Tag Archives: Donald Trump

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

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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.

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— 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.”

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**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

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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.

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**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

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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.

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**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

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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?

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**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.

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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

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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.

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

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This is not normal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Give me a goddamn break.

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

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

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

The “Weehawken” line was my favorite…

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

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

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

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

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

 

VP debate shows Pence gloriously ignoring reality and who he’s actually running with. An awesome mothers and sons ad from IKEA. And a beautiful essay from a dog owner about the end for his pooch

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Watching Tuesday night’s vice-presidential debate, I tried to think of any great moments or lines from any vice-presidential debate, ever, in America.

I thought for 10 minutes. I came up with two: Lloyd Bentsen, in 1988, telling Dan Quayle “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine.  Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

And the other one I remembered was Admiral James Stockdale, Ross Perot’s running mate in 1992, seeming strange when asking “Who am I? Why am I here?”

But that’s about it. VP debates get a lot of attention but nothing really too interesting tends to happen in them.

Still, this VP debate seemed like it might be interesting strictly because Mike Pence would, theoretically, have to defend at least some of the 9,323 batshit crazy things GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump has said in the past 15 months.

I mean that’s what a VP candidate does, right, defend the person at the top of the ticket and explain why criticisms of them are all wrong, and why their candidate is the best answer for America?

Except, that’s not what happened Tuesday night. Pence, bless his anti-abortion, anti-gay heart, pretty much ignored or lied about all the Trump statements he was confronted with. He just smiled and laughed and pivoted every single Trump statement into an attack on Hillary Clinton. It was almost as if Trump wasn’t his running mate.

Truly, it was dizzying. Josh Barro of MSNBC and Business Insider summed it up best in this Tweet: “I’m not sure it works when Pence acts incredulous at actual things his running mate said. These things got lots of news coverage.”

Not in Mike Pence’s world! Other thoughts from a debate that seemed to me like a draw.

— Kaine interrupted too much. I understand why he did, because Pence was lying through his teeth, but he still came off badly when he constantly cut in.

— Always fun when the phrase “whipped out that Mexican thing again” comes up in a political debate. Oh, sometimes the “South Park” and “SNL” episodes write themselves.

— The candidates were asked about religion. It’s 2016. I long for the day, and I hope I’m alive for it, when it matters not a whit what the religious beliefs of politicians are. I mean, unless they’re bringing church and state back together (as if they’re not already in many states) or banning people of a certain religion, who cares? (Looks back at what Trump said, starts to reconsider). Oh, wait…

**Next up today, my super-smart friend Catherine, a mother of two, put this French IKEA commercial about a Mom and her son on her Facebook page last week and I just about started crying at the end.

Watched it a few more times, and yeah, it got dusty in my apartment. Crazy to think my little 2-year-old munchkin will grow up to be so big one day. Love, love, love this ad.

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**And finally today, some people you meet on the Internet scare you terribly, and you’re thrilled you never have to actually meet them. Others, you find you have a great kinship with, and are totally sure you’d be pals in real life if you lived anywhere near each other.

Luke Martin is a Southerner, a fellow Dad, and a bit of a baseball nut (OK, so except for the fatherhood thing, we don’t have much in common). He’s also hilarious and smart on Twitter, and he wrote something Tuesday on his blog that just about blew me away.

It’s on an emotional subject for millions of people: The day you realize you have to put your beloved family dog to sleep. I was there the day my Dad put his beloved golden retriever to sleep (I was already an adult), and it was brutal.  That day happened recently for Luke and his dog, Wrigley (that’s her, above). His piece is human, and touching. A brief excerpt here:

After we went in to say our goodbyes in the exam room, the vet asked if I wanted to be in there with her when they performed the procedure. I’d gone back and forth on that and at the time, didn’t want to be there. Now, however, I wonder if I made a mistake in not being there. As we were leaving, she looked so nervous, but I don’t know if that’s because she always is at the vet’s office or if she knew what was about to happen.

But I’ll choose to remember her not like that, but as the enthusiastic dog who wanted to go for a walk every afternoon around the lake. That’s the fun, loving, affectionate dog I want to keep in my memory.

I highly, highly encourage you to read the whole piece here. I’m not a dog lover and dammit, even I was getting choked up.

Finally after months of waiting, a real debate between Clinton and Trump. The awful Jets, the undefeated Eagles, and other Week 3 NFL thoughts

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It’s been a long, long time since professional boxing has mattered in this country.

So maybe this analogy will be lost on younger readers. But tonight’s Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump debate feels like a championship fight.

For a long, long, long time, the two major party candidates for President have sniped at each other from afar, with the vulgar, talking yam making up lie after lie and somehow rising in the polls despite it (Seriously, there was a Tweet I saw last week titled “Here are 18 lies Donald Trump told today at his rally.”)

I know deep in my heart Trump ain’t winning this election; I don’t care if the statisticians in the world keep saying his chances are going up, she’s not pulling away like she was a month ago, yada yada yada.

Still, my liberal heart is a little nervous about tonight. Couple quick points I want to make going into the 9 p.m. Eastern debate which I think will probably break all TV ratings records for debates:

She must call him out on his lies. Every time. I have no faith that NBC’s Lester Holt, a perfectly reputable broadcaster, will have the time nor the inclination to point out every time Trump lies. That’s why Hillary has to do it. I don’t care if she comes off smarmy, or has to interrupt him 35 times. Trump’s enormous whoppers, whether they’re about ISIS, or the economy, or crime in the America, cannot be allowed to stand. We political junkies forget this, but millions of people are just starting to pay attention to this race. Trump’s fibs cannot be allowed to be what they remember from this debate.

Hillary must remind people what she’s done: So much of this election has been about GOP fear-mongering of what she “would do” or “will do” as President. Hillary has a long list of accomplishments dating back to Children’s Health Care, her time as Secretary of State, and as First Lady. She has to remind Americans that for all her faults, she’s done a lot.

— Trump can’t lose his temper: If I were, horrifyingly, advising the scariest major candidate in the last 100 years, I’d tell him containing his temper is the No. 1 goal of tonight. Everyone thinks you’re a temperamental, thin-skinned, hothead who can’t handle any critique and flies off the handle at the slightest provocation. Prove them wrong by staying calm tonight.

Get your popcorn ready, folks. This should be very interesting.

**Finally, some quickie NFL thoughts from Week 3. I didn’t see much of the games because my beautiful wife and I were in Montauk for a wedding Sunday, but watched some highlights and a little bit of the Jets game. I am very, very glad I didn’t watch the Jets debacle. SIX Ryan Fitzpatrick interceptions? OK, they weren’t all his fault but come on, SIX? Jets are in deep doo-doo if they lose to Seattle next week.

— The Giants-Redskins game was a terrific back and forth affair, but what will stick out for me is yet another Odell Beckham Jr. temper tantrum (above). I don’t know if this kid will ever mature, maybe he will. But man oh man does he seem like a total immature punk right now. A powder keg that could go off at any moment.

–The Eagles whipped the Steelers, 34-3, and the Vikings stayed undefeated as well, and we are once again reminded football is such a strange game. Eagles rookie QB Carson Wentz was expected to ride the bench this season, learn the ropes, etc. Then a month ago Minnesota’s QB Teddy Bridgewater gets seriously hurt. Which led to Eagles QB Sam Bradford being traded to Minnesota. Which leads to Wentz getting a chance to play and looking awesome, and the much-criticized Bradford playing great for the Vikings, and now everyone in both cities are thrilled. But if not for one injury, none of this happens.

Fate is crazy.

— I knew few people cared about the Browns-Dolphins game, but I was following along on my phone thanks to Cody Kessler of the Browns getting his first career start at QB. I think I blogged about this last year, but I got to interview Cody when he was at USC for a story I was doing on his wonderful work with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, which I volunteer for. He’s a fantastic young man with a big heart, and I was thrilled that he played so well for Cleveland on Sunday (even though the Browns, being the Browns, lost in overtime)

The man whose death left dueling obituaries, by his wife and his girlfriend. Simone Biles wows everyone again. And I inflict a horribly awesome Donald Trump rally song on you

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And a Happy Wednesday to all of you in blog-land; I turned 41 a few hours ago and am feeling like a very lucky man these days.

First up today, my old friend and an amazing journalist, Brian Hickey, got to do one of those stories that you pray for when you’re a young scribe, because they’re so bizarre and fun.

Seems a man named Leroy Black of Egg Harbor Township, N.J. died on August 2, and naturally there was an obituary in the paper submitted by his loving wife.

And another one from his girlfriend.

Yep, old Leroy was quite the ladies’ man, apparently.

“A man answering the phone at Greenidge Funeral Homes told PhillyVoice that the obituaries were placed separately because “the wife wanted it one way, and the girlfriend wanted it another way.” But he did not anticipate any problems because everybody knew it was happening.”

Well, sure. As long as the wife and girlfriend know about each other and can write separate obits, all is well with the world.

Oh, Leroy, even in death you are causing trouble.

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**Next up today, the Olympics continue to roll on, with so many great moments each day it’s hard to keep track of (that collision/pickup in the women’s track race yesterday will be happily covered in Good News Friday this week). Lots of upsets are happening, lots of dominant performances, too, that it’s hard to single out any one particular effort.

But Simone Biles, my goodness. What an incredible Olympics she’s having in gymnastics, capped off by yet another gold medal on the floor exercise on Tuesday. This tiny woman is so powerful, so smooth, so graceful on the mat, that she’s bringing the sport forward several leaps.

I know the shelf life of an Olympian is very short, and in a few years Biles will be off doing “Dancing With The Stars” or pursuing a college education, or something else worthwhile.

But take a minute in the middle of your day to watch her amazing performance yesterday in winning her fourth gold medal. In an Olympics with so many standouts, her grace and joy somehow manage to rise above.

**So, since this is probably one of the last weeks people consider Donald Trump a “real” Presidential candidate (the guy is imploding more and more every day; Walter Mondale’s going to call him soon and be like “Dude, even I won ONE state!”), I feel it important to share these two pieces of political propaganda.

First, a delightful takedown of the vulgar, talking yam in his own words over years:

And next, something you truly have to see and, what’s the word, inflict on your friends. It’s a “song” by Rodney Carrington, called “Vote for Trump,” and oh, it’s glorious in its awfulness.

Enjoy?