by John Walters


Starting Five

City Of Blinding Lights*

*The judges will also accept every pun from every song with blue in the title, from “Crystal Blue Persuasion” to “Beneath The Blue Sky” to “Blue Monday Thursday”

Sorry, Mike Pompeo. It was not the Rapture. Instead, something called an “arc flash” at a Con Edison substation in Astoria, Queens, left New Yorkers wondering if the alien invasion had at long last, thankfully, arrived.

When the aliens do arrive, or the Second Coming happens, we’ll be too busy searching for memes/posting on Instagram and Twitter, to even notice.

2. After Antarctic Ambulation, Adulation

At the end of 2018, Oregon native Colin O’Brady gave new meaning to the term “white walker.” With one final, 32-hour/77-mile sleepless push, O’Brady narrowly edged Brit Louis Rudd to become the first human to trek across Antarctica, 921 miles, unaided by wind or any outside device.

O’Brady completed the journey in 54 days, only once stopping for a half day, back in November, to repair a ski. Only two years ago Henry Worsley, an Englishman and Special Forces vet, died after coming within 126 miles of the finish. This is no walk in the park, even though O’Brady somewhat tamed the magnificent continent, the true land down under.

Rudd, as of yesterday, was still out there seeking to replicate O’Brady’s feat. But as Ricky Bobby once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”

3. Baton Near-Death March

Okay, it wasn’t exactly Proud Boys vs. AntiFa, but NYPD Officer Syed Ali versus five homeless men on a subway platform on the Lower East Side certainly drew a large audience on social media (alas, not pay-per-view). It’s nice to see an Ali going toe-to-toe with an opponent in New York City again. “Down goes Frazier!”

Ali, who does not use social media, had no idea that he’d been filmed during this Sunday night altercation. The video has now been seen hundreds of thousands of times.

4. Ticket To Hide*

*The judges will also accept “Whole Lotto Love”

Unclaimed lottery tickets update: Whoever is holding the $1.5 BILLION winning ticket sold in South Carolina back in October still has yet to claim it. They may be waiting until 2019 for tax purposes or they simply may have no idea that they won. Either way, that person or persons has until April to claim their bounty or it returns to the states.

In Plymouth, Michigan, someone purchased a winning lottery ticket last New Year’s Day that guarantees them either $25,000 per year for life or a $390,000 lump sum. They still have yet to claim their prize, which will expire on Tuesday.

Related: Tonight’s MegaMillions drawing is worth at least $348 million, or you can take the $210 million lump-sum cash option (which will leave you with just over $100 million after taxes…it almost doesn’t seem worth it).

Newsflash: If you’re above ground and breathing/walking, you’re already holding a winning ticket.

5. The Fine Print

This is defensive back Antone Exum of the San Francisco 49ers, who recently played an NFL football game for free. As reporter Matt Maiocco details, Exum earns $41,450 per game, or about $700K per season. The NFL fined him $53,452 for a hit in Week 14, and that fine was taken out of his pay, so that he recently was able to show off a pay stub that had zero dollars and zero cents.

Seems a little unfair, no?

Music 101

Life Of Illusion

Former Eagle Joe Walsh had a minor hit with this in 1981, off his There Goes The Neighborhood album. The song also appears briefly at the beginning of The 40 Year-Old Virgin.

Remote Patrol

Garth: Live At Notre Dame

8 p.m. CBS

Is Jesus attempting to start the wave?

A repeat of a show that aired earlier this month, and actually took place in Notre Dame Stadium back on October 20th. We’re rather ignorant about Brooks’ work, but just last night we were talking to true believers in Garth.

4 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. “Bright Light, Big City”? Or “It was a bluuuuue post-Christmas”, sung in your best Elvis?

    “If you ain’t first…” apparently was NOT the mantra of all the Everest climbers (& attempted climbers) since Hillary.

    And when I win the MM, I’m taking the lump sum! SOMEHOW I’ll just have to make do on $120 mill. There MAY even be room for ‘The Athletic’ subscription. 🙂

    Some NBA talk. 1st, do you remember (“the 21st day of September”,no,no!) a few weeks back when I, er, slogged off on the “lowly” Rockets, then in next-to-last place in the Western Conference & I especially was, er, quite non-complimentary of a certain bearded one? I even snarked that his play was an embarrassment for a current “MVP”? Well I’m not a 90-something in Phoenix, but apparently this lit a fire as that team & specifically Harden as, er, “rocketed” up the standings! I should have kept my mouth shut!

    Also, I did not watch the game but late on Xmas night I did click over to ESPN to see how ‘the game’ turned out & WTF?! LBJ was injured?! AND the Lakers still beat the Supervillains by 26 (!) on their HOME floor?!! Seriously, what’s the deal with GS? Is it really just because Klay’s in a shooting slump & Draymond is playing below his previous level? A team with 2 of the MVPs of the past 5 years & they lose by 26 AT HOME(!) to, to, to a bunch of kids & NBA square pegs? I think it’s the 4th year curse! The Heat drove me crazy in what was their 4th year after 3 straight Finals & 2 championships. And they played like crap (except for LBJ) in their 4th Finals, losing to the Spurs in desultory & dispirited fashion! I’m STILL pissed about it! But this is good news for the rest of the NBA right now! Maybe the Supervillains won’t even get INTO the Finals!

    I read Austin’s AMZN piece & it was great, as usual. But it also just fed the flame of my anger that great writers such as he (& you) can’t work full-time at your true profession. Hell, the two of you should be 1st-name superstars, known & read by all! Even worse than some of my stock picks was my belief back in the early-mid 2000s that the internet would highlight & make superstars of great writers. Good thing one couldn’t bet on that as I would have lost my house! Anyhoo, the two of you could write a book together about the impact of the internet on journalism & it’s ink-stained workforce, dwindling by the day, replaced by non-human tweeting “bots” & wretched, heinous propaganda machines such as Fox ‘News’.

    • Susie B.,

      I don’t think your thoughts in your final paragraph align with where you put your money.

      The best journalism on the internet lies behind a paywall. And the ingenious thing The Athletic is doing (at least in sports) is providing content that isn’t subsidized by ad dollars.

      Do really good writers get left out with this journalism shakedown? Most definitely. But like any other thing, you get what you pay for (or, rather, don’t pay for).

      I’d argue that many writers just want to write. They don’t want to worry about the business side. For better or worst, the best journalists find a way to monetize their work.

      The question for you is this: If JW put up a paywall next week, would you subscribe?

      Your actions speak louder than your words.

      • I am one of those dwindling few (“we happy few”) that actually PAY MONEY for magazine subscriptions & (be still YOUR heart) BOOKS. So don’t come at me with your “paywall” wail.

        And professional writers want to get PAID for their work, as they should. The question is WHO should pay them? The industry that still depends on them for “content” but now doesn’t want or can’t because of the myriad FREE sources of content online or much cheaper 20-somethings? Or the individual readers directly?

        If I had the money (i.e. if I was not saving & investing every g’damn penny as I have been for the past 10 LONG years because I had FOOLISHLY not saved near enough for retirement & ALL my investments took a 51% HIT at the bottom of 2008 & I shockingly realized I NO longer had even “20 years” until retirement!), I’d gladly sign up for The Athletic or even a mistake-in-judgement ‘paywall’ here. (Advertising would be preferable).

        In fact, let’s use this as a teaching lesson for you Jacob & all Millennials : ” SAVE EVERYTHING YOU CAN FOR RETIREMENT NOW”! Do NOT do as I did & oh-so-cavalierly think “retirement is 40-45 years away, I’ll worry about that later, when I’m “OLD” & won’t need the money for all the fun things I want/”have” to do now”. ARGH! Plus, the sooner you get that money working for you in the stock market, the sooner you’ll enjoy the power of the loveliest words in the English language “COMPOUND INTEREST”. And then you will NOT be 40-something or 50-something & PANIC when the stock market/economy has one of the worst downfalls of the past 100 years. No sirree, you’ll be sitting pretty with your massive nest egg just temporarily “retrenched”. And unless you’re making mid-6 figures or more, you’ll have to make sacrifices, either now or later. My advice – DO IT NOW! Why? Because it’s either a LITTLE sacrifice NOW or MASSIVE SACRIFICE LATER. And sooprize, sooprize, in this case at least, bigger is NOT better!

        • Jacob, the best advice I ever got was “All you get is a lifetime guarantee.” The implied wisdom there is that no one knows how long a lifetime lasts. Don’t wait until you’re 65 to live. That doesn’t mean don’t be aware of saving for retirement, but also be aware that you’ll never get your 20s or 30s back…

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