Tag Archives: Stephen Colbert

A woman takes the health care fight directly to her senator, and it’s fascinating viewing. Stephen Colbert goes on Russian TV to announce he’s running for President. And the “Making a Murderer” kid, finally getting justice

Greetings from the land of crab cakes, Orioles fans, and much cheaper than NYC prices. The family and I have spent the weekend in Maryland visiting relatives, and today we’re headed to Washington, D.C. for some sightseeing and maybe a trip to the Oval Office, where I’ll try to convince our nearly-3-year-old son that he really is more qualified to be President than the guy currently doing the job. (By the way, highlight of the weekend for him is the discovery of this way-cool bubbles-making toy my wife’s aunt has. It’s called a Bubbles Making Bubbles stick, and that photo above was taken by my wife. He played with that thing for like an hour. And yeah, one’s headed to our apartment right now. God bless Amazon.)

First up today, so much is being said and written about this “so bad it’s hard to believe they can say it’s good with a straight face” health care bill that may be voted on by Congress this week. I don’t want to get into every single lie or mistruth being uttered about it, or how disastrous this would be for so many people. Here, instead, is a simple 90-second video featuring a West Virginia woman confronting her Senator, Shelley Capito, about what will happen to the woman’s daughter if “TrumpCare” is passed.

Simple, powerful, effective.

**Next up today, I thought this was pretty ingenious. Stephen Colbert flew to Russia to be on a Russian talk show, to announce he’s running for President in 2020. “Might as well cut out the middleman,” Colbert said.

Of course he’s not really running, but this was oddly fascinating to watch, Colbert as a guest on Russian TV.

**Finally today, you may have missed this over the weekend but if you watching Netflix’s “Making A Murderer” you’re probably as obsessed with the cases it covered as I am. Anyway, it looks like a grievous wrong was finally righted on Friday. Brendan Dassey, the nephew of convicter murderer Steven Avery, was forced into a confession and verbally taken advantage of by Wisconsin sheriff Dept., then sentenced to life in prison in 2007.

Thanks in part to the huge success of the documentary, Dassey’s plight has gotten a lot of attention, and Friday he got one step closer to much-deserved freedom. A federal appeals court ruled that his confession was illegally obtained, and that unless the state wants to retry him within the next 90 days,  or appeal to the Supreme Court, he will be set free.

Dassey’s plight was the most tragic part of “Making a Murderer;
a mentally challenged kid totally steamrolled by the legal system. Now, finally, it looks like justice will be done.

 

Good News Friday: A 9-year-old Cubs fan gets an awesome surprise gift. An incredible organ donation story, starring Rod Carew and an NFL player. And “Colbert” returns to say goodbye to O’Reilly

And a Happy Friday to you all, I spent much of Thursday night wearing new grooves in the carpet in front of our living room TV, watching Rangers-Canadiens Game 5. Playoff overtime hockey really isn’t good for your health.

First up today, this clip has gone viral in the past few days so maybe you’ve seen it already, but it’s awesome and I’ve watched it a few times already. Meet 9-year-old die-hard Chicago Cubs fan Kolt Kyler. He and his family are big Cubs fans, and Kolt is by all accounts a terrific young man.

But he’s never been to Wrigley Field, and as a reward for all his hard work and doing his chores, his Dad decided to surprise him. This video brought tears to my eyes, just seeing Kolt’s reaction. It’s priceless.

What’s even better is that once this went viral, the Cubs players themselves did some amazing things. First baseman Anthony Rizzo invited Kolt to come onto the field to watch batting practice, while pitcher Jon Lester offered Kolt and his family the chance to sit in his own private box.

So, so great when athletes do this. Enjoy the game, Kolt.

**Next up today, I’ve written a lot about organ donation stories in the eight years I’ve done this blog, because it’s a cause I feel very strongly about. So when I read about this incredible tale involving former NFL player Konrad Reuland, his awful death at such a young age, and the amazing series of events that led to him donating organs to baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew, I knew I had to share it.

This story, by the BaltimoreRavens.com writer Garrett Downing, is sensational. The bond and connection between Reuland, his family, and Carew is rare among organ donation cases. Wonderful job by the writer here, getting the emotion and the details exactly perfect.

**Finally today, many of us on the left are having some fun with the implosion of the career of Bill O’Reilly (don’t cry too much for him, he got a nice big $25 million check from Fox News to go away).

Stephen Colbert modeled his old persona on his old Comedy Central show on O’Reilly; the “Colbert” character was a delightful sendup of Bill O.

So of course even though Colbert isn’t that guy anymore, moving on to late night CBS show, he had to talk about O’Reilly’s ignominious ending. Watch this great monologue, and wait for the reappearance of “Colbert” about halfway through…

A college kid wins $38,000 on a half-court shot, only idiotic company won’t let him have it. Jon Stewart returns briefly to late night with some words of wisdom. And Betsy DeVos, showing chutzpah beyond belief when talking about HBCU’s

logsdon-louisville

Happy March, everyone! No, I won’t be commenting on the Orange Man’s State of the Union last night, which I happily missed most of, although I heard he lied through his teeth about so much (really Donald, there are 94 million unemployed people in America? Come on, even Barron Trump knows that’s bullshit) and changed his mind on a few things, and even had the freaking chutzpah to scold Democrats and tell them “the time for trivial fights is over.”  This from a guy who spent YEARS alleging Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

Anyway, like I said, it’s March, the happiest month of the year for college basketball fans like me. So we start today with a basketball story, though what should’ve been a happy one isn’t really.

A Kentucky resident named Jackson Logsdon competed in one of those goofy halftime contests at a recent University of Louisville women’s basketball game. Logsdon had to hit a layup, a free throw, a 3-pointer, and a half-court shot in 30 seconds, and he’d win $38,000.

Well, as you can see here, Logsdon improbably did all that. So whoo-hoo, right? Local boy makes good, and man will that money come in handy with so many college loans to pay?

But nope, Logsdon gets none of it. Because the company that sponsored the contest, Million Dollar Media, had some fine print in the contract that said he wasn’t eligible if he’d played high school ball in the past six years.

Dude was a bench-warmer in high school six years ago! And so Logsdon got screwed.

This is ridiculous. And even though it wasn’t the university that promised Logsdon the money, they really ought to make good here. For one thing, Louisville pays its coaches enormous sums of money, and they happen to employ two major head coaches (Bobby Petrino and Rick Pitino) who are either complete scumbags (Petrino) or run dirty programs (Pitino). They get crap, rightfully so, for employing Petrino, and that hookers/basketball players scandal didn’t really look too good either.

So Louisville, do what’s right: Take $38,000 you would’ve spent on a basketball recruit’s prostitute bill, or a private jet flight for a trustee, and give a college kid what he earned. It’s the right thing to do.

**Next up today, any dose of Jon Stewart is beyond welcome these days. While the former “Daily Show” host is gearing up to do stuff for HBO (when is he exactly starting to work for them, anyway? Seems like it’s been awhile), he showed up on Stephen Colbert’s CBS late-night show Tuesday night and sent out a hilarious and true missive to the media.

Watch and enjoy and realize how much Stewart is missed.

devos

**Finally today, I really don’t want to continually bash Betsy DeVos, but she just keeps saying such stupid shit that I can’t help myself.

She screws up things and steps into verbal landmines that a 5-year-old wouldn’t do. Let’s look at what she said this week. DeVos met with some presidents of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) during Black History Month.

It should have been such a simple statement about the meeting. She could have said something like “These Presidents are doing a great job helping minorities and other people of color get a good education, they’re vital to our future as a nation,” yada yada yada.

Instead (face palm), DeVos said this:

“HBCU’s have done this since their founding. They started from the fact that there were too many students in America who did not have equal access to education. They saw the system wasn’t working, that there was an absence of opportunity, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution. HBCU’s are real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater equality.”

Are you freaking kidding me??? In 2017, the leader of the Dept. of Education in the U.S. is celebrating how freaking legal segregation gave black students “options????” Like African-American students in the 1950s were sitting around going “Hmmm, let’s see, should I go to Ole Miss, the University of Georgia, or, I don’t know, Grambling State.”

Saying that African-American students chose the “option” of HBCU’s is like saying black South African’s under apartheid “chose” to go to shitty schools and have no rights.

And then, as if DeVos hadn’t made a big enough pile of crap, she brings school choice, her pet subject, into it and compares HBCU’s to charter schools.

This woman … my God, she’s not qualified to be an after-school day care assistant, much less Secretary of Education.

What an offensive, awful thing for her to say.

Her whole “statement” is below.

https://t.co/wDxFqCOEJp

 

Good News Friday: An 11-year-old makes 3 half-court shots… in a row. A boy in Texas raises money and food for a local pantry. And Stephen Colbert funds every single teacher project in S.C.

And a Happy Friday to you! There are no words to describe that press conference the Orange Man gave yesterday, so I’m moving right into the good stuff today.

It is extraordinarily rare that I will blog about anything positive that occurs on the University of North Carolina men’s basketball court, because I hate the Tar Heels (Duke has won six in a row, including beating UNC last week, cough cough).

But I’ll make an exception for this incredible feat. Eleven-year-old Asher Lucas is a ballboy for the Heels, and at a recent game, Asher got to take center stage at halftime. There was a snowstorm in the Carolinas that weekend, and the previously-scheduled halftime act couldn’t make it to the Dean Smith Center.

So Asher and his ballboy buddies got to run around and, just for fun, Asher decided to try some half-court shots.

He made the first one, and the crowd cheered. He made the second one, and the crowd exploded in noise. Then he took a third one… and made it. And the fans just went nuts.

Just amazing.

 

**Next up today, a really inspiring story from a 7-year-old boy named Kaden Newton in Rockwall, Tex.

When Kaden took a visit with his parents to a local food pantry a few years ago, he noticed there weren’t many “kid-friendly” items to eat. So he decided to ask friends and family to donate his two favorite kid foods, macaroni and cheese and pancakes, to him so he could deliver it to the food pantry.

Within 10 days, Kaden’s new company “Mac and Cheese and Pancakes” had gone viral, and he received 7,000 packages of food to donate.

“It made my heart feel happy,” he said. “It will always makes me feel happy.”

What an amazing little boy.

people-colbert_reads-094fa-048

**Finally, Stephen Colbert is a Grade-A human being, of that few dispute. He’s humble, he’s good-hearted, and he doesn’t take himself or his success too seriously.

Here’s yet another example: The website donorschoose.org is a fabulous resource for educators, who post ideas for projects or lessons on the site and ask for financial help to carry them out. It’s sad in a way that teachers have to do this, but it’s also a great way for people who care about education to give teachers a boost.

Anyway, the teachers in South Carolina had nearly 1,000 projects on the website as of last week, and Colbert partnered with two organizations to fund every single one of them, at more than 375 schools, for a total donation of $800,000.

So every single project requested by a Palmetto State teacher will be funded by Colbert, a South Carolina native.

Just fantastic.

Bernie and Hillary, a team made not quite in heaven. A bizarre Colbert sketch reminds me of 1980s Letterman show. And the father who took out an ad searching for a wife for his son

Bernie.Hillary

Well, it finally happened. It took all the until mid-July, but the old Jewish guy from Vermont finally endorsed the woman who will be our next President, his former rival.

No one could ever accuse our man Bernie Sanders of being hasty. More than a month after he formally lost the race to be the Democratic presidential nominee, and two months after it was realistically over for him, the man from Vermont officially endorsed Hillary Clinton Tuesday.

But man, it sure as heck didn’t sound much like an endorsement. I’ve seen 9-year-old boys more enthusiastic about eating Brussels sprouts than Bernie was about Hillary.

Most of his speech on Tuesday was about everything he, Bernie, and his followers have accomplished, and what He, Bernie, thinks. He mentioned Hillary a few times and sort of, kind of endorsed her, but mostly he was saying “I’m supporting her because she’s finally come to our side on some issues.”

Look, I’m no Hillary Clinton fan as I’ve said many, many times on here, but Bernie really is seeming like a sore, sore loser at this point. His ego seems a bit out of control. His grudging endorsement of Hillary is just the latest sign that Bernie doesn’t want to get off the stage, at all, and that he’s enjoyed the attention he’s gotten the last year so much that he can’t do without it.

Bernie, I love ya. But sadly this election might actually be close, and it might help if you would, to quote the name of the show starring the man who plays on “SNL,” curb your enthusiasm about how awesome you are, and do your best to actually, enthusiastically support the candidate who won.

**Next up today, this Stephen Colbert zany sketch from last week is the most bizarre thing I’ve seen in a while. It’s very reminiscent to me of the old David Letterman late-night show from NBC in the 1980s, when Dave would do weird stuff just because he knew no one was watching.

This skit has three concurrent challenges going at once, with them each trying to finish their task first: Colbert cooking and eating a Hot Pocket, a world-champion videogame player trying to win Super Mario Bros. 3, and a four-man college track team from Columbia University running a 4×100 meter dash.

With sportscaster Ian Eagle calling the action! Really funny stuff.

**Finally, from the files of “Really Dad, this is how you choose to help me?” files.

Spare a thought today for poor Baron Brooks, a 48-year-old Salt Lake City resident.

We all know our parents embarrass us sometimes, but rarely this publicly. Baron’s dad, Arthur, took out a $900, full page ad in an Idaho newspaper advertising for a wife for his son.

Arthur did this without permission, and he didn’t exactly “sell” his son very well.

The ad is written from Baron’s point of view (which of course makes it sound like he wrote it and paid for it!) and states that he is looking for a wife who fits very specific criteria. Specifically, the ad calls for a woman “between the ages of 34-38,” which is 10 years younger than Baron, and “height and weight proportional,” which is basically like saying “no fat chicks.”

Poor Baron. But amazingly, since this story went viral a few weeks ago, his dad has gotten 12 responses from women who say they want to meet Baron.

If one of them turns out to be his wife, you think ole’ Arthur gets forgiven?

Nah.

Good News Friday: A rape victim and the football coach she partially blames for it have a wonderful reconciliation. Stephen Colbert tells a beautiful story of how he met his wife. And Vin Scully tells a great story on first seeing Sandy Koufax

brenda.nebraskafootball

Trying to stay to the theme of Good News Friday is tough when we had two consecutive days of police officers shooting and killing unarmed African-American men, and then the unfathomable killings of five police officers in Dallas Thursday night. America is coming apart at the seams, it feesl like…

We start Good News Friday today with an unlikely “good news” angle, but bear with me, it’s good news at the end.

Eighteen years ago, a 24-year-old Oregon woman named Brenda Tracy was gang-raped by four members of the Oregon State football team. As frustratingly happens far too often in these cases, the charges were eventually dropped, and Tracy was left with awful memories and horrors.

One of the horrible memories she’s carried around for years was a quote from then-OSU football coach Mike Riley, who when the charges were dropped told the press that the players “were really good men who just made a bad choice.”

A bad choice. What despicable, disgusting words. Tracy says now that she hated Riley for those words “more than I hated my rapists … I hated him with every cell in my body.”

Bravely, Tracy opened up to reporter John Canzano of The Oregonian newspaper in 2014, and after Canzano reached out to Riley for comment, the coach expressed some remorse. He said he probably should’ve “done something more to send a message” than simply suspending the players for one game.

“Maybe I should have done more.”

Second, the coach asked Canzano if he thought Tracy might come and talk to his team.

“That would be a compelling talk,” Riley said. “A real-life talk. Instead of just talking about rape and sexual assault, actually having someone talk about how things can change for everyone in a moment like that.”

That was 2014. Two years later, Riley, now coaching at Nebraska, finally followed up on his idea. He contacted Tracy a few months ago, and in mid-June, before addressing the team, Tracy and Riley finally met.

“He hugged me,” Tracy said in this remarkable Washington Post story. “Then he allowed me to cry on his shoulder for a few minutes.” Riley listened to Tracy’s story, and he apologized profusely. Then this brave woman stood up in front of the entire Cornhuskers team and described the horrors of her rape, and the aftermath, including telling how much she had hated Riley.

This is exactly how change occurs. Education, first-hand experience, and a man like Riley, raised in the ridiculous macho world of football, growing and evolving and helping show the next generation how to avoid thinking like he did.

It took two decades, but good for Riley, and good for Brenda Tracy, learning to forgive, and taking a horrible nightmare and turning it into something that could, who knows, help other women in the future.

**Next up, on a lighter note, Stephen Colbert told this great story the other night to his studio audience before his talk show. It’s about how Colbert met his wife, and it’s sweet, self-deprecating, and all over the place, like any great story.

I hope Colbert’s show gets better ratings soon; the guy really seems like a mensch.

http://www.popsugar.com/celebrity/Stephen-Colbert-Talks-About-Meeting-His-Wife-July-2016-41888992

**Finally today, a few words from the legendary Vin Scully, who I’ve featured a few times here this year as we prepare for his retirement from the broadcast booth of the Los Angeles Dodgers, a mere 67 years after he began (I hate people who move around and can’t stay in one place like Scully, you know?)

The other night on a Dodgers broadcast Scully told a sweet little tale of the first time he saw legendary pitcher Sandy Koufax. As always, it’s funny and interesting and entertaining.

The man is a true national treasure.

 

Google thanks the 86-year-old woman who always says please and thank you. A few more thoughts on the incredible LeBron James story. And Stephen Colbert eviscerates Trump

Google.grandma

Couple of quick “one-off” thoughts before we get to the three stories on today’s post:

Finally got a chance to watch “All The Way,” the Bryan Cranston as LBJ HBO movie from last month. Man oh man, Cranston is one hell of an actor. I thought the movie was wildly entertaining, with fantastic performances by Bradley Whitford as Hubert Humphrey, Stephen Root as J. Edgar Hoover, and Frank Langella as legendary Senator Richard Russell of Georgia. But Cranston right now is like Federer from 2003-07: Just on another level. His LBJ’s mixture of rage, sarcasm, amusement and paranoia was pitch-perfect. Incredible portrayal of a deeply complicated man. I hope he gets an Emmy.

— Lionel Messi is the best soccer player in the world. Tuesday night he played in America, and his Argentine team kicked the crap out of the U.S. This goal was kinda awesome.

So this is the kind of small story that makes me think not all huge companies are evil. And that even on the Internet, there are people with manners.

An 86-year-old English woman named May Ashworth uses Google like the rest of us. Unlike the rest of us, though, when she typed in queries she thought she was talking to an actual person at Google HQ, who would help her with her questions.

So every time she performed a search, May would say “please” and “thank you” before and after. For example, one time May asked “please translate these Roman Numerals MCMXVCIII thank you.”

Her grandson discovered that she did this, and Tweeted out a photo of one of her requests. Google UK got wind of it and Tweeted the following:

“Dearest Ben’s Nan.
Hope you’re well.
In a world of billions of Searches, yours made us smile.
Oh, and it’s 1998.
Thank YOU@Push10Ben

Such a small thing, a little courtesy like that. But in a world of rude and impolite people, this story made me smile. Good job, Google.

**Next up today, you know, if he wasn’t such a sexist, racist, xenophobic, arrogant pig, I might almost be starting to feel sorry for Donald Trump.

The “vulgar, talking yam” as Charlie Pierce calls him, is having one hell of a bad month. His campaign is apparently broke, with less than $2 million cash on hand, he just fired his campaign manager, none of the rich Republican billionaires want to give him money nor have anything to do with him, and he’s alienating people at a faster rate than I thought possible.

But again, whereas 99 percent of people might engender some sympathy here, this a-hole gets none.

Stephen Colbert, whose late-night show, I must admit, has been kinda underwhelming so far, did a magnificent, blistering piece on Trump a few nights back. It was, I might say, rather “Daily Show-esque” when Jon Stewart was running things.

Stay till the end, the best part is in the final minute. Bravo, Stephen.

LeBronCover.SI

**Finally today, a few more thoughts about LeBron James and the incredible comeback he and the Cleveland Cavaliers made to win the NBA title Sunday. I thought about this briefly Sunday night but my thoughts were so jumbled after that fabulous game I didn’t get a chance to write about it then.

This story, this “LeBron wins one for Cleveland” story, is really unlike anything we’ve ever seen in sports. Consider: Phenom is born and raised in Northeast Ohio, with huge expectations placed on him at age 16. His hometown team, which was down in the dumps, gets the No.1 pick in the NBA Draft Lottery the year LeBron graduates high school (2003).

He represents the hopes and dreams of an entire region’s fan base. He leads them close but not quite to the elusive title. Then after seven years, he goes on national TV and humiliates those fans and that team. Snubs them so publicly, and announces he’s going to play somewhere else, so he can win a championship.

The fans burn his jersey; they curse his name, they hate him with every fiber of their being. The phenom wins two titles in Miami, and he’s still hated in Cleveland. Those were supposed to be OUR championships, is the cry.

Then, after four years away, the prodigal son comes home. This NEVER happens in sports; you never see a star go back to where he’s from after such a brutal and hostile breakup.

But LeBron came home. And he promised he’d win a championship for a city that hadn’t seen one in 52 years. And then, with his team down 3-1 in the Finals this year, he orchestrates the biggest NBA Finals comeback ever. And wins. And is a much bigger hero than he’s ever been to the people of his hometown.

I mean, could you sell that script to Hollywood? Could you imagine that actually happening? They’d laugh you out of the room.

Just a sensational sports story. One we’ve never seen, and probably never will again. Lee Jenkins’ cover story on LeBron in this week’s SI is a must-read.

The Kansas State band gets “accidentally” naughty. Joe Biden on Colbert was beautiful. And an Iranian judge assigns book reports to criminals

You know, I really love college bands. They’re usually really creative and sometimes quite clever, they make college games fun, and they bring a little extra spirit.

When I lived in Daytona Beach I got to hear the Bethune-Cookman marching band a few times; HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) always have kick-ass bands, and Cookman’s was no different.

Anyway, my point is, I love college marching bands. And I also love when they, intentionally or unintentionally, do something hilarious.

Kansas State’s big rival is, of course, Kansas University. Well, for the Wildcats’ opening game two Saturdays ago, the band was performing some sort of tribute to the Starship Enterprise from “Star Wars,” and well, it looked like a giant penis, which went right into the mouth of a Kansas Jayhawk.

You think I’m exaggerating? Check this out…

K-State claims it was only trying to represent the Enterprise, the spaceship from the “Star Trek” shows and movies, doing battle with the University of Kansas Jayhawk.

The university fined the band $5,000, and the band director swears he didn’t mean for it to look like, what it looked like.

Can’t wait to see what they come up with when they play Kansas this year.

**Next up, I’m still catching up on a lot of the media I missed while engorging tennis at the U.S. Open the past two weeks, so I just got a chance to see this phenomenal, emotional interview Joe Biden did with Stephen Colbert on his new show. Really terrific stuff; if there’s one thing Biden definitely is, it’s real. I hope he runs for President, but even if he doesn’t, he’s shown great courage being so openly naked and honest about his emotions after the death of his son, Beau.

Here’s Part I of the interview above, you can watch Part 2 here. The whole thing is fabulous.

bookreport

**Finally today, it’s not often you get to use “fun story” and “Iran” in the same sentence, but today’s a day you can. I heard this on “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” and couldn’t possibly believe it was real, but it is:

A judge in Iran has started sentencing criminals to buy and read books and do reports on them, instead of handing down prison terms.

According to this story, Judge Qasem Naqizadeh, who presides over a court in the north-eastern city of Gonbad-e Kavus, is using the alternative sentences to avoid what he calls the “irreversible physical and psychological impact on convicts and their families” that a prison term might bring, state-run IRNA news agency reports. Individuals are told to buy and read five books, then write a summary of them, which is returned to the judge. The books are then donated to the local prison, IRNA says. The punishment is spiritual as well as educational – offenders also have to include a saying from the hadith, a collection of sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad.

I cannot stress enough how fabulous this is. I so wish this could be done by judges in America. You tried to sell a couple kilos of cocaine? Go read this book on Pablo Escobar and have a 10-page report on my desk in two weeks. You robbed a few stores? Go read “Crime and Punishment,” it’s a nice short read, you’ll breeze through it in no time.

I think crime would be drastically reduced if criminals knew they’d be sent back to doing seventh grade homework, don’t you?

I’d bet a fair amount of money that judge’s mom or Dad was an English teacher.

In the Women’s World Cup final, the U.S. steamrolls Japan. Stephen Colbert and Eminem, kicking it on public access TV. And Manic Monday at Wimbledon is here!

WorldCupshot

Well that was a pretty typical soccer game Sunday night in the Women’s World Cup final, huh? Very little action, barely a goal, ton of boring stuff…

Um, yeah. That wasn’t a soccer game, that was a track meet in cleats. If more soccer games were like that, I might actually watch the sport more than once a year.

With 15 years of built-up World Cup frustration, the U.S. Women’s National team unleashed holy hell all over Japan, getting revenge from the heartbreaking 2011 finals loss and just blitzing their opponents.

The score was 4-0 after 20 minutes, which is insane. It’d be like a football game being 42-0 in the first quarter, or a basketball game being 46-3 after the first period.

Carli Lloyd, who’s the new hero of millions of American sports fans and most 11-year-old girls (move over, T. Swift), scored a hat trick in the first half, and the final was 5-2, and the second half was basically academic.

What a wonderful moment for women’s sports. I don’t think this World Cup-winning team will get the incredible recognition and fame the 1999 team got, because of the circumstances in which that team won, that is was on U.S. soil, it got unprecedented attendance and TV ratings, etc. (Just for fun, I asked some friends who are soccer-savvy on Twitter Sunday night who would win if the ’99ers played this team. All said this year’s group would win.)

But this team is sensational. And deserve every ounce of attention they will get. Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, the legendary Abby Wambach… just great stuff.

Congrats, ladies. Take a well-deserved curtain call.

**Next up, Stephen Colbert continues to do weird and wonderful stuff while getting ready to take over David Letterman’s old time slot on CBS late night. Last week he took over a public access TV show in Monroe, Mich., and completely played it straight, interviewing the show’s usual hosts, and then bringing on “Michigan native” Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem, and the two put on a hilarious deadpan interview, including Colbert asking him “Are you one of those slow-talking rappers or fast-talking rappers?”

The first five minutes are my favorite part, but the whole thing is great.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 01: Venus Williams (l) and Serena Williams of the United States during their Ladies Doubles second round match against Kristina Barrois of Germany and Stefanie Voegele of Switzerland on day eight of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 1, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

**Finally today, my favorite tennis tournament has always been Wimbledon, which of course is going on now, and the best day at Wimbledon is always the second Monday.
It’s called “Manic Monday,” and not because all tennis fans worship the Bangles (though hey, if they were good enough for Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, they’re good enough for me.)

Today is the day when every player left in the singles draw plays, with eight men’s matches and eight women’s matches on top. It is fantastic and filled with great tennis all day.

Today’s Manic Monday is even more special because for the first time in six years at a Grand Slam, the Williams sisters will square off. I could spill barrels of ink writing about the incredible impact on sport Serena and Venus has, about how the younger sister Serena has far eclipsed her sister’s accomplishments, and how this likely is the final time the two will meet in such a significant match.

My e-migo Jonathan Newman has written a great piece here about the rivalry and today’s match; for me, even though neither player is my favorite, the historical nature and specialness of it will make it must-see TV.

Happy Wimbledon Manic Monday, everyone. And also, check out this terrific piece by Pete Sampras, wherein he writes a letter to his 16-year-old self. Really great stuff here.

Jon Stewart is leaving “The Daily Show,” a huge loss but it’s for the best. John Oliver’s back, and hilarious again. And the amazing Venezuela tourist ad featuring an imprisoned American

Jon-Stewart-007

Just about everyone on television stays too long at the party.  Popular sitcoms that were once fabulous go on years past their expiration date (I’m looking at you, “Mad About You” and “Seinfeld,”) broadcasters hang around until they’re a parody of themselves (I’m looking at you, Chris Berman and Dan Rather), and basically the majority of people on TV have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from the red light.

Which is why I was at first sad, but then happy to hear Tuesday night that the great Jon Stewart, who for 15 years has been the funniest, most incisive commentator on television, announced he’d be leaving “The Daily Show” sometime in 2015.

There has been no more consistent source of humor in the 21st century than Stewart. Whether he’s mocking politicians, other celebrities, or most hilariously, CNN and Fox News, he’s always been brilliantly clever, cutting-edge funny, and just plain joyous to watch.I went back through my blog archives tonight to find the quintessential Stewart clip I’ve shared on here the last 5 1/2 years, and each time I watched a few seconds of one I remembered how great it was, and truly, I could’ve spent hours watching his old bits.

I picked the one I’m linking here because it’s one near and dear to my heart (about education), and because it illustrates just how smart and funny Stewart and his team are. But honestly, there have been hundreds of brilliant clips over the years.

“The Daily Show” has been about more than just laughs; it’s had a legitimate impact on our culture.

It was “The Daily Show” that kept Congress’ feet to the fire on the issue of giving 9/11 responders compensation for their illnesses, and Stewart’s rage against CNBC, Jim Cramer and the yahoos who helped cause the economic meltdown of 2008 educated millions of Americans who didn’t understand the complex financial jargon.

It has, of course, also given us Stephen Colbert, John Oliver, Steve Carell, and a million laughs. And it’s still going strong; his stuff on Ferguson last summer was as good as anyone else covered the tragedy.

Which is why I’m glad Stewart is leaving now, while he’s still got his fastball. He can do so many other things with his career, and he’s smart enough to leave before he gets stale.

I’ll certainly watch whatever he does next.

**Speaking of John Oliver, the brilliant HBO show he stars in “Last Week Tonight” is back from a three-month break, and he kicked some serious butt in the premiere Sunday night.

His bit on the scam of Big Pharma being in bed with doctors was great, but I loved this salute to the soon-to-be-toe-tagged Radio Shack even better.

venezuela

**And finally, this story is fantastic in oh so many ways. The tourism department for the government of Venezuela has been running a new ad campaign to boost the nation’s morale. One of the ads they’ve run features a Caucasian man hugging someone lovingly, with a big smile on his face.

The tagline reads: “We love Venezuela … for receiving foreigners like one of our own.”

Except there’s just one problem. The photo they used is of American reporter Jim Wyss, who in the photo has just been released after being wrongfully detained for two days in a Venezuelan prison.

Yes, that’s right folks: To highlight how friendly Venezuela is to foreigners, they showed us a man who they illegally threw in jail!

Too damn funny. I can’t wait until Russia’s tourism ad with Edward Snowden.