by John Walters

A Medium Happy birthday to Lena Gercke, who turns 28 (or, if you’re a Leap Day stickler, 7, today…)

Starting Five


1. Hollywood Blame Night

On the one hand, it seemed a little odd to spend three and a half hours preaching to an audience that people of color need to be included more in Hollywood when the host of the show, the musical director, the president of the Academy who gave a laugh-free speech about such, and two of ABC’s pre-show hosts were African-American. On the other hand, even the lead in The Martian was played by a white dude, and we all know that Martians are little green men.

And so last night in Hollywood, host Chris Rock turned the Oscars into a blackout. And what will the reviews say? Does it matter: To paraphrase Ellen DeGeneres’ final words in her Oscar monologue two years ago, “You either unequivocally praise Rock’s speech, or you’re racist.”

One idea to garner more African-Americans Oscar nominations next year? Make the movie version of Hamilton, pronto.

2. Oscar Thoughts

Beavan and Blanchett. Coming this fall to MTV.

Other Oscar thoughts, observations: The (Jack) Black History Minute was clever….Was  Jenny Beavan present at the Waco biker shootout?….Missed opportunity for Chris Rock to note that the only creature of color to get significant camera time in The Revenant was a bear, and he didn’t get nominated, either…She’s beautiful, but were you wondering what was going on with Angela Bassett’s cleavage?….Mark Rylance killed your Oscar pool, didn’t he?….Let’s see, we covered diversity, on-campus sexual assault and priestly pedophilia: #OscarsSoLiberal…That Sam Smith song was rather a snooze, no? And it won. There wasn’t a tune from Straight Outta Compton that they could’ve shoehorned in?

Furiosa showed up with both arms

Ali G. delivered…An Oscars without George Clooney, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, or Brangelina. What is this world coming to?….Another missed opportunity for Rock: “Room is a film about a roomful of white people only, kinda like tonight’s show.”….Hollywood kid actors usually induce a gag reflex, but Jack Trembley is honestly pretty cute (I bet he got some action at the Governor’s Ball)…Great intro from Louis C.K. about the Documentary Short Oscar winner having anxiety about putting the statue in his/her crappy apartment (I glanced over at my Emmy when he said that and nodded) (yes, that was a humblebrag)….Watching the intro to Brooklyn gave me goosebumps again; if you haven’t seen it, I recommend…Did you notice that George Miller’s black streak of hair is exactly where Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s white streak is?….Solid acceptance speeches by Inarritu and Leo, by the way.

Michael Keaton has had major roles in the last two Best Picture Oscar winners. Who does he think he is, Al Pacino?….$65,243 in loose change in that theater last night for Girl Scout cookies? You’ll get ’em next year, Lisa Dunn….Six Oscars for Mad Max: Fury Road, all deserved (I still can’t believe they didn’t take advantage of the bungee-chord guitarist)…Charlize Theron, still the most unearthly creature in the room….I don’t think the Entourage movie made the opening montage….Yes, Lady Gaga’s voice is amazing and the message is important, but by that point in the show I was so punch-drunk from the preaching that it was hard to care: the lecture-to-entertainment quota was highly unbalanced…Spotlight, a mild surprise over The Revenant (even though it was a better film)….I’m down with what Leo said about global warming, but it’s ironic that he said they had to go to the ends of the earth to find snow: they should’ve gone to the city where they filmed Spotlight last winter: Boston had plenty of snow.

3. Bang! Bang! Oh what a Shot From Curry!

Either Stephen Curry or Lionel Messi is not going to win SI’s Sportsman of The Year award this year—yes, I know it’s still February. That’s going to be a shame.

Besides the 40-foot game winner launched with about 2 seconds to play in OKC, besides the dozen three-pointers that evening (tying an NBA record), consider that in the final three games of a six-game road trip, three games played in four nights, Curry scored 42, 51 and 46 points. Talk about putting a team on your back. Superlatives are not enough for the season he is having.

4. “KKK? Can You Spell That?”

“Make America Hate Again”

The media tried to put baby in a corner. Or at least tried to paint him into one. After David Duke, former Imperial Wizard of the KKK, publicly endorsed Donald Trump for president, CNN’s Jake Tapper attempted to get El Trumpitan to publicly disavow the KKK. So your choices are either alienate all of black America (and millions of others) by refusing to do so, or to alienate a portion of your voting base.

And so Donald, who is so outspoken about so many issues (that he knows very little about beyond a bumper sticker phrase), was circumspect and replied that he needed to do more research on the organization. You see, he is a politician, after all.

Donald, if I were your press aide, I would have told you to reply, “I love getting an endorsement from Daisy Duke. She’s gorgeous!”

5. Is He Your Pal Joey?

Ohio State’s Joey Bosa is 6’6″, 276 pounds. And he had a terrific combine? The question is how do you reconcile his J.J. Watt infield potential with his Johnny Manziel off-field potential? And how do you reconcile that Ole Miss’s Robert Nkemdiche is probably both more of a physical freak AND more of an off-field concern than Bosa?

I wouldn’t worry about drafting either of these guys if my name was Bill Belichick. Outside of him, though, it becomes a concern.

Music 101


I’m not as astute a Wilco fan as many of my friends, but there are quite a few in-the-know people who’ll tell you that this is their favorite post-Nirvana American rock band. They worship at the altar of Jeff Tweedy. The Chicago-based band has never come close to having at Top 10 hit, but this is my favorite song of theirs. And way better live.

Remote Patrol

Better Call Saul

10 p.m. AMC

“Chuck, take off the space blanket.”

I just want you to love this show as much as I do. Is that so wrong?

The Film Room: Chris Corbellini’s Oscar Picks!

Welcome to the Film Room! Our cerebral cinephile, Chris Corbellini, has made his Oscar picks. Without further adieu…

When the Best Picture winner is announced tonight, note that while the actors and director initially draw your attention on stage, it is the producer who gets a chance to speak, and almost always takes that Oscar trophy home. In this category, the producer matters.

Who is that masked man who will be all over the Oscars tonight? Hint: It’s not Hannibal Lecter.

In the words of one of my former bosses, producers are the ones building the airplane when you’re already at a cruising altitude of 30,000 feet. They option the script and develop it, get all the contracts signed, put world-class talent (and ego) together, watch the money, hire connected folks’ kids and make them feel important, sign off on locations, lie, cheat, steal and basically touch everything involved until the director says action and cut. And when you factor in the dailies — footage shot that day, screened on set — they often have input on that as well.

These are the folks who are being honored in that final category on Oscar night. And I think that’ll be the difference in a Best Picture race that’s very close to call at the line. The Producer’s Guild Awards already honored the The Big Short as their best picture. And if producers don’t have the pulse of their own industry, who does?

So I’m going against the movie with all the momentum (The Revenant). Here’s how I see it all shaking out:


Bryan Cranston, Trumbo Matt Damon, The Martian Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Gir

Who will win: DiCaprio. This has been snowballing for some time. It’s not his best performance, or his second-best performance, or the bronze medal, but voters believe it’s time. When you put DiCaprio’s mug on the one-sheet poster of your own movie, you’ll be able to buy your own Malibu property within two weeks of the movie opening. He’s over 40 now, and with an Oscar, he checks off everything a movie star needs to remain bankable, and the business knows it.


Cate Blanchett, Carol Brie Larson, Room Jennifer Lawrence, Joy Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn 

Who will win: Larson. Easiest category to predict. A few months back I met and chatted with an actual Hollywood studio head (predictably, he wanted to talk sports with me, and I wanted to talk movies), and when I asked if he’d seen anything recently that blew him away, he immediately mentioned Room, and in particular, Larson’s performance. I’m going with the insider on this one.


Christian Bale, The Big Short Tom Hardy, The Revenant Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Who will win: Stallone. Don’t call it a comeback. He’s been here for years.


Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight Rooney Mara, Carol Rachel McAdams, Spotlight Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Who will win: Vikander. Admittedly, I’m going with the crowd here. Would like to see Jennifer Jason Leigh take this little statue home, but not this year.


Anomalisa Boy and the World Inside Out Shaun the Sheep Movie When Marnie Was There 

Who will win: Inside Out. Full disclosure here: I once owned Pixar stock, and that didn’t suck.


Carol The Hateful Eight Mad Max: Fury Road The Revenant Scare

Who will win: The Revenant. The elements are beautifully and brutally captured in The Revenant. The greatest strength of that picture. You can tell from the trailer alone.


Carol Cinderella The Danish Girl Mad Max: Fury Road The Revenant 

Who will win: Mad Max. Don’t f-ck this up, Academy. The obvious choice is the best one. The director told his costume department “I want batsh-t crazy” … and they DELIVERED.


Amy Cartel Land The Look of Silence What Happened, Miss Simone? Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Who will win: Amy. When a documentary is so well received it’s offered as an in-flight movie, it’s got a good shot at Oscar.


Body Team 12 Chau, beyond the Lines Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness Last Day of Freedom 

Who will win: Body Team 12. Could see “Spectres of the Shoah” here, too.


The Big Short Mad Max: Fury Road The Revenant Spotlight Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who will win: Mad Max. All that footage of blood, explosions, desert, minimalist dialogue, and cutaways of Charlize was sewn together into heart-thumping entertainment. What a runner’s pace they maintained here. There must have been moments where the editor(s) thought, “How do I make two hours of a car chase feel fresh at the 50 minute … 90 minute … 110 minute marks?” and he/she/they absolutely nailed it.


Embrace of the Serpent Mustang Son of Saul Theeb A War 

Who will win: Son of Saul. This one has some buzz going in. Otherwise I’d just be throwing darts at the titles here blindfolded, and hoping I hit one.


Mad Max: Fury Road The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared The Revenant 

Who will win: Mad Max. That lunatic with the flaming guitar looked like a member of KISS who dumps his face in a bucket of acid every morning.


Bridge of Spies Carol The Hateful Eight Scary Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who will win: The Hateful Eight. The new Star Wars score had the original to riff from, and the rest of the field didn’t wow me.


“Earned It,” Fifty Shades of Grey “Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction “Simple Song #3,” Youth “Til It Happens To You,” The Hunting Ground “Writing’s On The Wall,” Specter 

Who will win: ’Til It Happens To You. No way the Academy is going to award Fifty Shades of Grey anything on Oscar night. They’ll give it to Lady Gaga instead.


Bridge of Spies The Danish Girl Mad Max: Fury Road The Martian The Revenant 

Who will win: Mad Max. They didn’t just build a set. They built a new world. In many cases the vehicles were more important characters than the actors.


Bear Story Prologue Sanjay’s Super Team We Can’t Live without Cosmos World of Tomorrow 

Who will win: Bear Story. Could see World of Tomorrow here too, due to the name recognition.


Ave Maria Day One Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut) Show Stutterer 

Who will win: Stutterer. But Day One is a real player here as well. An Afghan-American woman on her first day as an interpreter with the U.S. Military is a nice, tidy, high-concept short.


Mad Max: Fury Road The Martian The Revenant Scare Star Wars: The Force Awakens 

Who will win: Mad Max. There were just so many audio tracks to put together. Screams. Exhaust. Gunfire. Actual fire. It’s a noisy movie, but it all make sense on the screen.


Bridge of Spies Mad Max: Fury Road The Martian The Revenant Star Wars: The Force Awakens 

Who will win: Revenant. This one was the toughest to choose. Experience tells me The Revenant, my gut says Mad Max. With sound mixing, it’s what sound you hear above the rest in big moments and small. Again, Mad Max is a lot of noise that works. But Revenant pulls out sounds from the wilderness.


Ex Machine Mad Max: Fury Road The Martian The Revenant Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Who will win: Max Max. For the sandstorm, and the seamlessness between the “that must-be-illegal” stunts and the nip/tucks of the special fx around them. Kudos to all the below-the-line staffers on this movie (everyone but the producers/director/actors). They brought their A-game.


The Big Short Brooklyn Carol The Martian Room

Who will win: The Big Short. Makes you laugh, Makes you want to lead an angry mob down to Wall Street. You can put this movie in a time capsule labeled “2008” because it deftly encapsulates the financial crisis. And it takes an ages-old story — big business screws the little guy, and almost everybody is the little guy — and puts an innovative spin on it. Every producer in La La Land is looking for that. As funny as the explanations are, the fact that the script had a character that was almost relatable (Steve Carell) — a finance king with a guilty conscience?!? — was the most surprising, and welcome, part of the picture.


Bridge of Spies Ex Machine Inside Out Spotlight Straight Outta Compton 

Who will win: Spotlight. When I look at this category I ask: “What script is so good they could have made it on a minuscule shoot budget without any stars, and still put together a winner?”

Under that criteria, one original script stands apart from the rest. A true story of just shocking evil and the perils of faith in the church. Each character in this ensemble cast gets a moment to remind us of that, while also showing how burningly efficient they are at their jobs.


Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) 

Adam McKay (The Big Short) 

George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road) 

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant) 

Lenny Abrahamson (Room) 

Who will win: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. All that suffering in the name of story. For every one minute of screen time, it took 60 minutes of somebody feeling a chill in their bones to make it work. He cut no corners out there. Neither did Leo, or his crew. Back to that studio head conversation I had: During our discussion he admitted that most movie directors have a “prime” not unlike a pro athlete, a 2-4 picture run that’s truly special, and obviously as a producer you want to catch that creative just as he’s entering that stage. With back-to-back directing Oscars, Alejandro is rolling, and at the same time, I wonder how much he has left.


The Big Short 

Bridge of Spies 


Mad Max: Fury Road 

The Martian 

The Revenant 



Who will win: The Big Short. I know, The Revenant is a heavy favorite. Most are predicting a big night for it — the lead, the director and the production all walking off with Oscars. But remember, producers move mountains behind the scenes, and they honored The Big Short. When Carell ends the movie at his Fifth Avenue penthouse apartment by glumly answering “Sell it all,” I remember thinking “That’s the movie of the year.” I’m going against the tide here. We’ll see.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 30th to Aussie actress Teresa Palmer, who appears in Triple 9, which is being released today. How’s that for a way to celebrate?

Starting Five

There did happen to be two other men in the debate, but this is as wide as the CNN lens went

1. GOPnado

Wow, what an—Polish workers—incredible—Polish workers—debate from Houston, even if only 60% of the GOP candidates were invited. A few of the highlights:

“Can somebody attack me, please?” –Ben Carson gets off the line of the debate, if not of his entire campaign.

Marco Rubio constantly jabbing Trump with “Polish workers” and asking what “Lines around the states” actually means.

Carson flashing his hands as if this were the measurements portion of a GOP Combine, noting that a film was made about them.

Now, shake those appendages, Dr. Carson. That’s it! Jazz Hands!

John Kasich basically telling radical Christian conservatives to get over themselves about baking wedding cakes for gay couples: “If you are in commerce, do commerce, and maybe pray for them later.”

Donald Trump: “Bigly.” (although he may have been saying “big league.”)

Marco Rubio: “Palestinians are not a real-estate deal.” Actually, Marco, that’s kind of what the entire discord is all about.

Ted Cruz, when told by Trump that he will not “allow people without health care to die in the streets,” wonders who will pay for it.

Carson: “The fruit salad of our lives.”

Anderson Cooper congratulates colleagues Wolf Blitzer and Dana Bash on the debate. Wasn’t that their job?

2. Bench Reps-utation

Terron hopes to play running back in the NFL.

At Indianapolis’s other combine, the National Scouting Combine, Terron Beckham bench-presses 225 pounds 44 times. No one has ever done that many reps at the NFL Combine who was not an interior lineman, and only five of them have exceeded that. Ever. Odell’s cousin, who is the same age as he (23), never got into a college game (he quit after half a season at a D-3 school near Baltimore, but some NFL team is going to at worst sign him as a free agent.

3. Lone Star

Ridgeway is the lone Longhorn in Indy this weekend.

At this weekend’s NFL Combine in Indy, Southern Utah has three players: defensive end James Cowser, strong safety Miles Killebrew and cornerback LeShawn Sims. Harvard has two players, tight end Ben Braunecker and offensive tackle Cole Tone . The University of Texas has one, defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway.

4. “Make It Precipitate!”

“A Popeye’s organization.”

Two nights ago, but Trevor Noah crushed Dr. Ben Carson on The Daily Show for saying that Barack Obama “did not grow up black.” Funny, funny stuff.

5. FIFA, Foe, Fum

In a totally unrelated matter, Samantha Hoopes (above) is still wondering, “Wait, you put Ronda Rousey and that chunky gal on the cover and not me?!? WTF?”

Okay, question. Tokyo Sexwale: FIFA presidential candidate or illicit fetish euphemism from Better Call Saul? Answer: FIFA. Sexwale and Jerome Champagne (no, really) are both candidates in today’s FIFA presidential election in Zurich, although the favorite seems to be still Sepp Blatter Sheik Salman Bin Ebrahim El Khalifa, whose first order of business if elected will be to say, “Please, everybody, call me ‘Sal.'”

Also, worth noting that the Albuquerque Isotopes announced that they will be wearing these BCS-themed jerseys for their August 6 home game. “You will atone!”


Good player, bad sport.

I guess we shouldn’t let the weekend begin without noting Grayson Allen’s punk work last night in Durham. I’ll hand it off to The Big Lead here to discuss. Will only add that this, to quote young Mr. Allen himself, is “(bleeping) bulls(bleep).”
Notice the criminal mind of Allen, acting as if he’s innocent and walking over to help the FSU player up as if it were an accident. And notice how the Seminole player gets up and does not accept Allen’s offer to assist him.

Music 101

Carry On

Today is Phoenix native and The Format alum Nate Reuss’s 34th birthday. Here’s one of his two breakout hits from 2012 with Fun. It peaked at No. 20. Love Nate Reuss, love that incredible voice of his.

Remote Patrol

The Oscars


ABC 8ish p.m.

Chris Rock returns as host. Leo as supposedly a 1 to 50 favorite to win Best Actor (you bet $500 to win $10). “Spotlight” has a chance at Best Picture, but “Spawtlight” does not. And as I’ve said before, if the bungee-cord hanging guitarist from Mad Max: Fury Road is not incorporated somehow into the proceedings, then that’s a major, major fail.

Did that dude even have a name? And how soon until Velvet Revolver signs him?

by John Walters

A Medium Happy 50th to Tea Leoni, whose name sounds like a dessert. Who wants to lick the spoon?

Starting Five

Macura: product placement.

1. X-Men

No. 5 Xavier defeated No. 1 Villanova 90-83 in a Catholic clash in Cincinnati. We aren’t all that excited about it because we all knew that the Wildcats are not the best team in the country. J.P. Macura came off the bench to score 19 for the Mouseketeers.

2. Morning Joke?

I used to occasionally tune in to Morning Joe on MSNBC, but then this happened: Russell Brand eviscerated Mika after she treated him rudely (“Joining us now…he’s a really big deal….I know; I’m told this”). Now, Joe and Mika are in hot water for their cushy relationship with The Trumpster, which was literally amplified by hot mic comments last weekend in which they sounded a little too cozy with him. Why it was Ned Flanders (a.k.a. Harry Shearer) who broke this news is a little odd, though.

3. Back Home Again In Indiana

One of the more intriguing prospects at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis this week: Harvard offensive lineman Cole Toner. The Greenwood, Indiana, native stands 6’7″ and is 300 pounds. Chances are that the Wonderlic test will not be his undoing.

4. “If I Hadn’t Gotten Married, An Apartment Like This Would Be My Life—And If I Hadn’t Made It.”

One of the better CCC episodes because our host, Jerry Seinfeld, is perfectly comfortable with a pair of comics who aren’t all that successful: Kathleen Madigan and Chuck Martin. This is as close as CCC comes to Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer taking a road trip to visit the Bubble Boy (p.s. Don’t feel bad, Chuck: your pad is way sweeter than mine).

5. Everybody Loves Draymond?

When they do the “30 for 30” on this Warriors season, last night’s 118-112 win at Miami will merit its own minute. With both teams trading one-point leads in the final 3 minutes, Stephen Curry (42 points) took and buried a pair of far-off-the-line threes from the top of the key. What made each stand out is that he did so courtesy of a pick from Draymond Green, both of which were illegal. The first was a moving screen, and the second was most definitely an offensive foul. Watch for yourselves (starting at 1:48).

Yes, I’m THAT GUY who insists that games be played by the rules. How annoying.

Music 101

The Ghost Within

You have to admire a band that has the nerve to name themselves And You Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead. You’re putting a toe tag on your career before it ever gets off the ground, but this 21st century act doesn’t care. This tune is from 2014.

Remote Patrol

The Longest Day

8 p.m. TCM

Tonight you can watch The Duke on TCM, or Duke on ESPN….

The story of the D-Day invasion, seen through the prisms of both the Allies and the Third Reich. John Wayne, Richard Burton, Sean Connery, Eddie Albert, Robert Mitchum, Peter Lawford, Roddy McDowell, Fabian and Paul Anka, among others, star. I like to think of it as English Channel’s Eleven. A classic.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 50th to Billy Zane, a.k.a. Cal. Sure, there’s room on the lifeboat for you.

Starting Five

Bryn Forbes sunk 7 of 10 three-pointers to pace Sparty in Columbus.

1. Holding Serve

On a wet and dreary Monday evening (at least here in the East), No. 2 Kansas and No. 6 Michigan State win on the road, while No. 16 Kentucky easily dispatches upstart Alabama at home. All three teams coached by men who have won a natty and none of whom, Doug G.,  will be retiring after the season.  Also, LSU lost by 20 to an unranked team, the Hogs. Ben Simmons is going NIT unless the Tigers win the SEC tourney.

2. Basque in Glory

Merci, Messi!

FC Barcelona and Arsenal were scoreless through 70 minutes of the first leg of their Round  of 16 Champions League match at Emirates Stadium in London yesterday. Then Lionel Messi, the best practitioner of his craft of any athlete in any sport right now (perhaps only Stephen Curry and Novak Djokovic are close), scored 2 goals in the next nine minutes for Barca. Messi now has 303 goals in 336 appearances for Barca, which is ree-dick!

3. Grizzly, Man

Glass half-full? On the bright side, the bear doesn’t finish him…

When you saw The Revenant, if you saw The Revenant, was there ever a scene where you asked yourself, Haven’t I seen this movie before? Like, maybe a dozen times. I did. I saw aspects of Platoon, The Beach, Gladiator, The Empire Strikes Back and Grizzly Man in it. Think about it. Or just read my piece in Newsweek.

4. Better Watch Better Call Saul

It’s show time!

I went back and watched the first season of Better Call Saul all over again in the past week (related: it’s late February on the East Coast). Appreciate it even more now, and realize that we can now add both Chicago Sun Roof and Hoboken Squat Cobbler to our lexicon.

The weakest episode, if there is one, is the pilot. The strongest two in my opinion are “Five-O,” the sixth episode, which traces Mike’s final night in Philadelphia, and “Pimento,” the ninth episode, which is where Jimmy has his “I know it was you, Fredo,” moment with Chuck.

The Kettlemans. I think I’d rather tussle with Tuco than with Betsy.

In one season the producers established not only so much depth to each character (I love when Howard Hamlin  realizes how much Jimmy has sacrificed for his big bro every single morning), but took us on a wild coaster ride what with Tuco, the Kettlemans, the cops back in Philly and Sandpiper. By the way, try and persuade me that his character is not named after Harry Hamlin, who played the kind of arrogant d-bag attorney on L.A. Law that we are led to believe Howard is through most of the first season.

If you haven’t gotten behind BCS yet, or are worried that it is not going to measure up to Breaking Bad, I urge you to give it another try. Bob Odenkirk and Michael McKean are doing wonderful work (and Julie Ann Emery, who plays Betsy Kettleman is absolutely perfect in her role–and I do try to avoid using that term).

5. “Huuuuuuuuuuuuuge!”

Trump’s success in the primaries is beginning to incite a fuhrer. Heil, Donald

In Nevada, Donald Trump defeats Cruzbio by getting a greater percentage of delegates (45.9%) than the two of them combined (23.9% and 21.4%, which as no Trump voter can tell you adds up to 45.4%). Trump’s latest boast is that he loves the “poorly educated.” And there’s nothing wrong with you if you didn’t have an opportunity to have a good education. It just feels as if so many of Trump’s fans did have that opportunity and just opted not to take advantage of it. Welcome to the Fourth Reich, people.

Music 101


Oh, soft rock doesn’t get any better than this (Is that a paradoxical statement?). In 1975 Michael Martin Murphey provided the musical answer to the question that the band America had posed a few years earlier, specifically, How can you have a horse with no name? This classic hit No. 3 in 1975. Good times, those.

Remote Patrol

No. 1 Villanova at No. 5 Xavier

7 p.m. FS1

Josh Hart is Villanova’s leading scorer and rebounder, and he’s come a long, long way since 40 Days and 40 Nights.

Do you really believe that the Kitty Cats or the Mouseketeers are Top 5 teams? Of course not! But this should still be fun one from Cincinnati. Remember Friedman’s First Law of Sports: There are no home upsets in college basketball.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 21st to Andrew Wiggins….


…a Medium Happy 20th to D’Angelo Russell.

Starting Five

Give ’em hell, Tim

1. Apple Core Beliefs

A long, long time ago, Eve took a bite out of the apple. And now the FBI wants to do the same.

People: 9/11 could have been easily prevented. More than a few astute, insightful FBI investigators filed reports to their superiors about Arabs taking flying lessons in different parts of the USA. But here’s the problem: nobody listened. Because nobody wanted to upset the status quo.

Fifteen years later, you’re telling us that it’s worth compromising a company’s ethos (not just any company, but the world’s most successful company, which happens to be based in the U.S.) so that the FBI, which has no clue if there is any real information in this dead mass murderer’s phone, can suss out if there may be a terrorist attack on the horizon? And not just a company’s integrity, but also that of the U.S. Constitution?

What ever happened to all that, “If we change the way we live, the terrorists have won” rhetoric?

Last thing: the same Justice Department that couldn’t find the evidence or will to lock up a single Wall Street banker after 2008-09 now has the will to break the law in order to keep us safe? Thanks, but no thanks. Do your jobs. And this time, listen to your agents in the field.

2. Hoboken Squat Cobbler

Really, now, would he make something like this up?

Jimmy gotta be Jimmy. What our hero in Santa Fe is quickly discovering is that the partner-track world is lucrative but also zzzzzzzz. Especially if you don’t bring your acoustic guitar to the office. So he takes a side job because, let’s face it, Jimmy McGill not conning people is like Chuck McGill visiting Best Buy.

Here’s the back story of how the term evolved, and why there may not be as many pies at your local bakery this weekend.

3. Definitely Mabrey

Meet the Mabrey sisters of Belmar, N.J. (Yes, that’s where Jersey Shore takes place) and Notre Dame. Michaela (23), a senior, buried three pointers in last night’s 73-66 win at No. 2 Florida State, while Marina (3), a freshman, also made three pointers in the game.

Michaela is a starter while Marina is the first or second player off the bench.

FOB (Friend of Blog) Ken Fowler points out that since the beginning of the 2013-14 season, the Fighting Irish are now 99-1 versus all teams not named UConn. They have more losses in national championship games versus the Huskies (2) in that span than they do against the entire rest of their schedule (lone non-UConn defeat was last year at Miami).

4. “Where’s Roscoe?!?”

Here in New York City, we have a famous and beloved bed bug-fighting pooch. Apparently he has no equal in the Dust Bowl state, as Kyrie Irving was forced to miss Cleveland’s game at OKC at Sunday because of bed bug bites (Cleveland still won, 115-92). The hotel was the Skirvin Hilton, which is reputed to be haunted by a maid who committed suicide years ago.

Either way, we mention all of this mainly so we can provide Stephen Douglas’ (of The Big Lead worldwide renown) tweet: “In a show of solidarity with the basketball team, the hotels in OKC never have more than 2-stars.”

5. “And Your Coming Back To Me/Is Apparently NOT Against All Odds…”

Take a look at me now, Phil says

Eighties pop song genius Phil Collins and ex-wife Orianne, who divorced in 2008 and set a British alimony record at $46.7 million, are apparently headed back to the altar. She is not an easy lover, but something happened on the way to heaven.

Music 101

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

The first single from Pat Benatar, who was born Patricia Andrzejewski in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Which is where Girls is now set. If Hannah and the gals had been around in 1980, they’d have been listening to this hit when it reached No. 9.

Remote Patrol

Champions League: Arsenal vs FC Barcelona

2:30 p.m. FS1

No one has told Ozil that he can’t really fly.

Forget what the cable news shows say: TODAY is Super Tuesday. The Champions League does not really begin until the Round of 16, and today’s first match features defending champs FC Barcelona (Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar) at Arsenal at Emirates Stadium in London. The Gunners are currently in third place in the Premier League with Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud.

5. Models Only 

And this ISN’T televised?

Welcome to the 7th annual LeSutra Model Volleyball Tournament in, of course, Miami Beach. Coed teams from Miami’s hottest modeling agencies hit the sand last weekend for a tournament and I honestly can’t understand how neither ESPN2 or FS1 got their grubby little fingers on the TV rights. We don’t know who won. And we don’t care.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy birthday to Jeri Ryan. Seven of Nine turns 48.

Starting Five

*Note: Today is Medium Happy’s 1,111th post. We’re No. 1 and 1 and 1 and 1, for a day.

A photo of the photo finish…. (Hamlin in the near car wins by the width of a FedEx envelope)

1. By A Fender

At the Daytona 500, Denny Hamlin beat Martin Truex and raced past three of his Toyota teammates on the final lap. Hamlin, who when he was seven years old wrote a letter stating, “I want to win the Daytona 500” (as opposed to those of us who wrote, “I want to attend PowerPoint presentations in the conference room”), won by 0.01 of a second. It’s the narrowest NASCAR finish since they introduced computer chip timing in 1993.

Truly an incredible final lap, if you haven’t seen. And Matthew Kenseth (lime car) will be kicking himself forever for having gone up too high to block Hamlin, who nabs his first victory in the Great American Race.

2. Tragedy In Kalamazoo

While in the midst of his Uber shift, 45 year-old white male Jason Dalton shoots six people to death at various locations and gravely wounds two others. Then he heads off to a bar. There is no known motive other than the thrill of shooting human beings.

But, you know, Dalton is white and he doesn’t belong to part of a larger organization (and by “belong,” of course, we mean, share their ideas on jihad) intent on harming you, so everyone can relax. He’s not ISIS; he’s just ‘MERICA! He’s one of us; not one of them. So that’s probably a big relief to the families of the six people he murdered.

3. The Best Women’s Team West of UConn AND The Yukon

Mullings, an Arizona native, is the leading scorer and rebounder for the Anchorage-based Seawolves.

After her first collegiate game at South Mountain (Phoenix) Community College, a scrimmage versus Division II University of Alaska Anchorage, Megan Mullings met the opposing team’s coach, Ryan McCarthy, who at the time was 29 and had just coached his first college game. McCarthy told Mullings that some day he hoped she played for him.

Mullins spent two years at SMCC, then transferred to the UAA. In her two seasons with the Seawolves, the team is 59-3. They’re 30-1 this season and ranked No. 1 in the nation in D-2. My story in Newsweek.

4. Motor-ious!

The Pistons wore jerseys that read “MOTOR CITY” and yet it was New Orleans’ Anthony Davis who plowed into overdrive, scoring 59 points and collecting 20 rebounds in last night’s 111-106 win.

Davis shot 24 of 34 from the field.

Not only was it a career-high for Davis, it was the highest point total in the NBA this season. Only two other players have ever scored more than 55 points and grabbed at least 20 rebounds in one game: Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O’Neal.

5. Aloha Means Goodbye

Honolulu native and surfing legend Brock Little passed away due to liver cancer this weekend at the age of 48. Little was well-loved in the surfing community for having a fantastic sense of humor and maintaining his humility. He never bought into that entire tao of surfing thing. He said that he did it because it was fun. That he did nothing for a living but surf and that someone happened to drop checks in his mailbox because of it.

I’ve always felt that big wave surfers live a little more than the rest of us do. Without use of any motors, they experience thrills and danger the rest of us never do (and let’s be clear: I don’t want to). Little lived a lot. Aloha, Brock.


Music 101

Home and Dry

In 1978 Scotsman Gerry Rafferty released the album City to City, which featured No. 2 Billboard hit “Baker Street” (best sax into to any pop song?), the No. 12 hit “Right Down the Line,” and then this tune, which, sure, is EZ Listening, but it goes down smooth. It peaked at No. 28. If you don’t know any of these songs, you may know an earlier hit of his, “Stuck In The Middle With You,” that is prominently featured in Reservoir Dogs.

Remote Patrol

Better Call Saul

10 p.m. AMC

Chac cac co, ladies!” Can a con man from Cicero, Illinois, find happiness and contentment in Santa Fe, a.k.a. “The City Different?” Will Slippin’ Jimmy fall in love with the art galleries on Canyon Road? Will he partake in Zozobra? A summer subscription to the Santa Fe Opera? All too soon to tell, but chances are our anti-hero will soon find himself missing his old office and home in the back of the nail salon. Cucumber water for customers, only!



A Medium Happy birthday to Nicolaus Copernicus, the father of heliocentrism. Copernicus and Galileo have birthdays in the same week, somewhat orbiting one another. This also indicates that nobody all that hot has a birthday today.

Starting Five

You call him the Holy Father; Trump just sees another Latino crossing the border into Texas.

1. Toyota Harrumph-athon!

Pope Francis vs. Donald Trump.

Pope Francis, in El Paso:  “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not very Christian.” See, the Pope is for improving our infrasctructure, too. The Trump replies that The Pope is “disgraceful.” And then Jerry Falwell, Jr., says that “John F. Kennedy would be rolling over in his graver right now” over the Pope’s comments.

Let’s be fair to The Pope, shall we? He was asked if he believes The Trump should be president, and he clearly replied, ” “I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that…”

Falwell “A douche says what?”

To which Falwell, Jr., replied, “Here’s the Pope saying we have to choose the leaders — sounds like he’s saying this — that share his faith.” Which, of course, is exactly not what the Pope said at all.

If you’re playing at home, How far will the Far Right, the fringe of the Conservative Party who believes they’ve cornered the market on Christianity, go to protect their political interests? They’ll tell the leader of the Catholic Church to stay in his lane. Wonderful.

Trump: “If and when ISIS attacks the Vatican, the Pope will wish that Donald Trump had been elected president.” Then later, when Trump had calmed down, he joked, “If it’s good I like the Pope; if it’s bad, I don’t like the Pope.” ( <–That’s what you should have originally said, Donald).

I mean, the nerve of the Pope to claim that a serial philanderer, a man who has been divorced twice because of adultery, who is infamous for not paying his vendors and contractors, and who basically labeled an entire nation of people as “rapists and drug dealers,” the nerve of the Pope to assert that such behavior is “not Christian.” Who does he think he is? The Pope?

2. Toyota Harrumph-athon! (Continued)

“Orange who?” “Orange you glad we devoted 12,000 words to a serial rapist cop?”

Chris Warcraft vs Clay Travis. I don’t even have the energy for this one, but you can watch it if you like.

Endangered dolphins vs. idiot narcissists with selfie sticks. Makes me too upset to even post the picture; I just hope every human in it dies soon, and painfully.

SB Nation vs. everybody. A sympathetic, 12,000-word story about a convicted rapist who’s a cop who preyed mostly on female minorities?  Of course we should run that! Kudos to SB Nation editorial director Spencer Hall for a forthright and unqualified apology. On the other hand, methinks he’ll be a tad less snarky on Twitter in the coming weeks.

Not the finest day in the history of the republic, yesterday.

3. Pearl Harbor Plunge

One person is in critical condition after this civilian Bell helicopter with at least five people aboard plunged into Pearl Harbor yesterday. Another five to ten yards closer to the bystanders, and it would have been a lot worse for everyone. No reason as of yet for the crash. The accident occurred just 1000 yards or so from the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial.

4. Born To Run

Ostrander may be part deer.

If you have not already, meet Allie Ostrander, a freshman at Boise State University. Last fall she finished second at the NCAA Cross Country National Championships. This winter she is breaking Mountain West Conference indoor track records and has run the fastest indoor 3,000 and 5,000 times n the entire nation.

But that, as they say, is not all: Ostrander (whose name autocorrects to “Stranger” and will drive all of us Mac users insane) hails from Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, on which is staged the annual Fourth of July Mount Marathon race. She won the race as a junior six consecutive times (often beating both all boys and girls) and last summer, in her debut as a senior, she broke the 25 year-old course record (the race has been staged since 1915).

Rumor has it that Ostrander chose Boise State over Oregon because the latter would not allow her to continue competing in Mount Marathon. Hey, Pablo Torre, how do I submit one of those “30 For 30 Short” pitch ideas?

5. Les Grizzerables

This did not sit well with Susie B., we imagine.

On the last day that NBA trades could be made this season, the Memphis Grizzlies, who already have Matt Barnes (“And I would drive 100 miles/And I would drive 100 more/Just to be the man bead Derek Fisher/The man whom I do most abhor”), Zach Randolph and Tony Allen, acquired serial earhole blower Lance Stephenson. Let The Big Lead provide more details here

Question: Do you know the name of the Memphis Grizzlies’ coach? I didn’t (it’s Dave Joerger). But does it matter? My guess is that Joerger’s most commonly used phrase is, “C’mon, guys!”

Music 101

Sin City

This is vintage. With Bon Scott as lead singer AC/DC makes an early appearance on The Midnight Special in 1978, introduced by Steven Tyler and Ted Nugent (we didn’t know how good we had it, he says for the thousandth time). Angus Young does his Angus Young thing, and the satchel is a nice touch.

Remote Patrol

The Walking Dead


9 p.m. AMC

The Parent Trap

Zombie, please. Last Sunday’s Zombie Gettysburg (in Alexandria) coupled with Daryl’s one-shot incineration of Negan’s biker gang will not soon be topped. This week could be the equivalent of that slow song right after “Rock Lobster” at the junior high dance. But we’ll have to tune in to find out, and I imagine the producers will at least give us a taste as to what’s in store for us with Negan, whom we have yet to meet.



by John Walters

A Medium Happy 66th to Maddie Hayes herself, Cybil Shepherd

Starting Five

The Blue Devils now have two Top 10 wins in the past five days by a total of 2 points.

1. All Fall Down

For only the fourth time in 20 years, a trio of Top 5 teams fall on the same night: No. 3 Oklahoma loses at Texas Tech, No. 4 Iowa loses at Penn State and No. 5 North Carolina loses at home to—hate to say it but it’s true—gritty Duke.  Not a single timeout was called in the final 3:52 of the Boo Devils-Tar Heels game. It was a thing of beauty as Duke wins, 74-73.

Top 5 teams have now lost 33 times this season. Enjoy your brackets next month.

2. Bill Is Back! (Sorta)

Everyone’s favorite 2016 star who went into exile (after David Letterman and Jon Stewart), Bill Simmons, announced yesterday that he is starting a new sports and pop culture website called The Ringer. He was going to call it “Die, Roger Goodell, Die” but that URL was taken. I don’t if the The Ringer will launch early enough for 5,000-word recaps on the new Gilmore Girls series, but a boy can dream.

3. “Clutch” Interview

You either love Derek Jeter, loathe Derek Jeter (because his Advanced Stats are so poor) or are dating Derek Jeter. Anyway, he did this interview with Joe Buck yesterday on DirecTV that isn’t going to help the haters hate him less. We true believers know they’re all just jealous (I’d read this explanation as to why if I were you; it’s “The Ringer”-worthy).

4. Dadpool

The star of Deadpool AND Van Wilder. Remember when he and the star of Castle and the girl from Monk were all on the same TV show?

I’ve told this story before but for those of you who have not heard it: Early February, 2008. I’m at a restaurant in Hollywood, sort of a locals-only spot, that has just four seats at the bar. I’m seated there waiting for my table. And lo and behold, Ryan Reynolds walks in and sits at the bar with some girl. I don’t even notice her because RR is a rather dashing figure.

Later on my friend Moose joins me and I whisper to her, “Pssst, Ryan Reynolds.” And Moose replies, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Look at who’s with him, dumbass. The woman sitting next to you. It’s Scarlett Johansson.”

True story.

5. Flori-Duh?

Robinson’s defense: He stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

We need a judges’ ruling on whether this is “Flori-Duh” or not. An 18 year-old in Fort Lauderdale who may have watched Catch Me If You Can too many times poses as a doctor twice in a 12-month period, posing as “Dr. Robinson” and giving gynecological exams at a holistic health clinic. I admire both the moxie and the ambition.

Why did the young man, Malachi Love-Robinson, pose as a doctor twice? I’m guessing because his patients were seeking a second opinion. And if that’s his real name, why didn’t he pose as Dr. Love? He’d have his own theme song.

Kate Bock in SI (just because)

In the immortal words of Radar O’Reilly, “Ah, Bock!” (some of my jokes are only for people over the age of 45)

Music 101

Cover Me Up

I don’t know too much about Jason Isbell except that he used to be in Drive By Truckers and that a lot of folks who live below the Mason-Dixon Line, love college football and are on my Twitter timeline would lay down their lives for him. So here is the Green Hill, Alabama, native performing on Austin City Limits.

Remote Patrol

Wisconsin at Michigan State

9 p.m. ESPN

Valentine’s Week?

Sparty (21-5) is ranked 8th but three of their five losses are by one point and the other two were to Iowa. Wisconsin has a better conference record but the Badgers are only 16-9 and unranked. Bucky really needs this win. A pair of studs in Denzel Valentine and Nigel Hayes on a pair of teams that advanced to the Final Four last April.



by John Walters

A Medium Happy 53rd to our favorite Birmingham Baron, Michael Jordan.

Starting Five

Sorry, Al Stewart, 2016 does not appear to be the Year of the Cats.

1. Not Again, Northwestern

On December 30 Northwestern opened its B1G tour with an 81-72 win at Nebraska to move to 13-1. The Wildcats, as you may know, hosted the very first Final Four on their campus in Evanston (1939) but have never, ever, ever been to the Big Dance. And, well, nearly 7 weeks ago, fans had a right to feel somewhat optimistic.

Last night the Kitties lost at Purdue, 71-61, their 9th loss in the past 13 games. Northwestern is now 17-9 on on the outside looking in for a tourney berth. Chicago’s second-most famous sports drought looks as if it will continue. Maybe they should be using the Veep’s son more. Charlie Hall is low man on the team in terms of minutes.

2. Ode to Kanye

I did this in about two minutes. Perhaps it shows:

Don’t take no time,

To bust a rhyme,

In any clime,

A message sublime,

But your lyrics are meaningless,

The words, they demeaning us,

Imploring and teasing us,

Inciting and Yeaz-ing us,

Don’t take no college dropout,

For wisdom to pop out,

Of your mouth with a cop out,

While wanting a handout,

A bailout, a flop-out,

This ain’t no recital,

Drop your album on Tidal,

While acting infantile,

With a sneer and a smile,

You taking a beating,

For your whining, your Tweeting,

140 characters self-defeating,

The crying, the bleating,

So now you retreating?

Cuz haters retweeting?

3. Pope Vs. Juarez

Today, thanks to the overwhelming success of Telenovela, Pope Francis visits Juarez, Mexico, which is just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas. Juarez has been called, deservedly, the Murder Capitol of the World. It is Ground Zero for the drug war. That’s one brave pope. Yesterday a man in the crowd attempted to pull him toward him, wouldn’t let him go, and got a papal scolding. I don’t think the pope will return to Mexico, but then again, he’s 78.

This is not a blessing the Pope is delivering.

4. Saul ‘tof the Earth

Mid-February on the East Coast, this looks like a delightful alternative.

A couple more things on the Season 2 premiere of Better Call  Saul that we forgot to cover: First, notice the symmetry between the first and last scene: Jimmy is trapped, to a degree, in a room that makes him uncomfortable. In each room there is a switch or lever he can press. In Omaha, he does not take the chance for fear of alerting the cops to his identity. In Santa Fe, he breaks the rule and flicks the switch (nothing seems to happen).

Also, don’t you get the feeling that “SG WAS HERE” may come back to haunt him?

Also, note the name that he uses as the resort: “Mr. Cumstein.” That’s a call back to a scene from Caddyshack. Mr. Gilligan is a playful writer.

Finally, it was easy to see why the po po would be suspicious, but how did they know to look behind the love seat? Because it was the only part of the room not in shambles? Odd.

5. What’s the Matter, Horn?

Might Emily be a long-lost relative of the MH staff?

This is SI Swimsuit model Emily DiDonato, who was born in New York and whose great-grandparents immigrated here from Italy. Our grandmother was named DiDonato, lived in New York, and either she or her parents immigrated here from Italy (we know, we should know this for sure; we’ll do some fact-checking later). It’s clear who got all the good genes.

Anyway, we’re going to take a little familial pride in Emily’s success and we may stop throwing those reunion invites immediately into the garbage. Meanwhile, neither one of our two favorites, Nina Agdal or Samantha Hoopes, garnered their first covers this year, which we feel is just below a crime against humanity. Just….

Hopes: This is a pose that says, “Hi, Susie B.”

Music 101

Ferry Cross the Mersey

This 1965 single by Gerry and The Pacemakers rose to No. 6 on the Billboard charts, a testament to how much people at the time cared about commuting. The Mersey is the major river you see when you’re in Liverpool, England, which you should really visit once in your life.

Remote Patrol

Duke at North Carolina

9 p.m. ESPN

Marcus Paige

Not as much heat surrounding this rivalry as in years past, but the Boo Devils (No. 20, 19-6) are coming off their best win of the season while the Tar Heels (No. 5, 21-4)are coming off two losses, followed by a 3-point win at ACC-winless B.C., and then finally a decent win against Pitt. Does it feel as if every year the Heels have one 1st team All-American kinda guy (Marcus Paige) but that they’re just not a team that people don’t talk about the way they used to?