Do you think if I wait two weeks after the Mueller Report hits that anyone notice the craven timing of my resignation? No, Rod, no one will notice. You go right ahead.
Chase’d Off Twitter
Someone in the social media department of one of the world’s most profitable banks thought it would be a good idea to remind folks that they could save money by walking instead of taking taxis and forgoing the daily Starbucks fix. That went over well.
It’s not that the advice is bad, it’s just that when the people dispensing it took a $12 billion handout from Uncle Sam due to their own horrible choices only 10 years ago, well, people haven’t forgotten it. And to everyone who always says, “They paid it all back,” here, take this delicious Shut Up Sandwich I just fixed for you. Most of us never had that opportunity.
Chase should really come out with helpful tips for 1%ers: You: Why is my bank account so low? Bank Account: “Stop donating to Bernie Sanders’ campaign.” You: Why is commuting so expensive? Bank Account: “Don’t fly Blade to the Hamptons every weekend.”
Endgame Of Thrones
Some enterprising cable channel—need not be HBO—should air a studio show in which military experts assess the Battle of Winterfell. We re-watched it last night and a second helping, plus the post-show analysis of Benioff and Weiss, clarifies a few things that were not as clear upon first viewing (let’s face it; it was so dark that nothing was clear upon first viewing).
Strategery-wise (thank you, 43), we didn’t understand sending the Dothraki out into the darkness versus an unseen foe. That was the first major mistake. Second, maybe if Bran is the most precious cargo in all of the world, you could’ve given Theon and his band of Iron Men a little more help. Third, we don’t know how much suspension of disbelief had to be begged for Jamie, Brienne and yes, even Jon Snow, to have survived.
I’m sure there are more elements you could have thought up. Basically, the survival of the living world came down to a teenage girl making a near-impossible kill shot that involved changing hands in mid-air with a weapon. Paul George is correct. It was a bad shot.
Future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander pitched an on-target gem at Target Field yesterday, limitng the Minnesota Twins to three hits. It wasn’t enough for Verlander and the Astros, however, as one of those hits was a solo homer by Ehire Adrianza (not a household name) on a 3-2 pitch. The Twins win, 1-0, and now have baseball’s second-best record (17-9) as we reach the final day of April.
Baseball’s two top teams at this early juncture are the Tampa Bay Rays (19-9) and the Twins. In terms payroll they are ranked 30th and 18th, respectively. Yes, the team with baseball’s lowest payroll has its best record.
One More Reason To Love Canadians
What would happen if Bob Marley and New Order had a love child? It would probably be Bob Sinclair, the DJ who scored a massive worldwide hit with this (but not in the USA) in 2005. Note: The vocals are not by Sinclair, a French DJ, but by Gary Pine. The tune rocketed to No. 1 in Australia and Germany, but somehow never made the Top 40 (except on the dance charts) here in the USA.
Champions League Semis: Ajax at Tottenham
3 p.m. TNT
The first leg, from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (we miss the name White Hart Lane already). We don’t know why they’re not airing Liverpool at Barcelona, either. Talk to Ernie Johnson.
Game 2: Rockets at Warriors
10:30 p.m. TNT
If this is not the de facto NBA Finals, it’s the most star-studded series we’re going to get this spring (possible exception: Bucks-Dubs). Come for the exceptional shooting, stay for the execrable flopping.
Keeping its cult of devoted fans in the dark for 18-plus months was not enough for Game Of Thrones show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Last night’s Episode 3, ‘The Battle of Winterfell,” had to be unseen to be believed. It was like one of those now politically incorrect blackout games in college football.
Don’t get us wrong. We loved the cinema verite aspect, the fog-of-war morphing into the pitch-black-of-war realism. But yeah, the story line pretty much left us in the dark until Arya Stark went all MJ versus the Lakers in Game 1 of the 1991 NBA Finals on the Night King. Ned Stark’s younger daughter definitely possesses the clutch gene.
Chernow For Something Completely Different
The Nerd Prom ditched the comic headliner this year and instead got itself a nerd: celebrated author/historian Ron Chernow (who curiously did a 4-minute bit on airline snacks). The author of Hamilton, Chernow noted he was thankful that his book’s eponymous protagonist was “an immigrant who arrived, thankfully, before the country was full.”
Chernow departed using a line from Mark Twain that is as relevant now as it was in the 19th century: “Politicians and diapers must be changed often, and for the same reason.”
The Duct-Tape Yankees
It was a typical April day for the New York Yankees: one victory, two lost players. The Yanks downed the San Francisco Giants, 11-5, to complete a three-game sweep in the Bay Area while two starters, D.J. LeMahieu and Gio Urshela, left with injuries.
LeMahieu, acquired as a backup infielder and Ursula, who began the year in Triple A, were batting .310 and .351, respectively, when they left yesterday’s game. As you may know, the Yankees have won 11 of their past 13 games, almost all of them without 13 players on the Disabled List. That list includes All-Stars Aaron Judge, Dellin Betances, Giancarlo Stanton, Troy Tulowitzki and Luis Severino, as well as starters Didi Gregorius, Miguel Andujar and Aaron Hicks.
The only full-time starter from last year who has yet to miss a game is infielder Gleyber Torres, though 35 year-old Brett Gardner has only missed one. Also, deliver Domingo German, pressed into a starting role due to injuries, is now tied for the Major League Wins lead with 5 (5-1, 2.56 ERA).
The question for Yankee fans: What happens when the All-Stars return?
The Lost Boy Scout
Two weeks past, we finally have a three-word review of the Special Counsel’s 400-page report on the investigation into President Donald Trump: “Not great, Bob!”
It appears that Robert Mueller heard history knocking on his door and chose to keep the lights off, like a curmudgeon on Halloween night, and wait until the trick-or-tweeters departed.
Mueller’s history of being a by-the-book prosecutor and a valiant soldier finally caught up with him, it appears. There was more than ample opportunity for a noble strike, for a maneuver that would not break a law but only decorum. Or precedent. He opted to not take it.
Whatever may or may not be concluded about Trump’s relationship with Russia and Vladimir Putin, it is beyond the pale to not conclude that the president has been doing everything possible (including firing FBI Director James Comey, the very act that initiated this special investigation) to obstruct justice the past two years. Just because a president has never been indicted for obstructing justice before does not mean it is not permissible.
“Honey, Do You Feel A Draft?”
We still don’t understand why so many tens of thousands of people showed up to watch the NFL Draft live on the streets of Nashville with ESPN’s College GameDay crew (and where were celebrity pickers The Chainsmokers???). We do know that this was our favorite draft-related moment:
Other thoughts: We love what Da Raidas! did in drafting RB Josh Jacobs. Almost makes up for taking Clelin Ferrell at No. 4. Gruden and Mayock also used a fifth-round pick on Clemson’s former walk-on wideout Hunter Renfrow and then signed Notre Dame LB TeVon Coney as an UFA. All Coney did the past two seasons for a team that went a collective 22-4 was post 116 and 123 tackles…Giants GM Dave Gettleman has staked his future on Duke QB Daniel Jones, who against Clemson last season led the Blue Devils to a pair of field goals and 158 yards passing (on 24 completions, so mostly dinks and dumps)…No one has yet signed Syracuse QB Eric Dungey, which somewhat surprises us…Seattle got a steal in local linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven (U-Dub) in the 5th round. He’s undersized at 6’0″ but he was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year for a reason…The 6th round saw college QB faves Gardner Minshew (Jax) and Trace McSorley (Baltimore) get selected. Will either hang on? That’ll be fun to track…
In 1979, a pair of better known musical Stewarts (Al and Rod) had singles that hit the charts, but neither had a Top 5 hit. This Stewart, John Stewart, did. The SoCal reared-Stewart even had Stevie Nicks singing backup vocals, though she is nowhere to be seen as he performs the song “live” on the premiere episode of “Solid Gold.” What an Au-some choice of artist by the show’s producers.
Blazers at Nuggets: Game 1
10:30 p.m. TNT
“I’ll take ‘Teams that ESPN never mentioned before last week this season for $400, Alex.'” The Nuggets are led by seven-foot Serbian Nikola Jokic, whose Game 7 line versus the Spurs Saturday was one for the ages: 21 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists and zero turnovers (can you imagine if LeBron had done that? Yes, Susie B., he is the last dude to have a triple-double in a Game 7)
No idea if using the No. 1 overall pick to draft 5’10” QB Kyler Murray will turn out to be a brilliant maneuver or cosmically stupid—oddly, the Cardinals just got rid of a Heisman Trophy-winning Oklahoma QB who was a dud on the field and in the locker room—just know that it’s a huge risk.
You may recall that we called this pick about a month ago with absolute certainty. If Arizona can land a first-round talent for Josh RosenRosen, that improves this risk. For now, we would’ve taken Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams, emphasis on the latter.
Mark this down: with the first pick in the first round, the Cardinals took 5’10” QB Kyler Murray. With the last pick in the first round, the Patriots selected 6’4″ wideout N’Keal Harry. Ask anyone around the Arizona State athletic department and they’ll tell you Bill Belichick got the better player.
If the Caribbean native Harry can adapt to the New England clime (plus guaranteed road games in Buffalo and East Rutherford), he can be a monster in Foxboro. Clip and save.
Defense Never Rests
Never mind Murray and Harry (Hey, you brought ’em up, JW), defense was the story last night. Twelve of the first 19 players were defensive front seven studs (a defensive 2ndary player did not hear his name until the 21st pick [Maryland’s Darnell Savage, Jr.] and a running back not until the 23rd [Alabama’s Josh Jacobs, who will be absolutely loved by Raider Nation]).
Bosa and Williams are locks to be great. Time will tell if Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell was a reach at No. 4 or if Houton’s Ed Oliver got unfairly dissed (picked 9th by Buffalo) over an unfortunate jacket incident caught by ESPN’s cameras.
Notre Dame’s Jerry Tillery became the first Irish defensive lineman to go in the first round in more than 20 years. Two years ago, as his season was ending with an ejection in the rain at the Southern Cal game, few would have predicted this. He made a wonderful comeback.
Celtic legend John Havlicek, basketball’s original glue guy, passes away at age 79. Hondo was a small forward who came up GIGANTIC in big moments, from “Havlicek stole the ball!” to his burying of a jumper to force another overtime in the 3-overtime classic against the Phoenix Suns in the 1976 NBA Finals.
Growing up as a Knicks fan in the early 1970s (I actually remember them winning an NBA championship…it’s crazy), Hondo was the player I feared most. And never hated. He always seemed to make the right play, but the manner in which he performed courted nothing but respect and admiration. You’ll read in all the plaudits today how simply nice a man he was.
Havlicek played on a national champion Ohio State team (with Bob Knight and Jerry Lucas) in 1960 and then went 8-0 in NBA Finals. Even Jordan looks up at that figure. He always seemed to play for the winning team. That was no coincidence.
Much thanks for all the kind words on the Deadspin story. Funny enough, I’m working two shifts at two different restaurants today (part of my smugness, no doubt), which is why today’s column is so abbreviated.
I want to publicly thank Bob Roe, my guardian angel professionally the past six years and my shepherd on this story. No editor is better, as an editor and as a person. It’s a crime that he is not managing editor at a big-name publication. But this is what happens when you have a penchant for wearing funny socks. I love Bob.
Also a huge thanks to Barry Petchesky at Deadspin, whom I’ve never met in person. I’d been shopping this story to various publications the past three weeks. I was even telling editors I didn’t even care to be paid for it. I got a few “not in our wheelhouse” replies and even a few non-replies. If you are in a creative field and the rejection is getting to you, do two things: 1) keep polishing your work to improve it and 2) keep looking because there is probably a Barry Petchesky out there.
Also, Barry asked wonderfully probing questions that made the article stronger. Most of the trenchant commentary you see in there is because Barry pushed me to answer some questions I may have been too uncomfortable to initially explore. Thank you, Barry. Beers on me.
Of all the comments I’ve received, I thought Amy Lundy Dahl (a friend from my UConn book days) made the most insightful. She wrote, “It read like someone who had been set free.” Absolutely. In the past decade I’ve been liberated from worrying about whether I was living up to the expectations myself and others had set (Hey, why did those dudes make senior writer and I didn’t?!) and just learned to enjoy my life.
Some day? It’s already here. Take advantage.
Thanks for reading. And thanks to all of you who know who you are.
There will be a new Stanley Cup champion this spring as the Carolina Hurricanes ousted Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals in Game 7, in overtime, in D.C.
Yes, but will there also be a new NBA champion? The Los Angeles Clippers beat the Golden State Warriors, in Oakland, for the second time in their best-of-seven series. Related: Yes, we’d like to see NBA and NHL first-round series be five games. Also related: $$$$.
If they return for a Game 7, Lou Williams and the Clips won’t be intimidated. Curious thought: between the years 1956 and 2010 there were only two NBA franchises that won an NBA championship in their first and only trip to the NBA Finals. One of them was the 1975 Warriors (okay, you can go with Philly Warriors if you’d like, but we’re counting same team/same city) and the other was the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers.
Wait a minute: Wasn’t this supposed to be a hockey item?
Jacobs, And We Ain’t Josh’ing
We already know Kyler Murray will be the top pick in tonight’s NFL draft. We are hoping Denver will trade Arizona for the pick, henceforth the state could be known as Kylerado. We realize that may be too much to ask.
Kyler Murray, top pick. In our minds, Alabama DT Quinnen Williams is the best player regardless of position (and, like Quenton Nelson last spring, the safest pick).
But if you ask us who from this class will be the NFL Rookie of the Year in 2019, we’re going with Williams’ Crimson Tide teammate, running back Josh Jacobs. He’s a latest model Marshawn Lynch.
Your World Turned Upside Down
We were always amused by The West Wing episode that introduced us to Cartographers For Social Equality, a group that literally endeavored to turn the world upside down. See, their argument was, and it’s not crazy, is that there is no scientific reason that our planet needs to be seen as is, top to bottom. That is, there is no frame of reference in outer space that makes it incumbent upon us to designate north as the top of the world. It’s more of a political construct.
Anyway, something to mull over (or under?) today. Also, in this world, the sun would rise in the west and set in the east. Also, Canada and Russia, look how big you are!
We saw the headline for this story in The New York Times last weekend: “Finland’s Hobbyhorse Girls, Once A Secret Society, Now Prance In Public.” Honestly, we did not click, so sure were we that this is an elaborate sting set up to catch pedophiles. So you tell us if this is a good story if you dare.
So we’re watching Random Harvest on the TCM (of course) the other night, a 1942 film that has remarkably little to do with farming. Ronald Colman plays a middle-aged World War I vet, British, who cannot recall the last three years of his life, but it turns out that Greer Garson and he had been in love and were married.
This is what’s known as escapist fantasy: Wouldn’t it have been nice for every young man attending the movies in 1942 to think that Greer Garson was madly in love with him, it’s just that he couldn’t remember it.
Again, because it’s the Forties and it’s Hollywood, Colman comes to his sense and learns that he’s actually the heir to a magnificent estate. And, of course, there’s a young beauty, played by Susan Peters, who is madly in love with him. In real life Colman was 51 and Peters was 21. What a time to be alive. (both were nominated for Oscars for these roles; neither won; Peters was definitely the one doing a better acting job, if you know what I mean)..
We did some research on Peters, because we’d never heard of her. Turns out the Spokane-born actress was an up-and-comer. Then on New Year’s Day, 1945, she was paralyzed below the waist in a gun-related accident (we need more details on this). Peters continued to work, however, finding a few stage roles for wheelchair-bound characters.
Eventually, sadly, depression overtook her. She began starving herself, wanting to die. Eventually she caught pneumonia and left the world at the age of 31. I can’t believe Hilary Swank hasn’t already turned this into a third Oscar-winning role. There’s a biopic waiting to be made.
Actually, 7.69 seconds but still the fastest in Premier League annals.
In Game 5 at the Moda Center, the first and last buckets of the second half were made by the same man from virtually the same spot on the court: Damian Lillard from 34-37 feet out.
The first bucket put the Blazers up 64-60. The last, as the clock struck 0:00, put the Thunder away, 118-115. In between OKC went up by 15 points with 7 1/2 minutes remaining, but PTL (if one can OKC, the other can PTL) raced back.
Lillard’s rainbow three as time expired—he never even attempted to penetrate closer with All-Star Paul George guarding him—put a nice even 50 in the score book next to his name. Imagine, the size of those nads to not only want the shot with a chance to win the series as time expires, but saying to yourself, I think I’ll just do this from another zip code. That shot beat every playground-all-by-yourself moment we’ve ever had.
The Thunder, eliminated in the first round for the third straight year since KD departed, have now lost 12 road playoff games in a row.
Avengers: Endgame 7
In San Jose, the Vegas Golden Knights led the Sharks 3-0 in Game 7 of their first-round series. There were but 10 minutes remaining. This one was on ice in more than one way.
Then Cody Eakin of the GK cross-checked Joe Pavelski on a face-off, got a 5-minute major, and the Sharks, seeing blood on frozen water, behaved accordingly. They scored 4 goals in the next 4 minutes to take a 4-3 lead. Let me repeat that: Down 3-0, they scored 4 goals in 4 minutes deep in the third period. In Game 7.
But it wasn’t over. The Golden Knights scored in the final minute to force overtime. But then San Jose scored in OT to take the series. Madness.
Olivia (No Hussey)
Watching the original Robin Hood the other night and noticed that Olivia de Havilland plays Maid Marian, which means that in consecutive years, and before her 24th birthday, the Bay Area-reared actress had landed major roles in Robin Hood and Gone With the Wind. Not a bad two-fer.
A couple other things to know about de Havilland: 1) She is one of only 20 actresses to win at least TWO Oscars and only the third to do so after Bette Davis and Luise Rainer, 2) She seriously dated Jimmy Stewart, who proposed to her but she turned him down, 3) her sister was Joan Fontaine, who also won a Best Actress Oscar and 4) this is the most WOW! thing: though hers was the only lead character among the four in Gone With The Wind to (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) die, de Havilland is still alive! That’s right. She’s 102 years old (we’ll keep checking on this to update), which has to make her the oldest living Oscar winner.
No Luke Pass?*
*The judges are still mulling “No Luke Passion”
Former USC volleyball player, former SoCal based TV reporter and still tall Kelli Tennant has filed a sexual assault charge against newly fired L.A. Laker head coach and even more newly hired Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton.
Did you get all that? The alleged incident took place at a plush Santa Monica hotel (plush Santa Monica hotels are veritable petri dishes for alleged incidents…trust us) when Walton was an assistant coach with the Warriors. She had written a book, he wrote the foreword, she offered to drop off a copy at the hotel, he told her to park so that they could visit, she went up to his room, her allegations are that he forcibly pushed her down and groped her and welllllllllllllll, whatever happened, I don’t like her shot in court. Which is nothing personal against her.
By the way, Tennant never stipulated who got off the elevator first.
Meanwhile, Walton’s attorney has stated that Tennant’s claim is “baseless” and added, “The accuser is an opportunist, not a victim, and her claim is not credible.”
He’s 39. She’s 31. He’s 6’8.” She’s 6’2″ (we challenge you to find another news site story on this incident that supplies this basic information).
We’ll stand by and let you know what Stephen Moore thinks about all of this as soon as he issues a statement.
North of our border, their long national nightmare continues. Canadia, the nation that invented hockey (and basketball, but that’s another story), will endure another spring without Lord Stanley’s Cup.
When the Toronto Maple Leafs fell in Game 7 to the Boston Bruins last night, they ensured that Canadia’s Stanley Cup drought, which began in 1994, would continue at least another season. Calgary and Winnipeg were knocked out of the playoffs last week/weekend, and Toronto, which has not hoisted the Cup since 1967, fell 5-1 in Boston.
The Montreal Canadiens, in 1993, were the last Canadian franchise to win the Cup. We’ve now gone a full quarter-century in a country where winter Saturday nights are built around watching hockey on television, without another Canadian club savoring victory.
If it’s any solace, and it isn’t, there’s a good chance that whatever team hoists the Cup in June will have a few Canadiens on the roster.
At The Kofa, Kofa Cabana
Longtime Phoenicians know the experience of driving to Los Angeles (approx. 5 hours) along I-10 and also of making the near-parallel drive to San Diego (approx. 6 hours) along I-8 but most have never spent any time in the western Arizona desert between the two interstates. With good reason: there are no real towns and nary a road betwixt.
What most people, Arizonans and non-, are unaware of is that there is a dedicated wilderness area in between those two interstates. Fewer even know why it is there.
The Kofa National Wildlife Refuge is 665,400 acres of land (roughly the size of Rhode Island) that has been set aside almost entirely for the purpose of protecting Arizona’s native bighorn sheep population. The refuge was established in 1939—what a time to be alive, when civic leaders actually did what was best for the land instead of thinking of it only in terms of commercial development or what natural resources could be mined or taken out of the area.
The landscape, as you can see, is dramatic and beautiful. It’s also an afterthought to even the most adventurous of Arizonans. If there’s one quadrant of the state that is least visited/most forgotten, it is the southwest corner.
It should also be noted that the refuge might not exist were it not for a massive letter-writing campaign by Arizona’s Boy Scouts (is it any surprise that the refuge was dedicated in the same year Mr. Smith Goes To Washington was released?). Astounding, isn’t it, how so many boys’ hearts and minds are in the right place, until they become men and money-obsessed and then, well, the environment gets f***ed.
Here’s to a better time, when people respect the wonders of the natural world. Which is not the time we are currently living in, at least not reflected by the “leaders” we have.
In the mid-Eighties Henry Samuel was homeless, sleeping on a friend’s couch in London, and wondering aloud if he sang okay. Um, yup. Seal has one of the most naturally ethereal (is that a thing?) male voices in pop music history. This tune, from 1995, only hit No. 33 on the Billboard chart but to be fair, America was a little worn out from the sheer merciless radio bombardment of “Kiss From A Rose,” that album’s first single, by this point.
Nova: Saving The Dead Sea
9 p.m. PBS
If for no other reason to square it in your mind the difference between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea, you may want to tune in. Remember: Red Sea, parted; Dead Sea, scrolls. Anyway, some geniuses want to connect the two seas via a desalinization plant in order to save the Dead Sea and, in the process, bring eternal peace to the Middle East. But you’d probably rather watch Survivor (facepalm).
A day or two ago—we are too busy living an active retirement community lifestyle to keep precise track of time—Senator Elizabeth Warren suggested in a town hall two things: 1) eliminating student debt for millions of Americans and 2) making public universities tuition free. It should come as no surprise that if you Google “Elizabeth Warren” and “student debt” this morning the top stories you find are from righty sites such as Fox News or The Washington Examiner discussing the “slap in the face” to other Americans. There really is nothing quite like the American habit of being born on 3rd base and wondering how come so few people are able to hit a triple.
Our thoughts: 1) no college should be completely free. You shouldn’t be able to pay less for college than for your Netflix or Hulu accounts. But yes, public universities should be much cheaper, 2) far too many college grads are spending 10-20 years of their working lives being taxed for their schooling via paying back student loans on a monthly basis, and that’s before we even talk about grad school debt. It’s not only bad for them but it’s bad economically because that’s money they’d otherwise be using to purchase a home or all sorts of material goods and…
3) there’s something far too familiar and wrong in this corporate tax break ——-> stock buy-backs ——> only the corporation itself and its shareholders prosper environment about the massive student debt crisis. Now we realize there are thousands of colleges and universities out there, but the top 25 in terms of endowment have more than $4.3 BILLION in funds (but yes, most of those are earmarked for specific purposes). Meanwhile these schools are posting annual tuitions of upward of $50,000 per year, or a solid middle class annual income. So what’s happening? The very rich (the schools) are erecting a portal through which only the other very rich or the very poor (through need-based scholarships, and yes it helps greatly if you’re a minority) may pass. They have the capacity to make tuition more affordable for all, but they’re far too obsessed where the U.S. News & World Report is going to rank them next year to care about that. It’s an arms race on the south quad.
We suggested this years ago and we stand by it still. If your high school senior really wants to go to a top college, tell them you’d rather take $100,000 and invest it in Amazon or Apple for four years. Let’s see how that would’ve worked out had we done that in April of 2015: AAPL is up 64% so that $100,000 would now be $164,000. AMZN is up roughly 400% so that $100,000 would now be $400,000. Tell your kid to enlist in the Marines or Army for four years. See the world. Meet Americans who are black, Hispanic, American Indian, and learn to work, eat and sleep among them. And yes, okay, perhaps get shot at occasionally. Come back a man (or woman) having seen the world (and/or Georgia) and with a far greater sense of purpose when you matriculate. And we’ve just eliminated years of crushing college debate. That’s what we’d advise.
Granted, that’s a creative solution to a sticky problem. Of course, top schools will still charge the tuitions they’re charging as long as their acceptance rates are at 10% or lower for applications (this may also give you an idea of how few teens are self-aware or realistic about their academic performance). But for the vast majority of American students, yes, state schools and non-elite schools should be far more affordable. It’s not only good for them, but it’s good for every American business that’s losing their dollars to Sallie Mae or whoever controls loans these days.
Deep Springs, Not Deep Pockets
When I was applying to college, we did not have the ability to research schools on line (we simply unrolled a few parchments and brought them to our toga-clad philosopher/mentor…). Anyway, you’d go to the guidance counselor’s office and peruse a book or two (or, again, like me, watch college football and see whose uniforms you liked best). This is all leading to a point, really: there was one school that truly intrigued my friends and me.
This is an actual place. At the time what stood out about it for us is that its enrollment was between two and three dozen students (I seem to remember “Enrollment: 24”) and that it was free. But it was also a working ranch and students were required to do field chores. It also seemed to have an excellent academic rating (granted, if you read the school’s own description of itself, it sounds a lot like the deserted movie studio where the Manson family squatted for a year or two).
I think I wussed out from applying, but I sincerely don’t know how everyone does not know about this school. I also cannot believe that 60 Minutes or CBS Sunday Morning still has yet to do a feature on this, though I imagine some enterprising young producer will come across this blog and pitch it (Dear CBS: I’m really good at this sh*t; hire me).
Anyway, if you have a teenage student in the house and they’ve always wanted to attend college for free and ride a horse, this is your spot.
What Are You Doing!?!?
If it had been anyone besides Woj reporting late last night that the Phoenix Suns had fired first-year coach Igor Kokoskov, we would not have believed it. Igor (“that’seye-god“) was a true breath of fresh air, a smart coach, and nobody cared what the Suns’ record was going to be this season. He actually did the right thing by putting the Black Hole Suns in position to draft Zion or Ja in June.
Earlier this month John McLeod, the Suns coach of my youth here in the Valley and the franchise’s all-time winningest coach, passed away at the age of 82. The mild-mannered McLeod coached for 14 seasons and 1,122 games at the Madhouse on McDowell. In the past 14 seasons Phoenix has had eight coaches and they’re about to hire their fifth in the past five seasons.
The coaching is, obviously, not the problem. Owner Robert Sarver is. From friends who know him: he’s a jackass who has no idea what he’s doing. Sarver’s legacy to me will always be that he forced out Mike D’Antoni, who is the best and most innovative coach this franchise ever had and simply for his influence on the game is a no-brainer Hall of Famer, even if he never takes a team to the NBA Finals.
Ray Ratto Is Why We Need Sportswriters Over Age 50*
*The judges acknowledge that they may resemble this remark
We loved this piece by legendary Bay Area columnist Ray Ratto in Deadspin yesterday. Not only because it was written with some piss and vinegar (without the need to use profanity to express himself…what a novel idea) and was trenchant, but also because Ratto, who is in his mid-sixties, namedrops the defunct St. Louis Browns, a 1950s Bogart film (The Caine Mutiny) and a black-and-white classic from that era, 12 Angry Men.
When I was younger I learned a lot about pop culture and other stuff that had happened before I was born by reading literate sportswriters (Frank Deford, Roy Blount, Jr., Dan Jenkins, etc.) whose breadth of knowledge was so much more vast than my own. Now? I know how this sounds—to quote 60-something Wendell Barnhouse on this site yesterday, “I’m the old guy yelling at the wind”–but reading sports, mostly written by dudes under age 40, I’m constantly reminded (by them) that film comedy began with Anchorman and rock and roll started with Pearl Jam.
It’s not that modern classics don’t exist. It’s, far more than in my era, this adamant refusal to acknowledge anything that existed before their time (kind of the way ESPN believes sports began on September 7, 1979). I’m not making the “things were better back in my day” argument, but simply reaffirming, as I did in this space two weeks prior, that in order for a tribe to be healthy it needs to hear from all three factions: the young, the in-their-primes, and the older voices.
What a waste, and I don’t know another industry that does this, to have people build up 30-plus years of experience, knowledge and life wisdom and then just cast them aside when they are at their peak ability not only to contribute, but also mentor.* But hey, Bleacher Report would rather have a 23 year-old write for free and you can count on at least 3 “Endgame” references in that piece.
*And of course I’m referring to myself here, but I could easily provide a list of 10 writers who are marginally employed at the moment who’d instantly be better than 90% of the people you read every day.M
Moore Is Less
Let’s get this out of the way right now: Stephen Moore, who is a jackass, is being pilloried for comments he made about women in sports in general and Bonnie Bernstein specifically about 17 years ago. So this is not something he said yesterday or even this week. He may be more recently pilloried (if you are a fan of pillorying, as we are) for disavowing his love of the gold standard because suddenly, after years of advocating a gold standard, he realizes he’s got to do a 180 if he wants Donald Trump to appoint him to the Fed.
Is anyone surprised that an ardent Trump crony is a blatant chauvinist and misogynist? Really? Wouldn’t you be a lot more surprised if he weren’t?
The author is an inveterate press row and press box professional who has written on deadline from 25 Final Fours and some three dozen bowl games. An institution around the Metroplex, this is his first column for MH and we’re thrilled to have him.
I am 65. My parents and other parents of those my age belonged to what has been labeled The Greatest Generation. A world war that cost millions of lives shouldn’t be a high point for a country but being at the forefront of helping rid the world of tyranny was America’s shining moment.
Since then, it’s been downhill … what, too cynical? Too negative?
My fellow Baby Boomers and I have witnessed an erosion of this country’s moral center. Not yet two decades into the 21st century and the United States is as divided as it has been since Appomattox. Granted, absent the Civil War, there have been numerous contentious and calamitous periods in our country’s history where the citizens might have wondered if the republic would survive. Obviously, it did.
It is conceited to speak for most Americans, but I believe there’s a majority who can see through the smoke and ignore the reflections in the mirrors. I would wager there’s a majority who understand that we’re at a crossroads and it’s time to demand better from our government, our politicians and our ill-functioning two-party system.
Instead, this is one man’s opinion and perspective. My background is over 40 years as a newspaper sportswriter; that hardly qualifies for Pulitzer or Nobel prize consideration. I have been fooled and led astray before. I’m smart enough to know that. My thoughts have evolved through observation. I think I can offer a pragmatic view to explain why and how we’re here.
Donald J. Trump became president in part because of cynicism and distrust that was born nearly 60 years ago. What we face now is deciding if Trump is a sign post. A dead end? An exit ramp? Trump is either the enema that will cleanse the system or he’s just the first in a series of shit storms.
Robert Mueller and his team investigated and interviewed for two years and then produced a report of more than 400 pages. Mueller, ever the good soldier, followed his orders and the order of the law. He followed procedure. He handed the ultimate decision to Congress.
The evidence is clear that Trump attempted to obstruct justice. The evidence of colluding with Russia, according to Mueller’s report, is less clear but nonetheless obvious. What is clear and factual is that Trump’s minions were approached by and met with Russian intelligence agents before the election. Normally, those types of meetings woulda, shoulda, coulda been reported to law enforcement. Instead, it appears naivete provided a get-out-of-jail-free card. Folks like Donald Trump Jr., basically, were too dumb to know better.
As he has for most of his life, Daddy Trump will get away with it. There is enough in the Mueller Report to give the House reason to impeach on obstruction. There aren’t enough Republican senators with the spine or the love of country to provide enough votes for impeachment. This is like a trial where the prosecutor presents an air-tight case, but the jury is prejudiced against a verdict based on the facts. The GOP, forever the party that has clung to the rule of law, now only cares to cling to its waning power.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, possibly the best-qualified Democratic candidate for president and probably the least-likely to win the nomination, tweeted this:
“To ignore a President’s repeated efforts to obstruct an investigation into his own disloyal behavior would inflict great and lasting damage on this country, and it would suggest that both the current and future Presidents would be free to abuse their power in similar ways. The severity of this misconduct demands that elected officials in both parties set aside political considerations and do their constitutional duty. That means the House should initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States.”
To review, here are just some of the crimes (some misdemeanors, most felonies) committed since Trump became president.
Emoluments violations: Trump empire trading influence for money.
Trump inauguration committee over-billing for profit.
Wikileaks involvement in election.
Trump having lawyer Michael Cohen pay Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal for silence; campaign violation?
Paul Manafort selling campaign research to Russian operatives.
NRA = largest Trump campaign contributor; 23 different Russian entities gave money to NRA.
Trump obstruction of justice firing FBI director James Comey.
Trump witness tampering telling Cohen to lie, then threatening his testimony to Congress.
Trump hiding/suppressing transcripts of meetings with Vladimir Putin.
Russia holding kopromat information that makes Trump vulnerable to blackmail.
Trump Tower Moscow.
Refusal to release tax returns.
Ties to Deutsche Bank money laundering and loans.
Ordering unconstitutional imprisonment of migrant families.
Declaring a national emergency (Google it if you’re fuzzy) when there was no emergency.
Just one or two of those should be enough to impeach a president. Many have compared the Trump Crime Spree with Watergate, but Trump’s malfeasance makes that look like a third-rate burglary (Ed Note: !).
Regardless of party affiliation, I’m naïve enough to believe that citizens with common sense ignore the fake news, “witch hunt,” presidential harassment bool sheet to see Trump for what he is: A lying, cheating con man, an empty suit. If he’s not impeached, when he leaves office (hopefully after one term) he’ll spend the rest of his life in court as the defendant in a dozen lawsuits. (You’re right, Donald. You’re f*cked.)
Trump has bankrupted his way through life and has never had to pay a price. Perhaps that’s why the MAGA hats admire him for getting away with it. If so, Superman’s favorite phrase – truth, justice and the American way – has been perverted. If Trump isn’t punished, there is no truth and no justice in the American Way.
My generation has seen the lies and the injustice from front-row seats. Perhaps we’ve become overwhelmed, jaded or just damn tired.
We’ve fought wrong wars in Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan where too many young lives ended and too many lies were told by our leaders to justify the reasons to fight.
We watched the first president to resign be pardoned even though he committed crimes to win an election for a second term that was already won. Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon because he thought the country needed to heal. That wound is still open and fresh. (And let’s never forget that Nixon committed a treasonous act by sabotaging Vietnam peace talks to assure his narrow victory in 1968.)
We watched another Republican president become involved in a scandal that should have led to impeachment. Ronald Reagan, though, was in his second term and Iran-Contra was Watergate-too-soon. The country was distracted by the excesses of the ‘80s – life in the fast lane, everything all the time. We weren’t being drafted for a war on the other side of the world and didn’t care about illegal arms sales to Iran to fund right-wing rebel groups in Central America. President George H.W. Bush pardoned six people involved in the scandal; his attorney general (William Barr) supported those pardons.
Who killed Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman? Not O.J. Simpson.
The bank executives who cooked the books and nearly caused a world financial collapse in 2008 are still making bank and never were charged with committing financial fraud.
Police shoot a black man and there’s video evidence that it wasn’t a “righteous shoot” but the grand juries and the court cases rarely produce a righteous result.
We have a Senate majority leader who rules over that chamber like a king. Mitch McConnell bends the rules and makes the decisions purely along party lines. His declaration that his main duty was to make sure Barack Obama would not be elected to a second term should have been reason to censure or expel. His mockery of Senate rules prevented Obama from even nominating a Supreme Court justice. Now, SCOTUS is, at best, a split branch with Chief Justice John Roberts left to cast most deciding votes. Like Nixon, he reportedly committed an act of treason by failing to agree to a bi-partisan announcement that the Russians were trying to influence the 2016 election.
You can do the crime and not do the time. There’s a Thanos-sized thumb on the scales of justice.
How naïve were our Founding Fathers? They set up three branches of government to provide checks and balances. It looked good on parchment. They assumed and hoped that the men serving in those branches would choose right over wrong, the greater good over self-interest, country over party.
Trump has cravenly trashed Washington like Godzilla trashes Tokyo. The Democrats in the House are worried that an impeachment charge won’t bring a conviction. The Republicans in the Senate are afraid of Trump’s 50 million Twitter followers. Courage and spines are in short supply.
My generation has allowed and observed our country to be FUBAR. True, it has “survived” Vietnam, Watergate, the 2000 “election” and the 2008 financial meltdown. We’ve always assumed that The System was designed to keep functioning. It’s closer to failure than function. For some reason, generations need identification. It started with Baby Boomers, followed by Generation X, Millennials, Centennials. While cynical about now, I’m naïvely hopeful. Maybe Generation Fix is in the on-deck circle.
The hottest hitter, if not the best player, in baseball is Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers. On Saturday Yelich blasted two solo homers against the N.L. champion Dodgers, so of course they intentionally walked him the next time up and Ryan Braun hit a bomb to complete the 5-0 victory.
Three-plus weeks into the season Yelich, the incumbent National League MVP, leads the majors in home runs (13) and RBI (31). Earlier this season he tied the all-time record for home runs hit in the month of March (4) and now he is five home runs away from tying A-Rod and Albert Pujols for the most home runs hit in the month of April (14). Supply your own asterisk here
You Mad, Bro?
We’re old enough to remember the heated Boston-Philly playoff series (more than one) of the early Eighties so, no, hostile springs are nothing new to the NBA (Hostile Springs would be a great name for a MAGA-themed retirement community, by the way). Still, and maybe we’re just older, we’re not finding any enjoyment in the NBA playoffs because no one actually seems to be having any fun.
Patrick Beverly and Kevin Durant are fighting. Jared Dudley and Jimmy Butler are jostling, and being ejected. Demar DeRozan is tossing a ball at a referee and then being tossed himself. Where have you gone, Steve Nash?
Even in baseball, Tim Anderson (who’s black) is calling an opposing player (who’s white) the N-word, and being ejected, and this would have gone viral with certain ESPN media types if the pigments were reversed. Meanwhile, baseball guys, it’s April. What the WTF?
We love heated competition. We’re really over hatred and enmity everywhere all the time. If we wanted that, we’d watch cable news. Somebody, please, smile.
On the other hand/fist, if someone wants to punch out James Harden for this maneuver, I wouldn’t blame them…
The Mouse That Roared
Abigail Disney, the great-niece of Walt Disney, had a few words to say about Disney CEO Robert Iger’s exorbitant income and the utter unethical practice of massive income inequality on Twitter. Last week, or two weeks ago, it was a schlep like me saying this. But when it comes from someone from within the family, and from someone who holds degrees from Yale, Stanford and Columbia (Disney has a PhD in English Lit) perhaps a few more people will stand up and listen.
Disney makes it clear up front that she personally likes Bob Iger. And that she has no problem with him receiving a massive bonus for what he has done. She just thinks, as do I, that one man earning more than 1,000 times the MEDIAN INCOME of a company’s workforce is, her term, “insane.” I agree.
Our Nigerian Prince
The man in the photo above? I love this man. This is Fr. Enoch Okpa, one of the priests at our local congregation here in this patch of the Arizona desert that a friend has dubbed Devil’s Gulch. I have never, through more than a half-century of Catholic services and 16 years of Catholic education, come across a priest more charismatic than Fr. Enoch.
Fr. Enoch was born and raised in Nigeria. Now he finds himself halfway across the planet ministering to a congregation that must be at least 90% white. Likely 90% of his parishioners are over the age of 50. And almost all of them are at least financially comfortable. He is a stranger in a strange land and yet his masses are packed. Why?
For one reason, because his message is so pure. “God is good…” Fr. Enoch announces at least once per mass. “…All the time!” we answer. Then he he says, “All the time…” and we respond, “…God is good.”
His homilies are impassioned but also insightful and, often, humorous. A few weeks ago, discussing the gospel reading where the woman commits adultery and the crowd wants to stone her (Jesus: “Let him without sin cast the first stone…”), Fr. Enoch asked in his thick African accent, “Where was the man?” And he let that question hang there for a second before actually spelling it out: “They do say it takes two to tango.”
His message is infused with positivity, but I discern a frustration in Fr. Enoch, a frustration that his flock is not more joyful. I think he wishes we well-taken-care-of white folk weren’t so reserved; that he could just make us get up and dance. A few weeks ago he did exactly this—it was a bet he and our pastor, Fr. Eric, had made—got us to, just for a few moments, dance.
Fr. Enoch has never quite come out and said it, but my guess is, growing up where he did, having so little materially in relation to what we do, it must astound him that we take our bounty so much for granted. But then, and he knows this, all of life is a bounty. And maybe what frustrates him isn’t that we take our comfort for granted. It’s that too many of us take this life for granted.
The good news is that this one man, Fr. Enoch, is making a tremendous difference in this one community. He has woken up a dormant congregation. The last time he went home to visit his mother in Nigeria, my mother warned him that if he did not return, she would chase him down and bring him back herself.
Gone With The Wuthering Heights
Gone With The Wind and Wuthering Heights.
Two films, both released in 1939. Both based on best-selling novels written by women and set in the 19th century. Both would be nominated in Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress categories (GWTW would win three of those and neither would win in Best Actor).
Having watched both for the first time this month, it dawned on these new eyes that the similarities don’t end there. Both revolved around a beloved old estate that is in danger of being lost. In both, because penicilin has yet to be invented, brandy is seen as a panacea (there was little separating a bartender and a doctor at the time).
But here is where I found the queerest similarity: with a few slight modifications, it’s the same film, a love quadrangle. There’s a character (A) hopelessly in love with another character (B), but B has married a third character (C). Meanwhile, A is also married to someone (D) who, against their better judgment, chooses to marry A anyway.
Let’s match ’em up. Scarlett (Vivian Leigh) is Heathcliff (Sir Laurence Olivier), or A; Ashley (Leslie Howard) is Cathy (Merle Oberon), or B; Melanie (Olivia de Havilland) is Edgar (David Niven) and Rhett (Clark Gable) is Isabella (Geraldine Fitzgerald…whose star hasn’t crossed generations the way some of the other names on this list have, but who was a dish). And of course, since it’s the 19th century (or 1939) someone must die and nobody ends up living happily ever after.
Collectively, those 8 actors won seven Oscars in their careers and every single one of them was at least nominated for one.
So here’s the bizarre twist to it all: it’s the obsessions of Scarlett and Heathcliff that drive both stories. And while these films were being made the actors portraying those characters, Leigh and Olivier, were in the midst of a torrid affair with one another (both were married). They would each divorce and marry one another in 1940, and would remain married for 20 years.
I feel as if maybe everyone already knew this and I didn’t? Is that possible? Shouldn’t someone make a movie about this???
This double play, just because…
You gotta love Muffet McGraw. Two weeks ago she’s advocating for more women in leadership roles, and just like that Brienne of Tarth becomes the first female knight in Westeros…Sunday’s Game Of Thrones episode reminded me of my final night of college except that it did not end with all the characters singing “Take It To The Limit” at the tops of their lungs…Did they really make a Kit Harrington-is-short joke? Yes, they did…Was Arya the final female character to disrobe on the show? Is there any prominent female, still living, who has not disrobed? Or male, for that matter? Ser Davos or Varys, perhaps?…I don’t know what the prop bets are like on who gets killed in the upcoming battle, but I don’t like Jamie Lannister’s chances…meanwhile, do you know how Jamie met the love of his life? “They met across a crowded womb…” Don’t know how Benioff & Weiss failed to ever give that line to Tyrion…
Things you may not have known about Huey Lewis (born Hugh Cregg): Although raised in Marin County, Calif., he was sent back east to tony Lawrenceville Prep School in N.J. He scored a perfect 800 on the math portion of his SAT (it really is hip to be square) and was also an all-state baseball player. He was admitted to Cornell but before matriculating there, on the suggestion of his father (or step-father), spent a year hitchhiking around Europe. One wonders, given that he was born in 1950, if his father was attempting to buy him time before eventually getting drafted for Vietnam. Lewis did attend Cornell for 2-plus years but eventually dropped out in 1969 to pursue his career as a musician. In interviews he has always come off as a grounded, likable, regular guy, and he is. But he’s also always been gifted at most whatever he put his mind to.
This song, by the way, was written by Bruce Hornsby. It was the third and last No. 1 hit for Huey Lewis & The News, in 1987.
Rockets at Jazz
10:30 p.m. TNT
I’m just here to see if the beehive hairdo lady returns. No way James Harden is starting out 0-14 again.
The Mueller Report has more than 300 redactions, such as the one above. So maybe we’re not getting the entire story? I’ll wait for the Director’s Cut DVD.
And yet we still know that the president said, “Oh my God. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m f888ed.” Which is precisely what innocent people do.
Here’s Maggie Haberman of The New York Times (whose reporting on almost all the skulduggery of the past 2 years was validated by the report) on the corrupt culture of this White House.
Sarah Smile (Except Rearrange The Letters of The Second Word After You Omit The “m”)
Meanwhile, the report showed that Sarah Sanders prevaricated in 2017 when she told reporters that “countless FBI agents” had told the White House that they no longer had faith in former FBI director James Comey. Sanders brushed off the lie as a “slip of the tongue” and then went early Eighties power chord-happy supergroup by saying it was “the heat of the moment.”
From now on, if there is a now on, every follow-up to Sanders in the press room needs to be, “Was that a heat of the moment answer?”
You C*nt (ellipses) Say That
UPDATE: You can still read what I wrote below, but I had a good talk with a friend just now. A writer dude, but not a sportswriter. He pointed out, and he’s right, that it would have been much better to write my two ex-colleagues privately, ask them why they feel it’s okay to type that word, and to turn that into an MH discussion. And he’s right.
So yes, I could have handled the entire situation better and for that I apologize. At the restaurant in the past year or two I’ve noticed millennial servers using the F-word so casually, in public, and it just makes me want to get into my buggy and horse-whip my steed right outta there. Seriously, though, you may not care but many of us think the use of that word casually is just in extreme poor taste. Not much more to say than that.
Yesterday I found myself in a ton of hot water with (largely millennial) Twitter for admonishing a pair of my former SI colleagues, Jeff Pearlman and Richard Dietsch, for using the f-word on Twitter. Oh yeah, I got ratio’ed big time. You’d have thought I advised tweeps to eat smart, sleep, and exercise, that’s just how mad people were with me.
Twitter: a place to freely express ideas and opinions, unless I don’t like yours, in which case go f*ck yourself.
The tweet, so we’re clear:
First, I was taken down for having the gall for telling someone else what their boundaries should be (which is not what I did; “to each his own”). Next, I was slammed for being a hypocrite because I’d sent out a tweet not long before with the f-word in it (the difference, which no one seemed to appreciate, is that I was highlighting something the president had said and hence it was actually there to make the point of how poor that looked).
Finally, I was slammed because I had “subtweeted” Jeff and Richard, which is a greater sin than all the f-bombs that might ever be dropped. Mike Golic Jr. tweeted something to the effect that “neither is being above the age of 16 and subtweeting someone (a good look).” I’d clap back that being above the age of 16 and still owing daddy for every job you’ve ever had is no better a look, but hey, who wants to start two Twitter wars in one day.
Is it possible to return to the original point? You wanna say the F-word wherever you like, fine. You want to be a writer of some renown and then use that word in print? You can, obviously you can. And a lot of younger people are going to think you’re cool. But I’m not. And that may matter to nobody on or off Twitter. But Jeff and Richard have known me for awhile, and I hope they realize that I criticize the action, not the person. And as someone who cares about writing every single bit as much as they do, I thought they should know. And, as opinions are like assholes (oops, can I print that?), they can take it for as much or as little as they think it’s worth.
Like so many arguments I find myself in (and I find myself in a lot), the moments return to something from either Seinfeld or Curb. This moment took me back to this scene.
The point being, or as Larry was trying to make (because earlier in the scene, not shown here, the f-bomb and other salty language is being used) is that we’re not arguing over the principle of offensive language, we’re arguing over what is offensive to you. And so yeah, much of this is generational, but just casually using the f-bomb in public is not offensive to a lot of people (a lot of those same people grew up thinking Saved By The Bell was a great show, too) but using the c-word still is. Larry’s reaction is like, “Oh, you get to draw the boundaries?”
For the record, Jeff or Richard or anyone can write whatever they like, of course (I’m not following either of them on Twitter any more and I think they’ll survive). I say what I say on Twitter because I believe in it and because I actually care. Being popular or well-liked by people I’ll never meet in person is hardly a priority.
Meanwhile, I did a clap-back this morning referring to POTUS and I doubt anyone got it.
Three renowned professional climbers perished in an avalanche at Banff National Park. American Jess Rosskelley, who in 2003 at the age of 20 summited Everest with a team that included his father, John, was lost. So were two Austrian climbers, David Lama and Hansjorg Auer.
All were sponsored by North Face.
The trio were attempting to climb the east face of 10,800-foot Howse Peak on the Icefields Parkway, which lies outside the monitored area for avalanches within the national park. Jess’ father, John, had made the climb successfully in the Seventies.
I’m sure I’ll deal with Susie B. about this in the comments, so to head that off: for me there’s a difference between dying while doing something you enjoy, understanding and appreciating the inherent risks, and dying due to your need to post a pic on Instagram. And if doing something you enjoy is posting selfies on Instagram, weeeeeeeelllllllll…..
Make America Kate Again
The New York Yankees just found a way to shorten baseball games: they are dumping Kate Smith. Or at least her seventh-inning stretch recording of “God Bless America,” which they had been playing since just after 9/11. The song had survived the razing of the original Yankee Stadium, the House That Ruth Built, and been moved into The House That Jeets Built.
The reason the Yankees are dropping the song is almost as stupid as the fact that they were still trotting out enforced in-game patriotism 18 years after 9/11 (don’t get us wrong: we’re all for patriotism; we just don’t appreciate it being spoon-fed it twice at one sporting event…when is the last time you were asked to stand for the pledge of allegiance at a movie theater?). Seems that in the 1930s Smith recorded a tune titled “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” which A) was intended as satire, B) she recorded with Paul Robeson, a renowned African-American actor/singer who had also been a football All-American and graduated from law school, C) again, was recorded in the 1930s, white actors put on black face and nobody said boo.
It was a different time.
Stupid logic. Beneficial result. We’ll take it.
Hot Child In The City
No, Martina Navritalova did not have a backup career as a pop singer. This is Nick Gilder, a Canadian singer who was invented before the word androgyny was very popular. This song, released in June of 1978, rose to No. 1 in the USA in October of that year and holds the record for longest gestation between release and hitting No. 1 of any record. To think, for example, that Darkness On The Edge Of Town, also released in June of ’78, couldn’t land a single song in the Top 30. Hmm.
The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone
2 p.m. TCM
From 1961 and not to be confused with Romancing The Stone (though he does)…two-time Oscar winner Vivian Leigh, age 48 when this was released, as an aging beauty who has an affair with Warren Beatty, who was literally half her age (long before Shampoo, he was playing a gigolo). Raaaaaaaa-cy! At the time. And I’ll stop you before you go there, Susie B.: yes, this was the M.O. for half the pictures in Hollywood in the Forties and Fifties as long as the genders were reversed. Added bonus: Beatty, a veritable unknown, plays an Italian with a thick accent. I
Not a classic, but how many chances will you get to view this?
Naperville native-turned-Vegas gambler James Holzhauer is our early favorite for Sportsman of the Year. On last night Jeopardy! episode, Holzhauer’s 10th consecutive victory, he pitched a perfect game, going 40-for-40 in the first two rounds. Then in “Final Jeopardy” Holzhauer risked $60,013 on “20th Century Literary Characters”. The question? “His first name refers to the ancient district in which you’d find the Greek capital; his surname is a bird.”
Holzhauer: “What is Atticus Finch?”
That gave Holzhauer a single-day total of $131,127, a new record for the show. He owns the four top single-day marks in the show’s history and has already accumulated just under $700,000 in 10 appearances. Only Ken Jennings, who won $2.5 million in a 74-appearance streak, has topped Holzhauer’s total but Holzhauer can, if he maintains his brilliance, exceed Jennings’ total in half the appearances.
And in what seems like poetic justice, the circle coming all the way back around, Vegas is now offering odds on Holzhauer’s continued success.
The Mueller Report is being released today, in all its redacted glory, but first Attorney General William Barr felt the need to step to a microphone and give an oral book report of what he’d read. Why? So that this way no matter what folks who comb through the wreckage find, Fox News and similar outlets can play the video of Barr proclaiming the report “found no evidence” that any member of the Trump campaign conspired with Russia in its effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. “The special counsel found no collusion by any Americans.”
Personally, we just wonder if this is Sarah Huckabee Sanders in heavy makeup. Has anyone ever seen these two together in the same room?
But What If God Invented Science?!?
As one tweep, Dan Broadbent, replied, “Because the melting point of gold is 1064 degrees Celsius and a wood fire burns at around 600 degrees Celsius.”
Okay, but does this explain whether jet fuel can melt steel girders?
And then there was this:
Not, In Fact, A Happy Ending
*The judges will also accept “Kraft Services,” “On Further Review” and “Not Great, Bob!”
If you’ve always wanted to see someone other than Roger Goodell get an NFL owner off, well, the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office is here to assist you. Alas, Circuit Judge Joseph Marx has issued a temporary protective order on the release of the Robert Kraft hand job tape until April 29 so, unlike the Pats owner, you’re going to have to deal with a little delayed gratification.
Insane Clown Posse
The tweet, since deleted, told a short but bizarre tale of a man, his clown lover, and his murdered ex-wife. Frankly, it was the Budweiser shirt that drew us in. How many garage sales are we going to have to roam through before we find a replica?
This paragraph, which appeared in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, must have been a joy for reporter Marc Freeman to type:
The victim, Marlene Warren, was married to Michael Warren, who is now married to Sheila Warren (then Keen), who is the suspect. At this point it feels as if we’re piling on Florida, but the state is an endless bounty of mischief and miscreantism. Don’t blame us.
With The Old Breed
by Eugene Sledge
Our mom had three older brothers who fought in World War II and a cousin who fought on Iwo Jima (that’s why we won…duh!). Anyway, it is our (and perhaps Tom Brokaw’s) opinion that World War II was the greatest moment, in terms of valor and idealism, in American history. But, in order to produce this triumph over fascism and evil, millions of good young men had to suffer through unspeakable evil.
It’s important for us to learn as much about this era as possible. And one of the most revealing and unvarnished accounts is found here, from a U.S. Marine’s experiences fighting on Peleliu (an island whose ultimate strategic importance turned out to be nil) and Okinawa. Sheer hell. And as a companion piece…
…we recommend you watch this 10-part series from 2010, where one of the three major story lines is constructed around “Sledgehammer’s” memoir. Another reason to watch? Rami Malek as Snafu, Sledge’s mortar duo partner. This is Malek 10 years ago, but it’s so easy to see why he’d go on to win an Oscar.