News we don’t hear enough of: last Monday, Berkeley, California, police arrested a 16-year-old after discovering assault rifles, knives and explosives in his home. The tip came from other students he tried to recruit to participate in the planned mass shooting and bombing attack at a Berkeley high school. Nice work.
Thirty-six years after the original, Top Gun: Maverick, is a box office success with movie goers and critics alike and making its case with the Academy for Best Picture of 2022. If it does, it will become only the third sequel ever to grab the Oscar. The first was Godfather II in 1974, two years after the classic and in 2004 Lord of the Rings:Return of the King.
Baseball stinks and according to the New York Times the stench gets worse game by game. A sport steeped in neurosis: hitters between pitches tugging on their batting gloves, adjusting their helmets or grabbing at their crotch; all the while pitchers work methodically, going through their routines, slowing the game even further, testing the patience of even the most devoted baseball fan. But now the latest mishegoss is perfume and cologne. Led mainly by the Latin American players, major leaguers are now dosing themselves in the smelly stuff before they take the field. “When people go to work they get ready and dress up,” Houston first baseman Yule Gurriel said adding, “This is my job and I like to look good, and I like to smell good, too.” And it’s not just men’s cologne. If a player likes the scent of women’s perfume, well that’s in play, too. Seattle’s Eugenio Suarez said, “If I don’t have perfume on before playing, I feel strange.” The Mets’ Francisco Lindor admits he rotates between a half dozen scents before games until he feels right. Lindor will also regularly ask an opponent what he is wearing if the aroma hits the spot. Kansas City’s Salvador Perez has more than just superstition involved in what he sprays. “I’m a catcher so I sweat a lot and a little perfume helps. The umpires say ‘Oh Salvy, you smell good.’ I say, ‘Thank you, now give me some strike calls.” Bob Gibson just rolled over.
Is it just me or does a clean car drive better?
We saw the finale of the Eagles Hotel California tour at the MGM Grand last Saturday. The first forty-five minutes was every song from the Hotel California album. The next two hours were all of the Eagles other hits, which actually began fifty years ago this week when Take It Easy hit the radio dial. Maybe Joe Walsh can’t hit that super high note anymore, but Ringo Starr’s brother-in-law was in rare form, and with original member Don Henley and newcomer Vince Gill they gave us a half century of memories and flashbacks in their three-plus hours on stage. So good.
Not on my musical must-see list, though probably something Andi would like, is the Electric Daisy Carnival, which was here in Vegas a couple of weekends ago. It’s an electric dance musical festival, whatever that is. The two day, all-night event had over 166,000 in attendance each day at the Las Vegas Speedway. Think about that for a minute: one hundred, sixty-six thousand, each day. When it ended, in the wee hours Sunday morning, traffic was backed up over 11 miles on the-15 heading to LA. No thanks.
Happy 99th birthday to Henry Kissinger. Our country can use a guy like him right now. And my favorite quarterback, Joe Namath, just turned 79. Even though he’s fifty years past his prime, the Jets could also use a guy like him right now. And birthday wishes wouldn’t be complete without the Beaver. Jerry Mathers turned 74 on Thursday.
Add another nail to my nostalgia coffin. In the early 2000s there were 30,000 pay phones throughout New York City. One on just about every corner. However, the last two phone banks were removed from the City, at Seventh Avenue and 50th Street, on May 23. Once again very sad. However, as Covid has moved us into public safety and health consciousness, was there anything ever more unsanitary for the masses than a pay phone?
Eighty-six the orange roof. The last of the famed Howard Johnson’s restaurants has closed, this one in Lake George, New York. In the 60s and 70s, there were over 1,000 HoJo’s across the country, making it the largest restaurant chain in the States. There were also 500 motor lodges for those who remember what a motor lodge was. Known for its distinctive colored roofs, ice cream in 28 flavors, fried clams and the slowest service on the planet, the chain has officially died. In the meantime, over in booth four, Harry and Janet are still waiting for the burgers they ordered on March 15.
A very uncharacteristic public spat between high profile college football coaches erupted when Alabama’s Nick Saban accused Texas A&M of luring recruits using the new Name-Image-Likeness, NIL program to fund kids to play for the Aggies. A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher, once an assistant to Saban, didn’t take too kindly to the accusation and verbally came at his former boss with no holds barred. The two schools will have a chance to throw haymakers legally when they play in Tuscaloosa on October 8. Caesars Sportsbook, where it’s never too early for a gambling line, opens Bama as a 14.5 point favorite.
A major reason the good guys are such a lopsided favorite in that game is once again Alabama has a roster that’s loaded. In fact, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. says the Tide will have the top two picks in next spring’s NFL draft. Linebacker Will Anderson Jr. is projected at number one with quarterback and 2021 Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young forecast to be second.
And one more Alabama note. Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, a Bama alum, has an expensive decision to make. Jacobs is contemplating trading his number 28 Raiders jersey for number 8, which he wore while at Alabama. The Raiders said fine, but first Jacobs needs to buy back all the inventory on the market of his unsold number 28 jerseys. It’s estimated that cost would be around $3.5 million. Expect to see number 28 wearing number 28 this season.
Ray Liotta’s passing at 67 was a stunner. Liotta was a freshman at Miami when I was a senior. Three years earlier, when I was a freshman at the U, Sylvester Stallone was a senior.
If you’re not watching Hacks on HBO with Jean Smart, don’t blame me. It’s well written and funny.
For whatever reason, if you find yourself in front of a judge awaiting sentencing, you better hope he/she is also the Major League Baseball disciplinarian. The Yankees’ Josh Donaldson mocks the White Sox’ Tim Anderson calling him “Jackie” during a recent game in reference to a comment Anderson made in 2019 saying he felt like he was “today’s Jackie Robinson.” For that atrocity, Donaldson was suspended for one game. Yes, one game or 0.6 of the 162-game schedule. Kind of like a $15 fine. However, the big sentence came down a week later when Cincinnati’s Tommy Pham channeled his inner Will Smith and pre-game approached the Giants’ Joc Pederson slapping him in the face as a result of a fantasy football argument between the two. MLB got their capital punishment shoes on and levied a three game suspension to Pham, no doubt making him feel like he got his monies worth with the assault.
Meanwhile, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman must take his cues from the MLB manual of discipline. He has released John Hinckley Jr. from all federal custody effective June 15. Despite the 1981 attempted assassination of President Reagan, who was wounded, and injuries to White House press secretary James Brady, a police officer and a Secret Service agent, Judge Friedman has determined that Hinckley, 67, is now mentally stable enough to walk the streets. Comforting.
Did anyone have the double-defamation parlay in the Depp lawsuit? Didn’t think so.
A couple of Sunday’s ago we told you about Ryan Long, the modest and mild mannered 39-year-old Uber driver from Philadelphia, who won six straight games on Jeopardy! He packed both the dress shirts he owned for the tapings just in case he had to stay a second day. Well, after a shopping spree at Men’s Wearhouse, Long has now won 16 straight games and $300,000. He goes for number 17 on Monday.
If you fly into the United States from anywhere in the world, Canada and Mexico included, you have to pass a Covid test to enter the country. But if you drive across either border, you don’t. I’m sure that makes sense to somebody. We are one of the few countries remaining requiring a negative test before hitting our shores. The airlines are aggressively lobbying the CDC to have it lifted. I reached out to my two travel gurus and friends, Peter Greenberg of CBS News and Joe Brancatelli of JoeSentMe.com subscription travel blog. Brancatelli says he can’t get anything definitive from his government connections. Greenberg predicts, “My best guess is it will be gone before June 30.” Fingers crossed for everyone going overseas this summer and fearful of an extended quarantine in foreign motor lodges.
So, you had an extra $3.1 billion sitting in a stocking, earmarked to buy English soccer club Chelsea. Now you can put it back in the drawer. The highest price ever paid for a sports team, $3.2 billion, was completed this week by a group fronted by Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly. The positive about this transaction is Chelsea was owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, a good buddy of Vlady Putin. The British government froze the asset and forced the sale. The government said the proceeds will be used for humanitarian relief in Ukraine. That’s a good thing.
Meanwhile, Newsweek reported in an exclusive on Friday that Putin is undergoing treatment for advanced cancer and with Russian officials sensing the end is near, there is intense jockeying for power inside the Kremlin.
Putting distance in perspective. On Monday, Miami Marlins center fielder Jesus Sanchez hit the longest home run so far this season with the ball tracking 496 feet in Colorado’s hitter friendly Coors Field. On the golf course, that would be a 165-yard par three.
And how about sending a little handicapping love my way? On May 1 I wrote: Nobody asked me but when it’s all over in the NBA I will go with Golden State over Boston in the Finals. In the NHL I’m looking at Colorado and the New York Rangers facing off for the Stanley Cup. We nailed the NBA Finals match-up. In hockey Colorado is one game from the Cup finals while New York has a two games to none lead over the two-time defending champion and very dangerous Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s not over but the Rangers are in a good spot going into game three today. No matter how it turns out, not a bad crystal ball effort from a guy who generally stinks. Eh?
I hate when bad things happen to quality people. In a real tough break for Michael Avenatti’s 2024 presidential hopes, the slimeball California lawyer, who for about fifteen seconds contemplated a 2020 Democratic run, was sentenced in New York to four years in prison. All he did, among other things, was to steal book proceeds from his honorable client, porn actress Stormy Daniels. Separately he also tried to extort Nike, Inc. Now, when the country needs him the most, he’ll be in the clink.
Finally, I don’t know anyone who is a Sacramento Kings fan, do you?