by John Walters

Starting Five

1. Desolation Row

Harvey, the aftermath: Explosions at a chemical plant. A major pipeline is out of order.  The city of Beaumont is out of potable water. Floating clusters of fire ants. And Melania cannot find 53-inch stilettos. South Texas is a goddamned mess. The band/sibling duo Nelson may have once sang, “After the rain washes away all the tears/All the pain” but they never met a deluge such as Harvey.

Do NOT step into a floating island of fire ants. Marvel at their survival instincts, but do not touch.

Coming next week: Hurricane Irma!

2. A Good Guy Wins, For Once

Not only did Bob probably hate posing for this, but that’s by far the most conservative outfit anyone has ever seen him doff

Over at Newsweek, it was announced last Friday that serial layer-off of staff (particularly females) and editor-in-chief Matt McAllester, who had taken “a leave of absence” earlier this month, is permanently out  (bad riddance?). In his place steps Bob Roe, every employee’s favorite editor and a former Sports Illustrated editor. Bob is simply the best editor with whom I’ve ever worked, from temperament to line-editing to integrity (if he is reading this, he’s thinking “SBP”: Say Better, Please. Former colleague Taylor Wofford put it best last Friday…


3. Better Off Ed

Former University of Washington offensive lineman and NFL player Ed Cunningham has always been something of a renaissance man. Besides helping the Huskies to the 1991 national championship, he also won an Oscar in 2012 for producing the Best Documentary (Undefeated). How many dudes own a national championship ring and an Oscar? Anyone else?

Yesterday Cunningham announced that he was stepping down as an ESPN game analyst for college football, citing his concern over brain trauma on the field. Remember, brain trauma is to the NFL “brain” trust what climate change is to the GOP. Sure, man may not be the ONLY reason the climate is changing, but to disavow his influence is just pig-headed. And sure, safety measures are being put in place for football, but as long as men get bigger, faster and stronger while the cranium and spinal cord remain the same, expect more CTE and catastrophic injury.

4. The 10 Best Intersectional Games of the 2017 CFB Season

Hello, Columbus! Baker Mayfield visits on Sept. 16

Because intersectional (i.e., non-conference) games are our favorites, though we wish they would NEVER be played in NFL stadiums. Also, we are omitting annual intersectionals, e.g. Florida-Florida State, from this list:

Sept. 2…. No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 3 Florida State (Atlanta)

One if not both of these schools will make the playoff (esp. if the Seminoles keep it close)

Sept. 2….No. 11 Michigan vs. No. 11 Florida (JerryWorld)

Both the Wolverines and the Gators are breaking in new QBs, and UF has taken out 10 players for this contest. 

Sept. 3…Texas A&M at UCLA

Neither power is ranked, but it’s still a chance to watch Josh RosenRosen versus an elite SEC defense. 

Sept. 9….Pittsburgh at No. 5 Penn State

What in the name of Chuck Fusina!?! Pitt is playing at Penn State again!

With the exception of 1932-1934, this was an annual game from 1900 to 1999. Then JoePa got involved and said “No more” (his second-worst move as the Nittany Lion HC). This will be their first meeting in State College since ’99. A staple of the Seventies, one of the best annual games of our childhood.

Sept. 9…No. 7 Oklahoma at No. 2 Ohio State

Fighting Urbans spanked Sooners by 21 in Norman last September

Sept. 9….No. 15 Georgia at Notre Dame

“Husshel” and the Dawgs topped the Irish the last time they met….

First meeting between two powers since 1981 Sugar Bowl, where Herschel Walker (the best college RB I ever saw) scored two TDs and the Dawgs won the game and the national championship

Sept. 9…No. 5 Clemson at No. 12 Auburn

We’re all curious to see how the defending national champs handle being the target, and also new Tiger QB Jarrett Stidham (from Baylor)

Sept. 16…Oregon at Wyoming

We know the Ducks host Nebraska the week before, but the visit to Laramie could prove treacherous, especially since Cowboy QB Josh Allen is considered a possible No. 1 overall NFL draft pick next spring.

Sept. 16…No. 23 Texas at No. 4 USC

First meeting between two since the electrifying 2006 Rose Bowl, one of the best college football games of the past 40 years

Sept. 16…No. 9 Wisconsin at BYU

The Cougars will have already played LSU, so Wiscy won’t scare them one bit. And it’s always tough to win in Provo. Tanner Mangum turns 30 next week (maybe?)

5. Rushin Scholars

Go read Steve’s new book/memoir of childhood in the Seventies

Only last weekend we tweeted this about a certain former colleague and an epic poem about New York Met 3rd basemen…


 Apparently, my old colleague Jack McCallum and I were mind-melding, because he penned a tremendous column about our mutual friend Steve Rushin in which he invoked that piece. I urge you to read Jack’s tribute; for those of us who worked at SI in the Nineties, watching Steve work and reading his copy was not unlike training in the same gym as Mike Tyson in the Eighties, or using the same batting cage as Babe Ruth in the Twenties. We were technically in the same place, but realistically he was on a different planet.

One more thing Jack writes that I will vouch for: When Steve is in the mood to forsake humor and just write a well-reported story, he does it as well as anyone. Find his 1995 (?) game story on the Nebraska-Washington game.

Finally, an anecdote to illustrate Steve’s felicity with word play and pop culture. The two of us were in the press box at Wrigley Field one afternoon in the late Nineties and as we strolled down a narrow hall, Harry Caray’s widow walked past us. Steve looked at me without a moment’s pause and quipped, “We just passed the Dutchie on the left hand side,” a lyric from the song by Musical Youth. Occasionally most of us get off a one-liner we’re proud of (a friend once asked me after an spate of stargazing if I had seen Scorpio and I answered, “No, but I loved Dog Day Afternoon“), but Steve does this stuff on a daily basis. Just ask his wife, who’s a pretty good quipster herself.

Music 101

Moonlight Feels Right

Hoist the mizzen, mate, because the S.S. Yacht Rock is ready to sail! This song by one-hit wonder Starbuck debuted in April 1976 and jumped to No. 3 on the Billboard charts. Here they are performing it on July of that year on The Midnight Special. Thank God (and YouTube) for that show.

If you are scoring at home, the Seventies gave us JoJo Starbuck, the band Starbuck and the character Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica. But no coffee.

Remote Patrol

No. 2 Ohio State at Indiana

8 p.m. ESPN

The Bosa parents took the advice of Gib from “The Sure Thing” and named their son Nick. “Nick is a guy you can have beers with…”

The Buckeyes have the MH Seal of Approval to advance to the CFB playoff, and more than last Saturday, this feels like the opening of College Football Season. Also, everyone’s favorite dark horse, No. 10 Oklahoma State, hosts Tulsa (FS1 7:30 p.m.)

A Word, Please

apocryphal (adj.)

of doubtful authenticity, although widely circulated as being true


by John Walters

Starting Five

When you bring a cheese grater to a knife fight…

Wet, Wet, Wet

Congratulations, Harvey! No single storm has ever dumped more rain—52 inches—in one area. At least 11 people are dead and well, there’s going to be quite a plethora of mud for a fortnight or so.


(Look at us! We made MH! Proud!)


Meanwhile, the president flew to Corpus Christi and then Austin, where he never spoke to a single resident outside of the governor, and cautioned that the two of them should probably not congratulate one another on how they have handled this epic storm until later. Courage, friend.


This, above, is what it’s ALL about. Below, this man tells it like it is.




2. Monsoon Wetting*

*The judges are already sorry

Even though it’s garnering almost zero cable news attention (because we Americans are so self-absorbed), the flooding in south Asia has claimed at least 1,000 lives. The Indian megalopolis of Mumbai has been particularly hard-hit, but chances are the BYU-LSU game will probably be moved there anyway. This New York Times piece provides excellent reportage.

3. Kneel And Be Counted

Our friends at Sports Illustrated put out four regional covers featuring three NFL household names (Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and real-life flood hero T.J. Watt) and one NFL Fantasy hero (David Johnson). The concept of other NFL players as Lilliputians compared to this quartet of Gullivers was inspired, but there may be a slight chance that consumers will notice that all four players, three of whom are Hall of Fame locks, are kneeling.

And you know, there’s a certain quarterback currently not on a roster who overshadows all of them in terms of attention right now who is famous for kneeling.

SI says it was not trying to make a statement. I believe them. But is it really that strange for readers to infer that a statement was being made?

4. The Trouble With Print Journalism

Bil Nack, one of the best there’s ever been. Nack doesn’t believe in writer’s block; he just believes you need to report the story more thoroughly.

As often happens, our most inspired ideas/thoughts come while we are in the shower (which is why we’re always running low on shampoo). Anyway, here was/were yesterday’s…


It’s really that simple and yes, we apologize for now posting two of our tweets in one post. Bosses/managing editors no longer insist on a story being thoroughly reported or meticulously written; they, for the most part, care about your SEO-headline and how many clicks the piece receives (“Kardashians Meet Brain-Eating Zombie at Katy Perry Concert!!!”).


Another HUGE and sorry development, as tweeted out by my friend/colleague/and fellow Arizonan Lisa Olson (in response): at some point editors started being called PRODUCERS. Where once editors were older, wiser, more experienced and bitter and crotchety former writers (i.e., yours truly, present day), today they are underpaid millennials whose primary job is to grab the content, get a photo from Reuters or Getty, and post that sh*znit as soon as possible. The majority of them don’t even line-read your story (it’s amazing the errors you’ll see, and I’ve often been tempted to throw in a completely Jabberwocky line simply to see if anyone was paying attention or reading).

5. Down Goes Kerber

Another day at the U.S. Open, another major loss. On Monday No. 2 women’s seed Simona Halep lost to Maria Sharapova. Last night defending women’s champion Angelique Kerber, the No. 6 seed, lost in straight sets to unseeded Naomi Osaka. It’s looking better for both thirty somethings, Venus and Maria, but No. 1 seed Karolina Pliskova looked dominant as well, dropping just three games as she won in straight sets.

Music 101

Feeling Stronger Every Day

At its core, Chicago were just a group of nerdy and extremely talented musicians, a superior version of Counting Crows or Dave Matthews Band. It’s long been our belief that the music of Chicago would make for a PERFECT Broadway play and when it eventually happens, just remember that Medium Happy had the idea but not the rights. This song made it to No. 10 in 1973. The bar was set much, much higher back then.

A Word, Please

halcyon (adj.)

denoting a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy and peaceful




by John Walters

If you’re scoring at home, we’ve got a lethal Harvey and an Ivy League-educated president in Texas concurrently. Stay tuned…

Starting Five

Rain, Man*  **

*The judges, who have an affinity for Johnny Cash, will also accept “Three Feet High And Rising”

**The judges rolled their eyes but agreed to accept “Houston: Nuts”

Eight new inches of rain fell in Houston on Monday (a one-day record for Hobby Airport) and 10-20 more inches are expected through Thursday. The total from Friday through Monday night in the Houston area are about 37 inches.


(Easier to tweet when you reside in a $10 million mansion)

Texas governor Greg Abbott on Monday night spoke of a “new normal” without explicitly using those two prohibited words, “climate change.” Meanwhile, one of Houston’s wealthiest residents, a purported man of the cloth who collects tens of millions of dollars annually tax-free and happens to have a shelter that seats nearly 17,000, has yet to open the doors of his downtown megachurch to assist any of the victims. Apparently it’s only a tax shelter.


Later, Osteen finally opened up his megachurch. But it took a lot of shelter-shaming before he did so.


(You’re welcome?)

Meanwhile, the geniuses who are putting on the BYU-LSU game from Houston have opted to relocate it to New Orleans. They’ll probably decide upon yet another location by this afternoon. You wonder how people who earn this much money and are given this much responsibility can be this idiotic. Let’s just hope the announcer for the game is not named Harvey.


How does anyone get both this mean and this stupid?

2. Keep Your Eyes On Trey

A couple of summers ago, American University college student Trey Yingst took a road trip—to independently cover the Ferguson rioting. Later he skipped out on final exams—to cover the Freddie Gray story in Baltimore. Yingtz is just 23 years old, but he’s already the White House correspondent for OANN (One America News Network, the channel that feels Fox News is a little too centrist).

Yingtz has already earned the respect of the WH press corps and he has shown a penchant for solid follow-up questions, whether they be to Sean Spicer or Home Girl Sanders or the Orange Monster himself. Some larger net is going to steal him away. It’s only a matter of time.

3. No Halep Needed

Welcome back, Maria Sharapova! The U.S. Open got off to a bang as the wildcard/pariah/2006 U.S. Open champion took down No. 2 seed Simona Halep 6-4, 4-6, 6-3. She was a long, cruel woman in a black dress, making her first appearance at a Grand Slam in 19 months following her banned substance (Meldonium) ban. As bizarre as it may have seemed for an unseeded player to take down the No. 2 seed in an opening match, Sharapova entered with a 6-0 record versus Halep and an 18-0 record at night inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. The 30 year-old instantly becomes the most intriguing player in Flushing Meadows this fortnight.

4. They All Look Alike To Him

President Trump welcomed the president of Finland, Sauli Niinisto, to the White House yesterday, and then had trouble telling two Finnish female reporters apart. Yet another nugget for The Worst Wing 30-For-30. Honestly, when the real president is more cringeworthy than the Billy Bob Thornton prez from Love, Actually….

5. Grange Award!

Lamar Jackson won the Grange Award last year. Or maybe it was Deshaun Watson. We can’t remember.

As we’ve written before, naming an award for “the most outstanding player” in college football after a COACH who’s best known for running up the score on poor Cumberland College and winning 222-0 is kind of stupid. I mean, really stupid.

Which is why our “most outstanding player” in college football award is named The Red Grange Award, after college football’s first true superstar, former Illini back Harold “Red” Grange, who is not to be confused with the Peter Gabriel song “Red Rain,” and who would do that? Enough ‘splainin’, on to the nominees and picks:


Sam Darnold, QB, USC: This is the annual preseason anointment push by my colleagues, which is almost always reserved exclusively for quarterbacks from Florida State, Notre Dame or Southern Cal. I’m thinking of renaming this designation the Charlie Ward Award, or simply the Charlie A. Ward (you can go with Chris Weinke, too). Note: We’re not high on this pick.

Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia: We love the Nick Chubb, as you know, because you can say his name as if you’re singing”Brick House” by The Commodores. Chubb is the successor to a previous Grange pick, The Gurley Man, and his biggest problem is that he shares a backfield with another NFL-bound back, Sony Michel. But if Chubb goes for 200 against the Irish on Sept. 9, watch out.

Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: Had you forgotten him? Mayfield finished 4th in Heisman Trophy voting in 2015 and third last year. He’s lost his two best rushers and his HOF coach, but he’s still in Norman and he hasn’t gotten any worse.

Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State: If Darnold does not lead the Trojans back from 14 down in the Rose Bowl, the most exciting bowl game played last winter, then Barkley is the story of the game. Like Darnold, Barkley plays for a CFB blue blood that has been DOWN (so down) in the past decade, the kind of redemption/resurrection story that too many CFB writers get all gushy about. The Nittany Lions open with Akron, then Pitt at home (SO happy to see this rivalry renewed), then Georgia State. He could have 600 yards rushing by September 16.

The MH pick? Saquon Barkley. It’s not exactly Something For Joey material as PSU Heisman/Grange winners go, but it would be good.

Music 101

It Only Takes A Minute

Seriously, why don’t they make bands like this any more? Five badass mofos singing and dancing in synchronicity as the Soul Train gallery keeps the beat. That’s Tavares, who were like a middle-class man’s Jackson 5 (they were five brothers from Cape Verde, surname was the band’s name). This 1975 tune peaked at No. 10 and was evidence of the transition from R&B to disco. They even had a hit on the ultimate disco album, Saturday Night Fever, two year later, with More Than A Woman.

A Word, Please

congress (noun)

In the small “c” version, the action of coming together


by John Walters

Starting Five

Saturation Saturday*

*The judges are apparently big fans of ESPN’s branding of college football Saturdays

As much as 50 inches of rain fell on parts of the south coast of Texas and Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest metropolitan area, this weekend. Harvey arrived as a Category 4 hurricane on Friday evening and dropped unprecedented amounts of precipitation on this region. At least five are dead.

Meanwhile, the Little League team from Lufkin, Texas, which is about 125 miles north of Houston and is being pounded by rain today, lost the Little League World Series to Japan, 12-2.


So my question is this: If you don’t believe in science, i.e. climate change, then the likelihood is that you’re more of a God-fearing Christian. So could it be argued that God sent this biblical storm to south Texas because he wanted to wipe out oil refineries? Or send a message to a state that builds $72 million football stadiums while passing laws that women who want access to abortions need rape insurance? I’m just wondering…

2. The Petyr Principle

Arya has now killed Walder Frey and Petyr Baelish; she’s the best Avenger this series has seen this side of Dame Diana Rigg

Season 7 finale of Game of Thrones: Littlefinger, a.k.a. Lord Petyr Baelish outmaneuvers himself—we all should have seen this coming as soon as Bran hit him with “Chaos is a ladder” earlier this season; a mass reunion in the dragon pits puts some of the series’ biggest stars in the same scene for the first time (Cersei, meet Jon Snow and Daenerys); Euron Greyjoy discovers White Walkers can’t swim, announces he’s heading home to the Iron Islands, a.k.a. “Euron Your Own”; You know nothing, Jon Snow, including the fact that the woman you’re making love to is your aunt and also that you are the rightful heir to the Iron Throne (anyone else notice his knee was bent during that love scene?); Jaime Lannister finally sees his sister/lover for whom she is, and chooses integrity over the family name (Cersei’s only two remaining friends are a creepy maester and a Frankenstein-like bodyguard); Theon’s redemption tour at long last begins—you have to know better than to knee a man in the nuts who has no nuts—and the White Walkers, with the aid of their newest super weapon, burst a hole through the wall. Winter has come to King’s Landing.

Never in the history of the series (not even in the series premiere or at Joffrey’s wedding) were so many major characters in one scene; and yes, it came off a bit awkward

Question: Who will eventually marry Sansa Stark, or will she just reunite with Tyrion at some point?

By the way, when Jon Snow gave his little speech about honesty in the dragon pits, did anyone else think, Wow, I wonder if the president is watching?

3. The Fighting Irish Lose On Saturday*

*The judges ask, “What else is new?”* (Thanks to @okerland for that)

Missed the Mayweather-McGregor bout (“Well, I wouldn’t say I missed it”) but Floyd goes out on top, winning by TKO in the 10th round after Conor took two of the opening three rounds. He retires (if the 40 year-old remain retired) with a 50-0 record, topping Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 mark and he may earn as much as $350 million for Saturday night’s work. Take that, Mavis Wanczyk!

Mayweather apparently tried to place a $400,000 bet on himself prior to the fight, and was denied. He’ll never be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame now.

4. Sheriff Joe Gets His Pardon

Donald Trump pardons former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been found guilty of criminal contempt for defying a court order to stop detaining immigrants based solely on the suspicion that they were in the country illegally. He was facing up to six months in jail. The 45th president was legally within his rights to grant the pardon, but it’s quite the bizarre spot on which to take a stand. Then again, this is the guy who launched his presidential campaign by denouncing illegal immigrants from Mexico as drug dealers and rapists. He knows what hits to play for his fans.


Meanwhile, here’s what Trump’s Secretary of Defense said while addressing troops over the weekend.

5. Mo-Mentum

Like Floyd Mayweather, British middle-distance runner Mo Farah also retired after his final event this weekend, but Mo’s curtain drop was far more dramatic. Farah, a Somalian native who owns four Olympic gold medals and six World Championships, held off four younger competitors in the final 100 meters to win the 5000 at the Diamond League meet in Zurich. One of the better finishes you’ll ever see in a track event.

“They throw themselves at his feet, figuratively and literally!” Outstanding.

Music 101

We’re Not Going To Take It

The final song from The Who’s audacious rock opera Tommy contains within it the anthem that most of us are more familiar with: “See Me, Feel Me.” A rock-and-roll classic from 1969 that merits a listen, and this live recording from later that summer took place at Woodstock.

Remote Patrol

progeny (noun)

a descendant or the descendants of a person; offspring


by John Walters

Starting Five

Harvey SeaWall Banger*

*The judges will also accept “Path Of Totality, Hurricane Edition”

Begin the week with a total solar eclipse and end it with Hurricane Harvey and its 110 mph winds, which is basically a Category 3 hurricane. We’re looking at 20-plus inches to three feet of rain in the Houston area. And that means plenty of floating copperheads in the water, among other problems.

This should be the worst hurricane to make landfall in the continental U.S. since Katrina in 2005.

2. The Old Brawl Game

An otherwise innocent Thursday afternoon getaway game between the Yankees and Tigers morphed into an ejection fest, as eight dudes in uniforms, two of them managers, were given the hook.

The Tigers plunked Jacoby Ellsbury, then the Yanks threw behind Miguel Caruso Cabrera (CNBC fans, that’s for you) and had their pitcher ejected, and then it was on like Donkey Kong between Cabrera and Yankee catcher Austin Romine, whose brother Andrew plays for Detroit (awkwaarrrrd).

“Are you talking to me? Because I wasn’t talking to you. Are your talking to me?”

Tigers won, 10-6. Gary Sanchez hit his 27th home run, or his 22nd in less than two full Augusts (10 last August, 12 this month) in the big leagues.

3. Mavis!

The Powerball winner, Mavis Wanczyk of Chicopee, Mass., did not even wait a full day to step forward and claim her prize ($336 million after taxes and having taken the lump sum). She’s 53 and the mother of two and guess what? She’s not returning to her job at a local hospital. Mavis, as anyone who bought a single ticket, had a one-in-292 million chance of winning the lottery.

4. RIP, Jay Thomas

Most of us first met good-natured comic Jay Thomas, who died yesterday at the age of 69, as a recurring character on Cheers! who played Carla’s husband. He would later win two Emmys for his work on Murphy Brown. What endeared him to many more (and endeared Dave Letterman even more to the MH staff, if that is even possible), is that in his later years Thomas would make an annual appearance on Late Show to retell the same story about the Lone Ranger that had obviously beguiled the show’s host, who called it “the greatest talk show story of all time.”

He also, during those appearances (24 of them) would throw a football and knock the meatball off the top of the Late Show Christmas tree.

Thomas really was, for a B-list celeb, one of the most entertaining guests ever to appear on Letterman.

Above, his final appearance on Letterman….

5. Trump Returns!

This was Alec Baldwin lampooning Donald Trump yesterday….

And this was Donald Trump lampooning himself…

He RT’ed this meme yesterday. It’s a good joke, but you’d think the dude who has failed to have any of his major proposals passed in Congress would not have time for this.

He also misspelled “there” on a tweet and then deleted it (hardly the first time).


Down For The Count Floyd

We haven’t written much (correction: anything) about tomorrow night’s Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor bout in Las Vegas. For good reason. It’s nothing more than a money grab. Mayweather is 40. McGregor is an MMA hype monkey who won’t be allowed to take full advantage of his pugilistic skills. This is like watching Bob Hayes race a thoroughbred more than it is a PPV-worthy bout.

People will pay and watch out of curiosity, of course, and bully for the promoters. The only way Mayweather loses is if he actually wants a return pay day out of this. But my guess is that his ego is far too large to allow that to happen. As for McGregor, he’ll be seriously outclassed here.

Music 101

Blinded By The Light

Madmen, drummers, bummers, Indians in the summer with a teenage diplomat

Bruce Springsteen wrote the original Dylanesque lyrics (the song appeared on his 1973 debut album, Greetings From Asbury Park) but even this Bruceophile admits that Manfred Mann and his Earth Band improved upon it. The public agreed, as this tune shot to No. 1 on the Billboard chart (Bruce has never recorded a No. 1 hit…Dancing in the Dark peaked at No. 2) in 1977. This song depicting life on the Asbury Park boardwalk should’ve been Bruce’s anthem; Mann instead made it his. s

A Word, Please

taciturn (adj)

reserved or uncommunicative in speech; saying little


by John Walters

Starting Five

Downtown Chicopee. Someone’s buying Patriots season tickets soon

Mass. Money!

Someone bought a single ticket for Powerball ($2) at a convenience store in Watertown, Mass. Chicopee, Mass., and will now pocket the entire $758.7 million jackpot. As investment returns go, that’s likely the best in history, as this will be the largest single jackpot ever paid out in North America.

The winning numbers: 6, 7, 16, 23, 26 and the Powerball was 4.

Deets: The winner(s) only gets that $758.7 million sum if he/she/they take it in 30 annual payments. If they choose the lump sum, it’s about $480 million. That’s before taxes, which are more than 39%. So assuming lump sum plus taxes, he/she/they would walk with about $290 million.

2. The Hill Just Happened?

It should have been enough. Pitching for the best team in baseball, a club vying to achieve the best regular-season record ever, Los Angeles Dodger hurler Rich Hill yielded no hits through nine innings. The problem was that on this night in Pittsburgh, his teammates were unable to score a single run through 10 frames.

Hill took the mound in the bottom of the 10th and on his 99th pitch  allowed a walk-off home run to the Pirates’ Josh Harrison on his 99th pitch. Pittsburgh wins 1-0 and baseball’s winningest team loses in the unlikeliest of ways. The announced crowd at PNC Park was fewer than 20,000.

3. They’re Dropping Like (How Do You Say “Flies” In Russian?)

This was Mirgayas Shirinsky, who was found floating face down in a swimming pool in Sudan. Shirinsky becomes the sixth Russian senior diplomat to die overseas since November (now what event happened last November, you wonder?). Perhaps it’s simply a coincidence, like a dude named Robert Lee being named to broadcast a football game in Charlottesville.

For a full list of dead Russian diplomats, beginning with one in New York City on the very day of the U.S. presidential election (head wound; quite common), go here. 

4. The Trump Stump Speech

Did you hear/see it on Monday, or did the eclipse eclipse it? We didn’t watch, but we’re reading the transcript now. If you have yet to, here it is in full, all 77 minutes. Trump spent much of the first 10 minutes mansplaining his two (three?) reactions to Charlottesville, calling the media “dishonest” multiple times, referring to George Stephanopoulos as “little,” etc., but never once mentioning his very revealing “many sides” comment.


Don Lemon of CNN referred to the speech as “A total eclipse of the facts.”


5. We’re Still Not Over The Rainbow

Randy Rainbow‘s latest Broadway musical take on The Worst Wing…


General Lee Speaking

The world does not need another think piece on the Robert Lee/Robert E. Lee kerfuffle, and I think Kyle Koster over at The Big Lead covered the subject sufficiently yesterday.  Do know, though, that a friend of the blog used to live in Albany, knows Lee, and says that his nickname among colleagues is “The General.”

The question is, What did ESPN do that was so wrong? In my opinion, their sin was to overreact to a harmless situation, thereby creating a kerfuffle that never needed to exist. It doesn’t matter that ESPN’s intention was to avoid an awkward moment; by manipulating an innocent coincidence they come across as demonstrating little regard for the maturity of their audience (granted, that may be accurate, but it’s a cynical standard by which to make decisions).

You wonder if anyone at this little confab spoke up and asked, “And what happens if word gets out that we switched Robert Lee off this game?” Meanwhile, it’s just a good thing Rece Davis’ parents did not name him Jefferson or that Keith Jackson’s nickname was not Stonewall (or that he’s retired).

Meanwhile, why does Clay Travis feel the urge to keep reminding people that Robert Lee is Asian? I mean, Robert E. Lee has been dead for 147 years. Was anyone about to confuse the two if we learned that Robert Lee was white?

Music 101

Smokestack Lightning

Blues your morning up with the genius of Howling Wolf. Originally recorded in Chicago in 1956.

A Word, Please

nebulous (adj)

unclear, vague, or ill-defined (“The president’s health-care/foreign-policy/how-to-beat-ISIS/infrastructure plans are nebulous”)


by John Walters

Starting Five

Linton: “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve obscene”

1. Let Them Eat Sheet Cake

Above, that’s Louise Linton, 36, wife of Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin, 54 (if you don’t have the looks, boys, then for god’s sake you better be filthy rich). Yesterday the stay-at-home actress got into an Instagram battle with a peasant from Oregon, calling her “adorably out of touch.” This from a woman who hashtags #HermesScarf #TomFord and #Valentinorockstudheels (three of the four words were high school nicknames for your author).

The genesis of the kerfuffle: Linton posts on Instagram yesterday

Anyway, it was yesterday’s Kerfuffle of the Day and the jump from Linton to Marie Antoinette is pretty easy to make. In fact, the commoner from Oregon, one Jenni Miller, a 45 year-old mother of three, dared to make it. A reminder that Ms. Antoinette, a true historical figure who infamously said, “Let them eat cake” as to the plight of starving peasants, lost her head.


Here’s the deets on yesterday’s social media fracas.

2. Be Leave Land

In short (no offense, Isaiah), the two best teams in the Eastern Conference traded All-Star guards last night. The Cavs sent 6’3″ Kyrie Irving (25.2 ppg last season) to the Boston Celtics in exchange for NBA leading scorer Isaiah Thomas, who is listed at 5’9″ (28.9) but may be shorter.

Irving is 25 and has three years left on his deal. Thomas is 28 and can walk after this season with LeBron James, who will probably do the same. It’s Last Hurrah time in Cleveland, and it’ll be interesting to see how The King responds to a new teammate who is even more of a chucker than Irving was. The thing is, though, no one not in a Warriors uniform is a better clutch shooter than Thomas is. The heat is off LeBron in that regard.

If you’re a Celtics fan, you have to like the young nucleus of Irving, Gordon Hayward and now Markelle Fultz Jayson Tatum, all of whom will be joining the Celtics anew for their October 17 season debut against…the Cleveland Cavaliers.

3. Fight of the Phoenix

President Donald Trump made his eighth campaign stop since BECOMING president in Phoenix, Arizona last night. He harangued the media (calling us “very dishonest”; remember, Rule No. 1 of Trump is to believe the opposite of everything he says; Rule No. 2 is that whenever he slanders anyone, he’s calling them exactly what he himself is) and threatened to shut down the federal government  (or hold his breath) if the border wall is not funded and then implied that he might pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio by asking, “Was Sheriff Joe convicted for doing his job?” He then said, “I think Sheriff Joe will be just fine,” intimating that he will pardon him, but on a day when the news can be buried more easily.

Then there was mayhem in the streets, which is hard to find in August in the Valley of the Sun, when anyone with any sense is inside with the AC blasting or at a pool party.


4. All They Do Is Win, Win, Win

Wildling or the NL’s leading hitter with a .336 average? Perhaps Justin Turner is both.

While the ESPN (and other outlets, both TV and online) salivate about the prospects of NBA trades in August, the Los Angeles Dodgers trudge forward toward what may be the best regular-season record in baseball history. If only they were a big-market franchise or had some sort of history….

Anyway, the blue bloods won again last night in Pittsburgh to push their record to 89-35 (.718) and they’re now 54-10 since D-Day. The winningest regular-season baseball team was the 1954 Cleveland Indians, who went 111-43 in the 154-game season for a .721 win percentage. The Tribe, alas, were swept in the World Series by the New York Giants, 4-0 (Willie Mays’ absurd catch versus Vic Wertz is your freeze-frame moment).

Say Hey

The best record for a 162-game season belongs to the 2001 Seattle Mariners, who finished 116-46 (.716) and lost in the ALCS to the New York Yankees (who lost in the World Series to the D-Backs).

The point is, for the second time in two years a California-based team is threatening to post the best regular-season record in its major sport’s history, but notice the difference in hype between the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors’ run to 73-9 and the Dodgers’ journey toward 117-45, which would break the Indians’ record.

L.A. needs to go 28-10 the rest of the way to break the mark.

Curiosity: L.A.’s top two hitters by batting average, 3B Justin Turner and SS Corey Seager, have yet to hit a triple this season (as has MLB’s leading home run hitter, Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins)

5. Daily Harrumph: Lee Genes

An ESPN overreaction by any other name….

Take a breather, editors of The Onion. The real world has you covered this morning. Yes, ESPN actually pulled announcer Robert Lee (left) off a Virginia broadcast because of the weird “coincidence” that he shares a name, if not a genetic pool, with former Confederate commander Robert E. Lee.

And what about this Bob Ley? Will he, too, face ramifications?

You see what happened was, ESPN’s Archduke of BLM, Rob King, decreed (as Kings often do) that Lee switch broadcasts out of the William & Mary-UVA game  to avoid an awkward moment. Then someone at the WWL snitched to Outclick The Coverage founder and chief ESPN gadfly Clay Travis, who probably at first thought he was being punched (this was too good to be true), then checked facts and broke the story. What a disaster.

The WWL, like the White House, has leakers.


CFB Predictions To Clip And Save

Here’s the AP Top 25

Here’s the Coaches Poll  Top 25

Here’s The Big Lead Top 25

Here’s SI’s bowl and national champion predictions.

We’ll post ours later this week, we mean, now that everyone else has and our preseason pick of Wyoming at No. 1 would’ve looked a tad, well, risky.

Music 101


That’s Ritchie Blackmore (guitar legend) of the band Deep Purple giving Hugh Hefner a guitar lesson during a short-lived late-night show called Playboy After Dark (and you wondered where the Pac-12 got that title). This tune, a cover of a song that peaked at No. 45 a year earlier in 1967 that was written by Joe South and recorded by Billy Joe Royal, was a No. 4 hit for the band in 1968.

This is a certified vintage MH clip. P.S. I have those pants.

A Word, Please

insouciant (adj.)

showing a casual lack of concern; indifference


by John Walters


Starting Five

Black Hole Sun

Within the PATH OF TOTALITY,  the spectacle of the total eclipse was probably awe-inspiring. And for those who looked skyward without the correct vision aids, Cat Stevens‘ tune about lunar shade may have been prescient:

And if I ever lose my eyes, if my colours all run dry,
Yes if I ever lose my eyes, Oh if I won’t have to cry no more.


For the rest of us, as one person near me in New York proclaimed yesterday, “Fake News.” Oh, sure, things got slightly hazy, but there was no hour or so of darkness. Anyway, it was a happening, and it will certainly last longer than Mayweather-McGregor this weekend, no?

This is what it’s going to look like moments before the North Korean nuke hits….


In simple terms that Afghanis (who listen to classic rock) might understand, “Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss.” The most shocking aspect of President Trump’s announcement last night was the admission that—get ready for this—he’s not always right.

Trump: “My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts. But all my life, I’ve heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office.”

Translated: Much of what I said on the campaign trail regarding foreign policy was complete and utter bullshit, and today is my day of reckoning.

In retrospect, we all should have listened to Gust Avrakatos, the son of a soda pop maker from Aliquippa, Pa., who advised in the late eighties after the USA helped the mujahideen repel a foreign invader that we should fill the void with education and aid.

Get! Out!

Instead, the Taliban filled that void and now—guess what—the USA is seen by much of the Afghan population as the foreign invader (you sort of get that rep when you land in a country in 2001 and never leave). Anyway, no easy answers here, but I’m reminded of a conversation between Cersei and Tyrion Lannister back when they were still on speaking terms and shortly after the Red Wedding. I’ll paraphrase:

Cersei: “We have to kill all of our enemies before this war is over.”

Tyrion: “Fine, but it feels as if for every enemy we kill, we create two new ones.”

Cersei: “Then it’s going to be a very long war.”

The key elements of Trump’s strategy: Possibly 50% more troops (from 8,400 to 12,400); more autonomy for the military; you better behave, Pakistan; and NO nation-building (even though it sounds as if a lot of what we’ll be doing is exactly that).

3. Bending The Knee

Great job, NFL owners. You’ve turned Colin Kaepernick into a martyr. A dozen Cleveland Browns kneeled for the anthem during a preseason game last night (or was this a special kickoff receiving drill?).

It was only a matter of time before this scene took place and expect to see more like it. There’s punter Britton Colquitt walking the highwire between supporting his teammates and honoring the flag. That’s the white man’s version of a peaceful NFL protest?

4. The AP Top 25

Leading Butkus Award candidate Cameron Smith should take the Trojans to their first College Football Playoff

The only August 21 event as hyped as the total eclipse was the release of the AP preseason Top 25 (you promoted it well, Ralph Russo), so we’ll do our friend a solid and discuss it here. First, the link. 

The Top 10: Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, USC, Clemson, Penn State, Oklahoma, Washington, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State.

That’s right: Just one SEC school in the Top 10 (while three B1G schools are in and two apiece from the ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12.

Alabama opens with Florida State.

Oklahoma visits Ohio State on September 9.

Clemson hosts Florida State on November 11.

Penn State visits Ohio State on October 28.

Nick Bosa is shaping up to be just as good, if not better, than his big brother, Joey. Don’t sleep on THE Ohio State University.

Bedlam has been moved up to Nov. 4 (smart move, Big 12).

USC and U-Dub would not meet until the Pac-12 Championship Game.

Wisconsin avoids both Ohio State AND Penn State.

Big names NOT in the Top 25: Boise State, Oregon, Florida, Notre Dame, Nebraska, Texas A&M.

Good news, Notre Dame fans: Irish are not in the Top 25 but do play four Top 25 schools (no, we’re not being facetious; that IS good news).

Easiest route to playoff: We’d say Wisconsin, but USC has so much more talent that we’ll go with the Trojans. The bet here is they’ll be ranked at worst 2nd when they visit South Bend in mid-October.

5. Real Genius

Comedian. Actor/Leading Man. Pariah. Crusader. Fundraiser. Jerry Lewis, who died over the weekend at age 91, was all of these things. Growing up in the 1970s, an era before cable and streaming and the inter web, when TV networks would SIGN OFF at 2 a.m. or so and the set would just snow white noise until 6 a.m., the annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy Telethon was a MONSTER EVENT. Not only would Lewis be on air for more than 24 hours straight (it was always fun to see if the tuxedo would look more worn by the show’s end than Lewis himself), but just knowing you could wake up at 4 a.m., turn on the TV and see LIVE programming, much less any programming, that was paradigm-shifting.

Anyway, read more about the strange and wonderful life of one of the 20th century’s more mercurial talents here: the easiest way to describe Jerry Lewis to millennials? He was Jim Carrey before Jim Carrey existed.

Music 101


It’s rare that a band that’s a decade past its prime releases a song that is as close to a signature song (or a monster hit) as the group has ever released (think of Cheap Trick and “The Flame” as well). But that’s what this 1990 gem did for AC/DC. This audible adrenaline shot was not only a big hit for the Aussies (Top 5 both in the USA and Down Under), but it’s on every sports arena’s playlist.

Thanks to AIR for the suggestion.

Remote Patrol

The Founder


If you’ve yet to see the 2016 film about the rise of Ray Kroc and the Golden Arches, it’s worth a look-see. Sure, Michael Keaton is always fantastic, but Nick Offerman in a serious role as Dick McDonald, the real genius behind the birth of America’s most influential franchise, is outstanding. John Carroll Lynch is his typically wonderful self as Dick’s brother, Mac, and you still don’t know him by name but you’ll recognize the face.


by John Walters

Starting Five

Catch Me If You Can

Playing in the Junior League World Series, Jack Regenye of Pennsylvania robs a batter from Chinese Taipei of a home run. Or did he. The umps originally ruled the batter out, then safe, then out again. I don’t know the rules on this one.

Meanwhile in Chicago, one of the big leaguers, Kevin Pillar of the Blue Jays, made a decent catch at Wrigley Field.

2. Monday, Moonday*

Objects in diagram may be farther apart from one another than they appear

*The judges apologize to both the Mamas and the Papas

This is a total ellipse: …

For a total eclipse, the sun being completely blocked out by the moon (SPF what????), look up this afternoon. Especially if you are in the “Path of Totality.”

3. How To Chain Your Dragon

He breathes ice, no? Gonna be one heck of a battle, and I hope Pat Benatar revives her song for this.

We’re down to a two-on-one fire-breathing monster scenario after the latest episode of Game Of Thrones. Also, welcome back, Uncle Benjen. Farewell, Uncle Benjen. Alan Sepinwall’s review is here.

4. Not So Bright, Breitbart*

*This is Fake News. Wonder if Steve Bannon’s old pal/former boss will mention it

Breitbart News celebrated the return of its former top guy, Steve Bannon, by publishing a story about migrants being smuggled into nations via jet ski. Only problem is that the photo above is of German footballer Lukas Podolski. Oops. They’ve since apologized.

5. Outnumbered (Not The Fox News show)*


*The judges will also accept “Boston Uncommon”

As heavily as Jon Snow and his band of merry White Walker hunters were outnumbered in the midst of that frozen lake on Sunday, that’s how much the Boston-area Nazis—my apologies, “free speech advocates”—were outnumbered by counter-protesters on Sunday. Demonstrations are a lot like children’s toys: some assembly is required.

Music 101

Staring at the Sun

Seemed appropriate today.

A Word, Please

elixir (noun)

a magical or medical potion


by John Walters

Starting Five


So what do you do about Stone Mountain, Ga., which features a trio of Confederate heroes: Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson? This was the site of the second founding of the Ku Klux Klan in 1915.

Stone Mountain is pret-tee, prêt-tee, prêt-tee big

To echo the profound words of Susie B. in yesterday’s comments, let’s ask this question: Why did the removal of Confederate monuments suddenly become such a hot-button issue? Who is behind this?

The MH staff, in its divine equanimity, can see both sides of this: erasing history is a dangerous rabbit hole down which to travel. Then again, it’s no coincidence that neo-Nazis, the KKK and white supremacists choose to hold gatherings at Stone Mountain. These are vestigial altars for them.

MH’s favorite statue? Located in Hartford, Conn. That’s Horace Wells, a dentist, whose contribution to mankind was that he discovered anesthesia. Few humans have done more to relieve pain (and we’ve never even been a beneficiary of his work)

Monuments are symbols; nothing more. They lose their power if people’s hearts and minds are not bolstered by them. Then again, if this nation were 72% African-American and 12% Caucasian, as opposed to the reverse (which it is), no way in hell those monuments/statues would still be standing. So you can see the point of people who’d like them taken down, no?

We almost forgot: Tina Fey is a University of Virginia alum. So how did we almost forget to post this video from last night about “sheetcaking?”

2. Will The Triple Play?

Cuyler, in 1925, became the last man to hit at least 24 triples in a season

The lowest percentage hit in baseball, in terms of its likeliness? The triple, of course, which is also arguably baseball’s most exciting play. In the past century only one man, Kiki Cuyler, has hit at least 24 triples in one season. And that was in 1925.

The last man to hit 23 in a year? Curtis Granderson, in 2007. The single-season record of 36 in one year was set in 1912 by John “Chief” Wilson of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

This year’s current leader is Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies, who has 14 and appears not to be a threat to touching Granderson’s 21st century mark. Blame it on shorter outfield walls, better outfielders, and more sophisticated defense in terms of cut-off throws. The bases certainly haven’t gotten any farther apart nor have the baserunners slowed down.

Blackmon, by the way, has baseball’s third-best batting average (.335) and second-most hits (164, three behind Jose Altuve of the Astros). If you’re as intrigued by triples as we are, do read Roy Blount, Jr’s 2003 piece on the play in Sports Illustrated. He’s one of the handful of best scribblers ever to write for the mag.

By the way, the two hottest teams in baseball are Boston and Los Angeles. Fox (and the MH staff) would love to see that Fall Classic.


3. Skunk In The Outfield

Not sure if the story by Sam Miller on needed to be this drawn out, considering it’s two high school baseball teams from Rhode Island, but it’s worth the read for the fascinating thing you’ll learn: a runner’s base path is simply a straight line between wherever the baserunner is and the base he’s going for when a tag is attempted. Keep that in mind as you read this story about the trick play that Portsmouth attempted on East Greenwich, a play that lasted 2 minutes and 32 seconds.

Too bad there’s no video. The play took place in 2006.

4. Emma’s Stone Cold Win

So we’re a week late and perhaps Susie B. track-shamed us into including this item, but Friend of MH Emma Coburn won the 3,000 meter steeplechase in London at the World Championships last week. Not only did Coburn win, she set an American record (9:02.58, taking five seconds off her PR) and became the first Yank to win a steeplechase at the Worlds or Olympics since 1952.

That’s Courtney Frerichs of Missouri finishing second. Americans hadn’t finished 1-2 in a race longer than 400 meters at this level or the Olympics since 1912. That’s 105 years ago for those of us who are math-impaired. “I don’t think it’s family friendly what I said to Courtney,” Coburn said about their post-race embrace. “Holy guacamole is the PG version.”

The best part? Emma switched coaches earlier this year, moving to her fiancee, Joe Bosshard. I guess he deserved the job.

5. Barcelona

Why not lead with this story of 13 killed in a terrorist attack on Las Ramblas? Because that’s the entire point of their exercise. Rogue cars are never going to take down the democratized world; only reactionary responses and panic in the wake of such attacks can do that.

Spanish police shot five suspected terrorists dead in the resort town of Cambrils, but the driver is apparently still at large. A minute of silence (below) was held today in Barcelona for the victims.

Music 101

Black Water

Before it was the bay abutting Kings Landing, it was a Delta blues rock classic by the Doobie Brothers. Patrick Simmons wrote the guitar riff and then, upon a visit to New Orleans, was inspired to pen the lyrics. This was a No. 1 hit for the band from San Jose in 1975.

A Word, Please

luddite (noun)

a person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology*

Etymology (from Wikipedia): The movement is said to be named after Ned Ludd, an apprentice who allegedly smashed two stocking frames in 1779 and whose name had become emblematic of machine destroyers. Ned Ludd, however, was completely fictional and used as a way to shock the government