IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five*

*Or however many were in the room

Natasha Poly is a Russian-born American. Medium Happy investigators have not ruled her out as the fifth person in the room.

1. The Fifth Man*

*Someone resurrect Orson Welles, we have a film idea

Turns out that more people than you think are intrigued by “adoptions.” A fifth person (besides Don, Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and Natalia Veselnitskaya) were in that June 9, 2016 meeting that has drawn so much attention this week.

NBC News has learned that Veselnitskaya was accompanied by a Russian-born American lobbyist. His identity has not been confirmed, but his presence has been. Now it’s just a matter of finding video or a transcript from Donald, Jr., mentioning that there were only four people in the room.

2. Use Your Illusion

Is it just me or has Kellyanne Conway had a little work done? And if so, was she “bleeding badly?”

Look at Kellyanne’s face above. Now look at her from five months earlier. Is it just a matter of a getaway vacation at Sandals?

Meanwhile, this was a nice attempt at distraction from the Don, Jr., meeting. Did it work?

3. ” ‘Derriere’ is a French Word. Not A Lot Of People Know That”

“You’re in such good shape. Like, you’re making me completely rethink my decision not to stage a 40-and-over Miss Universe pageant. I’ve got a sudden urge to storm your Bastille!”

I mean, really, Donald. The world has witnessed countless examples of well-intentioned older chauvinists objectifying women (in front of their husbands? who happen to be the leader of a large nation?), but when it’s a guy who is on record as boasting about grabbing women by the pu**y because “when you’re a celebrity, they let you do it,” I’m sorry, you no longer get a free pass. Every time Donald Trump travels abroad (or speaks to a broad), Billy Bob Thornton’s American president from Love, Actually looks better and better.

 

4. What If Life of Pi Met All Is Lost?

There’s so much to unwrap here: How does an elephant get swept out to sea? How did the Sri Lankan Navy know how to rescue such an enormous beast? There’s a Sri Lankan Navy??? What if a shark had attacked the elephant and it was on video! Would Jason McIntrye have spontaneously combusted with excitement?

5. Fantastic Forbes

Y0u would not know it by watching ESPN or reading its All-Lonzo-All-Day website, but the breakout star of the Vegas Summer League is San Antonio’s Bryn Forbes. The one-year veteran scored 29 points last night, which is just decimal points below his average through four games.

A 6’3″ sharpshooter out of Michigan State, Forbes spent much of his rookie season with San Antonio’s D-League team. But in early April, with three future Spur Hall of Famers sitting out against Dallas, he scored a career-high 27 points.

No doubt, Lonzo Ball is having a terrific Vegas week, leading the league in assists. But Forbes’ 29.3 ppg average has not received its due nationally.

Reserves

Cosmo Did It

Turns out the person of interest, Cosmo DiNardo, has confessed to killing all four men in that Philly-area missing persons case. He claims he had an accomplice. Turns out the drug dealer felt cheated in drug deals. Inside every one of us there’s a little Hector Salamanca, I guess. Tragic and terrible.

Music 101

It Don’t Come Easy

By the time they split, all of the Fab Four were primed to spread their wings and demonstrate what they were capable of on their own. Even Ringo. This track sounds like something George Harrison would have written because mostly, he did. But Harrison generously gave his friend full writing credits on this 1971 tune, which peaked at No. 4.

A Word, Please

Spurious (adj.)

Lacking authenticity; false (but who’s going to hop on a “Spurious News” slogan?)

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

The Trip of the Iceberg*

*The judges will also accept “I Want To Break Free” as long as you sing it in a Freddie Mercury voice.

So, wouldn’t it be ironic (actually, Alanis, the word is coincidental) if that massive Delaware-sized iceberg that recently cracked and is prepared to break free from Antarctica crashed into Delaware?

At the University of Leeds, polar observation researcher Anna Hogg (don’t you just love British names?) observes that while this massif is massive, it’s split from Antarctica (it is rumored to now be seeing South America) will not affect global sea levels. “This is the same as if you’ve got an ice cube in your gin and tonic,” Hogg says. “When the ice cube melts, it doesn’t raise the volume of water in that glass.”

Me, I wonder if the polar observation department at the University of Leeds is next to the bipolar observation department, and if that ever causes, you know, confusion.

2. Bodies Found In Bucks County

The person of interest, Cosmo DiNardo

It didn’t take long. Using cadaver-sniffing dogs, investigators at the DiNardo farm in Bucks County found a 12-foot grave and have already identified one of the bodies in it belonging to one of the four missing men, Dean Finocchiaro.

This story from Philly.com outlines the latest breaks in the case. Sounds as if the four men might have known the person of interest, Cosmo DiNardo, through marijuana and/or gun sales.

3. Peyton Throws A Home Run Ball

Last night Peyton Manning hosted the ESPYs and used a smart strategy: “I’m not going to tell these jokes the writers wanted me to say, but here they are, anyway.” Hey, he’s good at this, and the completion percentage was high. Everyone’s favorite rip: “Our [Olympic women’s] gymnastics team was so dominant that Kevin Durant told me he wants to play for them next year.”

4. Serkis of the Stars

Andy Serkis, The Precious, appeared on Colbert two nights ago and someone had an inspired idea: read Donald Trump’s tweets as Gollum from The Lord of The Rings trilogy.

5. Zed’s Dead, Baby. Zed Is Dead


Rolling Stone ranked the 100 Greatest Movies of the Nineties, a decade of cinema that we in this very space have hailed repeatedly as having had a surfeit of knock-out films (ooh, “surfeit”; that could be “A Word, Please” nominee at a later date). I’ve only gone through the list once, but I don’t recall seeing Forrest Gump on it. That’s just an ‘F You” omission.

UPDATE: Other films not on the list: Good Will Hunting, Jerry Maguire, Braveheart, A Few Good Men, The American President, Booty Call, Saving Private Ryan, Shakespeare In Love, and The Sixth Sense.

Thoughts: I like that Groundhog Day was as high as 11th: it’s an existential treatise more than it is a comedy; Trainspotting too low at 33 and The Shawshank Redemption way, way, way too low at 78.

RS‘ Top Five, from 5 to 1: Pulp Fiction, The Silence of the Lambs, Safe, Hoop Dreams, Goodfellas.

Music 101

What’s My Scene?

And another thing/I’ve been wondering lately/Am I crazy/To believe in ideals… In 1987 we Yanks finishing up college were treated to two great new bands who came out of nowhere (specifically, Down Under): The Church and this band, Hoodoo Gurus. Lead singer and songwriter Dave Faulkner says of this tune, “It best captures everything I try to do when writing any song. I wouldn’t change a note or a syllable of this one.”

A Word, Please

Flummox (verb)

To perplex (someone) greatly; confuse

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Rob Goldstone, the publicist who set up the meeting between the Russian lawyer and The Last Don 2

Goldstone Schemery

A family friend of the Trump’s, Rob Goldstone, wrote to Donny Jr. last summer offering to set up a meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. We know this because Donny Jr. released his emails yesterday, which Pop is trumping as a display of his son’s “transparency” while failing to mention that the Failing New York Times was about to release those same emails anyway.

 

It may be true, but is it exculpatory?

If it’s what you say I love it” –D. Trump, Jr.

Basically, Donald Trump, Jr., has confessed to and provided the paper trail to a meeting he took with a Russian who promised damaging info on a presidential candidate running against his dad. So what is the defense to this crime? Sounds as if it is, “So what, no biggie.” We’ll see.

Meanwhile, if you have yet to watch this video clip of a two-minute extemporaneous stand-up from Australian Chris Uhlmann, I recommend you give it your full attention for 120 seconds.

2. Cano Can Do

While all the world (myself included) entered the night agog over Aaron Judge, it was two former Yankees who sealed the American League’s fifth straight All-Star Game victory in Miami. Seattle Mariner Robinson Cano hit the go-ahead solo home run in the top of the 10th (how did the N.L. get to host two consecutive All-Star Games?) and Cleveland Indian closer Andrew Miller shut the door in the bottom of the inning?

The game featured 28 first-time All-Stars and 23 strikeouts. Cano, an eight-time All-Star, had as many All-Star selections as anyone on either roster. It was the first time since 1952 that an All-Star Game failed to have any player with at least 10 selections. We’ve entered a new era.

3. Next Time, David, Take The Subway To Subway

Yesterday, in a Failing New York Times Op-Ed titled “How We Are Ruining America,” columnist David Brooks opined, without saying it specifically, that if you live in a neighborhood with a Soul Cycle you are excluding the poor from ever making it in America. Or that’s what I took from it.

Anyway, about midway through he offered this well-intentioned yet somewhat tone-deaf paragraph about the midday meal to illustrate his point:

Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

Let’s get real. Do  you really believe David Brooks has any friends with only a high school education? Was it his housekeeper? Also, while everyone else is harrumphing about Brooks being out of touch (Why did he have to take her/him there?), all I can think is that David Brooks just was able to expense his meal at Chipotle.

4. Philly Four: No Answers Yet

The case of the four missing young men (Mark Sturgis, Thomas Meo, Dean Finocchiaro and Jimi Tar Patrick) from Bucks County, an area north of Philadelphia that is quite lovely and upper-middle class, continues to baffle investigators. First, where are they? Second, did all four know one another and through what avenue?

Cosmo DiNardo

Third, why is Cosmo DiNardo, aged 20 and supposedly having a history of mental illness, a person of interest? Fourth, when you hear that his parents own a 600-acre farm and are in the “cement contracting business,” does your mind go to Breaking Bad?

UPDATE: Investigators are also looking into the mysterious disappearance of Susie B., who was last seen walking down a dirt road in western Maryland babbling incoherently, or was it repeating “Sweet Pea….Sweet Pea…Sweet Pea?”

5. Precious Cargo

On a Qantas flight from Melbourne to Perth, Aussie passenger “Dean” had one item to check: a can of Emu Export Lager. Because Australians are less uptight about terrorism (and can afford to be), the ground crew happily tagged the beer and loaded it into the belly of the plane. It was even the first item sent out on the carousel.

Music 101

You’re In My Heart (The Final Acclaim)

In 1977 Rod Stewart released this song as a tribute to his former girlfriend, Britt Eklund. The tune rose to No. 4 on the U.S. Billboard charts. Eklund favors Stewart’s later wife, Rachel Hunter, no?

A Word, Please

Chicanery (noun)

The use of trickery to achieve a political, financial, or legal purpose.

 

AN APOLOGY

by John Walters

Let’s get the important part over with first: I want to apologize to Alex Putterman and to the staff of Awful Announcing.

I hate being wrong. Like most adults, I hate admitting that I was wrong. But when I am wrong, and it happens often, I hate myself if I don’t own up to it. Here, I was wrong.

Let me tell you what happened. At the restaurant where I work (and worked part-time even when I was at Newsweek) I just finished a 13-hour day. Bartended back-to-back parties. Anyway, about 4 hours into my shift, a friend texts to tell me that it looks as if Awful Announcing rewrote the Caitlyn Jenner theme I posted last November. Bleacher Report had already done a similar re-write.

I’m gazing at the photo atop the story. The headline looks as if someone tried to summarize the story I wrote eight months earlier in one sentence. And the first few grafs had no mention of my piece. I was livid.

I completely forgot that Alex had interviewed me about this about a month ago. A lot has happened in my life since them, including two close family members being hospitalized and my working 6 days a week, and I completely forgot. Worse, I did not read to the bottom of the piece.

Anyway, I snapped and that was uncalled for. And there I was serving 400 corporate types on a “team-building” outing with an open bar. But here’s what’s truly the gist of it: I was wrong. Please accept my apology.  I’m sorry, Alex. And now that I’ve read the story, I think you did an excellent job.

Sincerely,

John Walters

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

 

Starting Five

As Nadal’s last shot sails long….

Muller Time!

It’s all right there above: 4 hours and 48 minutes. Five sets. A final set that lasted 28 games. Gilles Muller etches one of the top 20 moments in Luxembourg sports history (top 15?) by knocking out 4th-seed and all-time great Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in the Round of 16. A classic match, and an antidote to a sleepy Monday afternoon in July here in the States.

2. The Last Don 2

 

There’s smoke on that there gun, grampa. Is the news that Donald, Jr., admitted to taking a meeting with a Russian lawyer specifically seeking dirt on HRC last June at last a piece of news that, in a criminal sense, will stick? Well, it IS a crime and Don Jr. himself admitted (bragged?) that this is specifically why he met with that Russian. There’s no weaseling out of this one.

The Russian lawyer: Natalia Veselnitskaya

Here’s the Wall Street Journal story that broke the news and here’s a follow-up Washington Post piece that confirms it. There’s just far too many instances of the Trump family’s allegiances to Russia to ignore the notion that they’re in bed, financially, with Russia. And that it has compromised them from the very start of their run to the White House. This news is the strongest and most incriminating piece of evidence yet.

There was a funny montage last night on Rachel Maddow where she ran a series of denials from The Worst Wing members (Paul Manafort, Kellyanne Conway, Jeff Sessions, Mike Pence, Reince Priebus and even Orange Crush himself) about having EVER met with Russian officials during the campaign.

As Maddow explicated, for months and months The Worst Wing has denied meeting with the Russians. Now that it has been confirmed with nary a doubt, TWW seems to have adopted a strategy of saying, “Yeah, so what?”

3. Gavel Banger

Last night in Miami, Aaron Judge wins the Home Run Derby as we sportswriters attempt to find more witty metaphors to connect jurists with long-ball hitters. Judge hit 47 home runs during the competition (an image of Joey Chestnut just popped into my mind) and four of them traveled over 500 feet. And yeah, I do think that’ll rob him of some power at least the rest of July. We’ll see.

4. Tragedy in Mississippi

A Marine Corps KC-130 goes down in western Mississippi, killing all 16 military personnel aboard. The aircraft, which is regularly used for refueling, spiraled downward into a field and spread debris for five miles. Terrible day.

5. Never Mind Don, Jr., and Kim Jong-Un, We’re Doomed

Read this article from New York magazine if you really, really want to be depressed. Oh, and I’m sparing you the wave of Mass Extinction stories that are also spreading this morning. Related: Stop KILLING elephants, you bastards.

Reserves

Vanished in Bucks County 

Four young men, ages 18 to 22, have mysteriously vanished on a 68-acre farm in eastern Pennsylvania, in aptly named Bucks County. There’s a suspect, another young man named Cosmo DiNardo. His parents own the farm and are in the “cement contracting business.” Uh-oh.

Authorities have said that searching for the men, who knew each other, on the farm is like “searching for a needle in a haystack” (at a site that has haystacks; have they looked in there?). What’s going on? Still too soon to tell.

Music 101

Put The Message In The Box

Rock and roll was a little lost between the release of The Joshua Tree in 1987 until Nirvana and Pearl Jam showed up in 1991. Thank you, Guns ‘n Roses, for helping us through that fallow period. Occasionally a decent band, such as World Party, fronted by a former member of The Waterboys, Kurt Wallinger, would provide a gem. This song, from the critically acclaimed 1990 album Goodbye Jumbo, was one such piece of bling.

Remote Patrol

MLB All-Star Game

FOX 8 p.m.

Starting pitchers: Max Scherzer versus Chris Sale. In the past 20 years, the American League is 16-3-1.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

 

Starting Five

The Kids Are All Reich

That’s Ivanka Trump, whom you may recall tries “to stay out of politics,” posing for a pic at the G20 summit with her dad and, oh, the leaders of China, Japan, Germany and Canada. Ivanka, 35 and formerly someone who provided counsel to her pop when he had to decided whether or not to “fire” Joan Rivers, also sat in as a replacement for her dad in  a few meetings.

When some people criticized her presence, America’s deftest touch, Donald Trump, Jr., took to dad’s favorite medium:

 

Also during the weekend, Donald, Jr., admitted to the New York Times that on June 9, 2016, two weeks after pop secured the GOP nomination, he met with a Russian lawyer who promised damaging info on Hillary Clinton. Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner also attended. But the Russians, you know, never meddled in the election.

Meanwhile, the editors of The National Review, a self-described “leading conservative publication,” penned an editorial this morning titled “It’s Time To Get Real About Russia.” It was basically a “Child, Please” about Putin to the Trump administration.

2. Pastime Halftime Report

As baseball takes its midseason breather, here’s a look at who’d be in the playoffs if they started today:

American League Wildcard: Yankees vs. Rays (both AL East)

National League Wildcard: Diamondbacks vs. Rockies (both NL West)

A.L. Playoffs: Astros vs. Wildcard winner; Red Sox vs. Indians

N.L. Playoffs: Dodgers vs. Wildcard winner: Nationals vs. Brewers

Chris Sale leads the majors in K’s and leads the AL in WHIP

AL MVP: Aaron Judge, Yankees (and Rookie of the Year)

AL Cy Young: Chris Sale, Boston (narrowly over Chris Vargas, K.C.)

NL MVP & Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw (14-2, 2.18 ERA)

3. Summer Heat In Vegas

Lonnie’s never going to lead the league in scoring, but he’s going to be fun to watch. Great passer.

July in Las Vegas, and I once spent two weeks there during this month, used to mean temps in the 110s and the World Series of Poker. On Saturday night, however, a new threshold was crossed as an NBA Summer League contest between the Celtics and Lakers had a sellout of 17,500 fans at the Thomas & Mack. This was the first meeting between Lonzo Ball (No. 2 pick) and Jayson Tatum (No. 3 pick) and that recent ESPN “30 for 30” The Best Of Enemies didn’t hurt.

The Celtics won, 86-81. Tatum had 27 points and 11 boards. Ball, 11 points and 11 assists.

Breakout star? Kyle Kuzma, a 6’9″ forward out of Utah, scored 31 points and was 5 of 10 from beyond the arc. The Lakers selected him with the 27th pick overall last month.

4. Are Movie Theaters The New Bookstore?

We’re halfway into the year and I have only gone to the movies once, to see a film titled Get Out, which is what theater owners seem to be suggesting we do. Why would you go to the movies? They mostly suck, they’re way overpriced, you can stay home and watch better fare on HBO Now or Netflix or maybe you have a relative who knows how to hack into some service that shows first-run stuff.

Again, I don’t have small kids, but the only theaters that interest me somewhat are indie types that also show classic or cult films and are run by film nerds. Kind of like the best small bookstores that still survive, that are run not for profit but due to passion. I think the multiplex will be dead within 10 years. You?

5. Freak Out!

Our good friend Bruce Feldman lost his job at Fox Sports two weeks back and quickly landed at Sports Illustrated, who will wisely try to mold him (I believe) into the Tom Verducci of college football. Bruce is a GREAT guy, as everyone who knows him can tell you.

He’s already put out his Freaks list for SI (why don’t they brand it ‘Feldman’s Freaks?’), and at the top of his list is a leading Heisman candidate from Penn State: running back Saquon Barkley (have you already forgotten how awesome last January’s Rose Bowl was?).

Music 101

Ice Cream Man

No rock star lead singer was more good-humored than David Lee Roth of Van Halen, so it’s only natural that he handles the vocals on this 1978 tune that appeared on their eponymous debut album. The song was originally written by bluesman John Brim in 1953 and was a favorite of Diamond Dave’s. That’s him on acoustic guitar at the beginning.

A Word, Please

Abstemious (adj)

Not self-indulgent, particularly in food or drink

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

We Cannot Wait Until He Tells Billy Bush About This

Another instance of a member of the Trump-Pence ticket touching something he’s not supposed to. One day it’s Flight Hardware, the next it’s your health care. Speaking of which, why are GOP congressman Mike Conaway and GOP Senator James Inhofe investing tens of thousands of dollars in UnitedHealth stock? Even witty CNBC broker/analyst Downtown Josh Brown finds this practice dubious.

 

2. Stupid, Crazy Money

In a 14-year career in which he was named to five All-Star teams, Tim Hardaway earned $46 million. Today the Knicks just signed his son and namesake, Tim Hardaway, Jr., to a four-year, $71 million offer sheet.

Dad averaged 19.8 ppg his first six seasons. The kid is averaging 11.0 ppg through his first four and has not come close to sniffing an All-Star team. Kelly Olynyk, another non All-Star, just signed for four years and $50 million with the Miami Heat.

Part of this crazy money is the passage of time, part is the insane amount of money ESPN handed the NBA a few years back.

3. Despicable Me G20

Donald Trump meets Vladimir Putin for the first time face-to-face in Hamburg, Germany.

4. Mattek-Sands Goes Down

Yesterday on Court 17 at Wimbledon, in an unheralded ladies’ singles match, 32 year-old Bethanie Mattek-Sands crumpled to the grass as she approached the net. “Help me! Help me, please!” Mattek-Sands said as her opponent, Sorona Cirstea, looked on in horror.

 

Mattek-Sands, who is ranked 103rd in the world in singles, is actually ranked No. 1 in doubles and won a gold medal in Rio last summer with Jack Sock in mixed doubles. The extent of her knee injury is not known.

5. Livin’ Large In Long Island City

The Queens neighborhood/section immediately east of midtown Manhattan bears the uninspired name of Long Island City, but it may suddenly be a hot stretch of property. This is the pool atop 1 QPS (Queens Plaza South), which is now the highest rooftop pool in Manhattan (if there’s ever a Sex And The City reunion). The 44-story luxury residential tower also offers a 42-foot climbing wall, but that’s rather unnecessary because Long Island City already has the largest dedicated indoor rock climbing gym in New York City. Studios are going for $2,300 and two-bedrooms for $5,000 per month. Again, you’re not even in Manhattan (but you are just one subway stop out).

Reserves

Rule No. 9: Every Baseball Game Offers The Potential Of Witnessing Something For The First Time

An infield pop-up in a minor league game between the Springfield Cardinals and Midland RockHounds ends up with the batter at 3rd base. Cue the Yakety Sax song.

I’m holding out for the inside-the-infield home run.

Music 101

What Is Love?

We opened this week with a song by Bob Welch (not the LA Dodger pitcher from the late Seventies) and end it with one from Howard Jones (not the iconic USC football coach from the Twenties and Thirties). This tune, released in 1984, hit No. 33 in the USA that summer. We also like the Duncan Shiek version from 2011:

A Word, Please

Polymath (noun.)

A person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas

 

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Hobby Lobby Gets Robby With Hammurabi

The evangelical Christians who run Hobby Lobby must forfeit 5,500 artifacts that were smuggled out of Iraq and they must also pay a $3 million fine (light) after prosecutors went after them. Turns out that they bought thousands of artifacts on the black market (you know who sells Middle East antiquities on the black market to raise money for their cause? ISIS) and had them shipped stateside labeled as “tiles.”

They really showed bad cuneiform on this one.

2. Advanced Physiques

If it’s sports figures in the nude creatively hiding their genitals and nipples, then it MUST be the ESPN Body Issue. That’s Joe Thornton and Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks, above, and we could have suggested a more inspired way to hide their packages based on those beards.


This shot of Caroline Wozniacki is one of the best this series has ever produced, if not the best.

3. Zombie Protest

In Hamburg, Germany, protesters dress as zombies in advance of the G20 summit (nothing draws protesters quite like the G20; the G19, not so much, but the G20, hoo boy!). When your international economic protest outdoes Comic-Con, you’re on to something.

4. The World’s Most Expensive Wheels

This is the Bugatti from Chiron. The car, assembled in France, has a top speed of 261 m.p.h. and sells for just under $3,000,000. Only 500 exist and more than half have already been sold. The nice thing about this two-door coupe is that it fits snugly on the back of your yacht.

5. Drama Queen

Speaking in Poland, President Trump, an absolute master of polarization, cast the West against Muslims (let’s be frank) by saying that the fight against “radical Islamic terrorism” is about “protecting our civilization and our way of life” (that way being multiple pieces of chocolate cake after dinner and more rounds of golf than visits with our 11 year-old son, one presumes).

He then said, ““I am here today not just to visit an old ally (Poland), but to hold it up as an example for others who seek freedom and who wish to summon the courage and the will to defend our civilization.”

You know, I had the courage and the will to defend our civilization, but then on four different occasions I found a doctor who told me I had shin splints and/or bad feet, something I thought about as I was teeing off from one of my golf courses.

Here’s the thing: Opioids will kill more Americans THIS YEAR than ISIS and Al Qaeda has ALL OVER THE PLANET in the past five. This isn’t about reality. This is about sewing fear in the minds of gullible Americans, which will help to keep the War Machine going as well as the GOP machine. It’s a con, people.

Does that mean there aren’t Jihadists who fervently hope for “Death To America?” Sure, there are. There are also gila monsters who will latch on to your limb and chew their poison into your flesh and you cannot get them off you unless you cut off their heads. Scary, right? But not an every day problem. Sorry.

Music 101

Burnin’ For You

I’d wager that in the summer of 1981 Phoenix radio stations KDKB and KUPD put no song on heavier rotation than this rocker from Long Island natives Blue Oyster Cult. The song hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Rock Tracks list. Note: no cowbell on this one.

A Word, Please

Neophyte (noun)

An inexperienced person; a beginner

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Declaration of Independence

Why Gordon Hayward is leaving Salt Lake City and is headed to Boston: A) His college coach at Butler, Brad Stevens; 2) He wants to advance at least to the NBA Finals in his career, and that wasn’t about to happen any time soon in a Western Conference with the Dubs, Rockets, Russell Westbrook and Kawhi Leonard; 3) Similarly, Hayward (21.9 ppg, or 26th in the NBA in Scoring last season) can now start for his conference in the All-Star Game; 4) He wants to become the greatest player ever to wear the uniforms of the two whitest teams in NBA history, Utah and Boston.

The 6’8″ Hayward has increased his scoring average in each of his first six NBA seasons. He is 27 years old. The man who finished directly ahead of him in scoring last season, Devin Booker, is 6’6″ and 20 years old. He gonna GET PAID in a couple years.

Hayward wrote a “Thank You, Utah” (“Thank You Tah Tah,” is what MH editors would have recommended) piece for The Players’ Tribune in which he buried the lede in graf 6. Bad sportswriting there, Gordo.

2. Fly Girl

If only Bigfoot were also in this photo…how great would that be?

Breaking news suggests that Amelia Earhart’s last days were sort of an Unbroken-type deal. This recently released photograph, taken in the Marshall Islands in 1937 on an atoll where Westerners were forbidden, appears to show Earhart’s navigator, Fred Noonan, on the far left. That may be Earhart, seated with her back to the camera, in the center. She may be looking at a large object, presumably their downed Lockheed Electra aircraft, being towed by a barge.

Post died in 1935 when his plane crashed on takeoff near Point Barrow, Alaska. His passenger? Famed humorist Wil Rogers.

Earhart took off from Papua New Guinea on July 2, 1937, in her quest to become the first female to circumnavigate the globe in an airplane (Wiley Post had become the first person to do it six years earlier). She never completed the journey, although she had only the Pacific remaining at the time she disappeared. This new evidence strongly suggests that the Japanese captured her and Noonan, considered them spies, and imprisoned them.

According to today’s report, the man who took this photo was later executed.

Mock

In case you were wondering—and I was—the first female to accomplish the feat Earhart set out to perform was Geraldine Mock, who did so in 1964 aboard a Cessna. Curiously enough, another woman, Joan Merriam Smith, also set out to pursue this record two days earlier following the same flight path as Earhart. Mock, who started and finished in Columbus, Ohio, took off two days later (March 19) but finished first. Smith would be killed in a plane crash in the San Gabriel Mountains the following year; Mock died in 2014.

3. When In The Course of Human Events

All of this accomplished in Philly in July WITHOUT air-conditioning!

When I work at the cookoutateria on the 4th, as I did yesterday, I ask tables who seem willing to give me the opening words of the Declaration of Independence. Everyone’s first response is, “We the people…” which is incorrect. Take a few minutes to read the Declaration of Independence today. It’s worth it.

Also happening on the 4th of July….

1911: Ed Walsh stops Ty Cobb’s hitting streak at 40 games. Both will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, which is 25 years away from being.

1939: Lou Gehrig gives his famous speech as Yankees retire their first uniform number (4) and stage baseball’s first Old Timers’ Day.

1969: 140,000 attend Atlanta Pop Festival featuring Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Chicago, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Joe Cocker, Grand Funk Railroad, Tommy James and the Shondells, and Creedence Clearwater Revival (How had I NEVER heard of this until just now????). Woodstock was just seven weeks out.

From left: Bruce Dern (legs only), Sam Waterston, Mia Farrow, Robert Redford and the lovely but relatively unknown Lois Chiles

In literature, Nick Carroway, Jay Gatsby, Tom and Daisy Buchanan, and Jordan Baker go for martinis at The Plaza and things go awry (and a ‘gin).

4. Cycling Is A Contact Sport

On the fourth day of the Tour de France, an elbowing incident less than 200 meters from the finish line leaves British cyclist Mark Cavendish with a broken shoulder and causes officials to disqualify Slovak Peter Sagan. Watch for yourself.

5. Our Annual Update Of America’s Wildest Trail Race

This race is for Sisypheans, not sissies

Yesterday the Mount Marathon Race, an annual Fourth of July 5-K trail run up and down a hill/mountain in Seward, Alaska, was staged for what is believed to be the 90th time. It was first officially staged in 1915, though it may have been run as far back as 1907.

Anyway, the visually breathtaking and often bone-breaking ascent-and-descent was won by Scott Patterson (I was SO HOPING it was the same SP who played Luke on Gilmore Girls, but alas, he’s an Alaskan cross-country skier) on the men’s side and by MH fave Allie Ostrander on the women’s.

Allez, Allie! This was Ostrander’s second win at her local race.

As you may know, Ostrander is a local and also last month won the NCAA women’s steeplechase national championship. Her time of 49:19 was the FASTEST EVER for a female in this event. “This race it was for Alaska,” said Ostrander. “I’m just happy with this be apart of this tradition, and finally being able to get a win.”

Music 101

Tin Man

Oz never did give nothing to the Tin Man/That he didn’t, didn’t already have… In early 1974 Dewey Bunnell, one of the three members of America, wrote a song about his favorite childhood movie and then begged his bandmates not to put it on their upcoming album. Perhaps Bunnell was using reverse psychology. It not only appeared on Holiday, but hit No. 4 on the charts later that year. Despite this tune, A Horse With No Name, Ventura Highway, and Sister Golden Hair, four of the most heavily played and iconic radio tunes of the early 70s, America still is not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

A Word, Please

Effete (adj)

Ineffectual, over-affected. In a word, weak.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

 

Starting Five

Jamie Fox Up

Meteoric rise. Star-crossed career. The fireworks came early for sports media mavens, as yesterday news broke that Jamie Horowitz is out as president of Fox Sports following a claim of sexual harassment. According to the Los Angeles Times, Fox Sports spent a week interviewing females at its Century City-based HQ.

 

This comes exactly one week after Horowitz laid off about 20 writers and editors and announced an abrupt pivot to “premium video content,” of which he is probably glad none exists of his alleged loutish behavior.

2. It’s The First Week of July: Why Is ESPN (And To a Lesser Degree, Fox Sports) So Obsessed With the NBA?

a.k.a., Carry On Our Hayward Son

The two largest markets in the USA have charismatic rookies who are each leading their respective league in home runs. One of them is also leading in all three triple crown categories.

And yet if you went on espn.com last night the lead story was a ranking of NBA Superteams. The first list of scores up top was for the NBA Summer League. Four of the top six headlines were NBA-related.

Our friend Jason McIntyre has devoted much of his Saturday radio shows in the past month to the NBA draft, impending free agency, and to delving into why the Lakers are playing for 2018. Certainly the NBA draft and even free agency, to a degree, are newsworthy. Also, as I peruse his site, The Big Lead, this a.m., the top three stories are all NBA-related.

On Monday morning, 6’7″ Aaron Judge and 5’6″ Jose Altuve had the top two batting averages in the American League

But the Houston Astros are playing above .666 ball. Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger. Clayton Kershaw is 12-2. Max Scherzer has struck out at least 10 batters in seven of his last eight starts.

Crickets on all of it. Even the NFL is being overshadowed. Ooooooooooo-wheeeeeee, What’s up with dat, What’s up with dat?

3. A Good Guy With A Gun

In Sedalia, Colorado, 58 year-old Frank Huner mistakes his 33 year-old son, Nicholas, for an intruder, and fatally shoots him. He has now been booked for second-degree murer. Guns prevent some fatalities, but they unintentionally cause some as well. It’s, at best, a wash.

4. Atlanta Traffic (Cont.)

It’s a wonderful city with surprisingly excellent cuisine, but Atlanta is also notorious for its awful traffic. That doesn’t subside just because it’s a holiday: The annual Peachtree Road Race, a 4th of July tradition since 1970, will draw 60,000 participants this morning southbound on the city’s most well-known street. You may want to take an alternate route.

5. The Nets or Knicks Could Use Him

Meet Calvin Roberts. A 6’8″ power forward out of Cal State-Fullerton, he was selected in the 4th round of the NBA draft…in 1980. Roberts never made it to the NBA, but now at age 61, he’s giving it another try. If the Mavericks could sign Tony Romo for a day, why not this guy?

Hickey, left, played his final NBA game just two days shy of his 46th birthday

FYI, the oldest NBA player in history was either 45 year-old Nat Hickey or, as both you and I secretly suspect, Greg Oden.

Music 101

The Star Spangled Banner

Jimi Hendrix, Woodstock, performing at 9 a.m. on a Monday morning…..

A Word, Please

Apostate (noun)

A person who renounces a political or religious belief or principle