IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Yes, we’re talking to you! A Medium Happy 73rd to Bobby D!

Starting Five

D’Agostino (ground) and Hamblin will now forever be linked in Olympic lore

Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand…

In a women’s 5,000 heat, American Abby D’Agostino was running directly behind New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin when their spikes became intertwined. Both runners fell. At first Hamblin appeared to be the more injured runner, and D’Agostino remained behind to help her up. The two took off running, and then D’Agostino’s knee began to bother her and she dropped. This time Hamblin waited to help her up.

At first, D’Agostino helped Hamblin up

Both runners were lapped, but both also finished their heat. Officials gave them an exemption to move onto the next round. The two hugged after crossing the finish line and created, yes it’s a cliche but it’s true, an unforgettable Olympic moment. Look at the joy on D’Agostino’s face.

I don’t care if it sounds hokey, this is part of why we love the Olympics. And it will also go a long way toward smoothing those icy relations between the USA and New Zealand. Wait, huh?

2. Upsets Aplenty

Brazil’s version of “Another point for Milos!”

The Brazilian women’s indoor volleyball team, two-time defending Olympic champions, fell to China in the quarterfinals, 3 sets to 2. In women’s soccer, Brazil fell to another cowardly effort by Sweden in the semis. And then THREE-time defending women’s beach volleyball studdess, Kerri Walsh Jennings (and April Ross-Rachel), lost to Brazil in straight sets in the semis, one day after her 38th birthday.

Simpson, who turns 30 one week from today, will always be the first American woman to have medaled in the 1500

In the women’s 1500 world-record holder Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia was caught from behind in the final lap by Kenya’s Chepngetich Kipyegon (yup, that’s how you spell it). Friend Of the Blog (FOB) Jenny Simpson finished third. If you’re scoring at home, Simpson and her close friend Emma Coburn each took bronze in their events and each became the first Americans to ever medal in their respective events, the 3000-meter steeple and the 1500.

3. Ravin’ About Simone

Biles is actually heels over head

With her gold medal in the floor exercise last night, Simone Biles wins four out of a possible five golds in women’s gymnastics, which ties for the most stunning single Olympics a female gymnast has ever had. Plus, she met Zac Efron, which has never before happened to an Olympian during the Olympics, as far as we know.

Latynina

For the record, the Soviet Union’s Larisa Latynina also won four golds in one Olympics, 1956 in Melbourne. Latynina also owns more golds (9) and more overall medals (18) than any female in Olympic history, though both Biles (4 and 5) and swimmer Katie Ledecky (5 and 6) are gaining on her and Ledecky should definitely be there in Tokyo, and possibly also in 2024 in…Los Angeles?

4. Tex Wrex 

The deal of the Art: He’s perfect, apparently

Art Briles: “I’ve been in [coaching] 38 years, and I’ve done, you know, lived the right way for 60 years of my life. I’ve never done anything illegal, immoral, unethical.

Rick Perry (to Gold Star father Khizr Khan) : “In a campaign, if you’re going to go out and think that you can take a shot at somebody and not have incoming coming back at you, shame on you.”

Maybe you two just don’t need to speak as much.

5. Forecast For Irish Defense: Plenty of Hayes

Daelin flashing the Ezekiel Elliott look at practice earlier this week

After nearly a week of practice, our pal Pete Sampson has taken his eyes off Chris Finke long enough to note that freshman defensive end Daelin Hayes has made quite the impression on the Irish staff. The 6’3 1/2, 250-pound Michigan native had more tout to his name than any other incoming frosh defensive player for the Irish, so this is not a big surprise.

Jay Hayes is ready to make a difference after 3 tackles in 2014 and no action last year

At another defensive end is “stout” (read: fat but in shape) 285-pound junior Jay Hayes, who is also 6’3″-ish and will also see plenty of reps. If your memory on Jay is hazy, that’s because the Brooklyn native was basically red-shirted. He also was benched for a game for sending out mean tweets. Hayes has moved from defensive tackle to defensive end.

 

Music 101

Everybody Wants Some

The only Van Halen song that inspired a film title, this came off the band’s third studio album, Women and Children First, which was released in the spring of 1980. It has trademark Eddie riffs and David Lee yowls. You can visualize Diamond Dave punctuating Eddie’s guitar licks with some killer karate kicks, no?

Remote Patrol

Rio Olympics

NBC and NBC Surrogates  ALL DAY

Ashton Eaton will attempt to become just the third repeat winner in the men’s decathlon, following Bob Mathias of the USA and Daley Thompson of Great Britain

Men’s hoops: USA vs. Argentina, quarterfinals, at 5:45 p.m. If the U.S. men, who have won a pair of games by the margin of a Steph Curry special, lose, they’re out of a chance for any medal. Track: Decathlon begins and the women’s 200 final. Both women’s beach volleyball matches commence later tonight, as Jennings Walsh-Ross Rachel (you have to admire my commitment to a tepid joke) meet Brazil’s No. 1 team for bronze, not gold. Also, men’s boxing, Neymar and Brazil meet Honduras in a men’s soccer semi, and right now I’m watching badminton on USA Network.

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

A Medium Happy 4th birthday to Medium Happy. We start Pre-K next month!

by John Walters

Starting Five

The human race

Bahamian Flopsody*

*The judges will accept “Tor-so Close” and “Allyson Road” but don’t even think about putting “Miller Time” up there. Get that weak sh*t outta here.

Felix, Felix, Felix. Last night American Allyson Felix became the most decorated U.S. female track star with her seventh medal, but she probably does not feel great about it this morning. Felix, 30, lost out on a gold medal in what could be her final Olympic race by 7/100ths of a second. Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas dove for the finish line and Felix, who had made up serious ground on Miller in the final 100 meters, did not.

Miller’s time: 49.r4. Felix’s: 49.51.

There was nothing dirty or illegal about what Miller did. As Felix’s own teammate, Natasha Hastings, said afterward, “I did it myself twice this year. I dove [at the U.S. Olympic trials] for my spot here. And I did it in indoor nationals as well. You do what you’ve got to do to get over the line.”

And then again, some races are not Katie Ledecky in the 800

If it was Felix’s final race, she departs the Olympics with four golds and three silvers. You may recall that she missed out on a spot in the 200 in Rio when she finished 1/100th of a second out of a berth.

Felix’s defeat at the end of the night meant that for the first time since Day 12 of the Olympics in Beijing back in 2008, an entire day of the Summer Olympics came and went without the USA winning a gold medal. What can we say: Donald, you’re right.

2. “Extreme Vetting”

You know, before yesterday, had I heard someone use the term “extreme vetting,” I’d instantly think of beloved Yorkshire healer James Herriot being elbow-deep in a cow’s rectum. But no: now it’s Donald Trump‘s pet term for how to decide who is allowed to enter the USA.

There’s nothing wrong with letting the INS and other agencies do their jobs. It’s just that discriminating against people is supposed to be counter to “our way of life” (a term I heard two different Trump surrogates use yesterday, although no one seems willing to explain exactly what that means), doesn’t it?

There’s one very simple doctrine that governs what “our way of life” means. It’s not about preferring the NFL to cricket or hamburgers to falafel or Kid Rock to Wiz Khalifa. It’s simple: obey the laws. Do that and you are welcome here. Don’t, and you’re not. That’s the essence of the U.S.A.

Then again, if Trump was suggesting that we deport the members of “Extreme,” I can get on board with that.

3. United States of Emma-rica

Coburn made up serious ground in the final three laps to go from 4th place to the podium

Congratulations to Crested Butte’s own Emma Coburn, one of the nicest athletes we know, for both winning the bronze medal in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase and setting the American record by three seconds—breaking her own mark—yesterday. Coburn becomes the first U.S. woman to win a medal in this event. We loved when Lewis Johnson wrapped up his track-side interview with her and she asked if it was okay to leave. Her parents raised her right.

4. Goodbye, Larry

So Comedy Central canceled The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. And like, abruptly. This will be his last week.

I’ll admit that I didn’t watch it. After Wilmore’s abysmal performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner last spring, where he lost the room early and never recovered, it seemed that the clock was ticking. It didn’t help that he was the second-funniest black man on the dais that night, after POTUS.

Can America use a genuinely funny person to discuss matters of race in late night? Sure. Wilmore just didn’t seem to be pushing the right buttons. The better question becomes, With just under three months remaining until election day (I know, rest of the world, we tend to drag out our elections here), what does Comedy Central do with that vacant time slot? Does it attempt to persuade Jon Stewart to return? I doubt he would, but we’ll see.

5. Wall Tweet

Twitter (TWTR) stock on August 18, 2015: $29

TWTR stock on February 11, 2016: $13.91

TWTR stock yesterday: $21.10.

Yesterday the stock rose $1.32 and broke above $20 for the first time since early January. News that Twitter and Apple TV may be making a deal for streaming service of NFL games got Wall Street excited. Is Twitter finally out of the doldrums?

Remember, three summers ago you could buy Facebook (FB) for $24. Now it sells for $124, an increase of 400%.

Music 101 

I Hate U I Love U

This tune was released last March and peaked at No. 27 on the Billboard chart. It was No. 1 in Australia. Gnash is an L.A.-based DJ. Olivia O’Brien is from Thousand Oaks, Calif., and has resided in Napa. Soft-scrabble streets.

Remote Patrol

Olympics

NBC You Know The Drill

Now that she’s 38 years old, will Kerri Walsh-Jennings sense any change as she and partner April Ross-Rachel take the sand tonight against the top-seeded Brazilians in a semi? It’s also the final night for women’s gymnastics (floor exercises), the women’s 1500 meter final, and the men’s 10-K swim, which just sounds cruel. Also, women’s pole vaulting begins and we get our first look at Sandi Morris, previously profiled by this guy in Newsweek.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

A Medium Happy 38th to the ultimate gold digger, sand queen Kerri Walsh-Jennings, who goes for a fourth consecutive gold medal in Rio this week

Starting Five

Bolt breezed in the semis, but had to work hard to overtake Justin Gatlin of the USA in the final

RIO Speed Wagon

A sizzling and historic night on the track in Rio last night. In the span of less than half an hour, South Africa’s Wayde Van Niekerk set a world record in the 400 (43.03) and won gold running out of Lane 8, then Usain Bolt became the first human ever to win three straight 100-meter golds. On Saturday evening defending 10,000-meter Olympic champ Mo Farah was inadvertently tripped by teammate Galen Rupp, but still recovered to take gold.

Back home, Van NIekerk is coached by a 74 year-old woman whose last name is Botha. Take that, apartheid.

NBC’s Ato Boldon was outstanding, by the way, on both eh Van Niekerk and Bolt calls, noting on the former that it may finally be time to imagine that a man may run a sub-:43 and on the latter that Bolt now belongs in the conversation of all-time greatest athletes along with Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali.

2. Talent Pool

The World Record line took silver

In his final event (until Tokyo in 2020?) Michael Phelps won his 23rd gold in the 4 x 100 IM relay. Katie Ledecky went Secretariat-at-the-Belmont on the field in the 800 freestyle, setting yet another world record—she has set the last five at this distance—and taking gold by 11 seconds! In Guanabara Bay, no one caught a crab (or a crap) as the U.S. women’s eight won a third consecutive gold medal in rowing, which is pretty ridiculous.

The Swiss missed an outstanding opportunity to knock out Brazil

Also: Ryan Lochte did not get shot, Simone Biles won her third gold medal in gymnastics, and males everywhere (outside Brazil) were disappointed to see Joana Heidrich and her Swiss teammate come within a point of knocking out No. 1 seeded Brazil in two sets, only to lose the second set 27-25 and then later the match. It’s on to the SI Swimsuit issue for the 6’3″ Heidrich, we imagine.

3. Here Come Da Judge (and Austin, Too)

Austin (left) and Judge went back to back yard in their first MLB at-bats on Saturday. Judge his a second home run on Sunday.

Yankee manager Joe “I Don’t Do Farewell Tours” Girardi’s week opened on a sour note, but ended on a sweet one. On Friday the Yankees overcame a thunderstorm and A-Rod’s farewell to win their third straight (Alex went 1-for-4, hitting an RBI double, and played a little 3rd base).

On Saturday Girardi inserted not one but two rookies, Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge, into their lineup. Both had been called up the day before, the latter around midnight. Both had to drive 5-6 hours from upstate New York overnight to arrive at Yankee Stadium for the 1 p.m. start. Austin got a car service because bad weather canceled his flight; Judge, who stands 6’7″, got a ride with his parents when they were summoned from Dinosaur BBQ at around midnight.

Judge’s blast, in a 96-degree furnace, bounced off the windows of the enclosed bar out in center field. No Yankee had ever hit it that far.

In their first at-bats, batting one after the other in the lineup, both Austin and Judge homered. Both hit their shots on 2-strike pitches. No two teammates had ever made their debuts and homered in their first Major League at-bats in the same game, much less back-to-back. Austin and Judge did this on the same day the Yanks honored their 1996 World Series championship team, so Mo, Jeter, Torre, Paul O’Neill and the rest saw it in person.

“You couldn’t script it any better,” said Girardi. For once this week, he was right. The Yankees won four straight.

4. Underwater in Baton Rouge

Welcome to LSU! Enjoy freshman orientation and rush week!

Four people are dead and 20,000 needed to be rescued, as floods swept across southern Louisiana. Gov. John Bel Edwards used the words “historic” and “unprecedented” to describe the deluge, except that as my former colleague Zoe Schlanger notes,

So depending on where your “dogmatic religion” versus “understanding of science” X and Y axes align, you can either blame this on God punishing mankind or on global warming (or both, or neither).

5. Brendan Dassey Goes Free

Dassey was 17 when he was convicted of helping his uncle murder Teresa Haibach

The nephew of Stephen Avery, the most innocent victim in Making A Murderer who was not actually murdered (i.e., Teresa Haibach) may soon be released from prison (after nine years). Brendan Dassey’s conviction was overturned on Friday. If you saw the Netflix doc, you know that Dassey, now 26, was a pretty simple high school rube at the time who had absolutely no idea of the gravity of the situation as cops coerced a confession out of him.

I do hope the WWE invites him to sit ringside for its next Main Event, and soon.

****
There certainly was enough Trump rhetoric/news over the weekend to justify an item, but we chose to just let you all have a day off. Gird yourself for tomorrow.

Music 101

Take It On The Run

In 1981 a supposedly minor league band out of Champaign, Ill., REO Speedwagon, released an album cleverly titled Hi Infidelity that was an absolute monster. This was their ninth studio album—you can imagine family members were wondering when they were going to quit chasing this dream—but it might as well have been a debut smash, as six songs made the Billboard charts, including “Keep On Loving You,” which went to No. 1. The album sold more than 10 million copies. This song, which hit No. 5, was recently covered/sampled/stolen by Pitbull. By the way, REO actually had a few hits prior to this album, such as “Ridin’ The Storm Out,” “Roll With the Changes” and our personal favorite, “Time For Me To Fly” (Okay, we’ll put that here, too).

Remote Patrol

Olympics

NBC All Dang Day

Rudisha is 6’3″ and hold the three fastest times ever run in the 800. The reigning Olympic champ is in many ways the Usain Bolt of his event.

Another outstanding day on the track, as we get the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase final, the women’s 1,500-meter final, the men’s 800 final featuring King David Rudisha, the women’s 400 final with Allyson Felix, and the men’s pole vault final.

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

A Medium Happy 41st to Casey Affleck, the hidden gem of Good Will Hunting

STARTING FIVE

Touch. Down.

Fiji Gold

It’s always cool when a country wins its first gold medal. Fiji did that yesterday when it defeated Great Britain 43-7 to win the gold medal in rugby sevens. We should point out that Fiji is not the country that had that oiled up flag bearer at the opening ceremony. That was Tonga. Common mistake (Tonga has never won gold; nor has Togo, by the way).

“Rugby is our religion,” said one player. Fiji has 900,000 inhabitants.

Countries that have never won a gold medal, and tell me if you see a common thread here: Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar, Sudan, Iraq. Quick hot take: Sports are a great antidote to terrorism.

Ravin’ Simones!

How good of a gymnast is Simone Biles, who won the gold in Individual All Around last night? According to NBC’s Al Trautwig, her winning margin of 2.1 points was a greater number than the COMBINED MARGINS in the victories from 1980 through 2012. That’s NINE Olympic Games. That’s incredible.

Many are calling the 4’8″ Ohio native the greatest gymnast of all time. She’s definitely in Nadia Comaneci’s class. Biles had committed to UCLA, but now she’s going to hold off and earn some $$$.

Manuel also set an Olympic record, 52.70, while finishing in a dead heat for first place

Meanwhile, Simone Manuel became the first African-American woman to win a gold medal in swimming, touching the wall first in the 100 meter freestyle, which is a total badass event. Manuel, 5’11”, attends Stanford. She is from Houston.

Biles is the first African-American woman to win a gold in her event, but she’s just so darn good that no one ever even thought about that (UPDATE: Apologies to Gabby Douglas, who was the first in 2012; our bad).

Thanks, Obama.

3. Michael GOAT

Yes, he won again. In the 200 individual medley, in which you do each of the four strokes for 50 meters. The most challenging race.

That’s 22 gold records (13 individual) for Michael Phelps, which—no kidding—puts him ahead of Leonidas of Rhodes who won 12 individual events back in Greece in the B.C. era. What has impressed me most is that at age 31 I don’t think Phelps has ever looked more physically impressive, and now he’s become the Michael Jordan of the pool. He carries himself out there now like he knows he’s the boss. These are supposed to be his golds.

I mean, Phelps, competing against the world’s fastest swimmers, won by an entire two seconds over the silver medalist. That’s insane. Biles-like. Ryan Lochte finished fifth.

4. Perfectly Ironic

To be fair, NFL PATs are now attempted from farther out than college PATs

It’s rarely newsworthy when a kicker misses a PAT. In preseason. Except that the kicker is Roberto Aguayo of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who made 198 PATs in 198 attempts while at Florida State (he also won a national championship and a Lou Groza Award as the nation’s best kicker).

So last night, in his NFL preseason debut in Philadelphia, Aguayo shanked his first try. Missed it. Clanked it off the upright. A second round pick (extremely high for a kicker), Aguayo said he had “butterflies.” Better get over that. The NFL has no less patience than it does for inaccurate kickers.

5. Tur de Force

An intriguing piece here on how Donald Trump targets women in the media (“Little Katy Tur”) and how it led to the NBC correspondent  needing to be protected by the Secret Service after a Trump rally. You have to imagine that in some back room meeting, the head of the SS is telling Trump, “If you would like to continue to have the privilege of our protection, zip it.”

Trump keeps inciting violence by his followers. One of these days one of them is going to take him up on it. And he, of course, will claim that it isn’t his fault, but only that people are angry because America isn’t great any more.

Music 101

Wouldn’t It Be Nice

This may not even be the best song on Pet Sounds, Brian Wilson’s sublime and ethereal effort for the Beach Boys. This 1966 tune, which peaked at No. 7 in the month of this writer’s birth, was released as a 45 single with “God Only Knows” as the B-side. As the B-Side! Anyway, when European outlets got the vinyl, they flipped it, making “God Only Knows” the single and this song the B-side. I mean, if you own that wax, that’s a keeper.

Remote Patrol

Rio Olympics

NBC All The Time

Huddle, celebrating too early and finishing fourth at the 2015 Worlds to teammate Emily Infeld, will attempt to fashion an updated iconic image of herself

We can finally open up the track, as the women’s 10,000 meters takes place tonight. Notre Dame alum Molly Huddle won this last month at the USA Track and Field Trials. You’ve also got Michael Phelps versus Chad le Clos in  the men’s 100 butterfly final and Katie Ledecky swims the women’s 800 freestyle final and could probably order a Starbucks and get it by the time everyone else if finished.

The Film Room with Chris Corbellini

EQUITY

(Or, “The She-Wolf of Wall Street”)

***1/2 stars

By Chris Corbellini

“The main thing about money, Bud, is that it makes you do things you don’t want to do.”

Wall Street 

Naomi Bishop is a Wall Street success story, celebrated at a cocktail party for powerful women in New York City, where she admits confidently to the room “I like money.” She has few attachments: a neglected fish in her luxury apartment, and a sorta, no-strings-attached boyfriend. It’s all about the bucks. That’s the endgame.

Shouldn’t that be enough? Bishop, played by Breaking Bad’s Anna Gunn (who turns 48 today), would argue fuck yeah it should. At the start of the movie, Bishop is the center of the universe. The rest of the cast just orbit her like a life-giving star, absorbing her orders, holding a heavy bag for her to box with, and in the case of her protégé, Erin Manning, doing her bidding late into the night despite being denied a promotion past vice president.

The actress that plays Manning, Sarah Megan Thomas, married into the financial world, and as the co-writer/producer she clearly did her homework in that field, interviewing the real-life Bishops of Wall Street.  That research helped build a central character that probably spent her 20s in the Clinton ‘90s eating a lot of investment banker bullshit and spitting out money, beating the boys by a large margin while getting slightly ahead. Now, near the top of the food chain, Bishops’ day-to-day challenges feel authentic to us, as if we already knew this story all too well. The best of the money movies (Wall Street, The Big Short) make complex financial scenarios easy to understand, and so does this one. Bishop and Manning need to secure the big score.

Equity: Lawyers, Gunn and Money

But nothing is ever simple when a billion-dollar valuation is involved. Another start-up deal went wrong for Bishop recently, and she has been denied a global director job that she was clearly qualified for (“This is not your year,” her boss says, winning a gold medal for smugness). Plus the pissy, pretty-boy CEO of her most recent project, another tech start-up, is eyeballing Manning like a tasty treat.  And that sorta boyfriend? Currently under investigation by a prosecutor who’s also an old college buddy (Alysia Reiner, another co-writer/producer).

The film does a shrewd job of showing the lion-taming act women have to keep up in order succeed at the highest levels of the modern workplace. They can use their sexuality to get ahead, sure, but it can just as quickly be used against them. And while investment banking is a bottom line business, the women in this story must ask to be judged solely by that bottom line, and not the “perception” of their abilities and emotional states in the land of brandy and cigars and inside jokes.

Sarah Megan Thomas, co-star, producer, Wall Street wife

Yep, the film poses the question that keeps certain magazines on racks across America for the last 50 years … can women have it all?  Equity‘s answer, I felt, was yes, but in a tragic and most unexpected way. Just follow the money.

By the end of Act 2, right before the IPO, I began to wonder if the stakes on their own would have made Equity compelling if the Gunn character were a man – perhaps a world-beater like a 40-ish Michael Douglas, armed with a protégé of his own in the mold of a Miles Teller, who has a newly-pregnant sweetheart waiting late at night on the couch. The social media company that specializes in security is certainly timely (Snowden!), and the dance for any edge in a big money chess match is timeless. . The film was shot slickly too, panning across the necklines of beautiful creatures in sexy, dark lounges. I actually concluded, depressingly, that not only would a male-centric Equity get made, but the budget would’ve been bigger, to land a Douglas type, with a wide summer release.

But there was a glass ceiling here to be broken on several levels, and everyone gets bloodied from the shards of glass at the finish. Greed, for a lack of a better term, is gender-neutral. What a dick punch to the woman in charge.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

A Medium Happy 33rd to Thor, or Chris Hemsworth

Starting Five

Officer Christopher William pulled in Rogata

Anti-Social Climber*

*The judges will also accept “Rogata de Blanked,” “He Does Do Windows,” and “I Prefer Guys Who Don’t Get Apprehended Scaling Trump Tower”

On a hot, muggy afternoon in Manhattan, 19 year-old Stephen Rogata of Virginia decided to scale Trump Tower to get the Republican candidate’s attention. He apparently wanted a private audience with Trump. Rogata, using four suction cups, made it to the 21st floor before police officer Christopher William grabbed him and hauled him in.

Rogata wore cargo shorts, only fueling the debate as to whether they are acceptable on Twitter.

In the spring of 1977 George Willig successfully scaled the south tower of the World Trade Center (he’s still alive). He was known as The Human Fly.

Willig scaled all 110 floors, then was fined one dollar and ten cents.

2. Olympics, Day 5

Katie Ledecky captures her 3rd gold, anchoring the 4 x 200 freestyle relay, and wins by a body length, in the one Olympic pool that is not green. Kristin Armstrong wins her 3rd gold medal in cycling. And Nijat Rahimov of Kazakhstan set a new world record (“Very niiiice”) in the clean-and-jerk (215 kg) in his weight class (77 kg) and had a world-class celebration.

3. John Saunders

After thirty years of highly professional work at ESPN, John Saunders passes away at the age of 61. Saunders, a Canadian who joined ESPN in 1986, was one of the network’s on-air founding fathers whose intelligence and talent was part of the fortuitous coming together of people (Saunders, Bob Ley, Chris Berman) that helped make ESPN what it has since become.

Hannah Storm (above) has now had the unenviable task of announcing on-air the deaths of both Saunders and, last year, Stuart Scott.

4. Play-Rod?

Everyone loves a potentially big sale of memorabilia on eBay

My job description does not entail farewell tours.” —Joe Girardi, New York Yankee manager

That’s rich. Love you, Joe, and you have been placed in an untenable position multiple times the past few years, but that has been part of your job description. In Derek Jeter’s final two seasons (he played just 17 games in his penultimate year), he hit exactly .250 even though he was a .310 career hitter. Jeets, who also had a career .377 OBP, was getting on base at about a .300 clip. He still got 634 plate appearances and 145 games in his final season.

Girardi was vindicated to a degree last night when rookie DH Gary Sanchez went 4 for 5 from the plate and belted his first career home run. Still, he had Mark Teixeira, who is batting .198, batting cleanup.

McCann pulls everything, even his groin (MH staffers will check to see if that’s true later)

The funniest part of this, to me, is that Girardi’s real problem with an overpaid DH providing little offensive production is not with A-Rod, but with Brian McCann. Yes, he also catches, but McCann is batting just .231 this season, and he’s only 32 years old. At $17 million per, he’s the Yankees 4th-highest paid position player after Tex, Jacoby Ellsbury and A-Rod. Once Girardi permanently puts Sanchez in as his backstop, and he will, he’s going to have an entirely new problem.

No one is going to be happier to see Saturday arrive than Joe G., although Friday night’s game could be rained out. What happens if the Yanks wind up playing a doubleheader on Saturday? Does A-Rod leave after the first game?

Last note: A-Rod will retire a career .295 hitter. Had he left after 2012, before all the Biogenesis junk, he’d be $96 million poorer but he’d have a .301 career average. He’s not getting into the Hall either way, so…

5. More Words About Guns

The man who wrote “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” was killed by a gun

What people forget about the man who said, “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick –if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what, that will be a horrible day, if — if — Hillary gets to put her judges in…” is that nobody, not Hillary, not even I, want to ABOLISH the Second Amendment.

The fact that people focus solely on Trump’s glib threat to a presidential candidate and yet again, not the lie explicitly stated, is one of his true rhetorical gifts (Patti Davis, the daughter of a president who was shot and survived an assassination attempt in 1981, had some harsh words for Trump yesterday).

But here’s what slays me (figuratively), as I spar with hardcore gun advocates on Twitter: They’re simply not honest. Not with me, and/or not with themselves. Almost none of them are willing to admit that they like owning guns, that it’s a status symbol for them. They all preach to me the benefits of protecting their home, protecting their loved ones; also, they talk about how if the people cannot own guns, then we relinquish our freedom.

So let’s tackle a few of those arguments:

–As soon as I see people flocking to electronic home security system conventions the way they do to gun shows, maybe I’ll believe that the most important thing about owning guns is that they provide safety for the homeowner.

–It’s very rare for any of us to find ourselves in a situation or a confrontation where a gun would be necessary—most of us will never encounter such a situation. However, my guess (and you could ask former New Orleans Saint Will Smith if he were still alive) is that having a gun emboldens people to heighten contentious situations when discretion would tell you that maybe it would be best for all to diffuse them.

–The U.S. military has more firepower than the next EIGHT biggest militaries COMBINED. Do you really believe that you, Buford T. Homesteader, is going to prevent it from doing what it would want to do if it came to an armed confrontation? Not. At. All. The irony of all this is that nothing keeps you and me safer day in and day out than THE RULE OF LAW. The fact that we have laws and that people, police and government included, must abide by them is what really protects you. And when institutions attempt to skirt the law or big-time Joe Q. Public (as we often see), the fact that we have a free and independent press to report on such things also protects you.

It’s just that laws and newspapers don’t give you the visceral thrill of firing off a few rounds of live ammunition. It’s primarily a testosterone rush. They’ll never admit that, though.

 

Music 101

Beginnings

This song from Chicago is so old that the band was known as the Chicago Transit Authority when it was written in 1969. Written and sung by Robert Lamm, the architect of other Chicago hits such as “25 or 6 to 4”, “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?”, and “Saturday in the Park,” the tune initially failed to chart. After the band became more popular in 1971, the song was re-released and climbed to No. 7 on the Billboard charts.

Remote Patrol

Olympics 

NBC All The Time

I saw that Today is having the band Perry perform live on Copacabana Beach. How about Duran Duran? Hellloooooooo? Highlights from Day 6 will include Phelps vs. Lochte and in gymnastics the women’s individual all-around.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

A belated happy 31st (yesterday) to the pride of the Bellas, Anna Kendrick. We’ll be singing “Titanium” in the shower. Alone.

Kinda funny that today—Aug. 10th—is Justin Theroux’s birthday because today MH is serving the leftovers. A few items from Monday, a few from yesterday. Next time we take a field trip to Montauk, we’ll find out where the free wifi is sooner.

Starting Five

1. When You Just Realized You’re 31 Years Old and You Still Only Have 19 Gold Medals

This was Monday evening, or two gold medals ago for Michael Phelps. He now owns 21 gold medals, which is not only the most for any Olympian, winter or summer, but if he were his own country, Phelps would be tied with Ethiopia in 40th place for most gold medals of all time.

Michael Phelps, then 22, meets Katie Ledecky, then 3. Phelps swam his first Olympic race when Ledecky was three.

Meanwhile, Katie Ledecky, a.k.a. “Gold Minor,” won gold last night, too. She is 14 for 14 all-time, in Olympics or  World Championship or Pan Am Games finals as a swimmer. She now owns three golds, two from Rio.

2. Rio? Grand*

Simone Biles putting the finishing touch on her floor exercise

*Judges will also accept Au-Some, Gold-Fashioned

Let’s take a moment to savor/appreciate/acknowledge just how dominant the U.S.A. is over the greatest athletes from the rest of the world, after just five days. Team U.S.A. has the most gold medals (10; China is second, with 8) and more than 50% more overall medals than its next closest competitor, again China (27 to 17). China has four times as many citizens as the USA does.

Phelps. Ledecky. The women’s gymnastics team last night. More golds are on the way, too.

This isn’t a “rah rah” item. This is a, “Take the time to appreciate what these people are doing” item. The USA does win any more. All the time.

2. National Pas(Tebow)time

Will Tebow replace A-Rod on the Yankee roster come Saturday? Who wouldn’t be in favor of this?

Former Heisman Trophy winner and NFL playoff-game-winning QB Tim Tebow batted .494 in high school baseball. Rather than go Full Uncle Rico and spend all day talking about it, he’s announced that he will pursue a career in baseball. Good for him.

So what if Tebow, who turns 29 on Sunday, doesn’t make it? Why not try? It’s funny how many cynical tweeps also cite Rudy as a favorite movie of theirs. If you’re not going to be aspirational, what’s the point of even following or playing sports?

4. Shooting Off His Mouth

Oops, he did it again. You heard him. My new favorite drink is the “Donald Trump 2nd Amendment Joke:” an empty glass served with a last straw. Alas, it’s usually available again next week.

5. Out-Cast Members

Pharoah won’t be returning to Studio 8-H this fall….

After six seasons Taran Killam and Jay Pharoah are out as SNL cast members. I loved them both, and thought Killam was, before last year, SNL’s most valuable male player in skits. He didn’t seem to be as inspired last season, though, or as present. I wonder if losing out on being Trump to Darrell Hammond, who’s technically not in the cast, made him an unhappy camper. Still, I’m going to miss Jebediah Atkinson. I picture Jebediah being the one who informed Killam he was cut (don’t cry for Taran; he’s married to Cobie Smulders, so there’s a lot of syndication money to go around for a long, long time).

…nor will Taran Killam.

Fact is, Hammond does a better Trump.

Pharoah is maybe the most gifted impressionist SNL has ever had (Hammond included), but Dr. Ben Carson is a non-entity now and I guess Lorne didn’t feel he needed him. I really enjoyed Jay’s “Weekend Update” spots, where he just went from one black actor/rapper to the next rapid-fire. They were both funny and impressive.

I hear Lorne will give both Taran and Jay the start versus Tampa Bay on Friday night, so that’s nice.

Music 101

Sweet Talkin’ Woman vs. Do You Believe In Love

Our old and close friend, and my former fellow Dillon Hall R.A. Randy “Randall” McDonald (Notre Dame Lax man) celebrates his 25th wedding anniversary today (related: we’re old). Last week after we ran the Huey Lewis tune here, he pointed out how closely related it is to ELO’s “Sweet-Talking Woman” and that both songs even have the same opening lyrics. So, judge for yourself (Randy, this is as far as I’ll go to fete you and Kristen in this space: Do you really expect me to post a Southside Johnny song? C’mon!)

Remote Patrol

Olympics

All The NBCs  All The Damn Day

Is it me or is NBC doing fewer features and am I seeing less of Mary Carillo these Games thus far? I love Mary Carillo (you know that already). Anyway, Phelps swims in a semi tonight, Ledecky in a medley final. At noon it’s US vs. Fiji in men’s rugby, and both USA hoops teams are on the hardwood tonight.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

A Medium Happy 35th to Roger Federer, who’s won more men’s grand slam singles titles (17) than anyone. He’s betterer, he’s Federer.

The Starting Five

1. Sports Natation

Katie Ledecky, who won gold and broke a world record in the 400-meter freestyle (3:56:46) last night, may as well be swimming in another pool . And she’s up against the world’s very best swimmers.

Michael Phelps adds to his gold haul (19 career) by swimming the second leg of the men’s 4×100 free and, at age 31, turning in the fastest split of his career. Phelps went into the turn in 2nd place and when he resurfaced, the USA had the lead. That was the difference.

2. The Grisly Games

Not right Said fred

Some nasty, nasty spills in the first two days of competition from Rio. On Saturday French gymnast Samir Ait Said broke his lower left leg when he landed awkwardly on the vault.

Yesterday Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten was leading the women’s race with just 11 kilometers remaining when she skidded out on a downhill turn and went head over handlebars into a curb. Van Vleuten lost both the gold and consciousness. She suffered three minor spinal fractures, so in a way she was kind of lucky.

3. A-Rrivederci

The final shoe dropped. The Yankees, after trading two All-Stars and the man with the fastest pitch in baseball, and after watching former All-Star Mark Teixeira to retire, finally persuaded Alex Rodriguez to hang up his needles spikes. A-Rod will play his final game this Friday (I have three tickets; offers start at $200 for one, $700 for all three) because the Yankees were going to release him anyway and eat the remaining $25-million or so on his deal, so why not go out with a little dignity?

The Legends Era is officially over as of Friday. Tainted numbers, sure, but if he never gets another hit, A-Rod retires No. 1 in grand slams (25), No. 4 in home runs (696), No. 3 in RBI and No. 20 in hits. As recently as last season he jacked 33 homers and had 86 RBI, but this season he is batting .204 with 9 homers and 29 RBI.

He’s got four games left. I’d love him to pull a Kobe-60 and hit four out in his final four games, but I’m not sure that he’ll play more than one game. It’s not going to happen (but that’s what we said about Kobe, too).

4. PaintGate

Not a Seinfeld episode. No, the NFL’s first game of the season between the Colts and Packers, on a lovely summer night in Canton, Ohio, was canceled due to rock-hard paint at midfield and the end zones. Could it really have been any worse than the artificial turf the Women’s World Cup used last summer?

5. Death on the Waterslide

The German word for insane if “verrukt,” which is also the name of the world’s tallest waterslide (168 feet, 7 inches, or 17 stories, or taller than Niagara Falls) at Kansas City water park Schlitterbahn. Yesterday the park held Elected Officials Day (they and their families were admitted free) and Caleb Schwab, 10, the son of a lawmaker, somehow died in an incident associated with Verrukt, which has a 60-degree drop, then climbs five stories before continuing down. No one is quite saying how he died at the moment.

The 2014 opening was delayed three times for safety reasons.

Music 101

Venus

There was once a seminal pop-punk band named Television in the mid-Seventies in New York City  that all the music aficionados love, but that radio just did not. Ah, the pain of being an early adopter. You can hear a little of The Cars and even ELO in their sound. You may have heard of lead singer Richard Hell. Anyway, this is one of the band’s top songs.

Remote Patrol

Olympics

NBC 8 p.m.

More Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps, plus Missy Franklin jumps into the pool. Both USA men and women’s hoops tonight. Also, synchronized diving, the only Olympic sport that would get you kicked out of the pool if you tried it back at the McClintock Pool in Tempe back in the 1970s.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

A Medium Happy 60th to Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!

Starting Five

The opening ceremony at Maracana should award the 2014 World Cup opening ceremony

“Pele Ball!”

It’s name is Rio, and it’s the Olympic host city, the first South American host of an Olympics, summer or winter (we’re looking at you, Chile, to someday host the Winter Games). Opening ceremony is tonight, and if Pele is not lighting the Olympic flame inside Maracana, well, I don’t know anything (finally, you say, something on which we can agree).

It’s not His nature, but Christ cannot help but look down on these Olympics. He is the Eye in the Sky.

There’s a lot of bad stuff associated with how Brazil has approached the Games, the rampant crime, the raw (and cooked) sewage, the Russians, etc. But keep in mind that Brazil is the world’s leading producer of supermodels (NBC has hired both Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio for its broadcasts) and its people do love to have a good time, so tonight’s opening ceremony should be much more of a party than, say, Beijing.

Lima and Ambrosio >>> Costas and Patrick

2. Seinfeld 9/11

“Tragedy plus time equals comedy,” Alan Alda once remarked in a Woody Allen movie, meaning that the greatest New York Jewish playwright of all time wrote those words. Of course, Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld are a very close second to Woody as a screenplay team, but the two of them never had to (got a chance to?) tackle dealing with a Seinfeld-ian universe in a post-9/11 world.

Yesterday Billy Domineau, who describes himself on his Twitter feed as “a freelance contributor to ‘Weekend Update’,” submitted a script for a post-9/11 Seinfeld episode. It’s pretty close to perfect. The episode has many of your favorite supporting players (Wilhelm, Steinbrenner, the Costanza parents, Jackie Chiles, Newman, Uncle Leo) and none of their appearances are contrived. Jerry has an OCD problem, Elaine has a bad boyfriend situation, George finds himself in a morally ambiguous situation and of course, takes the low road, and Kramer, well, Kramer may have sparked the entire catastrophe.

Is it funny? All depends on your perspective on that Woody Allen quote.

What I’m wondering is why Domineau just put it out on the web as he did yesterday. I wonder if he’d tried to get someone to do this (SNL? Comedy Central?) and no one took him up on it, so he just got frustrated and put it out there for the world to judge. Whether or not you think it’s offensive, you’ll probably agree that it’s a truly authentic Seinfeld script. Larry and Jerry could not have done it any better.

(Update: I think the script is now off-line. I don’t know why. MH’s intrepid team of reporters will get to the bottom, or at least the middle, of this story.)

3. Mr. Jones*

Jones will sit out the 2016 season

*No, this is not about you.

One of the reasons I was reasonably high on the Fighting Irish finishing at least 10-2 this season was sophomore tight end Alize Jones. Though he only caught 13 passes last season, he was a freshman playing with a first-year starter at QB who only had eyes for Will Fuller (and could you blame him?). But in brief snatches, especially with this huge catch on Notre Dame’s game-winning drive on Halloween night at Temple, you could see why the Bishop Gorman product had been a five-star recruit.

 

Jones will miss the 2016 season. Apparently, he didn’t make the grade in summer school. His tweet explains it in as much detail as Notre Dame ever will.

4. The Night Of (Howard Beach)

On Tuesday at 5 p.m., late afternoon this time of year, Katrina Vetrano, a very pretty 30 year-old Howard Beach resident, went for a run in a marshland park near her house (Howard Beach is close to JFK Airport). Her father, a retired firefighter, usually runs with her, but he was nursing a bad back. He asked her not to go alone, but it’s not even close to being dark until 8:30 this time of year. What was to fear? So Katrina went for a run by herself.

Vetrano, an avid runner, posted a plethora of pics of herself on Instagram. Showing my age here, but do you think all of those photos played any role in her killer targeting her?

When Katrina did not return home for more than an hour, her father became worried. He called a neighbor, a police commander. Soon they were scouring the area for his daughter. At 9 p.m., just after dark, Katrina’s father made the grisly discovery. His daughter lay dead on a service road just 15 feet from the running pathway. She had been strangled and her clothes were in disarray.

The killer remains at large.

 

Music 101

The Power of Gold

What a Seventies tune. Dan Fogelberg and Tim Weisberg’s tune (apropos for tonight, no?)

5. Iowa Pre-Flight Is Unranked

Peppers could lead Michigan to the playoff

The USA Today released its preseason coaches poll yesterday and your team got screwed and his team is overrated. Again. Their top four includes three schools that made last year’s playoff (Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma) and No. 4 is Florida State. Notre Dame is No. 9, and I doubt any coach voting knew or cared that Alize Jones had just been lost for season. I’d put Irish at No. 16 myself.

My Top 4: I like their Top 4, but think Michigan could slide in (yes, I know they’re on the road in both Columbus and East Lansing) and we’ll have to see how the loser of the Clemson-FSU game does in the rankings.

Remote Patrol

Suspicious Minds

I appreciate Elvis Presley‘s place in American culture and all (and I’ve been to both his birthplace in in Tupelo, Miss., and to Graceland), but I’m not really a huge fan of his songs. I’m sure he’ll get over it. This tune, his 18th and final Number One song, came out in 1969 and was the highlight of the latter half of his career. Also, if you ever get the chance to read about how The King got a late-night hankering for a fried peanut butter-and-banana sandwich, do yourself a favor and read it.

Remote Patrol

Olympics Opening Ceremony

NBC 7:30 p.m.

Let the Games begin!

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

A Medium Happy 55th to our favorite gangsta, Barry O.

Starting Five

1. Russ Remains

Everyone’s favorite Oklahoma fashion icon (and two-time All-Star Game MVP), Russell Westbrook, is going to stay with OKC for at least one more year after this one and perhaps two. The exodus of All-Stars (James Harden, traded; Kevin Durant, left on own) stops here.

It’s nice to see the Thunder remain relevant, and meanwhile Westbrook gets a $9 million raise for the upcoming season (from $17.5 mil to $26.5 mil) and then $28 mil next season and an option for $30 mil (THIRTY FREAKIN’ MIL!) in 2018-19.

2.  Tigers Woke

Martinez, pinch-hitting in the 8th, rocked Comerica

Remember that Sunday (July 24) when the Tigers lost two games to the White Sox, both on walk-off hits, and the big story was Chris Sale’s suspension? Well, Detroit has not lost since that day, winning their 8th straight last night, beating Sale and the ChiSox.  J.D. Martinez, in his first at-bat since mid-June, hit the go-ahead and game-winning home run for the Tigers in the 8th off Sale.

Detroit was just 51-48 at the time but now, at 59-48, they would make the playoffs if they began today (which is something Jason McIntyre wants, I believe). Anyway, think about this: the Yankees and Tigers were both 52-48 after 100 games last week.

(Okay, let’s face it, this daily round-up of world events is far less interesting after a day in which Donald Trump is muzzled, no?)

3. Pu**y Generation Riot

What part of “Get Off My Lawn!” don’t you understand?

And then, like a bald eagle shot out of a bazooka, here comes Clint Eastwood, 86, to save us from the doldrums. Speaking to Esquire, Dirty Harry called this generation “the pussy generation” and a “kiss-ass generation.”

(For the record, I loved Gran Torino and pretty much hope to one day become Clint’s character in that film; or to at least own a car; or to be gunned down my Asian hoods. Anyway….)

And Clint might have done well to stop there, because he certainly has a point about everything being too P.C. (personally, I blame the media; specifically, Emily Nussbaum). Then he says this:

I haven’t talked to Trump. I haven’t talked to anybody. You know, he’s a racist now because he’s talked about this judge. And yeah, it’s a dumb thing to say. I mean, to predicate your opinion on the fact that the guy was born to Mexican parents or something. He’s said a lot of dumb things. So have all of them. Both sides. But everybody—the press and everybody’s going, ‘Oh, well, that’s racist,’ and they’re making a big hoodoo out of it. Just fucking get over it. It’s a sad time in history.”

4. Avoid: Phoenix

Interstate 17 in Phoenix, near Indian School Road

There’s never been a good reason to visit Phoenix, Arizona, in August (unless Phyllis is making manicotti, and even then, just ask her to put it in the freezer). This week things are at Peak Stay Away, as a monsoon slammed the Valley of the Sun with two inches of rain in less than an hour (a former local’s tip: the ground is so hard in Phoenix, because there’s so little rain, that when it does rain, the water has no place to go, so flooding is common) and the serial freeway shooter has apparently returned. Don’t go outside without your umbrella or your Kevlar vest.

5. Let Bee Be


We love Samantha Bee. On Tuesday she took on Eric Trump in a tweet but misidentified the exotic animal that he murdered for sport (someone sent me a Twitter correction as well, as if that was the friggin’ point). Apparently, Bee received a plethora of “Well, actually…” replies herself, which is embarrassing, since after all she is a homonym of a wild creature.

 

So Bee and her Full Frontal staff doubled down in their non-apology. Note to Eric’s dad: THIS is how you show whomever you have offended that you’re really, truly sorry-not-sorry.

Music 101

The Fool On The Hill (Cover)

I don’t remember much about 1968—I was two and our family didn’t have WiFi—but this song by Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66, is more deeply embedded in my memory than the Beatles’ original version. Their bossa nova version hit spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Easy Listening chart and achieving more success than John & Paul’s original version. It’s very soothing.

Remote Patrol

The Sky

Outside   All The Time

Reality > Virtual Reality

There’s nothing on TV tonight. Seriously. Go outside and marvel at the wonder of it all, baby.