Ellis Henican Newsday columnist Ellis Henican

Henican is a columnist for Newsday. He also is a political analyst at the Fox News Channel and

It's been an unexpected gift this election season, the Republican romp for president -- a thrill for those who enjoy the theater, an adrenaline pump for those who love a fight.

Tell me, who among the Final Four couldn't have been cast in a '60s sitcom? The Earnest but Awkward Rich Dude? The Volatile Dancing Bear? The Stiff Guy in a Sweater Vest? Goofy Uncle Paul? The only one missing is Gilligan, and the island's really his. Maybe that was Rick Perry or Herman Cain.

Forget for a minute their various issues and ideologies. Take a break from all horse-race analysis. Leave John King alone -- or whoever's the latest whipping boy. We'll have plenty of time for all of that. Just savor for a moment the wonderful spectacle.

And lately no one's even mentioned Donald Trump.

Sorry. I shouldn't have.

As the votes were cast Saturday in South Carolina, it was hard not to get slightly wistful. It's been so exciting to witness, the unexpected twists and turns. But how much longer can the show go on?

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If not for America's future, at least for its entertainment.

Encore, please!



1. A-PAUL-ing newsletter

2. RICK-ety Iowa win

3. NEWT-ron bomb

4. Ad-MITT-ed rich guy

5. In-ex-PERRY-enced

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: Is there any human activity someone CAN'T turn into a reality show? HGTV's "Selling New York" will follow Lorenzo Borghese, ninth-season star of "The Bachelor," as he shops for a house on Long Island. What's next? "Lorenzo Hires a Pool Boy"? . . . Did Super Bowl ad winner Zachary Borst of Merrick really get a used 1997 Mitsubishi Mirage with four different wheels for his high-school graduation? Story's so good, will football fans even care? . . . Did $64,000 "Jeopardy" winner Dan McShane learn everything he knows -- or only some of it -- as 2006 Quiz Bowl captain at St. Anthony's High in South Huntington? . . . If East Hampton shrinks the size of real-estate signs from 7 to 11/2 square feet, will sellers shrink their asking prices similarly? . . . A week ago, did you think we just might skate through winter without any actual winter weather? Still think that?

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THE NEWS IN SONG: Still too soon: "At Last," Etta James, tinyurl.com/atetta


Anthony Catanese isn't alone. The father of a sixth-grader and a seventh-grader at Prince of Peace Regional Catholic School in Sayville is joined by hundreds of other parents trying to save six Catholic grammar schools the Diocese of Rockville Centre plans to close in June. The parents haven't seen much progress yet. "There will not be any appeals," diocesan spokesman Sean Dolan said. But parents at St. John Baptist De LaSalle in Farmingdale; St. Catherine of Sienna in Franklin Square; St. Ignatius Loyola in Hicksville; Sacred Heart in North Merrick; Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Lindenhurst and Prince of Peace are seeking urgent meetings, writing passionate letters and asking for the data that justifies closing their schools. "So far, they aren't telling us why," Catanese said before heading to Saturday's save-our-schools rally in front of St. Agnes Cathedral. "We're a small school. But enrollment is stable. We're not in debt, and we have a great community. Supposedly, this is to strengthen Catholic education. But every time a Catholic school closes, 45 percent of the children end up in public school. How does that strengthen Catholic education?"

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