Tag Archives: New York Jets

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

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This is not normal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Give me a goddamn break.

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

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

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

The “Weehawken” line was my favorite…

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

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

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

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

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

 

A crazy-awesome NFL Sunday featuring an insane Odell Beckham Jr. Steve Harvey makes the worst awards show screw-up ever at Miss Universe pageant. And an awesome montage of 1980s video dating profiles

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After my New York Jets squeaked out an ugly but beautiful 19-16 win over the Dallas Cowboys Saturday night, I spent much of Sunday holiday shopping with my wife and son, figuring the slate of NFL games wasn’t going to be all that great.

Yeah, I was wrong about that one. Pretty thrilling day of action I missed most of, but caught up on later. Crazy comebacks, crazy behavior by a certain diva wide receiver, and the Denver Broncos really ticking me off.

First, we’ve gotta start with Odell Beckham Jr., who acted like a 5-year-old child throughout most of his team’s 38-35 loss to Carolina. The Giants fell behind 35-7, made a fantastic comeback, then lost on a last-second field goal as the Panthers went to 14-0.

But all anyone will be talking about today is Beckham’s awful behavior. He committed three personal foul penalties, including twice intentionally slamming his head into Panthers’ DB Josh Norman’s helmet, once running 15 yards down the field after the play ended and smacking into Norman.

Beckham was, incredibly, neither ejected from the game by the refs or benched by his formerly-tough, no-nonsense coach Tom Coughlin. What an embarrassment. I don’t care what Norman was doing on pass patterns, that’s ridiculous and disgraceful. Beckham should be suspended for the last two games of the year.

— Then there were the Broncos’ whose collapse after leading 27-10 at Pittsburgh hurt the Jets’ playoff chances a lot. Looks like Brock Osweiler might be falling down to Earth a bit, huh?

— The opposite of Odell Beckham, Jr: San Diego Chargers may be moving to L.A. next year, making their win over Miami Sunday possibly their last home game ever in San Diego. Two hours after the game, safety Eric Weddle was still at the stadium signing autographs. Then he went back on the field and lay down at the 50-yard line, leading to this awesome photograph (above).

— Think maybe Arizona vs. Carolina would be a hell of a lot of fun in the NFC title game.

— I think Kirk Cousins might actually turn into a decent NFL quarterback.

— And I think Johnny Manziel won’t.

**OK, so I’m sure not many of you watched the Miss Universe Pageant on FOX Sunday night, because c’mon, who among us really watches beauty contests anymore?
But I was on social media late Sunday night after this happened and thank goodness I was, because otherwise I might’ve missed the absolute worst awards show host screw-up of all time.

Steve Harvey, the comedian and host of the show, did everything right until the end, when announcing the winner. Which is, you know, the MOST IMPORTANT PART.

The final two contestants were Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, and Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach. Harvey opened the envelope and shouted the winner was Miss Colombia.

So of course, Gutierrez starts crying, gets the crown, the flowers, the whole thing, and starts blowing kisses to the crowd.
Only, a minute later, Harvey announces he made a mistake: Colombia was the first runner-up (which is what these award pageant announcers always say before naming the winner), and Miss Philippines is the actual winner.

Chaos, of course, ensued. Poor Gutierrez doesn’t speak English and has no idea what is happening. Wurtzbach is totally shocked, too, and then walks up to the podium. And then they have to explain to Gutierrez she actually lost, and take the crown off her.

So, so bad. But such amazing television, isn’t it?

**Finally today, this is totally a lost treasure of the 1980s, and I must give a big hat tip to my friend and former college newspaper boss Melissa T. for pointing me to this.

For those of you too young to remember what dating life was like pre-Internet, well, there used to be a thing called “video dating,” where you’d make a short biographical tape about yourself and submit it to a dating service, which would then show it to single men (or women) and they could judge for themselves if they wanted to pursue the person.

I have no idea who put this 4-minute montage of men’s tapes together, but it should be in a time capsule for future generations to study.

This entire thing is hilarious, my two favorites are Maurice (the 2nd guy in the video) and then the “refined Valley dude” at 1:10). Also I love the “goddess” guy at 1:45, he sounds really fun.

(Update: Apparently Ellen DeGeneres loved this tape, too, and found three of the guys on it and brought them to her show a few years ago.

The Jets are 3-1, and my brain is divided. Hillary on “SNL” actually pretty funny. And I try to cope with yet another senseless gun rampage

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The conversation inside my head around 12:30 p.m. Sunday, after the New York Jets finished off the Miami Dolphins, 27-14 to move to 3-1:

Side A: Holy crap! The Jets are 3-1! Maybe they’re actually good!
Side B: Chill out. They’ve beaten three pretty crappy team so far: The Browns, Colts and Dolphins would have trouble beating Ohio State.
Side A: Who cares? They’re 3-1. They have a real offense, led by a real good running back (Chris Ivory) a top receiver (Brandon Marshall) and a defense that’s as good as the ones they had in ’09 and ’10 when they went to the AFC Title game.
Side B: Look what you’re doing to yourself. It’s been four games. Their quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, only played OK on Sunday. He’s better than Geno Smith, but so is Wilma Flinstone. Calm down. Did you forget the Jets still play in the same division as the Patriots?
Side A: But the Jets have a real coach for once! One who actually makes smart in-game decisions, doesn’t talk smack in the media, and keeps an even keel. And he’s actually got his team doing exactly what he preaches.
Side B: Yeah, but remember, you liked Rex Ryan once too.
Side A: They’re 3-1 and you won’t let me get at least a little excited, especially when you look at the upcoming schedule and see lots of beatable teams (Washington, Oakland) on it?
Side B: No, I won’t let you get excited. I’ve been watching this team for 35 years. Have you learned that nothing good ever happens to them, and you’ve gotten excited so many times before?
Side A: You’re right, you’re always right. Nothing will ever change. I’m so glad you’re here.
Side B: Me too.

Yeah, the Jets do weird things to me…

Some other quick-hit NFL thoughts…

— Remember when everyone used to complain how automatic kicking had become, and that no one ever missed inside 50 yards anymore? NFL kickers missed 14 field goals and four PAT’s this week. Insane. Where have you gone, Morten Anderson?

— So much fun to watch Rex Ryan coach a team other than mine. On 4th and 1 Sunday from the 1, Bills QB Tyrod Taylor threw a screen pass four yards behind the line of scrimmage. Buffalo fans, I feel your pain. And I’m glad it’s your pain and not mine.

— Is there anything more fun than watching Jerry Jones agonize over a Cowboys’ loss and seeing if his face moves at all? I didn’t think so.

— Atlanta, Carolina, Cincinnati all moved to 4-0. And I don’t believe in any of them as a serious contender yet. Fool me so many times, Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton, I stop believing.

**Next up, I think it’s pretty crystal clear if you read this blog that I’m no fan of Hillary Clinton, and that I’m hoping like heck she implodes like she did in 2008 and Bernie Sanders or Martin O’Malley gets the Democratic nomination for President.

But I have to give credit where it’s due: Hillary was pretty funny in her appearance on “Saturday Night Live” this past weekend. Especially the Donald Trump impression … pretty damn good.

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**Finally today, like many of you I spent some time over the weekend thinking about yet another awful mass shooting on American soil, and I watched our President give a moving speech/statement about gun violence in America, looking as powerless as the rest of us to do anything to change our laws.

And I tried not to get despondent. Even as I read stories like this fascinating New York Times graphic, that explains how the last 14 mass shooters got their guns, that eight of them had either criminal histories or previously known mental illnesses, yet our federal gun laws allowed each of them to purchase their weapons legally.

Or this chart above from the Washington Post, which shows the amount of gun deaths worldwide vs. the amount of deaths caused by terrorism. Chilling.

But it’s hard not to give up hope. It’s hard. So I did what I could do to make a small difference: I gave a small donation to one of my favorite organizations, Cure Violence, which works in inner cities and uses ex-gang mambers to “interrupt” gun violence before it happens. They’ve had tremendous success in major places like Chicago and New York, but of course their funding is always nowhere near what it should be.

And I tried to envision a day when our politicians aren’t completely held hostage by the NRA, a day when actual, meaningful laws could be enacted against gun violence, and a day when all the politicians who say it’s a “mental health issue” will suddenly listen to themselves and actual spend MORE money on mental health services in America. Fund clinics in hospitals and treatment centers, let them hire more social workers and psychologists and case workers to actually treat those who so desperately are crying out for help.

I can’t see that day yet. But one day it will come. That thought helps get me through.

A Jets player literally helps people smile. 4 minutes of people saving animals. And an app that could stop domestic violence

aboushi.jets Yet another week of miserable news in the world (really Israel? Bombing a school full of sleeping children? Thank God for a 72-hour ceasefire announced Thursday night), but here at Wide World of Stuff we press on with Good News Friday, designed to make you smile. Speaking of making you smile, there’s a still-obscure New York Jets offensive lineman named Oday Aboushi who, in the offseason, literally helped kids smile. Aboushi was part of a five-day surgical mission by the Islamic Medical Association of North America in early March to repair cleft lips in the African country of Sudan. IMANA Medical Relief’s volunteer SaveSmile team of doctors and nurses operated on infants as young as a few months old to young adults in their early 20s.  Aboushi actually assisted with giving patients IV’s before surgery. “You’re bringing them into the operating room and then a few minutes later, you’re bringing them out and they look like a totally different person,” Aboushi said. “Their parents are in tears, they’re so grateful.” If he never plays a down for my beloved Jets this season, Aboushi’s already had a fantastic year. Animals are one of the few things that bring pretty much all people together. Loyal blog reader Sanford pointed me to this video from Animals Australia that shows heroic rescues from around the world. Really, really awesome stuff. **Finally today, this was pointed to me by the fine folks at Upworthy.com, and even though it’s a clip from the Dr. Phil show, it’s worth watching anyway. It’s about a fairly new app called ASPIRE News, and it’s used to help women who are the victims of abuse and domestic violence. It’s fairly ingenious and if it saves one woman from the pain of being attacked, it’s well worth it. Check it out above.

 

 

I survive my 10K quite well, with all muscles intact. The Jets lose a heartbreaker but I am OK with it. And Shaq sings Prince

My moment of triumph arrived at around 10:45 a.m. Saturday, and I didn’t want to blow it.
For the past hour and 15 minutes, I had alternately sprinted, jogged, and for a brief minute, walked during the Run for the Warriors 10k in Lindenhurst, on Long Island.
My first 10k ever was a whole lot of fun. The course, through the town of Lindenhurst, was pretty except for the part where we ran on Sunrise Highway, a major road that was closed for us but still felt a little weird to be running on.

My first two miles were pretty fast by my standards, I slowed down a bit around mile three (halfway through), paired up with a nice woman named Mary who paced me through the 4 1/2 mile mark, then I got a burst of speed and caught up with a guy named Rob, and he and I ran to the finish.
My goals for this race were simple: I wanted to finish. I wanted to come in under 1 hour, 20 minutes. And I didn’t want to finish last.

I’m happy to say I didn’t, which is why I look so happy in the above photo. Fifteen people finished behind me (OK, out of 322, and two people in their 70’s kicked my butt, but still…), as I clocked in at 1:18.22.

My family was there to greet me at the finish line, which was awesome. I actually didn’t feel too sore Sunday, which made me feel good since my training clearly has made me stronger.

But most importantly, thanks to the generosity of readers, friends and family, I raised $725 for the Hope for the Warriors charity, an excellent cause.
My next goal? A much faster 10k in the early spring, and then, hopefully a half-marathon next fall.
Now that I’ve caught this running bug, I gotta keep going.

**I had a strange feeling after watching yet another Jets-Patriots classic Sunday, when my boys came from 10 points down in the second half to take the lead, only to blow that and lose in overtime, 29-26.
I was mad, and disappointed, but also, strangely… encouraged. Maybe it’s because I’ve so dramatically lowered my expectations for this team this year, or because I’m overestimating the Pats, but I thought there were lots to be pleased about with how the Jets played.
So despite being angry at more asinine playcalling (3rd and goal from the 1 in the third quarter, you’ve been running it down their throats, and you don’t use Tebow but call a slant pass?), and at Stephen Hill’s big drop, and Sanchez again failing to secure the ball on the game-changing fumble, I also saw…

–Sanchez play beautifully in the second half. Man, where is that guy most of the time? A couple of those drives in the second half, especially when he zipped the TD in to Dustin Keller, were just fabulous displays of passing. I still want to start over with a fresh QB next year, but man, he’s got some talent.
— Glad to see they finally, finally used Joe McKnight in the running game a little bit. I just hope he’s not too banged up because we need him next week, too.
— The defense really stepped up, tackling well and harassing Brady at times. Again, maybe the Pats aren’t that good (and they sure seemed out of sync in the 2nd half on offense), but the Jets D played a terrific game.

A couple other quick-hit NFL thoughts on another wild Sunday:
 Robert Griffin III. Man, if he could cut down on those turnovers,  he’d be just about perfect. What an incredible athlete. He’s moving the position of QB forward, he really is.
— Then again, the Redskins did lose. Eli Manning is uncanny; he made an awful throw for a pick, then five minutes later with his team down, he throws a beautiful pass to Victor Cruz on a bomb for a TD.
— The Tampa-New Orleans game was one of the bar’s TV’s where I was at (there are apparently three huge Bucs fans in New York City and all sat next to me) and it was a hell of a game. Drew Brees is pretty damn good. Those hold throwback Bucs creamsicle jerseys, though? Burn ’em all.
— Finally, there are only three teams in the AFC with winning records. Am I nuts to think the Jets could make the playoffs at 8-8?

**As a karaoke singer and mangler of great songs myself, I have to sometimes acknowledge the “greatness” of other bad singers. So this made me laugh: The great Shaquille O’Neal, singing the Prince classic, “When Doves Cry.”

Say this about Shaq: Man’s not ashamed to make a fool of himself in public.

Apple-picking and 4-year-olds playing soccer in New England. The Jets come close, which is a surprise. And “Homeland” ratchets up the tension

Sorry there was no usual Monday blog post, but I spent the holiday weekend with my fiance up in New England, visiting some friends of hers.
There’s a reason poets, songwriters and lots of other people have written so much art about fall in New England; it’s really all kinds of beautiful.

We visited a family that had two little kids, so we did all kinds of family stuff, like apple-picking, going through a “mini-Green Monster” hedge maze, and even went candlepin bowling, that bizarre form of the sport they only play up there. (That sport is way too hard; you get no pin action, the ball is tiny and doesn’t spin, and yes I’m making excuses because I sorta stink at it).

I also got to watch a soccer game played by 4 and 5-year-olds; it was like watching swarms of bees all chasing one tiny ball of honey. There were no goalies in this co-ed “game,” the goals themselves were miniature, and nobody really kept score, which was nice.

Concentration isn’t exactly a forte among these future stars; one boy spent most of the game fiddling with his sweatshirt, unable to decide whether to keep it on or off.

It was a terrific relaxing weekend out of the city, even if I had to endure way too many “Gronkowski” and “Brady” jerseys. Massachusetts is one of my favorite states, and in the fall, with the leave starting to turn, it really is something special.

**Ah, the Jets. As someone said on Twitter Monday night, only my beloved Jets can turn what should’ve been a 25-point blowout loss into a heart-wrenching defeat.
Despite playing with a mostly-inept offense, filled with guys most NFL fans have never heard of, the Jets hung in there with the undefeated Texans, losing by only six, and Jets had a shot to win on their last drive.
But man, this team just makes SO many mistakes, probably because it’s not that talented. Mark Sanchez played only OK, throwing so many passes too low that they’re tipped, or too high to be caught. The Jets receivers blew all kinds of plays, the defense missed all kinds of tackles, and once again there was ZERO pass rush.

Plus, they burned two timeouts in the second half because they have no idea what to do with Tim Tebow, getting plays in late and having the wrong personnel. Pathetic how disorganized the Jets coaches are.
They’re 2-3 and while Monday was slightly encouraging, this season has 4-12 written all over it.


** “Homeland” followed up last week’s terrific season premiere with an incredibly tense episode Sunday night (SPOILER ALERT, STOP HERE IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED YET).
The last scene, with Saul watching the previously-believed-to-be-forgotten and destroyed tape of Brody talking to the camera before what he thought would be last season’s suicide bomb attempt, was jaw-droppingly good. I have to believe Saul is now going to spill the beans on Brody, tell Carrie she was right all along, and the whole dynamic of the series may change.
A few other thoughts on a great hour of TV:

— I kept yelling at Carrie for being so damn reckless, especially when she ran back into her source’s apartment while her teammates were in a car surrounded by angry men. It’s ridiculous how many chances she takes and gets away with it.

— I know you’ve gotta suspend disbelief sometimes with this show, but both my fiance and I were incredulous that Brody A, would be allowed in a secret meeting to watch Nasir get killed, B, send a text message TO Nasir without anyone noticing or getting suspicious, C, Nasir getting the text milliseconds before he was about to be killed, and D, the snipers totally missing Nasir because he moved a split second before they shot.

That’s an awful lot for we viewers to accept. I also love how the entire U.S. government goes along with Carrie’s hunch and goes for the assassination plan. Carrie, who just had electroshock therapy.

–Loved the scene with Brody and his ex-Marine mates at the bar. How long can he hold them off from the truth?
–Finally, Brody’s daughter and the VP’s son are totally having sex in the White House at some point this season, right?

A glorious opening day win for the Jets, and other NFL thoughts. A scary trip across the highway for some ducks. And Serena wins a thrilling U.S. Open final

Well that was a hell of a way to start the NFL season.

My expectations for the New York Jets are low this year, and I thought Sunday against Buffalo would be a really tough game.
And yet midway through the third quarter, my boys led 41-7.
Most stunning opening-day Jets win since the Parcells era started, when they kicked the hell out of Seattle, 41-3 back in ’97.
Sunday, everything worked beautifully, except the Tim Tebow Wildcat plays. Mark Sanchez was terrific, throwing with great accuracy and poise. The O-line was impossibly good, keeping Sanchez upright. The wide receivers, including the rookie Stephen Hill who dropped lots of passes in the preseason, consistently got open.
And the defense, except for a bad stretch in the 4th quarter, was excellent, pressuring Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (who really isn’t any good) and intercepting three passes.
Maybe Sunday will be as good as it gets in 2012 for the Jets. One game doesn’t make  a season. Still, it was a whole lotta fun seeing this offense click, seeing new heroes emerge, and all that stuff.
A happy Sunday for me and the other long-suffering members of Gang Green Nation.

Some other NFL thoughts from a wild week 1:
— I think this anecdote sums up all you need to say about Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins, who beat the Saints 40-32.
As RGIII sliced and diced New Orleans, I texted my good friend Tony, who’s been a ‘Skins fan his whole life and for the past 15 years has suffered through one awful QB after another:
“So how you liking RGIII?” I wrote.
“I am sexually aroused,” he replied.
Yeah, Washington fans are excited.
— Got totally confused when I saw the Vikings kick a field goal in OT Sunday to beat the Jaguars, only the game kept going. New OT rules say if first team that gets the ball only kicks a FG, the other team gets one chance to score. I love the rule change.

— Speaking of rules, the replacement refs were pretty bad Sunday, missing a ton of calls. Unfortunately, they didn’t screw up so royally that they cost a team a game, which is what it’s going to take to get the NFL and the “real” refs back to work.
— It is so great seeing Peyton Manning back playing football, and playing so well. But geez is it weird to see him in Broncos orange. As weird as it was for me seeing Montana in a Chiefs jersey, and Favre in a Jets/Vikings jersey.

**And now, for a pretty harrowing piece of video I saw on Deadspin.com the other day. A mother duck leads her flock across a busy highway. Let me assure you before you watch: They all make it safely across.
But if I’m those ducks, I’m waddling over to Duck Protective Services and filing an abuse complaint against my momma.

**I do not like Serena Williams, not much at all. I think she is arrogant, and highly disrespectful toward officials and line judges, and oftentimes wholly dismissive of her opponent when that foe defeats Serena.
And so I generally root against her, despite fully acknowledging the fact that she’s one of the five greatest women’s players of all time.
But even I who dislikes her so much had to admire her guts and performance on Sunday in the U.S. Open final. She beat Victoria Azarenka, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 in dramatic fashion, coming back from 5-3 down in the final set to win the last four games and the match.
She is an incredible competitor, Serena is, and even when it looks like she’s down and out (Sunday she was mostly beating herself, but full marks to the shrieking Azarenka for hanging in there), she’s never quite done. She hit some superb forehands in the game at 5-5 to hold serve, and then closed the match out.
She’s been through a lot these last few years, some of which was her own doing, other parts of it (like the life-threatening embolism she had) were unfortunate luck.

Serena’s one of the greatest female athletes ever, and love her or hate her, she makes tennis more interesting.
Oh, and my pick on today’s Murray-Djokovic final? Should be a classic. Just have a feeling Murray is due to break through. The Scotsman wins it in 4.

A few words on outdoor summer eating. A GOP Senate candidate says the dumbest thing. And it’s too early for me to be angry about the Jets, right?

A few words this morning on a subject hardly of Earth-shattering importance, but about a ritual we all take for granted.
Nothing to me says summer like a great meal on an outdoor deck/porch at a laid-back beach-side restaurant.

From the moment you walk out there, with music playing, the small waves making noise a few feet away, beer flowing, flip-flops bouncing off the wooden ground … it all just goes together to make the meal that much better.

It’s hard to explain, but when the air is warm and the cold drinks are flowing, and the smell of fresh fish, corn on the cob (a very underrated side dish!) and burgers permeating from each table, everyone just seems less stressed.
I had two dinners this weekend with family, both on outdoor decks, and both times I left the restaurant wishing I could eat like that all-year round.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so special if we did it year-round. But man, I sure do enjoy it.

**It’s almost fall, in a major election year, so political junkies like me have their radar up for anyone saying anything remotely stupid.
But boy, you certainly didn’t need an antenna to believe that what Missouri GOP U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin said this weekend was just about the most idiotic thing said in 2012.
If you missed it, Akin was talking about why he opposed abortion in all cases, even in rape and incest. And this was his direct quote:

“From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”

Wow. Despite the many, many, many questions I have for Mr. Akin after that quote (first question: how, exactly, does the female body “shut that down” when a man is raping her?), I think we’ll just let it hang there. Listen to him speak it (above), it doesn’t get any better.

Todd Akin, you would hope, is finished as a politician. What a disgusting thing to say.

**I know it’s only preseason. I know I’ve got five months of NFL football ahead of me. But there I was late Saturday night, watching the 1st half of the Jets game, and I was getting angry. Furious, pissed, whatever word I can usually use to describe my mood during autumn Sundays when the green and white are playing.

It doesn’t count, but holy hell did the Jets look awful. Offensive line was horrendous (Why is Wayne Hunter still on this team???). Running game, mostly non-existent. Wide receivers, OK, I know the top three were out injured, but they did nothing.
And the two quarterbacks (which is one too many, of course) both looked awful. Mark Sanchez, it’s year 4, you can’t be making idiotic throws like the one you made Saturday that got run back for a touchdown. And Tim Tebow, well, I can’t really get mad at him for being what he is: A poor NFL quarterback who has no business starting in the league.
It’s been two preseason games, and the Jets have two field goals. Combined.

Way too early for me to get this frustrated, fellas.

A kid calls the police with his math problems. The amazing photos from Mars blow me away. Curtis Martin, classy Hall of Famer.

This is one of those YouTube videos that I really, really hope is real. It totally seems like it is.

A 4-year-old was doing some homework and was having trouble with his “Take-aways.” So, he did what any kid would do: He called 911.
And this phone call ensued (stay with it to the end, the kid’s mother’s reaction is priceless:

**So, yeah, in the middle of the night Sunday/Monday morning we landed on Mars.

No biggie.
These scientific things always sneak up on me. I never really follow developments like this until all of a sudden everyone on Twitter is telling me we’re about to land on Mars.
I think there’s a good argument to be made, as I’ve made before,  that funding the space program shouldn’t be our highest priority, that we could take that money and do so much more with it here on Earth. Feeding people, funding programs for homeless people and abused women, etc.

But then I see these incredible photos and I think, “Wow.”

**Finally today, my all-time favorite New York Jet went into the Hall of Fame last weekend in Canton, Ohio. Curtis Martin was an incredibly durable running back for the Jets, helping turn the franchise around in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

He’s also universally hailed as a class act, as evidenced by this fantastic, moving speech he gave upon his induction (hat tip to my friend George for alerting me to it.) The parts about his mother and father had me choked up … amazing what some people can endure and still survive, and thrive.

If you don’t have time to watch the whole speech, just watch the first 10 minutes. I want to hug Curtis Martin and his mom after hearing it.

Tim Tebow and why I have never been more disgusted to be a Jets fan. And Facebook helps a man’s two current wives connect

It’s totally irrational. I’m 36 years old, I have a great life, a loving and beautiful girlfriend, a terrific family, and so many good things around me.

And yet I allow myself to get completely worked up and pissed off because my favorite professional football team continues to do the stupidest things possible.
Seriously, it’s like they TRY to anger every single fan they have.
Let me start to discuss  the Jets acquiring of Tim Tebow in a trade by saying this: In three decades of being a fan, I have never been more frustrated and angry at the Jets than I was today.
Wasn’t this mad during the Kotite years. Wasn’t this mad during the ’86 playoff game with Cleveland, or the many, many late-season swoons.

I’m going to try to keep this rant as concise as possible: This is a terrible, terrible, terrible move for the Jets. For so many reasons.

First of all, let’s start with this: TIM TEBOW IS NOT A GOOD NFL QUARTERBACK. Seems to me that if you’re going to acquire a player as controversial as Tebow, you might want him to be kind of good. Tebow has terrible accuracy, a not-very strong arm, and has trouble completing simple passes.
Next, how about this: You just gave Mark Sanchez, your franchise QB, a huge new contract extension, telling him how wonderful he is, how you’re committed to him, yada yada yada.
Now you bring in a guy who, to millions of football fans, is a cult hero, a messiah-like figure. And as soon as Sanchez throws a few interceptions next season, you’re going to hear the drumbeat from the stands of “Te-bow!,” Te-bow!”

It will go on all season, and it will be loud, and it will be an enormous distraction. It’s going to make Sanchez feel awful, but that’s not the worst part. The worst part is Tebow IS NOT AN UPGRADE. So even if they do pull Sanchez, things won’t get better.

Then there are these reasons to hate the deal: You gave away two draft picks for a guy who will only play 8-10 plays per game in the Wildcat, if things are going well; nobody runs the Wildcat effectively in the NFL anymore so even Tebow’s effectiveness there is in doubt; you’re adding a highly polarizing figure to a locker room that already has plenty, and just let me throw this out there, in total seriousness:

There’s a huge contingent of Jets fans who are Jewish. Do you think they’ll feel all warm and fuzzy about a high-profile Jets player who believes that all of us Members of the Tribe are going to hell? (A great tweet today from Parks and Recreation writer Michael Schnur: “Well, if there’s one place a crusading Christian and decidedly mediocre athlete should mesh perfectly with the local culture, it’s New York.”)

Ugh. I just hate this so much. This reeks of the Jets wanting to make headlines, steal some of the Giants’ thunder (here’s a way to steal their thunder: Win a Super Bowl!!!) and get people talking about them.
I don’t know who this franchise is anymore. They’re the pro sports equivalent of a dope fiend hanging out on the corner, doing anything to get their next high. When that one fades, got to get another one. Peyton Manning doesn’t want to play here? We’ll go get God’s quarterback!

It’s the middle of March. I really shouldn’t get this worked up over the Jets.
But I hate them right now, and everything they’ve become.

**OK, moving on to a less-inflammatory topic: Bigamy.
I laughed quite heartily about this story. It seems that a county corrections officer in Washington state has been charged with bigamy after Facebook helped uncover his secret double life.
What happened? According to this story, Alan O’Neill’s first wife recently found out about Wife No. 2 when Facebook detected their connection to O’Neill and suggested the friendship connection.
Well sure, they have a “friend” in common!  Wife No. 1 then called O’Neill’s mother (fabulous!), and a short time later the police got involved.

Alan, Alan, Alan. It’s the first rule of plural marriage: Stay the hell off Facebook.