Can we still admire the work of a person accused of sexual assault? Pink gives a fantastic performance at AMA’s. And my annual tribute to “Cheers” Thanksgiving episode

When I was first starting out in journalism, and I was trying to learn to become a better interviewer, I watched Charlie Rose a lot.

He was on late at night (which fit my nocturnal sportswriter hours), and I remember admiring how well he would frame questions to his subjects, how he would draw out revealing answers, and how his interviews always felt more like conversations than interviews.

I remember ordering a VHS copy of his 1999 interview with Dustin Hoffman right after the Columbine school massacre. The show was one of the most sensational things I’ve ever seen (and thank God for  YouTube, that interview is right here)   and actually watching it and studying it for how Rose elicited such an emotional response from the actor. I followed and watched Rose for years, and greatly admired his skills as a TV personality.

All of this is to say that clearly I looked up to Rose, and now like millions of others I’m horrified to find out what a lecherous, inappropriate man he has been to many, many women over the years. And what I’m wrestling with, and what I’m sure many others are wrestling with, is a question that really has no easy answer: Can we still admire the work of individuals who in “real life” have proven to be so loathsome and disgusting?”

Call it the “Woody Allen” problem: If the person who made the art is despicable, can we still enjoy it? Can’t I still laugh at “Annie Hall” or “The Cosby Show” or a Jeffrey Tambor show like “Transparent” even if I know that a huge part of the show is a terrible person when the cameras are off?

I don’t pretend to know the answer, but for me, it’s yes. The art is different from the person who made it.

Sports fans have dealt with this problem for decades. Baltimore Ravens fans cheered Ray Lewis, who was involved in a double murder, to sack the quarterback. San Francisco Giants fans roared for Barry Bonds, steroid cheat. The list could go on and on.

And I think the same holds for entertainment. “Annie Hall” is no less a work of genius because Woody Allen is a severely flawed, possibly criminal, person. Bill Cosby will hopefully rot in hell, but “The Cosby Show” entertained millions and is still pretty damn funny.

Charlie Rose did horrible things, and damaged women. I hope he pays a huge price for his behavior (and it seems he has, as he’s been fired from both his PBS and CBS shows).

But I am still grateful that I learned to become a better journalist thanks to watching him. And I don’t think any of us who still enjoy the work of these disgraced men need to apologize for it.

***Next up today, you all know how much I worship and adore the amazing singer Pink, who is fierce and fabulous and puts on a hell of a show (we’ve seen her live twice already and are seeing her again next April on her next tour). She was at the American Music Awards on Sunday and sang a beautiful, haunting duet of R.E.M’s classic “Everybody Hurts” with Kelly Clarkson. But her even better performance was of her new song, “Beautiful Trauma,” while hanging off the side of a hotel in Vegas. Watch this, the woman is just incredible.

**Finally today, I don’t have too many traditions on this here little piece of the Internet, but one I’m happy to continue each year is to share the “Cheers” Thanksgiving episode, one of the finest pieces of comedy ever recorded. It makes me laugh every time, and often at a different part: Today I took so much joy out of Ted Danson’s face after he’s shut down Diane’s little speech.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out there, and I’m as always grateful you take the time to read Wide World of Stuff.

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An innocent American wrongly imprisoned in China, getting no help. Chance the Rapper with a hilarious hockey sketch on “SNL.” And are you ready for a Saints-Pats Super Bowl?

Part of me doesn’t even want to justify the inane Tweets of our President by paying any attention to them. The general rule seems to be, the more unhinged and ridiculous his Tweets are, the bigger the shitstorm that’s about to come down (which means today could be a big day for Robert Mueller and his group).

So I don’t know what to expect today after the orange-faced grifter in the White House went off half-cocked on Sunday, spewing some crap about how LaVar Ball, father of one of the three UCLA basketball players arrested for shoplifting in China, and then released, should be more grateful and stop dissing Donald Trump in Ball’s own Tweets. (Honestly, if you have no idea what I’m talking about here, you’re probably better off.)

But anyway, the three yahoos from UCLA are indeed home, safe and sound, and not that Trump gives a damn, but there actually is an American athlete being held in China who appears to be innocent, and whose situation is a nightmare.

This sensational Dan Wetzel column tells the tale of Wendell Brown (above), a former star football player from Detroit who, by September of 2016, had found a home in China as a personal trainer and as a coach in the American Football League of China. Then, after an altercation at a bar, Brown was arrested, and has been held in jail for the past 14 months.

No bail, no political leaders able to help, just an innocent man (video surveillance from the bar shows Brown didn’t do anything wrong) sitting in a Chinese prison, for God knows how long.

Wendell’s parents have tried everything, involving the U.S. Consulate, U.S. Senators, everything they can. But they don’t have the power of UCLA, or a President visiting China who knows about the case of their son.

“They basically got a saint locked up over there,” said Travon King, Wendell’s father. “There isn’t any other way to look at it.”

And so three stupid kids who were guilty of shoplifting get to go home after two days in China, while an innocent man sits in jail for 14 months.

Hey Don, go ask your friend the Chinese President about Wendell Brown’s case. And his parents have already said they’d thank you if you did anything, so your massive ego can get a little boost too.

“I’ll thank him,” Antoinette Brown, Wendell’s Mom, says. “If Trump helps us, if he helps Wendell, I won’t stop thanking him. He helped get three basketball players who were guilty get out. I pray he’ll help get my innocent son out. And if he does, I’ll thank him and thank him and thank him.”

There you go, Don. We know that’s all you care about. So get on the phone, will ya?

**Next up, I’ve written a few times about how much I respect Chance the Rapper, for what he’s trying to do in his hometown of Chicago (donating time and money to help poor people.) He hosted “Saturday Night Live” Saturday and while there were some other good sketches, this one, as a brand-new to hockey reporter trying to talk about the game, had me laughing out loud.

As we always say when we watch my favorite teams play, “Let’s do that hockey!” I also love the facial expression when he’s told he’ll be covering hockey for six months.

**Finally today, the New Orleans Saints, ladies and gentlemen. The New Orleans Saints! That’s better.

Man oh man. Nobody thought this team would be any good before the start of the year, and now they erased a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit and won their eighth game in a row. Drew Brees is playing great, they’ve finally got a running game and a defense, and they look darn good. I could very easily see a Saints-Pats Super Bowl.

If only the fine residents of New Orleans had any kind of nightlife in which to celebrate their team’s good play …

— The Eagles, though, sure look like the best team in the league. Going into Dallas in prime time and dominating them Sunday night? Very impressive. Carson Wentz, the pride of North Dakota, is so poised for a second-year QB.

— Beyond the Eagles, Pats, and Saints, I have no idea who’s any good in the NFL. The Chiefs lose to the Giants? Terrible. And the idea that the Jets, my Jets, are one game out of a playoff spot the week of Thanksgiving is kind of nuts. Mediocrity, thy name is the AFC.

— Poor Nathan Peterman. Yes, I’m partial to the Bills’ rookie QB who made his first start Sunday because his first name is my older son’s name, but wow did he have a rough day. Kid threw FIVE interceptions. In the first half! Oy. I hope he gets another chance somewhere down the road, so that’s not his only NFL memory when he’s 80.

 

Good News Friday: A high school principal in Florida joins the step team and dances awesomely. A little boy in earthquake-ravaged Iran helps a friend. And Subaru shares the love in beautiful commercials

And a Happy Friday to you. Man oh man, every week it seems like the barrage of bad news just won’t stop. Al Franken??? More than ever I feel like I need Good News Friday posts to make myself feel good about the world, and hopefully you all as well.

First up today, my awesome and funny friend Jen M. posted this video, and I love this so much: Donna “Mickey” Reynolds is the 49-year-old principal at Lake Mary H.S. in Lake Mary, Fla., outside of Orlando. Reynolds is new to the school this year and wanted to try to ingratiate herself in with the students, and have some fun.

So at a pep rally last week, she joined the school’s awesome step team, and brought the house down. This is so freakin’ great. Listen to how nuts the students go when she appears at the :54 mark, and then they go to another level of insane when Reynolds starts dancing at 1:23, and the roar at 2:33 is amazing, too.

Reynolds has more cred than any principal, ever, after this performance. So great.

**Next up, there was a devastating Earthquake by the Iran/Iraq border on Sunday, and hundreds were killed. But as in all disasters, there were also great moments of humanity, and people helping each other. Check out this video of a 7-year-old Iranian boy, bringing his friend to a rescue food truck because she didn’t get anything to eat, and telling the grown-ups, “You didn’t give her enough food,” according to the Iranian journalist who filmed it.

The way he pats her on the back, and stays with her until she gets something to eat… this boy is a model example to all of us out there. Really, really sweet stuff.

**And finally today, Subaru always seems to have fantastic commercials, and this one is no exception. The company is celebrating 10 years of it’s “Share The Love” campaign, and so filmed a series of short ads featuring real people who’ve been helped tremendously in their lives.

Here’s one ad starring “Matthew,” who was granted his wish by the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and watch the one below starring a pretty awesome pooch named Scrappy who saved his owner’s life.

Alligator-themed kids birthday parties are a thing in Germany. A beautiful moment as Taylor Swift helps Fallon deal with his Mom’s death. And “Curb” a major disappointment so far this season

Not surprising to anyone who has small children, but I’ve been going to a lot of kids’ birthday parties lately. And I’ve learned that with small adjustments, they all pretty much follow the same format: Kids run around and play, grownups call them to the table for pizza and singing “Happy Birthday” to the birthday boy or girl, and then cake is had, maybe some more running around, and bam, everyone goes home.

However, if you live in Hesse, Germany until last week, you had the chance to experience an awesome and terrifying birthday party way different than the boring ones we have here in the States.

Check this out: The Freidberg zoo let adults and children, even at birthday parties, swim with crocodiles and alligators without a cage or any other barrier between man and reptile, as long as a guide was present.

It’s part of their goal to show people that crocs really aren’t that dangerous, and for 15 years the zoo has been letting kids and adults swim with a guide for fun.

How awesome would swimming with crocs be at a  7-year-old’s birthday party? Incredibly awesome, I say. Way cooler than a bowling party or a shindig at a little gymnasium.

“Hey Mom, guess what happened at Timmy’s party today?
“Did you meet nice kids? Get a cool goody bag?”
“No, but a crocodile almost chewed off my left leg!”

But alas, grownups spoil all the fun: A court ruled last week that kids could no longer be allowed to swim with the crocs and gators. Adults, though, still can.

Can you say “bachelor party in Germany?”

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article183714711.html

**Next up today, there was a pretty magical performance on Jimmy Fallon Monday night, one I just learned about Tuesday. Jimmy’s beloved Mom, Gloria, died on Nov. 4, and quite understandably he didn’t host “The Tonight Show” last week.
He came back on the air Monday, and got choked up talking about his Mom at the start of the show, and how she used to squeeze his hand three times as a kid and say “I love you.”

Well, unscheduled, Taylor Swift came on the show a little later and debuted a new song called “New Year’s Day,” and, well, there’s a line in there about squeezing your hand … just watch this, and then if you’re able, call your mother and tell her you love her.

Man. It got dusty in here watching that. What a beautiful moment at the end from Swift and Fallon. Just wonderful, emotional stuff.

**Finally today, I’ve really really tried to give the new season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” the benefit of the doubt. It was gone for so long (six years), and I love it so much, that I wasn’t too worried when only one of the first three episodes was good. I figured that maybe it was like in sports, when teams or players take a little while to get going early in the season.

But no more excuses: “Curb” has had maybe 2.5 good episodes out of seven, and I’m supremely disappointed. There are funny moments here and there, and actually this week’s episode was one of the better ones (Larry and Leon talking about 92 degree rooms was fabulous). But man, every episode has, like 11 storylines going at once and none of them really connect.

There have been some episodes that make almost no sense (the prostitute that Larry befriends getting hooked up with Marty Funkhauser’s baseball-loving nephew?), and a lot of the jokes go on way, way too long even if they were at first, funny.

Makes me sad because I’m such a huge Larry David and “Curb” fan. But this season has just been … blah. Maybe the last few episodes will save it for me. In the meantime, a classic moment from the show’s past made me smile. (Definitely NSFW if you’re listening without headphones)

Is there any man left in Hollywood who hasn’t sexually harassed women? Let’s out them all. Two fabulous, cringe-worthy headlines. And the Jets are officially cooked, as it should be

I want more.

More names. More accusers. More tales of disgusting moral depravity committed weeks, months, years, decades ago. All of it, I want all of the rich and powerful men from Hollywood, the business world, media, all of them.

Let no one be left uncovered, let no woman or man who’s been abused, demeaned, raped, assaulted, made to feel incredibly uncomfortable and having no recourse to doing anything about it, have to stay in the shadows any longer.

It is obscene that so many of these men got away with this behavior for so long.  No one should be able to get away with sexual assault, I don’t care if you’re a big-shot Hollywood director, or a lowly intern in the press office.

The last few months have finally, finally shone some light on the behavior of these men. It started with Harvey Weinstein, and his ridiculous defense of criminal, horrible, sexual behavior that he “came of age in the 1960s and ’70s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.”

That led to Kevin Spacey, and his equally-pathetic defense after the public outing of his molestation of a 14-year-old actor as some sort of proof he’s now admitting, that he’s gay.

And the list just grows and grows. Louis CK, Brett Ratner, Jeremy Piven, Charlie Sheen, Mark Halperin, James Toback, Dustin Hoffman, and Steven Seagal.  In all likelihood, there are hundreds and hundreds more, powerful men in suits who have gotten away with disgusting, criminal behavior for far too long.

Some people are sick of hearing about it already. Not me.

I say, I want to hear more and more of it. Not because I enjoy hearing of suffering, but because I want every single victim to speak out, and have the world know what their abuser has done.

So please, I don’t care if it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, a TV or print interview, or anything else. Let’s get it all out in the open. Let every disgusting pig roast in the court of public opinion, and be forced to reckon with the pain and trauma they’ve caused.

The trickle has started. I want the flood of names. Keep them coming, brave women who are speaking out. Please, please keep them coming.

 

**Next up today, longtime readers know I love a good headline mistake, or double entendre, or misplaced or missing punctuation that would’ve helped. Two great examples of that recently, both made me laugh really hard.

First up, some students got some job experience recently. So first-hand experience. And so, a newspaper in Kansas called the Pratt Tribune wrote about it. And, well…

The hyphen! Would’ve been a pretty different headline if there was one there, no? But hey, someone has to give the students hand-job experience, they’re not going to learn how to do it on their own, are they?

Next, this was sent to me by my friend Andrew, who knew I’d laugh hard.  From the Times Daily in Alabama, above a story about Roy Moore, who, inexplicably, is still a candidate for Senate in that state.

Who knew shellfish could be so controversial?

You know, those sex clams can really be divisive, let me tell you! They’ve divided many parties I’ve been to, half the people eating them and thinking they’re delicious, the other half thinks they’re way too horny to eat. It’s a real problem.

**Finally today, it’s taken way, way longer than I expected, but yeah we can pretty much call the New York Jets done for the 2017 season. They did way better than anyone expected the first nine weeks, and I laughingly convinced myself that if they beat the 2-6 Tampa Bay Bucs Sunday, a team playing without its two best offensive players, the Jets would actually be a playoff contender.

But, you know, they stink. Josh McCown is what he is, a nice, decent quarterback. He’s got almost no weapons around him, his offensive line stinks, and the defense just can’t stop committing stupid penalties. So the Jets are 4-6, which is three or four games better than I expected, and now they play out the string. Hey, it was a nice little two month surprise.

Other NFL thoughts…

— Things I cannot understand/comprehend in the NFL right now: The Jacksonville Jaguars are 6-3. The New Orleans Saints are 7-2 after thumping Buffalo, 47-10, IN BUFFALO (Hey, I thought the Bills were finally good?) The Tennessee Titans are 6-3 as well. This has been a weird, weird year.

— Very cool to see Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater, who has missed two years of football with a severe knee injury, tearing up at the national anthem as he dressed for his first game since 2015.

— Tom Savage started at QB for an NFL team Sunday. And Colin Kaepernick, who led a team to the Super Bowl, sits at home.

Good News Friday: A bris for my newest son brings me joy (and him a moment of pain). A children’s hospital becomes much less scary, thanks to new designs. And a groom breaks down in tears watching his bride walk down the aisle

Wow, the bad news just keeps on coming for famous men who behaved incredibly badly, and criminally in their past. Louie CK, good riddance. Roy Moore, I’m not at all shocked to hear you may have had sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, people. Let’s get ALL the sexual assaulters, famous and not so famous, named and publicly shamed for their deplorable behavior. OK, on with the good news part of the show…

So, I completely understand why the idea of a public bris would upset or or confound lots of people who aren’t Jewish.

“Wait, you’re going to take your week-old son, give him to a doctor with a small knife, and have the physician circumcise his penis in public, with, like, all your friends and loved ones watching? And then you’re all going to eat bagels and lox and cake 10 minutes later?

It does seem, out of context, like a kind of strange religious ritual. And to be honest, before my two sons were born, I didn’t really like going to these things. Oh sure, I understood it was part of my people’s history, that it was part of growing up Jewish, yada yada yada. But, you know, it was just … something you did. (And no, it wasn’t that I was squeamish about seeing a little boy snipped. Despite what TV shows and movies tell you, you never actually see a thing at a bris.)

Now, I’m not going to lie and say that participating in my sons’ bris (I still am getting my head around the plural there, like I almost can’t believe I know have TWO children) has made me much more religious. It hasn’t. But at little baby Theo’s bris this past Tuesday, I found myself thinking about a lot of things I never think about.

For those who’ve never been, a bris is a short ceremony at the beginning of a Jewish boy’s life wherein his Hebrew name is given, he is blessed, and prayers are read in his honor. This week we got to tell the world that his Hebrew name, Matan, is in honor of my late grandmother Marcelle. As I listened to the mohel (that’s what a bris performer is called) talk about my beloved Grandma, and about the traditions of our faith, I found myself getting choked up.

The long line of my people, tracing back thousands of years, all of that is what we’re supposed to think about at moments like this. But mostly what I thought about as Dr. Dorothy Greenbaum performed the ceremony was the links of my family, and how my grandmother, the best person I’ve ever met, was born in 1918. And she’ll forever be linked to son Theo, born in 2017.

At the end of the ceremony, Dr. Greenbaum puts a cover over the heads of me and my wife and new baby son, and says a prayer and a blessing. It was a powerful moment, reminding me of my huge responsibility with this little life in my hands. People clapped, a few cried, it was beautiful.

And then, as my people do, we ate. And ate, and ate. The bagels were really delicious.

**Next up today, I love this story. When the nurses and doctors and an industrial designer named Doug Dietz noticed how frightened pediatric cancer patients were of the giant MRI machine at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, they wondered what could be done to make the experience better. How bad is the fear? Eighty percent of child patients had to be sedated before getting an MRI or CT scan, according to this article.

So Dietz and GE Health decided to make the machines look less imposing. They put superhero stickers and other kids’ designs in the rooms and on the MRI machine, and made the whole place a lot less scary.

Children would cling to their mom’s leg and start crying, and you would have to pry them off,” said Kathleen Kapsin, radiology director of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, part of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “Now they walk in and they are excited.”

The photos are awesome; check them out here.

**Finally today, a beautiful little scene of a groom breaking down upon seeing his soon-to-be bride walking down the aisle. Any man who’s gone through a wedding with the person they love most can empathize with Quintin Green here, who took one look at his bride, Ashleigh Reed and totally lost it, crying and nearly falling down.

His thoughts on what he was thinking when he saw her?

“I was just blown away by the woman I saw in front of me,” Quintin, 27, a kickbox trainer in Fenton, Missouri, told PEOPLE.com. “In the next few seconds, my heart started racing more and more and my heart was overwhelmed with happiness and the passion I have for her.”

The video (above) is pretty awesome, too. Love conquers all.

A rare good election night for Democrats has me cautiously optimistic. Three idiot UCLA basketball players about to encounter the China justice system. And Tom Hanks helps a man propose, awesomely

The last few election cycles, it’s been really hard being a Democrat.

Our candidates have been pummeled almost nationwide, losing local, state and oh yeah, federal races with pretty alarming regularity. It’s been so bad. Need I remind you about who the bigoted, sexual-assaulting man who currently inhabits the Oval Office is? He ain’t a Democrat.

So Tuesday night, after a long but great day for us featuring my new son’s bris (more on that Friday, I promise there’ll be no photos of the snipping), I was happy to, for once, see some Democrats doing well and winning races.

Way too early to say this is a rebuke of Trump and the GOP by America, but encouraging signs nonetheless.

Some quick thoughts on a rare election night when I’m happy:

— Let’s relax with all the “the Dems are back and will take back the Senate in 2018!” stories, national media. I saw way too many of those in just a brief look around Twitter Tuesday night (and geez, I’m so glad Twitter now gave everyone 280 characters. I’m sure it’ll lead to saner Trump Tweets).

Of course it’s good that Democrats won some races. But for a real, legitimate sign things are turning, let’s at least see what happens on Dec. 12, when batshit crazy former judge Roy Moore, who’s to the right of even Ted Cruz for God’s sake, is on the ballot for a U.S. Senate seat against Democrat Doug Jones. That’s a race that could have huge national implications.

Still, it was nice to go to bed feeling that maybe, maybe things were turning around. As horrible as Trump has been and will continue to be, maybe he will end up reviving the Democratic party nationally. With wins in the governor’s races in New Jersey (bye bye Chris Christie, we’ll miss you so much!) and Virginia, two blows were struck against awful ideas and intolerance.

Baby steps. But important ones. A few more election thoughts…

— A couple of very uplifting and cool election results from Virginia Tuesday, besides Democrat Ralph Northam winning the Governorship. First, in a beautiful piece of truth being more interesting than fiction, Virginia elected its first-ever trans woman to become a state delegate, as Danica Roem (pictured above) will represent District 13. What’s even more fabulous is Roem defeated Ralph G. Marshall, who wrote a anti-trans “bathroom bill” in Virginia earlier this year that was defeated.

Man, that’s gotta burn Marshall up. I hope he’s so burned up he’s got to go throw up in a public bathroom, and a trans person is in the next stall.

— Also in Virginia, you may remember in 2015 the absolutely horrific on-camera, live murder of a local TV reporter named Alison Parker. I can stomach just about anything on the news but I have never and will never watch that, it’s just too much. Parker’s boyfriend, Chris Hurst, was also a reporter but after what happened to her, left the media and decided to start a political career, in hopes of helping change some gun laws. Well, Hurst won his first race Tuesday, elected into the Va. House of Delegates.

“I know that Alison is with us and she’s smiling,” said Andy Parker, Alison’s father. “I’m so proud of Chris and all that he’s done with this campaign.”

— Bill de Blasio was easily re-elected as mayor of New York City. I voted for de Blasio, I generally like him, and I still have hope that he’ll end up being a good mayor. So far he’s been … a so-so mayor. He fights stupid fights with the press, comes off as impossibly arrogant and wildly defensive for a man who had to know the mayor of NYC gets criticized, and he seems to think he’s bigger on the national stage than he is. All of those things can be fixed, I just don’t know if de Blasio can do it, but I hope he can because he truly has good ideas about fixing income and housing inequality here in New York City.

**Next up, today, more proof that Tom Hanks is America’s coolest guy. He was at a book festival in Texas last week promoting his new collection of writing when, all of a sudden, he told the crowd he was bored of answering questions and wanted to ask one.

It was a marriage proposal from a man named Ryan McFarling to his girlfriend Nikki Young. Because this is 2017 and everything is videotaped, we are lucky to have footage of it. Her reaction at :26 is awesome.

** Finally today, the three college kids in this story deserve the title of “too stupid to be in college.” For some idiotic reason (read: money), Georgia Tech and UCLA’s men’s basketball teams are opening their season in China this week. An incredible amount of travel and school missed to play one game. But hey, happens all the time now in college hoops.

What doesn’t happen all the time is that three UCLA players, including LiAngelo Ball (L.A. Laker Lonzo Ball’s brother) were arrested Tuesday and charged with shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store near their Shanghai hotel.

And you know, they’re in China, so bail is not available, they take shoplifting very seriously, and these kids could face from 3-10 years in prison.

But don’t worry guys, Trump is in Asia right now. I’m sure he’ll take care of everything. Yeah, right.

I mean… really guys? Shoplifting in a Communist country? How stupid can you be?

Another New York City Marathon Sunday was wonderful and sweaty. Jennifer Lawrence hosting Kimmel was fantastic. And my favorite NFL TD celebration yet

Yet another mass shooting. Only the details change, from Aurora, Colorado to Las Vegas to Virginia Tech to a church in Texas. I just can’t take it anymore…

The first Sunday in November is one I look forward to every year as a New Yorker, and this year, maybe even more so.

For one, I was looking forward to getting some fresh air, as since our new little nugget was born last Tuesday, we haven’t exactly been outside much. For another, we just had another terrorist attack last week and the whole city seemed to be a little on edge the last few days.

And third, because there is so much that divides us in America these days, so many things that split us apart, that simply standing with thousands of strangers all cheering on a wide swath of humanity all trying to accomplish the same thing I knew would make me feel good.

And it did. While my wife was upstairs feeding the little guy (I forgot how exhausting and long early feedings can be, but she certainly hasn’t) I snuck out for 90 minutes and had a phenomenal time in the 60-degree spitting rain we had here Sunday.

I met some new friends who apparently live right near me on 1st Avenue and were even more enthusiastic (Jodi and Danielle, I’ll probably never see you again but thanks for all the laughs and shouts!), and I was again uplifted by the triumph of a human spirit that thinks nothing of running 26.2 miles with thousands of strangers for very little glory other than personal satisfaction.

A few quick-hit thoughts from Marathon Sunday…

— My favorite moment of the day came from a truly unique woman named Patricia. She was running with a female friend of hers, heard us wildly calling her name, and decided to stop. She and her pal said “You guys are awesome, I want a picture with you.” And so the three of us took a photo with Patricia and her friend, then Patricia said “let’s do a shot” and took a tiny, mouthwash-sized bottle out from the fanny pack she was wearing, and drank something that definitely wasn’t water.

As our jaws hung open, she asked “Hey, what borough are win now?” I hope she was kidding but said “Manhattan,” and then she was off and running again.

Patricia, you shine on, you crazy diamond.

— In the unusual and cool costume dept., we had way more “Wonder Woman” runners than ever before, probably because of the movie. Saw an IronMan, a Queen Elizabeth-dressed runner, and more than a few Spider-Mans. Not sure how comfortable any of that could’ve been to run in.

— We gave high-fives to at least 15 runners Sunday, and let’s just say there’s not enough Purell in the world to fully cleanse my palm. But they got so pumped up when we called their name; it’s so great to see a runner laboring and looking dejected, only to see them perk up and smile when they hear cheering and their name called. It’s the best.

 

— I’ve said this before but the NYC Marathon is by far the most diverse sporting event I’ve ever seen. The rainbow coalition of types of people who run this race, old, young, white, black, Asian, Hispanic, male, female… there is no one “type” who does this crazy 26-mile journey. Just people who want to push themselves and have a wonderful sense of accomplishment at the end.

Sunday, I was honored to be a small part of their journey.

**Next up today, I seem to like Jennifer Lawrence very much but don’t see too many of her movies. She was great in “American Hustle” and I’m sure I’ve seen her elsewhere, but her interviews and non-movie stuff are almost always enjoyable and peg Lawrence as a fun, wildly self-deprecating celebrity who realizes so much of Hollywood is B.S.

She hosted Jimmy Kimmel’s show last Thursday night and her monologue was fabulous; halfway through she went outside on the streets and asked random people to name five Jennifer Lawrence movies. It was fabulous.

**Finally today, I didn’t see much football on Sunday (I was watching those runners) but apparently it was a wild day in the NFL. The Giants continued to turn into the Jets, getting blown out at home (51 points they gave up!); the New Orleans Saints are 6-2 and who the hell ever saw that coming this season, and most importantly, we got some more hilarious and super-fun end zone dances.

There are a lot of things we can bash the NFL about this year, but one thing they’ve actually done right is allowed players who’ve scored to do fun TD celebrations. They’re harmless, they are wildly entertaining, and they allow players to show a little of their personalities.

This one Sunday, by the Kansas City Chiefs, might be my favorite all year. I’m not the only one who flashed to a “Brady Bunch” episode or “Mr. Mom” while watching this, right?

Good News Friday: Another son is born, and miraculously again, I’m his Daddy

The moment is so long in coming, that you think you’re going to be prepared.

But you never really are. Nine months of waiting, hoping, expecting, counting down to the big due date, all the plans, all the circumstances you have contingencies for … and it’s still kind of a miracle when a brand-new human being is brought into this world.

At 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, my beautiful and amazing wife and I still only had one son, the incredible 3-year-0ld we call Nate.

Then, two minutes later, I had a tennis doubles team, a starting backcourt, and at least two chances of someone putting me in a good senior citizens home when I’m old and dotty.

Introducing young mister Theo Henry Lewis, who arrived bluish and bloody and but 100 percent lovable, born on Halloween and so far as sweet as can be.

It’s been a whirlwind week, as any parent of a newborn can relate to, but in many ways it’s been different from the first time I got to experience the thrill of being in a delivery room and watching my child be born.

Some scattered, joyous thoughts from my over-tired brain as I once again feel like the luckiest man in the world.

— For one thing, I was once again stunned when our son arrived, but for a different reason. In September, 2014, I was gobsmacked because we didn’t find out the gender of our child until 15 seconds after the birth, and I had been sure for months that we were having a girl.

This time, my poor wife’s labor again took a long, long time (21 hours from when we checked into the hospital on Monday for induction until Theo’s birth). and due to a variety of reasons I didn’t think she was anywhere near close to giving birth when he came out.

Between the exhortations of her OBGYN, Dr. Sahani, and the fairly concerned looks on the faces of the four other medical pros in the room, it seemed like we were quite a ways away from the big moment. But damn if one final big push didn’t result in a shocking whoosh of our son being brought up to my wife’s arms, and me being like “Wow, really, it happened already???”

— Also different was this time I pre-cried (not sure if that’s a word). Seeing how hard my wife was working, and the frustration and pain she was enduring, made me realize, again, how much I love and appreciate her. So I cried a little.

— Maybe this is cliche but I’ve heard some hospital birth horror stories, and we once again had a wonderful experience. I can’t say enough about the staff at NYU Langone Medical Center. So many caring nurses, doctors and support team members there. Honestly, even at 3:30 a.m. there were a ton of people on the 8th-floor labor and delivery team to answer each and every question I had (hey, I couldn’t sleep, so I thought of stuff to worry about.)

Can’t say enough good things about the hospital. They were fantastic.

— With a second child there is, of course the concern that the original model may not take to having competition for Mommy and Daddy’s attention all that well. But so far, three days in, Nate seems to be loving his little buddy. Oh, he’s acting out a little, throwing things here and there and not listening to instructions. But he’s 3, so graded on that curve, he’s doing great.

— Cannot imagine men having to give birth. It looks absolutely excruciating. No question which is the stronger gender.

— Funniest thing I heard during the two days was from Dr. Sahani, a 30-something female OB who was fabulous. During one break in the contractions, I asked her if she had kids.

“No, never,” she said. “I see too much.”

— Kind of hard to tell in these pictures, but Theo already has more hair than I do. That makes me a little sad 🙂

— Finally, as I stare at my sleeping son while I type this, I’m thinking about a lot of things, but mostly: May his life be filled with more joy than sadness, more pleasure than pain, glorious experiences (and painful ones so he appreciates the wonderful ones), and a football team to root for other than the New York Jets.

Even in a week that brought such sadness to my fellow New Yorkers, one unshakable truth remains: The world is a wonderful place.

 

“This Is Us” continues to frustrate and entertain. Man dresses as his dog’s favorite toy for Halloween. And DeShaun Watson, he’s kind of a good quarterback, huh?

Editor’s Note: It’s Go Time! After nine months and much preparation by us, my wife is being induced Monday afternoon, and soon after our second son will be born. Needless to say, I’m going to be a little busy the next few days so there won’t be a blog post on Wednesday like there normally is. If all goes well, I will be back with a Good News Friday post this week (hint: It may be about the birth of my son). Keep us in your thoughts today, please. And may that epidural work wonders…

So I have written before about my love-hate relationship with the NBC show “This Is Us.” Now in its second season, I really enjoyed many parts of the first, from the fantastic acting of Sterling K. Brown and his biological dad, Ron Cephas Jones, to the surprisingly terrific performances by Mandy Moore and Milo (He’ll always be Jess from “Gilmore Girls” to me!) Ventimiglia.

But I also had lots of problems with the two other main characters, Kate and Kevin. They were both so one-dimensional and given crappy storylines, with Kate obsessed over her weight in every situation, and Kevin just a classic mimbo who’s beautiful to look at but is emotionally stunted and intelligence-challenged.

Still, there was so much good with the Randall storylines that I figured, by Season 2 they’d figure out how to get Kate and Kevin some interesting plotlines.

Well, we’re now five episodes through the new season, and I’m feeling the exact same way as I did before. I want to watch “The Randall Show,” because Brown and his wife’s stories are still fantastic, with the adoption of a troubled 12-year-old girl. And for the most part I’m liking the Jack and Rebecca stuff, because Moore is playing the hell out of this role, and the camping scenes last week with Jack and the boys were beautiful.

But… come on with these Kevin stories, please! He is such a wildly unsympathetic character, whiny and immature and now we’re supposed to care that he’s got a painkiller addiction along with other blocked images and feelings about his Dad dying? Here’s the thing: I want to care about Kevin, I want to root for him, I want to empathize, but I really feel like the show’s writers haven’t given us enough reason to root for him, enough reason to care. I just really, really can’t stand watching his scenes.

My other beef with this season is they’re harping so, so much again on how Jack died. It’s taken up like two full episodes, just teasing us and hinting and all that, and it’s going to be such a letdown whenever they finally tell us how he died because they’ve built it up so much.

The Kate stuff has gotten better, I think; we’re still forced to see everything about her through the prism of her weight, but at least they’ve given her a possible singing career, and now a pregnancy (Toby’s reaction to telling people in the restaurant last week, was fantastic.)

I really like most of this show. I want to love it. It’s just … a frustrating and delightful watch most weeks.

But hey, at least it ain’t boring.

**Next up today, it’s Halloween tomorrow, of course, and so I wonder how many of us would do what this guy did last year for the dog they love so much. I posted this last year but it’s so great I want to run it again: Watch this dog owner get an amazing reaction when he dresses up as his pooch’s favorite toy. Just fabulous.

**Finally today, a whole lot of crazy sports stuff happened over the weekend, including a scintillating World Series Game 5 Sunday night (really, Clayton Kershaw with a 4-0 lead in a huge game wasn’t a lock?), and some crazy college football comebacks (Ohio State came from way back to beat Penn State, which didn’t upset me given my feelings about the Nittany Lions), and my Jets being very different than what we expected (competitive and interesting) but still losing.

But I must write a few words about DeShaun Watson, who is really a terrific guy and one hell of a football player. This kid has had a phenomenal start to his rookie year in the NFL, and the fact that both the Jets and Browns, who desperately need QB’s, passed him up just boggles my mind.

Sunday, showing poise in the pocket, a cannon arm, and leadership qualities you can’t teach, was absolutely brilliant in the Texans’ 41-38 loss to Seattle. Watson threw for 402 yards and four TD’s, and ran for 67 yards as well.

This kid is special, and if he ever gets a good team around him… man, look out.