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Federer Wins No. 20
[Posted Sunday p.m.]
*One week a year I allow myself to catch up on the music scene, the Grammys, but the PGA Tour intervened some today. Anyway, I’m cutting this column off once golf is resolved.
Hell, I’m posting now. It’s the third hole of the playoff....make it four....
College Basketball Quiz: The other day we talked about the 1967-68 season, and the big game between Houston and UCLA, and the top scorers in the country. In 1968-69, Lew Alcindor finished his college career, 88-2, with three Most Outstanding Player awards in the NCAA tournament. But, 1) Name the Midwest school that made the Final Four that year and hasn’t been back to one since. [Hint: It does not play in a major conference.] 2) Who did UCLA beat in the finals? [Hint: They had a player who averaged 33.3 per game.] 3) Who am I? I averaged 32.1 points per game in the regular season, plus 22.1 rebounds, in my first and only season of college ball before moving on to the NBA. Answers below.
College Basketball Review...since last chat....
--Thursday, Penn State (14-8, 4-5) defeated 13 Ohio State (18-5, 9-1) in Columbus, 82-79; a huge win for the Nittany Lions.
--Then Saturday, we had a biggie. 2 Virginia at 4 Duke, and Virginia (20-1, 9-0) proved once and for all, if we didn’t know it before, that it is for real, 65-63 winners over the Blue Devils (18-3, 6-3), the first time the Cavaliers have prevailed in Durham in 23 years.
As always, the story was UVA’s defense, the game just 32-22 Cavaliers at the half as Duke shot 10 of 27 from the field, 0 for 7 from three.
The Blue Devils got their act together in the second half, though, and it was nip and tuck down the stretch until Virginia’s Ty Jerome buried a three from about 35 feet to make it 63-58 with 39 seconds left. Marvin Bagley III did hit a three with 0:07 left to cut it to 63-61, thanks to the Cavs missing some front ends of one-and-ones, but Virginia prevailed.
The issue is does Virginia have enough depth come tourney time? I haven’t seen anything on De’Andre Hunter’s twisted ankle...they need him.
Yesterday also marked another first, as North Carolina State (15-7, 5-4) beat North Carolina (16-6, 5-4) at the Dean Dome, 95-91 in overtime, marking the first time since 1973 that both Duke and UNC lost home games on the same day.
For the Wolfpack, Allerik Freeman Sr. had a career day, 29 points on 7 of 7 from three! N.C. State hit 15 of 30 overall from downtown vs. just 4 of 19 for UNC.
In other games Saturday...I watched the second half of 24 Rhode Island hosting Duquesne and the Rams, if they want to be a Sweet Sixteen contender, need to play better, but they did win, 61-58 over the Dukes (14-8, 5-4) on a Stanford Robinson three at the buzzer, Rhode Island now 17-3, 9-0 in the A 10.
And in an SEC/Big 12 challenge game, Alabama (14-7) beat 12 Oklahoma 80-73 in Tuscaloosa, as ‘Bama held Trae Young to just 17 points on 6 of 17 shooting; a bad loss for the Sooners who fell to 15-5.
Separately, Kentucky (16-5) upset 7 West Virginia (16-5) in Morgantown, 83-76, as the Mountaineers are suddenly reeling, losers of four of their last five. Stay away from Bob Huggins, he’s likely to blow.
And then I caught the end of my Wake Forest Demon Deacons against Louisville and what a fiasco. After being down 42-33 at the half in Louisville, the Deacs trailed 82-51 before a stirring comeback to lose by 19, 96-77. Wake committed 20 turnovers to the Cardinals’ 7, Louisville also hitting 36 of 71 from the field. Gee, that’s over 50 percent. Great defense, Deacs.
The Cardinals are 16-5, 6-2, in their season of turmoil, and deserve to reenter the top 25.
Wake Forest fell to 8-13, 1-8 in ACC play...a massive step backwards for the program after going to the Big Dance last season.
Each morning I’m greeted by an email from Dr. W. “Fire Manning!”
I now totally concur...yes, fire coach Danny Manning. It’s sickening we have to blow the program up once again, but maybe promote Randolph Childress, seeing as how he recruited all the guys coming in next fall that are supposed to be pretty good, as a way of ensuring we keep them.
Actually, I have no freakin’ idea what to do. Another Wake classmate told me this week the Deacs should play in a different conference...we just can’t compete long term in the ACC. I disagree with that. We’re certainly holding our own in football, though with different expectations for that program.
In the end, I’m guessing Manning survives, but he needs to win a few down the stretch.
--Sunday...No. 1 Villanova played at Marquette without one of their key players, Phil Booth, out indefinitely with a fractured shooting hand (maybe back for the conference tournament), but the Wildcats have six who score in double figures, including Booth, so others can step forward and today it was All-American guard Jalen Brunson with 31 as ‘Nova held on, 85-82, the Wildcats holding Marquette star Markus Howard to just 13 on 5 of 18 shooting.
Villanova is now 20-1, 7-1 in the Big East; Marquette 13-8, 4-5, but better than the record. That said, if they want to be playing beyond the Big East Tournament, time to step it up, boys.
Also Sunday, 6 Michigan State traveled to College Park to face Maryland and emerged victorious, 74-68, as coach Tom Izzo juggles hoops and scandal (see below), his Spartans now 20-3, 8-2; Maryland 15-8, 4-6.
And after some time off, Seton Hall improved to 16-5, 5-3, with an 86-70 win at DePaul (9-11, 2-7). Angel Delgado had only 10 points, but 19 rebounds. Myles Powell, who is increasingly joining the Big Three, had 21 points.
--Some games of note since last chat....
Wednesday...Philadelphia beat the Bulls 115-101, which I only mention because phenom Ben Simmons had 19 points, 17 rebounds and 14 assists.
Toronto defeated Atlanta 108-93 on the road, which I mention because Wake alum John Collins had a rather productive 13 points, 16 rebounds, and 4 blocks in just 26 minutes, plus the defensively-challenged one was +15...so it wasn’t his freakin’ fault the Hawks got rolled! [The night before he was in attendance to witness his Deacs get drilled by Duke. Somehow that inspired him.]
Thursday...Golden State beat Minnesota in Oakland, 126-113, a major test for the improving T’Wolves that they failed. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 50 points on 18 of 27 shooting, 12 of 18 from three. Ain’t gonna beat the Warriors with this kind of efficiency from this tandem.
Friday...New Orleans (27-21) beat the Rockets (34-13) at home, 115-113, but what a costly victory. Just days after his historic 40-20-10 effort (44-23-10 to be exact), DeMarcus Cousins tore his Achilles tendon, after going 15-13-11 in this one. The Pelicans were playing much better of late and Cousins was averaging 25.2 ppg., 12.9 rebounds, and 5.4 assists for the season. This sucks. I was looking forward to seeing him (and running mate Anthony Davis) in the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Cleveland defeated Indiana, 115-108, which is worth mentioning because LeBron had a quadruple-double, only it was 26 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists...and a career-high 11 turnovers.
The Hornets also beat the Hawks 121-110, but you can’t blame Wake Forest’s John Collins! 10 points, 9 rebounds, +7 in 21 minutes. [I’m hoping for free basketball shoes from Mr. Collins. I need my people to connect with his people.]
And the Knicks, road warriors (cough cough) took advantage of a pathetic Suns team (17-32) in Phoenix, 107-85, as New York moves to 22-28, 7-19 on the road and going nowhere, fellow fans. [Actually, the Knicks went 3-4 on their 7-game road swing. Not entirely godawful.]
But G-League graduate Trey Burke, the ninth overall pick in the 2013 draft who is trying to resurrect his career with the Knicks, had 18 points in 18 minutes, making it back-to-back 18-point efforts off the bench, with the Gotham press clamoring for more of him, and rightfully so. Give us something exciting, will ya?
One more...Philadelphia did it again, a nice 97-78 win at San Antonio as the 76ers are now 24-21! “The Process” is in full swing. Ben Simmons was 21-5-7, 10 of 11 from the field.
Saturday...the feature event was Boston at Golden State and I caught the second half of this one as Steph Curry lit it up for 49 points, 13 in the final 1:42; the Warriors (40-10) beating the Celtics (35-15) 109-105.
Curry was beyond stupendous...16 of 24 from the field, 8 of 13 from three, but geezuz, I just can’t stand that freakin’ mouthpiece crap at the free throw line!!!
We will have order, people!
Meanwhile, for the Celtics, Kyrie Irving was pretty darn good himself, 37 points on 13 of 18, 5 of 6 from downtown.
This morning I expected to see that while I was asleep, Roger Federer had already disposed of Croatia’s Marin Cilic, but it was still going on when I turned on the PC so I caught the fifth set, Federer capturing his 20th career Grand Slam singles title, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
It’s the sixth Australian Open title for Federer, to go with eight Wimbledons, five U.S. Opens, and one at the French Open.
At the age of 36 years, 173 days, Federer becomes the second-oldest man in the Open era to win a Grand Slam, after Ken Rosewall who won an Australian Open at 37.
I mean we’re talking about a guy who went through a four-year drought in Grand Slam events and has now won three of the last five (three of the last four he has entered). As Ronald Reagan would have said of the Swiss lad, ‘Not bad, not bad at all.’
On the women’s side, the sport got a shot in the arm as Caroline Wozniacki finally claimed her first major title in a 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-4 win over No.1 seed Simona Halep, Halep requiring hospitalization overnight for dehydration. When they started the match on Saturday, it was 86 degrees with 60 percent humidity, and Halep had already spent 12 hours on the court through her first six rounds. She then needed treatment for dizziness in the second set of the final.
Wozniacki, in capturing her first big one in 43 Grand Slam tournaments (including two U.S. Open finals), is now back at No. 1 in the world after a six-year absence, and it’s pretty clear her fiancée, former New York Knick and Golden State Warrior David Lee, has been a positive influence. Lee was always one of the more unlikable, and underappreciated, talents in his game.
Meanwhile, Halep, who Wozniacki replaced at No. 1, now assumes the title of best player not to win a major, Halep losing her third Grand Slam final (the others in the French Open).
Tiger did it. He made the cut in his first tournament on the PGA Tour since last year’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Woods needed a final hole clutch birdie on Friday to secure his play on the weekend, much to the delight of CBS, and then on Saturday, despite hitting just 3 of 14 fairways, Tiger grinded out a 70, a “gross” round of golf as he put it, to move up to T-39.
It is definitely a different Tiger. Over the first three days you saw him smile a few times and the New York Post’s Mark Cannizzaro said Tiger actually engaged some reporters during his opening round when there was delay at the tee, totally unheard of in the old days.
The sport just needs him to stay healthy, make cuts, and then we’re bound to get a magical Sunday...at least one this year.
You saw the galleries. A ton of folks showed up at Torrey Pines this week just to follow him. And Tiger clearly appreciates it, saying after Saturday’s round: “I haven’t had people yelling like that in a while. So many of the people I haven’t seen in a long time have come out this week, which is fantastic. I’ve played well here over the course of my career (eight wins, including his last major in the 2008 U.S. Open), and I think a lot of these fans just want to see some of that. And, trust me, I’m trying.”
But we have to keep reminding ourselves Tiger is now 42 and as CBS well-documented on Saturday he’s had eight major surgeries...four on his knees, four on his back.
So....he finished T-23 after an even-par 72 today that was very solid due to the rough conditions. Outstanding return for Woods.
Meanwhile, the leader after three rounds was Sweden’s Alex Noren, who some of us have been waiting for to break through in America, Noren a nine-time winner on the European Tour who seems committed to playing a fair amount of golf in the States this year.
And as I write, it’s the second hole of sudden death. Ryan Palmer, Jason Day and Noren tied at -10 after 72, with Palmer getting eliminated on the first hole.
There is all kinds of stuff I’ll be writing about next time, namely on length of play. J.B. Holmes, for one, earned himself no plaudits for his outrageously slow play on No. 18. I don’t care what his past health issues have been, he just lost me. The PGA Tour has to be beyond pissed off, ditto CBS, which had the evening all to itself and should have comfortably had the tournament finish on its network, not Golf Channel, leading into the Grammys.
As noted up above....I’m moving on....
--But back to the crowds following Tiger, Charley Hoffman, who played with him the first two rounds, said, “Unless you’re in a major championship, you don’t get big crowds. He brings people out there.... There’s no question I’m rooting for Tiger Woods. Obviously, on Sunday I want to beat him, but there’s not a person in this field that isn’t rooting for Tiger to be back in the game and be competitive.”
--So after I posted last time, they released the Hall of Fame vote and you now know that Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome and Trevor Hoffman got in, while Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens not only didn’t but they didn’t move much over last year in their efforts to get to the required 75 percent.
Clemens ticked up to 57.3 from 54.1 percent, while Bonds moved from 53.8 to 56.4 percent. In the 2016 ballot, Clemens and Bonds had tallied 45.2 and 44.3, respectively, so after last year’s solid move, and some of the early voting we knew of, there was the thought the two would get over 60.
What should be encouraging to them, however, is that among known first-year voters, Clemens secured support from 11-of-11, and Bonds 10-of-11.
Clemens and Bonds have four more years on the ballot. They must get over 60 next year (I believe that’s a lock, and then over 66 or so the year after, so with two years left after that they would finally get over the finish line, though maybe not until the last year of eligibility).
Meanwhile, Chipper Jones, to me as deserving of the Hall of Fame as anyone of his era, gained 97.2 percent in his first shot. Guerrero, also very deserving, reached 92.9 percent in his second go-round. Thome, who I’m like ‘Eh’ on, received 89.8, and closer Hoffman got in with 79.9. Regarding these last two, I’m OK with it in the end...no rioting on my part...I just don’t see Thome as first ballot.
Separately, designated hitter Edgar Martinez has just one more year to improve from 70.4 percent to the required 75. He’ll get there.
Mike Mussina has the potential to join Martinez, Mussina having moved up to 63.5 percent from 51.8 (I’m warming to the guy). First-year candidate Mariano Rivera will be a near-unanimous pick next January. The late-Roy Halladay is also on the ballot for a first time. That will be interesting.
--The Milwaukee Brewers pulled off a huge coup, signing Kansas City free agent outfielder Lorenzo Cain to a five-year, $80 million deal, a rare signing of a free agent this winter, while at the same time, Milwaukee traded for Miami outfielder Christian Yelich, the Brewers sending four prospects to the Marlins in return.
Yelich, a terrific all-around player, and one of my faves, who is just 26, has won a Gold Glove, and is a .290 career hitter with pop, plus he is signed for another four years at $43.25 million, a great deal for the Brewers as these things go.
Both Cain and Yelich play center field so they’ll have to sort that out, but along with Ryan Braun, that is a good group both in the field and at the plate.
Plus they still have outfielder Domingo Santana, who had a breakout 30-homer season in 2017.
The Brewers surprised by finishing 86-76 last year so you gotta respect ownership for going for it all now. Whether they have enough pitching, however, is a major question mark, so look for Santana to be traded for some help in that regard.
--The Marlins have now traded off Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, Marcell Ozuna and Yelich. There is zero reason to go to a Marlins game, especially given how hard it is to get there (lack of parking, mass transit, that kind of thing). I mean you can drink beer and watch the game on television from about a million locations in Miami if that’s your desire.
--Meanwhile, the Major League Baseball Players Association notified Commissioner Rob Manfred that it wants to make sure the roster-stripping in Miami and Pittsburgh isn’t violating the revenue-sharing agreement.
MLBPA spokesman Greg Bouris said: “We have raised our concerns (with) the Commissioner, as is the protocol under the collective bargaining agreement and its Revenue Sharing provisions. We are waiting to have further dialogue and that will dictate our next steps.”
As for Pittsburgh, they traded the face of their franchise, Andrew McCutchen, and staff ace Gerrit Cole, saving about $19 million in payroll, and will be jettisoning Josh Harrison as well.
MLB, and ownership in Miami and Pittsburgh, will counter the Players Association’s claim by pointing to the experience of the Cubs and Astros, who stripped down to rebuild their minor league systems and they’ve won the last two World Series.
But it’s the issue of nearly 150 players still on the market that is the biggest one amid cries of collusion. The likes of Eric Hosmer, J.D. Martinez, Yu Darvish and Jake Arrieta remain unsigned.
--Baseball America’s College Preseason Top Ten:
2. Oregon State...Beaver Nation springs from its dens
3. Florida State
5. Texas Tech
6. North Carolina
7. TCU...pretty good all-around sports program here these days
10. Texas A&M
25. St. John’s
No Wake Forest...lost a lot of players off last year’s terrific squad that just missed making the College World Series to MLB.
--While he played just a smidge in the Senior Bowl on Saturday, needing to get back home to his ailing mother, quarterback Baker Mayfield was interviewed by the Jets, who appear to be showing real interest in selecting him in the upcoming draft...if he’s still available. Cleveland is starting to make waves it might take the Heisman winner with the first pick, Mayfield saying all the right things, like how he would love to lead a resurgence there.
Mayfield met with the Jets, Bills, Dolphins and Saints in Mobile.
In the game itself, Richmond quarterback Kyle Lauletta was the surprise star with three touchdown passes. Summit’s (Miami’s) Michael Badgley kicked a 50-yard field goal and missed from 55.
--As more and more evidence piles up, such as in videos, it’s clear the behavior of Eagles fans during the NFC Conference Championship game against the Vikings was atrocious. They even went after the Vikings team bus, which got hit with multiple objects on its way out of the stadium. And they allegedly went after the family of Vikings QB Case Keenum.
During an interview with KFAN radio in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Keenum was not complimentary of the city of Brotherly Love.
“It was tough. I’m not gonna tell you any stories,” Keenum said. “There were some situations that were not good.”
Keenum didn’t go into detail but he did say he was thankful he had a few extra friends at the game, who basically served as protection for his family.
A few Eagles fans feel bad about the behavior of some of their brethren, contributing to a charity that Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer has.
Meanwhile, the Super Bowl is in Minneapolis, so some Vikings fans are seeking revenge by trying to get Uber drivers to drop Eagles fans off at a location that they didn’t request. [I’d have hotel maids remove the toilet paper for when they returned from the game.]
As for the big money, it is being bet on the Eagles, the consensus line down to Pats by 4 ½.
The Patriots are 11-5 against the spread this season, the Eagles 10-6.
And recall, the Pats’ five wins in the Super Bowl have been by 3, 3, 3, 4 and 6 in overtime. Both of their two losses to the Giants were also close, 3 and 4 points.
No league play this weekend as it was all about the ongoing FA Cup competition and on Saturday, Tottenham had a pathetic 1-1 tie with Newport County, a League Two squad...which would be like Single-A baseball. [Premier League - MLB, Championship – AAA, League One – AA, League Two – Single-A.] But that’s what makes the FA Cup so great.
Tottenham now has a replay with Newport on Feb. 7, though this time is at Wembley. They will kick ass. Understand, they almost suffered an historic loss were it not for a late tying goal by Harry Kane yesterday
Meanwhile, Liverpool was upset by West Brom 3-2 at Anfield...shocking.
Premier League play resumes Tuesday and Wednesday, Tottenham hosting Manchester United, part of a brutal three-game stretch that will decide the season for my Spurs...Liverpool and Arsenal after, plus the FA Cup match that will tire them out.
FIS Alpine Ski World Cup
Holy Toledo...the U.S. men got a podium finish, the first of the year, and it came from veteran Ted Ligety, third in the giant slalom today at Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Marcel Hirscher won another).
Ligety has 25 World Cup wins, 24 in the GS, so this was the right event for him. In fact one of his two Olympic golds was in the GS at Sochi. There is hope for us yet as PyeongChang looms.
Also today, in the final women’s tune-up in the slalom before the race for the gold medal Feb. 14, American Mikaela Shiffrin skied out of her second run with a full second lead at Lenzerheide, Switzerland, being off balance, thus breaking her six-race winning streak in the event. Man, the pressure on her will be immense and as she admitted in an interview the other week, she feels it.
Michigan State University
This institution is in a heap of trouble following the sentencing of Larry Nassar on Wednesday, and the swift resignation of the school’s president and athletic director.
Now every investigator, including the state, which launched an investigation of its own, and ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” are probing the extent of knowledge MSU had regarding Nassar’s behavior as a school employee. Football coach Mark Dantonio and basketball coach Tom Izzo are really under the microscope for their past handling of sexual assault incidents by their athletes.
Mike Lupica / New York Daily News
“It is currently reported that the total amount Penn State – which had an abuser and child molester named Jerry Sandusky hiding in plain sight in Joe Paterno’s football program – has paid out because of Sandusky is nearly $100 million, which includes the $48 million penalty levied against that school by the NCAA, money that has been spent on various child-abuse programs in the state of Pennsylvania. It remains to be seen whether that will turn out to be tipping money at Michigan State as Nassar’s survivors line up against the school with their own lawsuits, and everything old is new again in college sports.
“Michigan State’s lawyers are already fighting those lawsuits in court, saying that as a ‘government entity’ the school has immunity from this type of lawsuit, and that many of the lawsuits ought to get tossed because the statute of limitations has run out. As if there is any statute of limitations on what Nassar did to these young girls and to these young women. We’ll see how that works out for them, as they continue to protect the institution, where the money keeps rolling in because of the power of Sports.
“Now ESPN comes out with a story about alleged sexual assaults in Michigan State’s football and basketball programs, run by Dantonio and Izzo, who happen to be the two most powerful men in the school. Here’s what Dantonio said about the ESPN report on Friday: ‘Every incident reported in that article was documented by either police or the Michigan State Title IXI office. I’ve always worked with the proper authorities when dealing with the cases of sexual assault. We have always had high standards in this program, and that will never change.’
“Last spring, Dantonio dismissed four football players accused of sexual assault. At the time he said this was ‘new ground’ for him. Really? And was it? Because it seems disingenuous at the very least, and dishonest at worst, to believe that he was completely in the dark about previous accusations involving his own program. Maybe Dantonio will eventually explain more fully what ‘documented’ by police means, and what police he was talking about.
“This is from the Outside the Lines story at ESPN:
“ ‘Since Dantonio’s tenure began in 2007, at least 16 MSU football players have been accused of sexual assault or violence against women, according to interviews and public records.’
“And also this from ESPN:
“ ‘Over the past three years, MSU has three times fought in court – unsuccessfully – to withhold names of athletes in campus police records. The school has also deleted so much information from some incident reports that they were nearly unreadable.’
“It all sounds far too much like behavior out of the old order in sports and the country, even as the country has changed the way it has over the past few months and keeps changing in #MeToo America. It will now be up to the NCAA and state of Michigan and even the federal government to go into Michigan State with investigators and subpoenas and start by figuring out how and why Nassar was able to Sandusky his way through 20 years at the school before the Indianapolis Star published a story in 2016 with the first testimony from two of his victims; and then find out what everybody knew and when they knew it in football and basketball.”
--We note the passing of Warren Miller, the great filmmaker whose movies introduced skiing and snowboarding to the masses. He was 93.
In 1946, at 22, Miller bought an eight-millimeter movie camera and headed from Los Angeles to Sun Valley, Idaho, then a winter playground for the likes of Ernest Hemingway.
Miller lived in a camper trailer in a parking lot, working as a ski instructor and game-hunting for his food. But each winter he captured ski footage that he then showed audiences in Los Angeles during the summers. It was the start of a 50-year career devoted to bringing the mountains to the masses.
--From West Covina, California, comes this:
“In an incident police described as ‘one for the books,’ a lone donkey was found leading a herd of goats and sheep through residential streets of West Covina after escaping from a property in a neighboring city on Thursday.
“Officers responded to the area...after receiving a call of a group of animals roaming a neighborhood, according to a post on the West Covina Police Department’s Facebook page.
“And that was exactly what they found when they arrived at the location – a lone donkey leading several goats and sheep through residential streets.
“At first, the animals ‘failed to comply’ with police orders as they ‘evaded capture’....
“Eventually, authorities managed to corral the group. No injuries were reported.”
Kind of makes you want to treat ‘Donkey’ with more respect. And so we move him up to No. 86 on the All-Species List.
--Meanwhile, we’ve had another slaughter at a beekeeper’s business. Recall, a week ago I wrote of two youths in Iowa who destroyed the livelihood of a couple by vandalizing their beehives, killing 500,000 bees in the process.
And now another 500,000 bees were found dead in piles at a farm in Zebulon, N.C. The owner, Shannon Baxter, said the hives were healthy and warm just a few weeks ago. Now, as she told WRAL in Raleigh, “only six are alive.” Six bees out of 500,000.
“The bees had plenty to eat, they were warm, they were dry and now they are gone,” she told the station.
Baxter is the owner of Baxter’s Bees, a family business that produces honey and beeswax. “She says some of the hives were turned, shifted and damaged.” A friend had noticed clues that led her to believe the hives had been vandalized.
‘Man’ is the only real suspect at this point, but as it’s not definitive, he remains No. 379 on the ASL.
‘Honeybee’ stays at No. 32. We wish Ms. Baxter the best as she attempts to recover from this awful loss.
--A snake owner in Hampshire, England was killed by an 8-foot pet python, as reported by the BBC. One of Daniel Brandon’s pets, a rock python he called Tiny, was found near his body.
The coroner said there was no doubt Mr. Brandon died “as a result of contact with Tiny.”
Mr. Brandon kept 10 snakes and 12 tarantulas in his room at the family home.
This is beyond nuts. I’m dropping ‘Man’ to No. 380.
Rock pythons, by the way, are native to Sub-Sahara Africa. They are non-venomous “but have a devastating power to constrict their prey before swallowing it whole. In the wild, they can prey on animals such as monkeys, warthogs, antelopes and even crocodiles.” [BBC Nature]
Warthogs taste like chicken, in case you wondered. Not pork.
[Actually, I’ve never tasted warthog. If you have, drop me a line.]
--Due to warmer than normal weather in Russia’s southern Caucasus, where “up to 700 brown bears roam the steep hills of the Biosphere Reserve,” as noted in the Moscow Times, the bears have not gone into hibernation.
Repeat, 700 brown bears, No. 15 on the ASL, have not gone into hibernation, but we’re told by experts that since they have an ample food supply of animals, they will not attack people.
Just remember who the source of this “not to worry” message is...Russians. Lock your doors and ground-floor windows as a precaution.
--Comic strip artist Mort Walker, a World War II veteran who created “Beetle Bailey,” died. He was 94.
Walker began publishing cartoons at age 11 and was involved with more than a half-dozen strips in his career, including “Hi and Lois” (created with Dik Browne) and “Boner’s Ark,” the latter a favorite in my youth. [I also read “Beetle Bailey” and “Hi and Lois.”]
[Today it’s just “Pearls Before Swine,” “Peanuts,” “Doonesbury,” “Funky Winkerbean” (I really don’t know why I read this one), and of course I open my day with “Calvin and Hobbes” classics at Go Comics. Owing to my brother and father liking “Sally Forth,” I’m beginning to get into that one as well.]
Back to “Beetle...,” Walker said that King Features Syndicate was considering dropping it after just six months back in 1950, but after the syndicate suggested Beetle join the Army, having been just a college student, Walker reluctantly agreed. He attributes the success of the strip to Beetle’s indolence and reluctance to follow authority.
“Most people are sort of against authority,” he said. “I think people relate to it.”
Walker sometimes courted controversy. When President Clinton took office, Walker drew a strip suggesting that the draft be retroactive in order to send Clinton to Vietnam. That didn’t go well with Clinton supporters.
And for years, Walker had General Amos Halftrack ogling his secretary, Miss Buxley, which had feminist groups up in arms. The syndicate wanted Walker to write the general out of the strip, but Halftrack was too well-ingrained to do that, so he was sent to sensitivity training.
Back in 1970, Lt. Jack Flap was one of the first African-American characters to be added to a white cast, “Peanuts” having added Franklin in 1968.
Personally, I liked when the dog character, Otto, was added.
Mort Walker was born in El Dorado, Kansas, and grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. He served in Europe during World War II, discharged as a first lieutenant.
Walker’s son Greg is the editor of the strip today, with a team of collaborators.
Top 3 songs for the week 1/27/79: #1 “Le Freak” (Chic...ugh...) #2 “Too Much Heaven” (Bee Gees...tired of them...) #3 “Y.M.C.A.” (Village People...sorry fans of this one, can’t stand it...)...and...#4 “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” (Rod Stewart...just an awful tune...) #5 “My Life” (Billy Joel...mailed this one in...) #6 “A Little More Love” (Olivia Newton-John...she gets some slack...) #7 “Ooh Baby Baby” (Linda Ronstadt...not bad...) #8 “Hold The Line” (Toto...eh...) #9 “Every 1’s A Winner” (Hot Chocolate...and that’s what I’m makin’ for myself right now...) #10 “September” (Earth, Wind & Fire...and EWF saves the day! And week!)...back to the ‘60s next time.
College Basketball Quiz Answers: 1968-69 season. 1) Drake made the Final Four, coached by Maury John, who took them to the NCAA tournament the next two seasons as well, where they lost in the regional finals. The ’69 squad was led by two future NBA/ABA players, Willie McCarter and Willie Wise. Wise had some big years with Utah. 2) UCLA beat Purdue in the final, 92-72, as Lew Alcindor finished his career with 37 points and 20 rebounds (15 of 20 from the field). Purdue was led by prolific scorer Rick Mount, who averaged 33.3 per game in the regular season, but was 12 of 36 from the field in the title game. I do remember an awful lot of misses from the guy that day. Mount would go on to an undistinguished pro career (vs. expectations), but teammate Bill Keller was a solid point guard for the Indianapolis Pacers for a number of years and Herm Gilliam had some quality seasons in the NBA. 3) As for the super soph who averaged 32.1 ppg., 22.1 reb. in his only season of college ball (freshmen not eligible then), it was none other than Spencer Haywood, affectionately known in the NBA as Spencer Driftwood. Haywood, after one year at the University of Detroit (now Detroit Mercy...he also played a season of junior college ball prior to Detroit), jumped to the ABA’s Denver Nuggets, where as a 20-year-old rookie he led the league in scoring and rebounding, 30.0-19.5. He then moved on to the Seattle Supersonics, where he had some big seasons, and then drifted around. He was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.
Top ten in scoring, 1968-69:
1. Pete Maravich, LSU, 44.2*
2. Rick Mount, Purdue, 33.3
3. Calvin Murphy, Niagara, 32.4
4. Spencer Haywood, Detroit, 32.1
8. Bob Lanier, St. Bonaventure, 27.3
10. Rex Morgan, Jacksonville, 26.7...had to get this in for Steve G.
*Maravich averaged 43.8, 44.2, and 44.5 in his three seasons, and this was without the 3- point shot. He went to the line 13-14 times a game.
The top four and Alcindor comprised the consensus first team All-America squad.
Next Bar Chat, Thursday.