“I know what you’re thinking: Is he turning 85 or is he turning 86 today? Well, in all the excitement, I kind of forgot myself. You gotta ask yourself, Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya’, punk?
1. The Amazing Adventures of Cavaliers and Klay
Game 7 was terrific, but Game 6 between Golden State and OKC was the game for the ages. Defending champs, on the road, down 9 to begin the fourth quarter, and still trailing by seven with under six minutes to go, and they pulled it out. Klay Thompson‘s playoff career-high 41-point game, in which he stroked a playoff-record 11 threes, was a heroic effort.
I don’t know why OKC stopped playing Steven Adams in the final six minutes last night. No, he doesn’t shoot threes, but he gave the Dubs fits all series.
In Games 6 and 7, Golden State shot 38 of 82 (46%) from beyond the arc. In those same two games, OCK shot 10 of 50 (20%). The only team this postseason to hit more threes than Golden State per game? Cleveland. Gonna be a massive NBA Finals.
I think Jon Stewart nailed it here on Trump (thank you, Jacob). But worse, he nailed it on the America that is voting for him. Trump is playing this election exactly like Richard Hatch did the first season of Survivor. Be the bombastic asshole that folks cannot stop watching, then reign it in near the end to give your character some pathos and perhaps win over those who were fighting their inner, “But he’s an asshole, I can’t vote for him” voice.
Also, Stewart is also right that while it’s not the public’s fault for being hoodwinked by this P.T. Barnum of politics, it is completely the media’s for failing to repeatedly question Trump. Simply questioning his claims, insults, etc., is not enough. You have to keep questioning him (on the vets, on the Wall, on John Miller) until he provides a satisfactory answer, which he has yet to do.
This is former Met John Milner, who DID exist (he passed away from cancer in 2000
For example: “Mr. Trump, if John Miller truly exists, how come it is two weeks since that story has broken and no John Miller has surfaced? How come there is no birth certificate? Where are his personnel records?” And you don’t let up until he finally admits that it was him, and then you leave it to the voters to decide whether this is, as Trump once said of the USFL, “Small potatoes.”
I’m sure thousands or even millions of moms watched the video of the boy in the gorilla compound and thought, That poor boy. I thought, That poor gorilla. You’re stuck in an enclosure your entire life, someone invades it, you are a primate doing what primates do (part of which is being an herbivore, not a carnivore) and so then someone shoots you dead for it.
Was the boy at risk? Certainly. I’m not upset with the Cincinnati Zoo, and I thought its director, Thane Maynard, handled himself like a champ at yesterday’s press conference (here’s a terrific profile of Maynard from three years ago in Cincinnati Magazine) When someone asked him whose fault it was, he said, “I’m not in the finger-pointing business. That’s what pundits and politicians do.”
Well, as a pundit, let me: the boy’s parent or parents cost that silverback gorilla his life. I wonder if they even care. And now I wonder if they’ll sue. The reporters who kept trying to make Maynard feel guilty, I wish I could’ve been there to smack them down. It’s a zoo. You have to give people visual access to the animals. And you have children there, so you can’t make all the walls 5-feet high. Adults are supposed to know better than to climb in an animal cage; and children who don’t yet know better should have a parent holding their hand or watching them. Damn.
Also, all the people who were screaming during this episode probably cost the gorilla its life. I get that it’s a bizarre scene. But if people weren’t either screaming or rushing to videotape this, if people had an iota of common sense, especially about how to act in nature, maybe the gorilla doesn’t get agitated, maybe a zoo keeper can enter the compound without any loss of life. (I’m really not a fan of people, especially dumb Americans, if you haven’t figured that out already).
4. Whither Jason?
It’s Always Sunny In The City You’re Leaving Philadelphia For….
There’s a major sports media shakeup taking place, and one place I’d normally to go to read about it is The Big Lead. But it seems as if TBL has been scooped, which is odd considering the scoop pertains to its founder and editor-in-chief, Jason Mcintyre. Awful Announcingreported last week that JM is to appear on a Hot Take Fest, Speak For Yourself, with Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock for Fox Sports 1 beginning June 13. That’s a fortnight away but I still haven’t read a peep about it from TBL (or did I miss it?).
Wilbon: Reporter –> columnist –> TV guy –> master of All the Takes.
That’s the career progression writers dream about (but won’t admit)
Anyway, happy for Jason. A little surprised FS1 didn’t offer it to Clay “I’m Not Your Bromani” Travis, but who knows, maybe he turned them down. Either way, I assume JM will have to pull a Vincent Chase and move to L.A. and I hope if he does that he realizes it’s in his best interests, and the site’s, to hand over the reins of his site to one of his staffers who isn’t quite as compromised by being on TV (and working so publicly for FS1) every night at 6 p.m.. We’ll see.
Jakubek owned two school records at SUNY-Cortland
This is tragic but it also sounds like the exposition of an NCIS episode: Jack Jakubek, a recent graduate of Cortland State U. in New York and a star swimmer on the team, dies during a lifeguard tryout on Cape Cod. Not in the ocean. But in a lake, Pilgrim Lake, in the town of Orleans.
He went missing shortly before 9 a.m. and his body was found in the water 24 minutes later. No explanation yet as to what caused him to expire.
9:10:76 (which is also the date of my 10th birthday)
An enthusiastic CONGRATULATIONS to Friend of MH Emma Coburn, who set the American record in the steeplechase on Saturday at the Prefontaine Meet in Eugene. Emma broke the existing record that is held by one her closest, if not her closest, friend, Jenny Simpson. And no one could be happier for her than Jenny.
Was Dave Drunk?
Here’s Dave with ESPN’s Matt Barrie, whom I like (as if that matters), before the Indy 500 on Sunday morning. Anyway, Matt did well here (my legs would have been shaking).
Related: I still don’t know who won the Indy 500. I guess I should check.
Let’s Live For Today
This tune by the American band The Grass Roots, which reached No. 6 in the spring of 1967, is Peak Sixties. Imagine hearing this song on the radio as an 18 year-old who just got his draft notice, trying to decide whether or not to head up and cross the border. Note: the band did not write the song; an English group callee The Rokes had written and recorded it a year earlier with less success.
I worked in a mid-town Manhattan research department for a very high-profile media outlet, and no one could afford to dress this well
Katherine Hepburn. Spencer Tracy. A company based on NBC, set in 1957, that is thinking of eliminating its distaff research department in favor of a super computer (roughly 40 years before “Google” was on anyone’s lips). But what chance does a super computer designed by an MIT grad have against our Kate?
That cutie patootie on the far left is Dina Merrill. She was supposed to be the next Grace Kelly, but it never quite happened (I still don’t see how she avoided being in a Hitchcock film). Her mother was the heiress to the Post cereals fortune and her dad, I kid you not, was E.F. Hutton. Merrill is still alive today.
A Medium Happy 81st to Miss America 1955 and one-time Cat Woman Lee Meriwether
Briles went 50-15 in his final 5 years at Baylor. He’s a terrific offensive mind, but he’ll never be an HC at the FBS level again
1. Wacko in Waco
Art Briles, 60, is gone. Ken Starr, 69 (So now you’re calling him back), is no longer president. Both are gone following the 13-page Findings of Fact from the Hamilton Report and a meeting of Baylor’s board of trustees. Bully for them.
I attended a Baylor home game in 2004 (to see Adrian Peterson for Oklahoma) at Floyd Casey Stadium and it was a dump. The entire atmosphere was probably the most K-Mart of any Power 5 school game I’d ever attended. In less than 10 years Briles turned that program around 180 degrees. Heisman Trophy winner. A Big 12 conference title and a Fiesta Bowl game. Three straight years of leading the country in scoring offense (2013, ’14 and ’15).
But Briles always seemed liked a red ass whenever he was questioned about Baylor’s scheduling, or its off-field problems, etc. He was still that West Texas coach who felt he didn’t have to answer to anyone. Hell, he’d been a Mike Leach assistant, after all. Well, yesterday the bill collector came.
As for Ken Starr, what a schmuck. He went all Captain Ahab chasing Bill Clinton around a in the late 1990s over a consensual sexual matter. Then he has a chance to help at least half a dozen female students, and he turns a blind eye. Of course it was never about justice for Starr; it was about power.
A quick word about football culture, if I may. I played high school football. I’ve also played on other sports teams and been part of other groups (there was that lute band in the early ’90s that never really took off). Anecdotally, I’ve never heard guys talk more about women as being trophy kills, figuratively, as much as I have in football locker rooms. I should add that I’ve never served in the military (that third nipple kept me out).
Anyway, if you want to make a Mike Wilbon-type assumption that football, more than any other sport, has an atmosphere that is disrespectful to women, I’d go with you there based only on my experiences. I always liked the way Steve Spurrier did it: you touch a woman who doesn’t want to be touched, violently or sexually, you’re gone. No excuses. No mitigating factors. Coaches set the tone.
2. “Is Joe Flacco A Elite Quarterback?”
“Is Stephen Curry Undderrated as a Defender?”
Call it a dumb or bad question by ESPN’s Michelle Steele (there are currently like 7 people at ESPN named Steele), but it produced the best reaction of the post-game press conference at Oracle following Golden State’s Game 5 win. So in that respect it was the best question. Also, I mean, look at Russell Westbrook’s face here. He’s the Clubber Lang of this series, no doubt, but I foresee a Game 6 triple double for him. Oh, Thunder Road, Thunder Road trip….
This was one of two boats that capsized carrying people from Libya to Italy this week
Refugees? Migrants? Yes. This boat was one of two that capsized in the Mediterranean this week, both of them overloaded with Libyan refugess. This boat capsized when its passengers spotted a rescue ship and everyone moved to the port side to see it. No word on how many died, but at least dozens did. An estimated 40,000 Libyan refugees have flooded into Italy this year ( <–sentences not to write if you want to persuade Phyllis to visit Italy with you).
4. He Said What?
This item is about Trump/Hillary, but Victoria’s Secret announced this week that it is discontinuing its catalog, which will save it $150 million. Okay, but what about us???
Donald Trump, speaking to a gathering in North Dakota yesterday: “There is one more thing that we have to do to make America wealthy again, and you have to be wealthy in order to be great. I’m sorry to say it…..We’ll build the wall. We’re going to build the wall. Believe me. We’re going to build the wall.”
One of my favorite Twitter follows, CNBC’s Josh Brown, replied, “Just like Jesus.”
Quick Thoughts: I’m beginning to think that Trump will win, for the simple reason that nothing he does sticks to him but that this email fiasco will stick to Hillary. One of Trump’s greatest strengths is that he is impervious to the “gotcha!” fact. Part of that is the media’s fault. I mean, Jimmy Kimmel had him on the sofa and should have asked him, “I want you to tell me to my face that you were not John Miller.” And he shouldn’t have relented until Trump did that (it would have been good TV, too). But he didn’t. Donald is a huckster, but we all know that. Hillary is Tracy Flick; she wants us all to think she’s perfect, and she’s not. And she’ll pay a dearer price for that.
Also, some people think that because so many folks hate both candidates that voter turnout in November won’t be “YUUUUUGE.” I think exactly the opposite. People who usually don’t vote will get off their asses to vote for Trump, and many others will do so to vote not for Trump. As former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich wrote two days ago, and I am paraphrasing, “Not voting on election day is tantamount to voting for Trump.”
I keep hearing that Trump is a Fascist. I don’t agree. I think he’s simply an opportunist. A narcissist. And a brilliant player of the game. But he’s not a Fascist: he just understands that an undercurrent of Fascism has been developing here ever since 9/11 and he’s ready to surf that wave to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But let’s not fool ourselves: this is, and has always only ever been, about his ego (and sure, you can say the same about Hillary, but at least she did the crappy Class Secretary/Sergeant at Arms types job, paid her dues).
5. Where In The World?
Hint: You are looking at the highest point in this country….
In case you forgot, this was our previous WITW:
That’s the Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue on the banks of the Tuul River in Mongolia. A nice weekend trip. Now THIS was a Khan who truly had a wrath….
Head Over Heels
“I’ll take two-man British groups from 1984-85 for $200, Alex.” You could make an actual category out of this, what with Wham! and Eurythmics (I know) and this band, Tears For Fears. This song packed at No. 3 in the U.S. in the spring of ’85.
But if you think I’m going to squander the opportunity to put both songs with this title fro this era here, No way, Joaquin (wait, that’s not how it goes). Here’s the Go Go’s song of the same name from 1984. This peaked at No. 11 (related: Talk Show is an underrated album).
Memorial Day Weekend
It’s the best TV sports weekend of the year that does not include college football or March Madness. And it is definitely tops in terms of variety. Enjoy!
UEFA Champions League Final: Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid
Fox 2:30 p.m.
A rematch of the 2014 classic, from Milan.
Game 6: Warriors at Thunder
TNT 9 p.m.
Will the refs curry favor on Steph?
Monaco Grand Prix
8 a.m. NBC
The 100th running….
Round of 16 from Roland Garros
Game 6: Cavs at Raptors
8:30 p.m. ESPN
Drink every time Mark Jackson says, “Momma, there goes that man.” Cuz why put a brick through your TV set? Also, Susie B. is MIA for more than a week now. You’re gonna have to develop thicker skin if you want to be in the sports-opining biz, kiddo.
A Medium Happy 50th to Helena Bonham-Carter. Once a promising actress, she came down with an acute case of Tim Burtonitis, the same disease that threw Johnny Depp’s career off-track….
Frye, on his 4th team in the past 3 seasons, is suddenly the Cavs’ 6th man
In Games 3 & 4 in Toronto, along the shores of Lake Ontario, Raptors All-Star Kyle Lowry scored 20 & 35 points. Last night in Game 5 in Cleveland, along the shores of Lake Erie, he scored 13. He had 8 and 10 points in Games 1 and 2 near Lake Erie.
The story, though, is a devastating defense by Cleveland, Peak LeBron, Peak Channing Frye (shooting .571 from beyond arc, 12-21), and an apparently warging Richard Jefferson, who is playing as if he’s 28 again.
Lowry has been like Jerry’s two-faced girlfriend, Gwen, this series
Cavs win, 116-78, That’s the EIGHTH game this playoffs decided by 30 or more points, which is an NBA record. No wonder you’re flipping over to “HBO and Relax,: ( <–I stole that from A.J.)
Finally, a Cleveland-OKC NBA Finals will give us Quicken Loans Arena versus Chesapeake Energy Arena. A company that has been investigated by the Dept. of Justice for corruption in home loans versus a company that made its fortune off fracking. #Murica
2. Jackie, OH!
This is probably my favorite vantage point for any baseball photo
Very quietly, what with all the hysteria over the Cubbies (and those other Sox), (and also, the utter lack of hysteria over baseball unless Jose Bautista is taking one to the jaw) the Red Sox have climbed into first place in the A.L. East (29-17) and have the best record in the A.L.. Even more quietly, outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. (not a Martin Short character) has gotten more than halfway to Joe DiMaggio’s untouchable mark of hitting safely in 56 straight games.
Bradley, who bats 6th, went 2-4 in a 10-3 win against the Rockies last night to hit safely in his 29th consecutive game. He is batting .350, which leads the A.L. Teammate Xander Bogaerts hit a home run to bring his own hitting streak to 18 games. He’s hitting .349, second-best in the A.L.
3. That’s Mad, Max
Verstappen is Dutch and means “not stopping.” You may wanna check that
How fast were you allowed to drive when you were 18 years old? On May 15 Dutch driver Max Verstappen won the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix, becoming the youngest person ever to win an F/1 race. That’s a pretty big deal in Europe, where I’ll be moving in December….
4. Death at the Show
The question becomes, How do they turn this into a story arc on Vinyl next season?
Irving Plaza, a block off Union Square in NYC, has always been a great venue for a smaller show. But last night it was a shooting gallery as shots rang out just before rapper T.I. (“Live Your Life”) took the stage. Three people were hit and another person was killed. Watch the video in the link and the last thing you hear is someone say, “Get the f**k outta here,” which is probably the last thing a lot of people say before a bullet hits them.
According to witnesses, (read this), a fight broke out backstage and the shots may have come from the green room. That certainly narrows the list of suspects. Of course, the crowd was not, say, a Dierks Bentley crowd and there’s very little chance ISIS was behind this, so nothing to worry about, America. You know, it happened to “them.”
This is Alex Idrache. He was born in Haiti but last week graduated from the United States Military Academy. He’s now off to flight school. This is the American Dream in one photo. Kudos to Staff Sergeant Vito Bryant, who snapped the photo.
Benjamin did it all at Brophy Prep in Phoenix
Closer to (my) home, this is Josh Benjamin who, like me, graduated from Brophy College Prep in Phoenix (it’s just that he did it last week and I did it last century). Benjamin was the Jesuit school’s valedictorian and homecoming king (the first African-American valedictorian, it is believed, but not the first such homecoming king; we voted my teammate and classmate Dan Simmons HK in 1983).
Love this kid. And I think he’s from the East Valley. Respect that commute, Josh; I did it, too.
I’ve not met Josh, but this fantastic story by Richard Obert of the Arizona Republic mentions that he played football, ran track, speaks Spanish and did plenty of volunteer work while also graduating with a 4.4. GPA. He’s off to Harvard (Josh spurned Notre Dame; other than that, he seems like a good kid) where he plans to major in math. Michael Wilbon should really try and meet him.
(I’m not supposed to say that Josh looks as if he could be Jaylon Smith’s younger brother, right? That would be wrong?)
Little Trump at the National Spelling Bee. From Jimmy Kimmel Live last night.
It’s also Lenny Kravitz‘s birthday. As the son of the woman who played George Jefferson’s neighbor and nemesis on The Jeffersons turns 52, we remember this hit from 1998 that soared to No. 2 in the UK and No. 12 here.
Game 5: OKC at Golden State
TNT 9 p.m.
Steven Adams will kneed to (the groin) play his best
This should be good. If the Thunder put the dagger into the Dubs at home, ending the greatest non-championship season in NBA history, that’ll be memorable. Don’t care what anyone says, Stephen Curry is still not 100%. But even if he was, I’m not sure these Thunder are losing. Russell Westbrook is in Hall of Fame form (and he IS a future Hall of Famer).
A Medium Happy 47th to Anna Heche, who is the answer to two questions: 1) Is the hot worth the crazy? and 2) What if Gwyneth Paltrow and Phoebe from “Friends” had a baby?
Westbrook is leaving Golden State and Curry behind
The line last night for Russell Westbrook: 36 rebounds, 11 rebounds, 11 assists. The last time a player had a triple double in the playoffs and scored at least 35 points was 1969, Jerry West of the Los Angeles Lakers. That’s good company, Russ. You’ve been the best player of the postseason.
Every All-Star Game, West got to wear his name on the back and front of his jersey
I still think Stephen Curry is not close to 100%. But give the Thunder credit. They have the will to win and a second straight blowout of the world champions by more than 20 points shows that.
2. So AA’s Don’t Like AA?
“If Draymond scores 3 points and commits 5 turnovers in 7 minutes while the Warriors are outscored by 9 points, what is his VO2 Max? Wait, lemme try that again the pages were stuck together”
In a cover piece for The Undefeatedyesterday, Michael Wilbon asserted, and I quote, “Conclusion: Advanced analytics and black folks hardly ever mix.”
Wilbon quotes perhaps 6 people in his story in coming to that conclusion. So I know at least one black folk who doesn’t get advanced analytics all that much.
It’s a day later and there has been almost no outcry to Wilbon’s assertion. But what if I, or another white writer, had written that? With that little research? Hmmm. I tweeted that I was working on my story on how white folks never seem to rob convenience stores (an assertion I can probably make with stronger analytical proof) and that temporarily set Twitter on fire.
Look, there are things a black writer is able to write on the black experience that a white writer just cannot know. Got it. But there is nothing that Wilbon brought to this story because he was black that a white writer could not. Make a lazy assertion. Take to a few people. Pronounce assertion true. The only difference here is that because he’s black, this isn’t the first topic on ATH, PTI and BET.
3. Harvey Danger
With last night’s 7-4 loss at Washington, Matt Harvey of the Mets is now 3-7 with a 6.08 ERA. The Dark Knight has allowed at least 5 runs in each of his last three starts, all losses. and Citi Field fans are in DefCon 3 panic mode. Has anyone yet written an 8,000-word think piece on how Terry Collins’ decision to allow him to pitch the 9th against K.C. last October ruined his career? No?
4. Donald Trump and the Case of The Grudgingly Donated $1 Million
There was a debate last winter. Donald Trump opted out. Instead, he decided to hold a fundraiser for military veterans. Great p.r. move for a man who avoided military service four different times. Trump boasted that he’d raised “$6 million for vets.”
Then the media, “terrible people,” “nasty,” were rude enough to inquire about the details of his largesse. That’s when things got messy. You should read this story by the Washington Post. It turns out that Trump donated $1 million only last week, which happened to coincide with the media ramping up efforts to exact details from him about the donations to vets. When a reporter asked if one had a causal effect on the other, Trump replied, ““You know, you’re a nasty guy. You’re really a nasty guy.”
Donald Trump is calling someone else a nasty guy. Wow. On top of everything else, he’s thin-skinned and shows an utter lack of self-awareness. People actually want him to be this nation’s leader?
Read this story, too, by RedState.com, which I would assume is a conservative publication.
Elizabeth Banks: “It’s just, no matter what I do, I can’t win.”
Kenan Thompson: “That’s the blackest thing you’ve said all day.”
Probably the best exchange in a skit on SNL all season, from “Black Jeopardy.”
SNL wrapped its 41st season on Saturday, and Rolling Stone listed and ranked its Top 10 skits. No disagreement here, though I think Kate McKinnon’s Olga Povlatsky deserved a spot in the Top 10. Also, McKinnon was the cast MVP this season, while Taran Killam won the “Where Did He Go?” award. Most Improved (Not Ready For Prime Time) Player: Colin Jost.
Reach Out (I’ll Be There)
As a huge fan of music, I can’t be happier that I was born in 1966, the best year in the history of popular music. This Motown tune by The Four Tops held the No. 1 spot on the Billboard chart for two weeks in October of ’66. Levi Stubbs just growled those lyrics, man. He bashed that door down.
Jimmy Kimmel Live
ABC 11:35 p.m.
Donald Trump is the guest. Will Guillermo be deported? You could do the entire hour with Mean Tweets, both by Trump and/or directed at him. Kimmel has never made a secret about the fact that his childhood idol was David Letterman. I gotta be thinking he’s having many “What Would Dave Do?” thoughts today.
Since Hodor was his name since the very first episode, Bran was always going to make the mistake of allowing the Night’s King to touch him. It wasn’t as if this was an accident. So why did the Three-Eyed Raven, who can warg, allow him to do this while he was asleep?
Second GoT episode in a row that ended with an incredible death scene that involved a door being jammed or locked. If only Hodor had a wooden plank to hold across the door as Daenerys had.
The actor who portrayed young Hodor, i.e. Wyllis (Sam Coleman) did an outstanding job with his seizure scene, no?
Are there Single Scene Emmys? Should there be, because Coleman deserves one.
So you have Meera pulling Bran on a sled through a blizzard as Hodor’s death gives them, what, a five-minute head start? At the moment, it still doesn’t look too good for them.
You have to love actor Kristian Nairn, a.k.a Hodor. For five-plus seasons he had a prominent role on a show in which he only had to know one word for all of his lines. It must have been fun for him getting the scripts each week.
2. Everybody Loves Draymond*
Common basketball move
*The judges will also accept, “Ain’t That a Kick in the Pants?”
If intentionally kicking an opposing player in the groin merits a suspension, then Draymond Green deserved a suspension. Simple as that. I’ve seen some folks on Twitter suggest other punishments for Green because they don’t want “the series to be ruined” by having him miss Game 4, but this is a common logical flaw: the NBA wouldn’t have “ruined” the series, Green would have by choosing to do something that is illegal.
It’s not the guy who enforces the law who creates the outcome, it’s the guy who breaks it. Remember that, SEC fans.
Anyway, NBA VP of Ops KiKi Vandeweghe, a former player, was on SVP last night and suggested that part of the reason that Green was not suspended is that he tends to flail a lot. Well, KiKi, that’s not an excuse. If I tend to shoot off my gun in the backyard in crazy directions, that doesn’t excuse me when a random shot I fired hits an innocent victim.
3. Mudder of God
It was three days ago, but we’re catching up here and my, what a terrific Preakness. No? In the slop at Pimlico, Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist took off like a bat out of hell. Exaggerator, who had finished second at the Derby, was as much as 11 or 13 lengths behind early. But watch Exaggerator slowly reel Nyquist. And then on the homestretch, watch as Nyquist’s jockey panics and pulls out from the rail to try and go outside of E, wasting valuable time and energy. I think Tyronn Lue was riding Nyquist. Outstanding race.
4. The Mountain Wins Again
You’re not gonna need that return flight ticket
Four people died attempting to summit (and just as difficult to return from) Mount Everest over the weekend. Personally, I LOVE that there is a mountain such as Everest that remains such a treacherous goal for men and women. I love that there are people who would risk their lives for the glory of doing it. And I love that Nepal isn’t governed by a bunch of sissy Marys who would outlaw climbing it. I love that they don’t want to protect us from ourselves.
Climb every mountain, said Maria Von Trapp. Especially if you’re trying to escape the Nazis. Or even just escape banality. You may pay the highest price. But so what? At least you lived.
5. O, Caput-in, My Caput-in*
*The judges acknowledge your use of Latin (“caput” is “head”)
The season finale of Saturday Night Live, hosted by former cast member Frank Armisen, had a vintage feel. There was a cold open that segued into a dance sequence that took our characters off stage and beyond the fourth wall, something that Steve Martin and Gilda Radner once did decades ago. There was a final skit, the Harkin Brothers, that didn’t go for a laugh as much as it did a vibe. And there wasBass-o-Matic level gross-out humor with “Farewell, Mr. Bunting,” an instant classic.
By the way, “Weekend Update” co-anchor Colin Jost had a very strong second half of the season. Last week’s joke, at the end of Jay Pharaoh’s bit about the rapper intervention, when he asked, “Were there any rappers there that I like?” was perfect. And this past weekend he ended with a joke that he and Michael Che said was too racy for them to use at the time: “Jared Fogel from Subway was sentenced to 15 years. The good news for his cellmate is that Jared is used to eating the same thing every day for 15 years.”
Girl From The North Country
Bob Dylan, who turns 75 today, wrote this song in 1963, when he has just 22 years old. How do people have this much talent so young (or maybe it’s just the opposite? This is the age at which people are their most creative?) ? He re-recorded this song of love and loss six years later, with the legendary Johnny Cash, for his 1969 Nashville Sounds album.
And just as a little bonus here, this is Dylan appearing on TV at the age of 22 with “A Man of Constant Sorrow.” Finally, here’s a good read on Dylan, his interview with Ed Bradley of “60 Minutes” in 2004. It was his first TV interview in 20 years.
The Night Manager
10 p.m. AMC
Dickie Roper seems too smart and savvy to not realize who his Judas is
If you’ve stuck with it this far, you know that tonight is the six-episode miniseries’ finale and that Jonathan Pine/Andrew Birch is right back where he started: at a swanky hotel in Cairo. Sure, Warriors at Thunder (9 p.m., TNT) Game 4 should be a kick in the pants as well.
It’s customary here at Medium Happy to start out wishing a famous person a Happy Birthday, so here you go: Happy Birthday, Drew Carey! Can you believe he is 57 years old, and still alive as far as anyone knows?
According to Famousbirthdays.com, the Internet’s most reliable source for celebrity birthdays (I know this because it came up first when I googled “May 23rd birthdays”), Mr. Carey is the 8th most popular person to celebrate a birthday today.
That statistic seems unlikely, even though it comes from such a rock-solid source. So I clicked the button on the page that said so, hoping to get a little more information (what can I say? It’s the journalist in me).
My one-click deep-dive led me to another page that listed Youtube stars called Gavin Free and…
… Little Kelly as the first and second most popular people celebrating birthdays today.
I know exactly who they both are and I can’t believe you don’t.
I need to lie down.
I will not do that annoying, clueless old-person thing where the clueless old person goes on a rant about youngsters she’s never heard of who are famous via avenues she knows little about and are therefore meaningless. I will not.
NOT ME DOING THIS: Young people stuff!! BRAAAAHHHR why isn’t it the nineties anymore???
In fact, I’m going to do the complete opposite and say “Of course! I enjoy the work of both those YouTubers, doing whatever it is they do. I don’t waste my time watching network television while I ride around on my pet Woolly Mammoth! Now I must go turn myself into a Panda on Snapchat! It’s called a story.“
I’m actually surprised Drew Carey made it into the top ten.
This weekend was my son’s Senior Prom. Ah, prom…do you remember, kids? Do you? I do.
I was on student council all through high school—yep, I was that girl. The first three years I ran successfully (especially brow-raising when you consider that in ninth grade, I though it would be an extra-cool touch to have my fingernails painted with rainbows for the election) but as a senior, when I thought all I had to do was show up with my long list of bureaucratic accomplishments (those elf-a-grams don’t distribute themselves, people!) I got my ass handed to me by a football player who made fun of my overly earnest speech.
Don’t. Just no, is what I learned too late
I was so distraught at the thought of losing my cushy homeroom, long lunches and access to power (typical, right?), I petitioned the student body to allow me back on. I sat in the principal’s office with my list of signatures, pride nowhere to be found, and begged. He smirked as I did so, which at the time, I did not appreciate. Looking back, I can’t believe he didn’t actually laugh in my Tracy Flick face.
I even kind of looked like her
Where was I? Oh yeah, prom. Well, I always signed up for the prom committee, because it was like, the pinnacle of the school year and financing it was pretty much the reason the student council existed. One year, I may have made some, um, bold claims about getting The Replacements to play, based on the fact that my younger sister was besties with Slim Dunlap’s daughter. (That’s actually true.)
The Replacements: We don’t do proms
I may have, before gathering all the information I needed, flapped my gums a little more than was wise, and when my dear friend, eventual prom date and die-hard Replacements fan swung me up in a tearful bear hug and bellowed “You’re getting the MATS??” I may have answered with an awkward “Mmmmm…” panic growing in my belly. Rainbow-painted fingernails were the least egregious of my political misfires.
Suffice to say, the Mats did not play our prom, I got my bangs cut way too short the day before and I made the bizarre culinary choice of ordering rabbit at our pre-dance dinner, which gave me such gut-punishing gas I was in agony for most of the night.
Prom night, 1987. I am the the one sporting a pink dress, no bangs and a strangely aggressive pose. I’m not bloated just yet.
Prom! It’s magical, kids. Just like in the movies…
Five Best Prom Movies—I refuse to include any of the actual Prom Night movies, because I hate hacker/horror films.
Valley Girl (1983)
Shades of Romeo and Juliet, a soupcon of The Graduate, a Josie Cotton soundtrack and a pre-dental work, pre- balding Nicholas Cage. Love it.
My leg warmers experience is a story for a different day
Can’t Buy Me Love (1987)
McDreamy! Do we still call him that, even though Patrick Dempsey hasn’t been on Grey’s Anatomy for some time? Not that I would know. I only watch Youtube and Vines and Instagrams.
He was actually pretty cute then, too…RIP, beautiful Ms. Peterson!
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Julia Stiles, who I am constantly confusing for Erika Christensen (yes, constantly, as in every moment of every day–I’m not kidding, ask my kids) and a fresh-on-the -scene Heath Ledger in a modern (well, if you’re like me and 1999 seems like fourteen seconds ago) teenaged take of Taming of the Shrew.
Above: House of Stiles. Below: The Most F’ed Up Daughter In The Upside of Anger
It’s not just me, right?
Pretty in Pink (1986)
Siiiigh. John Hughes, of course, and starring the darling Andrew McCarthy, hilarious Jon Cryer, 80’s it-girl Molly Ringwald and a hideous pink dress.
The gist is, for those unlucky ones amongst you who have not seen this movie, she is a poor girl from the wrong side of the tracks in love with a posh preppy boy (Andrew McCarthy) who is out of her tax bracket. A bunch of stuff happens and her best friend Ducky (Jon Cryer) tries to tell her that she’s too good for the posh preppy boy anyway, so she shouldn’t sweat it, but she does, to the point that she makes this awful dress so she has something to wear to the prom and prove she’s just as good as anyone.
Anyone who’s ever met a high school girl knows there’s absolutely no talking her out of a crush, even if her nice best friend loves her to pieces, and there’s certainly no talking her out of a completely heinous dress that she thinks is pretty.
Case in point: this next picture is of me from last summer, wearing a dress that I wore to a high school dance (not prom, but my companion to the dance to which I wore this sartorial abortion did, miraculously, ask me to the prom one month later) and that I found at my mother’s house, so naturally, put on. It’s actually quite similar to the dress Molly Ringwald wore in Pretty in Pink; it’s pink, it’s boxy and shapeless, but her dress is actually sexier, since hers exposes her shoulders and does not include a large, sandwich-board-like chastity bib. This dress very clearly says, “HANDS OFF THE MERCHANDISE”.
Does it come with a wimple? Which sister-wife am I again?
My mom actually made this dress, as she did most of the dresses I wore in my life (see: Prom picture, above)up until about age 25, including my wedding dress (she also made all the bridesmaids dresses, and she’s made many dresses nad ). She is a spectacularly excellent seamstress. None of the blame belongs to her, as it was 100 percent designed by me. It speaks to my mother’s great love for me that at no point did she say, “Sweetie, this dress makes you look like a doomsday cultist.”
“Wait just a freegin’ flaggin’ minute.” you’re probably thinking, “She said no horror films!” First of all, I didn’t exactly say that. I mean I kind of did, but really, I’m going to make a ‘five best prom movies’ list and not put Carrie on it?? Secondly, what in the Sam Hill does “freegin’ flaggin’” even mean? Anyway yes, it’s technically a horror film. But, you know, high school.
That looks about right
Editor’s Note: We’re sure Katie would agree: Drive Me Crazy, starring pre-Entourage Adrian Grenier and Melissa Joan Hart (not to be confused with Melissa Sue Anderson, Mary Hart, Hart Lee Dykes, or Rachel Maddow….Heyyyyyyyy! That’s not nice!) is a hidden gem of teen/prom films. If just for the idea of “Designated Dave” alone, it’s a winner.
Drive Me Crazy came out in 1989 (update: make that 1999).
A More Than Happy 89th to the World’s Most Interesting Sportsman, Bud Grant
NBA champion. NFL wide receiver. Winner of five Grey Cups as a CFL coach. Took the Minnesota Vikings to four Super Bowls. World War II veteran. Former teammate of George Mikan and Chuck Bednarik. Has lived in the same home for 50 years. Ohhhhh, Mr. Grant!
Why can’t we be friends, Susie B? Why can’t we be friends?
1 Above and Beyond
That’s 10 in a row for the Cavaliers after bumping Toronto 108-89 last night. The Raptors again kept it close for one quarter. There was one play where a Raptor attempted a three from the deep corner, right in front of Cleveland’s bench, and as he did three Cav benchwarmers stood up behind him and enthusiastically waved their arms and shouted (with big grins on their faces).
The shot missed wildly.
I tried to imagine that scene happening with David Blatt as coach. Give Tryonn “STFU, I Got This” Lue credit. This team seems much happier and together under him. It’s less Lord of the Flies than it is Stripes after Sgt. Hulka died (did he die or was he just incapacitated? I forget).
David Blatt: 30-11 this year with the Cavs.
Luke Walton: 39-4 this year with the Dubs.
Both their teams should make the NBA Finals, and neither will be the coach of those teams when they do.
2. The Daily Harrumph! (“Redskin, please”)
Random Thought after taking on PC Bros on Twitter yesterday (which I chose not to post on Twitter): “I grew up in a country where you were considered prejudiced if you treated people differently based on the color of their skin. Now I live in a country where you are considered prejudiced if you don’t treat people differently based on their color of their skin.”
(Should I post this on Twitter? What do you think?)
So the Washington Post released a survey/poll of 504 Native Americans nationwide and found that 9 of 10 were NOT offended by the NFL team’s use of the word “Redskins.”
Slow news day. And this was like catnip to my friends Bomani and Clay, albeit on polar opposite sides of this dispute.
In 1988-89 I was a chemistry teacher/basketball coach/dorm moderator at Saint Catherine Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which taught Native American students grade 7-12. I lived with NAs (for the purposes of brevity) day in and day out. My firsthand experience (which apparently is not enough on Twitter) was that not only were my students not offended by “Redskins,” but that the Redskins were by far their favorite team.
I’ll need a judge’s ruling on whether it’s okay for one Native American to call another Native American “Redskin.”
Is the word racist? In a strict sense, of course it is. But all the PC Gang who came at me on Twitter yesterday for sharing what I just did (“White privilege!” “I have friends who are…”), even though they themselves have no personal experience with NAs, couldn’t tell you what BLM stands for or what a feast day or a pueblo is, etc., they’re all missing the point. For many NAs, seeing that face on that helmet is validation that American culture has not passed them by. You and your Trader Joe’s Liberal pals may think that’s warped, but before you patronize a people you don’t know or understand, maybe ask them how they feel.
I know he was making a point at the time, but I laughed. When did everyone lose their senses of humor? Was it before or after REM’s “Everybody Hurts?”
Am I defending the use of the word Redskins by Daniel Snyder? Not at all. I’ve covered this topic in depth in the past. All I’m saying, from someone who’s had far more exposure to NAs than most anyone who follows me on Twitter, is that the results of that poll did not surprise me one bit. And that, c’mon, after all, isn’t the really offensive thing the usurping of these peoples’ lands and their way of life?
3. The World Is Not Enough
Craig’s refusal has left the Bond franchise shaken, not stirred (I know, too easy)
Actor Daniel Craig, who has played James Bond in the past 007 films, has reportedly turned down $100 million to star in two more. That’s a lot of money, penny. But as the British actor told one interviewer last year, “I’d rather break this glass and slit my wrists” than star in another Bond film.
So I guess that leaves the door wide open for Ricky Gervais.
4.Goo Goo Goo (Gurgle, Gurgle) Joob
Man, you’ve been a naughty boy/You let your face grow long
At the Xixiakou Wildlife Park in northeast China, a walrus killed his trainer and a tourist by hugging them and dragging them underwater to drown them, which was definitely not part of the act. The walrus was actually just trying to be friendly (or so his defense attorney says).
The tourist was walking along a path above the walrus’ enslcosure, one that has no barrier, and fell into the water. The trainer jumped in to save him. The walrus, so happy to finally have someone to play with, was a little over-exuberant. Perhaps.
(Here is where someone adds a politically incorrect line about how will the world ever survive with two less Chinese people?)
5. Hot In Herre
According to scientists (what do they know?), the Earth broke a monthly heat record for the 12th consecutive month. When you consider that there are 12 months in a year, and correct me if I’m wrong, that would mean that the hottest month on record for each month in recorded history has happened within the last year.
Also, India, a country that in 10 years is projected to have the world’s largest population, set a record yesterday with its hottest day ever, 123.8 degrees.
White Winter Hymnal
It was Fleet Foxes who wrote and recorded this modern classic in 2008, but six years later the a cappella group Pentatonix covered it for a Christmas album. This video has gotten nearly 26 million views, or nearly twice as many as the Fleet Foxes’ video, which is actually one of the last really creative music videos in (this guy’s) memory.
and here’s the Seattle band’s. Don’t overanalyze what the song means or why it gets stuck in your head and never leaves. It just does. And it’s the perfect a cappella song, too, written just as that phenomenon was taking off.
Game 4: Penguins at Lightning
NBC Sports Net 8 p.m.
Thunderbolts and lightning? Very, very frightening.
Penguins and Lightning? Not as scary. Pittsburgh leads 2 games to 1.
A Medium Happy 40th to Kevin Garnett, the NBA’s all-time leader in seasons played, 22
The flight had 66 passengers and crew aboard
Egypt Air Flight MS 804 disappears over the Mediterranean about 1o miles after crossing into Egyptian air space over night. The Airbus 320 had 10 crew and 56 passengers, two of whom were infants aboard. No distress signals. No radio call from cockpit. The city of departure (Paris) and of arrival (Cairo) have quite a recent history with terrorism, thought.
2. Vintage Curry
Seconds later, on another shot, a three, Durant would be called for the foul and Curry would bury 4 straight free throws
Were you watching? The Thunder were within seven, 64-57, with just over seven minutes remaining in the third quarter of Game 2 from Oracle. Now, I may have the timeline wrong, but in the first 4:51 of the quarter, Curry missed two shots and was tripped while dribbling and fell, but no call. He was forced to call timeout and he seemed peeved. Then….BAM!
7:09….Stephen Curry is left wide open on the left wing, buries a 3. 67-57.
6:33…Curry misses layup, but recovers to receive pass on right side. Three-pointer misses, but Kevin Durant, who had guarded him on the missed layup, closed out on the three and is called for a foul (TNT, which has been doing a poor job of showing a replay of the most recent play, never gave us a good look at what transpired). Durant bitches, is T’ed up. The league’s best free throw shooter twines four in a row. 71-57.
6:07….After a Durant 2, Curry responds with another 3. 74-59.
5;47….Curry makes a 22-footer, and OKC calls timeout. 76-59.
5:11….After Draymond Green blocks an Enes Kanter shot, Curry buries another three on a fast break. 79-59.
A Festus for the rest o’ us. Ezeli has been having a very good series.
If you’re scoring at home, Golden State, i.e., Stephen Curry, went on a 15-2 run in less than two minutes to blow Game 2 wide open. He went for 20 points total in the quarter. Put it on the already overly long Curry highlight reel for this season. Dubs win 1118-91 as Curry goes for 28 (Durant had 29).
The bad news? We have to four days for Game 3 in OKC.
3. Is Bryce Harper Being Cloned*
Sons of the Harper? (That’s for all you nerdy GoT fans)
Bryce Harper doppelgängers are showing up at Major League ballparks (Do you ever seen Gronk clones showing up at NFL stadiums? No, you don’t. You know why? Because there’s only one Gronk!)
That’s Joe Lentini of New Jersey, who was at Citi Field last night.
And this was May 9, as a Harper bro sat behind home plate for a Nats home game.
*”That’s a clone question, bro.”
The plane was en route from Planet Claire when it ran into engine trouble 52 miles west of Venus?
All seven airmen aboard survived somehow, but a B-52 crashed at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam yesterday. It happened shortly after takeoff. No word yet on any of the servicemen were named Private Idaho.
5. Jokes Seth Can’t Tell
None of the next generation of late night comics (Jimmy, James, Stephen, Seth) is doing a better job than Seth Meyers. Or at least he appeals the most to me. Anyway, this I believe is the second installment of a segment called “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell,” in which he invites on a black and a lesbian member from his writing staff to tell jokes. The first three are fairly tame, but then No. 4 is great and No. 5 hits the sweet spot.
I’ve long wondered if the two characters in this 1976 song, Muskrat Sam and Muskrat Suzie, ever met up with the Magic Rat from “Jungleland,” the Springsteen tune that came out a year earlier. The Captain & Tenille, how do you explain them to millennials? Anyway, they had three monster hits in the mid-Seventies, including song of rodent romance that climbed to No. 4.
8 p.m. TCM
“You wanna ride my board?” “Okay, but I’m not getting wet.” Heyyyyyyy
It’s Peak Frankie and Annette, as an anthropologist visits a beach town to study the sex habits of American teenagers in 1963. Or you can flip to ESPN and watch another NBA playoff game decided by 25 points….zzzzzzz….or you can read. Or talk to your kids about Donald Trump. It’s all up to you.
“But seriously, Megyn, we should go out to dinner at Trump Tower Grill after this interview. It’s a tremendous grill. Everyone says so.”
1. Live, With Kelly & Trump
Kelly Ripa is still searching for a dance partner over on Columbus Ave. and 67th St., but on the other side of Central Park, over on Fifth Avenue in the mid-Fifties, Megyn Kelly sat down with Donald Trump for a live interview last night.
Kelly finally sat down with Trump last night and after all the build-up, she let him off rather easy. When, for example, she asked if he was sorry about using the word “bimbo” to describe her and others, Donald, here in plaintive Trump mode, replied, “Did I say that? It’s not the most horrible thing. Over the course of your life, you’ve probably been called worse.”
A better interviewer would have pounced on him for this. Kelly froze a little in the headlights, moving on to softball questions about his brother, about when he knew he had a chance to be president, etc. There was no blood coming out of Donald’s eyes, his nose, his whatever.
Kyrie and LeBron are finally playing nice together and have the Cavs headed to the Finals (yes, it’s premature, and no, I’m not sorry)
Are the Cavaliers this good? Is the East this poor? Or is it a combination of both? Cleveland glided past Toronto in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals by a 115-84 score and the Cavs are now 9-0 in this postseason.
A quick comparison in three-point shooting between the three teams with a realistic chance to win the title: Threes made per game in the postseason, CLE 15.7, GSW 12.1, OKC 8.5. Three-point shooting %: CLE .455, GSW .403, OKC .347.
At this point, and with Steph Curry’s knee not having time to properly heal, you have to say the Cavs are the favorite to win it all. Okay, you don’t have to, but I will.
NBA Draft: Enter the Dragan
Also, last night, the NBA held its draft lottery, which only affects the top three teams that will pick. Form held, as it will go Philadelphia, Lakers, Celtics (inheriting Brooklyn’s pick). The Sixers are bad, but they’re not so dumb that they will not choose Ben Simmons. The Lakers will really, really want the Aussie (and he them, probably), so we’ll have to see how that goes.
Let’s say PHILA stays with Simmons. Do the Lakers taken Brandon Ingram? And the Celtics’ Dragan Bender, this year’s Kristaps Porzingis? (Bummed my Suns couldn’t move up from No. 4; they would’ve loved Bender; still may move up to nab him).
3. “Consider the Bulldog”
From horses mating in episode 2 to a bulldog having its entire genome denigrated in episode 4, SV has not been kind to animals this season
On Monday the New York Times called HBO’s Silicon Valley “irrepressible genius” and I dare say the Grey Lady was not effusive enough in her praise. The show, having now developed the characters to a degree that they are family to us, is in its prime and having so much fun being half-Entourage and half-Office Space.
Mike Judge is skewering corporate hypocrisy and idiocy (and likely writing a parable about what it’s like to deal with studios or network bosses as well) as well as Matt Weiner ever did with Mad Men. Sunday’s scene in which Gavin Belson welcomes in a crew of outsiders to work on Nucleus, Hooli’s failed compression system project, even though the outsiders are simply ex-Hooli employees who figured out Richard’s algorithm and then took it to Pied Piper’s chief competitor, a company that Belson then purchased and returned under the Hooli umbrella. If you can’t beat ’em, buy ’em, even if they used to work for you.
Erlich: “Together we’re worth 20 million and 36 thousand dollars.”
Silicon Valley has been top shelf for awhile now, but Sunday’s episode may have been its best yet. We got golden moments from Bighead, the Chauncey Gardner of the tech renaissance, who keeps innocuously hitting one grand slam after another; from Jared, Pied Piper‘s innocent den mother (“You guys can’t help but be elegant; you’re like Audrey Hepburn); and from Erlich. I don’t know how many takes it took T.J. Miller to master that coughing up bong smoke while explaining Pied Piper’s new price point, but it was beautiful.
It’s the funniest show on TV, and it’s also the representative show of the zeitgeist: When Jared finds himself in Erlich’s garage because the guy he is Air BnB’ing his condo to is sub-Air BnB’ing it to other tenants, well, who cannot identify with that?
4. The World Gets Smaller
The first commercial plane landed on St. Helena one month ago
What’s this? This is the island of St. Helena (featured previously in MH for the 699 steps that are Jacob’s Ladder), the final home of Napoleon Bonaparte and one of the world’s most remote locations, as it sits 2,500 miles east of Rio de Janeiro and 1,200 miles west of the coast of Africa. But, hoping to lure tourists, St. Helena recently constructed an airport and last month got its first commercial flight (above). You have to imagine some residents weren’t psyched about this.
Big city life on St. Helena
I keep hoping the mayor/governor of St. Helena is a dude named Mr. Rourke (“Smiles, smiles everyone!”)
5. A Word About CEO Pay*
*So I’m gonna go on a rant here and feel free to inform, educate, correct me. I don’t have an MBA or anything.
If, IF you create something where nothing existed, or start your own company, build your own brand, I hope you become as wealthy as humanly possible: Jerry Seinfeld, J.K. Rowling, Elon Musk, Ben & Jerry, even Mark Burnett: You’re all extremely wealthy and good on you. You made it yourself.
If, however, you are the CEO of a company, particularly a publicly traded company, then you are an employee. You are part of a team. Now, defenders of CEO pay (if the average worker earns $50,000 a year, then that CEO is earning, on average, $16.8 million a year, not to mention his fabulous perks) will tell me that’s where the market is set. Yes, but WHO is setting the market? And at what point does the salary of the CEO damage the company as a whole?
CEOs are not LeBron James or Steph Curry. One of them, a decade, may be, as there’s one or at most two such NBA players per decade. CEOs are more like college football coaches. For every Nick Saban there are 3 dozen Gary Pinkels getting rich off the top-of-the-market price that Saban has set and, frankly, deserves.
The problems here are many: Salaries are overhead and it is a CEO’s job to keep overhead low. So, if your company is not meeting its projected earnings, why are you laying off 5,000 workers without touching a single dime of your “F U” money?
Second, I have a very close high school friend who does very, very well. You know what he does? He is a consultant. His company goes in and makes a presentation to a CEO, basically acts as a CEO Whisperer, and then collects a check for $3-5 million. He’s basically telling the CEO how to do his job better (but isn’t that why you’re paying the CEO all that money?). And who is footing that $3-5 million bill? The CEO himself? Hell, no. The company.
(Note, on Silicon Valley Gavin Belson’s CEO Whisperer is his guru, and that’s the dude who privately persuaded him to acquire the smaller company, a maneuver that is ultimately about to backfire and big-time for Hooli)
You know how we college football fans hate search firms for coaches because 1) we know we could do just as good a job ourselves at a fraction of the cost and 2) isn’t the AD just abdicating the responsibilities of his job? Well, in the corporate world, consultants are search firms and I don’t mind you using one, but then maybe you admit that you’re not worth the salary you are receiving.
Finally, these salaries breed hubris, a hubris that I’m not sure most people who have not seen it understand. See that photo above? That’s a chocolate embossed with the photo of Norm Pearlstine, former editor in chief of Time, Inc. (the CEO of sorts of its editorial content). A number of years ago Sports Illustrated laid off half a dozen to a dozen (the exact number escapes me, but I survived that cut) employees on the same day it threw a going away party for Pearlstine that cost more than $300,000. The party did. Each partygoer received one of these chocolates.
I keep that chocolate in my freezer as a reminder of what fabulous douchebags corner office types can be (and no, I was not invited to the party; a co-worker gave that edible to me). I’m not a socialist; far from it. If you haven’t watched Jeff Pearlman’s terrific movie Book Whoreon Youtube, you can watch it and see first-hand that I’m as entrepreneurial as any writer you’ll meet. But at the end of the day, if a CEO earning 335 times the average salary of his employees is acceptable to you, then why not 700 times? Why not 3,350 times?
If there are 100 lions in the pride, and only one of them eats well, the pride eventually dies out. If you pay Kobe all of your payroll and then populate the rest of your roster with crappy players, then your team goes 17-65. If you pay one person who isn’t even particularly irreplaceable (Congratulations, you and 900 others graduated from Harvard MBA this spring. Woo hoo!) 335 times what the rest of the employees are earning, you are helping to, slowly, destroy this country. You’re eliminating the middle class.
I have a lot of wealthy friends. Not coincidentally, I have a lot of friends who resent paying taxes. And I don’t blame them. But, when we have CEOs leading companies that employ tens of thousands of people, and these same CEOs lay off thousands of employees when THEY fail to do the job they are paid to do while not touching their own salaries, they create a toxic atmosphere of unemployed folk. And I know that deep down a lot of wealthy people I know would just rather these (lazy) unemployed people disappear (die, but they won’t exactly say that), but the facts are that most of the unemployed these CEOs create are not lazy and that we still haven’t legalized class genocide.
But, you know, they’ll vote for Trump because he’s found a way to make it sound like you should be blaming the unemployed or the illegal aliens for your financial woes when actually it’s the CEOs who worship only their almighty stock price and their own salaries. Do you know who is employing the illegal aliens? Ultimately, it’s the same people earning 335x your salary so that they can beat their quarterly earnings estimates. But they want you, the voter, to blame Miguel.
I worked at Del Frisco’s, a publicly traded company. We had plenty of undocumented workers. That helps keep profits up, and that helps keeps the stock price rising, and that helped our manager at the flagship store earn a salary of more than$350,000 per year. And good for him. But let’s not blame Jorge or Domingo back in the kitchen for the absence of the middle class. Let’s remember that there’s a man with 14 pies who just wants a 15th pie, while you can’t even get more than half a slice.
Capitalism is terrific. But, like democracy, it is prone to contamination and corruption. When people tell me that $17 million (to $30 to $40 million) is the market price for a CEO, I must ask, “Who’s setting the market?” The very people who are earning those salaries.
And so I take you to the recent episode of Silicon Valley. Action Jack Barker was a terrible manager and a toxic CEO. Pied Piper succeeded in spite of him, not because of him. It has been my experience, in 25 or so years in the business world, that it’s a coin flip as to whether your CEO is helpful (Mark Mulvoy at SI) or deleterious (Mark Mulvoy’s successor at SI) to your product, but that the magazine has to be published either way. When the episode ended, they left the CEO chair empty. Because maybe they realized that, in the end, they’re no worse off without one.
Meanwhile, I’ll note that the man who succeeded Mark Mulvoy, armed with a degree from Princeton, relied heavily on focus groups to inform his decisions. His parents spent all that money so he’d be smart enough to let a group of yokels convening in a Holiday Inn conference room in Hackensack tell him how to put out a magazine. That’s not about wisdom or vision; that’s about covering your ass, which is what a lot of CEOs are better at than anything else.
Another thing: Let’s say, as an S&P 500 CEO, you cut your salary by two-thirds. You’re still earning $5 million per year, which is far more than a dude with an MBA and perhaps a law degree ever dreamt of earning without securing his own patent or creating his own company. That’s at least five times, to ten times, more than a surgeon. And while I don’t espouse the Labor Theory of Value (you should earn according to your job’s value), my point is this: Where else is a CEO going to go, in what line of work, is he ever going to earn close to $5 million, based on what he knows how to do?
That $16.7 million “market” is just an artificially bloated price point, made by the very same people earning that money. Now, if you take $10 million out of a CEO’s pay, he’s still earning $5 million annually (you can still afford that second house with ease), while you can actually afford to employ at least 1,000 more people. That’s 1,000 less people who are unemployed, who are making positive contributions to society, who ARE BUYING SHIT.
You see how that works? If everyone earns a living, everyone is a consumer, and the rising tide lifts all boats. It’s just that, as CEO, your boat is now a 35-foot yacht instead of an 80-foot yacht. Boo. Hoo.
Last word: I read once that Ben & Jerry’s, and I don’t know if they still do this, had a rule in which no employee could earn more than seven times any other employee at the company. That may seem socialist to you, and I can go with you on that ratio perhaps being too austere, but there’s something to the principle here. I’d rather play on a 2016 Warriors team where individually we earn less but accomplish more as opposed to a 2016 Laker team where one guy earns everything, the team sucks, and DeAngelo starts secretly tape-recording me and posting it on social media. But that’s just me….
Okay, I’m out.
Light My Fire
Jim Morrison and The Doors appearing on the Jonathan Winters Show in 1967. Sure, why not? This was more than a decade before the debut of cable television. The song, off the band’s debut album, spent three weeks at No. 1 in the summer of ’67 and is one of the most emblematic songs of the psychedelic Sixties. Certainly it is the Doors’ signature tune.
A Medium Happy 60th to Sugar Ray Leonard, who was every ounce the golden boy Bruce Jenner was for the USA in Montreal in 1976
The year was 1966 and she was 17. This would not be her final brush with greatness….
Do You Know This Teen?
My fabulous colleague Abigail Jones has been working since I think she was a teenager on a Newsweek cover story about teenagers. Specifically, she endeavored to round up the teens who appeared in an issue of Newsweek 50 summers ago and talk to them about how their views have changed over the half-century. Also, she spoke to 2016 adolescents and compared perspectivers from teens then and now (BREAKING: teens still can’t believe you won’t let them use the car or that you’re going to give them a curfew).
Anyway, the woman who was Newsweek‘s cover model in 1966 went on to become a regular on a sitcom more than a decade later. If you want to take a guess at who she is, I’ll wait and reveal her identity right before Music 101.
2. OK-C Change
Surviving Dothraki Khal Steven Adams had 16 points, 12 rebounds and one ethnic slur
The Thunder win at Golden State, 108-102, by outscoring the Dubs by 19 in the second half in methodical fashion (by 9 in the third quarter, when Russell Westbrook ‘sploded for 19 points, by and by 10 in the fourth quarter).
In the second quarter, when the Dubs led by as many as 13, comedian Norm Macdonald tweeted this:
Interviewed by ESPN’s Chris Broussard on the court after the game, the Thunder’s Aussie-Dothraki center, Steven Adams, complimented the Dubs’ “quick little monkeys,” then The Big Leadposted an item on that video within about 14 sseconds, then my friend Jason McIntyre tweeted out that there’s nothing to see here, which begs the question as to why TBL posted something about it so quickly.
The Thunder have now won five of six from the Spurs and Dubs. May want to take them seriously.
3. Bill & Bill’s Big Adventure
Francesa and Simmons hung out
Big day in the Big Apple for Bill Simmons, one year and about 10 days since his abrupt and unceremonious exodus from ESPN. In the morning he accompanied former boss and good friend Jimmy Kimmel to Howard Stern’s radio show (Steve Martin was also a guest, for the first time) and was invited to don some headphone. In the afternoon he did a segment with his radio idol Mike Francesa. That’s a lot of egos in play in one day in two studios.
Here’s Simmons’ “I Believe” speech to promote his show, which is a riff on Kevin Costner’s from Bull Durham, which of course the ever-jealous (of Simmons) site Deadspinhad to crucify because this is what they do before boarding the J, L, 2, D or F train back to Brooklyn each night. It’s fun to watch how angry Drew Magary is that Simmons has an HBO show and he, Drew Magary, does not.
4. Black By Popular Demand
Jack Johnson (the boxer, not the surfer/singer) was this country’s original black sports superstar
After more than a year (or two or three?) of delays, ESPN finally launched The Undefeated this morning (there’s a CP Time joke here that you really, really should not make) at 7 a.m. I wish editor-in-chief Kevin Merida and his staff lots of success and I am reminded of an anecdote from my days at SI.
Every year, before Christmas, all the magazine’s writers would be invited in to New York City for our annual Christmas party. And there’d be an afternoon meeting with the top writers and editors in our 18th floor conference room in the Time & Life Building (Don Draper’s building). Anyway, at the time, in the mid-1990s, Phil Taylor, who lived in the Bay Area, was the mag’s only African-American writer.
I didn’t see anything on Ali, who was the first trans-racial black superstar in sports, on this morning’s site
So Phil walks into the conference room and I’m seated next to staff writer Kostya Kennedy, who doesn’t say much but when he does is sneaky and caustically funny. As Phil passes by us, Kostya says, loud enough for Phil to hear, “See that? All the black writers stick together.”
Phil laughed. I laughed. But the point is that you have never been able to enter any sports department or press box and see a majority of black writers, much less even a fair representation. And yet in two of the country’s most popular team sports, there are an inordinately high number of African-American athletes. So, yeah, maybe The Undefeated is a welcome and overdue idea.
And maybe it will be an echo chamber. When I was invited to meet Merida last week with a few other journalists (some of whom disrespectfully kept checking their cell phones as he spoke to us in a conference room at ABC), I was amused by the fact that I could look out the 22nd floor windows in one direction and see Trump Tower and look in the other direction, west, and see the glass-walled high-rise abominations he has built along the Hudson River. And I wondered, in an increasingly polarized America, how this site will be received by anyone outside the 12% of Americans who are black.
But maybe that’s not the point. Maybe it’s supposed to be a niche site. We’ll see. Meanwhile, there are one-third more Hispanic Americans than African-Americans and that ethnic group is very well represented in our national pastime, if not by an ESPN site. Yet.
5. Sasha Fierce? No
Frere-Jones has some ‘splainin’ to do….
This is Sasha Frere-Jones (we shared a masthead once at The Daily, now defunct). He was recently let go by the Los Angeles Times as its music critic for allegedly filing a $5,000 expense report (seriously, dude?) for a strip club that he visited, apparently without an interview subject. There were other alleged transgressions as well.
Does this mean that was Andy Travis driving the motorcycle?
It’s Jan Smithers, alias Bailey Quarters, the Maryann to Jennifer’s Ginger on WKRP in Cincinnati. Here she is today:
Oh, Sweet Nuthin’
Is there a better title for a song from a band that positively reveled in nihilism? This was the final track on Loaded, the fourth and final Velvet Underground album that featured Lou Reed. It was released in November of 1970, and would sound just as natural being played by the Allman Brothers band or Black Crowes, the latter of whom covered it.
Game 1: Raptors at Cavaliers
8:30 p.m. ESPN
Kryie Irving have each made 28 threes in the postseason, more than anyone in the Eastern Conference, despite playing just 8 games
I’m not going to watch this game…but I want Susie B. to think that I am even the least bit interested in what happens in the Eastern Conference prior to the Cavs advancing to the NBA Finals. Toronto takes, at most, one game in this series. But if I had to wager, I’d say fewer than that.