by John Walters

Miller Time

The plethora of poor-taste puns possible involving the Brandon Miller situation and his 41-point performance last night are too numerous to consider here (the number alone reminds us of Springsteen’s “41 Shots”). Miller also scored the game-winner in overtime at South Carolina.

If you’re not aware, the Alabama forward is a legit first-team All-America who last month provided his teammate, Darius Miles, with the gun that would be used in a murder that night.

This is possibly the Tide’s best basketball team ever, and Miller its best player. So, unless Miller is charged as an accessory—and he hasn’t been—head coach Nate Oats is going to let him play. Which he did and then some at South Carolina last night.

We don’t know what the right answer is. We do know that Oats said he reached out to Ray Lewis for guidance immediately after the incident, which seems a little strange. We also remember when first-team All-American Steve Alford was suspended for a game for posing for a poster whose proceeds went directly to charity.

As a “sports nation,” we lost our way decades ago. All that’s left now is to measure the degrees of degenerate behavior, both by players and “leaders” alike.

Thoughts On Wordle

Over the weekend we passed the 100 Games Played mark on Wordle. If you do not play Wordle, The New York Times makes one game available daily. The object of the game is to correctly guess that day’s five-letter word (e.g., GUESS) and you get six chances. After each guess, the board tells you if the letter appears in the word in the right spot (green box), if it appears in the word but in the wrong place (yellow), or if it does not appear in the word at all (gray).

A few thoughts on Wordle, and you’re invited to share yours:

A) I like to use a different starting word each day to keep it fun. Sure, you can use “AUDIO” each morning, as it may be the only five-letter word with four vowels (and every single word has a vowel or “y” in it), but where’s the fun in that? So I like to mix it up. You?

B) The scariest words are the ones that by changing only one letter have many possibilities. Example: “NIGHT” could also be “RIGHT,” “MIGHT,” “SIGHT,” “TIGHT,” “LIGHT,” or “FIGHT.” If you find yourself at “_IGHT” after a couple of guesses, your best next guess is to use a word with as many as those possible first letters in it, as opposed to hoping for the correct guess.

C) Occasionally, Wordle is going to provide a word you never use in everyday parlance. Or almost never use: “CHARD” and “RIPER” have tripped me up. “MUCKY” almost did. And “RIPER” reminds me: any word that has two of the same letter always has the potential to wreck you.

D) It’s an addictive game. Thank God there’s only one a day. I find myself thinking of five-letter words far too much. Thinking of possible starter words with three vowels (QUOTE, VOICE, IRATE, VAGUE, RAISE) and also of words that would make great answers, such as ABYSS or GHOST.

E) I like that Wordle provides one’s personal stats: % of times the player has gotten the day’s word as opposed to missing out on all six tries, as well as where player has guessed correctly (for example, how many times on the 4th try, or the 3rd try, etc.). If your Wordle % is 99% or higher after 100 games, let us know in the comments.

What’s Ursine

The best film of 2023 opens tomorrow: Cocaine Bear. Above is the only promotion you need to see.

Oddly enough, this same weekend TCM is canceling its TCM Underground series, which runs each week at 2 a.m. EST Saturdays. Odd, because this movie is perfect for its lineup.

Hollywood Death Irony (Add To Cart)

Remember when we did that item a week or so ago about Hollywood legends presaging their deaths in film (Carole Lombard, James Dean, etc.)? We have another to add to list: John Cazale. In the 1975 film Dog Day Afternoon, Cazale plays a bank robber/hostage taker along with his The Godfather brother, Al Pacino (weirdly, Pacino’s character is named Sonny, their other brother in the two classic films).

Anyway, there’s a scene where a female hostage is about to light a cigarette, and Cazale’s character, Sal, says he does not smoke because he does not want to die of cancer. “Your body is the temple of the Lord,” Sal says. The irony being that Cazale in real life was a chain smoker who would be dead two years later, at age 42, from lung cancer.


Dollar Quiz

  1. In Greek mythology, who stole fire from Mount Olympus and gave it to mortals?
  2. Movie that features “Guido The Killer Pimp?”* Extra credit if you can tell what landmark series the actor later appeared in.
  3. True/False: Frank “Home Run” Baker never had a season in which he led the majors in home runs.
  4. Provide a wild animal that is a 3-letter word, 4-letter word, etc., up to a 9-letter word.
  5. The last northeastern school north of State College, Pa., to win a college football national championship (voted on by at least two news services) was?

11 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. 1. I don’t know who stole the fire, just that Billy Joel didn’t start it.
    2. Risky Business, Moonlighting
    3. False
    4. Gnu, Bear, Horse, Badger, Penguin, Elephant, Wolverine
    5. Army

    • I am a 99%er at Wordle after 356 games played.
      My last miss was fairly recent, however. How I stumbled on “STAGE”, I will never know.
      We play as a family, and text our daily result to the group.
      I use a different starter word almost every day.
      Today I used “GLEAM” and that was a good choice 🙂

  2. After 383 played, I’m at 99%. Have missed 6. My 122 game streak snapped at riper the other day. Average is 4.07 or 29 over par with par being 4.

  3. The beauty of Wordle is that it is an easy game (the success rate for all players is over 95%) that doesn’t FEEL easy, as anyone who has agonized over the fifth or sixth guess knows. It also takes only a few minutes to play, and the fact that only one game is available per day is perfect, because you don’t get tired of it, like sudoku or some other puzzle.

    Re Guido the Killer Pimp, TJ is correct as to the actor who used the term, but I’d bet your clue was referring to the actor playing Guido himself. That actor’s subsequent landmark series included his character’s head ending up in a bowling ball bag.

  4. You people are SMART.

    I was at 98% until RIPER tripped me up. My last two guesses were WIPER and PIPER.

    Wally’s thoughts on Wordle are spot-on. It’s addictive because it only does appear once daily and also it feels challenging most days but still there’s a 95% or above success rate.

    And Wally also has it correct about Guido The Killer Pimp. TJ was acknowledging (correctly) the character who used the term, but not the character himself. Wally accurately tells us what series he wound up in without giving away the answer.

  5. I’m at 99% with 399 games played. Current streak is 192. My brothers & I do a variety of what we call “rdles” and share our scores. I don’t complete all of them every day, but we have fun with it. I believe the current list is: Wordle, sedecordle (16 wordles at the same time), duotrigordle (32 wordles at the same time), heardle (progressively longer clips of the start of a song and you have to get the artist & song), Poeltl (guess an NBA player based on conference, division, height, age, jersey number)

  6. I am at 100% with 420 games played. Only gotten to 6 guesses, 21 times.

    I do use the same three words to start every game and then it becomes an adventure if I don’t enough of the right letters.

    Jeremy didn’t mention Nerdle which is a math version. And Crosswordle, which is like doing Wordle in reverse

    • I think that if you play Wordle in “hard mode” you can’t use this three-guess strategy, nor can you use JW’s strategy for solving RIGHT, TIGHT, SIGHT puzzles. There is (as with virtually everything) an online Wordle subculture that would be happy to discuss the two modes with you at such length as to suck all enjoyment out of the game.

  7. Hard mode is the way to go. My streak ended on vacation when I forgot to play one day. Oh well.

    Riper was probably the worst word yet. I thought I read something that they wouldn’t use plurals or superlatives. I guessed ripen second that day and was celebrating until the n came up grey.

  8. New Dollar Quiz (for those missing JW’s and are weird like me and check the comments a week after the last It’s All Happening post):

    1) What are the dimensions of a standard NHL hockey puck (width/height)?
    2) How many stitches are on a standard MLB baseball?
    3) Which president and his wife attended Napoleon’s coronation at Notre Dame Cathedral?
    4) Which country has the most pyramids?
    5) Besides Medium Happy, Sports Illustrated and The Athletic, name another publication site that has published John Walters.

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