Tag Archives: Drew Brees

Seth Meyers’ new Netflix special is hilarious and filled with heart. A pretty astounding Hillary Clinton/Howard Stern interview moment. And in the NFL, the Saints-49ers game is terrific, and the Pats look mortal again (yay!)

Seth Meyers is a comedian I’ve always enjoyed in small doses.

I liked him occasionally on “Saturday Night Live,” but never thought he was terrific or a star. I’ve liked him a lot on his NBC late-night talk show, and think he’s a witty observer who does some great commentaries from time to time.

But I never really took him in at full measure until watching his new Netflix special, “Lobby Baby,” and wow is it all kinds of fantastic.

In a stand-up performance taped in Minneapolis, Meyers (who says he’s not Jewish but everyone thinks he is because of his name “and everything else about me,”) riffs on parenthood, Donald Trump (though only a little), and a host of other subjects. But his best material comes about how his kids were born, and what kind of parenting friends are best.

The title “Lobby Baby” refers to where the Meyers’ second child was born, the lobby of their apartment building.

The clip above is just one piece of the story, and the whole thing is so funny my wife and I had to stop it a few times because we were laughing so hard. His bit about the only kinds of parenting friends he and his wife will have is so good I can’t spoil it for you here.

Meyers is relaxed, calm and very, very strong here. Cannot recommend it enough, “Lobby Baby” is outstanding.

**Next up today, two names I never thought I’d put in the same sentence in a positive way, but here we are: Hillary Clinton was on with Howard Stern last week, and by all accounts she was amazing.

I’ve only watched about 15 minutes of the interview so far, but Hillary comes off as warm, insightful and honest, something I sure as shit wish she had been in 2016.
As I’ve said many times, I will never, ever forgive her for running such an awful 2016 campaign and losing an election I felt sure was un-lose-able against Trump.

But Stern is an outstanding interviewer, and I think this clip here, with Stern talking to Clinton about the night Osama bin Laden was killed, is remarkable.

Here’s the link to all five parts, it’s a very long interview, more than two hours, but so far it’s been very illuminating.

But dammit, Hillary, how could you stick us with Trump??? I’ll never get over it.

**Finally today, it was another wild and wacky day in the League of Football we call National. My New York Jets defeated the Miami Dolphins in a game so bad it was a shame someone had to win, but hey, someone had to win it so it might as well be my team!

Seriously, though, Sam Darnold made some really bad decisions, he’s almost played two full years now and he has so little talent around him… I can’t say for certain if he’s the franchise QB I so desperately want him to be. I honestly do not know. And after almost two seasons, shouldn’t you know? He looks great, and he looks terrible, and he looks great and terrible.

— The Saints and 49ers are two of the three best teams in the NFC, and Sunday they played an insanely-entertaining game with just about zero defense played.

Forty-eight to forty-six final score! That’s nuts. Jimmy Garoppolo and Drew Brees were spectacular, and so was the Niners’ George Kittle, who made a spectacular catch and run on 4th down in the final minute while a Saints defender tried to rip his facemask off his helmet (above). Seriously, it was the most blatant, and longest-held, facemask I’ve ever seen, and Kittle just kept rumbling.

Niners-Saints in the NFC Title game, please.

— The Texans smack the Patriots around last week. Then get stomped by a terrible Denver club Sunday. But go ahead, bet on NFL games.

— Speaking of Coach Hoodie and the boys from New England, it’s so rare I get to celebrate a Pats losing streak. But they lost to Kansas City Sunday (and got screwed by a few referees’ calls, too, but that happens to everyone) and now have lost TWO games in a row. Alert the hysterical fans in Boston, it’s time to fire everybody!

No but seriously, this New England offense is seriously limited. Going to be hard to beat Baltimore with this offense.

— Finally, I want to thank Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill for once again being so awesome for my fantasy football team. Titans are legit good, folks. They’re going to be a dangerous playoff opponent for somebody.

 

James Corden with a heartfelt takedown of “fat-shaming.” A hilarious obit from the family of a prankster. And NFL Week 2: Any healthy QB’s left? And boy do the Giants stink

It’s pretty rare when one late-night TV show host goes after another publicly on their own show. But James Corden, who I love, went after Bill Maher, who I used to love and now I just feel sorry for, last week on Corden’s show, and I applaud him for it greatly.

Maher, who was once a smart, edgy thinker who was very funny, did a stupid, thoughtless monologue at the end of his “Real Time with Bill Maher” HBO show last week about “Fat shaming,” and how it needs to come back, and be amped up. Fat people, Maher argued, need a kick in their rear to lose weight, and the rest of us should be constantly reminding them of it.

“Fat shaming doesn’t need to end, it needs to make a comeback,” Maher said. “Some amount of shame is good.”

James Corden, who like millions of us has struggled with his weight for his whole life, rightfully, and smartly, whacks back at Maher’s idiotic takes. Watch this heartfelt, so well-done seven minutes by Corden. I admire him using his platform for his, and shame on Maher (you said some shame is good, right Bill?) for once again showing the world has passed him by.

Bravo, James.

**Next up today, it’s rare you’ll ever read an obit as funny as the one a Connecticut man named Joe Heller had written about him, by his three daughters.

Heller, a master prankster and the life of any party he went to, died at age 82 on Sept. 8, and the obit is hilarious.

This is the lede to the great obit:

“When the doctors confronted his daughters with the news last week that “your father is a very sick man,” in unison they replied, “you have no idea.”

It talks about how as a kid he named his pet dog “Fart,” so his mother would have to yell that word out every time she was looking for the pup. It mentions how he embarrassed his family constantly and in many ways.

The obituary listed achievements such as being a “consummate napper” and a regular browser of collectibles at the local dump.

There wasn’t a road, restaurant or friend’s house in Essex that he didn’t fall asleep on or in,” Ms. Heller wrote, adding that her father “left his family with a house full of crap, 300 pounds of birdseed and dead houseplants that they have no idea what to do with.”

The whole thing is fabulous, a sweet, warm tribute to a Dad they loved dearly.

Who is now taking the ultimate nap.

— First off, what in the world did the New Orleans Saints do in a past life to piss off the referee Gods? We all remember last year’s debacle of a missed pass-interference call in the NFC championship game, that may have cost them a Super Bowl chance. And then Sunday, they scored an apparent touchdown on defense that was called back because of an “inadvertent whistle.” The NFL refereeing continues to be so, so bad.

— Quarterback down! Quarterback down! Actually, quite a few quarterbacks down on Sunday, not counting my future star Sam Darnold of the Jets, who this week came down with mono, so clearly those makeout sessions with the offensive line in the locker room had some deletory effects.

Drew Brees, hurt and maybe out for a while. Ben Roethlisberger, hurt and maybe out for a while. Carson Wentz of the Eagles, who finished his game Sunday night, might be hurt.
Rough sport, this football thing.

— My ex-father-in law, who lived near Buffalo for a long time, used to taunt me on the rare occasions the Bills were doing well, saying “You know Michael, the Bills are the only true New York team,” since of course the Jets and Giants have played their games in New Jersey for decades.

Well, after the first two weeks of the NFL season, the Bills are certainly the best New York team. Because they just got done beating both of the “other” New York teams, finishing off with a stomping of the Giants Sunday.
I don’t know if the 2-0 Bills are for real yet, because both the Jets and Giants are horrible this year, but I know Buffalo might have a good young QB and some playmakers on offense, and an aggressive defense. Let’s see how they do against some better competition.

— Football in Florida is putrid this season. The Jaguars stink. The Bucs are pretty woeful, too. And the Dolphins… wow, if they don’t go 0-16, something very surprising has happened.

— Pray for me tonight. The Jets are down to their backup quarterback, have a bunch of other injuries, and are playing a Browns team that got embarrassed last week and needs a win badly. This could get uglier than the shower scene in “Psycho.” (look it up, young’uns.)

The NFL Playoffs gave us only one good game, but next Sunday should be awesome. A crazy-good clairvoyant act on “America’s Got Talent.” And the Australian Open is starting, yay!

Well, you could choose to look at the NFL divisional playoff weekend we just had in one of two ways.

You can take the view that I’m sure most people will, that what’s usually a terrific, close, competitive quartet of games was mostly a dud, as the Rams, Patriots and Chiefs had easy wins, and only the Saints-Eagles game Sunday was exciting. So you could conclude that it was a boring weekend.

Or, you can take an optimistic view, and say we’ve got two massively great games scheduled for the AFC and NFC championship games next Sunday, thanks to the teams who won.

Kansas City vs. New England at Arrowhead Stadium. New Orleans vs. the L.A. Rams down in Louisiana. Should be a whole lot of fun. Both games ought to be high-scoring and down to the wire. They’ve gotta be better than what we just saw, right?

See, I’m an optimist.

Some quick-hit thoughts on the weekend’s games…

— Let’s start with the only really good game. The Eagles pounced on the Saints, 14-0 in the first quarter and damned if I didn’t start thinking, “Is Nick Foles really going to do this again, get incredibly hot and lead his team back to the Super Bowl?”
Then, New Orleans woke up, and squeaked out a 20-14 win with just enough offense. If I’m the Saints, I’m not feeling that confident these days. Drew Brees and Co. have not looked nearly as explosive the last several weeks as they had prior, and they’ve got a huge test in the Rams next week.

— The Patriots looked scary, scary good on Sunday. That was a good Chargers team they walloped, and like everyone else, I’ve run out of ways to praise the dominance of New England. Do you realize they’re about to play in the their eighth straight AFC title game? That is insane.

— The Rams didn’t quite look as impossible-to-stop Saturday night as they did earlier in the season, but man it is fun to watch them on offense. So many weapons, so smooth, and Todd Gurley in the backfield is special.

— Why oh why do instant replays in football take forever? I particularly love when the “rules analyst” every network has in the booth definitely tells us the call should go one way, then the referee on the field goes the opposite way. As Al Michaels said a few weeks ago on a telecast, the refs really are just making it up as they go along.

— I’m picking with my heart and my head for the title games. Give me the Chiefs, with home-field being a big help, and the Rams, getting it done in New Orleans. That would give us one hell of a fun Super Bowl.

**Next up today, I’m starting to get sucked back into “America’s Got Talent” again, now that they’ve got this “Champions” season going on. And so the other night I watched in amazement this act called “The Clairvoyants,” two people named Tommy and Amelie who are pretty incredible at predicting the future.

This is beyond the usual “psychic down at the corner store” kind of stuff. I’m kind of blown away by this. Watch and then pick your jaw up off the floor.

** Finally today, it’s a wonderful time of year for tennis fans like me, because after an offseason that felt like it lasted forever (OK it was only two months), pro tennis is back and more specifically, the Australian Open is here.

It began Sunday night, and the Aussie Open is notoriously hard to predict, since it’s the first Slam of the year, everyone’s healthy and fired up, and so anything can happen.

A ton of great storylines as usual this year in Melbourne, including: Can two-time defending champ Roger Federer win again, or is age finally catching up to him? Novak Djokovic dominated the second half of last season and already has won six Aussie Open titles, can anything stop him? Is Nadal healthy?

On the women’s side, things are wide open as usual. Can Naomi Osaka follow up her amazing U.S. Open title and win again? Is Serena ready to win again after losing two Slam finals last year? And is it time for Sloane Stephens or Madison Keys to triumph in Melbourne?

Nobody knows the answers. Which is why I love tennis so much.

We saw a huge upset that I was personally invested in Sunday night, as Reilly Opelka, a kid from Palm Coast, Fla., I wrote about when he was 11 and used to be taller than (he’s now a 7-footer), scored a huge upset and beat No. 9 seed John Isner.

Great kid from a great family. Very happy for him.

In my younger days I’d stay up most of the night during the Aussie Open, sacrificing sleep for tennis. Can’t do that anymore, but I’ll still love watching what I can see.

ESPN or ESPN 2, every night starting at 7. Can’t wait.

 

So many troubling questions and thoughts about Brett Kavanaugh, rape, and the silencing and shaming of victims. And the politician whose six siblings all starred in a commercial… for his opponent. Pat Mahomes is the greatest QB of all time (OK not yet), and the Giants and Bills show life.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Patsy Lynch/REX/Shutterstock (9858691f)

We have come so far, in so many ways, in American society when it comes to dealing with sexual assault.

We have spent billions of dollars to change laws that take domestic violence more seriously, that penalize rapists, that make men everywhere in every state aware that “no means no” and that it is absolutely positively not OK to take advantage of a woman for your own sexual gain.

Things are so, so much better than they were 30-40 years ago, it seems; we see things like the #MeToo movement and the epic career falls of media titans like Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, Charlie Rose, Les Moonves, and so many others, and it really does feel like we’re making progress.

But then, this Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination comes about, and a reputable doctor named Christine Blasey Ford makes an accusation against the judge, and we see how far, very far we still have to go.

Dr. Ford has been harassed, received death threats, and had to go into hiding because she had the nerve to anger Republican voters and Senators so bloodthirsty for a Supreme Court majority. She has been given ridiculous deadlines by Chuck Grassley and other GOP lawmakers, and for a week she’s stood alone. (Isn’t it interesting how Republican lawmakers and voters were so willing to believe those accusing Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton, by the way, but no so much those accusing Kavanaugh?)

Now, though, Dr. Ford is not alone anymore. Another woman, Deborah Ramirez, told The New Yorker in a story published Sunday that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party at Yale. And I have little doubt there will be more stories coming out.

How far do we still have to go? I also read two devastating, but important stories of rape victims whose pleas and cries went ignored for too long; this phenomenal Washington Post story from Liz Bruenig about a girl named Amber Wyatt, raped in 2006 in Arlington, Tex., by two high school classmates, and the shame and horror her life became when the town turned against her.

And this first-person account from The Atlantic by Deborah Kopaken about a woman reaching out to her rapist, 30 years after fact.

Let this paragraph from The New Yorker story about Ramirez tell you all you need to know about the current Republican party:

“Senior Republican staffers also learned of the allegation last week and, in conversations with The New Yorker, expressed concern about its potential impact on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Soon after, Senate Republicans issued renewed calls to accelerate the timing of a committee vote.”

I mean… are you freaking kidding me???? There’s a second allegation of sexual misconduct against a man we want to serve a LIFETIME appointment on the highest court in the land. Let’s hurry up and get him confirmed!”

We’ve come so far. But we have so, so much further to go.

 

**Next up today, it’s getting close to Election Day and of course things are getting kooky and nuts and a little weird, as they do every election cycle. I love reporting on fabulous TV ads, bizarre candidate statements, and incredibly obscure Congressional races suddenly getting interesting because of something strange happening.

Well, something strange has happened with a race involving Paul Gosar, Representative of Arizona’s 4th District and a very, very right-wing Republican.

Gosar’s opponent, David Brill, has a new TV commercial ad, and it stars… six of Gosar’s siblings, all denouncing him and saying Brill should be the winner of this race.

Yes, seriously. Gosar’s siblings all speak out in the ad against their brother, and for Dr. Brill.  In interviews about the ad with The Washington Post, the siblings spoke out further.

There isn’t a kooky, crazy, nutty thing that he isn’t a part of,” David Gosar said. “What are we supposed to do?”

Sister Grace Gosar, a physician, says, “It would be difficult to see my brother as anything but a racist.”Just delightful. What I wouldn’t do to be at the Gosar family Thanksgiving this year!https://youtu.be/9JY-6-Gp_j0?t=22s

**Finally today, a few NFL Week 3 thoughts, where we saw a Chiefs quarterback continue his astonishing start to his pro career, a stunning result in Minnesota, and are the Dolphins actually good?

— Gotta start with another remarkable game from Patrick Mahomes, who in three NFL starts now has thrown 13 (thirteen!) touchdown passes in leading the Chiefs to a 3-0 start. Wow is this kid on fire. I don’t know how good the Chiefs are on defense, but if this Mahomes kid keeps making plays like the one above that he made Sunday, they’re going to the Super Bowl.

— The Miami Dolphins are 3-0. No, really, the Dolphins are 3-0! Kind of hard to believe, since they’ve been so mediocre to bad for so long. But the franchise that gave us Don Shula and Larry Csonka are in first place in the AFC East. Are they any good? I don’t know. They’ve beaten my putrid Jets and the equally awful Raiders the last two weeks, so maybe they’re undefeated as a product of the schedule. But they look pretty darn good so far.

— Everyone who had Josh Allen, in his second pro start, going on the road at NFC superpower Minnesota and dominating, raise your hands. Now, Mr. and Mrs. Allen, please put your hands down. Good, that leaves zero hands up.
Wow. Who saw the Bills putting a beatdown on the Vikes coming? Reason No. 4,523 I never, ever bet on sporting events.

— And hey, the Giants won a game, too! Eli Manning showed that when he gets protection, he can still sling it a little. And Saquan Barkley is the real deal.

— The Patriots are 1-2 and looked horrific against the hapless Lions Sunday night. It was so bad that longtime friend of the blog and big New England fan Matt M. emailed me to say “it looks like the Patriots’ run is over.”

Wow. Not so fast will I believe that. I’ve counted out Brady and Belichick way too often over the years. They’ll still finish 12-4, count on it.

— Finally, a word of appreciation for Drew Brees, who led the Saints to a thrilling 43-37 win over the Falcons (by the way, can those two teams play 6-7 times per year against each other? Every time they play it’s a nail-biter). This quarterback, Brees, has been playing at this unbelievable level for 13 years, won a Super Bowl, helped resurrect a city after Katrina, and still I feel he’s underappreciated.

He’s going to go down as one of the 10 greatest QB’s to ever play, and he’s played with class and grace for so long. He’ll be sorely missed when he eventually retires.

An innocent American wrongly imprisoned in China, getting no help. Chance the Rapper with a hilarious hockey sketch on “SNL.” And are you ready for a Saints-Pats Super Bowl?

Part of me doesn’t even want to justify the inane Tweets of our President by paying any attention to them. The general rule seems to be, the more unhinged and ridiculous his Tweets are, the bigger the shitstorm that’s about to come down (which means today could be a big day for Robert Mueller and his group).

So I don’t know what to expect today after the orange-faced grifter in the White House went off half-cocked on Sunday, spewing some crap about how LaVar Ball, father of one of the three UCLA basketball players arrested for shoplifting in China, and then released, should be more grateful and stop dissing Donald Trump in Ball’s own Tweets. (Honestly, if you have no idea what I’m talking about here, you’re probably better off.)

But anyway, the three yahoos from UCLA are indeed home, safe and sound, and not that Trump gives a damn, but there actually is an American athlete being held in China who appears to be innocent, and whose situation is a nightmare.

This sensational Dan Wetzel column tells the tale of Wendell Brown (above), a former star football player from Detroit who, by September of 2016, had found a home in China as a personal trainer and as a coach in the American Football League of China. Then, after an altercation at a bar, Brown was arrested, and has been held in jail for the past 14 months.

No bail, no political leaders able to help, just an innocent man (video surveillance from the bar shows Brown didn’t do anything wrong) sitting in a Chinese prison, for God knows how long.

Wendell’s parents have tried everything, involving the U.S. Consulate, U.S. Senators, everything they can. But they don’t have the power of UCLA, or a President visiting China who knows about the case of their son.

“They basically got a saint locked up over there,” said Travon King, Wendell’s father. “There isn’t any other way to look at it.”

And so three stupid kids who were guilty of shoplifting get to go home after two days in China, while an innocent man sits in jail for 14 months.

Hey Don, go ask your friend the Chinese President about Wendell Brown’s case. And his parents have already said they’d thank you if you did anything, so your massive ego can get a little boost too.

“I’ll thank him,” Antoinette Brown, Wendell’s Mom, says. “If Trump helps us, if he helps Wendell, I won’t stop thanking him. He helped get three basketball players who were guilty get out. I pray he’ll help get my innocent son out. And if he does, I’ll thank him and thank him and thank him.”

There you go, Don. We know that’s all you care about. So get on the phone, will ya?

**Next up, I’ve written a few times about how much I respect Chance the Rapper, for what he’s trying to do in his hometown of Chicago (donating time and money to help poor people.) He hosted “Saturday Night Live” Saturday and while there were some other good sketches, this one, as a brand-new to hockey reporter trying to talk about the game, had me laughing out loud.

As we always say when we watch my favorite teams play, “Let’s do that hockey!” I also love the facial expression when he’s told he’ll be covering hockey for six months.

**Finally today, the New Orleans Saints, ladies and gentlemen. The New Orleans Saints! That’s better.

Man oh man. Nobody thought this team would be any good before the start of the year, and now they erased a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit and won their eighth game in a row. Drew Brees is playing great, they’ve finally got a running game and a defense, and they look darn good. I could very easily see a Saints-Pats Super Bowl.

If only the fine residents of New Orleans had any kind of nightlife in which to celebrate their team’s good play …

— The Eagles, though, sure look like the best team in the league. Going into Dallas in prime time and dominating them Sunday night? Very impressive. Carson Wentz, the pride of North Dakota, is so poised for a second-year QB.

— Beyond the Eagles, Pats, and Saints, I have no idea who’s any good in the NFL. The Chiefs lose to the Giants? Terrible. And the idea that the Jets, my Jets, are one game out of a playoff spot the week of Thanksgiving is kind of nuts. Mediocrity, thy name is the AFC.

— Poor Nathan Peterman. Yes, I’m partial to the Bills’ rookie QB who made his first start Sunday because his first name is my older son’s name, but wow did he have a rough day. Kid threw FIVE interceptions. In the first half! Oy. I hope he gets another chance somewhere down the road, so that’s not his only NFL memory when he’s 80.

 

Two cool Halloween stories for a spooky Monday. The Jets have a winning streak! And why Saints games are so much fun. And the NBA “genius” who autographed the Great Wall of China

princecostume-halloween

Happy Halloween, my fellow ghosts and goblins! Hope you and yours have a safe and fun day; my little guy is going as an elephant this year (pretend bag of peanuts came with the costume, which I thought was a nice touch), and I think now that he’s 2 he might enjoy the experience a little more.

Anyway, whether you’re trick-or-treating with your kids, or handing out Kit-Kats and mini-Hershey bars to the neighborhood brats who complain they only got two pieces, hope it’s a safe, fun day. A few Halloween-y items to start today:
First, how awesome is that kid (above) in his Prince costume? First of all, the kid is actually as tall as the real Prince was (ouch). Also the hair and the wisp of a mustache are just perfect. Bravo.

Secondly, this cracked me up, and apparently others enjoyed it too, since it has 5 million view on YouTube. A dog owner decided to dress up as his pooch’s favorite toy, Gumby, and see what happened. Take a wild guess how pumped up the furry guy was…

My final Halloween item comes from a very cool gesture from my man Jeff Pearlman’s daughter, who is Jewish, and her best friend, who is Muslim. They decided to dress up as a new superhero team for Halloween called the “Juslims,” and their photo went crazy-viral on Sunday. So much so that Buzzfeed interviewed the girls and they sounded great.

**Ladies and gentlemen, the New York Jets are on fire! Two wins in a row! 3-5, playoffs here we come, baby!

Yeah, right. The pathetic NFL team I root for played as poorly as you can imagine for a half against the lowly and winless Cleveland Browns, trailing 20-7, and looking like they wanted to go home and watch Game 5 of the World Series, just like the rest of the Browns fans.

But just to tease us fans for a few more weeks, the Jets responded with a huge second half, the Browns remembered they are the Browns, and the Jets squeaked out a 31-28 win.
Great. Now we Jets fans don’t get to see if Bryce Petty is the QB of the future for at least a few more weeks.

— Thought about this during the Jets-Browns game: Wouldn’t it be nuts if, in 2016, the Cavaliers won the NBA title, the Indians won the World Series, and the Browns went 0-16? That’d be awesome.

— I don’t have any statistical proof of this at the moment, but doesn’t it seem like the New Orleans Saints play more crazy-finish games than anyone, at least in the last five years? It always seems like Drew Brees and his mates are involved in nail-biter after nail-biter. Sunday they held off Seattle 25-20, but not before the Seahawks drove to the Saints’ 10 and had one pass into the end zone to win it.

— Some fan threw a dildo onto the field during the Patriots-Bills game. I have no sarcastic or witty comment to add, I just feel like you needed to know that happened.

— I realize I may be the last football fan in America to have seen this, but the Bo Jackson Tecmo Bowl commercial for Kia? Magnificent. I’ve tried to explain to younger people that Tecmo Bo was the greatest video game athlete of all time, and they just don’t get it. But he was.

— Is it time we acknowledge the Raiders are finally good? I mean, 6-2 is 6-2. Their QB, Derek Carr, is terrific, they’ve got great wideouts, and a defense that doesn’t stink. Maybe all this success means they won’t move to Vegas in a few years.

bobby-brown-great-wall-of-china-640x480

**Finally today, this story just made me laugh and question this guy’s sanity all at once.
A Houston Rockets guard named Bobby Brown (no, not the singer) was with his team over in China a few weeks ago playing some NBA exhibition games when, like millions of tourists do every year, he decided to visit the Great Wall.

But unlike those millions of others, Bobby decided to treat one of the Seven Wonders of the World like it was a storefront in Bed-Stuy. He scrawled his name (and uniform number!) on a section of the historic site.

And then, you know, Brown posted a photo of his autograph on Twitter.

I mean … COME ON DUDE! Do you think Yao Ming wrote his name and number on the Statue of Liberty when he played the Knicks???

Shockingly, Chinese citizens weren’t thrilled by Brown’s deed.

“Are you proud of your carving? This is a part of world heritage, not the toilet of your home,” one said.

Brown apologized. Can’t wait till he goes back to China with a big scrubber to try to get his signature off.

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

nycmarathon.start

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

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

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

Some thoughts from a wonderful day of watching athletic accomplishment:

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

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

It was great.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Jets finally win, and I’m no longer a Red Zone Channel virgin. Matt Taibbi exposes more criminality at JPMorgan Chase. And a soldier learns to walk again

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My son turns two months old today, and until Sunday his lifetime had not included a New York Jets victory.

And I sure as hell didn’t see that first win since the opening week of the NFL season coming yesterday, against Ben Roethlisberger, who had thrown 12 touchdown passes over the past two weeks.
But in one more reason why  I never, ever wager money on the outcome of a football game, the Jets dominated and befuddled Pittsburgh and left the 40,000 Steelers fans who invaded MetLife Stadium quiet and sitting on their Terrible Towels most of the day.

Look, I know it’s crazy to feel happy that a 1-8 team finally won another game, and I know it changes nothing. But for the first time all season, I actually smiled and marveled at my favorite football team, while being amazed at some of the things that were happening (the Jets caused four turnovers? And converted in the red zone? And the Steelers kicker shanked a 25-yard FG? It was bizarro world out there).

Two and eight is still a disgusting record, and maybe this win cost the Jets the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft and a shot at Marcus Mariota, the stud QB from Oregon. But you know what? I didn’t care. It was just nice to enjoy one tiny slice of this pathetic Jets season.

Some other NFL thoughts a typically dramatic football Sunday…

— So I finally was able to abandon Time Warner Cable and switch to Verizon Fios cable service last week, a move I’d been begging my apartment complex to allow since the day we moved in last year (Seriously, Time Warner is the worst company in America.) And with my new cable package came the slice of crack cocaine I’d heard about for years, but had never inhaled: The NFL Red Zone Channel.
Oh yes, I could finally see what the cool kids were watching.

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, Red Zone Channel is like viewing football on speed: On this orgy of pigskin, you the viewer get bounced around to every single game where a scoring play either might happen or is about to happen, every time a team gets inside the 20-yard-line. Sometimes tje screen is split into 3 or 4 boxes if multiple teams are about to score, and all the switching is narrated by a dude in a studio pressing buttons furiously.

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I have heard it’s more addictive than cigarettes and cocaine, but I dipped a toe in Sunday, watching some of the 4 p.m. games on Red Zone. It was dizzying and whiplash-y and sometimes they literally cut away from one game before a scoring player’s buddies had even reached the end zone to celebrate with him.

I’m a master at watching multiple games at a sports bar, but this Red Zone channel was just too herky-jerky for me. I’d be really getting into a game, and then suddenly be thrown over to another one. Red Zone Channel is perfect for our 2-second attention span world, but I didn’t like it.

I’m putting the pipe down and walking away.

-Nice effort, Bears. Always nice when you can turn off a game before the first quarter is even over.

— What the hell happened to Drew Brees? Didn’t he used to be an elite QB? He was pretty terrible, a lot of times, on Sunday.

— How much fun would a Detroit-Cleveland Super Bowl be? Talk about 2 tortured fan bases. I know it won’t happen, but both teams are in first place and man that would be fun. I have a feeling ticket prices would be through the roof because both teams’ fans would sell body parts to see their team in the Super Bowl.

— Finally, the NFL line of the day on Twitter from the hilarious @PourMeCoffee, about inept Jacksonville playing in London again: “We fought side-by-side with Britain to beat back Hitler and fascism and we send them the Jaguars twice in two years. Shame on us.”

**Next up, Matt Taibbi is back with another explosive Rolling Stone article, exposing yet more disgusting, criminal behavior from bankers and managers at JP Morgan Chase back in 2007 and 2008, behavior that helped lead to the economic meltdown in America.

A brave whistle-blower named Alayne Fleischmann bore witness to the NINE billion dollar fraud and has spoken out. The details are chilling and so brazen that it will make you angry all over again that none of the financial head honchos were ever sent to jail for what they did.
Just hideous.

**And finally, a heartwarming video from World Wrestling Entertainment, and yes I’ve never written that sentence before. A wounded soldier named Dan Rose stands and walks, in a beautiful moment that will hopefully brighten up your Monday.

A Super Bowl rematch that was way better than the original, and other NFL Week 3 thoughts. An awesome high school kid interview. And the Chinese make cell phone texting pedestrian lanes a reality

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Last year’s Super Bowl was such a dud, it may have started a downward spiral for the NFL that has continued into this season, with Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Roger Goodell (and was that the worst press conference performance you’ve ever seen on Friday? Pretty horrible) all caught up in the web.
But Sunday’s rematch between Seattle and Denver was pretty thrilling, and almost made up for last February’s egg.
Peyton Manning was held down by the Seahawks’ for 3 quarters, than threw two TD passes in the final minutes to send the game to OT. But Russell Wilson, who would seem right at home in the middle of any chaotic situation you can imagine, led his team down for the winning score.
Great game. Wish it was this good last February when the whole world watched.
Some other ramblings from a pretty exciting Week 3, while I await my Jets’ latest prime-time mishap tonight on Monday Night Football:

— Wow, that Eagles-Redskins game was wild. Looked like an old-time Joe Thiesmann-Ron Jaworski 1980s shootout for a while. Nick Foles is damn tough, Kirk Cousins is for real, and DeSean Jackson is the cockiest NFL receiver we’ve seen since T.O., and he should shut up and just play once in a while.
What a thriller. Eagles are 3-0 and are going to be really tough to beat.
— The Browns, who I have always considered the Jets’ spiritual cousins, positively gave away their game against the Ravens. Cleveland led throughout the fourth quarter, blew two golden chances to put the game away, then lost on a last-second FG.
Cleveland fans, I feel your pain. This Brian Hoyer dude looks like he’ll keep Johnny Football on the bench for awhile.

— What the heck’s wrong with the Saints? They struggled all day to put away a pretty woeful Minnesota team. Drew Brees and Co. just don’t look right. And what’s wrong with the Packers? They looked terrible offensively Sunday.

— Thank you, Rashad Jennings of the Giants: Without you, my fantasy team might’ve scored in negative numbers Sunday. I have no idea how the Texans were 2-0 with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB, that guy is horrendous.

— Have no idea if the Cowboys are any good. In fact, they may be the worst 2-1 team in the NFL. But Tony Romo sure can look great at times.

–Lastly, we live in a world where Drew Stanton has won two consecutive starts in the NFL. One more reason I never, ever bet on football.

**Next up today, this totally made me smile. In my newspaper career I interviewed thousands of high school football players after games, and 99 percent of the time you get totally boring, cliched answers or mono-syllabic grunts from kids.
So when you’re a reporter and come across a kid like Apollos Hester of East View (Texas) High, well, you just want to hug him and get down on one knee and praise him to the heavens.
Listen to this fantastic 90-second interview he gives a local TV reporter after Friday night’s game. You go, Apollos.

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**Finally today, remember a few months ago when, as an experiment, a sidewalk in Washington, D.C. was turned into two separate lanes, one for people walking and one for those slowpokes among us who were texting or reading email on their phones while traversing the cement? I thought it was a brilliant idea, but sadly it was just a trial.
However, as is the case in so many things related to technology, the Chinese are ahead of us.  Last week, the city of Chongqing unveiled a lane specially designated for people who want to walk as they use their cellphones. “Cellphones, walk in this lane at your own risk” is printed in the lane in white lettering. The adjoining lane reads “No cellphones,” according to this Wall Street Journal story.

Bravo, China. I hope America copies you, and soon!

Watching the NYC Marathon live an awesome experience. A freaky Criss Angel trick that made me scream. And the Jets keep shocking everyone

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I would like to one day run the New York City Marathon.

For now, though, I’m only running five miles at a time, so I settled for the next-best thing: Watching the marathon live, from about 500 yards outside my front door.

Always wanted to see the Marathon live, and Sunday I got to cross it off my bucket list: Since my wife and I moved to First Avenue, a major viewing area for the awesome race, I knew I would finally get my chance.

And it was… extraordinary. Such a wonderful, wonderful time. So many senses came at me I was overloaded; it was cold, it was loud, it was joyful, it was crowded, and mostly… it was fantastic.

Some thoughts from 90 minutes spent leaning against a metal police railing at mile 16 (that’s my wife’s picture from where we were standing, above):

— My favorite part of the day was yelling out random stranger’s names and screaming for them like we were old friends. For many of the runners, we just yelled out the logo on their shirt (like “France” or “Fred’s Team”), but with a ton of runners putting their names on their shirts, we got plenty of practice screaming “Go Susie!” or “You can do it, Greg!” A lot of the runners played to the crowd, but to see their faces light up when five or six random strangers screamed their name and cheered for them was so great. At first, a lot of them looked at us like “Do I know you?” But then they just gave a thumbs-up, or a wave.

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— The coolest sight was the uniforms of the runners. So many colors, so many different sock and sneaker looks, and so many costumes. We saw three Spidermans, a couple of Supermans, people with giant blue and yellow wigs, and my favorite, a dude running in a Hulk Hogan “Hulkamania” shirt (and yes, he did the hand to the ear move Hulk was famous for).

Truly, it was like watching a rainbow blur by you every 10-15 seconds.

— There were a lot of creative shirts, but my favorite was definitely the woman who’s orange T-shirt said on the back “You just got passed by a pregnant lady!”

Hey, the kid will come out of the womb in running shape, right?

— Each runner’s bib has a tracking device, so it was cool seeing people we were standing near know when their loved one would be coming by.

— For so many of these runners, it was a once in a lifetime experience. And so many of them were running with cameras and filming the crowd. Which means I can guarantee you that my little group I was standing with will be on about 15 home movies forever.

Which, if you think about it, is a nice way to be in someone’s life for a few seconds.

**OK, so my mother-in-law sent me this video of a Criss Angel illusion that he’s been doing for years, but was just on a recent episode of his TV show.

I watched it a bunch of times and it freaked me out every time, even after I did some Internet research (check the comments section). I know it’s not “real” but still pretty amazing. The good parts begin at 1:20…

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**It’s pretty easy to wager on the 2013 New York Jets.
On odd-numbered weeks, they win.
On even numbered weeks, they lose.

Fortunately, they play “bye” next week, so I think they’ll be able to win that one.
Yep, the crazy, wacky season of the Jets continued on Sunday, as they once again won a game they had absolutely no business winning, when you looked at on paper.
They ran the ball for 200 yards, they got a huge pass rush in the second half, and they “held” Drew Brees to 380 passing yards (trust me, they did a good job on him when it mattered.)

Chris Ivory ran hard. Geno Smith played smart and didn’t turn the ball over. And the D-line continues to look ferocious; finally, after years of searching, the Jets have a pass rush, thanks to Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, and Sheldon Richardson (all great draft picks. Stephen Hill, meanwhile… not so much.)

I have no idea if this Jets team can actually make the playoffs, which would be the most surprising season in my lifetime as a Jets fan. But they sure have made this season a lot more fun to watch than I would’ve thought.

They’re 5-4, when I never thought they’d get five wins all year. Crazy.