Tag Archives: Kate McKinnon

A Friday night I’ll never forget: Me and Mark Messier hang out for a bit. Kate McKinnon continues to be awesome on “SNL.” And my annual “old fogey watches the Grammys” thoughts

I don’t think I do a lot of complaining about my life here on the blog, but if I ever do, remind of the night of Feb. 8, 2019 and tell me to shut up.

Friday night… man, was it magical.

They say you should never meet your childhood heroes in real life, because they’re bound to disappoint you. I don’t know about that, because a few of my heroes that I’ve been lucky enough to meet (Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Bob Costas) have all turned out to be pretty cool.

But one hero I never, ever expected to meet is one of the greatest hockey players who ever lived. Guy by the name of Messier. First name Mark.

Played for the Edmonton Oilers, won five Stanley Cups, then came to New York and gave the single greatest sports memory I will ever have on June 14, 1994, when he and the Rangers won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 54 years.

And Friday night, the Captain and I spent about 30 glorious minutes together, on an evening that was incredible and memorable before I ever shook his hand.

A little background on how a night I’ll never forget came to be: So my wonderful wife has a work contact whose firm has a suite at Madison Square Garden, and around twice a year we are fortunate enough to spend a night at a Rangers game in the suite, with great food, a private bathroom (that’s huge at a hockey game!) and cool people.

Several months ago my wife told me our two games for this year, and at the time I had no idea that Feb. 8 vs. Carolina was going to be the 25th anniversary celebration of the 1994 Stanley Cup. When I found that out, I went from my normal level of excitement to a 10.

Seeing my favorite sports team of all time all dressed up and being honored was going to be awesome.
Then, I get to the suite about two hours before the game, and like usual I start introducing myself to the other people in the suite. Normally these are just other lawyers or bankers or whatever.

“Hi,” the first guy said. “I’m Paul Messier.”
“Hi,” the second guy said. “I’m Doug Messier.”

Wait, what? Mark Messier’s brother, and father, are sitting in this box with me? My excitement level went up seven or eight notches.

Then I found out that a few Rangers legends would be stopping by our suite during the game, including that “other” Messier guy.
I couldn’t call my wife and my father fast enough (she hadn’t arrived yet) to tell them that I might get to meet one of my all-time idols. This is a man whose name is part of some of my email passwords, a man who stood for everything (courage, tenacity, being clutch, being a good guy off the ice) that I believe in and worship in an athlete.

The pregame ceremony gave me chills. Then the game started. I half paid attention to the game, because I kept watching the door of the suite waiting for No. 11 to come in.

By the end of the second period, even though I’d had lots of fun chatting about hockey with Messier’s brother (and the poor guy, you just know that’s how everyone refers to him), I was getting worried. Maybe Mark wouldn’t show. Maybe he had too many other obligations on this special night.

Then, early in the third, he walked in. And of course for the rest of us in the box, time kind of stood still.

I bided my time. I waited a whole two minutes before walking over to where the great Mark Messier stood. I shook his hand, told him that I’m sure I’m the 48 millionth person to tell him this, but thank you for the 1994 Cup.

And he was great. We took some more pics with my wife and her co-workers, and then for about 10 glorious minutes, I sat one row in front of the greatest captain in hockey history and exchanged a few barbs. I made him laugh with one joke about how bad the current Rangers were playing, and a few minutes later we talked briefly about Sergei Zubov and how it’s a travesty he’s not in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Then way too quickly, the game ended and it was time to leave. We thanked Mess again on our way out, and I walked into the night a few moments later wondering if all that all really happened.

They say you shouldn’t meet your heroes. I met one Friday night. And it was so freaking awesome.

And just because we’re talking about Messier, here’s this, the greatest clutch performance a Rangers player has ever had.

**Next up today, a big story at the end of last week was Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos and his stunningly honest and transparent letter accusing the National Enquirer of trying to extort him to not cover the Enquirer/Trump love-in, by threatening to release penis pics of Bezos.

Yes, this is America in 2019. Thankfully, we have “Saturday Night Live” to sort this all out. And as always, Kate McKinnon is gold.

**Finally today, Sunday night was the Grammys, and as usual this 43-year-old suburban white father of two didn’t know a lot of the musical acts that took the stage, or won awards (actual pre-Grammys conversation in our house: Post Malone, is that a boy, or a girl, or a group? And is there an alternative group called Pre-Malone?”)

But hey, as usual I enjoyed lots of the show, anyway. Some thoughts from my still stuck in the 1980s musically brain:

— The Dolly Parton tribute was fabulous. And I say this every time I hear her sing, but Miley Cyrus has an amazing voice. Truly an all-time great set of pipes. If I could just get past her crazy, I’d probably be a big fan of hers.

— I don’t usually like Lady Gaga’s outfits at all, but that shiny silver dress she wore at the beginning? Fantastic. And the glittery catsuit thingy she had on when singing her awesome song “Shallow?” Pretty fabulous too.

— That opening speaking segment with Michelle Obama, Gaga, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez, and Jada Pinkett-Smith was pretty spectacular as well.

— Alicia Keys rules. She was a killer host, a great singer, and I loved her little montage. But this will still be the best thing she ever did.

— I want whatever anti-aging cream John Mayer uses. Dude still looks like he’s 16!

— Best performance by someone I’d never heard of until the Grammys: H-E-R. Very strong. But I swear I don’t get the appeal of half these artists. I’m old.

 

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An ass’t principal in Tennessee says “girls ruin everything.” Shockingly, he was fired.” The “SNL” season premiere open was spectacular. And NFL Week 4.

We live in strange, scary, but never boring times. Thank goodness there are people around to still make us laugh.

While we ponder what more evidence a new FBI investigation will turn up against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (as if there isn’t enough already, what with him lying to Congress and all), “Saturday Night Live” debuted its new season just in time Saturday night.

Matt Damon as Kavanaugh, the incomparable Kate MacKinnon as Lindsay Graham, let the hilarity ensue… God this was so damn funny. (Also, this was so funny I nearly cried, if you love “Pulp Fiction” you’ll love this.)

Gotta laugh to keep from crying, right?

**Next up today, been a while since I’ve written about a school administrator who is just too dumb for words, but let me introduce you to an assistant principal in Tennessee who is on adminstrative leave today because, well, he’s just really stupid.

Meet Jared Hensley, the athletics director and ass’t principal at Soddy-Daisy High School in Knoxville. In making a video address to the student body announcing a ban on athletic shorts, he admitted that boys will be unhappy about it, but “if you really want someone to blame, blame the girls, because they pretty much ruin everything.

“Ask Adam, look at Eve – you can really go back to the beginning of time.”

In the video, which was posted to YouTube and then taken down, Hensley continues on from the biblical metaphor: “It’ll be like that the rest of your life, keep your mouth shut, suck it up and follow the rules.”

Hensley has been placed on administrative leave. His ass should be fired. What an asinine, idiotic thing to tell the young impressionable minds of your school.

**Finally today, as usually happens this time of year, it was an insanely busy weekend in sports. Two baseball division races need a 163rd game today to decide who goes where in the playoffs (I find myself rooting for the Brewers because they never win anything), we had an amazing, beautiful sendoff here in New York for Mets star David Wright (more on that in Wednesday’s blog), and we had the best NFL Sunday of the season, by far, yesterday.

It’s funny; five years ago, with so many great games going down to the wire, I’d have spent 6-7 hours in a sports bar soaking it all up and loving it. Now? I spent the day with two little boys who live in my house and don’t pay rent, and only watched 2/3 of the Jets game (which stunk). And while I have a tiny pang of regret for not getting to see it all, it’s nothing compared to the fun I have with my boys.

But man, there were some GREAT games Sunday. Some quick-hit thoughts on a day with so many fantastic finishes…

— OK, gotta start with the Browns, the kings of excruciating losses. Coming off their first win in a decade or so, the Baker Mayfields go out to Oakland, take a 14-point second-half lead, choke that up, give up a game-tying TD in the last seconds of regulation to tie the game at 42, then lose in overtime. Ah, Cleveland, hope that free beer made you feel good for a few days. As die-hard Browns backer Joe Posnanski aptly summed it up Sunday night: “They’re more fun. But they’re still the Browns.”

— More great finishes: The Cowboys rallied to win on a last-second field goal to beat the Lions, 27-26. The Cincinnati Bengals suddenly look amazing, coming from behind to beat Matt Ryan and the Falcons, 37-36 with a touchdown in the final seconds. And the Houston Texans and all-world great human being DeShaun Watson, finally getting their first win of the year, 37-34 over the Indianapolis Colts, needing overtime to do it.

— The Tennessee Titans might be pretty damn good. Do you realize they’ve just beaten the Jaguars and the Super Bowl champion Eagles in back-to-back weeks? Sunday they had to go to overtime, convert THREE fourth-down attempts to keep their chances alive, then won the game on a sweet TD pass from Marcus Mariota to Corey Davis (above). Wow. Titans and Bengals, both 3-1, and that’s one more reason to never, ever make sports predictions and wager on them.

— Oh yeah, my Jets. They stink. Like usual. Rookie QB having major growing pains, but that’s expected. The defense being horrible, and the coaching being horrendous, that was less expected. I was actually supportive of bringing Todd Bowles back as head coach, but wow has he been overmatched this year. Probably time for a change.

Have to say, though, as bad as the Jets game was, this TD celebration by Donte Moncrief was pretty stellar. Play that guitar, young man!

— Spare a thought for the Falcons’ quarterback, Matt Ryan. Dude puts up huge numbers every week, yet his team’s defense is so bad that even though Atlanta scored 73 points over the last two weeks, it’s lost both games!
Somewhere in America, Matt Ryan, Dan Marino is waiting for your call.

— Finally, I had to sit through the Jets game listening to ex-coach and analyst Jeff Fisher doing the color commentary, and wow was he horrible. I know it’s easy to rip announcers, but he might be the worst I’ve ever heard. His voice is more sleep-inducing than four doses of NyQuil, he says nothing of any significance, and shows all the enthusiasm of a mortician. How in the world did he ever get hired?

 

Jimmy Fallon channels James Taylor to mock Trump. New Zealanders get creative to get around drinking laws. And “SNL” brings the funny with Mika/Joe and Bill Murray

The first thing I ever really liked Jimmy Fallon for were his song parodies on his late-night show. He channeled Neil Young, and Bruce Springsteen, and he did them so well, that me and millions of others figured, maybe he’s funny in late-night after all, and he shot to the top of the ratings.

Then, he cratered. He stopped being as funny, his skits seemed tired, and he didn’t do nearly as strong with his musical tributes.

I don’t know how long it’s been since Fallon made me laugh out loud like I did watching this, but it’s been a while. However this, as James Taylor doing “Fire and Rain” about the new Trump book, is perfection.

“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen fury.

I’ve seen White House staff who will have to face a jury.

I’ve seen him drink a cup of water with tiny hands,

While he’s lyin’ in bed watching Fox and Friends.”

Enjoy…

**Next up today, I’ve got Australia on the brain this week because the first Grand Slam tournament of 2018, the Australian Open has started (and wow have there been a bunch of upsets, and wow are the American players doing terribly. I think this is karma for last year’s tournament being so amazing.

Anyway, I love Australian people for many reasons, but their creativity when it comes to drinking has always impressed me. Apparently New Zealanders are equally as brilliant at finding ways around drinking laws.

Check this out: In the village of Coromandel, New Zealand, a town ordinance bans liquor over the New Year’s period, which means no alcohol in public places.

But a bunch of friends decided they wanted to find a way to drink. So they spent the early afternoon building a sandcastle in the middle of the Tairua estuary (body of water), a holidaymaker, who asked not to be named, said.

Upon building their sandy fort, members of the group were reported to have said the liquor ban didn’t apply to them as they were “in international waters”.

Once the crew’s creation was complete, they installed a wooden picnic table and chilly bin.

This is my favorite part: Waikato eastern area commander Inspector John Kelly said police weren’t aware of the novel attempt to circumvent the liquor ban.

“That’s creative thinking – if I had known that I probably would have joined them.”

I love Kiwis.

**Finally today, I missed this on “Saturday Night Live” but am so glad I got a chance to see the cold open. With cameos by Bill Murray and Leslie Jones, the fabulous Kate McKinnon gives us Mika and Joe from MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” talking about the new Trump book and flirting, hilariously.

A side note: If McKinnon doesn’t become a huge star, soon, I’ll be shocked. She is absolutely fantastic.

 

Richard Marx and Daisy Fuentes foil crimes on a plane to Seoul! A pretty moving and touching SNL sketch from Kate McKinnon as Hillary. And “Rent-A-Jew” is a thing in Germany and it’s not as creepy as it sounds.

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My friends, there are some days where I swear news happens in the world just so I can blog about it, because it is so far up my alley it’s already a strike. I mean, let me put it this way, if I didn’t blog about this next story, my loyal readers would wonder why I didn’t.

Richard Marx is a famous ballad crooner from the 1980s and ’90s. You know his hits: “Now and Forever,” “Hold on to the Nights,” “Don’t Mean Nothin.'” His wife is Daisy Fuentes, who my fellow Gen X’ers will remember as a gorgeous MTV VJ and model.

They were on a Korean Air Flight 480 from Hanoi to Seoul on Monday night, and all kinds of shit went down. A passenger sitting near them started attacking other people on-board, with a knife. According to Marx’s Twitter feed, the flight crew was “completely ill-trained.”

So Marx and other passengers, over the course of what he says was four hours, helped subdue the man and st0pped him from hurting others, after his knife wounded two passengers and a member of the flight crew.

Eventually the attacker was subdued and arrested when the plane landed.

I’m positively brimming with thoughts: First, shouldn’t the attacked have recognized that Richard Marx would be “Right Here Waiting” for him if he started to get crazy?” I mean, “Should’ve Known Better” is one of his best songs, of course Richard Marx is going to jump in and be a hero!

Fuentes says she has video of the event, which also begs the question: Is that really the best thing to be doing in that situation? Maybe you could’ve helped out a little?

Good for you, Richard Marx. I’ve gotten a lot of crap over the years for digging his music, but answer me this: You think Dan Hill gets in there and stops this guy? You ever see Michael Bolton take down a guy with a knife? Show me where Christopher Cross did a heroic act like this!

God bless Richard Marx. And now, enjoy some of his music…

**Next up, I was a little late catching up on “SNL” this week, and honestly other than the “cold open” I rarely watch the show or search for clips anymore. But my wife is a huge “Love Actually” fan and thought I’d like this sketch with Kate McKinnon playing Hillary for maybe the last time. It was buried late in the show but I thought it was adorable and funny. A spoof of the movie “Love Actually.”

**And finally today, bear with me on this one, this story isn’t as offensive as it first sounds. But just to hook you, this is what some headlines about this read: “German program allows citizens to rent a Jew.”

OK, now hang on… here’s the details. There are 81 million people in Germany, and only about 230,000 Jews (yes, we all know why that is).

So most Germans alive today never met a Jewish person, never seen one, interacted with one. And as we all know, knowing and interacting with people of different faiths and races almost always leads to greater understanding and empathy for them.

So a new company called ‘Rent-A-Jew” in Germany has begun a sort of seminar service; a German organization hires Rent-a-Jew to put together a presentation about Judaism, its history and beliefs, etc. Then the Jewish person goes to talk to students, workers, or any other group to explain to them what Judaism is like and what its feelings and beliefs are.

“A lot of people want to be more than just the regular Jewish stereotypes in Germany, reduced to victims,” Alexander Rasumny, one of the organizers behind Rent-a-Jew, told Vox.com “A lot of people want to be seen in their own right.”

I know, I know, at first it sounds a little creepy and weird. But I actually think this is a good idea and service; one of the only ways to stop hatred and anti-Semitism is to educate people, to enlighten them about why a certain group deserves their respect and honor, not scorn.

I realize “Rent-A-Jew” will rub many people the wrong way. But I actually think it’s a terrific idea.

“The most important thing is that people get used to the idea of discussing things with Jews instead of only talking about Jews,” Rasumny added. “In the seminars, it’s great: Once you accept the idea, you’re ready for hearing what we have to say.”

 

Kate McKinnon belts out an unforgettable “SNL” opener. The Redskins and Chiefs look like they’re for real, while my Jets continue to stink. And Gregg Popovich speaks some truth

Kate McKinnon is a talented actress and comedian. She may go on to do many incredible things in her career, win awards, make lots of money, and entertain millions.

But I’m 99 percent certain that when she dies, this performance will be a part of her legacy, her eulogy, a mark of her time on Earth.

“Saturday Night Live” had a very tricky job this weekend; they could’ve trotted out Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump and mocked the pain millions of Americans were feeling. They could’ve had McKinnon as Hillary try to go for laughs upon losing an un-lose-able election.

Instead, using the death of legendary songwriter Leonard Cohen as inspiration, “SNL” sent out McKinnon dressed as Hillary Clinton, sitting down at a piano all by herself, and belting out an emotional version of “Hallelujah,” with some lyrics changed at the end to suit the situation.

I don’t know about you, but I watched with my jaw on the ground. Amazing, powerful, beautiful performance.

Host Dave Chapelle’s opening monologue was pretty terrific as well, if you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, the last three minutes are pretty great.

Bravo, SNL. Pitch-perfect job at giving  your audience what it needed.

Oh, and in case you had forgotten what the next four years could be like, read this.

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**So it’s been a pretty crappy season of NFL football, I think most of us could agree. But Sunday finally gave us a day where we had great finishes, outstanding plays by superstars to win games, and a little bit of separation between the best teams and the not-so-bests. (Yeah I know that’s not really a word. I’m going with it).

Of course I have to mention just briefly the beginning of the Bryce Petty era for my Jets. Umm, yeah, didn’t go so well. They scored six points against a bad Rams team and the Jets are 3-7 so, yeah, go ahead and play Petty the rest of the season please, see if the kid has a future.

In more interesting games…

— Wow, that fourth quarter of Steelers-Cowboys was fantastic. Four lead changes, a hell of a drive by Ben Roethlisberger to put Pittsburgh ahead, and then Dak Prescott, who looks more and more like the next huge NFL star, comes down and leads the ‘Boys to the win. Cowboys are 8-1, and Jerry Jones is happy, and I don’t like it when that happens.

— Ever see the winning points of a game scored on a blocked extra point returned for two points? Me, either. But Denver did it and beat New Orleans. I love how players are totally timing jumping over the center to block kicks now, incredible athleticism.

— Anyone notice Kansas City was 7-2? I sure as heck haven’t. Another impressive win that few will pay attention to. I know everyone in Philly was sick and tired of Andy Reid, but guy seems to always have winning teams.

— Redskins seem to be good again, which is always fun because then I get fewer screaming calls from my buddy Tony that being with, ‘MIKE, THIS TEAM IS KILLING ME!!!” followed by me reminding him for 10 minutes to calm down and it could be worse, khe could be a Jets fan.

— The hell has happened to the Packers? No, seriously, they gave up 47 points to a mediocre Tennessee team on Sunday. That’s un-good.

— My mid-season Super Bowl prediction is Seattle vs. New England. Because even though they’re 8-1, not sure Dallas is a sure thing. Also, I want to see 500 more replays of Seattle throwing at the end of their last Super Bowl against the Patriots, because that was fun.

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**Finally today, check out this amazing photo, taken by Dutch photographer Tomas van der Weijden of the Kamchtaka Peninsula in Russia (you know, our new best friend, Russia!). It’s a volcano, it’s a meteor, it’s pretty amazing. If you’re a photo fan and want to know how he created it, check this out here.

And then, I thought this was some pretty remarkable stuff from San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, on last week’s election. Unlike most jocks and coaches, Popovich has always been a thoughtful, intelligent speaker of truths of what he sees around him.

And in this interview, he makes a whole lot of sense, in his angry, thoughtful tones, about what America chose last Tuesday.

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

jagr-halloween

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.

A perfect response from a newspaper publisher, as Trump nutjobs threaten her office and employees. “SNL” hits another homer with debate skit. And the Cowboys are for real and the Panthers are toast

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There are so, so many awful things going on now in the Presidential race, a race that gets uglier and uglier by the day. The GOP candidate keeps talking more and more about cheating and rigged elections and whipping up his supporters into such a frenzy, and it’s having such a deleterious effect. The hatred, the vitriol, the sheer “war mentality” that we’re saying every day on the news is just so vile. For a long time I tried to fool myself by saying “This will all go away on Nov. 9, when the schmuck goes back to TV where he can be a harmless buffoon again,” but now I wonder just how long his poison will seep into our society.

One of the things that as an ex-newspaper scribe I’ve paid a lot of attention to is papers that never have endorsed a Democrat, or haven’t for 100 years or something, telling its readers it should vote for Hillary Clinton. Because Trump is just that toxic. What has happened, sadly, is those newspapers have been subject to harassment, death threats, and all kinds of awfulness.

For the most part, the newspapers haven’t gone public with it. But the Arizona Republic’s publisher didn’t want to stay quiet, and she wrote this amazing essay about exactly what has happened since the Republic endorsed Clinton. Mi-Ai Parrish wrote one of the best things I’ve read all year; I urge you to read it.

Quick excerpt: “To those who said we should be shut down, burned down, who said they hoped we would cease to exist under a new presidential administration, I give you Nicole. She is our editor who directs the news staff, independent of our endorsements. After your threats, Nicole put on her press badge and walked with her reporters and photographers into the latest Donald Trump rally in Prescott Valley, Ariz. She stood as Trump encouraged his followers to heckle and boo and bully journalists. Then she came back to the newsroom to ensure our coverage was fair. Nicole knows free speech requires an open debate.

Parrish’s defense of liberty and press freedom is fantastic; she is absolutely right to call out these criminals for what they are. And the last few lines hit home.

Nov. 9 can’t get here soon enough.

**Next up today, every week “Saturday Night Live” has been given incredible material from this Presidential campaign, and you would think it might be hard to keep making up quotes that are funnier or more ridiculous than those surrounding the vulgar, talking yam Mr. Trump.

But gotta give it up to “SNL,” they keep bringing the funny. This was maybe my favorite skit yet, especially the opening “sizing up” by the two candidates, and then Kate McKinnon’s remarks about the four women from Bill Clinton’s past who were present at the debate.

McKinnon’s going to become quite famous the next four years…

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**Finally today, yesterday was one of those joyous Sundays where I didn’t have to watch the New York Jets lose. OK, OK, it’s because they don’t play until tonight. Still, a happy day! Some quickie-thoughts on another NFL Monday where I’m reminded no one knows anything about what will happen in this league…

–OK, this Dak Prescott thing is no longer a fluke, nice little story about a quarterback filling in for a starter and maybe giving the Cowboys a QB controversy. No, after Dallas thrashed Green Bay on the road, 30-16 Sunday to improve to 5-1, there’s no way on Earth Tony Romo should get his job back. Prescott finally threw an interception, but he’s looking like a 10-year vet, and it looks like he’ll be a huge star in this league.

Which means, because he plays for the Cowboys, we’ll all start hating him soon.

— The Cowboys are for real, and the Carolina Panthers are toast. Super Bowl runner-ups are inexplicably horrible this year. I mean, I know a lot of Super Bowl losers have tough seasons the next year, but this bad? The pride of Charlotte gave up 41 points to a bad New Orleans team, and even a late furious rally couldn’t prevent them from going 1-5. Cam Newton looks pedestrian, the defense stinks, and they’re not going to the playoffs this year. Wow.

— Hey, a Colin Kaepernick sighting! On the field, and not just during the national anthem! The 49ers QB who has sparked a whole lot of athlete activism the last two months actually played in a game Sunday. He didn’t play great but wasn’t terrible, either, going 13-of-29 for 187 yards and a touchdown. But he also wore a cool Muhammad Ali T-shirt to his post-game press conference, so I enjoyed that. Let’s hope Kaepernick starts playing well and continues to get his message out.

“I don’t understand what’s un-American about fighting for liberty and justice for everybody,” Kaepernick said. “For the equality that this country says it stands for.”

Exactly. Keep talking, Colin.

— Do the Giants play more crazy games than anybody else, or does it just seem that way? Eli and enormous brat Odell Beckham Jr. pulled another one out of the hat Sunday over the Ravens.

— Finally, very few people care but my man Cody Kessler had another terrific game for the winless Cleveland Browns, throwing for 336 yards in a 28-26 loss. If you want to know why I root so hard for Kessler, check this out.

I finally saw “The Book of Mormon” and it was fabulous. SNL with a great Hillary spoof. And the Golden State Warriors leave me breathless

bookofmormon
Two things happened in New York in 2011: I moved back here, and “The Book of Mormon” debuted on Broadway.

Pretty much since it opened and I heard how astoundingly great it was, I’ve wanted to see it. I’m not a huge Trey Parker/Matt Stone fan, don’t love “South Park” all that much, but I heard so many wonderful things about it, I figured I had to see it.

Finally, five years later, my lovely wife got us tickets to see it on Saturday (bless her, she’d already seen it once before we met, and her reaction: “I’m kind of embarrassed at how hard I laughed at it.”)

Yes, I knew it’d be raunchy, and totally inappropriate, and probably offensive if I was even a tiny bit Mormon.

And after seeing it, I can honestly say: It was really damn funny. The story of two apple-cheeked and fired up new Mormon missionaries named Price and Cunningham (first names Kevin and Arnold, so of course I thought of Kevin Arnold and once again, it ALL goes back to “The Wonder Years”) being sent to Uganda to convert a whole bunch of African-American villagers is hilarious. The dialogue is SO over the top, and the props so delightfully tacky, and the profanity sprinkled throughout (an African general is called “General Butt-fucking Naked”) but it’s all done in service of laughs.

The musical numbers are tremendous; the actors playing Cunningham (Christopher John O’Neill) and the female Ugandan villager Nabulungi (Nikki Renee Daniels) were particularly fabulous; I was also blown away by the energy and intensity of all the performers, for the whole two hours. We saw a Saturday matinee, so to think the whole cast had to turn around and do the whole show again just four hours later was kind of mind-boggling.

“The Book of Mormon” wasn’t perfect; it started off slow, and the musical numbers in the second act were much better and funnier, at least to me. But it was really, really good. If you are visiting NYC and can get tickets, definitely worth your time.

**Next up today, the New York presidential primary is fast approaching, and after watching these candidates from afar for the past year, it’s a little bit cool seeing them pressing the flesh just a few miles from me. I did some Bernie Sanders volunteering on Sunday, and as you might expect, his people are mighty fired up. (Unlike me, they actually think Bernie will get the Democratic nomination. Ah, to be a young dreamer…)

SNL did its part to help Bernie Saturday night, with the great Kate McKinnon poking fun at Hillary Clinton in the opening sketch. I laughed pretty hard…

 

**Finally today, the end of the regular season in the NBA very rarely is interesting. Most teams have either clinched their playoff spot and are getting ready for the postseason, or have packed it in long ago and are just playing out the string (our two NYC teams are happily doing just that). I normally pay as much attention to the last week of the season as I do to golf (though hey, good job by that British dude winning The Masters Sunday.)

But this year’s different, because the Golden State Warriors, my goodness, are just so much fun to watch, and they’re chasing a record that really means very little like it’s the most important damn thing in the world. They’ve been trying to equal or beat the Chicago Bulls 72 wins in a regular season, and this weekend the Dubs (as they’re called by the cool kids) pulled out two games they absolutely could’ve lost.

The regular season means nothing, these guys have killed themselves all year, they’re the best show in sports right now, and still, they found the wherewithal to pull out huge road wins over Memphis and San Antonio, all while Steph Curry makes Harry Houdini shots like that (above).

It’s so wonderful to watch a team of ego-less players at the highest level, playing the game with so much joy. The Stanley Cup playoffs (and my underachieving Rangers) usually have my full attention this time of year, but sleep be damned, I’m going to try to catch as many Warriors games as I can.

This kind of team just doesn’t come along too often. I mean, look at this shot!

The Mets and Jets are awesome, is it 1986 and 1969 all over again? Larry David as Bernie Sanders is fabulous. And 2 amazing college football plays I must share

Mets.Jets

Growing up on Long Island, I’d say 80 percent of kids are both Mets and Jets fans.
The fan bases are centered there, the teams both used to play/practice closer to us than the Yankees and Giants, and there has always been a tortured fan base vibe to both teams.

Luckily for me, I escaped one misery and became a Yankees fan. But still, the Jets have given me enough misery for a lifetime.

To be a Mets/Jets fan is to know the ending of the movie long before the credits, and to expect disappointment and take comfort in it; losing for Mets/Jets fans is a security blanket you can always count on.

Which is why I’m thinking about people like my friends David K. and Scott S. today, lifelong Jets/Mets fans, who’ve experienced more sports fan suffering than any human should.

But today, their world is upside down. Look: The New York Mets are two wins away from the World Series, with dominant starting pitching and a pretty-good infielder (Daniel Murphy) who’s suddenly the greatest hitter in the history of baseball.

And my New York Jets, with another impressive win Sunday to move to 4-1, suddenly with a shot to go to Foxboro next week and prove they’re a first-place team in the AFC East.

It’s nuts. It’s impossible. It NEVER happens.

Only twice in the history of these two terrible teams have they both been good in the same calendar year: 1969, when the Jets won the Super Bowl and the Mets won their first championship, and 1986, when the Jets ran out to a 10-1 start and the Mets won their last World Series (The Jets collapsed that season, but still, for a few months were the best team in football).

And now, it’s happening again. Do you know how much losing these fan bases have endured? How many injuries and bad luck and coaching ineptitude they’ve seen (we’re looking at you, Rich Kotite and Jeff Torborg)?

And now, at least temporarily, there’s joy.

Up is down. Black is white. Pat Buchanan’s a liberal Democrat and Jesse Jackson has joined the Tea Party.

It’s a mad, mad world. And I know lots of people are enjoying the hell out of it.

**Next up today, I love Larry David like most Americans do, and I love me some Bernie Sanders, as you all know. So when I discovered on Sunday that America’s comedian curmudgeon had surprisingly played America’s political curmudgeon on “Saturday Night Live,” well, there was no way this wasn’t going on the blog today.

That it happened to be really funny was a bonus; Kate MacKinnon’s Hillary has really gotten almost as good as Amy Poehler’s was, and David’s rant about emails, and the pens at the bank, had me laughing out loud.

**Finally, I don’t talk much about college football on here because, quite frankly, I don’t follow it or care for it that much. College football is by far the most corrupt college sport (I know, my beloved college basketball can be a cesspool sometimes too, but it’s not in the same cheating league as football), and it’s never meant too much to me.

But two plays in the past few days blew me away, first for its athleticism and the second one for its shock value.

The first one (video above) was a type of catch I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. Stanford’s Francis Owusu on Thursday night made this incredible catch against UCLA, trapping the ball against the defender’s back to score a touchdown. The close-up replay starts at :35… I watched it five times and I still can’t believe he caught it that way.

The second one got way more attention, because it was on Saturday, and it was the final play of the Michigan-Michigan State game. If you haven’t seen it, it has to be seen to be believed. Michigan was up 23-21, with 10 seconds left, and was about to pull off a big upset in this huge rivalry.

All the Wolverines had to do was have punter Blake O’Neill punt the ball, anywhere and for any distance, and they’d win. But O’Neill dropped the snap, and well, this happened… I’ve never seen a game end like this. Absolutely soul-crushing for 100,000 UM fans in Ann Arbor.

Just wow.

The lede from the great Mitch Albom’s column in the Detroit Free Press Sunday:

Rub your eyes. Shake your head. Rub your eyes again. You will never see a play like that again and you will never see an end like that again and there may never be a game in this storied Michigan-Michigan State rivalry like that again, not one that ends more strangely or turns more fortunes than the final seconds of this chilled Saturday evening.

 

The “Hillary 2016” coronation begins, and I’m wary. An 11-year-old autistic boy draws a map of the world from memory. And the shocking police lapses that led to Darren Sharper’s rape spree

And so it begins, officially.

The long-expected and long-talked-about beginning of the Hillary Clinton Democratic coronation kicked off Sunday, as the candidate rolled out a sharp new video showing her ready to get to work, talking to Americans about their problems, and showing off her new ideas. She’s fresh, she’s new, she’s humble! (Kate McKinnon is going to have a field day doing “SNL” skits like the one above, by the way).

And I don’t trust her. Not at all.

Let me get this out of the way, first: I will vote for Hillary Clinton for President if she’s the Democratic nominee. I think she’s oodles more qualified than any of the GOP candidates, her ideas are better, and while I think while she’s way too “centrist” a Democrat for liberals like me, she’d be a decent President.

But I don’t trust her. I’ve watched her like all of you have for decades now, and I’ve found her to be slippery, and calculating beyond any and all reason, conveniently forgetful of things when she needs to be, and talking out of both sides of her mouth way too often. (I know, I know, all politicians are like that. But this woman has made a science out of it.)

Her behavior and actions toward Barack Obama, and those of her husband, in the 2008 primaries was deplorable at times, in instances way too numerous to recount. She was a terrible candidate, blowing an enormous early lead and other huge advantages in that race. I think her naked ambition for power, at the cost of any sort of real “beliefs” is not something that should be rewarded.

I am deeply disappointed that every other prominent Democrat seems to be afraid to challenge her on, well, anything, and are basically giving her this nomination without any sort of a fight. (The great Charlie Pierce wrote this terrific Esquire article last fall about the dangers of coronation in politics.)

I dearly wish Martin O’Malley, or Joe Biden, or anyone else would challenge her and make this a real contest in 2016. But she has so skillfully scared off all other contenders with her huge financial advantage and retaining top strategists from the party to work for, that I doubt we’ll see a real challenge. Fresh blood is needed in the Democratic Party; Obama was one transformational figure, but we need more.

The Presidency shouldn’t be handed to anyone this easily.

I know it’s difficult, but I really am going to try to look at “Hillary 2016” with fresh eyes. I’m anxious to see if she’s learned anything about how to run a campaign since her defeat eight years ago. I want to see if she’s changed, if she actually can be more genuine in her words and actions.

I’m out here, a Democrat hoping for the best. Hoping we get a nominee we can be proud of.

Convince me, Hillary. Convince me you’re the best choice, not just the only one.

worldmap.autisticboy

**Next up, this is kind of amazing. An 11-year-old autistic New York boy who has not been identified by name has drawn a map of the world strictly from memory.

The boy, the son of a professor, surprised his parent’s class when he stepped up to the whiteboard and recreated an intricate map, according to a Reddit user, who posted the now-viral picture  (above) five days ago.

The drawing includes islands so small, they appear as no more than dots on the board. The photo has been transmitted around the world.

Pretty incredible. I hope the kid gets identified soon so he can get the recognition he richly deserves. It’s amazing what the human brain can do.

darrensharper

**Finally today, I read this really important and disturbing story last week from Sports Illustrated, The New Orleans Advocate and investigate journalism non-profit ProPublica about Darren Sharper, the former NFL star who recently pleaded guilty to committing a string of rapes.

The story details the many, many missed clues and lack of information sharing that resulted in Sharper being allowed to continue drugging and sexually assaulting women in multiple states over a period of years.

It’s a story pretty horrifying in its details, showing that Sharper could’ve been, and should’ve been stopped. It’s a long piece but well worth reading. Check it out here.