Tag Archives: Geno Smith

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Portrait Of Opossum On Field By Rock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whew.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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We leased a new car this weekend and got a great deal and I still feel icky. SNL and Tom Hanks skewer the final Presidential debate. And the Jets show life while A.J. Green is amazing

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This photo has nothing to do with anything I’m writing about, but it’s almost Halloween and he’s Jaromir Jagr and I laughed really hard looking at this picture. It’s classic.

It’s a cliche that’s not supposed to be true anymore. Car dealers aren’t supposed to be able to pressure you to buy these days. No, car-buying or leasing is now a democratic process, since consumers all have so much information at their disposals, and so many options and …

We went looking for a new car lease this weekend, what I thought would be the very start of the process. Our old Honda CR-V lease, which we love, is up in a few weeks, so we wanted to start looking around. I was 99 percent sure we would get another CR-V, because we love it, but you never know.

So yep, we were just going to go to the first place on Saturday, a Honda dealer in Nassau County (on Long Island, for you non New-Yorkers), get a quote, and be on our merry way to our other non-vehicle activities.

And yeah, Sunday evening we drove home a new CR-V. My head is still kind of spinning.
What happened is, the saleswoman and her manager almost literally refused to let us leave the store. Several times Saturday we said we were happy, we really liked the 2016 CR-V Touring they’d shown us, and we’d get back to them.

Then they kept lowering the payments. And lowered them. And threw in more stuff. And offered to make our last payment on our current car. And then he offered us some property in Miami Beach and any one of his three children. (OK not really. He only offered us two kids. He’s not an animal)

Finally, he came down so low on the price, basically a few dollars more than what we’re currently paying, that my wife and I agreed we won’t do any better anywhere else. So I shook the saleswoman’s hand and the manager’s hand and suddenly papers were being drawn up.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy we got a good deal. But the whole thing still felt kind of icky. First, the whole process of the salespeople constantly lowering the price makes me think, “if they could go that low the whole time, and still make a profit, why the hell are they starting so high and trying to screw me?”

Second, just the whole negotiating and literally almost blocking us from leaving made me feel slippery. Look pal, I know you have a sales quota, but do you really need to press THAT hard?

Anyway, we love the new car, and as soon as we figure out how to use all the new features I’m sure we’ll love it more.

It just felt … icky.

**Next up, I figure I might as well be consistent and run the final “SNL” Presidential debate sketch, since I blogged about the first two here. Happily, this one was just as funny as the rest of them.

When Kate McKinnon claims she got “Trump bingo” at the 2:10 mark, I just about snorted water out of my mouth. I also loved the “Nasty Woman” coffee mug she busts out.

Also, this is the best acting Alec Baldwin has done since, um, ever. Or at least since “Glengarry Glen Ross.”

 

**Finally today, as I mentioned before I didn’t get to see much football on Sunday, thanks to all the car shopping stuff, but catching up on highlights and seeing the occasional glimpse of the Jets game on the TV at the Honda dealership, I was surprised to see my Jets actually remembered how to win a game.

And of course, it was odd: Geno Smith, in his first start at QB since 2014, got hurt in the second quarter, so benched starter Ryan Fitzpatrick came on and led the Jets to the win. The same guy who stunk for the first six games this year suddenly played well. Of course, this being the Jets, Geno will probably be healthy, come back next week, and throw five picks.

But hey, the Jets are 2-5, who’s complaining!

**I don’t know who’s good or bad in this year’s NFL, but I’m pretty sure that A.J. Green of the Bengals made the catch of the year so far. Forget for a minute the Browns’ defense’s ineptitude here, Green’s just a sick athlete.

**Watched the last few minutes of overtimes of that putrid, horrible Sunday night Football game between Arizona and Seattle which ended in 6-6 tie, thanks to BOTH kickers missing field goals inside of 30 yards in overtime. Then was up all night in a cold sweat after reading this from the New York Times’ Nate Cohn about November 8:
“Mrs. Clinton’s chances of winning are now 93 percent, or about the same probability as an NFL kicker missing a 29-yard field goal.”

**Not football, but I have to mention somewhere in today’s post that the Chicago Cubs (the Cubs!) are in the World Series for the first time in 71 years. So many incredible storylines to this Indians-Cubs Series, and I’ll probably write a few hundred words about it for Wednesday’s post. But my favorite thing I saw Saturday night/Sunday morning was this:
The last time the Cubs were in the Series, African-Americans were not allowed to play major league baseball. Tuesday in Game 1, the Cubs’ Dexter Fowler (an African-American) will be the first batter.

That’s just beautiful.

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.

mets-v-royals-world-series

**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 “Black Lives Matter” protest of Bernie Sanders was utterly ridiculous. The Jets suffer such a Jets-like injury. And Columbia House records, R.I.P.

OK, time for a rant.

Bernie Sanders is running for the Democratic nomination for President. He has had a long and distinguished career as an extremely liberal man, fighting injustice, arguing long and hard, in words and deeds, for civil rights for all, and by any metric you can possibly imagine, would be the President of the United States most devoted to making the lives of minorities in this country better. I am proud to support him.

#BlackLivesMatter is an organization founded two years ago. It is mostly populated by young, fired-up African-Americans who are fighting to change how minorities are treated in America, especially by law enforcement. I am in complete agreement with nearly all of the goals of #BlackLivesMatter.

And so is Bernie Sanders. Which is why I find what happened last week at a Sanders rally in Seattle so infuriating, and just plain idiotic. As you can see above, several #BlackLivesMatter protesters stormed the stage as Sanders was about to address thousands at a rally. They screamed, they ignored reasonable requests, and basically made a complete ass of themselves, railing against a candidate who would do more for their cause than anybody.

I mean really, Black Lives Matter folks? You pick  Bernie Sanders to protest? The only true liberal in this race? What exactly do you hope to accomplish by protesting Bernie Sanders? What position more in tune with your values could he possibly adopt?

There wasn’t a Ted Cruz, Rick Perry or Mike Huckabee rally somewhere you could attend? Because really, any of those buffoons, or Jeb Bush, or Donald Trump or Marco Rubio, are really going to do A LOT more for race relations in this country than Sanders. Yep, Presidents Bush or Trump really give two shits about anyone of color, they’re really going to strive for equality in America.

Give me a freaking break. What a disgraceful display.
So I was mad about this for a day or two, and I was calming down a bit, rationalizing the Sanders incident as perhaps just the work of a few overzealous protesters in Seattle.

Then tonight my mother alerted me that Chris Hayes on MSNBC was going to have a segment about the incident, and I watched Alicia Garza, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, on his show. (Her nonsense starts at around the 3:30 mark, but at the 7-minute mark is her most ridiculous statement of all.)

And I got pissed off all over again. This woman made absolutely zero sense. She’s talking about making sure “our message is heard” and completely ignoring the fact that Sanders is on their side on all of it, and talking about “forcing Sanders to have a better platform,” and bitching about Sanders not actually saying the words “Black Lives Matter” at a previous event, and that shows he’s not really on their side.

What a crock of shit. Protest is a wonderful tradition in this country. But when you protest against the only people in government who are on your side, you just look like classless idiots.

Rant over.

ColumbiaHouserecords.

 

**OK, on to something happier. Like another piece of my childhood going away. Remember those incredible Columbia House promotions in the mail and in magazines in the 1980s, where you could get like 12 cassettes for one penny if you would just sign up for the record club, and buy 8 tapes over the next three years?

Only they sent you these annoying postcards every month, and you had to send it back saying you didn’t want it, otherwise you’d end up with a Jackson Browne or Linda Ronstandt tape you didn’t really want?

Of course you remember them. I loved getting all those initial tapes for free. It was awesome. I didn’t love being required to buy 8 tapes over the next year.

Anyway, I hadn’t thought about Columbia House in 20 years, until Tuesday, when I saw this story about the parent company of the Columbia House music and DVD club filing for bankruptcy.

And I thought, of course they ran out of money! You can’t give your product away for free for that long and stay solvent.

Poor, poor Columbia House. I will always think of you and your postcards fondly.

Geno.jaw

**And finally, as a lifelong Jets fan, I bring this story to you without an ounce of surprise:

Starting quarterback Geno Smith will miss 6-10 weeks with a broken jaw. He was sucker-punched by teammate IK Enamkapaili, who apparently was mad that Geno hadn’t paid him $600 he owed him.

So Geno Smith, who stinks anyway but was getting one last chance, will now miss half the season. Because he owed a hot-tempered teammate $600.

I think lifelong Jets fan, and incredibly gifted writer Tom Junod, said it best:

“The incident, however extraordinary, will be viewed as business as usual by Jets fans…” A sentence the New York Times has ready for any Jets story.”

Yep.

A barbershop encounter gives me serious childhood flashbacks. Browns and Jets lose excruciatingly, as usual. And an 18-wheeler jumps over a racecar

littlekids.NFLjerseys

You ever have an experience as an adult where you meet someone who reminds you exactly of you as a kid, and it sorta freaks you out?

I had one of those moments Sunday, in a pretty unlikely place. Before heading to my usual NFL-watching sports pub, I walked a few blocks to my usual barbershop, which because I’m significantly follicly-challenged, I only have to visit every three months or so.

It’s a tiny place, just 3-4 chairs and a small waiting area, and when I got there a father and his two young sons were already waiting to be shorn. Both kids (I found out later they were 8 and 5) were wearing football jerseys; the older one was wearing a Mike Wallace Dolphins jersey, while his brother rocked a Darrelle Revis Jets jersey.

So we’re all just sitting there, me across from them, and because I’m the kind of person who likes talking to strangers, I said to the older boy “So, you like the Dolphins, huh?”

This produced, wonderfully, a 20-minute stream of football talk from the mouths of these two that can only be called a massive flood of gridiron info. The brothers were seemingly so excited to have a captive audience that they just started spewing out NFL knowledge, rapid-fire, talking over each other and making my head spin as I tried to respond or acknowledge each expression.

It sounded something like this: “Did you know the Bears lost to the Cowboys 41-28 The Eagles are my favorite team I really like Mark Sanchez Did you see the game where the 49ers lost to the Seahawks My Dad took me to Giants vs. Texans J.J. Watt is super awesome I think when I grow up I want to be a linebacker Do you know that my favorite team is either the Broncos or Giants or Jets…”

And on and on. It was hilarious. Eventually the smaller boy went into the barber’s chair and his dad had to keep reminding him to look straight ahead and stop turning around to talk to the strange man, but darn it if the kid kept turning around, to the amusement of the barber.

When they were done, the father thanked me for indulging his boys, I told him I had an infant one at home, and then it hit me: Those boys are exactly like I was at their age. I was a sports nut extraordinaire and I loved it when a grown-up would talk sports with me, or more likely, let me talk sports at them. Kids just want to be heard, and I was just like those boys today at the barbershop.
Thirty years ago, I was them.

I walked out with a big smile, which is very rare when I leave a barbershop and have to see just how little hair I have left.

**Next up, a data storage and cloud computing company named EMC put together this awesome commercial where an 18-wheeler jumps over a race car. I have no idea what any of this has to do with a data company, but it was super cool to watch. For more info on how they did this, click here.

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**Finally, some quick-hit NFL thoughts on a Sunday filled with many blowouts and a few exciting games:

— My favorite team, the Jets, played a pretty good game Sunday but of course lost in OT when a simple screen pass turned into an 87-yard game winning TD. I truly watched very little of this game, because I just can’t waste my time watching the same awful play week after week, but from what I saw, Geno Smith showed some glimmers. 2-11 baby!

— This cracked me up: For the coin toss before the Rams-Redskins game, St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher sent out six players who aren’t usually captains and who seemingly were chosen at random. Except they weren’t; those six are the players St. Louis drafted over two years when they traded the No. 2 overall pick to the Redskins in 2012, so Washington could pick RG III.
That deal’s not working out so well for the ‘Skins, so I loved Fisher’s gesture. Great sense of humor.

— My “adopted” team, the Browns, did everything possible to break their fans’ hearts Sunday, before finally losing to Indy in the final minute. Cleveland has the worse kicker in the NFL this year, Billly Cundiff, who shanked another one to help lose this game. How is he still employed?

— Finally, I hate Bill Belichick as much as I hate anyone in sports, but Joe Posnanski wrote a really insightful piece on Coach Hoodie for NBCSports.com the other day. The Daylight Savings Time anecdote cracked me up.

A fantastic way to introduce yourself to strangers. Canada mourns two of its own. Jim Carrey hilarious on “SNL.” And the NFL’s best team plays in Arizona

Cocktailblog

One of the things I hate, and I admit to doing it as much as anyone, is when you go to a party or a conference and start chatting up strangers, within seconds you’re automatically asking them “So, what do you do for a living?”

And no matter how they answer, you’re automatically, even subconsciously, placing that stranger into a category or box in your mind.

It works just the same when you’re introducing a friend of yours to others at a party; by you saying “Oh, she’s in finance,” or “he’s a construction worker,” it’s automatically limiting others’ thoughts of them.

A woman named Cadence Turpin, at storylineblog.com, has a pretty terrific solution to this problem. In this piece, she writes about her frustration with this practice, and her solution:

“What if instead of introducing your friend as Jennifer the nurse, you started introducing her as Jennifer, one of most thoughtful people you know, or Jennifer the friend who helped you move in when you didn’t know a soul in this city.

Introducing your friends for who they are rather than focusing on what they do will remind them they are loved before and beyond their titles. It’s an easy way to remind them that you see them for their hearts instead of their accomplishments.”

Fabulous idea. I definitely think I’ll start trying it. Recognizing people for what they mean to you, or what their best qualities are, defines them way more than a job label does.

**It was a terrible week for Canada last week, as a tragic pair of incidents, so far unrelated, ended up in the deaths of two innocent people. Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Officer Patrice Vincent were murder victims in a country that just doesn’t see stuff like this happen, and the fact that this was so shocking illustrates the difference between our two nations.

Anyway, nothing united Canadians like hockey, and I thought this was a beautiful ceremony the Ottawa Senators put together Saturday night. The most moving part was the “O Canada” rendition (starting at 5:15 of the above video).

Really, really moving.

**Next, had to throw this in today’s blog because it was so damn funny: Jim Carrey, hosting “Saturday Night Live,” spoofing the Matthew McConnaughey Lincoln commercials.

The second one, starting at 1:20, is by far the funniest and my favorite.

**And finally, some NFL thoughts as I thank the good Lord above that I didn’t watch the first half of the Jets-Bills game, therefore missing Geno Smith’s three interceptions in the first quarter…

— The best team in the NFL after Week 8 is … the Arizona Cardinals. Yep, I’m as shocked as you. That was a hell of a game they won over the Eagles Sunday, surviving when a possible game-winning TD pass for Philly on the last play didn’t quite get completed. Arizona is getting great QB play from Carson Palmer (OK, decent QB play), they’ve got young stars like John Brown and Andre Ellington on offense, and oh yeah, that Larry Fitzgerald dude can still play a little. They’re a fun team to watch.

— The Bengals really pulled one out of their arse their, huh? Nothing like a 4th down QB sneak for a TD.

–Remember all those morons about four weeks ago saying Tom Brady was done? Yeah, about that…

— Loved having an NFL game at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Before my kid was born, no way I’d have been up at that hour, but now I’m wide awake by 7:30 and was into the Falcons-Lions tilt from London. Oh, Falcons, you really do find new ways to lose all the time.

 

The Jets stink again, and more NFL musings. Facebook turns Grandmas into rappers. And the Buckingham Palace guard who just had to dance

Bears.Packersbabies

It’s not even October yet, and the New York Jets 2014 season is about to be kaput.

Which is nice, because it would spare me a couple months of angst, and I could just expect losses every Sunday and skip the games and spend time with my newborn son.

Still, it was so damn frustrating Sunday. Geno Smith, I so want to believe, is going to improve this year. But four games I’m in having Sanchez flashbacks; good play then bad play, good play then bad play. Sunday Geno made mostly bad plays, but he was far from alone.
The pass defense was atrocious, and that’s without Calvin Johnson being healthy enough to have an impact. The receivers couldn’t get open, and when they did, Smith missed ’em. The offense and defense never played well at the same time, and the Jets are 1-3, and they’ve got San Diego, Denver and New England next, and 1-6 looks likely, and this has got to be it for Smith if they don’t win one of the next three, right?
Ugh. Looks like Jets will be QB shopping again next year. That Texas A&M kid looks pretty good, and so does Mariota up at Oregon.
Some other NFL thoughts on a day with only a few entertaining games:

— By the way, you notice how well some of the other young QBs played Sunday? Blake Bortles gave the Jags a spark, Teddy Bridgewater was fantastic for Minnesota… I want one of those type guys in green and white, please.

— To sum up the Packers’ beatdown of the Bears, see this awesome photo I saw on Twitter Sunday night: yeah, that Bears baby ain’t happy. And the Packers are impossible to figure out.

— J.J. Watt. I mean, he’s just ridiculous. You see this interception return he made for a TD Sunday?

— And so much for the Bills being good this year, right? That 2-0 start was a long, long time ago.

— Paging LeSean McCoy? Anyone seen him? Maybe he’s still hurt and shouldn’t have been playing, but he was invisible Sunday.

— 2 quick baseball thoughts: Beautiful job by the Red Sox in honoring Derek Jeter with so many Boston legends like Bobby Orr and Paul Pierce joining the ceremony, and I’m hoping for a Royals-Pirates World Series, those two fan bases have suffered enough the past three decades.

**Next up, if you’ve ever been to England, you know that at Buckingham Palace the guards are famously stoic, and don’t move or react to anything you say to them (I tried cracking a few jokes to one of them when I visited seven years ago, and dude didn’t move a facial muscle. Impressive discipline. Or maybe my jokes weren’t funny.)

Anyway, a 20-year-old guard named Samuel Jones recently decided to have some fun and break up the boredom of the job, performing for tourists in the above video. Sadly, this story says he’s currently being investigated and may face disciplinary action (though it looks like me just be fined).

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**So this story cracked me up: You know how on Facebook when you start typing the first few letters of a name, Facebook suggests and auto-fills a name sometimes?
Well, some Grandmas who’ve been trying to tag themselves on the site have accidentally been tagging Grandmaster Flash, the pioneering rap artist from the 1970s.

Which results in hilarious posts like these:

3.) Now grandma has an even cooler nickname.

Grandma Grandmaster Flash Facebook Tag Accidental Tagging

Grandma Grandmaster Flash Facebook Tag Accidental Tagging

The Jets dominate and survive as the NFL returns! Ireland’s wacky “Armagaydon”. And Serena cruises to another U.S. Open title

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Football’s back!
Yeah yeah, I know college football started last week, but to me, the first Sunday of the NFL season is the real start of football season.
I love the first Sunday. I love seeing way more people in the sports bar than normal, because everybody’s fired up about their team, they’ve missed the sport, and they’re convinced their favorite team is going to win (hey, everyone’s undefeated at this point!).
I love trying to re-teach my brain how to watch 5 games at once. I love tricking myself into thinking the Jets will be good this year. And I really love the drunk moron in the bar (there’s always one) taunting other fans because he’s drunk and thinks he’s being funny.

Ah, football, I’ve missed you so. Some quick-hit thoughts from a pretty compelling week 1.
— I start with the Jets, of course. That was the most dominating five-point win you’ll see, since my boys shot themselves in the foot so many times the game wasn’t the blowout it should’ve been. Geno Smith looked mostly good (that’s different from mostly dead, right Miracle Max?) except for two killer turnovers, the running game looked fantastic, and the defense was stellar (albeit against a terrible team).

Jets will get creamed at Lambeau next week, I’m sure, but this was an encouraging start.

— It’s always a wonderful day when the Jets win and the Patriots lose. Boy that improved Pats’ D didn’t look so improved on Sunday.
— I’ve never NOT been entertained in recent years by a Saints-Falcons game. They play shootouts every single time. Matty Ryan was sensational on Sunday.

— Ah, Tony Romo, so good to have you back. My great friend Tony put it best about gunslingin’ No. 8, who threw three picks Sunday: “Tony Romo: the man with a Brett Favre mentality without Brett Favre ability.”

— Um, RGIII? What the hell happened to you? Man did the Redskins look awful. Poor RGIII hasn’t been the same since injuring his knee in that playoff game two years ago; he may never be the same again. Mike Shanahan, the blood of his career is on your hands.

— I know they lost, but man, Andrew Luck is some kind of terrific quarterback. Indy fans are so spoiled, getting Peyton and then him back-to-back.

– Did you see the clip of the Steelers player karate-kicking the Browns punter in the face? I mean, come on, that’s awful!

**Next up today, I thought this was very clever. Marriage-equality proponents in Ireland made this ad leading up to a vote for same-sex marriage, about what would “happen” if it were legalized. How do you deal with the “Armagayddon?” Hide all the women and children!

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**Finally today, Serena Williams won a third straight U.S. Open title Sunday, routing Caroline Wozniacki, 6-3, 6-3. I’ve said the following on here several times but it’s worth saying again: I strongly dislike Serena as an athlete, for her comportment and lack of decency on the court (not just for screaming at linespeople when she foot-faults), and her arrogance and condescension off the court.

But I also admire the hell out of her career, and marvel at how when she’s playing well, like she did the past two weeks, she’s the best player women’s tennis has seen.
I would love to see her in her prime, up against Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova, because for the past decade, when Serena is at her best, she’s miles ahead of the rest. An incredible, one-of-a-kind athlete wbo simply cannot be matched.

As for the men’s final today, shoot, I have no freaking clue who’ll win. I’m still in shock that Djokovic and Federer were so easily dismissed in the semis on Saturday. Kei Nishikori is a rising star, and a Japanese player winning a Slam for the first time would be a great story. But Marin Cilic played out of his mind last week and on Saturday, he’s got a huge serve, and may just be unbeatable right now (I cannot believe I’m saying that about Marin Cilic.)

As disappointed as I am that my man Federer lost, I’m thrilled that men’s tennis has some new blood in a Slam final. I’ll say Nishikori wins in 4.

Foxwoods Casino both a relic from the past and wave of the future. A wild final NFL Sunday, with the Jets showing life. And meet 3-year-old Trick Shot Titus

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When I was a little kid, my grandparents indoctrinated me into the love of casinos.

I know, I know, you’re ready to question their sanity. But trust me, it was all fun and games. My mother’s parents used to take me to Atlantic City once a year or so, let me run wild in the arcade and in the bowling alley (Showboat Hotel had great lanes, I bowled my first over-200 game there!), and then I’d stand behind the velvet ropes in the smoke-filled casino and watch my grandparents gamble.

I was seduced by the sights, the sounds, all of it. Since then, I try to get myself to a casino whenever I can, which in recent years has not been that often.

But the wife and I went to Foxwoods in Connecticut for a few days over Christmas, and it was a hell of a lot of fun, and not just because we won quite a bit more money than we lost (always a good thing).

Some thoughts on a few days on an Indian reservation-turned gambling mecca:

–First thing I noticed: All the people smoking indoors. I’ve gotten so used to being in smoke-free environments the last few years that it was almost shocking to have to breathe in the fumes. Nasty.

— Because I’m me and this is what I do, I tried to schmooze with the blackjack dealers between hands. Some, like Al and Barbara, were friendly and told me about their careers, how long they’ve been there, etc. Others refused to make eye contact, which of course led them to dealing me bad cards (kidding. It just seemed I did better with the nicer dealers.

— Not to say I’m superstitious or anything, but after a particularly good run at the tables, the dealer, Al, went to go work at another table. So I picked up my chips and followed him there.

— One or two stupid players can throw off a whole game. I knew this, and tried to steer clear of people who had no clue what they’re doing. One woman tried to hit on 17, the dealer checked with her to make sure she really wanted to do it, she nodded, and of course she busted.

— Finally, one fabulous and terrible thing about Foxwoods, where a bunch of hotels and restaurants are connected through indoor walkways: I didn’t breathe fresh outside air for two days. And I was fine with that.

**Next up, here’s a 3-year-old making ridiculous trick shots on the basketball court (well, into a basketball hoop, anyway).

This video has to be fake, right? But it looks pretty real to me… Can the kid suit up for my Nets right now, please?

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**Finally, the NFL regular season ended Sunday, and I’ll be damned if my New York Jets didn’t leave me feeling good going into the offseason.

Led by Geno Smith, who suddenly looks like he may have a future as a Jets QB, the Gang Green knocked the Miami Dolphins out of a possible playoff spot with a 20-7 win.
Then, owner Woody Johnson announced the Rex Ryan, despite three straight non-playoff seasons, was going to be kept as head coach.

I’m on record here and anywhere else someone has asked me as saying that Rex ought to be fired; he’s a great guy and a terrific motivator but just not a good head coach. The Jets take way too many penalties, they make head-scratching coaching decisions all the time, and Rex’s record of picking players has been spotty at best. I just don’t think the Jets are winning anything with him in charge.

But hey, maybe they get some decent wide receivers, a couple more tight ends, some better offensive linemen, and go to the playoffs next year. Crazier things have happened.

Other quickie-NFL thoughts:

— I think you have to feel good for the San Diego Chargers fans, who have had so many things go against them and so much bad luck over the past 15 years, but finally caught a few breaks and made the playoffs with a crazy 27-24 OT win over Kansas City. The Chiefs played their backups, the Chargers still tried to give it away, got a very fortunate call in overtime, and managed to win and make the playoffs. And you know what? They’ve got a shot at Cincy next week.

— Peyton Manning: 5,477 yards, 55 touchdowns this year. Yeah, he never should’ve come back from that neck injury. Amazing human being he is.

— Packers couldn’t have written the script any better. Aaron Rodgers comes back from injury and throws a fourth down, last-minute touchdown pass to beat their hated rival, the Bears? Just amazing.

— I have absolutely no clue what the Cleveland Browns are doing. Firing their coach after 1 season? Crazy.

— Really like the first-round playoff matchups: Cincy-San Diego could be fun, Packers-Niners will be exciting, Kansas City-Indy, should be competitive, and New Orleans/Philly ought to be high-scoring and wild.

— And finally, the Dallas Cowboys. Kyle Orton plays a great game at QB, they’ve got a chance to win it at the end, and he throws a pick. Oh, those Cowboys, they always find a way to entertain.

The Jets perform a Christmas miracle (a win!). Great moments in history performed in LEGO. And an awesome wedding proposal idea.

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Two of my good friends are die-hard Jets masochists (I mean fans) like me, and back in August I asked them both how many games the Jets would win in 2013. I thought 3, maybe 4, if everything goes great, they win five.

Both David and Mark, though, were strangely optimistic. Each said they expected 7 or 8 wins. They said this with a straight face, thought at that point after what they predicted you probably had enough evidence to check them into the loony bin.

But in either a sign that the NFL is really crummy this year, the Jets have been incredibly lucky, or Rex Ryan is a much better coach than I think he is, these horrendous, no-talent Jets won their seventh game of the season Sunday.

And shockingly, they looked pretty good doing it. Geno Smith was solid, actually improving for the first time in two months (hey, he’s only thrown 1 INT in the last two weeks!), the defense was good, and the receivers made a few plays.
And now, suddenly, it looks like Rex Ryan may keep his job as coach. I still think he should go, for his disastrous job coaching the team the last two years, and this one, and that as much as I love him as a fun guy, he’s just not a good head coach. His team is still way too undisciplined, takes way too many penalties, and he’s just not that good a judge of talent (Bart Scott, and Vlad Ducasse, anyone?)

Still, the Jets winning was one of only 11 bizarre things that happened in the NFL Sunday. A few that caught my eye..

— As Tommy Tomlinson astutely Tweeted on Sunday night, “does the NFL have to have an NFC North?” A pathetic display by the Bears Sunday night. Equally woeful effort by the Lions. And the Packers somehow gave up 38 to a bad Steelers team Lambeau. Wow.

— Gotta love the Miami Dolphins, in total control of their own playoff destiny, getting shut out by the Buffalo Bills.  Made my day even sweeter.

— Peyton Manning. I mean, what’s left to say about him at this point? (I highly, highly recommend Lee Jenkins’ profile of Manning in the SI Sportsman of the Year issue, by the way. He takes a fascinating angle on the story (interviewing all the kids named Peyton in Tennessee) and then gets fabulous details about Manning’s kindness toward all). Peyton broke Drew Brees’ single-season TD record on Sunday, as the Broncos thrashed Houston, pulling away in the second half. What an incredible athlete, one of the top 5 QB’s of all time.

**Next up, I thought this was all kinds of awesome. I’ve written before in this space about my love of LEGOs, and the geniuses who have put together these “sports moments re-created in LEGO” over the years.

Well now the good people at Mentalfloss.com have compiled some of the best ones ever, including some new ones I’d never seen. The one above might be my favorite, as it’s Andy Murray winning Wimbledon in 2013 and becoming the first British man to do it in 77 years.

But all of these great, especially the Chris Webber calling timeout thing from the 1993 NCAA Final.

Truly, nothing isn’t made better when it’s done in LEGO, am I right?

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**Finally, I thought I’d seen and heard it all when it came to creative marriage proposals, but a computer programming whiz inventing an online game for his fiance to play, and then get to the end and have the proposal be PART of the game?

Yeah, that’s a new one on me. But 24-year-old Oregonian Robert Fink did just that to pop the question to his girlfriend Angel White, and you can see the awesome video of Fink’s handiwork below.

Very, very cool.