by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Two And A Half (x4) Dems (x 2 Nights)

Dem Dem Dem Dem, Demly Dem Dem Dem!

Dem Dem Dem Dem, Demly Dem Dem Dem!

Dem Dem Dem Dem, Demly Dem, oo hoo hoo, hoo hoo, oo

Dem Dem Dem Dem, Demly Dem Dem Dem!

Dem Dem Dem Dem, Demly Dem Dem Dem!


Honestly, I’d take James Holzhauer to beat any of these clowns on Jeopardy!

“Give Me Hillary Or Give Me Death!”

We’re sort of kidding, but then again, no. Is there anyone among those 20 candidates from the previous two nights who’d defeat Hillary Clinton head-on in a debate (okay, Kamala Harris would hold her own)? Hillary’s still arguably the best candidate the Democrats could put forth (some of you have just tossed ripe vegetables at your laptops), she’s the only one who actually tallied more votes than Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, and when the 2020 election eventually does arrive (after what will seem like decades from this moment), she’ll still be nearly two years younger than Donald Trump—not to mention five years younger than Joe Biden and six years younger than Bernie Sanders, the two purported Democratic frontrunners.

Other than the fact that many Americans don’t want to see her again (for reasons I’m not completely sure of), Hillary Clinton remains the most qualified candidate. Tell me you wouldn’t have loved to see her and the hubby watching these debates the previous two nights, particularly when they both know she’s younger than the top three men involved, currently, for president (Trump, Biden, Sanders).

The Blair Witch Candidate

I don’t know what to make of Marianne Williamson, other than the fact that she’s bizarre and off the grid and that I hope she stays around as long as possible in this presidential odyssey. And there’s a part of me that wanted to type, “She’s tremendously entertaining, but I’d never want her to actually be president,” but then I remember who IS president and I think, Why not??

First of all, Williamson will turn 67 in less than two weeks and that photo above is from last night. I mean, never mind that she looks too much like Tina Fey for Fey not to heed Lorne Michaels’ entreaties to play her come September, she looks fabulous for her age. Ooh, ooh, witchy woman!

Second, she says, “If you want to know what’s happening with our country, watch Avatar,” which, okay, is not inaccurate but most people think of it a that film where strangely sexy blue bird people got to soar among the cliffs.

Third, this. C’mon. This isn’t even the SNL sketch that will be done featuring her. This is real.

Stick around, Marianne. You’re polling very well in Sedona and who knows where this wind chimes-and-crystals campaign will stop? We don’t know where you came from or how you found a hairdresser who’s stuck in 1975 (is it Warren Beatty’s character from Shampoo), but we’re here for all of it.


Just another day of Trump: the president’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, does a perp walk as he’s led into a New York courtroom where he pled not guilty to fraud charges.

Meanwhile, halfway across the world at the G-20 summit in Tokyo, President Trump sarcastically said to Vladimir Putin, “Don’t meddle in our elections” in a crowded room.

Capspace Jam

ESPN insists, absolutely insists, on making the Los Angeles Lakers the most important franchise not just in the NBA but in all of sports. The Dallas Cowboys don’t receive this much daily coverage. Nor do the Yankees. Not even the Los Angeles Dodgers, who occupy the same city and have the best record in baseball, a sport that is actually in season.

Yesterday as the sports world was spinning, ESPN and its bloviators (refreshing exception: Scott Van Pelt, who actually had the temerity to lead off his broadcast with baseball highlights) obsessed about LeBron giving Anthony Davis his number (23), about Davis waiving $4 million in trade bonus money so that the Lakers could have space to sign another “max player” (a fool’s term…was Pascal Siakam a max player before last year?) and about Carmelo joining the Lake Show (please, Lord, let this happen!).

It’s funny to us how much oxygen the Lakers consume of ESPN’s available store. The Mavericks have two phenomenal young players: Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis who are 23 or younger. The Warriors have the more intriguing quandary. And the Raptors are the champs. And all ESPN can do is moon over LeBron as if we’re in the midst of a Bye Bye Birdie revival.

LeBron turns 35 next season. He’s going to miss time with one injury or another. Just watch. And then the egos will start to rise like snakes in a den. We’ll sit back and enjoy the implosion.

Music 101

Back In Black

How do you begin your first album following the death of your lead singer, Bon Scott, from the very rock-and-roll-ish death of “alcohol poisoning.” You come out with guitars blaring and a new lead singer, Brian Johnson, who screeches, “Forget the hearse cuz I never die.”

This song/album was released in the summer of 1980 and has sold more than 50 million copies. Not just a back-with-vengeance album, it is one of the essential albums in the rock-and-roll catalog.

Remote Patrol

USA vs. France

3 p.m. Fox

Red, white and bleu? A quarterfinal that will feel like the final. Could be the most-watched women’s soccer game like, what, ever?


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

“Show of hands, who thinks Bernie’s a whack job?”

Dem-olition Derby*

*The judges will also accept “Miami Nice”

We did not watch. Ten candidates on one stage is hardly a debate—though Julian Castro apparently did his best to make it one versus Beto. Our idea, since these two nights of debates will have only four fewer entries (20) than the Women’s World Cup (24) is that these debates should follow the same format.

That is, five groups of four candidates. Each candidate goes one-on-one versus the other three members of his group. Make those debates half an hour long and you could have, NBC, a show that takes us through the entire summer. By October we’ve winnowed the field down to the knockout rounds, with but five candidates left. Which is manageable.

Also, I want FIFA to do the rankings before the tournament in terms of what candidates are placed into what groups. Just don’t hold the debates in Qatar.


ESPN’s maiden broadcast took place on Sept. 7, 1979.

Bob Ley began working there two days later.

Ley who, along with Chris Berman, was the face of ESPN in its first dozen years who is most responsible for keeping the lights on until it took off like a rocket ship in the early Nineties, announced his retirement yesterday. Ley had 40 years at the WWL, which is a helluva run.

In November of 1992 Sports Illustrated dispatched me to spend a day in this far-off land called Bristol to work on a piece about SportsCenter. Even then, when Ley was but 37, other anchors who had cubicles close by (Chris Berman, Keith Olbermann, Bill [not Dan] Patrick referred to him with reverence, “our man of letters.” He was the smart guy. Never the dude with the schtick, he was the Edgar R. Murrow of SportsCenter and other shows: even-tempered, well-informed, trustworthy.

And yet Ley has an excellent sense of humor, which fortunately was illuminated when he’d appear on the inaugural “Men In Blazers” segments during the 2014 World Cup in Rio. Bright and funny; he just never had the look-at-me ego of some of his co-workers. For four decades, Bob Ley was ESPN’s on-air conscience.

It’s Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)

There should be a gaggle of people genuflecting before this at all times

If you find yourself in New York City between now and October, or if you’re looking for a (nother) reason to visit, we’ve found it: “Play It Loud,” the rock-and-roll exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibit tells the story of rock through the instruments it has assembled, and it’s a rock-and-roll Hall of Fame-worthy collection.

Among them, and these are the original pieces: the piano Jerry Lee Lewis had in his home the last 60 years of his life; the guitar Jimi Hendrix used to play “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Woodstock (on loan from Jeff Bezos, who’s only giving it to the exhibit for six weeks); the Fender guitar Bruce Springsteen used through much of the 1970s and that’s featured on the cover of Born To Run; the double-necked guitar that Jimmy Page used to play “Stairway To Heaven” during Led Zeppelin’s hey day; John Lennon’s Rickenbacker; the mellotron the Stones used to record “She’s A Rainbow”; and, as the kids say, much, much more.

There are also some wonderful “It chose me” shorts starring some of the electric guitar’s greatest craftsmen: Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Tom Morello and Eddie Van Halen. From Keef (and I’m paraphrasing): “The electric guitar operates on electromagnetic waves. We operate on electromagnetic waves. It’s how we’re able to think. So it’s the most natural thing I can imagine.”

Foreground: Jimi Hendrix’s guitar for “All Along The Watchtower.” Background: guitar The Edge used on the original Joshua Tree tour.

A few notable absentees from the exhibit: John Mellencamp, Steve Howe (Yes), arguably the greatest guitarist of his era, and anything from Boston who, like them or not, revolutionized the sound of electric guitar.

One final thing: I was struck by how many parents were there with young children, wanting their kids, who cannot yet possibly appreciate what they’re seeing, to bear witness to the most influential art form of these parents’ lives. Rock and roll is really only about 60 years old, and while it may never die, it’s had its peak moment. These parents wanted their kids to feel this phenomenom, like going to see an endangered species at a zoo.

Another Ann Arbor Almost

It’s truly bad form to troll, and we’re sorry, but then this is Michigan we’re trolling, so it must be done. The Wolverines lost the College World Series last night to ________ (does it matter?) and the game wasn’t even played in Pasadena.

Sure, props to Michigan for even advancing to the finals, but then in true Michigan fashion they take a one-game lead and lose the final two. The Wolverines have now advanced to the CWS finals, the NCAA tournament championship game and the Frozen Four in the past decade and come away empty. But at least they got that far, which is more than the football team can say.

Rad Max

Remember about a week or so ago when Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer broke his nose while working on bunting during batting practice? Well, of course that went viral because there’s nothing social media likes better than to tear down someone who’s done more than we have.

But here’s what most of us did not know because it never trended on Twitter: the following night Scherzer did not miss his scheduled start and, pitching with a black eye and some loose proboscis cartilage, he threw seven innings of 4-hit ball, striking out 10 and walking only 2 in a 2-0 Nats win.

In his next start, three days ago, Scherzer struck out 10 and walked zero as the Nats won 5-1. But here’s what you must not forget: in that game he bunted for a base hit and it was the first bunt base hit of his career.

Scherzer, with three Cy Young Awards and two no-hitters, is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame (even we think so, and we think the membership in Cooperstown should be cut in half). You can argue Clayton Kershaw or Mariano Rivera, but he’s right there with them as the greatest pitcher of this century thus far.

One thing Scherzer has never done: pitch in a Fall Classic. Will that happen this year? Will the Yankees, who have way too much hitting, extend a sumptuous offer to the Nats, for the one thing they really need: an ace? Stay tuned. We won’t be surprised if they do.

Lastly: Rick Sutcliffe on an ESPN broadcast had a great line about Scherzer, who is heterochromatic, the other night: “So now he has a brown eye, a blue eye and a black eye.” Tim Kurkjian, a career-long sportswriter seated next to him in the booth, patted Sutcliffe on the shoulder after he said it as if to say, “Every writer in America wished he or she had thought of that line.”

Music 101

Bad Reputation

Pretty kick-ass performance coming from a 56 year-old rocker at her R&R HOF induction four years ago. Joan Jett was only 17 years old when she became a founding member of the aptly named all-female punk band, The Runaways, in 1975. She’d go on to commercial success fronting her own band in the 1980s, but she’s always been the indefatigable Punk Rock Girl.

(psst: stick around for “Crimson and Clover” later in the video; worth it!)

Remote Patrol

Dem-olition Derby, Night 2

9 p.m. NBC

This night’s lineup is deeper: Bernie, Joe, Kamala and Mayor Pete. The Prez will still tweet out “Boring.”


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Soler power even works at night…

Starting Five

Holland advances

The Western World Cup

Eight nations remain in the 2019 Women’s World Cup. Seven of them hail from the western half of Europe and the eighth, well, This Is U.S.

Italy and Netherlands advanced with wins over China and Japan, respectively, yesterday. They’ll join England, Germany, Sweden, Norway, host nation France and the United States in action that continues tomorrow. We don’t know what this augurs or means other than that NATO is kicking ass on the women’s soccer pitch.

On His Rocker*

*The judges are already sorry about this one

Needing to stave off elimination—because no one ever staves on elimination—at the College World Series, Vanderbilt turned to freshman ace Kumar Rocker versus Michigan. Rocker, whom you may recall tossed a 19-K no-hitter versus Duke in the Super Regional, struck out 11 Skunkbears last night and pitched three-hit ball as the Commodores won 4-1.

Vandy (58-12) plays Michigan tonight in Omaha in the deciding game of the College World Series. And we’re guessing Rocker will not be available.

In case you were wondering, this marks the fourth time in the past six years that both such schools in the finals of the College World Series hailed from east of the Mississippi River. And if Michigan were to win, it would mark the second year in a row that a school from a northern location (last season, Oregon State) wins it all. Climate change be real, yo.

Bitch Is Back

Mark your calendar: July 17. One day and one day only, former special counsel Bob Mueller will testify in separate sessions before two separate House Committees: Intelligence and Judiciary. It’s the hottest ticket for a septuagenarian performer this side of the No Filter Tour.

Look for William Barr to appear on a tree stump on July 18 and publicly misconstrue all of Mueller’s previous testimony, for the record.

Our Hero

Doesn’t take much to make us happy (though Ding Dongs are an excellent start). This video will suffice for today.

Horrors Without Borders

No matter how you feel politically about Mexicans and other Latinos crossing the southern border without authorization and exactly what should be done about it, we’re hoping you’re anti-cruelty to children, particularly infants and toddlers. Is that such a brazen stand to take?

An excerpt from this story in The New York Times describes conditions at a facility in Clint, Texas: “

Children as young as 7 and 8, many of them wearing clothes caked with snot and tears, are caring for infants they’ve just met, the lawyers said. Toddlers without diapers are relieving themselves in their pants. Teenage mothers are wearing clothes stained with breast milk.

Most of the young detainees have not been able to shower or wash their clothes since they arrived at the facility, those who visited said. They have no access to toothbrushes, toothpaste or soap.

Perhaps this piece, published last Friday, was the final straw that persuaded acting Customs and Border Protection Commissioner John Sanders to resign yesterday.

When I was five my parents failed to pick me up from kindergarten. I was all by myself for 90 minutes, a traumatic experience that I recall to this day. And I wasn’t a toddler but five. And just two miles from my house (and also, okay, kind of a wuss). But multiply that trauma/fear exponentially, almost to the nth degree, and you get what it feels like to be one of those children…who, by the way, had no say in this border crossing gambit.

Does anyone in Congress remember what it feels like to be a tiny child and to not know where your parents are or when you’ll see them again and how freaking terrifying that is? Maybe we put aside debates as to whether or not you should call them “concentration camps” and, you know, get to the not insignificant task of not putting small children through misery?


GBTC Update: Psst, Susie B. It’s up 11% TUH-DAY. TUH-DAY! There are no cash prizes for being judgmental and skeptical. The bottom line is the bottom line and GBTC is up 300% since early February. I’m here to help.

Paint Misbehavin’

The Dance Class

Edgar Degas, 1874. More than half of the French master’s paintings were of female dancers so, yeah, you could imagine where he’d be hanging out in the 21st century. Degas also painted the odd woman ironing just to throw folks off the scent, but c’mon. He was like the Woody Allen of 19th-century painters. And, sure, okay, a founder of the Impressionist movement.

Remote Patrol

Democratic Debates, Night 1

9 p.m. NBC

Less than 50 miles from Mar-A-Lago, 20 Democratic hopefuls will encamp for two nights while on Fox they’ll just keep blaring a big red “SOCIALISM” alert sign as counter-programming. Tonight’s big kahuna is Elizabeth Warren, but don’t anyone tell Bill DeBlasio that.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Spanish Fly By

Down goes Spain, bring on the Seine. It wasn’t easy, and the Americans looked nothing like a World Cup-winning squad (where’s Mia Hamm?!?!), but thanks to a pair of Megan Rapinoe penalty kicks, they edged Spain 2-1.

Next up, on Friday: France in Paris. Zhank heaven for little girls…

(Oh my God, what a creepy song; you should be ashamed of yourself, Maurice)

“I Just Wanna Fly”

I mean, who needs or even want a Maserati or McLaren when you can have this? Watch this

Debt Be Not Proud

Vance “Van” Wilder remained in college at least 7 years and accrued two lifetimes worth of debt

Is Bernie Sanders‘ plan to eliminate all college student debt ($1.56 TRILLION) just a presidential version of your high school student body prez nominee promising Friday ditch days and free pizza, or is it a sensible suggestion? The truth falls somewhere in between.

As our faithful reader Jacob/Jason Anstey points out, the government subsidizes public universities, many of whom have spiked their tuitions to inordinately high levels (compare with how little airfares have risen in the past two decades). So there’s a double whammy when your tax dollars are subsidizing universities AND you’re in deep, in the high five figures, to those same schools.

“Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son”

Expanding the problem to prestigious name-brand universities that are charging between $50,000 to $80,000 per year, well, that’s on you, kid. You wanted the Lululemon educational shorts when you could’ve had the Target shorts that may fit just as well. Meanwhile, maybe your high school guidance counselor needs to inform you that an undergraduate degree is really just a starting point these days. Unless your degree is in computer science/coding, you’re gonna need a graduate degree to get anywhere in this world, for the most part.

Finally, as Andrew Ross Sorkin sagely pointed out on CNBC this a.m., eliminating all student debt creates no incentive for universities to lower their tuition costs. At all.

In some ways it would be economically sound to eliminate student debt, or at least to say, offer a 50% reduction of all students’ debt, as it would free up many to purchase their first home, or a car, or more avocado toast with those $5 lattes (!). On the other hand, is it really good policy to forgive people their poor financial decisions and put that burden on people who did not make them? We were never in favor with the TARP bailout, so why would we be in favor of this? I hate to agree with Joe Kernen on most anything, but I do agree with him here.

Greek God (and African Prince)

Remember when NBA commissioner Adam Silver said that he noticed how so many players were “unhappy.” My guess is that the man who won MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece, and Pascal Siakam of Cameroon, probably do not belong in that subset. I wonder why…

You can fast forward to 4:45 here to see Pascal’s speech…

It’s wonderful to listen to people who came here from outside nations and have true perspective on how fortunate and blessed they are. Does that mean life is perfect in the NBA? No, but guess what? It isn’t perfect anywhere.

Delete your account.

New Hampshire Carnage (Update)

Yesterday police arrested Volodymyr Zhukovsky, 23, at his West Springfield, Mass., home and charged him with seven counts of negligent homicide. Zhukovsky had been questioned at the scene of the accident that claimed seven lives on Friday but had been allowed to leave (question: with no vehicle of his own to use, how exactly did he return home to Massachusetts?).


How is it possible that you can take seven lives and just because you do so with a truck and not a gun that police release you on your own recognizance and tell you to, you know, sit tight until we decide what to do? Zhukovsky, according to a brother-in-law, had not left his room nor eaten since returning home. And sure, he didn’t MEAN to kill anyone. But seven people are dead. And his life is probably over, at least a good portion of it.

The victims

We’ll wait to see exactly what caused the accident. But it was most likely human error (intoxication or distraction) and should be mandatory teaching at every drivers’ ed course in America. This is what one poor decision can lead to.

James Doubles Down

2019 Jeopardy! phenom James Holzhauer finished 454th, or out of the money, at a WSOP No-Limit Hold ‘Em event in Las Vegas yesterday. The buy-in was $1,500 and he finished outside the 281 places that either make money or at least get their buy-in returned. Some 1,800 card players entered.

We’re wondering/hoping/assuming that Holzhauer will enter the Main Event, the one that makes ESPN, in which the buy-in is $10,000. Holzhauer and his wife had announced that he’d donate half his winnings to a Las Vegas nonprofit for the homeless. In case you forgot, Holzhauer won $2.4 million and won 32 consecutive games on Jeopardy! before his run was stopped, $58,000 short of Ken Jennings’ record, by a female Chicago librarian.

So is it more difficult to consistently win at poker than Jeopardy! Yes, if you’re a borderline genius. Why? Because the cards sometimes go against your pot odds. That is, occasionally stupid, or analytically unsound, maneuvers pay off. You can’t fight a perfect game against blind luck.

Music 101

Dirty Work

Early, early Steely Dan. All about being a male side-piece. From 1972. Proof of its sustainability, even though Becker and Fagen didn’t want it on their debut album, is that David Chase used it in Season 3 of The Sopranos.

Remote Patrol

Women’s World Cup Round of 16


Noon FS1


3 p.m. FS1

Five of the six nations that have advanced to the quarterfinals hail from western Europe; the sixth is the U.S. Can Italy and the Netherlands keep it a mostly Western World Cup or will Asia get involved?


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

End Of The Road

The longest day of the year. The last moment of their lives. Seven bikers, some of them Marine veterans who were part of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, were killed in an instant when their caravan collided head-on with a pickup truck early Friday evening in New Hampshire.

The time was around 6:45 p.m. on Route 2 outside the small town of Randolph. You might think the sun was in the 23 year-old pickup driver’s eyes, but look at the sky. He lived. But seven bikers perished, which means he must have plowed into at least four bikes. And you have to wonder: was he impaired or was he distracted by his phone? Either way, a horrific loss of life in an instant made doubly tragic by the fact that some, if not all, of these vets had already borne witness to carnage and fire in their military pasts.

Police have yet to arrest the driver or say much of anything about him other than to release his name. We read one well-intentioned but way off the mark piece this weekend that noted that there’s no mandatory helmet law for bikers in New Hampshire. Hardly the point.

A survivor in anguish


Their great-grandfather, the fearless and somewhat recklessKarl Wallenda, would never have agreed to perform a high-wire act wearing a safety harness, but that’s what siblings Nik and Lijana Wallenda did while scaling a tightrope elevated 30 stories above Times Square Sunday evening. Millennials, sheesh.

Karl Wallenda’s last walk ended prematurely. He was 73 years old when he attempted this.

If you’re an Andretti, you race cars; if you’re an Albert, you call sports contests; and if you’re a Wallenda, you walk the tightrope. But the family trademark is that you never use a net (or give yourself an out). The “stunt” was nationally televised by ABC, but onlookers purchasing dirty water dogs from street vendors while watching were putting themselves at greater risk than the Wallendas.

Frenchman Philippe Petit, who with the help of friends put up a tightrope between the twin towers of the World Trade Center and scaled it without permission in 1974, will forever be New York City’s greatest high-wire legend.

So Maybe They Have Met?

From left: the back of Donald Trump’s head, E. Jean Carroll, her former husband, John Johnson, and Trump’s first wife, Ivana. In a story that appeared in New York magazine this weekend from an excerpt of an upcoming book, Carroll alleges that Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in 1996.

Trump denied the allegation, of course, saying, “I don’t know anything about her,” which of course is not the same as saying, “I’ve never met her.” Ted Bundy did not know anything about many of the women he murdered, but that was never enough to cop a not guilty plea.

Carroll as a Hoosier cheerleader

Don’t look at the 75 year-old woman making the accusation. Instead, know that Carroll was voted Miss Indiana University in college in the mid-Sixties and also Miss Cheerleader USA. She was PRECISELY Trump’s type. Also, for the unawares, Bergdorf Goodman is the highest of high-end department stores that just happens to be located one block south of The Plaza hotel and one block north of Trump Tower, both of which are places Trump would have been living at in the 1990s. He would’ve been hunting in his own backyard.

If you read Carroll’s piece—highly recommended, as she goes through a litany of Hideous Men she has known, including Les Moonves, Roger Ailes and Hunter S. Thompson (the last of whom doesn’t officially make her list)—you’ll want to stick around to her final revelation. We mean, after Donald.

Let’s Rake

A few items from the weekend you may want to take note of:

–A Mets rookie name of Pete Alonso hit his 27th home run of the season on Saturday, thereby breaking Darryl Strawberry’s team rookie record. Alonso still has more than three full months remaining in his rookie season.

Yordan Alvarez, a 6’5″, 21 year-old rookie from Cuba, hit his 7th home run for the Houston Astros in just his 12th game since being called up. That’s the fastest anyone in Major League history has ever gotten to 7 home runs. Ever.

–The New York Yankees homered in their loss Sunday, the 26th consecutive game in which they have hit at least one home run. That breaks a team record set by the legendary 1941 Yankees and is one shy of the Texas Rangers’ MLB record, a mark the Yanks can tie tonight versus the Blue Jays.

Joltin’ Joe didn’t miss many

But here’s what’s really interesting: those 1941 Yankees, playing a 154-game schedule (101-53, won World Series), hit a total of 151 home runs while striking out 564 times all season. The legendary Joe DiMaggio, one of the very, very best, struck out 13 times all season, in 622 plate appearances. Contrast those numbers with these Yankees, who after 77 games, literally one half of that 1941 season, have hit 126 home runs and struck out 677 times. Aaron Judge, who has just 83 plate appearances, has already more than doubled Mr. Coffee’s 1941 whiff total with 30.

So what is it? The ball. The increase in pitching power plus hitting power translating to both more pitches being missed but those that are not missed being rocketed farther? A little of everything? Maybe Pete Alonso will turn out to be a great player. Or maybe, like former Oriole Brady Anderson, we’ll one day wonder how a regular dude slugged 50 home runs in one season.

Bitcoin Blowing Up

Mezrich with an available Winklevoss

In his book Bitcoin Billionaires, author Ben Mezrich quotes early Bitcoin adopter Charlie Schrem as saying this to doubters of Bitcoin and its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto: “You don’t have to believe in Isaac Newton to believe in gravity.”

Of course, it’s a cute line, but the analogy does not work because gravity always existed regardless of the birth of Newton, who simply quantified it. Bitcoin did not; Nakamoto, whoever he is or they are, created it out of a white paper that was distributed on the internet.

Whether you believe Bitcoin is literally much ado about nothing or not, the cryptocurrency is blowing up. Mezrich’s book was released on May 21st, when the price of a single Bitcoin was $7,889. This morning the price is $10,819. That’s a 37% jump in about one month. In the past six months the price of Bitcoin is up more than 200%.

Can you understand how blockchain works? Probably not. Does it matter?

(UPDATE: Grayscale Bitcoin Trust [GBTC] up 14.76% today. Help me help you, Susie B.)

Music 101

The First Day Of Summer

It’s actually the fourth day of summer, but give us a break. Summer’s about breaks, after all. Tony Carey was born in northern California and played guitar in the band Rainbow before breaking out on his own. This song from the summer of 1984 gave him enough visibility to allow him to open for Night Ranger that summer when the latter band was at its “Sister Christian” peak.

Remote Patrol

Women’s World Cup

USA vs Spain

Noon Fox

Despite an 18-0 goal differential in group stage play, the U.S. women drew a relatively tough round of 16 matchup versus the Spaniards. Lose and go home. Win and remain in France. Alex Morgan may be injured and suddenly I’m having Kevin Durant flashbacks.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

I mean, what a tragically uninformed thing to write. These are basically in-time (no pun intended) chronicles of the past 90 years.

Starting Five

Tobin Heath (17) gonna mess you up

Girls Just Wanna Have Run

The U.S. women scored less than three minutes into their final group stage match yesterday, versus Sweden, the nation that knocked them out of the 2016 Olympics. The Yanks won 2-0, meaning they exited the group stage round with 20 goals for, zero against. Are you paying attention, Michigan? THIS is how you do a Redemption Tour.

Next up for the U.S. women? Spain, Monday, in the Round of 16. The knockout stage begins tomorrow. The breakdown: eleven European nations or present/former British colonies, two squads each from Asia and Africa, plus one from South America (Brazil).

Men Without Hats (That Depict The Team They’ll Actually Be Playing For)

The latest fly in the ointment for the NBA draft, held last night, is the obsolete custom of marching young men up to the stage wearing the baseball caps of the teams that technically drafted them, but for whom they will not play since behind-the-scenes trades that cannot officially be announced before July 6 preclude them from donning the caps of the franchises for whom they will actually play (got that?).

De’Andre Hunter, Lakers (really Hawks). Jaxson Hayes, Hawks (really Pelicans). Cameron Johnson, Timberwolves (really, Suns). And that was just in the first 11 picks. There were more. It’s not a big deal, but everyone involved knows where these players are actually heading. Until some team reneges on an unofficial back-room deal, why pretend?

London Galling

Next weekend the Red Sox and Yankees will trek to London to play a pair of games (why not a three-game series?) at West Ham’s London Stadium. That’s all cheerio and brilliant and all, but soccer pitches are rectangular or oval, in terms of fan access, and baseball stadiums more triangular. What you are left with, as you can see here is an ENORMOUS foul territory that is in play. Gonna be an inordinately high number of foul ball put-outs, and truly, is there a more exciting play in baseball than that?

By the way, if you head over to Europe next week, you can criss-cross the English Channel and see the Women’s World Cup, this series, Wimbledon (begins July 1) and then the Tour de France (starts July 6 according to Susie B.). Not a bad sports holiday.


We’re actually relieved that President Trump acted with uncommon discretion regarding Iran, even though we were “cocked and loaded.” The first hint (and the latest insertion into our overflowing catalog of Trump misstatements for the eventual “The Worst Wing” tome) that something was amiss was when the president went out of his way yesterday to inform the public that “we had no one in the drone.”

Yeah, that’s kinda what made it a drone. It’s like announcing, “This bird had wings.”

Anyway, leave it up to you on whether to take Mike Pompeo and the lads at their word as to whether the drone had crossed the plane of the goal line or not (i.e., was in international waters or not) and we’ll commend Trump for not, for once, following what his Fox News and/or Fox & Friends cohorts want him to do. And you can call him a chicken hawk if you like, but Donald Trump is smart enough not to start a war with Iran on the same day the S & P index hits an all-time high.

Or maybe it’s just that Iran shot down a U.S. drone and the White House turned around and attacked Philadelphia? That is, after all, the city where the Dems held their 2016 presidential convention.

The Ex-Rays?

Now it’s one thing to float the idea, as a professional franchise, of splitting time between two neighboring cities. Once upon a time, after all, there was a “Kansas City-Omaha Kings” and the Boston Celtics used to regularly play a couple games per season in Hartford (as the UConn Huskies still do).

But what the Tampa Bay Rays are now exploring, with the MLB’s permission, of splitting time between south Florida and Montreal, well that’s just goofy. Two cities more than 1,000 miles apart, in different countries with different languages? I can just see the fan t-shirts “WE THE NORTH—AND SOUTH.”

It’s kinda like your parents telling you, “We’re not getting divorced, but your father and I are going to start seeing other people. Oh, no, it’ll be great. Twice the number of trips to Six Flags.”

Baseball in Florida after April Fool’s Day don’t really work, despite the large population base. Four cities to which Tampa should seriously consider relocating: Nashville, Indianapolis, Salt Lake City, Portland. Any and all of them would support baseball better.

(Also, while “Ex-Rays” is the go-to name for this team, should it come to pass, we also like “Inter-Nationals.”)


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Guarded Optimism

The consensus is that the first three picks in tonight’s draft will be, in order, Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and R.J. Barrett. As many have said, “The draft begins at the No. 4 pick.”

And when that does happen, look for three guards to be among the next four players taken, if not the next three. They are: Darius Garland, Vanderbilt; Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech; and Coby White, North Carolina.

Quick notes on all three:

–Culver, 6’5″, has a dad named Hiawatha who was Texas Tech’s team chaplain and said the pre-game prayer. His older brother Trey tied the fourth-best high jump mark in NCAA history as a track and field athlete for the Red Raiders (teams wondering if Jarrett can take his big brother’s hops).

–White, also 6’5″, is the top prep scorer in North Carolina history, which bears noting because Michael Jordan, among others, played his high school hoops in that state. White is also the top freshman scorer in Tar Heel history (again, M.J.). A lot of folks think he’s being seriously undervalued in this draft as opposed to say, Morant, who played in a far easier conference in his collegiate career (whereas White played in the nation’s toughest).

Culver came within an overtime session of a national championship

–Garland, 6’2″ish, is the son of former NBA player Winston Garland. He led his high school team, Brentwood Academy, to four state championships and he was a three-time Mr. Tennessee Basketball. He played only five games for Vanderbilt before a meniscus injury ended his season/collegiate career, but many folks believe he’s the best pure shooter/one-on-one player in this group.

Hope and Chains?

Former White House minx Hope Hicks kickstarted the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots about 10 days early by stonewalling a Congressional subcomittee hearing yesterday. From The Washington Post

During a closed-door interview with the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, a White House attorney and Justice Department lawyer kept Hope Hicks from answering questions about her tenure in the West Wing, claiming immunity for the executive branch — although Hicks is a private citizen.

If you’re keeping score, this is the 17,849th time that the current administration has plowed over a “They Can’t Do That, Can They?” standard of the past. Hicks is literally obstructing justice, but the DOJ is doing a “We’ll allow it,” which is going to compel House Democrats to take it to the courts, which will take forever (or at least until close to the 2020 election). Justice delayed is justice denied, and few understand that better than Trump and his lawyers.

This is where you have to hand it to T-ball dads. When they don’t get a judgment they like, at least they take steps to resolve the issue swiftly.

Passing The Snell Test

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, took the mound at Yankee Stadium at around 1:15 p.m. yesterday. One out, two hits, three runs, four walks and thirty-nine pitches later, Snell got the hook. He’d eventually be charged with six earned runs in the first inning in what would become a 12-1 Rays defeat.

Snell becomes the first reigning Cy Young Award winner to give up at least six runs and get no more than out in a start. The 57 pitches Tampa Bay needed to get through the first inning were the most in any inning in more than 30 years.

A famous denizen of the old Yankee Stadium was known to have said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” This one was over in the first inning, Yogi.

What Ever Became Of ‘Big Time Timmy Jim’?

There are two pitchers in the entire history of baseball who have thrown two no-hitters, won two Cy Young Awards, and played for multiple World Series champions and been voted to play in multiple All-Star Games. The first is Sandy Koufax, widely considered to be the greatest living starting pitcher (although your Bob Gibson cries are being heard).

The other? Tim Lincecum.

The lithe Lincecum, who stands just 5’11” and seemed to have been made out of the same material as Gumby, turned 35 years old last week. Lincecum is technically listed as a free agent, but he has not pitched in a Major League contest since 2016. And would you believe that his career record is a rather unimpressive 110-89?

This story from a year ago is the most recent piece I could find on the phenomenon they called “The Freak.” As for Cooperstown, I believe we’ve entered an era where the anayltics nazis are more about spreadsheets than, you know, actual “Wow!” factor of players. Tim Lincecum definitely belongs in the Hall of Fame not because of his career numbers but because, for a brief five-to-six year spell, he was an MLB phenomenon. He was fascinating, exceptional and genuinely unique. It’s a Hall of Fame, not a Hall of Stats, no?

The Carls

Every neighborhood has an intersection that is the heartbeat of said ‘hood, and for me that is 79th and Broadway (where the 1 train stops). For a few years now, at least four or five, the unofficial mayor of that intersection has been a tall, homeless man named Carl who patrols the south median most hours.

Let me tell you about Carl: he’s a very handsome, athletic-looking black man about 40 years old. I’d say he’s about 6’3″ and toned, with green eyes. Seriously, you could clean him up and he could be an actor, easy. He’s usually howling at the wind, which scares some passersby, often while wearing a tank top and holding a 40 in one hand.

The Apthorp, decades ago. Carl’s “home” is a little entryway on the building’s right side in this photograph

In the past three years, Carl and I have become friends, which is to say that I bring him a to-go box of food after my work shift and he knows my name and says, “Thank you, John.” I’m not under the impression that Carl sees me as anything more than a Seamless-for-the-Homeless, and I don’t want any credit for this nightly altruism, as I have to pass him on the way to the bodega for my post-shift “You-earned-it” Modelo, so it’s just easier to drop off some food as opposed to telling him why I won’t give him money.

Like a lot of Upper West Siders, Carl keeps two residences. Unlike many of them, he pays a mortgage on neither. His “primary” home is a little outdoor vestibule on the side of The Apthorp, a beautiful and iconic pre-war apartment building that takes up an entire city block (78th to 79th, Broadway to West End) and is the home of Cyndi Lauper and formerly Louis C.K.

Carl’s second home is beneath an archway in Riverside Park, two blocks away. Whenever I see Carl I’m amazed that he seems to have changed his clothes, gotten a shave and, like I say, looks pretty damn good. I’m not the only one who has noticed, as this spring he seems to have gotten himself a girlfriend (I’ve dubbed her “Mrs. Carl.”). What she has brought to the party besides love and affection is a futon, which the couple often keeps with them on the median as they go about their daily business (I’ve wondered if Carl should start writing a blog, Median Happy).

So here’s Carl: two residences, no work headaches, a beer whenever he likes, and a woman who loves him. I don’t know anyone on the Upper West Side who’s living a better life than Carl. And I have told him this. I’d show you a photo of him but maybe after I ask him permission. Not yet.

A work friend has joked to me that I’m feeding two now while I joke back that if The Carls want to start a family, they’re going to have to start looking at stoops in Park Slope. That’s just the way it works in New York City.

The other day I was approaching the intersection to do my laundry and a very nice, very white young man, well-dressed, stopped me. He was one of countless solicitors we get in this neighborhood (there are a lot of very wealthy, guilt-ridden folks where I live) for various causes. Before he got three words into his schpiel I stopped him. “See that man over there?” I asked, pointing at Carl about 20 feet away, who was railing incoherently about something. “He’s the only person at this corner who gets to shake me down.”

And with a smile (I think), I took my leave.

Paint Misbehavin’

The Persistence of Memory

Salvador Dali, 1931.

Well, hello, Dali. No one made the surreal more sublime than the Catalonian artist, and imagine what he might’ve done with the help of LSD. Off the charts! This painting was given to the Museum of Modern Art in New York City by an anonymous donor (was it Ted Danson?), where it still resides. Note to self: visit MoMa soon.

Remote Patrol

Women’s World Cup: USA vs. Sweden

3 p.m France

Fox should do a recurring “Go Ask Alex” segment, but they don’t. I don’t know why not.

From Le Havre, France, along the Normandy coast. Both squads are 2-0 in Group play so if the Yanks win or draw (goal differential, big advantage) they’ll play the second-place team in Group B, Spain. If Sweden wins outright, the Americans will face the second-place team from Group E, Canada. None of this makes sense as most feel that Spain is a superior squad than Canada. These women soccer players never get treated fairly.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

2020 Vision

Last night Donald Trump kicked off his 2020 presidential tour, a.k.a. “BumpkinFest,” by playing all the hits off his 2016 breakthrough album: “Hillary’s e-mails,” “The Wall,” and of course, “Drain the Swamp.” The new album is titled Keep America Great, but we’re going with K.A.G. and pronouncing it “cage.”

Video showed a parade of “Proud Boys,” self-avowed white supremacists, marching to the rally in Orlando yesterday. It’s doubtful any of them read the Orlando Sentinel editorial that ran that morning declaring an endorsement for literally any candidate but Trump. The op-ed declared that “I could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it” is the truest thing Trump ever said amidst his more than 10,000 lies while in office, but we must disagree. Judging from the continued support and a full arena of 20,000 mostly yokels, we maintain that “I love the poorly educated” is the truest thing Trump has said in the past four years.

So many are so confounded that no matter what Donald Trump says or does, he still maintains a rabid base of support (even if his approval ratings forever hover in the 40% range). Saturday Night Live even did a skit on it this spring in which it imagined a Meet The Press episode in which Chuck Todd presents scenarios that would compel prominent Republicans to once and for all denounce Trump. Absolutely nothing would sway them, nor the types who showed up in Orlando last night, never mind all the hypocrisy that’s staring them in the face (he’s a trust-fund kid from New York City who had everything handed to him, lost it time and again, cheated on his wives, never attends church, etc., etc.).

Anyway, here’s one scribe’s humble answer for why the support NEVER wavers, and we bring it up because it rarely, if ever, gets mentioned: during the peak years of the Obama presidency, while there were a number of GOP pols who obstructed Obama, there was only one man who figuratively called him, “boy.” And that man was Trump. Every single time Trump raised the birther issue, he was basically calling the President of the United States “boy.” And that awakened in many a visceral response: here was one dude who wasn’t going to let America slide down a path of diversity and LBGTQ freakishness and Mexicans, etc. It’s never really said out loud, but that’s what the birther issue is all about. You may be the Commander in Chief and occupy the Oval Office, but I still get to call you ‘boy.’

It’s all backwards, Jethro

For many, millions in fact, Trump was the one person in public life who was saying what they were feeling. Which is, of course, sad. And no, you’re not a racist if you like Donald Trump. But if you are a racist, you definitely like Donald Trump. So for the non-racists out there, please understand whose side you’re on. Because it’s really that simple.


Meanwhile, one week from today the Democrats will kick off a two-night, 20-candidate debate and we just wonder why someone with better graphics skills than ourselves has yet to create a poster that resembles those lineup posters Coachella and Bonnaroo put out each year.

Like, the biggest names on the first night, the ones that would belong on the top line, would be Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke. Night 2 has a much more loaded lineup, with Bernie and Biden, Kamala Harris and Mayor Pete (he’s like The Hold Steady of this DemFest).

Something like this, please

Twenty candidates. It’ll be winnowed down to five—everyone mentioned above except Beto—soon and then the people not wearing red baseball caps are going to need to decide if they want a septuagenarian white dude, a female senator, or a gay military veteran who just happens to be the smartest guy in the room, to take on Trump. Purely from a sports matchup perspective, we’d love to see Mayor Pete because he seems most impervious to the Trump mud-slinging strategy.

You think they’ll be serving vegetarian avocado toast empanadas at Demaroo?

Definitely Maybin

Maybin stroked a 429-foot, upper-deck bomb last night

Last night the New York Yankees won their fourth consecutive game and, not coincidentally, outfielder Cameron Maybin hit a home run in his fourth consecutive game. The Bombers have now hit one over the fence in 21 consecutive games, their second-longest streak of all time. The longest came in 1941 and overlapped with Joe DiMaggio’s epic 56-game hit streak.

In short, this team can rake and Maybin can rake right with them. Here’s where the quandary begins. The Yanks acquired the 13-year veteran purely as a stopgap during the April epidemic of injuries, kinda the way your mom or dad buys Pei Wei for dinner until she has time to do a real grocery store run. On Monday the Yanks added Edwin Encarnacion to the lineup (buh bye, Clint Frazier), then last night Giancarlo Stanton (see ya, Mike Tauchmann) and later this week Aaron Judge will return.

Encarnacion walked the parrot for the first time as a Yankee last night in a 6-3 win

So, outside of the starters, the 13 pitchers on staff and backup catcher Austin Romine, you have three players vying for two spots: outfielder Brett Gardner, infielder Gio Urshela and Maybin (and we haven’t even addressed what will happen when Miguel Andujar and Greg Bird return at some point; or what the Yanks will do when Kendrys Morales returns from the 10-day IL). So here’s Maybin, halfway to equaling Don Mattingly’s epic 8 consecutive homer games streak, the one that inspired Yankee fans to forever beatify him, in danger of being sent down just as he, or even just before he, potentially equals it. Because the Yanks can’t demote Urshela and they won’t hustle Gardner into retirement.

Is there another option? Yes. Here’s what the Yanks will do. They’ll send down a middle reliever to Scranton-Wilkes Barre and then spend the foreseeable future shuttling middle relievers back and forth between the Bronx and eastern Pa. So, yes, they’ll only have a dozen pitchers on staff but they’ll never be left hanging because as soon as one arm peters out they’ll just rotate that arm down and bring another one up.

Maybin stays. He’s more than earned it. And there’ll probably be another injury soon, anyway.

Take Your Ball And Go Home

For reasons that will always remain unclear to us, an NBA parent appeared yet again on an ESPN sports bloviation show Monday. During this appearance the show’s host, Molly Qerim, attempted a segue by saying, “Switching gears, I’d like–” and then was interrupted by the dad, who creepily said, “You can switch gears with me any time.”

Seated right next to the NBA Dad when he said this was ESPN’s highest-paid employee, Stephen A. Smith, who said nothing but smirked with chagrin. What’s notable about this, beyond the creepiness of it, is that Qerim’s husband is Jalen Rose, a dude who actually could ball and is now a highly valued member of the ESPN family.

Actually, you never needed to

So how did ESPN respond? It put out a statement that read, ““LaVar Ball’s comment to Molly Qerim Rose was completely inappropriate and we made him aware of that.” Which is not the same from noting that he will not be welcome back on their air any time soon.

This is kinda where we wish Jalen Rose had a little more Matt Barnes in him, because you just know Barnes would hunt down Ball and go Temecula on him. At the very least, Rose should place a phone call to Barry or Fuches, no?

Meet The Blacks

More than 1.6 million views thus far…

Two very viral videos of late, both featuring African-American parents and their pre-school kids, each effecting completely different reactions and in completely different situations. We don’t have any overarching wisdom to add to this incongruity, a lesson that we can tie up in a bow for you, other than to show them both to you and perhaps have you come to some epiphany that you will reveal to the rest of us.

Roughly 75,000 views thus far…



Max Scherzer, meet Marcia Brady…


Whenever Wendell Barnhouse is inspired, we are happy to feature his thoughts on this site. Here’s his latest…

by Wendell Barnhouse

Your Veteran Scribe spent most of his professional career as newspaper writer and editor. For those unfamiliar with that medium, it was a daily deliverance of words, pictures and advertising with local, state, national, international news plus sports, business, obituaries, comics, crosswords and either Dear Abby or Ann Landers*.

In addition to unpaid overtime and crappy salaries, the banes of newspaper professionals’ existence were the typo (short for typographical error) and the correction. A typo could be a dropped word, a misspelling or an incorrect conjugation.

The correction was far worse. If an error of fact was made and later discovered, the paper would print a correction. Often, the reporter or editor who made the mistake would have to provide a superior with an explanation of how and why the error made it into print.**

Newspapers don’t carry the weight (literally or figuratively) of Moses’ tablets, but each day they are figuratively carved in stone. Typos, errors and subsequent corrections are forever preserved. Had God’s hand or concentration slipped, one of the Commandments could have been “Thou shalt not chill.”

Current digital delivery systems make newspapers quaint and antiquated. Compiling and writing content, crafting headlines, selecting photos and putting ink to newsprint 365 days a year is a process that once provided the public with a daily dose of digestible information.

Thanks to Bill Gates, Al Gore and microchips all – emphasis on ALL – the information is just a click away. To borrow from Hedley Lamarr***, “a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives.” YVS likens the instant and incessant information flow to drinking from a fire hose.

(We pause here to admit that most editors YVS worked with would have reached this point and asked, “When are you getting to your point?”)

The web sites that post news stories provide great opportunities. Unlike newspapers, there are no space restrictions. Plus, if there is a typo, the post can be corrected and reposted. Same with a correction – though truth be told those corrections won’t be read or noticed unless the reader revisits that post.

The convenience of correction combined with the hellbent desire to post posts now plus the business model that basically ignores the editing process has turned digital journalism sloppier than a teenager’s bedroom.

Because of the etched-in-stone nature of newspapers, the editing process in the “good ol’ days” was tedious. A story would be submitted, and an editor would comb through each sentence, making corrections and edits for clarity (and, sometimes, length). The story would then be sent to the “slot” (a term from the main hands-on editor). He/she would edit the editing. Then, after the composing room would finish putting together a page, a before-print facsimile of the page would be “proofed” by yet another editor. At least three sets of eyes would examine stories varying in length from 75 words to 1,000 words.

YVS, who admits to spending an appalling amount of his semi-retired time perusing the “interwebs,” reads stories with an editor’s eyes. Those eyes see far too many typos. Three examples – all from major, well-financed web sites – from the weekend:

  • A story in The Athletic after the third-round of the U.S. Open: But even as Woods electrified the galleries and charged up the leaderboard, Woodland rallied with three birdies in his last eight hole to tie for sixth, his best finish in a major. (Holes, not hole.)
  • A story on CNN’s website about the Nxivm sex cult trial: “… said he was revered by his students and some saw him as the smartest men in the world.” Either “one of the smartest men in the world” or “the smartest man in the world.”
  • A story on about the ill-fated and short-lived Alliance of American Football: “Neuheisel and Ebersol dropped the conceit.” Concept?

YVS can imagine you, Dear Reader, imagining the author as a combination of “old man yells at cloud” and “get off my lawn.” Guilty.

Also, Dear Reader, you might be asking, “What’s the big deal? One typo in an otherwise excellent 1,000-word story is not a felony.”

True. And false. While the angst over a minor mistake shouldn’t detract from the story, it does indicate a lack of care and feeding. Accuracy and integrity are two of the major support beams for journalism.**** Discerning readers should give pause and ask, “If the verb isn’t properly conjugated, can I trust the reporting and the writing?”

The answer, 99.9 percent of the time, is “yes, the reporting and writing is trustworthy.”

But slippery standards and decaying due diligence might soon drop 99.9 to 99.8 and then 99.5. Failing to strive for accuracy and integrity can lead to real-life Idiocracy.

Anyone who questions the danger of accepting low-bar clearance only need to keep daily tabs on the man living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


Editor’s Notes:

  • *Who were sisters! Crazy, no?
  • **At Sports Illustrated, we had to file a written statement to our boss that would include the error, the correct fact, and an explanation as to why the error occurred. Most of the time this only occurred after a reader wrote in to correct us—known as a “challenge.” My favorite challenge was when a reader wrote in to correct our story as to how many brothers Brett Hull had. As the reader in question was Brett Hull’s mom, our reporter knew that he was going to have to take the L on that one.
  • ***Who doesn’t love a Blazing Saddles reference, but Wendell’s editor would probably advise him to name-check the classic comedy since it’s more than 45 years old and most millennials have no idea what it is.
  • ****At SI, our lawyers knew that the first step the opposing side would take in a libel suit would be to demonstrate how lax SI could be with facts and typos, etc. Hence, the SI Reporters bureau, colloquially known as “the bullpen,” where mostly twentysomethings fresh out of college or J-school cut their teeth as fact checkers. Hey, we all wanted to go out there and kick some Cobra Kai ass but the higher-ups thought we needed to learn how to paint fences and sand doors first. Ultimately, they were right.

You may recognize some former SI fact-checkers. A partial list: Jeff Pearlman, Seth Davis, Jon Wertheim, Grant Wahl, Josh Elliott, Steve Rushin, Paul Gutierrez, Ashley Fox, Dave Fleming, Tim Crothers, Chad Millman, Mark McClusky, Chris Stone, Steve Cannella, Austin Murphy, Ivan Maisel and Pablo Torre. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some other big names in the biz.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Ebert’s autobiography, Life Itself, is a terrific read. MH staff recommends.

Starting Five

Fox Hunt

Dallas Morning News photographer Tom Fox was on his way to a federal courthouse to do what he gets paid to do, shoot photos. Just before he walked inside Fox encountered a shooter of another type. Instead of running, he took the shot of his life.

Fortunately, police gunned down the man as if he were a four year-old who’d stolen a Barbie and no one else was hurt. Also, because he was white, you won’t hear the words “radicalized” or “terrorist” about him from anyone in the White House, if they even mention this incident at all, which they likely will not.

The shooter, a former U.S. Army infantryman, was fatally wounded by police.

Crowd Strike

Hong Kong, which didn’t even make the playoffs

If you’re scoring at home, some two million people in Hong Kong assembled to protest a new bill that would allow mainland China to extradite suspected criminals for trial. Public protesting in Hong Kong is itself a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison and yet some two million of the territory’s seven million citizens proudly took that risk.

Toronto, before shots rang out

Meanwhile in Toronto, hundreds of thousands gathered on a sunny and warm Monday to cheer the Raptors’ first NBA championship and watch a parade.

In one of the two mass gatherings, three people were shot (none fatally) and four arrested. We’ll let you guess which gathering (and no, David Ortiz was not at either event).

A New Zodiac Killer (and in the Bay Area, too)

We’re enjoying Ben Mezrich’s book, Bitcoin Billionaires, in which the Winklevi (twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss) disprove F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous dictum that “there are no second acts in American life.”

In fact, what this week’s events prove is that what happened before can and will happen again. In the past week Facebook, founded and still run by Winklevi nemesis Mark Zuckerberg, announced that it is launching its own cryptocurrency exchange named “Libra.” What makes that funny is that the Winklevi launched a cryptocurrency exchange a couple years ago named Gemini.

(For what it’s worth, the Winklevi were born under the sign of Leo, although the Gemini are famous twins in the Zodiac calendar, while Zuckerberg is a Taurus…and probably has never driven one.)

The address of Facebook’s headquarters, no kidding, is 1 Hacker Way

Anyway, you may recall that the Winklevi really did have the idea for Facebook first, but that Zuckerberg had the coding know-how that they lacked and he took their idea and ran with it. A few years later, using the funds they’d gotten from Zuckerberg in the settlement, the Winklevi were very early investors in Bitcoin, definitely the first high-profile investors, and made hundreds of millions as the cryptocurrency went from below $10 per when they bought it to where it is now, more than $9,000 per.

And now here comes Zuckerberg, who has even more money, trying to take over their new corner of the world. Wouldn’t it be funny if somehow he puts them out of business but at the same time is found to have somehow infringed upon their space and has to pay them off bigly in order to rid himself of them yet again?

Worth noting, as reported in Mezrich’s book: the Winklevi only turned to Bitcoin when every Silicon Valley start-up in need of cash turned down their offers of being investors. Reason: most start-ups end-game is to eventually be purchased by Facebook (see: Instagram) and if you’re backed by Winklevi money, there’s no way Zuckerberg is ever going to touch you. In fact, he’d likely actively try to hurt you.

Isn’t irony the best?

Disappearing Act

This is Indian magician Chanchal Lahiri, who over the weekend was chained and bound and lowered into the Hooghly River in order to attempt to replicate Harry Houdini’s famous escape trick.

It either did not go so well or it went even better than planned (as in, not only did Lahiri escape but he also made himself vanish). Alas, the authorities are going with the former and are presuming Lahiri drowned, although his body has yet to be recovered.

Onlookers, which included family and friends, waited a reported 30 minutes before launching a frantic search for Lahiri. Did they think he was a man or a sperm whale?

D-Day, Before We Forget

We forgot to post this incredibly well-done and meticulously reported story from The Atlantic, which first ran in 1960, when we saw it a couple weeks back. If you want to move past the heroic tales and the jingoistic fervor and simply appreciate what a miserable and deadly day D-Day was for countless GIs, read this account by S.L.A. Marshall titled “First Wave at Omaha Beach.”

The story is promoted as an “epic human tragedy” and that about gets it right. It doesn’t make their sacrifices any less significant, but it just goes to show you how cheaply human lives were squandered on that morning.

Paint Misbehavin’

The Birth of Venus

By Sandro Botticelli, mid-1480s.

She’s got it. Yeah, baby, she’s got it. Housed in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, this is one of the earliest of the great Renaissance works and was likely commissioned by the Medici, since painters at the time needed patrons to survive (apparently there was an internet disruption in the 15th century, too?).

Remote Patrol


8 p.m. AMC

The 2008 movie that was supposed to scare your daughter from ever wanting to summer abroad in Paris (and yet failed spectacularly: look where they’re holding the Women’s World Cup!). I have a particular set of skills is one of the better film lines of this millennium, no?