45-37 and having recovered that insides kick with 1:20 to play, things were about to get awfully messy….


I made a huge mistake when I appeared on Jason McIntyre’s radio show (“You blewwww it”) and I know that it is too late to atone for it, but I’m going to add this argument here. When he asked me why I prefer four teams above eight, my first reply should have been because I don’t want to see conference champions receive automatic bids –something that would likely happen with eight teams.

Why not? Well, first, because it would only further disincentivize schools to schedule quality OOC opponents. If you think Baylor and TCU are bad now, wait to see how many schools would join them. Why play a tough OOC team that will 1) bang your squad up and 2) potentially beat you when your two best paths to a playoff are either a conference title or else an undefeated OOC record to complement your conference record? The only conceivable benefit to playing a tough OOC team would be SOS plus a win, but that’s too high a risk to take. So that should have been my immediate reply. Sorry.

Anybody remember Myles Jack?

And why would I want to elevate a conference champ if there are better teams out there? Do I really want an NFC East scenario — three 5-7 teams and one 4-8 team — because it’s still in doubt late in season? No. I want to see the best teams play.


Finally, I’m putting all of us in the doghouse, myself included, as regards our preseason picks for the Football Four and Heisman. Enjoy:

J Dubs: Michigan State, UCLA, Ohio State, Auburn; Nick Chubb (I had McCaffrey 5th)

Stewart Mandel: Ohio State, TCU, Texas A&M, Auburn; Trevone Boykin

Bruce Feldman: Ohio State, Baylor, Oregon, Notre Dame; J.T. Barrett

Joel Klatt: Alabama, Ohio State, TCU, USC; Ezekiel Elliott

Clay Travis: Clemson, Ohio State, TCU, Georgia; DeShaun Watson (?)

Andy Staples: Alabama, Baylor, Ohio State, UCLA; DeShaun Watson (?)

Brian Hamilton: Ohio State, Auburn, Baylor, Arizona State; Trevone Boykin

Pete Thamel: Ohio State, Arizona State, Notre Dame, Georgia; Mike Bercovici

Kirk Herbstreit: Oklahoma, Arizona State, Ohio State, LSU;

Lee Corso: Ohio State, Oregon, Baylor, LSU

Desmond Howard: Michigan State, Stanford, Texas A&M, TCU

Matt Hinton: Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Baylor

Chris Brown: Alabama, Arizona, TCU, Ohio State

Michael Weinreb: Ohio State, Oregon, LSU, Boise State

Ty Duffy: Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, Baylor

Congrats, Matt Hinton (whose picks appeared in Grantland, now defunct; it is entirely without funk), you’re the only one I found who picked at least half the field.


Music 101

Glorified G

Got a gun, ‘fact I got two,

That’s okay, man, cuz I love God,

Glorified version of a pellet gun,

Feels so manly, when armed”

On Pearl Jam’s second album, Eddie Vedder skewered God-and-Guns nuts, but the problem is that the song’s guitar and melody is so kick-ass that it sort of became an anthem (See: Springsteen,  “Born in the USA”). Pearl Jam Week continues at MH, as we take one of the more “Turn it the F up!” tunes off the band’s second album, Vs.

Remote Patrol

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

CBS 10 p.m.

This show should have to pay royalties to that En Vogue video…

The runways are cleared for glanding. Live from New York! Now how do I find a way to get assigned to cover this?


by John Walters

Happy 59th to Larry Legend!

Starting Five

On Saturday night, McCaffrey separated himself from the Pac (we double-see what you did there)

1. Grange Award: Christian McCaffrey

Well, as long as we are paying tribute to overrated Caucasian athletes(see Top), then –Whoa! Whoa! Larry Bird helped save the NBA, along with Magic, so stop! — we are hereby bequeathing Grange Award 2015 to the Stanford sophomore who broke the single-season all-purpose yardage record on Saturday evening.

In the 41-22 win gainst USC, Christian McCaffrey rushed for 207 yards, had 105 receiving, had 120 kick return yards and another 29 in punt returns. That’s 461 all-purpose yards, plus he had one touchdown pass of 11 yards. The sophomore from Castle Rock, Colo., scored two TDs and threw for another. On the season he compiled 3,496 all-purpose yards, breaking the record of Barry Sanders (albeit with two more games to do so), whose namesake is his backup.

Bush, 3rd in from left, attended Saturday night’s game…

It’s not just the yardage, of course. As other people have noted, McCaffrey is the most amazing all-purpose back since Reggie Bush, who also wore No. 5 and played in the Pac-12. Bush won one Heisman (which he had to return, which is a joke) and earned two. As a sophomore,

Bush won his Heisman Trophy as a junior with 2,890 all-purpose yards. McCaffrey as a sophomore has 600 all-purpose yards more (as a sophomore, Bush had 2,330 all-purpose yards). Bush, by the way, attended Saturday night’s game (he is prohibited from attending USC games) thanks to a loophole: Levi’s Stadium is his home NFL stadium.

Christian McCaffrey, Stanford: Our 2015 Red Grange Award winner….

2. Art Basel, Art Briles: Bad Weekend

Wondering if the vicim was shanked in front of Exhibit A…

The South Beach art fair, where only the wellest of heeled are welcome, endured a stabbing. One female patron stabbed another with an X-Acto knife, which brings “suffering for your art” to a new level. The injuries were not life-threatening.

Meanwhile, blocks away, a shirtless bank robber (always a bad look; ask John Dillinger; at least he knew how to dress for the occasion) was shot dead by police while not exactly seeming to pose an immediate threat. He was white, in case you were wondering.

Lynx Hawthorne, a WR-turned-QB, almost led the Bears all the way back after a scoreless first half….

In Waco on Saturday, Baylor ushered in the Lynx Hawthorne era while losing to Texas and squandering a shot at the Sugar Bowl. It’s tough to win with your fourth quarterback and author of The Scarlet Letterman’s Jacket, but still, this was a Texas team that was shut out by Iowa State. Oh well, maybe now at least Baylor fans will hush for a bit.

3. We Shall Oval-come

Does Obama understand the “scope” of the problem? Some say yes, others say no.

POTUS, from a POT-ium in the Oval Office last night: “Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semiautomatic weapon?”

Of course, the argument is the 2nd Amendment, whose supporters presume it to be inalienable right, when actually it is just an addendum to a document whose charter is “to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity..”

As one tweep noted, “that’s a crap grouping.”

But, hey, the NRA hates it when facts get in the way. That’s why a FOX News dude literally shot holes through the New York Times Saturday page 1 editorial.

4. of the Worst Kind

A skit titled “Close Encounter” on Saturday Night Live gives Kate McKinnon another opportunity to demonstrate why she is a worthy successor to Kristen Wiig inside Studio 8-H.

5. Football Four

L.J. Scott: “Kiss my grit!”

Questions: Cool or uncool of to post a story of Heather Dinich‘s Football Four prediction so that it ran front-and-center on the homepage at noon, the very moment when people might be checking on-line or on their mobile phones to see what the results of the Selection Committee are? We get that if you bother to read the fine print, you realize they are Dinich’s prediction, but then again, has she not been embedded with the 12-person jury the past month? And why illustrate her story with a four-team bracket so that it looks like news?

Verdict: Not cool.

Clemson-Oklahoma will be the high-octane matchup with the two playmaking QBs, while Alabama-Michigan State is already on a Maximum Threat Level Concussion Protocol Alert.

And let’s give some love to that game-winning TD drive, and the TD itself, by Michigan State. L.J. Scott sure looked as if he was stopped. Good to see that Sparty didn’t go all Bucky Badger when it had a potential game-winning run play late versus the Hawkeyes.

Striker, land that damn airplane!

If I have to pick a winner, give me Oklahoma. And remember Sooner linebacker Eric Striker spells it with an “i.” Gay porn star Eric Stryker spelled it with a “y.”

Eric Stryker starred in Wrestling Meat 2, among other films

By the way, I had UCLA in the Football Four, and Georgia, too, so don’t listen to me. But for the record, ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, back in May, had TCU, Oregon, Ohio State and Auburn (0 for 4) and Brett McMurphy had TCU, USC, Ohio State and Auburn (so, 0 for 4).

Music 101


It’s Pearl Jam Week here at MH, as Eddie Vedder celebrates a birthday later this month. This tune was the 11th and final track off Ten, one of the finest debut albums in rock history. It wasn’t one of the three singles released off the album, but as the decades pass, it is as representative as any Pearl Jam tune. Also appears at beginning and end of the movie Out of the Furnace (amazing cast, thin plot).

Remote Patrol

Young Frankenstein

Sundance 10:15 p.m.

“Pardon me, boy, is that the Transylvania choo choo?” “Yah! Yah! Track 29…Can I give you a shine?” I wonder how many times the Zucker Brothers watched Mel Brooks’ 1974 satire of horror films as inspiration for Airplane! Too many sight and sound gags to list, but I did love the nervous whinnying of horses any time the name “Frau Blucher” was invoked.


by John Walters

Happy 49th birthday, Fred Armisen, you silly, silly man!

Starting Five

Rodgers’ pass sailed at least 70 yards in the air, putting him in solid position to win last night’s Punt, Pass & Kick competition.

Rust Belted

For the second time in four nights, a classically underachieving Midwest NFL franchise gets kicked in the ‘nads at home on the game’s final play. Last night Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers completed a 61-yard Hail Mary pass –on a play that actually started with 0:00 on the clock, due to the most minor of face mask infractions– to Richard Rodgers (who, like Aaron, attended Cal) for the 27-23 win. The Pack had trailed 20-0 in the third quarter.

(Rodgers and Hart? Rodgers and Hammerstein? And now Rodgers and Rodgers?)

That was on CBS. As you may recall, Will Hill of the Ravens returned a blocked field goal attempt by the Browns on the game’s final play, breaking that tie score and giving Baltimore the win.

The Surrender Cobra is now Michigan’s official state reptile

Green Bay and Baltimore have each won a Super Bowl in the past five years.  Cleveland and Detroit are the only two franchises who have been around at least 25 years that have yet to even appear in a Super Bowl. Rust Belters must ask themselves the existential questions: Why am I living here? Why am I rooting for these teams?

Related: Calvin Johnson, a.k.a. Megatron, is 6’5″ and has the best hands in the NFL. Why wasn’t he in on the Hail Mary play for Detroit as a defender? Our pal Rothstein has that story.

2. RIP, Lead Singer of STP

To absolutely no one’s surprise, former Stone Temple Pilots lead singer, shirt-averse rocker, heroin addict, Notre Dame football aficionado, Velvet Revolver lead singer and Steve Nash doppelgänger Scott Weiland falls to pieces way too soon. He was 48.

Weiland was found dead on a tour stop in Bloomington, Minn., last night, in an RV on Killebrew Drive. The last time I thought about him was a few weeks ago, when I saw his former band mates playing Jimmy Kimmel Live! substituting in Joss Stone as their lead singer. They cheekily branded themselves Joss Stone Temple Pilots. Really.

Great voice. Super abs. A dynamic presence. Weiland had the bad boy rock star image down, alas, too well. There’s a terrific passage in the rock-and-roll memoir by former Rolling Stone writer Jancee Dunn, But Enough About Me, in which she describes going to interview Weiland in L.A. and then him inviting her to shoot up with him. And she was somewhat seduced by his entire persona, but found the strength to resist.

3. G-U-N-play in the USA*

*The judges will also accept “Welcome to the USNRA”

Six of the 14 San Bernardino victims

Less than 24 hours after 14 people are murdered by gun-toting, radicalized Muslim-Americans, the Senate defeats a bill (by 50-48) to expand background checks before people are allowed to buy guns. It was a mostly partisan vote, as only four Republicans voted in favor of the bill and only one Democrat voted against it (two Democrats abstained, because, hey, why not be a pu**y?).

Earlier, the Senate defeated a bill that would permit the government to delay sales of weapons by 72 hours if the buyer is a suspected terrorist. As someone tweeted on Wednesday night: “Abortion?” “Ban it!” “Gay marriage?” “Ban it!” “Weapons sales?” “You know, banning something isn’t really addressing the problem…”

4. Simmet Special

Offensive lineman David Simmet may not be the most extraordinary person, in the literal sense of the term, on the University of St. Thomas football team (more on that next week). But, at 6’9″ and 350 pounds, and with a 3.96 GPA in an accounting major, the senior from Stillwater, Minn. (<– great town, by the way) stands out.

The Tommies host Wabash tomorrow in a Division III quarterfinal. The Tommies happen to be a 12-0 wrecking ball, having won seven of their games by at least 44 points.

5. Klatt Bounces Back

The last moment of Klatt’s playing career…

Ten years and one day ago, Joel Klatt of Colorado threw the final pass of his football career in a conference championship game. The good news: It was 3rd-and-17 and he completed it for a 23-yard gain. The bad news: he got knocked cold by a blitzing Texas safety. The question: Why were the Longhorns, up 70-3 at the time, running a safety blitz?

Go to 28:00 here. Klatt’s final play (Brad Nessler, I believe: “Joel’s on Woozy Street.”)

Tomorrow Klatt continues his long — and yet short– road back to a conference title game (he actually called one last year, too) for Fox as the lead analyst at the Big Ten Championship Game. I’ll have a story on him in Newsweek later today.

Music 101

Fall To Pieces

Remembering Weiland. Ah, for the good ol’ days when you’d mention the song “Creep” and your friend would ask, “Radiohead or STP?” Anyway, here’s a 1st-gear, crunchy rocker from his supergroup that included Slash, Velvet Revolver.

Remote Patrol

USC vs. Stanford

ESPN 7:45 p.m.

Michigan State vs. Iowa

Fox 8 p.m.

North Carolina vs. Clemson

ABC 8 p.m.

Jordan Canzeri of Iowa

Let’s go channel surfin’ now/Everybody’s learnin’ how/Come and follow Twitter with me….This trio of games becomes infinitely more intriguing if Alabama loses to Florida in the 4 p.m. game, but who is counting on that? Nobody.


by John Walters

Happy 54th birthday, Darryl Hannah!

Starting Five

1. Been There, Gun That

Another day, another mass murder in America: there have literally been more gun-related incidents involved four or more victims –not all fatalities– this year  (355) than there have been days (336).

Fourteen people die at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. That’s tied for the sixth-deadliest rampage killing on American soil (excluding 9/11) if you are keeping score, which unfortunately we are these days.

Consider that suspect Syed Farook and his thus far unnamed female accomplice killed twice as many people yesterday morning in one building as the Manson Family did in August of 1969.

And San Bernardino was not even the only mass shooting in America yesterday: One person was killed and three others were injured in an incident in Savannah, Ga.

2. Ryan’s Hope (or “Ryan’s A Dope”)

The above is a weapon of mass destruction, alas.

Appearing on CBS This Morning today, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was asked pointedly about President Obama’s statement on Wednesday afternoon expressing frustration that the same people  we put on “No Fly” lists are legally able to purchase a gun.

Ryan steered as clear from that statement as possible (I imagine Charlie Rose saying, “Obama said tomorrow will be Thursday. Would you comment on that?” Ryan: “Well, all I know is that yesterday was Tuesday and I think that’s what’s really important”), summoning mental illness and radical jihadism as the real dangers.

Ryan (my emphasis on words): “If we think someone is planning a terrorist attack, we should arrest them. But [with respect to automatic weapons] let’s not go infringing on the rights of citizens.”

You do see the irony there, right? What a complete and absolute tool.

3. The Great White — and Syrian, As Long as They’re Married, Female or Gay — North

Pamela Anderson: Canadian. Then again, this is no inducement if single heterosexual males are not welcome.

Meanwhile across the border up North, Canada has agreed to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explicitly stated that single heterosexual men would not be welcome.

I happen to love this. It’s as if Canada said, “Let’s be real. We know who causes the problems. And we don’t care if it’s politically incorrect to say so.”

Meanwhile, the Toronto Globe and Mail reports that only 6.3% of Syrian refugees contacted in Jordan and Lebanon expressed interest in relocating to Canada. This is the problem with a society that has had no previous exposure to Tim Horton’s and poutine.

4. He Really IS That Good

You are looking at the No. 1 overall pick in next June’s NBA draft, LSU’s 6’10” freshman, Ben Simmons. The Melbourne, Australia, native has already had a 43-point game for the Tigers and is leading the NCAA in rebounds at 15 per game. His 43-point performance versus North Florida last night was old school, Pete Maravich-style, without making a single three from beyond the arc (the Pistol never AVERAGED below 43 points per game in any of his three varsity seasons, without benefit of a 3-point arc or a shot clock, which is simply ridiculous).

Providence’s Kris Dunn already has two triple doubles this season, but I think Simmons may be wearing purple and gold next year after wearing purple and yellow this one.

Also, as long as I have your attention with hoops, Stephen Curry scored 28 points last night…in the third quarter. Curry totaled 40 with his pops, Dell, seated courtside in Charlotte as the Hornets/Raes retired dad’s number. Dell is also a radio analyst for the team.

Oh, and yes, Kobe had a good night, scoring 31 on 10 of 24 shooting. We wanted to be fair

5. The Richt Stuff

The Mark Richt Has Lost Control of His Waist Line Tour did not last very long, as the former Georgia head coach –whom every media person likes, and with good reason — was gobbled up by his alma mater, The U. Richt, who backed up Jim Kelly at Miami as the Hurricanes approached the precipice of paradigm shifting college football in the in the early ’80’s, returns to an area that is drowning in apathy but also in recruitable talent.

Can Richt transport Athens’ college football culture to south Florida? Can he even revive the moribund Canes’ culture? Will Luther Campbell be cool with this? And what ever became of Sebastian the Ibis? Stay tuned…

Music 101

Perfect Circle

Once upon a time (in the early ’90’s), back when MTV was still relevant and cared about music, there was a little show called Unplugged. And it WAS awesome. We could do a whole week on Unplugged performances, and perhaps we will. One of the best editions of Unplugged was the REM show in 1991 (I think most people will say that nothing tops the Nirvana performance, and I’d agree). Anyway, here is Michael Stipe & Co. performing “Perfect Circle”, but you can stick around for “Belong” at 9:03. A classic performance.

Related: Mike Mills is as dependable and talented a wing man as anyone in rock history.

Remote Patrol

Kentucky at UCLA

ESPN 9 p.m.

Bryce Alford, a senior, is UCLA’s leading scorer, but was taken off scholarship this year. Dad needed it for someone else.

No two schools have cut down more nets than the Bruins (11) and Wildcats (8). The difference is that only one of these two has a realistic chance of doing so this year. You may recall — or, if you’re a Bruin fan, be trying to forget– when these two met last December in Chicago, the Fighting Caliparis led 41-7 at the half. Will it be any closer tonight at Totally Pauley Pavilion? Kentucky is 7-0 and No. 1 in the nation; UCLA is 4-3.

Buck up, Bruins: You are hosting the NCAA Water Polo Championships this weekend, defending your national title. I don’t think that will be televised, though.




Music 101

Remote Patrol


by John Walters

Happy 47th to the lovely Rena Sofer, who maybe made a guest appearance in every sitcom between 1995-2005.

Thought for the day: What qualifies as ‘adventure’ these days is blogging from a different coffee shop.

Starting Five

Paul and Dave on “Every Breaking Wave”

1.Angel of Midtown

It was a cold and wet December day, when Bono and the Edge came to play. Carnegie Hall. A completely untelevised event featuring the mononymous U2 pair, Hozier, Jessie J, Miley Cyrus, Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, Sting, Michonne from The Walking Dead, Bill Clinton and very funny Joe Biden.

My story at

2. Grizzly Madams

The love scene from The Revenant. “Take my paw, Rose.” (I realize that doesn’t even make sense, but I don’t care)

Comes word that Leo DiCaprio has a sex scene in his new film, The Revenant, with a bear. As one smart tweep noted, “That bear couldn’t have been older than 23.” Leo’s ursine co-star was last seen sunning itself on a yacht in the Mediterranean.

Updated: Leo NOT raped by bear.

Even More Updated: Leo and the bear free to see other mammals, wish each other the best, promise to remain friends.

Somewhere Timothy Treadwell is jealous…but of whom?

3.  ESPN Not Keen On Keenan

Some day Keenan Reynolds will be POTUS, and And Katz, Jr., will show up hoping to get his 16-team CFB playoff picks for December Dementia, ad Keenan will give HIM the Heisman…

What’s more bizarre than Leo being raped by a bear? How about ESPN, or Nissan, swabbing the decks of Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds in its Heisman fan poll because the senior NCAA record-setter was leading the race? Yes, they just Markinson’ed Navy’s best quarterback since Roger Staubach (who won the Heisman in 1963, by the way).

(For its next trick, ESPN will invade the GOP Gallup poll?).

Anyway, Navy Athletics was the one who called out the WWL, the latter of whom may forget who the actual WWL is: Uncle Sam. ESPN’s explanation to Deadspin as to why it pulled Reynolds, who was in the lead with 37% of the vote: He has to be on their “Experts Poll” in order to appear on their easy-to-vote board.

The real explanation: Army-Navy airs on CBS. ESPN is not going to pull its Heisman strings (it airs show) to promote players not appearing on its air. I’m sorry, but who scraps a leading candidate in a poll on a technicality….especially when he actually IS friends with the blacks?

You can vote for Reynolds, the NCAA’s all-time leader in rushing touchdowns with 82, here. Search for “American” under conference, “Navy” under team, and then Reynolds.

4. Kobe Desert (cont.)

Last night the LOLakers lost to previously 0-18 Philadelphia, 104-91. LOLakers have now lost to a 15-0 team (Golden State, helping them set a record for best start) and to an 0-18 team (helping them stave off a record for worst start) in the same fortnight. Kobe was 7 of 26 from the field.

The Lakers are happy to keep losing for a Top 3 pick.
Kobe is happy to collect $25 million for one last lap around the track.

Fans are happy to “honor” the ghost of an all-time great.

You are witnessing an NBA franchise lip-synch an entire season.

5. Give It Away Now

Yesterday Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg became a father for the first time. To celebrate the birth of daughter Max, Zuckerberg and his wife (Dr. Priscilla Chan) have pledged to give away 99% of his Facebook stock, at an estimated value of $45 billion.

Two thoughts: 1) The things you can afford to do when you marry a doctor and, 2) Can you think of a better way to troll the Winklevoss twins?

Good on you, Mark Zuckerberg. And if you ever need a hand out from Medium Happy, we are here for you –and we don’t even have a Facebook page.

Music 101

I‘m Like A Bird

Canadian/Portuguese canary Nelly Furtado also celebrates a birthday today, so here’s a nod to her breakout, Grammy-winning hit.

Remote Patrol

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

NBC 9 p.m.

If only people actually heeded the message of this holiday special, which provides lessons on materialism and how to deal with Syrian refugees alike. Oh, well. Far who for-aze to all.