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In Impromptus today, I write that Michael Gove, the British education secretary, is “probably my favorite politician, and favorite statesman.” A reader e-mails me,

Dear Jay,

What about your friend Ted Cruz? You wrote about him for years, touting him in column after column. I have to say, you nailed it. He’s great. I will never doubt your judgment again.

This guy doubted my judgment? I’ll request that President Obama send a drone his way. Anyway, I should have said “my favorite politician, with the exception of personal friends.” I haven’t really thought of Ted as a politician, actually. I’ll have to start.

In my column, I also say that I recently learned the expression “to get off the schneid” — to stop a losing streak, to end a drought. After the Detroit Pistons lost ten straight games, their coach, Lawrence Frank, said, “It’s nice to get off the schneid.” A reader writes,

My mother played gin rummy every Friday afternoon with three of her “girlfriends” (they were all old ladies to me) and my parents played with another couple every Saturday night. This was when I was a kid, 50-60 years ago. Living across the street from Yankee Stadium, they taught me that getting off the schneid did not necessarily mean ending a losing streak — it could also mean scoring a run in the 9th inning, when you were down 8-0. You were at least showing life. I assume Frank and I have the same Yiddish background.

Finally, I mention Charlie Villanueva, of my Pistons. (I say “my,” because they’re my NBA team.) I say that his is an unexpected name for basketball. “You expect him to be a baseball player — a Tiger, rather than a Piston.” A reader writes,

You don’t expect to see a Villanueva in the NFL either, but Danny Villanueva was a kicker for the Dallas Cowboys in the mid-’60s.

Excellent. And thank you to all.



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