by John Walters

Starting Five

Bears Gone Wild!

At Yosemite National Park in central California, the humans have departed. And now, six weeks or so later, the bears and coyotes and deer have reclaimed the park.

We love it.
Love. It.

No diesel fumes in the air. No noise pollution from thousands of daily tourists. Nature has regained her hold. Like it or not, the planet is a much better place without us. As far as all the other species are concerned, Man is the virus.

Covers Week Continues

If there are three things we love—there are actually more— it’s face-melting covers, all-girl bands, and the unapologetically audacious mid-Seventies rockers Sweet. So while no one will ever top this 1975 performance on Top of the Pops, the Regrettes do their damnedest right here. I wonder if this band has a groupie, for no other reason than that he can begin conversations with, “Regrettes, I’ve had a few…”

Bonin Ribeye

You think you have a good handle on America’ most notorious (known) serial killers. Your friend Maureen, an otherwise pleasant and stable wife and mother of four, constantly suggests true-crime books for you to read. And then without warning you happen upon a trailer for a film that was released in 2002 about a real-life mass murderer named William Bonin.

In 1979 and 1980 Bonin, a Vietnam veteran in his early 30s with a van and a creepy mustache (why anyone was ever dumb enough to take him up on an offer for a ride with those markings is beyond me), murdered and often raped and tortured at least 21 young men in southern California. The number may very well be double that.

Bonin, who recruited at least two friends to join him as accomplices, earned the pseudonym “The Freeway Killer” for where he dumped the bodies. He was captured in the summer of 1980 and executed in 1996. I’d never heard of him before Sunday.

Dining Room Curtain Call

On the Upper West Side, just a few blocks north of MH world headquarters, Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell serenades pedestrians… on Broadway. From his apartment window. Mitchell, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 but has since recovered, sings “The Impossible Dream” a cappella every night. I don’t think he does a Wednesday matinee, though.

This is why we will always love New York.

Sports Year 1882

At a rules meeting, Walter Camp proposes that a team must advance the ball five yards within a span of three downs. Football begins to draw a distinct margin of difference from rugby.


I dunno if he talked the talk, but Littlewood walked the walk

On March 6 in Sheffield, England, George Littlewood shatters the 6-day walking record, covering 531 miles on a track that measures 13 laps to a mile. The record still stands today.


The American Association, an alternative professional baseball league that places franchises in the “southerly cities” of Baltimore, Cincinnati, Louisville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and St. Louis, makes its debut. These are all, with one exception, “river cities,” and the implication is looser morals, more blue-collar fans. As such ticket prices are lower, games are played on Sundays and—fan yourself with a pocket square—alcoholic beverages are sold on site.


In Mississippi City, which is an actual place, John L. Sullivan defeats Paddy Ryan in a 9-round bout to become Heavyweight Champion of America. It is the last major bare-knuckled fight.


In the Wimbledon singles final, William Renshaw disposes of a challenger he knows quite well in five sets: his twin brother Ernest Renshaw.


Great Scot! Bob Ferguson wins his third consecutive British Open championship. Only four men have done so through 2019, though Ferguson was the third to accomplish the feat.


On September 6, the first 100-mile bicycle race in the United States takes place. Seven men ride from Worcester, Mass., to Boston, and it takes the winner nearly 12 hours to finish.

12 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. JW,

    As someone that loves nature and is an active individual, why have you spent half (?) of your life in NYC? I’d think someone with that type of mental makeup would tire of it at some point.

    Not being critical, just curious.

    I was born and raised in rural Nebraska and currently reside in Omaha. I lived in San Francisco for awhile and there is a am absence of green. Sorta depressing, I thought.

    • It’s a good question, Jacob/Jason.

      The answer? Babes.

      No, not really. Not totally.

      Working at SI and NBC, I had the opportunity to travel all over the country and then much of the world. That was too good a deal to pass up. Also, I lived across from Riverside Park, so I walked out my door every morning looking at a forest. And then just beyond that, the Hudson River, the loveliest river east of the Mississippi.

      Also, when the weather improved, I’d make NYC my own national park of sorts. Many is the time I’d climb on my bike and simply explore not only Manhattan but the other boroughs as well as New Jersey. I never found anyone who had the same interest: They were either hard-core cyclists or not at all interested in cycling just to search for hidden bars or eateries. I always found it fascinating.

      One last thing: NYC is a place where you don’t need a car. I always liked that.

      That said, I’m sure I’d be happy waking up every day in Yosemite.

  2. Many years ago, whenever it was that BSM was starring in the revival of Man of LaMancha on Broadway, he performed ‘The Impossible Dream’ live on the Today Show. Normally, I was already at work by the time he appeared but that morning I was waiting for my contracted HVAC guy to come & do the yearly maintenance visit. I also wasn’t usually watching the Today show in those days except during the Olympics, but that morning I clicked it on. I had not known beforehand that BSM would be appearing let alone singing my favorite Broadway song of all time. I also don’t think I knew BSM was even a singer. When he started, I was in the front room of my house, looking out the window for the HVAC guy. But then I heard BSM…..He was FANTASTIC! I was so moved, I remember rushing back to my TV room & over to the couch to sit & watch the rest of his performance. I was teary & shaking! That unexpected performance that morning has become what I measure ALL other stage musical performances. It’s my favorite Impossible Dream performance by anyone, even over when I heard/saw BSM sing it other times on TV. I guess part of it is that it was so unexpected but it was truly glorious.

    I’ve seen Man of LaMancha a few times down in D.C. The one show I remember most starred Raul Julia & Sheena Easton. My seat was in the front row (which I actually hate but had had no choice picking the exact seat) & because of the way they constructed the stage, the 2 stars at one point were less than 4 feet from my face. (Sheena Easton is actually even prettier in person!). What is odd is that even though ‘The Impossible Dream’ is my all-time fave musical song & I like a few other songs from that show, I don’t really like that show that much. 🙂

    Do YOU have a favorite stage musical song &/or performance?

    I was thinking of Katie the other week when I finally got to see The Greatest Showman on TV. Hugh Jackman was fabulous & I LOVED many of the songs however, the entire time I kept thinking this was a STAGE MUSICAL ‘undercover’ (held hostage?) on film.

      • Alas, Pippen is one of the shows I’ve never seen on stage. Along with Rent, Wicked, & Hamilton; all of which I HOPE to see one day! Plus, any other show from the last 14 years as that is that last time I went to the theatre. 🙁

        William Katt – is he the guy in The Greatest American Hero TV series?

        And even though I never saw the show, I think I remember that song! Probably from a performance on a TV talk/variety show on the Tony Awards. 🙂

          • Correct. “Pippen,” a musical about a talented but grumpy 2nd banana who, to be fair, was woefully underpaid relative to his teammates, never made it past previews. One reviewer wryly noted, “Like Scottie did in the 1994 postseason, I’d advise you sit this play out.”

        • I just listened to your song & read the lyrics. Not only do I now realize I’ve heard it many times, there are 2 lines that describe YOU to a “T” :

          “And don’t you see I want my life to be
          Something more than long”

          You wrote almost the exact same thing just a few weeks ago! Were you singing it at the time? 🙂

        • Seen all the ones you mentioned (and hardly any more than that the past 20 years). Rent, with its original cast, is the best show I’ve ever seen in person and I’d put “No Day But Today” in a close 2nd place behind “Corner of the Sky.”

          Never knew this before yesterday, but William Katt was seriously considered for the role of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. Lots of things would have gone differently for him had that happened.

  3. One more thing today – a few years ago, I started disliking Elon Musk, both personally & by the way he handled his businesses. That dislike has only intensified & now, the way he has acted during this crisis has him barely one step above The Sociopath in my view.

    Teslas may be great cars (I wouldn’t know), the technology may be great & “help save the planet” but I’d rather throw my money down the toilet (or, um, in the next CHK stock which is the same thing…..) than to put it in any company owned or managed by Musk.

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