by John Walters

Four years ago this week

Starting Five

Burning Man

On the season finale of Better Call Saul, vindictive and psychosomatic big brother Chuck McGill kicks over a lantern, intentionally. The next shot we see, from the exterior, is the ugliest home in Albuquerque in the first stages of going up in flames.

Having been handed a “Get Out of Our Lives” $3 million check from Howard Hamlin (with a promise of two more to come), and having told his little brother, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you have never meant that much to me,” and having already been embarrassed in front of his ex-wife, there was no future for Chuck. Kudos to writer Gennifer Hutchison for the flashback at the opening of the episode with Chuck and Jimmy in a tent, reading by lantern.

The big question for next year? Who gets all of that Hamlin money Chuck has left? Is Jimmy in the will (NO!) and will he contest it?

p.s. Did you notice in last week’s penultimate show of the season as Jimmy was giving the hard sell to the ladies at Sandpiper what movie was playing in the background? Night of The Hunter. There was Jimmy fooling an audience of rapt believers as a black-and-white charlatan in the background, played by Robert Mitchum, did the same. Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould reward you for paying attention.

2. Otto Warmbier

The death of University of Virginia student Otto Warmbier, after 17 months in captivity in North Korea, is a deadly reminder that not all countries have the same idea of justice. Warmbier, then 20, was traveling in China in December of 2015 when he signed up for a five-day tour of North Korea through a Chinese company that promoted their excursions as “budget travel to destinations your mother would rather you stayed away from.”

What came next, after Warmbier ripped down a propaganda poster, probably to bring home as a keepsake, was basically a hybrid of The Island and Brokedown Palace.

There is no happy ending here, and the weird part is that North Korea still holds three Americans in jail.

3. Eager Beavers

Harrison’s grand slam brought the Beavers out of the dugout

The Oregon State baseball team has won 23 games in a row…for the second time this season. The Beavers routed LSU 13-1 at the College World Series yesterday to move to an unearthly 56-4 on the season and 2-0 since the CWS launched in Omaha.

Adding a layer of awkwardness and bizarre to the Beavers’ odyssey is that they’ve won their last seven without their ace, Luke Heimlich, who removed himself from the team (for the postseason) after it came to light that he had molested a four year-old family member a few years back. The lefty was 11-1 and led the nation in both ERA (0.76) and WHIP (0.78) when he took himself out of the rotation earlier this month.

First baseman K.J. Harrison hit a grand slam in last night’s win, the first in the new TD Ameritrade Stadium during  a CWS. The Beavers do not play again until Thursday.

4. Glastonbury

The original European music festival, Glastonbury, kicks off tomorrow and runs through Sunday. On the bill: Radiohead, Lorde, Foo Fighters, Katy Perry, Kris Kristofferson, Haim, Ed Sheeran and Liam Gallagher.

The inception of this event took place in 1971 and featured David Bowie, Traffic, Melanie and, I shit you not, a band named The Worthy Farm Windf*ckers.

5. Another Pitch For The Sellout

Paul Beatty won the Man Booker Prize for his brilliant and hilarious novel about race, political correctness, and the propriety of segregation in the right circumstances

Near the end of Paul Beatty‘s brilliant 2015 satire about race in America, the narrator, Bonbon, casually mentions that he put down his copy of Catch-22. That’s hardly a throwaway line, since in spirit and in tone I’ve never read a book that comes as close to Joseph Heller’s classic.

I can’t do justice to how shake-your-head, he-didn’t-just-write-that-did-he funny this book is, but the New York Times Book Review did a decent job of it. They’re also correct that the second half of the book cannot keep up with the promise of the first, but it’s not a steep drop-off and there are so many gems about race and hypocrisy (and The Little Rascals) within that you won’t mind.

If Spike Lee hasn’t already optioned the rights to this book, I don’t know why not.

Music 101

He Stopped Loving Her Today

By April of 1980 country music legend George Jones had not had a No. 1 country single in six years. Then he released this song, written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putnam, and not only did it skyrocket to No. 1 but remained there for 18 weeks.

Remote Patrol

Mets at Dodgers

10 p.m. ESPN

For those of us who have yet to watch rookie Cody Bellinger, who now has 21 home runs and is the West Coast’s answer to Aaron Judge.

One thought on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. Re: The CWS…

    I’m working at the event this year and am actually impressed with the southern hospitality the SEC (and FSU) has brought to Omaha this year.

    I never knew talking to LSU fans would be so enjoyable. Shame on me for having any preconceived thoughts.

    Note for the fall: I hear that if Orgeron can beat ‘Bama this year, he might as well run for governor.

    And I could almost swear everyone from Oregon resembles Mike Riley. Only sports can bring together such a diverse set of people…

    If you remotely like baseball, I’d recommend a trip to Omaha some time in your life.

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