Monthly Archives: October 2016

Two cool Halloween stories for a spooky Monday. The Jets have a winning streak! And why Saints games are so much fun. And the NBA “genius” who autographed the Great Wall of China


Happy Halloween, my fellow ghosts and goblins! Hope you and yours have a safe and fun day; my little guy is going as an elephant this year (pretend bag of peanuts came with the costume, which I thought was a nice touch), and I think now that he’s 2 he might enjoy the experience a little more.

Anyway, whether you’re trick-or-treating with your kids, or handing out Kit-Kats and mini-Hershey bars to the neighborhood brats who complain they only got two pieces, hope it’s a safe, fun day. A few Halloween-y items to start today:
First, how awesome is that kid (above) in his Prince costume? First of all, the kid is actually as tall as the real Prince was (ouch). Also the hair and the wisp of a mustache are just perfect. Bravo.

Secondly, this cracked me up, and apparently others enjoyed it too, since it has 5 million view on YouTube. A dog owner decided to dress up as his pooch’s favorite toy, Gumby, and see what happened. Take a wild guess how pumped up the furry guy was…

My final Halloween item comes from a very cool gesture from my man Jeff Pearlman’s daughter, who is Jewish, and her best friend, who is Muslim. They decided to dress up as a new superhero team for Halloween called the “Juslims,” and their photo went crazy-viral on Sunday. So much so that Buzzfeed interviewed the girls and they sounded great.

**Ladies and gentlemen, the New York Jets are on fire! Two wins in a row! 3-5, playoffs here we come, baby!

Yeah, right. The pathetic NFL team I root for played as poorly as you can imagine for a half against the lowly and winless Cleveland Browns, trailing 20-7, and looking like they wanted to go home and watch Game 5 of the World Series, just like the rest of the Browns fans.

But just to tease us fans for a few more weeks, the Jets responded with a huge second half, the Browns remembered they are the Browns, and the Jets squeaked out a 31-28 win.
Great. Now we Jets fans don’t get to see if Bryce Petty is the QB of the future for at least a few more weeks.

— Thought about this during the Jets-Browns game: Wouldn’t it be nuts if, in 2016, the Cavaliers won the NBA title, the Indians won the World Series, and the Browns went 0-16? That’d be awesome.

— I don’t have any statistical proof of this at the moment, but doesn’t it seem like the New Orleans Saints play more crazy-finish games than anyone, at least in the last five years? It always seems like Drew Brees and his mates are involved in nail-biter after nail-biter. Sunday they held off Seattle 25-20, but not before the Seahawks drove to the Saints’ 10 and had one pass into the end zone to win it.

— Some fan threw a dildo onto the field during the Patriots-Bills game. I have no sarcastic or witty comment to add, I just feel like you needed to know that happened.

— I realize I may be the last football fan in America to have seen this, but the Bo Jackson Tecmo Bowl commercial for Kia? Magnificent. I’ve tried to explain to younger people that Tecmo Bo was the greatest video game athlete of all time, and they just don’t get it. But he was.

— Is it time we acknowledge the Raiders are finally good? I mean, 6-2 is 6-2. Their QB, Derek Carr, is terrific, they’ve got great wideouts, and a defense that doesn’t stink. Maybe all this success means they won’t move to Vegas in a few years.


**Finally today, this story just made me laugh and question this guy’s sanity all at once.
A Houston Rockets guard named Bobby Brown (no, not the singer) was with his team over in China a few weeks ago playing some NBA exhibition games when, like millions of tourists do every year, he decided to visit the Great Wall.

But unlike those millions of others, Bobby decided to treat one of the Seven Wonders of the World like it was a storefront in Bed-Stuy. He scrawled his name (and uniform number!) on a section of the historic site.

And then, you know, Brown posted a photo of his autograph on Twitter.

I mean … COME ON DUDE! Do you think Yao Ming wrote his name and number on the Statue of Liberty when he played the Knicks???

Shockingly, Chinese citizens weren’t thrilled by Brown’s deed.

“Are you proud of your carving? This is a part of world heritage, not the toilet of your home,” one said.

Brown apologized. Can’t wait till he goes back to China with a big scrubber to try to get his signature off.

The best book I’ve read in years finally comes out (and it was dedicated to me!) Lady Gaga and James Corden do a great “Carpool Karoake.” And a 5-year-old soccer fan does something adorable.


In September of 1993, a scrawny, glasses-wearing, jean-jacket sporting freshman at the University of Delaware (OK it was me) walked up to the student newspaper office, The Review, and said he wanted to write.

I had all of two years of high school newspaper experience, hadn’t taken any of the required college journalism courses you needed to write for the newspaper, and probably annoyed a few of the editors by telling them how great my high school newspaper was (hey, The Commack H.S. Courant won awards!)

The editor-in-chief was a tall skinny dude with a cocky attitude but a heart of gold. His name was Jeff Pearlman, and he wasn’t allowed to write for The Review as a freshman, and it stung him. After quizzing me a bit on sports, he decided he’d give me the chance that he never was.

Twenty-three years later, I’m really glad I walked up the stairs to the office that day. Jeff has become one of my two or three best friends in the whole world. He has been more instrumental in whatever journalism successes I’ve had than anyone else; truly there was a time early in my career where just about every chance I got was because he either talked me up to the person in charge, or passed on an opportunity so I could have it.

As a friend, he’s been more than amazing, which is why he was a groomsman in my wedding three years ago. His kind gestures big and small have never been forgotten, including the time two years ago when he mentioned our newborn son’s name on a nationally-televised sports show, just because I told him my wife thought it’d be cool to hear it. (To be fair, my son DOES share a name with a former NFL receiver, so it wasn’t dropped totally out of nowhere).

He’s also, oh yeah, a fantastic journalist and author, with four New York Times bestsellers to his credit.

Why am I telling you all this? Because as one of the people lucky enough to have edited/proofread all of his books and offer thoughts on them, I feel pretty qualified to say this: His new book, “Gunslinger,” a biography of NFL legend Brett Favre, is by far his best. Jeff talked to nearly 600 people about Favre, who of course played QB for the Green Bay Packers, won a Super Bowl, had a major prescription drug problem, said he was retiring 43 times before he actually did, and was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame last summer.

Also, I nearly cried when Jeff sent me an advance copy a few months ago and I saw this on the first page:


I can’t tell you how cool I thought it was to have a book dedicated to me (all those other names are obscure New York Jets from the 1980s and ’90s; we’re both hardcore Jets fans).

Anyway, after all he’s done for me, the least I can do for him is promote his books when they come out. I am certain this Favre book will be a bestseller, and well worth your time. (Here’s a very quick taste of what you can expect from the book.) If you are, or know of, a big NFL or Green Bay Packers or just sports fan, please consider buying “Gunslinger.”

**Next up today, seems like James Corden hasn’t done a “Carpool Karaoke” in a while, but this one was worth the wait. I’m no Lady Gaga fan (I don’t dig her music, and I think she spent way too much of her career doing offensive and crazy things just to get attention), but she comes across really well here. Her voice is, unquestionably, fantastic, and Corden’s “costume changes” at about the 12-minute mark through are pretty hilarious.


**Finally today, I don’t know if this is a true “Good News Friday” story but it made me smile pretty widely when I heard it. It seems 5-year-old Louis Kayes had to go to a birthday party last weekend, which meant he couldn’t go to the game of his favorite soccer team in Scotland, Celtic FC.

So Louis borrowed his mom’s phone and called the team to tell them he was sorry he couldn’t make it, and could he speak to manager Brendan Rodgers and captain Scott Brown, to apologize for his absence

She told the BBC her son had called after a “bit of a guilt trip”.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Kaye Adams program, she said: “He was in the living room with my phone and then I heard the voicemail message from Celtic Park saying ‘thank you for calling’.”

“He wanted to let both of them know he’d missed it in case they were looking for him,” said Lisa Kayes, Louis’s mother.

Louis told BBC Scotland the birthday party had been “good”, but said he would definitely not be missing Wednesday evening’s Champions League clash with Borussia Monchengladbach.

Come on, Celtic FC, give this kid free tickets for the rest of the season!

This Cubs-Indians World Series is going to be awesome. The new “Gilmore Girls” trailer is out and I’m super-excited. And a disgusting Texas policy: kicking special needs kids out of class to meet quotas


There are lots of times in sports when scribes have to “invent” a storyline for a playoff series, when you’ve got to stretch and pull and inflate the smallest connections or controversies to generate interest. Trust me, I’ve done it plenty in my career.

But with the World Series that started Tuesday night, man, there are about 32 storylines that make me excited, which is why I’m hoping this becomes an epic World Series. (Game 1 was a 6-0 rout, but that won’t be the norm.)

You’ve got the two incredible droughts, with the Cubbies not having won for 108 years and the Indians “only” failing to win a title for 68. You’ve got the manager of the Indians, Terry Francona, going against the Cubs’ front-office mastermind Theo Epstein, who oh-by-the-way is the guy who, along with Francona, helped the Red Sox end THEIR 86-year drought (My million-dollar idea: Can we send Theo Epstein to California to help them? Because between the Red Sox and the Cubs, dude is really good at ending droughts. Thank you, I’ll be here all night.)

You’ve got the Cubs’ ace, Jon Lester, pitching against a manager (Francona) he won a Series with. You’ve got Cleveland, with 3/5th of their pitching rotation hurt, making an improbable run to the series. You’ve got the city of Cleveland, which didn’t win a title in any sport for 52 years, now possibly winning two just in 2016. You’ve got Cubs manager Joe Maddon, the coolest dude in the sport, trying to finally win a crown.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. One of these teams is going to end decades of futility in the next two weeks. They’re evenly matched, the crowds will be nuts, and I think it’ll go seven games.

Sometimes, baseball really deserves to take center stage again. This is one of those times.

**Next up today, I believe I’ve written about this before but I’m pretty darn excited about the “Gilmore Girls” reunion movies coming to Netflix on Nov. 25. The network has done a great job teasing out bits and pieces of the reunion stuff, but now finally we’ve gotten the full-scale trailer for it. If you’re a fan like me, you’re psyched, but also a little saddened at how old some of the characters look (Kirk, you haven’t aged well, but Miss Patty and Dean basically look the same.)

Man, I really, really hope these new episodes are good. So far, it looks very promising (though the Richard Gilmore painting is a little frightening).

**Finally today, a pretty horrifying story out of Texas. Fantastic reporting and investigating by the Houston Chronicle has discovered that schools across the state “have ousted children with disabilities from needed services in order to comply with a Texas Education Agency decree that no more than 8.5 percent of students should obtain specialized education. School districts seeking to meet the arbitrary benchmark have not only made services harder to get into but have resorted to removing hundreds and hundreds of kids.”

The story, part of an investigative series, talks about how educators were pressured to “weed out” students with certain forms of autism, dyslexia, and other disabilities.

We’re talking tens of thousands of students, not getting the help and extra attention they desperately need, because a stupid agency decides on an arbitrary, cost-saving idea. The weakest and most in need of help get shunted aside.

This is from Part 1 of the series:

“Over a decade ago, the officials arbitrarily decided what percentage of students should get special education services — 8.5 percent — and since then they have forced school districts to comply by strictly auditing those serving too many kids.

Their efforts, which started in 2004 but have never been publicly announced or explained, have saved the Texas Education Agency billions of dollars but denied vital supports to children with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, epilepsy, mental illnesses, speech impediments, traumatic brain injuries, even blindness and deafness, a Houston Chronicle investigation has found.”

What an incredibly important story, that sadly will get 1/100th of the attention whatever stupid thing a Kardashian or Trump said will get. The TEA leadership should be prosecuted for treating these students and families so shabbily. Check out the story here.

We leased a new car this weekend and got a great deal and I still feel icky. SNL and Tom Hanks skewer the final Presidential debate. And the Jets show life while A.J. Green is amazing


This photo has nothing to do with anything I’m writing about, but it’s almost Halloween and he’s Jaromir Jagr and I laughed really hard looking at this picture. It’s classic.

It’s a cliche that’s not supposed to be true anymore. Car dealers aren’t supposed to be able to pressure you to buy these days. No, car-buying or leasing is now a democratic process, since consumers all have so much information at their disposals, and so many options and …

We went looking for a new car lease this weekend, what I thought would be the very start of the process. Our old Honda CR-V lease, which we love, is up in a few weeks, so we wanted to start looking around. I was 99 percent sure we would get another CR-V, because we love it, but you never know.

So yep, we were just going to go to the first place on Saturday, a Honda dealer in Nassau County (on Long Island, for you non New-Yorkers), get a quote, and be on our merry way to our other non-vehicle activities.

And yeah, Sunday evening we drove home a new CR-V. My head is still kind of spinning.
What happened is, the saleswoman and her manager almost literally refused to let us leave the store. Several times Saturday we said we were happy, we really liked the 2016 CR-V Touring they’d shown us, and we’d get back to them.

Then they kept lowering the payments. And lowered them. And threw in more stuff. And offered to make our last payment on our current car. And then he offered us some property in Miami Beach and any one of his three children. (OK not really. He only offered us two kids. He’s not an animal)

Finally, he came down so low on the price, basically a few dollars more than what we’re currently paying, that my wife and I agreed we won’t do any better anywhere else. So I shook the saleswoman’s hand and the manager’s hand and suddenly papers were being drawn up.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy we got a good deal. But the whole thing still felt kind of icky. First, the whole process of the salespeople constantly lowering the price makes me think, “if they could go that low the whole time, and still make a profit, why the hell are they starting so high and trying to screw me?”

Second, just the whole negotiating and literally almost blocking us from leaving made me feel slippery. Look pal, I know you have a sales quota, but do you really need to press THAT hard?

Anyway, we love the new car, and as soon as we figure out how to use all the new features I’m sure we’ll love it more.

It just felt … icky.

**Next up, I figure I might as well be consistent and run the final “SNL” Presidential debate sketch, since I blogged about the first two here. Happily, this one was just as funny as the rest of them.

When Kate McKinnon claims she got “Trump bingo” at the 2:10 mark, I just about snorted water out of my mouth. I also loved the “Nasty Woman” coffee mug she busts out.

Also, this is the best acting Alec Baldwin has done since, um, ever. Or at least since “Glengarry Glen Ross.”


**Finally today, as I mentioned before I didn’t get to see much football on Sunday, thanks to all the car shopping stuff, but catching up on highlights and seeing the occasional glimpse of the Jets game on the TV at the Honda dealership, I was surprised to see my Jets actually remembered how to win a game.

And of course, it was odd: Geno Smith, in his first start at QB since 2014, got hurt in the second quarter, so benched starter Ryan Fitzpatrick came on and led the Jets to the win. The same guy who stunk for the first six games this year suddenly played well. Of course, this being the Jets, Geno will probably be healthy, come back next week, and throw five picks.

But hey, the Jets are 2-5, who’s complaining!

**I don’t know who’s good or bad in this year’s NFL, but I’m pretty sure that A.J. Green of the Bengals made the catch of the year so far. Forget for a minute the Browns’ defense’s ineptitude here, Green’s just a sick athlete.

**Watched the last few minutes of overtimes of that putrid, horrible Sunday night Football game between Arizona and Seattle which ended in 6-6 tie, thanks to BOTH kickers missing field goals inside of 30 yards in overtime. Then was up all night in a cold sweat after reading this from the New York Times’ Nate Cohn about November 8:
“Mrs. Clinton’s chances of winning are now 93 percent, or about the same probability as an NFL kicker missing a 29-yard field goal.”

**Not football, but I have to mention somewhere in today’s post that the Chicago Cubs (the Cubs!) are in the World Series for the first time in 71 years. So many incredible storylines to this Indians-Cubs Series, and I’ll probably write a few hundred words about it for Wednesday’s post. But my favorite thing I saw Saturday night/Sunday morning was this:
The last time the Cubs were in the Series, African-Americans were not allowed to play major league baseball. Tuesday in Game 1, the Cubs’ Dexter Fowler (an African-American) will be the first batter.

That’s just beautiful.

The latest “Daddy Chronicles,” where I talk about my Elmo-obsessed, potty-train starting, quite-opinionated 2-year-old


And a Happy Friday to you all. As we anxiously count down the days until this interminable election season is over (18 more, kids!), I realized it’s time for another edition of “The Daddy Chronicles.”

Since we last visited the life of Nate Lewis, he turned 2, has developed new favorite phrases like “See you soon!” when leaving a room and “I’m back!” when returning to a room, and has become more of a little person, quicker, than I was ready for.

As always, I have many thoughts on my little guy, and man how fast he is changing.

— So I guess I should start with his current obsession. It’s a red, furry stuffed animal whose name starts with E. Maybe you heard of him.
So for the first 16 months or so of his life, Nate had no interest in his stuffed animals. But around 18 months he suddenly decided he needed Elmo with him all around the apartment. So Elmo started having meals with us. Then Elmo had to be on the couch in my little guy’s room when he slept. Then Winnie the Pooh and Paddington Bear also had to be at dinner and on the couch overnight.

Then, like Ringo Starr joining the Beatles, a furry guy named “Monkey” joined the entourage, and now four different animals watch us eat, and my boy sleep, and each gets a goodnight kiss.

Nothing seems to make my son happier than walking in our apartment after an outdoor activity and yelling, “Elmo! I’m back!”
Because, you know, Elmo was worried sick while he was gone.

— The other big change the last few months is that my tyke suddenly has opinions on things. At least twice a week he tells me the clothes his mother picked out in the morning aren’t acceptable. “Other shirt!” or “Other pants!” are requested, and sometimes we have to go through 3-4 options before he’s happy. He also likes to change bibs and spoons halfway through meals, has sometimes inexplicably stopped eating certain foods he loves (oh tomatoes, how you once were such a staple of his diet), and has learned to hate the diaper changing table. Sadly, it’s not because he hates being changed, it’s just he doesn’t want to be kept still.

— The potty is in the house! OK, so he thinks it’s a toy, and I don’t think he’s quite getting my explanations about why it’s such a cool thing, but he’s been telling us “doody!” occasionally and has been correct 40 percent of the time (hey in baseball getting a hit 40 percent of the time gets you in the Hall of Fame), so we bought the potty and I’m pretty damn excited. Hey, it’s a start.


— Favorite activities are still unloading the dishwasher and helping with the laundry, but he’s taken quite a few steps toward doing laundry himself. A couple Fridays ago at around 5 p.m., he said “Daddy! Laundry!” I told him we were all good, only a few shirts and pants were dirty. He was undeterred. So he decided to start doing his laundry by himself. I quickly ran to grab the camera. If you’ve never seen a 2-year-old do laundry, by all means, please click here.

— One of many future careers I’m now envisioning for my son is as a party DJ. He walks over to the CD player and changes music literally 6-7 times in a half-hour sometimes. He desperately wants this Raffi CD, then a minute later the Laurie Berkner has to go back on. A couple more weeks and I’ll be teaching him to scratch records.

— Oh yeah, he’s also incredibly quick to throw a tantrum at the slightest thing. If he isn’t allowed to play with our phones, or we take him away from something he’s enjoying (like, you know, climbing on top of his bookshelf), Nate goes from zero to hysterical crying in like three seconds. Seriously, he’s like the Porsche 911 of emotions that way.

— His mother desperately wants him to be a cuddle-bug, and while he sometimes climbs onto the bed with us and goes under the covers, it lasts for about 16 seconds. We figure by the time he’s in his mid-20s he’ll consent to snuggle with her.

— And finally, I thought it was way too early to have a moment like this, but here it is. This week at his Advanced Beginner swim class I was told by the instructors to stay out of the water as much as possible, and see how he handled it with just them in the pool. I sat on the top step with my feet dangling in, and a couple times I actually got out of the water. And except for a few moments where he looked up and said “Daddy sit!” when I was standing out of the pool, he really did perfectly well without me.

I was a little bit proud, and a more than a little bit heartbroken. This is the first time he truly hasn’t needed me. How can that be happening already? He was just born!

I’m going to need a lot of Kleenex for the first day of pre-school next September.

“The Birth of a Nation” movie was disappointing, considering what it could’ve been. A really funny video mocks parents who worry about kids and pacifiers/bottles. And thoughts on tonight’s final (thank God) presidential debate


Maybe this is just me, but there were lots of things that I heard mentioned in history class when I was in high school and college that were glossed over, that I wanted to know more about.

This was pre-Internet (yeah, I’m old) so it wasn’t like now, where I could just Google stuff. But I have a vague recollection of hearing about the Nat Turner slave rebellion in one of my classes, and thinking it sounded fascinating. A two-day rampage by a group of slaves in Virginia in 1831, which ended bloodily for so many? That sounds wildly interesting.

Years after my initial interest, along comes “The Birth of a Nation,” a much-hyped new movie by Nate Parker. Now leaving aside the controversy of Parker’s real-life rape acquittal while a student at Penn State, the film was billed to be a fantastic look into the Nat Turner story, and it got rave reviews at a bunch of film festivals this year.

So I went to see it last week, and it was … meh. Disappointing, slow, and just not done well, I felt. The acting was fine (though Parker, playing Turner, overacts just about every scene), but the story was SO slow to get going. We spend way too much time seeing Nat Turner as a small child, growing up on a plantation and befriending the white son of his slaveowners, before finally getting to see Nat as a grownup.

And even then, the script and the story take forever to get us to the tipping point that makes Turner gather up fellow slaves to rebel. The final 20 minutes of the movie were fascinating, but even then the script and the direction make things confusing (we see a character who looks dead, but a few scenes later they’re alive and fighting.)

I really thought “Birth of A Nation” could’ve been great. The material to work with is fantastic, and it’s a story that needs to be told. But it just didn’t do it for me.

And you KNOW I’m partial to anything done by a person named Nate.

**Next up today, a smart and funny friend of mine posted this in a parents’ group on Facebook the other day, and I have to admit I laughed out loud a few times. It speaks, hilariously, to the panic some parents feel that their child hasn’t given up the pacifier, the diaper or the bottle yet.

The last 20 seconds are the funniest part, with the statistics.

***Finally today, I guess I should say something about tonight’s Battle Royal, Round 3, between Hillary Clinton and a future footnote in my 2-year-old son’s high school history book. I really have little appetite for this debate, because I just know the vulgar, talking yam will once again yammer on about conspiracies, and rigged elections, and as much bullshit as he possibly can say on television. This election is over, has been for weeks, but I guess anything is still possible.

What is most frightening to me this week is not that Hillary will somehow still find a way to screw this up, maybe making some huge gaffe tonight, but just how dangerous poll sites will be on Nov. 9. We’ve got Trump supporters talking openly about violence and intimidation, of minority voters and anyone who doesn’t agree with them. It could be a despicable, disgusting scene and voter intimidation is about as serious as it gets in a country that calls itself a democracy.

Just to give you a small idea about the ugliness out there right now, check this out

I thought Barack Obama’s statement about Trump’s silly “rigged election” claim was perfect (I posted it above, it gets good around the 1-minute mark). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The mainstream media legitimizing of the bigoted, racist, sexist and xenophobic beliefs of Trump followers will be the long-lasting effect of the 2016 election, not the schmuck who stirred it all up and bathed himself in it.

Anyway, of course I’ll watch the debate tonight. Honestly, nothing Trump says or does would surprise me. If he brings a cardboard cutout of Vince Foster with him and props it up next to his podium, I wouldn’t be surprised. If he flies in every single Benghazi attack family member, I’d shrug.  None of it will matter. He’s flaming out more every day, now we’re just left to see how much carnage he creates along with him.

Nov. 9 can’t get here soon enough.

A perfect response from a newspaper publisher, as Trump nutjobs threaten her office and employees. “SNL” hits another homer with debate skit. And the Cowboys are for real and the Panthers are toast


There are so, so many awful things going on now in the Presidential race, a race that gets uglier and uglier by the day. The GOP candidate keeps talking more and more about cheating and rigged elections and whipping up his supporters into such a frenzy, and it’s having such a deleterious effect. The hatred, the vitriol, the sheer “war mentality” that we’re saying every day on the news is just so vile. For a long time I tried to fool myself by saying “This will all go away on Nov. 9, when the schmuck goes back to TV where he can be a harmless buffoon again,” but now I wonder just how long his poison will seep into our society.

One of the things that as an ex-newspaper scribe I’ve paid a lot of attention to is papers that never have endorsed a Democrat, or haven’t for 100 years or something, telling its readers it should vote for Hillary Clinton. Because Trump is just that toxic. What has happened, sadly, is those newspapers have been subject to harassment, death threats, and all kinds of awfulness.

For the most part, the newspapers haven’t gone public with it. But the Arizona Republic’s publisher didn’t want to stay quiet, and she wrote this amazing essay about exactly what has happened since the Republic endorsed Clinton. Mi-Ai Parrish wrote one of the best things I’ve read all year; I urge you to read it.

Quick excerpt: “To those who said we should be shut down, burned down, who said they hoped we would cease to exist under a new presidential administration, I give you Nicole. She is our editor who directs the news staff, independent of our endorsements. After your threats, Nicole put on her press badge and walked with her reporters and photographers into the latest Donald Trump rally in Prescott Valley, Ariz. She stood as Trump encouraged his followers to heckle and boo and bully journalists. Then she came back to the newsroom to ensure our coverage was fair. Nicole knows free speech requires an open debate.

Parrish’s defense of liberty and press freedom is fantastic; she is absolutely right to call out these criminals for what they are. And the last few lines hit home.

Nov. 9 can’t get here soon enough.

**Next up today, every week “Saturday Night Live” has been given incredible material from this Presidential campaign, and you would think it might be hard to keep making up quotes that are funnier or more ridiculous than those surrounding the vulgar, talking yam Mr. Trump.

But gotta give it up to “SNL,” they keep bringing the funny. This was maybe my favorite skit yet, especially the opening “sizing up” by the two candidates, and then Kate McKinnon’s remarks about the four women from Bill Clinton’s past who were present at the debate.

McKinnon’s going to become quite famous the next four years…


**Finally today, yesterday was one of those joyous Sundays where I didn’t have to watch the New York Jets lose. OK, OK, it’s because they don’t play until tonight. Still, a happy day! Some quickie-thoughts on another NFL Monday where I’m reminded no one knows anything about what will happen in this league…

–OK, this Dak Prescott thing is no longer a fluke, nice little story about a quarterback filling in for a starter and maybe giving the Cowboys a QB controversy. No, after Dallas thrashed Green Bay on the road, 30-16 Sunday to improve to 5-1, there’s no way on Earth Tony Romo should get his job back. Prescott finally threw an interception, but he’s looking like a 10-year vet, and it looks like he’ll be a huge star in this league.

Which means, because he plays for the Cowboys, we’ll all start hating him soon.

— The Cowboys are for real, and the Carolina Panthers are toast. Super Bowl runner-ups are inexplicably horrible this year. I mean, I know a lot of Super Bowl losers have tough seasons the next year, but this bad? The pride of Charlotte gave up 41 points to a bad New Orleans team, and even a late furious rally couldn’t prevent them from going 1-5. Cam Newton looks pedestrian, the defense stinks, and they’re not going to the playoffs this year. Wow.

— Hey, a Colin Kaepernick sighting! On the field, and not just during the national anthem! The 49ers QB who has sparked a whole lot of athlete activism the last two months actually played in a game Sunday. He didn’t play great but wasn’t terrible, either, going 13-of-29 for 187 yards and a touchdown. But he also wore a cool Muhammad Ali T-shirt to his post-game press conference, so I enjoyed that. Let’s hope Kaepernick starts playing well and continues to get his message out.

“I don’t understand what’s un-American about fighting for liberty and justice for everybody,” Kaepernick said. “For the equality that this country says it stands for.”

Exactly. Keep talking, Colin.

— Do the Giants play more crazy games than anybody else, or does it just seem that way? Eli and enormous brat Odell Beckham Jr. pulled another one out of the hat Sunday over the Ravens.

— Finally, very few people care but my man Cody Kessler had another terrific game for the winless Cleveland Browns, throwing for 336 yards in a 28-26 loss. If you want to know why I root so hard for Kessler, check this out.

A beautiful mentor/protege relationship on the violin, across the miles. Teachers tell their students why they love them. And Bob Dylan wins a Nobel Prize for literature

And a happy Friday to all. It’s pumpkin-spice season and Halloween’s coming up and the baseball playoffs are getting seriously good (come on, after the horrible year 2016 has been, we deserve a Cubs-Indians World Series) and the Rangers won on opening night against the Islanders Thursday and Michelle Obama gave one hell of an amazing speech Thursday  and life is good.

We start Good News Friday with the great Steve Hartman of “CBS Sunday Morning,” once again giving me, as the kids say, all the feels. This story, about a famous Philadelphia Orchestra member named David Bilger mentoring a 17-year-old Afghani student in the violin, is just a beautiful tale of one human reaching out to help another.

If the hug at the end doesn’t get you … check your heartbeat to make sure you’re still alive.

**Next up today, this is one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard. A teacher named Jamie McSparin at Oak Park High School in Kansas City, Mo. came up with the idea of teachers in her school telling one of their favorite students that they are what makes coming to school every day worthwhile, and how the student inspires them.

To see the looks on these students’ faces (the girl at 1:13 is my favorite, but the one at 2:58 is great too!)

The future is very, very bright.



**Finally today, I was very happy to learn that Bob Dylan, a musical genius and pioneer in every sense, was given the Nobel Prize for Literature on Friday. Some on the Internet are already saying he doesn’t deserve it, his songs aren’t really “literature,” and casting other aspersions on the honor.

Hogwash. Dylan has been incredibly influential and incredibly talented for more than six decades. His lyrics spoke to generations of fans, from 1960s radicals who wanted to change the world (and did), to even Gen X’ers and Millenials, who still download the 75-year-old’s music.

I fell in love with Dylan’s music as a teenager, when I first encountered the gorgeous “Times they Are A-Changin,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” and “Blowin’ In the Wind.” The gravelly voice, the beautiful guitar-playing… all of it spoke to me.

Here’s a great appreciation of Dylan by Ty Burr of the Boston Globe.

A well-deserving honor to a legend. Take us out, Robert Zimmerman…

A night at an improv comedy show reminds me how hard improv is. A brave survivor of sexual harassment speaks out. And a few thoughts on the compelling baseball playoffs


And a Happy Day of Atonement to all of my fellow Members of the Tribe; if you’re reading this before 6 p.m. Wednesday, I’m probably hungry. So if you wouldn’t mind sending a pastrami on rye through the InterTubes here for me to scarf down, I’d appreciate it…

On the list of “Things that Look Easy but are Actually Quite Difficult,” let me submit:
— Keeping a straight face when GOP leaders are speaking these days.
— Not saying any curse words for 24 hours (I tried it once, it was freaking really hard)
— Being good at Improv Comedy

The last one is the one I’m discussing here. Lots of people are funny, but put them on a stage and make them think on their feet instantly and make it hilarious, and nearly everyone would shrivel up.

That’s why I love improv comedy, and always like seeing improv shows, even more so after seeing the great movie “Don’t Think Twice” with Mike Birbiglia over the summer.

So Saturday night the wife and I went to the Yankee Stadium of improv, the Upright Citizens Brigade club in NYC (there are actually 4 of ’em). UCB has produced dozens of famous comedians, including Amy Poehler and Rob Corddry.

Tickets were $10, the show lasted an hour, and it was terrific. The theme of the show was love and relationships, and one of the trio of performers simply asked the audience for a volunteer to tell a relationship story.

After a truly bizarre tale involving a gay man sleeping with his current boyfriend’s uncle and then the uncle asking him to find out if the nephew is gay (it was much funnier on stage), the two male and one female performer went to work.

They were … dazzling. They must’ve riffed off each other for 40 straight minutes, taking one tiny bit of one sketch and morphing it into another. It was all funny, it was all so fast, and it was incredibly hard to do. The chemistry needed for improv is immense, and these three looked like they’d been working together forever.

Such a joy to watch. Definitely check out an improv show near you if you get the chance.


**Next up today, thanks to the 2005 videotape Cheetos Jesus and Billy Bush released last week, there has been a lot of talk about how bragging about sexual assault and the like is “locker room talk.” That is beyond offensive to everyone, but most of all to women who have suffered actual sexual assault. It is a horrible, disgusting crime that millions of women have had to endure, and it takes great courage to speak out about it.

One of those who’s been victimized is a journalist friend of my buddy Jeff Pearlman, and after talking about it with him, she agreed to anonymously talk about her experiences, for the first time, in a blog post on his site.

It is about a boss she once had, and multiple examples of awful sexual behavior he perpetrated. An excerpt:

I decided to tell my story today because I know there are thousands, if not millions of other women who have been treated this way. I’m proud to say I don’t let that part of my life define me anymore, but it was a long, hard road to get here …

Sexual harassment and assault is not a laughing matter. It is absolutely soul-crushing, and I wouldn’t wish it on the bitchiest bitch. I was terrified of taking my case to court out of fear of what the other side would do to shame me and ruin my life and career…

I do not hate men.

I just want to be treated with respect.

Really powerful stuff. Read the whole essay here.


**Finally today, We’re a week into the Major League Baseball playoffs, and damn if they haven’t been pretty compelling so far. I watch very little baseball all year, then get sucked in. A few scattered thoughts after the two American League Division Series get wrapped up quick, while the National League contains the drama.

—  Well that was one hell of a finish for the Cubs last night, huh? I had to rewrite this entire paragraph at midnight, because at 5-2 after eight innings I had this whole thing being about Cubs fans’ sphincters being really tight today, since the Cubs had blown a 2-0 lead and now had to win a Game 5 on Friday, and a few jokes about 1908, yada yada yada.

Except the Cubbies stunningly rallied for four runs in the 9th, won the game 6-5, won the series, and are now in the NLCS against either the Nationals or Dodgers. Wow, wow, wow. Definitely a different kind of Cubs team. Man I so hope we get to see them in the World Series.

— So that was a really strange farewell to David Ortiz at Fenway Park. The Red Sox had a rally going in the bottom of the 9th against Cleveland, the rally ended, and Big Papi just walked back into the clubhouse. The fans chanted “Thank you Papi!” but he never came back out. (Update: I was just informed by friend and Red Sox fan Dave that Papi did come back out and acknowledge the crowd. My bad.) As much as I loathed him, dude was an incredible, incredible player. And I know he’s been a DH for his whole career, but I think I’d vote him into the Hall of Fame.

— When did baseball players start growing playoff beards like hockey guys do? So many guys on the San Francisco Giants have beards I’m not convinced they’re not the San Jose Sharks.

— So if the Indians go on to win the World Series, a few months after the Cavaliers won the NBA title, does the city of Cleveland go from “lovable losers who’ve had unbelievably bad luck?” to “Screw those winners?” Has any city ever gone from loved to hated that fast?

— I hate Harold Reynolds. He is as bad as Joe Morgan ever was as a broadcaster. He never, ever shuts up, and nothing he says is ever helpful. He’s the Jon Gruden of baseball.


This is not normal: An extraordinary Presidential debate, starring the pig Donald Trump. Lin-Manuel Miranda kills it on “SNL.” And the Eagles crash, the Vikings soar, and I say very little about the Jets


This is not normal.

You need to keep telling yourself that, my fellow Americans (and citizens of the world, wherever you’re reading this).

This is not normal in American politics. It is not normal for a Presidential candidate of a major party, during a Presidential debate 30 days before the election, to threaten to jail the other candidate.

It is not normal in American politics for a Presidential candidate of a major party to bring three women that the candidate’s spouse allegedly sexually assaulted years ago, to the debate, seat them in the front row, and use them completely as political props.

It is not normal in American politics for a Presidential candidate of a major party to so blatantly lie about the sexual assaults HE himself bragged about committing, on videotape with another idiot, and then say that’s locker room talk (I was a newspaper sportswriter for 14 years, and have been in hundreds of locker rooms. That is NOT how men in locker rooms talk.)

This is all just so f’ed up. It is not normal. It will never be normal. My head hurt and brain got scrambled so many times watching that debate Sunday night.

What I saw on the stage, and what I think millions of people saw, is a raving, incoherent madman who basically admits he’d be a dictator, has no clue about how American government works, and is a sexual criminal.

And he’s going to get 35 percent of the vote.

So many thoughts on what was, again, an extraordinarily unusual debate (You can find my thoughts, and some of the great thoughts of others I RT’ed, on my Twitter feed here.):

— First, and I cannot emphasize this enough: Trump said if he wins he will appoint a special prosecutor and make sure Hillary is put in jail.  This is how dictatorships work. This is what Putin, and Castro, and so many others have done. This cannot be allowed to slip by as “just talk.”

— Did you notice how skulking and scary Trump seemed pacing around the room, lurking behind Hillary? As one Tweeter put it: “Can someone tell the Secret Service there’s a scary, crazy man behind Hillary Clinton?”

— I thought Hillary did very well Sunday night not sinking to Trump’s level, mostly. She did get down in the gutter with him a couple of times, but I thought she did a terrific job reminding everyone of ALL the groups Trump has insulted, that it’s not just women he discussed so disgustingly on that 2005 videotape.

— She wasn’t perfect; her Abe Lincoln public/private answer was strange, and she didn’t do a great job near the end when asked to praise something about Trump. But she let him ramble and ramble and that was all she needed to do.

— I thought Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz, the moderators, got much stronger as the debate went on, actually challenging both candidates to answer the questions. Trump’s whining about time and “it’s 3 vs. 1” was just so juvenile. My 2-year-old would’ve been more mature up there.

— And now, a comedic interlude from noted scholar Scott Baio:

— Also, and this too will get lost because 10 other crazy things happened: Trump said he and VP nominee Mike Pence “haven’t spoken” about Russia’s involvement in Syria but he disagrees with Pence’s position.
This is such an important issue, Syria, Trump talks about it all the time, and yet he hasn’t discussed it with his VP.

— How offensive is it that Trump, when talking about African-Americans, only talks about the inner city? Does every black person in America live in an inner-city? I mean, has the man SEEN the TV show “Blackish?”

— Line of the night, from my friend Dave: “Trump makes George W. Bush look like Stephen Hawking.”

— It was so hilarious to see SO many GOP politicians pull hamstrings over the weekend, running as far away from Trump as they could after the old tape became public. So, let me get this straight: Insulting veterans, Muslims, Mexicans, Miss Universe winners, disabled reporters and others was fine by you, but talking about women this way, THAT was too much for you?

Give me a goddamn break.

— She’s winning 35-39 states, and more than 350 electoral votes, and the Democrats take back the Senate. I’ve said this since March. Nothing Sunday night changes any of it. If anything, I’m being conservative in my estimates of the Hillary landslide.

**Next up today, the creative genius that is Lin-Manuel Miranda hosted “Saturday Night Live” this weekend, and as expected he was awesome.

Though he looks radically different from how he appeared in “Hamilton,” his opening song was pretty fantastic.

The “Weehawken” line was my favorite…


**Finally today, a few thoughts on the NFL, Week 5. All I’m going to say about the Jets is that they stink in all facets of the game, they’re now 1-4, and the season is gone, and I’m really happy the New York Rangers hockey and Duke basketball seasons start real soon. As my beloved father texted during the 4th quarter of Sunday’s pathetic loss to the Steelers, “it’s actually physically painful to watch them.”

“The 2016 Jets! It’s physically painful to watch us!”

— Moving on, kind of a crushing loss for the previously-undefeated Eagles. Falling down big at Detroit, rallying back, then losing in the final two minutes, as Carson Wentz throws his first interception of his career. NFC East is going to be very interesting this year.

— Also, if you show up to the Cleveland Browns practice facility today, they’ll give you a uniform and make you the starting quarterback next week. Man oh man, that franchise is just cursed beyond belief. Every QB they throw out there gets hurt.

— Anyone expect the Minnesota Vikings to be this damn good, without Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson? They just manhandled the pretty good Texans on Sunday.