by John Walters

August and Everything After Edition

Starting Five


When the truth hits your eye like a big pizza pie


When u make your own warts using dopes like Art Schwartz


Words can sting-a-ling-a-ling, you ding-a-ling-a-ling

And we’ll sing, “‘rivadercci'”

Don’t you open up and mope, you vile, profane dope,

There’s no mercy

The Mooch is out! He lasted less than four full days as the White House Communications Director. John Kelly, the new White House Chief of Staff, shitcanned the dude who forced Kelly’s predecessor to be shitcanned. The Worst Wing 30 for 30 will wind up being 18 hours long.

Scaramucci: it’s Italian for schadenfreude.

Mooch will presumably return to his old job of playing the villain in cheesy 1980s films set in NYC….


The world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge just opened in Randa, Switzerland. The bridge, located in the southern Alps, spans 1621 feet (about 540 yards) and is at most points 300 feet above terra firma. Don’t you love when life becomes more like Lord of the Rings?

The bridge is slightly more than 2 feet wide and its grated surface makes it possible to look down beneath your feet. I’m just wondering how many dudes have already peed off it. Okay, and maybe how they built it.

3. Gio-graphy

On what would have been Jose Fernandez’s 25th birthday, the Miami Marlins hosted the Washington Nationals. Gio Gonzalez, a Miami native, fellow Cuban-American and good friend of the late Marlins ace, took the mound for the Nats…and threw eight no-hit innings.

Dee Gordon led off the ninth with a clean single to center and Gonzalez walked off to cheers from the home crowd and from the Marlins’ dugout. The Nats won 1-0.

Meanwhile at the trading deadline, the Dodgers acquired Yu Darvish (6-9, 4.01 ERA) and the Yankees Sonny Gray (6-5, 3.43). Bring on the 1977 (and ’78) World Series.

4. If This Is True, Is THIS Enough For Impeachment?

The late Seth Rich

Rule No. 1 for Donald Trump, as I’ve said before, is, “Believe the opposite of everything he says.” So when he blasts the media for creating Fake News, as he does often, why would you be surprised that he is the one creating Fake News?

That’s what a lawsuit alleges, and then some. From The Daily Beast:

Rod Wheeler, the private investigator cited by Fox News for its retracted report claiming former DNC staffer Seth Rich was murdered for leaking emails to WikiLeaks, has now sued the network, claiming they: 1) Fabricated quotes from him to make the false connection; 2) Sent an article draft to the White House for review; and 3) Took orders directly from Trump to establish a connection between the DNC and Rich’s murder “to help lift the cloud of the Russia investigation.”

The question becomes when this suit would ever go to court. Also, because it’s not a criminal trial, what impact would such a trial even have? And wouldn’t Fox News simply attempt to settle? Is this yet another NothingBurger that is actually a SomethingBurger that nevertheless leaves your appetite unsated?

If you want to read more about the details here on Wheeler and the money maestro behind the scenes, Dallas-based Ed Butowsky, NPR has a detailed story.

5. The Good Shepard

Actor, playwright and all-around laconic handsome man Sam Shepard passed yesterday at the age of 73. Shepard wrote more than 50 plays, winning the Pulitzer for Buried Child, and appeared in more than 50 films, including The Right Stuff and The Notebook. He also had a long and tumultuous love affair with Jessica Lange, who was a knockout in her day (and still is).


My Angel, Frank

Do you believe in angels? Because I think I encountered one recently.

So I’m trying to take up golf (now that I’m an AARP member) and really haven’t played at all since junior high school, and even then not so much. Recently I was on a driving range, scuffing worm burners right and left. And all the other dudes in the lineup looked like captains of industry or CEOs or CFOs or…you know the type.

And then suddenly, out of nowhere, a short, schlubby, poorly dressed man who appeared to be in his mid-sixties stood behind me. “You’ve inverted your pivot!” he proclaimed, doing so in such a way as not to offend or upset me. There was no judgment in the comment, simply observation. He introduced himself as Frank and with a very brief motion explained to me that I needed to think of my swing more in the manner of a second baseman turning a double play. He swung his hips and moved his body in a far more horizontal manner that I had been doing.

I tried Frank’s way. The next ball I struck, to use a Dan Jenkins term, was dead solid perfect. Frank changed everything. I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again. I don’t know if he actually exists in the spatio-temporal world. All I know is that he changed my entire day, if not more.

Whenever you have the chance, be someone’s angel.

Music 101

Jessie’s Girl

Few pop stars benefited from the advent of the MTV more than Aussie dreamboat Rick Springfield. If you know any woman between the ages of 45-55, chances are she’d still drop you in a hot minute for the singer whom General Hospital fans also knew as Dr. Noah Drake. The song hit No. 1 on the charts in August of 1981.

A Word, Please


by John Walters

Starting Five

Kluber has struck out at least 10 batters in 8 of his past 9 starts

Indian Summer!

Look who’s back! The Cleveland Indians have won 9 of 10 to move 12 games over .500 and firmly in first place in the A.L. Central. On June 14 (Flag Day!) the Tribe were 31-31 but are 26-15 since (Curiously, Kansas City has also won 9 of 10 and now have Melky Cabrera and are only two games back).

Do you remember how bizarrely Game 7 ended last November? Michael Martinez came to bat with a man on and two outs in the bottom of the 10th and represented the winning run. Martinez, who’d had a total of 101 plate appearances in 2016, could have been one of baseball’s most unlikely heroes ever, but instead grounded out weakly to third against Cub reliever Mike Montgomery.

In a world without Chris Sale, Indian ace Corey Kluber (2nd in ERA and WHIP, 3rd in Ks) would be the favorite to win his 2nd A.L. Cy Young in the past four years.

2. Current Events: Against The Flow of Traffic

O.K. Commuter: David swims to work each day. Yes, but how does he return home?

This is Benjamin David, who reportedly packs up his clothes and laptop in a waterproof bag and swims 2K (1.2 miles) in the Isar River in Munich daily to commute to work. I found a story in both Time and on, and neither divulged where David works or whether he swims home, too (presumably, against the current). Also, does his office have a shower?

This is poorly reported journalism. But who cares? We clicked.

3. Schwartz Story

Mooch is a classic bag man

Can The Worst Wing go a full 48 hours without another embarrassing incident and/or leak? The latest: On Saturday Anthony Scaramucci (THE MOOCH!), whose wife of three years recently filed for divorce, tweeted a request (threat?) to people that, in our own terms, said, “Hey, youse guys leave my wife alone or I’ll bada-bing! Bap!”



So, if you’re following at home, on Thursday Mooch called Priebus a “(bleeping) paranoid schizophrenic,” on Friday Priebus resigned/was forced out, on Saturday Mooch went all snowflake on his personal life, and then on Sunday Mooch’s own sub-Mooch accused Priebus of committing adultery.


Schwarz has since apologized, in part because CNN’s Jake Tapper called him out on it. Yet another incident for The Worst Wing 30 for 30.

College Football Writers Are Doing Their Darnedest To Make Sam Darnold Sound Interesting, And It’s A Monumental Task

The two most intriguing notes in this epic Los Angeles Times feature on USC quarterback and Heisman front-runner Sam Darnold: 1) his maternal grandfather is a former two-sport USC jock, Olympian and Marlboro Man named Dick Hammer (now that’s a name you’ve got to live up to) and 2) his father is a plumber at the same medical center, UC Irvine Medical Center, where UCLA QB Josh Rosen‘s dad is an orthopedic surgeon.

Another writer I know is doing a feature on Darnold now and described him as “the world’s most boring person.” Hey, it happens all the time in sports writing. Usually, if you have to mention the athlete owns a snake, that’s code for you couldn’t find anything interesting about him (FYI: Darnold does not own a snake).

This was Sam Darnold’s grandfather. He died of lung cancer.

Keep in mind, though: Darnold threw five TD passes in USC’s highly entertaining 52-49 Rose Bowl win over Penn State on New Year’s Day. He’s a legit favorite to win the H, particularly if the Trojans enjoy a renaissance revival season.

5. Steve Jobs on Marketing vs Production

This is what happened at my former place of work (as well as at MTV and myriad other places that began putting sizzle over substance). It’s about WHAT you make, not how you try to sell it.

Required viewing for anyone in business, this.


Love this.


Music 101

I Do

Can you possibly get any more Lilith Fair-era artist than Lisa Loeb? This song from her 1996 follow-up album was not her major hit (“Stay”, which went to No. 1 in 1994), but this one is definitely better driving music. My guess is that if Monica, Rachel and Phoebs ever took a road trip, it would be nothing but Lisa Loeb and Sixpence None the Richer CDs.

A Word, Please

sanguine (adj.)

optimistic or positive, especially in an apparently bad or difficult situation



by John Walters

Starting Five

Mooch Ado About Nothing?*

*The judges give props to the NY Post for “Mooch Madness”

I’ll admit, I miss the halcyon days (i.e., less than a week ago) when Anthony Scaramucci’s greatest verbal crime was praising Donald Trump for, as “sinking three-foot putts.”


Anyway, this story by Ryan Lizza in The New Yorker is hot! hot! hot! The Mooch phoned Lizza after the writer revealed that Trump would be dining with Mooch, Melania, Sean Hannity and Fox News executive director Bill Shine in the White House. What follows is incredible as an enraged Mooch threatens to fire his entire communications staff as an effort to inveigle Lizza to reveal his source(s):

“Who leaked that to you? What I’m going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team and we’ll start over.”

— “I ask these guys not to leak anything and they can’t help themselves. You’re an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country. So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it.”

“Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac. (Channeling Priebus’ thoughts) : ‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’ ”

“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock. I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President.”

–“What I want to do is I want to fucking kill all the leakers and I want to get the President’s agenda on track so we can succeed for the American people.

Then, near the end, he veered into Obnoxious Referencing The Self In Third Person territory:

“O.K., The Mooch showed up a week ago. This is going to get cleaned up very shortly, O.K.? Because I nailed these guys. I’ve got digital fingerprints on everything they’ve done through the F.B.I. and the fucking Department of Justice.”


What’s it all mean? Well, this dominated the news cycle last night and this morning as opposed to the fact that the U.S. Senate DEFEATED Trump’s proposal to repeal Obamacare. That kinda matters more.

Meanwhile, Peggy Noonan, who worked in the Reagan White House, referred to Trump as “a drama queen” and as “Woody Allen without the humor” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this morning.

2. A Tip Jar Guide To Economics

In the past week in NYC, a bartender I know well worked two private parties. One was for a private equity firm, almost all of them (I assume) college educated and Caucasian. The other was for a construction company, where the guests were mostly carpenters and plumbers, mostly immigrants or darker-skinned.

Both parties were open bar.

In three hours the private equity firm bros ordered almost exclusively a brand of beer that is named after a far east Long Island town, an aspirational getaway for Manhattan’s well-heeled. In three hours the blue-collar men ordered almost nothing but Coronas or Red Stripe.

The bartender won’t say exactly what the private equity bros tipped in three hours, only to say that the hard-hat types tipped that total within the first 10 minutes and that by party’s end had tipped more than 10 times as much.

Likely good tippers

It goes without saying, but the hard-hat dudes were fun, happy and generally more convivial. By far. They were on the bartender’s plane. Oh, and yeah, they actually make things (buildings) whereas the former mostly make more money for those who already have a surfeit of it.

Here’s a nickel, squirt. Now get lost.

So what does all this mean in terms of economics? When the wealthiest talk about “trickle-down” economics, you should roll your eyes. Giving those corporate titans more money does not mean they’ll create more jobs or do more for the middle class. They’ll continue to do more for themselves. The only people who truly care about the middle class are other middle class folks.

3. Mr. McCain Goes Back To Washington*

*The judges will also accept “McCain Mutiny”

Despite staying up far past his bedtime, it was Senator John McCain who after midnight cast the deciding vote against the Skinny Repeal. McCain, 80, who was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer, recently, returned to the Capitol to cast his vote against Donald Trump’s Repeal-and-Replace-with-Gimme-Some-Time-To-Think-On-It mandate. The bill was defeated 51-49 thanks to McCain, Susan Collins (Maine)and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) on the GOP side and 48 Democratic senators on the other.

This was McCain’s maverick moment. Asked why he voted the way he did afterward, McCain simply said, “Because I thought it was the right thing to do.” As opposed to the Right thing to do.

4. The King in the North

Because he’s Canadian? Also, because he’s too dreamy. It’s like here we are in King’s Landing being ruled by the Lannisters (a family whose main claim to power was wealth, even though most of it was a facade, as they were deep in debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos), while there’s a King in the North who’s a man of integrity, has great hair, and is the son of a former king. Wild, no?

5. An NFL Landmark Moment?

Our second consecutive item about a smart and grounded Canadian

Yesterday Baltimore Raven offensive lineman John Urshel, a Canadian and the son of a surgeon and an attorney, announced that he was retiring. Urshel is 26 years old. Urshel was scheduled to earn $690,000 this season.

Urshel graduated from Penn State in three years and with a 4.0 GPA. He is currently pursuing a doctorate in mathematics at MIT. He announced his retirement two days after The New York Times‘ piece about how 110 of 111 brains of former NFL players that were studied had CTE. In short, Urshel, a numbers whiz, did the math.

Music 101

Hang Me Up To Dry

Believe it or not, this song by American rock band Cold War Kids is already 10 years old. They reign from Long Beach, California, and played this song both on Letterman and Conan.

Remote Patrol

apocryphal (adj.)

being of questionable authenticity


by John Walters

Starting Five

Kristin Beck did more than a dozen tours of duty with SEAL Team 6 and was deployed in the most dangerous parts of the globe

Trump’s Terrible Trans Action

Why did Donald Trump suddenly, via Twitter, announce a ban on transgenders in the military without advance notice to almost anyone (even his Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, who is on vacation, had all of one day’s notice)? My suspicion is because Steve Bannon, truly the worst person in The Worst Wing, told him to do so.

Why? The art of distraction. With Russia and Jeff Sessions and the venal Jared Kushner exploding around the Oval Office, this took the news off the president’s collusion with Russia for at least one cycle. It also only penalized a minority, something Trump’s base has no problem with him doing (until THEY become the minority; I hope I live to see that).

Above, that’s Kristin Beck, who as Chris Beck served with the Navy SEALs for 20 years, including deployments in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. She received both a Bronze Star for valor and a Purple Heart. Beck’s reaction to yesterday’s news: “Let’s meet face to face and you tell me I’m not worthy.”

That will never happen. The other side of the coin of being a bully, as all know, is being a coward. Also, the idea that a man who weaseled his way out of military service on four different occasions (painful bone spurs that never kept him from a single day of golf) would have the audacity to tell anyone that they’re not fit to serve is comical. Sad!


2. To Hell-sinki and Back

Swamp soccer

Swamp soccer. Wife carrying. Phone throwing. All in the same Nordic nation.

I love this story in The New York Times. Not only because someone identified a trend and reported on it, but because the writer, Andrew Keh, persuaded the editors to send him to Scandinavia to report on it (I’ll assume Keh is based in the USA and that he ventured overseas to report; it’s highly possible he did not; related: When I went to report on The Fogo Island Inn in Newfoundland for Newsweek, the deal was that the mag fronted me $500 and I paid the rest; the story cost me $1,000 out of my own pocket; hooray, journalism!).

Anyway, Keh’s story is fun and the layout is excellent. Great job, NYT.

3. Fireball

The Ohio State Fair (or is it, THE Ohio State Fair) began with a ride malfunction and one death yesterday in Columbus. A ride called The Fireball partially split up, throwing more than a dozen people in the air.

Two other riders are in critical condition.

4. More Rock, Less Talk

After Justin Bieber posted this photo of three Rocks on Instagram a couple days ago, it went viral. No idea when or where (or even if) it actually took place.

5. In Chandler, The Other Cleat Drops

Glory days, oh they’ll pass you by….

We’ve reported on Chandler (Ariz) Hamilton High School in the past: It’s barely 20 years old and has become a sports monolith (Cody Bellinger, among others, is an alum) in that time, with former Notre Dame football player Steve Belles leading the gridders to seven 5A state championships between 2003-2012 and a 53-game win streak as well.

Then, last academic year, a sexual assault scandal involving football players and three student victims (all male; these are hazing incidents). Belles has been reassigned. Now, word emerges that the families of the three victims are seeking a total of $20 million in damages.

Chandler police have recommended criminal charges be brought against Belles and principal Ken James for reportedly knowing of violent hazing incidents and taking no action to report them. Three football players have been charged, one as an adult.

Full disclosure: I have had 4 family members, all female, attend Hamilton. 


Norm and Dave. Enjoy at your leisure.

Music 101

Feelin’ Satisfied

After releasing one of the greatest (and, at 17 million units, best-selling) debut albums of all time in 1976, Boston wisely named their sophomore effort Don’t Look Back. This album, released in 1978, did not quite live up to the overall quality of the first, but it still spawned three top-50 hits that garner radio play to this day. Boston is not in the R&R Hall of Fame; that’s outrageous.

Cleaner version above.

A Word, Please

agnostic (adj.)

Not only denoting a person who believes that the existence of God cannot be known, claiming neither faith nor disbelief, but also having a noncommittal attitude toward something


by John Walters

Starting Five

Repeal And Replace Is Rebuked

On Tuesday afternoon the Senate voted narrowly to begin debate on provisions to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, but on Tuesday night the first provision the GOP suggested lost bigly, 43-57. It fell 17 votes shy of the minimum 60 it needed.

Two female Republicans (Susan Collins of Maine; Lisa Murkowski of Alaska) voted against the original proposal to overhaul ACA, making it 50-50, and leading VP Pence to break the tie. Then seven more GOP’ers joined them in the later vote.


Per usual, President Trump took the defeat with sanguine wisdom and a unique understanding of statesmanship.

2. Triple Play Todd

Frazier and Jeter in 1998

Yankee fans recall Todd Frazier as the Little Leaguer from Toms River, N.J., who led his team to the LLWS championship and then stood next to Derek Jeter for the national anthem.

Last week the Yankees traded for Frazier as a first base hedge, and last night he at last made his debut in pinstripes (he played a few games for the Bombers in road gray last week). After three straight singles failed to yield a run in the top of the third and with the game still scoreless, Frazier came to bat.

With family and friends in the stands, Frazier hit a sharp one bouncer just to the shortstop side of second base. Jose Peraza fielded it, stepped on second and threw to first for the double play. Matt Holliday scored from third. Didi Gregorius had held up briefly at second, and so he was caught in a pickle between second and third and ruled out.

A run-scoring triple play in Frazier’s maiden at-bat as a Yankee in the Bronx. Such a play last occurred in 2006. The Yanks won 4-2, their 4th win in five games.

By the way, that’s a fielder’s choice so no RBI for Frazier on that play. Also, Gregorius simply should have returned to 2nd ATER Peraza tagged second, since the force was no longer in effect. Finally, Yankee rookie starter Jordan Montgomery took a no-hitter into the sixth. If the Yanks had won 1-0 on a no-hitter with the only run coming off a triple-play, that would have been sick, no?

3. Science Crushes NFL, 110-1

Dr. Ann McKee, chief of neuropathology at the VA Boston Healthcare System and director of the CTE Center at Boston University, studied the brains of 111 NFL players (posthumously, of course) and found that 110 of them, or 99.1%, tested positive or chronic traumatic encephalothapy, or CTE.

Those are pretty poor odds, Mr. Goodell. Great report here by The New York Times.

In case you were wondering, and I was, too, the player who tested negative, his name was not released, in accordance with his family’s wishes.

4. Trump’s Trans “Pacific” Partnership

Basically, Donald Trump does not want The Unsullied to fight for him

Donald Trump’s visit to Youngstown, Ohio, must have revved up his inner red-state mentality, as today the White House announced that transgender people will no longer be allowed to serve in the military (sorry, Hitler, you’re out).




Look on the bright side: As soon as the war with North Korea starts, just begin binge-watching Transparent and dressing androgynously; it’s a lot less trouble than moving to Winnipeg.


The always witty Downtown Josh Brown with the best take of the morning….

5. Greyscale’s Anatomy

Finally watched second episode of Game Of Thrones. Thoughts:

–It’s easy to castigate Theon for his cowardice, but he lives to fight another day (assuming he can swim, which I do).

–I hope Samwell Tarly has a good malpractice insurance plan. And that Ser Jorah’s greyscale was not considered a pre-existing condition.

–Littlefinger is going to stop playing nice, isn’t he? You should have killed him in the crypt, Jon Snow.

–Arya could have at least left a tip.

–The Grey Worm sex scene will go down in TV history (I didn’t put quotes there, but you get where I was going).

–Nice to see Melisandre and Lumeria back.

–So you’re telling me a place called Dragonstone has a subterranean reserve of dragon glass?!? Incredible.

–“You’re a dragon. Be a dragon!” will be some D-I coach’s pregame speech come September.

Music 101

Someone To Watch Over Me

There’s a somebody I’m longing to see/I hope that he/Turns out to be/Someone to watch over me. Composition by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin, written in 1926. An American classic. If you were a fan of WKRP in Cincinnati (yes, please!), you’ll remember the episode in which Mother Carlson catches Dr. Johnny Fever smoking weed and exacts, for her silence, his promise to “Play Gershwin” during his a.m. rush hour show. He plays this song.

The two most famous, of many, artists to cover this song are Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra, but Amy Winehouse‘s timeless voice is what MH editors went with.

A Word, Please

Incorrigible (adj.)

Impervious to correction by punishment


by John Walters

Starting Five

“I Did Not Have Collusion With That Russian”

There’s Jared Kushner, White House adviser and First In-Law, saying, “Let me be very clear: I did not collude with Russia nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so.”


Meanwhile, Kushner also released a statement yesterday that, as WaPo illustrates, was a textbook tossing under the bus of his own brother-in-law, Don Jr.

2. La-teen-a Lottery Winners

Meet Daniela Leon Ruz of Orlando, Florida. Earlier this week the 18 year-old won Florida’s   $500 A Week For Life lottery, and Ruz chose not to take the lump sum. That means she will earn an extra $26,000 a year the rest of her (hopefully…as long as she avoids the dreaded “Florida Man”) long life.

She’s not rich, but that will make life a little easier.

Meanwhile, earlier this month 19 year-old Rosa Dominguez was driving from Arizona to her home in California, stopped for gas, and purchased a scratch-off ticket. Dominguez won $555,000. A few days later Dominguez stopped at another gas station, bought another $5 scratch-off ticket, and won $100,000.

3. Rose, To This Occasion

Every NBA MVP between the years 2009-2016 now plays on one of two NBA teams, now that Derrick Rose (2011) has agreed to a one-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. If he’s healthy, how much can Rose help LeBron James (2009, ’10, ’12, ’13) and the Cavs thwart the Golden State Warriors? Rose actually averaged 18 points per game in 64 outings with the Knicks last season and, in case you forgot, he is still only 28 years old. Stephen Curry (’15, ’16) is 29 and his teammate, Kevin Durant (’14) is a few weeks older than Rose as well.

Quick thought: Why does Rose only play for teams who are located near to I-80 exits? How long until Rose toils for the Jazz, for the Kings and ultimately, for the Warriors?

4. Wipe Privilege

In 1857 Joseph Gayetty (above) began marketing the first toilet paper in the United States. For 50 cents the consumer was able to purchase 500 sheets of medicated paper. Gayetty’s product was sorely needed, as during the Civil War, when it still was not in wide use, 8 of every 10 soldiers was afflicted with typhoid fever due to fecal contamination.

Seth Wheeler obtained the first patent for rolled toilet paper in 1871. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that toilet paper was any different, in terms of texture, than newspaper. Some people will tell you it’s still the same in terms of content.

5. How Do I Buy A Daytona Tortugas Jersey?

It takes a slow sports week such as this one (British Open, Tour de France just ended, while NFL camps just starting up) to remind me to peruse the Minor League Baseball standings. The worst baseball team in the minors? The Class A Advanced Daytona Tortugas, a Cubs affiliate, who are 4-26 (.133) this summer.

The most dominant team? El Toros de Tijuana of the AAA Mexican League, who are 67-28 (.705).

Music 101

Kids In America

Few songs are better examples of the advent of New Wave than this 1982 classic from Kim Wilde. For those of us in high school at the time, this was an anthem. The tune was written by Wilde’s brother, Ricky, and her father, Marty, a pre-Beatles British rock star.

A Word, Please

Riven (past participle of “rive,” which no one ever uses)

Split or torn apart violently


by John Walters

Starting Five

The Jordan Rules

Unplayable Lie. Line of Sight. Temporary Immovable Object.

Jordan Spieth won The (British) Open with a little help from the rule book on the 13th hole on Sunday. It’s nice to know that even a three-time champion of majors occasionally has to strike a ball from the practice range in the midst of a round.

The shot off the tee landed here

For more on exactly what happened, look here.

2. Spice Racked

After six months and a trio of Melissa McCarthy impersonations on Saturday Night Live, White House director of communications Sean Spicer resigns. In his place comes New York finance guy Anthony Scaramucci, who looks like the heavy from every Eighties film based in New York City.

In his opening weekend on the job, Scaramucci, a.k.a. The Mooch, called President Trump “a tremendous athlete” and also gave him up as an anonymous source. Buckle up, kids.

3. Froome For More

Kenyan-born, South African-raised Brit Chris Froome won the Tour de France again. It was his fourth Tour victory, and only four men officially (five, if you count Lance) have now won more Tours than has Froome. Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain all won five.

Froome, 32, won this year’s Tour without winning a single stage in the race. That has only happened before six times.

Of course, the most (only) popular cyclist in France the past three weeks was the Flying (Downhill) Nun.

4. Bad Cargo

Nine are dead in southern Texas after the refrigeration unit of a rig with humans inside went out. It might have been as many as three dozen dead if the alert Walmart employee who noticed the trailer hadn’t called police. Meanwhile in northern Switzerland, a chainsaw-wielding nut job attacked the citizens of Schaffhausen. So you get a chainsaw massacre and mass deaths in Texas all in one item.

5. Coming in September: The Vietnam War

Filmmaker Ken Burns, whose previous tours de force include The Civil War, Baseball, and The War (WWII), spent nearly 10 years putting together an 18-hour PBS documentary on (and called) The Vietnam War. It promises to be magnificent.

Premieres September 17 on PBS.

Music 101

I Can See Clearly Now

Johnny Nash wrote, composed and recorded this classic with heavy reggae influences in 1972. It spent four weeks at No. 1 in the later part of that year.

A Word, Please

Sibilant (adj)

Characterized by a hissing sound (so the next time someone asks you to provide an example of onomatopoeia)


by John Walters

Starting Five

The Juice reacts to hearing one parole board commissioner say that he is 90 years old

Parole of a Lifetime

Orenthal James Simpson (prisoner number 1027820), after nearly nine years of incarceration at Lovelock (“baby, Lovelock! Lovelock, baby that’s where it’s at!”) Penitentiary in Nevada, will be a free man come October 1st after a four-person parole board, one of whom was clad in a Kansas City Chiefs tie, granted him an early release.

When the Juice went away in 2008, Twitter was barely two years old and largely unknown. Instagram and SnapChat had yet to be launched. It’s a different world out there for a man whose parole hearing garnered enough attention yesterday to be broadcast live on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, Fox Business, CNN, MSNBC and CNBC.

How will the Juice treat his new and easier access to fame and celebrity? Will the Goldmans come after him even more aggressively? And are the “real killers” even still alive (Spoiler Alert: Yes, “they” are).

P.S. Now O.J. will finally be able to watch the F/X series and the ESPN documentary about him.

2. Hugh Gone

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze was looking for some young misses, or at least available ones, for the right price. And that’s what got him fired (officially, he resigned) yesterday. The school found that he had placed a number of phone calls to escort services, and being that he was already under investigation for other infractions, this was a short walk down the plank. “While Coach Freeze served our university well in many regards during his tenure,” said chancellor Jeffrey Vitter, “we simply cannot accept the conduct in his personal life that we have discovered.”

The Rebels beat Alabama two of the past three years and were up 21-3 on them last October. The Tide were 36-0 otherwise in non College Football Playoff contests in that span. The SEC West, and overall the SEC, just got even more polarized in terms of the have and the have-nots.

Not making this up: Also yesterday, Michael Oher was released by the Carolina Panthers. I’m just hoping that Leigh Anne Tuohy and the rest of her brood are safe and sound right now.

3. I Beg Your Pardon

According to The Washington Post—and when has it ever been correct about executive malfeasance?—President Trump’s lawyers are “exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons…”


Trump’s lawyers deny this, of course (related: their spokesman resigned yesterday).

According to WaPo sources, President Trump has asked advisers about his ability to pardon aides, family members and even, get this, himself. From “Lock her up!” to “I pardon me!” in 10 quick months.

Let’s crank up the “I told you so” machine again, shall we?

For the record, no president has ever attempted to pardon himself, so legal scholars say that this is uncharted territory. Wait and see.

Unrelated but not unrelated: It’s “Made In America” week and Mar-a-Lago is looking into hiring 70 foreign workers. I’m telling you, The Worst Wing “30 for 30” is going to be exploding at the seams with minutiae like this.

4. The Great New Hampshire Bison Stampede of 2017

In Gilford, New Hampshire, 16 bison broke free of their enclosure on Armand Bolduc’s farm and made a run for it earlier this week. Perhaps they were shuffling off to Buffalo. Regardless, all 16 were returned safely to their owner but someone should praise them for being model citizens. New Hampshire’s state motto, after all, is “Live Free or Die.”

5. Dunkirk


The summer’s first true hit movie (that does not feature anyone from Marvel or D.C. Comics, at least) opens today. It’s a true story about the massive evacuation of Allied forces from a town on the northern coast of France. Christopher Nolan (Memento, Too Many Batman flicks) directed and Harry Styles is in it, which means there are going to be a ton of crying, traumatized tweens exiting your local cineplex in the next fortnight.


The critics are, as we like to say, agog. A 94 on MetaCritic and a 92 on Rotten Tomatoes. This is a film that will win Oscars (Cinematography, Directing, at least a Best Picture nom), especially since 2017 is an odd-numbered year, so the Academy doesn’t have to worry about black people this time around.

We’ll see if we can’t get Chris Corbellini to review it for you soon…

Music 101

In The End

It was grim and nihilistic, but Linkin Park‘s breakout 2001 hit was infectious and had serious turn-it-upness. A big reason for that was lead singer Chester Bennington, who died yesterday at age 41. The song was a smash, rising to No. 2 on the Billboard charts. Bennington, who committed suicide by hanging at his home in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif., actually did not like the track and did not want it included on the band’s album, Hybrid Theory. The album went Diamond (10 million units), thanks largely to this song, and was the best-selling album of the decade. In the end, it doesn’t even matter.

A Word, Please

Agrarian (adj.)

Pertaining to cultivated land or the cultivation of land, i.e. farming





Remote Patrol


by John Walters

The Starting Five


“Glioblastoma is the most aggressive form of brain cancer,” says a physician on CBS This Morning. “The normal expected life span is 14 months.”

Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), 80, was diagnosed with this form of brain cancer after having a blood clot removed above his eye last week. Best of luck to McCain, who as you know was a P.O.W. in Vietnam for five years. Our good friend Katie has a great dad who wrote a book all about Vietnam POWs and much of it was the result of interviews with Senator McCain. I’ve read it and I highly recommend it.

Make no mistake about the grimness of this cancer. As I read earlier today, ” The 2-year survival rate is approximately 17 percent for patients between 40 and 65 years old.”

2. Can We Talk?

“I owe HOW MUCH?”

Next Wednesday Donald Trump, Jr., (arguably the third favorite son of the president right now) and Paul Manafort (former campaign chairman) are scheduled to testify publicly before Congress as part of a prolix hearing titled “Oversight of the Foreign Agents Registration Act and Attempts to Influence US Elections: Lessons Learned from Current and Prior Administrations.” Whatevs.

What makes this fun? Yesterday The New York Times reported that Manafort owed about $17 million to pro-Russia interests before he joined the Trump campaign last year. Rule No. 1 is Never fight a land war in Asia and Rule No. 2 is Never be deep in debt to Russian oligarchs.

Meanwhile, yesterday a source close to the grown-up Trump bros told People mag that Don, Jr., is “miserable” and he “can’t wait for these four years to be over.” As a friend on Twitter quipped, “Join the club.”

3. If Nolan Arenado Hits Three Home Runs and Collects Seven RBI In An Untelevised Game Against The Padres, Did It Really Happen?

What a fantastic microcosm of the under-appreciated Colorado Rockies third baseman’s career: yesterday afternoon, in a game that the franchise’s broadcast partner, AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, did not televise, Nolan Arenado blasted three homers, had two more hits, 14 total bases, and seven RBI. The Rockies slapped around the Padres, 18-4.

Arenado, whom we’ve mentioned frequently in this space before, led the National League both in home runs AND RBI the previous two years and was unable to finish better than fifth in MVP voting. He currently leads the NL in RBI and is second in WAR and will likely be looking up at Bryce Harper (or Clayton Kershaw) in this year’s MVP voting.

4. Napoleon, Hitler and Trump

Napoloen: Small hands, died in exile

In an entertaining 50-minute interview with The New York Times, we learned that President Trump’s six year-old granddaughter speaks a little Chinese (Manchurian Candidate alert!), that Trump never would have appointed Jeff Sessions as AG if he knew he was gonna wuss out, and that the prez thinks French counterpart Emmanuel Macron “loves holding my hand (probably more so than Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon do). Then there was this interesting discussion on failed European imperialists that bears reprinting here:

TRUMP: Well, Napoleon finished a little bit bad. But I asked that. So I asked the president, so what about Napoleon? He said: “No, no, no. What he did was incredible. He designed Paris.” [garbled] The street grid, the way they work, you know, the spokes. He did so many things even beyond. And his one problem is he didn’t go to Russia that night because he had extracurricular activities, and they froze to death. How many times has Russia been saved by the weather? [garbled]


Adolf Hitler: One testicle, killed himself as Allies closed in

TRUMP: Same thing happened to Hitler. Not for that reason, though. Hitler wanted to consolidate. He was all set to walk in. But he wanted to consolidate, and it went and dropped to 35 degrees below zero, and that was the end of that army.


But the Russians have great fighters in the cold. They use the cold to their advantage. I mean, they’ve won five wars where the armies that went against them froze to death. [crosstalk] It’s pretty amazing.

So, we’re having a good time. The economy is doing great.

5. Are You Part of The 1%?

Kyle Schwarber (.176) has the worst average in the big leagues, but his $522,000 salary still puts him in the top 1%.

The minimum salary for an NFL player is $465,000.

The minimum salary for a Major League Baseball player is $535,000.

The minimum salary for an NBA player is $815,000.

On Wall Street, the AVERAGE salary is $526,000.

What do all of those salaries (except the NFL in certain states) have in common? They put those earners in the TOP 1% of American wage earners. The curious thing is that those four groups of people, most of whom are extremely talented, spend the majority of their time in the company of their co-workers (as most of us do). So, to use an analogy, if you’re 6’4″ everyone else sees you as tall. But if you’re 6’4″ in an NBA locker room, you’re slightly undersized.

Gus Fring knows you only need to earn $231,000 per year in New Mexico to be in its top 1%. And do try Los Pollos Hermanos for breakfast.

In 46 of the 50 states, you don’t need to earn $500K to be in the Top 1%. In 38 of the 50 states, you don’t even need to earn $400K to be in the Top 1%. Highest income state? Connecticut ($659,979 to be in top 1%); Lowest? New Mexico ($231K; no wonder Walter White was doing so well relatively). Most surprising, at least to me: North Dakota, where you need to earn $481K to be in top 1% (GAS/ENERGY).

The point is this: most people who are in the Top 1% don’t think of themselves that way because in the immediate company of their peers, they’re just average. But if you were to tell them that there was, for example, a tidal wave that knocked out 99 of 100 people in a village and that THEY happened to be the lone survivor, they would consider themselves extremely, almost miraculously, lucky, no?


Are you wondering what I am wondering? Why don’t college football writers have to sit out a year upon transferring? An incomplete list of recent transfers:

Pete Thamel…..Sports Illustrated to Yahoo! Sports

Bruce Feldman…..Fox Sports to Sports Illustrated

Stewart Mandel…..Fox Sports to The Athletic

Brett McMurphy….ESPN to undecided (Brett’s the Malik Zaire of this class)

Brian Hamilton….SI to undecided

Music 101

Midnight Confessions

Was this 1968 single by The Grass Roots (a Top 5 tune, the band’s highest charting single ever) a musical dramatization of Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale’s pining for Hester Prynne from the 1850 novel The Scarlet Letter? Some have suggested as much. The Grass Roots did not write this song; it was originally penned by Lou T. Josie and performed by the Ever-Green Blues (get it?).

Remote Patrol

The Open Championship

6 a.m.-Noon The Golf Channel

In the last nine years, nine different men have won The Open. Last year’s champion? Henrik Stenson of Sweden. This year’s links course is at Royal Birkdale.

A Word, Please

prolix (adj.)

tediously wordy; using too many words; employing lots and lots and lots of unnecessary words to explain something; are you getting it?



by John Walters

Starting Five

Health Care Bill: D.O.A.

Remember this photo from May 4? It’s Donald Trump’s “Mission Accomplished” pic. This was after the House passed his health care bill. Yesterday the bill failed in the Senate after four of the 52 GOP senators failed to back it.

With a majority in both houses and a mandate from the American public, President Trump failed to pass the most important piece of legislation of his nascent presidency. And how did he react to this defeat? “We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it,” Trump said Tuesday at the White House. “I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail and then the Democrats are going to come to us.”


How many back hoes were needed to move those goal posts, Donald?

2. Here Come The Dodgers

Justin Turner’s .370 batting average is the best in the big leagues

You may not be able to see them play if you live in Los Angeles (at least not on TV), but the Los Angeles Dodgers are mowing down the National League. On June 6 they lost to Max Scherzer (no shame in that) and the Washington Nationals, 6-3. Since that day they are 30-4 and have baseball’s best record at 30-4. L.A. has put together two 10-game win streaks in that span, a current and continuing one included.

And we don’t even talk about Yasiel Puig any more (he’s second on the team, behind rookie phenom Cody Bellinger, in home run with 18; Bellinger has 26).

3. Badwater Dropouts

Last week’s Badwater Ultra (135 miles run through Death Valley in the dog days of summer) had the highest dropout rate (20 runners quit) since 2003 and the slowest winning times, both for men and women, in more than 10 years. Obviously, millennials are to blame.

The female winner, Sandra Villines, became the first Latina champion in the history of Badwater, which dates back to 1978.

4. Oh, Deer

That video of the golden retriever (“Good boy, Storm!”) saving the drowning fawn (why did so many media outlets call it a “baby deer?”) off Port Jefferson, Long Island, already garnered 4.5 million views on Facebook. To think that deer will grow up and in a few years be shot by a hunter warms the cockles of my heart (I was a pre-med but we never learned exactly in which chamber the cockles are located).

5. “Shall We Begin?”

“I’m comin’ home, I’m comin’ home, tell the world I’m comin’ home”

The season 7 season premiere of Game of Thrones front-loaded the carnage and did a MAJOR spoiler alert by making the final clip in the “Previously on Game of Thrones” montage the shot of Arya slitting Walder Frey‘s throat. So if we already knew Walder was dead, when you open the season with him addressing his family in a banquet hall, we KNOW that it’s not him. And we know that Arya can shift shapes. So it kinda took a little away from the reveal, no?

By the way, if you noticed, Tyrion did not get a single line in the premiere, though we did see him. And above is Danerys’ only line? Meanwhile, I really loved the Samwell “Taking Care of Business” montage, didn’t you?

Music 101


One of the three members of Massive Attack sent the intsrumental version of this tune to Madonna in 1997, hoping she’d record the vocals. The other two outvoted him, electing to have the more ethereal-sounding Elizabeth Fraser of Cocteau Twins do the honors. She did. Fraser wrote the vocals, while the show runners of House loved the heartbeat sound and used it as the long-running CBS show’s theme.

A Word, Please

unctuous (adj.)

excessive piousness or moralistic fervor, especially inan affected manner; excessively smooth, suave, or smug. (my mind goes to Mike Pence)