by John Walters

PCH: The Hight Stakes and Corrupt World of Contract Bridge

Starting Five

Spelling Bee-hemoth

Meet Edith Fuller. She just turned six and she’ll be competing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee today. Fuller, a home-schooled student from Oklahoma, is the youngest spell-ebrity ever to qualify for the nationals and she will be more than two years younger than any of the other 290 competitors today. P-R-E-C-O-C-I-O-U-S.

2. Let’s Have Another Cup of Covfefe


This midnight Donald Trump tweet was stopped in mid-tweet (it’s got to be “coverage,” no?) and then deleted by the time you woke up? I’m hoping “covfefe” is the first word Edith Fuller is given today.

3. Nordic Trump Trolls

The prime ministers of, in order left to right, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland understand something about bullies in general and President Donald Trump specifically: they hate it when you laugh at them.

Thse five prime ministers, whose names are simply too difficult for me to spell, convened in Bergen, Norway (lovely town; DO visit) and posted the photo on social media under the heading, “Who rules the world?”

4. Dragon’s Back Race

The Dragon’s Back, a five-day race across the Welsh countryside that covers nearly 200 miles and asks entrants to undertake an overall elevation gain of 15,500 meters (that’s 9.6 miles) concluded last week. The event is so torturous that it has only been undertaken four times: 1992, 2012, 2015 and this year. The next event is 2019.

Last week’s winners were Marcus Scotney of the U.K. and Carol Morgan of Dublin. Morgan, the top female finisher and the ninth overall finisher, was ideally suited to take part in such a perilous race: she is an advanced emergency room practitioner.

Put me down to do this race in two years…

5.  Austin Murphy

Austin with a resident of Austin

When it was announced that Sports Illustrated was laying off five people earlier this month, the sports bloggers pounced on the name Seth Davis because they know him from TV. The other four names have not been made public yet (and I’ll let the other three ex-staffers reveal at their own choosing), but for those of us who’ve spent any time at SI in the past three decades, the truly big name and major personage that SI let go was Austin Murphy.

I first met Austin just a few weeks into my tenure at SI. It was the summer of 1989 and I walked into the 18th floor offices on an off day (Tuesday or Wednesday) to get a little work done. As I walked through the bullpen triangle of reporters’ offices, I spotted someone I assumed was a pro athlete (they bring them in directly for interviews, I wondered) but it was actually just Austin.

There are few people you will ever meet who have the physique of someone who could summit Everest, the charisma of a leading man, the vocabulary of a New York Times Op-Ed writer (he never wrote a story in the early years that did not induce me to look up at least one word, a word I’d later use in a story of my own) , and the literary background of a 400-level course college prof. Now take someone like that and put him in every college football and NFL locker room for 30 years, have him traipse around the Tour de France for a decade or two, and you begin to appreciate Austin Murphy. Add to all of that a Saharan sense of humor and a genuine decency and humility and then you have one of the best people who ever worked for the magazine.

In my first years at SI, I was the college football fact-checker while Austin and the great Sally Jenkins wrote most of the “gamers,” the stories that emanated from the previous weekend’s big games. Austin became an unofficial mentor and big brother to me, especially after we both took a trip to South Bend just five weeks after I arrived (SI made Notre Dame its preseason No. 1) for a college football preview story and I realized he had quoted me (as “a recent alum”) in it.

Anyway, the awe I felt in the presence of Austin soon dissipated as I spent more time around him because Austin, the oldest son of a family of eight from eastern Pennsylvania, has a keen sense of self-awareness and excels at putting people at ease. A few anecdotes from the files:

–When SI laid four of us off in 2001, a number of friends or just staffers sent texts or emails of condolence. Austin phoned and this is what was said: “John. Austin. Better you than me.” I love that. It remains the funniest thing anyone has ever said to me.

–Austin used to write a bi-weekly family newsletter that he occasionally allowed me to peruse. It was titled The Slumgullion Fortnightly (I’m not sure if he still pens it) and it’s truly the funniest, most inspired writing this long-time senior writer at SI has ever done. As prolific and talented a writer as Austin is, he always saved his most inspired and humorous prose for tales that involved his parents and siblings. Occasionally, as in this piece about his younger brother, Mark, being cut by the Detroit Lions, his passion made it into the pages of SI.

–In 2002 or ’03 I decided to run a marathon in Napa Valley because why not? Austin, who  was living in Marin County at the time, volunteered to let me stay at his home, then woke up at around 4 a.m. on a Sunday morning to drive me to the start line. And he waited around for me at the finish. He may have even taken me out for an ice cream cone, I’m not sure (he also lent me the family SAAB, whose transmission I may or may not have destroyed. Sorry about that, Austin. Send me the bill; I can now afford to pay it).

–Besides covering college and pro football, the Tour de France, and being SI‘s unofficial ambassador to all who pursue adventure sports over the years, Austin dedicated himself to writing two books that I highly recommend: Saturday Rules, an essential primer for the college football fan, and The Sweet Season, about an autumn spent with St. John’s football and their legendary coach, John Gagliardi. He’s going to take, I imagine, some much-deserved time off and work on his banjo or ukulele, become a better surfer, probably climb Half Dome at Yosemite or bike a few centuries, maybe even run for mayor of his cushy Marin County town.

I really like what our mutual friend Ralph Russo said when he learned SI had let Austin go: “I always thought that Austin and Chuck Culpepper were two people who gave sportswriting more than they got out of it.” I agree. You meet a lot of people in sports writing who let the culture devour them, who relax their personal standards or commitment to self-improvement because the job or the travel just wears them down. That has never been Austin. More than 25 years since I first met him, he still evinces that sense of adventure, of discovery, of self-actualization, all while being one of the funnier humans you’ll ever encounter. He never showed up at a press box dressed like a schlub, or spouting a trite phrase in front of cohorts as the contents of his pre-game meal could be observed in mid-mastication. He has always carried himself with both a sense of humor and a sense of, well, self-respect. You don’t always see that in our business.

If I get a text from Austin later this week telling me “Big wave surfing with Laird. Aloha,” it won’t surprise me in the slightest.

Music 101

Love Her Madly

This song by The Doors appears on the album L.A. Woman and was released in March of 1971. It rose to No. 11 on the charts. Four months later lead singer Jim Morrison was dead at the age of 27; precise cause of death unknown.

Remote Patrol

Stanley Cup Finals, Game 2: Predators at Penguins

8 p.m. NBC Sports Net

Hold on to your catfish, folks. The Preds overcame a 3-0 deficit to tie the score in Pittsburgh on Monday before the Stanley Cup champs prevailed.



by John Walters

PCH: The Fogo Island Inn

Starting Five

Tiger’s BAC!*

It was a memorable Memorial Day for Tiger Woods, as the 14-time major winner was picked up for a DUI at around 3 a.m. No one knows what Tiger’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) was because he never blew, and then he doubled down by releasing a statement that reads, in part, “I want the public to know that alcohol was not involved. What happened was an unexpected reaction to prescribed medications. I didn’t realize the mix of medications had affected me so strongly.”

Is that a playable lie?

*UPDATE: He blew a 0.00, according to the police report. It was the meds.

Bryce Capades

Look at that thick mane of hair!

I don’t know if you tuned in to SportsCenter, or was it Baseball Tonight, last evening, but they Zapruder-filmed the hell out of this event. Why can’t we just enjoy a good old-fashioned basebrawl without an iso-cam on Buster Olney not reacting?

Anyway, it’s hard not to love Jeff Samardzija and teammate Michael Morse inadvertently colliding head-on and dropping at 90 degrees to the main participants, Bryce Harper and Hunter Strickland. Good stuff, baseball.

3. The World’s Tallest Midget

A fond farewell to Frank Deford, who passed away in Key West yesterday at the age of 78. Like so many people who would enter the sportswriting business, I had the opportunity to meet him and I gushed—I was barely 23 and had just been hired at the same entry-level job he had accepted at Sports Illustrated 27 years earlier—about how he was my favorite sportswriter yada yada yada and he could not have been more kind or gracious about it. That’s who Frank Deford was.

I really love this tribute from fellow SI senior writer, fellow Princeton alum and fellow man of humanity Alex Wolff.  The quote from everyone’s idea of SI’s true saint, Gabe Miller, rings true: “He always wrote as if he were shooting for something.” That was Deford and that’s Steve Rushin. The standard they held/hold themselves to is far more difficult to attain than anything of which an editor could impose.

Deford, with Sugar Ray Leonard

Deford’s peak years, that sweet spot from about 1967 to 1985, were also Sports Illustrated‘s. After the first Super Bowl but before the advent of ESPN. This was an age when America really, really became obsessed with sports and there was no national media outlet designed exclusively to cover it except SI. Men like Deford, Roy Blount, Jr., Dan Jenkins and Curry Kirkpatrick were household names for those of us who were obsessed with sports. They lived glamorous lives, at least from my perspective, and they were blessed with so much talent. Their stories were ripe with humor, pathos,  insight and—get this—reportage.

It was, if not the golden age of sportswriting, the golden age of SI. And the 6’4″ Deford, literally and figuratively, was the giant in that room.

4. Is Jared On His Way Out?

It’s going to be really interesting when Donald Trump finally comes to the moment when he realizes he must punt his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to save his presidency. But it is a presidency that is already doomed, so what’s the use? Some terrific reporting here by the usual suspects and a worth-our-time editorial by David Brooks.

5. An Immigrant Story

Your author and his Kazakhstani co-worker (hoodie, a gift from my good friends Mike and Katie, included)

At the cookoutateria where I work weekends during the warm months (and have most every summer regularly since 2009), we have a sweet, guileless new server from Kazakhtsan named Sofia (her actual name is Guzal but as everyone kept mispronouncing it, she settled on Sofia). Sofia and I bonded early in the season when I saw that she was cold (my internal temperature always runs about seven degrees warmer than the average person for reasons I don’t understand: I’m  a perpetual hot flash) and I lent her my hoodie for the day. Ever since then, we’ve been close. What I love about Sofia is that she takes nothing as an entitlement and is genuinely grateful just to have a job (you can make the Borat jokes on your own).

Two Sundays ago, after she learned I’d written a book, Sofia asked if she could see it. So that Sunday morning I gave her a copy of my book about the UConn Huskies. “In Kazakhstan, book is the nicest present you can give someone,” Sofia said. “Because you are giving them knowledge.”

Anyway, Sofia takes the book and places it in her backpack. That day the weather was sublime and our spacious open-air restaurant was packed to the gills. I had 12 tables myself and was running around all day as if the place was on fire. I never had time to look around or notice anything outside my section. Meanwhile, Sofia, who speaks Russian, had the chance to wait on an elder Russian couple and their daughter in her thirties.

When Sofia recognized their accent, she decided it would be easier to converse in Russian. And as her diners became familiar with Sofia, the mom informed Sofia that their daughter was a professional basketball player. And Sofia, not really knowing who Svetlana Abrosimova was, asked to take a photo with her.

Svetlana and Sofia, with the Hudson River behind them

And then the next day Sofia started reading my book and sent me a text. Amazing world, eh? For those who read the book, you’ll know that Svetlana is one of my favorite people and yet another shining example of how immigrants are some of the best Americans you’ll ever meet.

Svetlana, next time you’re in town, feel free to stop by again.

Music 101

Reeling In The Years

Holy Jell-o Pudding, grandma! There’s Bill Cosby introducing thinking man’s rockers Steely Dan in this classic 1973 video. The song shot to No. 11 on the Billboard charts in 1973.

Remote Patrol

Nationals at Giants

10 p.m. ESPN

Alright, who’s getting beaned tonight?


by John Walters


PCH: Suit Yourself

An oldie but a fave, everything you’ve ever wanted to know about men’s suits…


Starting Five

1. Chasin’ Dixon Line

At yesterday’s 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, Scott Dixon (above, I mean like, ways above), survived this airborne crash, which is an entirely different “accident forgiveness” altogether (“an entirely different ‘accident forgiveness'”).

Anyway, Takuma Sota became the first Japanese driver to win the Indy 500, narrowly holding off four-time champ Helio (Centric) Castroneves. Me, I’m just wondering how exciting the first Driverless Car Indy 500 will be.

2. Extreme Makarova

At Roland Garros Stadium in Paris, number one French Open seed Angelique Kerber of  Germany, 29, lost in the opening round and in straight sets to Ekaterian Makarova of Russia, 28. It was a 6-2, 6-2 job. A No. 1 women’s seed had never lost the opening match at the French, as Serena Williams thinks, I leave this sport for one hot minute and look what happens. 

Gerber, the reigning U.S. Open champ, is the world No. 1. Makarova is ranked 40th.

3. Rudder Madness*

*The judges will also accept “Yacht See”

Qualifying for the America’s Cup got underway in Bermuda this weekend (I had to miss it) and there was a bit of a crash between the catamarans from Great Britain and Japan. No one died, which is probably why you did not hear much about it. Also, no one on either boat was attacked by a shark or even came close to being attacked by a shark, which is why The Big Lead did not cover it.

4. RIP, Gregg Allman (not our famed MH friend Greg Auman, who is still very much among us)

There are the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd and then there is everyone else in southern rock. And you could argue, successfully, that the greatest-known of these two bands, and the only one to marry Cher, was Gregg Allman. He passed on Saturday at the age of 69 and left some unforgettable recordings behind.

For those of us who live on the UWS, we know that the Allman Brothers playing at the Beacon Theater for 10-12 shows each March was a way to get through that final miserable weather month of the season. For that alone he will be missed greatly.

5. Run, Ralphie, Run

How do you fill Colorado’s Folsom Field in May? Make it the finish line for the annual Bolder Boulder, arguably the nation’s most popular and/or best 10-K race. The BB, which is run each year on Memorial Day, attracts upwards of 50,000 runners to race through the streets of one of America’s loveliest college towns. The race is still locally owned and operated and townie Frank Shorter, he of the 1972 Olympic gold medal in the marathon, still holds many of its age-group records.

Shorter is still a regular at this race

The fastest men’s time ever posted, 28:51, is held by two men: Mark Scrutton and Rodolfo Gomez (1983 and 1982). The fastest women’s time belongs to Anna Audain, 32:38, in 1982. If you’re a runner, this race, which has 100s of waves at the start to keep it from becoming a traffic jam, belongs on your bucket list.

Music 101


In 1975 this tune from Scottish band Pilot shot to No. 5 on the charts in the US of A and all the way to No. 1 in Canada. It was off Pilot’s debut album, cleverly titled From The Album of the Same Name. 

Remote Patrol


1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saving Private Ryan

5 p.m on Better Call Saul Season 3 Marathon

Also: Stanley Cup Finals, Game 1: Nashville at Pittsburgh

8 p.m. NBC


by John Walters

PCH: Uphill Running

The Starting Five

Now starring in “Horrible Bosses 3”

Somebody To Shove

Just before a NATO photo op, President Donald Trump realizes that AMERICA FIRST!!!!! is in peril and pulls a Frank Constanza on Montenegro prime minister Dusko Markovic, who seems to have recovered nicely from his underwhelming career with the Detroit Pistons.

Habits become character and character becomes destiny. It’s all right here.

2. “It Was 50 Years Ago Today….”

….Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play. Yes, the album that Rolling Stone calls ” the most important rock & roll album ever made” and lists No. 1 on its “500 Greatest Albums” list turns 50 years old today. At Newsweek, we ranked all 13 songs, Zach Schoenfeld, Ryan Bort and I. For what it’s worth, my five favorite songs on it:

A Day In the Life

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

She’s Leaving Home

Getting Better

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Two incredible facts you may not know: 1) As great as this rebuttal to Pet Sounds is (I mean, lots of music experts agree with Rolling Stone‘s assessment), it should have been even better. The first song that the Beatles wrote for it, Strawberry Fields Forever, their label, EMI, liked so much that they pressured the band to release it as a single while the band was still working on the album. The B-side? Penny Lane. Those two classics could have been, should have been, on this album but were not. 2) Paul McCartney wrote She’s Leaving Home after reading about a 17 year-old girl from a good family with good grades who had just vanished. Turns out the girl, Melanie Coe, had actually met the band as a teen dancer on Ready Steady Go! (the British American Bandstand) and at the time of the song’s release was hiding out at the home of her girlfriend who just happened to be married to legendary Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. And now you know…the rest of the story.

3. Amazons Rule The World

In one week Wonder Woman will make its world premiere and most likely be the top-grossing film of the weekend (the kids may be excited about Gal Godot in the lead role, but I’m all about Robin Wright as the age-appropriate aunt of Princess Diana).

You’ve come a long way, Princess Buttercup

But as far as ranking Amazons, I’ll take the company over the princess from DC Comics fame. Yesterday shares of Amazon (AMZN) were up nearly 2% as the stock reached an all-time high of $998. The $1,000 mark could be eclipsed today…not bad for a company that celebrated the 20th anniversary of its IPO 11 days ago, when the stock first sold for $18 per share. In 2004 General Electric had the world’s largest market cap and Amazon was not in the top 10. Today Amazon is ranked 4th in market cap (behind Apple, Google and Microsoft) and has almost double GE’s maket cap.

Amazon is on its way to ruling (or ruining) the world. Either way, you should own it.

4. LeBron Beats Celtics, Hot Takers Anxious To Declare Him Better Than Jordan While Leaving Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Out Of The Conversation Entirely

Is LeBron James “chasing” Michael Jordan? Should two men whose primes came roughly two decades apart even be compared?

James is taking his team to a seventh consecutive NBA Finals, which Jordan never did. Jordan’s teams went 6-0 in the Finals, and never even needed a seventh game. James’s teams are 3-3 in the NBA Finals.

James has scored more points in the postseason than Jordan, thanks to last night’s 35-point effort. He now has 5,995 to MJ’s 5,987. But then again, it took LBJ 33 more games to do so. If you go by scoring average in the playoffs, Jordan remains the all-time leader (33.45 points per game) while LBJ is fifth at 28.28 ppg.

Jordan just found out that a bunch of millennials only know him as a meme

For me it comes down to how many time MJ made crucial plays, especially buckets, in the final minute of a game. He did it OVER and OVER and OVER again, from UNC to “The Shot” versus Craig Ehlo to his final bucket in a Chicago Bulls uniform over Bryon Russell. But I like to think we’re all self-aware enough to recognize that most fans under 40 are going to go with LeBron and most over 40 are going with Jordan. It’s who was the stud during your 20s and maybe 30s that you identify with most.

Not taking away a single thing from LBJ, but if forced to choose, for me, it’s no contest: Michael.

5. Gianforte’s Apology

Kudos, for the most part, to newly elected Montana congressman Greg Gianforte for his apology after winning his seat in the House last night. He took responsibility for his actions the previous night against both Ben Jacobs and the Fox News team. But a few things that we shouldn’t forget:

  1. When he says “That isn’t me,” he’s wrong. That IS him because that is what he did. It’s not all of him all of the time, but what you do is who you are. Not what you say you are about.
  2. The fanboys who were clapping for him or telling him “And you’re forgiven” need to just, and I hate to invoke LaVar Ball, “Stay in yo’ lane.” It’s not for you to forgive him. Respectful silence would have been appropriate there. But people are dolts.
  3. This never had to happen. Not just the violence, but the fact that Gianforte’s people put out a false story over what transpired which, let’s face it, they would NEVER have retracted had it not been for the audio or the Fox News team serving as multiple eyewitnesses. And let’s face it: THIS WAS FOX. You can’t slander a victim by calling him a “liberal journalist” and then call a team of conservative journalists liars for backing up his story. You’re going to lose that battle every damn time.

Music 101

Back Stabbers

They smile at your face/All the time they wanna take your place….

This album of the same name by the Philly soul group The O’Jays ended with all-time great tune “Love Train,” but this track, the title track, shot to No. 1 in September of 1972. The group had been together 14 years before they finally hit it big with these two songs.

Remote Patrol

Indianapolis 500

Noon ABC

When I was a kid, this was actually one of the biggest sports events of the year. Top five? Top three? Times have changed, but it’s still a cool event. Your mileage may vary. Seven different former winners will take the starting line, as will Formula One god Fernando Alonso. The pace car driver? Negan, from The Walking Dead.


by John Walters

PCH: Isaiah Must Go

Melania, Donald, the Vatican. Nothing to add here, just an incredible photo

Starting Five

1. The GOP Goes WWE

A Congressional race in Montana, with an election this morning because the state gets one new seat in the House of Representatives, and Republican candidate Greg Gianforte gets upset when Ben Jacobs, a reporter from The Guardian, shoves a tape recorder in his face. This from a Fox News (Fox!) reporter who witnessed it first-hand in Bozeman, Montana, last night:

“At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, “I’m sick and tired of this!”


Have you been to Montana? I have, a few times. This incident will not hurt Gianforte’s chances of winning there. He may be arrested for assault, but he’ll still win the vote.

Meanwhile, the WWE SummerSlam this August has an intriguing new character.

Joking aside, notice how the Gianoforte campaign statement labeled Jacobs as a “liberal journalist.” As if that matters. And there was nothing in Jacobs’ question that was partisan, by the way. Notice how Trump has treated the media the past two years, or how Steve Bannon called them the “worst enemy” of the American public, or  the Florida lawmaker who last week joked that he’d like to aim a machine gun at the press. You reap what you sow

2. Manchester, United

Man U.’s two goals were scored by a Frenchman (Paul Pogba, right) and an Armenian

Two days after the horrific blast in Manchester claimed 22 lives, Manchester United won the UEFA Europa League final 2-0 over Ajax in Stockholm, Sweden. The Europa League is the not-quite-as-good-a-finish-the-previous-year-as-the-guys-who-made-the-Champions-League-tournament tournament. Still, it was a cathartic moment for the club and the city.


“I want to  dedicate the trophy to the victims,” Man U. midfielder Ander Herrera told reporters after Wednesday’s victory. “This is just football but what happened on Monday was horrible. We want peace in the world and respect. This happened in Manchester but everywhere we have to be a united world to fight for peace and to have no more attacks.”

3. The Remarkable Death and Life of John Shields

Give yourself some time to read this story. It’s about a defrocked Catholic priest, originally from New York, who found a life and purpose on Vancouver Island. Two months ago, while terminally ill, he decided to throw himself a wake before he died.

I’ve always thought about what a wasted effort funerals and wakes are. My own dad would have loved to have seen all the family and friends and to have heard what so many people said about him during his wake and funeral (“Oh, but he did….”). We’ll never know. Good for you, John Shields.

4. Lastros and Rockies! Baseball Is Terrified

Charlie Blackmon leads all of baseball with 42 RBI

The top two teams in the American and National League, respectively, with nearly one-third of the season complete are the Houston Lastros (31-16) and the Colorado Rockies (31-17). The Astros’ top hitter thus far is Marwin Gonzalez and the Rockies’ is Charlie Blackmon, and you’re probably not even sure if I made those names up. I didn’t. Meanwhile, the two clubs that played in last autumn’s thrilling World Series, Chicago and Cleveland, are 24-21.

Related: It’s early. I’ll chill.

5. Sean of the Dead

Things usually happen in threes, so could we really be just days away from Fox News’ entire prime-time lineup of just one year ago (Bill O’Reilly, Megyn Kelly and Sean Hannity) all being gone? Kelly left late last year for NBC News, O’Reilly was fired and now Hannity is finding sponsors pulling ads from his show over his “investigation” into the murder of Seth Rich, whose own parents have begged him to stop floating his conspiracy theory.

Handy claims he is under attack from “liberal fascism.” It’s called free speech, Sean. The same principle that allows you to spout whatever you do for millions and millions of dollars each year.


Season 7: Bring Mittens

The Game Of Thrones promo trailer is out. The series’ seventh season kicks off in mid-July and there will be but seven episodes.

Music 101

Slow Song

Do you want to own a great album/CD? Buy Joe Jackson Live: 1980-86. I’ve been listening to it since 1989 and I’m still not even close to sick of it. Jackson just released his first album of new material in seven years, Fast Forward, and begins touring in support of it next week.

Remote Patrol

Game 5: Cavs at Celtics

8 p.m. TNT

Who cares about the game? Tune in to see if Sir Charles and Shaq throw down….


by John Walters

PCH (non-mudslide edition): Cash Me Outside

Starting Five

PCH: Big Sur Face

Didn’t The Rock just make a joke about this during the opening monologue on Saturday Night Live four days ago? A massive mudslide near Big Sur in northern California (everything north of Malibu is northern California for some people) cuts off the Pacific Coast Highway and now how will Don Draper ever get back to New York City???

According to news reports, the hillside gave way late Saturday night in an area known as Mud Creek (there’s your first clue) and buried Highway 1 under 40 feet of dirt and rock, changing the coastline immediately. Kinda cool, but imagine if you were driving there at that moment and witnessed it. Whoooaaaaaaaa.

Roger, Over and Out (No Moore)

Nobody did it better. Sean Connery did it just as well, you may argue, but Roger Moore, who passed away yesterday at the age of 89, took 007 and made him more suave, more charming and definitely more of a lady killer. Connery’s James Bond was more physically imposing and masculine. Moore’s was more, well, British.

For example…



3. “Can We Take This Beef Off The Grill?”

Before this is all over, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift will team up to release the most downloaded song of all time. Cut to 9:29 of the clip (and if you leave before 11:18, you’re missing the big payoff)

You know how I feel about T-Swizzle, but Katy Perry’s spunk is irresistible and listen to her hit the high notes on “Firework.” James Corden can get along with anyone, by the way. He personifies “host.”

4.  Audacity and Pope

“So, about your new budget…”

The Trump met The Pope while back in Washington, D.C., former CIA Director John Brennan testified before a Congressional committee that last summer “I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign.”

Later, director of national intelligence Dan Coats and the chief of the National Security Agency, Admiral Michael Rogers testified that in late March Trump asked each of them to make public statements saying there was no evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

In related news, Do  I need to draw you a picture?

5. Meet the Nodosaur

He’s 110 million years old, Canadian, 18 feet long, nearly 3,000 pounds and a vegan. Meet the nodosaur, whose nearly pristinely preserved remains were found by a man named Shawn Funk who was operating an excavator for Suncor near Fort McMurray, Alberta. I’m guessing he was a close cousin to the ankylosaurus.


Yes, Susie B., I know that Sweet Pea’s team trailed by 10 at halftime and came back to win. Cash me outside on the NBA until the beginning of June. 

This dude gets it…



Music 101

Run and Run

“Love My Way” was the breakout hit that brought Psychedelic Furs (simply “The Furs” to us) to America’s attention in the fall of 1982, but this tune, which immediately followed it on the album Forever Now, was the harder jam. Would that we could get The Furs and The Church, their Australian doppelgängers, to tour together.

Remote Patrol

I really don’t feel comfortable recommending anything this evening. Why don’t you go out for a beer with an old friend?


by John Walters

PCH: Robo Oh No

The Starting Five

Terror In Manchester

An explosive device, believed to have been set off by a suicide bomber, explodes outside of Manchester Arena in northern England just after an Ariana Grande concert. Initial reports say that 22 are dead and 59 are injured. The world is full of messed up people.

Yes, it could easily happen here. But you may as well try and prevent clouds. Live your life and, to quote Bono, “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”

2. Touch My Ball!

This is either a new NBC prime time game show starring Howie Mandel or a still from Austin Powers 4: The Orgasmic Orb of the Apocalypse. Actually, it is Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia and U.S. President Donald Trump officially “activating” Saudi Arabia’s Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology (do visit the women’s equality wing!).

Meanwhile, commerce secretary Wilbur Ross noted on CNBC that “there was not a single hint of a protester anywhere [in Saudi Arabia] during the whole time we were there, not one guy with a bad placard.”

When CNBC host Becky Quick pointed out, without being so graphic, that protesters in Saudi Arabia typically find themselves disconnected from their heads, all Ross could say was, “In theory that may be true.”

What else matters, Wilbur?

3. Pittsburgh Penguins Vs. Tennessee Tuxedos?

Someone phone Professor Whoopee! The Nashville Predators, who have lost just one game in Bridgestone Arena during the NHL playoffs, are on to the Stanley Cup finals, where they are likely to meet the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins, who smoked Ottawa 7-1 on Sunday afternoon to go up 3-2 in the Eastern Conference.

This is the finals we all wanted, no? Hockey’s hottest team versus its reigning champion.

4. A Farewell To King

Oregon’s Edward Cheserek, he of the 17 NCAA titles, including three individual national championships in FOUR different events, is done as an amateur. A lower back injury will keep him out of this week’s Western Regionals, which is a qualifying meet for the NCAA Outdoor Championships that will be held on Cheserek’s home turf, Hayward Field in Eugene (one of my favorite places in the USA).

The Kenyan native, who emigrated to the States seven years ago, is still waiting upon his U.S. citizenship. Considering that he won 17 of 21 NCAA finals that he entered and also last winter set a new collegiate mile record (3:52.01), don’t you want him on our team?

Here’s a terrific feature on King Ches from The New York Times.

5. Never Rest Up Everest

Ultrarunner and alpine enthusiast Kilian Jornet just set a new record for the fastest ascent up the world’s highest mountain, Everest, by summiting it in 26 hours. The 29 year-old Spaniard eschewed oxygen and fixed ropes and clambered up the world’s tallest mountain’s North Face, from base camp (17,600 feet) to the peak (29,029 feet), as if it were a hill of dirt at a construction site. This may be the world’s fittest human being.

Music 101

Take A Picture

In the late 1990s we got a profundity of American bands that seemed poised to maybe perhaps hopefully seemed poised to take the baton from grunge and carry us forward (Third Eye Blind, Sublime, Goo Goo Dolls, Foo Fighters, Collective Soul and these guys, Filter) into the next century. Most of them had a hit or two, but none of them with the possible exception of FF really, REALLY, attained the summit that bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Guns ‘n Roses did. But I really did love this song.

Remote Patrol

Game 4: Boston at Cleveland

8:30 p.m. TNT

Of course Cleveland is going to blow the Celtics out by 40-plus again tonight. But, I mean, what if they lose? Then it would be best of three with two in Boston. Does Marcus Smart have another 27-point game in him? I doubt it. And I’m sure LeBron isn’t going to put up a mere 11 again.



by John Walters

Starting Five

Donald of Arabia

Remember when candidate Donald Trump said, “We have a problem in this country; it’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one.” (Sept. 17, 2015)

Or when he said, “I wonder if President Obama would have attended the funeral of Justice Scalia if it were held in a Mosque? Very sad that he did not go!” (Feb. 20, 2016)

Or when he told Anderson Cooper, ““I think Islam hates us. There’s something there that — there’s a tremendous hatred there. There’s a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it. There’s an unbelievable hatred of us.” (March 20, 2016)


Is he bowing or squatting?

That guy never got on the plane to Riyadh. During his weekend with the world’s largest oil-producing nation, Trump signed a $350 billion defense deal with Saudi Arabia, dangled an olive branch and sounded Obaamaesque (“This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects or different civilizations. This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people, all in the name of religion, people that want to protect life and want to protect their religion. This is a battle between good and evil”) and even called on other Arab leaders to isolate Iran because Iranian extremists were responsible for taking down the World Trade Center.

This would be a great place for a Trump casino

Wait, no. That’s not right. Nineteen of the 20 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Which was the first country Trump chose to visit as President of the United States. With all those other countries out there. Did I mention that Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest producer of oil?

2. Irish Go

Notre Dame Stadium, home to the world’s most famous walk-on (“Rudy! Rudy!”) on Sunday became home to a walk-out, as dozens of members of the Class of 2017 exited commencement exercises as Vice President Mike Pence stood up to speak. Been a tough year for these seniors inside that stadium: Michigan State, Duke, Stanford and Virginia Tech, and then you’ve got to end it with Mike Pence?


3. I’m Only Huma

Get the Soul Cycle membership/subscription ready! Huma Abedin is cutting Anthony Weiner loose. S’about time, girl! On Friday the former Congressman man from New York, a.k.a. Carlos Danger, pleaded guilty to federal obscenity charges and he’ll be going away for awhile. That same day Huma filed for divorce. Snap!

4. Mad Scientists

Buried in the final half hour of the final Saturday Night Live episode of the season was perhaps their most daring skit in years: they tried to make the audience laugh at child molestation. Honestly, until the White Castle veer off at the end (maybe the writers just didn’t have a good idea to end the skit? Maybe White Castle actually underwrote it?), this sketch was truly inspired. The Rock was fantastically understated and sold his part so well.

The premise: a conference of evil scientists vying for most evil invention of the year. After that? You’ll have to watch.

5. The Judge: Overruled!

Is Aaron Judge going to be an All-Star starter in the American League outfield as a rookie? He leads the majors in home runs (15), is tied with Mike Trout in WAR (2.9) and then yesterday in New York’s 3-2 win against Tampa Bay he makes a catch like this. Get ready for greatness, Lloyd.

Music 101

If We Were Vampires

Is Jason Isbell the Southern Springsteen? I dunno, but lots of SEC fans on my Twitter feed love him. His wife Amanda Shires provides the harmonies on this new track about the ephemeral quality of love and life itself.

Remote Patrol

Better Call Saul

10 p.m. AMC

Last week’s show was a reset of sorts after the dramatic courtroom episode. But it was also the first time Jimmy McGill referred to himself as “Saul Goodman” since moving to Albuquerque and passing the bar. Also, things are getting more tense between Gus and Hector. The temperatures are starting to rise and certain relationships (Jimmy and Kim, Hector and Nacho, Gus and Hector) and the pot is about to boil over.


by John Walters

PCH (We’ve already turned “Please Click Here” into an acronym)


Starting Five

Superunknown Rock Star

Why did Chris Cornell, lead singer of Soundgarden, hang himself after Wednesday night’s show in Detroit? No one knows for sure, but Cornell, 52, provided some clues during the show at the historic Fox Theater. 

“I feel bad for the next city,” Cornell told the audience. And during the encore, he inserted lyrics from Led Zeppelins’ “In My Time of Dying” into the Soundgarden tune “Slaves and Bulldozers.” He knew. An hour or two later, Cornell was dead.

I invite you to put the earbuds in, tap the volume as high as it can possibly go, and taste the robust flavor of “My Wave” from the 1994 classic Superunknown.

2. Ailes No Longer Ailing

And then there was the death of the Jabba the Hut of American media, Roger Ailes. The man who created the Fox News monolith, a man whom Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone called “the Christopher Columbus of hate” died yesterday at the age of 77. Ailes once told an interviewer, “I created a TV network for people 55 to dead.”

Mission accomplished. And it’s nice to see you’ve reached the end of that sentence.

3. All Your Eggs In One Basquiat

I once attended a party at the home of this man (as bloggers make for wonderful party guests) and overheard someone gush, “OH! You have a Basquiat!” I was certain it was probably some French toilet innovation.

Turns out it was a painting by the Brooklyn-born artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who died of a heroin overdose at the age of 27 in 1988. Last night the above painting by the neo-impressionist (of course I had to look that up) sold at auction for $110.5 million, the highest price that a piece by an American artist has ever fetched. It was purchased by a Japanese art collector and entrepreneur.

4. Farewell, Drunk Uncle

After nine seasons Bobby Moynihan will make his final appearance on Saturday Night Live tomorrow. In the last five years or so, his “Drunk Uncle” character (“You know what state I’m in? Denial.”) was the funniest recurring bit on “Weekend Update” outside of Kate McKinnon’s Russian peasant. Also, Moynihan co-wrote the David S. Pumpkins sketch, which goes down as a Top-10 all-timer. He’s headed to Hollywood, where he’ll co-star in a sitcom on CBS called “Me, Myself & I.”

5. The Flying Dutchman*

*The judges will also accept, “This Is Your Majesty Speaking”

Well, this is rather disturbing. The King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, recently revealed that he’d flown as a co-pilot on KLM (a.k.a. Royal Dutch Airlines) for two decades or so. The monarch, who flew twice monthly, did so to decompress. In the words of Tom Petty, “It’s good to be king.”

Sir Winston Churchill was a pilot, but he was never known to have flown commercially.


Endline, Sideline, Fraulein

Germany’s top-tier league, the Bundesliga, has just installed its first female referee. Next season Bibiana Steinhaus, who looks as if she could play the role of a villainous femme fatale in a Bond film, will be doling out yellow and red cards to the likes of Arjen Robben and Thomas Lewandowski.

Music 101

Hunger Strike

We’ve probably already run this song in this space, but it’s the tune that introduced its writer and co-lead singer, along with Eddie Vedder, to the MTV generation. A classic and the song that pretty much raised the curtain on grunge.

Remote Patrol

Wizard of Lies


8 p.m. HBO 

Two mega-stars in the twilights of their careers, Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer, portray Bernie and Ruth Madoff in this made-for-HBO production. Kids, Pfeiffer was the Charlize Theron of the 1980s and early ’90s. It’s kind of a nice book-ender for De Niro, who broke into the business playing NYC characters who knew how to make a buck the wrong way in both Mean Streets (Martin Scorcese) and The Godfather 2 (Francis Ford Coppola). Barry Levinson, another heavy hitter, directs here. Here’s the NYT review.

Or you could tune into Showtime Now and catch up on Billions.


by John Walters

Please Click Here

Because it’s the 21st century and nothing else matters in journalism….

Starting Five

Another Day Of Trump:

Coast Guard Meets Boast Lard

Speaking at the commencement exercises at the United States Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., the 45th President of the United States said, “Look at the way I have been treated lately, especially by the media. No politician in history (Wait, he’s a politician now), and I say this with great…surety (it actually is a word) , has been treated worse or more unfairly (You need to get with Julius Caesar, Abraham Lincoln and Selina Meyer) . You can’t let them get you down, you can’t let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams (“Street light people, whoa-oh-ohhhhhh!”).”

2. Get On With It Already

James scored 38, while Kevin Love put in 32

The Cavs beat the Celtics 117-104 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals, so now they and the Dubs are a combined 19-0 this postseason. Just get a room already, you two. For me there was only one play in the Eastern Conference playoffs, and that was that Cleveland fast break against the Raptors in Game 1 when Kyrie Irving drove toward the hoop like a bat out of hell and ricocheted the ball off the glass hard (without looking back) knowing that LeBron would be trailing to slam it home. That play signified how Cleveland has ravaged the East since LeBron’s return.

Why has anyone even bothered watching these game? I mean, I guess Cleveland or Golden State may lose one game before the NBA Finals, but it almost seems impure if they do (Cleveland won’t; Golden State may).

3. Looking Good

Meet Megan Good, who is great. She has a 36-1 record at Jason McIntyre’s alma mater, James Madison. Good leads the nation in wins and also has the nation’s second-best ERA, 0.48, for the 50-6 Dukes. They’re headed to Waco this weekend to play in a regional in the Women’s College World Series.

Good has been great for a while now. Her record as a freshman was 29-3, as a sophomore 32-3, and now 36-1. That’s a 97-7 record and the Sidney, Va., native has never had higher than a 1.00 ERA.

How good is Good? She also leads JMU in batting average (.399), home runs (12) and RBI (57).

4. The Moors Murders

In the early 1960s Ian Brady and his girlfriend, Myra Hindley, went on a cruel and cunning murdering rampage outside of Manchester, England. They lured and then killed, often using sexual assault and torture, five young people and then buried them out in the Moors. Brady died at the age of 79 on Monday, which is why this story has resurfaced this week (I’d never heard of it).

Hinkley died in 2002. Both were found guilty in the late 1960s (after Brady’s brother-in-law went to police) and were sentenced to life imprisonment. If you’ve ever been up in the Yorkshire moors, you know that it’s a very lonely and spooky place. Stories such as this one only accentuate that.

5. Follow The Bouncing Ball

It kinda feels as if Robert Mueller should also look into impeaching LaVar Ball. I only watched this very quickly this afternoon. On a second viewing, no one looks good here. Colin Cowherd doesn’t support his co-host; Kristine Leahy is a little too combative right from the beginning; and LaVar Ball comes off as the misogynistic bully I suppose he probably is.



Music 101

White Wedding

Punk and New Wave met at an all-night rave, hooked up, and nine months later Billy Idol was born. When this song with its dominant bass line made its debut in 1982, Idol shot right to MTV super-duper stardom. The song hit No. 36 on the charts, but it was ubiquitous on the MTV and on every “Modern Rock” FM station in existence.

Remote Patrol

Godzilla, King of the Monsters

9:45 p.m. TCM

I’m not proud of this, but at one time in my young life my three greatest heroes were Roger Staubach, Richard Petty and Godzilla. And maybe not in that order. This is the 1956 version with Raymond Burr (the original all-Japanese version was released two years earlier).