by John Walters

Yesterday’s answers: 1) North 2) Denny McClain 3) Dizzy Dean 4) Michigan and Virginia 5) We can take Minneapolis, San Diego/Buffalo, Philadelphia, Kansas City-Omaha, Cincinnati

Summer Of Louvre

Thankfully, you have me (and I have SportsBrain) to keep us apprised of budding Olympic superstars about whom we should know. And will be hearing plenty about soon. To wit (or is “To whit?” Nope, it’s the former), 16 year-old Canadian swimming sensation Summer McIntosh.

Two summers ago in Japan, McIntosh was the youngest member of Canada’s Olympic team and achieved a fourth-place finish in the 400-meter freestyle. Since then the Toronto native, whose mom swam for Canada at the Olympics, has become the youngest world champion in more than a decade. In the past fortnight McIntosh has set two world records, both in popular events: 400 free and 400 IM.

McIntosh should compete directly against America’s reigning Summer Olympics queen, Katie Ledecky, next summer in Paris. She’ll still be only 17 (will turn 18 one week after Games conclude). Last month in Florida McIntosh became the first person to beat Ledecky in a race on U.S. soil in nearly a decade. This will be THE rivalry of the Paris Olympics. And NBC couldn’t be more excited.

(yes, McIntosh is only 17… the promotion of her beauty will be very carefully managed as a way of attracting TV audiences while not at the same time attracting producers from NBC’s own “To Catch A Predator.”)


*The judges realize that’s typically ascribed to Australia, not New Zealand.

Don’t know how (blame it on algorithms or ChatGPT, which we do not at all understand) this dude showed up on my Instagram feed (I don’t do TikTok, but this is pretty much the same, no?), but someone with the name “Cambostock” is hiking the length of New Zealand. Apparently there’s a country-length, north-to-south walking trail known as the Te Araroa that stretches roughly 1,800 miles.

Curious fact, as I looked into it: New Zealand is dreadfully bereft of land-based wildlife. You’re not gonna have to worry about any bears or leopard/cougar types stalking you. They don’t even have any kangaroos. The kiwi itself is just an ugly bird. So enjoy the scenery, but the wildlife is a bit wanting.

Currently our solitary hero, who checks in daily and provides about a minute-length video each time, is on Day 29. If you’ve never been to New Zealand and want to see more of it than just what the Lord Of The Rings trilogy provided, I recommend a follow. Thus far, no sign of Smiegel (alas).

Where Are We Headed?

If you have Netflix, I highly recommend the 2007 film Charlie Wilson’s War, which was just added. The movie was not even nominated for Best Picture that year (arguably the strongest year, after 2015, of this century with No Country For Old Men beating out There Will Be Blood and Michael Clayton for BP) even with a murderer’s row of talent: director Mike Nichols (his final film), writer Aaron Sorkin, and a cast that includes Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Amy Adams and Philip Seymour Hoffman (who was nominated for BSA, but did not win).

Anyway, early in the film Hanks’ titular Texas congressman meets with a constituent/donor who is upset about the ACLU filing suit against a nativity scene being put up at a fire station. He reminds Wilson that “this is a Christian country,” etc. So this is a film made 16 years ago, depicting a time 25 years earlier, and the sentiments that exist now existed then.

No surprise.

What is worth noting is how much bolder the constituents and pols in certain states (I believe they’re known as “red”) have become about returning this country to what I refer to as “Puri-tyrannical times.”

The abortion debate is well-known, but is that not providing cover for more insane legislation such as banning books (we’re banning books in the 21st century?!?) and now, in one state, defunding libraries?

And while I would not claim that the general public is fine with this, it feels as if there should be a greater uproar. There’s one political party in this country that is actively engaged in keeping people ignorant, in not allowing them to be exposed to ideas (except those in the Bible, which let’s face it, they can quote but they don’t actually read for context), and in making our laws concerning rape and abortion more similar to those in countries such as Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

I don’t want to leap into an abortion debate, but honestly, if there is someone reading this who is not appalled by the idea of banning books or defunding libraries, I’d love to hear your arguments in favor.

At the end of Charlie Wilson’s War, after the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have spent $1 billion in a covert war in Afghanistan to repel Russian advances and succeeded, Wilson meets with the same pols who rubber-stamped all that military spending and asks for $1 million to fund a school in Afghanistan. That’s 1/1,000th of what they’ve spent on weapons. His request is denied.

The film draws a subtle, but not indirect, line between our squandered opportunity to educate young Afghan men and the 9/11 attacks. That may be a little too clean an explanation. But there is just a little truth to it, no? Ignorance breeds holy warriors. On either side of the Atlantic.

Dollar Quiz

  1. Twice in Oscar history two people have won an Oscar for portraying the same character. Name at least one time (the character and the two people).
  2. Who is baseball’s all-time hits leader among players not born in the United States?
  3. What state is ranked 49th in population density (least dense)?
  4. What were the most popular early bicycles called (two words)?
  5. Baking soda has one ingredient. What is it?

4 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. 1. Heath Ledger & Joaquin Phoenix for playing the Joker.
    2. Pujols
    3. Wyoming
    4. Penny Farthing (my brother in-law has one!)
    5. Sodium Bicarbonate

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