by John Walters
1. Big Fish, Big Pond
Video of this great white shark, thought to be between 20 to 25 feet long, taken off the coast of Mexico, surfaced this week (as did, thankfully, the divers, who I imagine needed a fresh change of drawers).
2. What If I Told You…
….that all 15 home teams had never won on the same date in baseball (since MLB went to 30 teams in 1998)? That happened on Tuesday. Coming up on “15 for 15.” Also, what if I told you that of the 290 previous no-hitters, not one had ever been pitched on August 12? That happened yesterday afternoon for the first time as the Mariners’ Hisashi Iwakuma, 34, pitched one against the Orioles at Safeco Field. Rule No. 6 (You can always see something that’s never before happened at any baseball game).
That’s the 4th no-hitter at Safeco Field since it opened in 1999, the most at any one ballpark since that year. If you’re into no-hit trivia, this link has some tasty items, such as the smallest crowd ever to witness a no-hitter (1,247 at Fenway in 1965).
3. Yes, and Howe!
What do you get when a guitar god looks like a cross between Gandalf and Skeletor? Steve Howe, lead guitarist of Yes. Although other classic rock axe men touring this summer get more attention (Keith Richards, Pete Townshend, The Edge, Eddie Van Halen), Howe is a virtuoso and he still brings it.
Howe was also the lead guitarist for the early Eighties supergroup Asia.
Yes (“Roundabout,” “I’ve Seen All Good People,” “Leave It,” etc.) is touring all month through mid-September with a younger lead singer (Jon Davison, 44) who looks as if he was plucked directly from the cast of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat and who sounds exactly like former Yes front man Jon Anderson. Go see them. Will you be glad that you did?
4. The World’s First Unlikeable Australian
Even John McEnroe, a.k.a. “Superbrat,” never stooped so low. Yesterday at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, a match between French Open champ Stan Wawrinka and Aussie Nick Kyrgios crossed the line when Kyrgios, during the match, told Wawrinka that a third tennis player, Thanasi Kokkanakis, had slept with Wawrinka’s girlfriend, Donna Vekic.
(Yet another life moment already covered in Seinfeld: it’s part Milos and part George at the end of the “Jerk Store” skirmish).
I know what you’re thinking: What does Donna Vekic look like?
I know what else you’re thinking: What’s the next meeting between Thanasi Kokkanakis and Nick Krygios going to be like (never mind Wawrinka)? And isn’t just saying the words Thanasi Kokkanakis kinda dirty?
Wawrinka retired (quit) trailing 4-0 in the third set, even though there was no love lost. Kyrgios should be receiving a $10,000 fine at least, while Vekic should be receiving an irate phone call.
5. The ABC’s of Journalism (“Always Be Curious”)
I love what Indianapolis Star columnist and amateur MMA scuffler Gregg Doyel did here. It’s not that the column is so engaging, though it is. It’s that this column never happens unless Gregg wanders up to a policeman on an artificial leg and asks what the story is there.
As adults, we often let stymie our natural curiosity in deference to being polite. You’re taught not to be rude. That’s no way to be a good journalist. Good for Gregg for being nosy. We all got a terrific column out of it.
When Doves Cry
Summer of ’84. Springsteen was finally a national phenomenon due to Born in the USA and Van Halen (1984) and Def Leppard (Pyromania) were also monsters, but nothing was blowing people’s hair back quite like the opening riff of this tune by Prince. It stayed at No. 1 all of July and half of August.
The entire album was a revelation. And even the movie was good. It was the summer of Prince and if, like me, you had the good fortune to be woken up by an alarm that played these opening chords, there was no way you were hitting “Snooze.”
Bye Bye Birdie
TCM 8 p.m
Ann-Margret in all her glory. A scene-stealer so seductive that Mad Men would use it as a story arc in an episode later. Is the musical any good? Who knows? Who cares? Just watch the scene with the hottest babe of the early Sixties.