by John Walters

A Medium Happy 46th to Roller Girl herself, Heather Graham.

Starting Five

JFK, Abe, Teddy, George and FDR watching Donald before heading out to see “Hamilton”

1. Iowa Cauircus

The leading Republican candidate in the room last night led with his version of Costanza’s “jerk store” bit and it landed with a thud: “Let me say: I’m a maniac. And everyone on this stage is stupid, fat, and ugly. And Ben, you’re a terrible surgeon.”

You watch the clowns on this stage and you think, this is for the presidency of the United States? This is like having Andrew Dice Clay host the Oscars. “Hillary dillary doc….OHHHHHH!”

320 damn million people in this country, and we can’t produce one genuinely estimable person to run for president. It may be time to return to an enlightened despot era. I sad, “Enlightened,’ Donald.

2. “My God”

Forgot, until yesterday afternoon, that it was the 30th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster. Two videos for you. The first is the network coverage on NBC, I believe. The shuttle breaks apart at just after the 2:00 mark. That’s above.

Below is….

…unedited footage of friends and family of the six astronauts and of the teacher on board, Christa McAuliffe, watching in horror as the explosion occurs. According to a detailed story that came out a year or so afterward, it is most likely that the crew not only survived the blast but were conscious for the 90 seconds or so before their capsule struck the water in the Atlantic Ocean.

3. The A-Team (for “Ammon”) Meets Reality

Never let a bunch of amateurs play cops and robbers against the real thing. Here’s fool footage of Ammon Bundy’s goons trying to outrace law enforcement on an Oregon highway. It does not end well for them. Go to the 9-minute mark if you want (before that it’s just a high speed chase, a stop, and then the vehicle takes off again in a mad dash, oblivious to the fact that a road block has been set up for them around a corner. As Bugs Bunny would say, “What a bunch of maroons.”

4. Bedeviled

Note: This is why swimming is my go-to exercise.

I mean, I get it, but why are you wasting Michael Phelps joining the Curtain of Distraction during an 18-point blowout of the Oregon State Woolly Mammoths, ASU?

5. Amazon’s Not Amazin’ (At Moment)

The new Wonder Woman has eschewed primary colors

In stock news, Amazon (AMZN), which a little more than a month ago was literally selling at 1,000 times P/E (by comparison, Apple, which is cheap, sells at 10 times P/E), announced its fourth quarter earnings after the bell yesterday afternoon.

The stock had opened at $583, then rose nearly 9%, or $52, to $635 in anticipation of favorable news. Instead, the company announced earnings of $1 per share against analysts’ expectations of $1.50 per share. That’s a HUUUUGE, Trumpian HUUUUUGE miss. So the stock got slammed in after hours trading, down $68 or more than 10%, to $568.

So now it’s selling closer to 900x earnings. Still wildly inflated, but I’d jump in today, especially if it falls below $550 in the first hour. I’ll definitely buy one share.

In other stock news, Xerox is splitting into two companies. Xerox has finally copied itself.

Music 101

The Love Boat

“Set a course for adventure/Your mind on a new romance/And love won’t hurt any more…”  It probably will. It always does. The only people who hurt you are the ones who tell you that they love you, but anyway, let vocalist Jack Jones and the lyrics of Paul Williams sail you away from reality for an hour, as they did on Saturday nights at 9 p.m. for a generation of us.

Remote Patrol


No. 1 Oklahoma at LSU

5 p.m. ESPN

Sixer (and Sun) mantras: “Yield for Hield” and “Slummin’ for Simmons”

A big promotion to whoever scheduled this non-conference game for the Super Bowl bye weekend. You’ve got the top-ranked Sooners (17-2), and possible POY Buddy Hield, in Baton Rouge to face other potential POY Ben Simmons and the Tigers (13-7). Both of these dudes are going in the Top 5 next June, and one of them may be No. 1. LSU desperately needs this game for its tourney resume, and remember (Dick) Friedman’s First Law of Athletics: There are no home upsets in college basketball. 


by John Walters

A Medium Hawkeye 80th to Alan Alda. Should we celebrate at Rosie’s or just don our finest bathrobes and head over to The Swamp?

Starting Five

Raonic is Canadian by way of Montenegro

1.”Another Game for Milos!!!”

This is Milos Raonic, who earlier today or later today (I just never know with the Aussie Open) did meet or will meet Any Murray in the semis of the Australian Open. I guess I should be informing you that Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer in four sets in the semis, but it’s just that I desperately want Milos to advance to the finals so that we can all relive this Seinfeld moment…

Too good.

Anyway, if you’re wondering, Federer owns 17 Grand Slam singles titles, most ever. Djokovic has 10, on his way to 11. Fed is 34 and Novak is 28. Fed only won one more Grand Slam singles title after his 28th birthday, primarily because of the presence of Djokovic. The difference here, at least right now, is that I don’t see any young Novak Djokovic killer on the horizon. Maybe one exists. We’ll see.

2. Super Bowl C Notes

An actual Week 1 Super Bowl 50 story that was more than a list. Incredible.

My good friend Adam Duerson, NFL editor at Sports Illustrated and chronically afflicted RAGBRAI participant, suggested to the facile-minded Steve Rushin that he “report” on Super Bowl 100. The result is the most entertaining sports story in some time, as Rushin imagines an NFL future with female kickers (Rae Gal), life coaches-in-headsets (O.G. Willikens), a wide receiver named Lynnswann Davis and a Spanish club, AFC Barcelona, with a quarterback named Jaoa Montana.

This is the marriage of a great idea (by Duerson) and a wonderfully imaginative writer (Rushin). Somewhere a Bleacher Report slide show on Premier League WAGs will draw 10 times as many page views, but this is the world we live in.

Steve (and I) will be 99 years old when Super Bowl 100 happens. I’m betting on us both being around to see it. But I’m kinda hoping we’ll both be around not to see it.

3. Friending Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg’s company reported 4th quarter earnings last night. It has a 52% increase in revenue and a 66% increase in advertising over 4th quarter from the year before. The stock jumped 12% to $106 after the opening bell this morning.

More people than ever are spending more time than ever on Facebook (meanwhile, also yesterday, CNBC aired a segment asking, “Is Twitter too difficult to use?”). In related news, the Doomsday Clock just moved one minute closer to midnight.

4. Semi-Tough

Wondering why there isn’t a Flying Irish One…..

In an effort to impress/seduce/sign five-star wide receiver Demetris Robertson of Savannah, Ga., Notre Dame pulled up to his Savannah, Ga., home in its equipment trailer this morning. Wake up the echoes? Woke up the neighbors.

The addition of Robertson would give Notre Dame a fuller house of wideouts, if not a Fuller house.

This is cool and all, and Robertson would be the highest-rated player the Irish would land, but for their sake I hope they drive this rig over to Ben Davis’s home in Gordo, Ala., before returning north to South Bend.

5. Pants, Porn, Perish

Was it good for you?

This is the vehicle of 58 year-old Clifford Ray Jones of Detroit, who is an early Darwin Award favorite after dying in a single-car accident at 3:30 a.m. over the weekend. Mr. Jones was watching porn while driving pantsless on Interstate 75, possibly operating a hands-free device, so to speak, when he lost control of his vehicle.

In a way, Jones is like the rest of us: he put on a porn flick and didn’t watch until the end.

Music 101

Good Times

So many Seventies sitcom theme songs for shows set in contemporary times that addressed the character’s (or characters’), um, situations in life: All In The Family, Mary Tyler Moore, The Jeffersons, Welcome Back, KotterLaverne & Shirley, Alice, Lotsa Luck, One Day At A Time and WKRP In Cincinnati all fit this model. But I’ve chosen a song from the first solely African-American sitcom I can remember that, unlike Sanford and Son, actually had lyrics. In an era when Motown and Philly Soul was flourishing, this uptempo tune was, dare I say it, Dy-No-Mite!

Remote Patrol

GOP Debate

9 p.m. Fox News Channel

If Kelly weren’t so damn annoying, Donald would probably ask her out.

It was Joan Rivers who turned “Can we talk?” into a catchphrase, but it is the rest of the GOP field who have been thinking that since Donald Trump first stepped to the podium last August. That’s when Megyn Kelly asked him about his misogynistic quotes, a question that so offended the Donald that, long story short, he has vowed not to appear in tonight’s Fox-sponsored debate. So in a sense, Kelly has already won tonight’s debate.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 37th to our favorite AWOL wife, Rosamund Pike. Shame on Ben for inciting Pike’s pique.

Starting Five

It was this kind of mismatch

1. (Blake) Griffin Done (For Now)

First of all, let’s agree that being the equipment manager for an NBA team is so much easier than being one for an NFL or MLB team. Football equipment managers are right below auto mechanics, or have you never had to use a screwdriver to adjust a helmet or shoulder pads on the fly?

Anyway, we still don’t know what the argument was about, but Korean vehicle pitchman/Clipper Blake Griffin is going to miss four to six weeks after fracturing the fourth metatarsal (“No, I never have metatarsal”) by punching Clipper assistant equipment manager Matias Testi in the face. It happened outside a restaurant in Toronto. Funny, no one is saying how long Testi will be out.

By the way, Griffin already was out with a partially torn quad. But the Clippers are in fourth place in the West, so no one’s been paying much attention to them. They’re actually the 4th-most interesting team in California this season.

2. The Admirable

Robinson’s platform? Make Notre Dame great again! “We don’t win any more…on the road against Top 10 opponents!”

Yesterday, the Notre Dame Observer reported that senior-to-be wide receiver Corey Robinson, son of David Robinson, The Admiral, is running for student body president. I assume he’s doing this in order to put it on his transcript so that he will be able to get accepted to a prestigious college.

A little bit? Oh yeah, more than a little bit.

Anyway, Corey has always come off as an erudite gridder. Talented musician, well-spoken, catches tough balls in the corner (remember the TD versus USC last October? Not easy). He even physically resembles the younger version of another president we know of.

Election day in South Bend is February 10. If elected, Robinson would become the first student body president in Notre Dame history to have caught a game-winning touchdown pass versus Florida State.

3. Mammoth Discovery

Does this mean the song “Tusk” really belongs to Oregon State and not USC?

Yesterday, in the most blatant display yet that God would like to see Oregon State change its mascot name from beavers, construction workers found bones from a woolly mammoth beneath the end zone of Reser Stadium in Corvallis.

The Oregon State Mammoths? I like it.

Bison and camel bones—yes, camel—were also excavated. The bones were believed to be 10,000 years old.

4. Tyler Sash: CTE

Sash, here at Iowa, won a Super Bowl with the Giants

Yesterday it was revealed that former Iowa Hawkeye and New York Giant Tyler Sash, who died last September 8 at the age of 27 of an accidental overdose of pain medications, had an unusually advanced stage of CTE in his brain at the time of his death.

Sash was cut by the Giants in 2013 after what was at least his fifth concussion. If you ever had the chance to watch Sash, a safety and punt returner, play, then you remember he was a cage rattler. Tyler Sash gave his life for football. Pure and simple.

5. Abe Vigoda

So I’m sitting here feeling old realizing that I’m nearly the same age Abe Vigoda was when he appeared as Sal Tessio in The Godfather. Vigoda, who most New Yorkers that have lived here awhile saw on the street at least once (he was as easy a find as Tony Bennett or Beth Ostrovsky), passed away at the age of 94 yesterday. “Tom, can you get me off the hook, for old time’s sake?” “Can’t do it, Sal.”

To those of us who grew up in the Seventies, Vigoda was also Detective Fish on Barney Miller (and later, Fish). But he may be just as famous for having outlived everyone’s expectations of his mortality, over and over and over again. When you think about it, he was only in his fifties when he appeared in those sitcoms.

It’s morbid, but we’re at the point where we may need to begin ranking January celebrity deaths: Bowie, Rickman, Frey, Haggerty, Vigoda. At least four of them will make the Oscars death montage next month.

Music 101

The Muppet Show

It’s the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational theme song ever written! Decades before “meta-” became part of our vernacular, The Muppets performed just such a song to open their show, one that included audience participation (“Why don’t you get things started?”)

Remote Patrol

Djokovic vs. Federer

ESPN 9 p.m.

May the best hair win….

Roger Federer, 34, and Novak Djokovic, 28, have each won 22 matches against the other in their careers. But Djokovic has won their last three Grand Slam matches and has clearly overtaken the Splendid Swiss, and everyone else, in tennis.

Tonight they meet in the Australian Open semis. Federer owns 17 Grand Slams, the most of anyone, and Djokovic 10. But the Serbian has won four of the past five Aussie Opens. And he still has at least five good years ahead of him.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 55th to No. 99. The Great One was once more than Paulina’s dad.

Starting Five

Serena has 21 Grand Slams singles titles. The aptly named Margaret Court, who was in the stands at Rod Laver Stadium yesterday/today, is the all-time leader with 24.

1. Survive ‘Er

That’s 18 in a row for Serena Williams over Maria Sharapova, who is either the second-best player of this generation or the best not named Williams. I’m not sure if the Sochi native is familiar with Pedro Martinez’s “The Yankees are my daddy” line. Serena advances to the semifinals in Melbourne.

Eliminated from the doubles competition….Now she’s just occupying Blank Space.

Meanwhile in Las Vegas, The Bachelor guy Ben had to choose between a pair of twins who are Taylor Swift doppelgängers. I’m sure at some point he approached the producers behind the scenes and asked, “Why can’t we just think of them as a matched set?” Eventually he chose Emily—or was it Haley?—or at least he told himself, “Who cares? I can’t tell them apart anyway.” I thought he should have had to been compelled to look whoever was getting dumped in the eye and say her name as he dumped her, but Ben took the coward’s way out (as we all do when we’re dumping one of the two twins we’re hooking  up with), placed them on a sofa, and just spat out one of their names (also, to be fair, I was hoping their Paula Dean mom was going to spring a third daughter on him, Hilga).

Anyway, I’m still waiting for Black and or Gay or Ex-Con Bachelor.

2. Amy, You Got Some ‘Splainin’ To Do

Remember last week’s “Amy Schumer Is a Joke Thief” story, which seemed to be walking the tightrope between controversy and nontroversy? Well, apparently there is some meat on that bone, after all, as a video came to public knowledge in which Inside Amy Schumer uses two of the identical gags in a skit that has an identical set-up: a magician gets a woman in the sack for the first time.

The above is from “Reasons Not To Date a Magician,” which aired in 2013. Now look at Schumer’s bit from her show, which aired a year later:

Granted, this is nearly two years old and we’re all just learning about it now. But we are learning about it. Now I’m just wondering who Amy stole Jennifer Lawrence from?

3. Happy Together

They lost in double overtime due to a Troy Daniels 3, but the Sacramento Kings were the story last night in NorCal. DeMarcus Cousins scored 56 points, most in the NBA this season, while Rajon Rondo dished out 20 assists, which tied his own mark for most assists in the NBA this season.

Two relatively dysfunctional players who have found one another and are flourishing. The Cleveland Cavs could learn something from this pair. If I were the Kings, I’d trade for Matt Barnes and either J.R. or Josh Smith (or both) and just go completely rogue.

“I can’t see me loving nobody but you/For all my life/When you’re with me, baby, the skies are all blue/For all my life…”

Oh, and the Dubs beat the Spurs by 30 in what was supposed to be a big game. Steph Curry scored 37 and was pure vintage Steph, who sat out the entire fourth quarter (Pop: “I’m just glad my general manager wasn’t in the locker room cuz it might’ve gotten me fired.”). He’s the most transcendent NBA player since MJ. Because he’s doing things no one else does. You can say he’s just improving on Pete Maravich’s act, and maybe you’re right, but that was 40 years ago. And, unlike, Pistol, his teammates and opponents like and respect him.

The Pistol. Watch and learn. This is for you, Joe Schmidt.

4. Kitten, Please

I love Key and Peele.

I love my kitty.

I love George Michael songs.

I love the 17th Street Blips.
I’ll be seeing Keanu. April 29.

5. Hey Now!

You are doing God’s work, Jerry. Keep it up.

That feeling you get when you realize it has been more than a week since you’ve checked the “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee” site and that there’s probably a new episode and comedian.

This week Jerry and his old friend, former University of Arizona electrical engineering student Garry Shandling, figuratively take a trip down memory lane in a Porsche 911. They visit the Comedy Store, where each got their start, and CBS Studios, where Seinfeld and The Larry Sanders Show taped at the same time in the early Nineties.

Two takeaways…


1. Great line by Shandling on how when people say, “He was in his sixties. He was too young….” that the only thing that can possibly follow is “to die.”
2. Jerry rightly praises Garry for being the progenitor of the sitcom style that was later used by The Office (both versions), Parks & Rec, Community, et al. He was there first for that, though many people forget it. Hey now!

Not For Nothing

Today, a new segment, which we are sure we’ll fail to follow through on (“Where In The World” would we get that idea?), in which we make a plea for something to change, kinda meaning it, but not wanting to ruffle anyone’s feathers too much…

“Not for nothing, but why wouldn’t the Washington Wizards revert to using these vintage Baltimore Bullets unis all the time? They’re SO MUCH better. I got you, Big E.”

Earl the Pearl thinks about whether it is wise to go up against Elvin Hayes. That other Knickerbocker in the background is John Gianelli. Don’t ask. Circa 1971 or ’72, I’m guessing.

Music 101

The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle

A three-hour tour, a three-hour tour.” In the Sixties the premises behind sitcoms were so whack (“A talking horse!” “A Martian roommate!” “A Genie who looks like Barbie!” “His mom is a car!”) that often theme songs were entirely devoted to exposition (“The next thing you know/Old Jed’s a millionaire/The kinfolk say, ‘Jed, move away from there!”) (<–By the way, I’m convinced that “The Beverly Hillbillies,” just like “Legally Blonde,” sprang up AFTER someone made the pun and not the other way around).

And hence, this ballad told us the story of how these seven castaways got lost. As opposed to the show Lost, whose theme song no one remembers and which never really explained why or how they got there, from what I hear. Anyway, series creator Sherwood Schwartz co-wrote the song along with George Wyle, and then they hired a folk group, The Wellingtons, to perform it.

Nobody gets the Professor’s odds in real life. Nobody.

In the second season of Gilligan’s Island, the Wellingtons appeared as a shipwrecked rock band named The Mosquitoes (remember, the Beatles were big at the time) and their names were Bingo, Bango, Bongo and Irving.

“Hey, where are their amplifiers and mics?”
“Stop asking so many questions, li’l buddy.”

I can’t recall if any, or all, of them hooked up with Ginger. And I still don’t know why Ginger went on that cruise solo. Did she think it was some sort of Minnesota Viking party boat?

Remote Patrol

Chicago Med/Chicago Fire

8 p.m. NBC

There’s no on in the cast of Chicago Fire named O’Leary. Another missed opportunity at NBC….

Chicago Med. Chicago Fire. Not to be confused with Chicago Hope. Or Chicago Sons. Honestly, what does Salt Lake City have to do to get a show named after it? Or Des Moines? Our friend and loyal reader GA suggested Chicago DMV, but don’t laugh. If someone at NBC reads this, they may just green light that. In the meantime, watch The Grinder on Fox at 9:30 p.m. It’s actually decent.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 38th to Princess Charlene of Monaco, who is already on top of the world. She looks more like her deceased mother-in-law than her own daughters

Before she was a princess, Charlene was an Olympic swimmer for South Africa who competed in Sydney…

Starting Five

The Flatiron Building, Saturday afternoon.

1. #EastCoastSoWhite

On Saturday New York City was pounded with 26.8 inches of snow. Officials say that is 1/10th of an inch shy of the record, but to be honest, I didn’t care for the spot.

This was Times Square…

And  yet on Sunday night New Yorkers were treated to this sunset…

2. Gronk

Sunday’s quick notes from Denver for the Pats: Gronkowski good, Gostkowski bad.

I’m Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, trailing by 8, and it’s a potential season-ending drive. Fourth-and-10 from midfield? Me find Gronk. Good.

Fourth-and-goal from the six? Me find Gronk.  Good. Touchdown, Gronk.

Now it’s 20-18. Need two. Roll out right. But nobody open. Great defense, Denver.  Tipped, intercepted. No look for Gronk. Bad.

Another AFC playoff, another 87: Gronk’s fourth down catch was redolent of Oakland’s “Ghost to the Post,” a 42-yarder in the 1977 AFC playoffs from Ken Stabler to my man, Dave Casper. Unbelievably, only one of those two men is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Weirdness: Gostkowski’s missed PAT in the first quarter was his first in 524 tries in his NFL career….Brady was New England’s leading rusher with 13 yards…this will be he 7th time a quarterback drafted by the Colts will be leading the Broncos to the Super Bowl (John Elway, 5; Peyton Manning, 2).

3. Trust Falls In Charlotte

After Luke Kuechly’s pick six late in Carolina’s destruction of Arizona, this fan fell quite swiftly out of the stands and landed hard on the turf. If only Carson Palmer (4 INTs) had thrown the poor man, some Panther would have intercepted him before he hit terra firma.

Panthers won, 49-15. But our TSA Super Bowl (“Pats Pants”) has been denied.

4. Take a Bow, Neil

MacDonald also has a thing or two to say about those new KFC ads, I gather.

Here’s CBC senior correspondent, a.k.a. Canadian journalist Neil MacDonald—Norm’s older brother by six years—wondering if American political discourse can stoop any lower. I think he’s talking about you, GOP. Perhaps it takes an outsider to write with such clarity, or maybe Canadians and/or MacDonalds are simply more intelligent, but what a concise and precise piece of surgery this is…

In her solipsistic return to the campaign trail last week, Sarah Palin blamed President Barack Obama for the fact that her military reservist son punched his girlfriend in the face, then drunkenly threatened to kill himself with an assault rifle before winding up under arrest, facing criminal charges.


The audience roared.

Followed by….

Forgotten by the fevered crowd was the supposedly bedrock conservative principle that people are responsible for their own actions, and that it’s time to stop blaming society.

5. Blatt’s Entertainment*

“Don’t worry, Dave, we have some lovely parting gifts for you. And here’s Susie B. to tell you what you’ve won…”

*The judges will also accept “Cold in Cleveland…”

Yes, the Cavs lost by 34 at home on Monday to Golden State, then four days later fired coach David Blatt. Never mind that Blatt went 17-4 in his final 21 games and that three of the final four losses were to either the Warriors or San Antonio Spurs.

The new coach is Tyronn Lue, who said that he wouldn’t be doing things “differently” but “better.”
We’ll see.

Worth noting: The Lakers once won an NBA championship under coach Paul Westhead, led by a 6’9″ force of nature named Magic Johnson,. Then it was Earvin who engineered Westhead’s dismissal early the next season. The Lakers would go on to win four rings under Pat Riley, a coach who, like Lue, was a former Laker reserve who’d won a ring with L.A. and who had never been a head coach before. So at least there is precedent.

The Cavs did lose their first game under Lue on Saturday night.

Just as a helpful note, Tyronn Lue is the former Laker guard now coaching an NBA Eastern Conference team that Matt Barnes does not want to kill.

Music 101

Eight Is Enough

It’s TV show theme song week, and we’ll be biased toward our own youth on this one. Here’s the theme from Eight Is Enough, which was actually sung by Grant Goodeve, who played oldest son David. This isn’t the original theme song—that was an instrumental.

If you’re not familiar with the show, it was a fantasy about a man who works at a newspaper but can still afford to raise eight children and own a nice home in the leafy suburbs to boot.

Remote Patrol

Spurs at Warriors

10:30 p.m. NBA TV 

Kawhi is an All-Star starter next month, and deservedly so.

Is there a Dire Straits tune that begins with Sting wailing, “I want my NBA TV?” Because I don’t have it, and this is the first time I’ve wanted it. The Dubs (40-4) host the Spurs (38-6) in their first of four scheduled meetings this season. Here are the NBA’s two best, and not coincidentally, least dysfunctional teams in the NBA. Should be fun. SAS is well-rested after two days off in sunny California. No excuses for the old guys, but Tim Duncan will sit out anyway (“DNP-Old”).


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 51st to Diane Lane from Darry, Soda Pop and Pony Boy.

Starting Five

This is not, I believe, Doppler radar

1. The Jonas Blizzard

It’s going to snow this weekend. Like, a lot. The good news is, if you wet your pants, you can turn it into art.

The producers of The Leftovers are kicking themselves for not having thought of this.

2. The Black List

Rubio is Top 5 in both Steals and Assists, but he’s shooting 35% from the field. If he ever wants to be an All-Star….

Ten NBA All-Star Game starters, all of whom are African-American. I’m going to boy—what’s that you say? The highest-scoring white guy in the league is Gordon Hayward of the Jazz, who’s 23rd in scoring? Or that Ricky Rubio is the only white dude in the Top 5 in Steals, Assists or Rebounds, but that he has the WORST shooting percentage of any starter in the NBA not named Kobe Bryant?
Never mind. Then again, Kobe is starting.

We live in an age where Russell Westbrook isn’t even considered to be the NBA’s best player. What a time to be alive!

West: Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant.

East: Kyle Lowry, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony.

3.  ISIS Head Count

News out of the caliphate is that some salaries of ISIS fighters have been, um, slashed by 50%. So Jimmy Kimmel had an idea for those jihadists who are concerned about their fiscal futures: ISISTT Tech.

4. Thunder Dan’s Return

Thunder Dan, Jeff Hornacek and Bobby Hurley are all head coaches in the Valley of the Sun these days.

In the early Nineties, my colleagues at SI accused me of having a huge man crush on Thunder Dan Majerle of the Phoenix Suns (where I grew up). True. But, man, was he fun to watch in his first five seasons, before he became strictly a three-point shooter.

The hoops arena is quite, well, cavernous….

Thunder Dan has had quite the successful run in Phoenix, His sports bar/restaurants, Majerle’s, are franchised. And now he is the head coach of for-profit university Grand Canyon. The Antelopes are 17-2 in the weakest of D-I conferences, the WAC, but they’re not eligible for the Big Dance until 2018, I’m told.

Something wild: GCU is also a publicly traded company. You can actually own stock in the school. Something else wild: GCU is located in Phoenix, a mere 225 miles from the actual Grand Canyon.

5. Bill Johnson, Legend, Dead at 55

Johnson is reportedly dead at 55. That’s too soon.

You may not remember him, but in 1984 Bill Johnson brashly predicted that he’d win gold in the men’s downhill in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia (only 31 years ago, and it’s a country that no longer exists), even though no American male had ever won a gold in an Alpine event at the Olympics.

Edwards as Johnson in “Going for the Gold.” Shortly before his role as Goose in Top Gun. It’s always about the goggles.

Johnson, a former juvenile delinquent who’d been given a choice by a judge while in his teens of ski school or jail, fulfilled his bold pledge. His life is a movie (in fact, they made one, starring Anthony Edwards, in 1985), what with the rough upbringing, the Olympic gold, and then the downward spiral that included his teenaged son drowning in a hot tub, bankruptcy, divorce, and a failed comeback that led to a massive brain injury.

Johnson, who had suffered a series of massive strokes and was living in an assisted-living facility in Oregon, is dead at 55.

Music 101

Do Ya

Mid-Seventies rock-and-roll AND a laser beam show!!! It’s ELO hosting The Midnight Special (for the millionth time: we were so spoiled in the Seventies and we didn’t even realize it) in 1976. Jeff Lynne had initially recorded the song five years earlier with his previous band, The Move (charted at 93), but reprised it with ELO and it reached No. 24. A solid turn-it-up tune.

Remote Patrol

New England at Denver

3:05 p.m. CBS

“For the last time, Gisele does not have a sister.”

Those of us of a certain age recall fondly those late Seventies Orange Crush Broncos, the voice of Curt Gowdy on NBC, and some thrilling playoff contests from Mile High Stadium. This one should be pretty good, too, no? Arguably the top two quarterbacks in NFL history meeting for the final time, at least this late in the season. Worth noting: Eli Manning has the same number of postseason wins versus Tom Brady as his big brother, Peyton.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 60th to Geena Davis, who was a decent backstop for the Rockford Peaches.

Starting Five

Drummond missed an NBA-record 23 free throws last night. Detroit still won, however, 123-114.

1. Andre .385*

*The judges would not consider Drummond an outcast, however.

Last night the Houston Rockets intentionally fouled Detroit center Andre Drummond 12 consecutive times to open the 3rd quarter. He was intentionally fouled 21 times total, and shot 13 for 36 from the line.

His 23 misses broke Wilt Chamberlain‘s record by 1. Any time you break a record held by the Big Dipper, that’s pretty, well, whoa.

Fans should actually thank the Rockets. They may force commish Adam Silver’s hand here in order to change the rule. Sure, it would be nice if Drummond, who missed more FTs last night than Stephen Curry has missed all season, would practice his foul shots more. But, you know, he leads the league in rebounding (15.4 per). He probably knows his job is safe whether or not he makes them.

2. Sheiks and Shale

“Well, the first thing you know old Jeb’s a millionaire…”

Yesterday I endeavored to learn why oil is so cheap (gas is now less than $2 per gallon) and why it seems to be hurting the economy. As a child of the Seventies, it was drilled into me that the world was running out of oil and we’d be waiting in lines so long you might as well be trying to buy tickets to Springsteen’s final show. Also, I was taught that high oil prices harm the economy.

Finally, I was taught to try and grow up to be a dad just like the one Bill Cosby is on TV. It was a confusing time.

Anyway, the simplest way I can figure it, with the help of an article or two, is this: we, alas, have stability in the Middle East (thanks, Obama) while domestically are also producing a lot of oil. The sheiks have decided to go the Walmart path: make oil so cheap that it drives their competitors out of business; then, when they have a monopoly, or close to it, they’ll raise prices via unnatural shortages again.

3. Sue Falls!

Kate Walsh is Sue Falls

Bored of the current television programming? I had some midseason replacement ideas in Newsweek, including CSI: Manitowoc County, America’s Next GOP Model, and Sue Falls, which is a dramedy based on a personal injury lawyer based in South Dakota. Starring the age-appropriately lovely Kate Walsh.

4. Flint-y

Flint native Michael Moore calls Flint’s water pollution “racial genocide.” Oh, this is going to get worse. And there may be an Oscar for someone in it eventually.

Water in Flint, Michigan? Not good.

Buffalo Bills? Hired a female coach.

Oscars? Hate black people.

Darius Fleming? Not Manti T’eo.

Stacey Dash? (See: Oscars)


5. 73-9? Within Reach

The Dubs could Ezeli win 73 games.

Now 43 games into their season, the Dubs are 39-4. They just beat two of the three top teams in the Eastern Conference, the Cavs and the Bulls, on their home courts, by 34 and 31 points, respectively.

Sure, they have yet to play any of their three games of the year versus San Antonio, but they’re probably getting a break there, too. Why? Because 2 of those 3 games will be in the final week of the season, when playoff positions will likely be firmly entrenched. If the Dubs are still shooting to beat Chicago’s 72-10 mark from 1996, they may be going for it. Whereas Gregg Popovich may be shutting his team down, resting his starters. Though, as we’ve seen, Pop has a strong second unit as well.

Stay tuned. The Dubs had lost two of three, but it feels as if these last two games reminded them of what is possible if they remain focused. Why not go for it? Immortality doesn’t come around every day.

Music 101

Baby, Let Me Follow You Down

Bob Dylan, live at the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1966 is a landmark show in rock history (it’s where the Hibbing native first publicly plugged in). This song is delightfully messy, and that’s The Band backing him.

Remote Patrol


11:15 p.m. BBC America

This lady is off her rocker (a reminder, by the way, that Hitchcock never won a Best Director Oscar)

There’s a terrific scene in the 2012 film Hitchcock (starring Anthony Hopkins) in which he stands out in the lobby during the premiere of this 1960 film, waiting to listen to the gasps and screams that he hopes will come during the shower scene. As the 2012 film attests, Psycho was a huge risk fro the director, a last gasp as commercial success in an industry that thought his time had passed. Well, I guess he and Anthony Perkins and mother (and, Janet Leigh, who is not the actual actress being stabbed; they used a stand-in) showed them.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 60th to Bill Maher, who is desperately seeking a POTUS to appear on his show (I mean, he even appeared on Seinfeld’s web series)

Starting Five

1. Marvin’s Room

Last year, as a freshman, 6’10” Marvin Bagley III of Tempe Corona del Sol High School was probably one of the top five NBA-potential prep players in America. Since leading the Aztecs to a 34-1 record and their fourth consecutive Arizona state championship, Bagley has dropped out of Corona to attend a “high school,” Hillcrest Academy, that did not exist a year ago; seen his coach, Sam Duane (the most successful prep coach in Arizona the past two decades), “retire” before his 50th birthday, transferred to a school in southern California, Sierra Canyon, which was the lone school that beat Corona del Sol last year, and now been declared ineligible to play in California.

It’s like, Can Bagley, now 6’11” just move to Lexington, Ky., now and acclimate to the local customs, weather and food? And can you say, “Daddy’s a little TOO involved?”

2. A Crowe Soars with the Eagles

Peaceful, Easy Feeling. Henley on the far left, Frey, in jorts (we all wore them) on the far right, and 3 guys in the middle who would leave or be fired, including Don Felder and Randy Meisner.

We always knew that William Miller was Cameron Crowe, but I never knew that Stillwater was the Eagles (for the most part). Here Crowe shares his story of how he tracked down the band, who would go on to be much more than Almost Famous, at a show in San Diego when he was in high school, and how Don Henley and Glenn Frey (the Jason Lee and Billy Crudup characters?) befriended him. It is…incendiary.

3. Missing Marines

Marines walk the beach searching for signs of their fellow soldiers

Two helicopters, each carrying six U.S. Marines, departed from Oahu the other night for a night maneuvers session. The helicopters and the 12 Marines never returned. Inflatable rafts from both helicopters have been found, but with no signs of people having used them. Two helicopters missing usually equates to accidental collision.

4. But Is He, Though?

As someone put it so poetically on Twitter yesterday, “Politician turned reality TV star endorses reality star turned politician.”

Does it mean anything, other than Donald owns the news cycle for another day? To me, this is a little like Gladiator. Trump is currently in the midst of a melee-style fight to the death, but if he can survive it he earns a one-on-one with Caesar (or Caesara).

This next battle is gonna be HUUUUUUGE!

Mock him, laugh at him, denigrate him. He doesn’t care. He’ll do anything to put MarcoTed RubioCruz behind him. Once he’s done that, he’ll tone it down and focus on either Bernie or Hillary with laser-focus. Let me know how it all turns out. I’ll be living in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

5. Kelsey Times Three

Hoping that Plum wants to earn a doctorate and teach at the university level (I’ll wait for you to catch up)

The leading scorer in women’s college basketball is just above this sentence: Kelsey Plum of the University of Washington, who averages 27.3 points per game for the Huskies (14-4).

But the second-leading scorer in the country is Kelsey Mitchell of Ohio State, who averages 25.3 points per game for the Buckeyes (13-4).

And the seventh-leading scorer in Division I is Kelsey Minato of Army (14-2), who averages 23.3 points per game.

“I do not see tossed salad and scrambled eggs on the menu.”

Were all their parents fans of Frasier Crane? And does Plum spend her down time in Seattle seeking out the Cafe Nervosa?

Music 101

Dream Weaver

This 1976 tune by Gary Wright was also all over AM radio (like yesterday’s tune) in the mid-1970s. It’s considered the first synth-pop hit and it reached No. 2 on the Billboard chart. I never really needed to listen to it again, but part of the goal here is to educate, not just to entertain. I’m not your trained chimp! You’re welcome. Harrumph!

The song was inspired by a prayer from a yogi that passed from that yogi to George Harrison,who passed it on to Wright.

Remote Patrol

The Apartment

TCM 10:15 p.m.

“Love on an elevator….”

Winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director (Billy Wilder), this 1960 dramedy has to be on your list of films to see if you aspire to being a film snob (like Chris Corbellini and Mark Beech and myself). Anyway, it stars Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray and is basically every episode of Mad Men, but like 47 years before Matt Weiner’s show premiered.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 70th to Dolly Parton. It’s not often that you see the word “medium” in the same sentence with the founder of Dollywood.

Starting Five

Frey (rapping the Irish) with manager Irving Azoff and Dan Fogelberg

1. Already Gone*

Of course the judges will also accept “Heartache Tonight.”

Glenn Frey, one of the two co-CEOs of the Eagles, dead at 67. Like Bowie, he died in New York City. Watch the terrific doc History of the Eagles if you have not already. Frey seemed like a guy with enough talent and more than enough charm and ambition to get where he wanted to go. Also, he and his co-conspirator Don Henley were ruthless leaders of that band. They were musicians, but also they were bosses.

Favorite Eagles tune sung by Frey? “Lyin’ Eyes.” Also, lots of people wonder if “Hotel California” is a metaphor for death: “I was thinking to myself this could be heaven or this could be hell“….”we are all prisoners here of our own device“…and “you can check out any time you like/but you can never leave.”

The Eagles were to ’70s California music what the Beach Boys were to ’60s California music. They owned it and they were its soundtrack. Their album, Eagles: Greatest Hits, 1971-1975, remains the 6th best-selling album of all time. Frey wrote the lyrics to some of the best-known songs in soft-rock history, such as: “Standing in a corner in Winslow, Arizona/Such a fine sight to see/It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford/Slowing down to take a look at me…”

And here, from that song, is your ethos for today, from another rocker gone too soon in 2016: “We may lose and we may win/But we will never be here again…”

Obits from the New York Times and also from Rolling Stone.

2. Susie B. Anguish-y

On this night, they were the Cadaver-liers

Quicken Loans Arena was the site of a massive non-Monday Night Raw beatdown last night, as the Warriors humiliated the Fighting Sweet Peas, 132-98. Stephen Curry scored 35 in only 28 minutes and sat out the fourth quarter. At one point the Dubs led by 43. It was as “Smells Like Champagne Supernova.”

3. Raucous With The Caucus

Hilton Honors: Georges Niang had 27 in the Cyclones’ win….

The better game last night, as MH’s (on) crack research TV staff predicted, happened in Ames, Iowa. The Iowa State Cyclones took down Buddy Hield and No. 1, Oklahoma, 82-77. It was the first time the Ames Higher boys had beaten a No. 1 since 1957, when they knocked off Wilt Chamberlain and the Kansas Jayhawks.

It was the third time already that someone entered the state of Iowa ranked No. 1 in the polls and lost (North Carolina at Northern Iowa, Michigan State at Iowa). That is HUUUUUUUUUGE, say the other GOP hopefuls.

4. Jessica Chastain and a Rotary Phone

This is Jessica Chastain in British GQ. She’s in The Martian. You shouldn’t wear high heels to bed.

5. Southern Men

Ebony and…


This bout has been simmering on Twitter for some time. In this corner, Bomani “The Right Time” Jones. And in that corner, Clay “Outclick the Coverage” Travis. If you follow both—and have been blocked by neither—you could see this coming ever since the faux University of Missouri racism crisis.

Anyway, beautiful that it all came to a head on MLK Day, as they finally confronted one another, at least on Twitter, directly.

El Flaco (Bo): “Welp” @ClayTravis (includes copies of hate mail sent to MLK)

Clay: “Good point. Things are the exact same now as then. Appreciate your obsession with me though.”

El Flaco: “do you, but it’s hard to call yourself moderate and parrot the anonymous antagonists of mlk. but, do you.”

Clay: “Trigger warning: Have an opinion that isn’t totally PC bro just once in your life.”

El Flaco: “you think you’re rocking the boat. that’s cool.”

Clay: “Hey, we can’t all change the world by being sidekick stooges on inane shows. But you do you, bro.”

El Flaco: “LOL.”

To Bomani’s credit, this exchange is only available on his timeline. Clay appears to have deleted it from his. I hope some smart executive at FOX—Is there a smart executive at FOX—puts these two together for the ultimate Odd Couple broadcast, “No, YOUR The Racist!” (yes, intended)

Music 101

Here You Come Again

This is the song that, in late 1977, introduced Dolly Parton to the world outside Nashville. An absolute monster hit on AM radio, the song rose to No. 3 on the Billboard charts and won Parton a Grammy for best Female Vocal Performance. It’s no “Jolene,” but even the country die-hards have to admit Dolly nails this pop jewel.

Remote Patrol

Australian Open

9 p.m.-3 a.m. ESPN2

$200K to fix a match?!? Surely, you must be Djokovic-ing

Are you like me? It’s not even about the tennis. It’s about sitting inside, when it’s very dark and below 20 degrees outside, and feasting your eyes on that magnificently brilliant sun in Melbourne. And then realizing only a week ago Chris Fowler was doing play-by-play for the NCG and now he’s down there (no one has a better life than Chris, and occasionally, he actually sounds as if it is not his birth right). Anyway….Venus lost yesterday…or today…or whatever time it is in Australia.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 61st to Kevin Costner (here, in his best role, from Fandango). Here’s to the privileges of youth (even if you’re not so young any more)!

Starting Five

The pride of Saginaw Valley State University…

1. Janis Fund

We know that the Cardinals won and that Larry Fitzergald, who caught two passes for 80 and all of Arizona’s yards in overtime, was heroic. But how about second-year pro Jeff Janis of the Packers? He basically retrieved two Hail Marys on the same drive, the first one a 4th-and-20 from the 4-yard line 60-yard reception.

Janis was selected in the 7th round, 236th overall, of the NFL draft, in 2014. He had 101 receiving yards on Green Bay’s final drive alone, or six more than in the entirety of his first two NFL seasons leading up to Saturday night. The 24 year-old had two touchdown catches on Saturday. His salary this season? $510,000.

Oh, and how about that throw by Aaron Rodgers on the game-tying touchdown? Fading to his left, about to be hit, and he still uncorked a 55-plus yarder.

2. Batman V Superman:  Brady V Manning

Not sure if the AFC Championship Game between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots will be epic—or if it will even live up to the standards set by the teams’ meeting in the Mile High City earlier this season—but it will likely be the final time Tom Brady, 38, and Peyton Manning, 39, meet in the postseason.

Brady: 4 Super Bowl rings.  Manning: 1 Super Bowl ring.

Manning: 5 NFL MVP awards (most). Brady: 2.

Manning: No. 1 all-time in career passing yards (71,940). Brady is 5th.

Manning: No. 1 all-time in career passing TDs (539). Brady is 3rd.

Manning: No. 1 all-time in game-winning drives (56). Brady is 3rd.

Manning: No. 1 all-time in comebacks (45). Brady is 2nd.

As I arrived at the end of this item, I learned that “Brady-Manning Rivalry” has its own Wikipedia page. Things it would have been nice to know TEN MINUTES AGO!

3. Sheep Labor

The Bighorns have an imposing front line….

Last week someone in the media (holds up two thumbs, points them at his clavicle) proposed that instead of returning to Los Angeles, the Rams should move somewhere that rams actually exist: such as Montana.

The Billings Bighorns! You could even have a cheering section for the hooligans and call it the “Butt Heads.” Oh well, another great idea to which no one will listen.

4. Cougar Town

On the prowl for a younger panther, surely….

Yes, this is an authentic photo, not staged. It was taken not long ago and yes that is the Hollywood sign in the background. Mountain lions, a.k.a. cougars live in southern California, and you probably already knew that, but you may not have known that a few live in the Hollywood Hills and Santa Monica mountains.

Great segment all about this on 60 Minutes last night. Also, they are proposing a wildlife overpass on the 405 so that wild animals, such as the mountain lion, can migrate. This is the best idea I’ve read in a long time, and far more worthy than throwing money at Stan Kroenke for a stadium. We need to make this happen.

5. Dream a Little Dream

On the occasion of Martin Luther King Day, here’s an excerpt from his famous speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963—less than three months before JFK was assassinated—in front of an estimated 250,000 people. Dr. King was just 34 years old when he gave this historic speech. “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, we are free at last.” Give it 17 minutes of your day.

Music 101

High Enough

This song from hair metal supergroup Damn Yankees is probably cranking in Joe Dirt’s Gremlin right now as you read this. The DY consisted of Tommy Shaw from Styx, Jack Blades from Night Ranger, asshole Ted Nugent and some drummer. This tune hit No. 3.

Remote Patrol

Warriors at Cavs

TNT 8 p.m.

Kevin Love is quietly averaging just under 20 ppg and 11 rpg for Cleveland.

Honestly, the atmosphere for No. 1 Oklahoma at No. 19 Iowa State in Ames (High!) tonight will be better than this. But you do have the Warriors (37-4), who have lost 2 of their past 3, visiting Cleveland (28-10). The leaders of their respective conferences, with Stephen Curry versus LeBron James. Note: As well as Golden State has played, if they lose tonight, they’re just one game ahead of San Antonio.