Ecstasy and Agony

by John Walters

A classic in Columbus.

Notre Dame outlasted Connecticut 91-89 in overtime in the Women’s Final Four when Arike Ogunbowale (whose name everyone now knows how to spell and pronounce), buried an isolation-play 22-footer from the right corner in overtime with one second left.

Ogunbowale’s bucket was both an exclamation mark on an extraordinary battle and, for the Huskies, a piercing dagger of deja vu. For the second consecutive season, UConn marched into the national semi-final with a 36-0 record, trailed by its legion of fans using “Is UConn Bad For Women’s Basketbll?” op-eds as toilet paper, only to lose on a last-second shot (and both losses were in overtime; no one has beaten the Huskies in 40 minutes since 2013).

“It’s a great learning tool,” said Geno Auriemma, 64, the greatest coach this sport and most others have ever seen. Then, with a slight grin, he added, “But I’m a pretty smart guy. I don’t need to learn this shit two years in a row.”

We’ll get to Notre Dame’s Good Friday ecstasy later, but it is nearly impossible to appreciate the sense of emptiness that permeates the UConn women’s basketball program on a morning-after such as this. A deep, soul-excavating, gnawing emptiness. As spring arrives in Storrs, a winter of sorts also comes.

The Huskies know that they have the best coaching staff, the most storied program, and thanks to decades of relentless hard work and even more relentless excellence, the best talent. Geno and his associate head coach, Chris Dailey, who has been with him since Day One in Storrs and who herself will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame later this year, know this. They also realize they have transitioned into a weaker conference (from the Big East to the AAC), that they have (for football’s sake) sacrificed many of their appealing regional rivalries (Providence, Syracuse, Villanova, even Notre Dame) for long flights in the dead of winter to distant outposts such as Wichita, Tulsa and Houston that their program has no geographic or emotional connections to (we imagine only New Orleans, via Tulane, puts some warmth in the heart of Geno, a world-class epicure).

The Huskies slog through a desultory conference schedule, regularly Globetrotter-ing conference foes by as many as 60 points, while also putting together the most arduous non-conference schedule they can, both to prepare them for Final Four weekend and to keep Geno from jamming forks into his eyes at the utter monotony of it all.

(And yet, Geno keeps it entertaining for himself and his team because he has a fantastic, if occasionally caustic, sense of humor. His rogue move with the Dasani bottle at the NCAA presser on Thursday was vintage Geno. He’s not just funny: he’s truly a person who GETS IT: good family, close friends, hard work, good times. He gets it.)

Compound this with, due to winter quarter, a campus being closed for most of January so that players are holed up in an off-campus hotel without their outside friends and acquaintances and distractions, then the harsh central Connecticut winter that extends until, basically, Final Four weekend (note: if you live or grew up in Fairfield County, that’s not Connecticut; that’s just Upper Westchester; real Connecticut is SOOOO much colder and rural), and it all adds up to this: After 32 seasons, but particularly now, unless the Huskies are cutting down the nets in early April, the season is a failure. An abject failure.

Geno, more than any other coach I’ve ever encountered, is a consummate sports fan. He is also a lover of irony and movies, etc. And so with distance he will be able to appreciate the irony of a man who’s won 11 national titles and 147 of his past 149 games, who owns the most national championships of any Division I coach in men’s or women’s hoops and who owns the TWO longest winning streaks (90 and 111 games) in women’s college basketball, being this: a tragic figure.

But in a sense, today, he is. Because as a sports fan, Geno appreciates that in the past two seasons, he’s been the guy who led the Olympic marathon the entire way, in world-record time, and was passed in the final two steps.


What’s next for Geno, who is visibly more subdued on the bench now? He also has 86’ed the tie, but unlike the past, he keeps his suit jacket on the entire game (that used to be doffed after five minutes). He also appears to be wearing more comfortable shoes (sneakers) as is he’s channeling NBC-era Letterman. What’s next?

Well, UConn, which only played six players on Friday night and will lose two of them (seniors Kia Nurse, Gabby Williams) next season, will add the nation’s top recruit, 5’11” guard Christyn Willams of Arkansas. And Geno is keenly interested in a current slender sophomore from the Twin Cities area, Paige Bueckers (he has already visited a handful of times; Bueckers scored 37 in Hopkins’ state championship game loss in mid-March). He has indicated that he wants to coach until he’s 70. We’ll see.

In Jere Longman’s New York Times write-up of Friday night’s game, he explored the evolution of women’s college basketball and likened Geno’s hegemony to that of UCLA’s John Wooden in the men’s game (this, of course, would make Pat Summitt Adolph Rupp). There’s more than a little truth to that comparison, as we will definitely see more parity, if not this consistent level of excellence, once Geno retires.

As for Notre Dame, Muffet McGraw has now played Geno 47 times in her 31 seasons in South Bend (more than any other coach) and has defeated him 12 times. That, relatively, is extraordinary. And make no mistake: UConn’s coaching staff relishes silencing Notre Dame more than any other school (they’re devoted Catholics with a little bit of a chip on their shoulders about the school’s self-righteousness).

Geno’s presence on the women’s basketball stage has likely precluded Muffet from winning more than her one national championship (in 2001; in that year the Irish trailed UConn by as many as 15 points in the first half of the national semi and then won going away), but her presence has prevented him from winning more, too. They are the USC-Notre Dame football of women’s college hoops.

The walls of Notre Dame’s Administration Building are adorned with murals depicting Columbus. Muffet & Co. could provide a reason to update a Columbus mural tomorrow night.

These two suburban Philadelphians go way back. Way back. They were both college-aged counselors at Cathy Rush’s immortal Philly-area basketball camps in the Seventies (Rush’s Immaculata College, won three AIAW national championships and had a slew of nuns cheering for them in the stands, making a hell of a racket by banging buckets on the floor; Sister Jean was not the first). McGraw played at St. Joe’s in the late 1970s and Geno joined the coaching staff the year after she graduated, his first women’s college coaching position. Their shared history dates back 40 years.

For McGraw, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last September (along with UConn icon Rebecca Lobo, who was seated courtside last night as an ESPN2 analyst), this had to be one of her most satisfying victories. The Irish lost FOUR players to ACL tears this season (“As Tears Go By…”) and yet here they are, knocking out the Mike Tyson of women’s basketball. They’ll get Mississippi State on Sunday, the team that knocked out UConn last season on a buzzer beater by 5’3″ Morgan William (who’ll start Sunday) but who failed to win the national championship.

By the way, notice the difference in Geno’s reactions to the two fatal blows of the past two Final Fours. In 2017 it was a bemused “It had to happen some time” but on Good Friday night it was a forlorn, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

One final note: The Irish are playing on Easter Sunday (but then, the Notre Dame men were knocked out of the NIT on St. Patrick’s Day). When they won it all in 2001, in San Antonio by beating Purdue, it was also Easter Sunday.



by John Walters

Starting Five

Gone Carlo!

You’ll be happy to know that the New York Yankees are overdogs again and perhaps it’s okay for those of you outside a 25-mile radius of the Grand Concourse to loathe them once more. Giancarlo Stanton hit a home run in his first at-bat in pinstripes road gray, and added a second bomb in the ninth. Yankees win, THEEEEEE Yankees win!

Brett Gardner added a home run. That’s 3 on the season. The Major League team record for one season is 264.

2. Blast Off*

*The judges will also accept, “Happ Happens” or “Happ Days Are Here Again”

First pitch, first game of the entire Major League Baseball season, and Chicago Cubs leadoff hitter Ian Happ deposited it into the right field seats at Marlins Park. If it feels as if Miami’s season is already over, it is.

3. The Song Of David

Ingraham has since deleted this tweet

Marjory Stoneman-Douglas High School senior/mass shooting survivor David Hogg has a 4.2 GPA and yet four colleges rejected him (I wonder if any of them are rethinking that). So Fox News harridan Laura Ingraham tweets that out; yes, a woman with an estimated worth of $70 million is trolling a 17 year-old shooting survivor.


Hogg fights back, tweets the sponsors of Ingraham’s program and asks followers to contact them. By day’s end, four have dropped her show. Ingraham then tweets out a non-apology, without acknowledging she was wrong, which is the fundamental aspect of an apology.


For the record, Hogg was rejected by four California state schools: UCLA, UCSD, UCSB and UC-Irvine. He was accepted at Cal State-San Marcos, Cal Poly, and Florida Atlantic.

David: Take a gap year (and a job as a correspondent at MSNBC or CNN).

4. Eye of the Cheetah

Someone is going to need a change of undergarments when the jeep returns to camp.

5. Hart-Breaking

Lower right

Kept thinking about the tragedy of the Hart mothers driving off a cliff in northern California earlier this week with at least three—and quite possibly all six—of their adopted children in the vehicle. And this happened not long after Child Protective Services in Washington made a third visit to their home in one week.

And while we sincerely hope this was an accident (there were no skid marks on the side of the road, and no witnesses), we were reminded of the closing scene from Harold and Maude. That’s how quickly it can happen and how destructive it is. Their vehicle, too, landed upside down (the difference is that no occupants or banjos jumped out at the last second).

Remote Patrol

Women’s Final Four

UConn vs. Notre Dame

9 p.m. ESPN2

Facts: UConn has won 147 of 148. Notre Dame has handed the Huskies seven of their 13 defeats in the last nine-plus seasons. Huskies have Katie Lou, Notre Dame does not.


by John Walters

Tweet du Jour


Starting Five

The Human Race

It’s tax season, which for many Americans is refund season. If you’re a farmer, there are a plethora of tax breaks available to you, and that’s before we even mention off-the-books payments to migrant workers. If you have children, each one of them represents a tax refund.

But what if you are fit? What if the shape in which you keep yourself contributes to your never, or rarely, having to see a physician? And because of that you are helping to keep government-funded health-care costs down? What do you get? Nothing.

Yesterday CNBC staged its first Healthy Returns: Investing in Health Care Innovation conference in New York City. At one point a female guest argued, as yours truly has many times in the past, that we’re doing health care backwards. The best possible health care is daily exercise, smart diet (which doesn’t mean maniacal: we know our way around a Hostess display), and adequate sleep.

And, because so much money is spent on health care after-the-fact each year, we wondered what would happen if the government provided inducements for us to stay fit. Simply put, we’d love to see tax breaks if, in accordance with your age and gender, you could run a 5-K or a mile within a certain time. Personally, we’d advocate the 5-K.

We could haggle over the exact times, but we’d look at what the Top 25% times are per age group in any major 5-K race. And we’d give those people tax breaks. Is running the only way to measure fitness? No, but it’s the simplest way, as it requires no outside equipment outside shoes and shorts and a top.

This country, while relatively wealthy, is morbidly obese. And obesity contributes to the number one killer of Americans: heart disease. Poor diet also plays a major role in another killer: diabetes. Comedian Michelle Wolf suggests, “I think we should change the name of Type I Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes to Not-Your-Fault Diabetes and Mostly-Your-Fault Diabetes.”

Jim Fixx wrote “The Complete Book of Running,” then died of a heart attack while on a run at age 52. We figured we’d bring up this notable exception to the rule to save you the trouble.

We received push-back on Twitter about this suggestion yesterday, people claiming that it isn’t fair. That those who could not get the tax break are being “punished.”

A few thoughts on that…

A) Since when are taxes a level playing field? I’m “punished” for not having children. Someone who earns $500,000 is disproportionately “punished” by not only paying more taxes if the rate was flat—which it is not—but by having to pay a higher percentage than someone who earns $50,000. Someone who keeps themselves in, say, the top 10% of fitness of all Americans is being “punished” because we can assure you, they are on average getting much less out of our health-care system now than the average American is.

B) It’s a tax “break,” not a penalty for others. Complaining that you’re not getting a tax break because you can’t run a 5-K in a certain time is kinda like being a UMBC student this week who, when hearing that Little Caesar’s would be distributing free pizzas, complains, “But I have class at that time!” It’s a gift! It’s not a right. There’s a difference.

C) Remember the FitBit craze? And that was just to show off your wrist-wear and compete against your friends/family? Now imagine a fitness craze for dollars. The difference is that it would have so many beneficial collateral effects. If Americans started getting in shape for that tax discount, we’d have less obesity-related illnesses. We’d also have fewer depressed Americans and a lot of people might discover a sense of self-discipline that they had never “exercised” before. As a whole, we’d be a more fit country and our health-care system would be less, um, taxed.

Before you got there, OF COURSE being able to run a 5-K in good time is not going to make you immune from Parkinson’s Disease or cancer or a whole host of other illnesses. No one is suggesting that (Spoiler Alert: We all die in the end). But as a population we would be much healthier and as a tax base we’d be spending less money on health care.

Now someone might say, This is unfair to the disabled or I can’t run any more because I had a knee replacement and this is unfair to me. Answer: You’re damn right it is unfair to you. Just like the government spending disproportionately on your health needs may be unfair to those Americans (yes, “of us”) who have never cost our country a dime in health care.

But the idea of the tax break is not to punish those who cannot do the 5-K in a certain time. It’s to reward those who are able to and better yet, it’s to motivate those who might be able to if they simply altered their lifestyles.

Spend some time around runners who do sub-7 minute miles. You’ll notice they are uncommonly healthy.

How much of a tax break would it be? We don’t know. The point is, when it comes to income taxes, Americans are not treated equally when it comes to how much they earn, how much property they own, whether or not they’re farmers, or parents. And yet, we are all treated the same when it comes to how we take care of our bodies, even though our failure to do so means that our health-care system is needlessly overburdened. Oh, and let’s not even go down the opioid crisis rabbit hole, which is related to Americans recovering from surgeries, etc.

If America were induced to be more fit, we’d all save money. And we’d all be better off physically, financially, even spiritually. You are your primary-care provider. The government should reward you for doing an outstanding job.

2. Tim Cook Dunks On Mark Zuckerberg

Go to 1:45

3. The Last Holocaust Victim?

Mireille Knoll was a nine year-old girl living in Paris in 1942 when invading German forces rounded up her and other Jews and sent them off to Auschwitz. Unlike many of her fellow Parisian Jews, Knoll survived the death camp.

Parisians march/gather to commemorate Knoll

Last week Knoll, 85, was fatally stabbed (11 times)  by two young men (one, a neighbor) who apparently targeted her because she is Jewish. What a world we live in.

4. Donald Trump Impersonator Explains Donald Trump

We liked this psychoanalysis of the president as espoused by Tony Atamanuik.

5. It Always Comes Back To Seinfeld




This is the Hart family. Parents Jennifer and Sarah and five of their six adopted children. The other day their SUV was found upside down at the bottom of a cliff off Highway I, on rocky shores of the Pacific Ocean, a hundred or so miles north of San Francisco. The mothers and three of the children were found dead and the other three are missing.

There were no skid marks as the SUV went 75 feet off road before Thelma & Louse-ing into   the abyss. The New York Times has disturbing news about the way the children were being raised, just recently. And the boy in the hat is the same lad whose photo of him hugging a police officer in Oregon went viral a few years back.

Music 101

Stand And Deliver

Adam Ant: New Wave pop star or adjective, or both?

Remote Patrol


12:30 p.m.

It’s good to be Kris Bryant

The Cubs visit the Marlins, followed by the world-champion Astros at the Rangers (3:30 p.m.), followed by the Dodgers at Giants (7 p.m.), followed by the Indians at the Mariners (10 p.m.)


by John Walters

Tweet du Jour


Starting Five

Fine, China

You think you know a president-for-life, and then he goes and welcomes Little Rocket Man, who reportedly took a secret train, to visit him in his country. For those of you who are diehard sports fans, neither of these dudes are related to Pablo Torre (or are Pablo Torre).

2. Head Games

Today, the NFL will address the on-field kissing issue

It’s subject to change, but this is the new rule the NFL wants to institute to address concussions this season: “It is a (15-yard) foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent.”

Notice, this did not say “his helmet against an opponent’s helmet.” The NFL is concerned that is had a record-high 291 concussions last season, but that record may be due to the fact that the NFL had its head in the sand about concussions until just a couple years ago.

Just when the NFL made the catch rule sane again, they do this. Will they be reviewing these hits? Welcome to the seven-hour NFL game.

3. Who Is Daniel Vogelbach?

It may not matter once Opening Day (tomorrow!) hits, but one player led all of baseball in batting average (.407), home runs (7) and RBI (15) during spring training, even though he has only 40 at-bats in regular season play. Meet Seattle Mariner 1st baseman Daniel Vogelbach, a 6’0″, 250-pound lefty slugger from Florida.

Originally drafted by the Cubs in 2011 (after batting .551 as a high school senior), Vogelbach looks and hits just too much like Kyle Schwarber, and you just can’t have two of them on the same roster. It’s a rule.

It was announced on Sunday that Vogelbach has made the M’s Opening Day roster, so now the rookie gets to be teammates with Ichiro Suzuki (who will likely begin the season on the disabled list).

4. Siberian Nightmare

No one is yet certain how the fire started

A fire at a mall in Siberia (we had no idea, either) on Sunday took 64 lives, 41 of them children’s. The inferno at Winter Cherry, a mall in the city of Kemerovo, 2,000 miles east of Moscow, is being blamed on officials who took bribes to not enforce safety measures and codes during the construction of the mall five years ago. Is this any way to celebrate Vladimir Putin’s sham election?

“I no longer have a family,” wrote Igor Vostrikov, who lost his wife, three children and a sister in the blaze. “The ruling regime is guilty. Every bureaucrat dreams of stealing like Putin. Every state functionary treats people like garbage.”

5. Roseanne

Didn’t one of the Becky’s become a doctor and end up with Zach Braff?

Roseanne! You don’t have to put out the red light! Roseanne! You don’t have to sell your body to—oh, wait. Did we just take a wrong turn down memory lane? Anyway, the latest sitcom re-boot to air after Will & Grace and One Day At A Time (wait, you tell me Bonnie Franklin and Pat Harrington aren’t in this one?) is Roseanne, which premiered last night with John Goodman’s Dan character returning from the dead and both Becky’s.

Wake us when they revive All In The Family, with Meathead now dealing with a neo-Nazi son-in-law who bears a striking resemblance to Eric Trump.

Music 101


If you were a liberal arts major in the Eighties, you owned Squeeze‘s “Singles.” It was required, just like the Norton Anthology of English Literature.


Remote Patrol

The Diary of Anne Frank

8 p.m. TCM

If this were updated, Anne Frank would just post to Instagram and Facebook (“TFW living in this attic”), who would sell her data to the Nazis and the entire film would be over in 15 minutes. I’ve often imagined a dyslexic-friendly version of this story, The Dairy of Anne Frank, would have a much happier ending.



by John Walters

Starting Five

Is Katie Lou Samuelson the best player in women’s college hoops (Yes)?

1.  Again?

Both UConn (36-0)and Notre Dame (33-3) advance to the Final Four in Columbus, where they will meet in a national semi Friday night (the other semi-finalists, Mississippi State and Louisville, have beaten the Huskies and Irish, respectively, in the past year).


–The Huskies have won 147 of their past 148 games.

–The Huskies have advanced to an NCAA-record 11 consecutive Final Fours.

—The Huskies have won 11 national championships.

Arike Ogunbowale averages 20.7 ppg for the Irish

–The Huskies last lost two games in a row in March of 1993, 25 years ago this month.

–Notre Dame, which has only won one national championship (the Irish took down UConn in the national semis), in 2001, advance to their sixth Final Four in the past eight seasons.

—In the last 10 seasons, including this won, the Huskies have lost 13 times. Seven of those 13 defeats have come to the Irish.

Geno Auriemma and Muffet McGraw are both Philly-area kids, both were counselors at the camp run by the immortal Cathy Rush, both have a connection to St. Joe’s (she played there; he was an assistant there, starting the year after she graduated), both have been at their current schools for at least 30 seasons, and both are already enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

—The two programs don’t like one another. At all.

—Finally, this hed “Is Geno Auriemma Pretending To Be Okay” is rather cryptic, considering it’s not really addressed in the piece. People close to Geno know what author Shana Renee is referring to, but it’s odd that she’s float that out like that. And that ESPN, which has an outstanding relationship with Geno, would run it.

2. You Can’t Win If You Don’t Finish

The notorious and redoubtable Barkley Marathons were (was?) staged again this weekend, somewhere in rural Tennessee, and not for the first time, nobody won. Because nobody finished.

The annual 100-mile ultra marathon, which is comprised of five 20-mile loops and is staged in Frozen Head State Park, puts a 36-hour cutoff for the first three loops. Most runners had either already quit or failed to make the two-loop deadline. Two runners were still on the course for the three-loop deadline but missed the 36-hour cutoff.

The Barkley was run on a weekend in which Tennessee endured a snow storm. Are we having fun yet?

One reason the Barkley is so sadistic is because the course is purposefully poorly marked. Runners prove that they have reached certain points of the course by tearing out pages of books they find at certain checkpoints.

The race, which began in 1986 and maxes out at 40 entrants, has only had 18 finishers in its history. It has never had a female finisher, though MH friend Amelia Boone entered this year (we’ll wait for her to provide the details on her own blog, Race Ipsa Loquitur).

3. The Calm After The Stormy*

*The judges will also accept “Bulls On Parade”

Where are all the female traders?

As the tempest that was the Stormy Daniels interview on 60 Minutes passed without leaving much damage on the ground, Wall Street rebounded with a gain of 652 points, its fourth-largest single-day surge in history (two of the previous four took place during the midst of the sub-prime loan crisis, when news that TARP had passed stopped the bleeding; I guess Rick Santorum would call it CPR).


Netflix was one of the day’s biggest gainers, jumping $19.41, or 6.45%. Amazon also had a big day, jumping $60 per share, or 4%.

4. The Saudi Prince and Eloise

Our favorite NYC hotel. Now reopen the Oak Room, chop chop!

The MH staff made an outing to the Plaza Hotel over the weekend and was told we couldn’t use a first-floor bathroom because someone had rented out THE ENTIRE HOTEL for the week. Now, who could that be, we wondered? But they would not tell us.

So then we remembered that the Plaza, which was once owned by Donald Trump (and is the site of the final scene of The Way We Were, among other moments in pop culture), has a Saudi who owns 50% of it. And then we saw that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (“Sal-bass!”) was in town looking at “investment opportunities” and, as one paper reported, “accompanied by a large delegation from the ministries of energy, commerce, trade and others.”

So cover your head this week, Eloise. If you don’t want to lose it.

5. Foreign Affairs

Alpaca lunch

We’re not millennials so we ordinarily never go to Reddit, but this is a genius idea that’s worth checking back on. Basically, the site asks its “non-American” users to share the biggest story in their country right now. So in just a few minutes we’ve learned of serial decapitations in Senegal, a lonely blind alpaca in New Zealand (her brother has been stolen), and about a journalist and his wife being murdered in Slovakia.

We didn’t say it was not depressing. It is. But it is informative.


Mora The Same?

Yesterday Jim Mora, who was Josh RosenRosen’s coach at UCLA for three seasons, spoke candidly about whether the Cleveland Browns should take his QB number one overall: ““Because of fit, I would take Sam Darnold if I were the Cleveland Browns,” Mora, who is no longer the coach at UCLA, said. ““I think [Darnold has] that blue-collar, gritty attitude. I think his teammates will love him. I think the city will love him. He’ll say the right things. He’ll come in and represent well. I think he kind of represents what Cleveland is.”

The Big Lead wrote this up and lauded Mora for being so candid (“Good for Mora for going out there and serving as the conductor of the Straight Talk Express“). Now, do we think Mora would have been this honest if he were still the UCLA coach (No)? Is this a slight to RosenRosen (yes, slightly)? But kudos to TBL for praising a coach for being honest.

Last April 3, almost 51 weeks ago exactly, The Big Lead admonished Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly for saying that his quarterback DeShone Kizer could use another season instead of heading to the Browns. Said Kelly: “DeShone Kizer has a strong arm and is physically gifted. I think he has all the tools but needs time.”

This isn’t exactly withering criticism. And sure, Kelly had a personal stake in Kizer remaining in South Bend. Still, he was candid and in our view more respectful of Kizer than Mora is being of Rosen (in which Mora compares his own QB unfavorably to the Bruins’ crosstown rival QB).

What did The Big Lead write about Kelly? “It sounds like Kelly threw Kizer under the bus.” They walked that back some, but chided Kelly and opined that “he could have been more diplomatic.”



Two stories from yesterday worth reading: PFT Commenter on Sister Jean and a Bay Area beat writer shares tales of being married to the competition.

Music 101 

Somebody To Love

Talk about a career arc: From performing at Woodstock in 1969 to recording the cheesiest hit of the Eighties (“We Built This City”) in 1985. The Jefferson Airplane went from Summer of Love Bay Area avatars (“White Rabbit”) to perceived sellouts the Jefferson Starship by the mid-Eighties. If only they could find their way back…

Remote Patrol

She Wore A Yellow Ribbon

9:45 p.m. TCM

If only the Apaches had built a wall to keep out the illegal immigrants…

John Ford, John Wayne, Monument Valley. What else do you need? This is our cousin’s favorite Western. From 1949.


by John Walters

Tweet du Jour


Stupid Is As Rick Santorum Says

Starting Five

Weapons of Mass Instruction*

*The judges will also accept “March Sanity”

In Washington, D.C., in New York, in Los Angeles, in Parkland, Fla., even in Rome, hundreds of thousands of people gathered for the March For Our Lives. The best counterattack the NRA could come up with, via NRAtv host Colion Noir, was to rebuke MSD activists such as David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez with, “No one would know your names” if it weren’t for the Parkland shooting.

That is the “They should be thanking ESPN” of 2018.

By the way, is Emma Gonzalez not the most potent speaker Washington has seen in at least a couple of years?


2. Cinderella at 98*

America’s most famous cheerleader is a 98 year-old nun

*The judges wish to thank the great Cecil Hurt, who thought of that

Sister Jean is the easy draw when it comes to noticing Loyola of Chicago, but the 1963 national champions are returning to the Final Four because of beautiful and unselfish basketball. The Ramblers will meet Michigan, which will be their first opponent in the NCAAs that finished the season ranked in the top 10 (7th).

The Rambler backcourt of Clayton Custer and Ben Richardson have been teammates since the third grade back home in Overland Park, Kansas. And after Saturday night’s 78-62 defeat of Kansas State, Richardson, who scored a game-high 23 points, told a funny story about how a young lady at their hotel asked Custer to take a photo of her and Richardson, then asked the hero of the Ramblers’ Round of 32 win versus Tennessee, “Are you on the team?”

Custer was also the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year.

The Ramblers are 21-1 since January 3rd, their lone defeat coming by 2 points at Bradley.

3. Say Goodnight, Grayson

Duke lost. Senior Grayson Allen’s potential game-winner as time expired rimmed in and out, Kansas forced overtime, and then the Blue Devil anti-hero missed everything he tossed at the basket—and yes, there was some hero ball going on—until his final shot, when the outcome was already decided. He shot 3 of 13 for the game.

Most hoops fans who did not graduate from Duke will not miss Allen, a four-year player who as a freshman was Coach K’s unlikely Final Four hero. He did not finish in the all-time Duke Top 10 in Scoring or Assists, but he was someone who played college hoops whom we all knew for more than three full seasons, which is unbelievably rare these days.  Nowadays, the only college hoops people who are household names for three years are coaches.

Allen will likely be a late first-rounder and could see three teammates taken ahead of him.

This isn’t a one-and-done pro- or con- argument. And who knows how good of a pro the 6’5″ Allen will be? It’s just an acknowledgement that college basketball is better when we have recurring characters, as opposed to recurring uniforms. For that, we owe Grayson Allen a trip of, I mean a tip of, our caps.

4. Overblown Stormy

We think we learned more about Giannis Antetokounmpo last night on 60 Minutes than we did of Donald Trump and Stormy Daniels. The star of One Wild & Crazy Night detailed her one wild and crazy night with the president that occurred 11 years ago, which included a spanking—administered by her—and an observation by Trump, shortly before the banging, that she reminded him of Ivanka. Ew.

Otherwise, we were left rather empty and unsatisfied after viewing.

5. Latimore Crushes LaVar

In October, former Arizona and Notre Dame hoopster Dennis Latimore became the third coach in three seasons at Chino Hills (Calif.) High School. The school hasn’t had a coaching revolving door because it cannot win: two years ago, under Steve Baik, the team went 35-0 and won the CIF state championship.

Baik left on his own accord and last year first-year coach Stephan Gilling led them to a 30-3 record. Then Gilling either left or was fired after having to deal with this type of crap.

The turbulence was always due to LaVar Ball, whose sons Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo played for Chino. Before Latimore was hired LaVar went to the school administration and asked to add four players to the team. Latimore would have none of it. “I came in and my mission was to coach the team. I wasn’t going to have a parent tell me what to do,” said Latimore. “Period. Or I wasn’t going to take the job. I had that conversation with the administration. He left and moved on. Guys are united and we’re having a lot of fun.”

Okongwu blossomed this season, more than doubling his scoring average to 24 ppg

So LaVar pulled his last son, LaMelo, out of school and said he’d home school him and coach LaMelo himself (“I’m going to make him the best basketball player ever,” LaVar said in his Trumpian tone). LaMelo, on his way out the door, suggested someone should do a “30 for 30” on his old school, on “how it went from best to worst.”

Well, LaMelo and LaVar spent the winter in Lithuania. And last weekend Latimore led Chino Hills to the Division I state championship in three years. The team lost its best player, 6’9″ Onyeka Okongwu (27 points, 14 boards) for the final 4 minutes of its 73-68 title win over Las Lomas due to foul trouble, but as Latimore said afterward, “This team is bigger than any one player.”

Or stage dad.

By the way, if this sounds a little bit like Hoosiers (Latimore is Norman Dale, LaVar is that mean-ass dad who threatens Norman, and Okongwu is Jimmy Chitwood), it should.

Music 101

Just The Way You Are

Billy Joel‘s 1978 breakout hit (No. 3 on the Billboard charts) was written in homage to his then-wife and business manager, Elizabeth Weber. Eight years later he was married to Christie Brinkley and his drummer would jokingly replace the lyric “I love you just the way you are” with “She got the house, she got the car.”

Remote Patrol

The Martian

7 p.m. NatGeo Channel

We’ve always thought of this 2014 Matt Damon flick as Cast Away in outer space. But it’s a better film. This will be followed by One Strange Rock (10 p.m., NatGeo), which is the network’s answer to the Planet Earth series (and does not star Jon Lithgow).



by John Walters*



Tweet du Jour



Starting Five

Xavier Sneed and Bruce Weber survive and advance. A K-State v Kansas final remains a possibility.

1. Seeding Is Believing


On Tuesday suggested that the NCAA tournament should be reseeded to account for the plethora of upsets in Rounds 1 and 2. On Thursday night the bottom four schools in ESPN’s re-sod—No. 13 Florida State, 14 Loyola, 15 Michigan and 16 Kansas State—all won.

And yes, that’s one half of the remaining teams. One of this four will play in the national championship game April 2.

2. The Worst Wing: Express

Too much to cover for one day, so we’ll zip through:

Dow down 724 points…

10 out of 10 “bad stock market day” pics show a bald man putting a palm to his forehead

Karen McDougal: I’m a playmate, not a pay-mate. She tells CNN Trump tried to hand her cash after sex.


H.R. McMaster (of the house) resignw and will be replaced by “BOMB THEM NOW AND ALWAYS!” dude John Bolton. If you’r scoring at home, this was 8 days ago…




Also, Trump lawyer John Dowd resigned yesterday (at least one a week fired or resigns, just like The Apprentice). We suspect he got tired of Trump telling him he’s going to speak


Like McMaster, Dowd’s exodus was reported by the press, who were then called liars by the Worst Wing, but the press was vindicated within a fortnight.


3. Lady And The Trump

That’s Poland’s first lady, Agata Kornhauser-Duda, doing the blow-by handshake at a public event in Warsaw last summer. We honestly don’t know why it suddenly became a big issue on Twitter yesterday. Anyway, great dress Melania. You Eastern European women gotta stick together.

And yes, Agata did eventually shake Donald’s hand, but not first. Not when it was offered.

4. Ruth Judges Bill

The writer of this piece at (consider the name of the site), Andrea Ruth, either isn’t very good at making an argument—the essence of editorial writing—or she is being intentionally disingenuous. I’m going to go with the latter.

Bill Murray appears on Today on Wednesday and of course because he spoke out in favor of the students NATIONWIDE who are trying to bring common sense to gun laws, Ruth and redstate had to attack. Here’s his first quote that she assailed:

I was thinking, looking at the kids in Parkland, Florida who have started these anti-gun protests, that it really was the students that began the end of the Vietnam War. It was the students who made all the news, and that noise started, and then the movement wouldn’t stop. I think, maybe, this noise that those students in Florida are making — here, today — will do something of the same nature.

You may disagree with the students as to their strategy for making schools safer. You may not like that Murray is supporting them. That’s fine. But the analogy is accurate; perhaps not in scope but in all the principles: young people protesting being put at unnecessary risk via the decisions of politicians who would never expose themselves (or their children, let it be noted, almost all of whom attend tony private schools) to the same risk. And that’s what analogies do: identify common principles, as opposed to identifying common details or similar scope.

Of course, Ruth fails to appreciate this, writing, “The Parkland students aren’t being sent to war, they’re being sent to school.” Duh. She does write, “It’s true the students are the ones making the noise and getting on the news, but the difference is, as always, in the context.” Again, duh. Analogies aren’t clones; they’re comparisons. She then writes, “Murray goes on to spout more nonsense…” which is an indication that she believes what Murray said above is nonsense, even though she just also wrote, “”It’s true the students are the ones making the noise and getting on the news.”

So to recap thus far, she begrudgingly admits that Murray’s analogy is accurate but then calls it nonsense because it’s not an apples to apples comparison, which is not what analogies are.

Now it gets better. I’ll let this tweet summarize the second half of my argument:


Murray apparently makes the horrible mistake of espousing peace—Happy Easter, everyone!—and she assails him for that by saying that man’s nature is not peaceful, so he’s stupid. Murray never claimed that man being peaceful is man’s nature, only that—as Jesus did—we should aspire to a peaceful nature.

It says a lot about her and about Red State America that someone proposing peace is vilified. Their argument is how can we have peace without violence? Do they know how ridiculous that sounds?

You don’t want anyone’s clammy hands on your AR-15? We get it; we don’t agree, but we get it. At least makes logically consistent articles. And don’t hide behind Jesus when you would ridicule anyone who echoes His words.

Maybe we should offer our editing services to But we don’t think they’d want them.

5. The Sea and The Old Man

Meet 70 year-old Aleksander Doba of Poland, who last summer at the age of 70 completed his THIRD solo trans-Atlantic crossing by kayak. This is his story and a well-told one it is.

Music 101 

Free Ride

Texas native Edgar Winter was aptly named, as he may be the most (only?) famous albino in rock ‘n roll history. The Edgar Winter Group had Top 20 hit in 1973 with this hit that is now a staple of classic rock. We mean, after all, a double-necked guitar and an over-the-shoulder keyboard in one performance?!?

Remote Patrol

March Madness Sweet Sixteen

7 PM

CBS Kansas vs Clemson

TBS Villanova vs West Virginia

9 PM

CBS Duke vs Syracuse

TBS Purdue v Texas Tech

We can’t name a single player on Clemson’s team and they don’t even have a cool nun on their sideline

We’re hoping for a Pur-Duke Elite Eight game, but our picks tonight are Clemson, Villanova, Duke and Purdue. Are there two teams who’ve been written about/discussed less than the Tigers and Red Raiders, by the way?


by John Walters

Tweet du Jour


This extinction is entirely man-made.

And then…


Starting Five

“Stuart! What are youuuuu doing here?”

1. The Californian

Despite the affirmations of Albert Hammond, it does rain in southern California, even if you’re the presumptive number one overall pick in next month’s NFL draft and it’s your pro day and scouts are there to see you throw.

No one called off Sam Darnold‘s pro day, however, and the USC passer threw in the rain and the world didn’t end. By all accounts, Darnold is not going to be able to escape the clutches of the Cleveland Browns. So do the Giants take Saquon Barkley or do they pick a quarterback, and whom?

2. No Chicks Allowed

White House meets with Saudis, Wednesday. Is it still International Women’s Day?

3. Whether Stormy

CBS announced that the 60 Minutes Stormy Daniels interview will air this Sunday (with a lead-in from an Elite Eight game, natch!) and that it will last 20 minutes. As one tweep offered, “I usually watch Stormy Daniels on screen for about three minutes and then strangely become disinterested.

Frank Bruni of the NYT had an interesting insight as to the president’s dearth of tweets or put-downs regarding one Stephanie Clifford, a.k.a. Daniels, a.k.a. Peggy Peterson.

Meanwhile, like you, we have empathy for Melania. I mean, it can’t be easy to be the First Lady as news breaks that your husband is a philanderer and the opposition party is trying to impeach him. That’s probably why, as was the case with Hillary Clinton, Melania is garnering so much empathy.

Yes, we kid. So the question is, How come America hated Hillary for standing by her husband but feels so protective of Melania for not abandoning hers? A few reasons: 1) Melania is prettier 2) Hillary is smart 3) Melania almost never speaks and 4) and this is the big one, Hillary is ambitious.

4. Bitcoin Gets En-Dorsey-ment

Twitter CEO and nowhere-near-as-nerdy-looking-as-Zuckerberg tech magnate Jack Dorsey came out yesterday and proclaimed to The Times (UK), “The world ultimately will have a single currency, the internet will have a single currency. I personally believe that it will be bitcoin… probably over ten years, but it could go faster.”

Whoa. And after we just sold all of our Bitcoin. Sure, Susie B. has her ears plugged and keeps repeating, “Tulips! Tulips! Tulips!” but what if Jack’s right? And shouldn’t he know more about the future of business and tech than we do? And what if you took that gamble? How many chances will you have in your lifetime to increase your net worth 10x or 100x or even 1,000x on one wager?

I mean, if you passed on Apple and Amazon…something to think about.

5. The Slugger

When your name is Blaze Jordan, you don’t need a nickname. The 15 year-old Southaven, Mississippi, native has yet to start lifting weights but is possessed of farm boy strength. As an 11 year-old he smacked a 395-foot home run and two years later he was able to launch rockets 500 feet. He’s 6’1″, 215 pounds and he’s only just starting to shed the baby fat.

Blaze Jordan. Remember the name. How would you forget?

Music 101


The Jacksonville-based band Classics IV had a No. 5 hit with this moody paean to a lass whom singer Dennis Yost hoped would “bring back that sunny day.” The president cannot hope for anything near that much, we imagine.

Remote Patrol

March Madness

7 p.m.

CBS Nevada vs. Loyola

TBS Texas A&M vs. Michigan

9 p.m.

CBS Kansas State vs. Kentucky

TBS Florida State vs. Gonzaga

Hamadou Diallo can fly

A double doubleheader, although TCM is coming guns a’ blazin’ with a doubleheader of Sunset Boulevard (8 p.m.) and Gone With The Wind (10 p.m.). We like Nevada, A&M, Kentucky and Gonzaga, but not William Holden or Vivian Leigh.


by John Walters

Tweet du Jour


Starting Five

A Colonel Of Truth*

*The judges will also accept “Pox On Fox” or “Take This ISB And Shove It”

Going where Congressman Paul Ryan, Senator Mitch McConnell, and mouthpieces such as Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Jesse Watters and Laura Ingraham have dared not tread, retired Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters found the temerity to acknowledge the distinction between conservatism and Trumpism and put his money where his mouth is. In a letter to colleagues at Fox, where he had been a contributor for a decade, Peters announced his resignation. In his words…


As you may have expected, Fox News fired back (presumably from its No-Spin Zone): “Ralph Peters is entitled to his opinion despite the fact that he’s choosing to use it as a weapon in order to gain attention. We are extremely proud of our top-rated primetime hosts and all of our opinion programming.”

2. Frost, Nixon

She is not a crook

The two big stories in New York City yesterday: 1) a spring storm is on the way that may dump as much as 10″ of snow on the streets (I’m dreaming of a white equinox…) and 2) actress Cynthia Nixon has entered the Democratic gubernatorial primary race.

It took less than 24 hours for Christine Quinn, a supporter of Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo, to refer to Nixon as “an unqualified lesbian.” In fairness to Quinn, she is a lesbian who lost a run for mayor of New York City and thinks of herself as “a qualified lesbian.”

3. There IS an Oklahoma Draftee Who’s Like Bitcoin—And It’s Not Baker Mayfield

Oklahoma freshman Trae Young, who led the nation in both Scoring (27.4 per game) and Assists (8.7 per) this season but was unable to lead the Sooners to a first-round NCAA tourney victory, has announced that he will enter the NBA draft.

For much of the late fall and early winter, our friend Jason McIntrye, founder of The Big Lead, has described another Sooner jock headed for another pro draft as “Bitcoin.” McIntrye likens Heisman-winning OU quarterback Baker Mayfield to the cryptocurrency. Per Jason: “People still don’t really understand how [Bitcoin] works or why it’s become such a phenomenon…The same can be said about Baker Mayfield…most draftniks still don’t have a firm grasp on what his NFL ceiling can be, or whether or not they can trust his character.”

The real question is whether Mayfield’s career will be more like Brett Favre’s or Johnny Manziel’s?

That’s not really an apples to apples comparison. Draftniks DO understand what makes Mayfield successful on the field and recognize that the former walk-on led Oklahoma to a pair of college football playoffs and compiled the TWO best single-season passing efficiency rating marks of all college football history. That’s like putting together the two best single-season slugging percentage marks, in separate seasons of course, in baseball.

Unlike Bitcoin, Mayfield’s bonafides are legit. His talent may not translate to the NFL—we’ll see—but his popularity is about more than hype. He proved he was legit over four college seasons at two different schools.*

Young, on the other hand, is a lot like Bitcoin. He was oven-mitt hot in December and then began to cool off in January. His Sooners went into a tailspin in late January and all of February and March as his performances began to suffer. With his sleight size (he’s listed at 6’2″ but closer to 6’0″) and poor defense, he may very well be an NBA bust. The team that drafts him, much like the dude who put all of his earnings into Bitcoin in December, could live to regret that maneuver (note: we are ALL out of Bitcoin now).

It’s not that Young is ALL hype; it’s just that he was very hot in December, then defenses figured him out and you’d have made more money shorting his career after New Year’s. And there’s no guarantee at all that he’s a good investment going forward.

So, yes, there is an Oklahoma athlete like Bitcoin: Trae Young, not Baker Mayfield.

*We’d still be very, very afraid to draft Mayfield. Too short and too prone to injury at the next level. Darnold, Allen and RosenRosen are safer picks, much as we hate to admit it.

4. Freducation

Mr. Rogers would have turned 90 yesterday and we love that someone is finally producing a documentary on him. Here now is the trailer for Won’t You Be My Neighbor (release date: June 8)

And here’s our favorite magazine profile we’ve ever read, by Tom Junod.

5. A Good Guy With A Gun

Gaskill lived up to the second syllable in his name

We don’t want to be hypocrites, which is to say we don’t want to blindly hold to a position just because we’re stubborn and recalcitrant. So yes, pour one out for Blaine Gaskill, the resource officer at Great Mills (Md.) High School, who confronted the school shooter and fatally wounded him. Of course, if the 17 year-old shooter, Austin Rollins, who wounded a girl he knew, had been toting something more than a handgun, the events would have unfolded differently, we imagine.


Friend Or Phone

Apparently President Trump phoned Vladimir Putin in the wake of this weekend’s presidential “election” in Russia to congratulate Vlad on winning. This despite despite warnings from multiple national security advisers and briefing materials that read “DO NOT CONGRATULATE.”

Trump ignored the written warnings and lauded Vlad, anyway. Reminds us of the old Swedish king joke. The king goes hunting for moose and in the clearing he sees a young, unarmed man. The king lifts his rifle and aims. The man, seeing this, shouts loudly, “I AM NOT A MOOSE!”

The king fires. Kills him. As they walk toward the dead man, one of the king’s aides says, “Sire, that man said, ‘I am not a moose.'” The monarch looks at his aide dismissively and says, “I heard him say, ‘I am a moose.'”

Aboard The H.M.S Beagle

In Birmingham, England, an unidentified man became the frontrunner for the 2018 Darwin Award when he was killed by an electronic foot fest in a movie theater. The man had dropped his cellphone between seats in the “Gold Class” seats and when he knelt down to retrieve it, the electronic foot rest came down and trapped him. As he panicked and struggled to escape—a friend and a theater employee eventually broke the foot rest and freed him—he appears to have gone into cardiac arrest. We feel for him and no, have not asked what movie he was watching.


Music 101


Befriending one another while undergrads at Tufts University in Boston, the band Guster found moderate success in 2003 with this tune dedicated to a European city everyone should visit (in their 20s). This definitely belongs on MH’s Top 20 Songs of The 21st Century—So Far list.

Remote Patrol


by John Walters

Tweet du Jour (as another school shooting goes down, this time in Maryland)


Starting Five

1. Requiem For A Heavyweight

Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, has died due to “age-related complications.” The species looks, no, looked, like something right out of the Paleozoic Era, and now it sorta is. This is a tragedy that will only accelerate over the coming decades: Africa is ground zero for rare minerals that are used to power phones and nuclear power, which means that superpowers such as China, Russia and the U.S. will only increase their interests there (ask your buddy at the Dept. of Defense how many troops we have in Africa).

That plus poaching has put this and other species at risk. There are still two female northern white rhinos remaining, and no one has told MH staffers if there are any, um, remnants of Sudan remaining. Let’s hope.

We’re all we’ve got left

Anyway, central Africa is the true Garden of Eden, home to most of the most wondrous species of animals on Earth. It’s dreaming, we know, but what a wonderful act it would be if every non-African person would get out of Africa. Maybe that’s what the movie’s title was all about?

2. Cambridge Analytica Is Not Why The Rockets Shoot Mostly Threes


We’re still not really sure what Cambridge Analytica is. Three days ago we would’ve said it’s an encyclopedia company founded by Nate Silver. Anyway, they’re apparently bad actors based in the U.K. who manipulated Facebook info for propaganda.

3.  Bizarre Deaths, Part 5,391

In Tempe, Arizona, 49 year-old Elaine Herzberg is struck by a driverless car being tested by Uber as she tried to walk her bicycle across Mill Avenue. It looks as if Herzberg was jaywalking on Sunday night when the vehicle, going 40 mph, struck her. She’s the first known self-driving vehicle fatality. People on Twitter came to the defense of A.I. so quickly that one had to think they mistakenly thought they were defending an A.R.

Meanwhile n Mississippi, a nine year-old boy fatally shoots his sister for not handing over a video game quickly enough. See, video games really DO promote violence.

4. The Nude Yorker

This week The New Yorker artist Barry Blitt took one of the older axioms (“The Emperor has no clothes”) and tried it on the 45th president of the United States. Perfect fit.

Blitt has sketched more than a dozen New Yorker covers taking aim at Trump (he refers to him as “the gift that keeps on grifting”) but the Canadian-born artist, who turns 60 next month, is an equal-opportunity lampooner. This cartoon from 10 years back drew ire from the left.

5. Justin Is Just Out

Beloved Dodger troll and All-Star Justin Turner breaks his wrist whilst being hit by a pitch during a spring training game and will be out at least until May. Turner, the NLCS MVP, was struck in the first inning by Kendall Graven of the Oakland A’s.

Music 101


The MH staff recalls this song being all over the radio in autumn of 1978, a monster hit for The Little River Band. The song went to No. 3 on the Billboard chart and was one of the most massive Easy Listening hits of the era.

Remote Patrol

The Graduate

8 p.m. TCM

Actually, both Rounders (7 p.m., STARZ) and Se7en (8 p.m., BBC) are also on tonight, and we enjoy them better, even if neither have Simon and Garfunkel songs or a seductive Ann Bancroft.