Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders put America on Desolation Row

They’re selling postcards of Uncle Sam weeping.

Citizens are toting their passports to other lands.

The beauty parlor is filled with the ghosts of our founding fathers.

The circus is in town.

Here comes Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.

Alas, they put the frozen hams that masquerade as New Hampshire voters in a trance.

Someone says, “We in the wrong place my friend.”

Now Cinderella is sweeping up after the carnival on Desolation Row.

Denver defense absolutely SuperDuper

Well, as we have sadly discovered time and time again, all pregame Super Bowl chatter is nonsensical babble.

Despite the incessant two-week narrative, Super Bowl 50 was not Peyton Manning’s or Cam Newton’s Super Bowl.

This most emphatically was the Denver defense’s Super Bowl.

Percussive and concussive, they totally thrashed Newton’s Superman cover and carved him up like a Halloween pumpkin 24-10 in a defensive masterpiece played Sunday night between all the commercials.

The Broncos stonewalled the usually unstoppable Carolina offense by taking away its sweeps and counters with incredible gap discipline, and removing the consistency of its inside power and option run game with the magnificent play of ends Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson.

Then there was that one-man wrecking crew named Von Miller. The dude is a hurricane force of nature and Newton will be seeing him in his nightmares for sometime to come.

Granted, the Manning storyline has some merit since he finally got his second Super Bowl ring, even though he has been sputtering on fumes all season. The years are murder on once-luminescent quarterbacks.

Both offenses were totally inoffensive. Which made them damn offensive to watch.

As noted football scholar Socrates once said to Vince Lombardi over breakfast one morning, “Defense wins championships.”

Amen.

Does anybody actually know anybody from Iowa and New Hampshire?

After an endless loop of debates spanning months, the presidential campaign at last moved into the voting stage Monday with the Iowa caucuses.

Politics makes for strange bedfellows and often houses the cagiest inner circles since Cardinal Richelieu.

For example, Iowa and New Hampshire are the leadoff states in the process.

God knows why.

Iowa and New Hampshire hardly mirror the country as a whole. Their demographics and the rest of the country are not a match. For starters, they are whiter than the Oscar nominees.

Still, politicians who wash upon the rocks in either state often have their presidential campaigns shipwrecked.

Blatantly unfair, in my humble opinion. Litmus tests in Iowa and New Hampshire should be totally irrelevant.

Ted Cruz won the Iowa GOP caucuses because of strong evangelical support and a ground force to rival Genghis Khan’s barbarians.

At least Cruz’s victory triggered some seepage from the Donald Trump Hot Air Balloon.

In the Democratic caucuses, the night seemed as if it had no end as Hillary Clinton nosed out Bernie Sanders in a photo finish.

The fact that an avowed socialist like Sanders has Hillary locked in a death match demonstrates how repellant many Democrats find her. Must be her pants suits.

A mozzarella stick without cheese is like a pool without water — what’s the point?

McDonald’s is getting flak for serving mozzarella sticks that are missing cheese.

In essence, they are serving many customers fried air.

Is nothing sacred?

Air, of course, isn’t as fattening as cheese or as artery clogging.

Somehow I don’t think McDonald’s motive was to spare our health.

Granted, not all of their mozzarella sticks are hollow and some actually contain cheese.

I guess McDonald’s will have to work on their production process just a bit.

Or just stick to Big Macs.

The Old Man vs. The Kid in this Super tussle

So now it’s onto Super Bowl 50.

By the way, the Super Bowl no longer is being counted in Roman numerals. Like the Roman Catholic Church years ago, the NFL has seen the light that Latin is a dead language. Caesar is rolling over in his grave.

For the third straight year, the Super Bowl will be a matchup of top seeds, the Panthers in the NFC and the Broncos in the AFC.

But this year’s Super Bowl is the first-ever matchup of passers who went No. 1 in the NFL draft, Peyton Manning in 1998 and Cam Newton in 2011.

If you can do the math, that’s a gap of 13 years. And even a much bigger disparity in arm velocity. Newton has a howitzer. Manning has a linguini noodle.

Which gives the Panthers a better offense, especially with Newton’s bulldozer running capability. Manning, meanwhile, has the mobility of a cemetery.

Both teams have excellent defenses but the Panthers pack more firepower offensively.

In the Manning-Tom Brady era, the torch is being passed to Newton. And it definitely is not too hot for his touch.

A Super Bowl title for Cam will punctuate the transition.

A tale of two coaches … Doug Pederson and Chip Kelly

Sources, and they know who they are even if we don’t, have confirmed that Doug Pederson will be the Eagles’ next head coach.

Cue up the violins and crash the cymbals.

Perhaps not.

Pederson, Kansas City’s offensive coordinator, can’t be hired until the Chiefs are out of the playoffs. They are the hottest team in the league and play at New England this weekend.

Pederson’s hiring should elicit mostly yawns and worse from cynics.

He was a pedestrian NFL quarterback who played for the Eagles and also was their quarterbacks coach. His mentor is Andy Reid.

But he just may be a poor man’s Andy Reid, who calls most of the plays in KC.

Pederson has a low profile around the league and no other team interviewed him for a head coaching job. He has never coached under anyone but Reid in the NFL.

Not exactly a pedigree you need sunglasses to read.

But after the Chip Kelly debacle in Philly, the Eagles obviously covet stability and familiarity. In Pederson they are hoping to push a reset button to when Reid was running an operation smoother than silk.

Meanwhile, Kelly is the new head coach of the 49ers.

There are three elements that bear watching with Kelly in San Francisco:

How will he interact with general manager Trent Baalke, a personnel hard-liner who notoriously clashed with Jim Harbaugh before the latter was deep-sixed? Kelly, if you recall, insisted on total personnel control in Philly.

What does this mean for the future of Colin Kaepernick, who is recovering from left shoulder, right thumb and left knee surgeries? Kaepernick, whose skill set fits Kelly’s offense, was thought to be done with the Niners. His $11.9 million salary for 2016 becomes fully guaranteed for injury on April 1.

Has Kelly learned anything from his mistakes in Philly, most notoriously his refusal to adjust his schemes to fit personnel and to audible, not to mention being a total asshole within the organization?

As the world turns, we undoubtedly will get some answers to the questions now trailing Pederson and Kelly like a timber wolf.