Monthly Archives: February 2018

Oscar predictions from a non-expert. The great story of how a 1936 U.S. Olympian told off Adolf Hitler. And a beautiful eulogy from a Parkland parent to their child.

With so much misery around us these days, from school shootings to Donald Trump opening his mouth and, hilariously, declaring he’d have run into the Douglas school shooting “even without a weapon,” I’m really glad March is almost here (whoo-hoo, best month of the year, college basketball tournament season!) and the Academy Awards are this Sunday.

I’m very rarely any good at Oscar pools, I think I’ve won one my entire life (and that was two years ago, thanks to “Spotlight,” one more reason to love that amazing movie.)

But this year I’ve seen some of the nominated flicks, and what the hell, here’s one person’s opinion on Sunday’s results:

Best Picture: It would be thrilling if a horror movie like “Get Out” somehow won, but that’s not likely.  It seems like “The Shape of Water” or “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” will win. I’ll go with “Three Billboards” because it seems very timely given the culture of sexual harassment shaming/outing going on. Haven’t seen it but apparently it’s a beautiful film.

Best Actor:  I’m of the belief that any time Daniel Day-Lewis is nominated for anything, he should win, because he’s the most amazing actor of my lifetime. But everything points to Gary Oldman winning here for “The Darkest Hour.” So I’ll go chalk and say Oldman.

— Best Actress: Would love, love, love to see Saorise Ronan win for “Lady Bird,” because it’s such a great movie, or even Meryl Streep who killed it in “The Post.” I’m going to pick Ronan because upsets happen sometime, and everyone seems to think Frances McDormand is a lock.

Best Director: Again, would love to see Greta Gerwig win because she’s so humble and delightful and she made a terrific movie, but it’ll probably be a dude. Christopher Nolan or Guillermo Del Toro will likely win.

Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney, who I worship and adore, seems to be a consensus lock for her portrayal of Tonya Harding’s Mom in “I, Tonya.” I have no problem with that. But I bet Mary J. Blige would give one hell of an acceptance speech if she somehow won.

Best Supporting Actor:  I have no idea or feel on this one. Sam Rockwell was apparently great in his “Three Billboards over Ebbing, Missouri,” but Willem Dafoe has gotten lots of buzz for “The Florida Project” and Richard Jenkins is always sensational. I’ll go with Dafoe.

https://player.wbur.org/onlyagame/2018/02/23/francis-baker-1936-winter-olympics-hitler

**Next up today, I’ve written many times about the awesomeness of NPR’s “Only a Game” podcast, but it’s been a while since a story hit me as strongly as one that aired last week (it’s linked above). It’s a story I’d never heard and it knocked my socks off.

When you say “Germany” and “Hitler” and “1936 Olympics,” most people automatically think about Jesse Owens and his winning four gold medals, metaphorically spitting at Hitler’s “master race” beliefs.

But I sure as heck didn’t know that the 1936 Winter Olympics were also held in Germany, and that an American hockey player named Francis Baker stood up to Adolf Hitler, right to his face.

Baker was a goalie from upstate New York, and had studied German at Hamilton College.

A last-minute addition to the Olympic team, Baker was never shy about speaking his mind. At the Opening Ceremonies, Hitler expected every other nation to raise their arms to salute him. But the U.S. contingent did not do that; they had their hands at their sides.

Hitler was furious,  and apparently Der Fuhrer came around to speak to the American team in their locker room, a day before Team USA was to play Germany.

Hitler berated the American team, and declared Germany would certainly beat the U.S.

Well, little Francis Baker, all 5-foot-7 of him, spoke German and decided to retort.

” ‘We will not only beat Germany in hockey tomorrow,’ ” Baker told Hitler, according to Fischler. ” ‘In addition, Die Vereinigten Staaten werden Deutschland immer besiegen: The United States will always defeat Germany.’ And Hitler was infuriated and conducted an orderly retreat.”

Amazing story. Listen to it at this link and learn about the life of an Olympic hero who so few remember, but who certainly deserves to be remembered.

**Finally today, please read this moving eulogy written by Max Schachter, whose son Alex was murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School two weeks ago.

It has beautiful stories in it, about Alex’s joy of being in marching band, the new friends he’d made this year, and the tragedy he and Alex suffered when his mom passed away when Alex was 4.

The last paragraph just hit me hard:

“Two weeks ago, Alex was assigned a poem for a literary fair. He decided to write about roller coasters because Alex loved roller coasters. He wasn’t writing about his life and had no idea that his poem would become his future.

Our elected lawmakers are a big part of the bar of our life’s roller coaster. Don’t just start anew and repeat the failures of Marjory Stoneman Douglas. Act now and hear the cries of our community. No child and no family should ever have to experience this because of someone else’s failure to protect us.”

 

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Team USA wins curling gold, and dammit I love that sport. A team from Parkland Douglas H.S. wins a state championship. And a transgender wrestler makes history

I am mocked, just about every time, when I tell people how much I love curling.

I fell in love with the sport in, I think it was 2002, when watching the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics (run by one Mitt Romney, hey, whatever happened to that guy?). It’s exciting, there are super-cool terms in it like “shot rock” and “the hammer,” and if you pay attention for a few minutes you can learn a lot.

I got so into the sport that when I moved back to N.Y. a few years ago I took a couple of curling demo lessons and loved it. Yes, I did accidentally bloody the nose of a fellow classmate when I slipped on the ice and my broom smacked her in the face, but hey, who among us hasn’t done that?

Anyway, my point is, curling rocks. And so it seems perfect that in the first Olympics since I learned to love the sport, I didn’t get to watch much of it during these Games, and so of course one of the greatest stories ever in the sport took place.

Of course you know what I’m talking about (or maybe you don’t because, again, it’s curling).

Team USA’s men’s team, which has been so disappointing the last few Olympiads, started out 2-4 in South Korea, then blitzed through the field, stunning Canada and then Sweden in the gold medal game Saturday. John Shuster had the tournament of his life, culminating in this amazing shot (below) that scored five points/rocks.

Very, very cool. Let the curling revolution in America begin!!

**Next up today, with all the incredible developments coming out of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., you look for some small moments of joy amidst all the grief.

High school hockey isn’t big in Florida, as you might expect. But there’s still a tournament held every year, and over the weekend the Marjory Stoneman Douglas boys team won a state chapionship.

Some of the players dyed their hair yellow as a tribute to the victims (not sure why yellow is the color but hey, whatever works) , and they won two games Sunday to win the title despite being the lowest-seeded team in the final rounds.

“We came into the game knowing we had to give it our all to get the win and that’s what we did, and now we get to bring the trophy back to the best high school in America,” said forward Joey Zenobi.

Very cool to see a positive story coming out of Parkland.

**Finally today, you may remember last year there was a major kerfuffle over a transgender high school wrestler in Texas winning a state title. Mack Breggs, formerly MacKenzie Beggs, was born a female but has been transitioning to a male over the past several years, taking small doses of testosterone during the transition.

Mack wanted to wrestle against boys but Texas scholastic rules required them to compete in the gender thats on their birth certificate, so Mack wrestled in the state girls tournament last week.

And Mack won, even with half the crowd booing and half the crowd cheering him.

To me, it’s disgraceful that Mack was booed; like transitioning isn’t hard enough on a teenager, you’re going to boo them at a high school wrestling meet? Come on.

“I’ve trained too hard for haters to put me down,” he told the Star-Telegram after regional competition. “I’ve worked too hard for that. I work day in and day out. I’ve been through too much [expletive] for anyone to put me down.”

Good for Mack. And shame on the grown-ups who treated a kid this way.

 

Good News Friday: An incredible women’s hockey gold medal game exceeds expectations, and brings so much joy. Another small victory for equality, as Macy’s starts selling hijabs. And two amazing feats you may have missed

It’s pretty rare that I write about the same topic for two blog posts in a row, but somewhere around 2:05 a.m. Thursday morning, Eastern Time, as I paced around my living room screaming into a pillow so as not to wake my sleeping family, I knew that I simply must.

There are sports moments you’ll never forget, and there are Olympic sports moments you’ll never forget, and then there’ll be the moment a young woman named Jocelyne Lamoureaux-Davidson scored a shootout goal I’ll never forget, and then a 20-year-old kid goalie named Maddie Rooney made the save of her life.

What a game. What. A. Game! I told you on Wednesday this would be a classic, and it was. Now, let’s leave aside for a minute the fact that after three intense periods of play, and then 20 minutes of scintillating overtime, a gold medal was decided by shootout, which absolutely, positively is a terrible way to decide an Olympic gold medal.

But those are the rules, so here we are. And this USA Women’s hockey team is worthy of your admiration for many reasons. For one, a year ago they demanded pay equal to that of the men’s team, and threatened to sit out the upcoming World Championships unless USA Hockey agreed to give them equal treatment to the men’s team. That meant equal pay, equal equipment, per diems, staff, etc.

After more than a year of fighting, the women won equality.

Then there’s the team itself: A gritty group of players who have suffered three straight silver medal “wins” at the Olympics, and had lost to Canada in the gold medal game the last two tries. This team deserved, and earned, some good fortune that came their way.

It really was sensational. Here’s a sensational column by Yahoo!’s Dan Wetzel on the victory, and also, below, of the women’s team after getting their medals, listening to the national anthem and watching all their hard work pay off. And oh yeah, Thursday was the 38th anniversary of the 1980 Olympics “Miracle on Ice.” Maybe you’ve heard of it.

I got chills. Maybe you will, too. Sports, man. Sports.

**Next up, a good news story of a slightly different sort. Progress and acceptance aren’t always spelled out blatantly, in gold medals, and historic firsts. Sometimes, they’re more subtle, when something that used to have been a big deal, no longer is.

That’s what I thought about when I read this story on Upworthy.com, about the major department store Macy’s becoming the first in its industry to sell hijabs in its stores.

From the story:  “Starting Feb. 15, the retail giant will feature an assortment of hijabs, cardigans, abayas, and dresses from the Verona Collection on Macys.com.

Lisa Vogl, founder of the Verona Collection, is a graduate of The Workshop, Macy’s business development program for minority and/or women entrepreneurs. After her conversion to Islam in 2011, the single mother quickly realized how rare it is to find affordable, trendy modest clothing — and that “many other women, both Muslim and non-Muslim, felt the same way” — so she decided to launch her own fashion line.

Such a little thing. Such a big thing. Tolerance, and acceptance, and with so many other things Macy’s sells, hopefully this will just become part of the fabric of the store, and it won’t be a big deal after a while.

**Finally today, two athletic feats, one in actual sports competition, one not, that made me smile this week.

First, above, a pretty amazing tennis shot from SMU’s Tiffany Hollebeck, in a match last week. How in the world did she do that?

**And then, this, I don’t know what you call it, escalator rail-riding? From an unidentified Swiss Olympic competitor at an airport in South Korea.

Seriously, how great is this? And how did he even do that? Have a great weekend.

http://www.upworthy.com/macy-s-becomes-first-major-department-store-in-the-u-s-to-sell-hijabs?c=upw1

One more reason to love LeBron James. Was Fergie’s national anthem really THAT bad? And Olympic women’s hockey final tonight, USA vs. Canada, should be awesome

There are many, many reasons to love LeBron James, as I’ve articulated on this website many times. He’s an amazing basketball player, he gives time and money off the court like few other athletes do, and instead of ducking his head and heading from the responsibility of being a role model (looking at you, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods), he wades into current events and speaks his mind.

This, of course, pisses off people who think athletes should be brainless automatons who simply entertain us for a few hours a night, then smile and go home and never speak.

Laura Ingraham is a loathsome human being who is a “political expert” on Fox News. She got wind of comments LeBron and Kevin Durant made, comments that were derogatory to the President.

Hey, Laura Ingraham, what do you think of Mr. LeBron James? Thanks for telling us.

“Must they run their mouths like that?” and “Shut up and dribble.”

Funny how Ingraham never said that about Tom Brady when he supported the Orange Grifter in his campaign, or actor Scott Baio, or other entertainment figures. But wait, there’s something different about this LeBron guy, wait, don’t tell me, he’s, wait, not white…

LeBron, happily, decided not to let this moronic lady tell him what to do.

“We will definitely not shut up and dribble,” James said. “And now I get to sit up here and talk about social injustice, equality, and why a woman on a certain network decided to tell me to shut up and dribble. So thank you.”

I love this man.

**Next up today, while we’re on the subject of basketball, Fergie, she of the Black Eyed Peas, sang the national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game Sunday.

And was universally slammed for her performance. I’ve always liked her, personally, and so I figured it couldn’t be nearly as bad as social media said.

And it wasn’t. Was it fabulous? No. But watch for yourself, was it THAT bad? She tried to make it all sexy and jazzy and OK it’s not the greatest performance ever but hey, she tried.

For a much better Fergie performance, this is my go-to. Truly incredible, sensational stuff here, with Mick, and Bono, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concerts in 2010. This gives me chills, every time.

**Finally today, it’s rare that I make an Olympic sporting event must-see TV, but we’ve got one tonight my friends. The women’s hockey gold medal game between the U.S. and Canada is primed to be a classic. First, these two teams hate each other; they’ve played for the gold medal in the last three Olympics now, and Canada has won each time. And each time it’s been pretty damn close.

The 2014 game in Sochi was maybe the best women’s sporting event I’ve ever seen, maybe even more exciting than the 1999 Women’s World Cup game (the Brandi Chastain penalty-kick game).  The U.S. led 2-0 late in the game, but two late tallies, and then an OT winner, gave Canada the victory.

Here are highlights from that game. This rivalry has intensity, high-skill, and features the best players in the world.

Unfortunately for us East Coast viewers, it doesn’t start until 10:45 p.m. tonight (Wednesday night). Take a nap, folks, this one will be worth staying up for.

Go America!

 

One of the Florida shooting survivors powerfully speaks out; is this what it finally takes? Thinking about Abe Lincoln on President’s Day (movie clip). And The New York Open tennis tournament makes a so-so debut.

We have had so much experience, way too much practice, reacting to school shootings in the United States.

We have had dozens and dozens of opportunities to show our outrage, to express our grief, to shake our fists in anger at the inaction of our Congress that’s been bought and paid for (My mother, bless her heart, really, really wants me to share this list of who the largest recipients of NRA money in Congress are, and since I think you should usually do what your mother says, here it is. No surprise, enormous frauds like Marco Rubio are on the list.)

But we’re seeing something over the last few few days that I don’t believe we’ve seen, at least not to this scale: Students at the scene, students who survived but saw their friends murdered, speaking out angrily, forcefully, about what has just happened to them.

The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., are speaking out, and they are angry, and they are fed up, as they should be.

They are making statements like this, and like this, and organizing a rally like this one coming up on March 24.

Watch the press conference from Saturday featuring Stoneman student Emma Gonzalez, who is as poised and mature as many adults would love to be, speaking with passion and conviction and pure, furious anger, about the need for change.

I have to be honest: This gives me hope. I’ve become so cynical that anything will change, no matter how many shootings have gone on. Our politicians are too bought and paid for by the NRA.

I mean, Jesus H. Christ, if the slaughter of elementary school children in 2012 in Newtown didn’t lead to massive change, what ever will????

But this might be something new. This isn’t the parents of victims speaking out, or political activists, or community members, or grandstanding members of Congress.

These are the ACTUAL victims, the students who were terrorized because one of their former classmates was able to legally buy a semi-automatic weapon and kill 17 people in their school. The school where they took biology tests, goofed off during recess, and practiced volleyball. A school, where some people think, insanely, that we should arm teachers with guns, like teachers aren’t overburdened enough, and given enough responsibility, that now we should have them be marksmen.

Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg and the rest are doing something we haven’t seen before. Maybe, just maybe, things could finally be different.

**Next up, it’s President’s Day, which has me thinking about some of our most legendary Oval Office-holders, and Abraham Lincoln.

And this speech, from the sensational movie “Lincoln” a few years ago, that is still so moving and beautiful.

**Finally today, a brand-new pro tennis tournament has come to my ‘hood, and I was super-excited for it.

After 40 years of holding a lower-tier tournament in Memphis, Tenn., the ATP Tour moved its early-February indoor men’s event to Long Island for this year, and it just wrapped up on Sunday at the new Nassau Coliseum (which is way, way, way, WAY nicer than the old Coliseum, a dump that saw some great hockey and lots of upset fans in the super-crowded hallways and dark upper seats).

I went to two sessions last week, and my review is mixed.

First, the good: The tennis was excellent; the new tournament attracted a pretty good field, with Top 20 players like Kevin Anderson, Kei Nishikori, Sam Querrey, and some up-and-coming Americans. The new Nassau Coliseum, with the top sections tarped off for tennis, felt like a small, intimate arena, and the fans there seemed to really get into the match.

Now the bad: There were very few fans at the matches all week; on Tuesday I swear the players heard the conversations my Dad and I were having during the points. Saturday’s semifinal day session was a little more crowded, but still, we’re talking a few hundred people at most.

New events are hard to get off the ground, mid-February is a tough time to get people out, both of those things are true. But the ticket prices were the biggest problem: They were way, way, way too high. Seventy bucks for a day-session ticket during the week, and $100 for good seats for the semis. No way most people, or casual tennis fans, are going to spend that much.

I know they’ve got to make enough money to cover the expenses, but man, those prices were nuts, even for NY.

I love having a tournament so close by, and of course as a freelance writer I love having opportunities to make a little dough in early February (I wrote two stories on the tournament). But for the New York Open to succeed, they’ve got to get more people in the building to see how great live pro tennis is.

And with these prices, that’s going to be very very hard to do.

Good News Friday: A cure for baldness may be in the McDonald’s fryer. A police officer rocks out during the Eagles parade. And the Marvin Gaye national anthem is still an amazing thing

Best-Oil-for-French-Fries-1-750x400

I would like to start this by saying “Happy Friday” to you all but there are 17 families in Parkland, Fla. grieving the senseless loss of their loved ones, because a 19-year-old legally bought an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and shot up his old high school.

The level of rage and disgust and bile so many of us feel is not felt by anyone in Congress, apparently. So, so disgusting.

OK, it’s Friday, time to get on with some good news..

So there’s lots of things that could happen in the world that would make me very happy: A New York Jets Super Bowl win (never gonna happen in my lifetime). There being no more traffic in the lead-up to the 59th Street Bridge on the Queens side (a Jets SB win might be more likely).

But what would make me really, really, REALLY happy? A cure for male pattern baldness. Your humble correspondent has had a receding hairline since just post-college, and 20 years later it’s not getting any better.

But wait, there is a cure in sight! And it’s found in McDonald’s french fries!

No seriously, check this out.

From a Newsweek story: A stem cell research team from Yokahama National University used a “simple” method to regrow hair on mice by using dimethylpolysiloxane, the silicone added to McDonald’s fries to stop cooking oil from frothing.

Preliminary tests indicated that the groundbreaking method was likely to be just as successful when transferred to human skin cells.

According to the study, released in the Biomaterials journal last Thursday, the breakthrough came after the scientists successfully mass-produced “hair follicle germs” (HFG) which were created for the first time ever in this way.

See? I KNEW there was something redeeming at McDonald’s, we just had to look hard enough.

Sign me up for the clinical trials, folks. I’ll even step foot in a McDonald’s to do them if you want me to. Get me some hair back!

**And now, something you don’t see every day. A still-unidentified Philadelphia police officer, bustin’ out his best moves to lip-sync Cypress Hill’s classic “Insane in the Membrane”  DJ Kool’s “Let Me Clear My Throat” (I screwed up on this one, but my smart friend David L. set me straight) during the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory parade last week.

Nothing better than a man having some fun on the job, when everyone at the parade was in such a good mood.

**Finally today, I was very happy to discover on the Web this week that someone was celebrating a pretty awesome music anniversary. This week in 1983 (Feb. 13, 1983 to be exact), the late, great Marvin Gaye sang perhaps the best rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner I’ve ever heard in my life (Whitney Houston at the Super Bowl is the only other one that comes close).

To hear it is pure joy, pure magic, and you can tell the players are totally into it, too, swaying along and enjoying it like few others.

A hilarious/sad community service award given to a college football player. The Flying Tomato squeezes out another gold medal. And an oral history book about “The Wire?” Yes please!

As a journalist you get all kinds of press release emails, and as a sportswriter, so many of them come from college athletic departments. They can’t wait to tell you about this amazing female volleyball player or male track athlete who won this award or did this amazing thing. Most of the time, you read the email for five seconds, realize that the college media relations department is seriously overhyping said accomplishment, and hit delete.

I gotta say, though, this story, this award, stands out as the greatest thing I’ve ever heard.

Washington State University decided to honor a football player in its midst. A fellow named Logan Tago was feted and held up as a sensational role model, and given the CCE  Community Involvement Award, as given by the school’s Center for Civic Engagement.

“Tago was honored for his commitment to service around the City of Pullman and Palouse communities where he volunteered 240 civic engagement hours this past fall,” the press release states.

Whoa! That’s a lot of community service hours. Two hundred and forty is nothing to sneeze at. Man, Tago is a terrific guy, to spend that much time…

Oh wait. What’s that again?

Yeah, it seems Tago did all that community service because he was ordered to. By a court. In a plea agreement Tago accepted last year, ridding himself of a felony robbery charge and pleading guilty to a reduced third-degree assault charge. Tago was arrested in 2016 following an investigation in which a man accused him of stealing a six-pack of beer and punching him in the head, resulting in a concussion for the victim. As a result, Tago was ordered to perform the aforementioned community service and spend 30 days in jail. He was also suspended from the team.

But hey, way to go, Logan! You could’ve skipped out on those hours, gone back to jail, and we’d never have heard of you again. But way to go dude! You did it, you fulfilled what the law demanded of you.

I mean, did ANYONE at Washington State take five seconds to reconsider this award?

Apparently not. It did give me a great laugh though.

 

**So I finally watched a little Olympics coverage Tuesday night, and I picked a good night to do so. After 17-year-old tiny pint of awesome Chloe Kim kicked butt on way to a gold medal in women’s half-pipe, “old man” Shaun White, aka “The Flying Tomato” won yet another gold medal at age 31.

I know nothing about this sport, but even I’m blown away by the tricks this guys can do. Watch this crazy-great run above (you can skip to 1:35 for the actual performance)

**Finally today, it’s pretty rare I get THIS excited about a new book. But Jonathan Abrams, who used to write for the New York Times and Grantland, has just published a new book. And it’s an oral history of the greatest television show of all time, “The Wire.”

I have prophesized on here many, many times about the greatness of this HBO show that ran for five seasons in the mid-2000s. But I know there are still people out there who haven’t seen it, and I’m here to once again tell you, you must.

The book arrived today and since I couldn’t wait I already read some excerpts online, and it’s fabulous. One quick thing I’ve already learned? The actor originally in line to play McNulty was John C. Reilly. That’s right, the incredible actor from “Chicago” and “Boogie Nights” and so many other great flicks was going to be cast as a Baltimore homicide detective.

But his wife didn’t want to move to Baltimore, so Dominic West got the part.

So much good stuff in this book. If you’re a “The Wire” nut like me, buy it here.

A brief Trump rant after maybe his most offensive Tweet ever (I know, I know). The Winter Olympics have started and I’m surprisingly “meh” about it. And a squirrel makes me feel really good

I try. I really try to ignore 90 percent of what the President of the United States says or does. He has incurable diarrhea of the mouth and fingers, it’s impossible to take him seriously, and I know he doesn’t even believe 50 percent of the stuff he says or Tweets.

But sometimes, I can’t ignore it. I just hear about something he Tweeted and steam rises from my brain like in an old cartoon, and I just can’t get back to normal until I let out the fury and the anger.

So here goes. This was sent out into the world on Saturday at 10:33 a.m.

I mean… ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??? A man who spent two years encouraging people to chant “Lock Her Up” at Hillary Clinton. A man who basically accused Ted Cruz’s father of being part of the JFK assassination. A man who has baselessly smeared journalists, TV personalities, other politicians who didn’t kiss his ass, and just about EVERYONE HE’S EVER MET is talking about someone ELSE not getting due process, and complaining??? The man he’s defending, former high-level staffer Rob Porter, had two ex-wives accusing him of abuse, with one producing photos of a black eye she’d suffered.

I just… I just can’t even with this sorry excuse for a human being, much less a President.

OK, I feel better. Thanks. Just every once in a while, I have to get that out of my system.

**I’m usually a pretty big Olympics guy. Winter, Summer, whichever, I usually get into them. I love the hockey and the curling and short-track speed skating at the winter Olympics, and the insane sport of Skeleton (basically a dude flying down ice at 90 miles per hour). And of course in summer I get way into the swimming, the track and field, and lots else.

But I gotta say, the South Korea Winter Olympics started Friday night and so far, I’m just kinda … meh. Didn’t watch the Opening Ceremonies (hey Mike Pence, that wasn’t you I saw not standing for an anthem, was it? Nah!), haven’t watched the early skating and skiing and snowboarding (I still can’t believe snowboarding is an Olympic sport, but hey, whatever floats your boat), and feel totally disconnected.

Lots of reasons I’m not into them yet; life is extremely hectic at the moment (who knew taking care of two kids was more effort than one?), I’m deep into college basketball here in mid-February, there’s a cool new pro men’s tennis tournament on Long Island I’m covering this week, there’s no NHL players in the hockey tournament which is a total bummer … probably a combination of all those reasons.

I hope I find a way to get into them, because for all the IOC corruption and stupid politicizing between nations, the Olympics are truly a wonderful spectacle.

**Finally today, this has nothing to do with anything but made me smile for a few seconds.

Whoever says newspaper readership is down obviously never saw this squirrel. He’s clearly going to head for the best branch with the best reading light once he gets to the top of the tree.

The newest Daddy Chronicles, starring a 3-year-old who only wants to sleep on the floor, and a 3-month-old who’s already huge

And a Happy Friday to you! I’m still digesting last night’s Duke-Carolina game, an event I look forward to for 10-11 months a year, and then they play again a few weeks later and you don’t get nearly the hype. But anyway, it was very disappointing to see my Blue Devils go down, getting outhustled and outplayed in the second half. Grrr. Next play.

Anyway, it’s been a couple of months since I’ve written about the two little loves of my life, and lots of stuff has gone on and changed as Theo becomes more and more like a baby and not just an infant, and Nate becomes, well, more and more like the awesome 3-year-old he is.

It’s kind of amazing to me that he’ll already be 4 this year; time’s not just flying, it’s zooming by in a DeLorean at 88 miles per hour (look it up, kids, it’s an 80s movie reference).

Without further ado, the latest edition of the Daddy Chronicles…

— So Theo (aka “the new guy,” as we call him) is absolutely a joy to be around. Seriously, I thought since Nate was such a great baby that we were due for a devil child this time around, but nope, the little guy is fabulous. Rarely cries, sleeps straight through from around 9-9:30 p.m. until 7-7:30 a.m.

— So we had Theo’s 3-month checkup this week and let’s just say this kid isn’t exactly wanting for food. He gained nearly three pounds since his 2-month checkup and now checks in at just under 15 pounds. If he looked any more like a bowling ball we’d tattoo “Brunswick” on his chest and set him up in an alley.

— He’s also begun doing the thing Nate used to do, that when I take a break from giving him the bottle to burp him, he cries and looks at me like I’ve committed an unpardonable sin. “Daddy, we had a good thing going! You give me the bottle and I drink it! Why ruin that?” For 10 seconds it’s like he thinks I’m never going to give him another drop of milk for the rest of his life.

But otherwise, he’s the best. Just this week he’s started smiling a bunch, and even adds a little giggle. It’s freaking awesome. Also he totally looks like me, but I’m hoping he’ll grow out of it.

— Nate accepted his little brother so beautifully, with so much love and hugs, that we wondered if we were going to get that “new sibling regression” at all.

Well, we’ve gotten it, a few months late. About a month ago, with Theo still in the bassinet in our room, Nate started wandering into our room in the middle of the night and crying, saying he wants to sleep on our floor.

OK, maybe he was feeling left out, why does my brother get to sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s room, something like that. So we didn’t make a big deal out of it. But after a week of this we put Theo in the crib back in the boys’ room, and figured that’d be the end of it.

But nope, Nate has continued the same routine: wander in sometime between midnight and 5 a.m., want to sleep on our floor, and then lay down. We’ve tried walking him back in, coddling him, offering him rewards/bribes, everything.

But nope, this phase just continues.

Hopefully sometime before high school he’ll go back to sleeping in his room.

— Two recent delightful utterances from the 3-year-old recently. First, while we were peeing together in a public restroom a few weeks ago, he just casually says “Daddy, you have a big penis.”

“Well yes I do, son, and you’re welcome.”

Second, he’s gotten into a delightful habit of when, as I help him pull his pants up after peeing, tapping me on the head and saying “Daddy, you don’t have any hair up here.”

Gee thanks kid, I’d forgotten I’m going bald. So glad you’re here to remind me!

— Finally, while Nate still doesn’t let his brother come up for air sometimes while hugging and kissing him so much, and Theo has become quite the procrastination ally at bedtime (“I just want to give my brother one more hug and kiss!”), it’s pretty awesome seeing the very early roots of what we hope will be a loving relationship.

Then again, we did notice Theo has learned to make a fist. Perhaps his first use of such fist will be slugging his brother.

Ah, the things we have to look forward to!

Jimmy Fallon channels Bob Dylan in an amazing performance. RIP, John Mahoney, a marvelous character actor. And an incredibly scary-accurate prediction that happened at the Super Bowl

Everybody discovers Bob Dylan in their own way, in their own time.

For me, it was when I was 14 years old, and I think it was an episode of “The Wonder Years” that played “The Times They Are A-Changin,’ the Dylan 1960s classic that was so good.

I listened to that song over and over again on cassette that year, as my life changed in many ways (my parents got divorced when I was 14) and I realized how amazing it must’ve been to be alive back in the 1960s, when the world changed so much.

I’ve heard the song dozens more times over the years, of course, and my passion for Dylan has faded a bit. But every once in a while, something will happen that brings it all back.

Jimmy Fallon, a man who has an incredible talent for mimicking and channeling legendary singers like Neil Young, was in Minneapolis for the Super Bowl Sunday night, and performing at the Orpheum Theater, he truly channeled Bob Dylan.

With a wig, a harmonica, and some updated lyrics that perfectly encapsulate issues we’re facing today, Fallon absolutely brought the house down. His lines about the New York Times, and his stanza about the NFL football protests, are spot-on.

Here are the lyrics; watch the performance above and see if you get chills like I did.

Come gather ‘round people wherever you roam
And admit that our country don’t feel like our home
And that silence speaks louder than those who condone
If a tweet to you is worth favin’
Then lift up your voices and put down your phones
For the times they are a-changin’

Come women and men who hashtag #MeToo
And believe me when I say that we believe you
For weak is the man who calls truth “fake news”
Time’s up, our silence we’re breaking
And even though Mel Gibson was in Daddy’s Home 2
Well, the times they are a-changin’

Come athletes with platforms throughout the land
Who by taking a knee are taking a stand
And before you shout out that they should be banned
Listen to what they are saying
Perhaps they’d stand up if you reached out your hand
Well, the times they are a-changin’

Come journalists, writers who report the facts
And brandish your pen to fend off his attacks
Look past what he says and look at how he acts
The Fire and Fury is raging
For his words can hurt, but your words can fight back
New York Times, they aren’t a-failin’

Come leaders who bully like Internet trolls
We’ll curse you with four-letter words “love” and “hope”
For we will go high even when you go low
The order is re-arranging
For you have the power, but we have the vote
The times they are a-changin’

**Next up today, a few words about the brilliant character actor John Mahoney, who was in so many great movies and TV shows, but specifically for me, two of my all-time favorites, “Say Anything,” and Frasier.

Playing Frasier Crane’s dad is what Mahoney will probably most be remembered for, and I think most of us are fine with that. To be able to play off two comic geniuses like Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce, and to take that exquisite writing that sitcom had, and deliver such winning lines week after week… John Mahoney was fantastic.

I scoured YouTube for the “ultimate” Martin Crane clip, and couldn’t find the one I wanted. But this one, not as comic as many, but a true testament to a gifted actor.

RIP, John.

**And finally today, this is definitely the weirdest thing that’s come out after the great Super Bowl on Sunday, including the Philly fan who willingly ate horse manure, and Rob Gronkowski calling 911 himself after his house got robbed.

There’s a writer who covers the Eagles named Sheil Kapadia, and a few days before the big game he did a podcast in which he predicted, exactly to the second, the major turning point defensive play, naming the players on Philadelphia who would be involved. This is some next-level Nostradamus kind of stuff. Hey Sheil, there’s a PowerBall drawing tonight…

Check it out below…