by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Toronto Rapture*

*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.

If we could just add an element to Navy SEAL hell week to the competition, that would winnow out some of the weaker contestants

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?

Tirade Wars

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.”

Uber Unter

When your grandpa wakes from a Van Winkle-esque nap and realizes the Nazis won…

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?

Music 101

Brown Sugar

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

Remote Patrol

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?


Tweet Me Right

by John Walters

Starting Five

Remember: Vladimir Putin DID install Steven Seagal as a “special envoy” to the U.S. last summer

Above The Law

Special Counsel Robert Mueller came out yesterday and said, “The special counsel’s office is part of the Department of Justice and by regulation it was bound by that department policy. Charging the president with a crime was, therefore, not an option we could consider.”

Amber said WUT?

Why not? Isn’t it weird that the chief executive of the United States is the one person who cannot be charged with a crime by prosecutors/law enforcement? And, by the way, did you already know that? Did your favorite cable news channel, in all the hours it spent over the past two years mulling Mueller’s investigation, make that clear to you? It was never clear to me.

Was Donald Trump right all along: “I can walk out on 5th Avenue and shoot someone and get away with it?”

Mueller said that it the Constitution “requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.”

First of all, DOJ policy is not some intractable writ that cannot be revisited under extreme circumstances (I think we’ve found some). Second, numerous legal scholars disagree with Mueller that it is unconstitutional for a sitting president to be indicted.

Mueller’s point, we believe, is that if anyone is going to press charges against Trump, it must be Congress. All he was charged to do was provide the investigation and unearth evidence. In this edition of Law & Order: Agent Orange, he played the role of Lenny Briscoe.

More Mueller

A few more thoughts on Robert Mueller’s appearance yesterday:

–First, watching him, my sense was, “Oh yeah, this is what ‘presidential bearing’ looks like. I’d almost forgotten.”

–Mueller’s level of dispassion is both admirable and infuriating. He is the anti-Giuliani, and as such even Trump finds it difficult to to coin a nasty nickname for him or make it personal. Not because he is Trump’s toadie, but because he never puts any emotion or vitriol in his voice.

–We agree with The Washington Post: while this was a nice showing, it’s about six weeks late. There’s no reason Mueller couldn’t have delivered this same 9-minute address on the day that the 400-page report was released. Or maybe he just never expected his boss, William “Dis” Barr to flat-out lie in front of a nation.

–Barr did lie, by the way. He said that Mueller’s team would have indicted Trump if they’d found sufficient evidence, but as Mueller made clear yesterday, in his mind that was never an option.

–Most importantly, and most disappointing, was that Mueller began and ended his statement with what is for him an emphatic plea for Americans to realize that the Russians systematically worked to interfere in the 2016 presidential elections without noting that all of their efforts were concerted toward favoring one candidate and smearing the other.

This would be like NBA commissioner Adam Silver announcing that Drake had paid off the officials to interfere with the outcome of the 2019 NBA Finals, which the Raptors won in seven games, without ever once noting that Drake was explicitly paying them off to make calls in Toronto’s favor.

For Mueller, that fact may already be understood. But it was important for him to have said it. He failed.

Raccoon Dogs

We’re all about raccoon dogs, two of which are roaming the English countryside in the village of Clarborough. Leave them alone. They’re not bothering anyone and besides, they fancy your rubbish.

Speaking Of Quentin Tarantino

You know how every porn film is basically the same film, it’s just that the settings are different? Well, just about every Quentin Tarantino film is, like pornos, just an excuse to set up the same set piece.

In porn, the setting may be a dentist’s office or a car dealership or a lonely rich MILF’s house, but it doesn’t really matter. In a certain amount of time two people are going to take their clothes off and the sax music will begin.

Watching The Hateful Eight the other night (thumbs down), we realized that every Tarantino movie we’ve seen (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained and this one) have the same scene: violent men, suspicious of or outright hostile to one another, in an enclosed space with guns at the ready. Instead of doffed clothing and horns, though, we get pontificating and gunplay.

If you’ve seen these films, you can recall the scenes we’re talking about. It’s a set piece, like in soccer. And most of the time the play is designed for Samuel L. Jackson to take the shot on goal.

She’s A Man, Baby! (Or She Was)

Last weekend CeCe Telfer, a senior at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire, won the Division II women’s national championship in the 400-meter hurdles. What makes that odd is that in 2016 and 2017 Telfer had competed for the school’s men’s track team. Because she was a he then.

This is all getting a little ridiculous, no? Announcing that you are going to take hormones and go transgender is not the same as coming out of the womb a certain sex and growing up as that sex your entire life. How many more examples on the track do we need to see?

Craig Telfer, as this story illustrates, never ranked higher than 200th in his event as a male in his freshman or sophomore years (he/she did not compete last year while undergoing transgender therapy, we presume). This year, as Ce Ce Telfer, she won the national title over the nation’s best D-II female athletes by a nearly two-second margin. That’s pretty dominant. And patently unfair.



Coincidence or tribute? Yesterday, on the 24th anniversary of Derek Jeter making his New York Yankee debut, San Diego Padre outfielder Hunter Renfroe (not that one) made a patented Jeter throw…from centerfield. Intentional? Or happenstance?

Music 101

Right Back Where We Started From

The film Slapshot, arguably the funniest sports film there is, was released in 1977, which is how an unapologetically disco tune such as this found itself as the first track played in it. Released in 1975 at the dawn of the disco era, this song with vocals by Maxine Nightingale rose to No. 2 on the Billboard charts.

Remote Patrol

NBA Finals, Game 1

9 p.m. ESPN

Kawhi: The North Star

The Warriors have not gone nine days between games since before the preseason began. Kevin Durant will not play. The last time Kawhi Leonard faced Golden State in the postseason, he’d staked his team to a 20-point lead at Oracle and that squad was no more talented than this Raptors unit. We like the Dubs: no matter how many times Steph, Klay and Dray put on their 5th-gear show and erase 18-point leads in a few minutes, or take tie games and make them blowouts in the same span, people seem not to appreciate or respect what they’re seeing. Simply put, no one plays on their level when they’re in synch.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Climate Change Gonna Necessitate Primate Change

–In the past 30 days, federal weather forecasters have logged reports of 500 tornadoes from the Great Plains states eastward to Ohio. And even if those numbers may be inflated due to multiple reports of the same tornado occasionally, that’s quite the alarming figure.

–The past year was the wettest on record in some cities in the northeast.

–Meanwhile, as the Arctic Circle thaws, China is not viewing that development as alarming but rather as an opportunity to find new sources of energy and for a top of the world maritime route. Greeeeeaaaaaat.

–And then there’s the White House, which has gone from refuting arguments of scientists to now not even funding the types of reports that allow scientists to demonstrate what the effects of climate change and and a rapidly warming planet will be. Nothing to see here.

He’s screwed now. Your kids will be screwed in 30 years.

It’s absolutely fascinating, and also severely depressing, to be witnessing these developments while also watching HBO’s Chernobyl. What did the nuclear engineer who was in charge of the room that initiated the error that caused the explosion say to the investigator who insisted that she was not aiming to assign blame but only find out the truth? “There is no truth,” he said, which is basically the first rule of being a Trump apparatchik.

At least in Chernobyl they got religion, so to speak.

In the mid-1980s the Soviet Union, one of the world’s two most truth-averse and totalitarian nations (along with China), was finally compelled to act on the devastation its own workers had wrought for the good of its people. To watch the show is to see a lone nuclear physicist, played by Jared Harris, stand up to both General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and the KGB because he knew that he knew, far better than they did, what the catastrophic effects of nuclear radiation were.

So you’re saying we were negligent?

And give Gorbachev a little credit, too. As much as he hated to do so, he listened. And he committed the resources to cleaning up as much as was possible.

No such leadership exists in the United States today. We could tender a guess as to the reason: oil money. Look at the two foreign governments to whom the president and, by extension, the Republican party, are most beholden to: Saudi Arabia and Russia. What’s that all about? Oil money.

The moment you admit climate change is a problem that must be dealt with, you are pinning the blame on oil. And if you’re going to do something about that problem, really attempt to solve it, you’re going to have to find an alternative source of energy, which is to say that you’re going to pull your mouth away from the teat you’ve been sucking on for decades.

So the world will slowly burn, tornadoes and hurricanes will become more commonplace, federal money will be sent to those places (because tornadoes and flooding seem to happen a lot in rural areas that have a major boner for Trump, if you hadn’t noticed), produce and livestock prices will go up, the economy will dive and eventually the catastrophe will be so horrible that America will put a Democrat in the White House and demand, “Do something about these dire circumstances!”

Haven’t we all seen this movie before? And wasn’t it not that long ago? Except that climate change is far worse than a global financial crisis.

Call me an optimist, but I’m somewhat heartened by the words of Harris’ character Valery Legasov, who notes that the devastastion they’ve wrought could last for 24,000 years. Is that all? Seems a small punishment to pay for mankind spoiling the beauty of the planet. If you could wipe out mankind but pledge that the earth could make a fresh start in less than 25 millennia? I’d take that deal. You know why? Because we all know the nature of man, and in particular the nature of the man in the White House: man (and the president) will not act to solve a problem until it’s far past time to solve that problem.

Just ask Stormy Daniels.

Where Are They Now?

As details emerged about the sale of Sports Illustrated to the same company that owns Juicy Couture, there was an undeniable touch of melancholy and regret among those of us who were lucky enough to work there before the internet. After Jamie Salter, the founder and CEO of the Iowa-based company that bought SI, said that he envisioned a wide-ranging array of possibilities for branding that even included “medical clinics,” one former SI scribe quipped, “They do realize that Dr. Z wasn’t a real doctor, don’t they?”

Also, Dr. Z., a.k.a. Paul Zimmerman, is dead.

It’s funny. When I arrived at SI in the summer of 1989 I was introduced to a computer system (I’d never spent more than a few minutes on a computer prior) that had an ATEX feature. What ATEX was, and we loved it, was a way for us to send messages back and forth to one another on a computer. We didn’t even have to pick up the phone!

The world was already changing, but unlike ATEX, most advances in technology would only come at a steep price for the publication that was celebrating its 35th anniversary that summer. ESPN’s SportCenter was picking up momentum, replacing your local TV sports guy. SportsCenter showed highlights from every game, not just the ones your hometown team played.

Then the internet came along. The idea of waiting until Thursday to read about the most important sporting event (The Masters, the Super Bowl, the Olympics) that had taken place the previous week ending Sunday suddenly became as preposterous as it must sound to you reading this if you were born after 1990.

And so, as for SI, we must ask the question the magazine has asked every July for more than 20 years: Where are they now?

We plucked this telling item from The Washington Post:

Asked specifically whether Sports Illustrated would prioritize investigative stories, Salter wrote: “Sports Illustrated will continue to be a resource for its readers, providing up-to-the-minute sports news and coverage, thoughtful analysis, and entertaining stories. Our partnership with Meredith is key in continuing to re-build Sports Illustrated into a global platform while disseminating information with integrity and respect.”

That’s not a yes.

You cannot serve two masters. There’s a reason Time-Life publications such as SI used to bang the “separation of church and state” drum so frequently and fervently. Yesterday, SI took its latest step, and perhaps its last, in crossing over to church and state being one and the same.

All Over Again In The Family

We missed last week’s live All In The Family episode, but it got us to thinking about the lyrics and how, 49 years after the series premiered, so little has changed. Remember, these characters are parents who came of age during the Depression and World War II singing these words (we’ve added some updated edits to demonstrate the timeliness of the song in 2019):

Boy the way Glen Miller played, (Elton? Billy Joel?)
Songs that made the hit parade, (American Top 40 with Casey Kasem)
Guys like us we had it made, (“Guys like us” = white males)
Those were the days, 
And you know where you were then, 
Girls were girls and men were men, (No transgender bathrooms)
Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again, (Ronald Reagan)
Didn’t need no welfare states (farming subsidies)
Everybody pulled his weight, (or inherited their wealth)
Gee our old Lasalle ran great, (Dodge Dart)
Those were the days

Far Hampton*

*The judges enthusiastically approve all references to “How I Met Your Mother”

From Little Elm in east Texas to New Zealand in the south Pacific. Why not? R.J. Hampton, a 6’4″ 5-star guard who was poised to choose between the Longhorns and Kansas, has instead announced that he’ll be playing for the New Zealand Breakers next winter in the National Basketball League.

The NBL has 9 teams, eight of which are based in Australia. The closest NBL city to Auckland, where the Breakers are based, is Sydney, which is more than 1,300 miles away. Kinda like flying from New York to New Orleans. The furthest is Perth, which is located about 3,500 miles away. Kinda like flying from Dallas to Honolulu.

Who’s to say whether Hampton is making the right move or not? It’s certainly going to be an adventure, and the NBL season roughly corresponds to a Division I season both in terms of number of games played and time of year. Hampton just won’t have as many of his sweet dimes appear on SportsCenter‘s “Top Plays.”

Oldie But A Goodie

If you find yourself in Las Vegas over the next two weeks, you have a chance to catch Postmodern Jukebox, Scott Bradlee’s rotating band of talented vocalists and musicians who put more classic spins on popular music, perform live. Bradlee, the pianist in most every PMJ video, the sum of which have garnered more than one billion views, was a struggling jazz pianist from New Jersey living in Queens when he hatched the idea for these incredibly addictive videos. We’re hooked.

PMJ has been doing these videos for more than seven years now, but here’s a favorite: Invited by Cosmopolitan mag to come to their offices and do a mash-up of the most popular songs from 2013, Bradlee and friends (including the very popular “Tambourine Guy”) rendered this in just one take.

PMJ definitely has a following, but we won’t rest until we’ve made you sick of us heaping praise on the outfit.

(One of our favorite examples of PMJ’s genius. There are dozens of PMJ covers on YouTube.)


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Billy Buck

The score was already tied. That’s what too many fans forget. The Mets had already tied the score 5-5 in the bottom of the 10th at Shea Stadium when Mookie Wilson’s slow roller dribbled between first baseman Bill Buckner’s legs and into infamy.

But, you know, print the legend.

Buckner, who died at the age of 69 from complications related to dementia yesterday, played 22 Major League seasons, collected 2,707 hits, and won the National League MVP (with the Cubs) in 1980. In the 1970s and 1980s, only one player had more hits than Buckner: Pete Rose.


The magazine I grew up dreaming I’d one day write for (as did everyone with whom I worked there), Sports Illustrated, has been sold for $110 million to a company called Authentic Brands. This company owns the “brands” of dead iconic figures such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, which suggests they’re more interested in what SI once represented than in what it can represent.

Much like Norma Jean Baker and that kid from Tupelo, SI came around in the 1950s and had quite a run. Goodbye, Norma Jean?

Wrong Turn In Boulder

Hiwot Yemer defeated Meseret Tola, for those of you keeping score

At the 41st Bolder Boulder, the extremely popular Memorial Day 10-K race in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies, one Ethiopian woman beat another because the latter made a wrong turn after entering Folsom Field for the final lap of the 6.2-mile race.

She should have stopped and asked for directions.

Oakland Is “The Land”

Matt Chapman (14 HRs this spring) has been swinging mighty lumber for the A’s during the streak

The Golden State Warriors may be the best team in all of professional sports, but their sports complex neighbors, the Oakland A’s, are the hottest. The Dubs have won six straight games and are headed to their fifth consecutive NBA Finals, which begin Thursday in another country! The A’s have won 10 straight games, though, and the last time they went on such a run Aaron Sorkin wrote a film, adapted from Michael Lewis’ book, about it.

However, this is baseball, where asterisks exist, so you do need to know that since Oakland’s 10-game win streak began, the A’s have played a game versus the Detroit Tigers that was suspended due to rain. That May 19 game will not be completed until both teams have an open date in early September. If the A’s, who were leading, hold on to win the victory will be added to the streak (it would thus stand at 11 games right now). If they lose, however, the streak will have ended at seven games.

This explains why Brad Pitt’s agent is not hyperventilating about a prospective Moneyball 2 right now.

Speaking Of Streaks And Californians

Over the weekend a few southern Californians gathered to pay homage to Jon Sutherland (above), whose streak of running EVERY DAY hit the 50-year mark. As you can tell from the photo, Sutherland is still quite the athlete and he possesses the type of steely resolve and, yes, me-first-ness to a degree, that is needed to maintain such a streak.

We profiled Sutherland for our final story in Newsweek. We were working on it on a May afternoon two years ago when the managing editor emailed and asked us to come in and meet the next day at 10 a.m. He’d never asked to meet before so we knew what that was about. But we really liked Sutherland, having spoken to him at length on the phone, and we wanted his story (which is full of a youth spent in rock-and-roll in the late Sixties) to be told. So we soldiered on and completed the story, filed it, then went in and got the guillotine.

We’re honored to be a tiny, tiny part of Jon’s story. He’s an impressive figure.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five


*The judges will also accept “PM Gone” or “Come What May”

Theresa May, the British Prime Minister who staked her entire leadership of parliament on the ideal of Great Britain departing the European Union, announces that she will now herself depart. Reason? She never could win support in parliament for Brexit, as it failed all three times it came up for vote.

Why didn’t she just declare it a military emergency and force Brexit through, the way we do here? Anyway, we’re not entirely sure how British succession works, but we think that the UK’s next PM will be Meghan Markle.

The North Star

Erstwhile San Antonio Spur Kawhi Leonard has played in two NBA Finals, being named Finals MVP once (in 2014, when he led SAS to the title). It’s beginning to look like the difference in the Bucks-Raptors series, as Kawhi scored 35 points and led The North to a Game 5 win over Milwaukee.

Here’s what would be intriguing, if Toronto wins: The last time Kawhi was on the court in a playoff contest versus Golden State was in May of 2017. The Dubs, fully loaded with KD and Co. at the time, trailed San Antonio by 22 at the half, at Oracle. Then Za Za slid into Kawhi, Leonard was lost for the rest of the series to an ankle injury, and the Dubs swept the series 4-0.

Leonard would sparingly play in nine games for SAS the following season before calling it over and trading the Riverwalk for Lake Ontario.

Tyree Commits To Irish

Yesterday afternoon Chris Tyree, a 5’10” running back from Chester, Va., who supposedly possesses sub-4.4. speed, verbally committed to Notre Dame (simmer down now, he’s still more than a year away from even suiting up for the Irish, and more likely two seasons).

Still, Brian Kelly is entering his 10th season in South Bend, a time by which many a Notre Dame football coach has either flunked out of the job or burned out of it (Lou Holtz left after 10 years). Instead, Kelly is surging and may be putting together his top recruiting class, for 2020, as the Irish have now landed verbals from three players in Rivals’ Top 60: Tyree, 60th; 6’8″, 275-pound lineman Tosh Baker (51), and wideout Jordan Johnson (59).

Look around and only Clemson, Alabama and Miami have landed as many 4-star products (while the Tigers, Tide and LSU have also reeled in at least one 5-star; Clemson has a ridiculous recruiting class with nine 4-stars and five 5-stars, which just isn’t fair). Notre Dame is going to likely finish with a Top 6 class (remember when national columnists were writing that the Irish were irrelevant?).

Defensive end Rylie Mills, the 7th player in Rivals’ top 155 to join the Irish, committed last week

Here’s the point that Irish fans should take away: Beating Clemson or Alabama in the CFB Playoff remains a “What tho the odds be….small” prospect for the Irish, but Notre Dame has more than enough talent, and far superior talent, to continue kicking Trojan and Wolverine ass year in and year out. And don’t you remember a time when that’s all you wanted?

Brian Kelly may never get a statue outside Notre Dame Stadium, the way Knute, Leahy, Ara and Lou have (though he may), but he’s now worked his way into being the next name on the list after that quartet as far as the school’s greatest football coaches (with all due respect to Jesse Harper, who went 34-5-1 immediately before his protege, Rockne, took the gig).

Montauk Bummer

Just in time for a sunny Memorial Day weekend (our very favorite weekend of the year in NYC because of the HOPE it inspires), here’s a New York Times story about the faraway aspirational beach haven at land’s end that is Montauk, about a septic system that is unable to handle the flood of millennials, and how a lovely pond was polluted. It’s all about infrastructure, kids (and beer).

More Redactions

We missed All In The Family/The Jeffersons Live two nights ago, but it sounds as if they pulled it off. Bully for them and what a nice tribute to Norman Lear, 96, to illustrate how timeless his writing and insights were (meanwhile, there’s a stage version of Network starring Bryan Cranston playing on Broadway right now, too). I’d advise not to wait for live recreations of Welcome Back, Kotter or WKRP In Cincinnati, though I’d love to see the latter.

Anyway, the sole misstep of the other night, and this is not on the casts or Lear, is that ABC’s censor bleeped out the N-word when George Jefferson (Jamie Foxx) spoke it. In the original 1975 episode, the dry cleaning magnate had used it to illustrate that his biracial couple neighbors, if they ever got into a domestic spat, would resort to calling one another “honky” and “nigger.”

That aired in 1975. It did not air Wednesday. Which, I’m sorry, I think is kinda sad. It’s a play. It’s not a Starbucks. You should be able to say whatever you like. If the audience is offended, turn the channel.

By the way, you may already know this, but the actress who played Helen Willis in the original TheJeffersons, Roxie Roker, was the mother of Lenny Kravitz.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

MIB is our favorite celebrity couple.

Starting Five

Gleyber Torres, who has hit 10 home runs versus the O’s this season, is likely fine with the schedule as is


This afternoon the Orioles and Yankees will meet for the 12th time this season—and it would be the 13th were it not for a rainout last week that has yet to be made up. It’s not even Memorial Day yet and neither team has played its 50th game.

In short, the Yanks and O’s have spent more than 25% of their seasons playing one another and the season is nearly one-third over. And they still must play each other seven more times. There’s got to be a better way, baseball.

Chalk it up to the vicissitudes of the schedule? Perhaps, but why must interdivisional foes meet NINETEEN times per season? It’s 2019, here’s a better idea. Every team from both leagues plays each other at least one series per season. Here’s the breakdown:

–Intradivisional foes: play 14 times per season. There’s four interdivisional foes in each division thanks to baseball’s six-division, 30-team symmetry, so that’s 56 games.

–Interdvisional foes in same league play six times per season. There’s 10 such foes for every team so that’s 60 games.

–Interleague foes meet at least three times per season. There’s 15 teams in the other league so that’s 45 games.

That’s 56 + 60 + 45 = 161.

That leaves you one game short. Fine. Everyone play the Mets one more game. Or something. It’s still better than what we have now.

And for that person among you who’s going to ask, “What about the designated hitter?”, our answer is, “What about it?” Interleague play is already here. We just want to expand it.

The Walkout

The president was supposed to have a meeting with Senate Democrats Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi about one of the “I” words (Infrastructure? Immigration?) but instead stormed out of the room because what was really on his mind was a third “I” word (Impeachment). Then he addressed reporters on the South Lawn behind this just-happened-to-be-there sign.

By the way, the president has cost taxpayers more than $100 million via his golf habit in just a little over two years in office. Is there a sign for that?

Don’t Blame The South (-ern Hemisphere)

Jakarta is the largest city in the southern hemisphere

We heard one of those Doomsday/Man’s Fault analogies the other day. Goes like this: If the lifetime of the planet were one day, then civilized man came along in the last four minutes before midnight and he basically destroyed the earth in the final 10 seconds.

Think about it: the Industrial Revolution began less than 200 years ago, as did the introduction of fossil fuels and plastic. All of these three “innovations” have done far more harm to the planet than all those centuries of silly little wars.

But we are here to basically absolve the folks of the southern hemisphere. Of the planet’s 20 largest cities, only three are south of the equator: Jakarta, Indonesia; Sao Paolo, Brazil; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. And all the inventions that have, at least for a time, made life easier while slowly choking the planet, have come from folk above the equator. So we’d like to pretty much absolve the southern hemisphere.

Think about that the next time you don your “We The North” t-shirt.

Everest To Eternal Rest

Up for a little news about another death on Mount Everest? Of course you are. American Don Cash, 55, became the third climber to die on Everest this climbing season, but at least he reached the summit first.

Cash lost consciousness shortly after reaching the summit and two sherpas carried him 200 feet down to the Hilary Step (“Lock her up!”). However, the HS is infamous as a bottle-neck point on the trio had to wait two hours for climbers heading up the HS to clear before they could proceed down. In that time, Cash died.

He may have died anyway, of course. But whether you’re atop the world or in an ambulance on 9th Avenue at rush hour, there’s only so much first responders can do to save you if there’s traffic.

The Winklevi Revisited

Twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the famed “Winklevi” of The Social Network,are getting an image-polish from the very man who first turned them into a dual 6’5″ dumb-hunk punchline: Ben Mezrich.

A Harvard alum (’91) himself, Mezrich is the author who wrote The Accidental Billionaires, which Aaron Sorkin turned into The Social Network.


Now Mezrich is back with a tome on how the Winklevi took much of their payout from nemesis Mark Zuckerberg in Facebook stock, then saw the stock soar, then invested a couple of hundred thou of that windfall in Bitcoin back in 2013, and now have become billionaires themselves. The book, out this week, is titled Bitcoin Billionaires.

We’ve read four of Mezrich’s books. He’s entertaining and definitely prolific, but he readily admits in this one and in another book of his we’ve read (Once Upon A Time In Russia) that some of the scenes in his books are IMAGINED. Not a good look for a non-fiction author. Basically, Mezrich tells the stories (almost all of them based around Harvard figures; he lives in Boston) that Michael Lewis doesn’t have the time to write about but would do a better job with.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Go directly to about 1:30 for the former high school “scr-emo” band and thank us later

Starting Five

Deer In The Headlights

The Milwaukee Bucks took a detour from being the club Charles Barkley predicted will win the NBA championship to lose their second game in Toronto in three days. The Eastern Conference finals are now tied 2-2 while the Warriors enjoy the 10-day break between clinching the West (4-zip) and Game 1 of the NBA Finals on May 30.

Yes, that’ll be the Dubs’ longest break since before the season began. Golden State will start out on the road regardless, which may actually be to their advantage. They’re 6-2 on the road in these playoffs and whichever East teams plays them will probably have those opening night jitters compounded by playing in front of its own fans (see: the 1993 Phoenix Suns, who went 0-3 at home in the NBA Finals versus Michael Jordan and the Bulls).

At least Charles is making new friends in Happy Days territory

These are nice teams, these Kawhi Leonard-led Raptors and Giannis-led Bucks. But as the past four games have shown, neither is dominant against each other and the reward is playing the best basketball team since at least the late Nineties Bulls. The Warriors’ toughest foe next weekend is going to be rust.

And Then What Happens?

Last night we tuned in to Rachel Maddow for the first time in what was probably at least a year. She still looks the same, still wears the one of two outfits she likes to wear on air (it’s always dark blue or black), and is still repeating the same line that she’s been using for two years now. Literally, she said about the president and the network of investigations that never seem to entangle him, “This is all moving very, very fast.”

Except that, of course, it is not. Don McGann and William Barr have ignored subpoenas to appear before Congress. Hope Hicks was subpoena’d yesterday and she’ll probably spend the month on Nantucket. The Treasury Dept. is ignoring a request by a House committee to turn over the president’s tax records even though Maddow spent a lot of time last night spelling out the fact that it is MANDATORY they do so.

Here’s the question that no one, not even Maddow, is answering: How exactly do you enforce these rules when the president and all of his cronies are the ones breaking them? Who actually marches up to Steve Mnuchin (Treasury Sec.) and arrests him for contempt?

Let me explain this in terms that at least I can understand. Everyone in your 3rd-grade class agrees that when lining up for lunch or recess, etc, there are “NO BACKSIES.” But then the wormy, sycophantic pal of the class bully lines up right in front of you (this would be Stephen Miller) and he grants that class bully (Trump) backsies. Now Trump is standing right in front of you and you say, “You CAN’T do that.” And the class bully says defiantly, “What you gonna do about it?”

That’s where we are, sadly, as a nation. So who’s gonna be the one to take a swipe at the class bully? A real swipe, not some high-minded MSNBC guest or commentator fulminating on what needs to be done. Related, Jeff Daniels appeared on Nicolle Wallace’s show yesterday afternoon and, unaided by an Aaron Sorkin script, said what we’ve been saying for a couple of years now: When it all comes down to it, the support of Trump in the face of all previous claims about integrity and character and family values and religion, etc., from Republicans, is about that one last gasp of white supremacy.

Yes, the dude from Dumb and Dumber is actually very smart

And we also agree with Daniels that what may be needed in order to end Trump’s presidency is for someone on the other side to play just as dirty as he does. The American who leaks the unredacted version of the Mueller Report to the Washington Post or New York Times will be this era’s Daniel Ellsburg, who was the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers to the The New York Times. If you’re not familiar with that story, watch The Post (nowhere near as good a film as All The President’s Men, but it’s got Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep so it doesn’t exactly suck).

If you’re wondering why they made a film about the Pentagon Papers and named it The Post instead of The Times, well, I don’t have all day to explain inexplicable Hollywood manuevers. I have tables to serve and cocktails to make…

The Uh O’s

In last night’s 11-4 loss to the New York Yankees, Baltimore Oriole pitchers served up one home run balls to Gary Sanchez and two to Clint Frazier. The third home run was the 100th the O’s have given up this season, after only 48 games. The previous fastest pitching staff to 100 homers? The Kansas City Royals in 2000, who allowed 100 in 57 games.

By the way, this passage below from’s game story is why sportswriters should not do math. Can you spot the error?

Nearly a fifth of New York’s 47 games thus far have been against the Orioles, who are 6-17 at home and 15-33 overall, the worst record in the AL. The Yankees are 8-2 against the Orioles…

It Isn’t Brain Surgery

Once upon a time Dr. Ben Carson was a highly-regarded brain surgeon (as opposed to poorly regarded brain surgeons?). Now he’s the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) because he’s the only black person Donald Trump knows and likes (besides Kanye). But the hypothalamus and housing projects have little to do with one another, as this exchange on Capitol Hill yesterday illustrated…

What’s so sad about this is that, as an SNL sketch, we’d skewer it for being little more than a pun. You can see Chris Redd (or bring back Jay Pharoah to reprise the role!) as Ben and Aidy Quinn as Katie Porter without either having to stretch.

Mama Said Knock You Out

We should have shown this on Monday or Tuesday. Our bad. Here’s 6’7″ heavyweight Deontay Wilder ending opponent Dominic Breazele’s night in the first round Saturday night. We haven’t seen a first-round heavyweight KO with this much raw violence since 1980s Mike Tyson. Wow.

Wilder, 33 years old, won a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics and is 41-0-1 as a professional. A Tuscaloosa native, he dreamt of playing for the Crimson Tide out of high school but a girlfriend’s pregnancy (I’m not going anywhere near an abortion law line here) changed his plans. He could’ve been the Crimson Tide’s version of Jadeveon Clowney. Nicknamed the “Bronze Bomber,” Wilder remains an avid supporter of the Tide and even spoke to the team last August.

Music 101


If Asia thought it was a supergroup in 1981, then The Firm decided to do them even better three years later with guitarist Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) and lead singer Paul Rodgers (Free and Bad Company). The song was released in the spring of 1985, almost exactly one year before the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. For the axe geeks out there, Page is playing a  red doubleneck 1971 Gibson EDS-1275.

Remote Patrol

All In The Family/The Jeffersons Live

8 p.m. ABC

Of course we’re dubious, but appreciate the inspiration behind this. Norman Lear, who produced both CBS sitcom classics that ran in the 1970s, will turn 97 later this summer. He’s teamed with Jimmy Kimmel to re-produce one episode from each show and tape it live. You already know the written material is timeless; the trick is to see if the casts can hold up their end. They’ve assembled some heavyweights: Woody Harrelson and Marisa Tomei as Archie and Edith Bunker; Jamie Foxx and Wanda Sykers as George and Weezy. If you’re not happy with those leads, we suggest you STIFLE!


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

In the five games since Kevin Durant was lost, Curry has scored 33, 36, 37, 36 and 37 points

Championship Mode

Once again the Warriors fall behind at Portland by at least 17 in the first half, and once again behind Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and some fabulous offensive rebounding by role players, they reel in the Blazers and win.

The Dubs are returning to the NBA Finals for a fifth consecutive time, something no NBA squad has done since the 1960s Celtics (the ESPN SportsCenter graphic decided to only go back 50 years and thus did not include Bill Russell & Co. because as we all know sports were not a thing before ESPN existed…or at least they often like to think so).

Leonard led the Blazers in points and boards (12) as Bill Walton watched from the Blazer sideline

Meyers Leonard of Portland scored a career-high (as in the NBA AND college) 30 points. Make of that what you will.

Disaster Guru

This is Craig Mazin. He’s the creator, writer and executive producer behind HBO’s Chenobyl. If you’re wondering how a kid from Brooklyn comes by being an expert on natural disasters and meltdowns, you should know that Mazin was also the freshman year roommate of Ted Cruz at Princeton.

Remember the dude who kept tweeting about Cruz before the 2016 presidential election informing people what a clown Cruz is? That was Mazin.

Not Out Of His Depth

Sorry, Sports Twitter, but the most impressive “deep dive” of 2019 will belong not to some writer from The Ringer or Wright Thompson, but to Victor Vescovo, above. The Dallas native, 53, recently set the world record for the deepest dive in maritime history, piloting his submersible to a depth of 10,298 feet in the Mariana Trench.

Vescovo has previously summited Mount Everest. The resume on the private-equity titan/multimillionaire: Stanford, MIT grad school, Harvard business school. Yes, but has he ever assumed the loan debt for an entire graduating class?

Farewell To A Legend

A farewell to Formula One racing champion Niki Lauda, a three-time F1 series champ and the only man ever to do it racing both for Ferrari and McLaren. Lauda passed away yesterday at the age of 70.

If you’ve never seen the Ron Howard film Rush, about Lauda’s return to the sport after a fiery crash in 1976 nearly killed him and severely burned him, well, it may be Opie Cunningham’s best film. Worth knowing: Lauda won the F1 season series title in 1975 and 1977, or in the years directly before and after the crash.

Below, a favorite scene that aptly illustrates the way Lauda thought.

Twister The Night Away

There may be nothing more visually spectacular in nature than a tornado, deadly as they are. More than 20 touched down yesterday in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and Missouri. Also, and perhaps related, the period between April 2018 and April 2019 was the wettest on record in some East Coast cities such as Baltimore and Washington, D.C.


*Gotta truncate this; the restaurant world never rests.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

First, an overturned finish and then a jockeys horse. I really like what the show runners are doing with this season of Triple Crown.

Starting Five

Revenge Of The Nerds*

*The judges will accept “All Bran” but not “How The Westeros Was Won”

After all the swords and sex, maesters and mendacity, dragons and Dothraki, Boltons and Barratheons and incest and incendiaries, turns out no one actually gets to sit on the Iron Throne. Benioff and Weiss handed control of the Seven Six Kingdoms to a cripple and a dwarf. Perhaps there’s a message in all of that.

A dog’s journey

We were totally satisfied with the finale, loved the insertion of humor in the first cabinet meeting (as well as the commentary on democracy when Samwell had the temerity to suggest it). Loved that Arya is now an explorer (“What’s west of Westeros?”), that Sansa is Queen of the North, and that Jon quickly surmised that there’s no reason to have a Night’s Watch when there are no creatures north of the wall to fear (his greatest love was a Wilding; perhaps he’ll meet another).

Our watch has ended. Thank you, GOT.

The Kings In The West

We’re not here to say whether the Golden State Warriors are better or worse without Kevin Durant (arguably the best player in the NBA), we’ll just remind you that they’re 30-1 without him when Steph Curry plays and that they’ve now won four straight playoff games in his absence (and closed out a fifth).

“Like a wrecking ball…”

Watching the Dubs quickly and surgically erase an 18-point deficit in Portland Saturday night, we were reminded to the vintage Dubs of 2015 who moved the ball beautifully and played tenacious defense. Last week Charles Barkley declared that Golden State cannot win the NBA Finals without Durant. They’ll be more formidable with KD, but Sir Charles is flat-out wrong. The core Dubs—Curry, Klay Thompson and particularly Draymond Green—are playing with a renewed sense of purpose. They can smell it, and with or without KD they’re going to do it.

The question is whether they’ll lose another game.

Speaker of the Morehouse

Billionaire Robert B. Smith, who happens to be the richest African-American with a net worth of some $5 billion, was the commencement speaker at Morehouse College this weekend and he has laid down the gauntlet for every graduation speaker anywhere forever. Smith, a self-made man who attended Cornell and then earned an MBA from Columbia, pledged to pay off the student loans of all 400 of Morehouse’s 2019 grads.

Meanwhile at Taylor University in Indiana, dozens of graduating seniors walked out of commencement exercises as Vice President Mike Pence stood up to speak (maybe they thought it was a Colts game?). That’s the second time in three years students in Indiana, the state where Pence was governor, have walked out on his commencement speech.

Yes, But Donald & Co. Are Singing “We Are The Champions”

The 44th season of Saturday Night Live could not end without the cast (and Alec Baldwin and Robert DeNiro) taking one last shot at the president. They wrote a parody to Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” and we only include it here because if you actually pay attention to the lyrics (He’s throwing stones and he lives in a big glass house/He’s cheating on every spouse), it’s very well done.

Also, less than 24 hours after the season finale, it was announced that Colin Jost and Scarlett Johanssen (JoJo?) will be married. Now what’s Michael Che going to do?

Will Roder: Iowa’s 2,800-Meter State Champ

Roder (left): “Stop Me Now!”

Someone—not us, Ruth—once said that Iowa is an acronym for “Idiots Out Walking Around” and last weekend at Drake Stadium at the state high school track meet, no one did anything to disabuse us of that notion.

In the Class IA Boys 3,200-meter final, an eight-lap race, a meet official mistakenly rang the bell signifying the final, or “bell lap,” after only six laps. Will Roder of LeMars Geylen Catholic High responded as one of Pavlov’s dogs might, sprinting that seventh lap to wha he assumed was the finish. Meanwhile Joe Anderson of George-Little Rock, a runner who can count to eight, recognized the error and continued apace.

After seven laps Anderson just kept running and was the first runner to complete the assigned 3,200-meter distance, doing so in 9:56.45. The meet officials huddled to decide what to do and guess what? They gave the championship to Roder. This is just, I dunno, colossally stupid, no?

We need to make Scott Van Pelt aware of this.

Anderson has already announced that he will not run the Belmont Stakes…

Remote Patrol


9 p.m. HBO

What Drogon and Dany did to King’s Landing in the land of make-believe, a team of incompetent Russian nuclear engineers nearly did to all of Europe in 1986. If you’ve missed the first two episodes, catch up. Chernobyl is utterly compelling and we have to wonder if this event is what gave Matt Groening the inspiration for where Homer Simpson would work.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Steph went full Night King on the Blazers

Favoring Curry

Between Steph’s game-high 37 points, Seth’s career playoff-best 16 points off the bench, and an in-game interview with parents Dell and Sonya, last night’s highly entertaining Game 2 featured more Curry than an Indian restaurant (I chose not to tweet this because we live in highly ratio’d times).

Moments after Seth buried a go-ahead three in the final minute. It’s not that Mom and Pop have a favorite son, but rather it was refreshing to see kid brother knock one down. By the way, why name your only two children names that sound nearly identical?

Dubs go on a 14-3 spree to end game, overcome the majesty that is Meyers Leonard, and pull out Game 2, 114-111. It’s 2-0 now. Fans of the series blame the show runners for not letting the Blazers win.

Last Bang

The ironic thing about the Big Bang Theory—the scientific concept, not sitcom—is that it is ever ongoing. The CBS show only lasted 12 seasons. The BBT was always amusing, but given that most of us (me, too) stopped paying attention to what was on prime-time network television more than a decade ago, it was more like being Norwich City: the best team in the England’s second-best league.

We don’t know what happened in last night’s series finale but we imagine that Sheldon got off a “Bazinga!” or two. We feel as if this show is the most science—the only science—that many adults in the land have willingly exposed themselves to in the past dozen years.

A Star Is Zorn

Two weeks ago in Charleston, South Carolina, The Citadel held commencement exercises. This year’s graduation was unlike any that the military school has undertaken since it was founded in 1842 (a great year for the founding of schools!) as it was the first to feature a female regimental commander. That post, appointed by the school’s faculty leadership, is akin to being the student body’s team captain, and it went to Sarah Zorn, a native South Carolinian whose mother died when she was 16 and moved in with an aunt.

Zorn, 22, is now a 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. Army and The New York Times did a terrific photo essay of her in today’s edition (this is going to be a conundrum for some friends of ours who love the military but loathe The New York Times).

Back, But Not On Track

Erstwhile high school running sensation Mary Cain is now 23. On Sunday, in a cold and steady rain in Central Park, the Bronxville native ran her first race in 2 1/2 years—and won. Cain, who now lives in the East Village (not known as a haven for serious runners, but it’s a great spot to find cheap ramen and dive bars), ran and won the Japan 4-Miler in Central Park in a time of, as you see above, about 21:50.

Records that Cain still holds, for high schoolers: 800 meters, 1,000 meters, 3,000 meters and 2 miles. She set records in the 1,500 and 5,000 that have since been broken. The Runner’s World article does not say what else Cain, who attended Fordham, is doing with her time now.

I Stan, You Stan, We All Stan For Kyrgyzstan!

There are no shortage of -stans in the area south of Russia and west of China: Uzbeki-, Paki-, Afghani-, Kazakh-, Turkmeni- and even Tajiki-. But the most unpronounceable, and arguably the most beautiful, is Kyrgzystan. And how cool will you look later this summer when you tell your friends, “I just got back from Krygzystan!” and they’re like, “Is that even a place?”

Interested? Then watch this 22-minute film by Jenny Tough, who has a pretty interesting website. And I have no idea if that’s her real name. But it’s nice to know there are people out there like this.

Music 101

Mr. Rock and Roll

We always thought these were super-precociously wise and insightful lyrics from such a young musician. Scottish singer-songwriter Amy MacDonald was only 19 or 20 when she penned this hit that went to No. 12 on the UK chart in 2007. It’ll long outlive her, which is a testament to her.

Remote Patrol

Game Of Thrones

Sunday 9 p.m. HBO

“It’s more like 400 million chest X-rays, your grace”

When an explosion in Building 4 of the Harrenhal Nuclear Plant blows the reactor to bits and sends radioactive graphite spewing everywhere as Uranium-235 forms into a giant cloud above, all of Westeros becomes an apocalyptic hellscape. Or at least it will unless Jared Harris, Emily Watson and Peter Dinklage can use their massive crania to solve the problem and end the threat. This, my friends, will be the final episode of GOT. Either that or I’ve been watching too much HBO this month.