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‘SNL’: Taylor Swift shows off her voice with performances of ‘Lover’ and ‘False God’
As musical guest on “SNL,” Taylor Swift played “Lover” on piano and sang with a sax player for “False God.”
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Taylor Swift used her performances on “Saturday Night Live” to showcase her voice. And her numerous green articles of clothing.
The pop star served as musical guest for the second episode of the season, which meant she got to play two songs.
First up: “Lover.” After she had a much flashier rendition of the title track of her new album at the VMAs, Swift sat solo at the piano for the song on Saturday. The singer was decked out in a green turtleneck, green pants, green earrings, green nail polish and at a green piano with a green floor and green walls to look like a scene out of her kaleidoscopic “Lover” music video. Sheet music appeared as if it were frozen midair while Swift tickled the ivories and sang her romantic tune, smiling while cooing lines like “I take this magnetic force to be mine, lover.”
She ended the song with a huge grin and a little, celebratory shimmy from her (green) piano bench.
Song No. 2: “False God.” Swift’s live debut of the song was vibey, with a saxophonist, drummer and background singers. Swift and her voice were front and center, though, as she sang and snaked her mic-free arm while wearing black sequined pants and an oversized black blazer. All around her, bare lightbulbs shone and smoke rose from the floor.
The stripped-down songs had Twitter buzzing: The hashtag #TaylorOnSNL continued to trend even after “SNL” ended.
HOUSTON — Gerrit Cole carried his splendid September into an outstanding October and Alex Bregman handed fans chanting MVP the mighty swing they craved and the Houston Astros survived a wild ninth inning to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 on Saturday night for a 2-0 lead in their AL Division Series.
Cole, 5-0 with a 1.07 ERA in six starts last month, set an Astros postseason record with 15 strikeouts in 7 2/3 scoreless innings to win his franchise-record 17th straight decision. The 15 strikeouts tied for third-most in a postseason game, the highest total since Roger Clemens had 15 in the 2000 AL Championship Series for the New York Yankees against Seattle.
Cole (1-0), who led the majors with 326 strikeouts in the regular season, extended his major league record with his 10th straight game with at least 10 Ks. The Rays were unable to string anything together off of him on a night he induced 33 swings and misses — the most since MLB started tracking the stat in 2008 — and threw a career-high 118 pitches.
Kevin Kiemaier doubled with two outs in the eighth and Cole was lifted after putting on Willy Adames with Cole’s first walk. The right-hander received a standing ovation as he walked off the mound and waved to the crowd just before he reached the dugout. Roberto Osuna took over and struck out Yandy Díaz to end the inning before running into trouble in the ninth.
Houston Astros starting pitcher Gerrit Cole delivers to a Tampa Bay Rays batter during the first inning during Game 2 of a baseball American League Division Series in Houston, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Austin Meadows and Tommy Pham hit consecutive singles and Ji-Man Choi walked to load the bases. The Rays cut the lead to 3-1 when Avisaíl Garcia grounded into a forceout that scored Meadows. Osuna walked Brandon Lowe, reloading the bases, and Astros manager AJ Hinch brought in Will Harris.
Travis d’Arnaud worked the count full, then struck out on a high cutter, and Kiermaier grounded to first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who flipped to Harris, who stepped on first for the save.
Cole’s performance came after fellow ace and Cy Young Award contender Justin Verlander pitched seven scoreless innings to lead the Astros to a 6-2 win in the opener on Friday.
Game 3 of the best-of five series is Monday in Florida.
There were no outs in the fourth when Bregman, who hit a career-best 41 home runs in the regular season, homered off Blake Snell (0-10. All seven of Bregman’s homers have come off All-Stars, including two against Chris Sale and one each vs. Trevor Bauer, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Kluber and Kenley Jansen.
His shot gave the Astros a home run in 27 straight games, extending a franchise record.
After Lowe’s error at second gifted Houston two runs in the opener, another error on helped in the seventh. Adames bobbled Gurriel’s leadoff grounder to shortstop, then bounced the thorw to first. Carlos Correa doubled and Martín Maldonado blooped a run-scoring single to left.
Correa added a two-out RBI single off Nick Anderson in the eighth for a 3-0 lead.
Snell, the 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner, sat out from July 22-Sept. 17 after arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips in his left elbow. He didn’t get out of the third inning in any of his three September starts, but said he hoped to give the Rays five innings on Saturday. Instead he was lifted one batter after Bregman’s homer, finishing with four hits and a strikeout in 3 1/3 innings.
Correa helped Cole out with a fantastic defensive play to start the game. Díaz led off with a grounder toward Correa, who grabbed the ball backhanded while on the run and spun around for the throw to Gurriel that just beat a sliding Díaz.
Former Astro Charlie Morton, who got the win in the Rays wild-card victory, will start against Zack Greinke. Morton pitched for the Astros from 2017-18 and played a big role in their 2017 World Series title. He won Game 7 of AL Championship Series against the Yankees and Game 7 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium to give Houston its first championship.
Morton had a tough time in his last start against Houston when he gave up a season-high six runs in four innings, which tied his shortest start of season, in a 15-1 win by Astros on Aug. 27. Greinke, acquired from Arizona at the trade deadline, went 8-1 with a 3.02 ERA in 10 starts after the trade capped by a gem in his last start when he came two outs shy of his first no-hitter on Sept. 25 against Seattle.
An apparent mechanical glitch on the new Skyliner gondola ride at Walt Disney World in Florida resulted in riders being stranded for hours Saturday night, according to reports.
As of midnight, Disney had provided no details about what happened, nor did the company confirm that riders had to be rescued, according to the Orlando Sentinel. But photos, videos and park-visitor accounts posted on social media suggested that some kind of malfunction had occurred, resulting in delays for passengers still in the air.
A Disney statement said only that the ride had been experiencing “unexpected downtime,” Orlando’s FOX 35 reported. The phrase was widely mocked on social media.
After midnight, the Twitter page BlogMickey posted that all riders had been evacuated.
Each gondola accommodates about 10 people and were not air-conditioned, the Sentinel reported. The newspaper said the ride carries park visitors between Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and the Epcot center, traveling about 11 mph and as high as 60 feet in the air.
One man told the paper he was aboard the ride with his disabled mother, who became ill during the wait to be evacuated. He said Disney eventually gave them four all-day passes and a $200 gifft card, according to the report.
Visitors to the park began posting photos and messages on social media, describing what happened.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — In the hours after President Donald Trump called on China to investigate his political foe — plowing through another political guardrail — Democrats and Trump critics looked for signs that his party would slap him back. Seeking foreign help in an election is illegal. Who would stand up and say so?
Twenty-four hours later, Mitt Romney stepped in.
“By all appearances, the president’s brazen and unprecedented appeal to China and to Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden is wrong and appalling,” he tweeted.
Romney’s delayed criticism seemed to capture the senator’s continued discomfort with the role of chief Trump critic, and a possible reluctance to restart the kind of back-and-forth that revved up on Saturday as Trump took to Twitter. The president unleashed a personal attack on Romney, calling him “pompous,” while defending his conversations with Ukraine and China as appropriate.
Facing an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats, Trump raised the specter of impeachment against Romney in a Saturday afternoon tweet, though the Constitution doesn’t call for that as a way of removing a member of Congress.
“I’m hearing that the Great People of Utah are considering their vote for their Pompous Senator, Mitt Romney, to be a big mistake,” Trump tweeted without citing his sources. “I agree! He is a fool who is playing right into the hands of the Do Nothing Democrats! #IMPEACHMITTROMNEY”.
The mild-mannered, failed-presidential-candidate-turned-senator has shown he feels compelled to speak out against Trump at key moments. But he doesn’t appear quick to the draw. While Trump detractors are looking to Romney to play a key role in rallying GOP opposition to the president in the unfolding impeachment saga, it’s far from clear Romney wants the job.
Romney has left the door open further than most, said Reed Galen, a consultant who worked for Sen. John McCain, George W. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger before leaving the GOP in 2016. But “there’s a long way from opening a door and walking through it.”
The 72-year-old senator is unusually well positioned to take on a president who remains broadly popular with Republican voters. His job security is all but guaranteed in conservative Utah, where he’s a near celebrity. Many voters, particularly fellow members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared Romney’s wariness about Trump.
A nationwide Associated Press survey of midterm voters last year found that while two-thirds of church members voted Republican, just over half approved of Trump’s job performance. The VoteCast survey also found that 64% of Utah voters wanted to see the senator confront the president.
His political brand, forged as a governor in Massachusetts, the savior of the troubled 2002 Olympics and a well-appointed representative of the corporate-friendly wing of GOP, has very little to do with Trump and the populist uprising.
All of that has some looking to Romney as a possible standard bearer. The anti-Trump conservative group Defending Democracy Together is running new ads in Utah encouraging him to speak out.
“I think Mitt Romney came back to the Senate for a reason, and I hope this is the reason,” said Sarah Longwell, the group’s executive director. As a former presidential nominee who built his career in part on this capacity for moral leadership, Romney has a role as a Republican elder statesman that few can match, she said. “This is going to be the moment where Mitt Romney will play, I think, the decisive role in what Republicans do going forward.”
Not everyone is so sure. While he lashed then-candidate Trump as a “phony” and a “fraud” in a 2016 speech that didn’t keep him from being elected, Romney also dined with Trump as he aimed to become secretary of state and accepted the president’s endorsement during his Senate run two years later.
While he resumed the charge with a Washington Post op-ed on the eve of his Senate swearing in, Romney also agrees with many Trump administration policies and hasn’t taken up a McCain-like maverick mantle. Rather than relishing rhetorical fisticuffs, Romney sees himself as a voice for civility representing a deeply conservative state, said Utah State University political science professor Damon Cann.
“I think Romney as a senator has been much more conservative than John McCain was,” both in terms of style and ideology, he said.
Romney did not agree to be interviewed for this story.
While his current position breaks from GOP ranks, he hasn’t gone so far as to support the impeachment inquiry.
Even if he did, it’s unclear how many Republicans he might be able to sway to that view. The GOP has shifted seismically since Romney ran in 2012, away from his more cerebral approach to conservatism and toward the brand of populism that’s embodied by Trump, a leader who prizes loyalty.
Romney’s most likely role could be behind the scenes, as a center for other moderate Republican senators, a kind of caucus of the concerned, Galen said.
As the number of Trump critics dwindles, his public comments are significant and could create some space to for others to voice concern, said Evan McMullin, a former CIA agent who ran against Trump as a third-party candidate in 2016.
While a number of high-profile Republicans have defended the president, a number of others have remained silent, which could be an encouraging sign, he said.
“I think there are some Republicans in Congress who are alarmed by what they’re seeing from the president now and by the reports we’ve all read over the past week, but they’re waiting to let the public digest these facts before more of them verbalize their own concerns,” he said, “if they do so at all.”
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A Pennsylvania man was reportedly charged last week with sexually assaulting one of his bride-to-be’s bridesmaids just two days before the scheduled wedding.
The alleged crime reportedly stopped when the bride-to-be entered the room, saw what was happening and started a physical fight with the man.
The wedding party and guests had been celebrating at the Shawnee Inn in Smithfield Township on Aug. 30 when Daniel Carney allegedly pulled the woman into a downstairs locker room and attacked her, according to Scranton’s WNEP –TV.
Carney was charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse of an unconscious person and indecent assault.
Surveillance video allegedly shows Carney taking the victim, who was “extremely unsteady on her feet” into the men’s locker room.
The alleged victim blacked out from drinking and woke up in the locker room with Carney fondling her breast, and with her bikini bottom removed, WNEP reported.
In a phone call after the alleged assault that the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office allowed investigators to listen in on, Carney repeatedly apologizes to his accuser for the alleged assault, blaming himself several times, WNEP reported.
He also admitted to investigators that he assaulted the victim, according to WNEP.
“Saturday Night Live” mixed movies and politics in a chaotic cold open this weekend.
The premise: Vice President Mike Pence (Beck Bennett), Attorney General William Barr (Aidy Bryant) and Rudy Giuliani (Kate McKinnon) met in the White House to talk impeachment-avoidance strategy and Ukraine text messages. Characters popped in and out to share unhelpful information. Among them: A surprise appearance by Matthew Broderick as Secretary Mike Pompeo.
Bryant’s serious Barr weighed in: “I think we should stop texting about the crimes … don’t leave crime footprints.”
Broderick’s Pompeo: “I’ve been asking around and I think this whole impeachment thing could be really bad.”
On whether everyone could get their stories to agree, Biden said, “Even if they’re not straight now, they can still be converted to straight, right?”
Pompeo thought it best he leave the meeting, and then flee the country perhaps with the President of Finland (Alex Moffat). With his exit, Broderick’s Pompeo said a line familiar to “Ferris Buller’s Day Off” fans: “Impeachment moves really fast. If you don’t stop and look around, you might miss it.”
“I just killed on Hannity,” Giuliani said his so-called “stage makeup” made to look like Joaquin Phoenix’s “Joker” clown makeup. (In the movie, the character makes a memorable talk show appearance). “And I’ll kill again.”
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The data appear to support President Trump’s recent criticisms of California. Last month, the president charged that urban areas in the Golden State continue to “destroy themselves” by failing to address serious issues such as homelessness.
The 10 California cities and their rankings were: Bell Gardens (14); Compton (41); El Monte (22); Hemet (44); Huntington Park (10); Lancaster (50); Lynwood (21); Montebello (40); Palmdale; and San Bernardino (42).
The nine New Jersey cities and their rankings were: Camden (8); Newark (5); New Brunswick (11); Passaic (4); Paterson (19); Plainfield 930); Trenton (17); Union City (15); and West New York (29).
NEW YORK — It was two months ago when New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone boldly declared that he would actually be in favor of a mercy rule in Major League Baseball.
Well, after watching the Yankees dismantle the Minnesota Twins in these two playoff games, maybe he is proving his point.
Can we call off the rest of the American League Division Series?
The hyped heavyweight fight between the two most explosive home-run hitting teams in baseball history has turned into a first-round TKO.
The Yankees battered the Twins once again Saturday evening, 8-2, in a game that was a laugher by the third inning.
The Yankees have now spent nearly eight hours the past two days pummeling the Twins, 18-6 in the first two games at Yankee Stadium, moving within one game from wrapping up the best-of-five Division Series with Game 3 mercifully scheduled Monday night at Target Field.
The Yankees have played the Twins 12 times in playoffs dating back to Oct. 6, 2004, and have one every single game, the longest postseason winning streak by any team against an opponent in Major League Baseball history.
Let’s bring on the American League matchup everyone has wanted to see all season:
The Yankees and Houston Astros for the pennant, beginning Saturday, Oct. 12, at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
“Let’s close it out in Minnesota,’’ said Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, who is hitting .500 in the series and has reached base seven times in 10 plate appearances.
Simply, the Yankees have turned the Twins into pumpkins this series, subtly reminding everyone that it’s one thing to win 101 games in the AL Central where three of the division teams are tanking.
It’s quite another to compete with the beasts of the East.
“To be honest, we really haven’t been looking at the score,’’ Judge said. “Our main focus is to score as many runs as we can. Treat every inning like it’s 0-0. That’s what kind of keeps us in the game and keeps us locked in.’’
Still, who’s fooling who?
The Twins led the first two innings in Game 1, and haven’t had the lead since, watching their pitching staff crumble in front of the Yankees’ powerful lineup.
The Yankees have a slash line of .297/.446/.516 in this series, reaching base 37 times, including 16 walks and two hit by pitches.
“We just have to execute better and we have to go out there and throw better pitches,’’ Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “There’s no finger pointing. We just have to throw the ball in the strike zone and make and throw good quality starts.’’
It starts with not being terrified to throw the ball over the plate. They have walked Judge and Giancarlo Stanton seven times in the series. Everyone in the Yankees’ lineup but No. 9 hitter Gio Urshela have walked at least once this series.
“Our big mantra all year,’’ Judge said, “has been control the zone. And that’s what I feel like guys have been doing every single at-bat. No matter who’s up. What the situation is. Guys on base. Nobody on base. When guys cover the zone, guys do damage.’’
Leaving the Twins gasping for breath.
“I think breathing is a big point here,’’ said Twins pitcher Jake Odorizzi, who will start Game 3. “A lot of guys get caught up in the loud noises of Yankee Stadium. As a pitcher, you just have to continue to stay focused. …
“You’d rather those guys earn their way on base.’’
The Twins, trying anything to break the Yankees’ hex, have already used Cy Young winners, 20-game winners and numerous aces to stop this inglorious streak. This night, they resorted to an Uber driver, 24-year-old rookie Randy Dobnak, who was making only his six start of the season.
His ride lasted two innings.
The game ended in the third.
Dobnak couldn’t retire a batter in the third inning, and when they summoned their top setup reliever to rescue him, Tyler Duffey brought gasoline to the fire.
The Yankees scored seven runs in the inning, sending 12 men to the plate, culminating with Didi Gregorius’ grand slam off Duffey, giving the Yankees an 8-0 lead. Judge even carved out a piece of franchise history by becoming the first player to produce multiple hits in a postseason inning.
Didi Gregorius hit the 12th grand slam in Yankees postseason history and the first since Robinson Cano in 2011; no other franchise has more than 7 postseason grand slams.
Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka, with Judge calling him a “killer,’’ did the rest, suffocating the Twins’ lineup for five innings, giving up just three hits, with the bullpen cruising the rest of the way.
It ended with the Twins enduring their biggest rout in a postseason game since Oct. 5, 2003.
The Yankees will now try to put the Twins out of their misery.
Once again extinguishing a Twins’ season.
“I know the guys,’’ Boone said. “It will be throttle down, and hopefully we can go get one.’’
This time, at least so far, the Twins haven’t even put up any resistance, managing just six hits Saturday night without a homer. They have scored four or fewer runs in their last 12 postseason games, the second-longest streak since 1903.
Their two starters have lasted a total of six innings, yielding 10 hits and seven runs (five earned), while walking four batters.
Their top reliever, Duffey, has a 21.60 ERA, yielding six baserunners in 1 2/3 innings, and permitting more inherited runners to score in two nights than he has all season.
Miguel Sano, who hit 34 homers in 105 games during the regular season, has struck out six times.
Their leadoff hitters have not only failed to reach base, but they have struck out five times without even hitting the ball out of the infield.
And their entire pitching staff suddenly lost ability to throw strikes, permitting 18 walks and two hit batters in just 16 innings.
The Yankees have gone down in order just twice this series, and not a single time Saturday night.
Remarkably, with a team that hit a franchise-record 306 home runs this season, only once have they gone back-to-back innings against the Twins without drawing at least a walk.
“I think it’s something that they do take a lot of pride in,’’ Boone says. “I absolutely do think it’s contagious. They take that to heart.
“They have faith and trust in each other and take pride in knowing that when they do that as a group, it benefits all of them because it wears people down.’’
And when the Twins boarded their plane back to Minneapolis Saturday night, they not only were worn down, but knocked out.
It’s been quite the Saturday night for Oregon running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio.
He scored a go-ahead touchdown to give the No. 13 Ducks a 10-7 lead in the third quarter against California. Before he did that, however, he tackled a fan who ran on the field at Autzen Stadium who was trying to escape security.
Habibi-Likio exited an Oregon huddle as the Ducks had gathered during the delay, ran nearly 20 yards and tackled the fan from behind. A referee and a few other Oregon players and coaches followed Habibi-Likio, but he got the fan on the ground and security took over from there.
He got big cheers from the Oregon crowd for his efforts…
… And got even bigger cheers when he punched in a TD a short time later.