Good morning. It’s been a couple of weeks since we scrambled so let’s get to it:
Here’s one you didn’t know: there are over 32,270 fitness centers in the United States, more than all the McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Taco Bells combined. However, 32,270 fitness centers are not nearly enough if you are a regular at McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts or Taco Bell combined. Data also shows if you live less than four miles from your gym you are apt to go five times or more a month. Over five miles seems to be way too far. The majority of those members check in once a month.
So, Apple says after 21 years they are not manufacturing the iPod anymore. That’s another technology slap in my face as I still use one at the gym (two miles from home) every day. Next thing to go will undoubtedly be my BlackBerry.
Too many times we see what we believe will be the future of tennis, only to have the kids flame out in a year or two. This time the prodigy of men’s tennis is 18-year-old Carlos Alcatraz of Spain. For now, with the French Open beginning today, he looks like the real deal.
My dad took me to my first hockey game in 1962. It was the old Eastern Hockey League with the hometown Long Island Ducks playing the New Haven Blades. In between fights and scraping blood off the ice, there was a little bit of hockey. I fell in love with the sport that night and immediately became a New York Rangers fan in the NHL. Back in the 60s, if you didn’t pull for the Montreal Canadiens or Toronto Maple Leafs, you had the entire spring to watch baseball. From 1962 through 1969, Montreal and Toronto won all eight Stanley Cups. Toronto’s last Cup win was in 1967. That win wasn’t only their last in the 60s but so far their last one ever. I love iconic teams of sport from days gone by and watching the Leafs go nowhere for the past fifty-five years has been sad. Heck, even the New York Jets have a Super Bowl trophy since then. Even worse, Toronto has not so much as won a playoff series since 2004. This year, coming off a great regular season, they were tabbed to make a deep playoff run. Instead, as usual, they lost in the first round.
Remember when life was so simple all you had to take for good health and max performance was a One A Day vitamin?
My favorite horse race of the year is the Preakness Stakes, which ran yesterday at ugly Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. For me, the Preakness was tops because it was only two weeks after the Kentucky Derby, and I’d watch just to see if the Derby winner was legit. Not this year. Rich Strike, the 80-1 longshot, who won in Kentucky wasn’t entered by its ownership group who claim they didn’t want to race him back-to-back so soon. But that’s the intent of potential Triple Crown greatness, since it’s only two weeks after the Derby then another three weeks after the Preakness to the Belmont. Rich Strike sidelined is another black eye for racing, which continues to fall furlongs out of grace with the general public. Bottom line is Rich Strike is now worth far more schtupping mares in stud fees than he would be finishing up the track in the Preakness. This sort of thing doesn’t happen only in racing, the NBA regular season is rampant with stars sitting out. In this case however, what would have been good for the sport and for the public in such a high profile event doesn’t necessarily correlate to the owner’s bank account. Too bad.
In the 119-year history of Major League Baseball there are not many ‘firsts’ still left to occur, but one did happen on Friday night in Boston. Red Sox second baseman Trevor Story hit a grand slam home run over the Green Monster in left field. Okay, that’s certainly not a first. Former Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes, a member of Boston’s 2013 World Championship team was at the game, also far from a first. However, where the twain met for the first time was when Gomes, seated atop the Green Monster, caught the grand slam ball. And in typical fan fashion, Gomes asked Story to sign his new souvenir.
Are you getting a lot of junk email lately in Spanish? I am and I’m terrified to hit what I think might be the unsubscribe bar fearing it means keep sending more.
Date nights for Andi and me have been in full swing the past couple of weeks. We went to see Carrie Underwood at Resorts World the week before last. We wanted to see the new hotel and the 5,000 seat theater. Impressive. Her music really isn’t our thing but from what we saw, she was enjoyable. I’m told by friends who also went to the show that 4,998 fans stayed to the end. A few nights later was the Steve Miller Band at the Venetian. It was really Steve Miller, so no cover band. At 78 years old, even though he still looks like a high school science teacher, he has the energy to carry an hour and a half. The band played all our favorites: The Joker, Take The Money and Run, Abracadabra, Jet Airliner, Space Cowboy and Fly Like An Eagle. The bonus was listening to Miller as a Blues guitarist, heavily influenced by Les Paul. We stayed to the end. Last night was a stag night for Andi. I bought her a ticket for Mother’s Day to see Silk Sonic at ParkMGM. High on her to-do list was to see the combo of Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak. I had no interest. Plus at over five bills each, I didn’t feel like breaking the budget for two tickets. She went and I hung around the casino and gambled. As it turned out, going to the show would have been a much better idea for me, too. Next Saturday night we bring down the May concert calendar with The Eagles and their Hotel California show at MGM Grand. Two tickets for that one, please.
Fortunately, our justice system is so efficient there’s plenty of room on the court dockets to adjudicate issues essential to the American lifestyle. Three class actions suits have been recently filed in U.S. District Court, Eastern and Southern Districts. One will settle whether McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King have falsely advertised the size of their cheeseburgers. We also await a verdict in a complaint against Subway alleging their tuna contained other fish species instead of tuna. And the big one is the lawsuit against Kellogg Co. citing their Pop-Tarts don’t contain enough strawberries. Not making any of this up.
Last year, Atlanta’s top real estate broker, A.J. Steigman, bought or leased over 300 homes at a total value in excess of $86 million. What’s really impressive about his numbers is Mr. Steigman hasn’t set foot in Georgia in more than two years. His entire portfolio is transacted online from his home in Parkland, Florida.
Hey mom and dad— if your kid lives in Dallas, attends Highland Park High School and is an aspiring athlete, make sure he or she takes Linder O’Rourke’s English class. At Highland, she’s taught Masters winner Scottie Scheffler, Super Bowl champ Matthew Stafford and Dodgers World Series ace Clayton Kershaw. Not too shabby.
Really good news for football fans as Disney and ESPN just announced a ‘long-term’ agreement to broadcast the resurgent XFL’s regular season and playoff games across all Disney platforms beginning in February 2023. With the enormous success of Fox’s USFL this spring, where some games even have over 90 people in the stands, including vendors, this is just what we need, another spring league that will fail. However, worry not we are told. With the XFL being owned and backed by Dwayne Johnson, his wife Dany Garcia and their capital partners, how can this be anything but a remarkable success? In this case, ‘long-term’ must mean under three seasons.
Flying home last Wednesday after a quick trip, I pulled a newspaper out of my briefcase, and the guy next to me exclaimed, “I haven’t seen one of those in ten years.” He probably wasn’t kidding.
Ozark, very dark for four seasons, wrapped up its run on Netflix with a dramatic ending. Did you know Jason Bateman, who played Marty Byrd, is Paul Anka’s son-in-law?
There’s a great story unfolding on Jeopardy! that continues this week. Ryan Long, a 39-year-old Uber/Lyft driver from Philadelphia won his sixth straight game on Friday, pocketing over $130,000, which is a lot of surge price rides. Long has been down on his luck for a while, combating several weeks of hospitalization for Covid. When Jeopardy! phoned telling him he had a spot on the show, he had to raise money to help pay for his plane ticket. He only owns two dress shirts, bringing them both in case he was lucky enough to stay two nights on the show. The oversized, single dad wears for luck the shell necklace his son made for him before leaving for Los Angeles. Mr. Long, very easy to root for, goes for win number seven on Monday.
Passing last week were Maggie Peterson and Jurgen Blin, not household names. The Andy Griffith Show devotees will remember Ms. Peterson as the Sheriff Taylor-chasing hillbilly Charlene Darling. Only the staunchest of throwback boxing fans remember that Mr. Blin was Muhammad Ali’s first opponent after losing to Joe Frazier in 1971. Ali predicted the German would be gone in one; but Blin would have none of it lasting seven tough rounds. Blin was 79 while Ms. Peterson was 81.
Our music trivia department tells us that the Beatles broke up in 1969. However, five years later in 1974, all four of the lads were back in the Top 40, this time not collectively but individually. On December 14, 1974, “Junior’s Farm” by Paul was #10; “Only You” by Ringo was #18; George’s “Dark Horse” at #32 and John’s “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night” just squeezed in at #40.
And one more music note. Did you know Chuck Barris, who created The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game and was the extremely awkward host of The Gong Show, wrote the 1962 teen hit “Palisades Park”?
If you think golf is an expensive game to play, how about charging $250 a ticket to watch the made-for-TV June 1 event at the Wynn Golf Club here in Vegas matching Tom Brady, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers. For those willing to fork over the cash, they don’t even get to see a full round. The quarterbacks’ duel is only twelve holes. That’s a double bogey and I’ll pass.
Putter raised to Tiger, broken down, but at least he tried to play in this weekend’s PGA Championship in Tulsa. Driver down to Phil, the defending champion, who turned his back on his fellow players, the fans and the PGA of America and didn’t show.
An SMC week off next week. It’s Memorial Day weekend and a late Saturday night with the Eagles, so we’ll just sleep in. Don’t forget the meaning of the holiday and keep those whom we lost and those families who grieve in our thoughts.
Be safe everyone.