Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Another insane political weekend, with Trump implicating himself in a crime and a horrendous tax bill passed. You can’t stop Josh McCown, or those New York Jets! And the opossum that drank a bottle of bourbon (sure).

This was something we all talked about after last November’s election: Don’t normalize this. Don’t get numb to it. The Presidency of Donald Trump will be a real thing, rolling on day after day, and there will be so many things happen that had never happened before, so many things a U.S. President would never, ever say or do that now occur on the regular. Don’t give in. Don’t ever forget that this is NOT normal.

I was thinking about that this weekend, after two pretty amazing and horrible things occurred in our federal government. First, a party that claims to be fiscally responsible, wants to cut the national debt, and pretended to be outraged at how Democrats ran things when they were in charge of the Senate decided to firewagon an enormous 479-page tax reform bill through the Senate in a matter of days, without any kind of tax score, time for hearings, question or opposing thoughts. They completely lied about it being a “middle class tax cut,” when in reality it will benefit wealthy people and corporations enormously.

They literally were writing changes to the bill in pen and handing out those copies Friday night, forcing a vote before anyone had a chance to read it. And then, despite all of the rushing and lying and the alleged “opposition” to how Trump and the GOP Senate do things from people like John McCain and Jeff Flake (frauds, both of them), managed to pass this monstrosity of a bill at around 2 a.m. Saturday

It is disgraceful and disgusting, but it is what happens now. Then, because you can always count on our President to do something stupid, he announced on Twitter that he had committed the crime of obstruction of justice.

“I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI,” Trump wrote in a tweet.

In other words, when Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to go easy on Flynn, Trump already knew Flynn had lied to the FBI. So when Comey refused to go easy on Flynn, Trump fired Comey. That is textbook obstruction of justice.

Robert Mueller, I believe your case has been made much easier thanks to the madman moron who just can’t stop Tweeting.

Portrait Of Opossum On Field By Rock

**Next up today, I have been quite derelict in posting bizarre news stories on the blog of late, so let me try to rectify that right now. This one is a beaut: The lede from an AP story in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.:

“An opossum that apparently drank bourbon after breaking into a Florida liquor store sobered up at a wildlife rescue center and was released unharmed.

Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge officials say the opossum was brought in by a Fort Walton Beach, Florida, police officer on Nov. 24. A liquor store employee found the animal next to a broken and empty bottle of bourbon.

“A worker there found the opossum up on a shelf next to a cracked open bottle of liquor with nothing in it,” said Michelle Pettis, a technician at the refuge. “She definitely wasn’t fully acting normal.”

OK, I have SO many questions here! First, the opossum “broke into” the liquor store implies that he/she/it, like, picked a lock and disabled an alarm or snuck in through a window ledge. How do we know the opossum committed a crime? Maybe the animal just ambled in behind a few customers and no one noticed, why they gotta already criminalize the opossum?

Second, just because Otto Opossum was next to an empty bottle of bourbon doesn’t necessarily mean he drank it, right? I mean, couldn’t the opossum have been framed by a rival, like a bunny or a mouse? Where’s the hard evidence, dammit!

And finally, look, OK, it’s not easy being an opossum. Nobody gives you any respect, nobody knows if you’re spelled “opossum” or “possum” and the career opportunities just aren’t there like they are for squirrels or chipmunks. You ever seen an opossum in a bear commercial? Me either.

So if the opossum needed some bourbon to get through the day, who’s business is it, huh? I say leave the little bugger alone.

This story is priceless. My favorite line: “Pettis says the opossum did not appear to have a hangover.”

Whew.

**Finally today, if you told me that on Dec. 3 of this year, the New York freaking Jets would still be appearing in those NFL playoff scenarios on national broadcasts, I’d have tell you to go get drunk with an opossum. But damn the torpedoes and pass the liquor, my favorite tortured football team is still alive, dammit. After a stunning 38-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, the Jets are 5-7, which is at least three wins better than I thought they’d be for the whole season.

Josh McCown (Josh McCown!) the 38-year-0ld quarterback, threw for 366 yards on Sunday, the Chiefs defense did all it could to help Gang Green, and the awful Jets D finally made a stop at the end of the game.

Look, the Jets aren’t any good but geez Louise, they’ve won FIVE games this year, which no one expected. Todd Bowles was a good candidate to get fired before the season began; now, dude should get Coach of the Year. What an unexpectedly interesting season the Jets have carved out.

Couple other quick-hit NFL thoughts from a pretty entertaining Sunday:

— The Jacksonville Jaguars are 8-4 and going to the playoffs. Yeah, I don’t believe it either.

— There are so, so many bad quarterbacks playing right now. I was saying to my friend Sunday after the Jets’ win, that everyone knocks McCown, but you know what, he’s in the top half of NFL starting QBs right now! That’s how bad the QB situation is.

— How’d that QB switch work out, Giants? Asking for a friend.

— Not sure who the best team in the league is, but happily we know the Cleveland Browns are the worst. It is really, really hard to be this bad.

— Finally, hey Gronk, this was total, total bush league. This is why NFL players have mush for brains when they’re 50.

Advertisements

I can’t ignore Trump’s disgusting remark about the media over the weekend. Remembering the late Jerry Lewis on Labor Day. And a blind football player gets the moment of a lifetime

It’s happened again. It keeps happening.

I tell myself to ignore the self-righteous sexist bigot in the Oval Office. I really try hard to just let what he says brush off my shoulder. I was having a such nice weekend, watching incredible tennis at the U.S. Open, most incredible being that a 5-foot-7 Jewish guy from Argentina has somehow made the quarterfinals (Diego Schwartzman, you complete me. And also I’m just about as tall as you), and then Sunday morning I came across this, from the leader of our country.

It’s Donald Trump, in Texas, talking in front of some Coast Guard rescuers. Just watch the first 30 seconds, please

I watched that and I was fuming. I’m still fuming. “Winds the media won’t go into, unless it’s a good story?”

There are so, so, SO many things offensive about that statement, and yes to steal from Dennis Miller, I am about to go on a rant here.

Journalists risk their lives EVERY DAY doing their jobs. Journalists go into war zones, they go into tornadoes and hurricanes and 75 other kinds of danger, danger that this privileged asshole with all his war deferments and excuses and having other people do his work wouldn’t know about.

“The media,” the people this man so disparages, actual, real reporters, have 5,000 times more courage than this buffoon. Reporters do incredible work under awful circumstances, and they pay for it with their lives.

Check out this list of reporters who’ve been killed while doing their jobs, in this year alone (44 so far).

These people, not you, you arrogant orange jerk, do dangerous things and go dangerous places to inform the public, their readers and viewers.

Oh and by the way, Donnie, the media WERE WITH the Coast Guard reporting on what they were doing. The media has been getting word out about trapped victims in Houston and surrounding areas, telling stories that need to be told, while you just fly in for a minute and say incredibly stupid shit like “They’re so happy, the people in the shelters, it’s beautiful.”

God he pisses me off, and yeah I’m taking it personally because journalism was my life and passion for many years and I know how many risks reporters take to get the truth out there.

OK, rant over. What an absolute disgrace he is.

**Next up today, it’s Labor Day, and as usual it’s got me thinking of school starting soon (not for me, but for my little guy, his first day of school ever is in a week!), autumn coming, but most of all, Jerry Lewis and his telethon. Jerry Lewis, of course, just died a few weeks ago, and what an amazing life he led.

He was a comedian, an actor, a philanthropist, and a tireless advocate for muscular dystrophy research with his annual Labor Day telethons.

Lewis was most famous, of course, for his comedic partnership with Dean Martin in the 1950s and ’60s. I know sometimes in this space on Labor Day I’ve posted something from the telethon, but today, a classic Martin and Lewis bit, just because it made me laugh and it’s from 1951 and it still holds up.

Enjoy.

**And finally, college football came back this weekend and of all the scores and games that may have crossed your mind, there was one extra point in the USC game that may have been the best thing that happened.

Meet Jake Olson. He’s a long-snapper for Southern Cal, and he’s blind. Born with retinoblastoma, a cancer of the retina, Olson’s left eye was removed when he was a baby. By age 12, he knew he would also lose his right eye.

But he’s been a part of the Trojans’ program for a long time, two years in fact, and has been practicing snapping constantly. So in the fourth quarter of their win over Western Michigan, Olson got a chance to play.

Perfect snap. Mobbed by his teammates. Sometimes sports are pretty powerful.

Fallon on Charlottesville is his best moment as “Tonight Show” host. The tennis player who serves both lefty and righty. And remembering the great Jim Murray, as always, on Aug. 16

There was, as always, so much going on in the news on Tuesday. I don’t want to spend 1,000 words venting about our President’s remarkable ability to continually compound his own mistakes and make them worse. So I won’t. Instead, a few words about Jimmy Fallon, who took a lot of criticism for having Donald Trump on his show last year and basically “normalizing” him, giving him the softest of softball questions and goofing around with Trump like he was some reality TV star (oh wait, he was.)

I think Fallon deserved a little bit of the scorn but he got piled on quite a bit. He’s always struck me as an earnest, decent guy who does want to please everybody. Monday night he took to the airwaves at the start of “The Tonight Show” and gave this heartfelt opening. Very well done.

**Next up today, it’s mid-August which means you’re probably going to be reading way more tennis posts on here than usual because, well, the U.S. Open starts in a week and I’m going to be covering it every day and it consumes my life for three weeks.

Anyway, in a tennis mood today once I saw this, which I’ve never seen before. A Korean player named Kim Cheong-eui is on the minor-league Challenger circuit, and he does something I’ve never seen a pro do. He serves righthanded serves in the deuce court, and then left-handed serves into the ad court. He also hits forehands with both hands, on both sides.

This is incredible that he’s able to do this, and do it well. Check it out…

**And finally today, August 16 always makes me thing of a few things: One, it’s my Dad’s birthday (Happy birthday, Pops!) Two, my birthday is tomorrow (turning 42 and not too thrilled about it, but being associated with Jackie Robinson and Mariano Rivera for a year, I guess isn’t too bad) and three, I think of Jim Murray.

Every year on this blog on or around Aug. 16 I write about Murray, the greatest sportswriter who ever lived, who sadly left this Earth way too soon, in 1998. I love running excerpts of his columns because they remind me of how brilliant he was, how beautiful his writing was, and how much of a heart this man had.

As always, here’s some Jim Murray, to give you some beauty on a Wednesday…

Here are my two favorite columns of his: First, a touching tribute to his first wife Gerry who had just died. Here’s an excerpt:

She never grew old and now, she never will. She wouldn’t have anyway. She had four children, this rogue husband, a loving family and this great wisdom and great heart, but I always saw her as this little girl running across a field with a swimming suit on her arm, on a summer day on the way to the gravel pit for an afternoon of swimming and laughing. Life just bubbled out of Gerry. We cry for ourselves. Wherever she is today, they can’t believe their good luck.

And second, Murray’s elegy for his left eye, which finally gave out on him in 1979, rendering him mostly blind. The last four paragraphs are just perfect, but here’s another excerpt:

I lost an old friend the other day. He was blue-eyed, impish, he cried a lot with me, saw a great many things with me. I don’t know why he left me. Boredom, perhaps.

We read a lot of books together, we did a lot of crossword puzzles together, we saw films together. He had a pretty exciting life. He saw Babe Ruth hit a home run when we were both 12 years old. He saw Willie Mays steal second base, he saw Maury Wills steal his 104th base. He saw Rocky Marciano get up. I thought he led a pretty good life.

 One night a long time ago he saw this pretty girl who laughed a lot, played the piano and he couldn’t look away from her. Later he looked on as I married this pretty lady.

He saw her through 34 years. He loved to see her laugh, he loved to see her happy …  He recorded the happy moments, the miracle of children, the beauty of a Pacific sunset, snow-capped mountains, faces on Christmas morning. He allowed me to hit fly balls to young sons in uniforms two sizes too large, to see a pretty daughter march in halftime parades. He allowed me to see most of the major sports events of our time. I suppose I should be grateful that he didn’t drift away when I was 12 or 15 or 29 but stuck around over 50 years until we had a vault of memories. 

God, I miss that guy.

North Korea’s a huge concern, but throwing people off the voting rolls? That’s just evil. Another incredible young lady on “America’s Got Talent.” And Australian dolphins are suddenly gay? Sure!

Tuesday was another day in Trump’s America, which meant insanely stupid bluster and threats on Twitter, another country with a madman as leader (North Korea) threatening to attack the U.S. (and maybe actually being capable of it), and many people on Twitter wondering if the world would end soon.

So, you know, a typical Tuesday.

Of course we are all correct to worry that one of these two hothead heads of state will start a war. But I’m not all that worried; for all his bluster and macho BS talk, it’s not like Trump can just start a nuclear war on his own. There are lots and lots of layers of protection and checks before the U.S. launches nuclear weapons.

What I am worried about, and this is what I’ve worried about all along, is the stuff he and his government departments are doing that doesn’t get all the publicity. The stuff that he doesn’t Tweet about, that’s often where the most insidious, and awful stuff is.

For example, how about this: The Justice Dept., led by Trump frenemy (does he like Sessions today or not? I can’t tell) Jeff Sessions, has recently strongly backed the state of Ohio in a court case that would throw eligible voters off the rolls just because they hadn’t voted in the last few elections.

Let me say that again: The state of Ohio, and the U.S. Justice Dept., thinks it should be perfectly legal to eliminate and invalidate valid voters’ registration because they missed voting in a few elections.

I’m sorry. BUT ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME????

The genesis of this issue stems from Ohio passing a law that allowed the state to drop voters from the rolls if they hadn’t voted in the past three elections. The courts struck down this law, saying it violated the National Voter Registration Act, and the case is now before the Supreme Court. The Justice Dept. filed a brief supporting the state’s position.

And oh yeah, Ohio is a hugely important state in Presidential elections, and according to this story Ohio has purged 2 million voters from 2011 to 2016more than any other state, including 1.2 million for infrequent voting. (Let me stop right there. More than ONE MILLION voters have illegally been removed from the rolls because they didn’t vote enough. Not because they moved, or were felons, or anything like that.)

At least 144,000 voters in Ohio’s three largest counties, home to Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, were purged since the 2012 election, with voters in Democratic-leaning neighborhoods twice as likely to be removed as those in Republican-leaning ones, according to a Reuters analysis.

Absolutely despicable. Disgusting. But not surprising. For many years the data has shown that when fewer people vote in elections, Republican candidates win. So voter suppression, extreme gerrymandering and laws like this help keep voter turnout as low as possible.

The Supreme Court now has this case. That’s the court Merrick Garland should be on, but Neil Gorsuch is instead.

Worry about North Korea, sure. But the trampling of American’s voting rights should concern you equally.

**And now, a much-needed palatte cleanser. Once again I am blown away by a young person I’d never heard of, after their performance on “America’s Got Talent.”

Darci Lynne is a 12-year-old girl from Oklahoma. Shy and having trouble making friends, Darci’s mother got her a doll for her birthday two years ago. Darci decided to learn to become a ventriloquist, and this amazing performance is the result. (Thanks to loyal reader Sanford for sending me this clip.)

My jaw was on the floor the whole time. What a talented, sweet kid. (The performance starts at the 2:15.)

**And finally, this story, heard by me on NPR’s always-hilarious “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me” was just too good and weird to pass up.

From the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper:  Scientists in Western Australia have observed large groups of dolphins engaging in what they described as ‘homosexual behaviour’ after the mating season finishes.

The team at the Mandurah Dolphin Research Project noticed that after mating season was over, the male Bottlenose dolphins were ‘mounting’ and ‘having genital contact’ with each other.

‘These dolphins, all but three of them juveniles, organised themselves in four subgroups in which they were observed engaging in socio-sexual behavior that included mounting and genital contact between individuals,’ Murdoch University’s Krista Nicholson told the Mandurah Mail.

All righty then! So many jokes I want to make here, but I think you’d probably like to make your own.

Oh, and if you think this whole story is here in the blog just so I’d have an excuse to run a clip of my favorite “Glee” line ever, well,  you wouldn’t be wrong. Take us out, Brittany!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Letterman has a LOT to say, and it’s fantastic. A mom of a freshman college student sends the best “care package.” And Alabama co-workers do a beautiful thing for a hard-working young man

You know sometimes when you haven’t talked to someone in a while, that as soon as you see them you just start rambling and telling them everything for about 20 minutes, only coming up for air?

Well, that’s kind of how David Letterman feels about interviews these days. After having an hour each night to talk to an audience for about 30 years, the late-night legend admits it’s been a big shift to just talk to a few people a day.

In his retirement from TV, Dave has grown a huge beard, stayed out of the spotlight, and pretty much kept a low profile. Until now. He’s on the cover of New York magazine this week and the interview inside is, well, incredible. Dave just talks and talks and talks, and admits he sounds like a crazy person but he’s just so happy to be talking to someone again.

He expounds on Donald Trump, his own searching for new passions, and much more.

A couple quick excerpts, but I highly recommend checking out the whole thing here. 

On Donald Trump: I always regarded him as, if you’re going to have New York City, you gotta have a Donald Trump. He was a joke of a wealthy guy. We didn’t take him seriously. He’d sit down, and I would just start making fun of him. He never had any retort. He was big and doughy, and you could beat him up. He seemed to have a good time, and the audience loved it, and that was Donald Trump. Beyond that, I remember a friend in the PR business told me that he knew for a fact — this was three or four presidential campaigns ago — that Donald Trump would never run for president; he was just monkeying around for the publicity.

On Trump’s advisors:  I mean, how do you build a dictatorship? First, you undermine the press: “The only truth you’re going to hear is from me.” And he hires the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Steve Bannon, to be his little buddy. Bannon looks like a guy who goes to lunch, gets drunk, and comes back to the office: “Steve, could you have just one drink?” “Fuck you.” How is a white supremacist the chief adviser to our president? Did anybody look that up? I don’t know. How’s this interview going? Do you think you’re talking to a normal person here? Don’t I seem like I’m full of something?

On adjusting to civilian life after being a celebrity:
It’s still hard. I have trouble operating the phone. That’s the God’s truth. I needed a pair of shoelaces. And I thought, Hell, where do you get shoelaces? And my friend said, there’s a place over off I-84, it’s the Designer Shoe Warehouse. So I go over there, and it’s a building the size of the Pentagon. It’s enormous. If you took somebody from — I don’t know, pick a country where they don’t have Designer Shoe Warehouses — blindfolded them and turned them loose in this place, they would just think, You people are insane.

I love unhinged, completely uninhibited Letterman. Again, the whole interview is great.

**Next up today, I love this story so much, even if it does seem a tad cruel.

A freshman student at Westminster College in Pennsylvania named Connor Cox got a care package from his mother a few weeks ago.

He was excited to open it, as we all are when we’re in college and Mom sends stuff. Connor wondered if it’d be his favorite snacks, or some cool game or book from his room.

Nope! It was trash from the Cox’ kitchen that Connor had forgotten to take out as he’d promised he would, on Christmas break.

“I called my mom and we talked about it,” Connor told KDKA. “Asked her if she sent me the wrong box, because that’s how confused I was. But she said it was the right box, and I had to be held responsible for what I didn’t do.”

I love it! I feel bad for the UPS guys who had to smell that package, but Moms have to mold their kids whatever way they can.

**Finally today, a really sweet story about co-workers helping one of their own. In Oxford, Ala., 19-year-old Derrick Taylor woke up in the middle of the night, every workday for a year, to walk five miles to his 4 a.m. shift at UPS. Derrick did this to help support his Mom, who is sick.

According to this story, Derrick’s co-workers were so impressed by his work ethic and dedication that they pitched in for a life-changing gift that left the 19-year-old in tears.

Taylor’s fellow employees pooled together $1,100 to buy him a used Jeep Cherokee that ensured his days of 10-mile treks were over.

Co-worker J.D. Ward presented the car to Taylor in front of everyone on Feb. 22.

“This is a hard-working young man,” Ward said in the video. “He makes me emotional. This young man wants to work so bad, he walks to work from way out of town.”

The video of the co-workers giving Derrick the car is just beautiful.

 

Anger, joy, sadness: So many thoughts from another Trump-ruined weekend. A Monty Python video to make you laugh. And an epic Aussie Open ends with Federer and Serena on top

laxprotest-refugees

I really don’t even know where to begin.

Since Friday afternoon, when the current leader of our country signed an incredibly cruel, stupid and inhumane executive order barring citizens from seven nations from entering the U.S., and also inexplicably banned legal residents with green cards, until Sunday night, when I beamed with pride looking at all of the protests (and one big ACLU legal victory) across America at what that president has done, I’ve had so many emotions and thoughts running through me.

Fear. Anger. Sadness. Pure joy (that’s when I was watching the Australian Open tennis, more on that later). Frustration.

I don’t know how coherent any of this is in my head right now, but the only way I think I can try to be semi-intelligent on this is through some bullet-points thoughts.

So here goes, on yet another almost-unprecedented weekend (I’m imagining this is a little bit like what the mid-1960s felt like, and not I’m not equating the two eras .. yet)

— The first thing I could not get over Friday was how fast this executive order from the White House was implemented and had its effect. Do you realize that government never, ever works this fast? I mean, it takes days, weeks, months to get anything done, whether it’s legislation, or just a trip to the DMV. Yet somehow at 4:30 p.m. on a Friday the President signs a piece of paper and suddenly the entire federal government apparatus at airports and other border checkpoints springs to life and begins detaining anyone from those nations on Trump’s order, as well as legal green-card residents trying to get back into the country.

The speed and power of how this happened should frighten the hell out of any American.
One other quick point: I see lots of people calling this a “Muslim ban.” Trump is not banning ALL Muslims from entering the U.S. It’s not a Muslim ban. No need to make it worse than it is when it’s already terrible.
Besides, the full “Muslim ban” is probably still ahead of us from Trump.

— One of the many unbelievable parts of the executive order was that legal green-card U.S. residents were detained, including 88 and 83-year-old Iranian green card holders who were detained for 17 hours at the airport. You have a new administration refusing to allow people who are LEGALLY allowed to be in America access. It took 48 hours but the Homeland Security secretary, John Kelly, said Friday night that green-card holders should be allowed back in.

Wow, what a hell of a compassionate stance. Put him up for sainthood.

muslimpic-satire

— Two quick facts that help to illustrate how ridiculous Trump and Bannon’s “this will keep us safe from terrorism” bullshit is:

1. It’s worth noting that South Carolina born terrorists killed more Americans on US soil in last decade than terrorists from the 7 named countries.

2. There have been 3.2 million refugees admitted to the U.S. since 1975. 0.00062% of them committed terrorist acts, killing a total of three Americans.

So, you know, those are my “alternative facts.”

— The airport protests were fantastic, all across the country, Americans coming together to protest the grotesque and inhumane treatment refugees were receiving, and protesting that so many people here legally (there’s that pesky word again). I loved the passion, the chanting, the sheer “we can’t let them get away with this” attitude.

I wonder if this is what it’s going to be like for a while, every week a new Trump administration atrocity, and every week new protests.  As an anonymous Twitter person said Sunday: “If you’re looking for something to invest in during the Trump presidency, I think the poster board market is going to hold up pretty well.”

— So oh yeah, while everyone was rightfully pissed at the executive order, two other huge and awful things happened from the White House. First, and this is pretty inexplicable, the White House didn’t mention Jews in their statement commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day because, and I quote spokeswoman Hope Hicks here, “because we are an incredibly inclusive group and we took into account all those who suffered.”

Wow. I mean… wow. Six million Jews killed, and you don’t mention them on Holocaust Remembrance Day. Shameful. The other huge deal that is getting less attention is that Stephen Bannon, the white supremicist (sorry, “nationalist”) who is basically running the White House has been named to the National Security Council while two other high-ranking security officials are told they can only go to some meetings. This is unprecedented, and wildly dangerous. For why, read this and get chills.

–Finally, I don’t ever wanna hear a Republican talk about a Democratic president overreaching, ever again in my life. That was the one of their huge complaints about Obama. Go ahead and tell me how Trump/Bannon aren’t acting like dictators right about now.

**And now, because I think we ALL need something completely pointless and hysterical today, I give you my favorite Monty Python sketch ever, the iconic “Black Knight.” I’ve seen it 100 times, still makes me laugh every time. “OK, we’ll call it a draw then.”

roger-federer-australian-open-final

**Finally today, this weekend’s Australian Open finals, as I alluded to earlier, brought me much joy. Sure, I was rooting for older sister Venus to beat Serena on Saturday morning in the women’s final, but it was a competitive match and hey, Serena is an incredible player and as I’ve said before, clearly now the greatest female to ever play this sport.

Sunday morning, my goodness, what a match. I don’t want to gush on too long about the great Roger Federer because this post is super-long already, but what a tremendous show he and Rafael Nadal, his greatest rival, put on. Five sets, back and forth, one of their best matches ever, plot twists aplenty in the fifth set, Federer getting down 3-1 and me getting pretty upset as I paced the room… and then somehow the Swiss master found a way.

The greatest men’s player ever won five straight games over as good a competitor as the sport has right now. Somehow, despite being 35, coming off a six-month layoff and being deep in the fifth set, Federer pulled it out.

There’s so much about him to admire, but how about this quote from Federer: “Tennis is a tough sport and we don’t have draws but if I could have shared it today with Rafa I would have taken a draw.
“Keep playing Rafa, please. Tennis needs you. Thank you for everything you do.”

We are so, so fortunate to be tennis fans in this age of Federer and Nadal, two supreme sportsmen who have a wonderful rivalry and are both thoroughly decent human beings.

Eighteen Grand Slam singles titles for Roger Federer. What a champion.

The most thin-skinned famous person ever is about to become President, and I’m terrified. Bill Walton is a national treasure. And “The Front Page” a great night at the theater

trump-thinskin

OK, so there was a HUGE amount of information that broke last night about Donald Trump, the Russians, some really sordid sex behavior, and about 14 other things. I have said on this blog numerous times that I don’t like to “knee-jerk” react to things, and quite honestly there’s way too much to digest to write a coherent post right now. So I’m just going to take one small piece of the Donald Trump pie, something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and look at at that today.

“Golden showers,” my goodness. And we thought the Ken Starr report on Bill Clinton was salacious…

OK, on with the show.

When I was a college sportswriter at the University of Delaware, the football team was coached by a man named Tubby Raymond.

Tubby was a fun guy to be around (guys named ‘Tubby” usually are), a real rascal and a pretty good coach, too. He always had our Blue Hens in the Division I-AA playoffs, gave great quotes to us media, and generally comported himself well. (Tubby was getting up there in years when I covered him and his memory was fading; to this day I’m convinced they announced which players were sitting next to him at the weekly press luncheon because otherwise he wouldn’t recognize who was with him.)

But if you ever dared to question his strategy or decision-making, Tubby’s face turned red. He sometimes exploded or mocked the question, and seemed to take great offense at any suggestion that what he did or said wasn’t right. He was, still to this day, the most thin-skinned “celebrity” I’d ever seen, and I always wondered that if us, the little Delaware press corps, got him upset with his questions, what would happen if Tubby ever coached in a bigger city? He’d implode, that’s what.

I was thinking about Tubby the other night because once again, the man who in just a few days will be the leader of the free world couldn’t handle being criticized by an actor.

The easiest thing to predict in the entire world was that after Meryl Streep criticized Trump at the Golden Globes, that he would lash out on Twitter and attack her back.
This fits his entire pattern of behavior. He’s gotten mad at Vanity Fair magazine for a review of his restaurant that was negative. He just last week criticized Arnold Schwarzenegger for not getting as high ratings as The Donald did on “The Apprentice.”

There is no slight too small, no alleged critique too tiny, for this small man to fire back at. He is the most thin-skinned celebrity in the history of the world, and he’s about to have the nuclear codes.

Of all the things that scare me about a President Trump, the idea that an offhand remark by a world leader about him, or to him, will start a nuclear war.

God save us all. Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post wrote about this idea yesterday, his column is excellent.

**Next up, I thought about writing a long screed about Barack Obama, who gave a farewell speech last night that was moving, heartfelt and smart, and contrasting him in a thousand ways with the guy about to inherit the big chair in the Oval Office.

But there’ll be time for that next week; I don’t want the stench of Trump to mix with the appreciation of Obama. So instead, I present a true American treasure, Mr. Bill Walton.

Because they can, ESPN didn’t just show the exhilarating college football championship game on one channel Monday night; they gave viewers about 10 different types of coverage to watch, including one featuring Walton and other non-football people watching the Alabama-Clemson tilt sitting around talking.

Walton, dressed as Uncle Sam (of course) has some great questions and comments, especially when he asks what city Clemson is in.

God I love Bill Walton.

frontpage-master768

**Finally today, my wife and I don’t get to the theater that much despite, you know, living less than a mile from Broadway, but when I heard there was a play about newspaper reporters from the 1930s being revived and coming here, I immediately knew I’d be seeing it.

So last Friday night we saw “The Front Page,” based on Ben Hecht’s play about one night in a Chicago-area courthouse press room, when a bunch of tabloid scribes are waiting around for a scheduled hanging of a convicted murderer.

I was pretty certain I would love the play, which starred a huge number of major actors, including Nathan Lane, John Slattery, John Goodman, and Holland Taylor. And it was sensational.

The rapid-fire dialogue made Aaron Sorkin’s characters seem like they had slow Southern drawls; the acting, especially by Slattery and Lane (who really is a force of nature as a soul-less, no morals editor) was superb, and it was pretty damn hilarious, too.

It was a long, long show (2:45, with two intermissions) and honestly sometimes so many people were cross-talking on stage that I missed some of the great one-liners.

But there were so many actors working at the top of their craft, and having so much fun (John Goodman always looks like he’s having a good time, doesn’t he?) that I didn’t mind. With newspapers in such bad shape these days, and me being a dyed-in-the-wool ink-stained wretch, it was fun to step back into a time when reporters were true characters, had very few scruples, and what they wrote really mattered.

“The Front Page” is only going to be on Broadway for a few months, but if you’re here anytime soon, I highly, highly recommend seeing it.

The Trump cabinet is as scary as we feared. SNL does a great skit, but it’s soon not going to be funny. And the Detroit Lions are in first place! And other NFL thoughts

dadletter-jack

So it’s been almost two weeks and I’m still not quite believing that a 70-year-0ld vulgar, talking yam who is the most unqualified man ever to become United States President, actually is going to be President in a couple months.

For a few days after the election, there was some laughable talk that Mr. Trump would actually try to be calmer, more sober, and not hire as many radical nutjobs as he had working for him on the campaign.

But nope. So far Trump’s major appointments have included a white nationalist sympathizer (Steve Bannon), a completely-lost-his-marbles general (Michael Flynn), and a Senator from Alabama who was deemed to racist to be a federal judge 30 years ago (Jeff Sessions).

Also, Trump has refused to talk to the press or to the public, he got all mad that his VP got booed at “Hamilton” (gee, hard to see how the most anti-gay VP ever would get heckled on Broadway, though I do give props for Pence’s quote that the boos “sounded like freedom of speech.” He took it better than his boss.) and oh yeah, his chief of stuff, Reince Priebus, said that we may well have a “Muslim Registry” of all Muslims who live in America.

I’m sorry, was Joe McCarthy brought back to life or am I imagining things?

This is how bad it’s been: I hear Mitt Romney might be Secretary of State and I’m like “whew, a grownup!”

It’s all just still so dizzying, that so many unserious, offensive people will be having a major role in our government. And that Trump is having meetings and phone calls with world leaders on unsecured phones in Trump Tower. And that he’s still Tweeting about “SNL” and that his business interests already seem so intertwined with his Presidency.

(That letter above, by the way, was from a Dad to his son Jack, about how to live under Trump’s rule. I love it, and think we all should heed its advice.)

I guess as soon as I start accepting this is real, the better off I’ll feel. I have been saying to people that I really don’t think Trump will last four years as President: He’ll either get bored and quit, or become so wildly, spectacularly a failure that he’ll be forced to resign by Congress.

Either one is fine with me.

**Next up, Alec Baldwin continues to do excellent work on “Saturday Night Live,” as Trump, though the man himself Tweeted how unfunny and unfair it was. (The great Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal  Tweeted back “Dude, you watch more TV than a latch-key kid.”

The Mitt Romney handshake at the 4-minute mark slayed me.

lions-nfl

**And finally today, the Detroit Lions are in first place! Let me say that again: The Detroit Lions are in first place. No, really, the Detroit Lions are in first place.

This is a statement that’s said as often as “Mmmmm, asparagus!” by 7-year-olds, or “You know what we need? More snow!” by New Englanders in February. The Lions have stunk for about 60 years, pretty consistently. But somehow this year they’re less stinky than usual.

Sure it takes last-minute heroics for them to win (I’m afraid my friend Abel, a die-hard Lions fan, might have a heart attack by the end of the season, and he has two kids and is a great friend, I can’t have that happen!), but hey, they’re now 6-4 and tied for first and it seems nuts. Their best player, Calvin Johnson, retired after last season, they seem to always fall behind, but somehow have been finding ways to win.

Detroit Lions, first place. Sounds about as crazy as President Donald Trump, doesn’t it?

Some more NFL thoughts on a cold Monday…

— So Kirk Cousins is pretty good now, right Washington fans? You hate him, you love him. I get it. Today you love him. He torched Green Bay and suddenly 3 NFC East teams could make the playoffs. Hate seeing world-class jerk Daniel Snyder accidentally have a winning team, though.

— So much for my declaration last week that the Kansas City Chiefs were really good, huh? Ah, everyone gets a mulligan.

— I don’t understand how the Arizona Cardinals are this mediocre. Much the same team from last year, a great coach in Bruce Arians, and they’re losing way too often. Not going to make the playoffs at this rate, and I really thought they could be a Super Bowl team.

— Finally, spare a thought for the Cleveland Browns. Zero and 11 is no way to spend Thanksgiving.

 

Finally, mercifully, the election is here. And Marathon Sunday in NYC once again is awesome

lebron-hillarypic

National Public Radio did a regular segment on one of their shows a few years back called “This I Believe,” where ordinary Americans did a 60-second speech about what their core beliefs are. It was quick-hitting, often sad or funny but always interesting.

We’re now one day away from, no joke, the most important Presidential election of my lifetime. It is that not because of events currently going on in the world, but because of the sheer terror and horror that would be caused on a global scale should a vulgar, talking yam who’s a bigoted, narcissistic egomaniac actually win.

Twenty-four hours out from Election Day 2016, a day millions of us are thrilled is finally here, let me tell you a few things I believe about tomorrow:

— I believe, as I have for the past year, that Hillary Rodham Clinton will be elected President. It will be an historic, important day. She will clear 310 electoral votes, win the popular vote by 3-5 percent, and go on to become a good President.

— I believe the Democrats will take back the Senate, 52-48, and by golly we’ll actually get the Supreme Court back to nine members, move forward on closing Guantanamo Bay and fixing this nation’s crumbling infrastructure, and keep moving forward on so many other issues. I believe the Democrats will gain about 15 seats in the House but not gain the majority.

— I believe there will be violence on Election Day, between Trump supporters and Hillary voters, and I believe there’s a high likelihood of someone being killed at a polling station. I’m fairly certain there will be bloodshed.

— I believe we will be hearing for weeks and months about voter suppression of minorities and people of color, and these stories will disgust me completely and surprise me not a whit.

— I believe that picture (above) of Hillary and LeBron James will make me laugh for weeks.

— I believe we all need 38 seconds of an adorable-ness interlude: When the President met Kid Superman at a Halloween party last week:

— I believe on Nov. 9 Donald Trump will go back to his real estate empire and his television shows, and secretly breathe a sigh of relief he doesn’t have to be leader of the free world. And I believe he will smile for decades at the con he pulled on so many, making them think he’s one of them. I believe we will hear more and more stories about what a disgusting human being he is, and he will still continue to be a TV star and not give one fuck about what damage he’s done to America.

–Finally, I believe the damage he has done to America, “normalizing” racism, hatred and pure willful refusal to acknowledge any truth that isn’t what they agree with, will last a long time and be hard to eradicate.

I want to leave you today by first linking to this scathing, hilarious article by Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone, about being on the road at some Trump rallies in late October.
But more importantly,  I want to share  two stories that illustrate what our country could be, pending the election results.

The first story is a deeply troubling tale of young children having Trump’s message of hatred and intolerance seep into their lives, with the headline “All the black and brown people have to go.”

And then there’s this story from the Washington Post, of a 10-year-old girl seeing a new student from a foreign country who doesn’t speak English sitting alone at lunch, using Google Translate to write a note to him in Spanish, and then becoming best buds with him.

Your choice, America. What kind of country would you like to live in?

nycmarathonpic

**OK, enough depressing election talk. Sunday was one of my favorite days of the year, that I look forward to for weeks: It was New York City Marathon Sunday, which for those of us who live along the route makes it incredibly cool.

For the first time in the four years we’ve lived along 1st Avenue, the weather Sunday was just perfect. High 50s, sunshine, only a little wind. It’s hard to describe how overwhelming it is, seeing thousands and thousands of runners, many of whom have trained for this day for years, just coming down the street at you in wave after wave.
Like I do every year, I screamed hundreds of runners’ names, then relished their surprised reaction when someone knew them (Hey, you put your name on your shirt, you’re going to get your name called!). I got a great spot this year right along the railing at 62nd and 1st, and must have high-fived two dozen runners.

I saw some pretty creative signs, most done with friends and family’s names, but this one really made me laugh out loud.

trumpmarathonpic

There were great costumes as always; I counted a bunch of Spidermans, Batmans, a few Elsa’s from “Frozen,” and even a dude dressed in a tank top and an American flag Speedo.

I once again marveled at the wide range of ages, ethnicities and body types. I was happy to high-five both a 71-year-old man and a teenage girl, each happily running to their own beat.

The New York City Marathon is the best. There’s such joy, agony and pure exhaustion on each runner’s face, and getting to soak it all in up close is one of the great joys of the year for me.

I still dream of one day running this race; I got up to doing a 10K a few years ago and then kinda stopped training.

If and when I do it, I hope I remember to enjoy it as much as I saw so many enjoying their once in a lifetime moment on Sunday.

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

birthofanation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov. 9 can’t get here soon enough.