by John Walters

Starting Five

Taking Debate

We were too busy working our second job of the day—is this what you mean by low unemployment, Donald?—to watch Dem Debate, Episode 2, Round 1, from Detroit last night. Our not-so-sneaky suspicion is that when they pare down this group to the swimsuit competition, the final six will be Bernie, Biden, Liz, Kamala, Mayor Pete aaaaaaaaaaand…Marianne Williamson.

“Oooh, oooh, witchy woman…”

The last one because Marianne’s sort of like the Puck of this field. She’s nutty but she makes just enough sense, plus she’s a renegade and the viewers love her. And if CNN (and others) have learned nothing else from 2016, they’ve learned that they can turn any presidential race into America’s favorite reality TV show.

Williamson, a native Texan, dropped out of college in the early Seventies and moved to New York City to become a cabaret singer. It’s as if Betty Buckley is running for president.

Ohio Players

Puig’s final moment as a Red involved a bench-clearing brawl versus the Pirates (not even his best one this season versus Pittsburgh)

The Cleveland Indians trade their staff ace, Trevor Bauer, to Cincinnati, which in turn sends tempestuous but talented outfielder Yasiel Puig up Lake Erie way. There are a few other players and one more team involved, but that’s the gist of it.

This was Bauer’s final throw as an Indian

This is baseball’s version of wife swap. My wife’s crazy. I hear that, so’s mine. But your wife’s hot. So’s yours. Hey, whaddaya think if

In Case Of Emergency, Do NOT Break Glass

Fine, China. You’re the world’s greatest country when it comes to suspended glass walkways. Three years ago you put up the above path on Tianmen Mountain.

This was the world’s previous longest glass walking bridge also in China.

Next month, in the Huangguoshu scenic area, China will open the world’s longest glass suspension bridge (1,804 feet), which also spirals. Will this induce you to travel to China?

Manitoba Manhunt: Trail Goes Cold

Where are they? It has been 10 days since anyone can say with certainty they spotted suspected killers Kam McLeod, 19, and Breyer Schmegelsky, 18. The RCMP has thrown the full weight of its search efforts at finding the Walmart fugitives and yet…nothing. In an age when use of cellphone or credit card would allow law enforcement to pinpoint your location, this duo has gone totally off the grid.

Which to us means that they’re either dead, or holed up in an abandoned cabin, or already hundreds of miles away from where they were last seen, in Gillam, Manitoba. One of the three.

A reminder: each of them is 6’4″, roughly 170 pounds. Tall and thin. It’s hard to put on a disguise to hide that figure.

This account from the last person who accidentally encountered them, outside Gillam, on July 21 is chilling:

In Cold Lake, Alberta., Tommy Ste-Croix said he encountered the suspects stuck in a grey SUV on a muddy road near his brother’s house on July 21 and unwittingly helped them on their way.

“I assumed they were young teens with mom and dad’s SUV,” Mr. Ste-Croix said in an e-mail. As he helped free the vehicle, Mr. Ste-Croix said he ribbed them about getting their parents’ vehicle covered in mud. He said Mr. McLeod replied: “Oh don’t worry, they told me to go for a long joy ride.”

He said the two seemed good-natured – albeit “a little nerdy” – but said they appeared nervous, which he attributed to their stuck SUV. He says when he saw the suspects on the news his “jaw dropped,” and he called the RCMP.

Tough Times For Endurance Athletes

A 44 year-old Norwegian woman was struck by lightning and killed at the Sudtirol Ultra Skyrace in northern Italy. The 75-mile race winds its way through the scenic Dolomite mountains. The race had been halted due to weather conditions 30 minutes earlier but that news had not been dispersed to all runners in time.

Meanwhile in Ohio, another 44 year-old woman was killed during a 70.3 Ironman Triathlon when a semi truck hit her as she was cycling on a state road. Her name was Kristen Oswald so for all we know she was also of Norwegian descent. Weird.


Gotta run to our gig so we’ll just post quick bits: Apple (AAPL) shares are up 4% after a positive earnings report after the bell yesterday…Castor Semenya will not be allowed to defend her 800 title at the Worlds…We’re pretty fired up about the idea of both Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock working with the Raiders and being on Hard Knocks in August…South Carolina will have the most difficult schedule in college football this season as the Cocks get Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Texas A&M. If for any reason the Cocks go 12-0, just, in the words of Dennis Green, “crown their ass!”


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Narrow World Of Sports

Long before ABC Sports found itself under the umbrella of Disney and Bob Iger, it was the fiefdom of a true sports visionary, Roone Arledge. My former SI colleague, Steve Rushin, once wrote an outstanding profile of Arledge as part of SI’s celebration of its 40 years in print.

Arledge, not unlike Christopher Columbus, shrunk the world by traveling far and wide across the globe. Whereas Columbus brought Europe to North America (with catastrophic effects, we might add), Arledge brought Europe and Asia and even Acapulco into the living rooms of North Americans in the 1970s via ABC’s iconic Saturday afternoon TV show Wide World of Sports.

Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport…” announcer Jim McKay intoned by way of the show’s introduction, accompanied by a majestic score, and we were off. Evel Knievel making some bizarre leap on his motorcycle. Muhammad Ali or some other boxer fighting in a place we’d never heard of. Figure skating from San Moritz. And yes, cliff diving in Acapulco.

What a wonderful and humanistic venture. No one at the United Nations may have ever done more to promote, well, globalism, than Arledge. Sure, we loved the NFL (the league’s apotheosis was the 1970s and you’ll never persuade us otherwise), but we also looked forward to expanding our sports horizons as ABC’s cameras traveled across other horizons.

Sadly, for reasons of budget, of tail-chasing and, yes, of rights fees, ESPN/ABC now has a distinctly antithetical approach to sports coverage than Arledge did. Just last weekend for instance, the Tour de France concluded (with the youngest champion in more than a century), and Olympic tuneups the World Swimming Championships and USA Track & Field Championships also concluded. Athletes who should’ve become household names this week such as Egan Bernal, Caleb Dressel and Simone Manuel, and those who should already be, such as Sandi Morris (above), Jenny Simpson and Emma Coburn, were completely ignored by both ESPN and

Yes, part of the equation is that these events were televised by NBC/NBC Sports, but why should that matter to a network/brand that promotes itself as “the worldwide leader in sports?” And sure, ESPN did provide nominal coverage of the Women’s World Cup and Megan Rapine (which aired on Fox), but it too was largely muted.

Instead, we get a daily diet of Screamin’ A and others projecting on what the Lakers will do this season (it’s July) and hot training camp updates from the NFL. Future historians and/or sociologists will note the parallel paths of nationalism taking place in the U.S.A. and ESPN’s coverage of sports and ruminate on how one impacted the other, and vice-versa.

Now I’m sure Jamie Horowitz would never pitch this, and I’d probably be laughed out of Jimmy Pitaro’s secretary’s office, but given how much easier it is to “span the globe” these days electronically and digitally, I have to wonder if there’s an appetite out there for fans who want more. For those who’d be entertained by a program, even if it were a weekly, that brought the world of sport to our laptops and televisions. I’d watch. We might even call it “The Worldwide World of Sports.”


In the late Seventies, Alabama and USC were two of the sport’s premier perennial powers, and yet they played one another without anyone putting guns to their heads

Might there really be good news in college football, much less on the planet? People doing the right thing because it’s the right thing? Well, blow me down, Olive.

Yesterday the University of Alabama and the University of Wisconsin, two Power 5 schools that wear big boy pants but are not in the same conference, announced 1) that they will play each other in the years 2024 and 2025 and 2) that they will do so not inside Jerry World on at the Mercedes Benz Dome but in Madison and Tuscaloosa.

If you’re wondering, Does this mean that Nick Saban is hanging it up after the 2023 season, well I am, too. Seriously, though, could this be the inception of an encouraging new trend in college football, one that has largely been absent since the late 1970s (with apologies to the University of Miami, which continued doing so through the mid-1990s)? That is, the resurrection of the much-loved intersectional matchup, and on campus? In the words of Oliver (but not erstwhile Tide defensive coordinator Bill Oliver), “Sir, I want more, please!”

Meanwhile, CBS Sports provided its preseason Top 10 yesterday and if you’re curious, it goes a little something like this: Clemson, Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia, Ohio State, LSU, Michigan, Florida, Texas, Notre Dame.

From that list, LSU is the only one that will face three other Top 10 schools. The Tigers get Texas, Florida and Alabama. Meanwhile, Auburn gets four—Florida, LSU, Georgia and Alabama—and that’s not even counting their games versus Oregon and Texas A&M, while the Aggies also get four as well: Clemson, Alabama, Georgia and LSU.

Manitoba Manhunt (Cont.)

It’s a grisly story, of course, but we are daily fascinated by the ongoing freedom of Canadian teenagers Kam Mcleod and Breyer Schmegelsky, who have now been on the run somewhere in Canada for nearly two weeks.

Think about it: they’re missing and they have not contacted a soul to declare their innocence, so they’re either dead or more likely, guilty. And if you understand how vast and underpopulated Canada is, once you take Toronto and Montreal out of the equation, then factor in that both boys are 6’4″ (difficult to disguise that), it’s downright bizarre that the RCMP, using drones and dogs and infrared cameras and who knows what else, have yet been unable to find them.

They started on Vancouver Island, trekked to northern B.C., and then apparently made it to northeastern Manitoba. Where are they now?

Fact: Canada ranks second overall in geographical size but 222nd in terms of population density. Which, to our way of thinking, should make these two fugitives easier to find. One wonders if the trail has gone cold, if the RCMP is simply guessing as to where they are. If they’ve been able to make it to Toronto, Canada’s largest city, they’re going to be much more difficult to nab. And you have to wonder how much heat the people in charge of this manhunt are taking, being outwitted to this point by a pair of high school-educated, ex-Walmart dropouts. It’s as if Beavis and Butthead are up against Tommy Lee Jones’ character from The Fugitive and winning.

One telling fact: they apparently haven’t killed anyone in more than ten days, which tells me they’re more interested in remaining on the lam than in a killing spree. Or they’ve been claimed by the wild and no one has found their corpses yet (and may never).

This story from the Toronto Globe and Mail provides a pretty good update of how the teens have thus far eluded capture and how the RCMP appears to be basically lost in terms of narrowing the search area.

The Bowel-ry Boy

A mad pooper is on the loose in Staten Island. The serial pooper has twice gone No. 2 outside the same home in New York City’s most quasi-borough this month and cops have told the residents of the house that there isn’t much they can do about it. Now, if he happens to be attempting to be selling cigarettes on the sidewalk…

Golden Taint

So everyone’s favorite ex-Notre Dame wide receiver this side of Tim Brown and Rocket Ismail (and maybe Jeff Samardzija), New York Giant Golden Tate, has been suspended four games for taking a banned substance: a fertility drug.

Where does this rank on his career misdeeds? Less or more serious than his break-in at Top Pot Doughnuts in Seattle? And aren’t both less grievous than former Irish teammate Michael Floyd’s DUIs? When did the Irish get so gangsta? Tate, whom Irish fans have always found appealing, is himself appealing the NFL’s suspension.

Music 101

Dog & Butterfly

Alright, we were inspired by our friend’s moon fraud piece to go back and listen to this Heart tune from 1978. It only peaked at No. 34 on the charts, but sisters and Ann and Nancy Wilson have fared well, critically, as the decades have passed. Vocalist Ann is as talented as any female singer post-Carly/Carol/Joni as far as we’re concerned. And Nancy married Cameron Crowe.

Remote Patrol

Democratic Debates

8 p.m. CNN

The Democratic presidential race in one GIF

Live from the FOX Theatre. You got owned, Dems!


by John Walters

Starting Five

Training Wheels

Colombian Egan Bernal, just 22, becomes the youngest Tour de France champion in more than a century and the first from his nation to stand atop the podium. Pedaling for formidable Team Ineos, Bernal defeated teammate and defending champion Geraint Thomas by only 71 seconds, ending a streak of four consecutive British winners.

Telling: News of Bernal’s victory is not up on’s morning “Top Headlines” list.

Manitoba Manhunt

The New York Times’ photo showing the road into/out of Gillam

They’re still on the loose in the land of Canada Goose. Teenagers Kam McLeod and Breyer Schmegelsky have now successfully eluded capture for more than one week in a remote area of northern Manitoba with few people. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have manpower, dogs, drones, etc. and these two high school graduates and former Walmart employees have been able to out-Arctic Fox them for eight or nine days.

They are alleged murderers, sure, and dangerous. But it’s somewhat incredible that they’ve been able to remain fugitives this long and that authorities have now moved the populated area they believe them to be in from remote Gillam, near Hudson’s Bay, to York’s Landing, which is more than 100 miles south.

They may be captured today. They may be in Toronto. Who really knows?

Caleb Makes a Phelpsian Splash

As Susie B. has been telling you in the comments, American Caleb Dressel is swimming’s next big fish. Dressel, 22, won a record eight medals at the World Championships in Gwanju, South Korea, including six golds. During the meet, in which he also took two silvers, the University of Florida alum also broke Michael Phelps’ 100 butterfly world record.

There are now only four swimmers who’ve won at least four golds at a single worlds: Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Katie Ledecky and Dressel. Even though Dressel’s name is NOWHERE TO BE FOUND on’s homepage this morning, NBC will have made him a household name—and face—by this time next summer when the Tokyo Games are underway.

Bauer Out(r)age

We’ve all been there. One of our co-workers fails to do his job and that has a negative collateral effect on our performance (welcome to the cookoutateria, summer of ’19). It’s like Mark Wahlberg famously said in The Departed: “I’m the guy doing his job; you must be the other guy.”

So in the fifth inning of yesterday afternoon’s game in Kansas City, Cleveland Indians outfielder Oscar Mercado lost a ball in the sun that landed on the warning track. Then Bauer gave up three consecutive dinky singles, one that landed less than 10 feet from home plate.

A fifth inning that began with Cleveland in front 5-3 turned into a nightmare as Bauer allowed five runs. When manager Terry Francona stepped out of the dugout to yank his staff ace after what amounted to his career-worst performance (seven earned runs), Bauer tossed the ball over the centerfield wall. Francona, without even attempting to shield his mouth, “What the f%&$ are you doing?!?”

The dog days have arrived.

Track and Feels

On the final day of the USA Track and Field Championships, yet another sporting event ignored this morning, the men’s 1500 and men’s 5000 were decided by less than half a second. In the 1500, the metric mile, Craig Engels held off reigning Olympic gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz by 4/100ths of a second. In the men’s 5000, Lopez Lomong won by 27/100ths in 13:25.

Also, Notre Dame alum Molly Huddle won her fifth consecutive national championship in the 10-K and her 28th national championship overall. Erect a statue of her on campus!


Editor’s Note: Last weekend my friend Michael DePaoli wrote a piece published here placing skepticism on the veracity of the Apollo 11 mission. The article, “Moonfraud,” asked questions about the July 1969 mission to the moon based solely on the physics of the journey.

The response to his piece has inspired him to write this follow-up. I can’t speak to the astrophysics of his argument, but the logic is entirely sound (even if he does coyly reference a lame Heart song). Please read it. –JW

by Michael DePaoli

After reading the comments from Don and Fresh Air following my “Moonfraud” piece, I thought I should take a step back and introduce myself before I discuss its merits. I am just a poor, downtrodden, debt-ridden lawyer who has an intense curiosity about things. When I was a kid, I drank Tang, I ate Space Food Sticks, and I had posters of astronauts on my wall. I believed in the Apollo Space Program and I watched the landings on television. I also watched the Nixon resignation on television. Later, I went to law school where I learned how to read way too much. 

Now, apparently I stand accused of writing “an insult to mankind” because I dared to ask questions about the lunar landing. On top of that, the comments have even invoked Santa Claus against me. Sadly, I have heard similar things before. In the past when I have asked my Moon questions I have elicited responses that included references to the JFK assassination, Elvis being alive, the Easter Bunny, anti-vaxxers, etc. This saddens me because the essence of scientific advancement springs from the asking of questions. But, for some reason, when it comes to the Moon we throw the scientific method out the window and we attack anyone who might ask any questions. 

Personally, I do not really care about the Moon missions, themselves. Indeed, I consider the Moon missions to be a joke. If we faked the missions, then that would be the funniest thing in human history. And, if we actually went to the Moon to collect rock samples and play golf, then that would still be a huge joke because we could have used all that NASA money to do something worthwhile, such as cure cancer or build the wall (I’m joking! Calm down). 

What I do care about is the culture and attitude of our country where you are not free to ask questions about the greatest technological achievement of all time. For me, it is about justice and speech, it is not about the landings. We live in a society where someone will verbally attack you and throw Santa Claus in your face when you dare to question the official NASA story about the Moon. Is that what we want? Is that right? 

You see, the puppy chases the butterfly. But, as the puppy matures into a dog its curiosity wanes, its enthusiasm diminishes. First the dog loses the will to chase the butterfly. Eventually, the dog will become too old and cannot give chase, anymore.

I do not want my country to become an old dog. I want the children of our country to be free, and to be curious, and to ask questions, for as long as they can. I do not want the children to be confined to conformity. I do not want people to accept an official story just because it comes from the government. And, I do not want the people of my country to become unthinking followers of doctrine. 

I entitled my eBook “On Being Wrong: Moonfraud” because it would be nice if I were wrong. But, even though I might be wrong, I also want to retain the right to ask the questions so that I could see the proof of what might be right. 

It is interesting because one of the negative comments against me invoked Galileo, who was one of the greatest scientists of all time. This is ironic because in his later years Galileo was convicted of heresy and he was confined to house arrest until he died. What did Galileo do wrong? He correctly stated that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Blasphemy! 

I suspect that if Galileo were alive today, he would completely ignore all those lunar landing photographs, and he would take a look at all the facts and figures and numbers and velocities of the lunar landings. He would do his own calculations and try to figure out whether the NASA story might be plausible (that Galileo and I are both of Italian heritage is purely coincidental). 

And, that is what I tried to do. I actually read the NASA story, and the parts that made the least sense to me (and sounded the most fishy) were the Trans-Earth Injection (when the rocket engine blasted Apollo 11 out of lunar orbit) and the Re-Entry Corridor (when Apollo 11 re-entered Earth’s atmosphere). 

Here is just one aspect of the Apollo 11 mission for you to ponder: After the Trans-Earth Injection blasted the command/service module out of lunar orbit, Apollo 11 was traveling escape velocity relative to both the Earth and the Moon. 

Why is this important? Well, escape velocity has that word “escape” right there in it! The Earth travels extremely fast around the Sun. Seriously, this is true. The Earth does travel around the Sun. Thank you, Galileo! The velocity of the Earth is roughly 67,000 miles per hour. So, when you are not in orbit around the Earth you have a problem because the Earth will move away from you at the rate of 67,000 mph, which is about eighteen miles per second. There is zero chance that Apollo 11 could have caught the Earth, which is why Apollo 11 needed to stay in orbit! 

NASA’s version of the Apollo 11 flight path

Instead of catching the Earth, Apollo 11 would have entered a hyperbolic trajectory where the Moon’s gravity would be strong enough to change Apollo 11’s flight path resulting in a curved direction of travel (hyperbola), but Apollo 11 would be traveling too fast for the Moon’s gravity to force another lunar orbit. At the same time that Apollo 11 entered escape velocity with respect to the Moon the command/service module also would have been traveling escape velocity relative to Earth. One moment Apollo 11 would be inside two orbits (orbiting the Moon which in turn is orbiting Earth), and then the next moment Apollo 11 would have been flung out of both orbits. 

NASA’s official story is that the gravitational pull of the Moon slowed down Apollo 11 and then the astronauts coasted back to Earth. But, once you are on a hyperbolic trajectory such fanciful things are not going to happen. Instead, the Moon itself would be moving along as it revolved around the Earth. The Earth would pull you one way, the Moon would pull you another way, but you would still be hyperbolic. So, the gravity of the Earth and Moon would have resulted in a changed trajectory of Apollo 11, but it would not have created a new orbit around Earth for the Astronauts. 

NASA does not account for the velocity of the Moon in the return voyage. The problem here is that the Moon is not standing still. The Moon moves, and its gravitational pull on Apollo 11 would have changed the hyperbolic trajectory of the command/service module and it would have increased the velocity. 

As soon as you scratch the surface, there are so many numbers that need to be checked for accuracy and plausibility. Like, NASA claimed that once inside the re-entry corridor the Apollo 11 command module could slow down in only 1,285 nautical miles (1,479 land miles) of atmosphere, which does not appear to be nearly enough atmospheric friction when the command module was traveling 36,194 feet per second (6.85 miles per second, or 24,677 miles per hour). Apollo 11 would not slow down at all until the force of the wind resistance exceeded the force of gravity.

But, an object as heavy as the command module traveling at extreme hypersonic speeds does not obey the normal rules of wind resistance. Instead, the command module would have exploded the thin air, cutting through the upper atmosphere like a hot knife through butter. In less than four minutes the command module would have exceeded 1,285 nautical miles without slowing down. 

And, the number 36,194 itself was nothing more than a predicted theoretical velocity that was published in the official press kit prior to Apollo 11’s launch. Then, after the mission NASA used that same theoretical calculation as if the number had actually been measured up in the atmosphere. The question is how many other numbers did NASA just invent on paper! 

NASA also claimed that the design of the command module provided “lifting characteristics” that would add lift after re-entry into the atmosphere. NASA did not quantify the amount of lift. NASA also did not explain how a hypersonic fireball could ever have those alleged lifting characteristics. 

So, am I wrong? Of course I am wrong. I would truly hope so. But, telling me that I am “an insult to mankind” is not going to prove the issue one way or the other. It would also be more proper to say humankind, or humanity. The point here is that I have questions, and it would be a better Earth if I were allowed to ask my questions without fear of being ridiculed.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

The Reader’s Digest was correct: Laughter is the best medicine.

Starting Five

Namaste On The Moon

Lost in all the Apollo 11 50th anniversary retrospectives the past week, India on Monday (Moonday?) launched its own lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2.

While there will be no actual Indians (or cowboys) touching foot on the moon, India would become the fourth nation (after the U.S.A., U.S.S.R. and China) to achieve what is known as a “soft landing” on the moon’s surface.

Boston Massacre

The Sawx exploded for 23 hits

The Red Sox and the Yankees have been playing each other since 1902 and never has Boston put up more runs on the Bombers than they did in last night’s 19-3 win. The Yanks, whose plane landed in Boston at 5 a.m. yesterday morning after Wednesday night’s win in Minnesota, hit the snooze alarm. The weird part is that their worst performer was pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, who allowed seven first-inning runs. He’d flown ahead of the team the day before to get a good night’s rest.

Meanwhile in Anaheim, the Orioles and Angels each used 10 pitchers in Baltimore’s 10-8 16-inning win. Baltimore center fielder Steve Wilkerson picked up the save, pitching a perfect 16th inning, and in so doing became the first position player in MLB history to pick up a Save (Rule No. 7).

Day To Night

At the Serengeti

Honestly, our intention was only to pick up some Carvel in Southampton last night, but directly across the street is the Southampton Arts Center. And a nice lady told us they were having a good speaker in 20 minutes, so I decided to stick around.

At the 2013 inauguration. Look closely and you’ll notice there’s a different image of Prez Obama speaking on each video screen

Well, the speaker was legendary photographer Steve Wilkes and the talk was part career retrospective and part presentation of his “Day To Night” technique, which has taken him all over the world and produced many an iconic shot. What Wilkes does is position himself in one spot (often in a crane) for 18 to 36 hours and continually take the same shot, hundreds of them. Then afterward he blends the photos together (I didn’t stick around long enough to listen how, the matter of having to return the rental car in time so as not to be charged for a second day).

At the Santa Monica Pier. Look closely to the left and you will see a man being handcuffed

There is nothing in these photos that is not real. The only “doctoring” is how Wilkes blends them to look as one. You may see the same person (or animal) in the same photo numerous times. Part of Wilkes’ intention, or discovery, is to illustrate the passage of time in one spot.

You can visit Wilkes’ website to see more of these or simply buy his book. We went on this morning and realized they’re suddenly on to him, too. If you get a chance to see Wilkes give this presentation, go. It’s fantastic and he has some great stories about his career. Also, there’s a fabulous lesson in all of this: a kid from Great Neck, N.Y., took a keen interest in photography and that interest has taken him all over the world (I mean EVERYWHERE) and brought him a little wealth and a lot of professional approbation. Shoot your shot, playa!

Meanwhile, and we found this hilarious, if you’re in Southampton tonight the SAC is holding a free outdoor screening of Get Out. We’ll leave it at that.

Alexandre Dumbass

You remember the scene in The Shawshank Redemption when the inmates are reorganizing the library and one of the happens upon The Count Of Monte Cristo? “By Alexandre Dumbass (Dumas),” says Heywood. Andy Dufresne smiles and says, “You’ll like that. It’s about a prison break.”

Is it ever? So we finally picked up and finished Dumas’ 19th-century classic and we never quite realized what a template it served for Stephen King’s book (the in-film reference was anything but happenstance): young man is wrongly imprisoned; he makes one very close friend during his confinement; his escape involves water (and a lot of patient digging); there’s a little revenge on his chief antagonist; he amasses a fortune; he buries something for someone; and there’s a famous line about hope.

Andy Dufresne was based largely on Edmond Dontes. I never knew!

High Steaks Issue

In Arkansas, a new law is scheduled to take effect this week that would ban the use of “meat-related terminology” to describe a meatless product? Hence, “veggie burger” would be prohibited.

Of course the ACLU has its panties in a wad over this, claiming it’s First Amendment infringement. On the other side, a lawmaker who voted for the bill made the specious argument that you couldn’t slap a Porsche hood on a Buick and call it a Porsche. But those are brand names, dummy. You could manufacture either car and talk about its HORSEPOWER even though there are literally no horses in any automobile.

Also, there are no puppies (or their parents) in a hot dog and no ham in a hamburger. Obviously this bill was passed after some heavy lobbying (and likely a little graft) from the local cattlemen’s association. Meanwhile, and we just don’t understand how or why, shares of Beyond Meat (BYND) have risen from $177 to $237 just this week. Even if you did not get in on the BYND IPO and waited until the end of its opening day (May 2) of trading to buy it at $65, the stock is up ago nearly 275% since then. In just under three months.

Music 101

Listen Up

She’s not the most famous musician from the Jersey shore, but maybe just the most accomplished female musician? Nicole Atkins, from Neptune, N.J. (same hometown as Jack Nicholson), is a 41 year-old whose style reminds many of Carole King or someone from the Brill Building era. This tune came out in 2017.

Remote Patrol

The Women and Wuthering Heights

All month long, TCM is devoting Friday nights to the classic movies of 1939. Tonight’s double feature begins with a film about catty New York socialites, and stars Norma Shearer, Joan Crawford and Rosalind Russell. It stands out, particularly for the era, in that all 130 speaking roles were female. Not a single male is seen. So, You’ve Got No Male. I’m sorry. It’s the weekend, let it slide.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right


Starting Five

The War of 14-12

A midsummer classic between the Yankees and Twins at Target Field last night as New York wins 14-12 in 10 innings and just over five hours. To wit:

Didi Gregorius collects five hits and seven RBI, the first shortstop to ever do that in one game (Rule No. 7). In a word, Greglorious!

–The Twins led 8-2 in the fifth. Then 9-6 at the top of the eighth. From there, the Yanks scored four runs to go ahead, 10-9. Then the Twins hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to take an 11-10 lead. Then in the top of the ninth, two out and nobody on, No. 9 hitter Mike Tauchman earns a two-strike walk and Aaron Hicks hits a home run, 12-11 Yanks. Bottom nine, Aroldis Chapman walks the bases loaded with no outs, but escapes with only allowing one run: 12-12.

Top 10, Yanks score two on three base hits and a wild pitch. 14-12. Bottom 10th, Adam Ottavino walks the bases loaded and is lifted with two outs. Chad Green enters to pitch to one batter, Max Kepler, and this is how the game ends…

This was New York’s 100th game of the season, and they are now 65-35. That’s the best record in the A.L. The Twins lead the A.L. Central. Could be a fun October series.

Bob’s Nothing Burgers

At long last, Special Counsel Bob Mueller will testify on Capitol Hill this morning, but his boss at the DOJ has already issued a stern “Stay in your lane” warning, and he probably would’ve anyway. Don’t expect much revelation or extrapolation from the Circumspector General.

Slay Ride

Yesterday we “reported” about the young couple that was murdered in Canada as well as a pair of missing teens whose burner camper van was found 464 miles away (along with the corpse of a middle-aged man. Today the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has named those teens, Kam McLeod and Breyer Schmegelsky, both 6’4″, as the suspects in all three murders.

The RCMP hasn’t said why they believe that, but you can now trace a tale of them killing the older man, taking his vehicle and burning theirs, and then heading east and murdering Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler. Motive on all three murders unknown, at least publicly.

This is vast, vast area, with few and far between gas stations, we imagine. Expecting every last one to have an RCMP looking for their vehicle, a silver RAV4. So you’d think their next move would be to carjack someone else’s vehicle or simply to hide out and not drive anywhere.

AD: Awesome Debt

Twelve-year NFL veteran running back Adrian Peterson is headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day, but before he arrives in Canton he may first be making a stop at the poor house (is there an actual poor house?). Yesterday it was revealed that Peterson, a.k.a. AD, has defaulted on more than $8 million in loans to at least three creditors and if this keeps up, he may just become our 46th president (he turns 35 next March).

A lawsuit filed on behalf of DeAngelo Vehicle Sales, which claims that Peterson owes them $5.2 million (who goes $5 million in debt to an auto retailer besides a pro athlete?). Further information has come out that suggests that the current Washington Redskin RB is deep in debt because he gave a lot of his more than $100 million in career earnings to someone to invest who then robbed him blind.

Rule No. 13: Open a Schwab account, put all of your cash in Apple (AAPL), walk away for 10 to 20 years, return very happy. It’s not that complicated, people.

Rule No. 74: Mo’ money, mo’ problems.

Once Upon A Time

This is how you promote a film 1) without having to sit on the couch and engage in empty chit-chat and 2) getting even more play out of it by creating a viral YouTube video. Well done, whoever thought of this idea.


Where In The World

We showed a different aerial view of this spot yesterday and told you it was somewhere in North America. The place is called Tofino, and it is on the western coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. I want to go to there.


by John Walters

Starting Five

Gareth Bale Out

Inveterate MH readers are well aware of our ages old sports crush on Gareth (“assistant to the vice president”) Bale. In 2013, not yet 25 years old, the 6’1″ Welsh striker who played for Tottenham was named the Premier League Footballer of the Year. Dynamic and athletic, Bale was poised to become the face of the Premier League for the next half-decade.

Like so many Brits before him, Bale instead looked afar and decided to seek greatness on foreign soil. He engineered a transfer to Real Madrid, where he was forever in the shadow of Cristiano Ronaldo (as all humans are destined to be). Then Ronaldo left before last season for Juventus and Bale oft-injured and oft-disappointing, failed to pick up the load.

The young Bale was a force of nature on the pitch

Bale still has three years remaining on his contract, but his relationship with coach Zinedane Zidane (“ZZ Klopp,” as we like to call him) may be damaged beyond repair. “Gareth didn’t play because he didn’t want to,” Zidane said of last Sunday’s preseason friendly versus Bayern Munich in Washington, D.C.

Rumor abroad is that Bale, 30, will be transferred to a Chinese Super League club. Here’s hoping that he is sent to an MLS club instead or back to the Premier League. We were always against his personal Brexit (in the reverse direction). He would’ve been a legend in England had he remained.

FAANG Bites Back

Remember, not so long ago, when tech stocks were down and the Trump administration and/or Congress was making Amazon, Apple and Facebook its whipping boys? Calling Zuckerberg to appear before Congress and threatening Amazon with an anti-trust suit and calling Tim Cook feckless? The ol’ “Smarties are bad elitists” crap that Trump has been peddling?

A look at these stocks on the final day of May, not even two months ago, and at their opening prices today:

Facebook (FB)……. $177……………..$202

Amazon (AMZN)…. $1,775………..$1,996

Apple (AAPL)………$175…………….$208

Google/Alphabet (GOOGL) $1,105…..$1,142

Three of the four are up between 15-19% in less than two months. Only Netflix has cratered since then among FAANG, due to increasing competition and having raised its monthly subscription rate.

Facebook reports earnings after tomorrow’s market close, Amazon and Google after Thursday’s, and Apple after next Tuesday. Stay tuned.

Murder In B.C.

They met two years ago at a youth hostel in Croatia. Chynna Deese, a 25 year-old from Charlotte, and Lucas Fowler, 23, and from Australia, were young and in love and adventurous. Their next adventure was to be a tour, in a 33 year-old blue van, across western Canada to visit the country’s national parks.

It was not to be. The couple were murdered along the side of the road—their van had apparently broken down—in far northern British Columbia, most likely on Sunday evening, July 14. It took police three days to identify their bodies.

Deese and Fowler were murdered on the Alaskan Highway and not the notorious Trans-Canada Highway, which is also known as the “Highway of Tears” because of the dozens of unsolved murders that have taken place along the remote road the past 50 years.

Furthering the mystery, a pair of male teens who were en route to the Yukon territory for work have vanished. But their camper-van, which had been put aflame, was discovered. The body of a middle-aged man was found not far from the van.

While the two locations are nearly 500 miles apart, both are in northern British Columbia and in very remote areas.


Mitchell appeared with Stewart in his two most popular films

Check out this lineup of films: Lost Horizon (1937), Gone With The Wind, Stagecoach, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, Only Angels Have Wings (all 1939), It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) and High Noon (1952).

One man appeared in all of these films, and always in a supporting role: Thomas John Mitchell. Born in Elizabeth, N.J., in 1892, Mitchell may be the greatest male character actor ever. Certainly, he owns the most impressive resume. He was also the first male actor to win an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony (a TOE?).

If you recognize him, you probably do as George Bailey’s forgetful Uncle Billy, who leaves behind the fat envelope of cash that plunges George into suicidal despair. He won his Oscar for Stagecoach, the film that is better known as John Wayne’s coming-out party as a Western icon.

Where In The World?

A friend was telling me about a spot where she and her family recently visited, and I remembered the name. Then I looked it up. Looks heavenly, does it not? It’s somewhere in North America. You’re welcome to take a guess. It’s sort of a surfer’s haven and it’s fairly remote. Answer tomorrow unless you’d like to place your guess in the comments.

Music 101

Hurting Each Other

In the early Seventies it was impossible to take a long family car trip without hearing a Carpenters tune, and that was okay. Siblings Richard and Karen Carpenter released three No. 1 hits and five No. 2 singles during their career, which was beset with personal problems: Richard became addicted to Quaaludes and had to take a year off in 1979 while Karen died four years later, at the young age of 32, from complications due to her long bout with anorexia nervosa. This is a biopic just waiting to be made. No one but no one sounded like Karen Carpenter.

Remote Patrol

2001: A Space Odyssey

10 p.m. TCM

Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece tracing the arc of mankind from the first murder to a sinister supercomputer. From 1968. And you probably cannot name a single actor from the picture (I can’t). The film has a 2:45 running time, so get your blankie and pillow out.


by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

The best Shark Week promo we’ve seen…

Starting Five

CNN’s The Movies

It was my good friend at Sports Illustrated, Mark Beech, who first got me interested in old films. Back in the late 1990s and early 00s, when we were both single, Beech loved to talk about the movie on TCM he’d stayed home to watch the night before. I’m like, Here you are living in the epicenter of Bachelor Heaven and you’re living the lifestyle of Aunt Bee?

But he gradually pulled me in. It was due to Beech that I first saw Casablanca. I was in my mid-thirties. Then he’d find hidden old gems such as the original Wicker Man (way creepier than the Nic Cage version). Before long I was hooked and the next stage was that we created an annual one-day film festival, to be held in my apartment on the bleakest day of winter. We named it the Johndance Film Festival and in our greatest year probably had about 10 people attend. Everyone chose one film and we did our best to see all of them. A few that made the bill over the years: The Maltese Falcon, The Third Man, Nobody’s Fool, An Affair To Remember, Night of the Hunter, etc.

Anyway, needless to say that I was looking forward to CNN’s six-part series, The Movies, that launched three Sundays ago. Tom Hanks’ production company was to be behind it. I got a bad feeling right off when the first installment was “The Eighties.” I thought, Uh-oh, they don’t trust contemporary audiences to appreciate films made before they were born (and they may be correct, but still, for hardcore film buffs, disappointing).

The next two installments have been “The Nineties” and “The 2000s” and now, CNN must feel, if you’re still hooked, maybe they can serve you your vegetables and you won’t feign a tummy ache: “The Seventies,” “The Sixties” and, “The Golden Age” (all films before 1960).

If that’s not disappointing enough, the series feels like a cursory survey course. The tweet above pretty much describes the format and, oh yeah, every comment by every person interviewed is glowing and positive. For me the last straw was them showing a scene from Bridesmaids in which Maya Rudolph and Kristen Witt discuss men waving their d***s in their faces during sex and afterward Rudolph says, “I was really proud of that scene.”

It’s not that CNN’s “The Movies” is bad. It’s just that, like movie popcorn, you ingest it easily but there’s no feeling of sustenance. There’s no depth. No theme. Nothing edifying. And it feels as if just about every famous person sat down for the interviews either out of affection for Hanks or because he or she knew their film was going to be given a lovefest.

It’s not bad at all. It’s just that maybe it has attempted to cover too much material and when there is a not critical counterpunch (you’re going to tell us how this century has become the century of the movie franchise, why not explain why: unadventurous studio heads who are part of publicly owned media conglomerates and the safe $$$$), it feels empty.

The Ten Commandments

Watching the Yankee game yesterday and pinstriped pitcher James Paxton walks the Rockies’ leadoff hitter. Worse, it was their No. 8 batter. The Rockies go on to score four runs that inning. I’m thinking, You never, ever, ever do that. Ever! Never walk the leadoff batter.

Then it occurred to me that that should be a baseball commandment. And that maybe every sport needs its own Ten Commandments. So I’m starting a list now and soliciting suggestions.

Baseball Commandment No. 5: Thou Shalt Not Walk The Leadoff Hitter.

Back in the day Rick Reilly would think of a nugget like this and turn it into his “Point After” column, spend a few hours writing it, and that would be his work for the week. He’d pocket a handsome paycheck for the effort, too. What a time to have been alive.

Garbage Time

Remember, I dunno, how long ago was it—2009 to 2016—when Barry Obama was president and a certain segment of the population was perennially unhappy and critical? One of them even used the word “garbage” to describe it.

Fox’s Chris Wallace does, and yesterday morning he hung White House Goebbels Stephen Miller with his boss’ own words. Maybe Miller figured that since he’d be appearing on Fox News that this would be a lay-up. No such luck.


Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald was asked about declining attendance in college football last week and as his response, he held up his smart phone. And while our phones are not the sole reason for sparser stadium crowds, and while his answer may have launched a thousand “Get Off My Lawn!” jeers from millennials, everything Fitz says here is dead-on.

Posted just this a.m. and exactly what Fitz was talking about

We’re all guilty. I am. Smart phones are the great 21st-century addiction, and the irony is that devices that have exponentially increased our capacity for communicating with those not in our immediate vicinity have, in only a decade or so, conditioned us not to communicate with those IN our immediate vicinity. No one is present any more. Smart phones, more than lap tops, are the devices that may ultimately foretell the end of community, and that’s the first step to the end of society. The Matrix is real, Neo.

Shane Asylum

Golf is surely the most dad bod-friendly sport

What would you prefer as your big takeaway from the 2019 British Open in Portrush, Northern Ireland? That Gaelic favorite son Rory McIlroy shot a quadruple bogey on the very first hole and failed to make the cut? That not-as-favorite and not-as-slim countryman Shane Lowry won going away? Or that Brooks Koepka, who finished in a tie for fourth place, ended up in the top four in all four majors in 2019 without winning any of them?

Music 101


Hardly an inspired choice after this simmering summer weekend—outdoor bars in NYC were closed because who wanted to sit outside? Martha and the Vandellas were the original Motown girl group, and this 1963 song, fittingly released in July, soared up to No. 4 on the Billboard charts. Linda Ronstadt’s 1975 remake hit No. 5.

Remote Patrol

Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee

It couldn’t have been easy for Jerry Seinfeld to persuade the notoriously reclusive Eddie Murphy to leave his mansion, but considering that the two of them appeared on the same bill at a Chinese restaurant in north Jersey in 1976, Eddie must have felt he could trust him. Stick around for a film insight by Eddie and also, near the end, Jerry sort of explains why he does this series.


EDITOR’S NOTE: What better day than Sunday for blasphemy? Before you rip my lifelong friend for what he has written, for what I’m about to post below, all I ask is whether you have the scientific chops, the physicist’s know-how, to disprove his theory. I am not endorsing it. But dismissing it because “that many people could not keep this a secret” is not the proper response.

I’m honestly looking for someone who understands science better than I do (“Yeah, science, Mr. White!”) to disprove his hypothesis. One day after the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, I run this not to be a contrarian for the sake of it, but to hopefully elicit a reader response that will at long last bring some clarity and/or resolution to this argument that my friend, a Stanford-educated lawyer who holds a couple of patents in engineering, has long made.

by Michael DePaoli

If you’ve ever wondered how come a helicopter cannot simply hover above the Earth and have the Earth rotate below it, so that simply by hovering you could travel from, say, Los Angeles to Casablanca (roughly the same latitude) there’s a simple explanation: Earth’s atmosphere also rotates.

So when we talk of the Apollo 11 mission in July of 1969, we must understand that outer space is this vast void with no atmosphere and that the Earth’s atmosphere, just like the Earth (and The Eagles’ “Hotel California”) is in constant rotation. Think of physical Earth as the hub of the merry-go-round and the atmosphere as the staging area with all the horsies. Your job as an astronaut is to approach that merry-go-round as it is rotating and climb aboard.

This is NOT the author of this piece

The first step, which happens while the Lunar Module is orbiting the moon, is a maneuver known to NASA as the Trans-Earth Injection. This firing of a rocket is done to put the module on a path for what is known as a “free return trajectory.” In short, the spacecraft is dropping through space right toward the Earth’s atmosphere.

The trick is in the angle of reentry. Come in too perpendicular and you’re going too fast and will burn up (you’ve all seen Apollo 13, I imagine). Come in at too slight of an angle and you’ll skip right back out into space. Imagine trying to slice an orange with the fastest cutting action you’ve ever used and then attempting to stop the blade’s movement before you cut off a wedge of that orange. That’s what we’re talking about.

The Reentry Corridor, that transitional area where the atmosphere yields to outer space, is located some 54 nautical miles above the Earth’s physical surface. After the Trans-Earth Injection, Apollo 11 was purportedly traveling at escape velocity relative to both the Earth and Moon. In other words, at a velocity so great that, having pierced the Reentry Corridor, it would do so once again except on an outbound route once it hit that circumference point again.

So, why did Apollo 11 not just escape? Or, more precisely, how did Apollo 11 traveling at escape velocity after the Trans-Earth Injection (a good name for your next indie band, by the way) recapture the elliptical orbit necessary to use the Re-Entry corridor?

NASA reported in 1969 that upon re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere at the altitude of 400,000 feet, Apollo 11 was traveling at precisely the velocity of 24,000 mile per hour with a re-entry insertion angle of precisely negative 6.48 degrees. So how does a vehicle traveling FORTY-TWO TIMES FASTER than a 747 at cruising speed, falling toward Earth due to gravitational pull, manage to avoid skipping back into space while at the same time somehow being able to put on the brakes? Parachutes?

It would seem the safest way to leap onto that moving carousel would be to take a very soft angle toward it (like, you know, 6.48 degrees), but then you’re probably going to miss it and skip right back into space. However, if you come at it too directly, too close to a perpendicular angle, you’re likely going to crash, no? Try running directly at that carousel at full speed, then multiply your full speed by 42, and see what happens.

After re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, what was the terminal velocity of the Apollo 11 Command Module at an altitude of 100,000 feet? We don’t know. NASA never provided it. How did the module decelerate with all the effects of gravity and already having entered the atmosphere traveling 24,000 m.p.h.? And how did the stress placed on the module by such a rapid deceleration not break it apart? Or how did it not incinerate?

It’s a lot easier for news media to call someone a “conspiracy theorist” than it is for just one of them to properly explain how the Lunar Command Module somehow pierced the Earth’s atmosphere at just the proper angle and was also able to decelerate traveling that fast. It’s like that old Bugs Bunny cartoon when his plane is about to crash and it stops two feet before hitting the surface. As Bugs explains, “It ran out of gas.”

Why is it that when it comes to the lunar landings we suspend the scientific method, and we forbid any question to be asked, and we ridicule anyone who might doubt the official story of the Moon missions? Why do lunar landing doubters always focus and refocus and focus again on the Moon photographs when by now it should be painfully obvious that NASA would never be stupid enough to release a bad photo? 

When someone does not understand the Trans-Earth Injection nor the Re-Entry Corridor, does that person have the right to proclaim that all lunar landing doubters are lunatics (a word that literally derives from the Latin word for moon, “luna”)?

Not to put too fine a point on it, and these are all secondary points, but in the years leading up to the Apollo 11 mission our government was willfully misleading us about the status of the war in Vietnam. It also felt tremendous pressure to beat Russia to the moon as a massive beat in the Cold War stakes (watch the 1968 Robert Altman film Countdown). Is it really that inconceivable that our government, at that time, would mislead its populace? Is it at all dubious to you, with the technological advancements we’ve made in the past half-century and looking back at where tech was in 1969, that we were able to perform this feat, literally an astronomical feat, then but have not even come close to attempting to do so in the past 45 years?

With so many catastrophic events unfolding (e.g. climate change, the threat of nuclear war, and the Electric Daisy Carnival), do the Moon landings really matter, anymore? 

Seriously, send this list of questions to your astrophysicist friends, or your seventh grade science teachers. Answers! We need answers.

If you want to delve deeper into this issue, you can check out my book, On Being Wrong: Moonfraud. Available on Amazon.