by John Walters

Update: The Fighting Sweet Peas lost in Boston. We’ll return for Game 7 on Sunday. Til then, we’ll let Susie B. provide coverage in the comments. YAWN.

Starting Five

O’er The Land Of The Free

Two headlines, one right above the other, on this a.m.

“Trump: NFL ‘Doing The Right Thing’ With Anthem”

“Video Shows Tasing, Arrest of Bucks’ Brown”

First off, if Donald Trump can recite the words of the Star-Spangled Banner, much less tell us to what the song pertains other than “MURICA!,” we’d be shocked. Second, when a four-time draft dodger gets uppity about respecting the military, much less the flag, the only salute he’s worthy of is an old-fashioned Italian-American mo’fongu.

Third, the Sterling Brown incident is so commonplace these days that YouTube oughta launch a second channel devoted solely to “Black Men Being Pulled Over.” The issue isn’t the law in these situations; it’s control, it’s humiliation, it’s…dominance.

So now Roger Goodell, in all his wisdom, has bequeathed that if you don’t stand for the flag, referees will throw a flag. The players and the more enlightened owners (and even the refs) would demonstrate a great deal of understanding if players from both sides knelt during the anthem (offsetting penalties).

2. Death In Yosemite


We were incredulous after we took in this view at the cables on the base of Half Dome last August and learned that no one had died there since 2011 (understand, it’s a 9-mile hike one way just to reach this point). That statistic changed Monday, as a man fell to his death while ascending the cables in a thunderstorm.

Alaska: Thrilling, yes. Drilling, no.

We still love that national parks allow us to pursue adventure, sometimes to the point of fatality. It sort of makes a greater point about the planet we inhabit. Meanwhile, here’s a fantastic story in The New York Times about a couple that has visited all 417 U.S. national park sites (there are 60 national parks).

Which reminds us: We’ll take “America The Beautiful” over “The Star-Spangled Banner” every day of the week.


Ovechkin is not just a pretty face; wait, “is just not a pretty face.”

When the week began, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals trailed 3 games to 2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Prince of Wales Conference final. But they won Game 6 at home and last night, in Tampa (Tampa Bay is not actually a city but rather a body of water), skated past the Lightning 4-0 to advance.

For Alex Ovechkin, the greatest player of his generation this side of the blue line of Sidney Crosby (arguably better: Sid The Kid, 411 goals and 705 assists ; Ove, 607 and 515, it’s his first Stanley Cup final trip in his 13-season career. It’s a great day for the NHL. Washington takes on Las Vegas and we don’t know which city more deserves the nom de place of “Sin City.” But we do know you cannot spell “sincerity” without “Sin City,” without even rearranging the letters.

4. It’s Over, Time (Inc.)

As a former Time-Lifer, someone whose first real post-college job entailed walking into the Time-Life Building on the corner of 50th and 6th each morning (the same building into which Don Draper strolled when Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce was formed), this oral history on the decline of Time, Inc., is a melancholy read. The building that once held Life, Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, People, Entertainment Weekly and Money is now a ghost ship, as are those very magazines.

You’d walk down to the second-floor cafeteria (“The Caf”) and stroll down a long hall way on whose walls were some of the most famous photographs of the 20th century (it was Life magazine that purchased the Zapruder film and then did not show every frame due to its graphic nature).

Every periodical has its period, we guess. If you’re a magazine nerd

5. Flake News

Photo taken in past 24 hours. This is the smile of a Republican legislator who hasn’t sold his soul to the president.

Outgoing Arizona senator Jeff Flake (GOP, but not MAGA) delivered an address to the graduates of Harvard Law school at their commencement yesterday:

I do bring news from our nation’s capital. First, the good news: Your national leadership is … not good. At all. Our presidency has been debased. By a figure who has a seemingly bottomless appetite for destruction and division. And only a passing familiarity with how the Constitution works.

This is, in the Eighties, what we’d refer to as a “Benetton ad.”

“Now, you might reasonably ask, where is the good news in that? Well, simply put: We may have hit bottom. Oh, and that’s also the bad news. In a rare convergence, the good news and bad news are the same: Our leadership is not good, but it probably can’t get much worse.”
The bad news would be if Flake is wrong. If we have not hit rock bottom. Time will tell.

Music 101

Dance With Me

Some 70s songs, for worse and not for better, you will never be able to evict from your memory. This 1975 tune from Orleans, a band that was formed in Woodstock, N.Y. in 1972, reached No. 6 on the charts. The following year they’d release an even bigger hit (Can you guess it?) with….


…..”Still The One.”

Remote Patrol

Game 5: Dubs at Rockets

9 p.m. TNT

The TNT pre- and post-game crew is still riding a crest (that they’ve been riding for nearly two decades). As for the game, we probably should not watch as the laissez-faire refereeing will upset our anally-minded self too much. Suffice it to say that the Dubs blew a 12-point 4th quarter lead on Tuesday when they could have put this series on ice. Now they’ll have to win again in Houston.


11 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. have you thought of how they’re gonna handle it if a player decides to go back to the locker room after the coin toss (in a celebratory mood and crowd acknowledging him), and before the national anthem

    thinking out loud……please DON’T credit the NFL Admin with this one!

  2. If the ‘Fighting Sweet Peas’ don’t get & keep their crap together & play better than last night (yes, including the TIRED head Pea), the Cavs will soon be ‘Split Pea Soup’! 🙁

    But, I have NOT LOST HOPE! Over these past 4 years since The King’s Return, the Cavs have almost always played better when their backs are jammed up against a wall. Well, the WALL IS HERE. Backs are jammed. Now PLAY! 🙂

    Personally, what I think is needed is for LeBron it SHAVE THAT BEARD! It will make him “lighter” & faster. 🙂 And of course, more handsome. 🙂

  3. Whatever happened to the simple philosophy of treating your neighbor like you’d like to be treated? I’ll never be able to wrap my head around why people discriminate on gender, ethnicity or gender preference. Like, for 1) Why does it matter? You are a good person or you’re not. This idea that you are born inferior because you have a darker skin tone or don’t have male reproductive organs is literally the stupidest thought in the world.

    The NFL isn’t making a stance so they can honor the military. This is the same dipshit league that monopolizes on military clothing for the betterment of their bottom line. They see individuals that don’t look like them make a stance for equality and then paint a picture that is patently false. It is truly one of the more demoralizing things one can witness.

    I’ll never wish ill-will on many, but the executive elites in this country will lie on their deathbed very sad. And IDGAF. Life isn’t a competition. It is not set up as a win-lose situation. When your neighbor is well-off, you are well-off. I hope karma is real. I really do.

    • Jacob/Jason/Justin/Jawaun,

      Your first sentence is perfection.
      I just got off an hour and 40-minute conversation with my dear, dear MOM where this was the theme. It’s not left or right, donkey or elephant, alt-right vs. snowflake. The only thing that matters is how do you treat others (and not just those who agree with you?).

      On an extended note, here’s something else that’s funny: capitalism is the very engine that brough mass waves of Africans here in the 18th and 19th centuries (cheaper cotton) and Mexicans here in the late 20th and early 21st (cheaper produce). Of course, there’s a major difference in terms of the manner in which they immigrated (involuntary versus voluntary), but the main point is that the very same wealthy, white men who berate black players for kneeling or Mexicans for whatever (less than 1/10th of 1 percent are MS-13) were the chief conspirators in terms of bringing them here.

      So now that they’re all here, these white men seem a little upset that they may actually have some pride in their own cultures and ethnicities. I’ll have to remember that the next time I pass by an Irish bar or a pizzeria.

      Everything about Trumpism is the height of hypocrisy. It’s a bunch of people whose grandparents or great grandparents were faced with discrimination and demonization and now, just a few generations later, they are every bit as misguided as the people who mistreated their ancestors.

      Once again, it’s all very simple: Treat people the way you want to be treated. And understand that the horror is not some person who risks his life so that his children can have a better one, but a person who’s worth $1 billion who feels threatened by that.

      • Jawaun it is. That’s so much better.

        Rule #1: Treat your neighbor the way you’d like to be treated.

        Rule #2: Smile more.

        Rule #3: Stay active.

        Here today, at Medium Happy, we put to rest that life is inherently complicated. Call off all remaining commencement speeches. Please send them a copy of this.

    • Jacob, many of the “elites” in this country do NOT BELIEVE IN EQUALITY. Far from it, they believe THEY & their kind are SPECIAL & the rest of us just need to accept that fact & SERVE THEM. Many want to go back to the aristocratic era, where they live lives of opulence & the rest of us in pestilence, filth, poverty & NO AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE. The GOP specifically has become the American Nazi Party & the original Republicans are either too God damn gutless to DO anything about it or just happy their party is in power so THEY & ONLY THEY CAN GET RICHER or just in pathetic denial. Our country is on a precipice & if the current administration AND Congressional party in power are not toppled soon, this country may never recover. We are creeping towards FASCISM every damn day. The SOCIOPATH fraudulently occupying the WH & his grifting family & others he installed in top government jobs need to be ARRESTED &/or REMOVED in all due haste. Hello Terminix & Orkin, we have a job for you in the nation’s capital!

      As for the NFL – they did exactly what I expected. Gutless wankers. (sorry, jdubs). And one more reason to ignore that sport, at least at that level. On the other hand, the NBA has had the same “rule” for years, so I can’t quite call it an “attack on our freedoms”. jdubs, why do you think the NBA is seemingly so much more progressive than the NFL? In both leagues, the majority of players are black. Are all the ‘GOOD’ billionaires just drawn to the hardwood & not turf? 😉

      • I tend to have more faith in the younger generation. We shall survive. And if we don’t, shucks. It was fun while it lasted.

  4. You have written/tweeted recently about both the Lebron/Jordan debate and Mike Trout, so I thought I would quote here from Joe Sheehan’s newsletter today (and if you are a baseball fan and don’t subscribe to Sheehan’s newsletter, you are truly missing out, as IMO he is the most thoughtful and interesting baseball writer out there):

    “We generally evaluate players relative to their time. So on that scale, sure, there’s Babe Ruth and Willie Mays and Ted Williams. If you simply consider raw baseball skill, however, and acknowledge the rapid development of the game and its players over the years, then you have a short list of Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Mike Trout. Take Mike Trout and drop him into a Browns/Senators game in 1938, and they’d build a religion around him. I’ve made a parallel argument when it comes to Clayton Kershaw; Walter Johnson and Lefty Grove and Tom Seaver are baseball legends, but the conversation for the greatest pitcher ever comes down to Kershaw, Pedro Martinez, and Roger Clemens, all pitchers who had modern skill sets.

    “Let’s be clear about this as well: by 2075, someone will come along who could be better than Trout, and someone else who could better than Kershaw. This is the nature of baseball, of all sports. Not to wade in too deeply, but it’s the conflict at the core of the Michael Jordan/LeBron James comparisons. It’s an interesting conversation if you put them on a WAR scale, if you compare Jordan relative to his peers, to James relative to his peers. It’s close, and basketball being what it is as a team sport, perhaps impossible to resolve. If you take away that framework, though, it’s no longer an interesting discussion. James is better than Jordan, just as Jordan was better than Magic, and on back through the years. The small-e evolution of the players and the sport will always mean the greatness we see in the present carries the day. That’s not being ignorant of history; it’s being steeped in it.”

    • I’m sorry, Wally, I don’t find Sheehan’s comments insightful at all. What he is saying is blatantly obvious (of course, modern-day players in most sports are empirically better) and at the same time,blatantly disrespectful. I know far more about the world and the heavens than Ptolemy did, but does that make me a better astronomer? No.

      All humans deserve to be rated, in terms of history, only relative to their age. It is the folly of all historians, sports or non- , to compare people across eras or put them against one another. What once was an acknowledged fun and meaningless exercise is now undertaken by wankers with a sense of gravitas. “If Barry Bonds were plunked down in 1938…” Guess what: he never was and never will be. If I were plunked down in 500 B.C. , I’d be a far more knowledgeable physician than Hippocrates. Holding a person’s standing against them simply because they are a product of an earlier era is the product of the type of hubris and LACK OF INSIGHT that a person who is in the midst of his own peak displays, a person without the foresight that history will one day pass them by as well and maybe future generations will be even more self-absorbed than he is.

      All that matters to me in any endeavor, when discussing greatness, is what a person did relative to others of his time. Everyone that follows is standing on their shoulders.

  5. It feels as if ‘Dance with Me’ could have been sung by America and then perhaps you would enjoy it for the wonderful song that it is…

    • You may be correct there. They actually remind me more of Dan Fogelberg or Loggins & Messina. But I agree.

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