Tag Archives: RGIII

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

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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.

“Choose Your Own Adventure” books awakened my imagination. An incredible musical collaboration on a “God Only Knows’ remake. And a really bad day for the Manning family

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I get nostalgic for a lot of things from my 1980s childhood. Hey, I’m a sappy, sensitive guy.
When John Hughes died, I was crushed and wrote a long piece about him. Whenever any relic from my past shows up in contemporary pop culture (like when a 2XL robot appeared in “Argo”), I get way too excited.
Last week I had another wave of nostalgia hit me when I read that the creator of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, R.A. Montgomery, died on Nov. 9.

Before I read and became obsessed with sports, before I tore through the “Little House” books and Encyclopedia Brown and a million others, I was totally enthralled with “Choose Your Own Adventure.”
I’d get one from our public library, or the school library at North Ridge Elementary, and I couldn’t wait to devour it. I’d read it as fast as I could, going through all the permuatations and possibilities (“well of course I’m going to follow the suspicious man into the bank, who wouldn’t?”), and then anxiously await my next library trip.

Those books opened my mind, and the minds of millions of others, to new ideas, new possibilities, and of course, new adventures. For a few hours I could forget where I was, and who I was, and go on incredible voyages without leaving my seat.

Thank you, R.A. Montgomery, for making my childhood a little bit happier, and giving me reading experiences I’ll never forget.

Very cool backstory on how the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series got started here, courtesy of MentalFloss.com.

**Next up, my awesome friend Melanie pointed me to this on Facebook, and I’m so glad she did: The BBC and a charity called Children in Need, in England, got a Hall of Fame-level group of singers together to record the Beach Boys’ classic “God Only Knows” and perform in this awesome video.

Elton John, Chrissie Hynde, Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder… the list goes on and on. The video is psychadelic and fabulous, and the song is timeless. Hope it raises a ton of money for charity.

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**Finally, Sunday was a really, really bad day for the Manning family.
At least, the Mannings who make their living playing quarterback in the NFL.
Peyton and his team were stunned by St. Louis, 22-7, with the Papa John’s pitchman tossing a couple of interceptions.
And little bro Eli, well, Eli had one of those Eli days that crop up every season, where everything goes wrong, it’s not all his fault, but the stats look really ugly.
Eli tossed FIVE interceptions in a game the 49ers desperately tried to give to the Giants, but ole’ No. 10 just kept chucking it to the other team.

Yeesh, seven picks between the Mannings. Hope Archie didn’t watch any of it.

Some other NFL thoughts on a day when the Jets didn’t lose…

— Remember when Robert Griffin III was basically going to be the Redskins’ savior, and Barack Obama’s sports counterpart as a messiah, hero, etc.? Yeah, about that. Washington fans were chanting for Colt McCoy in the fourth quarter. Colt McCoy! As one Redskins fan on Twitter said aptly, “God is punishing Dan Snyder, and the rest of us (Redskins fans) are collateral damage.” Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal forced himself to watch Bucs-Skins and wrote a really funny article about it here.

— The Jets are 2-8. The Giants are 3-7. New York football, it’s FAN-Tastic! Seriously, why would anyone pay money to go to the Meadowlands the rest of the year.

— The Atlanta Falcons are in first place in the NFC South. With a 4-6 record. And I just know in January a 10-6 NFC team like the 49ers will have to play a road game at 6-10 division champ Atlanta or New Orleans. Which is a disgrace. But that’s what the NFL guarantees a division champ: One home game.

— The Packers. I mean, 50-plus points in two straight games? Insane. Meanwhile, Mark Sanchez came back down to Earth, which all Jets fans enjoyed.

— Finally, two quick thoughts from the Sunday night game: Adam Vinatieri is 41 and still kicking 50-plus yard field goals; he’s gotta be a Hall of Famer one day. And two, someone named Jonas Gray scored four TD’s for New England, because of course any guy off the street could be signed by Belichick and be awesome. God, it gets tiring hating the Pats…

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.

Good News Friday: Middle school girls create an awesome app for blind students. RGIII helps ask a special needs boy to the prom. And hockey broadcaster Mike Emrick writes letters to those who helped him

And a happy Friday to all! Three really feel-good stories this week to hopefully put you in a good mood. (and unlike the San Antonio Spurs’ home arena, this blog is fully air-conditioned.)

First up, a team of students from Los Fresnos, Texas wanted to help their blind friend, Andres Salas, navigate around their middle school a little bit better.

So they created an app called “Hello Nuvi,” which will soon be available to all students everywhere, and won a Verizon Innovation challenge last week. President Obama then invited them to the White House to celebrate their win, and just listening to the kids talk about the experience, you can feel their pride.

Watch the video above that explains how the app works.

http://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/obama-hails-teen-girls-app-will-guide-visually-impaired/

**Next up today, Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is generally thought to be a good guy, and this ought to raise him up a few more notches.  A special needs student at Centreville (Va.) High School named Juwaan Espinal suffers from cerebral palsy

At a recent lacrosse game at the school, Espinal received an invitation to the prom with some help from his favorite football player.

Morgan Assel, a friend of Espinal’s, surprised Espinal with a giant banner at a lacrosse game. It read: “I know I’m not as cool as RGIII, but will you go to prom with me?”

And Griffin was standing behind the banner, waiting to surprise one of his biggest fans.

Very cool. I say it all the time here, but athletes can do so much good, and often DO do so much good, by doing small gestures like this.

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**Finally today, I’ve long been a huge admirer, personally and professionally, of NBC hockey broadcaster Mike Emrick. He’s an enormously likable guy, personally, and he’s quite simply the best at what he does. His hockey play-by-play is the best in the world, and the best in any sport, in my opinion.

But he’s a true mensch because of what he’s currently doing. About two months ago Emrick decided he needed to start thanking the people in his life who’ve helped him along the way. Teachers, friends, broadcast partners, producers, neighbors: anyone who made his path a little easier, and a little better.

So every day he now sits down and composes a hand-written letter thanking people from his past. I just think that is so cool.

“There’s so much that people did for you along the way that they probably thought was nothing at all,” Emrick said. “I wanted to tell them what it meant to me. It seemed like something that needed to be done.”

What a class act he is.

“I figure it is going to take me a couple of years if I do 365 per year,” Emrick said, “just because I keep thinking of people who made a difference in my life.”

Christmas lights season is here, and hooray for that. The Jets, shockingly, are in a playoff race. And a monkey gets lost in IKEA

I love the holiday season as much as anyone, and one of my favorite things to see are the awesome holiday light displays. Sadly, living in Manhattan now there aren’t too many nice ones to see around here, besides that big tree up in Rockefeller Center.

Might have to get myself to Queens or Long Island soon to see some of the houses that always made December so cool.

Meanwhile, here’s a beautiful display I saw on YouTube that ought to get you in the spirit of the season.

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**I watched Sunday’s Jets-Jaguars game with a strange feeling of detachment, one I don’t usually get during Jets games.
I wanted the Jets to win, but I wasn’t rooting that hard. I am fully convinced this team needs to be torn down and re-built, and that includes firing the GM and head coach Rex Ryan.
And I’m afraid that if they play just well enough against crappy teams these past four weeks, and Mark Sanchez doesn’t completely implode, owner Woody Johnson will keep everybody around.

And my fear is coming true. For the second week in a row, the Jets didn’t so much as a win a game Sunday. They merely played less shitty than their equally-terrible opponent. Jacksonville was really, really bad in a 17-10 Jets win, and the Jets played one good quarter (the third) on offense.
Basically, the strategy was run, run, run, and don’t let Sanchez pass, because when he drops back, bad things happen (He fumbled yet again. Wouldn’t you think this doofus, who fumbles SO much, would be EXTRA careful with the ball when he’s standing back there? Wouldn’t it make sense for him to put two hands on the ball? Just wondering).

And even worse for us Jets fans who want to see the whole thing ripped up, they’re actually back in the playoff race. Pittsburgh and Cincy both lost, meaning Gang Green is only one game out of a playoff spot with three games left.

This team is too awful to get into the playoffs, I’m quite sure (especially when Ryan refuses to dress last week’s hero, Greg McElroy, and has an injured Tim Tebow as the Jets’ backup QB). But stranger things have happened.

Some more NFL thoughts on another wild day…
Since the Jets game was mind-numbingly boring, I watched a lot of the Redskins-Ravens. Hell of a game, especially the last five minutes. RGIII is one hell of a player, but if he’s hurt for any length of time, ‘Skins won’t be making the playoffs.
— Does every Indianapolis game come down to the last two minutes, or it just seems that way? Andrew Luck throws way too many INT’s, but he is a special player.
— On a personal note, DeAngelo Williams, welcome back to life. Been killing my fantasy team all year, but I started him this week in a playoff game (believe me, I had no better options) and he and Carolina came up huge.
— Adrian Peterson is unbelievable. To be approaching 2,000 yards rushing less than a year after major knee surgery is unheard of.
— Had Cowboys fans on one side of me, and Redskins fans on the other at the bar Sunday. Needless to say, they weren’t cheering at the same time.

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**Finally, this is another reason I’ve got to hang out at IKEA more. At one of their stores in Toronto, a monkey wearing a mini-shearling coat and diapers (of course) was spotted in the parking lot.

The owners, who were shopping in the store at the time, have come forward to claim the monkey, Toronto Police Sgt. Ed Dzingala told CBC News.

I have so many questions: Why are you taking your monkey to IKEA, so he can sample his new cage in the store? Does he have a great decorating eye? And do you think the monkey was looking for a car to boost, or just didn’t feel like waiting for his family to pick out a new mahagony desk?

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.

A terrific Jets win has them tied for 1st. A dispiriting Yankees loss pretty much dooms them. And the guy who jumped from outer space

Well that was a decidedly mixed and bittersweet sports Sunday for yours truly.
More sweet than bitter, because I’m a bigger New York Jets fan than I am a Yankees fan, but still (If pressed, I would say my diehard sports allegiances rank is: 1, Jets, 2. New York Rangers, 3. Duke basketball, 4, Yankees baseball, 5, Brooklyn Nets basketball. Not that you necessarily needed all that information, but I’m here to share.)

Let’s start with the good. I expected the Jets to have a shot to win Sunday against the Colts, because Indy’s not nearly as good as San Francisco, Houston (they get a mulligan for Sunday night) or Pittsburgh, but I did not expect a 35-9 walloping.

Everything went perfectly for Gang Green, starting with the running game, which to this point in the season had been MIA. Shonn Greene looked like the same guy from 2 years ago, bullying and bruising his way through big holes the O-line created.
Mark Sanchez did what he needed to, simply hitting his receivers when they were open and making two really nice throws on his TD passes. The defense realized it was allowed to hit the other team’s QB, and did so repeatedly.

Really good win for my boys. I still don’t think they’re any good, but hey, look at the standings, everyone in the AFC East is 3-3 right now. A four-way tie for first, or for last (I guess it depends on your perspective on life which way you see it.)

Some other quick-hit NFL thoughts on Week 6:
— Man, that was a hellacious beatdown the Packers put on Houston Sunday night. Where’s that Green Bay offense been all year, Aaron Rodgers?
— That was one serious statement by the Giants in San Fran. They obliterated the 49ers, 26-3. I have no idea which Giants team will show up week to week, but they looked like the best team in football on Sunday.
— Hell of a comeback by Seattle to stun New England. Brady and his boys looked pretty mortal in the 4th. Jets-Pats, next Sunday in Foxboro. Even after Sunday, I’d say 38-10 New England sounds about right.
— If you haven’t seen RGIII’s incredible touchdown run in the 4th quarter Sunday, watch it here. Man this kid is fast.

**And then there’s the Yankees. Let’s face it, the Bronx Bombers were fortunate to get by the Orioles; those two teams were pretty dead even. Now against Detroit, even with some Raul Ibanez magic Saturday night, the Yanks’ offense has been beyond putrid.
Pathetic, awful, whatever you want to call it. Sunday night, with the great Derek Jeter out with a broken ankle, the Yanks mustered four measly hits.
It’s amazing how every single guy in the lineup, especially A-Rod and Cano (the latter is O-for-his-last-26, which is really hard to do for a big leaguer. 0-for 26!) look so lost at the plate. They’re barely even hitting the ball hard.
So the Tigers are up 2-0, and have Cy Young likely winner Justin Verlander going in Game 3, and yeah, the Yankees seem pretty much done.

Delighting millions of haters everywhere.

**OK, is there any doubt that Felix Baumgartner has the all-time best story to tell at his next high school reunion?

“So Felix, whatcha been up to?”
“Oh, not much. Just, you know, jumping out of a capsule from outer space and breaking the speed of sound.”

Sunday, Baumgartner, a 43-year-old Austrian achieved one of the coolest feats in recorded history, leaping 120,000 feet from the edge of space in the greatest skydive you could possibly do.

Watch the video (below), and if your jaw doesn’t drop in the first 30 seconds, it may be wired shut and you should consult a dentist immediately.

Wow.

Gail Collins’ new book explains how Texas took over America. The Jets are an utter disgrace. And kids eating ice cream for the first time: priceless

“Homeland” is back! I am very happy. I will be doing weekly recaps and thoughts on each episode, but will save those until Tuesday, since I know not all of you can stay up late Sunday night to watch it when it airs live on Showtime at 10. So glad the best show on TV is back. And the first episode was awesome.

It’s not enough that so many of us just shake our head at the craziness that is Texas. We really should look at how destructive and dangerously trend-setting it is for America.
From health care and social services (worst in the nation) to polluting the air (also near the bottom) to being the biggest textbook publisher in America, thereby setting the agenda for what kids around the U.S. are learning, Texas has an outsized effect on the U.S. (Plus, they’ve sicced both George W. Bush and Rick Perry on us, which is a plague all it’s own).

Gail Collins of the N.Y. Times, a really smart op-ed writer, has decided to examine Texas and figure out why the hell it’s always puffing itself up when there are so, so many things wrong with it in her newest book, “As Texas Goes.”
I just read it last week and really enjoyed it as a book, but it scared the hell out of me.

Besides Texas’ rightward slant on everything, it was depressing to see how much it has held down its own citizens, actively stolen business from other states, and slanted our nation’s textbooks.

I don’t want to give away all the fun stuff in the book (and it is a really fun read, Collins is really witty), but it’s truly staggering to think that this state sets much of the Republican agenda, and sometimes the nation’s.

Check out more about the book here; I definitely recommend it.

**Here’s something I know I wish I could’ve had recorded in my own life: Little kids eating ice cream for the first time, and how deliriously happy it makes them.  This should make you smile on a Monday, and make you hungry for some Ben & Jerry’s… (my favorite is the kid at :31)

**Finally, football. Here were some phrases thrown around via text among my Jets support group/posse that I communicate with every Sunday in the fall:
1. Disgraceful
2. Pathetic.
3. Kotite-level incompetence (I was particularly proud of that one).
As bad as I expected the Jets to do against maybe the NFC’s best team Sunday, they played worse in getting shut out by the Niners, 34-0. The less I say, the better.

Except two things: 1, This coach and GM ought to be embarrassed by the level of talent on this team right now, and 2, They had better draft or sign a quarterback for next season. Because Mark Sanchez will never become a successful QB in this league. He’s getting worse every week.

Some other quick-hit thoughts from Week 4:
— A friend who shall remain nameless texted when the Bills were up 21-7, saying the Patriots were done, headed to 1-3, not that good, etc. I told him it was way too early to say that.
Um, yeah, the Pats won 52-28. Scary how good that offense can be.

— Fantastic endings to the Carolina-Atlanta and Washington-Tampa games. Matt Ryan led his team from his own 1 into field goal range to keep the Falcons unbeaten, and RGIII beat Tampa on the last drive when Billy (Shank) Cundiff finally made a field goal after missing three others.

— The real refs were back! And yeah, they made some bad calls, but SO much better than those imposters.

— How good are the Texans? So pleased the Jets get them next week. That’ll be fun.
— Peyton Manning, that’s more like it. You helped me to a (likely) fantasy win this week.
— The Chargers are going to fall apart like they usually do, right? Because they look damn good right now.
— Finally, the Giants just can’t seem to beat the Eagles. Stupid penalty at the end by Ramses Barden, but you know, the guy has hardly played. I was still hoping Tynes made that kick at the end to punish Andy Reid (and all other coaches) for that split-second timeout they always call right before a game-deciding kick.

Such a stupid rule that you can do that.

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.