by John Walters

The Man would have turned 39 today.

Starting Five

1. Simmer Down. Simmer Down Now!

Yes, I’m old enough to remember when SNL cast members portrayed presidents of presidential candidates, from Chevy Chase’s Gerald Ford (in which he never applied makeup) to Dana Carvey’s George Bush to Darrell Hammond’s Bill Clinton to Will Ferrell’s Dubya to Fred Arnisen’s Obama.

Anyway, Donald Trump is HOSTING SNL tomorrow and this has quite a few people upset. And I don’t get it. Most people who oppose a Trump presidency, if I were to go out on a short limb, define themselves as liberals, and as such are fierce protectors of the First Amendment. And that’s really all this is: a late-night comedy show is exercising its First Amendment rights.

If you want to argue that it’s unfair that Trump (Stephen Colbert last night opined that the new film Trumbo is about the love child of Trump and Dumbo) gets 90 minutes of air time that the other candidates do not, my rejoinder is A) He’s not the musical guest, too; it’s not really 90 minutes B) It’s 2015 and we’re going to have more than a dozen freaking debates; I think all of these candidates are receiving adequate air time, C) If seeing Trump on SNL is what persuades someone to vote for him, then maybe we deserve the government we’re getting and finally, D) if you TRULY wanted to protest Trump’s appearance, the best thing to do would be to simply ignore it — and not watch.

Oh, and you and I are SURE that this just got accidentally leaked (funny, by the way; and that is the only mandate SNL serves, or should serve).

2. Brad & Carrie Rule Again

From two nights ago, but every year Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood rule as hosts of the Country Music Awards. How happy they must have made Disney CEO Bob Iger on Wednesday night, as the show aired on ABC and they were able in their monologue to slyly work in product placement for both Star Wars and The Muppets. Stick around for the wonderful dig at Blake Shelton, who took it like a champ (No Gwen? Too soon?)

3. Why Haven’t You Written a Think Piece on What the Demise of Grantland Says About Journalism Yet? 

Grantland Rice on his iPhone. Granny actually played football at Vanderbilt and also served in World War I before writing heroic ledes

When I was in high school, our school newspaper (“The Round Up”) had an editor who would use as many Led Zeppelin songs titles as headlines as he could get away with. He didn’t do it because the titles made great heds, but rather because he was simply being self-indulgent. That dude, Keith Blanchard, later went on to become the Editor-in-Chief of Maxim. You can look it up.

I don’t know what that ditty says about anything… I really enjoyed Andy Greenwald’s Game of Thrones recaps and also anything that Mark Titus had to say about college hoops — he actually channeled the early Simmons’ combo of passion for a sport with a scoundrel’s sense of humor quite well. I did not read it much beyond that. So I’ll miss some of Grantland; I missed My So-Called Life, too, but it didn’t garner ratings.

As for Clay Travis’s advice, here’s what I’d say: Do NOT go into writing to make money. Go into writing because you want to express yourself and because you have that itch. If you’re trying to become wealthy or worse, famous, you’ll probably either wind up compromising your values or will have revealed yourself to have none at all. And if you had no values, why didn’t you just become a hedge-fund manager in the first place? You’d have dressed and eaten better earlier, you know.

Meanwhile, if you follow your heart, you may have a long, slow trudge to wealth and success, but eventually you’ll be able to sue your employer for age discrimination. So there’s that….

4. RIP, “Ace Cool”

What is about Cookes and the Pacific? (I know, the other one had no “e”)

He was 59. Alec “Ace Cool” Cooke was known as a lone wolf among the Big Wave surfers, but he had lived in Hawaii since age 6, the scion of one of Hawaii’s five established sugar plantation families.

Last week he paddled out into Waimea Bay on Oahu’s North Shore to catch a set at twilight, and he has not been seen since. His board was recovered, though, minus the indentation of a shark bite. It’s sort of a legendary way to go if you’re a surfer. I mean, that’s how Bodhi went.

5. Where In The World?

Thursday: Vasyugan, the world’s largest swamp, which is located in….you guessed it….Russia

Music 101

No Day But Today

“There’s only us/There’s only this/Forget regret/Or life is yours to miss…” 

There are better-known closers to end “Show Tunes Week” with, but first of all, we’ll do it again (do not despair), and second, I was lucky enough to see the original cast (almost all of whom are here in this film version) on Broadway, a group that included Taye Diggs, Jesse L. Martin, Anthony Rapp (yes, he was in Dazed and Confused, too), Adam Pascal and, of course, Adele Dazeem. I still get goose bumps listening to this.

It helps if you remember/know that the show’s creator, Jonathan Larson, died unexpectedly the night before the show’s off-Broadway premiere, which really hammered home that “Life is precious” theme he was going for.

Remote Patrol


No. 16 Florida State at No. 1 Clemson

ABC 3:30 p.m.

No. 3 LSU at No. 4 Alabama

CBS 8 p.m.

There are people out there who bitch and moan about Verne and Gary, and I simply don’t understand those humans…at…all. The No. 1 CBS crew don’t get every last fact right, but they’re having F-U-N. And aren’t sports supposed to be fun (or did we all lose sight of that fact years ago)? Two fantastic games (with Notre Dame-Pitt as a noon brunch) with legit Heisman talents in Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette. Putdown of Clemson I saw from an FSU fan this week: “Clemson’s ‘tradition’s are getting in a bus, touching a rock, and running down a hill. I went to pre-K, too.”

6 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. Going to go off on a tangent, but so be it…

    I love that dig that an FSU fan gave towards Clemson’s tradition. To me, that is more than just sports loyalty, but also loyalty to a school. Damn how fun that’d be.

    It reminds me of a video I was watching a few days ago in which a fan of a certain Big 12 school thought out loud by saying, “I’d have gone to Texas Tech, but I already received my high school diploma.” I’m sorry (OK, not really), but that is funny.

    Oh yeah, and to all NFL fans: Check out college football’s Saturday lineup. THAT’S entertainment. Enjoy your bickering over if a team 5 games below par should bring in a new QB or not.

  2. ‘There ain’t nuthin like a Dubs!
    Nuthin. Like a . Dubs!”

    “I have often come to this site before
    But the spittle always stayed inside my mouth before…”

    “I dreamed a dream in time gone by,
    When hope was high and life, worth living.
    I dreamed that GRANTLAND would never die,
    I dreamed that Skinner would be forgiving” *
    (* or at least not a vindictive, spiteful little weasel)

    Really? That’s ALL you have to say about Grantland? I’m not sure which I find more disappointing – this lack of concern for the egregious demise of one of the great sports-pop culture websites, employer of several talented writers or that you actually tweeted “why doesn’t a company have the right to employ the people it wants?”. Is the latter a joke? Some of that patented jdubs humor? Let’s see – we don’t want women, blacks, Latinos, Asians, anyone with a disability, anyone who’s “not hot” (our definition, of course), anyone who LOOKS like they may have a costly health problem one day, like 10 years from now, or anyone with a last name that begins with a “W”. And oh yeah, if we’re a company who still has a pension, let’s make sure we fire a guy a year before he’s fully vested & save ourselves some bucks.

    Are you auditioning to be Trump’s running mate?

    Well, despite this faux pas/mental lapse/hypoglycemic attack, I just want you to know –

    “If ever I would leave here
    It wouldn’t be in summer.
    Reading IAH in summer, I never would go…

    But if I’d ever leave here,
    It couldn’t be in autumn.
    How I’d leave in autumn, I never will know…

    If ever I would leave here,
    How could it be in spring-time?
    Knowing how in spring, it’s NBA playoffs & LBJ 24/7?
    Oh, no! Not in spring-time!
    Summer, winter or fall!
    No, never could I leave here at all! ”

    Yep, it’d take more than some lame, misbegotten tweet to get me outta here. Like hiring Clay Travis or voting for Trump….

    “…I think YOU better think it out again!
    What happens when you’re seventy?
    Must come a time…seventy.
    When you’re old, and it’s cold
    And who cares if you live or you die,
    Your one consolation’s the money
    You may have put by…”

    Au revoir, Show Tunes Week! Hope to see you again soon! Like, maybe tomorrow, toMORrow, I luv ya, tomorrow! You’re only a day awaaaayyyyy! 🙂 🙂

    • And, um, not to toot my own horn (or much), that’s 6 show tune references up there from 6 different musicals.

      “Make ’em laugh
      Make ’em laugh!
      Don’t you know everyone wants to laugh”

      Seven. 🙂

      Have a good weekend, jdubs. I’ll be rooting for my usual boyz & this week – LSU.

  3. “Really, that’s ALL you have to say about Grantland?”

    Susie B., you do realize I do this gratis??? I spend 90 minutes each morning doing this for free when I could be tightening my abs and thighs. I’m not complaining, I’m just opining on gift equines and the oral cavities.

    Also, note the irony: a sports and pop culture site with no paid employees writing about a recently deceased sports and pop culture site with well-paid employees. Hmmm….

    • To say that I appreciate this site, your gratis work, & well, you, is like saying I think LeBron is an alright basketball player; a GROSS UNDERSTATEMENT. But you & LeBron have something in common (it’s true!) – based on your past work, there are higher expectations than for common folk & when those expectations aren’t met (or surpassed), viewers/fans get grumpy. Some even look in a gift horsey’s mouth & exclaim ” good god, look how old this nag is!” (In my, ahem, advanced years, I am finding increasing number of people who have no understanding of that old adage…hmph, kids today!)

      Anyhoo, as a fellow writer who has lost a job or two, I thought you would feel a bond. Plus, I was surprised you didn’t think more highly of Grantland – especially as it was also a sports & pop culture website (bond#2). While it never became my #1, go-to, ‘HAVE TO READ IT EVERYDAY OR I NEED TO BREATHE INTO A PAPER BAG!’ site of choice (sooprize, that’s MH!), it did become my #2 site & I usually found at least one interesting piece to read every week day. I’m actually still in shock as the closure happened so fast. I will miss many of the writers & the various seasonal topics (NBA playoff coverage was the BEST). I don’t know if Simmons plans on creating another such site, but I can only hope.

      Also, the way in which all this went down, from Simmons’ firing to the Grantland closure, has left me enraged & even more disgusted with the current state of “media”. Are you aware that pigstye ‘First Take’ is repeated throughout the day AND NIGHT on various ESPN channels? And every time you click on ESPN, there is Screamin’ A Smith, SCREAMING about something? It makes me weep.

      BTW, did you hear Simmons walk back (a bit) his “original sin”? It was on one of his podcasts last week (the one with Malcolm Gladwell) & he says he wishes now he would have edited the podcast where he called Goodell a liar & dared ESPN to punish him. He didn’t come right out & say he was WRONG to childishly dare his employers for a reprimand (or worse) but it was close. I’m glad he realizes it & glad he said it publicly. I do wonder if Deflategate had never happened, that Simmons & Grantland would still be at ESPN. Or if the ‘clash of the Titans’ (Simmons & Skinner) would have happened eventually & inevitably. I do think Simmons learned a lot from this experience, while Skinner seems still fairly clueless (at least by what he has said publicly).

  4. Have you ever been out with some friends, like to a party/event/arena/mall & run into someone you know from the past, like someone from school or that you used to work with? (I’m thinking, er, yes). You weren’t close friends but spent time together (class/work) for a few years. And you call him the wrong name not just when you say “hello!” but when introducing him to all your friends. He doesn’t correct you so as to save you embarrassment. Hours later, as you’re about to drift off to sleep, you realize in shock/horror/total body reddening of your humiliating error. You hop out of bed & pace, should you call your old school-work mate & profusely apologize? Blame it on your meds? Well, at LEAST I didn’t do THAT, but I did keep calling the weasel above by the wrong name, not once, but multiple times over multiple days. His name is SKIPPER! Skipper, Skipper, Skipper, NOT “Skinner”. Argh. I would have to sit on a couch other than my own to figure out why I kept thinking/writing of him as “Skinner” but don’t have the time or money. I do know I think he should be FIRED for his utter failure at ESPN this past year.

    Also, my face did go red when I belatedly realized my error, not in bed, but while watching SVP (ESPN). What is it that some big companies say – “‘We regret the error & will endeavor to improve our performance”. Er, copy that. 🙁

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