Tag Archives: Mark Sanchez

Christmas lights season is here, and hooray for that. The Jets, shockingly, are in a playoff race. And a monkey gets lost in IKEA

I love the holiday season as much as anyone, and one of my favorite things to see are the awesome holiday light displays. Sadly, living in Manhattan now there aren’t too many nice ones to see around here, besides that big tree up in Rockefeller Center.

Might have to get myself to Queens or Long Island soon to see some of the houses that always made December so cool.

Meanwhile, here’s a beautiful display I saw on YouTube that ought to get you in the spirit of the season.

RG3-under-pressure-pre-injury-USA-Today-Sports-Images

**I watched Sunday’s Jets-Jaguars game with a strange feeling of detachment, one I don’t usually get during Jets games.
I wanted the Jets to win, but I wasn’t rooting that hard. I am fully convinced this team needs to be torn down and re-built, and that includes firing the GM and head coach Rex Ryan.
And I’m afraid that if they play just well enough against crappy teams these past four weeks, and Mark Sanchez doesn’t completely implode, owner Woody Johnson will keep everybody around.

And my fear is coming true. For the second week in a row, the Jets didn’t so much as a win a game Sunday. They merely played less shitty than their equally-terrible opponent. Jacksonville was really, really bad in a 17-10 Jets win, and the Jets played one good quarter (the third) on offense.
Basically, the strategy was run, run, run, and don’t let Sanchez pass, because when he drops back, bad things happen (He fumbled yet again. Wouldn’t you think this doofus, who fumbles SO much, would be EXTRA careful with the ball when he’s standing back there? Wouldn’t it make sense for him to put two hands on the ball? Just wondering).

And even worse for us Jets fans who want to see the whole thing ripped up, they’re actually back in the playoff race. Pittsburgh and Cincy both lost, meaning Gang Green is only one game out of a playoff spot with three games left.

This team is too awful to get into the playoffs, I’m quite sure (especially when Ryan refuses to dress last week’s hero, Greg McElroy, and has an injured Tim Tebow as the Jets’ backup QB). But stranger things have happened.

Some more NFL thoughts on another wild day…
Since the Jets game was mind-numbingly boring, I watched a lot of the Redskins-Ravens. Hell of a game, especially the last five minutes. RGIII is one hell of a player, but if he’s hurt for any length of time, ‘Skins won’t be making the playoffs.
— Does every Indianapolis game come down to the last two minutes, or it just seems that way? Andrew Luck throws way too many INT’s, but he is a special player.
— On a personal note, DeAngelo Williams, welcome back to life. Been killing my fantasy team all year, but I started him this week in a playoff game (believe me, I had no better options) and he and Carolina came up huge.
— Adrian Peterson is unbelievable. To be approaching 2,000 yards rushing less than a year after major knee surgery is unheard of.
— Had Cowboys fans on one side of me, and Redskins fans on the other at the bar Sunday. Needless to say, they weren’t cheering at the same time.

ikeamonkey

**Finally, this is another reason I’ve got to hang out at IKEA more. At one of their stores in Toronto, a monkey wearing a mini-shearling coat and diapers (of course) was spotted in the parking lot.

The owners, who were shopping in the store at the time, have come forward to claim the monkey, Toronto Police Sgt. Ed Dzingala told CBC News.

I have so many questions: Why are you taking your monkey to IKEA, so he can sample his new cage in the store? Does he have a great decorating eye? And do you think the monkey was looking for a car to boost, or just didn’t feel like waiting for his family to pick out a new mahagony desk?

I start my new career as a teacher (finally). The Jets mercifully pull Sanchez, and win. And the best photos of the year

substitute-teacher-comes_o_818591

Big day for me today.
My professional teaching career will finally begin.
Got a phone call Sunday night from the New York City Dept. of Education automated substitute teacher line, asking me if I wanted to work on Monday.
The call surprised me for several reasons, mostly because after just finally getting registered and approved last week, I was told I wouldn’t even be in the system for another week or so.
But hey, after three months of waiting to be allowed to sub, I’m not complaining.
And  so off I’ll go, to a school I won’t name in a borough I won’t name, to sub in a grade I won’t name (hey, not about to get myself in trouble by talking in too much detail about my new gig yet).

Should be an interesting and challenging life as a sub. At the very least, I’m sure it’ll give me good stories to tell all of you.

I just hope kids don’t still throw erasers at subs; I can’t duck as well as I used to.

McElroy

**My jaw dropped toward the table at my favorite local sports bar at about 3 p.m. Sunday, when something I’d been hoping and praying for finally happened:
Rex Ryan, after months of stubbornly refusing to bench the woefully performing Mark Sanchez, actually pulled the plug and took out the man we all know isn’t the answer at quarterback.
And while we expected Tim Tebow to one day get a chance this season, it was third-stringer Greg McElroy, who may turn out to be the best quarterback on the roster, who got in the game.
I was thrilled. As were the fans at MetLife Stadium, and I’m sure, the Jets players. McElroy wasn’t sensational in the win, but against the beyond-putrid Arizona Cardinals (Ryan Lindley might be the worst NFL starting QB I’ve ever seen, though to be fair, he’s Arizona’s third-stringer, too), being efficient and OK was enough.

McElroy led the Jets to the 7-6 win, and we fans got to smile. Rex, sweetheart, bubeleh, please leave McElroy in next week. Give the kid a chance; it’s not like the Jets are making the playoffs anyway.
And besides, now that the win screwed up the Jets’ chances of a Top 5 draft pick, might as well try to win a few games.

Some other NFL thoughts from a pretty darn exciting Sunday:
I think it’s crazy the NFL went ahead with the Kansas City Chiefs game a day after one of their players, Jovan Belcher, murdered his girlfriend and then shot himself in front of the Chiefs’ head coach and general manager. There’s no way that the team or coach could’ve been emotionally prepared to play a game after something like that. The Chiefs did play, and won, in a very surreal game at Arrowhead Stadium (thankfully, the Chiefs offered no such “moment of silence” for the murderer.)

I’ll be very curious to see if any brain damage or head injury issues result from his autopsy; sadly it’s always possible now, with history shown that brain injuries can cause violent acts.

– In less-important football news, gotta be impressed again by Andrew Luck. Down 12 in the fourth quarter, he rallied the Colts to beat Detroit on the last play of the game. Man, Colts fans are gonna be spoiled; Peyton Manning, then Luck playing QB for them.
— How in the world did the Ravens let Charlie Batch, Charlie freaking Batch, beat ‘em 23-20? Why do I have a feeling these two teams will meet again this year in the playoffs?

Fans of France kiss before their Group D Euro 2012 soccer match against Ukraine at Donbass Arena in Donetsk

**Finally today, I love great photo montages, and the Reuters news agency has put together its best photographs of 2012. The one above looked cool to me because it’s pure joy in the middle of a crowd, but there are so many other incredible images in this gallery (especially No. 14 and No. 18), it’s well worth your time to check out.

Some thoughts on the AMA’s from a confused, out-of-touch fan. The Jets look like a real football team! And a Twinkie commercial from the ’70s

I know almost nothing about current music.
I follow it very little, and most of what I learn is from my fiancee, who has introduced me to cool bands like Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers, and my friend Bill Werde on Twitter (he runs Billboard magazine), who at least teaches me one or two things a week.

Still, I’m really naive and uninformed when it comes to current tunes. Yet, I have fond childhood memories of the American Music Awards, watching Paula Abdul (my all-time No. 1 childhood celebrity crush), Boyz II Men, and Guns N’ Roses perform.

So I watched a little of Sunday night’s show, and herewith, my snap judgments:

– Was Justin Bieber trying to look like Vanilla Ice Sunday, or was that just a happy accident? I get that he’s trying to be like Usher but man, he looked kinda silly in the backwards hat. And stop grabbing your crotch so much, son. Only Michael Jackson looked cool doing that.

– I thought Pink and her whole “performance art” thing was pretty cool, and the song “Try” is definitely one of the best on her new album.
–Really, Carly Rae Jepson gets “Best New Artist?” For her one song? Somewhere, even Milli Vanilli are laughing.
–Gwen Stefani still looks amazing, and her voice was as good as ever. Always happy to see her perform.
— Whereas Nikki Minaj makes Lady Gaga look like a shy, reserved wallflower.
— Finally, the AMA’s made me miss Dick Clark, who founded them. Great to see Stevie Wonder do a little tribute to the man who was so influential in music history.

**The New York Jets looked like a real football team Sunday, and that was only about the fourth-most surprising thing that happened on a crazy-exciting day in the NFL.
Proves you never can tell what you’re going to get in this league: At 1 p.m. it looked like a pretty bad slate of games, and yet at 3:55 p.m. I had my head on a swivel at the sports bar, watching three games go into overtime.
First, a few words on my Jets. It’d been 35 long days since they’d won. And thankfully, they were playing St. Louis, who isn’t very good, either.

But there were lots of good things for the green and white Sunday: Mark Sanchez played mistake-free, efficient football, they ran the ball well, and the defense, after the opening drive, was outstanding.
I still expect Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum to get canned after the season, and for the team to finish 5-11, but it was nice to see the Jets actually play a complete game for once.

Elsewhere in the NFL…

– Insane shootout between Jacksonville and Houston. Andre Johnson, you are an incredible football player. 273 receiving yards and the game-winning TD in OT? Beautiful. But that Texans defense ought to be ashamed, giving up 37 points to Chad Henne.
— Everyone in the bar was rooting like hell for Cleveland to knock off the Cowboys, and they almost did it before falling in OT. “Almost” is a word Browns fans have heard for a long time, but they really killed themselves with penalties in the fourth quarter.
— If I’m an Atlanta Falcons fan, I’d be really nervous right now.
— So glad the Steelers again wore the ugliest uniforms in the history of the world Sunday night (above).
— Finally, not NFL but a college football thought: So Kansas State and Oregon lost, and now Notre Dame and one-loss Alabama are the top 2 teams. Once again,   if someone can explain to me why one-loss ‘Bama is more deserving of a national title shot than one-loss Oregon, I’m all ears. College football is such a mess when it comes to determining a champion.

**Finally today, as you surely have heard by now, Hostess is going out of business, and the world will no longer get to enjoy the delicious goodness that are Twinkies.
It’s hilarious that people are buying up boxes of Twinkies and selling them on eBay, like they’re a real collector’s item.
Saw this commercial on the Web this weekend and made me want one more. Just one more, though, because as a grown-up I realize how gross they are.

Another miserable football Sunday. A car-meets-cow story makes me chuckle. And honoring the Vets today, and every day

It’s not too often that both New York football teams get spanked and embarrassed on the same day.
The difference is, Giants fans probably aren’t too worried about their team’s 31-13 defeat to the Bengals; the Giants go through this November swoon every year, and hey, they’ve won two Super Bowls in the last five years so they can’t be complaining about anything, ever, in my book.

The Jets, though… jesus that was ugly on Sunday. You would think, after 30 years of this, I’d become numb to losses like this; hell, this season has seen plenty of games like Sunday’s desultory 28-7 defeat to Seattle: Defense plays pretty well, keeps ‘em in it, but offense is so horrendous that it can’t score even once, and eventually defense falls apart.

I’m sick and tired of complaining about Mark Sanchez, I really am. Because the story never changes: He makes terrible decisions. He fumbles while getting hit more than any quarterback I’ve ever seen. He has a lot of problems throwing the ball where his receivers can catch it.

I don’t know why we fans see all of these problems and yet Rex Ryan is a blind man in a cornfield here. And I also don’t get why so much of the football media says “Well, if you bench Sanchez for Tim Tebow, there’s no going back. Sanchez is ruined forever for the Jets.”

First of all, that’s b.s., quarterbacks have gotten benched and returned all the time! And second, what the hell are you ruining right now in the future? he’s not the answer for next year, or ever! Bench him, throw God’s quarterback in there, and see what the heck happens.

But nope, there’s nothing quite so stubborn as a stubborn-ass football coach. And so we Jets fans get seven more weeks of awful offense.

Joy.

Couple other quick-hit NFL thoughts today:
– Wasn’t at my usual sports bar perch Sunday so I missed the Falcons-Saints game, but man, looks like it was a hell of a tilt. Not surprised to see the Saints come back to life this year; no matter how bad their defense is, they still have Drew Brees.
— You would think these showboating idiot NFL players would learn not to throw the ball away on a TD return before crossing the goal line, but nope, Denver’s Trindon Holliday did just such a stupid thing Sunday. He got away with it because the refs missed the call, but what a stupid move.
— Any particular reason Norv Turner hasn’t been fired yet? Because he’s like three years overdue.

– Maybe we all were wrong about Cam Newton and his awesomeness last year. Man does he look lost out there.
— I know it’s unlikely still, but how great would an Andrew Luck vs. Peyton Manning playoff duel in the AFC be?

Copyright of Gail Fischer, www.gailfischer.com

**There are some things I miss about living in a sleepy town in upstate New York (Glens Falls), and stories like this are one of them. My great friend Will Springstead sent it to me, and as soon as I saw the headline, I was hooked:

“Police officer escapes injury during collision with cow”

The rest of the story is here, with my favorite part being:  “Murphy said the Dodge Charger patrol car may have to be totalled, but insurance or the cow’s owner should cover the cost.”

Well sure, everyone’s got cow insurance, don’t they?

**Finally today, a salute to America’s veterans on the day we honor them most. I am exceedingly lucky to have been born in a generation where I was never required to perform military service, so I’ve never had to put my life on the line like so many millions have.

All I can do is thank them for their bravery and heroism, and be grateful they’ve done what they’ve done for the last 200 years.

Check out the video montage above; I think it’s a beautiful reminder of all who have served.

Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the East Coast; I’ve got bread and water so I’m good. The Jets… oy. And Mitt, lying ever more brazenly

For the first time in my life, there’s a hurricane named after my mother.
But I’m pretty sure she’s never gone 75 miles per hour in her life (even when we were late for school in the car pool), like the winds that are going to whip through New York and up and down the East Coast Monday.
Man, this is going to be one hell of a storm. There’s been talk of nothing else all weekend here in my corner of the world. Bread and water and gasoline and you name it, all stocked up.

Personally, I’m feeling pretty safe. It’s not like I can really go anywhere in Manhattan Monday; the subway, the trains, all of it, shut down completely.

They’re calling it the biggest tropical cyclone in history, so this could be quite a bit worse than Irene last year, which was pretty bad for Connecticut and other parts.
Hurricanes used to seem fun as a kid; then I moved to North Carolina and saw how devastating they can be.

I hope if you’re reading this on the East Coast, that’s a good sign you’ve still got electricity. Stay safe, my friends. Just ride out and hopefully by Tuesday night, we’ll all be getting ready to eat lots of candy and try to figure out why everyone went as Taylor Swift or a vampire for Halloween.

Final hurricane thought: Can you imagine if this storm hit a week later, on Election Day? Mass chaos.

**Not much to say about the Jets’ pathetic showing on Sunday, which would’ve had to have improved by a lot to really be called “pathetic.” A couple short thoughts, since I got my venting out hours ago during the game.

– There’s really never going to be a time where Rex Ryan benches Mark Sanchez. If it didn’t happen Sunday (and I know it wasn’t all his fault, but he was bad), with a dull, lifeless team getting blown out at home by the Dolphins, it’s not going to happen at all.

– I’m not there yet, but almost to a point where I hope they lose the rest of their games so they can get a high draft pick and start over with a new QB. I don’t think owner Woody Johnson is going to fire Rex and GM Mike Tannenbaum yet, but man he ought to start thinking about it.

– I am so sick and tired of these unlikable Jets players and their attitude and their woofing. Freaking disgusts me how much a 3-5 team talks shit to the other team.

Other, happier NFL thoughts from Sunday…

– My poor soon-to-be father-in-law nearly had a stroke watching the Giants-Cowboys (I was there with him; I should’ve had a blood-pressure machine hooked up to him, at least). Giants go up 23-0 when Tony Romo did his best Mark Sanchez impression. Then the ‘Boys storm back to go up 24-23, only for th Giants to re-take the lead 29-24.

Followed by the Cowboys scoring on a quasi-Hail Mary with six seconds left… that was overturned by replay and ruled incomplete. What a nuts game, but the Giants always seem to win them.

 I know the Saints’ defense stinks, but anyone out there still have doubts about how good Peyton Manning is?
— Crazy finish to that Bears game. Carolina is coming up with new ways to lose every week.
— I think Andy Reid will finally be shown the door in Philly after this year. His team played a dog of a game Sunday (and yes, that’s a reference for you, Mr. Vick).

 

**Mitt Romney is getting more and more desperate. The election is only a week away, he’s going to lose this race, and so he and his team are just flinging more and more bullshit at the wall in the hopes that somehow, it will stick.

His latest complete fabrication? While talking to a group in Ohio, he said that Chrysler is closing down its Jeep plant in Toledo and moving all Jeep manufacturing to China.

Completely, 100 percent not true, as Chrysler pointed out in this blog post immediately after Romney said it.

It’s one thing to scare the hell out of voters about what “the other guy” will do. It’s another to basically tell thousands of Ohioans that they’re about to be fired.

Ah, the last desperate breaths of a desperate campaign.

I survive my 10K quite well, with all muscles intact. The Jets lose a heartbreaker but I am OK with it. And Shaq sings Prince

My moment of triumph arrived at around 10:45 a.m. Saturday, and I didn’t want to blow it.
For the past hour and 15 minutes, I had alternately sprinted, jogged, and for a brief minute, walked during the Run for the Warriors 10k in Lindenhurst, on Long Island.
My first 10k ever was a whole lot of fun. The course, through the town of Lindenhurst, was pretty except for the part where we ran on Sunrise Highway, a major road that was closed for us but still felt a little weird to be running on.

My first two miles were pretty fast by my standards, I slowed down a bit around mile three (halfway through), paired up with a nice woman named Mary who paced me through the 4 1/2 mile mark, then I got a burst of speed and caught up with a guy named Rob, and he and I ran to the finish.
My goals for this race were simple: I wanted to finish. I wanted to come in under 1 hour, 20 minutes. And I didn’t want to finish last.

I’m happy to say I didn’t, which is why I look so happy in the above photo. Fifteen people finished behind me (OK, out of 322, and two people in their 70’s kicked my butt, but still…), as I clocked in at 1:18.22.

My family was there to greet me at the finish line, which was awesome. I actually didn’t feel too sore Sunday, which made me feel good since my training clearly has made me stronger.

But most importantly, thanks to the generosity of readers, friends and family, I raised $725 for the Hope for the Warriors charity, an excellent cause.
My next goal? A much faster 10k in the early spring, and then, hopefully a half-marathon next fall.
Now that I’ve caught this running bug, I gotta keep going.

**I had a strange feeling after watching yet another Jets-Patriots classic Sunday, when my boys came from 10 points down in the second half to take the lead, only to blow that and lose in overtime, 29-26.
I was mad, and disappointed, but also, strangely… encouraged. Maybe it’s because I’ve so dramatically lowered my expectations for this team this year, or because I’m overestimating the Pats, but I thought there were lots to be pleased about with how the Jets played.
So despite being angry at more asinine playcalling (3rd and goal from the 1 in the third quarter, you’ve been running it down their throats, and you don’t use Tebow but call a slant pass?), and at Stephen Hill’s big drop, and Sanchez again failing to secure the ball on the game-changing fumble, I also saw…

–Sanchez play beautifully in the second half. Man, where is that guy most of the time? A couple of those drives in the second half, especially when he zipped the TD in to Dustin Keller, were just fabulous displays of passing. I still want to start over with a fresh QB next year, but man, he’s got some talent.
— Glad to see they finally, finally used Joe McKnight in the running game a little bit. I just hope he’s not too banged up because we need him next week, too.
— The defense really stepped up, tackling well and harassing Brady at times. Again, maybe the Pats aren’t that good (and they sure seemed out of sync in the 2nd half on offense), but the Jets D played a terrific game.

A couple other quick-hit NFL thoughts on another wild Sunday:
 Robert Griffin III. Man, if he could cut down on those turnovers,  he’d be just about perfect. What an incredible athlete. He’s moving the position of QB forward, he really is.
— Then again, the Redskins did lose. Eli Manning is uncanny; he made an awful throw for a pick, then five minutes later with his team down, he throws a beautiful pass to Victor Cruz on a bomb for a TD.
— The Tampa-New Orleans game was one of the bar’s TV’s where I was at (there are apparently three huge Bucs fans in New York City and all sat next to me) and it was a hell of a game. Drew Brees is pretty damn good. Those hold throwback Bucs creamsicle jerseys, though? Burn ‘em all.
— Finally, there are only three teams in the AFC with winning records. Am I nuts to think the Jets could make the playoffs at 8-8?

**As a karaoke singer and mangler of great songs myself, I have to sometimes acknowledge the “greatness” of other bad singers. So this made me laugh: The great Shaquille O’Neal, singing the Prince classic, “When Doves Cry.”

Say this about Shaq: Man’s not ashamed to make a fool of himself in public.

A terrific Jets win has them tied for 1st. A dispiriting Yankees loss pretty much dooms them. And the guy who jumped from outer space

Well that was a decidedly mixed and bittersweet sports Sunday for yours truly.
More sweet than bitter, because I’m a bigger New York Jets fan than I am a Yankees fan, but still (If pressed, I would say my diehard sports allegiances rank is: 1, Jets, 2. New York Rangers, 3. Duke basketball, 4, Yankees baseball, 5, Brooklyn Nets basketball. Not that you necessarily needed all that information, but I’m here to share.)

Let’s start with the good. I expected the Jets to have a shot to win Sunday against the Colts, because Indy’s not nearly as good as San Francisco, Houston (they get a mulligan for Sunday night) or Pittsburgh, but I did not expect a 35-9 walloping.

Everything went perfectly for Gang Green, starting with the running game, which to this point in the season had been MIA. Shonn Greene looked like the same guy from 2 years ago, bullying and bruising his way through big holes the O-line created.
Mark Sanchez did what he needed to, simply hitting his receivers when they were open and making two really nice throws on his TD passes. The defense realized it was allowed to hit the other team’s QB, and did so repeatedly.

Really good win for my boys. I still don’t think they’re any good, but hey, look at the standings, everyone in the AFC East is 3-3 right now. A four-way tie for first, or for last (I guess it depends on your perspective on life which way you see it.)

Some other quick-hit NFL thoughts on Week 6:
– Man, that was a hellacious beatdown the Packers put on Houston Sunday night. Where’s that Green Bay offense been all year, Aaron Rodgers?
— That was one serious statement by the Giants in San Fran. They obliterated the 49ers, 26-3. I have no idea which Giants team will show up week to week, but they looked like the best team in football on Sunday.
— Hell of a comeback by Seattle to stun New England. Brady and his boys looked pretty mortal in the 4th. Jets-Pats, next Sunday in Foxboro. Even after Sunday, I’d say 38-10 New England sounds about right.
— If you haven’t seen RGIII’s incredible touchdown run in the 4th quarter Sunday, watch it here. Man this kid is fast.

**And then there’s the Yankees. Let’s face it, the Bronx Bombers were fortunate to get by the Orioles; those two teams were pretty dead even. Now against Detroit, even with some Raul Ibanez magic Saturday night, the Yanks’ offense has been beyond putrid.
Pathetic, awful, whatever you want to call it. Sunday night, with the great Derek Jeter out with a broken ankle, the Yanks mustered four measly hits.
It’s amazing how every single guy in the lineup, especially A-Rod and Cano (the latter is O-for-his-last-26, which is really hard to do for a big leaguer. 0-for 26!) look so lost at the plate. They’re barely even hitting the ball hard.
So the Tigers are up 2-0, and have Cy Young likely winner Justin Verlander going in Game 3, and yeah, the Yankees seem pretty much done.

Delighting millions of haters everywhere.

**OK, is there any doubt that Felix Baumgartner has the all-time best story to tell at his next high school reunion?

“So Felix, whatcha been up to?”
“Oh, not much. Just, you know, jumping out of a capsule from outer space and breaking the speed of sound.”

Sunday, Baumgartner, a 43-year-old Austrian achieved one of the coolest feats in recorded history, leaping 120,000 feet from the edge of space in the greatest skydive you could possibly do.

Watch the video (below), and if your jaw doesn’t drop in the first 30 seconds, it may be wired shut and you should consult a dentist immediately.

Wow.

Apple-picking and 4-year-olds playing soccer in New England. The Jets come close, which is a surprise. And “Homeland” ratchets up the tension

Sorry there was no usual Monday blog post, but I spent the holiday weekend with my fiance up in New England, visiting some friends of hers.
There’s a reason poets, songwriters and lots of other people have written so much art about fall in New England; it’s really all kinds of beautiful.

We visited a family that had two little kids, so we did all kinds of family stuff, like apple-picking, going through a “mini-Green Monster” hedge maze, and even went candlepin bowling, that bizarre form of the sport they only play up there. (That sport is way too hard; you get no pin action, the ball is tiny and doesn’t spin, and yes I’m making excuses because I sorta stink at it).

I also got to watch a soccer game played by 4 and 5-year-olds; it was like watching swarms of bees all chasing one tiny ball of honey. There were no goalies in this co-ed “game,” the goals themselves were miniature, and nobody really kept score, which was nice.

Concentration isn’t exactly a forte among these future stars; one boy spent most of the game fiddling with his sweatshirt, unable to decide whether to keep it on or off.

It was a terrific relaxing weekend out of the city, even if I had to endure way too many “Gronkowski” and “Brady” jerseys. Massachusetts is one of my favorite states, and in the fall, with the leave starting to turn, it really is something special.

**Ah, the Jets. As someone said on Twitter Monday night, only my beloved Jets can turn what should’ve been a 25-point blowout loss into a heart-wrenching defeat.
Despite playing with a mostly-inept offense, filled with guys most NFL fans have never heard of, the Jets hung in there with the undefeated Texans, losing by only six, and Jets had a shot to win on their last drive.
But man, this team just makes SO many mistakes, probably because it’s not that talented. Mark Sanchez played only OK, throwing so many passes too low that they’re tipped, or too high to be caught. The Jets receivers blew all kinds of plays, the defense missed all kinds of tackles, and once again there was ZERO pass rush.

Plus, they burned two timeouts in the second half because they have no idea what to do with Tim Tebow, getting plays in late and having the wrong personnel. Pathetic how disorganized the Jets coaches are.
They’re 2-3 and while Monday was slightly encouraging, this season has 4-12 written all over it.


** “Homeland” followed up last week’s terrific season premiere with an incredibly tense episode Sunday night (SPOILER ALERT, STOP HERE IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED YET).
The last scene, with Saul watching the previously-believed-to-be-forgotten and destroyed tape of Brody talking to the camera before what he thought would be last season’s suicide bomb attempt, was jaw-droppingly good. I have to believe Saul is now going to spill the beans on Brody, tell Carrie she was right all along, and the whole dynamic of the series may change.
A few other thoughts on a great hour of TV:

– I kept yelling at Carrie for being so damn reckless, especially when she ran back into her source’s apartment while her teammates were in a car surrounded by angry men. It’s ridiculous how many chances she takes and gets away with it.

– I know you’ve gotta suspend disbelief sometimes with this show, but both my fiance and I were incredulous that Brody A, would be allowed in a secret meeting to watch Nasir get killed, B, send a text message TO Nasir without anyone noticing or getting suspicious, C, Nasir getting the text milliseconds before he was about to be killed, and D, the snipers totally missing Nasir because he moved a split second before they shot.

That’s an awful lot for we viewers to accept. I also love how the entire U.S. government goes along with Carrie’s hunch and goes for the assassination plan. Carrie, who just had electroshock therapy.

–Loved the scene with Brody and his ex-Marine mates at the bar. How long can he hold them off from the truth?
–Finally, Brody’s daughter and the VP’s son are totally having sex in the White House at some point this season, right?

Gail Collins’ new book explains how Texas took over America. The Jets are an utter disgrace. And kids eating ice cream for the first time: priceless

“Homeland” is back! I am very happy. I will be doing weekly recaps and thoughts on each episode, but will save those until Tuesday, since I know not all of you can stay up late Sunday night to watch it when it airs live on Showtime at 10. So glad the best show on TV is back. And the first episode was awesome.

It’s not enough that so many of us just shake our head at the craziness that is Texas. We really should look at how destructive and dangerously trend-setting it is for America.
From health care and social services (worst in the nation) to polluting the air (also near the bottom) to being the biggest textbook publisher in America, thereby setting the agenda for what kids around the U.S. are learning, Texas has an outsized effect on the U.S. (Plus, they’ve sicced both George W. Bush and Rick Perry on us, which is a plague all it’s own).

Gail Collins of the N.Y. Times, a really smart op-ed writer, has decided to examine Texas and figure out why the hell it’s always puffing itself up when there are so, so many things wrong with it in her newest book, “As Texas Goes.”
I just read it last week and really enjoyed it as a book, but it scared the hell out of me.

Besides Texas’ rightward slant on everything, it was depressing to see how much it has held down its own citizens, actively stolen business from other states, and slanted our nation’s textbooks.

I don’t want to give away all the fun stuff in the book (and it is a really fun read, Collins is really witty), but it’s truly staggering to think that this state sets much of the Republican agenda, and sometimes the nation’s.

Check out more about the book here; I definitely recommend it.

**Here’s something I know I wish I could’ve had recorded in my own life: Little kids eating ice cream for the first time, and how deliriously happy it makes them.  This should make you smile on a Monday, and make you hungry for some Ben & Jerry’s… (my favorite is the kid at :31)

**Finally, football. Here were some phrases thrown around via text among my Jets support group/posse that I communicate with every Sunday in the fall:
1. Disgraceful
2. Pathetic.
3. Kotite-level incompetence (I was particularly proud of that one).
As bad as I expected the Jets to do against maybe the NFC’s best team Sunday, they played worse in getting shut out by the Niners, 34-0. The less I say, the better.

Except two things: 1, This coach and GM ought to be embarrassed by the level of talent on this team right now, and 2, They had better draft or sign a quarterback for next season. Because Mark Sanchez will never become a successful QB in this league. He’s getting worse every week.

Some other quick-hit thoughts from Week 4:
– A friend who shall remain nameless texted when the Bills were up 21-7, saying the Patriots were done, headed to 1-3, not that good, etc. I told him it was way too early to say that.
Um, yeah, the Pats won 52-28. Scary how good that offense can be.

– Fantastic endings to the Carolina-Atlanta and Washington-Tampa games. Matt Ryan led his team from his own 1 into field goal range to keep the Falcons unbeaten, and RGIII beat Tampa on the last drive when Billy (Shank) Cundiff finally made a field goal after missing three others.

– The real refs were back! And yeah, they made some bad calls, but SO much better than those imposters.

– How good are the Texans? So pleased the Jets get them next week. That’ll be fun.
— Peyton Manning, that’s more like it. You helped me to a (likely) fantasy win this week.
— The Chargers are going to fall apart like they usually do, right? Because they look damn good right now.
— Finally, the Giants just can’t seem to beat the Eagles. Stupid penalty at the end by Ramses Barden, but you know, the guy has hardly played. I was still hoping Tynes made that kick at the end to punish Andy Reid (and all other coaches) for that split-second timeout they always call right before a game-deciding kick.

Such a stupid rule that you can do that.

The Emmy Awards make me (mostly) happy. An agonizingly awful Jets win. And gay marriage ballot amendments looking good

My favorite awards show of the year took place Sunday night; The Academy Awards are great but so many times I feel like I’m not familiar with the nominees; but with the Emmys, I feel like I very strongly about who should win and who should never get a sniff of an Emmy.

Overall I thought it was a pretty good show, and was thrilled to see one show in particular kick serious butt (it rhymes with “Shmomeland.”)
With the help of my trusty sidekick/fellow TV addict fiance, some things that struck us from the show:

– Thrill of the night for me was seeing “Homeland” do so well, winning both major drama acting categories AND shocking “Mad Men” to win best show. I will continue to say this until the cows come home: “Homeland” is the best show on TV. The new season starts Sunday night on Showtime, time to get watching.

– The comedy awards were really predictable, but we were both stunned Mayim Bialik from “Big Bang Theory” didn’t win best supporting in a comedy. She was awesome. Not that Julie Bowen isn’t, but she’s won a few times already.
— Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue was pretty funny, but the best bits of the night were the Julia Louis-Dreyfus/Amy Poehler speech switch gag, and the opening skit in the bathroom.
— Jon Cryer does not age. He still looks like Ducky.
— Jimmy Fallon looked 3 feet taller than Kathy Bates when they presented together. “Has he been stretched for the Emmys?” the fiance asked.
— There were no major fashion faux pas (I was told), but man were there some hideous dress colors. Julianne Moore, Claire Danes and Julie Bowen all wore awful colors. I thought Danes, Amy Poehler and Zooey Deschanel (above) looked the best, along with the chick who plays Brody’s wife on “Homeland.”

– Really tough call for the producers on who gets the final spot of the Death Montage: Dick Clark or Andy Griffith? They did a seperate tribute to Andy G. instead.
— Can’t believe Doyle from “Gilmore Girls” won an Emmy for writing! He was such a great “GG” character, happy to see him get some more fame.

– Finally, whose idea was the stupid “Andre Braugher coming up in 8 minutes” screen teaser? Like that’s going to keep me watching the Emmys?

**At the end of my life, when I’m old and bald and dying, I’ll wish I had four more hours back.

Those would be the four hours I spent watching Sunday’s truly wretched Jets-Dolphins football game. Calling it ugly and unsightly would be a massive understatement; truly it was a shame either team had to win.
As a Jets fan, I was disgusted by so much of their play that it was hard to feel elated when they won.
Among the many, many problems of my team:
— Mark Sanchez, in his 4th year in the NFL, and 4th year as a starter, is not getting any better. It’s amazing, but he’s STILL making awful decisions, not feeling the rush, and misfiring to wide-open receivers; there were three TD’s the Jets should’ve had Sunday but Sanchez overthrew his receivers.  He’s just not a good quarterback and may never be.

– That said, the man had VERY little help Sunday. Receivers dropped passes all over the place, his offensive line was just OK, and the running game was non-existent. Sanchez just doesn’t have a lot of talent around him.

– Looks like the best defensive back in football, Darrelle Revis, may have torn his ACL, which would mean he’s out for the season. Devastating blow to an already-not-great team.

Other NFL thoughts on yet another crazy day…
— At one point three games were in overtime at the same time (KC-New Orleans, Jets-Dolphins, and Titans-Lions). Not sure that’s ever happened before.

– How crazy was that 44-41 Titans win over the Lions? Detroit scored 14 points in the last eighteen seconds of regulation to tie it, including a Hail Mary. Then in OT, down three, Lions could’ve kicked a FG to tie it, but on 4th and 1, had a miscommunication with the sideline and went for it when they weren’t supposed to. And they didn’t get the yard, and lost the game.

– I know all NFL fans are bitching about the replacement refs and how awful they are… but they are truly horrendous.  Watched the last 5 minutes of Pats-Ravens after the Emmys, and while it was a thrilling finish (that Ravens kicker gave the entire state of Maryland a heart attack, making that FG by inches), the refs practically blew it both ways.

How long is the NFL going to let this complete blow to its credibility last? Sadly, I think it’ll be a while. The NFL’s popularity is impervious, and I just don’t think they give a crap what fans and media (and their own coaches and players!) are saying about the refs right now.

– Stunning to see the 49ers lose, the Jaguars win, and the Saints be 0-3. One more reason I don’t bet on the NFL.

** Finally, it’s too early to be overly excited about this, but it’s certainly promising.  There are four states that in November will have ballot initiatives that in one form or another will legalize same sex marriage, and in three of those states (Maryland, Maine and Washington) it looks very likely that gay marriage will be legalized; only in Minnesota is the polling not looking promising.

If the 3 states’ numbers hold up, this will be a huge, history-making deal, as no states previously have had ballot initiatives supporting gay marriage get passed.

Consider my fingers crossed.