Good News Friday: Puppies bring joy everywhere. A 90-year-old widower is about to get married again, to a 40-year-old man. And the funniest joke each President ever told.

Happy Friday to everyone in Internet-land. As we anxiously await the start of the Cruz/Fiorina Presidential administration (as someone on Twitter wisely noted, “tomorrow Cruz will tell us the site of his Presidential library!”), I bring you three good news stories to take you into the weekend.

First up, it’s a pretty well-known fact that puppies make people happy. But every once in a while it’s nice to be reminded of that fact, especially when the puppies are adorable and show up somewhere en masse as a big surprise.

So take two minutes and watch these canines invade a senior citizens’ center, a pre-school, and a gym.

So freaking adorable.

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**Next up, I thought this was a pretty astonishing story told by former U.S. Senator Harris Wofford in the New York Times on Sunday. Wofford was married for 48 years until his wife, Clare, died in 1996. He was convinced he would never find love again, until five years later, when Wofford was 75, he met a 25-year-old named Matthew Charlton on a beach.

From this wonderful, emotional piece: As we talked, I was struck by Matthew’s inquisitive and thoughtful manner and his charm. I knew he was somebody I would enjoy getting to know. We were decades apart in age with far different professional interests, yet we clicked.

I admired Matthew’s adventurous 25-year-old spirit. When he told me that I was “young at heart,” I liked the idea, until I saw a picture of him on a snowboard upside down executing a daring back flip. The Jackson Hole newspaper carried the caption, “Charlton landed the jump without mishap.”

We took trips around the country and later to Europe together, becoming great friends. We both felt the immediate spark, and as time went on, we realized that our bond had grown into love. Other than with Clare, I had never felt love blossom this way before.

Wofford is now 90. Charlton is 40. They’re getting married on Saturday. Wofford closes his beautiful essay with this (I highly recommend the whole thing):

At age 90, I am lucky to be in an era where the Supreme Court has strengthened what President Obama calls “the dignity of marriage” by recognizing that matrimony is not based on anyone’s sexual nature, choices or dreams. It is based on love.

Love always wins over hate. Every time.

**And finally today, the idiotic and wholly unprofessional White House Correspondent’s Dinner is this weekend, an event no self-respecting journalist has any business attending.

But it is a big deal, and often leads to some funny lines. To celebrate the dinner, the Washington Post did a cool story collecting what they felt are the best jokes ever told, by each President in history. Here are a few samples (I think Obama has definitely told better than the one they chose, I always liked his line about “I’m getting older; I’m not the strapping young Muslim Socialist I used to be.” )

Barack Obama, at the 2012 White House correspondents’ dinner

“I have a lot more material prepared, but I have to get the Secret Service home in time for their new curfew.”

George H.W. Bush, at the 1989 Gridiron Club dinner

“People say I’m indecisive, but I don’t know about that.”

Lyndon Johnson, on Gerald Ford

“So dumb he can’t fart and chew gum at the same time.”’

Abraham Lincoln

“If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?”

Check out the whole list here; some of them are actually pretty funny.

 

An African-American dude who’s never seen hockey live-Tweets his first game, hilariously. Hillary and the Orange one romp in the Northeast primaries. And a really sweet love story commercial from Lowe’s

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We hockey fans know that our sport is perpetually unloved by a great majority of sports enthusiasts.

We know that so many people dismiss this incredibly exciting, fast-paced, stomach-twisting sport as “a bunch of dumb Canadians without teeth” skating around a rink.

We’ve heard all the complaints about how you can’t see the puck, how there’s not enough scoring, how the rules are too hard to follow, yada yada yada.

So when we get fantastic nights like Wednesday, when the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks played a scintillating Game 7 (won by the Blues), we relish the fact that only a small subset of us truly appreciated it.

But that subset may have increased by one, hilariously. A Twitter user named Tony X was apparently looking for a St. Louis Cardinals game and stumbled upon the Blues and Hawks, and just about lost his mind with excitement.

Some of my favorites? First up…

Then this one on Blackhawks star Patrick Kane…

Then the two best ones, as the Blues clung to a 3-2 lead in the final minutes…

And my favorite that made me literally cry laughing, when the Hawks pulled goalie Corey Crawford for an extra attacker…

My wife thinks this is a prank, that “Tony X.” is a phony who just tried to get Twitter famous.

Me, I’m an optimist. I think we’ve got another fan. One at a time, baby!

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**Next up, it was yet another “Super Tuesday” in the Presidential race that just goes on and on, at least as far as the primaries are concerned.

Couple quick thoughts on what’s quickly becoming a fait accompli:

–All of us political nerds who have been panting with anticipation of a knockout, drag down contested Republican convention, with no candidate getting the required number of delegates? Yeah, that’s probably not happening. Donald Trump swept all five Northeastern states Tuesday, winning big, and he’s got a really good chance of reaching the magic 1,237 delegate number before the convention.

It’s really going to be Trump as the nominee. Which means a complete Democratic sweep in November of all three chambers of government is possible. And I am gleeful.

— As Hillary beat Bernie like a drum in three of the five states voting, and squeaked out a win in Connecticut, there wasn’t much for me to smile about. But thankfully, I got the incredible footage of Chris Christie, bully extraordinaire, looking like a zombie or a hostage, standing behind Trump in his speech. I mean, look at that man’s eyes, does he look in any way human, or happy?

— Ted Cruz HAS to know it’s over. I mean, he has as much chance of winning the GOP nomination as I do. I just love his relentlessly optimistic concession speeches, though. He is as big a jerk as we’ve ever had run for President. And, in the words of Vincent from “Pulp Fiction,” that’s a bold statement.

Oh, and also, in Indiana (Indiana!) Tuesday he called a basketball hoop a “basketball ring.” I mean, come on…

— Bernie Sanders’ only national TV exposure Tuesday night came on C-SPAN. Ouch.  Hillary did throw his supporters a few bouquets in her speech Tuesday, expect a whole lot more of that over the next few weeks.

**Finally today, I thought this was a really sweet and clever new commercial from Lowe’s. It’s about a girl who moves across the street from a boy, how they grow up to fall in love, and their houses fall in love, too.

Just give it three minutes of your time, I have a feeling it’ll make you smile. Very well done ad.

“Beautiful/Anonymous” is a new podcast I’m obsessed with. Two great Prince tributes over the weekend. And I vent a little about the Rangers’ season ending

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I’m a pretty huge fan of podcasts; I listen to them when I’m driving somewhere, or walking somewhere (which is always in Manhattan), or taking the subway. I love learning about worlds other than my own; podcasts keep me informed, entertained and often angered. But never bored.

That said, I wasn’t really looking for any new ones, as I don’t have time to listen to all the ones I already like.

But on the most recent new episode of “This American Life,” they played a long stretch of a fantastic new podcast called “Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People,” and I was hooked. There’ve only been seven episodes so far and I’ve devoured three of them in the last couple of days.

Here’s the premise: A comedian named Chris Gethard sits in a studio, and people call in. He picks one phone caller each week, gets them on the line, and then for the next 60 minutes, they talk. The caller stays anonymous, and Gethard must stay on the phone for the whole hour, he can’t hang up, no matter where the conversation goes (the caller can hang up anytime).

It sounds so simple, and so open-ended, and it is. The podcast works because Gethard is a terrific listener who asks great questions, and the conversations go anywhere and everywhere at once.

Just to give you an example of what it’s like: One episode features an illustrator living in New York City, struggling to make ends meet in a difficult profession, ruminating with Chris on staying true to his art or “selling out,” but the conversation goes all over the place, to NYC parking rules, the Star Wars movies, and lots of other places.
There has been one incredible episode featuring an Army soldier who played with a Ouija board on leave, and he asked the board if anyone in his platoon was going to die that year, and the board spelled out a very unusual first name, the name of a guy in his platoon, and the caller never told the guy and then the guy was killed by a sniper eight months later.

And the caller is dealing with the weight, and the guilt, of that, plus his Grandma was a French spy and his grandpa was an Allied officer and they met during World War II. (That’s episode 5)

Maybe the most emotional episode was No. 4, with a formerly homeless voice actor just talking and working stuff out with Gethard, who is alternately empathetic, angry, funny and just exactly the kind of guy you’d want to spend an hour on the phone with.

It’s really a fantastic podcast, if you want to hear real, unscripted, raw conversation. Check it out on ITunes here, or on the Earwolf.com site here.

**Next up today, like many people I’m sure I spent a bit of my weekend reminiscing about Prince after his death on Thursday; a highlight for me was the 10 minutes I spent at my aunt and uncle’s Passover Seder Saturday explaining to my uncle exactly why Prince was so talented, and so beloved for his music.

Two tributes I saw over the weekend that I wanted to share that I thought were great: First, above, is the cast of “Hamilton” closing their show Thursday night with a fantastic little dance tribute to Prince, and the second, below, is Bruce Springsteen, showing once again he’s a rock god, opening a concert in Brooklyn Saturday night with “Purple Rain,” featuring the amazing Nils Lofgren on the great guitar solo halfway through the song.

Just fantastic.

**And finally today, if you’ll permit me a minute to rant about my New York Rangers, whose season mercifully ended on Saturday, with a 6-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

I’ve been spoiled these last four years as a Rangers fan; my favorite team in all of sports got to the conference finals in 2012, then the Cup finals in 2014, then lost a Game 7 of the conference finals last year. That’s a whole lot of hockey, a whole lot of excitement. Those Rangers teams, I was proud to support. They deserved admiration and love.

This year’s team? This team was pathetic. The effort was lacking in so many games this year, and then in so many playoff games. They hung the best goalie in the world, Henrik Lundqvist, out to dry many times. They had a penalty killing unit that would’ve had to improve to be considered dreadful.

Several young players took steps backward this season (I’m looking at you, Kevin Hayes), and I’m honestly not sure if King Henrik’s poor year was an omen of things to come (ducks lightning bolt).

Just a miserable Rangers season. But like I said, I’ve been spoiled.
Also, these Stanley Cup playoffs have been so-so so far; the Blues-Blackhawks series has been sensational (can’t wait for Game 7), but outside of that, kind of meh. Hated that the Islanders won Sunday night, but happy for many of my Isles fan friends who hadn’t seen a playoff series win since 1993 (That was before O.J. murdered Nicole and Ron, that’s how long ago that was.)

Expecting great things out of Caps-Penguins in Round 2, and as always, playoff overtime hockey is the best thing in sports.

Celebrating the life of the incredible Prince. Vin Scully, as sharp as ever at 88. And Obama and Steph Curry make a great mentoring video

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It is Friday, which usually means I post only Good News stories, and it would be impossible for anyone to say that the death Thursday of 57-year-old music icon Prince Rogers Nelson is good news.

It’s tragic news, because anytime the death of someone leaves less genius in the world, it’s a tragedy.

Prince was so many things, to so many people. To me, he was an incredible voice, a scintillating talent who could sing, dance, write music, play 30 instruments all in one sitting (he once did an entire concert like that, playing each instrument for three minutes each), and pretty much revolutionize music in his own way.

He was an epic music producer for so many other artists, he was a trailblazer in fighting record companies for what he believed he should rightfully get paid for music rights, and more than anything else, he was just a weird, weird dude.

Exhibit A, the story of Prince playing ping-pong with Jimmy Fallon.

Then there’s Kevin Smith’s fabulous re-telling of a week spent with Prince making a documentary (watch if only for the revelation that Prince buys workout clothes from the boys department at Nordstrom!)

He was one of a kind, and his music got me through a lot of long nights in college; my friend Brian Hickey would put a Prince CD on while a bunch of us toiled away on deadline at the school newspaper The Review and we’d get a burst of energy from “When Doves Cry” and “Kiss” and most of all, “I Would Die 4 U.”

His unique voice has been silenced forever. Goddamn, we’ve lost Bowie, Glenn Frey, and now Prince this year and it’s not even May yet.

Rest in peace, sweet Prince. You will be missed.

** Next up today, a small tribute to a giant of a man. Vin Scully has been broadcasting Dodgers games for 67 years, and the 88-year-old has announced this will be his last season. Scully will be celebrated all season, for his kindness to others, his humility, and just his remarkable ability to weave interesting stories  through his broadcasts.

Already this season we’ve gotten two classic Scully stories. The first, embedded above, about why the No. 13 should be celebrated, not feared. And the second, below, is just an incredible story about Giants ace Madison Bumgarner, and a snake, and some other stuff.

**Finally, Barack Obama and Steph Curry did a video, a public service announcement about mentorship last week, for the organization My Brother’s Keeper.

It is, predictably, awesome, and put a big smile on my face when I saw it.

 

 

The party’s over for Bernie Sanders, and I am sad. A teenager films her friend’s rape and puts it live, on the Web. And a man thrown off an airplane for speaking Arabic

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Well that stunk.

There will be a day, probably a few months from now, that I will sit back and think for a moment and smile that a 74-year-old democratic socialist from Vermont scared the bejeezus out the overwhelming presumed nominee for President, that he forced her all the way to the left on so many issues, and that he energized millions of young voters who’d never been a part of the political process.

Today, though, is not that day. In a crushing defeat, Bernie Sanders lost New York to Hillary Clinton by a sizable margin, quite a bit bigger than I thought. As I type this it’s 58-42 with 98 percent in, and with this big of a defeat, it’s pretty much over for Sanders. He’d have to win Pennsylvania and New Jersey by a pretty sizable margin next Tuesday, and there’s not really a chance I see that happening.

And on the GOP side, the vulgar, talking yam Mr. Trump dominated all his competition, and it looks like he’s got an insurmountable lead.

So we’ll have Trump vs. Clinton, and she’ll crush him with 320 electoral votes, and the Dems will take back the Senate, and maybe even the House, and all that is a good thing. And there’ll be plenty of time, oodles of time, to talk about and analyze that race nobody saw coming.

But tonight, tonight I’m feeling sad that Bernie Sanders’ fairly-miraculous run is going to come up short.

Winona Ryder was right: Reality does indeed bite sometimes.

marina-lonina

**Next up today, two stories that repulse me so much, I almost don’t even have anything to say about them.

First, a high school student in Columbus, Ohio witnessed her 17-year-old friend being raped last month, in the same room where she was standing.

Did Marina Lonina (above), 18, try to help her friend by attacking the rapist, or by calling the police, or by screaming for help, or something like that?

No. Of course not. She pointed her phone at the rape and streamed a live video of it on Periscope.

Let me say that again: She pointed her phone at the rape and streamed a live video of it on Periscope.

Yes, as 29-year-old Raymond Gates allegedly sexually assaulted Marina’s friend, she decided to make a live Periscope movie out of it.

I don’t have the words. This story is chilling in many ways; On the evening of Feb. 27, all three were gathered at a residence in Columbus where Mr. Gates pinned the 17-year-old down and raped her as Ms. Lonina used Periscope, an app owned by Twitter, to live-stream the attack, the authorities said.

Lonina,  faces a spate of charges as severe as those facing Raymond Gates, 29, the man accused in the attack. Both have been charged with kidnapping, rape, sexual battery and pandering sexual matter involving a minor.

Mr. O’Brien, the prosecutor, said Ms. Lonina had apparently hoped that live-streaming the attack would help to stop it, but that she became enthralled by positive feedback online.

And this line chilled me to the bone:

“She got caught up in the likes,” he said.

According to Lonina’s lawyer, Ms. Lonina told the police that she filmed the encounter to gather evidence of a crime. Mr. Shamansky, who has viewed the Periscope video, said Ms. Lonina made “substantial” efforts to thwart the attack, though he declined to specify them.

I’d love to know what “substantial” efforts she made. Just disgusting. Of course there were extenuating circumstances (maybe Lonina was drunk), but I cannot fathom a person actually filming their friend’s rape.

Arabicspeaker.Southwestflight

**The second story repulsed me in a different way: A college student at UC-Berkeley named Khairuldeen Makhzoomi (above) boarded a Southwest Airlines flight in Los Angeles on April 6, bound for Oakland. Before the flight took off, Makhzoomi called an uncle of his in Iraq to tell him about a U.N. event he just attended.

He spoke to the uncle in Arabic. This alarmed a fellow passenger (who of course didn’t speak Arabic and had no idea what Makhzoomi was saying), and the passenger immediately alerted the flight crew. Who then got ahold of the police, who within minutes of the phone call ending escorted Makhzoomi off the flight, where he was then interrogated by the FBI.

This is America, 2016. Where someone speaking Arabic is automatically a terrorist.

Southwest Airlines has yet to apologize.

“All I want is an apology today,” Makhzoomi said. “We as a people, Iraqi, American, Iranian, we share one thing in common, and that is our dignity. If someone tries to take that away from us, we should fight but not with aggression, with knowledge and education. One must stand for his principle.”

Larry David and Julia-Louis Dreyfus reunite on SNL, and it’s great. Germany’s radically different prison system is worth copying. And the best of Steph Curry, all in one place

Tuesday is the New York presidential primary, and so of course everyone here in NYC (well, most people) are pretty focused on it.

Even though I’m a huge Bernie Sanders supporter, I’m pretty sure Hillary is going to win Tuesday, though I’m hoping it’s at least very close, like within a few points. The next week pretty much makes or breaks the Democratic race; if Bernie can pick off New Jersey, or New York, or Pa., we still have a race.

Otherwise, not sure we do. But hey, this has been an exciting last few weeks for political junkies like me; New York hasn’t had a competitive Democratic primary since I was in high school! (And oh yeah, there’s a GOP primary too, but Mr. Trump is so far ahead in the polls I’m not sure there’s much drama there.)

Anyway, as usual, “Saturday Night Live” was all over the primary, using the awesome Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ hosting last weekend as a chance to bring back Larry David as Bernie (By the way, am I the only one who remembers JLD on that briefly great show “Day by Day,” with D.B. Sweeney?).

The cold open of SNL featured Elaine Benes, and Rachel Greene, two real “new Yorkers.” I laughed pretty hard toward the end.

60minutes.Prisonstory

**Next up, I’m a few weeks behind on my “60 Minutes” viewing so this piece aired two weeks ago. But it kind of blew my mind: Reporter Bill Whitaker went on a tour of prisons in Germany, and to say they’re a bit different than here in the U.S. is the understatement of the year.

In Germany, prisons are radically less punishment-oriented, and way more rehabilitation oriented. Prisoners are allowed all kinds of family visits, they have keys to their own cells, and the relationship between guards and inmates is 180 degrees different than here in the U.S.

I’m not saying American prisons should be exactly like this, but wouldn’t it be nice, and refreshing, if we at least took some of their methods?

It’s really a fascinating look at how much better and more humane prisons could be.

 

**Finally today, the NBA playoffs started this weekend, and of course Golden State easily won its first game.

If you’re like me and still in awe of Steph Curry’s amazing performance this season, this highlight video of his 20 greatest plays this year will be enjoyable watching.
The New York Times also had a very cool graphic Sunday about Curry and how record-shattering his season has been; his 3-point shooting has been so far and away better than anyone ever, that percentage-wise, his year would be equivalent to someone in baseball hitting 103 home runs.

Incredible. This guy is such a joy to watch.

 

Good News Friday: A 69-year-old woman is playing in pro tennis tournaments, and it’s awesome. The Disturbed lead singer calls out a texting fan. And a husband and wife go to extreme measures to cure her disease

69Tennisplayer.Falkenberg

And a Happy Friday to all! Still pumped up from last night’s Democratic debate, held a few miles from my apartment here in NYC, and trying to find reasons to think my New York Rangers can actually win this playoff series; so far I’m coming up empty. Also can’t believe the most selfish player in NBA history, Kobe Bryant, took FIFTY shots in his career finale Wednesday night. FIFTY shots is insane, but it seems fully appropriate for the me-first ball-hog to finish like that. I wasn’t sure what made me sicker Wednesday night, the sycophantic love the media showed Kobe, or the Rangers’ performance.

OK, on with the show. First up on Good News Friday, a story I can’t believe that I’d not heard of, nor can I believe it’s real.

But it is: A 69-year-old woman is legitimately a pro tennis player. Meet Gail Falkenberg, one year shy of being a septuagenarian, who on Monday played 19-year-old Taylor Townsend at a very minor-league women’s tournament in Alabama.

I love the lede to this Wall Street Journal story, by the excellent Tom Perrotta, about her:

Gail Falkenberg is a pro tennis player with big dreams. She also serves underhand from time to time. And hits a lot of sidespin drop shots. She can’t hit the ball very hard, or run very fast. Her knees are shaky, at best. She doesn’t have a coach, a personal trainer, a dietician or an agent. Falkenberg is 69 years old. The gap between her and, say, Serena Williams is roughly equivalent to the distance from Earth to the Andromeda Galaxy. Perhaps farther. She’s OK with that. 

How is this possible, you might ask, that a 69-year-old could be a pro player? Simple. Last year at the U.S. Open national playoffs, where anyone can compete for a spot in the U.S. Open, Falkenberg, who won a match at the 1988 Aussie Open qualifying and also once played Jennifer Capriati, Falkenberg won a match that gave her 12 ranking points, enough to make her the 329th-ranked American woman on the USTA’s open ranking system. Meaning she’s eligible to play at low-level events.

She didn’t beat Townsend, considered a future star, and in fact only won 12 points off the player 50 years (50!) younger. But earlier in the week she beat a 22-year-old.

“I enjoy being around the younger generation,” she said. “And my game gives the kids more trouble than the older players, believe it or not.”

You go, Gail Falkenberg.

**Next up, suddenly the lead singer of the metal band Disturbed, David Draiman, is popping up everywhere in my life. Last week I wrote about his incredible cover version of the Simon and Garfunkel classic “The Sounds of Silence,” and this week he did something else that I’m sure thousands of performers have wanted to: He called out a fan for texting throughout his whole concert.

Language is NSFW, but check this out. Good for him, you’re at a freaking concert, put the phone away and enjoy the show. I love it when Draiman says “what could be going on in your world that’s so important at this moment?”

**And finally today, I haven’t posted a Steve Hartman “CBS Sunday Morning story in a little while, but this one is too good not to post. It’s about a married couple named Sonya Vallabh and her husband Eric; five years ago Sonya was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease they knew nothing about, and that had no cure.
So like most people would do, they decided to do some research about it. What nobody else in the world would do, they’ve literally changed their lives in search for a cure, becoming well-respected scientists in the field and speaking at medical conferences.

These two people knew nothing about this field, and now they’re experts, so determined to find a cure.

So cool to see this kind of passion, and love.

A night at the opera (my first) was lots of fun. Meet the most dominant athlete of the upcoming Olympics, Simone Biles. And Florida mails voter info to a dead cat

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I consider myself a fairly cultured fellow. I like going to museums, love learning new things at plays and other theater, and sometimes even try new music way out of my comfort zone.

But in my 40 years I’d never been to an opera. Didn’t have anything against it, just never had the opportunity or the interest.

This was pretty much my “opera watching” experience until last week.

Bizarrely, I finally had both over the past several months, as the mom of one of Nate’s little pals, adorable Clara from music class, turned out to be one hell of a singer and opera star.

Sarah Moulton Faux is a sweetheart; really friendly and kind, and we bonded right away over parenting issues.

But I had a feeling she had some musical background or something when she would instantly pick up the new songs our music teacher would give the kids; I mean, it was super-fast how quickly she learned the tempo and rhythm.

So one day I asked her about that and oh yeah, turns out she’s got a fantastic voice and is often in operas all over New York City. My wife and I told her we’d love to come to a performance sometime, and so there we were last Friday night the theater in the Museo del Barrio, watching Sarah star as Phyllis in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Iolanthe.”

And it was terrific. Was part of my enjoyment because I “knew” someone in the opera (technically Sarah told us it was an “operetta” and not an opera because there was some spoken word dialogue, but I’m still calling it an opera)? Certainly. Was she fantastic in it? One hundred percent, yes.

But the story was interesting, the other actors/singers were great, the whole thing was in English. which helped, and it was different. You have to be all about different experiences in life (I believe the young’uns call it YOLO, for You Only Live Once), and this was something totally new and surprising.

It was very cool after the show waiting around and getting to see Sarah and congratulate her; makes you feel “in the know,” you know?

Anyway, it was a very cool night.

**Next up, every Olympics has an American superstar who’s been hyped up for months, sometimes even years, because he or she has undeniable talent and seems a sure bet to bring home gold.

To the past list of luminaries like Michael Phelps, Bode Miller, Dominique Moceanu and Michael Johnson, we definitely have to add Simone Biles.

The gymnast has dominated pretty much everything in her sport the last three years, and she’s pretty close to a sure thing for a gold medal in Rio in a few months.

Why? Check our her amazing performance last week at a tournament in Houston. This woman is incredible, and you’re going to be seeing a whole lot more of her. What an athlete!

**Finally today, I went looking for a weird or funny elections story today, as I for some reason hadn’t heard one in a while, and as usual, my former state of Florida came through big-time.

Seems the state that gave us hanging chads and Bush-Gore 2000 has recently mailed a notice requesting a person get out and register to vote. Do your civic duty and all that.

Only problem: The addressee was a cat. A dead cat, at that.

“When our voters get this in the mail, ‘Hey, would you like your dead cat to register to vote?’ That gives us pause, because we don’t want the voters to think it came from us, we know better,” said Seminole County Elections Supervisor Mike Ertel.

Oh, there are so many jokes here involving Florida voters. My guess is the cat was supporting Jeb Bush’s candidacy, and a more perfect metaphor for him could not be found.

 

 

I finally saw “The Book of Mormon” and it was fabulous. SNL with a great Hillary spoof. And the Golden State Warriors leave me breathless

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Two things happened in New York in 2011: I moved back here, and “The Book of Mormon” debuted on Broadway.

Pretty much since it opened and I heard how astoundingly great it was, I’ve wanted to see it. I’m not a huge Trey Parker/Matt Stone fan, don’t love “South Park” all that much, but I heard so many wonderful things about it, I figured I had to see it.

Finally, five years later, my lovely wife got us tickets to see it on Saturday (bless her, she’d already seen it once before we met, and her reaction: “I’m kind of embarrassed at how hard I laughed at it.”)

Yes, I knew it’d be raunchy, and totally inappropriate, and probably offensive if I was even a tiny bit Mormon.

And after seeing it, I can honestly say: It was really damn funny. The story of two apple-cheeked and fired up new Mormon missionaries named Price and Cunningham (first names Kevin and Arnold, so of course I thought of Kevin Arnold and once again, it ALL goes back to “The Wonder Years”) being sent to Uganda to convert a whole bunch of African-American villagers is hilarious. The dialogue is SO over the top, and the props so delightfully tacky, and the profanity sprinkled throughout (an African general is called “General Butt-fucking Naked”) but it’s all done in service of laughs.

The musical numbers are tremendous; the actors playing Cunningham (Christopher John O’Neill) and the female Ugandan villager Nabulungi (Nikki Renee Daniels) were particularly fabulous; I was also blown away by the energy and intensity of all the performers, for the whole two hours. We saw a Saturday matinee, so to think the whole cast had to turn around and do the whole show again just four hours later was kind of mind-boggling.

“The Book of Mormon” wasn’t perfect; it started off slow, and the musical numbers in the second act were much better and funnier, at least to me. But it was really, really good. If you are visiting NYC and can get tickets, definitely worth your time.

**Next up today, the New York presidential primary is fast approaching, and after watching these candidates from afar for the past year, it’s a little bit cool seeing them pressing the flesh just a few miles from me. I did some Bernie Sanders volunteering on Sunday, and as you might expect, his people are mighty fired up. (Unlike me, they actually think Bernie will get the Democratic nomination. Ah, to be a young dreamer…)

SNL did its part to help Bernie Saturday night, with the great Kate McKinnon poking fun at Hillary Clinton in the opening sketch. I laughed pretty hard…

 

**Finally today, the end of the regular season in the NBA very rarely is interesting. Most teams have either clinched their playoff spot and are getting ready for the postseason, or have packed it in long ago and are just playing out the string (our two NYC teams are happily doing just that). I normally pay as much attention to the last week of the season as I do to golf (though hey, good job by that British dude winning The Masters Sunday.)

But this year’s different, because the Golden State Warriors, my goodness, are just so much fun to watch, and they’re chasing a record that really means very little like it’s the most important damn thing in the world. They’ve been trying to equal or beat the Chicago Bulls 72 wins in a regular season, and this weekend the Dubs (as they’re called by the cool kids) pulled out two games they absolutely could’ve lost.

The regular season means nothing, these guys have killed themselves all year, they’re the best show in sports right now, and still, they found the wherewithal to pull out huge road wins over Memphis and San Antonio, all while Steph Curry makes Harry Houdini shots like that (above).

It’s so wonderful to watch a team of ego-less players at the highest level, playing the game with so much joy. The Stanley Cup playoffs (and my underachieving Rangers) usually have my full attention this time of year, but sleep be damned, I’m going to try to catch as many Warriors games as I can.

This kind of team just doesn’t come along too often. I mean, look at this shot!

Good News Friday: An incredible version of “Sounds of Silence” from a metal band. A great April Fool’s ad about toilet paper. And a 9-year-old news reporter coming for the world

As I sit here contemplating just how quickly my New York Rangers will be knocked out of the playoffs this year after another disastrous loss Thursday night, I say how do you do and how you be, and Happy Friday to you.

We start today with a musical performance that blew me away. I’d never heard of the band Disturbed, but I’m told by my best friend Clay they’re a heavy metal group. (which explains why I’ve never heard of them, I gave up metal 20 years ago when Guns N’ Roses broke up).

Anyway, Disturbed was on “Conan” the other night and played this amazing cover of the classic Simon and Garfunkel song, “Sounds of Silence.”

Lead singer David Draimin sounds so beautiful.

kidreporter.9

**Next up, loyal reader Sanford pointed me to this story, and I love it. A 9-year-old girl named Hilde Kate Lysiak is scooping veteran reporters and news outlets in her hometown of Selinsgrove, Pa., and I’m not talking about scooping them on a kitten stuck in a tree or a Little League game.

Hilde, the daughter of a former New York Daily News reporter, beat her competition on a murder recently, posting her “Orange Street News” story online, and then, you know, returning to third grade.

I just like letting people know all the information,” Hilde said Monday to the Washington Post (which then offered her a full-time job. I’m kidding. I think.) Hilde has gotten criticism from her neighborhood for some of her reporting, with some questioning what a 9-year-old knows about local crime.

“If you want me to stop covering news, then you get off your computers and do something about the news. There, is that cute enough for you?”

You go, Hilde! Love this kid.

**And finally today, I didn’t see a lot of really clever April Fool’s jokes last Friday, but this one was fabulous. Toilet paper producer Quilted Northern “introduced” its new artisanal-style product, with wonderful examples.

Well-played, Quilted Northern. And I really want me some of that.