Category Archives: Uncategorized

New season of “Fargo” as good as the first. Missouri nearly illegallys executes a mentally disabled man. And a writer who saw many, many bad Royals teams writes about their win


**Three stories for your Wednesday written on Election Day 2015, exactly one year from Election Day 2016, when Hillary Rodham Clinton will become the first female President of the United States… As certain as I could be about something like that a year out, that’s how certain I am about that. I’m still hoping and praying America will #FeeltheBern, but my hopes are dimming (this Matt Taibbi piece in Rolling Stone is fantastic, though, explaining how the media marginalizes Bernie.)

When a TV series has an incredible debut season like “Fargo” had last year, you really have nowhere to go but down, or at the very least, stay at the same level.

Based on the fantastic, epic movie of the same name, last year’s eight-episode mini-series “Fargo” was truly sensational television. Billy Bob Thornton, Colin Hanks, and the rest of the cast blew me away.

This year, there’s a whole new cast, a mostly new story (one holdover character, Lou Solverson, is shown as a younger man, decades before Season 1 took place) and the quality is just about as good.

Seriously, it’s an embarrassment of riches in terms of acting talent in this show: Ted Danson (who ever thought Sam Malone would still be doing great work so long after “Cheers?”), Patrick Wilson, Kirsten Dunst, and the superb Jesse Plemons, who I loved as Landry on “Friday Night Lights” and as psychopath exterminator Todd on “Breaking Bad.”

We’re four episodes in to a story about a Midwest turf war set in 1979 between the Gerhart family and the Kansas City mafia, which involves a hit and run accident, a triple murder, and a whole lot of awesome ’70s clothes and mannerisms.

I won’t be giving away any spoilers because I haven’t seen Monday night’s episode, but Dunst has been particularly fabulous, and the scene last week with Wilson’s police officer character squaring off with the Gerharts on their ranch for the first time was so tense I felt myself completely unclench when it was finally over.

“Fargo” is on Mondays at 10 on FX, and you can catch up on Demand. If you’re already watching, my friend Rachel Cericola has been doing fabulous and funny recaps on

**Next up today, one more disgusting abuse of the immoral death penalty was set to occur on Tuesday, and this one is as loathsome as it gets.

Ernest Johnson is a mentally disabled man who’s been on Missouri’s death row since 1995. He has an IQ of 67. He was sentenced to death after being convicted of murdering three employees of a convenience store in 1994. But by every single measure you can think of, he is mentally disabled, and the Supreme Court has ruled that you cannot execute an intellectually disabled person.

And yet the state of Missouri, which along with Texas is responsible for 75 percent of the executions in America in 2015 (what a proud record to have, y’all should print that out on state stationery and hand it out to tourists at The Arch!), was set to break the laws of this nation and execute Johnson Tuesday night at 6 p.m. local time (The state has argued that the science is muddy regarding Johnson’s mental competency).

Thank God the Supreme Court issued an emergency stay just hours before Johnson was to be killed.
I cannot believe we still murder people with the state’s blessing in America. Generations from now, people will look back on this practice and wonder what in the hell were we thinking.


**Finally today, a couple leftover World Series thoughts I wanted to share (that’s the amazing front page of the Kansas City Star for Wednesday, from the Royals’ victory parade. Look at all those people!).

First, Joe Posnanski, who readers of this blog know is my sportswriting hero, probably watched more bad Kansas City Royals baseball than any media member alive, since he was a columnist for the Kansas City Star during the 1990s and part of the 2000s, when the Royals were by far the worst team in baseball.

Joe has written dozens of columns about how hapless the Royals were, both while they were happening (the team once refused to have its annual Negro Leagues tribute night at the ballpark because it didn’t want to spring for special jerseys for the players) and then in retrospect. (This little clip below kinda sums up how bad they were)

So he’s as shocked as anyone at what the last two years have wrought. With K.C. the new champs, he wrote this fabulous column about how far they’ve come.

Couple other quick comments on the Royals’ surprisingly short five-game triumph over the Mets:

— Hearing a lot of Mets fans here in N.Y. trashing Terry Collins over leaving Harvey in in the 9th inning, and trashing Terry in general. Are you people kidding me? Guy did a phenomenal job this year, and the last few years, keeping a team with limited talent competitive. This year they had zero offense for three months and he still had them sniffing first place. He deserves a whole lot of kudos, not criticisms.

— Baseball has a ton of problems, but one area it has made major improvements in? Anyone can win the World Series. The last 15 years or so, you’ve seen franchises like the Royals, the Marlins, the Angels and the Giants, teams with no tradition to speak of, win it all, and the Rays and Rockies make the championship round. It never used to be that way, so in one sense, baseball’s competitive balance has improved a lot. And that’s a good thing.

— Who do you think is more bummed by the World Series: Mets fans, or Daniel Murphy’s agent. Oof.


Another glorious NYC Marathon Sunday, viewed up close. The Jets are nosediving, and a 52-49 NFL game? Sure. And all hail the Kansas City Royals, world champs.


Lots of wonderful things I’ve discovered about living in NYC for the past four years.

One of my top three favorites, though, is the first Sunday in November. As I’ve written about here the past three years, Marathon Sunday is the best. Fifty thousand runners, of all shapes, stripes, creed, color and age, pushing their bodies 26.2 miles through all five boroughs.

In 2013 we moved to an apartment right under the 59th Street bridge, along 1st Avenue, which is a perfect spot to get up close and watch the runners fly by. With the weather perfect and my excitement heightened by showing this fabulous spectacle to my little boy for the first time (he was momentarily excited and wide-eyed, but after 10 minutes he got a little cranky), I happily stood along the barricades at 61st and 1st for a few hours.

Some thoughts from a wonderful day of watching athletic accomplishment:

— One thing that always surprises me about this throng of runners all barreling down the street: You never see a collision, or any bumping at all. I think in 2.5 hours of watching Sunday I maybe saw one time where a runner almost ran into another one.

— Highlight for me Sunday was seeing my awesome friend Christine, running her first marathon, spot me before I spotted her. I had my wife and all the strangers around me looking out for her (she had told me what she’d be wearing, I told her where we’d be, and I was tracking her race on the fabulous NYC Marathon app), and then all of a sudden she started streaming toward me. We hugged, I told her how great she was doing, she screamed “This is so hard!” and then kept running.

It was great.

— Love the high-fiving of strangers. Love screaming out the name of people with their name on their shirt, then them looking around like “who knows me here?”

— The costumes were, as usual, stellar. I saw quite a few Batmans, several Wonder Womans, lots of people wearing their country’s flags, and even a guy dressed in full FDNY firefighter gear, carrying a fire extinguisher to boot. That dude had to be committed to that costume to wear it for 26 miles.
My favorite, though, had to be the dude wearing an Eiffel Tower replica, with two people trailing him, one who was barefoot. I was speechless at that one.

— Always great signs from fans along the course. Two favorites from Sunday: 1., attached to a picture of a male underwear model, the words “Hey girl, I’m waiting for you at the finish line,” and “If Britney Spears could survive 2007, you can survive 26.2 miles.”

— Finally, every year I say the same thing, after watching the joy and agony of the runners: I’m gonna do this one day. I haven’t run so much since the little guy was born, but before his arrival I did a 10k and could run 6 miles at a time. I’ll get there one day.
But watching is almost as much fun.


**Next up, never a good sign as a Jets fan when Geno Smith comes into the game in the first quarter. What a miserable performance by my team, really getting blown out from the start by the suddenly decent Oakland Raiders. Looks like Ryan Fitzpatrick may be out awhile, which means we get more of Geno, which means the Jets’ once-promising season may get real shitty, real fast.

— The Giants scored 49 points Sunday. Eli Manning threw SIX touchdown passes. And they lost.
That was one of the most bizarre NFL games I’ve seen. Literally neither defense could make a stop, until the Giants got a defensive touchdown to go up 49-42.
What a pathetic display of defense. How do you feel good if you’re the Saints after that?

— Are the Vikings the best team no one is talking about? They’re 5-2, they’ve got a terrific young quarterback, and a good defense. And yet nobody’s considering them as a contender.

— This is not NFL-related, but again college football had me screaming at the referees Saturday night. Check out this nutso game-winning touchdown by Miami over Duke, using eight laterals, that absolutely should not have counted. Clear runner down at :26, and brutal block in the back at :39. Yes I’m a biased Duke fan, but this thing went to instant replay and they still got it all wrong! So, so awful.


**Finally, this World Series, man … it’s been fabulous.  Sunday night, Matt Harvey pitches the game of his life, just a few months after Mets fans were questioning his heart and desire. Guy throws eight shutout innings in a game his team must have, and still can’t get the win.
The Royals’ aggressive baserunning, a bad throw by Lucas Duda, and extra innings again. What an incredible, battle-back, scrappy team Kansas City is. I mean, they are never, ever, ever, out of a game. Such great defense, such smart baseball they play.

They are worthy World Series champs. Once the game got tied Sunday, I had no doubt K.C. would win. What an amazing turnaround story that franchise is.

As for the Mets, they had a hell of a season. Much better than anyone expected. You hope they’ll be back.

Terrific series. The best team won. (And poor Daniel Murphy can now go find a hole and hide for a few months).

Good News Friday: Finally, proof that hugs make you healthier! A Halloween commercial that cracked me up. And a woman who makes capes for sick children


And a Happy Friday to you! Many of my fellow New Yorkers are a little bummed today, what with the Mets being down 0-2 in the World Series to Kansas City, but hey, it’s Halloween weekend, the World Series ain’t over yet, and life is good.

Life is even better if you give a lot of hugs, too. We lead off Good News Friday with this fabulous story about a theory from top scientists at Carnegie-Mellon (really, are there any not-top scientists at a school like that? Of course not)

According to this story I heard on “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me,” scientists at Carnegie Mellon have a theory that could help you stay healthy and get the scientists at Carnegie Mellon some hug action. According to their research, people who hug more are less stressed. And the less stressed you are, the stronger your immune system. So the more you hug, the stronger you become.

I knew hugs were good for me! I’m a hugger. Maybe an over-hugger sometimes. But I love hugs, getting and receiving them. Hey, I’m the son of a woman who used to have a bumper sticker that read “Hugs not Drugs.” (Thanks Mom.)

So this is great news. I’m so happy about this, I’m gonna go hug it out like Ari from ‘Entourage” always said to.

Next up, tomorrow is of course Halloween, a holiday I never cared for but of course since I know am a father have to suddenly care about (don’t worry, I’m taking the little guy trick or treating in our building tomorrow, it should be fun). Check out this new Halloween-themed commercial that takes a very different (and hilarious) turn than what you’re expecting.

**Finally today, another beautiful and heartwarming tale from Robyn Rosenberger was a technical support employee for a software company when she decided to make a present for her 2-year-old nephew for his birthday. She decided to sew the tyke a superhero cape.

She liked it so much, she made a few more.Then she read online about a child with a rare skin disease named Brenna, and Robyn decided to make her a cape and sent it to her, too.

Word spread on social media and elsewhere, and suddenly Robyn had a business called “Tiny Superheroes,” making capes for sick children all over the world.

She’s now sewn capes for thousands of kids in all 50 states, and dozens of countries.

Watch the video above of Robyn telling her story in collaboration with American Express.

What an amazing woman. Truly an inspiration.

“Steve Jobs” a rip-roaring, crackling good time at the movies. Another disgraceful police brutality incident at a school in S.C. And GOP Debate III, the insanity continues!


(That World Series game last night, oh my God how fantastic was that! Too exhausted to write about it after it ended, but wow was that great.)

Sometimes, it’s like movies are made exactly for me.

Aaron Sorkin, my favorite Hollywood writer, pens a flick about Steve Jobs, one of the craziest and most brilliant thinkers of the 20th century? And it stars Kate Winslet, Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels?

Yeah, there was a 99 percent chance I was going to love this picture. The wife and I saw “Steve Jobs” Saturday night, and it was spectacular.

Honestly, I had so much fun at this film, and not just because it was a rare date night without the little guy for us.
Sorkin’s script was so sharp and funny and witty, it was like he’d totally forgotten how badly he’d screwed up “The Newsroom” and was channeling the best of his “The West Wing” writing.
The acting, led by Fassbender’s brilliant, frenetic turn as Jobs, was uniformly terrific, with Rogen surprising the hell out of me with the depth of his performance as Steve Wozniak, Jobs’ co-creator of Apple who got shunned to the side as Jobs’ star rose.

The movie shows Jobs as a complicated, often cruel, often whimsical guy, who had a knack for knowing what the customer wanted most times, but stubbornly refusing to yield to basic common consumer sense at others.

I came away from the movie not feeling sympathy for Jobs, but rather, being amazed he was able to accomplish what he did, with so many crippling flaws.

It’s a truly fantastic movie, with great insights into a man few understood. Go see it.

**Next up, you may have seen this video Tuesday, yet another despicable act by a law enforcement officer. This one thankfully didn’t result in a murder, but is distasteful for other reasons. Monday at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C., a female student was assaulted and manhandled by Richland County sheriff’s deputy Ben Fields, one of the two officers who works at the school.

The girl was allegedly not obeying the teacher’s orders, and was asked to leave. Fields then ordered the girl to get up, before he yanked her wrist, wraped his arm around her neck, and FLIPS her (and her desk) onto the ground. Fields then drags her out of the overturned desk, throws her across the room, and jumps on top of her while instructing her to put her hands behind her back. At no point does the girl appear to put up a physical fight.

To say this was an incredible overreaction and a wanton abuse of power is an understatement. Incredibly, I saw some people on Facebook defending Mr. Fields Tuesday.

As my friend and e-migo, Dr. Rebecca M. said to me as we discussed this: “People are arguing that security needed to be called for a student not participating, so that learning could happen. If you think learning is going to happen after students witnessed THAT, congrats you have passed the sociopath test.”


**Finally today, great night for obssessive channel-switchers like me: We’ve got World Series Game 2 (last night was a hell of a game in what ought to be a fabulous Series, I’m picking Royals in 7) and we’ve got Episode 3 of the long-running series “Which 2016 Republican presidential candidate can say the most crazy shit and still get the nomination?”

Yes friends, we’ve got the third GOP debate tonight on CNBC at 8 p.m, starring new front-runner Dr. Ben Carson, who likes to use Nazi Germany references when talking about U.S. legislation; The Man Called Trump, as the great Charlie Pierce calls him, Marco Rubio, who is the only candidate who actually scares me in a general, but can’t seem to get any traction; and W.’s brother, who is running the worst campaign this side of Lincoln Chafee.

One of these days I’ve got to live-blog or live-Tweet these GOP debates, because they’re so batshit crazy, filled with so many far-right ideas and racist, homophobic and xenophobic comments that my head spins.

Couple things to look for tonight: This is the first debate since Carson has surged into the lead, so look for Trump and others to attack him; also, look for Rubio and Bush to really take on Trump some more, now that there’s finally been some denting in his armor.

I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Kasich continue his theme of “sanity,” in a desperate appeal to seem different from the rest. This debate is supposed to focus on the economy, I’ve read, so with the U.S. economy humming along and the Affordable Care Act a big success in every way, can’t wait to see how they blame Obama.

Get your popcorn, this one ought to be a whole lotta fun.

A movie I’ve seen WAY too many times: Brady slays my Jets. How many tragedies can Oklahoma St. endure? And a beautiful profile of master NPR interviewer Terry Gross


There are some movies I love to watch over and over again.

I can’t view “The Princess Bride,” or “Coming to America” enough, and if “The Shawshank Redemption” or “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” are on, I’m stopping to watch for at least 10 minutes.

And then there’s the movie I can’t stop watching, even though I really want to. It’s a movie I’ve seen so many damn times before, and it stars a pretty-boy quarterback who wears No. 12 for the New England Patriots football team, and in this movie that runs on a loop twice a year in the fall, the quarterback slices and dices the defense of my beloved New York Jets.

Oh, sometimes the script changes a little bit, sometimes the green and white get closer to beating the Pats; sometimes it hurts more than it does others.

But the ending Does. Not. Change.

I watched it again Sunday, and once again I got suckered in, thinking maybe this was a director’s cut or some new spliced footage coming in. My boys played a strong first three quarters: Ryan Fitzpatrick looked real good at QB, the defense bent but didn’t break, and even without the customary strong running game, the Jets were in every position to win.

The Pats were dropping passes, settling for field goals, and as soon as the Jets’ Brandon Marshall hauls in that pass to put the Jets up 24-16… only he drops it. And of course the Jets kick only a field goal, and of course Brady marches New England down the field for the go-ahead touchdown, and you know the rest.

Every damn year. So frustrating, because this Jets team is good enough to beat the Pats. But it never changes. The movie reel never runs out before the bad guys win.

Dammit, dammit, dammit. Forty years old and I’m still yelling at my TV over a stupid football game.

One day Brady will retire, and the movie might change. Maybe.


**Usually, interviewers dream about, or are desperate to interview one or two famous people they’ve never gotten to talk to.

In the case of NPR’s queen of awesome, Terry Gross, it’s celebrities who fantasize about being interviewed by her on her iconic NPR afternoon radio show, “Fresh Air.”

Seriously, listen to some of these quotes from this fantastic profile of her in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine…

‘My No. 1 fantasy of all time is to be interviewed by Terry Gross.’’

‘‘I have gone so far as to rehearse answers to specific questions. … ’’

‘‘Every single time I hear a Terry Gross interview, I wonder what it would be like for her to do some research on me and do an interview.’’

Terry Gross has hosted “Fresh Air” for my entire lifetime (since 1975) and she’s quite simply the best interviewer on the radio, TV or anywhere else. This profile by Susan Burton really goes into who Gross is, how she gets inside her subject’s heads so, and what makes her tick. When I listen to her, I often find myself saying “that’s a great question, I wonder if I would’ve thought to ask that.”

She’s a maestro, and this profile is well worth your time today.


**And finally today, you may have heard about the awful tragedy that happened Saturday afternoon in Stillwater, Okla. when a car driven by a drunk driver plowed into a parade celebrating Homecoming at Oklahoma State University, killing four people and causing dozens of ther injuries.

It immediately made me think: Is this poor school cursed? This is the third major tragedy the school has suffered in the past 14 years, all tied to the athletic program.

In 2001, a plane crash carrying men’s basketball team personnel and broadcasters crashed in a snowstorm, killing 10 people.
Ten years later, in Nov. 2011, women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna were among four killed in a plane crash in Perry County, Ark., while they were on a recruiting trip.

And now this. It’s unfathomable, and awful, and no school deserves to continually go through this. It’s amazing that three tragedies like this have happened to the same place; I can’t imagine one small community having to go through all this.

Spare a thought for the people in Stillwater today, as old wounds just get dredged up again.

Good News Friday: A couple’s cancelled wedding leads to a huge feast for the homeless. A great story on a Make-A-Wish chapter in Arkansas. And Dan Barry on Mets-Cubs, written in 1908 style

And a Happy Friday to you! Lots of good stuff to share with you today, as I try to remember if yesterday’s pointless and inane Benghazi hearing was the 11th or 12th time the GOP House has investigated this…

First up, this story went viral this week and deservedly so, but just in case you missed it, wanted to share it here. An engaged couple in Sacramento called off their engagement right before their wedding, when it was too late to cancel the catering and the reception and all that good stuff.

So the bride’s mother, Kari Duane, said that rather than cancel the reception, they invited Sacramento’s homeless for a once in a lifetime meal Saturday at the Citizen Hotel, one of the city’s finest venues.

From this AP story: “Duane said her 27-year-old daughter called her Monday to tell her she and her fiance had decided not go through with the wedding. Soon after, the family decided to share the nonrefundable event with the less fortunate.

“Even though my husband and I were feeling very sad for our daughter, it was heartwarming to see so many people be there and enjoy a meal,” Duane said.

A wonderful gesture. Clearly Mr. and Mrs. Duane have raised their daughter right.


**Next up, “60 Minutes” did a story this week on one of my all-time favorite organizations, the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It’s such a simple premise: Send incredibly sick children somewhere they’ve always wanted to go, to meet someone famous or have an adventure.

The story focused on one chapter in Arkansas, in a rural community where families have very little money to spare, but give so much to this wonderful cause. (Warning: The end of the story is a bit of a gut punch.)

So many good people in the world, aching to do good.



**Finally today, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy it when newspapers do stuff like this, just to break up the monotony, be creative, and have some fun.

The Chicago Cubs haven’t won the World Series since 1908. In getting swept by the Mets Wednesday night, it was assured that streak will live on.

So Dan Barry, the immensely gifted New York Times writer, decided to pen a column about the game written entirely in 1908 sportswriter language.

We get “smote,” we get “Bunyan-esque,” and we get “twirler,” along with SO many other fantastic turns of phrase. And check out the old-school page design (above) as well.

So, so good. Read, laugh and enjoy.

A trip back to UD to talk about college journalism leaves me inspired. Joe Biden, for the love of God, just decide already. And “Gilmore Girls” is coming back!


I’ve said this before on here, but I’ll say it again: My experience at the University of Delaware’s student newspaper was the best experience of my life.

The three years I spent on the paper, staying up all night to make deadline, eating crap food, having wonderful memories with like-minded crazies like me who lived, ate and breathed journalism, still makes me smile every time I think of it.

It’s been almost 20 years now since my byline last appeared in The Review, but the darn thing still holds a grip on me. It’s where I first learned everything about how to be a reporter, how to write good stories, how to write bad stories, how to screw up so bad and then face the music the next day, and truly, how much bloody fun it is to be a journalist.

Anyway, back in June I wrote about how, but due to financial troubles, a bunch of UD alumni who worked at The Review were trying to raise money to help save it, and one of the things we’ve done is form an alumni association. Last Saturday I ventured down to UD for our first event, a workshop featuring current Review editors and us old geezer alumni.

We had a great turnout, with alums from places like the Philadelphia Daily News and Baltimore Sun coming back to lead sessions about writing, reporting and editing.

I led sessions on interviewing techniques and longform writing, and what I’ll remember most about the day was the passion of the current staff.

They told us stories about frustration with current administration, coaches who wouldn’t let them talk to players, and general, unbridled enthusiasm about their journalistic futures.

These people were me two decades ago, and despite the challenges facing journalism today, were full of passion and love for it. I felt fortunate to be passing along what wisdom I’ve gleaned to these 19 and 20-year-old kids, newbies in the field.

I loved talking to them and seeing their hope, and how much they still cared about my old student newspaper.

I hope their passion never fades.

(By the way, this is totally random, but when I did a Google search for photos of The Review,” that one above came up. And the guy on the right in the photo? Ray West. Kanye West’s father. How bizarre.)


**Next up today, Joe Biden made some remarks at George Washington University on Tuesday, and he made a few remarks that seemed to be digs at Hillary Clinton, and a few barbs that seemed to be digs at Bernie Sanders, and he looks like a Presidential candidate, smells like a Presidential candidate … but refuses to say he is one.

A quick open letter to Joe from Delaware: Seriously, with all due respect Mr. Vice President, I’m getting Mario Cuomo flashbacks here. Either you’re running or you’re not. Poop or get off the pot (trying to be respectful here, he is, after all, the VPOTUS).

It’s late-October, the debates have started, nearly all the Democratic millionaires and billionaires have chosen their candidate, and all this waffling is pretty unbecoming of someone of your stature.

You’ve run for President twice before, and failed badly. Apparently, though, instead of going out of public office on a high note, as a terrific vice-president to a two-term Democratic President, you want to run again, where you’ll likely lose.

There’s no clamor for you to run, no void for you to fill. I don’t think you can beat Hillary, but it seems against your own better judgement, you’re going to run (just watch that Colbert interview from a few weeks ago again, that’s not a man who wants to do this).

Anyway, whatever you do, just make up your mind already. Please. Thank you.

**Finally today, this really could wait until Good News Friday but news this exciting just can’t wait: “Gilmore Girls” is coming back! Yes, one of my all-time favorites, a show with more words per minute than anything this side of “The West Wing,” is coming back.

Sorta. Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and Netflix have announced that the inhabitants of Stars Hollow are returning for four 90-minute episodes, or mini-movies, or whatever.

Apparently they’ve already got a large part of the cast returning, with Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Scott Patterson (Luke) and Kelly Bishop (Emily) agreeing to come back.

I really hope they don’t ruin the show and make bad comeback episodes. I mean, they have to set it in the present day and not try to go back eight years to when the show ended, right?

Anyway, I’m thrilled. I loved “Gilmore Girls” for its wit, wisdom, heart, and downright quirkiness. The scene above is one of my all-time faves, but really, there were 50 I could’ve picked from.

We’ve missed you, Stars Hollow. If there’s any justice in the world, Kirk will be mayor by now.

The Mets and Jets are awesome, is it 1986 and 1969 all over again? Larry David as Bernie Sanders is fabulous. And 2 amazing college football plays I must share


Growing up on Long Island, I’d say 80 percent of kids are both Mets and Jets fans.
The fan bases are centered there, the teams both used to play/practice closer to us than the Yankees and Giants, and there has always been a tortured fan base vibe to both teams.

Luckily for me, I escaped one misery and became a Yankees fan. But still, the Jets have given me enough misery for a lifetime.

To be a Mets/Jets fan is to know the ending of the movie long before the credits, and to expect disappointment and take comfort in it; losing for Mets/Jets fans is a security blanket you can always count on.

Which is why I’m thinking about people like my friends David K. and Scott S. today, lifelong Jets/Mets fans, who’ve experienced more sports fan suffering than any human should.

But today, their world is upside down. Look: The New York Mets are two wins away from the World Series, with dominant starting pitching and a pretty-good infielder (Daniel Murphy) who’s suddenly the greatest hitter in the history of baseball.

And my New York Jets, with another impressive win Sunday to move to 4-1, suddenly with a shot to go to Foxboro next week and prove they’re a first-place team in the AFC East.

It’s nuts. It’s impossible. It NEVER happens.

Only twice in the history of these two terrible teams have they both been good in the same calendar year: 1969, when the Jets won the Super Bowl and the Mets won their first championship, and 1986, when the Jets ran out to a 10-1 start and the Mets won their last World Series (The Jets collapsed that season, but still, for a few months were the best team in football).

And now, it’s happening again. Do you know how much losing these fan bases have endured? How many injuries and bad luck and coaching ineptitude they’ve seen (we’re looking at you, Rich Kotite and Jeff Torborg)?

And now, at least temporarily, there’s joy.

Up is down. Black is white. Pat Buchanan’s a liberal Democrat and Jesse Jackson has joined the Tea Party.

It’s a mad, mad world. And I know lots of people are enjoying the hell out of it.

**Next up today, I love Larry David like most Americans do, and I love me some Bernie Sanders, as you all know. So when I discovered on Sunday that America’s comedian curmudgeon had surprisingly played America’s political curmudgeon on “Saturday Night Live,” well, there was no way this wasn’t going on the blog today.

That it happened to be really funny was a bonus; Kate MacKinnon’s Hillary has really gotten almost as good as Amy Poehler’s was, and David’s rant about emails, and the pens at the bank, had me laughing out loud.

**Finally, I don’t talk much about college football on here because, quite frankly, I don’t follow it or care for it that much. College football is by far the most corrupt college sport (I know, my beloved college basketball can be a cesspool sometimes too, but it’s not in the same cheating league as football), and it’s never meant too much to me.

But two plays in the past few days blew me away, first for its athleticism and the second one for its shock value.

The first one (video above) was a type of catch I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. Stanford’s Francis Owusu on Thursday night made this incredible catch against UCLA, trapping the ball against the defender’s back to score a touchdown. The close-up replay starts at :35… I watched it five times and I still can’t believe he caught it that way.

The second one got way more attention, because it was on Saturday, and it was the final play of the Michigan-Michigan State game. If you haven’t seen it, it has to be seen to be believed. Michigan was up 23-21, with 10 seconds left, and was about to pull off a big upset in this huge rivalry.

All the Wolverines had to do was have punter Blake O’Neill punt the ball, anywhere and for any distance, and they’d win. But O’Neill dropped the snap, and well, this happened… I’ve never seen a game end like this. Absolutely soul-crushing for 100,000 UM fans in Ann Arbor.

Just wow.

The lede from the great Mitch Albom’s column in the Detroit Free Press Sunday:

Rub your eyes. Shake your head. Rub your eyes again. You will never see a play like that again and you will never see an end like that again and there may never be a game in this storied Michigan-Michigan State rivalry like that again, not one that ends more strangely or turns more fortunes than the final seconds of this chilled Saturday evening.


Good News Friday: The pizza delivery guy who got a $1,000 tip. The Swedish Chef does “Rapper’s Delight,” awesomely. And a gay kid who got bullied gets a beautiful apology

(I’m not writing about baseball today, but this home run/bat flip by Toronto’s Jose Bautista Wednesday was just about the coolest, most bad-ass move I’ve ever seen. Carry on.)

And a Happy Friday to you all. I know Dodgers fans aren’t too happy, but yeah, the rest of us can be. How ’bout those Mets!

We start today with a fabulous story from Pickerington, Ohio. A pizza delivery woman named Natasha Boyer brought a pie to the Sycamore Creek Church last week, and was rewarded with a $1,046 tip.
“We took up a special offering for a tip for you,” Sycamore Creek Church pastor Steve Markle told Boyer in front of the church’s congregation earlier this month.

“It’s $1,046, to be exact, and I hope that this can help you. I don’t know what’s going on in your life.”

Boyer, a 21-year-old single mother, woke up on Oct. 4 to find an eviction notice taped to her door. She went to work at a local Domino’s unsure of how she would make rent.

“It will help a lot. Thank you so much. Thank you everybody,” she said between sobs as the congregation cheered.

The mother of one told NBC 4i that the tip “blessed me so much and it saved my house and my son’s house.”

She told the station that, thanks to the gift, she was able to pay her rent and the late fee.

“They saved me,” Boyer said of the congregation. “God saved me from losing my place. I mean, it was truly the biggest blessing that I’ve ever received.”

What a fantastic pay it forward kind of moment. Here’s video of it; her reaction at 1:45 is so great…

**Next up, I don’t care if you’re a fan of “The Muppets” or not, I defy you to watch this clip from this week’s episode of the Swedish Chef belting out the classic “Rapper’s Delight” and not smile.

Go ahead, watch it again. And a few more times. It’s beyond fantastic. I haven’t even watched the whole episode yet, but now I can’t wait.

**Finally today, this was a beautiful video with a great message about maturity and tolerance. An Irish YouTube star named Riyadh had a very rough childhood thanks to being bullied for being gay. “I hated every minute of it,” he said.

But now that he’s older, he decided to try to talk to one of his biggest bullies, to see why the boy did what he did, and to have a chat about it.

The result is … fantastic. And poignant. And touching. The good stuff starts at 1:50…

The Democratic debate: O’Malley and Hillary shine, Bernie does OK. And an incredible “60 Minutes” story and the most arrogant D.A. you’ve ever seen.


Well that was a pretty darn interesting two hours if you ask me.

We finally got to see a Democractic Presidential debate Tuesday night, with a manageable field of five candidates, giving all of them plenty of time (except, apparently, for Jim Webb, who did everything but stomp his feet, take his ball and go home because he wasn’t getting the time he wanted).

Was it thrilling? Nope. But that’s OK. It was substantative, entertaining, and informative.

I watched at a midtown Manhattan bar at a Bernie Sanders supporter “watch party,” packed with about 100 people. (So weird to see a whole bar quietly watching TV.) Lots of thoughts to get to about the debate, so here goes…

— Hillary Clinton won because she was Floyd Mayweather inside the ring: Touched up a bit but not really hurt. I thought Hillary was strong on the foreign policy stuff, she sounded pretty darn progressive on income inequality (a big pivot for her from the past), and luckily for her, the line of the night came from her biggest rival praising her (more on that in a minute). She’s an excellent debater, though I thought her answer on the Black Lives Matter question was weak, and she did a whole lot of dodging at the start when Anderson Cooper (who was pretty good) asked about her changed opinions.

— To me the clear star of the night was Martin O’Malley. I said the other day here that this was his shot to become relevant, and boy, did he seize it. He was direct, he was forceful, he attacked Hillary on some of her Senate positions, and he made a clear case for why he should be taken seriously as a candidate. His closing was terrific, too. I’m very, very happy O’Malley may start to get some traction now.

— As for my man Bernie … it went OK. His gun control answers were convoluted and all over the place, and it seemed like he was pressured from all sides and that the issue dominated the first half of the debate. He got much better as the night went along… and then he said this.

Lots of people at the bar cheered. I cringed and groaned. Bernie handed his biggest rival for the nomination an absolute gift, giving her a free pass on a situation that, while not the huge scandal the GOP is making out to be, is also not nothing. This is a real troubling situation that the FBI is looking into. And Bernie basically cleared it off the table. At least he admitted it was bad politics.

Overall, Bernie’s goal was to keep this a two-person race. I don’t think he did that. I think O’Malley will get a nice bump and it’s now a three-person race, at least for a little while.

— Nice to see a debate among grown-ups, without name-calling and actual policies and problems being discussed, not mindless platitudes and dick-swinging from macho male men.

— Jim Webb would make a real nice nominee for the Republican Party. He’s about as Democratic as Joe Lieberman was at the end. And bragging about killing a guy in his military service in his closing statement? That’s right out of the Republican playbook.

— More Democratic debates, please. And Lincoln Chafee, you can leave now, thanks for playing.


**Next up, this story blew me away, from last Sunday’s “60 Minutes” program. It infuriated me, moved me, and made me want to strangle someone on TV like few stories have in a long, long time.

Glenn Ford was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death row in Louisiana in 1983. There was almost no evidence against him, he was African-American facing an all-white jury, and his attorneys were woefully unqualified.

Ford spent 30 years in prison before finally being released when new evidence came to light about his innocence, and he was finally released.

The story “60 Minutes” tells is about the anguish and remorse felt by the prosecutor in the case, Marty Stroud, and he comes across as very sympathetic and torn up over what he did.

But what really blew me away were the comments of Dale Cox, the current acting D.A. of Caddo Parish, Louisiana. This son of a bitch defends the prosecution of Cox, doesn’t believe any injustice has been done, and argues strongly FOR the death penalty as much as possible.

Here’s an excerpt from CBS’ Bill Whitaker’s interview of Cox, but really I urge you to watch the whole piece:

Dale Cox: I think society should be employing the death penalty more rather than less.
Bill Whitaker: But there have been 10 other inmates on death row in Louisiana who have been exonerated. Clearly, the system is not flawless. Are you sure that you’ve gotten it right all the time?
Dale Cox: I’m reasonably confident that– that I’ve gotten it right.
Bill Whitaker: Reasonably confident?
Dale Cox: Am I arrogant enough, am I narcissistic enough to say I couldn’t make a mistake? Of course not.
Bill Whitaker: But until this information came out, the state was convinced that Mr. Ford was guilty.
Dale Cox: Yes.
Bill Whitaker: He could have been killed.
Dale Cox: Yes.
Bill Whitaker: And it would’ve been a mistake.
Dale Cox: Yes.
Bill Whitaker: It sounds like you’re saying that’s just a risk we have to take.
Dale Cox: Yes.

So in Dale Cox’s world, it’s OK if you kill a few innocent people, that’s just the cost of doing business.

If this CBS interview didn’t cost him his job, there really is zero justice in the world.