Category Archives: Uncategorized

Good News Friday: Jim Kelly is cancer-free. Little kids singing, and thinking about Buck O’Neil, makes me smile. And a hilarious video of how white people talk to Latinos.

Happy Friday! I’m sorry the blogging has been a little sporadic this week; Monday morning I came down with a nasty viral infection that had me feverish and having chills (a nice combo), along with some nausea just for fun. Also I increased my vomiting lead to 2-0 over my wife during her pregnancy, so I’m pretty proud of that.

Anyway, feeling better now and ready for an awesome weekend, which may include a Roger Federer U.S. Open win (maybe, but after Thursday night’s epic five-setter I’m worried), a Jets win (maybe, but they sure as hell better be able to beat a rookie QB making his first ever start on the road), and oh yeah, maybe this baby will decide to come out, who knows?

First up on Good News Friday, you may remember the beautiful piece ESPN did a few weeks ago on Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly, who was undergoing yet another tragedy in his life as he battled sinus cancer.

The piece (above), showed Kelly’s fighting spirit and the love of his family, and I thought it was beautifully done.
Well, the best news for the Kelly family came Friday: Thursday Kelly revealed that he’s been told that he’s cancer free, after six grueling rounds of chemo.

“I don’t even know what to do with myself. I’m so overwhelmed. I’m so thankful,” Kelly was quoted as saying in a message posted on his wife Jill Kelly’s Instagram account. “I want to literally hug and thank all of you in person.”

Just outstanding news.

**Next up, school is starting again here in New York (first day was Thursday), and I saw a quick clip on the news Thursday of some little kids singing a kind-of “welcome back” song in their auditorium.
Moments later I saw an ESPN alert that the Kansas City Royals were in first place, and it’s early September, and that hasn’t happened in almost three decades.
And those two news items combined made me think of Buck O’Neil (it may make sense to you in a minute).
The late, great Buck O’Neil, who I’ve written about before, was a legend in baseball: A Negro Leagues star, then later a scout, coach, manager and overall ambassador to the sport he loved. Buck became famous in Ken Burns’ legendary documentary series “Baseball,” he helped create the Negro Leagues Museum, and was a long, longtime resident of Kansas City, thanks to his decades-long association with the Royals.
He was, and is, universally beloved. (My man Joe Posnanski wrote a book with Buck and has written many incredible pieces about him, including this one.)

Buck died at age 94, in 2006, while his beloved Royals were in the middle of yet another lost decade of losing.
Anyway, the Royals are in first place now, and I got to thinking just how happy Buck would’ve been to finally see his old team finally be playing some good ball. I picture him sitting behind home plate, greeting all the fans, smiling and signing autographs, and smiling so broadly.
And I remembered this clip from a few years back, of school children singing a story about Buck’s life, to him when he came to visit. Makes me smile every time.

**Finally today, I love it when stereotypes and subtle racial digs are turned around and the majority (aka, us white people) are made to hear what we sound like.
This video from BuzzFeed Yellow is about what would happen if white people heard said to them what they so often say to Hispanic and Latinos. My favorite jokes are the first and last ones, but the whole video is funny:

 

A harrowing story of random gun violence. A crazy-cool dance by the New Zealand basketball team. And the New Yorker’s awesome Derek Jeter cover

Lee_shootingvictim1_met

Some more ruminations and links while the wife and I wait for this kid to finally make its appearance in the outside world. I’ll say this for my unborn child: He/she certainly doesn’t seem to be in any kind of hurry. Due date is Friday, and they’ve said they’d only let my wife go a week after that, so sometime in the next 10 days, I’m going to be a daddy. I think…

So often when gun violence is talked about in America, it’s in the abstract, with numbers and statistics, and with one side (the NRA) completely whitewashing the innumerable tragedies that result from guns in the name of protecting Americans’ “personal freedom.)

So when a terrific writer does a story on an innocent victim of senseless gun violence, maybe it hits home a little more, and just maybe makes a person think.

The above photo is of a 26-year-old Boston woman named Dawnn Jaffier. She supervised at-risk youth at a local  Boys and Girls Club. She had big dreams, a beautiful smile… and she’s lying in a grave right now, accidentally caught in the crossfire of a gunfight.

The Boston Globe’s Evan Allen wrote this fantastic piece on the last day of Jaffier’s life. It made me angry, and sad, and … just read it.

Goddamn guns.

**And now, for something you just don’t see every day. The New Zealand men’s national basketball team played the U.S. at the FIBA World Cup this week, and before the game the “Tall Blacks” (that’s what they’re called) did a ceremonial Hakka Dance, which they do before every game.
It’s quite… something. I love the looks on the faces of the American players, sort of like “what in the hell are they doing?”
I thought it was very cool.

jetercover.take2

**And finally, maybe you hate Derek Jeter, maybe you love Derek Jeter. Either way, I think everyone can agree that this week’s New Yorker magazine cover starring No. 2, drawn by Mark Ulriksen, is pretty cool.

And oh yeah, Ulriksen is a Red Sox fan.

Glenn Greenwald’s book on Snowden and NSA is fascinating, and terrifying. Russell Brand tears apart Fox News. And a beautiful story about a man learning to swim

edward-snowden

If you don’t know exactly who the writer Glenn Greenwald is, you’re probably not a liberal.
Greenwald, a fire-breathing columnist for The Guardian newspaper, is a hero of mine, and many others, for constantly railing against the National Security Agency and the incredibly intrusive and illegal surveillance they do on Americans and non-Americans alike, all under the often-flimsy guise of “the war on Terror.”

Greenwald was firing his missiles via his scathing columns on his blog, known to a fairly small readership, until former NSA employee Edward Snowden (above) chose him in mid-2013 to help leak the most explosive set of U.S. government documents since the Pentagon Papers.

Now, everyone has their own opinion on what Snowden did; personally I think what he did was surely illegal but 100 percent heroic and patriotic, for exposing the enormous lies, and way-bigger-than-they-said spying operation the NSA has operated since 9/11.

Greenwald has written a book, “No Place To Hide,” that’s 50 percent about his incredible adventure with Snowden and how he met him, and how crazy that week in Hong Kong was when they began writing about the leaked documents, and 50 percent breaking down exactly what the NSA does.

It’s chilling. It’s terrifying. It will certainly keep you thinking long and hard about putting any personal info on the Internet (no worries, both Twitter and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have been remarkably compliant in helping the NSA spy on their users).

Greenwald writes clearly and concisely, both about Snowden’s motives for leaking the NSA information, and about the specifics of how the NSA and other branches of government, in full cooperation with private companies like Verizon and Google, are in every corner of Americans’ lives.

He points out the hypocrisy of the U.S. government scolding the Chinese for their spying efforts, yet shows how America does exactly the same thing. He also, amusingly, points out just how cozy the establishment Washington media is with the NSA and other government offices, to the detriment of transparency and shining a light on the illegal spying that’s gone on.

Whether you agree with what Snowden did or not, Greenwald’s book is fascinating. Definitely recommend reading it.

 

**Next up, I’m  not really much of a Russell Brand fan; don’t have much against him, but not necessarily a fan of his.

Still, I’d heard he’d been making these videos excoriating Fox News for their Ferguson coverage, so I checked out one that DailyKos.com had sent me.

Highly entertaining! Best excerpt:

“They say Conservatives… What they are ‘conserving’…Actually, it’s hatred they’re trying to conserve, misery, they’re trying to conserve, existing power structures, they’re trying to conserve.”

jpSWIM1-master1050

**And finally, this story just about knocked my socks off. It’s from N.R. Kleinfeld at the N.Y. Times, who is a master storyteller, and it’s about a seemingly-simple topic: a 33-year-old man with a lifelong fear of water, trying to learn to swim.

It’s beautiful, it’s honest, and it’s oh so real. I loved this story; courage comes in so many different forms.

Good News Friday: A freed American journalist offers thanks. Jimmy Kimmel’s awesome “Friends” reunion. And the NFL, belatedly, takes a strong stand against domestic violence.

peter-theo-curtis3

Well, a few days ago I was going to lead Good News Friday this week with the heroic tale of Southern California football player Josh Shaw, who told his coach and the media that he injured his ankles jumping off a balcony trying to save his 7-year-old nephew from drowning. What a sportsman! What a guy! Let’s celebrate his … screech! Hold that thought.

Turns out Shaw made the whole thing up. A good friend of mine who knows things about USC said the real story he got is that Shaw was being chased by his girlfriend and leaped off his apartment balcony to escape, which makes a whole lot more sense than the fiction he told.
Finally Wednesday, Shaw admitted he made the whole thing up, but Newsweek’s John Walters got the scoop on how deep the deception went. Crazy, crazy story.

OK, onto some legitimate good news, news we’re pretty sure is true. As horrifying as the story of journalist James Foley’s death at the hands of terrorists was, this week we got a 180 degree turn as Peter Theo Curtis, an American reporter, was finally freed after two years of being held in Syria by Al Qaeda.

I was listening to the audio of Curtis’ welcome-home interview Thursday, and was struck by the sincerity of this quote:

“I had no idea that so much effort was being expended on my behalf,” the journalist said in his first public comments since he was kidnapped in 2012. “I suddenly remembered how good the American people are and what kindness they have in their hearts.”

Remember that every once in a while, that for all the Ferguson awfulness and so many other horrors, America is filled with good-hearted people who are kind. Not an exciting message, but a true one that always needs repeating.

**Next up, this was fantastic: While he had Jennifer Aniston on as a guest, Jimmy Kimmel staged 1/2 of a “Friends” reunion this week, and it’s worth watching if only for the exactreplica of Rachel and Monica’s apartment kitchen.

Brilliant.

**And finally, it may be too late (OK, it is way too late) but it appears the NFL has finally decided to get serious about its players committing domestic violence. After a hail of criticism came down on Commissioner Roger Goodell’s head for his minuscule two-game suspension of Ray Rice this year, he apparently got the message, and Thursday announced that first-time offenders will be suspended for six games, and second-time offenders will be banned from the league for life.

Now, will this rule have unintended consequences, as some on the Web suggested Thursday, and mean spouses of NFL players will be less likely to report their abuse? Perhaps.

But it finally sends a strong and clear message from the top that the NFL is taking this problem seriously.

A 15-year-old star is born at the U.S. Open, and it was glorious. And a great new Gatorade ad starring Peyton Manning

cicibellis.usopen

Remember age 15? I sure do. I was in 10th grade, a shy, geeky-looking kid just hoping to make the varsity tennis team, maybe get Christina Leone to like me, and desperate to avoid failing math.

I’m guessing 15 was like that for most of us. But 15 was a little different Tuesday for Cici Bellis, a teenager who went from curiosity and upstart with potential to the major story of the U.S. Open in just a matter of a few hours.

I saw a lot of great tennis live at the U.S. Open Tuesday; I saw Kei Nishikori and Eugnie Bouchard and dozens of others. But a 15-year-old homeschooled kid from San Francisco, and her incredible poise and shotmaking is what I’ll remember years from now.

Bellis was on an outer court at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Tuesday, a court that could hold maybe 400 spectators, and there were no TV cameras present at the start of her match.
She had gotten this opportunity to make her Open debut years ahead of schedule, by winning the U.S. nationals earlier this summer.
But she was due to play No. 12 seed Dominika Cibulkova, who was a former Australian Open finalist and a much more seasoned player. Clearly, the moment and the opponent would overwhelm Bellis.

Only it didn’t. Different performers respond to first-time pressure in different ways. Some shrink from it, cowed by the expectations and the stage. Others… they embrace the hell out of it.

Bellis was spectacular in her first major “stage” appearance. She raced out to a 6-1 first set, faltered in the second set, 6-4, then fell down 3-1 in the third as the crowd swelled to a mass of people.
It looked like she was gassed. But she rallied, and tied the set at 3, and suddenly the crowd was going nuts, and this 15-year-old sprite of a player with powerful strokes and a bigger-than-you’d-think serve was nailing winners, adorably pumping herself up with both arms fist-pumping at once, and grabbing a 4-3 lead.
All of a sudden ESPN cut live to the match, and Bellis went on to a 6-4 win, and she jumped up and down after match point, and we all hooted and hollered, and Bellis ran over and hugged her parents and her coach (she didn’t have far to go, it was a small court!), and now Wednesday she’ll be all over the sports pages and websites as America’s newest tennis sweetheart.

And she’s 15 years old. She was still in diapers when 9/11 happened, just for some context.

You hope this isn’t the highlight of her tennis life, that she continues to improve and maybe wins a Slam one day.

You hope that Tuesday was Day 1 on a remarkable tennis career. I feel lucky I was there to see it. Because it was so cool to be a part of.

 

**Finally today, Peyton Manning’s football talent is equalled by his awesomeness at acting. He’s always great on SNL, always great on commercials (I still laugh at his “Tommy, you’re my favorite accountant!” ad).

I saw Manning’s new Gatorade ad yesterday, and it cracked me up, as he and a gas station attendant decide if a woman has “sweated enough” to deserve to buy a Gatorade.

 

Thoughts on an Emmys show that was all “Bad.” And an Australian hockey player with the weirdest goal celebration you’ve seen

allison_janney_a_l

While trying to forget that I ever saw Lena Dunham’s dress, I thoroughly enjoyed Monday night’s Emmy Awards. Sure, there weren’t a ton of surprises, and it seemed like just being a movie star made you royalty at the Emmys, but I thought it as a real fun show.

As usual, my wife joined me in the peanut gallery and so some of these reactions/comments are hers.

–  So glad “Breaking Bad” was so successful: Anna Gunn was amazing in the final season of BB, and despite everyone in the world saying McConnaughey was going to win Best Actor,  Bryan Cranston so deserved it. As so many implored me to do a year ago, if you haven’t watched “Breaking Bad” yet, it’s really time to start.

– Was waiting to see who would do a Robin Williams tribute,  and how sweet it would be. Billy Crystal hit it out of the park. You could tell how choked up Billy got at times, and he was warm, funny and terrific.

– Biggest upset of the night? I think it was Julianna Margulies beating Claire Danes, Lizzy Caplan and Robin Wright for best actress in a drama. And Margulies’ speech was sweet, too. (Wife’s comment: “Damn her husband looks young.”)

– Shouldn’t Stephen Colbert be hosting the Emmys or Oscars sometime soon? He’s fantastic. And his bit with Jimmy Fallon after Colbert won was pretty hilarious.

– Aaron Paul’s acceptance speech = perfection. Classy, humble, appreciative, just great. Man, I’m going to miss Jesse Pinkman.

– Seth Meyers, who I don’t normally think is all that funny, did a really good monologue. His jokes about HBO being the friend you should’ve been nicer to as kids was really good, and I loved the “Duck Dynasty” is the most VCR-taped joke, too. Thought it was a little weird that he seemed to keep trying to justify that the Emmys and TV are important; sounded a little needy.

– Wife and I were both completely puzzled by Alison Williams’ dress. No idea what the hell was going on there with the “Girls” actress, but it looked like a white animal had strangled her body.

– “The Normal Heart” thankfully got its kudos by winning Best Movie, and I love that Larry Kramer, sick as he looks, got to go on stage for that moment. The movie got totally hosed in the acting department, though; definitely  Matt Bomer and Mark Ruffalo should’ve won in their categories.

– What the hell was that mustache on Cranston? But his full-on makeout session when Julia Louis-Dreyfus won was hilarious.

cranston.dreyfus

– Sarah Silverman winning over Amy Poehler/Tina Fey and Billy Crystal? Yeah, that was a shocker.

– Is there a reason we need to have the accountants announced at these awards shows? I mean, are we really in need of reassurance that these things aren’t fixed?

– Tweet of the Night came from Huffington Post, attached to this photo: “Who wore it Better?”

– Apparently red was the color every actress agreed to wear, my wife said. Hey, every woman looks good in red.

– Umm, what was under Kerry Washington’s dress? It looked like black metallic underwear.

– Yay Allison Janney winning for “Mom.”   It’s really a wildly funny show you should check out if you haven’t yet. What an awesome career Janney has had.

**Finally today, it’s late August so of course you’re looking for an awesome hockey highlight: This is Australian hockey player (a phrase I’ve never written before!) Ric Del Basso, scoring a game-winning shootout goal and then trying to skate backwards on his head.

I think the announcer said it best: “Win the game and try to give yourself a brain injury!”

 

The Emmys are here! I make fearless predictions. And a 9-month pregnancy video in 6 seconds

breaking-bad-season-6-walt-jesse

So it’s a great and happy Monday for two reasons: The U.S. Open starts today (yay!, always my favorite event of the year, and I’ve got tickets for Tuesday and Wednesday, provided my wife doesn’t go into labor on either of those days), an d at night, for those of us who love TV, it’s the Super Bowl of TV: The Emmys, seemingly forever held on Sunday nights but for some reason this year being held on a Monday.

The major categories seem even more impossible to predict than usual this year, partly because there was so much fantastic TV in the past 12 months, and also because there’ve been lots of new winners in recent years who are nominated again.

Herewith, my totally amateur handicapping of the Emmys, with who will win and who I hope will win:

Best Drama Series:
WHO WILL WIN
: “Breaking Bad”
WHO I WANT TO WIN: “Breaking Bad.”
A brutally tough category. As someone who just finished the entire run of “Breaking Bad” (probably going to be a blog post on this epic series sometime this week), and considering how much amazing press the show got from critics and fans when it ended, I can’t see how anyone beats it. “Mad Men” was terrific this year, and I know lots of people loved “True Detective,” but it’s Heisenberg’s world and we’re just meth customers looking for the blue stuff.

Best Comedy Series:
WHO WILL WIN
: “Orange is the New Black”
WHO I WANT TO WIN: “Silicon Valley.”
This really wasn’t that great a year for “Modern Family,” and “Big Bang Theory” is on a major decline, so I expect the hot Netflix show to win (I didn’t love OITNB as much as I thought I would). “Silicon Valley” has zero chance, but I loved it.

 

Best Actor in A Drama:
WHO WILL WIN
: Bryan Cranston
WHO I WANT TO WIN: Bryan Cranston
Incredible performances by all the nominees; Kevin Spacey will get some love, as will Jon Hamm, but there is no way on freaking Earth that Cranston doesn’t win this. Walter White was one of the best TV characters of all time. I know everyone is giving this to Matthew McConaughey, and I’m sure he is fantastic on “True Detective.” But it’s got to be Cranston.

Best Actress in A Drama:
WHO WILL WIN
: Kerry Washington
WHO I WANT TO WIN: Lizzy Caplan
If Claire Danes from “Homeland” wins again I may hurl objects at my TV. Caplan is sensational in “Masters of Sex,” but I don’t think enough people watched it for her to win.

Best Actor in a Comedy:
WHO WILL WIN: Jim Parsons
WHO I WANT TO WIN: Louis C.K.
Parsons is practically an Emmy institution by this point, though his Sheldon character is long past his expiration date.

Best Actress in a Comedy:
WHO WILL WIN: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
WHO I WANT TO WIN: Julia Louis-Dreyfus
I could see Lena Dunham or Amy Poehler winning here, too.

As for the other categories, Aaron Paul will definitely win for supporting actor in a drama, while Anna Gunn or Christine Baranski should win supporting actress.
Comedy supporting nods will probably go to Ty Burrell (though Tony Hale is awesome on “Veep”) and the incredibly awesome Allison Janney for “Mom.”

**Finally today, I rarely post Vines on here because most of them are pretty entertaining but not usually worth sharing.
This one, though, I love love love, and not just because I’m living with a person who has just gone through nine months of being pregnant.
It was posted on Vine by a man named Ian Padgham and a woman named Claire Vasquier, and it’s just fantastic. Enjoy.

Good News Friday: Hundreds of Starbucks customers pay it forward all at once. A 99-year-old grandma knits clothes for girls. And dogs frolicking in a pool.

Debbie.Michael.childhoodpic

And a Happy Friday to you all out there in Internet Land, summer’s winding down but Lewis Baby Watch is just heating up; yep, we’re about two weeks out from my wife’s due date, a.k.a. the day my life changes forever. In the meantime, I read these stories Thursday and immediately felt better about the world. (Also, that picture above was foisted onto the world by my sister in a Throwback Thursday post on Facebook. That’s me on the right, about age 4, and already dressing impeccably. Seriously, what the hell is going on in that shirt? Way too much.)

First up, a terrific story of one kindness leading to hundreds of others. At about 7 a.m. Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Fla., a woman drove up to the drive-thru, paid for her iced coffee, then said she’d pay for the drink of the customer behind her as well.
That customer, touched, did the same, and the one after that did too, and it kept going all day, for 11 hours, for 378 people in total.

So simple. Yet so beautiful.

99yearold.dresses

**Next up, more tales of nonagenarians doing amazing things: The other day I wrote about a nearly-100 year old woman running a 100-yard dash. Today, I give you 99-year-old Lillian Weber, who every day of her life makes a new dress for a child in need.

According to this Huffington Post article, Weber has made more than 840 dresses for a Christian non-profit group that gives dresses to poor girls in Africa.

“It’s just what I like to do,” Weber said to the Quad City (Iowa) Times.

You go, Lillian.

**And finally, just because you can’t watch this video and not smile: Two minutes of dogs frolicking happily in a pool.

Have a great weekend.

 

Tales from 2 awesome days at U.S. Open qualifying. Letterman remembers Robin Williams, beautifully. And a terrific speech from a Little League coach to this team

Stefankozlov

I’ve spent the last two days out at the National Tennis Center in Queens, watching one of my favorite events in sports, and the ticket didn’t cost me a dime.

I’ve written in this space before about the awesomeness of the U.S. Open qualifying tournament, when 128 men and 128 women compete for 16 spots in the main U.S. Open draw (for those not familiar with it works at Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the top 110 or so players in the world rankings automatically get into the main draw of the tournament, while the rest of the spots go to players who get wild cards (usually up and coming players for the host country, or older players whose injuries have made them drop way down the rankings) or those who make it through qualifying, where you have to win three matches in a row to reach the coveted main draw).

It’s free to the public, you get hour after hour of competitive tennis (there are rarely any lopsided matches in “qualies,” because there’s not much difference between players ranked No. 145 and No. 165, for example), and you can get even closer to the court than you can during the regular U.S. Open:

Some scattered thoughts from my heat-fried brain after two days of tennis nirvana:
— My biggest takeaway from the two days was how physically brutal tennis is. I’d say in at least 50 percent of the matches I watched, at least one player took an injury timeout (in one match Wednesday, both players took simultaneous injury timeouts, which I’d never seen before.) Tuesday a promising young American woman named Sachia Vickery hurt her knee late in the second set and tried really hard to keep playing.
She managed to get the match to a third and deciding set, while barely able to move between points. During the points she ran and played her best, but she was in agony for a good hour out there. She finally lost and had to be helped off the court.
This sport just punishes your body when it’s played at a pro level.

– Got a real good look at the two most promising young American men to come along in a while, though calling them “men” really isn’t accurate yet; 16-year-old Stefan Kozlov (above, who looks about 12 if you just see his face) won his first-ever adult qualies match, while 16-year-old Francis Tiafoe, who I’ve written about here before, lost a close night match before a raucous crowd cheering him on vociferously. Both are outstanding talents that could win the Open one day.

– Another cool feature of qualies week is you never know when you’ll stumble upon major stars practicing to get ready for the Open, unannounced. Wednesday around 3 p.m. I wandered over to the Grandstand court, just to see if anyone was over there, and No. 3 seed Stan Wawrinka was practicing with No. 6 seed Tomas Berdych. Two of the top 6 players in the world, playing a practice set just 20 feet from me.

– Maybe my favorite thing I saw in 2 days? A teenager walking around with a “Commack Tennis” t-shirt on. That’s my old high school! And man, we never had T-shirts advertising our Commack pride. I was totally jealous.

**Next up, David Letterman always is funny, but he also does a fantastic job with sad news on his show as well.
The other night Dave gave a moving speech about Robin Williams’ death, followed by a terrific short montage of the comedian’s finest moments on Letterman’s TV shows.

Watch and enjoy… Dave’s the best.

**Finally today, the Little League World Series has been going on all week, with Wednesday night seeing new Sports Illustrated cover girl Mo’Ne Davis and her Philadelphia teammates lose to Las Vegas.
As always, there are winners and losers in Little League, where millions of kids learn how to do both. But it’s losing with class and grace, and seeing the positive in defeat, that’s often hardest for kids to learn.
Which is why I loved this speech from Rhode Island coach David Belisle, who had to try to console his players after they were eliminated from the World Series. His words are beautiful, uplifting, and exactly what we want all coaches to be.

John Oliver gets the Ferguson disgrace just right. The female Little League pitcher is awesome. And a 99-year-old woman runs a 100-yard dash

ferguson.guns

I could write a few thousand words on what’s going on in Ferguson, Mo. over the past week, about the police acting like they’re in Baghdad, not St. Louis, about how journalists are being treated (excellent summary of that here, pointing out that if this is how the police are acting when the cameras are on, how horrible are they acting when the red light isn’t on!), and about the complete militarization of local American police forces post-9/11 and how ridiculous that is.

But HBO’s John Oliver says in just a few minutes, way more eloquently and a lot funnier, a lot of the things I would say. So watch this and shake your head like I did at the insanity of what’s going on:

**Next up, amid all the bad news going on this month, it’s wonderful to see a happy, inspirational story like Mo’Ne Davis at the Little League World Series. The 13-year-old female pitcher from Philadelphia has helped her team win two games in Williamsport, and she threw a shutout last Friday night.

She’s only the 6th girl to ever get a hit at the LLWS, and she’s shown herself in interviews to be a humble, sweet kid who’s kind of overwhelmed by all this attention. (Major leaguers like Mike Trout are even shouting her out on Twitter.)

She’s due to pitch again Wednesday night, and I for one will be watching. Check out more from her here.

**Finally, you just don’t see 99-year-old women sprinting too often, much less in a race in the Gay Games competition.

So I feel I must share this.  Great-great grandma Ida Keeling, from New York City (representing!), finished the 100 meter dash in 59.8 seconds, which is damn impressive, in a race last Tuesday.

“I’m running from old age and arthritis,” Ida quipped. “Believe me!”

You go, Ida Keeling. What an awesome woman.