by John Walters

A Medium Happy 86th to the Oracle of Omaha, who has made an average of $2 million per day every day of his life, while living in the same house the past 58 years (he bought it in 1958 for $31,500

Starting Five Three

“We Are The Music Makers, and We Are The Dreamers of Dreams…”

Rest in peace, Gene Wilder. He appeared in at least three Mel Brooks films that I can think of (The Producers, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein), while starring in arguably the best “children’s film” of all time, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, back when children’s movies weren’t saccharine or insipid, but challenged both kids and adults to appraise the story on multiple levels.

I love this scene from Willy Wonka; Wilder added the limp and somersault on his own. He wanted to add depth to his character, illustrating that he had a certain sense of mischief and also that he could not entirely be trusted.

As for Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, here are two of most genuinely funny movies ever made, and Wilder starred in both of them (the sane individual setting the table for his co-stars to get all the laughs).

So long, Waco Kid. Goodbye, Dr. Frankenstein (“That’s Franken-STEEN!”)

2. Get Up And Go Go

The greatest all-female rock band in history, The Go Go’s, play their final show tonight at The Greek Theater in Los Angeles. My story on them in Newsweek

3. Duck Dynasty Deadspin


Is it just me or is Clay Travis auditioning to be the next Bill O’Reilly/Sean Hannity for Fox?  I liked Clay well enough when we worked together at AOL Sports and I always respected his intelligence. Lately, though, every issue is “You’re a PC Bromani” (a knock on ESPN’s Bomani Jones, who on Twitter can often seem as militant in the polar opposite direction of Clay) and I’m not.

I’m not sure what Clay believes, or if he actually believes in anything outside of more hits, more clicks. Last week he wrote a piece on how White Privilege is a myth, and while I’d agree that some of the Black Lives Matter/Safe Spaces movement has gone beyond too far, it’s interesting that he never mentioned the Stanford rapist of Dylann Roof’s kid-gloves arrest. Or the homeowner in Arkansas who shot two cops recently and was taken away without being shot himself.

After the Kaepenick episode, Clay wrote a breathless, likely unedited or even second-drafted “takedown” of Kaepernick in which he challenged Kaepernick to tell him, “First, who is getting away with murder? That’s a strong accusation. Who in particular has committed murder in this country and not been charged with it? If you’re going to make this statement then you need to give us particulars that motivate your decision and your beliefs. I don’t want bland generalities, I want specifics here.”

I don’t have all day, Clay, but let’s begin with the cops who killed Eric Garner in Staten Island. And while some cases are murkier than others (Michael Brown, Freddie Gray), it’s comical to think that anyone can’t name situations of black men and women being shot and killed presumptively by cops who will never be tried for a crime.

What I find intriguing/funny is the following: 1) Clay lives in Nashville and writes for an audience that, like himself, has no interest in leaving the South or in seeing life from any other perspective than their own. They’re like a highly successful SEC program in that way:     four cupcakes at home and then and SEC schedule where once every few years we may have to travel as far north at Lexington, Ky., to get a bizarre view of the world. 2) Clay writes this article, “Colin Kaepernick Is an Idiot,” on his site, Outkick the Coverage, but that site is a financial partner of Fox. So let’s not pretend that Fox isn’t making money off that viewpoint, because it is. It’s just easier for Fox, an NFL partner, to excuse it that way.



14 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. If you didn’t tweet/write about Clay Travis, I would not read ANY of his stuff, but you do & I did – last week about Ryan Lochte. I’m still debating if I want to read the article you mention above. Anyhoo, much to my chagrin, I actually agreed FAR more with Travis’ take on Lochte than the majority of the screeching American sports media & especially more than Kevin’s (I read his stuff on the Baltimore Sun website many years ago chronicling Michael’s 2008 Olympics & the lead-up). I have to say I was pree-tee irritated that I was agreeing with Travis about ANYthing & I blame you! 😉

    Many of Gene Wilder’s movies made me almost pee my pants. That’s the ultimate complement for a comedy but when you’re trying to get out the row & down to the bathroom in the theatre before there’s an “accident”, one doesn’t always think so kindly. 😉

    Here’s my Willy Wonka tie-in anecdote. (I may have mentioned it here a few years ago & if so, sorry). For about 8-9 years I worked on the 4th & top floor of one of our buildings. One day, I was going down to a meeting on the 2nd floor & right as I got on the elevator, some unfamiliar guy hopped on behind me. He went to the corner where the controls are located & looked over at me & asked “Up or down?” I looked at him for a second or two & said “unless you’re Willy Wonka, I’m going down”. He looks at me with this weird look on his face for what seemed like forever but then bust out laughing & we both guffawed on down to the 2nd floor where we said our goodbyes. Not a month goes by that I don’t remember that encounter whenever I get on the elevator. And I smile every time. Gene Wilder was perfect as Willy Wonka.

  2. Also, I love WB, but every time I see it mentioned how he stills lives in the SAME house in Omaha that he bought X years ago, I have to wonder – how may other properties does he also own? I’m assuming he owns an “apartment” in NYC & possibly one in London. They don’t come cheap. Still, I do get a kick out of the fact one of the richest men in the world lives in a house he bought for under $32,000.

    BTW, why are they always called “apartments” in NYC instead of condos or co-ops? I’m referring to those that are bought & not rented. I watch countless real estate TV shows & the NYC agents & buyers always refer to them as “apartments”. Is there some nasty connotation to “condo” or “co-op” in NYC?

  3. I’m back again! Just saw your tweets about Phelps & Bolt. Hmpfh.

    1st of all, Bolt will soon only have 8 golds as one of his relays included a guy who retested as a doper. Buh-bye.

    2nd – Bolt was in the 2004 Olympics & didn’t do a damn thing. Michael meanwhile won 6 golds & 2 bronze in Athens, & was universally acknowledged as the world’s best swimmer of that time.

    3rd – you have to EARN a spot on a relay & Michael qualified for all 3 relays at his last 4 Olympics (this alone is a huge accomplishment). If Bolt maybe ran the 4 x 400 relay too in each of his 3 Olympics, then MAYBE I’d say he has a chance against Phelps.

    4th- do you really believe that Bolt has not used PEDs? Or that TINY Jamaica can DOMINATE the sprints (both male & female) for the past 10-12 years & done it clean? The Jamaican ‘anti-doping program’ is a joke, as attested to by one of the people who for a time was in charge of it. American track athletes have certainly not all been clean either, but at least they are TESTED here.

    5th – for all those who think Lance Armstrong may have been ‘protected’ by the PTB in cycling (ahem, at least until it was no longer beneficial to them), to what lengths do you think Jamaica would go to protect their golden man?

    Come on, mon.

  4. Susie B.,

    Why? Whhhhhhhy? Michael Phelps has done great things. Usain Bolt has done great things. Don’t draw strawman arguments accusing Bolt of doping. If someone wrote an article in some mainstream site accusing Phelps of doping, you’d be livid and most likely claim evidence is needed (which is correct).

    • Hi Jacob. 🙂 My feelings about probable doping in Jamaican track started before & includes many others than Bolt. Plus, I remember Bolt BEFORE 2008 – he was a great 200 sprinter & I don’t even think he competed in the 100 (or rarely). UNTIL 2008. Then ALL OF A SUDDEN he becomes this RECORD SHATTERING 100- dancing across the finish line- gold medal winner. YOU don’t find that suspicious? Also, have you not read about the sorry state of sport drug testing in Jamaica the past 15 years? And in Kenya? Ethiopia? Russia? China? Read up, you’re in for a treat.

      In the last 10 years I have read more about sport doping than I ever thought would be possible let alone something I would want to do. (THANK-YOU, FLOYD ‘PIECE OF SHIT’ LANDIS). And while most was enlightening/surprising/shocking/upsetting/disgusting, some was heartbreaking too. I have gone round & round in my personal opinion/feelings about what should be done &/or how to feel about the ‘guilty’. I’m still debating but have come to several conclusions :

      1st, the majority of the world has NO IDEA the level of PEDs used in sports of all types. In some sports, this use goes back multiple decades & has become ingrained in the sport (weightlifting, cycling, cross-country skiing, etc). Eradicating all or even most PED use in these sports will be especially challenging.

      2- Most folks also don’t understand why so few test positive at competitions if the majority are using. YOU may know (but most don’t) that it’s because the MAJORITY of the doping is done during the training phase (especially to help in recovery & be able to train longer & harder without injury). Also, most of these drugs are only detectable for a few hours after ingesting/injecting. (Except for that ‘Russian friend’ Meldonium, apparently).

      3- Americans especially like to say they “believe in” & demand “fair play”, a ‘level-playing field’ in their sports. And yet the majority are blissfully ignorant & DO NOT WANT TO KNOW (or care) about the use of PEDs in the 4 major male professional sports in this country. When so many are competing for such few MULTI-MILLION dollar slots, is it really a shock that many would do ANYthing to reach that life-changing goal? Or if there, try to stay in the promised land a bit longer? And where mere hundredths of seconds can separate ‘winners’ from ‘losers’?

      4- The sport media (those we mere fans rely on to report & investigate our beloved sports) is as ignorant (or possibly complicit) as the rest of us. Even those who write about particular sports on a daily or at least yearly basis. When Lance Armstrong was winning his 7 straight Tours de France ( & WON them he did), various American sports media all hopped on the bandwagon, some even proffering ‘expert analysis’ & knowledge of the sport. When his use of PEDs & the other ‘illegal’ methods de riguer in pro-cycling came to light, all recoiled in SHOCK & disgust. What horseshit. This was especially appalling of the so-called cycling media. For those folks to feign shock or ignorance of the extent of doping in cycling just confirmed their utter FAILURE in their job. OR were/are lying now.

      5- The HYPOCRISY in how certain outed PED users & their sports are treated/thought of compared to other athletes/sports who do the SAME DAMN THING makes politics look like a humanitarian profession.

      6- the list of what is illegal as a “performance enhancement” constantly changes. Partly this is due to new drugs or new knowledge about the effects of long-existing drugs. The scientists making these decisions don’t always get it right. Years ago, even the smallest amount of caffeine was illegal. Today there is some talk about making the use of oxygen sleeping tents illegal. (Good luck with that one). And what about those who used a drug X years ago when it was not yet ‘illegal’ either because there was not yet a test or its effects was not yet determined ‘performance enhancing’ & WON Olympic medals & they were considered heroes or at least champions? Today those using that same drug would be labeled a ‘ despicable drug cheat’ , suspended for 2 years (at least), & dropped by all their sponsors. So, how is the use of a PED a “moral failing” when what designates a PED keeps changing?

      7- I want to live in a perfect sports world where the ‘level playing field’ is the ONLY field. That all competitors are clean or at the very least, are ALL TESTED & TREATED THE SAME AROUND THE WORLD & IN ALL SPORTS (including the Big 4 American sports). But because I have little faith in the current level of international drug testing & treatment, I decided my own damn feelings & INFORMED opinions about who may/may not be doping are as legitimate as any other information. In a nutshell – anyone could be using ANY thing in any sport if they believe it gives them an advantage. It’s up to me (you, anyone) to then decide if that particular use justifies eternal damnation (or a slap on the wrist). Also, any athlete that shows a precocious talent (i.e. at a young age became a dominant ‘elite’ athlete), I personally (correctly or not, to be determined) think they are probably ‘clean’. At least compared to someone who mysteriously becomes dominant late in their athletic career (Katinka Hosszu, for ex).

      And if you think I haven’t read accusations over the past 14 years that Michael “must be using” something illegal then you are a blissful, er, innocent. 😉

      And finally, I only jumped in the water here to defend Michael’s position as the GREATEST OLYMPIAN OF ALL TIME because the Grand Poohbah here had the uninformed audacity to offer up Bolt on twitter. Blame him. 😉

  5. I’m not sticking up for Clay Travis, gets on my last nerve, in fact. Not sure of the need to be condescending to Southerners, however. . I’ve been to Romania, Italy, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, not to mention all over the United States. I guess I’m not part of Clay’s audience but there are plenty of people like me who are.

  6. “Wait Master, it might be dangerous . . . you go, first.” — Igor

    Put. The. Candle. Back. Always elicits a giggle. What a gift.

  7. Somewhere in Jamaica, Susie B., there’s a blogger whose most devoted and loyal reader is wondering aloud about the curious coincidence of Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky both being from the Maryland area and suggesting that perhaps they have access to some government-developed PEDs. And on that same site there’s a young idealistic reader who is chastising the first reader for even suggesting such chicanery.

    • Hey, no one has ever called me an idealist. I’ve heard contradictory definitions of what exactly idealism is, so yes, I spent a good part of this dawn going in-depth on this personality type.

      I gotta admit: Trump is to insane as Jacob is to idealism. I’m still up in the the air if that is something to be proud of or quite wary of. Either or, I’ve learned something. Good enough for me.

      Susie B., I’ve thought of depicting a story to which Lebron is at the center of the greatest NBA conspiracy theory, in which he has been doping. Think about it. Why would the NBA want one of the greatest athletes in the sport ever fade away, before ever winning an NBA title for his hometown team? The Cavs had, what, two or three first overall selections in the draft while he was gone?

      Oh wait, maybe Lebron is just really good at what he does and, oh my, is just freakishly gifted with athletic traits not many have. Na – that’s crazy talk.

    • Nah, no government-developed PED.

      The reason that two of the best swimmers of ALL TIME just happen to be from MARYLAND? It’s just, wait for it, IN OUR WATER. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  8. Jacob. 🙂

    1st, based on the aftermath of “The Decision”, did ANYONE think LeBron would go back to Cleveland when he did? While Dan Gilbert still owned the team? Or are you suggesting LeBron conspired with the NBA honchos from the day he left to rig the draft for his triumphant return?

    2nd, funny you should bring up doping in basketball. Do you ever watch the occasional show on NBA-TV called ‘Open Court’? Where several of the former NBA stars (now mostly in the NBA media) sit & chat about various topics? Well, last year they had a show where the guys all talked about the use of PEDS in other sports. To say most had a lenient judgment of the offenders would be accurate – mostly because they considered the impoverished environments in which many of the ‘guilty’ grew up. Even before I heard that discussion, I wondered – if a miracle drug or procedure was developed that could EXTEND a b-baller’s leg strength & jumping ability for another 5-10 years, how many in the NBA do you think would use, ‘illegal’ or not? I’d say 90%. At least. And would the fans object? If it kept Sweet Pea on the floor in peak condition? And I can irritate you & jdubs here with my ceaseless LBJ adoration another 10 years? Makes me kinda wish I’d majored in biochemistry. 😉

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