French, Me, and the News

by Jay Nordlinger

Mona Charen is absent this week, so I have taken the helm of our Need to Know podcast — a dangerous thing, to be sure. My co-host is David French. So the show is not entirely out of safe hands.

It is here, that show.

David and I basically take a tour of the news: Australia. Russia. Gorsuch. The National Prayer Breakfast. Refugees. DeVos. The Wall. “Mexico has beat us to a pulp.” “Take the oil.” Holocaust Remembrance Day. Bannon. Three to five million illegal votes (?). The American flag (especially on lapels). Governmental responsibility versus personal responsibility. And so on and so on.

At the end, we discuss the NBA — in particular, Charles Barkley and LeBron James. They have been arguing. I think I’m a little more pro-Barkley than David is. But David knows more about it than I do.

David grew up in Kentucky and is a nut for basketball. I grew up in Michigan and am slightly less a nut but still nutty. Once, I was talking to Mitch McConnell. He told me he attended both Louisville and UK — a smart thing for a future politician to do.

(He went on to say that you root for your undergraduate college, which in his case was Louisville.) (He went to law school at UK.)

I will tell you something I told David: Yesterday, I met a young woman in Washington named Rupp. I said, “Any relation to Franz Rupp, the pianist?” She said no, but Adolph Rupp, yes — distantly. (He is the legendary UK basketball coach.)

Our podcast closes with Franz Rupp, playing Beethoven’s “Spring” Sonata with Fritz Kreisler.

When I met Fritz Crisler — the legendary football coach, after whom the University of Michigan’s basketball arena is named — he said, “Not to be confused with the violinist.”

His real name was Herbert O. Crisler (and “Crisler” is pronounced like “Kreisler”). He was given the nickname “Fritz” by his coach at the University of Chicago, Amos Alonzo Stagg. Stagg named him after the violinist.

I can’t help wondering: Do football coaches today know who the top violinists are? People like Fritz Kreisler were on the cover of Time magazine, routinely. And now . . .

Anyway, this is a big subject, and I’m talking about a podcast — again, here.

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