by John Walters
Tweet du Jour
The smartest people I know:
1 Don’t get easily offended
2 Read more than they talk
3 Enjoy intelligent discourse
4 Quickly admit when they’re wrong
5 Comfortable changing their opinion
6 Surround themselves w/ intelligence
7 Seek to understand every perspective on a topic
— Warren Buffet (@warrenbuffet99) August 26, 2018
This was retweeted 170,000 times. We mention this only because the real Warren Buffett spells his surname with two “t’s.”
In the opening match of the U.S. Open, women’s No. 1 seed Simona Halep of Romania is bounced in straight sets by Kaia Kanepi of Estonia. The 26 year-old Halep, French Open champ and the world No. 1 player, became the first top-seeded woman to lose the opening match in Flushing Meadows history.
At least she didn’t lose 15-0 to the Nationals this week.
Halep also lost in the first round here last year, to Maria Sharapova.
Kanepi is 33.
After 16 magical, maddening seasons in which he buried key three-pointers, perfected the Euro Stop (Traveling!!!), taught Euro-style flopping to the NBA, never learned to shave his head to hide an encroaching monk’s bald spot, and won a quartet of NBA championships, Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs (and only of the SAS), is retiring.
Fellow teammates and future Hall of Famers Tim Duncan (retired) and Tony Parker (Charlotte Hornets) have already departed. Does this mean south Texas native Michelle Beadle is done watching basketball, too?
If you see Charles Barkley today, give him a hug.
3. Carnage In Indiana
A slumber party. A vehicular breakdown just a block from home. Teens at the slumber party come out to help push the car. Another vehicle rams into them. Four dead. That’s what happened Saturday night on a state road near Seymour, Indiana (John Mellencamp’s home town).
The victims were a trio of female teens, ages 14 and 15, and a 16 year-old boy. Four other teens were hit. The driver of the broken down SUV, Cara Selby, 37, is the person who was hosting the slumber party. The driver of the other vehicle, Elizabeth Watson, is 24. I imagine she’s got some explaining to do as to why she struck that vehicle (and I wonder if it had anything to do with reading a phone while driving).
4. The Crypto Kid
We failed to tell you about the new Bitcoin doc on CNBC last night (caught bits and pieces during a dead hour at the cookoutateria), hosted by Melissa Lee. One reason the doc succeeded is that they found a face to put on the saga of cryptocurrency, and he was Bitcoin’s version of Puck (not for you Shakespeare fans, but for you MTV: Real World fans).
The Crypto Kid, actual name and home town unknown, read a paper on Bitcoin almost 10 years ago and got a job solely so that he could invest everything he earned in Bitcoin. He’s still, reportedly millions of dollars in earnings later, living almost like a homeless person in order to pour all of his capital into Bitcoin. He lives in that tree house above, rent-free.
What’s fascinating about Bitcoin, and the documentary explores this, is that you have very smart and successful people betting on Bitcoin (and not just the Crypto Kid) and very smart and successful people (.e.g, Warren Buffett) telling you it’s a scam. One side is going to be very, very right and the other will be wrong. Who’s going to be looking foolish in five years? Is it the college dropout in board shorts and a tiger paw scarf? Or the Oracle of Omaha?
p.s. We really cannot wait until Adam McKay (The Big Short) turns the Bitcoin phenomenon into a film and we wonder who will play this character, who seems like someone McKay would’ve conjured if he did not already exist.
5. Is This The First Great Monologue In Film History?
Before last Friday, I’d never heard of M except as a letter of the alphabet and an early New Wave band that gave us “Pop Muzik.” Turns out it’s a 1931 German film by Fritz Lang that starred Peter Lorre in the role that turned him into a star.
Sure, before 1931 there were other films of note (Wings, Birth of A Nation, Safety Last, etc.) but most were silent films. We tuned in to TCM, curious about the premise: a serial killer who preys on little children is haunting Berlin. And we listened to TCM host Ben Mankiewicz explain that this is the role that turned Lorre into a film star, even though it’s entirely in German.
And then, through most of the film’s first 80 minutes, we barely see Lorre, who is the killer. Finally, he is captured—not by the police, but rather by the city’s criminal underworld, who despise that the cops have been cracking down everywhere in their hunt for him. He’s been hurting their business. So they find him before the cops do and assemble their own kangaroo trial.
What follows, above, is mesmerizing. If you love movies and were, like me, completely ignorant about this scene, take the time to watch it. On film, at least, no one had ever done it this good before and few have since.
The Paul Harvey rest-of-the-story note: Lorre was born Laszlo Lowenstein in Hungary. His parents were Jewish. If he doesn’t become a famous actor and depart for America in 1934, who knows what becomes of him? Perhaps he dies in a concentration camp. Of course, film lovers will note that the Nazis did capture and kill Lorre’s character in Casablanca, a film for which he has received far greater notice than M.
Hawaii 5-0 Theme
Growing up on the Jersey Shore in the 1970s, we rarely saw barreling waves at Sandy Hook the likes of which exploded onto our TV screen one night a week during the opening credits of Hawaii 5-0, a CBS police drama that ran from 1968 to 1980. It was never anyone’s favorite show or the most-discussed, but it did have a theme song that provided, what you might say, a Hawaiian punch. And a catchphrase no other cop procedural has topped: “Book ’em, Danno.”
The theme was composed by Morton Stevens, a Julliard alum who was not unfamiliar with Pacific islands when he took on this project. He had previously worked on Gilligan’s Island.
CBS just loves cops and Hawaii. The year Hawaii 5-0 ended after a 12-year run, Magnum P.I. made its debut and would run for eight seasons. This year, reimagined versions of both series will air on CBS.
Phoenix Mercury at Seattle Storm, Game 2
10 p.m. ESPN 2
He’d probably never do it, but if you were to ask Geno Auriemma to rank his favorite five players he’s ever coached, three of them would be playing in tonight’s game: Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart of Seattle and Diana Taurasi of Phoenix. Rebecca Lobo would also make that list, and then Geno might add Maya Moore or Kerry Bascom or Meghan Pattyson or maybe some wildcard name just to demonstrate that he’d actually given the query some thought.
Taurasi remains the best women’s basketball player I’ve ever seen and as far as I’m concerned, the best of all time. She’s also the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer. Her backcourt mate on the 2002 NCAA championship team, Bird, is the WNBA’s all-time assists leader. Stewie won four national championships in four seasons.
More than 50% of households in Connecticut (excluding Fairfield County) will be tuned into this game tonight.