by John Walters
Edina-sty In The Making
Last week Edina (Minn.) High School won the boys state golf championship in the Land of 10,000 Water Hazards. This is fabulous news because the Hornets are coached by our favorite coach in any sport at any level, Mike McCollow (better known as Katie’s Husband). The Hornets led by three strokes after the first day (each school sends six golfers out, and the four best scores are kept), but then won going away, by 14 strokes, though their state co-medalist (i.e. individual champ), Jack Wetzel, played his final three holes in a driving rainstorm. It’s Minnesota. These are hearty people.
It’s a feel-good story, as Mike took a bunch of hard-scrabble kids from the wrong side of the arboretum and molded them into a cohesive unit of strokers (and we all know how difficult it can be to get high school boys to stroke units cohesively). Kind of Stand And Deliver meets Tin Cup. Among others, Mike received congratulatory calls from Bill Self (one of his closest friends, whose own championship this year was also kinda cool) and Steve Rushin (who once hit a tee shot into an adjacent lumber yard and proclaimed, “Two…. by fore!”). On to the next one.
You Can Call Me Ray
In the Mekong Delta of Cambodia, behold the largest freshwater fish ever caught on record. This stingray measures nearly 13 feet long and weighs almost 600 pounds. We’re happy to report it was tagged and released in order to some day terrify Charlie as he’s doing 20 clicks en route to the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Go, Go Joseph
We have yet to see Top Gun: Maverick, and we doubt that we will in the near future. It’s not that we don’t love Tom Cruise (we do, though we prefer him as Jerry Maguire of Joel Goodson or Stefan Djordjevic or even Jack Reacher), it’s just that—and correct us if we’re wrong—there’s something so MAGA about getting your rocks off cheering for America military prowess knowing that there is an actual battle out there that needs fighting and the U.S. is not lifting a trigger finger (besides sending $$$) to help.
We sent troops to Korea. To Vietnam. To Iraq. To Afghanistan. And to countless trouble spots in Africa and at a small liberal arts college in Ohio. So why not send troops to Ukraine? Now, the classic I-haven’t-thought-about-it-much-but-Tucker-Carlson-says-it-so-it-must-be-true response is, “You don’t wanna start Word War III.” Well, here’s a newsflash: Vladimir Putin already did so, a day or two after the Winter Olympics ended.
Taking Ukraine, for Russia, is not just about occupying the land. It has numerous collateral advantages, such as driving up fuel prices world wide, which puts the current White House administration in a bad position, as higher fuel prices jack up the price of everything else (hello, INFLATION!). It also creates a massive food shortage and famine in other parts of the world (Ukraine is Europe’s breadbasket), which helps to destabilize other democratically-elected governments. Do you really believe that Putin and Steve Bannon and Mitch McConnell did not take all of this into consideration before Russian troops began shelling Kyiv last February? Certainly they did.
One major criticism of Democrats—and it is most always valid—as that they are frustratingly milquetoast. It may soon be too late for them to have a say in the matter. So what are we espousing? The U.S. (and perhaps other NATO countries) should stop worrying about potential ramifications and do the right thing, not just by President Zelensky and his people, but by the U.S.A. We SHOULD send troops into Ukraine and also provide air cover in Ukraine. The same Republicans who were in favor of Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan will, shockingly, be against this. Even though the principle is the same. Maybe because for once we would not be fighting brown people. Or because it wasn’t their idea. Or, most likely, because anything that behooves Putin and Russia also behooves them.
But we have the moral authority to assist Ukraine. And as good a job as Ukraine has done for three-plus months, they may not be able to sustain it. And then where will the rest of the world be? But Ukraine’s relative success at frustrating the supposedly far superior Russian military underlines that Putin’s troops are poorly trained and also know their invasion is unjust. We could be heroes. While also showing the big bully on the Eastern bloc that he’s really not all that much.
Would Russia really launch a nuke, anywhere? Not unless Putin is suicidal. Might he be at some point? I don’t know, but to us the risk of not acting here has far graver consequences. Meanwhile, gas prices remain high, Fox News continuously blames it on the administration knowing that’s not the real reason but also knowing too many Americans at this stage don’t bother to do the math themselves. The Dems, and Biden, instead of sitting back and hoping that America begins subscribing to The Atlantic and Washington Post, should do something every red-meated American can understand: punch back at a bully.
Maybe then I’ll go see Top Gun: Maverick.
The Power Of The Dogs
The photo alone should win a Pulitzer Prize. It’s from a story in The New York Times about three bitches who traveled 1,300 miles across Africa to forge a new beginning for themselves. I imagine they’ll be launching a podcast soon.
What if First Take, or Meet The Press, or Crossfire, were reimagined at a Renaissance Fair? Here it is, America: pan-slapping.