by John Walters

Starting Five

Gimme Mitch!

The Chicago Bears did what?!? Traded up from No. 3 to No. 2 in the draft so that they could get Susie B.’s favorite quarterback, Mitch Kubitsky*, while giving the Niners defensive lineman Solomon Thomas at a discount at No. 3? Nothing against Kubitsky, who started 13 games at North Carolina, but Thomas is a sure thing.

The headline from the Chicago Tribune: “Are The Bears Rebuilding Or Just Hallucinating?”

Thomas chasing Kubitsky in last December's Sun Bowl

Thomas chasing Kubitsky in last December’s Sun Bowl

And why did Chicago get bluffed into trading up (giving away draft picks in the later rounds)? Did they feel the heat from someone else (YES)? Meanwhile, Pat Mahomes goes to the Chiefs at No. 10 and Deshaun Watson to the Texans at No. 12. Three QBs in the first dozen picks. We’ll see how this all shakes out, but not any time soon.

Dig: If you think the QB you’re picking at No. 2 overall is the next Aaron Rodgers, then by all means, go ahead.

A reminder that Thomas’ Stanford, minus Christian McCaffrey, beat Kubitsky’s Tar Heels in the Sun Bowl last December, a game in which Kubitsky dazzled at points but also threw a pick-six and had a referee-induced fumble. Highlights here.

*See yesterday’s comments. He’s Kubitsky for as long as we want him to be.

2. NFL Draft (Cont.)

Better than just drafting Dalvin Cook, some team today will draft a pissed off, they passed-on-me Dalvin Cook. Even better.

Better than just drafting Dalvin Cook, some team today will draft a pissed off, they passed-on-me Dalvin Cook. Even better.

Other insights/observations:

–Three wide receivers (Corey Davis, Mike Williams, Jon Ross) in the top nine picks? Highly dubious.

–Leonard Fournette goes No. 4 to Jaxville and Christian McCaffrey No. 8 to Carolina (as everyone predicted), but Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon go undrafted. Eight of the top 12 picks were skill-position offensive players.

–Love Adoree Jackson, but he’s a pretty small dude (Listed–LISTED–at 5’10”, 186)to be playing defense in the NFL. Or at least to spend a first round pick on, as the Titans have. He’s going to see Will Fuller twice a year now in the AFC South or whatever it is.

–Nobody selected offensive lineman Forrest, Forrest Lamp. Forrest?

–Leave it to @PFTCommenter as Denver chose Utah OL Garrett Boles after Tampa Bay took Alabama tight end O.J. Howard:


–Gotta like what the Browns did, selecting Myles Garrett and Jabrill Peppers in the first round, but with their third first-round pick they could have had T.J. Watt or Reuben Foster. Why not go all in on defense there, dudes? I’ll admit I don’t know much about Miami TE David Njoku.

Takkarist McKinley stole the draft:

–Packers pick first on Friday. I don’t care what their “needs” are, you take Dalvin Cook. You’d be crazy not to.

3. Tanaka Blast

Yankee ace Masahiro Tanaka, who got rocked for seven runs in 2 2/3 on opening day in Tampa Bay (“Tanaka Blasted”), pitched the gem of the season (at least as far as the Yankees are concerned) last night at Fenway Park. Tanaka outdueled Medium Happy‘s pick for the AL Cy Young, Chris Sale, pitching a complete-game, three-hit shutout against the Red Sox.

Tanaka, who has won 10 of his last 11 decisions (the outlier being that Tampa Bay game), became the first Yankee pitcher to throw a complete game since August of 2015 (that was also him). Yes, the Yanks did not have a pitcher throw a complete game all last season, a first in franchise history (including the Highlanders).

Meanwhile, Chris Sale has received—wait for it—four runs of support in his first five starts. Not cool, Sawx. Not cool. Do they know he has a little bit of a temper? They’ll find out soon enough.

4. Ann’s Far Right, But She’s Also Right

Of course Ann Coulter is a soulless phantom carved out of the cliffsides of Mordor, but she has First Amendment rights, too. Such a bad look for Berkeley activists, who threatened violence if Coulter, who was invited to speak on campus by a student group, appeared.

She canceled the visit. They celebrated. “All you did today was ruin a country, son.” Free speech is free speech. Hate speech simply doesn’t exist, like hate crimes don’t exist. They’re euphemisms coined by the left in an attempt to separate what’s allowed versus what they don’t like. You can’t play the game that way, kids.

5. And This Guy Is Thought To Be Brilliant?

We’ll let Senator Ted Cruz speak for himself:


But of course, as someone else on Twitter pointed out:



This is funny, at least to me:


Amazon killed it on quarterly earnings report after the bell yesterday. Stock is up 20 points  (i.e dollars) today and in the past year has now climbed 58%. That’s nutty. Kids, it’s not early, but it’s not too late to jump on board, either. Think of where this stock will be 10 years from now. Don’t be the guy who says, “I should bought Amazon in 2017” while the rest of us are tooling around in our Tesla hovercrafts to that beach resort in Orlando, Florida (I know; that’s the joke, silly).


Related, CNBC  held its “Stock Draft” yesterday afternoon, a cute idea in which eight different “teams,” ranging from Kevin O’Leary (“Mr. Wonderful”) to the Beardstown Ladies of Beardstown, Illinois, each picking stocks in a two-round draft.

So, 16 picks overall. How did it break down? Six tech companies, Gold, Boeing, two banks a couple pharmaceuticals, an outlier or two and ZERO ENERGY OR OIL COMPANIES. None. Nada.


Music 101

Life’s Been Good 

Vivid memories of our little Clan Walters driving from New Jersey to Arizona in August of 1978 (a.k.a. The Great Migration) and this tune by Joe Walsh OWNING the radio. I’m sure we heard it in every state from Virginia onward. This song, which hit No. 12, is the perfect ’70’s rock star anthem and confession.

Remote Control

Let It Fall

9 p.m ABC

Before there was O.J. and the murders, there was the 1992 Los Angeles riots. The beating of Rodney King was the spark that ignited this, but this had been festering for decades. As a 25 year-old at the time, this was for me the first incident of mass civil unrest in our country I could recall ever having seen. Disturbing not just because of what happened, but because of what must have transpired all those years before to provoke it.


by John Walters

Starting Five

Here Come Da Judge

How did New York Yankee right fielder Aaron Judge celebrate his 25th birthday last night? By hitting a home run and making a Jeets-style hustle catch, going into the seats, at Fenway Park. The Yankees, THHHHHEEEEEE Yankees win, 3-1.

Is a new Yankees-Red Sox rivalry brewing? Bob Klapisch believes so.

2. ESPN Layoffs

Those were the days....

Those were the days….

I was thinking about this yesterday: In May of 1995 two friends from Sports Illustrated and I embarked on a crazy, ambitious tour of Europe (What were we thinking???). Anyway, near the end of the trip my good friend Dave Gabel, a Houston Rockets diehard, and I, a Phoenix Suns, fan had seen enough museums and slow wait-staff service and were completely obsessed with finding out how our favorite teams were doing against one another in the playoffs.

But how to find out? There was no cable TV. There was no internet. There were no cell phones. We  didn’t want to spend the money to find a phone to call the USA. We were in Paris and could not find a sports bar that aired the games. So each morning we’d head out to find the International Herald Tribune and search for the scores. Or maybe it was the USA Today. Anyway, that day’s edition of the paper would only have the USA sports scores from two days earlier, which is why we dubbed it the “USA Todays Ago” (get it? Yes, you do.)

Anyway, that was the world in which ESPN thrived. But we no longer live in that world. Twitter and your phone has made ESPN’s “sports nation” concept mostly obsolete. The net still does excellent work: College GameDay and Scott Van Pelt‘s show come to mind.

However, it, like Sports Illustrated in the Seventies and Eighties, is never going to monopolize the sports landscape in the way it once did. That’s what yesterday’s layoffs illuminated. If all of this makes ESPN a little less hubristic, that would be a good thing.

Still, my heart goes out to anyone who lost their job and is reading this. Also, it’s a minor quibble, but I disagree with my friend Richard Deitsch’s policy of not releasing names of those fired until the people themselves announce it. Some of those names are bigger names, and that’s news, especially if your beat is sports media. Losing your job is tough—believe me, I know—but it’s no less difficult for a football or basketball coach as it is for Ed Werder or Jay Crawford. No one gave Steve Sarkisian the option of waiting until he was comfortable about discussing his dismissal before reporting it.

Also, a special shout-out to Jane McManus, whom I don’t know well, who was laid off by ESPN and then went in and taught her J-School class at Columbia University last night. That’s a tough woman. And what a lesson she provided her students.

Finally, to Brett McMurphy: a good friend and an amazingly dogged reporter. He breaks college football news before people in that school’s SID office know about it. I’m not worried about Brett’s future and in a sense am happy for him, because ESPN grossly underused him. You’re free, my friend.

I’ll have more on the layoffs in a Newsweek story later today….

3. Draft Day

Dudes We All Know You’re Never Going To Regret Having Picked: Solomon Thomas, Christian McCaffrey, Myles Garrett, O.J. Howard, Corey Davis, T.J. Watt aaaaaaaand Deshaun Watson.


I’m curious to see where Jake Butt, he of the torn ACL in the Orange Bowl, goes. The Jaylon Smith of this draft. Speaking of which, yeah, curious to see where DeShone Kizer goes. Both Kizer and Mitch Trubisky are northern Ohio kids, so I’m not going to be surprised if one of them is plucked at No. 12 by the Cleveland Browns. But if Cleveland uses the No. 1 pick on a QB, any QB, they should be relegated to the CFL and let’s bring up the Calgary Stampeders.

4. How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

Lovely and talented and Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova is out with a memoir titled Unstoppable, but that’s just what fellow pro tennis star Eugenie Bouchard wishes someone would do: Stop her.

“”I don’t think that’s right,” Bouchard said yesterday, referencing the 15-onth doping ban Sharapova, who turned 30 last week, just finished serving. “She’s a cheater and so to me, I don’t think a cheater in any sport should be allowed to play that sport again.”

Eugenie, c’mon. Russians never cheat!

5. If A Tree Falls On Bumper-To-Bumper Traffic….


I’ll take “Reasons To Live In Kansas” for $100, Alex.


Music 101

Baba O’Riley

Why does this 1971 tune from The Who have its title and not “Teenage Wasteland?” It is a combination of two of Pete Townshend’s mentors/influences, Indians spiritual master Meher Baba and musician Terry Riley. So how come it isn’t Baba Riley? I dunno, okay. Shaddup! While this song rightly belongs on any “Greatest Rock Songs” list that goes to 100, it failed to chart in the U.S. and the U.K.

Remote Patrol

The President Show

11:31 p.m. Comedy Central

I’ve been banging the drum for Donald Trump impersonator Anthony Atamaniuk for awhile now, and tonight his show makes its debut. He’s Trump, all the time. As Stephen Colbert advised him last week, “How do you expect to impersonate a right-wing blowhard night-after-night and be successful?” Ha.


by John Walters

Starting Five

Russ got T'ed up for a yack fest with Patrick Beverley, too.

Russ got T’ed up for a yack fest with Patrick Beverley, too.

Oh, Thunder Woes, Oh Thunder Woes

The Houston Rockets eliminate the OKC Thunder in five games, despite Russell Westbrook’s 47-point game in which he finished one assist shy of a triple double. For the series, Westbrook averaged 35 points, 12 rebounds and 11.3 assists per game. However, he also shot 25.8% from beyond the arc.

Houston versus San Antonio or Memphis next.

Epitaph on Russ’ historic year: He was magnificent, and while he may not be the NBA’s best player, he had the NBA’s best season. But he’s going to need help going forward and a lot of it. Victor Oladipo is a nice player, but he’s no second- or even third banana. If only Russ could get a team with guys like Kevin Durant and James Harden and Serge Ibaka. Oh, well.

2. Bristol Massacre

Jim Miller, the dude who co-wrote Those Dudes Have All The Fun: Inside the World of ESPN, tweeted this morning:


Having been laid off myself on the morning of a colleague’s wedding while at SI (Was I supposed to be the something blue?) and having to sit through the whole day keeping that to myself, I have tremendous empathy for these people. At the same time, most of them will develop a hard (harder?) outer shell that will only help them professionally in the years to follow.

No names yet and I won’t speculate. Kind of odd, though, considering how much emphasis ESPN puts on the NFL Draft, to do it one day beforehand.

3. Jeered in Germany*

Ivanka, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, and Angele Merkel

Ivanka, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, and Angele Merkel

*The judges will also accept “Miss Hissed” and “Fraulein Ivanka”

The first daughter appeared in Berlin yesterday and was jeered by the audience after she said that her dad has been “a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive.”

When the moderator, Miriam Meckel, asked her to react to that reaction, she calmly said, “I’ve certainly heard the criticism from the MEDIA,” who of course were not the ones booing.

The moderator also said, ““The German audience is not that familiar with the concept of a first daughter. I’d like to ask you, what is your role, and who are you representing, your father as president of the United States, the American people, or your business?”

Ivanka, who has been coached sooooo well, replied, “Certainly not the latter,” which displays a keen understanding of never using proper nouns in sound bites and also does that uniquely Trumpian thing of getting English language usage wrong, as “latter” can only  be used in a comparison of two items.


She’s definitely his daughter, with the giant exception of that always cool (some would say icy) exterior. Meanwhile at Fox News, O’Reilly wannabe Jesse Watters made a crack implying that he thinks there’s one job he knows Ivanka could do well.

To Ivanka’s credit, she made no mentions in Berlin advocating the construction of a wall…

4. Could Marijuana SAVE The NFL?*

*The judges will also accept, “The Pot Thickens”

I was talking to a doctor who would know last night who told me about experiments currently being done with CBD (cannabadiol), which is the lesser-known chemical compound in the cannabis plant, which makes marijuana. Basically, and this is no big secret, both doctors and Phish fans know that CBD is able to “stop spasms, calm anxiety, and soothe those in chronic pain.”

And if you’ve spent any time around NFL players, you know how prevalent marijuana usage is, not as a facilitator to watching Seth Rogen films but as a pain reliever. Now comes the possibility that CBD may be the greatest weapon against long-term effects of concussions and CTE.

How funny and ironic would it be if the very drug against which the NFL has been so vigilant becomes the one that rescues The Shield from its CTE problem.

5. A Reason To Feel Good About The Coming Nuclear Holocaust

Great piece here in about how, three decades following the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, animals rule there. Because no humans live there. So if a self-imposed genocide of mankind does happen, I’ve got that to look forward to and be happy about. Your mileage may vary (psst: this planet is way better off without us).

Music 101

Time Passages

A few things you may not have known about British rocker Al Stewart, besides the fact that he is not related to Rod Stewart: 1) He played the first Glastonbury Festival in 1970, 2) He knew Yoko Ono before John Lennon did, though I don’t know what they mean by “know” and 3) he was the roommate in a London flat with a young Paul Simon.

This 1978 tune, which climbed to No. 7, was Stewart’s biggest hit in the U.S. He’s 71.

Remote Patrol

Yankees at Red Sox

7 p.m. ESPN

Last September the extremely young and recently resurrected Yanks entered Fenway having won 8 of 11 and with a realistic shot at a wildcard slot, something that seemed ridiculous a month earlier. Then the Sawx swept them four straight after a 9th-inning gut-punch comeback on Thursday night. It’s a different year, and both teams are off to solid starts.


by John Walters

Starting Five

1. Barry’s Back

“So what’s been going on while I’ve been gone?”

President No. 44, Barack Obama, returned from the tropics to his adopted hometown of Chicago last night to speak at the University of Chicago. B.O. completely avoided the T-word, instead choosing to focus on young people, who made up both his panel and audience.

He cracked a few jokes. Talking about how the younger generation gets its information from its phones, he noted how consumers ingest from news sources that align with their political views before adding, “Or maybe you’re just looking at cat videos, which is fine.”

2. Tesla Girl*     **

*The judges hope you appreciate the musical stylings of OMD

**The judges will also accept “Assault Meets Battery”

So it appears that Amber Heard, whom I always confuse with Margot Robbie, is dating Elon Musk, 45, whom I don’t. Wait, I thought the Tesla titan was married. Or remarried (He was actually re-remarried, as he married his second wife, Talulah Riley, twice…and divorced her twice).

Heard, 31, a native of Austin, Texas, was formerly beaten up by married to Johnny Depp.

Good luck, kids!

3. Go, Josh, Go!

If you looked under the start lists for Monday’s London Marathon, neither the lists for “Elite Men” nor “Top Britons” included the name Josh Griffiths. Then the 23 year-old Welshman, in his marathon debut, ran a 2:14:49 to finish in 13th place overall. Griffiths, who was hoping to run a time fast enough to qualify for the Commonwealth Games, instead qualified for the World Championships in August.

4. Cindy Don’t Play That

The NBA Playoffs are decidedly, unlike March Madness, against Cinderella. I explain why in this piece in Newsweek. Related: The Cavs and Dubs went a combined 8-0 in the first round.

5. Bubble Boy

Gotta admit, I laughed.




by John Walters

Starting Five

That’s Why He’s Messi

A classic El Clasico from Madrid yesterday, as FC Barcelona out dueled Real Madrid, 3-2.  Lionel Messi, elbowed in the mouth and left bloodied earlier in the match, was once again in the right place at the right time to score the game-winner in the 92nd minute of a 92-minute match.

Messi took an elbow to the mouth earlier in the match and was down and out....

Messi took an elbow to the mouth earlier in the match and was down and out….

Last week Barca was eliminated by Juventus in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League (Real advanced to the semis). But yesterday, in a Clasico that lived up to the hype, Barca pulled even with Real in the standings (each have 75 points) with the head-to-head advantage.

....but he played through it, briefly stuffing cotton into his mouth.

….but he played through it, briefly stuffing cotton into his mouth.

By the way, it was Messi’s 500th career goal for Barca. He’s timely that way.

2. NBA Playoffs

kWh was unstoppable, but the Spurs were not

kWh was unstoppable, but the Spurs were not


–Wait, did J.R. Smith really come up with the series-sealing steal and then nearly blow Game 4 by attempting a behind-the-back pass on a 2-on-1 break in which Cleveland did not even need to score? Yes. Yes, he did. Never change, J.R.

LeBron James: 21-0 in his last 21 first-round playoff games. That dude be ‘balling.

–Did you see how desperately the Pacers passed the ball to the Half Beatle on that final possession? Twice? It’s as if they knew they’d never play another minute in the NBA if any of them took the last shot.

–Bully to Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg for calling out the officials on how no one ever whistles Isaiah Thomas for palming. He’s a great player. He’s a 20 ppg guy if he isn’t allowed to freeze defenders with palming the ball.


–Steve’s back, which mains he may be leaving. Bummed that Warrior coach Steve Kerr may miss the rest of the playoffs with back issues. Intrigued that Mike Brown, who formerly coached the Cavs, may be the coach to lead the Dubs to the Finals.


Kawhi Leonard‘s performance in San Antonio’s Game 4 loss at Memphis was magnificent. Nothing short of that. He scored 16 in a row for the Spurs in the fourth quarter and checked Mike Conley. He’s just about right there with LeBron, and he’s about the closest to his body type.

Conley was a stud, too, in the Game 4 overtime classic. Best game of the playoffs so far.

Conley was a stud, too, in the Game 4 overtime classic. Best game of the playoffs so far.

Russell Westbrook becomes the first player since Wilt Chamberlain to record three consecutive triple doubles in the postseason, but Houston wins to go up 3-1. Nene was 12 for 12 from the field, all bunnies.

–On Russell’s post-game snit: I get both sides. But, it WAS a basketball question and it was addressed to Steven Adams. Believe it or not, I concurred with Screamin’ A. Smith, who noted, if you don’t want uncomfortable questions about basketball, a sport you are paid ridiculously well to play in front of 18,000 or so in person and millions on TV, go play without a crowd.

Hayward's belly was wayward

Hayward’s belly was wayward

–Really enjoying the Utah Jazz renaissance, Iso Joe, and the best YMCA rec league player left in the playoffs, Joe Ingles (Wilder?). Fascinated that 19 years later, a player gets sick before a key playoff game in Salt Lake City and, unlike MJ, cannot play through it. I’m sure it hurt, Gordon Hayward, but that was part of how MJ burnished his legend. The flu game.

3.  Yer Out (of line)!

My first thought upon hearing that Boston Red Sox pitcher Matt Barnes threw a pitch behind the head of Baltimore slugger Manny Machado was, There’s a psycho Matt Barnes in baseball, too?

The Sawx led 6-0 in the eighth inning on Sunday when Barnes opted to get even with the O’s for a hard slide into second by Machado the night before that Boston star Dustin Pedroia had been the victim of. Machado had texted an apology to Pedroia, whom he had spiked.

This is some low-rises, East Baltimore sh*t, yo (can you tell I’ve FINALLY begun watching The Wire?). Tell Stringer I’m woke.

4. Epitaph For America

My colleague over at Newsweek, Ryan Bort, went to a screening of the 2002 film Bowling For Columbine (the massacre took place on April 20, 1999) and spoke to its producerMichael Moore. The following quote, I thought, should one day appear on America’s tombstone, a day that could come sooner than anyone expected based on recent events…

“It’s the American equation: Dumb down the population; make them ignorant and stupid. Ignorance leads to fear. Fear lead to hate. Trump knew that part of the equation really well. Hate leads to violence, or to use your ballot as an act of violence against the people you hate.”

Of course, not everyone agrees with me

Of course, not everyone agrees with me

You know, it’s funny: The 9/11 hijackers weren’t aiming for a body count. They were aiming for mass hysteria. Mission accomplished, guys. Mission. Accomplished.

5.  TCM >>>> Cable News

Why watch Sean Hannity try to show boat when you can actually watch Show Boat? Last month I tossed the cable news-watching habit and, visiting family out in Arizona, began heavy doses of Turner Classic Movies. I wrote about it here in Newsweek.

Music 101

Message Of Love

Before Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders began chasing radio-friendly hits, they were quite the punk band. Hynde, an Ohio native, was the Veronica to Deborah Harry’s Betty. And she also did the exact opposite immigration of Blondie’s lead singer, moving east across the Atlantic to live in London. This 1981 tune brings back great memories. The Pretenders were headed for stardom, and they achieved it, but it might have been so much more if the band members didn’t keep dying.

Remote Patrol

Better Call Saul

10 p.m. AMC

This should be the episode where Mike Ehrmantraut and Gus Fring finally, after a two-episode dance along the edges, finally meet. And whither Jimmy, now that he knows he’s been nabbed by Chuck? A change is gonna come in Albuquerque.


by John Walters

Starting Five

Uncool And The Gang

The funny thing is, there are at least three people in this photo I’d rather have running this country than the man who is seated at the desk.

Apparently he wants to build a a wall around the southern border of the White House as well

Apparently he wants to build a a wall around the southern border of the White House as well

Meanwhile, the sidewalk abutting the South Lawn will now be closed permanently because the pwesident is a scaredy cat. Again, and for the 45th (!) time, imagine Obama doing this and the scathing criticism he’d hear from Trump. What a blow hard…and hypocrite.

2. LeBrontosaurus Rex Indiana*

*The judges realize there is no such thing as a Brontosaurus Rex and apologize to all of our paleontologist readers

Down 25 to the Indiana Pacers at halftime, Cleveland not only came back and won, hell, they tied the score up midway through the fourth quarter (the three makes it an entirely different game). LeBron James, a.k.a. Sweet Pea, a.k.a. The Man Whom Susie B. will someday go Kathy Bates in Misery upon, led the revival, scoring 41 points, grabbing 13 rebounds and dishing out 12 dimes, and yeah, if he really wanted to, he could play like this most nights and win the MVP without any questions asked.

More impressive to me, besides the fact that this was the largest halftime-deficit comeback in NBA history? The fact that this was the 20th consecutive first-round playoff game that James’ team has won.

Cavs up, 3-0. Now where is that fork I was searching for?

3. Blackhawks Down and Out

The Chicago Blackhawks, winners of three Stanley Cups in the past seven years and owners of the best record in the Western Conference, were ignominiously ousted, SWEPT (curled?), in the first round by the Nashville Predators (whose mascot is a middle-aged man sitting at a counter sheepishly asking questions posed by Chris Hansen…it’s true). Last night the Predators knocked out the Black Hawks 4-1.

Going back to regular season, Chicago lost its final 8 games. The Hawks not only lost as a top seed, they were swept, and by a team of y’alls. And were outscored 13-3 in the series. For shame, kids.

4. Trapped

Ehrmentraut Fishing, Caught By the McGill

Ehrmentraut Fishing, Caught By the McGill

Maybe it’s the fact that both protagonists (anti-heroes) in Better Call Saul have an allusion to fish in their surnames, but Episode 2 saw both Jimmy McGill and Mike Ehrmentraut take the bait and get caught hook line and sinker.

The final 10 to 15 minutes of the show played out with both men separately falling into the honey traps set by their nemeses. Jimmy, who assured Kim Wexler that he was okay, impulsively flew over to brother Chuck’s house in a rage, kicked down the door, destroyed property and threatened to hurt him (all with Howard and a P.I. hiding in a separate room to hear it all). He’s cooked and he knows it. How about that not-so-subtle harbinger moments before when Jimmy stops meticulously rubbing the tape off and just yanks it? A little heavy-handed with the symbolism, but okay.

As for Mike, how long do you think you can park outside Los Pollos Hermanos and not purchase a succulent roasted chicken before the manager becomes suspicious? He follows a car out into the high desert on a two-lane road with no egress only to realize he’s been literally led down a path with no escape. How’s THAT for symbolism?

Jimmy McGill is done. Jimmy and Kim are done. Mike, I suspect, is going to be recruited by Gus Fring who will make him an offer he can’t refuse. He can’t go back to being a part-time criminal any more. He’s all in now.

5. Great, But How Are They Going To Read This?


No sports media person I follow has a quicker trigger finger when it comes to Blocking followers than Bomani Jones. So I found this tweet funny yesterday for obvious reasons.

Fake News


Music Patrol


Life is just a party/And parties weren’t meant to last. On the first anniversary of the death of Prince Rogers Nelson, let’s go back to the song that helped take him to superstardom. Released in 1982, it only peaked at No. 44, but then after “Little Red Corvette” was released, it was re-released in the summer of ’83 and went to No. 12.

Remote Patrol

Rockets at Thunder, Game 3

9:30 p.m. ESPN

Russ went off for 51 points and a triple double on Wednesday and OKC still lost, falling behind 2-0. This is make or break time for the Thunder.




by John Walters

Starting Five

Be Nice, Maybe?

I don’t have any tips to give Bye Bye, O’Reilly on how to be better at TV—he was obviously gifted at that, as his top ratings in prime-time for 15 or so years demonstrate—but just on how to be better at humaning: Be nice. Especially to women. Watch this clip on CBS This Morning from last summer as Bill comes down Norah O’Donnell’s highway when she asks about another sexual harasser at Fox, his recently departed boss, Roger Ailes:

My favorite part about this? He was on to promote a book he’d written with James Patterson for kids about manners called Give Please A Chance.

This, by the way, happened just three weeks ago. It was the first drip in the wave of O’Reilly’s self-imposed downfall:

2. The Empire Strikes Back


The New England Patriots’ official website took aim at those of us who compared the photos of their White House visit yesterday to the one two years ago with Obama. The Pats did so by also tweeting comparison photos from 2005 and 2017.


Which of course brings up the obvious question, Why don’t the Pats like white presidents?

Much thanks to Bob Kraft for the information, but that doesn’t quite explain why Tom Brady missed yesterday’s event on the same day that his wife tweeted about an April 29 march in Washington D.C. in which she wrote, “March for climate, jobs and justice—to change everything, we need everyone.”

The tweet has since been deleted. Must’ve been an interesting day at the Brady-Bundchen home.

3. 51-13-10 AND 0-2

Terrific photo here by the Edwardsville Intelligencer

Terrific photo here by the Edwardsville Intelligencer

Dat dude, Russell Westbrook, had the highest triple double in NBA history last night (51 points, 13 assists and 10 boards) but the Rockets went on a 10-0 run with the score tied late in the fourth quarter. Houston wins 115-111. Russ: “I don’t give a (bleep) about the line. We lost.”

4. Sobibor

Last night on PBS I learned about Sobibor, a Nazi extermination camp in Poland where in October of 1943 the prisoners initiated an uprising. Led by a Russian Jewish military officer who had been put in the camp and who formulated a plan, they assassinated most of the top SS officers and the camp and then simply fleed for their lives.

Many of them were cut down by machine gun fire.

Others were blown to bits fleeing across a mine field toward the forest (they knew the mine field was there).

About 50 of the 200 people who escaped evaded death or capture and survived. One of the survivors said, “I didn’t care if I died that day as long as I could taste one minute of freedom.”

That resonated with me as I then watched Rachel Maddow detail the latest incident of a Trump-related official (former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince, who is Betsy Devos’ little brother) secretly meeting with a Russian agent. To round up: Mike Flynn, Jeff Sessions, Jared Kushner, Carter Page, Paul Manafort and now Prince.

And so it occurred to me: Distilled to its essence, Trump vs. Not-Trump is a matter of Safety vs. Freedom. And the people who keep voting for Safety don’t appreciate how precious freedom is. They truly don’t.

The other thought that occurred to me? HOW HAS NO ONE IN HOLLYWOOD NEVER MADE A SOBIBOR FILM???? This is Oscar gold, Mr. Spielberg.

5. Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back

Highly recommend this book by Bill Zehme. It’s not as much a celebrity bio as a guide to living. Sinatra was arguably the first real rock star (living after midnight, rocking till the dawn), but he also was extremely generous and loved gathering people together.

One of my favorite stories from the book: Dean Martin, one of his closest friends, threw a wedding anniversary bash for himself and his wife at his Beverly Hills home in 1965.. Sinatra was there and quickly became master of ceremonies and libations. Dino, by the way, was a 6-handicap golfer: he loved his morning tee time far more than he did drinking.

Anyway, the party is raging and suddenly the cops show up at the front gate. Sinatra walks down to meet them. “Sorry, Mr. Sinatra, we’ve had a noise complaint and you’ve got to shut the party down.”

“You know me,” Sinatra said. “Who phoned?”

“Um, Mr. Sinatra….”

“Who WAS IT?” Sinatra fumed.

“The call came from inside the house.”

Sinatra ran into the house where he found Dean, in bed and watching TV, holding his putter (not a euphemism), in his hand. He smiled at Dean and said, “You bastard!”

There are a plethora of stories like this within. If you love ring-a-ding-ding, you’ll love this book.

Music 101

The Things We Do For Love

The year was 1977 and 10 CC had a huge hit with this song that basically has the same tempo/chords as the Welcome Back, Kotter, theme song. Also there’s a dash of Manfred Mann’s “Blinded By The Light” in the opening. Song shot to No. 5 in the USA.

Remote Patrol

On The Town

8 p.m. TCM

The last of the Gene Kelly-Frank Sinatra trilogy of films, made in 1949. Three sailors with a 24-hour shore leave in Gotham City. And nobody gets arrested (I don’t think). Kelly directed (by the way, check out the pollution when they’re atop the Empire State Building in this clip).


by John Walters


Starting Five

Kill Bill, Vol. 4

*The judges will also accept “Bill Folds” and “Bye, Bye O’Reilly” and “Killing O’Reilly’s Career”

“Sure, Bill O’Reilly was forced out by Fox News, but I hear he was well-fed.”

Rage-monger, author (wink, wink) and huge Bill O’Reilly fan Bill O’Reilly has been forced from his cush 8 p.m. slot on Fox News. Damn bitches! Apparently women don’t like hostile middle-aged multimillionaires preying on them sexually (okay, Melania, not all women).

Give O’Reilly credit: in the hyper-competitive world of cable news, he had by far the most popular nightly program. If Stephen Colbert‘s alter-ego does not resurface tonight on CBS to lament/salute this epochal moment in cable news.

Meanwhile, if I were the Murdoch boys I’d check the batteries in my ghetto blaster and stand outside Megyn Kelly’s window blaring “Baby, Come Back!”

Meanwhile, count O’Reilly as the latest man to be given a public vote of confidence by Trump to lose his job.

2. The Clock Runs Out

Hernandez blew a kiss to his daughter just a few days ago in court....

Hernandez blew a kiss to his daughter just a few days ago in court….

Sometime over night Aaron Hernandez took his own life by tying a bed sheet around the bars of his jail cell window and hanging himself. An ignominious end for a tight end. Hernandez was acquitted of two murders just last week, but he had already been convicted of another and faced life without parole. He knew the score.

Hernandez did this on the eve of the New England Patriots’ trip to the White House. Coincidence? We’ll never know.


 (Tom didn’t show, either)

Legally, under an arcane and archaic Massachusetts law, the 27 year-old goes to eternity an innocent man. “Under the doctrine, known as ‘abatement ab initio,’ criminal convictions are essentially nullified if a person dies before they have a chance to complete the process of appealing it,” according to The New York Times.

Hernandez was an all-Pro who, teamed with Rob Gronkowski, had the potential to be the most devastating tight end duo in NFL history.

3. BEcca LONGo

Chandler, Arizona’s Basha High School is not even 10 years old (I don’t think), but the southeast Valley of the Sun school has already made history. Its kicker, Becca Longo, just became the first female to be offered a football scholarship. Longo, who converted 35 of 38 extra points this season, accepted a full ride to play at Division II Adams State in southwestern Colorado.

4. Harshing My Melo

So La La (that’s three notes!) is divorcing Carmelo, and not being nearly half as passive aggressive about it as Phil Jackson. Seems Anthony got a stripper pregnant and that young shorty is exercising her option to have the baby. Apparently the ball is not the only thing Carmelo holds on to too long.

5. Look! Frozen Water

The town of Ferryland, Newfoundland, is the place to spot YUUUUGE icebergs drifting south right now. They’re like massive massifs of ice. Residents have already spotted 600 large bergs this year, which is usually about the number they get for the whole season. Lots of high winds global warming climate change yada yada yada….

Music 101

They Can’t Take That Away From Me

Written by George Gershwin in 1937 (and first sung by Fred Astaire in the film Shall We Dance), this song was re-recorded by literally dozens of world-class artists, among them Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald and Ol’ Blue Eyes. Ring-a-ding-ding, baby!

Remote Patrol

Caps at Maple Leafs

7 p.m. NBC Sports Net

The Capitals were the best team in the NHL this season. They have the best player of the past decade, Alex Ovechkin. And they trail the Maple Leafs, who last won a Stanley Cup 50 years ago, 2 games to 1. Kind of a must-win tonight north of the border….


by John Walters

Starting Five

Rabbit, Run…For Your Life!*

*The judges will also optimistically accept, “Hare Today, Gone Tomorrow?” and “Eggs? Yes. Travaganza? No.” and “Meh, What’s Up, Don?”

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party met MAGA on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday. Festivities included a gathering that was much smaller than predicted, a president who told a reporter that North Korea “needs to behave…just like these kids,” a national anthem in which the First Lady needed to nudge her husband to put his hand to his heart, and a president who signed a kid’s hat and then carelessly threw it into the crowd.


If there’s a Guinness World Record for one person whom the most other people have encountered and said to themselves, “What an asshole,” Donald Trump is that record-holder.

2. The Yachter They Come

Meanwhile in the South Pacific, last Friday the following assemblage reportedly convened on record mogul David Geffen’s yacht: Bruce Springsteen and Patty Scialfa, Barack and Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, and Oprah Winfrey (and Steadman?). Does this mean that the Boss is officially a yacht rocker? And who forgot to invite Bono and Clooney?

That sounds like a cool group, but I think they needed an agitator. Someone to make it even more fun. I’d have invited David Spade along.

3. The Grizzlies are The Clippers and The Clippers Are The Grizzlies 

Jordan is going to have an even better career in the WWE.

Jordan is going to have an even better career in the WWE.

The Memphis Grizzlies lost at San Antonio last night to go down 2-0 in their opening round series to the Spurs. Quick: Can you name the Grizzlies’ coach? It’s David Fizdale. Yeah, me neither.

Anyway, it occurred to me that the Grizzlies are the Los Angeles Clippers. This is a team that is very good but not great, that the NBA does very little to promote because their players come off as surly at best but definitely lacking in charisma (I don’t care how many Chris Paul or Blake Griffin ads I see on TV, they just don’t have “IT”), and that will soon be out of our lives because their cores are too old and they’ll never even sniff a Western Conference finals.

Vince Carter is 40 years old...and still dunking

Vince Carter is 40 years old…and still dunking

So, enjoy them this last time around. Or, if you’re like me, don’t enjoy them. But these are two franchises that put together high-quality teams the past five years (eight 50-win seasons of a possible 10)but are going to need to scrap their foundation and rebuild if they want to advance any further. It’s over, kids. Move on.

4. Yankees Win…..Again!



George Constanza’s old employer won its 8th in a row last night and the NEW YORK YANKEES are 7-0 at the ballpark in the Bronx to being the season. They’re in the midst of their longest winning streak since 2012 and have done it entirely without their top two hitters of 2016, injured shortstop Didi Gregorius and injured catcher Filthy Sanchez.

What in the name of Suzyn Waldman Mr. Wilhelm is going on in the Bronx?

A) Pitching. The Yankees lead the majors in K/BB ratio (3.90) and, with the exception of the season opener in which Masahiro Tanaka was rocked, have gotten nothing but quality starts….and finishes. Keep an eye on 6’6″ rookie southpaw Jordan Montgomery, who pitched six shutout innings in getting his first career win last night. Middle reliever Adam Warren began the season by retiring the first 22 men he faced.

Judge could be leading a movement of the Yankees now retiring numbers from 99 down instead of 1 up....

Judge could be leading a movement of the Yankees now retiring numbers from 99 down instead of 1 up….

B) Aaron Judge. Remember that impressive-looking dude wearing #99 who hit one out into dead center in his first Major League at-bat last August and then seemed to spend the rest of the summer striking out? Judge is seeing the ball better, and last night he hit his fourth home run in the past five games.

Chase Headley's at bats don't look like this in 2017....

Chase Headley’s at bats don’t look like this in 2017….

C) Chase Headley. Really? Really. The insurance veteran 3rd baseman the Yankees acquired two summers ago as part of their keep-bailing-until-this-ship-stops-sinking project is batting .395 and is second in the AL in both batting average and OBP. I don’t expect it to keep up (his OBP is a nutty .509) but for now, it’s way better than expected.

D) Joe G. People don’t give skipper Joe Girardi enough credit, but what he’s fantastic at is, like the Italian-American former catcher named Joe whom he succeeded, is keeping an even keel. The Yankees don’t do stupid stuff and now that A-Rod is gone, there’s no more drama. Going back at least 20 years, this is the LEAST star-studded team the Yankees have opened the season with since 1995. Perhaps 1996. It’s refreshing.

Again, it’s early. But if they’re playing this well without Sanchez and Gregorius, well, they should keep it interesting all summer.

5. The Nigerian Prince!*

We think Stringer Bell is somehow tied up in all of this....

We think Stringer Bell is somehow tied up in all of this….

*The judges cannot take credit for this. We give dap to Cecil “For He’s a Jolly Good Follow”

All these years. All those emails and texts. And maybe there really was a Nigerian prince all along. So who sent him the $43 million.


Music 101

One Story Town

I doubt many people think of Long After Dark as Tom Petty’s best album, but the first four songs are  “You Got Lucky,” “Deliver Me”, “Change of Heart” and this song. It leads off the 1983 album and if you want to accuse Tom Petty of possibly plagiarizing…Tom Petty on that opening riff, “I Need To Know” why you’d say that.

Remote Patrol

Jazz at Clippers, Game 2

10:30 p.m. TNT

I can’t explain why, but it’s always so much fun for me to watch the Clippers lose. And I really like Jamal Crawford and DeAndre Jordan. Anyway, the Jazz are breathing some fresh life into the Western Conference finals, a new team and new faces with which to contend. Kind of like those early ’00s Sacramento Kings.