Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Carl Reiner, Comedy Legend, Is Dead at 98


Carl Reiner -- who has made me smile my entire life, from "Laugh-In" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show" reruns to "Oh, God!," "The Jerk," "All of Me," "Hot in Cleveland" and so on -- has left us for that writing room in the sky. He will be missed but never forgotten. More HERE.


On the set of "Oh, God!" with John Denver


On the set of "Hot in Cleveland" with Betty White and the late Tim Conway

White-Knuckling It


My Yelp review for the first six months. There is definite room for improvement come, say, November.

Black Trans Lives (Also) Matter


Isabella Grullรณn Paz and Maggie Astor unpack a lot in the piece "Black Trans Women Seek More Space in the Movement They Helped Start" in The New York Times over the weekend, which points out that transgender women of color were leaders in LGBTQ activism before, during and after the uprising at the Stonewall Inn 51 years ago, but were never put at the center of the movement they helped start.

Indeed, it's well past time black trans people shared fully in the gains of the LGBTQ movement. Yet I wonder if I'm the only one seeing the inherent -- and perhaps unintentionally undermining -- flaw of lumping the cause under the #BlackLivesMatter rubric.

Cops killing black people is an entirely different thing than trans people being murdered by fellow citizens, which is the scenario in the vast majority of those cases. One is state-sanctioned racially-motivated abuse of power while the other is general criminality. (The difference is at the heart of #BlackLivesMatter.) So I don’t see the intersectionality of the two without opening the door to the idiotic and illogical "what about black-on-black crime?" argument, when everyday crimes occur by all sorts of civilians against other civilians.

In some if not most cases the trans murders may be motivated by LGBT hate. But in those situations that are properly handled, they are already being addressed for their particular heinousness, at least in states that bother to care about LGBT people, with hate-crimes laws. (These aren't LGB hate-crime laws.) Pushing for inclusive hate-crime laws in the remaining states would be a start on that front.

By all measures, it seems black trans lives are not "mattering" as they rightfully should because of ongoing societal injustices against black people in general (housing, employment, wages, benefits, access to health care and even the overall bad relationship with law enforcement) as well as LGBT discrimination -- not homicidal police brutality.

Words and messages matter. It seems odd to try to co-op or "riff" off an important movement, one that half the country don't quite understand to begin with. It may sound good. But is conflating worth it for a catchy slogan? Or am I giving people who don't get any of this too much credit?


Tennis Tuesday


I want to believe that Jake Elliott chose football over tennis because he knew the former was his only chance of being carried around by big men like this. Hear his explanation HERE.


Song of the Day: 'Mr. Grey' by Martha Davis


A lot has happened since the last time I checked in with the Motels. In 2018, Martha Davis and the boys released "The Last Few Beautiful Days," an album that sadly was fueled by the opioid-related death of her daughter Maria. (The record's opener, "Punchline," addresses Davis's relationship with her younger daughter, Patricia, with whom she is no longer in contact. "I've basically lost both of my daughters," she says. "It breaks me.")

And no sooner did I fall in love with that LP comes news of a new solo record. Recorded over the past decade with longtime friend and off-again-on-again Motels sax player Marty Hourard, "I Have My Standards" is a concept album of jazz covers with a twist -- they're all originals written by Davis.

“I have been talking about releasing ‘I Have my Standards’ for years.” said Davis. “I debated on whether to release it during the Pandemic. But after long consideration of the impact and challenges Covid was having on the music industry, it was the best opportunity to stay in touch with my very patient fans.” Davis continued. “I wanted to find a way to offer a glimmer of hope and stay connected while we are all hanging out at home.”

From the 1970s through 2010, Martha has been writing the songs compiled on the new album, including today's song of the day, "Mr. Grey."

“The video was kind of shot, ‘Pandemic style’ earlier in May. No one together in a studio or room, shot with whatever equipment was on hand and beautifully created & executed by my amazing friends Teresa and Fred Dekker. Not to mention Billy Reed and his amazing skills creating the album cover. This video could not have been possible without so many, who supported my decision.”


The digital download and streaming music releases are available wherever you get your music. 

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Hot Cat of the Day: I love a kitty with a flair for the dramatic!

Morning Wood


Monday, June 29, 2020

Crimes Against Nature


Can you imagine being straight? This is right up there with the ever-romantic "ball and chain" cake topper. If you hate each other so much, did you ever think of not getting married?

Mug Shot Monday


Stupid queen alert: I don't know that it gets much colder than this -- killing your entire family just so you could buy more luxury crap. 

Weekend Tennis Roundup


The Battle of the Brits went a long way to undo the damage the Adria Tour inflicted on the game, with proper precautions taken in this London-based event, even if it was played indoors. Dan Evans was the unlikely singles winner while Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski were crowned doubles champs. 


Evans made quick work of Kyle Edmunds, 6-3, 6-2, who had looked quite fit all week, especially during his win over Andy Murray. 


Citing sore shins, Andy opted out of the third-place match, allowing hunky James Ward to substitute for him against Cameron Norrie. Despite coaching from the former No. 1, Ward fell 6-3, 7-5.


 When I met Damian, he was a true Anglophile and I thought British men were universally unattractive. 


But six years into our relationship he now finds their accents as annoying as I do -- and I've now opened my eyes to the post-gym generation of Brits, such as the coach/player duo of Liam Broady and Lloyd Glasspool. Lots more pasty eye candy HERE.


Manspreading with Matteo


Dominic Thiem topped Berrettini to take a Top 4 spot at the Ultimate Tennis Showdown in Nice, even though I've always fantasized about it being the other way around 


Nice to see the likes of Madison Keys, Sloane Stephens and Sofia Kenin in action this weekend in Charleston, S.C. Congratulations to Team Peace for taking home the Credit One Bank Invitational crown!

Around the Net ...


God help Novak if so much as one hair on this silver fox's head is damaged by the coronavirus


One lucky dog


Tennis lost an iconic coach and a much-loved character with the passing of Australia’s Don Candy earlier this month.


Rubbing Cameron Henricy Trigolos


the right way


Let's just pretend Garbine and Stan have each won three Slams


Pretty boy John Millman hawks watches


I wonder if Stan is hung like his friend ...


Noah Rubin is running from trolls


I hate basketball, but Nick Kyrgios looks sexy in his Celtics uniform




My Colombian ADDICTION


Thommy and Diego make a cute couple


Sam Groth and Josh Kennedy need a boys' weekend away


This Karen minds his own business


Sexy Janko Tipsarevic shows 'em how it's done 


Symptoms or not, should Borna really be exercising yet?


The scene at Wimbledon!


Farshid Arshid sees a future with Ryan Harrison


Stan gets artsy


I wonder if Stefanos has his green boxer-briefs on this time.



Did Dani get duped?



Man vs. machine

Song of the Day: 'Wicked Game' by Chris Isaak


One year away from Medicare eligibility, Chris Isaak reflects on his most famous song. First the record company wouldn't pay to make a video. Then David Lynch used the song and made one with clips of "Wild at Heart" in it. Then the label realized they were on to something and hired Herb Ritts -- only Chris Isaak thinks the video isn't as sexy as it could be because he's in it too much. (Straight people!) 


Take one


Take two

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Hot Cat of the Day: A million bucks says this little critter grows up to have daddy issues.

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