IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Make America Crate Again

Not sure how the “Milk Crate Challenge” became a thing, other than it originated on Tik Tok, but it’s certainly the most viral phenom of the past week. Our favorite person above is the dude wearing a mask. Being careful about Covid but not about his neck.

Our new priority order for emergency room cases goes like this: 1) vaccinated, 2) unvaccinated, 3) milk crate challenge losers.

And then there’s this…

‘cuz We’re Stupid And Contagious

Thirty years after appearing on the cover of Nirvana’s Nevermind, Spencer Elden has filed a lawsuit against the surviving members of the band alleging child pornography. I mean, he’s holding the pretty damning evidence. One baby to another said I’m not happy to have met you…

Then again, the band’s directions to the model were come as you are….

Elden is seeking less than $3 million and if you read this it seems pretty apparent that Geffen records and/or Kurt Cobain’s estate should simply pay up and settle…

Is this the start of a wave of album cover-related lawsuits? This would seem to be a perfect class-action lawsuit aimed square at a band even more iconic than the godfathers of grunge…

Weir Have All The Hitters Gone?

Yesterday in the Little League World Series Gavin Weir threw another no-hitter. The 12 years-old from Sioux Falls struck out 14 batters as South Dakota defeated Oregon 1-0. Weir is one of the most phenomenal kids we’ve seen in LLWS in a long, long time.

Here’s Weir’s line through the tournament thus far: two no-hitters. 43 2/3 innings pitched and he’s only allowed one hit and no runs while striking out 114 batters. He’s gotten 131 hitters out, and 114 of them have whiffed.

And here’s the craziest thing: Sioux Falls and Weir shouldn’t even be in Williamsport. They finished second in their region, but because of Covid, as you may have noticed, there are no international teams in the LLWS this August. So second-place teams from each region also advanced. Which is why Weir and Sioux Falls are here.

Unless there is a rainout, Weir will not be permitted to pitch again. Because he’s maxed out his pitch count for the week. That’s a LLWS rule… which might deny fans of an epic LLWS finale.

cuz We’re Stupid And Contagious (Part Deux)

“Send me some studies.” The f**k is wrong with people?

Up All Night

San Diego is not the furthest west baseball city in America— Seattle is. In fact, it may blow your mind to learn that America’s Finest City is further east than Spokane… it is. But it sure felt like it was halfway to Hawaii last night as a baseball game between the Padres and the L.A. Dodgers went early into the morning on the East coast.

The Dodgers outlasted the Padres 5-3 in 16 innings in something less than a classic and more than a marathon. What began as a pitchers’ duel between Cy Young favorite Walker Buehler an Blake Snell remained a 1-1 game to the top of the 15th… more than six innings after both had exited.

In fact, the Padres went more than nine innings before Fernando Tatis, Jr.s’ two-run homer in the 15th tied it up at 3-3. It was Tatis’ first hit in two games, or 8 at-bats.

The box score was not pretty: the clubs went a combined 7-51 with runners in scoring position, for about a .113 batting average in that spot. A.J. Pollock put L.A. up for good with a two-run homer in the top of the 16th. I went to bed after the 11th when the Padres loaded the bases with two outs but had to pinch-hit using a starting pitcher who was 3-for-40 as a hitter (why not just keep your ace closer in with those odds?).

The game took 5 hours, 49 minutes to play, which means it ended at 3:49 a.m. Eastern time. It’s the longest extra-inning game since MLB tweaked extras by starting the inning with a baserunner on 2nd (I think I buried the lede).

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Jesus of Nazare

Watching 100 Foot Wave on HBO Max. Terrific. Concisely, it’s the story of big wave surfer Garrett McNamara’s quest to ride the world’s tallest wave before age boxes him out. To outrace the world’s largest wall of water before he’s over the hill.

Is McNamara a bit obsessed? He’s named his first son Barrel.

Two things: 1) Most of this 5-part series is based around the coastal Portuguese town of Nazare, which had not been traditionally thought of as a surfing mecca, and 2) the supporting characters in this tale are all thoughtful, articulate and sincere. They’re not wacko streaming-doc characters. McNamara’s wife, Nicole, his brother-in-law, J.C., his tow-riders from England and Ireland, Andrew Cotton and Al Lennie, the Nazare locals who help fund the project, these are all good people and great teammates. And the latter two just happen to have the courage to ride 50-foot plus waves.

And make no mistake: it’s thrilling to watch these surfers “dance with God,” as one Brazilian big-wave rider puts it, but these waves will wreck people. A broken back, a wrecked shoulder, a near-death experience. McNamara’s wife, Nicole, is a decent surfer who eats it on a small Nazare wave and gets rag-dolled into shore. After that, she’s done. And that’s probably the puniest wave in the whole series.

If you loved Free Solo as we did, you’ll truly enjoy this.

The Skinns Game

This is David Skinns, a golfer from England who just experienced his Tin Cup moment (except he got the win, not Rene Russo… settling for second, I guess). Skinns is 39, a journeyman 16-year pro on lesser tours. During the pandemic he worked as a delivery driver and a bartender to support his family. As recently as six weeks ago he was 82nd on the Korn Ferry Tour, which is the next tour below the PGA Tour. The top 25 golfers on the Korn Ferry Tour are elevated to the big league tour, the PGA, the following year.

In four of Skinns’ five final events, he finished no lower than 8th. This weekend at the Pinnacle Bank Championship in Omaha he one-putted the last four holes to win… and finally move himself into the top 25. And a much bigger series of pay days next year. The man who was a driver used his driver to take a big leap forward.

Built To Last

Remember the U.S. sprinter who was kept off the Olympic team after testing positive for Cheech-and-Chong’ing it? Last Saturday in Eugene Sha’Carri Richardson had her chance for redemption, as she lined up in the blocks against the three Jamaicans who stood on the podium in Tokyo. And a few other sprinters.

Richardson came in last place. By a lot. She finished 9th, but only because there were only eight other sprinters.

To Richardson’s credit, she did the post-race interview at the Prefontaine Classic, congratulated the winners, and the 21 year-old told everyone, in colorful language, that she’s far from done.

A Shohei from Sioux Falls

Meet Gavin Weir, the breakout star of the Little League World Series from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Yesterday Weir jacked a three-run bomb to lift his squad, representing the Midwest, past Oregon, 3-0. He provided the game’s only RBI.

But Weir’s also unhittable. In fact, pitching may be his true forte. From Yardbarker: “. Over his last 37.2 innings, he’s allowed just one hit, no earned runs, and struck out 100 batters. Yes, he has struck out 100 of a possible 113 batters (88 percent). That’s just crazy.”

Happy 10th, Tim

Today is the 10th anniversary of Tim Cook being CEO of Apple. The company’s stock has risen 1,000% since he’s been in charge. We were fools to ever sell it. #NeverSellApple

The Freeze Has Supernatural Powers

In Atlanta, the Yankees and Braves met, an encounter 120 years in the making. Sure, they’ve played plenty in the past 12 decades, but it was the first time since 1901 that two teams sporting nine-game win streaks were meeting. The Yankees won, 5-1, meaning their last loss is still the Field of Dreams game.

Anyway, that little historic moment was overshadowed by a stunning finish in the nightly Freeze race at the ballpark. Watch.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

A Bronx Tale

After new Yankee shortstop Andrew Velazquez made a sweet throw from deep in the hole (below) to throw out a Red Sox baserunner in the top of the ninth and crush a rally, he made his way back to his parents’ home in the Bronx. The sublime 6-3 put-out put the final touch on a Yankee sweep of the Red Sox. It also heralded the arrival of Velazquez, who grew up less than 30 minutes from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. His dad is a retired NYPD detective.

In the last four games, all Yankee wins, Velazquez is 5-for-10 with three RBI. And the 27 year-old plays shortstop like a Hoover. Will he stick around once Gio Urshela and Gleyber Torres get healthy? Highly unlikely. But for now it must be fun coming home after games and telling his parents how his day went.

Mary Jane’s Next Dance

This weekend’s Prefontaine Classic is gonna be lit with fast women. The event to watch is the women’s 100-meter dash, where the tokin’ (but not token) American will be Sha’Carri Richardson. She’ll be running against the trio of Jamaicans who swept gold, silver and bronze less than a month ago at the Olympics. Richardson had been favored to win a medal, perhaps even gold, before a drug test revealed she’d taken some of the funky herb. That’s a no-no with the IOC.

War Shooter

Robert Capa took one of the most riveting war photographs ever published. In the late 1930s Capa was covering the Spanish Civil War when he shot “The Falling Soldier,” which purportedly was taken at the moment of impact when a loyalist soldier took a mortal bullet to the chest as he was charging toward the enemy (there have been murmurs since that the photo was staged).

Capa’s own life may be worthy of a series of moving pictures. Born in 1913 in Hungary as Endro Erno Friedmann, he moved to Berlin to attend college. But if you look at how old he’d have been in college, his last name, and where he was attending school, well, Friedmann was smart enough to leave Berlin while he still could. He moved to Paris where he and a female friend jointly assumed the name, as a professional photography duo, of Robert Capa.

Considering his taste for adventure/war and his talent, it should come as no surprise that Capa soon became fast friends with Ernest Hemingway. And John Huston. And John Steinbeck.

During D-Day, Capa was the only civilian photographer to join the Allies as they stormed the beach at Normandy. His 11 photographs appeared in Life magazine less than two weeks later.

In 1954 Capa was in Vietnam, or Indochina as it was then known. A little dust-up was brewing between the colonial French and the natives, the Vietnamese. He had been in Japan and Life had asked him to take the assignment. He’d long ago claimed he was done shooting wars, but took the gig. One May day he left his jeep and decided to go up the road and photograph the advance. He stepped on a land mine. Capa, or Friedmann, was 40 years old.

MAC/CAM

Do you use a Mac or a PC? Or in New England’s case involving quarterbacks, a Mac Jones or a Cam Newton? For now the gifted veteran who once led the Charlotte Raes to a Super Bowl defeat looks like the starter in Foxboro. But the rookie from Alabama whose first name is the incumbent’s spelled backward has also been impressive. In a meaningless preseason game last night, New England beat Philly 35-0. Both QBs looked sharp. Stay tuned.

A Case of Murder

(That is Jones, 38, standing on the far left during the tribute to Pata)

Fifteen years ago University of Miami defensive lineman Bryan Pata came home from practice after dropping off a few teammates, and was killed outside his home. The murder went unsolved all this time… until yesterday. Miami police arrested Rashaun Jones, a former Hurricane teammate of Pata’s.

Apparently the two had got into an altercation over a potential theft (by Jones) and there were also girlfriend issues involved (Pata was apparently dating an ex of Jones). You have to admit, this is a very University of Miami thing to happen.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

The Shohei Kid

The line last night for Los Angeles Angel pitcher Shohei Ohtani: 8 innings, 8 strikeouts, 1 earned run, and the Win. He also hit his 40th home run of the season while improving his record to 8-1 and lowering his ERA to 2.79.

As ESPN’s Jeff Passan has pointed out, this is historic stuff. Ohtani leads the bigs in home runs and his ERA would be in the Top 10 if he had enough starts.

All that and he got Jack Morris suspended without even trying…

And That’s Why They Call It…

A husband, wife, their one year-old daughter and even the family dog were found dead after going for a hike near their home just outside Yosemite National Park this weekend. No signs of trauma on any of the bodies.

So what happened? The couple had lived in the San Francisco area, where he’s a software engineer, but had relocated to just beyond Yosemite for a simpler, cleaner life. Now they’re all gone. Was it noxious fumes from a deserted mine? Tainted water? The Taliban? Who knows.

By the way, I’m really looking forward to a week or two from now when the NFL season starts and America can go back to not giving a sh*t as to what happens in Afghanistan…

Where You Really Do Earn An Mrs. Degree

In Reykjavik, Iceland, you will find the School of Housewives, which really does teach Nordic lasses how to excel in the art of husbandry-pleasing. And now, of course, someone has made a documentary about it…

College Football’s Big Weekend

As it stands now, and we have no reason to believe the preseason rankings will change, college football’s opening weekend will feature five games between a pair of Top 25 schools. That’s 10 schools. That’s 40% of the Top 25, for those of you who like the maths. The contests:

No. 23 Louisiana (Lafayette) at No. 21 Texas

No. 19 Penn State at No. 12 Wisconsin

No. 17 Indiana at No. 18 Iowa

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 14 Miami

No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 3 Clemson

Sexy games not on the list: No. 16 LSU at UCLA and No. 9 Notre Dame at Florida State.*

*And no, we presently have no idea whether The Athletic will ask us to bring back The Bubble Screen.

Predictions? Why not. Let’s go with Louisiana breaking in a new QB, Penn State and the power of James Franklin, Indiana and Tom Allen’s Ted Lasso coaching talents, Bama to crush the Canes, and Clemson in a battle of red-ass coaches.

We’re Back? Are You Sure?

There’s a big concert on The Great Lawn in Central Park this weekend to celebrate New York being “back.” Performers include Carlos Santana, Paul Simon, Earth, Wind and Fire, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Wyclef Jean, The Killers and Journey. Did they say back or back to the Eighties?

We’re not overly militant here about reminding people about the pandemic and the Delta variant. At this point in the game, our attitude is pretty much live and let live. If you’re vaccinated, you may get sick but not too sick. If you’re not, well, someone probably advised you to quit smoking a long time ago, too. At this stage of the game, it’s on you.

Have a good time, everyone.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Bad Faith Arguments

In his latest “New Rules” installments, Bill Maher took on bad faith arguments on Real Time. You know, kind of like when Jack Morris made a bad attempt at Asian humor during last night’s Tigers-Angels game and now Twitter wants to see him hanged…

…or kinda like how Fox News and Newsmax is trying to destroy President Biden over America’s exit from Afghanistan while at the same time they’d be destroying him if more American lives were being lost there in a hopeless cause… while ignoring that his predecessor engineered this so that the Taliban would take over and the departing Afghan prez would leave with a $169 million parachute and land in the UAE… and also ignoring that it was George Bush who put us there.

Bad faith arguments happen on both sides of the aisle. I was recently scorned for “mansplaining” something, though that’s not at all what I was doing, but it occurred to me that if I pointed out that this was not the correct usage of mansplaining that it would be the ultimate in mansplaining. So I kept quiet, recognized it for the bad faith argument that it was, and moved on. That’s the thing with bad faith actors. They’re not worth your energy in terms of having a rational disagreement. They’re not looking to find common ground. They’re trying to cause an earthquake.

Would You Rent a Beach Cruiser From This Homie?

A somber reminder that you don’t need a license to be a parent. Someone else said it, and I agree, but it’s as if Alex Jones and Adam Duritz had a love child.

Heavyweight Investors Bout

In this corner, Cathie Wood… whose ARK Innovation ETF had a return of 150% last year and has been hailed as a CNBC superstar. It helps, of course, that she’s age-appropriate pretty and a good TV presence.

In the other corner, Michael Burry… the renegade character from The Big Short who profited youge-ly from shorting the housing market 15 or so years ago and who recently put in 2,355 put contracts against Wood’s fund. A put is basically a short bet based on conditions.

Wood is saying that Burry does not understand the innovation space. Burry is not saying much. Why should he? His track record speaks for him.

Fastball?

So the MH staff was noticing that the San Francisco Giants have baseball’s best record, and then the staff waxed wistful about the possibility of a Yankee-Giant Fall Classic… and then we looked up the last time these two franchises had met in a World Series.

The year was 1962.

The Yankees won that one in seven games, culminating in a 1-0 victory in Game 7 at Candlestick Park. But as we researched, what blew our minds was the length of time for each game. Remember, these are World Series contests, which regularly approach four hours these days.

The time for each game: 2 hours, 43 minutes; 2:11; 2:06; 2:55; 2:42; 2:00; and 2:29. That’s an average of 2 hours and 28 minutes over seven games.

Find Your Mojo

Remember when MH used to do “Where In The World?” Well, this is kind of like that except that we’ve already provided the answer. This shot is from Moyo Island, which used to be named Mojo Island and someone who is not very savvy in terms of marketing changed the name. It’s in the Pacific, just a little bit east of Bali. One of these days we need to get lost in this part of the world for six months. Who’s with us?

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Yesterday, August 16th, was our 9th anniversary.

Af-gone-istan

It’s funny. I’m re-reading Once Upon A Distant War, by William Prochnau, at the moment. It’s all about the young reporters in Vietnam, the early years, who exposed the folly of the conflict and the countless lies that the White House and the Pentagon told in order to sustain it. One of the most telling quotes, from an army colonel to Peter Arnett: “We had to destroy the village in order to save it.”

So now the U.S. is exiting Afghanistan and leaving it to the Taliban. Charlie Wilson’s War, II. We all know that the war began with a lie, a lie that people will pin on George Bush (at least those who don’t tune in to Newsmax and OAN and blame it on Joe Biden) when really the blame belongs to Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, the puppet masters.

Is Afghanistan moving backward? Probably. But how many American lives are supposed to be expended to attempt to rescue it? And after nearly 20 years, maybe it’s time to admit nation-changing and war-fighting are not the same thing.

Cornutopia

…. Speaking of tough defeats for the Yanks. Now that’s what we call a Midsummer Classic. Everything about the Field of Dreams game was perfect, right up (for a Yankee fan) until Tim Anderson’s walk-off blast. The Fox production was sublime and the producer understood the importance of the sunset beauty shot. Honestly, we thought Kevin Costner was unintelligible at times, and we’re not saying he was drunk, only that a few of his sentences didn’t seem to make all that much sense. Just us?

The Yanks have won three straight since losing 9-8 to the Sox.

Tim Anderson, a black player, hit the walk-off home run. There were no black players in baseball, of course, at the time the players who materialized from the corn rows in the original Field Of Dreams played. And how perfect would it have been if Anderson were sporting corn rows! Anyway, the first White Sox player to hit a walk-off home run versus the Yankees? Joe Jackson. You can’t make it up.

Debut-Tiant*

*The judges acknowledge this is a bit of a stretch

On Saturday night, Tyler Gilbert made his first Major League start. For the Arizona Diamondbacks. Versus the potent bats of the San Diego Padres. Gilbert, 27, tossed a no-hitter. Something that had not been done in 68 years (a pitcher making his first start) and something that had never taken place at Chase Field (a no-hitter in general).

One Major League start, one no-hitter. Grover Cleveland Alexander started 600 games, won 373 of them, and never tossed a no-hitter. Greg Maddux never threw a no-hitter. Pedro Martinez tossed a one-hitter versus the Yanks in the Bronx, but never a no-hitter. Tyler Gilbert has already thrown a no-hitter before his first five-days-between-starts rest.

Emma Falls

Certainly not what we expected to see in Tokyo. Emma Coburn, the reigning Olympic silver medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, simply bonked in her race. And then, as you see here, tripped coming over a hurdle and was DQ’ed for leaving the track. Some days/nights your body just does not come to play. No matter what the stakes.

We’ll have plenty of Olympic memories/highlights in the coming weeks. For the record, we were stationed in romantic Fort Lee, N.J., and writing for the nightly CNBC studio show in Englewood Cliffs.

Good news for Emma, others: The Prefontaine Meet in Eugene, Ore., is happening this weekend. Cool beans. Lots of Olympic athletes will be there.

Shoe-Dogged

We just finished reading Shoe Dog, which is Phil Knight’s autobiographical story of how Nike came to be (ghost-written, expertly, by the incomparable JR Moehringer). In the blurbs section, you’ll see some big names tout this as the best business bio they’ve ever read and, having read it, I wouldn’t disagree. It’s captivating and at the same time it tells you just how tough the road was for the men behind the swoosh. The company was more than a dozen years old in the late 1970s and still missing deadlines on payments to its lenders because the cash float was negative.

Another telling thing about the book: Phil Knight might have created Nike, but the man above, Jeff Johnson, was its most valuable employee. It was Johnson who opened the first Blue Ribbon (they weren’t called Nike for the first seven or eight years) store in Santa Monica; it was Johnson who uprooted his life and relocated to Wellesley, Mass., after Knight lied to his Japanese suppliers and told them he had an East Coast distributor so send the shoes there. Knight even told Johnson’s successor at the Santa Monica store that he’d gotten Johnson’s gig before he told Johnson he was leaving (the new guy burst into the store and informed Johnson); it was Johnson who re-relocated to Oregon when Knight needed him at the home office; and it was Johnson who re-re-relocated to New Hampshire when Knight decided they needed an American factory.

Oh, and when Knight wanted to name his company’s first homegrown sneaker “Dimension Six,” it was Johnson who came up with another name… Nike.

Phil Knight is the main character of Shoe Dog. Jeff Johnson, now retired and living amongst thousands of books in New England, is the hero.

By the way, two little-known facts: 1) Nike and Apple had their IPOs within 10 days of one another in December of 1980. NKE was issued on Dec. 2nd and AAPL on Dec. 12. I challenge you to think of another American brand that did not already exist before, say, 1970, that has been more influential the past 40 (not 20) years. 2) The last four digits of Nike phone office lines throughout world spell out “NIKE” (6453) and if you put that number backward, 3:54.6, it is Steve Prefontaine’s best mile time.

*****
TCM today (all times Eastern). It’s a fantastic lineup. We don’t deserve it.

4 p.m. Odds Against Tomorrow: Ed Begley, Robert Ryan and Harry Belafonte in a bank heist.

8 p.m. The Big Heat: Classic film noir starring Glenn Ford and Gloria Grahame

10 p.m. In A Lonely Place: Another film noir classic, with Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame. GG had IT, and she would’ve gone on to an even bigger career… but, well, the director of this film was Nicholas Ray, who happened to be her husband… and soon after she had an affair with her step-son, Nicholas’ biological son, who was still a teenager and underage.

Delay Of Games

by John Walters

Weather has forced us to take flight tomorrow instead of today, so a brief item or two….

Rule No. 7*

*Any baseball game offers the opportunity to see something on the field (no, we’re not talking about Saturday night’s Padres-Nats contest) you’ve never seen before

Is it strange that two of the most bizarre plays in baseball this season have taken place within 15 feet of home plate at PNC Park?

The Mets fell behind 6-0, in the first inning, on this bizarre play. They rallied to win 7-6 on a go-ahead two-run Michael Conforto homer in the top of the 9th. A day earlier, the Mets had blown a 6-0 lead to the Pirates and lost. That has only happened (teams trading blown 6-0 leads and losing on consecutive days) four times before: 1889, 1968, 2019 and this weekend.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters*

*This will be our final post…at least for the next three weeks.** We’ll be working with that five-ring circus known as the Tokyo Olympics and it’s best for the two to not overlap. See you in, or slightly before, September.

**I may do a short post here or there. We cannot let the Suns winning an NBA championship go unremarked upon.

Unpopular Opinions

A few thoughts we had and we doubt anyone will agree with all four of our notions here (maybe one, tops):

  1. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one day in the near future President Biden announced that any state that purports to wish to secede from the union be allowed to take a popular vote (not a vote in its state legislature) and be granted emancipation? You want to exit, Texas? Kentucky? God bless you. All the social security payments stop now. The medicare stops now. The military bases are relocated. And if you want to travel from Dallas to Branson, you’re gonna need a passport. Enjoy your freedom. No two states pay more in federal taxes than California and New York. Okay, so you do wanna stay, Florida and Texas, but you don’t like that you don’t always get your way? You sound like every entitled teenager threatening to run away we’ve ever met. Go. Or stay, and clean your room.
  2. Another reason I’m an independent: the child tax credit. Why are we giving money to people for making financially irresponsible decisions? If you have more children than you can afford to care for, why are the rest of us paying for it? The reason: because politicians know they will never strike out extolling family values. But I submit this: if Earth were to hire a consultant to advise on how better to run this little blue ship, I imagine the first thing the consultant would come back with is, Stop making people! You have a surplus. In a world that thinks clearly and is not blinded by emotion or antiquated Biblical aphorisms (Be fruitful and multiply–HA!), you’d be giving tax credits to the people who do not procreate. As a thank you. And I don’t want the government’s (your) money for having decided to not have children. I just don’t believe a government governs best that rewards those of us who make irresponsible decisions by placing the burden on those who did not.
  3. Okay, do I have this correct: if you’ve been vaccinated, you are just as like to carry the virus and the variant as someone not vaccinated? You are just as likely to pass it on to someone who is not vaccinated? The difference is that you will not get sick or barely sick? So the principal consequence to the general population is that hospital staffs will continue to be overburdened by the illnesses of those who are unvaccinated? And while that’s enough of a reason, for this scribe, to get vaccinated (to relieve their burden), isn’t this some intelligence-based Darwinism playing out? Those most likely to suffer the consequences of failure to vaccinate (besides hospital staffs) are the willfully ignorant and, mostly, morbidly obese? I hate to sound like a Newsmax anchor, but that’s just thinning the herd. Now, I’ve been vaccinated. And I’d get vaccinated if I weren’t. But other than concern for those in the health-care field (and that’s a HUGE “other than”), I say play on. Let those who refuse to get vaccinated suffer the consequences of their decisions. It is, still, a free country (thanks, Capitol Police). UPDATE: The White House reports that 1 in 5 new coronavirus cases this week were from Florida. Make it rain, Florida!
  4. Finally, if I have not lost all of you yet, here’s a thought I had: What if someone attempts to follow all of the teachings of Jesus without necessarily believing in the existence of God? Is this person any less holy than the most devout follower of any Christian church? I’m trying to imagine the conversation if such a person dies and discovers that there is actually a heaven with all the fairy-tale pearly gates, etc. God meets him at the gates. I’m trying to imagine a Supreme Being who acknowledges that few people lived a more devout and selfless life but, alas, because that person did not believe in God he or she will not be granted entrance. I’m sorry, Heavenly Father, but what kind of outfit are you running here? Is your ego so fragile that You need me to worship You more than You want us to love one another and love thy neighbor as thyself? If this is the best You can do, then maybe I don’t want to be part of this Eternal Life show you’ve got going on anyway. It sounds a lot like some Jim Harbaugh b.s. where you’re more about players supplicating to you than you are about winning games. Isn’t winning games the entire point? And if someone’s decency and kindness is performed primarily because they’re trying to ace the class (i.e., get into heaven), isn’t that like telling a child she has to be nice or Santa won’t visit?

Okay, now if I’ve lost absolutely everyone, on to some other items…

Staying In Character

For England, the final of last Sunday’s EuroCup played out like a season-ending episode of Ted Lasso. The Three Lions took Italy to penalty kicks but in the PK phase missed three shots. All three misses came at the feet of black players and, as you can imagine, they received a wave of racist-tinged hate on line for their failure.

Hence, last night in Los Angeles at the Season 2 premiere of Ted Lasso, star Jason Sudeikis wore a shirt with their names on the front. In support of them, of course. Now if everyone in English can just be little goldfish, we’ll be good.

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

Submitted: Maria Taylor is the third most valuable tool in ESPN’s belt after Scott Van Pelt and Rece Davis. I realize the numbers would claim that Screamin’ A. Smith ranks above her, but he’s just a caricature that fools some of the people all of the time. Taylor is a versatile and valuable asset, just entering the prime of her career, and for a MAJOR media company seeking to ring the inclusivity bell, what personage at ESPN is more valuable in the decade ahead?

And yet it looks as if ESPN is about to lose Taylor to NBC. It may be about the money, it may be about a legacy of black female talent at ESPN being under-appreciated and mistreated. Earlier I tweeted that this was the greatest tug-of-war saga involving a Maria since Capt. Von Trapp took on the abbey, but then the always witty @MarkEnnis reminded me that the Jets and Sharks might have a thing to say about that.

Maria Taylor: at ESPN she had more than one job. Now she has more than one offer. Regardless of what offer Taylor chooses, she’ll be ESPN’s NBA Finals pregame host throughout the rest of the series. That’s leverage.

The Rain In Spain Flows Mainly In The Plain–But This Isn’t Spain*

*The judges will not accept “Rain, Rhine, Rhone” or “God, Blessem”

Torrents of rain in Germany, Netherlands and Belgium have put parts of central Europe under water and more than 125 people have perished and reportedly more than 1,300 are missing. Europe hasn’t looked this in disarray since the Fuhrer was in charge, no?

This is the town of Blessem, Germany, after the floods caused a massive sinkhole to form. I have no editorial commentary to add.

Quest For Knowledge

Move over, Zaila Avant-garde, there’s a new unicorn in town. This is Kashe Quest, barely 3 years old, who earlier this year became the youngest-ever Mensa member with an IQ of 146. A native of Los Angeles, Quest is already bilingual and can identify every element in the periodic table and every state. She also has cool hair. That Mensa membership card will be a unique item to bring to show-and-tell.

It’s Gorge-ous

Meet America’s newest national park, New River Gorge in West Virginia. Certainly, it’s lovely but it must be said that the standards for what becomes a national park east of the Rockies are a little less stringent than those west of the Continental Divide. Somewhere Oak Creek Canyon is wondering what it has to do to garner similar status.

We still don’t understand how come Niagara Falls is not a national park. So we share it with Canada. So what? Canadians are very polite. Are they going to throw a hissy if we claim it as a co-national park? We think not.

IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Buck Shot

Sunday didn’t hurt. Last night hurt.

The Suns played with poise, or at least Devin Booker did, through three and a half quarters. Booker had 38 after three but then picked up his 5th foul (ticky-tack) early in the 4th on the very play after a ball had been called out on him after it had clearly gone off P.J. Tucker’s shoe.

Still, with just under six minutes to play, and Booker having just returned, Cam Johnson hit a jumper on an inbounds play to put Phoenix up 95-90. From there it would all unravel. Milwaukee would outscore the Suns 19-8 the rest of the way and win 109-103. Failures by key players such as DeAndre Ayton and Chris Paul highlighted the Suns’ collapse, while Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton (40 points) played out of his mind.

People will remember Giannis’ block of the Ayton alley oop late, and it’s worth remembering, but it was just one of many plays in the final six minutes in which the Bucks came up big and the Suns, long on poise this entire postseason, came up short. Booker and Jae Crowder and even Cameron Johnson were heroic. The rest of the team was just playing hoop.

Best of three. Here we go.

Why Now?

Another book (I Alone Can Fix It) in which a former Trump White House insider reveals a startling revelation or three about the last months of 45’s term but again the question to ask, Why didn’t you speak up at the time? In this book authors Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker report that as former Chief of Staff Mark Milley saw Trump’s machinations following his defeat in November, he told his staff, “This is a Reichstag moment. The gospel of the Fuhrer.”

Milley and the other military service heads saw what Trump was planning, but at a time when it would have been beneficial for them to go public with the info, they instead hunkered down and discussed how “they’re not going to f**king succeed.”

Oh, but they came very close, Gen. Milley. And if only they’d have shown up to the Capitol with more weaponry, a stronger resolve as to what they came to accomplish, and a few lass jag-offs leading the way, they would have accomplished. And where would your backroom strategizing have left you then?

I’m a little tired of the post-Jan. 6 insider-hero series. Democracy dies in darkness, as WaPo rightly asserts, and all of these men had the opportunity to out their boss long before Jan. 6. Instead, they held onto their jobs, happy with their position and afraid to stand up to Trump. Do you think they would’ve said anything had Trump’s army of idiots succeeded last January? Not a peep.

The Heat Is Here

Two items came across the Twitter yesterday that should concern fans of wildlife. The first is a report that most of the salmon in the Sacramento River will perish because the water temperature is simply too warm now. Second is this video of a momma bear taking her cubs to cool off in Lake Tahoe. First, as a person on Twitter rightly asks, Do you realize how hot it had to be for that bear to risk her cubs’ lives by putting them in such close contact with (dumb tourists) humans?

Second, and this should be evident, you know what animals really depend on salmon in their diet (besides me)? Bears. So what do you think hungry bears will start going after next? And then officials will start shooting bears for being rogue when after all they’re just hungry and it’s man who has been depriving them their food supply.

We’re going down, down in an earlier round. The West, where temperatures are now routinely above 110 in many parts this month, is just the most vivid example.

The Virus As Cryptocurrency

If it will help you to conjure one or the other with more clarity, think of Covid-19 as Bitcoin. It was the first virus and the one that everyone used interchangeably with “coronavirus”, just as we used Bitcoin instead of “cryptocurrency.” But now here comes the Delta variant, which was seen in 92% of new cases this past week. The Delta variant is like Ethereum or Dogecoin. Once a side note to Bitcoin, but beginning to overtake it.

I think I read earlier this week that 94% of new cases (or was it deaths?) of coronavirus in Louisiana, or maybe of hospital admissions due to the virus, are among unvaccinated people. As a fan of Darwinism and as someone who opposes MAGA, there’s a part of me that’s thrilled that the disinformation spread by Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham is taking such strong hold in the reddest of red states. They’re practicing their own reverse-voter suppression by helping to kill of MAGA hat types.

We’ll see what happens.

Right now it sounds as if the counties that voted for Biden are mostly vaccinated and those that voted for Trump are less than half vaccinated. And more than 9 of 10 people who are hospitalized for Covid-19 or the Delta variant are unvaccinated. And getting the Delta variant doesn’t mean a death sentence, but if you have a pre-existing condition (most of which are related to obesity, which is anathema to say on TV because God forbid we fat-shame people), you could be in trouble.

Viva la natural selection!

Humanity Still Has A Chance

Been quite a dark MH today between the Suns’ losing, more reveals of Trump’s malfeasance, devastating heat waves that threaten species and, of course, the virus. So lets’s end on a positive note, shall we? There are still good people in the world. It’s a woman and a young African girl here. No rich white men around. What a surprise.

WHAT’S HAPPENING!

by John Walters

Duds

On the same day that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced that baseball might return to sanity—no more 7-inning doubleheaders or placing a runner on 2nd base to begin each extra inning—he allowed these uniforms to be worn during the annual Summer Classic. The All-Star Game.

Baseball is the one team sport where players on the same team do not need to wear the same uniform for split-second recognition decisions. In basketball, football and hockey they do. So it’s long been an aesthetically appealing aspect of the All-Star Game that each player represented his team by wearing his actual uniform during the game. And baseball had to piss on that tradition, too, last night.

Hopefully, it’s a one-off. Sometimes social media hates change for the sake of change. Other times, the rabble is correct.

Who won last night’s All-Star Game? That became a side note.

Fish Flush*

*The judges will also accept “Nuclear Fission”

In a scene inspired by the Thanksgiving turkey giveaway episode from WKRP In Cincinnati, Utah wildlife officials reveal that they are carpet-bombing lakes with live fish. Someone needs to get the fish’ perspective on this.

Eat Ship And Die

Yeah, I don’t know why anyone thought this was unsustainable. The city fathers of Venice finally got wise and told those big-ass boats that they are no longer welcome to dock there. Now if we can only get the helicopters to stop hovering over New York City.

The ban affects ships that weigh more than 25,000 tons and measure longer than 180 meters, so your yacht is probably still fine.

Blair Erskine Keeps Winning

Here she is playing the role of Texas governor Greg Abbott:

No word is wasted, no vocal inflection a mistake. Wonder how many takes this required.

And this was from earlier in the week, regarding billionaire rocket boys:

Sweet Baby Jesus

Has any group ever strayed further from the message and intent of its founder than white evangelical Christians in the U.S.A.? We think not.

In this illuminating piece by Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times, you learn that in every year since 2013 the largest “religious group” in the U.S. was the religiously unaffiliated. White evangelical Christians are down from 23% of the population in 2006 to 14.5% last year. Their median age is 56. Their numbers are dwindling, and their beginning to panic. And people on the verge of panic tend to do some crazy-ass sh*t.

Such as voting for Donald Trump and positioning him as their savior. “Adherents dream of what they call ‘the storm,’ when the enemies of the MAGA movement will be rounded up and executed, and Trump will be restored to his rightful place of leadership.”

This explains January 6th. The ballot recount in Maricopa County. The crazy proclamations at the latest CPAC. Sure, say white evangelicals, we believe in America, but only in an America that is Christian and that God ordains. So if we can’t have our white Christian America, then we’ll burn it down and reclaim it for our own. It’s our divine right.

I was at a community pool at my largely MAGA community a couple weeks back when a man, talking amongst friends, was criticizing Critical Race Theory (i.e., American History) because “they’re trying to mess with our world.” Our. I loved that. I kept quiet but I really wanted to ask him what the difference between our and American was.

Galaxy Quest

Somewhat related to the previous post, here is a photo taken from the Hubble Telescope. As the caption reads, each blip of light is not a star or a planet, but an entire galaxy. Our little blue planet, the one that billionaires are so eager to escape, is just a small part of a single galaxy.

So it makes you wonder about the perspective of it all, about God and about man and our rightful place. If God created Earth as this home for his signature creation, you have to wonder why He bothered with so much other window dressing. It’s like building a 600-square foot home on a piece of property the size of the continental U.S. (actually the disparity in dimensions is far greater than that) and then claiming that that tiny shed is the entire reason for existence.

Odd.