Starting Five

1. The 140-Character Club

There just not right.


Excellent job by the CNBC crew and host Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) on last night’s one-hour documentary, “The Twitter Revolution.” As television producer extraordinaire Mark Burnett told them, “Twitter actually is the real-time water-cooler conversation of young America.”

I’d omit the word “young”, but you get his point. As I’ve often said, written and tweeted, “Twitter is to the internet what the internet was to the computer. It is simply the most radical invention of the 21st century.”

Why? Because Twitter, more efficiently than any tool ever invented, connects the entire planet. There is no faster or more efficient means of providing information. Better than television, better than telephones, better even than the internet.

Notes worth repeating:

A) Only 16% of Americans on-line are on Twitter.

B) Justin Bieber has the most followers at 42 million-plus.

C) Approximately 70% of Twitter users live outside the United States.

D) The show’s first 10-15 minutes focus on the Boston bombing and Twitter’s role in it. Fantastic stuff.

E) I was a little disappointed that, to showcase stupidity, the doc used a screen grab of a Tweet that read “You’re a moron.” There are countless “Your a moron” tweets out there or twit pics such as the one above.

F) In just the past 48 hours, Jay Bilas of ESPN may have instigated a turning point in NCAA amateurism with his tweets about the NCAA store. If I were ESPN I’d be doing a Twitter documentary myself focusing on how it has transformed and affected sports.

“The Twitter Revolution” will re-air on Friday night at 8 p.m.

2) Two Jays in L.A.

Jay has a few beefs, as he used to say when he appeared on Letterman back in the 1980s

In Burbank, an outstanding interview of President Barack Obama by Jay Leno of “The Tonight Show” on Tuesday evening, an interview that took up the entire program. Matt Drudge tweeted “State of the art: Leno asked tougher questions than New York Times.”

(the above link is to Part 1 of the interview; from there you will be able to access Parts 2-6)

After lobbing one birthday-related softball at 44, Leno asked concise, sharp questions on: embassy closings, Benghazi, the NSA, Edward Snowden (“Some call him a whistleblower: What do you call him?”), the use of private contractors, the G20 Summit, Russia declaring homosexuality illegal, the economy, the failure of Congress to pass laws to help restore our national infrastructure, health care and Trayvon Martin.

Leno almost never cracked wise –he did show a picture of Obama and Putin sitting grimly together at a presser and likened it to his meeting with NBC execs –and displayed sincere interest. The only quibble is that he rarely followed up on an answer by Mr. President, but credit him with tackling as many issues as he did.

If you are old enough to recall Leno’s vintage appearances on Letterman back in the 1980s, you know both why so many of us have leapt from the Leno bandwagon (perhaps the one vehicle he does not own) and why Tuesday night’s performance was so welcome. Watch Leno here on Letterman in the mid-1980s –this is television history — and how quickly the acerbic side comes out. This is the Leno we never wanted to see depart. It was refreshing to see him reappear on Tuesday night.

Mariotti: To be portrayed in the biopic by Joaquin Phoenix.


Meanwhile in Santa Monica, my former AOL Fanhouse colleague and Deadspin pinata Jay Mariotti announced that he is launching a new website. Jay is hardly a popular man in the press box, but I’ll echo Dan Wetzel who tweeted yesterday, “I wish him luck. He’s always been nice to me.”

That was my personal experience with him as well.

Either way, his “Open Letter” yesterday was a Mariottifesto. Midway through I had to stop and return to my light reading of Moby Dick.

3) “And with the 69th Pick Overall the Arizona Cardinals Select…”

Would anyone have a problem if this franchise renamed itself the Honey Badgers?

Surely you remember Tyrann Mathieu, alias “The Honey Badger.” In 2011 the LSU cornerback/kick returner was the most electrifying defensive presence in college football and finished 5th in the Heisman Trophy voting (he won the Bednarik Award as the nation’s most outstanding defensive presence). In a season that boasted both quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck –and dealt with the Penn State fallout –the Honey Badger was college football’s crossover cult figure.

Well, after being dismissed from LSU’s team last season for the dreaded “violation of team rules” (think of that refrain from the Beatles’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”), Mathieu’s NFL stock plummeted. Also, he’s just five-foot-nine.

And so when the NFL Draft arrived in late April, America’s most prestigious assemblage of overthinkers (NFL GMs) convened and ignored Mathieu in the first round. And the second round. Finally, the Arizona Cardinals (who perhaps learned a lesson by watching linebacker and local college icon Vontaze Burfict go undrafted the year before and then lead the Cincinnati Bengals in tackles as a rookie) selected him with the seventh pick of the third round.

How much money did this cover cost the Honey Badger?

So how’s Mathieu doing? One NFL scout told former Cardinal Ron Wolfley, now a Phoenix radio announcer, that “pound for pound Mathieu has been the best player on the field” at Cardinals’ camp and that he was going to “change the team.”

It’s amazing what a little humiliation can do for someone. Last month Mathieu tweeted “I’ll never forget what Mike Mayock said about me.” Mayock, an NFL Network (and NBC) commentator was actually not overly harsh. He referred to Mathieu as “a better football player than an athlete” and bragged that he had won a bet by Mathieu not being drafted in the top 50.

Mayock won a bet. But the Cardinals, as Wolfley attests, may have won the lottery. Every NFL team had an opportunity –most had more than one — to cage the Honey Badger. Arizona did. And it may make a world of difference in the desert.

4) SharkNielsen

Waiting for Reid to expound on the topic of sperm whales.

Lets’ face it, after 25 seasons of August encounters, The Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” had somewhat lost its bite. Then “Sharknado” happened last month (it aired on SyFy, not Discovery, and, oh, by the way, is just another example of the enormous influence of Twitter). So you knew that this August’s “Shark Week” had a terrific lead-in.

Kudos to TDC for seeing blood in the water and attacking. The result? “Shark After Dark”, a late-night talk show that for two nights this week has topped Conan, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report in ratings, drawing some 1.9 million viewers per night. Here are 63 vapid seconds from guest Tara Reid, one of the co-stars of “Sharknado.” Nice cut-in by host Josh Wolf, tossing in the possibility of tiger sharks.


The question becomes, Does The Discovery Channel abandon this cash cow (a cash cow is not what happens when a dollar bill mates with a bovine, just in case Ms. Reid is reading our blog) after one week of success? Or does it discover a way to maintain this forum and create a unique show in which stars appear to discuss nature, animals –and mammals — and all sorts of adventure- and outdoorsy-stuff. Why not?

5. We Didn’t Win, Either

Three winning tickets –two in New Jersey and one in Minnesota — were sold for last night’s Powerball, whose $448 million jackpot was the third-largest ever. How long until the first billion-dollar jackpot?


 “You Want Me On That Wall. You Need Me On That Wall.”

This 35-foot wall still poses less challenges than Alabama’s offensive line.

The Notre Dame football team conducted its first two practices of the season at the Shiloh Park Camp Retreat and Conference Center in Marion, Ind., about 100 miles south of campus. Thirteen players scaled the 35-foot climbing wall and reached the top, including 300-pounders Zack Martin, the starting left offensive tackle and a possible first-round pick in next year’s NFL draft, and reserve defensive end Kona Schwenke. Jack Nolan, an anchor and host at, tweeted out this photo of All-American defensive end Stephon Tuitt scaling the edifice. Tuitt is not listed as one of those who reached the top.


Beyoncé Bikes to Brooklyn, Barclays

Beyoncé posted these pics on Instagram

How do you get to Carnegie Hall (or, for that matter, Uganda)? Practice.

How do you get to Barclays Center? Bicycle.

In a city that has recently seen the addition of 42,000 Citi Bikes, Beyoncé Knowles demonstrated that she’s up on trends Monday night when she bicycled across the Brooklyn Bridge to commute from Manhattan to Brooklyn for her final show at Barclays Center. Very, very cool.

Next time, may we suggest the Williamsburg Bridge? Fewer tourists and pedestrians.











7 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING! August 8

  1. As somebody who likes reading to the end, and someone who wants good things for you, I’ll say today’s a prime example of what makes this site a great read: It’s as thoughtful, personal and honest a daily blog as I know.

    That isn’t always easy, but I like reading something and knowing how much it helps someone to write it, to say it out loud and know that someone hears it, even if all the right people don’t.

    You keep writing, I’ll keep reading.

  2. I’m sure you’ll hear from lots of people who have strong opinions on today’s blog, namely your last entry. Most of those people will be deeply uncomfortable because they will recognize in your story some aspect of their own story and not want to face it. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t struggled, screwed up, made big mistakes and done it many times, often over and over again, myself included. I do know a ton of people who would never admit it – not to themselves or to anyone else.

    Last time I checked, (and I did just check,) character is defined as, “the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.”

    None of us are one thing. And none of us are perfect. All of us fall down. All of us disappoint and hurt others and ourselves. We are all aggregates of many traits.

    In no way am I letting you off the hook, not for one moment, but what I know for sure is that no one becomes a better person or is able to leave behind a negative trait, if they can’t see it, admit it, or if they live in the shame of it, or get trapped in a perpetual cycle of self-criticism and judgement.

    That you can recognize this trait in yourself, that you can give voice to it, and do it publicly, is a brave step in the right direction. It won’t immediately solve the problem, it won’t make up for past hurts but it might just move you forward towards a less painful future. For yourself and for the people in your life.

    We are all works in progress. So just keep working at it. And keep writing. Honest voices are hard to find these days.

  3. I believe G.A. and Rogue Moose’s postings are thoughtful, eloquent and true. The caliber of the people who follow you know all will be well.

  4. Several years ago I read a personal piece by Rick Reilly that was equally revealing/surprising. He said that for the 1st several years working at SI that he was so stressed that he was not doing a good job nor even capable of it that he constantly threw up & eventually landed in the hospital with a bleeding ulcer. I’d been reading his stuff in that mag for more than 20 years at the time & always thought of him as very funny, empathetic, & most of all, A VERY confident guy. I was floored. Turns out you DON’T “know” people just by reading their writing for a couple decades. Anyway, I admired him more. That he fought thru that emotional state to have the multi-decade/award winning career he has today. And that he wrote about it. To enlighten & inspire his readers. It inspired me; if someone like Rick Reilly can feel “not worthy” to a, er, bleedin’ degree then there’s hope for the rest of us.

    The last thing I will do is send you my “thoughts & prayers” (pay attention, fellow commenters!), but I am very sorry for your struggle & for the women you hurt. I’ve been reading your blog & other writing/tweets off & on since 2007 (whenever I could find you) & while you look to The Daily Show & Colbert, I look to YOU for witty, insightful, sarcastic input-output on sport, pop culture & life in general.

    I have a facial scar from a birth defect & scar tissue from more than ten surgeries. It took me more than 3 decades to realize that EVERY human is both scarred & filled with scar tissue. It’s just on the outside for some of us.

  5. Absolute perfect first step.

    I’m not going to apologize for being an absolute bitch. You did need it. But I’d like to go back to being my non-bitch self now. You got this, baby.

  6. Have you read Junot Diaz (esp. “This is how you lose her”)? Good stuff and timely re: last entry. Dig the honesty and wish you the best.

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