IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

A Medium Happy 45th to Regina King, whose name translates to “Queen King,” or is it “Queen Rex?” Anyway….

Starting Five

This guy actually made more sense than most last night.

1. Catch-22 Caliber Rifle

This exchange from last night’s GOP debate, which I believe was the 17th of the past 6 months. I’ve lost count.

Co-moderator Neil Cavuto: “You say that President Obama wants to restrict gun ownership. What does it say that gun sales have more than doubled during his presidency?”

Marco “I’m Not Going To Work Today, Again” Rubio: “It tells me that Americans are scared that he’s trying to take away their guns.”

That’s an exchange worthy of Joseph Heller. When is Milo Minderbinder entering the race, anyway?

I’m for any debate that affords us more crowd shots of Ivanka. If dad wins the GOP nomination, I hope she’s his VP (“Very Pretty”) choice.

Meanwhile, Gov. Chris Christie, who once closed down the busiest bridge in the U.S.A. in a snit with a town, called President Obama a “petulant child.” And Jeb! Bush, whose brother is George Bush, actually said that America’s vulnerability to terrorism has increased “dramatically” under Obama. He said that. Only in America, folks.

Paging Mike Bloomberg. Mike Bloomberg to the Iowa Caucus, please. You’re wanted in Iowa.

2. Home Boys

Barkley called Kawhi Leonard the best basketball player in the world last night. I’m not sure about that, but he is leading the NBA in 3-pt %, which is mildly surprising, no?

San Antonio beats Cleveland, 99-95, while Golden State beats Los Angeles (“They like the black girl on The Bachelor: they ain’t got no chance”Charles Barkley), 116-98. That puts the Spurs, Cavs and Warriors at a combined 57-1 at home this season. The Spurs are 23-0, the Warriors 19-0 and the Cavs 15-1. Cleveland’s lone loss at Quicken Loans was 97-95 to Washington.

And yes, we’re halfway through the NBA season and San Antonio and Golden State have yet to play one another.

3. Chasing Pavements

Jimmy Kimmel has “Mean Tweets.”
Seth Meyers has the “Deskalogue.”

And James Korden has “Carpool Karaoke.” This is his best version yet, as the Brit drives around London with Adele. As wonderful as her voice is, the personality is better. Does anyone have a better cackle? This is world-class cackling. Plus, she not only sings her tunes, but also mixes in some Spice Girls and Nicki Minaj.

My favorite part is when Adele tells the story of how she shows up at a restaurant solo—her friend got the time wrong and was an hour late—downs two glasses of wine, and then approaches a family at a table, asking, “Did you call my name earlier?” Classic Adele.

You know when those interwebbers type, “This is the best thing you’ll see all day?” This is.

4. The Butler Did It!

Impressive: Chicago’s Jimmy Butler scores 53 points in an overtime defeat of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Unimpressive: The last 6 words of the previous sentence.

Still, Butler’s 53 did tie Stephen Curry for the most points anyone has scored in a game this season, and they were the most any Bull had scored since Michael Jordan did so in1996. So, good.

5. Leftovers (from the week)*

Garrett McNamara, moments before his face plant.

*Put these in the oven at 350 degrees for half an hour. And heat up the gravy in the microwave.

Items we meant to touch upon, but somehow missed.

–The surfer dude, Garrett McNamara, who ate it on a 50-foot wave at Mavericks. Surfers are unlike any other athletes. I mean, even football players don’t go into every play wondering whether or not they’ll die. Surfers not only do, but it seems not to phase them. They love surfing that much.

–My pal Jason McIntyre’s NFL Mock Draft on The Big Lead. Full disclosure: I certainly do not watch enough football, and most certainly do not care enough about NFL team needs, to ever even come close to being able to do a decent NFL Mock draft. At best I identify a couple of players, especially those I believe are somewhat under the radar, and tout them. I’m all about the touting (a few years ago I said Draymond Green was a Top 20 NBA pick and JM told me I was nutso, for example).

Hackenberg, in a familiar position in Beaver Stadium

Anyway, he does a stellar job here, until he gets to No. 22, when he places his QB man-crush, Christian Hackenberg of Penn State, going to the Houston Texans. Okay, it’s not insane since Texans coach Bill O’Brien was Hackenberg’s first coach for the Nittany Lions, but he’s the only mock drafter I’ve seen who has Hackenberg in the first round. But what really gets me is when Jason writes, “He might be the most-talked about player in the draft.” Yeah. By you.

–Finally, Clay Travis (he’s a lawyer, you know; did you know that?). Travis writes an excellent round-up of Making A Murderer Nos. 1-9, and then on No. 10 he warns us, “now I’ve got some humor for you.”

Clay writes, ” Is it wrong of me to also assume that Barb must be incredible in bed? About halfway through the documentary every time she came on screen all I could think was, “I bet Barb fucks like a damn rockstar.”

Clay’s desperation to ape Bill Simmons is the part of his act I just can’t take. The thing about Simmons is, 1) He is funny and 2) He’s consistent. Clay spends 9 points of his article doing his lawyer schtick and then breaks out bad Tracy Morgan humor on No. 10. And so it’s not about being funny; it’s about narcissism. I know. Clay considers that a compliment.

Music 101

Doll Parts

Finally watched Montage of Heck the other night (thanks for the pirated HBO Now, AJ). I’m only a couple of months older than Kurt Cobain, so I remember his rise and fall vividly. When Nevermind first exploded…what a time to be alive. Anyway, Courtney Love may have been whatever the opposite of a muse is for him, but as the front woman for Hole, she was a damned good musician herself. “I want to be the girl with the most cake” remains one of the all-time best lyrics in rock. This is the kind of song that she could walk into the home she shared with Kurt and put on the radio and say, “I ain’t so bad myself, Mister.”

Remote Patrol

Mad Max: Fury Road

HBO Now

Hose? The Real Housewives of Post-Apocalyptic Earth

It’s a Friday night in January. Stay in and watch an Oscar nominee for Best Picture on your HBO Now app. I finally saw it this week. No one told me that it was basically the Dakar Rally meets an SI Swimsuit Issue photo shoot. That’s Charlize Theron as swimsuit issue coordinator Julie Campbell, protecting the nymphs from the evil clutches of handsy middle-aged photographers. Well done, George Miller.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

A Medium Happy 75th to the smoking hot Faye Dunaway, who had the Hollywood market cornered on fabulous babe roles for a awhile: Bonnie & Clyde, The Thomas Crown Affair, Chinatown, Three Days of the Condor, Network. It was quite a run.

Starting Five

Almost 20 hours without Apple TV. Positively inhumane!

“America Held Hostage, Day–What? Already!?! Never Mind”

Once upon a time, when Ben Affleck was just a lad, a group of Americans were taken hostage in Iran, and a star (Ted Koppel) and a television show (Nightline) were born in order to cover it. I believe the hostage crisis lasted 444 days.

Earlier this week 10 U.S. sailors went Rob Konrad in the Persian Gulf and were taken prison by the Iranian military. Then they were released the following morning, as if Iran has a noon checkout. Oh, well.

Iran Hostage Crisis, 1979: “This is the worst game of piñata I’ve ever played.”

2. Chino CasinoSlacker

There was one Powerball winner and he or she or it or they purchased it in Chino Hills, California. UPDATE: Apparently, there were three Powerball winners, and one was from Chino Hills. Oh, well.

Chino Hills, located in southeastern San Bernadino County, directly east of L.A. County yet, is ranked No. 6 in terms of per capita income for towns its size (65,000-200,000). That ranking is about to go up.

This was good: The winning lottery ticket from the Manitowoc County Sheriff’s Department

3. Stars 69

By Grabthar’s hammer, you shall be avenged, Alan.

A second 69 year-old Brit passes away this week, as beloved actor Alan Rickman dies. You may know him better for Die Hard or the Harry Potter films, but I’ll always love him for Galaxy Quest.

4. Best Actor?

Steven Avery’s ex appeared on Nancy Grace last night and called him a “monster.” So, there’s that….

The Oscar nominations were just released. I’ll Bold what I’d like to see win:

Best Picture: The Big Short, Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, Room, Revenant, Spotlight.

Best Actor: Bryan Cranston, Matt Damon, Leo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender, Eddie Redmayne

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Brie Larson, Jennifer Lawrence, Charlotte Rampling, Saiorse Ronan. (If you get what I mean).

5. What’s Up, Doc*

The judges will also accept “Hello, Newman!” or “Do You Make Blouse Calls” or “Thank God He Didn’t Do In-Patient Care” or “Not The Shot I Requested”

A 22-year old woman in Manhattan visits the ER at Mount Sinai hospital on Monday night complaining of pain in her right shoulder. She gets one shot of morphine. Then the attending physician, Dr. David Newman, 45,  gives her a second shot of morphine when it is just the two of them alone in the room. According to the woman, he fondled both of her breasts (do we ever use the verb “fondle” in any other way?) and then, after turning his back to her and allegedly masturbating, turned back and ejaculated on her face.

If this is what Obamacare has wrought, I’m beginning to see their point….

Music 101

Time To Pretend

As in, “time to pretend I know anything about modern music since the White Stripes hung up their brother-sister act.” Anyway, I’m not too caught up on the kid’s tunes these days years, but occasionally a tune has such an infectious hook that even I pick up on it. And, with the news that the L Train may be closing down for a year (Note to self: Open ferry service from Williamsburg to Manhattan), I wanted to send a tune out that the hipsters adore, in sympathy. The song was ranked No. 493 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs” list, a list that has zero credibility since not a single Journey song is on it.

Remote Patrol

Cavs at Spurs, 8 p.m.

Lakers at Warriors, 10 p.m.

Kyrie Irving scored 57 in last March’s OT win at San Antonio

Cavs at Spurs was the best regular-season game in the NBA last season. Kobe makes his final appearance at Oracle in the nightcap, as the Warriors, who lost their third game of the season last night by 2 at Denver, look to move to 37-3. These are the three best teams in the NBA, and there’s a gap between them and the rest of the league.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Julia Louis-Dreyfus is 55?!? Get OUT!

Starting Five

“It’s not even close! It’s not even close!” Obama explains why Christian McCaffrey should’ve won the Heisman.

POTUS Operandi

Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States, delivers his final State of the Union address. Props to the camera guy and producer who, when Obama delivered a line about extremist views,  focused directly on Kim Davis. 

As Matt Goldich tweeted, an Oregon militia member swipes right.

2. Billions*

The Powerball lottery is going to be at least $1.5 billion by the time the numbers are selected tonight. The bad, or if you want to look at it another way, good news is that even if you win you won’t be one of the 400 wealthiest people in America. But you probably won’t feel so conflicted by having both HBO and Showtime.*

*See what we did there? Billions premieres on Showtime this Sunday. MH expects a healthy residual payment for this.

3. House of David (Bowie)

In 1992 David Bowie was one of the performers who appeared at a tribute to Freddie Mercury at Wembley Stadium in London. Wearing a lime suit, he performed Under Pressure, naturally, with Annie Lennox sitting in for Queen’s lead singer, and then he closed with Heroes. Before leaving the stage, though, he took a knee and recited the Lord’s Prayer.

I’ve updated my Bowie song list from Monday, by the way—how did I forget “Young Americans?” Also, this tune was an MTV staple in the mid-Eighties….

4. Meet Me, But Not In St. Louis

Super Bowl XXXIV: You’ll always have this, St. Louis.

Take that, Thomas Wolfe: You can go home again. The St. Louis Rams are going from Kurt Warner to Curt, Warmer, and moving back to Los Angeles. So how come no one in the City of Angels really seems to care? And have you been to Carson? It may be uglier than East Rutherford. I have a better idea: the Billings Bighorns. I’ll tell you more later.

Here is the home page for the St. Louis Rams today….

The Gurley Man is headed to L.A. Gur-L.A. Man?

5. Andrew Smith, Butler

Former Butler center Andrew Smith passed away from cancer at the age of 25 on Monday. Way too young, of course. In his brief life Smith appeared in not one but two NCAA basketball championship games, something that March Madness legends such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Danny Manning cannot say.

Smith played one minute in Butler’s 2010 loss to Duke, a 61-59 thriller. He started and played 29 minutes the following year in the Bulldogs’ 8-poing loss to U Conn, scoring 5 points and grabbing a team-high 9 rebounds. Here’s Brad Stevens, who got away from coaching the Celtics last week to say goodbye, on his former player.

Music 101

Blow Away

Some day we’re going to do a blog post on how, if you compiled the best solo work by John, Paul, George and Ringo in the Seventies, you’d have one hell of a Beatles album. Maybe even a double album.

This George Harrison song is so simple, but catchy, as most great pop songs are. This reached No. 11 on the U.S. charts in 1979, and climbed to No. 1 in the UK.

Remote Patrol

I checked. There’s really nothing on tonight. Go to the gym. You could lose a few pounds.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

A Medium Happy 64th to New Zealand’s John Walker, the first human to run a mile under 3:50 and a gold medalist in the 1500 in Montreal. Yes, he’s a Walker who’s also a runner.

Starting Five

10 years and one week after he was an assistant on the USC team that lost to Texas, Kiffin earns a title ring…

1. Lane Won

Alabama beat Clemson in a delightful game that saw the Tide outscore the Tigers 24-16 in the fourth quarter alone. Yes, it’s Nick Saban’s fourth NC in the past seven years in Tuscaloosa.

But I couldn’t stop thinking about how this was Lane Kiffin’s redemption song. I’ve never been a fan, but it was Kiffin who dialed up—or texted—the formations that so confused the Tiger DBs, which allowed O.J. Howard to catch two uncontested TD passes. And it was Kiffin who, afterward, had the quote of the night, saying that when he heard Saban call for the insides kick, “I had to look away because I was afraid I was going to make a face.”

Nice comeback from the LAX tarmac, Lane.

2. Howard’s Endzone

Clemson had the orange, but O.J. had the juice

Alabama tight end O.J. Howard was your MVP. Five catches for 208 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Of course, you or I could have caught the his TD passes of 53 and 51 yards and galloped in untouched, as he did, but we would not have looked as good doing it.

As one Twitter wiseacre noted, “I’m glad O.J. Howard had a game like this and finally overcame the ignominy of people associating him with O.J. McDuffie.”

3. “Love The Drake! How Can You Not Love The Drake?”

Drake’s score is why the pylon cam was invented….

The Tigers had just kicked a field goal to close to within 31-27 midway through the fourth quarter when they booted it off to Alabama’s Kenyon Drake. He sprinted up the right hash, avoided one tackler, then beelined to the left sideline. It did not look as if he had the angle, but Drake turned on the jets, got to the sideline, and headed upfield. 95-yard TD. 38-27. It was then that it felt that…the Tide had turned.

Yes, I know about the onside kick a few minutes earlier. Also a huge play. But this one put Clemson down double digits.

What is it that Alabama alum Rece Davis always says? “You must be sound in the kicking game.”

4. Oh, Henry

Watson’s first TD pass to freshman Hunter Renfrow (with a name like that, yes, he’s from Florida). DW finished with 405 passing yards, and 73 rushing yards, and 4 TD passes. Prit-tee, prit-tee good.

Confession: I was on a subway during Derrick Henry‘s 50-yard gallop. Missed it. But it sure felt as if he had the quietest 158-yard, 3 TD night in memory. I’ll welcome your contrary take.

Still, it felt as if DeShaun Watson (and maybe even Wayne Gallman) were more—here comes that word—elite players last night, and it definitely confirmed to me that Christian McCaffrey was the right choice for the Grange Award.

Our Never Too Early-Way Too Early Grange Top 5 for 2016: McCaffrey, Watson, Royce Freeman, Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette (we love Nick Chubb, but we’ll wait and see).

5. Jerry Meandering

“Not on the lips, honey. That’s extra.”

FOX potentate Rupert Murdoch is 84.

Mick Jagger-ex Jerry Hall is….insane?

Anyway, those crazy kids just got engaged. Hall, 59, lived with Jagger for years but the couple were never married.

Music 101

Golden Years

When disco arrived, David Bowie was ready for it. This 1976 tune is a little bit disco, a little bit rap, and a little bit glam. The kind of song Mick and Keith would have happily put on Some Girls. And it just occurred to me, if there is one artist from that era who may remind you a little of Bowie, it’s another David B.: David Byrne of Talking Heads.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

A Medium Happy 44th to Amanda Peet, who was Zooey Deschanel 15 years ago. Married to David Benioff, one of the co-executive producers of Game Of Thrones.

Starting Five

Burfict. You mad, bro?

1.Bengalzi

We were all wrong about Vontaze Burfict. And yet we were all right about Vontaze Burfict. Tremendous and temperamental. He won the game for the Bengals. And then he lost it for them.

2. Get Shorty

The Free Amigos

Friendship is the booze that they serve you.” So said Lester Bangs to budding Rolling Stone journalist William Miller. As for budding RS writer Sean Penn, who conducted a seven-hour interview with fugitive drug lord El Chapo this autumn, there were far more powerful intoxicants at his disposal.

And then El Chapo got caught. Did Penn play any role in the apprehension? I doubt it. Either way, he’ll play himself in the movie.

3. Thanks A Lottery

The Powerball total will be about the same amount of money as the market cap, or worth, of Shake Shack.

If you bought a Powerball ticket early last week only to be one of the millions who did not win on Wednesday night…and then if you bought more only to be one of the millions who did not win on Saturday night….don’t fear. There’s still time to buy a ticket for Wednesday’s drawing and be one of the millions who do not win that, too.

The prize is now estimated to be worth $1.3 billion. That’s about twice the figure of the largest previous lottery jackpot in U.S. history, three years ago. Some total unknown is about to bank more money (before taxes) than all but the eight highest-grossing films of all time.

4. What’s Ursine?

“I was just a two year-old bear from the Sierras and you took a chance on me…”

The Revenant, a movie whose title no one knows the meaning of, wins Best Picture, Drama and Best Actor, Drama (Leo) at the Golden Globes. Lady GaGa wins for Best Recycling of Madonna, America Ferrara and Eva Longoria win for Best Presenter Banter (“Well said, Selma” “Thanks, Charo”), Jim Carrey wins for being “Jim Carrey, two-time Golden Globe Winner, and those of us who don’t have Amazon Prime lose for not knowing anything about Mozart in the Jungle.

The many faces of Leo as GaGa walks by….

Leo gave a terrific speech—shout-out to Indigenous Peoples! You like that?!?—and host Ricky Gervais had a terrific line about Caitlyn Jenner: “She didn’t do a lot for women drivers.”

Finally, are we all love Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Schumer’s BFF act yet?

5. The Fall of Ziggy Stardust

It was only Friday that MH put David Bowie in the item below, as he turned 69. And it was only yesterday that we saw a TV ad for his new album, Blackstar, which was released Friday. But the rock-and-fashion icon had been battling cancer, quietly, for 18 months.

In an era when the biggest rockers were part of bands, Bowie (and Elton John) stood out as solo acts. He always was most comfortable not belonging to any group. Bowie always transcended borders, race, gender and genre.

He even transcended David Bowie, as one of his greatest musical contributions were his vocals on a Queen song, Under Pressure. ( <– with Annie Lennox in that video; prit-tee, prit-tee good). But then he could do a duet with Bing Crosby and be just as awe-inspiring.

Five essential Bowie tracks: 1) Heroes 2) Changes 3) Rebel Rebel 4) Space Oddity 5) Modern Love.

Okay, a few more: 6) Fame 7) Suffragette City 8) Ziggy Stardust 9) Golden Years 10) Young Americans 11) Blue Jean

Music 101

Good Girls Don’t

Say hello to two-hit wonder The Knack. The Los Angeles band’s debut hit, My Sharona, climbed higher up the charts, reaching No. 1 and remaining there for six weeks in 1979. Very few acts can say that. And very few people are named Sharona. This follow-up reached No. 11, but it is solid. In 1979 The Knack and The Cars owned “modern rock.”

Remote Patrol

Clemson vs. Alabama

College Football National Championship Game

ESPN 8:30 p.m.

Reggie Ragland, Bama

After the games of October 10 I posited that 2015 Alabama was 2014 Ohio State: one loss in September means the coaches have the players’ attention, and the rest of the season is a scorched-earth campaign. Clemson is no pushover, and DeShaun Watson is a terrific quarterback, but the Crimson Tide is more akin to a 30-foot wave. Rollin’ Arizona.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

A Medium Happy 40th to Seth Meyers’ little bro, Josh.

Starting Five

Alford buried the dagger as former Bruins Russell Westbrook and Bill Walton sat —and stood—courtside

1. Bryce Capades

With the score tied 84-all (after UCLA squandered a late 81-71 lead), the Bruins’ Bryce Alford took the ball on the right wing, dribbled some, and hit a step-back 3 with just under 2 seconds remaining to defeat Arizona. The Coach’s Son has now helped UCLA defeat Kentucky, Gonzaga and the Wildcats this season.

2. Fear Factor

Astronaut Mark Kelly and his wife, Gabby Giffords, stood up at last night’s town hall (not to be confused with Tom T. Hall, but why would you) on guns. Kelly explained that when he and his wife testified about gun legislation in front of the senate, he was told by members of the U.S. Senate that expanding background checks will lead to a registry, which will lead to confiscation, which will lead to a tyrannical government.

So I would like you to explain, with 350 million guns, in 65 million places….if the federal government wanted to confiscate those objects, how would they do that?”

Exactly.

Kids. The National Rifle Association exists ostensibly to support the 2nd Amendment, but pragmatically to promote the gun manufacturing industry. Mass shootings such as Columbine, Newtown, etc, only help its cause: mass shootings spread fear (thanks for playing your role, cable news), which leads to the purchase of even more guns, which actually plays no role in preventing more mass shootings.

So why would the NRA ever be in favor of any measure that reduces the chance of a mass shooting, of less guns being purchased?

A CNN panelist made a great point: the entire audience who sat in on the town hall underwent a background check in order to be able to attend it. But we’re saying that half that audience opposes background checks for guns?

Moreover, why is it that that the same people who bristle at the thought of background checks on the theory that it is the first step in taking away everyone’s guns have no problem with checking on random people to see if they have citizenship? By their logic, checking on even one illegal alien is tantamount to deporting us all.

3. Fructose: Not Your Sugar Mama

Our good friend fructose, C6H12O6, or common table sugar, is the sleeper scourge of our lifetimes. Because most of us ingest far too much of it. So yesterday or the day before that the U.S. government introduced new dietary guidelines (revised every five years) that said we should be cutting our intake of sugar at least in half.

Then they asked The Guess Who (“Who?!?”) to endorse the guideline, which they did: No sugar tonight in my coffee/No sugar tonight in my tea/No sugar to stand beside me/No sugar to run with me…”

Why is fructose (which, unlike glucose, is not found naturally in every living cell) bad for you? Here’s 10 reasons.

4. Beacon Of Hope

I hope that the warm-up act is The Maestro….

Recently my neighbor and personal savior, Jerry Seinfeld, announced that he’d be performing one show per month at the Beacon Theater in the coming year. Noted: I live four blocks up and two blocks over, or even closer than Jerry and Kramer, from the Beacon, which is located on the Upper West Side. So that’s one reason not to move any time soon.

Here’s Jerry’s latest webisode of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, with a wild and crazy passenger. And here he is earlier this week on Colbert, doing a bit that he could’ve done in 1985 and yet it’s not dated.. Related: I miss the people in the Acura ads.

5. ISIS: Still Whack

“Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be ISIS…” (even if they do look a little bit like Bruce from the Born To Run album cover)

The latest? A member of ISIS executes his own mother (a.k.a., matricide) in public in Raqqa after she tried to persuade him to leave the world’s worst organization since the Nazis. I meannnnnnn….even the Crips and Bloods are saying, “Dude, you crossed the line there.”

Music 101

Ziggy Stardust

The godfather of andogyny, David Bowie, turns 69 today. Though we’ll always be partial to this particular tune of his, Ziggy Stardust, which was released in 1972, never became a hit stateside, but if you have the album The Rise and Fall Of Ziggy Stardust, then you know that the tune leads into this song on the album, which is a pretty sweet 1-2 punch.

Remote Patrol

SUNDAY

Golden Globe Awards

8 p.m. NBC

Let’s fire up the “Shame!” chant if Game Of Thrones gets dissed this time

Your host will be Ricky Gervais, because apparently he has yet to alienate everyone. God, I love that man. Only really rooting for Jon Hamm and Veep. Don’t feel too strongly about anything else. Better Call Saul was not even nominated for Best Drama. Does the HFP even watch TV?

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

A Medium Happy 34th to Lauren Cohan. Will she ever dumpster Glenn?

Starting Five

You’re full of Kratz: “If police did frame Avery, but he’s guilty, hey, what’s the big deal?”

1. MAM-ogram

There’s really nothing else to chew on this week –it’s too soon to begin devouring boilerplate profiles of dirt-poor Dabo — other than Making A Murderer, so let’s compile a ranking of its 10 11 Worst Humans, shall we?

  1. Ken Kratz, District Attorney, Lead Prosecutor: While he may not have been the mastermind of any police framing, he had the greatest responsibility to pursue justice as opposed to a conviction. I was watching the 1944 film noir classic Laura last night, in which our detective, MacPherson, informs a potential suspect, “I’m here to find the truth.” That was never much of a concern with these law enforcement officials. Kratz will later lose his job for sexting a domestic violence victim whom he defended. Stay classy, Ken.
  2. James Lenk, Manitowoc County Lt: If anyone planted the key, and the bullet, and the blood, he did.
  3. Michael O’Kelly: He basically advises genocide against the Avery clan because he believes they’re in-bred yokels. I have no problem if you rank him No. 1.
  4. Mark Wiegert, Detective: One of the two interrogators who coerce Brendan Dassey’s confession. Sits uncomfortably close to you, and when taking stand throws out asides such as, “They had five days (to clean up the evidence).” He’s Marty Hart come to life.
  5. Sheriff Ken Petersen: Originally arrested Avery in 1985. Tells TV reporter that it would have been easier to kill Avery than to frame him. If there is a framing going on, is he the mastermind?
  6. Sgt. Andy Colborn: Simply following orders. The Paulie Walnuts of this crew. When Strang catches him calling in a license plate number of a vehicle that is two days away from being found, I thought it was game over. Apparently not.

    Andy Colborn: He’ll get on that report right away, chief, like, 6 months or 8 years from now…

  7. Len Kachinsky, Defense Attorney: Len’s too busy yukking it up with the media to appear on this list.
  8. Eugene Kusche, Manitowoc Sheriff’s Dept: Kusche drew the incriminating sketch of Avery in his 1985 rape trial, reportedly based not on the victim’s description but from a pre-existing photo of Avery. Twenty years later, when Kusche is deposed, there’s a moment where he is asked a question and he leans back in his chair in a way that suggests, “I’m not comfortable being here.” Also claims that he doesn’t believe Avery is innocent of the rape, choosing to believe that the DNA evidence was planted.
  9. Norm Gahn, Special Prosecutor: His double-talk with the press after Strang and Buting ate prosecution’s lunch always put a don’t-bullshit-me look on Angenette Levy’s face. I suppose we should thank him for that.
  10. Steven Tadych, relative: Provides incriminating eye-witness evidence that the defense appears to decisively rebut (not that the jury cares). Wore his nicest V-neck sweater to court. Rejoiced when Avery was found guilty.
  11. Ryan Hillegas: Ex-boyfriend who, I’m sorry, seems to be hiding something. Visits Teresa the day before she disappears, but cannot remember what time of day? Hacks into her email account? C’mon.

2. The Kid In The Hall*

Giriffey, 6’3″, had baseball’s most lethal swing for quite some time.

Nine All-Star Games. Ten Gold Gloves. One MVP. 630 home runs. No World Series. Strictly as a fan, I’ll always be a little miffy with Ken Griffey (Jr.) that he chose to play for his hometown Cincinnati Reds 11 seasons in Seattle that were about as good as anyone’s in the modern era.

The Kid and Alex Rodriguez, both in their primes in the Emerald City, would have been a treat, the game’s premier one-two punch. With Cincy came injuries and a relatively irrelevant final decade in baseball. Maybe that’s why three writers chose not to vote for him.

Catcher Mike Piazza (and his mustache) were also voted in.

Yeah, I still don’t quite understand why NOBODY has ever been unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame (The Kid fell 3 votes short, out of I believe 340 ballots). So will Mariano Rivera, universally acknowledged as the greatest closer of all time, also fail to garner a unanimous vote. And just how many writers have been inducted into the Hall of Curmudgeon?

*The judges thank Gene, a.k.a. Okerland

3. Good Lovie Gone Bad

Thurston cannot believe the Bucs canned Lovie

Why did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fire Lovie Smith after a two-year tour (“a two-year tour”)? And Howell that play with African-American players?

My only guess is that some coach that they preferred to groom Jameis Winston is out there/became available. Smith was 2-14 and then 6-10 in his two seasons in Tampa Bay.

4. Housing Bubble Bath

Is it already time to be making a sequel of the film in which Robbie appears?

This is Australian shell-du-bomb Margot Robbie, who has a brief but provocative scene playing herself in a film currently playing in a theater near you. I won’t say any more (haven’t I provided enough spoilers today?), but her (ob)scene was a stroke of genius.

5. Johnny B. Bad*

We’re at the point where it’s not a cry for help with Manziel; it’s a cry for a “30 for 30”

*The judges know we should do better than that…

So on the eve of his team’s final regular-season game, Johnny Manziel (who was injured and would not play) was reportedly in Las Vegas incognito (but not with Richie Incognito) in a blond wig? And LeBron’s marketing firm has dumped him?

Maybe what Manziel actually texted the Browns two years ago was, “Let’s wreck this team.”

It just feels as if someone is going to make quite a compelling “30 For 30” when all is said and dunced.

Music 101 

Blue Sky Mine

One of the best NYC club shows I ever saw (though I’m no regular at such) was Midnight Oil in 1991 or so. Few lead singers perspired more onstage than 6’6″ Peter Garrett, a creature who you could never take your eyes off. And that Save-the-Earth credo? After Midnight Oil’s disbanding in 2002, Garrett became a member of parliament in Australia and later was appointed Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts.

Remote Patrol

Making a Murderer

NetFlix Any Time You Like

I’ve already seen the entire 10-hour documentary twice (once recreationally, once for work). It’s fascinating. If you ever needed proof that NetFlix was worth your dollars (full disclosure: I’m a shareholder), this is it. I still think investigators should be taking a much, much longer look at Ryan Hillegas, Bobby Dassey, and Steve Tadych. You?

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

A Medium Happy 30th to Irina Shayk, whose beau, Bradley Cooper, turned 41 yesterday.

Starting Five

When the Levy breaks….

1. NetFlix and Kill

That skeptical look on reporter Angenette Levy’s face. She speaks for nearly all of us as we listen to district attorney Ken “Full of” Kratz or his investigator attempt to double-talk another incongruous leap of logic in the trial of Steven Avery. Is he innocent or guilty? I’m not sure: I just know that the po po never looked at anyone else.

Who else was possibly culpable?

  1. Ex-boyfriend Ryan Hillegas, and/or the roommate, and/or even her brother, who accessed her phone records and most likely deleted a message or two.
  2. Lt. Lenk and/or Sgt. Colborn and/or Sheriff Petersen
  3. Bobby Dassey and/or his mom’s boyfriend, Steve Tadych.

The Bro Bible just put out a ranking of the “10 Hottest People” in the show. Angenette is No. 1. If you have yet to engross yourself in Making a Murderer, the first pop culture phenomenon of 2016, what are you waiting for? It’s January, after all.

2. Under The Banner of Wacko

Bundy wants the federal government to keep its nose out of his business, but he will take that $530,00 loan, thank you.

If you read Jon Krakauer’s tremendous Under the Banner of Heaven, then you know that in some of the more sparsely populated areas of the American west, religious fanatics are only to happy to tell Uncle Sam to git out while also demanding welfare checks for all of the “single-parent” children they have. They’re mostly hypocrites and bigots, selfish separatists who, if they’re smart, keep their profile low.

But now Ammon Bundy has gone and did it. He’s made himself a cause celebrity in southeast Oregon, a place you’ve never been to, and the cause is telling the Bureau of Land Management that he makes decisions over property, not the government. However, he did happily accept a loan from that same govrernment for $530,000.

3. Bullets and Bawlers

One fingers is his trigger finger, and the other is reserved for Fox News

I didn’t get to watch President Obama’s reenact the penultimate scene from An American President yesterday, but now the auto emissions bill is definitely going to be tabled. And who from Fox News is going to look up the meaning of “erudite?”

Over at FOX, a hot female in a pink dress whose name won’t be worth remembering two months from now accused Obama of faking his tears. Yes, he’s probably trying to get elected..

4. Powerball Hits $500 Million

Like you, I chose the coordinates from To’hajiilee as my potential winning numbers.

5. I’m Totally Over Ronda Rousey

Hosting Saturday Night Live? Appearing in the SI Swimsuit Issue? Didn’t she lose??? That’s the problem with America: we don’t win any more.

Music 101

This Beat Goes On/Switchin’ To Glide

In 1980 The Kings, a band out of Vancouver, got themselves onto American Bandstand and alternative radio with this tempo-changer. They sounded a little bit like Squeeze or Split Enz to me. Hang around until the song changes its beat, until it switches to glide.

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

A Medium Happy 38th to the hottest January on record. Here’s to global warming!

Starting Five

Allen Fieldhouse became Buddy Hield’s house, but it wasn’t quite enough….

1.Yeah, Buddy

I missed it, but talk about smart programming: On the first day after the massive bowls-and-NFL weekend, ESPN airs a No. 1 vs. No. 2 hoops matchup, Oklahoma at Kansas. If you’ve never been to Phog Allen Fieldhouse, it belongs right there with Cameron Indoor and the Palestra as the three college hoops palaces you need to visit (overrated, but still a must-see: Pauley Pavilion).

Anyway, Kansas won 109-106 in three overtimes (insert joke about the Jayhawks having to go for 2 in the third OT), but senior Sooner guard Buddy Hield scored 46 points. And now I know who Buddy Hield is.

2. Field Turf, Brian?

We miss Mr. Clean

Few middle linebackers, if any, were more imposing than the Chicago Bears’ 6’4″, 260-pound Brian Urlacher during his 13-year NFL career. He was more terrifying with his helmet off, showing off that gleaming bald pate.

He never had cancer, Jack!

But apparently Urlacher ran into Jon Lovitz (“You got it, Jack!”) from that Seinfeld episode and has decided to put some hair up there. What’s next? Michael Jordan in Jeri-curls?

3. January Jonesin’

At dinner with Roger Sterling and his wife?

Father Abraham had seven sons/And seven sons had/Father Abraham…” We are all Bobby Draper (perhaps literally, considering how many actors played the role).

Rumor has it that Jon Hamm and January Jones, Mad Men’s Dysfunctional Draper Duo, are now dating. I hope he asks her to call him Dick Whitman. And that she stops smoking. And maybe they’ll adopt that creepy Glenn kid. And how does Elisabeth Moss feel about this? Oh well, the Ossining PTA just got that much more interesting.

4. Suns of Anarchy

Cyclone, Psycho

In the past 10 days, or after Markieff Morris threw a towel in the face of coach Jeff Hornacek during a game, the Phoenix Suns have lost to the Sixers at home, given up 142 to the Kings, and scored a total of 22 first-half point against the LOLakers, minus Kobe. My story in Newsweek about the NBA’s most fractious and lost franchise, Sixers included.

5. Elements of Style

I’ve never quite understood how new elements are discovered (or synthesized), and my bet is most of you either don’t know or more importantly, don’t care. Just know that we have them — as yet unnamed — and they were developed by scientists at the Livermore Labs in California, as well as in Japan and Russia.

The elements, as yet unnamed, have atomic numbers 113, 115, 117 and 118. They only have lives of a millisecond (so what does that make their half lives?) and have no practical use to society other than filling out the seventh row of the periodic table and rendering the opening of Breaking Bad obsolete. Seems like more  trouble than they are worth.

Music 101

Let It Ride

Contrary to popular belief,  early Seventies Canadian rockers Bachman-Turner Overdrive (BTO) were not a one-hit wonder. Besides “Taking Care of Business,” they also  scored hits with “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet” and this tune. Love the jingle-jangle guitar overlaying the power chords. The tune peaked at No. 23 in 1973, but nobody ever changed the radio channel on a BTO tune, including this one. Related: The band that Jack Black‘s character fronts at the end of High Fidelity is called Kathleen Turner Overdrive.

Remote Patrol

Kentucky at LSU

ESPN 9 p.m.

The SEC is Simmons’ gap year between high school and a fat NBA contract…

The Wildcats spent two weeks as the nation’s top-ranked team. The Tigers boast the nation’s best player, a 6’10” Aussie named Ben Simmons, who is averaging more than 20 points and 13 boards per outing. Plus, you’ll hear the ESPN announcer say, “Labissiere!” a lot. It’s only the first week of January, but this is one of those college hoops games even the casual fan may want to check out.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

That’s great. It’s starts with an earthquake. Snails and snakes an, areoplane. And Lenny Bruce is not afraid. A Medium Happy 56th to Michael Stipe.

Starting Five

Wayne Rogers (Trapper John) died on New Year’s Eve. It was a bad day for Hawkeyes all around.

1. Christian Soldiers Onward

Our Red Grange Award winner, Christian McCaffrey, gains 75 yards and scores a touchdown on an underneath route, without being touched, on the very first play of the Rose Bowl. Brent and Jesse didn’t even have time to give us the family lineage backstory, and he was already gone.

It was a Grange-worthy (vs. Michigan, 10/18/24) first half for the sophomore, who later in the first half returned a punt 66 yards for a TD, too. He had 368 all-purpose yards, a Rose Bowl record (and also became the first player in the game’s 113-year history to rush for 100 yards and have 100 yards receiving), and it would have been above 400 if his 50-plus yard TD run for scrimmage hadn’t been called back because of a hold that was not necessary. Christian McCaffrey does NOT need you to cheat for him.

We think he can hear you

Reactions on McCaffrey’s game (Stanford raced out to a 35-0 halftime lead, and won 45-16):

Stanford coach David Shaw: “I think he was the best player in America before this game, so I think it’s just the icing on the cake,”

Bro Who Video-Bombed Post-game Interview with Maria Taylor and Looked Too Much Like a Young Jim Harbaugh: “Heisman! Heisman! Heisman!”

2. Injustice For All

He’ll have Avery difficult time overturning a second felony conviction.

“Of course I’m dangerous. I’m police. I can do terrible things with impunity.”

Rust Cohle‘s statement kept popping up in my head as I devoured all 10 episodes of Making a Murderer on NetFlix this weekend. If you’re curious and have yet to watch: This is the true story of a man from Simpleton, Wisconsin, ( <–go with it) who was wrongly imprisoned for 18 years for a sexual assault he did not commit. Upon release, facts come to light that the sheriff and a few other law enforcement officials from Manitowoc County railroaded his conviction. They knew of another more likely suspect and ignored him (that man later confessed).

Of all the punchable faces in Making a Murderer, attorney Len Kachinsky seems the punchable-est.

Oh, but it gets worse. Our poorly educated, white-trash hero (or is he?) sues the county. For $36 million, enough money to bankrupt the Manitowoc County. Three weeks later a woman goes missing and her Rav4 is found in his salvage yard. Then a lot of key evidence just happens to turn up on his property (but only after multiple searches, and only after some bizarre coincidences). And it just keeps getting worse.

At one point during a TV interview, when the sheriff is asked about suspicions that they are framing Avery for a murder he did not commit, the sheriff actually says, by way of declaring his innocence, “It would’ve been easier for us to eliminate him than to frame him.”

Scary. And depressing. I’ll admit that I ordinarily see prosecutors as no-nonsense and direct, and defense lawyers as a little too slick and shady. I got exactly the opposite impression here. Dean Strang and Jerry Buting come off as heroic. Ken Kratz, the prosecutor, is downright sleazy (he will later resign as a County D.A. after he is caught sexting a battered woman whose case he prosecuted).

Did Avery do it? He might’ve. But watching how the state “builds” its case against Avery will erode your trust in law enforcement (unless you’re black, in which case you’re saying, “I told you so”).

Here’s a piece on how the filmmakers made this documentary.

3. Commanders-In-Chief In Corvettes Getting Coffee

Jerry just learned that he received a presidential pardon for mail fraud.

If you have 20 spare minutes and access to the internet, avail yourself of this outstanding webisode of CICGC. It really heats up about halfway through when our host, Jerry Seinfeld, and his guest, the 44th president of the United States of America, become getting comfortable with each other.

Jerry: “I never retired. I’m still working.”

Obama: “You still doing stand-up?”

Jerry (pause): “You still making speeches?”

So many nice touches, such as when Jerry arrives at the Oval Office by knocking on the window, and Obama just gives him the disdainful “Go around to the door” wave. It’s just like an episode of Seinfeld except that it takes place at the White House and there’s an African-American character who is not playing a security guard.

4. Yokel Haram*

They refuge to budge

*Not mine, but I wish it were. They’re also being referred to as “Y’AllQueda” and “White ISIS.”

Al Bundy. Peg Bundy. Ted Bundy. McGeorge Bundy. Clive Bundy, and his kin. There are just a bundle of bad Bundy out there.

I haven’t got the complete picture, yet, but apparently 150 or so heavily armed not-terrorists (it’s very important to them that you know that) have taken over a federal building in a wildlife refuge in Oregon and aren’t going to budge. This is Bundy’s Last Stand. They’re a little sick of the government interfering with their property. And, you know, they may owe a lot in back taxes.

It’s sort of a perversion of the Woody Guthrie line. They’re singing, “This land is our land, this land is our land…”

Anyway, I don’t get it. If you want to live somewhere that is devoid of government interference and you can do whatever pleases you, just move to Wall Street.

5. Bowl Bummers

Nooooooooooo!

Jaylon Smith’s “significant” knee injury in the Fiesta Bowl, in what should have been his final Notre Dame game before being a Top 10 NFL draft pick.

–Alabama 38, Michigan State 0. Stanford 35, Iowa 0 at the half. Georgia 24, Penn State 3 in the third quarter (ended 24-17). Tennessee 45, Northwestern 6. To be fair, the B1G went 5-5 in bowl games, with wins versus USC, UCLA and Florida. It’s just that when they did lose, it seemed that much more visible.

–The boring semis, although, again, to be fair, the first half of the Orange Bowl had an electric atmosphere. I really didn’t mind the New Year’s Eve time slot, but then I’m not the guy who wears the glasses with the numerical year cut out for them. If the contests had been closer, I think the TV ratings still would have suffered, but the overall derision and griping would have been less.

–The targeting rule: Did you really pay that much money to attend the Fiesta Bowl simply to see the potential No. 1 pick in the NFL draft get ejected for hitting a quarterback in the sternum? C’mon. At the very least, targeting needs to be changed to a Flagrant 1/Flagrant 2 situation, if for no other reason than that we can have ESPN broadcasters get all didactic about what the difference between the two is.

–An overall prevailing sense that ESPN completely runs college football and spoon feeds us the story lines, etc. A lot of people at ESPN do a great job (special salutes to Chris Spielman and Brent Musburger), and it’s not as if they don’t care. It’s just that if I wanted a sports league and a television network to be indivisible from one another, I’d still be watching the XFL.

p.s. The Alamo Bowl was great. A friend of mine took Oregon minus the points. Poor him.

Music 101

New Year’s Day

An obvious choice (for our first post of the new year), but this song AND video is what first caught everyone’s attention about U2. In the early 1980s, New Wave bands from the UK (and Ireland) were churning out on the MTV at a rate of one per week (or more), but there was something different about these guys. We just knew. Either that or they were a slightly better version of Big Country. Anyway, though torn in two/we can be one (just like Ireland!).

Remote Patrol

Johnny Belinda

AMC 6 p.m.

Why, man? Why are you doing this?

In the golden age of Hollywood, this 1948 film was nominated for TWELVE Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Jane Wyman (above) won for Best Actress. In an adaptation of an actual incident, Wyman plays a deaf mute who is raped by a town drunk and then marries the star of Bedtime for Bonzo. Or something like that. Anyway, I’ve never seen it, either. Maybe we should all tune in. Twelve Oscar nominations, after all.