In dramatic literature, Doctor Faustus made a deal with Lucifer. In current events, Dr. Fauci is being pressured to make a deal with Donald Trump.

Anthony Fauci, 69, Brooklyn-born and Catholic-schooled (Regis Prep in Manhattan, Holy Cross outside of Boston), is America’s foremost authority on contagious diseases. Today Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was told by the White House not to give any interviews on the coronavirus unless he clears it with Mike Pence’s spokesperson first.

We feel badly for Fauci. He’s spent much of the past 10 years answering the same old questions about gluten-free beer and the ebola virus (honestly, I don’t know which is more of a scourge), and now he finally gets a topic that he can get his Purel-cleansed hands on, and the White House has put a muzzle on him.

Then again, Fauci is 69 years old, presumably quite financially comfortable, and he is a dedicated health professional. Why should he care about a veiled threat that Donald Trump would hold over him about transparency? I’m fired? Woo ha! Good luck containing a pandemic that may cost you the election.

It’s just the latest example of the White House attempting to control the message at the expense of the truth. Trump doesn’t want Americans to think too much about the coronavirus because he’s truly not worried about a pandemic; he’s worried about the stock market. And he cannot brag about the Dow Jones’ record highs if it is plummeting, and as long as Americans maintain a healthy level of, say, concern about the coronavirus, the market will continue to tank.

It’s funny. The market IS the truth here. If the big spenders who truly move the levers of the market trusted Trump, the economy/market would be fine. They don’t. Whatever they may be saying in public in support of Trump, they are speaking with their investment portfolios right now. That’s where the real talk exists.

The Dow is down 3,000 points this week. Donald Trump has promoted Mike Pence to be his coronavirus czar/designated disease scapegoat. And the American best equipped to inform us is being silenced. You can be anti-science right up until you need science to save your life, or that you have to come to terms with your willful ignorance.

Enjoy your CPAC, guys.


Bar graphs… better than having to read

Here Comes Corona

At a press conference in the White House briefing room, president Donald Trump pats self on back and then passes the buck to vice president Mike Pence. He’s nobody’s fool.

“We’ve done a great job in keeping it down to a minimum,” Trump said, crediting his early curbs on travel from China.”Had I not made a decision very early on not to take people from a certain area, we wouldn’t be talking this way. … I took a lot of heat; some people called me racist.”

Meanwhile, the first communally spread case of COVID-19 spread in the U.S. has been confirmed and the coronavirus is now in more countries than Netflix (don’t fact-check me on that one… it’s a good line, yo). The planetary death toll has eclipsed 2,800.

Catholics Versus Catholics

Notre Dame played Boston College on Ash Wednesday, and for the second game in a row the Fighting Irish delivered in the closing seconds. The Irish (now 18-10) won on senior T.J. Gibbs’ clutch shot with 0.1 on the clock for the 62-61 final.

The NCAA tourney remains in play for the Shamrocks. The Irish, who have lost six games this season by three or fewer points, have now won two of their last three by one point. Both on game-winning shots in the closing seconds.

Notre Dame plays at Wake Forest, then closes with home games versus top 10 Florida State and Virginia Tech. Sweep them and win at least one game in the ACC tourney and it’ll look pretty good for Mike Brey’s boys.

Senior John Mooney (22 and 12) had what I believe was his 22nd double-double of the season last night, which is first or second nationally.

Moderna Times

The Dow Jones has lost more than 2,000 points already this week and it’s set to drop another 300 points at today’s open. It could lose a full 10% this week from its all-time high 29,551 set on February 12. This morning it will open below 27,000. The president, when asked yesterday if that is due to the coronavirus, chose instead to blame it on Tuesday’s Democratic debate.

One bright light in this abyss of darkness: biotech company Moderna, which uses messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA… see, Moderna…mRNA? Ahhhh……ahhhh), which I have not thought too much about since Linda Hunt’s biology course in 1985-1986 in college.

Anyway, as the market has tanked all week, this Cambridge, Mass., based company, which may or may not have developed a useful coronavirus vaccine, is up 100%. Last week you could’ve owned it for $18 per share. Today it is scheduled to open above $36. Susie B. says, “tulips,” and maybe she’s correct. But the hysteria is creating a market. It’s all about knowing how long to ride the rocket ship (advice Mad Mike Hughes tragically chose to ignore).

Severe Severino Severance

Sexy spent a few days in training camp before the Yanks shut him down for 2020

New York Yankee ace Luis Severino will miss the 2020 season due to Tommy John surgery. You may be asking yourself, Didn’t he miss most of last season? Why yes, yes he did. Severino only started three regular season games last year, near the end of the season.

Severino, who just turned 26, is already a two-time All-Star and went 19-8 his last full season. No Sabathia and no Severino this summer.

Your Next Jon Krakauer Cover Story

Last Friday afternoon trail runner Joseph Oldendorf, 26, embarked on a long run on the Duckabush Trail in the Olympic National Forest west of Seattle. He was alone.

About two hours into his run on the 16-mile trail Oldendorf slipped on ice and heard his lower leg snap. Uh oh. He’d broken it. No one was around. It was getting dark. Temperatures would soon plummet below freezing.

Knowing he was in this one alone, Oldendorf began crawling. After awhile he tied his running shoes to his knees to alleviate the rawness on his kneecaps. Smart. He kept crawling. It kept him warm.

Oldendorf would crawl for 10 hours before rescuers finally located him along the trail at 4:45 a.m. They would then airlift him out.

“I didn’t want my family to hear that I died alone in the wilderness,” he would say from his hospital bed later. “I think it’d be unbearable.”

Of course, this entire scenario may just well be next year’s novel new adventure race: run two hours, break a limb, then crawl 10 hours. We can think of a few masochists we know who’d sign up for this.

Could this be the next 127 Hours? No. Good story, but Oldendorf didn’t actually saw his foot off, so Hollywood will pass.


When your star goes apesh*t

Have Seen:

  1. King Kong: The original classic, and a very clever veiled analogy about the American slave trade that was way ahead of its time. Watch the Inglourious Basterds scene that deals with this allegory.
  2. Duck Soup: Who will save the bankrupt, tiny nation of Freedonia? Groucho! Considered by many to be the Marx Brothers’ finest work.
  3. Little Women: The first and, for many, finest incarnation of the adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel. Why? Because Katharine Hepburn plays Jo.

Need To See:

4. Bombshell: Jean Harlow, who would die at the age of 27, in her signature role.

5. 42nd Street: Singin’… and dancin’…

6. Dinner At Eight: About the right time for New Yorkers

7. Footlight Parade: Jimmy Cagney wasn’t just a tough guy, he was a master of musicals. Here, produced by the legendary Busby Berkeley.

8. I’m No Angel: Mae West being Mae West. Find out what all the hype was about.


We’re on the road today so this will be quick and disjointed…I doubt you’ll notice the difference…

Warren Peace

At the Charleston debate, Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren is asked by Gayle King what evidence she had that Michael Bloomberg had once verbally accosted a pregnant employee of his? The former prosecutor shot Gayle a “Et tu, Mrs. Winfrey?” glare and then replied, “Because she said so?”

Lordy, I hate to sound like The New York Times here, but I sincerely hope a female wins the Democratic nomination. Either one. I don’t even care. They’re both better than all the boys.

Star Search

I posed this question on Twitter yesterday: What movie star, if you had the ability to know what he or she was doing at all times without them realizing it, would you most want to stalk? My immediate answer was Tom Cruise, mostly for reasons such as this interview:

Respondents on Twitter gave me Keanu Reeves (excellent), Denzel Washington, Gene Hackman, Gerard Butler, Lenny Kravitz, Phoebe Cates, Sean Penn and, my personal favorite, Clint Howard (Ron’s little brother).

Wilder Wilding

It hit me yesterday: Thank you, Deontay Wilder. All these years I thought I lost my one and only fight at Crestview Park because he was faster and stronger than I. Now I realize it was simply because of my heavy parka.

Nobody Does It Better

Our Division III friend Eric Demers scored 36 points last night to lead Gordon College to a first-round victory in their conference tournament. Demers is now averaging 32.7 points per game on the season by our calculations. Gordon next plays at Nichols tomorrow night; the two schools tussled last Saturday and Nichols held him to a season-low 15 points.

Online Olympics

Emma Coburn could just compete from her high school track in Crested Butte

Yesterday a senior official at the International Olympic Committee hinted that the coronavirus could cause Japan to either delay or altogether cancel the Summer Olympics (as we alluded to in a blog post yesterday). Today other officials are yammering that he spoke out of turn (and likely through a germ-resistant mask). The bad part? Panic and chaos at the IOC and among athletes who are training. The good part? An entire new generation of sports fans had their first giggle over “Dick Pound.” Joshua Malina on Twitter: “I just heard about Dick Pound and wonder where I go to adopt.”

Here’s our idea: What if they just stage the Olympics like an on-line course? Submit your best effort on-line and we’ll judge it from a secure location at Chelsea Piers.


“All Is Well! All Is Well!”

Dow Down

Monday, down more than 1,000 points. Yesterday, down around 800 points. Today, at least at the open, the Dow will be up. But that was the case yesterday as well before it teetered off a cliff. We suspect more of the same today.

And just wait until coronavirus patients start showing up in New York City. Let’s say you’re a diabolical investment bank (redundant, I know) and last week you began shorting the market. And then you paid one of your young and healthy associates to contract the coronavirus. Maybe a few (some of whom won’t be formally known as your bank’s employees). And then you spread the word around town that the coronavirus has made it to New York City (“If you can catch it there, you’ll catch it anywhere…”). Imagine how the market would plummet even further…

The diamond in the mountain of coal (which we found yesterday)? Moderna (MRNA), which opened at $18 a share yesterday and is about to open at $28 per share today (MH staffers doing the Snoopy Happy Dance). It can’t stave off the coronavirus for sure, but for some it will stave off dramatic losses with other stocks.

Puppet People

In any assessment of the funniest people ever to perform on Saturday Night Live, Bill Hader belongs in the top tier (along with Kate McKinnon). Just noticed this yesterday. I’m willing to bet John Mulaney wrote this sketch.


  1. The Thin Man: Just the very best. This, as far as I know, is the seminal portrayal on film of spousal sleuthing banter, and no one did it better than William Powell and Myrna Loy (with an assist from Asta). Powell was reportedly every bit as charming and decent a chap in real life as he was as Nick Charles, which may be a reason he worked so often.
  2. It Happened One Night: Arguably the seminal opposites-attract-on-a-road trip film. Midnight Run, you owe a debt of gratitude to Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert. By the way, both Powell and Gable were married to the lustrous and luminous Carole Lombard, who was taken too soon in 1942. Winner of five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
  3. March Of The Wooden Soldiers: Laurel and Hardy, for the child in all of us.

Haven’t seen, should see:

4. The Lost Patrol: World War I, things go badly for the Allies.

5. The Black Cat: Horror

6. The Man Who Knew Too Much: Early Hitchcock


The coronavirus provides the ultimate irony for Donald Trump, and I don’t mean because the first half of its name is “Mexican.” No, the irony of the coronavirus is that the Trump presidency, which has been a hallmark of bigotry, racism and xenophobia, is being threatened like it has not yet been by an adversary that by its nature is… non-discriminating.

Coronavirus don’t care if you’re black or brown or “regular.” Man or woman. Democrat or Republican. Cis or trans. Rich or poor. Ford or Ferrari.

Coronavirus never provides a soundbyte, so it can never be caught in a contradiction. It never tweets. It can’t be wiretapped. No wall can contain it. Nor can Mitch McConnell or the Supreme Court. It’s only limit is the limit of human travel and interaction, which in the year 2020 is relatively limitless.

Donald Trump can’t belittle it because it has no ears. And the average MAGA fan (and most everyone else) cannot identify it. Not before it’s too late.

Coronavirus has killed and it will kill more. And that’s too bad. What it will do that President Trump fears more, however, is slow down the economy. You can’t boast about growth and the Dow Jones when they’re both hurting. And when you blame it on CV, your critics will rightly point to the fact that you’ve appointed bozos to be in charge of mitigating the pandemic and they’re completely out of their league.

It’s scary, CV. Yes. But it’s also heartening to see a contagion in the United States of America that at last is not wearing a red baseball cap.

High and Bye Noon

After less than two years on air and one highly ominous programming change—when your show’s title is derived from its air time and then executives move it to another time slot, that’s not good— ESPN is canceling High Noon. The show’s stars, Bomani Jones and Pablo Torre (“Pablomani”), will remain with the program until it goes off the air until the end of March.

Chemistry is a delicate thing. I have no doubt that Bomani and Pablo would outscore Kornheiser and Wilbon on almost any standardized test with the possible exception of topics being “Best Golf Course in America” or “Greatest Athletes of the 1960s.” But I never felt the show, and I communicated this to someone involved with the program who solicited my opinion (as opposed to all of the unsolicited opinions I give), because I always felt it was just two very intelligent, very woke guys doing their best to impress one another. And agreeing far too often.

That’s the magic of Tony and Mike. They’re a high school discussion. And they bicker and banter. Bomani and Pablo were a 400-level course or a grad school discussion. And rarely, at least when I watched, did they call one another out on what was just said. More often they agreed or just listened until it was their turn to talk and make a point. They both make terrific points and see the world from a different space than the PTI gang. And that’s important. But the show wasn’t leavened enough with humor because while both are clever and insightful, the humor, at least to this non-millennial, wasn’t so appealing.

Mike and Tony tease one another about each other’s shortcomings. That’s what friends do: rip you to your face and stand up for you when you’re not around. That teasing only happens if both parties trust one another, and that trust is built only with time. Mike and Tony had worked together for decades at The Washington Post before PTI taped a single show.

It’s tough, and maybe not altogether fair, to compare HN to PTI, especially after only two years. After all, Highly Questionable is still on the air and I find the tastes of those who like the show, well, do you know what the words eponymous means? But someone at ESPN has seen numbers that tell them that HQ has more viewers and promise than HN. Okay.

I wish Pablo and Bo the best. I hope this allows Bo to move back down South if he wants. And I know they both made some good money doing this program. It’s not all bad. The show just never caught fire. Erudite is a tough sell when you’re talking to sports fans.


Came across this brilliant Tim Minchin bit the other day. I’ve probably posted it before, but there’s no harm in posting once again. Enjoy. (if nothing else, go to 3:18 for the insight there).


A pair of cheetah cubs became the first to born via in vitro fertilization (which was not a Nirvana album) at the Columbus Zoo. This almost makes up for Harambe. Not quite, but almost.

The good thing about these creatures being born in captivity is that Donald Trump, Jr., cannot hunt them.


This week Japan canceled a number of tennis tournaments due to the coronavirus outbreak. The virus has already claimed lives in Italy and it seems only a matter of time before carriers of the virus are discovered in France (cancel the French Open in May?) and elsewhere in Europe.

No one is saying anything publicly yet, but one wonders how Japan, a self-contained island, feels about welcoming people from across the globe to the Olympic Games this July. Just last weekend Japanese Olympic officials canceled a giant volunteer session due to virus fears. Are the 2020 Olympics in danger of being canceled? Would anyone even consider relocating them?

Above, the island of Tristan de Cunha in the south Atlantic. It is the planet’s most remote inhabited island. I’m not sure if they have a 400-meter track, but we still have time to build one.