by John Walters

Happy New Year, all! Okay, let’s be real:
Just, “New Year!” 2017 is the reason the “May you live in interesting times” salutation began. Anyway, we’ll be here to document it for you at the same low, low price.

Starting Five

Sophomore Samuelson out of Orange County is Geno's next super duper star

Sophomore Samuelson out of Orange County is Geno’s next super duper star

UCant (Beat UConn)

Work, work, work. Top-ranked Connecticut defeats No. 4 Maryland, 87-81, in College Park, for its 87th consecutive victory. All five Husky starters scored in double figures, led by POY candidate Katie Lou Samuelson’s 23 points. UConn led by 15 entering the fourth quarters.

Geno Auriemma’s stone-cold killers have now taken down the No. 2, No. 3, No. 4, and four other teams ranked between Nos. 12 and 15, and it’s not even New Year’s Day yet. Good luck to anyone who hopes to come between the Huskies and 100 straight.

Do sports fans appreciate how astounding this is?

2. John Boy Walton, Pete Rose, The Cast of Star Wars and Mummenschanz Walk Into A Talk Show

If you’re someone who was lucky enough to grow up (or at least remember) the Seventies, you remember The Mike Douglas Show. It was an afternoon talk show that had been taped locally in Philadelphia for years but by the time this episode aired, in 1977, had moved  to Los Angeles. Douglas was the most genial of hosts, a good guy and a good singer who never embarrassed his guests.

Anyway, I found this lineup yesterday. Richard Thomas is the co-host (Mike would have stars rotate as his co-hosts for a week) and the guests are Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Pete Rose, Tom Seaver and….. (again, if you were around in the Seventies, you’d remember this name) the mime group Mummenschanz. This episode needs to be preserved in the national archives.

3.  A Stupid Day in Charlotte

For Whom The Belk Tolls

This is why tight ends don't run bootlegs

This is why tight ends don’t run bootlegs

First we learn that Arkansas senior tight end Jeremy Sprinkle (33 catches, four TDs) was suspended from the Belk Bowl for allegedly attempting to shoplift from a Belk department store. Sprinkle was at the Belk outlet as part of a function in which each player from both Arkansas and Virginia Tech was given a $450 gift card to use at Belk (but they can’t pay them, you see), but Sprinkle reportedly tried to walk out with more than that amount.

The Razorbacks jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead on the Hokies but then lost, 35-24.

Speaking of thinking something is over before it isn’t, here’s Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker getting his Swaggy P on…

4. Something Wild (and Blue Jacket)

Dubnyk is the NHL's stingiest goalie

Dubnyk is the NHL’s stingiest goalie

I know, I know, I know…We’re not supposed to pay attention to hockey until A) April or B) a black man discovers it on TV and starts sending hilariously filthy tweets about it, but the Minnesota Wild (23-8-4) have won 12 straight hockey matches procedurals fixtures games. Even better, the Columbus Blue Jackets (25-5-4) have won 14 in a row. Even better than that, the Blue Jackets visit the Wild on Saturday night (Will this tear some of the Columbus TV audience away from Clemson-Ohio State? Nope).

Not surprisingly, Minnesota’s and Columbus’ tenders of the net, Devan Dubnyk and Sergei Bobrovsky, are Nos. 1 and 2 in Goals Against Average, respectively, in the NHL.

The 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins won 17 in a row, which is the NHL record and very well within reach for whoever wins on Saturday.

5. Jokes and Java (Cont.)

MH’s favorite web series, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, premieres next Thursday.  Jerry Seinfeld finally landed the comic with whom I most wanted to see him drive around in search of  a cup of joe, Norm MacDonald. Other guests for Season 9 include Lewis Black, Cedric the Entertainer, Bob Einstein (a.k.a. Super Dave Osborne, a.k.a. Marty Funkhausser), Kristen Wiig and everyone’s favorite-least-favorite faux Nazi, Christoph Waltz  (who hopefully will only order a glass of milk and perhaps some strudel).

Next Thursday is a pretty big Seinfeld day, as he’ll also be playing the Beacon Theater a few blocks down from MH intergalactic headquarters.

Music 101

I’ve Been Waiting

Matthew Sweet broke in the early Nineties, when a spoonful of competent but not particularly dangerous bands (read: Gin Blossoms, Dave Matthews Band, Counting Crows, Hootie) were struggling to break out of the shadow cast by the edgier acts (Nirvana, Weezer, Pearl Jam, Beck, etc.). Sweet’s only crime was writing straight-ahead, sincere rock songs that the good kids who are afraid to ask the girls to dance listen to. Love this song. That’s my problem.

Remote Patrol

Orange Bowl

Michigan (10-2) vs. Florida State (9-3)

Jim Harbaugh: Always smiling

Jim Harbaugh: Always smiling

Finally, a bowl game we’d anxiously anticipate if it had been a regular-season game. Two teams that were sexy picks to make the playoff in August who stumbled just enough to leave them shy, but in Jabrill Peppers and Dalvin Cook we have legit NFL Top 15 picks (if not higher) and Heisman runners-up. Plus, you have Captain Khaki in south Florida and two legit perennial programs. A nice amuse bouche before tomorrow’s semis.



2 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. Three posters adorned my bedroom walls in 1977: Seaver, Rose, and Steve Garvey. (I would have lacked the nerve to try to put up the Farrah Fawcett poster.). And I saw Star Wars twice that summer, the first time after standing in line for an hour or so at a big theater, the second at a drive-in.

    So that Mike Douglas episode would, for me, have been tailor-made, as Joe Garagiola might have described a Russell-Lopes-Garvey double play. I doubt I saw the episode, however, having no way of knowing those would be the guests unless I had looked at the TV Guide, to which my grandmother subscribed. I like how Mike gently chides Ford and Hamill for apparently having been late for the taping. Can you imagine what the summer of ’77 must have been like for those two?

    The latter-day equivalent of Carrie Fisher must be Emma Watson, a very young and unknown actress co-starring with two male co-stars in a blockbuster movie series. May she have the same irreverent but appreciative feelings for Harry Potter that Carrie always had for Star Wars.

  2. This “intergalactic headquarters” – is it in the ‘front-end of the train’? Oh, I can’t help it; I may still not know if I actually liked that movie but it’s staying with me. Right now, I’m viewing EVERYONE (not in the movie but in real life) as either ‘front-end’ or ‘tailenders’.

    Typo alert. If MD had scored 821, I’d be in a MUCH better mood today. (Even if Sweet Pea had those 8 turnovers last night in his game).

    I have not watched more than 10 minutes of all NFL games combined this season. I MAAAY watch some on Sunday or just wait for the conference championship games. I do keep up with who wins & loses each week & hear the chatter on Mike & Mike weekdays. Apparently, the Dallas Offensive line is exceptional this year. Ok, fine, but then Golic Jr goes on to say this morning that it is the “most famous offensive line in history”. IS HE KIDDING? HELL-o, the HOGS! They are STILL revered in Washington 20-30 freakin years later (their playing years lasted 10 years from early 80s thru 92). Humpf.

    I’ve been seeing multiple articles the past few weeks on how robots are going to replace “millions” of jobs in the not-too-distant future. 1st, I’m overjoyed that my working years will hopefully be over before that occurs. 2nd, is there a computer program that can write witty, smart, insightful, occasionally snarky prose, commentary &/or analysis? You may be “loathe” to speak of your investment successes/failures*, but I’M looking out for ya, jdubs! (*BTW, how was I to know – you tweet & write here about stocks/companies all the time! I just wanted to know if you were actually & hopefully raking in the dough. Also – one good thing about turning 50 [that’s about it though..] – you can shovel $1000 more into your ROTH each year than all the young whippersnappers!)

    Happy New Year to all at MH.

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