1. Joyful and Triumphant: Celtics, Heat, Rockets, and both the
Loss Los Angeles Lakers and the L.A. Clippers at the Staples Center on Christmas Day, what is being billed as “Arash Markazi-palooza”. The Clippers have now won 14 straight and have the NBA’s best record (22-6), and we just wonder if Bill Simmons is still allowed to use his season tickets and cheer now that he is a respected ESPN NBA analyst. This video, by the way, is some of our pal Arash’s best work at Staples (he shot the video; the giggle incriminates him).
2. There are five undefeated teams left in college basketball. Three of them, the top three in the rankings, have all won a national championship in the past quarter-century: Duke, Michigan and Arizona. A fourth, Cincinnati, spent an entire season at or near No. 1 back in the days of Huggy Bear (Bob Huggins). The fifth? Well, that school remains unranked and before this season the only thing you’d associate it with basketball was a long ago SI cover that featured All-Time All-Name Teamer Fennis Dembo.
Yes, that school would be Wyoming. The Cowboys are 12-0, though they have only defeated one ranked team (neighboring Colorado). Their top scorer and rebounder is Leonard Washington, who played his first two seasons at USC and actually was a starter as a frosh for the Trojan squad that lost in the second round to Michigan State.
3. So, if you have seen the ads, you know that Les Miserables is the greatest thing ever to happen to mankind. We though we’d give a little dap to the man who, you know, actually wrote the novel on which the musical is based: Victor Hugo. According to Wikipedia, the French poet/novelist /sketch artist/political activist (1802-18850) wrote a single-character telegram to his publisher when Les Miz was published — he was on vacation. The telegram read simply “?”. The publisher’s reply? “!”
4. Did NBC’s David Gregory violate a District of Columbia gun ordinance when he displayed a 30-round clip during his “Meet The Press” interview last Sunday with NRA spokesman Wayne LaPierre?
5. From the “What We’re Reading” section: The first film that Roger Ebert, arguably America’s greatest film critic, saw in the theaters? “A Day At the Races”, the 1937 comedy featuring the Marx Brothers (as opposed to the Queen album of the same title that features the classic tune “Somebody To Love”) .(as opposed to the Jefferson Airplane song of the same title…). That nugget, by the way, comes from Ebert’s memoir, “Life Itself.” (Yes, I am reading a memoir of a film critic who was born and raised in downstate Illinois and I’m not even Will Leitch). (This, by the way, is a fascinating and very telling Will Leitch confessional involving his hero, Mr. Ebert).
Two classic lines from the immortal Groucho Marx in this one (“Either he’s dead or my watch has stopped” and “Have you got a woman in there?” “If I haven’t, I’ve wasted 30 minutes of valuable time.”). If you’ve never seen Groucho as Dr. Hugo Hackenbush, you can always watch the classic M*A*S*H episode in which they make a mockumentary titled “Yankee Doodle Doctors” and Hawkeye basically reprises the character.