Good morning. Considering our first three items are from the Sunshine State, how about some fresh squeezed Florida OJ with today’s Scramble?
Tom Brady’s retirement from the Tampa Bay Bucs, 40 days, was an eternity compared to CNN retiring CNN+ in only 30.
Disney really got themselves into a pickle, didn’t they? The Burbank, California, corporation is a big player in Florida politics and a major taxpayer in the state. When Republican sponsored legislation was introduced that bars classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity through the third grade, Disney wisely stayed out of the fray. Then in March, when the bill was being introduced in chambers, a good portion of Disney’s 80,000 theme park and resort employees urged the company to take a position in opposition to the legislation known as “Don’t Say Gay.” That didn’t sit well at the Republican controlled statehouse nor with Governor Ron DeSantis. So, the state GOP sponsored another bill that reversed a law in effect since 1967, originally passed to entice Disney to Florida, which exempted the company from a host of state and local regulations, taxes and fees. DeSantis flexed his muscles to show Disney who is in charge. Both bills passed easily. Pending years of legal challenges or waiting for the dark red state to turn blue, it will cost Disney tens of millions of dollars a year in taxes, fees and legal costs. And of course, shareholders will look to mom and dad, grandma and grandpa to recover those funds. If you thought admission and concession prices couldn’t get any higher, just wait. For both sides, this is a pretty sour pickle.
Speaking of Florida orange juice, well, once again the Juice is loose. O.J. Simpson concluded his Nevada residency a few weeks ago and moved back to Florida. O.J. spent 14 years in the desert, nine in Federal prison, after being convicted of armed robbery in 2007 at the Palace Station hotel. He was finally released from parole on December 14, 2021, for “good behavior.” That good behavior included endless golf, incessant fantasy football Tweeting and hanging at local bars and restaurants with twenty-somethings, who either have no idea of who he is or what he’s accused of, fawning over him. I played golf in a group right behind Simpson a month ago, two weeks before he left town. He’s easily recognizable; smiles and nods his head in acknowledgment to others on the course; can still hit the golf ball a long way, but his bad knees make him look closer to 84 than his 74. Before being jailed in Nevada he had a home in South Miami, which presumably was his destination.
Sometimes raising campaign contributions can be tough. Consider LaJuana Clark, a Nevada Democrat running for a seat in the State Assembly. She’s accused of armed robbery of a Chase Bank in Las Vegas. She asked for $888, which must be the max a bank, under duress, can contribute to a candidate. In any event it’s a miracle the cops apprehended her. In the demand note she handed to the bank clerk, she gave her name, address and a note of apology to the bank’s manager. That was a nice touch and should get her a bunch of votes.
Here’s a shocker: in a poll of Russians by the Levada Center, 72% of those polled hold a negative view of the United States, up from 55% in February. The good news for China is 83% of the Russians have a favorable view of their country. Also good news for Vlady Putin whose approval rating has jumped from 71% in February to 83% in March. Levada Center bills themselves as an ‘independent’ Russian pollster. Yeah, sure they are.
You can’t make some of this stuff up. The U.S. Postal Service, which two weeks ago we told you somehow had a 91% approval rating, announced in a cost-cutting move they will slow delivery of first class packages. They figured using trains and trucks, rather than air, will be a substantial cost savings. For those with a long memory back to the 60s and 70s, it’s like Howard Johnson’s restaurants, perennially know for it’s terrible service, saying they have to slow things down.
Date night for Andi and me was a week ago Wednesday at the ParkMGM, nee the old Monte Carlo. Dinner first at Bavette’s with the food and atmosphere as good as any steakhouse on the Strip. Then across the casino floor to see Lady Gaga’s Jazz & Piano show. It was good. It would have been great if she didn’t take four seven or eight minute breaks in the two hour, fifteen minute show to change wardrobe. The pause broke any momentum and audience energy that she had generated. And then she had to get it going all over again. Good, but could have been much better.
Happy 89th birthday last Tuesday to Carol Burnett and on Saturday to Willie Nelson. Time isn’t slowing either of them down. The comic legend is still touring, playing smaller venues in a lecture type setting. Last week she was in Chicago; this week Milwaukee and Cincinnati. And Willie is still going strong on the road, again.
Is there anything more troublesome than a nagging sciatica? I am going on five weeks with the literal pain in my ass.
And speaking of fannies, Oakland A’s fans are expressing their dissatisfaction with the ongoing negotiations between the city of Oakland and the A’s ownership regarding plans for a new stadium to keep the baseball team in the Bay. For their first seven home games at the outdated Oakland Coliseum, the A’s are averaging an MLB low of 7,942 fans a game. That included a Wednesday afternoon when 2,703 stretched out in the 46,847 seat Coliseum. It could have easily been billed as “Foul Ball for Everyone Day.” The A’s AAA team is in Las Vegas, playing up here in Summerlin, in a 10,000 seat stadium. For their first seven home games the Aviators averaged 7,033 in a town with a hundred other things to do rather than watch minor league baseball.
For those few of us who still remember a daily newspaper, harken back to the 50s, 60s and even early 70s. The dominant home delivery was the afternoon paper; the morning newspaper was secondary in most markets. Actually, the afternoon newspaper was more of an evening paper as delivery had to wait until after school so the kids could get on their bikes and toss them. It arrived in enough time for the Ward Cleavers of the world after a tough day at the office, to come home, sit in the easy chair, still with jacket and tie, and read before June called Wally and the Beav in for dinner. In fact, only 40-50 years ago afternoon sheets outnumbered morning publications by about 4-1. By 2000, with more morning newspapers grabbing increased market share, there were still 600 afternoon dailies serving markets around the country. According to the Wall Street Journal, today there are two. Both are in Montana. The Livingston Enterprise circulates 2,500 papers every day and its sister paper, the Miles City Star, another 1,800. That’s it. That’s sad.
People who need to preface every statement with they are being ‘transparent’ make me uncomfortable. The more they say it, the less I believe them.
This is concerning for a country where almost everything seems to be going the wrong way. According to new data from the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic incidents in the United State rose 34% in 2021 over the previous year.
Double fault. Tennis great Boris Becker was sentenced to two and a half years in prison by a U.K. court last week for concealing assets during bankruptcy. Isn’t that the American way of doing business?
Last night at Madison Square Garden, for the first time in its glorious 140 year history of hosting boxing, a female match-up was the main event. Ireland’s Katie Taylor won an electric split decision over Puerto Rico’s Amanda Serrano retaining her undisputed lightweight championship. All 19,187 seats were filled with a top price of $500. However, it wasn’t the first time ladies headlined inside the Garden ring. On July 1, 1972, the Fabulous Moolah put her World Wide Wrestling Federation championship belt on the line against Vicky Williams. The sellout crowd of 19,512 left happy, with not only Moolah retaining her title, but in the co-feature heavyweight champion Pedro Morales fended off a challenge from the lunatic, George “The Animal” Steele. All was right with the world that night.
Bet you didn’t know that over 22 million new songs are recorded annually. That makes me thankful every day that I don’t subscribe to Spotify.
Something I never knew until now is flight attendants on major U.S. airlines aren’t officially on the payroll clock until all passengers are seated and the airplane’s doors close. Delta, facing an attempt to unionize its cabin attendants, just agreed to pay its personnel 50% of their regular wage when boarding commences. I love when companies step up and do something nice for their employees without any undue outside pressures.
Worth a look on Netflix is Inventing Anna. Stay with it for a couple of episodes. In my book, anything with Julia Garner is worth watching. I think she’s terrific and this is no exception. Worth avoiding on HBO is Winning Time, the far from fact based story of the Los Angeles Lakers emergence into their ‘Showtime’ era. It’s cheesier than a bag of Cheetos. On the movie side, invest two hours in The Survivor on HBO.
Why in basketball is it a foul when the shooter’s hand gets hit after the ball left?
The NBA is entering the second round of its playoffs while the chase for the Stanley Cup, the best of all team sport playoffs, gets started this week. Two of the three pre-season favorites to win their respective titles are gone. The Brooklyn Nets, loaded with talent but no chemistry, snuck into the final playoff spot before being swept by Boston in the first round. In the NHL, Colorado and Vegas were the pre-season favorites to skate the Cup. Colorado was solid all year and should have a fairly easy time getting out of the West. Meanwhile Vegas, hampered by injuries but still in first place in its division ten weeks ago, finished as a train wreck and for the first time in their five year history didn’t qualify for the playoffs. The Knights and Nets will be sharing tee times this week.
Nobody asked me but when it’s all over in the NBA I will go with Golden State over Boston in five games in the Finals. In the NHL, keep an eye on Toronto and Edmonton to surprise but I’m looking at Colorado and the New York Rangers facing off for the Stanley Cup with the Avalanche winning in six.
Is there a more treacherous sports handicapping proposition than trying to forecast the first round of the NFL draft? Conor Orr, the Sports Illustrated draft guru, got two of the 32 picks correct.
Few noticed or even cared but in baseball last weekend Pittsburgh won three of their four games with the Cubs. In the process they were remarkably outscored in the series by 17 runs. The Pirates won 4-3, 4-2 and 4-3. The game they dropped was 21-0.
It certainly was comforting words from the White House that despite VP Kamala Harris testing positive for Covid, she will continue working while in quarantine. Doing what?
And finally, as we wrote a couple of weeks ago, of all the SMC’s we have done, nothing generated more reader response and comments than the piece on April 10, 2022, about Herbie Shainker and his sports betting, When Herbie Talks…. https://royberger.com/sunday-morning-coffee-april-10-2022-when-herbie-talks/. There have been 45 posted comments and still counting. However, the best one came on Thursday from Herbie’s daughter Alyson who lovingly wrote: “Sure, my dad made plenty of time for me and my sisters as children… that’s what halftime was for. I moved out to Vegas for college a few years before he did, and I’ll never forget him asking me to make a bet for him at the Hilton sportsbook. “But dad, I’m only 19,” I exclaimed. “You have a fake ID… USE IT,” he barked back. The Tennessee Titans (under)… I’ll never forget. My son’s bris, my daughter’s birthday parties, holiday dinners, surgeries, labor and delivery… all scheduled around my dad’s games. He’ll let nothing get in the way of his sports betting!”
Happy and a safe May Day, all.