by John Walters

Tweet Me Right

Starting Five

Climate Change Gonna Necessitate Primate Change

–In the past 30 days, federal weather forecasters have logged reports of 500 tornadoes from the Great Plains states eastward to Ohio. And even if those numbers may be inflated due to multiple reports of the same tornado occasionally, that’s quite the alarming figure.

–The past year was the wettest on record in some cities in the northeast.

–Meanwhile, as the Arctic Circle thaws, China is not viewing that development as alarming but rather as an opportunity to find new sources of energy and for a top of the world maritime route. Greeeeeaaaaaat.

–And then there’s the White House, which has gone from refuting arguments of scientists to now not even funding the types of reports that allow scientists to demonstrate what the effects of climate change and and a rapidly warming planet will be. Nothing to see here.

He’s screwed now. Your kids will be screwed in 30 years.

It’s absolutely fascinating, and also severely depressing, to be witnessing these developments while also watching HBO’s Chernobyl. What did the nuclear engineer who was in charge of the room that initiated the error that caused the explosion say to the investigator who insisted that she was not aiming to assign blame but only find out the truth? “There is no truth,” he said, which is basically the first rule of being a Trump apparatchik.

At least in Chernobyl they got religion, so to speak.

In the mid-1980s the Soviet Union, one of the world’s two most truth-averse and totalitarian nations (along with China), was finally compelled to act on the devastation its own workers had wrought for the good of its people. To watch the show is to see a lone nuclear physicist, played by Jared Harris, stand up to both General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and the KGB because he knew that he knew, far better than they did, what the catastrophic effects of nuclear radiation were.

So you’re saying we were negligent?

And give Gorbachev a little credit, too. As much as he hated to do so, he listened. And he committed the resources to cleaning up as much as was possible.

No such leadership exists in the United States today. We could tender a guess as to the reason: oil money. Look at the two foreign governments to whom the president and, by extension, the Republican party, are most beholden to: Saudi Arabia and Russia. What’s that all about? Oil money.

The moment you admit climate change is a problem that must be dealt with, you are pinning the blame on oil. And if you’re going to do something about that problem, really attempt to solve it, you’re going to have to find an alternative source of energy, which is to say that you’re going to pull your mouth away from the teat you’ve been sucking on for decades.

So the world will slowly burn, tornadoes and hurricanes will become more commonplace, federal money will be sent to those places (because tornadoes and flooding seem to happen a lot in rural areas that have a major boner for Trump, if you hadn’t noticed), produce and livestock prices will go up, the economy will dive and eventually the catastrophe will be so horrible that America will put a Democrat in the White House and demand, “Do something about these dire circumstances!”

Haven’t we all seen this movie before? And wasn’t it not that long ago? Except that climate change is far worse than a global financial crisis.

Call me an optimist, but I’m somewhat heartened by the words of Harris’ character Valery Legasov, who notes that the devastastion they’ve wrought could last for 24,000 years. Is that all? Seems a small punishment to pay for mankind spoiling the beauty of the planet. If you could wipe out mankind but pledge that the earth could make a fresh start in less than 25 millennia? I’d take that deal. You know why? Because we all know the nature of man, and in particular the nature of the man in the White House: man (and the president) will not act to solve a problem until it’s far past time to solve that problem.

Just ask Stormy Daniels.

Where Are They Now?

As details emerged about the sale of Sports Illustrated to the same company that owns Juicy Couture, there was an undeniable touch of melancholy and regret among those of us who were lucky enough to work there before the internet. After Jamie Salter, the founder and CEO of the Iowa-based company that bought SI, said that he envisioned a wide-ranging array of possibilities for branding that even included “medical clinics,” one former SI scribe quipped, “They do realize that Dr. Z wasn’t a real doctor, don’t they?”

Also, Dr. Z., a.k.a. Paul Zimmerman, is dead.

It’s funny. When I arrived at SI in the summer of 1989 I was introduced to a computer system (I’d never spent more than a few minutes on a computer prior) that had an ATEX feature. What ATEX was, and we loved it, was a way for us to send messages back and forth to one another on a computer. We didn’t even have to pick up the phone!

The world was already changing, but unlike ATEX, most advances in technology would only come at a steep price for the publication that was celebrating its 35th anniversary that summer. ESPN’s SportCenter was picking up momentum, replacing your local TV sports guy. SportsCenter showed highlights from every game, not just the ones your hometown team played.

Then the internet came along. The idea of waiting until Thursday to read about the most important sporting event (The Masters, the Super Bowl, the Olympics) that had taken place the previous week ending Sunday suddenly became as preposterous as it must sound to you reading this if you were born after 1990.

And so, as for SI, we must ask the question the magazine has asked every July for more than 20 years: Where are they now?

We plucked this telling item from The Washington Post:

Asked specifically whether Sports Illustrated would prioritize investigative stories, Salter wrote: “Sports Illustrated will continue to be a resource for its readers, providing up-to-the-minute sports news and coverage, thoughtful analysis, and entertaining stories. Our partnership with Meredith is key in continuing to re-build Sports Illustrated into a global platform while disseminating information with integrity and respect.”

That’s not a yes.

You cannot serve two masters. There’s a reason Time-Life publications such as SI used to bang the “separation of church and state” drum so frequently and fervently. Yesterday, SI took its latest step, and perhaps its last, in crossing over to church and state being one and the same.

All Over Again In The Family

We missed last week’s live All In The Family episode, but it got us to thinking about the lyrics and how, 49 years after the series premiered, so little has changed. Remember, these characters are parents who came of age during the Depression and World War II singing these words (we’ve added some updated edits to demonstrate the timeliness of the song in 2019):

Boy the way Glen Miller played, (Elton? Billy Joel?)
Songs that made the hit parade, (American Top 40 with Casey Kasem)
Guys like us we had it made, (“Guys like us” = white males)
Those were the days, 
And you know where you were then, 
Girls were girls and men were men, (No transgender bathrooms)
Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again, (Ronald Reagan)
Didn’t need no welfare states (farming subsidies)
Everybody pulled his weight, (or inherited their wealth)
Gee our old Lasalle ran great, (Dodge Dart)
Those were the days

Far Hampton*

*The judges enthusiastically approve all references to “How I Met Your Mother”

From Little Elm in east Texas to New Zealand in the south Pacific. Why not? R.J. Hampton, a 6’4″ 5-star guard who was poised to choose between the Longhorns and Kansas, has instead announced that he’ll be playing for the New Zealand Breakers next winter in the National Basketball League.

The NBL has 9 teams, eight of which are based in Australia. The closest NBL city to Auckland, where the Breakers are based, is Sydney, which is more than 1,300 miles away. Kinda like flying from New York to New Orleans. The furthest is Perth, which is located about 3,500 miles away. Kinda like flying from Dallas to Honolulu.

Who’s to say whether Hampton is making the right move or not? It’s certainly going to be an adventure, and the NBL season roughly corresponds to a Division I season both in terms of number of games played and time of year. Hampton just won’t have as many of his sweet dimes appear on SportsCenter‘s “Top Plays.”

Oldie But A Goodie

If you find yourself in Las Vegas over the next two weeks, you have a chance to catch Postmodern Jukebox, Scott Bradlee’s rotating band of talented vocalists and musicians who put more classic spins on popular music, perform live. Bradlee, the pianist in most every PMJ video, the sum of which have garnered more than one billion views, was a struggling jazz pianist from New Jersey living in Queens when he hatched the idea for these incredibly addictive videos. We’re hooked.

PMJ has been doing these videos for more than seven years now, but here’s a favorite: Invited by Cosmopolitan mag to come to their offices and do a mash-up of the most popular songs from 2013, Bradlee and friends (including the very popular “Tambourine Guy”) rendered this in just one take.

PMJ definitely has a following, but we won’t rest until we’ve made you sick of us heaping praise on the outfit.

(One of our favorite examples of PMJ’s genius. There are dozens of PMJ covers on YouTube.)

2 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. I would be distraught over SI right now but that role is, er, “being played” at the moment by the ENDING of my co-beloved MONEY magazine! Also owned by HEINOUS MEREDITH CORP. The final issue arrived in my mailbox yesterday. I immediately called their “Customer Service” to find out when I’d receive a REFUND check for my now-defunct subscription & get this, they WERE going to just “transfer” the subscription to another one of their magazines! Without asking! I said “HELL NO, SEND ME MY MONEY!” I’m to get a check in 3 weeks.

    At least SI is supposedly going to continue as an actual magazine for 2 years…. I guess what is happening is actually WORSE than for Money mag, as that is to continue as an online version, with many of their writers continuing while SI has been sold to a complete non-publishing entity who really only cares about whoring the name out to the highest bidders. OMG, it MAKES ME WEEP! For a lifelong mag junkie such as myself, this turn of events had me wishing all last night I could go back in time (sorta like in The Terminator movies) &, ahem, “remove” all those involved in the birth of the internet! Yes, I realize the irony of writing such a wish ON THE INTERNET! sigh.

    I BLAME MILLENNIALS! Would it KILL them to take their eyes off their phones & instead, enjoy the sweet sensation of flipping the glossy pages of a magazine or two? BTW, did you know that they are to pass the Boomers this year in population? Yep, my “tribe” is dying off, day after day, POSSIBLY due to all the angst & grief caused by the Millennials! 😉

  2. If not for the fact that my beloved Sweet Pea WILLINGLY adjoined himself to that hated clusterf*k of a team (oh my gawd, why, WHHYYYYY?!), I’d have been thoroughly enjoying the past 6 weeks of publicized proof that the Lakers are the ‘Titanic of the Hardwood’. Arrogance? check. Hubris? check. Refusing to believe that the ship is goin’ down even when the stern is 100 feet up in the air? check. Heck, they’re ALL a bunch of liars! And piss-poor at their jobs! And back-stabbers! That Mr “I don’t make mistakes” Tragic Johnson (LOL!) whines about “back-stabbing” when he has REPEATEDLY stuck the knife into his supposed beloved “sister” Jeannie Buss would take the prize if not for the “mistakes” quote. Just in that one job, the list of his mistakes is almost too numerous to count. And then there’s all his PREVIOUS FAILURES : coach (terrible), talk-show host (dreadful), TV NBA “analyst” (as ‘penetrating’ as he is shallow).

    I realize many of the anonymous sources in the most recent article have agendas & to believe all would make one naïve if not downright stoopid, but do I believe Magic Johnson would be a HEINOUS boss? Absolutely. Not only is he a screamer & a bully behind closed doors but a guy who will grab ALL THE GLORY of a job well done & accept NO responsibility for minor mistakes let alone total failure. The WORST kind of boss (well, excluding sexual harassers). Once upon a time, I liked Magic Johnson; for his basketball skills but also his personality which SEEMED in minute TV flashes & sound bites as an all-around, super-enthusiastic nice guy. Well, the more I saw & listened to him on TV in his NBA-analyst role several years ago, the more I saw his image was fake.

    Anyhoo, what are the chances ,er, LBJ blows that popstand? If they don’t get a BIG star to join him this summer? I’m thinking 90%! Would he really want to live thru that hell AGAIN?

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