IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet du Jour


The best memes have a long, long shelf life…

Starting Five

1. Tour de Force de France

*The judges will also accept “World Champs-Elysees!”

The FFF defeats Croatia 4-2 in an entertaining if not overly dramatic final in Moscow to win their second World Cup, both in the last 20 years. Moments: 1) Pregame feature on Bosnian conflict refugee and eventual Golden Ball winner Luka Modric of Croatia (we were disappointed the piece did not begin with “Think what you will of Slobodan Milosevic”), 2) both goals by Croatian Mario Mandzukic, who scored both the first (for France) and last (for Croatia) last goal of the match. The latter was the answer to the question any soccer observer always wonders: Don’t one of those defender kicks back to the goalkeeper invite massive failure?

3) the fact that two of France’s four goals were scored by first generation Frenchmen, Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe, whose parents were born in Africa. Both players are Muslim. Kind of ironic during a weekend when President Trump made a point about noting how immigration is changing Europe’s culture, and that that’s “a bad thing.” 4) The postgame ceremony in a raging downpour, in which Vladimir Putin stood beneath an umbrella but the leaders of Croatia and France were not given them.

For the nation of France, which has dealt with more mass carnage due to terrorism than any Western country in the past four years (Charlie Hegbo, the November 15 attacks, Nice), this was a sweet moment. On the same weekend as Bastille Day. Fun weekend in Paris.

MH prediction: The 2034 World Cup will be won by the giant island of floating plastic in the Pacific that is the size of France.

2. The Muscovian Candidate!*

*The judges will also accept “Creme de la Kremlin,” “Playing Footsie With A Russkie” and “You’re Darn Putin!”

But when we get behind closed doors/There’s a crime we know about/And he makes me glad that he’s the only one with a copy of the pee tape/But no one knows what goes on behind closed doors….

Friday: Special prosecutor Robert Mueller indicts 12 Russian operatives in a detailed document detailing how they hacked the DNC and DCCC in 2016.

Monday: President Trump meets with Russian president Vladimir Putin, which includes a 90-minute closed-door, just-them-and-their-interpreters meeting. We imagine Putin wondering about to Trump why he doesn’t just have someone poison Mueller’s food; that’s the way we do it in Russia.

Meanwhile, Hillary got it all right in autumn of 2016. I mean, like, ALL RIGHT. Listen….

3. Roast Hard

Where there’s a Willis…How did no one think to roast Bruce Willis before 2018? Action hero, dilettante musician, horrible husband, star of iconic films with memorable lines, and quasi-comic figure. They finally did so last weekend in Los Angeles and it will air on Comedy Central on Sunday, July 29th. His ex, Demi Moore, even showed up.

Naturally, Jeffrey Ross had the funniest lines: ““I hope this Roast doesn’t end with you realizing your career has been dead the entire time”  and “I can’t wait to see your next project, Die Hard 6: Natural Causes.”

4. From Port Authority To Gamblers’ Anonymous

Yesterday, it happened. For the first time a LEGAL general sports betting site within half hour (more like 15 to 20 minutes by bus) of New York City opened. FanDuel, the fourth Garden State-sanctioned sports betting parlor and by far the closest one to New York City, opened inside a sports bar at the Meadowlands Race Track, just SEVEN miles west of Manhattan.

Does this spell doom for Joey Bag O’Donuts, your regular bookie? Probably not. It’s still easier to meet Claude (Did I just make that name up? Maybe…) at his favorite East Side watering hole to settle accounts, but then again you always run the risk of whether he’s going to show (which depends which side of the ledger he’s on).

Still, there are 12 million humans living within a 20-mile radius of this parlor, located in the Victory Sports Bar & Club, and we’re guessing that if you’re one of the people working at the 10 teller windows waiting to take daily bets on sporting events, you have comfortable job security.

Kinda weird that they opened yesterday, though, as this is the longest week of the year for degenerate gamblers: No real games in the four major sports for four days. Or maybe that was the idea.

5. The West Wing: Casualties List

Leo

We’d casually watched an episode of The West Wing here and there back when it originally on NBC at the dawn of the millennium, but this spring/summer is the first time we’ve dedicated ourselves (“dedicated,” as if sitting on a couch requires gobs of commitment) to viewing each episode of the Aaron Sorkin drama from start to finish. Now, nearing completion, we thought we’d call attention to something the surgeon general never  told us: Working in the White House is extremely hazardous to one’s health.

To wit…

–In an assassination attempt (not exactly on the president, but on someone close to him), Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford) is shot in the chest cavity and critically wounded. He undergoes 14 hours of surgery and nearly dies, but retains his boyish charm throughout.

–Oval Office secretary and longtime presidential secretary Mrs. Van Landingham (Kathryn Joosten) is killed by a drunk driver, cruelly, as she is driving home from the dealer lot in a vehicle she has just purchased. It was the first car she’d ever bought on her own.

–Lyman’s assistant, Donna Moss (Janel Moloney), is critically injured by a roadside bomb in a terrorist attack in Gaza. She, too, flirts with death and suffers massive injuries, but fortunately none to her face.

–Retired admiral and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Percy Fitzwallace (Jon Amos) is killed in that same terrorist attack because, you know, the black guy always draws the fatality card in any ensemble production.

Which one of us will Sorkin strike next?

–White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry (John Spence) suffers a massive heart attack (during an Israeli-Palestinian peace summit at Camp David) and must undergo double bypass surgery and then, during his recuperation, consume Indian food.

–Secret Service agent Simon Donovan (Mark Harmon), charged with the protection of White House press secretary C.J. Cregg, is shot and killed while breaking up a robbery at an Upper West Side bodega.

–Presidential daugher Zooey Bartlett (Elizabeth Moss) is kidnapped on the night of her college graduation from Georgetown. Zooey is so traumatized that she travels back in time to 1960 New York and becomes Don Draper’s secretary.

And all through this, President Josiah “Jed” Bartlett himself is dealing with the physical duress of the early stages of multiple sclerosis and the far worse emotional duress of being a Notre Dame alumnus during the Ty Willingham era (note: There actually was a New Hampshire governor, in colonial times, named Josiah Bartlett).

Almost no one emerges physically unscathed. The five major characters that, as far as we can see, are never put in mortal peril are Communications Director Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff), though his ex-wife refuses to remarry him because he’s “sad”; Cregg (Allison Janney), though she just can’t keep a man because she’s too darn strong and independent (and tall), Deputy White House Communications Director Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe), though he is the first major character written out of the show, and presidential aide Charlie Young (Dule Hill), but his mom, a D.C. cop, is murdered; that’s his backstory.

Reserves

Because animals in their natural habitats are one of the planet’s greatest treats…

Music 101

Lawyers In Love

We’re doing a theme week here at Music 101, and you probably won’t need to be too much of a stable genius to figure out what it is. We begin with Jackson Browne‘s 1983 No. 13 hit, the title track off one of his more successful album. The wry, satirical lyrics underline a catchy melody (“Last night I watched the news from Washington, the capitol/The Russians escaped while we weren’t watching them, like Russians will...”). Browne is the only artist we know who had charting hits whose titles included the words “lawyers” and “doctors.”

Remote Patrol

Anatomy Of A Murder

10:15 p.m. TCM

We happened upon this 1959 Best Picture Oscar nominee for the first time when back in our ancestral desert home last Christmas and found ourselves wondering how we’d never heard of it before. It’s a courtroom procedural, with a wilier than-you-might-think Jimmy Stewart as the defense attorney in a murder trial. George S. Scott more than holds his own against Stewart as the prosecutor. The question: Did Ben Gazzarra, a soldier stationed stateside, kill a man because that man raped his sexy, hot-to-trot wife, Lee Remick? The material is extremely progressive for the Eisenhower era, with talk of contraceptives, fertility, rape and “panties.” And Scott, long before Patton-mode, is utterly watchable. Catch this is you’ve not yet seen it.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet du Jour

Starting Five


Awe-Strzok

There was nothing heroic or even defensible about the late-night texts FBI Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok sent his colleague and girlfriend, Lisa Page, in the summer of 2016. Then again, we know an MH staffer who was frequently texting a Canadian friend that summer, reassuring her with, “Don’t worry; he’ll never get elected.”

There was a lot of that going around.

When one photo is worth nearly 10 hours of hearings…

Anyway, it was a terrible idea for a man in Strok’s position to be sending the texts that he did. But it was an even worse idea for a Congressional committee to spend nearly 10 hours yesterday putting his character on trial. Why?

1) Strzok was in the midst of investigating the Trump-Russia ties in the summer of ’16 when he sent that text. If he’d really wanted Trump not to be elected, there was just about no one in the world better situated to leak that news to the press (it was never leaked). 2) What Strzok did was wrong, but in off-camera testimony and in yesterday’s farce, he was candid and honest. Something the toadies who grilled him have never required of their president. 3) Within 15 minutes of the opening of this hearing, a Republican Congressman threatened to hold Strzok in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer a question because it involves an active investigation. This is a standard to which they never held Steve Bannon when he testified before them. 4) Congressman Gohmert of Texas actually said to Strzok, on the record…

“How many times did you look so innocent into your wife’s eyes and lie to her?”

This is a dude who carries water for Donald Trump. Sad!


In the end, Strzok more than held his own versus Trump’s GOP goon squad and even gave them a gigantic verbal middle finger. You wanna come at my character? Take a look at yours and of the man to whom you’ve pledged allegiance.

2. Dyer Maker

Dyer: the hoodie endorsement offers will start rolling in….

On the first night of the World Series of Poker final table, 32 year-old Houston native Michael Dyer took a commanding lead ($156 million in chips; the next closest player has $72 million). It’s almost unfair, and yet fitting, that a Lone Star Stater is in position to win the world’s most lucrative Texas Hold ‘Em tournament and the $8.8 million that goes along with it.

If you were wondering, this is not the Michael Dyer who was a running back at Louisville. Just to clarify.

3. Red Hot Red Sox

A two Martinez launch…

They’re at it again. Remember when the Boston Red Sox opened the season with a 17-2 record, piling up first a nine- and then an eight-game win streak? Well, as of last night they’ve just added a 10-game win streak to the list with a 6-4 defeat of Toronto.

The Sox are now 15-2 in their past 17 games and if you were to eliminate the two games they lost at Yankee Stadium at the end of June, they’d have won 15 in a row. Boston has not lost to a team with a losing record since June 20th.

A major reason: the offseason acquisition of designated hitter J.D. Martinez, who leads Major League Baseball in both home runs (28) and RBI (79). The Yankees may have picked up the National League MVP in Giancarlo Stanton, who is beginning to strike out less and, oh, by the way, has 22 home runs and 54 RBI, but Martine, who hit 29 home runs in just 62 games with the Arizona Diamondbacks after the trading deadline last summer, has continued his blistering pace.

The Sox (66-29) and Yankees (61-31) will likely both win more than 100 games, and one of them is going to be hosting a one-game playoff in early October. Wild.

4. Flying Circus

Not for the first time and certainly not for the last, Donald Trump trashed a world leader to the press and then, when meeting with that leader in person, rebuked the on-the-record criticism that he gave as “fake news.” Here’s The Sun interview, which was of course recorded, in which Trump states about British PM Theresa May and her BREXIT plan, ” I actually told Theresa May how to do it but she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me.”

And that’s fine. It’s just that when a reporter pointed this out to him during their joint presser at Chequers (the fast-food burger joint?) this afternoon, he called it “fake news.” Which it is not.

5. Blow My Mindhunter

A serial yarn: Mindhunter. The best show on TV in the past year.

The MH staff doesn’t claim to sit in front of the TV and do nothing but absorb current dramas all night long (we’re too busy catching up on The West Wing; just started Season 6). So, we’ve yet to see The Handmaid’s Tale or The Americans, but we do feel quite comfortable saying that the best current drama we watched in the past year was Netflix’s Mindhunter.

Somehow, the Emmys nominated seven dramas and this one did not make the cut. Cannot believe that. What else did we hate about yesterday’s nominations?

Mindhunter lead Jonathan Groff not nominated for Best Actor, Drama Series.

Mindhunter’s Holt McCallany not nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Drama Series.

–Neither Martin Starr or Zach Woods of Silicon Valley nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Comedy Series. They’re brilliant.

–Leslie Jones,  who thinks funny is JUST SHOUTING, nominated for Best Supporting Actress, Comedy Series.

What We Did Like:

Matt Smith nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Drama Series, for The Crown. He was fantastic this year. The boarding school episode was the best episode The Crown has done yet, and Smith was all over it.

Smith as Prince Philip. Not just a pretty face.

Silicon Valley nominated for Best Comedy Series. It’s so funny and subversive. Mike Judge is not properly appreciated in his time.

Larry David nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy Series for Curb. The war reenactment episode was the funniest half hour we watched all year. And the season itself was way stronger than one might have expected (“the accidental text on purpose”) after such a long hiatus.

And we already know that This Is Us will win too many awards and there’s nothing we can do to prevent it. We just hope that if anyone from that saccharine show has to win, it’s Milo.

Reserves

After yesterday’s exhaustive and informed post in the “comments,” we’re just going to cede all Tour De France coverage to Susie B. Keep ’em coming, Suze. If you love sports that are effortlessly telegenic and unapologetically corrupt, then the TDF is the sport for you. And Susie B. is our international (based in DelMarVa) correspondent.*

*Susie B., please contact payroll about sending us an invoice. You can reach them at YouWillNeverGetAReplyFromUsFreelancer@mediumhappy.com.gov.org.edu

Music 101

Better Be Good To Me

Already in her mid-forties, Tina Turner had a career renaissance in the mid-Eighties due to two factors: 1) MTV and 2) her wonderful appearance as Aunty Entity, the ruler of Bartertown, in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. And we’re sure it’s just a coincidence that MMA and cage matches took off just a few years after “Two men enter, one man leaves.” Turner’s 1984 album Private Dancer spawned seven singles: this is our favorite.

 

Remote Patrol

The Shawshank Redemption

8 p.m. AMC

You’ve probably already seen it, but so what? It’s a unique (no females) film and one of the staff’s all-time favorites. The theme of never losing hope from a man serving a life sentence. Get busy living or get busy dying. Who can’t understand that?

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Brexit

Just two days ago, the World Cup was a European union of four nations: Belgium, Croatia, England and France. Then France took out Belgium, 1-0. And yesterday the Croats came back from an early 1-0 deficit to take out the Brits in extra time. The winning goal was a beauty, a header from the edge of the box that bounced to the right leg of Mario Mandzukic, who windmilled it past the British keeper. 2-1, Croatia.

Croatia, the first side in 28 years to overcome a deficit in a World Cup semi and win, moves on to its first ever World Cup final. England misses out on what would have been its first World Cup final in 52 years.

2. Roger, Out and….Over?

Perhaps it was London’s notorious sunshine. Or maybe the Uniqlo gear. Or the fact that he’s 36. Or maybe it was just the South African with the forgettable name (Kevin Anderson). Whatever, Roger Federer, the King of Tennis, had a nobody on the ropes, match point in the third set, let’s get to the semis, and he…..wait for it….LOST!

The Supreme Swiss falls in five sets, 2-6, 6-7, 7-5, 6-4, 13-11 and is bounced in the quarters. No man has won more Wimbledons than Roger, with eight, and no man older than 35 has ever won Wimbledon. That 35 year-old was Federer last July. He’ll turn 37 next month. Will he ever advance to a Wimbledon final again, much less win one?

For the record, Federer owns the most Grand Slam titles in men’s history, 20. Rafael Nadal, who also went to five sets yesterday but won, has 17. Novak Djokovic, whom Rafa will meet in the semis, has 12.

3. Papa Don’t Preach

Are we really to believe that Papa John’s pizza founder and CEO John Schnatter resigned simply because he used the N-word during a public relations training exercise in May? We thought people had, well, thicker crusts.

For the record, during a conference call, Schnatter, upset that he’d been taking heat for his stance on NFL players kneeling during the anthem, said, “Colonel Sanders called blacks niggers.”

We have no idea if it’s true what the Colonel did, but we just don’t get the uproar over this. You’re not even allowed to say the word to reference someone else having said it (will we be forced to resign from MH for having printed it??? We kinda hope so, but that’s a different story).

A reminder: on April 18th on CNBC’s Squawk On The Street morning show, we heard Yale School of Management professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld drop the N-word live, on-air, in a discussion about the history of racial sensitivity in this nation as it relates to brands. This was in a conversation about Howard Shultz and Starbucks. We heard it, we tweeted about it, and absolutely nothing happened. Nuh-thing.

None of the three co-hosts on CNBC even addressed it. Now, Sonnenfeld is not the CEO of a middling pizza empire, but still, that remark just disappeared like a fart in the wind.

Here’s the bottom line: support your locally owned pizzeria. And maybe don’t order the bianca slice tomorrow.

4. Head Over Heels

If Broadway could make a long-running hit musical out of Beauty and The Beast, why can’t it do the same for the girl band that gave us Beauty and the Beat? The show is called Head Over Heels (from one of our favorite Go Go’s tunes) and it’s a musical that mixes the band’s tunes with Shakespearian dialogue.

The musical is in previews now and opens on Broadway July 26th. A musical theater nerd friend of ours saw it and gave it a thumbs up. As you may already know, we always give The Go Go’s a thumbs up.

5. The River At The Dawn Of Life

This is the Coppermine River, which is located in the northern reaches of Canada’s Northwest Territory. I doubt any of us will ever get here though, I mean, if we really wanted to, we could (this is one reason I don’t have children: I’d pile them into a van and we’d go here for vacation instead of Wally World and they’d never forgive me for it).

Apparently, if you read the BBC story , you’ll see that there’s still true wilderness left on this planet, and that this river tells the story of the dawn of life on it. Pretty cool.

Music 101 

Someone Saved My Life Tonight

Reggie Dwight, a.k.a. Elton John, released a lifetime’s worth of sublime tunes in the early to mid-Seventies (with the invaluable assistance of writing partner Bernie Taupin). Then the muse just up and left the two of them, except for perhaps that whole Lion King deal. This, for our money, was the last great Elton John song on the radio. It was released in 1975 as the lone single off Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (the title tune is decent, too). This is the story of how Taupin and another friend, Long John Baldry (the “someone” in the title) saved John from getting married (to a female) in 1968 as he was contemplating suicide and to, instead, pursue his music career (and other non-traditional endeavors).

Remote Patrol

World Series of Poker

Final Table 

9 p.m. ESPN

Live. The 49th annual main event. The November Nine—when ESPN halted the tournament as it got to the final table and made us wait four months so that they could produce the shows leading up to that final table—is no more. Technology has finally caught up to, well, the internet. So we’re going back to the final table without a day’s—much less four months’—break.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet du Jour

Starting Five

1. North Atlantic Tweety Organization*

*The judges will also accept “IncogNATO” and “Tussles in Brussels” but not “A Twerp Near Antwerp”

En route to visit his A) pal? B) role model? C) benefactor?, President Trump makes a stop in Brussels for a NATO summit. There, he begins by calling our most powerful ally in Europe (nope, the world), Germany, “captive to Russia.” He tells everyone else to “pay up.”

Even before arriving, he was launching tweet bombs…

The irony of it all, of course, is, FROM WHOM ARE WE PROTECTING GERMANY AND THE REST OF EUROPE? WHO IS THE BIG BAD WOLF? Oh, that’s right: Russia. Where Trump’s best political friend on the international stage is the ruler.

I’d love to see every European country tell the United States to take its troops and go home (of course, so would Vlad). But maybe it’s time to roll back NATO. If my “friend” treated me with so little respect, I’d ghost them. Wouldn’t you?

2. Rule Number 7

Last night was a fantastic evening in MLB for the observance of Rule No. 7: “Baseball is the one sport where you can continually witness something you’ve never seen before.”

Exhibit A: In an Ohio interleague game in Cleveland, the Indians lead the Reds 4-0 with two outs in the ninth inning.  There are two men on base. What happens next for Cincinnati?

Single, double, intentional walk, walk, double, intentional walk, single. The Reds score seven runs with two outs in the ninth and go on to win, 7-4. But that might not have been as strange as…

Exhibit B: A walk-off hit in Houston that literally travels 2 to 3 feet past home plate. You have to see this to believe it.

Listen to the announcer: “The Astros win on a play that I’m not sure you’re ever going to see again.” That’s Rule No. 7.

3. Viva Le France

Yet another set piece goal. Umtiti’s header off a corner kick in the 51st minute decided it

For all the mocking everyone does, France is headed to its third World Cup final of the past 20 years. And for the third time, that final will be played in a European city.

The FFF won in 1998, when the final was played in Paris, and lost to Italy in 2006, when it was played in Germany. On Sunday they’ll face either England or Croatia in Moscow, thanks to yesterday’s 1-0 win against MH’s pick, Belgium.

Hazard’s one-on-one dribbling moves made him the Maravich of this World Cup

The French defense completely neutralized Lokaku and Fellaini and while, in our opinion, Eden Hazard was the most gifted player on the pitch, he could not do it alone (though it seemed as if he were trying at times). France will be the favorite on Sunday, and there isn’t a fat cat in FIFA who does not want to see them meet England.

4. In Which We Yet Again Gently Chide Jason McIntyre of Fox/The Big Lead For Not Fully Representing The Truth*

It feels like less than three years ago that the Royals won the World Series

*The judges will also accept “Salary Crap”

So this was the tweet that our professional acquaintance and sparring partner, Jason Mcintyre, sent out last night. It’s no secret that he is an avowed fan of the NBA and NFL and not of MLB (which is a little odd, because the people who sign his paycheck have invested billions into MLB but zero into the NBA; so we’ll give him credit for not toeing the company line):

His argument, I believe, is that MLB is an uneven playing field (this is technically true since ballparks’ outfields are not symmetrical, nor should they be; that’s part of the beauty of the game) because unlike the NFL and NBA, there is no hard salary cap (there IS a luxury tax, though). But here are two points he either forgot or conveniently omitted:

A) In the last four years the NBA has had the SAME TWO TEAMS meet in the NBA Finals. In the last four years of the World Series, seven of a possible eight teams participated. The lone team that went twice, the Kansas City Royals, now have the worst record in Major League Baseball.

Now, you can argue that if there were a cap the Royals would have been able to keep more of their best players. But how did they get such a quality team in the first place?

B) Look at that list above: The Giants, with baseball’s second-highest payroll, are 48-46. There are 15 teams (literally half of baseball) with as good or a better record. The Milwaukee Brewers, who are 26th in payroll (maybe this is why the bottom of his list begins at 27?), are 55-37 and own THE BEST RECORD IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE.

Jason is a slippery one. You’ve got to fact-check him all the time.

5. Midwest Side Story

Ugly American. No other way to say it. And why is the Chicago police officer doing nothing? Now of course MAGA will whine that all three major networks covered this story last night, but we’ve got to ask, Why harass someone who is literally doing nothing to you?

The reason this video resonates for the MH staff, though, is what this 62 year-old man says. “You’re not going to change us,” he says, and by “us” he means the U.S. But they will. And they always have. Irish immigrants changed us. Italian immigrants changed us. Black (unwilling) immigrants changed us. The U.S.’ very DNA is about change, just as WASPs changed the landscape of this beautiful land that the Native Americans were able to preserve for centuries. When the Native Americans were the only people here, there was no New Jersey Turnpike, you know what I’m saying.

Immigrants WILL change us. They always have. Get used to it.

Music 101

Love Vigilantes

The first track of New Order‘s 1985 album, Low-Life. Listen to the lyrics. There’s actually a story going on with a twist ending.

Remote Patrol

World Cup

England vs Croatia

2 p.m. Fox

Nations Trump has or will visit this week are 0-1 in the World Cup semis thus far. Bad news for you, England.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Thai Foon!

They’re out! All 12 boys and their coach, though we have to think there were moments when he was like, “You guys go. I’ll just stay here” cuz if these were American parents with whom he was dealing… Meanwhile, if these had been American kids, we’d all be discussing how traumatized they were to have to survive more than two weeks without wifi.

Gunan, moments before entering the cave on his fatal dive

And this all could have been avoided if they’d just had one girl on the team (“I think we should stop and ask for directions”).

Tragically, there was one death, retired Thai SEAL diver Saman Gunan, who ran out of oxygen while making a dive to bring oxygen to the youths.

2. Serena

A funny thing happened while we were all waiting for Tiger Woods to become the best golfer who ever lived…another southern California native of color from the same generation with a relentless dad became the greatest female tennis player who ever lived.

Serena Williams, just 10 months after giving birth to her first child, is on to the semifinals at Wimbledon after winning earlier today. She is human, finally dropping a set. The good folks at the All-England seeded her 25th in the tourney because she’d missed so much time this past year due to becoming a mom. She’s two matches away from winning her 24th Grand Slam singles title, the most of any human.

Watch this. This is how a champion talks.

3. They No Gotta Da Vida

Ponytailed soccer star Domagoj Vida, the hero of Croatia’s quarterfinal victory over Russia on Saturday (one goal in extra time and one in PK phase), may not be around for their semi tomorrow versus England. Why not? Well, he’s IN Russia and he helped ELIMINATE Russia and after the game apparently took part in a video, posted to social media, that was supportive of Ukraine, the country that Russia, you know, invaded a few years ago.

I mean, that’s why there are international sanctions against Russia…for now. It’s still playing out, Vida’s fate. But if we were him, we’d hire a food taster for the remainder of the tourney.

Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo is headed to Turin to play for Juventus in Serie A. He’d done about all you could do in nine seasons with Real Madrid. Can’t blame the man for wanting to try different cuisine and unlike LeBron, he’s going from a championship team to another championship team.

4. London Galling

President Trump will head to the U.K. after going first to Brussels to insult more allies, but he will bypass London. Not a city of great importance, after all. Londoners cannot do without their Trump, however, so a few Londoners asked if they could fly this giant balloon of Baby Trump in a diaper during the president’s visit to the other parts of the nation and mayor Sadiq Khan said yes.

The balloon is filled with helium, while the president of course is filled with hot air and bile.

This didn’t sit well with Piers Morgan. But who cares?

5. Rule Number One (Again)

What is Rule No. 1? Gravity always wins. 

It happened again, one week ago in Arizona, as 24 year-old Andrey Privin of suburban Chicago (Buffalo Grove) perished in a 500-foot fall at the Grand Canyon. Privin had apparently climbed over a guard rail at Mather Point at the South Rim when he lost his footing and plunged 500 feet to his death. The Loyola University grad was scheduled to start his career as a nurse in Highland Park, another Chicago suburb, yesterday.

 

Music 101

Slow Song

The MH staff  scooted up to Providence, R.I., where we saw one of our musical heroes, Joe Jackson, perform last night. About a month ago an ordinarily reliable MH source told us that Joe Jackson was suffering from “Stage 4 pancreatic cancer,” and we were so saddened. Then we learned that it was Michael Jackson’s pop, Joe, who has since expired. Still, it was a lesson not to take greatness for granted, so we scooted up to Providence, bought a G.A. ticket for $45, and heard him play all the classics: “It’s Different For Girls, “Is She Really Going Out With Him?” “Real Men” “Be My Number Two,” “Sunday Papers,” “You Cant’ Get What You Want,” and “Steppin’ Out (slow version, which is better).” He closed with this one. If you get the chance and are in Canada or the northern U.S. this next month, Joe”s the man (he’s the man, he’s the man, he’s the man…).

Remote Patrol

World Cup

Belgium vs. France

2 p.m. FOX

Kylian Mbappe, 19, is the future of France, if not soccer itself…

Now THIS is the real World Cup final (we’ll keep making these claims right up to the moment that England hoists the trophy).

Key Largo

8 p.m. TCM

A classic, with Bogey, Lauren Bacall and Edward G. Robinson. A hostage drama during a hurricane in the Florida Keys. If you consider yourself a buff and have not seen this, your buff-ing needs work.

 

IT’S ALL SUMMER VACATION!

by John Walters

Taking the family on vacation to that giant plastic garbage island in the Pacific that is the size of France. Can’t wait. We should return tomorrow. In the meantime, we did catch a wild film on TCM late last night (The Admirable Crichton), which we wanted to share with you because wethinks in it were the roots of both My Fair Lady and Gilligan’s Island.

Also, completely unrelated, wethinks Luka Modric of Croatia must in some way be related to Thom Yorke of Radiohead.

The Admirable Crichton (title character in tux)

Okay, see youse guys tomorrow.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Starting Five

Good Riddance

The Director of the EPA (Environmental Penetration Agency), Scott Pruitt, resigns. The Swamp is a much more arid place this morning. Here is a short list of his misdeeds and malevolence toward the environment he was sworn to protect in his 17 or so months in office.

The encouraging news, for D.C. diners, is that apparently you can step up to a government official these days, tell them to resign, and they’ll actually do it!

2. Vegas Is Allen Town

During last night’s NBA Summer League action in Las Vegas, Trae Young (5th overall pick, Dallas to Atlanta) scuffled with Grayson Allen (21st overall pick, Utah). Young has been a cautionary draft tale all spring: he’s short and slight and while he has fantastic court vision, his 3-point shooting % was subpar). Thus far he’s 3 for 24, or about 12.5%, from beyond the arc. Not great, Bob!

Both players were T’ed up for this. You just know Grayson will lead the Summer League in technical fouls. Last night the 6’5″ Allen has 11 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists  in just 16 minutes. Of course, you know this is the Summer League because Allen jacked up 16 shots in 16 minutes.

Some of us don’t have NBA TV. The Summer League is more entertaining than the NBA regular season because this is like a College All-Star league except half of these guys are legitimately fighting for jobs. The rest are fighting for playing time once the season begins. Maximum fun.

3. Tirade Wars

Donald Trump, on a campaign stop (?) in Montana last night…

–Imagines throwing a DNA testing kit at Senator Elizabeth Warren to force her to prove her Native American ancestry: “We are going to do it gently because we’re the #MeToo generation, so we have to be very careful.”

This from a dude whom 20 women have accused of sexual assault, not including the two women who say they slept with him (after his marriage to Melania), one of whom likely aborted a child from their sexual congress.

–Slammed Senator John McCain and Bush 41, both of whom are in extremely poor health. “A thousand points of light, I never got that. ‘America First’, now that I get.”

–“Putin’s fine.”

4. Ryker, Alexey and Megan Fall Over Shannon Falls

Just the lede we pulled from the news story says it all: “Three members of a YouTube travel blogging collective have died after falling over a waterfall in Canada.”

Listen, we of all people here at MH get it. Why work when you can just travel and post videos of your lifelong vacation and then hopefully somehow someone will sponsor your exploits???? (personally, we’re just waiting for an extremely generous gift from the Susie B. Foundation).

The site: Shannon Falls, British Columbia.

The dead: Ryker Gamble, Alexey Lyakh and Megan Scraper

5. Chomp, Chomp; Womp, Womp

Three poachers infiltrated the Sibuya Game Reserve in South Africa to hunt rhinos and instead got the (final) surprise of their lives when they were tracked and eaten by lions at the reserve. And this is the strongest evidence that karma may just exist.

I was overjoyed by the news and if you were, too, please call the office of Wayne Palmer, a dentist in the Twin Cities, and tell him so. Call him as often as you like at 952-884-5361. He’s on vacation this week, probably off murdering Golden Retriever puppies or something, but hopefully he’ll be back on Monday. Call him five to ten times a day. Just to share this news with him. Tell him, “I ain’ lyin’, this is true!”

Reserves

We’d like to apologize to all of our readers for running that owl piece yesterday and never using the phrase, “a real hoo-dunnit.” We’ll be better. We have to be.

Music 101

Presence Of The Lord

A dozen or so years before there was the supergroup Asia, made of musicians who were already accomplished and famous, there was Blind Faith. The band, composed of Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker, released only one album, eponymously titled, in 1969.

The group, made up of former Traffic and Cream members, went on a brief tour but, like Asia, barely had enough material to fill an hour much less a set. Clapton became disillusioned and left the band after the tour.

We’re gonna now cheat here and also include our favorite Blind Faith tune, which we’ve run in this space before. But here’s a live version performed relatively recently.

 

Remote Patrol

Belgium vs. Brazil

2 p.m. FS1

The soccer staff at MH believes, quite ardently, that these are the two best sides remaining at the World Cup. So why are they meeting in the quarterfinals??? Tune in for the soccer, stick around for the melodramatic Neymar death scene.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet du Jour

Starting Five

S’tat You On The Statue?

Beginning around 3 p.m. yesterday, the Fourth of July, Therese Okoumo began scaling the outside of the Statue of Liberty on one of its busiest days of the year. Okoumo, who did so as a protest of this administration’s immigration policies, made it past the base and to the bottom of Lady Liberty’s robe. That’s when, after a 3-hour standoff, police finally nabbed her.

The NYPD neither shot nor Tase’d Okoumo, who is black, so as a nation, look at us! Making progress.

2. Is Jake Fromm Insured By State Farm?

Georgia’s starting quarterback, Jake Fromm, who led the Dawgs to within a couple plays of the national championship last January as a true freshman, breaks his left (non-throwing) hand in a 4th of July wake boarding accident. Oops. You gotta be woke when you wake.

That was not smart, thinks Kirby. A reminder that Fromm Wally Pipped a five-star Dawg starter last September, Jacob Eason, who has since transferred to Washington (he’s a Seattle native). And Georgia has a true freshman in camp this summer, Justin Fields, a Peachtree State native like Fromm, who was considered the NUMBER ONE quarterback recruit in the nation last winter (and No. 2 overall player). Could get interesting in Athens this August.

3. Is Bitcoin Trust Trustworthy?

Jordan Bellfort

In January we made Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) our MH Stock Pick of the Year. Then by late June it was down to one-third of its New Year’s Day value and we raised the white flag, conceded defeat. Then of course of Monday the stock rose 20% in one day.

So the question, independent of whether or not you believe Bitcoin is ultimately a fraud, is, Can you still make money on Bitcoin and How? By buying long or short-selling? On July 2nd, the same day GBTC was spiking 20%, CNBC ran a story in which Jordan Bellfort, the shamed Wolf of Wall Street, advised investors to avoid Bitcoin at all costs because he of all people knows a scam when he sees one. “Get out of Bitcoin if you don’t want to lose all of your money,” said Bellfort, echoing the admonitions of Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger.

Bellfort talked about the principle that made him rich, the “Greater Fools” theory. That theory says that it’s fine to buy a worthless stock as long as you can find a greater fool who will pay more for it than you did. Our rejoinder to that is that Bitcoin has come down so far from its December highs that it will either ultimately vanish altogether or rebound. So where do you place your bet on either of those two outcomes.

The hard-core Bitcoin proponents, and these are men who wear suits and have big Wall Street jobs (and of course, also, the Winklevi) promise that Bitcoin will be up 300% by the end of the year. Surely, they’re wrong. But what if they’re right? Name another equity that’s going to give you a 300% return in the next 6 months.

4. Nordic Skier Wins Mount Marathon

Jessica Yeaton, an Australian Nordic skier who lives in Anchorage, was the first female up-and-down in the annual Mount Marathon 5-K in Seward, Alaska, yesterday. It was her first time scaling the mountain. David Norris was the men’s champion, his second win in the past three years. Neither broke the course record.

Denali Foldager-Strabel, whom we mentioned yesterday here, finished in 2nd place, :30 behind Yeaton. We are assuming Allie Ostrander, defending women’s champ, did not enter.

5.  Look “Hoo”‘s Doing Time at Riker’s*

*The judges have dismissed “Jailbird” as “too easy.”

A snowy owl showed up at the Riker’s Island jail in New York City on Sunday (it’s that jail you see as your plane is landing/taking off at LaGuardia, and yes, we are sorry you had to fly into/out of LaGuardia). The best part is that the owl, whom staffers have named Lorax, was captured and is now, I guess you can say, incarcerated until officials release it to a rehab center—a halfway house!— in New Jersey before ultimately releasing it back into the general population.

The bird is understandably upset, as it wishes to assert its white privilege and not be confined with other known talons.

Music 101

I’ve Got The Music In Me

 

A year later Kiki Dee would become better-known to Americans as half of a duet with the world-famous Elton John for “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” but here she is fronting the Kiki Dee Band for a tune that would hit No. 12 on the Billboard chart in October of 1974. Dee, real name Pauline Matthews, was born and raised in Yorkshire, England.

Remote Patrol

The Blob

8 p.m. TCM

As a kid in the Tri-State area, Channel 9 (WOR) used to air a Saturday night movie show called “Creature Feature.” They’d air old Hollywood horror films, which is where I first saw this classic, which scared me as a five year-old but will probably seem hilarious now. Besides, back then I was too young to appreciate the mid-Fifties symbolism of The Blob being the “Red Scare.” I guess you could remake it now to be viewed as the “Red-State Scare.”

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet du Jour

He corrected it (or his staff did) and still failed to hyphenate “best-selling.” Dumbass.

Starting Five

Land of The Gluten-Free, Home of The Brave

The 2nd Civil War will be anything but boring. The Battle of Williamsburg. Sherman’s March on Walmart. The Siege at Starbucks (I know, which one?)


The libtards subsisting on hard tack made from compressed gay wedding cakes, while MAGA finds sustenance in white rage and paranoia. And of course, the texts and tweets home from the front.

Can we please make this happen, Alex Jones?

2. Ayers Rock Is A Hard Place

A Japanese tourist, aged 76, died climbing up Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, in central Australia. The tourist suffered a heart attack during his ascent. He is the 37th person to die on this great monolith since it was opened to tourists in the 1960s.

Here’s the weird thing: last year a 12-person board voted UNANIMOUSLY to ban people from climbing the rocks, since this is a sacred spot to the Anangu people, who have been given back title to the land. But the prohibition does not go into effect until October 26, 2019, in order to give people who have already booked trips there the opportunity to climb it. So do it now if you ever want to, but know that it may be perilous.

3. Max-imus

His name is Max Muncy, he was inserted into the Los Angeles Dodger lineup as an infield  replacement after Corey Seager went down with injury, and last night he hit his 19th and 20th home runs of the season in just his 63rd game in Dodger blue. In two previous years with the Oakland A’s, in which the native Texan appeared in 45 and 51 games, respectively, he walloped 3 and 2 home runs.

Last season Muncy, 27, spent the entire year down in the minors. Now he just became the fastest Dodger to 20 homers, breaking the record set by Cody Bellinger…last season. What’s his secret? Lower crouch in batting stance, which equals…higher launch angle.

Looks as if someone out-Moneyball‘ed Billy Beane, no?

4. World’s Oldest Murderer*

*The judges will also accept “Blessing In Disguise”

A 92 year-old Fountain Hills, Arizona, woman alledgedly fatally shot her 72 year-old son who wanted to put her in a nursing home (Don’t worry, Phyllis; I’m taking heed). Anna Mae Blessing allegedly hid two pistols in her robe and allegedly told her son, “You took my life, so I’m taking yours.

Very Dirty Harriet of you, Anna Mae.

She then allegedly tried to murder his 57 year-old girlfriend (niiiiiice) but she was able to wrestle both pistols away. Of course, if you’re Anna Mae, can’t you just claim the girlfriend murdered him?

Anyway, Blessing could get 10 years in prison, but her attorneys are hoping to get her sentence commuted to life imprisonment.

5. Alaska’s Super Bowl

Mount Marathon: You COULD die doing this 5K run

Every 4th of July we go nutso about Alaska’s Mount Marathon race (maybe they’ll finally  take the $100 application fee we submit each year and put our name on the roster of entrants….maybe???), which takes place today. We’ll have the winners tomorrow, but take note that the defending women’s champ is Alaska native and Boise State junior Allie Ostrander, who is the reigning NCAA steeplechase champ. Seems like a perfect fit. This is just a steep chase, after all.

Our sentimental fave is Denali Foldager-Strabel, because each of her parents won this race previously and there’s hardly a more Alaskan name than Denali and also because she’s a recovering meth addict whose job is to register firearms at a Cabela’s and this is all true.

Denali

 

Music 101

That’s The Way

In the Seventies Led Zeppelin got radio play for rockers such as “Ramble On” and “Whole Lotta Love” and of course, “Stairway To Heaven,” which is half-rocker and half-mystical acoustic court ballad. This tune, which never got air play, is full Tolkien-esque mystical jingle-jangle acoustic ballad. One of the lovelier tunes in Robert Plant’s arsenal (we’d love to see Led Zep on Carpool Karaoke).

Remote Patrol

The West Wing

Netflix

You’ve got the day off (we don’t) and hopefully you’ve got Netflix. If you’re not out BBQ-ing or at the lake/beach, and you get home from the 2nd Civil War early enough, watch an episode or two and fall back in love with your government. “Shutdown” and “Let Bartlet Be Bartlet” are two of our favorite episodes.

 

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tweet du Jour

 Avert your eyes and ears, Marco Rubio!

Starting Five

Stella!!!! (Artois)

Down 2-0 midway through the second half to Japan, Belgium (MH’s pick to win the World Cup with two header goals to even it up before the 90th minute. Then, in stoppage time, the Belgians score on the most beautiful goal that you’ve ever seen, basically a transition basket in hoops.

In the 94th and final minute, Goalkeeper Thibault Coutois grabs the rebound, rolls an outlet pass into the middle of the pitch to Kevin De Bruyne while the Japanese are napping, and a three-on-two (it was actually five on four) break ensues.  It only took two passes before Nacer Chadli scored the game-winner on the game’s final kick.

It was a pure moment of beauty, no matter whom you were rooting for.

Shoji, sprawled. Add this to your Sports Photos of the Year list….

Here at MH, unlike at the White House, we believe in empathy. So take a moment, go back and watch the video, and keep your eyes on Japan’s No. 3, Gen Shoji. He’s the dude immediately trailing the ball (i.e. De Bruyne) after the outlet pass. He outruns all of his teammates and comes within one stride of stopping the game-winning assist and slides, fruitlessly, toward the Chadli’s kick. There are no points for trying, but we want to recognize the fact that he could not have done anything more.

2. “Lonzo, Rondo. Rondo, Lonzo.” 

For reasons unbeknownst to most thinking hoops observers, the Lakers added another thirtysomething former All-Star to their squad yesterday. Point guard Rajon Rondo, a career 30.9% three-point shooter who is best with the ball in his palm, will join the Lakers. Just what they need: another point guard who cannot spread the floor. Well done, Magic/King James.

This will be Rondo’s sixth NBA franchise since 2014. We love the guy, he’s the best Connect Four player we’ve ever seen, but why is he so itinerant? JaVale McGee remains the best acquisition the Lakers have made, shy of LeBron.

3. DeMarcus Where?!?

Not to be outdone, the Golden State Warriors announced the signing of 6’11” double-double machine DeMarcus Cousins, the owner of the most intimidating glare in the NBA. If anyone can put a smile on Boogie’s face, it’s the Splash Brothers.


 (Check the timestamp on that tweet. How did you know, Andy? How did you know????)

A reminder: Cousins is an eight-year veteran and a four-time All-Star with career averages of 21.5 ppg and 11.0 rpg who has never taken part in a playoff game. Not one. He’s overdue and he’s more than ready.

4. Max Madness

Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer is one of the two/three best pitchers in baseball the past half-decade. Three Cy Young Awards in two leagues. He’s led his league in WHIP four of the past six seasons, this one included. He’s led his league in Wins two of the past five years, not including 2018.

The Boston Red Sox, meanwhile, have baseball’s most potent offense. They lead the MLB in both runs and doubles and are second or third behind the Yankees and/or Astros in every other category. So when the Red Sox met the Nats in D.C. last night, you knew something had to give.

What you could not have expected is that Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello, himself a former Cy Young Award winner and, like Scherzer and most great pitchers of this era, a former Detroit Tiger, would come to bat with the bases loaded and smack a base-clearing double. Porcello came to bat early in a scoreless game; there was no reason to pinch-hit for him. Meanwhile, Scherzer entered the game with an ERA just above 2.0 and a WHIP near 0.80.

And then Porcello, in his first at-bat of the season, on an 0-2 pitch that was a fastball down the middle, torched Scherzer with a shot to the left-center gap for three runs. When is the last time a Cy Young-winning pitcher had a 3-RBI hit off another Cy Young-winning pitcher? We don’t know the answer to that. Who do you think we are, Elias Sports Bureau???

The Red Sox won, 4-3.

Rule No. 7: You can attend a baseball game on any given night and see something that’s never happened in the sport before.s

5. Barney and the Cave Rescue

Yes, it was terrific news to learn that all 12 member of the Thai boys soccer team, plus their coach, were found alive (apparently, no one ate anyone else). I even saw someone tweet that they broke down and cried when they heard the news, which I find odd since that person had obviously never met any of them. I mean, people live and die every day. Okay, maybe I’m just an old man with a frozen heart…

Anyway, two things: 1) because of where they are located, deep in a web of caves, many of which are submerged under water right now, they may be trapped there (although food and water can be brought to them by divers) for weeks, even a month or two. This makes the “rescue” even more intriguing, since it’s now entered its “The Truman Show” phase. I mean, isn’t this better than any season of Survivor? If only it were a dozen hot young men and women trapped with Jeff Probst instead of 12 barely pubescent Thai boys. If only it were so….

2) All of this reminded me of one of the greatest sitcom episodes of all time, “Barney and the Cave Rescue” from The Andy Griffith Show. The set-up: Barney Fife gets himself into a concatenation of scrapes in which he overreacts to situations and becomes the laughing stock of Mayberry. Soon after, Andy and Barney and their girlfriends, Helen Crump and Thelma Lou, go on a picnic. Andy and Helen get lost in a cave.

What happens next is why this has always been one of the top five sitcoms ever to air. Andy and Helen escape on their own, but when they return to town the clandestinely learn that Barney has organized this massive search party. They don’t want him to look even more foolish, so they return to the cave unbeknownst to all and allow Barney and the search crew to rescue them. In 22 minutes a wonderful story of ego, pride and friendship is shared. If you’ve never seen it, I’ve thrown up the YouTube link. It’s outstanding.

Music 101

Mockingbird

 

While Carly Simon and James Taylor were making beautiful music together as husband and wife, they were also making beautiful music together. This No. 5 hit from 1974 was actually written and recorded by African-American siblings Inez and Charlie Foxx 11 years earlier and rose to No. 7 on the pop chart. Dusty Springfield and Aretha Franklin would also record versions but it was Taylor, who saw the original duo perform the song at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater, who induced his wife to put it on her album (because this be the first and only time white musicians “borrowed” from black musicians). Their version remains the most well-known.

In recent years James has sung it live as a duet with their daughter, Sally, while Carly has done the same with their son, Ben.

Remote Patrol

World Cup

England vs. Colombia

2 p.m. FOX

What’s Portuguese for “drama queen?”

Thus far four European sides are through and two South American sides are through to the quarters. The other Asians can go bugger off.