A Dad’s school excuse note for his daughter is fantastic. “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” is great television. And a female high school hockey goalie makes more than 100 saves… and loses

Springsteenletter.blog

And a Happy Friday to you! Another fabulous Democratic debate last night, very substantive and really getting into the weeds on issues. HRC had a great close, Bernie was better on foreign policy and really nailed her for her admiration for all-time evildoer Henry Kissinger. Game on…

First up on Good News Friday today, even if you’re not a Bruce Springsteen fan, I think you have to appreciate this.

Meet Patrick Pipino, a loyal Boss fan who lives in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (one of my old stomping grounds!). He took his daughters to a Bruce show in Albany the other night, and well, as Bruce shows tend to do, it went on for 3.5 hours.

So the kids had trouble getting up for school the next morning, and of course their father wrote them a note. It’s above, it went viral, and it’s awesome.

As I said to my wife, I’m totally writing a note like this for our son one day. And I’d be proud to do it.

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**Next up, not sure if I blogged about this but I was unreasonably excited about the new FX mini-series “The People vs. O.J. Simpson.” I was obsessed with the trial at the time, have watched several great O.J. documentaries (including the fabulous “June 17, 1994” that was part of ESPN’s “30 for 30” series), and with the cast assembled for this piece, I thought it might be great.

Through two episodes, I’ve been very impressed. Cuba Gooding Jr. as O.J. has been terrific, showing the combination of fear and arrogance that marked the first few days after the murders.

Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark is perfect casting, but the biggest surprise has been David Schwimmer as O.J. pal (and patriarch of the Kardashian clan) Robert Kardashian. Schwimmer has been fantastic, really really good, as a loyal friend who can’t believe O.J. could commit these murders, but also as a guy just trying to keep his pal alive during the Bronco chase.

The show so far has been entertaining, dramatic, and really well-written. Each week it’s on FX on Tuesdays at 10 Eastern (and can I just add how happy I am that FX is running promos for “The Americans” throughout each episode? It’s a crime more people don’t watch that fantastic show.)

minnesotahockeygoalie

**Finally today, how about a few big cheers for an extraordinary performance by a high school hockey goalie in Apple Valley, Minn., named Taylor DeForrest.

In a ridiculously great game last week, she made 111 saves in a six-overtime game her Apple Valley H.S. team played against East Ridge in the Class 2A state playoffs.

One hundred and eleven saves! That’s insane. Can’t imagine how exhausted she must’ve been afterward. The other goalie only had to stop 38 shots, so there was a more than 70 shot differential, which is crazy one-sided.

“It’s hard to top,” DeForrest said. “[My next game] is going to feel pretty short.”

Bravo, Taylor. What an amazing effort.

 

A political revolution gets a major win: Bernie Sanders takes New Hamshire (Trump does too). James Corden and Cindy Crawford hilariously re-create her Super Bowl ad. And the craziest story, maybe ever, from Australia

CONCORD, NH - FEBRUARY 09:  Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane O'Meara (R) greets supporters after winning the New Hampshire Democratic Primary February 9, 2016 in Concord, New Hampshire.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Six years ago, my mother told me Bernie Sanders should run for President, and that he would win.

I love my mother more than anything. She’s a wonderful, huge-hearted woman who is as bleeding-heart liberal as they come, and she truly doesn’t understand why everyone doesn’t feel the same way she does about things.

So, given that she gave me life and everything, I gently patted her on the head, laughed pretty hard, and sweetly and patronizingly said “Mom, that’s completely nuts. Never could happen. Only in your wildest dreams.”

Well now … I’ve decided, six years later, that my mother might be the female Jewish Karl Rove, or at least, the James Carville of the Whole Foods crowd.

She saw what no one else did, or at least, what no one else would admit publicly.

A 74-year-old Jewish man from Brooklyn (L’chaim!) won a resounding 22-point point victory over Hillary Clinton Tuesday night in the New Hampshire primary. And even though it’s looked for weeks like Bernie would win, and win big, this is still yuuuge news. (Here’s his victory speech from Tuesday night.)

He’s now tied one state and won another, an incredible underdog suddenly scaring the bejeezus out of the Clinton machine. I just kept smiling during his victory speech Tuesday, because of what the great Rachel Maddow verbalized right after Sanders finished: We liberals have NEVER had a serious Presidential candidate say these things on a national stage, and it’s glorious to behold.

I know, I know. It still seems kinda impossible that Bernie can beat Hillary, and then win a general. But then you see, seconds after Bernie finished his victory speech, a complete sexist, racist gasbag who has no bleeping idea what he’s saying get up on stage after his yuuge primary win, and you think: If it’s Bernie vs. Trump, really, Bernie couldn’t win that?

Dare to dream, folks. Dare to dream. Tuesday night was a wonderful night.

Couple other thoughts from Tuesday night…

— Hillary Clinton’s concession speech was fabulous. She sounded like a true firebrand liberal. And if Bernie has done nothing else over the past six months, he’s forced her far to the left, which is a good, good thing for America. Since she’ll probably be our next President.

— I can’t wait to see some new South Carolina polling numbers following tonight’s win. Methinks it’ll be pretty damn close.

— Congrats, John Kasich, on coming in 2nd! Sadly I think this is the last we’ll hear from him. He’s way too reasonable to win.

— So much for that “Marco-mentum, huh?” Chris Christie really destroyed Rubio in the debate last Saturday, and Marco may never recover.

— There is not one genuine bone in Trump’s body. Not one. I listened to his victory speech and it was just so obnoxious.  I will never, ever understand how this man could be so worshipped by so many. He makes Dick Cheney look uncertain.

**Next up, as I wrote on Monday, this year’s Super Bowl commercials were pretty lame. Very few memorable ones.

Not like the magical Cindy Crawford Pepsi ad from 1992, which was pretty huge for 16-year-old me at the time, since I, like millions of other red-blooded American males, positively worshipped the ground Cindy walked on (I had several Cindy posters in my room, as did most of my friends).

Well, James Corden and the still insansely-pretty Cindy did a great “update” spoof of the commercial recently, and it’s hilarious.

Enjoy.

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**Finally today, this might be the craziest story I ever heard (except, you know, Donald Trump maybe being President.). An Australian woman confronted her husband at her own funeral.

He’d paid men to kidnap and kill her, they took his money, but decided not to murder her. They told him they’d done it, he planned a funeral, than in the parking lot on the way out, she scared the hell out of him.

He eventually confessed, and just got sentenced to nine years in prison.

I’m nowhere near close to doing this story justice, though. Read it, and then go hug your spouse and be very, very glad they’re not as crazy as this guy.

The Broncos win an excruciatingly boring Super Bowl, filled with lame commercials. And the Larry David/Bernie Sanders SNL was terrific

Broncos.von-miller

I’ve watched every Super Bowl since 1983. I’ve seen blowouts, I’ve seen nail-biters, I’ve seen incredible performances and goats that will live forever.

Not sure I’ve seen a Super Bowl that had fewer exciting plays than this one.

Wow. That was a boring, boring game. I went to an 8-1 NHL game Sunday afternoon and I think that was more entertaining. On the 50th anniversary of the first Super Bowl, there was just … not a whole lot of excitement.

Oh, the Denver defense played amazing, and MVP Von Miller was doing his Lawrence Taylor impersonation all night, and that strip-sack and defensive touchdown in the first quarter was kind of cool, but I just … kept waiting for something exciting to happen.

Ah well, you can’t always get a thriller. Some thoughts on the game, the halftime and the commercials..

— Peyton Manning has been one of my favorite NFL players ever since he entered the league. I’ve always rooted for him, admired his style and humility off the field, and loved how hard he competed. So I was thrilled to see him get carried to the finish line of an amazing career Sunday. He was not good most of the night, after the first drive I’m not sure he made more than 1-2 good throws. But so what? He carried plenty of his teams with terrible defenses over the years, he’s earned the right to get carried to a Super Bowl win.

— I truly think he retires now, and finishes with 2 Super Bowl wins. At the same time, you know Eli’s sitting there, with 2 SB wins of his own, thinking, “I gotta get me another ring.”

— I mean, look how excited Eli looked at the end of the game!

— Difference in the game? Cam Newton just had no time to throw all night. Broncos were in his face on practically drop-back, making him throw off-balance, off his back foot. I don’t know if the Panthers should’ve double-teamed Miller more, or thrown some short passes or screens to slow down the pass rush, or what. But nothing worked.

— Not to be “that guy,” but let’s not forget Von Miller was suspended for using steroids two years ago, and allegedly tampered with the urine sample that tested him positive.

— The commercials were thoroughly underwhelming, were they not? Nothing in the first half was particularly memorable, except for the fantastic Steve Harvey-T Mobile ad spoofing his famous screw-up at the Miss Universe Pageant recently.
But the Bud Light Party one was silly, I thought.

— I thought the domestic violence PSA at halftime was very strong. Second-half commercials were better; the Doritos dogs ad (above) was my favorite of the night, and the Helen Mirren drunk-driving ad was stellar:

— Halftime show was pretty solid, considering Coldplay was in it. Beyonce is just… an electric performer, someone I’d pay to see even though I don’t know her music that well.
Loved that shot of Bruno Mars and Bey walking together and singing with Chris Martin in the middle. I’ve never craved an Oreo so much in my life when that happened.

— Lady Gaga’s national anthem was, um, something. That red eye shadow was fierce.

— Disappointed we didn’t get to see Cam Newton score once and then try desperately to find a little kid who could afford tickets to the Super Bowl, to give the ball to.

— Finally, Donald Trump says America never wins anything anymore but a team from the U.S. just won the world championship of football, so what do you say to that, Donald????

**Next up today, in a perfectly timed episode, Larry David, the world’s foremost Bernie Sanders impersonator, hosted “Saturday Night Live” a few days before the New Hampshire primary Saturday night.

Bernie was in one sketch and it was funny, but to me the most hilarious piece of the night was David playing Bernie in a fantastic “Curb Your Enthusiasm”  spoof, starring some of the characters from “Curb” and David acting as Bernie.

If Bernie keeps doing well, Larry David’s going to get some serious mileage out of this impression.

 

Good News Friday: A 5-year-old with cancer proposes marriage to a nurse. The Chicago Blackhawks make a fan’s dreams come true. And Adele’s carpool karaoke thru London is lots of fun

And a Happy Friday to all! Well that was a pretty rollicking, entertaining Democratic debate last night. I must admit as Bernie Sanders supporter that Hillary Clinton had an outstanding night; truly, I have no idea why she didn’t want more debates in this election cycle, she’s really, really good at it. Bernie did well, too, and I think he’ll still win New Hampshire next week, but she opened new lines of attack against him, and really pushed back against his Wall Street critiques. It was good, substantive stuff, though I’m shocked in a state like N.H. guns didn’t come up at all.

Anyway… lots of good stories to choose from this week for Good News Friday; I didn’t include it down below but this was just beautiful; a young Muslim-American woman named Sabah Muktar was given the honor of introducing President Obama Wednesday as he visited a mosque for the first time as President (kind of amazing he hasn’t visited one in seven years).

Her short speech shows exactly why it’s so important to reassure American Muslims that we’re not all as intolerant and bigoted as the GOP Presidential candidates. Look at how touched and honored she is that Obama visited; hugely influential for him to say “Look, there are millions of peaceful Muslims in this country who want the same things you do.”

OK, moving on. Gideon Robinson, a 5-year-old leukemia patient, proposed to “Tall Sarah,” his favorite nurse at a San Diego hospital last week.

Gideon’s mom was great enough to film her discussion with him about his proposal beforehand, than got the whole thing on tape.

So sweet. Tall Sarah, you’re a lucky woman.

**Next up, the Chicago Blackhawks have appeared in Good News Friday probably as much as any sports team, because they and their players keep doing awesome things for people. Today I bring you goalie Corey Crawford visiting one of his biggest fans, a boy named Ben who, since birth has had a condition that makes it hard for him to move his arms and legs.

Ben’s a huge hockey fan, a huge Blackhawks fan, and a huge Crawford fan. So the goalie went to Ben’s house and helped his babysitter take care of Ben for a day, bringing a couple Chicago teammates with him.

Very sweet stuff, especially the end with Crawford serving mac and cheese for lunch.

**And finally, not sure how I missed this when it first aired two weeks ago, but Adele’s Carpool Karaoke with James Corden was stellar and sweet, featuring Adele rapping, Corden trying to convince her to get a posse together, and some kick-ass singing.

Adele, to me, is like Jennifer Lawrence in that you can’t believe she’s so composed and mature at such a young age. This is great…

An Iowa caucus post-mortem: When a tie is really a win. An awesome 360-degree view of Alaska. And the greedy NFL vs. the guy who owns the only Super Bowl I tape

Bernie_Sanders_by_Gage_Skidmore

We political junkies were looking pretty bleary-eyed Tuesday, as the Iowa caucuses went deep into the night before anyone knew who had won.

When it comes to the Democratic primary, I have a quote and a video to sum up the night:

First, a quote from that noted political authority, Gloria Clemente, from the 1992 movie “White Men Can’t Jump.”

Sometimes when you win, you really lose, and sometimes when you lose, you really win, and sometimes when you win or lose, you actually tie, and sometimes when you tie, you actually win or lose. Winning or losing is all one organic mechanism, from which one extracts what one needs.

Thanks, Gloria. I think that quote perfectly sums up the night for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.  When all was counted, tallied, and coin-flipped (more on that in a minute), Bernie and Hillary were just about tied, 49.8 percent to 49.6 percent. That .2 difference is so negligible that it was hilarious the media and Mrs. Clinton declared Tuesday she had “won” Iowa.

Yes, of course I’m biased here as an avowed Bernie backer, but this was a big win for Bernie, just to tie Hillary. I love the media spin Tuesday that the tie helps Hillary more because Bernie had the “demographics” in his favor in Iowa. Yeah, because the overwhelming frontrunner for the last two years doesn’t win the first contest, it’s somehow disappointing for the other guy.

Puh-leeze. This was absolutely a draw, and when you’re the huge underdog like Bernie is, a draw is great.

This is officially a real contest, now. Thank heavens. Which leads me to my other quote that sums up Monday night’s results:

Thanks, Apollo and his trainer (Duke, was his name, right?).  Now Bernie has to win New Hampshire by at least 8-10 points, and then keep it close in Nevada, within a few points. And then, South Carolina will be the real big test of his candidacy.

Couple quick thoughts from the batshit-crazy side of the caucuses:

— Marco Rubio was the happiest 3rd-place finisher you’ve ever seen in your life. Man was he excited. Truth is, though, this was huge for him. As Trump slowly starts to fade, it’ll be Rubio vs. Cruz, and Cruz has the support of exactly zero establishment political leaders.

— Speaking of Mr. Gasbag, you gotta hand it to Donald; after guaranteeing he’d win and blow everyone away in Iowa, he comes out for his concession with the theme of “Hey, there were 17 candidates when I joined the race, they said I had no chance, and now I finished second in Iowa, whoo-hoo!”

My prediction? Now that he’s lost the first contest, the media narrative will swing, GOP primary voters will start to find a new candidate, and in a few months Donald Trump will be back on TV, out of the race, where he belongs.

— Ted Cruz was Bible-thumping so much at his victory speech I half-expected him to shout “And tonight I’m announcing God will be my vice-presidential pick!”

— Cool fact for my fellow Members of the Tribe: Bernie is first Jewish presidential candidate to win delegates! We’re taking over, baby!

**Next up, the always-interesting Jared Leto partnered with the Sierra Club a few months back to take a 360-degree look at the glaciers melting in Alaska. It’s fascinating as a piece of art, but also scary as hell.

But yeah, climate change is a hoax and all the scientists are wrong.

SuperBowlI

**Finally today, the Super Bowl is this week, so it seems as good a time as any to remind you that the National Football League is the greediest, most arrogant sports company in the world.  

Today’s proof comes from a fascinating story in the New York Times from Richard Sandomir. He found the man who owns the only known surviving copy of Super Bowl I, Troy Haupt.

Haupt has been trying for years to sell the tape back to the NFL, who made him a ridiculously low-ball offer, and the NFL is just … just read the story. It’s really well-done, and you’ll get a small glimpse at how awful a corporation the NFL really is.
Greed, greed, greed.

Inside the mind of Hillary Clinton on Iowa caucus day. A hilarious, banned beer commercial. And thoughts on twins

23 Mar 2015, Washington, DC, USA --- Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton takes part in a Center for American Progress roundtable discussion on "Expanding Opportunities in America's Urban Areas" in Washington. --- Image by © Brooks Kraft/Corbis

Permit me, dear readers, to bring you inside the cranium of Hillary Rodham Clinton for a few minutes, as today’s Iowa caucuses prepare to help decide who will be the next President. (And don’t get me started on how ridiculous these caucuses are, and how unrepresentative they are of actual voters. Here’s a good primer on how tonight will all work.)

For a few minutes now, let’s say you’re Hillary Clinton. You have endured a lot over the past 25 years. Your husband pulled off a remarkable comeback win in 1992 to win the Presidency, but you and he were dragged through the mud thanks to his philandering and abhorrent treatment of women.

You get to be First Lady for eight years, you survive scandal after scandal (mostly about him, but a few about you), and you’re pretty darn popular by 2000 thanks to his awful behavior and lies during the Monica Lewinsky affair.

You move to New York, run for Senate, and after some early doubts and mocking of your qualifications, you turn out to be a pretty darn good Senator. After George W. Bush is somehow re-elected in 2004, you see an opening. You enter the 2008 Presidential race as an overwhelming favorite. You’ve got millions upon millions of fans, oodles of cash, many of the best political minds in the country working for you. This thing is in the bag; you’re going to be the next President.

Then a little-known first-term Senator, an African-American with a funny name and big ears, decides to get in the race and absolutely takes the country by storm. You scratch and claw and fight with him, overcome an enormous number of mistakes, and come oh-so-close to winning the nomination that you still can’t believe someone else got.

But OK, that was a once in a lifetime kind of phenomenon, this Obama guy. So you suck it up, and you become Secretary of State under him. You do a solid job, once again overcome some scandals, and once word leaks out that you’re running for President yet again, nearly every prominent Democrat in the country steps aside. No Joe Biden, no Julian Castro, no Andrew Cuomo, no Cory Booker.

Yep, the field is cleared. You raise a ton of money, hire all the best people again, vow that THIS TIME you’re not going to make the same mistakes…

And now you sit here on Feb. 1, and you’re fighting tooth and nail for this nomination that was supposed to be in the bag with a 74-year-old radical socialist from a tiny state with wild hair who screams and shouts and no one ever heard of until six months ago?

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., begins to speak at a rally Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in downtown Seattle. Co-founders of the Seattle chapter of Black Lives Matter took over the microphone shortly after Sanders began to speak and refused to relinquish it. Sanders eventually left the stage without speaking further and instead waded into the crowd to greet supporters. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

THIS GUY, this guy who wasn’t even a Democrat until a year or two ago, a guy who has been laughed at and marginalized by the media and the GOP, a guy who even his supporters acknowledge would have a hell of a time winning a general election… this guy is going to maybe beat you today and in New Hampshire next week, giving the media a chance to run all those 2008 headlines again about how you’re blowing it???

I mean… I’m just saying, she’s gotta have some moments where she’s wondering “Really? This is really happening again? Can’t I get a freaking break???

Tonight should be fun to watch.

Next up, I’m not much of a beer drinker and I think 99 percent of beer commercials are stupid, filled with ridiculous stereotypes of men and women.

But every once in a while, one comes along that’s really funny and clever. Loyal reader Sanford sent me this the other day, a Bud Lite ad that I’d never seen (and that’s apparently a few years old), and I laughed pretty hard.

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 6: NFL players Tiki (L) and Ronde (R) Barber sign their new book "Kickoff!" at FAO Schwarz on November 6, 2007 in New York City. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

**Finally today, had a wonderful weekend down in Princeton, New Jersey, visiting some close friends who have identical twin sons, now 10.

They’re great boys, really polite, well-mannered, smart, as well-behaved as you could ask for.

What I found fascinating this weekend, and knowing them since they were 6, is how they’re starting to become different people. We’ve got a couple sets of twins in my family, but they’re both boy/girl twins, so it was pretty obvious how different they were.

But these two used to be exactly alike, and now, you can tell them apart by how they act pretty easily. One was much more interested in our baby son; one loves video games more. One was totally fine when their mom said she was going to leave them alone for a few minutes for the first time; the other one wasn’t ready for it.

I noticed a bunch of little differences like that; I would imagine their parents have noticed them for a while. I wonder at what age twins really start becoming their own separate people; it must be incredibly interesting to watch it every day.

Good News Friday: NHL players score, fans get puppies! Ben Folds Five and Fraggle Rock’s awesome video. And a high school wrestler lets himself get pinned by a boy with Downs Syndrome

NHLPlayers.puppy

And a Happy Friday to you out there on the InterWebs. Me and the family are headed to South Jersey for the weekend with friends, which means we are legally required to listen to Bruce Springsteen for the ride down (we probably would anyway even if it wasn’t the law).

Hope you have a great weekend, let’s start today’s GNF with two things we all agree are awesome: Hockey players and puppies.

Last week in Ottawa, a Senators fan help up a sign for star Bobby Ryan that read “Bobby Dad said if you score we get a puppy.” And of course, Ryan scored later in the game.

Then a day later in Columbus, the above sign was held up, and boy, is that Dad going to be mad at Cam Atkinson (No. 13). Dude scored not once, not twice, but THREE times that night! I don’t know if this means that the family is getting three puppies, or three families will each get a puppy, or what.

But now #puppygoal is a Thing on Twitter and this will probably catch on and that’s awesome and the only down side I see are the tears of some 9-year-old girl when Ovechkin or Kane doesn’t score on the night they’re supposed to and she then has to live a canine-free life.

But hey, puppies in Ottawa and Columbus, two of you are about to get new homes!

**Next up, I love my wife. I like to make her happy and usually honor her requests. So when she sent me this video and told me it had to be in this week’s Good News Friday, I said “sure!” Because, again, I love my wife.

Then I watched it, and it’s pretty funny. Ben Folds Five, the cast of “Fraggle Rock,” and the gorgeous and talented Anna Kendrick (I may have mentioned this before, but she’s on my Top-3 list of “celebrities I’m allowed to sleep with” should the opportunity ever arise. And yes, Ross Gellar, my list is laminated.)

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**Finally today, this is beautiful and heartwarming. A high school wrestler named Deven Schuko of Norton High in Mass. was undefeated this season, going 27-0. Until last week, when he allowed himself to be pinned by Andrew Howland of Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High. Howland suffers from Downs Syndrome, and has been an honorary member of the Dighton-Rehoboth team. He’d wanted the chance to wrestle, and when Schuko’s coach asked if anyone would be willing to take Howland on, Schuko volunteered.

Watch the video of the match here.

“If I had to lose to someone, I’d like to lose to Andy,” Schuko told WCVB-TV. “It was a win-win in my book. He won, I won.”
Good on ya, Deven Schuko. Compassion and heart are much-needed in the sports world, always.

“Billions” a new show I’m excited about. Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, hilarious again. And the supermarket freezer that can read your facial expression (seriously)

Damian Lewis as Bobby "Axe" Axelrod and Paul Giamatti as Chuck Rhoades in Billions (Season 1, Episode 1). - Photo: JoJo Whilden/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: Billions_101_5107.R

I’m a little hesitant to get too excited about TV shows too early in their run, because a lot of times they run out of steam pretty quickly (see, “Homeland,” “New Girl,” and “Nurse Jackie,” just to name a few).

But I had extremely high hopes for the new “Billions” show on Showtime that premiered two weeks ago, simply because of the two leads: Damian Lewis, so fantastic as Brody on “Homeland,” and Paul Giamatti, who’s been awesome in every movie I’ve ever seen him in, from “Cinderella Man,” to “Sideways” to “Private Parts.”

After two episodes, my verdict is this: Watch. This. Show. It’s damn good.

The plot is this: Chuck Rhoades (Giamatti) is the U.S attorney in Manhattan who prosecutes white-collar Wall Street crimes by day, and enjoys a little S&M with his wife at night (so far just one scene of that, but … man.) Bobby Axelrod (Lewis) is a billionaire hedge fund manager who rose up from nothing to become one of the richest men in the world. He’s smug, he’s arrogant, he’s charming, and Lewis plays him with just the right amount of likability.

Right away it’s established that Chuck is going to try to take down Axelrod, by any means necessary, and score his biggest criminal conviction yet. One possible complication? Chuck’s wife is Axelrod’s closest confidant, a sort-of “life coach meets problem-solver) for Axelrod’s firm.

The show is smartly written, really well acted by everyone (David Costabile, a great “That Guy” who played Gale on “Breaking Bad,” is also great as Axelrod’s consigliere at the firm) and has a lot of room to grow. I was fully hooked at the end of last week’s second episode, when Axelrod tells a great story about why he’s so determined to buy naming rights to an old NYC building from a family that’s owned it for decades.

I don’t know if “Billions” is going to stay this good, but we’re hooked. Sunday nights at 10 on Showtime.

Brody, it’s like we hardly knew ye.  Watch the trailer below.

**Next up, I meant to put this in the blog on Monday but it was running long already and I figured it’d still be funny two days later

And it is. Tina Fey, who really should win an Emmy or a Nobel Prize or something for playing Sarah Palin all these years, was back at it last week on “Saturday Night Live” since the former Governor of Alaska was in the news for endorsing The Donald. (By the way, a scary but pretty fantastic analysis of why Trump is likely to be the nominee was written by Josh Marshall of TPM on Tuesday; I still don’t think Trump will be the nominee in the end, but Marshall makes some excellent points, the best being: All these GOP leaders think they can mold him into whatever they want, since he has no principles of his own.)

From the opening line of the skit, Fey has me in hysterics. Enjoy.

**Finally today, I love stories about robots and machines taking over the world, and this is one I hadn’t heard before.

At the National Retail Federation’s Big Show in New York City last week, a  mind-blowing product was revealed: A grocery store freezer case that can help you decide what you want to buy by reading your facial expression through cameras installed on top of it. It makes suggestions and shares ingredients and product information by using the glass door in front as a screen.

There’s a camera on it that gives data on your facial expressions back to the companies whose products are inside, it analyzes who walks by by their gender and feeds real-time stats back to companies.

I, of course, have lots of questions: First, will people feel shame reaching for the Tombstone pizzas they know they shouldn’t eat, if a camera is watching? If enough people make sad faces at the brussels sprouts, will we finally be rid of them?
And most importantly, isn’t this just a little too creepy, even for 2016? I know we’re being watched everywhere, but a man (or woman) should be able to pig out and not have anyone notice.

Except, you know, the cashier in aisle 7, who’s totally judging you.

Carolina vs. Denver should be a really fun Super Bowl. The hockey player who tried to score with his stick on fire. And Mike Bloomberg for President? Wouldn’t be the craziest idea

Panthers.NFCTitlegame

Greetings from Snowmageddon. Or Snowpaclypse. Or whatever you want to call it when everyone from Washington D.C. up to Boston gets hit with a crapload of snow. Hope you survived whereever you are; we got 28 inches here in NYC. We took the little guy out for his first-ever play in the snow, and he wasn’t a fan. Ah, he’ll learn the wonders of a snowball fight…

I watch the Super Bowl every year because I’m an American and it’s the law, but I love it when we get new matchups and storylines.

Teams that haven’t been there before, or star players who have never seen the spotlight that is the Super Bowl, always make it more fun.

We’ve definitely got that this year. After one scintillating conference championship game Sunday and one blowout, we’re left with the Carolina Panthers vs. the Denver Broncos in two weeks at Super Bowl 50.

So many great storylines: Cam Newton, the NFL MVP finally getting a shot at the title. Peyton Manning, the old guy with the scattered arm, getting to one more Super Bowl thanks to his incredible defense. Unsung, low-key coaches like Gary Kubiak and Ron Rivera. A fabulous group of Panthers defenders (and good guys, too) like Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis.

Great offense (Carolina) vs. great defense (Denver) always makes for compelling Super Bowls.

Can’t wait.
Couple quick thoughts on the title games:

— I hate Tom Brady as much as any non-Patriots fan does (probably more), but he was incredible Sunday in defeat. The guy was pounded and pounded and kept coming back, and very nearly got his team back to another Super Bowl. If Patriots kicker Steven Gostkowski doesn’t miss that first-quarter PAT, New England probably wins the game. They had all the momentum at the end.

— Newton is so much fun to watch. I don’t understand one iota these people who get mad at his over-the-top celebrations after scoring TD’s. The guy just plays with so much fun and enthusiasm, and his dances and histrionics are never mean-spirited.

— Manning actually played pretty well Sunday, but missed a few passes that made you realize he’s a shell of his former self.

Still, in honor of him making another Super Bowl, I give you this, one of my all-time favorite SNL commercials:

— Carson Palmer, epic choke job in the biggest game of your life. He had such a great season, you feel awful for him.

**Next up, meet Linus Omark. He plays in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, he used to play in the NHL, and after watching this, he’s definitely a guy I’d like to have at a party.

Dude lit his stick on fire, for real, and then tried to score a goal with it during the KHL All-Star Game shootout.

This is like that old NBA Jams video game come to life: “He’s on FIRE!” (Gen X boys like me will know what I’m talking about).

I so wish he’d scored and then this could’ve caught on and become a thing. Fire departments in cities all over the NHL would’ve been busy on game nights.

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**Finally today, the big political news over the weekend wasn’t anything from a candidate currently stumping in Iowa or New Hampshire, but a guy not yet in the race.

Michael Bloomberg, the gazillionaire former mayor of NYC whose wealth is nine times that of a certain sexist, bigoted blowhard currently leading the GOP field, is considering a run for President as an independent.

Bloomberg  has a lot of qualities a lot of moderates in both parties might like: He’s fiercely pro-gun control and pro-choice, but he’s also a big-business fan and conservative on economic issues. He was a good but not great mayor of New York, tarnishing his legacy in my eyes in two ways: 1, forcing City Council to change the laws so he could run and win a third term, and 2, his horrendous police strategies that resulted in thousands of unlawful and racist stop and frisks of New York City minorities.

He’s said to only be considering a run (and, in my favorite part of the story, spending $1 billion of his money in the race, you know, just a small chunk of it!) if Donald Trump gets the Republican nomination and if it looks like Bernie Sanders will get the Democratic nod. Bloomberg’s pitch would then be that there are radicals running on each major ticket, and he’s a sensible, much safer alternative.

There’s a lot to digest in a possible Bloomberg bid: I think he’d actually have a shot if it was a 3-way with Bernie and Trump (yuck, get your mind out of the gutter, folks), but he’d have no chance if Hillary was the nominee. A Bloomberg bid would give us another Jewish guy in the race (if Bernie got the nom, we’d have 2/3 of the nominees as Members of the Tribe! I’m kvelling just thinking about it!).

Bloomberg is 73, apparently in good shape, and he’d certainly bring gun-control issues to the forefront. Even though his candidacy would hurt my man Bernie’s chances, I hope he jumps in. Would make for great political theater, even better than we’ve had already.

Good News Friday: A little girl’s awesome reaction to getting a TD ball. The Cavaliers do an awesome MLK Day tribute. And the best free-throw distraction technique ever. And a beautiful tribute to a fallen police K-9.

And a Happy Friday to you! As we await the mother of all snowstorms here in the Northeast (one of those times where I’m thrilled to live in a city where you can walk everywhere, and there’s no need to drive in this muck), I bring you three stories of joy and good cheer.

Of course, my ultimate good cheer would be seeing Brady and Belichick lose on Sunday and Ted Cruz suddenly getting deported, but hey, we can’t be greedy.

First up today, speaking of football, the above video was a small moment of joy from last week’s Panthers-Seahawks game. Carolina running back Jonathan Stewart scored a touchdown and, taking a cue from star quarterback Cam Newton, handed the ball to a young fan.

Her face is priceless; just look at the sheer joy on her face from such a small gesture and moment. She will never, ever forget that.

**Next up, the Cleveland Cavaliers did something tremendous during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day game on Monday. A few years ago, some archivists were working on a project and found audio of an MLK speech he gave to a Cleveland high school in 1967, just a year before he died.

It’s a phenomenal speech, very different from his tone at the famous “I Have a Dream” oration in 1963.

At halftime Monday, the Cavs put together a phenomenal presentation of the speech at halftime of their game vs. Golden State, interspersing the speech with photos of King on the arena floor.

A few amazing excerpts, but I highly recommend watching the whole thing:

— “Set out to do a good job and do that job so well that nobody can do it any better. “Set out to do a good job and do that job so well that nobody can do it any better. If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures. “Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. “Sweet streets like Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.’

“We must keep moving. If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl. But by all means, keep moving.”

Just a phenomenal, beautiful presentation by the Cavs. God, what an incredible speaker King was. Joe Posnanski wrote a column about the Cavs doing this here.

**Finally, this struck me as pretty hilarious. College and high school student sections have, for decades, tried a bunch of different techniques to distract free throw shooters.

This one, from Sheridan High School in Ohio, is one I’ve never seen before. The kids decided to pretend to have a live “birth” while their opponent was taking a foul shot.

Their parents must be so proud!