by John Walters

Greta The Great!

If you didn’t know the 16 year-old Swede before yesterday, you may know here now. Greta Thunberg, who first gained attention last summer when she demonstrated outside of the Swedish parliament to call for climate action, was invited to speak at the United Nations yesterday, where dozens of world leaders have gathered this week (and clogged up traffic from Sixth Avenue east). She did not squander her moment.

“We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of economic growth. How dare you!” Take that and stick it up your corn hole, Joe Kernen.

Of course, it only took a few hours for a guest on Fox News to refer to her as “mentally ill” and for Laura Ingraham to refer to her as “Children of the Corn,” and you wonder at what age do people’s hearts die. Or maybe it’s not a matter of what age they reach, but how much income they’ve earned.

Spooky Castle*

*The judges are soliciting your help for a better headline

This is Dunstanburgh Castle in northern England, or at least the remains of the 14th-century fortification, located in Northumberland on the coast of the North Sea. Doesn’t look like all that much in the light of day…

…but then when the sun goes down and what with the Northern Lights and all, it becomes a Tim Burton soundstage. Bucket list wish: see the Northern Lights.

Trump, Biden, Whistleblowers and Nepotism

The latest, “Oh, he’s gone entirely too far!” episode involving our beloved 45th president involves him personally ordering his staff to freeze more than $391 million in aid to Ukraine in the days before he pressed the new Ukrainian president to investigate the Democrats’ leading presidential candidate. Two White House officials have confirmed this.

Now, we can have a separate debate as to why Uncle Sam is writing out such robust checks to any foreign government when our educational system is bankrupt and we can hardly keep grizzly bears out of classrooms because of it. Sure. But this is a pure Mob Boss move on the president’s part: I’m going to give Ukraine a taste of the pain I can unleash if it doesn’t play ball with me.

Meanwhile, Dems in Washington fluttered their hankies anew at the report and some wondered if they might have to change their reservations at Charlie Palmer. My Lord, what a bunch of feckless milquetoasts.

On the other hand, if you read this story, Trump does have a point: why did a Ukrainian petroleum company take on Hunter Biden, who does have a law degree, at $50,000 per month when he had no previous expertise in the industry or Ukraine? To get closer to his dad, of course. Now, sure, it’s funny that Donald Trump of all people would call out nepotism (he’s been both the beneficiary of it and he’s now passing it on to his kids), but yeah, the Bidens don’t come off as altogether wonderful. Don’t you just miss the days when Leo McGarry’s daughter was simply an attractive school marm that Sam Seaford could hit on….?

King Gone

After playing four games, and losing three of them, University of Houston senior quarterback D’Eriq King has opted to take a mulligan on the remainder of 2019. Because the new redshirt rule allows you to play up to four games without it costing against your season, King is eligible to return next year and play for the Cougars. Or, having auditioned in front of Lincoln Riley and 90,000 Sooner fans on September 1st in Houston’s season-opening loss at Oklahoma, he could become the third Texas-based QB in the past five years to transfer to Norman (after Baker and Kyler, who both went on to win the Heisman). Stay tuned.

One of King’s favorite targets, Keith Corbin, will also shut it down the rest of 2019. First-year Houston coach Dana Holgorsen, in our opinion, should just thank the two of them and tell them to get lost for good. And while you’re at it GET OFFA MY LAWN!

It’s All Downhill From Here

No human being has ever run a marathon in under two hours, even though that will likely happen in the next 20 years. Organizers of an event in Andalusia, Spain, can’t wait that long. With the aid of a 6,358-foot decline from starting line to finish, they were hoping to produce the first sub-2-hour marathon this weekend.

Didn’t happen.

Kenyan Anthony Kiringa broke the tape in 2:09, though his 30-K split (about 18-mile mark) was faster than fellow Kenyan Eliud Chipkoge’s split at the Berlin Marathon last year when Chipkoge set the world record at the 26.2-mile distance at 2:01:39.

Of course, if Kipchoge had run in Spain on Sunday he might’ve crushed the two-hour barrier but it would not be an official time, owing to the dramatic altitude decline on the course.

Personal memory: In 2006 we ran an all-downhill half-marathon in Fontana, Calif. The objective was achieved: our fastest half-marathon ever (about 1:21 as I recall). But we wrecked our quads for about two weeks. Here’s how crazy that race was: We finished in the top 10 but at least three runners ahead of us dropped out. Fast runners don’t ordinarily drop out of half-marathons. They did so because they’d been hammering their quads for 10-12 miles at that point and their muscles could no longer take the stress. Run a downhill marathon or half- at your own risk.

Music 101

Where The Bands Are

This song never made a Bruce Springsteen album, so as we belatedly celebrate his 70th birthday, we take note of it and offer that it would have fit perfectly on The River. By the way, all of the footage in this video is from before, during and after his November 5, 1980 show at the Arizona State University Activity Center (now Wells Fargo Arena) that my sister worked as an usher and scored me a ticket to but Phyllis wouldn’t let me attend because it was a school night. I’m not quite over it yet.

Remote Patrol

Country Music

8 p.m. PBS

Waylon & Willie, R to L

So both Phyllis and Susie B. have been chatting up this latest Ken Burns’ documentary (Burns has now done series on Baseball, The Civil War, World War II, Vietnam and this; let me throw out his next two for him, “The Movies” and “Rock ‘n Roll”) and even though we’re catching it nearer to the end, here’s hoping/guessing that PBS will re-air it plenty.

3 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. It is hard to imagine D’riq King transferring to Oklahoma, with Spencer Rattler being molded as the first QB to be taught by Riley from start to finish.

    Obviously, no promises are made and words are hollow when it comes to assurances in the college football world.

  2. Last night’s episode of Country Music was the best yet! It doesn’t shy away from what was happening in the country & last night’s episode highlighted the years 1968-1972; the MOST contentious/nasty/scary time of my lifetime (until NOW of course…). Actually, when I was seeing/remembering the Vietnam footage & the various protests & the narrator mentioning how this was the most divided our country had been since the Civil War, it reminded me that even though this CURRENT time is one of division & nastiness, it still hasn’t quite escalated to the level of the late 60s to early 70s. But, here’s the thing – to CHANGE anything, maybe we NEED to get to that level? When I was a kid, I HATED that time as it was damn right scary. I appreciated it later of course for what it achieved, but at the time, no. (I was a KID!) To take back our country from the neo-fascist GOP, maybe we must start PROTESTING DAILY, IN THE MILLIONS. Would a culture now glued to their “devices” have the stamina?

    Anyhoo, I was correct – George Jones was one of last night’s featured artists. And so was Kris Kristofferson, a guy whose background did not seem to prophesize a career in country music, to put it mildly. I’ve known for many years of course, that he was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford & that he’d been some kind of military guy but I didn’t know the extent (his father was a general in the Air Force) & that he was 29 before he “stopped off in Nashville” on his way to a new job as an instructor at West Point. For 4 years he did mostly janitor work at Columbia Records while waiting for his break to become a songwriter. His then-wife divorced him & his mother sent him a letter stating he was NOT to call or ever come home as he was a disgrace & embarrassment to the family. (Damn!). Johnny Cash took a liking to him & was one of his early benefactors.

    Speaking of Johnny, last night’s episode showed highlights from Cash’s TV show & unlike Porter’s, it was one I & my friends definitely watched. You may have still been too young at the time, but you’d appreciate that show today – he constantly had ALL kinds of musical artists on the show & he was one of the rare country artists at the time that spoke out against the Vietnam war but also supported the troops (often, in person).

    I was very disappointed with Burns’ WWII series, partly because I was expecting SO much, but this series is my 2nd favorite after The Civil War. You don’t have to like ALL kinds of “country music” (I still can’t quite appreciate the very early years, which I find “tinny” & “twangy”) to enjoy the series, but the mixture of national & regional history, mixed with personal stories & the various ‘branches’ of country music is just utterly absorbing. That so many of the early superstars died young, tragic deaths just seems to cement them into what we define ‘country music’ today. Brenda Lee had a good line about George Jones last night & I think it could also define many of the genre’s stars : “he didn’t just sing country music, he WAS country music”.

    I believe the series has 8 episodes & tonight is #6. I also read that the series ends in the mid-90s for some reason. If so, that will be my only real complaint.

  3. Another Ken Burns masterpiece!

    Got to meet Bruce that night and got that Gift for you. Got hell for my late return home that night, but worth it!! I heard the call— “it’s town full of losers, we’re pulling outta here to win”

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