by John Walters

Tweet du Jour

Starting Five

From Russia With Glove

The World Cup begins today! In just an hour or so, in fact. Thirty-two nations, none of them us. Even if the host nation is Russia, this event is a tribute to global community on Donald’s 72nd birthday, of all days (We did not forget to wish you, “Birthday,” Donald).

Viking Quest! We’re rooting for Iceland and its 335,000 citizens. Smallest nation to ever qualify for the World Cup.

Go ahead and read Roger Bennett’s World Cup guide for Clueless Fans/Americans from last weekend’s NYT.

2. When Life Hands You Yemen…

Move over, Syria. Step aside, Rwanda. Whatchugot, Somalia? The World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis of 2018 is Yemen, where a civil war has been raging for some time. On one side you have rebels backed by Iran. On another you have the incumbent regime, which has drawn direct air and ground support from Saudi Arabia, which is backed by the U.S.A.

What could possibly go wrong? A recent assault by Saudi forces on the port city of Al Hudaydah has made it impossible to deliver food and supplies to millions Yemenis (Yemen may be Arab land, but it is not arable land). And you may ask, What does any of this have to do with whom LeBron will play for next season?, and that’s fine, but a century ago your great (great) grandparents were wondering what the assassination of an Austrian prince had to do with Ty Cobb batting .400? And then look what happened…

Reportedly, eight million of Yemen’s 28 million people are at risk of starvation (“Ya ate sand?”*). This story will catch you up on the details.

*Raising Arizona

3. MAGA? No, Gaga

Recently caught the trailer for A Star Is Born, a film that has only been made three times before (1937, starring Janet Gaynor and Fredric March; 1954, starring Judy Garland and James Mason; 1976, starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson). This version due out in October, stars Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, who will also direct. It looks solid and if nothing else, Gaga will be performing at the Oscars next winter.

Not for nothing, but Cooper, 43, is an alumnus of Georgetown, which also produced Nick Kroll, 40, (starring in Operation Finale, out later this year) and comics John Mulaney, 37, Jim Gaffigan and Mike Birbiglia. Who needs a school of Foreign Service when you’re an entertainment factory?

Another Georgetown alum? Paul Manafort.

But if you just CANNOT wait for a feel-good music film about a man and a woman, Nick Offerman is starring in a nice little indie about a father-daughter band called Hearts Beat Loud. It’s currently playing in selected cities (“Please pray that your city is selected” *) and also includes Ted Danson, Toni Collette and Blythe Danner.

We love movies about bands or wannabe bands. Here’s a quick list from just the past dozen or so years if you’re just getting started: Once, Sing Street, Whiplash, Begin Again, Crazy Heart. Not a dud in the group.


4. The Mark of Zero

On Tuesday, May 1st, the New York Mets were 17-9. The Mets were coming off an off day and the day before that they’d blasted the San Diego Padres, 14-2.

Since the calendar turned from April to May the Mets are 11-27. They have been shut out six times (in just six weeks). They have scored two or fewer runs in 21 of those 38 games. The injury to power hitter Yoenis Cespedes (“a Cespedes for the rest of us”), out since mid-May, has certainly played a huge role in the power outage.

Meanwhile, in Jacob de From (1.01 WHIP) the Mets have the second-best pitcher in the National League (behind Max Scherzer) and a top 10 arm in Noah Syndegaard (1.18 WHIP). The pitching overall has been outstanding. The signature game of this wretched run came on June 3rd, when Met pitching struck out Cubs hitters 24 times but the Mets still lost in 14 innings, 7-1.

So what do the Mets do? Do they fold with two aces? Trade one? There’s a team across the Long Island Sound with a surplus of bats who are in need of a No. 2 starter. Hmmm.

5. Turtle Beach

Yesterday a tweep (@NoFunJim) apprised of the stock price for the company Turtle Beach (ticker symbol: HEAR), a San Diego-based company that makes headsets. Shares of HEAR have soared in the past year as its headphones have become the earmuffs of choice for players of fortnite.

How much? On June 14, 2017, shares of HEAR opened at $2.96. Today, HEAR should open at around $23.35. That’s a jump of eight times. Just yesterday shares rose nearly 13%. Is it too late? We don’t think so. We dipped  in yesterday up to our ankles.

Music 101

Passionate Kisses

This song is so easy, so lyrical, so well-written, it should not surprise you in the least that it was written by Lucinda Williams (in 1988). Four years later Mary Chapin Carpenter  made it a hit. I’m sure Lucinda wonders why…

Remote Patrol

World Cup, Day 1

Russia vs Saudi Arabia

11 a.m. Telemundo, FOX

One country assassinates pesky journalists. The other assassinates women who get raped by their brothers. No wonder Donald Trump, whose birthday is today, is such a Yuge fan!



by John Walters

Tweet du Jour

It’s impossible to both support Trump and avoid being a hypocrite, nearly on a daily basis. What was Obama’s sin? Oh yes, he was (50%) African-American (you’ll have to tap Schlapp’s link).

Starting Five

N.A. Place Will Do

This week, Russia, in four years, the scalding hot desert of Qatar, and in eight years the USA. FIFA, the organizers of the World Cup, recognize a grifter and a strong man dictator when they see one. As hosts, the USA is guaranteed to place its team into the tournament, which by then may have 68 teams and four play-in games in Dayton.

Officially, the 2026 World Cup will come to North America, as both Canada and Mexico will also host games (do they also get a free pass?), but from the quarters on, it’ll be held inside the states. Canada and Mexico will each host 10 matches, and the USA 60. The final will be staged at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey, and by then Emperor Trump will be well into his third term. He may even release a few journalists from prison to cover the event.

(Our best hope in 2026)

The North American trio outdistanced Morocco in the voting, 134-65, which would be the score if the USA played Germany right now (with us on the short side).

2. Raging Bull vs. Raging Bullsh*tter

So, yes, in a prime-time CBS broadcast of the Tony Awards Sunday night, Robert De Niro crossed the line when he said, twice, while introducing Bruce Springsteen, “F*** Trump!” Maybe he thought they were the Tony Montana Awards?

And so you know it was all the President could do to have to wait until his summit with L’il Kim was over to come back at Travis Bickle with a tweet. Alas, in blasting the Oscar-winning actor for having a low IQ, Trump misused the word “too” (he went with “to”) in the very same sentence.* When it comes to Ivy League grad presidents, I do believe we’ve been asking the wrong one for his transcripts.

*Your courageous and forthright POTUS has since deleted this tweet and had someone else grammatically correct it, without of course acknowledging the error or the irony.

3. In What State (Okay, “Commonwealth,” Smart Guy) Were The Salem Witch Trials Held Again?

Okay, this is freaky, and we wonder if Arnav Kapur isn’t a witch….

Remember when you’d jokingly ask the proctor at the beginning of the final exam, “Will this be open mind?” (okay, we would; we were NOT cool…nothing’s changed). Well, now you can mean it.

4. Nature Always Finds A Way

We salute you, St. Paul Raccoon (he’s fine and has been released to the wild), Mr. Squirrel and New York Bear family. We really do.

By the way, some bloggers whom we won’t mention by name get their rocks off by mentioning whenever an animal KILLS a human. The first thing to know is that unlike humans, animals only kill in order to eat or protect their turf, i.e. their young. The second is that it is we who have invaded their terrain, not vice versa. The hubris of people who don’t have any contact with nature is the first step in the downfall of mankind.

5. The Alaska Bowl

What ESPN or Fox (or even NBC) producer would not want to use this beauty shot?

If I were an attention-seeking, globe-trotting FBS football coach (Jim Harbaugh) with a taste for being the first to plant flags both literal and figurative, I’d want my program to be the first to play in states that have never hosted a game between TWO FBS schools. My guess is that the following states have never hosted such a game (zero research done on this, zero f***s given; I just went Arnav Kapur on my research):



New Hampshire


Rhode Island


South Dakota

North Dakota



(some would also claim New Jersey, but you know….)

Anyway, the locale that would garner the most attention by far, we think, would be Alaska. So we’ve scouted locations and believe 4,500-seat Anchorage Football Stadium, located in The Last Frontier’s most populous city, would be the ideal site. If I ran ESPN college football, this would be my second BIG IDEA.

Yale Bowl is heavenly, or if you want to pull out your Ivy League thesaurus, ethereal.

My first BIG IDEA would be the annual Kickoff Classic at the 61,446-seat Yale Bowl in New Haven, which is the spiritual and ancestral home of big-time college football due to Bulldog player and later coach Walter Camp, probably the single-most influential person in the history of the game.

Back to Alaska. So you only have 4,500 seats. Who cares? You’ll always be the first (one of two) schools who ever played in the nation’s LARGEST state. There’s no substitute for being first. I can see Notre Dame vs. Navy here. You? Or Notre Dame-Washington.

Music 101

Streets Of Laredo

Also known as the “Cowboy’s Lament,” this song dates back more than 100 years. Most country artists have covered it, so we left it to Marty Robbins and Johnny Cash to give you a shared rendition. Our favorite version, though, comes from a fantastic early ’70s sports movie that cribs a lyric from it as its title: Bang The Drum Slowly.

Remote Patrol

A Fistful of Dollars

8 p.m. TCM

The seminal Spaghetti western, directed in 1964 by Sergio Leone (who did not speak English) and starring, in his first leading role, Clint Eastwood (who did not speak much). Followed this evening by the latter two films in the “Dollars Trilogy,” For A Few Dollars More (10 p.m.) and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (midnight). These are the films, set in the American west but shot in Italy and Spain, that catapulted Clint to American stardom.


by John Walters

Tweet du Jour

Starting Five

Mission Kim Possible

The question is, Why did Kim Jong Un consent to meeting with Donald Trump and my best answer is that he just wanted to meet a bonafide, cartoon-character TV star from the United States. Same reason he’s friends with Dennis Rodman.

Would Kim ever give up his nukes? Nooooooooooooooo. Would we be doing this dance with NoKo if we believed he had no intention of giving up his nukes? Nooooooooooooo. This is like a blind date in which she thinks he’s rich and he thinks she’s easy and they’re both about to be very disappointed.

But I could be wrong….

One last thing: When Fox News “slipped” and referred to both men as “the two dictators,” they sort of got it right. And this may be another reason Kim met Trump. The world’s strongmen (Kim, Putin, Xi) recognize the breed and may see this as an opportunity to undermine the U.S. It’s like, We’re no longer dealing with the U.S.A., we’re dealing with a wannabe tyrant who just happens to have the keys to the car. Maybe we can appeal to his ego and help damage their democracy in the process.

For the record, Trump agreed to give up military exercises with South Korea in the region and remove U.S. troops while Kim agreed to give up smoking next month. Or something like that.

2. Shohei, Can UCL?

How do you pronounce “Tommy John Surgery” in Japanese? California Angels (shaddup!) pitcher/designated hitter/rookie phenom Shohei Ohtani already may need TJS and it’s not even Flag Day yet. Wow.

Ohtani is 23. Stephen Strasburg. Matt Harvey. Ohtani. Why does baseball keep eating its young?

Ohtani, who has a Grade 2 sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament, may not return until 2020 (How do we get Trump to sprain his UCL?). He leaves with a .289 batting average and a 3.10 ERA (4-1 record).

3. Bode’s Grief

This is shattering. The 19 month-old daughter of retired U.S. skier Bode Miller and his wife, Morgan, drowned on Saturday. How does this happen? How as a family do you recover?

The Millers were attending a party at a neighbor’s on Saturday when daughter Emeline wound up in the pool. Efforts to resuscitate her were fruitless. “We are beyond devastated,” Bode wrote on Instagram. “Never in a million years did we think we would experience a pain like this. Her love, her light, her spirit will never be forgotten. Our little girl loved life and lived it to its fullest everyday.”

Being a parent is an incredibly tough job. We wouldn’t know, but man, you let your guard down for two minutes and your entire life changes.

4. Bye Bye, Bond Girl

Eunice Grayson, known better to James Bond fans as Sylvia Trench, has died at the age of 90. The First Bond Girl appeared in two of his films, Dr. No and From Russia With Love. In the former film 007 meets her at a card game and utters for the first time the immortal words, “Bond. James Bond.”

There is no news on how exactly Grayson passed from these mortal coils, but suffice it so say she was not dipped in liquid gold.

5. As Close As We’ll Ever Come To Summiting Mount Everest

Thanks to Outside magazine for putting Everest: The Summit Climb, a film by Elia Saikaly, on its website. This is gobsmacking, no?


This is like a “Focus On What’s Truly Important” inspirational poster in video form.


Music 101

Jackie Wilson Said (I’m In Heaven When You Smile)

So many bands, performers, acts seem tied to a particular period in time (Creedence Clearwater Revival, the late ’60s; Duran Duran, the early ’80s), but Van the Man just kept releasing great track after great track that seem untethered to any particular pop culture wave. This one, from St. Dominick’s Preview, was released in 1972. It was recorded in the Bay Area.

Remote Patrol

On The Town

8 p.m. TCM

New York, New York/A helluva town/The rent is up and the F train is down/The people think DeBlasio’s a clown/New York, New York/It’s a helluva towwwwwwwn!

Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra at their very best.


by John Walters

Tweet du Jour

Starting Five

Ellis never gave up and should probably head out on a corporate inspirational speaking tour immediately after graduation

Dominance And Resilience

Two races late Saturday afternoon on opposite coasts. The one you know about, the one you more than likely watched, involved Justify, starting from the post position and leading wire-to-wire at the Belmont Stakes. Justify becomes the second horse in four years to win the Triple Crown and the first, we believe, to have done so without having raced as a two year-old. The Bob Baffert-trained horse becomes the 13th Triple Crown winner overall.

Though we appreciated Justify’s unchallenged excellence, it didn’t really move us. Maybe because we couldn’t really relate to being the most talented and simply being smart enough not to get in your own way.

The racer we could relate to was Kendall Ellis of USC, who took off from the last position in the women’s 4 x 400 relay at the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene. A little set-up: heading into the 4 x 400, the final event, Georgia had 52 points, Stanford 51 and USC 43. You get 10 points for first place, so USC’s only chance was to win the race (the Dawgs and Cardinal did not advance to the final in this event so neither had a chance to add to its total score).

USC’s anchor leg handoff was clumsy and Ellis, a senior from Pembroke Pines, Fla., was going to have to fight through traffic if she were to have any chance. A quick note about Ellis: she graduated high school with a 4.7 GPA and was a four-time Florida state champion in the 400. She also graduated USC in the spring of 2017 with a business degree. She’s a grad student.

So, after the botched handoff, Ellis is in fourth place. Go to 2:20 on the video and watch the final lap. Listen to ESPN’s male announcer (John Anderson? Dwight Stones? I think it’s the former, who is a former high jumper at Missouri) say with certainty, “There’s no way [Purdue loses] unless she drops the baton. Purdue’s going to win this…” just 100 meters from the finish.

Final note: this was LAST YEAR’s women’s 4 x 400 race. Look who finished in 2nd place. Ellis didn’t just come back from 4th place on Saturday. She came all the way back from 2017.

2. Alex and Anthony

As many of us devoted at least a few Saturday and Sunday moments to muse on what could lead CNN’s Anthony Bourdain to take his own life, the Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin seemed to have the best weekend of his. Ovi tossed out the first pitch at the Nationals game, did a keg stand somewhere else, did push-ups in a D.C. fountain, and barbecued while singing “We Are The Champions” at the top of his lungs.

Ovi, understandably, was seizing the day, which is something Bourdain, via his two travel shows (first, No Reservations on the Travel Channel and later Parts Unknown on CNN), seemed to be encouraging us all to do. Perhaps that’s what makes the 61 year-old New Jersey native’s suicide so incomprehensible: Bourdain seemed to have a greater appetite for life and empathy for his fellow man than anyone on television.

If and when CNN re-airs it, watch the tribute to Bourdain that ran on Sunday night (extra, EXTRA props to the CNN producers who likely spent all weekend in an edit bay to make the show possible). Bourdain was no mere sybarite, getting to go to places we’ll never go to, eating foods we may not eat, having conversations we’ll never have and basking in the glory of his good fortune. No, if that was his schtick, we’d have never been drawn in.

Bourdain was an honest and empathetic travel guide. He was blunt and he opened a vein in describing his experiences to us. He was raw. He was genuine. Not only did he never take it for granted, but he approached his job as if he were both missionary and teacher. The difference is that whereas most missionaries bring their culture to a foreign land, his job was to bring that foreign land to us. He was the pilgrim, but we were the beneficiaries.

And how does all of that tie in to Ovi? Well, if you’re reading this, I can promise you that you’re never going to win a Stanley Cup. But you don’t have to in order to approach any weekend as Ovi did this past one. You’re alive. And there’s so much to do and see. You’re lucky. Don’t ever forget it.

And that does not make us understand Bourdain’s death any better. We may have more thoughts on that later this week. But at least he showed us not only what it is to live, but also to understand that most people all over the globe are remarkably similar: we are not our world leaders, or our military. We are a community. If you watch the CNN special, you’ll notice that Bourdain did not shy away from visiting dangerous places (Myanmar, Iran, Tripoli) and he’d always ask common citizens the same question: “Are you hopeful?”

3. Nadal’s House

The Spaniard, Rafael Nadal, wins his 11th French Open title, this time in straight sets. Beyond their 30th birthdays Nadal, 32, and Roger Federer, 36, seem more intent than ever  on putting the “Most Grand Slam titles” mark forever out of reach. Between the two of them they’ve claimed the last six Grand Slams—three apiece—dating back to the beginning of 2017.

Does Novak have a prayer of catching Rafi or Roger?

Federer now has 20 Grand Slams and Nadal 17 (Pete Sampras retired more than a decade ago with the then all-time most of 14). While it once seemed that Novak Djokovic, still only 31, would pass both of them as he won 6 of 8 Grand Slams between 2014 and 2016, the Swiss and the Spaniard are not going quietly into that good night. And it has now been two full year, eight Grand Slam events, since Djokovic has hoisted a cup.

Where does this end and who finishes on top? We’re going to go with Nadal, who has four years on Federer and basically owns Roland Garros (11 titles in Paris in the past 14 years).

4. Blame Canada

We don’t speak German, but we have to imagine Angela Merkel is at least thinking, You’re a buffoon.

If this weekend’s G-7 Summit in Quebec City were a party, Donald Trump was the guest who arrived unfashionably late, wondered why his friend who’d previously slipped the date rape drug into the drinks of sisters of other party goers wasn’t allowed to attend, and then left early, after which he insulted the affable host.

America First!

5. Hand-icapped

The first self-inflicted wound was punching the white board after Game 1. The second was wearing the cast after Game 4. Now the spin is that Ol’ Sweet Pea, who was able to go 9 days without his hand injury being revealed but unable to do so for one final hour after his team had been swept, only wore the cast to the post-series presser because news had begun to leak about the injury.

So how did that news exactly “leak?” Who leaked it? And why would that news compel you to wear the cast, which comes off as nothing less than a plea for sympathy and absolution. We know you’re great. We know the Cavs couldn’t have won without you (or with you). We know you didn’t have enough help. But now you need us to know that you were hurt the final three games and, oh, by the way, whose fault is that?

Not a good look. He’s an all-timer, but his career is speckled with moments (“The Decision,” “The Supporting Cast”) that make you wonder if he ever understood what being part of a team is all about. As one friend of ours aptly stated it yesterday, “He’s the Millennial Jordan.”


Homophobia AND a grammatical error! It’s a MAGA two-fer!

Music 101


Tom Waits, the lead track from his acclaimed 1985 album, Rain Dogs. Seemed rather appropriate for today. Thanks, Cecil.

Remote Patrol

The Staircase


Did novelist Michael Peterson murder his wife, Kathleen, or did she simply fall down the staircase at the family home? And wasn’t it more than a coincidence that family friend Elizabeth Raitliff died 18 years earlier…at the bottom of a staircase? This is being hailed as the “Making A Murderer” of 2018.


by John Walters

Tweet du Jour

Starting Five

Parts Unknown

Chef, author and noted master of global peregrinations Anthony Bourdain has apparently committed suicide. This comes as a shock as Bourdain, 61, appeared not only to have a fantastic life but came off as the ultimate guy with whom you’d want to have a beer. Bourdain seemed…grounded.

Women of a certain age found him dreamy while men envied that he was the Most Interesting Man In the World. Bourdain was also a self-professed recovering heroin and cocaine addict.

You never know…

Capital Times

The Washington Capitals have finally done it. The Caps beat the Golden Knights 4-3 in Las Vegas last night in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals. At the end of 13 seasons and 1,124 games, Alex Ovechkin, who did score one goal last night, can finally hoist the Stanley Cup. It is also Washington’s first championship in its 44-year history.

3. Fast Times At Hayward Field

In the NCAA women’s 10,000 meter championship last night, six runners broke the 30 year-old meet record of 32:28.57. Kansas’ Sharon Lokedi (above) broke the tape in 32:09.20. The other record-breakers but runners-up were Dorcas Wasike (Louisville), Karissa Schweizer (Missouri), Alice Wright (New Mexico), Charlotte Taylor (San Francisco) and Anna Rohrer (Notre Dame).

Meanwhile at the Bislett Games in Oslo, someone forgot to adjust one of the hurdles in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase and kept it at the men’s height, a six-inch difference. Chaos ensued. From “Jamaica’s Aisha Praught, the 2018 Commonwealth Games champ, ended up just running into the barrier and coming to a complete stop before using her hands to help herself get over,” and, “America’s world champ Emma Coburn got over the barrier without problems but she immediately started gesturing to the stands to try to let people know about the gaffe.”

Emma gestures….

Oddly, the officials did not stop the race and re-start it but simply corrected the error in the midst of the race and kept it official. Friend of The Blog Emma Coburn finished second.

4. No Wonder This Horse Always Turns Left

Justify, who will likely win all three races in the slop, is a verifiable rainmaker

Tomorrow is the Belmont Stakes and Justify, starting from the first post, is favored to win the Triple Crown, which would make him the second horse to do so in the past four years. Now comes a story from the New York Times that the horse is partly owned (15%) “by a secretive entity that.. will remain out of the spotlight because it vigorously avoids any public attention. It is a company controlled by top employees of the billionaire investor George Soros.”

5. World’s Highest Bungee Jump

If merely strolling across the Glass Bottom Bridge in Zhiangjiajie, China, was not enough for you, beginning in August you will be able to bungee jump from it. That will make it the world’s highest bungee jump (853 feet). For comparison’s sake, that is the equivalent to almost four times the height of jumping from the roadway of the Golden Gate Bridge.

The cable car at Zhiangjiajie is also pretty insane, something out of Avatar

Zhiangjiajie is in central China, inland, about a 2-hour flight from Hong Kong….if you go.

Music 101

Breaking Us In Two

Our love for Joe Jackson knows no fetters. A musical genius and a hopeless romantic. “Steppin’ Out” was the single from this 1982 album, but Side 2 features this and “A Slow Song,” both melancholy classics.

Remote Patrol

Game 4: Dubs at Cavs

9 p.m. ABC

Will it go five? Nope. Where will LeBron play next?


by John Walters

Starting Five

1. The Man Show

We can wonder why Ty Lue never doubled Kevin Durant (43 points on 15-23 shooting) in the second half or why he hasn’t played Rodney Hood (15 points on 7 of 11 shooting in his first significant minutes last night) more, but the larger epiphany of the 2018 NBA Finals is that Golden State has three players who on any given evening can be THE MAN and Cleveland only has one. And that it’s impossible to fathom how much more mental energy that drains from LeBron James game after game as opposed to the succor it provides KD, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

After Game 2 the dolts at ESPN’s postgame show were discussing how Curry (nine threes) had wrapped up the Finals MVP award. Then after KD’s performance, capped by that ridiculous, stone-cold 30-footer in the final minute, they were handing it to KD. Watch, Klay will explode for 35 in Friday night’s Game 4. The point is, Steph can have an off night (1 for 15 in the game’s first 46 minutes and 0-9 from beyond the arc before finishing 3 of 16 with one made three) in one game and he’s got two teammates who can spell him in the scoring area, not to mention a talented supporting cast who know their roles.

LeBron does not have that luxury. And when, in the final two minutes, he passes off to Tristan Thompson instead of keeping it himself and at least trying to draw the foul, he will be criticized. And should be, to a point. He knows the deal: He’s got to put this squad on his broad shoulders. If you’re gonna lose, LeBron, lose with the ball in your hands. But you’re going to lose, anyway. You’re simply outnumbered.

2. Judge and Jury

We watched this unfold as it was happening last night and it was glorious, and props to Scott Van Pelt with leading off his show with it as “The Best Thing I Saw Today.” Yankees at Blue Jays. Score knotted at 0-0 in the top of the 13th when Aaron Judge comes to the plate with one on and one out.

First, some backstory…

In a makeup doubleheader in Detroit on Monday, Judge had to have had the worst day in his young career. He went o-9 with eight strikeouts. Manager Aaron Boone gave him Tuesday’s game in Toronto off. When he comes to the plate in the 13th he’s 0-4 with a walk.

Meanwhile, up in the right-center mezzanine level there’s a boy, we’ll guess about 12, who’s seated with his parents and another person (aunt?). During batting practice Judge had lofted a JudgeBomb into their tiny area of seats so they already had that souvenir. During every Judge at-bat the Yankee broadcast would put the camera on him because he alone would stand holding an “All Rise” sign with a silhouette of a gavel. His unabashed devotion was both infectious and nostalgic, because all of us at one point in our lives had that innocent love of sports, worship of an athlete.

And by the 13th, as Yankee broadcasters Ryan Ruocco and Ken Singleton were noting, not only did his arms look heavy but so did his eyelids. So when Judge bombed a two-strike pitch into the left-center bleachers for the go-ahead (and ultimately, winning runs), well, it was special. As Singleton warmly noted, “That’s a lifetime memory right there.”

And if you’re too cynical to appreciate that, then what’s left?

3. “Where’s My Mom?”

Watch this come-from-behind win in the final 200 meters of the NCAA men’s 10,000 meter championship yesterday from Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. That’s fifth-year Michigan senior Ben Flanagan with the epic kick on the track that Steve Prefontaine made famous in the final race of his collegiate career. Afterwards, his first words are the hed of this item.

4. The World’s Highest Post Office

Yes, it’s about exactly what the title says: the Hikkim Post Office in northern India is located 14,567 feet above sea level, nearly three miles high. It is officially the highest post office on earth.

These are the types of stories I’d pitch at Newsweek and an editor would lift up one curious eyebrow and then agree only on the condition that I paid for most of the travel myself (which I would). Print journalism is a terrible get-rich-quick scheme.

5. Who Moved My Commander Of Cheese

Tough day for the president in the curdled milk department, as Kellyanne Conway mistakenly (or was it?) referred to him as the “Commander Of Cheese” and Wisconsin’s own Paul Ryan backed Trey Gowdy’s assertion that President Trump is full of it on the FBI “spy” allegation. When you’ve even lost Paul Ryan…

Luckily, some of the best and most decent men in America, such as Rudy Giuliani and Sean Hannity, are still on Trump’s side. Personally, we think Kellyanne was just a little hangry during the interview. Get that woman a Snickers.


The semi-annual Munk Debates, held in Toronto, were created 10 years ago with the idea of bringing two people with polar-opposite views together in a public forum and allowing them to engage in old fashioned rhetorical swashbuckling. It’s like “First Take” only it’s about things that really matter and it’s actually entertaining.

Past participants have included Malcolm Gladwell, Tony Blair, Christopher Hitchens, Maureen Dowd, Laura Ingraham, etc. The other night British comedian Stephen Fry took on jackass-of-all-trades Jordan Peterson and the topic was political correctness. If you have the time and the will, watch it above.

Music 101

Everything Is Beautiful

In the summer of 1970 this song, written, composed and performed by Ray Stevens, hit No. 1 for two weeks. It was the emotional salve that a country scarred from the Sixties needed. The children’s chorus at the beginning is from the Oak Hill Elementary School in Nashville, two of whose members were Stevens’ daughters.

Remote Patrol

The Wizard of Oz

8 p.m. TCM

Stanley Cup: Game 5, Caps at Golden Knights

8 p.m. NBC

NCAA Track & Field Outdoor Championships

7 p.m. ESPN2

Ovi, Oz and Ostrander all in the same night?


by John Walters

74 years ago today: the proudest American day of the 20th century.

Starting Five


It’s only strange that you don’t know the lyrics to “God Bless America,” a song that only has 28 different words, if you’re the President of the United States and you specifically commissioned an event to celebrate how much more of a patriot you are than the Philadelphia Eagles. Also, the New York Yankees, who are geographically the closest team to Trump Tower, have been playing this song during the seventh inning stretch every game the past 16-plus years. Every. Game.

2. Kate Spade Commits Suicide

A New York-based top-shelf name in fashion for more than two decades, Kate Spade apparently hung herself in her Park Avenue apartment yesterday. Spade, the sister-in-law of comic David Spade, was 55.

Along with Donna Karan and Marc Jacobs and Tory Burch, Spade, who made her fortune in women’s purses, was a contemporary New York fashion icon. Not bad for a graduate of Arizona State who in college had worked at a biker bar. She leaves behind a 13 year-old daughter, to whom she wrote a note before hanging herself in her bedroom.

3. Spew Many

Guatemala’s aptly named Fuego volcano has claimed the lives of at least 75 people with as many as 200 missing since it began erupting on Sunday. Fuego sent ash and smoke as much as six miles skyward and then, well, it all fell back down to earth.

The ash and lava swept down the mountain at speeds that would overtake the fastest human runner and no warnings had been given prior. Entire villages were swept under what is known as the “pyroclastic flow,” a mixture of hot gas and volcanic matter.

4. Noe Surrender

University of Toledo senior Janelle Noe will be competing at the NCAA Track and Field Championships this weekend and it’s not trite to say that it is a minor miracle that she will even be on the starting line.

On January 15, 2016, Noe attended an off-campus house party where a male teammate, Christopher Housel, walked around with air freshener, a bottle of Everclear and a match and, well, things turned out badly    (that rare tale of a dude acting like a jerk and scarring  a woman for life). Housel was sentenced to four months in jail and community service in a burn unit. Noe was burned over 50% of her body.

Last weekend Noe, who cannot be exposed very long to the sun, qualified in Tampa to partake in the 1,500 meter event this weekend in Eugene with a 4:16. She won’t be expected to win, but if Eugene brings its not-unusual overcast skies to the day and Noe runs a time she is happy with, no one will feel more triumphant. Nor should they.

5. Kyler Can Do It All

A few notes on Kyler Murray, the 5’10” Texas A&M transfer who will succeed Baker Mayfield at OU this fall and who was the ninth overall player chosen in the MLB draft by the Oakland A’s earlier this week:

–His pop was a quarterback at Texas A&M from 1983-86, but somehow he decided to make an exodus from College Station and head to Norman (Kevin Sumlin is like a human breeding ground for QB transfers).

–In high school in Allen, Texas, Murray led his team to a perfect 42-0 record over three seasons and a trio of state championships. He threw for more than 10,000 yards and rushed for more than 4,000.

–He is the first high school athlete to be chosen to play in both the Under Armour High School All-American football and baseball games.

–This will actually be Murray’s third season in Norman. He was a backup for the Aggies as a frosh in 2015, then he sat out during his transfer year in 2016, then backed up Baker last season.

–An outfielder, this spring he hit .296 with 13 doubles but struck out twice as many times (56) and he walked (28), which is troubling.

–He’s playing football this fall, which will give him a chance to go up against coaches Lane Kiffin (Florida Atlantic) and Chip Kelly (UCLA) in his first two starts.


How did we miss this? And look who’s seated in the front row. Why didn’t this happen between Rory and Logan????

Music 101

The Rainbow Connection

We’ve run this song in this space before, but never the duet between Kermit the Frog and Debbie Harry (who never gets enough credit for the clarity and power of her vocals) on The Muppet Show. People ask why we don’t get shows or songs like this any more, and I don’t have the answer, but it’s a valid question and maybe as a culture, we’ve passed our creative peak.

Remote Patrol

Dubs at Cavs, Game 3

9 p.m. ABC

James, Beard

I’m not ready to count LeBron & Co. out yet, and neither should you be. The Dubs do NOT want this to turn into a Best of 3 series. This is like one of those classic sports movies where the hero must hit a nadir before he mounts his unlikely comeback. Stay tuned.


by John Walters

Tweet du Jour

Starting Five

Get The Flock Outta Here

Yesterday America’s favorite “short-fingered vulgarian,” Donald Trump, disinvited the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles from a scheduled White House visit. From the White House statement:

“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow. They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country. The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better.”

The problem, as former Eagle wide receiver Torrey Smith (who played for the team last season) noted, is that none of the Eagles knelt during the national anthem last season. No one. True, many of them were not going to attend, but that’s because they’ve come out publicly against “pussy grabbers” and a guy who equivocates for Neo-Nazi groups and calls their colleagues “sons of bitches.” But it wasn’t about the anthem.

Meanwhile, how fitting that this president disinvites a team whose home city is where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were written and whose mascot is America’s symbol for liberty. What a dope.

Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney was refreshingly blunt in his assessment of the kerfuffle: “Disinviting them from the White House only proves that our president is not a true patriot, but a fragile egomaniac obsessed with crowd size and afraid of the embarrassment of throwing a party to which no one wants to attend.”

2. Then Fox News Jumped In

The White House’s Ministry of Information, a.k.a. Fox News, quickly got their propaganda machine up and running, reporting the story that the President had canceled the Eagles’ visit while showing their geriatric audience still photos of the Eagle players kneeling. But, as Eagle tight end Zach Ertz pointed out, the players were kneeling because they were praying before the anthem.

All of this reminds us: the Washington Capitals took a 3-1 lead in the Stanley Cup finals last night with a 6-2 defeat of Las Vegas. That White House visit will go much smoother since two of the Caps’ premier skaters, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin, are Russian.

3. Schultzless in Seattle

After 36 years at Starbucks, the company he founded in Seattle in the 1980s, Howard Schultz, 64, announcing he is stepping down. His next move? Schultz is considering a run at the White House, one of the few places in the country that does not have its own Starbucks.

It could be an intriguing race: two men from the outer boroughs of New York City, one from Queens, the other from Brooklyn; both raised in post-World War II America, one the son of German parents, the other of Jewish parents; one got into Fordham, the other took a football scholarship to Northern Michigan; one inherited his first few million, the other launched a company that has had as much influence on the American fast-food landscape as McDonald’s. One wanted to own a major professional team, one actually did.

4. Masterpiece Theater

We will admit to being genuinely ambivalent and torn on the Supreme Court case of Colorado baker Jack Phillips, who refused to bake a cake six years ago for a same-sex couple who were getting married out of state (at the time, Colorado did not recognize same-sex marriage). We honestly think the bigger issue is, Who takes a wedding cake across state lines???

Anyway, give the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., credit: he’s not just homophobic. He refuses to bake cakes for Halloween festivities and divorce parties, too. Being a conservative Christian can be a huge financial liability in the pastry chef biz.

Anyway, we respect his right to do what he feels is right and we acknowledge that a private business owner is not the same as a municipal entity. So, we’ve come around to our Twitter friend @AuburnElvis’ view on that.

What we simply don’t understand, having been around so many gay and lesbian couples and people here in New York, is how anyone can envision homosexuality as a sin. Remember, the people citing their sources on this are citing human beings who did not even know the Atlantic Ocean existed, much less that the earth revolved around the sun. And yet these are their geniuses for understanding homosexuality?

If you simply believe that God is love, then you will see so much love among homosexuals, both those in and out of relationships. Many of the best people I have known in NYC, including many of the people with whom I work at the Cookoutateria, are gay. And they’re great. My former boss at Newsweek is such a wonderful person that I’ve thought he’s got to be hiding that he’s gay (he’s married and has a child). He’s just too nice, funny, witty and thoughtful to be a straight man.

Anyway, haters gonna hate hate hate/Bakers gonna bake bake bake. Let them eat cake, I say.

5. High Noon Fallutin’

It was only one episode, and it’s stylishly produced, and again, we stress, it was ONLY ONE EPISODE. But by now I think we know who Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre are: they’re two smart guys in their thirties who do not wear their education like a lower back tattoo but rather like a neck tattoo.

The idea behind this show, produced by ESPN’s Erik Rydholm, who gave us PTI among other ESPN bloviation fests, is a younger, more woke PTI. The difference here, I believe, is that Tony Kornheiser was always a lovable crank. He’s Toby Ziegler from the West Wing, and Mike Wilbon is kind of his, I dunno, his Leo McGarry?

High Noon is two Josh Lymans talking back and forth at each other. We felt the most revealing aspect of the program is the pains they took to remind viewers that, despite the title of the show, it airs at 9 a.m. Pacific. They never mentioned the Mountain or Central/Clay Travis time zones. “It’s the show Coastal Elites have been waiting for…”

Music 101


The Commodores may best be known for “Brick House,” but they also released four big slow-ballad hits in the late Seventies: “Easy,” “Three Times A Lady,” “Sail On” and this No. 1 R&B smash in September of 1979 (they did not write “September”; that was Earth, Wind & Fire). That’s a quartet of the greatest junior high slow dance jams ever penned.

Finally pianist/songrwriter/singer Lionel Richie realized he was doing all the heavy lifting and went solo, launching a successful but unbelievably schmaltzy (“Dancing On The Ceiling,” etc.) one-man hit parade in the early Eighties. The Commodores would go on to be bottom-feeders in the SEC East.

Remote Patrol

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction: Howard Stern


Honestly, David Letterman’s six-part series has been largely underwhelming. We made it through Barack Obama and George Clooney but barely watched any of the next three. The suspicion here is that he’s saved the best for last. Stretching all the way back to 1984 and Late Night on NBC, Howard Stern has always been Dave’s best interview foil because he has absolutely no filter.


by John Walters

Starting Five

And look at that follow-thru with the wrist. That belongs in the Louvre!

Man On Fire*

*The judges will also accept “American Sniper”

An NBA Finals-record NINE three-pointers in one game. And FIVE in the fourth quarter alone after civilian-clothes Cav Kendrick Perkins (Didn’t he retire, like, two years ago?) dared to talk trash to him at the end of the third quarter.

Stephen Curry (33 points) was magical in Golden State’s 122-103 win against Cleveland, who for three quarters actually played about as well as they are able. Our favorite Curry play of the final period, though, was that slip pass he delivered to a teammate (Durant? Looney?) off the high screen and roll.

Golden State dissects you. Cleveland, or more to the point, LeBron, attempts to bull-rush you. Granted, Susie B., Steph has better teammates. But we’ll take finesse, precision and brilliance over the fullback dive eight days a week and twice on Sunday, which was yesterday.

2. Shot To The Leg/And You’re To Blame

The backward somersault was impressive. The errant shot in a crowded bar, not so much. This FBI agent may soon only be a Female Body Inspector after his gun went off at a distillery in Denver. Although if I’m the manager of Mile High Spirits Tasting Room, we’re now naming a shot after this bozo, whose name has yet to be released.

The victim was shot in the leg but should recover. Just wondering if he’ll sue the bar, the federal government, the FBI agent, or all of the above.

The agent’s name still has not been released. Which seems wrong.

3. Yosemite Claims Two More

Over the weekend two climbers attempting to scale the 3,000-foot vertical that is El Capitan perished when apparently a rope line snapped. Best friends Jeff Wells, 46, and Tim Klein, 42, were experienced climbers who had scaled El Cap several times before (they’d even done so twice in the same weekend before). They were tethered to the same rope and when whatever went wrong did, they fell together    1,000 or so feet to their deaths. Rule No. 1

4. RFK

Fifty years ago today, Robert F. Kennedy was fatally shot while exiting the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles through the kitchen. He had just spoken in the ballroom after winning the California Democratic primary.

If Kennedy is not murdered, perhaps the 42 year-old senator goes on to win the presidency and we avoid the ugliness and cynicism that Richard Nixon and Watergate brought on. Who knows? But it’s curious, no, how the princes of peace—Gandhi, MLK, the Kennedy brothers—are so often assassinated while the hawks are not. There’s a lot more money in conflict and war than there is in peace.

Meanwhile, it was Frank Mankiewicz, RFK’s press secretary, who announced his death. Fifty years later Frank’s son, Ben, is the host of Turner Classic Movies. Ben’s granddad, Frank’s pop, Herman Mankiewicz, co-wrote Citizen Kane.

5. Is Donald Trump Charlie Weis?

It sorta hit me this morning: the bombast, the arrogance, the “Make America/Notre Dame Great Again” motif. Is President Donald Trump the political version of Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis?

Neither man had really properly paid his dues in order to take the office they did, but both were so sure of themselves and that they alone could fix the problem. Trump persuaded enough Americans to vote for him, while Weis, a Notre Dame alum, persuaded the school’s board of trustees, its then athletic director, Kevin White, and its president, John Jenkins.

Both men had the tacit support and endorsement of Bill Belichick. You can go further than this (the ardor for cheeseburgers being just one example), but we’ll stop here for now. We’ll also say that we actually like Charlie Weis, for reasons we’ll go into some other time.

Music 101

Set Me Free

Feel-good late Seventies music from Todd Rundgren and Utopia. The song peaked at No. 32 on Casey Kasem’s list.

Remote Patrol

Gone With The Wind

TCM 9:45 p.m.


Confession time: We’ve never watched this the entire way through. Nor Citizen Kane. Nor The Sandlot. Have at us. Or maybe, frankly, you don’t give a damn.


by John Walters

Starting Five

1. Who Shot? Not J.R.

You know what happened. LeBron James scored 51 points and was nothing short of heroic, but J.R. Smith put down Cleveland’s shot at winning in regulation with friendly fire and launched a thousand memes. Our favorite is below.

2. Ms. Bee Havior*

*The judges will also accept “C-U—later”

No matter how complicit you believe Ivanka Trump (look who she’s married to and look who she works for; you’re not buying that innocent beauty act, we hope), there’s really no excuse for what Samantha Bee called her on national television. Regardless of whether Ivanka’s tweet was simply tone-deaf or a troll trot, you forfeit the high ground when you call someone a “feckless ____” and it’s not a Guy Ritchie film. Or Sexy Beast.

And when the libs come back with “He father is a ‘pu**y grabber,'” well, yeah, that’s offensive. So don’t stoop to that level yourselves. Besides, it ignores the issue that as many as 4,400 Puerto Ricans died due to that hurricane last September. What? That’s not the issue we’re all in a fuss about? Oh, okay. Never mind.

And there’s a greater lesson here for all of us, illustrated by the moments created both by Ms. Bee and Mr. Smith, above, this week. And that is this: like it or not, your most defining moment may wind up being your worst moment. So do your best to avoid those. Or, be like the president and have so many worst moments that no one can keep track of them any more.

3. Separation Anxiety

Let’s attack the issue of illegal immigration (not, as MSNBC refers to it, “immigration”) objectively. Let’s not call people “dreamers” but illegal immigrants. So this is kind of a flow charts.

1) You first admit that, no matter how much empathy you have for them, people are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. You either say A) I understand the law must be obeyed or B) Who cares? Let ’em.

2) If you answer “B,”are you fine with those people being given government aid? Last year, according to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), illegal immigrants cost he U.S.A. approximately $115 billion, or $8,000 per illegal immigrant.

3) If you answered “A,” how would you effectively carry out that law? By stopping and/or catching people who cross, throwing them back across the border, and simply waiting until they try again (“Catch and release”)? Would you support a wall? Do you have a plan?

Personally, and I’m not a parent, obviously, but it feels as if some very shrewd and Machiavellian government official (I know, I’m giving them far too much credit) thought of the brilliant plan of scaring away potential illegal immigrants by letting it be known that those who attempt crossing would never see their children again. Draconian? Cruel? You bet. Cheaper than a wall? Much.

The bottom line: There’s no easy solution and while we have no problem with someone revisiting the law on immigration and allowing more Central Americans in (I’ll personally vouch for their work ethic), it is true that there are thousands of officers whose job it is to protect the border. If you’re going to have a law, enforce it. The MSNBC’ers who deplore Trump acting above the law while also ignoring the reality of illegal immigration are simply hypocrites. And they never discuss the cost to taxpayers. Why is that?

4. May The Bee Force With You

The Metroplex is to the Scripps National Spelling Bee what the SEC is to the College Football Playoff. So when Karthik Nemmani, 14, of McKinney, Texas, lost his regional spelling bee to 12 year-old Naysa Modi of Frisco, Texas, he was able to advance to the national bee via wildcard (think of him as 2017 Alabama).

Yesterday in D.C. Nemonic won the non-Samantha bee by spelling a word we’ve never heard of. He’s the 19th Indian-American to win the Scripps bee in the past 23 years. Someone should look into why that is happening, although by the inordinately high number of Indian-American doctors in our health care system, we think we know the answer (parents who stress education).

5. Honey, I Shrunk The Tweets

The latest twist in the Bryan Colangelo saga is that his Italian-born wife, Barbara Bottini, may have been behind the Twitter burner accounts. Either way, this appears to be Colangelo’s final day in the Sixers organization (yes, the 76ers will 86 him, we surmise) although we’d imagine Bryan’s dad has placed a phone call or two to Commissioner Silver’s office in the past few days arguing for clemency.


Music 101

Just Remember I Love You

What if America and Christopher Cross had a love child and Little River Band adopted it? Meet Firefall, who scored a No. 11 hit in 1977 with this soft-rock lullaby. The band was formed three years earlier in Boulder by Rick Roberts, a former member of the Flying Burrito Brothers. Backing vocals here by Timothy B. Schmitt of the Eagles. Notice how Men At Work would later crib that ending sax solo for its song “Overkill” as would Quarterflash for “Harden My Heart.” Or maybe we just don’t know anything about the saxophone and that’s a very common chord structure or whatever you call it.

p.s. We’re not hating on this song. It’s a soft-rock classic. No one writes tunes like this any more and we know we sound like a YouTube commenter, but it’s true.

Remote Patrol


Strangers On A Train

10 p.m. TCM

We can tell you that rail service on New Jersey Transit has fallen somewhat below this level in the past 60 years

A somewhat lesser known Hitchcock classic. Is the perfect murder possible?