by John Walters

Starting Five

The man who performed 'Last Christmas' passes away on Christmas at age 53

The man who performed ‘Last Christmas’ passes away on Christmas at age 53

Bye, George

George Michael always reminded me a little of Freddie Mercury. Both were master showmen, outstanding performers with powerful voices and incredible vocal range. Both Brits, but from a non-WASP heritage. Mercury’s family was Persian, Michael’s was Greek. Both gay or bisexual, though that was kept quiet in the beginning. Both died too early: Mercury of AIDS at age 45, Michael from heart failure at 53.

Both created songs that were incredibly diverse, though often comparable to one of the other’s: “Faith” is a stripped-down acoustic guitar ditty, like “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” “Freedom” build to a fantastic climax, not unlike “Under Pressure.” “I Want Your Sex’ is an overt come-on, just like “Body Language.”

Michael got his Freddie on at a Freddie Mercury tribute show in 

Michael owed a lot of his early fame to MTV, and the visual aspect of his art (especially on “Faith” and “I Want Your Sex”) occluded for a time what an incredible artist he was. But he was terrific. “Freedom! 90” is my favorite video of the MTV era, by the way.

And in hi slater years, Michael didn’t mind taking the piss out of his image. He had a wonderful self-mocking cameo in the series finale of Extras and an appearance with James Corden’s old Smithy character a few years back was the genesis of “Carpool Karaoke.”

2. Kyrie Irving Traveled

Watch it for yourself. Slow it down. Blatant travel. Great shot, though.

Okay, it’s only a December game, and Golden State blew a 13-point lead—it was 95-82 with just over eight minutes to play when the Dubs seemed to get a defensive rebound but then someone tipped it out of Durant’s hand and then threw a pass to a wide open Kevin Love for a dunk under the basket and suddenly the Cavs were alive—and sure, the Cavs made a great comeback, but on the go-ahead bucket with 3.4 seconds to play, Kyrie Irving traveled.

They don’t care about traveling any more in the NBA.

The Cavs have now beaten the Dubs four in a row.

3. Fibula Frustration

Mariota and Carr suffered broken fibulas within hours of one another

Mariota and Carr suffered broken fibulas within hours of one another

On Christmas eve, quarterbacks Marcus Mariota of the Tennessee Titans and Derek Carr of the Oakland Raiders suffer broken fibulas and will be out for the remainder of the season. For the Titans, that’s just one more game, but for the Raiders, who are 12-3 and headed to their first postseason since 2002, this is devastating. Unless you happen to be a big Matt McGloin fan.

As ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported (we don’t refer to him as “Schefty” here), Carr becomes the first NFL QB since the playoffs began in 1933 to start 12 games for a playoff-bound team and NOT start in their playoff game. Bummer for the Silver & Black. We were looking forward to watching the Raiders return to Foxboro in January 15 years after the Tuck Rule moment.

4. Tis Better To Give Than Recieve

Maybe someone who will soon be relocating to another city and moving into a home that only has two stories needs autocorrect:


Not only does the president-elect misspell “receive,” but the facts of this tweet are highly dubious (because Trump won’t release his tax returns). It is known that the most Trump ever gave to his own foundation in one year is $35,000 and it is also known that he used it as his own private piggy bank on a number of occasions. How much anyone who needed charity ever got from it is not known.

Con man in the White House who will soon probably get you’re/your or there/their/they’re wrong on Twitter.

5. Exit The Diaco

The University of Connecticut fires Bob Diaco on Boxing Day after three seasons and 11 wins. The Huskies went from 2-10 to 6-7 to this year, 3-9. The funny part is that I wonder if Brian Kelly would have offered his first D.C. his old job back if Diaco had been canned two weeks earlier. Instead, Notre Dame hired Steve Mike Elko as its D.C.

I assume Diaco took the news well, then hopped into his car and headed west, solo, in search of that waitress from Wisconsin. Later, he’ll make a pit stop in Oklahoma, get beaten up, give away his Cadillac, then continue onto California where he’ll have a moment of catharsis on a cliff above the Pacific.

When The Diaco realizes he's getting a $3.47 million buyout, or nearly $300 per victory over three years.

When The Diaco realizes he’s getting a $3.47 million buyout, or nearly $300 per victory over three years.

Honestly, though, it’s way past time for northeastern schools to form their own conference (and to tell the ACC and B1G to screw themeselves). Here are your 12 newly minted Big East Schools:

Fuggedaboutit Division

Syracuse, Boston College, UConn, UMass, Army, Rutgers

Up Yours Division

Penn State, Maryland, Temple, Navy, Pittsburgh, Buffalo

This would be terrific. And I don’t care about Jim Delany’s TV footprint. People in the northeast would enjoy this football for its own sake. The renewed rivalries would be fantastic.

Music 101


If HBO’s Vinyl had continued to Season 2, we might have learned about The Modern Lovers, a real band out of Massachusetts that modeled itself after The Velvet Underground and is largely responsible for the “protopunk” movement. You didn’t hear their songs on AM radio in the mid-Seventies, but bands such as The Ramones and The Sex Pistols knew who they were. That’s Jonathan Richman, who still performs solo today, on vocals. This song came out in 1972.

Remote Patrol

Kennedy Center Honors

CBS 9 p.m.

The Eagles, Al Pacino and James Taylor are honored

Frontline: Exodus

PBS 9 p.m.

This is the best television journalism around today. Tonight’s report is on Syrian refugees in Europe and the troubles on both sides of the story.

2 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. Interesting that in the NBA’s “2 Minute Report” of that game, 2 “missed fouls” were noted but NOT including Ky’s game winning shot…. 😉 What is traveling anyway? I see it SO often in EVERY game (& far more blatant that above) that I really don’t know what is & isn’t “travelling” anymore. Speaking of that report – yes, LBJ should have probably gotten a technical for hanging on the rim too long but maybe the non-call was payback for the RIDICULOUS technical on RJ for winking (WINKING!) at Durant after the 36 year old journeyman dunked on him. It was quick & cute & why on earth should THAT get a technical?! As for RJ’s other supposed missed foul, I didn’t realize that inadvertently quick-stepping on a guy’s foot was a foul. My goodness, that happens ALL the time & I NEVER see it called.

    I was thrilled by the outcome of Cavs-Superteam Villains (no surprise to you), but I’m hardly thinking we have the Dubs’ number. (Although as you state above, we have beaten them 4 times in a row & that’s a pretty good number 🙂 ). The best thing was that the Cavs never gave up & fought till the very end while the Warriors crumbled with 8 minutes to go. They let a 14 (yes, 14) point lead slip away within 5 minutes. Other observations – once again Steph Curry was a pale imitation of himself when playing the Cavs (2 straight Finals & now the last 2 Xmas games). Kyrie is truly becoming a superstar. And this may shock you but even though LeBron scored the 2nd most highest points, had double-digit rebounds, & has re-discovered his 3-pt shot (yeah!) , I thought his overall effort was a bit subpar. Yes! He threw the ball away 4-5 times & could have cost us the game with that extravagant rim hanging. (Plus, at 1 point in the 4th quarter, he wrapped his arms completely around some Warrior (not one of the starters) for an unknown purpose. The foul was not called but it looked like he WANTED to get a foul to stop the Warriors play for some reason. Maybe I’m just cranky about that hideous beard. (SHAVE IT, SWEET PEA or soon I’ll just be calling you ‘Pea!’).

    I was shocked about George Michael. What a voice & boy, was he sexy during the Faith era. I saw him in concert a few years after the Faith album & his voice was even better in person. Was it definitively a heart attack?

    And what’s with the lack of holiday greetings? Just because Xmas was on a weekend day this year? Or are you becoming a Scrooge in your AARP-eligible years? 😉

    Speaking of Scrooge, I miscounted my ‘Christmas Carol Count’ last week; it was only 7 then. However, I did see Albert Finney’s musical version on Saturday (hard to believe it’s from 1970), so this year’s final tally is 8. Well, unless I finally get to see the Alistair Sims version this week. One of the things I find utterly fascinating are the differences amongst all the versions. I last read the actual novella when I was 14 & can no longer remember which plot points were in Dickens’ story & which are movie changes.

    And I DID watch ‘White Xmas’ on AMC Friday night, well, Saturday morning from 2:30 – 4:30 am. (I napped from 11-2 & somehow woke up in time!) You probably wonder – why don’t I just buy the DVD (I do have the videotape) or watch it On-Demand? Because it’s just not the same!

    And finally, on Xmas Eve I got to watch/hear my favorite line from my favorite scene in all Xmas movies – “to my big brother George, the richest man in town!”. Nuthin but nuthin tops that.

    Hope your day was merry. 🙂

  2. Ooh, ooh, one more thing. I watched ‘Love Actually’ three times in its entirety & 3 other times in parts this past month & I have some comments. 1st, when Emma Thompson’s character unwraps the Joni Mitchell CD & not the gold necklace from her husband & she goes into the bedroom to react/collect herself – OMG, killer scene & Emma was AWESOME! Oh & when she confronts her husband when she says knowing will always make life “just a little bit worse”. OMG, it tears your heart out! And at the very end, when the family is picking up the husband/dad at the airport & Emma says she fine & they’re off to home – OMG, the LOOK on her face when she says “home”! 4th, I love the opening narration by Hugh Grant when he talks about the people at Heathrow’s Arrivals & Departures – “love actually IS all around”. Gets me every time. And finally, I need to know – does it make one a bad person if they want to hit that slut-assistant upside the head with her phone every time she/he sees her on screen? Including when she just opens her door to the PM when he’s looking for Natalie? Yeah, well, I may be “bad” but at least I’m not that skank!

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