IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Go Go Go Joseph!

We didn’t actually watch President Biden’s speech, but it sounds as if it he was channeling the spirit of Ted Lasso. Hope and belief and positivity.

“I believe in hope. I believe in believe!”

Ted Lasso or Joe Biden? The thing is, could be either, right? And those of you who’ve been paying attention already know: who played Joe Biden when he was the vice president and still remains the best J.B. impersonator on Saturday Night Live? Jason Sudeikis…who now plays Ted Lasso.

The speech got an 85% approval rating. I think, with the adjustment in rankings this week, it’s almost eclipsed Citizen Kane.

Rotunda Wunda Land

How It Started (Jan. 6)
How It’s Going (April 28)

Soldier Fields

With the 10th pick in the draft, the Chicago Bears selected a new QB1: Justin Fields of Ohio State. He was the fourth quarterback taken after Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Trey Lance went 1, 2, 3. And the Patriots never even had to budge from No. 15 to get purported Tom Brady clone Mac Jones of Alabama… who has not lost a game since high school.

We were already stoked for yinz selecting Jones’ backfield mate, Najee Harris, and then we saw this and it made the choice that much better. Go, Steelers… and they’ve already had good success with that surname at running back.

Radiation Vibe

Fascinating story here via ABC News about how, 35 years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, nature has made a stunning comeback in the area. It’s amazing what God’s other creatures are able to do when man exits.

From the story:

To the surprise of many who expected the area might be a dead zone for centuries, wildlife is thriving: bears, bison, wolves, lynx, wild horses and dozens of bird species live in the people-free territory. According to scientists, animals were much more resistant to radiation than expected.

I’ll never forget what Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park says when he is assured the dinosaurs will not procreate because they are all females: “Nature finds a way.”

Yes, it does.

It’s good to know that when man eventually devises his own destruction, that the animals will have the joint back to themselves. At least they know how not to ruin it.

Fully Leaded

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Are NFT’s Nifty?

Yesterday, before our class final exam, one of my students (who happens to be quarterback Craig Morton’s granddaughter) asked me what an NFT is. I should know that but I only kinda know what it is.

If there’s one thing that teaching teaches you, it’s that if you cannot explain it with clarity, you don’t know it. So I sent her to that renowned financial wizard (Randy Economy? No, not him) Pete Davidson, who with the help of Chris Redd, Kate McKinnon, Kyle Mooney and that week’s musical guest, Jack Harlow, explained it as well as anyone else can in under three minutes.

This is Schoolhouse Rap. It’s the updated, live-action version of how people my age learned about bills and laws and conjunctions (“Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?”) when we were kids.

The Debbies

I missed this from last Friday night, but Bill Maher (or, he and his writers) have barely been as on target as they were about Hollywood, film-making in the past decade and the Oscars.

There are as many great lines in this bit as there were in All About Eve, a few favorites being “and she was so close to joining the Black Panthers” and “it’s traffic school at the Holocaust Museum.” Stick around for the kicker line, though.

Sold!

There is one and only one home perched on tiny Patience Island in the midst of lovely Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island (we’ve kayaked here a few times). And it is up for sale for just $399,900.

That asking price is not at all steep and maybe the folks who posted it have never shopped for homes in California or Arizona. Here’s what The Chicago Sun-Times had to say about it:


“…is off the electrical grid but includes a decent amount of land — just under half an acre — but only about 600 square feet of living area that includes two bedrooms, a kitchenette, a half bath and what’s described as a ‘picturesque front porch.’”

A single solar panel provides some electricity.

Haven’t we all wanted to be Gilligan at some point? Or a guy who lives with only a volleyball as a friend?

Eight Is Enough

Free advice for college football playoff expansion peeps who are now floating idea of a dozen playoff teams: take it from Tom Bradford, eight is enough… to fill our lives with love.

Having A Balls

Precisely one decade ago today—April 28, 2011—a British bloke with a mirthful name tweeted no more than that. His name. And it went viral.

Mr. Balls, then a member of Parliament, had simply tweeted his name as a way to search for it. He was new to Twitter and did not realize that he was sending out a tweet as opposed to using the Google search bar. Thousands retweeted it and now every year on April 28 tweeps near and far—but mostly in Great Britain—pay tribute to Ed Balls Day.

And you thought Earth Day was the only contrived holiday in the second half of April.

Tweet-le-dee

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

“Five Guys At Three”

These words were famously uttered yesterday by San Francisco 49er coach Kyle Shanahan. Presumably, he was referring to the five passers who appear to have separated themselves from the pack in this year’s NFL (mock) draft: Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Zach Wilson (BYU), Justin Fields (Ohio State), Trey Lance (North Dakota State) and Mac Jones (Alabama).

The simplest way to explain this? Shanahan is lying. Or the Niners are dumb.

First of all, Shanahan knows that Lawrence will not be around at No. 3 and that presumably neither will Wilson. So it’s between three QBs. What’s funny is that he’s still being coy— “I can’t guarantee that anybody in the world will be alive Sunday.” After all, the two teams above SF have not exactly been clandestine about their plans. No one is about to move ahead of the Niners to steal some player they secretly covet.

Our guess? If it IS a quarterback they covet, they’ll take Jones. They like the Bama pedigree, they like that he’s a thrower and not a two-way player (more susceptible to injury), they probably subconsciously like his upbringing relative to that of Fields (latently racist? The NFL? C’mon!), and they think they might groom the next Tom Brady.

Our call? Take Florida tight end Kyle Pitts, arguably the surest thing in this draft (“and the Oscar goes to… Anthony Hopkins“). Teaming him up with George Kittle will help turn any quarterback into an All-Pro. And Jimmy Garoppolo did lead the Niners to the Super Bowl a few years ago, no?

But the Niners will select Jones who, in keeping with the theme of this week (see next item), we will refer to as Big Mac.

Hamburglars

The latest Fox NewsMax-OAN disinformation campaign revolves around the conspiracy that Joe Biden is coming for your hamburgers (I thought he was coming for your guns… and your capital gains). Because the nascent Biden presidency has failed to offer the GOP anything in terms of actual red meat (the stock market’s up to record levels and the Covid infections are down precipitously) they’ve had to invent this red herring.

What’s their beef? The fact that Biden has made such a seamless transition.

(featured speaker at next C-PAC convention).

Republicans: Stop having a cow, man. And some time this decade it would be nice if you returned to reality.

Rick? Ick

It almost feels as if erstwhile presidential candidate and first-ballot Milquetoast Hall of Famer Rick Santorum felt that he was getting lapped by Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton et al and needed to step up. So he provided this inaccurate, insensitive and utterly racist history lesson.

At a certain point I feel the need to ask my Republican brethren: What exactly are you in favor of besides power and white supremacy? Here in Arizona, the GOP-majority state legislature has hired a private company to recount the ballots of an election that took place nearly six months ago but even though we taxpayers are footing the bill we have no access to what these people or doing or how they’re recounting (never mind that even if they do, with their ultra-secret recounting, “find” that the election was “tainted,” that it would be locked up in courts until President Biden’s second term).

Of course, the object of the Cyber Ninja attack here in Maricopa County is not to overturn the election. They know that’s impossible. The object is to keep pearl-clutching Christian/white/conservatives in a constant state of distrust and fear. President Biden has not said or done anything outlandish or extreme? He’s vaccinated more than 200 million Americans in less than 100 days in office and the stock market’s at an all-time high? Well, we’ll just have to invent a reason to loathe him, I guess.

And then a complete tool such as Santorum, himself the son of an Italian immigrant, gives this bullsh*t speech that even John Wayne would blush at and people still lap it up? I’ve written this before and I’ll probably write it again: the Republican Party no longer (if it ever did) believes in democracy; it only believes in white supremacy. The sooner the rest of us accept this fact, the better-equipped we’ll be to combat it.

You Must Be Josh’in

If the internet was not invented for this, then I don’t know why it exists. The first annual “Battle of the Joshes” took place in Nebraska last Saturday, with 100s (dozens?) of Joshes convening to fight for their right to their name.

How’d it all start? A year ago, as the pandemic was just gaining juice, Josh Swain, a 22 year-old civil engineering student at the University of Arizona, grew frustrated that he was never able to register on social media under his actual name. He rounded up nine other “Josh Swain” types on social media and sent out this message:

You’re probably wondering why I’ve gathered you all here today. Precisely, 4/24/2021, 12:00 PM, meet at these coordinates…[W]e fight, whoever wins gets to keep the name, everyone else has to change their name, you have a year to prepare, good luck.”

Before long 85,000 people had liked his post and it was on. Think of “Temecula” and “GameStop Robinhood Stonks” having a child out of wedlock and you’ve got “Battle of The Joshes.”

On Saturday, outside Lincoln, Neb., more than 1,000 people showed up at the designated spot and time to bear witness. While only about 50 of them were actual Joshes (and only two were Josh Swains, one of them being the patriarch of this bout), the battle did take place.

It renews our faith in humanity. In America.

Dunces With Wolves

The Utah Jazz still have the NBA’s best record (44-18). But last night the Jazz lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who have the league’s 2nd-worst record, for the third time this season (0-3) in the second time in the past four days.

No one is scared of the Jazz, despite their record. This is partly why.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Where The Streeps Have No Name

Subtle, it was not.

The 93rd Academy Awards were the Donald-Trump-Does-Not-Live-Here-Anymore Oscars. From hostess Regina King’s strut-in entrance to Questlove’s musical direction to Tyler Perry’s Humanitarian Award to a presenter speaking in Korean (Bong Joon-Hoo) to another speaking in sign language (Marlee Matlin) to the first non-white female (and only 2nd female overall) winning Best Director (Chloe Zhao, below) to an octopus winning an Oscar (sort of), this was the Oscars where #SocialJustice ruled.

Honestly, if your elderly relative did not get up and leave the room at least twice during this three-plus hours show, it’s only because he or she is now wheelchair-bound.

Absent? Most of Hollywood royalty, from Meryl Streep to Tom Hanks to Jack Nicholson to Michael Douglas to Tom Cruise to Matt Damon to George Clooney to Gov. McConaughey to Ryan Gosling to Charlize Theron to Leo to Kate to Al Pacino to Sandra Bullock to Dustin Hoffman to the various Aussie lasses (Nicole/Cate/Naomi) to Bobby D. to Julia Roberts (present only in a fragrance ad).

This was the New Hollywood, with just about every African-American actress of merit and heft represented as a presenter: King, Viola Davis, Angela Bassett (as beautiful and looking as if she’d win the Oscars deadlift competition as ever) and Halle Berry.

This was definitely a changing of the guard, and while the pandemic meant that the awards would be staged at a more intimate venue (Union Station) and while that intimate venue was redolent of classic Hollywood, the first decade of Oscar ceremonies, this was undeniably a Hollywood celebrating that The Former Guy is no longer in charge.

And yet…

Better Luck Next Year, Chadwick Boseman?

…after three hours of Hollywood celebrating diversity and referencing the Chauvin trial, and how many people are killed by cops in the U.S. daily, and a man with bangs wearing a dress, and a Danish producer going way long on a speech involving his dead daughter, and Glenn Close pretending that she knew “Da Butt,” and the Best Picture award going before Best Actress and, finally, Best Actor, it was all set up, you just know it, for the evening to end with the posthumous presentation of the 8 1/2-pound golden statuette to the leader of Wakanda, Chadwick Boseman.

I mean, why else would they have saved the Best Actor nom for last? We all knew it. And then 83 year-old White Guy Anthony Hopkins wins for The Father. And it’s way past his bedtime in Jolly Ol’ so he’s not even onscreen to accept it (“Anthony, if you can just download Zoom…” “BAAAHHHH!”). This was the biggest Hollywood twist ending since The Sixth Sense, no?

FWIW, we did not see The Father but we did like Boseman very much in Da 5 Bloods as a Best Supporting (was not nominated).

Oh? K.C.

It’s early, but the best record (14-8) in the American League belongs to the smallest-market club in MLB: the Kansas City Royals. Now you may remember seven years ago or so the Royals winning the World Series. You should know that nobody from that team is still on the team (at least no one we remember).

The only name the casual fan may know is Andrew Benintendi (late of the Red Sox) and the most productive hitter thus far is Carlos Santana, whom you may remember from the Cleveland Indians or from a slew of classic guitar riffs in the ’60s and ’70s. The best pitcher? Danny Duffy. That’s the tweet. Yes. Never heard of him, either.

Meanwhile in the A.L. West…

CEO Pay

I lapse into this argument with my pro-conservative friends—those that still talk to me—often (and I’m not referring to the “where are the women” part of the above tweet). No one’s disputing that CEOs should be the highest-paid employees of a company, but how much is too much? And how much of the largest share of a company’s work force must suffer just to placate one man’s outsized ego?

Now you may take the contrarian side: Well, that’s what the market dictates. Does it, though? The CEO salary is based on what the company’s board recommends, and the company’s board is often comprised of a bunch of C-suite types who have aspirations to such a salary themselves or already have such a salary. It’s a cartel of the already-privileged who want to maintain their wildly-out-of-whack compensation plans.

Dig: If you’re Elon Musk or Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, someone who literally created a product or even industry from scratch, earn all you want. But if you’re just a guy from B-school who was the best of all possible alternatives, these salaries are beyond obscene.

Related: in my last year in NYC I twice ran into T-Mobile CEO John Legere out at bars (once in Bridgehampton, once on the UWS). Both times he was all by himself. There’s nothing wrong with being a loner, but it says something perhaps about what all the money in the world can and cannot buy.

Dear Baseball: Leave Well Enough Alone

Madison Bumgarner of the Arizona Diamondbacks earned a “no-hitter” yesterday in a designated seven-inning game (part of a doubleheader). MadBum’s not to blame, but is that really a no-hitter. What if it had been a perfect game?

Meanwhile baseball is starting off extra innings by placing a man on second base.

Both changes have been made to make the games shorter. Um, we’re baseball fans. We’re not too worried about time. It’s one of the few sports (tennis, golf) without a clock. Let’s keep it that way.

By the way, MLB is not officially recognizing it as a no-hitter while of course there are Twitter demons demanding that it do so. Here’s what answers that debate for us. When MadBum delivered the final out, his teammates did not rush him as if he’d done something truly extraordinary but instead patted him on the back as if he’d just pitched a shutout. Tells us all we need to know.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Josh May Be Far-Right, But In This Case He’s Right

If you want to be canceled on Twitter today, defend Josh Hawley, the lone Senator who voted against an “anti-Asian hate bill.” The bill passed 94-1 and while I disagree with Sen. Hawley on just about everything else I’ve heard him utter or do, I’m with him here.

This tweet from John Ziegler perfectly makes the case I would have:

Josh Hawley may have been against this bill because he’s a constitutional scholar. Or he may have been against it because maybe he’s racist. In this instance, though, that doesn’t matter. Because the bill is wrong.

A crime is a crime is a crime. The color or religion or sexual orientation of the person committing the crime does not matter, nor does it matter what the color or religion or sexual orientation of the victim is. The crime itself stands on its own merit, or lack thereof, as a misdemeanor or a felony. Attaching an extra oomph to a crime simply because of the color or race of the victim does nothing to further the cause of e pluribus unum.

It’s been a sorry week for the Woke Crowd. A teenager lunges at another teenager with a knife and the cop who prevented what could have been a senseless murder is the one who gets crucified via public opinion. And now this.

If people have already forgotten, this is how Donald Trump got elected five years ago. Common sense flew out the window. It’s awful that a gunmam targets Asian or Sikh people and murders them. We have a crime on the books for that: murder. As Mr. Ziegler says, anything more than that is simply virtue-signaling. And all it does is make the existing laws look weaker. It wasn’t the inefficacy of the laws that got those people murdered. It is our collective failure as a people to treat each other as equals. How does a law that will only further delineate people help to bridge that divide?

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Flori-duh, Man

Up above that is a “trips left” formation in which Tennessee, on offense, is lining up. Under Florida’s new law, that formation meets the minimum standard for a riot and could legally be mowed down by a passing motorist. Though methinks that as long as it contained a prototypical possession receiver, Floridians would frown on such an act.

Here’s the funny irony of Gov. DeSantis’ proposed bill. If applied federally, a motorist passing by on January 6th could’ve mowed down as many gray-bearded white insurrectionists he or she wanted to with impunity. .How do they like the sword when it is directed at them.

Suns Win, 116-113

This was nearly the greatest last-second shot in Philly since Christian Laettner’s.

Vladimir Putin’s Two-Front War

There’s a lot of people in eastern Europe pissed off at Russian president Vladimir Putin. And rightfully so.

In Moscow, thousands of protesters, risking jail time and that without the luxury of habeas corpus, took to the streets to fulminate in favor of the release of Alexander Navalny. It was Navalny, reportedly at death’s door at the moment, whom Putin imprisoned earlier this year (not having committed any crime other than speaking out against Putin and having a massive following) after having had him poisoned last year.

Then the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, took to video and warned that while his people do not want war with Russia, they are ready for it. And that Ukraine is ready to fight to its last man. Russia has been massing troops on its tiny western neighbor’s border for months now.

Vladimir Putin is probably the most dangerous man in the world. And The Former Guy “admired” him. Or, is beholden to him financially. We think the latter.

We Can Be Heroes

Seventeen years ago today we lost Pat Tillman. He’d be 44 years old right now and I’d love to have seen what he’d be doing with his life. My guess is that he and Brett Favre would not see eye to eye on a lot of issues.

It Goes To 11

The Oakland A’s just won their 11th straight game (will there be a Moneyball sequel) and did so, in extra innings against the Twins, in bizarre fashion.

The Billy Beane Boys trailed 12-10, bottom of the 10th, two out, with only automatic runner (how stupid!) Matt Chapman on 2nd base. Then one walk. Then another.

Then Mark Canha hit what should have been a game-ending ground ball to 2nd (there was nothing difficult about the play) base that gobbled up 2nd baseman Travis Blankenhorn. One run scores. 12-11.

Bases loaded.

The next batter, Ramon Laureano, hit a sharp one hopper to 3rd baseman Luis Arraez, who fielded it cleanly, then threw what should have been the second game-ending groundout about 10 feet wide of the first baseman. Game over. Twins win on consecutive infield errors. Both plays were routine. Ouch.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Guilty

There’s no such thing as a slam dunk in a murder case involving race, particularly when the accused is police. But thanks to Danella Frazier, who stopped and shot the video that would be seen ’round the world, Derek Chauvin is going away for a very long time.

Remember, this was the police’s initial report on George Floyd’s death, before Frazier’s video went viral.

“Two officers arrived and located the suspect, a male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.”

I was watching Newsmax out of curiosity last night to see how they’d react. Apparently there’s a guy named Stinchfield who has his own show (in Bizarro Universe it’s the least funny sitcom revolving around nothing ever happens) and he described Chauvin’s act as “a mistake” and admitted that he should pay a penalty but that “going away for 40 years” is too harsh and then blathered on about chaos in the streets and how we better lock up the white women, particularly the blondes (or something like that).

Even in a case as without question as this one, the White Right looks for a way to make themselves the aggrieved party. Crazy.

Knee-Deep In It

Meanwhile, the National Football League, not content with leaving terrible enough alone, had the above to tweet following the verdict. When all they ever had to do to express their sincerity was to allow Colin Kaepernick to work again. It’s like Exxon doing commercials about environmentalism. Please. You’re embarrassing yourselves.

And here’s the Las Vegas Raiders with good intentions, but man…

(No no no no no no no no no no. No. Nooooooo.)

Did You Really Just?

Republican Senator John Kennedy thought he’d put Stacey Abrams on trial by asking her to list everything she finds wrong with the new Georgia voting bill. And she did. I’m trying to imagine if someone had asked Sen. Kennedy to list the constitutional amendments, or even to name the parishes in his own state, if he could’ve gone a whole minute.

Black people: having to be twice as good as white people all the damn time just to even think of getting their fair share. It must be exhausting.

From Prince To Prince Philip

Prince died five years ago today. And Prince Philip died about five to ten days ago. 2016 was a harsh year for music fans, as we lost David Bowie, Prince and George Michael all in the same year. And yet we still are unable to rid ourselves of Billy Joel. What’s wrong with this planet?

Video above: Did Prince get confused and think he was working with Sheila E. when he decided to collaborate with Sheena Easton? Also, can you hear how Robert Palmer ripped off this riff for “Addicted To Love?”

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Tik Tok Hooray

I know the sale ended last week but can I get a discount?

We hear, “Can I get a rain check?” at my supermarketeria. In my early days I’d calmly explain the economics of sale items, supply and demand, the idea of a loss leader to induce you, the consumer, to enter the store and purchase more beyond the sale item, the “while supplies last” phrase. Now, beaten down, I just send them to customer service and let them deal.

Can you just check in the back?

You’re right. We probably have two more cows back there that no one noticed. I’ll be right on that, sweetheart.

Howe Did I Get Here?

This is Patrick Marleau.

You’ve never heard of him.

Last night Marleau passed Gordie Howe (whom you have heard of) for Most Games Played in NHL history. Marleau, a forward for the San Jose Sharks whom they drafted second overall in 1997, skated in his 1,768th game last night to eclipse Howe’s mark.

Howe played in SIX different decades although almost all of his career was between 1945 and 1971. His nickname was “Mr. Hockey” and at the time he required he was the NHL career leader in goals, points and assists. Then Mr. Gretzky had to come along and skate all over Howe’s legacy.

Anyway, I’d never heard of Patrick Marleau before last night. But maybe that’s on me? The Saskatchewan native has played most of his career with the Sharks and owns all the team records but has never made an All-Star Game. Just a consistent and solid player across a quarter-century.

Raging Waters

Maxine Waters is a U.S. Congresswoman and can say whatever she damn well pleases.

That doesn’t mean it’s the smart or prudent thing to do.

Maxine Waters didn’t say anything worse or more inflammatory than The Former Guy did on January 6th and yet the GQP who had nothing to say about the insurrection are rending their garments now over Waters’ speech that they feel were an attempt to intimidate the Derek Chauvin jury. Yes, they’re hyporcrites.

That doesn’t mean Waters wasn’t foolish for saying what she did.

On Saturday night Waters, a rep. from California, found herself in Brooklyn Center, Minn., telling people to “get more confrontational” if the Minneapolis police officer is acquitted in the murder of George Floyd. This was just before closing arguments.

Why? Why? Why? First of all, those peeps were already going to be damn confrontational if Chauvin were to be acquitted (if you’re too young to recall Los Angeles in 1992, lucky you). Second, Waters just handed the defense a reason to appeal the verdict, as the judge in the trial said yesterday.

The gut feeling here is that Chauvin was going to be found guilty. The entire murder is on video, the blue line of silence had been crossed by more than one police officer testifying for the prosecution, this was not a spur-of-the-moment act by Chauvin but rather a sadistic and malicious one. It’s murder, on tape.

Pretty much a slam dunk. But now there may be grounds for appeal. And I’m white so woke ppl on Twitter would tell me to stay in my lane. Fine. But this was stupid and a self-inflicted wound. The worst case of over-coaching since Darrell Bevell called for a pass on 2nd-and-goal in Super Bowl XLIX.

51 in ’21?

The Democrat-majority House is pushing for Washington, D.C. to garner statehood and the Democratic White House is in favor of it. And you know what that’s about: WokeBurgers for all.

Two more Democratic senators.

A few more Democrats in the House.

Of course, it would turn so much of what you learned in your 5th grade social studies course on its ears. To wit…

*50 is a nice round number

*Rhode Island would no longer be the smallest state by area. By a lot. Rhode Island is more than 20 times the size of D.C.

*What would you call it? We already have a Washington state? I’d go with “Columbia” over “D.C.” myself.

Of course, D.C. does have more than 700,000 residents, which is larger than the populations of Vermont or Wyoming.

I don’t see this ever getting past the Senate, do you?

God Is With Him

In English, the word “Emmanuel” means “God is with us.” Well, this is Hansel Emmanuel of the Dominican Republic. He now plays high school hoops at Life Christian Academy in Kissimmee, Fla., and the tape don’t lie: the one-armed player (he lost it in an accident at age 6) is pretty special.

Not sure how tall Emmanuel is (guess here is 6’7″ or 6’8″) but he regularly puts up 25-point games with double-digit rebounds. Where will he end up in college? Who knows but someone should take him if for no other reason than to remind his teammates how blessed they are.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

This Is U.S.*

*The judges will also accept “The Fat And The Furious”

Bloated. Disheveled. Militaristic. Corporate. Masked. Mobile phone-adicted. With a black man smiling through it all. Welcome to America, 2021. If ever a picture spoke a thousand words…

TCM aired Network (1976) last night, and if there were ever a movie that foresaw the 21st century (minus being able to foresee the internet and social media), this is it. Here’s Howard Beale’s (Peter Finch’s) final speech from the film (spoiler alert: the movie ends with Beale’s on-air assassination, with the narrator wryly informing us that he was “the first person to be knowingly killed for having low ratings.

This Gun’s For Ire

Indianapolis. Austin. Wisconsin. It was a bonanza weekend for bullets in the U.S. of A. And since March 16 we’ve had at least eight mass shootings (at least four fatally injured, by my arbitrary way of keeping score) in our little “Don’t Tread On Me” nation. Someone tweeted this last Friday and I wanted to shake them because they just don’t get it:

This is exactly what MAGA Repblicans want.

How far do you want to go back? Let’s not go back to the Civil War. Let’s go back to Charles Manson, who advocated a race war (that’s what he thought the Beatles were espousing in the White album). Or to David Koresh, who believed his right to own as many guns and live outside the bounds of laws, his liberty, superseded the social contract (Koresh and his followers lived on a commune, which technically makes him a communist, by definition, but he was white, gun-loving and a Texan, so he gets a pass). Or to Timothy McVeigh, who believed the federal government itself was an infringement on his liberty. Or to Anders Breivik, who in the summer of 2011 killed 69 mostly teens at an island camp in Norway. Breivik stated in his trial that he was an avowed white supremacist and that people like him in Europe and the West were attempting to incite a race war.

More shootings equals more fear. More fear translates to more gun ownership. More gun ownership translates to even more shootings and to even more fear.

What to do? Allow the police to become even more militaristic. Safety trumps (Trump’s) liberty and individual freedom. Fascism creeps in, slowly at first, then with the swiftness of the January 6 insurrection.

Republican leaders long ago figured out that fear-mongering (of our neighbors, particularly the non-white ones) was their only ticket to avoiding extinction. Scaring decent Americans into thinking that we are constantly under attack and then helping to turn us into the attackers.

And many of their sheeple, as illustrated by a 60 Minutes (Death to the media!) expose on some Oath Keepers in Yavapai County, Ariz., actively yearn for a “civil war.” A race war. Throw in the fact that far too many police themselves are right-wing extremists and racists and we’ve got ourselves a big problem. A big problem.

And of course these GOP elected officials are dishonest and disingenuous. Watch CNN’s Pamela Brown dismantle this Rep. James Comer (R-Tex) in no time flat yesterday.

I go back to my senior year in college. I had to take a thorough physical before being commissioned as an Air Force officer (yes, briefly). A sergeant picked me and two others up in South Bend and drove us down to Indianapolis. He told us that when he left the military he was going into “law enforcement.” There was a hard racist vibe about this man. I think, subconsciously, it turned me off to the military on the spot.

And no, that isn’t fair. I had an outstanding basketball coach for two years, Ted Lovick, back in N.J., who was career Army (and black, by the way). One of the true role models in my life. And one year in Pop Warner all of my coaches were Tempe P.D. and they were awesome. So perhaps it’s not fair for me to generalize.

But, I do feel very confident saying that those who call the shots behind the curtains of the Republican party (the Ned Beatty character types from Network), they are all in favor of these mass shootings. Let’s make America a police state. It’s the cleanest way to disassemble DEMOCRACY (for your own good, see; for your safety) and impose white authoritarianism.

Sweet Lou

A toast to long-time Notre Dame sports reporter and Notre Dame alum, Lou Somogyi, who passed yesterday at the age of 58. Lou (photographed here down the street from the Morris Civic Auditorium in downtown South Bend) passed away yesterday morning from a heart attack shortly after playing a game of tennis.

From 2006-2010 I was on the Fighting Irish football beat and lived in South Bend four of those five autumns. Lou’s was a face I saw at every game, at every press conference. I did not become as close friends with Lou as I have with some others on the beat, but what I do remember about Lou is what everyone has been tweeting about him the past 24 hours: the kindest, most sincere, most helpful soul you’d ever want to know. There’s not really a Catholic term for mensch, but that’s what Lou was.

And, as others have averred, his knowledge of Notre Dame football was encyclopedic. Many’s the time I’d inquire about a Fighting Irish football factoid (“When’s the last time…”) and I’d hear, “Go ask Lou.” And I would. And Lou always had time for my question, always endeavored to be as helpful as possible, and always did it with a smile. An angel on Earth. And now up above.

Rest in peace, Lou.

Arizona In April

You’ve got your bougainvillea taking center stage with a palo verde tree in a supporting role. Again, all within a mile of MH’s desert annex.

Super League

Over in Europe, the wealthiest and most successful clubs from the various national leagues (Premier League: England; La Liga: Spain; Juventus: Serie A; etc.) are moving to form their own Super League and leave their current leagues behind.

Wow. Shocker. The ultra-rich are endeavoring to remove themselves from the middle class. All that’s missing is a gated community with a faux tony name such as D.C. Ranch or The Boulders (editor’s note: the author currently lives in a gated community and will now go pour some more coffee from the black kettle). The Super League, in concept, is simply macroeconomics of the 21s century through a sports prism.

Not everyone is in favor. Nor should they be.

To us, and we’re not the most informed of soccer fans (though not the least, either), the Super League sounds a lot like the current Champions League, except that it is breaking away from the shackles of the current conditions under which teams must qualify for CL. Am I wrong?

Have Yourself A Day

Listen: Mikey Day is never going to become the next Bill Hader. But Hader is a Top 10 all-timer on SNL and there’s no shame in that. But for a couple years now I’ve thought that the only truly funny male SNL cast member was Kenan Thompson (and yes, Bowen Yang has potential even if he’s a little one-note…and yes, you might say the same about Kenan).

All that said as a prologue, go back and watch Day in this sketch from two weeks ago. This is his best moment on SNL to date and nothing else is close. He sells this character so well and exudes a confidence I just haven’t seen in him yet. Hopefully it will serve as a springboard for him to higher heights. He’s tremendous here.

Sure, he’s given all the best zeitgeist lines (“I mean, they’re toxic; this whole place is literally toxic”) but watch his body language. The way he puffs out his chest and stick out his butt when McKenna (Carey Mulligan) exits the bridge. Or how he screams at the alien crew member who was simply minding its business.

Note: There’s only one bad moment in this sketch. That’s when Ego Odom makes the “rich white kids” observation. Not because it isn’t true. But because that’s the point of the entire sketch. Tell us WITHOUT telling us. Which you were doing. No need to put it so bluntly.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Bullet Bulletin

Eight people are shot dead at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis late last night. If you’re keeping score, that’s 45 mass shootings (four or more shot, not including the shooter) in the U.S.A. since mid-March.

On the other hand(gun), the U.S.A. has vaccinated more of its citizens (thank you, Joe) than any other nation.

I guess what we’re trying to say is that the U.S. is the world’s leader in people getting shots and people getting shot.

Don’t Cancel Me, But…

…What was Adam Toledo, a 13 year-old, doing outside at 2:37 a.m.? With a gun? Why was Daunte Wright diving back into his car after officers had already gotten him to step out of his vehicle?

Should either Adam or Daunte be dead right now? Of course not. Of course not. Let me repeat: Of course not.

But I’m having a hard time equating their deaths to what Derek Chauvin did to George Floyd. Chauvin’s act was out-and-out murder, a sadistic and malicious cop thinking he could act with impunity. These other two cases are cops reacting in the heat of the moment, poorly with hindsight, sure, but I’ll ask again: What’s a 13 year-old boy doing outside at 2:37 a.m. (and just asking this question would get me destroyed on the Twitters because the ratio gang would judge that I’m saying he deserved it)?

These are things that cannot be reasonably discussed on the Twitters.

Hell, what the U.S. Army dude did to the young black man walking on the sidewalk smacked of way more hatred and racism. It’s just that the effects were not as grave.

On the other hand, and let’s not forget this for one moment, Wright and Toledo are still alive today if they’re white. As you see here:

And yes, all of this stuff has been going on for decades. The difference is that now we have body cams and iPhone cameras.

The U.S. is just one unending Black Mirror episode.

Kinda Fresh, Kinda Wow, Charli

Meet the No. 1 overall pick in the WNBA draft, Charli Collier, out of the University of Texas, taken by the Dallas Wings. Collier is a 6’5″ forward and quite striking.

(Tell me you didn’t have The Lion King flashbacks watching the No. 6 pick’s grandmama celebrate)

The Wings actually had the No. 2 pick overall (taking another 6’5″ post player, out of Finland, Awak Kuier, and the No. 5 pick overall (guard Chelsea Dungee out of Arkansas). Three of the first five picks. But in a draft that had no UConn or Notre Dame players—none—and only one Tennessee player, it’ll be interesting to see what having three of the top five picks yields. This draft did not have a superstar talent.

The Two Faces Of Nick Saban

He’s priceless, he is.

Charming Nick (date unknown):

Grumpy Nick (yesterday):

You Don’t Say

America’s very own Littlefinger, Sen. Lindsey Graham, once again saying what’s advantageous for him to say in the moment. He’d never say this in front of donors wearing red baseball caps. In fact, he’d refute that he ever said it.

Ha Ha Hahn

One of New York City’s most valuable phenotypes is the bitchy, witty, charming gay man. I encountered my first, Mark P., in my first year in Manhattan back in 1989. He was a friend of my roommate’s. Basically, the Jack character you saw on Will & Grace. There are thousands of these men, each more fun to be around than the next.

Engaging conversations about The Brady Bunch. Treatises on the best cabaret acts. A late night sing along at Marie’s Crisis Cafe or The Duplex. Bemoaning a jump in waist size from 30 to 32. Chatter about the latest Randy Rainbow video.

It’s fun to see the New York Times actually profile one, George Hahn, who is a scream on Twitter. Also, you read that right: a 360-square foot apartment on the UWS (I had an 860-square foot palace…lived like a sultan).