IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Laundered Money*

*The judges will also accept “Ticket-Take Charade”

What we do know: A lottery ticket that came in and is worth $26 million was sold at a service station in Norwalk, Calif., last November 14. No one redeemed it by the six-month deadline.

What is believed to have happened: a woman who purchased the life-changing ducat claims she left it in her pants when putting them through the washing machine. While there is video footage of the woman purchasing a ticket, there’s no real way to prove that she is purchasing the winning ticket. The prize, taken as a lump sum, would be worth $19.7 million. That money will now be sent to California public schools.

Camo Lot

This weekend I was buying items at a supermarket and before my card was approved, I was asked if I wanted to make a donation… to military families. WTF?

This as various teams (including the Phillies and Blue Jays, above) were wearing camo outfits this weekend. That was in honor of Armed Forces Day, which is not to be confused with Memorial Day or Veterans’ Day.

A couple of items:

  1. So, the USA already spends $15 of every $100 in the federal budget on the military, but somehow that is not to enough to keep soldiers and their families from being charity cases? As I’ve harped on before, let me know when a supermarket machine has the same option for teachers.
  2. You’ll notice that nearly 50% of the federal budget goes to two major socialist programs benefitting seniors. These are the same seniors watching Fox News and decrying socialism and voting MAGA. How self-unaware can you be?

Winter Olympics Of Our Discontent

You remember Beijing? It’s that massive city in China that hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Well, about seven or eight months from now Beijing is scheduled to host the 2022 Winter Olympics (as far as we can tell, a first in Olympics history, the Summer-Winter combo). Anyway, the problem is that Beijing happens to be in China, and China happens to have the worst human-rights record anywhere (though Israel sure is making a late push, isn’t it?). And now folks are calling for a boycott.

You’ve got the genocide being committed against the Uyghurs. And the Tibetan situation. And then there’s Hong Kong. We don’t even get to Apple employees until page 2. Part of the problem is that you and I probably aren’t related to or know a single Uyghur, or Tibetan, or even Hong Konger (is that what they’re called). And people tend not to take action unless it’s personal.

Yes, objectively, China’s actions are reprehensible. But America boycotted Russia in 1980, and look what happened (the U.S.S.R. ceased to exist as is less than a decade later, but that’s not important right now). It’s the Roger Goodall-Ray Rice deal all over again. You can know what is taking place, but unless there’s video proof of it to move the masses, nothing happens. Derek Chauvin is free today if not for that cellphone video. Man, isn’t today’s blog a bummer? This is what happens when you forget to restock the coffee bucket.

The Games will likely go on. Americans will wag a finger. Mike Tirico will likely steer clear of the subject with the possible exception of a tangential remark. That’s showbiz.

Najee Whiz

What if Marshawn Lynch maintained his degree of obtuseness but happened to be personable and a little more loquacious with the media? Welcome, Pittsburgh Steeler rookie Najee Harris (the only running back drafted in the first round). I think myself and yinzers are gonna love this kid.

A League Of Her Own

We don’t know her name, but she’s a Helen Reddy All-Star, no?

The Kid

…demonstrated he was human on Friday night as the Reds lost to the Rockies, 9-6.

He’s now 3-1 and down to $1,200.

So what’s up for tonight? He’s playing it safe, taking Gerritt Cole and the Yankees at Texas -280.

So if he wins, $100; if he loses, down $280.

Cole, at 1.37, has baseball’s 3rd-lowest ERA (and New York City’s 2nd-lowest). The Rangers, despite being in last place in the A.L. West, have the 7th-best hitting team in the A.L.

By the way, how much does pitching matter? The Twins, who have baseball’s worst record, have better team hitting numbers than Texas.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

She’s No Racist; She’s Just Doing Her Job

This is Jessica Anderson, a cum laude graduate of the University of Florida. She’s the executive director of Heritage Action For America, a D.C. conservative ratfuck group. Yesterday Mother Jones obtained this leaked video in which Anderson tells big-money donors how Heritage Action is writing voter suppression bills for Republican legislators.

Here’s the thing we all must remember: common sense and a simple belief in what is ethical will always win out is not enough. It’s a nice start, but it’s hardly enough. The far right and its big, BIG money backers are pissed that Trump lost. They’re pissed that we’re turning into a democracy in which whitey doesn’t always win.

Remember when you were a kid and you asked your parents for something and they said, “We’ll see.” And then you laid out your argument for whatever it was that you were advocating for and your argument was stronger than theirs ( I was an easy child to be around, as you can see). And then remember when they realized that they could not win on points so they just struck down your request based on, “Because I said so.”

That’s where the Republican Party currently is in terms of our fragile democracy. They’ve reached the “Because I said so” stage.

Yachta Yachta Yachta

Jeff Bezos is starting a navy.

The Amazon founder and world’s wealthiest man apparently read the William Randolph Hearst/Howard Hughes playbook and realized he had yet to do enough in the way of overcompensating for loneliness and lack of an honest, loving relationship with hyper-expensive toys.

So now he’s building a yacht (with its own support yacht) valued at $500 million.

Of course, he could take that same cash and pay EVERY SINGLE AMAZON EMPLOYEE an extra $950 for the year, but why do that, right?

What’s $950 to each of them? As opposed to a $500 million yacht he sorely needs. The yacht will be 417-feet long, or longer than the Statue of Liberty is tall. God Bless America.

Royals

(Danny Duffy still has an ERA below 2.00)

Remember back in April when we noted that the low-budget Kansas City Royals had the best record in the American League? Probably about the same time that we pointed out that Bitcoin was shattering another ceiling.

Anyway, the Royals have lost 11 in a row, plummeting back to terra firma and below in spectacular fashion. They’re now 16-20, which is the same record the Angels have. But then the Halos have Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani in their lineup, so how do you explain that?

In The Good Ol’ Summit Time

Here’s John Branch of The New York Times with a fascinating article about whether people who’ve climbed the world’s tallest peaks have actually reached the summit. Which we’d always assumed was synonymous and identical. But apparently… well, read for yourselves.

The Kid

…won again last night as the Avs beat the Kings, 5-1. The Kid took the same team two nights in a row against the same opponent and that team, the Avs, outscored the Kings cumulatively 11-1.

The Kid now stands at 3-0 and is his bank is up to $1,300.

Today’s wager: Reds +101 at ROCKIES

Betting $100 to win $101

Reds are 13-3 in their last 16 Friday games FWIW. I will take the better offensive team with the better pitcher on slight plus money here.”

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

That’s How I Got To Memphis

Simon and Garfunkel sang about a bridge over troubled water, but what about a troubled bridge over water.

That there’s a fissure on the Hernando de Soto Bridge, which spans the Mississippi River on Interstate 40. There may be one or two bridges in all of the USA more vital to commercial trucking. Or this may be it.

So that’s going to take a few months to fix. Is infrastructure week here yet?

More than 50,000 vehicles cross the bridge, which opened in 1973, daily.

Chancel Cheney

In the aftermath of Liz Cheney’s ouster from her No. 3 position in the House GOP by “voice vote” (hence, no names will be attached to the votes to avoid accountability, though as one tweep suggested, why doesn’t Cheney just claim voter fraud here?), a number of GOP “leaders” spoke out about the election and January 6. Some merely gaslit, while House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy pulled a new feat by gas lighting the gas lighting.

Hunh? McCarthy, who led the charge to oust Cheney for her failure to publicly buy into the lie that the election was stolen, stood on the White House South Lawn and said, and we quote here, “I don’t think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election.”

Then why did McCarthy lead the movement to chancel Cheney?

Of course, there was also the run-of-the-lamp gas lighting we’ve come to expect from Retrumplicans. Here’s congressman Andrew Clyde of Georgia:

It was Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s minister of propaganda, who aptly stated, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”

Of course, Goebbels was able to fib more easily in an era before Twitter and mobile phone videos. The fact that so many MAGAmaniacs continue to buy into such a lie is less about Hitler and more about Orwell: “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

January 21, 2025

I sought out The Kid yesterday and asked him to place odds on the following four scenarios for where Donald Trump will be on the above date: the White House, prison, dead, none of the above. Here’s what he returned with:

President 7-1: I despise people who say it can’t happen

Dead 15-1: Convinced Keith Richards and Donald Trump are the only two people with indestructible immune systems

Prison 25-1: This should be more like 40-1 but I’m going to get plenty of action regardless because this is like betting on your favorite team

None Of The Above 3-1: Reading Dr. Seuss tomes and eating hamburders to his heart’s content at MAGA-Largo

Battery Baron Batters Bitcoin

Yesterday Elon Musk, citing environmental concerns, tweeted that Tesla will not be accepting Bitcoin as payment until further notice.

Now, if you study the charts, Bitcoin is a giant drain on the environment in terms of emissions.

However, what we do find funny is that Tesla has never had a problem accepting 100s of millions of dollars in federal government subsidies in order to do business, and the federal government is worse in terms of emissions than Bitcoin. Pick your battles, eh, Elon?

Now, just in case you think I’m stubbornly, implacably defending Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general, I strongly urge you to watch Bill Maher eviscerate all of it below. BM makes plenty of sense (cents) and something tells me Elon Musk watched this some time soon after hosting SNL:

I’ll only add that Warren Buffett’s warning that crypto’s value is entirely based on the belief that someone will buy it off you for more than you paid for it, and then it’s their problem… well, that’s how our entire stock market works these days. Valuation? Schmaluation. Ask anyone who bought Tesla more than a year ago and held.

The Kid

He won last night (the Avs beat the Kings, 6-0).

So if you’re scoring, he’s now 2-0 and the bank that started at $1,000 is now up to $1,200.

Today:

Bet $410 to win $100 on AVALANCHE vs Kings

This is not a typo. The Avs are hosting the Kings for a second consecutive night and The Kid is letting it ride.

“The Avs have been through two Covid pauses and a stretch of 14 of 17 on the road and have come too far to get tripped up at the ninth hurdle. I am going to gamble that they are not Lolo Jones and that they are going to cross the finish line. Certainly not as confident as I was yesterday just because it feels as if I’m tempting fate.”

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

And Still, She Persisted

It shouldn’t be so difficult, should it? Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) stood up in the House chamber last night and boldly spoke the truth:

For this Cheney (whose father, as vice-president it must be noted, propagated the first Big Lie of this century, that Saddam had “weapons of mass destruction”) was ousted from her position of leadership within the GOP inside the House.

One. One Republican has the nuts to speak the truth to this death-to-democracy cult. And she doesn’t even have nuts.

They Got The Beat

Even though they only wrote the second-best song titled “Head Over Heels” in the ’80s, the Go Go’s have long deserved to be inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. Name another exclusively distaff band that released as many great tunes and played all their own music. None exists.

“Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Vacation,” “Head Over Heels,” “Turn To You,” “Beneath The Blue Skies,” “Cool Jerk,” and, of course, the song that started it all, “We Got The Beat.” To have been in high school while all of this was happening, and to see the girls I knew of (but didn’t actually know) be so heavily influenced by the Go Go’s style, well, what a time it was to be alive.

They came outta nowhere (L.A., actually) and flamed out within, well, three years, but in that short span Belinda Carlisle and the girls seemed to be having as much fun and exuding it through their music as any SoCal band since the Beach Boys.

They’re in. It’s long overdue. Next up: Boston.

Hoarders

Worried about a short-term gas shortage, white, obese southeasterners (how did you know?) hurried to the pumps to load up on petrol. The less industrious and prepared used plastic bags to fill with gasoline. Just waiting for the first story of how an entire trailer park went up in flames in Tennessee.

Warriors, Come Out And Play-ayyyyy

On consecutive nights, the Golden State Warriors hosted the teams with the NBA’s top-two records, the Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns. And the Dubs, who might’ve been back to .500 had they been swept, instead won both games.

Last night GSW beat the Phoenix Suns, 122-116, despite Steph Curry shooting just 1-11 from beyond the arc. Andrew Wiggins, former No. 1 overall pick, scored 38.

Harbinger or anomaly? We’ll see. The Dubs most certainly will meet the Lakers in the first play-in game and will likely face either Phoenix or Utah in the first round.

R.I.P., Colt

Former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan has died at the age of 37, a victim of a fentanyl overdose. Brennan never took a regular season snap in the NFL, but he was a legit legend as a college QB.

A former high school back up at Mater Dei in Orange County to Matt Leinart, Brennan spent one season at Colorado and was dismissed from the squad. He wound up in Honolulu and quickly embraced June Jones’ high-octane passing offense. In 2006 Brennan threw an NCAA-record 58 TD passes (only eclipsed in 2019 by Joe Burrow of LSU). I was at the 2006 Christmas Eve Hawaii Bowl where Brennan tossed 5 TD passes in an annihilation of Arizona State.

The following season he’d throw 38 TD passes, lead Hawaii to a 12-0 record and a Sugar Bowl berth (the Rainbow Warriors were pasted by Georgia, 41-10) and finish third in Heisman Trophy voting.

His death seems linked to a car accident he had a few years back, the aftermath of which got him hooked on pain-killer opioids. As if HBO’s doc that premiered on Sunday about the Sackler family, “The Crime Of The Century,” needed any more of a nudge.

The Kid

…won his initial bet yesterday, picking the Dodgers to beat the Mariners against the moneyline.

So his account now stands at $1,100 from an initial account of $1,000. We’ll see if he provides a wager for tonight. Stay tuned.

UPDATED:

AVALANCHE -345 vs Kings

Bet $345 to win $100 on the Avs.

From The Kid:

“This is one of those rare instances where I will be more upset with the team than with myself if it’s a loss.

“There is not a single team in America that has more to play for tonight than the Avs. They went into Vegas and escaped with a victory and now control their own destiny for the overall number-one seed. They recently just beat the Kings twice on the road and are 14-0-1 at home in the last 15 games.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Triage

Here’s a pet theory I’ve been mulling for a few weeks now: the Biden administration is not ultimately going to ignore the pernicious and treasonous acts of everyone from Donald Trump to William Barr to Mike Pompeo to Rudy to those various members of Congress. They will get around to dealing with it. Just not yet.

It’s a lot like… triage. In triage patients are assigned one of four tag colors: RED means immediate attention (life-threatening injuries), YELLOW means delayed attention (no threat to life or limb), GREEN means minor injuries and BLACK means dead.

My intonation is that the first 100 or so days of this administration has been about RED issues: stomping out the pandemic, getting Americans vaccinated, keeping the economy robust and simply creating an atmosphere of stability and calm. That Joe Biden’s at a 63% approval rating right now while the worst the GOP can bring up is “they’re canceling Dr. Seuss” and “bamboo fibers” tells you that the plan is working.

Eventually, I believe, Biden’s administration will get around to the yellow tag issues: properly dealing with the January 6 insurrection (the DOJ has been quietly working on this already, and hundreds of arrests have been made) and holding its principles accountable.

I thus far do not see this administration as anything close to incompetent or unaware. They know what’s up. They know the Republicans will do everything possible to return to power and manufacture an autocracy. They know the lesson of Hitler’s failed Beer Hall Putsch, his minor punishment (at least he did do jail time), and his ultimate victory one decade later. These are not oblivious or obtuse folks in this administration. They have just opted to tackle the red-tag issues before the yellow-tag issues. You might say they’re…

…Biden their time.

TE bow?

Heisman Trophy winner. National champion. Lightning-rod cultural icon. NFL quarterback. New York Met. ESPN personality who has never quite clicked. And now… Jacksonville Jaguar tight end?

New JaxJags HC Urban Meyer, TT’s college coach at Florida, has signed Tim Tebow to a one-year contract to play tight end for his hometown team. Meyer just bought a home in Tebow’s neighborhood.

It has been eight years since Tebow, 33, played in the National Foo’baw League. If nothing else, it makes the offseason more interesting. Florida now has Tom Brady and Tim Tebow on NFL rosters. It’ll be interesting to see which one is the most popular in The Villages.

Mulaney

Lots of John Mulaney news yesterday. First, returning from a 60-day rehab stint for addiction to alcohol and cocaine, Mulaney announced that he and his wife of seven years, Anna Tendler, were divorcing. Then he hopped right into the first of five sold-out shows at the City Winery down in NYC’s TriBeCa district.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I spent a good two hours one-on-one with Mulaney back in 2013 (or ’14) at a West Village coffee shop. The person you see onstage is not the person I met (granted, I’m a journalist, not a buddy or an audience). I found the overall mood to be… somber/depressing. Not the manic, wildly creative and funny person I see onstage. And I only met him because I was, and continue to be, a huge fan and lobbied hard for Newsweek to let me do a profile of him (to my editor Bob Roe’s credit, he trusted my judgment here).

Anyway, who knows what happened in the marriage? I dunno, but start on 4:30 above and continue to the end. Stephen Colbert should’ve charged the going therapist rate for this session. He completely peeled the onion.

There’s some wisdom Mulaney provides at the end that I’ll share here in case you choose not to watch: “The worst dancer at a wedding is the one who’s not dancing.”

Who Killed Kenny?

In his typical deadpan style (“salary-cap hit”), ESPN’s Kenny Mayne announced on Twitter yesterday that he was out at the WWL after a 27-year run. Mayne arrived in Bristol right as the SportsCenter phenomenon was peaking. Keith and Dan (and Chris and Bob and Linda) had already turned the broadcast into zeitgeist viewing, but then Kenny and John Buccigross and Craig Kilborn and John Anderson and Steve Levy and Stuart Scott would carry it further.

There’s simply no one like Mayne, 62, although Patrick was the most similar. And Neil Everett is the closest thing to him now. The former UNLV backup QB was committed to not sounding cliche and also to not sounding as if he cared too much about any of the results of which he was reporting. A true original, from “tastes like chicken” or “sounds like Pearl Jam” (metaphors to represent the fact that he was subbing in a phrase that is tired and worn for a sports phrase that would be so, too) to “this tiny ballpark cannot handle my gargantuan blasts, bring me the finest meats and cheeses,” Mayne was sui generis.

(from left: Anderson, Buccigross, Levy, Mayne)

He did get away with barely working, or so it seemed, for more than a decade while he relocated to the Sea-Tac area. You gotta respect that. In the end, though, you have to imagine that his quasi-Yossarian personality, his penchant for being the anti-Mike Greenberg, never served to ingratiate him with the suits (i.e., Norby). And so his run has ended.

The Kid

So we are going to attempt to launch a new segment here, a wagering segment. I will not be doing the wagering. I’m no expert.

However, we do know someone, we’ll call him “The Kid” until we come up with something better (“the Better Bettor?”) who has supported himself for a few years gambling professionally. This line of work is not for just anybody, but The Kid is uniquely suited to it: he’s a sports nut (and a superior athlete, by the way) who devours and processes information and data unlike almost anyone we’ve ever met. He’s near Rainman-scale in terms of this.

So what the MH staff has done is to ask him to begin with an imaginary bank of $1,000 and to give us his picks. Never more than one per day and if he misses a day, that’s okay. Here’s his first pick:

$100 on the Dodgers -215 versus the Mariners.

That’s a moneyline bet. If the Dodgers win, The Kid gets $100. If they lose, he’s down $215 (if I understand it correctly).

Current bank: $1,000

Baffert, Baffled, Bodaciously Bamboozles Bettors

by John Walters

Yesterday Medina Spirit, the Kentucky Derby winner, tested positive for a banned substance, betamethasone (which, alliteratively, we tried to work into the headline, but just could not find a way). The horse’s trainer, Bob Baffert, had been hailed after the Run for the Roses as it marked a record-breaking seventh victory in the race from three year-olds under his care.

Here’s what has happened in the aftermath:

•Baffert has been suspended by the Churchill Downs racetrack pending a review. He will not be allowed to run any of his horses there.

•The horse is in serious jeopardy of having his victory disqualified. Apparently, Medina Spirit was unable to get in touch with Rob Manfred early enough to exchange his testimony (straight from the horse’s mouth) in exchange for immunity.

•Baffert went on Fox & Friends this morning and attempted to blame the entire scandal on “Cancel Culture.” That’s called playing your Trump Card.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Manifest Density

“She-eee had to lea-eeve….Los Angeles!”

X, “Los Angeles”, 1980

For the first time since before the gold rush of 1849, California (statehood: 1850), experienced a population decrease last year. More than 180,000 residents, net, departed, with nearly one-third of them making an exodus from L.A. Where are they headed? Arizona, Idaho, Montana.

Places where life is cheaper and, to be honest, redder. They’re gassing up their private jets in their hangars and flying to Sedona.

Good News From The Apocalypse (And You’re Not Invited)

Took a trip north out of the Valley of the Sun last week, which at first depressed me. Later, though, I was filled with hope.

See, I was raised in the Phoenix area 40 or so years ago when there was no route 51 or 101 or 202 or even 303. The last three are essentially concentric circles ringing the Valley as development mushrooms out of control (where do they think they’re going to get enough water to sustain life, much less golf courses and plush, gated communities with amenity lakes?

And, yes, a lot of the new residents (as my family once was; I’m part of the problem, too) are just seeking better weather. While a shiteload are from California. Anyway, it was depressing to see that there’s really no break in civilization between Phoenix and New River anymore, as you travel up the I-17. And depressing to see haze as I gazed over toward Oak Creek Canyon.

But then, when I reached the Grand Canyon, I peered out across a timeless backdrop that literally took billions of years to take shape. Then, embedded on a rim path, I saw a plaque that gave me hope (also, if this blog’s favorite copy editor happens to reading, one that directly contests what those who follow the Old Testament verbatim would say is the correct age of the planet).

And here it is:

That’s right. The Earth is 4.56 billion years old. Phoenix has only been growing recklessly for about 75 years (post-WW II boom). Civilization as we appreciate it has only been around less than 3,000 years. To give you an approximation of what man’s contribution to this planet has been, in terms of time, it’s about 1/1,500,000th.

In other words if the Earth had been around 1.5 million years, we’ve been around one year. Or, if it had been around 126,000 years, we’ve been around one month. Or if it had been around for 30,000 years, we’ve been around one day.

Think of how long one day is. Then think that man has been around, in civilized form, 3,000 years. So multiply that denominator by 10 without moving the numerator.

That’s our footprint on this massive rock.

It will be around long, long, long after we’re gone. And we will be gone. Because it’s wired within us to have a fatal flaw or two: 1) we are unable to live in peace with one another 2) we don’t come by conservation naturally, 3) we succumb to our appetites and beliefs over rational arguments.

We’re doomed. The planet is not. I feel better.

Still Not Over The Rainbow

In three minutes Randy Rainbow can conjure a more trenchant political Op-Ed piece than all of the minds at The New York Times and Washington Post combined. Well done, sir. I’m tossing garlands your way.

So What Is Dogecoin?

It must be satisfying to be Michael Che. To speak to the world’s second-wealthiest man on live television and point out that his latest money-making scheme is no more valid than a three-card monte game on the corner of 44th an Broadway.

We Just Disagree

A very happy 75th birthday to musician Dave Mason, who in the midst of the disco boom of 1977 released a song that defies genre (adult contemporary, I guess) and was one of the best of its, or any, generation. Mason, from England, was also a founding member of Traffic with Steve Winwood.

A couple more notes on “We Just Disagree”: Mason’s top-charting song, it rose to No. 12 at a time when the Bee Gees ruled the charts. Also, it was not actually penned by Mason. It was written by Jim Krueger, a guitarist in Mason’s band from Wisconsin. Krueger was only 24 or 25 when he wrote the song, whose themes of breakup and loss sound to have come from a much more grizzled and aged soul. Krueger died in 1993 at age 43 of pancreatitis.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

John Means Business*

*The judges will also accept “Ways And Means”

In a matinee getaway game in Seattle, Baltimore southpaw John Means throws the first no-hitter the Orioles have had since Jim Palmer’s in 1969. He also tosses the third no-hitter (yes, we know) of this young season. Means’ came a wild pitch away from a perfect game, as he struck out the Mariners’ Sam Haggerty in the bottom of the 3rd inning but strike three bounced in the dirt and eluded the catcher. Haggerty was thrown out attempting to steal second base, so Means faced the minimum 27 batters.

On Twitter, the illustrious and very smart Tim Burke (@bubbaprog) argued that this should be a perfect game, but we disagree. How can a pitcher be credited with a perfect game when he has an error, which is what a wild pitch is scored as?

By the way, here’s another thing I love about baseball. Look at that photo. It could be from 1969. The uniforms, the infield, the daylight, it’s quite nostalgic, no?

India

Covid-19 related deaths in India the past five days, or in the month of May:

Saturday: 3,688

Sunday: 3,422

Monday: 3,438

Tuesday: 3,786

Wednesday: 3,982

That’s more than 18,000 deaths in the past five days. Granted, it’s the world’s 2nd-most populous country and the ‘rona sorta bypassed India the first time around. The nation’s now bypassed 230,000 deaths, which puts it in third place. Behind Brazil and… you guessed it.

We’re still No. 1, America! And we should be eclipsing 600,000 deaths, or a city proper the size of Denver, by this time next week.

Mitchin’

Here’s Sen. Mitch McConnell (R, for Reptile-Kentucky), speaking at a press conference in his home state yesterday: “One hundred percent of my focus is standing up to this administration.”

So I guess that whole “unify the country” schpiel back in mid-January was merely a smokescreen?

And Moanin’

What did one private jet owner say to another private jet owner? “We’re the victims!”

What The Puck?

Guess the Caps and Rangers aren’t over that tussle they had a few nights ago on the ice. This was the opening moment of the game, or “fist period.”

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Stay Gone, Don

Facebook’s oversight board just announced that the ban on The Former Guy will not be rescinded. In the ruling, “the Board found that, in maintaining an unfounded narrative of electoral fraud and persistent calls to action, Mr. Trump created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible.”

Facebook (FB) was going to be criticized by nearly half the country no matter what it ruled. Of course, Facebook itself did not make the ruling. The “oversight board” was constructed as a fall guy to take the heat for a decision that is really Facebook’s own to make. But now Zuckerberg is able to say, Well, it wasn’t my call. As various pundits have noted, FB once again (shocker!) shirked its responsibility here. The board responded by telling FB that this is not a permanent ban. You punt it to us, we’ll punt it back to you.

It’s not a lifetime ban. It’s just the board kicking the can down the road until 2022. Meanwhile, the chances of MAGA types fleeing Facebook in support of Trump are nil. Too many pics of grandchildren to view.

Twitter and now Facebook. Maybe he should try TikTok. After all, that’s where all the kids are.

A Bucket Of Blood

The MH staff wakes up, alights from its chamber, turns on the TCM, and this 1959 flick (title above), a satire on the Beatnik generation, is playing. Here’s the TV guide synopsis: “A waiter, who is jealous of the beatnik crowd hanging out at his cafe, becomes an art sensation after he inadvertently kills his landlady’s cat and covers the corpse with clay.”

The film is layered (as is the feline). There’s a line where a patron requests “a papaya cheesecake and a bottle of Yugoslavian white wine.”

We’re only a little into it, but it seems that our protagonist recognizes the only way to maintain his fame is to continue creating art the way he made his original piece… but moves on to humans as his models.

Someone greenlit this script. God bless ’em.

Bronx Cheer

The Yankees met the Astros last night for the first time since the infamous Game 7, trash can-abetted defeat in the 2019 ALCS. Yanks win, 7-3, and the fans let Houston and Jose Altuve what they thought of them.* However, the Astros have not been stripped of their World Series championship. Maybe the Facebook oversight board needs to turn its attention to baseball?

Both the Yankees, winners of nine of their last 12, and the Astros are now 15-14.

*As Wally comments below, the trash can ploy is not what the Astros deployed versus the Yankees (apparently). Though I do believe it’s fair to call Altus’s blast baseball’s first “buzzer-beater.”

Cap ‘n Goon Ceremony

The Astros were not the only villains to visit NYC this week. Here’s Cap Tom Wilson inciting a riot with an unprovoked punch to the face of a Ranger skater who was flat on his stomach at the time. The Rangers social media web site responded vociferously.

Cataclysmic Collapse

Today is Cinco de Mayo, but it feels like Dia de los Muertos in Mexico City. At least two dozen people perished when this subway platform collapsed a few nights ago. Not much to add here, but you just never know when it’s going to be your time.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Broken Windows

Bill and Melinda Gates are getting divorced after 27 years of marriage. The couple who started a namesake foundation find themselves unable to maintain their own. It happens.

Gates, one of the world’s five wealthiest men at $124 billion, joins fellow world’s wealthiest clubbers Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos in the Billionaire Bachelors Club. Elon Musk is divorced, but he’s since either remarried or re-hooked-up, we ain’t sure. Your hopes of a single-sex partnership between the two, which the pundits would dub ElonGates, just is not happening.

All the money in the world cannot alone protect a relationship. So what can? Trust and soft lighting.

Liz vs Lies

Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) is up against it: she’s the lone high-ranking Republican publicly calling out The Former Guy for continuing to propagate The Big Lie. For doing so, Cheney has become a pariah in her own party (and something of a heroine to those folks who think of themselves as objective). She has chosen truth over tribe, and that may cost her her seat in the House (although she could always cross the aisle some day).

Here’s what David Gerson wrote in The Washington Post about the current state of Republican fealty to Donald Trump, Orwellian fever dreams, Roy Cohn and the like:


Nothing about this is normal. The GOP is increasingly defined not by its shared beliefs, but by its shared delusions. To be a loyal Republican, one must be either a sucker or a liar. And because this defining falsehood [that Trump actually won the election] is so laughably false, we can safely assume that most Republican leaders fall into the second category. Knowingly repeating a lie—an act of immorality—is now the evidence of Republican fidelity.”

Jordan Crossing

Rising sophomore wide receiver Jordan Johnson is entering the transfer portal. This announcement from the Notre Dame wide receiver comes two days after the annual Blue-Gold intra-squad scrimmage.

Worth noting: in its assessment of Notre Dame’s 2020 recruiting class, Rivals.com awarded the coveted 5-star rating to just one recruit: Johnson, the 6’2″ wideout out of St. Louis. Classmates such as tight end Michael “Baby Gronk” Mayer (a future first-round pick), Tosh Baker (who will start at OT this fall) and Chris Tyree (second on the team in rushing as a frosh last season) all garnered only four stars.

But Johnson failed to make an imprint last season. He finished with zero catches. Johnson was listed as a starter on the Blue team in Saturday’s game, but again finished with zero catches. This is a five-star recruit at a position where the Irish are sorely hurting for a five-star talent: wide receiver.

Worth noting: Javon McKinley entered the Irish program as a highly-touted recruit in 2016 (far more hyped than classmate Chase Claypool) but had trouble seeing the field his first three seasons due to injury. It was only last season, as a fifth-year senior that he was able to remain healthy all autumn. McKinley wound up leading the Irish, tied with Mayer, in receptions at 42. Over the weekend McKinley signed with the Detroit Lions as an underrated free agent and was given a $100,000 guarantee.

Johnson can arrive at any school in August and suit up and play this September for them. The NCAA now allows a one-time transfer waiver, meaning that a player may transfer once without having to sit out a year. It’ll be interesting to see where Johnson heads. He’s a 5-star wideout with no mileage on his tires after a season of college football during a pandemic. The mystery will remain why he couldn’t make an impact in South Bend and why he did not have the patience to see where this season would take him.

Don’t Bring Me Down*

*The judges will also accept “Non-Government Bale Out,” “Garish Bale,” “Hay, Now” and “Hay, Hay, Hay”

This isn’t exactly news, but we’d never head of this weirdest of rock star deaths. If Spinal Tap hadn’t already been made, this story would have fit nicely.

Mike Edwards was a cellist who was part of the original lineup of ELO, the Electric Light Orchestra. He took the stage with Jeff Lynne and the others in their debut performance in 1972 and remained in the group for a few years. In September of 2010 Edwards met an untimely demise in a most English manner, and perhaps near an English manor. He was driving a lorry that was struck by a runaway bale of hay, weighing 1,300 pounds, that was rolling down the hillside.

Never knew about this one.

Matinee Idle

A simple request: every day of the Major League Baseball season, from early April to late September, should feature at least one day game. Every one.

If you checked the schedule yesterday, there was not a single matinee contest. Today and the rest of the week, including Friday, there will be. There’s as many as seven scheduled for Thursday. But yesterday, zero.

The Matinee Game would appeal to 1) bettors 2) television 3) deadbeat stimulus cash-checkers who’ve gotten rich off GME, AMC and dogecoin and wanna have something to do when they wake up at noon besides just another bong hit. Let’s make it happen, commish!