by John Walters

Starting Five

Effie Trinket wishes you luck!

Effie Trinket wishes you luck!

May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor

No one likes the idea of citizens being targeted for violence by anyone. And yes, a number of civilians have been murdered by radicalized Islamic terrorists here in the U.S.A. since 9/11. In the fifteen-plus years since the World Trade Center came down, let’s add up Boston, San Bernardino, Fort Hood and even Orlando (though I think that last dude was a man who was simply ashamed to be both Muslim and gay, but let’s add that tragedy to the list) and Fort Lauderdale: in deaths, that’s 3 + 14 + 13 + 49 + 9 = 88. I’ll even toss in six randoms, not that we have any proof of such deaths, but let’s round it up to 100.

Think of the safe space you could build with this....

Think of the safe space you could build with this….

Now, let’s look at how many people have won just the Powerball lottery (excluding MegaMillions and other state lotteries) since 9/11, with a typical payout of around $100 million. The very lowest payout was $10 million, while the highest was $1.58 BILLION. And the number of people who’ve won such a prize in the past 15-plus years? 170.

So, since 9/11, you’ve had nearly 2:1 odds of winning an average of $100 million as opposed to being killed by a terrorist. Not the same odds: no, nearly twice as great a chance. Is there a single day in your life when you’ve walked around with as high of an expectation—not hope, but expectation—of winning Powerball as you’ve had fear of a Muslim terrorist?

P.S. The next Powerball lottery drawing is tomorrow with a Jackpot of $206 million, though if you take the payout instead of the annuity it’ll only be $124.4 million (sad face emoji)

2. Effie’s Not Finished

The good news is that archery deaths are down

The good news is that archery deaths are down

Ah, but violence isn’t a cash windfall. No, it’s not.

So, let’s examine the numbers again.

And, because I’m in such a magnanimous mood, let’s round that 85 number up to 100. AAAAAAAAND, let’s add the horrible deaths in the 9/11 attacks: 2,996. So, we’re looking at approximately 3,080 American deaths due to radical Islamic terrorists in the USA since the turn of the millennium. Which is awful.

Now, let’s examine how many Americans were MURDERED by guns between the years of 2011-2015. Not the entire 17 years, but just a five-year period. And these are murders, not suicides, and not unintentional gun accidents. Murders:


In 5 years.

Versus 3,080.

In 17 years.

You were more likely to be killed by Viggo Mortensen in

You were more likely to be killed by Viggo Mortensen in “A History of Violence” than by a Muslim terrorist

Stay with me here. Let me extrapolate that five-year period times three to bring it closer to, but not equal to, the 17 years of the millennium. 57,820 x 3 = 173,460.

Now, 173, 460/3,080 = 56.3

These are the numbers. And here is the logical conclusion: In the 21st century, you were 56 times more likely to be murdered by a gun than you were by a terrorist (and again, I ‘ll be overly magnanimous here to the other side and say you were at least 54 times as likely to be murdered by an American with a gun than by a terrorist).

Does that mean guns should be banned? No.

But when White House press secretary Sean Spicer scolds the press as he tries to defend unconstitutional executive orders by saying, “This is about protecting America,” let’s remember, it isn’t. Until the White House OR Congress is even close to being as concerned about gun violence which, again, you are FIFTY-SIX TIMES as likely to be a victim of, as they are against foreign-born Muslims or Muslim refugees, let’s understand that there’s no logical reason for prioritizing “homeland security” above sanity.

This is about fear-mongering. Why? A populace that is 1) stupid and 2) afraid is extremely easy for a plutocracy to control. Please use your minds. This isn’t about protecting you. It’s about being able to run a totalitarian government inside of a supposed democracy.

3. On The Markkanen

As the mock drafts for the NBA draft continue to be updated over the next few months, look for Arizona freshman Lauri Markkanen‘s name to rise on the charts. The seven-footer from Finland is shooting better than 50% from beyond the arc having attempted 107 threes this season.

There are only a handful of Division I players, literally fewer than 10, who have shot that accurately this season, and none are seven-feet tall and/or playing for a Top 10 team. Markkanen is averaging 16.8 points per game and 7.6 rebounds for the Cats, and again he’s a freshman. He put up 30 versus Arizona State earlier this month.

Markkanen, whose parents both played hoop, will be a Top 5 pick and you’ll hear the Porzingis comparisons all spring

4. Lane: Pacific About Atlantic


In this promotional video for his latest school, Florida Atlantic, Lane Kiffin looks less than enthused. Or, perhaps, hung over? A victim of sunstroke? Does anyone watching this video want to play for the Owls, much less buy tickets to see them play? The school’s marketing department needs to show Kiffin this video below, and then immediately have him go out and reshoot that spot:

5. Under Armour Under Water

Now he's crying

Now he’s crying

Speaking of “We Must Protect This House” (Trump Job 1), Under Armour stock (UAA) is down 25% this morning (Down $7.72 to $21). The company had a bad earnings miss and CFO Chip Molloy, who joined the company only a year ago, is stepping down “for personal reasons.”


The Brady 6

There IS crying in football

There IS crying in football

I highly recommend, as your pre-Super Bowl viewing, to go to YouTube and find the ESPN doc, The Brady 6. It not only talks about the six quarterbacks drafted ahead of Tom Brady in the 2000 NFL draft, but it has some great nuggets and interview with Brady during his peak-hair era. I’ll give one away: Brady was the backup quarterback on his freshman high school football team that finished 0-8. The backup. You’ll have to watch to hear what he told Robert Kraft upon first meeting him and you’ll be blown away by Brady telling the story of the day of the draft. Watch it if you’re a football fan. It’s worth it.

Music 101

Hey, Soul Sister

This is the best Jason Mraz song that Jason Mraz didn’t actually write or record. Yes, this is Train and their monster hit that I must have heard one million and thirty-seven times while working at the cookoutateria in the summer of 2010. But you have to give it them: it’s catchy. This was the second-best selling song of 2010.

Remote Patrol

Georgia at Kentucky 

9 p.m. ESPN

Why are we watching? Because it’s Brent Musburger’s final game. We’ll miss you, pardner.


by John Walters

Starting Five

Make Immi-Grate Again

Make Immi-Grate Again

From Airport To Deport

On Friday and without warning Donald Trump signed an executive order banning immigrants or even people with passports from Syria, Iran, Iraq (yes, the one we invaded without cause), Libyra, Somalia, Yemen and Somalia. Americans, to their credit, protested en masse. Countries that were not included in the ban? Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, the home counries of the 9/11 attackers.

And then you come across this little chart that explains a lot….


And here’s Trump earlier in the week mansplaining what he’s about to do without spelling it out. If I were sitting next to a guy on a flight or in a bar or even a family reunion who was talking this way, I’d be like, “Excuse me, Dwayne, I’m needed back on planet Earth.”

2. SAG Fights Back

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place last night, and you just knew there were going to be some pissed-off millionaire liberals in that crowd. Julia Louis-Dreyfus (making her second appearance this morning) had a few words about the immigrant ban.

Pretty good night for the Louis-Dreyfus/Hall clan, as Northwestern beat Indiana to improve to 18-4. Combination of a much improved Wildcat team under coach Chris Collins and an uncharacteristically lame year of Big Ten hoops. The Cats, whose roster includes Louis-Dreyfus’ son Charlie Hall, should make it to their first NCAA tournament ever this March.

3. Rockwell, Not Orwell

“The Golden Rule” from 1961

There may be no artist who better depicted The Exceptional American Century than Norman Rockwell, the illustrator who was born before an American man harnessed flight (1894) and died after another American man stepped on the moon (1978). Rockwell’s work was featured on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post, the most important magazine in this country from the 1930s to the early 1960s. His illustrations captured the essence of the America that the MAGA gang looks longingly back upon.

“New Kids On The Block”

And yet Rockwell, who was born in New York City and lived most of his adult life in Vermont and western Massachusetts, was an early advocate of tolerance and diversity and civil rights. It would be nice if some of those people longing for a more Rockwellian America knew that Rockwell would have been highly opposed to what’s happening now.

“The Problem We All Live With,” 1964

4. The Best Ever

Serena celebrates

Serena celebrates

Serena Williams, 35, won her record-23rd Grand Slam singles title of the Open era, breaking the tie with Steffi Graf, by defeating sister Venus in the final of the Australian Open, 6-4, 6-4. Only Margaret Court, who won 24 in the pre-Open era, now has more.

Fellow 35 year-old Roger Federer defeated Rafael Nadal in five sets as well, to extend his record for men’s Grand Slam singles titles to 18. Nadal remains at 14. That’s a pretty memorable weekend down in Melbourne.


5. Miss Universe 2017

This photo will likely soon appear in a hallway of the White House

This photo will likely soon appear in a hallway of the White House

Miss France, Iris Mittenaere, wins the Miss Universe pageant (Does Donald Still own that?). My guess is she’ll be the first winner of a major “sporting” event invited to the White House.

The event was held in Manila, The Philippines, and for some reason Steve Harvey was allowed to host again. Mittenaere is a dental surgery student from northern France. Miss Haiti was runner-up.

Music 101

Ramble On

This song appeared on Led Zeppelin II, which was released in 1969. There are references J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings with “depths of Mordor” and “Gollum, the evil one.” The band never performed this song, which did not chart in the U.S., live in its entirety until the reunion concert in 2007 (which drummer John Bonham missed, of course).

Remote Patrol

Duke at Notre Dame

7 p.m. ESPN

This will be Grayson Allen's final trip to South Bend

This will be Grayson Allen’s final trip to South Bend

The Irish (17-5) have lost three of four after starting out 16-2. The Blue Devils (16-5) have also lost three of four and, like Notre Dame, lost their last outing by two to an unranked ACC team. And Coach K. has banned them from the locker room and won’t allow them to wear their school-issued workout gear. I hear tonight’s game will be shirts versus skins.


by Michael DePaoli


Do you want to know why Donald Trump wants the Environmental Protection Agency to scrub its website? When you go onto the EPA website you are going to find various explanations about climate change and greenhouse gases. One of the pages is entitled “Climate Change Science.” And, as you could guess from the title, the EPA has compiled facts and evidence which you can read on this page and on the various links. This type of science reporting by a government agency is anathema to people like Trump because he does not want to admit that climate change might be real, especially when it might interfere with his own opportunities (and the opportunities of various members of his Cabinet) to make a profit. When you follow the links on the website you are going to find a report called: The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment. Here are some excerpts from the scientific report, which was intended to analyze health effects and make projections for the future:

“Every American is vulnerable to the health impacts associated with climate change.”

“In the next several decades, storm surges and high tides could combine with sea level rise and land subsidence to further increase coastal flooding in many regions. The U.S. East and Gulf Coasts, Hawaii, and the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands are particularly at risk.” 

“A warmer future is projected to lead to increases in future mortality on the order of thousands to tens of thousands of additional premature deaths per year across the United States by the end of this century.” 

So, as you can plainly see from the above excerpts, allowing the EPA to use real science in order to give facts and evidence about future health impacts from greenhouse gases and climate change is something that must be stopped.


As Democrats (and even some Republicans) start to comprehend the reality of living under a sociopathic and paranoid President Trump, here is my retrospective that explains how and why Hillary Clinton lost: (1) Bernie Sanders bribed voters with his socialist/communist message of free college tuition, free health care, reverse NAFTA, break apart the largest financial institutions, tax the greedy Wall Street people. (2) The RNC and several Conservative PAC’s cheered for and actually promoted Sanders. (3) The Democratic caucus system in some states (that is used to lower vote totals so the process can be controlled by insiders) made Sanders more of a legitimate candidate. (4) While Sanders was having some moderate success, he viciously attacked Hillary Clinton and called her unqualified to be President. (5) The presence of independent and socialist Sanders in the race divided Democrats, and some Democrats began the Bernie or Bust movement. (6) The constant media attention granted to Trump meant that the sociopath was part of our lives, and his every move was followed fervently by the press. (7) Trump lied and made promises (i.e. drain the swamp) that he had no intention of keeping, and he bribed people in key states by promising new jobs (in effect, Trump was actually better at making hollow socialist type promises than even Bernie Sanders, which was bad because the people in key states had already been conditioned to receive such promises by Bernie). (8) The email non-scandal against Clinton (that received far too much press attention), the hacking of the DNC, the Feel the Bern movement, the vicious attacks that Sanders leveled agains Clinton during the primary, Bernie’s extreme reluctance to support Hillary unless the entire party could be moved in a socialist direction, and the bad faith of the FBI investigation, all gave the general appearance that the Democrats were in disarray. (9) Hillary is a woman, and our country is still sexist and discriminatory. (10) Bernie Sanders won the Democratic primaries in Wisconsin and Michigan, and he had a strong showing in Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, which ended up being the key states that propelled Trump to victory. Thank you, Bernie.


The Telegraph (UK) reports that Usain Bolt has been stripped of a gold medal in the 4x100m race that he won in the 2008 Beijing Olympics because his teammate, Nesta Carter, was found to have committed a doping violation which was detected upon reanalysis of his urine and blood samples. The sad (or interesting) part of the story is that out of six runners who have times in the 100m race below 9.79 seconds Usain Bolt is now the only one who never has been found to have committed a doping violation.


by John Walters

Starting Five

As Bannon and Trump race to see who'll hit three bills first....

As Bannon and Trump race to see who’ll hit three bills first….

I Won’t Be Taking Orders From This Guy

In an interview with Michael Wolff of The Hollywood Reporter last November, Steve Bannon said, “Darkness is good. “Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they [liberals and media] get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.”

(By the way, if I were Satan, I’d be a little offended, being lumped with those other two).

Then yesterday Donald Trump’s Propagandist-In-Chief called The New York Times (as opposed to the other way around) to say, and I quote:

  1. The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.”
  2. “I want you to quote this. The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”

Oh, we understand why. Anyway, methinks Bannon was just pulling a Madonna, just saying something to provoke us to own the news cycle. Why? Maybe he was waving shiny keys at the media to distract us from, oh I don’t know, perhaps the fact that news broke yesterday that Russian agents had interrupted a high-level FSB meeting to put a bag over the head of a top official and pull him from the room back in December? That he’s not been seen since? That he’s now been charged with treason? That if you do the math there’s a chance to think he was the mole who leaked info of alleged Russian hacking?

Anyway, as my colleague Michael Weinreb tweeted…


That last sentence? “[Bannon] added that he has been a reader of The Times for most of his adult life.”

So maybe he was just phoning to renew his subscription.

2. Mexicooperation


 (Not the type of Fox News the president favors)

I’m just spitballing here, but maybe Donald Trump dislikes Hispanics. I know, I know,  but hear me out: 1) On the day he announced his candidacy in June of 2015, Trump singled out Mexicans for sending us “their rapists, their drug dealers.” It’s the only minority group he mentioned. 2) His cabinet will have a female and the closest thing he can stomach to an African-American, Dr. Ben Carson, but no Latinos. First time a cabinet hasn’t had one since 1984. And…

(What Trump and his surrogates imagines every Mexican to be)

…. 3) He, like, quadrupled down on his “Mexico’s gonna pay for it” approach yesterday, which compelled Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto to cancel his visit—Pena Nieto also announced he will not play in the Pro Bowl. And then like the bitch he is, Trump tried to tell everyone they’d mutually agreed to cancel the meeting (“It’s not a lie if you believe it, Jerry“).

Here’s a proposal I haven’t heard Trump or his surrogates discuss much. If we can agree that the primary reason Mexicans are crossing the border illegally is to work (they’re not ALL rapists and drug dealers), and if you need a social security number, etc. to have a real job, why isn’t the government cracking down on employers (e.g., the restaurant where I work summers) who illegally hire them?


Could it be because 1) they know that they’re filling jobs that most Americans are unwilling to do and 2) because without them goods such as produce would be far more expensive due to labor costs? It’s a little like barring the front door so that you’re mistress can’t enter your home but giving her a key to the guest bedroom door behind the house, no? (Ed. Note: MH headquarters only has one door).

3. Donald Trump Meets Nigel Tufnel

Here’s Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest), lead guitarist from Spinal Tap, giving  documentarian Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner) a tour of the band’s guitar room in 1984.

That inspired this clever little parody of Donald Trump’s presentation of his inauguration photo to ABC’s David Muir.

4. Miscarriage Of Justice

My first year in New York was the worst year in New York—the highest murder rate we’ve had since I’ve been here—and the final straw was the daytime murder of a Utah man, Brian Watkins, on a subway platform in Manhattan in August of 1990. Watkins and his family were in town to see the U.S. Open, and as they were waiting for the train, some men mugged and robbed a female family member. When Watkins, 22, came to her defense, he was fatally stabbed.

Hincapie, now in his late forties, in court earlier this week

Hincapie, now in his late forties, in court earlier this week

Earlier this week one of the four men who at the time was 19 and convicted of his murder (prosecutors agreed that none of the four had stabbed Watkins, but that they had taken part in the robbery), Johnny Hincapie, was released after serving 25 years in prison. Hincapie had pleaded for years that he’d played no part in the robbery, and two witnesses and a co-defendant backed him up. A judge finally commuted his sentence. Twenty-fiver years. Yes, Watkins paid a higher price, but 25 years in prison for hanging with the wrong crowd.

5. Thank God For Powder

If you haven’t seen this yet, skier Devin Stratton survived plunging off a 152-foot cliff in Utah last week. And he was barely hurt. Didn’t even need to amputate his own arm. Okay, James Franco, here’s your next film role.

Music 101

Toys In The Attic

Aerosmith’s third album, released in April 1975, was the vinyl that broke this Boston-based band out. The classic hits were “Walk This Way” and “Sweet Emotion,” but the title track, also the album’s leadoff song, rocked hard. And for some reason the song title, a term which basically means “insane” or “nutso,” has been in my head all week. Not sure why.

Remote Patrol


Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal

3:30 AM ESPN

Note the time, gang. Then start humming the Rolling Stones’ “This may be the last time/This may be the last time…” Federer, 35, owns 17 Grand Slam singles titles, more than any other man. Nadal, 30, has 14, more than all but Federer (and he’s tied with Pete Sampras). Federer last won a Grand Slam in 2012; Nadal in 2014. This is tennis history.


by John Walters

Hail Mary

She did turn the world on with her smile. From 1970-1977, Mary Tyler Moore did take many a nothing Saturday evening and suddenly made it all seem worthwhile. She died yesterday. She was 80.

You may not care, but when you grew up in Middletown, New Jersey, in the Seventies, here were your television options: Channel 2 (CBS), 4 (NBC), 7 (ABC), three local stations (5, 9 and 11) and PBS (13). That’s it. No streaming. No DVR. No “I’ll tape it and watch it later.” No binge-watching.  An episode of one of your favorite shows aired and if you missed it, it would not reappear for months until re-runs.

New Rochelle has not been the same since

New Rochelle has not been the same since

That may seem prehistoric to some of you, but in the meantime your dad was telling you how good you had it because 1) TV was in color now (a decade earlier MTM had starred in The Dick Van Dyke Show, in black-and-white) and 2) they didn’t even have TV when he was a kid (at which point he’d launch into “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.“).

The WJM newsroom was our homeroom on Saturday evenings

The WJM newsroom was our homeroom on Saturday evenings

Anyway, it’s not as if I had many other Saturday night options when I was eight years old, but millions of adult Americans did and still they stayed home to watch the CBS trifecta of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show and The Carol Burnett Show. No network ever had a stronger single night lineup, I promise you.

You could write paragraphs about what MTM meant to feminism (she wasn’t the FIRST TV character who represented that new demo; Marlo Thomas as That Girl comes to mind, but that sitcom was average at best), but I’ll stick to what matters most to me: her character, Mary Richards, was lovely (Oh, she was beautiful) and decent and funny and normal. She was your sister, your buddy and your crush. That’s what made her special.

She was also two people, in a way, whom I love very much. My mom, who is the same age and bears a close physical resemblance, was also working in those years at an office and possesses all the same positive character traits: optimistic, decent and honest almost to a fault, and someone everyone considers their best friend. Mary and Phyllis had a lot in common.

This could have been my mom's ID photo from Prudential Property & Casualty in 1974

This could have been my mom’s ID photo from Prudential Property & Casualty in 1974

But my mom was married to that guy who did The Shadow voice. I have a cousin, Maryann, who though a good 15 or so years younger, was and still is a beautiful, independent, brunette career woman. My cousin WAS Mary Richards in the Seventies. It was impossible for this young boy, or most anyone in our family, to conjure one without thinking of the other.

So in a bizarre and completely illogical way, I admit, yesterday’s news was something I took very personally.

(The above clip is from a bar scene in which the four main characters have just returned from attending the wedding of Lou’s ex-wife. It’s hard to find a clip that in less time illuminates what makes the four characters so unique and yet also shows what a team they were)

Three more things: It can not be emphasized ardently enough. This was the strongest supporting cast in the history of sitcoms. That cast: Ed Asner as her gruff teddy bear of a boss, Lou Grant; Gavin MacLeod as her closest confidante at WJM, Murray Slaughter; Ted Knight at the hilarious buffoon of a news anchor, Ted Baxter; Betty White as Sue Ann Nivens; Valerie Harper as Rhoda; Cloris Leachman (an Oscar winner) as Phyllis. Every character was so well-defined, and none were caricatures, not even Ted.

The late Sixties was just full of sitcoms that were, in those troubled times, pure fantasy: Bewitched, Gilligan’s Island, Hogan’s Heroes, I Dream Of Jeannie, Mr. Ed, etc. Then along came this show in which real people tried to get along in the workplace. Without scratching my head too much, I believe this was the first office comedy (UPDATE: Obvious oversight: The Dick Van Dyke Show was an office comedy, and MTM was part of the cast, albeit the stay-at-home mom) . This was the original The Office. And here was a young lady not looking for a husband, who didn’t have a family, who wore pants (literal and figurative). She didn’t necessarily want or need a Prince Charming.

One last thing. People will mention the “Chuckles the Clown” episode as a favorite and it’s among the best (I prefer to think of my favorite moments from the series, which were the scenes with Mary and Mr. Grant in his office), but it’s not just about Mary cracking up at the funeral of a clown. It’s that she’d spent the entire episode up to that scene scolding her co-workers for making light of his untimely death. She’d been the mother hen. Then, at his funeral, as they are all somber and in the one moment that calls for solemnity, it is Mary who cannot contain her giddiness. And Mary Tyler Moore sold it so well.

Now she’s left us. A little song. A little dance. A little seltzer down your pants. Goodbye, Mary. Thank you.

2. You Were Looking Live

The kid stayed in the picture. That's Brent in the black shirt on the far left before Super Bowl III in 1969

The kid stayed in the picture. That’s Brent in the black shirt on the far left before Super Bowl III in 1969

Brent Musburger, another staple of the mid-Seventies who just never left, announced his retirement yesterday. He was the host of the original NFL pregame show, The NFL Today, which made its debut in 1975 and was terrific (Oh, that Phyllis George) and there he was on Monday evening calling Kentucky at Tennessee.

I had many chances to speak with Brent over the years and spent an entire day with him in 2012 on a cold January Monday in Lawrence, Kansas. He’s one of my favorites. At the time Brent was 73 and I asked him what kept him so revved up about calling sporting events. He said, “The trick is to stay interested.” He wasn’t just talking hoops.

One of my favorite Brent quips came during the 2015 Las Vegas Bowl. He was calling the game between BYU and Utah with Jesse Palmer and after one quarter, shockingly, the Utes led 35-0. “I feel sorry for my Mormon friends,” Brent said. “They can’t drink!”

3. Bernhard &%*# Langer?!?

A two-time Masters winner and a German citizen, Langer most likely would know better than to try and vote in our presidential election

A two-time Masters winner and a German citizen, Langer most likely would know better than to try and vote in our presidential election

Again, I apologize for being more than a little obsessed about our 45th president, but you need to read this story from The New York Times about how he basically relies on the same sources as Bobby Moynihan’s “Second-Hand News Guy” from SNL to shape his policy.

This is my favorite excerpt, and remember, this is the 45th president of the United States, not your debauched uncle whose only true love is the New York Giants and whom you’re glad you only have to talk to on Thanksgiving:

Ahead of and behind Mr. Langer were voters who did not look as if they should be allowed to vote, Mr. Trump said, according to the staff members — but they were nonetheless permitted to cast provisional ballots. The president threw out the names of Latin American countries that the voters might have come from.

4. Trash Talk

Troubled soul

Troubled soul

It’s been at least four years since a prospective first-round NFL draft pick out of Notre Dame has been trashed by sports blogs (yeah, that one had some of it coming, I’d say about 80% of it), but earlier this week someone named Tony Pauline at Draft, who was down in Moblie, Ala., at the Senior Bowl, wrote this about quarterback DeShone Kizer:

Since the NFLPA game, I’ve been told scouts have cooled on Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer. The combination of poor progression and questionable film from 2016 as well as character questions has raised red flags.

I understand how the draft process works. I understand the currency of whispers and innuendo and even misinformation. But here’s the thing. Kizer has never been in any type of trouble. He’s never delivered a single insubordinate or selfish quote. And so then The Big Lead picks up on this quote because of CLICKS CLICKS CLICKS and their extent of reporting is to, according to the writer’s tweet, “ask around at Notre Dame” and report “First anyone has heard.”

So here’s the problem: If you now Google “DeShone Kizer,” this completely unsubstantiated tale about Kizer’s character is the first thing that pops up. As opposed to this story from The New York Times (where “asking around” is not sufficient reporting; finding out is) talking about how Kizer drove 270 miles to Columbus to be by his girlfriend’s side for a cancer procedure (there are actual photos: this is not Lennay Kekua II: Dead Girlfriend Boogaloo), then drove back to South Bend the following day to participate in the Blue-Gold game.

I don’t know if Kizer is a saint or a sinner. I do know people who’ve covered the Irish for 10-plus and 20-plus years who’ve never said anything but positive things about him. The same way people at Clemson laud Deshaun Watson, and deservedly so.

Cancer versus Locker Room Cancer

Cancer versus Locker Room Cancer

Here’s the thing, and we all know where I went to school: When someone writes that they hear Jason McIntyre may have a predilection for wearing sassy pink underpants, and then someone else with 100,000 Twitter followers tweets, “I’ve heard the rumors about Jason McIntyre having a predilection for wearing sassy pink underpants, but it’s the first anyone at Fox has heard,” and then when I Google Jason McIntyre and the first story is that there’s probably no truth to the rumors that he fancies sassy pink underpants, but that maybe someone planted it and who knows why, well, who cares any more whether or not it’s true?

You’ve got the image in your head and even if Jason comes out to dispute it, the story is, “Jason claims he does not fancy sassy pink underpants.” This is why you report things, if integrity matters, as opposed to just putting a big fat worm on your click bait hook (and that goes for Mr. Pauline as well). “Character issues” is such a vague term, which allows a writer to use it without being sued because unlike my “sassy pink underpants” example, there’s nothing here that can be proven or disproven. At least with Manti Te’o, Deadspin did actual reporting and delivered a story that was 80% factual.


And I get that this isn’t a huge deal. But now, because The Big Lead ran this “I never saw the Senator hit his wife” piece, people will ask Kizer to deny an alternative fact. There’s no winning on this one until someone can actually provide an example of Kizer’s character issue. It’s one thing to do 99 things right and do one thing wrong and that becomes the thing for which people remember you. It’s another when you don’t even do the one thing wrong and someone decides that’s newsworthy and so now the bros who read your site will be sitting at Arby’s this afternoon, talking football, and someone will say, “I hear he has character issues.”

5. Where There’s a Wall, There’s a Way

The United States (that’s you and me) could wind up spending upwards of $40 billion on a wall on its southern border with Mexico (the most expensive security blanket to protect a 5 year-old from monsters in his closet anyone has ever seen) or it could watch the above 11-second clip from the highly underrated 2001 dark comedy-heist film, Sexy Beast.

To transcribe: “Where there’s a will, and there is a (bleeping’) will, there’s a way, and there is a (bleeping’) way. There’s always a (bleepin’) way.”

As long as there are more economic opportunities here, and that includes sales of illegal drugs to American consumers, there will be a problem of illegal immigration and drug smuggling. No wall is going to prevent that.

The trick isn’t to work on the wall; it’s to work on the will. To figure out a way where staying in Mexico is more attractive to Mexicans. Have you been to Mexico? It’s got so much potential, and maybe there’d be less corruption if there were more jobs, you know? Remember when every Republican’s secular saint, Ronald Reagan, said, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall?” Well, I’d hate to think we’re going to go through all the expense of building this monstrosity only for someone else to have to paraphrase that a few years from now.

Music 101

Love Is All Around

Who can turn the world on with her smile?/Who can take a nothing day and certainly make it all seem worthwhile/Well, it’s you girl and you should know it/With each little glance and every movement you show it/Love is all around, no need to fake it/You can have the town, why don’t you take it?/You’re gonna make it after all.”

The song was written and performed by Sonny Curtis (who’s still alive at age 79), who as a teenager in Texas had been a friend and bandmate of Buddy Holly. The two of them once played a show in which their band opened for a budding talent named Elvis Presley. This is the song and lyrics used for Seasons 2-7. The original Season 1 song had slightly different lyrics that posed more of a question as to our young heroine’s future.

Remote Patrol

Farmers Insurance Open

GOLF 3 p.m.

Tiger Woods AND Phil Mickelson both in the same event, played at Torrey Pines in lovely north San Diego County, not far from where both grew up? Sign me up. I really hope J.K. Simmons appears at every hole where someone hits into a bunker and assesses the damage.


by John Walters

Starting Five

The Bully’s Pulpit

My favorite Larry David line from his stand up: “I”ll give Hitler this: he didn’t take sh*t from magicians.”

It’s a line so absurd that it’s funny.


In the past 24 hours the White House…..ordered the EPA to take down its climate change page; announced that it is building The Wall, but that Chris Hardwick will not host (related: I’d like to host Talking Wall right after that NBC show each week; can we do that?); doubled down on its accusation that 3 to 5 million people illegally voted, which is the equivalent of the entire city of Chicago illegally voting, but would not in the near future be investigating this (didn’t you love how the White House press corps attacked Sean Spicer by pretending that this was a legitimate claim and asking him why they weren’t investigating it);

Let the broken hearts stand as the price you gotta pay

Let the broken hearts stand as the price you gotta pay

put a hobnail boot in the face of whatever rogue Badlands National Park employee decided to tweet facts about science, threatened the actual city of Chicago that if they didn’t stop killing one another, he was going to turn this car around right now and there’ll be no Dave and Buster’s, and even forced Spicer to upgrade his wardrobe.

2. Marq Madness

In Milwaukee, no can of Stroh's was safe last night

In Milwaukee, no can of Stroh’s was safe last night

…is, “It’s not an upset of the home team wins the game.” That’s courtesy of my wonderful former editor at Sports Illustrated, a Harvard alum and a true mensch, Dick  Friedman. So last night for the first time in just shy of 38 years (1-27-79), the Nos. 1, 2 and 4 teams in the country lost. Specifically, No.1 Villanova fell at Marquette, No. 2 Kansas went down at West Virginia, and No. 4 Kentucky, to everyone’s glee, lost at Tennessee.

But there were no upsets.


When this happened in 1979, it was No. 1 Notre Dame who lost (by 1 at Maryland) while No. 2 North Carolina fell at Clemson (don’t know who No. 4 was). Also, how long ago was this? Magic and Larry were in their final year of college ball.

3. Love-30s

Serena is two wins away from a record-23rd Grand Slam singles title

Serena is two wins away from a record-23rd Grand Slam singles title

The Australian Open couldn’t be more Thirtysomething if Gary rode his bike up to Hope and Michael’s home and snatched a piece of fruit off the dining room table. Three of the four women’s semifinalists are in their fourth decade: Venus Williams is 36, Serena Williams is 35, and Germany’s Mirjana Lucic-Baroni is 34. The fourth semi-finalist Coco-Ohno Vandeweghe of the USA, who’ll play Venus, is the kid at 25.

The blonde woman is married to the dark-haired dude in real life.

The blonde woman is married to the dark-haired dude in real life.

In the men’s draw, it’s almost the same. Roger Federer is 35, Stan Wawrinka is 31, Rafael Nadal is 30 and Nadal’s semifinal foe, Grigor Dimitrov, is 25.

That’s six thirty somethings, three in each draw, and a pair of 25 year-olds. What in the name of Nick Bolletieri is going on here? Where are all the kids? Sure, these are a couple of the greatest names in tennis history (Federer can extend his record for Grand Slams to 18 while Serena can finally break that 22 GS titles tie with Graf), but this is extreme. Where is the future of tennis? They must all be playing pickle ball, if they’re playing anything.

4. Dow 20K

CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin, the adult in the room from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.

CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, the adult in the room from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Finally, it has happened to me right in front of my face and I just cannot hide it”

After a month or so of serious flirtation, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (the DJIA) appears poised to break through the 20,000 mark for the first time ever (by the way, why do they call it an “average” when isn’t it the sum total of all 30 companies’ stock prices?). Remember a few weeks ago when the Dow came within one point of 20,000, got us all hot and bothered, and then left investors so….incredibly…unsatisfied?

The tease is over. It looks as if it’ll crack 20,000 this morning. Related: Alphabet, the second-largest market cap stock reports after the bell tomorrow, and Amazon, the fifth-largest market cap stock, reports on February 2nd.

We may have elected a totalitarian dictator, but who cares when our pockets are so full (right, Newt?)?

5. “I’m a Rageaholic! I Just Can’t Live Without Rageahol!”

Live shot from inside the White House…

Just another way that The Simpsons predicted the Trump presidency. Forsooth, as your humble scribe predicted, Donald J. flew into a rage on Saturday afternoon after returning from Langley, turning on the flat-screen, and seeing all the marches happening worldwide. Thus reports Ashley Parker of The Washington Post (and WHO are those White House sources speaking/leaking to her? Wow!).

This morning, Trump was so enraged at the media trolling Sean Spicer about Trump and alleged voter fraud (“That’s what he believes”) that he tweeted out that he will be launching “a major investigation” (Is this like “a major award” from A Christmas Story?) into voter fraud.


To which we can only reply:

Can we all just make it to Groundhog Day intact? And what’s the over/under until Spicer saves his soul (Kellyanne already sold hers) and resigns? I’ll put the date at St. Patrick’s Day.

Music 101

Forgotten Years

I saw Midnight Oil play a small venue near Times Square in 1990 or 1991 and I think I lost three pounds just watching 6’6″ lead singer Peter Garrett perform. If you had the chance to see this Australian band play live, you probably haven’t forgotten it. This was the second single, after the title track, off Blue Sky Mining, to go to No. 1 on the U.S. Modern Rock list (there was not an official Dinosaur Rock list, though there might have been).

Remote Patrol

President Trump: The First Interview

ABC 10 p.m.

Very handsome David Muir interviews the man with the incredibly changing hair color. If that doesn’t float your boat, the Aussie Open women’s semis begin at 10:30 p.m. on the ESPN and at 11 p.m., UCLA visit USC. Lonzo Ball is fun to watch. He’s like a disciplined Malik Monk. Take a nap early this evening.


by Michael DePaoli

(Michael DePaoli is a bored, certified attorney in both Arizona and California—that latter BAR exam ain’t easy, pardner– and the author of the eBook: Movie Theatre Therapy; and he is the creator of the Youtube videos: Tachistoscope, and Tachistoscope Sunsets)



Did Borat support Trump?

Did Borat support Trump? “Verrrrry nice!”


Over the last two days in this city in the central Asian city, Turkey (where Donald Trump has an interest in a large office/hotel/retail complex), and Russia (a country that for some reason or another has a fascinating hold over Trump), along with Iran and select Syrian rebel groups, held a meeting to discuss peace. It appears that a flimsy ceasefire agreement might have been forged. Of course, Trump and the bulk of the media and most of the USA were all too overly concerned about the size of Trump’s crowd to notice that in the Trump Kingdom the words “America First” really mean that we are going to allow Russia and Turkey to have more power and more influence over an extremely unstable part of the World.

2. Oscars: Out of Reacher

The Academy Award Nominations were announced this morning. It appears that once again the Members of the Academy have snubbed Tom Cruise. I mean, come on, if the award might be about “acting” then Cruise should win it every single year he makes a movie. Wait, just hear me out, because if the press reports and interviews could be believed, then Tom Cruise (his stage name) is nothing more than a confused, dorky, drama-geek type of loser kid who had an abusive father and who attended fifteen schools in fourteen years. Seriously, if people just read the Wikipedia article on Cruise they might stop hating on him. So, the reality is that Tom Cruise is a messed up human being, just like the rest of us. But, on screen, he plays the consummate and studly cool guy. His performance in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back was stunning, because he was acting, because that is not who he is in real life. If the Best Actor award were based upon the creation of a fictional persona (i.e. acting), then Tom Cruise should be the winner, every year, because that is what he does, with style.

Anyway, aside from that, my prediction is that someday the Academy Award Nominations will be gender neutral, and when that happens you will see ten women be nominated and zero men be nominated for best actor.


Melania puts new emphasis on the term

Melania puts new emphasis on the term “better half”

I have nothing against Melania. She is gorgeous and personable and wonderful. Indeed, she has the appearance of a highly-trained and lethal KGB spy handler who has been assigned the impossible task of protecting an orangutan. The problem is that I believe in justice and fairness, and I believe that justice and fairness need to trickle down from the top. So, to the extent that Trump really wants to deport millions of people and rip apart families for illegal immigration, he should start with his own family and expose the truth about Melania by releasing her long form immigration documents. I have no idea what “long form” documents might mean in the immigration arena, but I want them released, just because that is what Trump demanded from Obama.

Seriously, Melania was born in a communist country and she is married to a communist sympathizer, so we should really get to the bottom of her immigration by looking at all her documents. To the extent that Trump (the communist sympathizer) does not want Melania to release all her documents about her past, then he should seriously shut up about all other illegal immigrants. Indeed, it is downright disgusting that in a capitalist culture we would want to arrest the people who want nothing more than to work hard and earn a wage.

And, where is Ann Coulter in all of this? I am calling her out, because I remember one of her books where she made such a big deal about communism and spies and the corruption of America, blah, blah. Ms. Coulter is not protecting us from Comrade Trump. Where is she when we need her?



by John Walters

Starting Five

 Creating a Fuhrer

Donald Trump at his inauguration and Adolf Hitler just being Hitler….

After just one weekend, there was one very outspoken critic who said:

“In times of crisis, we lack judgment, and that is a constant reference for me. The most obvious example of European populism is Germany in 1933. After the crisis of 1930, Germany is broken, it needs to get up, to find its identity, a leader, someone capable of restoring its character, and there is a young man named Adolf Hitler. Hitler didn’t steal the power, his people voted for him, and then he destroyed his people.”

See? Just keep the palm open and people don't freak out as much

See? Just keep the palm open and people don’t freak out as much

The critic, of course, was Pope Francis. But then he doesn’t have to deal with Obamacare, unemployment or, not to my knowledge, Planned Parenthood in his sovereign area.

This is Trump's A-Team (from back): Conway, Kushner, Bannon and Priebus.

Team of Cronies (from back): Conway, Kushner, Bannon and Priebus.

This is terrific reporting from Ashley Parker of The Washington Post on the opening weekend of the Trump presidency. Give that one a read.

Dig, I don’t mean to sound like a Thompson Twins song, but there are so many lies, lies, lies that you being to wonder if it’s no particular prevarication (crowd size), we should be concerned about, but the overwhelming totality of it. It’s like traveling in the NBA. Twenty-five years ago, the travel below was considered egregious. Now, I see Carmelo Anthony do that every night.

2. Or, Well, You Could Just Ignore What Is Happening

By George, I think he nailed it.

By George, I think he nailed it.

Until Betsy DeVos bans 1984 (not the Van Halen album, but maybe she’ll ban that, too) from being taught in public schools, I thought I’d share these Orwellian quotes with you followed by some timely hashtags.

“Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.” #WeveStartedAMovement

Turned 43 yesterday, and I have to keep your attention somehow

Turned 43 yesterday, and I have to keep your attention somehow

“For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works?” #AlternativeFacts

“Ignorance is strength.” #ILoveThePoorlyEducated

“Our intention is never to lie to you”

“If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.” #IFeelThirtyThirty-FiveThirty-Nine

“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” #LockHerUpIHaveALotOfRespectForThosePeople

Trump will invite the SI swimsuit team to the White House in February.

Trump will invite the SI swimsuit team to the White House in February. “But Mr. President, they haven’t won anything.”

“The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.” #ImGoingToKeepYouSafe

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” #AmericaFirst

3. Cold Opens

If you have not seen the GIF of Melania at the inauguration, well, is it too late for her to get a Best Supporting Actress nod at the Oscars nominations this morning? Hit that link, watch it, then watch Saturday Night Live’s cold open and tell me if you don’t notice a pattern…


4. The Incredible Shrinking Wide Receiver

Hogan is two inches shorter as an NFL wide receiver than he was as a Penn State lax man

Hogan is two inches shorter as an NFL wide receiver than he was as a Penn State lax man

This is a marvelous stat: In the NFC championship game, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones had nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns. In the AFC championship game, New England Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan also had nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns.

Jones, who is 27, was the sixth overall pick of the 2011 NFL draft. Hogan, who is 28, was not drafted. Jones caught 179 passes at the University of Alabama and won a national championship with the Crimson Tide. Hogan played three full seasons of lacrosse at Penn State and scored 54 goals. Hogan had one year of eligibility remaining (an injury had sidelined him), so he played one year of football at Monmouth, catching 12 passes and also getting three interceptions on defense.

Welker, Woodhead, Amendola, Edelman and now Hogan (and at 6'0

Welker, Woodhead, Amendola, Edelman and now Hogan (and at 6’0″ is, he’s the tallest of them)

So, yes, that Chris Hogan now catches passes from Tom Brady after being a college lax player is a remarkable tale. What’s more strange is that at Penn State Hogan, a Wyckoff, N.J., native was listed at 6’3″. Now the Pats list him at 6’1″ (having interviewed him, I’d put him at 6’0″).

One last Hogan note I love: As a sophomore at Ramapo High, he was moved up to varsity for the state championship game. He caught passes of 85 and 70 yards, scoring once, as the Raiders beat DeMarest. In the crowd that night at Giants Stadium was Phil Simms, whose kids Hogan knew. At Gillette Stadium Sunday night, calling the game for CBS, was once again Phil Simms.

5. Roman Holiday*



Last week the NCCA’s Power 5 conference commissioners voted 58-22 to prohibit teams from practicing off-campus during a vacation period outside of the “championship season” (that term is used to obviate bowl practice). But the so-called “Harbaugh Rule” does not begin until August.

This is where the kicking specialists will practice

This is where the kicking specialists will practice

So this April, after winter semester in Ann Arbor, the Michigan Wolverines are headed to Rome for three practices. Good for them: Rome is the greatest city in the world and if 100 or so young men get exposed to it even for a week, all the better. As my Twitter friend Cecil Hurt reminded all, they should probably visit the Vatican, where there have been EIGHT Pope Urbans but not a single Pope James.

*The judges will also accept “La Dolce Harbaugh”

If Cary Grant can do it, why not Jim Harbaugh?

If Cary Grant Gregory Peck can do it, why not Jim Harbaugh?



Almost too much to unpack…


Yes, this is code for nationalism, and the consistent messaging of “Put America First” is sinister. There’s nothing wrong with believing in your country. There is something wrong with treating the community of nations as if it’s the SEC West. You say “Put American First often enough and it starts to be implied, “And the hell with everyone else.” Again, is that what Sweet Baby Jesus teaches you at your mega-Christian churches? Pay a little more attention to the gospel next Sunday.


Yes, both the Cavs and Warriors lost on the same night. And yes, they both lost to sub-.500 teams. But it’s January. And the Cavs had a night out in New Orleans before while the Warriors had the same in South Beach. Heavy legs and “flu-like symptoms” for all.


Seth Meyers, who has enthusiastically entered the void left by the retirement of Jon Stewart, takes “A Closer Look” at Donald Trump’s first weekend of being president. Yeah, it goes about how you’d think.

Music 101

Without A Trace

After five albums that made them regional faves in the upper Midwest, Minneapolis natives Soul Asylum hit the jackpot in 1992 with Gravedancers Union. The cleverly named album went triple platinum, spent 76 weeks on the charts, and yielded three hit singles, none of which are this song, which may be my favorite. Oh, and remember when cover art for an album mattered?

You're not the only one who can put naked kids on an album cover, Nirvana

You’re not the only one who can put naked kids on an album cover, Nirvana

Enjoy their network television debut, from the last year Letterman was at NBC. Look how much fun they’re having. Look at the smile on lead singer Dave Pirner’s face (and yes, it’s okay to look at Pirner and say to yourself, So THAT’S what a love child between Meg Ryan and Axl Rose would have looked like). They know they’re killing it. Or maybe they’re just still stoked from having met Jim Kelly in the green room. Who knows?

Remote Patrol

True Grit

AMC 8 p.m.

Open Range

AMC 10:30 p.m.

That’s a pretty good Western two-fer, starting with the 2010 remake that starred Jeff Bridges, Josh Brolin, Hailee Steinfeld and Matt Damon. The nightcap was a sleeper, because both Robert Duvall and Kevin Costner have each been in a better Western, but it’s still plenty good and Annette Benning as the approaching old maid is wonderful (or, you can watch the Kansas at West Virginia rock fight on ESPN at 7)


by John Walters

Starting Five

1. The Wisdom of Crowds

One day after Donald Trump‘s inauguration as our 45th president, nearly 3 million people peacefully assembled in Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Denver, Boston, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Atlanta and even Boise. There were similar marches (more like rallies; I spent three hours on 2nd Avenue between 49th and 48th Streets; we literally “took a stand”) in London, Paris and other parts of the globe.

In New York City, bump-her to bump-her traffic….

Let's call them

Let’s call them “Rally Caps”

A University of Connecticut professor named Jeremy Pressman is keeping a running total of the crowd sizes in a Google Doc spreadsheet and estimated the crowd at 2.9 million, the largest ever protest in United States history. And if a guy named “Pressman” is not an experts on crowds, who would be? It’s like a library cop named Bookman.

A mass protest in Paris!?! That’s nearly in Seine!

In Washington, D.C., an estimated 500,000 peaceful protesters marched without a single arrest (or punched-out Nazi). Of course, those numbers might have been different if Ricky Williams had chosen to join them.

Can't a Heisman Trophy-winning brother even go out for a walk without the po po hassling him?

Can’t a Heisman Trophy-winning brother even go out for a walk without the po po hassling him?

So what was it all about? A feminist guest on MSNBC’s show with Brian Williams got it 100% wrong when she said, “If it’s just an anti-Trump thing, it’s a missed opportunity.” No. Saturday wasn’t about finding tributary causes (pro-choice, equal pay, etc.), though those matter. Saturday was a call to arms (and legs) to stand up and be counted if you don’t agree with the direction in which this president and his cabinet seem intent on taking this republic. No more, no less.

Ashley Judd hit it out of the park here. Find Scarlett Johansson’s speech, too. She acquitted herself well. They could probably do without Madonna the next time.

2. CIA: Chronically Incensed Autocrat*

Trump's first visit as president to

Trump’s first visit as president to “Nazi Germany”

*The judges will also accept “Clinically Insane Asshat” and “Clownish Individual Attacks”

On Saturday Donald Trump crossed the Potomac into Langley, Virginia, to make the Central Intelligence Agency his first stop on his first full day as president. Standing in front of the Memorial Wall, whose 117 stars signify the sacrifices of agents who have lost their lives in service to the United States, Trump blathered on about:

–the media: “They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth” (only when discussing our bench press max)

–intelligence: (his, not the agency’s middle name): “Trust me, I’m like, a smart person” and ” Now, I know a lot about West Point. I’m a person that very strongly believes in academics.”

–support: “I am so behind you. You’re gonna get so much backing. Maybe you’re gonna say, please, don’t give us so much backing, Mr. President” and “There is nobody that feels stronger about the Intelligence Community and the CIA than Donald Trump. There’s Nobody. Nobody.”


That’s a conservative former CIA operative tweeting.

–as long as we’re here: “I wasn’t a fan of Iraq. I didn’t want to go into Iraq. But I will tell you. When we were in, we got out wrong. And I always said: “In addition to that, keep the oil. But, okay. Maybe we’ll have another chance.”

–crowd size at his inauguration: “The field was…. It looked like a million, a million and a half people.”

Time magazine: “I have been on their cover like 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all time record in the history of Time magazine.” (Nope: Richard Nixon has it, but Donald will likely catch him)

–Truth (a.k.a. Non-alternative facts): “I love honesty. I like honest reporting.”

As Trump said all of this, he may have if he were so inclined, looked out to the opposite end of the building’s lobby. There he would have spotted a biblical verse from the Gospel according to John: “And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

Of the few Trump columns I read this past weekend, this one by a Republican, Pete Wehner, who worked in three GOP presidential administrations, felt the most insightful.

3. The Sean & Kellyanne Show

Spicer's post-inauguration debut was simply a scolding of mean tweets.

Spicer’s post-inauguration debut was simply a scolding of mean tweets.

A few hours later in the White House Briefing Room, the lies got bolder. White House press secretary Sean Spicer came out for the first time in that role since the inauguration and went gonzo Pinocchio.

Spicer: “This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — PERIOD.”

It wasn’t, not even close. The estimated attendance for Friday’s attendance was estimated at anywhere from 250,000 (conservative estimate) to 600,000 (Alt-Right estimate). Compare that to comparisons of Barack Obama in 2009 (1.8 million), Obama in 2013 (1 million) and Bill Clinton in 1993 (800,000).


Spicer also said 420,000 people used the D.C. Metro on inauguration day compared with 317,000 for Obama in 2013. The Washington Post reported that the Metro actually had 557,000 trips between 4 a.m. and midnight on Friday, but that in 2013 there had been 782,000 over the same time. As for the 317,000 figure from 2013 Spicer cited, that was from 11 a.m. to midnight; during that same period on Friday, Trump’s inauguration drew 193,000.

These were simply inaccurate statements. The next morning a weary-looking Kellyanne Conway called them “alternative facts” in an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd, who referred to them as “falsehoods.” Watch Kellyanne pause and look down, eyes closed, as if even she’s having trouble swallowing it.

Worrying about crowd size (or girth) one day into one’s presidency is inane, but what should sound off alarms is that the administration is willing to prevaricate over such a trivial matter when anyone with eyes can see the truth. On top of that, let’s remember that they chose to make this an issue on the same day that the largest single peaceful protest in American history took place.

Then again, maybe that was the point of it all. To take that off the top of everyone’s news feed.

4. Aziz Is Astounding

Comedian Aziz Ansari was up to the challenge of hosting Saturday Night Live “the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. His “lower-case kkk” monologue was as strong as Louis C.K.’s monologue a year or two ago, and his La La Land sketch was hilarious (loved the Black Mirror/Uber parody film, too). And if you missed Kate McKinnon just destroying Kellyanne, here it is (yes, the tribute to Obama at the end of the show was off-putting, but this show has never hidden its affection for 44; were you really that surprised?)

5. Coco: Oh No!

Coco is the niece of Kiki Vandeweghe and the granddaughter of a Miss America, Colleen Kay Hutchins

Coco is the niece of Kiki Vandeweghe and the granddaughter of a Miss America, Colleen Kay Hutchins

Down in Melbourne, both No. 1 seeds fell (how much farther can you fall when you’re that far down?) within hours of one another. Angela Kerber lost to “Team” Coco Vandeweghe while Andy Murray lost to Mischa Zverev. We still have a shot at the Williams sisters meeting and of Roger Federer taking an 18th Grand Slam singles title.

Music 101

Marching On

The power on the right side fights the power on the left/We have got to stand together/Forget the East and West”

Another song from The Alarm, “The Stand,” might also have been apropos following the past few days. This early Eighties Welsh band fell under the New Wave umbrella, but they were really late-punk (their original name was “The Toilets”) who sounded a lot like U2 and Big Country. This song never even charted.

Remote Patrol



SyFy 8 p.m.

As you re-watch this gruesome classic, notice what a friend once shared with me: keep an eye on the different processes that Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt use to find their assailant. Freeman is all about being methodical and using research; Pitt is far more impulsive. It’s what comes back to bite him, because Kevin Spacey sees the difference in the two men.




by Michael DePaoli



Why are you liberals so sad on this inauguration day? Why are you trying to snatch defeat out of the jaws of your own golden-showered liberal victory? Seriously, you should be celebrating!

You destroyed that utterly fake “family values” lie that the Republicans have been pushing for too many decades. You proved that the conservative movement has produced nothing more than a sociopathic desire to praise a leader who is a marital cheater. The conservatives just elected a reactionary jerk who was caught on tape bragging about molesting women. Come on, celebrate! The GOP family values thing has been exposed as a fraudulent ideology.

Liberals have won! Look at the evidence! Tattoos are everywhere. Drugs are everywhere. You can download porn on the internet. We have gay marriage. You forced the Republicans to admit that they need to help fix our health care system, that they need to help create a jobs program, that their wealthy backers need to stop outsourcing jobs, and that a stimulus to the economy is sometimes vitally necessary! Republicans have backed away from their “States Rights” bogusness. The GOP is becoming liberal, as it fights to stay relevant. So, please celebrate your liberal victory!

FYI, your president is 70, your first lady is 46, and Ivanka Trump is 35

FYI, your president is 70, your first lady is 46, and Ivanka Trump is 35

Here is your action plan, going forward:

First, whenever talking about the sociopathic liar, call him Comrade Trump (as an alternate nickname, you can just call him WPE, which stands for Worst President Ever) (Editor’s Note: Until Eric Trump is elected).

Second, thank the GOP profusely for becoming liberal.

Third, start referring to the Mexican Wall as The Southern Border Jobs Program, because that is its true identity.

Fourth, every time the GOP votes to spend money, call it a liberal stimulus package.

Fifth, on a weekly basis, talk about that campaign “contract” that Trump has already breached.

Sixth, whenever possible, ask Comrade Trump when he is going to drain the swamp.

Seventh, regardless of what kind of health care plan the GOP puts forth, call it the Semashko System (what the Russians used to call their health care under the Soviet Union).

Eighth, laugh at Comrade Trump, and never let him forget that he is a joke.

Ninth, keep asking for Comrade Trump’s tax returns. T

enth, go have fun and be happy, because that will eat Comrade Trump from the inside.


This movie presents (avoids begs teases) the question: Why do you want to go to a movie, anyway? If your answer might be that you want to sit down for two hours and be thoroughly engrossed in a slowly-progressing drama whereby you can feel smug and elite inside your intellectual arrogance (Ed Note: Isn’t that what this site is for?), then you need to avoid XXX: Return of Xander Cage. However, if your answer might be that you really and truly want to experience a ridiculous rollercoaster of entertainment that will allow you to escape your own slowly-progressing reality of life, then run (do not walk, but run) to the nearest movie theatre this weekend and buy a ticket to see Vin Diesel in his latest vehicle of fantastical fun.

This movie has a skateboard scene. And, if that might not be enough to convince you, there are also fights, and pretty girls, and satellites, and computer screens that go blip and beep, and motorcycles, and a huge airplane, and a little bit of dialogue, a lion hunt (that ends with justice being done), a few plot twists (yes, there is a plot), all mixed up with the bad people and the good people, and saving the world, and Donnie Yen being the action star that he is, and even Mr. Ice Cube being just so cool. Finally, on top of all that, Samuel L. Jackson is just so amazingly exceptional.

A Nina with fewer luftballoons

A Nina with fewer luftballoons

Deepika Padukone is stunning. Ruby Rose is stunning. Hermione Corfield is stunning. (It is almost as if the producers of the movie intentionally found some amazing eye candy, and yet all of these women play powerful roles.) Toni Collette is also stunning. (She played Muriel in Muriel’s Wedding, which I mention because in case you have never seen that movie you certainly should, forthwith.) But, my favorite actor in the movie is Nina Dobrev. As an aside, I was walking out of the movie theatre, with Nina Dobrev’s performance on my brain, and I thought to myself that someone should write a movie starring Nina Dobrev and Emma Stone and Anna Kendrick wherein each would try to out-adorable the other.

So, there you have it. Even if you might not be a Vin Diesel fan (you should be because he is so unique), this movie is still great entertainment. Plus, this is a great movie to see on the weekend of Comrade Trump’s inauguration, because the good people fight against the corruption (see, there is a parallel).


This really should be hanging in a museum somewhere

This really should be hanging in a museum somewhere

I want to take the time to point out the tremendous success that the NFL had in its prosecution (witch hunt) against Tom Brady. The hard-fought legal battle against under-inflated footballs has finally proved once and for all that Tom Brady is so phenomenally awesome that he is capable of leading his team into the AFC Championship Game regardless of the hardness, softness. density, pressure, or temperature of his balls. Indeed, this weekend will be Brady’s sixth AFC Championship Game in a row (to go along with being four-time Super Bowl Champion, three-time Super Bowl MVP, twelve-time Pro Bowl). Thank you, NFL. We now know that all of Brady’s prior success was real.