by Katie McCollow

It’s weird, how the whole ‘sports bug’ never bit me, since I come from a family of athletes and fans and married a fellow, who, when not actually being a coach, is being a super-fan.

I mean, he doesn’t paint his face or wear wigs or yell crudely in public (all things I do with some regularity, come to that) but he derives a great deal of pleasure from the watching of, talking about, dissecting, anticipating and participating in sports.

This is actually me at the Veronica Mars movie

 I’m not a hater, kids—I was on the track and cross-country teams in high school, and I played games involving balls in elementary school. (I know you’re thinking something bad right now, and you can just stop it, it was elementary school, you perv.)

I root for teams or athletes in which I’m personally invested—my kids, nieces and nephews, family members and close friends, my husband of course, you get the picture.

I love that you love sports, I just don’t have a natural sports brain.  I mean sure, I love the Olympics, but who doesn’t? That doesn’t even count.

I wish it were different–I think of myself as a lover of fun things and it certainly seems like sports fans are having fun, with the exception of everyone in Minnesota every football season, so what’s the problem? I have made concerted efforts over the years to try—to watch hard, to get into it, become an expert fan, and it just doesn’t take.

Wait, what is happening?

 I have felt embarrassed countless times over the years by my lack of knowledge—people assumed, still do sometimes, that because my husband knew so much, I must too, and I’d get asked technical questions the answers to which I had no idea.

If I admitted that, I’d get “Well isn’t your husband the coach?”

Uh, yeah, but I spent the whole game trying to keep my toddler from eating his own poop and my four-year-old from melting down because she’s up two hours past her bedtime. Isn’t your husband a lawyer? Do you know all the intricate shit about his job?

I can say with certainty that no one has ever asked my husband how to get a soft edge by using a scumble or whether or not a filbert is better than a flat brush because I am an artist.

But the thing is, I know it’s weird, I know enough sports-spouses who do know tons of stuff about it all, and I’m the one with the defect.

I admit it!


So again, friends, I support your love of all things sportsy! I hope whatever contest is happening now, things are all going your way and if you made a bet or something, you make a crap-load of cabbage.

Don’t spend it all in one place.

Barry Manilow is 72 years old today. Happy Birthday, Barry! I don’t rate calling myself a Fanilow, since I’ve never even seen you live, but I do love that you write the songs that make the whole world sing.

This is Barry Manilow, right?


For a while in the nineties and early oughts, it was fashionable to pretend Barry wasn’t amazing and he was the butt of many a joke by ‘cool’ people.

Thankfully, those days are a thing of the past and we can all sing our damn happy hearts out without a trace of irony when “Mandy” comes on in the car. Or in the house, because you put it on on purpose. 

You, when Weekend in New England comes on

You, when Weekind in New England comes on

Four Other People or Things That Survived Decade-Plus Long Backlashes and Bounced Back to Beloved Status (Entertainment edition): 

John Denver

I grew up listening to Mr. Denver; my mother had every one of his albums. Loved loved looooved him, but when I hit high school I abandoned ship.

As mentioned previously, I’d already planted my flag as a Parrot Head and painted rainbows on my nails, and the fact that my brothers played hockey was pretty much my only redeeming quality. Admitting I liked John Denver would hardly have acted as a life raft.

Then he died in ’97, and everyone was forced to admit that he was fantastic, even those jerks who didn’t invite him to participate in “We Are The World”, even though he was trying to shine a light on world hunger before it was cool.



The first year we were married, I put on John Denver’s Greatest Hits and my new husband’s knee-jerk reaction was to make fun. Then he laid down on the couch and surrendered, explaining that he didn’t know all the songs were “sing-a-long favorites”. Damn right they are.

John Stamos

Don’t act like you didn’t hate on him for a loooong time after Full House, you did. But then you got old and hideous and he got soooo…I mean that new show of his isn’t even funny and I watch it anyway.

Do I even need to say anything?


Calista Flockhart

Remember when she was on Ally McBeal, and then Brothers and Sisters you guys I really mean Jane Fonda but I don’t want everyone to get mad at me you guys she apologized! A lot, and I believe she’s sincere and I think Grace and Frankie is funny and omigod please don’t yell at me.

This instead of Jane Fonda? Don’t yell at me!

The Breakfast Club

John brought this up not too long ago, and the timing was perfect because I had just re-watched this with my youngest, who was just finishing up ninth grade.

I saw this on a first date with a boy when I was in tenth grade. We both loved it, but because of the jokes and the clothes and the actors and the soundtrack, not the message, which went right over our heads.

In fact, after it was over, another girl who went to our school and was in the grade above me, stopped me in the lobby and told me if I told anyone I saw her there with the boy who’d escorted her, she’d make life uncomfortable for me.

Did I turn to my date and marvel at the irony, that this older, cooler girl basically threatened me if I blabbed she had gone out in public with someone she felt was beneath her, to see a movie about how we’re all the same inside and all feel lost and scared and that our common enemy should be those who seek to label and divide us and not each other?

(Editor: Wait, I always thought The Breakfast Club was about the madness of nuclear war. Wheat????)

Of course not. I promised her I wouldn’t tell and then went home and told all my friends.

Anyway, re-watching that movie in my twenties, I didn’t think it held up. Awful and cheesy, I thought…then I had kids, and see it as the absolute masterpiece that it is.


“Demented and sad…but sociable.”

(Editor’s 2nd Note: The idea that Susie B. opened up site this a.m. waiting to read a certain writer begrudgingly give props to a serial traveler/offensive fouler who should probably be playing tight end for the Broncos and that instead she got Katie’s fantastic prose, well, I feel just like the dude in the photo above).


by John Walters

Happy 46th to Lefty, who tees off at the U.S. Open today, the only major he has yet to win (six 2nd-place finishes)

Starting Five

Murphy went all Mr. Smith yesterday on the Senate floor…

Gums Flap Over Gun Flap

Yesterday Democratic senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who represents the district where Newtown is located, took the Senate floor shortly before noon and did not yield until 2:15 a.m. Murphy’s 14-hour plus filibuster was a response to the majority GOP’s foot-dragging on addressing gun-control and a rebuttal to the Republicans’ call for a “moment of silence” for the Orlando victims.

Is it “filibustin'” or “filibustering'”?

“I am most of the time a team player, but I’ve had enough,” said Murphy, sounding not unlike LeBron James before Game 5. Murphy’s filibuster ended after the GOP agreed to allow gun-control votes and Murphy promised not to read excerpts of Fifty Shades of Grey.

It would be interesting if Murphy’s efforts result in a bill being passed to ban assault weapons ( a ban that once stood but then expired and was not renewed). It would be called, perhaps, Murphy’s Law?

2. The Empire Strikes Back

Sturridge’s goal, in the 92nd minute, was stirring

England, which blew a late lead against Russia in its Euro 2016 opener last weekend, trailed its U.K. little brother, Wales, 1-0 at halftime (Gareth Bale goal off a free kick) this morning. If the Three Lions lost, they’d be out of the tournament with one game still to play in France. And it had been 58 years since England trailed at halftime of a major tournament and still salvaged a point (win or draw). The Limeys were looking at an early Brexit.

But in the second half Jamie Vardy, who was subbing in even though he was the Premier League’s second-leading scorer this season while leading Leicester City to the championship, scored an equalizer in the 56th minute (to be fair, Vardy subbed in for Harry Kane, the BPL’s top scorer). Then in stoppage time, in the 92nd minute, another sub, Daniel Sturridge, scored the game-winner.

England now has 4 points, while Wales and Slovakia have three. England gets Slovakia in its final group match, Wales gets fourth-place Russia. Only two will advance.

3. Suzuki 4,257

Japanese import Ichiro Suzuki doubled in the ninth inning for the Marlins against San Diego yesterday, giving him his 2,979th Major League hit. But, coupled with his 1,278 career hits for the Orix Blue Wave in Nippon Professional Baseball, Ichiro now has 4,257 combined hits in the world’s two most prestigious pro baseball leagues.

Of course, not even Ichiro would claim he has surpassed Pete Rose’s 4,256, so COOL YOUR JETS, Mike Francesa.

A few things to be impressed by, though, with Ichiro’s career: 1) He made his MLB debut at age 27 and he’s going to collect 3,000 career MLB hits this season 2) He is the only player in MLB history to have 10 CONSECUTIVE 200-hit seasons (Rose compiled 10, but not in a row), and 3) he taught an entire generation a new way to hit a baseball, not that many of them followed his lead.

4. Student Body Prez Opts to Protect His Student’s Body

Robinson decided that a fourth season, after suffering three concussions last year, was beyond his grasp

Notre Dame wide receiver Corey Robinson, who was elected student body president back in March, has opted to forgo his final season of eligibility due to repeated concussions (or, if you happen to be The Big Lead, he “quit.”). Robinson suffered three last season.

Robinson caught the game-winning touchdown pass against Florida State in 2013, which kept the Irish undefeated and elevated them into the inaugural college football playoff, where they eventually lost a nail-biter in Pasadena to Oregon. Oh, it was a fabulous game.

5. “Belgium….Is a Beautiful City”

Yesteday Stephen Colbert and Donald Trump both had something in common: they said things that exposed Trump’s stupidity.


Music 101

Here Comes The Night

In 1965, at the peak of the British Invasion, a band from Northern Ireland fronted by a lead singer named Van recorded this song in London that became a No. 2 hit in the U.K. You probably recognize it as a Van Morrison tune, but it is one of a few of “his” hits that he actually recorded with his first band, Them. On the studio version of this track, Jimmy Page (later of Led Zeppelin) plays lead guitar.

Remote Patrol

Game 6: Warriors at Cavaliers

ABC 9 p.m.

Copa America: Ecuador vs. U.S.A.

FS1 9:30 p.m.

Clint Dempsey

The Dubs have played 104 games this season and only lost two in a row once. But the Cavs can do that tonight and send it back to the Bay Area for Game 7. Meanwhile in Seattle, the U.S. men’s team, surprise winners of Group A, meet Ecuador in the first round of the knockout stage.



by John Walters

A Medium Happy 52nd to that girl who danced on stage (even though it was staged) with Bruce. Also, “CougarTown” may be the only show that honestly depicts the relationship between MILFs and vino.

Starting Five

Been a tough, tough week for Orlando P.D.

Tragic Kingdom

At a Walt Disney World property in Orlando, Florida, a two year-old boy whose family was on vacation from Nebraska was snatched by an alligator and pulled into the water. The father was standing close to the toddler and made an attempt to rescue his son, but in vain. It’s tragic, of course, and you just don’t know how parents ever recover from this.

I’m going to tread as lightly as I can here, but I’d like to make a few points, keeping in mind all the while that this is a heartbreaking loss for a family whose parents were only trying to do a very wonderful thing, creating magic memories for their kids. It’s terrible. First point: Has any entity in the world done more to anthropomorphize wild animals than Disney? I Google Searched “Disney Alligator” this morning looking for a photo to run above, but instead the photo below popped up:

There’s a fine line between the wonderful things Disney does, introducing young children to animals, and also the reality of the fact that animals are amoral, that their only motivation is survival. And it’s not Disney’s job to raise your kids; it’s yours, of course. And none of what I just wrote assigns any blame to the father. I’m sure the family assumed, rightly so, that they were in a very safe place. They weren’t. That’s not the alligator’s fault; that’s Disney’s (HUGE lawsuit coming).

Second point is that there is no need for Disney to hunt down this alligator. None at all; Robert Iger may be going apeshit right now, and some executive may feel the need for people to see that he is DOING SOMETHING (again, that HUGE lawsuit pending, although if I’m Disney I just write a check for $10 million to that family today), but that child, wading in one foot of water in a huge lagoon, was simply prey. He was unintentionally in the gator’s habitat, not the other way around. It’s tragic, absolutely; but if you’re saying, “Well, that gator could kill another young child,” my response is, “Abso-damn-lutely, which is why Disney shouldn’t be allowing people in that lagoon.”

Finally, I’ve been to Australia a couple times. Done the croc safaris on rivers, gone to croc farms. Aussies are much more closely connected to nature than we are. I remember more than one Aussie telling me stories of humans abducted by crocs and what always stuck with me is how matter of fact they were about it. They never assigned blame to the crocs. They understand, to borrow a Disney term, the “circle of life.” And they understand that just because we figured out wifi doesn’t takes us outside that circle.

2. Viking Quest!*

Birkir Bjarnasson celebrates his equalizer in the 50th minute

*The judges will also accept any witticism involving “-son” that Steve Rushin cares to offer (“-Sons of Anarchy?”, “My 11 -Sons?”)

At Euro 2016 yesterday Iceland, whose starting lineup features 11 players whose surnames end in “-son” or “-sson,” shocked tourney favorite Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo by gaining a 1-1 draw. The good news for soccer fans? More crowd shots of Icelandic soccer fans!

3. First Take Written Audition*

*Because the judges thought that ‘Ding Dong’ was too easy and lazy.

Here’s Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report, filing a virtual Stephen Curry hagiography on June 11, a story titled, “In Mastering the Use of Force, Stephen Curry Bests LeBron James at His Own Game.” And here’s Kevin Ding three days later, filing a story whose headline deems the unanimous MVP as having “failed his leadership test.”

You wanna guess which of the two pieces got picked up by and ran on its home page?

I get that story lines change, that Curry was outstanding in Game 4 (38 points in a road win) and merely mortal in Game 5 (21 points at home in a potential close out game) and not one of the top three players on the floor. Maybe even not among the top five if you factor in Iguodala and Tristan Thompson.

Still, the Warriors lost for a number of reasons: 1) Kyrie and LeBron played their best game as teammates yet 2) Draymond was absent 3) for the second half, so was Bogut 4) Harrison Barnes, a starter, shot a putrid 2 of 14.

Did Curry technically fail, as league MVP, to secure an NBA championship playing on his home floor? Yes. Is that the story, though, or is that the story BR is using to get clicks? Hey, it worked. But it’s dishonest journalism, and it’s one big reason so many people, readers and players alike, loathe journalists. And stories like this is why they should. To Ding’s credit, though, he has not yet announced that he would have gotten a conviction against O.J.

4. Marcus, Oh, Really?: Us*

Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen were teammates once. That’s crazy.

*The judges should have warmed up before stretching that far

If you haven’t seen the second episode of O.J.: Made In America, you may want to skip this item. I’ve always been most curious about the final years of O.J. and Nicole’s life before her murder, because it’s the part I knew the least about. And in the last 20 minutes of Episode 2, they tackle it with gusto.

Basically, O.J. was first abusive, verbally and physically, and then insanely jealous. Nicole took up with the owner of a few restaurants, Keith Zlomsowitch, when they were estranged  and O.J. stalked them, which included watching them make whoopee (Bob Eubanks shout-out). When O.J. and Nicole reunited, Keith stayed out of the picture.

But it was then that Marcus Allen, a Heisman-winning former USC tailback who had looked up to O.J. as a mentor, entered the scene. As Nicole’s friend said on camera with a smirk on her face, “Marcus was a better, bigger O.J.” No, you di’unt.

It’s a pretty small leap, if you listen to the people being interviewed, to infer that in the last month of her life Nicole was hooking up with Allen, who was by then with the Kansas City Chiefs. Also, I believe Keith owned Mezzaluna, where Nicole had her final meal and where Ronald Goldman worked.

So, a few thoughts: 1) O.J. was insanely angry, understandably so to a degree, at Allen, a friend, a married man, and a fellow USC alum who had basically been his protege. 2) In 1994, how different did Ronald Goldman look from Keith Zlomsowitch? Especially in the dark? 3) When O.J. showed up at the house on Bundy (assuming, of course, that he did it….:) ) what and who was he expecting to find? And had he worked himself into such a rage by that moment, thanks in no small part to Allen, that it no longer really mattered?

5. Would Donald Take His Ball and Go Home?

(The boy above, from Arlington Heights, Ill., is quite talented)

DT’s insinuation earlier this week that the President of the United States was sympathetic to ISIL and was apathetic to the 49 people murdered in Orlando may be the worst thing he’s said…since the week before. Honestly, can anyone even keep track any more?

And so I jumped forward and wondered, what if America’s conscience finally stands up and realizes, collectively, that this clown is unfit to be president? What if Donald, who has been running from a comfortable lead for almost 12 months now, starts falling behind HRC by large numbers in every national poll? What might happen?

I honestly cannot see Trump sticking around in a race where the handwriting is on the wall that he is going to be trounced. And while the ordinary GOP nominee, who’s risen through the party over a decade or two, might remain just to be loyal to the party, Trump has no such allegiance. His loyalty is to Trump. And so, as one tweep put it, “I can see him taking his ball and going home. That’s what bratty kids do.”

And I’m not a Republican strategist, but I’d like to think that just one of them is smarter and more prescient than I. And that they’ve considered this scenario. And so if I’m them I want this to happen sooner or later. I want Hillary to take a 10 to 15-point lead in the polls by the end of June so I can start persuading Donald to cut and run with dignity. Because that way I could still name a replacement at the convention.

In fact, it may be in HRC’s best interest to slow play this hand. Make an ill-advised Benghazi joke at her next rally just to keep Donald close for another month. He’ll eventually say something stupid again, anyway. But the point is this: Does Donald stick around through August and September if HRC has a “HUUUUGE” lead? I don’t think so.

Music 101

Love Is Like Oxygen

It’s been awhile since we featured British band Sweet here, but I honestly can’t think of another band that was more of a role model for Spinal Tap (with the notable exception that Sweet wrote two quality songs, this 1978 hit being one of them and “Fox On the Run” being the other). The song, the band’s last Top 10 hit, reached No. 8 here in the States.

Added fun here: watch how many times lead vocalist Brian Connolly nearly forgets to put microphone to his mouth to maintain the illusion that this performance is not being lip-synched.

Remote Patrol

Late Night TV

11:30 p.m. 

Some great guests tonight: Oprah appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and I’m more than a little curious to hear her thoughts on the election; Jay Leno appears on his former show, The Tonight Show, but in Dave’s old NBC studio at 30 Rock (or at least in Dave’s old building); and on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Ezra Edelman, the man behind the O.J. doc, and Martin Short, one of the world’s three best talk show guests (Tom Hanks and Jim Carrey are the others).

Note for tomorrow: At 9 a.m. on ESPN, England (Wayne Rooney) versus Wales (Gareth Bale). FC, UK, in no particular order of letters.


by John Walters

This guy turns 70 today….Someone said of him last night, “He doesn’t speak English; he speaks hyperbole.”

Starting Five

Turns out the shirseys stood for “C” you Thursday

Some 41s

LeBron James and Kyrie Irving forestalled summer vacation by playing their best game as Cavalier teammates and becoming the first such duo to each eclipse 40 points in the same NBA Finals game. Clad in shirseys, LeBron scored 41 points and was a beast on defense, finishing with a stat line of 41 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists while shooting above 50%. Irving was unstoppable in the fourth quarter, and finished with the same point total while shooting 17 of 24.

The first half, which finished in a 61-61 draw, was the best and closest played of the NBA Finals, as Klay Thompson scored 26 and LeBron 25. Then the Cavs roared out after halftime, with Kyrie making an and-one layup. Not long after the Warriors, playing without Draymond “Nut Job” Green, last seen “MV-Peeing” at an A’s game, also lost Andrew Bogut as he sprained his left knee while blocking a J.R. Smith layup. The Aussie may be lost for Games 6 and 7, which would mean a steady diet of Anderson Varejao, which, I mean, ouch.

Bout writhed in pain as Golden State took the ball up court, then the Cavs returned (and Kevin Love missed a three), before the game was finally stopped

Finally: Steph Curry was mortal again (25 points). At the risk of sounding like a Steph apologist, I think we’ll find out after the Finals what the true extent of his injuries were. But take nothing away from Kyrie & LeBron: We were waiting for them to play for this all series, and last night they showed up. This looks as if it will go seven….

Meanwhile, as The Big Lead noted this morning, this Vine sums up Kevin Love’s two seasons in Cleveland.

2.What Are We Doing?”

Jared, the warm, gooey center of Pied Piper’s team

I have no idea what the “funniest show on TV” is because I regularly only tune in to one comedy show, and that’s HBO’s Silicon Valley. Each week in Season 3 is funnier than the last. Sunday’s episode included two memorably funny scenes, and that’s excluding the Russ Hanneman cameo in which he carelessly bicep-bounces a once-bitten apple into a line of hotel guests waiting to check in.

As beloved, over-the-top obnoxious minor characters go, Russ Hanneman has a lot in common with….

The scene with Gilfoyle and Dinesh at the coffee shop is the best one yet to describe their wonderfully odd friendship dynamic, but the time capsule scene involves deposed tyrants Gavin Belson (Hooli) and “Action” Jack Barker (Pied Piper), running into one another on a runway as each prepares to board his private jet for a getaway to “J-Hole.” As the two speak warmly, their private jets in the background, you sit there wondering when it will dawn upon them to fly up together.

….Colonel Flagg of M*A*S*H

Finally, Barker looks at Belson and asks in a tone of comity, “What are we doing?” And then Barker asks if Belson plays chess. Gavin says yes and then Barker invites Belson, as soon as both men’s planes achieve an altitude where Wi-Fi works, to play him online. Classic.

3. Major Burns by Burns

Speaking at Stanford’s commencement on Sunday, the master of the historical documentary, Ken Burns, takes dead aim at Donald Trump (yeah, but what does Burns know about historical figures?).

Meanwhile,  Trump reacts to the Orlando massacre by first implying on FOX News that President Obama is an ISIS sympathizer (“[Obama] doesn’t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands. It’s one or the other. And either one is unacceptable”) using his well-refined “I’m not saying, I’m just saying” maneuver. Later, at a presser in New Hampshire, he says that we “allowed” the shooter’s family to come here, to the U.S. (the shooter was born here; his parents are from Afghanistan) because the nation has a history of terror.


Trump’s family is from Germany, which, as 6 million murdered Jews would tell you if they could, has a far greater history of terror. It’s just that Germany produces white people, while Afghanistan does not.

4. Shame On You, London Mayor

Isn’t the product far more offensive than the message or the model?

Newly elected London mayor Sadiq Khan is being widely praised for recently having done a terrible thing. He’s banned all ads “likely to create body confidence issues, particularly among young people,” from London’s tube system.

That’s not a positive move. That’s censorship. And if this were America, that would be a blatant abuse of First Amendment rights.

Let’s explore the tangentials for a moment: 1) A product, a cream or a pill, that promises to help you lose weight as opposed to eating healthy and exercising is far more deleterious than any ad. 2) Beautiful women and men appear on ads everywhere; it’s called advertising, and there’s a reason these paragons of physical beauty do so; because selling is aspirational. 3) If you feel bad about your body, here’s a hard piece of advice: it’s probably not someone else’s fault. Do something about it if you care that much.

But all of those are asides. The far more dangerous aspect of that is when we abridge principles for short-term feel-good measures (ban all Muslims here, ban “body-shaming” ads, whatever the hell that term even means, there), we are abandoning liberty. You don’t make decisions based on outcomes. You make them based on principles.

(Do you have any idea how exhausting it is being so didactic every morning?)

5. So Now It’s A Movie

Two of my closest friends from SI are Steve Hymon and Tim Crothers. The first was given a bleak view of his future at the mag in his mid-twenties, then moved to California and won a Pulitzer Prize. The latter was laid off on the same day as I was in 2001.

Nine years and two books later, Crothers was speaking to a gathering of North Carolina fans (he’s a Tar Heel alum and professor now) about his biography on Roy Williams. A man approached him and said, “I have a story for you.”

A month or so later, after SI had rejected Tim’s story pitch but ESPN’s mag (headed by a former SI colleague of ours) accepted it, he was on a flight to Uganda to meet a pre-pubescent chess queen. The resulting story, in which Tim also traveled to Siberia, became a nationally acclaimed feature that became a book that has now become a Disney film of the same name, The Queen of Katwe. It stars Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o.

You may not know Tim, so allow me to attempt to describe him for you: take the best character traits of Bighead and Gilfoyle, mash them together, and that’s basically Tim. He’s hoping to be able to get a ticket to the premier, but he won’t be surprised if he doesn’t.


Music 101

Must Have Done Something Right

This is the band Relient K with an infectiously sunny, bubble-gum pop tune that’s perfect for this time of year. The song was released in early January of 2007 and the band is a group of friends from Canton, Ohio.

Remote Patrol

O.J.: Made In America, Part 2

ESPN 9 p.m.

O.J., here flanked by Bills O-linemen Reggie McKenzie and Joe DeLamielleure

Saturday night’s premiere provided bombshells such as the fact that O.J.’s first wife had originally been Al Cowlings’ girl, that O.J.’s estranged father was gay, and that Nicole returned home from her first date with the Juice with ripped jean. There was also a little football, like how O.J. would only appear on TV on the day he broke the 2,000-yard mark if all the Bills’ offensive starters could appear with him. So far, so, so good.


by John Walters

A great white happy 35th to Mick Fanning, who’s probably thrilled to be celebrating another one after this moment last summer.

Starting Five

1. Florida Man

49 dead in Orlando, as you well know.

Hate crime? Terror? Homophobia? It doesn’t matter. It was murder on an epic scale. Assigning a motive, either of which is horribly misguided, doesn’t alter the outcome.

Tragic. Love will always beat hate, and that does not mean you need to be a pacifist. But a little common sense is also a good thing. The AR-15 (gun nuts love to stick it to you if you call it an “assault rifle,” because if you screw up the nomenclature that equals you “want all of our guns, so let me make it clear: it is not technically an assault rifle because it is only semi-automatic, not fully automatic) was outlawed in 1994, but the ban on them expired in 2004 and Congress opted not to renew it. ‘Merica.

It has been used by the San Bernardino shooter, the Aurora theater shooter, the Newtown shooter and now the Orlando shooter. It has become, as a lawyer representing the Newtown victims’ families said, “The gold standard for mass murder.” It is, to quote George Dubya Bush, “A weapon of mass destruction.”

I don’t know, Larry. I don’t know.

Outlawing the AR-15 will not stop hate, or radical jihadists, or the existence of angry and disenfranchised young men. And it is not the only step that needs to be taken. But there is no reason anyone who is not active duty military needs or should have one. None.

2. Lessons of Mountain Meadows

Mormons killed roughly 120 pioneers headed to California in one horrible day, ironically September 11, in 1857

The TV news media has been calling the attack at Pulse nightclub in Orlando on early Sunday morning “the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.” It is and it isn’t, and I’m not so interested here on who gets “the record” but on imparting a few lessons from the details.

First, the incident: The year was 1857 and pioneers were traveling through southern Utah en route to California. There were high tensions between Mormon settlers ant the U.S. government at the time and, without getting too much into the details, a Mormon militia surrounded the settlers in a canyon, an area known as Mountain Meadows, in southern Utah and laid siege. After about four days the Mormon elders guaranteed safe passage if the settlers would just lay down their weapons. Then the Mormons would escort them out.

The settlers complied, the Mormons opened fire, and more than 100 people lay dead. About a dozen or so children under the age of seven were spared, which may be the only reason anyone ever heard about it.

Why isn’t it known as the worst mass shooting on U.S. soil? My three guesses is because Utah did not technically become a state for 39 more years, in 1896; that because it was more than one person doing the shooting, it’s not considered as such; or three, because it’s considered a military confrontation, which it was not. Or….four, because not enough people pay attention to history.

Anyway, lessons here: 1) Both this and the Orlando massacre have their roots in religious fanaticism, which is the ultimate irony and 2) one group was entirely unarmed, and they were slaughtered.*

*We don’t want your guns, NRA. We just want common sense. I can’t just go buy a tiger or a lion at a pet store, you know.

3. “Hamilton” Cleans Up

So you have a jihadist target gays and lesbians early on Sunday morning, and then you have the Tony Awards, honoring the best in American theater (a haven for gays and lesbians for centuries, and a place where all are accepted) on Sunday night. Hamilton, as expected, won 11 Tonys, second-most by one play ever, after The Producers. A terrific opening parody number by James Corden; I don’t know who wrote the lyrics, but I wouldn’t be surprised if if were Lin-Manuel Miranda himself.

4. Hand Job

Send it in, Jerome

The Copa America is not even the most prestigious continental soccer tournament currently being staged (Euro 2016), but somehow Brazil, which historically has been the world’s foremost purveyor of “the beautiful game,” failed to advance out of the group stage. Wondering if Canarinho are still suffering the hangover effects of that five-goal first half they surrendered to Germany in the semis of the 2014 World Cup.

Last night Brazil was ousted from the tournament in the harshest possible way: with the match scoreless 0-0 in the 75th minute, Peru scored on a clear hand ball by Raul Ruidiaz. An obvious one. But the referee missed it and soccer does not use instant replay. It may in World Cup 2018 and a moment such as last night may be the reason why.

It was the Incas first victory against Brazil in this tourney since 1975.

By the way, the USA won its final two matches after that opening 2-0 loss to Colombia and actually won its group. It avoided Brazil by winning its group, but then Brazil lost and didn’t even make it out of its own group. The Yanks will face Ecuador in Seattle (a great U.S. soccer city) on Thursday night.

5. 6/10/16 

Before we lose it to history, last Friday, which was a palindromic date on the calendar (as was Saturday, by the way, 6/11/16), was a sneakily landmark day in sports, a monumental day: Muhammad Ali, The Greatest, was laid to rest in Kentucky; Gordie Howe, the legendary NHL figure who is considered Mr. Hockey, having played in five different decades (’40s, 50’s, ’60s, ’70s and 1980) and was a 23-time NHL All-Star, passed away at the age of 88; Lionel Messi, one of the two timeless artists currently playing a sport, subbed in at the 61st minute in a Copa America contest for Argentina (he’s been injured), and scored a hat trick in 19 minutes versus Panama; and in the latest biggest game of the season for the Golden State Warriors, the other timeless artist in sport, Stephen Curry, scored a game-high 38 in Cleveland (the Cavs’ first loss at Quicken Loans this postseason) as the Dubs took a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.


One More Word on Orlando…

Just a word on “fighting terror” and I’m open to hearing your thoughts, disagreements, etc.: There is nothing wrong with people who don’t live in America hating America (come to think of it, there is nothing wrong with people who DO live in America hating America; that’s a fundamental part of what makes America great). There is, of course, something wrong with people manifesting that hatred into violence.

At least two-thirds of this fits the Trump platform

I’m a simpleton, but I really believe most geopolitics scales down to family squabbles. To wit: Let’s say you have a big brother (I think George Orwell knew what he was doing when he coined that term on a political basis) and you despise him for whatever reason. You each have your own room. Now, if that big brother knows you despise him, let’s say he goes into your room, pins you to the ground, has his knees on your shoulders, and announces that he isn’t going to get up and leave the room until you tell him that he’s the greatest brother in the world and that you’ll never, ever do or say anything against him.

What are you gonna do? You’re going to tell him what he wants to hear to get him to leave the room, and then you’re going to resent him even more.

The U.S. military belongs in Syria, or at least in the part where ISIS has a stronghold, to take them out. But it doesn’t belong in sovereign nations (e.g. Afghanistan) no matter how messed up they are or how many terrorist cells are incubating there. We’re just the big brother pinning their shoulders to the floor insisting they like us. There are smarter ways to spread democracy and liberty, and the Number One way is to be an example of it.

Music 101

Undone–The Sweater Song

Was this 1994 tune from Weezer the first mumble core hit? This was the breakout hit for the band for Rivers Cuomo, who turns 46 today and matriculated at Harvard after the band made it big (he graduated in 2006). Great song AND a great video, one of the last on MTV that truly made a difference in how a song was interpreted by the public.

This is a song that sounds like it comes from a band that’s three albums into their run, not from a debut album. There’s a lot of confidence here, the patience for the slow build, the guitar feedback, the background convo. Just a classic.

Remote Patrol

Game 5: NBA Finals

Cleveland at Golden State

Fair or not (and it’s not), all the pressure tonight is on LeBron James. The Cavs have lost four of their last five playoff road game and were blown out by 15 and 33 in Games 1 and 2 at Oracle. The Dubs, who were on death’s door two weeks ago, down 3-1 to OKC, can close the curtain on the most magnificent season in NBA history tonight (they’d also become the first NBA team to win 89 games in a season; ’96 Chicago won 88). And in the process make James 2-5 in NBA Finals which, again, isn’t his fault (How many of those seven teams make the Finals without him?), but it is becoming his budding legacy. Fire away, Susie B.


by John Walters

Is Elizabeth Hurley really turning 51 today? “Yeah, baby! Yeah! And still sound as a pound!”

Starting Five

Four different Sharks scored on Thursday evening, including Logan “Haute” Couture

1. They Do Know The Way To San Jose

Thousands of Yinzers lined up outside Cheapest, Latest, Most Environmentally Unfriendly Way To Produce Energy and Make Billions Off It Arena (a.k.a. Consol Energy Center) in Pittsburgh last night. They assembled, on a lovely late spring evening, hoping to see a Pittsburgh team clinch a championship in Pittsburgh for the first time since the Pirates did so in 1960 (related: They never played a Super Bowl in Three Rivers Stadium).

And then the Sharks said, “No way……..San Jose!” The Sharks defeated the Penguins 4-2 in Game 5 (the score was 2-2 after just five minutes, by the way), sending the Stanley Cup Finals back to Silicon Valley for Game 6. So if the Penguins want to please their thousands upon thousands of fans who set up in Washington Place and Market Square last night, not to mention the 18,500 who bought a ticket, they should lose Game 6 and send it back to the Iron City for a Game 7? Sure, why not?

At least Pirates fans still have this: Iron City staking a claim to the Iron Throne?

2. Lady and the Trump

“Long ago and oh so far away…”

“Shots fired” between the presumptive presidential candidates. It began with this tweet from @RealDonaldTrump at 2:22 p.m. yesterday:


Five minutes later, at 2:27 p.m., @Hillary_Clinton tweeted:


Ooh, sick burn! Honestly, “Delete Your Account” should be the mantra for her entire campaign.

Who knew grandparents could be so vicious? For the record, Donald’s tweet  has been RT’ed 32,000 times, Hillary’s 400,000 times. Also, they’re following one another! I love the idea that Donald can slide into Hillary’s DMs, or vice versa.

3. “Orange Is NOT The New Black”

HRC was not the only Dem trolling Donald last night. POTUS showed up on Jimmy Fallon to, for one last time, slow jam the news. It was one of their better-written bits (“Prez Dispenser,” “Baracky with the Good Hair”, etc. , as Fallon asked the prez if he was “down with TPP” (Trans-Pacific Partnership), though he could have acknowledged that just hours earlier POTUS had publicly stated that he was, in not so many words, “down with HRC.” 

And speaking of the Republican nominee, POTUS quipped the headline on this item, which is a good line, like it or not. Strong show for Fallon—and quite the green room—as the two guests were Barack Obama and Madonna. This was a vintage show, as the Queen of Pop brought it all back to the Summer of ’84 with “Borderline.” You have to wonder if the pop goddess, 57, looked around at her pal Prince’s death, at the same age, and realized these are moments you don’t pass up:

What’s funny about this is I don’t remember  a time when so many TV show hosts were so unabashedly  transparent about which candidate they were backing (yes, guilty right here, too). There’s no hint of impartiality at all here. 

4.  Never Stop Never Stopping!!!!

Cleveland, Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Justin Bieber out-pop stars Pop Star by getting into a fight after the game, with a brother no less, and the guy shooting the video even mentions as its happening, “I’m gonna have TMZ.” Right you are.

So then I sent out this tweet yesterday, on my mobile phone and with these nearly 50 year-old eyes that stubbornly refuse to get glasses:


And so the amusing part is I just plain typed “3” when I meant to type “2” (not like diabetes or anything), but that only meant the tweet got more RTs as dozens of tweeps went out of their way to tell me what an ass hat I am. And then I had that “A ha” moment (not like “Take On Me” or anything) and thought, Oh, so this is how Clay Travis does it.

5. Media Movings

Two relatively big moves in media: 1) Our Twitter friend whom we’ve never actually met in person, Jason McIntyre, confirms on Twitter that he’s moving to “the Best Coast,” which means he’s going to be a part of FS1’s Speak For Yourself, though considering his two co-hosts, he should be calling it, Can I Get A Word In Here? I don’t think it’s yet been reported on his own sports media-obsessed site, The Big Lead, which is both kinda funny and a harbinger for future problems.

2) This is a print media big deal, but Paul Fichtenbaum, who started out at Sports Illustrated in the bullpen just a month or two after  me in 1989, is retiring at the end of the month as SI’s “Group Editor,‘ which basically meant he oversaw the umbrella of both the mag and the site. Chris Stone, who is the ME of the magazine, will replace “Fichto,” as we referred to him.

I didn’t know Paul well. He came in as a hockey reporter, then wrote a little, then got straight onto the editor track. When a bunch of dinosaurs near the top of the masthead didn’t quite understand or appreciate the power of the web around the turn of the millennium, they put Paul in charge of At the time it was not seen as a prestigious honor but rather, well, someone has to mind that store and we don’t quite know what to do with him, anyway. It’s almost as if someone needed a person to mind these three dragon eggs that will probably never hatch and Hey, Daenerys, you don’t seem to be too busy, so here you go.

To Paul’s credit (and with some serendipitous fortune), he and B.J. Schecter, his deputy, shepherded a publication into the online era, even though most of his bosses at the time were hardly enthusiastic about the revolution. Paul and B.J. were given the keys to the kingdom (or should I type “Peter King-dom”?) and the men handing them over didn’t even realize it. Fichto took on his mission with gusto and aided greatly by the one established writer at SI who saw the future, who just happened to be the mag’s main NFL writer, Peter King, he became the most powerful editor at the mag. He and B.J. knew that they were the mighty tail that was wagging the wheezing dog that the weekly publication had become. Life’s funny.

Music 101

Rock the Boat

What did disco sound like before people even realized they were listening to disco? Meet The Hues Corporation, whose 1974 hit helped launch the era. The song languished after its release in the early part of the year, but then like a scene out of Vinyl it became a favorite at club where disco was being spawned. By early July, it hit No. 1 on the Billboard 100 chart and a polyester era was born. “Our love is like a ship on the ocean/We’ve been sailing with a cargo full of love and devotion….”

Remote Patrol

O.J.: Made in America

Saturday 9 p.m. ABC

It’s a credit to ESPN’s branding, and Bill Simmons’ influence, that the term “30 for 30” has replaced “sports documentary” in the minds of millennials. I reviewed a number of excellent HBO sports docs (and a few from Showtime as well)  in the late Nineties and can assure you they were every bit as good as anything ESPN has done. But everyone who has seen this five-part, 10-hour doc says that it is the best one that the WWL has ever done, a snapshot of late 20th-century America as much as it is the story of a fallen sports idol and the grisly murder of two people.

We always knew, from the moment it happened (I fact-checked the first SI story run on it back in June of 1994) that this story was GIGANTIC. It was way bigger than sports or homicide. It was America, where we’re at in terms of celebrity culture and racial division, among other matters. It was a Robert Altman film come to life. Looking forward to watching this, if not enjoying everything I see.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING: Afternoon Delight Edition

by John Walters

A Medium Happy 55th to Michael J. Fox. Alex Keaton would be running a hedge fund and funneling money to a Super Pac right about now.

Starting Five

LeBron’s third-quarter dunk off Kyrie’s alley oop pass…

1.Welcome Back, Cavs

Man, I had my “Sweeped Pea?” headline all ready to go if Golden State prevailed last night, but kudos to Cleveland for showing up big time. 120-90, and LeBron James scored 32. Not surprised. The Cavs entered the game 7-0 at home this postseason while Golden State entered 0-3 in Game 3 contests, so form held.

…was redolent of Grant Hill’s first-half dunk versus Kansas in the 1991 NCAA championship game (pretty sure it was also an oop of alley)

Quick Questions: 1) Will the Cavs “Blatt” Kevin Love? 2) Is, as Steve Kerr asked his two-time MVP after benching him in the second quarter last night, “Something wrong?” with Stephen Curry? Is there something going on off the court? And how did that hottie in the tight blue top for Game 1 get such good tickets? Hmmm. Steph hasn’t seemed himself all series. Whaddup? 3) Did Klay Thompson really complain about someone on another team setting a moving pick? Ha. 4) Don’t you love it when the Cavs brainwash J.R.  Smith and convince him it’s just a Rucker Park game? 5) Now that we’ve just had our 19th game of this postseason in which one team lost by at least 25 points (previous record, 11 games), may I write a 5,000-word think piece on how emotionally fragile millennials are?

2. Bill of Rights (and Wrongs)

“Don’t speak. No. Don’t speak. Don’t speak. Don’t…..speak.”

We really like Bill Simmons‘ work. We do. Particularly the Mailbag (we wish he’d return to doing those) and the running diaries of drafts, award shows, etc. But man, can he put those Size 11’s (we’re assuming) in his gob sometimes. Yesterday, there was an excellent story in the Hollywood Reporter by Lacey Rose (who sounds as if she should be headlining Coachella ’17) but all most people will remember is this bitter quote by B.S.: ”

“ESPN has now gotten rid of everybody who is a little off the beaten path. Ask yourself this: ‘Who could work there that you respect right now?'”

So then Bill apologized, and it was a solid, sincere apology. It was not an  “I’m sorry if you were offended…” crap apology. It was a good apology. I mean it wasn’t Plato’s Apology, but what is? It wasn’t Kurt Cobain’s “All Apologies,” but again, what is?

Simmons apologized for “being a jackass” and took ownership of the quote. But then Bill mentioned 27 humans at ESPN who really are, as he put it, “great and talented people,” which is fine except he’s thereby excluding everyone else at ESPN with whom he came in contact (I imagine Norby felt particularly slighted). The only person I could not find on that list with whom Simmons worked closely, by the way? Sage Steele. So they’ll not be attending each others’ kids’ birthday parties.

3. Milk of the Papi

You may retire, Ortiz us with hopes of one more season….

David Ortiz, Designated Hitter (not to be confused with Donald Trump, Designated Hitler), Boston Red Sox. Key Stats:

40 years old

OBP:  .425, leads American League

Slugging %: .728, leads American League

RBI: 55, leads American League

Doubles: 26, leads American League

The Dominican Republican plans to retire after this, his 20th season. Why? He’s a sure-fire Hall of Famer either way and the most ruthless Yankee Killer of this millennium. Can he win the MVP as a DH? We’ll see (yes).

4. Laugh Again with Gaffigan

You know me by now: if it has anything to do with Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, it’s showing up here. So enjoy this teaser/trailer for its upcoming eighth season, featuring Jim Gaffigan, John Oliver, J.B. Smoove, Margaret Cho, Lorne Michaels and Judd Apatow.

I’m still waiting for Jerry to discover under-40 comics Nick Kroll, John Mulaney and Mike Birbiglia (especially since two of the folks on this year’s roster have never, to my knowledge, done standup). Maybe next season.

Also, Seinfeld interviewing Bill Cosby in jail (“Comedians Incarcerated Getting Coffee”) would be Crackle’s highest-rated most-streamed show yet, no?

5. Kalamazoo Carnage

The bicycles of the victims….

Here’s more on the senseless tragedy in Kalamazoo, in which five cyclists were killed by Charles Pickett, a 50 year-old Battle Creek resident. I really don’t care if Pickett was impaired or not (unless he was suffering a heart attack, which it does not appear that he was). It’s like waving around a loaded gun and firing it: Does it really matter if you are drunk or not? It’s manslaughter at least, second-degree murder at worst. Charges are expected to be filed today.

Charles Pickett

Music 101

Afternoon Delight

Because it’s just THAT beautiful a day in New York City. Thank you, Starland Vocal Band, a.k.a. “Poor Man’s ABBA.”


The Tony Awards Edition!

by Katie McCollow

Are you guys ready for the Tony Awards on Sunday?? HAMILTON HAMILTON HAMILTOOOOOOON!!!


Hmm. Stretching it out like that makes it look like it’s pronounced ‘Hamiltune’, and that was not my intention.

A more skilled writer, say, oh, Alexander Hamilton, would’ve figured out a better way to write it, like maybe HAMILTUUUUUUUHHHN, but if Lin-Manuel Miranda’s magnum opus is to be believed, or Ron Chernow’s book on which the musical is based, which I fully admit I have not read, but that’s only because my sister is hogging it plus is seems really long and also why do I have to, now that I’ve memorized the show?

It’s like a billion pages long (Thank God Aaron Burr took him out when he did, eh?)

Mr. Miranda has proven what I’ve long believed: anything worth knowing has a soundtrack. Anyway, if someone had a problem with something Mr. Hamilton had written, he would’ve invited them to do unspeakable things to themselves, so in that spirit, I am not changing it. HAMILTOOOON!

“You must be outta your Godd**n mind if you think I’m changing it!”

If you’re not super-stoked, or kind of into it, or even mildly interested in the greatest thing that’s occurred in pop-culture since Harry Potter showed up, please just do yourself a favor and download the soundtrack right this very minute, you still have a few days to drink the Kool-aid.

Unless it’s Hamilton and your friends tie you up in the basement and insist

DaaaaaaaaAAAAHHHH I CAN’T WAIT. My household has been completely addicted to it since last fall. We all agree that when we are listening to it alone, say in the car or in the shower or what have you, we can each do all the parts perfectly. Let’s just say we’re excited to watch it sweep on Sunday.

I would be so good in this

I would be so good in this

We’ve been mulling over what the appropriate victuals will be to mark the festivities Sunday night, and after about seven seconds of debate, realized duh, we have to have hot dogs and apple pie. Because ‘Merica!

The Tony Awards has long been our favorite awards show anyway, for the simple fact that it’s the most entertaining. It understands that its main purpose is to get people to want to see shows.

And I loooooove musical shows, even the non-Hamilton ones. I have an idea for a musical, and if anyone reading this cares to steal it go right ahead, I think we all know I’m never going to do anything with it.

My idea is a musical adaptation of Kenny Loggins’ 1997 book, Unimaginable Life: Lessons Learned on the Path of Love. It’s the love story of Mr. Loggins and his then wife, Julia, how they met and fell in love while she was giving him an enema and then got married in a nudist ceremony. Obviously Mr. Loggins’ songs would provide the soundtrack—“Danger Zone” during that fateful first enema;  “I Am Not Hiding” at the wedding…

What about this doesn’t say love?

*EDITOR: Katie’s backup caption: “ Now I gotta cut loose, footloose
Kick off your Sunday shoes
Please, Louise, pull me off of my knees”

Lest you think I am not a Kenny Loggins fan, you are very wrong. I friggin’ love him, and honestly I’d like him to write this show himself because I’d like to see him back on top.

If a bastard, orphan, son-of-a whore and a Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean by providence; impoverished, in squalor can grow up to be a hero and a scholar AND have a wildly successful musical made about him, you can, too, Kenny Loggins, you and your string of soft-rock hits and enema love story, that yes, eventually ended in divorce but that makes it all the more poignant.

My Five Other Favorite Founding Fathers, in No Particular Order (but maybe they’d move up the ranks if someone would write musicals about them): 

Just Kidding!

Not interested

My Top Four Favorite Musical Soundtracks After Hamilton:

This was tough, I ain’t gonna lie to you, and I reserve the right to change my mind in the comments section if it turns out I forgot something. There is a 100 percent chance of that happening, and I’m hoping that, just like last week, you kind folks will weigh in with your favorites too, because that’s what makes it fun. Plus if there’s some great show out there that I have never heard of, I need to hear about it.

My Fair Lady, 1956

BECAUSE JULIE ANDREWS and Rex Harrison, (wait…he’s singing but talking? And yet I love it??) and because every song is perfection, as is Al Hirschfeld’s album-cover art. Lying on the floor under the round table in our living room, listening to it and staring at it and imagining it…


Brigadoon, another Lerner and Lowe classic, was also big at our house, and it’s good, but it’s no MFL. I didn’t see either movie (I’ve never seen a stage production of either) until years after I’d heard the soundtracks, and MFL surpassed all expectations while Brigadoon flat-out stunk, despite Gene Kelly.  It totally did, you’re wrong.

I wanted to love it. I know you’re yelling at me, but I’m plugging my ears

I wanted to love it. I know you’re yelling at me but I’m plugging my ears.

The Phantom of the Opera, 1986

Hold on to your hats, folks, cuz what I’m about to say next it gonna piss the out of whomever’s still reading this—I am talking about the movie version, not the original cast recording, which I hate.

Just typing Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford makes my eardrums bleed. Gerard Butler, on the other hand, sings like (I’m quoting Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman here) a “meatloaf stuffed with too much garlic”, and if someone can tell me why that’s a bad thing, I’m listening (not really).

Who could love this hideous monster? 

His mild-to-moderate  speech impediment does not stop him from belting to the cheap seats one iota, and beautiful Emmy Rossum’s thin, teary warbling is a joy, a joy I say. When she and Patrick Wilson sing “All I Ask of You”…I can’t even…I need to be alone.  

Annie Get Your Gun—the 1999 revival

Again, not the original, but I about wore this CD out when it was released. You can hardly go wrong with Bernadette Peters, who won a Tony for this, but even Marilu Henner can’t ruin Irving Berlin. I know this because that’s who played Annie in the touring version, which is what I saw with my daughter, who was four at the time, when it came to town. She loved that soundtrack, too—I swear she begged me to play it every day for a year, which probably contributes to why I love it so much, but the music…it bears repeating. Not even Marilu Henner can ruin Irving Berlin.

Try as I might…. 

Annie, 1977

I was in this very house I live in now—my grandmother’s house, in 1977. I was nine, and I’d slept over, which I did a lot. Nana had the TV on, and Andrea McArdle was singing “Tomorrow” on one of the morning talk shows. Like everyone else in the country, I was immediately and completely obsessed. My mom bought the album and my friends and I sobbed along with “Maybe” until we were spent. Gawd…That poor little girl just wants her parents to come find her! If only we were orphans, too!

The best ever

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, 1973

What? Another Andrew Lloyd Webber and no Sondheim? Why should we listen to anything she has to say?  I know, I know! But I saw this show with Donny Osmond in 1992 with my new husband, and it was spectacular, and we played it and played it and played it…Donny Osmond, you guys!

Don’t act like you’re not impressed

Look, trying to get this to five is impossible and dumb. How can I leave off West Side Story or Sweeney Todd or Rent (well, let’s be honest, Rent’s great songs are balanced out by a few serious dogs, am I right?) or Ragtime or The Last Five Years or LES MIS FOR GOD’S SAKE AAAAHHHHHHHH IT’S TOO HAAAAAARDDDD wait a minute I forgot Godspell and Dracula even though I know it closed after like ten minutes but the music is really pretty I hate this game…

How could I forget Wicked?

EDITOR: Here’s a little treat for Katie. This happened after she wrote this post. Definitely stick around for the second half. Jane Krakowski knocks it out of the park (p.s. I’m not insulting your intelligence by reminding you that James Corden is a Tony Award winner):

P.S. I’m pretty sure these guys nearly side-swiped me as I was cycling down Columbus earlier this week…. –j.w.


by John Walters

A Medium Happy 89th to the creator of Festivus, Frank Costanza (Jerry Stiller). “I got a lot of problems with you people!”

Starting Five

Bern Out? Not yet, and where do I procure one of those cool T-shirts (Lower right)?

1. Weakened at Bernie’s

Was the story last night that Hillary Clinton became the first presumptive female nominee of a major party in the history of the United States? Or was it that Bernie Sanders stood up on a stage in Santa Monica, pronounced himself “pretty good” at the maths, and said he was taking the fight to D.C. next Tuesday for one more week of voting?

Bernie’s like the Indy 500 driver who is four laps behind when the Brazilian takes the checkered flag but still insists upon driving around the oval a few more times. Oh, well, you’re 74, Bernie, and we like you, so what the hell? Then again, you could have been a little more gracious there, Bernie. What’s that? Right. A lot more gracious. Especially when your supporters booed Hillary. Not cool, old man. Not cool.

Also, people kept tweeting last night how the daughter of our first African-American president will now be able to cast a vote for a female candidate. So wouldn’t it be funny if Malia voted for Trump? Tragic, but funny.

2. Making Sport of Defining A Sport

Gluttony is not a sport

I hear it nearly every day on Twitter, and certainly every week: “Such-and-such is or is not a sport (this week the debate is over cheerleading).” But I almost never hear anyone attempt to define the term. And my question is, If you know X is a sport and Y is not, and are so certain of it, then how come you cannot provide a simple definition of sport. And here is where it gets tight: you must be able to live with the parameters of your definition, i.e., once you define it, that’s going to either include or exclude a few activities that you may not want to include or exclude. Therein lies the rub.

The Mud Pit Belly Flop. I wonder if this sport has a tandem who call themselves the Splash Brothers?

So I wrote about it for Newsweek and asked cool peeps such as Scott Van Pelt, Amelia Boone, Jeff Pearlman, Tim Crothers, David Goldblatt and Angela Gleason to assist. I really hope you read it. Thanks.

3. Cheery O’s

Machado es mas macho

Look out, American League, because here comes Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s have won six of their past seven to clamber into first place in the American League East, a half game ahead of the Red Sox.

And they’ve got a little fight in them. Last night, in the fifth inning of a 9-1 win, Manny Machado was plunked nailed in the back by a 99 mph fastball from the Royals’ Yordano Ventura, a pitcher with a 5.32 ERA who had bragged to his teammates that he was going to do this before the game. So, not smart. Machado, I’d say, exacted vengeance.

4. Preventable

In Cooper Township, Michigan, a few miles north of Kalamazoo, five cyclists were killed and four more injured when a blue pick-up truck driven by a 50 year-old man (still unidentified) rammed into them. Five dead. Reports say that between 6:08 p.m. and 6:21 p.m. law enforcement officials in the Kalamazoo area received three different calls of a blue truck driving erratically, but there was not an active search for the vehicle when it plowed into the victims at around 6:30 p.m.

Senseless tragedy. Last night I rode my bike from the Upper West Side of Manhattan to Citi Field in Queens. When I go on bike rides like that, it’s a lot of fun, but it’s also about me having to trust drivers to be paying at least half as much attention to what they’re doing as I am. If they aren’t, I could be dead. New York City is turning, incrementally, into a cycling city and it’s great. Tragedies like this are a reminder of the price we pay for bad drivers.

The driver fled the scene, by the way, but was apprehended soon after.

5. Rule No. 14: You Are What You Do

Just because you look like Howdy Doody does not mean you’re not a rapist. In fact, it may mean you’re more of a rapist.

We haven’t added a new rule in awhile (Rule No. 1: “Gravity always wins”), but here’s one. You are what you do. Yesterday I literally heard CNN’s designated Donald Trump apologist, Jeffery “My Sweet” Lord, tell Van Jones that Trump “is not a racist.” But he makes racist comments, no?

And then I read where Brock Turner’s father and a childhood friend both wrote letters that their sweet Brock is not a rapist. But he was convicted of rape, no?

You are what you do, people. You are what you do. And if you’re not, then I don’t want to hear anyone who runs a marathon slower than 4:30 tell me they’re a marathoner. Okay? Stop it.

Music 101

Lose Yourself

This song from Eminem, off the soundtrack from 8 Mile, hit No. 1 in 18 countries after it was released in 2002. Generally acknowledged as one of the top hip hop songs of all time, it won both an Academy Award (Best Original Song) and a Grammy (Best Rap Song). It has gone quintuple platinum. This is also one of the more frequently played tunes at sports  venues as teams go through warm-ups.

8 Mile is basically the Rocky of hip hop films, no? Well done, Marshall Mathers.

Remote Patrol

Warriors vs. Cavs, Game 3

9 p.m. ABC

It’s your moment, Channing.

A three-day hiatus between games is just TOO MANY HOURS for hot takes. I’d like to launch a show that just does hot takes on others shows’ hot takes (or is that Twitter?). Anyway, the Cavs were averaging 14.4 threes per game in the playoffs until they met the Warriors, and now they’re averaging 6 after two games. Tyronn Lue has to play Channing Frye tonight, though I’m not sure why he wasn’t playing him earlier.

Also, tonight, Highlander on BBC at 8:30 p.m. I saw this movie once and pledged that I would visit Scotland. And I did. and it was magnificent. The Scottish highlands are incredible.



by John Walters

A Medium Happy 38th to Stefon, a.k.a. Bill Hader. “New York’s hottest new birthday party venue is , ‘Sit On It, Potsie!’. It has everything….”

Starting Five

Arya takes “the pointy end”

1. Arya Dead Or Arya Alive?

Okay, so I’m not done with Game of Thrones yet this week. Here is a list of characters who mighta died, shoulda died, coulda died and in one case, actually did die, but who have all survived with varying levels of credulity: Uncle Benjen, The Hound, Sansa Stark and Theon Greyjoy (we’re going to ask Medium Happy’s resident science expert to explain how deep a snow bank it would have to have been to break their fall, but then after having survived, how deep in the snow the pair would have been and if they would have been able to climb back out; it’s a snow bank, not a trampoline), Jon Snow and now Arya Stark.

Somewhere, Hodor is asking, “And I had to die, but all of these punks get a second chance?” (Well, he’s actually asking, “Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor Hodor?” but if he could speak full sentences, that’s what he’d say).

And what’s with Sunday’s episode kinda being a rip off of that Season 5 episode of The Walking Dead in which Morgan encounters Marge Gunderson‘s husband from Fargo (and the Zodiac Killer, probable) and the two of them have plenty of philosophical chats about God and peace on earth, etc., but then at the end of the episode Mr. Gunderson dies. It’s not exactly a carbon copy of that episode, but it’s close.

The Hound: Losing his religion

Dig: Game of Thrones is at its best when it brings some hurt, and some final consequences, to characters we love: Ned Stark, Catelyn Stark, Robb Stark, Robb Stark’s hot wife whose name we forget, Jaime’s right hand, etc.  And when it does the same to characters we do not love quite so much: Anyone sitting on the Iron Throne, Littlefinger’s wife, etc. You can only do the Scooby Doo ending so many times before the show loses ballast. Bad things must happen; this is Westeros.

And now Jorah’s gonna go find a cure for Greyscale. I half expect Joffrey to return.

There are already theories about how Arya survived her stabbing (Was that really Jaqen pretending to be her? Does she have a faceless stomach? Etc.), but in the end we saw what we saw and you can’t keep telling us what we saw did not really happen. You can’t keep placing rescue dumpsters in Westeros.

Also, didn’t you love the High Sparrow‘s marital advice to Margaery: “Congress does not require desire on a woman’s part, only patience”)? Lord, if that isn’t plastered on a T-shirt by week’s end, then I’ve lost my faith in America. It should totally be your new pickup line at Buffalo Wild Wings, guys.

Also, didn’t you love how Sansa and Jon went all Jake and Elwood Blues trying to get the band back together? And then it was Sir Davos, who is probably the character we all identify with more than anyone else on the show, who saved their bacon?

2. “And Your Bird Can Sing…”*

*The judges will totally accept “The Parrot Trap”

So there’s a parrot in Michigan who may have witnessed a murder-suicide gone awry in Ensley Township, Michigan. Last year Martin Duram, 45, was shot in his own home. His African Grey parrot, Bud, was in the room and is now heard often cawing, “Don’t f____n’ shoot!”

Martin’s wife, Glenna, was found near him with a superficial head wound. She survived. And she’s the prime suspect. If I’m Bud I’m dubious of any bird seed she places in my cage. But the questions linger: Will Bud sing like a canary? Is he a stool pigeon? Is Bud wiser to Glenna’s tricks? Or will Glenna finger him as the culprit believing that Toucan play that game.

3. Chill, Brazil


Geez Louise, Brazil. First, it’s the filthy water. Then it’s the mosquitoes carrying a virus, Zika, that could be causing babies to be born with smaller skulls. Now you’re attempting to impeach your president, your country’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff, just two months before the opening ceremony.

This is either the Brazilian presidential palace or a Bond villain’s lair. Or both.

I’m not exactly certain what Rousseff has done to merit the impeachment proceedings, but you can read here if you like. For now Rousseff is allowed to remain in this cool 1960s-era crib, the Palacio de Alvorado, which ain’t half bad.

4. No Djok*

Djokovic has won 6 of the past 8 Grand Slams. Nadal and Federer have not won any. Roger last won at Wimbledon in 2012.

*The judges also look favorably upon “To Serb With Love”

We didn’t forget you, tennis. Over the weekend Novak Djokovic finally won a French Open, the lone Grand Slam title that had still eluded him. The 29 year-old Serbian now owns a dozen Grand Slam singles titles overall (having won six of them in the past two years).

Djokovic is now tied with Roy Emerson (Lake & Palmer), two behind Rafael Nadal and Pete Sampras, and five behind the legendary Roger Federer for most Grand Slam victories.  To me the most incredible part is that you have three of the five winningest men’s tennis stars of all time being more or less contemporaries. The trio has won, between them, 42 of the past 50 Grand Slam finals.

How do they stack up head to head? Here are the stats for all matches, not just Grand Slams:

Djokovic versus Federer? Djokovic leads, 23-22

Federer versus Nadal? Rafa leads, 23-11.

Djokovic versus Nadal? Novak leads, 26-23.

A lot of tennis folks I know, and they LOVE Roger, think he’s the greatest men’s player of all time. But, and I know he’s a few years older than this pair, I think history will not be quite that kind since he will finish with a losing record lifetime versus the other two legends of his era. That said, his 17 Grand Slams may hold up, even though Djokovic just turned 29 a few weeks ago.

5. Can’t Get Katie’s Songs Outta My Head….

Wings created a lot of great summer music, boppity bop bop, bippity bip; Musta been the scarf

It’s infectious: The Summer Songs Playlist as introduced by our Katie McCollow last week. Here are some more that I can’t get out of my head (excluding Kylie Minogue’s “Can’t Get You Outta My Head”):

–“Good Morning, Starshine” (Donovan)

–“Grazing In The Grass” (The Friends of Distinction)

–“Silly Love Songs” (Paul McCartney and Wings)

–“Brandy” (Looking Glass)

–“Afternoon Delight” (Starland Vocal Band)

–“With A Little Luck” (Paul McCartney and Wings)

–“Life’s Been Good” (Joe Walsh)

–“Look What You’ve Done To Me” (Boz Scaggs, from Urban Cowboy)

–“Money For Nothing” (Dire Straits)

–“Heart and Soul” (T’Pau)

–“Only In My Dreams” (Debbie Gibson)

And then I graduated college and got old…

Music 101

Ain’t It A Sin

“OOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!! Have you heard this soul tune by Charles Bradley? Damn, son! Bradley, who is 67 years old, is a former James Brown impersonator (He saw the King of Soul perform at the Apollo Theater in 1962 when he was just 14) who is finally hitting it big in his mid-Sixties.

Remote Patrol

USA vs. Costa Rica

8 p.m. FS1

Darlington Nagbe, a midfielder who was born in Liberia, brings a little flair to the men’s team. Hoping he gets the start tonight.

The Yanks lost 2-0 to Colombia on Friday in their first of three group stage matches in Copa America. If they lose tonight in Chicago, they’re out. I watched Argentina vs. Chile last night and it’s practically a different game than the one the Americans play. They are playing music. We are struggling to play the right chords.

If Team USA wins tonight, there’s a big match Friday versus Paraguay to get them into the knockout round. If the Americans lose, everyone gets a “Make America Great Again” ball cap as a parting gift.