IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Bez Lightyear

To infinity and beyond… The world’s wealthiest man, Jeff Bezos, is off to space. Bezos, whose net worth is approaching infinity ($186 billion), will be a passenger next month on the maiden voyage of his own Blue Origin space tourism rocket. The flight will hit apogee at 62 miles above the Earth’s surface—your 747 passenger jet goes between 7 and 8 miles high (hence the song). Or, as you know it, the thermosphere.

If you’re wondering, Bezos is virtually uninsurable. You have to admire the moxie, but this is a great case study as to A) If you had all the money in the world, what would you do with it? and B) All the money in the world will not buy you more time.

Look Who’s Back

Today our favorite business show, CNBC’s “Squawk On The Street,” returned to their set at the New York Stock Exchange for the first time since mid-March, 2020. Host Carl Quintanilla, David “The Brain” Faber and Jim “Mad Money” Cramer are reunited on-set for the first time in nearly 15 months.

Seven Up-Side Down

Over the weekend gymnast Simone Biles won her 7th U.S. Gymnastics title. What is there to say that looking at the above video wouldn’t say better?

CONCACAFe Latte

The U.S.A. defeated Mexico in the CONCACAF championship in extra time, in Denver. Christian Pulisic, who only eight days earlier was on the pitch in Portugal for Chelsea as it won the Champions League final, scored the winning goal on a penalty kick. Then backup keeper Ethan Horvath made the save of his life to secure it.

No-Fly Zone?*

*The judges will also accept “Pant-demic”

Twitter was giddy over the weekend when it looked as if Donald Trump was wearing his slacks backwards during his appearance at a GOP rally in Greenville, N.C. Something about it doesn’t matter where the fly is if you’re wearing diapers. Some folks in digital media pored over the video footage as if it was the Zapruder-film and the verdict is appears to be that even though Trump’s political goals are to move this country backwards, his pants were in fact on forward.

Also, have you ever noticed how Trump’s arms hang sort of limp at his side often? As if his elbows don’t work. What is that?

29:06.82

In her adopted native country of the Netherlands, Ethiopian-born distance runner Sifan Hassan shattered the women’s world record for the 10,000 meters with the time above. Hassan’s 10-K feat bettered the existing world record, set at the 2016 Rio Olympics by Ethiopian Almaz Ayana, by more than 10 seconds.

Two notes: 1) In the past 10 months, the men’s and women’s world records in both the 5,000 and 10,000 (four records in all) and 2) Hassan, a refugee who fled Ethiopia at age 16, now owns the world record in the 5,000, 10,000 and mile, and 3) the men’s WR for the 10,000 is 26:11.

The Early Eighties Super Bowl We All Wanted

That’s Alabama’s Montana Fouts (no relation to either), who on Friday night pitched only the fifth perfect game in the history of the Women’s College Softball World Series. Fouts struck out 14 UCLA hitters as the Tide defeated the Bruins, 6-0. This was the first WCSWS perfect game in more than 20 years.

And to top it off, Fouts pitched this gem on her 21st birthday.

Montana Fouts. But yeah, we’d have loved to see the San Francisco 49ers versus the San Diego Chargers in a Super Bowl in the 1980s. Dan Fouts slingin’ it to Kellen Winslow, Wes Chandler and Charlie Joiner versos Joe Montana tossin’ it to Dwight Clark and Jerry Rice. Too bad those Chargers never got there.

Whaddaya Think, Skipper?

The Kid

…. won with his Suns pick last Thursday night. He’s now 12-7 and at $920.

We’ll wait to see who he picks today.

UPDATE: About two hours ago The Kid texted and said he was taking Vietnam minus-260 versus Indonesia in an Asian World Cup qualifier. The Kid actually had intel on ‘nam (if only Gen. Westmoreland had had it… too soon?).

So risking $260 to win $100 with Vietnam. Beware the quagmire.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Coach 401-K

Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, the most successful, and perhaps most influential coach of the past four decades, announces that he will retire after next season. Coach K, 74, has won five national titles in Durham and won 1,170 games (361 defeats). Among D-I men’s coaches, only John Wooden has won more national titles and nobody has won more games.

Homicidal Hokie?*

*The judges will also accept, “Isi Innocent Or Guilty?”

In Blacksburg, Va., early enrollee freshman linebacker Isi Etute may be entering the transfer portal to a maximum-security prison. Etute, from Virginia Beach, has been charged with 2nd-degree murder. Not much else is known at this time but he’s off the two-deep chart.

Jet-Propelled

Before remarking on the nastiness of this hit, notice the score. Montreal leads Winnipeg 4-3 with less than a minute remaining in Game 1 of their series. The puck has been cleared, it’s an empty net situation, and the Canadiens’ Jake Evans is about to drop in the clincher here. But then the Jets’ Mark Scheifele lays out a high check that sends Evans into the Northwest Territories.

Evans, not that anyone was paying too much attention, did score. He was also carried off the ice on a stretcher.

No word thus far on Evans’ condition or how long Scheifele will be suspended. Evans did remain motionless on the ice for a few minutes, but he was not taken to hospital (as Canadians say). Some hockey folk are saying this is a clean hit, and we’re not hockey experts (to say the least). Regardless, we imagine that going forward Scheifele will be a (dons sunglasses)…Mark’ed man.

Rule No. 1 (Again)

Above, the summit of Mount Russell in Sequoia National Park in California. Seems a little precarious to be walking so casually and you know what? It is. Over the Memorial Day weekend a 56 year-old hiker from San Jose plunged 500 feet to his death not far from this spot. Honestly, this wouldn’t be the worst way to go. Maybe about 20 years older than 56, but all things considered…

Herd Community

In China, a peregrinating pack of pachyderms have wandered more than 300 miles north of their habitat and they’ve been “stealing” food and even liquor. You might call them rogue elephants. They’re now approaching Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan, a city of some 6 million residents. Related: there are lots of Chinese people. Not as many Chinese elephants.

Of course, this may sound like a cute story but the real story is that their habitat is being destroyed and they’re hungry. They’re refugees, in a sense. It would be nice if man did his part to protect these incredible (and highly intelligent) creatures. Let them live.

The Kid

(Close-up of me looking at The Kid after he told me he was taking the Clips yesterday)

…took one on the chin last night as the road team in the Mavs-Clippers series won for the fifth time in as many games.

He falls to 11-7 and $795 (or $205 under water).

Tonight he likes the suns +125 at LAKERS. $125 if he wins, down $100 if he loses.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

The LeBron We Know

I won’t argue if you call LeBron James a Top 5 all-time player in terms of accomplishments and talent. I’d certainly argue if you think of him as The GOAT.

This Phoenix series, though, has been a case study in why I’ve never been a fan. After the Lakers and Suns split the first two games in Phoenix without much drama, the Lakers punked the Suns in Game 3. Not only did LA lead by as much as 20 points in the third quarter, but LeBron turned the 4th quarter into LA Fitness rec game, clowning the Suns’ Jae Crowder as his boys on the Laker bench went all Arsenio’s studio audience. He’s 36 years old and he’s behaving like this just three games into a 7-game series? At the time I thought, I hope karma makes a comeback.

And it has. While you have to love Anthony Davis’ game and his behavior, the injury of the guy Charles Barkley now refers to as “street clothes” was a portent of doom for the Lakers. The Suns were only up 4 late in the first half in LA in Game 4 when Davis went down and then jumped out to an 18-point lead.

Late in the game LA made a run. Cut it to 7 when Dennis Schroder drove for a layup with under 90 seconds to go but missed. LeBron was under the hoop. Neither he nor Schroder hustled back on D, Phoenix had a 5-on-3 and Mikhail Bridges, or Crowder, hit an uncontested corner 3 to put Phoenix up 10. Ballgame. Maybe the Suns win anyway but it mighta been nice if your GOAT had gotten back on defense.

Narrating the highlight on “SportsCenter,” the ESPN announcer (Michael Eaves) forgave LeBron by noting that LBJ knew the game was over when Schroder missed his shot. Really? Wow, cuz I don’t think Frank Vogel did.

Jump to last night, Game 5, as the Suns take a 30-point first half lead in Phoenix. Now, LeBron played great and he was clearly giving a herculean effort. At one point Grant Hill of TNT says, after a LeBron three, “You know LeBron isn’t going to give up without a fight.”

But then, the game clearly out of hand, Vogel pulls him in the fourth quarter. And LeBron exits the floor with five minutes to play. It’s purely a symbolic gesture, but it’s what I’ve never respected about LeBron. He does this because he can get away with it and no one else on his team can. How doe that make his teammates feel? In the end there’s just too many instances in his career where, sure, LeBron is the best player on his team and yeah his effort is phenomenal on the court, but when his team loses, it’s someone else’s fault. Not his.

Then again, I am a Suns—and Warriors—fan. I’ve always been a fan of whoever LeBron is playing.

Skypool, Skyfall*

*The judges will also accept “Laps In Judgment”

The Darwin Awards are just watching and waiting. Skypool, located 115 feet above terra firma between the swanky Embassy Garden luxury apartments in London, is 84 feet long and has a glass bottom. One imagines its douchebag-to-bather ratio is at least 1:1.

Button Up, Button Down

Don’t think I ever realized this about Seinfeld. Larry David, co-creator, returned to write the series finale (which has been largely panned, perhaps for being overly ambitious in scope). Anyway, the first line of the series and the last line of the series are the same.

Blog Off, Donald

May 4, 2021—June 1, 2021

Less than one month into its existence, the blog “From The Desk Of Donald J. Trump” has been permanently shut down. Chances are that whoever wrote it began to realize that doing a blog every day can be time-consuming and for the most part unrewarding. Unrelated: MH turns nine years old in August.

From Alpine Rescue To Cold Case

This has the Zen Master parable from Charlie Wilson’s War written all over it.

On a wintry night in January of 1982 in a remote area of the Colorado Rockies, Alan Lee Phillips’ pickup truck skidded off the road into a snowdrift. Phillips opted against leaving the cab of his truck and trekking out into the wilderness; instead he used his headlights to flash out S.O.S. (three short, three long, three short) into the night.

A local sheriff in a plane overhead spotted the signal and recognized it. Phillips was rescued.

“How wonderful,” the townspeople said.

We’ll see.

Authorities never got a straight answer from Phillips (he said he’d been returning home from a bar) as to why he was out in such a remote area late at night.

And no one quite put together, not for decades, the disappearance of two young women that night and Phillips’ apparent mishap.

But in February detectives used DNA evidence to link Phillips, now 70, to the murders of Annette Schnee, 22, and Barbara Jo Oberholtzer, 29. Both women had been hitchhiking that night, independently of one another, near Breckenridge. Each was shot to death. They were dumped far from one another. One was discovered the following day, another six months later.

Phillips has been living in Denver for decades. It’s too early to know whether these women were his only victims. Seems a little unlikely that he’d go on a one-night killing spree and never have done so before or after.

This will soon be a 26-part Netflix series, we predict.

The Kid

… sure was right about the Phoenix Suns, who beat the Lakers by 30.

He moves to 11-6 and he’s back above water at $1,095. This is an important chance tonight to move to a 66.67% win percentage. Who’s he taking?

Tonight he likes the CLIPPERS minus-300 versus the Mavs and Damaged Doncic. $300 to lose, $100 to win.

The home team is 0-4 in this series but something’s gotta give, no?

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

She Gone

Talk, apparently, is not cheap.

Naomi Osaka, 23, is the reigning women’s singles champion of the U.S. Open and the Australian Open. Those are the last two grand slam tennis tournaments played. Just before the French Open began this weekend Osaka, ranked No. 2 in the world and the No. 2 seed in this tourney, announced that she would not be speaking to the media. The French Open responded by stating originally that they’d fine her and then banded together with the other three Grand Slams to state that Osaka would be in danger of defaulting (being expelled from) the tournaments.

Osaka saw their raise and called their bluff. She kicked herself out of the French.

This is one of those classic 2021 issues where you’ll only be hearing, at least on Twitter, from either one extreme side or the other. At MH, we’re more in the middle. Which doesn’t make us wishy-washy, just rational. Or so we think.

Osaka is 23. She is an adult. A young adult, but still an adult. She wants media on her terms. Last year Osaka earned $37.4 million from endorsements alone. Granted, it was a difficult year to make money playing tennis, but she’d never have made that much money on the courts even in a normal year. The Grand Slams have played a major role in her “creating her brand,” and of course she did her part by being so successful. It’s a partnership. They help you and you help them, which is what her doing media is.

You don’t arrive empty-handed to a pot-luck supper.

Still, kudos to Osaka for ripping off the band-aid. She heard the rules, took the $15K fine after the first match, and then decided not talking was going to be a bigger story and distraction than talking. So she left. And yet, this is a woman who has won four of the past nine grand slams in women’s tennis. There has to be a better solution here.

You Said It

Before yesterday I’d never heard of the 1949 film Battleground. Then I saw a tweet about how it was the film the creator of Band Of Brothers felt did the most justice to the Battle of the Bulge. Then I read how it cost Louis B. Mayer his job, since he refused to green light it, let Dore Schary walk it over to another studio, and two years later Schary took Mayer’s job at MGM. Oh, and it was MGM’s top-grossing film for a few years and was also nominated for Best Picture.

So I watched it.

And here’s the scene I won’t forget. Hearing this speech on Memorial Day 2021, at least 72 years after it was written, well, that’s quite something.

They should play this clip every single damn day in the halls of Congress. And on cable news. And certainly on Memorial Day. Maybe this is on me, but I cannot fathom why I’d never heard it, or heard of it, before yesterday.

Murdur Durdur

Dove into HBO’ Mare of Easttown last night, and now I understand this SNL clip, “Murdur Durdur,” from a couple months back. Between this and his Vin Diesel impersonation for “The Movies,” Beck Bennett had a most solid season on SNL. Somewhere between a Phil Hartman type and a Bill Hader type.

Woe, Canada

Here’s the situation for those of you who don’t pay attention to hockey or Canada: the Toronto Maple Leafs have won 13 Stanley Cup championships, but their last triumph was in 1967. They have not even won a playoff series since 2004.

This season, however, the Leafs finished atop the NHL’s Canada-only (for pandemic reasons) North division. They had the league’s leading goal scorer in Auston Matthews. And they were up 3-1 in the opening playoff round versus their arch-rival, the Montreal Canadiens.

So, of course, they lost the last three, including Game 7 at home last night. The Canadiens had already won both Games 5 and 6 in overtime, where sudden death decides the outcome.

Just devastating. On a good note, it’ll be above 70 degrees in Toronto this week.

The Kid

… was prescient enough not to take Naomi Osaka in the first round at the French Open, but instead Serena Williams, who won 7-6. 6-2. So he’s now 10-6, at $995, or a Lincoln below the surface.

Tonight he likes the SUNS minus-200 at home versus the Lakers. A little risky when Brooklyn at home is a much surer bet and he could’ve taken Nadal, who is a guarantee on clay.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Teen Exceeds Speed Limit

This is Hobbs Kessler of Ann Arbor, Mich. Over the weekend at the Portland Track Invitational Kessler ran a 3:34.36 in the 1500. That time not only breaks the U.S. high school record but also the U.S. collegiate record. It’s good as an Olympic qualifying time. Hobbs is heading to Northern Arizona University in the fall, but first he’s headed to the Olympic Trials in Eugene in three weeks.

(Kessler earns a hug from 27 year-old Craig Engels, a 2016 Olympic alternate who won in 3:33.64)

Kessler’s time beat the extant high school record, set 20 years ago by Alan Webb, by nearly four whole seconds. That’s crazy. He bettered Notre Dame’s Yared Nuguse’s collegiate mark of 3:34.68 set just two weeks earlier.

A Day That Should Live In Infamy

One hundred years ago today, in Tulsa, Okla., a bunch of cowardly and scared white supremacists destroyed a flourishing black business district known as Greenwood and murdered approximately 300 people. They burned the area to the ground. See, they say wanted segregation, but what they also wanted that they failed to mention was degradation. Or, as Carol Anderson wrote in her book White Rage, “The trigger for white rage is black advancement.”

Ironic that this centenary is taking place on what white America recognizes as Memorial Day.

This area was known as Black Wall Street because black-owned businesses were flourishing. And that terrified them. So, being white nationalists and deplorable humans, they committed mass murder on a scale rarely seen.

This weekend former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, who should be behind bars (as opposed to backed by Barr) spoke at a QAnon conference in Dallas where he wondered aloud why a military coup like the one staged in Myanmar (“Minimar,” he said) cannot happen here.

Very little has changed in a century.

Me And Helio Down At The Brickyard

At Sunday’s Indianapolis 500, Brazilian Helio Castroneves earns his fourth career milk shower, his first since 2009. If you’re paying attention in 2021:

Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady (his 7th SB win) is 43.

PGA Championship winner Phil Mickelson (his 6th major) is 50.

Castroneves is 46.

And the top seeded men’s player at the French Open, which began yesterday, is Rafael Nadal, who turns 35 on Thursday.

Sam I Am

The winner of this year’s Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions is Sam Kavanaugh, a substitute teacher from Minneapolis, Minn. Maybe now he’ll earn a full-time teaching position somewhere. Kavanaugh lapped the field in the two-day event that aired last Thursday and Friday, winning more than $68,000 in the competition. As the winner, though, he takes home $250,000. Not too shabby.

Kavanaugh had won $156,000 during a five-day streak of wins on Jeopardy! in 2019 when Alex Trebek was hosting. He knew he’d qualified for the Tournament of Champions, and when he lost his teaching gigs due to the pandemic last year, he devoted all of his time to studying for the T of C. Studying pays off.

An unofficial winner, in our minds, of the T of C was guest host Buzzy Cohen, who handled the duties the past fortnight. A former T of C champ (2017), Cohen possessed the perfect energy and acumen for the gig. He’d make a worthy successor to Trebek.

A Trio Of R.I.P. Worthy Gents

Three well-known figures all died over the weekend. First Gavin McLeod, whom you either know as Murray Slaughter on The Mary Tyler Moore Show or as Merrill Stubing, the captain of the Pacific Princess on Love Boat, passed. He was 90. Has a TV actor ever played two more dissimilar characters?

Then Mark Eaton, the former NBA shot-blocker extraordinaire for the Utah Jazz, died in a bicycle accident. Eaton was 64 and 7’4″. Oddly, that’s the second catastrophic bike accident to take place in Utah this past few months involving a 7-foot plus center who played part of his career in Utah (the other was Shawn Bradley, who was left paralyzed). A two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Eaton averaged 5.6 blocks per game in 1984-85, which remains the highest single-season average since the league began tracking the stat.

Finally, musician B.J. Thomas passed. Thomas, whose “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” won the Oscar for Best Original Song and hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts for four weeks, was 78. Thomas did not write the tune, Burt Bacharach and Hal David did. They offered it to Ray Stevens, who turned it down. Thomas recorded it in seven takes—Bacharach hated the first six.

The song was an odd choice for a Western (Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid) but something about it playing as Paul Newman’s Butch rode a bicycle around the yard clicked. It was a massive hit, back when music lovers used to buy singles. Thomas did write and record “Hooked On A Feeling” (1968) and “Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song” (1975). The version of “Hooked On A Feeling” that you knew was actually covered by Swedish group Blue Swede, who uses the “ooga chaka ooga ooga” intro you know so well. That version hit No. 1 in ’74.

The Kid

…took it on the chin this weekend. We wondered why he’d do a parlay, but he just had to, and the Nets lost Game 3 in Boston. It’s their only defeat in four games versus the Celtics in the series. Then on Saturday he took Man City and Pep Guardiola in the Champions League final. Frantic texts from The Kid on Saturday as Pep changed his lineup, dropping a midfielder into the defensive backfield before the match. The Kid thinks Guardiola has a little Darell Bevell in him, too smart for his own good, and he self-sabotages his squads in big games. Does something different just to prove that he’s different as it costs his squad. As an ND football fan, all’s I can say is, “Run the damn ball.”

Then again, Pep sounds a little like The Kid these past two weeks. Attempting reverse lay-ups when the gimme dunk is right there.

He’s now 9-6 and at $895, or $105 under water.

Today he likes Serena Williams minus-$300 over Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania in opening round action rom Roland Garros. That’s $300 to lose, $100 to win.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

I Don’t Understand The Filibuster, Either

We’ve all seen Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, right? That’s probably the extent of our knowledge on how the Senate filibuster works. If you are really, really, really against a bill being passed, you can stand up and start arguing against it and as long as you keep talking and refuse to yield back your time, there’s nothing anyone can do to stop you (just make sure you take a potty break before you embark on this mission). It’s like a Hail Mary pass of legislation and a test of one’s physical stamina and perseverance. A little like a Spartan Race inside the Senate chamber.

Here’s how it’s supposed to work. While it only takes a majority of 51 votes to pass a bill, it takes a supermajority of 60% (60 votes if everyone is voting) to end debate on a bill, so that the vote may be taken. So if you never get enough votes to end the debate, then the bill never comes up for a vote. And as Jefferson Smith taught us in that Frank Capra film, you stall debate by reading the Bible, the scout handbook, anything, in order to hold the floor and prevent the vote that ends the debate.

So a couple things I learned this morning:

  1. “Filibuster” is derived from the Dutch word for pirate. I don’t get the connection, but you can dig deeper into that.
  2. Senate Rule XXII (not the one where the Redskins mauled the Broncos) says that cloture—a motion to end debate on a bill—requires a supermajority of at least 60 votes. Which is another way of saying that having a simple majority of the 100 senators is not enough to pass a bill as long as at least 41 senators choose to obstruct that passage. And by invoking the filibuster, they choose to obstruct.
  3. The 60-vote filibuster has only been around since 1917, so don’t pin this one on “the Founders.”

In 2013, the Democrat-controlled Senate voted in a rule that all nominations except that for Supreme Court need only a simple majority. Just three years later the Senate, now under Republican control, said, “A ha, two can play that game” and extended the rule of a simple majority to Supreme Court nominations, which is how we got stuck with Brett Kavanaugh.

Now, since the early 1970s, the Senate has imposed what is known as the “silent filibuster.” Now you no longer need to drone on endlessly for hours (the longest such filibuster campaign was waged by South Carolina’s Strom Thurmond, who spoke for more than 24 hours in 1957 to protest the Civil Rights Act… but, of course). Instead, as long as at least 41 senators threaten a filibuster, the Senate majority leader can refuse to call a vote.

It’s a lot like the modern intentional walk rule in baseball. You don’t even need to throw the four balls any more. You just let the ump know you want the batter on first base. Takes all the effort—and fun—out of it.

I can’t say I understand why if Chuck Schumer (a Dem) is the current Senate majority leader why he allows the silent filibuster to happen. Not sure why he doesn’t force someone from the GOP side of the aisle to stand up and talk ad nauseam. Maybe it’s just a gentleman’s agreement (ha!) but it’s certainly wrong.

Meanwhile, West Virginia Dem. senator Joe Manchin says he will not vote to end the filibuster because he “does not want to destroy democracy.” Which shows that he has a poor grasp of what the term means. Because by insisting on keeping the filibuster he is in favor of not allowing democracy—a majority vote—to prevail.

And so that’s why the Senate approving a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission, when 50 of the senators are GOP and House Minority leader Mitch McConnell is asking them to filibuster the vote “as a personal favor,” is unlikely to come to a vote.*

*I think. Please school me where I’m wrong. I have to move on to other matters.

Rule No. 7

As longtime readers know, Rule No. 7 states that “any baseball game offers the opportunity to see something you’ve never before seen in the game (and the other team sports are just not like that).” The crazy thing here is that there were two outs. All Pirate first baseman Will Craig need do is turn around, step on the bag and the inning is over. He got lazy and now this moment of infamy will live for as long as social media does. Certainly it will outlive his career.

Overdraft Dodger

We’ve gotten so accustomed to congresswoman Katie Porter or Senator Elizabeth Warren stuff the Montgomery J. Burnses of the world in a locker—and yes, they almost always deserve it—that we may have forgotten to ask, Do the merits of the argument hold up? When Porter was holding J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon’s feet to the flames a year or two ago about the shamefully low wages his company pays to its tellers, etc., I was on her side.

Two days ago, though, when Sen. Warren upbraided Dimon for the > $1 billion in overdraft fees his company collected in 2020, I thought, Wait a minute. Isn’t an overdraft fee a bit like paying an overdue fee for a library book except that in the library-book scenario the consumer did not actually cost the library money? In other words, when Warren asked if Dimon would pay everyone back and he said, flatly, “No,” I thought, Neither would I.

An overdraft fee is the fee you pay when you withdraw more money from the bank than you actually have in your account. And the bank floats you that money. If I go to Whole Foods and buy $27 worth of goods but only have $20, they don’t let me take everything I bought out of the store. And why should they? So why should any bank give you more money than you have in it, unless you’ve formally applied for a loan? Which is essentially what an overdraft fee is: interest on a loan that you took out from the bank without actually clearing it with the bank first.

Sorry, Not Sorry

As Jerry used to say on Seinfeld, “That’s a shame.”

You have to wonder what Officer Trujillo was thinking as they intubated him and put him on a respirator in the final days/hours of his life. Was he remembering Donald Trump’s advice from last October about Covid-19: “Don’t let it dominate you?” Was he experiencing any sense of remorse over having been so arrogant and boastful about a subject he was woefully under-qualified to wax eloquent upon (that’s never stopped me)? That age, 33, is awfully young to depart this planet. But of course, being MAGA I presume, he probably thought that any type of capitulation to the reality of a pandemic that’s killed 2.3 million people would be a sign of weakness on his part. And if there’s anything white male MAGA types hate (more than govt. handouts to poor people), it’s weakness.

Ignorance is okay. But weakness is shameful.

Now he’s dead. An apt metaphor for the current condition of the Republican Party.

The Kid

… won again as the Lakers iced the Suns in Game 3.

He’s now 9-4 and the bank is up to $1,340 (from a $1,000 base).

Tonight he likes a PARLAY!

VEGAS over Minnesota in Game 7 of their Stanley Cup playoff series AND

Brooklyn over BOSTON in Game 3 of their NBA playoff series.

Betting $100 to win $112.

If he loses, he loses $100. If he wins, he wins $112.

And The Kid is not even done. He wants a Saturday bet for the Champions League final, an all-England affair between Chelsea and Manchester City in… Portugal.

He’s putting down $345 to win $300 for ManCity over Chelsea, even though the Blues have beaten them twice in the past six weeks. So that’s our first Saturday bet.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

How YOU Doin’?

The Friends reunion is now streaming on HBO Max. We haven’t seen it. It’s not actually a scripted show, but apparently more than 90 minutes of chatter and replaying of scenes and even a game or two. Could I beeeeee any more disinterested?

The Friends sextet (pun intended) are essentially the MH staff’s age and the show was set in the city in which I was living at the time. So it was always fun to compare reality versus a Burbank or Studio City soundstage. It’s impossible to capture the oft-gray and windy and chilly life of New York City from a writer’s room no more than 45 minutes from Malibu. Not even Seinfeld did it.

Anyway, I remember hitting a very dimly lit bar on Columbus Ave. and 84th with two SI friends of mine after the first season of Friends aired. And there, sitting together that May (it must have been during upfronts week) were, I believe, Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston. They could still go out in public then without too much fanfare. The three of us should get together again and see how things have gone the past 28 years.

If you had to rank the Friends’ post-show careers, what would your order be? For instance, if we did Seinfeld it would be Julia Louis-Dreyfus clearly in first place, then Jerry, then a tie for last between Jason Alexander and Michael Richards (and Larry David, who never really appeared on the show, might be ranked ahead of all of them). But for Friends?

I dunno. I mean Matt LeBlanc, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow have all had their own TV series, but none of them were zeitgeist-type shows. Jennifer Aniston may have had the most prolific career. David Schwimmer was great as Robert Kardashian in the O.J. series and Matthew Perry gave it a go in Studio 60 (Aaron Sorkin’s biggest, if not only, bomb). We’re going to put them in a six-way tie unless you feel differently.

Ja Rules

The Grizzlies lost Game 2 in Utah last night, but second-year guard Ja Morant scored a franchise playoff-record 47 points. In only is second postseason game (if you want to quibble about his two previous play-in appearances last week, feel free). Coupled with his 24 points in Game 1, that puts the former Rookie of the Year at 71 points after two career playoff games. You know how many NBA players have outscored Morant after the first two playoff games of their careers?

Zero.

Not George Mikan, not Wilt Chamberlain, not Jerry West, not Oscar Robertson, not Larry Bird, not Kareem, not MJ, not LeBron, not Steph. This is not an argument to say Morant is better than any of them, or will be. Just a point to say, Keep an eye on the kid.

A Swing and An Ole Miss

Yesterday at the Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., the University of Mississippi won its first NCAA championship (non-football where it was with votes) in school history. The Rebels’ women’s golf team prevailed over Oklahoma State. If you’re wondering, Wasn’t the women’s NCAA golf championship canceled a couple weeks back due to mansplaining?, you’re partially right.

An NCAA women’s regional was canceled in Baton Rouge due to an unplayable course (heavy rains), even though the LSU men’s team for some reason practiced on that very course that very day. Hmm.

Anyway, the top schools in that regional automatically advanced, one of which was Ole Miss. And yesterday the young misses from Ole Miss brought home the school’s first national title.

The Hardy Boy

The other night The Revenant aired on AMC (again), and I’ve seen it a few times, as have you. What strikes me on repeated airings is that Leo DiCaprio won an Oscar for his work in this but Tom Hardy did not. Hardy’s character and portrayal are less like acting than they are being possessed by an alien being. I’m not ripping on Leo for his not having to speak all that many lines—I know his actor was a make-good for all the worthy parts he’s played in the past… and when is Tom Cruise going to receive his long overdue statue?—but Hardy is simply fantastic in this film.

And I can’t even decipher half the sentences he speaks.

2015 was actually a very good year for films: The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road (Hardy starred in this), The Big Short (shoulda won Best Picture), The Martian and Brooklyn all released. And Spotlight, a good-but-not-great film, won Best Picture. Hardy was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for The Revenant, but lost out to Mark Rylance in Bridge Of Spies (I’ve never seen this so I’ll leave it up to you).

Also, next time you watch Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, that’s a younger Tom Hardy as Ricki Tarr. He’s terrific in that role, too.

San Jose: 9 Shot And Killed

and…

Please share with a wackadoo gun nut you know.

The Kid

…won again last night as Utah evened the series with the Grizz.

So he’s now 8-4 and has $1,240 in the bank.

We’re waiting for today’s wager, but right now he’s at 66.67%, which is good.

Tonight he likes LAKERS minus-270 versus Suns in Game 2 of their series from Staples. Wins $100, or loses $270. A money-line wager.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

TRUMP DUMP

Three items of news regarding Donald Trump, who has taken to cheap TV ads to raise money (exactly what for, he does not say) of late:

  1. A grand jury has been convened in New York City to decide whether to indict Trump on potential tax and bank-related fraud. The grand jury will convene three times a week for the next six months and hear other cases as well. Having served on a New York City grand jury myself, here’s what I learned: grand juries indict. If they don’t initially, the prosecutor comes back and repeats the argument until they “get it.”
(then there’s this guy… kicked off Duke’s golf team, kicked around low-level pro golf for 9 years, daddy got him a job in Trump administration, now he’s ready to be your GOVERNOR!)

ESPN’s Don Van Natta and Seth Wickersham are out with a report claiming that it was Trump who essentially bribed then-Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Penn.) to lay off the 2008 New England Patriots Spygate inquiry. Allegedly Trump, a friend of both Robert Kraft and the senator, phoned Specter and said, “If you lay off the NFL, there’ll be a lot of [campaign] money in Palm Beach.”

At the time I was covering Notre Dame football for NBC Sports and wondered aloud if Charlie Weis, who had earned that job three years earlier due to his “decided schematic advantage” as an offensive mind, was actually just the beneficiary of some cheating. That column drew a nasty rebuke both from the school and one of my bosses at NBC. I’m still of the mind that Charlie probably could share a lot of info about this. Also, curious how Robert Kraft’s rub-n-tug bust a dozen years later, when Trump was president, just mysteriously vanished.Then there’s this… Man, if ever a meteor could be well-timed and well-placed…

George Floyd, One Year Later

(George Floyd’s daughter…this was yesterday)

The one-year anniversary of George Floyd’s murder by Officer Derek Chauvin was marked by the family’s visit to the Oval Office. Meanwhile, mass-murderer/white supremacist Dylann Roof is appealing his conviction. On what grounds? Probably on the grounds that he’s white and they were black. In South Carolina, it just might work.

(Mike Lindell…this was January…I feel better now, don’t you?)

Tokyo? To Go?

The Olympics are less than 60 days away and minor dailies such as The New York Times are still posing the question, Should the Olympics be canceled? I really don’t know how the GOP has missed this as an own-the-libs talking point thus far.

So we’re clear, and these back-to-back Asian Olympics within the span of six months may get confusing: cancel the Summer Olympics in Tokyo because of Covid and boycott the Winter Olympics in Beijing because of genocide of Uyrghrs (and because of the Wuhan lab and because of sweatshop labor and because “GI-nah”).

Male Bonding

Your name is Jennifer Grant. You’re one of the prettiest, most popular girls at your Los Angeles private school. One of your classmates has a crush on you and it just so happens that he’s just landed a role in an ABC “After School Special.” So your dad suggests that it’s okay for you to invite him over, that you and he can watch the special (“Schoolboy Father”) together in your bedroom. But dad will be in the room with the two of you (so that the boy does not become his character).

Your dad is Cary Grant.

The boy is Rob Lowe.

This actually happened, as told in Scott Eyman’s biography of Hollywood’s most comically refined leading man, Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise. By this time Grant was in his mid-70s. He took Lowe aside after the program and told him that he reminded him of a young Warren Beatty (who patterned himself after a young Cary Grant in many ways). And then, after Lowe departed, Grant chased after him. Grant, at the time a spokesman for Faberge products, handed him a gift basket of the fragrance and bath works company’s items.

That’s Hollywood.

William Least-Heat Super Flower Blood Moon

This morning, if you rose early enough, you saw the Super Flower Blood Moon… which I believed played the Yuma Tent at Coachella in 2017. Anyway, it’s SUPER because it’s the closest a full moon is to Earth in its elliptical orbit, it’s FLOWER as a reference to a full moon in May, and it’s BLOOD because it is a full lunar eclipse (our first since 2019…thanks yet again, Covid!).

If you missed it, well, you may not be into super-celestial events. Or you may be more into sleep. Or I should have posted this yesterday and given you some warning.

Seeing Red Over Greene

Listen: we all know that Marjorie Taylor-Greene (and Lauren Bobert) are total clown shows who, if you actually had to apply for the job instead of run for the office, would never have earned it. But that’s the great thing about being an elected member of the U.S. government: any dope can run and if there are enough other dopes who buy into your dogma rather than consider that you should actually be qualified, you can win.

So Greene is a U.S. congresswoman. And her entire tenure in office is performance art designed to get attention and trigger the libs. But this weeks she finally crossed a line, somewhere near Dachau and Auschwitz, by comparing the Holocaust with mask mandates. Greene’s exact quote is in this link.

Should anyone care that the crazy lady is barking at the moon? If you took her seriously before she said this a few days ago, I guess you should care. But if you took her seriously at all since you knew who she was, you’d better consult a physician. There’s Katie Porter at one end of the spectrum of intelligence and maturity, and then there’s Marjorie Taylor-Greene pushing tires across a parking lot.

Bee-yond Bee-lief?

https://twitter.com/RexChapman/status/1397270263088271362?s=20

Fanta? They must be Mexican bees.

The Kid

…was sweating bullets as Carolina-Nashville went to OT last night, but the Hurricanes prevailed.

He’s now 7-4 and up to $1,140.

He also may be chomping at the bit to start trying a parlay here or there. Parlay vous?, I inquired.

Yes, he said.

Tonight he wants UTAH minus-360 over the suddenly hot Grizz in what’s a must-win game for the 1-seed. Apparently, seeing the Clippers lose the first two at home to Dallas hasn’t spooked him.

So that’s $360 to lose, $100 to win on Game 2 between UTAH-Memphis.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Law A’ Biden Texans

The Texas legislature passes a law that says citizens may own handguns without having to undergo a background check, obtain a license or have training. It’s been less than two years since 23 people were gunned down in El Paso at a Wal-Mart. Of course, those in favor of this bill will note that the killer did not use a handgun and that if everyone in the store were armed, he might have been stopped earlier. On the other hand, if everyone in Texas is carrying a handgun devoid of background checks or a license, fender-benders are about to become that much more dramatic. And traumatic.

Texas just passed a “heartbeat bill” that in essence outlaws all abortions, even for rape. It’s putting draconian restrictions on a woman’s uterus while relaxing all restrictions on the 2nd Amendment.

Eurobash

The Eurovision Song Contest has been held annually since 1956 (with the exception of last year) but we Yanks seemed mostly oblivious to it until Will Ferrell made a film about it. The contest, which draws nearly 200 million viewers worldwide, was held this past weekend in Rotterdam. Thirty-nine nations participated. It’s like the EuroCup for songs.

The winner? Maneskin, from Italy, with “Zitti e buoni” (Either “good ziti” or “Quiet and Behave”). Here’s the tune:

Acceptable Nickname: Blackjack

That’s former Notre Dame possession receiver Robby Toma, the Chris Finke of his time.

Gamma Rays

On May 12 the Tampa Bay Rays, defending American League champs, were shut out 1-0 at home by Gerrit Cole and the Yankees. Their record fell to .500, 19-19.

Since? The Rays have won 11 in a row, sweeping 3-game series with the Mets and the Orioles and a 4-game series against the Blue Jays (it began with a defeat of the Yankees to avoid being swept in that series). They’re now 30-19 and have the best record in the American League. A lot can change in a fortnight.

Oddly enough, the Rays and Red Sox have the A.L.’s two top records but their combined home records are 24-24.

Scoring Cramps

The Golden State Warriors had the NBA’s scoring champ in Steph Curry (32.0 ppg) this season. The Dubs lost both of their play-in games in the postseason and were bounced.

The Edmonton Oilers had the NHL’s scoring champ in Connor McDavid (105 points on 33 goals and 72 assists). The Oilers were swept 4-0 in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs by Winnipeg.

Two scoring leaders, Curry and McDavid, finish a combined 0-6 in the 2021 postseason.

Omission Impossible

We noticed one glaring omission from our “Stars Over 80” item yesterday. And this one is bad, since the movie star just won an Oscar for Best Actor last month: Anthony Hopkins is 83. He’s a two-time Oscar winner who won his first after his 50th birthday. Hope for us all.

Anyone else? Yeah, the Corleone brothers, James Caan* and Al Pacino, both 81.

Sports By Brooks

Someone at the Golf Channel leaked this never-ran interview of Brooks Koepka being addled and rattled as Bryson DeChambeau sauntered past and upstaged him. I don’t think Brooks is at all annoyed that it was leaked.

Remember The Mayne!

Last night was Kenny Mayne’s final night hosting SportsCenter on ESPN. This was memorable.

The Kid

…is on Tilt. It all began when he took Gerrit Cole and the Yankees to beat a Rangers squad that had lost six in a row. Cole, arguably the top pitcher in the AL, lost and then the Yanks won their next six. But they lost the night he took them.

Last night Vegas, whom he took, outshot Minnesota 40-14 but still lost.

So tonight, even though Jacob deGrom is on the mound at Citi Field against a Rockies team that is 3-17 on the road, The Kid is so spooked that he won’t take the Mets. Or the Rockies.

Instead, he likes CAROLINA minus-200 against Nashville. That’s $200 down to win $100 (or lose $200).

For the record, he’s 6-4 and at $1,040. A net of $40 after 10 wagers, or $4 per wager.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Phil, Fifty, Fit, Filthy

At age 50, Phil Mickelson becomes the oldest man ever to win a major: the PGA Championship at the scenic and sublime Ocean Course in Kiawah, S.C. It’s his sixth major championship and his first in nearly eight years, when he won the British Open in 2013.

Jack Nicklaus won the Masters in 1986 at age 46. And while age 46 in ’86 is older than age 50 in ’21 as far as we are concerned—everyone’s Sally O’Malley these days—you could also contend that there’s a lot more young talent on the PGA Tour today than there was in ’86. For the record, Nicklaus was not the previous oldest winner of a major. That distinction belonged to Julius Boros, who was 48 in 1968 when he won the PGA Championship. Surely, you remember.

Extreme Race, Extreme Conditions

This one has Jon Krakauer’s name written all over it.

Twenty-one runners perished when wind, freezing rain and hail swept into a 62-mile ultra-marathon in China over the weekend. The extreme conditions in the Yellow River Stone Forest struck at high altitudes (6,500 feet and runners, clad in light running gear, had little protection against the extreme weather. Another 151 runners survived the race in Gansu Province.

A fatality total of 21 may be the largest for any single road- or trail-running event we know of.

Joke Swap

Cecily Strong’s send-up of Jeanine Pirro was, well, strong. However, this was our favorite moment from the finale “Weekend Update” of Saturday Night Live’s 46th season. When Colin Jost and Michael Che write racially charged jokes that the other must read, without having previously seen them (and we hope that set-up is legit), it leads for some funny stuff. Laughter is a palliative against racism.

Speaking of which, how prescient was this old Chappelle Show sketch?

Women Jocks Rock

Here’s Simone Biles, who people in the know are calling the greatest female gymnast ever, doing something on a vault that no one has ever done before. And, at a lower level, but no less impressive, a memorable catch at a high school state championship softball game in Utah.

The common thread among both feats? Focus.

Star, 80

An 80th birthday today? It ain’t me, babe. It’s Bob Dylan. The troubadour from Hibbing who started out playing West Village coffee houses and became the voice of a generation (while, some say, appropriating Woody Guthrie’s style). Three favorite Dylan tunes?

Visions Of Johanna, Girl From The North Country, Mr. Tambourine Man.

Here’s another opinion.

We own Bob Dylan Live 1966 (The Judas concert) and can listen to it over and over and over again. Like it’s a rolling stone.

Star 80? No, Stars Over 80

For no particular reason (okay, maybe from the above item), we’ve compiled a list of the greatest living movie stars over the age of 80 yeas old. Feel free to quibble with our rankings. A bold-type name means he or she is an Oscar winner. An asterisk means an Oscar nominee. We also include the ages of each.

  1. Jack Nicholson, 84
  2. Clint Eastwood, 90
  3. Sidney Poitier, 94
  4. Sophia Loren, 86
  5. Eva Marie Saint, 96
  6. Gene Hackman, 91
  7. Joanne Woodward, 91
  8. Mel Brooks, 94
  9. Angela Lansbury, 95*
  10. Dick Van Dyke, 95

Also worth noting: Eva Marie Saint is hardly the only Hitchcock blonde still with us. Tippi Hedren (91), Vera Miles (91) and Kim Novak (88) are all still breathing, too. Darth Vader (James Earl Jones, 90) and Harry Belafonte (94) are also still kicking.

UPDATE: A big name, an Oscar-winner, I forgot: Woody Allen, 85.

The Kid

An equalizer in the 87th minute prevented The Kid from a victory on Friday. That’s what you get for scrounging around in the English League One.

He’s moving back to frozen pond today:

VEGAS minus $180 to win $100 over Minnesota

The Kid’s record is not 6-3 and the bank is at $1,220.