by John Walters
Tweet Me Right
*The judges will also accept “Canadian Clubbing” but not “Pascal’s Try Angles”
In a Game 1 that felt like a Canadian coronation, the Raptors defeated the Warriors 118-109. Third-year forward Pascal Siakam, from Cameroon by way of Las Cruces (that well-trod path to NBA stardom), scored on 11 straight attempts and finished with 32 points.
The Reptiles led pretty much throughout. The Dubs looked rusty. And if you looked, Steph Curry (a game-high 34 points) was slapping hands with his teammates as the buzzer sounded as if to reassure them. Will Durant be ready for Game 2 on Sunday? Will President Trump invite the Raptors to the White House if they win this series? Stay tuned…
Oh, Bee Hive
In what some will hail as a victory but our MH editorial staff sees as a death-knell for the event, last night an octet of champions were announced at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Eight different spellers survived 20 grueling rounds after organizers of the 94th annual bee figuratively threw the book, i.e. the dictionary, at them. At last the organizers surrendered and announced a perfect octet of champs.
Dig: First of all, as Susie B. notified us yesterday, this year the Bee allowed certain “worthy” individuals to enter the National Bee provided they put up a $1,500 entry fee and afford six nights at the $300-per-night Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Md. More than half of the field’s 565 entrants took this Felicity Huffman Route to the finals and, as Susie B. opined, you gotta wonder if the fact that every year all the finalists (and champion) are pretty much of Indian descent had anything to do with that decision.
Dig also: the Bee is a finite competition. There are only so many words, most of which in the last dozen rounds have never been uttered by anyone other than a PhD in neurobiology or anthropology. The Bee is not a referendum on spelling prowess, but on memorization ability. As such it is a wonderful primer for the kids in the top-most echelon as they prepare for the inevitable medical school studies for which their parents are priming them. Make no mistake: I fully expect one of this year’s winners to be conducting my colonoscopy or performing my hip replacement in 30 years.
Which is fine. It just doesn’t make for a compelling competition. If everyone wins, no one wins. The only loser is the competition itself. One suggestion: add an athletic component to the Bee. After each round of spelling, the contestant must do 10-pushups.
A second suggestion: In the final round you must spell the name of one of your competitors correctly.
A third suggestion: the competition consists of nothing but competitors being asked to remember their User IDs and Passwords.
Yet a fourth suggestion: Add a time element. As they do in pole vaulting, when someone wins even when more than one entrant has cleared the same top height by seeing who had the fewest misses beforehand, why not elevate the speller who required the least time to spell his or her word above those who kept procrastinating by asking for it to be repeated, or to be used in a sentence, etc?
Wednesday: Special Counsel Robert Mueller stands in front of a nation and says, “If we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”
Thursday: President Donald Trump stands in front of a device and tweets, “On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP. The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied.“
Not that imposing tariffs has much to do with illegal immigration, but then that’s hardly the point, now is it? From the Gospel according to Donald Draper: “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”
Earlier this month Uber issued its IPO. Yesterday the company announced earnings for the first quarter of 2019 and showed a $1 billion loss. Also, the company grew at its slowest rate since it began disclosing quarterly results two years ago.
It’s not that fewer consumers are using Uber. It’s that as the company becomes legit, it has to behave like a real company and stop paying its drivers in Dave & Buster’s tokens and the like. You know what would put Uber out of business? What if a company just started selling paddles, like the ones you see at auctions? Now, I pay $1 for that paddle and hold it up whenever I need a ride. If a random driver passes by and stops, that driver knows I need a ride (I’m trying hard not to use the term “lift”). They can ask where I’m headed and the two of us can negotiate a price. No promises. And yes, this service would be a boon for kidnappers and other violent criminals. But if you operate on a trust basis, who’s to say such a service couldn’t put Uber out of business?
The Birthplace of the Martini?
Earlier this week we met a gifted transgender mixologist named Lucky (a sentence I’ve always wanted to write). Anyway, when I wasn’t improperly using “he” and “him” pronouns around Lucky (sorry about that), she was sociable enough to inform us about the origin of the martini.
While most contend that the classic cocktail owes its origins to Italian immigrant bartender Martini di Arma di Taggia at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City just prior to World War I, Lucky suggested another beginning: a bartender at the Occidental Hotel in Buffalo, Wyoming, conjured one up in the 1870s for a miner who laid a gold nugget on the bar and asked for something special before he returned to his home in Martinez, Calif.
True? Would such an apocryphal anecdote leave you shaken? Or stirred?
What’s the Stonesiest of Rolling Stones songs? “Satisfaction”? “Honky Tonk Women?” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash?” “Wild Horses?” If you had to go with a signature tune, you’d likely pick “Satisfaction,” but I don’t know if any song better illustrates the band’s playful, bad-boy edge and Mick Jagger’s not-ready-for-Ed Sullivan lurid streak while also containing an inimitable Keith Richards riff.
This tune, one of eight songs that reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts, did so in 1971.
One of the incredible aspects of rock-and-roll is that the clamor guitars and drums, and Mick’s vocal stylings, sort of disguise the English that’s being thrown right at your ears. This is the first stanza of the song, which I’ll admit I’d never really paid attention to:
Gold Coast slave ship bound for cotton fields
Sold in the market down in New Orleans
Scarred old slaver knows he’s doin’ all right
Hear him whip the women just around midnight
Champions League Final: Tottenham vs. Liverpool
3 p.m. TNT
The top two clubs in Europe, both hailing from England, meet in Madrid in a 90-minutes plus winner-take-all match. No way either can top the drama of the second legs of their respective semis, is there?