Tag Archives: Alex Rodriguez

The horror of “lunch-shaming” poor public school kids. Jimmy Kimmel with an amazing story of his son’s birth, and health scare. And maybe the most awkward and awful TV interview ever, starring A-Rod and Derek Jeter

There is much to be outraged about in our society these days, but today I just want to single out one horrible, vile, disgusting practice that is apparently just fine with nearly half of school districts in America.

The practice is called “lunch-shaming,” and if you’re not familiar with it, here’s how it works: A student goes to school and then to the cafeteria at lunch time. They stand on line, grab a sandwich or a hamburger and some fruit or whatever. They get to the register, and if it turns out they have an outstanding balance on their account, the cafeteria workers get to do something drastic. Like take their food and throw it in the garbage. Or give the child a cold sandwich with very little in it. Or not give the child any food at all.

From this New York Times story that got me all fired up:
“The practice is widespread — a 2014 report from the Department of Agriculture found that nearly half of all districts used some form of shaming to compel parents to pay bills. (About 45 percent withheld the hot meal and gave a cold sandwich, while 3 percent denied food entirely.)

A Pennsylvania cafeteria worker posted on Facebook that she had quit after being forced to take lunch from a child with an unpaid bill. In Alabama, a child was stamped on the arm with “I Need Lunch Money.” (my addition: STAMPED ON THE ARM!???) On one day, a Utah elementary school threw away the lunches of about 40 students with unpaid food bills.

Hazel Compton, 12, remembers being given a sandwich of white bread with a slice of cheese instead of the hot lunch served to other children at her Albuquerque elementary school. (A school district spokeswoman said the sandwich met federal requirements.)

School is really, really fucking hard for some kids. There are all kinds of extra disadvantages when you’re poor, from not being able to wear nice clothes or the “cool style” to having to do homework late into the night because you had to work an after-school job to help support your family, or having to ride 2-3 buses or trains to get to a good school because the schools are terrible where you live.

School can be so, so hard. And knowing all that, knowing how painful and difficult and excruciating it can be, we still have school districts that allow employees to humiliate and disgrace children who are poor through no fault of their own.

Look, I know there’s another side to this, that school districts are underfunded, that someone has to pay for that food, etc. But come on! How about our state legislators bump up school funding so schools can help out poor families? How about lowering the limits for the free lunch program, so more families can get meals for their kids?

So many better solutions than “lunch-shaming.” What a despicable practice.

Makes me so goddamn mad.

**Next up today, grab the tissues and hold all calls for 10 minutes, this is absolutely worth your time. Jimmy Kimmel was off last week from his terrific late-night show, and Monday night in an emotional, heart-felt monologue, he explained why: His son Billy was born, only there was an immediate medical scare that had Billy fighting for his life.

Stay till the end, when he says something about saving children’s lives that, silly me, I thought 100 percent of people could agree with (nope, some were still mad at him for saying it.)

Really fantastic, raw, real stuff here from Kimmel.

**Finally today, who doesn’t love a great, horribly awkward interview starring an interviewer who has no clue about his subjects, doesn’t listen to them, then calls them by the wrong names?

I give you a five-minute masterpiece of awfulness here, folks. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez were on CNBC Tuesday to hype some charity, and were interviewed by CNBC’s Bob Pisani. Besides calling Derek “Alex” a few times, asking Jeter about the Met gala after Jeter had just said he didn’t go, and trying to cause tension between the two, everything went great.

God this is wonderfully terrible TV.

“Don’t Think Twice” is a sweet, funny movie you should see. Michael Phelps may be the most dominant athlete ever. And Alex Rodriguez, don’t let the door hit you on the way out


“Has anyone here had a particularly hard day?”

That’s the question the fictional improv group “The Commune” asks at the beginning of every show in the fabulous movie “Don’t Think Twice.” It’s an open-ended question that any audience member can respond to, by saying anything, and then the magic begins: The six comedians onstage take whatever is thrown out and make a hilarious sketch out of it.

Improv comedy is one of the most fun shows you could possibly get into, but it’s also very, very hard, isn’t at all lucrative, and can lead to quite a lot of frustration.

I love Mike Birbiglia, as I’ve expressed on here before, and I love Keegan-Michael Key, and when a movie starring two of my favorite comedians has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 99 percent, I had a feeling I’d love “Don’t Think Twice.”

And I did. This 90-minute little gem of a flick, about an improv group and what happens when one of them makes a “Saturday Night Live”-type show is terrific. I thought it would be funny, and it was. But it was much sweeter and tender than I expected, as we get storylines like Bill (Chris Gethard’s) Dad struggling with health issues, and Miles (Birbiglia) being the elder statesman/teacher character and being forced to watch his pupils have better careers.

Gillian Jacobs is sensational in this movie (I never watched “Community” so I didn’t know her that well), and the dialogue and reactions of the characters feel very real.

“Don’t Think Twice” isn’t playing in wide release, sadly, because in the summer only superhero-type movies make money. But if it’s playing near you, I highly recommend it.

Next up today, another incredible night for American athletes at the Rio Olympics so far, and also might I say me and millions of others may be wrong about these Games being a total disaster? Oh, there have been problems in Rio so far, but not nearly the disaster it appears to be (NBC’s TV coverage, however? Yeah, that’s a disaster).

I promise to write about the fantastic Katie Ledecky sometime soon, but tonight I’m all about Michael Phelps. This guy… I mean, is he more dominant, for a longer period of time, than any athlete, ever? You can say Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky were each on top as long as the 12 years Phelps has, and I would say you’re right.

But Phelps is right there on the same level as MJ and Gretzky, and great as they were, they had teammates. Tuesday night, competing in an event he said he’d never do again (the 200 butterfly), he turned back challenger Chad Le Clos from South Africa and squeaked out yet another gold medal win.

That’s 21 gold medals for Phelps now, more than all but 40 countries have ever won. Phelps has 21 golds, the next closest athletes have NINE. NINE!

The superlatives are useless in describing him, they really are. Guy is a once-every-hundred-years kind of competitor, and we’re lucky we’re alive to see him.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 22: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees reacts after lining out to left in the second inning against the San Francisco Giants at Yankee Stadium on July 22, 2016 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

**Finally today, a few words about Alex Rodriguez, who’s announcing his retirement from baseball on Friday.

Good. Riddance. One of the most despised players in baseball in the last 40 years, his career is a testament to cheating, phony statements and sentiments, and an overall persona eclipsed in jerkitude (not a word but I’m making it one) by only Barry Bonds.

I’ve been a Yankees fan for 35 years, and he’s far and away my most despised Yankee (Clemens is No. 2). He is one of the greatest players to ever play, with natural talent so many would kill for, and he chose to knowingly cheat, then lie and obfuscate about it for years.

I cannot wait until he’s out of that Yankee uniform for good. Few have disgraced it as much as he has.

A fabulous video on if we treated the arts like sports. A Michigan law disgustingly discriminates against gay adoption. And a father turns funny kids sayings into art

Thoughts on a Monday morning while pondering why God hates Cleveland, how if Kyrie Irving were healthy the Cavs would’ve been planning a parade in Ohio right now, and knowing damn well that no matter who wins this NBA Finals series, LeBron should be Finals MVP…

It’s obvious to millions of people in this country, even to sports diehards like me, that we put way too much emphasis on athletics in America.

And that of course extends to the media, which covers people like Alex Rodriguez, LeBron James and Tom Brady as if they were the most important humans who ever walked the face of the Earth (“what, they can hit a ball far over a fence or throw it 50 yards? Of course they should be treated like kings!”)

However, since it’s not like sports are suddenly going to be de-emphasized, in place of say, the arts, it’s up to comedians like Owen Weber to produce brilliant parodies like this (above), sent to me by my smart and funny friend Will. It’s a “Sportscenter”-like take on how shows about the arts would look if they were given the same God-like status in our culture as sports.

My favorite part? “The stage-presence-enhancing drugs.” Brilliant.


**Next up, it’s fairly depressing for liberals like me to look around at the enormous majority of Republicans running statehouses and state legislatures these days, and the draconian laws they’re passing.

Truly, I could write a post a day, seven days a week, for months just on the anti-choice, discriminatory bills against gays, minorities, and any other group that isn’t a while male that gets passed, usually under the radar. Sure, the GOP-led Congress is doing nothing, but truly insidious laws are being passed in places like Florida, Texas and Oklahoma.

Today, though, I want to focus on Michigan, and a remarkably shameful piece of legislation just passed.

From the Detroit Free Press: “On Wednesday, Republican majorities in both chambers approved a bill that would allow faith-based adoption agencies — including those who take taxpayer dollars to place children who are in the state’s custody — to discriminate in the practice of their work. They can deny services to families that violate the agency’s religious beliefs, including unmarried couples, same-sex couples and those who hold different religious beliefs.

The legislation is a craven attempt to cloak discrimination in faith, and it leaves the best interests of the 13,000 children in the state’s care — entirely out of the equation.”

So once again, just like in Indiana last spring, the Michigan legislature has legalized discrimination, telling anyone, like an adoption agency, that they don’t have to let gay couples adopt.

This is disgusting, and as has been discussed before, oh so stupid; committed gay couples are just as likely, if not more likely (thanks to the fact that it’s infinitely more difficult for them to adopt) to be good parents for those kids who need homes.

I really think that, 25 years from now, this idiotic thinking is going to look so bizarre to people, that simply because of a couple’s sexual preference, they weren’t allowed to be parents.

And hiding behind “religious reasons” is just oh so cowardly.


**Finally today, my friend Amanda pointed me to this pretty hilarious post on the ScaryMommy.com blog, highlighting the work of Martin Bruckner. He’s a Dad who runs a Tumblr called “Spaghetti Toes” (the name comes from overhearing his wife say to his daughter, “Please don’t put spaghetti between your toes” at the dinner table,” something I’m sure I’ll say at some point in the next year or two to our son), and what he does is take utterances by parents to little kids, or vice versa, and makes art out of them.

The one above might be my favorite, but I love this one too:

Scarymommy.tiredandoutofgasCheck out more at Bruckner’s Etsy.com site here.


Bruce and Fallon team up again, awesomely. Memory wizards revisited, on “60 Minutes.” And are you a psychopath? 1 question tells all

So Bruce Springsteen went on Jimmy Fallon’s show Tuesday night, and predictably, something awesome happened. The two teamed up for a fabulous duet a couple years back (Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair”) and it was fantastic, but this one from this week may be even better.

That’s right, “Born to Run” gets the Gov. Chris Christie scandal treatment. God I love both of these guys singing…

**So after CBS and “60 Minutes” finished shoveling dirt on Alex Rodriguez’s baseball career last Sunday (they did a fabulous, and necessary job, showing A-Rod to be the absolute liar, phony and fraud we all knew he was, but now backing it up with evidence), there was a much more interesting story told on the show.

A few years ago “60 Minutes” aired one of my favorite pieces ever, about a rare group of “memory wizards,” who can recall every single day of their lives in amazing detail, including what they wore, what they ate, and what day of the week it was.

Now there’s a new report, with even more “memory wizards” having been found, and the science behind why these people can do what they do is fascinating.

Check it out below… I can’t decide if I would want to have this ability, or wouldn’t. Love to hear your thoughts on it.

**Finally today, my father sent me this over email the other day, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

Read this question, come up with an answer and then scroll down to the
bottom for the result. This is not a trick question; It is as it reads.

“A woman, while at the funeral of her own mother, met a guy whom she did
not know. She thought this guy was amazing. She believed him to be her
dream guy so much, that she fell in love with him right there, but never
asked for his number and could not find him. A few days later she killed
her sister.
Question: What is her motive for killing her sister?”

Now, I was completely at a loss when I first saw this, and took at least three guesses before scrolling down for the answer.


She was hoping the guy would appear at the funeral again. If you answered this correctly,  you think like a psychopath.
Apparently this was a test by a famous American psychologist used to test if one has the same mentality as a killer. Many arrested serial killers took part in the
test and answered the question correctly.

For the sake of you and your friends, I hope you didn’t get it right! (In case you’re curious, my guess was that she found out the sister was in love with him, too.)

Please, MLB, send A-Rod away. Free money, not accepted. And a fascinating look into stripping in an oil boom town


Please, let it be this week.
Please let this be the week that Major League Baseball suspends Alex Rodriguez from its sport.
I don’t care if it’s for the rest of this season, all of next season, or until the Jets win a Super Bowl (which will be never, us loyal fans admit).

Just please, send him away. Because I’m sick of it. And so are millions of other Yankees fans, who have watched this disgrace of a human being, this slimeball, this pus on the end of a wart, wear the pinstripes for the last nine years.
Many of us never wanted him in a Yankee uniform, and except for one freaky stretch in the fall of ’09, the stench of failure has surrounded him.
It started with his ridiculous smacking the ball out of the glove of a Red Sox pitcher in the 2004 ALCS, and continued for the next several years, with playoff strikeout after strikeout, and admitted steroid use serving as a lovely distraction.

We’re just sick of it. He’s a selfish prima donna and a guy who was never a good fit for the New York spotlight, and his lying and obfuscation over this latest steroid mess is a fitting coda to a disastrous time in New York.

So please, Bud Selig, we Yankee fans are begging you: Throw the lying, cheating, bum out.
And may he never darken the doors of Yankee Stadium again.

**Proof that we live in a non-trusting society: Watch this guy in Boston try to give away dollar bills to anyone who walks by, and how freaking difficult it is for him to get anyone to take it.

I mean, it’s a dollar; even if it was counterfeit, wouldn’t you take it just in case it was real?


**Finally today, a very long but very interesting story on Buzzfeed.com about a part of American life I knew very little about. Like much of North Dakota in the past 10 years, the little town of Williston has experienced an enormous population growth thanks to oil drilling.
One of the byproducts of Williston becoming a huge oil drilling town is the vast outnumbering of men to women there, which made the strip club in town a very profitable place to work for dancers.

A woman named Elizabeth Shepard survived Williston during the last few years, and she tells a really fascinating tale of what it was like to be there, and offers a (PG-13 rated) window into her life.
It’s a long story but well worth your time.

A memorable night at Yankee Stadium for my first playoff game. And the Mom who went on strike.

My voice is hoarse, my hands are sore and red from clapping, and I’m deliriously, indescribably happy.

I just had a sports experience unlike any I’ve ever had. I went to my first Yankees baseball playoff game thanks to the generosity of my friend Andrew, and if you haven’t seen any news or highlights today, well, it was kind of a dramatic finish.
Down 2-1 in the ninth to an outstanding Baltimore Orioels team, Raul Ibanez pinch-hit for $30 million man Alex Rodriguez and crushed a home run to right to tie the game.
Then in the 12th, with Ibanez due up again, I turned to the guy next to me in Section 433 and said “OK Raul, you kept us here before, now time to send us home .” (I swear to God and Tebow that I said that.)

And then he did. Ibanez crushed another homer, this time a game-winner, and I was one of 50,000 delirious Yankees fans, cheering and stomping and hugging strangers as the clock ticked toward midnight.

One of the things about being a sportswriter for a long time is that not only do you get jaded, but you’re really not allowed to cheer at games. You go, you sit in the press box, you describe the pandemonium beneath you, and get swept up in a great storyline, but you don’t really cheer.

As a “recovering” ex-sportswriter for the past year, I’ve learned how to root as a fan again at stadiums and arenas.  But nothing prepared me for the electricity of playoff baseball at Yankee Stadium, a place that I still think is too big and impersonal, but on Wednesday night felt special.

When Ibanez hit those homers, the stadium shook. Noise went to a new level. And I finally experienced what October baseball has been like for Yankees fans since 1996.
Walking down the hallways after the game, still giddy with excitement, Andrew, who’s seen dozens of Yankee playoff games, smiled and said to me “I’m so glad you got to experience this.”

Me, too.
Some other thoughts from a wild night in the Bronx, and stick with me because I may just be rambling here as my head is still pretty jumbled.

— Two funniest things I heard: 1, standing outside the stadium before the game, two 30-something guys walked by. One said to the other, “Old ladies, and gay guys, that’s who hits on me.”
And 2, when a (presumably drunk) guy with his shirt off ran up and down a nearby section, the snarky woman behind me yelled “There’s my future husband! Come up here and woo me, my prince!”

— Biggest difference between regular season fans and postseason fans that I noticed? Everybody Wednesday seemed into the actual game itself.

— I had so much fun watching the 10-year-old kid and his dad who sat next to me, as the son rooted and yelled and grimaced all night, while his Dad calmly explained things to him. At one point in extra innings I asked the Dad if the kid would have to go to school tomorrow.

“Depends on who wins,” he said with a smile. I hope that kid is playing hooky right now.

— Finally, hard to see how the Orioles come back from this loss. Just crushing, to be two outs away and have your closer blow it, for the second time in three games. They’ve had a hell of a season and I’ll always love Buck Showalter for resurrecting the Yanks in the 1990s, but I can’t see how they win this series.

**Finally today, a great story from the “Today” show about a Mom named Jessica Stilwell who was fed up with her kids’ lack of interest in household chores. So she went on strike, just to see what would happen.

It wasn’t pretty. But I salute you for trying, Mrs. Stilwell.

Down go the Yankees, as A-Rod and Co. choke again. The end of Friendly’s restaurants? And “everything’s amazing and no one’s happy”

Damn A-Rod.
And so another Yankees season has come and gone, rather remarkably, as the Bronx Bombers blew a golden opportunity in Game 5 of AL Division Series Thursday night, playing at home and Detroit not throwing its all-world ace, Justin Verlander.

The last few innings were tense and exciting; for all of baseball’s faults, to me no sport does drama better. The wait between each pitch heightens your anxiety as a fan; I was on the edge of my couch for 45 minutes.
A few scattered thoughts on Game 5 from the brain of this occasional baseball fan:

**Say this for Alex Rodriguez: Dude is consistent. He always fails to deliver in the playoffs. OK, that’s not true; he was awesome in 2009 when the Yanks won.
But save that one year, he’s been consistently awful. Twice in key spots Thursday night he came up in the late innings, and struck out both times.
What bothers me most about A-Rod is what I think bothers a lot of people: Guy’s body language out there is just awful. He always looks like he doesn’t care.

**Sad to see what was likely Jorge Posada’s last game as a Yankee. Guy was such a huge part of the dynasty of the late 1990s, and he always played hurt, and often played while going through personal trauma with his son.

**I liked listening to Ron Darling and John Smoltz on TBS, but I wondered this: Why is it pitchers are always the best broadcasters? How come hitters, besides catchers, are never in the booth?

**Derek Jeter’s shot to rightfield in the eighth totally felt like a game-changing home run. I was stunned it didn’t go out.
**Why did the Tigers win? It’s the month of Detroit, baby. Lions are 4-0, Tigers are in the ALCS, and U. of Michigan football is back. No city deserves this sports success more after the last few years of economic catastrophe there.

**Spent an inordinate amount of my childhood in Friendly’s restaurants.
And was very happy to do so.
I mean come on, who didn’t love Friendly’s? The enormous ice cream sundaes, the Big Beef burgers, the salty as all hell french fries? It was fantastic, as I remember it. Plus, it has never stopped being fun drinking a Fribble. Or saying the word “Fribble.”
My friend Andrew worked at Friendly’s in high school, and despite him never giving us enough free ice cream (hey, we saw it as our in), I kept going there constantly.
Now, it looks like the old chain may be in trouble. This week news revealed that Friendly’s is going Chapter 11, and may not be long for this world.
Makes me a little said, truthfully.

**This is one of those things that I thought I had blogged about several times but apparently not. It’s one of the funniest comedy bits I’ve seen in a long time. I watched it several months ago and then my man Joe Poz  (in writing this beautiful tribute to Apple and the iPad) linked it so I watched it again Thursday.

The great Louie C.K., explaining how in 2011, “everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy.” Four minutes of awesomeness.

The enigma that is Alex Rodriguez. And a few words about Larry King


He’s just so hateable.

That’s always been my reaction toward Alex Rodriguez. There are so many things you could dislike about the highest-paid player in baseball.

He’s smug. He’s arrogant. He cheats on his wife. He’s selfish. He takes steroids. He shamefully, and without any real remorse, accused a highly-respected reporter named Selena Roberts of sneaking around his mansion in Florida and stalking him, a completely baseless and disgusting charge.

Then, though … you see him play baseball. You see how effortless this game is for him.  You see his beautiful stroke, his solid glove, how he seems to be a pretty good teammate. And then you watch him struggle for five years to gain acceptance from Yankees fans, maybe the most spoiled and hard to please folks in the world.

I truly never thought of A-Rod as a Yankee; as a fan of the Bombers, I took him the same way I took Roger Clemens: I hate that I have to root for him. But I root for a team, and if he’s on that team, then I guess I have to bite my tongue.

Still, I never thought he’d truly be accepted. He just was not a clutch player, as evidenced by his horrible playoff career as a Yankee. He hit .258, .133, .071, and .267 in the playoffs from 2004-07. That’s Hensley Meulens bad.

Only this October, Yankees fans have embraced him. He’s getting cheered as he’s smacked big hit after big hit. It was like, as many have pointed out, a giant weight (or a large bag of syringes) has been lifted off of him, and he can finally play as free and easy in the pressure moments as he does when it’s 9-3.

Now, A-Rod gets his first World Series shot. Is he still a jerk? Probably. Am I pulling for him? Yes. Do I wish he was on another team? Certainly. Does he enter the Yankees pantheon if he leads them to a title? I’m not sure. He’s got a long way to go on that contract of his.

Rodriguez is a hard guy to like. But for the next 10 days, I like him. That’s life as a sports fan.

***So the World Series starts today, and it could be one of the best in a long, long time. For my money (which isn’t much; hey, I’m a journalist), the most memorable World Series that I’ve ever seen was the 1991 classic between the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves, won by the Twins in a 1-0 Game 7 classic. Coming in second was the Yanks-Diamondbacks 2001 Series, what with the exciting games and all the other outside world issues swirling around.

My prediction? The Phillies are absolutely loaded offensively, and in starting pitching. Cannot wait to see Pedro Martinez pitch in Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are loaded, too, with a slightly better offense.

These teams are so close, but I give the edge to the Yanks, in 6 games, for 1 reason: They have Mariano Rivera, and Philly doesn’t.

**Another of my random musings: Was at a high school volleyball playoff match tonight, between two local high schools. It was a good match, exciting and it went the distance, but that’s not what got me thinking. I kept noticing how incredibly happy the Deltona High assistant coach, Laura Smith, seemed. She was pumped up when her team was losing. She was pumped up when they were winning. She was constantly exhorting, smiling, and cheering. Several times during the match she turned to the scorers table and said “Isn’t this so exciting?”

Rarely do you see someone so happy about their job, while they were doing it. It was kinda cool to see.


**Finally, my man Larry King had Hulk Hogan on his CNN show Tuesday night. I was oddly compelled to watch it for a few minutes, whereupon Larry, God bless him, called Laila Ali Muhammad Ali’s wife, not his daughter.

Larry King should be in a museum one day, stared at and puzzled over like an old fossil. The man has been on TV since there’s been such a thing, he always manages to entertain himself and his guests, and he’s never once asked a tough question. He’s truly a marvel.

Also, talking about Larry King allows me to link to this hilarious piece from Jon Stewart, written long before he was the host of The Daily Show. It’s from his first book, and the essay is called: Adolf Hitler: The Larry King Interview. Truly hilarious stuff; give it a listen, it’s only 5 minutes long.

Jets beat the hell out of the Raiders, a “Little House” spoof, and the Yanks go back to the Series

Jets Raiders Football

For a while in the early part of this decade, it seemed like the Oakland Raiders ripped my heart out every year.

They beat the Jets big, they beat them small. They beat them in the regular season, they beat them in the playoffs. OK, no more Dr. Seuss-like pronouncements. But basically, the Raiders owned the Jets.

That’s why Sunday was so sweet for me, and for, I’m sure, all the Jets fans out there. Sunday, against one of the worst NFL teams I have ever seen, Gang Green beat the ever-loving stuffing out of the Raiders, 38-0.

Except for one horrible injury to Leon Washington, who suffered a broken fibula and about whom a teammate said “I could see blood spurting out. I’ve never seen anything like that before” (lovely), it was a sensational day for the Jets.

They finally did what they should’ve done last week: run, run, and run some more, and throw the ball only when absolutely necessary.

Thomas Jones looked terrific, as did rookie Shonn Greene (though, unlike the Mets’ Shawn Green, I don’t think is Jewish), who replaced Leon Washington.

Mark Sanchez did just enough, though I have no freakin’ idea why he was still in the game to take a couple of hellacious hits late in the fourth quarter. Sanchez was poised, confident, and made the throws he needed to make. And really, that’s all we should ask of the kid. These Jets fans who are ready to throw him out after a few bad games are morons. The kid has now started 23 games since high school.

The Jets defense was outstanding (welcome to the season, Calvin Pace, you of your two strip sacks), and JaMarcus Russell, God bless you for being so awful. He basically gave the Jets their first two touchdowns. I was legitimately sad when the Raiders pulled him.

Losing Leon is a huge blow; his dangerous kickoff returns alone make him a big asset. But with this win, the Jets stay a game back of New England, and have a chance at some Dolphins revenge next week.

Man, this Jets team is hard to figure after 7 weeks: Three straight wins, then three straight losses, now a resounding win. Ask me around Thanksgiving and I’ll be able to tell you if they’re any good or not.

Some other quick-hit thoughts on this NFL Sunday:

**Good God the Saints are explosive. Down 24-3, they scored 43 points in the last two quarters and the last minute of the first half. Forty-three! Couldn’t happen at a better time, against the hated Dolphins. Thanks, Drew Brees. If the 4-3 Jets can beat 2-4 Miami next week at the Meadowlands, that could just bury the ‘Fins’ playoff hopes. Lovely.

**Ah, that’s the Brett Favre I remember from last season. A fumble in the fourth quarter in the red zone against Pittsburgh, returned for a touchdown, then an INT that wasn’t his fault a few minutes later.

**So someone please tell me how JaMarcus Russell is still a starting quarterback in the NFL. If he’s an NFL quarterback, I’m Manute Bol.

**Go ahead, you figure out the Cincinnati Bengals.


**As for the New York Yankees, I of course am thrilled to see them finish off those poor-fielding Angeles of Los Angeles, 5-2 Sunday night. It seems like it’s been a lot longer than six years since the Bronx Bombers have been in the Series, but that’s probably just something obnoxious Yankee fans like me think sometimes.

Couple thoughts:

1. This will be a longer post this week, but the Yankee fans’ adoration of Alex Rodriguez is something I never thought I’d see. Much like with Bill Clinton, I’ve always been so conflicted about him, myself.

2. It amazes me what pressure can do to human beings. The Angels were a fantastic defensive team in the regular season. But in the pressure cooker of October, they melted like an egg on a sidewalk in Florida in July.

3. Also, memo to FOX baseball directors: We really don’t need to see a fan reaction shot to EVERY out. And why do we care if Giuliani’s at the game anymore? He hasn’t been the mayor since 2001.

**Finally, I was watching a Rangers game Saturday night through the NHL’s free preview of its Center Ice Package, and the telecast was a “Hockey Night in Canada” production. Always a good time. Anyway, I heard a promo for something that I couldn’t believe was real, but apparently it is.

There’s a Canadian sitcom called “Little Mosque on the Prairie.” Seriously. According to the show’s web site, it’s an internationally-acclaimed comedy about Muslims and Christians attempting to live in harmony in the small town of Mercy, Saskatchewan.

This brings to mind all kinds of jokes in my head (would Laura Ingalls Wilder ever go to Mecca?), but I’m sure many of them would be offensive.

Anyway, here’s a clip of the show, from the first episode: I found it interesting.

A bat-shit crazy Alabama woman, and the return of my former flame (she never knew it)


So there is stupid, there’s really stupid, and then there’s stupid that’s so dumb you really just have to question a person’s sanity.

Not sure about you, but the brilliant folks at The Smoking Gun always provide me with lots of doses of stupid on a regular basis.

This week, they brought me the delightful story of Jackie Knott. Seems Ms. Knott, of Albertville, Ala. and her 13-year-old daughter were traveling down U.S. 431 in Alabama when she was pulled over. That’s because Knott’s 13-year-old daughter was seen riding on top of her van inside a cardboard box.

Yes, you read that right. The kid was inside the cardboard box. So many questions spring to mind, but first, her statement to police:

It seems Knott told police that the girl was riding in the box because it  “was too big to go inside the van, and she would be able to hold it down if she was inside the box.”

Police asked Knott if she was worried about her daughter’s safety (those intrusive bastards!) Knott said all was well, because the box was secured to the car with a coat hanger.

Oh well, then everything’s OK. Sorry to have bothered you, ma’am. I’m sure it’s a strong coat hanger.

Knott was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Her daughter was turned over to a relative.

I’d say “only in Alabama” here, but frighteningly this could happen anywhere in the South, I’m afraid.

When did it become acceptable to treat a child like a paperweight? And couldn’t she have, I don’t know, FOLDED the box to get it to fit in the van?

I have no idea what kind of parent I’ll be one day. But I’m pretty certain I won’t be making that mistake.

**Alex Rodriguez, welcome to the Yankees. It’s only taken five years, but now you’re officially part of the family. Also, I think the Minnesota Twins just left a few more runners on base.

***So I truly have a wonderful wife, for many reasons. One of them is that unlike many other wives who are bothered by their husband’s looking at other women (particularly famous ones), she often points out to me when they’ll be on TV and the Internet.

If Shakira or Eva Longoria or one of my other “girlfriends” is going to be on “The View,” than she DVR’s that baby for me.

(Her rationale? “Hey, if any of these women actually agree to go out with you, go right ahead.” I’m guessing she feels safe that won’t happen).

All of this is to say that I was surprised that she wasn’t the one who pointed the below Youtube video out to me. Nicole Eggert, formerly of “Charles in Charge” and “Baywatch,” has always been in my Top 3 all-time Holy Trinity of famous babes (Heather Locklear and Paula Abdul are the others. Don’t judge me; I fell for Paula in 1989 when no one knew how crazy she was.

Anyway, apparently my beloved Miss Eggert, who is barely in any movies or TV anymore, has been getting teased by the tabloids about her recent weight gain. So she made a video spoof of herself for FunnyorDie.com, with a “Baywatch” theme.

Hey, I still think she looks great, and I’ll bet that and my DVD copy of the classic “Blown Away” against anyone who says differently: