by John Walters


*The judges will also accept “Dead-On Wood” but will not accept “Royz ‘N The Hood”

If you missed Roy Wood, Jr.’s keynote speech at Saturday evening’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner, here’s your chance to catch it. It was fantastic. Unlike some other comics who’ve taken the podium previously (and also killed), there’s a down-home, regular-guy aspect to Wood that makes it impossible for even those who might say so to refer to him as “elite.”

Wood had arrows for everyone. Some were Nerf arrows, but others drew blood. He told the audience to stop worrying about kids being groomed at school by drag queens because they’d probably die in a mass shooting, anyway. When that drew groans, he shot back, “Don’t groan. Pass some legislation.”

The HBCU grad saved his sharpest tip for Clarence Thomas, with a line whose set-up came a full minute or two earlier. He referred back to it, subtly, and it was a thing of beauty. I don’t want to spoil it here. If you are unfamiliar with Wood’s work on The Daily Show, maybe this is a reason to tune in.

Also, I came across two funny lines from black comics on Instagram. The first is from Wood, who notes that an abundance of American flags in one area (I live in such a community that overdoes it with the red, white and blue) has that whiff of racism. Wood asks, “How many American flags equals one Confederate flag?” Bingo.

The second is from a comic I didn’t know, but see if you don’t like the line as much as I do. “To a lot of Americans, black people are what pennies are to a cashier. Yes, you’ve got to accept them, but if anyone shows up with more than a handful you’re not happy.”

Gordon Lightfoot

Canadian singer/songwriter, Yacht Rock HOF’er Gordon Lightfoot passed yesterday at the age of 84. Lightfoot will forever be remembered as the man who penned one of the more incongruous chart toppers of the Seventies, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” Here was a ballad about a ship that sank in a storm in Lake Superior, a true story that had taken place just one year before its 1976 release.

If you were a child of the Seventies and your parents listened to AM radio in the car, you’re familiar with Lightfoot’s three TOP FIVE hits: the aforementioned, which reached No. 2, “Sundown,” which went to No. 1, and my personal favorite, “If You Could Read My Mind,” from 1970, which topped out at No. 5.

Certain songs immediately transport you across the decades. That last one puts me in the back seat of my parents’ wood-paneled Chevy station wagon as we drive to the beach or to the home of one of our countless Italian relatives or maybe even just on a get-lost Sunday drive.

What Joni Mitchell was to singing/songrwriting for Canadians, Lightfoot was her male counterpart. Thank you, Gordon. RIP.

Ted Lasso Discovers Johan Cruyff

The last two episodes of Ted Lasso. Wow. So much to say, but I’ll limit my comments. The first finds the team in Amsterdam playing a midseason friendly versus Dutch power Ajax and getting waxed, 5-0. First, the little I understand about EPL, midseason friendlies between club teams from different leagues are highly, highly unlikely. But that’s neither here nor there.

The episode was shot in Amsterdam and it’s partly a travelogue and a love letter to that magical city of canals and pancakes and hash. In the early 2000s, before Jason Sudeikis had even made it to 30 Rock and SNL, he was part of an improv troupe along with Brendan Hunt (Coach Beard) called Boom Chicago. It was there that the two first developed an interest in football; so this episode was their prayer of thanks, in a way.

But it was also an ingenious means of steering the ship onto its homeward course (the series ends after this season, I believe), and it ties Ted Lasso’s hopelessly American sports brain to the future of FC Richmond. Sitting alone in an American-themed restaurant, Lasso watches footage of the 1992 Chicago Bulls playing the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. He hears the announcer intone about Tex Winter’s triangle offense and how it works. Inspiration comes to Ted: Why can’t we do something like that with 11 players on the pitch instead of five on the hardwood?

When Ted shares his epiphany with the ever-studious Coach Beard, the latter asks Ted if he came up with that on his own. Yes, Ted says. Coach Beard congratulates him and informs him that he’s just discovered “Total Football,” which was the Dutch squad’s innovative strategy that took them as a decided underdog all the way to the finals of the 1974 World Cup (where they lost to Germany).

In the subsequent (most recent) episode. Coach Beard gives the Richmond squad (and, more importantly, us the viewers) a brief history lesson on Total Football. He expounds on how the Dutch were led by all-timer Johan Cruyff (their Michael Jordan) but how they played more as a synergistic group in flow than as a one-man band (i.e., Zava).

Next, he tells them how Cruyff went on to a highly successful coaching career at FC Barcelona, where one of his star players was Pep Guardiola, who is now the manager at Manchester City. All true. But here is where Ted Lasso receives an unexpected boost from current events. Right now Manchester City is looking, in real life, to win the Premier League and has advanced to the semifinals of the Champions League. They’re also still in the running for the championship of the FA Cup.

The last time a single club has won all three, i.e., pulled a treble, in one season? The year was 1999 and the squad was Manchester United (helmed by David Beckham).

Kind of a spoiler alert here: the full transformation of Jamie Tartt from self-absorbed diva to Richmond’s Cruyff is the signature victory of Lasso’s tenure at Richmond. It is the embodiment of all that he was trying to instill in and teach his squad. What’s the fourth factor, thus far, unnamed? Initially I thought it was “Trust,” but now I believe it is either “love” or “sacrifice.” Kinda the same thing in this context, no?

Also, when Sam and his dad entered Ola’s and the team were inside, cleaning up the joint?… I gotta admit, a tear welled up in my eyes. That’s what great shows do.

An aside: Did Rebecca or did she not get impregnated on that houseboat by the charming bachelor who reminded me a little too much of Tom Tolbert? If so, is he the same Dutch guy who’s been ordered to stop donating sperm due to his 500 fertility clinic offspring? Geez, dude, give it a rest. Literally.

Is This Simply A Meme For Grad School At Cronkite-ASU?

Dollar Quiz

  1. Who was the first president (while president) to survive an assassination attempt?
  2. Who beat USC in a bowl game last season? (I know you know this one, it’s just fun to remind everyone)
  3. What, in ancient Roman times, was considered the first month of the year?
  4. What do you call an atom that does not have the same number of protons as electrons?
  5. What country is Nikola Jokic from?

4 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. 1. Jackson
    2. Tulane
    3. July
    4. Ion
    5. Serbia

    Not a basketball or football guy but thought I’d give it a shot since I actually knew a couple answers.

  2. Does anyone know where the love of God goes
    When the waves turn the minutes to hours?

    Unforgettable. ❤️

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